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

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