Thursday, July 28, 2005

Sliding down the slippery slope to carnivorism

Let me tell you a little story about a little pig named Pig #8. Pig #8 was born on the Beyrer farm and grew up fast with his buddies, tearing around in the mud and pasture, porking out (as one might say) on tasty grub, and generally enjoying himself. One fine day, Pig #8 went to the Colfax fair, where he won a blue ribbon for his good looks and fine physique. The next day, despite (or because of) his blue ribbon, he made a final journey over the rainbow bridge, where he became some of the most delicious sausage and chops I've ever eaten. How did this happen??!! How did the most soft-hearted beans and rice vegetarian ever slide into this cave-woman lifestyle? I must say, I've enjoyed eating our pig, and our freezer is stuffed with all kinds of tasty porcine parts that I look forward to ingesting. I blame the farm. I work hard, and meat is yummy! It sustains me all morning to have a little bacon with breakfast, is that so wrong?

It's taken some getting used to, I have to admit. Other news on the mammal-killing front: Flannery and Gus are now both avid mouse hunters and some nights have brought in two or three for me to ooh and aah over. They are definitely happier cats with the dawning of this recent development. It's like they have actual jobs for the first time in their lives! You'll know we've gained hillbilly status when we start cooking up the mice on skewers.

Ah, the circle of life.

Jay and I just returned from a wonderful stint at our family cabin on Golden Lake in the Upper Penninsula, MI - Jay and my cousin Ben BIKED UP THERE from the farm - around 100 miles a day to make it in two days. My husband is a maniac! A wiry, spazoid maniac hopped up on pork and beer! We were up at the cabin with much of my mom's side of the family until Wednesday afternoon, then Jay had a job interview this morning in Menomonie and I just dropped him off at the airport for a flight to Colorado so he can help his parents move to Madison. August brings more visitors to the farm: my dad for a few days, Chris' cousin Mark (who has graciously offered to help us build the deck), and Jay's entire family, including Uncle Ken and Aunt Edna. It's gonna be raucous! My training horse leaves in mid-August, and by the end of August, we'll all be on call for Aurthur to pop his tiny pointed head into the world. I really cannot express on this blog how excited I am for that day. The farm will do well to welcome a wee baby. We will be complete then.

TTFN. Love and BBQed brats to all,


What would you wish for from the Diaper Genie?

There is a car seat and a diaper changing pad in the corner of our upstairs room at the house...the first signs of baby, who will be joining us in (hopefully) less than 6 weeks. Granted, we're still a little fuzzy on how to work either of these items, but figure that's why our calendars are wide open beginning in September. New words are entering our vocabulary these days exersaucer, bouncy chair, diaper genie, and pack-n-play. We ask ourselves what it's all for...millions of years of babies coming into the world without a vibrating bed or boppy pillow, and they somehow made it to healthy adulthood. Give a baby the newest toy, and they'll still reach for the measuring cups instead. That'll be our guage - help keep the perspective.

I had a dream that we had a baby girl with a head of bushy black hair. I was also approached by two strangers in two separate situations on the same day last week - both of them gave me the unsolicited prediction that I would have a boy. Charis had a vision of our wild, curly-haired daughter. Chris comes from a long line of boys-only families. Dreams and visions and predictions...we love the anticipation of this biggest life surprise. That our child will be raised by a tribe of family and friends only makes his/her arrival more exciting.

This summer is breezing by with hardly as much time spent at the farm as Chris and I had hoped. We know it's just a matter of weeks before we're out there full-time as well, but during this lush season, that's the only place I want to be... as long as the inner tubes are inflated and the river calls. In my restless sleep last night, I dreamt we were all tubing cross-country! I've been reading Huckleberry Finn and maybe feel more of an affinity for his river raft life with Jim than I realize.

Chris and I are readying the Minneapolis house for sale in August. Projects to finish up and some packing & deep cleaning to do before we put it on the market and before baby comes. Know anyone looking for a darling bungalow in the Twin Cities? We will keep the house through the fall for a slow transition to farm, but are really hoping to have a buyer by end of August/early September.

Though we haven't been living at the farm as much as we'd have liked this summer, many visitors have been welcomed there - it is so heartening to know that and begin to fill the calendar in the coming months with the names of more friends and family. Come see us! Come meet the littlest Newhouse! We want to hear your stories and life news...or just challenge you to a few Scrabble games or ping pong tournies in the barn.

We'll keep you posted with baby news. In the meantime, pray that Chris doesn't fall off the ladder painting the house trim, and that we are able to unload our piles of unwanted junk at our family garage sale. Big goals for August, eh?

Puss och kram,

p.s. Happy Birthday Corrie! Happy Anniversary Christa and Dave!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Gideon is here (alternate title: 90 and rising)

It's HOT here. It's like the whole of the midwest is the orange part, and don't touch it, cause it's HOT. And sweaty. I'm actually considering getting a headband like basketball players in the 70's wore to keep the sweat out of my eyes.

My darling Belgian finally arrived, and in a panic after being bitten by nasty flies and riding in the trailer hour after hour, dove through the electric fencing (right in between the two tapes! Amazing and balletic! Leaving the fence in tact! Good boy!)and ran and ran through the neighbor's field. Jay and I went after him, I with a bucket of grain. As nervous as he was, when he saw me, he trotted right over and dumped his head right in the halter, following me back to the barn like an oversized donkey. I've decided to call him Gideon (aka Platterfoot), not after the bibles in hotel rooms, but rather because it fits him - sort of medieval and sturdy feeling. This horse is one big character, let me tell you! He loves water, and can be regularly found cooling his front feet in his trough. I can't wait to take him down to the river for a dip! He's a big lover and adores being groomed and even goes around with the saddle on okay - he's clearly a genius, having learned so many things over the course of a couple of weeks. At first he thought he could jump in my lap every time he got nervous, but he's learning more respect every day. He's just a wonderful boy and a marvelous addition to the equine community at Lostview Farm.

Our time with the girls was awesome and inspiring and heartbreaking and laughter-filled all at once. Heartbreaking because they left too soon, but so fun to see them and see the farm through their eyes. Truly that is what the farm is made for - people! So get us on your calendars, you hear?

For some balance, I thought I'd list the three things I hate about the farm, since I do so much glowing and prattling on. In order of the most hatred: 1. Our beloved Portland gang not being here with us on a regular basis (waahhhhh! why can't Wisconsin be next to Oregon on the map?) 2. WORKERS DO NOT CALL BACK, THEY DO NOT COME WHEN THEY SAY THEY WILL COME, THEY DO SHODDY WORK SOMETIMES 3. The bugs are multitudinous and much meaner here. That's it on the list for now. The river is number one on the things I love the most list right now, for obvious reasons. Yesterday the boys took their beers and I actually made a screwdriver I made up in the vodka bottle and we went down for a swim. Does this make me an honest-to-god redneck now? Yes, yes it does.

Many many apologies about my sorry emailing habits (or lack thereof). I get to a computer about once every three weeks to a month,and to be honest the sheer numbers of emails have got me completely overwhelmed. Take heart if I haven't gotten back to you. At some point I will - it may be sadly outdated correspondence by then, but I will do it. I need to take a day in the cities just to keep in touch.

I just read the book "With" by Donald Harington at Matt Plies' recommendation (in fact, such a recommendation that he actually sent me the book!) This was by far my favorite read in a long time. And kind of how I feel about life right now. I want to be Eve in the garden. And I want to collect more and more animals and life around me always.

Love and firefly magic to all,


Friday, July 01, 2005

A full farm is a better farm

We have been exceedingly blessed. Yes, I know in everyway possible, but we had two groups of visitors recently that nailed the point home to me - The farm is even better and more complete when it is full of people. My brother's family - wonderful wife and two gorgous daughters, and yellow lab - and my mom and dad visited over Memorial Day weekend. The house and farm vibrated with life; kids running in the grass, riding horses, making daisy chains, swinging on the tire swing; the dog hauling as fast as possible everywhere at once; mom playing the piano as it rang across the field. That is how the farm is suppose to be.

Then blessing of blessings, Julianne, Corrie, Stephanie and Christa came to visit. What a gift. I am still overjoyed with our time with them, but also extremely sad to have them leave (early this morning from the Minneapolis house). Another true blessing to have such dear friends that you can instantly pick up with them right where you left off and not grow bored or tired with each other. They stayed 10 days and that was NOT enough.

I do not want to rob my three roommates of telling great stories we had with them, but will say a few things.

We laughed a lot, we ate amazing food and we all got sunburned. We now have 5 inner tubes, and I will get more soon, and we floated down the Red Cedar River. The water was warm and the banks were lush with trees and rock formations. What we thought was a three hour float became a six hour float. We watched the sun set as we arrived at the pick up spot, but we made it and had a blast. Corrie and Julianne kept me in amused company the last two hours and I donated four of my chest hairs to Julianne. Monday we went again with Chris, but only for 3 and a half hours. I drank a Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter on the Red Cedar! We are mapping out the river and figuring out the time for each ride, and the beauty factor too - all amazing.

We blazed a trail for Charis, we weeded and squashed tons of the Colorado Beetle trying to eat our potatoes - damn those things - and most importantly we ate a lot of good food and just hung out and talked and laughed. Mornings, afternoons, evenings sitting on the front porch - soon to be deck - or the picnic table laughing and/or watching thunderstorms. We had two big ones blow through - watering the gardens and making us go uh or ahh. I can not forget the other awesome light show we had each night of fireflys. The little bugs flew around in our yard and pasture blinking their green/yellow tail. So many on Tuesday night that Charis refered to it looking like a darkened football stadium where everyone is taking pictures with their flash cameras. No five minute half-time show, this lasted for hours.

Steve arrived - I'll let Charis tell you about that.

"I hate it." "I don't know, God Damnit." "I do not understand the difference between creepy and sexy." "Applebees" "Can we smoke it?" and so many more joyful new sayings.

Thank you for visiting - Julianne, Corrie, Stephanie and Christa!!! On one of our walks, Corrie asked me what I like and dislike about living in Wisconsin. The top dislike (which is huge and above any other dislike) was being away from our friends in Portland. What a treat to be together with some of people I miss so much for this time and remove some of the sorrow of the moving away. (It did howeverf make me miss the others still in Portland even more.) If I get a job, we plan on visiting around New Years. I hope I get a job. I hope I get a job.

All to say, the farm is bliss with Charis and I, but the farm vibrates with joy, truth, spirit and LIFE when it is full of people, friends, children, dogs and horses.



(Written a while ago, but no chance to place onto a computer - we are less technologically fit and I do not miss any of it.)

After a full and wonderful day of moving (thank you Chris, Becca, Ted, Jeannine and Ben), Charis and I have had days of bliss. Days better than imaginable, better than dreamed. I would walk around the farm, sit in the grass, drink a beer on the front porch and be in complete amazement. Pinching myself and washing my face with prestine accuracy can not remove the smile.

Charis and I awake around 6:30 to bright blue skies and magnificent green trees. The mulititude of birds and their songs sing to us. Charis goes to the barn and I go to the garden next to the barn. I carry scissors and the lettuce spinner. I fill up the spinner with lettuce and pick 20 or so stalks of rubarb. After throwing the giant leaves from the rhubarb in the compost, I sit down and start pulling weeds - queens lantern?, needles and grass (hay). An hour or two have gone by without my knowing it and Charis arrives with a wheelbarrom of manuer. We head up and have a hearty breakfast - bacon, eggs, pancakes, coffee.

Then we head off to some chore - building a stall, putting up a fence, more cleaning out of the garden. A couple of hours have gone by without us knowing it and we have lunch. Charis goes out then to ride one of her horses and I practice my horn. We finish the morning project and a couple of hours have gone by without us knowing it.

Dinner comes, a giant salad, picked in the morning and lots of savory protein. Tired, yet full of life, we sit on our front porch and watch the thunderstorm dance a light parade across our sky. We try to read and then fall into sleep excited to awake again to the birds, blue and green.