I’ve Got the Sky, the World Is My Home

It’s been a while. I’ve been trying to be better about posting more regularly but there are times when I just don’t have anything to share. I’m certainly fortunate to live such a peaceful life but it doesn’t make for very good blogging.

Today was another beautiful, endlessly sunny day. I watched the mule deer chew their way through a neighboring pasture and listened to the magpies squawk as they took turns stealing Pickwick’s food.

Repeat daily.

Today I saw something else.

The first time we pulled into the driveway, to decide whether or not we wanted to rent this place or buy a camper and make that our home for a year or two, the “yard” was nothing but grasshoppers and weeds. The ground shimmered, like heat off asphalt, with the movement of thousands of insects. It was unnerving. We were given a week or two (I can’t remember which) of free rent because it was so overgrown and the work it would take to fix it was going to be extensive. Well, fix it we have. We’ve maintained the grass from the very moment it started sprouting again. Now, where long tangles of weeds once stood, green has begun to spread. I never get tired of pausing by a window to marvel at the change.

Unfortunately, the few spring showers we’ve had have come on the weekends, which is the only time the yard can be cut. So for three weeks the grass has been growing untrammeled. It’s like a long shaggy green carpet with random bursts of bright yellow dandelion heads. Dandelions are my favorite flower, weeds or not. I’ve never stopped to stare at an unblemished yard but I have, on multiple occasions, stopped to admire a hillside covered in dandelions.

With flowers come bees. I’m not as fond of bees as I am dandelions. I understand their benefits and I don’t wish them any harm but I’m very uncomfortable with them. My first apartment had a hive in the bedroom wall and our cohabitation did not result in many years of happy memories. It did result in the 100% confirmation that I am not allergic to bee stings and that bees, surprisingly, do not enjoy being sat upon.

Today, as I walked outside to refill the magpies’ Pickwick’s bowl, the yard was once again shimmering, this time with honey bees. About one of every five dandelions had a visitor. I cautiously made my way (the long way) around to grab his bowl and knock the beetles from the remaining nuggets of food before pouring a fresh helping. Then I ran inside and grabbed my camera to bravely attempt to photograph at least one of the dozens of bees, hopefully without being stung.

I made it! They were so engrossed in what they were doing, they didn’t seem to care that I was there. It was interesting and oddly enjoyable to watch them go about their business. Still, I can’t wait for this weekend and a fresh mowing.

Title From:
Beggarman
by Gaelic Storm

I Spread It on Bread, on Crackers, and Toast

Marmite. A product so known for having a love it or hate it flavor, the company has it written on their website.

I’ve never been more nervous to try something.

I once had dinner at a tiny Chinese restaurant, let’s assume it was called The China Wall, since most of them are, in a strip mall between Lancaster and Mountville, Pennsylvania. It’s not there anymore, I checked. They had a little buffet where I had my first encounter with egg drop soup. I wasn’t quite as adventurous with food back then but eggs and broth didn’t seem like a gigantic leap out of my comfort zone.

That egg drop soup is the only food I have ever tried that I could not convince my throat to swallow. I actually had to go to the bathroom to spit it out. Somehow I managed to consume a vomit flavored Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean, which was disturbingly realistic, but my body would not allow me to injest the soup.

After that experience, I was understandably hesitant to try egg drop soup again. However, I’ve learned, because my family is chockablock with terrible cooks who are extremely fond of canned foods (asparagus, peas, potatoes, etc.), that you can’t always depend on one tasting. Canned asparagus is like salty asparagus flavored baby food, molded to look like wilted asparagus stalks. Fresh asparagus is delicious. If I hadn’t given the vegetable another try, it wouldn’t be a regular staple in my diet today. In fact, if I had formed my final opinion after the first taste of anything I’ve had, I’d probably be eating nothing but funnel cakes, whoopie pies, raw carrots, and sweet bologna.

So, years later, I braved another tasting of egg drop soup and it was extremely okay. I’m still not a huge fan but, when it’s not prepared with millennium eggs, it’s much more tolerable. Not even that second attempt, after having to spit out the previous, made me as nervous as Marmite.

I’ve read reviews that have referred to it as fishy, some that have likened it to a moistened beef ramen seasoning packet, and others who have called it “salted tar.” It’s no wonder I’m nervous. But, I am determined to give it a go.

I’ll let you know which side we’re on.

Title From:
Marmite Song
by Jamside Up

And I’ll Find Strength in Pain

This weekend we started repairing the pasture fence. Some of the poles were bent over so far that half the barbed wire was touching the ground. How does that happen?

Brian was in charge of disentangling the dangerous barbs from the railroad tie corner posts. Whoever put the wire up was extremely thorough. They twisted and wrapped it in every direction, tying it a dozen times around each massive chunk of wood.

I was in charge of removing the wire from the poles and then removing the poles from the ground. Those that the stampeding elephants plowed through were easy enough to remove, popping out of the ground without effort. The rest… Not so much. This is the first time in my life the palms of my hands have been bruised.

Title From:
The Cave
by Mumford & Sons

Stand up When You Hear Your Name

Right now our new friend seems to respond to tongue clicking, the rattling of the food bag, and “Hey, good boy!” I couldn’t very well refer to him as SHUSH-SHUSH-SHUSH here, and I didn’t want him to get accustomed to Good Boy as his name either since there are quite a few wild cats around, and if another happens to start enjoying my company I’ll probably say “Hey, good boy” to him as well. We can’t have everyone thinking their name is Good Boy. This isn’t the Foreman house; everyone here gets their own moniker. So, after nearly three weeks of going back and forth with names, we finally settled on Pickwick. Hopefully he’ll acknowledge it in time. If not, I still have SHUSH-SHUSH-SHUSH to fall back on.

What made you think of Pickwick, you didn’t ask?
Well, let me tell you…

I came across the name while doing research on my genealogy. I resumed working on my family line a few months ago, after pausing for our year without internet in Connecticut. I’m trying to make as many connections as I can on my own. It’s very easy to link the wrong people when 96% of your ancestors are named Mary, so I don’t want to depend on someone else’s research. However, occasionally I run into blocks and grabbing someone else’s tree information helps steer me to the path of making the connection (with sources) on my own.

Unfortunately, the lineage that led to my discovery of a ship christened Pickwick, was not my own. I followed a lead from someone else’s tree and spent an entire evening researching the wrong family history. Luckily, I noticed the error before setting the names into my own family tree. The same can not be said for the fellow whose research I went by.

Title From:
Look How Far We’ve Come
by Imagine Dragons