DO YOU MISS HOME? Part 3 – Fall.

A true child’s story.

In the fall the whole family was engaged in putting up food.  I remember a huge walk-in, dirt floor, always cold pantry in the basement.  Three walls were lined with shelves for the tons of processed food jars to be properly placed on.  The center of the room had a huge wooden box.  This was where all the potatoes (that is the ones that we did not eat raw) went.  I dream of having something like that in our home now.  I also want to see it stocked full by the first frost.  Has not happened yet, but I have a goal.

The best part of fall was all the taste-testing:

  • Pick it fresh from the vine, tree, root, or wherever it may be growing and munch.
  • Sample ALL jams, jellies, sauces, preserves – before they are done and packed.
  • Enjoy the first of everything made at Thanksgiving with family and friends.

(Not us, but you get the idea just by the faces of these kids.)

While doing my research for this post, I was saddened by the fact that I do not have any more cherished family photo memories.  The fire of 2014 took them all out.  The fact that my wonderful photo memories are gone also helped me to see something that I didn’t before.  I went looking for pics that would be as similar as possible to my original memories.  I was shocked to discover that almost all the photos that came up in my searches were not of kids in real gardens.  A real garden (like what we grew up on) has:

  • No wooden or plastic borders.
  • Simple dirt, maybe a bit of straw, for walkways between the rows.
  • Kids that will get FILTHY while picking all the good stuffs (cuz everything on a kid with dirt turns into mud.).
  • Parents watching the kids all the time because they will eat all the food before you have time to process it.
  • Weeds that will continue to pop up no matter how much you work on them.
  • Not massive acres tended by dozens of people, but a simple backyard size that is managed by using just the family members.
  • Everyone is always smiling because you can see before you the labors of a job done in love, and a job well done.

I remember being down on the ground with bare legs getting full of dirt.  Using both hands (no gloves) to dig into the dirt and pull out potatoes and carrots.  Crawling along the row with those same dirty knees to pick every last one of the beans, peas, and all the other tiny veggies.  Heaven forbids if we missed even one. Oh almost forgot, the children were allowed to go back into the garden area when we were all done gathering the processing foods, to gleen off what may have been missed.  It was never much – but it was fun looking.  At this point, we were allowed to tear the snot out of the garden.  It’s always more fun to tear things apart than to build them.

like our garden 1

(Close, but this is city and has sheds that we did not have back then.  Also picture it about 10-times bigger.)

It would take days, sometimes weeks, to get everything processed and put up in the basement, dirt floor pantry.  I remember walking ever so carefully down those cement stairs to the basement, arms loaded with great foods.  Hang a tight right and straight on to the pantry door.  Watch your step because you had to step down to the dirt floor.  Always, someone older would take the jars of deliciousness from our arms and place them in proper order on the shelves.

The items still left from the year before were brought forward, and the new year’s yummies were placed in line behind them. Next stop – Thanksgiving Day!

We always held the family Thanksgiving party at our farm.  All morning (and most years the night before) were spent bringing up the stored goodies and prepping them for the day of feasting.  I say a “day” of feasting as our family did not just do the one meal.  People started showing up about 10:00 a.m. and some did not leave till after 10:00 p.m.

We had a huge dining room area with a huge rectangle table in the middle of it.  To give you the scope of huge – we also had an antique upright piano, a rounded glass china cabinet, as well as a couple of storage cabinets – oh and an outstanding tree/chair coat rack. (Mom had this thing for tiger wood – we still do.)  All of these things were in the same room as the dining room table.  Granted, the table leaf was added for these special occasions, but how it all fit in, with all of the people getting around it to fill plates, all day long; amazes me to this day.

(The piano and cabinet are identical to ours.  The table is similar, but the chairs were not so fancy.  I just remember hiding under there when our dad’s dad came to visit.  It was a very German thing to chase the little kids and pinch them – I have no idea why?)

Later in the day, the football games would start.  The men would retire with their plates of food into the living room and start screaming and yelling at the poor TV.  The women would gather in the kitchen which was always the place of interesting conversations, and a lot of laughing. (There is a WHOLE other story around “kitchens” and my memories.  Saved for another day.).  The kids would shoot outside like bullets at the first chance to flee.  We had horses, a hay barn, straw mounds with rope swings, and if we were lucky to have a good snow before Thanksgiving, snow to sled on down our steep hills.

kids going off to dream build

Our wonderful 80-acre farm was a fantastic place to grow up.  The limitations were only held back by our own imaginations.

Tis the season for reminding siblings that fresh veggies are better when shared.

I can fly - kid

You can also check me out on:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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What Would You Find Most Important?

My blog post on Life Lessons Lived yesterday got me thinking about what I would find most important to have, or rebuild should something ugly happen.  By ugly, I’m talking about some type of major life-changing event:

  • Plague
  • Meteor strike
  • Major volcano explosion.
  • Zombie apocalypse

I don’t think the zombie apocalypse is a real thing, but I do love watching The Walking Dead series on AMC.  Not for the zombies (too realisticly gross), even though I love the special effects makeup jobs.  We watch for the human nature aspect of it.

Thinking on that path, what would you find most important to have around when a major disaster hits?  Much of the U.S. is still struggling from our last violent Mother Nature outbreaks.  The things I find common in all of them are these:

  • Clean water
  • Food
  • People to help with clean up
  • People to help with rebuilding
  • Good organizational skills.

We have ways on our farm to pull out clean water.  If it is not real clean, we have splurged on the bottle filtering systems.

People may be in short supply if it all goes at once.  So, we have opted for some outstanding friends and family.  We would all pull together and help to clean up and rebuild.  My other thought on that one is tiny houses.  After the Texas mess, I have been looking up all sizes and types of tiny houses.  Denver even showed their tiny house village set up specifically to help the homeless.  We have enough space that if we could figure out water and sewer, we could do it here.  At least it would house our buds until we get around to their individual spaces.

I am O.C.D. when it comes to organizing.  I MUST HAVE MY DUCKS IN A ROW AT ALL TIMES!  Yes, I am a bit nuts about this:

  • My craft room is separated into different craft projects: card crafting sorted by holidays and seasons etc.
  • My knitting is separated into the type of yarn:
    • Thick or thin, solid or self-striping colors, and then by colors: reds, greens, etc.
    • If it will only be used for Halloween or Christmas, it goes into different containers.
    • Current projects I am working on (yes, project”S” – as I can never have just one going on.  It is usually 4 or 5 at one time).
  • My beading and jewelry making is in an area close to my knitting as some of my pieces are a combination of the two. All the beads are sorted by size, type, and/or color.

This goes on, but you get the picture.  I have to know where all my stuff is or I go a bit nuts.  My grandson has ADHD/Autism and also goes a bit nuts when he cannot find something.   His room is a disaster, so I don’t go off on him, I Just remind him that if he put it back where he found it, he would now find it.  Then I help him look.

All that just left me with food.

I started to wonder.  If all the normal stuff was gone, how many people would, or could, grow their own food?  How many people could kill a chicken?  If you did kill it, would you know how to process it?  Well, while I was researching all this I came across something from my childhood I had completely forgotten and was ashamed so.

Do you know who Paul Harvey was?  Have you ever heard any of his The Rest Of The Story broadcasts?  Mom used to listen to them faithfully.  When we were home, we had the privilege of listening in along with her.  The one that I came across while searching, for me, was one of his best:

GOD MADE A FARMER

If you have never heard, or heard of, Paul Harvey; please take a moment to click the above link and allow a few minutes of peace to enter your ears.

His voice is monumental.

The story is epic.

The moral is to be followed.

We have a neighbor who has a field that runs the side of the highway on your way to Denver from Nebraska on I76.  I don’t remember exactly when he put up the sign, but I know it is still there today:

IF YOU ATE TODAY, THANK A FARMER.

Short, to the point, and true.

Just a few simple thoughts for the Thanksgiving month.

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PLOWSHARE THURSDAY 9-28-17 – extra eyes.

There are several things I wanted to share today, but my best bet became “an extra pair of eyes.”

This is not really something you can buy through Amazon, but some days I wish I could.  There are a number of times, during any given year on a farm, where some extra set of eyes would come in handy.

We do a large amount of bartering with a variety of friends and family.  We were lucky in the fact that our in-ground planting in the greenhouse provided us with a ton of food.  This year it was needed more than ever as it is the first time since we bought the farm that we are without fresh farm eggs.  Fricken coyotes and foxes picked them all off (even my beloved turkey) in one afternoon.  Brazen jerks did it in broad daylight too.

Whiskey 4-20-16Some days you just cannot make sense of something that happens, this was one of those occasions. We took major precautions over the last several years to upgrade our poultry pens.  We taught them all to go into the barns at night where they were closed up tight.  We added a 360-chicken wire, attached enclosure for them to wander in and out of at will.  The only thing we did not consider was human intervention.

Xcel Energy and W.A.P.A have access through our property to get to their overhead power lines.  Both have been down in the lower neighbor’s field making all kinds of racket changing out poles and lines.  The best part of this is that they had managed to scare off all the wild critters that were hanging out in the swamps – including foxes and coyotes.

Roughly three years now we have not heard a yip or howl from either of the two groups to our joy.  This turned out to be a curse.  Yes, it was great we did not have to worry about them attacking our critters, but we became complacent.  I would open the doors up and let the critters roam all over the farm because I believed their predators to be gone.  Oh stupid me!

Once nice summer day with none of the worker crews around, and our whole flock (except the two chickens that hung in the cat barn) was taken out by the monsters.  It took no more than an hour for the chickens.  The turkey was nabbed by a coyote later that same afternoon. (He was carried off, and he was huge!)

So my share today is to get more eyes on your property.  Friends or neighbors driving by.  Neighbors close enough to notice strange movement.  We are even thinking about installing motion sensors with cameras in all of our hard-to-see areas. 

We have been able to exchange fresh fruits and veggies, canned goods, and homemade goodies for eggs and the like.  The pantry is not looking too bad, but I still feel totally bummed about our loss, and missing the wobbly birds that would come running when I called them.

 

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DO YOU STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES?

Bad news.  Bad news.  Then more bad news.  I AM SOOO TIRED OF BAD NEWS!  I have started a new self-help campaign…seek out good news!  Here is one that I came across this week:

Love the smell of spring? Here’s where the season’s odors come from.

It was kind of sad and disgusting.  So I choose to turn it into a good thing.

I like to learn the scientific reason for the smells that I love (which was key to the above article), but I prefer my reasoning…it is because of my past.  Here are some examples:

A fresh cut hay field: This one catches me at the second it hits my nose (and it’s a big nose) and instantly throws me back to the 80-acre farm I grew up on.  It’s spring, and we have started the first of several cuttings to create bales for the winter ahead.  This follows with the families joining to bale the hay.  Kids playing in the hay, the fields, and with the horses.  Parents would gather in the shade of the large garage we had or maybe in the back yard covered with huge trees.  Fresh squeezed lemonade, sun tea, and beer were the drinks of choice (Oh, and the water for the kids always came from the hose.  We had a well with great tasting water!).

new mown hay

The air after the first big spring rain:  Once again I am flung back in time to kids with little plastic (yep plastic, not rubber – that was for city kids!) boots.  They were very floopy (is that a word?  Pronounced like soupy.) so we never bothered to wear any socks with them.  The puddles we splashed in would throw the water up and over the top of the boot, and our feet would float.  This made it even more fun because as you went running up on a puddle, your slippery foot would slide sideways and cause you to fall into the puddle instead of just splashing – laughter all around!

flowers in spring rain

Pine trees, rosemary, evergreens:  These smells are sort of the same and all lead to the same thing – CHRISTMAS!  I have had a few bad ones, but most of my Christmas’s were crammed with wonderful memories!  Once again all about family and friends all smiling, laughing, and sharing. (FYI: This smell always makes me feel better if I am sad or depressed.)

Fresh baked bread:  Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh baked (or baking) bread?  It never has a chance to completely cool in our house!  As soon as it’s touchable, we slice it up, butter, and eat it!  This one does not go back to my childhood, but it does include family.  Mom hated to cook.  Dad loved to cook.  I just do not remember any baking specifics (except Christmas cookies) until I moved in with my sister – she’s a bake-a-holic!  One of her specialties that I swear I can smell clear out in the barn is her bread.  She loves to make a variety of them and is always looking for a new recipe.  I have resolved myself to the fact that I will never be skinny.  I can blame it on genes, surgeries, no time for exercise – whatever- but I know the real reason is that I cannot keep my hands off her homemade bread – yum!!!

d star bread (This is one of her creations!)

With all the surgeries I have been through, I wondered what would be the worst to lose: sight, hearing, smell, touch?  I have already lost part of my hearing (major ear infection as a kid) and some ability to touch.  Getting older the eyesight fades (can sometimes be corrected), but I think the loss of smell would break my heart!  It is the one sense that can reincarnate good times no matter where I am in life.

Yep, when it comes to smells that float up my nose, happiness resides there not science.  I will continue to breathe deep and suck in all the fun fond memories that I can, while I can!

upclose dog nose

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Just How Green Are You?

One of my fav all-around veggies is cabbage.  I am half Irish, and this is a must! (Mom would find a way to haunt me about it if I don’t!  Her side of the family has always been more fun…a bit off, but more fun!)  In honor of St. Patrick’s day, my Farmer’s Almanac newsletter sent me this winner, not like I needed any more reasons to eat cabbage, but they are interesting facts:

13 HEALTHY REASONS TO START EATING MORE CABBAGE!

Happy cabbage

One of our favorite ways to have it is fried.  You can make cabbage pockets:

fried cabbage pockets

Which are yummy too, but we prefer just to chop it up, and go with it.  Sometimes we will do it with onions (sorry, bad pun!).

We have grown both varieties of green and purple.  Even tried growing Bok Choy, but didn’t have the same appeal to us as regular old cabbage.

purple cabbags          boc choy

Since it goes so well with corned beef (we have feasted on a couple of those already), we just can’t help but get going on our annual cabbage frenzy!  Those of you that may need a bit-O-help getting their cabbage on, the almanac also gave up a fool-proof recipe, check it out!  (F.Y.I., we always crockpot ours at least overnight before slicing.  Oh, and always make sure to cut against the grain.)

This year my sister wants to try making our own sauerkraut?  This should be interesting since we do not have anything like mom’s old canning crocks (try to find them now – WITHOUT a huge price tag on them) to let it soak in.

old canning crock

If any of you have a good modern recipe, I would love it if you would share!!

So, HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY to you all!  May it be filled with fun and enjoyment.  (It’s our Friday “game night” this year, so you know we will!)

st pat blessing

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DO HOW-TO BOOKS COUNT AS READING?

I have never cared for romance novels.  Their stories always seemed too unrealistic or predictable.  My love life has NEVER been that way.  I have tried reading sci-fi because I love sci-fi movies, however, with a mind that wanders as much as mine does, I could not follow their plots.  I do have a passion for all kinds of how-to books.  Maybe it goes beyond passion to obsession.

pinterest-pic-3

I was sitting alone after one of my surgeries and after the fire.  We were living in a trailer that was placed on our farm to use while the house was being redone.  It was a cooler, rainy summer day and the crew had the day off.  I wanted to try to crochet or knit something.  One of our many friends gave me some alpaca yarn to begin to replace all that I had lost.  The problem was that I had no patterns – 50 years of collecting, all gone.  I began to cry.

Here I sat, alone, hand all wrapped up, half my major yarn-holding finger gone, yarn – my passion- in hand and no ideas in my head.  Then, almost as if someone said “she deserves a break,”  I remembered: Knitting Daily TV is on the internet!  (Now they are connected with Interweave.com) They have free patterns, books, and even DVD’s all on “how-to” different knit and crochet things.  They did not have any free patterns, so I went digging!

pinterest-pic-5

I found this: http://www.beginner-crochet-patterns.com/ – thank you, God!  I then found out through doing just the beginning basics; this was not going to be as easy as I thought!  The ½ finger was my yarn guide finger.  I saved several how-to patterns on my laptop.  I was feeling life again!

One of my goals this year is to read at least one book per week.  Now I know that some of you do not consider how-to’s in the “book” category, but I have and always will.  They saved my sanity!  Losing as much as I did in such a fast, and short time was more devastating than I had realized.  Crying on that couch woke me up to that reality.

Decades I had surrounded myself with yarn crafting.  Whenever things were bad or tough (had a lot of those), I could count on my yarn, a project, and someone in mind to give the finished product to as a means of moving forward.  To wake up one moment and realize that my “constant” in life was in a dumpster filled with ash broke me.

*The home was gone.

*Grandson is gone.

* Passions gone.

*Life forever changed.

I learned, at that single moment, just how strong I was – mentally.  I knew what would bring me back to the land of the living again, and it worked!  It took my sister a couple of years to find herself again.  My daughter is still struggling and has not figured it out for herself yet.  Time does not always heal all wounds, at least not for us.  Purpose does!

pinterest-pic-1

I now have a pretty good sized library of how-to’s now.  Everything from yarn workings, to wood working, to furniture restoration, to a multitude of crafting ideas.  I am hooked on several blogs that deliver shared ideas every couple of days on how-to do something or another.  My cousin, bless her agricultural soul, has sent us a ton of ag how-to books, magazines, and hooked me into Pinterest (here is my site: https://www.pinterest.com/gardenglows/)  for millions more great ideas.

I believe that how-to books are real books and I will continue to push on to completing at least one per week.  (Truth be told, I have about 4 or 5 going at any given time and get excited when I actually get to the end of one!  Tricks me into thinking I know what I am talking about on that subject – LMAO!)

pinterest-pic-2        pinterest-pic-4

woodburn-mushroom-2017

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ARE YOU AN AVID LEARNER (or obsessed as I am)?

In keeping with last new year resolution – more fun shall be added to this, 2017, year as well.  So, this is my first writing spill for the new year – hope you like it!

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Well, the holidays were a blast but over way too fast.  The new year started out with discovering that my car needed a new battery…ON THE COLDEST FRICKEN DAY OF THE YEAR!!  So, now I am thinking this will be a year of “be prepared” situations.  The problem is, how do you prepare for what you don’t even know is coming your way?  I got out my crystal ball (ya, like I have one?) and discovered the following about myself.

crazy-crystal-ball

I was never a Girl Scout.  My thing was 4-H, and they are basically for farmers, creators, crafters, gardeners, artists, and taught very little in the way of preparedness.  Since that time (let’s just say it was a while ago), I have become a bit of a prepper by choice.  We (my sister and I) do the following:

  1. Try to grow most of our own food.
  2. Reuse, repurpose, recycle just about everything.
  3. Use natural and sustainable growing, farming methods.
  4. Learn every kind of craft we can get our hands into. The things we don’t know, my cousin in WI is pickup (she is so creative – even made her own bentwood chairs a few years back, now she’s into metal and welding – how fun is that?).  Our long range plans are that one day she will be here on the farm with us.  So double bonus!
  5. We can:
  6. Fish
  7. Hunt
  8. Camp out
  9. Could probably butcher just about anything for food.
  10. Process foods by canning, dehydrating, drying, freezing, and we are now getting into oven canning (too cool!).
  11. And the best thing – barter!

The best is barter!  We connect with those that can do things we cannot, or do not like to, do.  Absolutely love to share stuff!  It can be everything from my knitted stuffs, our canned stuffs, part of our side of grass fed beef, recipes, to even poo and wood chips for composting piles (yes, we have an abundance of both!).  In return, we get things like our hunting friends may share part of their kill.  Seeds are always exchanged.  Crafting techniques, (my friends Judy and Carrie are much better at sewing than I am so I will always get into what they are working on) and we will try just about anything once – twice if we like it.

I got hooked on this type of life years ago by accident.  Way back in the early 80’s I was more of a read-a-holic than I am now.  I came across a book called:

FOXFIRE by Eliot Wigginton, George P. Reynolds, and Kaye Carver Collins

foxfire-books-on-amazon

I do not usually promote books, but when I do it is because I love them or find them useful (I have more how-to’s than anything, and I do not own a single romance novel – boo hoo, hee hee. The very first one immediately hooked me. I went on to purchase the whole series (now up to 12 plus some anniversary additions) as each new one was published.

The way to explain how important I found these books, is to let you know that they were the first replacements I purchased for myself after our fire took everything. If you are into doing anything in a self-sufficient manner, I strongly recommend that you go to your local library and request the very first one. It explains how they all came about(Spoiler alert: It started as a way for a big-city teacher to reach his Appalachian class.). You may also want to be prepared for some fun and wild reading as parts of the book are written how the people of the area speak (or as best as they could reproduce it for the book).

Like I said – I got hooked.It is very detailed, includes numerous pictures, and is a major how-to on almost everything you could need to survive on your own or in a small community.

The only way to survive, thrive and become self-sufficient, in my opinion, is to connect with others. It may sound wrong but, if you think about it, there will always be something someone else has or can do that you may want or need. Even though I love to do tons of stuff myself, I cannot do it all (shocker I know!).I count on others to barter, share, swap, exchange (whatever you want to call it) to get by. However, I think we are exceptionally lucky that we have made connections with the same type of wacky sense of humor people that we are! This way, when times get rough (and they always do), someone in the group will always find something to laugh about!

little-girls-laughing

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WHAT’S YOUR CHRISTMAS LIKE?

Hi, Ho All!  And a very Merry Christmas to you.

So, what’s on your agenda for Christmas?  We are traveling to Aurora (for those of you not of this area – it is a suburb of Denver – bigger than Denver now I think?) to spend a night with our other sister and her husband.  This night of Christmas Eve will be the first time we have ALL gotten together for Christmas, on Christmas, in about ten years.  It seems there was always someone working or something messing up the plans.  Since it falls on Saturday and Sunday this year – wooo hooo!

The festivities will include:

  • Drinking beer and setting up stuff.
  • Eating food created by all the families and friends.
  • Drinking beer and sharing the funnies from 2016.
  • Laughing, LAUGHing, and then more LAUGHING (it is a MUST every Christmas!)
  • Drinking beer and yelling at the kids to settle down (ya, like that’s gonna happen?!)
  • Trying to keep the kiddos busy until it is time to open presents (yes, we do it on Christmas Eve – however, also on Christmas day …the ones that Santa brings are on Christmas day).
  • Drinking beer – always before calling relatives, it’s a must!
  • Calling out-of-state relatives and sharing fun memories of winters and Christmas past.
  • Drinking beer while eating.
  • Torture the kids by telling them we will open presents when the 15 minutes is up (note: we started the 15-minute countdown about 60 minutes ago – hee hee)
  • Drinking beer and moving to a fun present opening spot (preferably one good for pics too for me)
  • Open presents. Now this part REALLY drives the kids nuts.  We do name exchange with the adults, and they must wait until the said adult has opened the present, I have gotten a picture, and then they get to open something. (ok, more giggling here is required!)
  • Drinking beer – to steady the camera of course!
  • All presents to family and friends are opened, now it’s time for the kids to play and adults to laugh and talk more. Sometimes we do games.  Usually dice games (we love Yahtzee!!).
  • Drinking more beer while eating more food – gather strength to say bye to friends and family for the night. It maybe another year before we get to see them all again – boo hoo hoo!
  • The food starts to disappear into to-go containers as the crowd starts to dwindle. Eventually, we will all drift off to sleep on a piece of furniture (or maybe the floor since her downstairs level has a heated floor – niiice!!!).
  • The next morning consists of Coffee, a homemade special breakfast, packing up the goodies and heading home.

Once home, chores must be accomplished first (at which point the animals all make it a moment to let us know that they know we were gone!  Pecking, squawking, biting…the norm.), then into the house to see what Santa has delivered.

My grandson has not been at his best this year, especially in the last month.  I have warned him that Santa does not like this, to which he replied: “I’m not sure I believe in Santa anymore?!”  To which I responded with – “Oh, really?  So I can send him a letter that you do not need anything or maybe just some coal for the outdoor cooker this year since you don’t believe?”  He immediately reneged on his previous statement…hmmmm?!?  So, I may have to find or make some small boxes and put a chunk of coal in each one.  Then lovingly place them under the tree – hee hee, yes, this warms my heart!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!

(My Christmas cacti are bloomin fools this year!)

IT SHOULD START WITH ME – SHOULDN’T IT?

“It all trickles down from the top.”   “All Politicians are self-centered liars.”

“The bigger the company is, the less it cares about its employees.”

Sound familiar?  All too familiar for me.  I used to say all of that and more.  There was always someone or something else to blame for things that were happening to me.

Then, when I was about 30 years old, I realized something.  Something that really happened in my life which proved that all of this was wrong.

The man that caused me to lose my job, right after my disable daughter was born, got fired – and I was nowhere near him when it happened.  The truth gets even better:

My daughter was born with spina bifida and two clubfeet – they were both turned into her ankle and up toward her knees.

baby-w-club-feet

I worked as the Accounts Receivable Clerk for an automotive firm – great owner, rotten Office Manager.  The owner happened to be gone when I came back to work after giving birth.  I had made the following arrangements with a specialist to begin work on my daughter.

  • Every Tuesday morning, I would get up early, soak and remove her little casts (I used a steak knife to cut them off. I used to stick my finger between the cast and her leg to get it cut open – usually ran out of bandaids – ha ha).
  • The Doctor then agreed to take us in at 7:30 a.m. (not regular office hours) and edge/twist the feet down a bit more and recast.
  • This whole process meant that I was going to be about 30 minutes late for work every Tuesday.
  • I calculated that I could compensate for this by not taking a lunch break on those days.

The Office Manager (taking advantage of the fact that the owner was on vacation) told me “This is unacceptable, either you need to have someone else take care of your daughter, or we will have to replace your position.”  He knew I was a single mom and this was my only source of income. (I WILL NEVER FORGET THOSE WORDS!)

I looked him straight in the eyes, said “screw you” and walked out!

You can pull whatever you want with me, but NEVER USE MY CHILD to try to get at me.  The owner came back, called me in and asked me to come back.  We discussed many things (he was, by-the-way, an excellent family man), but I boiled it down to this: “Can you guarantee that the first time I have to call in sick to work because my child is sick, he will not try to pull this again?” He said no.  We both cried (yep – a real boss that cared about his employees!), and I left.

Postpartum kicked in, and I felt sorry for myself for about a week.  Then I found another job.  Through my mother got connected with Shriners for Children (what a Godsend they are!) to work with my daughter’s condition (I had no insurance, no money – all I had was great family support – sometimes that is all a person needs!), and got on with my life.

I had several very close friends that I left at that business, but they stayed in touch.  One was the Shop Manager.  One day, out of the blue, I received a call from him: “Want a job?”

He went on to tell me they finally found that the Office Manager had been embezzling from the company.  (I did leave a hint with him and the owner that it was unusual for an Office Manager not to have books up to date – this guy was ALWAYS 3-6 months behind…now there’s a hint!?!)  He was jailed, found guilty, lost his CPA license, had HUGE fines and reimbursements to pay, and last heard – was driving a cement truck.

oh-happy-day

The lesson that I learned that day was “EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON, ” and I live by this every day.  I did not cause the Jerk’s downfall; he did it to himself.  I was just lucky enough to hear about it from much loved friends.  Karma is a bitch!

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because of our wonderful 2016 election here in the USA.

I do not discuss politics or religion with family or friends because I love them.  Everyone is allowed their own opinions and just because I do not see eye-to-eye with you, should never mean that I do not like you!  This election is the worst I can ever remember regarding divisions.

I am on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest and have seen some awful mud-slinging going on in those social sites.  This, to me, is wrong!  I understand the following things:

  • We The People do not speak up enough on our level. We expect our elected local officials to carry our voices to Washington DC, yet somewhere along the way it gets lost.  Lobbyists, big corporations, or their own personal agendas override our voice.
  • ALL Politicians are in it for the money. Their golden parachute.  Do you know that they get to retire with the same income that they resign from the office with?  I did not know that great little factoid until I became a government worker – now that’s sad! (Note: I had a lower pee-on type government job so no parachute for me, not even a cloth one boo hoo!)
  • Few to no Politicians build their platforms on the good that they have done, and the good that they will do for we the people. Instead, they find all the faults in their opponents or feed you what you want to hear.  No intention of actually doing it.
  • The biggest reality – this all starts with “me!”

So this year I chose to be happy, to bring more joy into my life and the lives of those around me.  I chose to find more humor in everything that I can.  I did not remember this was an election year when I made this choice, but I’m glad I am trying.  This is my plan:

  1. Don’t believe any Politician ever again!
  2. Don’t simply sit back and let them bully me/us/we the people to get what “they” want.
  3. Take a stand every chance I get (right now it is the pipeline through the Indian Land in North Dakota ) Maybe “I” alone cannot do much, but bunches of “I’s” can do something together!
  4. Start at my local level to create change! We have issues with fracking waste water that they are trying to dump in our county – not on my watch!
  5. Push even harder to bring joy and laughter into every day.

calvin-n-hobbs-smile

So, what do you think of my 5-step plan? Are you laughing with/at me yet?  Sorry, I got a bit long in this one my wonderful Readers, but today is the day for “we” or at least “me” to start making changes. Stop blaming everyone and everything else and start taking the steps toward something better.

I think one of my long-term goals will be to find an honest attorney (ya, I know – is there such a creature?) that is willing to try to push a bill to get the “golden parachutes” stopped.  It will require the politicians to get a real job after they leave the government one, and retire the same way the rest of the nation has to – the same rate of income, same ups-and-downs connected to the stock market, and same medical insurance. (Now there’s the kicker!)  Wish me luck – or at least happy times while doing it!

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THE CORN ROAST or HOW TO THROW A PARTY – part 2.

As the sun started to go down, the party was still going.  Uncle Vern (my dad’s brother) was usually tending to the grill by now, finishing up whatever was left to cook.  The “old hats” at the party knew it was time to break out the coolers to pack up their share of the food.  The kids were still all over the farm.

corn-on-the-grill

As the sun disappeared, more fun began.  The adults moved into the garage (it was called the garage, but it was also a workshop and had enough room for tractors and farming equipment in the back – all moved out of course for this shindig.), and the kids came down from the hay loft to start chasing things in the dark.

We had a great huge yard light.  It lit up everything corner of the center of our driveway (Picture a huge gravel circle with a house, garage, huge machine shed, barn and pump/tack house all around it – this was the center of our driveway – about the size of 10 full-size trampolines).

The garage doors were wide open, so it was easy for the adults to watch us.  The little kids, by now, were settling into their parent’s laps or finding a soft spot on the lawn to curl up on.  (Funny – I say “little” kids like I was so big – NOT – I was always the short one.  During this time I could have only have been around  8 or 9 years old – LMAO.)  We, the older kids, were now chasing fireflies (lightening bugs to some of you) and ducking from bats and moths that were compelled to go to the light.

fireflies-at-night

IT NEVER FAILED – a moth would get stuck in my hair!  I inherited my father’s thick curly hair – oh lucky me!  Even though mom cut it short every spring, the darn critters would still get all tangled up in it.  To this day, I can’t stand MILLER MOTHS!! Grrr!!!  They would crunch as you tried to wrestle them out – yuck!

miller-moth

Slowly but surely, the crowd would start to dwindle down.  The closest friends and family were always the last to shuffle out.  Usually, there were a few stragglers that would spend the night. Why not?  Our place was enormous, and dad was always up for cooking to a passel of people.  Guests always meant an awesome breakfast the next morning!

Exhausted but extremely content, mom and dad would shuffle us girls off to bed.  All the fun and joy from all the play of the day was not strong enough to keep our eyelids from closing.  Sweet dreams all around! 

  •   No worries about tomorrow. 
    •   No fears about the night. 
      • Just great memories until the next family corn roast!

corn-roast-yum