Saturday, June 30, 2012

My bit of paradise.

 Aside from the fact that I couldn't call and tell my dad that the corn in Centre county would, indeed, be knee high by the fourth of July, today was a near perfect day on One Old Goat Farm.  My good day actually started last night when my brother texted me that he was offered a job!  A good job! 

After the normal running around that I do on Saturday mornings, the day was spent wading in the creek, planting some flowers, weeding some gardens, and packing straw around my potato plants which as of today, still look healthy.  It was a hot one out but little Potter Run the flows through the property is always cold.  And the dogs had a blast keeping cool in it.  Sebastian was busy carrying boulders out and then dropping them and tossing them and then digging in the mud. 

The goats enjoyed some of the elephant ears that I dug out of my garden.  This year has not been a good year for keeping the garden weed free but honestly, my garden is never really weed free.  

My son and husband rode their four-wheelers through the woods, cleared out some paths and just enjoyed being together. 

The day was just good.  Nothing spectacular, nothing out of the ordinary.......just a really good day.

Dad, I wish you were here.








Friday, June 29, 2012

Fisher House....PLEASE think about it.

http://www.facebook.com/TeamFisherHouse



So despite the fact that I've not been posting on my progress for the Air Force Marathon I'm doing in memory of my dad, I have been making really good progress!  My longest run in this training has been 15 miles - which I've done with energy to spare.  This will be my 3rd marathon and will be followed by my 4th marathon exactly one month later.

Along with training, I've been doing some research into the Fisher House. Stop and think about.  I don't know about you, but I have a decent job.  Yet if my daughter who is in the U.S.Army were to be injured and was hospitalized away from our little area of central Pa, I would need to live out of my car in order to be near her.  We've had friends who have been in just this type of situation and hotel accommodations are just NOT affordable on a middle-class income.

A Fisher House is "a home away from home" for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The homes are normally located within walking distance of the treatment facility or have transportation available. There are 57 Fisher Houses located on 23 military installations and 20 VA medical centers. Many more houses are under construction or in design -

For instance,since 1990, Fisher House Foundation has served more than 160,000 families and provided over 4 million days of lodging, saving them (the families of injured military) more than $192 million in lodging and transportation costs. The highlights for 2011 are listed below.

I've decide to increase my personal goal from $550 to $750.00 to raise for this organization.   Please think about donating to the Fisher House organization - whether it is $1 or $100.00.  I think military families are the forgotten population when thinking about the casualties of war.  It is important for our injured military to have family closeby to expedite their healing but if their families can't afford it, what can be done?  You can follow the link to donate or you can send a check made out to the Fisher House Foundation and send it to me.  I'll make sure it gets to where it needs to go.

In addition, later in July I'll be selling 'Jellies for Joe'.  A pint of blueberry jelly for $5 and ALL of the money goes directly to Fisher House.  My dad's favorite fruit was blueberry and I think that the best way to fundraise is to include something that he loved.  So think about it.  Please.  And if you want some blueberry jam, let me know.


http://fisherhouse.org/houses/

2011 Highlights
Families served: More than 17,000
Average length of stay: 10 days
Average length of stay for combat casualties: 45-60 days
Saved families more than $25 million in lodging costs, plus food and transportation
More than 75,000 hours of volunteer service

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A day among friends.




Today was our annual church picnic. It was a trifecta of good things: a huge turnout of church family and friends, perfect weather and good food.

Also, I thought, a good time to overcome a fear. Of heights.  There is a skylift at Knoebel's Grove. Harmless enough.  The past couple of years I've managed to ride the giant ferris wheel with hardly any panic.  And after all, everyone from little wee kids to old folks, older than me even, seemed to be happy and calm and alive getting down from this lift.

So my son and I made it our first stop.  We were scooped up by the bench and off we went.  Up and up and up and up.  Across the road, over the tree tops and up and up and UP the mountain!  I wasn't expecting to be so high.  I wasn't expecting the thing to jiggle and shake and rock and occasionally, stop.  I tried to distract myself and prevent the panic that was building by taking pictures and thinking what a birds-eye view we had.  Then I looked over at my son: eyes closed, white-knuckled hands clenched on the handlebars.  Trying to make conversation, he told me 'just don't talk, mom'.

And we made it down. And safely off.  With a series of more jiggles and rattles and pauses and shakes, we planted our feet firmly on the ground.

My sons and I are alike in more ways than I thought.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friday night in the valley.


Last night was my youngest son's first tractor pull.  Well.....at least the first pull in which he actually pulled.  He and his dad have been working on this tractor since last summer, have attempted to get it ready for the tractor pulling season, and finally tweeked and twiddled with it enough that it was final legal for the pull last night.  I say legal but what I mean is that there is very exacting requirements for a lawn tractor to be qualified to participate in a pull.  It has to have a wheelie bar of the appropriate size, the engine can't rev too high or too low, and I am sure many other things that I don't understand.

But he pulled last night.....twice!  The first time he didn't start out in a high enough gear and then the second time, the tractor slipped out of gear.  But what a great learning experience for him!  And what a great way to spend time with his dad!

I really liked that amidst all the shiny yellow and red snazzy tractors, my guys tractor was.......well, it wasn't shiny. It was a labor of love in which things were knitted together piecemeal so that it was entirely functional but didn't really look great.  But my youngest son couldn't have had a better time with his dad even if he did have a bright fancy tractor.

He had a great time pulling his tractor and hanging out with all the other guys.  But I would suspect that what he remembers most is the time he had with his dad.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Riding.

 My daughter and I love to spend time together, whether it is running, hiking, or biking, we just love being together.

Sunday on our way to her camp, we decided to get an early start and bike on one of the rails to trails in that area.  We have a book of rails to trails and one of our goals is to bike each one.

This one was a very easy 16-miler in the most beautiful of weather.  What a great way to spend time just the two of us. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

And so it goes.

 Life doesn't stop. Not death, not a broken heart, nothing makes life stop.  Thank God.

Marching band activities began yesterday.  Our school had their first parade of the season.  And they rocked!!!

I'll admit that even if they weren't good (they were!), I would be biased.  But truly, this is an unbiased opinion.  For a summer parade, for the first of year 2012, our band was the largest, the best organized, and the best sounding  of the whole parade! Seriously!   And my son played the cymbals.   He was EXHAUSTED by the time he made it to the judging stand.   As were all the kids.  But they did a great job!  We have a new band director who is doing an awesome job!  He had some really humongous shoes to fill but fill them, he did!  Not only do the kids like him, but the parents do as well!
I was thinking the other day when my middle daughter decided not to remain in the marching band, of what a challenge it must be to be the band director.  It is not a 9 - 5 job.  I've seen Mr. D at all the musical rehearsals, at all the marching band practices, at all the football games.  And his new wife.   Not only that but to have to motivate kids to want to be part of the band.  I've written about that before. I know that my daughter will sorely miss being part of that group once the opportunity is gone.  Thank God that my son loves the band!

I'm thinking that as a parent who is incredibly proud of our high school marching band, its director, and its parent group, that I need to pull myself up to the job, get my clearances in and starting putting in my time.




Friday, June 15, 2012

Back on the farm.

So despite the heartache of the past month, despite the perpetual lump in my throat and pain in my chest, life at One Old Goat farm goes on.  We've been busy cleaning up the yard, fixing the fences, and planting the garden - all the stuff that needs to be done right now and hasn't been.  It is a relief, of sorts, to have to work overtime getting a headstart on the weeds and other chores.  There is something incredibly peaceful about working on a little farm with animals who have no sense that life is any different than it always was.

We have two kittens left of a litter of five.  No chicks so far. So nothing new as far as animals go.  I am planning to borrow a pair of clippers to give Dolly Llama a long-needed clipping and hopefully she'll won't look as if something has been chewing on her.

The grass is bright, bright green and my son is now old enough to keep the lawn mowed and young enough to still think it is fun.  My raspberry starts didn't make it through winter but it looks as if I have one blueberry bush that is struggling to hold on to life.  Or at least onto two of its leaves.

Tomorrow my youngest has his first parade of the season and he is hoping that he has grown strong enough to cart the bass drum or carry the cymbals.  I think he'll probably be fine because he has grown at least three inches since the first of the year.

Yep, life goes on at the farm.  This Old Goat is getting older and more appreciative for the people I still have.  I'm hoping that immersing myself in my garden, my farm, my family, and my quilts will bring me the healing that I need.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My boy.

Still trying to come to terms with my father's death. Unsuccessfully. Until tonight, thinking about Pirates baseball of all things.  Every night I would call home and my dad would answer "Beth!" and I would respond "Dad!".  I'd ask what he was doing and he would say 'just sitting here watching the game (or Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy). 

I caught a glimpse of the sports news tonight and instantly was brought back to those phone conversations.  How painful is that?  So trying to swallow the tears, I decided to text my son and daughter (thank goodness for text - they didn't have to listen through my sniffles).  My daughter encouraged me to call her, which I did.  My son responded back with the text message:  "You always will, but you'll see him again, and until you do its important to remember that you have more people than most who love  you just as much as you loved grandpa, even if it isn't always obvious".

How my heart needed to hear that!  I must have done something in a previous life that was so right that I deserved being blessed with a son like that! 

God gave me the kids I needed to have. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just Cause.

No. I'm not running in honor of the cat. But in the honor of the guy in the background.  That's my dad, Joseph W. Arnold who went to be with God on May 22nd.  He took most of my heart with him.

My dad has a long, long military history - you can actually view his obituary here.  But I'm not dealing with his death. It is all surreal - I can't believe that my dad is not on this earth with me.  But what I am doing is running a marathon in his memory.  If 26.2 miles doesn't pound the grief out of me, nothing will.  And not only being a self-satisfying activity, this race is the United States Air Force Marathon and I am raising money to benefit the Fisher House Foundation.  We've probably all had someone close to us injured - whether physically or psychologically - by their deployments.  The Fisher House foundations provides housing for the families of these heroes.

If you can go to my webpage, you can donate money to help this cause.  There is also financial information about the foundation in case you have any doubts as to the legitimacy. 

So please consider donating - anything!  Yes, it is self-serving in that I do want to run this marathon but it is also serving the needs of our military families.

Not saying goodbye.

What is my dad's picture doing attached to an obituary? How can this be? How did it happen?  I know now the numbness that death brings.  This past week has seemed surreal as we greeted old friends, heard stories of my dad and his buddies, as neighbors brought lots of food, lots of flowers.

It just doesn't seem real.

I don't want it to be real.

I want to go back to the numbness and if I swallow hard enough, I can avoid thinking for a while longer.  I know this is going to hit me like a sledgehammer and I know that the longer I wait to face it, the harder it is going to hurt.  But I can't deal with it right now.  Maybe not ever.

I am so sorry for every sympathy card I didn't write, for every hug I didn't give to someone had lost someone close to them.  I've always thought that by saying something or doing something it would just make the hurt worse.  But I know now that is not true.  Not for me anyway.

I remember the moment that my dad died. I knew he wasn't there anymore and that his soul had flown away. For some reason, even though I question nearly everything, I know that deep in my heart that he is with his family and friends.

My dad didn't look like my dad anymore when he died.  He didn't wear his glasses and seemed way too thin for have only been in the hospital for two weeks.

My parents have been my heroes forever and I don't feel quite grown up enough to be left without either one of them.  Yet I am.