Three Years

☆ October 24, 2023

For 18 months after Charlie’s death, my only desire was to grieve. I celebrate how deeply I let myself experience my grief and how completely I prioritized myself during this time. I took a sabbatical, and only did what I felt like doing. At first it was mostly crying in bed.

After a couple of weeks of self-medicating with every substance I could get my hands on, I desperately wanted to feel close to Charlie again, physically close to him.

So, I dusted off my grandmother’s spinning wheel, had new bobbins 3D printed to fit the vintage wheel, and taught myself to spin. My goal was to eventually spin the bags of Charlie’s wool I’d saved every year when he shed his winter underfur.

I practiced with sheep’s wool. I spun for five or six hours a day, listening to the same three songs on repeat the entire time. In my remaining waking hours, I devoured spinning videos on youtube and read spinning forums. I still haven’t spun Charlie’s wool…. but now I know I can. And I have so much yarn!

At some point, I started hiking daily with the dogs, often to the bottom of a secluded canyon where I’d spin on a spindle while sunbathing all day long.

I created such a luxurious cocoon to be so sad within. So much good food that I made from scratch from the finest ingredients. So many baths. So many books. So much time spent outside in the wilderness.

And then after 18 months, I realized I no longer desired my grief to be my priority or the defining feature of my life, and I didn’t want it to become a crutch.

That’s when I shared my birthday self portrait on instagram. I wasn’t ready to write anything, but I knew that picture was worth a thousand words, that it would show that I was ok, that I was coming back into life again.

birthday blizzards call for brrrrthday suits

When I took that photo, I still didn’t know who I was without Charlie. I didn’t know what I wanted for my next season of life, and I didn’t fully want to know—thinking about it felt like the last big goodbye. Taking this picture felt like my first step into that abyss, the abyss of Next. And I do love a good abyss.

It’s been 18 months since that first step, and what an abyss it has been. Love, magic, adventure. Returning to parts of myself placed on pause for Charlie, discovering parts of myself I hadn’t yet met. Stories for other days.

In the meantime, I have Charlie’s 2024 calendar for you. He’s with me every day. CLICK HERE if you’d like to spend another year with him, too.

And tell me a little about your last three years in the comments, if you please….

The 2023 Charlie Calendar

☆ November 23, 2022

Hello out there! It’s been a while! Life has been too big to write about and live at the same time. The quickie update is: I’m great, Daisy’s great, Chloe’s great, Mike’s great, the rest of the Farmily is great, and I’ll share more sometime soon.

For now, I’m thrilled to present Charlie’s 2023 calendar. I will be continuing this tradition with so much love and joy for as long as you desire.

CLICK HERE to order and see larger pictures.

Big hugs from here.

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Belonging To A Place

☆ January 12, 2022

Long, long ago, in early November, I thought I would use the time between Thanksgiving and New Years to begin writing again and posting on the blog again and, well, life took me in a different direction. Honestly, I feel like I’ve been in a year-long acid trip. I have completely surrendered to it. And I’ve been enjoying it… even the dances with my dragons. It’s been a very deep, profoundly revealing exploration of my psyche that began, I suppose, when I asked the question, ‘who am I without Charlie?’

I was also planning to spend the winter promoting Meditations with Cows, leading up to the paperback release in February. Self promotion is hard for me in the best of times. It’s even more challenging during a worldwide pandemic while in the midst of a pseudo-psychedelic expedition. But this book is incredibly important to me—more specifically, the words that fill this book matter to me, and I want to share those words. So I’m going to share an entire chapter on social media.

This chapter takes place during the summer I spent living off-grid on the mountain with the cows… which happens to be another time in my life when I felt unable to share the profundity of the moment in the moment, being too immersed in living it. Writing this chapter for Meditations with Cows was the first time I wrote about *why* that summer was so lifechanging for me.

I’m so excited to be able to share this chapter with you. I’ll be sharing it in serial form, a little every day. You can follow along @dailycoyote on twitter or instagram. {If you like what you read, I hope you’ll share or retweet some of my posts, tag me so I can see and smile!}

And yes, the paperback is finally almost here. I prefer paperbacks—they’re just so pleasant to hold while reading. I almost always wait for the paperback release to buy books for myself and others. If you feel similarly, the time has arrived!

This is also a great time to talk to your library to request they acquire a copy, since paperbacks are more budget-friendly than hardcovers. My publisher did not skimp on this paperback though—they’ve printed it IN FULL COLOR! I’m so thrilled, all the photographs and design elements are beautifully printed in color, just like the hardbound edition.

Storytime begins today! See you on twitter and instagram.

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The 2022 Charlie Calendar

☆ November 15, 2021

Howdy, stranger. By which I mean, “howdy” to you, I’m stranger. I know I’ve been MIA, but I needed some time offline.

This year has been so freaking weird, too weird to condense into words just yet. A constant, though, has been how much joy Charlie’s pictures bring me every day.

I love having Charlie’s photos everywhere. Last year, I cut apart old calendars and taped up an entire wall of his pictures. I look at his framed photos and the pictures of him that other artists have sent me. I have him everywhere. And his magic leaps out of the 2-D and becomes multidimensional reality.

This is why I decided to continue with Charlie’s annual calendar – to share that joy.

This year’s calendar includes images from 2007 through 2021, all of which have never been used in calendars before. It’s really beautiful. CLICK HERE see all the details and bigger pictures.

Life is confusing but the Farmily is doing great. Everyone is healthy and wonderful, and it’s been a season of babies. I’ll share more when I dive back into the web, which will be soon.

I miss you, too.

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☆ June 8, 2021

One of our hens got broody and made her nest on the edge of the haystack, three bales high. One day, I went into the barn and saw a scattering of eggs on the ground that the hen had kicked from her nest. Nestled under her body were two little chicks. I’m guessing the hen kicked out her eggs so her babies would have more room, to protect them from falling off the haystack. But it was still too dangerous for them there on the edge, still too easy for them to fall.

I put the chicks in a bucket, then grabbed the hen and carried her to our chick nursery – a dog house made out of logs and filled with straw, which the dogs have never used. It sits in my garden and is the perfect interim home for chicks before they graduate to the chicken house.

I put the hen in the nursery, trapped her in with the chicken wire door, then brought her chicks to her and set them up with water and food. Then I gathered up the eggs, which had landed gently on the loose hay blanketing the floor of the barn, and put them in my yogurt maker to see if any would hatch.

It was a long shot – I didn’t know if the eggs had sat on the ground overnight or if my yogurt maker incubator would even be the correct temperature. But two days later, this happened!

They say baby birds imprint on whoever is present when they hatch, but I imprinted on this chick. I tucked my sweater into my jeans and carried the chick around in the pocket of warmth between my sweater and skin like a chick-mama-kangaroo. When I was in bed, the chick slept on my chest under the covers.

The following afternoon, once I was sure the chick was healthy and strong, I carried it out to the nursery and introduced the chick to its mama. When I placed it in the straw, the chick began cheeping desperately. The hen ran to it, gently herded it to the far corner, and nestled down on top of it as her other two chicks scurried beneath her body.

Doing the right thing is so hard sometimes! But they’re a happy chicken family now. And who knows, maybe another egg will hatch – the rest are still in my yogurt maker.

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