Tallow, Mycelia, and Psalms (Week Six)

Deep snow again blankets the small tract of earth over which we currently find ourselves stewards, and just as our various perennial crops had started to show signs of hope—leeks, chives, various herbs. Looking at the white blanket, with a slow head shake of incredulity (it is mid-March in the mid-Atlantic, after all), I again pick up pen to log our progress in establishing a homestead on a tropical Pacific isle.

We find ourselves now some 60 boxes deep in the middle of a life-transforming move and becoming familiar to the liquor store owner as we return for more free moving containers. Crisp bills sporting the images of various dead presidents continue to be pressed into our unemployed palms as strangers cart away bits and pieces of our material lives that have outlasted our need for them—a manual push lawnmower, a toaster that plays “Winne the Pooh” and scorches images of the lovable bear on your bread, a beer growler. Salvation Army now salutes us when we roll in and I could swear I heard one of them mumble something about an honorary rank to be awarded in recognition of our contribution to mission.

Our negotiations to secure a patch of tropical wonder have ended. We are now working toward a settlement date on a tree covered lot, just shy of 10 acres, in fertile environs; immediate neighbors include a macadamia nut farm, a nursery for Birds of Paradise, and unoccupied grazing pastures. Discussions have now ensued with bulldozer operators, builders, and solar panel contractors, trying all of the organizational and personnel-motivation skills kicked into me in my former life. Current plans, to establish a foothold, include a well appointed 30-foot yurt (outdoor kitchen and shower) with eventual plans for “tiny houses” for each of the kids as private bedrooms (and as income generating rental rooms when the kids finally move on). (For those unfamiliar with the “tiny houses” movement, drop the term into Google and check it out.)

This week was also marked by a few home cooked meals hosted by friends to say “farewell” as our departure timeframe becomes more definitive. Other signs of winding down? We finished the last of our pioppinos. (Yes, we have long tinkered with producing our own mushrooms indoors…saves money and you simply cannot get fresher mycological flushes than those you cut yourself at their peak.)

Casual snooping for income streams continues to show promise. As some of you know, my bride has for some time produced for sale all natural tallow balms, and she this week received an unexpected order. While the balm is particularly popular with the ladies as a hand cream (especially the lavender oil sort), she also makes a manly scented pine variety….

Meanwhile, I was offered an opportunity to submit an article on management of organic wastes to a well-known publication that focuses on sustainable living. (Let’s hope they appreciate my sense of humor.) I was also notified that another small submission to a different homesteading magazine would run in late Spring with a small check to follow.

The highlight of the week was the unexpected distribution to each member of the family a hand-written invitation to a Bible study (with complimentary kefir/banana/walnut smoothies) by the nine-year-old. Intrigued, we all eagerly attended, claimed our refreshing treat, and sat rather impressed as we listened to her methodically walk through the deeper meaning of a passage of Psalms. Not sure where this is going, but when the good Billy Graham finally turns in his earth suit, there may be a young lady vying to help fill the void.

Finally, the bride spent some time this week researching and narrowing down candidates for homemade, all natural shampoo and conditioner. I will post more on that as the project matures.

I’ll sign off with a nod to a few items below: a banner for a new affiliate with some interesting green products, a founding father’s take on property ownership, and the long awaited recipe for our homemade toothpaste. Take care for now.

Round Featured Products 728x90


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