Posted in Animals, Children

Peace, pecks, and pigs—Randomness

It’s a peaceful kind of morning.  No hustle, no bustle.

There’s a cool breeze, and it’s a nice respite before the West Texas July sun follows it’s usual path in the cloudless sky and the daytime temps rise to scorch and wither.  But after all, it is summer.  What else do we expect.

EK and I sat outside for a spell.  Me with my coffee, she with her glee.

Watching the world through the eyes of a baby brings on a new light.  I read that every day to a baby is like a visit to Paris for the first time for us.  The new smells, the new sights.  We would be on high alert, taking it all in.

Her yard is a far cry from Paris, I would have to imagine since I’ve never visited there.  But oh, how she takes it all in.  She notices the smallest things.  A leaf blowing across the yard, a black bird flying to rest in a tree top, the bark of Drew and Grace from the backyard saying, “We want out, let us out, we want to see you this morning too”, the choo choo whistle as it rolls down the tracks.

A chicken flew up on the arm of our chair with her beady eye and pointy beak.  Me, I’m a bit intimidated.  I don’t know why I suddenly became afraid of my chickens, as if they could peck me to death or something.  I usually shoo them away afraid they might peck EK, but today we just sat.  The chicken jerked her chicken neck around studying us, and EK stared back.  I put EK’s hand on her feathers to let her feel.

The other day my mom mentioned how the baby needs one of those toys, you know the kind we used to have as a kid.  Where you pull the string and the animal makes it’s sound.  I said, “Mom.  Look around.  Why does she need that?  We have horses that say neigh, dogs that say ruff, chickens that say bawk, cows that say moo, right here.”

That seemed to satisfy my mom, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she pulls up with a pig in the passenger seat one day.

 

 

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Tuesday Night

The evening is breezy and mild. I’m sitting in my front yard in one of those vintage iron chairs as I type this. The birds are perched in the tree and on the high wires singing me a melody.  The cows are grazing in the next pasture.  The horses are munching alfalfa, and chickens are pecking in their pen.  Occasionally the hawk soars overhead, keeping me on my toes.  Dang that chicken hawk.  The dogs lay at my feet.  Occasionally they tussle.  When Drew Miller’s adrenaline rises, I catch a hint of skunk smell waft my direction.  I guess he did get sprayed after all.  The sky is clouding up, teasing us with rain.  Makes me feel like a teenage boy sitting next to a girl in a low-cut blouse.  Life is good.  The only thing missing is a creaky wooden screen door banging closed and a wide porch.  Maybe even a glass of sweet tea.

I’ve taken to wearing an aunt Jemima scarf on my head out here.  Or as the cool kids would say,  a do-rag.  The wind does blow and whips my hair about.

I sit here and contemplate my garden.  Today I took full advantage of 2nd grade science curriculum and had my second graders help me start my indoor seeds.  It might be considered child labor.  I call it learning the life cycle and parts of plants.  We planted tomatoes, peppers, green beans, okra, squash, and radishes.  I don’t even like radishes that much, but they’re easy to grow.  I got some seeds planted and children had a good time learning.  Can’t beat it.  I want my garden in my front yard.  J-Dub says, “who puts a garden in the front yard?”  I do, that’s who.  I’m going to attempt a companion garden with vegetables and flowers.  I’m going to walk up my path and pop a cherry tomato in my mouth as I pick a bouquet on the way to the front door.  My no dig garden didn’t get finished.  I started with such gusto, only to find the cardboard blown up against the fences in a couple of days.  Oh the toil I wasted. 

I long for care-free summer days, fresh garden veggies, and tan legs.

I glance up to see dust billowing on the road.  The dogs’ ears perk up at the bellowing diesel of my husband’s truck. They run to the gate to meet him.  Dogs are such great friends.  Always glad to see you.

Nothing’s ready for supper.  Do you think he’ll be mad? 

First thing I notice when he steps out of his truck are his boots are red.  Initially, I think he’s gotten new boots, but no.  It’s his old boots, they are covered with red dirt from Oklahoma where he was working today.

I’ve got a hard-working husband, a little home, a lot of love, and wonderful people in my life.

And yet sometimes, I allow myself to cater to self-pity.  What a shame I should ever feel mistreated.

I’m blessed.

Well, the sun has moved and I’m in the shade now.   The breeze is cool and I must warm some leftovers for supper.

Until tomorrow, friends.

May God Bless you richly.

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Wabi Sabi

Yesterday I wrote about an avocado green canister that is banged up, rusted, and just plain ugly, but beautiful despite it’s imperfections.  Rather than the reactions I was expecting to receive, several folks said they loved that canister. 

I’m wondering if this green canister falls under the term Wabi Sabi.  That word in itself is just fabulous to say.  Wabi Sabi.  Try it.  It rolls off the tongue like Obi Wan Kenobi, not that I have any idea who that is.  I’m much too young.

Or Ping Pong.  Ying Yang. 

Cheech and Chong.

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese philosophy of appreciating things that are imperfect, primitive, and incomplete.   I understand it as a “less is more” mind-set.  A place where non-essentials are weeded out and only essential items are left regardless of their imprefections.

Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent.~~architect Tadao Ando

Robyn Giggs Lawrence has written a book called Simply Imperfect:  Revisiting the Wabi Sabi House.  I read an article she wrote recently that helped me realize this is what I’m aiming for.  This is the direction I’m heading.  I want Wabi Sabi!!

The two words wabi and sabi have different meanings and have not always been used together. 

Wabi means humble and simple.  Someone who is perfectly herself and never craves to be anything else would be described as wabi.     A common phrase used in conjunction with wabi is “the joy of the little monk in his wind-torn robe.”  A wabi person epitomizes Zen, which is to say, he or she is content with very little; free from greed, indolence, and anger; and understands the wisdom of rocks and grasshoppers.

Can’t you just see that little monk’s weathered, aged, grinning face?

Sabi means rusty and weathered.  It’s the understanding that beauty is fleeting.  Sabi things carry the burden of their years with dignity and grace. 

In home decor, wabi-sabi inspires a minimalism that celebrates the human rather than the machine. Possessions are pared down, and pared down again, until only those that are necessary for their utility or beauty (and ideally both) are left. What makes the cut? Items that you both admire and love to use, like those hand-crank eggbeaters that still work just fine. Things that resonate with the spirit of their makers’ hands and hearts: the chair your grandfather made, your six-year-old’s lumpy pottery, an afghan you knitted yourself (out of handspun sheep’s wool, perhaps). Pieces of your own history: sepia-toned ancestral photos, baby shoes, the Nancy Drew mysteries you read over and over again as a kid.

So yes, I’d say this green tin is very wabi sabi.

And I’m keeping it.

Words to describe a wabi sabi philosophy.

  • Simple
  • Uncluttered
  • Beautiful
  • Authentic
  • Slow
  • Clean
  • Quiet
  • Imperfect

I cling to my imperfection, as the very essence of my being.

Anatole France (1844 – 1924)

 

 

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My 47 Things

Do you ever feel like you’re surrounded by junk, and clutter, and crap?   Have you ever considered cutting back on the “things” that fill your home and your life? Recently I visited a blog link that my cousin sent me called www.livingbeyondthestars.com, where this guy lives with very little and travels around the world making money from his blog.  When he started he owned 57 things, but now claims he does not count his things anymore, but continues to live out of a bag.   This idea may have been born from the 100 thing challenge that you can read about on www.guynameddave.com, he actually has a family so does not count shared items on his list.    Anyway, the idea is to live with very little. 

I began to wonder if I could live with 50 items.  So before I read the posts on what the 50 or 100 things were, I took a piece of paper and began writing down what I needed.  I began this project kind of with a “stranded on a deserted island” mentality, or “if I was living on the streets” mentality, but hopefully I never am.

I thought about what “things” are important to me, what is a necessity to me, and what makes me life easier.  If they fit the categories, then I added them to the list.

Really, I wish you would try this.  I had interesting findings.  Just get a piece of paper and start listing 50 thingsyou need in your life.  Or 100.  Truthfully, by the time I got to number 47, I was walking around the house looking for something to write down.

Here’s my list below, but before you read it, try it for yourself first.  It only takes about 3-5 minutes. 

Come back when you’re done.

But before you go…..let me give you a couple of rules that I didn’t know when I made my list.

Evidently minamilists get to count things like socks and panties in one group and don’t have to count them as each individual item.  I listed each panty separately when I first created my list, so I actually did some adjusting and ended up with less than 50.  

Oh, I must preface this with a disclaimer or three.  This list would only work if I did not have a job, or have to be in the public at all.  Because of course, I didn’t list make-up, dress clothes or stilettos, which I wear on a regular basis {joke, insert laughter here}.  Disclaimer #2—I’d be doing laundry every 3 days.  Disclaimer #3—I’d practically be like a homeless person living out of a bag, Disclaimer #4—I’m not doing this, just thought I would see what I would need if I tried.  One “radical” commitment I have made however, is to buy NO new clothes for the entire year.  The. Entire. Year. Yikes.

THE LIST:

1.  Bible

2.  toothbrush

3.  toothpaste

4.  hairbrush

5.  Medication/Vitamins

6.  Jeans

7.  Jeans

8.  Jeans

9.  undies

10.  bra (but if I’m not working or going in public much, this is negotiable)

11.  t-shirt

12. t-shirt

13.  long sleeved shirt

14.  sweatshirt

15.  sweatshirt

16.  jacket

17.  socks

18.  tennis shoes

19.  coat

20.  boots

21.  pencil

22.  notepad

23.  shampoo

24.  deodorant

25.  soap

26.  towel

27.  washrag

28.  bed

29.  sheets

30.  pillow

31.  spoon

32.  fork

33.  knife

34.  bowl

35.  plate

36.  cup

37.  pot

38.  skillet

39.  camera

40.  blanket

41.  gloves

42.  lantern

43.  ponytail holder

44.  first aid kit

  45.  And just because I have room on my list, I’m going to say laptop

46.  and cell phone

47.  Pajamas

And I still have some wiggle room, especially if I was going for 100 things. 

This isn’t a lot, but I think it’s enough.  If you have a family, it’s going to be harder, but you could even consider going for 100 things per person.  The hardest part of this for me would be getting rid of my memorabilia or sentimental possessions. 

Okay, so tell me now, what does your list look like?

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Making Your own Baby Food

A recent motto I’m attempting to sink into my soul is “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!”

Today I want to tell you about my  frugalicious friend and neighbor Revelle. 

She is doing something that makes me happier than a coondog on a bare leg.

Let me tell you about it.

But first, you must meet her precious 5 month old, Jaxon. 

He was smiling at me right before this, I promise. 

I think he likes me, don’t you?

For all the moms out there who are wanting to say no to consumerism and save some bucks, with 30 minutes and a food processer, Revelle will show you how.

She is making her own baby food for this little solid-food eater.

A jar of sweet potatoes in the grocery store runs about one dollar per jar. 

Instead, she bought 3 sweet potatoes for $2.36.  She baked them, peeled them, and cut them up.  Then put them in a food processor and pureed them.

She then poured them into these little ice trays with lids and froze them.

She was able to make 40 one ounce servings for $2.36.

Math has never been my best subject, but I know that figures out to saving some serious moolah.

Plus it’s fresh and made in your own kitchen with your own germs.

And that’s as good as it gets. 

Unless you add butter.

And marshmallows.

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Journey to the Land of Less is More Mile 3: Just Say NO!

 About seven years ago I lived in a small 2 bedroom house on a busy street named Somerville.  It was a little tan house with dark brown trim.  There was nothing fancy about the place.  It didn’t have a garage, or a second bathroom, or a fireplace, but it had a quaint porch.  It was an extension of my living room.  My dad bought me a wooden rocking chair from the Cracker Barrel.  One morning I went out to sit in my chair, and nearly busted my tailbone.  It had been thieved in the night.  Some low-life had crept upon my porch in the dark and stolen my rocker.  I felt violated.  And my dad bought me another second one.  He said he hopes whoever stole it gets a splinter in their butt when they rock in it. 

I had my sister’s porch swing hanging from the edge with a garland of sunflowers twisted around the chains.  I had a few plants, a decorative flag that hung from a pillar, it was an inviting place.  I sat on that porch every evening, every Saturday, every Sunday, watched the cars drive past, and waved at people I knew.  And some I didn’t.  Friends and family would come and sit with me.  We’d swing or rock and visit.  It holds good memories, even if I did get my rocker stolen.

Also in that house there was a small pantry. Just two doors that opened up with narrow little shelves.  Inside those doors I hung my “pantry emails”.  The emails that touched me.  The ones that really made an impact. The ones I wanted to read.  And read again. 

I began blogging in November of 2008.  I really do not remember why I started blogging, except for needing a place to write my thoughts and stories down.   My very first blog post was a copy of a “pantry email” entitled Great Advice.  I reread it today, and decided to camp awhile on advice number four.

 Say No to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

In my journey to the Land of Less is More,  I want to unclutter not only my surroundings, but also my time.  After reflecting on how I am spending my time,  I found some places to say No.

To my house I say No!  No to the pointless cleaning that only dirties itself up again. 

To the book I am reading, I say No!  You are mediocre, and not worth my time.  I hope you turn out well.

To the barking dog next door I say No!  Although you are not a project, my mental health is on the line here.  You. Will. Stop. Barking.  Although I cannot state how as it may be used against me in a court of law.

And  to my sister Jolea, my exercise partner, my FIRM buddy, I must say No.  No to the workouts.  No to the jumps and the squats.   I am 2 workouts behind schedule.  I don’t want to do it.  And it is making me fatter.

By this I mean the exercise, not the box of 24 packages of Rolos I’ve eaten since Christmas.

 

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Four Things

I have few things I want to share with you today.

First Thing:

We’re studying the water cycle in science up at the elementary school.  You remember your second grade science class don’t you?  Or has it been many moons?  For a quick review, here’s a song about the water cycle sung to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands.

Ready?

A  one, a two, A one, two, three, four…..

Water travels in a circle, yes it does (clap, clap)

Water travels in a circle, yes it does (clap, clap)

It goes up as evaporation, forms a cloud as condensation, fall to the ground as precipitation, yes it does! (clap, clap)

I was reading the Bible this morning, I am still in the book of Job.  At this point a young man named Elihu is ripping into Job, tearing him a new one, putting him into his place.  He’s telling him about how awesome God is, and then he says these words:

Take a long, hard look.  See how great he is—-inifinite, greater than anything you could ever imagine or figure out!  He pulls water up out of the sea, distills it, and fills up his rain-cloud cisterns.  Then the skies open up and pour out soaking showers on everyone.  Does anyone have the slightest idea how this happens?

 

I read that and was bamboozled.  It’s the water cycle, right there…..evaporation, condensation, precipitation.  I don’t know why I was so surprised to find this in the Bible.  I mean, God is the creator of everything after all.  What took scientists until the 16th century to  learn and label with big, scientific sounding words, Elihu knew 2000-1800 years B.C.  Awesome, isn’t it?

Second Thing:

I’ve never been a magazine subscriber until recently.  I spent a good $50 on magazine subscriptions when we bought our Little Trailer House on the Prairie. 

These magazines will teach you how to garden, can food, cook chickens, milk cows, build solar panels, bake bread, make hammocks, and asundry other very informational things.  Someday I fear us younger generations are going to wish we knew how  not to depend on commercialism.

Some great magazines to read if you’re wanting to learn how to live off the land and become more self-sufficient are the following:

GRIT

Mother Earth News

Hobby Farms

Mary Jane’s Farm

Today I received this new GRIT magazine in the mail from my grandmother-in-law. 

We call her M.O.  It’s all about turkeys.

 She also sent this book home with Jason recently. 

It teaches how to make home-made beer.  Among other important things. 

But the item that I received in the mail yesterday that made my heart go pitter-pat, was new sticky return address labels. 

With my name and address of course.

But these aren’t just any old kind of return address labels. 

They have pictures on them. 

And not of flags either.

But farm animals.

A chicken, a cow, and a rooster. 

And look at this.  Doesn’t she make you want to just snuggle up with her?

   

I’ve never wanted a pig.  Never  ever. 

Until now.

I can’t resist him any longer.

Help me, help me, help me.

Third Thing:

I’ve been unsubscribing to a lot of my emails lately.  I click unsubscribe and a box pops up that says something like, “Thank you.  You won’t be receiving any more emails from us”  But then suddenly, an alert of a new email message pops up from the exact same company who just lied to me telling me I won’t be receiving any more emails from them that says, “We’re sad to see you go, would you please fill out a short survey letting us know what’s wrong.”  Or “Oops, did you mean to unsubscibe from us? If it’s a mistake, please click here.”   That’s a little bit annoying to me.  Just needed to vent. 

Fourth Thing:

I read a little snippet today that the earth’s rotation is moving in such a way that our zodiacal (if that’s even a word) signs are changing.  So guess what?  You may no longer be a Leo or a Sagittarius.  I was a  Pisces, but now I’m an Aquarius. 

You can read more at http://www.salon.com/news/natural_disasters/index.html?story=/mwt/feature/2011/01/13/horoscope_change_zodiac

Don’t let it shatter your world.  I think it was just a bunch of drunk on home-made beer farmers that decided it.