Monday, December 19, 2011

Men are from Mars....

I have never read the book "Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars" or is it "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"? I can never keep that straight. Never mind. Regardless my point is the same. The last few years I have been trying to read everything that I can about small scale, sustainable farming. What I am seeing is an industry shift. Old styles of farming, such as row cropping and cattle lots or intensive indoor production of pigs and chickens can only be accomplished on a mega scale drawing large subsidies from the government. The new face of agriculture has a smaller footprint. More of a diversified palette. What I find interesting about this, is that even on a small sustainable blueprint, men want to raise cows,. Women want to raise sheep. A male farmer will even stand and argue that not a dollar can be had in the production of sheep while trying to keep his own head above water in what is currently, a very tough cattle market.

If by chance a woman wants a cow, it would be a milker or two, even then she is very apt to trade in her cow for a goat. Don't ask me why I find this so fascinating, but I do. Could our different desires in animal husbandry be an intrinsic part of our very natures? Do I want sheep on my little farm because I'm hardwired for sheep? My argument would be that I'm just being sensible. There is so much dollar value in a sheep... fleece, meat, better reproduction with freshening twice a year and producing twins typically each time. Sheep , like goats, can be milked if you have a mind to do so. That's just amazing to me. It will not, however, be a sufficient argument to Mac for the purchase of a couple of sheep.

Mac is hardwired for vacation. His argument is that when he retires, he wants to be able to drop everything and leave on a trip at a moments notice. You cannot do that if you are encumbered with creatures. However the other side of the coin is that if the little farm does not pay for itself, then we will never have the money to go anywhere or do anything ...... EVER! Difficult little realities and there is no way to make us change the way we feel about any of it. It is what it is, and money is what is lacking in the vast scheme of things. Doesn't that suck?! I don't know.... maybe it's time to read that damn book.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Peter Pan

I was trying to get some things done around the house the other day. The TV was on in the background. An ad played for an older movie, some version of Peter Pan. As Peter was trying to entice Wendy out of the window, he asked, "Do you want to fly away? Do you want to go where you will have a new adventure everyday? You'll never have to grow up. Once you go, there's no coming back." Those words struck me. I stopped what I was doing. I've got that. That's what the little farm has given me.

I cannot deny that it has also given me days where I felt like I was walking the plank... especially fencing days. Days when there was so much stress that I felt very much like I could hear the ticking of the crocodile sneaking upon me. Days of digging mud with my hands because it couldn't be dug with a shovel. The day Little Finn died, poor sickly pony. But, no one has ever said that an adventure would only be filled with fun.

No doubt that I will have to grow older.... but I think I have found the cure for growing up. There is always something new to try. There is always a new way to test myself. My mind is always engaged. Though to be fair I have to admit that not everyone can get a whole day's worth of entertainment from trying to figure out the best way to build a chicken tractor... or a rustic twig gate.... or a wattle garden fence... building outdoor ovens.....

There are actually only two things that take the joy out of our existence. One is the fear of the leukemia coming back, which is brought home whenever we have to make a trip to see one of the oncologists. The other, of course, is money. We currently are running about four thousand short per year from what we need to be. Money is my arch nemesis. Money is my Captain Hook. Damn you, Captain Hook!!! (okay, okay, Peter Pan wouldn't have said that, but it feels good to let lose every once in awhile)

If I were a man I could just go seduce some widow lady. Such a good, reliable, time honored way to raise some cash. Oh well, I'll come up with something... somehow. After all, this is an adventure! I'll keep my chin up. I'll take that pinch of pixie dust and head straight on to morning.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Of Wind, and Trees, and Happy Thoughts

It is incredibly windy today. I am sitting here at my desk and watching a huge old dead elm swaying in the wind. It does not often move, but today it is making up for it's normal sluggishness. Today might be the day it comes down.

I have already started planting my wind break. Small trees, of course. Lowes has been offering promotional blue spruces for the last few years and I have tried to pick up some each year. The first ones I planted are now two foot tall. Mac mocks my tree planting endeavors. He would prefer to wait until we can afford more established trees, around six to eight foot tall. The cost would be prohibitive, especially when figuring for a quarter of a mile long wind break. So, I keep at it, sometimes buying as few as four trees at $4.99 a piece. Then I cross my fingers and hope that the promotional price will hold for another spring, because you never know, next year........

There won't be just green windbreaks but also fence rows. The idea has been haunting me for quite awhile so I will give it a go. I have read the instructions numerous times and have decided it is time to start. As per instruction, I have gone out and collected a bucket of hedge balls from my hedge (Osage Orange) trees. They will sit out in the elements, in the bucket, for the winter. According to the instructions this will cause them to break down into a slurry by next spring. Then I just need to dig a shallow planting furrow and sparingly pour the slurry into the furrow. The instructions specify that after a year the young flexible trees are to be bent into wickets, but I am thinking of trying another method. I would like to space the trees more. Top them off and espalier the laterals to grow like fence rails. I think that will allow me to get in and maintain the fence more easily. If worse comes to worse, I will be growing a great deal of firewood.

We tried growing pines for christmas trees, but the deer thought we were growing munchies for them. Now that we know the deer will pretty much leave spruces alone, we are entertaining the idea again. Spruces certainly don't take the pruning that pines do, though they grow slower. Not that I am in a hurry.

It is amazing me how the wind is blowing this morning. Amazing to watch that old dead elm. Not a fit day to be outside working on projects. I suppose I will just stay here, for awhile anyway, and think. There's just so much a person can think about, especially on a windy day like today.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Best of Times...The Worst of Times...

I had a very up and down day yesterday. I did a little bit of wrapping of christmas presents. There wasn't much to wrap so it was more of an exercise in evaluating what needed to be done. I started making a few things. I started on a pattern. Then when I needed a bit of clarity of mind, I went outside and worked on the round pen. I have had so much anxiety over the building of the round pen. It has been all about how to use my existing resources and not spend any money. The round pen accesses two different horse lots and the lane so there needs to be three gates. Gates are expensive. I had finally mulled it over enough to have some solutions and yesterday, I got brave enough to go out and execute the idea. It worked!!! Physically it was a bit draining but I could still do it by myself. It was all good.

Then it started to rain. So, back into the house. I checked my computer, because that's what I do. It is my way of shifting gears anymore. While on the computer, I found a posting that a friend was taking part in an alzheimers study. WHAT!!? Alzheimers? I sent off a carefully worded e-mail. I received no response.... and then I got scared.

About then, my mind jumped back to when I worked at the local hospital. I thought about the alzheimer patients coming in from the nursing home. You were lucky when they were sleeping. Clawing, biting, with a look in their eye that no longer seemed human. This couldn't happen to my friend.. not this. The thought of this intellectual man reduced to an animal state would be a sin.

Finally, about ten o'clock last night, I received an e-mail. My friend was okay. He was in the study because his grandfather had the disease. After numerous tests he was given the all clear. He will continue in the study. I was awash with relief.... palpable... tangible. Thank God... sometimes, not always, but sometimes, the best of times get to be just that, the best of times


Tuesday, December 13, 2011


My grandson, Edgar, has taken a long time to decide that he likes me. He has been a "Grandpa's boy". Edgar's dad, my son in law, James said he was that way with women in general. He just naturally seemed to prefer the company of men. It was to the point of weirdness

Then this last summer, we had a breakthrough. Mac was feeling kind of crappy. But Edgar had been promised a ride on the mower. So, Grandma...that's me, went and got the key and we got ourselves going. Edgar got the five dollar tour of the farm and the horses and the pasture. We climbed over, under and around fallen tree trunks. We got dirty. At the age of three, Edgar learned that he doesn't have to be a slave to gender stereotypes and we have been great buddies ever since.

We stayed indoors more this last weekend, what with the toilet training and all, and as Edgar is a great lover of Thomas the Tank Engine, I chose to introduce him to the Polar Express. Now you have to understand that our family has a movie loving tradition. We kind of have a ritual. If a snack is required. You do it ahead of time. Then you get your quilt or blanket and we all snuggle onto the couch together.

We were all set. We had our quilt. The movie was in the player. Edgar had his peanuts and Tang. We started the movie. We hadn't even gotten through all of the opening credits when Edgar shouted, with a voice of alarm, "WAIT!!" Then he jumped up. He took off his socks. Took off his pants. Took off his shirt. Then looked down at his new Toy Story underwear pondering for a moment. He left them on. He jumped onto the couch, pulled the quilt up around him and snuggled up close to my side.

He flashed me his gorgeous smile and we watched our movie. He loved the acrobatic waiters serving the hot chocolate and every time the train went down a steep grade we clutched onto each other and yelled, "WEEEEE" until we were back onto the level.

When the movie was over, Edgar wanted to watch it again. Grandpa said no that it was his turn to pick a movie. Now Edgar knew for sure.... Grandma is the fun one, even if she is a girl. Because Grandma is a warrior woman and is no slave to gender stereotype.


Monday, December 12, 2011


It seems that as you approach a holiday, time accelerates. That is the case now. The time I have available just keeps rattling away and I am left with so many expectations of what I want to accomplish..... always, there is always so much to do.

This last weekend slipped by with no fudge made, no cookies for my grandsons. We did get the tree up and the lights on it. We fell short with decorating, but Edgar seemed to be content with the half dozen or so ornaments that did make it on the tree. We had a curve thrown to us. Edgar was ready to work on toilet training. So that was the enterprise of the weekend. I am sad about not having the time to make fudge though.

Half of my cards are out. The other half have not been started. Edgar and Evelyn each have a present under the tree, but that is all. The goal is to get the old, old truck sold for scrap to fund christmas this year. That means I have to get it cleaned out. I had waited on this hoping to have a shed to put everything into. No such luck... and no time. The truck must go this week. Horse hay will have first right to whatever storage I can muster. Sometimes it gets frustrating.

I look at the tasks to be done... a last bit of fencing, creating storage and I have almost all of my christmas presents to make this year. I have two weeks. And my time is accelerating. This is going to get interesting.


Thursday, December 8, 2011


That is what it says on the cover of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".... Don't Panic. I'm actually thinking that I should just make a blank book with tear out pages for my to-do lists that have those exact words on the cover.... Don't Panic. I don't know...may be it should just be the first item on every to-do list. Regardless, the only way that I shall make it through the day is if I can keep myself in check.

My grandsons, Edgar and Oscar, are coming down to spend the night. They don't often get to be with us, so it needs to be an event. I have to get the house clean..... REALLY clean, as Oscar is still a crawler. I need to get the christmas tree up... stockings hung. A present wrapped and under the tree for each of the boys. Possibly one for Grandpa too. Everything has to be wonderful and the only way I can get it all done is if I DON'T PANIC!

So! Here is the plan... Go to town stop by Farm and Home store and pick up a few fencing supplies. Stop at the post office and mail some christmas cards. Run by the pharmacy and Pick up Mac's prescriptions. Stop at Dollar General for some replacement tree lights. Take cans and bottles to the redemption center. Buy groceries. Come home and start cleaning. Kitchen first... it has been getting shorted lately. Upstairs bathroom next. Sort and throw away all of the clutter on the counter. Then start from one corner of the dining area and work my way around the living room. Then Lunch!

Then clean the downstairs bathroom. Tidy up the bedroom and wash sheets. Clean the upstairs loft which has turned into a catch all area....... who am I kidding?! I'm screwed!! I'm thinking maybe it's time for me to start to panic.

I think instead... I will make fudge. Thank God everybody still loves me for my fudge! Yup, that'll work.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Cards

I get a truly bizarre sense of happiness and contentment when I send out christmas cards. I don't know why. There have been years when I sat down and wrote out lengthy letters in all of my cards and they got sent on New Years Day. Some years they didn't get sent at all. Last year only half got mailed. Despite my difficulties at getting them stamped and to the post office, I love sending Christmas cards!.

I have received two so far this year. One from my niece and one from my Aunt Becky. Some people, who have been friends many years but who have slipped away, still send cards. It is the last tenuous thread of communication. A reminder that we still treasure that friendship... the hope that when the last kid is raised, the floor is mopped and the job retired from, we can go to lunch again.

The cards contain treasures. Photos of the kids. One dear friend sends me the occasional beaded ornament. (yes, they're flat.) Then there are the notes. Condensed vignettes of the year. Uncle Marvin was in the hospital again.. his legs.... the diabetes. He is much improved now. How is our life? Have we been well? Such a shame we live such a distance. Wish we could see you. And then I am reminded that someone out there remembers me. They care about me.

Last night I began my cards. I rank them from the dearest to me to the least dear. (aka the mean relatives) I write in them. Sometimes I send something too. I try to put a bit of myself into them and with a little luck, when they are received... people will know that someone out there remembers them. Someone out there cares.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Stranger Arrives

Yesterday was a highly stressful day. It always is when there are bills to be paid... or especially, unpaid. But the bills were taken care of. I made my trip to the post office and picked up the two presents I had on layaway. Then I came home and took deep breaths. The best course of action seemed to be to bury myself in the mundane. I sorted papers on my desk and and started to fill out a USDA survey. Then I heard it... somewhere between a squeak and a coo. Then a small black face peered through the sidelight of the door.

I am too much of an easy touch. That's what Mac says and I kept his words of warning in my mind as I stuck my head out the door. Usually, we see feral cats out here and the sign of a human is enough to make them take off as quick as possible. This one didn't run. It attempted a weak purr. So, I got some dog food and made it a bit of a nest out away from the house. As soon as I got myself settled back at my desk, I heard the squeaky coo again. The kitten was back at the door. So I went out with an old towel and tried to make the nest a bit more "homey". This did not work. This small black creature was following me as best she could. She looked so tiny and pathetic, which earned her access to the house. I again offered food but instead she looked around, climbed into a yarn basket and fell asleep. She slept soundly for two and a half hours.

After her nap, it was time for chores. So out she went, hopefully to answer nature's bidding and Fiona and I headed out to feed the horses. I thought she had stayed by the house, but by the time I was to the feed cans I realized that she was following me in the perfect heel position. She stayed with me all the way back to the pasture. She tried to investigate the horses noses. The horses were not appreciative. Then she stayed with me again all the long walk back and followed Fiona into the house.

One eye looked a bit crossed and she seemed extremely wobbly. The eye made me think she was a bit siamese. I entertained the Idea of Clarence for a name, in honor of Clarence the cross eyed lion. Wondered if the female version would be Clarita. I watched her follow me, call to me when I moved away, I thought that if a Puritan were seeing this, I would be accused of being a witch. She seemed very much like what I believed a familiar would be like. This gave me her name... Piwacket, after the witch cat in the movie"Bell, Book and Candle"

Mac has said she can stay... but only as an outdoor cat. She is sitting on my lap now as I type. I will keep her in for food and water and for checks on condition. Oddly enough, today her eye isn't so crossed. Her coat is already in better condition. She is stumbling less, but there is nothing to her. Every bone in her body is protruding. You can't always hear her purr but you can feel it through her delicate ribs. She survived the night and now it seems, she is mine.

Piwacket is going to be a good cat. I can tell.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Huge Day

I have a huge, busy day ahead of me. Well, it needs to be a huge, busy day. It is yet to be seen if that is possible. I need to make some phone calls... I HATE making phone calls!! It's so masochistic. It's so throwing yourself on the train tracks of someone else's shitty moods. Phone calls just create shitty moods. Then you combine business with it and then it is just moody, depressing, shitty business. AAARRRGGHHHH! I hate making phone calls.

Then I have bills to pay, which I don't want to go into cause I feel worse about paying bills then I do about phone calls. Then I have a couple of projects that I need to try to work on. One I have been asking Mac to help me with for the last five or six months. Now it is cold and windy and I will be out doing it by myself.... or it won't get done. Needless to say, the resentment has become a bit overbearing. Twenty minutes of help when I need it saves me hours of work on my own, not to mention the hours it saves in me trying to muster the drive to face a task that I fear I will have to leave unfinished, because I simply can't do it on my own.

Stress is exhausting!!

But I can't think about this shit!! Because I have a huge day ahead of me! There is so much that needs to be done today.

I just really wish I could go back to bed. Sooth my depression by being unconscious.


Friday, December 2, 2011

It's a Miracle!!!

Yup!'s a miracle!! I pulled the last bit of electric wire for horse lot no. 1 yesterday. I also started putting up post caps and insulators on horse lot no. 2. To get the lots completely closed in, I need to get the facing round pen fencing up as well. But I feel like I finally got over this big, giant, friggin' hurdle!

My run in shelter still worries me. I've got some open holes yet and I want to get posts into those so I, or the horses, don't fall in them and break a leg.

I actually even have some posts in for horse lot no. 3. This will give me a good start next spring. Next years goal is to get lots no. 3 and 4 done in the spring. Then win the lotto and put up a covered arena and some round pens..... winning the lotto will be so darned handy!

But for the next hour or so.... I will revel in the knowledge that I got that wire done!!! I feel like I've been pushing a boulder up a hill and I have finally made it! There are other jobs I need to get done, but they don't feel like such large boulders. I still need to get on the roof and get some stuff done but that doesn't involve hauling huge timbers. It doesn't involve going over the same area again and again. I am so happy. This feels so much better.

Finally...... finally, I made some progress.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Another Day

Yesterday was another day in Iowa City. It seemed like a much longer drive this time. I suppose that wasn't helped by the fact that Mac and I both had bad dreams about the visit the night before. There was construction detours when we got there. Inadequate signs telling you how to get where you need to go in all of the mess. It reminded me just how tiring stress is.

The Dr. visit was uneventful. No news. The physician's assistant that we got yesterday was nice. She showed me the GVH in his mouth, but we didn't see any lab results. We were informed that Mac had dry skin.... this was not a surprise. I have been able to "diagnose" dry skin for many, many years.

I still cannot come back from Iowa City without having to battle rushes of anger, bad memories, an occasional chest pain.

I had to use forty dollars of my birthday/christmas cash for gas and lunch. Mac says it needs to be reimbursed right away. I have no illusions about that. There won't be enough money to allow reimbursement until next May or thereabouts. The trick will be to hang on to what I have.

There is to be a snow storm this weekend. The forecast wavers about it's severity. This means that I need to get outside and work. Maybe that is the best. Get out and breathe my own air. Look at my own open skies. The problem is... the stress has been soo tiring.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Big Decision

Recently, I received some money from my mom for my birthday and as my christmas present. It gives me exactly $100.00. Usually I don't think twice about either spending my money to buy someone else's christmas present or I put it on a bill or buy groceries. It sits there... looking at me.

God knows, I have the bills.... I have places for the money to go! But I keep hanging on to it.

This year I really wanted to get the Parelli humanality/ horsenality match report. It tells me what my personality is and how to make it work best with my horses nature to achieve results. It costs $99.00. Some of my friends have gotten one done and they have been talking about it revealing things they were unaware of. I have been intrigued. Anyway, the match report was what I wanted for christmas and now the decision that I always make has become a painful decision.

So for now the money sits there.... I suppose eventually, I will do the right thing. It will go on a bill. But I am tired of paying for nothingness. Insurance for example Car, home, health and life and it's gone! Nothing tangible... nothing I can pick up... nothing that gives me pleasure. It's just gone. It's ethereal and I am needing so many REAL things here. And while the report , perhaps isn't so big or so real as lumber or concrete, it would be mine and it would give me pleasure.

I am being selfish. I know what is the right thing to do. I just don't know if I can do the right thing this time. I guess, for now, that money and I will just keep starring at each other. We'll see what happens.


Monday, November 28, 2011


Now that Thanksgiving is over and my fence is almost strung, my mind keeps escaping off to other places. Oddly enough, today I keep thinking about dirt. I have bad dirt. My most recent hay man told me that because it has just laid fallow for so long, around twenty years, nothing has happened to enrich the soil. It has not been grazed, so it has not been enriched by manure. Because it was in CRP program, it was seeded to the governments recommendations. That was a specific seed mixture and most of it has died out, except the brome. Brome grass apparently is a heavy feeder. So the nutrients have been consumed and the soil never enriched. You can dig down and not even find an earth worm over the majority of the property. After three years of mowing we are just now finding worms in our yard area.

I need manure! I need it now! I need an effective way to to haul it and spread it. Then I need to find a good way to haul my burn barrel ash out to the pasture. Then I need to find a way to come up with the money for seed.... something other then brome. My choice is orchard grass and clover. I have been told by a number of farmers what todays conventional thinking is about forages. Well, conventional thinking has about killed my dirt so I'm just going to do what's best for my place. Besides... I'd rather live with my own mistakes, then someone else's

That is what my brain is up to now. On one side I am knee deep in manure, dirt and grass seed and on the other, I am thinking that it would be nice to get some christmas decorations up. Maybe go ahead and get up the tree. I have some christmas presents I need to be making. A little wrapping. I'd like to do some baking.....

But, boy oh boy, I'd like to get my hands on some manure!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What to Do?!!

I am totally and completely at odds with myself today. I don't know what to do first.... or second for that matter. I am confused. I am poised for something and I don't know what it is. The pacing has commenced and the restlessness is developing.

I hate it when this happens!! So much to do and for some reason, out of no where, too much emotion to push through to get anything done. Too much emotion... too much thinking... too much WORK!!

It makes me a little crazy and I can't help but feel that all would be well if I just had a medicinal donut... a long john exactly, filled with medicinal bavarian creme. That's the ticket! Then all of my other emotions would fade away and I would just be consumed with guilt... which would streamline things completely! That would be good. Life in manageable doses. Manageable doses... I have no idea what the hell that is.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shifting Gears

It's raining today. Outside my door looks gray and bleak. This morning I need to shift gears and do something other then outside work... something other then fencing. This has been a problem for me. I become so obsessed over a task that I have to get done that everything else fades away completely. That is, until it is panic time over some other thing that needs done NOW!!

Well, my posts are all in and it is time to string wire. I'm so close that this rain is painful to see. I need to shift gears. I need to make sure this day remains useful. Today, I will drive over to Winterset and pay my husband's share of his mother's funeral ... with money borrowed from my mother. It is frustrating. We had hoped to get the mileage reimbursement from the insurance company but that didn't happen. Now I hope that it isn't another hard winter. There is no lee way.

As soon as I get home, I will work on indoor projects that must get done or I will go ahead and work in the rain. Today will be productive... it has to be. We are running out of time. I can make it.... I know I can. Just so long as I develop the ability to quickly shift from one thing to another, all will be accomplished. My worst enemy is frustration. Can't get frustrated today... in the cold and the rain... with my dismal task.

I just have to learn to shift gears.


Monday, November 21, 2011


My filthy, messy house is driving me crazy! That's on one hand... on the other hand if I quit being obsessed by my out door work then I will totally be unprepared for winter. I am a soul in torment!

The girls have often asked how they can help with getting the house in shape. They don't usually like the answer, as the answer is, "help me put in fence and build a shed". I fear the shed is a necessity especially. I organized a lot of the construction "stuff" in the closet so things are better, but I still have a box of tools next to my desk. A stack of lumber on my stairs. Another box of building "stuff" in the hall, a 200 amp service box in the kitchen, more wood in the bedroom.... the list goes on.

Katie, my middle child, tells me that a cluttered house causes lack of focus and depression. I'm screwed. How does a person get the focus necessary to clean a cluttered house when a cluttered house causes a lack of focus? It's like being trapped in that Escher print with the stairways! I don't know which way I'm going!!

Then there is the refrigerator! If God were to doom our souls based on the condition of the interior of our refrigerators.... I'd be on the fast track to hell. It's scary (and somewhat smelly) in there! Altogether frightening.

There is nothing for it. I am simply going to have to take a day and....... finish my fencing, or I will NEVER be able to get started on anything else.


P.S. On the getting things done ...with luck, I will have some pictures of the fencing project to put up this next saturday when at my daughters , the one with the fast internet. Fingers crossed that I get to it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

So Much Done!!!

I suppose it reflects the old adage that every cloud has a silver lining, but due to my neighbor's marital problems, I am getting a lot done around here. I had hand dug the holes needed for the small horse lot and half for the second lot. Neighbor Dan brought over his tractor and dug the last five or so holes. Then he dug the last eleven holes for the round pen. Then he dug an additional four holes to jump start a third lot for next summer.

When we first moved to the country I was told about a guy that would cut hedge posts on shares. It didn't quite work out like that and most of the "posts" he cut for me were actually the tree trunks that he couldn't get his chain saw through. They had been left laying on my western neighbors land. Now the grass has died back Neighbor Dan again brought his tractor over and we got the posts drug out. We sorted them by size and straightness and decided what was usable. Then we drug some to where they would be put in the ground. While Neighbor Dan was at work I got the huge posts straightened and tamped in. Exhausting! Then I started all of the tee posts and yesterday Dan came over with his tractor and pushed the posts in to proper depth. What is left is building some temporary gates and stringing wire and the horses can be moved. Hooray!!!

While Dan was here he also covered the new trench where we had to rerun our electrical wire. Then he brought over his chain saw and cut some more posts for me. Then he got a phone call from his soon to be ex-wife and he kicked into a feverish pace. He was cutting like crazy. Getting a bit dangerous. A very thorny piece of hedge fell too close and caught his face. He said it was a scratch... the way it was bleeding, I considered it something more. I got a towel and some peroxide. Mopped up the blood that had run down his face and had been dripping off his chin. Then was dumping the peroxide in. When I was happy that the dirt had bubbled out, Dan was forced to sit down and hold the towel on his face until the bleeding totally stopped. He was left a little damaged. I was left with a small stack of fence posts.

Dan comes over here to hide when his wife is in their house. I always have things that require some heavy lifting, which makes him feel good about himself and I always have ideas. We talk about ways to make money. Mushrooms, wine grapes and birdhouses. We talk about pastures, manure and grass seeds. We talk about tractor payments.

We shall see how all of this goes. Mac and I are trying to be there for our neighbor and who knows how much will end up getting done around here!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Savvy Equals Safety

I used to have an instructor that if she wanted you to remember something important, she would put it into a little saying, rhyme or an acronym. In a musical context, I think everyone has heard the scale referred to as Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. My current instructor, my horse mentor, Pat Parelli does this as well. Though Pat has so many that I sometimes fail in remembering them all, but the first one I learned is the one in the front of my mind today... Savvy equals safety.

There is just so much bad that can happen. So many possibilities for creating our own demise. This last year there have been a number of horse person wrecks that I have heard about. Broken ribs, broken collar bone, gashed head but amidst this mayhem what stands out to me is that these Parelli students didn't die. They could have. When these people describe their accidents they can explain with absolute clarity, right to the point of impact, what the horse was doing, what the horse was seeing and thinking and things they were trying to do to control the situation, or to offset the damage. The program was ingrained enough that they didn't die.

Ingraining.....My old instructor called this Boy-Book-Boy... get the boy into the book so the book is in the boy. Pat has it a little differently. He says we start out unconsciously incompetent... we don't know that we don't know. We progress to consciously incompetent, where we have it figured out just how dumb we are, but we are learning. The goal is to be unconsciously competent, where the knowledge is so a part of our being that it is automatic. It's a good goal.

So today, I want to take a break from talking about fencing, disease, the onset of winter and all of my other rants to give a shout out to Pat. We may get bashed, bruised, bloody and sometimes, a bit broken, but thank you for keeping us alive, for getting inside of our heads and making our lives better. Some of the people you have saved are very dear to me.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


When I started my fencing project, I was thinking about a basic lot. A big rectangle that would be sufficient to get the horses close to the house for winter. But then I visited some other facilities, got some good ideas. I saw some good layouts. Then, being brilliant, I decided to plan the whole shooting match and just work on a section at a time. Don't just work, but work towards a goal.

This was a good idea but the problem is that I keep seeping out into the next step. When I get done with this fencing project, I will be done with a smaller horse lot, a larger horse lot and a seventy foot round pen. This is wonderful!, but I'm still not done, not even with a small part. And, I'm tired and I find myself seeping again. I have holes for posts in what will be a third lot and I have staked some points for more holes to build a little primitive hay barn. Just six holes for now. Six posts. Then I can tarp it for the winter so I can get my 120 small bales home. I need my hay. Do I dare seep into this project? Are there even any alternatives?

I saw a nifty little hay storage shelter. It was made of long 2x8s as the base. Pieces of rebar staked them into an on edge position. Then three sixteen foot cattle panels were arched between the 2x8s so it became shaped like a high tunnel green house. The ends of the panels were screwed into the 2x8s. and small pieces of plywood cut to shape like a rib held the top of the arch secure in the panel. The whole thing was covered by tarp and tarp was cut to fit the ends. One end was left with a slit for access. Compared to a pole building, this is cheap and easy and portable. I have the 2x8s. I have some scrap plywood around. The cattle panels would be about $21.00 per panel and the tarp would end up costing around fifty or sixty dollars. I could probably do the whole thing for around $130.00. But I don't have $130.00. If I can proceed with the other hay barn, I use what I have available here and I just need to find a way to buy the tarps. Do I dare seep again? Should I?

It turned cold last night. Another occurrence that reminds me that my days are numbered. What to do? Too tired. Just too tired to think.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keep Moving!!!!

I am at a difficult time now. The weather has been gorgeous. I am so weary of fencing and there are starting to be other enticements..... like planning for christmas. I make a lot of stuff for christmas. Home made toys, recipe books, quilts and on occasion, ugly afghans. But I can't allow myself to think about it, especially when I am so close! The fence so close to finished and all I need to derail the whole project is to start thinking about something else. I have even hidden my to-do list. Nothing but fence!

Don't think...Keep moving!!

Though I did make my annual christmas organizer this morning. I usually save an old christmas card. One that is a convenient size for my purse. Then I staple pages into it. The pages are labeled. One will be all of the people that I will send cards to. Another will be the people I know that I will have a small gift for. Then there are a number of pages for christmas ideas. This will incorporate thoughts about decorations, things I want to try ... recipes. One page will be my grocery shopping list. The definitive list of what I need to cook my christmas menu. Then I save a page for each of my kids and their spouses and the grand kids. The bottom half of the page is filled with suggestions. Things that I have heard them say they would like or use and I wrote it down so as to not forget. Then I have something solid to work from when I make the decision of what to buy or make for a family member. The top of the page is broken into three sections. The first and largest bit is dedicated to the presents I actually buy with a column for what I spend. This way I can see the number of items that I've bought and keep a running total of how much I have spent. Under this is a place to list the stocking stuffers that I have gotten for this person. We are very big on stocking stuffers in our family. We buy as much weird crap as we possibly can and we all have fairly large stockings. The last section of the page is for the table present. This is the last present we open on the day. It has to fit on the person's plate. I try to make this a thoughtful gift... I don't always succeed, but it is the last opportunity to leave a warm, fuzzy feeling for the recipient. It is a process that I become totally absorbed in... gifts that evoke a feeling.

So I can't think about it! Don't think .... Keep moving!!

The other day there was an incredibly hard wind from the south and I was thinking about how badly I wanted to be working on my solar heat collector/window covers for the big windows in the living room and bed room. I was calculating the amount of wood. Site preparation. Hardware to keep it in place. Amount of plastic. How much money would this save us this winter. Then I had to stand back and tell myself...

Snap out of it!! Don't think.... Keep moving!

I so need to make some money. Money haunts me. I've even put myself on a diet.... not so much a traditional diet but one that is about the most conscientious way to use food, in order to save money. During the day, I eat if there are leftovers or if there is something that is really, really cheap. Sometimes a can of beets (don't ask me why, but I love beets) Ramen noodles or if I am feeling very extravagant... pancakes. Cheap and cheerful, but mostly cheap. Then I remind myself..

Building the fence will save money in hay and feed! Don't think.... Keep moving!

But I am so close and winter is coming and soon. One way or another, I will lay this burden down. It will either be done or it will be time to cry "Uncle!" But I don't want to think about that now. I just have to keep moving.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Today, I Feel Blessed

It has been a busy weekend for me, and it has left me feeling blessed. Our neighbor has been a godsend. He knows that Mac has been sick. Knows the burden it puts on me and he has tried very hard to step in and help me with things that take an extra set of hands, or a tractor, to do. Because of my neighbor the fence is so much closer to being done.

We started off by pulling out already cut posts. They were cut a couple of years ago, but being so large, I had been unable to move them. Then it became more difficult as brush started to grow around them. Some of them basically tree trunks off my Osage Orange (hedge) trees. I would not be surprised if some of those posts weighed in at three or four hundred pounds. They are huge. Some are in excess of fifteen or sixteen inches across. Some that we couldn't use are even larger. Then, on day two, my neighbor brought over his hole auger on his tractor and we started making holes. This goes so fast!!! For a person who has dug a lot of holes it is like some time lapse miracle! You don't know if you should feel thrilled or weep for all of the holes that you already dug by hand.

The last step was getting the monstrously huge timbers tipped into the holes. Even with a tractor this was very tiring... and dangerous. We had a couple of logs get away from us and it is surprising just how nimble a couple of fifty year olds can be when such an occasion arises. I may not be a graceful doe, but I can still execute an effective duck and dive.

Today I will be working on my own. I will be straightening posts up and tamping dirt around them. I will be pulling wire and with a great deal of luck, tomorrow morning I will be moving the horses to a new pasture. I think at that moment, I will breathe clearly again. The constant lump in my chest will subside and the reflux will ebb.

I am so blessed that such a huge task is so close to completion. I am blessed with a neighbor that despite his own personal trials, feels like he should help shoulder Mac's and mine as well. Most people only do what is good within the realm of what is convenient for them. With that in mind, I count myself doubly blessed.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Fortune Cookie

I was cleaning out my purse the other day... looking for a fresh prescription that I needed to drop off for Mac. And in amongst the canceled checks, alfalfa pellet receipts and general debris, I found a fortune cookie fortune. Don't know how I could have lost this one, as it was a particularly good one. It said...."You will have good luck and overcome many hardships"

The first thing that jumped out at me was OVERCOME. It was like some huge reassurance that I would survive all this. It felt very nice.

Then it occurred to me that having good luck didn't necessarily insure that I wouldn't have hardships. Then of course, I had to wonder if my good luck would include the lotto and paying off my bills, because that would be very nice indeed.

My fortunes are like my lotto tickets. Hanging on the front of the fridge under a magnet. A diminutive billboard for hope. There hangs the belief that not only can I change my own fortune but also change the tide in the world for good. Who knows, maybe some day I will have enough money to help replant the rain forest. Maybe I can make micro business loans to women the world over. Maybe I can help house the homeless. Maybe, maybe, maybe.....

First, I must overcome many hardships. Then we will see what happens.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Anger and Other Emotions

I've been sitting here at my desk and watching the sun sneak into the sky. But this is where I usually sit. Watching it's progress and marking the time until I pull on my warm clothes and head out to chore the horses. With the rain and the melting snow the horses are standing in mud and I am again feeling the push to get my new horse lots finished. Everyday I see reminders of the need for it. Everyday I get angry at my slowness... lack of equipment to move the posts... lack of a decent hand pruning saw even. I get angry that I need help and angry that I can't afford to hire any.

Then I see a glimpse of a shed or barn in the background of a movie, or a photo and I think," I can do that!, That'll work for the hay... or a run in... or a mini barn...." And in that moment, I have that feeling of elation. A problem solved. My life made better...easier. I just have to figure out how to build it.

Getting something done has it's feelings too. Though it has surprised me that it doesn't make me terribly happy. Instead it is like the relaxation of a bow string. It is a profound release. A prayer and a sigh..."Thank God that's done, It's over" T hen with that burden lifted, I can think clearer. I move on.

Always, there is the feeling that we aren't safe yet, and never is that feeling stronger then when we are heading into winter. I swing between being motivated by the feeling and being frozen in terror. All the while trying to hold down the reflux and trying to look normal. Telling myself to "Keep moving..Keep moving!" Every day of the year is about winter. Everyday I think that what I do on this day will help us survive the winter. Even in the first flushes of spring, the thought is there.. what will I do different so I can survive next winter?

But what this new lifestyle has given me is something priceless. I have been tested. I have been tested by nature and it has uncovered strengths and ingenuity, deeper purpose, greater passion for life. Because of all of that, today I will go into town and I will buy a new saw. The test goes on.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sylvia's Farm

I have recommended this book before... Sylvia's Farm. It has turned into my annual winter read. It comforts me. From the pages, she tells me that I'm not alone. Keep working. For every hardship there is a reward. It might only be the first flush of spring's green, but it lifts the heart.

Last night while reading, Sylvia posed the question, is it winter we fear or the not being prepared for it? I laid in bed thinking about this. I thought about having shelter for my animals... those here now and those to come. Safe fencing, of course. Continuing to plant my windbreaks and fence rows. Enough hay. Enough money for Christmas. Enough money to pay for heating. Coming out of winter with enough money to pay the spring taxes. I wonder if those things were taken care of if I could settle in for a good winter's hibernation. I wonder if my mind could rest. Would I crochet? Would I start drawing again? Would I bake?

This morning I look out on our first snow fall of the season. It is melting. I still have a little time. There are still posts to put in. I still need a run in shelter for the horses. The next weeks will be the test and then it will be time to cry "Uncle" and live with all that I have done... and all that I haven't.

Each winter I think of Little Finn, the mini, who died of the cold. Then I hope that no one will die or suffer as the result of my inadequacies. Do I do enough? Do I work hard enough? I have dropped in snow drifts when pulling buckets of water on a sled to the horses. I've gotten chilled through in freezing rains, sucked down by heavy mud. All small matters compared to Finn's death. I will never work hard enough. I can never make it right. And I can't let it happen again.

So I look out at what I have done, and I take a little time and look at Sylvia's farm... look through another's eyes. This winter has to be better then previous ones. We all have to be made safe and then we will tuck in for our winter's rest.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Pit Bull Bite

I have heard that when a pit bull bites that their jaws can lock. Then the dog cannot release even if it wants too. Well, I think I'm starting to relate to that. Actually, my teeth are hurting. Some things I just can't let go of and with the weather turning, my bite increases. I have my grip on the hope of finishing my fence.

The fencing continues to slowly fall into place. I have posts in for about three quarters of the round pen. I have about fifteen tee posts to set. Then I need to make some decisions about gates.... still. Then string some wire and I have a horse lot and a round pen. If I can still get together seven more wood posts and around forty more tee posts and one more gate, then I have a second, larger horse lot. So close!! and I already have the tee posts.

I know I have become fixated. I know I rarely talk about anything other then fencing, but on a farm, fencing is more. It is safety for my animals... it is security. It tells hunters to stay the hell out. It means I won't go out this winter, wading through two foot drifts just to see Pip standing a quarter of a mile away behind the neighbor's house. It means my mind can be at ease and I can be free to think about something else. Oh God! I really, really want to think about something else. I promised my grandchildren to finish the upstairs so they have their own space when they come to stay. I want to think about that for awhile. I want to think about decorative painting. After two and a half years... I want curtains!!!

But for now, pretty isn't a priority.... safety is. My creatures must be safe for winter. Time is running out for the season, so my pit bull bite has intensified. My teeth are just going to have to hurt for a few more weeks.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Tangents, Tangents, Tangents

I am always off on tangents. Running in whatever direction, trying to get whatever done so that life continues. Some days, I look at all of the directions I'm going and I just get confused. Recently with the electricity kerfuffle, I have just felt that I have been repeatedly throwing myself against the wall. The wall sure as hell wasn't moving and I was getting badly bruised. I was getting so angry that after I worked on the electricity as long as I could bear, I still had to go do something to work off the rest of my rage.

Well, now we have our electricity back. It isn't quite permanent yet, but close. We have temporary splices in place, need to get those converted to permanent and then buried and we are good again. I've also done some cleaning around the house, which still looks like a building site and got rid of three more bags of garbage. I know that sounds like nothing, but we are on a dirt road with no garbage pick up so we have to pack out our trash... not that it is difficult but it certainly is a pain.

I have done more brush clearing. You know those little "garages", the ones that are made of some sort of plastic, which isn't as good as a tarp and metal tubing? Well, I had purchased one of those and quickly found that it would not stand up to the winds that we get. So while cleaning brush, the garage got removed from a couple of small trees and more then enough wild rose bushes. Maybe it wasn't the biggest job in the world but it was one that I was dreading and it was finished because I had enough anger to tackle it.... hooray it's done!

I have done some mowing around one of the new horse lots so we can get in with some electric fencing. Not the final plan but closer to what I want. I have located all of the old fence post holes so they can be filled so a horse foot, or small child, won't disappear down it. Now to get the dirt hauled in and scooped into the holes. A few more posts and we will be running the wire.

I have a plan for a small barn!! I just have to talk my neighbor into it, as he will have to dig the holes for some absolutely huge timbers. First, the eight timbers. Then we just have to figure out the best way to do the roof.... for now. After all I do need to get my hay home!

My tomato starts are looking great! On one not good day, after unsuccessfully digging the trench, I came in to inspect the tomatoes. As it happened, there were only about seven wee cuttings that hadn't rooted, so they went in the garbage. Then I remembered that I had overheard a woman in a garden center one day. She was questioning another woman she was with about why she would buy rooting hormone. She said it was the same thing as vitamin B and the vitamins were much cheaper. I thought I would give the cheap method a whirl, especially as I have some vitamin B6 anyway. The tomato roots have gone crazy! They seem to be very happy. Soon I will need some soil and a grow light. I am afraid to price them though. I am so tired of being broke!

The best use of my recent anger has been my round pen. I have a little bit over half of my posts set. I am almost out of posts now. I will need more before I can finish. But it feels so good that I have gotten so close. A good day of post cutting with my neighbor and I should be good to get two lots finished up.... my fingers are tightly crossed.

Soon I hope some of these tangents that I am chasing down will no longer exist. Tasks accomplished and with it, I hope, clarity of thought. We will see, but in the meantime... daylights burnin'.


Friday, November 4, 2011

The Queen and the Land are One

According to the King Arthur movie "Excaliber" the secret of the Holy Grail was that the King and the land are one... well, that's not applicable here. So, there is me, the Queen, and the little farm and what we can do together. We only progress as I maintain the picture of what I want, as I hold tightly to my sanity, sinking in my claws so it doesn't escape.

Last night I had a moment of clarity. I was reading my new edition of Hobby Farm magazine and there was an article about a man who started his farm in the Seattle area. This man had some sort of job , which I don't remember, then he became a restauranteur, then he became a farmer. He said he became a farmer because he couldn't do the same thing day after day. Once the job no longer had a challenge, it no longer had an interest. He said the farm was challenging. So challenging that there were times when he almost quit and walked away.

I saw myself in that. I am a compulsive learner. I can't help but investigate processes. Despite the difficulties that we have faced, despite freezing my ass off lately, I can't be anywhere else. I can't quit and walk away. I can't. With this epiphany, my fire has been rekindled. This morning I feel some excitement about needing to dig fifteen post holes to enclose a half of my round pen. I've decided on my small barn and where I should build it. I went through some of my resource materials and once again got excited about chickens. Still thinking about some broiler crosses to get in the freezer right away and some Buff Orpingtons and Partridge Rocks for the beauty of them and the eggs. Check it out here....

The final piece that boosted my clarity was a visit with my banker. We have a twenty year mortgage and have paid out four years so far. If we can make additional principle payments each month then we can have it paid for right as Mac retires. I don't often believe in coincidence, so this must be on purpose... this must be right.

As long as I am here and I have even a fragile hold on my mind, then all will be well...... the Queen and the Land are one.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

What to do?

I'm trying to figure out my day. Things to do. Things that can't wait any longer. I have put off paying bills since the first and today is the third. No more procrastination. Bills!!! Bills make me crazy! I hate bills. I hate bill day.

In order to survive bill day I have come up with a survival method. While working on the bills I do my utmost to think about something else. I know, I know.. it sounds so simple, but it is incredibly difficult. Last night in preparation for today I did some research. I got on the computer and tried to find some historical architecture that resembled the architecture of Rohan. Thinking I could recreate a tiny little portion of Rohan captures my mind. It cheers me up.

I also have the inspiration of my barn dream and with that picture in my mind, I was reading whatever I could find of timber framing a small barn. I can do the timbers. As my timbers are still standing in the form of trees, I will need help getting them cut but, at least, I have them. So, there I go... a tiny little portion of my mind, and my hand calculator, will do the wretched bills. The rest of my mind will escape and calculate building sizes, roof spans, hay storage, turn around room for a horse and a pony. A safe place for small children to jump in the straw. Happy thoughts.

Life is good.... just as soon as you get past all the money shit. We just have to keep our minds on the life is good part.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Last Night

Last night I had a dream. Not my usual kind with extreme plots, location jumping and in general, weird and busy crap going on. Last night I dreamt I had a barn. It was so nice! It wasn't huge but big enough. There was a small loft. Hay was stacked in a corner on the ground floor. Earthy warmth coming off the animals.

It seemed to be built of huge rounded timbers and the infill between the timbers was plastered over, like a wattle and daub, or straw bale or slip straw would be. It was heavy and safe and it felt so damn good being in there, and that is what I remember most about the dream, that it felt so good.

If only it were true. That is where I would spend my day today. Sequestered in that peaceful warmth where I didn't have to think about anything else. No worries about electricity. No money worries. No thinking about buying LP for winter. Just hay and warmth and peacefulness.

I think this is going to be my happy thought for the day, as I sit here and listen to the thunder and watch the rain fill in my trench. All one hundred and twenty feet of trench. (sigh)


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

So Frustrating!

Today I begin day four of trench digging. It should be the last day, which is good, because I am sick of it! Every hour I spend working to get the electricity back to normal is an hour that I am not spending on fencing or winter prep. I am hitting that horrible spot where the frustration is getting intolerable. A lot of reflux. A lot of rage.

There are five tasks that must be accomplished before the first snow fall... other then the electricity. The fencing on at least one horse lot must be completed. The roof peak needs to be done over. A shed built. Hay storage completed, with hay installed. Lastly, the dryer vent needs to be moved as it is currently on the west side and the wind rips through there very badly.

I can get so much more done if I'm not frustrated or overwhelmed. And that reminds me of Star Trek. Towards the end of Next Generation when Data gets his emotions chip. On occasion, he was reminded to turn it off while on away missions so that his emotions wouldn't hinder his effectiveness. Unfortunately, I don't have an emotions chip. I have to try to accomplish everything while being frustrated, overwhelmed, angry or afraid. It sucks.

Somehow, things have to get better soon.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Cold, Cold, Cold!

That's what it is in the house today...COLD!! Last Thursday we had a problem with the electricity. At first, I thought the computer had died. Then noticed that a light that had been on, was off. I started checking around. Some rooms had power and others didn't. Then two more rooms just seemed to slowly die.

It was totally weird. I talked to a neighbor and said I had a quandary for him to think over. Neither of us could come up with a brilliant idea. Eventually had to contact Clarke Electric Co-op to come out and do some trouble shooting. They had to call a second guy, so we might have a single service call of $125.00 or it might be $250.00. Frightens me to think about. it. It seems that an underground wire got perforated by a stone or contact with rebar. As it works out, the incoming electrical feed is triple strand, so only the part of the house being fed by the perforated strand lost power. But we can't run anything that is 220 voltage so, no heat.

With luck, today I will finish digging the new wire trench and start fishing the new wire through conduit. If my neighbor can find time to help me tonight then maybe we will have heat. He is going to come down with his tractor to pull the old wire out of the ground and out of the house. Then I will have the opening to get the new wire in. Then fish the wire through the foundation, under the floor, into the closet and then make the connection. I hope it is easier then it sounds. I hate those tiny space situations... putting your hands where you can't see. Usually nothing icky happens but my imagination certainly tortures me.

The worst is the cost. The kids helped. They always do... but they shouldn't have to. What we spent on the conduit had been earmarked for christmas. I had wanted to get Evelyn a Woody doll. I have my heart set on it. Evelyn is quite the Woody fan. Altogether there are about three presents that I need to buy. Other then that, it will probably be a home made christmas again.

It is always the money part that gets to me. That is foremost in my mind now. It didn't help that we had a bill collector from the Iowa City hospital call just minutes after the electricity went haywire. She was rather pissed off with me that we hadn't taken a loan out on our 401k. It didn't matter that we don't have a 401k. She told me that EVERYONE has some sort of retirement account and EVERYONE can take loans out against them. This rather mean woman left me with some pretty intense anger, that I can't seem to shake. Iowa City will now be the last ones in line for getting paid off. As far as that goes, I really don't feel like paying anybody anything until I can get my grand daughter her Woody doll. Screw them all.

It isn't just cold, cold, cold in the house... I'm feeling pretty damn cold in the regions of my heart as well.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Divorce Next Door

Our neighbor guy will be getting a divorce. I suppose I am fixating on it a bit. Maybe I shouldn't, but the neighbor's missing wife, Kathy, used to say that her husband and I were alike. We were "outdoors" people. She and Mac were alike..."indoors" people. I find myself looking back at all of the times that she said, "Boy! Mac, we are so much alike! That is exactly the way I am.", and it feels me with a bit of anxiety.

Yesterday, I helped the neighbor sort cattle. It was a new experience for me. His wife had helped him occasionally. Mostly he would have her stand in a key spot to influence the cattle and she was there to call the ambulance in case he got trampled , kicked, knocked over, rolled, what have you. With Kathy gone ( to Vegas with her boyfriend, no less!) I was there to step into the cattle lot spot light. At first, I was a bit scared, but I just kept thinking about all of the Parelli horse principles that I had been taught and knew that they should work, to some extent, on all prey animals. They worked great. We got more done in less time then my neighbor thought we would. Calves sorted from mamas. Cows back into the pasture. Four mature cows that had been over to get bred were separated and trailered back home. Calves trailered to the sale barn. All accomplished in four hours, including travel time.

I have to admit, I had a great time with the cattle, but the day left me with that little niggling fear in the back of my head. Kathy and Mac, so much alike. What would I do *IF*? Depending on how Kathy pursues the divorce she could put our neighbor out of his house... off the farm that he loves. That isn't going to happen to me.

Last night, Mac got home late after school conferences. I told him about my day. All of the news about cows and Kathy. And as I finished up, I said, "And by the way, if you ever take off for Las Vegas with someone.... you're not getting my land..... you're not getting a damn thing from me.... just so you know."

"You mean, if I ever take off for Vegas with my boyfriend?", he giggled. (which was a little disturbing)

"I really don't care WHO you take off with! Just making sure you know, I'm not giving you ANYTHING."

"What makes you think anyone would have me?"

"Well, there is that."


"You're welcome"


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Death Amongst the Tomatoes

Death amongst the tomatoes... I really like that title. Sounds like an organic farmer murder mystery. Which would be kind of funny. Ironic... because we all know that it is the corporate food system that is going to kill us. ANYWAY, I had another cutting from the "experiment" die. It also looked like it should have been trimmed better and that it had probably gotten an air bubble before ever getting put into the water.

The roots are coming on better now. Enough time has passed that I am starting to see some trends. The cuttings that are in glass jars instead of plastic are doing better. The ones that are in glass AND got some eggshell are doing the best, despite the fact that they were the worst looking cuttings.

I hope this turns into a brilliantly successful venture. I am needing some successes.

The fence is painfully close, but if winter starts and I can't finish.... close just isn't good enough. It needs to be done now! The horses need to be moved NOW!

The same is true for trying to get our mileage reimbursement from the insurance company. Went through Senator Harkin's office to try to fight for this. Then we were told they had to pay it. WE need to re-submit our claim.However we have a different criteria for submission now. We need gas receipts instead of mileage. Needless to say we don't have gas receipts. All of that work and emotional investment just to get screwed again. Can't think about it. It is just too depressing. We need the money so badly.

So, I turn to my tomatoes. Sometimes I rub the leaves the tiniest bit and release that smell that reminds me of spring... it is such a living smell! Pathetic as it is, I THRILL over every little white root shoot I find. Each bit of root is a step closer to life, a step closer to a success. No more tomatoes can die. If they do the next posting will be "Corpse in the Window", which will be volume two of the organic farmer murders series.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Noodle Elitist

I am of German and Irish descent. If you would put me against pictures of my Irish great grandmother, you'd think it was me dressed up funny. I suppose that is why I identify with the irish side more. That, and they seem to be the fighters. My german grandmother seemed to be a victim....

What I did get from the german side of my family was my elitist noodle attitude. I can't help it. Really, I can't. The problem is... I'm right! I make better noodles then about anyone else I know... actually, my mom and I make great noodles and everyone else's are crap.

I started my noodle apprenticeship as a small child. It was my job to lightly toss the noodles to make sure that none were sticking together. If they had clumped then I was to separate them. This went on for years and years. Eventually I was allowed to cut the noodles but only if mom was pushed for time. Even then I don't think I was ever told that I did it right. I rolled a few times. I was never allowed to roll to completion. Mom was never happy with my rolling job "You need to roll that dough until you can read a newspaper through it!"

Well, now I have more weight to put behind my rolling pin. I have a lot more muscle in my arms and, in general, more ooomph! While you may not in reality be able to read a newspaper through my dough, you can certainly tell there is print on the page! My noodles are rich and eggy and thin enough to take on the flavors of the broth. They are, in a word... excellent.

The thick, pasty, floury, under cooked noodle is the bane of the world! Those who dare should cry out against it. It should be stamped out whenever it is encountered... or at least, fed to the dog. The dog doesn't seem to care. The dog isn't a noodle elitist.


Monday, October 24, 2011

No Tall Food!!!

Yesterday I went to the ACTHA ride. I judged the "hat pickup" obstacle, where a rider has to pick a hat up from the ground while staying on horse back. Then helped the coordinator. Tried to be the steady Eddy, right hand man person. Made it through the two people bitching about the way they were judged. Drove an hour and a half to get home.

When I got home Mac was watching public television... a cooking show. I went out to see the girls and to tell them that someday the worst of the work would be over. Someday it would all be worthwhile. Someday we would be doing things together. Someday....

After they stripped away much of my irritation and weariness, I got started on a crappy supper. Mac was watching another cooking show. Saute this... glaze that. Julienne some veg. Make a sauce. Then the presentation. The food is arranged. It... what ever it is, is set so it is only two inches across at the bottom but about four inches tall. How do you eat that?! They should have just put it in an ice cream cone for safety purposes! The next dish is the same. How tall can food get? How much decorative crap can be hung on a food item?

As we sat there eating our very flat, cheap pizza, I told Mac,"This is just ridiculous"


"All this tall food."

"Why's that?"

"Look at that! How do you eat that? If they were cooking people they'd boil the meat off the skull and put it on the platter with posies in the eye sockets! I don't know.... that food has lost it's dignity. That's just not right."

He didn't respond right off as he was laughing at me.... "You did have a bad day, didn't you"

"Yeah, but I never did like tall food. That damn thing needs a buttress."

The laughter continued. Oh well, tomorrow is another day and I'll start it with toast... cause it's flat!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nothing Accomplished

Today will be one of those days when absolutely nothing will be accomplished. Mac will work half a day and then we will take off for Des Moines to see his regular oncologist. Not enough time to get anything done. Hardly any time to get myself sorted out and started on a project. Then I will work myself up to a bit of nausea, which I seem to do when ever doctors are involved. Then after the doctor, I will be famished and have a wee bit of a mental crash. Depending on how things go today, tomorrow I will either be invigorated or I will sleep off my stress.

So, what to do with my half day before we head to Des Moines? Well, hadn't better do anything that will make me smell. Better keep it calm. Calm is a good thing. I think I'll go count fence posts again and see if I have enough of everything to finish up the closest pasture lots. I wonder if that will be calm enough. Could start off a panic attack as well. This time of year can be so emotional... kind of like going through puberty on a seasonal basis.

I don't think I have totally made the transition back to normal from survival mode in a hospital. It is like being haunted. Every day when I plan how I want my life to unfold there is that little niggling feeling in the back of the brain. The question of how would I extricate myself from what I'm doing if I got the phone call. Always be ready to drop everything. Can I leave my life again?

Screw this... I'd rather have the fear of winter and not having the money to pay for heat , then to have the fear of doctors and hospitals. I need to go feed my girls and count fence posts. I'll choose my own poison.

Doesn't matter anyway... nothing will be accomplished today.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Breakthrough

I have a friend who went to a Parelli horse clinic this last weekend, Hilary and her horse, Susie. She has been sharing some of the things that they did together, some of the stuff they had trouble doing together, stuff they needed help with, followed by the BREAKTHROUGH! Must admit, I am a bit green with envy. Not necessarily the clinic part as much as what it feels like to get to the breakthrough. That moment in time when the look on your horse's face as well as the look on your own is..."Holy Cow! I get it!" It's priceless.

While I was reading my friends notes on her clinic adventures, my mind kept going back to a particular day with Pip. I had a different pasture set up then and was able to get Pip and Chloe into separate areas. It was too large of an area and it wasn't round but when I got Pip into the smaller lot at least Chloe couldn't keep coming up and biting her on the butt.

We had mastered getting the halter on. That had been a helluva task considering that her previous "halter training" had boiled down to trapping her and forcing the halter onto her head. I am not set up to trap. I can't wrap my mind around it. Pip has to willingly put her head into her halter. Nothing less will do. So after the halter, Pip had to re-learn leading. Then we played lots of friendly games so she could accept touching. Then on to what Parelli calls porcupine games. These are so you can move the horse in particular ways... maybe just backwards or a front end yield or a rear end yield.

Pip tends to plant her front end so we were going to start with an easier rear end yield. I started with my stick so I would be out of the kick zone. Placed the tip on the flank right in front of the hip bone and began steady pressure. Gradually the pressure increased. Then Pip got agitated and her first thought was to lean into the stick. Of course, that made the pressure worse. The stick was bending. She was going from one foot to the other, not sure what the answer was. Then I lifted her lead rope slightly. Her face was hard and her ears were back a little. The lift on the rope kind of looked like it gave her the idea that turning her head and giving me a good bite was exactly the answer she was looking for. But for her head to come to me, she had to swing her butt away. The second she stepped away, the pressure of the stick stopped. The stick dropped. I went into a relaxed posture, smiled and let out a breath.

If you aren't a horse person, then you think that a horse's face, is a horse's face, is a horse's face. But when you are familiar with them, you see the same realm of expression that you see on another human. I got to see several expressions in rapid succession on Pip at that moment. She got it. She had her "Holy Cow!!" moment. I was so excited, so jubilant and in that moment I was addicted to trying to get the expression back. I think she got kind of addicted too, probably not the same way as I did, but she seemed to think it was pretty cool that she could evoke that response from me.

Pip is an incredibly fast learner. A couple times through something and she has it. That is why I have been knocking myself out with the fence. It isn't just containment. It's about having the area set up to create puzzles and tasks, because once Pip gets it, we need to move on. Once we start, we are never going to stop again.

Our goal is never ending self improvement and with that in mind I have volunteered to be an obstacle judge on an ACTHA ride this next Sunday. I hope to bring home lots of ideas and inspiration. It won't be like a clinic. I'll be going alone so there won't be any "Holy Cow!!" moments for us, but it's a start. It's a direction. I want to be doing, not having anymore "green with envy" moments.

I'm excited.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Experiment

I have started the "experiment" for next years garden already. Last years did not go well. Last year I tried to make my own compost barrels. However I overlooked, in my enthusiasm, that the barrels I had access to were white. Stuff in white barrels will NEVER compost. The rabbits thought they made comfy dwellings however, and right in the garden.... how handy. So the barrels will get pulled sometime in the next few days and we will go back to an open pile, at least for now.

Anyway, back to the experiment that's working. A week ago I took cuttings from my tomatoes. I had four varieties... Rutgers, Mr. Stripey, Mortgage Lifter and Grape, which is a cherry variety. The cuttings were at different stages of growth. Some were newer and fleshier, which were the ones I thought would root the fastest. Some were stalkier. I pinched off any blossoms that were trying to set and also pinched off quite a few leaves.

Grape, the cherry variety, just looked like hell. It was about an act of desperation to take those cuttings. Very stemmy. They had been well chewed by the grasshoppers and out of four cuttings, only one had a leaf on it.

I have different stages of growth trying to root for three of the four varieties. All seem to be doing well. I have lost about five cuttings. One because he got hung up and never got into the water. The other four I think air bubbled and I should have trimmed them again before putting them in water. All the other cuttings look good, well, except for the Grape. They still look like hell but they have started to set tiny little leaves and they have all set new roots. Of all the cuttings they are doing the best with rooting.

I added eggshell to the water of some of the cuttings. It was an old gardeners trick I had heard of so half of the cuttings got eggshell. I expected that the half with the shell would root faster. That is not working out to be the case. Some are rooting, some aren't. Though the ones rooting have nothing in common. They aren't all stemmier. They didn't all have the same amount of leaf. They aren't all of the same variety. Go figure! For now I will be glad that they are all doing so well. They are all pulling water well. The leaves all look nice and fleshed out. Some are trying to set blossom again. This is happening just by setting them in containers with water. No rooting hormone or other additives other then eggshell. If they all survive, I will be starting my garden with about seventy tomato plants. I am a tomato glutton, so next spring I will still go ahead and order seeds for Riesentraube and Heinz 1429. I will probably also buy a few plants of Brandywine and Oxheart, but if this cutting method of propagation works well, I will very possibly never start tomato seeds again. This is sooo easy!!!

I will need to start looking at grow lights that will imitate full spectrum light. Just not enough sunlight in the house in the winter. I really hope they're cheap. While I'm hoping.. I hope the cuttings keep doing well. I would like to have a few success stories right now. What the hell! I hope one of the lotto tickets that I bought last week wins!


Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Coming!!!

I have been thinking about winter. Yup! even more then I was before. With the weatherman forecasting that night temperatures will hit 32 degrees F. this week, I am preparing myself for my annual event called...PANIC!!!!

The outdoor work is not even close to being done. So much time has been lost for one reason or another. It makes me sick with dread. I have several art projects that I really need to get behind me, and because I apparently like making myself miserable, I've been trying to start some christmas gifts.

The only explanation is that I must be mentally ill..... I'm a sick, sick woman.

It doesn't matter if I'm crazy or not... winter is coming. I'm not ready. In fact... I'm frozen in terror. At this time, I'm not even sure how to go about prioritizing. When it is cold you can't paint, you can't mortar and you can't dig post holes. It all needs done and it all needs done now. I sometimes wonder how my life gets so filled with hurdles. I sometimes wonder why I have to do every damn thing by myself.

STOP IT! This is a bad direction to be going with my thoughts.

What I have is... most of the fencing done on one section of pasture and the other sections started. I have the dishwasher running and the clothes washer will soon be started. I have the hamburger out to thaw to make meat loaf for supper. I have fence posts to drag out to the pasture for a round pen. I have mended the wheelbarrow tire and I just need to get air in it. I have enough hay for the winter. I have the christmas presents for my friends almost done. God knows, I could use some help, but at least, I have hope.

It's coming... so I'd better get moving.


Thursday, October 13, 2011


I have a neck injury and three herniated discs. So, about three years ago, when we bought a new mattress and box spring, we went over board a bit. This mattress, according the sales, person would do lot to help my back. I question whether or not this is true, but regardless, we have a HUGE mattress. It measures eleven inches tall. I have to buy sheets that have an eighteen inch pocket or they pop off. That makes the sheets pretty expensive.

We have had, and gotten by with, just one set of sheets for a bit over two years, then the bottom sheet kind of.... dissolved. I tried mending it but that was an extremely temporary solution. I just flop around too much for a mend to hold. Finally I decided to just do good enough and tried to find a bottom sheet only. It is getting harder and harder to find sheets that aren't in sets. The ones that you can pick up piecemeal are the cheap ones. Cheap ones don't have deep pockets.

I had to settle for thirteen inch pockets and I can't dry them in the dryer on high. Actually, I need to dry them on the line if I want to get them on the bed without giving myself a hernia. It was raining off and on yesterday so I took a risk in hanging the bottom fitted sheet on the clothes line. I kept my eye on the sky and when I saw a fresh bank of clouds coming in, I snatched the sheet off the line. Finished the sheet in the dryer on the air fluff setting and hoped that would be good enough.

It takes a process to get the sheet on the mattress. I have to do the head end first. Then go to the foot corner. Pull, pull, pull then put the third corner on. Go to the other foot corner and grab it and PULLLLL. I am usually hanging onto the corner and leaning back as hard as I can. Then try to get it over the mattress corner. Sometimes this process has to be repeated a time or two.

The good part of this is that out of necessity my sheets smell of the outdoors. The day or two after the sheets are put on the bed and have that terrific smell, I sleep hard. I dream good dreams. Last night, in my dreams I sat on a fence and watched clouds roll in and I was next to a friend. I was showing her pictures and in one picture I pointed and said, "That's my mustang mare."

It was a good sign. I'll store that one in my heart.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Better then You Ought...

I like to listen to Garrison Keillor and Prairie Home Companion. He speaks a lot about midwestern sensibilities. About how we know how to shut up and muddle through. Nobody wants to hear you complain, after all. And when you go off to California and become a big star... well, don't be getting a big head, because we know who you are. We know your folks. Your mom went to school with my Aunt Dorothy and I could tell a story or two!

Just don't be thinking better of yourself then you ought!

Actually, I don't have to go so far away as Garrison Keillor. I have my mom. I remember when I was little and trying to whistle. I was told I couldn't whistle. My grandfather could whistle. He could sound like a bird. I couldn't sing. My brother could sing. He could sing like an angel. It seems that my personal forte was dragging home dead birds and having funerals for them.

I learned early just where I belonged on the "oughtness" scale. Don't flaunt what you do, there is always someone better. Keep your mouth shut. Muddle through.

I want something to change. At least, for the next month or two, I NEED to believe that I can make a difference. I NEED to change my world... to change my life. I need to be more then I ought. I need to have more talents then I ought. I need to be smarter then I ought.

If I can't be more then I ought, we will surely fail.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ups and Downs

Yesterday was a really tough day. I was jousting at wind mills again. I am still fighting the battle of trying to get our mileage reimbursement from the insurance company. The money, of course, is desperately needed. Isn't it always?

Originally, the insurance company said that it reimbursed gas so save those receipts. Didn't do parking. Did do a hotel, but you had to have the hotel generated receipt and not a credit card receipt... NO credit card receipts. Later we got another letter stating that they had changed the underwriter that took care of the reimbursements. New rules! No gas receipts, they wanted mileage. Of course I hadn't written down any mileage as I had been saving gas receipts. Now that we are going through this kerfuffle and went through Senator Harkin's office to try and get it resolved, we are back to... you need receipts, which , of course, I threw away because I got a letter......

Then again, we all know that the purpose of an insurance company is to take your money, deny medical treatment for at least awhile, with luck you will be dead, and then, just for good measure, drive the surviving family member to suicide. What can I say... it seems to be a system that works. Well, it works for them anyway, and as americans, it is our duty to allow corporations to have obscenely lucrative profits. Right now, I hate insurance companies. I hate doctors, especially doctors that say they won't treat a patient anymore until their bill gets paid.... the bill that is suppose to get paid with the money that you thought you would get from your mileage reimbursement from the insurance company.

We also thought that the reimbursement would pay for the house and car insurance. Kind of a "in the right hand and out the left" situation. But there is no right hand. Bastards.

Those were my downs.

My ups were going to my garden and finding remnants of four different tomato plants. I decided to try an experiment. I took cuttings from the tomatoes and set them in water to try and root. I know it works with geraniums and spider plants. Tomatoes will root along their stems where they have ground contact so we will give this a try. It will save money in seed next spring if it works.

The tomatoes helped my mind but it is the horses that give me my calm. I will be so glad when I can figure out how to get my round pen. Since there is no money, I continue to look at the resources at hand. I wish I were stronger... physically and mentally. Wish I could work longer days. Lift heavier loads. I wish things were better.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Emotional Fitness

The last three weeks I have turned into a great big, giant lump of WORRY. I haven't seemed to be able to get my focus back onto all of my pre-winter tasks. There is so much that has to be done and I am in an absolute mire! I have been thinking about money again. That always unravels me.

I start out thinking that "if I only had a thousand dollars" then I could get this thing done or pay that bill. The ante always gets upped. "If I had five thousand"...... "If I had ten thousand"... eventually it becomes, "If I won the lotto".

Pretty soon all I see is money, more specifically, I see money that I don't have. Then I start to get wigged out a bit.

It is a vicious circle. I can't get to work on my money making projects cause there is so much winter prep to be done that preys upon my mind. I don't get my winter work done because every time I try to accomplish something, I am so stressed out that I often have trouble breathing. Well, that is, I have had trouble breathing for the last three weeks. Sometimes I have chest pain just thinking about money. I live for the day that I am totally debt free. No mortgage. No truck payment. No doctor bills. No hospital bills. Just utilities and taxes and groceries. Then money will not hold sway over me any longer. I have come to hate money.

I need to get back to my place of emotional fitness. I need to lock everything out of my mind other then what I am doing at the moment. I need to see the goal instead of all of the shit and garbage that is wrapping itself around me as I try to wade through. This isn't how life should be. There is something better for me and I need to find it while I'm on this side of the grave.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Another Weird Dream

I typically have weird dreams. I suppose everyone does. I try to remember my dreams because I think they are one of two things. I do believe that dreams can be of the message or premonition variety, but more commonly, I think they tend to be a window to whatever demon we are fighting at the moment. Battles that cannot be waged by day, but instead, go into the shadows at night. Either way, I examine my dreams. It seems to be the thing you should do.

Last nights dream had the usual jumping around, from one scene to another. Then we arrived in another place. It was like a huge domed football field. I have never been in one but it is what I believe it would be like. Light and airy... translucent. I was sitting next to a person that was my significant other, or at least a date. We were looking downward and about ten rows ahead of us sat Mac... with a woman. I leaned closer to the person, that nondescript person, and said, "I'm glad he is happy. I'm glad he isn't alone and Oh My God!..." They had seen us and turned and waved. The woman was wearing mostly white. She smiled and stuck out her tongue. Not in a malicious manner but more like she had been a cheerleader for too many years and truly believed that everything she did was just so damned cute. With her white attire, her head and tongue just seemed to float in the light surrounding, and what a tongue it was! The woman had a tongue like a boxer. She could have conquered empires, acquired riches or gotten any man she ever set her eyes on with that tongue! I was gobsmacked.

Then the dream jumped us to the afterwards. We were in a crowd in the concrete corridors. We saw Bevin and she had my grandson, Edgar with her. Edgar came running and I swooped him up. "Edgar! I'm so happy to see you!" Then I turned to Bevin, "We are going down ( I can't remember where) next weekend, can Edgar go with us?" At this my nondescript person said "Oh great" under his breath and then began to melt away. I clung to Edgar as the whole scene began to shift.

Then I was back on my hill, walking the ridge with a wind catching at me as I went to my horses. Then I woke up.

So, now I am left with figuring this out. Should I stay out of football stadiums? Should I keep Mac away from dog tongued women? Well, actually, I think that should just be a general rule for any wife. Don't wear white? Whatever I figure out as my lesson from this dream, that woman's face will haunt me for at least the next week. And in the meantime, I want to put in a really tough day today, because I REALLY want to sleep hard tonight! No waking up with a dream tonight!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Slower Pace

I seem to be ill today. I am rarely ill since we have made our move to the country but things have been difficult lately. I had a pretty good chemical exposure recently that gave me a bad night. Took about three days before it felt like my bronchials returned to normal. Then heaped with lots of stress. Took Evelyn for several days. She is good for me but taking her home was another matter. I got to see her in full fit throwing mode.

Today I am resting and slowing down. Trying to get past the stomach that feels like a rock and extreme waves of dizziness. I keep looking out at the beautiful but windy fall weather we are having and kicking myself mightily over the time lost. I keep telling myself that I have a huge list of things to do before winter sets in.... again.

One of the things I looked forward to when we came to the little farm was the slowing down. But now that we are entrenched here without the hustle and bustle of town, I see just how fast time passes by. Each day of any season is not some stagnant event but a day that moves us closer to something and farther away from something else. Like the movements of the second hand on a clock.

With this slower pace, my perspective of winter has changed. Some people say that each season has it's rhythm. I don't see that. I see the principle of "go like hell cause winter will come around again". You only have so much time to breed, rear the young, accumulate food, reenforce your shelter and then hunker down. With luck, you will have the strength and the supplies to survive. Last year was a bad year when it came to supplies. With the intense heat the garden didn't pan out as I had hoped this last summer. I will need to find ways to compensate.

Tomorrow, dizzy or nauseous or whatever, it will be time to get back at it. Winter is coming and daylights a'burnin.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I am planning on being frivolous. Next July there will be a gathering of my friends in St. Paul for a Parelli event. I haven't gotten to meet up with my friends for around five years. It might be debatable whether or not I deserve this get away, but I will proceed as if I do.

I'm figuring that I will need around $400.00 to make the trip. One hundred per night for hotel. One nice meal with my friends and the rest crappy restaurants so $100.00 for meals and that last $100.00 for gas. I tend to want to spend some money at the Parelli tour stop. They have great sales! So, will want some extra money in the event that the universe should smile upon me.

I'm already feeling guilty... I'll do my best to over come it.

It makes me do farm math though.... $400.00. That would be four moderate difficulty couch size quilts...OR... two difficult quilts...OR... one over the top art quilt. Or possibly, forty bird houses.... twenty stepping stones?... maybe some totally awesome alpine gardens in little hydrotuffa concrete planters.

I'll think about it some more but in the meantime, I am going to relish the prospect of being frivolous with my friends next July. Can't wait!!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Plans

Well, so much for setting posts. Evelyn is staying with me for a day or two. I have concerns that post setting isn't exactly a safe endeavor with a two and a half year old. However we need to get out as soon as possible. I don't think children's television is safe for a fifty-three year old.

She is watching "Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That" currently. I question how this can be educational when it causes me to not be able to hold a thought in my head for more then about three seconds. Maybe this explains how children go to school with out the ability to sit on their butts for more then five minutes at a time.

I need to get some new plans for today and the first thing on the agenda is to GET ME AWAY FROM CHILDREN'S TELEVISION!!!!!

First things first.... feed the horseys! Then I think we will give building a bench a whirl. You can't start a renaissance woman too young. If all goes well, maybe we will start on clearing the garden as well. We will play it by ear. Anything! Anything at all, just so long as I can keep the television off.

Please Dear God, don't make me watch Dora the Explorer.

Can't think, can't think.... (gasp!) must escape....


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Open House

We have had house guests... kind of. It was a dismal failure. There is nothing like having others around to open your eyes. We are used to the place. We are used to the box of tools by the door. We are used to the stack of lumber on the stairs. We are used to the oven, still in it's cardboard box. Most of the projects around the place will take about $90- $200. to complete, so there they sit.... waiting.

It was a strange thing to see people sitting in my house with an "Oh My God!!!" look on their faces. But there was no denying it. There is was like a billboard. We had pushed them to come see our home. We were so proud of everything we had done. But that was the kicker... it wasn't done.

I have been stewing over how I could have changed things. I can't think of anything, except, I should have worked harder. Currently, I am waiting for my neighbor to come over and help me dig the rest of my post holes. That nonsense has to stop. Who knows when his schedule will open up again. I'd better just continue. Tomorrow I have some book work to do. Then I need to go set some fence posts. Better make up my mind on gates. I can sit here and wish until hell freezes over and it still won't make the money appear for me to buy gates. Better find another way... time to work harder.

Mac and I talked about it last night. We've decided that we won't invite anyone else out until the place is done. Until then, it'll just be the club house for us and the grandkids. In the meantime.... I work harder.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Next Step

It seems that today is the last day of family "stuff" associated with the funeral. The next step is to find our way back to normalcy. I have begun by looking at my tax statement and trying to figure out where to look for money. Never an easy task. I am afraid that the old truck will finally have to be sold for scrap. This is a last resort. I had hoped that I could hold it back until later so I would have it for christmas money. Oh well, best laid plans....

I do not want to think of money now... too much demand, not enough supply.

Instead I am trying to think about chickens, chicken poop and nitrogen. I'm thinking about improved forage. Of course, I must think about mushrooms. Winter preparations. Anything that is ahead of us, rather then behind.

As always, I will count on my horses to put me in the right place. They never fail to deliver.

After today the family will finish dispersing. Then it will be time to get busy. This doing nothing is killing me. Then there are the plans. There are always plans. There has to be..... I think that on Sunday, I will dig hostas.