I wonder…

I wonder what the Moon family talked about in that tiny little cabin, when they were all trapped inside during an icy cold winter?  Did they have to store up words during the spring and summer, like they would potatoes, onions, and squash?  Did they file away topics-to-be-discussed during the busy months outside, just for those long February days when they were so tired of seeing each others' faces they could barely stand it?

They must have gotten intensely irritated with one another, living at such close quarters.  Hearing each little grunt, moan, heavy-breathing-while-eating moment.  Watching one another complete daily routines over and over without distraction must have been maddening at times.

We spend a lot of time inside during the winter here too, here in this tiny little house.  We don't have a TV.  But we have a computer, and we also work outside of the house a few days a week.  We have a comfortably heated car that can transport us places that are comfortably heated, like the library.  So, we can escape one another easily, when we feel like we need to see something different for awhile.

Maybe they didn't annoy each other at all.  Maybe it didn't occur to them to be annoyed by little things.  Or they didn't allow themselves to get annoyed because they were trapped, and needed to make it through a long winter with sanity intact and relationships healthy.  I wish I could answer these questions.  I wish I could talk to Luella Moon.

I miss my grandma.  Being on the Homestead makes me wish I would have spent more time with her, asking her questions about her childhood and so on.  She was a farmer, seamstress, water-color painter, wife, mother, cook, and so much more.  Thinking of Luella makes me think of my grandmother.

The Moon cabin was the original structure, a "frame house", 12 by 24 feet, built by the Moon family when they first started their homesteading venture in 1889.  It was a temporary residence while they built the farmhouse.  And, although they probably built the bigger farmhouse soon after, they did likely have to endure at least one winter in that tiny cabin.  A five-person family in a 12 by 24 foot room!  We are lucky to live  in our 770 square foot cabin.  I will try to remember that come February, when I'm ready to chew off my own arm.

Moon Cabin

Butter Churn

*side note*

The Moons and their extended family lived on the Homestead for about 18 years, before selling to the Randolph's in 1907. So much of what we see here on the Homestead today is  left from the Randolphs, who resided here from 1907-1996.

I'm starting to get slightly panicky as the weather gets gradually cooler.   Winter is closer, and soon I will be worried about freezing pipes, frozen roads, cabin-fevered kids, and irritation levels.  But for now, I'm going to go ahead and enjoy the end of summer and beginning of fall.

Some things of beauty…

We have been up to our ears in stuff to do lately, and right as this crazy season has come to its peak, the boys and I left town!  We left Andy to tend to the Homestead on his own.  He dehydrated, pickled, canned, steam-juiced, and brewed lots of tasty morsels and beverages.

Before we left we helped him pick a bunch of apples from a neglected tree in town.  He's using these apples in particular for hard cider.  He's made it before, and it is the perfect combo of dry, slightly sweet, apple-y effervescence.  Hopefully this batch turns out just as good.

Axel is so homestead.  He was born here on the floor of our living room.  He has eaten homestead dirt, played in the galvanized steel tub under the water pump, consumed plenty of fruit that has fallen off trees here in the orchard, chased chickens, hiked trails, played in the Moon Cabin, explored the root cellar, dug in the garden.  He has played here almost every day of his life.  This is what he knows, and I think that is so cool.  And, so homestead.

Asa appreciates the Homestead with a wider perspective than his brother's.  He remembers living in a neighborhood, with neighbors close by.  He remembers having his own room, probably, even though he didn't sleep in it.  He understands that most places have modern plumbing, with flushable toilets, and a seemingly endless supply of water to do fun things with, like bathe everyday, or run in the sprinklers.  But he doesn't complain about not having these things.  He has decided to embrace this for the adventure that it is, I think.  Because he is always up for an adventure.  I think the Homestead has definitely become home for him.  He loves it for its complexity, and freedom.  And so do I.


The goats and sheep are heading back to their winter home soon.  We are going to miss them.  The Homestead is going to be a less poopy, furry, noisy place, slightly less demanding, until next spring, when they will all come back to do it all over again.  At least we will still have the chickens, and the cat.

Asa and Axel found another skull.  I think this may be a sheep skull from last year.  They are fascinated with bones, skulls, and creepy stuff in general.  I used to tend to avoid bones and cadavers while walking around.  I didn't feel the need to pick them up and examine them,  probably because I was taught that they were gross. But having boys has opened to me up a whole world of things I didn't used to do.  It's awesome.

Apples are on the trees in late summer, just like they have been every late summer for 120 years.

Another familiar image in late summer here in Montana.  A smoke-covered fuchsia sun.  Beautiful.

A little this, and a little that…

It is hard to believe we are nearing the end of summer.  It just doesn't seem possible!  But, alas, the wind is smelling just a tiny bit different.  Apples are on the trees, cherries have been picked, moths are out in droves, and rainy thunderstorms are sweeping through.  I freakin' love it!

I was begging for summer so hard during February and March, just wanting some life after our long frozen winter.  I wanted so badly to be able to run outside without coats, and stay outside ALL DAY LONG.  And, that is just what we have been doing, as much as we can.  But, I'm getting tired.  I'm looking through knitting and sewing books, planning my winter projects.

And, as much as I don't really want to admit it, after all the complaining I do during the winter,  I am just about ready for Fall.  Inch by inch, I feel it coming on.  Fall harvest, leaves dropping, pumpkins, apples, wind, darker earlier in the evening, cider, baking, knitting, sewing.  Oh, and, the young bucks are growing fuzzy antlers, even though they still look way too young to be sporting such grown up attributes. sigh.

Beautiful road to Randolph/Waterworks hill.  I run along this as many mornings as I can, which is far fewer than I would like.

Lovely August evening.  Trying to take it all in before it all turns brown and gray. The August rains have been helping!

My handsome men.  Aren't they a good lookin' bunch?

*side note*

I have been wanting to find a dress pattern that has big pockets, because, being a farm lady, I need pockets.  I came across this on Farmama.  Perfect.  It looks like a vintage pattern, so, I'm not sure of it's accessibility.  But I'm gonna try to find something like it anyway.  Any suggestions out there?

We have been trying like crazy to use up all of the pounds of food our great garden is producing.  I am currently baking zucchini bread.  It's 11:22 pm.  What have you been making?

We are all gearing up for some cooler temps around here. So ready for it. Loving the idea of slowing down a bit, or so I hope. We are preparing for our annual Fall Gathering up here on the Homestead. This Saturday we will host a big party. We will bust out the 100 year old cider press, make cider from our dear old orchard apples, worms and all, and have a Montana good time. It's actually my fathers birthday, and he will be joining us in all the fun. My dad, the best in the world. He is probably why I have this innate desire to be a farmer, or at least pretend to be one. He farmed his whole life, even when it wasn't making him any money. He recently retired, and moved to a little fishing town where he decidedly is not farming anymore. But, we intend to call upon his fence fixing expertise when he gets here, and I think he will like it, even if secretly.