Saturday, November 26, 2011

Another Project Completed

Fourteen 8' wide by 6' high fence panels were installed today on our north ine. We have no protection from the wind and every leaf from a mile around piles into our drive, against the home and at the back door. Not to mention the snowdrifts! Hopefully this will help.

With two breaks it took us about two and a half hours to complete. The picture shows us halfway done.

Instead of doing all the digging for 4x4 fence posts we bought T-posts and screwed lengths of strapping around them. Of course, the nice side of the fence faces north so we view the T-posts, etc. Maybe next year I can do something creative with our side. As always, time will tell.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Feast

Sweetie and I will soon delve into our Thanksgiving meal. All of it except the sweet potatoes was cooked yesterday. I like to relax on a holiday, not slave away for hours, then eat in half an hour and wonder why I overdid it.

I've made the calls to family and packaged a few treats for unsuspecting people we've come across in the last year. In the middle of the night I'll drop packages off and hope not to be mistaken for a burglar. To one couple we're giving two frozen New York strip steaks, to another family two boxes of groceries. To an elderly woman we've arranged for someone to take her shopping tomorrow. While she's gone I'm cleaning red pine needles off her mobile home roof.

While many are out shopping the Black Friday deals we'll be doing for ourselves and others. The solid cedar fence must be installed tomorrow before the rain and snow begin Saturday and Sunday.

Monday our book reading group meets at the library and I'm on the list for a snack. That's already been made so I'll concentrate on a batch of cookies for the library patrons. Yes, we have a library that encourages such things but few people participate. Apple cider and coffee will be available in their community room and a huge basket is near the front door for donations to the local food pantry. Anyone with a library fine can choose instead to donate food. Surprisingly, few have elected to do so and have ignored their fines as well. Probably a sign of how rough it's become for people here.

My elderly friend said this morning that most of the 911 calls last night were for my twin communities. Robbery, assault, drunk driving and children left unattended or wandering out of the house while the parents partied.

Things do not appear to be improving and the apathy is rampant but still, in little pockets there are people helping others while keeping their heads on straight.

What would the world do if everyone just said to hell with it and joined the misery?

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Benefits of Solitude

"Cultivate solitude and quiet and a few sincere friends, rather than mob merriment, noise and thousands of nodding acquaintances." - William Powell

In this connected world it seems people just can't tolerate solitude. Their worse fear is being alone or missing out.

Hence, they're either texting, whiling away the day on Facebook or feverishly looking for "friends" to "hang out" with. And yet, despite their Androids, they're "bored."

Good grief!

Content of the mind means little to them but let someone make a derogatory remark on Facebook and their "friends" respond with foul language and threats of physical harm.

If this country's electrical grid crashes for more than one minute I fear the "connected" ones will commit mass suicide. The tragedy is, 11 year olds end their lives because they've been "unfriended" or bullied for having the courage to be differnt from the navel gazing know-it-all sloths - some dressed as goths.

It's a mad, mad world out there and the more often I visit it, the more convinced I am that it's saner to stay home.

I've curtailed most of my activities to the point that each "important" or "urgent" event sends shivers through my spine.

Maybe I'm just tired or physically unfit.

Maybe I just don't give a damn anymore.

Racing around in overdrive trying to capture every moment on my cell phone camera and send the message out into the world while breathlessly hoping I haven't missed too many calls isn't being "connected" to my fellow human beings - or myself!

Sitting in my chair in silence, listening to my raspy breathe and allowing my thoughts to reach consciousness and feeling my body's reaction gives me more information about what's truly important than any gadget.

Performing the simple, everyday actions of feeding our animals, sweeping the floor, preparing a meal with wholesome, fresh ingredients and savoring each bite or watching the sunset while sipping herbal tea nourishes me. The clamour, busyness and constant chatter of the world serves no healthy purpose - unless it becomes so deafening that you wake up in time to save yourself from the lock-step morons.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Year Ago Yesterday

We went from a leaky roof, broken windows, inoperable furnace, spiders, mice, leaky pipes, filthy everything and doors that didn't lock to -

New roof, furnace, windows, insulation, siding, toilets, kitchen sink, stove, dishwasher, light fixtures, carpet for one room, entry and storm door, locks, fence, 24 blue spruce, one pear tree, deck and kitchen re-arranged.

We spent our first night here sleeping on a sagging bed listening to mice. We removed heavy drapes along with the spider webs attached to them. We scrubbed and unpacked and hauled loads of garbage to the landfill.

We met new people, discovered we had great neighbors and I got involved in the library, writing/reading groups, historical society and event committee.

We gradually sold the motor home, boat, tractor and a few things from the pole barn.

We closed on the sale of our UP property in January 2011 and paid off this mortgage in May 2011. We've held our breath a few times for the land contract payment on our Kalkaska property to be deposited.

There would be another trip in January to pick up the last of Sweetie's pole barn stuff and the boat. There has been one visit from three family members in the UP and numerous visits from a friend in Flint who I reconnected with after 10 years.

There are a few last minute things to do before winter really sets in: clear space in barn for car and finish deck railing and ramp.

We still have interior painting and new vinyl flooring to install but otherwise, we're done!!!

If we're fortunate enough to someday afford a place in Florida or rent there six months of the year, we will. If not, a trip each year will have to suffice.

Would we do this again? Absolutely. Would we want to? Not unless it meant going further south!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Turn Your Clocks Back And...

Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You do have these in your home, don't you?

Change the furnace filter, water filter and air filter on your vehicle.

Change the Bug Out Bag in your car from Spring/Summer to Fall/Winter.

Change or rotate your tires. Check the belts and plugs and other connectors beneath the hood. Saves headaches later. We found a wire frayed and a line to the radiator rusting!

Stow the summer lawn chairs, rakes, decorations and bird feeders that are out of season.

Check out all your winter equipment - snow blower, shovels, wiper blades, windshield scrapers, gloves, mittens, boots, ice melt, jumper cables, vehicle tool kit. Around here it's not uncommon for something to be borrowed from one vehicle for another purpose. I opened the BOB in my car and discovered ants! Seems Sweetie went looking for something and discovered a bag of candy - which he opened!

This is also a good time to check your vehicles and garage for items that will freeze in cold weather. Our bottled water was brought inside and half full drinking bottles as well as three 2/3rd full gallon jugs were placed in each vehicle for emergency use.

This year we finished the new deck & blocked off the opening our outdoor cat used to go beneath the mobile home. He punished us by disappearing for two days. I was so distraught I couldn't sleep until he magically returned early today. After cuddling and talking to him and feeding him, he wandered off to the barn and I went to bed.

Later today I found him napping in the bass boat that hasn't yet been parked in the barn. Cats can confound the best intentions, so I pulled our 10' jon boat up near the back door, tipped it over and propped rough wood boxes on end beneath one end of the boat. A few scraps of old towels and Slick will have new winter digs - we hope. His new environment may be ignored for awhile but I'm willing to entice him. He is, after all, a great mouser.

Have a great weekend folks!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thirty Days of Writing

At 12:01 a.m. today National Novel Writing Month officially began. It's my first time participating and more than anything, I want to develop the habit of writing every day. The goal is 1667 words a day for 30 days.

If you officially join the website there are prizes awarded. Most of our writing group will simply attempt the lofty goal and not compete in the contest.

A month ago we had an author friend of mine speak at a gathering we hosted. During part of the event she asked each of us why we wrote and what we were working on. We're a diverse group but every one of us discovered that we made excuses about writing. This month, excuses be dammed.

Another reason to write every day is that not writing lessens my skill. I feel it each time I write this blog. My mind thinks one thing and I struggle to find the words; my thought patterns are jumbled and my ability to recall events accurately frustrates me. Part of this is likely the effects MS has wrought on me. But, I tire of the "MS does this" routine and choose to help strengthen my mind and body.

My first attempt at reaching the daily goal has left me feeling exhausted but what else is new? So, onward I go.

Thirty Days of