Category Archives: Happenings

Hard Times Breeds Creativity

For the first time in my adult life I have found myself to be in near complete isolation. I’m not alone, I have my daughters and husband here with me. But I’m also not going anywhere. I live 20 minutes from town in a car that would be traveling 50 miles/hour, my driveway is nearly a mile long, I have no car and my husband works three towns away Monday through Friday. Also, given the length of the hours that he works I can’t just drive him into work, as it would require getting both kids up and dressed much earlier than they are used to and then I would have to come home for several hours getting them ready for the day before I could go out and do the things I want to do only to have to get back to his work at dinner time to pick him up. The hassle it isn’t worth the reward.

So I now find myself in a situation that requires more of me emotionally, energetically, and physically than ever before. It has been a challenging adjustment to make. I’m used to having a car and being able to hop in it and drive whenever I feel like it and go wherever I want to. This newfound solitude is requiring me to dig deep.

It isn’t such a a bad thing as the isolation has truly sparked some creativity within me. And not being able to go do things when I’m looking for a diversion has allowed me to focus more on getting things done around the house.

This week I have managed to finish a sweater repair, the Treeline Cardigan for Peep, get one of my older patterns typed up and on ravelry.com to he test knit, as well as opening my ravelry store, and making Pip’s tall bed into bunk beds. Additionally, we butchered two of our meat goats, skinned them, brain tanned both hides and cleaned two skulls, and pressure canned all the meat for later dinners.

Who knows what I will manage to accomplish next week. Maybe this isolation thing isn’t so bad after all.

Migraine

I woke up with a migraine today, so my expectations for what I wanted to accomplish went right out the door.

Movies, cutting up old catalogs and coloring on herself for Pip. Got my glasses out of storage, they always help on migraine days. We are eating PB&J sandwiches and top ramen and yogurt with granola today.

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I have no idea what my triggers are. Could be seasonal changes, the full moon, heavy work load, who knows? We pushed pretty hard last weekend with the birthday party and working on the winter barn, and the weekend before that we were sick. I haven’t really had a chance to recover from any of that. So…whatever. I’ll work on darning a sweater today when the girls go down for their naps, and I’ll just try to be gentle with myself today.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll have something slightly more interesting to blog about.

Eulogy to The Family Car

I managed to kill my car on Monday. This poor little car has been a miracle of wonders, as in I wonder how it managed to run so long on so much neglect. Subarus are the timexes of the car world I think, because she took a licking and kept on ticking.

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My ex boyfriend bought her for me 3 years ago for $1,000, sight unseen. His mom and step-dad were supposed to check the car out, test drive it for us, and decide if it was safe for me to drive from New Jersey to Maine with my one-year old daughter. They never looked at the car in person, told us to buy it, and then Matt and I spent 3 days making repairs to it when he flew from Washington state to pick it up.

It was supposed to be a “one winter” car for me. She was a beast, and she just kept driving against all odds. The suspension was blown out so the carĀ  dragged over every lump and bump in our rocky driveway. The heater gave out two winters ago so we had the blower rigged up to a switch attached directly to the battery. Whenever it rained the floor panels got musty and the radio shorted out. Last year the steering column seized up, so we took it apart and rigged it so I could start the car with a screw driver. Earlier this year the back wiper stopped working. She burned oil, leaked radiator fluid, had so many holes in the exhaust system my little car sounded like a monster truck. Two years ago the ignition fuse blew out, stranding me in a Wendy’s drive through 40 miles from home while zach was out of town on a work trip.

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As long as I stayed within half an hour of home, she drove like a champ. I never felt comfortable taking her over 55 mph, as there was a tie rod issue that caused a very noticeable shimmy starting at 56 mph.

And still she kept driving. She hasn’t been my favorite car ever, nor the longest lasting one. But she has been the most persistently working car. Nothing could make her stop. Until last Monday.

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I was backing out of the driveway spot to make room for Zach who was coming home with a large load of hay in the truck. I only had 50 feet to back up, so Peep was sitting in my lap, back I rolled, down the little incline. I’ve done it 100 times before. This time I was pre-occupied with selling my car at the end of the month, and took a turn a little to soon. Up and over a tree stump I went. The bumper snagged the stump, and I was stuck. I couldn’t go forward because it was an 18″ drop I’d gone over. The recent rain storm had washed out the backside of the stump. I couldn’t go backwards because the stump was between the tire and the bumper. The topping on the shit sandwich I’d made for self was that I was still in the middle of the driveway and embarrassed for Zachary to find the car and I like that. So I said my apologies to the car, put it in reverse, and gunned it.

Crunch, crack.

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The bumper and fog lamp were left behind. I cleaned up the glass, parked the car and pretended like it was salvageable. I knew better. I finally got up the nerve to tell Zachary layer that night, hoping he’d be able to bend the bumper back into place so we could squeak two more weeks out of the car.

He came inside after looking the car over, shaking his head like he was about to tell me what I already knew in my heart but didn’t want to hear out loud. All he said was “I can’t fix THAT.”

Yesterday I cleaned her out and listed her for sale on Craigslist. “Mechanic’s Special, parts only.”

Goodbye little car, you saw me through my first 3 years in Maine. You came into my life days before Pip’s first birthday and are going out days before her 4th. You were good to me, took me to places I’d never been before. Enjoy car heaven. You deserve it, I literally drove you into the ground.

October Happenings

You know, in September I think “yay, September, the weather is cooling off and now we can get all this STUFF done in preparation for winter.” And we work like crazy. Then October rolls around and my thinking shifts to “shit, it’s almost November. We’ve been knocking things off our to-do list, but it isn’t getting shorter nearly as fast as the days are.”

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We moved the beehive last week. I’m always nervous dealing with the bees, my dreadlocks must remind them of a big scary bear because I always get bees stuck in them.

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Last week we also consolidated all of our goats into one pen. The does, bucks and wethers are all living together now. The bucks are quickly getting disgusting (peeing all over themselves) in preparation of breeding season. The bucks and wethers were living down in our grassy spot getting fat on branches and rehabilitating the pasture, but now that we’ve had a couple light frosts the grasses are dying back and it was a lot of work hauling hay to 2 different goat pens. So I walked the girls down to them (the boys will be going on the dinner table this winter so they are all semi-wild), left the girls in the boys pen overnight, and then walked them all back up to the main pen the following morning. The boys were easier to herd being with the girls who are comfortable with people.

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We brought all the fencing panels up to the house from the pasture so we can build the winter animal pen/future greenhouse.

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It’s going to be a 32′ diameter round pen split into thirds. One third for grain, hay, rabbits and milking stand, one third for the 5 goats we will be over wintering, and one third for the pigs. Zach is going to shrink wrap the roof with clear plastic to let lots of light in.

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Speaking of pigs, that picture is Meg, one of our shoats  (baby boy piglet) and Mushroom (our only girl piglet). The boys are scheduled for castration later this week. We were going to butcher all 4 piglets next year, but I think I’ll be keeping Mushroom to add to our breeding program. She is such a great piglet. She’s the biggest, fastest and smartest of the litter and it would be a shame to see her on the dinner table.

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This week we are focusing on turning our concord grapes into wine, and finishing our root cellar so we have somewhere to put all of our meat when we butcher the animals next month. And we have 2 litters of purebred silver fox rabbits due tomorrow!

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