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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A few thoughts on the first day of November

Living in the middle of nowhere I see some strange things on my commute to and from the city evey day.  This summer I caught something out of the corner of my eye and slowed down to see a huge moose in someones field.  It turned out to be a 7 or 8 foot life sized target with quite a few arrows sticking out of it.  At first it looked like an elephant to me … but it was in the first rays of sunlight that I saw it. 

Last night driving home I saw a guy throwing old wood into what was obviously going to be a bonfire.  The only surprising thing was there were two recliners sitting in front of the fire.  I thought it would have been fun to come back last night and join the party. 

Driving home is always fun in the fall.  I am always anxious to see how many crops the farmers have harvested, or where a farmer has moved his cows.  I am even happy to see chickens from the house up the road running around on the road looking for food.  Our chickens must be so well fed they never venture down as far as the road. 

I know that many of my co-workers and other casual acquaintances think I am a bit strange … OK maybe more than a bit.  I guess I can’t blame them when they look in my SUV and see the back stuffed with straw bales.  I know that my local HY-Vee store clearances their straw on Halloween day, I so plan to go there over lunch every day for the week and pick up a load.  When my co-workers pass my car …they just can’t help but look and wonder …….

We have spent most of 2016 with our house in total disarray remodeling the common rooms.  It has been a long and difficult process.  I haven’t been able to make soap or do any of the project I enjoy until a few weeks ago.  Now I am scrambling to catch up and get soaps made for Christmas baskets etc.   I have a few people who have inquired about purchasing for gift giving.  Unless I can get some things on the drying rack I will never be able to supply these people with goodies.  My goal has always been to build a cottage industry to help make money if/when I am able to retire. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

 I miss writing and sharing my life.  Why don't I do more of it?  I'm not totally sure except I waste to much time on facebook and watching TV.  I think it would be good for me to unplug for a while.  No TV and no Facebook.
I started my 8 day vacation today.  We had planned to go to South Dakota to visit Mount Rushmore but decided not to at the last minute.  We are staying home to get ready for winter. 
Today I was able to sleep in until 7 AM.  That is 2 hours later than I normally sleep.  We had a good morning returning things from our remodel project to Home Depot and Menards, then lunch out (Yummm.. whitefish for me).  Phil naps every afternoon, so while he was sleeping today I did laundry then went out to the garden to start to put it to bed.  I have so much to do, but I got a good bit of it done.  I am pulling out plants and getting it ready to plant a cover crop to protect the soil over winter.  Tomorrow I will be butchering all of the “baby” roosters that we hatched out this spring.  I am always amazed that we normally have well over 50% of the chickens we hatch are roosters!!!!  We normally butcher them earlier but Phil didn’t want to hatch as early as we normally do so we are butchering really late this year.  I prefer to hatch our new chickens in March or April so they have lots of time to “grow out” during the warm months.  Butchering when it is cold is no fun (not that butchering is fun in any weather).  I hope them temps warm up to at least 50 degrees while I am butchering.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

God's time

After we bought Pooh Acres I spent a week cleaning and painting.  I took a weeks vacation and would come over here before sunrise and start to work.  One day I was standing on the kitchen counter cleaning an upper cabinet, singing at the top of my lungs.  I was sure I was all alone so it didn't matter how loud I was singing.  Then I heard a knock at the door and startled to realize I was not alone.  
The people at the door were our neighbors who embraced us with open arms and over the years became very good friends.  We have not been terribly social, meaning we don't go to each others house to play cards or anything.  We do meet outside and chat.  We share garden produce, we look out for each other when we are away from home.  I love coming home and hearing "Hi Neighbor" as I pull in the driveway.  
Ralph retired shortly after we moved here.  Colleen hasn't worked in years.  They have been amazing with their grand kids, The kids lived with them for several years.  
Last fall Ralph told us he had cancer and has about 6 months to live.  Yesterday he last his battle and passed on to the next life.  We have been feeling so empty and sad. Today we happened to run into Colleen and were able to talk with her for a while.  As empty and sad as we feel, I can't imagine being her. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Feeling Very Sad

Time marches on, and live evolves.  It has been over 2 years since I have spoken with Delana.   My phone number has been blocked on hers and Caelum’s phones (or so I assume since I go directly to voice mail).  My emails are not answered, and I am still blocked on Facebook.  I know her address only because I work for a company that knows where everyone lives. 

The pain is no better than it was 2 years ago.  I can hold back the tears more than 2 years ago unless I am alone in my lonely bedroom.   I look at photos of the kids and wonder what they look like now.  Caelum is almost 16.  His voice has likely changed and he is probably shaving.  I wonder how he is doing in school?  I wonder why he quit band ROTC and Speech. 

Ruby is almost 12.  I am sure she is a beauty.  She has always been so smart.  Olivia will soon be 11.  I am having a problem with both of them being that old.  We missed the years they were in England, now we are missing these years. 

I sent flowers to Delana on Mothers Day.  I thought it might melt her heart just a bit, but it didn’t.  I may go to my grave never seeing my daughter and her beautiful children again. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

almost catching bees

I came home from work the other day and found a swarm of bees in a tree.  It was already past 7 PM but I knew I could not wait to capture them. 
I didn't build the trap that I intended to build last summer.  It was put on the back burner and then forgotten.  I had purchased the parts and in my mind I had figured out how to build it.  But ... as with so many things over this past year it just didn't get done. 
We put together a collection tool and (thankfully) I suited up to collect these bees.  I forgot one important step, to spray the bees with sugar water.  They were MAD and went after me.  I wore dark pants so they went after my legs.  I don't know how may times I was stung ... but quite a few.  I got as much of the swarm as I could but I didn't get it all.   (I am SO thankful for the homeopathic remedies that took the pain and swelling away as soon as I took it)
I went back to the tree an hour or so later and found that all the bees had returned to the initial swarm in the tree.  I didn't get the queen!!!!  It was to late (dark) to attempt another capture. 
I was hoping that the swarm would stay in the tree the next day while I was at work.  Unfortunately they didn't stay.  When I got home from work they swarm was gone.  That swarm was worth $150  ... and it just flew away.  I was pretty darn sad!!!!
I lost 3 hives of bees this winter ... this is the biggest lost I have ever sustained and it appears I will not be able to recover it. 

Catching up.

I haven't felt much like writing over the last year ... this has been a really rough year.  Loosing children to anger is beyond comprehension. 
Our neighbor has been hatching our baby chickens the last couple of years.  They have this wonderful professional incubator that does all the work for them.   I brought her 42 eggs, We got 70+ chicks back from her.  She decided to add some of her eggs to the mix.  YIKES They were so cute when they were small ... but now that they are getting bigger we just don't have the room for them. They are stinky and nasty and need a LOT more room.  We are going to start butchering them off or selling them or something!!!!  We need the room.
Several years ago we "rescued" three chickens from some kids who got them at a festival and didn't realize chickens require work.  One of them died but we still have Pee Wee and our Rooster Bubba.  A few weeks ago I was putting the chickens to "bed"  but could not find Bubba.  I could hear him.  He was under the shed and crowing ... but his voice sounded small and meek.  We could not get him to come out.  All of our sheds are on skids so there is a space for chickens to get under them.  Phil decided to dig him out but we were able to coax him out after a bit and didn't have to big him out. 
When we got him out from under the building we realized how awful he looked.  His tail feathers were gone and he looked like a broken man.  He was hardly able to walk. 
We realized that he must have been in a fight with our other younger rooster "Rooster Cogburn".  We carried him into the chicken yard and knew that we were correct.  The two instantly went at one another again.  We separated them for safety and kept them apart for the next week.  Bubby would cower when he walked close to the fence where Rooster was caged.  In fact he would not even walk close to the fence for days. 
We tried to sell Rooster and tried to give him away.  No takers.  In the end we decided to butcher Rooster and keep Bubba.  I never really realized the drama in the chicken yard until this experience.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The story of our pigs

Gosh I started writing this and didn't get very far.  Phil and I discussed raising pigs for several years ... I wanted to and he didn't. 
He and Mike built a place for pigs to live in 2012, but we didn't get a pig.  This spring I pushed so much that we got 2 pigs.  We didn't know what we were doing.  We didn't really know how to take care of them.  To be totally honest we were both a little afraid of them. 
In April we took delivery of two little pigs.  In April we lost our hearts to two little boys who became so much a part of our lives. 
I have always read that pigs are as smart as a 2 year old .... but I honestly had no idea.  These two boys stole our hearts.  They learned to love us, and wait for us to come visit and feed them. 
We decided not to name them, instead called them big pig and little pig. 
Big pig was much more accepting and loving.  He accepted petting and in fact would fall asleep when we petted him ... he would fall over like a dog.  Little pig was a bit more standoffish.  He didn't want to be petted. 
As time went on, they were both accepting of pats and loving.  PLUS they learned that when we came to visit they would get treats.  We would bring them "slop" from our house, or from some of our friends house.  I must insert here that I have a wonderful friend who saves all of her "slop" year round for me.  She has a bucket at her house and saves all of her organic waste for our critters. 
Our "boys" were always excited to see us.  They got so happy when they would hear either of our voices.  It didn't matter what we brought them ... as long as we would pay attention to them and play with them. 
The time came to butcher them .... neither of us wanted to follow through with it.  We  planned for it .... we practiced what we would do.  NOPE.  We didn't want to do it. 
Time caught up with us.  We had to take them to the butcher  Phil and I both knew it would be best if I would butcher them ..... but I couldn't do it.  I don't have the ability to butcher a 300# hog.  I think it would be better if I could.  I would be happy to know they went peacefully ....
so we took them to the butcher ..... We got 20 minutes away and I said NO!!!  I wanted to take the boys back home and forget butchering.  Phil being the more "grown up" of the two of us at that moment said no. 
We were both sad and upset when the butcher came out with a cattle prod to get them out of the trailer.  I told him my boys were well mannered and he didn't need to use that on them.  They were troopers when they walked out of the trailer into the holding chamber.  I thought I was being quite grown up until I started sobbing like a baby in the butchers office.  Driving away and leaving them there was so hard. 
It took a couple of weeks to get used to the idea of eating little pig (we sold big pig) but he is delicious.  We are enjoying pork chops and home made sausage.  Last night we had a ham steak.  Yummmm.