The birds pretty much show up all at once. One day in the early spring, “Look! The blue jays are here!” And the little wrens and thrush are pecking in the good dirt of the garden beds. And then you look up and there are falcons overhead. Just like that, the woods come to life. It’s like somebody took a remote control and turned the sound on.


It should be the clearest sign of spring. And, it is. But also this morning we woke up to a fresh dusting of snow. And then it hailed all day. I couldn’t work outside at all. The kids and I spent the day cleaning under the beds.


I’ve been swinging back and forth, too. I’m ready to go, I’m not ready to go. I’m excited about what comes next, I’m insecure and scared. I feel like I’m more on top of it than I’ve ever been, I feel like I’m taking on too much.


It’s not confusion, exactly. I know how I feel. I just feel different, depending on what I’m looking at.


My kids are sewing this week. They learned hand sewing at our homeschool co-op last week and though they both burst into tears during the first lesson, a week later they’re completely into it. I wrote recently about peerage for adults, how powerful it is to have other people in your life moving with you, shoulder to shoulder, in the same direction. But I’m still floored to watch the same thing work on kids. I’ve said before that you are how you live. Apparently, you are how your friends live, too.


I’m worried about my country, lately: the tension and violence in the air, and the urgency to it. I don’t have a place where I stand in that ring right now. The reality of politicians is so far from the reality of blue jays and rag doll sewing. I feel sometimes like it’s a bait and switch. Which one of these worlds is the fairy tale? … But there’s nothing fairy tale about the end game, in either one.


I don’t usually tell people I’m a prepper. In fact I often say the opposite. But of course I was born the child of a prepper. I’m grandfathered into prepper-dom. I’m a born prepper. And I think it’s real that agrarian and traditional skills rise in popularity when social instability is happening. Not just a possibility, but happening.


I’d love to tell you that my off-grid homesteading channel on YouTube has become a thing so quickly because I planned it all. But you know I didn’t. All the homesteading channels on YouTube are growing right now, and off-grid even more so. If I put up a video today called, “Everything You Need to Know to Survive After the Collapse” it would go viral and my channel would be super popular. All that tells you is what day it is today.


It may seem that I have my head in the sand because I don’t talk politics on YouTube. But I’m not missing anything. I just don’t have any answer. I certainly don’t think the answer is in one of these US presidential candidates. And I don’t think the answer is in propagating fear, either. The last thing we need is to be any more scared or any more anxious or any more paralyzed. Or more angry at one another.


If I have a life verse, it’s probably Philippians 4:8. “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”


It can seem a little hopeless, or a little impossible, to lean into the hope of excellence and honor when it seems every day to hold less and less ground. It can seem childlike, or naive. But it’s the only way I know to put my weight behind what’s right. I don’t put my eyes on the worst, or the least. I don’t put my eyes on the disaster, either, except in the way that I can take action to make it better. If there is anything worthy of praise, then I can’t give up.


I’m doing prepper things right now. Like, woah. I’m doing a food storage, for the first time in my adult life, (because it hits some touchy triggers from my childhood, but that’s another story). Plus I’m learning to draw medicine from local plants, and otherwise learning skills that I thought I’d never need. And I’m not blind to the sense of impending disaster that drives traffic to my YouTube channel.


But I’m not prepping because I envision that disaster. I’m prepping because there is honor and excellence in the work of our hands. There is pleasure and mutual admiration in the community that grows up around values of agrarian living and traditional skills. I’m going a bit by feel, as I always do, but the movement is towards what is wholesome and hopeful and pure.


And I guess what I wanted to say to you is…I’ve never yet not found something worthy to think on.


I am worried, as I think many people are. And I’m trying not to be so lost in little worries that I might miss the big ones. But also, I’m still putting my head down and nosing my way toward what’s right. And also, you can count on us, we’re keeping the faith.


With love from the yurt (with sun and hail on top, and clean floors under the beds); we’re thinking of you,

Esther and family