The gravel road is silent, the crunching and churning from our little moving caravan quieted now. Across from me lie rolling fields, a metal fence marked with a “W” here, a barn roof there, the lowing of cattle drifting across winter weary space. A bird detaches itself from the tree above me, small and brown with a hint of white breast showing, and sails across the road, perching on another tree still somehow clothed in the ragged brown leaves of Autumn. The bird blends perfectly with the leaves; if I hadn’t seen it in flight it would have been lost among the flutter of the long dead leaves. The wind blows and I hop down from my fence-top perch and plant my feet firmly, just for a moment, on the earth, before beginning my walk home through the woods. My footprints from previous days mingle with those of deer, our paths crossed by the light feather tracks of rabbits and something that looks cat-like. The land around the pond is covered in tracks, including the children’s, who have made a habit of bringing out a sleeping bag and sitting by the cold, frozen surface talking, playing, and breathing.
Each day here on our little rented farm is just that, a breath of fresh air that we all longed for and are now so thankful to finally have. We watch the sunrise from the bedroom window as we drink tea and talk over yesterday’s experiences, things we have read, and plans we are making. In the evenings, the sunset guides us home, and I always find that at least one or two of the children sit beside me on the platform in the field as I keep vigil for the sun as it drops behind the silhouettes of the hills.
We walk the land several times a day, observing, drawing, thinking, and planning. One day one of my daughters said that she finally began carrying her asthma inhaler in her pocket when walking, just in case the cold triggered an attack. “I know what you mean,” I assured her. “I always make sure I have my notebook and pen in my pocket.” Thoughts, ideas and inspiration flit through my mind faster than the bird that flew to the other tree, and I have to have my notebook at the ready for fear that they will be lost.
A few more raised beds to add to the existing ones, so that we can grow more vegetables and herbs for the family and cut down on grocery bills. A bee skep, past the orchard, just one to start. Alice, our landlady, owner of the wonderfully named “Quirky Goat Farm” is always ready to offer advice on our first goats. We are thinking two dairy goats to start, insh’Allaah, hopefully the Saanen and Alpine crossbreeds that Alice will have in April. A close friend in Tennessee has offered us a beautiful pony, trained to be a therapy horse, in Spring as well. Chickens for eggs and meat, and guineas for eggs, meat, and tick control. Yesterday Khalil mentioned maybe a couple of turkeys!
“Are you looking at long-term?” Alice asked us. With my heartfelt reply of “Yes,” she said, “Good!”
Alhamdulillah, we are looking forward to working the land, raising animals, and living as simply and sustainably as we are able, insh’Allaah, and with Allaah is the success. I plan on returning to posting both here and at Yemeni Journey more often, to share our experiences and knowledge gained. I hope you will join us on our new journey on this Wide Earth!