About me...

Because this journey is intensely personal, there will be times when my posts will be about more than just rebuilding the physical aspects of my life. They may be random and sometimes I think they may not even make sense to some. But whatever I post here will be as honest as I can make it, no punches pulled, telling it like it it. I hope that I can share some insight with others who might be going through a similar transitory period in their own lives. With luck and perseverence I know I will eventually successful in my new life. I have very high hopes for all of this but then I had those when Dave was alive, too. I am naturally a pretty optomistic person, I think.

Getting ready for the 2010 season

I am kind of relishing the cold wet weather that has been back for the last two days because I don't have to feel so guilty about wanting to stay in the house. Having a couple of warm days to work outside was nice, I guess, but it is supposed to be cold this time of year and I simply longed to be inside, piddling around the kitchen or working on my cookbook. I don't get much time like this so it is important to me to take advantage of it while I can.

I did a bit of work in the greenhouse and some other mundane outdoor chores while it was warm, but it just didn't feel right yet. I got tomatoes and a couple of other things seeded in flats, so that there will be plenty of plants to go out when it warms up in April, so that was good but overall I just wasn't into being outside yet.

Jack Russell Alarm Clock

There hasn't been much exciting things to post about the Farm lately, so I think I will just take you through an ordinary winter morning here. This was originally posted 3 years ago, same time of year, and nothing has changed much. I don't know whether that sounds good to most people, but to me it sounds like heaven.

(Originally posted in December 2007)
First of all, we get up with the chickens or in our case, the Jack Russells, which it is just about the time the sun comes up. If the Russells sleep in, so do we. Since there is no time clock to punch here, we pretty much take the day as it comes. Most summer days we are up at 5 am or earlier, but at this time of year, it is too dark and cold to get up that early, so things move at a little slower pace.

I get up first, usually, unless the Farmer has something to do. I am one of those people whose eyes fly open early and then they are AWAKE. No lounging around in the sack or going back to sleep. That drives me crazy and I don't know how people can do that. Anyway, I get up and immediately get dressed because there are 5 dogs waiting to go outside for their morning constitutional.

For the most part, our dogs are outside, but once it gets to around 40 degrees at night, they all come in for the night. Because we follow a routine that is almost a ritual, getting everybody out is not a big deal. Of course, we aren't quiet, so the Farmer is not far behind in getting up. Usually all this is happening about 6:45 and it has been COLD for the past couple of mornings. We come back in and three of the dogs go back to "bed". Wish I could. They will get their breakfast a little later and as soon as it warms up enough, they go to their outdoor kennel to run and play some more. Maggie and Jack are usually wherever we are and Callie goes into the kennel closest to the house. She is the official guardian of the Farm, so she spends her day patrolling the perimeter of her kennel (which is right by the chicken lots), taking long naps in the sun or barking at those big, funny looking dogs in the back pasture (they are actually dairy cows from the organic dairy next door).

After the dogs settle in for the rest of the day, it is time to feed the chickens. That doesn't take but about 20 minutes and is so boring a chore it doesn't warrant more than this sentence. After the chickens, I feed the barn cats their breakfast. Like the dogs, if it is cold, they are huddled up in a pile and reluctant to come out, so they get fed later in the morning.

The feline matriarch at our farm is Garbo and she is mother to anything and everything that comes around. She even catches mice for the dogs. The first time I saw her do it I thought she was just playing with the puppies through the fence. But when I went closer, she was actually pushing the mouse into the pen with the puppies, just like she would have done with her kittens.

A couple of years ago, she stole a litter of kittens from another cat and when I went to check on her kittens in her box on the back porch, there were nine kittens instead of 4. She raised all of nine of them. The mother of those kittens was a little sad stray somebody put out and she was wild as all get out and a terrible mother. I think Garbo sensed that and decided to step in. She has never done anything like that, either before or after that time, although she once mothered a baby squirrel for a week.

Garbs is also a big cat, bigger than most toms. She is not called Garbo because of shyness but rather because she has given new meaning to aloof and haughty, even when referring to a cat. IF she is in the mood to let you pet her, you better be prepared to do so at your own risk because if you don't pet her properly or for the amount of time she has allotted for your attention, she will grab your hand (or anything else handy) and hold onto you until you start up again. While I don't think she means to do any harm intentionally, a 15 lb cat can hurt you with their love. The good news is that if you never start petting her, she will accept that and leave you alone.
This is Garbo . Garbo showing her love. Ouch.

Once the dog, cat and chicken chores are out of the way, it is time to think about human breakfast. Most mornings we just grab a bowl of oatmeal and an egg, but sometimes if it is really cold and there isn't much to be done outside, I get into domestic mode and make a "country" breakfast. I am very good in the kitchen, but breakfast has never been my favorite meal and so it is not my forte'. The Farmer, on the other hand, loves breakfast, so this is the one meal a day we usually collaborate on, if we are doing something more than the oatmeal thing. I like to make whole wheat pancakes with homemade blueberry orange syrup but he likes the whole boat...eggs, grits, biscuits, sausage, fruit, you name it, he will eat it!

Winter Wonderland

This morning I looked out my kitchen window to a veritable winter wonderland. Our backyard rolls down into a hollow and then back up a steep bank, much of which is treed with mostly old oaks and some huge poplars. Since the angle of the sun and the shade of the woods keeps out most sun this time of year, it takes a long time for any accumulation of snow to melt completely. That has given the woods a kind of jigsaw puzzle look, one of those with greyed out pieces.

The trees in my particular view out that back window are huge old oaks and a couple of grandfather poplars, so there isn't much undergrowth because these trees keep it so shady much of the year that not much grows under them. Because of that you can see much of the animal activity that occurs there. Coupled with the fact that there is an open pasture just over the rise and a thick, thick stand of planted pines on the other side of the pasture, you have the perfect place for much of our local wildlife to cross safely from one stand of trees to the other. This time of year, the outside dogs are on the back porch, warm and snuggled up in their kennels, so there is nothing to disturb the morning comings and goings of the local population of wildlife.

This morning, I watched 6 deer pass from right behind my house, into the pasture and on into the pines. They are not afraid of much this time of year and since this is a fairly protected spot for them, they linger as they pass. Deer are browsers and so curious about anything that might be edible. I watched them stop and paw at the leaves looking for some little morsel underneath. Unfortunately, today I think all they might have found was frozen solid but maybe not. Even as cold as it is, under the warmth of decaying leaves, things are sprouting and alive. Just the other day, I raked aside a pile of leaves and found several acorns with long, pink sprouts splitting their shells. There are many, many acorns in the woods and they feed a host of wildlife, from wild turkeys to the deer. Squirrels here have no fear of going hungry, even if they forget where they buried their own stashes, with the bounty available to them.

We also have several pecan trees in our backyard and the bluejays love them. There were not many pecans on the trees this year but high in the branches, the jays find the occasional nut and it is always interesting to watch them trying to crack them. I counted 9 jays on the tree just outside the window and more flying back and forth between that tree and two of the other ones. Flitting, bright blue birds on a morning as cold as this was really beautiful.


Winter has come in like a lion this year. It is so cold here this morning that it felt like my eyeballs were frozen by the time I got back in from taking the dogs out. But, even though I was really, really cold, I have to say that the sunrise was worth every shiver.

There is a pretty heavy cloud layer this morning because we have another system moving into the area so the sunrise was sort of weighed down by a blanket of periwinkle blue clouds. Under that blue mantle, the sun was just coming over the horizon (what I could see anyway) radiating with a glorious blending of red, pink and gold, so that everything was bathed in this intense copper glow. There is a dense line of pine trees at the back of the field across the road and they looked like they had been dipped into rose gold. It didn't last long, but I found myself standing there, holding my breath for a bit. I was so mesmerized that I forgot that it was 14 degrees.

It is at moments like that when I have no doubts that there is something Greater than myself in the Universe and I am always humbled by those moments.