Pageviews past week

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Just call me Love-Love"

Contrary to popular opinion, I am NOT dead. I may look grayish, my breath may be undetectable even on a mirror, and my life appear unattended. Nevertheless, I live on. I have a plethora of things to blog about, and I even admit that sometimes I write blogs subconsciously. Good good stuff too! Stay tuned. But I AM interrupting my silence with a snippet from ordinary life. Yesterday I was sitting in the temple when I overheard an elderly man addressing his wife as she sat down beside him: "Ah, you made it, Love-Love." I want a name like that! When Paco and I got married we just began calling each other by our given Christian names. The "Paco" had seeds in our engagement, so it stuck. But no endearing terms emerged. Nary a one. If I could turn the clock back, I think I would have stuck in a few "Honey's" or "Darling's" or maybe a stray "Dear" or two. Now they just sound sort of awkward and embarrassing to use. Do you know what I mean? We also got into the habit of using "J" and "M" because we signed emails that way for 14 months while we conducted our transcontinental China to Idaho courtship. I don't know. Maybe we've passed the point of no return. I have good friends in NJ who refer to each other as "Lovey". Other than that, I think most people reserve their exchange of terms of endearment for private times. Any thoughts out there on this? Oooh, I had a wrestle with a bug yesterday! It was nasty! Even hearing someone on TV mention "spoon" made me gag! I slept an extra 6 hours too! That train wreck arrived at exactly 11:14 A.M. On the button. Weird.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Knit Knote

WARNING: This blog contains both the words "shan't" and "daresn't". The surgeon general has determined that these words should be used only under a doctor's care.)

My good mother Martha always said, "Sometimes you have to get into a mess to get out of a mess." My mess in its early stages resembled something akin to post tornado destruction. Getting into the mess required much rousting about, walking with mincing step, and ruthless tossing. Getting out gobbled up about 11 hours of my life.

This sheep is the silent (save occasional snide remarks) observer of all that transpires up here. He does sometimes render opinions (taken for what they're worth). I picked him up...wait for it....wait for a....(you're going to like this)...truck stop in Wyoming!! I know!!!!

Some unusual things are dropping off my knitting needles these days. You would never never guess what. I did a bit of organizing (as evidenced in the pre state pictured above) in my knitting loft (What? You say you DON'T have an entire room of your house devoted exclusively to yarn???), gave in to my inner anal, and labeled all my pending projects. PP1 (Priority Project 1) through PP30 something and CP1 (Christmas Project 1) through CPTeen something. It is a long-established truism that any good knitter worth her salt has not only an infinite stash of yarn and patterns BUT also unfinished projects. I prefer to call them "opus/opi?" much like unfinished symphonies. Recently I made a list of 32 projects in one stage or another of doneness which I was going to complete and exhibit at Thursday Night Knitting in the next few weeks. Some of these projects will be under Christmas trees this year, so I daresn't elaborate only to say that I AM ROCKING THEM OUT!! (insert high karate kick and Braveheart victory whoop). Sometimes I even take projects to bed with me knowing full well that I run the risk of skewering myself nicely in the night if I fall asleep knitting. I could write long and hard about knitting. I shan't tonight, but be forewarned that it is coming...
I knitted 50% of the hats in this picture of one of my favorite daughters-in-law, Season, and another great thing about my son (his baby daughter, Clara). Hint: think stripes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Amen to This!!!

This an absolute testament to what a teacher unhampered by standardized tests could accomplish...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Paradigms Schmaradigms

It most recently came to my attention (in the shower yesterday, in fact) that a major contributor towards my angst of late is the fact that not only are my planets not aligning, but the vast majority of the inalienable paradigms of life have shifted. This is unsettling. I direct your attention to Exhibit A (a list of former paradigms):
a. money socked away for retirement is nice and cozy in American banks waiting patiently for your hair to gray whereupon it will provide you a kooshy retirement enabling you to get early diner discounts courtesy of the thriving American dollar on the national and international stock market scenes
b. the United States government has your back at all times so sleep well
c. American schools will educate your children in a warm non-hostile environment
d. your food will nourish you and provide adequate cell rejuvenation
e. your superior status as an American globally is intact so hold your head up proudly
f. as ye sow so shall ye reap
g. the lazy bums will get theirs
h. cheaters never prosper
i. what goes around comes around
j. noble souls who choose to teach in the American school systems will never make a huge living, but the job is rewarding and the community, state, and nation will respect the title of teacher
k. children eventually DO grow up
l. all that is good and decent will prevail
m. a home is a good sound investment
n. husbands and wives live together
o. the planet is a large friendly safe ecosystem
p. a college education is good insurance and guarantees your survival
q. work hard and your investments will pay off
r. parents teach their children to be good contributing citizens
s. be loyal to your boss and company and they'll take care of you
t. honesty is the best policy

And the list goes on and on. The disconcerting part (at least to Paco and myself as per our post shower conversation) is that we're all skating on bacon grease wondering what the future holds! What ARE the next paradigms? How long will THEY last? It's a grab bag! A crap shoot! Russian roulette! Anybody's guess! Stay tuned! Keep reading! Not so quick! Hold on! Maybe so, mabe not!

The only paradigms that haven't shifted are the ones I've been taught by my parents and in church for the last 58 years. I don't foresee them changing. That gives me comfort. In a world of shifting idealogical tectonic plates, the simple truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ give me comfort. Sleep well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Paddle Faster!! I Hear Banjoes!!"

What follows is a pictoral documentation of a trip down the San Juan River in southern Utah which I took with three friends--Bruce, Lana, and Corinne--in mid September. Bruce is a veteran River Rat and graciously invited us to join him. He also served as chef, paddler, and guide extraordinaire. We girls pitched in as sub rats and became semi-handy by the end of the trip. I personally was transported back to September of 1974 when I traipsed over much the same territory with my fellow survivalists from BYU's Youth Leadership 480--an experience from which I have never fully recuperated, thank heavens...The particulars of this trip are quite simple: 3 days and nights on a river, rapids and whitewater on occasion, campfires, tents, quicksand, mud, limited other lifeforms, 54 miles, some pushing and pulling the raft over sand dunes, swimming in pools, hiking up canyons, conversations about every BODY and every THING and every BOOK and every MOVIE and every EXPERIENCE, a few truth games, a little singing, and much much much raucous laughter which reverberated off the narrow canyon walls. Oh, and (because you'd never think to ask about this) we had to carry out all our solid human wastes in an old ammo can. That alone pretty much separates the men from the boys as to who could actually REALLY enjoy such a trip as this! Leaving the river was much much more difficult than embarking, once again proving that going from complex to simple is much easier than going from simple to complex. Lights! Enjoy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blogger Sloth Plays Catch-Up

Rosie Rae was the big news of the summer. She was ordered with all the extras (even though it cost a little more) and took to being Belle of the Ball quite naturally.

We spent a great day in Baltimore at the Art Museum of Baltimore, Little Italy, and Inner Harbor.

Rosie got a private tour of the museum with her own personal "aht teachah". You can't imagine how long it took to line that nude statue up right over her head. We're sticklers for artistic details like that.

And this over-the-top-one-of-a-kind-aht-teachah-Eric Carle quilt!!!! I say if you are gonna have friends, choose classy ones...I excel at it.

What this picture DOESN'T show is the extra savois faire exuded by my two friends, Cathie and Eileen, who had just returned from the Mediterranean.

These guys...oh, THESE guys...

Pete is a professional 2 year old. Do not, I repeat DO NOT attempt what he does in your own home. Remember--he is a professional.

Slacker bloggers have to play catch-up--not because any readers are wondering what happened to vast amounts of time in the blogger's life when no posts appeared, but because bloggers use this medium for their own selfish purposes a.k.a. journal/photo album/memory jogger. So nanner nanner. Be forewarned that tomorrow I'm going to plaster this thing with pictures from my river trip in September. I'm not hoping to win any literary awards--just catching up. That's all.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Ravine

My annual Halloween tradition doesn't involve pumpkins or cookies or costumes. But it DOES involve complete darkness, kids sitting on the floor, and a spooky audiorecording of Ray Bradbury's "The Ravine" taken out of my favorite book of his Dandelion Wine. This year I went in search of THE darkest room in the school which I found underneath the auditorium, just right of the boiler room, down a long dark cement passage with a few unexpected steps, past two foot thick doors, and be sure to duck your head because the pipes are low-hanging AND keep on the lookout for spiders who have NEVER seen the light of day!!! On the board where I write the day's agenda and learning outcomes, I wrote merely: ?????
You can imagine this if you try. We've all been there--wanting to be scared, begging for it, not wanting to lose face with our peers, so we settle into our terror and just wait it out. When we got into the room, we turned off the lights. Complete pitch blackness. I threatened them all with "project abortion" if heart-stopping silence wasn't maintained. Three minutes into the audio someone alerted me to the emotional state of a boy up against the wall. On come the lights and the invitation to go back to the classroom. Five kids clung to each other and made their way back down the cement alley and back to the real world and their reading books. I said a silent prayer to the patron saint who protects teachers against lawsuits and cowboyed on. It was ever so spine-tingling and fun. I repeated this with over 60 students. Multiply that by 10 years or so and we're talking some serious Halloween anxiety. Mwaaaaahhhh...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All the Pirates I've Ever Met Have Been Named Cynthia

I struck pay dirt on a flight home from Tulsa last week. You can imagine my delight when my seatmate in the pink tanktop turned out to be a charming, talkative, very open, living, breathing, walking, talking...(wait for it).....PIRATE! Of course she didn't divulge this information immediately. She veiled her true identity behind her day job (Oregon state investigator for Medicaid fraud--OH MY GOODNESS! The tales!! Stings in Texas! Stings in a vet office!), her marriage story (Rick was four seats up. Large gorilla of a guy she met in Home Depot where he was most helpful AS SHE REBUILT A HOME BY HERSELF!), her overseas (Macedonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria) exploits involving humanitarian work where her marriage ultimately caved, and the woes of a beloved stepchild turning away from her. Cynthia poured out her heart over the death of her marriage. I detected another woman in the story. We both teared up. Probably somewhere over Denver the conversation turned to life on their sailboat/home in Portland, plans to sail the world, and then she ever so casually mentioned that Rick and she belonged to the Portland Pirate Association...AARGH!! That's where the conversation veered sharply. I was immediately transported into THAT world! AHOY OH BOY!!! Treasure hunts, swashbuckling, "hangings" from trees, large bonfires, gangplanks, bustiers, eye patches (I could picture Rick as a very LARGE imposing pirate!), and a sort of comradery with other pirates that might resemble much the same one I have with my knitters. I received a personal invitation to "Come up!" which I shall entertain most seriously and perhaps combine with the ukulele festival I'm investigating. So we landed, we hugged, I was introduced to Rick, she handed me a cool business card with a picture of their sailboat home on it, and I mozied back home. Bending minds didn't seem all that exciting, after all. Life in my classroom oftentimes resembles a mutiny, I DO swashbuckle on occasion, my students are probably only a few steps removed from true barbarism, and I DO have a sword that drips fake blood in the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet which we use as a prop when the need arises. I most likely will never sail around the world, nor will I don a bustier. I'll probably retire as a dowdy English teacher (minus the bun). Ho do I stand myself?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Going Back to the Start

Easing back into the blogosphere. Can you hear me stretching my fingers and cracking my knuckles? You haven't missed much by not being able to peer into the "underwear drawer" of my life via a blog. Just the usual--fly slaughterhouse time of year here,but I promise to keep that dialogue to a minimum except for this just in tonight!!! As I left to go to my neighbors I was horrified at the vast array of dead maniacs on the garage floor BECAUSE I HAD BOMBED AND VACCED just yesterday for likkety heck's sake!!! When I returned, a cat ran out of the garage, and would you believe that the flies were gone???? Insert Rod Steiger music. I also cruised down a semi muddy river in Utah, so I need to post about that! And I've taken up the ukulele! In bed!! Oh and I need to post about my crazy wacky students juggling with the beanbags I sewed for them--35 sets!!! We'd best get this ol' blog cranked back up.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In Counting

How many days before whatever has been scratching scratching gives up the ghost???? It's been well over two weeks. Last year Paco had to extract a bird from our dryer vent. I have blocked out the status of that bird when he took it out. This intruder just keeps scratching scratching.

Mugsy is at large. I hope he comes home. He got spooked off by a storm this afternoon. Oh, how I hope he comes home...

Yesterday I helped my 92 year old aunt sift through some clothes in her closet in the name of de-junking. She held up a beautiful white blouse, commented that she'd just washed it, and then concluded by saying we could bury her in it!! Bury???? Who said anything about dying???? Am I the only one there who isn't designating burial clothes??????

Scratching scratching...Tonight it feels kind of like it's under my feet a ways down. Could that be?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Not Asleep

Looking for my happy place. Thinking I might find it where it has lurked before. Finding kind of a dark place. Hoping the light starts seeping in. Feeling crinkly. Looking for my happy place.

Wondering if all my turns have been used up. Pondering deficits. Entertaining thoughts of bad karma. Gaping at holes and holes and holes. Squeezing the dark out of my brain. Wondering if all my turns have been used up.

Counting days and nights and days. Calculating steps and turns and bends. Reaching up. Estimating distances. Turning around and around and around. Counting days and nights and days.

Following my feet. Squaring my shoulders and following my feet. Waiting for the music to start. Tapping my toes. Turning towards the phonograph. Following my feet.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Horror of Horrors

I heard a scratching scratching coming from the stove today. Not making this up--Mugsy heard it too!!! A few days ago I came down to breakfast, and a white mouse was lying dead in front of the stove. When I returned from the other world to which I had immediately fled (the ultimate HAPPY PLACE RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW!!!!) I knew that I had no choice but to sweep it into a dustpan (I did the whole thing with my eyes shut) like the big big girl that I try to be...sometimes, for the most part--oh, I'm so NOT a big girl when it comes to mice. But just WHO was I going to call? Not even a cat around. But today's matter!!!!!!! What to do?????????? Part of me wants to set fire to the entire house and never look back! What scratches?? What can get into an oven? Can it get out unaided??? I WILL NEVER AGAIN OPEN THE OVEN DOOR!! We will have to liquify all food that needs baking from here on out and insert it into the oven with a hypodermic! I guess I just really feel the need to go public with this matter today because should you not hear from me, please come and investigate. And be prepared to find conditions indescribable perhaps. I'm just saying--Mugsy may survive a direct encounter, but Madhadder will not. That's all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I've had such an enjoyable time puttering around during the time I've been home this summer, that I've decided to foredeclare next summer officially as my Staycation! If you want to come and visit, I will greet you with open arms! If what you have planned for the day sounds fun, I might come along (if invited). Brrrrrrr Lake has textbook perfect summers. I'm not just saying that--it's a well-documented fact. Never gets too hot. You can stay outside ALL day long if you keep hydrated! The night cools off perfectly. Temperatures descend sufficiently in the middle of the night that you can just pull a quilt up and whoever complained about the feel of a quilt around them????!!!! Not me! I made a mental list of staycation ideas: garden, weed, water, mow, plant, read books, sew, knit, scrapbook a little, hike in the mountains, take the e-car into town for a taco, borrow horses to ride, daytrips to the Tetons, build a treehouse, refurbish the playhouse, spin alpaca wool, make mudpies, swing on a tree rope, collect rocks, swim at the lake, go to Raspberry Days, jump on the trampoline, run through the sprinklers, sell lemonade, open a table at the farmer's market, watch entire full seasons of Lost, The Office, Gilmore Girls, Cagney & Lacey, and grill something different every day! If any of this sets your Jell-o, come on out! I know none of this has anything to do with the Marx brothers, but aren't they pure delight!!???

Friday, July 22, 2011

Life is Grand in the Tetons!

Somewhere deep inside every man lives a beautiful place. My beautiful inside place looks exactly like the Grand Tetons.

Sometimes you just have to pack up the mules and head out.

But when you get there, you realize that your beautiful place is getting better and better and better every time you go there.
And the magic just never stops--around every corner, something majestic or maybe just a moose cooling his belly in a stream. Or a smudge of a black bear up on the side of the mountain turning over a log in search of bugs.Let's come again...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reunions Rock or Rocky Reunions

The John and Martha Taggart reunion only rolls around every other year. This year's event included a day in the woods and a night (if you were up to it). We painted rocks and ate out of ovens--Dutch style, even though there's not a Dutch gene in sight. My sisters and myself.
My nephew Jack and his clone clown!
Thomas tries his hand at a camouflage rock. Cool.
My over the top sister-in-law, Marilyn, did THIS with acrylics, bad bad brushes, and a rock. Oh and some foamy stuff she found lying around. Extraordinaire! No?
Nephew Jack's wife, Jo, seems to have married into the right family!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Know You've Arrived When...

You have an account here?

Au contraire! We here at Provident Heritage Farm, Inc. prefer to appear on the local landfill rosters!

Apparently we're "regulars" because when we pulled in this morning, Paco merely paused to be weighed and then headed on in! It felt so posh! Apparently our vehicle is allowed to bring in 4 tons a year! Let's see 4 tons times 7 billion...put down the one and carry the...sheesh. Mugsy and I could NOT resist making up a "Going to the Dump-pa-da-dump!" song! I remember going to the dump with my dad. He'd back up dangerously close to the edge, and I'd squeal! And then in the winter, the dump road was our favorite sledding hill. My friend Denny had an old refrigerator door we'd all hop on! Somebody's dad would haul us up the road, and down we'd barrel! Chili and hot chocolate at somebody's kids still do this???? I had a missionary friend--he became an attorney I think--who had a job at the dump in Salt Lake City before his mission. Oh, the stories he'd tell. I'll bet he had more fun there than he's having as a lawyer. I'm thinking my grandkids would love a trip to the dump some time! I know I'm going back again! "Where everybody knows your name! And they're always glad you came!"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Paco's Home!

and singing this song. On our desk here sits a picture of Paco--arms widespread (maybe he's telling a fishing story) to a group of diminuative Hispanic first graders. And thus began and ended the first chapter of Teach For America--Paco-style.

I heard a large-framed bearded dude tell the clerk at Maverik this morning, "I don't use pennies. I save them. I'm the reason there's a shortage, but that's how I paid for my Harley!"

Speaking of Maverik, the Maverik cat was found!! And you didn't even know he was gone. I'm thinking of interviewing him--he being so notorious and all.

I'm reading The Sociopath Next Door, and now everyone I meet is suspect. 1 in 25 of us is devoid of conscience, you know.

Headed for Harry Potter tonight. Even sleepy little Mt. Potato Peeler gets those movies here fresh from Hollywood! Paco is delighted more than Madhadder.

My high school classmates are showing up here for a bonfire next month. Rocking good time.

Mugsy had a "sex change" a few weeks ago. I got up early and just took the scissors to his top notch. He's easier to pet now, and I think his manhood has been boosted.

I dropped into 17 Miracles on Saturday. Have you seen it? I got a little drowsy and woke up at one point with a big old SNORT!! So demoralizing. LIKED the movie!!! Travis, my nephew, is a Star in it!! I love the scene in which the wolves drag him off to a hollow log. It's bordering on Monty Python-esque!!!! "I almost poked his eye out!"

Our alpacas,The Philosophers (Aristotle--"Ari"; Thoreau--"Hank"; and Emerson--"Ralphie"), have been displaced for a few days while the weed spray does its magic out there in their field. Paco rigged up a bit of a Cat's Cradle to keep them penned into our "sideyard". They jumped the fence and took to the high road! But they're such gentle souls that they willingly let us herd them back in. Here I would have inserted pictures of such, but I left the memory card in the printer! Why doesn't my camera SCREAM or SHAKE or at least clear its throat when the memory card isn't in it???????????

Friday, July 15, 2011

Just Plumb Worn Out

Say howdy,
We'll ignore my complete disregard for this blog. I wouldn't exactly say I'm lazy. In my garden and the proximal regions you will find 13 (I counted them!) waist high mounds of weeds. I know I tend toward the boring when I harangue about flies and weeds. "ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THOSE!!!" I hear you shout. I'm just defending my work ethic. I have some interesting (yawn) pictures to post to fill in the cracks in the past almost month. In the meantime, I'm pausing reverently today to pay homage to my all-time favorite movie, "You've Got Mail" and to entreat you to join with me in putting this video to rest. Today I popped it in, settled down on the couch with a sweater I'm knitting, grabbed a handful of Jelly Bellies, and adjusted the dog at my side. But alas and alack, the tape is apparently just worn out. WHAT? Youmeanthesetapesdon'thavea10,000milesguarantee? I tried adjusting the tracking, cleaning the heads (I realize these are all antiquated terms now) with a head cleaning videocassette, and I even rigged up a Q-tip dipped in alcohol device which I attached to a pair of bamboo tongs in an attempt to clean the heads. Then the sound got slower and slower until Tom Hanks sounded drugged out of his mind! I tested the VCR with a Christmas with Mr. Bill video. Clear and clean. I admit defeat. Out to pasture it goes. This movie came out the year Paco and I got married. It has many elements of our courtship and early marriage--internet, anonymmity, children's books, NYC, and I dearly dearly love it. From the first time we saw it at the Ben Franklin Outlet Mall I was a die hard fan. I remember insisting it be the first movie Shelly watched when she returned from missionary work in Japan. I imagine I've watched it nearly 30 times--sometimes back to back. The only movie that can even come close is When Harry Met Sally--a blogpost for another day. A Meg Ryan and Nora Ephron junkie I admit I am. I'd better hoof it over to and peruse replacements. Anybody else out there worn out a movie???
Update: $4.69!!!!! Brand new deluxe anniversary dvd edition delivered in two days. Ahhhh...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Bane of My Existence and a Song For Paco

To say that something or someone is "the bane of my existence" means
that the person or thing is a constant irritant or source of misery.
As a cliché, "bane of my existence" has lost its edge to a large
degree over the years, and today is most often applied to something
that may profoundly annoy us but is certainly bearable... "Bane of my
existence" is now almost always used in a semi-jocular, "what are you
gonna do?" sense.

But "bane" was once a very serious word. The Old English "bana" meant
literally "slayer" in the sense we now use "killer" or "murderer."
Early on, the English "bane" was also used in the more general sense
of "cause of death," and by the 14th century "bane" was used in the
specialized sense of "poison," a sense which lives on in the names of
various poisonous plants such as "henbane" and "wolfbane."

From this very literal "something that kills you" usage, "bane" by the
16th century had broadened into its modern meaning of "something that
makes life unpleasant, a curse."

Yea, verily, this is true. I have spent the last three hours digging henbane out of our "garden" (we loosely define garden here at Weed Nursery Acres as an enclosed place which starts out as mostly dirt and rocks and ends up as weeds and rocks). This henbane reared its ugly head last summer out in the then llama pasture. A little research told us it was an opium of sorts and would result in hallucinations if smoked. We refrained from smoking it, but we also refrained from doing anything else to it. My thinking (which is hazy at best) was that the henbane was the result of a very very very wet spring. Temporary. End of discussion. Enter Spring 2011. Wettest, coldest, L-O-N-G-E-S-T spring in the history of modern civilization. When spring finally arrived last WEEK for cotton pickin's sake!!!!!!!!!! the henbane had literally taken over our world!!!! I fully expected to find it growing out of Mugsy's ears!! Yesterday I put in an emergency call to the Brrrrrr Lake Weed Control Commission (whom I had heard rumored at my knitting group would prescribe treatment or better still make a house/farm call!!!). But as I am so wont to do, I got up at the crack this morning and took shovel in hand. Knowing full well that my morning's activity could very well land me in a body brace, I tackled the task nevertheless.

Yesterday I crawled over the fence into the alpaca pasture. Now, this is where the bane has pulled out ALL stops. It grows in sort of a swirl pattern--thick thick thick. But then it sends out runners (missionaries, if you will) to test the soil elsewhere--thus the garden infestation. I found one plant about the size of a fifth grader growing by the water trough. Oh, that I had a video of THAT effort...From what I could best deduce after 30 minutes of digging under the trough, the root on that BEAST is somewhere out in Bennington!!!!! I never did find it. All I could do was leave a mangled and aptly cursed fifth grader-sized plant lying on its side--root still entact. Henbane-10, Madhadder-0.
Oh, by the way Happy 13th Wedding Anniversary to Madhadder and Paco. Paco is keeping cool in Tempe's 110 HELLHOLE today writing lesson plans for pint-sized summer school captives, and I am cleaning the sty I call home and gearing up for girls' camp. Do you think they'd send me home from girls' camp if I brought along some henbane to try out???

Friday, June 10, 2011

Farm Report--April 15, 2007

A visitor yesterday reminded me of this, so I thought I'd post it for old time's sake. I should have been more diligent in keeping a chronicle of the metamorphosis out here. So much of it I wanted to forget! Oddly enough the date I wrote this appears to be my birthday! I hope some celebrating was going on as well.

Hello Friends,
Many of you have written with inquiries about our farm. In the interest of saving time, I'm sending out a "report". Almost ten months ago Jerry and I signed papers on an 8 acre farm about four miles south of where I teach school in Montpelier, Idaho. One would think our combined intelligence would have stopped us, but nevertheless we went willy nilly forward! My worst case scenario was that the remodeling (kitchen, family room, master suite, library, powder room) efforts would be completed by Halloween, and now my best case scenario is perhaps the 4th of July!!! Finding workmen has taken effort, and the ones we've found have had a decided Green Acres/Petticoat Junction flair! Our first carpenter fizzled out once hunting season opened. When he Would show up, we followed him around admiringly like intoxicated puppies just Pleased that he was here! He made some ghastly errors in judgment for which we have had to pay, but who can expect a guy to keep his mind on work when the hills are alive with elk?? At Christmas (during a blizzard) we made the move over from Paris where we'd been "camping" for 18 months, The outlook on daily living here has been grim. We're sleeping in the old part of the 1924 farmhouse, and because we're also storing everything in the house we only have a narrow walkway. Nowhere really to sit except the bed. We've been eating in our bathroom. Eating isn't exactly a correct term either because we haven't had a stove or refrigerator for 4 months. We've pieced, as my mother would say. Meanwhile the winter has raged outside and then petered out into spring and vast mountains of mud and construction debris! Giant piles of old cupboards, sheetrock scraps, nails, old wallpaper,lath and plaster, all mixed in with mud! Once the snow melted, the sewage system ceased working and we had a real down-and-dirty week of absolutely no water--which meant, of course, running a quarter mile down to the neighbor's to use the bathroom, showering (I used two buckets and Jerry went down the road to the neighbor's house), and brushing our teeth out on the lawn under the moonlight (which was actually the highlight of the week! It's pitch black out here. No streetlights for several miles). We went the entire month of February with absolutely no one (except the electrician who has showed up nearly every day for nearly nine months--more on him later) appearing to do anything. Now at long last we are ready to paint. The painter we were recommended is an alcoholic--great painter but he doesn't want anyone around, AND he wants to be paid up front. Huh??? And he'll do WHAT with the money?? Meanwhile Jerry has become Mr. GreenJeans! I can barely pry him off the tractor! Who'd have ever thunk that????!!! He moves stuff and digs and is really quite content. Cathartic I guess. Everyone who visits us walks away murmuring "Hail Mary's" under their breath! I'm not sure if they're praying in our behalf or giving thanks that they're not in our boots! If there were a "White Trash Report" column in the local paper, they'd want us to write it. As I mentioned we've had quite a cast of characters show up for work here. Lots of them were students of mine that I couldn't pound English into no matter how hard I tried. I remember one of them handed me back the copy of Fahrenheit 451 I'd given him to read and said, "I'd rather not." So now he's hammering out in our addition and I'm still teaching English! Art the plumber/handyman is a character straight out of Red Duke and really worth the trip here to experience. But without a doubt, the "star" of the show has been Rodney the electrician. I go way back with him to my teen years as the babysitter of his five kids. Rodney had a brush with death a while ago. The good news is that he has incredible zest for living now, but the bad news is his memory was impaired and I think he doesn't honestly know what he's done around here! We've not received his bill yet because he's undergoing colonic treatments over in Preston which are supposedly going to improve his memory!!!! So there you go. No bill because of a big intestinal CLOG! I guess he and We are hoping it will all come "out in the end!" In the meantime we get a daily update on his progress on the cleansing!! Mugsy thinks Rodney is one of the family. I only hope we're paying by the job and not the hour. That's about it. Writing about this has made me feel a little better. If you have suggestions or comments send them along. We here at the Funny Farm are looking towards the green grasses of summer. Maybe a few chickens will ease the winter memories. Perhaps the llamas everyone wants to give us will salve our weary hearts. So if you come to visit and you find us sitting in the bathroom, respectively on the tub and john, chowing down some canned spaghetti RIGHT OUT OF THE CAN, try to be gentle. We're fragile here at Happy Acres. Love, Marilyn

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley