Friday, July 15, 2011


In case you haven’t followed me along my long and winding road, I live in a hollow on a round loop road. I’m a little less than half an acre and there are neighbors with the same. Six total. In the two weeks I’ve been here I finally saw a real live person. He’s the one down the road whose roosters wake me up every morning.

I’m sure you know the plan is to get chickens and hopefully a cow. I’ve been reading online about chicken care. Some folks have heated chicken coops for the winter. One person had a “poop hammock” and raised ceramic dishes for her chickens. My thought is that none of that stuff was available or even considered back in the 1800s. Chickens had a coop made out of boards, some hay to lay their eggs, water and scratch for feed. I figured my neighbor might be a good one to talk to about this.

Dave is his name and he breeds roosters. Before I go any further, and I’ll get pictures soon, I have to say these roosters were thick, shiny, loud (and I learned that if a rooster is loud and clear, it means his craw is healthy), and primping about. In other words, they were healthy. I held one and he was meaty, feathers were soft and full, even though this is their shedding season. Dave is also part of the Gaming Commission because he breeds, so he gets inspected.

Now, on to the coops. They are made from pallets, with some wire around them and tin roofing lay on the top. Their water is in plastic coffee containers and their ‘scratch’ is on the ground. He shovels the coops out once a week and worms the roosters once a month. He puts plastic over the coops in the winter. Simple and natural.

We talked about cows and how he would feel if I got one - would he mind it pasturing in his yard? I told him I’d pick up the manure because I’d want it for my garden. He said he wouldn’t mind but that I could also stake the cow, as long as I fed and watered him, he'd be healthy, no problem. Again, way back when, not everyone had a pasture, so many staked their cows. Maybe, I can sacrifice some of the back land for a small barn.

All in all, it was an intelligent and educational conversation. Even if he did look like Billy Ray Cyrus.

Eggplant Creation

Here is what I "created" with the three lovely, just picked eggplants I was given this morning at the community garden. You can read all about it here GoodDay-July 15. Of course, it's supposed to be on this blog, but at least it's written and posted. 

Anyway, back to the eggplant. I'm cooking on camping equipment, but not over a fire. I'm saving my wood for when the grandkids come down next week. After that, I will burn every chance possible. Sidetracked again! The eggplant. When I say I have minimal supplies and very basic, I mean MINIMAL—flour, sugar, cornmeal, salt, pepper, butter, bread, a couple eggs. That's it. All of my spices are in Kenosha and will be here next week. I don't want, nor can I afford to buy when I already have. So, salt and pepper.

The store is not at the corner here. I must drive 'into town'. Additionally, I guess because so many people grow their own, the fruits and vegetables here are outrageous. Which means, until I too, can grow my own, I purchase at the farmer's market on Saturdays. Today is Friday. 

 I sliced the half onion I had, sliced the eggplant in strips and sautéed. Next, I opened a Bowl of Noodles Kimchi, that I was living off of before getting my place, and emptied the seasoning packet into the pan. I chopped half a tomato and added two eggs. The result, I think, was stupendous. 

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Musings or The Ravings

I have been peeking through my hooded grayness without contribution, well, without much contribution. I've caught myself sinking slowly and must now summon the mighty laborer to hoist me out of the murky well.

Of course, the question of a new online friend about where do new people go, how they pop in, get acquainted, and then disappear, stung like an arrow. Another's answer of  Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Friendship" was most welcome.

The new home is nice albeit empty, hollow without the stuff I've come to depend upon, mostly though, without my Rocky and Lola. Home is cold without a pets' warmth stretched beside.

I came to this place to live quieter and simpler, and to focus on writing. Sit on the deck, in the chair, in the woods behind the house, and write. I've found myself caught up in a new job that was kindly (?) given of which I didn't ask for. I've also fallen into the old routine of volunteer for this and volunteer for that. None of which was part of the plan or dream, and now I must extricate myself gently to retain the friendships made and build them along the lines of my proposed personality.

Strange, how easy it is to go right along doing what we know is not good for us only because we know it. I sit on the deck now and write, communicate with the new friends of the online writing circle I long to be part of, the circle that is the healthiest for me, because it is where I want to be.

Must keep this all in the forefront of this ever-running mind.

Settling into the Simpler Way of Life

After spending a month on the side of a mountain, I was fairly confident that my house too, would be swarming with flying creatures—moths, mosquito’s, crickets—all banging at my windows in the evening. The first night I saw a few. Last night, the temperature went down to 68 overnight, so I decided to open the windows for some fresh mountain air while I slept. Only one window is missing a screen—soon to be none—so off went the central air. I opened all the windows, even going outside to find a few thick branches to hold open the ones that have broken springs—on brand new windows, hmm. The last one, I noticed the screen didn’t fit tight. I tried to fiddle with it, but it was after dark and I feared the creatures would shout the directions to open windows and lights, so I shut it. When I went back to close the other windows, I noticed only one screen really fit. Ah, so repair #1. This, even before installing screen doors, because I can live without open doors, but not without open windows. Thankfully, it’s been warm (read: HOT) enough to keep everything closed.

When shopping for the absolute necessities until I have my 'stuff', I looked for the eco-friendly bug spray, but they were out. I’m not crazy about even the eco-friendly spray however, I’ve not had the chance to plant the lavender that bugs hate, or the marigolds. I have plenty of coffee grounds to spread, but that’s for ants—and I have no ants. Since I’d not noticed too many, I’d hoped my citronella candles would work, so on the deck I was to check in with a writing group I’d neglected for a few days, do a few small stone blog posts, and work on last weeks Wordle. The citronella candle did not work.

So, I schlepped everything back inside and decided to take my first bubble bath. Poured in the peaches and cream bubbles, made a hot cup of chai, and grabbed “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”. Now, I’m a fairly large girl and the tub is deep, but narrow. There’s solutions for that: lose weight, which is part of the plan moving to the country—gardening, yard work, etc.—however, I doubt that I’m gonna narrow down that much that fast; another solution is to get a claw foot tub. I’ve seen a few give-aways, and it wouldn’t be much work, really. The tub is one of those plastic surround things, so just need to turn off the water and rip it out. Will probably have to redo the floor beneath and the wall, but, hey. Bathtubs are important. I can leave the shower as is and just get a circular curtain rod. That’s all in the future though. At the moment, the bubbles were rising and the tea was steaming.

Having been large for awhile, I’m well versed in how to keep a hot tub of water. Once it starts to drain out of the overflow, I run more hot water, and shazam, full tub. This one never seemed to get to the overflow. Besides the fact that the water faucet handle is in the middle of the wall, meaning I had to stand up to turn it off and stand up to turn it back on. The water just seeped and seeped. Solution: one of the flat, rubber plugs. Is that Repair #2 or #3? Ah well, stand up, turn the water on and be done with it—for now. Research #1: find out the size of the water heater, because one tub full and that was it. Washed (with lovely cucumber and mint soap from a far away friend), shaved my legs, and rinsed in a tablespoon of water.

Settling into the simpler way of life.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Fourth of July Celebration 2011

Today was a fairly good day, especially this morning. Lisa, my couchsurf host, and me moved the dining room set and armchair her mother gave me into the new house. I walked around outlining what would go where when all my other stuff came. We talked about planting hostas under the walnut tree, creating a little meditation area in back with a pond, rocks, and plants. An area to see in the shade and read or write or just breathe.The cats are gonna love all the squirrels from that walnut tree--once they get over their trauma from another move, and a 12 hr one at that.

I plan to lay wood flooring in a few months and we talked about doing a section of tile in the kitchen area since an open floor plan. I’d much rather have tile than wood floor in the kitchen, never was too crazy about that.

The bathroom is blue, which can be changed if I choose to, when money is available, but for now I went white. White country-lace shower curtain, and white with blue cornflowers ceramic accessories. Looking for a white rag rug but only found those fluffy, poufy things, and that is so not the style.

Once it cools just little bit so I can stand walking around the flea market, the one in Ranger, NC is HUGE! I can get all my garden tools there and a stainless steel rack for linens. A few metal wind-chimes as well—the really cool handmade ones from metal tubing, copper tubes, etc. They had red geraniums—my favorite—for $1 each. There are absolutely tons of thrift stores around here, all of which the proceeds go to some charity or another. I love thrift stores.

Still not sure if I even want to hook up the television. I’ve been getting a lot more writing down without its influence. I may just have to store in a closet for future reference. I can always watch a movie on Netflix (just watched Chattahoochee, based on a true story about a mental health hospital in Florida—good), and I get most of my news online anyway. So…

Another thing I’m not sure of is getting another sofa. The futon will go in the office/guest room along with most of the bookcases. I think I’d like to keep the open spaces. Add a lot of plants instead of a lot of furniture. It’s not like kids will be visiting regularly. I’ll be lucky if I see them once a year now, and the guest room will be plenty for when the grandkids visit. Maybe a loveseat with the armchair—I think that’s plenty. It’s a blue floral print, so possibly a solid blue loveseat. Although, I’m thinking of painting the one wall a deep maroon or mauve. Can you tell I’m getting excited?

More than like I will do a raised garden bed so then I don’t have to worry too much about getting the red Georgia clay nutrient ready for planting. Feed Fannin actually has “gardens-to-go”, so maybe I could get a few from them. One would probably be plenty for what’s left of this planting season. A few beans, lettuce, radishes, onions winter crops, but that’s it until next year, so I have time to decide. One of the first things though is a chicken coop. Can’t really do free range because the foxes will have a feast.

Slow and easy it what I have to remind myself. Talk to folks about my plans and see if there’s any give-aways before I go broke buying all kinds of stuff. Have to join the local trout fishing club so I can find all the hot spots for fishing. Saw quite a few rabbits running around so there’s a few meals. Definitely need a freezer because I plan on hunting.

The dream is coming together and the universe is conspiring, so the sky is my limit.

The back view

The front view

My road

Friday, July 01, 2011


Today, the universe winked at me once again.

The past few days, as noted in the previous post, have been bungee-cord jump experiences. The extremes of highs and lows have exhausted me.

This morning I sat on the banks of the white waters again, and with the soothing sound of the ripples and its calm, sure movement over boulders, I managed to get a bit of work done, an article posted, and a small stone written. After that, which was approximately 12:30, nerves and energy began the sloughing descent to incapacity.

Of course, since I always figure nutrition is the best remedy, I went to dinner. By the time I was finished, a fever commandeered the show. I couldn’t make it to the 4th of July float decorating for Feed Fannin without making a pit stop—the closest being the newspaper office.

As I was leaving, heading not to decorate a float rather my bed, the owner, Elaine, pulled up from the post office and handed me a package from Chicago. I nodded my head and floored my big 350 toward the mountainside where I get no phone service.

When I arrived, first thing was pajamas—mind you at 4pm. Then, cross-legged on the bed, I opened my Chicago package. The lovely ladies at the Neighborhood Writing Alliance—Carrie, Hollen, and Rachael—had sent me a box full of Sedaris, Lahiri, Robbins, Barbery, Dahl, and the complete first season of Da Ali G Show, a couple of hardback writing journals, and, here’s the best, nothing better for an upset stomach, jagged nerves, homesickness and homelessness than (drum roll please) homemade Chai tea and a copy of Bitch Magazine. If only the bees had worked a bit faster and I could’ve gotten some of Carrie’s fresh honey, but seriously, I am ecstatic.

I have never been so in sync with the universe. Smile on ME!!

Goodnight Moon!