Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Off to the Amish.

Last evening while feeding the goats I made a pleasant discovery. I finally hit the bottom of the feed barrel! Now this seems like something odd to be excited over but the last drop of goat feed signifies a  day trip to Amish country. Its not terribly far and the vast country side allows plenty of room for my mind to wander. I love the trips to the Amish country.

This morning I loaded up my two favorite boys in the truck. I had my right hand man by my side and my trusted side kick buckled safely in the back.

 We headed toward the feed mill.

The winding road lead us through valleys of grazing cows and hillsides painted with beautiful trees. We passed a farm with hogs wallowing in the mud and horses running the fields... Yep, this is my kind of place.

The thick lines and narrow ruts in the asphalt from the passing buggies announce that I have hit Amish country. I passed several signs and the end of long drive ways; Produce, Candle Makers, Wood Workers, Jam houses, Saw Mill, Feed Mill. I couldn't help but to imagine such places in my world where people just dropping in wasn't an oddity.

I traveled on, passing large plain white houses, large gardens with bird house gourds strung across the length, I passed empty carriages parked in wooded lots and horses tied to post. There were chickens pecking the ground at every home... Yep, this is definitely a place that I can relate.

We passed a cluster of young Amish girls wearing dresses of teal and dark blue. Headed to school with their lunch pails in hand. Up the way a bit, a young boy was walking through the fields, with his father leading a team of horses behind him. There was a a woman hanging laundry on the line as I turned into the Mills long drive.

This is my third year of doing business with the Amish. We buy our laundry soap and kitchen equipment at the Amish store, our lumber from the water operated Saw Mill, and our feed from the Amish Feed Mill. Slowly but surely the walls that once separated us is  slowly falling down.

The Amish do business with the English but tend to be very reserved in their presence. I understand their reservations as a lot of English do not respect or understand the Amish. When you walk into one mans territory its ALWAYS important to tread lightly.

Today I pulled into the empty Feed Mill lot. Mr. Mazlo was nowhere in site. I took the opportunity to pull my hair back into a bun before stepping out of the truck. I knew that he would be present in just a moment.

Then I saw him walking up the long gravel drive from his house headed in my direction. As I waited patiently I took the opportunity to embrace the senses that surrounded me... The heavy stench of manure laid heavy in the air, the birds and cows in the distance crying out to one another, the dogs barking, and the sun shinning.

A young man with dark black hair, a thick black beard and olive colored skin, greeted me with a warm smile. "I'm glad I caught you", I said as I smiled back. I always try to be as warm and friendly as I can. ( When you are accepted by the Amish... the knowledge you gain about their world is insurmountable.)

"Hiya, What can I get cha for", a strong German accent rang out.

"I'm needing 200lbs of livestock feed... its for my dairy goats", I cheerfully said.

"Alrighty", he said.

I walked to the back of the truck and popped the hatch. I held out my arm and reminded Sam to stay. Mr. Mazlo loaded my feed, and told me my bill. As I was writing my check, Mr Mazlo made small talk. I was slightly shocked but welcomed the conversation (I like to talk!).

 " Let mi ask ya sumthin'", he said. "Whys there a sudden interest in Daireey goots", he asked.

 I replied " I think its because of people like myself lacking the land for a dairy cow"

"Aya, makes sense, goats dont need much of  nuthin' ",

"I think Im going to get some dairy goot feed mixed, Theres a loot of people who order feed fa goots" he stated.

I told him that my goats did so well on the livestock feed that I probably would just stick with it... "why mess with what works", I said.

He nodded in agreement.

I told him "Thank You",  as I made my way back to the truck.

I had been less than a quarter of  the mile down the road when a woman driving a van came flying around the curve almost hitting us. "SLOW DOWN", I screamed

I was annoyed. Besides almost hitting us, she could have hit the Amish kids walking to school or collided with a horse and buggy at the bottom of the hill. I thought "no wonder the Amish are so stand offish with the English"!

So here I made a list of Considerations while traveling into Amish territory.... just in case you are a newbie or perhaps you just haven't figured out why you get the weird stares.

1. SLOW DOWN. Slow down  about 10 miles outside of the community... Buggies are coming and going all day long and it would be catastrophe to be flying around the curve and hit one. My motto is if the speed limit says 30 I drop it down to 20.... and like I said I drop it down when I'm with in 10 miles of the community.

2. Turn down/ off the radio. A loud blazing radio is rude no matter who you are visiting.

3. NO PICTURES. I love scenery of the Amish country. Its a place that I would love nothing more than to share with each and every one of you. The beauty and simplicity reminds me of stories from a simpler past... But ultimately the Amish don't like to have their pictures taken. They don't like to have pictures of their property or pics of their livestock taken either. I respect that and so no matter how trigger happy my finger gets... I put the camera is put in my console and it doesn't come back out until I exit the community.
And... don't take cheap shots of their back sides either. I would be pretty annoyed if  someone took my picture with out me knowing. Its an invasion of privacy.

4. DON'T HONK!- The Amish community around us sells a lot of goods. They don't have phones so its to be expected for people to just drop in.  BUT don't sit in your car and honk for someone to come outside or show up. That is so rude. Proper etiquette says to go to the front door and knock... then politely state your name and purpose.

5. Patiently wait- The Amish don't just sit around all day and tend the mill or produce stand. They are out feeding animals, hauling water, shoeing horses, etc. So when you arrive on ones property and no one is present, wait a moment. Usually someone will peak their heads out of the barn or show walking up the drive. Don't jump in your car to wait. Stand their patiently.

6. Dress conservatively- There are certain places a dress code is found appropriate. When  I visit the Amish I wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, and I pull my hair back. Its respectful. I don't walk into church nor into my daughters school in shorts and a tank top. Those places have a dress code (spoken or unspoken), as do the Amish.  The Amish are very conservative. While visiting the Amish community its important to follow the "laws of the land". Now I am not saying that you have to put on a teal green dress and a bonnet, but at the same time you don't have to stand for something of total disapproval.... and let me tell ya, the more conservative you dress, the more at ease everyone will feel.

So there ya have it... hope you enjoyed. :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mind Travel

The trees rattle with the fresh coat of  fall color.
I wait here, watching for the next one to tumble to the ground. 
The breeze blows a gush of the crisp Autumn air.
The next to fall, from a sycamore. 
O how I love the sycamore...
In a woods of hundreds,
how the white and brown flailing bark will stand out against the many... 
Leaves just as large and as proud.
I hate to see them float to the ground, 
sorrow within such grace.

I pull the layer wrapped around me tighter as I listen to the birds converse.
They are flying away further down south. 
Flying away... as the leaves are floating down...down... down... 
Here I lay idle and in-between, wondering "where the season will send me"? 

The nostalgia in the air tickles my senses, 
flexing a desire tinged with despair.
I pine for  the characters that plagued my mind with foolishness last year...
My Mary, her plump red cheeks as they crest just below her warm smiling eyes, 
The lonely whispers of Dog the timber wolf,
His large paws stomping the dusty path around his 8x8 cell, 
Bear's gentle spark of sarcasm finessed with his light hearted laughter.
Even Gabriel's gruff nature I mourn. 
I loved them before I even knew their names.

Would a return be the same?

Such as the Sycamore leaf, 
I will float right back into place,
back into the arms of their ever so loving embrace.

Yes... that's where I shall go...
 back to them, the characters that loved me so.

At night when the hoot owl calls out to me, 
"Its safe, Its safe",
I will listen and go. 
I will sit still with Dog in the dark. 
He will be proud while I hunker low. 
We will stare at the moon and wonder, 
"Where shall we go".

Perhaps Mary will fix tea in the morn. 
Bear will drop in for a visit,
O how the three of us will laugh and laugh!
Gabriel's presents will disrupt the room like a chilling breeze
but I will smile on. 
Bewildered will he be!

Never had they known I was gone... 
Myself the writer, the time traveler, the mystery... 
Trapped with in the world of reality,
Just waiting for the leaf to fall,
A season to set me free... 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Update: Spa Day at the Homestead

Deep thoughts.....

You know what I hate about having long hair? FLY TAPE... don't ask.

Jesus washed the feet of his disciples... but how did I get stuck washing the feet of chickens????

Here's some photos of our second day of treatment.

I learned something pretty interesting just from observation. Sometimes the Roos Comb gets kind of purplish. I always wondered what was up with that. Well today before I caught Jeeves his Comb was a beautiful bright red, but once I caught him, part of his comb turned a faint purple... kind of like that one time when I skipped school. When my dad found out that little blood vessel in the center of his forehead turned dark purple. Yep, it was just like that.

Sissy and I had a great routine going. She would catch as I would wash and dip.

And when I was working a little slow, Sissy jumped in there and picked up the slack. I'm proud of her... REALLY proud! She is a very big help around here.

Jeeves did well with his treatment. I think his legs are looking better but that may just be optimism clouding my vision.

All the chickens enjoyed spa day. Everyone had a foot wash and a oil massage... that is everyone but me... O how I wish I had a spa day...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Scaly- Leg Mites


Anytime one of our animals gets sick I carry this sense of guilt. Did I not take care of them properly? Did I cause this? How long has this been going on and I just didn't notice?

The truth is no matter how well we clean our facility, what brand of food we feed them, how often we medicate, and how much love we give them... there will be times when our animals will get sick.

Hyjeevey is our French Black Copper Marans Rooster.We've had him ever since he was just wee lad. I was so surprised that he grew into such a handsome rooster. As time went by I noticed that Jeeve's legs where quite a bit larger and scalier than our Barred Rocks. Being new to Marans I just assumed it was the breed.

This past winter he was injured when I caught his foot in the door by accident. I felt horrible but it seemed to heal quickly with little problems... Well with in the last month I noticed that Jeeves was walking light footed. I kept an eye on him thinking perhaps it was from his old injury. Then I noticed that the pin feathers from his shanks were missing coupled with the scales on his toes were raising, making him look like his feet were crippled. Yesterday afternoon his legs and feet were extremely irritated. I caught him and made a startling discovery.... Scaly Leg Mites. Even worse... I concluded that this had to have been going on for a while.

I treated the pens and chickens with a light coat of Sevin Dust. I then left the coop, to return to the house to begin my research (via, Merck Veterinary Manual, The chicken Health Handbook, and Storeys Guide). Yes, indeed Jeeves has Scaly Leg Mites. From what I have read it's tough to get ride of. I decided that since Jeeves and Purdy are important to our Marans breeding program that I would try to save him. FYI, if it was any other chicken I would have opted to cull.

Today I woke up bright and early. I cleaned out the coop and the run. I put down new bedding, and redusted.

I caught Jeeves for his spa treatment.

I soaked his feet in warm soapy water. I washed his feet well.

 Then I dried them and applied a heavy coat of bag balm. I massaged the balm in, making sure it worked its way under the scales.

There were some places where the pin feathers on the shanks were bleeding, I pack those places with Triple Antibiotic ointment. I then removed any excess oil to from his feet.

I still have to construct Jeeves a separate place away form the rest of the flock. (I really wasn't prepared for this). Scaly leg mites will slowly spread to the rest of the flock if not treated. Yesterday everyone received a check up and fortunately Jeeves is the only one showing signs of it. Its also important to remember Jeeves has oily legs which isn't good for the feathers. Its wise that he not mount the hens thus getting oil on their feathers. (Oil makes it hard for the birds to control body temperature.) Separation is important.

The game plan is to wash Jeeves legs every day, this will clean out the build up under the scales. I will then apply bag balm on the legs in order to smother out the mites and soften the scales. The entire flock will be treated monthly with a one part Kerosene and two part linseed oil mixture as a preventative measure.We started a worming today as well... does anyone know what the withdrawal period for Ivermectin? Lets hope he shows signs of progress with in the next month... thats his DEAD line...

Any extra advice is appreciated... I hope that this post could help someone else in this situation.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Horrible Dirty Rotten No Good Weekend....

Dinner and movie? How bout fishing and a funeral?

Lee and I planned almost a month ago to go out this past weekend with out the children. Now as many of you know an evening with out the children provides us with an array of options. O WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH OUT THE KIDS!?!?! 

Originally Lee and I had planned dinner and a movie but then we thought that since we are so rarely without kids, that it would be best to use our time wisely. We decided to get a head start on Christmas shopping. BUT then Lee showed me up last weekend and caught a 7lb catfish and well.... we all know that really burned my ass. ;) So we then nixed the Dinner and a movie for a short run to Walmart(s), <- that was for Karen. ;) and then  it was off to the lake. 
Friday afternoon Lee arrive home from being out of town all week with some bad news. His Uncle (by marriage) had passed away from an aneurism. The viewing was Saturday and the services were held on Sunday.

Now being one of those people who has children who owns one set of dress cloths (dedicated to our annual visit to church), unfortunately the children had grown out of their church cloths from last ... Christmas??? or was it Easter?? hmmm?Aye that doesn't matter... The children needed new dress cloths. So Lee and I decided Sat morning we would take the kids shopping and then that evening we would just go fishing.

Sat. morning I woke from a disturbing dream.  I dreamed that someone had been riffling through my purse and had made a statement about how messy it was. I think that this dream was a manifestation over my guilt from throwing a candy wrapper back it Friday night when the trash can was just a few feet away from me.... I knew it was wrong and lazy!!!!! The thought of someone insinuating that I was a slob made the guilt even worse. The only way to shake the guilt was to clean the darn thing. Being that I didn't have a lot of time on my hands, I reached my hand in there and scooped as much trash out with one hand that I could get... sorry but that was just going to have to do. I didn't have time, to clean and organize.

After I finished cleaning with my purse, Lee and I ran down to the barn to do chores and then head outside my beloved ten mile radius that I normally travel to the big city of Goodlettesville (about 35 minutes away).  Now I should let it be known that I do not like Goodlettesville. Despite the fact that it's also outside the ten mile radius that I normal like to travel, there are a lot of... assholes unfriendly people in Goodlettesville. I always come home grumpy. Which always reminds me that I am far to impressionable to live in a big city.

Anyways, so Lee was in charge of finding Aubs appropriate attire and I took Sissy with me. Mothers with young daughters, here is a question for ya, what up with the hoochie cloths for little girls? I found 3 dresses out of like 400. Only 3 would I have consider putting my daughter in. What are we trying to do raise a generation of hookers????? Next question.... Why is it so hard to find flat dress shoes for little girls? I don't know whats going on here. Maybe if I shopped more I would be immune to the vile cloths and shoes that they have to offer for kids. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe if I would have started wearing high heals at age 4 I would have known how to walk in them by now?

Finally I found a nice dress for Sissy and Lee picked up a really cute shirt and tie for our son. We stopped off at the cookie store to refuel. The cookie store is one of my most favorite places in the world. I am always happy to be there. Just being there is like a snack for the spirit.  We ended up getting the kiddos cookies with happy faces piped on them in icing... I mean who wouldn't love that? Even though I didn't buy a cookie for myself, it was a much needed break from the normal atmosphere of Goodlettesville.

Once we left the Mall we headed to a shoe store. Actually, it wasn't just a shoe store but a store that also sold shoes. Lee stayed in the car dosing up the kids with sugar, while I ran into the shoes store real quick. The store was packed! I ran over to the shoe section and grabbed a two pairs of shoes. I sat down and tried the first pair on. "Excellent, they fit", I thought. I grabbed the shoes and ran to the check out. I was pretty pleased with my quick choice and even faster exit from the store.

Lee and I left the city and headed towards his parents house. His mom was going to hem a pair of Aubs dress pants. We stayed there for about two hours and then headed home.

Mom was going to watch the kids so Lee and I could have our evening together. Once home, we decided to get a  pizza for the kids in order to make Memaws job easier. So after placing my order and waiting about 35min I had to go pick up the pizza. O crap, where's the keys??? So I started running around looking for my keys... "wheresmykeys, wheresmykeys, wheresmykeys", I chanted internally as I searched. "O yes my keys are in my purse!"..... "Wheresmypurse, wheresmypurse, WHERE IS MY PURSE!?!?!? 

I ran around everywhere searching for my purse. Dare I even say the feeling was slightly comparable to when Sissy once wandered off and was missing!?!?!? I felt even sicker once I realized I had left it at the store! I called and confirmed it. Yes someone turned it in. I must have laid it down when I tried on the shoes. 

My mom went to get the pizza and my dad watched the kids while Lee and I traveled back to Hades to get my beloved purse. On the way there I thought about my dream. OMAGAW! Somebody has went through my purse! My dream was an OMEN!!!!!! All these thoughts ran through my mind.... I hope they didn't open it.... If they did I hope they didn't think it was a mess.... I hope that everything is there.... what if they cleaned it out before they turned it in.... For heavens sakes alive, I know Lee can drive faster than this.... my life is in there... stupid,stupid,stupid.... I need to call the banks, and the credit card company, and ... o no, my camera was in there!

It was a long way back to the store!

Once I had my purse safely back in my arms where it belonged, I was SO happy. All the contents were there... even the trash. By the way... thanks to the good honest person that turned it in, I cant tell you how grateful I am.

Lee and I already had our fishing gear in the truck.  So we headed directly towards the lake. After a busy day with WAY to much going on, I thought that a relaxing evening was in order. But once we finally had our lines in the water, and peace and quiet surrounded us... I had the hardest time sitting still. The fish weren't biting at all, and frankly I was bored to pieces. I was really hoping to catch my whopping catfish but Sat just wasn't my day. Finally we packed up and headed home without so much as a nibble.

Sunday was about as great as any Sunday  with a funeral on the agenda could be. We did get to see a lot of family from out of town, which is always nice.

I would love to say that my Monday is going better than the weekend but after Lee left out this morning for Kentucky with my truck keys in his pocket.... Its just not showing a lot of  potential.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Projects Projects Projects

My blogging is kind of getting sparse these days, and I apologize. But have no fear, I have a ton of great excuses!!! I have been keeping fairly busy. 4:30 am I wake up, hit the treadmill for a bit, and typically do a household chore or two. Then I have to get Sissy up and ready for school, go to school, come back and do farm chores. Once thats finished I throw myself into a project. That is unless I have to drive outside of the dreaded 10 mile radius to run errands.(Yuck) Luckily I have the kids on a pretty good bed time schedule so after they are sound asleep at night I still have time for my Dulcimer "tutorials".  How did I ever find the time to work a real job (ya know, the kind that actually pays ya cash)!?!?

Just trying to cram a lot into the day. See, busy busy busy. Just thinking about it is making me sleepy. (yawn) I need a nap...zzzzzzzzzzz zzzz  zzzz
zzzz zzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz    zzzz.

Huh, what!?!? (Yawn and stretch), O sorry I must have dozed off for moment!

 So you see I have several different projects... all of which I have had every intentions on blogging about but by the time I wind down in the evenings my creative energy has been depleted.

Ok enough excuses... here is my most recent project...

Inspired by the amazing works of Jon Mac...

Here is the blank I started with...

I used a scrap piece of Basswood

 I started whittling before I remembered to take a pic. ;)

Phase 2

Phase 3

Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration Jon... One day I'll give Kuksa a try. I encourage anyone who is interested in woodcraft to check out Jon's Blog.
He is one talented fellow!

O and it doesnt end there...Sneak peak... next project

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marans Babe with the Nanny

Some youngins' are just reluctant to leave the nest.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fish Tales

Something that I have heard in unison this past week is that there's just not enough time. Things change and some of our interest has to be put on hold in order to work our jobs, take care of our children or animals. I second this. But I refuse to give in!

This weekend Lee and I did something that we haven't done in years (together). We loaded up the truck and took the kids fishing.

When we arrived at the lake, Lee and I took a minute to remind the children to be respectful of the other fishermen; Steer clear of other fishermen, don't run, keep your voices low, and pick up all of your trash.

After we unleashed the rascals, I took a minute to absorb the atmosphere. There was a cool breeze blowing... stirring enough of a chill in the air that jackets were often necessary (for my son and I). The fishy lake water tickled my senses and made me nostalgic for years past. I smiled at the memories.

The sounds of "Mommy, mommy" dropped me out of my whimsical trance.

Lee and I spent the majority of our time re baiting hooks for the little ones. And just for the record, the Bluegill in this lake are now very well fed!

When Lee and I finally were able to drop our lines in the water, his remained still for almost an hour... My line on the other, well my bait was cleaned off shortly after I would cast it in the water. Several little hits but nothing of any consequence.

Later Uncle Joe arrived. He came with a smorgasbord of bait, chicken livers, tomato worms, night crawlers and...and some other unknown stinky substance.

Aubs caught a small Bluegill but due to the excitement of his first fish... I forgot to take a picture. Go figure. Anyways, Aubs took his little bluegill over to Uncle Joe who showed him that he could use his small Bluegill as bait as well. Uncle Joe sliced a piece of fish for his own line as well as for Aubs.

Thanks to Aubs little bluegill, Uncle Joe caught a 4.5 lb catfish. Shortly after that, Sissy began to keep us in fresh supply of Bluegill fish head bait.

I looked over at Lee to notice he had this quiet thoughtful expression across his face. "I haven't even got a bite yet", he mutters. I sympathetically smiled and returned my focus to my own line.

Then out of nowhere this giant catfish swims over to my line! He examines it and then swims the top of the water. I catch his intense stare just has he gives me a reassuring wink. Just then I was reminded of the disappointment in Lee's voice. My majestic water beast was just about to bite my line when I jumped up and shooed him over to Lee...

So here is my Lee's 7.13lb catfish. ;)

Due to the fact that EVERYONE caught something but me, there has been a change of venue for our date night this weekend. I am trading in my high heels and fancy restaurant dinner (that's sure to be a disappointment anyways) for a hook and sinker.  We are grabbing a case of beer and hitting the lake... just me and my Boo. ;)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Mountain Dulcimer

As many of you know, I liked to tinker in the wood shop with my father. So as I began to learn many of the wood craft lessons from my dad, it just so happened that he also became a student around that same time. His friend and local guitar maker took my father under his wing and showed him how to craft a Mountain Dulcimer.

My dad was ecstatic about his new adventure, not just into furthering his wood craft abilities but he also took the lesson as a form to reconnect with our Appalachian ancestry. I listened to him many evenings talk about  the history and the personal meaning for him behind the mountain dulcimer. Our conversations made me nostalgic for this foreign Appalachian world that I have only connected to through birth right. He also intertwined the things he learned while constructing the dulcimer to the lessons he was teaching me in the wood shop at the house. I really enjoyed learning from the student. ;)

 There were many evenings that my father spent away working in his friends wood shop. He used a  piece of his favorite type of wood, chestnut and put his (our) signature design, (the deer tracks) across the face. He also embellished his mountain instrument with his hand crafted antler cross. The end result was a beautiful hand crafted meaningful instrument. After he brought the dulcimer home I couldn't wait to give it a try. I refrained as everyone had their chance at the strings. I was scared... Sucking at something especially in front of people is never fun.
My father has repeatedly told me how much he wishes that he had learned to play an instrument but failed to learn because he never had anyone to teach him. I sympathize. I have always enjoyed a wide variety of music but particularly listening to the acoustic guitar and banjo. I always wanted to learn but like him, I just never had anyone to teach me. Now both of my children are taking an interest in music therefor I feel like now is do or die time.

Lee has taken up the acoustic guitar. He says he isn't very good but if he IS truly bad, I cant tell. Even when he first started I found peace in his calm soothing melodies. I love listening to him play. Nothing puts me to sleep faster than hearing him strum Dust in the Wind. And when I say puts me to sleep I don't mean like on a Sunday morning sitting on a hard church pew while a long winded minister preaches about tithing. I mean every muscle in my body relaxes and every thought in my head is carried away by the sweet sound of each cord.I sleep in total bliss. I LOVE IT.

 Lee knows how much I love to listen to him. He has encouraged me to learn and has offered several times to teach me what little he knows BUT again I refrained. I think its because I had a boyfriend in high school that attempted to teach me once.... we broke up. I like to think it was because he was such a horrible teacher. I hoped it wasnt me but I am pretty sure that the blood dripping from his ears was an indication of whose fault it really was. Ever since then I have been a little intimidated by learning how to play anything that has strings. (By the way I was just kidding about blood dripping from his ears... it was so his fault- hehe)

Today I embarked on a new journey. I wandered into the depths of the unknown as I broke out the dulcimer. I have discovered amazing things just from my single youtube lesson. The first and perhaps maybe the most important... I AM absolutely horrible!!!!!!

Lee assured me this evening that the dulcimer is terribly out of tune and I should take it to his pal in town to get it tuned... I have to say what a wonderful guy my man is... Its not me its the dulcimer! HA

I am also going to talk to his buddy about getting a few real lessons. Not that youtube is a bad place to learn. Lee has learned a lot from his sessions, but I on the other hand am a different kind of learner. I need someone of authority standing over me stroking my ego or in this department, lack there of.

So yes once again, after a not so good lesson, I decided to take a break and blog (We all remember a few weeks ago when mom was attempting to teach me to quilt, right!?)... which brings me to my thought for the day "Those who cant, Blog"...

I'll keep you posted IF there is any progress. ;)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


This is one of my most favorite places. Every time I drive by this place, I always say "next time I am stopping".... And so today I finally did. The old chimney is the only thing left. Standing straight and proud as if it were a monument or a tombstone to lives (the laughter, happiness, tears, and sorrow) that filled the once present house.

I love the poetry in places such as these....

Monday, September 6, 2010

Night Dreams

Its about 2am in middle Tennessee right now. I cant sleep. I have heard that when you cant sleep the worst thing you can do is lay awake in bed. I don't remember why they (who ever they are) say that but according to the last two hours, I have to agree.

I couldn't bare the restlessness a moment more. I grabbed my favorite quilt, a pillow and my laptop and headed outside to the pavilion.

Twinkling stars have lite up the morning sky by the trillions. Its beautiful.... The crickets and other evening "noise makers", are serenading me a lullaby. The cool damp air is cloaking the quilt that I have wrapped carelessly around me. I'm cold but there is something comforting about this cool dark morning. In the dark, I can see the dreams where as the sunlight can blind. I can dream in this kind of dark.

While laying in the bed, I started thinking about the conversation Lee and I had on the way home from having dinner with his parents. We talked about how obvious it was that we were not meant for the live styles we were living almost five years ago. Lee was a contractor. As soon as he finished the first house he built we were already concerned that we weren't living the life we were destined for. Lee worked a lot. He was under an amazing amount of stress. There were many evenings that I sat out on the front porch of our old house and thought about the horrible price that were paying for our big house and the stuff we filled it with.

I began to question the path of our life, our family business even further as I began to dabble with local wildlife rehab center. I found that our lifestyle disagreed with almost everything I believe in...every ideal I had about god and nature was being littered with commercialism and consumerism. Lee and I began to drift apart as the 7 days a week work hours and the stressful amount of paper work it took to run our business divided us.

One day we had no  other choice. It was as if all a long god was telling us that he had a purpose for us, and that we were not designed for that life that we had chose for ourselves. If we didn't change it, he was.... And so he did.

Years later, I have more people come and talk to me about "how did you make it", "how do you hold your family together", through that kind of.... change  It wasn't easy and any kind of "loss" and "failure", SUCKS... but  ultimately, when one of us wanted to throw in the towel the other was cheering the other one on. That's family. And through, the tears, sorrow, angry bitter words, ultimately we were a family... In its most heartfelt gut wrenching rawness, we. remained. family.

One thing I have learned, "time heals ALL wounds".. and if something is still raw and gushing even after "time" has had its time to work, it cause you haven't quit picking at it.

My walk down memory lane with Lee last night must be why I woke this morning anxious (in good way) about the future. I'm excited about the new things to come. In two years our property will be ours... without a mortgage... ~ solely ours~. We have done a lot out on the property and have continued to pour our blood sweat and tears not just into the physical parts of our homestead but even more so into its spirit.

This year we are hoping to put a real driveway back to the barn. Also Lee and I have been toying with the idea of getting electric in the barn. Its definitely needed. The electric company said that if we hook up the barn  before we have the house built then we will get two separate bills each month. So after much discussion we are going to go off grid for the barn. What a better test run for going solar?

I know that to some this sounds minor. But this is pretty big to us, not just financially but it is a great mile stone in our lives, in the construction of our homestead, or our rebirth.  Before we know it, we will be building our house, (another mile stone)

I look back, almost three years ago we were starting with a blank canvas... But slowly, meticulously, and with the guidance of our "values", we are painting our new world... into the most beautiful place. I look forward to the things to come... whether they are lovely at first or still in its heartfelt rawness. The things to come are destined for greatness.

With my teeth chattering, moths flying into my computer screen, hound dogs barking, and a cow off in the distance that I swear must be giving birth... I think it must be time to go back to bed. The children's' little feet will be pattering against the floor in just a few short hours and sleep is now calling. Its time for rest.

Sweet dreams.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The hitchhiker

"I have to live in a world that I can believe in. That's my nature. I need faith like one needs air, like fish need water."

Due to the comments and emails I have received from concerned readers, I figured I would post a sequel to my previous post.

Apparently hitchhikers are a very controversial subject. Both my parents read my blog on a regular basis. (Hi mom and dad). Its quite interesting to hear their very different perspectives. After hearing of yesterdays post my dad gently reminds me this morning that the guy that murdered my grandmother Hitch hiked from Davis to Canaan Valley after the murder. "Safety is a real concern and frankly picking up people who are just hitchhiking or who are supposedly stranded is dangerous".  My mother and I both agree with that statement. But.... this is where my mother reminds my father that it is a sad state of affairs when you cant help someone who looks like they are in obvious need of help. Do we let fear over come the act of doing what is right? Momma always got my back. Of course my Dad sees the wisdom in his lovely wife's words and agrees. BUT then he suggests to just call one of the guys (himself the hub or the bro) and they will take care of it. Good plan and trust me Dad when I say, "I put that up in tha noggin in the ol' filin' cabinet." ;)

Anyways, so I enjoyed the insight from everyone, especially my parents, here are my thoughts....

There are two types of hitchhikers. People that fly by the seat of their pants at the cost of hard working citizens and then there are the people with a car bellowing out loads of smoke and crying out to the gods "O why Me". I would never pick up someone with a sign that says headed "south" but a person who is in obvious distress, I would most definitely consider it.

 I find pity on the people who have found themselves stranded in a precarious position. Perhaps its from a childhood memory still embedded in the soles of my feet, when my mom accidentally locked the keys in the car at the park. We had to walk several miles to my grandmothers house. I was wearing a pair of those darn Jelly shoes that put blisters on your feet. Awe, yes , how pleasant was the days before cell phones. (I do realize that although I do have some hard earned sympathy here that I may also be a sucker too). ;)

I cant help but to think if I were in need of assistance? I would hope that I wouldn't have to wait for 80 cars to pass me by before a kind hearted citizen decided to stop. I would hope that though the risk are high for both parties, that by good judgement and a little divine intervention would protect us both. I do believe that good judgment and caution is always necessary.

I just cant help to find it sad to think that it takes a leap of faith in order to pay it forward. But in today's world where there is corruption greed jealousy and other evils behind every corner, what is one to do? Should we quit taking people at face value? The value of a man reminds me of the day my husband and I made an order with Mr. Weaver at a local Amish saw mill. He took people for their word and had faith. I cant tell you what is right for you but for me, I learned a valuable lesson through Mr. Weaver simple act of trust... Believe in people.

The news media plays a huge part in callousing the heart. The media teaches us that everyone is out to get us. I remember going to a church service once. The sermon was about "giving". Not necessarily about tithing but about helping out those in need. The minister said something along the lines of, people being jaded by scams thus encouraging them not to give. He said that anytime you give out of the kindness of your heart you are giving to god, not necessarily just to the person/receiver. What the person does with the gift is on their conscience not yours. I am not really a church goer type person but that sermon has always stuck with me.
I believe that story can also relate to this matter.

I don't stop for every person I see on the side of the road but when the circumstances look obvious, I have been known to stop... and just for the record I have never put anyone (that I didn't know) in my vehicle while my children present.

After the feedback from all the readers and a nasty email, I will stick with my old policy... no stopping for men and no one gets in the car with the youngsters, and  I promise to use safety and good judgement with in any and all situations. Thanks for the feed back. Opinions and other perspective are ALWAYS appreciated and considered as long as they are presented in a respectful manor.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Opossum, Old Men, and the Witches Costume

This morning I woke to the sound of my son yelling out, ",, I want some milk". I rolled over to grab my cell phone off the night stand and realized I was closer to the edge of the bed than I originally thought. I would say that falling out of the bed isn't the best way to start off the day but I seemed to be in fairly good spirits so I just rolled with it... Literally. I fell and rolled. Once I was finally standing, I grabbed my cell, squinting my eyes to get a clear glance of the time. Five am comes way too early.

After getting the boy his sippy cup of milk and my daughter ready for school, we headed down to the barn so I could let the goats out. On the way to the barn I was quickly reminded that I had set the live trap in the garden yesterday. I noticed the door was tripped. We were hoping to catch a raccoon but as I got closer I noticed that we had caught a small opossum... I hope my husband doesn't read this but... aye, what the heck, I'm a sucker. I let it go... again. But at least I didn't release it in the barn, again. ;)

I have to say that with the mood I have been in lately if nothing else, watching that little opossum scamper off through the field... Well it did my heart a lot of good.  But I couldn't help but  to pondered the hypocrisy. I can kill a chick that I raised myself but to cant bare the thought of a wild opossum being harmed? That's nuts. My only defense in the matter, perhaps the opossum and I are kindred spirits, link from a past life? Or perhaps I just have a major set of double standards.. I shrugged off those thoughts as I only entertained them for a moment. Ultimately I really didn't care. I wanted to let it go and so I did.

After feeding Milo and letting the goats out, we headed down the quiet country road to drop Sissy off at school. After Sis shuts the door, my son, (We will just call him Aubs from now on because the fake nick names are too hard to remember)  Aubs, said "Whats next". "Well Aubs, we are going to go to the store and look for Momma a pair of running shoes". He said "Ok, but I don't want to look at girl shoes, you can... Ill just close my eyes". "Ok Aubs, sounds good to me", I smiled.

Now would be a good time to point out that I have recently been trying to quit smoking... I know, everyone gasp all at once. Yes I was a feakin' smoker. Point, and start the crucifying but hurry up with it cause I got a story to tell here... Anyways so in my attempt to quit smoking I have noticed that... well, I am getting a little thick. So I decided to eat better and increase exercise time. Hence why I was going to get the running shoes.

On the way to Hendersonville (to get the shoes), we passed an elderly man pushing his bicycle. My heart started to tug a bit. I really wanted to stop and give him a ride but I have a strict policy about giving strangers rides. For safety reasons, I only pick up women. I have a better chance of kicking a woman's ass if she tries anything weird.  I never give men rides. Of course if my husband is with me that's a different story. Lee is a big guy and if some guy tries anything weird with him... Well, I have very little to worry about. But the qualm I was in today, this was an old man! I debated a bit if I should go back and get him.

My dilemma, reminded me of when I was 16. I was driving home from work one afternoon. I decided to take a short cut through a rough neighborhood. A man in his late 40's was broke down on the side of the road. I drove past him until the guilt got the best of me. I turned around. Turns out all he needed was a jump, so I popped the hood. He was very appreciative and told me how many people had just passed him up. Just as I was feeling pretty good about pulling over he put his hand on my shoulder and asked me, a 16 year old kid out to dinner, "ya know to thank me". FREAKED ME OUT! I politely said no thank you and told him that it would be best if I waited in my car.  All ended well but that was the day I made the strict policy, "No helping stranded men, that will just have to be a mans job".

I decided not to pick up the old man. As I made my final decision and finished up a prayer that my son didn't see him, Aubs spoke up, "that man's bicycle is broken". He holds up his Handy Manny tools so that I can see them in my rear view mirror.  "I should fix it with my tools", he said with a cheerful smile. Even more guilt ate away at me but I didn't turn around. Looking back, I should have turned around. I ditched the policy today.

Anyways, so we finally arrive at the store. I grabbed the first cheap pair of running shoes I could find. But, while at the store I had a much more important purchase to make. I wanted to look for a dress. I have this really hot date in a few weeks and I really wanted to find something sexy to wear for my man. I found a dress. Aubs slowly walked in the dressing room behind me, he was less than thrilled to still be in the store.

 I slid the dress on over my head. I looked down to notice Aubs staring at me with a puzzled look on his face. My sweet prince innocently asks, "Momma where'd you get that witches costume"?

"Thanks Aubs". "For what", he questioned. "You just saved mommy some money". ;)

On our way home my bf called. I relayed the witches costume conversation, I had with Aubs. She said "what does he know, he's three years old". I replied "He's old enough not to know to lie". We laughed and then I lost the call.

I glanced down at my cell to realize the battery was dead. I was relieved. I was in the mood to take the long way home. I usually don't travel that road because I cant get cell service on it. Well, not having any service anyways, I enjoyed the ride. I rolled down the windows, cranked up the Mumford & Sons, and took in the view of the calm country side....