Merry And Bright

I cannot complain of the holiday. I was gifted beyond any sort of reasonableness and had so many delicious treats from friends that I have been forced to freeze a few batches.

Sarge received many grilling tools and accoutrement for the Egg. And the one item that he really has enjoyed – the Fitbit Surge. Another big dollar item, it was an impetus to get him back on track, so to speak. And having seen it I am tempted to have one of my own. In truth, it works! He has been quite diligent and I hope to see it pay off in short order.

As for me, a fine young man spent much of the month at his forge, making his gifts. I was greeted with the most amazing tool – a J Hook for beekeeping – one uses the hook to lift a bar/frame heavy with comb and honey free from its main body and the round, beveled end a handy design to scrape bee mess from the hive. Once it meets a test run, and my approval he will blacken it up again and put the beeswax on it to protect the metal. Can you even believe it?! What an amazing gift!! (And yes, the little twist in it gives me deep delight.)

Bee_J_Hook

I was also gifted a few other bee things! Essentially all the goods one needs to manage a hive aside from the coveralls which I shall order presently. The smoker was just gorgeous and the gloves just right. There is new construction down the street with leftover bricks (actually large stones) and I may just try to translate the request into the vernacular and get the approval of whichever artiste of home building is on-site. As it turns out, a good friend was also gifted with the same hive and gear so I alerted him to the stone – perhaps he can get the okay for the both of us – it would make the perfect ground for the hive – one wants no grass or muck underneath to deal with. And there is a woodworker down the street who may be able to build the roof it needs as well as the proper legs. I am terribly eager to start and terrified at the first brood.

Had a heck of a time today with one of the critters – she decided to pester me the entire day which means there is something off – she is quite smart and usually calm. At any rate, her time outside was brief and, when I went to retrieve her, she pulled out this new trick. K_Not_Coming_In

Mind you, if it had been over 50 degrees I might have played along. But it was brisk and she could get her butt back in. This, after dealing with the other monster finding a deer leg and thinking it just the thing to bite and roll around in – and it was not fresh. Usually obedient, something in his brain kicked over and he was not having any part of my denial of this pleasure. He would drop it but then snatch it as I neared and run off with it dangling from his maw. Over and over until the gravel hit my voice and doom, too. Yes, seriously, drop it and halt. I stood on the nasty thing and leashed him up, taking him away from it. When we were far enough away I let him off leash again – he ran off as though indicating he could no longer bear to live with me. He slowed a few yards away but I got the message. All the way home he was snotty about it…lingering looks back, a snorting toss of his head against the collar.

Today I spent much of the afternoon with the seed catalog, remembering when I spent rather a lot of time in creating a space…I don’t dare to dig up the photos of the rose garden and gazebo or the falls with a weeping evergreen over it…no, suffice to say the damned thing was amazing. Oh, the Japanese maples are there…wahhh!!! 028_28

Since we’re looking for a new place (Yes, yes, 4 acres or more and little care for the house as long as it is Away from people) I am not sure if I ought to get started here or not. But there is a month yet. And then the peas simply must go in! If you’ve never had fresh peas you cannot understand the urgency.

Well, Sarge is asleep already and I ought to be but lately my schedule has been quite lazy. Retirement has been good for me, I think. So much more calm and kind. But a restlessness is sprouting and I think gardening is the answer! Doesn’t hurt that you can eat what you make, no? And I’ll take that aid to the budget, thank you. I hope that the holiday brought you peace if not pleasure and plunder. I am not a Christmas gal, in truth – no decorating or goo gaws. But I do love the carols…

L Xmas w Doll

He Earned It

The other day we were shopping for s basic flat screen TV for our goddaughter…nothing fancy but something she can use to waste time as she waits for word on her beloved (in USAF basic just now). I was looking for options and thought I was speaking to my husband only to find that I was talking to myself – he was missing.

Well, he was actually just snared in the glowing trap of the modern machine. We spoke and decided that maybe we could upgrade our older TV and give that to her…a concept that he liked. And so we walked out with this. Over the top? Yep. Ridiculous purchase? Yep. Something we both enjoy? Yep. And, as the title says – he earned it. For the months of enduring my bad moods, unimaginative menu, and general ill will…

In truth, I figure it is time to get what one wants while the cash has some value. Next up, I hope, is a new place to live. Right now the prices are pretty stupid. Texas real estate is being bought up by Cali runaways with tons of cash to spend. Eventually, they will come to an end and the prices will be reasonable. Too, it depends on if Sarge changes locale.

There has been a lot of hooey going on in that department and it has been a strain but he is managing it like a gentleman, doing the job with as much honor as he can. He has a great plan in the works, though, and we’ll see how that works out. At any rate, you have to live within 30 air miles of the role so that really limits options in this part of the world.

I have found my days quite full without work! Plenty of time for the basic errands, that forgotten grocery item…and the shopping for the holiday without the weekend crowds. I’ve also fought with the dog over her skin irritation…finally resorted to a bath and cortisone-like ointment along with a major diet change to rice and salmon. She didn’t mind the menu. The bath, on the other hand…well, at least it has worked! Her fur is coming back in nicely.

It’s a strange thing, this life of slow pace and quiet pleasures…now, if I could just get a few more of these big chores completed…

 

…and the creek don’t rise…

This is a post I started a month ago and never quite finished…but it is an easy throw for now…something to keep this place looking lived in.

There was a decent warning of the rains but the prediction was for this evening. I was thankful to get the early morning text from my brother, warning of tornadic activity south of us. I knew the dog walk was critical so I rushed to dress and saw the rain pouring down. The Marmot rain suit came back out of the winter storage – I love the full leg zippers for easy on/off over boots.

And the boots – my husband indicated that there was a milspec option for galoshes so we hunted a few pairs down at the local Army/Navy type place. They appear to be an older style of chem overboot but you get the idea. You pull them on over your shoes/boots and stomp out the door. Utterly waterproof, mudproof, and I suppose somewhat snake-proof if you were quick and careful.

Overboot

They have been one of the best purchases ever! I’ve been able to tromp out in the early morning without getting irritated nor ruining my good boots. Today they were particularly handy.

I could see that I was not going to get the dogs to their usual pasture – a verdant, hilly acre that flows into a “bottoms” area with pecan trees and wild weeds – was not going to happen. So it was a quick spin around the park, home just as the lightning approached. A bit later in the morning when the major cells passed I took a quick peek outside. Well…it was quite changed.

highwaterpark2

You can see the amount of rain that was flowing into the area. Those pecan tree branches are about 6-8 feet off the ground. It took perhaps 3 hours to fill. I revisited it for the evening walk and the water had already subsided except for the far end of that photo. I suspect this was due to the rather dry summer – the water had a place to go.  Amusingly, there was a tideline of the skins of the Chinese Lantern plants that were wild tangles under that water…the tangles are now trod down so that you can see the terrain they were hiding.Chinese_Lantern

I will have to take the time to upload the most amazing video I took the other day…this place – this small piece of land – has given me many delights this year. The small things matter more, now. This quiet before the storm. I try to take time to appreciate it. It may not be as easy in the future. Oh, gloom and doom, I know. But I prefer to be a pessimist and unsurprised. Always have been…which is why I married an optimist. One of the best decisions I ever made.

 

Transitioning

I would apologize for the lack of updates but life has been so damned busy that this place was not top of mind – at all. But perhaps now that can change.

I have officially left my employer. You could call it Retirement except that I expect to stay quite busy. I’ve many classes I wish to take at the community college (can you say Welding?) as well as a garden to put in for overwintering and planning for spring. And the cleaning…dear me, the house has got to be put to rights and it will take me months. But now I will have the time.

I woke this morning and dressed to walk the dogs, unrushed…we strode across the frosted terrain, breath clouding the air…and home again I took off the gear. For a moment, just a second, I thought, “Need to hurry up and get logged in…” and then a startled instant of recognition that the albatross of 15 years was gone. Over. Done.

I smiled and went to the kitchen to feed the dogs and make some fresh squeezed juice for the two of us…I packed his lunch, poured his coffee…and none of it with that frantic irritation of the past. I was making mental notes of things that need to be cleaned up as my eyes passed over them. And I tried to decide what I wanted to do on this first day of freedom. I have worked full time since I was 16. Aside from taking a year off during trial and travail in my 30’s, I have always had a job – and, frankly, only two employers. I do not know how to not work…but I’m going to my best to learn!

Over the last month (I was supposed to leave November 3rd) I have taken Bee Classmany vacation days, letting go incrementally. I even took a bee keeping class which was AMAZING.

Recently, I celebrated my birthday and received the very kind gift of a top bar hive! I was in tears at the kindness. So I will also be arranging an area near the back of the yard with some rock to allow the mowers to skirt past it. I admit it is tempting to put it at a friend’s property where there is much more terrain. But it is a small hive and it might be fine. It is much less intensive than the usual boxy type. Frankly, it is late to be ordering a hive, anyway, for spring. I may just make it a nice, tempting home and see if a swarm will decide to live there. In spring they tend to do that – sort of split off and head out. We’ll see.

Which leaves me with today’s task – an inventory of the freezer, rearranging of same, and making room for the venison I have to pick up later today. There may not be enough room, frankly! Which means it may just be time to get that mondo fridge I am dreaming of…(insert angelic singing).

I found this gal’s printable for organizing to be very complete as well as helpful to forecast budgets. Her goal setting intentional life offering is also quite nice. Admittedly, it may be a bit “girly”, but I found both helpful. I know that most people prefer spreadsheets and electronic versions but I am a visual person – I like to see things on calendars, lists, and have them in-hand. Maybe one day I will get the full Adobe, and turn them into editable formats but for now I really do like taking time with the binders and starting this new, better planned life.

I really ought to note how kind it has been of Sarge to support me in this change to our lives. He has been an amazing support as my stress mounted. When I finally made the decision he was happy for me, willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. This has always reminded me of him…from minute 3…such a honorable man. I do not deserve him.