Don’t Look Back 2017

I was going to do a recap of the progress on the farm this year, but, the year was so awful I quit. I could hear the Country Blues band striking up their instruments and the song going like this:

We were flash flooded three times and the pond blew out…    da-du-da-dunt

Two cows died and the twister knocked our trees about…     da-du-da-dunt

My favorite computer crashed-the mother board is fried….  da-du-da-dunt

My best friend and neighbor- she just up and died…        da-du-da-dunt

A guy sold me a car he did not own…

Now I got to chew on him like some old bone…      da-du-da-dunt

We had to toss a renter to the curb…

’cause he liked expensive wacky herbs…    da-du-da-dunt

An idiot wrecked my car, the fools…

Yet another jerk,  stole my tools…   da-du-da-dunt

When you think it can  get no worse…

Taxes raise and  I got to handover a horse!    da-du-da-dunt

The cow prices are too low to sell…   da-du-da-dunt

My stallion was injured and struck the reaper’s bell…     da-du-da-dunt

The fox and coons wiped out the hens…  da-du-da-dunt

A coyote has the goats scared in their pens…   da-du-da-dunt

A hawk flew in and got the cat…

who would have even thought of that!    da-du-da-dunt

At least the hubby finally found a good job…

but the rest of this song makes me want to sob!    da-du-da-dunt

On the bright side mother  decided to stay…

and I found strength in God and learned to pray!     da-du-da-dunt

I think we’ll end this blues with a loud: “Hallelujah!”

Then a mumbled:    “Five more days and this year is over!”

We are “alive and kickin'” as my friend Mary would always say when I would call. I sure do miss the ole girl and I know she would have loved my song.  Sure hope 2018 starts off better.  Five more days. Five more days…



Puppies in the Kitchen

One Day Old
One Day Old
Growing Like Weeds
Growing Like Weeds- Ten Days Old

October 25, found us delivering our first puppies right in the Hubby’s lap. Nothing goes just how you plan it when you are homesteading- not even puppies.

The swimming pool was outside, waiting to be sanitized. April, our Dane girl, was not due; according to my friend who has bred a few of these big dogs, until November third. I had not yet driven to the Observer to get some old newspapers. The plan was to sweep and mop the kitchen floor, clear the counter of everything a Dane might nose, put the pool down, have it all lined with clean newspapers and be in complete readiness for the event… yah, well, here is how it really went.

As I was getting ready for work I heard a ruckus in the dog pen. April was emitting a low grow that was vibrating the dog house. The day prior, I blocked the big hole she had dug under the “doggie” deck. Her sister, Junezia, four inches taller, had decided to try the hole. That is right, she got stuck. After an anxious twenty minutes of shoveling; then pulling a hundred-fifteen pound Dane from her predicament- which was like pulling a stuck calf out of bawling cow- we were able to screw heavy boards to the deck. As an extra deterrent my daughter and I lined the deck with cement blocks. Thus, April could not birth her litter under the deck and for once I was a step ahead.

Listening to April growl at her sisters, it was decided to bring April inside where the hubby could watch her until we could get everything ready. These puppies were going to pay for every animals’ hay for the winter and the Dane girls dog food bill; so we were being cautious.
I came home from work at 4:30 to see a giant dog stretched in the lazy-boy- with slippers sticking out from under her. It took me a second to realize the hubby was under the dog. He was muttering, “She wouldn’t settle down until she got in my lap. She’s been groaning. I think she is in labor.”

I stepped over to check the tail end just as a puppy slid out. “No, honey, she’s giving birth,” I informed.

“What!” was his astonished reply. “You got to be kidding me?”

I lifted the wet, slimy, wiggling puppy; turning it upside down, “Nope…oh, my God, there is one on the floor still in it’s sack!”

At this point I went into emergency mode. The sack was cool and the fluid still in it. It was like trying to grab an egg off a tile floor one-handed. Remember I had the other hot mess in my left hand. Finally I had the sack and ran for the kitchen floor where I put the live pup down and ripped open the sack. Yah, it was a mess.

The hubby took the live puppy and gently shook it to help clear the lungs while April tried to drown it with her big tongue. The big boy was not moving and he was cool in my hands. April tried to lick him, too. Using a finger I opened his mouth and fluid came out. I rubbed, slapped, and pumped on the poor little guy, giving him quick jerky shakes. I heard a little growl, but, he was still not breathing. Gently I puffed a little air into his mouth. The hubby tossed me a dry towel and I rubbed the hide off him, I think. I gave him a couple of more puffs, and yes, he was wet and salty, but he was going to breathe. It was a tense five minutes. Finally the big blue pup took his own breaths.

Meanwhile, Don had thrown a towel on the floor for April to lay on. The second born pup was already happily robbing all the ninnies on her mom. The pup was going to need the head-start, as Minnie was the runt of the litter. At a full pound she was not a small runt, but, her brother was a half-pound bigger. After his near death experience; the little fella was slow to get started, once he did, however, Minnie had competition.

In a hurry I called my niece, telling her of my dilemma and asking her to get my daughter. Soon Mom and pups were in a clean pool with papers. Every hour a new pup arrived until 1AM. Exhausted, I left the situation to my daughter as I had to go to work at six. I just closed my eyes when I heard, “Mom!”

The last puppy arrived. A big white female harlequin who is now, two weeks later, a quarter pound heavier than her five brothers. All ten of the squiggly balls of fur are grunting, growling and trying to stand up. Yah, they will be ready for the outdoor pen in just a couple of days. In the meantime, there is a pile of puppies barely fitting in the swimming pool right in my kitchen. Their mom is eating us out of house and home, too. Wow, can nursing mom’s eat! Good thing I had thought ahead and cooked up real dog food. That store bought stuff just doesn’t cut it with a dog this big. Now, if I can just keep her out of the cat food!

PJ says "I can see!"
PJ says “I can see!”

Life is a bit busy right now. It always is when you’re trying to set your place up to homestead with the hope of going completely off-grid. Watching the babies grow is so worth it… Maybe I’ll find some time to set up at an indoor flea market and sell some of my self-published books and extra stuff cluttering up the place. Maybe take up a puppy to show off…

“Hey! Get out of that catfood!” Well, I’ll be right back…

It's my wagon! “It’s my wagon!”

Meanwhile Maya and Junezia are outside fighting over a car ride. Kids!

Getting the neighbor a Lift inspires motivation…

My neighbor I have known for ten years… and grown fond of… is the same age as my mother. Her life was filled with hardships and abuse as a youth. It seems in her older years the hardships are not letting up. Pretty much confined to a wheelchair, she is now in need of a sit-to-stand lift.

Being that her husband was a war veteran I never expected to hear the cost of her lift would not be covered at all. Not by medicaid either. I know, I have spent many hours researching ways to get her the $4800 dollar piece of equipment they can not afford.

The situation became desperate when she came home from a rehab center in town. She stayed at the place almost two months. Once her social security was drained she was put in a room with a parking lot view, given drugs that literally made her lose her mind stopping her ability to do rehab exercises, and her diabetic wounds on her leg grew to the point they became infected. She told me they fed her bologna sandwiches for dinner every night. She dropped seventy-three pounds because she could not even stand the smell of another sandwich and refused to eat.   At this point her husband had enough and got her admitted to the hospital where her diabetic sores were aggressively treated.

My neighbor is now home, recuperating. On Monday we helped her into her wheelchair and it took all we had to physically do it. She weighs around two-fifty. When she came home from her appointments we had to call the fire company for aide. Over the years, everyone knows who she is, especially if they are in the fire company. It is extremely obvious she needed the lift; a sit-to-stand where she could actually use it as a walker and get much needed exercise.

While my neighbor will have to pay out of pocket for the lift I did manage to find a used lift on craigslist for one-third the cost. Today we are traveling two hours in her van to get it. (Lifts on ebay were five to fifteen hours away.) The people were generous enough to accept five-hundred dollars less than the price, putting the lift within the budget without wiping out my friend’s savings account. It is going to be a long trip, but so worth it.

I really am astonished how our medical system is yet treating our senior citizens’ need for independence so poorly. Had my neighbor been able to acquire the lift in the first place she would have never been in the rehab center’s negligent claws. I wish I had taken a more active interest in her needs sooner. Life keeps me so busy, moving my family to the farm in this instance, I missed out on helping her sooner.

I was right about the trip being a long one. It rained the whole way. The elderly gentleman who sold us the lift was in the process of moving to a downstairs apartment. His wife had passed away and he no longer needed the larger space. Being in his eighties, he revealed without the lift we were now buying the care of his wife would have been impossible. The family was just showing up to help him begin the moving process. They seemed a happy brood and the gentleman was always smiling. Knowing the lift was going on to help another family was gratifying to the family.

Once the lift made it to its destination, and I saw the relief and smile on my friend’s face I shared the sentiment. Life is not about how much stuff you can pile into a house. It is not about how much money is in the bank. The true meaning of life is revealed when you give of yourself, without expecting anything in return. Jesus came to the Earth to teach us a simple truth, “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” Acts 20:35

When I see my neighbor out on the porch in her wheelchair enjoying a fresh dose of morning air it will lift my spirits to know I was a small part in giving my friend a much needed lift.

Helping others also encourages me to keep on pursuing the dream of seeing my books in the hands of a publishing company. To think of the changes success would bring to my whole family and to some of my friends is exciting. Can you imagine how excited they would all be if I were able to get them all together and flip on a demo tape and see an animation film of Major Ross Jackson ducking knives as Private Bucks loses her temper? or Jackson screaming as they ride off the cliff to land in a pool of water at the bottom to escape the evil General’s men? or when the squirrel steals Old Lent’s hat? or when Pearl, Bucks pet cougar, causes chaos?  My friends have laughed so well at the book… well… envisioning the movie version in my mind’s eye with everyone I care about gathered to see it…what a motivating dream.

It was the dream of a four year-old to own a farm with horses; it was the dream of a seven year-old to drive a big truck; it was the dream of a sixteen-year old to write a book; it was the dream of a thirty-year old to bring mother, daughters and brothers together on the same farm; if these dreams can be made to come real than seeing The Major’s Renegade or Shelby become a movie should not be so impossible a dream for a forty-year old, do you think?


Trying to Get Focused

One of the predominate themes of building a blog is to have a skill you can share with others. Picking a focus is something I think I may find difficult as I have many interests. My top priority is the sale and promotion of my books, for example, while my secondary is the sharing of knowledge hands on with homesteading. Hopefully, God willing, this will also be a place to share products with the public once we get started in this endeavor.

A second recommendation is to post… post… post. Sigh. Apparently blogging is more for people who are stuck in apartments with no cows to haze out of the neighbor’s yard, furnaces to fix on rentals or buildings to build.

A third idea I came up with is to categorize my posts by interests. Frankly, I love to share my little short stories just for fun under Farm Tales.  When I finally get up enough nerve to do book signings I can post locations under My Writing.

A fourth recommendation was to be linked into your own website, pinterest, facebook, twitter, and others. The idea is to criss-cross as many connections as possible. Something called “web-crawlers” are out there weaving and knitting the internet together for fast connections.

A fifth idea was to put your website links, blog links, etc… in your emails and facebook posts. Personally, I’m not spamming anyone, but, if friends will share the info will start getting out there.

I am pretty sure everyone has read this stuff before, but if not, glad to help. I’m still trying to remember to go to the Snippet Editor, add Focus keywords, make the blog 300-500 words long, categorize the post,  and keep tinkering with the tools and settings.  Sounds like a whole lot of nagging just to tell people, “Hey, you want to read something really funny, buy this book. You’ll laugh your socks off.”

I still think a billboard on Route 79 would be more effective and less hassle. The hubby says we can’t afford it and, personally, I would feel a bit self-conscious being twenty-foot tall wearing a ball cap, a purple plaid shirt and my pink bib-coveralls. You really don’t think I’m getting in a dress for a billboard advertisement do you? I got work too much work to do for all that fluff-n-stuff. Happy Trails.


Blogging and Web Designing- Oh my.

For some reason I popped awake at four AM on a Saturday morning. You got to be kidding me. Well, might as well work on my website. I was working on it until eleven o’clock last night and it seems my mind wanted to keep going. I’m adding yet another section to my web where I’m storing all my recipes. I keep misplacing the cards I have them written on so why not stick them on my web. See if I can loose them there. I have had the website for a long time and just keep adding to it.

I’m very glad the hubby knows alot about how to program computers and put them physically together. Sometimes I’ll stepaway for months then come back and scratch my head, “And how did I upload this and which of the hundreds of files was that in.” This blog stuffmakes my eyes glaze over.  I’m still confused about the pages. I have yet to discover how to make it so readers see the pages. That’s another day. This morning I’m creating a new web page: Cooking with Miss Cindy- Tomato Season. I see and index page in the future with lots of little off shoot pages.

My friend gave me three five gallon buckets of tomatos and I had to scramble to can or freeze them. She drives bus, too. She made the mistake of bringing the bucket on the bus and setting them in the seat. She took a turn on her way in, no kids on the bus, to meet me with them where we work and those over ripe tomatoes went everywhere. She was bringing the bus in to be washed and ended up having tomop her bus. Little did I know there was a hole in the bucket and the juice went into my car floor. If you have ever smelled rotten tomatoes on a ninety degree day I need not tell you what my car smelled like the next morning. Yah, it was ripe. No pun intended.


Attempting to set up a blog… interesting.

It is two in the afternoon. The heat chased me inside so I am taking time to learn how to blog. This one site is very good for beginners. I can remember, as a kid, being excited to bring home a Vic 20 computer. It was before the Comador 64. (You had to write your own program to get a dot to move from one side of the screen to the other. Imagine that.) Amazing how far the computer world has come in less than thirty years.

There goes a knock at the door. Half an hour later, after chatting with one of my renters, and I’m back. Her boyfriend wants to buy/trade my extra hens I raised. Five fat roosters ready to butcher and a few dollars richer I dive in to how to make pages on my blog and how to connect to my website where people can buy my books. Wouldn’t a billboard be easier? Perhaps I should put a hat down on the street and read from my books?

I am such a shy person. It is difficult for me to draw attention to myself. I am not looking forward to taking my car hauler to the flea market. It is filled with items I need to sell, espcially now that Mom seems to serious about coming to the farm to live.

What fun it would be. She makes the best pies. Even if she burns it, I miss her cooking. She loves to garden and can food. As a child she lived on tenant farms. I know she will love the goats and it will be great to have someone to do things with. I’m planning on building a small chicken coop to keep at her trailer so she can get the green eggs. I like them better than the brown, myself, for making pickled eggs. She worked hard, has lived hard and it will be satisfying to see her retire to something she enjoys.

Okay, onwards to finishing the dog house, finding Hubby a job and trying to figure out how to become a successful blogger and blow my sales out of the water so a publisher just has to notice me and a movie producer will drool as I prepare to sign a contract. lol. Well, if you are going to dream, dream big. Ask life for a higher price and I’ll let life talk me down to just getting the farm paid off and Mom moved in.

Why I started this blog.

How time flies.  I am going to regret not writing events down of the past few weeks. Where to begin to discuss why I started this blog.

Quick update- finally got the family to move to the farm in November! Now I’m motivated to succeed and keep us all on the same farm! I’ll leave the post as it was, but, finally got Mom off the mountain. Yay!

Let’s start with today. On the menu was to pick up where I left off on the dog house a week ago, before I went to visit my mother and brothers who live six hours away. I wish I could say visiting brought back pleasant memories. Unfortunately, every time I visit, I see how their two bedroom trailer is affecting their health and mental state.
It would be hard to put into words the anguish I feel knowing my mother is living in poverty and cob-job. Imagine plywood laid over a sinking bathroom floor with strips of linoleum to cover it. The toilet has a square cutout. Pieces of white paneling are glued to the ceiling with tan glue that shows in every crack. A car fan hangs in the ceiling and, yes, the steam does go up the hole. The lights are new; barely hanging in the old trailer ceiling. The water heater needs replaced like the floor under it and the shower smells of rotten eggs, but it is clean. As you turn the outdoor copper handle to switch to the shower you realize the sink handles turn in the wrong direction. Yes, sink handles. A long copper pipe with a ninety-degree elbow is the tub faucet. Oh, wait it gets better. The shower wall is seemed with the same tan glue on the ceiling. It caulks the tub in a squished-out pattern. The tub kick-pan fell off years ago. It is an unpainted plywood board with a wire cage on the end to allow the heat to get under the tub so it will not freeze and keep the cats from going under. The tub always served as double-duty for the exiting of the wash water. Yep, into the tub and down the drain. I wish the nightmare ended there. It doesn’t. From one end of the trailer to the other it is a clean, crowded nightmare of cob-job. I’ll leave your imagination and my mother’s embarrassment there, but, I do have to say the string running from the front door, thru the porch and into the trailer attached to an old schoolmarm’s bell tops the cake. The bell gives the mental picture of cluttered chaos that winning cheery cherry on top of the tin banana split.

Hillbillies, can not live with them and would not dream of living without them.

Yes, I want my mother and brothers out of there badly. I think they might actually come to the farm this time. Mom is getting near retirement and she is absolutely sick of the whole dilapidated mess.
It’s good, yet, it is bad timing for me. Financially, the hubby lost a good paying job and he is not scrambling to find a new one which mentally has me chewing my fingernails like a squirrel in March on a dried cob of stashed corn. If anyone has been through the stress of a family member losing a job and taking their sweet time to find another, you know what I mean.
While visiting mother I enjoyed going to the small family reunion my Uncle and Aunts started. My cousins had pictures of my Dad when he was young. My father passed away several years ago. I don’t have any photos of him as a child. During the visit another relative, I discovered, worked at a sound studio where he edits the narrations of books. He recommended the idea of blogging. So in the long about way I guess this is the real reason I am making this first stab at blogging.
I guess the goal of my blog is honestly to promote my books- which right now I need to fly off the shelves like hotcakes in about the most desperate way possible, but, I’ll bet I’m not suppose to say that. I have sold privately many copies of all four of my self-published books. I have a dozen people I know who bought all four of my books and want more.

I wish I had the time to write, but, somehow the goal is ironically attached to my income. The catch twenty-two in my life. That is something you can help me out with by clicking here and purchasing a copy or copies-and telling me what you think.
The second goal of my website is to impart some commonsense homesteading ideas and health care tips for animals and humans. My website is chalk full of the lessons I have learned and the ones I’m yet to learn. I have included some photos and also shared with you some of the fun things I like to collect and do; especially anything about horses. I am trying to get our small farm turned into a homestead that supplements our income and gives us a sense of accomplishment.

I love pinning things on pinterest, trying new recipes, garden tips, and stumbling through the new skill of canning foods and building. We are building a greenhouse next. This should be a blast; and yes, I’ll probably do all the work myself. The backhoe is something I really dig operating- sorry I could not resist. A ruler and a hammer are my second favorite tools next to the pen.
I am going to try and post on a weekly basis. I might post a few days in a row or not, just depends on what’s cooking in my busy life and if time will let me sit down long enough to contemplate the confines of the universe and visit with the hubby. Yah, I think I watered and fed him at least twice today. Saw him running around the farm a few times. Guess I better figure out this blog thing and find out what is on the menu for tomorrow’s projects. Top of list, Get hubby a Job. Second, call Mom and see if she has changed her mind about moving to the farm… again. Third, finish dog house and place the three Dane girls inside their new doggie home before they finish digging their way out of the barn. Yes, I have three Great Danes and that’s another story. Last, but not least, finish the rental so we can get it advertised.
Somehow, at this late hour, I think my goal to start blogging is somehow going to spill over until tomorrow. I really need seventy-two hour days. Sigh.


I will upload some new things to my website hopefully in the next few days. I started a recipe section because I often modify. If I put it on my website I’ll know where the recipe is for the next time I want to use it. Laugh, but I can not tell you how many times I have gone to my own website to look up the research I did on poison Ivy, cold cures, and so on. I hope you enjoy the website, find the information useful and of course order a book to read- for medicinal purposes- laughter is the best medicine after all.