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Wicked Rural Homestead

One little family’s endeavor to live in the trees, surrounded by the birds and the bees

“Time Waits For No Man”

It would appear that blogs however; will wait, just as they were for this woman.  Especially when you neglect them completely.  Thank god it is not one of the things in my life that requires daily feeding!

This has been the longest I have gone without posting since this blog’s scattered conception years ago.  My reasons are hardly noteworthy.  Life needed living and something had to fall by the wayside.  That ‘something’ was maintaining this record of deeds and thoughts.  There has been no juicy personal upheaval to report, or major life changes.  There has been a lot of writing, but none of it cohesive enough to share.

I have approached this update like I make soup.  A rough chop of everything in one pot on high heat.  There is no graceful way to start- so here goes.

The election gave me writers block.  Not because I was surprised.  I am well aware of our society’s ability to confuse reality Tv with reality.  I have always thought about the world in my own way, judging it by my personal criteria.  I hold dirt and plants in the highest regard.  It is not a shock that our society could have gotten so lost when we have passed the recent decades exulting people for how they look and what they say, rather than the objective results of their deeds and how they treat the beings around them.

It felt disingenuous to post things about the homestead when there was this ominous threat to all the things that we hold dear.  I did lots of writing on the topic but none of it is worth sharing.

As usual it was the homestead that gave me the perspective I needed to move forward.

This winter; I often mused about the critters, so blithely unaffected by the state of the nation.  I found a great comfort in their priorities: food, sleep, play.  The daily chores and responsibilities have been unaffected by all the madness.  Winter was harsh for environmental reasons.  Record snow fall was hard on the animals.  We lost more than a few birds. It hit the ducks hardest, who I find ill suited for overwintering.  Aside from that, most of the inhabitants here are healthy and well.

We added bees back into the mix and it has been really nice to have their music about the yard.

I made the rash decision to get more chickens and subsequently guinee fowl.  I was provided with nothing more for motivation than a yellow order sheet that had “Cuckoo Marans” on the top next to a cute little box where you just write in how many you want.  A little further down there were Araucanas and below them a straight run (not sexed) of guinea fowl.

There was a gray spot in my memory and when I got back in the car I called my (ever so patient) husband and told him that I had finally found Marans! (They lay a dark brown egg and I have wanted them for some time now.)  I told him “don’t worry I only got six…of those.”

Continue reading ““Time Waits For No Man””

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TBT- Self Indulgent Ramblings And Abstract Metaphors

I wrote this on the plane ride of the first visit back home, almost seven years ago.  I found it recently and was please that my younger self had left such a good reminder of what to focus on as I pass farther along this path that lead me to the opposite side of the world and a place I never intended to call home.

Thanks younger me, I will try to make us both proud.

Continue reading “TBT- Self Indulgent Ramblings And Abstract Metaphors”

“Hey Guys, We Have Wings!!!”

I mentioned earlier, that having the chickens and ducks outside the front door has been pretty awesome.   Most of the time everyone gets along well and this is the first winter in years I have not been running two different coops.

They get along well but competition for food is fierce.  The ducks are like wide mouthed vacuums and the precise beaks of the chickens just can’t keep up.  Recently, the chickens have realized that they might have small mouths but their bodies are not too heavy for flight.

The ducks try to fly but fail.  As they are of Rouen ancestry and far too heavily to manage much more than a tippy-toe-run with wings going full force.   That situation has given us this next bit of footage.

Morning feeding.

Continue reading ““Hey Guys, We Have Wings!!!””

The Choice I Never Had to Make

I wrote this post some time ago now, and I did more than hesitate to post it.  In fact, I almost didn’t at all.

This is because my reproductive health is no one’s business!

After a time, I was compelled to speak out on behalf of an organization that had given me the greatest gift in the world, options.

For those people who have never been to Planned Parenthood allow me to share my experiences, I hope they can be received with open ears.  I think I am qualified to write on this topic because I have been a patient with them my whole adult life.

No, this does not mean that I have had STDs or abortions; it MEANS that (because of the services I has access to) I avoided both of these sophomoric pitfalls.  Nor does it mean that I have been a healthcare freeloader.  I have always been employed and thus; declared my income, then paid for my services (on the sliding scale the PP provides) or gone through my insurance.

When I made the decision to be sexually active I felt it of the utmost importance that I take responsibility for that choice, alone.   In fact, I reasoned that if I was incapable of taking on that obligation I was in no way ready for such a life altering decision.

Planned Parenthood gave me that resource.

But this story of womans health and reproductive services didn’t start with a teenage girl in the 90’s.  The road has been long and it reaches back to ancient times.

If we go back before christianity to the pagan era, men and womans’ part in reproduction were equally respected.  The feminine form was exulted for its powerful life-giving abilities.  Women had choices, those choices were private and respected.  There were wise people, midwives, shamans and priestesses who provided women’s services to the population.   From basic feminine needs and medical care, pregnancy, contraception and yes, even abortion.

The advent of christianity rendered wise woman, witches and the old ways, devil’s work.  A women was either a virgin, a mother or a whore.  The concept of the of the sacred feminine was taken from us and we were left with the archetype of the virgin mother with no healthcare to help us in this unachievable goal.   Our resources and knowledge were declared heresy and the punishment for non-conformity was often violence or death.

Centuries passed and still women didn’t regain our basic human rights.  A woman, and all the abilities contained within her body and mind were the possession of others.  First; her family- where (when she she came of breeding age) was sold like chattel.  She was then the property of her husband and after that- her male children.

I hope we are at a place in this discourse where we can acknowledge that women have been second class citizens for most of the modern age.   We are not bought and sold anymore but we have yet to achieve true equality.   There are other groups in America that also suffer from the inequalities of a predominately white patriarchical system.  These are the populations who utilize the services Planned Parenthood provides.

Planned Parenthood is not just a womans resource they serve all of those members of our community that would otherwise go without medical treatment of any kind.  It is true that I saw many immigrant workers and their families in those endless waiting room hours.  Many times; I had shared the room with older, painfully red eyed men but I never realized why they were there.  Amongst all the bilingual posters and notices on the walls, there was one that was only posted in Spanish.  It was a small 8.5 x11 print out with big implications.  It said:

Continue reading “The Choice I Never Had to Make”

One a Week Photo Challenge 2017- Ceiling

Last year, I had a perfect record of late or nonexistent entries into the 2016 Photo Challenge hosted by some awesome blog buddies of mine.  Aran Artisan, Sandra and Cathy.

They were nice enough to invite me to play again this year in the One a Week Photo Challenge.  This week’s (probably actually last week’s, given my record) prompt is ceiling.

This coincided with another snow storm at the homestead and a paradoxical observation.

Continue reading “One a Week Photo Challenge 2017- Ceiling”

What Now?

As the sun rises on this strange new world I wonder, what can I do?

I want not to feel this ache.

This void inside that I do not command,

that it seems I can’t even touch or influence in the slightest way.

I feel thin, spread over so much that it s like not being there at all.

My heart and mind are at odds with reality.

I don’t know how to fix it.

We often don’t question who made the path we walk, until we reach its end.

By then; who and why, may seem like more important questions.

I will continue to make my own road and walk in my own way.

I will be kind to everything, everyday.

I will love all forms of life, the earth and the dirt we all rely on.

I will breath through my anger.

Fear is the valley that catches hate.

It can stain landscape.

Blaming the blameless and multiplying suffering for all.

Breath is the wind that clears it out.

Practicing love, gives us wings to see that all those chasms and deep caves; are actually very small when you can fly above them.

If you have wings, they don’t matter at all.

A journey that could take days on foot; through country that bites and scars, might only last a pleasant hour from the air.

It does not due to be kind, only when faced with kindness.

It only matters when we would be justified in lashing out- and don’t.

We cannot relate to one another outside of the experiences that make up each individual life.

If someone has never experienced flight, you can’t tell them how much happier it would make them.

Words are empty without feeling behind them.

 Some people must be shown what it looks like to step off the rim of the valley of hatred and soar above it.

We all must make the choice to try it for ourselves.

Above all remember:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
– MLK

A Jolly Poke In The Ribs

Last month, marked three years since my dad passed.  In my meditations of him I came across a memory.  Our family’s version of a holiday story; about a time when he poked me, I hit him and we both learned an important lesson about the world we lived in.

I recalled writing about it years before and with a little searching, found it.

“When I was 11 or so my dad and I were doing some Christmas shopping.  We were walking and talking while put my hair up in a ponytail.  As a joke, he poked me in the ribs and made me jump (one of my least favorite things.)  I in turn, spun on him and slugged him HARD in the upper arm.

A childhood of mountain-girl-games and running with the boys meant that I could hit quite hard.  Even though I pulled the punch at the last second, his arm hurt the whole way home and he let me know it the entire way.

I told him I was “sorry” but that it was a “reflex” to hit those that poke me (by that time none of my peers would have perpetrated any similar act for fear of reprisal.)  He replied that “a reflex is a reaction that you do not control and even though it had become a habit in my life I DID have control over it.”

I made the choice; albeit a quick one, to hit him.  His actions did not MAKE me do it.  I choose to.

Continue reading “A Jolly Poke In The Ribs”

I Met a Young Man

I met a young man this morning, staring out of my stepson’s eyes.

When had they started looking so wise?!

What happened I can not say, only that I know for sure it was different yesterday.

Or…

Had that been last week?

Maybe the one before?

Hard to tell which way is up or down anymore.

A glance had been all it took for me to see; all the time that has passed since “I” became “we.”

He looked me a question; so I smiled instead, opened my arms and kissed his head.

We stood there in the morning light of a day that would bring another night.

Another chance for him to grow.

That much closer to the time we will have to let him go.

It is an honor to watch him change.

It won’t be till he sees his kin grow up in front of him- that he will understand the feelings behind my sad grin.

I met a man in my kitchen today, who showed me how to be a better me each day.

 

Town and Country

There area a great many beautiful places in the world and I feel very blessed to have lived in two of them.  I will always be partial to my home landscape, rough mountains covered in ancient ents that dive into the sea.  Winter brings a still calm to the fields and forests of Maine that is hard to ignore.

The light gets a blank canvas to show off its simple beauty.  Like the sunset on a corn field, through velvet sumac.

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For me, the snow helps to render the creations of man much more palatable.  The combination of structure, snow and moon make it hard not to feel the magic of the ‘White Christmas’ experience.

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I will always prefer country to town but it is good to see a glimpse of that raw elegance in the land of man as the moon peaks out from the sunset.

“Satisfactory,”as my dad would say.

Happy holidays from the frozen north.  Be well and stay warm!

 

Photo Challenge 2016- Still

The normal cycle of snow, melt, snow, repeat– skipped us this year and we have entered the frozen season with no dress rehearsal.  Barring some serious weirdness, the snow that has fallen over the last week will remain till spring.

Goodbye ground!

I have come to appreciated the frozen winter, so different from the wet ones I knew growing up.  During a snow storm everything stops.  The critters hunker down and everyone waits for the world to be covered and then cleared.

Continue reading “Photo Challenge 2016- Still”

Photo Challenge 2016- Creation

I have always had the unquenchable desire to create stuff.  Pretty much anything will do for materials, I can sculpt, draw, paint, weave, sew, and when all else fails I will completely make things up but there is nothing that I have ever done that even approaches what I see outside on any given morning.

From the sunrise; to ice crystals dancing across a puddle, there is not much in nature that doesn’t get my undivided attention.

Last week as I drove into work, I saw a shinning spot off to the left in the woods.  I got closer and saw that it was the overflow from the snowmakers, shooting out into the woods and freezing on the foliage near by.

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Each plant, a creation of the elements and time.

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The Scattering: Dennis Gobets Goes to Italy

Anghiari, Italy to be exact.

This was recently posted by a friend of my father’s.

Found a place I thought he’d like. Lots going on. Fireflies in June so bright you don’t need a flashlight. So many frogs you can’t hear yourself think. Wild boar families running around with babies. Deer. Porcupines. And loads of men, none of them with that haunted, frightened look we see so often elsewhere. Seeming to always be having the time of their lives… galloping across the fields on horses, driving tractors, hunting, working in the fields. And I’ll visit daily to talk things over.- NF

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Today, three years after his death his travels are not over yet.

Satisfactory!

Be well.

TBT- Time is never on sale. Get It While You Can!

One year ago, (now 3) I drove across town with the boys in blissful ignorance of what the day would bring.

We were on a mission to find post-Thanksgiving donuts to round out our holiday gluttony.

As we passed the lake; I saw that it was on the cusp of solidity, a magical phase that only lasts a few days.

“You guys want to stop and try to break the lake ice?”

“Yahhh!!!!” DSCF4567A few minutes later we parked, donuts in hand and began a simple activity that could consume our entire day if we let it. DSCF4550There are no rules, expect to make sure everyone is out of the way of your attempts.  We used stones. DSCF4541And sticks. DSCF4572I supervised and walked the shore looking at all the little frozen moments in time.  Absently thinking my dad would get a kick out of them and I should take pictures for him.

He loved bearing witness to nature’s fleeting singularities.

Experiences that you have to seek out or seize when the opportunity arises.  The transitory stages of life and nature that stop for no one.

Continue reading “TBT- Time is never on sale. Get It While You Can!”

TBT- The Unrepentant Woman

To anyone who has followed my posts (especially my nail polish rant last winter ) it should be pretty apparent that I am not a huge fan of society in general and popular culture in particular.

It is one of the reasons I love living in rural Maine.  Why we have chickens instead of cable (we call this “red neck tv.”)

For me, one of the most difficult things about growing up a female in Western culture is the constant dicodimous nature of claiming your femininity without giving up your womanhood.

I have dispised the term “girl power” since its spicy inception in my pre-teen years.  I can’t think of a more potent example of the contrary attitude toward girls in our nation and the world.

I am not a girl.

I have not been a girl since I was 12, when my body matured and I was biologically thrust into womanhood.

The topic of my own femininity has always been openly discussed, questioned, judged or blatantly denied.

I was, am (and will continue to be) what most people call a “tom boy.”  In elementary school I ran with the boys, playing their games and beating them.  By 3rd grade I was a top pick in any recess game.  By 6th grade I could beat everyone in the school at arm wrestling (except one boy, who was already 6 foot.)

These abilities carried repercussions.  I was often accused of being a “dyke” or that I “wanted to be a boy” along with many other unflattering presumptions.

I have spent my life working in kitchens where my skills were constantly questioned and tested by my coworkers.  I have been sexually assaulted or harassed more times than I can count but my reactions were far from ladylike and made it clear that I would take no shit of any kind.  In a room full of knifes and fire it is not a hard thing to do (nor was any of it HR appropriate or politically correct.)

Other women who work in kitchens will know exactly what I mean.

One time a co-worker put my share of the tips on his lap and with a grin invited me to “get them.”  I grabbed the nearest knife and told him to “hold still,” while I used it as a spatula.  I got my tips and we became good friends.  He never did it again and actively warned others about the dangers of trying it for themselves.

The hazing usually lasted until we had a busy service.  Then they tended to shut up and stay out of my way because I am damn good at what I do.

I think the problem for females begins early.  Boys and girls learn how to be flirtatious,  something too few women realize is not the best trait if you want to have health happy relationships with men- not based on physicality.

Continue reading “TBT- The Unrepentant Woman”

Photo Challenge 2016- Mystery

There is nothing hidden about the changing of the seasons in New England.  The constant transition happens all around.  Everything out in the open, there to see if you take the time to look.

The fields that line my commute are daily reminders that the land’s harvest is temporary by nature.  Backroads are packed with all sorts of medicinal offerings but timing is everything.

Many herbs are most potent when gathered right before they flower. When all the plant’s  energy is gathering for the display of its life.

This year, I became aware of the tremendous amount of St. John’s Wart along my morning migration.  Collection of Ghost Plant, Plantain,  Rose,  Wintergreen, Chaga, Yarrow and Mullen where already part of my yearly tincture efforts.   There is a short window to locate and harvest these gifts before they pass their prime for extraction or drying.

Most of these interactions result in tinctures that resemble the color of the plant, at time of harvest.

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The above Yarrow tincture was dark green by week’s end.

There are two spectacular exceptions: Ghost Plant and St. John’s Wart.

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St. John’s Wart is a beautiful yellow flowered plant, it loves gravelly open areas with abundant sun.   Often used to help with depression, it has many other applications.   The flowers are photosensitive and must be picked before they open or the following magic will not be as strong.

When the plant is mashed and added to alcohol or oil an impressive reaction takes place.  At first, it is a pink/orange but this hue darkens.

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Within hours it has obtained this incredible shade of blood red.

Continue reading “Photo Challenge 2016- Mystery”

Photo Challenge 2016- Autumn

Autumn in New England is a grand thing.

The cold nights drive the bugs back to the depths of the hienus hell bogs from whence they came.

That in itself, would be reason to celebrate but as an added bonus (or just nature’s apology for the summer’s unreasonable humidity,) the mountains and valleys transform into living stained glass.

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Thousands of words have been composed, typed and published in an effort to describe the beauty of a fall forest.

It is etherial.  A living church window.

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I feel this inescapable need to capture some bit of the breathtaking display and make a little piece of it mine.

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Even the lakes are not immune to the compulsion.

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Though it is quite possible, they just happened to be there.

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Everyday on my drive I think; “I should take a picture of (insert name for special tree here) soon.  Tomorrow maybe…”

“Not now.”

“It’s not ready yet.”  Then, the wind takes half of it away and I think, “I should have done it yesterday.”

Even when you pick the perfect day for that particular tree, there is no way to capture the magnificence of a backwoods autumn in anything less than itself.

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However, I lack the good sense to stop trying.

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2016 Garden Recap (Better Late Than Never. Right?)

Sometime in June I blinked, and BLAMO!  It’s October.

Most of my writing efforts this summer have focused on becoming unexpected duck farmers and The Scattering.

The homestead vegetation has been unaffected by my lack of record keeping.

Our fence worked wonders for the vegetable production this year!  It is amazing (not really) what keeping the chickens and sheep away from the garden did for yield.

We managed to plant the garden almost entirely from our last year’s seed stock.   Our selection was limited to things that would produce a product we would actually eat over the winter.

It is not all for consumption,  I like the perennial bulbs for show.  No work and flowers every year.

There were some Irises already here when we bought the house but have trippled in size.  They are the first to bloom.  A welcome beginning to the growing season.

 

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Border Lilies and Day Lilies showed off nicely this year.

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The Easter Lilies have the most intoxicating fragrance. I wish they bloomed all summer long!

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For food production we settled on a few staples:

Beans- Scarlet Runners, Black beans and Soy

Popcorn- Dakota Black

Pumpkins

Butternut squash

Tomatoes

Medicinal Herbs- Yarrow, St Johns Wart, Plantain, Comfrey, Calendula (there will be a separate post on tincture making when I get my head out from up my…)

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St Johns Wart, Ghost Plant (from the forest,) Plantain, Yarrow.

The Scarlet Runner beans have the added bonus of being beautiful. I love the color and humming birds they add to the yard.

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Continue reading “2016 Garden Recap (Better Late Than Never. Right?)”

Photo Challenge 2016- Rich

Drained and tired,

I started the car and pointed it south.

Clocked out and homeward bound.

The day’s events rolled around my head,

a tango of worry and stress.

My music played with no-one listening to it.

I had no room for the lovely sounds, only the voices of tasks not yet done.

Rounding the corner, the moon silenced all but the radio.

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Photo Challenge 2016- Summer

When you are a student, the word summer is synonyms with freedom.  At least it was for me.  My last day of Kindergarten I thought, “Ok, cool.  That was fun.  Thank god it’s over!  Back to real life.”

Then came the next fall’s rude awakening; this whole ‘school thing’ was no glitch.

Apparently, it was going to be a serious issue for the next 12 (+4=16?!) years.  Surely there has been some mistake!!!

The last day of first grade I got it.  The proper pronunciation is:

“SUMMER!!!”

The end to school work and early mornings.  No more school lunches, tests, assemblies and time enforced outdoor play.  Summer was here!   Fast forward a few decades, to me picking the boys up for the first week of their summer break.  You could see the excitement of summer baking off of them.

“I don’t have to go back to school for weeks and weeks and WEEKS!!!

“AND WEEKS!!”

For adults working in the hospitality field (like their dad and me) summer means- working everyone elses’ vacation.   Many days we are overwhelmed by the sheer number of people all cramming into one space demanding perfectly rendered services.  Sometimes we do it proficiently and go home walking on air.  Nothing compares to the feeling of having done something difficult, well.

Like finishing the school year with good marks and a fresh start in the fall.

Those two sides of that coin combined one magical day this early this summer when we went to Step Falls.  I had to work but we got a room at the hotel and I was able to close the restaurant, go up stairs, sleep and make it to the 6am breakfast shift without a 3 hour drive in-between.  It was really nice.

Our northern location allowed us to get to the falls much sooner in the day than if we had left from home.  It is beautiful.

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Getting All Our Ducks in a Row

I mean literally.

My figurative ducks are all over the place!  However, I have found that actual ducks are easy to get in a row.  Step 1: Put down a line of food… that pretty much does the trick.

Fun fact: it works for chickens too.

It is a moving, quacking, squawking row; but a row none the less.  You may recall from my earlier posts, that this year we were “NOT going to get anymore animals.”  Instead, we wanted to focus on keeping the ones we have:

A)  Alive.

B)  Out of the garden.  Then, we might have a chance at a fall vegetable harvest.

The ducks had other ideas.

I made the decision to take the chicks from the broody-dragon-fowl, based on the ladies’ first attempt at duckling care.

We had a pretty good showing.  With all the eggs now gone (!) we have 11 new ducks.    For about two weeks, I didn’t sleep more that a couple hours at a time.  When they are first born they are so fragile.

I was constantly getting up the check the newborns in the other room or out to the nest to see if any new ones had hatched.  They defiantly seemed to favor night time.  It was weird;  or on purpose, and they are already trying to break me.

My life was a constant judgment of different levels of peeping.  Some mean- “I’m alive! Yeh!” Those ones are good.

Others are- “help me I’m F^@ked!!! i’m going to die very soon if no one gets me out of here!” those ones were the reason for my lack of sleep.

Continue reading “Getting All Our Ducks in a Row”

Photo Challenge 2016- Water

This summer has been a whirlwind.  Work fills my days + the homestead and boys fill the days off.  It has been difficult to find time to breath, never mind write anything coherent or take any pictures.

With a few dozen employs and a hefty commute, it seems like I am always in-between one thing and another.

Consequently, I feel like I am always thinking about the place I am not currently occupying.  It can be maddening.

I believe that a great deal of the pressure in my day to day life is created and contained in myself.  A universe of “I should.” “I can’t stop now,” and “I must do more.”  Often instead of motivating me; these thoughts can stifle my will to start anything around the house, no art, no sewing, no crafts, no cooking adventures, no writing… you get the idea.

There is so much to do and that constant nagging voice that assures me that even if I make an attempt at whatever it is, that my efforts will not be good enough.

I should just save myself the time, watch some TV and rest.

This is a false voice, one that is incapable of having my best interests at heart.  It is the selfish, lazy, small me and I don’t feel bad ignoring it.  There is story (I don’t know how well known it is) about an old man walking down the beach, it goes like this:

One day, as the old man was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said,
“It made a difference for that one.”
― Loren Eiseley

Doing what you can is enough.

Continue reading “Photo Challenge 2016- Water”

Best Present EVER!

This week is my birthday and yesterday I got the most amazing gift I have ever received.

We have a tradition of handmade gifts here on the homestead.  Money is always tight and gifts are usually better when thought and effort create them, rather than a factory somewhere out there.

I had to work but when I came home all the boys were on the deck with flashlights.

Odd.

When I got closer they all shined them on a wooden box laying across a couple pallets in the garden.

It was a cabinet they had made from start to finish in ONE DAY, varnish now drying in the hot night.

Months ago, when I was asked the age old question “what would you like for your birthday?”  I had responded that it would be nice to have a place to keep all the tinctures and herbs I had been collecting over the summer.
My current arrangement was overflowing with mason jars and I mused wistfully about the cabinet I had back in Ca. that we had to leave behind.

I did not expect such a response.

My hands were grabbed and I was lead to it; excited voices talking over each other, explaining all the things that I needed to understand about their project.

The thought that went in to each aspect was astounding.  They picked out every board specifically because it’s markings.

This one because it looks like a mushroom.  “And you LOVE mushrooms.

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The Best Laid Plans

… of ducks and women often go awry.

This spring, we decided NOT to add anything to the menagerie.  Then our ducks went ahead and veto that decision.  Of course, it is my fault for letting them sit on the eggs but if you have ever encountered a broody duck you will have some clue as to my passivity in the matter.

They turn into hissing, biting (mine had done no such thing prior) puffed-up taint smears.  Hell-bent on guarding their stash of orbs.  There is no reasoning with them. After a couple weeks of contentious egg theft and consequent daily berating, I relented.

I was additionally motivated by the fact that my first two broody ladies were also injured.  Both started limping badly about 2 months ago (I think they may have been stepped on by sheep while trying to feltch sheep feed) and so I had been keeping them inside the shed and feeding them Ibprophine, anti-inflamitory, antibiotic herb laced feed everyday.  When they started refusing to leave the nest in order to sit on eggs; I thought it was perfect.

At first, I was marking eggs and taking the new ones but this become a daily battle with an inflated (limping) pissed off duck kraken, who would then follow me around hissing and nipping at my heals when I turned my back.  After a couple times walking through the yard backward; I was totally over it!

“Fine!! Keep them!  See if I care!”

(Side note: don’t judge me.  Arguments with the critters are frequent ’round these parts.  Points are fiercely debated.  I wish I could say the blatting and squawking is one-sided but that would be a lie.  I might have arguments with animals but I’m no liar.)

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TBT- Dead things in mail, Camping with Team Squeam and the Wonderful World of T’n’A

The sun warmed my face and the sandy wind stung my skin all at the same time, I tasted salt and inhaled the sea.  The surf resounded inside my head like empty sea shell waiting for new purpose.  The feeling of home these things inspire is overpowering.

It is not attached to a structure but rather a world of sights and sounds, smells and tastes that assure me I belong in them.  That we all belong to one another.   My place here is secure, familiar yet still exciting and changing with each new discovery.

My sand covered sister sits with our mom making kingdoms out of seaweed and shells while my dad is not much more than a tiny spec out to sea, riding the waves back and forth.

In and out, straining to paddle through the shore brake only to abandon all that progress toward Hawaii and let the ocean carry him back, so that he can turn around and do it again.

Most of my early memories are of secluded beaches and rugged coast lines where two cars in the pullout at the top of the cliff constituted unacceptable crowding.  Unless they are your buds, then only unacceptable outcome is not having enough ‘breakfast cylinders’ for the expedition.   I was fortunate enough to grow up believing that my childhood was the way all childhoods should be.

My sister and I like to say that we were raised by a pack of rabid surfers and hippies in secret places along the California coast.  Team Squeam and the subsequent band “The Membranes” was comprised of a few core people but included whoever happened to be at any gathering or event.  My godfather Michael (Mike,) Sara’s god parents Todd and Alison,  Alison’s brother Gavan, Tom, his wife Stephanie and our mom and dad were the charter members.

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The Scattering Part 4- Stashing Dennis At The Lane

Steamer Lane is an epic break in Santa Cruz.  Home to many a surfing contest and the highlight of surf films old and new.  I leaned how to surf at the next beach down (Cowells) when I was a girl.

The Lane has always been part of my life’s landscape.  One of the few definite touchstones.  My dad  used to say it was one of the “classiest lineups in the world, because if you jump off the cliff past the lighthouse you can get into the break with your hair still dry.”

DSCF1430Some wonderful friends of his added a burl to the collection of memorials that have gathered at the top of the stairs. DSCF1433

Right next to the rules of the wave.  A very fitting place.

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He can see the lineup and watch the riders as he did in life.

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Continue reading “The Scattering Part 4- Stashing Dennis At The Lane”

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