Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tender Time

I haven't written much lately, which is a switch from my everyday or sometimes more than once a day checking in. Two readers have written or said to us: "What is going on?" I actually could write a book on just the doin's of the last few weeks.

My 86 year old Mother had another trip back to the hospital. This time, she had multiple infections. After just short of 3 week there, she has been back in the Nursing Home a week today. She is very frail.

I try to be open to all the teachings along the path so that I may learn and grow in ways that I am intended. I met a man whose Mother had gone through significant traumas and was Mother's room mate initially on her return to the Nursing Home. He said that they may be seemingly full of life and active at these ages. But then an episode occurs and they pretty quickly go down. How very precious these Elders are.

We do not know what the future holds for Mother, but "end of life" issues are coming up. Of course, none of us know how long we will be here. It seems that Mother is making a decision as to whether she will stick around for a while longer or go on to the Great Beyond. We are trying to be as supportive as possible. That means keeping her comfortable and pain free. It also means just being there for her and trying to follow her lead when we know what that is.

Hospice has recently entered the picture. Some people find that a "downer". But rather I feel that we are letting go and giving her all the support that we can. That means getting help for Mother and help for us too.

We are grateful for every breath.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Today is the Spring Equinox. From Latin, "equi" means equal, and "nox" means Night. On this day, Day and Night are supposed to be in balance. The short cold days of Winter in our Northern Home on this Amazing Planet move toward the long hot days of Summer.

Some believe this day marks the beginning of Spring. While the Air is still chilly and the Earth is clothed in drab, Nature is making a shift. All of Creation feels it. Of course, we Humans feel it too. We have more energy. Senses of anticipation, excitement, and hope are present; these sensations were missing or decidely less just a few days ago.

Years ago, I heard that on this day (along with the Fall Equinox), one can balance an Egg on its end. I usually test this out on this day. After a few adjustments, I have always been able to get that Egg to balance. I have no idea if this is the only day when this can be done. But somehow, it makes sense to me and is precisely what I want to believe. I like to feel that "balance" in all that is. With it comes a calm that all things are shifting as they are meant to be.

Good Morning

We moved Plants upstairs last evening to free up one more South window for the ever expanding collection of seedlings. These Coleus Plants joined Deleta's gifts of Hen and Chickens in Mother's Clay Chicken Pot from Aunt Ruthie and my basket of Bulbs from Caleb. Judging by the bud emerging, there will soon be a Daffodil in their midst.

The Coleuses are from last year and will soon be cut to "root" for the upcoming seasonal Garden Glee. When I headed into the Family Room this morning, I noted the reflection of the Morning Sun on their Cheery Faces. Even though they are at the West window, they seemed to be saying "Good Morning to the Day."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Spring is picking up speed and so are we. This week we had daytime temperatures in the 50s to 70s and some lovely blue skies. The seasons are definitely shifting. As we approach the Spring Equinox tomorrow, we move from Winter sleep into Spring awakening. Here is a brief listing of what's been going on:

We use the Biodynamic calendar which factors in Moon, Planetary and Constellations as a basis for our actions related to plants. So far this week, we have been in Flower, Leaf and Fruit signs. For "Flowers", I transplanted Snapdragons, Petunias, Pansies. I started Wax Begonias and Geraniums from last year's plants. Melanie planted Shungiku Edible Mums. After 2 days, they were already coming up! For "Leaves", I transplanted herbs (Catnip, Parsley). We have plans to hide the Catnip from the Cats. Melanie planted Hyssop, Feverfew, Marjoram, Yarrow, Stevia, Beebalm, Thyme, Lemon Grass (a replant), Early Snowball Cauliflower. She transplanted the Giant Pascal Celery, which now could be called Pipsqueak Pascal Celery. For "Fruit", she planted Eggplants, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, and Peppers. She would tell us their names, but since there are a lot, we won't go into that here.

Our Seedlings are now taking up every South Window and then some. We decided to use natural light, rather than grow lights and heating pads (which take fossil fuel and increase carbon load). Other more established plants sing praises at East and West windows. That's just like Aunt Lula, my Grandfather Fred, and my Dad would do. If it was good enough for them, it should be good enough for us. We have a lot of oxygen in the house these days. Perhaps that explains why we sometimes get a bit giddy. But, we were giddy before.

Richard gathered posts from the Osage Orange for the Grape Arbor and an outdoor plant stand. He drug in the smaller posts himself and pulled in the bigger ones with Betsy, the lawn tractor. He built an outdoor plant stand which will hold the small little plants during the day.

Melanie and Richard headed South to gather sawdust compost from the site of a sawmill which was to be sold today. That stuff will be great for the garden in its nutrient base as well as tilth.

We are now putting the Spinach, Lettuce, Beets, Leeks, Broccoli, Cabbage seedlings outside on the outdoor plant stand on nice days.

Kindred spirit Vicki Svedarsky from northwestern Minnesota came through on Tuesday. She was on her way to visit her elderly Father in southern Missouri. I met her at the end of the drive. She pulled up her coat from the back seat for me to examine: "Do you remember those down parkas?" We laughed a good belly laugh. They had 17 inches of snow up in the area that we used to live just last week. The 3 of us had brunch outside and a wonderful visit. I got my first tan of the season.

Stuff is sprouting in the cold frame (Parsley, Kale).

Richard cleared off the garden, piled up the debris, and on a calm day set fire to the piles. Those nutrients left in the ash go right back into the soil. He also started a new compost pile in the garden. He has made plans to begin the "fence" around the garden tomorrow.

We are making our own seedling mix out of 1 part garden soil, 1 part commercial organic soil mix (from Gardener's Supply) or peat moss, 1 part compost. Today, Melanie added sawdust and threw in egg shells.

The Chickens are producing more and more eggs. Production is "light dependent". With increasing sunlight, they are now producing an average of 20 eggs per day.

Melanie is making more plans toward "setting a Henny" soon. While I type away here, she is reading about the dynamics of such an operation. I can imagine the Hennies are chuckling that we have to read a book. Stay tuned.

Rain is predicted for Saturday. Richard plans to roto-till some dry parts of the garden tomorrw. Ideal times to plant "roots" are Saturday and most of Sunday. Assuming all goes well, we will be planting Potatoes and Onions outside in the garden on Saturday.

And did we note we make mid-day visits to Mother in the hospital, bringing her a milkshake from homemade kefir, frozen fruit from last year's crop, stevia, and occasionally fax oil? Plus, we continue to interact with hospital staff to work through details of her care. Some unknown angel brought her Daffodils which now smile broadly in her room.

The lovely bulbs that Caleb sent me after my fall are beginning to bloom. Outside, the Pussy Willows are proudly sharing their furry catkins. If we think we have been busy, all of Nature seems to have taken a turn.

Yes, we are busy, busy, busy, but grateful for every minute of a blossoming Spring.

Power Down

February 27:

We had newlyweds Joni and Arnie over for dinner last night. About a half hour before we sat down to dinner, the electricity went out. Now that sounds like a real Farm experience.

The Pies sat in the oven awaiting the next burst of heat, which was dependent on an electric spark. The Venison Stew on the top of the stove bubbled gently on simmer above the happy blue gas flame.

We put out the picture of the wood stove, which hopefully will be installed this summer. Melanie scouted around for candles. As Dusk moved into Dark, we had a wonderful meal and treasured time by Candlelight.

The countryside was dark. The rest of the world had seemed to drop away.

Mechanical noises in the house disappeared. We didn't hear the fridge, furnace, dryer, fans on computer. The agitating lights of the computer, clocks, all things digital were no more. All these things seem to add convenience to our world, yet a gray energy of continual agitation. All that was gone.

The surrounding silence tenderly held our quiet conversation and our time together. We wondered about our friends Ethan, Sarah and Etta who live non-electrically 3 miles to the south. They would not have even known the area was without power as they went about the routine of their lives.

Toward the end of our time together, the power came back on. So we resumed the cooking of the pies. But we didn't give up the simplicity of those candles.

I had heard that the Post Office was considering reduction of service one day a week because resources were limited. For that one magical moment, our carbon footprint on the planet was reduced. Resources are limited on this Great Earth. I would be willing to power down more. I just need some more time to think about these things.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Astronomy Note

Richard stopped me in my blogging to catch the evening sky. That seemed in perfect accord with my last blog entry.

Venus is at a once every 8 years position, called "Inferior Conjunction". During this time, this lovely planet can be seen as both an Evening Star and a Morning Star. She is very close to the horizon in the early evening or pre-dawn skies. Venus is close to being between the Sun and the Earth, so she appears as a slim crescent.

To view this, one needs a good pair of binocs or a spotting scope, and no obstructions (like buildings, trees, clouds, hills, mountains) along the horizon. Check it out.

Clearing Vision

These days, I am watching my vision "clear". The events of the last few weeks have worn me to the bone. I feel that a Master Sculptor has polished away some things of little value, things which should have been cast aside long ago.

Somehow we in this culture are distracted by many matters of little consequence. That is of course my opinion.

Today was a beautiful Spring day, one of those that we have awaited for a seemingly very long time. I saw many people out walking. I was especially drawn to the young people and the young couples walking arm in arm. We have pictures of Mother and Dad at similar stages. We have pictures of ourselves at similar stages.

I almost wanted to stop them and say: "Do you really realize how short life is?" I didn't. I told this to Mother when I visited her in the hospital. She nodded.

Life is indeed short. My mantras these days are: "I do not want to miss a thing." "I must celebrate the gift of life in every step." Why would I even consider anything less?

Sunday, March 15, 2009


(Last edit: March 20, 2009)

We spend our days moving back and forth to the hospital on tender visits to my 86 year old Mother. I feel thrown into a free fall of recognition that we all are terminal here. That includes my Mother who has been here since my time began 60 plus years ago.

That free fall throws me into the foreign land of modern medicine and new terms like “frail elderly” and the “old-old” applied to someone who is a foundational pillar in my life. While those terms have not come up in the current hospital experience, they have sifted through the cracks of a present reality which seems to swim amid details never imagined or previously overlooked. I may be in denial, but I don’t think Mother qualifies as “old-old”.

For me, another layer emerges. Perhaps it is in these times one naturally turns to family history. I am struck by the weavings of our family’s history as afforded by the 360 degrees surrounding that 4th floor where Mother spends those long days and nights. Her window faces East. Let us begin there.

We can see the building where my Mother and her Sister Ruth gave birth to me and to my beloved Cousin Susan in 1948.

We overlook the campus of what is now A.T. Still University. This community and this University pride themselves on being the birthplace of Osteopathic Medicine over a century ago. In 1902, 2 of Mother’s Uncles (Louis Brenz and Harl Wiles, who later married my Grandfather’s Sister Clara) graduated from the American School of Osteopathy. Their footsteps no doubt wove intricate and serious paths upon this place. [Photo below: Esther Wiles, Harl Wiles, Louis Brenz, graduation 1902, ASO, courtesy Still National Osteopathic Museum, March 20, 2009]

Louis was Mother’s Father’s (Fred Albert Brenz’s) brother. These 2 brothers agreed to put the other through Osteopathic training. That worked for the 1st of the 2, Uncle Louis. Life got busy for him with establishing a new practice in another state, marriage, and family.

Just before and after World War II, Albert A. Griffin, who married Mother’s Sister Ruth, was also walking his path in this place as he journeyed toward becoming an Osteopath physician.

With the passage of time, newer buildings sprouted among or replaced most of the older ones. While the vision of those buildings likely came from leaders of this profession, my Father’s hands can be seen amongst them. My Father (Jack Felix Bloskovich) was a bricklayer and foreman on the tall creamy gray brick Gutensohn Building. Dr. Gutensohn was the beloved Doctor and friend of both my Mother and Father.

Looking straight East down Jefferson Street, I see 401 West Jefferson, a spot which held until recently the Triangle Apartments. Mother, her sister Ruth, and their mother Lottie lived in Apartment 1 during World War II. That little apartment had 1 small bedroom with bath, a kitchen the size of a closet, and a living room/dining room just off the street. The 3 women took pleasure in each other’s company while they anxiously awaited news of the war and the return of the 2 brand new husbands (Albert and Jack) . In the mid 1960s, my Croatian Grandmother Dora and her daughter Anna lived in that same apartment. From 1967-69, Richard and I lived in that same apartment while we were finishing our education at Northeast Missouri State University.

One can see a broad expanse of level ground flowing mostly North to South. This space once held railroad tracks, the heartbeat of an earlier time. Factory workers from the 4 story red brick International Shoe Company used the tracks to walk back and forth from their homes. My Grandfather Fred and my Mother would have been among them.

Following Jefferson Street further, one can see the Bank of Kirksville, a building on which my Father again laid brick. While I sit in its locked chambers, I am surrounded by brick that perhaps he laid with his very own hands.

The sweep of the horizon to the Southeast shows the campus of the local college, which has been known by various names over the years. Who knows how many of our kin have gone there or worked there? When Mother’s Aunt Della Brenz went there to become a teacher, it was called the State Normal School. She graduated in 1906. I wonder if Mother’s Aunt Clara Brenz (later Wiles) went there too.

Mother’s Sister Thelma Louise’s son Russell D. Wells received his B.S. (1962) and M.A. (1965) degrees in Industrial Education from what was then Kirksville State Teachers College. Shortly after, Richard and I studied there; he finished his B.S. Ed. in Zoology in 1968. In 1969, we both walked across the stage in August; he finished his Master’s in Zoology and I completed my B.S. Ed. in Vocational Home Economics.

Mother’s daughter in law Diane Selby Bloskovich completed a degree in Business. Yet another generation studied there. Christine Wells (Russell and Sharry Wells' daughter) graduated from there in 1992. Mother's grandson Bransen completed his degree there in the mid 1990s.

Diane now works on the University campus. Once again, the University has a new name and this time a new mission. Truman State University is designated as the state's liberal arts school. Diane works in McClain Hall which is a red brick building built on a decidedly horizontal slant. Once again Dad was foreman and bricklayer on this building in an earlier time. Who knows how many buildings that he worked on that greet my eyes from this spot?

Down below Mother's room, I see the roof over the Emergency Room and Intensive Care Unit, places where my parents both made their way in these last 2 fragile years. As I ponder my view further, I note that Surgery is below me as well. Just 5 weeks ago, I had surgery on my hip.

I find myself pondering Pierce Street, which runs in front of the hospital. My 1st home was 510 West Pierce, which surely must now sit at the entrance to the Emergency Room. After the World War II, 510 West Pierce marked home to Mother and Dad, her sister Ruth and her husband Albert, and their Mother Lottie.

With all the boys returning from the War, housing was in short supply. The ever outgoing Albert with his winsome ways found this little white house through conversations at a grocery store, which was one of many in this town during those years.

I imagine that little house was packed with many things. Among them were the senses of humor and practical jokering of 2 funny guys (my Father Jack and his brother-in-law Albert). As I understand, they had never met before this time. The more gentle wits of Mother and her Sister Ruth filled in the open spaces, if there were any. Albert was seriously studying. My Dad was out and about looking for work. In 1947, his life time career as a bricklayer began. Mother was working at the Shoe Factory and Ruth was working at the Telephone Company. All four were providing loving support for Mother and Mother-in-Law Lottie.

The house at 510 West Pierce held those 2 pregnant Sisters. It held 2 new babies who were born 17 days apart, my Cousin Susan and me. Less than a year later, the Griffins packed up their car with all their worldly possessions and left to begin Al’s practice on the west coast. Mother’s Aunt Lula moved in. That spot surely held some of my 1st steps.

I took this picture in for Mother to see today. She smiled one of those beautiful loving smiles. This is Dad and Mother outside that little house. She said the picture was taken after the Griffins left. They bought the suits for Christmas presents that year.

When Mother and Dad moved out to our new house which Dad had built, my Grandmother had passed the year before. Grandmother was a classical pianist early in her life, a fact in which she and her family took considerable pride. Her sheet music had been stored in the attic and was forgotten in our family’s move. That music was never reclaimed. Its unintentional loss was a very tender spot for Mother over the years.

Mother’s Aunt Lula lived South of here on Scott Street next to the Ballards. Scott Street marks the southern boundary of the parking lot for the hospital. I remember fondly going to spend time with her when I was a little girl. One of my favorite all time memories is of her feather bed. She and I would snuggle into the middle of it for our nest in the night. The next morning she would fluff it up.

To the west, we see Twin Pines, the nursing home which held Mother’s Sister Thelma Louise, who passed there in 1991, and Dad’s Sister Anna, who passed there in 2004. Mother was a resident there for about 3 weeks, just before this hospital stay. Her simple possessions are still there, her bed is made up, and her roommate awaits her return.

Just north of Twin Pines is a house which while still stately shows signs of age, wear, neglect. This house of the classical revival style was built in 1912-1914 and was home to Andrew Taylor Still's son Charles E. Still. Family story here suggests that the house was home to the Atlas Club, the fraternity of Mother's Brother-in-Law Albert when he was in school to become a D.O. I remember Mother and Dad consistently pointing to that building and saying that was the Atlas Club, Albert's fraternity.

My interaction at the Still National Osteopathic Museum this week suggests that the Atlas Club was actually at another site during the years of Albert's schooling. The Club moved to the site of Charley Still's house in 1958. The site during Albert's years was still within view of Mother's room. Nevermind the specific location, it is the story here that is important.

My Father did not have access to the same privilege of education and wealth as Albert's fraternity brothers. He was smart and savvy in a way that neither money nor education could buy. My Father was also quite athletic and skilled in winning. Albert would bring Jack to the Atlas Club to play games against those students who thought they were pretty good. Dad would beat them more often than not. Albert and Jack would get a real chuckle out of that.

My Brother Brian surely must have been born just north of here too, although I am not sure in which building. He was born a little soon. His birth and infancy came in 1954 during the epidemic polio scare. Mother was super protective and ever vigilant in his care. I was 5 but I remember that time well. Mother kept my Brother inside the house and shielded him from visitors. Some slipped through her radar, but left her very fearful of what might be. I remember that if any of my friends came toward me while I was playing in my sand box during that hot summer, I had to run into the house. As a 5 year old, I did not and could not understand. But I know today that must have been a very traumatic time for any Mother of a new baby, my Mother included. I can imagine she experienced a deep gratitude for her baby’s health and the vibrancy of his boyhood steps.

Sweeping down North Osteopathy and up on the next hill is the Forest Llewellyn Cemetery, which surely must be the oldest in this town. We would regularly visit there to decorate graves when I was growing up. Over the years, I do not believe my Mother has missed a single year. Her Grandfather, Frederick Gottlob Brenz, and her Grandmother Matilda Waibel Brenz are buried there.

Frederick Gottlob Brenz immigrated to the United States in 1861 from Wurtemberg, Germany. He was trained as a “Cooper” or barrel maker. At the time of his immigration, young men were required to attend military classes. This was cited in family lore as a reason why he left. In reading about that area during that time, I discovered that war seemed imminent in the region of his home.

He left at 17 and his Brother (John) left about the same time. They agreed to meet in St. Louis, which seems our family’s version of “Meet me in St. Louis”. Great Grandfather Fred arrived in New York City and quickly enrolled in English language classes. When he had enough working knowledge of the language, he headed to St. Louis. Upon arrival there, he stopped at various hotels inquiring of his Brother. The 2 reconnected in their new homeland. I am struck by the perseverance and fortitude of this 17 year old. He (and his Brother) left a homeland on the verge of war and made a new home in a land embroiled by Civil War.

Frederick and John made their way to Bethel, Missouri, a German Colony. Frederick met a little German woman Matilda Waibel. They later married. Their 2 daughters who died in infancy are buried beside them. Their 2 daughters Della and Clara both lived into their 80s. Della and Clara (with her husband Harl Wiles) are buried there too.

That full circle sweep of 360 degrees takes me around the close space of this hospital. My Mother has certainly been through a lot over the course of her life, and especially these last few weeks. She prides herself on being a tough old German woman. She is.

I think about interweavings of footsteps of our family. The above stories are only those known to me in this moment. They deal with the past and a bit of the present. I see layers and layers of footsteps, some in the past, others in the present. I wonder what layers will be seen of our family here in the future. These interweavings form a tight sacred nest for Mother and all of us now.


Note: I am deeply appreciative of interaction with personnel at the Still National Osteopathic Museum, who assisted in some of the details here, including the photos of Mother's 2 Uncles.

Friday, March 13, 2009


The older I get,
the more comfortable I am
with the beauty and grace
of not knowing.
Glinda Crawford, 2009


The older I get,
the less I know.


Just when you think you know it all,
you know less than you did before.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day (IWD), a holiday celebrated by people around the world since 1911. When we lived in North Dakota, one of my favorite days on the University of North Dakota campus was the celebration of this holiday. On this day, women and men from the varied cultures represented in our community came together to focus on women's issues and to celebrate the gifts women bring to our shared world.

I headed to the internet today to find out if my new community has such a celebration. I did not find any listed this year. As I cruised around, I found the official International Women's Day site. Over 900 events were listed as celebrations for this day in this year worldwide. My cruising yielded information which piqued my interest:

I find it quite telling that my culture devotes little attention except for an occasional foot note toward such celebrations. My culture prides itself on a so-called advanced state which should be a model for others. As a rule we have often denigrated the celebration of such things. Some have noted that if we celebrate "women", we should also celebrate "men". That seems to make sense on the surface, but underneath, it overlooks that our culture comes from a patriarchal tradition which elevates ideologies, practices and accomplishments of one gender over another. Even that is not a holistic view of various cultures worldwide. It's about time that our Life Givers are celebrated and honored for the essential gifts that they/we bring to our world and our shared experience.

This little writing celebrates International Women's Day and recognizes the many women in my life and in the world who are making a difference. I decided to list them right here on this blog. That list could and should go on forever. I invite others to add their own names, as notes or just as a momentary meditation. I regret that I have listed so few from cultures other than my own and so few who are of different races. That means I have a whole lot more of my sisters to meet and greet worldwide. So here is my beginning list:

Melanie, Dorothy, Kay Sarah, Sara, Judy, Ilse, Jane, Kathy, Mary, Cathy, Karah, Karleen, Vicki, Joan, Dorreen, Ruthirene, Susan, Maxine, Nicole, Stacia, Ruth, Alva, Lizzie, Soham, Maria, Rachel, Patti, Cec, Theresa, Teresa, Kristi, Trish, Carolyn, Betty, Evelyn, Katherine, Anna, Lottie, Hattie Louella, Andrea, Gretchen, Sandy, Dragica, Ankica, Usha, Diane, Deleta, Felicia, Gayle, Gaylene, Dolly, Twerps, Angela, Alana, Rhonda, Mary, Ali, Allison, Alison, Alyce, Amy, Anne, Ann, Becky, Blanche, Bonnie, Leigh, Karen, Karren, Brenda, Wendy, Cami, Candace, Carol, Cassie, Lois Ann, Scotty, Sheryl, Cheryl, Jan, Jani, Joyce, Christina, Leigh, Cindy, Alline, Connie, Danica, Dar, Nancy, Donna, Elisabeth, Barb, Marcia, Marsha, Iris, Jean, Jeanne, Eva, Ava, LuAnn, Shannon, Jennifer, Jenny, Jess, Jessica, Sunny, Joanne, Joni, Kathleen, Etta, Katie, Kim, Kit, Betsy, Chris, Laura, Linda, Margi, Margeurite, Louise, Marnie, Mary Pat, Vandana, Nikki, Mickey, Norma, Nile, Pat, Petra, Phyllis, Sharlette, lucy, Merry, Sharon, Tamar, Terrie, Ursula, Victoria, Teresa, Carmen, Rosa, Zuleika, Lillian, Thomasine, Seane, Bev, Eilene, Ilene, Meaghann, Monika, Becca, Susann, Robin, Forrest, Tammy, Emma, Lindsey, Darlene, Mary Ann, Shelley, Michelle, Sadie, Leanna, Lynn, Janet, Neva, Ruth, Lora...

These are women of many backgrounds and interests. They were and are doing the best they knew and know how to do. They are on many sides of issues and ideas. We are not always on the same page and we do not have to be. Our differences and our inherent sense of growing toward our fullness make up an essential palette of colors for our world.

Things are changing. We are moving to a better place for all.


Ere long
the most valuable of all arts
will be the art of deriving
a comfortable subsistence
from the smallest area of soil.
Abraham Lincoln

A Place of Birth

Decades ago, I heard a colorful comment from a friend from West Virginia. That colloquialism has had considerable meaning over my Life. "I feel like I have been drug through a knothole sideways." I laughed at the time and still do.

I have felt this way over these past few years. Yet another meaning popped up for me today.

Certain moments in Life are passage points. We are in yet another birth canal toward becoming all that we are meant to be on our journeys in this Life. Things are dark and the way through is unclear. The other side is not known and I am reluctant to let myself become something that is fresh and new. That part of me resists that change. And I struggle in that tight place.

This is a time however to trust there is a Higher Plan and a Higher Order to such mundane things. I need to put one foot in front of the other and walk into that unknown. I need not question and I must not resist. I am going to a place in my Life where I have not been before on my way to becoming all I have been meant to be. While unknown to me, that path is known by a Divine Being. I just need to take the tiny steps along the way. I simply need to yield to all that is and ever will be.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Local Lore

Late this afternoon, Melanie chatted with one of our neighbors on her way back from visiting Ethan and Sarah. She mentioned to him that she had heard the 1st Frogs of the season. To which he responded: "Frogs will see 'glass' 3 times before Spring." (Glass would be ice.) "When you see the 1st Buzzard, it's Springtime."

Nature Notes

We are in the middle of a welcome warm spell with temperatures in the 50s, 60s, 70s. More signs of Spring are emerging. We wondered when we would hear those 1st Frogs. Yesterday we heard Western Chorus Frogs for the 1st time, and today we heard those wonderful Spring Peepers. Frog sounds bring broad grins on the Humans.

Snow Geese were overhead and they were flying high. Conditions were right, and their flight showed their serious intent to move. They have a full agenda ahead.

Melanie and I saw 2 baby Calves in the neighbor's pasture yesterday. We stopped the car and watched. They were new. And those legs were folding and unfolding in several directions.

Richard and Melanie saw Meadow Larks on the neighbor's spread. I thought I heard one here on the Farm. Melanie even saw a Butterfly.

The Chickens gleefully chase about in the yard as Insects are now more possible in their diets than the Winter fare.

At Sunrise and Sunset, the Sun continues to move to more northerly points on the Horizon. The little Seedlings we planted at the South windows are making their presence known as they relish in that glorious Sun, which seems to strengthen every day.

The air smells like Spring. That simple shift refreshes one's senses and one's body right down to the essence of our being. When I went inside the house after being out, the air smelled "stale". So I opened windows to flush out Winter's grip.

We have started putting laundry on the line. It is not routine yet. Today, we put out sheets. I just love the smell of Sunshine in the freshly cleaned wash.

As for now, Richard has headed up the driveway to pick up the mail. It is past 8pm. It was busy today and we were tired, so we forgot such matters. In a few moments, we will head outside to hear those glorious Frogs one more time. Those Frogs have waited a whole year to sing these first beautiful songs.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More Plantings

These days, we are picking up speed on our indoor plantings in preparation for the Gardening Season 2009. Things are still at a relaxed pace, which we relish before the busy-ness that will soon arrive.

With all of our plans for such indoor plantings, we needed to think about window space. Our home has lots of windows, which we love. Plus, the sun is quite good for plants at different stages. After some thinking, we figured out some ways to get more space for plants at the windows.

Richard built shelves for the south windows. A picture of those shelves will follow. What you see above is a shelf Richard created at the east window of the Family Room. Currently, those Cedar boards are sitting on top of some green 5 gallon buckets. Over the next few days, he will actually be creating some benches for this space which will double as benches for outside. This new arrangement has met with Scampy the Cat's approval. And of course, his approval is important.

Our Moon Sign book tells us that this is a good time for planting seeds for later transplanting in the Garden. So yesterday, that is just what we did. We will be planting more later in the week.

Melanie planted Veggies: Broccoli (Romanesco Italian, Calabrese Green Sprouting, Packman-Hybrid, Waltham). Richard planted Prairie Plants: Big Bluestem and Butterfly Milkweed. I planted: Flowers: Sweet Alyssum (White and Multi-Colored), English Lavender, Four O' Clocks, Salvia Mixture; Veggies: Cabbages (Premium Late Flat Dutch, Danish Ballhead, Henderson's Charleston Wakefield, Mammoth Red Rock).

My seed packs tell me that the plants need a range of 4-8 weeks prior to setting out. Some cool season plants will be able to be planted in April; the warmer season varieties will find their way outside by mid-May.

The Four O'Clocks were a favorite of my Grandfather Fred, Mother's Father. Apparently, they bloom around 4 in the afternoon. I have high hopes for a big Cabbage crop this year. I shall have to figure out ways to make sure that the Cabbage Butterfly Larva and the Cabbage Loopers don't dine out on the Cabbages before we do. That will be an interesting process.

I took my seed packs into share with Mother at the Nursing Home yesterday. It strikes me that being in the Nursing Home is a big separation from the outer world that is the familiar. I am trying to bring some of that outer world in to her to keep her connected. We had a very special time talking about the seeds I had planted and that she knew so well.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Filter Is Broken

This little entry discusses something that really is not an original idea by me. (Thank you, dear Danica.) But it surely fits. First, a little background.

As a white female child in the 1950s and a teenager in the 1960s in heartland U.S.A., I was taught to speak in socially acceptable ways. I was dutifully taught not to "color outside the lines". This became a cautionary tale, where I was always thinking about what I was to say and couching it in some kind of script approved by the big people around me and a staunchly patriarchal society.

That approach was common during those times and led me to some very contradictory experiences which I had difficulties reconciling. I carefully chose words so that I could be heard and not offend. Sometimes my tongue would get all tangled up, because I couldn't quite say exactly what I meant. In those years, I became a bit befuddled because sometimes I was not even sure what I meant.

The approved script tied me in a nice knot. I would say one thing but not necessarily speak the truth that I knew in my heart. I became increasingly frustrated, sad and angry because the world around me would not allow me to speak what was in my heart. This approach became a huge filter, or rather a muzzle, over my true voice and over me.

Decades passed. Times changed. I changed. Now I can say that I have officially quit. It may be a reality of becoming 60. I just cannot do that any more. It didn't work then and it does not work now. What I mean comes out in straightforward language. Sometimes I laugh, because it comes out more quickly than I would have expected. I just cannot and will not hold my voice back. And no, I do not expect to force my world view upon another. It is just the way I feel about it. Such an approach makes it way easier to have a conversation with another who is speaking from their heart as well.

Others may say that they always felt my filter was broken. In the last 2 decades, I surely have been breaking out of this tightly bound script. During that time, an inner voice still continued to dismiss that expression of my emergent truth. I can proudly report that the inner voice has changed. She celebrates with glee the reality that is the consistent internal and external expression of me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Baby Peeps

Yesterday Melanie ordered our baby Chickens. We are getting the baby Peeps from Cackle Hatchery. They will hatch by May 4 at the Hatchery which in Lebanon, Missouri, and promptly be in the mail. Those little Peeps should arrive at the Post Office here on May 5 or 6. Our order includes: 50 White Rock Roosters and 5 Black Australorp Pullets. The Roosters are the "meat" or table birds. The Pullets will be added to the laying flock.

We are hopeful that one of our Hennies will hatch out a clutch of Buff Orpington Chicks about that same time. "Setting a Hen" will be a first for us on Butterfly Hill Farm. We will be letting the Chickens do it their way with a little help from the Humans. We are kind of "in a flutter" about all of this. We are filled with excitement, yet a kind of "unknowing" about something that comes natural to Chickens, at least so we think.

Melanie is the lead on this process. She has been reading a lot. She and Richard have been pulling together what they know from reading, experience, and observation of our mostly contented little Flock. I am the reporter here.

Melanie and Richard have been talking about the best Chickens for our little initiative. Plus, we are trying to do this "in the sign". When the time is right, Freddie with about 5 select Hennies will be ushered to what usually is the Rooster House. I suppose you could call it the Honeymoon Hotel. The entourage will spend a few days doing what Chickens do.

We are hopeful that Freddie is fertile. Roosters who have had frost on their combs can be infertile for a time. That could be a big hurdle for our plan.

When we have collected the right number of eggs (about 12), we need to find just the right Mama Hennie. Lacy is the 1st choice and has many desirable features, at least from our view. She has a presence that you don't mess with. She wants kids. That is pretty evident because she is broody a lot of the time. She (or another designee) will be sitting on the Eggs. In about 21 days, we should Baby Peeps if all goes right.

At this point, the Hennie will be in the brooder house that Richard built last summer. That darling little House with its tiny little triangular yard is just waiting for its new role on the Farm.

These days, you could call us "expectant". This will be our 3rd summer ordering Baby Peeps and picking them up at the Post Office. Setting a Hennie is new for us. This brand new adventure is taking us to a place we 3 Humans have not been before. It seems a far cry from our former life in the City. While there, we just bought Chickens and Eggs from a store.

(Note: The bottom photo shows the Brooder House in mid October 2008. That little house is just waiting for adventures ahead.)