Monday, November 30, 2009


I am vaguely aware of hubby leaving for work this morning. I see the light on in the kitchen, hear his puttering. He leaves for the week after a nice five day stretch at home. We were grateful for the time together.

Next to me in bed is the wee one. Heat seeking he snuggles in close, whenever I move he fills in the empty space I leave behind. Outside, rain falls hard on the metal roof. I hear hubby drive off in the car. I laze in bed for a few minutes breathing in the scent of the wee one and listen to his sleepy breath. I climb over his body, get dressed, open the vents on the woodstove and put the kettle on for coffee. In this silence, I listen to the cats get their morning frisk on.

Life was so quiet and content over the last few days that any awareness of what is happening on the 6 o'clock news faded in the background. We feasted, visited with friends, took care of some chores, we gathered in fellowship and we ate turkey in all its incarnations.

This rainy day is a pleasant surprise. Outside plans will have to wait a day. We will cut snowflakes out of paper for our windows today. I will finish up some knitting projects and take care of some chores...

From the other room I hear a sleepy voice call out,"Momma come in here". We take a few minutes to snuggle before beginning the day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stacking wood

Today the weather is warm and sometimes it seems the sun does want to make an appearance. As I write this, the clouds are moving in.

This morning the wee one and I were left to our own devices. Most of our day is geared towards Thursday. Housework needs to be done. Clean the bathroom, clean the kitchen, tidy up our small cluttered home, hang the laundry up on drying racks. Outside is a big pile of wood that hubby chopped this weekend which beckons to be stacked. I would like to get some bread and muffins baked, instead I follow the siren call of the island of wood in the drive.

One morning, I received a call from a farmer friend who knew someone with a couple extra cord of wood that he would be willing to deliver for a 100.00 each. We have our wood up for this winter. Our plan was to get another cord of dried wood for the end of the heating season which would be 220.oo for a cord of dried wood. So 2 cord for less than one seemed like a good deal. It came in 4 foot lengths. Hubby fired up the chainsaw a couple weeks back and cut up half of it.

We bundle up in our "work sweaters" and our "see-me blaze orange hats" and our muck boots. We follow the bleat of sheep to the barn and give them their morning hay. We fill the kindling bucket from kindling we put aside in old feed bags. Then we tackle the wood pile. The wee one is very willing to help out with this chore. Everyone in some way touches this wood before it finds itself piled up next to the stove. Even the Wee one.

With the perspective of having homeschooled one child who is nearly to adulthood, I realize that one of the best lessons to teach the second child, I hope to homeschool, is to let him be my shadow. So today, Wee one is helping me stack wood. He takes the smallest split logs and carries them over to the stacked wood. He climbs upon the wood to be stacked and perches himself like some Wizened old elf. I think, " Who needs a back yard playground? I have a wood pile!" For every 4 logs I take to be stacked he takes one with pride that he is a "good helper". I listen to his chatter about how many small logs he thinks he can carry, which log is a good log, and which way the log should go on the stacked pile. I listen to him count the slats on the pallet that we will make another stack on," one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight." Finally he says, "Mom, this is fun" as he put another log on the stack.

Finally, I can see that his attention is waning and we walk to the mail box, say hello to the sheep. We have made a good dent in the wood pile. I might try to finish it when he lays down for his nap...or I might clean the kitchen.

Maybe he will find mopping the floor fun:)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gettin' into Gratitude

I am Thankful. Yes, I am.

I am thankful for my great kids. They teach me something new each day. I learn from them to slow down and pay attention. I learn to dig deeper into that well of patience sometimes. They remind me to tap into my creativity through their own innate creativity. They provide me a reason for knitting. They lead me to great books. They inspire me to bake cookies.

I am very grateful for my kind, handsome, patient husband. He listens. He is a handy guy. He is reliable. We are never without flow in our conversations. He is a great reader and it is a pleasure to find books for him to read at Christmas time. He looks very fine in a hand knit sweater. He loves me. I love him.

I am grateful for daily vitamins. Yup. I've been taking them for a week now and I feel good. Maybe it is the vitamin D. Maybe it is the change in caffeine consumption. I have cut down to one cup of coffee with a cup of green tea later in the day. I can't control what the neighbors are up to but I can control how I physically react to this situation. Stress is a big no-no for me. My MS reacts to the stress in bad ways. So I am grateful that I had the awareness that I might need a little more physical health support through these tough times.

I am grateful for small moments of peace and stillness. Yesterday was a warm and sunny day. Wee One's nap time coincided with a sunny hour of knitting, tea and lawn chair placed on the south side of our house.

I am thankful for rainy days. Today, I bake bread, applesauce cake and Shepard's Pie for dinner.

I may want to sell my home and find a more friendly neighborhood. But I am grateful for my home. It is small and cozy and was a dream fulfilled. I have learned a lot here. I have learned how to garden a large plot. I have grown many things I have never grown before. I have learned how to tend sheep. I have learned how to cope through a long winter without a coffeeshop on every corner. I have learned how to build a fire, cook on a woodstove. I have learned how to care for pigs and chickens. All this learning has lead hubby and I to dream of being farmers even if that is not in the cards right now.

I am grateful for our sheep. Such gentle creatures ( well except for Rama-a-lama he can get pushy), each with their own personality. They are wooly beasties right now. I look forward to spring shearing because we will be milling their wool and I will be able to knit sweaters for my family with their wool next fall.

Indeed, I am grateful.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

And so it goes...

Recent events have me feeling reflective. It is what I do, I guess. I need to take the senseless and have it make make sense. There has to be a lesson in all this , somewhere, I hope.
These last few months have been hard on our family.

Wee one manages to do well during the week. It was a hard transition , at first, when Hubby was gone during the week. But he seems to have settled into the new routine of our week days. One of the things I have managed to do is keep a pretty firm routine to the day. I make sure he is outside as much as possible. We keep a pretty good nap and bed time schedule. We have Story Time at the library and Sunday school, soon winter playtime at a local gym will begin. I am working with him to make Christmas presents. He helps me cook. He helps me hang laundry. ( okay, really, he helps me get exercise by scattering laundry about, but he means well;). Weekends are difficult for him. This is when he expresses his anger toward his Dad being gone for the week. Gotta let him have his feelings. But it is not easy for Dad who misses him. So we are just trying to make sure that he has time alone with Dad each weekend. We reinforce lessons on manners and speaking kindly. But we also have to take time to listen. he tells his Dad, " I miss-ed ya Tad"

Teen is busy. He goes to Portland every other weekend to be with his Dad. He has started his peer leadership program again. He is taking a photography class at Maine College of Art in Portland; so we drive him down on the weekends he is not with his dad. He has volunteered to cook one dinner a week. He tends to the animals, takes care of his chores without complaint. He has begun to babysit his younger brother if I need to go to a town council meeting, or needed to run a quick errand. He is a good kid.

Hubby and I are muddling through. We feel the weekends are too short. We have date nights. We try to make a point to "just be" as a family. But time is so limited to get all the things on that never-ending to-do list done; that many weekends are busy either playing catch-up or putting out a small fires such as fixing a vehicle, patching a leaky roof, or just getting more firewood put up.

I know that Hubby is sad. He worries when the neighbors act up because he can't be here. He misses his family, his bed, his dog. We Skype every night and it has helped but it can't replace his presence at our dinner table, his extra pair of hands after a long day, his adult conversation about the books we are reading.

But I am reassured. As a couple this has been our first big challenge. We've been married for 4 years. There were some growing pains at first but we had never been challenged such as we have been recently. And I think we are doing okay. I am not so bothered by the underwear on the floor as I may have been in the past. Everyone is doing the best they can under the circumstances. And silly as it may seem to this otherwise frugal family we buy a lottery ticket every once in a while just only takes one ticket to win and maybe we could win. We need to daydream about the easy fix, even if there is none.

When this is all over...when we have sold our house, found a new home; when our family can be together, when we have settled and all this struggle, fear, frustration is behind us, perhaps there will be more lessons gleaned from this time in our lives. For now, I am grateful to know that my wee one can express his emotions, that my teen is maturing and a good person and that my marriage is strong...underwear on the floor and all.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 where was I..oh yes I remember!

We try to be good people.

We really try.

When we see a neighbor stuck in the snow, we stop to push them free.

When we see a neighbor chase loose livestock down the road, we join in the chase.

A need arises and we are able to contribute, we try to help out where we can. We understand that it sorta works like Karma, it comes back tenfold.

But we find ourselves challenged these days. We find ourselves saying things that are uncharacteristic. We find ourselves reacting out of emotion and fear.

We are weary. We feel under siege. We gain little comfort by small victories, such as a microbus that can now take Hubby to work, because that only means now he can take it two hours away from home. Our family really NEEDS to be together.

Our living situation stinks right now. If it were only a matter of the separation our family is experiencing, we could find ways of coping.

But the boogie man has reared his head and it is ugly. Our neighbor ( and I use this term loosely) sent a letter to all land owners on the private road stating that we had 2 weeks to clear brush on our property along the road or " It will be done". We sent a certified letter, stating very clearly, that he does not have permission to alter our property. We posted "no trespassing" signs along the road frontage. Our signs have been ripped down. We have contacted local law enforcement, town government. This family has been called into the town manager's office and told under no uncertain terms to leave us alone.

Instead, we find lumber thrown into our sheep pasture. Brush cut. More signs ripped down. We find brush cut on our property out of spite. All of this is done under the cover of darkness, while I am home alone.

There are several police patrols of the road at night. But it does not seem to stop them from their mischief.

On Monday, I left early to drive 3 hours to share Hubby's birthday lunch with him. It was a truly glorious day. Dry , warm and sunny. A beautiful day. Perfect sing -at- the- top- of -your- voice music on the radio. Wee one was in the back seat singing songs with me. We shared a great lunch, enjoyed some playground time. When I arrived home I found "bad neighbor" behind the wheel of a back-hoe loader digging up pot holes in the road to repair them. Fine.

Tuesday I had to go pick up teen from his weekend with his Dad. Again, "Bad neighbor"was out there patching the potholes.

At this point I should state that there is a plan, with other land owners on the road, to have the road graded early next week.

Late Tuesday afternoon after dark, "bad neighbor" took his hoe and dug up the side of the road opposite our property. There is a wet land along that side of the road and a wooden culvert that has been working fine for the last 75 years. He pushed all the debris that he dug up and filled in the area where the water drains from the road. There is a pretty good bog still filled with water. The water is now level with the edge of the road where before it was below the road. This is not his property but part of a right- of-way. We have sought legal advice which confirmed that he has rights to ingress and egress only, no right to maintain.

Our concern is that after the snow melts next spring, or after a month of rain ,such as we had this last summer, the road will be in our front yard and in my garden.

Today was day three. Hubby was home for the holiday. Teen and I volunteered at church for a Veteran's day Luncheon. When we got home "bad neighbor" was out there messing around his mess. Loud noise all day, beeping of his machine....

We are weary. We try to be good people. We help out where help is needed but we also just want to be LEFT ALONE. Where before we had to worry about hubby getting home in a snow storm, now we have to worry about where we will be able to get to our driveway when the road is washed out.

We need to gather our friends and community around us. We keep telling ourselves that this is a trial and when we get through this life will be better.

Pray for us.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

And the winners are....

Your names were written on small pieces of paper. Tossed into a cast iron pot. Picked out of the pot by my gorgeous assistant, the lovely 3 year old wee one. We both agreed that we wished that as he kept picking names out of the pot that we had a give away for everyone.

With further ado...

Theresa you won the Guide to the Good Life.

Rob you won the recipe cards.

Kristina you won the yarn or hat.


My email is Send me your emails and I will have your gifts in the mail by the end of the week.

Thankyou to everyone who commented. I was feeling the love this week. Thanks:)