Coming Up For Air

Things have been so stressful this summer but I feel like I am finally beginning to breathe again.  I can look around and be content. 

The garden produced well in spite of everything.  I gave virtually all of it away but next year I will plant less of everything and more of what I really would use.  Less tomatoes, more lettuce.  Stagger broccoli planting, plant some beans, carrots, etc.  Make it a salad garden.  Fresh salad every night.  What could be better?

The chickens are also at a perfect point:  Enough to feed us with maybe a dozen extra per week to give away.  They don’t eat too much, there aren’t so many that I feel pressured, they aren’t hiding eggs.  It’s good. 

My arm is getting better every week.  I only take ibuprofen twice a day, and that’s a great indicator of improvement in pain levels.  I can use it more and I try to remember to do that.  I use it with intention, concentrating on the muscles I’m supposed to be stretching.  I can foresee that it will continue to improve and that one day all this will be a bad memory.  

My BIL’s condition has deteriorated, as we knew it would, and he is in the hospital right now.  There are serious doubts that he will return to our house.  They want to put him in a back brace to prevent further spine fractures as his bones deteriorate, but the doctors really want him confined to bed.  We have always said we could not care for him if he became bed ridden.  I’ve done CNA work with really ill people before and I am no longer physically capable of that and my husband is not up to the challenge.  So while the inevitability of his passing draws closer, the breathing space offered by his removal to the hospital has been palpable and welcome. 

The special clarity of Autumn is approaching rapidly.  This has been an exceptionally cool summer and I am trying to prepare for an early onset of Fall.  Some of our leaves are turning already.  I ask myself if they do that every year and I am just rushing things?  Possibly.  But there is the distinct feeling of winding down now, of settling. As if Autumn were the evening of a long day and one can now rest for just a bit and regather their spirit. 

The air is clean and sweet tonight as I take a few slow, deep breaths. 

Better.  Much better.

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How Come My Brain Needs A Recipe?

It’s really not fair.  Most people don’t need to juggle chems to make their brains work right.  They just do.  I’ve had to struggle all my life, pushing will-power past reality, trying just under ten different anti-depressants in thirteen years, trying to find the right ‘cocktail’ that would make it all better.

Now that I’m done with Paxil–yes, done with it–I’m still mixing amino acids to try to keep it all nice and even-keeled:

  • Tyrosine upon arising, mid-morning, lunchtime, three PM
  • GABA, the same schedule
  • DLPA, the same schedule
  • 5-HTP at 5 PM and 10 PM

I thought I was through with tyrosine, but I pushed myself too hard yesterday walking–it was only two and a half miles but it was downhill one way and uphill the other, at least a thirty degree grade.  Yikes!  So today I was a whupped puppy and couldn’t figure out I needed tyrosine until about 2 PM.

I’ve consistently screwed up on my 5-HTP and taken it too late, guess who slept really badly for the third night in a row?

It’s just not fair.

I was really bummed out about some stuff in my life-not in my head, but really happening-and was grateful to talk it over with a spiritual sister who I call my Mom.  It’s funny because she’s black and I’m not, but she is really my Mom right now.  She made me feel better just by being there and letting me talk and telling me I was not alone. She’s gone through the same stuff and she’s still serving God and I need to just keep doing what I should be doing, no point in worrying about things I can’t control.  I know these things myself but it makes a difference to have someone else tell you.

Anyway, this is all somehow related to blogging.

Years ago I followed a blogroll link to a ‘homesteading’ blog that wasn’t really at all.  This woman had the dream of doing it but she was blogging about the mess of her life and how she couldn’t wait until she and her husband sold their house-in which she lived on one floor and he lived on the other-so that she could build a house on the land she wanted and homestead by herself.  Now, she has chronic health problems and a bad marriage and she blogged brutally honestly about it all.  I was horrified and thought, “Wow, I never want to be that way.”

Oops, too late for that, I guess.

Then there’s the retro paleo girl who absolutely wigged out just recently and is trying to travel herself back by leaving her husband and kids and soaking in hot tubs and visiting people who live in yurts and what not.  She thinks this is the best way to find herself again.  By losing everything she’s created over the past ten(?) years:  family, children…  “See, that’s what happens when you dress in costumes,” I said, “you don’t know who you are anyway and all life is just acting a role because there isn’t really any You inside anyway.”

Now how would I know that?  Hunh….

So.

Good Enough Farm lives in my head.  It’s a costume.  It’s a role I act.  Chickens, a garden, rabbits sometimes, goats sometimes;  They’re no better than a blue beret with a white pom-pom and a circa 1930’s sailor suit.  It’s just props.  It’s something that makes me feel like I fit somewhere.

It’s a way of hiding from Life instead of living it.

It’s why I always said, half-kidding and half-not, that I wanted to be a goat lady living on top of a mountain by myself:  If you can’t get along with anybody, if everybody drives you crazy, well, the best place to be is by yourself, and a house surrounded by goats tends to keep the neighbors away.

I’m tired of hiding and not playing well with others.  Is that why I like to hide and read books?  Just thought of that.

But it’s time for me to grow up and stop playing with sailor dolls and lincoln logs and plastic pigs.  I really need to pack Good Enough Farm in tissue paper and stop hiding.  I need to deal with my life and stop blogging about dealing with my life.

I always said that I would say ‘goodbye’ if I stopped blogging instead of leaving people hanging, wondering what happened.  So this is my goodbye.

Thanks to those who stuck by me, who cared about me even though they only knew the me I wanted to show.

Good Enough Farm is signing out.

 

Things You Won’t Read On My About Page

I have a dog.  Her name is Chloe.  She is a rat terrier.  That really says it all if you know rat terriers, but I will go on to explain for those of you that don’t.

She is the Queen of the World.

snow garden bandana 010

She is very protective of her house and her yard and her people.  Do not mess with her.

from the Getty Commons Collection

She takes awhile to warm up to people.  She will hesitantly approach you, sniff you all over, decide if she likes you or not and then either jump in your lap, ignore you or growl at you.  She never changes her mind.

We are going away for a few days this summer and I need to find a place to board her.  The local vet said they would board her but she would need a current rabies shot and an exam before they would accept her.  No problem.

Except Chloe hates the vet.  She hates people she doesn’t know touching her.  She will not let you clip her nails without a muzzle (and good luck with that) or a tranquilizer.   She’s the Queen, remember?

So let us imagine that everything went well until we put her up on the exam table.  Nippity Snippity, no charge but please leave, thank you very much.

I hate to admit that the whole thing amused me a bit.  I took immense satisfaction in knowing that her dislike of these things was universal and not limited to me.  That doesn’t solve my boarding problem, but we’ll deal with that later.

So, here’s the thing.

Chloe is me.  I am the Queen of my world.  I try to order it and regulate it and control it because that makes me feel calm.  I am highly suspicious of strangers;  While I may not sniff them, I am slow to warm up to new people.  In a sense, I circle around them for a few weeks until I can ‘feel’ them and then I will either jump in their lap, ignore them or growl at them.  I do tend to snap at my doctor, unfortunately, because I come from a more ‘natural’ approach and he does not.  I have not had to be muzzled yet, but there is always time for that.

This all puts me in an odd position as a blogger.  Yes, I’m putting myself out there in the yard but I’m not really sure I want to let you open the gate and come in.  Can’t we just play with each other for a bit, you on your side and me on mine for a while?

I promise not to bite.

Maybe.

 

Life Is Messy

The high winds and bright sunshine are blowing Winter away and I will not be sad to see it go.  It has been a brutal winter for me:  I was horribly sick for December, January and the first half of February.  I thought I would die, that I would feel totally exhausted forever and that Work was going to kill me.  Eventually I did get better and I adjusted my work schedule and Life is a little better.

Life, however, is messy, and even as my strength returned Good Enough Farm has experienced unforeseen difficulties.  I have been selling my eggs to Mayberry’s Produce Market just down the road from me;  Due to health problems, Mr. Mayberry is going out of business and I will have to either find another place to sell to or downsize the flock.  It is difficult to make the decision either way.  It was so hard for me to ‘sell’ myself to someone in the first place and I just don’t want to go through it again.  I love looking out at my flock and it’s varied colors and busyness.  I would miss that if it were reduced.  And I just added to it in January with four layers and a docile rooster waiting to join up with the main flock in another month.  What to do, what to do?

Part of that January chicken order was an even 10 broilers.  One died the first week and the other nine are fattening up slowly.  I have to take the bathroom scale out and start weighing them so I can butcher the fattest ones early.  One of them has a wonky leg and I keep thinking that I should just put her out of my misery;  She does get around, albeit with difficulty, so I grant her a reprieve each day, waiting until there will be no more days for her.

Growing your own food is messy.

Gardens struggle and fail, rabbits overproduce or underproduce or get eaten by raccoons, broilers are hideous but delicious, chickens lay too many eggs or not enough eggs.  *sigh*

I didn’t realize all the ways that it is more responsible.  I am responsible for the health of my soil because of what I do or don’t add to it.  I am responsible for the health of my plants because of the attention that I do or don’t give them;  If they get eaten up by bugs or disease that is because I didn’t do my job.  If my lovely pumpkin vine only gives me one pumpkin, I’m responsible because I didn’t sit out there and assist the male flowers to pollinate the female flowers.  If I lose a dozen eggs in one week to breakage I’m responsible because I didn’t add the powdered egg shells to the feed.

But I don’t think I would trade any of it for an ‘easier’ way.  It has been a blessing, a tremendous gift, to be connected to the earth, to the animals, to Life.

Life is messy.  So are bare feet in the mud and garden dirt on your hands, piles of animal manure and rich compost, sweaty faces and sunburned backs bent tending over a garden plot.

What a glorious mess.

Good Enough Farm Has Moved To WordPress

A funny thing happened to me yesterday.  I was following links from a news page and ended up on a story about how to disappear from the internet.  The steps were rather drastic, but then I suppose they would be.  I thought to myself, well, I don’t really want to disappear from the internet, but I would like to simplify my presence.  Have a little more control.  I thought I would start with some downsizing.

Having gotten suckered into Google+ a while back and then never liking it or using it, I thought, here’s a good place to start; I’ll ditch Google+.  This is easier said than done.  There are conflicting instructions on how to do it, which are all hard to find, and warnings that if you delete Google+ that your life will end because you will lose youtube, blogger, picasa, gmail…  Frankly, my love affair with Google had ended a few years ago and I resented being so tied into something that if I wanted to opt out of one thing then I had to opt out of everything.  I finally found a way to just lose Google+ and youtube.  But a seed had been planted.

My husband sometimes catches me in the middle of being evil and resentful and he asks me why do I want to do that?  I answer, “Because I’m good at it.”  This is sad but true.  So this evil, resentful seed sprouted and said, “Who needs Google anyway?  (Except my gmail, which I’m happy with today, right now, at this second.)  I’ll just take my ball and go home!

And I did.

I hope that we all find a happy home here on WordPress.  It will be an adjustment for all of us, but I’ve adjusted a lot over the last year and you have all come along for the ride.  I hope you stay.  Cuz the broilers are about ready for an adjustment and I know you don’t want to miss that!