Wednesday, December 28, 2011

daily grind

There is so much to post. I should really be posting each day to keep track of my own progress towards my goals in life.

I didn't have anything to do with the ponies today. It felt weird, and I felt lost, but I've been feeling lost a lot lately. I used to think that I could achieve anything, but since I have failed to land that job or any other job, I've been shaken, right down to my core of self worth.

My time with the ponies has meant a lot to me. Getting to know their personalities and being a part of their care makes me feel special (which I'm needing a bit of) and has brought me satisfaction that I've choses wisely my career path.

I applied for an internship position with a local farm. Snipes farm is a fifteen generation farm that has received a 5 0 C 3 status.  It can now house and pay for interns, and it has an education center. I met with the person running the internship program, and I think I could learn a lot with this program. I hope I get it, but I won't know until the end of January. That's cutting it close if I want to apply to other programs, but I guess that's how it goes.

It's traveling with my cat. It's a deal breaker for most places I apply too.

well, tomorrow i will start daily blogging so i can capture my farm experiences when they are fresh.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hara! Isn't always a celebration

I've been struggling so much lately in my relationship with my seventeen year old niece.  I've been so frustrated and angry that I forgot about my Gd glasses. Without Gd glasses, my struggle with is just a tire turning in the mud.  Struggle is inherent. No one is immune to it, and I am, after all an Israelite, and it is in my heritage. However, as one mitzveh, begets another, my problem is my engagement into my yetzer hara.  I have done very little in way of prayer lately. I have even neglected my home observances, which is to say, my mezzuah, and its contents have gone mostly ignored - and it has taken its toll. who am i to think that my soul can work without nourishment? who am i to think that i can approach the world alone?

I usually say this, but this is one of my ultimate truths, Jacob's journey home.  

When Jacob arrives at a place on his way to haron, he decides to take a rest. at that moment, when Jacob has done nothing but look at his world with mortal eyes, gets a glimpse at a through Gd's gaze. "Gd must have been in this place, and i did not know it." The rocks know better, "Here is a tzadik. Let him rest his head against me." Even though Jacob has done nothing but deceive and steal from those who are close to him, the rocks know better. They saw with Gd glasses, a righteous man.

However, Jacob only gets a glimpse of holiness. When he arrives at his destination, the deceiver is deceived, and in turn, Jacob deceives and steals again. A recurring theme that lasts most of his life. Fortunately, it is not too late for Jacob to again experience holiness and revelation. Even after a lifetime of deceit. 

As he approaches his childhood home, he is unsure if his brother, Esau has forgiven him. Jacob sends scouts ahead, bearing gifts, and to size up Esau's mood.  The scouts are greeted by Esau...and 400 of his men...and report back to Jacob. "Ehhh. things, they don't look so good." Jacob, with his limited vision, decides to take action. He divides all he possess: wives, children, slaves and cattle, and sends messengers out, again, bearing gifts.  no change.

Now what we know of Esau is that he is barbaric.  This is why Rebecca wanted Jacob, the scholar to lead the family. But Easu has 400 men behind him. Esau is a wealthy man, and head of his family. The deception of Jacob was twenty years ago. He has accepted Jacob's gifts, but is cautious about Jacob. Is he planning to deceive him again. Will Jacob mount an attack, even though he bears gifts? He is not so barbaric. Their history together was a lifetime ago, Esau wants to know, has Jacob changed? Should he trust him? Maybe Esau is a bruit, but he is a wealthy man, and has successfully grown and led his family, so maybe he is wise as well.

Jacob hearing that Esau still waits for him with 400 men, he is perplexed. "What should I do?" He tries to scheme how he can get his brother to stand down, and accept his return to the family with love and compassion?  He needs to go off and think. He needs to go and reflect. He needs to stop shuffling around chairs on the titanic, and possibly take another approach. Maybe he needs to figure out how to get off the boat (what a horrible analogy. My apologies). But maybe he needs to view the situation from another point of view.

His transformation.

Jacob is visited by an angel, or he sees an angel, stops him and wrestles. He wrestles all night long, and when the day is dawning, and about to bring the same situation to Jacob's feet, he grabs the angel, refusing to let him go, and he demands to be blessed. Why? What is a blessing going to do for him? What does he hope to gain from this blessing? The angel informs him, "Hey! I already blessed you, now let me go!".

"No! do it again! bless me!"

The angel relents, and makes it more clear - I bless you and rename you Israel. For you have struggled with Gd.

In his asking to be blessed, Jacob is asking for more. He wants holiness. the angel reminds him. Man! you already got it!

Jacob is like, "But i missed it the first time. Do it again. And this time, make me see it!"

The second time, Jacob's eyes open, that is to say, his heart is open. a layer of this mortal world has been freed from his neshama, and he now sees what the rocks had seen.  He now sees a righteous man, but not only in himself, but in his brother, Esau as well. Jacob sees now with Gd's eyes.

With this clearer, holier vision, Jacob approaches his brother not with a sword, but with humility for what he had done to his brother and his father. he and esau embrace each other. they kiss, and they weep. After twenty years of isolation and past hurts, our patriarch accepts his holiness, his humility, and now sees with love.

Easy! Right?!

Jacob's example is repeated again in Joshua, but it's an important lesson. We should never go it alone. Our mortal vision is not enough. Don't only revere Jacob. Show him the most sincerest form of flattery, and do what he has done. Reflect. Reclaim your name, Israelite, see that Gd has been here -  for this place, this person is surely blessed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How's this for a bad day?

today i will  close my door and cry. there are so many things i keep at bay, and today i've been pushed to the limit.

i haven't been able to find work, and when i do, my sister n law tells me the position i'm about to take is wrong, and i shouldn't do it. then my niece continues to treat me rudely, even though i'm about to drive her to work, only to end up calling me a bitch. calling me a bitch! a bitch! i am not a bitch! i don't want to take her to work, or have anything to do with her. have your grandmother put some fucking clothes on and take you to work. i am failing in dealing with the teenager. my personality is not strong enough. does that make me weak? i'm 42 years old, and i feel weak. i just won't be home all day, then there won't be any problem with having to ask me to take her. is that being cowardly? calling my mother. no answer.

i feel like a failure as a human being. i've never been able to establish an intimate relationship, and i'm not even good with friendships. i don't know how to give of myself. i'm at risk for all types of cancers, since i've never been on the pill or have been pregnant. i have a spot on my finger that i'm afraid is cancerous, but i no longer have insurance. even at my job, i wasn't good at it. i just couldn't hold my own, and spent a lot of my time online or talking to friends.

this past year has been a flop. i make poor decisions. in hindsight, if i moved out of the trailer, and took an apartment somewhere, I possibly could have stayed at the farm. and told them that i wouldn't be doing the markets. if they said no, then i could look back without regret. and at bobolink farm, if i just did the cows and not the shop.

i still feel sick about simba.

was it my mania that made me do all of those things? if i were normal, then would i have not made so many errors in my decision making? i sometimes wish i would die. i just feel like a failure as a human being. let the others take my place and contribute to this world. i just can't.

i cried today. when my brother called, i cried to him. when my mother returned my call, i cried to her. i know i'm not done crying. i won't be for a long time. i'm usually a happy person, but today, i can't remember what that happiness feels like.

i feel rage.

my mother tells me that there are so many things i have accomplished. none of it feels like an accomplishment. i feel like a failure. what is a human being supposed to be doing? i don't know what it is i'm supposed to be doing. we're not supposed to be alone. fail. marry. fail. have children. fail.

so now i'm trying to be as productive as i can be where i am living, but only to be kicked. i don't want to be kicked. i don't want to have to fight. i want to live in harmony with the world. how can i live in harmony with the world? i'm so small. i feel so lost and insignificant.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Time is flying

It certainly has been a while since I've posted. It's too bad that I'm not more consistent, there are a lot of great things happening, and I should document them.

My involvement in caring for the ponies and the little fellabella we have has deepened.  You notice how I include myself in ownership.  I'm really just a worker, but I take my involvement seriously.  If only I could write more on that particular strain of thought, but it's best to keep it safe.

I've decided to take some books out of the library to increase my knowledge on the care of horses and ponies. I need to know more about feeding. I think one pony is getting too much, and the other, not enough. Other things I'm learning more about involve grooming and anatomy.  I'm also trying my hand at discipline. I want to learn proper techniques since I'm usually exposed to methods that I find questionable. 

My schedule typically involves taking care of them in the morning, and my sister n law and niece take over the evening care.  If they are out in the pasture all day, then all the evening shift needs to do is bring them in, and provide feed and hay.  Their stalls are already clean as are their water buckets - which are also full of fresh water. If they are in their stalls all day long, then they need to have their stalls mucked and water buckets filled in addition to feeding. Usually I'm greeted in the morning to a full wheel barrel and tack lying around waiting to be put away. 

My time in the mornings have become longer. I think I'll start bringing my computer, books and knitting/cross-stitch to start feeding in the afternoon and maybe take over the evening. 

I need to start planning for next years garden. I still want to have one at the barn. On the side of the barn I can plant an herb garden. I think if I start from seed now, they'll be ready to plant by the spring. 

I'm also going to put a garden on my brother's property.  My sister n law thinks I'm going to need to fence it all in to keep out the deer, but I can do low tunnels and other deterrents.

On the downside, I have no money. I've lost my insurance, I have loan payments due, and I need to buy my medication next week. My brother and sister n law have been helping out with most of my expenses, but it's been an emotional burden that I can't fully express. I need some financial freedom. 

Finding a job has been very difficult. Even with my experience, I have not been able to get back into public health. Just as well I suppose, but I really would have liked the income.

I haven't been able to score any non-skilled jobs either. That part has been very depressing. 

If only I could summon the courage to do some of the things I've been desiring.  The pie making, scarves, pasta...all of these things I should be doing.  I haven't been making any solid plans.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011


have you ever read hannah, samuel's mother? she's found near the tent of meeting, on her knees mumbling prayers to gd. she was praying for a child.

i have found myself in the same position, sans tent of meeting, praying for love and companionship, until one day, i prayed for gd to take away my feelings for such things - after all, i've never had these things fulfilled, so why have the feelings at all?

so far, for the past year and a half, very little pain and suffering.  however, the past few days, those feelings of longing and emptiness have crept back into my life. i want to wrap myself in my own embrace for comfort.  again, i ask for gd to take away these feelings that have never been any use to me, but have only been a source of pain since as long as i can remember.

these terrible feelings use to consume me. i spent way too much time on friends' and therapists' couches, and even in my doctor's office crying about it.

it's not that i wouldn't love to have a companion, but those feelings of sadness and desperation are terrible...

the truth is, i don't feel like i am a good person deserving of such a love. i've been in situations where i've met men who were available, and i was never found appealing. I wasn't appealing. I was suffering from mental health problems that just made me a mess to be around.  medication has made me better, somewhat.  i'm still weird. i've been in situations where the opportunity was so close, but i pushed it away or behaved in such an outrageous manner, but that was my fear talking. how complicated it all is.

sometimes it's as if i'm 1000 stories high, trying to drop water from an eye-dropper into a dixie cup on the ground. someone i knew who had lost his ability to walk said that after a while he would watch people walk and wonder how they managed to hold themselves up on their sticks.  he said it all just seemed so odd. That's me with relationships. It's all so odd.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"you can't handle the truth!"

I am imperfect.  It's the most awesome, burden unloading truth I hold dear to my heart.  Not that it let's me off the hook, but acceptance is a powerful thing.

In my last post, I talked about wanting to write out my truths.  Then I started to realize, there's no way I'm  ever going to get to the heart of who I am.  Well, maybe I can uncover WHAT makes me tick, but I don't ever think I'm going to uncover WHY I tick that particular way.  

You know that question, "If there is one thing you could change about yourself...?"  We've all had our typical replies to the age old question.  Most replies involve wanting to get rid of bad habits and take on new, and hopefully better habits.  You may want to change jobs, locale, relationships, looks.  Sometimes people want to change their circumstances: richer, live off the land, greener - what have you.   And then there are those who just want to change their clothes.  "All's fine here! I wouldn't change a thing!"  I like to judge these people and call them "in denial".  

I've spent my entire life trying to change who I am.  My therapist, whom I've been fortunate enough to have for the past twenty years once said to me that she has watched as I have leveled and then rebuilt myself brick by brick.  It's taking me a very long time to understand what change I was actually going for.  I think I was afraid I would just be another copy of my mother, father, sister, and I was going to do whatever it took to make sure I wasn't one of them.  I was afraid as heck about who I was.  I was afraid that Jack Nicholson was right.  My truth was something that I would never discuss at a cocktail party, or even admit to myself in the dark.  I was afraid of the answer to "Who am I?"

Looking back, I don't thing I changed much.  Sure I've matured in ways that have made me very happy. And adding a mood altering drug has made life way better. But my "self" is no different than it has been since the beginning of my time.  However, up until now, wanting to know the "why" of my "self" has never ceased from my thoughts.  

I think I now know the answer to the question: "Why am I this way.  Why am I not a drug addict, shoplifter, murderer?  I think the movie "Capote" touches on the topic with great skill.   When Capote is sitting with the murder in his cell as he's dying, Capote realizes that they both came up in identical households.  However, Capote is struck to his core with the question "What made you go out the back door, and me go out the front door?  Why am I not a murderer like you?"  Great movie. Rent it.

Someone once said to me that we all contain Gd.  When you meet another person, you are essentially meeting GD.  Hmmm.  Well that doesn't help me much.  I mean, it sounds nice and all, but I know and understand less about the "why" of Gd then I do about my own "why".  So, maybe I wasn't really trying to change myself, but trying to do the impossible; trying to discover my true "self".  "Why do I tick that way?"  But maybe, like trying to understand Gd, it's impossible.  

So the answer to "why?" I'm starting to believe is this.  My subconscious (well, really everyones subconscious) has decided that it is best if I (we) didn't know the "why".  I sometimes think it says to me (you), "here is your (your plural) truth - spirituality, imperfection, a survivor, (add in your own truth) and you really don't need to know why. Just accept it for what it is."  In other words -you are who you are, now go and do something.  Besides, if we dwell on it too much, then maybe we too will end up drinking untold amounts of Old Grand Dad and baby food from jars.  Watch it. It really is a great movie.

Okay, sure - change your habits, jobs, relationships, MOVE, whatever, but remember that you are taking you with you.  There is a you that has set you on a path to where you are going.  It's like being equipped with an internal cruise control.  Don't fight it. Don't worry that you don't have what others have wrongly promised you.  You don't need whatever IT is.  Like Gd said to Avram, "Lech. Lecha"  Go. Go to you - loosely translated.  And like Gd replied to Avram when he asked, "well, where is it that I'm actually going, and how will I know when I get there"? (I'm paraphrasing).  Gd replies, (more paraphrasing) "Don't worry. I'll let you know when you're there."  BTW - This is also a good reply when someone asks you what the hell you are doing with your life.  If you are following your internal cruise control, then you can reply "Don't worry.  I'm on my way, and I'll let you know when I've arrived."  Piss them off even more.  Ha!  

Okay, there's more; it concerns Gd.  There is a truth about Gd and I want you all to know it, but it will have to wait.  Why? Because this truth is something you need to be prepared for.  You just can't hear it outright.  It would be irresponsible of me to just blurt it out.  I'll type it up tonight and stick it...I mean give it to you all tomorrow.  

I'm going to go now and play a game on facebook. Then I'm going to learn a little hebrew.  You all go and enjoy some reruns.



Saturday, August 27, 2011

this is my heart

sometimes i just want to write it all out. all the truth that sits in my heart.  not the emotional stuff of the wrong doing or hurt from a careless comment or behavior. that's all fleeting. i want to get out the truth about me. the truth about my life as i understand it.  all of the good and unformed parts.  

what is my truth.  can i get anymore existential?  does this sound too much like "who am I?" of course it does.  it's the ongoing, never ending question that is answered then changed? really? does it change so much, or do i think the answer changes because i never fully understand it. 

My life did not turn out like I was told it would.  I am not married and I have no children.  I do not own my own house.  Instead, I am single with never having had a significant relationship in my life.  At one point I thought my life would be nothing without a significant other and a child or children, but lately, while I am still open (i think) to finding a significant other, I'm pretty much past the having children part.  In fact, I've recently discovered that I really don't care for them. you have no freedom, and all your money and time is spent on them, and still they can turn out to take drugs and steal from you, or die or something, and ick.  that's more than i can handle.  

So, apparently, i like being able to go with the flow.  Financially, I've been all over the place. I've been up and down. I've hit skids and prayers answered.  The one truth I've learned about myself...I'm a survivor.  Life can be pretty shitty, but it's best to turn your nose up to bad times and keep moving towards bluer skies...yuck there i go falling into metaphors.  my first truth.  i survive because i don't see much point in being sad.  i've tried deliberately and i've had it foisted upon me thanks to a chemical imbalance.  it's scary, it sucks and it leads nowhere.  you only get sadder until you feel there is no hope.  turn your nose up to the blues, and keep moving on.

my second truth. i'm spiritual, but more than that, i whole heartedly believe in a gd.  the existence of a gd i feel to be a undeniable truth. although, i don't know why and i have no way of proving it, but i know it to be a truth.   i believe that all we do as human beings is some kind of step towards gd.  obviously there are steps that are taken that lead you away from gd, but all of our steps are definitely in relation to or away from gd.  

another truth. i am imperfect.  

oh. i hear that chinese food has arrived.  i'll be prophetic later.  first some fried rice.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Really morning? Really?

okay. so what the cat woke me up at 530 to eat. after i walked up stairs i start to see the trash from the steps into the kitchen. SOMEBODY left the trash compactor door open and the dogs took out what they could and covered a quarter of the kitchen floor with it. okay, fine. i cleaned it up. EVEN THOUGH i let the dogs out last night, one of them (Macy) pooped on the floor - TWICE. when you're a small dog, your small poops give you away every time bitch. fine. i picked it up. took the trash out to the my underwear, because i didn't feel like putting pants on thank you very much...helloooo neighbor! whatever, he drinks. i doubt he'll remember. fine. put trash compactor bag into compactor and OUCH! sliced my thumb on a lid to a can of cat food. of course it's on the tip, and i'm wearing six bandaids just to keep the blood spill to a minimum. 

really morning? really?

good thing i'm laughing as i type this.  good thing i have a sense of humor.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

forecast today - hot and humid

So my plan to take the teenager somewhere today didn't pan out. I wasn't going to take her anywhere, but realized, "Hey? Why not have her sit somewhere else to watch MTV and mope?"  Oh well. 

Instead, the teenager and pre-teen convinced me to take them to the supermarket because they wanted to get stuff to make their own pizza - dough, sauce, cheese, what have you. Their mother nixed the idea, and instead we ended up buying frozen pizza.  

Now, we are in the supermarket, two sisters: one who is seventeen and the other who is twelve and an Aunt who is quickly realizing that she has made a big mistake.  One of the perks of not having children, you never have to take them into a store of any kind unless you foolishly decide to do so.  I'm feeling a case of regret about to settle into my bones.  What kind of pizza are we going to get?

Now, 12 is very accommodating and will compromise at the drop of a hat, and  was offering a sorts of suggestions that would make both she and 17 happy.  When it comes to accommodating and compromise, 17 has to dig deep for it.  Really, really deep.  I verbalized to 17 that she needed to compromise with what type of pizza they were going to get.  She said she knew that! Gawd! I thought to myself, "Then what the hell is the problem when the answer is staring you right in the face?"  Well, I realized that the answer was that she needed to talk herself into the compromise.  17 usually makes decisions based on what 17 wants.  I begrudgingly accept that, and I actually admire her for it. She doesn't need to worry about taking care of anyone else but herself.  For those of us that did not have that luxury at her age will understand that I'm also a little jealous.  I applaud my brother and sister n law for raising a beautiful, self-absorbed child.  Still, most of the time i just want to clock her.  My brother actually called her a fucking bitch the other day.  He didn't mean it...well, I mean, he didn't mean to say it out loud, but I knew exactly how he felt.  She does this amazing thing.  She asks (demands) to be taken somewhere. You say, "yes" followed by a heavy sigh and an eye roll.  The time comes to leave, and you wait for her to finish getting ready.  When she's ready, she comes to you and starts yelling how they have to get out the door right now because she is going to be late.  You're like, "Bitch I'm waitin' on you."  If you don't move fast enough, she comes at you again.  This is what she did they other day.  "Come on! Let's go! You're going to make me late!"  I can hear her spazzing out on him.  I'm thinking to myself, "What an ungrateful, fucking bitch."  So when I heard my brother yell back - "okay you fucking bitch!"  I knew he immediately regretted saying it out loud.  But hey, what are you going to do?  It happens.  I would have done something far worse. 

So, standing there in front of the frozen pizza,  i took a step back and let her do what she knew she needed to do.  talk herself into making room for someone else.  she did it. she's a rock star and everyone was happy.

Meanwhile, back on my nonexistent farm, I am applying for jobs in healthcare and hoping my unemployment will be reinstated until I can find a job.  I'm going back into my old field because I realize/accepted that I'm gonna need money to be a farmer, and it's gonna have to come in the form of a government funded position.  In the meantime, I volunteer at a food bank one or two days a week, help out with the family's ponies, and I'm growing a garden right next to the stables.  I just need to get myself in bed sooner so when 4:30 rolls around, I've had more than 4.5 hours of sleep.  Now that I'm sleeping on a mattress, This shouldn't be much of a problem.  

Sometimes it's just the simplest things that make the impact.  For me, a comfy mattress.  For 17, the success of a compromise. 

Monday, June 20, 2011


I spent most of the day sleeping today. My plan to change careers and become more spiritually centered is hitting very rough seas.  I thought I would stay wrapped up in blankets to bide my time until the waves passed. 

I've decided to go back into health care. I need to make money. Maybe I was just flirting with the whole blue collar thing. Anyway, real blue collar jobs make a shit load of money, and I wasn't even clearing a turd.  

It'll be good to make some money again, and doing what I know very well.  Although, right now I'm not doing anything, and it is making me incredibly sad.  

Friday, June 3, 2011

how f'd up is that!?

It really is amazing how some of us survived our childhoods.  And it's abso - fucking- lutely true that what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger...which really means what didn't destroy our souls only strengthened our spirits.  death is being alive and walking around in darkness, bringing nothing but darkness to others. 

My own darkness:  horrible lights and music.  Off the shoulder halter tops worn by mothers who sit and smoke pot with their sixteen year old daughters.  Daughters who end up having sex with their mother's boyfriends.  It's cool to sit and smoke with them when you're thirteen. You can swear and talk about sex and drugs and not follow any moral code.  No rules. One cool mom. One sleazy boyfriend and one very, very frightened sixteen year old. Thirteen year olds who get to leave and go back to their single parent households where their mothers are not home.  You sit and smoke and blast Rick Springfield out the window and hang out with Dave down the street because all of you have a crush on him, despite the fact that he's an alcoholic.

You move away and become good again, but your sister is smoking and drinking and doing drugs.  She's always bringing her friends around with cases of beer. You don't want to be ridiculed, so you grab a hate it, but force yourself to drink anyway.  Your choice of drink had always been liquor, but you were away from those you drank.  Here you are again.  Mother even less. Alcoholic neighbor who is twenty- eight is making the moves on you in your room.  You remind him that you are fourteen and a friend.  

maybe fifteen will be better...ha!

Whatever.  There are stories out there way worse.  It doesn't mean anything.  If you are here, not on drugs, drunk or married to any of the above, that's a strengthened spirit.  If you have a strengthened spirit, then the only thing that you can do is laugh and say "I can't believe I survived that!" and move on.  Move on.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You Are Now Leaving Paradise

I can’t say it was time wasted. I learned a lot during my short time at Paradise Gardens and Farm.  I still wonder if I were a different person, if I could of stayed and put up with the extreme personality of the Farmer’s wife.  Again I was faced with a difficult person, and I wondered what I was supposed to learn from this experience.  Silence?  Humility?  Was I supposed to be the stronger person? Was I supposed to become aware of my weakness in the face of such difficulty?  Am I to expect that I will bail when faced with what seems to be the impossible.  Steven, the other ex-intern, would give a definitive “NO!  She was an impossible woman.”

Like I said, it wasn’t time wasted.  I walked onto my future internship and everything was familiar.  Differences: bovine are humongous - I mean their heads are the size of baby goats…baby goats with very pointy horns that have 800 pounds behind them to give you a good spearing.  “Don’t let them get you up against the fence” was the advice of the lead farmer, when trying to turn one of the cows around to go into the milking pallor.  I play this image out in my head.  “The fence is potentially the way out. Okay, well if it weren’t for the fact that the gate is locked.  So,  I should fight the urge, when the animal’s head is down, horns charging towards me, and you not to run towards the fence.  Okay. Got it.  Yeah, right.”

Currently I’m staying at my brother’s and sharing a finished den with my seventeen year old niece.  This has given me a clear reminder why I don’t have children…and possibly insight into why my mother beat the shit out of my sister when we were younger.  Okay, maybe not.  It’s not good to beat your children,  no matter how much you want to, or how much they may deserve it!  I’ve wanted to clock her on several occasions and sometimes when I think of her shitty attitude, I want to clock her when I see her, which would probably cause her confusion, but elicit complete understanding from her mother.  “No matter how much you want to or how much they deserve it. Restrain, restrain, restrain.”  This is my mantra.  

I’m nervous about my future.  “What do you hope to do after you finish the internship?”  A constant question I get when people ask, “So, what are you doing now?”  My reply.  “I have no idea.”  That sounds rational.  I hope it takes the edge of the absurd reply when I say it with complete confidence.  

I stopped by my Uncle’s family farm.  It full of reminders of days long past.  His cousin is now running the farm, and it looks like he’s in need of help.  Maybe that could be something I do part time.  He said he was, but people always say that until you start giving them what they asked for.  No one, including myself, likes to be told what to do.  Ego. 

I left paradise.  It wasn’t mine.  I know that uncertainty and unlimited potential is my path to my own paradise.  Without a doubt.  No need for fingers crossed. 

i can't remember where i put my keys. how am i expected to keep a daily journal?

It's raining today. In fact, severe storm warnings have been issued for the entire Jefferson County.  To the south of us, tornado warnings.  This is my kind of weather.  And they said nothing ever happens out here.

I was just out in the harvest shed making pans out of aluminum foil so I may properly water my seedlings growing in their flats. For those of you who think this sounds quaint, you really need to get your collective heads out of your collective asses. It would be better if I were able to purchase shallow aluminum pans.  In this place of Paradise, suggestions such as aluminum pans are not welcome.  Just one of many disappoints of my internship.

The other intern and I took a trip to the city on our day off, and successfully whipped each other into a frenzy on how the farmer's wife is thoroughly blowing our bliss as budding farmer and cheese person...should we stay, or should we go?  Sigh.

Before drifting off to sleep last night, and in the light of day, we both came to the same conclusion - stay.  We've also committed ourselves to one another to get us through the difficult moments.  "What would be a difficult moment?" you might ask.  Well, yesterday morning I made her cry.  I told her that it was really difficult to share ideas with her and then she began to cry.  Any suggestion you make, she likes to emphatically shut you down.  Through her fake tears she told me how we (the underpaid interns) are not offering her enough credit and validation for all of the work she does.  Sigh.

Now, those of you who really know me will not be surprised to hear that my sympathy meter barely budged.  And then came the "You've got to be fucking kidding me" expression on my face that didn't help matters any.

So, I ask myself, "Where is my responsibility in future interactions?  If I'm going to make this work, how do I need to change?"  I don't like the answer, mostly because none of the answers involved digging in my heels and standing my ground.  Grrrr!

Other than living with crazy, I love what I'm doing.  I love getting my overalls dirty, my muck boots and shoes mucky and getting love from tiny goats with tiny feet, eyes and mouths that nibble at your pants, hair and fingers.  When I go to visit the city, coming back is always a spiritual moment.  I see my first barn sitting atop a rolling hill and, crazy not withstanding, all is right with the world - all is as it should be. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

whitey and the dull blade

Sorry i haven't written in a while. things get pretty busy here on the farm. Roll call happens around 630am and the day doesn't usually end until around 830 or 9pm.

To catch everyone up. on march 1st, i packed about 95% of my belongings into my pt cruiser and headed to northwestern PA to begin a six month internship on a csa garden and goat farm.

After driving for about six hours, i arrived in Reynoldsville, PA. You should all know that this is the first time living so far away from home as an myself. I find my actions to be very brave...Anyway, it was dark, i was tired and all of a sudden lost! Well, okay, not really lost. My gps took me to a portion of road that was a raging stream. Not my gps' fault.  Reynoldsville had just experienced a torrential downpour before i arrived.

Remember in my last note on germination? How I have a tendency to become a little dim witted when i'm anxious? Well, add tired to that and I turn into a downright idiot. As I stopped in front of the "road closed" sign marked with orange cones to prevent anyone from driving on the road, I thought "What have these barriers and warning signs have to do with me? I'm almost at my destination. I'm sure I'm considered 'local traffic', and therefore the road crew who set up the "road closed" sign and the orange cones did not intend all of this display of safety towards me? Road closed you say? Orange cones be damned. I continued on my way, down the dark, deserted, CLOSED road. Stopping about 100ft before the rapids that had washed out the bridge, I relied on being delusional as motivation to drive on. Just because there is a rapid of water washing out the road before me doesn't mean I can't cross it. I attempted my crossing by driving up on some guys lawn. "How high can the water be?" I wearily asked myself. Well, good thing the man who owned the grass came out to yell at me for being an idiot before literally driving off the deep end; luckily i didn't run over his well. Those of you who own wells know how low to the ground they are, and how bad it is for someone to run over them. For the rest of you, please refer back to previous sentence.

So after hightailing it off the road blocked off with orange cones and marked with a big sign that read "Road Closed", I attempted I relied once more on my GPS to take me in a different direction. It didn't. It took me on a road parallel to the one i just left. " Not to fear, I'll just take any road. How about this dark dirt road? This looks unpromising." Delirious and stupid, I ended up on a dead end road that was lined with Amish houses. Mothers and wives gathered to peak out their windows, no doubt shaking their bonnets and tsking the English.

After a few embarrassing phone conversations with my new and temporary roommates, i finally made it to my destination. I was greeted by two farmers, whom were probably wondering if they made the right decision by picking a girl who would drive down a closed road and attempt to cross a washed out road. Well anyway, that's what I was thinking. I was also greeted by two dogs: Bella and Wyatt, and a rooster named Whitey - the tragic hero of our story.

Whitey was one of three roosters who occupied the lower chicken house. He was also a rival to Nuroo, the rooster of the upper chicken house. From what i could gather, Nuroo is one hell of a rooster, and Whitely, well, not so much. Whitey's face and fleshy bits on his head and chin were badly cut and covered in blood when i arrived. Lucinda, the farmer's wife, was cleaning him up and separating him so his wounds could heal. After a few days, Whitey was as good as new, and out he went to join the flock, or brood or something.

Unfortunately, about a week later when i was opening up the lower house for the day, i noticed Whitey looking battered and bloody again. I sighed and continued to clean out the house and feed the chickens.  Afterwards, I herded him back into the chicken house and proceeded to catch him...south paw aint got nothin on me. it didn't take me long when finally i was holding Whitey in my arms...seriously, Rocky can kiss my ass . i caught a rooster. so proud of myself. I thought, "now i can take him up to the house where he'll get all fixed up, and sent back down." Well, Looney Lucinda took one look at him, and said, "Whitey, i can't do this anymore." And just like that, Whitey's execution was set for Sunday.  Yikes!  Feeling responsible for Whitey's trip down the green mile, I still couldn't help but reminisce on how i caught a rooster. Yay me! Heart felt apologies to Whitey.

Sunday rolls around, and Looney starts to ready the kitchen to do the deed. She asks if i want to stay. Well of course I do. farm experience and all. The prisoner is brought in and the executioner proceeds to pull a knife from her butcher block sitting on her counter. "Odd" I thought. "She just pulled out any knife. i think i used that knife the other day to slice bread.  As I recall, it was rather dull.  But no. She wouldn't..."

Lucinda leans Whitey's head back over the sink to make the quick and fatal cut, and lo and behold, the knife is indeed dull. "What?! Not an important detail? Putt away dishes - important! Making sure you had a sharp knife, forgotten detail?! Really!?" i stood there horrified at the scene.  In my head I was screaming"The blade is dull. The blade is fucking dull! Dull. It's dull. Why wouldn't you check that first?"
Lucinda of course is crying, but the tears are fake.  How do I know this?  Because she turns to me and says, "Stephen, her husband says if we don't cry when we do these sorts of things, then we might as well pack it up because we've lost our compassion."

"Compassion!? Are you kidding me!? How about you save your tears and next time show some compassion by using a sharper knife! "Oh death come sweetly?!  Indeed not! Poor Whitey!"

"Are you okay?" Looney asks me.

"Fine!" I gritted through my teeth.  It was the only thing I could say, because in my head I was screaming "The blade was dull! The blade was fucking dull? Important detail lady! IMPORTANT DETAIL! ya might wanna make a note of that next time, you stupid woman!" "i'm fine" i said again.

she starts to stoke the severed head of whitey's chin and turns to me saying, "it's amazing how the body calms down when i stroke the chin, even though the two are no longer connected." "don't you find that amazing?" lucinda asked me.
"again. the blade was fucking dull! it was dull! i find your stupidity to be amazing!"

okay. yeah sure, i drove down a closed road and attempted to cross out a washed out bridge. but seriously?! your tears are compassion? stroking the wattles to calm a headless and jerking body is a special thing? OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE ORANGE CONES AND THE BIG TRIANGULAR SIGN! THE BLADE WAS FUCKING DULL!

Tune in next time when I recall Fish Fridays and the single portion manna.


i'm exhausted and it's a little past my bedtime, but i had to share an encounter i had this afternoon when picking up a few things from General Dollar.

i young woman about 22 checked me out, and gave me the standard "how are you?"

"Fine" i said. "How are you?"

"Fine", she replied. moment of silence.

"Actually", i said. "i'm exhausted."

she replied with a harrumph, which i'm sure was meant to come across as sympathy. more silence.

"well i've been having a real streak of bad luck" she added.

"really? what happened?" i asked.

"well. i totaled two cars in the past three weeks and my grandma had to be moved from dubois general to a hospital in ohio."

me: "wow. well it can only go up from here, right?" i encouraged. "two cars, huh?"

her: "yeah. deer. a man honked his horn to get deer out of the upper road, but they ended up coming down onto my road and i hit it. it went right up in the air and landed on a car behind me."

Me: "oh, that's awful."

her: "and the second time, the deer didn't die right away, and the people who lived by the road came out to put it out of its misery because it was still alive but mangled."

me: "oh, well thank gd."

her: "well. the problem was, they only had a crowbar."

me: "oh no. wow. well. well, how's your grandma?"

her: "she's doing a lot better."

me: "well there's a ray of sunshine."

her: "you know." she said. "that's my name."

me: "sunshine is your name?"

her: "yeah."

me: "that's awesome. well, except right now, it's just ironic."

her: "ha. yeah. i'm sure it's the reason for all my bad luck."

me: "nonsense."

her: "well. you have a good night."

me: "you too."

we both left the encounter smiling.

the end.


i have difficulty pronouncing words, which is probably why i have trouble spelling. It's even worse when i'm anxious. so, my first week at the farm, i constantly mispronounced germination. instead i would say germate. why did this word make me so anxious? because for my first week here, I was to be responsible for the germination of about 200 seeds. why the thought of germinating 200 seeds made me anxious when i was going to be handling close to 10,000 seeds for the entire season is a bit baffling in hindsight, but that may have had something to do with denial. for the 200 seeds in question, it was to be a seed test. did the seeds collected from last season have a high percentage of germinating this season? that was the test. However, this "seed test" really felt like the "intern test". My frazzled nerves would ask, "If the seeds failed to germinate, would we all be tossed onto the compost pile?" I had to admit, the thought had me germating all over the place.
I have grown things from seed before. But in moments of high anxiety, any knowledge a priori seems to fly out the window. And if there is ONE thing i always seem to remember, it's that worry trumps experience.
You should have seen me. I spent days draped in worry, pouring over the "The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Organic", "Seed to Seed" and "The Garden Primer" to get the directions just right. When all of the seeds were set up as per everyones directions, I was totally dissatisfied. My internal gardener pushed me to start again. It took me two days to finally realize that these books were making it all too complicated. Then I remembered Snaps!
Sugar Snaps! Do you remember him? The frog in the turtleneck and baseball cap? Snaps once offered a seed starting kit. It was a clear, plastic box (the size of a ring box), a gray sponge and some seeds. You wet the sponge, put it in the box, placed the seeds on top of the sponge, closed the lid and let the seeds sprout. I didn't need published gardeners telling me how to do it. All I really needed to do was tap into my Saturday morning, sugar coated youth. Well okay, all I really needed to do was chill out. But hey, it's been two weeks, the seed test is complete, germination was successful, and i'm still here. Thanks Snaps!
Now onto onions.
Apparently, starting onions from seed is rather difficult. AND, this is now THE REAL THING! dun, dun duuuun! Everything i just learned from the seed test - out the window. Sigh.
I'm starting off with three varieties: red baron, valencia and mustang. i've started with 172 of each variety. it's been three days, and i've changed the growing medium twice (remember, fear trumps knowledge...and short term memory apparently). but i'm back on track. instead of living in the cellar under grow lights, the cells are now upstairs in a comfy 70 degree room, under dark plastic. fingers crossed. later today and tomorrow, i'm starting broccoli, kale, beets and coriander.
temperature check for reynoldsville, pa: freezing with snow on the ground and more snow predicted over the next couple of days.
Tune in tomorrow for the tale of "Whitey and the Dull Blade" :o(