Lost Coast 15


The difference between where we live and where other people is that other people pay to go on farms to pick apples. For the experience (not socking it, by the way: we did that too, remember?)

So other people go to farms and pay to pick apples. And we live in Apple Territory, where we can get paid to pick apples.

And! We have a local Apple Festival. It’s a fundraiser for school stuff, I believe, and people from the community get together and pick apples – truck beds full of them! – to make and sell apple cider. It’s a lot of fun. The whole entire thing is a lot of fun – picking the apples on other people’s farms (we brought a tote of our own apples to the apple press on the day of the festival), and enjoying the festival itself.

Here are some photos!

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20151002-IMG_3176 20151002-IMG_3144 20151002-IMG_3201 20151002-IMG_3165 20151002-IMG_3132 20151002-IMG_3161And a few from the festival too:

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I haven’t gotten my holiday cards yet – and not sure if I will either! But my goal is to get to it one of these years. If you are going that route, you might want to check out Tiny Prints and their big sale going on now – Save 30% off all orders or 40% off orders of $149+ using the code TPSAVE40 at checkout –  from 11/12-11/17

I was able to take a few toddling steps the other day, and then slooooooooowly getting to more than that. I’m kinda walking like Frankenstein now, all stiff-legged and slurred foot, but do I care?!!

HELL NO!!! I’m getting around, folks! That’s all I really care about.

(are you reading this in “reading mode”? top right corner – it says, “enter reading reading mode”? – it is really the best)

Still icing the foot. Still elevating. Still taking it reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal easy. Perhaps one of the things I find myself thinking is “will I need to bring my hiking boots to Vietnam?” I know, I know; sooooo shallow of me, no? But I can’t stop myself. I would love to look a little less, um… husky. A little less… mountain mama, little more cha-cha, va-voom. I’ll take the hiking boots though, if it means I can walk, sans crutches.

Some photos round here. Moxie, painting:20150807-IMG_1817 20150807-IMG_1819Our figs and the fig tree.

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And it reminds me of Fiji. You know, when I was a kid, growing up in Fiji, my brother and I would hang out by the mango trees behind our place. He’d climb the trees sometimes, shake the branches and I’d collect the mangoes. We’d eat the mangoes together, sometimes I’d bring some over to my next door neighbor’s and we’d sit and dip the green ones into a sauce that we made from vinegar, raw cane sugar, and chilis. So good.

20150927-_DSC7673We didn’t have apples in Fiji. We had what the Taiwanese call “mountain apples” though. In Fijian, it’s “kavika”. I don’t know what it is in English.

20150927-_DSC7700 20150927-_DSC7696 20150927-_DSC7705 20150927-_DSC7708Our chickens are completely free-range and because of that, we’ve lost about 4. One of the girls got really broody – that’s where all she wanted to do was sit on the eggs and let them hatch… poor little mama. We think that we’ll go ahead and get a rooster when we get back from Vietnam and give the mamas happy times.

(I get a little weirded out thinking of eating fertilized eggs though… )

20150925-_DSC7513Cool cow. Not ours. But so cool!



Oh man, you guys.

Want to talk about a messed up ankle, happening a mere few weeks before MAJOR TRIP OF THE YEAR?! Rotten timing! Not like anything like that is ever planned, not like anything like that ever has fantastic timing though, right?

I’ve been walking this little (very fine!) line of trying to psych my good vibes into the healing, like throw all of my energy into MAKING the ankle heal, BELIEVING it will heal, and also preparing for the chance that it won’t be fully healed by the time we leave. In two weeks.

I’m lucky because I’ve been to Thailand and Angkor Wat and Cambodia before, so I have an idea as to how much walking I’ll need to do. I’m also lucky in that I experienced cool stuff in Mexico like Chichen Itza that was horribly painful to me because I really didn’t have the right tools to get my maimed body around on. The latter is my inspiration to get things like foldable knee scooters researched and in the wish list.

Moving on, Micah’s learning archery!20151007-_DSC7905 20151007-_DSC7906-3 20151007-_DSC7907-3 20151007-_DSC7913-3 20151007-_DSC7911-3 20151007-_DSC7909-3

Soccer’s been kinda nightmarish; archery is a total relief.


Another shot of Mikey. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t marry for looks!

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I wonder if he’ll remember any of this?

20151005-_DSC7894-3 20151005-_DSC7892And some random-isn photos of my beloved spaces here. God, but I love this life, love this land.

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ducks on the roof
view from home
view from home

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I was set to call this post something like, “Mice: Round 3”. I was only going to write about MICE and the whole saga that’s developed up here in Yurtlandia. It roughly went like this:

  1. We arrived. Mice were everywhere.

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2. We set up poison traps. Mice died everywhere.

untitled shoot-57093. We got other animals.

4. Mice came back. And proliferated.

5. We were scared to poison the mice again because it would affect the food supply chain for the other animals.

20150926-_DSC7588-26. CRAP

7. Mice really proliferated.

We actually moved the kids out of the loft because it was Out.Of.Control.

I’m talking, mice getting into all of our clothes, mouse poop all over the place, puddles of mouse pee in our dishes! Ugh.  I thought of the cute little mice that I’d seen and taken pictures of, videos of too! – and was glad for the sake of bloody mercy that I wasn’t seeing them again, little shits.

I have no compunctions about grabbing them by the tail and feeding them to the ducks. Alive. The ducks pick them up, by the way, and thwack their necks with quick flick of their bills, scoop them up and in, and there they go. Mice-meal.



We’ve been waiting for a cat and we are planning on getting at least two of our friend’s kittens when they are weaned (and we are back from Vietnam). But the other day, I saw an ad on our local community forum for a cat… it said “she’s a mouser!” and I was sold. We went to pick her up.

So, here is where my post got diverged from calling it “Mice: Round 3” or something (snappy) like that. What happened was this: I was walking downstairs, carrying our new little cat (who is indeed a mouser! She killed mice all night, in her first night here! WOOOT!), and I was paying attention to her, not to where I was stepping. I mis-stepped, landed on the foot which has only recently fully healed from being broken in January…and sprained it. At least I hope it’s a sprain and not a fracture. Positive thinking, y’all.

I’m lying in bed now and typing this and Mikey’s dipping those instant bags of Indian food in boiling water. Dinner. My foot is duly elevated with ice packs on it and I just keep thinking of those effing mice. Maybe technically speaking, my sprain is my fault because I wasn’t watching where I was going, but I blame THEM, little defecating suckers of holey sadism.




“Hey, you guys want some ducks?”, Ken asked. “My friends lives in town and is getting in trouble with his, so he’s wondering if he can give some to you.”

Hmm. Mikey and I talked it over, I mean, ducks. We never really thought about them, but why not, right? We like duck meat, after all. So, without really looking more into it than that, we got ourselves 6 Muscovy ducks.


We really didn’t expect much besides them being perhaps somewhat interesting creatures who would enjoy our small pond?

20150925-IMG_3026We definitely didn’t expect them to fly on over to the defunct solar panels and hang out!

20150925-IMG_3028We had NO IDEA that these types of ducks hang out on lower ground during the day. They enjoy water, but in moderation. They like hanging out on the roof. And they sleep in tall trees.

20151004-_DSC7876-2 20150927-_DSC7720-2 20150927-_DSC7716-2 20150927-_DSC7712-2Watching them is endlessly amusing

20151004-_DSC7879-2 20151004-_DSC7874They are pretty fearless. The kids walk on up and try and chase them and stuff, but the ducks just shrug. Wag their tails. And yes, ducks really wag their tails!

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We went to the Humboldt County Fair when it was going on because… why not?!

Meriah Nichols Humboldt County Fair-51I wasn’t as chicken about taking the kids by myself as I was last year. New York and the double stroller made me bold. But I swear, a good double stroller is worth it’s weight in gold for the hampered solo mama; it’s opens WORLDS up. Or in this case, a really fabulous County Fair, which is held in the darling, most adorable little town of Ferndale.

Meriah Nichols Humboldt County Fair-50I’m not going to do a whole lot of talking in this post. I have something like 52 photos to share here, so I’ll just get on with it and let them do the talking.

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Meriah Nichols Humboldt County Fair-3 Meriah Nichols Humboldt County Fair-12 Meriah Nichols Humboldt County Fair-11 Meriah Nichols Humboldt County Fair-10 Meriah Nichols Humboldt County Fair-9Moxie was mad at me because I wouldn’t let her go on the Zero Gravity thing… Lord knows we’re in trouble when she’s actually tall enough to ride all those freaky-scary-can’t-believe-I-let-my-kid-ride-that kind of rides…

And then, just like that, we were all tired and I said, “hey, how about we go home now?” and they all kinda nodded and I knew they were just BEAT to have agreed like that… so we left.

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We came back from Mexico in March and we’re leaving again in November.

That means that this month – July – is our “hump month”. It’s like Wednesday is in a working week.

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Hump Month just draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaags for me, like molasses in winter.

It’s hot. It’s slow. It’s hot. I miss Mikey.

Meriah Nichols -3-2We ALL miss Mikey

mikey tickling mac while sitting on dirt stairs child with fatherIt’s such a toss up, you know?

Spend all this time away from him for months – we only seem him usually for an hour or so in the morning and an hour or so at night. 7 days a week.

But then we get to be full time families for FIVE MONTHS.

mikey holding a bucket with fruit in itAlthough we might be changing that too.

We love the Lost Coast so much and Mikey and Dana are doing well with the farm, so we will probably stay here year-round if the (still unfinished) yurt gets finished and we can actually live in it through a Humboldt Winter.

baby alligator lizard sticking under mirrorYep.

And we think if THAT happens, we’ll live here, year round. We’ll travel someplace that we’ll fly to, and stay for a shorter time. We’ll do more work on the farm, and start building a retreat center here too. Cuz you want to come and visit, right?!

lizard tail sticking out of the sheets

Hell yeah! You know you do!

We have alligator lizards galore and hummingbirds that come into the house!

Meriah Nichols -4And by the time you get here, I’ll have hummingbirds dripping off of me, sitting on my shoulders and eating from my hand. “The Hummingbird Whisperer”, that’s what people will call me!

Moving on, The Kids.

We have happy kids.

Meriah Nichols -13 Meriah Nichols -11-2 Meriah Nichols -10-2 Meriah Nichols -9-2 Meriah Nichols -8-2 Meriah Nichols -7-2 Meriah Nichols -6-2 Meriah Nichols -5-2While I might feel like July is Hump Month and drags from here on out, I sincerely doubt they do.

They are just… fun loving little light seekers that wring the hell out of every drop of joy they can find.

Meriah Nichols -11-3 Meriah Nichols -10-3 Meriah Nichols -9-3 Meriah Nichols -7-3I feel like my kids are the most interesting, interested children in the world

Meriah Nichols -8-3 Meriah Nichols -3-6 Meriah Nichols -2-6I’ll bet you think that about your own kids too, don’t you? Which goes to show that we all really do get the kids that are perfect for us. Sometimes whether we realize it or not.

Meriah Nichols -1-9Micah is back to normal  – thank you SO MUCH for all the support

Meriah Nichols -5-3His voice is solid, he is happy and back to his typical level of examining how the universe works. And bionicals. And Legos. And craft/cooking/making/stuff and being complicated and yet still a little boy.

Meriah Nichols -6-3It’s all going to work out.

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Hump Month!

I have too much to do. I hate all the (neverending) housework that sort of grates on my soul but if I neglect it, things are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay worse, so better to just flow into oneness with drudgery.

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“oneness with the drudgery” – not bad!

naked childing bending down

So, too, is life here, overall.

Even in Hump Month.

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xoxox hope you are having a good one, too

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Tomorrow I’m going to be getting on an airplane with Katherine and we are taking our annual MomCation to Atlanta, Georgia. Yep. Because we are total nerds, our idea of a good time is going to present on Deaf Identity at the Society for Disability Studies – hang out and attend lots of cool lectures on things disability-related. Seriously, I don’t think we could be more psyched!!!

Since this post is set for auto-publish, I think you’ll be reading this when I’ll actually be on the plane, right? I hope.

In the meantime!

Lots going on at home on the Lost Coast. Last week, cherries were upon us in force and we actually got to pick and eat a bunch. Figs are almost ready for their first harvest. Mushrooms were getting big and cool and maybe a little disturbing since we have no idea what kind they are… (do you?). Kids roamed unplugged, wild, free. Chickens laid a LOT of eggs. Chickens also crossed a field, a road, a moat and a hill to come and visit us in the yurt (and I had that surreal moment of shooing them out of the house – like, WHOAH, did I really work in the corporate world in Tokyo and now I’m shooing chickens out of my yurt on a hill off the grid?!!!)

Life is good.

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I took the kids down to the coast when the tide was out so we could see if we could spot anything cool.

It was absolutely freezing down there – this biting wind going on with the frigid water. It always makes me laugh when people think of California beaches as these Florida-esque ones because really, nothing could be further from the truth. Comparing a beach in Northern California with one in Northern Scotland might be more accurate.

Anyway, so there we went. Micah initially led the way, Mack was pissed off about something and refused to budge from the driftwood and snack supplies. Moxie was OFF. Micah got cold and went back to hang out with Mack (and the snack supplies) and Moxie just kept going. I had to drag her back to the snack supplies when I saw her little legs turning blue.

This is one of the things that I can’t stop being crazy about with her. I swoon over her drive to explore. She has every bit of curiosity that I ever did, but a lot more in the way of fearlessness. Frigid water won’t make her flinch if it looks interesting. Rocks make her happy if they are climbable. Sand, mud, dirt – all cool elements to her.

Here are some photos:

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It takes me 2 hours to drive from our yurt on the hill to Costco. Or a mall. Or McDonald’s (not that I’d be going there anyway though, right?!). That sounds so far and people tend to flip out a little when they hear that, like “oh, I could NEVER do that!”

But the thing is, I’m not driving in urban conditions. I’m not going bumper to bumper with some rage-filled commuter. I’m not slogging through an exit with 2 other cars necking in. I’m not being cut off by a pissed off mom in a minivan.

Driving for half an hour in the Bay Area usually left me bitter, seething, and with tension roiling in my belly.

2 hours here, driving through this? I’m a zen master, baby

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We live about 15 minutes from the beach.

I’m talking Northern California Beach, which is a breed of beach that is in a class of its own. These are waves to love with caution, these are currents and tides to fear. The ocean up here is a powerful, cold goddess that demands respect.

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I rarely go to the beach with the kids. It’s a simple matter of being scared that Moxie and Mack will divide and conquer – both run in opposite directions and leave me with paralyzing terror in my gut and legs incapable of chasing small bodies in different directions at the same time.

With that undertow and the murderous ocean currents, I won’t risk it.

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But when our friends came to visit, it was perfect. Kristin and I took the kids to the beach for a picnic.

Meriah Nichols -12 Meriah Nichols -44 Meriah Nichols -43 Meriah Nichols -40 Meriah Nichols -41 Meriah Nichols -42Some whales were frolicking right off shore, the sand was warm, cool driftwood a’plenty

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The thing about friends? It’s incredible how much courage they can lend. I mean, just their being there makes everything easier, doesn’t it?

One concern about traveling with kids tends to be friends: “will the kids make friends?”, “who will the kids play with?”, “what about you and your own friends?”

Every one of those questions is valid.

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There are definitely moments while traveling when it’s hard because the kids want to hang out with other kids – and the other kids are in school. Or they have their own groups. Micah especially has a hard time with that – he wants friends with a fiendish desperation born of a child who is being urged to homeschool.

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But the fact of the matter is, he’s a sharp, soft cookie with hard nuts.

I mean, he’s SMART. And he’s sensitive. And he’s not always easy. This isn’t likely to be helped by his being  a child who was born to parents who suck at knowing the right thing to say/do that would help him out at this point.

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So while traveling might be hard for the kids in some ways, it’s infinitely easier in others.

It’s easier because when they actually do make friends (and they always do), they make friends that are easy to keep because they are the same type of kid; same type of crazy parent who will take them overlanding or whatever.

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I think that’s something that every parent who wants to travel but is hesitant about on account of their child and concern over their friendships should keep in mind.

Your child will make friends; you will also make friends. And the friends you make are friends that will gel with you in a way that your friends next door in the city won’t. Ever.

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We say to our boy now to be patient, take his time, because this process takes time. Friends take time. They are the family you choose, they are the nets that will catch you, the love that will boost you, and you them.

They are precious and like all that is precious in this world, they are worth waiting to find.

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