Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Letter: Our 1st from Butterfly Hill Farm

We took the plunge. We left our warm nest on the Northern Plains after 32years. Like fledgling birds, we knew we could do it, but weren’t sure how. Headlines: (1) We gifted our 160 acres of prairie land to ND Game and Fish in gratitude to people and place. (2) Richard retired. (3) We left Grand Forks with 9 car loads and 17,000 lbs. on a semi. (4) We returned to Adair County (Missouri) with its 6 generations of our family histories. (5) After teaching consumerism and sustainability for decades, we moved to a 40 acre farm to live as sustainably and simply as possible. (6) We integrate old ways with new as foundation for an emerging era. Here are themes:

Community and gratitude: We were launched by a beautiful community who became family. They held us, fed us, expressed gratitude for meanings we had in the other’s life, laughed and cried with us, packed our treasures, traveled to Missouri with us, cleaned corners of our home. The Mehl/de Carle family graciously settled into our former ND home and the Kerbys let us snuggle into the nest they created on Frontier Lane. On arrival, we were hugged and held by family and community. We were met with food, helping hands, supplies, plants, tools on loan (including Homer~the pick-up), and recollections of old ways. Gratitude unfolds at every turn.

Planting: We planted stuff of our dreams, growing our food with the least harm to the Earth and all beings and gratitude for life itself. We planted a big garden (65x 125’) and orchard (UND Biology’s gift at Richard’s retirement). We welcomed 82 baby chicks at the Kirksville Post Office where their joyous peeps resounded off walls. We built and refurbished structures (chicken houses and yards). We sowed heirloom seeds, not knowing how they would grow but having faith they would.

Abundance: Our prolific garden produced armloads of veggies, flowers, herbs. Chickens grew every day, with 50 now in the freezer. We want them all to live happy lives, which is fitting for their gifts. We now have 20 eggs daily. (When we began this letter a week ago, we were at 10. Last year’s coupons are now being accepted!) After 32 years teaching Wildlife Management, Richard hunts with brothers, nephews and nieces. We have turkey and deer (from Richard and Bobby, but mostly gifts of turkey and deer). On our little farm, we can at last see the stars!

Losses and lessons: The adventure came with losses. Glinda’s Papa, who was thrilled with our return and helped every way he could, passed July 8. An outpouring of love and support held us all. Our garden was greeted with new climate, soils, bugs, weeds, diseases. Losses brought lessons and growing. Every day is the 1st day of school. Life is a precious gift. While we are here, we are committed to learn and grow. On our paradise, we watch the big screen web of life. We are all in this together and we are a link in the chain. We are deeply grateful we returned.

Peace, joy, light, hope: We live in extraordinary times. The outer media world presents increasing hopelessness and dis-ease. We cannot change it but we can change us. At each fork in the road, we can choose paths of peace, joy and light. Richard crafts landscapes integrating farming, wildlife, and native plants. He carves meandering paths for meandering spirits through meadow and woods. Melanie brings love, curiosity, and knowing to raising chickens. She deepens her skill in herbal healing. She makes place for kids of all ages. Glinda tends to details of a loving home and expresses art and story of farm. She and Melanie spend precious time with Mom/Grandma. Always community builders, they connect with a growing presence of kindred spirits. In all these things, we see hope.

Purpose: We each come with a purpose on this Earthly walk. We 3 seek to live our purposes. As we see damage to Earth and gaze in the eyes of littlest ones (Isaiah, Whitley, Berkley, Morgan, Posy), we just have to do something. This is our way. We do not force our ideas on others. (If you want to share your path through these things, please do.) We are on our own big adventure. What a ride!

Love: We send our love. Love, after all, is the essence of all things.

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