We lost one of our family this last late summer during that horrendous heatwave. I, Sarah, got so sad, and so restless, and so... undone, that I stopped going to that happy place to create. Instead, I looked to the woods and Spirit inside that nature all around us to heal. Elfie had lost her fellow canine companion, and we had all lost our pack member, Jera.
After that, I took Elfie on 1 to 2 hours hikes through the meadows and woods of New England, along Conservation trails and other public venues known to locals in this area. And then Sherry, Elfie and I tried camping outside at the Gnomestead, and then at several State forest camp grounds before the cold of winter settled in. Eventually, Elfie got sick with tick disease(s) and our home got fleas which we were not able to nip in the bud. So, there was work in finding the least invasive "pest" removal to the Gnomestead home and even grounds with its many furry citizens. Yes, even the "wildlife" including the squirrels got bad cases of fleas. And then two of those squirrels died. One of them at the Tuft's Rescue Center where they could only guess at the cause of such a weakened state. So, we decided to help strengthen their little vegan bodies with corn and other "backyard" seed mixes which we put on our front porch for joyful entertainment from our front window. Elf and Sophie are still delighted, as Sherry and I are in awe of such close up acrobatics and interesting community shenanigans.
Elfie has gained her strength back from her tick disease, but we have been sticking to the sidewalks when the temperatures exceed 32 or so. The pavement has started to jar her joints and back, so we are thrilled with sub 32 weather when we can take to the woods again.
A sling is in the works for us to travel further with Elf to soft earth or non-tick infested areas. After hiking slowed down when Elf got sick, I took to running 20 minutes or so daily before picking up Elf for her outing. Jera had just made it a few days after her 12th birthday as now Elfie has started her 12th year recently at the end of December. And with my strength improved, I am able to carry her further, so we shall see how her 12th year progresses without her half sister to get us out. You see, Jera was our "nature girl". If she had had her way, we would have been living deep in the forest with tree boughs over our heads and a nice earth dug den for cooling in summer and warming up in winter.
So, here we are, starting 2014, still hanging onto the edge of civilization... just barely.
I'm a bit more subdued in some ways these days, committed to more of the chores of an unprocessed, wholesome life here. I may be living more "out of the loop or what others may say is even out of touch with reality" than before Jera and the squirrels moved on into Spirit,... but I feel more grounded... in Spirit now, if that makes any sense. Welcome into what the Gnomestead is becoming... More books are on the way this year that are in the publishing stages - even e-publishing.