If It’s a Job, Do It

Tomorrow we are going to start clearing out The Shed. It’s extremely important to me that we start while it’s still chilly because the nonsensical part of my brain believes that’s going to help prevent any hantavirus issues. This is the same part of my brain that believed the doll I once feared would come to life and murder me, would not come to life and murder me if I put it under a cardboard box in my closet. I’ve tried reasoning with myself but I’m very stubborn.

It’s going to be a lot of work because the people who lived here before us left a ton of junk inside. There’s a big orange tube? I don’t know what it is. It looks like a giant rubber fire hose. There’s a desk, shelves, a bunch of welded horse shoes, and poop. I don’t think the poop was theirs.

After we chainsaw the junk that can be chainsawed, I have the privilege of mopping the whole thing down. Everywhere I look it’s being recommended that I use a bleach and water mixture to disinfect it all, so I’m going to use vinegar and pine essential oils. See? Stubborn.

Title From:
Cowboy Logic
by Michael Martin Murphey

Tomatoes on the Vine and Onions

I’ve been experiencing a growing desire to live a more environmentally conscious, self-reliant, healthier lifestyle. We cut processed foods from our diets a few years ago. There is still the occasional craving for Hot Pockets, I’m not going to lie, but for the most part we eat wholesome, local, organic, non-GMO foods. It’s not cheap. I don’t even want to tell you that our grocery bills run around $350 per week, but I will, because they do. My first apartment was only $450 a month. Good grief.

To help offset some of that, we’re planning to grow a lot of our own produce this year. We have plans for rutabagas, four or five different types of peppers, potatoes, carrots, onions, radishes, parsnips, cucumbers, watermelons, and a full potted herb garden. We will also be converting the goat barn without goats, sometimes referred to as The Shed, into a chicken coop, so we can stop spending $5 for a dozen eggs.

It’s going to be so much work and I’m genuinely excited.

Title From:
I Love
by Tom T. Hall

Little Lights in My Heart

I just deleted nine drafts — nine drafts of posts I attempted to write over the last five months. I am still at risk for bursting into tears, so I’m going to make this return to the blog a list that doesn’t really go into any detail.

1. On September 29th, Reyka was put to sleep. I have to write that out without much thought or this will become the tenth draft.

2. The day after Reyka died, a tiny kitten showed up. His innocent joy and desperate desire for love helped to temper our sadness and pain. I would have loved to keep him around but fear Levee’s chasing drive would have gotten the best of her. Now he lives with one of our vet’s assistants. I think about him from time to time.

3. Pickwick was missing for months. I didn’t know if a coyote got him or someone took him in, but he was missed. A few days ago I heard the familiar thud of his jump from the porch railing to the floor. I was glad to see his pudgy little face. Wherever he was, he was cared for, and I’m glad he was out of the bitter cold.

4. The nameless grey cat is still hanging around but we haven’t made any progress. I’ve accepted that this may be as close as we will ever get.

5. A large black dog has stopped by our place multiple times. The first night it was 12°F. We didn’t have any place he could stay inside, but we couldn’t leave him outside either. We ended up putting him in our well house overnight with the electric smoker running (without wood) to heat the room up. He wasn’t very happy but at least he was safe and warm. He was here again two weeks ago, hanging out on our porch all day. If he comes by again, he might be welcomed as a new member of our family.

6. Why is everything about animals?

7. It looks as though we might be stuck here another year. We’ve been approved for a home loan but cannot find anything that fits our must-have list: twenty acres, a small house, forty-five minutes or less of a commute, all at an affordable price. What can you do?

8. I feel like I have to reach 10 on the list and I have no idea why.

9. I am seriously contemplating chickens. Or a Scottish highland cow. We need more animals in our life and I need more excuses to wear my Sloggers.

10. Pictures will be missing for a while. I can’t bear the thought of looking through them and seeing her face.

Title From:
All The Little Lights
by Passenger

The Longer I Run

The window beside my desk overlooks a huge thicket canopying a substantial ditch. Six months ago I noticed a tiny bobbed tail cat using a small passage through the brambles to sneak around to the back porch and steal Pickwick’s food. The first time I saw him I opened the window, said “Hey ki…” and the cat bolted. Weeks went by and I repeated the process until finally he stopped running.

The next step was to sneak outside before he got to the back yard. More often than not he would hear the door squeak open and run back to the protection of the thicket. Occasionally I’d manage to get outside without him noticing, but as soon as he rounded the corner and saw me, he’d flee. More weeks passed with me sneaking outside and frightening him with horrifying hellos and terrifying offers of food. He eventually stopped running but would just sit at the corner of the house until I went inside, never getting any closer.

I don’t know what prompted him to come over after being petrified for so long, but one evening, as I sat outside with Pickwick, peripherally I noticed the movement of soft grey fur as he slunk his way to the porch, stopping at the foot of the stairs. I said, “Hello,” and continued to pet Pickwick, picking new burrs from his fur. The little grey cat sat tall, unmoving, head turned to the side, eyes partially closed, but still watching. He stayed there until I stood up to go inside twenty minutes later, then he ran to the corner of the house.

That was the day I started putting more food in Pickwick’s bowl.

It’s been two steps forward and one step back since. Each day he gets a little braver but the whole routine starts off worse than it ended. He’s now on the porch with me, licking the cat food gravy from a spoon I hold out to him, and allowing my hand to rest six inches from his plate. He’s so excited about the new wet food that he’ll stretch his neck to get at it as I’m spooning it out, which has allowed my hand to brush lightly against his ear a few times. We’re getting there.

Now for a name…

Note: Birds frighten the little grey cat, so I can’t imagine a giant black camera is going to go over very well with him, so there are no pictures yet. Instead, here is one of Levee as a puppy, four years ago.

Update: I was able to sneak a picture with my phone this afternoon, moments before it went from 46% to dead. Does anyone else’s phone do that? I want all life to work on iPhone battery time. Forty-six minutes left to work? Leave right now! 46 is the new 0. Anyway, you can see the kitty on Instagram.

Title From:
Longer I Run
by Peter Bradley Adams

I Let the Day Go By

I’m a terrible blogger. I’ve never been good with journaling in general. Journaling? New word. 👍 It was always exciting to open a brand new book of blank pages and think about all the wise and inspirational things I’d jot down in my perfectly formed cursive, things that would be quoted when my diary was found 300 years after I was nice and moldy. I’d begin with all seriousness and devotion and then I’d write something only an eleven year old would, such as, “January 2, 1992 – Today I saw a robbin flitting joyfully through the morning dew,” and realize I misspelled robin because my mom’s name is Robbin and I wrote the word, in pen, with the spelling more common to me. Then I’d stop writing in the book and 78 of the 80 crisp off-white pages would become scrap paper bookmarks and cootie catchers.

I can’t seem to shake the habit of letting weeks pass unrecorded. I’m just so busy living life that I don’t naturally think about writing about it. If you’ve ever seen my Instagram or Twitter pages, you know my lack of commitment to social media is equally disappointing everywhere. Consistency is key. In addition to not naturally remembering to tell you about the heat that’s been so outrageous it’s melted our credit cards, or about how the mice have started to reappear now that summer is winding down, or about how I forgot I had some oily rags I used to season our cast iron pans in with the laundry and now all our clothes smell like a fryer, I also want to make certain that when I do tell you something, it’s thoughtfully written. I don’t want to come here and throw up a post that says, “Wooeee, boy ain’t it hot? What do ya’ll think?” It takes me a while to write my nonsense, is what I’m saying. Sometimes I don’t have the drive to sit down for two and a half hours and write about my bug bites.

I’ll work on it. No promises.

Title From:
World Spins Madly On
by The Weepies