Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Have to be Good at This

There are some things that are so intrinsic to my nature that I can't imagine that I wouldn't be good at it. I HAVE to be good at it. It would be unthinkable to not be good at it because it would invalidate the reason for my existence.

I HAVE to be a good mom/grandmother. I HAVE to take good care of Mac. I HAVE to be a good steward of my land. Other people get that about me. What they don't get is why, especially at my age, I have to feel so strongly about horses. The answer is .... I don't know. But I remember being nuts for horses around the same time as being toilet trained. I know, first memories are strange and random, aren't they? Anyway, the point is, horses are such a part of me that I HAVE to be good with them. They are woven into the tapestry of my nature.

I have been given the opportunity to help out with two, two day clinics running back to back. Four days of HORSES!! Four days of trying to get good with them. I'm excited, a little scared. Really thankful.

I leave in about ten minutes..... I hope I don't barf.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree!

Mac put his foot down. He does that on occasion. Usually, the more he raises a ruckus about his foot coming down, the more I feel the need to ignore him. That is what I should have done... ignored him. You see, I always have gotten a real christmas tree. If you were to listen to the kids and Mac , they would have you believe that I get the largest tree on the tree farm. Now that we live in a much smaller house, they were concerned about what they viewed as my excesses. Especially since we have an open ceiling over the living area.

"No more getting a tree that touches the ceiling, Mom. It'll fill half the house! There won't be room for anything else! No room for presents! No room for Dad!"

So, I decided to go ahead and acknowledge Mac's foot, seeing how they were all ganging up on me. We got an artificial tree. It was a post christmas clearance a couple of years ago. It was nine foot tall and of a much smaller circumference then a real tree would have been. I suppose it's okay. It didn't smell good. I didn't hear the sound of pine cones popping as they responded to the warmth of the house. I suppose I would have to say that it seemed awkward to me.

Once the christmas lights were wrapped onto the branches, the tree would couldn't fit back into it's box. It seems larger in pieces then it did put together. It lays in chunks under the dining room hutch, exposed, ugly and sad. It was supposed to get stored in the garage... the one that hasn't gotten built. We can't even find a container that it will fit into! It is depressing.

Yesterday a mouse got into the house. I don't know how... the little bastard! We went to town and got a package of traps. I laid out a piece of newspaper over the wood floor and Mac placed the trap on that. This morning when I got up, I figured I'd just have to roll up the newspaper and take it to the burn barrel and cremate the remains. I got up. No mouse. No trap! Apparently, it drug itself off and took shelter in the great unwieldy chunks of the artificial christmas tree. It looks as if my chore for today will be clearing out the tree and looking for a little mouse corpse.

HO-HO-HO! Yup, that's my forced laugh.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Air Conditioning and other Regrets

Mac broke down and put the window air conditioner in last week. Since then, it seems, the humidity has gotten fairly unbearable to me. I wonder if it is the humidity or if it is the difference between going out into the heat and coming back in to the cool. As always, being in air conditioning leaves my bronchials feeling like someone went over their interiors with a brillo pad. Warnings persist for people and animals exposed to the heat. I feel horrible. Don't know which is worse... the heat or the air conditioning.

I am starting to have my summer regrets. Worrying about all that isn't done. I think my biggest regrets are that I haven't gotten in more, better fencing and I don't have my small flock of laying chickens. I am now a firm believer in the importance of pasture rotation. Fencing just keeps taking on a greater importance every day. Fencing and a round pen. I could almost croon it like the lusty desire for the most current magazine heart throb. Round pen .... doesn't it just evoke the imagery of wantonness?

Mac wants to retire and I can't seem to figure out how to make that happen for him. I'm sorry. I don't know what to do.

If only the heat would stop. I could work on post holes. Maybe my neighbor would see me out there working and feel sorry for me and bring his tractor with the post hole auger ... maybe. Maybe I'll get a couple of baby quilts sold and I could get some chickens yet this year..... maybe. Summer isn't over, maybe there's still a chance..... maybe.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Last weekend

Last weekend we went on a small family trip. It was the girls somewhat belated father's day gift to Mac. Youngest daughter Bevin and her family couldn't go, but the other two girls hosted us on a really nice trip to St. Paul, MN. We went to see the Tut exhibit at the Science Museum.

It's an interesting thing to go and see evidence of a family life that existed three thousand years ago while partaking of the same with a two and a half year old. Considering that she had just finished a four hour car drive strapped into a very small seat, she did remarkably well. She was extremely perturbed that she couldn't touch the stone faces. But then we got interested in looking for the broken bits. "Oh look Evelyn! that one's arm is all gone!


"Look at this one... they had to put something under him because his foot is gone."


"Look at this one.. His nose has been broken all the way off."


Then we got to a smaller statue in the corner. It was a yellowish alabaster stone about two foot tall.

"Look Evelyn. See the man? He's holding his little girl on his lap."

I held her up so she could see better and her little face got a very serious look.

"That's the little girl?" she asked.


"Daddy's holding the little girl" She said in her very matter of fact way and suddenly ancient lives were very real.... very relevant. As I held her close her look became serious... "I have to go potty."

Some things do not change, no matter what millennium you dwell in.


Friday, July 22, 2011


Being alone can be a tricky thing. It can also be relaxing, calming, rejuvenating.... until you have something heavy to lift. I am alone a great deal, especially during the school year. It allows me to work on things with out interference. It allows me to do things my own way. It allows me to work on projects keeping the big picture in mind. So far, whenever anyone has helped me, they have interjected an opinion. They have made what should have been a permanent solution a temporary fix. Other people tend to become speed bumps to me.

And then I need help.

I want someone to show up with a tractor and a post hole auger attached. I want post holes dug and posts set. I want it done with out having to hear somebody's "better idea". I have yet to run into one of those better ideas that has been anything but an avoidance of work. Personally, I am a different variety of lazy. I'd rather work harder right now and then not have to do this job again for ten years. I am needing new fence. This will be the third that I have needed in as many years. Why?.... because when I do get help, all I get is a good enough for right now attitude. Totally pisses me off.

It makes me want to be alone.

I need help straightening the last upright post for the outdoor kitchen. I can't manage it on my own. The hole is a bit out of alignment. The other posts have been set and squared for a year now. I think it's time to come up with another plan. One I can do on my own. Something that can be accomplished...... alone.

The one thing that I can't accomplish on my own is working with my horses. Not that I need someone here with me, but there is just so much work to do , that I just can't seem to over come the guilt of doing something that brings me pure joy. I need someone to motivate, to nag, to monitor my progress and rejoice in my successes. That's when being alone is hard.

I don't know... I guess with fence posts and horses there has to be a different kind of balance. I'll have to keep working on that for now.


Thursday, July 21, 2011


Last night I was doing more research on sheep breeds. Emailing different farms for information. Contacted a wool shop. Got on a mailing list. Then I made a wrong turn and got on a blog. Thought I would just scan it a bit. As it turned out the blog owner had posted an excerpt from a book by a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The excerpt was about chicken butchering day. It was a bit wrenching to read. I don't know if I should say it was graphic. He hadn't gone over the top. He had simply been realistic.

The problem is , I like chickens. Well, I like chickens now. The first chickens that I ever met and which hung around in "real life" were some free rangers at Mac's parents house. They were the kind of chicken that would defiantly hop onto the hood of your car, cock their heads in that jerky chicken way they have, and crap on your waxed finish. They were huge birds! and their last act of defiance was when you tried to eat the meat from the bone. It simply could not be pulled away without the wrenching of the jaw and a low growl. They were the kind of bird that made you glad they ended up in the skillet.

Then, I farm sat for a friend. Everyday I went into their little pen and checked the water, the feeder and the grit. Looked for eggs. Checked the girls for pecking. One chicken, who had been accused of being the pecking bully, had been put on a leash. She kept getting the twine wrapped around her leg. So morning and night, I would pick her up and give her a pet and unwrap the twine. Made sure there was a feeder and water close to her so she would not go without when she had herself tangled up again. Then I would go out to where some of the grass was tall at the edge of the yard, and pull grass for them. They were ecstatic. Each day I would pull more for them. They would always have it gone when I came back. These chickens, well, these chickens I could like.

Then last night I read about putting very likable chickens into someone's arms for the last time. Holding them upside down until brain endorphins kicked in and made them naturally groggy. Then slicing their wee heads off. It gave me pause. But if we are going to talk about the reality of the moment then the entire reality is this... every chicken ever born is going to be eaten. It might be an owl, a hawk, a coyote, a fox, a pig factory or, it could possibly be me. Some will sit at their sunday dinner and think God for this provision, but when I hold that bird in my arms for the last time, I think I want to thank her instead. I want to tell her that I did my best to give her a good life, to make her safe, to provide for her, to give her grass. I need to thank her for feeding the life within me and Mac and my children and grandchildren.

That's the reality I chose.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Still Hot

Currently, it is dangerous to be outside doing very much in the way of physical labor. I have gotten some mowing chores done. A little bit in the garden. LOTS of water hauling. Altogether too much thinking. Too much feeling like a failure lately. But I have to say that I did come up with one thing that I must say is BRILLIANT!!! I have come across the perfect password program for those needing increased security. This wouldn't work for the pentagon, mind you, but for the person running a web site store, it's perfect.

Step 1. go to a garage sale and pick up an old book. The more insignificant and obscure the better.

Step 2 Input the first three to four words from your book as your password. Use symbols or numbers to denote the spaces between the words.

Step 3 Next week when you change your password, cross out the words used and go to the next four or so words.

Step 4 Continue this process ad infinitum, or at least through the prologue.

This will give you a password guide that could last you the rest of your life.... depending on the size of the book.

I think I would want to find a book that started with..... it*was!a#dark^and stormy&night.

I also think I might have come up with a faster way to get a baby quilt done. Need to try that out. Over all the heat is making me terribly restless. I will try to work on my "thinking" projects but I am longing to get outside and create a physical change. Something I can see and touch. The weather man says that there will be another three days of the heat. I hope I don't keep thinking so hard for the whole time. My brains are aching!

Maybe my next great thought will change the world.. hopefully for the better. And when I win an award, I won't think I'm a failure anymore.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How Did People Do It?

That is what they asked last night on the news. There will be a story later this week on how people used to survive the heat. Way back when, before air conditioning. It makes me want to thrust my hand in the air and wave it around like I were in school... "Pick me! Pick me!" So, this is me scooping the news and letting you know how to survive the heat.

First off, people had shutters on their houses for a reason. They weren't just decorative. They protected against extreme storms, hail and heat. During the night when it was cool all the windows were opened and the house cooled down. In the mornings when the sun came from the east, the shutters on the east were closed. They were opened in the afternoon. Then as the sun got to the west side of the house the shutters were closed on the west side of the house and opened at dusk.

Those tall narrow windows served the house well in another capacity. You opened both top and bottom of the window at the same time. Cooler breezes closer to the ground would come in the bottom and as heat rose it could escape out of the top of the window. That way they developed natural air circulation. Bigger houses had a cupola type structure on the roof. When windows there were opened a breeze would pass through the small structure and act like a whole house fan. The rising heat would get pulled from the house and there would be enough air movement to create a cooling effect.

An architectural bit of nirvana that needs to make a come back.... the sleeping porch! Usually a screened porch on the upstairs back of the house. It would be fitted with daybeds or chaises and no matter the heat of the day, at least you could get a good nights sleep.

If you had enough space for a decent garden then you could bet that there was also a small summer kitchen out back. It was a small little shed that matched the house and was only about eight by ten feet. It had a smaller wood burning stove. Once the food was cooked then it was delivered into the house. I've also seen the century plus homes where the kitchen was built as an ell off the back of the house. Almost with out fail there will be a door on the end of the kitchen that attaches to the main house and across from it, a large window. This layout was planned for cross ventilation. So if you didn't use or have a summer kitchen then you could at least protect the house from heat build up. This is the reason that I planned for my outdoor kitchen. It might be a more modern take, but the idea is the same... keep the heat outside.

Don't run the dryer. Use a clothesline. Personally, I love hanging out clothes. It is a mindless, relaxing task. Keep in mind that the sunlight also sanitizes. A good thing all around.

Don't turn on the TV until it is close to dark. You would be surprised how much it heats the house up. Same with lights... turn them off.

When the girls were little and they would come in all hot and sweaty, I'd have them go stand in the big ol' claw foot tub and run in cold water. That inevitably turned into some degree of splashing and giggling, but it worked. Cool off your feet and the rest of the body will follow. This is why I want an outdoor shower as well. It is pleasant and cooling and when there is a bit of a breeze, it is heaven.

There is also a lot to be said for a simple fan. You know the kind that you hold in your hand. I remember as a child going to a packed church and being squeezed into a pew amidst sweaty suited adults and everyone was waving their small hand fan with the illuminated picture of Jesus on one side. A literal case of "Jesus Saves".

Now with having given you all of this valuable information, I must admit that Mac put in the window air conditioner in the bedroom yesterday afternoon. We ended up with a heat index of 114 degrees and he didn't think he could cut the mustard any longer. I do feel guilty over the energy expenditure though.

Me, well I took a nap in the heat of the day then went out and spent the evening mowing when the temp dropped to a heat index of 104 degrees. I wore a hat, drank water... it wasn't so bad.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot, Hot, Hot

The heat wave continues. So far we have held out against installing the air conditioner. The darn things get moldy so quickly then I have a worst time breathing then I do with the heat. A few more days to go and things are suppose to calm down a bit. But it does make me think about global warming. We are in the violent weather phase. Later will be the drought and extreme heat. No way for a species to die. I think about my grands, Edgar, Evelyn and Oscar .... then I go plant trees. Then I chase deer away from them.

It also makes me think that non environmental politicians should be shot. Not dead, but with a big ol' tranquilizer dart in the ass. Every time harmful legislation is coming up.. out comes the tranquilizer darts. Legislation doesn't pass. The plan is still in the feasibility stage.

We did have a break from the heat when the kids took us to see the Harry Potter finale on Saturday night. We watched it at an Imax dome theater. That was a first for me. Mac had to close his eyes to keep from getting vertigo during some of the flying scenes. Not me. Made me wish I had my own broom stick... the good kind, not the kind you sweep with.

For me, the high point of the evening came after the movie. When the girls posed in their own dueling display in front of the giant Voldimort/ Harry Potter standee display in the lobby of the theater. Michal lay in a mock death pose on the ground while Bevin wielding the wand and Katie was clicking pictures with her phone and getting them immediately posted to Facebook. Sometimes I am so proud of my children. Moments like this when you know that everything will be okay after you're gone.

Everything will be just fine... we just have to survive the heat.


Friday, July 15, 2011


Mac now has four months between Dr. visits. It was a great relief when he got to that point. But his next trip to Iowa City is coming up beginning of August. It has already cast a shadow over us. It gets hard to think... to stay focused. We find ourselves falling into little depressions. Then try to snap out of it and continue.

I know it is beginning to weigh heavily on Mac. He had gotten to the place where I could go do some things and he was calm about it. Now when I am off in the woods or in the garden. He is compelled to come looking for me. He is back to asking me where I'm going whenever I get out of a chair.

I'll be glad when this is all over and the doctors and that shit hole hospital in Iowa City stop haunting us. Hopefully after this visit they will move us out to six months.

Makes me wonder if a person ever gets their life back after something like this.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hayfields and Horses

When we first came here, the majority of the property was under the crop reserve contract. Because of this we had almost no access to our own land. The horses, by necessity were in a smaller pasture arrangement right behind the house. Whatever I did outside they were there watching me. I think they realized that if they starred at me long enough that I would cave in and take them some grain, pull some grass for them or sometimes mow the perimeter for them. We refer to the mower as the salad shooter. But now they are in a pasture at the back of the property. Part of the front pasture has been taken down and returned to hay. the rest has been changed up, realigned. Measured up and made a much straighter rectangle, as the old wonky one was driving Mac nuts.

But I miss their faces. I miss them calling to me. I miss dropping everything and just hanging with them.

We had wanted to keep as much ground in hay as possible in order to make money. Then the spring was so long and cold that it was a very slow start. Then the weather so wet, it was almost impossible to get into the hay field to cut and bale. Now we are looking at a week of temps in the nineties and hundred. The grass won't grow when it is so hot. It looks as if this isn't going to be a good hay year.

If I had the money, I would just set a lot more fence and do rotational grazing with the girls. At least that would save me from having to buy so much hay and the best part would be that I would get to see them more often. They would be there reminding me that they are the reason that I started all of this. They are a great deal of my quality of life.... especially important in case there isn't long life.

I spend too much time thinking about money. Thinking about how to make every thing better "if i just had this much money I could do....." So, I am going to give up on some hayfield. I'll find a way to fence..... somehow. The girls and I are going to have more quality time and I know I'm going to be happier. That, after all, is the goal.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I try very hard to not be political on here. Today I can't help myself. I am so frustrated over things I can do nothing about. Mac was reading some statistics to me the other day concerning wages. It used to be that from the lowest paid employee, usually the janitorial staff, to the highest paid, the CEO. The CEO would make approximately 50 times the wage of the janitorial staff. Now the CEO draws approximately one thousand times the wage of the lowest paid employee. That is just wrong.

The rich whining about paying taxes! Really! They cry about taxes and say they have to pay at a rate of 70%. I doubt it. First they get their loopholes. Then they get deductions that regular folks don't get. Then they own properties that they hide under corporations names, under their children's names. Then depending on how they list their income, much of it is only taxed at 15% which is far below what the regular Joe on the street pays. Look around you! When you give rich people more money, especially corporations, they just lay off more people! This has been the pattern that they have followed for the last forty years. Don't give rich people/rich corporations money! The rest of us can't afford it.

Global warming exists... quit treating people like they are stupid. Even if there was a remote possibility of the destruction of many species, including the human one, as a result of the damage created by greed, wouldn't you stop and rethink your policies? I mean even if there were the smallest chance! Yet it has been proven over and over and the corporate world is unwilling to put the brakes on, even in the slightest degree. No, let's break every law there is to get that coal out of the ground. Let's pump every toxic chemical we've got in the ground to push out a wee bit more natural gas! I'm starting to think that the EPA ought to be able to put CEOs in prison. Maybe that will cause a shift in thinking.

The other day we were watching a talk show and the host said that over fifty percent of americans believe that the best days of our country are behind us. I do not doubt those numbers from what I see around us. We are no longer a nation of strong individuals struggling for the individual. It seems that somewhere along the line we have become ..We the corporation, for the corporation and by the corporation."

It really is just too much to bare. Sorry I had to get that off my chest.


Sunday, July 10, 2011


The ultimate to-do list has been made and put into an organizational format. I'm sure I missed some stuff, but it will surface later. I will list what I have so far. If you'd like, print it off and follow along at home. Cross items off the list as I finish projects. In effect.... feel my pain.
The four categories that we have to choose from are.... HOUSE .....OUTDOORS ...HORSES .... BUSINESS/FARM. Pick your playing pieces and give that spinner a twirl!

And you have landed on ... OUTDOORS!! (studio applause) Before the end of the game you will need to accomplish the following a shed
make an additional three garden beds
level an area and move the greenhouse frame onto it
take down old satellite dishes
build a screech owl box
build an outdoor kitchen consisting of 1. a fireplace, 2. a gas grill wall, 3. an oven
build garage
transplant ditch lillies to beds surrounding the L.P. tank and to the wetlands
build hobbit house and finish the play yard
start terracing the garden
move and raise TV antenna
continue mowing back grass for hay field expansion
continue driveway drainage tube and cover with gravel
build outdoor shower
Thank you contestant no. 1, you've been a great sport!

Now for our next player. ( Amid great applause) Oh my, listen to that. You've brought some fans with you! And the spinner has landed on....BUSINESS/FARM! lucky you! and you're first task will be to
sew a baby quilt by July 16
finish prototype for the jumping pony christmas ornament
web page
design logo wear
sew christmas stockings for sale
make a video of building the hobbit house
package the scrap book ornament
create five items of garden art
make some hydro tuffa planters
finish second small quilt.... and now to the farm items!
make final decision on and order plants for hedge row
order app. 300 hazelnut trees
organize and start grow containers for 100 blue spruces and 100 sugar maples
clear sufficient undergrowth in woods to accommodate 15 mushroom beds
order morel spore
build evaporator and shed for processing black walnut syrup
That was really wonderful player no. 2!

Oh my! I'm absolutely atwitter as we wait for contestant no.3. Isn't this exciting folks?! And our third player has gotten the category of ....HOUSE! Goodness gracious I can hardly wait to see how this ends! And here are your tasks!
build a built in oven cabinet
build 2 behind the toilet wall cabinets for bathrooms
finish the loft flooring
2 built in cabinets south side of loft
finish upstairs bathroom sink
paint exterior trim
apply metal lathe
apply masonry scratch coat
finish last two pieces of soffit trim
caulk trim
build deck for loft egress
build downstairs bedroom wardrobes
finish dining room buffet
solar collectors for south facing windows
get a storm door for the deck door
fix roof ridge
build 2 kitchen shelves
install post support adjacent to kitchen
tile downstairs shower
small floor cabinet for downstairs bathroom
finish interior window trim
build pantry
Oh my that was an exciting round!

Now player no. 4 you will get the category of HORSES by default. Now this may not be as long of a list but the items do have a great deal of detail. Also keep in mind, that more then most of the items in the previous categories, it is important that the majority of these items be finished before winter. There is some pressure here. Good luck player no. 4!
build a honeycomb set up of round pens consisting of one 40 ft. pen, one 50 ft. pen and two 70 ft. pens
build two run in sheds
build a cistern to catch surface water
pull fence posts from original position
build new fence with long run measuring app. 2000 ft. two short sides consisting of 200 ft.
build a small barn consisting of two smaller buildings with a connecting breezeway roof
assess and pass your Parelli level one
assess and pass your Parelli level two online

Now while we are waiting for our players to accomplish their tasks, lets go have a margarita! And thank you everybody for playing! Bye-bye!

Gosh! that was fun!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rampant Brains

It is at least eighty degrees out and it is only ten in the morning. The humidity is skyrocketing. Like an idiot, I'm sitting here and drinking coffee and sweating. I can't seem to settle. My brains are darting about like mad. I'm getting a headache. Thinking so much that I can't think straight.

I had started the summer out thinking that I could by pass the to-do list and just manage things as I could and that all would be fine. That doesn't seem to be the case. There is just TOO MUCH!! I'm completely forgetting projects and then they are coming back to me and giving me a startle when I realize it is too important to be forgotten. I am wallowing. It is affecting my f***ing cheerful demeanor.

There is a process we learn in Parelli that I am probably not good enough at, but it works with most hurdles in my life. It's called ..Isolate ...Separate .... Re-combine. I try to take everything apart when dealing with problems. I try to take everything down to bite size. There's still just so many bites!! But life really only consists of two modes... trying and wallowing. Wallowing doesn't work out , so I'll keep trying. I'll probably cuss and bitch for awhile. That's okay as long as my actions are positive. My attitude will catch up eventually.

So then.... today I will make my to-do list once again and try to get my mind to settle down a bit. ( My head is feeling really crowded and I have to wonder how people with multiple personalities manage it! That must suck!) Time to switch to ice water, put on my holey tee shirt so I get air movement and get myself to work.


Thursday, July 7, 2011


This morning I have been trying to figure out what I'm doing exactly, as far as the little farm is concerned. I've got so much happening in my head, that I feel a need to shake it all loose and see where I'm really at. I'm trying to get so much done at one time that I've freaked myself out a bit. A lot of things have been freaking me out lately. So, I'm going to do what I do with my quilts.

First, I vacuum the floor really well. Then, I start laying out the pieces on the carpet. Making sure I didn't screw up any blocks and that everything is situated where I want it. Judge the over all size and determine if I need another row of blocks or maybe a border. In general, I fuss and fidget with it until I'm happy.

I'll skip the vacuuming for now and just commence with the fussing and fidgeting...

We'll go chronologically though the year starting in February and March. It will be hopefully starting the freeze/ thaw cycle and it will be time to get the seed down on the pasture. The freezing and thawing action in the earth works the seed in, I'm told. Then it will be sap time. Once the sap run is done which seems to last from three to five weeks, then it should be time to start seeds in the greenhouse. When I get some sheep, it will also be lambing time. Shortly after, it will be shearing time. Right about then it should be time to harvest the morel mushrooms and get those sold or dried. Then get my plants into the garden and place tunnels over everything. When I have my grapevines in, this will be time to prune. Then I should have a bit of a lull where I can get some chicks started, do any fence repairs or extensions that I want and possibly start processing my fleeces. Then it is hay season. I have mostly cool season grasses, so when the hay is done, the garden should be starting to give. It will be time for making jelly and canning for winter and in general "putting up". Harvest the grapes and get them to the winery. Harvest the hazelnuts. Pick apples. Summer will be winding down so it will be time to make sure all is right with the animals. Make sure they have a bit of fat on them. Butcher the chickens that aren't being kept as layers. Evaluate the flock. Sell ram lambs to other breeders. Anything that doesn't sell goes to the butcher. Decide which ewes will be kept and sell the rest. Make sure I have enough hay and feed for animals being wintered over. Make sure ewes are bred. Final inspection on buildings so I know we are safe and sound for winter. Spread manure on pasture before first snow fall.

That's the way it should fall. I tried to get products and cash crop decisions made so that as soon as one thing is over another would start. I don't want to have multiple things happening at once since I am pretty much on my own. I'd like to add bees in there as well but I will need to get some help with that, as hives are very heavy. Possibly feed out a couple of hogs for personal use.

Overlapping all of this will be working with my horses, hopefully hosting clinics and rides, and also possibly renting space for weddings. All of these bits and pieces need to make at least $25,000. per year. I don't know if it will all add up. I will go do my farm math and try to not be optimistic with my numbers. I need reality but really hope that reality will be on my side this time. I really hope this can work out.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Christmas in July

The christmas in July sales have started. I don't want to think about it! I have had a hard enough time wrapping my brain around paying taxes and insurance on the farm and the truck and getting some seed purchased for next spring. Buying some trees. Fencing supplies as usual..... but christmas?! My mind didn't want to go there yet.

Christmas is more of a fluttering little moth in the back of my brain right now. That's about all I can handle at the moment. I do keep a notebook in my purse where all random thoughts are put down. The notebook is where ideas first take on a semblance of order. All farm thoughts go in a particular area that is kind of broken up into categories like.... improvements....internet searches to make.....livestock possibilities.. etc., it goes on.

I keep a gift idea section too. All of the names of people I buy gifts for are listed with several open lines. When I have spent time with someone and they say things like, "You know how much easier things would be if I actually had my own hammer?" Then under that persons name I note.... Hammer, possibly tool bag or box, other household tools?... This year I am not short on ideas for anybody, but I can't make the jump to "buying" yet. Actually I am having trouble just coming to grips with spending money on anything other then bills, groceries and gas. Mac likes to eat out once in awhile. It almost sends me into a panic attack. I want to swat him with a rolled up newspaper and say, "Don't you dare relax and have fun!! Don't you know it costs money to relax!?" Eating out is like pissing money away. It used to be one of our favorite things to do, now I'd rather just not eat.

I can't afford to think about "peace and goodwill towards man" . It's a costly enterprise. I think for the month of July I will just continue to avert my eyes and keep christmas as a fluttering little moth in the back of my brain. I will continue to keep notes and dwell in my own little space. Yup!, that's the ticket.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Well, I don't have a web page after all. Everything that we looked at, as far as web hosting, required a credit card. We don't have credit cards. After the last round of leukemia and the stem cell transplant, we couldn't pay for a lot of things . Lost the house and of course the cards. Without a doubt we lost our credit.

In the meantime, I have been given my homework. Clean up artwork. Get more product ready for the sale page. More photos. Put together a web page wish list. Work on a preliminary layout. And of course, find a credit card.

This has been really depressing, and I feel a bit like I've had the rug pulled out from under me again. Oh well, what can you do? I guess I will just bury myself in the minutiae of life until I get things figured out.

We'll start by feeding the dog......


Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July!

It's Independence day here in the states. There was a time when that meant everybody headed into town with a picnic lunch. Games were played. Foot races. Sack races. Three legged races. At some point in the day, folks would get out their best riding horses and run horse races down the main street. That was long ago. The street was dirt and if it rained... it was mud. The idea of the whole thing was for us, like other countries in the world, to celebrate our independence from England. Now, it is different. No backward glances. No dwelling on the words of founding fathers. A time to remind ourselves that while not perfect, our goal is to seek perfection in regards to personal rights, human dignity and justice.

Our ideals are so high, but we've put them on a shelf somewhere and forgotten about them. There will be parades in many small towns across the country today. There will be fireworks. But now, it feels, at least to me, that we are suppose to take this holiday and just stand in awe and reverence to the military. The military already has Flag Day, Veterans Day. They've taken over Memorial Day and the fourth of July is a military holiday now too. Makes me sad.

So today, I will celebrate by weeding the asparagus bed. Later, I'll go back and sit with the horses and have a hard cider. I'll discuss with them how miraculous it is that the ideals of liberty were so well constructed, in this country with feet of clay, but wouldn't be truly implemented for almost two hundred years, during the civil rights movement. How amazing that women would not have the vote until 1924. How frightening it is that there is discussion that corporations should also have the right to vote.

I will go and talk to my horses about principles and purpose and high ideals, because I think they are the only ones willing to listen to me on that topic.


Friday, July 1, 2011

I need PBS.

I was thinking again.... and I decided that I need my own PBS show. I can do educational TV! I'm nothing if not educational. Then I would get stuff done. I would be funded! and maybe even a salary! How cool would that be?!

I have so much to teach people. The traditional oven would take several episodes, but I want to do a sculpted clay oven as well. The hobbit house would take at least five episodes. Tree planting would take an episode. Starting chickens would take another one. Building different styles of fencing could go on for awhile, God knows. Actually there could be helpful suggestions for digging post holes in 90o weather in clay soil. There would be some bloopers in that one!! Gardening would be ongoing, of course.

The real drawback would be having me as the host. Imagine, if you will, crossing Kathy Bates with Professor McGonagal and that person having enough beers that they feel comfortable sharing their opinion, no matter what it is. Not that I really drink... I just believe in letting loose. Granted I would probably only have a cult following. That's okay. It would rank me up there with all of the other PBS shows.

I could do this! Not only do I think I need PBS, I'm starting to think PBS needs me too! Don't act surprised by this.... you all know I'm a bit self delusional. Who isn't?