Harmony

Harmony: 1) the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole, 2) living together peacefully. *Credit: Collins Dictionary on-line

I am not a musical person, in fact my singing is pretty awful. But there is something that happens in church (or I suppose wherever groups of musically inclined people gather) when we are singing a simple melody and someone slides in with the harmony. It changes the whole feel of the music and it transports me into deeper levels of worship. Now, I am going to show my age and my weirdness in one sentence — The Osmonds do it too. They can be bubble-gum rocking away and boom! They hit that sweet spot where their voices meld and I become the human equivelent of goo.

If I didn’t lose you with the Osmonds reference . . . I want my life, home, and farm to be like that. A sweet spot of wholeness, where all the parts are working together and becoming more than just the sum of the parts.

I said before that harmony is like a talisman word for me. When I’ve got it right, it feels magical and miraculous. It is nearly tangible . . .almost like I can hold it. I suppose that is where the Greek telesma comes into play. It is a religious rite that I am striving to live. I see this on display at Canterbury Cathedral each morning. I love to tune in for morning prayer and in these days of COVID the dean has been doing Morning Prayer in different spots in the Cathedral gardens — he, his prayer book, his tea, a cat, chickens, and beautiful designed and tended gardens. It is like my own little abbey.

If harmony is my abbey, then simplicity, stability, and sustainability are my vows.

*All pictures have been taken by me using my iPhone 8 with no filters*

Introductions

Hi. I’m Kim. I am mid-50s, married (1986), mom of two (31 years and 30 years) caretaker of Jasper (5 year old rescue chorkie), and protector of five glorious acres. I have lived on 3 different continents and found much to love on all three. My favorite, besides this home, was living in the eastern desert of the Republic of Turkey. There is one place left on my bucket list and that is Wales. I want to go someday and walk the entire Welsh Coastal Path without speaking English. It is likely just a pipe dream, but I will continue to dream it.

Mt family lives on 5 acres in the mid-west. Our farm, in its past life was a corn and soy bean field. It had a few trees that lined 3 deep ditches. For the first couple of years we were here you could still see corn stalks and the waste weeds would get 6 feet tall if they weren’t mowed. Water would run off the soil in sheets. It was a sad sight. But I had a dream, a vision, and a calling to restore this piece of land to a more lovely and healthy place.

We fenced in the entire 5 acres, brought in sheep, goats, a Jersey cow and calf, a horse, chickens and rabbits. We fed them good local hay and left most of the manure in the fields. We began composting the bedding. For eight years we spread bag after bag of clover, vetch, rye, and grass seed. I was also known to stop on walks and dig up herbs and other useful plants in the ditches and along the creeks to add to the fields (with permission, of course). After eight years we got rid of all the animals except a few rabbits in hutches and chickens in a fenced run.

Year 8 was the beginning of Idlewild Farm. We stopped mowing all but the front acre and a narrow strip behind the house. We dug a cistern/ run-off pond and a drainage ditch system. Then we left nature to herself and let her heal her wounds. And she did heal. A few trees along three ditches has grown to 3 1/2 acres of woods and it continues to spread to fill the last 1/2 acre. The trees have also grown up along the fence line except along the western border of the garden acre. The three ditches ended up being the runoff of three stream heads. This was a surprise and a joy to discover. We will continue to plant trees and encourage wild saplings until the woods reaches 25 feet from the back door.

Today the acre in front of the house is divided in half. Half is being planted with trees to keep the house cool, a pollinator garden, clothes line, rabbit hutches. The other half includes the chick house and yard, 2 peach trees, 2 cherry trees, a plum tree, an apple tree, 100 feet of thornless blackberry bushes, 20 feet of asparagus, 4 grape vines, a compost bed, and 15 garden beds (5’ wide x 20’ long) with grass paths between them.

Future plans include planting 15 more trees, a new rabbit hutch and yard in the eastern 1/2 acre and a larger chicken house and yard, a green house heated by compost, and the addition of 11 more garden beds in the other 1/2 acre. The additional beds will be for herbs, strawberries, more asparagus, elderberries, currants, and food for the rabbits and chickens.

Nature has moved in and made herself at home. There is nothing as enjoyable as sitting on the porch in the cool mornings listening to bird song and watching the skinks trying to warm themselves as the sun comes up. Or looking out the kitchen window and seeing the mama rabbit with her litter exploring the edges of the mown space. Or walking the woods and seeing deer, foxes, owls, bats, chipmunks, and squirrels going about their lives. Or sitting in the quiet evenings and hearing the coyote chittering, the bats swooping, and the owls calling from their roosts. I was made to love this place.

*All pictures have been taken by me using my iPhone 8 with no filters*

The Ditch List

What have four months of stay-at-home during a pandemic taught me? Not as much as people on social media seem to think it should have. I have not taken up any new hobbies. I have not read a ton of new books. I have not lost weight. I have not gained muscle. I have not even had an introspective revelation.

It has crystallized the things that are vital — as in necessary for life — for me. I have this “intro” that I keep on the blog page Kim and that I use as a social media bio: Enneagram 5 (how I tick), Anglican (how I pray), book lover (how I cope), walker (how I move), tree hugger (how I live), and wife/mother/warrior (how I love). I have decided that only two vital things are really missing from this list: my family home and the Welsh language.

Actually, I suppose the land/home should be included in the treehugger. Each informs the other. Each supports the other. One led to the other. The love of one led to a broader love and appreciation of the other. I am not even entirely sure which came first. It is a chicken-egg kind of puzzle to me. I just know they go together.

The Welsh piece is rather new (October 2018). I cannot explain it, and believe me, I have tried. All I know is that it feels like this language is in my soul and it was just waiting for an opportunity to come out and play. Practicing brings me such joy, peace, and harmony.

If you have visited this blog before today, you might notice that I changed everything. Hence the title of this post — The Ditch List. I started this blog to document my family’s journey from Evansville to overseas, back to the States, and finally to this piece of land. It morphed into a place where I just stuck stuff. You know what? That wasn’t working for me anymore. I don’t feel the need to document things like that anymore. So I ditched all those posts, changed the name (although not the web address) and changed the look.

So what might happen with this “new” space? I am going to use it to document those VITAL areas. Things I would want to leave behind as a legacy. Harmony as shaped by simplicity, stability, and sustainablity. Those are the areas I will be exploring. Harmony is almost a talisman word for me. It holds deep meaning that I hope to unpack in this space.

*All pictures have been taken by me using my iPhone 8 with no filters*