from a victorian castle to the bruderhof

so, now that we're home i found the time to get the pictures off of my phone and can finish telling you all about our fascinating trip.

the castle was amazing. we were the only guests that night which was a little creepy but the bed was so comfortable i didn't have any trouble sleeping. the grounds were gorgeous! i loved it. i recommend to anyone in the philly area if ever in need of a vacation go up to this area. it's only 2 1/2 hours away and is so beautiful and there's so much to do. do it.

from there we went to stay a night with the bellvale (bruderhof) community. any chance we get to spend with these folks we jump at. as per usual it was a restful and thoughtful visit. again, the weather was perfect and we visited chickens and goats and walked around the lake. we joined in their daily rhythm with family time, singing, a very local dinner and evening reflections. we sat around the fire with some of the members we met last time we visited and shared our frustrations and encouragements about community life. i always leave a visit to their communities feeling heard and appreciated and inspired. i respect that they don't see their model of community as the only way and really seek to learn from others. i appreciate their sense of humor and simplicity. i'm thankful for their interest and support of our community.

on the way home the next we got stuck in an almost 2 hour traffic jam. that was quite a juxtaposition - coming from simple, peaceful bellvale only to end up very frustrated and surrounded by hot, running cars.

here some (bad) photos in and around the castle.


anniversary trip

Written August 20, 2008

I’m sorry for my lapse in communication! Chris and I left for our anniversary trip (4 years! Seems like a lot longer ;) ) a few days ago and made it safely to the warwick area of ny. We are getting used to breathing deeply and pulling blankets over our shoulders in the evenings. The weather has been absolutely beautiful. Cool mornings and nights and warm, sunny days. We are staying at a B&B on a quiet rode, in a lovely room. We’ve spent time in little shops (the most wonderful candle shop) and eaten yummy meals. We’ve gone on a couple of bike rides through the “black dirt” region and visited some of wineries. Now, I don’t drink wine but I have to admit, I like the novelty of it. Chris actually enjoys it and today the winery we visited had a bocce ball court. So, Chris destroyed me. It was fun. Kind of. On our bike rides we passed the most beautiful purple and yellow fields and farm lands. We rode by a pile of old barn wood and asked the woman outside of it if we could take some, so tomorrow, we’ll load up the car and dream up uses for the stuff. Tonight we are trying to stay awake to go to the drive in and see the dark knight (who’s idea do you think that was?) at 10:00pm! Way passed my bed time.

Tomorrow we head over the castle we’re staying at. Crazy. It looks nice. It’s set in botanical gardens. We hope to do a little hiking and celebrating our matrimony. More reflections on that later.

Being out in the country has made us reflect more on a rural life, something chris and I both have considered before and hope to make a reality one day. We realized that either option (city/Camden life and rural life, possibly close to family) is missing what the other offers. The options we are aware of at this point for a rural life are closer to family but have no clear (as of yet) community or church life or diversity. It wouldn’t be nearly as local a life as the one we have in Camden so we’d have to drive more. But, on the other hand, we’d like to convert to veggie oil anyway… and our hypothetical kids would have space and we’d have space to offer up for folks in the city to have a respite. We could have a more ‘deeply’ local life growing food, having access to water from a well, living in a straw bale home etc… but leaving Camden would be leaving community. And not just the Camden houses but our neighbors and our church… but in Camden we’re so far from family. Ahhh! I’m hoping the choice becomes more obvious in the coming years.

Hopefully I'll have some pictures soon - our camera is broken so I've been using my phone. Anyone have a good camera they'd recommend?


chickens in the city?

chris and i spent a few hours in a book store (on a lovely rainy day. sounds perfect doesn't it?) reading about how to keep chickens in the city. we feel pretty sure about trying it out this year. we'd like to get a dog at the same time as we order chickens so they can get to know each other... so as soon as we find a dog we'll get our hens.

we're getting them primarily for eggs and love. we love chickens!

i'm trying to find a local poultry society or club here but as is typical with my beloved south jersey, things that would be helpful for sustainable living or urban homesteading are difficult to find - possibly non-existent.

if anyone has connections to jersey chicken lovers or has a tip or advice, please share it!


summer storm

darin, chris and i were just fortunate enough to have a summer storm descend up on us! it's been raining all day and i've loved it but about 30 minutes ago at 8pm, just as the light was fading, the sky exploded in a washed out-ish yellow-golden color. it was still raining and there, above our neighbors house, was a rainbow!


pottery and once.

i wanted to show off one of my husband's many talents: pottery. here are some pictures for your enjoyment.

in other news, tonight we finally saw the movie once. i'm always the last one to do/see/hear/experience cool things so i bet all of you have already seen this film. but if by some strange chance you haven't, please do!! even chris loved it. the music is beautiful and the characters are so endearing.