Friday, April 30, 2010

Deep Hankerings of the Rural Sort

I think I was born a bit too late.
I hanker so for a simple, quiet country life.
I'm really making strides in accomplishing that, but there's still too much 'noise' in my life.
I just want to wear dresses and aprons.
I want to tie my unruly hair up in kerchiefs and wear clunky shoes from the 1940's.
I want 'town' to be very far away.
As in a day's journey.

Did you ever hanker for something so badly it made your stomach hurt?

Some of my followers may recall my cow hankerings.
You can read about that here.
I still hanker for a cow - so much that I can smell it.
The kinship I'd form with that said cow would be unbreakable.

I want to depend on myself for food, clothing and shelter.
Except for coffee - I mean, let's not get carried away.
I'd grow my own coffee beans if I could.

I want to own a barn like this.
I want to hear the wood creak in the wind, and the windows rattle in a storm.
I want to herd the chickens and cow safely into the barn when the sky gets dark.
I want to hear my cow, Esmerelda would be her name, lowing quietly whilst I milked her.

All that said, this is my latest deep hankering.
A washtub and a wringer.

I love laundry day.
I love hanging my clothes on the line.
Time seems to stop.
I feel self sufficient.
I shake my fist and laugh at the electric company, and the gas company.
Take this Northern Indiana Public Service Company!

There's something delicious about using your own homemade laundry soap and vinegar to wash your clothes. I mean, besides your towels exfoliating your skin when you dry yourself.

You feel (at least I do) liberated.
Liberated from consumerism.
Liberated from depending on others.


Is that a bit dramatic? Feeling whole and liberated on laundry day?

I think not.
I'm sure that my great grandmother felt liberated the day she went 'on the grid', I'm sure she was thrilled to have running water and new-fangled appliances. But like so many things, we take a good thing and run it right in the ground.

I don't feel liberated.
I feel enslaved to electric bills, heating bills, and a high tab at the Piggly Wiggly.

How do I check out?

One small decision at a time.

Here's a small decision you can make today.

I've tried a few 'recipes' and this is my favorite.
I like it because it's a liquid, and it only makes a few gallons at a time.
I don't like the idea of a 5 gallon bucket of laundry soap - I'm not the Octomom after all.

This recipe will make 2 gallons. It seems more manageable.
I make it in my empty cat litter jugs.

Just promise me this, if you would - when you make it, shake your
fist at the sky and holler
"Take THIS Proctor and Gamble!"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Garden

I wanted to share some pictures with you of my gardens past.
This is where I've been lately.
Besides, Aaron has taken over my computer with his blog, so I'm lucky to be here now!

There is a possibility that I will talk about my garden, and soil, and plants until we are both blue in the face.
You are warned.

I never planted anything before I moved here, and my first few years gardening were an epic failure.
Gardening is in my blood though. My mom gardened, my aunt's gardened, and from what I've been told, my paternal grandmother lived for her garden.
I wish I could have known her.

I bet she would have liked me.
I used to be able to spout off all the botanical Latin names of every plant in my garden.
Not so much anymore - I've been reduced to 'you know...that red flowering thing over by the chicken coop'. I need to brush up on my Latin again.

In 1995 I went through the Purdue University Master Gardener Course.
It's good to learn and study about gardening, but it doesn't compare to getting your hands dirty.
I lie awake at night dreaming of new areas to put in. In the wee hours of the night, lying in bed, I'm sure I can handle a few more perennial beds.
Then comes August, and I rue the day I planted them.

There may come a day when someone needs to cut me out of the house.
I may get grown in.
I want to smother in flowers.

The garden is a living entity to me.
It greets me every morning.
Tucks me in every night.
I imagine being old, wrinkly and crooked, out in my garden with my trusty fork, tending the same perennials I planted in my youth. Memories will flood my soul as I remember where I got them, and perhaps I will have a massive heart attack as I try to plant a bush, and I will die, right there, with fork in hand, and a smile on my face.
I've told Glen that I don't want to be buried, I want to be composted.

I'm happily enslaved to my garden.
Most of the time.
Sometimes I do have to threaten it with RoundUp and even stomp over to the shed shouting 'Don't make me get the RoundUp'!

I care more about what my garden looks like, than my own appearance.
I'm more embarrassed if someone comes and finds weeds in my flowers than I do if they come and find me in my pajamas with mascara on my cheeks - which is pretty much what I look like all the time.

I'd be happy to answer any gardening questions you may have!
(Kathy - please re-send your email-I didn't get it!)
PS - Has anyone had trouble with the blog background being completely black?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why Yes, I Am the Bee Whisperer.....

First things first.
My haircut.
Here I am under the crabapple showing off my honey cookies.

Here's a side view.
I have to admit, I'm liking it.
It was a bit traumatic yesterday, and I almost chickened out.
Today I feel liberated, and down right sassy.

Here I am before:

I've always had serious hair issues, and something tells me they aren't over yet.
This morning when I woke up, I felt like a bit like Julie Andrews in a Concentration Camp.
I don't know how to 'fix' my hair.
I've never learned.

On to bigger and better things.

Bee Class Numero Duo

This is what I feared would happen to me today.

Fortunately, it didn't!
Instead, I fell in a trance with the bees.
I'm in love.

Just look at this sweet little face.

Apparently, there has been a rise in the interest of beekeeping.
Ed, the Vice President was telling me that the size of the club has doubled this year.

It was a perfect day for it.
Calm and overcast.

Here, Mark, the president is showing us how to find the queen in the queen case.

Here's Ed, the VP. He's a super guy.
He totally has a crush on my neighbor.

Here's my neighbor Danielle.
She handled those bees like a pro.
My hands were a little.
There's something about live bees crawling around on your bare skin, that makes ya shake a little. I've never been stung by a bee - a wasp yes - and it was most unpleasant.

I found the humming sound of the bees so calming.
I already want a few more hives.

Ask me if I want more hives after I get stung.

This lovely picture is the only one that was taken of me during my bee installation.
See that look of determination on my face?
Perhaps it's fear.
Aaron tells me I have the same face for every emotion.

Seems that beekeeping is a male dominated hobby.
At least in our club.
I'm aiming to fix that.
I'm bringing doilies to the next meeting, and my fine china.
What this club needs is a little feminine OCD.

I have to confess to one thing that is bothering me about keeping bees.
My hive.
It's supposed to be facing Southeast.
It's going to bother me that it's sitting crooked in the yard.
I've said it.

Miracle of all miracles.
Glenco came to club today.
If he's interested in beekeeping, he's not telling me.
He's always so aloof about things.

I do think he's interested in Coop Keeper keeping.
I think he'd take a sting for me.
Thanks Glenco.

Aaron is having a ball with his blog.
You, dear friends and readers, have gone over and above in your encouragement.
I've got to find a way to thank you!

I'm in a really good place with my yard work right now, and I'm so looking forward to making my blog rounds and seeing what you've all been up to.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This and That

Friday Morning.
Is it just me, or is time flying?
I want to thank you, yet again, for your kindness towards me this past week.
Helen has left a hole that no other critter can fill.

I also want to thank you for sticking around my blog, and reading, while there hasn't been much to read about! I'm in a really good place right now with the yard work, and should be back to posting much more often after this weekend.
I want to share my garden preparations with you. I have high hopes of a beautiful, country garden, brimming with sunflowers, zinnias, and assorted farmgirl flowers.
Makes me weak in the knees just thinking about it.

The news today is that Aaron has started his own blog!
He's been so encouraged by your comments.
If you get a chance, pop over to Pixel Perfect and see what he's up to.
He would love to hear from you, and I do mean love it.
I think this will be a great creative outlet for him, as well as a learning experience.
I have to keep my paws off of it though.
I never realized what a control freak I was. (yes I did)
I'm all up in his blog saying 'oh, post that other picture, it's better' and 'now, make sure you use the correct punctuation, and I really think it's supposed to be Marmie and me, not Marmie and I". God forbid, I'd squelch his creativity and spark, so I'm hands off. I nearly cried at what he wrote today, I love reading his perspective of being here, and being homeschooled.

My plans for today, in the midst of teaching Aaron the Coriolis effect, global wind patterns, and diacritical marks, is to make homemade hamburger buns, sloppy joes, and a batch of Honey Cookies to take to Bee Class tomorrow.

I'll be in the presence of about 400,000 bees tomorrow.
What are the chances of being stung?

I'm also planning on filling the house with lilacs today.
I want a bouquet in every room.

This afternoon I'm getting a haircut.
A hair CUT.
Not a trim.
A 'style'.
I'm as afraid of that as I am the bees, maybe even more so.

It's a gorgeous day here, I hope it is where you are too.
I'm going to take the time to savor it, I hope you do too!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

R.I.P - Helen

Helen, age 1, beloved chicken of the Coop Keeper, passed away suddenly yesterday evening. She leaves behind no relatives, but many friends and followers.

Helen, known for her infinite wisdom, sweet demeanor and pure heart, will be sorely missed by her owner, her coop companions and friends.

May we all take a great lesson to heart from the life of Helen the Chicken. Disabled from a gruesome raccoon attack, Helen faced her disabilities with grace and strength. She never gave up her mission of spreading love, tolerance, forgiveness and peace to every one she met. She always put others first and never complained.

The coop was a better place because of her.

A private service will be held in the coop this afternoon.
In lieu of flowers, and in honor of Helen, we ask that you show your condolences by loving your family a little extra today. We are sure that this is what Helen would have wanted.

Rest in peace sweet Helen.
This world was not your home.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Let's Catch Up....Shall We?

Good morning blog friends!
I'm alive!
It's such a busy time of year, as I'm sure you all know.
I'm going to give you a few highlights of my last week.
I hope you don't mind this post being short and sweet.
You see, it's daylight out, and I've got to get a shovel in my hand.

The ducks continue to delight me to no end.
It's hard not to smash them a little. They are so darned squishy.
I wish you could feel the plumpness of their breasts.
I went to Tractor Supply last Friday to acquire more of these delightful creatures, but alas, they were sold out, and I took it as a sign from above.
Stop the madness, Jayme.

Aaron took all of the photos in this post. I think he did a great job!
He's such a delight to me.

Most of my time is spent in the yard at the moment.
12 hours yesterday.
I love it.
Most of it.

This is the time of the year where it's hard to find balance.
Food? You need food?
Clean clothing? You need that too?
My mind is all about the garden.

The magnolia tree is most splendiferous this year.
The frost didn't kill the blossoms, and the wind hasn't blown them away yet.
This may be the best year yet for it.

This guy (who is crowing this very minute) is a joy as well.
I'm SO glad I got a rooster.
It was difficult at girls...well, they were pure.
Now they are not.
I've not personally witnessed the deflowering of Helen, so I'm still convinced at least she is a pure bird.

Scarlett is another story.
Trampish, you might even say.

This is a bit of a fuzzy photo, but I wanted you to see a portion of the fence that I've been toiling over. Oh my Lord, this fence is going to be the death of me yet. Anything that could go wrong, has.

But it's so necessary. Those bucolic photos of chickens scratching around the yard - you know the ones - the ones that look so old fashioned and romantic?
Ya. Those.
Chickens + Gardens = Disaster.

He still is nameless.
I call him Buddy.
'Hey Buddy'
I don't know what breed he is, do you?

Names suggested:
Jesse James

I just love this photo.

And this one.

This picture represents one of the biggest blessings to come from my blogging.
I've reconnected with one of my childhood friends.
Cynthia and I were best buds in grammar school, and remained friends until I moved to Indiana.
We lost touch.
I'm not even sure how or why.
Boy does she have the dirt on me.
I haven't laughed that much in a long time.

We spent Friday afternoon together and the hours flew by.
She baked me a pumpkin bread in a cute vintage Pyrex.
Love that girl!

Ok...the following pictures may be too much for some of my younger, more sensitive readers to handle.

Seriously? Will you look at these bunnies?

I can't even look at the pictures without my stomach hurting.
Talk about wanting to smash something.
It took all my willpower not to just squeeze them to death.
It's a very long story how I got my hands on bottle fed baby bunnies.
I'll spare you the details.

I think I need to have an animal shelter/rehab here.

I just can't get enough critters.
Just call me Ellie Mae.

Well dear folks, the sun is up, and that means, I'm out in the yard for now.
The chicken coop needs a good cleaning, and I'm still working the flower beds.
Today 2 pounds of worms arrive for my vermicomposting project.
Saturday is the second Beekeeping class, and I'll be picking up my hive.
'hep me Jesus.

Just remember: