Thursday, December 29, 2011

Inspiration.

Today my grandson and I visited a quilting friend from our church.  From beginning to end, it was a wonderful adventure and much, much different from yesterday.

Setting out and walking down the little road we stopped first at our church so that my grandson could tell everyone thank you for the gifts he received for Christmas.  We then continued on our way through the lightly falling snow, down the hill, past the neighbor's dog, past the cows and standing aside while at least two cars passed us.  My friend lives on top of one of the little hills within the valley and despite the snow, the view of the neighboring farms on the hills across the valley was gorgeous!

We spent about an hour with my friend who showed me her sewing room and sewing machine while the little guy was busy coloring pictures for everyone.  I must say that it was one of the most enjoyable afternoons I've had a in a long time.  My friend showed me several of the quilts she had made over the years and told me stories about each of them.  It was like stepping into her life for a bit and after we hugged goodbye, I felt as if I knew her so much better than I did before.

Friends are such gifts - even for a dedicated hermit such as myself.  After this afternoon's visit, my inspiration to finish some quilts has been renewed.  Partly because as I listened to her stories, I could feel the passion of creating a thing a beauty and I remembered that feeling.  Partly because I just know that my friend will expect me to start quilting again.  I promised her I would.


And I will.  Because she's my friend.
 

 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My world.

Tipper always makes me smile!
In the world on One Old Goat farm, things would be a whole lot different.  First of all, I would be able to read the dosage on a bottle of tylenol without the use of a high powered magnifying glass.  I would be able to find at least 1 of the three pair of glasses I've misplaced without the use of said glasses.  Crackers would be packaged in waxed paper like they used to be and cookies wouldn't be locked up with a hermetic seal impermeable only to a high temperature blowtorch.

In the world of OOG farm, customer and service would be reciprocal.  Good customer behavior AND good customer service.  Fair customer service.  Not kissing-the-butt of a nasty customer simply because we want his/her business.  Which goes against most business models but I don't care because it is the world of One Old Goat farm. 

In this world, there wouldn't be any shoulds or oughts or mights.  I don't want to be told that I should like to cook and clean and all of that crud simply because I am a female.  I don't want to be told that I ought to act or think in a certain way because of my age.  I want to be who I am, how I feel, what I like until I die.  Regardless of public opinion.

I realize that I am a stodgy old coot but I am not quite as stubborn as most people would believe.   It has been a relatively cruddy, depressing day and I really wish that my world was like this.  Everyday.

Keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow is a tad bit better.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Feeling pretty.

Pretty is the last word anyone who knows me would use to describe me.  I'm more of a function over fashion type of person.  For me, beauty is more of a word that I would use to describe a person's character than their appearance.  As far as things go, the word beauty would be a ruggedly made jacket that will last me for years and years and years - becoming more comfortable in many wearings. Beauty could also be used to describe a pitchfork whose tines don't fall off within a few months of purchase or beauty could be a well=built fence.

But last week I really did win a thing of beauty from one of my favorite blogs - Granny Sue's News and Reviews.  I won a beautiful tea setting with a tablecloth, placements, salt/pepper shakers, sugar bowl and cream pitcher, and a tea pot.  I also won a bag of loose Earl Grey tea and a tea ball.  I have some tea brewing right now and as soon as I get this posted, I'm going to sip on tea in my dainty little tea cup and read Jennifer Chiaverini's new book The Union Quilters.

I don't know how I came upon Granny Sue's blog - through a search for a dulcimer festivals perhaps.  But if you visit her site, check out the links on the rightside of the site too.  Granny Sue is a storyteller and one day, I will listen to her in person.  Her blog about storytelling is called Storyteller Granny Sue: Stories from the Mountains and Beyond .  I just love browsing through everything on her sites and have to say that her blog - by far - has always been one of my most favorite. 

So for a little bit this afternoon, I will be pretty. I shall sit at my window and sip on good tea on my very lovely tea set.  Thank you Granny Sue!!!






Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas to all from the creatures - large and small - at One Old Goat farm.







Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where music goes.


I have always shied away from science but I'm pretty sure that when beautiful music is released into the universe, it is put in a repository for the angels to enjoy. 
Thank you, choruses and bands of Penns Valley Jr./Sr. High School, for letting the angels sing!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our Future.

Another Penn State grad in the family!  My oldest daughter graduated from Penn State, Behrend College on Friday among 300 and some other graduates.

Ten years ago, we both would have thought this to be unlikely event.  Eleven years ago, I sat in the high school guidance counselor's office with her trying to convince her that dropping out of high school with only a half year left to go was not a good idea.  Thank goodness she agreed.

Kristen has not only graduated but she has had every reason not to and every time, she made the decision to carry on.  A lot has happened during the time since she enlisted in the U.S.Army after 9-11.  Mainly, she has grown up. 

I think Kristen is destined to do great things.  Like her brother, she is gifted in academics however she is a rock star in math and science while Ryan and I lean more toward English.  Kristen has an interest in water quality and with her degree in Environmental Science, plans to work in third world countries to try and improve water supply and quality.

In the past ten years, Kristen has become a veteran and a mother - two things of which to be so proud.  I would suspect that the next ten years will be equally exciting. 

So proud of you Kris!

Happy 5th Birthday!

To one of the greatest loves of my life! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This Christian Life.

Is hard. And I fail miserably at it. Every. Single. Day.


I’ve learned a lot - that becoming a Christian – at least for me – is not a single aha moment. I mean it was kind of like an epiphany in that during a random moment at a Bible Study, I realized that what I was looking for had been there all along. And that realization has really given me tremendous direction in my life.

But still– I have nearly fifty years of being me and it's not been good. I am a grouch, can't hold a conversation to save my life, feel more comfortable in the company of animals to that of humans (usually), and when I do try to converse or otherwise fit in, would do much better to sit back and keep silent.  As I am sliding from merely being an irritable, socially-inept loner into the more whimsical label of being just an eccentric curmudgeon, I’ve realized that I don’t really want to be like that so much.  I'll be silent but with a smile on my face.

 I suspect that my gift lies more with what I can do rather than what I can say and that the master plan was never for me to be in any role that puts much attention on me. But you never know. Our pastor said something a few weeks ago that has been on my mind.  He said that when we open ourselves to what the Lord wants, something wonderful and unexpected can happen. That sounds really good to me. I’m always up for a challenge and I wait patiently for what my role on earth is meant to be. I just really hope that I know it, when He tells me.  I've been told that it could be years before I know.

But I feel as if I am flying blind and am not sure what I am doing.  I'm confident that I will figure it out.  I'm buying a bible that will help me understand and that includes Cliffnotes of sort that are meant (I think) to help those of us starting from scratch. But I feel as if I can't change me or that I shouldn't change me.  I wouldn't know how to begin to morph into a social butterfly - or even just a social caterpillar.  But if I'm asked to change, I will. 

I was really naive to think that simply by accepting God that the Christian road was wide open and easily navigated.  I've found that instead, the Christian life is a journey.  It looks as if it is going to be very interesting and very rewarding.  I just really wish that there was a map.

But I'll get there.






Sunday, December 11, 2011

Neighbors.

 You know it is going to be a rocky day when you are awoken (waked, awakened, woken up, whatever....) by hearing a message on your answering machine that begins with, "I think I just saw your horse walking toward Bible Road".  Oh yeah.  In less than 20 seconds, I had on my muddy overalls, my barn boots, and the ratty sweatshirt that I use when feeding the animals.  Within about 3 seconds after that, I had grabbed a lead rope and was headed out the door toward Bible Road.  (A lovely sight, I was)

 Lucky for me, the neighbor who called me was the same neighbor who had previously helped my husband corral the goats when they were out on the road and whose dogs we had rescued and returned home a couple of times.  We may not always remember each other's names but we know each other by our animals.  Which is common in our neck of the woods.

After less than a couple minutes, I spotted Buddy the wayward horse grazing outside the fence in the company of some mighty nice looking heifers who belonged to another one of our neighbors. I clipped the leadrope onto Buddy's halter and my husband walked him home.

 At church during the sermon, I remembered that the potato casserole was still in the oven so I ran home to turn the oven off.  While I was there, I peeked out and sure enough........Buddy and Clover were both out of the fence and were nibbling on the grass.  I went back to church and sent my husband and son over home to bring the horses back in.  It was clear that the fun and games were about over.  Chasing the horses and bringing them home was quickly losing its appeal.  All along, I was under the (wrongful) impression that the spot in the fence where they were escaping had been fixed.

So then after church but before our church meal, I went over to the house to bring the casserole over and looked out just in time to see Dolly Llama hop the fence.  And even though Dolly Llama has the ability to hop nearly any fence, she only does so when the horses are in the lower pasture.  So I ran the casserole to the church and ran back home.  Literally.  I got in the house to put on my boots just in time to hear our other neighbor say that the horses were over in their yard checking out their garden.   Let me tell you: about that point, I was having not-quite-Christian-like thoughts about the fence, the horses, Dolly Llama, my husband, etc.

Suffice it to say, that the horses were successfully put away - Buddy in the barn, Clover in the upper pasture and Dolly Llama in the company of Clover. The spot where they were sneaking over to the unsecure lower pasture was fixed. What could have ended tragically since we live within 1.5 of a main road, ended well - thanks to some really good neighbors who decided not to ignore a large horse strolling down the road.  So though we may only know each other by the names of our pets/animals (at least in the early hours), we do know each other.  We have each others' back. 

I think that many times country neighbors are compared to the more transient city neighbors.  Those of us who live in the country and are lucky enough to have others in close proximity may not always know the first names of our neighbors but that doesn't mean we don't know them.  It doesn't mean that we don't look out for each other.  This morning has proven to me that neighborliness is alive and well.  At least in Georges Valley.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lessons learned as a kid.


Tonight I am bone-tired. I've got blisters on the palms of my hands. My knuckles are bruised and scraped and I am sure that tomorrow my back will be as stiff as the boards I pounded all day long.  Today I built a chicken coop - not just any chicken coop but the Fort Knox of chicken coops.  A friend of a friend gave me 3 hens who had just begun laying and since all 20 or so hens of mine have put the egg-laying on hiatus for the winter, I drove over the mountain and through the woods to pick them up Saturday.  I didn't want to mix these new chickens (Peter, Paul, and Mary) with my other chickens mainly because I wanted to be able to locate at least a few eggs a day.  All of my other chickens free-range and where they lay their eggs depends on the time of year and the weather. 

So Saturday's quick slapping-together of a coop was just temporary.  In fact, Peter and Paul escaped and roosted with the other chickens in another coop leaving Mary all by herself - and  Mary was not very happy about it.

So yesterday after church, I headed out back to make an escape-proof, windproof, sturdy coop.  And because I didn't want to reinvent the wheel, I decided that it would a more effective use of my time to fortify and modify the temporary coop.

Now one thing about me, is that not only am I money-poor, I am just plain cheap.  Another thing about me is that I was a stellar cabin builder when I was a kid.  My best friend and our siblings had cabins all over the woods and the back field in a variety of stages of design.  We made treehouses out of wood we found in our dads' scrap piles or wood that we found in the forest.  We made cabins hidden in the high grasses of the field regardless of the fact that we would sneeze continuously and wheeze and that our eyes were so red and itchy that we could barely see.  We had less sophisticated forts that were simply outlined with fallen timber in the pines in the neighborhood on which a house is now built.  In making our cabins, treehouses, and forts, we used whatever we could find and we weren't too proud to scrounge through the dumps that used to be all over the place back then.


 
So in the spirit of my childhood, I grabbed a screwdriver, a hammer, a handful of nails, a box of deck screws and any decent piece of lumber I could find.  I sawed and pounded, nailed and clipped screen and ended up with a chicken coop that could withstand a hurricane! As a finishing touch, I unearthed some old pieces of tin that I believe came from a long ago neighbor's produce stand.  And with that, the coop was complete. 

Now some eyes may look at my little coop and think what a pile of junk, what an eyesore - in fact, I think that's where my husband was going when he said 'we'd fix it up next weekend'.  But when I look at this heavy duty, invasion-proof, escape-proof, warm, dry chicken coop, I only see Peter, Paul, and Mary quietly purring on their nests.  I see an absolutely breathtaking array of old, aged wood along with just as old rusted tin.  I see a little bit of the history of a long ago Sprucetown and know that my creation will be home for chickens for many, many years to come!

Rusted tin and old wood.  Is there anything more beautiful?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stars in Penns Valley.



The stars were out in Penns Valley tonight.  At least one bright and shining star anyhow!  It seems that God was a little disproportionate when he sprinkled stars across the world and more than the fair share landed in our little valley.

There is always something to brag about in the Potters Mills, Spring Mills, Centre Hall, Millheim, etc. area.  Books could be written about the caliber of people you can find in this neck of the woods. Oh, but tonight. . .

Tonight one of my daughters and I decided to attend a concert by Autumn Blaze and her orchestra.  I doubt that anyone outside central PA has ever heard of this young girl - who is in 11th grade in our school district, who played the lead in the spring musical this past year, who - two summers ago - won the Grange Fair Idol competition.  But I bet that is all going to change one day and quite a few people are going to have heard her and of her.    For two hours tonight, seemingly the entire valley sat enchanted by a mix of jazz and contemporary music.  Autumn was amazing! The orchestra was first class.  It was an experience that I know I have never had.  The high school parking lot was full!  There were ushers in black, luminaries lined the high school hallways, plush rugs lead the waiting patrons to the doors of the auditorium.    The entire evening was musically magical. 

Autumn sang Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend, Lulu's Back in Town, Pokerface, and I'm not that girl (from Wicked) - a variety of genres and all done so well.  Even to my slowly deafened ears.

But the magic wasn't just with her singing and the beautiful mixture of the piano, the bass, the horns......the truly magical part of the whole thing was that this young girl is donating the profits to Penns Valley High School Drama department.

Who says the arts aren't important?  I beg to differ.

Thank you, Autumn!

Winter then fall

Anyone who knows me knows that I love fall.  I love the colors of autumn, I love the cooler temperatures - fall is perfect for me as...