Sunday, January 6, 2019

Morehice Meet-up

It's a new year, and I do feel refreshed and energized! I think that's partly due to this past week of reflection, resting, and recovering from the holidays and the settling in to a new community in which we finished off 2018 with. It was quite the year with many unexpected changes. And I think we all feel ready to face forward and see what this next year will bring.
We've spent the last week family reunion-ing at Rancho Gallina, an eco retreat near Santa Fe, NM. It's a beautiful place, and I can only imagine what it looks like when the bushes and flowers are in full bloom instead of being snowcapped. It snowed quite a bit during our stay, so everyone, including adults, got to tromp around in ankle deep snow drifts. There's such a peacefulness here. I'm loving all the natural materials used for building and decorating the rooms. Lots of wood, lots of succulents, treasures brought in from outdoors. Artwork reflecting the Southwest. It's all very zen, and when gazing around, my mind feels restful. (Ignoring the fact that there are 15 of us, each with our own snowsuit gear, strewn about the place!)  It's enough to spark the creativity drive, and I'm looking forward to pursuing some new things when we get back home. And that urge to finish all those half started projects from last month too!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Move across the state

I feel like so so much has happened this season, that I'm having a hard time catching up with reality. But here it is: We have moved to western Texas.
Right after we returned from our summer vacationing and school starting time period, Ted interviewed with a new small company and things just started moving forward. Quickly. We spent the month of September preparing for him to move and stay with friends who live in the city that the company is located in, simultaneously searching for a home to live in. All the while keeping the boys in school in Houston for as long as possible while mama packed up the house, oversaw some remodeling work, and just tried staying sane without her sweetie there during the week. Luckily, Ted was able to make the long drive back and forth during long weekends. The chaos ensued for almost an entire month, but somehow we managed to find a place to live by the end of October, and we packed up and hit the road west a few days ago. We have officially re-homed ourselves in Midland, TX.
I have to say, after all the nay-saying about this city that I got in the past, I am really impressed with how wrong it is turning out to be. Something I noticed right away was the ability to squeeze an entire week's worth of Houston errand running into a single day here. I think the furthest I have had to drive is a mere 5-7 minute commute. If you know me, you know I really am not a fan of driving long distances, so this is a huge perk. And the sense of community is stong here. This morning we had, literally, a dozen children out biking on the street block, while the 3 sets of parents watched and chatted and just casually hung out like it was no big deal. I haven't experienced that since our Lawrence days, so an A+ for that. As far as thrift stores go, there's a bunch. I did run into one yesterday that was way overpriced ($7.99 for a plastic plate, is that even a legit price for a new one?) but also was pleasantly suprised to find a few that were willing to haggle with us. The ethnic food choices might be weaker here, but we have found a few hole-in-the-wall locations that compare with some of our favorite Houston spots. Oh, did I mention they are only 5 minutes away? They are. Babysitters seem to be in abundance here as well. Though, I will truly miss our sitters that we got to know over the past year in H-town.
Before we left Houston, I had to re-home my beloved animals that provided so much for our family. All of our egg and milk (cheese) needs, basically. After being a dairymaid for much of the past year, it was a hard process for me to just give it up. But I'm so glad that we could find a farm family who could take on all the animals and give them an even larger area to roam and be happy in. It's weird not having to shut the chickens in their coop every night. I have caught myself so many times thinking about going outside to check on them. Old habits are hard to break I guess.
Moving is hard. Change is hard. I've definitely shed my share of tears over the past few months because of it. Sometimes you just have to trust that it is going to be fine and that you will grow from it.
And I'm sure I will have plenty more to talk about as I get to know this town and all that it entails, but is getting late and I have a baby snoozing on my lap that needs to get transferred to her bed, so 'good-night' and enjoy your extra hour of zzzs tonight as daylight savings time ends!
Here's a quick photo we took the other night. Ted's #1 goal was to get the fireplace started. I am just so excited to have an actual fireplace! My first one! It really adds to the hygge effect that I strive for in a house.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The beginning of a new school year

School started today for our older boys. We have a 2nd grader and a kindergartener. It is strange not having a buzzing house this morning, but I'm looking forward to getting back into a routine that allows for more "Jaylyn moments" to happen. Think cooking, baking, writing, coffee drinking, making, etc. And of course, spending time with the young ones that will be with me here at home. (They are both napping now, which is how I'm getting this entry out).

So with this new space in my day, I have opened my Etsy shop and you can find my fiber art listed for sale here:
I'm excited to start adding a wider range of felted pieces, and sharing them with the world. I hope you'll take a look.

This is only Day 1, but I think I can get on board with this early drop off (7:30AM!!), early pick up (2:50) thing. Though, that means goat milking happens in the dark again. I had to use a lamp in the parlor this morning and the goats were very confused! But getting done earlier in the day will hopefully mean we can get some fun things worked into our afterschool time too. And don't forget, early bedtimes for everyone!

How are you adjusting to the new school year?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Summer days

How many moons has it been since I've updated this? Well, here I am again. Time to de-clutter some thoughts and clean the mind!
While we have been busy wrapping up (yet again) more of the land & house remodel, we've also been taking life at a slower pace this summer. The crofter's suite has turned into our daily retreat that we escape to. I've been getting some serious reading done with this new space. It feels very different than our main house, and we have mentioned several times now that we should all just move out into this tiny cabin out back! 
And, I have a clothesline again! Every time we visit upstate New York, we're reminded how lovely it is to see the Mennonite farms flying their laundry high above the gardens on wash day. We tried to mimick this and have a pulley system that goes across to one of our tall trees. And so I've rediscovered the joy of doing laundry again. Notice the kids' swimming tube they came up with. It launches you down into a splash of a pool at the end. Lots of mud, too.
We came upon a new gastrobar near our neighborhood recently. Edison's. And if you are a gin fan like myself, you'll not be disappointed in the many concoctions they have on the menu. Here we are on a happy hour date. I'm admiring a rose petal, elderflower, lavender mix, while Ted tries a spicy pepper type. Tiny dates out are a nice way to re-set for the week. 
And with that, I'm off to put kids to bed. Here's to another slow day of summer tomorrow!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Spring 2018

It has been a busy few months, to say the least! I'll attempt to hit on some of the highlights though.

  • February was full of seeding things in the garden, and finishing up some projects that had been in the back of our minds for some time. 
  • In March we welcomed a baby goat buckling that was born right here in our garage birthing pen. It was a first time for both the mama goat, Saffron, and us (helping to pull baby). It was all very exciting. Later we hosted a morning playdate with some school friends, and it was a joy to see all the children interacting with the animals that live here and spending the rest of the time playing in the treehouse. We also started picking things from the garden this month and began incorporating them into our meals. We also planted 30 tomatoes. I guess we're canning this year. 
  • We managed to squeeze in a quick trip to San Marcos, TX before our second mama goat was due. It was a nice time spent hiking, lots of biking (my poor bike hadn't been rode for 2 whole years! Sad) watching live country music, touring little shops, and falling out of an airplane. Yes, you read that right. Ted finally convinced me to go skydiving with him.  
  • April brought about more baby goats. This time twins, to mama Aurelia! A brother and sister, so very cute. We plan on keeping the little doeling, Pepper, to raise as a future milk goat. 
  • Which brings me to our latest adventure: in milking goats! So far we are only milking Saffron, and she's giving us almost a quart per day. Tomorrow we plan on making some chevre because it adds up quite fast, and we're still switching over gradually from drinking whole cow milk to raw goat milk. But if you wonder, honestly, I can't tell much difference in taste. I think because of the diet we have our goats on, the milk is buttery and sweet and grassy-like. No yogurty sour flavors whatsoever, like I had imagined. 
  • I'm finding it very exciting to not have to go to the grocery store so often. This small homesteading thing is finally starting to pay off a little. Some things we've produced using our own recources have included: Using peaches from our tree to make pie, Making bouquets from our own flowers, Drying herbs, Making elderberry tinctures, Ferments, Gathering our own eggs, Collecting our own milk, Using all sorts of greens in various meals. The only thing missing now is honey. Bzzzzz! And maybe quail.....and maybe a few more chickens....and is there room for a Jersey cow somewhere? 
And on top of all the farmy stuff there are the adventures with the Morehouse kiddos. They impress me every day, and I love watching them grow and discover new things. Sometimes I'm in awe of their conversations with each other, and it makes my heart so happy. Other times I am pulling them apart so that they don't kill each other. A healthy balance, as they say. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Setting intentions for the New Year

Happy 2018 everyone. I've seen a lot of 'words for the year' floating around the internet, and it got me thinking: What is my theme word going to be for this new year? Most of my goals involve building things for our animals, mainly a proper goat milking barn and place for keeping all of the feed supplies. And then there's painting the rest of the house. Painting Scraps the Traveling Van. Building a small roadside book library open to the public. Actually, I have quite a few woodworking projects I'd like to tackle, and they are out of my skill range. But back to the barn. Would my word be Independence? Self-reliance? Self-supporting? I realized all of that is just too much to take on. Learning new carpenter skills seems like a pretty big challenge, and when exactly was I going to have time to be teaching myself how to construct this barn? Hmmm. No, I need help.
That's why I am settling on this word of the year: Community. Maybe it's time to start asking others for their help when I need it. It goes far beyond just building this milking barn. Help watching the kids when mama needs a little self care? Getting together for meals? Making beautiful art together? Trading and swapping goods instead of monetary exchange? Just general communing and getting to know others around us better? Yes, yes, yes!
Here's a photo from a very communal Friends-giving trip, in which we all shared a house, yummy food, screaming babies, and memories to last for years! Really, it was a fun trip!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Prepping for Winter Faire

It seems as if December is slipping right on by. Our annual school Winter Faire was today, and we have been bizzy bees getting projects completed for this magical tradition. Finn was eager to help with the activity area sign preparations, and there he is above- blending watercolor pencil with a brush of water. Painting, felting dolls to sell, and baking the KU Geology cream-cheese filled snicker-doodles were pretty much what my days have looked like this week. I hope more people took photos today, because it really was a beautiful event that I'm so grateful to have been a part of. Thank you, Bayou Village community!

Oh, and I even came home carrying a couple bags of soft alpaca wool that I can't wait to try out on some new dolls in the works. See my latest needle-feltings at

Morehice Meet-up

It's a new year, and I do feel refreshed and energized! I think that's partly due to this past week of reflection, rest...