R and R

What a whirlwind the month has been! I can hardly remember Thanksgiving and fret about how little gifting I managed but in the end, with the kind reminder of a friend, I surrendered all such concerns and just let it all unfold. Between her admonition that no one will notice anything left undone and the following sentiment from Susan Branch I was left with a calm and peaceful heart.

“It’s not what’s on the plates that counts, it’s what’s on the chairs. Your friends and family. A party is a gift you give the ones you love.”

Sarge drove home for the funeral, managing all those details with an amazing professionalism. He had such a burden to bear but he did it all. I am sure some people were wondering why I was not there but a party had to be managed…he drove home, arriving the evening before the party.

We hosted a baby shower luncheon on Christmas Eve, amazed by how many people attended. It was a nonstop day and, come evening, I collapsed on the sofa, ignorant of anything going on around me. Christmas morning was slow and quiet, neither of us wishing to be pressed for time. Too, it was the first one in which he would not – could not – call his mother and give her a Merry Christmas. That realization hit hard as his feet his the floor. I remember it well and, frankly, it is a disappointment that rears its head every High Holy.

So we took our time, putting off the dinner obligation as long as we could, just enjoying each other’s company. It was yesterday that I offered the idea of taking a vacation over Christmas, avoiding all the planning and drama by merely not being there! He added on the idea of our gifting each other a mutual item, perhaps something for the house or garden. I think we have hit on the perfect solution and Christmas 2017 will find us in Wyoming. How wonderful to just let it all go with a smile and a wave. Yes, I think I could manage that quite well.

I hope your own holidays were as calm and bright as possible.




A Soul Wends West

This evening the winds from the north are howling around the house and the temperature has dropped 30 degrees in as many minutes. It is apt weather for the evening as it is one of mourning.

I have always been a fan of Avalon, that mystic place in the indefinable “west” of the world. Sarge’s mother has passed this night and her soul must be riding the wind with speed toward her new home. All afternoon we saw hawks and I knew the message sent – his Cherokee elder told him it was his spirit animal and so it has been. They were coming to take her with them and someday we will all be together again. But for now he mourns the loss as well as the dark feeling that comes of being the last of the line.

There is a sense of failure in me for that – we didn’t intend to have children right up until the day we knew we never could. And now I feel it turn deeper in me, that coiling sadness of Fate. He carries that soldierly stoicism for now, knowing the amount of details he must command in the coming days. But in a small place he is that child, lost and alone, weeping for himself. And it is well. It is right.

There was a mercy in how she did this – not letting on how ill she was until the very last so that he could visit and annotate all her wishes. This, a lesson for us all – be kind to those who must care for your final business. Have all your own wishes and details clearly delineated so that no one need wonder what to do or who to call.

How bright she will gleam now that the exhausted flesh may fall. She raised such a man…such an amazing man. I shall owe her all my days.


A Different Point of View

Alas, the problem with country life…no trick or treaters to decorate for. I have always been a `weener – the very decorated house, the best candy and the costume in which to greet the children at the door. Now, no need for all that. And I do miss it. Had life been more amenable I would have held a party for friends – I’ll have to remember that for next year.

It has been a rather hectic few days as Sarge transferred and is back in the saddle, so to speak. The late night calls, the wreck reports, all of it. We dressed his office with some photos and books as it was a bit sterile. Now it reflects his personality. We still have to set up the “I Love Me” wall of framed certificates but next weekend will see that done. No matter – I haven’t seen him this happy in a few years. What a burden has been lifted from him. And me, in truth, as I don’t have to walk on eggshells. Not that he brought more than a very small percentage of that irritation home but I never wanted to add to it and it was sweater_sleevesometimes hard not to…instead, I decided to take up the sweater I started ages ago and finish it for the new house and the work to come this winter. A simple one, really, with a hefty wool body and chunkier cuff and collar – something to toss on over a tshirt and need no coat in the way – a generous warmth and slight waterproof layer. I think he will like its friendly, casual style. Just a bit more work and it will be ready in time for the first real chill.

It was a great day, really, though we’re both exhausted by it now. A lot of yard work, repairs on equipment, poop brigade (the never ending chore with two large dogs), and pecan retrieval. The day started quite early, I’ve been a bit sickly with allergies or crud so sleep was nominal until at 6am the cat demanded food and exit, in that order. I lay back, waiting on the sound of the coffee brewing, then fetched the first cup as he slept. I let him sleep as long as he wanted. The dogs and I enjoyed the muffled morning.foggyfield

What an incredible thing…especially for a city girl. If anyone had told me in my youth that I could and would have this I would have laughed in their face. Then taken their lunch money. Seriously, it is the epitome of bucolic! Just ridiculously wonderful. The only thing that would improve its situation is to surround it with another 50 acres and a forest. I find myself – as does Sarge – just looking out the windows in distraction and appreciation. One works very hard all their life and never hopes for such  pleasure. At least no one from our families.barbedwire2

Each morning I take a sample of the life here as if it were temporary, a way to save each barbedwire1season. Soon enough the winter ice, then the thaw and green of spring and again the light across the land will be familiar.

It is the thing I like most – not only in new places but anywhere, really, how the light moves on the land, the features…the tint it lends the air…here, in autumn, the best sunset view. There, in spring, you can see a delicate violet and rose shade  in the morning sky.

The best part of letting the land speak for a year is that you know what view you really ought not obscure, what tree is worth nursing another year, and how much you hate that pencil cactus in the front bar ditch.

I’ve been keeping a calendar of the land to remind myself of those tasks that must be done as the wheel turns. It is too easy to forget, to get caught up in life and find yourself in May with no peas growing, no morning glories ready to climb the fence. I fully intend to plant a lovely short thyme under the pecan tree at the porch. Far too difficult to see them in the leaf litter and dirt. But there is much work to be done for the gardener in me. I’d given up that craft after I lost the garden of my dreams. I swore I would never invest that much love again in a temporary place but now…now I can let go that concern and focus again on the light – how long it sits and where.

Just now I am dreaming of the revised front walk and a proper semi-circular driveway to greet guests. Nothing too fancy, mind you. painted_skyJust some gravel and stones with maybe some rose hedges. But it lacks a proper walk and that approach really should be one that shows how happy we are here.

But I’ve another plan, first. A proper swing with this view, as it never changes and yet is never the same. Reliable and surprising each night. A place to hold hands and pet dog heads for years and years. Yes, a priority, that.




Misty Morning Thoughts

Sarge is off to his part time which meant a very early wake-up and sausage wrap prep for his breakfast on the go, the large Thermos filled with superior coffee. I packed his lunch with the usual care, trying to make it feel as if my love was packed along side the sandwich and slaw. I smiled as I hid the cookies in the bento container, a nice surprise for later in the day.

It rained (finally!) last night which meant the dawn light was heavily filtered with the thick mist rising from the pastures. misty_morningEven the daily donkey greeting was muffled, the roosters offering only a few greetings in response. I could imagine their feathers damped down, a tired shake to free them of the dew and the half hearted retort offered before settling back down in the hope of sunshine later.

I’ve been watching the same three crows snatching the pecans from the ground, not willing to chase them off their feast. We had friends over early in the week to harvest as much as we could from the wind-fall, knocking the nearly falling nuts from their husks in the limbs to save them from those ravaging birds. It was such a pecan_bucketgenerous harvest that we each walked away with a 5 gallon bucket of nuts, that in addition to the bucket I’d already gathered in the week prior. My favorite tree has such lovely sable colored shells, tiger striped with dark veins. So much brighter than the other trees’ supply which has the usual dusky, dusty grey coloring. And the size of these things – a top quality appearance that looks divine on top of a rich cookie.

range_daySarge has been fighting the system for some time, without result, and finally had to escalate his concerns. It was not a “fix this for me” conversation. Rather, it was a request for guidance for his future and a reassurance that he hadn’t made the wrong decision coming to Texas. It may have been the best career decision yet, the conversation very sincere and helpful with a referral to a health program in trial for the department. “I have plans for you…” was the sentiment offered, a compliment of high value. So we’ve both been making a concerted effort to edit our menus and regimen to aid that program. I have seen such an incredible change in his attitude in just a week…from one of utter doubt and disappointment to one of hope and challenge. It can be very difficult to be supportive in those times of despair – nothing you say will help, really, and the retort of “you don’t know how it is…” can be hard to argue against. I am usually a very good at managing his stress but this had me at my wits end. I could not help him see his way through it, I could only try to keep his home life as calm and welcoming as possible. I admit it was sometimes hard to not offer my own biting words, offering to return to work if it would help his stress level. I know being the sole income is an incredible burden. I made the offer with trepidation – because if he asked me to I would do it. But he wanted to try…to push through if he could. And now it seems he has managed to do just that.

Meanwhile, the kids came for a visit when he managed to get a pass from the Air Force. I cannot tell you how glad we were to visit with them and to be the first to know the gender of the coming wee one. They wanted to hold a gender reveal party at the house for the families so we had to know in order to do a proper reveal. We’d hoped to do something quite impressive in the kaboom-y sort of way. However, our original attempts were more of Pffts and our EOD pal was on vacation. We don’t have a proper backstop to allow the usual target and Tannerite method.

That was when I recalled my aged collection of model rockets and engines and told Sarge it might work if we could get the chalk inserted as a payload somehow. This led to a couple days of test runs and madly running around the yard to swipe up the evidence of the attempts. baby_reveal_go_blueFinally, he had the best payload method and engine combination. While certainly not the explosive result I am sure the kids had hoped for, it was the best we could do…what was really sad was Sarge had taken a less lethal class all week and they had the most gloriously blue smoke grenade…but only the one. So just an FYI for anyone considering reveal options in the future one of those would be superb.

We gathered everyone under the guise of a casual meal and a sunset family photo op, surprising them all with the gender reveal event. Amusingly but strangely, Ranger absolutely demanded to be in the photo. He would not be shooed away and promptly sat down at my feet, turning to the camera. Everyone laughed, of course, but it did give me a small frisson of sadness. ranger_reveal

Did he know something? Feel his own age creeping up and knowing to take advantage of the photo op? Or just his natural ham coming out? I was a bit irked to see later that my own appearance was sub-optimal. I could have changed, brushed my hair, etc. But I was so busy with all the food, wrangling rockets, etc. that I simply forgot about myself.

I’d hoped to decorate and make it truly special but it simply couldn’t be done. I still feel rather sad and responsible for it being lackluster for the kids but in the end the casual nature led to a really calm and enjoyable evening. As night fell, everyone sat in groups, chatting and sharing the attention of the kids who had been missed so much. Everyone remarked on the wonderful vibe the house has and I have to agree – there is something so serene about this land… At any rate, I hope to make up for the low key event with a Christmas baby shower covered in decorations, games, and brisket.

The kids managed to make up for the make-do photo event with their own trip to a fall festival – just look at this picture, one of several that were just perfect.wee_pumpkin It is so sweet – she has been practically bedridden with morning sickness and this trip and the entertaining of company was, I think, a difficult undertaking for her. But she pressed on, not only for her own family but for his – knowing how much he matters to them and how pleased they are with the news. I just hope she has managed to get some rest. He returns to his life as usual on the base, studying for the next set of tests. He has done SO WELL thus far and is happy with his path. They do worry about the future assignment and its rather small base and housing option. But one never knows what the future will bring. They are open to whatever the future brings – a characteristic that will take them far in the military life.

Allow me to share this usual morning view…I cannot help but revel in its bucolic peace with the sliver of moon lending charm…no matter what else happens, this place is where we were meant to be. This is what we were meant to have. Fate smiling like that moon while concealing the other secrets.

The Nose On Your Face

I find it quite odd that people cannot see the Republican (cough, sputter Progressive, cough) candidate for who and what he is. Maybe it is my misbegotten youth but I know a long con when I see one and that is all this has been for him. trump-the-carnival-barkerI think he is astounded that no matter what comes to light, what he says, or what he does the public still adores him. He cannot get fired from the job that he never intended to take! His entire plan is to garner brand recognition in new demographics, begin a new media business, and set up his kids for future political roles (the pinnacle of long cons). His aspirations are transparent, his moves predictable. My only hope is that Texas chooses to walk away for a few years as this internecine battle wages on.

I readily admit that few associates and friends agree with me – a thing that astounds me, frankly. Or they declare it the lesser of two evils as if the man who sat his opposition in the front row of his wedding has a differing set of values. No, he simply does not care what happens as long as his bank account adjusts. He knows the coming years are going to be a fiasco and won’t take that on as his job – no, indeed. He never intends to work that hard for a buck.

We could review his Russian dalliances, of course. He is fully owned and propped up by them. Yesterday’s news about his acquisition of an article that was pure propaganda from an obscure reference, proffered as “news” when he flung the pages about at his rally points to just how “connected” he is. That article should set everyone on their heels, frankly. But no…it will be wrapped  up and tucked away as if it was just a distraction. It was helpful in one way, at least, and that is to show that the Wikileaks material can and has been doctored as needed. Do not believe anything that comes from over that Iron Curtain. They never stopped waging the Cold War, you see. Kids today have no clue about it – how the goal to turn a Republic into a Democracy and thence to a socialistic conclave easily manipulated via puppets was formed and brought to fruition. They’ve never known freedom.

When you add on his disgusting sexual commentary – not only the recent revelation but even the sexualization of his own daughter – and I cannot fathom how anyone can even consider him as a man – he is a deviant, disgusting pig and it does a disservice to pigs to make that association. I am no prude, mind you, but to hear a man essentially declare he can grope any woman at any time regardless of her desire for same was pure evil. I am quite familiar with the alpha male demeanor and tenor – there is a world of difference in admiring a woman’s assets from afar and admiring them held in your hand as she shrinks back in disgusting horror. No real man would say or do such a thing regardless of their power to do so or the lack of retribution for their actions.

I’ve been rather busy taking all those caviling types off my lists on the social pages. I can only shake my head that people who I thought were squared away are shown to be moral relativists. Right is bloody right and wrong is wrong. No excuses.

But then all the evidence is showing that this has been one massive shell game, anyway. You were shown the candidates and thought you would get to choose the best one while in the background there was only one that was chosen and that through mutual agreement. The pea was never under any shell, you rube. Again, maybe just my city girl ways but I know a con when I see one. I suppose the thing that frightens me most is the fervent ardor of a vast number of Americans for precisely what he represents. In short, I do not have enough bullets for that battle. Just damn, people.


Hope Does Float

It was New Years Eve of 2000 when I knew that I’d wasted nearly a decade of my life. I watched the people in their formal attire stop dancing t0 wait for the 10 seconds to count down, watched them all turn expectant faces up for the kisses to come. I turned my own face to see my husband move through the crowd, away from me and toward some useful distraction.

It was a few months later that we sat, truth revealed, in the same house but not the same people as we were. I turned the TV to what I wanted to watch for a change, the smallest of bitter antagonisms I could muster. It was Hope Floats. Each moment from the start of the film seemed to echo into my Now except I didn’t have the romantic cowboy to turn to or a place to run home to…but as I watched I felt a skittering of Life cutting through the madness. I tamped it down. Months and years it was pressed beneath the silt and dead leaves that I donned inside.

And then one day a cowboy did show up. And he brought me back to Texas to within miles of that house in the film. He took me there to see it, not knowing why the tears fell as the town sign rushed into view. I watch the movie now and remember so well the utter terror, and the deep sense of failure that enrobed me then. I look around me now and know that there is hope even in the darkest days and if you will wait for it the light will find you again.

“…beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning.”

Is This Thing On?

I let this place languish as I dealt with all the move details and unpacking. And, in truth, it has been easier to be “social” on Twitter. But I am tiring of the drama and facts regarding the ruination to come. So perhaps I will dust off the muse a bit.

I’ve managed to get two pods unpacked and the garage emptied of nearly all boxes – perhaps another 10 await me. And having done most of it on my own I feel rather proud. That was because Sarge had to work almost 20 days without a day off and I didn’t wish to pay another month’s rent on the pod. So you load the hand truck and sweat, climb stairs, and save the heavy stuff for him to move in the evening.

The office/gym needs some attention – nearly everything placed there but not neatly. The guest/craft room also requires work – again, things where they need to be but not organized. Painting is to come now that we agreed on shades. The loom is still in storage but I hope to get that moved this week so that I can better determine how much room I have left. Yes, in addition to knitting and spinning the naughty Christina has lured me into weaving. She acquired this loom and then soon after knew she wanted to upgrade so I bought it from her as a good starter loom. Artisat Loom

There is little time right now, though, for any of it. I spent the morning looking for baby patterns because the sweet godchildren have told us they are expecting! I am so thrilled but trying hard to be quiet and patient about it, knowing well the fragile nature of early pregnancy.

Some may wonder what Sarge makes of all the death and danger of late – in fact, he has been embroiled in so much political turmoil in-office of late that the news has been a daily blow to his aspirations. For the first time he speaks of leaving the career entirely which tells me that things are very bad, indeed. We have agreed that if he needs to go to the border regions for promotion and escape that we shall have to cope with it. He would get an RV for weekly living and then come home on weekends. This being what most do when stationed there. We hope for change in the coming months, to see if roles switch around and allow him to be more comfortable but in the meantime he is trying to hold his tongue and failing spectacularly on occasion. He is truly only happy on his tractor, rebuilt carb and all – quite easy to work on and surely a feeling of success when it started up with zeal after.TractorMan1

The dogs remain very pleased with the locale, aside from the heat. One will not go in the pool (yet) and the other wants in all too often. At least they have refrained from exploring the entire acreage for now. We only recently had the tractor up and running to shred the large portions so it made most of the land rather off limits. Even shredded it is a bit rough. I am hoping he can mow a perimeter for walking so that mean beasties like chiggers don’t assault us. We’ll see about that when the weather turns more pleasant. Too, I worry about snakes – one dog appeared to have been bitten at the crook of the hind leg – a lot of gnawing at it drew my attention and then I saw the “infection” and swelling. I kept a close eye on it over a day, warm compresses applied as often as she would allow. I noted a good reduction of the swelling and she did her part to keep it clean so no vet bill. In the end we were very lucky.

The garden is in – it was a very wet spring so I doubt it would have mattered if we’d put it in sooner. The tomatoes are merely there but I hope for an autumn burst of fruit. Better luck next year. I did trade some cookies for lovely tomatoes with the neighboring elderly gentleman. I say elderly but the man works on riding mowers when he isn’t mowing which is nearly every day! Matter of fact I need to make some blueberry bars as a thank you to the neighbor who trimmed the shrubby growth at the corner of the property for us. It obstructed a view of the road but we hadn’t gotten to it. Kind aid, indeed. Handy that she is an ER nurse. Ahem.

The melons continue to work on their fruit – the drip line really aids in this weather – and the damned okra keeps doing its thing. Our ancient peach tree had a final flush of fruit which is so delicious. They are now ripe if a bit small. Cling stone, they are like cling peaches from a can but warm with the sun. Oh, just amazing. I don’t know that it will have another year in it but there is a youngling sprouted from its roots that I hope will become a new tree that we can properly care for. The pecan trees are loaded…I have some dismay at the rot in a few – the limbs trimmed badly. So we’ll invest in some good sized specimens as future replacements. I hope to have some cherry trees and citrus before long. We were gifted with 5 apple trees which we’ve planted and are doing moderately well. The heat is hard on them as they came from a sheltered and semi-shaded spot. I think they will fare much better with a full season under them. The next major item on our list is a chicken coop. Build the coop and then get the chickens!

In short, I feel quite pleased with our situation as it stands. We’ve acquired a good place to sit out any major issues and are capable of performing the tasks needed to feed ourselves. In no way should it be construed that we are Safe. No one is…but we are pleased with what we’ve done so far and will continue to improve. This puts us on good footing. The local cattle catcher asked if he could park a couple ponies on the back acreage for a month or two, offering to put in electric fence. We’ll see how that works out – the dogs are already infatuated with the horses pastured in the distance. As am I, I must admit. I take the binoculars out often to see them up close.

It’s bucolic, indeed. And so far from the goal we had that we often look at each other and just laugh at our good fortune. A lot of work to come but it is welcomed. Very welcome, indeed.