This blog was retired early 2021. It lasted over eight years and it was great fun to write. I feel like we have moved out of this era of our lives and into another, so I have decided to write the next chapters on my new blog, The Happy Homestead. Hope you’ll grab a cup of coffee and come on over!
My new blog is The Happy Homestead. Come on over!
Rose glows across the mountain tops around my home as the dawn of day begins. Hot coffee warms me as I look out upon my small piece of land and my sanctuary. Sanctuary for my animals and my family. The first real killing frost and snow came the other night to blanket and quiet any remaining growth in the garden, and I am already dreaming of my nine new raised garden beds, repaired greenhouse, and larger medicine gardens of next year. I am dreaming of the fencing on Pa’s to-do list and the animals we might rescue in the spring.
Yesterday’s Thanksgiving feast here was wonderful. I opened several jars of home canned green beans to make green bean casserole with homemade white sauce and crispy fried onions. Jars of home canned corn made a delicious casserole as well. Peace settled across the tables as laughter and conversations about art…
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I find the problem with being a writer is that one can look darn near bi-polar with one’s musings, for all the world to see. Much like my journal, my writings span from the depths of despair to extreme glowing gratitude. I switch blogs like colored pens, depending on where I am on my path, trying to find the name of a blog that fits. Perhaps I want to be philosophical and the farming blog seems wrong but the goat advice doesn’t belong on the creative blog and so forth. So I abandoned them all. The fact is, a writer must write, even if they risk embarrassment allowing others to view their thoughts. There will be no perfect platform because every aspect of our lives are so different that a blog would have to be named, Inside the (not always practical) mind of Katie Lynn or one of my names I am referred to- maybe Bird Woman, Grammie, Mama, George (an adorable Bugs Bunny reference my husband began calling me twenty years ago). I think to myself, No one cares! My god, write in your journal and keep your heart off the internet! But alas, as I write pieces in my head, I must record them in hopes that someone will find a moment of aha, a moment they can cling to and use to bring more light into their days.
My shop, Cedar & Loom, opens in less than three weeks. In a new town. With new people that have never tried my herbal medicines or sat around chairs having tea in my shop. Creator made me sit it out there for a few years. Indeed I pouted the majority of it. Trying to fill in the spaces after the term, “I am…” Sometimes we have to circle back in order to move forward. We have to remember who we are. Where we come from. We have to recall what our gifts are, how blessed we are, and our purpose in the world. We have to sit in time-out when we forget and get bitter or frustrated. We have to review the past and sit in silence to re-find ourselves. To really get to know ourselves again. To meet our eight-year-old self and review our soul and find joy in watercolors. We undress from constricting versions and images we have created for ourselves. Then we can move boldly back into the world. We restore our empathy, our compassion, our fire. We move forward all the wiser…if a little fearful on wobbly feet. (But knowing Creator is guiding every step.)
Above all, serving our heart’s deepest desires is the only true mission of our soul. And if we stay the course, we will realize our true purpose.Julia Piatt
I was born highly intuitive and highly sensitive. A burdensome duo for a child in school but has created an ever changing and heightening purpose as an adult. My grandmother used her clairvoyance to read palms and was a medical intuitive. She also used it to bet on the horses. My husband laments that I won’t use it to gamble (I’m just certain that I will jinx it!). I have used it to know when the phone is about to ring, when someone is about to die. I have used it as an herbalist- knowing just what to give people- and as a reader- knowing just what is wrong and the path needed to take. I have had spirits talk to me, animals talk to me, and all sorts of unusual happenings that are hard to believe, and even harder to live with sometimes! But, in the end these gifts work their way through my life as the purpose itself.
I learned to weave this year and it is a lovely art form and wonderful for me to be able to sit still (not easy) and meditate as I beat in the rows, warping the loom with gorgeous colors, and creating shawls and scarves and such. A normal past time for me! But alas, that same intuitive gift has woven its way into my new work. I hear just what colors to use for the recipient. Stories are told to me as I weave. Nature comes through in the pattern. Whispers of what the new owner of this shawl needs for their spirit. I am inadvertently weaving prayer shawls. Ceremonial shawls. Healing shawls.
Oh, they are quite nice and warm to wrap around one’s face as they go about farm chores. And they look ever fine over a gown for a night on the town. Keep the chill off the shoulders on a midsummer eve. Or perhaps doll up a jean jacket for a day of shopping.
But their real purpose is that when the wearer wears their new shawl, what they need is given to them. Like medicine. The reds with stitches of green that spoke of healing to help a dear woman undergoing chemo. Starlight and solar system blues and greys speak of wonder. Gorgeous autumnal colors take me on a journey through the woods and gift the wearer with joy. The new one I am working on is a lovely stormy day. The kind suitable for cups of tea and writing books and tells me the recipient needs rest. Oh, it’s great fun listening as the loom tightens and weaves stories and healing to those that have asked me for a shawl.
The spirits do get ahead of themselves and I already know the color scheme of the next shawl I was asked to make! But slowly, slowly, I beat in each row with wishes for what the wearer needs at present.
Enchantment runs through everything I do; I grow medicinal and health giving plants, I take care of animals that shall forever remain friends, I see illnesses and make people medicine, I write, I make magical shawls. I gave up long ago the notion of my ever having a regular occupation. Over the years of wondering, What is my purpose?, I realize it is not what I do, but what comes through when I follow my interests and passions. Healing and inspiration is what I have to offer the world.
(If you are interested in having a shawl or scarf made for you, please email me at Katie@PumpkinHollowFarm.net)
On a cold winter’s eve, a group of friends gathered at my home, escaping the windy night, to celebrate the holiday with dinner, gifts, and to taste my new wines. Thank you to my friend, Annie, for taking photos!
The tree was decorated and all aglow, the twinkly lights and candles were lit and cast a lovely glow. Food was set out all around so that guests would mingle; latkes, cheese balls, olives, pickles, shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, chips and dip, limocello cheese cake, and ginger bread.
We created a game that we have done at every party. Guests pair up with someone they don’t know and answer the questions. The questions are based on the origin of our animal’s names. There is always laughter during this trivia game! (You can answer the questions at the end of this article!)
The Chardonnay was everything I wanted to be. It was a very small batch. Caramel apples and light pineapple in every taste of this delicious wine. I was so pleased.
My Merlot was a hit. Sumptuous, with aromas of cranberries and flavors of mulberries and cedar; currants and complexity linger on the palate. We toasted to friends and the new year.
Everyone brought a ten dollar gift to exchange. Numbers were drawn and everyone went home with a wonderful present.
I let each guest have a barrel taste of my new Nebbiolo. It is still sweet with juice but the flavors are coming together beautifully and I think it will be a very fine wine indeed.
Keeping in mind what is really important, gather those you love near, introduce new friends, and gather memories dear.
- What are our cats, Chuck and Linus, named after?
- What movie is our cat, Mr. Boogedy Boo, named after?
- What movie/books does our dog, Gandalf’s name come from?
- What movie/book do our goats’ names come from? Ichabod Crane and Brom Bones?
- The sheep we are getting in a few weeks will be named Ebenezer and Fezziwig, where does that come from?
- Our kittens are named Taos and Socorro- what do those have in common?
- Our ducks are named Serrano, Sandia, and Big Jim- what do those have in common?
- Tie breakers- A past cat we had was named Zuzu’s Petals and a greyhound we had was named Bumble; what movies are those names from?
If this year has taught us anything, it is that we need to get back to basics! In my mind, this doesn’t just include stocking up on toilet paper and canned goods, but old fashioned ways of communicating and focusing on a stronger familial community. Social media doesn’t cut it for keeping people close. We don’t need 552 friends. Technology is changing our lives. It makes me sad that so many things may go by the wayside. That my granddaughters may not know the fun of a date to a movie theater, the smells of popcorn filling the air when they walk in. The joy of walking down an old main street shopping in small mom-and-pop stores. The sweetness of receiving a Christmas card! It is not too late for us to save many things that make life nicer.
A Christmas card is such a lovely gesture. One reserved for those we are thinking of, those we want to send a hello and a blessing to. Well, you know me, I joke that I came straight from 1882. I am an old fashioned gal and I do love to receive letters and Christmas cards and get and make phone calls. Sometimes I get too busy, and I am going to do differently and be more proactive at telephoning and writing those I care about.
When I was little, we would receive a lot of Christmas cards, my grandparents did too, and they had a clever way of recycling them. The cards were packed up with all the Christmas bobbles and memories and then brought out the next year. I do the same. Tear off the front of the card and use it as a tag on a beautifully wrapped present. The added bonus is re-reading the cards from last year! The cards get a second life and bring joy twice.
Cards received here get fewer and fewer but I love to read them, re-read them, then affix them to gifts for loved ones. I still send out lots of cards and I will continue to do so. Christmas is special in that it allows us to make people feel important. Gifts and cards, phone calls and hugs all let folks know they have been seen and they are loved.
Happy Holidays to you all!
Should you like to drop me a card or a New Year’s missive, I would love to write you back!
Mrs. Katie Sanders
790 9th Street
Penrose, CO 81240
There are four holidays celebrated during the month of December. They are all culturally important, and in the end, they represent the very same concepts, and give rise for celebration and unity.
Kwanzaa begins December 26th and is the newest holiday, created in 1966 to unite African Americans. Having a small amount of Sudan descent, I am intrigued by this holiday. Being fascinated by the world makes me interested in all celebrations. Kwanzaa focuses on seven principals, each being thought of each day as a candle is lit. Unity, Self Determination (self strength), Collective work and responsibility, Cooperative economics (supporting each other’s businesses), Purpose, Creativity, and Faith in each other. Candles, food, family, community, gift giving (generosity), and hope is the basis of Kwanzaa.
Beloved Christmas was created to overshadow the pagan holiday, Yule. Who doesn’t love the twinkly lights, the music, gift giving, family, candles, greenery, and the childlike wonder that comes with the season? It is my favorite time of year. Kindness, hope, and faith fill the moments of the season.
Hanukkah is a celebration of light and hope. When the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the eternal light within only had enough oil for one day. People were sent out to retrieve more oil. It took them eight days to get back, but the light had stayed lit. For this miracle, Hanukkah is referred to as the Festival of Lights. It is actually a minor holiday but was given more focus because of Christmas. Gift giving and lighting the menorah are a part of this holiday. Family and togetherness are the focus.
Yule is the original celebration- the Solstice- and is celebrated from December 21st until January 1st. The festival came about because the holly king (who looks a lot like Santa) is defeated by the Oak King, and the sun is born. In times of old, the cold and darkest time of the year was one of concern, and it looked like the sun stayed the same for twelve days. The Yule log was burned for twelve days in hopes of pleasing the sun god so that it would return. The oak king is also known as the green man, the face of crops, greenery, and life.
All of the celebrations this month have some very important aspects to them, and that is what we can focus on this time of year. There is no need to “try to get in the spirit”, the spirit is within you.
- The promise of a bright new year.
When the children were small, I did more crafting. I made wreaths and puppets, throw pillows, and baby blankets. I set up holiday projects for the children. Glue, construction paper, and scissors were always in the house. Markers, and colored pencils, paints, and craft idea books filled our home when our children were little.
A book called, Scandi Christmas by Christiane Bellstedt Myers inspired me, and time at home let my imagination run free. Crafting has brought a sense of peace to my day. Rustic ornaments shaped as trees were created with fabric scraps.
Finding myself with still more fabric scraps and inspired by an idea in the book, I tied close to a hundred 6×1 pieces of holiday fabric to long pieces of twine. I inserted jingle bells and pine cones along the way, for crafts are meant to be personalized.
To use my fingers by the light of the tree, to focus on the task at hand, Christmas music playing in the background, is a wonderful way to spend time. This winter may be the perfect time to start crafting again.
‘Twas all very strange, really. Something out of a sci-fi movie, perhaps. A thin Santa Claus wearing a mask, shielding half of his face, sitting behind a sheet of plexiglass. All the children in line did not think much about it. We took photos in front of the ho ho ho’ing Santa behind glass.
My granddaughters looked adorable. Beautiful in their holiday attire and excitement to see Santa. Intoxicated by a day with their mama, auntie, and Grammie. We then all sat down and took a group shot with our beloved Santa. The spell was broken when my two year old, Ayla, peeked behind the glass, looked at Santa seriously, and stated, “Bike!” Then gave him her bright, elfish smile. May children always teach us to find magic in the strange and mundane.
We five girls then went to find a place to have lunch but found that indoor eating had been banned. Among shuttered restaurants, we finally found a place open for take out and picnicked in the back of my truck. In the middle of a parking lot, our faces to the sun, we sat in the truck bed dining on crisp salads and chattering non-stop in our way. Dancing and laughing and eating and sunning on a beautiful, magical December day together.
This year may have frustrated me, angered me, confused me, but it has also clarified and prioritized. My close family unit of friends and children has only strengthened. We have spent many precious moments together this year. My home is my sanctuary. My husband and I have spent more blessed time together. I have enjoyed new experiences, met new people, and found solace in books by the fire. This year has amplified emotions to their peak and settled them into joy, gratitude, and empathy. It has showed us glimpses of simplifying and true family and the greatness of living.
I will oft think of the sun shining down warm on the faces of the daughters and granddaughters that hold my heart and the simple and powerful memory of a picnic in a truck bed. May we all notice the magic that surrounds us during this season of hope.