Monday, August 29, 2011

Working with our hands

Who doesn't love a weekend that involves a visit from your dad, home repair, pancake breakfasts and a nap on the lawn?  That pretty much sums up the last couple days at our house.  My dad came out on Saturday to bring out the wooden rabbit hutch he had built for my bunny, who had been living in a tiny cage in my house for waaay too long.  After a trip to the Farm King, where we ran into my cousin, (who goes to school at the university out here) my dad fixed the broken kitchen light and replaced the outdated shades on the ceiling fan.  He also cleaned the filter to my furnace, ripped up the last fragment of shag carpet in the house and showed me a faster way to pull out those pesky carpet staples.

On Sunday morning, my dad and I watched some Sheep TV from the adirondack chairs under the ginkgo tree while my dad sipped his morning coffee and I ate some chocolate chip cookies my mom sent with my dad.  Joey was working at the fire department's fundraiser breakfast so we met him up at the American Legion to enjoy some hot pancakes.  Then we rolled down the windows in my car and went for a Sunday drive down gravel roads and out to the lake that supplies our city water.  My dad left for home after he and Joey rigged up an interesting way to move a tractor that doesn't run into our garage using some chains, a wooden plank, and the John Deere A.

When I was little, I thought my dad could build anything and fix anything.  And I still think so, today.  It was great to spend time by his side this weekend, working together to figure out what was wrong with the wiring for the hallway lights, fixing the kitchen light and taking apart the dryer to find out why it wasn't working.  My sister and I were raised to run steam engines, picked up from school in a Model-T Ford, and carried our own packs on Boundary Water canoe trips.  My dad has always treated us as if we are capable of doing anything, even activities and hobbies that are often considered "boy" things.  And now that I am a homeowner, I am so excited that I can share my new interest in home repair and maintenance with my dad.  Before, I never really thought about how lights were wired or the insides of my furnace or dryer.  I am really excited to be working on my own house, and proud of the fact that I own my own home.  I am happy to learn from my dad and I hope that he is proud of the work that I am doing.  I can't wait until we can work together again.

Dancing with my dad at my wedding


After a weekend of getting work done, Joey and I were ready to relax late Sunday afternoon.  There was a beautiful breeze, all of our animals were happy and fed, and our kitchen light worked again, so we laid a quilt on the lawn under the ginkgo tree and took a nap.  I laid on the quilt, with my head on a pillow, watching the clouds and hoping for rain, and thought about how wonderful it felt to see the sky, and feel the breeze bristle the hair on my arms and the scratchiness of the dry grass on my toes, and listen to the soundtrack of our new life in the country: crickets, birds, roosters, sheep baaas and the occasional cow moo.

The ginkgo and the calf

 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to the Land

Today was Joey's last day at his job working for a John Deere Dealership.  All summer, the cornfields have been calling to him, the soybeans have been singing his name.  Two weeks ago, he finally gave in to his need to work with his hands and put in his notice.  Next week, he'll be back in the fields and back to driving tractors, instead of selling them.  He can trade his khakis for jeans, his dress shirts for ratty old t-shirts.  From Dockers to Levis.  And I know he's happy.

I'm just glad I don't have to wash the same 3 pairs of khakis and 5 John Deere dress shirts over and over again.  Or be woken up from my beauty sleep in the morning because he can't find any of said clothing items.  Now I'm back to washing dirt, dust, grease and sweat.  You win some, you lose some.  But I'm happy too.  No more hour and 15 minute commute, stress about sales, or pressure to move.  We're staying put, Joey's farming again, and we're content.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The perks of the job

The perks of being a country librarian include listening to small town gossip all day (even though I don't know anyone they're talking about), fresh cucumbers from patron's gardens,  and driving a four wheeler for the homecoming parade float.  Also, I was a celebrity for a week when I made front page news last year to introduce the new librarian.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blue Skies


Beautiful blue skies and a cool summer breeze made yesterday perfect for hanging laundry and hammocks in our backyard.

Blue sky over our sheep pasture



What do you get when you add ratcheting straps, a hammock, a tree, and a tractor?


Old fashioned ingenuity


Nothing like a hammock in the shade on a sunny Sunday afternoon

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Carpet staples: the bane of my existence.

Just for the record, I hate carpet staples.  I have spent the whole weekend pulling staples off the stairs, and I'm probably only halfway done.  Boohoo.

I need to go the hardware store and look at paint chips to make myself feel better about the outlook of these stairs.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Surgery, Staples and Carpet Tacks

Poor little Jip.  He went to the vet for surgery this morning to be neutered.  I just called the vet about half an hour ago to check up on him and they said he came out of surgery fine and was just hanging out.  I left his woodchuck toy with him this morning so he would have something to play with until we picked him up.  I felt so bad leaving him there this morning, but he didn't even notice I was leaving.  He was so excited to see the girls at the vet who shower him with silly names and shove lots of treats in his face.  As I left the office, I turned and saw him walking happily into the back room, so happy to be around new people.  Let's hope he still likes going to the vet after today.

I drove home with an empty dog carrier in my back seat and worried about him the whole way home.  OK, I also stopped at the bakery to get one of the world's best donuts, and I took the fact that they did not have my favorite kind (chocolate frosting with toasted coconut) as a bad omen.  It was strange having only one dog in the house when I got home.  In two and a half months, Jip has successfully dug his way into our hearts, home, and wallets.  To release some of my nervous energy, I picked up a house-renovation project that was started the day we closed on our house in May of 2010 and hasn't been worked on since.  Before we bought our house, it was owned by an elderly woman who was living in a nursing home and was being rented by a girl and her toddler.  Not only was it full of the renter's stuff, but all of the owner's furniture was in the house as well.  So in the ten minutes that we looked at our house with the realtor (with the renter sitting there on the couch) we basically could not see what any of the surfaces actually looked like.  And we bought it anyway.  And then I thought to myself, I don't even remember what the inside looked like!

Joey's excited about the wood floors


Miraculously, by closing day, all of the renter's and the owner's furniture (except for a few stragglers they didn't want) were out of the house and we could finally see what we had purchased.  An entire house of shag carpet.  In bright orange and dirty yellow-beige.  We crossed our fingers and brought out our brand-new razor blades.  And were delighted to find hardwood floors in the downstairs and wood floors upstairs as well.  Unfortunately, it wasn't as simple as ripping out the house-ful of carpet and tossing it on the curb, because every room was covered with tack strips and staples, and on the first floor, glue.  No wonder the carpet had stayed for the last 40-something years!  We have removed the tack strips and each. individual. staple. from the downstairs and upstairs but somehow after pulling out thousands of staples by hand (by myself), I got a little burnt out.   And we never got around to removing the tack strips and staples from the stairs.  And since we found out early on that we cannot fit our queen size bed up the stairs, we barely go up there.  Also, the stairs are behind a door, so it is very convenient to ignore them.

My stairs this morning.  Yikes.


And so, a year after I ran out of steam for remodeling, started a new job, planned a destination wedding, got married, went on a honeymoon, had our first lambs, considered moving, decided to stay, and got a puppy, I finally feel ready to unpack all those boxes hiding upstairs and finish the house.  So I took my nervous energy and bundled it with a hammer and a flat-head screw driver and donned my gardening gloves and started ripping up tack strips.  I started out in my flip flops but then I couldn't remember the last time I had a tetanus shot, so I figured hard soled shoes would be best.  And since I've heard of nails going through the bottom of tennis shoes, I put on my cowgirl boots.  It was quite the get-up.

Before today, anyone staying overnight had to risk tetanus to get upstairs to the air mattress (sounds nice, no wonder we don't have a long list of visitors).  Now, the stairs are free of sharp nails.  But they are still riddled with staples and bits of carpet foam.  Those are next on my list.  Then sanding and painting.  The molding and walls also need painting.  And the list goes on and on.  But today, as I was hacking away at the tack strips I was thinking to myself how long I had waited for someone to help me work on the house again.  And I thought, didn't I just write a few posts ago that I was proud to show young girls that girls can do anything they set their mind to?  Wasn't I operating two tons of steel and steam last weekend?  And then it hit me:  how much time I had wasted wallowing around waiting for someone to help me work on the house when I could have been doing it myself this whole time.  Who cares if Joey would rather work on his tractor than work on drywall?  I can do anything I set my mind too, even home renovations.  I already painted the entire downstairs, installed two new light fixtures and ripped up more staples than I can count...why can't I do all the other things that need to get done?  Just because I don't know how to hang drywall or paint stairs or replace a toilet doesn't mean I can't learn!  I am an educated and determined woman, gosh darn-it!  And I want to live in a house where I and anyone who visits don't have to worry about tetanus shots!

So we'll see how far my can-do feeling will get me.  Maybe some friends will visit this fall and the upstairs will be painted and carpeted.  Maybe by Christmas our downstairs floors will be sanded and refinished.  Maybe by Jip's first birthday next year and our 2nd anniversary of home-ownership, 610 W. 3rd Street will be a little more live-able.

There's nothing like being nervous about your puppy going under the knife to inspire a girl to work out some nervous energy and rip out carpet tacks.  I just heard from Joey that Jip behaved fantastically at the vet and the girls said he didn't bark once.  One said they didn't want him to leave.  Next thing we know, they will be making up something just to get him in there to visit.  Can't wait to get home to see my little ladykiller.  And Joey (who broke a fair number of girls' hearts in college when they found out he was already taken, sorry girls, that tractor obsessed guy is mine.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tomatoes and Peppers

Despite a lack of rain in this area, my garden has still managed to produce a few tomatoes and peppers (without much help or watering from me, I hate to admit).  Here' s what I was able to pick last night.  And yes, that is the extent of my counter-space in my little kitchen...no surfaces to work on except the kitchen table.  I am often walking with one ingredient across the kitchen, dropping it in the mixer, then walking back to check the recipe...baking in my kitchen is a work-out!


Does anyone else suffer from a kitchen with a severe lack of working space?  Or one that has a door (or two) or a window on all four walls, like mine?  Or a dog that chewed on the cabinets?  Or a garden that hasn't been watered in a while...?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Canine Shenanigans


Not much going on this morning, so I thought I'd share some photos of Jip with his head in a bag (it's happened more than once).  He's curious...and he likes to eat.



Jip helping me put away the groceries

Getting every last kibble out of the dog food bag

Strong with the force young Daisy is

I didn't have any photos of Daisy with her head in a bag (she must be too refined to do such a thing...)  But here is one from last Christmas when Joey put a t-shirt on her and she didn't know what to do with herself.  She looked a little like Yoda.  Either that, or she's trying to blend in with the old couch.



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oh, what a beautiful morning...

Ack, I hate mornings that start off with your husband waking you from a peaceful sleep to ask you where his belt is (how should I know?!), then find you running after the dog in your pajamas when she barks viciously and chases a man walking down the street (sorry mister!), and ends with you locking your car keys and your spare house key inside the house as you're trying to leave for work.

Somewhere in between all that I hung sopping wet laundry on the line.  For some reason, the spin cycle didn't kick in or something because the laundry was sitting in a puddle of water in the washing machine and was dripping wet when I put it all in the laundry basket to lug up the basement stairs and across the lawn...and it was heavy!  Let's just cross our fingers the washing machine isn't on it's way in joining the dryer in the ever-after of home appliances.

As I was hanging the soggy laundry, the backyard exploded in a chorus of curious barnyard animals.  The sheep ran up to the fence and Baaaaa'ed for some corn, the calf loudly Mooooo'ed for some calf feed and attention, the neighbor's dog barked at Jip, and even from across the yard, Georgia the chicken joined in with her curious "Whaaaaat?"  How strange that a couple nights ago I was trying to fall asleep at my parents' house in the city when some neighbor had an extremely loud band at their birthday party and woke up the next morning to the sound of car doors slamming on our street from people going to some kind of triathlon or whatever kind of event or parade it is every weekend in the downtown where they live.  The animals are loud and a little demanding, but I'd rather listen to them than the sounds of suburbia.

Today, my morning was loud, frustrating, embarrassing, and a little soggy.  But I'm thankful to be here in the country, taking care of loud, misbehaving animals with selective listening (I'm talking about you, Daisy).  I'm just glad I had an extra pair of car keys in my purse, otherwise I would have been even more pitiful when I dumped all the contents of my purse in the front lawn, desperately searching for my keys, even though I knew they were just beyond the locked door on the counter.  That's the bad thing about living in a new town where you don't know anyone who could drive you to work and your husband works an hour away.  And its my fault that the spare key was left inside the house.

I had to buy myself a hot chocolate at the gas station before opening the library, just to make myself feel better about my crazy morning.  

Steamy weekend

This past weekend I went home for the Northern Illinois Steam Power Club's annual Steam Show and Threshing Bee.  It's an event that I have attended every year since I was born.  I always had a hard time explaining it to my friends growing up that I spent my summers operating a steam traction engine that was used by farmers in 1919.  I learned to drive 2 tons of heavy metal before I learned how to drive a car.

My family's 1919 Port Huron traction engine and water wagon

My dad has always been interested in old machinery and has been working with steam power engines since high school.  And ever since we were born, my sister and I have been working with them too.  Which is not only unusual for the area that we came from, but also because we were girls in a male predominate pastime.  

Maddy doesn't have her driver's permit yet, but she can drive a steam engine

My sister and I make a good engineering team.  I control the speed and make the engine work and Maddy steers.  We start the fire, clean the flues and the firebox, and fill it with coal and water.  Everyday of the show there is a parade around the grounds to show the visitors what all the engines look like when they are moving around.  I think people like to see two young women driving something so powerful.  I like to wave at all the little girls that are visiting with their parents and I feel proud to set an example that girls can do anything, including running antique steam power engines.

My dad and sister on the saw mill

The steam show also includes showing how the engines worked at the turn of the last century.  The engines run an old saw mill that mills huge logs into boards with a saw that is turned by the engine.  The engines are also hooked up to threshing machines.  



It's a great weekend, something my family looks forward to every year.  We catch up with our "steam friends," eat lots of steamed sweet corn and peruse the flea market and the ladies tent.  We also get covered from head to toe in soot and coal dust, but that's half the fun of it.  I think that growing up with steam shows and steam engines were my original farming roots, the reason I have wanted to live in the country since childhood. 





Thursday, August 11, 2011

Duck, Duck, Goose

Pictures from our field this morning:

Sheep

Sheep

Cow!
Don't freak out Mom, Dad, and next-door neighbors!  This little heifer isn't ours- she belongs to the guy who rented our other field for corn.  He bought her to raise as a show calf but doesn't have anywhere to put her until he builds fences.  So of course, we opened our doors (or should we say pasture?) to her.  In return for keeping her on our little farm, the guy has promised to bring his tractor over to help Joey clean manure out of the barn and will mow down the field in the fall.  After the corn has been harvested, we are going to ask our neighbor if we can borrow his manure-spreader to put the fertilizer on the acre field.  Next year, we are either going to put in sweet corn and pumpkins for the farmer's market or rent it out again for corn.  

So for now, the ewes have a new friend.  Hopefully, she can help them keep the field mowed down as well as fertilize it for next year.  The sheep are not too sure about her yet.  I think she is really happy to be on pasture though.  The guy who owns her told us that she had been sharing a pen with a pig.  Now she is happily kicking up her heels and running around the field, scattering the sheep and letting out an occasional little "mooo."  Joey told me last night that the next-door neighbors said that they enjoy sitting in their yard and watching "sheep TV."  Now they can watch sheep and calf TV from the comfort of their hammock.  Don't you wish you were our neighbors?


  



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Typical Night

A typical night in our living room



Listen up, Julie!

This morning, I tried to make a train ticket reservation over the phone since you can't buy one at the station out here.  This simple task seems to be easier said, than done.  First you have to talk with "Julie", Amtrak's automated computer girl/cyborg.  She asks a question and then you have to answer clearly with information about which train you would like.  Once again, easier said than done.  The first time through, she tried to book me a train from Idaho.  The second time, I tried especially hard to e-nun-ci-ate my words and ended up just kind of screaming out names of towns and repeating "that one" and "the first one!" when Julie could not understand me.  Part of the problem was that I have terrible cell phone reception out here and there are definite "dead zones" in my house so I am often trying to find one little bar of service, usually standing with my head smashed against a window.  The other problem was the volume of the beastly dogs, play-fighting, barking, growling, and jumping from one couch to the other; basically causing a general ruckus.  They kept barking exactly when "Julie" would ask me a question like "how many passengers will be travelling?"  After Daisy growled at the puppy, "Julie" said "Ok, 1 adult and 4 infants.  Is that correct?" After I finally cleared up my train schedule with Julie (after about 15 minutes), I wondered why I couldn't have spoken to a real human being and made my reservation in less than 5 minutes.  I also wondered if 4 infants would be easier to deal with than two dogs.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A letter to the puppy

Dearest Jip,

Mommy cannot afford to buy you dog food if you continue to destroy her clothes.  In the future, please refrain from jumping up and sinking your little puppy teeth into her shirts and pants, leaving behind gaping holes.  You have already ruined your fourth shirt in as many days.  Also, please stop pulling Mommy's underwear out of the laundry basket and hiding them under the couch.  All cooperation in your part would be greatly appreciated and possibly rewarded with extra hugs and squeezes on the couch.  Only if you promise not to bite Mommy's face.

Lots of love,

Your Human Mommy




P.S. Does anyone have any ideas about what to do with brand-new t-shirts with holes in them?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Experiences

This has been the weekend for new experiences, all of them a little strange.  The first occurred Friday night when Joey took me to my first-ever tractor pull.  I've been to horse-pulls and seen the horses' muscles ripple with strength as they pulled a weighted sled, but I had never been to a tractor pull.  The event was going on  a few counties over at another county fair and as we pulled into town we spotted billows of black smoke.  Joey followed the smoke to the fair grounds, where we paid $40 (!) to get in.  When the ticket guy in the parking lot said $20 a person, Joey thought he was joking.  Nope.

We made our way to the track and surveyed the stands and decided to cross over to the inside field where many people were standing to watch the action.  Lined up all along the straight-away of the track were truck trailers, covered with people in lawn chairs, or standing and drinking beer out of coolers.  I told Joey, "I am sooo out of my element right now!"  All around me were cowboy boots, tight jeans, and little kids with sound-blocking headphones.  We were not in the suburbs anymore.



Basically, a tractor pull involves a tractor that someone has souped-up attached by chains to a "sled" that is like a semi truck trailer.  As the tractor pulls the sled, weights move from the back toward the tractor, making it harder to pull as it goes forward.  The idea is to pull the sled as far as you can until the weight is too heavy and the engine cannot pull it any farther.  Then they measure the distances and whoever had the longest pull wins.



It is very loud and there's a lot of black smoke.  But it was also pretty exciting.  The loud roar of the tractor engine kind of captivates you and compels you to watch as the weight moves forward and the front tires come off the ground from the force of pulling so hard.  The tractor drivers sit in a roll-over cage and wear the same outfit a race car driver would attire.

Going so fast!

Joey has seen this show in an inside arena at the Farm Progress show in Louisville, Kentucky and he said it is LOUD.  He said it is pretty entertaining to watch everyones' hands go to their ears in one motion, and then move them again all together when the sound dies down.  We plugged our ears with our fingers when they brought out the tractors that had six engines mounted on their exteriors.  They were so far beyond what I thought a tractor looked like, more like an alien machine.

These things were ridiculous! And LOUD!

On Saturday, we left for our friends' wedding about an hour away.  We decided to stay the night at a Bed and Breakfast close to the farm where the wedding was taking place.  Joey had been nervous about the B&B all week.  I didn't understand.  He kept saying that we were sleeping in a stranger's house and then we had to eat breakfast with them!  I think he was totally creeped out by the idea.  We found the old Victorian house in the city and Joey kept saying, I thought the B&B was out in the country...I think he was even more weirded out when we pulled up and knocked on the door.  The owner led us to our room and showed us the bathroom and set a time for breakfast the next morning.  We got dressed for the wedding.  I was taking longer with my hair than Joey could tolerate so he decided to take a nap while he waited, and discovered the bed was a waterbed!  Neither of us had ever been on a waterbed before.  Especially a waterbed in a stranger's house...that pretty much sealed the deal for Joey not liking the B&B idea.



The wedding was beautiful.  The ceremony took place under a grove a trees and the reception was in the  150 year old barn.  The barn was decorated with strings of lights and dried herbs and the tables were covered with jars of purple wildflowers.  



The only bad thing was the heat.  It was HOT.  Everyone was drenched.  The bride told me the bottom layer of her dress was completely sweated around her legs and the groomsman were in various levels of undress, their jackets tossed aside, shirtsleeves rolled up, and vests swinging open.  Joey rolled up his sleeves and lost his tie before we ate dinner.  It cooled a few degrees in the evening and most of us dragged our chairs outside.  It was too hot to dance in the barn so we all celebrated under the stars, with the music streaming out of the open barn doors and echoing off the walls of an opposite barn.  


In the end, we survived our night on the waterbed and breakfast with the other guests and the owners of the B&B, although both were pretty weird.  I don't know whoever thought it would be a great idea to sleep on a bag of water, but it was not very restful.  Every time I rolled over I sent a tidal wave over to Joey and it made me feel a little seasick to be sloshing around every time either one of us moved an inch.     The whole thing was weird to us.  I mean, how to do you even fill up a waterbed?  With a garden hose?

The people at breakfast were another story.  They were a couple traveling from Minnesota to North Carolina to take their son to grad school.  When we walked in, the husband was talking with the owner and then turned to his wife and said, "Honey, what a coincidence that just last week we were talking with the ambassador from Swaziland..."  How weird is that?  The whole breakfast was name dropping foreign countries and talking about our jobs.  He was an epidemiologist.  They were interested in my job as a librarian until they said something about a library degree and I told them I didn't have one.  But they gave us something to laugh about on the drive home.  

We asked our neighbors how the dogs fared when we got home and they told us Jip was great, but that Daisy hid under the bed and growled and would not come out.  She didn't go out the whole time we were gone from 3 pm to 11 am and she didn't go in the house.  Kinda embarrassing though since we had to apologize for her being so cranky.  

We just got a call from our friends saying that they have lots of left-over food and beer from the wedding and invited us over for dinner.  I was going to cook tonight, but left-over wedding food sounds better than dirty dishes.  Especially since I washed three sink-fulls yesterday because I didn't want our neighbors to think we were totally disgusting.  Instead, they got to look at all the fur-balls under our bed when Daisy refused to come out.  


Friday, August 5, 2011

Dark Cloud

I must have had a dark cloud over my head this week.  Not only does the puppy have worms (which are being cleared up with medicine), it turns out the sheep also have worms.  Jip probably got them from the sheep in the first place since I discovered him sampling some of the sheep poo last week.  Note to Jip: you're here to herd the sheep, not clean up after them... So this morning found me in the livestock-dewormer aisle at the local Farm King (and by local, I mean 25 minutes away.)  And all I could find was 83 doses of sheep de-wormer for $100 or a much smaller jug of goat dewormer for $25.  I asked the employee that was hanging up horse tack if they had a smaller container of sheep dewormer and pointed to the goat medicine as an example.  He told me, what I saw was what they had and added (a little gruffly) that he didn't see why the goat dewormer wouldn't do the same thing.  So I went with the goat medicine and I was in a bad mood (seem like a perpetual thing this week, sorry Joey) but I was a little put off by the Farm King guy.  Didn't he know how it feels to have both sheep and puppies with worms?!

Not only that, but Joey woke me up this morning to tell me that 3 of our hens had been killed during the night.  Two were reduced to feathers and the third was completely missing.  The bizarre thing was that he woke me from a dream where a black and white snake was coming down from the ceiling and a girl I haven't been friends with since junior high was being attacked while I was looking for a knife to cut it's head off...So between the chickens and the creepy snake dream, and then Jip barking for the good part of an hour, I finally woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  When I went out to the coop, I was relieved to see that our beloved Georgia had survived the midnight raid on the hen house.  She is the friendliest little red hen and loves to talk to us.  She even likes to sit on Joey's shoulder like a parrot. We raised her from a chick in the suburbs 2 years ago and brought her with us to the country.

Joey suspects the hen-killers were raccoons.  I am just upset that the rooster let three of his hens be carried away.  Now we are down to 3 hens.

So all in all, we have had a rough week as farmers.  I found a mouse upstairs in the house and there is at least one residing on our back porch.  Our resources and patience are being attacked from the outside and inside.  Life with livestock and a 103 year-old house has been an adventure and it is definitely different from my life in the suburbs.  Today, I feel like I am surrounded by dirt and disease and blood and feathers.  Life out here has brought me closer to life and death, and given me lessons in patience and hard work.  I have tasted loneliness and the uncomfortable feeling of not fitting in.  I miss my friends and family, being able to buy organic milk 5 minutes from my house, and living in a house with a dishwasher.  In most ways, life is simpler out here, but sometimes I remember all the lives we are responsible for and remember it's not always that simple.  Sheep and puppies need shots and dewormer and nutritious food, chickens need better protection from hungry intruders, and driving 25 minutes to go shopping can be a headache sometimes.

I think I am happy that we are getting away from our little farm for a night tomorrow.  I need a break from the messiness of it all.  And then I will start to miss it, and will be happy to go back.  No matter where we end up in life, I think I will always want to share my life with farm animals.  Now that I have raised sheep and chickens, rabbits, and herding dogs, I don't think I could ever move back to the city or live without livestock. Sometimes I just need a day or two to remember that.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The reason why

"I'm the reason we can't have nice things."

Sorry folks

Sorry for the lack of posts this week... Wish I could say I was up to something fun, but I wasn't.  Just got caught up in work, a dirty house, and the puppy having intestinal worms (no wonder he's been so crazed about food lately.)  The usual.  I'm so glad I don't open the library until 2 pm on Fridays because I need to play some serious catch-up.  Another wedding this weekend and we're staying overnight at a Bed and Breakfast so we have to find someone to let the dogs out a few times while we're gone.  Hopefully our neighbors are available because it seems like everyone else in our little town is going to the wedding.

I don't think I've ever stayed in a B&B before but it was cheaper and (hopefully) a quainter option than the Holiday Inn Express, and I'm feeling cheap and in need of some old-fashioned quaintness right now.  So hopefully it will fit the bill.  And hopefully no one at the outdoor wedding will melt in the 100 degree heat.  Myself included.  Last time I went to a summer wedding without air-conditioning, I threw up.  I was only 8 and I was the flower girl.  It was the only time I was in a wedding except for my own.  At least I waited until after the ceremony and reception and threw up in the my parent's car on the way home.  (Thanks Mom and Dad for all the puke you put up with when I was little.)

So anyway...between the intestinal worms and the throw-up this has been a pretty gross post.  Sorry for that too.  Hopefully my next post will include a charming B&B and a beautiful outdoor wedding with our new friends from our new hometown.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What's cookin' in my kitchen

Not much going on today, here are some close-ups of things in my little kitchen:


Pickled green beans and the Joy of Cooking


Cross-stitch I found at a resale shop.  Repainted the frame and threw it on my kitchen table.  Marigolds from my garden.


Beautiful Kitchen Aid mixer (yes, appliances can be beautiful) - a housewarming gift from my beautiful sister.


Jip - aka "Jaws," found out he was chewing the seats on my retro kitchen chairs today.