Monday, April 29, 2013


A trifecta (or would it be a quadfecta?) of broken car went kaput Wednesday night. My glasses snapped in half while I was lifting a goat. My microwave turns on when I open the door. I can spit harder than the water trickles out of the shower.

Luckily the car broke down only a quarter of a mile away from home, after the rain and we were able to walk home. And my glasses? Well thank goodness I have at least six pairs of readers that I could use. True, only the ugliest pair of frames will accommodate my lenses but at least I'll be able to see.  And I'll admit, I got to meet several new people today by waving and saying hello - only to realize they weren't who I thought they were. After explaining that I really couldn't tell who they were and that I didn't have my glasses on and that I wasn't really a creeper.........well, you know that uncomfortable laugh you hear when people just want to get away from you......

And even though my microwave turns on when I open the door, I don't think it is microwaving anything.  And at least I have dripping running water in my house which is more than I can say for a large percentage of this world's population.

So have a plethora of blessings to count. And adding to that, is being able to add the word 'plethora' to a sentence in a way that makes sense.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


 What a great weekend!  I finally finished my little greenhouse.  My youngest son and I tried to put it up a few weekends ago and it blew down.  We worked on it yesterday, putting up the braces and it is a heck of a lot sturdier. Sometime this week, I am going to build wooden shelves to act as more of a brace but also to provide someplace to set my plants.

This morning my middle daughter and I went on a beautiful hike.  It was a hike that we tried to do in February but the roads in were icey and snow-covered due to no winter maintenance.  It was a great hike although we didn't hike nearly as far as we wanted because we had stuff at home we needed to get done.

I love hiking.  I especially like hiking when you find remnants of long-ago places out in the middle of the woods.  It's a lot of fun thinking about the men who had blazed the CCC sites over 80 years ago.  It is amazing how many of the structures are still standing and how even the ruins can tell a story.

My daughter and I talk a lot during our hikes.  It was a little sad today though because she was talking about plans. There are a couple of races she wants to do including a bike race in Canada.  Before she would always talk about what we are going to do, our plans.  But today, she talked about what she was going to do.  I'm glad that she feels confident in that she doesn't need to have a friend to give her the courage to do new and exciting things, but it is bittersweet when it is strikingly clear that those new and exciting things will not include me.  But there are plenty of things that we can do together now and in the future.  And hiking is one of those things.  It allows us to talk and laugh about things we normally wouldn't talk or laugh about.  Hiking has allowed me a glimpse into who that wonderful, beautiful creature really is.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Horse thoughts

Old Hemlock stand
Dakota, our pointman.
My experience today was so great that I can't even put into words what it meant to me. I lived a dream today. I rode a horse - a beauty named Ranger Rick - not in a ring but on a trail through the woods. We walked, we trotted, we cantered through water, through a beautiful stand of Hemlocks (my dad's favorite), past a magical little cabin in the woods with a pond and patch of daffodils from someone's long ago garden. There were ghosts of  fence posts that, I imagine, once bordered pasture that had stood there. There were trails upon trails upon trails.  I easily felt in my heart as if I were galloping through the wild, wild west.  Well, except a lot more tree covered and a lot less flat.  Ranger Rick was amazing - it was if he understood me, that I was new at this and just a little bit nervous.  I love that horse.  I trusted him which is saying A LOT!  At one point, he started to swing his head because he wanted to catch up with his buddies Phoenix and Sundance.  My first reaction was a nanosecond of panic but then it was as if Ranger told me that it would be ok. And it was.    I took this trailride with a new friend and her daughter.  I've only known them for three weeks but it feels as if we grew up together.  She cares for her horses that way that I hope to care for my own horse someday.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Busy day.

 Today was a beautiful day. A busy day. A day for which I've earned my sleep.  I did the spring cleaning of the goat house today.  I had a lot of help.  All six of the goats and Clover, my pony, stood in the little goat house while I tried to scoop up a winter's worth of matted hay and straw.  We quickly fell into a routine: goats and pony follow me in, I lead them out, I fill up the wagon and dump it, come back to the goathouse,all the animals are back inside and then the whole thing is repeated. Again and again. All day long.

The goats and pony were not helpful.  Not at all.  Unlike dogs, they do not move out of the way when you accidentally bump into them. They stay where they are and let you trip/fall/dance around them.

But I got it done.  Not only that but I got my tomatoes re-potted.  I have 4 Black Tulus, 5 Blondefkphen, 5 Nebraska Wedding, and 5 Black Krim.  Tomorrow I will re-pot the rest which include Mortgage Lifters and Tommy Toes.  Then I need to move the cabbage to the garden area.  I might re-pot my celery and peppers too. I started them in teeny tiny starter pots and they need something bigger until they can be planted directly into the garden.  If only I had finished putting up my greenhouse!

Tomorrow it's supposed to rain but I hope to get Clover's ponyhouse cleaned out. It shouldn't be a problem if I get an early start. And then, if it is crummy out, I'll spend a lot of the day reading.  Or making soap.  I have patchouli soap and orange/honey soap to make.  But that may get pushed off to Thursday depending on the weather.

This kind of life is perfect for a soul like mine.  I work by the weather and the clock really doesn't factor into things which is good.  I have no sense of time. And hate watches......not a good combination.  I'm doing a trailride either Thursday morning or Friday morning depending on the weather. I'm really looking forward to that.

 I think this is the first vacation that I really did something AND stay at home.  Don't get me wrong, I am so looking forward to a week at the beach but this has been so satisfying.  I'm tired but I can't wait to get up in the morning and do it all over again

Monday, April 22, 2013


I can feel myself hiding again.  I'm on vacation this week.  For a variety of reasons.  The original plan was to hike the Midstate Trail for several days but my daughter really wants to go with me so we'll postpone til summertime.  Then I thought I would hike for a day and an overnight, but as things turnout - that's not going to work either.  So this weekend.......this weekend we'll go hiking.  I need a good dose of the forest.

But I feel like hiding again. I want to go outside and not interact with people at all.  I hate trying to figure people out: what is meant by certain behaviors, by certain words.  I'm narcissistic, I suppose.  I assume when people act oddly, it is because of me.  A new cliche', it is what it is, is so not true.  It's not what it is. It's not even what it is supposed to be.  I'm not really sure what it is.

Today was day one of my vacation and I am exhausted!  I actually have several projects planned for this week.  I started and completed 3 of them.  The completing part is the part that trips me up every time.  I'm really good at starting things, not so good at completing them.  But I did today!

I planted some iceberg lettuce I had started, I nailed the separators on my square-foot-garden box, I built a little annex to house Leslie and Cinderella to keep them separate from their babies so that hopefully, I can start milking them Wednesday morning.

I raked up all the fallen pinecones, twigs and various other stuff by the goats' pen, we moved my new chair up by the mock orange tree, and I did most of the laundry.  I then finished it off by making pizza dough and pizza sauce.  The pizza was excellent! And so easy.  I used a recipe for pizza sauce that I found on  No cooking was involved which initially made me a little hesitant to try it.  But it was really good and it did get the oven on the pizza!

No horse riding today - my car needed a new bearing thing and that took all of my money.  So hopefully, Friday morning I can ride a little bit.

Today felt like spring.  I am  a good kind of tired.  Hoping that tomorrow I feel better but if I don't, I am perfectly fine hanging with my dogs, goats, chickens and pony.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Change of heart.

I’ve always said that I preferred the company of animals over that of humans……well, I really do love being around animals, that is true.  But a Facebook status that was shared over and over and over again made me think about this a little differently.  This particular posting pointed out some of the good things seen related to the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon.   It pointed out all of the people who ran toward – not from – people who had been injured, all of the people who donated blood, opened their homes, prayed, and otherwise came through for the victims of the bombing.  How many good, good people were involved as opposed to the number of bad people?  Well, lets just say that there are far fewer people wanting to hurt than there are people wanting to help. 

My ability to relate better to family first, then animals, really isn’t a reflection of how I feel about humanity.  It is more my inability to process and respond to information  quickly which really makes social interaction awkward.  Add that to whatever part of my brain that fogs up when surrounded by the cacophony of human voices, and it makes me out to be a very unsocial person. 

I love my family most of all.  I love my dogs, my goats, my chickens, my pony, my cats.......I love the horses I've met over the past couple of weeks.  But I realize that there is a lot of love among the human race.  It is unfortunate that the mean and the ugly few are the ones who get noticed.  

The Boston Marathon bombing struck especially close to home because I am a runner and I've participated in many, many races over the past 20 years.  I know that the runners and all of the spectators are a good bunch.  We are all there to celebrate our sport of running.  If you have ever had the opportunity to participate in a race in which the spectators are every bit participants in the race as the runners, you'll understand.  For instance, the Marine Corp marathon has spectators and supporters nearly the entire 26.2 miles.  Another half marathon that I ran last fall, people had drinks set up at the end of their driveways out in the middle of no where.  One guy had a couple of really cold cans of beer that runners could pour a little into a cup to get a quick, cold sip.  Some families offered oranges and bananas.  They didn't have to do that, they weren't registered volunteers, they were just nice people who did this 'just because'.  In the Air Force marathon, I swear that everyone in the little town through which we ran was out cheering us on, ringing their cow bells and really creating a party atmosphere.  

So these are the good people. These are among the people who were hurt on Monday.  So many of them and so few of the worthless pieces of garbage like whomever set those bombs.  

And you know what?  I'll bet that those good people will be out at those races again this year.  Because good always conquers evil. I don't care what anyone says.  

So I've had a change of heart.  I may not say it, I may get frustrated with the human race, but I do care.  Very much.

Monday, April 15, 2013


So many conflicted feelings.  The horror of hearing of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the deaths, the injuries, the pure horror that such a fun and joyous occasion could so quickly be turned into a nightmare defying description.  I just can't fathom it.

The blessing that my brother didn't run the marathon.  He qualified for it, was going to go, but circumstances prevented him from going.  Thank God.

But is this what humans have become? Targeting the activities, the places, the people that bring happiness, pride and joy to life and then snuffing that out?  Is this what it is all about?

I can imagine that the fingers of blame are pointing already. Without evidence, we can't make assumptions.  I hope that we don't place blame until we have all the facts, that we don't punish a group of people because of what we suppose.  Most of us are better than that.

I'll go to bed now and try to sleep. I'm lucky.  I know where my family is.  And they are safe.  I will never again refer to a killer or a bombing coward as an animal.  Animals act on instinct.  Animals are better than that.  And I remember now why I prefer the company of animals over that of most people.

Monday, April 8, 2013


As if we don’t have enough mud……..two of my guys had to go out and look for more!  Well, they found it.  

Here in central PA, 4-wheelin’ through the mud is an EVENT.  And this past weekend to celebrate his birthday, my husband took our youngest and introduced him to the world of mud.  

One of the local fire companies uses these mud runs, or Poker Runs, as a great fundraising event.  According to my husband, there were over 300 drivers there.  Apparently they ride to different stations on a 28 – 31 mile long trail course and collect poker chips. 

If their poker chip has a certain number on it, they can win something (not sure what).  At these poker runs, the firemen sell hotdogs and other sandwiches, coffee, and pop.  It sounds like a lot of fun!  Like something I may like to do.  We like doing most anything that benefits the fire company or other helping organization.  I would much rather go to a church dinner than a fancy restaurant or to a school concert than a huge show.  

I guess that's just me.  I'm simple, I know that. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tonight's the night!

Today was a great day.  I met with a student who seemed a little lost and a little unsure of why she had chosen the path she was on.  So I asked her, if you could go be anything - anything at all - what would it be?  And she said, 'a farmer'.  Kindred spirits are we.  But it made me kind of sad.  Why is there a girl who wants to be farmer spending 4 years at a school that she would rather not attend studying a subject that she really isn't interested in?  There's a hundred reasons I suppose.  Maybe her parents are pushing her away from the much less lucrative field of farming.  I think it is sad that compensation is measured in money.  I'm no different.  I would rather be many places than where I am 9 hours a day.  But my kids hopefully want a college education - and working at a University certainly helps.  Because it's the thing to do.

I found this video on one of the blogs I like to read and it really hits home. And speaking of dreams and farms and doing what one wants to do......tonight I took my first riding lesson (actually riding and horse-caring) and I fell in love.  I rode a beautiful Tennessee walker named Phoenix.  And he is beautiful, just like the other Phoenix I know.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


So it is April. It is spring. Today appeared to be a beautiful, spring day.  But it was 24 degrees this morning when I went out to take care of everybody. And at one point, I looked outside this afternoon and it was snowing.  For only minute though.

Ok I have my complaining done - I put my snow irritation out there so I'm done with it unless it snows tomorrow.

I start working on a dream in two days.  I'm going to begin taking horseriding lessons.  And I'm not telling a soul, except my oldest son and oldest daughter. Well and my mom - because she is the only one who reads this :)  It is kind of sneaky on my part.  If my husband knew, he would say it is a waste of money. Which I suppose I can see his point but yet this is something I want to do.  Throughout any given week, I spend the amount of horseriding lessons on needless crap: coffee, stuff for lunch when I don't feel like eating what I brought for all adds up.  And that is what I am using to pay for lessons.  Not only that but I am going to learn the right way to care for horse and his surroundings.  Someday I want to buy a riding horse.  But I don't want to do it until I know how to ride, am comfortable riding, and know exactly how to care/groom a horse.

I don't think this money spent is a waste.  My dad always wanted a horse but where he and my mom live, livestock is not allowed.  But boy, there was no mistake how he felt about horses!  I remember him talking about this horse Delila who resided on a farm nearby and about the other horses he and my mom would see on their travels.  Over the years, people have given him horse books, pictures and even a stuffed horse.

I just think that it is time for me to start working on my dream.   This isn't wasted money, it is an investment in my future.

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...