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Football and Family

Now, I am not much of a football fan, and I even lived in Wisconsin for a while. If you can live in Wisconsin and come out still knowing nothing about football, it is just not meant to be! However, my husbands cousin is looking to be drafted to the NFL and his team played our team for our homecoming game today, which meant family in town and lots of running. I have been gone all day. It turns out there is a bear in the neighborhood, as seems to be the case this time of year, every year. I think it is an apple thing! I returned home to three wildly fanatic mutts! I wonder how close the bear was to our house. It is a little scary taking my dogs out at night for their last potty of the evening knowing that they would try to chase off a bear if they saw it. I wonder…do bears eat cats? Should I lock my kitties in? They would be pretty unhappy with me if I did that. I am in a strange place. I cannot seem to get myself organized. I am having the hardest time staying on task. I get halfway done changing the laundry, and look up and realize I only unloaded half of my dishwasher…go back to the dishes only to realize I abandoned the laundry halfway through changing it. The weather is changing and whenever that happens my jaw aches so bad….

I have been in this reclusive, alone place. It is a mostly good alone place. Just me and Jesus, but still it is lonely, and I long to talk to an adult who can listen to what I am saying without preconceived notions or thinking I am nutty. My loneliness comes from a feeling that I don’t know how to process, and if anyone shares the feeling, they are not sharing it with me.

I am focused on Rescue Ranch activities. I feel compelled to work on that, and yet, I have no idea what is next, or how to get my focus established. The next three weeks are going to be insanely busy, and then the Holidays come. Ugh! I love the Holidays! Don’t get me wrong, but as I get older, I sit and look at life, and how rapidly it moves, and all I can think is that it just keeps getting busier and busier, no matter how hard I try to get a slower pace established in our lives.

My sick little friend creeps into every thought or action in my day. We got bad news on Tuesday…it’s worst case scenario and her chances of beating it are thirty percent! I am ok. It is on God’s hands, but it just feels like all around me people are surrounded by this horrible horrible stuff, and I am alone in my contentedness, and burdened by the heavy weights that plaque my loved ones.

I want to focus on crafting and making money so I can start looking for land for the Rescue Ranch, but I feel like I am always doing something else. I dream of the day I can move into my Rescue Ranch and bring in a foster child… I feel ready, to start fostering teens. I have been made blatantly aware, in the last few days, how desperately I am needed in that circle.

Bible study was a harsh reminder this week of how few adults understand children in turmoil, and it breaks my hearts. I wish I could teach them all…but I imagine that would break my heart. Parents are so resistant to change. It is amazing how little adults respect children,and some of this stuff is so simple its amazing that we have to be taught. It is almost as if we over-think parenting, and just extending our children the same courtesies we extend strangers and guests would increase their functionality immensely.

I am in the process of trying to write three books and a business plan. I feel overwhelmed by each project, and I cannot seem to pick one to focus on heavily. One of them is less of a written book, and more organizing of charts and stuff. Probably the easiest one to focus on, and part of the crafting for farmers market in the spring plan. I really hope to break into the farmers market this spring. I have discovered a venue where I should be able to sell some of my upcycled crafts… A local venue that only sells locally made goods.

I have been trying to figure out how one makes money doing resource counseling stuff. I imagine I will have to apply for grants, as I clearly can’t charge poor people money to teach them how to get on their feet. How do I charge people for appointments I go to with them. For example, I am really good at advocating a good IEP plan within the schools, and I have helped many people get good IEP plans established for their children. This is a time consuming process that requires me going to the schools for appointments with teachers and counselors and parents. If I don’t find a way to compensate for that, I will not have the time to make the things I need to make to earn money to provide for my ranch. Where would one even go to apply for said grants? Wow! Well, a quick search on the internet gave me hope! There appear to be a lot of social service grants available. I think my first order of business is to set up the business plan, as it will be a useful tool along the way, and I can work on the books no matter where I am living. I did some research on property and loans and I don’t think it will be too difficult to get land when I have raised some money.

I have never been inspired to make earrings before, because I don’t really wear them I suppose, but lately, I have been quite inspired to make them, and I have found some of the cutest ideas! I have been searching through a friends magazines, and also on the internet and man there are some cute and pretty simple earring ideas. I already have my mom and my mother in laws Christmas presents planned. I cannot wait to go out and buy the supplies!

I think I get stuck on a lot of projects because I don’t feel like I have the time to finish a project so I don’t start it. I think it may be one of my procrastinating tools….I have a hard time making myself spend a bunch of time pulling out all my supplies and getting everything set up, only to have to put it away in half an hour…. I must break that habit!

I extended an olive branch in the form of cherry tomatoes today. I have so many, and I have an uncomfortable relationship that is prevalent in my life. We both believe that the other wronged us. We have apparently tried to just ignore it away (never works but I guess I will give it a shot). The air is always thick and quiet between us, and everyone knows but acts like they don’t notice. Tonight I asked her if I could bring her some cherry tomatoes… She looked me in the eye. She got excited. She talked to me like a normal human being and it was nice. I still wish she would apologize, but I bet she feels the same way, and I would not know what to apologize for, so I guess I should leave it at that.

I have an order for two quilts. A family member requested them, and she is buying the materials, but I am making them. I feel like I do all of the things that I want to do for a living, for free, and it kills me. I don’t know how to ask my family to pay me for my time, but it is precious. I have stared to branch beyond my family, and well, have been referred to help strangers now. It is coming to a place where I am going to have to learn how to make money doing these things, and I have no idea how until the ranch is set up.

When I was working on my business plan, it occurred to me that I never planned to pay myself. I just thought that every penny that came out of the ranch would go back in. It was a crazy realization that I could pay myself. My first thought was “Imagine what I could do for the food bank if I had income from the rescue ranch besides just going back into the ranch”! I dream of the day I can go to Costco and buy a truckload of food to donate to the food bank or through the church to the community. maybe I could take half of it to the food bank and half to the church…or better yet, maybe I could do two truckloads! I would also love to help the local soup van. That is our communities alternative to a soup kitchen. It drives around, and stops in certain places around town, and hands out meals to homeless and impoverished. When I asked him how he did it, he just said “Alot of prayers”. WoW! That is some awesome faith right there!

The other day I was thinking…How would you word a prayer for The Lord to just work on everyone’s heart. I asked someone in my Bible Study and she looked at me like she thought I was speaking martian. I was driving to Bible Study, and thinking about all of my friends who are not saved, and well, I just wished it made sense to say “Lord, please just work on everyone’s heart. The world is a dark and scary place and we all need you”. It felt ridiculously obvious and vague all at once and I am not sure what I think of the idea. ‘Well, there is something for you to ponder until next time….It’s getting late here and I must get to bed.




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Welcome Routine…..

I was so excited for today. The official start of the school season, the day after Labor Day, and the day I get to start this routine I have been waiting so impatiently for. Wouldn’t you know, nothing ever works as planned. I learned that long ago, so I don’t get too disappointed when it does not go as planned, but we were up too late last night. My lovely son, who has three sleep disorders and usually the one I am waiting on to go to bed, was the only one asleep earlier than usual. I was ecstatic…what is this? He is asleep by ten…that is unheard of! I should have known it was too good to be true, since he woke up this morning in a cold sweat with a fever and sore throat!. Ugh! So, he lies on the couch eating chicken noodle soup and cucumbers, watching cartoons, while I toil through my day. It’s not bad. He is pretty low maintenance when he is sick, and he doesn’t get sick often any more (this was not always the case, as you will learn through time with me). The turkey fry was great. Nice, quiet, pretty low key. Just a couple of close friends. The potato salad was delicious, and got eaten up quickly, but I still cant get that one last thing right about the coleslaw. Its pretty good, but something is just not what I am looking for, we did, however, eat most of it. Hubby is going to smoke a turkey this weekend. It will be our first smoking experience and we are quite excited. We all went out and picked buckets of apples at the end of the night, it couldn’t have been nicer.

One of my girlfriends and I really enjoy a lot of the same types of gardening and craft stuff, and we trade magazines back and forth as we get new ones. I have four new mags to read now. Two Mother Earth News, and Two Grit. In exchange she got HobbyFarms and Urban Farming from me. We will trade for a couple weeks then return each others mags. In the winter it’s craft books and magazines we share. I love this aspect of our friendship! We always have new stuff to talk about that we are both interested in.

Did I already mention that tire farming is the way to go with gourds and melons? I had six stacks of tires lined up, each two tires tall. I cannot believe how well the warm season veggies and fruits did in those! It must be the heat generated by the dark rubber. All I know is I am sold! I have never successfully grown melons here, most people don’t even try unless they have a greenhouse. I grew mine in tires and I will do it again next year. I am already fantasizing about how I am going to make hoops for them when I have my own place. The landlord here is pretty picky about how stuff looks. He is already quite irritated that I would grow a “kitchen garden”, as gardens don’t belong near the house, and he even told me I was lucky he didn’t make me tear it all up. Ugh! Renting can be so hard sometimes. It’s his land, so I have to respect him, not to mention the fact that he is 50 years my elder, and I respect my elders! It just seems he is so close minded about what a garden is supposed to be. He is completely opposed to succession planting or container cropping. While I have already harvested enough veggies to make it worth my while, he insists I am never gonna reap any benefit from it. Can’t he see all the tomato and peppers bursting from every plant out there. What about the melons and sunflowers? What about the heads of lettuce and big fluffy carrot fronds? And oh yeah, “your watering all wrong”. The thing is, I am not. I spend hours and hours researching, learning, reading…..I am a nerd. When something captures me, I want to learn all I can about it. I even studied in Land management and Ecology at the local state university until my sons handicaps and single parenthood were more than I could do on top of work and school. I digress…

I plan to have an entire row of tires for my homestead garden, and I plan to grow all of my warmest season crops in them, and I intend to make row covers for them (because last week we came two degrees from a frost and I was very worried). I imagine the row covers will have to be quite large to cover full grown, fruit producing squash, melons, and gourds, but I believe we can come up with something very manageable. They work so well, and one of the things that I really love, is that the fruit don’t sit in the dirt. That really drives me nuts, the fruit lying in the dirt, not ripening and just waiting for bugs to devour them. I absolutely LOVE that they are not in the dirt but hanging on the sides of the tires, and now that they are so large you cannot even see the tires under them.

I look forward to the early evening when it cools down enough to comfortably work in the garden. Before ten am, it’s almost to cold to work out there, and when it’s not to cold, it gets hot fast. so, it cools down to the nice seventies in the evenings, and the sun is low. Perfect for gardening. Usually right before or after dinner is when I spend my time in the garden. Today I have to learn how to process apples. I want to do so many things with them. I can’t decide if I should can them, freeze them, make applesauce with some….guess my next destination is some web page that details the best way to put up apples for multiple uses….and on that note, have a blessed day!

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Catching up…

Well, it’s been a month since I found my way over here, and I am finally finding time to catch up. A couple months ago I started acupuncture due to some health issues I am struggling with. Since the first visit, I have felt amazing changes in my body and mind every day. I have not had as much sustainable energy since I was a teen. However, since I have many years of exhaustion to make up for, I have not been able to sit still at the computer long enough to write a new blog post. So, today here I sit. I have spent the last several weeks getting the rest of this house unpacked, and getting the three of us wiggled in to this space….it has been too long coming. It has been a hugely productive month, and now school is in session and I am excited for the productivity to come. In the last month, I have managed to make two quilts, ten strands of beads, and two up-cycled candle-holders. I have made three types of Jelly and canned them, as well as some soup, which I am a little nervous about because as my first canning experience I am not positive that it was a successful. I got a lot of the stuff done that I have been meaning to for the last two years…and that is a great feeling. I have been doing lots of baking and cooking, which I really, really enjoy, as does my family.

The garden has been quite productive. I have beans and peas and carrots coming out my ears….and the raspberries. Oh man, we put up a lot of raspberries, which works out nicely because my son will eat frozen fruit with cream on it all day long. I have been making fudge and cookies. I found a recipe on another blog for some delicious cookies, made with a chocolate cake mix. Since no one in our home is a big fan of cake, this has been a huge blessing… we somehow have an abundance of cake mixes in our cupboards. As my dear hubby days “Best cake I have ever had”.

The tomato and pepper plants are ridiculously prolific, and I can’t imagine how we are gonna eat all those peppers in the course of a year. I make a lot of homemade chilli and spaghetti sauce, so the tomatoes will get eaten up no problem, but looks like all the neighbors are gonna be eating peppers this winter. I even managed to successfully grow cantaloupe here in my short season garden. Tires…that was the trick to success. I assume it is the warmth in the tires that made them grow so prolifically. The tires also raised them up off the ground. I grew them in stacks of tires two high, and not one melon is sitting in the dirt rotting on the underside! I am sold on growing melons and squash type plants in tires from now on! I can’t wait till I live on land that I own so that I can grow whatever I want, in whatever container I want, whenever I want.

We have a small rural home, right outside of town, rented from an elderly farmer who is very stuck in his ways. He gave me a big lecture about how vegetables are not meant to be grown close to the house, they are not meant to be grown in containers, and I am watering all wrong…plus, it’s way too late for any crops planted after may or June, so he is convinced that my second succession crops will fail….  My dirt is too rich and I haven’t fed my plants enough.  The old grouch just complained about every aspect of my non-traditional, non-square, too close to the house, garden. I was so irritated with him for days, but I figure I will show him…When my cool season succession crops come up, I will take him a big basket of goodies (he is, after all, a ninety year old widower), and it can’t hurt to share my abundance with him. I try to just let it roll off my shoulders when his negativity overflows into my bubble, but this time I stewed for a few days. When I finally own my own property, I will have an entire row of tires set up. They work great for anything that loves warm soil, and they hold water great. I highly recommend trying some “tire gardening”. Because the warm season crops love the tires so much, I want to figure out a way to make covers for the tires, but they are gonna have to be pretty big, because by now, the gourds are pretty large. The temps got into the thirties this week, and I was worried about them every night. They are not done yet, they need a few more weeks, if they can just get through this cold snap.

I am ready for Fall. I am ready to start tearing down some of the garden stuff that’s done, and rounding up and bringing in the stuff that doesn’t fit in my tiny greenhouse. I look forward to the cooler temps and the craftier season. I spend most of my summer keeping up with my very social husband, and tending the garden. I look forward to the slower paced cool seasons, when I can spend time focusing on projects in my home and my craft surplus for the spring farmers markets.

I especially look forward to the routine of “school season”. We are wound down and in bed by close to the same time every night. I enjoy getting up at five am to walk my mutts before getting the child and hubby up for the day. I start the coffee, walk the dogs, get the boys up, and make breakfast. I feed the boys and dogs, get the laundry started for the day and make sure the dishwasher is empty for the day. By then, the boys are heading out the door, and I now have an opportunity to spend an hour doing Bible Study while drinking my coffee and waiting for the laundry to be ready to change. Once Bible Study/quiet time is done, I head to the chore list and start working on projects or chores I want to accomplish for the day. I have found that my motivation for chores in the afternoon is lacking, so I spend that time working on writing, research, crafts, gardening, baking…things I really enjoy. As dinnertime approaches, I get that ready and then wait for my boys to come home. I love when I have had a ridiculously productive day and they both notice (I am pretty spoiled in this department, as they do seem to notice). After dinner, I clean up the kitchen, put away food, and water the garden. Get young one ready for bed, and get the dogs cared for for the evening. I love the part of night when everyone winds down and I can sit with my journal and spill my thoughts for the day. I love having bedtime routines and having my clothes set out for the next morning before I go to bed. Somehow, I can’t manage this routine in the harried days of summer….and it is welcome relief from the chaos that ensues when we go go go too much for too long, for my tastes anyway.

We moved the sewing table out of the too small office, and now everything fits better, and I have better access to my sewing machine all the time. This makes life much, much easier. I look forward to a very productive craft and sewing year. I have been keeping my eye out for inexpensive material….I even found two yard swatches at Wal-mart last week for a dollar a piece! Score one for the craft budget there!

I finally got the SD card cleared from my camera, so maybe now I can start taking some photos of all these great projects I am working on and sharing them with you. Meanwhile, I guess you are stuck with your imagination. I have been successfully saving money from my nanny job to buy craft supplies, and I have been thinking about looking for a part time job in a craft store around here, or a bead store…. just a few hours a week. Not sure if I could pull it off or not. Guess we shall see how school goes for my son this year. Really, I just want to make stuff and sell it more than anything. I don’t need much income, but a little would be helpful.

I also want to go through all my books…I have so many books. I would like to trade them at the bookstore for some used books that I would rather have. I own tons and tons of books I will never read again. Why not trade them for some I have been longing to have, like that beekeeping book, or that Hobby farm book I have been eying. There are tons of craft books at that particular store that I would love to bring home. I want to make several binders, from all types of articles and information I have collected on all types of subjects. Cooking, crafts, gardening, household management…’s pretty ridiculous, my obsession with organizing things in binders…Ugh. Well, I have chatted long enough for today. Have a blessed evening. Until next time…

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Oh it’s so late and I should be in bed, but I am in this daydreamy place and I can’t seem to get my thoughts to quit whirlin’ so I guess I am going to daydream here for a bit. It starts with just one simple thought about my new plants that just arrived, and it spirals into a web of daydreams so entangles that I can barely sort it all out. I think of a bigger greenhouse, and permanent fruit beds…..trees, bushes. I start to think about a day when I can build a hoophouse that is large enough to garden in, rather than my little, great place to start seeds early, greenhouse. Then I start thinking about how much that will cost and how to get there. That takes me to a place where I start dwelling on writing a book and making up my garden planners. Thinking of writing a book and designing my garden planners takes me back to a place where I am daydreaming about buying a home again. Its a vicious cycle. Buying a home makes me think of the wonderful garden I will have one day, and the cute little garden shed I will buy, and the larger greenhouse and sunrooms…..

Permanence. This place is temporary. I don’t think we will live here forever, and every time I plant a bush or other perennial in the ground I wonder how long we will live here, on this rented piece of property. I wonder if we will move in the spring or fall and if I will have to leave them all behind. I think of it as training time. By the time I have my little plot of owned land, I will have lots of gardening skills. This rain may never stop, and then it won’t matter anyway, cause if things keep going this way, I wont be able to garden much longer anyway. I have responsibilities that I cannot focus on because I just want want get to that place so badly. I imagine it is like when you desperately want your baby to walk, only to realize time goes to fast and you want them little again. I used to daydream about a ranch full of animals, but that dream has changed slightly. I dream of a ranch on which I can house animals in addition to doing whatever other work God chooses for me. The Rocky Mountain Rescue Ranch is going to be a beautiful thing. I believe it is what God has planned for me. Unfortunately I think I have to write a book to get it and I am in no place to do that at the moment. Well, I may be, but if so, I am having a heck of a time focusing on it. I think I am supposed to write a book about shame. I have also been asked to write a book on raising children with PTSD. Oh now that is a high bar….I am feeling a little unworthy of that task, but the therapist who asked me must have had some faith in me.  I can imagine sitting on my porch in my rocker writing to my hearts content. I cannot imagine the other order. My whole life I pictured going down a road that led me to a little secluded piece of land where I could write. I never imagined writing would be the path to that piece of solitude, but recently it seems to have been presented to me that that is indeed the answer.

I don’t know how to make myself do the research. There is always something else to do. I have tried scheduling in writing times, but just cant seem to stay focused on the task at hand. Writers block….better labeled researchers block? I guess I should pray about it. I was quite focused in the beginning, but now it is hard to prioritize time for research and writing. I love to do research about all types of stuff….

I earn a little money here and there doing stuff like babysitting, but this is the first time in my life I have been a stay at home mom and dependent on someone else’s income. That is difficult for me. I have been fairly self sufficient most of my life. It is good for me to earn a little, but what I really want is to earn enough to make a difference. I have spent the last twenty years trying to figure out how to become self sufficient with my many skills. It seems as though you have to specialize in one thing to make enough money to go out and buy big houses to do God’s work, and I often feel like my crafts and writing are nothing, never gonna get me there. Other times I really think I can earn enough money doing things like creating, that will get us there slowly but surely (that is the only real way to get ahead right?). I was always taught, easy come, easy go, so I assume that I am not gonna win a lottery (I suppose you gotta play to win). I get so distracted when I start trying to figure out what to do next…

My house has taken forever to make sense of, but it is finally getting there. I have been successfully managing chores and gardening, and it gets better everyday. Now if I could just get baking, crafts, and writing in there, I would have some completeness going on, and be earning. My “new” husband and I are finally, after almost a year, learning how to live together. It has been an uphill battle but we grow closer everyday. It is amazing how different two people can be and still be so in love with each other. As each day goes by, and I get better at managing a whole family rather than just my child and I. Each day, my husband and I get better at understanding and reading each other. It even occurred to me the other day that I might want to go back to college. I have not had that thought in such a long time. It was right outta left field. I don’t think so though…not right now anyway.

I wish I could get all the things done every day that I want to. I think I need to go back to writing my nightly lists before bed so that I can focus on the next day and work through some of the projects that I have been procrastinating. I am having the hardest time focusing. I hung all the chore charts so hubby and son could help keep the house clean, but that seems to have robbed me of the precious lists that I have become so dependent on in my lifetime. I am gonna go write a list for tomorrow. ‘ Night