Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Not very well, I'm afraid.  Not very well at all.  

You could call this an excuse, but birthing a baby just before planting season didn't help matters much.  I have a bucket full of seed packets that I fully intended to get in the ground.  It's mid-July, and the bucket is still sitting in the utility room.  I did manage to put in some lively red begonias in one of the large planters near the entryway.  My newly transplanted hastas are barely surviving... I think they may just need water.  I'm so bad at this!  I could have taken pictures, but honestly I am embarrassed.  I will spare you the agony.

(But if you are desperate to see some of my past "handiwork" you can click here:  Greenthumbery.)

Ladybug says we have nothing.  The chickens are dead.  Our dog is dead.  And the tomatoes are on their way out.  (I am really bad at remembering to water things.)   

Homesteading is hard.  And there have been some wonderful life lessons learned here in recent months.  I hope my little lovies will remember the time we didn't give up and eventually made it work. 

On the lighter side, we have loads of mulberries this year... more than we could ever dream to pick ourselves.  They are beautifully sweet and devilishly messy.  I made the mistake of taking the girls out picking, leaving Lovey in a white shirt.  (I never cared for that shirt much anyway...)  I think they ate at least twice as many as made it into the bucket.  Our freezer is nearly brimming with berries and we have only scratched the surface.  I have dreams of pies, cobblers, and sauces. 

Caught red-handed.

Briefly distracted to catch butterflies.

Big helper.

Our hearts are still healing.  We really miss Holly.  But they are so many great things ahead.  I am so thankful we get to call this place home.

Love & Coffee.

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

And then she was gone.

I don't want to write this.  I don't want to think about this.  I.  Just.  Don't.

Holly von H. is gone.  It hurts so much to type those words. 
Yesterday was easily one of the most horribly terrible days of our lives.  The day started out so well.  We were coming off a lazy 4th of July, still high on sparklers and the smell of gunpowder.

It happened in mere seconds.  Seconds, I tell you.  And life was suddenly different.  

She always had a fascination with wheels, be it a stroller, a wheel barrow or... a passing car.  *sigh*

It happened in front of the house, right by the mailbox.  I cannot begin to tell you the mass hysteria that ensued.  The lady driver was visibly upset, as well as her young son who accompanied her.  The Man was running to her and sobbing.  I ran inside to shelter my girls, but it was too late.  Cupcake was napping, while the other girls held each other tightly, hysterically looking on through the bay window.  

The Man cradled her in the road as she passed.  I held her lifeless body soon after, bathing her in tears, and telling her how sorry I was.  There are so many disturbing images from yesterday that I wish could un-see.  

This.  Hurts.  

The woman turned out to be a neighbor from down the road whom we hadn't before met.  Her husband came soon after to offer his help in burying her.  The woman came again even later to bring flowers.  I assure you this is not the way we wanted to meet our neighbors, but I am grateful we have good people living close by.  They were so kind. 

One second she was pawing at the front door and the next she was gone.  There is much sadness in this house.  The homestead feels so empty without her.  She was our first family dog.  We waited so long for her.  I find some sort of patriotic irony in the fact that she was born on 9/11 and passed the morning after Independence Day.  

Ladybug whimpered through tears, "You told me I would have her until I was at least 16!"   Lovey said, "But God's still alive.  He's in my heart and my heart is not broken."  Peanut just buried herself in the couch pillows and cried.  

And The Man is a mess.  And so am I.  I loved Holly.  And him even more so.  No one ever told me it would be this hard.  I am not even an animal lover by nature, but I love the life that God created.  And Holly was special.  And she was ours.  And I miss her.  And even coffee can't fix that.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Psalm 34.18 (NIV) 

Rest in peace, Sweet Holly.


To read more about our sweet Holly von H.:  A Boy and His Dog.

Love & Coffee.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

No nukes...

is good nukes???

No, this isn't a political statement... but a family experiment of sorts.

I ditched the microwave.  I thought we were ready.  I thought it was time.  And I'm driving everyone crazy!  But it is gone, gone, gone.  

Sort of.

There is plenty of good material/research on the negative effects microwaves have on our food.  This is not one of them.  As a family, we decided some time ago to reduce our use of the microwave as much as possible for a lot of reasons.  Aside from the obvious health concerns, zapping perfectly good leftovers until they resembled barely recognizable, chewy, leathery fare didn't seem to mesh with the simple, homestead-y life we are aspiring to out here.  

So the microwave... it's been banished to the utility room to co-exist amongst other appliances such as the washing machine and dryer.  Currently it resides on the floor until I can decide on it's permanent home.  (Or until I can clear off the laundry counter and make room for it!)   I will probably still use it to heat water on occasion and for warming rice pillows (to toast cold little toes in the winter).

Besides.  I really needed the counter space.  

How true it is... you don't realize how much you really use something until it's gone.  I was under the impression that we were truly already living without it.  Until I didn't have it.  

Day one didn't go quite like I expected it to.  Things were going along quite swimmingly until around 10:00 am.  This is the time when the morning coffee has often gone cold.  And I usually sneak a cup into the micro for a quick warm-up.  No such luck!  Okay... so I pour my cold coffee into a small saucepan to heat on the stove.  No problem, really.  Perfect in no time at all.  Swish out the pan and I'm good.

Noon.  Lunch.  The kids want leftover spaghetti.  Oy.  Is it sad that I have practically never re-warmed anything in my entire life on the stove?  Correction:  NEVER re-warmed anything on the stove?  I dump the spaghetti into the pot, adding a little water to keep it moist, cover, and heat over medium until it's hot.  Five minutes.  Not bad!  I could get used to that.

Then dinner.  Shoot!  I have not one bit of thawed meat.  No chicken.  No beef.  No nothing.  

And it's 5:00 pm.  

I called The Man and asked him to pick up a pizza on his way home from the office.  Epic.  Fail.

I don't regret it, but it is definitely something new to get used to.  I'm positive there will be more to come on this topic, but until then...

Love & coffee.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

A Boy and His Dog.

Her name is Holly von H and she's quite possibly the sweetest Rottweiler in the history of ever.  


The Man did not tell me.  Supposedly he was at the office.  On a Saturday.  And it wouldn't take long.  (Ha!)

I called to see what the hold up was.  "Work.  Lots and lots of work."  


Hours later... (lots of hours later), The Man arrives home with a puppy.  A very large, 7 month old Rottweiler puppy.  Nevermind the fact that we had a weeks-old infant in the house at the time.  The girls were in love.  Me?  Less so.  I don't think I have ever been (or ever will be) an animal person.  I prefer to appreciate them from a distance.  But Holly...

She was so very excited.  She peed on my rug.  She peed on my foot.  And she peed on my kitchen floor.  Twice. 

The next morning, I awoke to a sloppy, wet, UN-human kiss all over my face.  I could barely breathe beneath all crushing 70 lbs of her. I didn't want this to ever happen again.  

I. Don't. Do. Animals.  At least not this up close and personal.  

But The Man is crazy about her.  And she loves him, too.

3 months later.  Holly and I are becoming friends.  Even though she buried my socks in the neighboring field.  And wiped her muddy paws all over my freshly washed white comforter.  And rolled in critter poo before our evening cuddles.  

Holly von H, you are a keeper.  

Love & coffee.

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