Saturday, March 21, 2015


“of course, it’s only natural to respond to a waning
by trying to escape the threat”

-The Mindful Way through Anxiety
by Susan Orsillo and Liz Roemer

It’s been awhile for me to pick up a pen to write but sometimes the hardest things to do are the most therapeutic, so today I write.

Over a year has passed since our moving and our last post told what we had done up to that point and the beat goes on.
A hike up Lower Table Rock, Mt. McLoughlin...what we do for fun
Sharing birthday meal with a good friend 2014

2014 was probably one of the most intense years since before retiring in 2008.  I chuckle when I think about retirement and what it meant then compared to what it means now.  Entitlement is what we should have called it then and maybe the new term now could be “retitlement”.  Sounds good to me a new title in a new time but it says nothing of tire and for both of us, it’s been very tiring.

I hate to even tell people I’m retired but it’s hard not to after 30 years of my life doing something I didn’t necessarily enjoy.  I always thought retirement was about enjoyment and I’ve been confused lately with that word also.

It’s been an emotionally upbeat year with moving and feeling like we’ve been given a new lease on life, then realizing that we’re still on borrowed time and the lease in almost up.  I may have been more complacent before we moved, but as with past moves (13 of them), it’s a change and we roll with the punches and sometimes it hurts but the outcome has never been so bad that we can’t come back.  This move has brought back memories from previous moves and now I’m retired and having fun, right?  I know in my heart of hearts that I too, still have dreams to live and things to accomplish.  Right now “collapse” is a major inconvenience, it’s interfering with my extreme living before I die.

How can I have long term goals and see into a different future when the knockout punch has already been delivered and I’m struggling to get up for the 13th, 14th and 15th round?

This move has brought us to a good place to die and that’s the most I can hope for.
“If teardrops were pennies,
and heartaches were gold”
-Carl Smith

If I shut myself inside my abode, I’m perfectly happy with all that I do.

Husband's birthday gift, sweater with sweatshirt pocket

Winter Solstice making pierogi together
Drying pierogi
Friends gift for watching the property
Even on the property outside I’m ok, but it’s when I look around, all around…up, down and most places in between I see things differently from the past.

The bright blue skies of my youth now appear like a tic tac toe board with the chem trails winning the game and when not sunny the sky is hazy and gray with an Air Stagnation Advisory in effect for weeks at a time.  The seasons, all four that I once enjoyed…rain in the  spring, sunshine in the summer, cool breezes in the fall and snow, yes snow in the winter are all mixed together in a melting pot of obscurity.

This winter we’ve seen temps in the high 60’s, lows in the 50’s and 7.5” of rain in 6 days.  Before Christmas we strolled around Lithia Park in Ashland where the rhodies and vinca were in bloom.
Lithia Park, Ashland, OR rhodies in bloom, December 13th, 2014

For the last few weeks, it’s felt like spring.  The almond and peach trees are in bloom and just the other day we spotted a baby flicker in our front yard.  I tried researching to find out when they have their young in the PNW but was unable to find anything of value.  The third week of March, I saw my first hummingbird at the slider when I was lifting weights, I love when things like this happen, this is our TV (distraction).

Lithia Park Vinca in bloom, December 13, 2014
 Most of whom we’ve spoke with have said that this summer will be bad.  No rain (except for downpours), no snow pack and warmer than normal temperatures, at least out west.
This article summed things up, stating:

"The previous record low was in 1981, and we measured 17 inches of water. This year we are measuring 5 inches.”

and this link made it even clearer with a picture: 

Some are talking about the abnormalities but most are still too busy with more important things in their lives.  I recently read an article on the Arctic News titled, “Watch where the wind blows” from February 3rd, and after sharing the article with a friend, the response I got back was, “but they don’t tell us what to wear”.  Apparently there are many who don’t want to read "bad" news (as if it makes it less real), don’t grasp it or plain just don’t care.  I think some older folks still think they’ll escape the mayhem…who knows?

The growing season will definitely be an indication of the changes in weather patterns.  This is the time of the year for going through last years leftover seeds as well as what we have saved.  We always ask “will they perform the same as the year before?”  What will mother nature provide us with this year?  I’m waiting for the billboard on I-5 that asks, “got water?”
Seasonal creek on property 2015
Life is never without turmoil and I know it’s only going to get worse but the difference now in my life is enjoying what it gives me now and I feel rich, so rich in so many ways.

Our new home though a roof over our heads didn’t have a bathtub when we moved in, I enjoy a weekly ritual of soaking but know that it’s a luxurious want not a need.  Well now I have a bathtub and I soak in a tub full of scented water with a lit candle, wow, what luxury.  We have lived like Kings and Queens compared to most.

I can’t begin to tell you how I feel about the communication now with my daughter.  Since last October we’ve been corresponding and just yesterday I heard her voice for the first time in 8 years.  When she said, “mom” I immediately flashed back to that fall day when she was placed in my arms, life is good.

Our winter was busier than it’s been in years trying to accomplish quickly what we had in place before;  including a room for our pool table that came with us, Italian slate can travel anywhere. 

We converted a 600 where we can enjoy pool, darts and perhaps shuffleboard.  Some dreams we don’t let go of and this is one of them.  It’s also a nice warm room for exercising, even though the bike goes nowhere we can now eliminate the hat, scarf and gloves.
Glue Laminated Beam
The major hurdle in creating this space was a supporting post,  dead center of the room that impeded the play of pool.  We were able to replace it with a glue laminated beam which opened up the space and completely changed the ambiance.  It’s no longer a square box but an attractive space to share time in.

Stairs on the outside where moved in and the space up above has become my craft room where someday I will sit and spin while looking over the sheep below in the pasture.  This is what dreams are made of.
Stairs going up to craft room
Finished Recreation Room

Where the post once stood, now the pool table stands

Not too much on the docket now except building up the soil in the garden, getting or building a greenhouse and possibly building or extending the chicken coop for our new addition of Buckeyes, hopefully we won’t have a problem selling the chicks to the duck fans, sorry. 

Buckeye Chicks
I realize the small town atmosphere we live in now as the call came from the post office at 7am one morning.  I answered and the voice on the other end said, “hold on I have someone here for you”, the peeps came through the wire loud and clear, “I’ll be right there I said”.

The birdsong is beautiful this time of the year and the peeps from the new chicks are endearing as always.  Daffodils are in bloom, fruit and nut trees are in bloom…Spring is in the air and birth is all around us.

Maybe there is something to be said about staying home and hunkering down, it’s a peaceful place where there is life.  Sometimes going to the city is a ruinous wakeup call, seeing cars driven by people with gadgets on or in their ears, while others are walking into businesses texting while shopping and the hard part is seeing more of that than homesteaders/farmers who are too busy to get together for a dinner.  It seems like one extreme or the other and unfortunately we understand both, though struggle with it.

Garlic and new tilled herb beds

Raised herb beds

Our cottage that we spent so much time and money on when we first moved in remains empty.  Not because we didn’t try to rent it, but because we realize more and more as time goes on that it’s difficult at best to share your land and property with someone else.
Back of remodeled cottage

Front of cottage before remodeling

We've thought recently about turning it into a commercial kitchen and have spoke with a few people from the extension service.  Talking to them as well as farmers in the area, we’ve learned that the Farm Direct Bill (HB2336) allows for one to process more without having a commercial kitchen.  We focus on what we can do, while trying to keep a reasonable timeline in view.
Aztec Runner Drying beans 2014

Homemade bread

Homemade Biscotti

Recently we had contact with our friend Paul who writes here:  We spoke about the “mixed bag” of emotions as all the charts like the one on his most recent post are one color, red.  I’m hearing Don Meredith, “turn out the lights, the party’s over”.  Like us, Paul is enjoying his time moment by moment like we all should be doing.  Not much matters anymore,

“if the button is pushed, there’s no running away”
Barry McGuire, Eve of Destruction

Love while you can with all your might, live intensely with passion, and laugh often for no reason.

With so many buttons yet to push, best to enjoy life while we can.  I struggle with the duality of it all especially when the worse of the two are winning, but….
I know there is so much still to enjoy and I’m enjoying it while I can.
Quinn, our new German Shepherd pup named after the writer, Daniel Quinn