Friday, December 14, 2012

Am I the Only One?

Everywhere I look, people are excited, decorating, happy, celebrating, spending too much, shopping, shopping, shopping... And me?

I sit.

And cry.

And eat.

Christmas has never been a big favorite of mine. Too much pressure to "be perfect", whatever that is. Yet, when the Airman was growing up, it was a wonderful time. I couldn't start soon enough. We baked. Decorated. Went to movies. Watched movies. Walked. Talked. And just had a marvelous time.

I miss that.

I have no desire to decorate, bake, shop, eat (more than the coffee ice cream with chocolate bits that I had for lunch), or do much of anything else. In short, I am blue. More than blue; I am a dark hole with no bottom.

Don't get me wrong. I really do want to feel all this blustery excitement, but it just isn't in me. Instead, I want to crawl into my unmade bed, wearing the jammies I have worn for two days, and pull the covers over my head and wake up in spring.

I have really tried. Truly. My shopping is done. And that is all I have in me.

Being blue isn't a new thing for me; heck, let's face it. We all have it. But this dark hole is harder than anything I can see my way out.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December? Seriously?

It is 23 days until Christmas. Where did fall go? Is it just me or does the time seem to fly??

This week has been a blow by kind of week: work every day, tutoring, farm, cutting wood (we still have one more tree to get up below the mountain and half of another one at a different house), and, somehow, finding time to clear out one room and starting to get things ready for my move. While I don't have a time table, officially, I want to put the house on the market in April. It shows well then and it would be the right time to do so. Counting back, then, I have to get a certain amount done Every Day.

This week, I attacked the back bedroom that was the Airman's. His things are in the attic, for now, and that room has been a guest / clutter / overflow room. I managed to clear out five boxes to donate and one bag of trash. And, I am still not finished. I am finding that as I toss, it gets less painful to toss the next thing. Really, the purging is doing me good.

Additionally, this week, I have run a new budget, tightened up a few places and found another way to add to the coffers. I am going to start tutoring below the mountain on Saturday mornings. It is a larger community and the folks there have a more, ahem, disposable income. The ad will go in the paper tomorrow and I will hope to pick up six hours of tutoring. And, I can combine that with visiting my parents... not that I am tight or anything....

On the home frugality front, we have made our 12-pound turkey last into a second week by having it in sandwiches, tettrazini, gravy, and pot pie. The hens are laying again, so we have eggs, eggs, eggs... which means egg salad, fried, scrambled, omelet, quiche, fritatta, deviled, and boiled. Not to mention puddings and custards. I have found it is cheaper for us to go to the "used bread" (day old) bread store and stock up on specials once a month. I bought all the bread we needed for a month for less than $5 -- sliced, English muffins, hot dog buns, and sandwich thins. To be honest, I cannot bake it for that.

My favorite cheapie of the week was on Friday. I had to go cut wood, so I left home early, early planning on stopping at Sheetz for gas (.03 discount with their card) and getting my free beverage for the month (which was a whopping $2.29) and run by Chickfila with a free breakfast coupon so that I could save that for lunch. Daddy laughed and said he had never seen anyone plan their freebies / cheapies as well as I did Friday! He is always so amused by my "making Mr. Lincolon weep" choices.

This challenge is fun and it seems to gather energy as the days go past. A notebook for the new house is started and ideas are flowing. Everything I ever wanted in a little house is going into it while I dream.

How do you create your dreams and bring them to life?  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Decisions

Five weeks ago I discovered I was full. Full. To here. I have whined a lot about being tired of all kinds of things, but, to be honest, I have done little to change much of it. But, I have a secret.
That's changed.

I have been on a plan for five full weeks. And, this is from a person who can only commit to four knitting projects and six books at a time. In fact, my Father once remarked that the only reason I carried my son for nine months was because Nature wouldn't give me other options or let me "finish it later." And, by the way, he was two weeks late. I think it was a cruel joke.

For some time I have talked about wanting to pay off the house, be out of debt, lessen my stress, and so forth. But, frankly, I have done a passing effort at these things. Now, Dave Ramsey and I are more than going steady. We are shacking up. Yeah. I have a spreadsheet by my place at the kitchen table that gets filled out every night and every penny is accounted for. And, I have a plan.

I am selling the farm. Close your mouth or it will freeze that way.

This is going to take a little time. First, the house has to be cleaned and cleared, projects finished, two floors redone (one resanded and sealed and one replaced as the tile is cracking), a little indoor painting, and some updates done to the bathrooms. Then, the outside has to be dealt with: a blind ditch that I kept telling the Mister NOT to drive his tractor over has collapsed, filling my yard with a small stream that is just muddy and not pleasant; painting needs to be done to freshen the house; and, landscape has to be replaced.

Since I work full-time and still hit the craft shows about a dozen times a year, it will take awhile to get it all done. I am compiling a notebook with a page for each room with a list of what needs done. I will start with the messiest construction -- the kitchen floor -- and work from there. At the same time, I will be clearing Every Single Space so that this monster house will look, well, monster.

The next step in the plan is to live on a strict budget. I paid off one debt in the past month and cash flowed three major repairs to the car and truck. Dave is right; writing it down makes you honest in what you are choosing and makes the money go farther. I still have money left at the end of the month. Amazing.

Concurrent with this is getting my income up even more. I have started a little tutoring on the side and like it very much. I actually feel that I am teaching more than I do in my classroom. These are a wide variety of students and it is marvelous to stretch myself with things I don't normally do. I have created syntax trees, edited documents, and even taught capitalization! Such fun and I love seeing the extra money come in.

To keep myself honest, I purchased those adorable plastic magnet numbers and put the total debt on the refrigerator Right Where I Have To See It Every Time I Go In The Kitchen. It bugs me and I love to even change one number. I have a target date up as well to remind me that I am on a schedule.

Now, you ask, where will I go? What will I do? Simple. I am moving to the family farm where I am building a smaller house that will be much more energy efficient and, more importantly, paid for. My sister is building around the corner in the same pasture. I am excited beyond words.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Best Laid Plans...

The inside day was nothing close to my hopes.

I realized that I needed feed for the piggies, Buttercup and Sausage, and that the laying pellets were a little too low for comfort, so I hopped in the car and scooted the 24 miles to the feed store. When I got out, I smelled it. Anti-freeze. Yeppers. Radiator. Blown. Like really blown. And I only had 436,000 miles on it. Go figure.

After a good talk with the guys at Southern States ("Yep. Smells like anti-freeze." "How many miles you got on this thing?" "Really?" "You better hurry; won't make it far..."), I limped the car the full block to the Advance Store for help.

"Yep. Blown radiator...You might try the guys next door at Meineki."

And the guys at Meineki, "Yup. That's a blown radiator alright. It'll take all day and maybe tomorrow to get it fixed."

I called the Mister at work and he said he'd be there when he could get there. My knitting and I sat down and started spending some quality time together. Five hours later, the car was repaired for a full 12-cents less than quoted, the Mister and I had finished my errand list I wrote while I was waiting (such a dangerous thing --- to be alone with time, paper, and pen).

The rest of the week has been spent cutting wood, hauling it home, and stacking it. We had three trees down on the property below the mountain and had a company come chop up the trees so we could split them. We are still working on it and already have brought home six loads of firewood. There is still six or seven more loads to cut and haul home. Whew.

Yesterday I watched "Gone With the Wind" and ironed antique linens and aprons. I know that Bonnie Blue dies, so why do I cry like a girl when that happens? Why do I cry when Melanie dies? Why doesn't Ashley come clean with Scarlett sooner? Bum. And, why do I hope that Scarlett gets Rhett back?? How much are those wonderful dresses??

Back to work tomorrow; we only have three more weeks of classes and it is Christmas break. I can't believe it is already here! We are still having temperatures in the 50s during the day. Crazy.

What are your plans for the week? Thanks for all the kind comments on my last posting. I was just having a day and it is nice to know folks care.

Have a simply mar-vuh-lous week, ya'll!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another One

Last night was another one of those nights --- I don't sleep and, when I do, it is a sleep that is anything but restful. I wake myself praying, "Please, God, protect my son and all those with him. Surround them with Your loving hands and protect them from those who would hurt them. Show them their path in life and guide them to it with love and care. Bring them home unscathed by the horrors they see and experience. I gave him to You when he was a baby; now, keep Your Promise and give him fulness of days." And so it goes, hour after hour, night after night.

We have no TV connection to the outside world; we have only the internet for news and sometimes that is too much. Another two die in the stupidity of Afghanistan and Iraq. Fifty more face devasting injuries. A hundred more have injuries we can't see. I feel my knees shake, my heart cries when I hear these things. They are someone's son or daughter, and, yet, I feel a sense of relief that it isn't my son. I feel guilty for these thoughts... but still, I whisper,"Tthank you, Father, it isn't my child." A terrible paradox of empathy and joy.

I wonder how other mothers deal with this. How do they stand the not knowing? How do they face every day without weeping in the grocery line? How do they bear putting their heads on their pillows knowing that their child is in a tent in a country where children throw rocks at his convey and he sees the "impact cloud" where a comrade missed an IED and there is just enough of him left to fill a bag to send to his mother? How can they bear it? I don't know if I can. I am not strong. I am not brave.

Today is day 65. We have another 115 to go. And, this morning, after five days silence there was a single text:

Hey, Mum! You'd love this place because I am with a group of British Special Ops. Last night we saw the new Bond movie. U2!

How did I raise so brave a man? Tighten up, girl, he depends on you to keep it real and normal. I can do it. With God's help.

Monday, November 19, 2012

An Inside Kind of Day

My students have a reading day today, so I took a personal leave day. This is my "unplanned" time at home to catch up: grading, preparing for clas, and doing things here that I like to do. The best thing is that this is "unplanned time." 

Today is an inside day and I am happy with that. The finch are chipping; Mr. Wookie alternates between snoring and stomping to the food bowl; Bunnie keeps rattling his cage because it is time for him to come out and play; and, the rain is falling Ever So Softly. There is no other noise. No TV. No music. No one talking. Just quiet.

Later today, I will put sweet potatoes in the oven and set fish out for dinner. I'll chop some apples for Waldorf salad (have you tried the honey crisps? OhMYGoodness!) and toss it on a bed of lettuce. Simple.

I am longing for a new skirt and, after pricing and trying on some while shopping with my Sissie last week, I am going to pull the Pendleton wool out of the wardrobe and finally cut out a skirt for myself. I bought this wool on close out a long time ago and haven't had the courage to cut it until now. It'll make a lovely, long skirt, four-gored, I think. And, I have enough left to make another something from it... Is it poor form to have two skirts from the same fabric, but in different styles?

Then, I will press all my antique linens that have been in storage and place them in the old chest-of-drawers that has been cleared out; I want them where they are more available so that I can use them more often.

And, if there is time left before feeding, I will stretch out with a "Piecework" that has collected and devour it and enjoy a real cuppa tea and a toasted English crumpet. I found them at Trader Joe's last week and just decided to treat myself. I am the only one who eats them and, if I am careful, they will last for two glorious weeks. Yummers.

Yeah. I like my "unplanned days." Don't you?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wings

So, I don't know where the past months have gone. I have not read blogs. I have not posted much. I have, frankly, been "into me." Do you do that? Do you just need some time to sit down and just think about your goals, life, and choices before and behind?

Before you decide "something is wrong," let me assure you, it is not. It is just where I happen to be right now.

You know, we start out life full of lofty goals and aspirations, only to find that, sometimes, our choices have left us so far off track that we hardly recognize how we got to where we are.... or even who the heck we are anymore... My life dream was to live on a farm, write, have about a football team of children, and a partner who would share my dreams. We would grow old surrounded by our children and grand children. Life would be quiet, orderly, and peaceful. I would teach fall and spring and write all summer long. Home would be a haven. It would be filled with laughter, love, and joy. My needs would be few; my pleasures many.

Right.

So, here I am, looking at my life and saying, "Um, can I have a redo, please?" I guess we all can look at certain places in our lives and say, "Yup; that's were I should have turned left. Or right... Or not at all.... "

But, it is what it is, right?


We did not change as we grew older;
we just became more clearly ourselves. 
~Lynn Hall
 
I read an interesting bit yesterday about "trying on" life as we think others live it. At first, I was amused by the article. You know, pick a person you admire and try life as you think they live it. I spent all afternoon thinking of who I would be... there are lots of folks I admire, after all.... But this morning I realized that I just wanted to be me without trying to think about how others see me. And, let's face it, we all do just that -- not let others see who we truly are... we always hold something back. Life is lived in third person...

Years ago, I had two tattoos done (yes, tattoos) -- one was a dragon turning back on itself which symbolizes personal power in the Oriental culture. It is in a place where no one ever would see it, because I felt that choice was personal and for me only. The other was a wing, on my heel and ankle, to remind me never to become earthbound again. To always dream and look up. To be authentic to myself and to remember that life is more than looking down. I always did think that the worse punishment from God for that originial sin was not only the separation from Him, but also the fact that human kind was doomed to always look down to make their way in the world. No looking up and dreaming, unless we stopped and did it On Purpose.

Not sure how to end this post. I guess it is a letter to myself more than anything. So, dear Martha, let go. Reach out. Look up. Dream. Be scared. Be angry. Be frank. There is more sand in the bottom of the hourglass than in the top. Quit being "earth bound" and remember how it felt to have wings. Use them.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

More October Loves


Krispie Kreme Halloween Donuts...
Yeah...
I ate half of the dozen...
The Mister ate the rest...
No. I am not sorry...
 
Do you have yours yet?
My Mother turns 78 in a week.
This is what my Daddy got her.
Daddy got something right. Finally.
Yeah. The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.
 
 
 
How are you spending your October?
Warm and snuggly?
Wet and cool?
Inside or out?
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why I Love October


Of course, the first reason is the Airman was born in this month.... and the Ms. Airman... and Mr. LZB.... and my Mother .. and my BIL... Yeah. Almost as busy as June with special days in our household!

The second reason is that the Mister and I watch a scary movie a night for the whole month. It is wonderful! We love the campy ones, such as this one from last night "The Mummy's Hand." Can't get much worse than these, but they are sooooo much fun! It was rainy and cold last night, so it was the perfect night for a scary movie with popcorn and hot tea!

I have lots of decorating to do. What do you do to celebrate the Autumn?

Monday, October 1, 2012

1982

Three decades ago, just on this date and almost at this time, a screaming little guy entered the world. It was a crazy day --- rain and sunshine mixed, pay day, Chicago Tylenol murders, and EPCOT opening. As usual, this little guy was late -- a full two weeks, to be exact -- and looked like he was three months old and had spent most of that time at the beach working on his tan.

In his first picture, he looks rather like a pirate, scrunching up one eye and holding his hands in the way only pirates do, clutching for something that he wants but Just Can't Reach. Yet. He is just a few minutes old, but his chocolate eyes (how I had hoped he'd get those from his Daddy!) were taking in everything in the delivery room --- most likely trying to figure out how to get the nurses to take him for a quick game of pool or a drink.

A few weeks later (or so it seems), he was entering high school and asking for a 16th birthday trip to England. Just the two of us, he said, which was good since that was all there was... and we roomed together, toured, walked, ate, and played a blue moon million games of poker at night while seeing England from London to York. He didn't throw up when a fella we met at one of the hostels asked how long he had been with his "lady." Good naturedly, he replied, "All my life" only to be assured by the questioner that it just seemed that way sometimes.... until the explanation of "this is my Mum" was made. The fella just howled and said we got along far too well to be parent and child. And, we returned home still friends and speaking.

Then, suddenly, this handsome young man was on his own (I swear it was just a few weeks after he made his grand entrance) and following his bliss. He did things I wished I had done; took chances and made choices that drove me to distraction (isn't that a rule or something when one has children?). And he has made me so proud to be his Mum.

It is difficult to look at one's child and realize that when I was his age, I thought I was so old and wise -- my life was half over, or so it seemed. Yet, when I look at him, I see his life just beginning and so many wonderful years ahead of him and his beautiful wife. I miss my tow-headed, chocolate eyed son, but I would miss the courageous, intelligent, compassionate, and witty young man I am so joyful to have in my life.

You are far away right now, my dear Airman, but I can feel you just as I could before you were born. Through you, I know that I will continue to be as long as you and your children and your children's children think of me or make my pound cake. The day you came into the world, it became a better place. And I am proud to know that I had a hand in making you. Me and God. Oh, and your Dad showed up, too...

Happy Birthday, Airman! May you have many, many, many more! Be safe and come home soon!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Peace

Today is the International Day of Peace. Ironic, isn't it? However, we can pray for peace and for understanding. We can pray for our leaders who seem to be untouched by the mess our world is in. We can pray for our soldiers (and I for mine especially). And for those who work with the displaced because of the world's violence (such as a co-worker's daughter who runs a shelter in the Sudan).

In short, we need to pray without ceasing, as the Good Book states. Not just with words, but with actions. We can make our life's work a prayer -- an offering of praise and worship. The Amish do this so well. So did the Shakers. I think, though, it goes deeper than just what we do. It is the attitude in which we do it. Is it gratitude? Appreciation? Understanding?

I am thinking a lot these days about peace in many ways -- not just in the world, but within myself. As I have grown older, I have come to realize that the most important thing in life is to be peaceful. It is still a struggle, but I am learning that there are things I Just Can't Change. And, I am learning to not be angry about them. Maybe this will contribute to world peace -- just not being angry? What do you think??

In the meantime, here is one of my favorite songs from my misspent youth. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kindness

 
Monday I went into work to find these on every door in my office suite.
A conspiracy had taken place while I was gone visiting the Airman and Ms. Airman.
It involved a very sneaky, dear friend and a roll of yellow ribbon.
I cried like a girl...
...which I am.
And a very proud friend, Mum, and American.
Kindness.
Support.
Understanding.
Who could be luckier?

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Time

Pick up your pen. It is time.


Our country has gotten crazy. Now, I am not going to rant. Goodness knows, I am plenty good enough at that. What I am going to do, instead, is pick up my pen. And a pack of US Postal Service pre-paid postcards -- a bargain at 42-cents each, postage included.

And I am going to write. Every day. The President. My state senators. My state representatives. Every. Single. Day.

"Good morning!

Today is ... day that my only child has been put in harm's way. This is no less than others have done and I am proud of him. HOWEVER, you promised to end this ridiculous military action. You have not. You can be fired.

Bring our service people home. Today.

I am praying for you and our country. "

Now, granted, I have my own agenda. But, what if, just what if, we took the time to start sending these clowns a daily or even weekly postcard in which we remind them who they work for and what their job is? It is not to vote party line. It is not to act police person in another country. It is not to tax us to death. It is not to create crisis after crisis nor to provoke fear or intolerance. It is to represent us. The American people.

Will you help start a movement? Will you link to this post, put it on Facebook, email it to a friend? You can find your elected representatives through this link. Folks, it isn't about politics. It is about loving our country enough to speak up for her. Let's bury those offices in postcards! It is the best 42-cents you will ever spend.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rain, rain, go away

It is raining today at Lazy Bee Farm and everyone is drowsy, including me. Wookie has snored out loud as he napped in my chair. (Doncha love how everyone wakes up and looks around as if to say, "What? Me sleep? Nah....")


Moose and Anabel have barely moved on the porch ... even when a car has been past (only twice today have I seen a car). Don't let that innocent look fool you. He let the deer eat all my impatiens this week while he slept soundly Right By The Pots.



And Bunnie has collapsed from side-to-side waiting for his playtime to come. He sat up when I came into the kitchen. Seems I have been eating too many cookies. I know because I share them with him every time I go into the kitchen (bunny hutch for right now). And, he sits up Every Single Time I come in. Yeah. Nothing like a fuzzy eating buddy/ bunnie....


The Mister has gone to his parent's house and I am trying to get school work caught up, but you see how that is working. We were gone most of the week --- visiting the Airman and Ms. Airman in Norfolk. He has been stateside for two months for training and she came in to visit as he will be gone from home for Six Long Months. It Will Drag. Seriously.

Anyhow, I lived in Norfolk in the 1970s; my husband and I lived on the flight path to Oceania Air Base. There was an arrow painted on the top of our townhouse that said "Air Field This Way". I know it was there because it was impossible to keep anything on the walls when carriers came into port. After putting pictures back on the wall 32 times in one day, I took everything down and just leaned them against the walls.

They say you can't go home again and, well, there may be some truth to that. However, I did find my little townhouse (yes, it looked little!) and it looked better than when we lived there and it was new! Some things do improve with age. However, I don't miss the gated community or the pool. Too many people! The yard was truly no larger than my foyer! And to think I used to think that was a chore to keep!

On the way down US58 yesterday, we stopped at the charming "Country Store Antiques" in Edgartown, VA. Two wonderful buildings well filled with a nice selection of glass, furniture, postcards, books, and stuff. Three post cards and a little Beswick sheep came home with us.


The card on the left is Bok Tower in Lake Wales, FL, --- one of my (and the Mister's) favorite places in the world. The center one is for Lakeland, FL (where I lived once long ago). And the third one is a charming Christmas post card that I will display during the holidays. Doesn't the little sheep look adorable between me and the Mister?

I do want to say thanks to those who have emailed me; I know I have dropped off the earth a little bit, but it has been a challenging year and I am just a bum for not replying sooner. Forgive me, please. Let's hope it isn't so long before we visit again!

Have a marvelous week!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

There Was A Girl ....

who took a motorcycle, plane, and bus to a place called
Cape Cod...

.. and then rode a ferry to Nantucket...
to a house and garden tour!

                                    

.....took a boat to a beach....


....and a car to a concert ...

(Which I will try to upload later today.... Internet is being a PUTZ)


....and her feet to a beach ...



.....and saw many wonderful things ...
including whales...


but of all the things she loved the most...

it was seeing this face again!



Ms. P and I have been to Cape Cod to see her sister and take a little vacation. It was marvelous! I ate too much seafood (really, is there such a thing as too much??), walked until my feet were sore, and burned myself to a crispy bit! And, now, it is just two days from returning to work. Sigh. How delightful to end my summer with a nice trip and friends! While I mourn the end of summer, it has been a fine one... just not long enough!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

No Lazy Bee Here!


Baking lots of blueberry - lemon scones for the Farmer's Market ...


Freezing dozens of ears of fresh corn. Grilling some, too! Yummers!
These come from a friend's garden. He had over 100 dozen ears this summer!


Canning peaches from a friend's orchard over in Cana, Virginia. If you can
get peaches from Cana, you will have something wonderful indeed!
It is an area well known for peaches and apples!


Making lots of salsa and pickle relish;
canning beets and tomatoes. I always note the weather
on the lids so when I open them in the winter, I know what
the day was like when I canned 'em. It makes the memory
That Much Sweeter!


Pulling honey supers and getting ready to extract honey.
We will have more than 200 pounds of Lazy Bee Farm Honey
this year! We are so excited!  



Making tons of castile soap to use for the goat's milk soap.
Last week I worked a festival and sold nearly 100 bars in a little under 6 hours!
I can't keep up!



My supervisor, "Sweet Pea." This is the little guy who
was set out and abandoned with his brothers. We
couldn't catch the brothers, but Sweet Pea was so
sweet and ready to come live with us. He loves when we let him
out of his home and play in the kitchen. He is even paper trained!
Gotta love that!




Enjoying the frequent storms we are having. The Mister and I love
to watch the rain and storms. He does it from the porch; I am not that brave.
Moose, Annabelle and I watch from the living room!

This is just a bit of what has been going on around here the past few weeks. I am still picking blueberries for the market and for special orders. Last week I picked more than ten gallons! I am updating (read: painting) my porch furniture. Pictures of that soon along with other Lazy Bee Farm doings! School starts soon.... I will miss being home every day!

What have you been into lately??

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

You Never Know....

Usually I stop at the Mennonite store on Thursdays to pick up a sandwich, milk, and some cheese or chicken salad. Two weeks ago, the Mister and I had lunch together there and found ourselves sitting next to a charming 'plain' couple. The young man was excited because he had seen an Osprey at the local airport taking off and had caught it on his cell phone. He was showing his companion (whom I learned was his sister) and jumped up to show it to the Mister.

He was such a charming young man --- curious, excited, and joyful. We had a delightful conversation and wished each other a wonderful week.

Today I was in that area and decided to stop. There, on the porch, sat the cute young woman, dressed 'plainly', rocking and looking into space. She seemed surrounded by sadness, so I thought perhaps her young man hadn't arrived yet and she was worried. After all, the weather today is dreadful and the traffic even worse.

As I got out of the car, I called up to her, "Hello! How are you today? We met two weeks ago; you and your companion were next to us in the dining room!"

She looked at me and her green eyes filled with tears. "That was my brother. I remember now."

"Are you okay? Is he meeting you here today?"

"No. He was shot. Gunshot."

Immediately my hand went to my mouth and I gasped.

"Is he okay?"

Slowly she shook her head "no." "He died." And she began to sob.

Without thinking, I wrapped my arms around her and tried to comfort her. Slowly, the story came out. He was killed when his gun accidently went off in his holster while he was fencing for a friend. He died almost immediately from a massive wound to the abdomen.

"I was just asking God to help me," she confided. "I just don't know how I will get through this."

We chatted for a while, sharing our faith, her grief, and my shock.

Her friends came out and sat to listen. Finally, I took my leave and went on to do my shopping. When I came out, she was brighter even though her eyes were still liquid with tears. She thanked me for stopping and talking.  I told her that I would be remembering her and her family in my prayers and that I knew God would use this tragedy to show His love and faithfulness.

As I drove off, she started rocking again and I could see she was praying. I was grateful that I was able to be there to listen. Here we were, two strangers, but connected through just a few moments of conversation and our mutual sadness over a life ended too soon.

You just never know where God will put you and when. But, when He does, listen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Where Scaredy Cats, er, Dogs, Go...

Moose and Anabell are terrified of thunder and lightening. Personally, I think it is just a ploy to get to come in the house, but whatever the truth is, they do end up in the house at the first roll of thunder. We learned to just give in when Anabell took out the front door during a particularly rough storm. So, last night, when the storms started,  we could hear the prancing at the door and knew we had to give in.


You can see who is taking the storm with the best attitude... Moosie is just happy to be inside. Anabell passes out, I think to block the storm. If ever a dog could smile, it is our Moose.

I have promised for quite a while to show the mural over the stove.



An artist in Florida, who once was a neighbor interestingly enough, painted this for us. Don't you love the little chickens?

We also had tiles done with these little guys in various patterns of flight done:



They are randomly around the backsplash long with a variety of fruit sprinkled about. After all, we do have to keep the bees happy.


I am making relish and watching the rain fall. What are you doing today??


Monday, July 9, 2012

"Peeping" In

Doncha love home movies? I do!

Here are our latest babies. I think they are saying, "Cheese!" ... sort of...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Confessions

While I have been cleaning my house and around the farm, I have been cleaning my thoughts and mind as well. I have learned many things about myself... some which please me while others disappoint me.

Most of my life I have felt like an outsider. I wanted to be accepted, to feel that I had a place with others. Often I have sold myself short or followed the crowd just to make myself believe that I fit. This meant that if someone read a book, talked about an idea, or did something 'interesting' that I would have to do it too. I couldn't trust myself to be who I am; it just hurt too much to feel alone.

As I have cleared out the clutter, I have realized that I still do this. I still want to be the member of the "club" whatever that is. However, it isn't fulfilling who I am. You know, we ask God for guidance to be who we should be, but are we really listening? Seriously, are we taking the time to listen to what we are being told? Or, are we too busy letting others influence us so that we don't have time to listen to the Big Guy and be true to that path?? I know that I have let others influence me more than I should. And, I have paid the tuition to that school repeatedly. You do know that the definition of "stupid" is doing the same thing again and again expecting a different outcome?? Well, here is the picture of stupid: Me.

This farm is full to the brim of those useless followings and urges. We can't openly discuss the amount of money, time, and energy that has gone into trying to feel like a 'member of the club.' It is too depressing. And, to be candid, the frustration of this knowledge has left me feeling like I did when I lost my bikini top in Lake Wales when I tried to learn to ski. Embarrassed and foolish... and sort of wishing I were invisible.

So, here it is, folks, I am what I am. Just like Popeye. I am a failure at many things, but that is because they are not the things I should be. I am a success at being me. Just tonight we were watching this horribly campy movie, "Captain Smith and Pocohontas" (don't give up an hour of your life to watch this; trust me) and the closing scene was of the Pocohontas statute in London. The Mister asked me, "Have you seen this?" And, I had. In person. I thought for a minute. "You know, I have had a wonderful life, mostly," I told him. It has just been in the past few years that I have tried to find a way to fit in where maybe I don't belong and it has left me feeling like I am dressed for a day in the garden even though I am attending a grand ball. And, truth be told, I would rather garden.

So, here it is. My life. Take it or leave it. Me? I'm in with both feet!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Just a Note

Polly continues to sit on "her" eggs.

Capri continues to get her head caught in the fence. At 18 months old, she should be past this challenge. Not her. I think she is a slow learner or an optimistic one...

Baby chicks are fabulous. Only one died from transit, which is marvelous!

Fresh basil on the kitchen table for pesto tonight!

Four sachets knit for the demonstration I will be doing at Grayson Highlands State Park. I can sell any item that "matches" my demo. Thus, knitting... Portable, easy, and can talk while doing it!

Still in the 40s at night. My garden will never come in.

Sweet Pea, the bunny, explored the kitchen last night. He liked it all. And didn't poop on the floor. Joy abounds!

The rooster is singing to his hens. I need to find  way to share this... YouTube??

Soap to make today. I am nearly OUT of the 150 or so bars I started with in May. This is a good problem.... Made four batches last night. Today?? At least four or five more.... and I need to make two batches of base soap.

Finished another 12 aprons yesterday with my Cissie.They are so cute! Easy peasy.

What are you up to today? I love reading about it!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Holey Moley!

This past week has been a blur of activity, people, and surprises. Let's update and get to the fun stuff.

Done: More work in my studio. I am not sure why I have so much ribbon, but everything I do for the next seven years will have a bit of ribbon on it... Be prepared...

Cut out 24 children's aprons with my Cissie who is wanting to start craft shows with me. These are not like my friend Arwen's which are works of art and soooo very lovely! These are single cut aprons with ribbons for the neck and waist; they are sized for children two to six. They are reversible and sooo darling. Yes, pictures. I know. We got six sewn together. It was a tough learning curve, but we have it down pat now.

Finished the AngelWing Shawl AND Truly Tasha Shawl. Have nearly half of the Jane Eyre shawl (Ravelry) done. Started knitting sachets for a demo that I am doing at Grayson Highlands State Park the end of the month.

Made mint jelly.

Cleaned two more closets. Tossed more stuff. Again.

Picked up the things from Ikea and Container Store and put them to use Right Away. Bought a rolling tool chest to organize all the tools in the house. It will go under my stairs.

Mowed most of the yard between rain drops.

Baby chicks graduated to their new digs. They love it! And, they still split up at night to sleep with their "friends" from the brooder days. Since they were kept in separate brooders, they have bonded with a Certain Group. It is like teenage girls. What can I say? And, today,  a second order of little guys arrived, which I don't understand, so we start the cycle again!

Weeded most of the front flower bed until I discovered Polly the Pea Hen sitting on a nest of eggs. She is a pea fowl. The eggs are chicken eggs. There are going to be some very confused chicks one day...

Ruby the Tractor and I spent an afternoon together learning about each other,. We are going to be best friends. She hauls things. She cleans up messy places. She is going to make my life a lot easier! "Smooch" on your little diesel cap, Ruby!

This week... I am going to try to survive! Need to work on the little building, plant, weed, build a solar melter, and prepare for a Governor's School class that I just accepted due to the sudden illness of the instructor. The class has to be created from the Very Beginning, so I guess all things are going to have to wait while I do this. If it weren't for my Friend Bill, I would have not answered the phone! But, it'll be fun!

What's on your agenda!??

Finished my class.

Helped my friend Deniese prime her studio. It was a larger space than I thought. I got high from the paint fumes (Kilz oil based) in spite of the open windows and door.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Week Two Report

While Friday morning it seemed unlikely that I would emerge from the murky depths of The Mister Room, I have survived and we are still speaking.

The plan: To be able to open and close the door to the room, dust, knock down cobwebs, and sweep.

Strategy: Start at the door.... which wasn't easy since the door was behind three congas, two boxes of Austin Healy parts (think: interiors of the two car doors as this is what they are), an antique radio, and two boxes marked "miscellaneous stuff."

Attack plan: Don safety gear, update tetanus shot, call Mother and Daddy, text the Airman to tell 'em I love 'em, update will and dive in.

Result: Well, now, not only can we open AND close the door, but all the things in the hall (except the Healy parts --- they are going on the Healy This Week) are in the room. I started by looking in all the boxes. They were Willy Nealy with contents. Taking a hint from "Hoarders" and "Clean House", I categorized items in the boxes. There were five: patches from Hamm operators or motorcyclists; music; electronic and ham radio; instruments (sub categorized into brass, string, woodwinds, and percussion --- and yes, they were all represented. Remember, he is a musician.); and memorabilia.

Trashed: Four 30-gallon bags of trash (empty boxes and such) and 14 boxes that were no longer needed once categorization was complete.

In addition, this week I finished the Wingspan shawl and am now putting the lace edging on the Truly Tasha Shawl that is knit in a lovely black merino. It was started four years ago at a re-enactment when I needed some kind of handwork for demonstration. When I got home, it was put in time out and has patiently waited for me to retrieve it.

One day was spent at my darling MIL's working on cleaning her upstairs for her.

And, one day was spent with gal pals visiting, eating, and crying over my lost youth and innocence.

The rest of the week was the usual: hoof trimming, cleaning out the diddles (who are almost ready to graduate to the next level of chick life), caring for all the critters, and rescuing a poor little Easter bunny set out to fend for itself. More on that tomorrow.

Plans for this week:

Monday my gal pal Eleanor and I are going to Mecca -- the Container store and Ikea for more storage things (I need more of the little rails that go on my Elfa shelving to keep all the folded goods Straight and Good Order).

Tuesday and Wednesday will involve cleaning out a little building where the Airman has things stored and working in the gardens.

Thursday I am trading labor with a gal pal by painting her studio in exchange for the labor of my choice here the following week (I am thinking it will be painting the storage building to match the barn, chicken coop, and farm equipment buildings -- they are all purple).

Friday will be working more in the Airman's building by reorganizing it to hold all my outside decor stuff -- flags, wreaths, chairs and so forth. His stuff is mostly in the attic now, so I just have two things of his to move and then a bit of other things to move to the proper storage area. This is the "getting ready for the Market" day, too. I am making scones to go with the jam I have been making.

And, there you go, another week gone. Somewhere in there I will, of course, knit, finish dressing the towel loom, read, grade, and finish the class I am taking.

I am already tired.

What are you doing this week??



Friday, June 1, 2012

Endurance

This week I started the upstairs redo. Okay. All of it was easy except one room. In the ten years the Mister and I have been married, I have slowly learned something rather uneasy for me..... he doesn't throw anything away. There. I said it.

If I am gone for a week, I can come home and can do an archeological dig in the house and tell you Every Single Thing he did for that week because it is still sitting out, crumbed up, stacked up, or on the floor. Seriously.

So, we finally compromised a few years ago; he could have one room in the house that he could do whatever he wanted in and, if he wanted to spend the money, he could put a storage building outside for the rest. He bought two -- the largest two the Amish built! They are full, too.

Now, I have had a change of heart. I can't bear it. I like things neat and organized. I like things so that when I am standing in Omaha, I can call someone and tell them: "If you go to the second drawer on the right side of the stove and open it, you will find the 6" pot under the 4" pot on the left side of the drawer." I can't help it. I just like things that way. I well understand that this may be a symptom that COULD require medication, but I am willing to chance it. And, yes, I do alphabetize my spices.... It just makes sense to me to have things where you can find them today and not in six months.

This all leads to the fact that I am Cleaning All Spaces In the House. All of 'em. Even his domain and buildings. I am exhausted with hunting my hammer. I am sick of looking for a service manual. I am sick of the smell that comes from a dusty, no, filthy, room.

Today I am in my third day of the first room. I have broken out in hives. My heart is starting to palpate ever so slightly. But, I can see the floor and hope is in sight. I am making good friends with my fear that There Is Something In There like a mouse or a snake and getting it done.

The shop building is next. If I don't come out before Tuesday, just follow the garbage bags.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Weekly Score

As this is the summer of "done", I promised myself that I would be accountable weekly for my performance. So, here we go...

1) Cleaned the entire downstairs -- cabinets, drawers, and closets. Still organizing..... have you been to the Container Store. Holy moley! They are making my life pure heaven! My favorite, so far, has been the adjustable plate holders. They are making my pan drawers perfectly neat! Next favorite, Ikea. They have these neat little semi-circle doodads that have some crazy Swedish name that I can't even spell that works great for standing all my flat pans and cooling racks. Of course, if I were clever, I could have made these, but Just Not My Cuppa Tea. And, these were cheap enough that I don't feel one bit guilty.

2) Started cleaning the upstairs. This means that my studio is finally to where I can get in! New soap drawing rack (the Annex!) has improved the hodgepodge of things in the studio for the soap.

3) Cleaning the studio means that I got into my sewing. Count, please: two table cloths finished, one duvet cover nearly done (I have to finish the 300 miles of side seams -- it is a queen size, but all the flat lace is on. Yes, pictures coming.) Sorted all the "nearly done" projects -- sachets that need hand finishing are stacked up; baby sweaters longing for buttons sitting patiently for their last bit; tiny hats with a little yarn to work in are all next to my chair. Sewing day for that this week. I did finish four scarves (just needed a little more work) and a few hats. Why do I stop when I am five rows from done??

4) Made stawberry and cherry jams for market. Okay. These weren't undone, but they demanded Immediate Attention because they Were Ready. Total: 16 jars....

5) Cleaned the front porch and side porch. Put everything in its place. Finally. Still need to move the new stanchion to the milking parlor. The girls are getting a metal one. At last!

6) Cleaned and moved the diddles. We have 50 baby chicks right now. They had to be sorted out and divided. Some will be dinner in 12 more weeks. The others will be new layers.

7) Sorted textbooks; sold a bunch; gave some away. Thank goodness!

8) Threw away three trash bags of paper. Where does this stuff come from anyhow??

9) Defrosted the egg refrigerator. It's that old, yes.

10) Sorted and organized market and craft show ideas. Some people are much more clever than I, but I sure love to "borrrow" their ideas!

11) Worked the Farmer's Market and one craft show. My little business is building and I am so pleased!

And that about does it. Some was "undone," and some "needed done." I guess it is a win-win, eh?

Friday, May 25, 2012

How's it going??

Which is the Gargoyle??
Me?

Well, the downstairs is cleaned, even to handwashing the floors, and all the cabinets are cleared. Started the upstairs this week and I am ashamed of all the books I have that haven't been read. Glory! What is that about anyhow??

Been watching one "Hoarders" episode every morning to get myself motivated. I now understand many things about my MIL that I didn't before.... and about myself.

Took a gal pal trip to Florida last week where we toured the EPCOT flower show! I left knowing three things: Cheese (I had the cheese trio at the UK Pub) is the world's most perfect food; if I had 500 men and an unlimited budget I could have remarkable gardens; and, England is going to see me this summer, if I can find a way. I really want to see the Lake District.

The Fairy Garden at EPCOT. Do you see all the little fairies??


The Airman was born in Florida on the day EPCOT opened. I like to think the two were birthed at the same time! However, I had never been there before. Disney, yes, about 30 times in one summer, such is the curse of living 30 minutes away and having a large extended family. Never Care To Go Again. But, the EPCOT Flower Show was worth the trip. It was lovely. This year's theme was "Butterflies" and there were butterfly gardens, hatching, butterflies, and butterfly shows. So fun! We had a blast for two old biddies and enjoyed every minute. The best part (besides the cheese) was watching the little folks when they saw their favorite Disney character. There is such joy in childhood's innocence!

Wookie just drank my tea, so I think it is time to get up, find another glass and then head out to work my work for the day!

What are you up to?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Undone...

 There's nothing so fatiguing as an uncompleted task. --- William James

First, I feel the love! Thanks for the comments and notes! I have missed you all terribly. And, while I still have a few grades to run (read: 140 assignments), I need a break and have decided to write a little note.

One of my passions is collecting homemaking guides from various centuries. I have them from Mrs. Jefferson's guide to managing Monticello to the "Side Tracked Home Execs" Pam and Peggy. I just love 'em all. There is so much to learn from them about women, men, children, values, goals, gender roles, and social norms. They are just mah-vo-lous... So, my night-night book as been Daryl Hoole's The Art of Homemaking. While the time in which it was written comes through in some of her topics, "Moms should do the light work while Daddy does the hard", there have been some valuable ideas in the book. (Okay, so I fell off the bed laughing over what Mom and Dads should do... "Really?" I snorted. And started to call the Mister in, but he was snoring in the Man Chair, so I let it ride...)

Anyhow...

One whole chapter is on the power of finishing. Yeppers. Finishing. Anything. Baking a cake. Cleaning a stove. Writing a letter. Grading papers, wait, that was me...

All of which got me to thinking about how easy peasy it is to get sidetracked. Seriously sidetracked in my case... I love to start. Anything... A gallon of ice cream. A new shawl. A book. A diet... But I am pretty stinky at finishing most things... unless I just so love it that we go steady until we are finished.... like the ice cream...

This is my first whole summer home in more than five years and I am only taking on three literature classes for the summer. (I love them...much more fun and I don't cry at night after grading essays all day....) . What, I thought, would it be like to spend my summer finishing projects? The rules for myself are easy.

1. I must finish what I have the materials to do first. This means everything must already be here so I don't have to go shopping for it. I know myself well enough to know that if I enter the hardware store I am a lost soul. I love love love the hardware store and always leave with a carload, a light wallet, and a big smile on my face. Did I mention that I grew up working in my father's hardware store? I think it is genetic...

2. Each project must be documentable. I must be able to see the progress. This will eliminate planning for a future project. Handyman magazine comes every month and it gets me in a lot of trouble... so no planning for the summer.

3. Each project must be something I can finish alone, mostly. After all, this is my goal and no one else's. I have no right to draft unwilling souls into my cunning plan.There are a few things that will require the Mister, but most are things I can do alone with Ruby the tractor, Belle the chain saw, or my tool chest. Yes, I have my own. With a lock.

4. I have to record each project when it is finished here. This means that I am accountable and that you can cheer or jeer as you wish. Or, maybe you will want to join in??

5. Projects cannot interfer with the daily operation of the farm. I still must weed, plant, make soap, weave, and all the other things I have to do on the table for the farm to earn some income.

6. Should I live to, er I meant to write, finish all the aforesaid projects where the materials are present and accounted for, I am to start those that require purchases. These must be prioritized and then completed following the above criteria.

7. Knitting, weaving, and spinning count in unfinished projects. So does cross stitch.. and sewing... and books... but only at night when I cannot work elsewhere outside. (This rule gives me heartburn and I am thinking of negotiating with myself. I'll let you know if I can compromise...)

And that is it. Finish it. See if it makes me feel lighter mentally by the end of the summer. Wanna join me?

Now, I have to go FINISH my grading. It has a deadline... sigh....

 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just A Little Longer

... and all the silliness in my life will be back for you to share!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday's Note

The mountains are alive this morning. As I drove to campus, the light was brighter, the sky bluer than it was just last week. There is a light breeze and, while the weather is crisp (43-degrees), the day will heat up to a sultry 72-degrees by dinner time. Jonquils nod and tulips sway as the breeze whisks them into its arms and spins them in a heady dance. The birds challenge the day with a cheerful song, almost as if they are inviting one to join in -- even if one doesn't know the words, they surely know the tune, the song, of spring.

These are the kinds of days I want to be at the farm playing in the dirt. But, I have class today and office hours. After that, I have a run to the bee supplier for honey jars and creamed honey supplies. The creamed honey is something new for me, but, after attending the beekeeping class last month, I am willing to give it a go. I may even try some flavored honey -- the jury is still out on that one.

Yesterday was spent in class, Farmer's Market board meeting, and then home to stir two batches of castile soap before I collapsed in bed. The best news of the day was that I am now a vendor at Grayson Highlands Park. I have hoped for this opportunity and am so thrilled to be doing it! I love the park and vending there is one more Good Thing!

Here's wishing you a sunshiney and happy day!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

First Day Musings --- I Quit

Picture the most lovely beach you have ever seen. That is what I wanted to be right here, but my camera and computer won't talk this morning, so you are on your own to create your own perfect world today. Instead, they are behaving link Maggie Simpson and Gerald, the One-Eyebrowed-Baby...



And this leads me to what is on my mind today.

I quit.

I quit worrying about "being" a certain way.
I quit comparing myself to others.
I quit thinking I am the only person who hasn't achieved the Nirvana of whatever it is I am supposed to achieve.
I quit enabling bad choices.
I quit listening to that stupid voice in my head that says, "Well, you know.." and then proceeds to tell me what a failure I am.
I quit rushing and missing the beauty around me.
I quit worrying about how to get someone else to agree with me about how to do, feel, or think about...
I quit engaging in conversations that always begin with "I think", "I want", "I need."
I quit believing that it is unkind to stand up for myself.
I quit delaying my dreams to support others who can't even get out of the chair to start working on theirs.
In short, I quit.

You know, spending more than 60 hours alone traveling really gives one time to think. I needed that.

What are you thinking about this most marvelous day??

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wear Sun Screen

I never get tired of this...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Month? Seriously??

Yes, I came home. Reluctantly.

I love Okinawa! The people are charming and so dear. The island is beautiful! The Mr. and Mrs. Airman are marvelous! Pictures soon, I promise!

To sum up the month:

Went to Okinawa.
Came home.
Slept 15 hours straight as it took 37 hours to get home. Don't ask.
Back to work.
Work.
Work.
Work.
Anabelle (the goat) had triplets -- two bucks and a doe.
Weeded 149 asparagus plants.
Planted four rows of peas, two of radishes, one of parsnips, one of collards, and two of beets.
Planted 50 blackberry bushes.
Completed a "certified bee keeper" class. Yeppers. Not only am I bona fide, I am certified!
Work.
Interviewed to become an artisian vendor at Grayson Highlands State Park (this is a biggie for me and I am thrilled; will know next week.)
Somehow managed to clean out all my clothes to things that fit and feel good. I will only slightly brag when I say that I tossed six garbage bags of clothes for our local charity. Yeah. That felt good!
Built and planted a raised bed for lettuce and strawberries. Both are up. Berries blooming. Lettuce darling.
Waiting for the tractor held hostage in Japan. Honestly, I could have ridden it home. Mostly.

I have missed visiting you all! What have you been into??

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Little Cheese Please

Today I am feeling very overwhelmed.

This is my schedule nearly every week day:

5:15 Out of bed
        Feed all the inside animals and the outside dogs and cats
        Make coffee or tea
        Pack lunch
        Prepare breakfast
        Clean litter box
        Dress and leave for campus

6:30  Must be in the car and headed to work.

7:30  Arrive work: answer emails, phone messages, counsel students, check assignments

9:30-12:15  Class

12:30-1:30-2 Office hours --- more of the above

2:00 Leave campus and run all errands (feed, grocery store, post office, and so forth)

3:30ish Arrive home
          Answer college emails
           Change for barn
          Start supper
          Feed all the critters in the house and outside again
          Clean litter box

4 (usually)- 6
          Fill woodstove
          Hook-up water
          Dump compost
          Feed, water chickens and gather eggs
          Hay to the bucks
          Turn does out on fresh pasture
          Feed cow
          Clean goat yard, stalls (30 minutes)
          Feed does
          Give does hay
          Feed bucks

6     Finish supper
       Wash all dishes
       Clean eggs and put away
       Start laundry or clean about 1/2 hour
        Make soap, in spring
       Make bee food, in spring
     
7:30-9
        Check email
        Prepare for class
        Review assignments
       Assorted other homework or housework

9   Bathe
     Knit 30 minutes
     Read Bible, night-night book

10-11 Lights out

1:30 Wake up to put the dog out....

No wonder I am so tired. Just once in a while, I'd like the Mister to beat me home and do this list. Just once. Oh, well, I leave to see the Airman and his bride in Okinawa on Tuesday... And I can rest then... Right??

  
     
       

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Award


Many thanks to Jane for the award!

Okay, here are The Rules:


1. Add the award to your blog.
2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
3. Mention seven random things about yourself. (see below)
4. List the rules
5.Award to 15 bloggers
6. Inform each of those 15 bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog.

Seven random things about me...

1. I quit eating any kind of red meat when I broke my neck in 1995 and could no longer digest it; I still miss steak.

2. While I write right-handedly, I shoot a gun, knit, and eat with mostly my left.

3. My master's thesis was: "'The business of a poet': Samuel Johnson's Criticism of John Milton." Yawn.

4. While I swim like a fish and can surf, I have never been able to water-ski.

5. I streaked when I was 18 and in college in Florida.

6. When I was 19, I took a plane ticket my parents gave me to to fly to Myrtle Beach to meet the family for vacation and traded it for a one-way ticket to San Fransisco.

7. In my previous "life" I was an award winning crime reporter in Central Florida.

Now, to be honest, I cannot even think of who NOT to give this award to as well, but can't come up with 15! So, here you go:

Delisa
Courtney
Brenda
Brenda L.
Tonia T.
Clarice
Sandy
Marqueta

Hugs to you all!





Saturday, February 25, 2012

Longest Week of My Life

It should have been a no brainer when I answered the phone last Friday and it was a gal pal bawling about her boyfriend dumping her over the phone. I should have said, "No habla Ingles!" and hung up. But no; I listened and my heart was so sad that I said, foolishly, "You need a change of environment. Why not come here for a day or two?"

She left today. Six days later.

During this week, she didn't bathe for five days. She cried for six. Seriously. When we picked her up from the airport she was bawling. When we dropped her off, she was still bawling. Her crying could be heard To The Barn. Even Clara, who is the most empathetic gal, was begging us to take her somewhere and set her out, just so she could have a break. I wouldn't take her, I replied, unless I got to stay, too.

She refused to eat more than a few bites a day. She left food all over the house That She Didn't Eat.

Her responses to any question was through clenched teeth and were monosyllabic grunts. She never said thank you, kiss my foot, or thanks for the memories, even when we set her out at the airport. And, yes, I did stop at the departure door and didn't throw her out as I threatened to the Mister in whispers last night.

After we set her out (okay, I confess, I did burn rubber just a bit) the Mister and I rode along in silence for thirty minutes. Then, he looked at me and smiled, "Nicest thirty minutes this week!" I giggled. "Okay, if I told you that when I lay down on Wednesday that I may have whispered to God 'if I die tonight, it's okay -- at least the pain will stop' would you think it was terrible?" He burst out laughing and laughed until tears rolled down his face.

"How about a milkshake? I think we have earned it." And no one cried All the Way Home.

Moral: No good deed goes unpunished.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

No patience

Ten things I have no patience with:

10. Watching a clerk talk on their cell phone while I wait.
9.   People who don't answer a direct question.
8.   Ice.
7.   Loud people.
6.   Lazy people.
5.   Folks who make plans for me without my consent.
4.   Long waits ... for anything.
3.   Computers that turn off at the drop of a hat (read: mine is acting up and it is making me crazy!)
2.   People who, no matter how many times you tell them, do the exact opposite of what you asked.
1.   Women who want to be victims instead of in charge of their lives (yes, there is a story here; I will tell it later... when I can... without bad words.... )

Mia died last night. We don't know what happened. The vet doesn't either. She wasn't too anemic; no parasites; no lung congestion; no injuries; nothing...even her blood work was fine. She just laid down and died .. just like she was asleep.

Thanks for all the advice and suggestions...

Jane has given me an award! Thanks, Jane! I will post it next.... when my computer will stay on...

Added later: Okay. So the computer hard drive has fried.
The tech: This looks like it might have been dropped...

Me: Does throwing it across the room count??

I made him promise to never tell... but I am telling you all because you are my best friends! LOL

Friday, February 17, 2012

What's Happening?

Can you see the rainbow? This was taken in late October. Thank goodness!
It reminds me that spring is a'coming!


This week has been busy on Lazy Bee Farm. Heirloom seeds from Southern Seed Exchange are on their way; potatoes from the Wood Prairie Farm should arrive any day now. And a cold frame (thanks, Jane, for the suggestion!) should be delivered Monday. Soap making is going hot and heavy now; the house smells divine from the many essential oils I use. Needles are out to start dishcloths and the loom is being dressed for tea towels.

I feel that spring is nearly here, although it is just mid-February. It must be the combination of the 50-degree days and the lengthening days. Last night, I started unwinding my portable fence for the asparagus and blackberry beds. I have about 50 blackberry plants to tuck in the earth tomorrow. Yes, I plant by the signs, doesn't everyone?

We have a bit of worry, as well, though. Our Mia, the Nigerian pygmy, has been under the weather. I have tried everything --- worming, drench, supplements, and even two shots -- antiobiotics and a vitamin cocktail. Nothing seems to help her. She stands and stares into space. She will not eat grain and is nibbling the hay. It is as if the life has been sucked out of her. The fecal wash came back clear and free of any parasites. The vet is stymied, too. So, we are just trying to keep her unstressed and comfortable. She is still on her feet, but her temperature slips up in the evenings. I just am at a loss and feel so helpless.

This weekend promises to be busy. We picked up a load of wood from the below-the-mountain farm on Wednesday and need to cut at least two more loads this weekend. And, hay needs to be moved up the mountain as well as some fencing to move Miss Hollie. March 12 there is a Future Farmer's Association feeder steer sale nearby. I want to have seven on my bottom pasture, so this is the time to buy them. They will have pigs, as well, so I suspect one will come this way. I have just the place for them --  Right Under the Neighbors Who Built on the Property Line. Their house is perked on the side of the mountain rather than back 50 feet as the original owers had planned. Thus, they stand on their deck, drinking, fighting, and yelling while all the time watching us. They even lean over the rail if they can't see what we are doing clearly enough. Thank goodness they are only here a few weekends a month. So, the pigs will show them farm living at its best, don't you know!

What are you plans for the weekend??

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Listening


Walden

This is the handwritten text of the wonderful book by Henry David Thoreau taken at the Thoreau Institute this past summer when I was there.

This week, I am listening to the audio book as I drive to and from work. Audio books are a new experience for me because, frankly, listening to someone read makes me really sleepy. Really Sleepy. But recently, I have learned to listen and not doze off. (Really good since I am driving... don't you think??) This has added a whole new world for me and given my day that much more richness.

I have read this book no less than a half dozen times in as many years. Every time I read it, I come away more inspired and questioning my lifestyle and choices That Much More. The one thing that really has struck me this time is the awareness of what Thoreau defines as simplicity. He doesn't. Really, he doesn't. Rather, he states what it is for him and then acknowledges that everyone has their own idea of what this means. And, frankly, that this is enough.

As I have thought about this book, I have been considering my own choices and my life. I have written a number of times about how I want to simplify --- cut my attachments --- live a more concentrated life. And, I have written about how the time I spent on Walden Pond opened my eyes to what I was missing around me in my haste and hurry.

It has been very frustating to me that I keep running and running... and that life is still too busy to meet my hopes. As I have listened this week, however, it has dawned on me that simplicity doesn't happen all at once. No goal does. Not losing weight. Not saving money. Not even falling in love. Nopers. It happens with a series of single choices --- a minute, no, a second at a time. My frustration is falling away. I am proud of what has been accomplished. And, I am glad to keep taking that one step, making that one choice, until I can attain my goal.

We are all in the process of becoming, aren't we, as my friend Brenda has stated. Keeping this idea in front of me, well, gives me hope.