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:

Brenda L.
Tonia T.

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



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.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lumber Jill

Heating with wood has many advantages. One of them is that I can eat cake every day ---
if I am going to cut wood.

Yesterday, I decided to clear up four little trees (read: 15 feet) that the goats had eaten all the bark from and Miss Hollie, the Dexter, had pushed over as she played "head butt" with them.

This is how it looked when I started:

These are just two of the trees. They are pines and you can see
how the gals have eaten all the green and bark from the tree.
Notice that my audience has fled to the far fence to escape my
chain saw noise. They Did Not Like It One Bit.

This is a woman's tool. Don't let anyone fool you. We can use a chain saw
quite easily! This is a "Mini-Boss Stihl" that has a wonderful
compression start, which mean that you give it about
two good gentle pulls and it will start immediately.
I don't get that offer from the lawn mower, just so you know...

As I cut and stacked the wood, Miss Hollie kept coming to check me out.
She wasn't impressed. She just loved her down trees and scratched her
face on them. And, the does enjoyed climbing and walking on them.
But, we need firewood, so there you go.

When I moved up the hill to work on the other two trees,
The Girls and Hollie came over to explore the cut-up trees.
It was so funny. They would check out the cut tree and then the branches
and then they would lick the saw dust. Then, they would all meet in the middle to talk
about it a little bit only to divide up again to confirm their findings. So funny!

Here you can see the chain saw. To use one safely,
you must have all the proper safety gear. I wear special chaps,
sound protection, a face shield, leather gloves, and steel toe boots.
The chain saw requires bar oil to keep the bar cool and operating.
The gas is a mixture of 3:1 oil and gasoline. The special
little "screwdriver / spark plug" wrench opens the oil and gas
caps as well as changes spark plugs. Every time you fill with gas,
you should always fill the bar oil.
My saw comes with an easy to tighten chain that will allow me
to adjust the chain tension as much as I need.

I used to think I could never use a chain saw and, frankly, I was afraid of it. But, after I started using this one, I got over my fear. That doesn't mean I am not overly careful. I take my time, stand off-center so that if the chain saw recoils I won't take the blow. But, I also was careful to buy a saw with a
safety mechanism that is called a "kick back protector." This means that if the saw lurches backwards
my hand will automatically bump it so that the saw stops cutting. Better safe than sorry!

It is amazing what one can learn to do if one has the desire. While cutting wood may
not seem like too big of a deal to many, for me, it means I am one more step
away from having to rely on anyone. The Mister has a larger chain saw that
he uses to manage that wood mine won't. However, with my saw, I have the independence
of cutting wood on my own, clearing fence lines, and maintaining the farm.
I like that freedom.

What have you learned that gave you a little extra freedom to do something on your own? 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Are You Up For A Challenge?

Okay, folks, are you up for a challenge that will help children undergoing treatment for life threatening diseases? Sandy and I have taken on this as our February project. Instead of Valentines this year, I am giving to these guys. Read on...

From Craft Hope blog:

Time and again at Craft Hope we have learned that little things make a big difference. For the past few years we have collected handmade goods from around the world for people who need a little HOPE.

So are you ready?!? For Project 16 :: The Littlest Warriors, we will be collecting handmade beanies and bags for kids just like Pierce who are fighting cancer. Pierce’s mom, Melanie, has graciously volunteered to collect and distribute the items to the kids who need them most.
Here are the details:
We need BEANIES (hats) for babies through teenagers. All noggin sizes. They can be knit, crochet, fabric. You name it. They can be embellished with flowers and bows. But don’t forget about the boys. They need hats too. It’s very difficult to find adorable hats and we think this community is the best place to get them. There are a hundred and one patterns online for beanies/hats. If you have one you’d like to share post it in the comments and I’ll put up a post to share with everyone.


We need BAGS for the kids to take with them to the hospital. They can be simple tote bag style or whatever suits your fancy. And if you are so inclined fill them up with goodies for the kids. Some ideas are books, puzzles, crayons, coloring books. The opportunities are endless. I’ll post ideas and suggestions shortly.

As with any Craft Hope project, don’t get lost in the details. Make a bag or a beanie. Make twenty. Get a group together and make bags and/or beanies. It’s totally up to you! There aren’t measurement requirements. If you find a pattern you like, go for it. I loved receiving the sock monkeys and seeing that each one had his own little personality. That’s exactly what we are hoping for with this project.

Melanie lives up in Minnesota and will be distributing the beanies and bags to the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the Miracles of Mitch Foundation, and the Ronald McDonald House. Melanie will also be a guest blogger here at Craft Hope giving you loads of information about these little warriors.

The deadline for Project 16 :: The Littlest Warriors is Monday, March 12, 2012. Please mail the beanies and bags to:

Melanie Bimson
16026 Temple Drive
Minnetonka, MN 55345

How about it? Are you in for it?? Let's see if we can blow their minds with love from all over the country. If you need yarn, will you let me know? I have plenty to share!

Needles up ... and ... off we go!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

First Day Musings --- "Act Like You Are Somebody"

What has happened to civility?

My Grandmother had the nicest way to remind us of how to behave whenever we went somewhere. "Act like you are somebody," she would caution, meaning for us to remember that we came from a decent family with values, morals, and, most of all, a reputation of being civil. In short, don't get out there and do something unkind, mean, or illegal.

There seems to be a trend in acting not like we are "somebody", but rather acting like we are Somebody -- somebody more important, smarter, meaner, and self-centered. Need to pull out in traffic? Well, you will just have to wait. Waiting for a parking place? Oops, I was faster. Someone says something you don't agree with? Well, just tell them how stupid they are.

Used to be, we could disagree and still be friends. We could worship differently, live differently, and even vote differently, but we still could be polite and courteous. Where did that go?

Just once and a while, I would like to hear, "Yes'm." Or, I'd like to see someone hold a door for another person; see a car let another pull in ahead of them; or, listen to a discussion that didn't include a rash of profanity that would make a pirate blush. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see the Golden Rule really a part of every day life?

How do we change the world? Well, really, we can't. We can only change the world we live in daily. How can you be more civil in your world? How can you encourage others to be more civil?

When once the forms of civility are violated,
there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency.
 - Samuel Johnson, British author

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What's sweet and melts to nothing?

The gals are laying tons of eggs. Tons. We have 24 dozen eggs in the refrigerator waiting for us to do something with them. Honestly, if you were close, you would hate me because I would leave eggs in your unlocked car, just as during our "Great Zucchini Crop" days a few years ago.

But, since you aren't, how about I share with you one of our favorite receipes to use the egg whites?

Meringue Cookies

2 egg whites
1/2 c. sugar
1-2 t. vanilla (or 3 t. cocoa; or lemon flavoring or whatever you have a hankering for today)
dash salt

Beat the egg whites and salt until stiff. Add the sugar by tablespoonsful.

Cover your cookie sheet with either parchment paper or silicone sheets. I use the silicone because it recycles with just a quick wipe! Sweet.

Now, the fun part. I used the cookie press I found at a junk store With All Its Pieces to squeeze the meringue into lovely little flowers. You could drop these from a tablespoon as well. I even added a little food colouring to one batch. Nothing like a red flower that tastes like sweet air and melts away to nothing in your mouth!  Have fun with it!

Bake at 250-degrees for one hour. Then, let them "rest" in the oven for at least two more hours.

Store in an air tight container... unless your Mister is like mine and is standing by the oven drooling and waiting...

We then take the egg yolks and make a lovely omelet or frittata from them. Nothing wasted!

How do you use extra eggs??

Friday, February 3, 2012

Really, it followed me home...

Guess what followed me home?? Yeah. I think it is going to be my new best friend. It's not here yet, but I hope to have it here within the week.

The Mister has a very big, too tall, very heavy tractor. It is great for many things we do on the farm. But, he won't let me drive it. And that is fine because I am afraid of it because it is too big for me. It tears up the yard and pastures because of its weight. And, it won't do many of the important jobs I would like for it to do, such as work the gardens and clean the stalls. When I cut wood, I have to either push it in the wheelbarrow (and on 30 acres it isn't easy!) or wait for the Mister to have time to haul it in his tractor. When hay needs moving, I have carry it from one side of the farm where it is stored in the cattle trailer or I have to wait for the Mister. And, when I need anything large moved, well, you get the idea.

In short, it was time for me to have a tractor. The salesman will deliver it and promises to spend as long with me as I need to feel confident with it. I am sure his wife will miss him...

I grew up around tractors. My favorite job on the other farm is to drive the tractor when we pick up hay. I love the smell of the fresh cut hay, the sun on my face, and the almost mermerizing sound of the engine. I love sitting under a tree and eating dinner; I love how healthy I feel when I toss the bales from the trailer to the barn. I don't love the prickels when we cut a rogue blackberry vine into the bale...

So, here I have my new friend. And, she needs a name. What do you suggest?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Interesting Random Thursday

Okay, kids, it's been a while since we've had a Random Thursday. And, since I got nothing else, well, here we go, the most interesting things of the week.

Interesting defuser / excuse / go-jump-in-the-lake expression:

I'm so sorry; I am unable to help you with that. Is there any other way I might help?

Repeat as necessary.

Interesting conversation:

Him: I think you are working too hard.

Me:  Oh?

Him: Well, I think I should start washing the dinner dishes and sweeping the kitchen floor every day.

Me: Oh?

Him: Well, it's really all I can do to help.

Me: ??

All I can think of are the other 379 things I do in a day. Mother says, "Be grateful! At least it is more than he has been doing." I now understand how she and my father have stayed married nearly 60 years. It is a war of atrition...

Interesting Text Message:

You have a daughter-in-law.

Interesting Co-worker exchange:

Him: I need more help with the mundane things in our department and I think you are probably smart enough to take on at least one.

Interesting random student statement:

"I like girls." from a girl... out of nowhere... in class... awkward.

Who's up for a road trip? I think I need one....

What's been interesting in your world this week??