What Else Is There?


A morning thunderstorm; waking up to rain streaming down our bedroom windows. The house is cool and we are cozy underneath the heavy, yet wonderfully light, down comforter. No birds are singing to welcome the day. They, too, are seeking shelter in the forest somewhere, tucking their wings tightly to keep their bodies warm and dry.

Suddenly, the rain stops and the sun peaks through the dense gray clouds now turning a luminous white. Beautiful. Just beautiful. And all the while I lay in bed with my two loves, my family, my heart smiling deeply as I count my blessings. What else is there?

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Love and Gratitude,

M. Grace


Peace with Impermanence


Sharing a moving poem by poet, David Whyte:


The road seen, then not seen, the hillside
hiding then revealing the way you should take,
the road dropping away from you as if leaving you
to walk on thin air, then catching you, holding you up,
when you thought you would fall,
and the way forward always in the end
the way that you followed, the way that carried you
into your future, that brought you to this place,
no matter that it sometimes took your promise from you,
no matter that it had to break your heart along the way:
the sense of having walked from far inside yourself
out into the revelation, to have risked yourself
for something that seemed to stand both inside you
and far beyond you, that called you back
to the only road in the end you could follow, walking
as you did, in your rags of love and speaking in the voice
that by night became a prayer for safe arrival,
so that one day you realized that what you wanted
had already happened long ago and in the dwelling place
you had lived in before you began,
and that every step along the way, you had carried
the heart and the mind and the promise
that first set you off and drew you on and that you were
more marvelous in your simple wish to find a way
than the gilded roofs of any destination you could reach:
as if, all along, you had thought the end point might be a city
with golden towers, and cheering crowds,
and turning the corner at what you thought was the end
of the road, you found just a simple reflection,
and a clear revelation beneath the face looking back
and beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse:
like a person and a place you had sought forever,
like a broad field of freedom that beckoned you beyond;
like another life, and the road still stretching on.

— David Whyte
from Pilgrim
©2012 Many Rivers Press

Watch him deconstruct two poems including “Santiago” in his TED Talk here:


And I will add my own reflection ~

As it is in nature so is it also in us: Change is the only permanence. May I embrace it as gracefully as the leaves that decend in fall and the flowers that bloom spring; peace with impermanence.

-Mandy Grace

I love you too


I stepped outside that morning, a strong northwest wind at my back, with a bowl of liver, eggs and warm water in my hands. I found her bathing in the sun just outside the old garage and a flock of red wing black birds crackled in the oak tree above her; their harmonious melody felt alive and offered us good company. Kiaya was sleeping and for a moment I wanted to walk away and let her rest knowing how difficult it has been for her to live in a body that is not functioning anymore. But she needed to eat and I didn’t know what the rest of the day had in store…for any of us.

So I kneeled down beside my beloved gently caressing the top of her head as her amber eyes slowly opened. She hesitantly opened her mouth as I tucked two pills into the back of her jaw, both of us growing weary of the routine her body required to stay alive. Looking at me, then her food, Kiaya appeared uninterested in eating; a warning sign from our vet that the end was most likely near. With a few hopeful nudges from me she began to eat, and I sighed with relief hoping that perhaps she would live a little longer, though I knew this was not the quality of life for her wild spirit.

As she licked the last of her breakfast, the cold spring wind giving way to the bright sun now warm on our bodies, I was about to walk away when the black birds began chirping loudly. I heard:

“Be with her. You can hold your pain, it will not kill you. Touch her, tell her you love her, say what you need to say. She is here, with you”.

So, I sat down beside her and cried. I told her I loved her at least 50 times, as if trying to fit in as many ‘I love you’s’ as I could; as if trying to make up for all the times I knew I would want to tell her in the future.

More, I wanted more. I wanted more time. I wanted more hikes. I wanted more playful afternoons; more boat rides; more trips to the mountains; more springs; more summer and falls; more winters; more kisses; more ‘goodnights’….more ‘I love you’s’.

“We give the love to animals that we feel is unsafe to give to other humans”. (Emmanuel)

This has been her gift. She let me love her with complete safety. I sang around her. I danced around her. I shared my heart with her. And in her allowing, in her receiving me was her gift.

Still bawling, I began to scratch the top of her neck and her upper back, the spots she liked best. I played with her floppy ears and thanked her for being a part of our family: for being a part of my life.

I could feel the top of her head now thin and bony; her body weak and frail. I could see the sores still unable to heal from the infection. I could see her limp leg unable to move since the cancer had spread to her spine. And I finally accepted that she would not recover from this; that this was, in fact, a time of transition for her…..and for our family.

Is there ever enough time? I am so sad.

“If we have the faith; then everything is perfect….You are not going to die from your sadness. But you will die from your belief that you cannot hold it”. (Barbara)

I wanted to lay right beside her all day, but feeling my cold hands and knowing my son needed me inside the house, I kissed her on the head and stood up.

I cried all the way to our front door, and just before I stepped inside, I turned around to face the sun. Taking a deep breath, I filled my lungs and gave thanks for my healthy body. Remembering that life goes on; and so will she.

When I came into the house, Wesley took one look at my puffy eyes and quivering lip.

He asked: “Mommy, what’s the matter?”

“I’m just so sad that Kiaya is sick,”I said.

“She’s going to leave her body and go back to the light?” he questioned.

“Yes, sweet boy. Soon, she will leave her body and go back to the light and then on to her next adventure. And that’s okay. I’m going to be okay, and so will Kiaya,” my voice still trembling, “I’m just so sad because I will miss seeing her.”

My son looked me in the eyes and very tenderly said, “It’s okay mommy, you don’t have to be sad. Kiaya’s not gone. She is right here,” placing his hand over his heart and then over mine.

“Yes Wesley. You’re right. Thank you so much for reminding me.”

“I love you mom.”

“Thank you, sweetheart. I love you too.”

~M. Grace


img_3275During these cold winter months our family loves to snuggle up with a hot cuppa tea and a book or two on one of our handmade alpaca rugs. They are a joy to create! This particular rug is a natural on natural blend of our darling Frankie and King Tut. So soft, so warm and so very luxurious. Cheers!

Merry and Bright



Winter is here and the cold weather always makes our family grateful that we have a warm home to live in during the frigid winter months. Watching the wildlife outside our window sparks intrigue and amazement at their resilience through these extremely cold temperatures. In this moment, I am watching a squirrel nibble on an over ripened apple that we tossed under the cedar row just out our kitchen door. One person’s old apple is another squirrel’s treasure.

The winter season is a fantastic time to work on cozy alpaca scarves, rugs, and other fleece creations for our friends and customers. I just completed a Windy scarf using the hand/finger knitting technique. No tools required. A tradition that has probably been around for a very long time.

The couple that processes our fibers in Utah is finishing up another order. We will have some exciting natural on natural blends and a few bumps of colorful silk interwoven through our alpaca yarn. Very fine indeed. Thank you Spinderella’s!

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season filled with joy and love. May your days be merry and bright.



Mother Earth and Father Time

the start of their great migration

The seasons have shifted. It is autumn, my favorite time of year. Grabbing jackets to take our evening walks, enjoying an afternoon warm ‘cuppa tea’, watching the farmers harvest the soy beans, experiencing the deeply appreciated reprieve from the mosquitoes…..we are embracing the season and every  moment we are together as a family. To celebrate the season, I am sharing a lullaby that I sing to our son. It was one of my favorites as a little girl.

Just today, I held him in my arms as we swung in the old wooden bench swing overlooking the lake below watching the trees bow over from the strong north wind and the leaves fall at our feet. This song has never felt more real….


“How very special are we
For just a moment to be
Part of Life’s eternal rhyme
How very special are we
To have on our family tree
Mother Earth and Father Time

He turns the seasons around
And so she changes her gown
But they always look in their prime
They go on dancing their dance
Of every lasting romance
Mother Earth and Father Time

The summer larks return to sing
Oh what a gift they give
Then autumn days grow short and cold
Oh what a joy to live

How very special are we
For just a moment to be
Part of Life’s eternal rhyme
How very special are we
To have on our family tree
Mother Earth and Father Time”

-Charlotte’s Web


Summer Solstice

imageThe seasons blend together so beautifully, I have to make a conscious effort to acknowledge that today marks the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. Butterflies are beginning to show themselves, the Canada goslings are shedding their down and unfurling their gently tucked feathers. The field, garden, and all plant life is bursting at the seam and growing before my very eyes. We are in the throes of, in the height of new growth, of life emerging into its fullness. Welcome.

Summertime on The Farm looks like this: glorious & bright eastern sun rises; steady barn chores and pasture management; endless mowing; occasional naps in the hammock; plenty of bike rides; wading pool and sandbox parties; vigorous garden weeding and watering; evening boat excursions that usually begin or end with fishing; some evening campfires and firefly watching. The firefly display in our goose pond this year is spectacular. Our son, excitedly, asks every night:”Let’s go see the moon mama!” Or “Daddy, let’s go see the fire bugs!” Watching him delight in the summer wonders is like summoning magic into our lives. Bless our sweet boy for all the gifts he brings.

Our vegetable gardens are growing well. The broccoli and brussel sprouts are particularly healthy this year as is our red leaf lettuce and arugula. We tried putting some strawberries in pots and that was not very successful. However the herbs we planted in the old whiskey barrels are overflowing. In our two northern facing (shady) barrels we planted spearmint and parsley. In our three southern facing (more sun exposure) barrels we planted cherry tomatoes, rosemary, oregano, thyme, lavender and lemongrass. And I suspect we will have some cherry tomatoes to enjoy in just a few short weeks. There’s nothing quite like a sun warmed sweet cherry tomato fresh off the vine.

Oh, how I love the Summer Solstice…..

With the rain comes the flowers



It has been said that there are two springs in Minnesota: The Thawing & The Greening. On The Farm, we are in the midst of The Greening. Excitement, rebirth, and the gentle unfolding of spring abounds. There are the early bloomers like the maple trees, already greening. And there are the late bloomers like the black walnut trees, their buds are just beginning to emerge. All unfolding in their own time and with a grace that humbles me to my core. The momentum of our ascent moves forward as we approach the summer solstice, after which we will begin our descent into rest and dormancy. The seasons are a beautiful mirror, a reminder that everything is a process.

The crops are in, our garden is planted (with a few exceptions) and we look forward to watching it all grow. Right about the moment I thought the ground was too dry and our rain barrels getting too low, the spring rains swept through, offering us a reprieve from our watering chores and our endless outdoor ‘projects’. Taking this moment to nourish other parts of our life, the parts that we seem to overlook during this very busy time of year.

Reminding me: With the rain comes the flowers.

Budding with Possibility

imageThe grass is growing, buds are swelling into blossoms, our gardens are tilled and we are ready for spring. Our compost this year consists of aged alpaca & cow manure mixed with shredded leaves. We decided to move our vegetable gardens from down the hill by our barn to our front yard. Through the years we’ve discovered that, for us, weeding and every day maintenance is the real work of having a garden. In the beginning planting is labor intensive, but a successful, abundant, and sustainable garden takes dedication and self-discipline from planting through harvesting. So, with this in mind, having our gardens right outside our front door and easily accessible will help us tremendously….especially with a little one running around. Besides, if we are going to landscape, why not make it edible! There is just so much to think about and to get done this time of year.

You know, it’s easy to get caught up in the list of unending ‘projects’ around the Farm (that could be said of life in general) and there IS a sense of satisfaction seeing a project complete. But to be honest, I feel the most joy in those tiny moments in between the start and finish; tilting my face toward the sun, taking a deep breath and a sip of water after digging a few holes for our garden from which we will gather food and replenish our bodies in a couple short months. Or watching our son splash in the puddles on our way down to the barn for chores. For me, it’s important to take in those moments, to widen my perspective from task oriented to in-the-moment-experience oriented.

I’m looking out my window at the lake down the hill and the waves indicate there is a strong northwest wind.  What opportunities will blow through our life today?

Budding with possibility.