Monday, May 31, 2010

My Milking Team

I have SO MUCH to write about and so little time for sitting down. I have five projects that are all trying to fit on the same time frame.

I've been busy but nothing compares to what I've been trying to cover in the last three days. I guess the good thing is that I'm giving my children more responsibility; my control freak- self doesn't have time to assess if they are or are not doing it right. Correctness, at this point isn't as important as at least giving it a shot.

the noon milking was done by teamwork. One boy on each side and a girl in the front to feed, pet and talk to the goat. (Egypt may not forgive me on this one! The boys needed the practice and I needed to be in another area expanding my productivity.
I came in for a quick bite and a drink of strawberry iced tea. Its dangerous to text and drink. I better get back to my duties; there's rodeo practice at the cousins house tonight.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

First Milk

Once again I'm blogging on the run. I've been up since 6:30 trying to get a few chores knocked out.

I am feelong overwhelmed and way behind about now. The garden needs mulched and weeded, chicken bedding needs changed and I won't even go into details about the inside of the house.

Most of this is overshadowed by the fact that our dairy goat, Egypt is finally here. I haven't gotten a lot milk yet but then again, I don't have a lot of fridge space either. The kids were all fighting over who would get it on their cereal this am. The winner.....ME! I'm the only one up!

I've never done anything like this. What I can say right now is it is a good thing my goat is patient and sweet. I'd be in trouble otherwise.

So many thoughts and ideas are here, I'll have plenty to write about when I find the time to do so. The thing I most wish for right now is the energy to enjoy it. I'm flat exhausted. I feel like a new mommy, all over again. The difference is, I can lock these kids in the barn and we're all happy!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

See What I mean?!?

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This just in: We actually have a yard!

I'm admiring the work of a freshly mowed lawn. Thanks to my (unwilling and frustrated) son, it now appears that someone does occupy this space besides weeds.

I don't blame him, it would be a job that I dread too. The mower has been broken so it has gotten a little (ok, a lot) out of hand. it normally takes three hours this phase will take three days. He's not an abused child, he's got a fancy baseball glove, pants, socks and belt to work off. From where I stand, I've got a lawn mowing operator all summer.

I do like how the lawn looks and smells after a fresh mowing. Its even more enjoyable since it wasn't me doing the work this time!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I HAD to post this!

As we were leaving the barn we spotted "Tiny" standing on the barren horse! She never ceases to amuse us with her goat antics!

We all got a kick out of this one. Ride 'Em Goat Girl!

Feathers the Duck is HUGE

We are catching up on our chores since we spent the day in town doing errands. Pryce has been unable to catch her "boys" since they've grown so big. She recruited big brother to help her. We don't know if her boys are really boys. I'm hoping for hens, especially since I found out that Cayuga ducks lay delicious BLACK eggs! How cool is that? It is a good thing they look cool because they make one heck of a mess around the water trough. I'd be learning to duck flambe soon if they weren't so fun to watch!

We are ready to get them ducks and chickens into a bigger space. It seems there are so many things to get done, we don't know where to start! I've not run in circles this long since I had a two-year old under foot!
My goal is to be posting how fabulous it is to lay around and read on a pleasant June day (am I dreaming?)

I'm also supposed to share with my readers that we have three baby kitties, found in the barn today. The kids think it is cool that people are reading about them. They now know why their mother pulls out the phone out of her apron pocket and appears to be "out to lunch" for a few minutes!

Thank you all for the gracious compliments on the blog! It is a thrill to know that others are enjoying my writing. This is really a dream come to be sharing in this way; each comment keeps my cre8tive juices flowing!

Pecos tells me we are "burnin daylight". There are herbs to plant! Where does this kid get his energy from?! I'm ready for bed!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Favorite Fixation: Aprons

I have always loved aprons and I realize this isn’t my first post on the subject! I remember wearing one when I was little helping my mom in the kitchen. I do associate aprons with cooking, yet I find that I wear mine around the house and garden a lot more these days.  The original idea was to protect the clothing and cut down on the wash load though I can see how apron can easily be a fashion statement. Why not have fun while working, and match the material to the mood of the day? Aprons do this for me! Mundane chores seem a little more fun I like I feel like more of a homemaker when I wear an apron!

In my opinion, aprons rank right up there with vintage picnic baskets and oil lamp. These are the things I look for in antique shops and farm sales.  Like shoes, I would go so far to say that a gal simply could never have enough aprons. I've been feeling the "urge" to adopt a new apron as my authentic vintage ones are nearly threadbare now. I don't remember which great grandmother they came from but they've been put to excellent use. I did a searched and  found this cute little number on Etsy. I like the idea of supporting artisans and fellow cre8tive crafters. I realize that just about everything under the sun is available at our local super stores however aprons manufactured on foreign soil just don't carry that "handmade, home-crafted vibe". To purchase a store bought one would be nearly be a sacrilege! *gasp*  I don't sew yet, though when I do, I'd love to be cranking out a few aprons of my own!

Though my daisy apron is pretty now, I'm not saving it for good. In fact, I am about to go out and put some plants in the ground. I have water to haul for chickens and some weeding to get in before tonight's VERY IMPORTANT DATE (golf!) If you've followed the blog, you already know what is on my agenda this week so I shouldn't be spending any more time on the computer than what is necessary!

And last, but not least, I am delighted to know that I'm not the only one who thinks aprons are SEXY! I received a number of FUN facebook messages that back up my theory! Hummmm, wondering what my golf partners will think when I show up in an apron for league?!???

Monday, May 24, 2010

Today's Weather

Windy, calm, windy, windy calm;
Rainy, not rainy, rainy, not rainy

Dairy Supplies

These just arrived! Yay! I'm now looking at cheese making equipment and supplies. I'm sooo hungry for feta (and tired of buying it!) I eat it on everything! I want to have my cheese making skills perfected and ready for this summer's tomato crop.

Monday: Just Keep Swimmin, Just Keep Swimmin

Well, Monday is here and boy is it already a doozie. With one phone call from my husband. I now have a list that will keep me hopping until Sunday or…….until declare a strike against housework and laundry.

I must say I am not missing monitoring homework and keeping children on a schedule. We’ll be getting back to one though, there’s plenty to do around here. The boys are up north helping their uncle work cattle. They have a big time riding their ponies on the ranch and being cowhands. It’s good for them to work with and take direction from people other than their parents, and they are at an age where they are actually good help. They love going to the Johnston Ranch. If Pecos could move in for the summer, he’d do it. Sparky on the other hand is still Mama’s boy (and I love it!) He’s told me he’s going to college in Curtis so he can stay close and help me (sniff, sniff)

Our agenda this week is a continuation from last week and the week before and the week before and the week before that. Did I say how much I love May? Oh, I do. It’s just always so full, every year. In addition to ball practice and a game at the end of the week and appointments sprinkled throughout the week, we still need to 1) finish the goat barn/chicken house 2) plant the rest of the garden and install the drip system. 3)mow the lawn (now long enough to process into mini-bales because our mower is broken) 4)fertilize the lawn 5)empty the ranger cart 6)mulch the new trees 7)get ponies in shape and practice for Junior Rodeo 8) finish downstairs bathroom 9)shampoo carpets 10) LAY IN THE HAMMOCK AND READ A BOOK!

Phew. I am tired already. Actually after three cups of coffee I don’t feel too bad this am. My “sleeping in” (just kidding there is no such thing around here) and my late nights (unfortunately that one is true) is about to come to an end. When we bring home Egypt, I’ll be getting up early to milk and as strange as it sounds, I am looking forward to that.

This week I am working on ki previews and reclaiming my house. With the recent rains and mud we’ve once again managed to turn the laundry room into the aftermath of a mud wrestler’s paradise. There is laundry strewn about and my darling packrat brought home a turtle shell she found yesterday.

So this morning she asked me, "What are we going to do today Mama?" I responsed, "We have a lot to do Blue Sparkle (she's changed her name again!) She looked right at me, flashed a huge, five-old-happy grin and started singing,  "Just keep swimmin, just keep swimming, just keep swimming"! I'm not wearing a bathing suit but I see my ability to doggie paddle is still pretty good!

Here's to keeping my head above the waves and wishing you smooth sailing!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Relaxing in the Coop

We finally have a day at home to work on two projects we've been trying to get to for a month; chicken/goat barn and garden.

Despite the incredible wind, I planted peppers and red lettuce. It is a miserable day to be outside and the wind has picked up since I started this morning. I don't know where the idea of raised bed came from, but its a winner. You wouldn't think a coule of inches makes a difference but oh, oh, it does. I love the crisp, tidy look and even more than that, I will love less weeding. We'll have a drip system set up. This is the first of two beds, maybe more.

We have a variety of peppers, sweet, mild and hot. If they survive the elements I will be a happy gardener by July's end! They will be eaten fresh, roasted, grilled, made into salsa and jam. Strawberry jalepeno jam is "to die for". My Valentine family will attest to this. There could be fights over last summer's last jar! (I've been saving it!)

Unlike past years I am settling into a pace and planting in succession. Tomatoes are next followed by sweet corn, cukes, squash, pumpkins, beans, melons and cantalope.

We're going to have a large garden if all goes right with Mama Nature. There's always the possibility of hail and high winds (that we are having today).

Our goal is to eat fresh, eat local and eat in season. Starting in August, my semi clean kitchen will look like a bombshell of canning equipment and supplies.

The goat barn now has flooring and walls. Tinkerbell spontaneoulsy flopped down on the floor while Chad and I had a "meeting of the minds"! She makes herself very comfortable around here.

I am on my way out to the barn to deliver a late sandwhich. We need to get the barn done soon! Egypt will be here Monday!

More soon!

Raised Beds

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summer Vacation Begins.............

It’s officially here…………summer vacation. School let out today at 11:30 am. The boys came home, excited to be here every day with me, their Mama! I am excited too. I love having my kids with me though I will have to get used to wearing my firefighter suit more often. The first flame rose up at approximately noon, when the littlest one started squabbling with the big one over "I don't know what".  I just could tell from the kitchen there were not happy, pleasant vibes coming from the living room.

We did watch a movie today, Avatar. I can’t say that I watched it, my multi-tasking was in high gear. No one cared if I watched or paid attention, they just wanted my lap and wanted me in the room with them.  I noticed they kept getting annoyed when I asked “what happened” and invited them to help me catch up (they are so like their father in that department, he gets annoyed too but they didn't tell me to pay more attention! I just got the ol eye roll!

The second fight started when the littlest one started in with the middle one. She "HAD to have" his bow and arrow so she could "play the girl Avatar, (I don't know which one?) Oh the fight was on! Clearly we are going to need some practice in the art of sharing. The little one IS old enough to not get her way all the time; her brother are starting to stand up to her. This could be a long summer of “learning to get along” and play nice!

In the past I’ve hosted celebrations to commemorate the final day of school. This year, quite frankly, I am pooped. We have Johnston branding tomorrow and I’ll be traveling for a Feng Shui consultation. We still have a goat/chicken barn to build and lots of plants awaiting their homes in the ground. Much to do, much to do!

I snapped this photo the other day on “Sparky’s” field trip. It reminds me of summer, though the day wasn’t as warm has it had been in past years. It was apparently warm enough for two snakes to be out!

Part of the reason I love summer is the appearance of freedom and a slower pace. I am truly craving that right now. I have dreams of lying by a river and listening to the water flow, feeling warm rays of sunshine drenching my skin and looking up at a cloudless, brilliant blue sky. I smell lilac blossoms and I drift away to somewhere very soft, quiet and peaceful. This is the image I’ve been referring back to again and again. This is what will get me through the next week when I am juggling classes, consultations/sessions, children, goats, chickens and a garden. It is a good thing that I LOVE what I do, since it doesn’t seem like work.

We are off to build a milk stand. The girl we're getting is used to being milked without but but future goats may not be. Since we are all ready "under construction" what the heck! Chad saw the plans and is sure that he can whip this together in no time. I'm amazed. My job is coming up with the fab ideas, I am thankful he's willing to actually execute them.

Watch for Twitter updates! I'll post branding pics. I won't have service for the better part of the day but if you'd like help in squandering away any time you have, I'll be happy to oblige!

Happy almost weekend and almost summer..........

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Need a moment? Wisdom Wednesday

This is one of my favorite photos. It summarizes what I really want to do right now, take off an entire afternoon and soak up the sun with my favorite kids and animals. I've observed that my children are actually very good at taking frequent time outs to: 1. play 2. lay on the grass 3. pick dandelions and various pretty flowers (dad calls them weeds but who cares! 4. ignore adult suggestions of "get to work" 5. piddle away for hours, being completely unproductive and HAPPY.

Its time for me to take note of this ability and join the crowd. School is officially out tomorrow. Summer begins or is supposed to, whenever the weather decides to reflect the season! Today is a break in the action so I'm taking an opportunity to reflect on all that has come through in a very short week.

The "present moment" for me has offered an array of decisions, choices, shifts, changes in plans and lots of restructuring. Some of them have been easy to navigate, other much more challenging. How do you react to stressful, unplanned changes? One of the abilities that I've prided myself on is the abilty to be flexible. Usually I am. Monday I was supposed to get my dairy goat. At 10 am I had to make the call asking if we could wait one more week. We planted trees instead of working on the barn. The pick-up died so I had no transportation (and NO, I do not have CDL so you won't see this ol gal driving the Blue Whale!) I had my heart set on getting Egypt to this place. She's been wanted for a long time and it was soooo close..........and it wasn't meant to be. A lot of things this week just weren't meant to be.

After days of being "flexible" I snapped. Not pretty. I would love to say that since I teach meditation and often help others work with their emotions and responses, I am 100% zen. Yeah......not the case. What I am is 100% genuine, even in the appearance of rage and frustration. Others around me usually do not have to guess what I am feeling or thinking. I do wear my emotions on my sleeve for all to see. I do often react in an intense way. Thanks to the support of a loving, trusted friend I was able to recognize and honor this.

I am not trying to be anyone other than me. It might be nice to act (and genuinely feel) like Mother Teresa, full of compassion and joy ALL OF THE TIME but for me this wouldn't be authentic. I am fully human, and with that comes and array of emotions, connections and responses. I choose to live full out. I hold nothing back. No "stuffing" goes on around here, no shoving feelings aside to make others happy or comfortable. No hiding, no retreating, no denying. I allow myself to feel whatever comes through. Sometimes I have more control on the way I react than other times, but there is no game playing. What is here is REALLY here.

At times, I know this can be difficult for the people around me. In the past, I've apologized or tried to fix or repair any perceptions of damage or hurt feelings. I don't intentionally hurt anyone. Often it isn't even them or what they've done, its ME reacting to ME  and they observe me "processing". I can be angry, loud and frustrated. By allowing those emotions to FULLY be here, I also am able to move through and release them quickly. I don't hold a grudge. I feel what I feel and then I let it go.

It came as a lovely surprise when my friend shared that I am not an "angry person" (as someone told me yesterday) rather I am an "intense person". "You don't do anything halfway. I'm sure this includes being mad. Its how you are. Its not something that is a problem. I find that qualtiy admirable."  These words helped me recognize and honor the TOTALITY of my being. This is a wonderful recognition and helped immensely in releasing any guilt or attempt to fit into a mold of how I should (or should not) be. I wish for everyone to have friends that reflect such truth. I feel deeply blessed.

In this present moment I am able to open, embrace and accept myself for ALL that is here, admirable or otherwise. When I set the intention of living a full life, I would be limiting myself if I only choose those moments that are appear good and positive. I believe there is beauty and wholness in every moment. It may clouded by the occassional angry words or intense reaction but I'd rather have real, genunie and authentic than something "sugar coated" and false. It is who I am. I accept all my emotions without filters. I don't need a moment, I want them, all of them and whatever arises within each is welcome here.

Wisdom Wednesday: Be in the Moment

This is an intense week. For me, its been an intense month. I'm working with fire energies for the month and the year so there's been a constant steady flow of constriction, challenges and curve balls.

Each moment offers something different so the challenge has been being present to whatever arises; sometimes that isn't known until after the moment passes!

So today, whatever is coming down, rising up or shfting sideways, I encourage you to be there! There's a lot to experience too. I'll share more later!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

They survived the winter!

We are in the midst of planting fruit and nut trees for our future orchard.

While Chad is mowing I crept over to assess how the berry bushes are doing. Seven out of eight made it! They won't bear fruit this summer but I sure hope by 2011 we will be feasting on delicious black berries and raspberries. These are two of my most favorite treats. Due to the expense, they are rare treats.

Two years ago I began reading books on sustainable living and homesteading. These subjects align deeply with my path and interests. I don't buy into the fear mentality of a crashing economy. I see the "challenges" as a direct invitation to do more with our creativity and use our land and resources wisely.

For us this means planting a garden, growing and preserving as much of our own food as we can, planting an orchard, raising chickens, running cattle, doing improvement projects ourselves and a slew of other practices that I didn't figure I'd do five short years ago.

What I most appreciate is that what we are doing, we do as a family. We aren't in the house, watching tv or playing video games, we aren't in town buying things we don't need. We are creating, learning and growing.....together and this is what makes my heart really happy!

One of the things I hope for is that my children will grow up with strong values and usable skills. I want them to stay close to their roots and to this place! This is the community I want to build. I will understand if they choose to travel and explore (they'll come by this naturally). When they are ready to anchor down, this place will be ready.

I know things change and nothing is set in stone. This is simply the shape of my "hope" right now.

Why knit now?

I've recently begun the next knitting project, another felted bag. This picture doesn't do justice to the brilliant turquoise yarn! It reminds of the crystal waters of Hawaii, though I'm actually going for a "southwestern" feel with this bag.

So why in the world, after posting how crazy-busy this month is, would I take on such a project? In short, it grounds me. This is one of my favorite ways to come to "present moment". I find stillness within while my fingerd fly. My mind wanders for a bit but the rhythm of the weave brings me back, full circle. My thoughts relax and so does my body. I breathe, I knit.

With so many things to knock off my to-do list, I am finding the need to cre8te enjoyable time-outs more frequently. This is one thing that is easy to stop and start, unlike other projects (laundry!) that aren't so enjoyable to complete once they are started.

I also didn't want to forget what I learned this winter. I did stop in to Vickie's shop for a refresher! It came back--thank you muscle memory!

I also have the intention of working on Christmas gifts this summer. December is a full month to, I figure the more I prepare for it now, the more time I will have to relax and enjoy it! The majority of gifts I give this year will feature home crafted products. I have a new plan for Holiday 2010, thanks to reading "The Story of Stuff" by Annie Leonard. In addition to paring down the "stuff" in our home, we'll also be paring down our gift list. The idea is to focus on the quality of our experience together. On this, we all agree!

So now, back to the to-do list. Chad just called, the pick-up died on the way up the hill. He's stranded with a load of cattle on board. As I posted on facebook yesterday, It is a good thing I'm so adaptable!

Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday: Listen to your head, follow your heart

There are a lot of things that I don't know. That is why I am here. Everyday is a puzzle, a new mystery to experience. I used to want to run ahead and see what was coming down the road but I don't anymore. I am content to be right where I am at. I haven't always felt this way, maybe it comes with age, experience or a few rough knocks.

May is a busy month for us. Nearly every month is becoming that way and will keep it up if I don't put my foot down. I am doing something this summer that I have never done before.............staying home. I am putting the anchors down and proclaiming a slower pace. I have to admit I am a bit reluctant to do this. My gypsy bones have a hard time staying in one place. I am a wanderer, an adventure seeker, an eternal explorer. I dream of loading up my backpack, camera, dog and gear and heading out into the world. I love my family more than anything. I adore my friends beyond belief. I appreciate the home we've created here. Someday though, I won't be able to control this urge, I will have to follow this yearning and see where it takes me. Right now though, dharma keeps me right here. I know my place, for the time being, is to stay on this place.

Usually I am preparing to hit the road with Chad and the kids, going to rodeos, meeting up with good friends and enjoying the fun summer vibrations. I'm road weary though. I've done this for 16 years. Its time for change! In the next couple of years, my boys will likely be going to more rodeos. More than likely I will be there, camera in hand, watching and cheering them on. I've decided to consciously slow things down a bit. I want to enjoy as much time at home as I can, working in the garden, watching my chickens and...........milking goats. I know, to some of you readers, this may sound absolutely ridiculous. Believe me, I've caught a lot of crap about this! And the only thing I can say is I have to follow my heart. There is something in me that wants this experince and is ready for it. I realize the committment, I realize that I will not be traveling, I realize that this will anchor me down. BIG TIME and I'm okay with that.

Maybe some of you are right, maybe I won't be able to handle being in one place ALL summer. Maybe this experience won't last very long. Maybe it isn't the right time or milking goats isn't suited to my personality...........but what if it IS? What if I love it? What if you run out of cheese or milk and you need to borrow some of mine?

I'm not out to prove anything. I am simply here for the experience, good, bad or otherwise. In the past, I would only agreed to an experince if I knew ahead of time that it was going to turn positively. I now see ALL experiences being positive, even ones that may be perceived as being uncomfortable or otherwise. It is easy to limit the totality of our experiences by choosing only the "safe" route. Sometimes the strange, daring and "wrong" choices end up being liberating. This is where it pays to listen to our heart rather than our head, though we often don't know it until a later time. Trust is essential, trust in yourself is a MUST. If you don't know what your motives are or why you are doing what you are doing, best not to try. But if you do, if you have the courage to do that which is crazy, wild, new, daring, different, quirky, unconventional, you will likely find a new vigor, a new awarness that floods your cells. If what you've been doing hasn't paid off, why not try something else? What's the worst that can happen?! YES, go THERE! You may find, like I did that things are often not as bas as what our minds want us to believe. Investigate, gather the details, tune into your heart and then..............take the LEAP!

How many times do we stop ourselves before we've even tried something different, to know if we like it? How many times do we let fear and anxiety guide our decisions? I see so many people feeling trapped and "stuck". Life doesn't have to be that way. Things are not as black and white as they seem. And so what if we decide to do something and it doesn't work? Are we out? Heck no! We learn just as much from experinces that don't fly as the ones that do! Let the experince, not the perception of the outcome be enough. Worrying about all the variables only distracts our attention and foucs.

Live. Be. Enjoy. You don't have to have a reason. If you want to learn something new, sign up for the class. If you fail miserably, throw a party and join the club. (I may have a violin for sale if I don't get these fingers to flex more!) Our greatness is seldom measured in the amount of times we've succeeded or failed, it is through each experince and the learning that we acquire that makes us truly amazing.

I have some doubts about where I'm headed with my little farm. I'm taking big gulps of air when it comes to the direction of my career and where I could be going with my work. Its really too early to tell. I'm not there yet. I might not be there for a while, or............ something amazing could happend tomorrow and I could be on a plane headed to Hawaii. And you now what..........none of it really matters in THIS moment. I am right where I need to be. I do listen to my head continually and I follow my heart instead. I listened to and followed logic for 35 years. It served me well and kept me safe, I have no regrets. In the last two years though, things have changed. I'm ready to see what is beyond logic and linear! I appreciate having a comfort zone but it no longer confines me.

For now, I'm content to experience the regularity of having a dairy goat here. I've always wanted to try it. If for some reason, out of the blue, my career intentions suddenly take off and I'm invited to go adventure in exotic places, I'm just sure I'll be able to take my family friends, goats, and dogs along! The more the merrier. Oh! Won't they have fun riding in my gypsy wagon???!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Speedy Recovery (not what you think)

I’ve always been pretty conservative when it comes to spending money. This is due in part to my upbringing and wise guidance of my parents as well as my desire to reduce waste and keep my home free of clutter.

Although I never felt that I had enough money, I realize now I’ve always had enough, it was a matter of what and how I spent it. When I was working full time, I rarely had a savings account and used up every penny that came in. That was before I had a car payment, school loan and cell phone. My income comes via a variety of sources and I am now working to build a savings account. I have to be careful because my income fluctuates each month. My earnings are dependent on others who like what I do and request my services. I have no “boss” and no set hours which is very nice but unlike traditional employment, where one receives compensation on a predictable schedule, I often don’t know where my next paycheck is going to come from! This is both scary and exhilarating. I’ve learned to trust that all the good that I do is being repaid in every form. Sometimes this is monetary rewards, sometimes it comes in through trade. I’ve lived this way for 5 years and have learned so much about “surviving and thriving” away from traditional (predictable) employment. Maybe I should write a book on it?!?

One of the concepts that I’ve embraced is finding new ways to use what I already have or cre8tively repair what I would’ve replaced. This covers everything from old socks being converted to cleaning rags, kids jeans being made into cutoffs, leftover buffets, t-shirts being made into shopping bags. My latest venture is one worth sharing though. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to “spruce up” something you already have and fall in love with it all over again (yes, husbands/wives and marriages included!)

I’ve had my eye on new barstools for a while now. I knew we’d need to buy two for downstairs. Nothing we had was tall enough for the very high counters that we’d installed. And believe me I tried everything………even setting up little blocks under old chairs. Not safe!) I waited until Shopko had a sale. It took a year to get what I wanted but I do like them and they were a good buy for $30 each. Instead of going “hog wild” and buying two extra I decided we could keep using the ones upstairs. They actually fit really well with the island but after 9 years of food, chocolate milk, and various other “oops Mom, missed my mouth episodes they were looking quite gross. The material had frayed and the stains were taking over.

I found and purchased faux leather, a close shade of the sundried tomato wall in the dining room. For around $10 I scored enough material to cover both chairs and got four pieces of foam.

Last weekend was the perfect time to call in my expert handy man. He didn’t have enough time to lay tile in the downstairs bathroom but he did have enough to recover the barstools. Oh yes, I should mention that my job around here is gathering and clarifying the cre8tive ideas. My talents end with any kind of measuring or precision requirements (I hate the details!) Chad however is fabulous in this department. If I want it perfect, I ask him for help. I don’t hang any pictures or shelves. Nope, not my department!

While he began the recovering process, I applied my talents to lunch preparation. By the time I was done whipping up tasty tacos, he was done with the chairs. They look fabulous too! I almost didn’t want the kids to sit on them, knowing of coarse, what is to come. I sort of feel like I am sending that beautiful read faux leather to its death. That is why I am taking pictures, to remind us how good it started out looking!

I figure when these covers are trashed, we can pull it off and apply another layer. I have two more old stools that I am going to do the same thing with. I mainly use them when I plop one of the boys on to trim their hair. We’ll throw a towel on the top and call it good.

I finally had the chance to sit on one this morning and I must say it is quite comfy! They seem to be holding up pretty well or perhaps it is the continual reminder of “Scoot closer to the table, lean over………….hit YOUR MOUTH!” Who knows?!

This was one of the “prettiest” and speediest recovery processes I’ve experienced. Too bad things like colds/flu, bad backs, and sour moods and the economy weren’t as easy and enjoyable to recover from!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday: We are not islands!

Right now seems like a very busy time. The fire energies are going out and the very powerful eight earth energies are starting to fill in the open spaces. In the Nine Star Ki philosophy, eight earth is here for the month and for the year. What this means is that we have the potential for powerful, dynamic changes. These changes are ones that are offered to help raise our awarness on all levels, both individually and collectively. Personally we are offered opportunites to shift out of, release and heal old patterns. Transformation is here, both inner and outer support is available if we are ready to receive it. We cannot do it alone. We weren't meant to.

I sometimes have the false mindset that if something needs done, it is going to be up to me to get it taken care of. In the past I felt sorry for myself and made situations even more miserable by focusing on the appearance of isolation. I would think that "it was all up to me" and then I would start feeling resentful. Old patterns.

Now I realize that it seldom had anything to do with those on the outside. The answer was within, waiting for me to consciously open up and ALLOW others to support me. It was never about others seeing me in pain and swooping down to rescue me, though that is what I had in mind for years. Recognizing and honoring my feelings was the first step. The second was inviting and asking for assistance. This was the hardest because when we ask for help, we have to ackwledge that we aren't SUPERGIRL or SUPERBOY! The old mindset and ego usually take leave.

What the mind doesn't know is that there are usually lots of people ready to assist. They want to contribute. When we open and allow, we invite others to share their time, talents and traits with us. Giving and receivng is a two way street on the same highway. 

My husband is not a fan of chickens or goats. However, he has been extremely supportive. The majority of the work is mine and I am enjoying it. If it gets to be something else, it will go! For now there is great learning and wonderful expeirnces so its here. The chicks have grown so fast that they need a new space. We don't have the other permanent building ready yet. I knew that moving the chickens to a larger tank was necessary, yet I lacked the muscles and ability of "how to build a new shelter".  I shared this with Chad and invited his ideas. No pressure or hurry. I continued to clean out the small pen several times a day and just did those micromovements we talked about in class the other night.

Several ideas surfaced. Good ones and yet time seemed to be the barrier. I have more than a full schedule this week so I really wasn't sure how things would come into alignment. I just kept on movning, doing what needed to be done. Last night I came home to a magnificient set up. A large tank, a large screen with chicken wire and tarps and a heat lamp! (The man is brilliant!) I was golfing. He was working on my our project!

I had invited him to assist, acknowledging that I was going to need some help. I didn't force, push, control or direct. I also didn't worry. I also didn't feel guilty (which is huge, especially since I was having fun and he was at home working!). I did FULLY acknowledge and appreciate this beautiful act of support and kindness. As I sat with this today, I realized that he's always been supportive and willing to assist. That hasn't changed. What changes is that I am now allowing him to share with me. This may sound strange, as I've lived with the man for years but much of that time I was operating on an old mindset. It was not supportive but it was the only one there for a long time.

I feel that much of our society is like this. We are more than willing to help if we just knew where to best direct our efforts. Its important to ask, it is important to share and to communicate what our needs are. In the past, I misinterpreted the message that being strong and independent meant I had to do it (ALL) myself. That's not true (AT ALL). We may appear as individual islands floating along in the sea of life though that isn't quite the truth. We are all IN the same sea, we are all IN this life together; the more we connect, communicate and share the more land we link and the more ground we cover. Its time to do that now.

We are all diverse and unique and we are all connected through our needs, strengths and weakness. If you need help today, ask for it! You may be giving someone a fabulous opportunity to share their time, talents, love, and attention with you. If someone asks you for help, share freely. We are all in this together, we might as well have fun and enjoy the human connection. We aren't islands, we are notes dancing along to Love's amazing, universal tune.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Another Hunter Joins the Ranks!

Today was one of those days where I just want to push the slow-motion button and savor every minute.

I slept in and was really late hitting the shower. I made a quick rebound though and made a vow to stab the to-do list right in the heart.

We checked on our trees after church assessing what to plant next. Checked on baby calf #2 and then I tackled chicken chores. The birds are big and they need space-----the tin hasn't arrived yet so we will build a larger temp home for them. I'm nervous because a couple are getting pretty pecked on.

Chad and Pake were gone all afternoon for hunter's safety class. Chad has t have this to go Elk hunting this fall and Pake was old enough to take it so they went together. We were all a little nervous, 50 questions seems like a lot. Pake loves to hunt and is interested in all aspects of firearms so this helps. It wasn't drudgery!

Spark, Pooh, dogs and Mama spent a glorious hour outside before resuming the reorganization efforts. I am continually amazed at how quickly this place can turn into a disaster zone. Holy cow, didn't I just do this two weeks ago? Perhaps I'm living in a time warp because I just did all the cleaning and pick-up all over again!

Night came way too soon! I would love to have had a leisurely evening but it was not!

We did manage to have a campfire and grill steaks. We wanted t celebrate Pake and Chad's accomplishments! Pake was really excited, as was his family. He comes from a long line of hunters and I'm sure they are delighted to have him joining their ranks! Personally I feel he learned a lot and this makes it a little easier on me to let him go hunting. I've grown up around the sport but I'm still petrified when a shot off......maybe its a mom thing?

I have a busy week ahead and I still have laundry to fold before I hit the hay. I will be subbing tomorrow and teaching at MPCC tomorrow night. The rest of the week is just as full. It is a good thing I only do what I love otherwise I would dread the week ahead of me.

So without further ado, here's this weekend's Dynamic Details:

*Pake passing his Hinter's Safety Test
*Listening to Pryce play with her cows (she has a great dialogue!)
*Parker's support for his brother
*Seeing the floor in my office again
*A gorgeous day with sunshine and mysterious clouds
*feeling joyful for ALL the blessings I have and all that are coming to me
*my beloved friends safe return home to NE

Saturday, May 1, 2010

These Guys Have Had It Easy!

I took a few shots of our horses the other night when the kids and I went to hike out and check on the baby calf. By this time last year, we'd already had the horses in shape and were in the arean every night. This spring they've been saddled twice. Sad. I love riding, especially this time of year before it gets too hot. I admit I have a fair-weather cowgirl, I most enjoy riding when it is WARM and there is a slight breeze. Planting a garden, golfing and sitting by a campfire are included in the fair-weather realm. The fact is, I detest being cold. I only live in this state year round because my family is here and we are rooted down. This doesn't mean that I like Nebraska weather or wind. I enjoy the experince of having four seasons and the variety that it brings, however my idea is around 70-80 degrees and consistent WARMTH.

Last night, because I am no quitter, I did attemp a camp fire. I got all the effects of burn eyes, partially done brats and hair that smelled like smoke. After supper was cleaned up and things sort of back in order, I did attempt to sit outside and finally, with frozen fingers, I gave up and went in. I am a weiner........what can I say?

There is nothing more beautiful than a horseback ride in the canyons, just as the sun is setting but on a windy, cold day I enjoy looking out the window watching my horses graze just as much~I realize this doen't qualify me as a "tough cowgirl" but I am one that speaks my truth. It just aint fun if its cold!

So for the time being, with the wind blowing and what feels like cold temps to me, I am happy to occupy myself with tasks and t0-dos inside, there are plenty of them. These horses won't have it easy much longer. Our first branding is next weekend. We'll head north for that. Rodeo season is just around the corner too. They better enjoy their freedom while they can because it is just about time to saddle up and hit the road.

Hope your weekend is filled with an easy, breezy rhythm. I'd like to go golf in an hour but I still think it might be too cold for me. (Sorry team! If it warms up tomorrow, I'll meet you on the green!)

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