Monday, January 30, 2012

Busy Brains

No matter the situation, it is difficult for me to slow my mind down. I often lose myself in thought and can work on two projects in my mind while I work on one with my hands. This last summer one of the things I wanted to do was to force myself to work on one thing... only one thing, to completion. Then work on another task. I had limited success with that. Sometimes I can only work on something for so long and I run out of materials or good weather, or run up against some other obstacle that brings me to a halt. I can stick to my plan and continue to try to hammer away at whatever is giving me trouble or turn my mind to something else. I never know which is the right course of action and I always feel that I ended up doing the wrong thing.

It's in my nature to think too much... whether it is worms, manure, seeds or barns, or even, what to make for supper. I believe the little farm has made it worse. There are now so many directions to think. I think about sheep, about bees and mushrooms. Trees. Chickens and shelters for them. Shelters for everything, from horses to hay. And there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about money. I think about making it, spending it and hopefully, someday being at the place where I don't need it so much.

I've been trying to absorb information on how things used to be done. Pre-mechanized methods... common sense approaches. With that in mind, I have been collecting facsimile editions of turn of the century (last century, that is) farming books. My daughter found another one for me. She gave it to me this weekend and it has put my mind into overdrive. Finally I have answers. The book is "Barns and Outbuildings and How to Build Them" edited by Byron Halsted. Every other barn book that I have is this complex morass of foundations, metal sheathing, wiring and plumbing. I can't afford those buildings and considering that I don't have any giant tractors or combines that need to be housed, those buildings are of little use to me. My neighbor keeps telling me the virtues of building an inexpensive sheet metal building. He tells me that it will only cost a thousand dollars or so. It is a thousand dollars wasted in my opinion. The sound inside of those buildings during storms is so extreme that animals are spooked out of them. Add some lights and the condensation can be so bad, that hay stored in them can rot and mold away. They are colder then the outside temperature in the winter, and hotter then the outside temperature in the summer. They end up being little more then very expensive wind breaks. I do not have a thousand to spend anyway..... though the idea does make me giddy!

I have already plowed through much of this book and my brains are aching a bit. But it's a good ache. I feel empowered. I'm not so frantic about how can I do this, where will I get the money, how can I pay someone to help me.... Now I have found some answers and my big question is... when can I start? The plan is reinvigorated. My tired brains are getting pretty excited about this. It's no longer a matter of "can this work?"... this WILL work. The little farm has just taken a huge leap forward.



Friday, January 27, 2012

My Vice

I am such a boring person. I don't do much. I barely drink. No drugs. I don't gamble. I don't partake of lewd behavior... I may talk about it but I don't do it. And, I go out and have lunch with a friend about once every three years or so. My vice is that I'm kind of addicted to Coca-Cola. Then, when Mac first developed leukemia, I started reading everything I could lay my hands on about the disease and eating for a healthy lifestyle. Everything I found about prepared foods, about refined sugars, chemicals in packaging was pretty scary. I keep trying to be better.

This week I've given up my coke. I was actually surprised that I managed so well. I must have been ready for the change. I'm trying to drink more water. Eat right.... blah, blah, blah.

The good news is that my chronic pain is greatly diminished. Completely gone in my hands. The bad news is that I am so tired! I can barely drag myself around the house. Trying to run the vacuum seems equivalent to climbing Everest. The computer which has been my escape for so long now, seems like work. Tired, tired, tired.

Hopefully, I will get past this soon. After all, this is no way for a warrior woman to feel. I can't patrol my farm, my domain, from horseback. Running down evil doers, trespassers and the occasional stupid jerk. Okay, Okay, maybe my last vice is that I can't seem to shake the rage that has gotten ahold of me. I'll make my new goal to try and calm down some. So, I'll do my best to not run down ALL of the evil doers, trespassers and stupid jerks.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Turning Point

I think.... I hope... that we have reached a turning point. We were going over our finances the other day and if we continue on the same course, we should be able to end the month with something better then a zero balance. Not that I'm complaining. Zero isn't all bad. Zero is way better then a negative balance.

Fingers crossed that we can consistently end the month with a hundred dollar balance. This is going to open up some possibilities for us. I'd like to start a savings account again. I'd also like to stash back some money for Christmas for next year. It might allow us to pick up a few supplies.. Some boards here, a sheet of plywood there, a few bags of sack concrete. Hopefully as we get things done, it will allow us to implement projects that will continue to save us money. I am especially anxious to get a wood burning stove and some extra insulation.

To make this happen we will need to continue our austerity measures. We eat a lot of hamburger and chicken hindquarters. We might go out to eat once a month but it is usually Pizza Hut. The goal is for the meal to cost between twenty to twenty-five dollars. Mac will get a couple of bottles of cheap wine each month and they usually cost three or four dollars. We don't buy clothes very often. We use them up and patch them and use them up some more. We haven't had a credit card in two years, so if we can't afford to do something... we don't do it. Though if the kids want us to take part in a family activity they take us along on their own dime. That is a mixed blessing. I need to be with my family but I am tired of being a burden to them. Especially feel guilty about this as my splurges are horse feed and dog food and I am sure I spend too much on that.

But I think we are approaching a turning point. We are tentatively planning a little weekend getaway in July... I hope. I'm on pins and needles. It's scary to invest myself in the hope that our lives could start getting better. I feel like George Bailey at the end of the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life". George is on the bridge, in the snow. His hands clasped, bent, praying... "God, I want to live again. Make me live again."


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Worm Sex

I was going through my seed catalogs the other day. I was going through the most recent arrival for the third time, when I spied a photo of these little white bundles. They were worm cocoons. How fascinating! I didn't know worms had cocoons... well, maybe they don't. Maybe they just find little worm babies and the seed company people put them into stasis in some artificial poly coated module that will eventually break down in the soil... which, if true, would probably leave a toxic waste residue. But I don't know about worm cocoons.

I know about worm sex. At our old house, I think I was about the only person on the block that kept an organic yard. I think all of the worms flocked to the sanctuary of our home.... though technically, I don't think worms flock, but you get the picture.

Anyway, I digress......

Worms are hermaphrodites, containing both genders and if you go out on a dark, warm, spring night you will find they are adept with both of them. It was weird and creepy to walk through the side yard where the ground was bare and see literally HUNDREDS of worms doing the nasty. I have often wondered how they manage it without communication. You would think they at least need to start out with one of them saying, "I'll be the boy and you be the girl and then, we'll switch...Okay?" Do they both leave their rendezvous pregnant? Or just one and the other has to wait until the next night? Do they just go lay the cocoon and then are ready to hit the bar scene again? There is a lot I don't understand. Is it the "head" end that is buried in the ground while the social end is out meeting new folks? I don't know, but when you think about it... the worm is the master of multitasking. It would make sense, when you consider worm function to be shaped like an "X". An end for being a girl, an end for being a boy, an end for eating and an end for pooping. Yet, it functions in a streamline form.... weird.

Back to my side yard.....

With having such a heavy population of earthworms, I learned quickly that they were out there and what they were doing. I also learned that it was hilarious to either clap your hands loudly or do a little jump and they could say, "Call me tomorrow" and suck themselves back into the ground faster then lightening. I'm telling you it was better then cable..... well, that, plus I'm easily entertained. Except for the time I almost stepped on the garter snakes in an amorous trio... OMG!! I wish i could burn that image out of my brain!

FYI... I really prefer my horses. But then, as usual, I digress....


Monday, January 23, 2012

Gardening Idea

A friend of mine sent me the address for a very interesting gardening idea. I checked it out this weekend. The concept is so simple that it's brilliant. This gal, like me, started seeds indoors, and like me she had no good space, no good light and couldn't afford the gro-lights or heat mats. Her "Eureka!" moment was when she realized that even some of the tender annuals would harbor over seeds and she would get volunteers the next year. With some old seeds and some carry out food containers, she created an experiment. She set up some starter trays. Put them out in the garden while still winter. Almost everything came up. Everything was already hardened off by the process. She had no damping off. All she had to do was transplant from the container to the prepared location in the garden when the soil was workable.

The details are on her site. I can't remember if her address was .com or .org. Sorry about that. So, you will need to do a search for wintersown. All the information is there and she also has a tomato seed exchange that puts most seed catalogs to shame.

After reading through this web site I grabbed my coffee can where I save my garden seed. Seeds tend to lose about 10% germination viability for each year saved. At least, thats the rule of thumb. I keep my unused seeds in a sealed container for two years and after that I pitch them. My can was full! I had four different kinds of green beans. Three kinds of peas. Three kinds of carrots. Kale, pumpkin, corn, cucumbers, beets and lettuce mix. Now I just need some containers with lids. My normal seed starting trays won't work. They are just made too cheaply. I have a couple of milk cartons. A couple of clear soda cups from the convenience store. Of course I just cleaned out the kitchen a couple of days ago and threw away a bunch of stuff!!! I still have some styrofoam cups that I can put clear sandwich bags over. I have two barrels half full of well broken down compost.

THIS IS SO EXCITING!!!! I know, I know... I obviously don't get out much. But, it's exciting for me. I'll get a start on it this afternoon and let you know how things go. That reminds me..... the cutting experiment. It went extremely well. Almost everything rooted. Then when the plants were potted into soil, everything took off growing. It was looking so good! After about a week and a half a couple of things died. Suddenly about a third of the plants died. Then the rest bit the dust also. It is down to one of two things. Not enough light or toxic potting soil. I had heard from several sources that the government allows a certain amount of industrial waste to be put into products like bagged plant soil, fertilizers, etc. I know of one green house owner that will no longer buy american made soil or starting medium. She gets hers from Canada. It used to be that everything I planted grew. I would have most of the kitchen, the dining room table and the top of the fridge covered with seedlings. Now .... nothing grows for me. With that in mind I will start my winter sown project in my own compost and topsoil. Kind of sad.... I had one tomato from the cuttings that was over a foot tall. Oh well... we learn from our mistakes.

I keep telling myself that if i were a pioneer, I'd be dead now. I would have starved! Maybe my happy thought for the day should be that I'm not a pioneer.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mac Has A Dream

Well, to be more exact, Mac has several dreams. He wants to retire with enough money to live on, which is why we have the goal of having the farm paid off in six years.... fingers crossed!!! He wants to be good at playing the guitar and banjo instead of just dinking with them. and the one dream that I might be able to do something about..... he wants to have an above ground swimming pool with a roof over it and screened in sides.

I spent too much time on the internet last fall looking for affordable above ground pools. Anything that seemed adequate cost around a thousand dollars and if I had that much money I would have to spend it on something else..... like bills or taxes. Not to mention my inability to deal with the guilt of having spent money, but on the other hand....Mac doesn't tolerate summer's heat very well and it was made worse after all of the chemo and radiation. The above ground pool felt like something I couldn't do AND something I had to do.

THEN there was a breakthrough...

Last fall a new farm store opened up in Indianola called Thiesen's. We were doing a walk through to see what they had. I found so much farm stuff I wanted that it was painful. Fencing supplies, of course. Pull behind equipment for ATVs... not that I have an ATV, but a person wants to be prepared. Then as we walked past the water troughs, Mac looked at the huge one and said, "Oh look! Our new swimming pool." He didn't have his joking face on. He wasn't laughing. So I asked, "Do you think it would work for you?" He replied, "I think it would work and it would be better then nothing."

So, I am making plans. I'm thinking of having a garage sale and see if I can scare up some money. Then Mac will get his above ground "pool". I'll need to buy a small pump/filter thingy and maybe one of those inexpensive department store screen houses that run around a hundred dollars. We will see what I come up with. I will just keep telling myself that this could turn out really cool. That will be my mantra.... the pool is cool... the pool is cool... the pool is cool.

And if it doesn't work out, I'll have myself a really awesome horse water trough.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The New To-Do

I was going over my to-do list from last year and I was surprised to find that I got a good deal of it partially completed. Not so completed that I could cross it off the list... damn! So, last night Mac and I were sitting on the couch talking about what we would like to see happen this next year. We have gotten wiser and we aren't planning on getting everything done but rather making good headway and finding places where we can take breaks in projects. There are still so many things that we need money to work on, which happens to be money we don't have. Those items are marked with a $. But you never know. Something could happen.

I am keeping things broken up into four categories.... home, business, farm and horses. Mac thinks he is feeling better enough that he can also work on some things this year. That will be a huge help. With that in mind we are planning some big improvements with the house. This is the plan....


Build roofed deck on the west end of the house. This should be fairly simple and we can screen it in the summer and put up storm windows in the winter to cut our heating costs.

Spray in insulation in cubby hole. We have a small storage area. A little crawl in type space where the tankless water heater dwells. The bad news is that it is in the north west corner of the house where it takes the brunt of the winter winds. I would like to remove the fiberglass insulation and get the space insulated with the closed cell spray in foam and really tighten it up. $

Pour the concrete slab for the garage. We had already purchased the supplies to build the garage. Then the leukemia came back before the slab was poured. Need to get this done before our building supplies are ruined. $

Build a tower for the TV antenna. If we could just get the antenna a little higher! We only get about five channels now, but the potential exists for getting about double that. It will keep Mac content enough that I hope we won't have to pay out money for satellite TV. We have opposing views on how much TV is too much TV, but we both want to save money. $

Build some shelves and cabinets, especially the oven cabinet. $

Finishing touches. A light fixture still needs to be put up. I need to get the switch plate and outlet covers on. So many little things that need to be taken care of!

Shop for a wood burning stove. If the electricity goes off we have no heat source. $$


Have three to four items of reproduction art ready for sale (posters, comics, prints) $

web page or facebook page $

build bird houses. I have been told this is the big thing to sell right now. I really hope that is right! I need to make four thousand dollars this year for us to stay afloat.


Buy chickens I have managed to hang on to forty dollars to go towards my first chicken purchase. I have enough scrap lumber around to build a small coop. I just need to get some wire to make a chicken tractor so they can safely get out into the grass and enrich my soil. $

Buy a starter mushroom kit. I haven't given up on growing morels, but I have scaled back my plans somewhat. The area for the bed has been cleared in the woods. I just need to get it layered up with wood chips and horse manure and have it ready when the spores arrive. One kit is $36.00 plus postage.... it's a start. $

More fencing. This always takes a little money... sometimes a lot of money. But I now have my master plan and there won't be anymore tearing stuff out and rethinking the whole thing. From now on, I only make progress. I'm over fifty percent done with the whole project anyway, so that feels good. $

Seed the pasture. Better hay =more money. $

Continue cleaning out the woods My woods is such a tangle of dead elm and buck brush and I am convinced that if I get it cleaned up, the dead wood burned, then I can work towards a woodland garden. I will have a good space for weddings, nature walks, bird watching and I hope people will pay to come here. The farm must pay for itself and a little agritourism might be the answer.

Build a hay shed. I think I have this figured out where I can use some "pioneer" methods to get this done. Might have a few costs in roofing supplies. A farm HAS to have sheds!!!


I would like to spend two hours most days with the horses. It would be nice to get past my level 2 by the summers end, with both Chloe and Pip.

I know so much is dependent on money that not all of this will happen. But, it's what needs to happen There are a lot of other projects I want to get to, but right now, they are gravy. First comes the meat and potatoes. These are the OFFICIAL goals for this next spring, summer and fall. Now that I have declared myself, we will see just how much madness and mayhem will ensue in an attempt to derail me. As always, my fingers are crossed.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I have applied to be a Parelli Ambassador. I may not be far enough along in my horsemanship to earn that position, but that's okay. I would understand it and that would be fair. But I really, really hope I do get it.

Every spring I say, "This will be the year I accomplish....." First year, was to get some more of the finishing done on the house. I did get more done, but not all of it. Second year, was the stem cell transplant when the leukemia came back for Mac. Then there was the blur of time. I don't remember how long it even went on, so it is just "The Aftermath". Third year, I think, was trying to get ahead on the fencing and land development. This year needs to be about the horses and, hopefully, farm stuff that makes money. The year where all of the loose ends come together. This will be the year of my passions.

If I get to be a Parelli Ambassador, then I hope it will keep my mind focused on where it should be focused. A reminder. I haven't got another Parelli student close by that I can have horse days with, Someone to supply the support and focus, so I hope the working as an Ambassador will fill that role.... and create some Parelli friends in the area as well.

Sometimes I chide myself for being an old broad, with more then a few dings in the fender, chasing after my dreams and life goals like a twenty year old. I suppose on one hand it makes me a ridiculous person. But on the other hand, if I weren't chasing my goals, I would just be an old broad...... with more then a few dings in the fender. It would be a sin to die without trying. I have to try.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Sitting and Thinking

I had a high school english teacher, who had a poster in her room that said.... Sometimes I sits and thinks. Sometimes I just sits. That's me right now, just sitting and thinking. I'm watching the sun come up. It has turned the sky blue and the wafts of clouds are cotton candy pink with purple shadow. The bright colors of the sky make the black outline of the trees that much more stark.

I'm just thinking too much. Thinking too much about money. Thinking too much about politics. Thinking too much about the national economic conditions. How did so few get to have so much? And why weren't they happy just being so wealthy that they had to take over the government as well? Recently, I have heard comments that we no longer live in a "real" democracy. I don't know.

Getting out and doing some hard work today would make me feel better. Temperatures are suppose to plummet again.

Last week we went from forty- five to fifty degrees down to a minus fourteen degrees. Yesterday, it was back to fifty and we are to get to thirty five today with an overnight low in the lower twenties. It makes it hard to adjust... hard to know what to do and to stay busy.

Pretty soon I will go out and chore my horses. I will look at their great brown eyes. Listen to them blow and push their noses into their feed and for a little bit, I won't think. For a little bit, I will have calm and contentment will wash over me. This is my life in the least common denominator. This is where it all makes sense.

While I sit here and think..... I will be thinking how lucky I am to be here on my little farm, with my horses.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spa Day

Winter arrived last night. According to the local weather man, it will be here until Saturday. The weird winter continues. The cold arrived on the back of an incredibly strong wind. We get a lot of incredibly strong wind here on our hill. The wind is such a part of the place that the first consideration in anything concerning planting or animal husbandry starts with... "What kind of wind break will this need?" This kind of thinking is resulting in something of an old world blueprint for the farm. Barns and sheds will tend to be long and low. The perimeter, pastures, small lots and drives will have hedgerows, wind breaks or living fence.

But today the wind is the cause of something else... today, because of the wind, I am giving myself a spa day. Not the typical spa day of course, as most beauty products cause me to stop breathing, but a horseman's spa day. Chores first, of course. Then a long hot soak. Wash my hair, then curl up with a blanket at the computer and research yet more fencing, yet more sheds, read up on the toxicology of different forages. Put in my application to be a Parelli Ambassador. Then we will move on to the internet adoption site for the Bureau of Land Management. E-mail some of my horse friends and in general, do my level best to not think about anything today. Not thinking is really, really hard for me. The best I can hope for is thinking about the stuff that makes me happy. Friends, horses, my little farm.... and my claw foot tub.

The perfect spa day.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter isn't Right

I am lusting for spring! I am driven to break into the ground and have it give out that sweet, earthy smell. Spring lust has come early this year. I think part of it is that winter just hasn't been right. It isn't winter yet. It has just swung between a mild fall to Indian summer. While the weather has been nice, I recoil from it. It isn't natural... it's weird...... kind of creepy. And I want to distance myself from it, so a nice, NORMAL spring would be welcome.

It does not help that the seed catalogs have begun to arrive. Parading their bounty. Teasing, flirting. Filling me with false expectations. Seed whores! Transplant tarts!

My desire to start growing again went to the point of having to drive past Yutzy's Greenhouse last week. I wouldn't be so wasteful as to just make a trip down for no reason, but I had business in Leon and decided to take the scenic route home through Decatur City... and past Yutzy's The greenhouses were dark. No movement. No cars in the parking lot. I slowed as I passed, watching the birdhouse gourds, whitewashed and suspended in a line in front of the entrance. They too, were vacant.

I want to get more serious about the garden this spring. It occurred to me yesterday as I brought home twenty bales of hay, that a barn full of hay, a shed full of firewood and a good garden, well preserved, meant safety, security and to some extent happiness. With those three things life can continue. Anything past that starts you onto the road to the utopian existence. There is a form of heaven residing in good fences. That place where blessings and bounty unfurl.

But I'm not there yet. And I sit here looking at this weird winter, that hasn't properly put the trees and other plants to bed or covered them with a blanket of snow. No saved moisture to be released into the ground as it melts. What will happen next spring and summer? This winter just isn't right and it's making me feel very uncomfortable.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cooking 101

I have mentioned before that I use the book Sylvia's Farm as a sort of literary guide or mentor to my farm pursuits. One of the things that she does in her book, is describe her cooking. She cooks in a french rustic style. She cooks many things that I cannot pronounce. It is an area where I feel I fall short. I'm an okay cook. No one has ever starved on my watch and I have a good touch with bread, but still.... It seemed that no matter, how many lambs Sylvia had to bottle feed she still had time to make her Shaker Daily Loaf. Maybe she didn't make it everyday. Maybe in reality it is Shaker Twice A Week Loaf. Can Sylvia eat a whole loaf in a day? Does she like toast a lot? Hmmm.....

I think about this stuff a lot. I don't have a radio and I don't like the noise of television. During the day, I usually have quiet.... just me and my thoughts and my plans. But Sylvia tends to jump into my head at least once a day, and let me tell you, that woman bakes a LOT of pear tarts! Sometimes thinking of her is a challenge to work harder and sometimes I just feel bad that I haven't gotten further. And when disaster strikes, she goes and cooks fromage something, something.

Then last night I did something that I was rather proud of... it had been a busy day. I was wounded by some of the attack plants that pass for brush around here. I had also been damaged by my own brush saw and had a jagged hole in my thumb and thumbnail. Just burgers for supper but my real victory was my home fries. I had seen on the scandinavian cooking show on PBS (just before switching off the tv) that the trick to a good french fry was the frying twice. But, if you had already cooked the potato then you could fry it just once at high heat. I thought, "what the hell! I'll give it a whirl" So, step one on my french fries was to just pop them in the toaster oven and bake for thirty minutes. They were medium sized, red skinned potatoes. When done baking, I halved them and then cut into wedges. They were a bit crumbly, which I worried about. In for a penny, in for a pound, so I proceeded. Got the oil hotter then usual as the second cooking is suppose to be at a higher heat.

They were AWESOME!! Absolutely creamy on the inside and the frying made the crumbly bits on the edges into a perfect texture. The best fries I've ever eaten. The skins were still on so I can lie to myself and say they were still healthy. A total win/win scenario.

Tonight will be beef stew and biscuits. Scratch biscuits.... none of that crap that comes out of a tube. It will be cooked after I spend a day cutting poles for the round pen, choring the horses, hauling water, walking a quarter of a mile to the mail box and back and throw a load of laundry into the washing machine... but there won't be any bottle lambs and there won't be any pear tart. I guess I will just have to live with that guilt.


Monday, January 9, 2012

The Fencing Project

I have been working on my fencing for so long that it seems to me it should be equal to Hadrian's wall by now. But it isn't. It is a well measured, hopefully, well thought out, electric fence. It isn't intended to stay electric. Some parts will someday have cattle panels on them and then a hedge growing over them. Some sections will be replaced by wattle. If I could lay my hands on it, some sections would even be taken over by guardrail cable such as you find along the interstate. Sometimes you just have to say... good enough is good enough. At least, for now.

I am offering this prologue, I suppose, as an apology for my fence. An explanation before you look at it. I have promised myself that I will go out and get some video of my fence. Video is so much easier then photos to manage, but not to worry, there will be no wacky antics. No cats being interesting.... no toddlers... no men getting hit in the crotch. Just a fence, hopefully behaving itself.

Now when I look at my fence I marvel that it took me so long. Granted, over half of the holes I dug by hand. And last summer got so hot it wasn't safe to work outdoors oftentimes, but still, I look at it and think there should be more. I tell myself that it often takes three times longer to do things by myself. To bad I don't listen to myself when I am making excuses.

Well, that's it for apologies and excuses. Later today I will go take some video. Get it posted to youtube and then come back here and add the link. Then you can look at it and say, "That's all she has been moaning about for all these months?!!!" After adding the link, I'll probably apologize more. I know, I know, I apologize too much and it's irritating, but check back later and hopefully once links are added, you will be forgiving and just maybe, one or two of you might even be impressed...... maybe.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Too much to do!

I just have too much to do on any given day. Some days it makes me crazy. I got a few of the bills paid yesterday that were going to be late if I didn't get them taken care of. Today, I have to finish that dreaded task and make sense of the checkbook...AAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!

Then I need to finally get my hay storage taken care of. I keep kicking around ideas but I can't seem to resolve anything. I need to get some of my bales delivered but have no place to put them yet. Just setting them on pallets and tarping them tends to create a great deal of moldy, wasted hay. The solution has to be found today. I need hay on the place by Monday. It's crunch time...AAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!

It's twelfth night. My friend in England tells me it is bad luck to have the tree up after today. Okay! it is a superstition, but I really can't tolerate anymore bad luck. I may not get any good luck, but I'll settle for strange luck. The tree must go down today!...AAARRRRGGGGHHHH!

The weather continues to be weirdly warm, so I feel pushed to continue work on the round pen. I want to get the wire work on it done at the very least. Is that asking too much? Do I dare hope? Am I friggin' crazy? Yeah, I probably am....AAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!

Now the problem I'm facing is that I know in my heart that getting all of this accomplished really is possible. I know it is. It has to be. It just has to be.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another bill day.

There was a slight emergency with the baby sitter, or more politically correct, the day care provider, and the boys were down to stay for awhile again. A three year old and a ten month old tend to keep a person busy. My usual schedule somehow gets lost. I needed to pay the bills two days ago but I am behind on that. Paying bills still makes me sick to my stomach, but not so bad as it did before we lost the house. Sometimes I still think about how much our lives would have been different if that house would have sold and if we would have had a down payment on this house... if we wouldn't have sunk so much money into it for so long. But I don't like thinking about that stuff. Get up and walk... shake it off. There's stuff to be done.

Yes, stuff to be done. Though as I look around I think there is a possibility that Oscar, the ten month old, might have eaten my to-do list. Oh well, this too shall pass... hope it isn't legible when it does. ANYWAY! Nothing like the combined appearance of a bill day and a to do list to make me think about money.... money goals... money schemes... and, in desperation, the lotto.

Let's see... biggest goal... pay off the little farm in six years. That's $171,000. I KNOW it can be done. I don't know how though. I don't know if it will work to build on the small goals or not, or if I will just become endlessly mired. So, how do I pay for the small goals? I still have the forty dollars that is dedicated to buying chickens. I need about sixty more there. About $250. to get a start on my trees. About the same for the mushrooms. At least, $800. to get the wedding site ready to rent. And how much for sap tapping and the sugar shack.... I don't know. It gets too hard to think after awhile. But what I do think about quite a bit is how six years isn't a very long time and how a lot of things can spin out of control during that time.

I suppose in lieu of thinking, I should just go out and do something. Better start with horse chores, then move on to getting the new mail box installed. Christmas tree needs to come down and somewhere in there I'd better balance the check book and pay those damn bills too. When I run into town to mail the bills, I'll pick up a lotto ticket. After all, you can't win if you don't play.


Monday, January 2, 2012

And Then What Happened...?

What mayhem we had this year!!! I felt off balance throughout the christmas holiday. I think much of that could have been from getting sick right before the holiday. Nothing like fever, chills and a head that feels like it will explode, to kick off the holiday season.

But once on my feet, I was off and running. Mostly shopping, I did not do so well with my goals of present making. Even so, our entire christmas budget ran right around $350. We did not do much to add to the coffers of the CEOs or the mega-rich.... hooray!! Wrapping was accomplished in a day and a half and then we had Christmas at my oldest daughters. We got there early and I baked pies and sweet rolls. Isn't it too bad that cinnamon isn't an aphrodisiac? Really, it should be! Better then choking down raw oysters or pulverized rhino horn.... anyway, I digress..

I got my books that I wanted for christmas. Farm books!! I have even more ideas now! I think everyone was, if not overjoyed, at least content, with their christmas. Food was wonderful. There were no catastrophes at home. The house was intact, animals healthy and inside their fences. The cat, Pyewacket, was sitting on a stack of concrete block waiting for us. Everyone safe and sound was my ultimate christmas present.

Then we relaxed a bit. Grandsons Edgar and Oscar came to visit for a couple of days. Edgar and I did a great deal of tromping through woods, up and down hills and back and forth to the horses. I definitely worked off my cinnamon roll! This was topped off with an old friend coming for a visit overnight. He left us with some really nice lettuce and some smoked cheese and we sent him off with the rest of the breakfast scones.

Which brings us to last night. I had a dream......

A miracle had occurred. I was in Pagosa Springs, CO., at the Parelli ranch and I found myself trouncing up the hill, baggage in hand, with a group of other people. We were all excited and chatting away. Someone got us sorted out and baggage disappeared. We went into groups. Then Linda Parelli came and spoke to us. Then Pat Parelli followed up and we were invited to ask questions. We were all once again in a huge chatting crowd and heading out to a bonfire and cook out. I grabbed my hat while I was speaking to Pat. I put it on but it didn't fit anymore. Pat jokingly said that it looked like I needed to get that fixed as he moved on up the hill. I hung onto the brim but eventually the wind picked up and carried my hat away. When I turned to snatch at it...

I was in the hold of a huge cargo ship. It was flush full of fruit and vegetables. But the produce wasn't in boxes and crates and bins, it was all on display on big angled tables like a street market. People were everywhere. Venders shouting. Money and product changing hands. A boisterous riot of color and sounds and smells. Then I turned again....

The ship was empty. The tables empty. The people gone, except for one man. He was shouting up to the captain that we were heading into rough water. A storm was brewing. The captain shouted orders back. The only ones I understood were to tie down and brace yourself.

Then I woke up, with drool dried to my face and wondering just how far off track had I gotten. I pulled on some clothes in the changing light and went out to chore the horses. Which brings us to now. It seems that it is time to start again. I just have to find my hat first.