Thursday, October 24, 2013

The View From Caldania’s Cupboard

Before we built The Martin House, the “famous” pie-baking spot was in our smaller log cabin.  I thought it’d be fun to turn this cabin into a little farm store of sorts.  My desire for opening the store was to establish a prominent spot where I could chat with visitors at our festivals about activities and life at Marigold Meadows and to encourage interested parties in their pursuit of a more self-sustaining lifestyle.  Considering that Caldania, our calico barn cat, likes to head up from the barn to visit festival attendees, we named the store “Caldania’s Cupboard.”  I decorated the store with old garden tools, wooden boxes, seed and feed bags, hung herbs to dry, etc.

During our recent fall festival, I demonstrated how to dry herbs, make herbal tinctures and oil infusions and I offered items that would likely guide conversations in the direction of sustainability:

  • Organic heirloom garden seeds from Baker Creek
  • Free Baker Creek Seed catalogs
  • Country Wisdom Bulletins from Storey Publishing
  • Free Storey Publishing catalogs filled with sustainable living resources
  • Honey and bee’s wax
  • Herbs and spices
  • Vinaigrettes, muscle rub, bath salts and hand & lip balm that I make from herbs and oils
  • Eggs from Marigold Meadows
  • Herbal tea blends that I make

While I have no desire or time to start a business, neither am I in a position to simply give away costly items to hundreds of people; so everything that I made available was offered on a “suggested donation” basis.

During the two weekends of our fall festival, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet literally hundreds of people.  It wasn’t uncommon for some of my visitors to be on a mission for the homemade pie, consequently conversations with them were short before they headed for The Martin House!  There were others, however, who simply needed someone to encourage them in taking their first step toward a lifestyle of self-sufficiency.  What a blessing it was to encourage them to consider what that first step might look like for them.  I also had opportunities to visit with several like-minded people.  If it was as uplifting and encouraging for them as it was for me to visit about our interests in gardening, preserving foods, raising livestock, etc., I accomplished all that I set out for!

The view from Caldania’s Cupboard was simply breathtaking.  I wish you could have seen it!  From the east window, teamsters were demonstrating how to work horses in the fields.  Seemingly with little effort, the horse drawn plows overturned the earth in preparation for next year’s crops.  A bit of smoke wafting into the west window and the rhythmic clanging of metal drew my attention to the other side of the store.  Fanning the flames for their forges, the blacksmiths were busy hammering out horseshoes, harness hooks, etc.  Between customers, I sat on the porch of Caldania’s Cupboard weaving a rug.  Across the meadow a cooper worked painstakingly to shave the top and mold the staves for a barrel that he was crafting.  A “colonial” lady arose from her weaving frame to attend the soap that she was processing over an open fire.  Yet another was gracefully spinning wool from her llama.  Along with the enticing aroma of homemade pie, gentle strains of music drifting from the Martin House porch added to the calm of the meadows.  While soaking all of this in, I spotted a family walking across the pasture after visiting all the barnyard critters.  Two of the children were holding hands with their dad.  The other two were laughing as they skipped alongside their mom.  Tears flooded my eyes as my heart overflowed with a feeling of fulfillment. 

There are two rocking chairs on the porch of Caldania’s Cupboard.  Maybe next year, you can come join me!  I’ll make you some tea and we can take in, together, all that’s going on around us.  I’m sure you’d agree that there are few places in this world with such a view.


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

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