My Rise and Fall

A short Era.

It’s shoulder season. Just to get it out there.

As summer is wrapped up, and the neighbors are out spending their Permanent Fund Dividends, every one is complaining of the weather again, and people suddenly have loads of free time – coming out of the woodwork trying to “get together”, we are still busy as hell….if not busier!

For all who are curious “just what are you busy doing” (said a “friend” to me not too long ago in a tone that was dripping with skepticism and obvious disapproval of something), the list is long, baby.

I have started classes to become a Clinical Herbalist through Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine. I have been doing online classes for well, a least over a month. now. In the spring, I have been accepted as a student at UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks) studying Ethnobotany. So I am a full time student. Knowledge is worth every night I spend reading after the girls go to bed, my days shut up in the library studying, and any chance I get to listen to someone talk rather than put on the tunes. The future is worth my time and attention.

Making a Honey Rose Cordial

One day driving the girls home from gymnastics class in Kenai I was listening to a podcast about a woman who LOVED her job. She was helping others, it gave her purpose, and she just sounded so jazzed about life I wanted what she had. I was wearing my glasses and when I came home I told Bob I wanted a job. HE WAS STUNNED. I think he was a little scared I was talking about some full time something somewhere far away and that I had had enough of our life. But it was just the opposite. He really supported me and helped me to make these decisions I want. I want these for myself, to feel another purpose (I believe we all have more than one). I want this for my family, to have the knowledge and confidence to use herbal medicines when I can. I want this for my community, to educate and support, and guide others into a healthy lifestyle for them.

Growing medicine – my thumb is still swollen from peeling apart 20 pounds of garlic!

Even with the bustle of school, Bob has been picking up substitute jobs at the Ninilchik school so he can stay connected with the kids. It’s wonderful and tough for him, because if he wanted work every single day he could get it (not only did they ask him to come back as a Teacher this year, but two long term sub positions are opening up and of course, they want him) although we have decided that we don’t want daddy to work full time away from us!

Combined we have been taking GREAT care with the closing of the gardens and farm this year. We planted 20 pounds of garlic in our fields this year. We just finished mulching our new “Moosewood” garden, the high tunnel, and our “Casa Del Sol” garden space is 95% put to sleep. We have been raking leaves on the side of the road, bringing them up to the farm and spreading them all over. We moved the ducks into their new house for the winter and we are currently trying to decide weather or not we can and should move the chickens to the high tunnel for the winter and buy goats to be in the coop. The labor outside is not done with the mulching and wrapping of the trees, and probably a list of other things I cannot seem to remember until I step outside.

the best medicine

I’ve taken on more of a business mind for us and I have HEAVILY relied on Bob to do it. And he has done it all. I figure it’s high time I lift some of that burden as I start my new business (for herbalism) I will also tweak and plan for our farm. I’m signed up for webinars, I have online garden plans for 2024 currently going where I’m designing and planning the entire growing year for maximum organization, rotation and financial gain. This includes looking into the licensing that we need to make sure everything is legit and we won’t be getting in any kind of legal trouble with all that we are planning to roll out this year.

homemade yogurt on Messy Mars

On top of all the work we have, we are having a lot of freakin fun. We just spent an entire day making a months worth of samosas (whoops, thought it would be a meals worth and take 30 minutes not 4 hours!) . We made our first batch of yogurt that is so wonderful and fun to eat. We went to Talkeetna and stayed at the Roadhouse, dreaming of buying it. We went to the Fall Festival in Palmer and that was…different. We are getting outside every single day, chasing chickens, Dulce and the sunlight. Primrose and Bob built snowmen on our first snow and Marlena and I have been enjoying slowly strolling up and down the driveway.

Daddy’s girl for every reason

But it’s a tough time of year for me.

People start wanting to hang out and I find the more and more I’m around people, the more upset I get. I suppose this is partially why I am in counseling. Being someone who tends to be submissive and introverted, I am constantly out and over talked. I tend to attract people that are very opinionated and love to tell others what to do. Instead of upholding my boundaries or standing up for myself I tend to keep quiet and build resentments. It’s very difficult for me to make friends. It makes me feel even more upset because I feel like the friendships I should have with my family just aren’t there. If I don’t call to talk to my sisters, there’s no way we would talk. They don’t call or text or ask me questions about any of the things that I am doing. When I do call and ask what they have been doing a lot of replies are “I haven’t been doing much. Nothing going on. Im good.” It’s like pulling teeth. Well I haven’t talked to you in a month AT LEAST tell me anything that you went and did or saw…….I just can’t understand why communication and human relationships have to be so intimidating that you either spend the entire time telling someone what they should be doing or saying nothing at all.

can I hug you?

I try not to focus on it, but it is something that really is a sore to my heart. I wouldn’t trade what I have though. My immediate family, my HUSBAND (MY BEST FRIEND), and my two daughters are the best life support. We are able to work through communication difficulties. We have conversations that don’t feel like you are forcing or being forced. its totally reciprocal and I think this may just be my most favorite time of year.

family <3

Published by secretgardenalaska

Family of four living off-grid in Happy Valley, Alaska. We grow food, write stories, make jewelry, and live a sober life.

5 thoughts on “My Rise and Fall

  1. I love hearing from you and learning about how you so successfully manage a lifestyle so different from my own. And watching your beautiful children growing up. They remind me so much of the lovely Hummel figurines that are so popular.

  2. Great blog. If you guys ever come down to the Seattle area let me know. I moved back to the area and we have kids around the same age as yours. Love your book Bob. When is your next book coming out?

  3. It is interesting to read your stories/blogs, thank you for sharing. I can relate to a lot of it being a Veteran and also a father of two toddlers and a husband as well.

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