In My Mind, I’m Gone To…

Where do you go in your mind? When you need a moment of peace or comfort or happiness or clarity, what scene does your mind’s eye play for you? Even as adults, our imaginations can help us–if we exercise it.

Hold up. Wait a second. I have an announcement to make. A big one.

The other day, out of nowhere, the famous and feral mustache cat jumped on my lap! I couldn’t believe it. I know many of you told me it was only a matter of time, but I couldn’t imagine that cat would ever trust humans enough.

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He didn’t stay long. Just testing it out. Look at his little face, so uncomfortable.

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Autumn is Suh-Weeeet!

Autumn pulls me in.

In fall, my trips to town that should take 30 minutes become 45. Or more.

I roll down the windows, turn on the heater, and crank up the music. My old friends, James Taylor and Johnny Cash, and my new friends, The Avett Brothers, ride with me as I take back roads and side roads and dirt roads and curvy roads through the mountain countryside.

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Time to Rock Orange

Last May when we came to the end of the YOU CHALLENGE, many folks asked for another round later in the year. The YOU CHALLENGE is such a special time of fellowship, encouragement, sharing, and walking together every day. So here we are! It’s time for our Rock-tober Challenge. This one is a little bit different than our spring challenge.

For October, you are challenged to do something THAT IS GOOD FOR YOU, THAT YOU ENJOY for 30 minutes every single day of the month. That’s 31 days.

We’re not just going to welcome autumn, or enjoy autumn, we’re going to ROCK autumn.

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I Wander, I Wonder

Texas, our hearts and minds and prayers are on you…we are with you and for you.

If my math is correct (and it may or may not be, quite frankly), I’ll be in 49th grade this year. (I entered 12th grade in fall 1980, so…)

Anyway, I haven’t received a syllabus yet, so I guess I have to write my own at this point. Let’s see. What exactly should one learn in the 49th grade? Continue reading

Provence and Paris

“Hey! How do you spell the JOE-ER in bon-joe-er?”

I was shopping in a boutique in a small village in the South of France when I heard a deep voice with a VERY southern accent ask this question. I smiled when I heard his accent. I was happy to hear any English at all, but southern English–my English? Woohoo! Where door is pronounced dough-er. And bonjour is pronounced bon-joe-er. My people! Continue reading

“I Ain’t Never”

“Paris is always a good idea.”

Sabrina

(from the movie by the same name. which, by the way, I ain’t never seen.)

You know what they say here in the Appalachian Mountains: “I ain’t never.” Now, try as I might to convince folks that a double negative actually means a positive, I have at last given up and joined in. (If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.)

So, my own personal “I ain’t never” is this: “I ain’t never went nowhere.” Oh, I should mention the verb issue here too. People say “I seen” instead of “I saw.” “You was” instead of “you were.” I understand that this way of speaking is a hold-over from the Irish and British settlers here.

In any event, back to my world travelling. Why it ain’t?

Je ne sais pas. (I don’t know.)

Too busy, I guess. Not a priority, I imagine. Too cheap, probably.

Well, it’s time for a cool change.

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Lessons and Tales: First Camping Trip of the Year

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Now that I’ve camped a few times, I thought I had figured it all out–that I was an expert. HAHAHAHAHA. Not so. My first trip of 2017 taught me many things.

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Time for YOU! (A Challenge)

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

John Muir

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure some of them are just for YOU.”

Me

It’s almost time to get your MAY BLISS on!

In a few short days, on May 1st, the 4th Annual YOU Challenge will begin! And for 31 days, you’re going to do something just for YOU, YOURSELF, AND YOU!

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The 5 Secrets of Long Life

You just don’t know when big things are going to come from seemingly inconsequential things. There I was shopping at “The Great Wall” when I learned the 5 Secrets of Long Life. Who would have thought?!

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What’s NOT to love about a Feed and Seed Store?

It’s Monday morning and I will spend the day at my computer. I have work of every variety to take care of today: blog, legal, business, school, farm. I’m feeling a little drained right now, having a hard time getting started. Do I even have anything to write about today that any one would want to read??? My creativity has been on the low side lately. But I’ve got a cup of coffee, a bowl of yogurt and granola, and a cat in my lap, so I guess I’m ready to roll.

Here’s the cat that’s visiting my lap at the moment, Jude. Funny cat likes to stretch out his front legs. I’m always finding him in this odd position. I’ve never had a cat that likes to stretch out like that.

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My husband walks by and says, “What in the world are you putting on there?”

“What? What do you mean? It’s a photo of Jude.”

He puts on his glasses, looks again, and starts laughing. “It looked like someone’s legs in white shoes and white underwear.” He’s still laughing. I’m like, what are you talking about?

And then he shows me.

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Ha Ha Ha! It does, doesn’t it!

Anyway, I think since I recovered from not being able to get out and about, all I want to do is get out. My mind is not focused on writing or this computer. At the moment, I’m not only thinking about how my cat’s markings look like tidy-white-y’s and white socks, but now I’m thinking about going to see the horses in the barn, plowing the garden, building a pavilion, taking a hike by the mountain stream, visiting with neighbors, feeding the chickens…Oh, the chickens!

I was supposed to run to the local feed and seed store this morning after I dropped my daughter off at school to pick up some chicken feed! I forgot! I love to go to that farm store when I’m not in a hurry. And. Just. Visit. Um. Hmmm. You want to go now? Okay!

What high fashion should I rock today? Yeah, sure, I think you’re right. My warm flannel-lined camouflage work pants and pink plaid flannel shirt. And my barn work shoes. Perfect!

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Stylin’!

My feed and seed store is jam-packed with everything you could possibly need or want for farm living. It is situated way out in the country, with a yard full of pipes and drains and metal storage buildings full of water heaters and wood stove inserts and everything else.

We’ve arrived!

Here’s one of the metal storage buildings I mentioned. Look at all those wooden barrels!

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This is outside where you park, before you walk in. Do you need a lime green manure rake? Or an orange one? I sure do!

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Here we are right inside the front door.

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Snow sleds and shovels! We haven’t had much need of these this winter.

There are probably five aisles with this type of stuff, hardware, plumbing, electric, whatever else.

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And what about these awesome metal funnels? This is a store where everything’s not made of plastic. I love that!

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Ah….Be still my heart, the garden section!

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Overalls, pots, rubber boots!

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And this! When’s the last time you saw a mess kit for sale? I love this store!

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And check out these bottles and pottery.

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Yee! They’ve gotten in some seeds already!

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I don’t know…what do you think? Should I???? Grow Snake Gourds?

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My favorite chicken water-er ever is there on the left. I have two. Got them from here!

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Check out this shelf. It has it all. I direct your attention to the right upper shelf, a certain popcorn popper. That will be relevant shortly.

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And I always see stuff like this that I have no idea what it is.

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The people here are unbelievable. Friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, nice. There’s always a crowd and lots of chit-chat. This morning, folks are talking about one of their favorite subjects, the weather. This winter has been incredibly mild. We had a couple of snows, but none were deep. And the temperature always warmed back up the next day and melted the snow. I still have a barn full of hay because the pastures have stayed green. That is very unusual for this area. Usually, by now, we’re all asking around to see who has extra hay left in case we run out.

The consensus here is that winter is still coming. “We’ve had our biggest snows in March,” an older gentleman says. “Remember ’93?” And they talk about a big snow they had in late March that year. It sounds like a doozy; one I’d love to experience myself! I tell them about the year we had “Snow Jam” in Atlanta when we all got stuck in our cars and what ensued was a big party. Big. Party. Big, gigantic party. I think it was ’82?

Another conversation started up when a man I don’t know walked in and started talking about hunting on Sunday. This is a big deal to the hunters. Local officials were considering banning Sunday hunting. When I grew up in the South, you couldn’t do anything on Sunday. Well, except go to church. Most of those laws have been changed. But recently, the issue of a ban on hunting on Sunday arose in our community. It was not well received. There is a great deal of hunting around here. During deer season, we hear gun shots frequently. Being an animal lover, it used to bother me. Not so much anymore. I’ve come to understand that people enjoy deer meat, that deer meat is incredibly natural and organic, not filled with steroids and antibiotics of farmed meat. And, the animals live a wild, wonderful life until the end, unlike our farmed animals who spend time in feedlots and are stressed before they die. Hunters around here also hunt for hungry people, sharing their meat. I have also come to understand that our lands would be overrun with deer if it were not for hunters; there would be more car accidents involving them. So, four years when we moved here I might have said, “Oh, poor precious beautiful deer. I hate to hear the shots: constant reminders that another lovely animal has been killed. Yes, ban hunting on Sunday.” Now, I just smile and listen.

One man talks about a huge deer he shot and processed. He found an old bullet in him—it wasn’t his bullet, it was someone else’s. He pulled the old bullet out of his pocket and showed us. (The story sounded familiar, I think I’ve heard it somewhere before.) Anyway, it’s a big discussion, about how this deer was shot at some point and lived with a bullet inside him. There was a lot of talk about this bullet and this deer. Hypotheses galore made for pure entertainment.

No one is in a hurry here.

I mention my problems with mice in my chicken house. The woman who owns the store shows me just what I need. A mouse poison holder that the chickens can’t get inside. Yes, that is just what I need. I hate the idea of poisoning mice, but I have become overrun. And I don’t think it is healthy for my chickens. I buy the poison I need and the poison holder.

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And then she had another idea, “Put some water in a 5 gallon bucket and put it in there at night. You’ll have a bucket full of drowned mice in the morning.” Really? Okay, I’m trying that!

What about the snakes living in the walls? A man offered, “Get rid of the mice and you’ll get rid of the snakes.”

I’m down for that. I can’t even imagine a chicken house without mice and snakes. The stuff that dreams are made of!

Speaking of chickens.

In sad news, one of my chickens has died. Polly, the Polish. She had so many feathers on her head that she couldn’t see. She’ll fly down from her roost right into me. It’s never easy. My husband was out of town when I found her. She died during the night. I located a pretty pink shoe box and wrapped her up in a kitchen towel that had Pooh Bear on it. I dug the hole as deep as I could and provided her with a private burial ceremony. It was just me and her. Her friends were close-by though. My chicken cemetery is under the old apple tree beside the chicken run. So the rooster and other hens saw and heard the whole thing.

And now, my lullaby song changed. I don’t count to 14 anymore when I put up the chickens, just 13. We came in late from a concert Saturday night and I went in to sing to them. I had forgotten. I looked all over for number 14 until I remembered. I’ll have to get used to the new number.

RIP

Polly the Polish Hen

April 2013 – February 2017

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Now I’ll share my drive back home with you. I drive by some fantastic old buildings. I am told this one was a cheese factory.

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And this one was built during the Civil War era.

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The road I drive down has several areas that you just feel like you are driving through a junk yard.

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I like old, junky cars as much as the next guy, but I don’t like them right on the side of the road. These folks keep theirs on both sides of the road, not sure why.

Here’s a nice old barn and old building. One reason I like this drive is because it takes you back in time.

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A sweet, simple, clapboard church.

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I see how long this post is and laugh. I sure had a lot to say for someone who had nothing to say at the beginning!

Do you have a favorite local feed and seed, country, or farm store? Tell us about it!

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl in the Country, Rebekah

PS I should show you where I decided to write once I got home from the farm store. My word for 2017 is “outside.” I didn’t pick it; it picked me. Sooooooo. I popped some popcorn—(remember that box I pointed out to you on the shelf? That popper is terrific. I used to eat those little bags of microwave popcorn, but they have a lot of gunk in the ingredients. This pops kernels pure and plain. My favorite snack these days.)—, put on the kettle for tea, and built a campfire in the yard.

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My senses are alive out here. I hear birdsong in the black walnut trees, I hear frogs chirping like ducks in the pond, I hear crows cawing and yapping close-by,

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I hear the mournful wail of a cow, a mother or a baby? I hear a woodpecker in the distance, and the gentle roar of a tractor somewhere in this farming valley. I also hear the heater running on this side of my old farmhouse.

I smell the aroma of wood smoke and I do indeed smell the bite of cold winter air in the breeze. (yay! fingers crossed.)

I see beauty all around me. I see my old wash house that I turned into my office.

IMG_3493I see my dog, Strudel, wagging her tail and being her usual chipper self.

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I see the green shoots of day lilies just emerging from the earth.

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I see the steeple of the local church. It’s Monday morning and their parking lot has plenty of cars. I wonder why there are gathering this morning? I see black cows on a green hilly pasture in the distance.

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I see Christmas trees to be harvested in future years and Christmas tree stumps from this past Christmas.

I see Mr. Mustache inside my window. FullSizeRender (41)

He is SO not a feral cat any more!

I’m trying to recall all five of my senses, hear, see, smell. Oh, taste! How could I foget taste??? I taste the citrusy flavor of my cup of Matcha green tea and the earthy flavor of plain, air-popped popcorn. I hope to taste a piece of my Valentine’s Day chocolate in a little while. :)

And feel. Yes, feel. Touch. I’m not wearing gloves, so I can type on the computer, so my fingers feel very cold and so does my face, especially my nose. I hold my hands up to the campfire and feel the warmth. I guess I need to go inside and get a hat and maybe some gloves since I’m at the end of this blog post… Continue reading