Sand removal sans clothing…

My elusive Maggie, who just like Max hates to have her picture taken.

Sometimes I’m reminded that no matter what things aren’t anything like they were in my earlier life. Things aren’t that bad. There were times when it was much worse. However, it is difficult at times to reflect on those times without some regret. After all they were the worst and the best of times as paraphrased by the great writers.

I had a conversation lately in which it was mentioned that perhaps it would a great thing to be younger. Would I go back to being 16, 26, or 41? I don’t think so not even if I could take the things I now know with me would I go back. At 16 I had to leave school because I was pregnant. At 26 I had two children and was left in a rented renovated garage that substituted for an apartment. There was no money to pay the rent, no heat, and no groceries to feed my children. And at 41 I was faced with dying of cancer. No, I doubt that I would go back for much of anything.

Lest it sound like life was a unrelenting line of dire straits these times were not long lasting. I was able to figure out a way to go back to school by petitioning the state of Ohio as a married woman with a child. My diploma was handed to me but it didn’t matter because I received it. Later I continued by learning to fill out the forms for college. Again I obtained the degree that I challenged myself to achieve. Then I learned how to protect myself from a doctor’s aggressive solution to a cancer.

However, the bright lights of events that I would like to glimpse backwards to experience were fleeting. Some of the marriage experiences certainly were advantageous to growth. I learned never to put an experience down, but take all it could offer. I had opportunities to do many things that most people dream about being able to accomplish. And I took those opportunities. I would take the chance to race a stock car or strip machine again, or truck the country a couple of more times. I wouldn’t be as thrilled to haul steel, but something that wasn’t going to come through the cab might be worth considering. Sailing down the coast in a 40+ footer using the moon and stars as guides wouldn’t be so bad either. Or taking out the boat for a weekend soiree in a rainstorm with the sound of gentle waves fore and aft wouldn’t be so bad.

In addition, there is absolutely nothing in the world to compare with awakening on the beach to the sun’s spectacular beginning. The sand can be a little irritating, but then the benefits can be outweighed. Besides the sand be gotten rid of with a swim sans clothing. Or the smell of diesel fuel, oil and sweat after running miles and miles seeking the destination in order to rest. The adrenalin high of accomplishment by beating the last record matching machine and skill cannot be beat. Competition to be first is contagious.

It is nice to be able to review the past; but, to go back would not be the same. There simply is no going back. The future is tomorrow, today is past, yesterday is memory.

The best part about being able to look backwards is that though it had highs and lows I learned from every bit of it. Therefore, it makes the going forward not only easier but enticing and challenging. Every day it is a new beginning that starts with April’s blatting good morning, singing, dancing and greeting the animals in my barn. There’s little more that could be so rewarding.

Here’s the girls (Whitney looking at me) having breakfast of some great hay!

Bubba with the same great hay caught in the action of breakfast.

My darling ‘little’ goslings at breakfast.

There’s Tippy on the right and her ‘sister’ African that I have named Sylvia taking a break from breakfast to check out what I am doing.

And so it goes…
Copyright © 2011


Some people belong together…

Recently I noticed that some people belong together. I’m not particularly talking about couples, but groups and oddities. There are some people that just belong together. These people feed off each other and keep the cyclical stuff between them going. They seem to find some kind of gratification in their choices. There are the groups specific to a purpose, those that have a common interest, and the rag tags.

The groups that are interested in a purpose seem to be eagerly running amok espousing their causes. They post their causes all over the place. Name a telephone pole that doesn’t have one of their posters and it is one that they missed. I’m not saying that their causes aren’t worthy, but geez give it a rest. There probably aren’t too many people promoting abuse. In addition, I’ve yet to see a poster announcing support of illegal matters. The posters of animals torn to shreds, children beaten, and other equally disturbing subjects makes its point. If the cause is that important then do something about it and stop standing around screaming. I get it and I put my money in causes. I DO something.

On the other hand, there are those people that have a common interest, such as a hobby or vocation. They tend to gather and discuss. I have often wondered if the whole process of sitting around discussing makes them feel as if they are really doing something. There doesn’t seem to be a purpose for gathering except to discuss. Now it should be made clear that the definition of discuss to them might qualify as gossip; however, perhaps I’m not reading them correctly. There may be a good reason to discuss. I’ve watched from a distance to see that sometimes they actually do accomplish something like selling their goods. But at least they are organized, or give that impression. The back biting can be hazardous to one’s health though.

The rag tags aren’t particularly organized. These people bump into a group here or there and put their two cents in and then move to the next group. They tend to espouse a cause or express an interest and then disappear. They are the kind of people that cannot be counted on for anything. They are sometimes here and then sometimes there. It depends on where the wind blows or if it is profitable for them. They will take whatever anyone has available to them; but, they aren’t interested in doing much of anything. They are good friends with everyone though because they never know when they just might need something from someone. In addition, they like to put lots of smiley faces in their email and on Facebook. They hit the ‘like’ button on every entry in social media so they don’t offend anyone. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know the person to which they are responding it’s the ‘like’ that counts. It’s the cute comment and the fake support/concern. Oh yeah, I’d invite them to tea.

In conclusion, some people deserve each other. They need to create an environment of their choosing in order to continue their cyclical self-gratifying existence. Their abilities are to be admired and avoided, it is better to leave them to their own kind. A business associate recently stated it clearly to me, ‘stay away from them’. This is good advice.

And so it goes…

Copyright © 2011

Max in quiet repose…

Max in repose.

There was a strange quiet this morning. At first I thought the quiet was because I had beat April with her blatting morning greeting. And so I went about my routine in a state of questioning. Then it occurred to me that the land clearing up the road was not doing its thing. In fact it hadn’t been doing its thing yesterday either. The machinery was quiet. The trees were not crashing down to the ground vibrating the ledge under the house. There was only the regular parade of cars containing the every day people as they tarried off to work.

I thought perhaps they were just late, but then they started early at 6 a.m. every morning for the last month. It seemed ominous that they would alter their schedule as there are still many trees to cut to accomplish. However, who should tempt fate? I finished chores a bit late as I lingered throughout the barns dancing to the oldies, patting the heads/behinds of the ewes, rams, alpacas and moving chickens around from over the fresh laid eggs. No, there wasn’t the usual machine noise up the road.

Things were so calm it was almost unnerving, notice I said almost. I suspected perhaps they were taking a long holiday for the upcoming Labor Day. I thought that perhaps they were finished. Then I decided that I really didn’t care what they were doing because it was quiet. It was so pleasantly quiet I put the whole thing out of my mind entirely.

I went about my regular routine and then in the afternoon Anthony and Michael came to clean. The stupid wheelbarrow now has two flat tires. The ‘fix’ that was done earlier by someone else didn’t work. The filling of the tubes doesn’t work and that was evident as they are as flat as pancakes. So, the one hard rubber tire wheelbarrow was put into service. However, that wheelbarrow is one that is used for the ewes. The rams decided that not only it was a new wheelbarrow, to their way of thinking, but it smelled differently. Therefore, the struggle to keep the wheelbarrow erect made cleaning a bit difficult. I suppose the smell was so overwhelming that the rams were inclined to rub the scent.

The next thing is to purchase either a new wheelbarrow or two of the hard rubber tires. Then we’ll have to figure out how to get them onto the wheelbarrow which shouldn’t be that difficult. After all we figured out how to put new windshield wiper blades on the truck. Actually between the three of us we’ve become very versatile in putting things together.

I reflected a bit later on about the first time that I saw Anthony. He came here several times asking if I needed help. Every time he came I turned him down because I had someone, not particularly adequate, who was doing the cleaning. Then it was clear a change had to be made. I told Anthony to come back and he was here early. He has been here early ever since. Michael came later on and between the two of them there isn’t much that they won’t venture. They have a can do attitude that has been wonderful.

Michael started college today and Anthony is soon to follow. Meanwhile, it is back to algebra when classes start at adult education. Anthony will give me a hand at struggling through first year algebra. And the spring semester will come soon enough to launch Anthony into college life, too.

We fed all of the critters their evening meal and called it quits for the day. Then the quiet was again examined as I walked up the road with them towards the clearing. There were a couple of cars there but the machines were quiet. We wondered if there were men in the woods marking trees to be cut or what exactly they were doing out there. It sure was quiet though.

Later I ventured to town to gather a few things and found that the clearing crew is on another assignment down the road towards town. An ‘aha’ moment occurred as I realized that the reason for the quiet was that they weren’t there but at the other place. However, there are still many pieces of equipment up the road so they are coming back and the humming will start again. The property that they are clearing butts my back stone wall and I’m sure that they have figured out the lines. Meanwhile we will enjoy the quiet.

Max found a spot that needed attention, then went back to sleep because it was so pleasantly quiet.

And so it goes….
Copyright © 2011

Right sex, wrong pew…

A view near Albion of the mountains towards the coast.

The cool nights in the barns are being appreciated. The most apparent sign of contentment is that April doesn’t start screaming as early as usual. I think that all of the animals are more comfortable. I know I am much more comfortable with the warm days in the high 70’s low 80’s and then the nights are in the high 50’s or low 60’s which is great for sleeping. A couple of mornings I actually was able to get into the barns before they knew I was up and about. When I pushed open the alpaca girl’s door there was some excitement as I did my good mornings. All of the ewes were lying down and immediately rose to run out the door. That definitely was a ‘gotcha’ moment. It did my heart good to see that I finally got them before they had a chance to wake the entire town.

I was dancing that morning with the radio and there was a mood of high energy. Of course the ewes are exhibiting their cycle and the rams are noticing. I suppose that a little sexual energy combined with the cool nights tends to get things up a few octaves. Ever since the alpaca boys went visiting they have been eager to figure out a way to get back over to see the girls. I am pretty sure that the girls wouldn’t be thrilled, but the boys haven’t got a clue. Yesterday morning Bo decided that when I opened the gate he’d put the rush on me. He did get into the ewe’s pen and out the door. Then he was all miscabubalated about what to do because the geese house is there, too. So he ran back and forth trying to figure out what to do. Meanwhile the ewes weren’t thrilled with the invasion and began doing their own running in and out. I let everyone have a few minutes then grabbed the alpaca halter to get Bo out of his situation with the ewes, right sex but wrong pew.

I didn’t have to do much to gather Bo back up as the ewes were making him very uncomfortable. The best part was that the alpaca girls were standing in their door watching the whole thing. I think they were getting a kick out of Bo’s miscalculation. Bo went eagerly back in without even being haltered. Bubba and Blue inspected Bo seriously for his adventure. Then it was back to the normal feeding.

On Friday hay was delivered and stacked in the loft. I am enjoying the lack of drama when doing the business of purchasing hay. In addition, I can’t beat the help. I had gone down the road to get some grain and came home to find the loft being filled. It was accomplished with little to do. And I was left with the great smell of fresh hay. I have a feeling that everyone out there enjoys the fresh hay as much as I do. They all seem to know that the food has arrived, consequently there is less anticipation and noise.

Anthony and Michael came yesterday and the cleaning began. Then we moved the fencing around to allow the ganders (boy geese) to be on the fence line with the goslings (little girl geese). The first thing that one of the goslings did was to bite through the fencing at the ganders. We all had a good laugh over that one. The ganders were busy putting on the dog for the goslings with shows of their beautiful wing spans flapping in and out which lifted them a bit off the ground to their surprise. The African Billie held his head completely erect with a honk. In addition, their pools were cleaned, fresh water added that enticed all of the geese. The goslings were diving in and out and then parading a bit, too. It was fun to watch their first meetings.

Later, we got the pulley system installed in the goose house to keep the doors open for right now. And then a platform was created for them to be able to go in and out of the goose house. Michael is working on a drawing that we can use to paint the goose house.

The boys found a mud hole between them and the girls which they both used at one point. But nothing seemed as important as honking and strutting back and forth.

Here are all seven of them at one time in the pool.
And so it goes…
Copyright © 2011

In or out?

I think next spring I will fill the wheelbarrow starting with these pretty little white flowers. There are some blue ones left, but they didn’t do as well. However, I think I’ll try to add some different colors to the white ones that are flowing from the wheelbarrow. They certainly made a nice show on the corner of the house.

The petunias did pretty well, but not like last year. I will have to work on better hanging baskets for the porch. The impatiens didn’t do as well either in the hanging baskets as they are beginning to bloom well now at summer’s end. The coleus are beautiful and I’m contemplating bringing them inside for the winter. We’ll see how that works out as the seasons begin to change.

I had all kinds of good intentions for today; however, things went askew. It is a good thing that there will probably be tomorrow to work on the things that didn’t get done today. I suppose that is one of the good things about not having to pack up every day, get in the vehicle and tromp off to be locked into a place of work. I don’t miss that procedure at all.

In fact the idea of putting myself into a locked situation rather frightens me any more. I realized that yesterday at the faculty meeting. There we were inside Neville Hall on the University of Maine campus sitting around a table discussing. The company wasn’t the problem. I enjoy my colleagues; however, the idea that if I were to teach in-class I would find myself in a building and classroom with the outside out there. I would probably be able to see outside; however, it isn’t the same as being outside or the ability to go in and out.

I saw myself as a cat. I’m sure that the routine of an outside/inside cat that does not make up its mind at the door sometimes gets a little help to make that decision. But I pictured stopping at the door to enter and thinking about whether or not there would be the ability to leave. However, the reverse may be as decision wrought as well. In or out, what is it?

I’m reminded of people who are wheelchair bound as well. Is it in or out? If I’m unable to physically make that choice on my own then how do I get in and out? Do I muddle up to a door and hope that it will mysteriously open or shut for me? Automatic doors are on some buildings, but not all are wheelchair accessible. And certainly not in one’s own home, well, unless you’re able to have an elevator the size of a car installed which insures that you’d have access no matter what you were in whether it be wheelchair or one of a couple Cadillacs. I won’t have to worry about that because I’m not one of the 1% in the country that can afford a couple of anything and certainly not a luxury vehicle.

In addition, an in-class assignment has become more frightening through the years. It is important to know how to get out of a classroom in an emergency. The atmosphere in a classroom has changed significantly. The idea of being locked into a room with 20+/- students of unknown backgrounds, personalities, and habits leaves little room for error when challenged. The image of being dependent upon the opening of a door to escape without help is a dire consideration. This is not a world of civility in which someone will open the door, or offer to push the wheelchair. It is a frightening world.

Copyright © 2011

Tippy, et al

Here are the ‘baby’ goslings. Da girls!

There’s Tippy on the right with the black bill. She has grown so much, but is still behind her peer that is right behind her. Last night she had a dickens of a time getting out of the pool. Tonight when she saw me coming she got out without too much trouble. They certainly have grown more than the chickens.

The chicks are running amok in the loft right now as Ghost T has taken up residency in the big cage to the back. He’s thrilled with the chicks though and wants out so badly. Unfortunately the chicks aren’t old enough to be terrorized by him.

Then there’s Jack and Jill with their mother, Blackie. The little yellow baby chick makes a good deal of noise. I am not sure why it carries on so much. However, Blackie is busy running to the inside of the cage to defend her chicks. I don’t suppose she appreciates being down near them, I may have to move her to another spot.

They sure are little, but they’ll make up for it soon enough.

The day was quiet enough as the temperature in the barns reached 90 degrees, but tonight will cool off significantly as it drops outside. Some of the fans are turned off for the night because it will go down to around the 50’s. This is the first sign of an incoming fall. When we see the day time temperatures hang around 70’s and 50’s at night then it is a matter of time before the next season encroaches. It is welcome though. This is the time for fall to present itself. One of the best times is when the fans and the furnace is off. It is the time between that is so enjoyable.

Some of the trees out back have yellow leaves on them and are undoubtedly falling. The apple trees near the road and lower pasture are falling. The same trees have some yellowed leaves at the top, too. I suppose since some of the foliage has died back it is inevitable that fall is signalling its arrival. The ewes are responding to the change, too. Their little tails wag back and forth as their cycle has presented itself. The rams are somewhat interested because of their inability to get to the ewes.

I’ve transplanted the African violets into new pots and of course broke off a couple of leaves that went into their own pots to reproduce. The ivy has its own new pot to grow into during the winter. It hangs off the new shelves I drove into the space in the kitchen window. I’m considering bringing in a couple of the impatiens as well as the coleus for the winter. I’ll have to figure out where to make some space for them, but anything growing inside during the winter is welcome.

I don’t remember who said that it was a good thing to have flowers for the soul. But I do believe it is a good idea to have growing things inside when there is nothing but white blanketing the ground. My friend began a tradition of buying plants when we had a few bumps when we were in college. At the end of college there were few windows that didn’t have something living in them. Whatever our disappointments it was comforting to have a living, growing thing.

Sometimes disappointments are necessary in life. I suppose that without them there would be little to be thankful for in the scheme of things. In addition, it makes me find other avenues to pursue that may be more fruitful. And when in doubt buy a small plant to nourish.

The sun coming into the loft in the morning through the webs.

Or there’s always McMurray’s catalog to peruse….what’s a few more chickens?

Copyright © 2011


Someone said that the more things change the more they stay the same. I find that kind of thinking rather confusing; however, let’s take a look at it. While things may seem like they are changing the status quo is holding the reins and everything continues. I think that the only way that real change happens is if a person has the guts to strike out on their own. Yes, intestinal fortitude is the ticket. If its there then it gets used. But if it isn’t there then the same old thing happens over and over.

While the safe harbors of life are many it takes guts to make a change. One husband or another hated the word change. I suppose it was threatening to wander into something different. It probably was easier to keep to the routine of life set by the daily ticking clock. It is comfortable to know that at a certain time the bells will ring and everything moves in a different way. I remember high school as a series of bells and buzzers that everyone waited for in anticipation of bolting out of the room to escape the dull droning of a teacher. The first few weeks of school were always frightening making a way to the next class unknown what will be there. However, after a few weeks it was routine and comfortable to sit in the same seat, look out the same window, see the same students.

It is easy to sink into comfortable. Here’s my chair in front of the computer. The desk where the computer sits has traveled many miles with me. The contents of the drawers hasn’t changed much in the 30 plus years either. The bottom right hand drawer contains past writing. Next toward the top is a drawer of maps, then yearly date books. Finally at the top is a drawer for Max to sit in that has some miscellaneous cards and paper. On the other side the top drawer is miscellaneous stuff, then telephone books, odd and ends writing paper and finally the bottom drawer I haven’t opened in years. One of these days I’ll check to see exactly what is in that bottom drawer; however for now it is a very comfortable feeling to know that this desk holds the important bits and pieces of my life.

The top of the desk is a bit rough so I got a piece of glass from the back window of a Volkswagen. And under the glass are photographs of my sons, favorite pets, places, a US Bicentennial 13 cent stamp, things of comfort. In the many moves some of the photographs have been wet and aren’t as they were originally, but they are in the same places that they have been for over 30 years.

Every time I have moved I have left the contents, more or less, in the same drawers. It is a constant to know exactly where the things are in these drawers. It is comfortable to know that these things are here where I have put them. While it may seem rather disorganized the desk is within my comfort zone. It goes where I go, or at least for now.

While things have changed they have remained the same. In order to move out of the comfort zone it takes more than guts. Out of the comfort zone requires pushing the envelope. It is an exercise in launching into the unknown no matter what happens. There are no guarantees. The unknown is something out there left to each and everyone. It is up to the individual to take that step outside of the cozy, warm, same old routine.

I have no idea how many times I moved on plain guts. I have moved into an area without a job, basic services and hardly knew the roads. I’ve picked up and made the change. I’ve slept on the floors of a new place until I could figure out how to find a bed. I’ve hit the ground running to find a job to bring in enough money to support myself and my sons. I’ve faced some pretty stiff opposition.

My friend, Anna DeGuzman, said to me once as she hugged me good bye that I had more guts than I should possess. Then she told me that she wished she could do the same thing but was afraid. It isn’t the first time that someone has said that to me. And so it is that I said that this was the last move, but perhaps it isn’t. It may be that I have become too comfortable and need to shake it up again. As the seasons change they bring the urge to move again. I don’t know if it is the nomadic blood in my veins or the opportunity to face change again. What I do know is that I still have plenty of guts to make a change. While some people are unable to change I welcome the challenge to march to the beat of a different drum!

And so it goes…

Copyright © 2011