My Neighbors Dog

I’ve always wondered if people who live next door to writers ever walk a little tighter line for fear of being portrayed negatively in some some novel, or magazine article, and lately, maybe even a facebook post. Sometimes I grin mischievously to myself when I think of the “relationship” that landed me out here in the middle of no where, away from friends and family, only to dissolve under the pretense of love gone bad. There of course, was never any love. Love does not go bad. But when I sit down to novelize some of the craziness that went on here before he left…my brain shuts off and my computer freezes up. The past, I realize, no matter how awful or even how glorious, is best left where it is, and not regurgitated, longed for, worried about, or dreamed of. Sometimes though, it kind of shows back up unexpectedly.

One of my neighbors, whom I’ll call Mr. Bagsly, has a dog I’ll call Dog, since I don’t know his name, or even if he has a name. Dog does not like me. I don’t know why. I put food out for Dog every day. Dog visits morning and night, and sometimes all day too. My dogs do not like Dog. I don’t know why. He is nearly a permanent fixture here. He even poops in the yard. My dogs bark at Dog whenever they see him. Mr. Bagsly kept Dog tied up for years, now that Dog is free, I don’t think he knows what to do with himself.

When I come out of the yard fence, Dog will lunge at me like a wolf. Dog scares me. Dog hides behind the truck near the garage and when I come around to get grain for the goats in the dark evenings, he is often laying there, like he’s waiting for me. I think Dog might want to attack me, but he never has. So far.

Mr. Bagsly used to run down the road with a leash whenever Dog got loose and catch him and bring him back home. Now, Mr. Bagsly never tries to get Dog to come back home. So Dog stays on this farm a lot of the time. But no matter what I’ve tried, Dog refuses any kind of affection. He will not even take meat leftovers out of my hand, or dropped on the ground. He refuses anything I offer.

This “thing” I have going on with Dog kind of reminds me of the “relationship” I had with the person who used to live here. I tried everything humanly possible to befriend that person. I went out of my way to do things for him. I tried every way I knew how to show and prove I loved him. But, like Dog, he never trusted me and never grew to love me. Never. In the 15 years I knew him, he never once told me he loved me. He never once trusted me. He never once was happy with me or happy to be with me. Ever. And I always blamed myself. I constantly worked on myself to make  myself more lovable, more gentle and kind, more understanding, more patient, more worthy.

Some days I think maybe he and Dog are onto something. Maybe they know secret things about me that “common idiots” like my my friends and my own dogs, are too stupid too see. Some days I want to put a bullet through my head and just get the hell out of here. But then I remember, because I’ve done so much work on myself, that we attract people and conditions into our lives that we are a match for. For example, when we are able to be happy and joyful and connected to God, no matter our current circumstances, we attract happy, joyful, God/Source centered people into our lives.

Esther Hicks says that to attract happy circumstances into your life, you first have to BE happy. Our culture has it backwards. Society tells us that when everything is perfect, THEN we’ll be happy. It’s a very hard way of thinking to break. But, our happiness depends on…us being happy.

And about that dog. I really don’t care if Dog likes me or not. I realize he probably has suffered trauma and abuse at the hands of his owner, and is acting the only way he knows how, and it has nothing to do with me.

Nothing. To. Do. With. Me.

Culture

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Mr. Pungent

pics-of-soaps-for-etsy-smaller-sizes-0021-e1353682534261.jpg

I’m not very good with smells. I mean, I either like them, or I don’t. I usually don’t try and define them, catagorize them, or spend too much time thinking about them when I am not actually experiencing them. But fall seems to be the time of year when scents, both pleasant and awful, assult our olfactory senses more than any other time of the year.

One of the most pungent fall scents for me, that starts in August on this farm, is buck goat in rut. Rut is a hormal state male goats go into in the fall. Their neck swells, they begin to pee on their front legs, and their glands begin to secret an oily, smelly, “pefume” that they rub all over themselves and anything, including humans, in the vicinity. In late August, when the first hint of buck in rut is in the air, it immediately brings memories of fall leaves, cooler weather, fires, harvests, and holidays.

If you’ve never lived around goats, and buck goats in rut in particuar, you simply don’t understand the true definition of the word “pungent”. I have tried for 11 years now to think of something I could compare the smell of a rutty buck to, so people could understand without actually having to smell one for themselves. The word “pungent” is the best definition I can think of, and should be re-classified in the dictionary as “the smell of buck in rut”.

Buck in rut does not smell like something rotten. It does not smell like onions, or any type of musk perfume that I have ever smelled. It does not smell like over-aged wine, or a dead animal, but it will make your eyes water, your stomach turn, and your throat gag.

The putrid stench will get in your hands and clothes and any item that comes anywhere near a very affectionate buck goat in fall rut, and the oily, smelly mess will never wash out of any type of fibers, and will take days and perhaps weeks, to wash off of your skin.

I never really got the full affect of my own two bucks this year as they are pastured with the horses out in the fresh air where the smell is not so strong. Recently though I had the opportunity to help a friend who has a large buck inside a small stall in her barn. Whoa, lordy, I had forgotten what I was missing! That stomach-churning, putrid, pungent smell that only female goats will ever appreciate.

God works in mysterious ways and I’m sure dissertations have been conjured and perhaps even written on why domestic male goats have the need to exude the most olfactory-assaulting smell that has ever existed in the universe…and I’m talking purposeful smells here, not smells like rot or death that indicate something horrible that we need to get away from…but something willful, and apparently necessary, and even attractive to females of the right species.

…Food for thought.

ps. The buck goat in the picture is my old guy Atticus. He was always especially friendly during rut and would spend hours rubbing his smell all over my mares, who actually seemed to like him quite a bit. He has gone on to another farm now, but he’ll always be my favorite stinky boy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pungent

Liminal

Today WordPress’s one-word prompt of the day is “Liminal”.  Merriam Webster defines Liminal as: 1) of or relating to a sensory threshold 2) barely perceptible 3) of, relating to, or being in an intermediate state, phase, or condition: in-between, transitional, as in the liminal state between life and death.

Whoa, doesn’t that just describe me and this farm most days to a T? I don’t think I’ve ever had a day when I could say, “okay, this is it, I’m where I need to be, now it’s time to get down to the business of living.” Instead, most days are spent trying to figure out how to get over the next hurdle; what to do about a partner who wants to end a relationship and I have no where to go, finally ending the relationship and then finding myself the sole owner of an old, run-down house I have no money or knowledge to know how to fix, watching the hay supply get smaller and smaller with no funds to buy more, watching my grandson get sicker and sicker, and then finally being diagnosed with Leukemia and all the horror that treatment entails.

As I watch  myself in the mirror every day getting older and older, realizing I can’t stop the train of aging, I teeter in the Liminal state of one day looking in the mirror, or perhaps passing that certain birthday, where I will actually be old enough to be “old”. And dreading that day, while looking forward to it at the same time. Old people don’t have to worry about all this liminal stuff. They can wake up anytime they want, take some meds, go back to sleep, watch TV, play with their great grandkids, go for a walk, fall down, pee in the bed, spit food all over their nurses, and finally hold their breath long enough that they die.

The End.

I don’t know if anyone ever gets to the place where they can say “I’ve arrived”. Except maybe when they get to Walmart, that’s kind of hard to miss, and you certainly know you are there. And maybe this great lostness, and unknowingness we all feel at some time or another, is yet but another really good reason to just to super nice to each other all the time, and help each other through our liminal phases. After all, in the end, we all travel the same road into eternity…or maybe some of us head south while the rest of us tarry on towards the much cooler north, but maybe that’s really the only state of non-liminalness that exists…the state of finally being with our Lord. Thinking about it that way kind of takes the pressure off down here, don’t you think?

I wish you all a less liminal, beautiful Sunday.

 

 

 

 

Liminal

It’s Too Dark To Exercise!

Even though I did no feasting over the Thanksgiving holiday, (I know, dieters everywhere are hating me right now), I feel sated. Full. Stuffed. Over-full. Like I need a 10 mile run. Times 10. With shorter winter days, it’s getting harder and harder to find a safe place to get outside for exercise while it’s still light.

When I lived in the city, I often ran in the dark on well lit streets or at the gym. Living in the countryside, down a narrow back road with no hint of a street light or sidewalk or even a place to jump off the road when a car full of drucken teenagers or a farmer late for milking comes barreling down the road, unless you count the ditch.

And I’m not a fan of night time, country roadside ditches. They are full of road-kill stew…only not the edible kind…rather a mixed brew stew of opossums, deer, racoons, dogs, cats, vultures…and any other kind of  vehicular homicide varmit victim, with broken glass and paper wrapers thrown in for good measure, or maybe seasoning. Nope, especially after a rainstorms when the ditches are full of water and the “stew” is much more stew-like, and even more gruesome. Nope. Can’t go there.
Where I live, in the middle of no where, the only gym in town, a ladies-only gym, opens from 10 am to 4pm. I mean, who can actually use a gym with hours like that? And so, the satiation factor seems to be growing, increasing, maintaining a wider girth, etc. Luckily, I live on a farm where there is always free exercise to be had, although not quite the kind I’m wanting, and I rarely have junk food in the house…or if it does manage to wiggle in through the doorway with my daughter or my grandson, it’s soon gone, and then there is none any more.

So today, I’m thinking up a plan. One to beat down the satation feeling just a bit, and increase the feeling of being a lean, mean, (I’m actually nice, but nice doesn’t fit here), farming woman machine. Something I can do in the house, but not a treadmill. If I ran on a treadmill in the living room, me and the treadmill would soon be under the house, probably with the house on top of us.

Must. Think. Of. Something. Else.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Sated

Let The Snow Fall Where It May

Last night the heater in my bedroom kept shutting off, which got me a little worried until I woke up enough to realize that the reason it kept turning off was that it was maintaining a temperature of 75, which is what it was set on, and so did not need to run all night. Usually when I look at the heater lately, it reads 57 degrees, and runs constantly, never able to actually get the room up to 75 degrees.  What a blessing to finally be warm again, and from the looks of the weather report, it seems that the warming trend will last a week or maybe more.

I know winter is coming. In many parts of the country, a real winter is actually already here. For me, thinking about winter coming is kind of scary..kind of like the dreaded anticipation of a root canal. Living on a farm, there are lots of things to hate, I mean LOVE about winter.

There is the exhilerating, heart-attack inducing exercise of shoveling snow, the claustraphobic bliss of wearing coveralls and stocking caps to bed, the gratefullnes of no friendly, visiting neighbors, since I do not shower for days at a time because the bathroom is just too cold, the puzzle of frozen water pipes and figuring out just where to aim the heat gun while down in the 18-inch high, spider-infested crawl space under the house, having the excuse of frozen water pipes to use the bathroom outside and accidentally mooning the neighbors, the soft and fluffy unplowed roads meaning no bothersome trips to the grocery store for days at a time, living off of dry beans boiled in melted snow that take two days to cook on the woodstove, by which time I am probably eating dog food, melting snow on the wood stove and carrying it outside to water all the livestock because of frozen water pipes and and hoses.

I could go on for days about the fun of winter, living in an old, un-remodeled farm house, but I have just made myself entirely too happy to continue.  I am simply ovejoyed at the thought of all the fun and chaotic adventures of winter. A season that is sure to show its cold and frozen face just about any day now. And I do plan to enjoy every minute of it. Every. Single. Minute. What memories I’ll be making! What contrast I’ll be enjoying (as Esther Hicks might say).

I honestly can’t wait for it, because I know that once it’s here, it’s that much closer to being out of here. Like any other bad day, not one of them can last forever, and if we didn’t have the storms, the hardships, the snowy days buried stocking-cap deep in frozen white hell falling from the sky, we wouldn’t know a good day if it hit us broadside and knocked us into next week. And therefore, I say, bring it on, Old Man Winter, you old fart. I’m just going to curl up with a thick pair of insulated coveralls, a nice warm hat, some mittens, a pot of something hot, a pit bull on my feet, and let the snow fall where it may.

Winter: It’s coming to a location near you. Soon.

 

Chaotic

A Day of Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving morning has dawned grey and cold, with the anticipation of rain in the air. We desperately need the rain. Fires are burning in nearby counties because everything is so dry and the winds have been unrelenting.

The winds haved calmed today and I am thankful for that, and for all my many blessings; a roof over my head, a warm home, food to eat, a hot cup of coffee, the ability to sustain myself with my own businesses, peace, hope, love.

Some of us are not quite so lucky. A friend and nearby neighbor lost their home to a house fire in the wee dawn hours of yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving. I can’t even imagine the horror of that. The humans and dogs got out okay, but life for them will never be the same. Today, after chores, I am going to see what I can do to help with clean up or animals or whatever is needed. A fitting way to spend today…and a huge reminder of just how lucky I am to have shoes and clothes to wear that fit, to have a kitchen table, a coffee pot, a working refrigerator, a hot shower, my books, my computer, and my peace of mind.

On this Thanksgiving day I wish you all peace and love, and if you are alone today, I challenge you to be of service to another…walk someones dog, visit an animal shelter to love on the homeless dogs and cats, cook someone a pie, visit a nursing home, call an old friend, write a letter to someone in heaven, or maybe just sit down at your kitchen table with a cup of hot chocolate and make a list of all the ways you’ve been blessed in life…I’ll bet your list is a long one, just like mine.

May peace be with you, today and always.

via Daily Prompt: Anticipation

Anticipation

Wednesday Before Thanksgiving

This morning I am blogging from my cold dinning room in my lucky writing socks,  with my morning prayers already said, the coffee brewed and in my cup, the dogs still sleeping soundly in my bed and everything quiet outside so far. The sun has barely brightened the late-night sky, and even the chickens seem to be sleeping in this morning. I am hoping more of a routine will help elicit world-changing thoughts and ideas from inside of my feeble, sleep-fuzzy brain.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I have no plans. My kids and I are a bit scattered around this area, some of us have to work, so we probably won’t all get together for a traditional meal, but we will still see each other sometime this week. I hope. Although I don’t plan to cook a big meal, there will be pie. Some kind of pie.

Today is the day I go to the Lynchburg Virginia Community Market, and take soaps and other things I’ve been working on this week. The market is closed tomorrow and Friday, but opens back up on Saturday with our first Mistletoe Market. There will be a lot of extra vendors of both crafts and foods, including food trucks with hot meals. There will be carriage rides and lots of fun stuff for kids to do. The Mistletoe Markets will be for the next three Saturdays, so if you are in the area, you should definately check one of them out.

Speaking of the market, and in keeping with my brevity plan for my posts, I must get started on packing the car and get all the critters fed their morning hay.

Until later my friends,

Blessings to you.

via Daily Prompt: Elicit

Small Blessings

As I sit here in my dining room, surrounded on all sides by stacks of homemade soap that need wrapping, in a an old farmhouse that is much too cold for morning comfort, favoring a thumb and an eye that both got the bad end of my lye pot, I can hear a young buckling goat, the one that will never stay in the fence, dancing on the metal roof of the well-house. I check outside and see that Finland, an aged whether (castrated male goat) looks to be doing okay, and I feel blessed that God holds me and my small farm in his hands and answers prayers…often before they are even asked.

Last night as I was feeding the animals, running a little behind as usual, I put Caritas’s (my thoroughbred) grain in his pan and walked off. I made a mental note to myself that I needed to fix the fence very soon so that the male goats that live with the horses could not get into Caritas’s feeding paddock and bother him for his grain. Just when I turned my back to start getting hay, I heard Finland (aka Finny) scream and I turned around to see Caritas lifting all 200 pounds of Finny into the air by his neck and then slamming him to the ground. I yelled at Caritas, who let go of Finny and went back to his grain as if nothing unusual had just happened.

I helped Finny to his feet and he was shaking. His right eye had blood coming out of it and both front legs seemed to not be working right. I couldn’t get him to move, so I began thinking about who I could call to come and shoot him. He seemed to be in so much pain. But as I stayed with him and helped him calm down, and checked him all over for injuries, I was finally able to get him moved out of Carita’s paddock and back to the pasture. I put a goat coat on him since he was shivering so bad and realized he must be in shock, and it might just be adrenaline that was enabling him to walk. At this point he still wouldn’t move, and was lifting one front leg off the ground and then the other. I was convinced they were broken, but I couldn’t feel any breaks.

I kissed him and hugged him and said a prayer for him and then left for Antonya’s very last obedience class that we were going to be late for. We made it to the class just one minute late and Tonya aced her test, thankfully.

When I got home, I went out to the pasture in the dark, expecting the worst, but was shocked to see Finny come up to the fence from his shed when I called for him. His eye had stopped bleeding and was still in its socket. I really don’t know why his eye was bloody. Caritas picked him up by his neck, not his eye, so I guess it was the pressure from being slammed on the ground that caused the bleeding.This morning, I went out to check on Finny and he and his friends were out in the overgrowth area munching blackberry briers. He seemed happy to see me and let me adjust his jacket and take a few pictures.

What a close call for Finny. A few days earlier I had a close call myself. I was  not wearing safety goggles and managed to splash lye from the lye pot into my eye. I had gotten sodium hydroxide in my eye at work one time and they took me to the hospital and tortured me, after which I was fine. I figured I could stay at home be the master of my own torture session, so that is what I did. I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed some more. Between the water and the lye, I was convinced that if I fell asleep that night my eye would dissolve right out of it’s socket. I woke up the next morning with my eyelid glued shut, but the eye was still where it was supposed to be and in good working condition.

With the Christmas season bearing down upon up us, tight on the heels of a presidential election most people would just as soon forget, it’s easy to lose sight of how truly blessed we really are, and instead focus on things in our life that are not going right. It’s easy to get depressed this time of year by a lack of money to buy gifts, pay high electric bills, and cook elaborate family meals. Some of us are lonely… family and friends live so far apart and everyone is always busy. It’s hard to be happy when it’s 20 degrees outside and not much warmer inside. It’s easy to let hours and days of depressed thoughts turn into weeks and then months, and then years. But today, I am going to focus on everything GOOD in my life. Just taking 5 minutes aside, I made a list of blessings in my life that fills up an entire page. Even some of the negative things have turned out to be blessings in disguise. I am beginning to think that everything is a blessing in some way or another. Me and Finny both value our eyesight and our lives, quite a bit more this morning.

I challenge each of you to have bigger eyes to see the good things in your lives, and smaller eyes to see the bad. Let’s make this Christmas season the best ever. I plan to post happy Christmas happenings, here on the farm and elsewhere,

and would love to hear your happy Christmas stories too. Would you like to guest post on this blog? I can’t offer money, just a moment of fame on this very new blog. Please contact me if you have a post you’d like me to share.

Until another day, my friends.

Peace be with you.

Like a Worm In A Hole

real-worm-in-a-hole I have been in hibernation. Deep hibernation. And frankly, I’d like to stay hibernating. I like my dark little worm-hole of a tiny slice of this earth of ours. And yet, I’ve been choking on the dirt so I feel like it’s time to poke my head up and look around a little. Just a little.

I often feel I am just on the verge of getting my life back together when yet something else happens that throws me out of whack and so I shimmy back down my earth-hole to wait out the tide of negativity. I binge-listen to Esther Hicks and read the bible while I am in hibernation, which gives me the strength to try life again. I know I am not alone in this. We all have our seasons. And some of our seasons are more pleasant than others.

Esther Hick, (Abraham) always talks about emotions, and how we feel, as being the ultimate indicators of whether we are on the right path or not. As a woman, it’s often been my practice to disengage from what I am truly thinking about a thing, and instead, replay what I’ve heard others say about something that may have happened or been happening to me or in my life. As a society, this is where we jump on the bandwagon of crowd-thought… it’s where we get the idea that prejudice, subjugation, ridicule, hate, etc. is okay since everyone else is doing it.

But I do not want to talk about prejudice, subjugation, ridicule, or hate today, enough attention is being given to those things already. Today I want to talk about Love. Doing what I love, based on the emotions I feel while doing those things I believe I love.

I grew up on a mini-farm near the coast of Oregon, in a family of two parents and three younger brothers who all loved to make things.  My mother was always crafting something in the house, and my father was always outside, building things, making tools, and fixing things. My brothers and I followed suit, and I always felt great when sewing, crafting, or interacting with the animals we had. When I left home, I got a normal job, went to school, got married, got divorced (a couple of times) had three beautiful children, got pets, lost pets, got hired, got fired, and developed a low self esteem and feeling of worthlessness. I think many women and men can relate to feeling beat down by life. During that time I didn’t really know how I felt inside. I know what society was saying about everything I was going through. But I didn’t really know what I, myself felt, other than an overwhelming sense of sadness much of the time.

Being self employed has given me the opportunity to hide from the world, at least part of the time. But in doing so, I’ve been forced to meet my emotions head-on, and deal with them instead of burying them. Being down in the worm hole, with a set of earphones on, listening to Abraham, meditating, studying the bible, I’ve finally been able to meet myself. And surprisingly, I am learning to like myself. Today, I am not mortified by the fact that I am 50 and single. That my home is old and that the money is scarce. I don’t feel guilty being in my beat-up farm house making batches of soap…for people who really seem to like them by the way. I don’t feel guilty working my shop site, my blog, making food for my dogs, or spending hours outside with the animals, just being with them. I am enough just the way I am today. I am not a less worthwhile person because I don’t have a regular 9 to 5 job or make a certain amount of money.

My soap business has been failing miserably, and not because I don’t have buyers for my soaps, nope, just the opposite….people are begging to buy my soap, but I’ve been too depressed to even make any. Too worried that my house looks like an unorganized soap shop and not like the houses I see in magazines. Often I feel paralyzed by the sheer amount of work that needs to be done both in the business and on the farm, and it’s just me doing it all….while most of my friends have partners or are married, I seem to be unlovable for some reason that I am unaware of, which adds to my feelings of failure.

Slowly though, after another recent “loss”, and spending much-needed time down in my worm-hole, I’ve been able to do small things again, like organize areas of my business, make products, one by one, and it’s starting to add up. My inventory is growing. My customers are happier, and I am feeling better and better about this thing we call life.

Are you a fan of Esther Hicks? Do you read the bible for inspiration? How do you deal with loneliness and self-loathing? I encourage you to share. We can all help lift each other up. God be with you.

Namaste

 

 

Trump’s New Daughter

It’s been nearly a week. An emotional week at that. As a country, we are all at odds with one another. Fueled by social media, life-long friends are becoming enemies, and no matter which social media platform we choose, all are rife with hate-filled political posts and rants. Riots are breaking out all over the county, and it truly seems we are on the brink of a major civil unrest, if not all-out war.

I totally understand the disappointment Clinton supporters are feeling right now.  It’s not just that their candidate lost, it’s really not that at all. It’s a loss of something much greater. It’s a feeling of loss for what Hillary Clinton stood for: Gender equality, racial equality, marriage equality, and so much more. It’s as if we, as a nation, especially those of us in who are not white males, were suddenly jack-slapped back into our rightful “places”. It’s demoralizing, and depressing.

I’ve thought about the state of our country and marginalized people for the past few days, and have wondered what is going to happen to our country. Are we going to become a nation where bigotry and discrimination are once again allowed, and possibly even encouraged by our new President-elect, Donald Trump?

So far, it seems to look that way. Hate crimes are being reported all over the country. Racial slurs have been brought out of hiding and are seemingly in full use once again. But wait a minute…although these things are happening now, in the raw newness of the election, I believe what will happen over time will be a great and amazing thing. I believe as a nation, we will witness the transformation of one of the most influential people in the country. A man known for racial slurs, poor treatment of low-wage employees, the subjugation and mistreatment of women, and a habit of opening his mouth and allowing any sort of garbage to spew out. Donald Trump is going to have to bend over backwards to win over the majority of the population who voted against him.

Trump is now in the hot-seat. He has to watch what he says. He cannot discriminate…it is against the law. He cannot grab women by the pussy…he will go to jail. As a nation, everything we have fought for and now fear to lose, will suddenly be even more scrutinized by everyone.  As the nation prayed to vote in Donald Trump, a man predicted to lose, we watched as electoral numbers in his favor rose higher and higher. I think God knew what she was doing by allowing Donald Trump to become our next president. Stepping into that role, he has a new adopted daughter…the United States of America. We are a proud people, a progressive people, who have fought hard against discrimination and victimization in all of it’s various forms. Mr. Trump now has an unwillful, out-spoken, wild child that he cannot quiet by a menacing look or threatening to remove them from his will. Nope, to get along with us, and keep his new position, he will have to undergo a transformation of such magnitude that it will go down in history. God has not abandoned us, he has simply given us, his children, a new and greater platform on which to spread peace and love to all the world. Let’s remember that, and start today to do our part to make sure our new step-dad tows the line.

Namaste