Saturday, November 21, 2009

reflecting back with gratitude

Life has had it's hard moments, this past year especially. Family dynamics have changed somewhat as one realizes they cannot live their life for anyone but themselves regardless of how that makes others feel. We all survive and go one and adjust. It's what we do and have been doing for centuries.

It's been the most unusual year and the most surreal one of my life, not to mention the hardest. The shock of Coop's death and the loss I felt afterwards are indescribable. The death of my mom, dad, sister or brother cannot even come close to what it felt like to lose Coop. No one can truly understand that unless they have lived with and loved someone for that long and realize who they are as an individual is completely wrapped up in that other person...and then in an instant that person is gone, unexpectedly, forever and forever life is changed. Life becomes alien, unfamiliar and everything you do is now surreal because that other person isn't there...when you drive in the car or shop for groceries or come home or fix dinner or go to bed or get up in the morning. Every action, every though hurts because it is a moment to moment reminder of how life has been altered...premanently.

But then, slowly you begin to adjust and have good days in between when tears don't come as often. And you realize that you have a huge place in your heart, as if the love you have known has expanded your heart, opened it to the possibility of experiencing joy and love again, that feeling love for another does not take anything away from the love you have known nor decrease it in any way. Love knows no limits or boundries and loving one does not take away love or limit love for another. Anyone who has children understands this quite well.

I am just thankful for the love I have been given in my life from my family and friends...most especially from my children, their spouses, my sister and and from Coop and Mark. I wonder at times what I might have done to deserve the love of so many and the two wonderful men I have been priveledged to love and be loved by, but then life is strange that way. I don't think it's a matter of deserving really, but more a matter of allowing.

I am grateful for all the goodness and love in my life despite the dark days of the past year. I recall even then, being so very grateful for all the people and blessings in my life as I went through that period. I continue to feel gratitude for each day that I am given to be here, alive on this earth to experience all those things that make us human.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ch..ch...ch...changes

Ok, so I have that David Bowie song in my head as I type this post to all of my good friends in cyber space.

First of all I wish to say how very much I appreciate all the kind words and support sent my way in response to my last entry and the changes in my life. You all are wonderful and have made my heart very happy.

And now again I am signing off to venture forth into the next phase of my life. On or near the first of October I will no longer be a resident here at the homestead, but will in fact be moving and making my home with Mark. I guess I will have to change my blog title to something other than "from my homestead" as I will no longer be a country dweller. Talk about change! You know me, I would prefer to be in a rural place and perhaps someday that will again be possible. But for now, this geographical change is secondary and it is good and necessary. And it's not like I am moving to the big city so I know things will be just fine.

Life can be funny (not necessarily haha funnny, but funny) and unpredictable and boy don't I know that. I just feel so blessed to feel alive again, to experience such love and light after such sorrow. I wanted to let all of you know that my life is continuing on in a wonderful way and that I appreciate all of your comments, your visits and especially your friendship so very, very much. Be happy and be good to you. I'll be seeing you in the funny pages. :)

love, Sallie

Monday, August 17, 2009

a new chapter in my life

It's been more than three months since I last posted here. To say a lot has changed is an understatement. My entire life shifted when Coop passed away unexpectedly. And now, life is shifting again, but in a very positive direction. I have met someone special and over the course of the last several months have established a wonderful relationship with said person. And believe me, I have been judged and applauded for allowing love into my life so soon after Coop's demise. But, if you remember my words here, you'll recall I mentioned what I knew to be true, that I had a heart full of love to give and at some point in time I wished to establish a relationship again with someone deserving of that love. Well, to my surprise that has happened and I most definitely wished to share my good news with you.

Mark is a gentle man, well seasoned in the heartache that life often brings and as such is the most caring, compassionate and ego-less man I have ever met. He is a retired college English instructor and poet. It seems as if we were made for one another. We share so many idiosyncrasies and have such similar likes and dislikes that it feels as if we have known one another forever. Our relationship is one of total comfort.

As I mentioned, I have been judged and applauded for entering into a relationship so soon. Those who have judged obviously do not know my heart nor the amount of grief I've worked through and experienced. They do not know the emptiness I have felt, nor can they understand the depth of soul searching I have gone through. On the other hand, those who applaud my new found relationship understand that life can and does go on and living and loving is the essence of it. To those who judge I can only say this, I hope you never have to go through such a loss and such grief, but if you do then perhaps you will come to understand. To those who stand by me with happiness and encouragement I say, thank you for honest and loving support.

In the end all I can do is be grateful. I was so very blessed by the love I had known with Coop which I will carry with me and treasure forever. As both Mark and I know, Coop will always be a part of us and our life together. Now, to know the gift of love again is such a miracle to me. I count myself a most blessed person for knowing and experiencing great love and devotion twice in one lifetime, something so special that some may never know at all. That is a miracle.

The past week was a celebration of my 54th birthday. Mark came to spend the week with me and make it special, which he did and it was.


just two old and very happy hippies

If anyone is still reading this blog, I appreciate it and will continue to share as the latest chapter of my life unfolds. Over the next couple of months my life will be shifting in other ways as well.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

to my friends

The days have kept me busy and away from blogging as is apparent. However I do wish to say how very much I appreciate the comments, thoughts and prayers that have been sent my way. If I don't always acknowledge you, please take no offense. I do acknowledge you in spirit.

I have decided to step away from blogging at least temporarily. I do so want to get back to sharing with you on a more regular basis those things which brought me to this place initially. However, my focus has been elsewhere as of late while I strive to recreate my life and deal with responsibilities on my own that once were shared by two people. With more responsibility comes less time. Right now I am still making preparations for my daughter, grandaughter and son in law to move in sometime in June. I have lined up a part time job as well and need to get busy with other options I have available for bringing in an income. It's funny how everyone assumes once you become widowed that there is some kind of benefits to follow. Not true. There is nothing available until you are 60 which I am not. Thank goodness Coop and I did simplify our lives and I know how to live simply and frugally. Even so, I am challenged.

Some of you commented about the recent Easter holiday and how it might be difficult for me with Coop being absent from my life. It was not because we did not regularly take note of the Christian holidays. However, Mothers Day will be somewhat of a challenge as will Fathers day. The hardest one I think will be my birthday and next year when our anniversary arrives. I don't know how I will get through those days yet. For now I am grateful they aren't immediately looming over me. Each week, in fact often each day brings me new challenges and old memories, yearnings for what was. I know I can't go back and change things, bring them back to how they were. That is the most painful thing of all. My life as I knew it is over and now I must begin again or in the least carry on. There are moments when I know I will make it, I am after all a survivor. There have been other times, moments of utter darkness when I was afraid I wouldn't, didn't even want to, and have had thoughts no one wants to hear about. I even tried grief counseling for awhile and that made me feel worse yet. No one can fully understand the pain of another's grief because that experience is uniquely based on the relationship that was. And despite how much support one has from family and friends, we are still very much alone in life, especially at times like this because it is always our own personal experience.

I did not mean to ramble on so. It is late, I am tired and feeling melancholy. I miss the intimacy of what once was. I stay up late at night until weariness forces me to rest, else I lay in my bed alone, sleepless, missing the comfort of my husband lying next to me, even when I know rest is essential and the morning will bring responsibilities and work that will tire me even more. It is what it is until it ceases to be like this. So my friends, peace be with you, take care and know how much I love and appreciate your presence here with me. I will leave the blog up in hopes that someday soon I will return with greater focus. I do so mean it when I say thank you for everything.

love, Sallie

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Time, Life, Love, Change

Yesterday marked two months since Coop's passing. It has been difficult to say the least. The worst part is feeling so out of balance and without focus or motivation despite the fact that I have much I need to focus on, primarily my own survival. Time, it is my friend and my enemy. It helps to heal the trauma and the pain as it slips by, yet it can never be recaptured and continues to bring us closer to the end of life as we know it.

Slowly I am making changes in my life. My dearest friend has helped me along the past several weeks, encouraging me every step of the way. We have gradually made changes to my bedroom, allowing it to become my own so I can fall sleep a little less painfully at night. I have cleaned closets and sorted things as much as I have been able. I still have reminders of Coop's presence throughout...jackets and hats still hang near the basement door. I took them to the basement to be washed some time ago, but retrieved them only to hang them back in their proper place until it felt right to remove them for good. There are times I need to bury my face in them and cry my tears, to breathe in what little is left of his earthly presence.

I miss Coop so much, his presence, our shared affection. Despite how we much we appreciate the love in our lives, we never fully can understand the entirety of that appreciation until the object of our affection has been taken from the picture. Oh, the love lives on, in fact it is the only thing that isn't transitory. That is what cause such heartache and makes it so hard to accept the absence of a loved one. Love is the only thing that is truly real, of value and worth living for. That is the one prominent thought I have had since life has changed so abruptly for me. Everything else is just stuff that, although it may lend a level of ease or enjoyment to life, it is really of little value in the end.

It is early yet in the days of my sorrow. But having known a good, solid, trusting and meaningful relationship and having my life shift so quickly, I do know this...I would wish to eventually establish a similar relationship with another at some future point in time. My heart is still full of an unlimited amount of love and an even deeper of appreciation of it. And so I want to say this to you...

Appreciate the love in your life to your maximum ability. Don't take for granted all the little things that could one day cease to be a part of your daily experience...that morning cup of coffee poured for you, a shared laugh or kiss or hug. Be more spontaneous, more affectionate, make love more often and more passionately, let things go because the small stuff really doesn't matter in the end. Truly enjoy the presence of your loved ones as much as you humanly can. We always think we have tomorrow but the truth is, we only have today. Sometimes tomorrow changes everything and I would not want you to miss out on the fullness of love and life you are capable of experiencing right here, right now today.

There are only four questions of value in life. What is sacred? Of what is spirit made? What is worth living for and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same: only love.
~Don Juan de Marco

Monday, March 30, 2009

this and that

I am getting a little better now at getting back in the groove of day to day living. I have been able to keep the house in order and maintain a grip on those daily responsibilities like dishes, laundry and such. I have even begun to cook again. I know, that seems like a given but the loss and the grief have taken me down at times to a point where I did not want to get up.

I still have hopes of putting out a substantial garden this year. Unfortunately I have not started my seedlings and it's likely I will be purchasing my tomato and pepper plants this year instead of growing my own. I would not attempt a large garden for myself this year but my daughter and grandaughter will be here to help. Arrangements have been made and it appears my daughter, SIL and grandaughter will be moving in sometime within the next several months. Hard times for everyone indicate this is the best choice with the most benefits for everyone concerned. It will be an adjustment to say the least but not an impossible one. I have a lot of work to do in preparation for them. It feels a bit overwhelming, but no more so I suppose than the preparations they are making to leave their world behind and join mine. All I can do is my best and take it one day at a time. That and remeber to breathe. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

time

Time keeps passing. I keep taking what seems like terribly small steps ahead into my future. My family and friends continue to support me in so many ways and I am filled with humbleness and gratitude for the love they show towards me. My nights are not empty and alone because of them. I am able to talk, cry and share my concerns and voice my confusion in the comfort of their love and presence. My gardens are turned under because of them. My financial needs are not an immediate concern because of them. I am getting through this all because of them.

My mind still roils in confusion much of the time. Scattered thoughts, a feeling of being disconnected, loose ends and lack of focus are commonplace. I eagerly await a time when I am more focused, have more intention than just getting through an hour, a day or a week. Yet time keeps passing and I know that I am making some progress. I still have not picked up my crochet or read a book or created something beautiful for the simple pleasure of the act itself. I will eventually. I have hope, in fact moments of extreme optimism, sometimes for a couple of days at a time. I take one step forward and often two steps back. I hate that the process of grief is long and unpredictable. I have to accept that this experience and this process is simply what it is and is something that I must go through. I can't fix it, make it disappear or rush it. It is frustrating, maddening at times and is something that challenges my very essence.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

dear friends

Has it been almost four weeks now since my dear Coop departed this realm? Seems impossible that such a span of time has passed. I am doing ok, all things considered. Just trying to figure out my new version of life, feeling lost and overwhelmed a lot, wondering how I will support myself as well as how I will live without the love and intimacy of another. I am having good spans of time as well in which I feel a sense of optimism. The company of good friends and family members has been the greatest help to me. Friends allow me to talk my way through an evening, listening to all my attempts to define how this feels. They allow me to cry when the sorrow or fear overwhelms, offer hugs and words of wisdom and encouragement as well as giving me the ability to laugh again. I truly do not know how I would have gotten this far without them...without you. I just wanted to let all of you know how very much I appreciate your support and the comfort of your words. Dear friends, nearby or here in cyberspace, you mean the world to me.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lend Me Your Hope


video

http://www.lendmeyourhope.com

When Canadian singer/songwriter Monica Joy first read the poem "Borrowed Hope", she immediately felt compelled to set the words to music. With a passion for walking alongside those in crisis, she wondered about the author's story, as the poem she received was anonymous.

When Monica chose to include the song on a recording of her original music entitled "If Everything is Lost", she began to seek out the poem's origin.

She discovered the author of the poem was named Eloise Cole, found a way to contact her, learned of her story, and marvelled at her repeated experiences of grief.

Deeply moved by the depth of Eloise's suffering and her ongoing story, the words that inspired the song came to mean even more.

Monica attributes the power of "Lend Me Your Hope" to the honesty and beauty of Eloise's words and experiences, which she continues to share when performing the song.

BORROWED HOPE
By Eloise Cole, Scottsdale, Arizona

Lend me your hope for awhile.
I seem to have mislaid mine.

Lost and hopeless feelings accompany me daily.
Pain and confusion are my companions.
I know not where to turn.
Looking ahead to the future times
does not bring forth images of renewed hope.
I see mirthless times, pain-filled days,
and more tragedy.

Lend me your hope for awhile,
I seem to have mislaid mine.

Hold my hand and hug me;
listen to all my ramblings.
I need to unleash the pain and let it tumble out.
Recovery seems so far distant;
the road to healing a long and lonely one.

Stand by me; offer me your presence.
Your ears and your love
acknowledge my pain. It is so real and ever present.
I am overwhelmed with sad and conflicting thoughts.

Lend me your hope for awhile,
A time will come when I will heal
and I will lend my renewed hope to others.

The Energy of an Embrace

I feel like I am living for hugs these days, that physical touch that reassures, expresses love and connection. I don't know about you, but I'll take all I can get.

from Daily Om

Hugs

The need to touch and be touched is established early in our lives, as we develop and grow in the omnipresent embrace of our mother’s womb. Once we are born, separated from that sanctuary of connectivity, we begin to crave the physical embrace of our parents. As we age, we become more independent. Yet during times of triumph or trouble and during those moments when we are in need of reassurance, we can’t help but long for a hug.

Because a hug requires two active participants, each individual taking part in the embrace experiences the pleasure of being embraced and the joy that comes from hugging someone. As both individuals wrap their arms around one another, their energy blends together, and they experience a tangible feeling of togetherness that lingers long after physical contact has been broken. A heart hug is when you put your left arm over someone’s shoulder and your right arm around their waist. As they do the same to you, your hearts become aligned with one another other and loving, comforting energy flows between the two of you to flood your souls with feelings of love, caring, and compassion.

A hug is a pleasurable way to share your feelings with someone who is important to you. Depending on your relationship with the other person and the kind of message you wish to send to them, a hug can communicate love, friendship, romance, congratulations, support, greeting, and any other sentiment you wish to convey. A hug communicates to others that you are there for them in a positive way. In an instant, a hug can reestablish a bond between long lost friends and comfort those in pain. The next time you hug someone, focus all of your energy into the embrace. You will create a profound connection that infuses your feelings and sentiments into a single beautiful gesture.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

everything has changed

I am no stranger to grief. When I was 24 my mother died. It took years, but I got over it. When I was 39 my father died. I grieved and got over it. When I was 50 my brother died. I miss him but I have gotten over it. On Feb. 15th, just two and half weeks ago my one true love, my husband of nearly 30 years died. Within 24 hours the son of a best friend died. Within 48 hours my sister died. I mourn for my friend, I mourn for my sister's family, but I will get over it. You never "get over" it, this I know. You move on. But the death of my Coop? Grief is not alien to me, but this loss, this pain, this alone-ness is so different, so deep, so filled with emptiness and sorrow. Funny how emptiness and alone-ness can fill you. My grief is all consuming in moments. I do not wish to bring others down by it, yet I feel I must put it down in words as best I can. I write, it is what I do. I ask that you, my readers bear with me if you can. If not, close the window.

Tonight I am alone with my thoughts, alone in this house. I have chosen to be. I needed to be. Friends and family have been with me for two and a half weeks, afraid to leave my side, knowing I needed them. And they needed to be here for me. Where might I be without them? Even more lost I imagine. But I needed to test the waters. To see if I can make it through a night alone. I needed to talk aloud to my Coop instad of whispering in the dark under the sheets in our bed. I have to believe he hears me, is by my side strengthening me, loving me. If not, how do I go on? So tonight, when all is quiet I cry alone, talk to my Coop, wail in an unfamiliar voice and write. It is in these moments of despair I can only feel what is missing.

Everything has changed.
My comfort, my strength, my lover, my most intimate friend is gone.
In one single moment that I will live over and over again, he is gone. Taken from me.
Like a light that shines brightly, then with one single click...turned off...gone.
Lights out forever.

What would I give to feel your arms envelop me just once more?
To hear your voice, the music of your laughter or see your smile,
to touch your face, kiss your mouth just once more?
Everything. I would give everything.

Now I must will myself to go on, to learn to live all over again.
How will I accomplish this without you, my strength and resolve?
How do I go on...alone, learn to live in each day without projecting thoughts into all the tomorrows without you?
And in yestrdays as well, lest I wrap myself in sorrow forever for what has been and will not be again?

They keep telling me I am strong. But in this moment, these long, dark nights of my soul I am weak, brought to my knees, the wind knocked out of me by some invisible blow. Yet I know there are others who have lost their soul mate and a part of themselves and have suffered like this. Small comfort, but I will take what I can. I must not lose sight of myself. I must carry on as if life matters even if I am alone.

I pray to an unseen force, I pray to my beloved that I may be like the phoenix that rises up from the ashes. I pray for the strength to begin again, to remember who I am. I must remember who I alone am because everything has changed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

memories of yesterday

I have been absent for awhile now. It has been two weeks and two days since my beloved Coop, my life and my rock passed from this earth plane. It was abrupt and a shock to all. I find comfort in the fact that he went quickly and painlessly in his sleep. I have much to say to others as I reflect on the feelings and thoughts that run through my heart and mind. But those things will have to wait. For now I am grieving as I practice facing the future one day, sometimes only one moment or hour at a time. I will return when I'm able to dedicate my thoughts to these pages. In the meantime I simple wanted to let all of you know what has taken place and why I have been absent. I miss my partner and best friend and the children and grandchildren miss their dad and grandpa. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers. More importantly, please appreciate those loved ones you hold dear and never, ever take life and love for granted. We always think there is tomorrow but often there is no tomorrow, only the memories of yesterday.

Sallie







Saturday, February 14, 2009

love

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi

If we can (and we can through practice and awareness) remove those barriers of prejudice and judgment, we can lift the veils that shroud our hearts and that limit our capacity and ability to love fully and completely.

Just my thoughts as I practice love on this Valentines Day. Hope yours is a happy and loving one.

Monday, February 9, 2009

For Today...

For Today...

Outside my window the sun has come and gone and temps are well above freezing. Here in Ohio after the month of cold and snow we’ve had I call that a heat wave.

I am thinking about upgrading to DSL and saying good bye to dial up. I've put it off but Verizon has a deal going on now that is almost too hard to resist.

I am thankful for...the past weekend and the opportunity to see daughter, SIL, sister, BIL and my 4 year old great niece who was by all means the life of the party Friday night as she sang (quite exuberantly) the lyrics to Tom Petty’s “Walls”.


Sometimes you're happy...
Sometimes you cry
Half of me is ocean,
Half of me is sky
But you got a heart so big
It could crush this town
And I can't hold out forever,
Even walls fall down



From the kitchen...not much happening there just yet. I do know I will be making homemade pudding since we have vanilla wafers and ripe bananas.


I am wearing...cream colored jeans, a blue striped top and my multi-colored charka shawl.


I am reading...right now about 6 different titles. Really!


I am hoping...to get to the library this week or next and renew my card. It’s been years.


I am creating...a deep Iris afghan for my living room.


I am hearing...The computer hum and Tom Petty in my head. :)


I am celebrating...my first sale on my homestead hippie store!


Around the house... the focus is on laundry today despite the fact that the house is in need of cleaning. I got a little too lax over the weekend. But today laundry is the priority as I had curtains and rugs to wash as well as the regular loads.


One of my favorite things...having mornings when I awaken without pain…always a good day when it happens.


I am looking forward to...more of this warmer weather this week and getting some organizing done and things caught up around the house.


I am wondering...why I can't simply copy and paste from Microsoft Word to blogger without having the font style and size getting all fubar. This is why sometimes my words are in several different fonts and size. Grrr.


A few plans for the remainder of the week...hoping to get a little sewing done, spend time outdoors and do some walking (if the rain holds off) since the weather forecast is warmer this week.

give a dog a bone...

...and this is what happens...




Wednesday, February 4, 2009

just pictures

That's all, just photos I've taken over the past few days. Life is busy so I haven't spent a lot of time here but do want to say hello and extend a big warm welcome to my newest subscribers and followers. Thanks for being here and finding my ruminations at least slightly entertaining. :)



Blue Jays outside the kitchen window

you are not a potato Oden!

Look who I found on the bakers rack...

and then he noticed me...


After the snow came the shoveling...

and after the drifting came the plowing.

These last two were taken from the car on our way into town the other day.
I'm not giving up...still holding out hope for spring! I know it will come eventually...
I believe, I believe, I believe!

Friday, January 30, 2009

it doesn't take much

Well, for the most part that is. This is his end of the kitchen counter. After nearly 30 years of togetherness he's gotten pretty good about keeping his "stuff" in one area rather than scattered around the house. It took training mind you. There was a time when he wouldn't pick up his socks and underwear off the bedroom floor. I even went so far as to set the hamper right next to his side of the bed...and still I had to confront him about it.

But over the years things do change. Now he's such a big help I often wonder what I might do without him. He even vacuums the rugs now, often without my even suggesting it. Somewhere down the line he took over cleaning the cat's litter box, too. I think it all started with cobwebs. Yes, cobwebs. You see, I am really bad about noticing cobwebs. I don't generally look up that often I guess and I certainly don't have height on my side. But Coop, he notices details...like cobwebs. Maybe he just got tired of pointing them out to me and finally decided to take matters into his own hands. Or maybe it was me saying something like, "well if they bother you so dang much then maybe you should do something about them." (really, I'm not a sarcastic bitch...all the time)

Whatever the case may be, he began helping around the house more and more as the years went by. He's a good man in so many ways. Those who knew him many, many moons ago may not share that same opinion, unless like me, they have stuck by him and and witnessed the changes and the man he became over the years. I saw beyond his bad boy ways way back when and knew the loving man he was underneath. I loved him then and even more so now. He's proven time and time again who he really is. He's smart, innovative, strong as an ox, gentle as a lamb when the need arises and most of all I know this; there is nothing, nothing he wouldn't do for me (or others as a matter of fact) if asked and it is within his power or ability to do. You can't ask for more than that.

We have shared our lives for nearly thirty years and today we celebrate the promises made exactly 27 years ago when we said "I do". No special celebrations or gifts here, just a "Happy Anniversary" wish spoken to each other this morning. We have each other and that is gift enough.

Posted by Picasa

Friday Funny

Since you enjoyed my last Friday Funny I've decided to make this an ongoing feature here at the homestead. A laugh, a smile, some good clean fun is always good for the soul. Here's today's funny...

When I was a young minister, a funeral director asked me to hold a grave side service for a homeless man with no family or friends. The funeral was to be at a cemetery way out in the country. This was a new cemetery and this man was the first to be laid to rest there.

I was not familiar with the area and became lost. Being a typical man, of course, I did not ask for directions. I finally found the cemetery about an hour late. The back hoe was there and the crew was eating their lunch. The hearse was nowhere to be seen.

I apologized to the workers for being late. As I looked into the open grave, I saw the vault lid already in place. I told the workers I would not keep them long, but that this was the proper thing to do. The workers, still eating their lunch, gathered around the opening.

I was young and enthusiastic and poured out my heart and soul as I preached. The workers joined in with, "Praise the Lord," "Amen," and "Glory!" I got so into the service that I preached and preached and preached, from Genesis to The Revelation.

When the service was over, I said a prayer and walked to my car. As I opened the door, I heard one of the workers say, "I never saw anything like that before and I've been putting in septic systems for twenty years."


Have a great day friends and if you want some added enjoyment check out kittens, kittens, kittens. This blog is nothing but pure viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

it's not too late...

...to get on over to Rainbow Tree's blog and enter her giveaway! It ends the first week of Feb. She's got a stash of really nice items to bestow upon the winner and besides, she's my kid. : )



Monday, January 26, 2009

monday meanderings




The sun shone this morning bringing once again the illusion of warmth. It is warmer though. I think we hit 20 today, a heat wave compared to the single digits and below zero chill we've been experiencing. I can handle 20. The sunshine was enough to melt most of the remaining several inches of ice that has covered our small road for the past week and a half or more. I can see pavement!!

I'm sitting here listening to Cat Stevens on the stereo, one of my all time favorites, although out of respect I should refer to him as Yusaf Islam. I just caught a yahoo news article here about him. Seems he's recorded a George Harrison song on behalf of the children of Gaza. All proceeds will benefit refugees. I always knew he was a good guy despite the rumors that circulated about him from time to time because of his conversion to Islam. Only one with a good and true heart could have written the poetic music he has gifted us with.

Hearts are a good thing to follow. Life is just too short to live according to another's thinking. I think the world would be a much finer place if we stopped wasting our time and effort entrapped by others dogma and opinions. You are the only one who truly knows what matters to you.
And besides, like Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't." Ain't it the truth? :)

I've just been thinking about the subject of following your heart lately. Maybe because I see my share of unhappy people in my little world who are caught up in others lives so much that they don't have much of one. They wear fear instead of love, and anger and blame in place of response-ability. It seems they are miserable and determined to not only stay that way but make others feel the same. What a shame. Maybe, just maybe if they would learn to go within and find their heart and follow it rather than feed off chaos and drama... maybe if they would find what they love and what feels right instead of focusing their energy on what is wrong (thereby creating more of the same)...maybe, just maybe they would create something positive and feel the effects of something akin to happiness. Odds are they would. Just my thoughts on what I see at times. But, to each their own. Just don't hate me for living my life or be jealous because my life is what you wish yours were. Everything is a choice and a result of the action you take. Even inaction is a choice. If my life is an example to others of what they strive for, yay! But don't react be becoming jealous, respond by becoming real. Authenticity is a blessing and following your heart is good medicine.

Ok, I''ll get down off my soapbox now. I will go about the remainder of my day now, hang some laundry, love on my fur babies, cook up something warm and hearty for dinner, take a warm shower and throughout the minutes and hours be ever so thankful for all the goodness in my day and in my life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

AquaDent Pet Oral Health Product Contains Deadly Xylitol

Not too long ago I posted an article about the dangers of our pets consuming the sugar substitute called Xylitol. It can be deadly to your dog. Now, in another article from Natural News comes this revelation; Xylitol is an ingredient in an oral health pet product. Read on....

AquaDent Pet Oral Health Product Contains Deadly Xylitol

by Susan Thixton, citizen journalist
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(NaturalNews) Many pet owners are aware that the sugar substitute Xylitol, found in many sugar free chewing gums, is toxic to dogs. However few pet owners would think to look for Xylitol listed as an ingredient in a pet oral health product; especially one that claims to be developed by "Veterinary Dental Specialists".

As ridiculous as it might be, the pet oral health product C.E.T. AquaDent lists as the third ingredient Xylitol; well known to be toxic to pets. AquaDent is sold by many pet retail outlets including 1800PetMeds.com. The 1800PetMeds website states "C.E.T. AquaDent is a drinking water additive formulated by veterinary dental specialists to help freshen your pet's breath and maintain oral hygiene in conjunction with regular home dental care for your pet." The ingredients in AquaDent are listed as follows: Purified water, Glycerine, Xylitol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium sorbate, Emilgase (enzyme), Zinc gluconate, Sodium benzoate, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Yellow No. 5, Chlorhexidine gluconate.

According to Dr. Eric Dunayer, veterinarian and toxicologist for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, there appears to be a strong link between xylitol ingestions and the development of liver failure in dogs. It was previously thought that only large amounts of xylitol could result in problems for dogs, however recently even small amounts of xylitol can result in severe illness in dogs (and believed to effect cats and other animals as well). http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pa...

Snopes.com states that just three grams of Xylitol can kill a 65 pound dog. "Because the amount of sweetener used in sugar free chewing gums varies by manufacturer and product, the number of sticks of gum that would prove fatal to a pooch of that size can't be stated with precision. As a general rule of thumb, between eight and ten pieces of gum might be deadly to a 65 pound canine, but a smaller dog could easily die after ingesting far less (perhaps as few as two sticks of gum)."

The 1800PetMeds website provides the following warning regarding AquaDent Pet Oral Health Product: "Prepare fresh C.E.T. AquaDent solution every day and discard any treated water not consumed within 24 hours." The website provides no warning of Xylitol toxicity to animals.

To make matters a bit worse, not only does this pet oral health product contain the known dangerous ingredient Xylitol, it also contains dyes linked to cancer and numerous other health risks.

C.E.T. AquaDent is made by Virbac Animal Health (www.virbacvet.com). Virbac Animal Health produces a long line of pet health products; from antibiotics to heartworm preventatives (Iverhart) to pet vitamins (Pet Tabs). Virbac Animal Health was on the FDA warning letter list (December 10, 2008) for violations of current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations; "the documented violations cause drug products manufactured at your facility to be adulterated" http://www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/...

Virbac Animal Health's Heartworm Preventative, Iverhart Plus, was recalled 2/11/2004. From the FDA website (http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/enforce/2...) "The firm is recalling 4 lots of IVERHART Plus Flavored Chewables due to contamination of Minocycline, a FDA approved human drug which has not been approved in species other than humans."
"VOLUME OF PRODUCT IN COMMERCE
1,179,840 tablets."

Why would a pet product, formulated by "veterinary dental specialists", contain an ingredient that is known to be toxic to dogs? It's illogical and reckless. The moral of the story is this, read the ingredients of every single product provided to your pet. Just because a pet product is "formulated by veterinary specialists" doesn't mean its safe.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton


about the author:
Susan Thixton has an international pet people following providing dog and cat lovers a trusted source for pet food and pet food ingredient information. She's been called courageous, perseverant, even "the Caped Crusader for Pets" for her 16 year study of pet food. Susan Thixton is the author of hundreds of pet industry articles and the 2006 released book Truth About Pet Food (currently being updated for a second edition). She developed and publishes the pet product consumer magazine Petsumer Report and is a frequent speaker and radio guest all over the U.S. and Canada with more than 70 appearances in the last 2 years.
If you are looking for straight forward pet food information that can have an almost immediate impact on your pet's health - subscribe to the free newsletter, and subscribe to Petsumer Report to see reviews of close to 700 dog and cat foods and treats (adding 40+ each month). Susan Thixton's 'truth' will help you find a safer, healthier dog or cat food that could add years to your pet's life. http://www.TruthAboutPetFood.com

Saturday, January 17, 2009

refrigerator revelation

Atop my fridge is a wine rack with a variety of mostly Ohio wines. To the left the remains of my homemade raspberry wine in a thrift store "genie" bottle and jars of surplus sugar and flour. To the right a vintage Japanese tea set that was in a $1 auction box lot.

Have you ever seen a kitchen with a naked fridge in an occupied home? I can't say that I have.

On my fridge there resides:
  • a picture of my great niece
  • "all states of mind reproduce themselves" magnet
  • a list of Ohio apples and what they're best suited for
  • "When your heart is in your dream then no wish is too extreme"-Jiminy Cricket quote magnet
  • last years garden layout (to remind me how much space and how many rows I can plant)
  • "all that we are is a result of what we have thought" -Buddah quote magnet
  • a picture ton from a magazine of some earrings I'd like to duplicate
  • "when sleeping woman wake, mountains move" magnet
  • a heart drawing by my grandaughter

  • John Lennon magnet from the Rock Hall. The only time I visited was when they featured his life and work
  • instructions for building a simple solar oven
  • "remember, absent everything else, you are not" magnet
  • a drawing by my great niece that depicts me and my cat Oden
  • "What would love do now?" magnet
  • a list of positive affirmations to aid healing
  • "If the whole world were to follow you, would you be happy with where you took it?" magnet

  • "we are all one" magnet
  • a thank you card from my great niece with a very nice leaf mosaic
  • a framed flower photo taken by my daughter
  • kewpie magnets
  • advertising magnet for septic cleaning that reads, "a flush beats a full house." Cute slogan, eh?
  • "choose love" magnet.
  • a picture of great grandson Tyler
  • a "Happy Thanksgiving" card from grandson Luke
  • mountain sunrise drawing by grandson Luke
  • "to the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world" magnet
It appears a lot can be revealed about a person by their refrigerator decor. So dear readers, what's on your fridge?
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Today


The sun is streaming in the south facing windows, offering us some radiant heat on the inside and the illusion of warmth outside. Birds have been feasting on the suet we’ve hung out back. Downy woodpeckers, titmice, junkos, chickadees, nuthatch along with a few species unknown to me as yet. I watch and wonder just how these tiny inhabitants manage to keep from freezing.



I am thinking about and looking forward to my daughter and granddaughter arriving before long. Terrible cold to have to travel the 85 miles today, but this is Destiny’s weekend with her father. Kandice will be staying the night here along with her little dog Cubby Bear before heading home tomorrow. A cozy evening awaits us. Perhaps a good evening to open one of the bottles of honey mead my son and his wife gave us for Christmas. Oh yeah.

From the kitchen sweet red peppers sit on the counter and wait chopping to be added to the egg casserole I’ll be putting together for tonight’s dinner. Sausage is thawing as well to be made into sausage gravy to be eaten over biscuits along side the egg dish. Apples will be peeled, chopped and turned into fritters. It’s a good day for cooking.

I am wearing gray blue sweat pants and a pale blue turtleneck, dark blue socks and warm slippers.

Yesterday I began and finished a crocheted basket with wood bead accents. (The wooden bowl is a recent thrift store find. I just love it.)


Last night I finished a crocheted purse. And right now I’m creating a million other things in my mind. Now if I would just get some of my creations listed on etsy I’d feel a much bigger sense of accomplishment.

I am reading Pickled, Potted, Canned – How the Art and Science of Food Preserving Changed the World by Sue Shepherd. It’s a fascinating history of food preservation, a much appreciated gift from my daughter. She knows me too well. I am also reading Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice, a gift from my twin. I have not read any Anne Rice books for some years simple because I seldom delve into fiction anymore, but I was once an avid fan of her tales of old New Orleans and her legendary vampires and witches.

I am hoping the weather warms up and it will. Right now I am just thankful for the sunshine.

I am hearing the furnace blower pushing wonderful warmth up though the metal grates in the floor. The computer hums along as well. My days are generally quiet unless Coop turns on the tv to catch the local weather or I have the stereo on.

Around the house things are in order. My work is caught up and nothing is demanding my time or attention at the moment. That creates a wonderful sense of peace and well being.

A few plans for the weekend include reading, crocheting and perhaps some blogging. I am sure there is more that will fill my time, but for now doing not doing seems to be the plan. :)




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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

pretty in pink

Mom says I'm a natural. I'm not sure what that means but it sounds nice.

She also says not to let my charm and good looks fool you.
Maybe you can tell me...what is "a little devil"?



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longing for green

Outside it’s cloudy and cold with no warm up in the days ahead according to our local weather folks. We’re talking sub-zero nights. We're ready to hunker down and stay indoors for the next few days.


I feel as if if I've been neglecting my blog and I hate that. I have lots to talk about but seem to not be focused well on organizing my thoughts and actually sitting down and writing something. I have been feeling run down and lacking in ambition recently. I think it’s the cold and lack of sunlight. January is my worst month. I know this. I start getting cabin fever, can’t seem to get focused and feel discontent. I keep having visions of and the yearning for summer and green. (sigh) So.........


I planned the spring garden the other day. At least what we will plant. The plan is to keep it simpler this year with fewer and the most reliable varieties. Still, it will be a good sized garden, just with more of what I know will thrive. Again, primarily planting tomatoes, beans, peppers and squash. This year we may add corn and definitely potatoes. I’ll be ordering seeds within the next two weeks.

So I think it will go something like this:

* signifies a new variety we’ll be trying this year.

Tomatoes:


Brandywine for fresh eating. The good old fashioned true tomato flavor of these heirloom beefsteak tomatoes cannot be beat.

Amish Paste for canning, sauces, salsas, ketchup. I have had better luck and bigger crops with this paste tomato than any other plum tomato I’ve ever planted.

Cherokee Purple for juice, canning and fresh eating. These do very well with high yields. They are sweet and juicy, especially good for juice making. They’re great for fresh eating as well.

Peppers:

Tam Jalapeño for salsas and fresh eating s well as freezing and preserving. We love homemade poppers with cream cheese and bacon. They are awesome. This type of Jalapeño is milder than others.

*Pepperoncini for pickling.

*Buran, a sweet pepper that is said to be nearly sweet green as it is when it turns red. These will be for summer eating, stuffing, freezing and for in my sweet relish.

Beans & Beets:

Blue Lake bush beans for fresh eating, canning, freezing. These have proven successful for us and to be higher yielding than some varieties we’ve tried. We love ‘em!

*Cylindra beets are my choice this year for easy peeling and slicing. They grow in cylindrical shape rather than round. These come highly recommended by Fanny, our Amish friend. I can them, but have frozen them as well. Beets freeze extremely well and taste like fresh. Just thaw and eat if like me, you enjoy cold beets. Yum, my mouth is watering now. I do love beets!

Squash:

Waltham Butternut, my all time favorite. It’s a great keeper and meatier than Acorn IMO. I like to cook some up for in the freezer, too, just for convenience.

Zucchini is just a summer mainstay. We eat tons of it fresh throughout the summer. I admit I have a weakness for breaded fried zucchini dipped in ranch dressing. OMG, why am I torturing myself this way?! I freeze zucchini plus it’ the main ingredient in my sweet relishes. I also use it for making into pickle chunks and slices. I don’t even bother with cukes anymore.

Summer squash is a definite as well because we just love the flavor. I think it’s just a bit more flavorful than zucchini. It’s Coop’s favorite.

Along with these we’ll plant potatoes as mentioned, probably two varieties. I’m considering planting some corn this year since I’m limiting varieties and may have the room for a few rows. And of course, onions, lettuce and some herbs. I imagine by the time I send the order in something more may be added to the list. :)



Friday, January 9, 2009

a little Friday funny

A cat died and went to heaven. God met her at the gates and said, "Because you have been such a good cat all these years, you may ask for anything and it's yours."

The cat thought on this for quite awhile and then said, "I have been a farm cat, always sleeping on hard wooden floors. I think I would like a soft, fluffy pillow to sleep on."

"Say no more!" said God and a fluffy pillow appeared instantly.

Just a few days later six little mice were killed in an accident and all arrived in Heaven together. God met them at the gates with the same offer he made the cat.

"Well," said the mice, "we have had to run all our lives from cats, dogs and even humans. If we could just have some little roller skates then we would never have to run again."

"It is done." replied God and immediately the six mice had beautiful little roller skates."

A week or two later God decided to check in on the cat. She was sound asleep on her pillow. God gently nudged her awake and asked. "How are things going, have you been happy?"

The cat replied, "OH my, it is wonderful! I have never been so happy as I am here. The pillow is magnificent and those little meals on wheels you've been sending over are just delicious!"

*Read in the Ohio Dairy Farmer newspaper.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

good times with my girls

whatever it was that we were laughing about...

it just got funnier...

and funnier!

(Thanks sis for taking these and bringing those smiles to my face again.)
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Friday, January 2, 2009

that crazy chicken lady!

JayeDee over at Life in the Lost World is one generous gal. Get on over and check out what she's giving away. Ok ok, enough arm twisting...she's giving away a $25 gift certificate to Heirloom Acre Seeds. Now that's a give away I can appreciate.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It’s Bacon!!

Recently I posted here about the supply of pork we were fortunate to get when our Amish friends butchered a hog. It came on Christmas Eve, so Christmas day I was weighing, cutting and packaging pork. Since I had a slab of bacon in the lot, I was also scouring the net to find an easy way to cure it. I set it to cure on Christmas day, so it was no surprise that on New Year’s Day I would be finishing up the bacon making process.

There are several ways to make bacon, but regardless it’s with either a brine soak or a dry rub. I finally got the picture and decided to go with a dry rub for ease. I made my own simple rub from kosher salt, brown sugar and freshly ground black pepper.


For a slab of bacon weighing about 3 ½ pounds I used a mixture of;

4-5 T. kosher salt

1 ½ -2 T. ground black pepper

3-4 T. brown sugar


Mix well. The directions that follow were acquired online, although I was in too big of a hurry to save the url or make a note of it so unfortunately I can’t give credit where credit is due, a least not at this time. : (


After rinsing the pork well and patting it dry, I cut it into two pieces to make sure each piece fit into a gallon bag well. Next lay out your pork on a large piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Rub your mixture into the pork on both sides and into creases well. Once you’ve done this, place pork into gallon size Ziploc (or any other sealable) bags. Add any remaining rub and shake to distribute. Place bags onto a flat tray and refrigerate for 7 days, turning over every other day.


This is the bacon after 7 days in the fridge.


After 7 days the bacon should feel fairly firm to the touch. Take bacon from bags and rinse well under cold running water to remove excess spices. Pat dry.


And again after rinsing. Looks good!


Now, heat your oven to 200◦. Transfer the bacon into appropriately sized cake pan(s) and roast until meat is brown and internal temp is 150 – 160◦. This will take 2 – 2 ½ hours.


Remove bacon and place onto cutting board. With a large thin bladed knife you will remove the tough outer layer of skin.


a job for Cooper-man!


Allow bacon to rest until it has reached room temp. Once cooled, pat dry and wrap in wax paper and refrigerate. Or slice off a few pieces first to fry up like we did. : ) Once completely chilled, store in a plastic bag. It will keep up to 10 days refrigerated or up to 3 months in the freezer.


How did our bacon turn out you ask?



We were impressed and gobbled it up.



I was thrilled it wasn’t a failure since I’d never did a home cure before and even more thrilled at how good it was. Yay! Bacon with no harmful nitrites and nitrates! I can detect the taste of pepper and salt in this bacon but it’s not overpowering and definitely nowhere nearly as salty as commercial bacon. I may add a little more freshly ground pepper when I fry up the next skillet full. But even if I don’t, this is pretty darn good bacon. And the best part, besides doing it myself without the poisonous additives? It was easy!

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