© 2017 by Smoldering Wick

    November 6, 2019

    I have spent the last year in a battle with... myself.  I have never found life easy.  I struggle with anger and feeling like a failure, terrified of facing my own shortcomings.  Last fall I felt terrible.  I went to my doctor.  Was it Lyme's disease, allergies, did I have an auto-immune disorder, was my thyroid on the rampage?  At counseling, I was a wreck and Mike and I were fighting all the time.  Finally, after months of blood tests and doctor's visits, my doc called me.  "I think you are depressed." What! No way! I don't struggle with depression.  She made some gentle suggestions and said I should think about my options.  The kicker was, the week before, my counselor had suggested that I may be struggling with depression and I had roundly rejected the idea.  But here it was again... So I met with a psychiatrist who consulted with my doc and counselor (am I sounding full-on crazy yet?) and they felt that due to changes caused by perimenopause (i.e. I am getting old) I was experienc...

    October 30, 2018

    I never aspired to be homecoming queen.  My best friend from childhood was on the homecoming court in a "nice people" coup de tat at my high school senior year, but really I was too weird, prickly, and awkward to have a broad spectrum of my graduating class either admire or actually like me.  Instead I was the mermaid on our class float because no one else wanted to be and I loved creating costumes.  

    But my Tessa, youngest of my girls was voted homecoming queen and "nicest girl" in her senior class.  All of my kids are exceptional, not for their achievements, which are many and varied, but for their desire to be faithful.  It manifests in each of them differently, they are after all very unique human beings.  Sam is a crusader for justice in his quiet, understated way.  Sophia, driven to be excellent at everything, and yet unwilling to run others over in the process.  Riah, creative, tender hearted, and a Hobbit-in-training, looks at the world seeing beauty and wonder in every living t...

    October 8, 2018

    You may be wondering, after looking at the dates of the last four months of posts, what happened? Well, summer happened. I did not take into account how challenging it would be to have time for writing as well as planning and running the farm this summer. I had lots of brilliant ideas for posts while I was out working in the garden or in the orchard or with the animals or with my husband or driving the kids to their summer jobs or whatever it was that I was doing, but it often seemed beyond my reach to get to a computer to jot down what I was thinking. In truth, my hope is in the future to be able to write along the way but it definitely did not happen this summer. As the days get shorter, I will have more time inside the house and therefore more time to write. I look forward to connecting once again on a regular basis.

    October 8, 2018

    I need to figure out a way to keep my young laying hens from getting out of their run.  I have been racking my brains and each solution I come up with has a problem;too expensive, too heavy, too difficult to build.  I am feeling frustrated because I worry when we leave for the day. I don't want them to fly out and be unable to get back in, cut off from water and safety.  I am presently using  clothes pins to secure sheets to their wire enclosure to prevent breakouts, but in high winds it's  a mess.  In a thunderstorm it blew over and they all escaped en masse to the grape arbor and thankfully we found them before they found the garden. 

    My apricot tree behind the barn is dying, the yard needs fenced in such a way that keeps the driveway accessible and also gated with the barn inside the fence but easy to access, and I am running out of organic methods to control black squash beetle.  Sometimes I just can't figure it out.

    I like problem solving, it's partly why I enjoy homesteading, there...

    June 7, 2018

     Moving at the age of forty three is not easy, most people have found their friends by then.  Growing up, I had always felt keenly the sense of being an outsider, like my nose was pressed up to the window, and I could see people having friends but I felt excluded. Now to be honest I was a pretty out there kid and I spent a lot of time in my own head, in a nutshell I did not blend in well.  In college however, I felt freed.  I met new people, made friends easily and had the privilege of participating in a dynamic christian fellowship through the CCO.  Many of those friends ended up in Pittsburgh.

    After I got married and moved to Pittsburgh, I had an incredible network of dear friends that I had shared grief, joy, child rearing, and marriage challenges with, I am known to them.  They are still my friends but I don't see them very often and their lives continue on without the frequent opportunities to share experiences with them. I always blows my mind a...

    June 5, 2018

    Sometimes there is a reason, but I will never know what it is.  I was visiting with my good friends and neighbors last week, on my way out to pick up pig and chicken feed.  After a good chat. I headed out to my truck when I saw this, my driver's side window was shattered.  We racked our brains but couldn't figure out how it had happened.  No one was mowing, the kids were all talking with us (they are raising a baby coon and they had it out to show me), the window wasn't facing the road, yet there it was, a spiderweb of broken safety glass.  I called Mike and explained what had happened, and asked could I drive the truck home to clean up the window.  He told me to sit tight and then called me back to say, no, the glass would just fall out if I tried. He was right, the moment I began to mess with the window, tiny bits of glass began to shower down and I could hear the whole window shifting.  

    I walked home filled a bucket with painter's ta...

    June 4, 2018

    We have no dishwasher, it wouldn't fit in our little kitchen.  So we are the dishwashers and clearly the reluctant putter-awayers.  I don't mind unless the dish I need is under the mountain, then I end up putting away with a grumble.  Air drying is clearly our first choice but may not serve us best?  It can be hard to find a rhythm in transition.  We are transitioning from never ending winter to instant summer (think Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when Aslan gets back into town) overnight we went from low gear farm projects to high gear everything! The two oldest kids came home from college for two weeks and then moved to Pittsburgh for the summer (think unpack, boxes, bags everywhere, repack with left overs piled unsteadily in corners and along walls) while the two younger kids were in the midst of the run up to finals week and end of year projects and events.  And to keep things hopping, it's been a busy season for the church and every living thing has been gro...

    May 15, 2018

     Just three weeks ago it was snowing, today it's 78 degrees and thunder storming.  The trees are leafing out so fast you can practically watch it happen and all my seedlings NEED to get in the ground TODAY.  I bought a broadfork to prep my soil this year and so far I have really happy with how it works.  Rather than rototilling which turns the soil over, the broadfork simply loosens the soil but keeps the layers intact which reduces the weed seeds brought to the surface.  Also, while my tiller goes down about eight inches, the broadfork loosens to 12 to 14 inches.  It will hopefully result in less work in the garden this summer with weeding.  It makes me think that sometimes it may not be helpful to go turning everything over, but rather to loosen things up.  I am still marinating on this idea and will probably revisit it at some point.

    I am battling the particular anxiety that comes to me this time of the year, that the weeds, grass, tr...

    April 30, 2018

    Last Wednesday I went up in the loft of the barn to look for a heat lamp and found the remains of our bantam rooster, Mr. T.  A raccoon had moved into our barn loft and must of caught Mr. T at some point the week before.  Life and death are an ever present reality on the farm but the real struggle here was my disappointment with myself. 

    A month of so before Mr. T had gone missing for a couple of days only to turn up without his tail feathers.  I found the feathers in the barn but had thought it was a feral cat or something and didn't check any further.  Had I poked around a bit more i would have realized that "something!" had a made nest in the huge pile of old cornstalks I left up in the loft.  Now I left left the straw and cornstalk pile in the loft because there wasn't an easy way to get it out.  It's been up there for two winters because I haven't wanted to take the time and effort to fork all the junk out so I just made a big mound and left it until we get around to fix...

    April 23, 2018

     I will be honest, I was sick all last week.  I forgot about blogging, cleaning, farming, planning.  I woke up, did the bare minimum of chores, and climbed back into pj's and onto the couch and slept, ate a bit and slept some more.  It was the most obliging weather on a farm to be sick in; snowy, cold, blustery, and wet.  I did not feel bad about not working on pruning or clean up, I just felt bad.  I lowered my expectations and drank boatloads of hot tea and watched too many documentaries and slept through most of the second half of whatever I picked to watch.  How did they adjust the mathematical models of waves to account for rogue waves anyway?  I guess I'll have to wait for the next sick day and watch the second half.

    Today though!  Today I woke up feeling alive again and looked out my window and realized so did Western PA.  The sun was definitely going to shine, the birds were singing, and the buds are showing in the trees.  So tod...

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