Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Snack Time with LuLu and Miss K

A few months back someone new joined our little homestead; a beautiful white goose. Her name is Lucy, lovingly dubbed "LuLu' by little Miss K. My mother's idea, Lucy lives on the 'baby pasture' opposite the laying hens and milk goat area in order to keep her out of their water troughs. Though unsure of her at first, her loud honking sound has become a welcome to us- for she and Doc (the donkey) are quite eager to alert us at any moment. Her call brings a loving smile across little K's face- for that means it must be snack time.

One thing Miss K learned very quickly is that Lucy loves to be hand fed. Whether a piece of bread, a palm full of grain, or a cracker, Lucy eagerly waddles to you and enjoys your offering. She even stands by ready to muddle the ponds when you clean our her pools. Miss K loves to spend time in the pasture with her LuLu.

Any given afternoon, Miss K loves to take crackers out to dear LuLu. Sitting there on a fallen log, K offers out a cracker, which LuLu eagerly snips a bite from.. then K takes a bite; then LuLu takes a bite; then K. This will go on until they run out of crackers.

One day, Miss K's Uncle Rams decided to take her out for snack time with Lucy. In an effort to join the fun, Rams took a bite from the cracker in K's hand, which is apparently a no-no. It seems the two jabbered and honked and scolded him good! After all, you have to be invited to Miss K and LuLu's snack time- you can't just invite yourself.


Monday, January 12, 2015

A Little Stitch Therapy (or The Day I Murdered My Machine)

The cold has finally won, driving me into the house in search of some color and life. Quilting seemed like a great way to get a little spring of life in my day. Everything was quite zen until everything fell apart and died.

Let me just say, if you hear a weird sound when you are stitching- if you feel resistance from the thread- STOP everything... and call someone not emotionally involved in the situation (i.e. a man). I did not stop. I attempted to repair the situation by starting over a hundred times before the poor machine just stopped responding to me.

From there, I still couldn't leave things alone. Instead I linked on to the troubleshooter web page and went into a full on panic at their advice to take the bobbin area apart for a good cleaning. After a few cups of coffee and a brisk walk- you guessed it- I braced myself and dismembered the poor machine one screw at a time.

It seems a small lamb had taken up residence there in the bobbin chamber and died a sad, lonely death leaving behind his fleece. The trouble shooter web guy assured me this would solve my problems. Doubtful, but in desperate need of finishing what I started, I proceeded to do what the back of my mind told me not to do. You guessed it. I murdered my machine.

No one was home to see the look of horror that surely crossed my face when the bobbin cover leaped out from under the fabric, followed by the bobbin case jumping halfway out- setting somewhat askew under the fabric where the needed was jammed down in the machine resulting in a giant hole in the fabric. There are no words people. No words.

A few deep breaths and a web cam pic later the trouble shooter guy completely gave up on me advising I stop touching the poor thing and let a professional handle it. This put me in "how to tell the husband" mode. You know the one. "Hey, honey, I know the car is broke down but, guess what- I murdered the million dollar sewing machine today and need to take it in." I know my man- this will not bode well.

Defeated and lying on the floor in tears, my phone interrupted the melt down. My mom with a little
'what's up?' text. Thumbs flew as I confessed my sins. Over pops Dad; long time sewing machine savior, confident he could resurrect my poor thing.

After quite a time of painful machine surgery and a little scolding about making sure I am not sewing with a bent needle (which, of course, I argued I was not doing- sigh)... he assured me the machine was up, running, and in perfectly good help. No further medical attention necessary. I was doubtful, arguing that the second problem was fixed, but there was a first problem that he hadn't dealt with. Not deterred by my fit, he left me- confident in his work.

Shamefully I confess there was a time of sipping coffee and pouting- putting off the inevitable 'test run'. Here.. for the whole world to see.. he was right. Clean bobbin case, new needle, and the thing works like nothing ever happened. I paid him in cake- home made, from scratch, pound of butter in the batter cake (and a hearty confession that he was right). I will never live this down.

In the end, stitch therapy did happen... along with a hearty dose of humility.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Peeling Back the Layers

Many of us in blog land tend to present a beautiful "all-together" life. Snaps of beauty float across our pages in the form of smiling children, cute critters, and the well manicured garden plant. Today, not for my own soul, but for others I peel back the layers and reveal a little reality in my life.

I live on a homestead. One that has trailers of various sized parked near the pasture, project supplies stacked by the shed for those projects we haven't thought of yet, and a fences that need attention. Animals do what animals do, leaving a never ending chore list and quite a nice compost pile. There are leaves, limbs and a few fallen trees which normal people would probably have picked up by now (I am enjoying the character in them).

My house is old. It is lived in and visited by real people; mess making people. Generally, I am okay with this (though occasionally I lose that contentment and fret over the chaos). Since creativity is encouraged, any number of tools, supplies, and projects may be on any flat surface at any given time. We are painters, builders, fiber artists and all out recipe testing herbalist mess makers. Over all, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I am horribly flawed and somewhat unsettled over many things beyond my control right now. Loved ones facing suffering, young adult children making painful decisions, the possible end to my job and my husband's. There are ideals in my head I want to make happen, but just seem to be unable to fulfill. Some issues have driven me to the point I can no longer pray, but simply sit silent before God and feel helpless. I am human- and far from all together.

This is not a post for me- or a plea for pity and compassion. It is a time to remind you, I am real... most of us in blog land are real. Our posts often reflect the little things we focus on to ease the pain of reality and shine light on each of our dark places.

Today, what every our circumstance.. whatever your reality.. please don't feel frustrated or less than valuable because your life/home/farm isn't what you are seeing here (or on any web sight for that matter). Behind every beautiful picture, there is a mess waiting to be dealt with.

So be encouraged, not discouraged. There is no perfect here.. just life.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Five things I am Doing Today

1. Sipping any hot beverage I can get my hands on: coffee, mint tea, and chai.

2. Wearing the front of a heat source...wishing the sun would come out.

3. Reading about natural pain therapy and spinal/disk health (not for myself).

4. Trying to break a creativity block- I hate when it hits me!

5. Attempting to draw up garden design plans for the many gardens I am so blessed to be part of (thus creativity block).

I hope all of you are in a warm place, surrounded by warm people, enjoying warm nourishment, and dreaming of sunshine and something creative!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Feeding the Frozen Soul

Baby it's cold outside! It seems an arctic freeze found it's way south- all the way down to my homestead. Not only did it freeze, but it seems we also have freezing rain- blah. Weather like this tends to lead many normal human beings to a place of desolation and emotional despair. I am one of them. This girl was born for sun light and green growing things- not grey freezing rain.

Days like this are the reason I am have been redesigning the greenhouse. In order to keep my soul fed during the dreary winter months (or, in my neck of the woods- dreary winter days) the greenhouse is under renovation in order to provide a warm, thriving environment for life and soul lifting color.

Last summer my guys and I built raised beds and a stone path in the existing solar greenhouse. Each bed has irrigation hosing burried in the soil of the bed for 'at the root' irrigation. With the beds in place, it was time for some plants. This year I completed my herbalist certification, so herbs seemed like the perfect focus for the year round greenhouse.

Today, the thriving plants offered a welcome and stimulating sight. Thi basil's purple bloom stands stately beside a new rosemary bush and my colorful cuban oregano. There is thyme, parsley, stevia and even some patchouli. These dots of life are braving the new territory as I test the plans!

So what's next? My coffee cup and I sat between the rows sketching ideas and jotting notes: ventilation fans added in summer, shade cloth for the top, many more herbs- of course!

Winter weather makes me weary, and the only way for me to keep myself sane is to focus my mind and energy in a project- preferably one that involves plants!

What do you do to feed your frozen soul during dark winter days?