Rosie in the kitchen
bloomers 2
pink blanket knitting

Allow me to describe what I keep referring to as The Parable of the Red Clogs, a tale of desire and displacement. 

We live in my grandma's red brick house, situated in a town that can't sustain a new business to save itself unless it's a hair salon, of which our town has three. There is, though, one old standby that has lasted decades and will carry on in perpetuity no matter it's eventual fate: the hardware. Weathered, unchanged, too good to be true but, actually—impossibly—it is true. Fortunate to us, it is situated in a way so it is what we see out our westerly windows. Specifically, we see a vintage light-up street sign that says DUTCH STANDARD PAINTS inlaid on a red clog motif. If ever the hardware goes the way of mom-and-pop hardwares the world over, I hope I can buy the sign off of them. It is a relic of childhood, a totem of small-town survival and grit in the age of Amazon, and it's a sign with a red clog . . . and I love clogs.

I am the proud owner of a pair of navy rubber German clogs with a tipped-up toe. I live in them, even in winter. They look identical to the clog on the hardware sign, except for the nagging and obvious difference that they are not red. The company sells a red pair. Do I need them? No, I do not, except when I am going through anything hard, whereby my answer becomes Yes, clearly I do. Buying an identical product that I do not need goes against my personal ethos and feels irresponsible in a time when we are raising a baby on a single income and trying to purchase land. Yet, when I am feeling blue, unappreciated, lonely, and sometimes even when I'm hungry, I hear on repeat: You deserve the red clogs — No, you need the red clogs.


What I need, I know, is companionship with humans and especially with God, not German rubber. Displacement of emotion is a curious, real thing. The mental back-and-forth over the clogs happens often enough that I use it as a gauge for how on- or off-track my faith compass is. Does that sound absurd to you? Maybe it is. But by assessing how badly I desire Stuff, I know how badly I need to express gratitude for what I do have. In my life gratitude is found through prayer. Prayer and paying attention; the former makes the latter notably easier.

A quick examination shows just how much God has put into my life; all of my wildest dreams have come true through what can only be divine intervention. I have wild dreams percolating yet, but on the whole I am blessed beyond reason. Our two-month old is growing astoundingly and I get to witness each moment of her life. My husband loves us and cares for us and makes me laugh every day. I know how to knit us clothing and, as of recently, how to sew. I can darn a goshdarn sock. Mark brews delicious libation for our whole family to enjoy. I live near family and we eat healthful food. Junk food, too. What else is there to want for? Not red clogs. (At least . . . not today.)




This beer was brewed for the holiday season, which stands as evidence of my lack of blogging activity lately. . . blame the baby! (Just kidding, don't blame her for anything.) Instead of your usual sweet, spiced Christmas Ale (see: Great Lakes' version), I wanted to keep playing around with saison—the chameleon of classic beer styles. So, I brewed up my standard saison recipe and poured in a bottle of tart cherry juice once active fermentation had slowed down. The yeast made quick work of the sugars, leaving behind a nice, tart pairing for family gatherings & holiday treats. Whether it was the flavor, the rich color, or merely the intention behind it, this Tart Cherry Saison made for  a wonderfully festive Christmas companion!


Tart Cherry Saison

Appearance: Crystal clear! Deep orange color; addition of tart cherry juice resulted in darker color than previous saisons.

Aroma: Cherry—hooray!

Taste: Tart, some clove (see: Paulaner comparison), finishing dry-but-not-too-dry.

Mouthfeel: Full, round body with lively carbonation.

Style: Saison

ABV: 4.7%

Hops: Saaz.

Malt: Pilsner, Vienna, Flaked Wheat.

Overall: Reminiscent of Paulaner Hefeweizen, but with that snappy saison finish.




A few things happened in the last week. 
1. Rosemary discovered her tongue. We discovered how adorable a tongue can be.

2. We finished the in-class portion of Farm School. We are in this program, and it has proven to be very A+.

3. We, along with our brother, rejoined Instagram. Our intent is to use it for sharing our journey in all manner of homesteading, farming, land searching, etc. Much like our blog, but a lot less personal. No photos of Rosemary (probably). No diatribes about politics (ok, we don't do that on here either, but we bet you would just love it if we did). No getting wrapped up in "should I post this?" or "how do I caption this?" — because that is why we left social media altogether two years ago. It was unhealthy, and too personal, and left us feeling more distant, not closer, to our peers and inspirations. But we are back as the united front of @downhomefolk. Please follow along or say hello if you are on IG! Our brother Zach has joined as @downhomespoons, where he's sharing his process and handiwork in spoon carving. His spoons are our among our most favorite wares. They perform beautifully, feel special, and wear the look of a product made with care and craft by two hands. It's worth mentioning that he is totally self-taught, and built our bed frame and a tree house (!!) for his children. Here's hoping he will build us a farm house someday.

4. We are planning to raise bees again! Excitingly, this year we'll be focusing on actually selling raw honey and wooden honey spoons. Our first genuine farm enterprise, except in our town backyard and Zach's basement wood shop. We don't have land yet, but that's not stopping us from pursuing our goal of raising living things to share with you. Do you want a jar of liquid gold this fall? Can you imagine buying your loved one (your honey) or your coworkers a sweet little bundle of backyard honey and a spoon, all tied up with twine? Well . . . we hope so. If you've never tried raw, local honey, and if you've never owned a handmade wooden ware, might you allow us to help you change that?




There is simply no way to put into words the all-consuming sensation of looking at your baby. Your baby. Someone you made; someone who did not exist before. There is no work of art more beautiful than the face of your baby, and I understand now that all parents are actually artists. Life is a paradox, where newborn days are mundane and monotonous and magnificent and magical, proving to have no discernible beginning or end. Nurse, poop, cry, sleep, nurse, poop, cry, sleep. Bounce, bounce, bounce, rock, bounce, never stop bouncing. We've danced this new reality for three weeks, which is simultaneously an absolute eternity and no time at all, a flit. Our baby is ancient but impossibly fresh to the world; she is tiny but two whole pounds bigger than when she arrived. She is our baby, our baby, our baby. We are merely shepherds to this little lamb named Rosemary, and we do our best.


I took the photos of our bedroom when she was still in utero. Things are decidedly less tidy and there are a few telltale signs of new parenthood now: a stool next to the bed covered with salves and balms and breast pads, a pillow on the rocker for extra lumbar support, an unending supply of to-be-washed cloth diapers on the changing table, an exercise ball for the aforementioned bouncing, a heap of Mark's and my clothes in a pile, and our beautiful linen sheets have been temporarily replaced with trusty flannels. I am particularly glad for the sheets decision, as she has had a blowout while nursing on our bed every day this week. During the final weeks of nesting, I knit Rosemary a humble little stack of sweaters, diaper covers, hats and bonnets — even a little stuffed bunny — only to find that we hate dressing our child and can hardly bear to put anything on her precious, perfect skin. It's enough to put her little tush in a cloth diaper. So the woolens will dutifully remain in their drawer. On this side of love, mama, dad, and their little Rosie valentine learn as they go, and boy are they ever glad for it.