I didn’t move around a whole lot when I was younger. Let’s see I lived in 4 houses growing up. Most in or around the Twin Cities metro area. So I always considered the Twin Cities home. I am a Minnesotan, and that was enough. But the concept of a home town was completely lost on me. A town where everyone knows everyone and we do things all together as a community was completely foreign. It might sound a a little scary to those with a more urban mindset but let me tell you it is so nice.
I did have to ease into it a bit though. This is our first year really trying out some of the community events that are staples of this town. One of those staples is “Santa Day.” This year Santa came to Rush City on December 5th. I had heard about Santa Day in years past but this year we decided to go.
Santa and Mrs. Claus make their rounds through the community.
Santa reads holiday stories to the children at the Rush City library. Meanwhile the local girl scouts help community children make ornaments and the Ladies of Rush City sell homemade cookies–by the pound.
Then the children got an opportunity to make requests. Effie wanted a Princess sticker book. Love this girl. The only thing she really wants is a book that costs all of $3 at the local Dollar General.
Santa also went to the fairgrounds where the local Lions club was selling Christmas Trees and Wreaths. One year we will has a real Christmas tree.
The highlight of the day though is the Tiger Store (Rush City Tigers). One of the local High School teachers noticed that some of the families in the community had no money to put presents under the tree. So he started taking donations. He stores these donations all year and pulls them out on Santa Day setting up a store where children can come and do their shopping for free!
My girls totally loved this idea. The parents wait outside. The senior girls from the high school help the children find just the right gift for the people on their list while the senior boys wrap the gifts and the children get to take their wrapped gifts home. I am seriously choked up just thinking about the whole concept that this wonderful man came up with and the community implemented.
Many families donate to the store throughout the year and that is definitely our plan for next year. But mostly I just love the idea of a town where people care about each other and band together to make sure everyone has a great Christmas. So I am totally sold on small town living. Even though I didn’t move to Rush City until I was 30 I now have a hometown.
I have not been very active on the blog this year. Some of you may have figured out the reason–we have been preparing for a new addition to the farm, a new human addition. And for some reason this time around it just all seemed like such a rush. I was desperate to figure out systems and get things set up around the farm to make our work easier before baby number 6 arrived. I hadn’t realized what a frenzy of anxiety I had worked myself into until she was born this last month. There was the initial craziness of mom in the hospital (we decided against a homebirth this time) and dad and children trying to take care of everything around the farm. Then we came home to a wonderful welcome home party, clean house and children all anxious to hold their new sibling. But the initial craziness soon subsided and we found a routine and since it is winter a bit slower pace.
I found a new rhythm and stride and a weight lifted off my shoulders. Normally I love being pregnant but this time around not so much. Now I am free to enjoy our newborn and feeling much healthier then I have before. Hopefully that will translate to more energy for writing and farming as the new season approaches.
But I have discovered that each child gives me valuable insights and lessons as I grow to become the person I was meant to be. This child is no different. Whereas my first child started me on this journey and that I should expect the unexpected, my 2nd child taught me how much work I had to do on character and that for sure if you have a character flaw your child will get it. My 3rd child taught me the beauty of life and letting go my ideas of the perfect sized family, my fourth taught me what a blessing health is and that it should be guarded. My 5th and 1st child born in our new life on the farm challenged me to set up ways to make work easier and this last child has taught me how futile worry is.
Last year was not a particularly good year for us. The wacky weather continued and seemed worse than usual. The CSA market was flooded and our membership was way down, so we had to look for other income streams and could not hire help like we had previously and I was pregnant, worried about how we would continue, my health, the baby’s health and a multitude of other things. I worried about having a homebirth, then I worried about having a hospital birth. There really wasn’t much I didn’t worry about, but in the end I have a beautiful perfect baby in my arms and both our health is preserved and the Lord provided through last year. Surely I didn’t need to worry. Now I am relaxing in a feeling of contentment. I am still planning and dreaming, but trying to let go if things do not go as planned. I am thankful for Lith and the lessons she has brought as I am thankful for all the other children. I am so thankful for this life, though it is hard at times. Many of the choices we have made are not the popular choice, but they are ours and we continue to grow as individuals and a family.
This is our third year in 4H and we are finally starting to get the hang of it. The children and I have planned out their fair projects early and many of them are already completed. While Two is old enough to bring an animal to the fair we decided to wait till next year when Avril will be ready as well. So this year Two is working on dog training with his lab Jack. It is going quite well and Jack loves Two so much you can see how eager he is to please.
But during the dog training what to do with the other children. Luckily the training is held at a park. Not a fancy dancy park with the newest equipment but and exploring type of park. It has been great watching the children explore and learn.
Normally I am a homebody and hate to leave but there is something to be said at the quietness of an evening at the park with nothing pressing on your schedule and just being. I wouldn’t have thought that 4H would give that to me but it has. So thankful to be part of it. You can find out more about joining here.
What a week! A few weeks ago I found out I would have to update our website, virtually redoing it with a new product. Then last week I found out I would have to do the same for the blog. Oy! Well luckily it didn’t end up being as bad as I thought thanks to our web hosting company’s (GoDaddy) awesome customer service. They walked me through the whole process and Voila, new blog. I am still tweaking it but so far I am loving it. One thing I love is the archives list. Going through the old blog and switching it over allowed me to reflect on my experiences along the way. I remember when Jack looked like this now he looks like this.
I remember when Home was the Eastside of St. Paul and now Rush City is our home. When I started this blog I had 3 children, now their are 3 little Doeuns and my how they grew. Oh well, nothing like going through old posts to feel nostalgic. I hope you like the new blog and do check out the archives.
There has been a lot on my mind lately. I don’t know if it is the uncertain economy catching up with local foods, a flux of new CSAs or crazy weather making consumers doubt the CSA model but our CSAs numbers are way down. I am honestly scrambling. Trying to figure out how we might make ends meet this year and if we will be able to afford to farm next year. As much as I try to keep this space positive there is so much uncertainty right now and it is weighing on me. It seems agriculture across the board is feeling the hit. My friends that raise goats are struggling. My friends that run CSAs are struggling. Anyone I know who is trying to make a way for themselves is struggling.
Luckily I have a bit of a retreat–the barn. I have said before I am a bit of a responsibility junky. I love caring for people, animals, things, a place. And that is just the life I get to live. Too bad you don’t get paid to live this life. Oh well, struggles make us stronger right?
So come with me on a little far tour.
Contentment among the animals.
Mavis bottle feeding Miracle for one of the last times. Miracle will be going to a new home next week. thanks Michelle!
Just like children baby goats (kids) find the funniest things entertaining. This tube is a favorite.
Don’t stick your tongue out young man.
Flower likes to keep track of everyone.
So yes there are plenty of good things going on in the barn. If you would like a quick tour of chore time check out our video below.
Once there was a boy who came from vastly different backgrounds. His father was born in the mountains of Southeast Asia, in Cambodia. His mother was born to the bitter cold plains of the Midwest. His parents’ hearts though separated by half the world journeyed tirelessly together. The two halves had to be joined. When they did the boy was born and later his sisters.
The heart of the boy belonged in the wilderness, to the animals and plants that grew around him. He was wild and happy. He enjoyed frog races and dining on wax worms while fishing.
His parents knew it would be hard work to keep the boy wild and free and to keep the familys’ hearts joined together and to the land. In finding each other they had left the land and now it was time to return with their children.
And so they did– To Crazy Boy Farm. This is our son. This is our farm. This is our journey. We invite you to join us on a journey to the land, to simplicity and to hearts joined forever.
This is our journey from a strictly urban environment to a more self-sufficient and rural lifestyle. Thanks for joining us.