So we have been back from a seven-week trip to see family for about a week now, and we’re settling into our lives again. At first, it was sort of a rough transition. You mean I have to wash all those dishes? Did you just say that we are on our last humey bucket? We need more firewood again? How am I supposed to dry these clothes when it’s cold and rainy outside? But in general, it feels so good to be back.
This is what we’ve been up to.
The kids are sleeping about twelve hours a day. We visited family in Spain, so they are still adjusting to the time change and probably not getting enough sleep during those weeks spent staying up until midnight, but I think there’s more to it. For one thing, it’s quiet here. No noise to wake them up (we are out of reach of the roosters’ range). It’s also so peacefully dark in their room with the insulated curtains. Many people here have these thick curtains that go in the windows to keep in the heat at night–they have the extra bonus of keeping out the light really well. But I think the major reason why they have been sleeping so much is that they have been playing and playing and playing.
I have been using the CASA for workouts. Sometimes, I go in there to do yoga and just listen to loud music for a while. Sylvan Esso is still my current obsession. Starting this week, we are going to be doing a crossfit-type circuit thing with stations. Something like one minute on squats and then you rotate and spend one minute on sit-ups or whatever. Figuring out a way to get enough exercise here in the winter is a challenge for sure. It’s cold and windy outside, yet there isn’t snow or ice. The CASA is great, but it needs to be heated with the wood stove ahead of time, and of course, sometimes that one little extra step is enough to stop me from getting the exercise I need. But I am excited about getting a group together for a little accountability.
We have been lighting the fire and using candles whenever possible. One of my first priorities when we got back last week, before we had even finished unpacking, was to make some candles. I just love sitting around together with the fire blazing and a warm candle glowing on the table. In fact, I lit the fire in the Common House last night for potluck and set up candles on the tables. It was nice. Super hygge-y.
We have ordered around $250 dollars worth of seeds. Let’s just say that our gardening dreams are ambitious. But I think that my husband and I make a good pair when it comes to growing food. He’s good with the seedlings and with watering; I’m good with weeding and harvesting. We hope to sell some of the seedlings as well, and maybe some produce. I imagine that 250$ worth of seeds will produce way more than a family of four could possibly consume, but it sounds like fun!
We attended a recycling party and it was almost kind of fun. So it turns out that we had been sorting the paper recycling wrong, and rather than let whoever brings the recycling to the place go through six-plus barrels alone, whoever could make the time got together yesterday to sort through all that paper. It was cold and a lot of work and I’m still not convinced that we even did it right, but we got to hang out with some really great people and joke a little. The kids helped as well, which was great. One step closer to convincing them not to buy the little treat that comes with all of the ridiculous extra packaging.
We are in the process of selling our house in N.H. and hoping to build here. I am so ready to be out of the world of banks and forms and lawyers and insurance and interest rates. But we’re not there yet. We have a spot picked out where we’d like to build a house, and some possible plans for that house. We don’t intend to build ourselves. I have seen too many houses here that were amateur builds where people have invested more in the materials than the house is worth now. I do really really want to help build the house, though. Mostly, I’m interested in the banging kind of building. Like hammering things together when you don’t have to be very careful or detail-oriented. Just let me know when that kind of work needs to be done and I’m there.
I am trying to figure out what I can do to make a change in the world now that I have moved to this little corner. Before, when I was teaching 100 plus high school students every year, I felt that I was really making a difference. Getting them to feel more empathy for people not like them or outrage at injustices or understanding of the ways that class, race, or gender might affect people’s lives was something that I did on a daily basis. I’ve been working to create resources for my TpT store that have something of a revolutionary bent, but to be honest, that endeavor is ultimately about making money. I have also recently started a unit with the homeschool co-op that is roughly about the theme of “How do we deal with powerful bullies?” Essentially, it’s about what we can do to battle Trump, but we will also look at historical examples and examples from literature and probably talk about our own experiences with bullies. It still doesn’t make me feel better about all the terrible new developments that I read every day.
We’re settling back into the routine of our lives here. I’ve been waking up and working in the Common House in the mornings. We emptied and cleaned out 13 humey buckets this week and have washed at least four loads of laundry that dried over about three days by the fire. The kids are easing back into their co-op school schedules and getting used to doing chores again. We are attending potluck and community dinner and seeing faces that we haven’t seen in weeks. Life here is slower and it sometimes faintly smells of shit and it’s good.