I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Afternoon on a Hill"

Friday, June 22, 2012

Biting off more than we can chew? What else is new?

Have you ever found yourself overwhelmed with things to do? The proverbial "LIST" that never ends? This last week was one of those weeks. I made too many plans, started too many projects and forgot that I'm not a "spring chicken" anymore.
Monday and Tuesday it was still too hot to do anything outside, unless it was after dark or very early in the morning. I watered a lot.
We did clean out the chicken coop and then we decided to tackle the overhead storage in the garage. This was a killer project that could have waited for cooler weather.  Heat rises you know. It was so hot... and there were paper wasps all over the place.
Look at this! Everything that was up there...

Came down.
And most of it went to the DUMP. We had black storage bags filled with outdoor furniture pads that were nesting places for rats. What's Annie been doing? She's suppose to stay on top of this problem. The garage is her responsibility. I'm going to have a talk with her.
We had Christmas boxes up there, filled with stuff that hadn't been used since we moved here sixteen years ago. I did find a small pink plastic swimming pool. If it holds water and I can find my bathing suit, it may come in handy during the next heat wave. See it... under the ladder?I guess I had a plan "B" all along.
Isn't it amazing that we can accumulate so much STUFF in our lives. We store things, thinking that we will need them (at some point) and then we forget what we have. It's amazing and kind of sad.
The oak chairs, a dresser, a bed, an old treadle sewing machine , a rug and that floosie, the 38' Chevy were in a storage locker, downtown. We were paying someone to store things that we couldn't fit into the house. I'm sure the old Chevy would like a room of her own, but she is now under a canvas tent above the chicken coop. She'll survive. The rug, bed and sewing machine were auctioned off at the local Auction house last weekend. The dresser and two of my mom's oak chairs are sitting in the garage. I just can't sell them. And there it is.
But, now we have more room to store more STUFF, in the upstairs area in the garage. It's all cleaned out and ready to receive MORE STUFF. We'll see how long it takes to fill this space with more things that I just can't get rid of.

The heat is gone.  Life is more about what we can get done around here and less about fantasies of infinity pools and ocean front property.
The weather folks tell us that it will cool down and stay this way until next week. We went from 104 degrees most of last week  to 94 yesterday and today the Delta Breezes cooled things down into the 70's with a slight possibility of RAIN. Oh Joy!!!
Thank you oh Gods of Wind and Weather for listening to my shameful whining and nasty disposition. I'm eternally grateful for this lovely reprieve from the heat.
We finished the front porch this morning. It is stained and it looks beautiful. I will post brag photos later.

This morning I cut back the woolly thyme that was threatening to take over the whole front yard.

This was a quick job and it smelled good. Cutting Thyme in the early morning is a wonderful way to start the day.
Then there was the vegetable garden to water, bird feeders to fill and the hummingbirds were dive bombing us because their sugar water feeder was empty.
The Prospector left really early to help a neighbor cut wood. The dogs were complaining about this breach of contract... their routine being altered somewhat, and telling me to do something about it.
I ignored them until about 6:00 a.m. and then got up.
 I let the dogs out, fed them and fixed my coffee. I went down to the vegetable garden and watered.  Then I started cutting the Thyme. I got so involved I forgot breakfast. This is what cooler weather does to me. I go outside and work. It's like magic. I regain my energy that gets lost in the heat.
When the Prospector got back we started staining the deck. It looks great! Now we have a lovely refinished front porch.

Let's see... what's next? The goat house needs cleaning out. Annie has a scratch on her nose that doesn't look too good. We may have to take her to the vet. The laundry room needs painting. The road needs more gravel and we need a few more goats in the pasture. Brownie isn't keeping up with all the grass and weeds.
It's always something and then there is the biggest worry...
Fire season is here.
The fear of last summer's fire is etched in our memory. The burnt area below the house is a constant reminder of that horrible day when we had to leave everything and run from a fire that threatened our lives and everything we loved here on the mountain.
Thanks to Cal Fire, all of our local volunteer fire departments, the bombers, the water helicopters, the young trainees from the fire academy and our goats, who cleared the defensible space that kept the fire at bay long enough for the firefighters to control it..... The house was saved.
Again, I pray to the God of Wind and Weather, the God of Fate and Circumstance.... Keep us safe from the the monster called FIRE, this summer. Keep my animals from the harm of someone's carelessness.
I can handle the long list of things that need to be done around here, but I cower before this monster. I can live with the rattlesnakes and unseen mountain lions, but I'm terrified of the blazes that threaten us every year here in the foothills.
We love this land. It's where we want to be until we can't be here.
This was THE DREAM. The longed for lifestyle when we lived in the "suburbs" and worked to support our family.
This is not a dream anymore. The reality of it is that living here is a lot of work. But... This is our home, our life... and no matter how long the to do LIST gets, we will just keep at it.
Now, it's time to check for Rattlers before I let the dogs out into the run. You never know when they are going to be sunning themselves on the walkway. We need to check the woodpile and behind the chicken house too. And so it goes....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

To our son...
Who is a wonderful father.
With patience and understanding and love for his little beans.

To my husband...
Who taught the boys how to bate a hook and catch a fish ...
  Who helped with paper routes and coached them in Little League.
Taught them how to sleep in a camper truck and stop asking "When are we going to get there?"
Who showed them how to negotiate life's ups and downs.
And try to land on your feet...most of the time.

And to my dad...
Who taught me how to make a bed, wash a car, dress well, turn out the lights when you leave a room and take care of your family.
I love you and miss you dad...

Here's to my brother in laws, John and Jeff, for all you do and more. There should be a medal of honor for going above and beyond fatherhood... and choosing to adopt children who need a family.  You are heroes in my eyes.

Here's to all Dads, everywhere. It's a hard job and you deserve a special day.