Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You can't see the forest for the trees!

I have spent the weekend just beating myself up with all the things I want to see achieved. I have reflux! Time to calm down. It has struck me that tomorrow will be the first day of June... my garden still isn't completely planted! I haven't set a single new fence post! It's twenty days to summer equinox and then we start the downhill slide into winter again. That's disturbing.

I really want to get on with some projects... like a shed, or run in protection for the horses, or some perimeter fencing since Pip spends a good deal of the winter escaping from electric fencing, usually during an arctic event known as an Alberta Clipper.

So many pieces to the puzzle that I tend to forget the bigger picture.... the whole... the beautiful life that I am hoping to create. The beautiful life where Mac saying at 5:00 that he isn't hungry and then saying at 5:30, " Have you given any thought to what you're fixing for supper?" doesn't drive me to acts of violence.

I don't like feeling violent.... it gives me pains in my chest and stomach. It makes me crave a green, lush, peaceful life. Calm. A breath taking place.... yes, a breathtaking place that needs a shed, a garden and some good fencing. A place where people know how to go into the kitchen and open the fridge and put their own damn food on a plate.

Ahhh yes, peace, be still.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Holy Shit

I am having a bit of an exasperating morning. This caused the phrase "Hoooleeee Shit!" to jump from my mouth. I know I shouldn't talk like that, but trust me.... I've said worse. Anyway, it got my brain to spinning. That phrase had to have come from some where, right?

Well, I figured it out.... picture, if you will, a poor village in eastern Europe. Off the beaten track, cold and hungry, the local priest decides that what this community needs is a relic! They gather together what little they have in the way of wealth and send two of their most trusted citizens out to the holy land.

Relics aren't cheap and saints fingers and toes and bits of hair are pretty pricey items. So the trusted two come back with a little gilded box of saint poo. It was all they could afford and they took it back to the village priest who set it upon the altar. Pilgrims came and the village found some new wealth. Not a lot, after all it was just poo not a piece of finger or a tooth. But a little is better then nothing.

Then a problem became evident... the saintly relic was composting! Time and oxygen were doing their job. So the priest sealed the relic in an even more safe and airtight container and the relic was only displayed once a year. Hence it was saved.

Now flash forward to WWI. The war has ended and the "relic" has been brought out to bring in alms and to celebrate the village's survival. Soldiers from all over the world are in the village and witness the event. Though gesture, pigeon english and bad translations the story is related. The soldiers learn the phrase and they take it back home with them. Forever after the phrase "holy shit" is in the english lexicon.

So, you see, I have to blame a small village in eastern Europe for my cussing.


Wind Socks

I have always loved wind socks, great orange things spinning in the wind, over some knocked together little mown run way next to a corn field. Some of the tiny air strips would get fancy and would half way bury tires along the strip and paint the exposed portion white, and that is all it took to accommodate night time landings. Tires, tin sheds and dancing wind socks.... I thought it was so cool!

Later I saw the asian inspired wind socks... thanks to Pier 1 Imports. Most looked like fish some like birds, but just like the gaudy orange airstrip wind socks, they were fascinating to watch dancing in the wind.

I now over relate to the wind sock. I'm just hanging on tight and twisting in the wind! I have too many things I am trying to accomplish (I know, I know, big surprise there!!) Too many directions in which to head. Too many outside forces pushing me in directions that I don't want to go.

Maybe it's time to resurrect the to-do list so I can chart my course. I have to have a plan. A piece of paper that will hold me accountable.

Okay! So here's the plan... on my to-do list for today I'll put down that I have to write my seasonal to-do list. And under the seasonal to-do list, I'll break it up under classifications for house, farm, horses and business. Then by the time I've created all of those sub-headings and groupings, my thoughts will be spread over such a wide range again that I will be right back to being a wind sock... holding on tight and twisting in the wind.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm Back.....FINALLY!!

Yesterday was a miracle. In a catholic scheme of things, probably a minor miracle, but for me a miracle none the less. We have our internet service again! Woohoo!!!

It feels a bit like coming out of isolation ... no longer a prisoner.

A lot has happened. We had gotten caught in the recession. The old house that was suppose to provide the down payment on the new, never sold. It has gone back to the bank. I wish it had gone sooner. Paying double mortgages, taxes, some utilities, not only wiped us out financially but was emotionally de-moralizing on the back of Mac's recurrence of leukemia.

Mac's graft vs. host side effect from transplant has improved. One steroid has been reduced in dosage. It feels like a huge surge forward.

We had to start making use of the local food pantry. That is a life event that is very hard to describe. On one hand, it had gotten to the point where we had to chose between food or buying gas for Mac to get to work. On the other, there was the fear that by my taking the food, maybe someone who needed it more was going without. In general, it's just a shitty place to be. This is where I found myself starting to live in fear again.

The desire for fresh food has lit a fire under me to get a good garden in. I've worked hard on that. I would like to dig out at least two more beds. I want lots of fresh lettuce but wonder if I have any chance of getting it before rabbits and deer. As always... I NEED A FENCE!! An asparagus bed has been started. Strawberries donated from a friend. Rhubarb! Many tomato plants. An herb garden. Watermelon, beets, cabbages, broccoli, brussels sprouts, hot peppers and sweet peppers. Pole beans are started on a trellis of huge and unwieldy looking branches. Zucchini and acorn squash. I suppose this is proof that a person shouldn't go to the garden center when hungry!

The yard is mown. The iris are blooming. The acorns I planted so long ago are still so tiny, but they have such mighty leaves on them now! I'm passing out of the dark and into the light and I hope there aren't any more dark patches for me for a long, long time.

I've missed you all. It's soooo good to be back.


P.S. I found a local garden center called Yutzy's down in Decatur City. They sell vegetable starts at twenty five cents a piece or ninety-eight cents for a four pack. Herbs for sixty-nine cents for a well started single plant. We are going to eat well this summer thanks to the very nice ladies who run this greenhouse.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Garden, pt. 1

We have begun work on the garden. The garden that will save me... that will nourish me.. that will keep money in my pocket. Very little of the farm is flat. It is a vast green, seductive undulation.. mother earth.. a fertility goddess crafted of soil. Because of this I need a kind, thoughtful way of doing raised beds. I don't want to build the beds over and over so had hoped for a miracle and retaining wall block. The lottery ticket didn't win and no one accidentally unloaded a truckload of block in my yard. So, I decided it was time to get creative. I have opted to go with the lasagna method of gardening and to build up the ends of the beds, so my lasagna doesn't wash away. My solution was to build a retaining wall of the soil itself.

The method is the same as the pioneers used in building their sod houses, except in my case, I am sure that I haven't displayed the same amount of proficiency. The garden bed is marked and the edges cut with the shovel and then gone under with a straight edging shovel. The turf slab is lifted and inverted (grass side down) and stacked as you would a concrete block so the seams are staggered.

So far, so good. We have gotten a little bit of rhubarb and asparagus planted. They seem happy

With luck, we will get around eighty tomato plants in. A couple of corn patches. Strawberries. Various herbs. Beans, both pole and bush varieties, green and yellow. Beets, which will be canned both pickled and plain. Snow peas. Onions. Sweet potatoes. Carrots. Every good thing that I can think of.

We have had to rely on the local food pantry lately. Much of the food is donated as it is past it's sell by date. While I am thankful for what I have been given, I dream of fresh food. Veg that burst with flavor and juice. Tomatoes eaten in the garden and warm from the sun. Carrots that are sweet and that don't .... well, bend. I am anxious to get my oven built outside and to bake bread that tastes like how a good bread should taste...not some tasteless white cellulose.

I will take care of this fertile earth and I am hoping that it will take care of me too.



I suppose the number one motivation in life is the pursuit of money. Not necessarily for the money itself but for what it brings.... the ability to buy food, a roof over your head, maybe, if you're lucky, a little extra for the security of a savings account.

I think about money a lot. I don't like thinking about money. However, I do want to pay off my little farm so I feel safe. I want to know I have enough hay and feed for the winter. I want to buy some other stock as well. I want a pig for the freezer. Chickens. Some good fleece sheep. Peace.

I have once again read the book, "Sylvia's Farm" by Sylvia Jorrin. It also provided me with a great deal of motivation. A woman, farming, pretty much on her own. She gave me a voice for my frustration. The book ended on a wonderful note. Her farm was paid off. It was incredibly encouraging.

My grand daughter, Evelyn has been coming to our house on most Sundays. It has been wonderful. The farm has become hers. She has claimed Pip as her own horse. All of the flowers in the yard (dandelions) are "her" flowers. She can harness all of the fortitude that her small two and a half year old body can muster to force Gampaw or Gammaw into the truck to drive her back to feed the horses carrots. She helps me to dig in the garden, though an extra body on a shovel is a bit difficult to handle. Sometimes dirt gets flung more then it gets dug, but we manage.

What if, someday, Evelyn or Edgar or Oscar choose to live on the little farm? It has to be safe... safe from the bank, safe from any number of possibilities. As I sit and do my "farm math", I think that I have more motivation then I can stand up under.

One step at a time.