Monday, February 28, 2011

A Real Class Act (Part 3)

The first thing he told us was to "Stand up.  Now pick a spot on the wall.  Any spot.  Stay completely focused on that spot and do not take your eyes off of it," he said with a gentle calm voice.    It is here that I do have to tell you though, before I selected my spot, I looked down at my watch.  You see, I was always very time conscientious when I worked.  I had to be.  It was an integral part of my job and therefore it became an integral part of who I was even in my personal life.  I remember seeing seven forty five and thinking that I'd already been in that room for forty five minutes...in Conference Room # 4 with this nut job!

I'm really not sure on how long he went on talking and or of everything that he said.  I do, however, remember certain phrases.  I remember him telling us to sit down.  I remember him telling us to take our right pinkie and point it up in the air.  I remember him telling us that when he counted back down to one to open our eyes.  I remember opening my eyes.  The first thing I did was realize that my eyes were all teary and watery and then, after blinking and actually wiping away a tear or two, I looked down at my watch.  It was close to eight thirty!
Forty five minutes had passed and yet, to me, it was a mere moments.

 I really don't know what happened during that forty five minutes!  It's forty five minutes of my life that I missed, so to speak.  But, what I can tell you is that when I left Conference Room #4 and got out to my daughter's little red Fiero, I thought I was going to puke from the stench of the stale cigarettes when I opened the car door.  What I can also tell you is that on that very chilly November  evening in Connecticut, I drove home with the window down because the smell was so nauseating.  

What I can also tell you is that when I got home, I took the pack of cigarettes out of my purse,  placed a label inside with the date on it and then placed them in one of the kitchen drawers.  What I can also tell you is that I haven't smoked a cigarette since and that this little "funny looking man" turned out to be 
A REAL CLASS ACT in my book.  He was a hypnotist from an organization based out of New York.


The date on that slip of paper, my friends, is "Nov 14."  The year was 1989.
It was the best $19.95 I've ever spent!


P.S.  There's a lesson here:  Don't judge a book by it's cover!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Real Class Act (Part 2)

So there he was...standing in front of the room.  I couldn't believe how he was dressed!  The slacks he wore were too short.  They were a pin-stripe.  They reminded me of a pair that my first husband had.  Actually, now that I think about it, they were from one of his suits.  Anyway, his socks were showing.  That's how short them were on him!  The upper part of his body really wasn't dressed to impress either.  The vest he wore was plaid...a loud plaid no less and he had it buttoned.  However, the vest was far too snug on him because it was popping between the buttons.  His shirt and tie were acceptable.  My thoughts ranged from what a looser to perhaps he's a comedian!  He's just the first act.

I was wrong...completely wrong.  Then he began to speak.  His diction, tone of voice and demeanor were good, I thought.  At least, he didn't sound like a knucklehead!  He began telling the crowd about smoking.  However, he didn't talk about the dangers nor the risk risks associated with it.  What he talked about was when we crave cigarettes.   You know...when you're on the phone, or your nervous or upset, anxious, sad, lonely, etc.  Then after about thirty minutes, he told us all to "take a break."  "Go smoke your last cigarette because after tonight, you'll either carry them in your purse with you for a while, or place them in a drawer, or just toss them out completely."  I thought "sure, OK."

Following the rest of the crowd, I headed out into the hall to hit the ladies room and light up.  Then I decided that this weirdo was not going to tell me when to have my last smoke.  So, I didn't light up after all.  We all went back into Conference Room #4.

to be continued...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chapter 26-My Life: A Real Class Act

Have you ever been hypnotized?  I was.

  This story takes place a long, long time ago.  It was when I smoked.  Yes.  I smoked.  I can't even bear the thought now, but I did and although I hate to admit it, I smoked for a long time.  I had tried on numerous occasions to give it up.  I always went back.  

I even went to a Doctor and paid $70.00 for him to take me into his office, shut off all the lights, making the room so very, very dark and then proceeded to "hypnotize" me.  Then miraculously, whenever I craved a cigarette, I was supposed to cross my fingers and say this line or two he dreamed up and the craving would go away.  Not!  It didn't last longer than one day!

Meanwhile, my daughter and son were bugging me to quit.  So, one evening as I was reading the paper, I add an advertisement.  The cost was $19.95.  I swear to goodness gracious...$19.95 and you had to show up at the Red Bull Inn Conference Room # 4 at 7pm on Monday night.  So, I decided I was going to go.

The following Monday, my car was in the shop for repairs.  I had to borrow my daughter's car.  At that time, she was driving a little red Fiero.  She was a smoker too.  So when I got in her car that evening, the stench of the stale cigarettes really didn't bother me at all.  The ashtray was full of them.  That smell was normal.  I left the condo, jumped on the highway and before I knew it, I pulled into the Red Bull parking lot.

The secretary in our department at work was going also.  She was attending the weight loss session.  So I saw Cyndi and we chatted a moment or two before she went her way and I went mine.  I headed into Conference Room #4.

I intentionally sat in a seat located right near the door.  I was afraid, to tell you the truth, that this was going to be one of those meetings that turned out to be a waste of time.  Of course, before taking your seat, you had to register and pay your $19.95.  So, I did just that and then went back to my seat.  Looking around the room at the rest of the people, I really had my doubts about sticking around.  But I did.
It was just about seven o'clock when he walked in.  I wanted to laugh right out loud, but just took a deep breath.  Don't tell me that this was the man that was giving the presentation, I thought.  

to be continued...


Friday, February 25, 2011

Let's Talk Turkey




I called up Mike the other day and asked if I could stop by.





















And while he picked up all the "poopie",




He told me to go and say "Hi"........




To all the animals he has over there




But when I saw this one, I couldn't help but stare!




I've never seen a Turkey so large




My goodness, he was as big as a barge!




"Sixty pounds," said Mike with his big old grin




For goodness sakes, it made me feel thin!




"He likes you, " said Mike, as the bird started to "talk"




"You see" he went on, "even got a John Wayne walk."




For you see, where he came from wasn't so great



And now Mike is talking about giving him a mate!


Yes, Mike took him in and gave him a new home




He didn't want the poor fellow to be all alone.




But before I knew it, it was time to say "bye"









I hopped in my car and just kept saying "Oh, my!"









P.S.  I'm heading over to Verde Farm  for Farm Friend Fridays.  See you there!

Recreational Vehicle

Red Writing Hood

We want you to imagine you've just had a fight with a friend, a co-worker, husband, significant other, child - you get the picture. You're mad. It's time for revenge.  What would you sell?  Write a humorous listing for eBay or Craig's List. Talk about the history of the items, why they must go.  Then come back and link up with us here Friday.  One last thing: Word limit is 600.

~~~~~~
" That's it!  I've had it!  Damn you!  I am sick and tired of your crap!  You son of a gun...everything is always about you!  It's what you want to do.  It's what you want to eat.  You want to think only about you, well then get your stuff and get out!"

And so it was.  He had gathered a few things, as I followed him around the house.  Then he left.  It really was easier than I thought it would be!  

  Now...yes now...I had to deal with all it.  The memories, the tears and his STUFF!   What in the world would I do with it?  Then suddenly it hit me.  I'll sell it!  I'll sell it all and make a few bucks, as he would say.  Might as well.

I began collecting what I thought would be the most salable items.  I unlocked the safes out in the garage and began recording all the information about the guns and rifles.  I thought about the ATV but then decided that I could use that.  So that thought exited my mind as fast as it had entered.  As I began taking inventory of all the tools in the garage, I knew I'd struck it rich!  Then, deciding to take a brake, I ventured outside and sat on the stoop of the shed thinking...just thinking. 

Then it hit me.  That monster of a lawn mower that he always got stuck in the creek would be the first thing to go!  I remember the time we had a few drinks in the middle of the day.  It was a Friday and I had met some of my friends at El Dorado.  I had my first Martguerita with them and it was delicious!  When I came home and told him, he couldn't wait to go make a pitcher for us.  We drank them in the hot summer sun and then, for some stupid reason, he decided to mow the three plus acres surrounding the house.  He jumped on that damn mower of his, like Roy Rogers jumped on Trigger, and away he rode...off into the setting sun.

Until I heard him calling for help.  There he was bracing that damn thing trying to prevent it from tipping over completely.  "Go get the ATV," he shouted angrily.  "And the chain.  It's in the back of my truck."
As he managed to upright the 61" mower, he said, "Hon, you sit on it and steer it while I pull it towards the house.  Two of the tires are flat and I'll have to put air in them."  I mounted the mower.  

He had attached the chain to the mower and then, of course, to the back of ATV.  Slowly he started down the steep hill.  I said, "what do I do if it passes you out?"  He gave me that look and assured me that that wouldn't happen.  Rounding the back of the barn, we had made it to the wider stretch in the yard where there were no obstacles.  I never realized how hard the mower would be to steer rolling along on rims, but it was!

Realizing that the mower was gaining momentum, I held on for dear life as my feet tried to maneuver the small "walk behind" dolly.  Before I knew it, the "walk behind" became a "run along."  My arms were tiring quickly from the span of the broad steering mechanism.  The next thing I knew I was passing him out!  As I went by, I shouted, "how do I stop it?"  He said very simply, in that arrogant tone he so frequently used "hit the brake."  

So, where's the brake you ask.  He never told me.  And I never found it.  Instead, I found the corner of the deck and the side of the house!  It was no big deal to him.  He mumbled something about patching and applying a little something or other...to the house, that is.  Oh, me?  All I got were a few scrapes and superficial bruises.  And him?  He got a big laugh.  He laughed for days about the whole incident!

Well mister...look who's laughing now?
The ad on eBay went like this:
                                                                                                                                      
Ride Off Into The Sunset On Your
61" Walk Behind Great Dane Commercial Grade Mower w/Riding/Running Dolly
Smooth ride with or without tires.  Wheel hubs slightly scratched.  Creek bed use.  Cruising speed equal to ATV.  Doubles as a recreational vehicle.  Call 306-235-2101.
                                                                                                                                        

And now for the hunting stuff.

~~~~~~

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Work, Work Work!!!!

This past Sunday, before I was distracted by my afternoon nap and the fire, I was a busy beaver!  After walking the mountain with the dogs, I came back to the house, and started some laundry.  (Don't laugh at my polartec jammies!  There are VERY warm & toasty!)  In between doing laundry, since we women can mulit task relatively easily, I decided to tear apart the master bedroom as well.  That meant taking down all the plants off the hangers as well as off the seat of the bay window, washing it down, etc., etc.  While the window seat mat was in the dryer, I went outside to tackle a project that I wanted to get out of the way before warmer weather hits the Hollow.  I try to keep the place picked up because in my mind, it reduces the number of hiding places for those crawly, slithery reptiles that I'm not fond of!

I wanted to pick up, move and toss some of the "junk" laying around.  I mean, after all, it's been here since we moved in.  That was eight years ago!  The Pres was in the house reading the paper in his chair when I began this, what I thought would be simple, task.



I really thought that dragging these old metal roofing sheets, that the previous owner and just thrown in the woods, would be easy to drag.  But they weren't.  They still had the roof nails so it was like dragging a rake through the ground.  I was able to get them down to the driveway, but then I had to go in and insist that the Pres come out and give me a hand!  Then, see those pipes to the left.  I found those in the woods too.  They're cast iron and were really heavy.  I had to drag them.  Yep, just last year, when "we" cleaned the yard, the Pres was supposed to take them to the dump.  Apparently, he decided it was just easier to toss them in the woods.  It was probably to keep the metal sheets company.  That's my guess!

(Wouldn't you agree, "wife of Sam?"  LOL!)

Oh well, just like Scarlet,"tomorrow is another day! I'll think about it tomorrow."
Or maybe not.



P.S.  Did I ever tell you that I want a Clark Gable to come and sweep me off my feet? 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hungry Hawk

The other morning, it was a little too chilly to walk so I was just hanging out in the yard with the dogs.  It was still early and even the sun hadn't been up for too long, when I saw something unusual.  It was Nature raw and real, right in my own backyard. 

First, I noticed a bird with short rounded wings flying out of the woods.  He landed on one of the wires that runs through the yard.  Once it landed, I was able to get a better look at it.  I think it was a Cooper's Hawk (on the left in the photo; Sharp Shinned on right).  As it turned and cocked it's head, it suddenly dove straight for the Blue Jay cackling away that was sitting on the corner of the 2" by 4".

That hawk was on that Jay so fast, I couldn't believe it!  It was like having the Discovery Channel right in my own yard!  I heard squawking, a shriek or two and saw feathers fly , then drop to the ground.  Then he was off, with his kill clutched tightly in his talons.  

These hawks are built for speed and maneuverability.  Unfortunately, they do prey on birds drawn to our feeders.  Apparently, we have at least one that has taken up residency here in the Hollow because I've been seeing bird feathers on a regular basis up near the barn.  And, I've watched something hovering in the woods across the field on more than one occasion.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Real Scare

On Wednesday morning, when the dogs and I were coming down the last hill right before our driveway, I heard the loud thrashing of dried leaves.  I turned quickly over my right shoulder to see what would be making that much noise in the dried leaves.  Copper and Moon heard it too.  They immediately spun around towards the slope of the ridge and went into protect mode.  Moon growled.  Copper's fur was standing up along his spine, tail motionless.  Looking up on the slope of the ridge, I saw something...something blackish barreling down the slope right toward us.  At first it was just a blur because it was almost chest high in dried leaves.  To tell you the truth, I thought bear.  However, as it got closer, I saw that it was nothing to fear.





It turned out to be one of my neighbor's German Shepherd.  She's been coming down to visit lately.  I think she's looking for companionship.  After all, they are a working breed and working keeps them satisfied.  If she were mine, I'd put her to work.  She is a beauty though, isn't she?







I put Moon and Copper inside the confines of the fence because Copper doesn't like her ...at all.  She is exceptionally timid and submissive and I don't want him intimidating her further.  Plus, I've had some experience with "fear biters" and that can be a little rough.

I stayed outside with her for a while, giving her a nice shoulder massage, talking to her.  Then when it was time for me to head in the house, she meandered up the ridge and vanished into the woods.

She'll be back to visit, I'm sure.


P.S.  Remember to stop at WVTreasures today for Angela's Show & Tail.  I'm linking up...:)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hot Off the Press

Yesterday, after working very hard in the yard and in the house, I was just waking up from a little nap, when the phone rang.  I bounced off the couch to answer it and it was our neighbor, Buddy.  He asked me what all the ruckus was down our way.  I didn't understand what he was talking about until he told me that a "couple of fire trucks headed down that way and I can see smoke from my house."  I needed to hear no more.  I went out on the deck and sure enough, I could smell smoke although I couldn't see any.

Then, not five minutes passed when the phone rang again.  This time it was Lisa (aka VARunner from Two Bears Farm), who is only a hop, skip and jump, so to speak, from me.  "OK, JP, what's going on down your way?  I've seen two cars head down that way and turn around and come back.  There's a car parked down near the end of my driveway and I smell smoke.  So, it's either Charles & Grace's or Richards.  And I know you always have the scoop, you what's going on?"  In a nutshell, I told her to stay put with the boys, keep her eyes peeled, that I was going to walk down that way and that I would call her back. 

 Well, while I was on the phone with Lisa, Joe got on the ATV and headed down the road.  So, when I got down there, this is what I saw.  As soon as I got down there, Joe headed for home.  I guess he'd had enough excitement.

Not me, though, I wanted an interview!  So I picked the fella in the navy sweatshirt and did my thing.


The fire was up at the top of this small ridge which was only about 850 feet straight up.  The Volunteer Fire Fighter told me they had a hard time getting the hose up there (being straight up).  Then he told me that the smallest truck holds 350 gallons; the middle size truck holds 750 gallons; the big truck holds 2500 gallons.  If they ran out of water, they would go to the pond down the road to refill.

"See, the problem, when you live out here," he said, "is that there's no place to get water.  It's hard top pump from a creek unless you can dam it up.  Down at your place, we'd be able to draw off your holding tank on the mountain, but that's not a lot for a structure fire.  And, 350 gallons will only dampen the edges of a small brush fire."

I also learned that a brush fire doubles in size in ten minutes.  Oh, and speaking of...this fire was at that
house.  If you 're not familiar with my neighbors, take a quick peek at :  The Neighborhood-aka-The Good The Bad The Ugly

Meanwhile, can you see this fellow in the woods?
He was helping to guide and hold the hose that was spraying up above.

Needless to say, Buddy and Lisa were right.  It was at their house.  According to the fireman, they were told by the boys, who live there, that they were in the woods cutting trees and one of them rolled and got away from them.  That's how the fire started.  Now there's a tall tale if ever I heard one!  I wonder what they were smokin'?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Drink Your Tea

I noticed a lot of new things happening here in the Hollow now that Spring is heading this way.  Oh, sure the Daffodils and the Tulips and other early bloomers are peeping up out of the ground.  And each day, after I walk, I take a little tour around the yard to see what's new and sometimes what's old too.  Old is good.  I like old just as much as new!

However, what this bit of news is about today, is something that should make us all smile.
One of my favorite birds is back in town so to speak!
Thanks to a good friend of mine who has gotten me into "birding," I am trying to learn, absorb and remember various birds, their characteristics and their calls.  My favorite, thus far, is the Rufous Sided Towhee.  No, I didn't not take this picture.  I borrowed it from Google...:)

Listen carefully when you are outdoors.  Listen to a bird that seems to be saying...DRINK YOUR TEA.  Honest to goodness, that's just what it sounds like!  You will generally find these birds at lower levels.  They are typically only a few feet off the ground and, as you can see, they are as handsome as ever.  Actually in person, they are even more striking!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Law A "biting" Citizen

Well, I guess I just have to tell you about another adventure I had just the other day.  I was coming home from the Y and, as always, I was munching away on a nice juicy Granny Smith apple.  They're my favorite!  They are just so juicy and tart that they really quench your thirst after a two hour workout.  Besides, they help fill me up and they are supposed to be good for you.

Anyway, I had just finished eating my apple and was about to toss the core out the window, as I crested the small hill near the railroad tracks.  Suddenly I saw two State Policemen waving their arms up over their heads for me to stop.  YIKES!  Thinking I was going to get a ticket for littering, I quickly moved my arm away from the open window and put the apple core in my lap. 

I came to a stop, and as the younger Officer approached my window, the other Officer just stood in front of my car.  He didn't look as pleasant as the one near my window.  So, I proceeded to get my "handy dandy important paper keeper" out of the glove box and as I started to hand him my registration and insurance, he said, "I just need to see your license.  We only want to look at what you don't have in your hand."

Although I didn't quite understand that, I figured, they're in charge.  So I pulled my wallet from my purse and as I began taking my license out, he said, "I can look at it like that."   It was in one of those clear window pockets.  Without thinking, I said, "OK sweetheart".  He handed it back to me and once again, I said, "thank you sweetheart."   

Then the light-bulb went off on in my head!  Holy Moosepoops...what am I thinking, calling an Officer sweetheart!  Then I said, "I'm sorry, I'm not supposed to call you sweetheart, am I?"  A big smile came across his very handsome face as he responded, "You can call me sweetheart anytime you want."

WoW!  I thought...I was stopped by the police!  I can't wait to call my kids and tell them.  This was the first time ever (at the age of "OLD").  I was excited!  I drove off and once I turned onto my road, I called and left voice messages on both Jennifer and Jason's cell phone.  Later that evening, they called me and laughed so hard.
"Mom, you were not STOPPED by the police.  It was a SPOT CHECK!" 

But just between us, deep down...I was still excited that I was one of the chosen ones...:)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring

 

Red Writing Hood - Found

Your assignment this week was to write about finding a lost article of clothing in the back of a drawer or closet. You were to let us know how the item was found, what it is, and why it's so meaningful to you or your character.  ~~~~~~

Feeling the sunshine on my face when I was outside today, I couldn't help but feel refreshed.  Spring is just around the corner, I thought.  Since all that fresh air and sunshine had rejuvenated me, I decided, once I came in, to tackle a little "spring cleaning"...specifically, my portion of the walk-in closet.

As I filled the heavy weight garbage bags with more and more, I felt good.  I mean, after all, Goodwill and the Salvation Army were always on the top of my list when it came to donating.  The third bag was designated for the womens shelter.  I filled it with the more "professional" articles of clothing, shoes and handbags.  Remembering back to the days when I could have used a hand, I knew that the women who would be able to use the shoes and clothes would find some comfort in them as they transitioned into a job and self-sufficiency.

Then, tucked way in the back on the end of the rack, I spotted something red.  It was smashed up against the wall.  What in the world? I thought.  Grabbing a hold of the hanger, I quickly brought it into view.  The leather collar was beginning to dry out.  The sleeves, still cuffed from the last time I wore it, draped at the sides.  It was my red barn jacket.

In an instant, emotions took over.  Sadness made me draw a deep breath and exhale slowly.  Then before I knew it, my eyes filled with tears.  Drawing another deep breath and swallowing hard, I remembered all too well why I'd placed my once favorite red jacket at the back of the closest.  It was to bury what was associated with it.

Once again, I relived the pain as the salty tears welled in my eyes and began streaming down my face.  My mind replayed that night as if it was just happening.  Grabbing a tissue and blowing my nose, I drew another long deep breath and remembered.

Once we were in the car, I played Beethoven's 5th Symphony.  It was our favorite.  Once inside, the receptionist took us in immediately.  The aid came and took her down the hall to insert the port, while I agonizingly waited in her room.  She returned as if nothing was any different, walking that jaunt that was unmistakably her.  The jaunt that was so full of life.

Then, the Doctor came in an said, "You may want to sit on the floor and cradle her in your arms."  She didn't have to say another word.  I took off my red barn jacket and spread it down on the floor.  "Kiera, down," I said.  My dog, as always, obeyed immediately and was now next to me..resting comfortably on the red barn jacket  Cradling her head in my arms, I tenderly kissed her on the forehead and said, "You be strong and brave.  Wait for me.  You nap now."

Kissing her again as she slowly drifted off to sleep, I tried to hold back the tears.  Her body went limp and I knew it was over as the doctor listened for her heartbeat.  She was gone.  Sobbing uncontrollably, I rose and almost immediately fell into the doctor's waiting arms.  Then she carefully lifted my German Short-haired Pointer's body, slid the jacket out from underneath her and handed it to me as we walked through the doorway.  "Are you going to be alright to drive home?" she asked.  Nodding, I put on my red barn jacket vowing that I would never wash or wear it again.  I haven't up until now.  It hung buried.

However, perhaps it's time.  To me, Spring means to begin anew.  Perhaps it is time to let go of the pain as well as the tears.  Yes.  It is time to wear my red jacket, to laugh and speak often of my dog, Kiera.  Yes, laugh and speak of her as if she were beside me. 

A Forever Valentine

Valentine & her Mom, Mini Pearl


I know, I know...Valentines Day is past.  But this little Valentine is here to stay and doing just fine!  Mike sent me this picture of Mom and her little one. 

Now you didn't hear this from me....but...as the story goes:  He did tell me that Chi, their Jacob's Sheep, who loves everyone and everything, kept on ramming little Valentine!  Can you imagine?!?!?  He moved Chi to a different pen.

I was thinking, maybe Chi knew the baby would get all the attention and was jealous.  Heck, that happens with people and dogs.  Why can't it happen with other animals?



I've got to go over for a visit as soon as I can!  It will be over the weekend, which is almost here!!  Until, I get to see that little fuzz muffin in person, I got this picture to tide me over. 



P.S.  Now today, I'm linking up with Amy at Verde Farm for  Farm Friend Friday!  Come on over...she'd love to have you stop by!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Let's Get It Over With...

Looking left upon entering
Well, even though I'm not proud of the mess, I decided that I would just invite you in to see the barn!  I mean, after all, you've been inside the house, so why not the barn.  Oh, and don't worry.  You don't have to take off your shoes or even wipe them off for that matter!

I will admit, however, that as I open the door, I ALWAYS ALWAYS have Moon and Copper with me.  You see, if there is anything in there, Copper will let me know!  Of all the dogs I have ever had, he is the most incorrigible! 

Looking straight upon entering

Looks to me like there's enough fencing here to do something with, don't you think?  I often wondered what the Pres is saving it for.  I also see some nice chicken wire in there.  I wonder what we're saving that for?

There's the tiller which will be coming out soon.

The stockade fence way in the back is for my American Flags that I make.  To learn how, click American Flag
Looking right upon entering


Then, last but not least...ta~da...the MESS!  It really looks  worse than it is.

One of the Pres' table saws and just a few of my flower pots and seed starter trays, hoops, stakes, etc.

But,I look at it this way...Spring will be coming soon, so the pots and starter trays will be put to good use after they're scrubbed and cleaned.  Then the mess will be less, right?

Right!  I knew you'd agree with me...:)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Good Morning!

After I had my coffee yesterday morning and took my shower, it was time to head outside and feed the dogs.  It would be a lovely walk to the top of the mountain this morning...hardly any wind and hovering right around 32.  Lately, Moon, Copper and I have been walking up past "our spot."  The additional distance is not that much farther and then we're at the County line.


It feels like Spring though since I'm hearing and seeing a lot more bird activity.   For instance, the dogs, sniffing the bunches of dried grass, disturbed a Bob White who flew out and startled me more than them!  Then, looking overhead while listening to a strange cackling sound, I saw a  Pileated Woodpecker take off from one of the dead trees and head deeper into the woods up the mountain.

We began our trek down and back to the Hollow.  I love that walk.  As I breathe in the fresh air, expanding my lungs more and more with each breath, energy fills me.  It's a wonderful feeling.

We got back to the house around 8:00am, and since I didn't want to go in (and wake the Pres), I decided to "putz" a little.  I began raking up some of the smaller branches and twigs that were blown down from the 50 mph winds we had the day before.  That's one thing about the Blue Ridge.  We get wind.

At first, I filled the wheel barrow.  Then, once that was the pile got bigger and bigger full I began to fill the trailer.  Finally, I had to stop because nothing else would fit in the trailer.  Unfortunately now it was time for me to go in and get the key to the ATV.  I cranked it up and hitching the trailer with the twigs and branches was not an easy task.  But, I managed.

Hopping on the ATV and putting it in first, I headed towards the gate.  I told the kids to "wait" as I drove the ATV and trailer through, dismounted and then went back to close the gate behind me.  I didn't want Moon and Copper running the ridge especially now that Sam is retired! 

I headed over to one of the burn piles and unloaded the debris.  Then, I headed back to the gate where the dogs were patiently waiting and then ran along side of the ATV as I pulled in through the gateway and around the shed and parked.

Good work, I thought as I headed in the house to eat breakfast and start the sheets...:)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New VisionThrough Old Eyes

It's time for another assignment.  It's their first memoir linkup. The assignment was: after you have died, your daughter/son will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have him/her see?



~~~~~~
Stand you not at my grave and weep
How could it be that you think I sleep?
There was no time when I was here
To take you through the untold years

But now that I'm gone you have a chance to see
What the most important and beautiful thing was to me
So take a few moments of your precious time
To look long and hard through these old eyes of mine

Now that you are fully grown
And living your life out on your own
There were so many things I wanted to say
But somehow "things" just got in the way

What matters most is how you feel
No use pretending...you need to be real
Things, my child, I want you to know
Things, my child, that will help you grow

There was so much that I had learned
If I'd just "let go" I would not have yearned
Why do we hide what we want to say?
It's always "things" that get in the way

Why do we wait so long to be ourselves?
Life passes us by as we sit on shelves
So don't make yourself ache so inside
Because it's the real you you're trying to hide

Take the real person down off that shelf
Be free...feel free...to be yourself!

PULLLEEEEZ WELCOME....

Valentine, a Mini Mule

Remember my friend, Mike, and his mom, Ellie?  I hope so, because this story is NOT about him!  (In case, you don't remember him, click here for a visit.)  You'll meet most of the critters they have.  I say most because he's gotten more that I'll be telling you about soon I'm sure!

Well...on Sunday Mike sent me an email and in it was this picture, taken this past Saturday, when Mike went outside to feed everyone. There was something new!  He just kept saying "Oh, my" over and over again!

Well, as the story goes, according to Mike, Texas Pete (a donkey) was had his you know what snipped last year.  Apparently, he "got to" Mini Pearl somewhere before, after, during...who knows.  The funny thing was, that Mike just thought Mini Pearl had gained some weight and didn't even realize she was expecting!  You go girl!!! Leave it to us women to keep our shapes even when we're pregnant! 

Meet Valentine!  She was born during the night on Friday and was just waiting with her mom, Mini Pearl, a Mini Horse.  Isn't she the cutest little Valentine you ever saw?

So, I guess I did get more than one Valentine after all...:)



P.S.  It's Tuesday and time to head on over to WV Treasures for
Angela's Show & Tail.  See you there...:)  I'm bringing this little Valentine with me!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Welcome

Knowing that she'll be arriving soon, I wanted to be sure that the "Welcome" sign looked it's best too.
Did I ever show you my "Welcome Sign"?  Way back in 1802, when I worked at "the bank" and was still in Connecticut, one of the tellers at one of my branches knew someone who made these "Welcome Kits."  I ordered one for my mother-in-law, one for my daughter, and one for myself.  It is as old as the hills, but isn't it the cutest thing ever?

As you can see there is a plaque for each month.  How appropriate that the "snowman" was for January!  The entire set is made out of wood with each plaque being carved and then hand painted.  Since it's February, that's what's on display once it goes back on the wall. 

So, with that said...HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to YOU 
and
Thanks for making my Valentines Day special for me too!!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

She's On Her Way

Looking out from the family room doors, I spotted something way out in the field up on the hill.  It was really difficult to see what it was.  Although I'm still not sure, I think it may have been a cat.  The "watch dogs" were napping.  It had been a busy morning.  It was still pretty early.  I wonder if if was a Bobcat.  We have them here...I'll have to keep my eyes peeled and camera close by.

After I had washed the master bathroom floors on my hands and knees and had given the entire bathroom an thorough cleaning, I headed outside.  Dressed in my winter jacket and boots (it was 24), I climbed over the perennial garden fence so I could wash the bay window on the front of the house.  I needed to be sure that I would see her arrive!  After all, when she pulls in my driveway, that window is the first thing you see, so I wanted it at least presentable.  While walking through the stubs of my plants, I noticed the daffodils peeping their heads up out of the ground as well as the Snow-bells and even quite a bit of growth emerging from the Sedum.  Just seeing life begin again gives me pleasure!



Then, I thought...Holy Moosepoops!  I'd better take down the snowman. So, he was the next task on my list.



So, it's official.  He's "all gone".  My snowman doesn't melt, as you can see.  Mine folds.  Oh, and if you remind me, I'll tell you how to make one.  It's a piece of cake...:)

P.S.  Now I've run on again and never got to tell you who's coming!  Oh well, next time perhaps...:)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Connectivity...a thing of the past.

I've had it! I'm done with Winter! Last week, because it was precipitating and very chilly, I, like many other decided to spend the day inside.  And so I was...quietly blogging away every now and then until I lost connectivity.

Here in the Hollow, there is no such thing as "cable." There is no such thing as "DSL." So, for both television and my computer, the source of connectivity is via satellite.  The dish for the television is mounted on the side of the house and the dish for my computer is mounted on a pole.  You see, they wouldn't mount on the metal roof.

The message appeared on the screen "NO link to server." Now anyone who has had anything to do with computers in any capacity knows that that is not a good message.  I had lost connectivity and for no apparent reason.  There was no ice or snow on the dish, which is easily within my reach to sweep it off if there was.  Yes, I've done that a few times.

So, a service call is in order.  Oh well...I'll have a lot of catching up to do.  Until then, I get to go to the library.  C'est la vie!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Welcome to the Barn

I love the barn that's here.  I've been told by many of the neighbors, that years ago, some of the folks that lived here, in this house, farmed the hills that surround us.  Of course, those hills are now filled with trees.

Around here, many land owners choose to have the property "timbered."  Apparently, it's a way to make money from your land.  If fact, over the weekend, when I saw my neighbor, Sam, he told me that he is now in the forest management since he retired.  What he's doing is removing the trees that are not "good" and replacing them with trees that are.  Smart guy, don't you think?

Anyway, back in the day, mules and even a horse or two used my barn.  Someday, I'll take you on a tour of the inside.  I love it!!

For today, here's a picture of the South side (where Moon is) and then, that's the West side (where that feeder is).

Did I ever tell you about that feeder???  Now there's a story...another adventure that I forgot about. 




Today, I'm heading over to Amy's at  Verde Farm  for Farm Friend Friday.  Please join me so we can enjoy the adventures that so many share!

Valentines Day

I got one Valentine this year.  It was from a little boy who lives down the road.  Sometimes his name is Diego.  Sometimes, it might be Buzz Light Year.  I call him Pierce.   He likes it when I come to visit as long as I don't stay too long or talk while he's watching TV.  He likes me to kiss him a lot and likes to sit on my lap and snuggle.

Then he politely asks tells me to go home....:)




I've linking up to Lisa's over at Two Bears Farm today for Memory Lane Fridays.  Come on by and visit.  Lisa would love it!

Catch the Dream




"Your assignment for this week's prompt is to write a piece that begins with the line, "I could never have imagined" and ends with the line, "Then the whole world shifted." We're going to stick with the 600-word limit this week."






 ~~~~~

 I could never have imagined that we would do this.  We'd talked about it once, maybe twice, but not in great detail.  It was one of the dreams that we both held close to our hearts.  It was one of those dreams that you kept to yourself and only shared with the right person. 

For so long we were separated by lives, careers and families.  Now we would make the journey that we so wanted.  We were meeting at the airport so we could board together.  I needed to catch my flight and would arrive mid-day.  He was meeting me at the airport, so we could catch the dream together.

It was June and I remember it well.   Although the ride to the airport seemed to take forever, it didn't.  I was there in no time and before I knew it, was boarding the plane.  I was excited.  Within me, my endorphins seemed to be playing a game of tag.  I tried to quiet them with my mind, but they didn't want to listen.

The time passed quickly on the plane as I reviewed the "Official State Vacation Guide" I'd received in the mail.  While I read, I continued to listen to the tunes on my iPod.  Thank goodness for music, I thought.    Somehow, it even made the food served on the plane taste good.  Or, was it the endorphinsThose silly endorphins!

Landing and deboarding was no different this time than any other.  As always, the baggage claim area seemed a tad chaotic but then again, people always seem to be in such a hurry.  Pushing through the crowd to get closer to the conveyor belt, they then waited and waited for their luggage to roll by them, becoming impatient with each passing moment.  I, however, was glad that I placed that special ribbon on my suitcase making it unmistakable and easily identifiable.  It was the ribbon that was on the box of chocolates I'd received in the mail from him earlier in the year. 

After removing my bag from the conveyor belt, I headed up the ramp, maneuvering it through the crowd.  He and I had arranged to meet at a designated location.  This was something new for both of us since we'd never really been away together, although in our minds and hearts, we'd been together for quite some time.  There he was, waiting...just as we discussed.  A smile came across his face and I saw the twinkle in his eyes.  His eyes always twinkled when he was happy.  He was as glad to see me as I was to see him.  We embraced and then, stepping back and looking him in the eye, I gave him a tug on his beard.  It was a simple gesture, one of affection and endearment.  It was something I'd always done.  He liked it.  It made him smile.  I liked making him smile.

As we headed to the exit located on the upper level, we passed one of the many eateries.  He suggested that we stop and grab a quick bite since supper was still a long way off.  We both talked excitedly about our expectations of the cruise.  "You know, these are not typical cruises with shuffleboard and swimming pools," he said.  I could tell that he'd  done his research.  "From what I've read, here the focus is on coastal scenery, Native cultures, Gold Rush history, Russian legacy, bald eagles and whales," he said smiling with widened eyes.  "Did you bring warmer clothes in case you get chilly?"  I smiled and nodded.  He always likes to take care of me, I thought.

We boarded the cruise ship and were brought to our cabin where we once again embraced.  We unpacked and then, walking hand in hand, went up on deck.  As we left port, we talked about discovering the wilderness, getting up close and personal with the glaciers, the wildlife and even the possibility of catching "gold fever."  Then the whole world shifted into low gear as we, Vladamir and Natasha, were together again, lost in time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Happened to Spring? (part 2)

Suddenly the stomach of the snake just burst open.  She was having her babies!  Baby Copperheads were wiggling and squiggling on the railroad tie, her stomach filled with them.  Frantically, Joe lifted the shovel from the spine of the mother and began slapping babies as fast as he could. 

I know this all sound so cruel and perhaps it was.  But it happened.  And, in the end, one...one baby slipped over the side of the beam and into the water below.  It was carried away, out of the yard.  I hope.

However, this is not how this story ends.  When Joe went to climb back up the bank, he stepped on a hole in the soft earth.  It was a yellow jackets nest.  Joe began to run as fast as he could across the open field and headed down towards where I was heading...to get the garden hose.  I thought if I doused him with cold water, his scent would be harder for them to follow!  He was not happy with me when I sprayed him.  Nope.
In fact, if I remember correctly, the words that came out of his mouth were NOT nice at all.  The good thing was that he only had a few stings.  So, that hot, humid lazy summer day in August turned out to be quite an adventure here in the Hollow. 

 ~~~
I've included a link that has some very interesting information for all of you nature lovers out there.  Remember to never reach under a rock or a tree limb without looking first.

http://www.lakesidenaturecenter.org/AC_Copperhead.html

"Life cycle of copperhead snakes

Copperheads are viviparous - their embryos develop inside the female body and she gives live birth to 3-10 young snakes during late summer or early fall. Young snakes measure 8-10 inches (20-26 cm). Young copperhead snakes resemble adults except for a more grayish coloration and a yellowish tip on their tails."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What Happend to Spring?


  It was so cold and windy here today that I thought I'd move ahead a few months.  It's August.   It's a hot, humid and very lazy afternoon with the sun shining brightly high in the sky.  

I was meandering around the yard with the dogs and suddenly I spotted it.  There, sunning itself on one of the railroad ties that crosses the creek, was a big fat snake.  A very long snake with a diamond shaped head and markings along it's body.  Now normally I would have just turned and walked the other way but I had been warned by my neighbors about Copperheads.  They could definitely do some damage when they bite.

Back then, I was still learning about the snakes that frequent Virginia, let alone the Hollow.  I certainly didn't want Copper to try and tangle with it so I called the dogs and we walked hurriedly back down to the house.  They had been sniffing around the barn and hadn't even spotted it yet which was a good thing.

I knocked on the family room glass doors and signaled Joe to come outside.  I told him what I had seen and he grabbed one of the shovels.  Heading up along the the creek, he was on one side while I walked the other.  I had put the dogs in the house.  On the way up, I told him that I thought it was a Copperhead.

Joe spotted the snake and nodded.  My suspicions were right.  He decided to approach it from the rear since I was on the opposite side of the creek, distracting it.  He did not want to place his foot on the railroad tie that crosses the creek.  That would startle the snake.   So instead, he stepped down onto the bank of the creek approaching from that angle.  Slowly he raised the shovel with his arms then thrust them downward and the spade hit the snake along it's spine.  It wriggled, writhed and squirmed.

What happened next was something that neither one of us expected.

to be continued...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Going to THE DOGS

 Please join me and so many, many others who are committed to helping to save these lives.


http://www.facebook.com/l/b10caMv38JiHqSaPs5AaIHHaxgw;www.youtube.com/watch?v=74huOE1acJE

"Will Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennel be transformed into the  Good Newz
Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs?  Dog nonprofit has 45-day
contract on property,  taking vote to the public to raise funds for
center  Tipton, PA -- February 4, 2011 -- Dogs Deserve Better"

Squatter's Rights

Friendly & Felice

About two years ago, Joe and I were in his truck with Moon and Copper in the back seat.  As we headed down the gravel road and rounded the corner, not only was the pavement ahead of us, I saw something up further rounding the next bend. "It looked like the rear end of a horse," I said to Joe.

Sure enough, we got up around the bend and there she was!  It was Chrissy, one of the donkeys that belongs to the preacher and his wife.

Chrissy had a bad habit.  She would always get out and go wandering whenever she wanted some male companionship, if you know what I mean.  As we approached her, I told Joe not to scare her with the truck.  He has a diesel and the motors are very loud so I asked him to pull over and shut off the truck while I went after her on foot.  I told him to keep Moon and Copper in the truck.  Instructions received and understood. 

I walked up to Chrissy, grabbed hold of her head and then I thought, this is going to be interesting because she's not wearing a halter!  As I walked along side of her heading back toward the truck, Moon decided to be her protective self and in the blink of an eye, jumped out of the open window and began barking incessantly at Chrissy.  I'm sure she was trying to protect me...my Mountain Moon.  However, all that did was cause Chrissy to turn and trot off in the direction that we just came from...back up the hill! 

I remembered I had a dog leash in the truck so I grabbed it from the door pocket and once again pursued Chrissy.  No, I don't have a picture!  However, picture me, wearing flip flops, walking a donkey with the dog leash wrapped around her neck down the road~ho hum and la dee da.  Yep...life in the Hollow...:)

Felice, Friendly, Chrissy, Harold (the hunk)

This photo was taken last May when my friends from the Netherlands came to visit.  It will give you an idea though of how sweet they all are.  Of course, in this photo you'll see Harold (far right).  Since Harold is around, Chrissy doesn't "go looking" if you know what I mean.  And she shares Harold with Friendly, the other female.  He's the proud father of both of the little ones in the picture.  Oh, and me...I just like to go visit.  I refer to this as "squatters rights"?


Head on over to Angela's at WV Ttreasures for her Tuesday's Show & Tail!  I have my schedule all messed up this week so I'm heading there now...better late than never!

Monday, February 7, 2011

No Pain No Gain

You all know I go to the Y on a regular basis.  My original intentions, when I decided to join, were to use the pool in an attempt to soothe my arthritis.  However (there always seems to be a however), after you become a member of the Y, they automatically give you an orientation.  That includes a tour of the facilities and detailed instructions on how to use the various equipment to avoid injury.

I remember my first day there.  I was a nervous wreck.  You see, after injuring my back years ago and going for PT, I was released with specific instructions not to lift anything over 1 1/2lbs.  It was awful!  Well that meant that I couldn't even lift a gallon of milk unless I used two hands and held it against my body for additional support, which really, when you think about it, was pathetic.

Somehow I made it through orientation insisting to the trainer, who is now one of my best friends by the way, that I could not do half of the resistance of machines.  She pushed me to at least try.  So I did.  Now after working out on a pretty consistent basis, I feel the best I've felt in years.  I have lost inches, gained muscle and of course, strength.  I still haven't been in the pool though.  Why?  I found out that by building muscle around the arthritic joints, the pressure is taken away from those joints. YEAH!!!  Furthermore, I stopped taking my arthritis medication right after I joined because I also discovered that the increased blood flow really helped alleviate the pain.


So, in addition to personal satisfaction about improving my overall health, what is my reward?  I decided to treat myself to a pair of new sneakers.  These, which were recommended by my friend, neighbor, blogging guru Lisa, will help me continue to do my thirty minute cardio workouts at the gym.  Now if I can stand getting them dirty, I might use them for walking the gravel road.  No, scratch that thought.  I think I stick to my hiking boots.  After all, they're already dirty!



Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mountain Fed

I know, somewhere along the line, I told you that the house here in the Hollow was fed by mountain springs.  Well, it was until we had a well put in.  That was in the Spring of 2009.


Prior to that, the water into the house followed a very interesting path.  Last weekend, it was in the 50's here so I went exploring with who else but the wonder dogs.  Here's how the water system used to work.

This picture is simply heading up the ridge on the North side of the house.

 

Ahh...yes.  This is where I turned around and what you can see in the distance is the house.  It's a nice steep walk.  It helps if you stay focused on the ground in front of you not the land up above you.


See...we're getting closer because you can see the top of the ridge.  I only do this walk when it is NOT hunting season and when there's no chance of snakes and yellow jackets.  That reminds me...wait 'til I tell you THAT story!!!

The mountain spring flows into this black pipe with the cover on it.  The pipe runs underground for about 50 feet where it connects to the holding tank.

The tank itself holds 350 gallons.  There's an overflow, a drain and a sediment trap (yep...on more than one occasion when I complained about the water pressure, there was a Blue Dodger stuck in there!)


Then the rest is gravy.  I should say gravity....right down the mountain side underground feeding the entire house.  Then, of course, we had a "black light" system in the house that purified any and all water.  I could never understand why they called it a black light when in fact the actual light was blue.


And, speaking of blue, here's a picture taken from the holding tank looking down towards the house and barn.  As you can see, it was a beautiful sunny day.  (I apologize for the glare in these last few shots.)



Here we are, back at the gate located above the Spring House roof because of the hillside that surrounds it.

Glenda, was it you that asked me if there is still a spring there?
Yes, there is.  However, it was piped before we bought the place.

The well was put in for practical purposes.  There had been a few years here where our area experienced a drought.  And, although we never ran out of water, I'd rather know that I won't.  I'm one of those.  Actually, the well water is more pure...has less bacteria.  Springs bubble up from the ground and then mixes with all sorts of impurities from the surface.  Well water originates from the aquifer.

P.S.  If ever the well failed, the gravity fed spring water could, in fact, be reconnected.  Of course, the "black light" ,which is really blue, would have to be reconnected.  You see, I'm also one of those.  I believe in back-ups.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Another One???

Another phone book?  Does anyone out there "in the rest of the world" get phone book after phone delivered to their house? Seriously, I went to the old desk where the phone books are kept.  There are presently eight and they are all for the current year! 


Well, this afternoon, I went outside to play with Moon and Copper just like always.  While I was throwing a stick for Copper, I noticed an orange bag hanging off the paper holder next tot he mailbox.  I thought, good gravy!  Not another phone book!  The kids and I continued to play then, after filling the bird feeders, I walked down the driveway and crossed the road, muttering under my breath about phone books.

But then, something struck me as odd.  As I got closer, I thought that's not another phone book bag.  Oh my goodness, I thought, I forgot to go to Lisa's this week and pick up her stash of magazines that she sets aside for me!  I'll give her a jingle when I get in the house to thank her.

So, I set the bag aside in my office where my PC is and began blogging because I am behind.   Perhaps I should say that I sat on my behind and began blogging.  To tell you the truth, I didn't even look at the bag until it was almost supper time.  Then I brought it out to the table.  Well, to my surprise, this is what was inside:

PRESENTS....I love presents!




There was a big stack of magazines for me to look at.  There was a brand new Tee-shirt, which I'll wear walking the road and to the Y.  There was the bag itself which is so cool.  But best of all, Lisa over at Two Bears Farm left me her personal signautre...her calling card, if you will...she left me a snack...
a "Homemade Clark Candy Bar."

P.S.  It was delicious too!!!  I ate the whole thing...:)
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