family, Teddie Aspen

Dog Lessons

It wasn’t long ago I was digging through boxes leftover from my childhood home. I ran across an American Kennel Club certificate. Maximillian was his name.

I had heard his name many times in my life, often with a sneer from one of my brothers. They loved their dog, and I was the reason we got rid of him. Maximillian, the prized pooch, couldn’t stop knocking me over as a newly walking toddler. So, he had to go.

All this to say, I didn’t grow up with dogs. I had a cat named Snoopy I treasured but was allergic to (a story for another post), but never a dog. I just didn’t get dogs. Never wanted one. And who knows, maybe I was even a little scared of them from all my hard knocks as a babe.

As an adult, when my family wanted to get a dog, I resisted. We even had a dog live with us for a while that didn’t really work out. We ended up taking him to a new home where he could have the room and attention he needed.

Then Penny came along. My sister-in-law became her unexpectedly permanent foster mom. She needed a place to live and a family to love her. Would we be interested? I didn’t really want this at all. We could take her for a 2-week trial to see if we could handle it.

And she never left. We live together but I wouldn’t say she loves me. Still, my heart softened seeing how much everyone else loved her. She changed our family.

And then came the dog that I really did love. Chester. The unlikely, homely, wiry guy from the pound. The underdog. I didn’t even know why we would ever need 2 dogs. I was just getting used to 1! Then Chester who got scared by sudden movements and noises, Chester who always backed out of the room…Chester came along. He was very shy at first but eventually came around and became sweet, playful Chester. He loves to run and bound through the woods, and his sad eyes will pull at your heart strings every time. Chester changed my heart about dogs.

Now there’s the newest member of the clan named Nash, who I’ve taken a liking to. I even embrace my extended family and friend’s dogs. Heck, I even get to walk dogs and dog sit once in a while. Truthfully, I still don’t know how to act around dogs, and they can tell. It doesn’t come naturally for me and maybe never will. Thankfully, I’ve learned that many dogs are pretty forgiving if you at least try. They teach me about protection, loyalty, priorities and unconditional love. They seem to bring out the best in people just by being there and present in the moment. That bowls me over in the best of ways.

3Splitz Farm, working women

City Girl 2 Farm Girl

The title says it all. How do you take a city girl and drop her in the country and get her doing stuff? Farm stuff to be exact. Chores, using a knife, hauling trash and other non-city-girl things.

The easiest way to get her to produce is tell her she can’t and she will do everything in her power to prove you wrong. So to those who said you can’t, you shouldn’t, you won’t, it’s not for you, it’s hard work, and so on I’m toasting you right now. I am ever so thankful for your encouragement and motivation. 

The new flavor of this girl is country. It might be country on the weekend and city on the weekday but that’s okay. It’s what works right now. In life we all make sacrifices. If you have a dream and you want to put it into action you need to sacrifice, hustle and do what needs to be done.

That’s where progress and growth comes. You grow when you test your limits. You gain confidence when you push yourself beyond what you think you can do. Some things may take more practice than others but you will never know until you try. Try as much as you can as often as you can until you find what you love.

For me I’m one month into my new farm girl role. Oddly I found out I enjoy mowing the lawn. Mowing acres upon acres. It’s a mindless task but one that is physical, especially if your tool is a push mower. I guess I just drift away when mowing. No time clocks. No requirements to report to anyone. Just me and the mower having some quality time. I may also be daydreaming about getting abs from all my farm chores. A girl can dream, right?

I also enjoy the task of making trash hauls to the dumpster or burn pile. Maybe it’s that I get to hook up different trailers or wagons to my four wheeler and zoom off. Who knows. I just enjoy being a little worker bee. 

Speaking of quality time there isn’t anything much more rewarding than enjoying the outdoors, spending time with family / friends and just experiencing the great outdoors in many different ways. I’ve been an avid boater for years. One could say I enjoyed the same quality time but it’s lounge time which is not the same as creating, working and living on your homestead.

Arts / crafts, game nights, home cooking, barbecuing, and so much more. I even have a new farm chick shirt to honor the farm girl and author in me. I have the best of both worlds right now. I get to experience farming and tell the world about right here on this blog. My kids are seeing my shift and challenge of myself. It is my hope that it will inspire them to venture out in their own ways as they adult. The serene views of wildlife and historic barn will never get old because each day brings a different view. On most days it seems we have our own little climate in the mountains.

And for those of you out there who think farming is a lost skill, think again. Meat, veggies and other things are produced by farmers. Having direct access to farm items to my table is a compliment to my fitness and health journey. Fresh, quality and affordability. 

Hope you enjoy my farm sampling one month in. I even met some new critters this weekend. A skink, a snake and a giant spider. No picture of the snake because I was screaming while kicking my feet up as it slithered by. It was a black snake not venomous so the screams were not needed but seemed applicable at the time. There were many other creatures but those are just a few that had me on my toes.

Until next time, picture me honing my farming skills in one way or another.

perspective

Bird Poop

Birds fly by, zoom zoom. Nobody cares. General flights of birds cause no harm to humans. Life goes on for many.

Birds fly by and poop on your car and people get annoyed. It’s gross. You have to clean it and some times it’s just overly nasty. Again, life goes on.

Birds fly by and one launches a missile of turd on you, a human. Gross is not the word that comes to mind. It’s more like a shriek, eww, nasty and so many more words. A wet splatter. A solid turd. All combined in white, black, yellow coloring. Do you think they say ready, set, aim? Do they think the world below is a modern day potty?

I heard it’s good luck to be shit on by bird. I guess only time will tell if luck is on my side. I will tell you however that a bird shitting on you doesn’t feel good.

It’s wet. It’s dirty. It’s gooey. It’s just down right gross. I’m sparing you a picture on this one but felt it was important to share the rarity of being shit on by a bird.

I guess we have all been shit on by a human at some point in life and that is most likely more long-term suffering than a quick splat that is gone as soon as you cleanse the area.

Do you think birds carry corona? Just a random share on this hump day.

family, inspire

My Farm Girl

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When I was young, I wandered through all kinds of interests, career possibilities, and whims.  After I gave up my dream of delivering the mail, I considered becoming a meteorologist.  A singer.  A poet.  A jazz musician. A teacher.  Probably lots of other things I don’t even remember.  I took one of those career surveys in high school and it told me to be a ferry boat captain so I probably even considered that. (Briefly.)

Along the way all sorts of things would capture my fancy for a while. So many rabbit holes my teenage and twenty-something brain went down… e. e. cummings poetry.  Philosophy.  Feminism.  But the one I remember most was Southern Self-Taught Art (aka Folk Art).  Who knows how I stumbled across it, but I dove headlong into that world, reading and learning as much as I could about the main personalities, what they created, and where they lived.  I studied it, immersed myself in it, planned trips to meet artists and see exhibits.  I was fascinated.

Through every whim and detour my Dad was right along with me.  I had a pile in the kitchen (that drove my Mom crazy,by the way, a pile in the middle of prime real estate) where I kept important papers and mail.  Every once in a while a newspaper clipping or magazine article would appear on that pile.  It might be an artist profile, or an ad for a nearby art auction.  My Dad would have circled it with blue ball-point pen and written my name next to it, then ripped it out.  Always looking to extend my knowledge and experience.

And so wherever my interests went, my Dad followed close behind.  He learned as much as he could about what mattered to me. We went on road trips to meet artists.  He even had pieces commissioned for me.  When I was young, I thought it was so awesome that our interests always seemed to line up. My Dad and I just always seemed to like the same stuff!  What a lucky coincidence.  Once he was gone, I realized that he was really just interested in me.  My growth.  My enjoyment.  My plans.  My life.  It was essential to how he parented me.

This morning I did the same for my youngest daughter.  She wants to be a farmer when she grows up.  I’ve made connections with some local farms and send her tidbits about farming when I run across them.  This morning a local farm offered an opportunity to come work on a project.  So we jumped in the car with gloves and water and away we went.

Do I care about farming?  Not really.  I love the country, sunrises and sunsets, and back porches, but farm life is a lot of work.  I didn’t mind carrying all the gravel buckets (all my CrossFit farmer’s carries finally came in handy!) but I mainly wanted to spend time with her as she learned.  We talked.  We worked.  We enjoyed the sun, petting the huge farm dogs, watching the sloppy pigs, exploring the farm store, and just being together, imagining what she might be and do if she became a farmer with land of her own.

 

So no, I don’t really care much about farming.  But I do care much about her.  And when I love someone, I often find their interests interesting as a way to deepen my understanding, connection, and support for them.  I love that my Dad made me feel like all my little whims were worth learning about and pursuing. It was one of the ways he made me feel worthy and important.  I hope I make the people I love feel the same way.

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