Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Give A Thought

The Allegra Rose
Paul Barden Photo

My dear friend Allegra needs all the help she can get. She is very ill and needs my peeps to give her their prayers, positive energy or whatever can be sent her way. 

I have become very fond of this amazing woman. She is strong in spirit, but her body is betraying her. If you are so inclined, give her a thought today.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Of Sparkles and Mothers

As dawn approached this morning it unveiled one of the wonders of the world; hoar frost. My landscape is sparkling in its' shroud of diamonds. Soon it will blow away, but until then the trees shine.

We have been through a series of firsts this year. The year my father died. The year my mother has lived alone for the first time in her life. She comes from a time when a daughter went from her father's house to her husband's. The daughter of Irish immigrants who identified herself as his wife. Struggling to understand a life alone.

So I made a Christmas for her. I strung lights in the house, sparkles on the house plants, ornaments glistening in bowls. I set a formal table, something I learned because of her insistence on finishing school for me. Doesn't that sound quaint and archaic. I thought so as I had to attend because she insisted. I made manicotti, something my mother would climb mountains for.

And it was good. It was peaceful and happy and bright. The fire snapped, the lights glowed and my mother drank champagne, ate cake and was smiling. She is not accustomed to smiling. I did right.

For now, there is the hoar frost. Nature did right as well.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lest You Be Fooled

American Gothic
Grant Wood
In the barn Christmas morning:

Me:  South of France.

Him:  South of France?

Me:  I'd like to be in the south of France.

Him:  Is that what they are talking about on the radio?

Me:  No. I'd rather be in the south of France.

Him:  Cause they're talking about it on the radio?

Me:  No. I'd rather be in the south of France than here scooping poop.

Him:  You'd rather be in the south of France scooping poop.

Me:  No. I'd just rather be in the south of France. No poop.
Him:  Cote d'Azur?

Me:  That will do.

About sums it up.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Peace, Comfort And A Rhyme

A fire burned bright, a lovely sight.
A little nosh before dinner is always a winner.
The room is aglow, so no one would know, the manicotti came out of the oven too slow!
To end a wonderful night, an ice cream cake is sure to delight.
A new nutcracker stands tall, the envy of them all!
I wish you all Peace and Comfort. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Taking a Moment

Snowstorm at night
 Morning light
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Up A Tree

Or is it the tree is up.....finally.
The little tree is brought in and placed in the stand. Some of my blogging friends have been doing tree posts, so I thought I would as well.
How much easier this is than those very tall trees I used to buy. No falling over. No fights. No muss, no fuss. Sometimes a person does get wiser with age, but what I really think it is, is the body starts to refuse and the mind just has to finally give in. But getting wiser seems a good cover for getting old!
Howard is keeping a vigil. He doesn't want to miss Santa Claus and the bag of biscuits. I told him it's too soon, but he wants to be thorough.

I am done. It took me days to get this little tree finished.

It's snowing again. If you don't hear from me, I'm buried under a mountain of snow. Actually I am buried with work, so I won't be around for a little while. I need to get myself caught up, as the weather and the approaching holiday have overwhelmed my life. See you in a few.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Recurring Theme

My Winter Wonderland. And my wintry Mr. Wonderful, aka Zing.

I wrote something yesterday in response to a comment which has caused me to spend a little time contemplating that statement. I said I no longer thought that I, as an individual, made a difference anymore. I thought about that throughout the day, I thought this a statement someone who is accustomed to a certain amount of privilege would make. A person whom is used to their point of view being heard and mattering. 

My life circumstances have changed some, but if I am open about it, I still have it easier than many. Our situation is more precarious than I would have ever thought it could be, but this reinforces my belief that most people are closer to the edge than they realize.

Now you would think this thinking would have put me deeper into my sadness, but it did not. Overall, we are all in this mess together, some of us simply don't know it yet. The only way we are going to get out of the mess is to come together. I do not believe we will enjoy life in a banana republic. I, for one, have too much to lose.

So, I am going to stop wallowing. I will limit my exposure to the madness going on around me, but I will not give up. Grassroots movement is the only answer to an incredible situation. The workings are there, it's just a matter of moving. The alternative is to buy a Panama hat.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Short Read

Put in a nutshell, why I am so very sad.



It is what we have.
It really is beautiful. I know there are those of you out there whom have never experienced winter as I know it. The frozen landscape is foreign, as recognizable as the terra of the moon. This year, as I am struggling with sadness I find the beauty of my landscape comforting. There is a peace about it which slows my mind a bit and causes me to stop fretting for a time. It allows for the quiet joy of watching the horses, tails up, prancing and snorting as they make their way through the deep, fluffy whiteness of their pastures. I laugh out loud when they come to the gate wanting in, faces covered with snow from rooting around in it like small children.

I believe I will put up a Christmas tree this year. I have displayed my little collection of nutcrackers, which has sparked an interest in decorating. Even a heathen such as myself can enjoy a pretty tree. Today seems perfect for venturing out to the tree lot in the small town a couple of miles from home. We are having a beautiful snowfall, everything is covered in down. Straight out of a Currier & Ives print.

Enough of my dusty musings, it's time to get myself up and out to face the day. The good part is, I get to watch those marvelous beasts play like happy children as they romp in the new snow. They really are amazing; they notice everything and they will know the snow is fresh and ripe for rolling about in. Then jumping up and chasing the nearest victim, just because.

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Land, Wish It Were Your Land?

What I did on Sunday. ALL DAY. A couple of feet of snow that needed to be cleared while the wind hitting my poor old self was -30 F. It's not all soup and bread!

And this is what money going up in smoke looks like. Vapor from the furnace. It was -10 this morning, but it feels brutal. Happy Days on the Farm!

Don't Try This At Home

I am not an eventer and I know very little about the sport and the people who are in it, but I came across this video and thought it would be fun for others to watch. Consider how fit and focused the horses that compete at this level must be. It is long, about 12 minutes, but it's fun. At least I think so. The rider likes his horse and calls him by name throughout the ride. You can see him patting the animal's neck several times. The horse's name is Henny and the rider says it often in encouragement and appreciation.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Mighty Blow, With Snow

We are having a full-fledged blizzard. It's been awhile since we've had the combination of light, airy snow and strong winds. I can't see anything but white beyond the spruce. There are areas where it has drifted so that the snow is up around Mark's thigh. Mark always thinks of the dogs, so short stuff, aka Howard, can get out via the path Mark shoveled for him.
The weather makes me want soup, so I put together a vegetable/bean/barley soup for lunch. It was good, even if I do say so myself. I used some of the frozen zucchini from my garden, now a distant memory.
This is what a screen looks like when it is cold and snowy. When warm and full of good food, it is easy to find beauty in something so harsh. The dogs, horses and people on the farm are snuggly holed up inside. The very elderly barn cat, Lucy, has her mound of hay in the loft that she burrows into to keep  warm. She must be a very smart cat, as she is as old as Margaret and has lived her entire life in the barn. Those kitties rarely reach a geriatric age.
We are in for some severe weather over the next couple of days. We will all be trapped inside until the deepfreeze breaks its hold. Of course, there are the trips to the barn, but they hardly count. Except at the moment when my face nearly cracks open as I walk up the incline to the house, full on into the deeply below zero wind. Ah, my. You've gotta love it. So we Minnesotans talk about how hardy we are, instead of openly admitting someone, somewhere along the way, made a terrible mistake settling this land. They must have come here in June or September, because those are the only two months that I could understand someone thinking it would be a good idea to live in a cabin, wind whistling through the chinks, with nothing but a fire to warm the place.

It is strangely beautiful. From the warmth of the house.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Two Dog Night

Twilight, cold, and the dogs needed to play. Howard long ago learned he cannot keep pace with Grace, so he wisely stands at the alert as she speeds around the yard. If she comes within a reasonable distance, he will dart out at her, hoping he can at least touch her. She is fast.
The joy of running; She literally bursts with it as she races the yard. Howard is a living, breathing cartoon, which tends to overshadow the greyhound, but he is almost invisible when Grace runs. Of the greyhounds I have had, this is the fastest and she is the one who exalts in the  race. Odd, as she is from show lines and the others were racers. I wish I could bottle what she has when she is at speed. She enters complete, total happiness. And it is the one time the little stub is left without a plan.
This old gal has decided that anything soft is meant for her laying pleasure. She believes with advanced age comes privilege. This is what greeted the dogs and me when we came in from their play. I had dropped some things on the kitchen table that I intended to put in a bag for giving away. Nothing like a cat in repose on the table. I am not one who allows the cat on the counters and such. But the old lady has decided she will take her pleasure wherever she finds it. Perhaps it is a lesson I should heed myself.
I could learn something from all three of them. Accepting my limitations and exercising patience whilst I wait for an opportunity, as is Howard's way. Rejoicing in what I do well and expressing the happiness it gives me, ala Grace. And doing what I damned well please and offering up no apology, as my wise old Margaret so gracefully does.

Now if I could also sleep away half of the day, as do they, I might be onto something. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Out In The Cold

It is a cold morning; -2 degrees Fahrenheit when I got up this morning and currently 8 degrees. My little patch of frozen land is cold and beautiful. We will be out in the barn all day. Injury and illness have put the work behind. I have been keeping up with the basics only.
Getting up to such a cold morning caused me to make a nice pot of minestrone to have for lunch. We need something warm and fortifying to get us through the day. 
I will back to visiting my blogging friends next week. Life is backed up and I don't like it when my world starts to lose its' bearings. My knee is better and Mark is getting better, so life picks up where we left off. Now it's time to venture out and start pitching!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I believe I have lost my voice. 
I am sorry for my unexplained absence. I have had nothing to say and I have not had the impetus needed for me to try to engage in what others are saying. In short, I believe I am despondent and need the time to get myself back.

I read too much. I am very worried about the future and the daily news does not help my cause. So I have put myself to the work on my farm and little else.
We had a beautiful snowfall overnight. I will be spending considerable time plowing us out, but the beauty of the landscape is worth it. The horses will appreciate the cushioning it provides, as the frozen, rutted ground was hard on the feet. I appreciate the lift it gives my spirit.
I am thankful for the kind people who check on my welfare. As I have mentioned in the past, I lead a somewhat isolated life and winter only increases the solitude, so it is welcome when someone wonders what has happened to me. I am alive, I am well. I'm just bummed.