Lessons and Tales: First Camping Trip of the Year

IMG_0526_50
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.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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?!

Continue reading

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.

FullSizeRender (37)

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.

IMG_3424

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!

IMG_2666 (1)

FullSizeRender (39)

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!

IMG_3457

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!

IMG_3435

Here we are right inside the front door.

IMG_3439

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.

IMG_3441

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

IMG_3442

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

IMG_3443

Overalls, pots, rubber boots!

IMG_3449 (1)

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

IMG_3448

And check out these bottles and pottery.

IMG_3447

Yee! They’ve gotten in some seeds already!

IMG_3445

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

IMG_3446

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

IMG_3452

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.

IMG_3455

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

IMG_3458

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.

IMG_2676 (1)

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

FullSizeRender (42)

 

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.

IMG_3477

And this one was built during the Civil War era.

IMG_3470

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

IMG_3462

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.

IMG_3461

A sweet, simple, clapboard church.

IMG_3467

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.

IMG_2645

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,

IMG_2649

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.

IMG_3490

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

IMG_2655

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.

IMG_2665

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

The Winter That Wasn’t

“Nope, we’re not going to have a winter this year,” the young guy said as he loaded bags of sand into the back of my car. The sand is for my chicken run. I’m sure the guy was just making conversation and had no idea I’d take his comment so personally.

“What?!” I replied, “Winter is soooo coming! It’s only January! Just you wait.”

Continue reading

Just. Stop.

News flash!

Christmas is not a competition…

Of how decorated your house is.

Of how perfectly perfect your gifts are.

Of how busy your days and nights are.

Of how much baking you do.

Of how many homemade gifts you can crank out.

Of how beautiful your family is (or appears to be).

Let’s all. Just. Stop.

Continue reading

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

(Until this very moment, I had no idea that it was David Bowie who sang that Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes song. Until I ‘youtubed’ it. It was 1971. I can’t believe it. I’m shook. So very shook.)

We’ve talked about it many times over the years that we’ve been together, you and I.

Change.

             Transition.

This was the view out of my den window a few years back. Snow in autumn. An example of someone NOT following the rules of transition.Optimized-P1080776

Which, of course, happens in our lives. Change before we’re ready. Change without warning.

Snow when we’re still wearing our autumn leaves.

Continue reading

Autumn Give Away!

AND THE WINNER IS…

UPDATE: Still waiting to hear from the winner. MELISSA ROBBINS, please email me by October 14, 2016, or I’ll need to chose a different winner. THANKS!

MELISSA ROBBINS! Email me at rebekah@maryjanesfarm.com ASAP with the name and address to send the subscription to! WOOHOO! Congratulations!

It’s that time of year again….yes, autumn, but also when I renew my subscription to MaryJanesFarm magazine! You know what that means? I’m giving away a subscription to one of you!

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”  George Eliot

If you’d like to enter, simply comment below saying WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT AUTUMN. And don’t fret when you don’t see your comment pop up. I’m out of pocket until the end of the week, so won’t be able to approve any comments until I’m back in the pocket. Here’s the important part, make sure to check back in one week. I’ll do a random drawing and post the winner’s name on Tuesday, October 4th, 2016. The winner will need to email me (rebekah@maryjanesfarm.com) to give me the name and address of the person to send the subscription to within a few days so I can get our subscriptions off in the mail.

Continue reading

Sittin’ and Thinkin’ and…

“Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits.”

Been doing a lot of sittin’ since my surgery. A. LOT. And a lot of sittin’ and thinkin’ too.

I have never before in my life experienced anything like this. Where I’m just stuck. Still.

But what it has done is given me time for all this sittin’. And thinkin’. And I have indeed thunk.

And also done other things with an apostrophe at the end instead of a “g” while I’m sittin’.

Continue reading

Down for the Count

It must have been 20 years ago when I first heard from an orthopedic surgeon that my feet and ankles were toast. As I usually do when I hear news that I don’t actually WANT to hear, I put on my rose colored glasses and plopped my head up in the clouds and just kept trucking.

Continue reading