Friday, September 29, 2006

Day is Done, the Sun has Set and I am Tired

Its almost impossible to sum up a day like today. There were so many elements of it that felt so familiar to our old life. So many things we used to do without giving it much thought, and now, how many modern things have crept in without even realizing it.
I realized one thing today, with all the children grown and gone, I am sort of retired from many of the day to day activities that come with having children at home. One aspect of that is the cooking. Since I chose to skip lunch, I could. With children home, that would not have been possible.
It was hot today, so instead of me building a hot fire to make supper, Emery said to have something simple that could be cooked on a small fire. I made him fried egg sandwiches. I had toast. Not balanced meals for the day. Not a single vegetable for me. Just a choice I made. I suppose if it had been cooler, the stove would not have been such an issue. But having a hot fire in an already warm house, is just plain not comfortable.
With the days work done, wood in for the morning and water ready for the morning, I feel more prepared for tomorrow. Emery is feeling better. So worry has been erased. I wonder what it was like when there was no reality of an Emergency room there if we needed it. Weeks before a Doctor would be in the area ? I would think fear would be there much of the time in regard to health matters. Everything could be potentially fatal.
Tonight the lamps are lit, and fortunately we have several, so all the house is lit with that golden glow from the burning wicks. The house is peaceful and that gentle calm has settled in with us for the night, like a sleepy cat curled up on a braided rug by the fire.
The cars that drive by seem surreal, a bit out of place.
But more, they seem like an invader to the peace of stepping back and looking at things through eyes that feel as though they belonged to someone long ago.
I would love a shower, and a huge glass of water with ice in it. I would love to hear some gentle music or have a phone call from one of my children.
Funny the things I miss. Today I wished for a kitchen window. When we added on the dinning room, the kitchen window was lost. It was dark in there all day long, not pitch black dark, but dark enough to have a lamp on to do the dishes, dark enough it seemed the floor was not in need of a good scrubbing.
Little log homes on the prairie or on the frontier would not have had many windows. Glass was expensive, and there was no screens. So my kitchen felt pretty authentic in regards to the amount of light I had.
We plan to knock part of an outside wall out and put in a window, it seems more important to me after today.
Not sure what tomorrow will be like as far as food goes, its going to be warmer than today. In the 90's.
What did the women of Texas do in the summer way back when for baking in summer. I sure hope they all had a stove on the porch or an outside beehive oven or something. Its time to step back in time again and enjoy the rest of the peaceful time before I climb the two steps to bed. I think that old feather bed will feel extra good tonight.

The living room by lamp light
The glow of a kerosene lamp

Not What I Expected, this adventure of mine.

Its 11 am and I am realizing I am not as disciplined as thought. An hour till lunch time and the fire has gone down.
Somehow when sweeping the living room rug, I became dissatisfied with the way the furniture was arranged, so with the garden needing tending, dishes still unwashed, I started moving furniture around. There is still wood to bring in too and water to be fetched, but there I was moving chairs and a sofa. Was I a bit bored with this incredibly quiet life ? Perhaps. I noticed how badly I missed the stereo playing. While moving furniture, once again it became evident, we all have way too much stuff in our houses. We hate housework, hate is a strong word, but its safe to say that most of us don't love it, we just do it, or some just don't do it. But by all this shopping and acquiring, along with holding on way too long to things, we make so much more work for ourselves.
Collecting stuff makes so much work. You have to move it, dust it, organize it when it gets out of place, and so on and so on.

By now, the hot temperature of the living room, combined with hard physical work and the lack of deoderant, has created some very noticable body oder. Frankly, I stink ! Off I go to the wash up bowl. Humm, seems I have to use my cloth that I have washed my face with, no problem there, but after I scrub my armpits its not going to be fit to wash my face with again unless I wash it out etc. I need to get more water, again !
Soap and water tames the wild scent but I miss having nothing nice to spray on after. Oh well, this is one time I think Emery will appreciate that he doesn't have a super sensitive scense of smell.

Think lunch will be late today. I am tempted to just skip it, since its just me home alone. Maybe a slice of bread and some butter, melted butter that is. Spreads easy that way !

I never expected this adventure to stir up so many old feelings for me. Maybe they were just under the top soil of my brain, waiting to be stirred into life again, I am not sure. After rearranging the furniture I took a minute to sit and think about life in general. Contemplate where I was and where I am heading perhaps.
Sweeping the rug with the broom, such a simple mundane act, filled me with memories of a time when we lived so "plain" so distinctly different than our extended family, old friends and the general population.
I am glad for the changes we have made since that time. But at the same time, today seems a time to take out old memories, and hold them close and rock in my rocking chair a bit with them.
This adventure, is serving as a reminder of a life we once lived.

In many ways, I expected this to be a time of hard work, and appreciating what we now have, but its part, looking back and seeing the good parts of the life we once lived.

I am Breaking A Rule and Blogging this Morning

Greetings in the name of the Lord,
This morning I am going to not journal this adventure but write all as in a letter telling you about the day.
Think of this as a personal letter to each one of you, sharing with you how the day is unfolding.
Yesterday, everything seemed to well planned out, so organized for this adventure and I felt confident and full of enthusiasm. I still am to a degree but realism has set in and all the plans changed last night.
My darling Emery was not feeling well last night when I picked him up from work at 6 p.m.. In fact he asked me to drive home. He had been coughing so hard that he pulled a muscle. Even his upper arms hurt.
There was no way I could ask him to go haul wood into the house for me to use today. I had planned that he would do that each evening for me.
His night was filled with coughing spells and pain from the pulled muscle. A fever set in too. The night was long and worrisome.
Its funny, but now that he is 60, I get more fearful when he is sick. Fearful he will die. Perhaps its that as we grow older, we loose more and more people in our circle of friends and family so the smack of that type of pain is real to us. In youth, you feel exempt, bigger than life itself. As you age, your become wiser.
We were up many times. I was always on the ready for whatever he needed.
Needless to say, neither one of us got much sleep.
When 5:30 arrived, I woke and just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep. Emery was resting comfortably and I didn't want to disturb him. I fell back asleep myself. At 6:30 we were both awake, but the house was still dark. My first thought was, "oh right, its the big adventure, no lights on." I went to get my boots out of the closet, a simple thing, but it was dark and I had to feel around to find them, and then stick my hand in to see if a creepy crawly had set up home in the toes. I wished I had a light. Couldn't very well stick a candle in there.
I dressed, and wondered how I was going to get wood, start the fire, have the stove hot enough in time to get Emery some breakfast. It didn't happen in time. He grabbed a bowl of cereal and headed off. It was still not as light as I would have liked when I headed off to the wood shed. We have snakes here and sometimes they climb on the beams of the barn and that makes them over your head. I am uncomfortable with that. It was hard to check for creatures with the lantern. I could hear things scurrying away as I reached into the barrel with the kindling. Probably mice or rats. I shivered to think about it. With the wheel barrow now loaded with wood I went in to start the fire.
Walking past the sink, I saw dishes from last night, groan..... wish I had gotten them done as planned. I could have just turned on the faucet and filled the sink last night, but now, buckets of water needed to be hauled in just for that.
Breakfast was going to be very late and my stomach was already growling.
I was grateful for years of experience with starting a fire in the stove. In now time flames we jumping. Already I found myself thinking, this would have been much more fun and much less work for me, if the children were still young and at home. The chores would be shared. Someone could fetch water for me.
I am struck by the reality of what life must have been life so long ago for people aging. No children at home made for a hardship.
Its now 9:22 am and finally my coffee is ready. I need the caffeine today. Plain and simple. The living room where the stove is, is now 90 degrees F. The rest of the house is probably 70. Somewhere around 8 am I realized that I never even washed my face this morning. I got up running and didn't take any time.
The hand woven cotton fabric felt strange on my skin. Not like any fluffy terrycloth we are all used to, but the cold water washed away a difficult nights sleep from my eyes.
Breakfast was good, late but good, Two eggs and some grilled whole wheat bread with molasses drizzled on it.
The coffee is strong but that's what I need. It seemed to take forever this morning to grind the coffee beans. I must remember to do that tonight, when we are sitting talking about the day.
After this coffee break, its back to work. I had so much planned but am so far behind. Its hard to know what I will actually accomplish.
Last night when I was praying for Emery, I thought about how fragile life was in the old days. I thought about the mercy of God and how with so many hardships each and every day, you would always remember where the good things in your life came from, not from your hand, but from the Mercy of God.
I comprehend that today with full clarity. Each breath we take, each time we put one foot in front of another and move, each piece of food put on our plate, is due to the Mercy of God. No wonder so many giants of faith lived so long ago, in the founding years of this country. They saw daily the workings of God in their lives. They didn't brag about what they accomplished or what they had like we all do now, they understood that what they had was a gift that God allowed them to have and what they accomplished came by the way of Gods love.
If I take nothing else away from this adventure, learning that we are not running the show, would be enough for me.
My coffee break is over, and now its time to sweep the carpet and do the morning dishes. And time to get more wood, the stove has been hungry and its really time to start some lunch. Nothing is instant.
This isn't so much fun, living this way, and I didn't expect that since for me its not peppered with children's enthusiasm, its work, hard work.

Boots on, ready to get to work

Firewood for breakfast
Breakfast cooking
Breakfast on the plate

Thursday, September 28, 2006

T'was the Night Before the Big Adventure....

For the past week I had been planning the "perfect" adventure in stepping back in time. Nice cool weather, vim and vigor the whole package.
However, life had other plans. Nothing bad, a couple things to make this more of a challenge.
I had set my rules up weeks ago. The list was long and I made myself a promise to keep to the rules I had listed and thought of a few more after posting the standards that I set for us.
Last night Emery was sharing with me some of the things his family did on the farm with no running water and for many years no electricity.
They had a large 5 gallon cream can in the kitchen on the counter, it held the water for dishes, washing up etc. They had a 2 1/2 gallon galvanized bucket with a dipper in it for drinking water. Everyone in the family used the same dipper.
So we are setting up a similar set up in our kitchen.

But now for the additional challenges.....Emery came home sick from work. He has a terrible cough and appears to have a miserable cold. I treated him with herbs and compresses on his chest and gave him a big dose of Swedish Bitters. Tomorrow morning he will have some of my home made cough syrup.
We are going to experience someone being sick with no phone, no car, and no Nyquil !
Now for me, nature played a trick on me and to quote the Bible, "the way of woman is upon me". The rule, No paper products. Home made items. Welcome to the real world of the 1870's.
And now, the cooler weather will be replaced with hot weather again. Breakfast will be not too bad, but by late afternoon, a fire in the woodstove will make the house toasty to be sure. No fans to be used either.
And then, as if its such a part of my life that I forgot to think about it, there is the refrigerator..... there weren't any then. So, meals are made in a quantity to be eaten for that meal only, nothing tucked in little zip lock bags and stashed in the refridge. It will be warm milk to drink and melting butter in the butter dish.
A root cellar would be nice, with a spring running through it.
My head is whirling with thoughts of what the days to come will be like.
I am off to bed.... tomorrow promises to be a big day. Weeding in the garden, hauling water, making bread, cooking over a hot fire and then hand work, using the 100 year old reading glasses.
Emery showed me how far he had to go to haul water and its about the distance of 200 ft, with a creek, a gate and a nasty Gander between the house and the water, and the cows of course too.
That is the distance we are going too for our water.
I can't imagine what how tomorrow will unfold. I hope to do some sewing on my dress for Stevens wedding on the treadle machine tomorrow too.
I am looking forward to the silence of the day though.

On a side note here, I had a wonderful day with Pricilla and her mother shopping for the needs of the wedding. We left at 9:30 am and got home around 4:00 pm.. Our station wagon was packed full.
I really like Pricilla's mother, she is a delightful woman.

Having So Much Fun !

There has not been a time in my adult life when I have not been extremely fond of exercise.
And the more I work out, the more hyper I become. I have never been one to sit still for
very long anyway.
Going to the cinema is my idea of nothing simply because you have to sit for so long.

I can count the times I have been to the movies on
one hand in my adult life.
With my new commitment to loose this weight, exercising has become more focused and certainly
more disciplined for me. Now first off I must confess, that in the nearly two years I have had my treadmill
there have been more days it was used than not used. So exercising is not a hard thing for me, its
almost addictive for me. The more I do, the more I want to do. But I keep it in balance, working out no more than one hour a day, except for backpacking trips.

Sunday we hiked for 3 hours with heavy packs on. Monday I ran, Tuesday I ran and did aerobics,
yesterday I did the treadmill for nearly an hour, weights for 15 minutes and aerobics for another 15 minutes.
Working out is not my problem in life, putting too much in my mouth is... so simple.
However, going to W.W. this time means a lot to me. I want success more than I want food.
Since going to the meeting Tuesday, I have not gone off the plan. Not once. In honesty my self control
feels like a new hat, its going to take some getting used to, but I like it.
Even went shopping to Goodwill and didn't spend a single dime.
Think what I will do is take a picture each week at weight watchers of that little card of mine that shows
what I lost and share it with you folks, some additional accountability for me.
Life is so amazingly exciting, each new day we have the opportunity to steer our own course. We are the
ones in control of the rudder. Bad things can happen, I am not looking at life through rose colored glasses,
but even at that, we have the choice, the ability to choose how we react, how we go in the face of hardship.
I am finally ready to face myself and stop looking for simple, no change required, methods of loosing weight.
If you are fat, you eat too much. You can have a slow metabolism etc but still the fact remains you eat too much for
your own body.

Got myself a new toy last night. This bumpy, bright yellow shiatsu body ball. I have visions of looking a bit like
a beached whale laying on it and attempting to do crunches. But I will put on The Rolling Stones, Forty Licks,
(thanks Melissa for the CD, and for holding up your phone for me to hear him live when you went to their concert, two generations
of fans in one family)
think of Mick Jagger, at his age, jumping and running all over the stage and think to myself, " I can do that too".
Get that treadmill going and get energized.

On a side note, my blood pressure, no longer high, off all meds now for some time. Thanks to herbs at first and dietary
changes and walking. Well, yesterday, after all that time on the treadmill, it was pretty good.
Off to take Pricilla and her mother to Sams to shop for wedding reception supplies. I am wearing jeans !
A big thing for me to do in the face of who I will be with. I am moving away from the hang ups from a life
we used to live.

The new Yellow thing

A view of the treadmill, almost done !

And the result of changing my life style, normal blood pressure, taken right after walking on the treadmill

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Almost Time for the BIG Adventure

The BIG adventure is just about upon us. Today I made lists of the things I cannot do for the two day step back in time. Suddenly it occurred to me, no elastic. Well, I went right to my cedar chest and took out my great grandmothers "bloomers". No elastic there. Figured I would make myself a pair just like hers, well..... sorta.
I thought maybe I would sew mine up the middle a bit.
Just seemed too drafty for me to make them like hers.
Thought about window screens. I have them, so should we remove them ??? It would be more correct to be sure, but we have had " West Nile " in our county and mosquitoes are plenty. Have to mull that one over a bit. Safety is more important in this case I think.
The list keeps growing of things NOT allowed for me.
At some times, I wonder what in the world have I gotten myself into ????
Its going to be a profound learning experience. One of appreciation for what we have and also for what our ancestors went through.
I suspect some areas will not be much different than how we lived in the past. The weather man said cool weather and after our 92 degree day today, that made me extremely happy. Thoughts of a fire going for cooking when its already so hot, was not appealing.
So those of you who are joining me on this adventure, let me know how your plans are going !
I think each night I will blog my progress but will not check email or do any other computer business.

28 Years Ago

Emery and I are still having fun reading my daily planner from 28 years ago, when we first started dating.
Today so long ago, we went to Kelly's on Revere Beach for Roast Beef Sandwiches. He talked about his life growing up on the farm and I talked about my dreams to live off the land.
I remember stopping at a used car lot after we had eaten to check out a Mach 1 mustang. He had a 1971 Mach 1 and I had a 1971 302 Boss. The salesman somehow assumed we were married and I was so embarrassed but Emery took it in stride and acted like it was a splendid mistake. I took note of that then, thinking, well that's different and kinda nice.
I remember how impressed I was that he could take me out the day before payday. We got paid every two weeks at the hospital and my money was gone by the end of week one, so this let me know this man could manage money. Another good sign.
We had such a nice time on this real official first date. I had strange shifts at the hospital and the two nights following "the party" he had stayed to eat supper with me in the cafeteria and then hung around to talk with me. I was impressed by that too. 28 years ago, my knight in shining armor came into my life and remembering those first dates and talking about them, keeps our memories alive and we remember all the reasons we fell in love. And now there are so many more reasons for our love, it just keeps getting better. Really it does. We still laugh and giggle, grab kisses as he opens the car door for me, yes after all these years he still opens every door for me, even the car door.
When I look back at the old pictures, its hard for me to see any change in Emery, I know he must have aged some in this great span of time, but I just don't seem to see it. His smile still warms my heart and his hands cause me to gaze at them as though still a silly teenager in love. All the years my children were growing, I had a wish that each one would know this kind of love, so deep and profound. I am pretty sure they all have and what a wonderful foundation for life.

One of our many happy dates
We each enjoyed taking pictures of one another
And we both loved hiking way back then. We were at Bridal Veil Falls, NH

Just around home

With a bit of rain recently, things are greening up all over the place. Today I noticed a rose in bloom.
Just a great day to be alive !

A new rose
The late morning sky
A busy bee
Mullein coming back in bloom,
this little plants keeps my lungs healthy. In a picture a while back there was a pipe on the table, and believe it or not, thats my pipe to smoke the dried mullein. An old Native American remedy and it really works.

Remembering Old Coffee Houses

Long before Starbucks came on the scene, there were coffee houses. Places heavy with smoke and serious discussions. Chess games being played on small tables. Poems being recited by a few folks in a dark corner. Political conversations everywhere.
I used to hang out, whenever I skipped school that is, at a place called Hungry Charlie's in Harvard Square. It had that sort of atmosphere.
But if you wanted some serious coffee experience you wandered down the road lined with old brick buildings to a small coffee house tucked in between some store fronts. It was an exotic place. Filled with quiet people sipping tiny cups of Turkish coffee. The music was always matched the place. Foreign sounds, that transported you to far off places. It seemed a place for dreamers.
The mornings sunrise reminded me of all the places I have had coffee.
Even though I have had coffee in actual far off places, this tiny shop in Harvard Square has to be the one that evoked the feeling of espionage and secrets.
I don't even remember the name of the place, it never seemed important to remember.
This morning in honor of that tiny spot in a different time and space, I made myself a cup of thick and gritty Turkish coffee, listened to a CD Melissa gave me for my birthday, titled Turkish Groove, as if she knew this moment would come for me. I burned frankincense and myrrh. The room was smoky and outside the sky full of drama.
Perfect morning to remember the places I have been in the world.

Sunrise on the Homestead

This mornings sunrise was nothing but spectacular. Of course photos cannot capture the true essence of the moment. Missing are the sounds of the birds and small animals. The scent of the damp grass and the sweet smell of the Italian pine are not able to be captured and paired up with the photo and shared with you, but the eye candy of the moment was profound in of itself.
Each day, the miracle of the earths cycles presents itself to us, often in colors that leave us breathless with wonder.
This morning, deep gold's, shining mixed with nearly black gray. I mused that it seemed a decorators big leap to make a room so dramatic and pull it off, yet here in front of me, was my whole world draped in colors so exhilarating to the soul.

The very scene before me, seemed exotic, so unlike the reality of where I was. A tiny farm in North Texas. I remembered sunrises in the middle east. Dramatic but it suited the place, so ancient and so full of the history of mankind. Here is so ordinary by comparison, but only because it is the place of my daily living.
This morning drenched in gold and blacks, sparked a desire to go back in time a bit.... to other places I have been, filled with exotic sights and sounds .

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Changes for me, possitive changes !

I am of the firm belief that if you don't like something about yourself, change it. Simple as that.
Now, sometimes we get so accustomed to things, we forget that they are not the most positive things for us. Early this month I saw a friend in the store, she was half the size she used to be. We talked and talked about how she felt, why she made the changes and how she made the changes. I filed all this information in the back of my mind. She lost 100 lbs !
Well, this past Saturday I was pulling into Emery's work parking lot and saw a woman walking across the lot. I remember thinking, hummm, I don't know who that is. ( I know most of the ladies in the community ). I was a bit puzzled and just figured it was someone visiting. Later when I was sitting in the waiting area for Emery, this lady was there, she looked at me and said, "Hi Pat, how are you ? " I recognized the voice right away. It was someone I know very well, but hadn't seen in about 6 months. She had lost so much weight I didn't recognize her.
Mennonites and Amish tend to be large ladies by the time they reach their 40's. Years of baking and eating start to add up. Plus as they age, their children do a lot of the work in the garden etc so they aren't as physically active.
I asked her how she did it, and I got the very same answer that my other friend told me. Weight Watchers. The older I get and the more backpacking we do, I feel my added weight. Sorta like heading out with a very heavy pack on, in my case, on my stomach area.
I thought about these two ladies a lot in the last couple days and today made the decision to go to Weight Watchers myself. Yup, I joined.
I always excused my fat with things like, well I am still active, I run, I can do yoga, etc. But all those things would be easier if there was less of me.
Its beyond the point of wanting a gorgeous body, its about self control and health.
I ran yesterday 6.5 mph, it felt like I had on wings, but with this weight, that speed couldn't be sustained for very long. I want to run and feel light as though my body could fly if I just had a long runway and a bit more speed !
There must be some vanity involved too, if I am being honest, since I never like to post pictures of myself. Its too much of a reality check for me to see me on the screen. Mirrors are not a close friend of mine either.
In this world of excess, we shop too much, we spend too much, we want too much, and we eat too much.
Gluttony comes in many forms I think, and lack of self control shows in several ways.
In the last few years, I have tried hard to make progress in many areas of my life. Perhaps its a bit like seeking to find enlightenment, whatever that really is. It seems elusive at times and so hard to define. But when I see people react to me in some way, I check myself, my attitude, my ego, my motive.
If I am falling short of where I personally want to be in life, then I admit my error and honestly seek change in my negative behaviors. The one thing I have not worked on to any degree has been my weight. Oh I toyed with this and that, but liked the ideas that were the least invasive to the ways of eating that I held dear to my heart and cherished. Not willing to let go of.
I slacked off on the amount of running I do too.
Now time to change, to move beyond where I am. You all know my journey, which road I have set out on and I promise to share with you my progress and my falterings too. Hoping there are not many of those !
By next year on the anniversary of our first date, I want to be uploading a picture of me in those little jeans I wore so long ago.

And on the most serious level of this, it never seems to me that being overweight is a good witness. Self control of actions shows on so many levels of a persons life.

More Homestead Children Photos

Tony the pony with Speckles, Tony was the childrens transportation, ours too.

Melanie Preparing for a new spring garden by weeding

Melissa Milking goats

Melissa taking a well deserved nap

Steven, dog tired, sleeping with Beulah

Monday, September 25, 2006

Raising Homestead Children

This is for Lisa....
We ran a pretty tight ship when the children were young and still all home. We all had assigned chores and there was no slacking off, it just couldn't happen. No room for discussion on that one. It was simple as that. Nothing would have run right.
It took everyones hard work.
There were charts in that hallway, everyone had their jobs. The girls did the animal chores and helped me with the other duties in the house. The boys had their jobs too. Washing woodwork, mucking out barns at times, working in the garden and caring for thier own rooms etc.
We worked from sun up till sun down. Nothing was easy in this simple life. Sure they had play time, but there was more work than play.
We had family worship each night, and read a bit of a good book together.
Saturady nights, I polished 6 pairs of black shoes for church the next day and made sure the boys and Emery had a freshly ironed white shirt and black pants. The girls and I had a sunday dress all pressed and ready .
Other nights were spent on hand work or a game on the floor. No one had the energy to stay up late.
Your work was more than just a hobby, it was a way of life.
You weeded the garden because you knew if you didn't there may not be much food around.
You wanted a sweater, so you took care of the sheep, then sheered them, washed and combed the wool, spun it and then you could sit a bit to knit.
It seems all the pictures we have of the children shows them working at some task.
We did school work after breakfast was over, and before lunch. They had a classical education and both the girls had no problem with College when it was time for them to go. The boys chose not to go. Steven has a good job and Scott no longer lives with us, hasn't since he was 16, he is not a worker. Hated to work as a child and is not working now.
The other three are such hard working adults, they know to work no matter how you feel. They work with a sense of responsibilty not seen much today.
Not long ago Melissa wrote to some friends about what life was like on the homestead.
What she said gives a real up front and honest look at what life was like for the children.
It sounds like something from Little House on the Prairie days.
I'm not sure its the best way to raise children, but its not the worst way either. We are all close and loving and there is a real sense of value for what everyone has.
However, each child loves their modern technology and not sure they ever want to farm. Grow vegetables in a garden yes and maybe have an animal or two. But not work so hard each and every day doing things the old fashioned way.

Here is what Melissa wrote a year and one half ago when asked about growing up on a homestead...
Growing up living simply was, quite honestly, hard. I think a lot of times the simple way of life is idolized, and while there are many benefits such as a feeling a satisfaction from all the work you have accomplished, it really is quite exhausting and there are still stressors. We got up at the crack of dawn to go out and milk about 10 goats by hand and feed the rabbits, pony, calves, chickens, dry goats, etc. Just the feeding and milking took about 1.5 hours twice a day. If we wanted to take a little trip to the bank or store in the pony cart, we would have to get the pony out, brush him down, pick his hooves, get the harness out and put it on (not as easy as it looks!), hook up the pony to the cart, and then you're finally off...this takes about 15-20 minutes just to get started, and once you get there, one of us would have to wait outside the store with the pony and answer a lot of questions from curious onlookers! Then it was several hours of school work. After that, many hours outside gardening and trying to keep the bugs off and the weeds away without chemical pesticides and herbicides. Then we would begin making candles and soap, grating soap for laundry detergent (which took a long time and gave many cramped and scraped fingers!), and canning in 100 + degree weather with no A/C! There was also preparing food, spinning, weaving, knitting, etc if we wanted a new sweater or hat and cutting out and sewing dresses. It left very little time for us to get into any trouble at all! But it also limited some of our activities with friends because we had to be home twice a day to milk. Growing up that way was a great experience and I wouldn't trade it in, but sometimes I wonder if living that way is really so "simple" after all. There is still a lot of stress, it is just a different kind. For example, there is stress if a crop doesn't make it because of an early frost or bugs and all your hard work tending them has been lost and you have no crops to harvest. Or an animal may be sick and you have to spend all night long in the barn with it during the winter to care for it (that happens a lot, trust me!) and even though you have had almost no sleep, you still have to get up and work hard the next day; or you are out on the road with the pony cart and a 18 wheeler drives by and honks his horn and spooks the pony and you try your best to keep him from rushing into oncoming traffic. I think that by trading in the TV and the wireless internet and the cell phones, one is not simply doing away with all the stress or rushing. I think it is just a different type. That's my two cents on simple living!

Still More Photos of the Hike

Slept like a baby last night, all that fresh air and exercise is good for a soul.
Woke up rearing to go again though so took off for a bit of a run.
I was reading yesterday that hiking three hours with a 10 lb pack on, burns something like 2,500 calories.
That's a good workout, where you can use up that many calories. We had our meal of whole wheat tortilla rolled up with peanut butter and raisins on the trail along with water to drink and a snack bar. So we did manage to put some of those calories back in.
When we got into town we did go to Taco Bell, we were still hungry.
These are pictures showing some of the difference in the early part of the trail. After hiking up a simple sloping trail you come to this easy meandering trail that goes along a beautiful pasture. Bails of hay dotted the landscape, like giant pieces of shredded wheat. On the other side of trail was the river.
Later the trail changes and becomes more of a challenge. The trail is all up hill, not an even spot to be found and studded with loose rocks that crumble under your footing. That's where you get the heart rate up a bit. Then the trail becomes a bit narrow and right on the edge of the mesa. Not anything scary though. The view is spectacular and the reward of the climb well worth the effort it takes..
However, its never a crowded trail.
The only sound you hear is the wind blowing up the river canyon. Its almost as if you can hear the voices of the ages whispering to you on the wind.
Making you wonder about life so long ago.
We talk some on the trail, about a million different subjects. We seem to talk about what the native folk eat when they lived along this river is always part of the conversation. Fish of course and game, acorns ground and rinsed and made into meal, there must have been some roots near by to be used and there are berries in season and nuts. It seems like such a limited diet to us. We also talk about how life must have been in those times and feel the loss of such a culture now in this area.
For us, this is nice slow paced exercise and enjoyment of the great outdoors. Where nature is the teacher.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dry as Bones

The Creek beds were bone dry. We are so in need of rains.
The middle picture shows you were the water level is at some times. You can see where the river water cut a ledge out of the rocks.
The bottom picture is near the trails end and this is the spot we had to cross back over the Paluxy river. Usually it takes getting very wet to do this at this spot. This time we were able to walk the rocks all the way across without even getting our boots wet.
I took 122 photos today. There was so much to see !

Flowers along the way

There were a number of wild flowers in bloom today. We saw areas just filled with the purple flowers.
I haven't had time to look up what they are, but they sure were beautiful

More Hiking Photos

Here is a view of the Paluxy river from one of the Trails

We kept climbing higher and the view got more beautiful the higher we went

Hiking along the Paluxy

The morning was gorgeous for a backpacking trip. Cool with stunning blue skies. We both were anxious for this hike, since it felt like a long time to us since we had been on this particular trail. It winds up along a mesa and over looks the river, then winds down along some small creeks and back along the Paluxy again.
This time of year the hike is a bit different. Much, if not all of the creek beds are dry and the river itself is much easier to cross. More rocks sticking up above the water means your shoes stay dry.
We first stopped off at a large pool of water, used many years ago by Native Americans for bathing and water needs. Its a good deep pool, some places it reaches a depth of 21 ft. We did see a huge water moccasin there today, so in no way was I going to jump in ! There are also dinosaur prints in the rock bed there.
The climbing around that area is rough and not for just casual out of shape hikers.
We had fun climbing the rocks around there and then headed on for some serious backpacking.
In the picture I look like I am hooked up to some sort of tubing, well that's just my drinking water system. More pictures to come !

Hitting the Trails

Backpacks packed and we are ready to hit the trails.
Off to hike along the Paluxy River and see all the beauty.
Its a gorgeous sunny, cool morning which is perfect for hiking.
Can't think of much I would rather be doing.

We are off for the entire day. Hope to post pictures tonight.

Much To Catch Up....

In mid January, we saw the passing of my father and after nearly two years of caring for him, it was so hard to see him leave u...