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Our New Blog
...............Two Chicks On A Farm......Our New Blog

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thank You Dinner Doctor....now I'm fast, cheap and easy!!!

If we are what we eat then I'm fast, cheap and easy

Hi ya'll.  Well, it has been another hectic day at Harmony Acres.  I worked at the little store from 6 a.m. til 1 p.m. today (a friend dropped by and gave me broccoli and yellow onions from his garden) and Becky left early for a 5K run in Tulsa.  She arrived back home before I got off work so she got to feed our critters today (she feeds and cares for the animals on the weekend to give me a desperately needed break).  When I walked in the front door after work, the wonderful smell of fresh cut vegetables greeted me.  Becky had prepared a delicious salad to go with the boneless oven baked chicken I brought home.  Lunch was great!

Speaking of food,I have a new favorite cookbook: 
Quick Cooking When Time Is Short-The Dinner Doctor
It has always been a struggle to prepare healthy delicious meals without spending hours in the kitchen (until now).  This book is the answer to the busy woman's (or just tired woman's) prayers.  536 pages of canned, frozen, boxed, bagged & ready-made food for over 230 fast, fresh-tasting dishes.  The salad section alone will provide healthy meals for us for a month.  This is creative cooking at it's Simple Living very best.  Finally, someone who understands me and my chosen  lifestyle (work outside til I'm ready to drop, then work inside a little more).  Even in my most extreme state of exhaustion, I can prepare a quick and delicious meal in under 30 minutes.  What a treasure this book is.  From appetizers to soups, salads, comfort food, main dish, one dish, pasta, breads and let's not forget desserts.  Even what you need to have in the pantry, freezer and fridge to prepare the meals is included.  This lady gets an "atta gal" from me.  Cooking made simple.  She is my new mealtime heroine!  Now I can't wait to get in the kitchen and prepare a meal. 

Many of my neighbors and friends stopped by the store today to see how my ankle surgery had gone  and if I needed help with anything.  Several offered to bring their chainsaws and cut up and remove my sad fallen willow tree.  I love country living.  

My father asserted that there was no better place to bring up a family than in a rural environment.... There's something about getting up at 5 a.m., feeding the stock and chickens, and milking a couple of cows before breakfast that gives you a lifelong respect for the price of butter and eggs. 
Bill Vaughan

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Great Dachshund Escape......

Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend.  ~Corey Ford

It's another cool, cloudy day in Green Country.  With more rain in the forecast for the Memorial Day weekend, I will try to do as much as I can today because I have to work this weekend at the little store.  Also, the stitches are being removed from my ankle this afternoon.

Today, Becky and the other members of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Emergency Response Team (CERT) will be helping the relief effort in Haskell, Oklahoma.  A tornado touched down there on Tuesday; destroying several businesses and knocking out power to the the town.  Some members of the team had just returned from Cleora, Oklahoma which had been hit earlier in the week.  The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is a tribal government located in east central Oklahoma. The Creek Nation boundary includes eleven (11) Counties: Creek, Hughes (Tukvpvtce), Mayes, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Rogers, Seminole, Tulsa and Wagoner. Where there is a need...........
This country girl (Becky) can do it all, ya'll.
From soil sampling to computer geek to book review writer.
Taught her everything she knows. (Not really)
Yesterday afternoon we had a situation.  When I let my weinners (dachshund) out of the house into the backyard, I didn't notice the storm had blown the gate open just a little bit.  It was enough.................  I still had my nightgown on doing some housework.  After about ten minutes, I checked on them.  No weinners.  I went into the backyard calling them.  No weinners.  My heart stopped.  The weinners had instigated an escape.  This is only the second time (the first time was years ago when they first came here) they have even been out of the backyard.  Fear grips me.  Where are they?

Running through the house (I can't go outside anymore without having pants on, had some land cleared you know)  I grab the first thing I see (pull on joggers) and slip on flip flops.  Dashing out the front door, Gypsy thinks we are playing and follows me.
Gypsy thinks the weinners are crazy and should never be paroled.
Weinners are in the pasture and when they see Gypsy with me, they try to attack her.  She runs, they chase her, I chase them (two weinners) with my sore ankle hurting with every step.  Wow! They are all  faster than me. Ten minutes of terror later, I have a weinner under each arm, supported by my hipbones, with Gypsy nipping at Gigi's tail.  What a disaster!
Just as I step in the front door with a weinner under each arm, my joggers fall down around my ankles.  Oh, darn! Now what?  Kicking them off in the floor, I lose my grip on Gigi and she jumps down and starts chasing Maggie.  What a disaster! 

Noah (dark red) is finally incarcerated and the chase is on for Gigi (dappled color).  Running through the house half-naked, the chase is on again. When she is also finally  incarcerated, I give them a stern scolding.  Limping to my recliner, I try to recover from all the  drama.  Lord, I hope you are keeping track and giving me lots of gold stars for all the trauma I suffer with all these stray animals you sent us. 
CAPTURED!!!  Doggie jail time for the weinners.
Dachshunds are ideal dogs for small children, as they are already stretched and pulled to such a length that the child cannot do much harm one way or the other. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Life In Tornado Alley........

If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm,
you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.

It was another gut-wrenching, heart-stopping, hand wringing night as deadly tornadoes tore through Oklahoma and our neighboring states.  This line of storms, containing numerous super-cells, extended across the entire state of Oklahoma with only a tiny gap in the monster. 
At least something is enjoying all the rain.
We do not have a storm shelter so many of our family, friends and neighbors called urging us to join them in theirs.  After seeing the devastating damage in Joplin and viewing the radar images, I was inclined to agree with them.  I am like a cat on a hot tin roof when storms approach.  My terror knows no limits. Such is my life in tornado alley.  I have gathered pillows, battery operated radio, charged up the phones and placed the flash light where I can find it.  The bathtub awaits our arrival.

A number of years ago, our home was hit by what the insurance appraiser called "straight winds".  The barn was destroyed, shingles torn off the roof and huge trees brought down in the blink of an eye (even though it seems like an eternity when you are huddled in the bathroom). Becky was in the bathtub with one of the dogs and I was sitting in the floor with my back against the wall (I could feel the wall shuddering under the pressure of the storm).  Scary stuff!

Becky, however; reacts in a logical (smarty pants), informed manner.  I'm walking the floor, looking outside, wringing my hands and worrying myself sick.  She, on the other hand, is doing laundry and reading a book.  What! What! Apparently, I see danger and she sees a storm miles away.  It makes for an interesting situation.  I want to wring her neck (she needs to show some concern) and she just wants me to chill out (I need to show less concern, I'm sure she would like to wring my neck).  When the storms finally arrived, it was as though the hand of God reached down and cradled our community (again).  The line of storms split, going on each side of us.  Giving profound thanks to God, I went to bed.

O.K. I've told you all this to get to my point (bet you thought I'd never get there, didn't you?).  Got up this morning, grabbed my coffee and cigarette (mediation, you know) and stepped out to the front porch.  At first, everything seems fine.  Lawn statutes still standing, tomato plants still in pots on bench, all outside animals just fine. 
And then:  Holy Cow!! Holy Cow!!  I rub my eyes to be sure I see what I see!  Our huge, long standing, much beloved willow tree is laying on the ground!  I yell for Becky (I'm highly excitable, so she does not become alarmed when I yell).  We both stand in stunned silence!  I really wanted to say "I told you to be scared. I told you so. Mother knows best" but I controlled the urge. 
Too much rain, shallow root system and wind equals disaster for our willow tree.

The remnants of Becky's meditation garden.

A little further over and it would have taken out the electric pole and transformer!
 We were fortunate to just lose one tree.  There are many others who lost so much more, including their lives in the deadly storm outbreak this week.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are suffering.  Simple Living is about caring more for others than yourself and times of trouble can bring out the very best in some of us.  We can't give or help those in need enough.  God be with you.
"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 (NLT)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Everyone has a price - mine is chocolate.

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... It's about learning how to dance in the rain.  ("with chocolate") 
 Vivian Greene quotes 

Good Morning from Harmony Acres!  The sun has decided to play hide and seek with us this morning.  We are in that icky drying out stage, again.  It has rained so much that the ground cannot hold any more water and nothing will drain in the house (getting more than a little tired of this).  My yard looks like a jungle and there is nothing I can do about it. But there are still many things that I can do today.

I cooked fish last night (getting more than a little tired of this, too) so the house has that disgusting lingering smell.  Need a smell good fix quick so I go to Becky's site and grab a recipe for Homemade Simmering Orange Potpourri.  That smells really nice.
This smells heavenly (much better than fish).
While I was at her site, I also looked at the really cute free apron patterns she has listed.  I may have to dig out my sewing machine and try one (I am a mini-hoarder, so I have plenty of material somewhere).  I love aprons!

The dogs are all mad at me because we are out of dog biscuits.  Once again, I connect to Becky Cooks Lightly and find a dog treat recipe (she has a lot of cool stuff there.  not just recipes). 
Maggie and the Wieners love these.
I am still somewhat limited by my ankle surgery but really need groceries (funny how I always have the stuff to make dog treats but can't find a piece of sandwich bread in the house).  However, a trip to Wal Mart with people crashing their carts into my sore ankle is just not something I can wrap my head around at this time. Becky says we are just fine (she likes yucky fish and doesn't care if we don't have meat; I don't consider fish real meat) but I think not! 

I have no candy, chips, soda pop, buttery popcorn or any other calorie laden heart stopping good stuff!  I'm going into withdrawal ya'll.  A couple of more days of this and there won't be anything left of me but bad hair, bad ankle, and bad attitude. Somebody (anybody) drive by and throw me a couple of candy bars!!!!  Save me!!!

My first chore of each day is to release the pups from  their overnight pen.  I have come to dread this because they are untrained (I call them the goon squad) blue heelers.  This is my fault entirely. Yes, that is correct.  They drive the cattle (or in my case, the people) by biting at the heels (or in my case, my sore ankle). They have grown so much that I can hardly stand up when they jump on me. 
Mischief and Pickles just waiting to jump me!
Their way of saying "hello, mom, we love you".
Update on grocery situation:
I found 5 boneless chicken fillets hidden in the freezer.  This will make two meals for us.  Tomorrow I will make chicken and dumplings but today we will have a feast.  Marinate half of the chicken fillets, pulled a few green tomatoes from my half price tomato plant (fried green tomatoes) and instant red mashed potatoes.  Then I have the ingredients for homemade garlic cheese biscuits.  O.K. it ain't five star rated but it is good enough!

Chocolate is the answer.  Who cares what the question is.
  ~Author Unknown

Friday, May 20, 2011

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. ~Chinese Proverb

A room without a book is like a body without a soul.
(We have no rooms without books)
My home office bookcase.

One of the bookcases in the living room.
We have books laying around everywhere!
Many of our books are leather bound gold leaf so they have priority.

Kitchen bookshelf.
It's a new day at Harmony Acres and I'm feeling much better today.  Yesterday, the pain from my ankle surgery was excruciating.  I took a pain pill yesterday morning; to no avail.  Luckily, one of my neighbors dropped by in the afternoon and brought me a red beer (beer and tomato juice).  I rarely drink alcoholic beverages (have enough bad habits, don't need another), however; under the circumstances, I made an exception (really glad I did).  Another friend called after he heard (at the little store) that I was having problems with pain (he offered to bring me a bottle of whiskey). 

Becky asked if anyone offered to bring me an herbal remedy for the pain.  Yeah, right.  We live in cowboy redneck heaven so homeopathic remedies would not even be a choice.  A nice big steak, maybe (there aren't a lot of vegetarians around here either).  No matter.  I slept like a log last night and feel like a new woman today. 

One of the bookcases in Becky's room.
As we sat on the front porch, drinking our beer and talking about our gardens, it occurred to me how fortunate I am.  Good friends, good neighbors, a nice vegetable garden, a happy home with lots of happy critters and a daughter who is a true blessing.  Simple Living certainly agrees with me!

Today is a perfect day for reading (cloudy and raining).  The sound of thunder assures me that I have made a good decision. Seldom do I take the opportunity to relax and do nothing. These are some of the books I plan to browse through and take notes from today: 

The Backyard Orchardist
Stella Otto.

The Old Farmer's Almanac Book of Garden Wisdom
Cynthia Van Hazinga

And The Waters Turned To Blood
Rodney Barker

For Mother's Day, Becky gave me Perry Stone's How to Interpret Dreams and Visions.   I am so excited about a day of reading and  relaxing.  My breakfast is ready (two boiled eggs, a multi-grain bagel smothered in oven roasted red pepper hummus and blueberries) and coffee in my favorite cup. By the way, I buy my eggs locally from the Allison family because they are from contented Baptists chickens. Oh Dear! Rain is pouring down outside and I am now ready to retire to my recliner in the garden room.  Life is good!

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience : its the ideal life.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Surgery Day...... Hell with fluorescent lighting.

How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
~William Shakespeare, Othello, 1604

Well, it's done!  I had my minor ankle surgery yesterday.  My fear knew no limits. Every beat of my heart said "run, run now, run, run, run". My own personal hell on earth.  This is how it went down:
The before pic of my gross ankle:
I arrived at David and Vicky's house at 2:00 p.m.  We decided Vicky would drive me to the doctor's office and Brother Dave would stay home and work on the peacock pen (that's a story for another day).  We arrive at the Doctor's office about 2:40 (this is important as you will see later in the story).  There are three ladies already there ahead of us.  Hang in here with me here because it gets a lot more interesting and there is a lesson to be learned. 

And we sit, and we sit, and we sit.  Finally, about 4:00, one of the ladies ahead of us marches to the receptionist window and says "Cancel my appointment"  young lady at window politely responds "would you like to reschedule?" lady in a huff says "no" and stomps out the door.  Vicky and I look at each other and say "two left ahead of us now".  Then one of the nurses comes out and tells us "Dr. Robison is on his way from the hospital where he had to perform emergency surgery".  I'm O.K. with that.

He arrives in the office around 4:30 and immediately begins to see patients.  They save me for last.  An older lady (yes, even older than me) comes out in a little while and starts to leave.  The receptionist (God love her, she should get hazard pay)  says "Mrs. _________ you have a $30.00 co-pay today."  The lady goes off in a matter of fact tirade that it should be free since she had to wait three hours. 

I've told you all this so I could put forth my opinion on the situation.  I understand that my doctor is in high demand because he is so good at what he does (would you want to stop to eat at a restaurant where there were no cars parked?  I think not?)  So when I go to his office next week to have my stitches taken out I will pack snacks and water in my purse along with a good book.  Instead of wasting our time fuming about things we can't change, perhaps we should take a mental time-out and enjoy it. 

This is what I think: What is more important?  Taking a cyst off my ankle (it's been there 2 1/2 years already)  or saving someones life at the hospital?  The choice is clear to me. 

So, we get to the little room and Dr. Robison comes in and has a nice chat with me (I'm sure the overwhelming scent of my fear is in the air).  At long last we have a name for the knot on my ankle!  (big medical word I can't  pronounce) cyst.  It's a cyst! That's why he gets the big bucks.  After playing "name the knot" for two and a half years with other doctors who simply say "Gee, I don't know what that is"  it finally has a name. Cyst.  Now, we can get down to the business of removal.  

I turn my head away so I don't have to see the needle going into my ankle to numb the area.  I'm thinking one injection and we're done (good thing I didn't look because there were injections all the way around the ankle).
Blood droplets from the multiple injection sites! Yikes!

This is what came out of my ankle. Cyst! Ouch!
Looks like an alien life form, doesn't it?
When the cyst was removed, it was placed into a little jar and then packaged in plastic bag that said "bio-hazard".  Now, I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen to the bio-hazard (maybe, send it to Santa Claus and he can re gift it to me in December?) but it is now called a "specimen".  Later I found out they send it to a lab for testing.  That's O.K. with me.  The real shock was the lab charges by the size of the "specimen".  What? What? What?  Now, wait a minute.  The U.S. Postal Service has a policy "if it fits, it ships for one flat rate."  But the instant a cyst becomes a specimen, the value of the little devil goes way up.  We live in strange times!

My ankle after cyst removal.
Time to stitch her up, kids!
There were seven stitches inside (Vicky said you don't count those, but let me tell you, I count every one of them) and eight stitches outside.  Now, it's time to wrap up the ankle and go home with no pain medication (he said take Ibuprofen).  I was awake all night.  The Ibuprofen didn't help at all.  I need to be medicated!  Scrounging around in the medicine cabinet, I found pain pills left over from two years ago.  That's right!  I took them!  He vastly underestimated my tolerance for pain!  I'm whining and I deserve to whine! 

Dr. Robison was kind and gentle throughout the procedure; checking with me often to make sure I was not in pain (if I had known what was really going on, my mind would have conjured up pain).  He was worth the wait and I would not hesitate to use his services again.  Thank You Doctor and Thank You Vicky for being there for me.  Now I want everyone to show the proper shock and horror at my experience and give me tons of sympathy and tell me how brave I am.
Fear is the lengthened shadow of ignorance.  ~Arnold Glasow

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ants In My Pants!! Yes........really!!!

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle.  I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. 
We're starting out slow and easy this morning at Harmony Acres.  It's a little damp and cool outside today and no one (the cats and dogs) wants to get up, yet.  This will give me time to meditate (smoke cigarette and drink coffee) on the front porch as I watch nature slowly awaken to a new day.  The morning sunlight filtering through the trees gives a dappled effect to the canopy of life co-existing in harmony here (birds, rabbits, squirrels, cats, dogs, etc.).  We are at peace.  Simple Living at it's best. 

Roses always make me smile.
But there are chores to be done today, also.  So, of course, I must make a list and prioritize because I am just one little (well, not so little) not so old, limping (the ankle you know) lady with a lot to do.
My most pressing issue today is  Eastern Tent Caterpillars (first thought they were bagworms) in my Red Delicious apple tree.  Wouldn't you know that the year we decide to start a mini-orchard is the year every pest known to man decides to attack us.  I need to read the instructions on the fruit tree spray and seven dust I bought to see which, if either, will get the job done. 
After doing some research, I have discovered that I have to remove the squiggly, squirmy things by hand.  Oh, Yuck!  Double Yuck!  Anybody have a Haz Mat suit I can borrow?  I hate worms and their not so distant cousins, snakes!!!!
This is what I found in my precious apple tree!

There was a nasty little surprise waiting for me inside the web!
So I gear up to do battle with caterpillars (plastic bag, plastic gloves).  I am expecting to see squiggly worms when I puncture the web (worms are big enough I don't need my glasses to see them) but I see nothing at first but all these little round egg looking things.  And then:  an army of black ants are running all over me (I was about ready to shuck my clothes and didn't care who was looking) and the tree was instantly covered in black.  What! What!  What the heck! Nothing I read said ants would be in the web. So I run and get the spray and try to drown them (my first thought was "ants can't swim, can they?"later I read not to spray them but in my moment of panic that was my gut reaction).  It's too early in the day to deal with such things.  I need to meditate (smoke cigarette and drink more coffee) to recover from this unexpected attack.

After recovering from the savage ant attack, I decide to do some research.  I love books but when I need information fast;  I always google. 

This is what I discovered: 
There are all kinds of home remedies for ant invasions.  Baby powder, petroleum jelly, cinnamon, curry powder are just a few.  I use commercial pesticides reluntantly and only when there is no other choice (have you ever read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring?) Most of the things listed, I already have on hand.  The next four days have a chance of rain included in the forcast so I can look forward to the little beggers attacking my inside living space again.  There should be a rule that stuff outside stays there.  Oh Darn!  There is a tick (filty blood sucking little beggers) crawling on me.  Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Hold on a minute till I can do a tick assassination.  Ah....the splendor of country living.

I have learned a valuable Simple Living lesson today.  Never assume that Nature will act or react in a manner consistant with my experience.  I know nothing! Nothing I tell you!   

When written in Chinese the word "crisis" is composed of two characters - one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.  ~John F. Kennedy, address, 12 April 1959

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Boil? Abscess? Cyst? Who Cares? Just Go To The Doctor!

"Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died."
 Erma Bombeck
(Good Advice, I think)

Did you know:
The human foot combines mechanical complexity and structural strength. The ankle serves as foundation, shock absorber, and propulsion engine.
The foot can sustain enormous pressure (several tons over the course of a one-mile run) and provides flexibility and resiliency.
The foot and ankle contain:
My point here?  My ankle hurts!  The convenience store a couple of miles down the road was closed today so guess where everyone migrated?  That's right! The store where I work.  Now, you will recall that I am having minor (yeah! right! if it's on me, it ain't minor) surgery on my ankle this Thursday. Everyone keeps saying "what is that? a boil? an abscess? a cyst?"  I don't know, ya'll!

I was wounded when I started my shift and I was downright crippled when it was over. Ever been in that place where you don't know if you need to throw up or pass out?  Or both at the same time?  (Did I mention the wound on my ankle ruptured three days ago? I thought I was going to be sick) 

Gag factor alert! 
If you have a weak stomach, don't look at these pictures.
This is what the rupture looked like.
No Kidding!  I'm going to be sick.
That is the real stuff that came out!
Oh, my gosh!  I really do have a blocked chakra!

This is how it looked  one day after the rupture.
I'm going to be sick!
I am all about Simple Living. But there comes a time when the home potions, herbal remedies and magic spells just aren't working. And the Chakra doctor lives in another country and doesn't make house calls.  It's time to call out the big guns!  Doctor! Doctor!  Somebody get me a doctor!  If I had gone to the doctor two years ago when the swelling first began to cause me problems, I would have been healed by now.  Therefore, the moral of this sad but true story is:  don't wait to see a doctor when you have a pain that doesn't go away in a short period of time. (Sister Joyce, I'm talking to you about that knee)

O.K. I'm going to put my big girl bloomers on now and stop being a whining crybaby.  But before I go this is my last piece of advice for the day:
Don't ever google the surgery you are going to have because they will show you a video of the procedure (in living color. I thought I was going to be sick).

I would rather have a small measure of doubt about how bad the doctor is going to hurt me. (just a note here.  the last doctor who stuck a needle in my foot received a swift kick in his manly parts).  Instead, now I know exactly how he is going to slice and dice me.  (I think I'm going to be sick).

The doctor is to be feared more than the disease.
Latin Proverb

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Problems are only opportunities with thorns on them. ~Hugh Miller, Snow on the Wind

Joy is a return to the deep harmony of body, mind, and spirit that was yours at birth and that can be yours again. That openness to love, that capacity for wholeness with the world around you, is still within you.
Deepak Chopra
A peaceful tranquility has settled over Harmony Acres this morning.  It's as though a small slice of Paradise has been found and dropped around me in Keefeton, Oklahoma.  A multitude of various bird songs fill the air while a light cool breeze plays a delightful tune on the wind chimes.  Rabbits are grazing on the grass throughout the yard.  Multi-colored flowers abound; giving the sense of sight a profound joy. There may be chaos in the world but here there is only harmony.  There is nothing money can buy that will equal the simple pleasures I find here. (Believe me, I have tried throughout the years to fill my life with stuff so I don't feel the nagging pain in my soul of "something more" out there. The "something more" was here all that time.)
Becky's Meditation Garden is doing great!
Only problem: she hasn't had time to enjoy it, yet.
After meditating on the front porch for a while (smoke cigarette and drink coffee), I am ready to plan my day (sort of).  Nothing is set in stone around here, so I just work at whatever I want whenever I want.  Today I want to work in the yard (I think).  The safety guard (that thing where the cut grass blows out of the mower) came off my riding mower so I will need to put it back on before I start (duct tape and baling wire).

O.K. It is now two days later (Wednesday)!  A number of things have been happening so I will try to catch you up. I did mow the yard, for two days and $22.00 worth of gas (it used to take less than that to fill the gas tank on my car).  We live in strange times.  During one of my meditation breaks (cigarette and Dr. Pepper) as I was sitting on the front porch, what did my wandering eyes behold?  Snake!!! Yeah! That's right! Snake!!!  I spring into action!  Shovel, lopper, heart attack!  (The "do no harm" rule does not cover snakes).  And what do you think the cats are doing while we are under attack?  Sleeping in the shade.
Yes, now I know it's a harmless Speckled King Snake.
But it scared the living daylights out of me.
Pushka hides from snakes.  She can't be bothered by such a thing!
Roma, Cherry and Arkansas Traveler Tomatoes are doing fine.
 My ankle has been causing me so much pain (I have rubbed every know herb and potion I could think of on it; to no avail) that I finally surrendered and made a doctor's appointment (the initial injury was 2 1/2 years ago).  I have four medical related allergies:  Penicillin, Needles, Doctors and Outrageous Medical Cost.

So for the last two days I have been busy getting everything in order so when he does minor surgery on my ankle I won't be worrying about stuff.  The entire yard is mowed, fruit and nut trees sprayed for fungus, built fence around container garden (it ain't pretty but it will keep the rabbits out), pushed mowed my brains out so everything would be tidy and put out snake and ant granules. 
And then:  His office called and rescheduled my appointment for next Thursday (the 19th).  Therefore, I will need to repeat this entire process again next week.  Darn! Darn! Darn!  I will view this as an opportunity with thorns.  All my yard work is done for the week (thorn, blood and sweat) and it looks great.  Now, there is time to relax and read a book (opportunity).

A Short History of Medicine
2000 B.C. - "Here, eat this root."
1000 B.C. - "That root is heathen, say this prayer."
1850 A.D. - "That prayer is superstition, drink this potion."
1940 A.D. - "That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill."
1985 A.D. - "That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic."
2000 A.D. - "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root."
~Author Unknown

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mom's Last Gift of Love.............

Mom lived her life for love of friends and family,
Neither asking for nor wanting a return.
Her days became a sunlit homily,
With others' joy her joy and main concern.
When we were ill, she also became sick;
When we were cut, she, too, began to bleed.
Of our oil lamp she was the wick,
Drawing her bright flame from our need.
Some say that such behavior's out of date:
That self-fulfillment is the way to grace.
But Mom, without much choice, then chose her fate,
Finding greater truth in an embrace.
She lives on in the sparkle in our eyes:
Laughing, quiet, gentle, loving, wise.
Mom, Dad and I had always been close and when my daughter Rebecca was born, she became the apple of my parent’s eyes.  Becky was five years old when Dad died in 1978.  He passed away at home so I sent Becky to a relative’s house before the ambulance arrived to remove Dad from our home.  When Becky came home she wanted to know where her pa went.  I explained to her that the angels came and took him to heaven.  She accepted that without question because he had been sick for several years.   Even at her very young age, she understood that he was at last free of pain.

After Dad passed on, Mom was very dependant on others because she could not drive a vehicle, write a check, make a long distance phone call or conduct most business transactions.  All she knew how to do was work.  Mom never dated or remarried so her family was her life.
Mom loved to eat.
There were times when she would drive me crazy with her behavior but there was always a deep love and respect.  By the way, I now look just like my Mom and find myself on a daily basis doing the very things she used to do that made me nuts.  Becky sometimes says “Mom, your doing that Granny thing” and I pause and realize that she is right. Sometimes understanding comes when one grows older.
Mom’s downward spiral began when she broke her hip.  As she was laying there in the floor with a broken hip, she refused to let anyone call an ambulance.  She fiercely declared that she was O.K. and just needed help to get up.  I did mention that she was very stubborn didn’t I?”  This was only the first of many, many trips to the hospital. 

As the years wore on, Mom’s health slowly declined. Her worst fear was finally realized when she could no longer live on her own; and with no other options available due to circumstances we all wished we could change, Mom moved into a Nursing Home.   Dementia gradually set in with numerous close to death experiences with far too many falls and stitches to count. 
Days gone by.  Me, Becky, Mom and Dillon (dog).
It was the most painful thing in my life to see my Mother lose her sparkle and last, but not least, her sense of humor.  Slowly she became locked in a world where I could not go.  She was alive, sort of, but I still could not release her to death.  Sometimes there was a light in her eyes that would say “I am still here, talk to me” or that slight smile at something I said about Becky. It was as though her body had betrayed her and left her helpless with a mind that was still active and a soul waiting to go to its true home. 
One Saturday night in August 2009 I had a very vivid dream which I clearly remembered the next morning. 

In the dream the entire family was on safari in a barren land. Mom was riding in the lead jeep with Becky and I in the jeep behind; the rest of the family in the remaining jeeps following. Suddenly the lead vehicle stopped and Mom got out and walked toward us. I got out of my jeep and met her. She looked at me and said “Linda, I have to go.” I was very confused and I said “Mom, I don’t want you to go.” She replied “I have to go now. I can’t stay.” With that she returned to her jeep and they left the caravan and drove off into the sunset.
Becky and her Granny.
Three days later on a Tuesday night the Nursing Home called and said Mom was having a bad spell.  As my brother, sister and I exchanged phone calls deciding who would go to the Nursing Home this time, we received another call saying the danger had passed and she had improved drastically once again and was going to be alright.  Twenty minutes later the Nursing Home called to inform me that my mother had passed away.  Even though I had expected this moment for several years, the actual passing of my mother stunned me. We immediately traveled the short distance to the Nursing Home to say goodbye even though we knew she was already gone. 

I spoke with the pastor who was with Mom when she died.  He shared his experience with the family to give us comfort.  We all knew Mom had been unable to turn her head or focus her eyes for many months.  However, just before she died, she turned her head and focused her eyes intently on a place above his head as though toward heaven.  I feel the angels had once again visited our family to take a loved one home.
I existed in a state of shock for a number of days.  Then one day I remembered the dream and Mother’s visit to say goodbye. Her last Gift of Love.  Both the vivid dreams and the remembering had become very unusual as over the years my life became more and more hectic and my deja vu moments became few and far between.
Mom and I. 
So when is a dream more than a dream?  One never knows. I feel that it is best to always be open to the possibility that there is more to a simple dream than just a dream. 

Mom is still with me every day.  In the way I turn my head, the structure of my facial features, the color of my hair, my sense of humor and many more little things that mark my life with her continued presence.  Mom will always be in my heart and someday  I will meet her again at Heaven's Gate.  Love you Mom.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Meditation Garden For Becky

Tension is who you think you should be.  Relaxation is who you are
 ~Chinese Proverb

I had such high expectations this week of completing several projects.  The most important one was a meditation garden for Becky.  She is in California this week and I wanted to surprise her.  However, that was not to be.  But I got a pretty impressive start on it.  Her favorite color is pink so I chose pink calla lilies and rose quartz pebbles (pink of course)  for a decorative touch.  Hostas give the garden a cool, serene feeling.  The frog fountain water feature adds just the right touch to bring balance.  Her secret place; embraced by the healing touch of the willow tree she planted many years ago. 
Step One:  Find the perfect place and visualize.
Step Two:  Get shovel, donkey pooh and allergy medicine.
Step Three:  Lay it out and make adjustments.
Step Four:  Place plants into the soil and top with rose quartz.
Step Five:  Take pill for backache.
Step Six: Go back to Lowe's.
When I started the project, I had plenty of plants and quartz.  Then it grew and grew and grew.  So I ended up with half of what I needed.  Oh, well.  Another trip to Lowe's will be just fine (rather shop there than the mall).  I still need cushions for the seating and another round of plants and stuff.  I can't wait till she sees it!  I can almost see her sitting there writing in her journal.  New poems to write. New stories to tell.  A peaceful place to meditate and dream (very Zen).  Wind chimes fill the air with soothing sounds and birds add the sweet sound of peace.  Butterflies flutter by seeking the fulfillment given only  by a beautiful garden.
Harmony acres can't wait to welcome you home.
Love ya, Beck.
A place to think and write and embrace nature.
A place where the soul can heal.
"There's nothing more spiritual than watching what you've planted in the ground.  You plant it, you nurture it, and God provides the sun and the rain and helps it to grow.  You see the absolute mystery in what God has given to us in growing things ... also the absolute beauty.  There's beauty in the simplest of things --the flowers or the bark of a tree.  Sometimes it behooves us to stop and look."
-  Sister Christine, Natural Spirituality

You can take the boy out of the country but..........

............you can't take the Country out of the boy.  My Brother Dave has a problem with boundaries.  To him, they don't exist.  And if they did, it would be imaginary lines made by people who really don't know anything anyway.  Brother should have been born in the wild west.  He lives within the city limits of a town, which shall remain anonymous for obvious reasons, but lives like there are no rules that govern him (not something new).  He has mellowed over the years but the rebel remains.  If you tell him that he can't do something, he will show you he can (it's in the DNA we all got from our gene pool. Becky and I got a full measure, too).  I'm telling you all this before I present the following pictures:
Two windmills and solar panels on top of his garage...
in town.  Only Brother.......
He built all that from scratch. It appears the electric company made him mad so he will make his own electric (makes you wonder what would have happened if the gas company made him mad).  The real heart of the operation is inside the garage (one of several big ones).  Batteries, wires and other scary looking stuff are scattered about in the back.  You can tell he's been simmering and thinking about this for years. Nephew Jimmy helped him put up the 30 foot  one.  Jimmy said "he's crazy".  I said "I can't believe it took you 50 years to figure that out!"   Power to the little people!
Just a side note: when he got his electric bill, it only went down $10.  There had been a rate increase. Yikes! 

And then there's the donkeys.  To see Brother Dave being so gentle and loving with the miniature donkeys is a sight to see.  He treats them like you would a small child.  I left their homestead with a feeling of pure joy!  He understands the principals of Simple Living. 
Vicky holding Mandy (one pampered pooch).
And then there's the long suffering city girl wife, Vicky.  Over the years she has learned to let him do his "thing" whatever that may be.  Their home is open 24/7.  You never know who you are going to run into when you stop by.  Vicky is the ultimate "hostess".  She's got manners.  One always feels welcome there. Their successful marriage confirms that opposites do attract.  A trip to visit them always makes me happy.  Needless to say, my big brother is my hero.  Always has been, always will be.  He has what they call "charisma". Love you Brother.  And thank you Vicky for being a perfect fit into our sometimes dysfunctional family.  Love you, too. 

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. 
Dr. Seuss
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