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  • Writer's pictureJenna

A Result of Hope

Yesterday morning started with a dense fog all over the valley. Our little mountain homestead was above most of it, but still the clouds moved through our pasture and forests - making home feel a little more magical. Had I walked out into the woods and saw a unicorn curled up among the yellow locust leaves I wouldn't even be surprised. I would apologize for disturbing her and warn her about the bow hunting going on all around me, though!

Fall is pure magic. It's a time of hustle and transition around here, the hustle to be ready for the worst winter can throw and the beautiful changing of the seasons. So much work this summer was meant to repair, remove, and incorporate new systems and a better general order to the barns/paddocks/fences/fields. We certainly succeeded and I am so proud of how this farm and house have improved! And I find the need to stop, look around, and realize how damn lucky I am to have Shannon and her logical, beautiful, brain here to help sort out my chaos-adjacent whimsical brain.

Chores are a perfect little ritual now. And in that morning fog I walked about tending to the animals with the dogs by my side. I check on Agnes, too. In fact until last night I had not slept through the night in days - walking outside to the mews every few hours to make sure she was okay in her new apartment. So far she is the calmest, most curious, smartest hawk I have ever trained and I am so excited for the season ahead!

Now, with a hawk in my care to train and feed - a woman needs some wildlife to add to the freezer. Rabbit season opened October first with a bag limit of 6 a day! So after chores and (hawk checking) I got my .22 long rifle and headed into the forest in hopes of taking a rabbit to gut, skin, and cut into smaller pieces for training and feeding. No luck, sadly. At least not that day. I still have food indoors for her, but if I can offer fresh things like rabbits I want to hunt for with her - so much better. Perhaps today will be luckier?

I didn't see a rabbit but I did get to sit over the ridge on the trunk of a giant maple tree over looking the stream. Over the years the tree trunk grew horizontally out of the small dirt cliff and then started a 90° turn up towards the sun. What it created is a perfect place to sit and watch the leaves fall. Which I did for about 20 minutes, hoping a rabbit would hop into view in the thick brush below me. It did not. That time on the tree was still my favorite part of the day.

After chores, hawk checks, and hunting it was nearly 9AM and time to sit down with emails and work. However, that was interrupted (gladly) by a neighbor delivering 20 bales of hay in their pickup. Every week I try to get 20 or 30 or so bales delivered and put up in the barn for winter. Someday I will have the money to buy it all at once like a damned duchess, but right now it's a truckload at a time. The barn has about 75 bales in it, I would gather. Slow and steady.

After hay delivery I was able to get some logo updates to a customer in Idaho, two dogs sketched for a customer in CA, and mailed off that fox canvas painting and a slab of cuttable oatmeal soap for another customer.

I like that she bought the soap in a giant slab like that - she can cut it to however thick she likes it and saves me on some labor, as you all know - I'm not great with straight lines.

All that is left to do when the farm, animals, and emails are tended to and that is try and scurry up some fresh work. I tried like nuts to solicit on social media, but no new sales in the last two days. I am hoping things change for the better soon.

I am always hoping that, and you know what, that hope isn't wasted. Three years ago I was alone, scared, just starting to date women after a lifetime in the closet. Now I have a partner, someone to help with all aspects of the farm, and while things aren't perfect and I am still responsible for half of the costs around here - we're almost caught up. That is better.

That is a result of hope.

So the day's needs are usually met by 2-3PM. This is also the time I am basically creatively drained as well. Back outside for a walk in the woods, a check on the bird, some more training with her indoors. I brought Agnes inside to do some short flights to me in our living room (she is on a perch and leashed) and she is flying around 6-8 feet indoors for treats and that is lovely less than a week off the trap! I'm telling you she is special!

Evening chores came and went. The timer on the barn and coop lights flicks on around that same time. The flock of chickens and geese make their way closer and closer to the safety of their roosts and we retire for dinner inside. We are really only managing one cooked meal a day with occasional breakfasts if we can think of it. Not that we're starving! There's usually bread to slice and spread on for a snack, fresh apples abound. That same afternoon Shannon roasted pumpkin seeds and they made such a savory treat with a season mix of pumpkin spice, cinnamon sugar, and chipotle powder! I will get the recipe (or general idea) out of Shannon for sure for you guys.

Dinner was Kim Chi Stew, hot and healing down my throat and comforting in the middle of October like a slap on the back from a lumberjack friend. The night concluded with reading among the living room furniture with the dogs, cats, and our tired bodies relaxing best we could. I am rereading Harry Potter for comfort. Shannon is reading the Binti series again for the same reason.

Bed early, up early, do it all again with prayers of better luck on hunts and homestead but knowing there's a reason I am still here all these years later; and it's the result of hope. Finest drug on the homesteading market.

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