Tuesday 29 November 2016

What day is it?

I went into town yesterday to get a few things: Groceries, a new dog collar, picking up a parcel from the post office.
The day was beautiful: Sunny, blue-skied, with friendly people everywhere (one of them complementing my purse), me finding a great store with amazing clothes, right across from the library I had been looking for since we first got here. 

Everything was great. 
But as I was pushing my grocery cart, in the middle of the cereal isle, I suddenly had a big lump in my throat. 
My eyes started to water. 
I had the sudden, overwhelming urge to cry my heart out, in the middle of the Save-On-Foods. 

I fought it with everything I had. Finished my shopping as quickly as possible, and fled to the car, where my corgi was waiting for me. 

I didn't cry in the car. But I had a long talk with my dog, which is something I do frequently, to figure out what just happened. 

Here is what we came up with:
A week ago, I fell into a rabbit hole that ended on a treadmill, and I have been running ever since, with no time to catch my breath.
A week ago, I went to work for the last time in three weeks, and as soon as I got home, I went into "GO"-mode.
I loaded up my car with as much of our stuff as I could. 
It was pouring rain, with me getting drenched, and several of our things falling down into the mud and puddles, getting soaked, in my effort to load up my arms as full as humanly possible. 
I fed all the animals. 

Then I took off, in the pitch-black, rain still falling down as hard as it could, to drive up the treacherous mountain road to our new home. 
I wasn't scared, just excited AF. 

Three hours later, I arrived at our house, tired but looking forward to seeing Rich after three days' absence. I stepped in - and was greeted by absolute, unimaginable chaos
Richard and Steve (a friend who is helping us with the move), had arrived on the Friday previously, to get started on building the shelters for the animals. I hadn't been up there for two weeks myself, but had packed numerous things for the house, imagining that they would unpack and use them.  


Nothing was put away. There were boxes everywhere, half-eaten containers of food they had ordered were slowly rotting away on the counters, dirty clothes on the floor, garbage strewn around, and they had simply rolled out sleeping bags on mattresses on the floor, instead of using proper sheets and covers. 

Richard was almost comatose with exhaustion when I arrived, only able to give me a quick peck on the lips and mumbling an "I'm so happy you're here", before falling onto his mattress and falling asleep. 

I looked around me, dismay struggling with my exhaustion. I didn't want to go to bed in an environment like this, but exhaustion won. I located a blanket and pillow from the mess on the floor, claimed my own mattress and laid down, falling asleep in seconds. 

At 5am, I was wide awake. My fingers were itching to get started on the mess. Should I wait a bit longer to give them some more sleep...? But with no Internet and no cell reception, and no patience to read, I told myself "screw it", got up and got started. 

And I haven't stopped since. 

Every day we get up at 7am, have a coffee and tea together, and then Richard disappears outside to make fences, build stalls, and remodel the barn to house our chickens for the winter. I tackle the never-ending flood of boxes, unpacking, putting stuff away, not quite believing how much of it there actually is. I thought I had done so well with decluttering and getting rid of things, but as it turns out, everybody else was right: I still brought along way too much. Part of the challenge is that the size of our new house is 1240 square foot, and the old one was twice as big. There's a growing pile of stuff that will be donated/given away, because we simply don't have the room. 

It is satisfying, rewarding work, but it's also supremely exhausting. In addition to organizing everything at our new place, we have to drive to our old one almost daily, picking up our animals one trailer-load at a time. The road connecting our two places is the notorious Coquihalla Highway, which has been dubbed as "one the worst roads in all of North America"
Two nights ago it took Richard four hours for the 200 km, because of heavy snowfall obscuring his view almost completely. For large parts of the journey he only drove 40km/hr, carefully making his way over the mountain. 
By the time we are finally finished for the day at usually 9 or 10pm, we are too tired and achy to talk much, and fall into bed to sleep like the dead.

That's why I haven't been blogging, or spending much time on social media at all. 
That's why tears were filling my eyes yesterday: I haven't taken the time to process everything the way I usually do, by writing about it, and all the feelings had to come out somehow. 

For the past eight days I have felt like I imagine a new mother does, being all-consumed by her new baby, having no time to shower, eat properly, or feel human. My "baby" is our new house, and it has demanded all of my attention. 
The good news is that we can see the end of the tunnel: We have moved almost everything from one place to the other! The house is taking shape, and I will share a progress report soon. At least twice a day we tell each other how much we love it here, and how lucky we are to have found this precious place. 

There are deer walking through our yard every day. 
Two of our new neighbours came by to welcome us, bearing gifts of wine and sausage rolls, and the offer of feeding our animals if we want to go away. 
The nights are still and clear, with millions of stars twinkling in the sky. 
I had an interview with the manager of the local hospital, and she hired me on a casual basis, warning me that there might not be a lot of work to begin with, but thrilled to have an x-ray tech locally now. Most don't stick around, treating Merritt as a stop on their way to bigger places, but I assured her that I'm here to stay! 

Thanks for listening to my ramble. I feel so much better now for having it gotten off my chest!
I miss you guys, and promise I won't stay away for that long again. 
Thanks for being here!


Friday 18 November 2016

A first glimpse inside our new house

Before I give you a tour of what the house looked like before it got attacked by boxes, I am linking a post that I wrote exactly two years ago: Chasing liquid gold. I came across it purely by coincidence (or fate?), and it gave me goosebumps. In it, I describe my dream house and life, and reading it again, on the brink of our new life, was eerie. Not everything is about to come true, but it's damn close ... This is a stunning example of making thoughts and intentions manifest. It's awesome, and a bit scary, and really, really powerful. 

Anyway, let me welcome you into our home! I took these photos on Wednesday, when I spent some time quietly greeting our new place alone, with only the dogs (and horses) as company. 

Here is a quick (and very shaky) video:

Beyond the windows is a large deck, overlooking the valley. I have a feeling it will be my primary yoga space in the warmer months, so you will get to see many pictures of it! 

Living room:

Dining area:



Obligatory bathroom selfie:

It's small and cozy, and flooded with light. I will paint the walls, but I'm not 100% sure yet what colour: White? A light pastel? Light grey? What do you think?

Yesterday we spent all day loading up two huge flatbed trailers with rabbit cages. A friend came with his bobcat, and lifted the long rows of cages carefully up; Rich sawed off the long legs; and then they were lifted onto the trailers. Today we will unload them in reverse order, set them up on saw horses, and then repeat the process tomorrow. I had a great time watching the guys do their thing; nothing makes them happier than playing with power tools. 

More to come soon!


Wednesday 16 November 2016

Greeting my new life

Today was a big day for us: We picked up the keys to our new house!!

Last night we drove up to Merritt in two trucks, both heavily laden with a good portion of our belongings. I had Lily with me, and Rich had Nina, so nobody had to drive alone. We left in pouring rain, which gradually turned into snow. None of us is scared of snow, so we both really enjoyed the drive. There is something magical about a snowy forest at night - the snow makes the night much brighter than it usually is, and here and there we saw the first Christmas lights twinkling in the darkness. Somewhere in the middle of the woods, there were rows of lights strung up in the forest, lighting up the snowy driveway below - it was breathtaking. Every time one of saw something we wanted to share, we would called the other person and tell them.

  I couldn't take any photos last night because I was driving. Here is a snowy forest instead.

Close to our destination, the snow stopped and the sky cleared - and there were millions of stars illuminating the sky. It was one of the best drives I've had in a long time. 

We stayed at our friends' place for the night, and they cooked us a delicious deer stew. I love venison, it was such a treat! Rich has promised me that next year we will have our own deer in the freezer. Yum!

Neither of us slept much last night. I was way too excited to see the house for the first time without the owner there, so I got up at dawn and tiptoed out of the house. It was a crisp morning, -5͒ Celsius. There was snow on the ground, fog hanging in the air, and the fresh mountain air filling my lungs. 

This was the first glimpse of our place this morning:

And this was the first thing I did upon arrival:

Closely followed by this:

My first hand- and headstands in our new home! Definitely not the last ones 😉

I had the dogs with me, and the three of us walked around, taking it all in. I was so excited, I could barely stand it! I love this place so much already, I literally pinched myself to make sure this is actually happening. 

Dancer and Nick, our two horses, have already been there for the past three weeks. They love it, and here is Dancer coming to greet me.
Eight-angle pose on top of the fence. It was a first for me, on an empty stomach, so it was a bit wobbly haha!

We spent almost an hour there. The sun rose steadily, burning off the fog and bathing everything in the most glorious, golden light. 

Here comes the sun!
Lily and Nina discovered the holes of gophers, and they couldn't stop sniffing and digging for them. However, the gophers are way smarter than these two! They were long gone. 
Current count: Gophers-1, dogs-0

It was a really special morning. I am grateful that I got to spend some time alone at our new home. It was the first time that I was there by myself, with just the animals for company, no humans, and I really enjoyed it. It's so peaceful, I'm filled up to the brim with happiness and gratitude. 

This is going to be good. 

Next time I'll share the first glimpse of the inside! I took photos and a (very shaky) short video. 

Love you!


Sunday 13 November 2016

A rambling, personal post

It's been a while since I've sat down and just wrote what's on my mind. I do it in little snippets on my Instagram, and in little snippets here on the blog, but all in one post? That hasn't happened in a long time. Brace yourself.

Last Thursday was the official day where our house isn't ours any more. We went and had a quiet celebratory lunch with champagne, reflecting on everything that happened. Six months ago we had no idea that we would be celebrating Christmas in a new place. Life is crazy! We rented our house back for three weeks, because we need that time to move our zoo to the new place.

I always thought that the moment when we leave our driveway for the last time would be heart wrenching, but to my pleasant surprise, I'm now sure that it won't be. We have said a long, thorough goodbye over the past few weeks, and now we are ready. On Thursday we will get the keys to our new house! I've been packing like a fiend, and there are lists everywhere. It took us quite some time to develop a game plan of how to do this, but now we've got it (I really hope we do, or we are screwed!): Our strategy is to divide and conquer.

One of us will be at the new place (in the beginning that's Rich, because he has to build shelters and make fences), while the other one is at the old place, packing the never-ending boxes and feeding the critters.
I also still have to work five shifts before my vacation, and write an exam on Friday for the CT-course I've been taking. Not the best timing, but who knew, right?

About halfway through we'll switch, with me being at the new place, unpacking and decorating (I'm so excited for that!) and feeding the animals that are already there.

Sounds good in theory, but who knows what will happen. We wait and see!

To give you a bit of an idea what we are dealing with, here is a small assortment of our feathered and furry friends we want to take with us:

Neil and Ghost:

The sheep:

Approximately one gazillion birds:

Not to forget at least one hundred rabbits, the dogs, and a few assorted bits and pieces like our black swans, some pheasants, and a few guinea pigs.
The horses are already there, with the current owner kindly taking care of them. We will return the favour and have two of her horses as house guests over the winter.

The good news is that the two places are only about two hours apart from each other. (Three with a heavy load.)
The not-so-good news is that there is a mountain pass in between them that gets treacherous in the winter. We've been keeping an eye on the weather forecast, and we might just get lucky, with only a few snow flurries hopefully. Keep your fingers crossed!

Starting on Tuesday, we will be driving up and down the mountain pass daily, moving our belongings one load at a time. I've gotten rid of a ton of stuff, either donating it, recycling it or throwing it out. There were also a few magnificent bonfires that have been fed with old, broken-down furniture, school papers that I didn't need any more, and about 200 of Rich's old Feather Fancier magazines. It felt so good!

I've also been shopping for new things: This fabulous rug for our dining area, a desert quilt (to celebrate living in the semi-desert), and a whimsical bear pillow (yes, bears can be whimsical).
Next week I'm going to Ikea to buy a new dining table (I hate our old one), and I'm toying with the idea to buy this crazy desk chair. Too colourful? Naw, no such thing ;-)

On a serious note, I have obsessively been following what's happening in the US. Some people are already getting bored with it, saying that we should simply accept that Trump is president and move on. But we can't move on. We can't!
Not if things like this are happening:
Images found here. Adam wrote an excellent post, it's worth a read.

Or the countless incidents of racism and hate that have been happening as a direct result to Trump.
(I found this Trump Hate Map, tracking incidents of hate directed towards Latinos and immigrants, and it's terrifying.)

As many of you know, I grew up in Germany. Part of our history lesson was learning about the world wars, how Hitler came to power, and how the atrocities of the 3rd Reich could have happened. As an idealistic 12-year old, I had a hard time understanding how people could have believed a funny-looking man who was shouting hate at them. How did he get elected chancellor? How did he manage to manipulate millions of people?
I didn't understand how angry people were. Many Germans felt they had been mistreated in the The Treaty of Versailles; millions were unemployed; many people felt hard-done by and wanted someone to blame for their situation. (Having a scapegoat is so much easier than taking responsibility yourself.)

Now it's happened again: A funny-looking man shouting hate, looking for scapegoats. A man who doesn't have the knowledge, wisdom, or temperament to do the job of being president. What he has is an overinflated ego, ignorance, disdain for many (President Obama, the mediafacts) - and a worrying amount of support.

I won't turn this blog into a political rant, I promise. But I do believe that knowledge is power, and that we have to be aware of what's happening.

To end this weird rambling post, I'm sharing a couple of videos from the Obamas. They are such a kind, smart, humble, and funny couple, I adore them.

Farmgirl, out!


Thursday 10 November 2016

The morning after

Yesterday felt like a massive hangover. I was as dismayed and in shock as many of you, but I couldn't deal with it. So I did what any responsible adult would do: Took a nap at 5 pm, woke up three hours later and went straight to bed.

This morning I considered my options: Act like nothing happened, and carry on as usual? Or acknowledge this huge, terrifying, world-changing event that happened on Tuesday night? 
I really, really wanted to choose option A. To stick my head in the sand, to ignore it, to hide behind light and frivolous words. 

But I can't. This is too huge, too important, too scary. 
Voicing a political opinion is always iffy, because it usually deteriorates quickly. People have their opinions, they are not prepared to listen, but want to say what they have to say. Emotions run high, insults are thrown about quickly, and you usually leave dazed, hurt and angry.
During this election more than ever, it was about taking sides. 
The newly elected president (I'm cringing as I type this) ran his campaign based on hate. Hate for minorities, women, gays, immigrants, Muslims, for anyone different from him. 
His Twitter files are worse than Regina George's Burn Book.     

We can't just sit idly by and watch him spread his message of hate. It not only affects the American people, it affects the entire world. His racism is beyond frightening. How can you trust a man with so much disdain for so many people? Many rights that people fought hard for are threatened: Gay rights, women's rights (who will ever be able to forget his disgusting - and revealing - "Grab them by the pussy" remark?), the right to free speech (or even just having your own opinion).

I've been trying all morning to find something positive about what happened. It certainly isn't easy. 
However, there are seeds emerging that speak of action, of not letting our rights be taken away, of fighting for what we believe in. 
Maybe it took this shocking election to shake us out of our inertia? 
Maybe we will find our voice now?
Maybe something good will come out of this?

I am sharing some bits I've found online that give me hope. I hope they will give you hope, too. 

From J.K. Rowling:
"We stand together. We stick up for the vulnerable. We challenge bigots. We don't let hate speech become normalised. We hold the line."

From Albus Dumbledore (I thought it appropriate):
"I say to you all, once again - in the light of Lord Voldemort's return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open."

"To all the little girls watching ... never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world."

"the subway today is like nothing I've experienced in 14 yrs living here. silent, near-empty, lots of silent crying & tiny acts of kindness."

From Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany:
“Germany and America are connected by values of democracy, freedom and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views,” she said in a statement, adding: “I offer the next President of the United States close cooperation on the basis of these values.”

This is the new reality. We are all in this together. I so hope that something good will come out of this. 
To close, I want to include one last quote from President Barack Obama:
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

I wish all of us hope, love and light. 
And the courage to fight for what we believe in.

P.S. Photo found on Pixabay, a site for free stock photos. It perfectly reflects my mood.

P.P.S. If comments are disrespectful or hateful, I will delete them. To add one last quote (from the incomparable Maya Angelou: "Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but it has not solved one yet." 


Monday 7 November 2016

Don't fear making decisions

"I've been wondering lately if I made the right decision. Should I have said yes to that opportunity?"
My friend looks at me questioningly. I know him well, and I don't have to think twice about it: "Absolutely not. You did the right thing!"
I'm convinced of that. Knowing his personal situation, there is no doubt in my mind that he made the right choice. 

But here is the thing: If he would have decided to say yes, to go for it, I would also have supported his decision. It involved a ton of extra work, less money, and almost no free time for a year, but I know he would have made it through. The payoff would have been worth it. And it would also have been the right choice.   

We are so worried about making decisions. What if it's the wrong one? 
We seem to think that life is a gigantic multiple choice test, with three wrong answers and only one correct one, and we are constantly worried about choosing the incorrect answer. 

Relax, sweet ones: Life's not that difficult.

That road you see in the picture above looks straight and easy to walk on, doesn't it? And it is. I've walked that particular road thousands of times, and I can confirm that it is, indeed, easy to walk on, in all weather conditions. 

But here is the thing: It ends after only a few hundred feet in a fork, and you have to make a decision: To go left or right. You can't continue on straight. 

That's life. Sooner or later, we always have to make decisions. Whether we are aware of it or not, we already are accomplished decision-makers, making an astounding 35,000 decisions every single day
And yet, we still fear the ones we consider "big": What career to choose, where to work, where to live, whether to rent or buy, whom to marry. 
They are, no doubt, important decisions to make. But instead of thinking there are only two options - right or wrong - how about we look at it differently: That nothing you will decide is wrong. 

How awesome would that be, right?! Well, how about I tell you that it is that easy?

Just consider it for a moment: Who decides what's wrong or right for you? You do. Nobody else gets a vote. You can talk to others, seek advice, listen to what they have to say, but ultimately, it's up to you and you alone.  

None of us will ever know for sure if we took the right turn. There are no do-overs in life, no going back in time to try again. The only choice we have is to take the turn, and then figure it out as we go along. Don't stand paralyzed at the fork, unable to make up your mind which way to go! 
Choose one, and go for it. And if that one didn't work, choose another, and try again. 

Every single successful person has made many, many mistakes. Take a look at these 29 successful people who failed before they succeeded. (We are in excellent company!)

I believe that the only real mistake we can make is being so afraid of making a choice, that we are rooted to the spot, and don't make one. Picture yourself being in a roundabout, driving in endless circles, too afraid to take an exit. It's hell, isn't it? 
Well, I bet we all know people who are stuck in the roundabout. 

High school graduates who took a minimum-wage job after school "just until I figure out what I want to do with my life", and are still working it five years later, miserable and dissatisfied, yet seemingly unable to make a decision and move on.  

People in unhappy or dysfunctional relationships, desperate to get out, yet too scared/used to it/lethargic to do so. 

Employees who hate their jobs, yet stay in it year after year, because of the money/benefits/what if another job is just as bad/you sort of got used to it/at least you know it. 

To help you get out of that roundabout, I think a good way is to remove yourself from it mentally. Let's say you have been considering a new job, but every time you are at your current job you get doubts: You will miss your co-workers, nobody makes coffee as good as Herman does, you have finally mastered the art of pleasing your hard-to-please boss. Do you really want to start over, be the new kid again? 
Don't ask yourself that question while on your job. Do it at home, preferable on a weekend when you're mentally free from it, and think of your life as the big picture. We tend to only think of our immediate future: What will happen next week, or next month. 

Sit back in your comfiest chair, with your favourite beverage in hand, and think of your life at large. What do you want it to look like? What is something you've always wanted to do? If someone offered to make a movie of your life, would you be happy with it the way it is now? Or is something missing?
And my favourite: When you sit in your rocking chair on the front porch in 40 years, will you have regrets about things you didn't do, because you were too afraid? I truly believe that we won't regret the things we attempted and failed at. At least we went for it and tried it! But we will regret missed chances.

What is it that you want to do? 
Go on, brave one, and do it.



Thursday 3 November 2016

The 10-minute challenge

Have you heard of the 10 minute novelists? The idea is as simple as it is effective: Write for 10 minutes every single day. That's it. If you do, and you manage to write 500 words in those 10 minutes, you will have written 3500 words in a week. 14,000 words in a month. 168,000 words in a year. To put it in perspective: A typical length for an adult novel or memoir is roughly 80,000 words.

The genius about the 10 minutes is that it practically takes the excuse away that "I don't have time". Everybody has 10 minutes. You can get up 10 minutes earlier than you usually do. You can fit it in your lunch break. You can pause your show on Netflix for 10 minutes. 

In my life, there are two areas where I have been lacking consistency: Yoga and writing. I love doing both. Love it. But here's the thing: I don't love it every day. Some days I feel weak and unmotivated, and the thought of getting on my mat is the last thing I want to do. So I don't. I don't feel good about it, but I tell myself that "taking a break is healthy", that "there is no sense in doing it for only a few minutes", that "I shouldn't be so hard on myself". And while I do stand by these statements (except the second one, that's nonsense), they have become excuses I use a bit too often. 

Consistency is key. If you want to become good at anything, you have to be consistent. And the trick is to do it on the days when it's hard. 
When you can't find the words, but you force yourself to come up with something anyway. 
When you feel unmotivated. 
When you are tired. 
When you feel lazy.  

I have decided to give these two passions of mine 10 minutes every damn day in November. 
Longer is optional. In the past, I would say that 10 minutes is better than nothing, but still be secretly disappointed in myself for not doing it longer. 
Not any more. 10 minutes is the goal, and I will allow myself to feel proud of that accomplishment every single day!

Now I'm extending the challenge to you: Is there anything you would like to learn/do/get better at? Something you wish you would have the time to do, but you think you don't?
Well, think again. Take 10 minutes a day, and go ahead and do it. 
Go for a walk for 10 minutes. 
Grab your camera and take pictures. 
Lift weights. 
If you want to eat healthier, set yourself the challenge to find a recipe online and make a shopping list in 10 minutes. The cooking part will take longer, but having a plan is half the battle ;-)

You get the idea. 

Are you in? Together we can do this!

Shine on, sweet ones!


Tuesday 1 November 2016

Best of October

I've been sitting here for 10 minutes, trying to describe how the last month has been. I guess the best word I can come up with is emotional. It was filled to the brim with emotions: Wild happiness, lots of what-if's, kind words that brought me to tears, and a weird argument with our German guest. 

The biggest - and most desperately awaited event - was selling our house. Yep, I'm still talking about that. Will I ever stop? It feels like this saga has been going on for years, but it really only started in July. On October 7th we officially sold our place, which definitely was the highlight of the month. 

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