October has been a month of family visits. First, Tyler's mom, Jodi, arrived. Charlie and Becky were kind enough to let her stay at their place while they were gone, so the three of us spent our days in a real house with a lovely kitchen and a wall of books to read. As cold rains drenched the fall landscape nearly every day of her visit, we didn't do much in the way of leaf-peeping, sight-seeing, or friend-visiting.
Mostly, we just enjoyed each other's company, spending grey days working on our laptops and puttering around the kitchen as we used to do when we lived together. Occasionally, one of us would punctuate the work day with a "BAM!" and a happy dance when we'd solved some aggravating issue or finished a project. In the evenings, we often cozied up on the couch for movie nights and ice cream.
My favorite part of Jodi's stay was going to see the movie "Gravity" in 3-D, and then hungrily stopping for late-night Chinese food. We chatted about the movie over sesame chicken, and giddily pretended that our only form of transport was a jet-propelled space suit. Good times! We love you, Jodi Mama! Thank you for visiting!
After Jodi, my family came to see us for our second annual fall Vermont vacation. The skies cleared up, and we enjoyed a week full of glorious weather in which to visit our land, meet our friends, and enjoy plenty of autumn activities. We saw Jenna speak at Battenkill books, went on a horse cart ride with Patty, and met many of the wonderful folks who make our community here in Vermont. We cooked and ate a lot, carved pumpkins, and gorged ourselves on apple cider and cider donuts. We also celebrated the successful completion of my kickstarter campaign!
Besides the time spent simply being with my family, the most rewarding part of their visit was being able to see our homesteading projects through their eyes, realizing just how much we've accomplished since last year. When my family came last October, things were very different.
For starters, we didn't live here. There were downed trees everywhere along our then unfinished road. We didn't have a well pump, composting system, or any foundations. We certainly didn't have a freaking roundwood Norwegian timber frame workshop! We also didn't own our truck or camper yet, and we didn't know anyone!
Being on the land all the time, it's hard to see the forest for the trees, so to speak. Our progress generally feels achingly slow, and what I see when I look around are the countless things that need to be built, fixed, cleaned up, and paid for, and the months and years it will take to complete them. But having my family here, seeing their reaction, and realizing all of the many things that we've done this year... well, it felt pretty good.