Lily & the Fox is at the printers!

A giant thank you to everyone! We did it!

The file was delivered to the printers just in the nick of time on Monday, and the UPS truck arrived this morning with the proofs already! We are on track for delivery in time for Christmas!

Please keep sharing the GoFundMe campaign…I still need to pre-sell 78 more copies by December 10th to pay the balance for the printers. Thanks so much for all your support with this!!

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At the Homestead: We have a roof!

Wow, a lot is happening over here all of the sudden!  After so much time feeling stuck with the progress, it feels incredible to be moving forward on both the house and the next book.

We actually finished the roof!  And by “we”, I mean Jonathan and all the incredible help he has had from friends and family.  It even poured rain yesterday, and it didn’t matter…because we have a roof now!

So, as promised, here are some photos of the house as it’s coming together.

The insulation went down really fast last Sunday, with the help of many friends.  Then the rubber under-layment had to be stretched out straight on a curved roof…super fun.

And then came the beautiful copper roof!  (We found it at a 2nd hand lumber store, and I was so excited to have this yummy color!)

Now that the curved edges are all cut, and the trim is in place…it is officially done!

So, as Jonathan has been working on the house every ounce of daylight, I’ve been doing the night shift finishing the illustrations for Lily & the Fox so the books can be printed for Christmas.

Thank you to all of you who helped me raise over half the goal in 24 hours!  That’s incredible!  I’ve only got 3 more days to get all the illustrations complete, and to raise the the rest of the deposit for the printers.

If you haven’t already, please check out the campaign and pre-order your signed hardcover copy at 25% off the cover price!

https://www.gofundme.com/yt8kzu44

I just need to pre-sell 43 more copies to be able to get the printing started!  I would be so very thankful if you could share this campaign with anyone you know who has kids in their lives, (or kids at heart).

In case you missed the scoop on the book…

This fully illustrated 8.5″x11″ hardcover book is perfect for elementary aged kids, but is a story for all ages.  Lily is a shy girl, and is too timid to make friends with the boys at her fishing spot (you may remember them from the last book!).  But after a meeting with a wild red fox, Lily learns to be brave and reach out for new connections.

You can pre-order your copy HERE.

I am so excited to see all this coming together!  Both the house…AND the book!

Thank you so much for your ongoing support!

Will you help me write the ending to the next book?

IMG_6162There are a lot of changes happening around here, but I will share more about that later.

For now, I have a favor to ask, and this has been on my plate for over a year.  I am a bit shy to ask this, but would you be willing to help write the ending to Lily & the Fox?

Most of you know about Peter & the Owl, the first children’s book I wrote.  (If you haven’t read it yet, you can download a free ebook copy HERE.)

If you know me at all, you know that writing and illustrating the book was one of the most joyful things I have ever done.  And you know that the full vision is that it will become a whole series of books about kids reconnecting with nature, and meeting an animal that helps them in their life.

Well, a long story short…the next one is Lily & the Fox, and I’ve had it 95% written for the past year and a half.

Every morning I hike up the hill to say good morning to the land, to give thanks, and to “check in” with Spirit.  Every morning I hear the words, “Are you working on the book?  You need to finish the book.  Why are you not working on the book?”  A variety of things crept up to keep me from finishing it, including plenty of logistics like finances and our house build…but the most notable to point out was the thought, “Do I really deserve to be THAT happy?”

Wow.  Yes, that’s right.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who has experienced this disabling thought.

Anyways…it is time.  It is actually well past time to bring this book into the world and into the hands of as many kids as possible.  The story is not even my own.  It was whispered in my ear by the fox herself.  And so with that said, I am humbly sharing my rough draft with you, with the hopes that you read it with the kids in your life, are inspired, and help create the ending of the story together with me.

The working rough draft can be read in full HERE.

I started working on the cover for the first time today, and I’ve included it above.  What do you think?  It’s a good start, yes?

Please cozy up on the couch with some tea, light a candle together, and let me know your ideas for what Lily should do at the end of the story.

NOT Back to School

This was the best first day of “school” ever. The Tree of Life Homeschool Co-op did a canoe trip today, and I am so proud of us!

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As I was paddling on this gorgeous day, I had so many thoughts about how perfect this was.  Just like with homeschooling, many of us were nervous to take this on with our kids, but once we courageously stepped into the boat and were on the water, the beauty was inspiring.  Sometimes the wind tried to blow us off course, just like many of us deal almost daily with others’ concerns, scoffing, and judgement.  But here was our fleet of friends, working together to navigate our little families with the flow that works best for us, and I was moved to tears.  My final analogy is that I could never have taken this on so courageously without this community support.  My heart is full of gratitude!

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In sickness and in health

I know it’s been awhile since we’ve written, so I’m going to share the good news first…

CultivatetheConnectionSquare2#1  After some technical delays, we finally launched our “Cultivate the Connection” podcast last week!  This interview series is full of inspiration on the nature of human connection. You can listen to our first two interviews with the poetic and insightful Martín Prechtel and Toko-pa Turner HERE.

#2  Our kids classes are going great!  Our first summer camp sold out, and we’ve had several requests for another camp in August…so we’ve created The Peaceful Warriors.  There are also still a few spots left in Earth Artists next week, but you’ll want to reserve your spot ASAP.  We’ll be building with cob (clay), making fairy boats that really float, and all sorts of other fun and messy projects!  Learn more and register HERE.

#3  And…we’ve got some new stuff for grown-ups too!  The feedback we’ve received from folks participating in the Seed Sessions Mentoring has been amazing!  It’s not too late to jump in and join the fun.  Check it out HERE.  We’ve also got some new classes posted… Personal Permaculture, Connecting with Your Animal Totem, and more.  Check those out HERE.  🙂

Whew!  And now, for the not so good news…

As you may have guessed from the subject line of this email, we’ve been having some health issues over here.  Since this winter, Jonathan had been feeling more and more exhausted with aching joints.  When his memory started to get foggy, we really started to worry.  He did his best to just push through, like you do, but this spring it got bad enough that it just brought everything to a standstill.  With all that we’ve got going on here, you can imagine how unwelcome this added stress has been for us.

Well, the sickness was this elusive thing that we didn’t have quite distinguished, but several weeks ago, it finally occurred to us that he may have something like Lyme disease and that we may be able to get him some help!  The test from the “regular doctor” came back negative for Lyme, so it is still a bit of a mystery.  The doctor literally told him it was probably all just in his head!

Thankfully, he was able to connect with a great local Naturopath and an herbalist that have been willing to dig a little deeper and approach this more holistically.  He is finally starting to feel quite a bit better, and we are much more hopeful that he will be able to be himself again soon.  In the meantime, if you’ve got any healing thoughts that you could send our way, we would be ever so grateful.

I now understand the phrase “If you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything.”  There’s nothing quite like a health scare to bring you to your knees in a great many ways and force you to appreciate the very simple things in life.

For right now, Jonathan is at least able to work again, but as you can imagine, the house has been sitting up there all alone and unfinished.  It looks like it may take another miracle or two for this project to actually come to completion.  (Sigh.)

Anyways…any good vibes are most appreciated!

On that note, I’d like to end with inviting you all out for a Blue Moon Gathering on Friday, the 31st!  As they say, it only happens once in a blue moon, and we’d love to celebrate with you good folks!  It’s a family friendly event, and there’s limited space if you want to pitch a tent up on the hill and sleep under the stars.

Check out more of the details HERE!

We look forward to seeing you on the land soon…
Blessings,
Heidi and Jonathan

Eating humble pie

IMG_0772This is a long one, please bear with me.

We often have folks telling us that we must be “living the dream”, and while I absolutely wake up thankful for this crazy/awesome life, we still have our fair share of pretty constant challenges.  It would be inauthentic to pretend otherwise, and so that’s why I am being brave today to tell you that we are eating some pretty large pieces of humble pie right now.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we did not complete our house in time to move in this winter.  Even with the generous loans from friends and neighbors, we weren’t able to get it all enclosed before the conditions turned frigid and icy and it just wasn’t safe to be working up on the roof.  That’s OK, it’s not the end of the world.  We have a sweet little school bus to keep us warm.

IMG_3893BUT…because winter came fast, and the ground froze before we could fully landscape the hill behind the house, this meant that the sand bermed on the backside of the house was pushing on it all winter, instead of being sloped away.  The result is that 2 of our trusses shifted forward about 5 inches.

It’s not catastrophic, but it’s enough to mean we couldn’t move forward on building until we dug it out and straightened them.

Oh, the thoughts that go through your head when faced with a failure!  We’ve all got them, right?  Please tell me I’m not alone.  “What were we thinking?!”  “This is too hard.”  “I’m tired of this!”  Etc…etc…

Well, while it’s important to acknowledge the disappointment and sadness about it, wallowing in the upset just takes too much energy.

IMG_3922The fact is we messed up.  We shouldn’t have backfilled until the outer shell of the house was complete.  We thought we could enclose it all quickly before winter set in, but we were wrong.

So…we put on our big girl/boy panties and asked for help.

Many thanks to my dad, who was able to hook up a trade with the local excavators, and yesterday was the big day.

A giant rumbling machine made its way down the hill and spent a good chunk of the day totally carving away the hillside behind the house.  It’s quite a transformation.  It frees up the pressure on the house, so we can get back to building the roof and walls.  And it means we can build our root cellar on the northwest side this year instead of waiting until “Phase II”.

IMG_3947Hopefully this means a lot more action will be happening with the house soon.

And let me tell you, we are so looking forward to this project being complete enough so that we can focus our energy back on the work we are passionate about providing.

It has been a giant conundrum for us to be simultaneously growing our business here, WHILE we create the venue…nevermind building it by hand AND somehow paying our bills.

Oh, I’m not complaining…because we are absolutely choosing this!  I’m just saying that, yes, it’s a little crazy AND we are clear that the commitment that still moves us to tears is helping folks remember their deep connection with the Earth.

Speaking of which…

Our Earth Warriors Nature Club started up again last Friday…on Spring Equinox, the New Moon, and a total solar eclipse.  It was a magical day, to say the least.

Here we are playing a game of “Fire-Keeper”, a kid favorite.  The kids are stalking, trying to steal a small bell (the fire) and make it back to the outer circle without the blind-folded Fire-Keeper in the middle hearing them and pointing at them.  Incidentally, it was actually raining on us during this game, but the kids were so focused on stealing the “fire” that not a single kid complained!

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The best quote of the day came during closing circle:

“My favorite part was digging in that dirt, and my least favorite part is right now because it’s time to go!”  ~Wesley, age 8

Thanks so much for your continued support!  Just keep imagining the amazing space the house will be, both for our family and as a classroom!

We look forward to seeing you on the land soon…
Blessings,
Heidi and Jonathan