|Notice the boy up there swinging through the trees?
Just got home from two weeks in the beautiful redwoods of Aptos, CA.
I house sat for a friend and it was heavenly!
We were up in the mountains above the fog and the kids could run and play all day while I worked on making some cloth dolls and crochet for the Etsy shop. I really will get a post up soon with directions on how to make them! It was so nice to have so much space and since we’re all nature lovers, to play in the woods all day.
|Boo following the turkeys
We watched birds, took care of the chickens and collected eggs (and ate them, too!), cared for the baby turkeys, dog, and cats, watered the garden (and enjoyed what was ripe!), fed the finches and canaries in their aviary, swung on long rope swings, bounced on their big trampoline, hiked, and had so much outdoor fun!
There was no T.V. In the evenings we entertained each other with puppet shows, board games, books, and crafts. All the toys were Waldorf type, natural wood toys and fabrics, which I love, but far from what we have at home.
They also had an art room, so we painted, wove miniature rugs, and Monkey and I learned to finger knit! Which he loved! I highly recommend teaching it to your kids! If they like it, it’s a good way to relax, focus, and get creative.
|Monkey finger knitting, wearing some of his creations
It was an awesome experience to step into someone else’s life for a while. Especially one so close to the life I want!
I cooked every meal on an old fashioned stove, which I thoroughly enjoyed!
It inspired me to really want to cook! I made many yummy dinners and even an apple pie while there. We made fresh squeezed lemonade as well. There was no microwave and other than having to heat my coffee over the stove, I was perfectly content with that.
I remembered how to build a fire in the fireplace and was very proud it came back to me on my first attempt. It’s been years since I built my own fire! My husband always does it when we’re camping.
Most of it was like living my dream life, but reality hit here and there:
We got no sleep because the roosters were crowing all night! My husband ended up going home to sleep and staying there the whole second week, because he had to function for work. A skunk kept getting into the chicken coop and my dog even got sprayed!
I know I closed the door of the coop securely, but found it open every time I walked out there. However, I found the key and locked the door so the huge raccoon (I could see his paw prints) could no longer open it and the skunk couldn’t get in.
The kitchen sink exploded and spewed water out the top, before flooding out the bottom! Luckily my husband was there at the time! As I stood in shock, panic rising, unable to think, he quickly turned the water off and went to the the store to get a new rubber seal for the faucet. The whole house might have flooded before I came to my senses!
A little finch in the aviary died and I felt so bad! I didn’t know if we had killed it somehow. I sent my friend a message asking if she wanted someone else to watch the house for the rest of the time. She assured me that some of the birds are pretty old and two had dies shortly before they left. But it’s horrible to have any animal die when you’re pet-sitting!
Monkey thought having to bury it was great fun! I’m pretty sure it’s the first pet burial he’s had to do. He found a little headless angel to place on the grave. I wished it wasn’t headless, but it was a nice gesture!
Most of the stay was amazing, though.
The kids had large appetites and licked their plates clean at every meal. And they were so exhausted each night, they asked to crawl into bed! Boo often dropped off before we were ready!
Sometimes you’re just too tired to walk
Coming home, I should have been happy to finally get home, but I was sad to go. I grew up in those mountains. I moved almost every year of my life, but my grandparents lived up there very near where I was house sitting. I lived there on and off, a few years here, a few more there.
It was the one constant, the place I could always count on. My sanctuary. They moved away when I was in high school and I was heartbroken. As I was driving down the mountain on my way home, it felt like I was saying goodby again. I actually cried, and felt silly and stupid for crying!
|the dogs were best friends
But my goals are in sight. I have a renewed enthusiasm to work harder to reach those goals! Not only in my dreams, I got to actually live the life I want for my family, especially for my children! Nature around them, the space and freedom to run and play. Our current home is in town, in a tiny house, with a teensy tiny yard. I’m grateful to have my warm, cozy home, of course, but I do hope to move where we can have a bit of land before they are grown.
|Monkey learned to whittle with a pocket knife and made arrows for himself and his sister
|steak and potatoes
Using an old stove somehow makes you want comfort food!
We had fried chicken, steak and potatoes, and meat loaf. All those good old hearty meals to warm you up in the chilly woods! Plus our appetites were huge working and playing out there; my kids cleaned there plates every night and almost never complained about what was for dinner!
Inspired by my cooking adventures over the past couple weeks, I added a recipe on the circle of moms cookbook for
I modified it a tiny bit from one of my favorite recipes my grandma used to make. She’s from Texas, so you know she’s got a stock pile of good old southern comfort food recipes!