sustainability

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I remember once being asked what homesteaders might do during the winter. I hesitate to even call these couple of months of cold fronts by that moniker lest my northern friends think I’m confused. But we are experiencing our version of winter here on the homestead and, like all the seasons, it has its joys and struggles.

As far as what we’re doing… well, we’re not growing much, though there are a few fun green surprises around here that I may share here soon. There are no new animals or plantings or harvesting going on. There’s also very little sunlight for solar power and, as you can see in the photo above, wood stoves make an ironic laptop warmer. So we work on computers as the light and batteries allow.

What there is is plenty of firewood burning, stock pots bubbling, lard rendering, and loads and loads of baking projects. There is time for a little extra reading and sleeping and school with the little ones. There is more time spent inside and so employment of the floor-scrubbing variety is helpful in burning off energy. These days are short in light and long in the practice of patience for all of us.

Despite the six of us in these 400 square feet, or maybe because of it, this is such a cozy, favorite time of year for me. Don’t worry, though, seed catalogs are being circled, soil and fences being worked (mostly by little hands), and those longs days of summer will come soon enough.

For now, though, I’ll take winter.

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I am watching – baby on my hip and jaw on the floor- as a house takes form. It wasn’t so long ago, you see, that such a thing was unfathomable to me.

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They say you shouldn’t live in your house while it’s being built.

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They say you need so many square feet per person.

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They say you should have your house ready and everything in place before you have children.

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But then I wouldn’t get to witness the blessing of process and the all important time together through this whole beautiful, crazy, sometimes difficult but always blessed journey we’re on. And then I might not have wondered if my husband would ever be able-bodied again, watch him slowly heal, and then have things unimaginable, such as this house, come to be… despite me and my unbelief.

And then I couldn’t have known it was all of grace, all of Him.

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The last (outside) board.

It might have been easier and it would have been more comfortable, but then I wouldn’t get to watch Him provide for it, make a way for it, and then build it.  So I’ll take every blessed second of this process and marvel at this house that the Lord built. For it is only by His handiwork that such things are possible.