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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013; a year of a whole lot of learning


Good evening everyone!

Its now near the end of 2013 & I thought I would still be at the Farm until March 2014 but as you know things didn't work out the way I thought.  I still miss that place pretty much everyday & think about what I would be doing there now if I had been able to stay.  would I actually have dry firewood to burn in the wood stove, would the trailer still have winds shooting through it like last winter & how much snow would I have melted for me & the kids by now since the pipes would have been frozen.

Here I don't have to worry or think about things like that as things are pretty easy but I still tend to spend a lot of time thinking about all the things I did there.

Now anyone that truly knows me, knew what I set out for myself there I would accomplish eventually.  It did take me time since I am over 50 & had a fairly wild life at one time that has caught up to me, body wise.  I can't say I really minded except when the lower back acted up & really slowed me down at times.

I got to go back on Yule to try & get Monk kitty home one last time & not much had changed.  Mr. Grumpy is still there as he was not able to get the place he needed for him & the cows.  My friends did come up sometime after I left & trashed a few rooms in the loft barn I had worked so hard to clean.  I guess they decided to clean something & just dumped it in the clean areas, so that upset me to see how little my hard work had meant to them.  I will never understand that since they knew what I had done to help & they just seemed to disregard it & in a way me.  I guess since they thought I would never be back, I wouldn't see what they had done.  So it was quite disheartening to see the trash & junk.

 Monk decided he still preferred the farm & tore out of my arms when I tried to get him to the car, but I was able to see he had muscle, not underweight or scabbed up.  but I still sat in the car crying because I wanted him to come home.

I got to visit with Em, who just happened to have Sherlock & Watson.  Seems Mr. Grumpy sold them since they weren't growing as fast as the others & her grandson Gabe bought them.  He hasn't gotten the fencing on his property yet, so she had them on her 3 acres, so I got to visit with my 2 little boys as well.  It made my heart feel so good to see both boys all fattened up & healthy.  they will eventually be slaughtered but for now they are healthy, content & well cared for so that makes me happy.

Its been odd being home, now don't get me wrong, I am happy to be back but its not the same.  I enjoyed all the challenges I had on the farm, the planning of taking care of messes or just clearing out a barn room.  The sounds of the cows in the pastures behind me & listening to the geese overhead.  I enjoyed the small trailer that had very little stuff in it & doing with what I had.  Here I have everything plus all the other stuff I never use or need.

The Farm helped me realize (again) how little I truly need to be content with my life.  it seems all these years of collecting stuff has become a pain in the backside for me as I just can't stand having things everywhere anymore.  Example- while doing the dishes I washed so enough silverware for 24 people.....like I need 2 sets of 12 knives, forks & spoons.  I never have anyone over for supper so it is crazy to have all that. but I have it.  I have enough of pretty much everything to start another family in sheets, pillowcases, blankets, silverware, pots, coffee cups, glasses & so on.  Its like a family of 10 could live in this house & be supplied.  Now tell me that's not too much??

Part of the reason I have all this is I tend to never throw anything away, I have stuff from when I was in college in the 1980's & before.  Its not that I am afraid of not having something, I just tend to keep it....whether I need it or not.

The simple-ness of the farm really helped me keep track of what I had to use there & nothing got packed except for clothes I didn't use.  I thought I might need them, but come to find out I wore lots of the clothes over & over because they were comfortable & worked for what I was doing there.

I learned that though I am now older, I am still mentally & physically strong enough to do tough jobs.  I have never been afraid of hard work, but it was good I could still depend on myself to do them.  That may sound silly, but until you get into a new situation that requires you to think differently, you really have no idea if you can do it.

With Thomas being in 2 Wars & gone often for military drills I knew I could depend on myself, but here at home I have only had a few things that were physically tough.  At the farm I had lots of tough situations I had to deal with & am proud I was able to never ask for help.  Its nice to know if you are by yourself with no car you can still figure out how to get things done.

I will forever be thankful for learning how to drive & use the bobcat & front loader.  I must admit, I so enjoyed starting up the front loader & being able to get it to do what I needed.  It was a blast to drive & play with, but I was always careful about what I did with it since it was dangerous & if I got hurt, there would be no one to help me.

I also got to have all the land I wanted to garden in near the trailer.  I can't tell you how wonderful it was to be able to plant what I wanted & where I wanted it & not worry it would be in the way of other things.  I loved the fact I could use the old tires for some of it & was able to build a 19x9 foot raised bed, something I had never done before.  I have had large gardens in the past but never had 7 gardens all filled with different things, some I had never tried to grow before.  Though all the rains made me re-seed 3 times & some never came up I am still pleased I was able to do it & get some of the things to grow.

The Farm sort of freed me in a odd sense.  I have always enjoyed large open spaces, no neighbors & just the freedom to be myself & the farm did that for me.  It was like the part of me hidden was able to come out & play again.  I had no worries about what the area people thought of me, no real rules to follow & just the joy of being there.  I never felt trapped as I have at times in my life, the need of pleasing someone else weren't there nor the expectations of being someone I am not, but pretend to be at times. 

I have known most of my life I was meant to do something, but having a normal life would never really be it, I need challenges, goals & freedoms that most never will understand.  I have always walked (danced) to a different drummer & the farm got to be that drummer for a short time, kinda like the Peace Corps was for me.

What may have been pure hell or hardship for someone else was somewhat pleasant for me, the different way of doing things didn't bother me nor did I ever really think about them.  I just did them as if I had been doing them all my life, if that makes sense.

I think the only thing I grew to hate was the killing of raccoons when they refused to leave my kids alone.  I still cringe & feel horrible over the baby raccoon I had to shoot 3 times & it was still alive the next morning.  That hurt me beyond words & its something I will never forget.  I am not proud of killing them & I hope I never have to do that again but I will, if my kids are being killed by them.  I also feel guilty for not taking more care in the chicken coop to make sure nothing could get to the kids & my mistakes is what allowed them to be killed.

That was the hardest lesson I had there, not being more careful when it came to the protection of the chickens.  I know now to be more aware of where the kids are & how to be a better chicken momma, but I am sure eventually even all my carefulness something will get to them.  but its a part of having animals that can't protect themselves.

I am also thrilled that because of me, 2 calves lived because of my care.  I had never tended to calves before so I fell back on my colt & lamb raising to help me & am thankful it worked & both are now healthy boys.

I am even happy I met Mr. Grumpy....yeah I know he really could be Grumpy but except for his treatment of his cows at times, he could be a fairly decent man.  Plus I learned to hold my temper with him so that was a good thing for me.  I tend to attack when someone is yelling at me & I am surprised I was able after the first screaming match to hold my tongue with him & not let him get the best of me.  I learned by being there that not all the things that were going on at the farm was because of him & that he was a bit like me, having no control over what my friends did, then they would blame him for the problems when they were at fault.  So I learned that his mistrust was really something he should have had when it came to things that happened on the farm.  He was yanked around more than I was, so I could understand his anger & frustration by the time I left.

I do miss the no TV, no computer, no phone ect like I had at the farm, since I have been home I have been bombarded by so much bad, sad & painful news on the TV & computer.  I liked being away from all of it, yes I knew things happened but I didn't have to deal with it.  Now I seem to get upset or mad everyday because of something on the News.  I am disturbed by all the things I see about the government, State governments & just USA events that show how much is being taken away from Americans.  Please do not get me started on GMO's or military!!  Those things burn me up something awful.

Right now with our unemployment ending in 2 days we are considered below the poverty line & as long as we can make the house payment I am Ok with that.  I just feel bad because Thomas came back from Afghanistan Dec 2011 & still hasn't gotten a job, though he has 26 yrs of military experience & a college degree, but no one wants him.
  I worry for him more than I do me, because I am sure it has damaged his self esteem knowing he can do a lot of different jobs but they don't want to hire him because they would have to pay him a bit more because of his experience(s).

We lost our last house to foreclosure when he came back from Iraq, so I do worry that might happen, not that I would mind living in a tent in a camp ground as long as I can have my chickens, cats & lizard, but I think it would crush Thomas if that was to happen again. 

I think though its been a odd year for me, the experience was a big help to my mental being, I was able to prove to myself I am still a strong woman in mind & body.  I was able to help a 471 acre farm be cleaner & healthier.  I proved no matter how bad it got I could still get up everyday & look forward to the next thing that had to be done.  I am lucky to have been able to do what I did & still come home.

I also was able to get off my Zoloft that I have been taking since 1997 & am now starting to speak up more instead of just letting things go unsaid.  I tend to laugh more even while there are days the change of life is kicking my butt.  I have a even greater love for my chickens & the joy of having them is what makes each day bright.

I can't say what my future will be like, but I know that if things get tough(er) I can handle whatever is thrown at me.  I do know if we end up somewhere in a trailer with no running water, no electricity, no TV or computer & just a woodstove, I will be able to make everything work & be happy.  Not bad lessons to learn in one year.

Until next time have a great chicken day!

Michele'








1 comment:

  1. Lovely to read the changes you have come to realize are your strengths and that we really need so very little to make us happy. 2013 is the year of change for many of us and that is good even when it seems so sad and stressful. We are stronger then we every thought we were and we have only scratched the surface. We have been knocked down so many times that we thought that was what life was all about but I am here to say WE deserve better and in the coming year we will see the Light that has been waiting for us. I send Love, Light, Friendship, Understand and Blessings to you my dear hen. Hugs and look foreword to sharing a New Year with You... Grace

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