Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Think I Know

After spending the last part of the week in Washington, DC, I can honestly say I know why things in our country are so messed up. How can you trust a government housed in a city where:

1) These people never sleep. All night long folks are walking, talking, driving, eating, and playing. I know. I was, too....
2) Who designs a road system that you can't get home on? I sat on I-95 for two hours and only traveled seven miles. TWO WORDS: Public Transportation.
3) There is no Chickfila. Nuff said.
4) A simple meal costs $45. We are talking caprese salad, chicken breast stuffed with spinach, Spanish rice, and a tart. And no sweet tea. Everyone knows sugar will not dissolve in cold tea. I wept. Quietly.
5) There was no Bible in the hotel room. Where are the Gideons? Are they afraid to go there, too?
6) Everyone wears black. Are they in mourning or what? I didn't see anything bright except me. In red. Very bright red. And, yes, black trousers. But at least I had on RED!
7) The city was built in a swamp. Who builds in a swamp unless they have a death wish or refuse to listen to their surveryor? Oh, that's right. Some of our first Presidents were surveyors, weren't they?? Point made.
8) FOX News was on the TV in every common area of the hotel -- reception, guest services, valet parking, and even, yes, the restaurant. If I am paying $45 for a dinner, I am not going to be watching TV. Period.
9) Noise, noise, noise, noise, noise. I know I sound like the Grinch, but who can have a quiet thought when there is always noise?
10) Goats. They need goats. This would clean up the common areas They are cleaner than elephants or donkeys. And, as far as I know, not one of my gals has ever been caught in a scandal unless you count the time they all got frisky with the buck without permission. Lucy is certainly paying the price for that one; she'll kid any day. But, at least not one of them has been indicted or called before a Congressional hearing. Yet.

All this said, the conference was wonderful, and I was hugged more than at a family reunion. The food, despite the cost, was really delicious. It was great to have handmade mozzarella and I didn't have to make it! Many dear friends were there, several showed up and were delightful surprises, and several new friends were made... Maybe saying yes and getting out of my comfort zone is a good thing.

Now, excuse me. I have to pack for yet another trip. Can you guess where it might be? Hint: The heart of rock and roll is in....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

These Boots Are Made For Walking

And that's just what I'll do. For the next three weeks I have lots of trips. I don't like to travel if it is all work and no play. I am not a happy camper. I want to be home when it gets dark; I want to sleep in my bed; I want to see my goats.

How did this happen??

Have you ever known someone who could manage to get you over committed? I have such a person in my life currently and want my freedom. Short of a full blown temper tantrum, I don't know what to do. We aren't related; I don't have to see this person but once or twice a year; I don't have any special relationship with this person beyond purely professional.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baboo!

Today is Mother's birthday! Hip hip hooray!

Baboo is a remarkable woman. Born to extremely poor parents during the Depression, she went to live with her Grandparents until she was ten as the farm would provide what they could not. She was the darling of the family, petted, adored, fed. But, when she was ten, her little brother was born and she came home to help with him.

Grandpa didn't value education and wanted Mother to quit school. Thankfully, a teacher worked it out so Mother could attend classes half a day and take care of her brother the other half. Mother graduated with honors, after a brilliant basketball career in spite of being 5'1", and faced what seemed to be her fate -- working at the same sock factory with my Grandparents.

She rebelled and essentially ran away from home so she could attend nursing school. She sat in classes eight hours, worked to pay her way for eight hours, and then did all the other things she had to do in the other eight. Within three years she was a certificate nurse and married to my Father who had just returned from Germany.

This amazing woman has fed a family of five on less than $5 a week (when $5 was real money!), managed a budget that often seemed to be Divinely provided (such as the year her medical bills alone were more than $3700 and my parents only earned $3200 -- yet they were debt-free), and raised three pretty remarkable children, even it I do say so myself. She, even more astoundingly, has stayed married to my Father for more than 55 years. And, to my great amusement, when she was 70, she started a fist fight and shouting match with a twit in church. Daddy had to separate them. Who can't love a woman who is that strong minded!?

We hear of the "greatest generation" frequently in the news. Mother isn't of the one referred to, however, I prefer to believe she is of the "greatest generation" for it is her's that made it possible for women today to follow their hearts and not society's. Her generation made sure their children were educated, that women could choose their life path, and that we didn't have to wear pearls in the kitchen.

She is called Baboo for what she said when I was expecting the Airman. After seeing the sonogram,she remarked, "It looks like a 'min-key' "(we love Inspector Clouseau). My reply? "Well, every min-key has a Ba-boon in the woodpile," and pointed to her. It stuck and all the grandbabies call her that.

I am so proud of both my parents for what they overcame in their youth -- ignorance, expectations, poverty, illness, and loss. I am joyful they have both been granted yet another year so that I might learn a little more from them. How blessed is that?

Happy birthday, Baboo!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


This week has been a hectic one with lots of changes in our lives -- all good and none huge! These are the best, aren't they?

Monday I was liberated from the purple cast! Hooray! It felt strange to have two feet on equal footing, but I quickly got back into the swing of things by digging potatoes with The Mister, Shelly and Alvin. We tried using their HUGE mules, but they were not of the mind to work, so we attached the push plow to the tractor and the Mister drove it whilst Alvin practically rode the plow. We have about 350 pounds of potatoes! Good thing we are mostly Irish!

Tuesday we hauled wood all afternoon. May I share with you that at the rate we are saving on our electric, we will have the furnace paid for in two years instead of five? This morning it was a chilly 28-degrees, but inside the weather was delightful -- a snug 68-degrees throughout the house! No cold spots! It was luscious!

Wednesday it rained cats and dogs, but we had so much to do in the house. We are spinning honey this weekend, so jars are to be gathered, washed, and fresh lids purchased. It is a busy time and we love it! The house smells deliciously sweet. What is it about honey that is so wonderful?

Thursday, guess what? We hauled wood again! Last winter was so cold that we are determined to be snug and not have to worry about finding wood when there is snow on the ground. We usually have our first flurries on Halloween, so we are getting in just under the wire!

Friday was a "get the boys' shelter fixed" extravaganza! The Mister did that whilst I ran a ton of errands and tied up a bunch of loose ends. We are still waiting on The Baby, so we had a quick run-by of the Waiting Family to cast eyes on how all are holding up. The Due Date is Sunday, my Mother's birthday, so we are holding our collective breath in anticipation. We also took the leap of faith and dumped our TV service. No more TV for our house. We only watched 15 hours a month and the cost just didn't warrant the time. Somehow, I feel lighter already!

And, so, we are now to today! After over sleeping and missing our Farmer's Market day (we have two left), we are going to fetch hay, work on fences, collect our last super here and put bee escapes on the ones below the mountain so they can come home tomorrow, and, if we have time, we are going to start putting the garden to bed.

Don't you love Autumn!??

Sunday, October 17, 2010

First Day Musings -- Finding Peace

There seems to be a definite movement in many of the blogs I read -- most folks are looking for simpler and quieter lives. Why is this?

I remember having four children to parent and the hurry that was my life. It seemed that every minute was full of activity and rushing. There were days I would fall into bed with my clothes on. Then, a friend said to me,"Why do you think the children have to do everything that comes along? Can't they just be children?"

Point made.

Their success, and mine, was not tied up in all the activities they were doing. Rather, it was in being who they were without judgement. Maybe this is why we rush so. We want others to be impressed or to see us as "productive", "energetic", "competent", or "together".

It is a lie.

Pure peace comes from slowing down and living in the moment. Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to hurry up and get 'er done. Rather, we are reminded in the Psalms that God "maketh me to lie down in green pastures." Why? So we can rest, enjoy, and talk with Him. So we can appreciate the beauty of the day. He wants us to have pleasure in living, not feel that we have to run a race.

To that end, today I am going to heat my coffee, sit on the porch, and read, knit, read some more, and build some castles in the air. I will do what a friend of mine calls prayer: whisper to God.

How will you spend your day?

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's On Me

Sunday the Airman was at the laundry mat getting his clothes ready for the week. As he stood, duffle bag over his shoulder and fighting with the change machine, a woman in her 70s came up and held out a roll of quarters.

"Here," she said, offering the roll to him.

"That's okay, ma'am," he replied. "I can get some change here."

"No," she insisted. "Take these, sir. It's on me."

He took the roll, "Thank you, ma'am."

 "No, thank you, sir."

And she walked away.

I love this country.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It Was Just Here!

You can see even the trees are confused! The maple on the right is all dressed for fall; the ginko isn't quite so sure! Honestly, it seems like we went to bed last night and it was summer and today, brrr, it is fall!

Every season has so much to offer, doesn't it?? Spring promises, summer challenges, fall teases, and winter snuggles. Each one is special and so very wonderful! Since I love wool, this cool weather is so promising! I can't wait to put on my first sweater of the season. The shawls have already been out for early morning wear, but are tossed aside by 10 a.m. because it is too hot. Today I will need to wear a sweatshirt to feed the gals. Sigh.

One of the best treats of cool fall nights is the fire we build in the outside fireplace. It sits, alone, isolated, and unused all summer. But, come fall and winter, we find ourselves outside as the sun sets, a small fire going in the fireplace, and watching the stars begin to prick the night sky. It is my favorite time of the year. Our breath hangs in the air, the dogs crowd our feet, and the cats knead out legs. It is perfect.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere...

... and not a drop to drink. Or flush. Or wash. Or... well, you get the picture.

One of the joys of farm living is the wonderful water we have. For years I had a spring, but during the Big Drought of 1998-99, it went dry. In fact, from Boone to Wytheville one could see house next to house with a drill rig in the yard for those of us whose spring ran dry. Tough year -- and very expensive!

However, I left my spring intact, but capped off,  for "just in case" and drilled a well. A big, deep, fresh, lovely well. The water is nearly as good as what we have from the spring -- cool, soft, clear. But, from time to time, the pressure tank or pressure switch will zonk out on us and leave us without any water. This is one negative of the well. My spring ran on water pressure alone. It would run to the house without power and to the first floor bathroom which was particularly lovely when the power was out. The pump and well isn't quite so accommodating.

Such was the case this morning. I managed to brush my teeth, thank goodness, and make a pot of coffee before the pressure tank was dry dry dry as a bone! Since we were working all day, it didn't become an issue until we got home this afternoon. Even as I type the Mister is outside installing a new switch and adding pressure to the water tank to keep it from those terrible spurts of hot and then cold water. This makes me really happy because the old switch leaked pressure and nothing is worse than having a head covered in shampoo and then have the perfect water temperature suddenly shoot either south or north -- too hot or too cold. Yikes!

We so take for granted having running water, don't we? My Grandmother didn't have this luxury; I hauled water every time we visited her. We ran the path every time we had to potty and didn't even think twice about it. But, I have grown soft. Just knowing it isn't there makes me thirsty. I think I'll go see if there is any water left in the tea pot from last night. If it boils it isn't gross, is it??

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

There and Back Again

Can you imagine taking a class to Colonial Williamsburg for three days of exploration? What fun we had! The docents were remarkable! We learned that there might be ghosts. Cream of peanut soup is superior to any other soup -- at least today(yum). And, we explored nooks and crannies to our heart's desire.

Trip notables:
1. Some students had never been there and it is just five hours from here;
2. Even in a cast, one can explore the replicas of all three of Jamestown's original fleet;
3. Traditional Virginia food rocks: apple fritters, country ham, and crab cakes (OMGoodness);
4. A ferry ride is a super way to cross the James River (even if one has very sweaty palms!); and,
5. A runaway horse can create quite a bit of excitement!

Things we loved:
1. The Palace tour.
2. Experiencing George Washington addressing the City of Williamsburg about the small pox epidemic and why we should be innoculated.
3. Our wonderful docent, Pat, who was so poignant when sharing her excitement about Lady Virginia's christening and her deep compassion about the people in Boston who were starving in 1774 (the tour was set in that time).
4. Eating at (in no particular order): College Delly, the Cheese Shop, and the Surray House (drool).
5. Three days of living and breathing history and literature.

There is nothing like travel, but more than anything, there is nothing like coming home. Sigh. I missed the goats...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm a Fraud

Well, actually, I am who I say I am. I spin, weave, knit, milk goats, make soap, garden, sell at the farmer's market, and a myriad of other things. What I am not is perfect. My house is a mess most of the time. I am overweight. I can't make clever things from milk carton rings. Most times dinner is thrown together and we are darn lucky to have anything decent to eat because there are so many things going on during any given day. We eat a lot of soup and sandwiches.....

In short, I am human.

Sometimes it seems that another person's life is wonderful, perfect, peaceful, and, quite frankly, enviable. There seems to be a solitude or purpose that just, well, eludes us regular folks. But, I think, at the end of the day, we are all the same. We are doing the best we can in the situation or life we have.

Trust me.. you wouldn't want my life. But, I wouldn't want yours.

All the same, I find myself inspired and charmed by the many wonderful people I meet online. I know we are human and, thus, less-than-perfect. Yet, I find myself fascinated by how clever, talented, and positively generous folks are. Maybe this is the good part of instant communication and the voyeuristic peek into others' lives. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What We Did

While we were at Eglin, we went by the Forward Air Control monument for a friend's father whose wingman was shot down in Laos in 1966. We both wept.

And here is the handsome Airman. Every time I see him, he is more confident (like this was never a problem for him!) and more handsome. He is halfway through his technical school and has done well. I learned that nearly 75% of all candidates "double tap", which is "failed" to you and me, before this point in the training. This makes me even more proud of him because he has worked so hard to complete his training.

We also went to see the movie "Easy A" which made me laugh so hard! It was a great modern adaptation of "The Scarlett Letter" and, interestingly enough, I am teaching the novel next week. I can feel a field trip coming on!
The Destin Commons was also on our list of "to dos" this time. It is the neatest shopping area. Built like an old timey down town, there are a lot of lovely little shops along with food and theatre. We enjoyed lemon sorbet at Coldstone and people watching. The Airman is very much like his Mum in that he enjoys watching folks and trying to guess their backstory.
It was a great change - for me to fly down to see him without the Mister -- and I think we both completely enjoyed it! I can't wait to do it again!
As a side note: it is 45-degrees here today! Brr.....

Monday, October 4, 2010


For the past five weeks, Mondays have been terrible: poison ivy, foot, eyes, vertigo, and glasses....

Today is no exception.

I am the person on the sofa with pillows, blankets, hot tea, and all the herbs that should make me well. Cough cough cough.....

I hate Monday.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

First Day Musings -- In Which I Make Friends

New friends were made on my journey to see the Airman! Don't you just love traveling and meeting new folks??

As I boarded in Greensboro, a very nice man who worked for Delta for 30 plus years sat with me. He was a charming fellow who committed himself to keeping me calm. He was stellar. I was klutzy. By the way, did you know that a ball of yarn, on take off, will travel the entire length of an airplane?

From Atlanta to Pensacola, I sat safely nested in a circle of flight attendents trekking to retrieve a plane. They offered to hold my hands and made me laugh until Coke came out my nose. Not really. But, had I been drinking one, it would have!

The flight home gave me just another wonderful selection of travel companions. From Pensacola to Atlanta I enjoyed a very charming JAG officer. She was delightful and told me long stories of her travels to reassure me of how safe it is to fly. Can you believe she leaves home for months at a time, leaving her husband to care for their children? I am half in love with him!

Before I knew it, we were in Atlanta and I managed to find myself next to a terrific fella who worked for WalMart. While I don't particularly care for his employer, I was completely enchanted by this nice young man who takes his children on mission trips and has founded this very charity. I was impressed by how he and his family support this service and work together to make it happen. In fact, anyone in NW Arkansas might want to give them a look-see and perhaps volunteer a little time.

The time in Pensacola was even more pleasurable! I can't wait to share!