Thank you all so much for the words of encouragement. It makes it a lot easier to keep on keeping on.

My kids are home! They had a good, if exhausting trip. On Saturday afternoon, I had a pile of my kids, grandkids, friends and neighbors, eating and drinking and making merry. Now comes the hard part.

We have to figure out how to make this work. It’s one thing to know that it’s foolish for 4 people to live in a house with 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, a den and a library, in addition to a huge country kitchen and living room. We have to heat the whole thing regardless of how many live here. It takes little more energy to cook for 6 than it does for 4. Rather than 4 cars, we can easily cut down to 2 and still have transportation options. We have experience growing and preserving food. My kids have strong, young backs. But I have to face reality. We’re a pretty entitled culture and intergenerational living is not the norm here as was historically or still is in many other cultures. We have to redefine independence, interdependence and family. I have to let go of control and the young people have to step up to the responsibility.

It’s tempting to just let things drift and see what happens but I think that’s a really bad idea. It’s way too easy to slip back into old, familiar patterns of relating. Last night was devoted to a talk on philosophy and goals. We got to share some hopes and fears and possible outcomes. We all admitted that we are on a honeymoon right now and the endorphins have kicked in. Real life is often a lot messier. Tonight, we are planning a family meeting to discuss the nuts and bolts of living together, including things like cook and cleaning chores, division of space and privacy and how to handle those places where have very differing opinions. I’m thinking that a monthly meeting is a good idea. It will give us a time a place to bring up problems before they become huge and unsolvable.

It occurs to me that we are pretty entitled. Just the fact that we can afford to have the conversation, the idea that options are available to us, is a function of the age of cheap energy. For most of history and in most places in the world, our modest home would be considered a mansion. We have more food than we need, more heat than is necessary, more space than is ethical, more water, more topsoil, more clean air, more safety, more love, more of everything that matters than millions, maybe billions, of others. We must remember to begin each day with gratitude.

On other notes. I have putting in strawberry beds everywhere. They can spread and naturalized and provide food for birds and insects and maybe the occasional wandering child. While setting some out I found that some of the ramps I transplanted last year took and have spread on the stream bank. I thought the lack of rain last summer would have done them in. The nettles are emerging as are the first lamb’s quarters. I can’t wait for my first nettle soup.