Friday, November 02, 2012

Candle Light... We're In The Barn

We're sleeping and eating and reading and drawing and planning and playing and creating.
In the barn.

Well, technically, it's a large shed, about 8' by 15', but we do call it a barn.

You know that clever thing some people do, where they find a barn, and then they move out the animals, then renovate the space and make it fit for home-living? For people home living? Well, we sort of did that too, except we skipped the part where animals ever actually live in the barn, and we went directly to the part where it all gets fixed and cosified for people, and books, and bottles of water, and lanterns, and sewing baskets, and pretty curtains, and thrifted bits and such.

It is our very happy summer house. Our sleepover loft, our reading nook, our little house by the tree. We love to have friends there, and visits from our pets. We love our barn.

Before the barn was complete, Maria shared an idea... it's based on reading Tasha Tudor, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, and JRR Tolkien. Maria proposed that we step back in time, and live without conveniences like electricity and cars. She asked Couldn't we please bake bread, and make butter, and grow our food? Couldn't we sew clothes, and read and paint by candle light, just like Tasha Tudor?

In the beginning, it was a bed time ritual... speculating and daydreaming about wearing long skirts, and drying herbs, living out of doors, or perhaps in a tent... But as progress on our barn moved along, we began to see a real opportunity to feel far from home and familiar comforts, yet still in our very own space. We saw a chance to make a daydream a reality.

And because she was so intent, so earnest in her plans and hopes, I decided to begin recording those ideas and plans. We started a Candle Light journal. Candle Light is Maria's name for our nights and days in the barn, for the sketches we make, and the garden we harvest, for the things we are learning and studying. We make lists, we draw, we chronicle weather changes, and guidelines for our visions.

It's been a family interest, actually. Everyone takes turns sleeping out in the barn, making improvements, and enjoying the rustic bliss of a tiny space with big possibilities.

It really is a dreamy little barn, nicely appointed, comfy.

Once, over summer, there was a gas leak in the neighborhood. We were advised to evacuate our home, so we trekked out to the barn, waiting out the trouble with some books and cool water.

Our garden isn't quite up to sustaining us, not all of us... but for a start, for inspiring us to do more, grow more, it is a good garden. So we enjoy our little harvests, and whenever there is a particularly bountiful haul, we make a big-to-do.

The best part is that by having any kind of garden at all, we have planted seeds, in Maria's mind. All the children have an appreciation and understanding of the value of our land, for the need to protect and sustain its health, for all our sakes.

Summer is long behind us. The light is changing, the shadows are longer. We are reading by candlelight... well, by l.e.d. light! It's such a treat to be huddled together under quilts, and hearing a good story.

In the barn, we keep a camp stove, and first aid, extra water, extra bedding, anything that might be handy in an emergency... so it's more than fanciful, it's practical, too.

We are in the barn. It's fall break, the nights are chilly, and so we've baked bread, and we'll roast potatoes in the embers of our campfire. We'll draw our plans for building a tree house, and fill the Candle Light Journal with more notes, and sketches.

We're dreaming and playing, learning, and enjoying...

It's everything. Life. Making dreams a reality. Our dreams. Play is such an amazing gift.


test said...

We love all the pictures, just a bit worried about Williams head banging against the rafters and waking Alex up.

judy in ky said...

Everyone should have a barn like that (I would love it). I have the mouse reading a book candleholder too. It's one of my favorites!

Lady Cordelia said...

Wow. How wonderful! It looks so cozy, creative and fun.

coralmom said...

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it's so nice to read about your escape! Will you adopt me and my family?

nikkipolani said...

Not hard to see why it's the favorite place for everyone in the family. So full of whimsy and fun and room to dream.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Just Wow!

Jenny said...

Now _I_ really want a barn, or maybe just to come live in yours with you and Maria in all the Tasha Tudoriness. (Oh, and I see Linnea is living there too). You've done such a sweet job fixing it up and I often dream of a place where everything is done by candlelight and is so purposeful.

Adaliza said...

It's a magic barn - how special and exciting. I've completely fallen in love with the idea and the little mouse candlestick!