Colorado Plains Homestead: Winter Photos and Essay
October 10th, 2009--The Entrance
K-10 the German Shepherd Bounding in the New Snow
Where's the Wardrobe?
I felt as if I had just stepped through some wardrobe door and was tramping into the heart of Narnia. I expected to find the lamp post any moment, telling me this was indeed the western wilds. But I found no lamp post.
I heard a shuffling and branches swayed as something approached. But there were no bells, and it was neither Father Christmas, nor she who had made it always winter, but never Christmas.
Instead, I found my great German Shepherd dog hurtling toward me, ecstatic with the feels and smells of the new snow.
My husband wasn't far behind, and we met for a brief moment and a kiss beneath some overhanging cedar (mistletoe doesn't grow here), then I moved on, to explore the views behind the next snow-laden branches.
Rare White Snow
My Own Winter Wonderland
Here was quiet, and mystery, and a great peace. A romance more mature than that of my marriage hovered among the trees and clung more pure than icicles to my surroundings.
I knew I wanted to call this windless bit of earth home.
My husband came behind me and said, "In October."
I turned to face him, knowing he meant that it was too early for such snow in October, yet I longed to run with him through the piled crystals. Of course, we'd both fall flat on our faces if we tried such merriment, but the spark struck by the night's storm urged me to try it, and I grinned at him. As if he knew I was about to pull him into something reckless, he turned away, and said, "Let's check the house for leaks."
Accordingly, we went.
A Homesteading Dream Since I Was Eight Years Old
When I was nine, I wrote a story that had been shaping in my head for months, scuttling among my schoolwork assignments and interrupting my Sunday devotions. I breathed no word of it, not even to my mother or sisters, until it took shape on paper. It had four children, whose names I don't remember, and they stumbled into a series of worlds through an underground chamber discovered in their father's midwestern pasture. Of course, the story was patterned after C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, though I did not consciously recognize this then, and wouldn't have cared had someone pointed this out.
Still, there was one major theme that had nothing to do with C.S. Lewis or his writings. While, in certain worlds into which my characters went there were animals who talked, and mythical or made-up creatures, and an interplay of good and evil in which the good came to have the upper hand, my story was based on the dreams of my young heart. In the first place into which the children stumbled through the network of tunnels, there was an old woman, and I named her Dorothy. She lived on a farm alone, and raised many kinds of animals.
Dorothy did not live alone because I wished to do the same; I didn't. She lived alone because, at eight years old, I had not yet discovered husbands. I couldn't imagine Dorothy doing everything she did with another person in tow. She never grew lonely that I know of, and she never complained. She did her many chores with a steadiness and a gentleness that I someday hoped to obtain. She was a teacher at heart, and taught the four children who landed in her care a variety of skills and concepts which I would have been glad to know. She let them ride her horses (especially a mild pale one named Stardust), and she taught them to know the plants and their virtues. She let them milk her cows, and cuddle her lambs, and sit watching the noble deer who inhabited the woods near her home. She taught the sisters to spin wool, and the brothers to be gentlemen, and she seemed ever-wise.
She was a guiding light.
Eventually, the children returned to their pasture and their parents, but they never forgot Dorothy.
Neither have I.
A Pale, Gentle Horse, Like in My Childhood Daydream
A Woman Not Unlike Tasha Tudor
Making the Most of My Dreams
In a way, Dorothy is who I want to be (minus the name--I'll keep mine, thank you). She is active, industrious, and wise. She is sweet-tempered, treats her critters and acquaintances alike kindly, and knows what she wants out of life.
Of course, I do not envy her, as I enjoy my life, and enjoy my husband.
But, I envy her position--she has a farm, and I don't. This is where my very own winter Narnia comes into play.
My husband I started out our first days together in the tiny town he had called home for 10 years. That was nearly eight years ago. He wants a German Shepherd Dog breeding kennel. I want horses and goats, and sheep. None of these things are possible in our present situation.
Then, through an improbable chain of circumstances, we found out last summer that my dream property was for sale. On it was a 1928 Craftsman style farmhouse, still set up to 1928 standards. There was an excellent windbreak (necessary in this windy country of northeastern Colorado), and several acres of fair pasture. There was only one catch . . . well, two. One--the owner lived in California, and had had many offers superior to ours over the last 15 years. He had taken none of them. Two--we discovered the well didn't work. Even after having parts replaced, and being pulled six times, it still doesn't work properly.
But I'm not giving up. Neither is my dear husband. Can you see why?
Magical Early Morning Snow
More Magic and Cozy Sculptures
Christmas Eve Magic
I Am Resolved
I'm praying to be in by Christmas Eve.
My family and I are confident that God has saved this home for us--that the owner has not sold to others, because in some future way, the place was ours. Perhaps I'm delusional . . . but I'm happy that way. I feel as if, for the first time in several years, I have hope. My dreams can run and frisk.
This Christmas, God willing, my children will get to help decorate a real Christmas tree, set with plenty of space about it, in a well-lit room full of 80 years of memories. The tree will be real, and smell of real resin, as there is a small cedar that needs to come down.
This New Years celebration, God willing, I'll be able to realistically resolve that I will have my own goats, and, eventually, the children will have their own ponies. (I'm looking for Dartmoors.)
This mid-winter, God willing, the children will learn to ice-skate on the duck pond a mile down the frozen gravel road.
This spring, God willing, I will plant a garden into which will drift no poisons from careless foggers and weed-control specialists. Reputedly, the German woman who lived here all her life grew a prize-winning garden, heavily mulched with straw, and with many permanent plantings. The home-canned goods which have been forgotten in the cellar attest to her skills.
This summer, God willing, my children will be able to play outside beyond the reach of child-molesting perverts, and the peering eyes of prying neighbors. We will have leave to work in our own ways, with our own goals, and our dreams will thrive.
Next October, God willing, we will have a home to call our own.
And Christmas will come to my Narnia.
So What's Your Dream?
What Is Your Dream Lifestyle?
Snowy Days and Homestead Dreams
- The First Snowy Day
September 30, 2009 I was awakened this morning by the sound of rain drumming on the tin roof and wood smoke in the air. Ahh... perfect! As a child I dreamed of having a home with a tin roof and snuggling...
- Homestead: First Glimpses of What Will Probably Be Our New Home Through the Mountains
More insight into the "Narnian" place shown in the above hub. Snippets into my very raw dreams for this homestead.
© 2009 Joilene Rasmussen