Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Homesteading

For many years my husband and I have talked about what it means to be a homesteader in these modern times. He and I met in the Peace Corps in 2002 on a small banana plantation a few miles from the Pan American highway in Ecuador, South America. During our time in Ecuador we lived very differently than we do here, we ate tiny bananas called guineos that we cut from a tree outside and the chicken we had for dinner was bled out in the backyard not too far from the pig pens sitting adjacent to the large wash basin where we washed clothes by hand. More than a decade later we live in a tiny coastal town in the Northwest and tend a small garden and two well loved chickens and buy most of our food from a small local grocery store. We drink green juice and buy organic and try to live within our means, but we long for more. When I say more, I really mean less, because I think we both love the idea of stripping down our possessions and living off the grid with the ability to grow all, or almost all, of our own food. We want to be homesteaders in the traditional sense of the word, and every little step we take in that direction feels like the road home.




And speaking of self sufficiency, we finally decided this year to stop buying any spices from the store, and harvest our epic herb garden not only for ourselves but for friends and family. This is just a small portion of what we are drying and planning to store in glass containers and use as gifts this holiday season (Rosemary, Sage, Thyme). I cant tell you how good the laundry room smells!



However, every homesteading project has its ups and downs. As it happens every fall, our juicing garden of kale and chard has been hit with aphids. We dusted today with diatomaceous earth in hopes of killing off the little buggers safely and organically. We've used our 80lb bag of organic food-grade "d.earth" in so many ways since we got it, I highly recommend it for controlling fleas and slugs as well. The only bummer is that after Im done I look like someone has beat me with a sack of flour.


Well I had planned to write more but its time to go watch my first grader play soccer, and that's something I wouldnt miss for the world. Be happy, and please feel free to share any homesteading adventures of your own! Oh, and p.s. we found a huge cache of eggs in the compost pile today, apparently one of our chickens (Princess, or Falcon) was laying on the sly. It felt like Easter finding them all!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Beginning

I wrote many months ago about the baby chickens that came to live at our house, and the wonder they inspired in my children. The baby chickens are now all grown up, and yesterday we found our very first chicken egg nestled in the coop in the wee morning hours before the school bus came. When my youngest awoke she was delighted, her excitement over this small egg was palpable, her reaction at something so ordinary brought tears to my eyes. My children teach me so many things, but the most important to remember is the wonder:




Some of you may know that we are actually a family of five, though we have only two living children. Our son Henry died at four days old in the summer of 2009. After Vivien held the egg for some time she told me that she missed Henry (though of course she never knew him) and wished he could come see our egg. She talks about him often, at the most surprising moments, he seems to always be on her mind, teasing her with the idea of having two living brothers, instead of just one. Had Henry lived and Vivien too been born they would have been Irish twins, just 11 months apart. I think to myself often how close they would have been, what secrets they would have shared, how alike they looked when they were born and how they may have been mistaken for twins had Henry lived. I wonder alot of things about my second born, but what tears at my heart the most is imagining him with my two living children, and imagining the love they would have shared and how it would have filled us all up. After your child passes away, as Henry did in my arms in the evening of a seemingly beautiful summer day, the cup is never full again, no matter how many secret moments of joy you deposit there, there is always a space that cannot be filled. I see in Vivien that at three years old she already knows this instinctively, that no matter how much she wants Henry to return, he will never see her precious egg. The beauty is that she continues to love him and miss him, and continues to find joy in the ordinary gifts we are given each day.

Despite the grief we experience at the loss of our beloved baby boy, we try to live every day as if we may never get another, and there is joy, and it is breathtaking (even more so because we know what it feels like to be scraped clean of all things joyful). I see in my children a natural wonder at life, birth, death, and all beginnings and all endings. All at once this small egg we found nestled in the sawdust is a beginning for us and an ending because it will never become a baby chicken, but it is circular, this egg and many more to come will nourish us and we will live as long as fate deems it so.

As fall approaches and begins to settle in on the coast here, we see the cycle become evident again in many other ways. We plan on gathering leaves as they fall this year and creating rubbings with our crayons. We will walk in the rain and get new rainboots as the old have been outgrown. We will be thankful for who we are, what we have, and where we have been. We will be hopeful for where we are going.

Peace to all who read here, and joy as well, in all things, big and small.




Monday, July 8, 2013

Waldorf Play Space

It's no secret that this is a Waldorf household and toys are a bit of a weakness of mine. I cannot help but be drawn to the smooth, warm lines of wood and the scent of beeswax. Some of my favorite toys for my children (and me!) are from the Camden Rose line. As I write this I am in fact saving my pennies for another special purchase come Christmas time. At the moment we are enjoying the play stand, the kitchen hearth and the dolly high chair. I thought my readers here and those who peruse my shop might enjoy seeing what I have in my own Waldorf play space. Please notice the lovely felted wool wall hanging from one of my favorite artists, Annette at Wool Creations...




The doll shown above in the high chair is from Nancy at Dragonfly's Hollow, another Waldorf artist whom I admire greatly. The little felted apples are from another dear and talented lady on Etsy named Katie Loucks who runs The Wool Food Market.




This photo above is not the best of my kiddos, but it shows them both in the play stand that we all adore so very much. I have never for a moment regretted purchasing this from Palumba and can not speak highly enough of the quality of Camden Rose toys. This play stand is a wood lovers dream! I also have it smack dab in the middle of our living room in front of the big window, and I love that the children can play and be in the midst of everything that goes on in the house.

Finally I have a little secret to share with you, a purchase that has not yet come out of the closet because it is for a little girl turning three years old this summer....The cradle is by Circa Toys and the doll from Earth Muffin Design, both on Etsy -- the cradle and the doll both really exceeded my expectations. The mattress in the cradle is handmade by me out of natural wool interlock and stuffed with organic wool. The blanket is also sewn by me, an old playsilk (dyed by whom I do not remember, but it wasn't me) made into something new with a flannel backing, perfect for keeping dollies warm. I really can't wait to give this to my little one!



So there you have it, a little peak into our Waldorf play space. Not only do I make and sell Waldorf toys, but I'm addicted to them as well! But really, I don't think the kids mind at all...

Much Love,
Mindy B.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer Sale

Summer is finally upon us, for real this time. School is about to let out in my small coastal town (and when I say small, I mean less than 1500 year round residents) and we are poised with sand buckets in hand, waiting for the perfect beach day. Not to say that we dont visit the beach year round, in the rain, wind and muck, because we do. I can't count the number of times I've been to the beach spitting out mouthfuls of sand from the high winds every five minutes and walked sideways to avoid the driving rain! But I digress, the sun has found us, and the exploring of our natural world has begun once again...


In that vein I invite you to enjoy our summer sale at my Etsy shop, IndieBambino
everything under the sun in the shop is 10% off, in fact many items are priced below wholesale prices right now because I keep many of my retail prices very low. Explore with us this summer, grab a hand kite from the shop, a bowling game, or just browse and enjoy. Hope your summer explorations are full of wonder and delight, in the embrace of fine weather and best friends.

XO
Mindy B.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Coupon Code Time!!

Use this coupon in my Etsy store IndieBambino for 20% off purchases of $30 or more :)

Code: 20OFF30

Expires on 5/12/13

Etsy STORE

*Not valid with other offers
*Not valid on previously submitted orders

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Summer is for Lovers

We wait more than nine months sometimes for summer around here on the rainy NW coast. We endure hasty winds, harsh rains, dreary days of cold and wet, and when the sun finally comes out we feel a little giddy, a little bit in love.



We even bought baby chicks this year, and they've grown so much in one week it's astonishing. At first we planned to purchase exotic breeds, blue egg layers and brown speckled layers, and instead ended up with Rhode Island Reds, and we love them quite alot. This picture is just a week old and they already have flight feathers and have almost doubled in size!


My two year old Vivien loves them so much she shakes in anticipation of holding one little chick she has named "Pwincess" (and no, I didn't spell that wrong, that is how she says it) and at times, uncontrollably cries with joy and giddiness because she cannot believe she is holding a real baby chick. It's really quite hard to be two, so many new things to love so very, very much.



My son Finnegan (Finn for short) recently went to the local fishing derby and the weather was amazing, the fishing fine, and his true love for the outdoors was on full display. I love this picture so much it hurts.



I hope summer is coming your way if it isn't there already. We are already in love for yet another year, planting any pot or plot that will sit still, and drinking up the sunshine and each ephemeral moment we spend with one another in it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

SALE.....

Through the end of the month, take 10% off all orders $5 ore more, use code: 10OFF5


Take 15% off orders of $30 or more through the end of the month, use code: 15OFF30


Orders of $100 or more receive FREE SHIPPING in the US, use code: 100FREESHIP


All coupon codes expire on 5/1, happy shopping!!