Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Big Day!!

We're going to have a big day!!! It is suppose to be hot, hot, hot!!! According to the weather man and his bank of computers, it should be 95oF. with a heat index of 105oF. We have decided that we should go out under the trees where I have cleared brush and mowed. It is so nice and cool there, especially when there is a breeze. So we will accumulate all of the scrap bits of lumber from around the place and build stuff.

First things on the list are camp style chairs. Mac is tired of sitting on upturned buckets. The sharp little edge puts a big dent in his butt. Having ever had chemo seems to give a person a delicate butt. However, after some time even the hardiest butt will not be able to tolerate the edges of a bucket bottom.

Once we have the chairs we will need a wee table. Mac says that if you don't have air conditioning then you should at least be able to sit under the trees in a comfortable chair, with a beer. And the beer has to be set someplace! It's good to have goals.

The other part of the "big day" is that yesterday the hay was mown!! WOOHOO!!! Today it will be raked and tedded and tomorrow, hopefully it will be baled. Just in time to avoid the rain on Saturday. That feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders!

Today I will also revel in some new found friends that I met yesterday. They are folks who are also involved in the Parelli organization. They have a really lovely little farm and they sponsor clinics. I asked if I could barter work for auditing clinics. They are going to give it some thought. It seems that just everybody goes to teach at their farm. I could learn soooo much and this could put me back on track with my horses.

All of a sudden, doors are opening for me. First the web page, the hay, new and incredibly helpful new friends, and a place to plunk down my butt at the end of the day. I'm absolutely gobsmacked..... and thankful.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011


My computer is dying. Each day when I click it on, it takes longer to respond. It seems to lose it's way and has to be refreshed often. It leaves me with a sense of foreboding and even doom as I watch it slowly slip away.

Last year I had a line appear on the screen, running top to bottom. I was told that the mother board was going out and it could go at any time. Just in case we ran a screen scrubber program, which did no good. Before long the one line became three lines. But it just stayed there for a long time. Suddenly then it went to five lines, and again just maintained at that point. Lately the number of lines has been accumulating at an advanced rate. Yesterday I counted twenty.

While I sit and figure farm math I also figure in the cost of another computer. No matter how I run the numbers, it doesn't look like I can afford a new computer. I thought about contacting Apple and seeing if they had special offers for middle aged, lunatic, farmer women. It's a special category that doesn't get a lot of acknowledgment in society. Probably a lot of paperwork.

Until it gasps it's last, I shall work on some video... some little vignettes of the farm. I'll hopefully also post some video of the horses, the home made hummingbird feeder, scouting out walnut trees. So much to do.....please....DON'T DIE!!!!

If it can just hold out another year.... just one more year.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What a beautiful day!!!

Finally! It is beautiful outside. Not a cloud in the sky! Bright and dazzling. It is a blue, blue, azure sky. The plan for today is to mow and rake grass for the horses. Then I'll continue scouting out additional walnut trees. But the most exciting part will be to start taking pictures FOR THE WEB PAGE!!!!

I am so jazzed!

I can't believe it but the quest for a web page began around five years ago. Really tried hard to get it rolling again two years ago. But now it looks like things are going to fall into place. Who knew things could fall into place?! With luck I have run into my last wall.

The goal is to have everything running Saturday and we should have the blog linked as well. We should have a wee bit of video shortly after. I'll be taking copious amounts of notes so that I will have my instructions to upgrade, edit, download and all of that kind of stuff. If I become competent at this, then we will have a much better blog as well.

My friend, Petra, had offered her help. We had a terrible time just trying to isolate all of the components and get them in order to send off to Petra. We were unsuccessful. But she kept encouraging me. I thank her for that, because there were times when I was ready to just give up. And I thought that if I can't get something as simple as a little web page going, then how can I achieve anything? To be honest, there are two things I can't deal with being a failure at..... making the little farm profitable and being a good horse person. Ah! don't laugh! to be a really good horse person, you have to change and control intrinsic parts of your nature. Not an easy task!

But for today, I am reveling in what will be. It is SUCH a beautiful day out and there isn't a cloud in the sky!!


Monday, June 27, 2011


Okay, it's not a total and complete Eureka!... it's a kind of, sort of Eureka! As the rain has continued to pour down on us, I have spent time trying to find additional crops for the little farm. I am trying to find a more perennial scheme. The plan is to plant once, have a minimal investment in maintenance and be able to harvest every year. That's the skeleton version of permaculture.

So, over the weekend I tried to make final decisions about what to do with hazelnuts. While doing that research over the internet, I found a site where the owner was making a call out for suppliers. He was needing various kinds of nuts, organically grown. He was also needing black walnut syrup. Of course, I'd heard of maple syrup, but never black walnut. So, more internet research.

This could work! I have black walnut trees. Just in a quick glance I counted seven that would be big enough to tap. It seems that sugaring can be detail oriented, but it certainly isn't rocket science. Equipment can be home made. I can do this! This could fill the hole as another cash crop for the little farm. The best part... I don't have to plant anything. The trees are there. They're ready! I have until spring to get an evaporator built and to find pans. Other then that, it is a matter of spouts and covered buckets, or milk jugs in a pinch.

There is a part of me that wants to get so excited about the possibilities that I find... another part, is the real fear that for the want of a couple of hundred dollars, I just won't be able to pull off a very workable plan.

Oh well, keep on, keepin' on. My life here is good. Better then it has been in many, many years. I think I've found the happiness factor. The last hurdle is the money situation. I'll keep looking and hoping and eventually, there will be that Eureka! moment and it won't be kind of , sort of.


Friday, June 24, 2011


There's sun out there! How exciting is that!? I can't wait to get out there. Can't wait to revel in that golden glow! I have to dance in the sun today, because tomorrow the thunderstorms are suppose to be back.

Now that it is finally here, I'm having trouble remembering just what I wanted to do out there. What ever it is ... it'll feel wonderful. We will have to take advantage of every minute of it. We'll have to grill out tonight for sure. I want to mow.

It feels like the rain has gone on for forever, which makes the sun that much more of a blessing.

I had told Mac that I would ride into town with him today. I wonder if I could stand him up? When you have been married as long as we have been, it surely isn't a tragic event, right?

We won't have enough sun to make hay, but enough, I hope, to recharge my batteries, to get the creative processes going again, Maybe burn some more brush and get all of the bad stuff sweated out of my system. I've been letting myself get depressed again, but a good douse of sun will make that go away.

I can't seem to hold a thought today.... I need to get out there. So this would just be a good place for you to close your eyes, think of your happy place and recall the voice of George Harrison singing softly, "Little Darlin', it's been a long ,cold, lonely winter.. Little Darlin' seems like years since it's been here......


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Money makes the Farm go 'round....

I'm having one of those days where I feel like no matter what I try, I'm hitting a wall. It just keeps coming back to money.

I want to work on my fireplace and out door oven. I have most of the supplies but what I don't have is the money to get the firebrick and the mortar and some portland.

I especially need to be working on fencing. I continue to work on cutting my own posts out of hedge. It is slow going as I am using a small pruning type saw. While I am making progress, the thing that cuts even slower then hedge is wet hedge, and it has been raining everyday recently. We found a small chain saw that Mac feels confident I won't kill myself with. Unfortunately, it costs money too. Even when I get the posts in, there is the debate on whether I should use woven wire, twisted wire or panels.... all of which cost money.

I really want to work on the hobbit house. I have everything I need there except, some fireplace trim, the door and once again, portland.

I was looking at some of the Olde English Babydoll Southdown Sheep and found a farm where I would like to reserve. Ewes are running at $500.-$525. So, need I say more.

I need to order my hazelnuts, my grape vine slips, my mushroom spawn........

I need to hire someone to come out and chip some dead elm.

I'm very close with projects that need finishing up in the house. If I could get several sheets of plywood and some wood flooring. *If* being the key word here.

So much just waiting for the hay to be cut and baled and sold. But it just keeps raining. Not only raining but the temperatures last night got down to 51o F. Too cold for the plants in the garden to set blossom I need to catch a break. Just four days of sun and no rain and we could really start to make the farm happen. A break.... just a small break.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Don't Understand.....

I don't understand men. Listening to some tunes last night and to be honest, everything that I heard just seemed confusing to me. As it happened, all the songs were by men, and most were about agonizing over women in some way. They told of how some man would climb mountains ( they're always climbing mountains!) or in one case straighten the course of the Rio Grande or cross the world for the love of a woman. Why would they say such things?! They don't mean it. As soon as they are post-coitus, the desire to conquer a mountain has totally disappeared! Typically it has been replaced by snoring or possibly with, " Honey, if you don't mind I'm going to go downstairs and flip on the TV for a bit".

How is it that the getting what they want tends to make them want something else? I just don't understand.

Then women seem to be the other way. They'll win over a man with the extreme effort of.... baking a cake! They may not be promising as much but at least there is follow through. Then in most cases, at least in the cases where a man really "takes", a metamorphosis begins. Complexities develop. Seed is set. She roots into an environment and mingles with it. She sets shoots and roots and twining vines and pulls up sustenance from the earth. She strengthens.

And I don't understand that either..... that's just flippin' weird! True, but flippin' weird.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Web Stuff

I e-mailed a person yesterday about helping me out with web stuff. I told him that I just need about three hours of hand holding. Could he please give me a price for three hours and I would need to to be able to have my little list of instructions for how to do updates, etc. when we were done. Simple enough, right?

I hope it works out.

I plan on breaking the site up into three pages. Of course the farm and all of the projects associated with that... building projects, crop development using permaculture principles, starting chickens,TREE HOUSES!! There are so many things I want to do and share with you in video format.

In order to pay for all of the stuff on the farm page, I will need a sale page. I have already developed a farm logo and will have a few hoodies and tees for sale because that's just kind of mandatory for a web site. There will also be some random bits of art work. One of a kind art quilts. Some garden art. Anything for a buck, I suppose.

Last but not least will be my horse page.... my sanity. Only when I am with my horses do I forget the madness of the last five years (the leukemia, the doctors, the hospitals and more) and I need for them to have their place. I want to be able to document my progress with them. It will be a journey not just of horsemanship but a journey that will calm my mind. We'll see how that goes.

It seems impossible that everything can be achieved through some ethereal piece of territory. I've been told that it can work. It can happen. Things COULD fall into place and work out. I could have a PRESENCE!

The best part is... when things really start working out, I could buy GROCERIES!! woohoo!!!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Man! Did it rain!

We have been getting rain almost daily. Usually enough to keep us from making hay. Last night though, it wasn't a small rain. The skies opened. The lightening was impressive. It was flashing so close together that the sky had times when it just stayed bright white.

I'll go out in a bit and check my garden and see if anything got broken up from the wind and the heavy rain. Spend some calm time weeding.... maybe take my coffee cup with me. Unwind and breathe deeply.

Todays big garden chore is to plant sweet corn and pickling cukes. Such a cool, late spring that everyone's gardens are likewise going in late. At least I got the long season stuff in earlier, just the short season stuff that is left. The green house came so close to being finished last fall. So efforts in that direction will be renewed. It's permanent site will be prepped. Then the eight 2x4s that will make the roof and then the plastic. We will have greens this next winter!

I need to cut grass by hand for the horses today. They have about grazed their pasture dry. They weren't suppose to still be there. The hay was suppose to be cut and the cleared ground was suppose to have gotten new fence and the grazing was suppose to be rotational by now. Oh well, best laid plans....

Right now the wind has picked up. It'll help dry things out. It will also bring in the next storm front, because today, it is once again, going to rain. Maybe later this week I can resume my plans. I need to get back to it. I need to see a task completed.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

This land is your land.....

We were watching a show the other night featuring some songwriters. They finished up the show with all joining in on the song "This Land is Your Land" The last verse they sang was one I had never heard before and it reminded me that this tune was not some patriotic ditty. This tune sprung from the want of the great depression. It was about the value of the little man. It was about how no matter how down and out you appeared, you were more then a part of this country. Even though you had no home, this country belonged to YOU!

Written by Woody Guthrie, this tune was a protest anthem. Later, it became the theme for Pete Seeger as the House Committee for UnAmerican Activities did it's best to ruin his life.

I think every great advancement in this country has been borne of a populist movement, whether it was for our very independence to women's rights, the unions, civil rights, all started with folks standing together and stating their minds.... and singing.

Right now I see people standing together just to hand everything over to huge conglomerate, multi-national corporations and it makes me feel sick inside. It never works to take from folks and to give to a thing even if you do it under the false guise of morality.

Anyway, these are the things I think about while I'm out sawing fence posts with a pruning saw and wondering how strong my grip is going to have to be to hang on here. One thing I know for sure... Enron and Halliburton aren't going to be there for me.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Half Full, Half Empty

I just realized that today is the fifteenth. The month of June is half gone. It leaves me with a bit of an anxiety attack. I have two weeks to raise two hundred dollars. That is for my annual dues for the Parelli Savvy Club. While to many it doesn't seem an important thing, I don't believe I can handle not having the connections that it affords. My Parelli friends and my children have been my support during Mac's illness. The idea of not having access to them again is quite upsetting.

And while being upset, I made a mental list of my building projects... perhaps not a good idea.

I need at least one run in shed before winter. The fencing has to start this week, as soon as hay is cut. (Please! rain stop for awhile!) Then there is the garage, which would be nice to have done just so we don't have piles of lumber and detritus laying about. Now I have a friend's house to add to the list. That shouldn't be too bad... I have five years to build that one.

Then there is the hobbit house. I am still battling flooding in the foundation. The big problem being that there is just so much other priority stuff to do. Then there is the issue of concrete. Once I have the foundation prepped, I will want to pour immediately. The rest won't take long. I have begun scavenging materials.... oh God , I need a shed too! Forgot about that one.

Oh well, empty of money but rich in ideas.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Day of Rest

Yesterday was a big day. We got up early..... okay, moderately early and packed up and took off to see a friend, and we helped him put a couple of windows into his older home. I was feeling confident. We can do this!!! The guys didn't seem quite so confident. Realizing this, I did make sure I watched a window segment with Tommy Silva from a rerun on This Old House.

Yes, I told them... We're good... We can do this.... Trust me. (They don't really trust me. They may act like it, but they don't)

When we got there, our friend had printed off two different sets of instructions. To be honest this is where a little doubt in myself creeped in. But we were in for the long haul! Thought we would have a mutiny when there was a great deal of talk about lunch. But I just kept telling them, "We work while we've got weather!" Good thing too, We had a two and a half hour lunch during a thunderstorm around two in the afternoon.

The guys figured we would need two days. A day per window. I thought we could get it done in one. We just kept at it. One task at a time, one prep at a time. Work around the rain and pick up as you go. It was about 8:30 at night when the last screw went into the last flange hole. The trimming still needs to be done, but the windows are in and the weather is out.

The three of us ate supper late and Mac and I got home a little after one in the morning. Today is our day of rest. Much needed by all three of us. But our friend is worth it.... worth more. When Mac was going through the stem cell transplant, this was the friend that filled in the gaps.

Our friend has talked a little bit about having a "tiny house" cabin to live in down here. That would be great! The tiny houses are as small as 8x12 and,,,,, they don't have very many windows!!!


Friday, June 10, 2011

I like Bawdy

I realize that liking bawdy isn't the socially conscience way to go in this era of the religious right. But I LIKE bawdy and I DON'T like the religious right. Bawdy is infectious, happy and a reflection of the human condition. It is honest. I very much appreciate honest.

Nope, couldn't make it as a puritan..... they're just soo unhappy.

Spring has come and almost gone. Summer has already started breathing it's hot breathe over us and nature is in full regalia. How can you grab a handful of earth and not feel alive? How can you not feel the energy pour into you.. making you feel happy, healthy and even , of course, horny.

Bawdy makes us admit what we are and makes us laugh about it. How could you not like that!? And sometimes when we go through a bad patch in life, we come through the ordeal holding on tighter then ever. We come out stronger, earthier, lustier and ... unapologetic.

Others may not appreciate the new coarseness in my nature, but I like bawdy just fine.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fortune Cookie Says.... again

We couldn't really afford it. Bit of a splurge, really. But it was so hot. We were just going to get out of the heat so off we went to the chinese buffet.

I have my preferences. I always start with crab rangoon and the hot and sour soup. Then try to find the hottest dishes. Though there are never hot dishes on small town chinese buffets. Actually, I don't think there are hot dishes on a large town chinese buffet either. I digress.... I usually settle for the pork with mushroom. Then finish with tapioca and the fried donut, which isn't really a donut, is it? It's a fried tube biscuit. Besides some family always comes in and the kids clean out the fried donuts and I end up with just tapioca, which isn't really chinese. Hmm, interesting.

As you know the best part, my favorite part, is the fortune cookie. And this time the fortune cookie said, "You are vigorous in words and action". Not exactly a glimpse into the future, is it? But, I think it is true. Now what do I do with it? How could I make this work for me?

Suggestions will be accepted.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


It has been so stinking hot lately!! Late after noons are the worse as temps climax and your body says ,"I've taken as much as I can stand and still stay pleasant". Crankiness does loom. I think it's time to live off salads and ice cream.... Mac thinks he needs real food. He THINKS that he gets hungry. How can anybody be hungry in this heat?

If only I had my outdoor kitchen....... oh well.

The horses have their own personal woods. A copse of trees with a small drainage ravine that runs though it. Even when water isn't trickling away , it is still cooler there, in the damp, under the trees. To make sure that all is well, I'll take back some fresh water and scrub out there tank. It seems to be the cure all for making them drink more, especially when Pip is known for putting her big feet in the tank when it gets down to about six inches. Can't really blame her. Lately I've been thinking that it would be a good thing to get a kiddie pool to lay in at around 4:30-5:00.

My gosh it's hot!

Today is suppose to be the last day of the heat wave. We have been exceeding the predicted temperatures. Hope we don't exceed the number of days this is suppose to last.

Too hot to think... just too hot.... too hot.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Search for the Perfect Farm

Everything that I try.....every idea I research.... every dream I chase, results in one thing... the perfect farm. A harmonious blend, an example of permaculture and animal husbandry that doesn't have to be wrenched from the ground, like traditional agriculture, but rather, gently nudged.

It can't be too labor intensive, because I am the labor force ( aka chief cook and bottle washer) It can't be too dependent on equipment. And for my own well-being it must also be as peaceful and joyful as it is productive.

I keep looking at livestock. I've been researching. I THINK I know what I want. I keep getting drawn in by Olde English Babydoll Southdown sheep. They are placid and they clump well when moving them to the point that you really don't need to even have a dog for them. They are the darlings of the vineyard owner as they do not eat the vines. Their wool is a far better grade then most sheeps' wool putting it into the same range as cashmere. They are easy lambers. They are small, which does not make them attractive to big producers, but it means that I should be able to grab them and tip them up on their butts when I need to.

Whatever I choose, it will have to fit in to this place.... this perfect place. I have had people come for a visit and inevitably they stand in the drive. They turn and face the trees and feel the breeze on their faces and say, "This is so nice here." I think that is my true commodity... that feeling of peace that pervades this land.

I suppose I don't have to search for the perfect farm. I just have to keep this one perfect.


Monday, June 6, 2011

I Soooo Screwed Up!

This weekend I made a gamble. Two of my daughters and I went to a small town festival to have a sales booth for craft items. We are in a recession so we were very mindful of prices. We were trying very hard to be mindful of the marketplace. The girls make recycled items..... notebooks, journals sketchbooks etc out of old Golden books or textbooks. Some turn out really cool. I had home made craft patterns and kits. The girls ended up with about five sales and I had none.

Now the real problem is that I spent about seventy dollars on supplies after I had ran out of what I needed. I could live with the life lesson if it hadn't cost me seventy hard won dollars. Crap!!

In order to make myself feel better... which took about a day and a half... I bought myself a solar clothes dryer, also known as a clothes line rope. I had been stewing over buying and setting proper clothes line posts. But with my current loses, decided to just use the posts that I had up for fencing. There is no fence and it is mostly tee posts but there is now a clothes line running through the tee post covers. We'll try to not use the electric dryer for the summer.

We are also trying to not use the air conditioner. The temptation is certainly there. It will be ninety degrees F. today. We'll see how long we hold out.

We look at the outdoor kitchen with renewed ambition. It will just make the house too hot to cook inside. We are back to the dilemma of needing money for some concrete to make solid bases and footings.... I so screwed up.

My thoughts also turn again to the outdoors solar shower.

In a little while I will get the push mower and start mowing under the trees. That is the one place where it stays cool. So I shall make it a pleasant place to retreat to for when the day gets too hot to bear.

Then I shall put on my thinking cap and try to figure out what else I can do to make up for squandering the much needed money. The part that makes me feel the worse is that we were told at Dr. Hiatt's office that they may choose to not see Mac if money doesn't get sent toward that bill. If I had sold out at the craft sale, I could have put a couple of hundred on that debt.

So, I gambled and I lost. Now I have to find ways to make up for it.


P.S. You can look at the girls' stuff if you go to etsy... an online marketplace and then do a search for a shop called potterabout

Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm nice, right?

Okay, it's like this ....I think I'm a nice person. I try to be a pleasant person... a fun person.... an interesting person, and when Mac and I go to bed at night, sometimes, after a bad day, I ask him to tell me something nice about me.

He thinks. Sometimes he thinks so long that he just falls asleep. For a long time he just fell into the habit of saying, "I love you". beause he figured it was nice enough and would get him off the hook.

Well, it's not enough.

On that terrible, horrible day, for a few minutes, I want it to be about me... just me, and that I didn't deserve to have that terrible, horrible day. I don't expect compliments. If I were to be compared to a movie star... I'd be compared to Kathy Bates, not Angelina Jolie, but that doesn't change that I want to hear something nice once in awhile. It would be nice to be told that I am kind or thoughtful or even to be told that I plant tomatoes in a competent manner.

I've decided that it isn't going to happen. This is a hurdle that Mac can't jump. The approval department is going to have to be self contained. I suppose this is just another one of those "man" things.

I can do this though.....'cause, I'm nice, right?


Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Little Farm

Now that we are released from the government conservation program, I am free to start the journey of creating the little farm. While the program could be an asset for larger farmers, it really was too one size fits all to work here.

So, we begin....

Today I call a neighbor that cuts hay on shares. With luck we have a five day window of clear weather. Later this week I could possibly have my first cash crop. This in turn should help fund the next thing. The next thing is a few chickens and some morel mushroom spore. If I do this right then next spring my first flush of morels will sell for around $30-$35 per pound. That will give me cash crop number two.

The second cutting of hay will pay for my hazelnuts to be planted next spring. I won't see a return on this crop for about five years, but it should give me a return for thirty to fifty years depending on how well the trees are maintained. That will be cash crop number three.

I don't know if the third cutting will be sufficient to pay for the wine grapes. That may have to wait until next spring. They will be cash crop number four.

On the livestock front... there will be some chickens. Some for eggs and some for the freezer. Perhaps we will raise a couple of feeder pigs, also for the freezer. We have talked about beef but I don't know if I am ready for that yet. I'm also looking into having some of the Old English Babydoll Southdown sheep. They are suppose to be better tasting. They are suppose to have a wool that rivals cashmere and they are suppose to keep vineyards clean without eating on the vines themselves.

And it starts today. Today I call a neighbor that cuts hay on shares.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Last night I was poking around in the garden. Inspecting plants. Pulling grass and weeds from the beds. For some reason, I kind of flashed back to Mac's hospital room. The small triangular space that felt so gray. That looked out onto another gray wall and down on a gray courtyard. That medicinal prison cell.

It caused me to flinch and shrink back.. a shiver passing across my back and down my spine. I had to look around quick and try to pass out of that feeling of claustrophobia. I had to absorb all the green around me... the blue sky.... the swallows darting and weaving overhead. A lone vulture over the tree line.

It occurred to me that the little farm isn't big enough. Thirty-eight and a half acres. I wondered if I would ever have enough space around me again.

I have stuff I need to do today, but I think I'll run into town and get some gas and I think I'll just mow. I'll stay out in the open today. Take my work outside possibly. Shake that feeling hopefully.