Promises of the year ahead

The last days of 2017 and the first days of 2018 brought many  things which my overly positive self is taking as good omens of what's ahead.  Here are a few:

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The first harvest from our new garden, for salad and tea - of much gardening and harvesting.

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The first batch of brined olives (we have still got like 70 liters of olives to prepare, in case things go wrong) - of much preserving and fermenting, because I also started a new sourdough.

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Shipping new orders - well, of many more blouses flying off!

Finishing projects and doing my first test knit ever - of much knitting. Always.

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Clear skies, crisp air and bright moons, while wild animals scatter the bushes - of magic.

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These two, plans coming out of the heads and new window and door frames in wood - of a house to be, hopefully!

What are you looking forward for the year to come? Any signs whispering to your hear? And I know, I know, the beggining of a year is just a random day out of 365 days, but I am not one to squander the opportunity for this whole start fresh thing. What can I do. Wanna join me?

The Polish influenza

Last month, we received a crazy volunteering form in our inbox, all the way from Poland. We somehow lost contact along the way {OK, not somehow. Our reception was worse than ever and my inbox never updated}. Then, one day, I receive a phone call from a friend living in a community not too far away from us.
"Cat, there's a bunch of people here asking for you."
Oh my goodness, they did it! The next day, this beautiful VW is parked in our land.

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It was a group of five, and it was the best group of five we could have asked for. Big smiles and a refined sense of humor, patchouli and beautiful dresses, and a dog that would drool every time she saw our cat - drool as in I like you so much I could eat you. 

It's hard to believe we did more work in a week than we would have done in a whole month {even though Sam was going out for work almost every day}! Here are some of the things we checked off the list:

  Clearing land - we did one of the most critical parts, which was the totally overgrown forest on the upper part of the land
 ☑ Clearing the inside of the house - debris and stones out, almost ready to start working on that floor!
 ☑ Taking down the walls of the old pigpen, to lay the foundations of the future bathroom
 ☑ Making new garden beds  

Yes, we were busy!

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That's the work on the old pigpen/ future bathroom, above.

And below... Well, we're one step closer to have this as view from our front door

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I really can't put my finger on what is my favorite part about having volunteers. There are so many things that warm our hearts about these helping visitors. The shared meals, the new kitchen flavors, the late night {sometimes deep} conversations, the different opinions on how to do something, the indelible touch people leave on the land and buildings... I love looking at something done with friends and thinking "oh, I remember how hard it was to place that stone there", or smiling upon the memory of the joke someone did while we worked together. These memories build up. And so does reality. And suddenly, our land and our building is no longer our land or our building. Embedded is the physical memory of the people who passed by, and in the air lingers the light breeze left behind those who moved around bringing something new, every time.

Like the remains of a cough our friends had upon arrival, that turned into cough for us that turned into fever that turned into a flu that put everyone here in the valley down for three weeks. We've called it the polish influenza but hey, now that is has passed I'm proud of it. It too tells a story.

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Scenes from early autumn

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To identify the woodpeckers pecking the trees near our trailer - they're nor shy of shameful.
To think, and rethink, and build with winter in mind, helped by friends who wear banana stickers on their foreheads.
To forage and cook, and share and trade for fresh sourdough bread. Always with a some knitting nearby.
To dream about the next batch of chickens.
To dream about the house-to-be.
To overcome insecurities and make new things for selling. And to have the support of your beautiful friends.
To try new kitchen adventures and laugh at the little one sniffing the air. To dive into warm apple and cinnamon, because the weather forecast says rain next week.

A new garden, from the very very beggining

Autumn is swiftly approaching, and my excitement grows with it - I am so looking forward to the autumn and winter crops! As we didn't manage to plant anything in spring and summer (besides a ridiculously small tomato plant which is still somehow hanging around...), this is a sweet moment of a new start.

But phew, starting a garden from scratch is quite some work. Getting the hands dirty on it is my task, with Sam working away every day. Little by little I manage to do small sessions of work, if the little one feels cooperative.

Here are some images of the garden, since when we arrived to now - so little seems to have been done, however looking at them uplifts my spirits, I can't lie.

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The first day of clearing we made! We had moved in just a while ago and were still figuring where is where what is what.

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Wow! Is that like, the same spot but with a half meter deep trench full of branches from the clearing you did and compost, surrounded by a super cool mimosa weaving? Totally. It will be a long garden bed very soon!

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Then I sewed a banner for the garden, because... Well, it's cute.

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And garden bed no. 2 is coming up! A square one, of more modest dimensions.

Now that both beds are framed, the task is to bring earth in, as well as some horse manure from the neighbors' horses. I'm filling the beds with the earth Sam dug out of the water mine during the cleaning process. Try to picture 60 years of abandon translated into fallen earth and decomposed organic matter... Sheeesh, that's a lot of volume!

So I surely have the filling for the garden beds, but would like to have more time to work on it. Motherhood has these things, which I'm ok with! There is time, and all the seedlings are patiently waiting on the trails, growing a little taller every day. Every day I tell them they can trust me and that they will be in their new homes soon.  I've got this handled, right??!! 

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Up and away on the mountains

High summer and high heat.

We packed the van for a few days with mountains and lakes in mind and went. And how grateful for that idea we are! We enjoyed morning coffee by the waterside, drove across deserted mountaintops, were offered fresh goat milk by a shepherd, wore woolen sweaters at night - we were missing that! -, swam in lakes and enjoyed some walks with a child on the back. I took some yarn and needles along and knitted a small project during the trip, which will hold these memories amidst the stitches.

The only thing I forgot? The camera's battery. Enjoy some good old film!

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