Sunday, December 22, 2013

New Christmas traditions and small Christmas moments.

Christmas is almost here and I finally managed to finish decorating the tree yesterday. This is a new ornament I bought this year and I love it there is a black one too (of course) but he didn't photograph as well. That's a new tradition for us that I am loving this time of year Tommy and I drive over to Gardenworks in Salem and buy a few new ornaments, some local yarn to improve my knitting skills on and cheese. The local cheese selection is off the hook and as a cheese addict its hard for me to get out of there with just one selection. So this year it was a black and white sheep which was apropos since we had just come from a great visit at Bedlam Farm finished with lunch at the Burger Den nice day all around.

I started the season without really feeling it and the feeling is ramping up a bit as we get closer to xmas. This year for the first time Tommy and I were able to buy each other multiple gifts something we haven't done in years.  Tommy has no patience whatsoever so I wonder how many times he will try and get me to open my gifts early. He already asked me if I had guessed what they where and I said no no I can wait. He is too cute sometimes usually a grinch but when I was putting the lights on the tree he kept saying hurry up hurry up turn them on and he smiles every time he looks at it.

This week was our christmas party at work and they have a raffle amongst other holiday good works that they offer this time the prizes where a trip to ireland (the owners have a house there) a tv a trip to ny and a dinner out. I got burned bad last year so I dd not participate in the raffle basically the owner gave away like 3 or 4 trips to ireland (many more than he was supposed to) and then he goes next prize is a dinner with betty gressler and her husband at her house. Everyone laughs and he pulls a ticket and yes it had my name on it. So the room erupts in laughter I turn pink and try to be a good sport. Only me I say only me. So this year I didn't need the stress so I said forget it and honestly I forgot to bring a twenty with me to work. But this year the story was a sweet one. We have a great cleaner at work named Charles who just has a huge heart (the other day in that snow storm we all went out to our cars to find them cleaned off by charles) anyway he has been saying that he was going to win that damn trip and take his wife of 10 years to Ireland. We all laughed and said that would be great....So as the boss man owner was pulling the winning ticket I noticed he was kind of fishing for something and out he pulled Charles' name. During the eruption of applause that followed his name being called the secretary who ran the raffle leaned over to the boss man and said that was one of the ticket you bought Charles. What a moment the big man Charles started to cry and ran out of the room. Second time in a row the winner has burst into tears and ran out of the room last year it was the 5'3" 20 year receptionist this year was the 6'5" office cleaner. I guess size doesn't matter when it comes to tears of surprise and joy. It was a nice christmas moment it made me cry.

So christmas is only a few more days away I only have to work Monday and Friday so it should be a nice relaxing week. My brother and his family will drive up on xmas ever and I am excited to spend some time with them. Funny every time they visit (well maybe not every time) my brother says hes going out to do an errand and doesn't return for a few hours not sure if he goes to the movies or what but we call it ghosting. Wheres Dave did he ghost again? When was the last time anyone saw Dave? Wait is he taking a nap? Nope cars not here he pulled a ghost again. So this year my sister in law Katy (who I am so thankful for never know what you are going to get as a sister in law I pulled a jackpot with her) are going to engineer her to disappear and I am going to pick her up and we are going to take the beautiful drive from Saratoga to Cambridge NY get in a little last minute shopping at Battenkill Books and maybe find a gin mill to raise a holiday toast and then back to friends and family for xmas eve. So looking forward to it hope we can pull it off. So here's to feeling the xmas spirit a little more each day and to have a light workload and to having many naps with the pups!

war admiral chasing sea biscuit

my favorite campy ornament

we put the tree up on a table otherwise booker the puppy would have it eaten in probably 20 seconds.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sister Wendy is praying for you and beating back the gloom.

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the sadness in the world? We all feel pain some more than others due to circumstances or personality there is pain in every ones life it cant be avoided but sometimes its overwhelming. I was driving with Tommy tonight to have dinner with my parents and for some reason my mind tripped back to a tv show i saw a few weeks back about a woman who decided her child had become an inconvenience and burned her house down around him and he was found dead in his bed with his little dog dead along side him. Don't know why I thought of it when I did don't know why I watch shows about things like that sometimes but when I thought about it I felt a pain in my stomach that was tangible. The thought of that young boy and his dog dying just because they were no longer part of someones plan just killed me and as my mind strove to get away from the pain like a drowning person reaches for the surface my mind jumped to sister Wendy.

Now I don't know if you know about Sister Wendy or not but she is a nun in England who is a  hermit (hello how cool is that) who leads a contemplative life and has become famous for her work in art history. I recently saw a documentary about her and it blew me away. She goes to sleep everyday at 5pm and wakes up at 12 am to pray for us because she feels that that's when her prayers are most needed. Now when I had this memory of the terrible plight of the boy and his dog I thought well at least Sister Wendy is praying right now and maybe just maybe it will lift some of the gloom from the world. I've been thinking a lot lately about Sister Wendy and I have a lot more to write about her but this is my first written thoughts more to come I think.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I confess the xmas spirit is eluding me.

I have to admit although I feel glimpses of Xmas spirit for the most part it is eluding me. I get flashes of it but they disappear as fast as they appeared. I thought the snow would help that fell last night a surprising foot or so. But no not really. Let the dogs out without their leads this morning figuring the foot of snow would at least slow Booker the dachshund down but the little shit quickly figured out that if he ran out the road which had been plowed the going would be much easier. Well he was right so off he and Lulu went with fat me wheezing and yelling behind them. Luckily the road was deserted with the weather and they eventually tired themselves out and came to me. I really need to train these two yup really I do. A least I got a nice walk/run in one I wasn't prepared for but a little exercise cant hurt.

We were worried that the plow guy wouldn't show up (since we kind of couldn't remember who our plow guy was) but he did and me being an idiot had left both cars parked completely randomly in the driveway making his job pretty much impossible I also managed to leave a brand new 50lb bag of chicken feed out next to my car like a doofus and yes it was opened. I really didn't think this storm out at all besides making sure the chickens were all taken care of yesterday. I guess I stopped at that chore and didn't think about it again but that's what happens to me when you are always warning me of the impending storm of doom cry wolf too many times and I stop paying attention. Imagine my surprise today when I stepped out into the snow that came to my knees.

It wasn't long before both Tommy and I got a case of  cabin fever so we loaded the pups into the car and took off to go find some incense and then I thought well if the snow didn't bring on some Xmas spirit maybe buying a tree will. Now I really wanted to buy a tree locally but time was running out so I baled on being a good person and went to Home Cheapo. Took about 30 seconds and the tree was in the car. Now for a little background info my husband Tommy did not have the idyllic fairy tale childhood I did and frankly the whole Xmas thing is something he just doesn't really get or feel. He said to me yesterday that I just don't understand that he doesn't feel it and that I keep trying to change him into me. I don't think that is really the case I think I keep hoping that after being with me for 12 years and being safe would help to chase some of the past away but I guess the past holds on too tight sometimes. But I am not going to give up hope nope I'm not.

So now the tree is sitting in the stand crookedly and neither of us have the gumption to do anything about it. Hopefully I will it would be silly to get a tree spend the money and they let it set there staring at you. Tommy already made me cry about spending the money on the tree which made me so sad. But hell its not Xmas if you haven't cried yet right? He is not as his best at this time of year and his mean streak shows itself from time to time. One year he made me sign a contract that I would have the tree taken down by new years in order to get a tree. I almost didn't even bother this year but I couldn't quite give up the hope that the spirit of the season would find me and I would be sad without a tree. Hope it does.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pieces of the puzzle falling into place and a cold walk with the dogs.

Ever have a small dream over the years not a big dream just a small dream and then it comes true? Its a nice feeling probably about 15-20 years ago I went through a phase where I was mad about needlepointing but couldn't find any designs that I really liked or ones that I had in my minds eye so I decided to design my own. I was going through a medieval phase (well I guess its not a phase still going through it) and I designed a few pillows based on medieval tiles things with fleur de lis etc.. Another thing about me is a rarely finish anything I start and I finished each pillow probably about half way. Now good thing my mother saved all these things and recently finished them. Some of them I had even forgotten designing.

Last March we took a little road trip first stop was Battenkill Books in Cambridge NY because I knew my mom would love it (my mom is a crazy reader multiple books a day) and then we drove on to Dorset VT to bring the completed needlepoints to Maria who owns In Stitches Fine Needlepoint where they are made into pillows and to also purchase some new canvases to work on. My mom brought a couple of the ones I had designed and Maria thought they were neat but didn't really go on about them too much so I didn't think she really liked them. Fast forward to last week my Mom was speaking to Maria on the phone about something else and Maria mentioned how unique my designs were and that she would maybe be interested in carrying them in her shop. Maybe but it was good enough for me. That has been a secret dream of mine for years. Pinching myself now. I cant wait to get designing already have all my old reference material out and have medieval knights jousting and fleur de lis floating around my head. Yay to small dreams becoming realized now it might not materialize but right now this is enough for me.

See its all part of my master working in corporate america has its perks.....guaranteed salary, paid vacation, sick time, 401K the big stuff then there is the small stuff like people bake for you sometimes and feed you buy you pizza all for doing your job. Now those are the perks and I think we all know the downside.....working for the man being a soulless cog in the machine.....having to have a schedule to pick up your free holiday turkey and of course spending 8 1/2 hours a day in a little gray cube while the sun shines on without you. So back to my plan I figure if I can pay off my debt by working for the man and then find these small side businesses like designing needle points, growing vegetables for sale at the farmers market, my husbands graphics business and whatever else we can think of paired with working part time somewhere local then I can quit corporate america and the affordable care act will help too a definite must have for the self employed. So there is my plan for the future. Small pieces seem to be falling into place. And I am patient I know this wont be anytime soon but at least a plan is in place to find a more meaningful life. A life of creativity and meaning that's what I am looking for.

So this might seem like a small piece of good news, a small piece of a larger puzzle falling into place, but to me it is the affirmation of creativity. And that's huge for me right now. Photography has really become important to me too I love the way it makes you look at things its definitely a different perspective to be sure. Here is my favorite shot I took today while I was walking the dogs down the road. And yes I finally found the b&w setting....

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thoughts on being thankful when it comes easy and not so much.

Seems like everyone is saying that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday because its time spent with family and friends enjoying good food and drinks coming together to celebrate being thankful. Part of that I think is I see a lot of posts and blogs written by farmers and for farmers I think thanksgiving is special any holiday that celebrates the harvest well that is just in our wheelhouse. Now I know we all say thanksgiving is our favorite but I suspect deep down the little kid in all of us likes Christmas best. I like thanksgiving because I like to cook and I love to obsess about the menu. There have been years where I have started the planning months ahead and there are years where its weeks ahead and some years it catches up with me and its only a week or so ahead. I had this years menu set a few weeks back but then my Dad decided to get tested for food allergies and out the window went this years menu. I didn't mind just made it something I had to think about some more I don't like when things are too easy. So the menu is re-arranged and the lists have been written and re-written. I like to arrange my list by aisle in the supermarket if I make a mistake or write something down out of order I need to start all over again. You would think in reading this that these kind of habits would mean that I was an organized tidy person but I am not just in some things like supermarket lists. We humans are a strange breed.

So tonight after work was round one at the supermarket. Why is it when shopping for a big day it never seems that you can find or remember everything you need in one trip. Do they do it on purpose? Do we?. Well the market was clean out of fresh herbs so I knew I had to go back anyway but then when I sat down and thought about it I forgot quite a few things oh well back I go again. Good thing I love going to the supermarket yup I just love it always have. Wish me luck with round two. My cart only got hit once and people were still pretty happy tonight but we will see what tomorrow brings!

Not a big crowd this year but a good one some old and dear family friends and my Uncle Tim who just lost his partner a few months back.. We were concerned he wouldn't come this year because it might be too painful since for the past few years he and Terry have made the pilgrimage to my parents house but hes coming and I am glad. Not sure how to spin the being thankful part with all he has been through but maybe words aren't necessary (hopefully because I cant think of any that don't sound like all the usual bullshit you hear). Grieving is a tough business but that side of the family usually turns to laughter its like the Bergan clan has a genetic disposition leaning towards irreverence.

I planned on getting some of the prep work done tonight but so far I have managed to do is read play a game of candy crush, write this and have a glass of wine. Well thanksgiving wont cook itself nor will dinner. Updates to follow. If I dont talk to you have a great thanksgiving. Love eb.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Funny the things dogs do.

So we brought home two rawhide bones today as a treat. Lulu promptly ate hers like she always does. But the puppy Booker I noticed was running back and forth with it in his mouth with some anxiety. At first I thought he was just looking for a safe place to eat his bone but then I started following him and he ran into the mudroom when I arrived to see what on earth he was doing he was near the dryer I said to myself oh that must be where he felt safe to eat his bone but he came out running like he didn't want me to know where he was and I asked him where is your bone wheres your toy and he wouldn't tell me. So I said hhhmmm dryer. At first i saw nothing as it was full of clothes but when I removed all the clothes low and behold there was his bone. So Booker wasn't trying to find a safe place to eat his bone he was just trying to find a p;ace to save it for later. One dog is immediate gratification and the other one likes to wait for later. But to be honest I think he likes to save his for later until the moment that Lulu finishes hers and then he savors his like ha ha I still have mine. Now i hate to try and imagine what they are thinking but i see it time again and its what i come up with. I love my dogs crazy nuts that they are!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Once a month stand up yelling at the tv.

Husbands are a funny thing Tommy just looked over at me and said I love when you are in this mood but what is wrong you have been yelling and carrying on all night. It stopped me dead in my tracks and I said oh sorry PMS. I get super snarky sometimes you cant watch TV with me I yelled at everyone all through Wheel of Fortune...dude why are you buying another vowel don't you want to try a r first....why are you solving the puzzle dork you have fifty bucks.....why is every commercial acting like there is the remotest chance I might go out and buy someone a luxury car for xmas. It ain't happening...and so on... At least he doesn't get annoyed but instead thinks its funny. Once I get going on a roll I might as well be doing stand up.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Finding a muse in nature it all around us everyday everywhere.

So I was thinking about creativity and finding a muse. I love creativity but it doesn't always love me. I am one of those people who has more technical skill than the creativity that makes it something special. But in photography I feel more completed artistically then anything else. Doesn't hurt that in my humble opinion I live in the MOST beautiful spot in the world and finding good shots aren't hard to come by. So I have looked through the past 3 years of photos that I have taken since I got this camera and these are the ones that I really love. I love taking pictures because it changes the way you look at everything I cant drive down the road without swearing why on earth don't I have my camera with me. When you start to always see light through the lens of a camera whether you are looking through one or not light becomes your friend. The things I see just on my way to work blow my mind. I vow seriously I vow one day soon I am going to wake up a few minutes early so I can stop every time I see a shot on my way to work in the morning. Especially right now with the frost on the ground it could be insane. So here are a couple of my favorite shots so far.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

No one is more different than myself than me the "d" personality and who are we all really?

Funny thing about life when you think of the personas you adapt for different situations. I guess we all do it become different versions of ourselves for different situations. True story at work (xyx paper mill) a few years back they had us take a personality test and one woman who i adore who is a total kick ass take no prisoners get it done don't waste my time kind of lady but in a nice way took the test and did not come out with the "d" personality traits which she totally embodies. (If memory serves me correct a D personality likes to get the job done fast doesn't have a lot of time for small talk isn't going to ask too many personal question etc isn't rude but not warm and fuzzy).

We were all frankly stunned so I asked her were you thinking about work when you took that test or home? It occurred to be that maybe she displayed these traits at work because it was the only way to survive to get the work done but at home it wasn't necessary for her. I still tease her about it to this day. I mean seriously Roxanne is d is every sense of the word I mean people don't mess with her they are pretty much scared of her but she gets a massive amount of respect because frankly she rocks.  A customer even told Roxanne once that the day she was talking to her was the anniversary of her getting abducted my aliens and Roxanne didn't raise to the bait and probably said something well what can I do for you today. Now that is a woman after my own heart. I love that story. 

Now at work I am a D too i don't like a lot of rules I like to take the least amount of steps to get a job done. I don't like to ask questions I just like to find answers quickly and move on to the next thing and no I am not averse to making it up if I have too. Like Roxanne I don't think I am like this in my personal life I think its a persona i have adopted to get my job done. If you know me you might disagree but i think of myself of kind of shy a total rule follower I wear my seat belt and drive the speed limit (except on 87 you just cant if you want to survive) I don't like to step on toes and will go out of my way to not hurt any one's feelings. That's a huge thing with me to not hurt peoples feelings or make them feel awkward I hate that and I hate to bother anyone. Funny how we turn on different parts of ourselves for different situations but there are probably some elements of ourselves that we have no matter what. Maybe the ones we have no matter what are the core things that make us who we are. The things people love about us. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tom the turkey and can you say micro-managing?

Tuesday....So my work (for security reason I will call it XYZ Paper Mills) has been nice enough to give the entire company a turkey for thanksgiving. Some years its a ham for xmas and sometimes its a turkey for thanksgiving. So a truck pulls into the parking lot near the mill and 5 or 6 department heads stand around awkwardly handing out turkeys and shaking hands. Now there is a large window of opportunity to  pick up said turkey but because my department is mental we were actually sent a schedule to make sure not more of two of us go at the same time. Yes seriously folks a schedule. Here is a copy so you know I am not making this up.

Here is the schedule to pick up our Turkey’s.
Dee 7:30 AM
Rebecca and Mary 3:00 PM
Becky and Chris  3:15 PM
Stacey and Rich 3:30 PM
Barbara and Sean 3:45 PM
Michelle and Marina 4:00 PM
Elizabeth and Beth 4:15 PM
All this to avoid us getting up en masse and walking out the door to get our turkeys. Now wouldn't it be common sense for everyone NOT to get up at once and leave the department un-manned. Doesn't this pretty much go without saying? Are you kidding me. But yes folks that's life at XYZ Paper Mills. I couldn't make this stuff of if I tried.  If you have ever seen the movie Office Space there are many many many parallels between that fictional company and the company I work for. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Experiments in writing its Monday.

The culprits booker on the left Lulu on the right.
This week I am going to try something new. I usually write my blog probably about 4 times a month maybe a bit more maybe a bit less but the thought occurred to me yesterday to see what it would be like to write one everyday for a week. Would I have a lot to say? Would I run out of ideas would I get bored? So here it goes.

Today is Monday a grouchy day of the week for me. Not many people like going to work on Monday and I confess I am not one of them that do. Not only do you have to face your own bad mood but you have to deal with all your co-workers bad moods too.  I try to be zen about it and not wish my life away by wishing it was any day but Monday but I confess again I fail most times. I do try to see the beauty which is prevalent on my long commute down 87. As I left my crazy office building (it is basically perched on top of a paper mill) the sky was amazing and I thought to myself for the zillion time why don't
 carry my camera with me always. I miss some great shots I really do. For example on my way to work today about a few miles from home got to the top of the hill that winds up from the river valley below and the moon was still up and it was surrounded by a perfect circle of clouds. I tried to capture it with my cellphone to no avail. A missed shot that's for damn sure.

Boring day at work talking about paper came home and to be nice i let the dogs out while I brought the remainder of the groceries in. I trust Lulu the older one but the puppy Booker is still a total wild card. I should have known better. It was like letting them out into a black bottomless chasm. I came back out shaking the cookie bag and nothing.......I walked I called I shook the cookie bag nothing.... Trying not to panic watching cars go by I figure if anything they are out back exploring the 196 acres or so behind my house but still couldn't help but worry and call myself an idiot. Finally Lulu came back. I asked her where her dolt of a pack mate was but she wasn't giving anything up. So I put her back in the house and got in the car and drove up the farm road about 1/4 mile up the road (yes I realize I could have walked but it was dark and I was tired) i see some eye shine and there he was. I hauled his ass into the car hoping my husband would notice how long I was gone. Luckily he didn't and I confessed anyway.

See didn't think I had anything to say and I told you all a story.

happy Monday everyone remember to look for the beauty in everyday life even if it is Monday. I'm still trying.

P.S. don't try and write and make dinner at the same time. I put some butter and the garlic on the stove to get nice for a little spinach and by the time i got back burnt to a cinder!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dirty Hands for the last time this season and bonus days of grace and beauty.

View from kitchen window of new garlic bed too rainy to go back outside!
Just finished planting the garlic something as usual for me I was procrastinating about. But I saw another farmers post on facebook about getting it finally planted in the rain and it made me feel guilty then a quick check of the weather made me get up in a hurry and get the damn thing done. Looks like its going to be a cold week ahead after some maybe heavy rain tonight so I was officially out of time. Thankfully Tommy was up to helping me and he ran the new BCS (fancy italian tiller from heaven) through the new bed a few more times while I spread some manure and fertilizer down. Then I dove into the dirt like only I can and got that garlic in the ground. I hate when I have put something off then finally get it done and then realize it only took us about 45 minutes to do. Oh well lessons I never seem to learn. 

You can see the new bed in the picture above I was too wet and chilled to face going outside again so I took the picture from the inside. Don't laugh but after 3 years of owning my camera I just got around reading the instruction booklet and figured out how to take B&W pics. I love shooting in black and white always have. One thing I love about farming is how peaceful it is when you are out there and its quiet and the rain is falling but not too hard to make it terrible just enough to set a nice scene. The chickens even came over to check out what the crazy humans were doing but thankfully garlic wasn't for them and they moved on. I like my chickens they always come over to investigate what I am doing. Sometimes I wont even notice them and then I will turn around and Clive the rooster is hanging out behind me checking me out. I like to think hes got my back but I have no idea what he is really doing.

I feel better I got some work done pretty much the last chore of the season. The main bed has been mowed and we just need to get the high tunnel prepped for winter and cleaned up and we should be good to go. We spent most of yesterday driving around trying to find supplies to make soap. I have been dying to make soap lately so I finally bit the bullet and ordered some lye from the lye guy and it arrived yesterday. After errands yesterday spent the most glorious afternoon sitting in the yard basking in the sun like a cat. What a bonus day to have this late in the season. What beats sitting in the sun reading a great book you have been looking forward to reading (Second Chance Dog: A Love Story by Jon Katz) while your dogs bask in the sun in the middle of November. Not much I say not much. Funny at one of the more poignant parts of the book I started to tear up and of course at that moment the fedex driver showed up with the Lye. He must have thought I was really happy to get that Lye. What a nice day it was. 

Booker taking a sun bath!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Acts of charity thank goodness for friends and a butt size depression in the couch.

View from the kitchen window.

Its been a tough couple of months around the old homestead and one thing that is really taking the brunt of it is the homestead itself. I have never been much of a housekeeper and with things the way they have been I have been even worse than usual. Between working full time and then trying to farm in my free time the house just started falling farther and farther down on the list of things to be done. And honestly I am one of those people that once something becomes overwhelming well I really start ignoring it. So needless to say my beautiful house built in 1775 was starting to look like something a bunch of meth addicts live in and I think it was making my borderline depression even worse.

But folks do not despair because a little angel came to rescue me or maybe rescue my husband (who between you and me is under employed but has been sick and depressed and not up to doing much of anything besides watching tv on the couch been sitting on it so long there is actually a permanent depression where his butt has been).  Our friend Missy came over yesterday armed with supplies and started cleaning the kitchen and as embarrassing as this was for me I decided to go with it and be happy someone was willing to help. Now Missy to be honest is one of the most warmhearted and generous souls I have met in a long time and coming over to start getting my pigsty of a house in order is just one example. It was odd though to see another woman's touch in my own house but it was neat in a way too to see how she arranges things and how she likes to hang her dish towel. It was almost intimate if that doesn't sound too creepy. Most appreciated was the way she cleaned and dusted my cherished cook books you could tell that she knew how important they were to me it showed.

Seeing some progress though really helped with my head I instantly felt more grounded something which I haven't felt in a long long time. I have felt totally disconnected from almost every aspect of my own life. And I have HATED feeling like that. But just seeing the progress she made felt like a switch had been thrown in my brain and I starting waking up and seeing things as they really are. For the first time in a long time I am actually looking forward to going home and cleaning and getting the house in order. For the first time in a long time I feel like I own my life and my house again. Its amazing isn't it how things work one act of generosity makes a huge dent in another persons depression. How cool is that? Thank goodness for friends.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Where is the couch Freud and looking a more meaningful life.

Life. Life is not easy right now its not terrible but its not great either. Nowhere that I want to be. I want to be living a life of meaning and purpose and I don't think I am there not nearly there at all  Life can be so bleak and you see it everyday you see it so hard you almost feel bad ever feeling bad for yourself because there is ample proof that probably a good percentage of the world has it far worse. But does that discount your own hurt just because you have a full belly? I don't know. I know I always always have to be thankful thankful for the life I have the family I have the place I live the animals who share my life but sometimes I struggle with not feeling it. Its like I am a character in my own play and I am not owning it I know the lines to the play but they aren't coming out right. Does this make sense? I think it comes down to knowing that I can do better and I better get at it life is flashing by and I am almost half way done at 44 if I am lucky.

So what is my plan? Not really sure but I think one of the ways to get more grounded is by creativity. Growing season is over and I know I get a little lost it in all during the summer I get lost or maybe found with my hands and feet in the soil working my ass off to produce food. I have never had a goal like that before an all consuming goal that makes my mind so active its hard to turn off and my heart pound with joy at the successes and even at the failures. I understand failure I have always been well tapped into the dark side of feelings. But when winter comes I think I get a little lost I have lost in a way that purpose so newly found. Oh man do you think I am hiding from myself in growing food? Freud where is the couch dammit!

So being a Virgo I have to have a plan because I can see now where I want to be the kind of person I think I can be and enjoying the life I have been given and sorry but in being an atheist I am pretty sure this is the only shot I will get at it. I think to chase all the hobgoblins of fear and angst away I am going to embark on a campaign of creativity. Now I can paint but I cant draw but I am getting more and more drawn to the fiber art. Last year I began knitting during the winter with some strange result and this year is the year of the quilt. I cant wait to try and teach myself how to quilt. Hey its beautiful and practical whats better than that! So here is trying to ground myself and to feel connection and wonder in this world by creating a bit. Here's hoping it gets me through the dark times until growing season begins again.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Strange Dreams and then some.

I have always been a vivid dreamer.  I dream in color, dream a lot multiple times a night, can be in them or just watching, can be male or female myself or a character. I can even wake myself up and if it was a good or interesting dream I can go back to sleep and put myself back in the dream. Its always a little different but the same theme once I get there. I love dreaming like I love sleeping maybe the dreams are one reason I like sleeping so much. Okay paired with being pretty lazy. I hear you I hear you. So early this morning must have been between 5 and 6 am I have a whopper of a dream...I have never posted about my dreams before but this one was so interesting so here we go.

My brother is taking me to meet a man and he tells me this man likes chubby women and women who love the ballet. I look at him and say I got that. So he says we are going to see this guy at his upscale apartment in a tall office-like building but instead of entering through the door we have to enter through a small opening that we crawl through like a heating duct or something. So I think this is strange number one why is my brother kind of pimping me out (don't worry Dave it wasn't you but the younger weird brother I never had) so i start to question this mode of entry but he says don't worry this is how he likes people to visit and don't worry hes cute. So I fall for that and say okay if hes cute that's cool.

So we enter and my brother disappears and the guy is older but cute and Italian I think. So we chit chat etc and then end up going to bed the sex is pretty decent and then afterwards he makes enough oblique comments that I realize he is going to kill me and he is going to kill me by making me go out a different exit much the same as the entrance but in leaving through the exit i will plummet to my death. So I start stalling telling him about myself and my family I think I even make a pot of tea anything to avoid my demise. Finally I can stall no more and he starts to shove me out of the window and I look down at what looks like the streets of NYC and maybe the facade of the Plaza hotel? But the rub for him is that we are only like 50 feet above ground and there is a canopy underneath so I say dude this fall isn't going to kill me what are you going to do now? So he starts shoving harder harder to get my fat ass out the window and I get far enough out that i look to my left and a young lady is standing there on the ledge apparently trying to kill herself. So I say listen we will talk about this later but can you scream an alarm for me this asshole is trying to kill me. It gets a little vague here but somehow I jump down and survive. At this point I take myself out of dream and watch.

Yes I can do that and yes its cool sucks if you do it during a good part though. It becomes like watching a movie. Now I watch the action the young girl (I think from the ledge) starts to run down the busy sidewalks of NY and magically the bad guy appears and he is PISSED so he pulls out his huge out of date cell phone (one of the flip phone ones that is almost as big as a house phone with the huge antenna) and he dials his nimons and says red alert she escaped. and he start his pursuit and I wake up.

I lay there mulling over the action of that my brain has just delivered and then I slowly fall back to sleep and put myself back into dream. The action now opens at the house I grew up in and my parents are there and I think there is some kind of cooking anxiety for me maybe no clean dishes and only 3 eggs to feed 17 people on Thanksgiving anyway something like that. To calm down I walk out on the front porch and there amongst the fallen leaves and debris that accumulates on any front porch there is a package for me and its from the Italian. I open it and it is a statue that I think I admired at his apartment and it is of a sacrificial bull kind of cycladic style and at first I am floored by this gift (apparently I am easily swayed by gifts try to kill me but buy me a gift and we are all squared?) and I am happy but then I realize he hasn't taken the price tag of $150 bucks off and I think how tacky he wanted me to know what he paid for it. Attached to the price tag was a note to me it was written in red ink and effeminate handwriting and yes folks I woke before I got to read it. Damn dog that had to pee! And the return address had an Italian name like Mr. Berlucsoni sounds like the old PM of Italy? Omg I just goggled it up its him but in my dream he was much cuter. Dreams are strange got to love them. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

First Saturday off since June and I still woke up early.

I had planned to sleep in today like only I can but alas I woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep so instead of trying I grabbed my camera and took these shots of the fog and sunrise.

This is the first weekend since June we haven't had market to go to so no waking up early to pick and wash and pack and sell vegetable instead we are going to go up to Glens Falls to the farmers market to be consumers. Its always fun and I think good practice too to see other farmers displays and methods and to get ideas for improvements to our own setup and display for next year. Then we are off to get some lumber to build a few raised beds outside the kitchen for a nice herb and flower garden. I have always wanted one and this year dammit it will be mine. Our mower finally died this week and some how my John Deere dealer got them to up my credit limit (he must be a miracle worker) so we are going to buy a used one that is much bigger and should fit our needs better you can also get some farm-like attachments for it so that should come in handy that paired with our new walk behind tractor hopefully next year we will do a better job at this enterprise of farming. I am doing way too much work by hand and I need to start working more efficiently and spending the limited time I have more economically. Here's hoping I hate spending all my time weeding instead of planting.

My grandmother is in town with her cousin and her cousins son and I look forward to having a nice family dinner at my parents tonight. This is part of the family that still farms a bit making hay and I cant wait to talk shop I have million questions about making hay. Well maybe not a million but more than you probably think one person can have. Hay fascinates me. Well off to start the day. Enjoy the weekend everyone.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Barnheart, Farmache whatever you want to call it I have it bad and my solution so far.

The other night I was lucky enough to be able to attend the launch party for Jenna Woginrich's new book "One Woman Farm" and in listening to her talk about the themes and variations of her life on her own farm it got me thinking about my own small dreams and how I have gotten where I am (for better or worse). I bought a copy for my mom too and after she had read it last night while the rest of us went out for dinner (she wasn't feeling well) we had a nice talk about what Jenna calls Barnheart and Jon Katz termed Farmache in his post the other day farmache-life-and-fantasy-on-a-farm. Which funny enough when I first saw his word for some reason I pronounced it in my head with a soft ending on the ache. So to me it sounded like a french affliction until I realized he meant ache. Yes i can be a bit of a dork sometimes. I also recently subscribed to the magazine Mother Jones really thinking I was going to get Mother Earth News I was very surprised when I got my first issue there was nothing about raising chickens.

My husband and I moved here from Connecticut just a little over 9 years ago. My parents had left Greenwich a year or two earlier and were living in Saratoga Springs. I have always loved saratoga I  spent two summers up here as a kid attending the Briansky Ballet School at Skidmore College. We have family friends who  worked at Skidmore and have one of those great houses on Union Avenue so I was lucky enough to spend time here throughout my life whether it was at the track or at the Ballet. I love this part of the country. After 9/11 and losing my job we decided to throw a hail mary and move north. A few months earlier while I was visiting the rents my Dad took me out for a drive along route 29 to visit Saratoga Apple and once I saw those distant mountains of Vermont I was hooked I knew I didn't want to live in Saratoga but I knew I wanted to be close by. There is one thing I have always wanted and that is land. I think it stems from growing up in a beautiful house in a rich town but the one thing we did not have is any land our house pretty much took up our 1/4 plot. All these themes came up in talking to my parents last night after dinner we always have good talks and this was one. My mom is still slightly puzzled why I choose to try and be a farmer in my small way I am sure it puzzles people all the time why would I choose to give myself a second job when I already have a full time job? Beat me. Oh I know why I do it I am only kidding I am one of those people that don't do anything without a list of reasons. I am a Virgo I cant help it. So why do I do it? Because right now in my life it is the only way I can get close enough to the dream of being a farmer. I do come by it honestly actually its in my blood my Mom reminded me that since her family came over on the Mayflower they have always been farmers well at least until the time of my great grandmother. So I guess I am the first person trying to get back to the old ways trying to leave the suburbs and go back to where we came from in the first place.

But I know myself well enough I am never going to be one of those lucky people who said enough forget it life is too short to work in a job that isn't what you want to do to have the balls to quit and go for it to go for the golden ring. Nope I am sorry that just isn't who I am I wish it was sometimes. But I am sleepless enough with my present worries I wouldn't sleep at all. But I sure do appreciate the people who do have the balls to do it who give the rest of us hope and the joy of watching someone else succeed at Barnheart or Farmache or what ever you want to call it that need to get back to nature to get back to the soil to produce food for yourself and to be responsible for yourself. Thank you Jenna you rock and thank you for letting us tag along on your journey and being honest enough to show the good and the bad the successes and the failures I think thats really important you have to share the whole story its the only honest way.

So since I cant or wont jump all the way into being a full-time farmer I spend almost all my free time growing vegetables for myself and market out of my 2 acre backyard. Luckily this small parcel of land (I would have thought it was the size of Africa growing up but now I realized it might not be enough) is in the midst of someone elses' 196 acre dairy farm and my yard is nice and flat with only a small amount of trees. This is my second year at market as "3 Dogs Barking Farms" and I think we are doing okay. Still have A LOT to learn but there are enough small successes to keep me from pulling out my hair and giving up. But I do have a plan of sorts for getting where I want to be to be able to do this full time or maybe more full time and working elsewhere part time. Hopefully over the next few years with the added income from farming we can reduce our debt and with the affordable health care act the corporate world can no longer tell me i have to work for them in order to get health care (take that you big meanies)  and then maybe I can find a job that wont pay as much but would be closer to home giving me more time to grow things and then as the income from the farm increases maybe I will have to work off farm less and less. See it is a plan of sorts. So this is my own story of Barnheart and of Farmache and my small solution to getting part of dream if not the whole thing. Heres to hoping the rest of dream comes my way.

Guess what time for another nap its Fall people its Fall! And I am tired.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Looking for community trying and trying to find home at home.

Over due for a post one of those times where I maybe have too many things to write about and it leads me to no writing at all. So here we go not sure what is going to come out. Hopefully it wont be drivel. The week before last first we went to Cambridge NY (one of my favorite towns) to see my favorite duo the Fabulous Beekman Boys at one of my favorite bookstores Battenkill Books. So it was a night of favorites it is always strange to visit a town you love that you are not from. Josh and Brent who were as charming as I knew they would be started talking about keeping small towns viable and made comparisons between Cambridge and their town Sharon Springs and it turns out one of the things they have in common is that they are one stop light towns. So this got me to thinking about towns and more importantly community and maybe that is why its taken me 10 days or so to write this. I don't really have a town I live in Northumberland which lies along the Hudson east of Saratoga and Wilton north of Schuylerville and south of Glens Falls and Fort Edward it encompasses a huge area and is comprised of tiny hamlets that must had some meaning in the past but are just signs now. Bacon Hill is my favorite one...Gansevoort I guess has the most trappings of a town we have a Stewarts (or course) a church and a few small businesses but no stop light. Yes not even a one stop light town. Will a railroad crossing pass? So I envy people who live in one stop light towns.

When I moved to upstate NY I am not sure what I was looking for I think I wanted to live close to Saratoga but in the country and maybe find some small kookie town to call our home but I wasn't really given a choice when I fell in love with the house that we eventually bought and I don't think I noticed that it didn't come with a town or for that matter a bathroom on the second floor. Oops. But who could pass up a house on the Hudson in the middle of dairy country the nearest house about 1/4 mile down the road and a historic house to boot with roots firmly planted  in american history? Not I that's for damn sure. But I do wish sometimes that I had more of a community something like Sharon Springs but then I realize that I am lucky where I am 20 minutes from Saratoga 15 from Glens Falls 25 minutes from Greenwich and 35 minutes from Cambridge so in a way I just happen to live in the middle of it all in the middle of wonderful upstate new york which I love living in everyday well almost everyday I really hate February nothing like getting in the car to go to a job you wish you didn't have to go to when its 25 below out now man that sucks.

When we first moved here 9 years ago we opened a tattoo studio and were immediately surrounded by new friends and  people who probably just wanted to be associated with the then very cool and hip local tattoo artist. When we closed the studio a few years later the friends we had made evaporated and apart from my parents and their very cool septuagenarian set we don't have many connections. Unfortunately to make matters worse I work about 40 miles to the south and the connections I have made there are wonderful and nice (I spend more time with my friends at work with just about anybody else and many of my co-workers are truly wonderful and amazing people) but the connections as strong as they are don't survive a 40 mile ride to hang out much. But things are looking up on the friend front since we have started farming in our small way we have started to make some friends and connections and hopefully these bonds will and can be strengthened over time. I hope so. Not that I need or want a huge circle of friends but it would be nice to find just a few like minded people to have over for dinner and enjoy a glass of two occasionally. So recruitment is open come on over.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Closing in on the end of the season.

After we got home from market today I watched the farmer take the corn down. I love watching the farmer farm I mean I love it. Give me a choice between tv and watching farming I will take farming hands down. I don't remember the corn coming done this early in the year but its always neat to watch it come down. Funny when the corn is high its like the farmer grew me a free green fence that surrounds my yard then it comes down and its all wide openness again. Not sure which one I like better both are pretty wonderful. 
Watching them take the corn down made me antsy to finish up the season. I cant wait to sleep in on Saturdays not come home at night from my day job and work like a field hand and of course not worry about what mother nature has in store for me. The rows I have planted for late summer/fall the beets the chard and the spinach look wonderful and I even have a row of beans and zucchini that are just coming in that I planted as a hail mary and fingers crossed it will make it to fruition. But the rest of it looks like a bloody nightmare waste high weeds going to seed things dead and decaying and I cant wait to mow it all down and start planning for next year. So many things went well this year but many more didn't quite go our way. But it was another year of learning and since I haven't been doing this that long I will give myself a break and say job well done. I know I have said this before but one of my favorite parts of farming is the lure of next year. It doesn't take too long into the growing season before you are taking notes and mumbling to yourself "this is a disaster not doing this this way next year" the challenge is to remember what you learned. Fingers crossed I am listening....Here are some more pics of the real farmers working. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Crazy chicken lady and thinking about long genes.

Its my 44th Birthday tomorrow (I think? getting to that age where it gets blurry). I am not upset about my age in fact I always love my bday still get excited and look forward to it. My stance is that hey I didn't ask to be born and I can't stop the passage of time so why be upset getting older it isn't a character fault its just is.  I was just thanking my Grandmother Esther on facebook for sending me a gift it was a t-shirt that said "crazy chicken lady" and I love it who's lucky enough at my age to still get a gift from their grandmother? I also came across this picture of her. By the way I think she was 95 years old when this was taken and she is still going strong at I think 96. She is my mom's mom but dad's mom has her beat Grandma Dot is 102. Long genes in my family long genes.

I remember once when my mom was maybe in her fifties or maybe early sixty's and she told her brother Tim that she was now middle aged he laughed (that side of the family has a wicked sense of humor don't ever go to a funeral with them you are bound to get the inappropriate giggles) and he said you are only middle aged if you plan on living till you are 120. Well that's possible I'm my family but certainly nothing you want to plan or count on. I figure with my luck I will be the first one to mess it up and will die early for some silly avoidable reason. But who knows age is a funny thing we don't want to think about dying and we don't like to deal with the fact that we are all actively dying every second of the day but then again do you want to live so long everyone you know is dead? I don't know I think we all want to be over achievers in the longevity game but are we prepared for it? I guess all I really want is not to upset people too much by dying and of course to die in my sleep after having a few glasses of wine with a good book clenched in my hand. Who knows maybe I will get lucky. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Introducing some of the animals of 3 Dogs Barking Farms and yes we actually only have two dogs

This is Fat Albert and no he isn't fat in fact he is quite trim. I love this cat. He likes to help me in the garden my laying on anything I am trying to work on. He loves to run and purr up against me and demand attention and sometimes he even brings me a present in the form of a rodent and no they aren't usually dead. Hes a good cat and a great hunter.

This is Clive the Rooster I had originally wanted to name him Nigel but forgot and for some reason started calling him Clive instead. Not sure what Clive's story is. One day a few weeks back I came home from work on a Friday night to more chickens then I had left with having that morning. Not sure if someone rooster bombed me but its okay although I never planned on having a rooster I have become quite enamored of this guy. He had string wrapped around his feet and they are slightly deformed so I am thinking that Clive's present situation with us is much better than where ever he was before. We are happy to welcome him to our family. Not sure what Clive makes of me but he seems fascinated sometimes I will be out weeding and I turn around and here is is watching me or if I am doing something he doesn't understand he will walk up to me look try and figure it out and then disappear only minutes later to bring the hens over so they all can confer on what the crazy human is doing. To be fair I must have looked a bit strange at the time because I was washing green beans for market in my pool float. So there intrigue is completely understandable.
this is Clive starting at me while I was reading my book and drinking a glass of wine.
This is my angel Lulu she is my heart and joy. She is a champion frog hunter and well as a champion napper. Lulu likes to take naps and she likes her treats too. She would do anything for one of her cookies I often wonder if there is a 12 step program for dogs. I am lulu and I am addicted to treats. But I love her like mad.
This is our new pup Booker Tickle Washington. He is part dachshund and part lab mix but he is pretty much pure dachshund and quite a handful. And he is lucky he is so damn cute. We are still trying to get him trained and not be such a crazy maniac and we are making small steps. I love his front legs he has ankles that he will use to hold on to you and his front feet are larger than back feet. And yes he does like to dig holes there is one in the side yard that I hoping to glimpse China any moment now.
This is Ziggy and one of the most mellow cats around. He is one cool cat for damn sure. Tonight I was weeding and he came up behind me and climbed up my back on sat on my shoulder so he could head butt me. He like Fat Albert likes to help me in the field while I am working. He is not always helpful but its always nice to take a break and have a cuddle with a cat.

These are a few of the hens Zelda and Lily. The are tough women and dont take any shit from anybody. Clive is still growing back some of his tale feathers from when he first came and tried to assimilate.

This is not the full crew but a nice representation. They make living and working here a real joy.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Was this Caravaggio's favorite time of year I think it must have been.

We have arrived at that strange time of year where its still summer and things are so full of life but you can see the end coming. Things are starting to decay almost like a blight is edging closer gobbling up the green abundance of summer. It dawned on me the other morning on my way to work that I bet this was Caravaggio's favorite time of year. One thing I always have loved about his work is that even in painting a still life the fruit is a little bruised the leaves a little yellow showing a little disease. I think Caravaggio was really into portraying the cycle of life and he seemed to love to capture things just past their prime descending into decline and death. He always showed the dirtiness of life too most artists paint people with clean feet not good ole Caravaggio he painted dirty feet he was the real deal and told it like it is. Yes he is one of my favorite artists could you tell? I like a little dark side with my sun.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Free to be you and me and thoughts from the fair.


Free to Be... You and Me
Its funny I will be 44 in less than a month and I still find myself struggling sometimes with being who I am. I saw this woman at the county fair the other night at the rodeo and for some reason I was just struck with her it probably was because she was decked out in full cowboy style - boots, wranglers, plaid shirt, topped with a sweet cowboy hat. There was just something about her and I found myself saying oh man I would love to look just like her. Then I pictured myself in her outfit and I started to laugh and I said to myself but EB if you dressed like that you wouldn't be dressing like yourself. Funny after all these years I still find myself every once in awhile wanting to be something other than me. But then probably because of my age I realized that I was okay just being me and I wouldn't look so silly in maybe a pair of cowboy boots just maybe not the whole outfit!

When I struggle with identity and making sure my motives are authentic for some reason I always come back to the above it was huge when I was little. The 70's were cool weren't they? Free to be you and me. The world would be a kinder place if people just followed this simple maxim.

not me and its okay.
I love the county fair and the Washington County one in my opinion is one of the best around especially in the agricultural sense. But I always feel and probably always will feel like an outsider. I know its not my story and I can grow as much vegetable as I want and sell them at market for years and call myself 3 Dogs Barking Farms but I don't ever think I really feel like I belong. Maybe I need to get some livestock well if I did that I would have to move and so far I am not ready to move and do I really need to buy livestock to try and be something I know I am not? I wish it was my story but its not.

well I do have a rooster and his name is clive hes been staring at me lately not sure what he is planning.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Planning a day at the track and living small dreams.

So tomorrow Tommy and I are going to go to the track at Saratoga this will be the first time this year we go to the public part of the track also known as the front stretch. We are going to bring a couple of chairs and maybe find seats near the paddock so we can see the horses get tacked up and all that good stuff and maybe even spot a winner. I love horse racing always have since I was little. Well more to the point I love horses only like a girl can but when I was little I had asthma and the doctor told my parents that I couldn't ride so the closest I could get to them was to go to the track. Now I don't want it to seem like I spent my life hot walking horses with a program in my jean pocket (now that would be a dream but I cant really imagine my parents getting up a 3am to drive me to long island everyday) but my dad would take me a couple of times of year and depending on the time of the year that would be Belmont, Aqueduct and if I was really really lucky Saratoga. It was one of those things we did usually just the two of us and I guess that makes the memories even more special. I remember my first big score (I think I won $20 and I thought I had it made) was on a horse named Cookie now again I would love to say I picked Cookie because of her form in the daily racing form but no it was because her name was Cookie. What ten year old could resist hell I probably couldn't resist that name at 43. The great thing is its something we still do together today usually we go for a few races Sunday afternoons after I've done my farm chores and hes watched the golf on TV.

My parents moved to Saratoga about 12 years ago and my husband and I followed about 9 years ago and I have to tell you that the track at Saratoga was definately a check in the pro column on the list of pros and cons of moving to the North Country.  After a few years I was successful in nagging my dad to buy a small percentage in a racehorse and that began our adventures on the backstretch. I love the backstretch its quiet and calm there are lots of horses (of course) its where the outriders hang out when they don't have a race and I love it when they watch the races on the TV next to the food stand on horse back. I'm sorry that's just cool. Last time I even got to give one a leg up when he was having trouble mounting it was the first time I got to do that and in my excitement i almost launched him over his horse and into the next county. But tomorrow Tommy and I are going to do the track the normal way I will have a couple of beers and enjoy the people watching while trying to make some modest gains betting small and Tommy will wander around looking at all the delicious food that's to be had. My best memory at the track one of those well I can check off one thing off the things to do before I die list was when we won with Rereadthefootnotes a few years back I got to stand in the winners circle and to completely honest I cried.

I was never a person who had big dreams I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up never had a passion for something that ruled my life. I always envy those people who are consumed with something like that guy from New Zealand who has spent his whole life looking for the giant squid (finally got it on camera a few years back) or the couple I took a class with who were both soil scientists at Cornell and you could tell soil is what they talked about 24/7.  I used to think horse racing was it for me until I tried to spend a few days handicapping and turns out not one of my talents. But at least now I have found farming and so far its the one thing I am actually passionate about and it does consume me as far as I am comfortable being consumed by something. And besides standing in the winner circle there are a few things I have accomplished that I thought were important when I was younger or small dreams I had, I live somewhere completely beautiful and I live on the Hudson River. You can tell I never dared to dream big I was and still am not comfortable with big dreams I prefer small reachable dreams. Can you tell I am a Virgo?