When I was 32 I Built a Fort.

One Saturday I got this guttural urge to build and create. Usually I head to the kitchen or grab a power tool, as the last year of our lives has been prepping and building this cabin. This time was different. I wanted so desperately to be outside in the crispy, autumn-scented air.

I built a fort.

Will I use the fort? Maybe. I don't know.

Do you remember building forts when you were a child? All of my favorite play spaces were outside as a child. My dad built a tree fort for us when my brother, sister, and I were children. It was simply a platform cradled in a huge tree in our cattle pasture. No guard rails. No roof. Just a sturdy platform and a homemade ladder constructed of 2x4s in which to ascend to our palace in the trees. While my brother preferred the tree fort, I drew near to a stump fort in that same cluster of trees. This stump fort was simply an old tree stump, roots intact, that my dad (or someone before him?) turned over. It laid just so, allowing me to have a window through the roots, a flat place to make mud pies, and a nook to hide away with flowers I found in the pasture.

When did I lose my playfulness? When did I lose my imagination? I know I'm not alone here.

Building a fort of branches and vines in the timber surrounding our cabin was one of the most fulfilling 'projects' I've done to date. My lungs were burning in the cool air and my heart was pumping hard as I searched the ravines nearby for the perfect long branches to serve as the foundation for my fort.

I have no idea if this fort will withstand the winter, let alone a snowstorm. I see it as a tribute to the childhood that I had, that we all had. Where we could be creative and dirty and build things and wonder and make something colorful from our minds come alive.

It's time to reclaim our spirits! It's time to find our inner child. It's time to say goodbye to the routine and procedure and system and order that stifles the fire in our bellies. Preoccupation and busyness for the sake of busy have no room here anymore.

It's time to play. Grab a chicken. Give her a snuggle. Talk to animals. Talk to trees. Build forts. Sing out loud. Make up rhymes.

Do it all because it feels good.

Then, like me, go to work on Monday and bring a small piece of your inner child with you. 

Simply Living Simply.

My oh my, how things have changed for John and I over the last 4 months. We began building our dream cabin in March, moved into our camper on the property in June, moved into the cabin in mid-July, and have been simply living simply for the last two months.

Every night, and I mean every night, one of us makes a comment about how blessed we are to have found this property, connected with each of the subcontractors on our build, and have the ability to work to pay for this dream cabin. It was hard work. Very, very hard at times. We don't take a moment of that for granted and are grateful that everything worked out relatively smoothly.

Now, we live simply. We have peace and quiet. We savor moments on this homestead. While we both still work 'in town' daily, it doesn't tarnish this experience at all. If you thought we lived simply before, I can't wait to see your comments about how our lifestyle has transformed in the recent past.

For example, we are producing honey right here on our homestead. This year was a small harvest of about a gallon of raw honey since our hives are just getting established. I am proud of the beekeeper I've become, especially because my confidence in working my bees alone has grown.

From the Porch.

A few weeks ago one of my good girlfriends said, "Kelli, you're really in your element, aren't you?" I took a few minutes to think about her question. The two months have been incredibly wild, and 'in my element' aren't the first words I would use to describe my experience. 

You see, we've said goodbye to our contractors that built our cabin; we're doing all of the finish work ourselves. After we sold our home in December, we moved into an apartment. When our lease expired, we lived in our camper for about two weeks. The cabin wasn't ready. 

Then, I had this crazy idea to quit my day job as a mentor for beginning teachers and embark on a brand new career path. I've worked in public education for 10 years, and at the end of June transitioned to work as Director of Education at a non-profit nature center. The change was pretty incremental, y'all. 

"In my element", you say? It almost seems funny, until I take a beer out to the porch, light a candle, and look around. 

It's quiet. Birds are the only sound. It's just absolutely lovely. Maybe I am in my element on this front porch? The view isn't very great.

We have no yard, and really no intentions of mowing much, but there is a lot of mud due to the septic system and digging the foundation of the cabin. It's definitely still a construction zone, and my fern has tipped off the porch more times than I can count. 

I think I love this porch because I can sit and just be. Our phones don't work much in the cabin due to the metal roof, we don't have wifi yet, and have no intentions of getting cable TV, so solitude is really easy to find.

Simply lighting a beautiful mosquito-repelling candle keeps the 'skeeters away.

We really like the lemongrass candle from Clover's Garden, but there are several other scents too. They're indoor/outdoor candles, and don't smell like chemicals like those commercial ones in the green tin.

The chickens love this porch, too, even though there aren't any bugs nearby to much on thanks to the Clover's Garden candle.

So, yes, I think I am in my element. A new cabin, a new porch with a beautiful ambiance, a new job, a new outlook on wellness. 

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