Monday, November 26, 2012

The Marriage of The Baskets - "rescue your basket while ye may"

 In part of the after Thanksgiving, seasonal cleanup in the last few days, I found two woven baskets.

One was a large market type of basket used to pick in The Garry Farm fields and it had developed a very widespread soft area and could not carry anything heavier than about 2 pound although it was very large.    The second one was a "girly" baskey with lace glued around it, but clearly the entire base was coming away from thesides as it had been used as a heavy duty "toter" at the farm.
The market basket with its weak area
The girly basket clearly pulling away from the side

I sat looking at both of these and wondered about any future use of them.  Because if ever there were a "recycling" farm, it is amazing how many of our items here are found are left at the gate or purchased for just a little a few years ago. Fixed up and given new purpose.....So after looking at both for about 5 minutes, because I was just confident they had more life to them somehow!

And so it began:   the "Marriage of the Baskets".    The base of the "girly basket" was attached to the the area of the Market basket that had become weak ....This took about 20 minutes because I didn't have basket weaving or repair training, but I did remove some of those sides of the girly basket and use them as weaving pieces, so the baskets could be married. Together they were stronger and better and the best parts of each made this a blessed marriage.   Now please do not tell others to come see the "basketcase" marriage story.    This is not about that... LOL
The repaired base !
 And now that I think of this story of the baskets at the Garry Farm, isn't this how good marriages really are?

Bringing different strengths and interests, but together complementing each other.  They are one in the Spirit.  Yes, I wish for all my dear friends a Basket Marriage.  Woven together over time and experience, each partner helping the other until what they have is a strong and a giving marriage ..... Let Love, Peace, humility, gentleness and patience be your weaving strips.

Ephesians 4:2-3

Common English Bible (CEB)
Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Veterans Recognition of one of my Favorite Veterans, My Dad

Dad was military Marine (during WWII).  After that it was college via the GI Bill, marriage and a family of 3, wife and 2 girls.    He was always a hard working man even in his last year of life as he battled cancer.  One of his expressions said several times in his lifetime to me, "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, Nancy Jo"....While in military he apparently picked up the above expression as I believe there were no other military in his family line, although he did grow up in the port of Mobile, Alabama. He was deployed during wartime to a submarine in the Aleutian Islands.  I cannot imagine being in that hot and antiquated machine, so far away from home.

Afterwards, he went through years of College after the war while supporting a wife and 2 young girls.   Everytime I whimpered or whined or cried, he said this expression. "Nancy Jo, pull yourself up by your bootstraps young lady!"  Well his stern, firm voice got my attention and I went from huge heart wrenching cries to snuffled and muffled sobs with little girl heaving shoulders.

After a week full of expectations that I "toughen up",  little Nancy Jo (my preteen name) said between my sobs, "But Daddy you won't buy me any cowboy boots, member!"

Well that giant Man - 6 ft 2 inches and still growing looking at me and his frown and deep voice changed and a grin started and then filled his face as he reached down and held his baby girl, "Aw, you know you're right, you don't have any boots....I love you." as he gave me a huge hug that almost broke my ribs!!!! And I can still feel it to this day, decades later.

Dad I think of you keeping safe in such awful conditions, barely able to  communicate back home. I know you wrote letters daily, but they often left in a package only every month or so.  But choosing to protect the country that you loved, I never heard you speak much of the hardships and isolation.  I thank you for toughening me up a little, but NOT too much and I thank you for the ongoing examples of perseverence and loyalty and intelligence and most of all faith and hope even in the face of incredible uncertainties.

From all that you did for our family and friends and also for those who were wanting to be scientists and mathematicians, engineers and more, you helped open the doors to colleges for the non traditional students - women included! You were amazing and a pioneer in many ways.  I am sorry you were not well enough to go gliding but I think of how awesome those wings must be!

Dad, you know I always wanted cowboy boots but didn't get any till I bought some when I was in my late 20's but recently I was in my farming boots and literally had to pull myself out from a slide in the duck area!  Dad, I still love you and miss you and one day, when my time on earth is done, I know I will see you and I hope that God will let me have some angel boots with bootstraps, in case when I go "angelling", I'll let the folks on earth pull them up by my bootstraps!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fredster, Our Geriatric Rabbit & Tender Mercies

Fredster on His Healthy Day Miracle

Just about 10 days ago, my mind and heart were focused around our senior mini rex rabbit, Fredster, who appeared so frail that morning. Overnight the cold had come in, with high winds and a temperature drop of over 30 degrees from the day before and I was afraid he had caught quite a chill. He was huddled in the corner closest to the door as if to plea for help.  I held and craddled him and  I made him a big bed of hay, brought him leaves to make it soft after holding him and telling him I loved him.  Brought him some tender leaves from strawberry cuttings, lots more fresh fallen leaves which he normally loves to eat like paper chips, and other taste treats, checked him all over for trauma, made sure teeth were not off, nothing choking him,  no ear mites, food was fresh, water was good,or other problems, nothing. I thought to myself ‘he is "slowing down", which just shocked me to the core as he had never had a day of illness.   As I added his years up, I realized that he had been with us at the Garry Farm for almost 6 years and we have been his third home. I was told from his prior owner that she had him for three years and bought him from someone who had him for she thought a couple of years.   So Fredster is at least at 11 years old,  maybe more.  I knew on that first checkup that he was not suffering.  I petted him and touched any areas that might have been old age issues but no touchiness and no gritting of teeth which can come from rabbit if fearful or hurting.

I ran, tears streaming down my face,  to tell Jacque about him.   And I still remember him saying “well, maybe he just had a bad night’.    He promised to check on him. We prayed out loud over him and I know all during the day, Fredster was on my heart, soul and mind.  I was shocked as I added up all the years, that he was a minimum of 11 years old, because as late as this past Spring, he was a Daddy.  As I recall that colder morning thinking of him, of how overcome with love and appreciation for this rabbit.   He is always  the rabbit to come straight to me in the morning, more excited to see me than feed...   He has always been a calm one to sit in laps and been quite a love to us and many visitors to the farm. 

I checked on him several times that day and by evening he seemed better and the next day back to his hopping self.   So why the change?    I would say prayers were answered.    I know that I would never want Fredster or any of our pets to suffer.   That no matter how I personally feel, I want to be there and when it’s time for any of them to pass along, I pray it will be peaceful, painfree and that each will know that security and love.   That day, I thought about bringing him inside, but that would be selfish on my part.  He has always been outside. and if he could talk, I feel certain he would say no, let me stay here, I see leaves, my bunny friends around me and I am ok.   Right after he first looked so sickly and sat so quietly,  he looked around to his two friends on either side as and blinked at them as if to acknowledge them. 

Well,PTL,  Fredster remains alive and doing well.  I know that our Lord gives us many little miracles here on the farm.  Fredster's return to health was not through anything we did but it was of God. Thank you Lord for the years with Fredster and your tender loving mercies to give us these bonus days with his vigor restored.  That you have given us the privilege to tend these animals on your land.  Amen
Here's Fredster next to his bud, CocoaPuffs

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bringing in the What???

Bringing in the What?????

Well, I think I was always a bit deaf, even as a child.....Or maybe I was proof that we hear what we expect to hear....

I "helped" Granny on wash day....I held one end of the sheets and she fed them through that wringer machine.....At first it was a hand crank and then electric when I was older.   It was scarier when I was older because she couldn't stop it quite as fast as a hand crank. So much for technology....I'm pleased to report, same 10 fingers, just a bit more worn for age and use and sun........But I digress, back to wash day at Granny's.

It was usually a day that was full of the smells of that borax soap that was scrubbed on colors and stains, maybe a little bluing too.....But my favorite was bringing in the laundry..... I would take it from the line and (I now suspect drag it in the grass a bit as I was short as a child and had to stretch so tall to get those lines!)  But Granny never complained!

Anyway, revivals had been going on that week and all I could think about was the songs from them......I loved to sing even then......  One day I just burst out with "bringing in the sheets, bringing in the sheets, we will come rejoicing bringing in the sheets".....

I've never seen my Granny laugh until she had to sit down and cry.....I thought she was sick....   I asked her what was wrong.   She never answered. She was so busy wiping her eyes as she laughed and cried at the same time.

It wasn't until I could read ....about 2 years later and I simply was astounded..What was a sheave anyway.... Made no sense..I still hang my clothes on the line and think of how proud Granny would be of our fresh aired and line dried clothes....  I think she would have gotten her laughing "spell" again if she could have seen the two lines in side the great room by the wood stove for hanging clothes and the Mud room with its lines all over it!

To the left of the stove, you'll see clothes hanging, they were moved to make a picture of the stove. Love that stove, heats the house, dries the clothes, bakes in the little oven on top and put stews in old iron dutch ovens.  Live simply and simply live!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A tasty date - Garfrerick's Cafe Oxford Alabama

My dear husband rarely ever takes time off from the farm.... So I was delighted to say he shut the farm for a few hours and we crossed the border... to Alabama. 

He selected Garfrerick's Cafe in Oxford Alabama across from the Quintard Mall. I was a bit concerned when I read what they were offering -Creole/Cajun/Southern , Californian ...... I thought Oh no another restaurant trying to do too much, across too many conflicting styles.  Well, I was converted  from the moment we were on the sidewalk in front of the cafe, I knew we were at the right Place.  Personalized hand written sign specials at the door, clean and cheery and modern, smells of fresh herbs wafted as we entered a very light but not glary or cold, as some modern places are.

The Cafe uses local foods including that of Garfrerick's Organic farm and it serves as a distribution site for the Moore's farm CSA one day a week.  Clearly a culinary establishment dedicated to using excellent food products and creativity in preparing them.  I so wanted to sit at the seats around the kitchen where the cooking was visible to those seated there. Maybe next time.   I had an awesome soup with roasted tomatoes, fig balsamic vinegar, apricots, garbanzo beans and much more.... radical mixture of food items, but I could smell and taste the freshness and care put into it.  I loved the ying/yang aspect of fruit in a predominately vegetable Soup that was accompanied by gluten free bread.  It was a culinary wonder.... I learned to incorporate fruits in my veggie soups.  Jacque went for the Burger topped with blue cheese and he didn't even share it!

The dessert was creative, moist and just right. It was in a handcrafted piece of pottery that I wanted to buy and take with me.  How special it is to eat from handcrafted pottery anywhere, but especially at a commercial food setting.  Made me feel like I was part of a beloved family!  Dessert was a sweet potato brownie topped with light glaze sauce.  Service was so wonderful and the atmosphere was just right.   No pipped in music, no clutter, just focus on the food and making sure the customers were happy.  When I looked at the extensive lunch menu, I couldn't help but thinking that these folks were "foodies" as we are and the match was wonderful.  Please do visit Garfrerick's Cafe in Oxford Alabama.  It is a hidden gem in its current location. (256) 831-0044 and 655 Creekside Drive Oxford, AL 36203

Thank you Lord for those wonderful eateries that give us local and nutritious food well prepared and with great skills and for a Spouse, who never abandons me and is there in sickness and health and takes time to share how much he loves me!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How can time fly?

It seems as only yesterday that I was flying to Denver to the hospital there for lung treatments/evaluations and here it is almost 6 months/1/2 year later.  Well apparently planes aren't the only thing that flies, also time.   As a child I heard that as a child sooo many times, especially at family reunions.   So, one day I sat at my Granny's Country Stoop in Grant Alabama and with my stringing curling air, sunburnt, knees and face and freckles every where, I sat watching my Granny's windup alarm clock......  

I was unusually quiet and was counting as the second hand moved and ran out of slow, outloud numbers and almost fingers before it moved to the next minute!!! I heard a soft chuckle from the door, and smelled the smell of Granny - bath powders and vanilla and desserts and canning and love...... 

Next I heard her say, in her Appalachian voice of love,  "Nancy Jo, what are you up to..... Don't ruin my clock now!"

I answered,  " Granny time still doesn't fly,  I have been counting seconds and they are the same for every minute.... Now why do people lie about that?"    

She looked at my intensive face and I at her face of love and laughter....  She couldn't answer she laughed so hard she chuckle.  And said,  " Come on honey it's time to feed the chickens and I bounded bare feet and all to feed the chickens"..... I jumped for joy and alternately feed the chickens and me out of that bid apron of hers filled with biscuits and cornbread.. We all ate very well at snack time.

Clock long forgotten until now......And Now I'm one of those folks who now say Time Flies.........

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Famous Rooster Rangler and goose getter

Busy day moving some animals around.... The White Chinese that had been seriously hurt before Easter was returned to her her flock today. She was hard to catch to move. I admired her as I carried her. Those beautiful blue eyes but her neck still twisted and probably for life from her predator attack. I wanted to walk in their really large pen to be sure that she wouldn't be hurt. I listed to hubby and I'm glad I did as he told me to gradually let her join them. So she stood still for a minute as she couldn't hear them Then she started squawking. The others came out from under the bushes, private, etc and made a lot of sounds. I was so afraid that they would attack her but instead they looked at her and at first she moved slowly up a big hill and then really quickly. They retreated to the cool of the shade and she joined was so beautiful. They certainly had not forgotten her. Bless you little gal....May you live a long and happy life.. Madam Courage!

 Now to the smelly side, moving 3 humongous roosters from an unbelievable long run that was muddy and other from recent rains! I finally got one in a corner, in this 2 foot high run, needless to say, in order to catch him with the net, I had to squat and lost the ability to walk like a Russian as he tried to escape I fell forward on my elbows and just barely missed landing my face in a lotta..........stuff. After capturing one rooster, the second and third were easier. I truly must have smelled just like them..... While they were in the carry pen inside of the wheelbarrow, they must have been planning escapes as one jumped on top of the other and pushed the door open. Got him in a bed of poison ivy. Pushed the wheelbarrow on, it got caught in a rut and out fell the whole pen and cage popped out. Jumped Over the top since it landed them on their heads, I had the advantage. I tried to be a Mutant Ninja or something like that and yelled "HiYa No body moves while pretending Some serious arm moves from a Jackie Chan movie. No one moved I don't know if they were stunned by me or the fall. Now My husband missed all this excitement and it is probably better as he thinks I was working...They went to their new chicken tractor with lots of pretty ladies and I had to go to the house to "rest" So yes work can be challenging physically and mentally on the farm. And oh how stinking things can be, but there's no rule we cannot have fun. So what's the moral of this tale? You have to take the good with the stinky stuff when you work on a farm..........Maybe that applies to anything - doesn't it!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Oh for the love of keets! We are getting a glorius rain, the first time in over 3 weeks. So I secured the house Ran to get the cell phone I had left on the bunny cages as I watched the lightning. Just when I though all was well, I thought of the porch and the babies on their brooders there. Ran to the porch and noticed what appeared to be 20 drowned 2 day old guinea keets. I ran with them rolled up in my shirt and looking for the bathroom heater. Gave it up and found my blow dryer, the thickest nicest towel in the house....I was crying and drying at the same time, no not like the Song Crying and driving...Prayed to God for help in their revival. I used my hair dryer that basically gathers dust and put it on high at first, but that was too powerful as they were being blown out of the towel in my lap as I sat on the floor. finally I got a system, patting them with one hand in the dry towel rotating them so all had their chance at heat... A couple of the friskier ones climbed up my back and surprised me.... That truly gave me hope. I watched them one by one come was so special to me. and I talked to them and told them I was sorry they had gotten wet. They were so little and so wet and so desperate for attention. Responded to my voice, touch and warmth and drying and love. I held the drier under my chin and have a small burn there but it was worth it. You see I had never really bonded with the guineas, I liked watching them but it was never an ah what a sweet bird reaction. Something about when you do special care for an animal you bound with them. But today is different, there might be 19 little babies who call me Momma. When I just checked on them in the brooder they all ran to the side where I was peaking. Sweet little loudmouthed keets!!!What fun there is on the farm and the many lessons I learn and Lord, Thank You for saving those little babies on the porch. I think this is one little flock I'm going to have to keep. The Revival flock shall stay..... Have a blessed day.