Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And it keeps getting better!

What could be more exciting to the One Old Goat farmer than tomatoes!!!!

Yes, we have tomatoes - I have visions of fried green tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, fresh tomato/basil sammies. I noticed the little green gems last night - 4 little green tomatoes on oneo of my plants. How happy it makes me that news like that is high excitement for the One Old Goat farm! My kids dropped everything and came running when I hollered that our first tomatoes had arrived. They still are very interested whenever something new shows up in the garden - still thrilled by the miracles of nature!

So we lit a campfire of celebration and roasted marshmallows for s'mores in celebration of last night's shortest night of the year!

And all the animals were not as impressed. Not in the least.

Dolly simply turned her back and walked away.

Snowball set off in search of his own celebratory food.

But I stand corrected. Lunchbox was extremely interested in our little celebration. And we sat and roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores and enjoyed the view of our world!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A great start to the week. . .

was spent in the car of all places! This morning I drove my youngest son to visit his great-grammy to help her work in the garden. My young son is very talkative and it was a pleasure spending this time with him this morning. Just listening to his excitement in spending the day away from his sisters and with his grammy made me feel good!

And the day ended just as good: with my daughters and son and fresh peas from our garden for dinner! Live is good!

Happy Summer Solstice from One Old Goat and her little farm (and her lovely family)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Welcome summer......

We are the stars who sing,we sing with our light;
We are the birds of fire, we fly over the sky.
Our light is a voice. . . .

from Passamaquoddy Song

Here's to diving off the high dive. Cool walks in the woods. Hanging out with family.

Playing your favorite sport until you are ready to jump in the creek.And then taking a rest so that you can do it all over again!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I'm going to miss them.....

I seem to focus on endings. And in doing so, I open myself to unnecessary pain. Pain that stabs my heart. That makes me want to run. That makes me want cry and hide and not develop ties ever again to another being.
My daughter and her son are moving. Only 150 or so miles away. Near my parents. But I've been in a funk lately and I'm pretty sure that the changes are why.

I've always been this way - not letting anyone get close. Everyone leaves. But all that I could think of as I pulled away from my daughter's apartment for the last time today was, I'm going to miss them and it hurts like hell.

After my grandson was born, my daughter never, ever dated or went out or anything. Our relationship was extremely close. When we did things over the weekend, it was with her and her son. I remember silly things like sitting on her back porch watching fireflies. Walking to Dunkin' Donuts in the morning. Hearing her stories about the mice that managed their way into her impeccably kept apartment. I will miss those times. Going trick-or-treating in their neighborhood. Going to the farmer's market. Geocaching in the cemeteries.
I never thought she would start dating someone. I never thought they would leave me.

I left my mom and now that I've experienced the joy of having an adult daughter and a grandson, I understand my mom's pain. But why must I focus on the pain? There are so many happy times. I'm happy right now in this moment for Pete's sake. The fan is blowing on me, I hear birds, my youngest daughter is sitting behind me looking for a good brownie recipe.

But perhaps experiencing the pain of life's changes is a way of seeing the good in a new perspective. I don't know. I'm turning off yesterday's mind now. I'm focusing on the good times ahead. For a bit. But mainly, I'm going to enjoy right now.


Sometimes, someone says something to you--that means nothing to them but EVERYTHING to you. The other day a co-worker said one thing to me that was exactly what I needed to hear.

Thank you -

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Redneck kinda farm......

I came home from work yesterday to this.

My husband and I travel on different planes. He is cheap and extravagant. I value simplicity but am not necessarily cheap. He is a great peruser of Craigslist and when he saw that someone was giving away—for free—a hot tub, he just couldn’t resist. So he hooked the trailer to the Trailblazer and off he went to Milesburg.

And he brought home the hot tub. It was a surprise! I asked him why in the world anyone would give away a hot tub and he explained that when the previous owners plugged in (turned on) the heat blower, it caught on fire. You’d think that after the past few weeks, he would run away from anything that had the possibility of burning.

In typical Ike-eze, he said that he didn’t care—if he couldn’t get the heater to work, he would just use the jets for the bubbles and the whirlpool action. After all, he said, we’re rednecks!

So now the hottub sits on top of the trailer in back of the house, amidst the weeds, behind the Bowflex that he found for free that also sits in our backyard.

But yep, we are rednecks.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Seems like a good enough title. I have a hard time with titles. These are my hollyhocks. For years, I tried planting hollyhocks. No success. Or so I thought. Little did I realize that the five fingered plant that I had chalked up as a weed and pulled up every year, was my hollyhock.

My fondest memory of these flowers is as a child. My dad loved what he called 'toilet flowers' - I'm not sure but I think my mom called them these because since they were so tall, they were often planted in front of outhouses. I know I've seen them in front of manure pits. And my dad would have experience with that growing up in the country and having outhouses and such. I don't think my mom liked them so much.
These days when my time with my dad grows small, I like to take special notice of the things that are special to him. Well, to my mom, too! I love that song by Jessica Andrews,
I am Rosemary's granddaughter,
a spitting-image of my father,
and when the day is done
my momma's still my biggest fan

It is amazing to me what sparks a memory. I written about it before - the light of the day, the scent of the woods, the way a dirt path winds its way through the woods, brings back in living color a previously lived moment.

And everytime I look at my toilet flowers, I will think of my dad.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A special kind of Olympics

I had the privilege of working with the Special Olympics Summer games at Penn State this past Friday. I've served as a committee member for the Special Olympics but never as a volunteer.

What an experience!

This was sport for the sake of sport! I helped with scorekeeping the basketball games. I never cared much for watching basketball but after Friday, I'm a fan. I honestly think that these games should be televised so that big name companies can pay millions of dollars for advertising - all going to the Special Olympics.

These athletes.......they cared about the game. Not about money. Not about fame. Just about the love of the sport. Athletes from all ages.....from a boy who looked not much older than my son to several women who looked to be around my age! All playing together, trying to win, but smiling and hugging each other when they lost. And shaking our hands and telling us thank you for volunteering.

But that is all wrong, athletes. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of this wonderful competition and demonstration of pure love.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Almost here!

So close I can almost smell the green tomatoes frying! I have buds on my tomato plants!!!! It won’t be long now before I will be living out of my garden. The peas are about ready to be picked. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to recruit my grandson to help pick.

I have printed out my re-enrollment form for the Energy sustainability policy degree I’m thinking about. I’m back and forth on this. I don’t know if I want to commit. Why? I’m thinking about how much I’ve learned from the blogs I’ve read and other internet sources. I have zero aspiration of doing anything more career-wise. I’m not going to look for a different job. So maybe my current strategy for learning – just seeking answers from the sources—should remain my strategy. I’m looking at how I want my life to have some influence. I’m trying to sort things out a bit.

This blogger, Patty, writes a blog that is especially meaningful to me today - MorningRamble. Many times I go for a run after reading Patty's blog and 9 times out of 10, her blog has lead me to some meaningful soulsearching. For instance:

Today when I was running (well, plodding—today I definitely did not feel light on my feet), I was thinking about how I associate certain seasons/times/areas with moments in my early life. Today as I was running along the cow field, I thought to myself that it was a Fred Herring kind of day. Now Fred was a neighbor to us when we lived up on the hill. He had a nice farm down below. He had a wife – who every time I think of blue gingham – I think of her. He had several kids – my best friend was Mike. I moved from the hill when I was in second grade and never saw Mike again. I remember staying with them when I was little and playing in this awesome sandbox with a roof. I remember when Mike’s grandpa built this amazing tree house out in the cow pasture. It had steps instead of a ladder, a door that opened, windows with shutters, and a real table inside. I remember it being nicer than any house I’ve lived in as an adult.

I remember playing in Mike’s living room games like Candyland, Shoots and Ladders, Hi-Ho Cherry-O. I remember that they had a really long bathroom, a nice little alcove in which was placed the breakfast table. I loved it there.

I’ve driven past their place several times and what a difference a lifetime makes! At one point, I drove past and the tree house had fallen to the ground. More recently, the treehouse was gone altogether. I never did see the sandbox again. The whole place just looks like a regular old kind of rundown farm. Definitely no resemblance to the magical place I remember.

I often wish that I could have just 24 hours just to go back and experience being a kid again. Twenty-four hours to breathe in the clean air, listen to the birds, climb in the trees, ride the tire swing, find the Sunfish pond, look for the snakes that would wiggle around the little creek. I’d love to walk up the old sledding hill and see if it really is as steep as I remember. I’d like to walk down to our old neighbor’s pond and see the huge fish they had.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Day who-the-heck-remembers without much sleep!

I’m tempted to bring Lunchbox (new cow) in to sleep with me just so he will stop bawling all night long! Between him and the roosters, it is a wonder that the neighbors haven’t ganged up on us. I’m sure that he will soon get used to his new home – I remember that it took the neighbors’ bull about a week before he stopped mooing-- All. Night. Long.

Today I will stop and shell out money for zyrtec or whatever the generic name is for the allergy medication I took last month. I’m tired of itching. And wheezing when I run. It just dawned on me that I could request reimbursement for what I’ve paid for my prescriptions over the past few months. Duh. That’s why I haven’t been buying my singulair – I just can’t afford it. But it seems though that the zyrtec helps more than the singulair. If I use my albuterol inhaler and take allergy meds, I’m good to go.

I’m so looking forward to my Wildside Adventures Long Distance Hiking workshop in October. I’ve definitely been daydreaming about my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2016. I’m trying to decide what weekend to hike this summer. I’d like to be dropped off in Caledonia State Park and then hike the AT, catch the mid-state trail home. That would be amazing. I really need some solitude and meditation. I’ve been such a crab at home to my kids. I hate feeling that way but seriously, I am tired of our home being trashed, of crap all over the floor, of having to beg and plead anyone to do anything around the house. And now we have a cow. So in addition to taking the kids wherever they need to go, I’m in charge of housekeeping and maintenance of both the house and the farmyard AND the garden AND the garden prep. And all the flippin’ dogs!

Friday, June 4, 2010


. . . In a castle dark, or a fortress strong,
with chains upon my feet
You know that ghost is me
And I will never be set free
As long as I'm a ghost that you can't see . . .

Lyrics from If You Could Read my Mind by Gordon Lightfoot

A ghost among ghosts.

I’ve written before on the invisibility of the 40+ woman. I wish I could pinpoint what it is about me: my attitude, my facial expression, what?! I feel like screaming ‘it is okay to talk to me, to smile at me, to say hi to me’. I have read books-and actively sought out-strategies to make friends. But I drop like a lead balloon whether it is person-to-person contact or email groups or really, anything. I say it doesn’t matter to me. Obviously it does. A 48 year old nothing. If I can’t make people happy, what contribution am I making? Who is going to care when I’m gone?

For Pete’s sake, I’m a counselor. An adviser now, I guess. I do help people and it makes me happy when I can inspire or guide. I make really yummy cream puff cake, but what else? Nothing. I run. I garden. I hike. My desire is to hike the Appalachian Trail in its entirety. Alone.

My dogs love me. My chickens love me. I’m disposable to my kids. I’m nothing to my husband unless he needs me for something. Yuck. My neighbor calls me when some work needs to be done.

But is that all bad? What is it about ‘other’ people that draws friends to them? I can honestly say that I’m not really drawn to anyone. I prefer not being in crowds. If I’m drawn to anyone, it is usually someone who portrays some type of oddity – probably I see a reflection of myself. But in the grand scheme of things, why do I feel it necessary to be acknowledged by other humans? Some strong narcissistic trait, I suppose. But I could give up smoking, I watch what I eat, I exercise ---why can't I quit this caring of what other people think of me? If they think of me?

I think that by having other people acknowledge me, it gives me some assurance that I do exist. That I am worthy. I know from others to whom I've talked, that it isn't just me. That there is an entire army of us--nobodies--floating around out there. Just wanting to be seen.

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My very favorite design is the 'Trees - Not just for Christmas' T-shirt found here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hanging up my hat

The final straw.
One morning last week, I woke up to find several of my baby maple trees chewed up, my struggling blueberry bushes gnawed, and all three of the goats running across the valley. After nearly breaking my ribs fixing their fence on Sunday and scaring my neighbors in my pajamas that morning, I’ve decided that my goats would be happier on a farm with 10 foot high fences and acres and acres and acres to roam.

I am hanging up my goat herder hat and focusing on my chickens, horse, dogs, and garden.

So it is done. They are gone. Why is it when you no longer have something, you only remember the good times and the dreams??? It didn’t help that the goats were whisked away in the dark of night (11:00 pm) or that I could only see their silhouettes with their heads hung low as if they were being led to the goat gallows or that I could hear goats cries (which turned out not to be my goats but goats that were already in the truck) and it certainly didn’t help that I had had a few beers.

But I bawled like a baby. It seems as if this farming business has been so entrenched in gut wrenching pain. From the death of our baby llama Sunflower and of Houdini the goat, to the complete and utter frustration of dealing with Bucky the Buck and now my voluntary surrendering of my remaining three goats, it has been painful.

I remember though, that I have my chickens and horses and Dolly Llama. I guess it is just goat-y separation anxiety. I tend to get very close to the few things I let into my world and then I am devastated when they leave. That’s why I don’t make friends. Everyone leaves.

But sometimes the things you love come back.

In my herb garden, I found last year's basil and sage thriving. And every year, I’m surprised by tomato ‘volunteers’ from the previous year. And my lavender have never let me down nor have my coneflowers.

You'd think that pushing 50, I would have this all under control. But I still am uncomfortably (horribly so) with people. It seems that all at once, everyone I love dies. This affects everyone - no one can escape the pain of losing loved ones. But it seems as if I have always been stuck on it. Avoiding becoming close to some very kind people, because I'm afraid they will leave me.

But I need to focus on what comes back.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up

Casper set the kitchen on fire yesterday morning. The little fellow. He apparently was hungry and climbed up on the stove and in jumping down, hit the ignition knob. My husband called me about 9:00 yesterday morning and only said that when I left the house, I might want to put Casper in his kennel or in the bedroom with him.

We are so incredibly lucky. True, I'll be spending the day today on vacation scrubbing the walls and throwing things away. But it could have been so much worse. I've been touched by a couple fires in my life: when I was in 3rd grade, my family and I came home from a parade to see that our house had burned. Not to the ground but enough that it had to be gutted and re-built inside and the five of us lived in the basement for nearly a year. My first husband's family home did burn to the ground. Fortunately no one was injured.

So I asked my husband if any of the dogs barked Lassie-like to alert him to the fire. Apparently not. When he woke up (by the smell of the smoke), he said the dogs were huddled in the living room. Sleeping.

I am lucky. This could have been so much worse.

A torrid love affair

 I've written about the ducks quite a bit. It's a little like Peyton Place around here I think. A couple of months ago, the male d...