Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board

Voicelessness and Emotional Survival => Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board => Topic started by: sKePTiKal on January 05, 2019, 09:17:55 AM

Title: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 05, 2019, 09:17:55 AM
Might as well get the thread opened up for this year, to remind me to THINK about what I need to, want to, and really ought to do. Digression is an essential part of this process, LOL... and will occur frequently no doubt.

Top 2 projects on the consideration list, are a generator & fencing, at the moment. Still lots of things to purge/organize and finish up around here... along with what the Holly Hut will be and when. She says she has an idea to draw out now, so I'm waiting on that. Still scouting locations too. Still thinking about; designing in my mind, an outdoor, wood-fired kitchen too.

Still have resident house guest, but given his improvement over the time he's been here... and other things... I sense he may be beginning to think of new plans. The number of people arriving here, over this Holly birthday weekend could be intimidating him some. It'll be a crowd, though not as large as last year. Typical boy-girl things happening between him & Holly too... though she immediately let him know in no uncertain terms that wouldn't be a good thing for either one of them.

Seed catalogs have been showing up every week - but things are still WAY too soupy out here, to do anything even given the milder temps this winter. I might get the kitchen beds & rock garden going perhaps. We shall see. I'm stronger now than I was last year but those concrete blocks are still heavy, I'm working on a hill, and there are other rocks to work around. Getting that done - and creating a visual "fence" above it, at the edge of my parking area - would enable being able to order a load of gravel... and get me motivated to work at cleaning up the other side of the drive - toward the studio and cliff. Still need to build wood storage, too.

Mostly, we just need to make space, in the existing footprint of the buildings... organize stuff... and get more serious about getting Holly squared away in her own domain, where she can rule supreme.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on January 05, 2019, 05:37:51 PM
I'm drooling for the occasional photo you might feel comfortable posting for a short bit.

SO love your life! Hearing about it is vicarious but also motivational.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 06, 2019, 09:57:27 AM
Yeah, I haven't been able to post pics here - which I can understand. But perhaps a photo hosting site link? funny thing is, I literally don't have that kind of time to "show off" what's been going on around here; go figure.

Today is prepping food for the birthday girl's party. Love my crockpot; going to make a zingy version of my pulled pork BBQ. Folks are bringing a lasagna. I think we've got the sleeping arrangements figured out; still need to give my (and kitties' safe space) quarters a once-over cleaning. It's a dog-free zone. Monday, Hol has to drive into Dulles to pick up a friend from Portland at the airport. (I've known him since they were in HS.) So, it's going to be - and actually has been - a revolving door; grand central station around here. Thank god the freezer was stocked. (reminds me: should clean out the fridge for space...)

I have some more observations about resident house guest, but after the party migrates to the studio space... I'm probably going to bow out and leave 'em to it. Been too many late, intense discussion nights around here. And while we're able now, to talk about other things and laugh ourselves silly... I think I've reached the point where it either sinks in; he owns some of the ideas about what we've been talking about... or he doesn't. So perhaps, I'll feel like I have the space & privacy to write that down.

Yeah, I feel kinda like persona non grata in my own house. But I did know what I was getting into; and I can assure you - this isn't going to become a permanent situation.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on January 06, 2019, 06:27:30 PM
You're on it.
I know you will (re-pee on your personal fence line)...

BRAVO. He's learned a lot and good for you for not lapsing into caretaking. He's a big boy.

Hope the upcoming festivities are still fun! Sounds like H is importing her crew one handful at a time. And I bet they all LOVE coming to the mountains, breathing great air, partying in beauty. And you.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on January 07, 2019, 03:05:00 PM
I'm looking forward to a thread where H builds her own little house, with room for all her guests.

Amber, you can visit, and engage as often as is comfortable for you!

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 09, 2019, 09:57:14 AM
I'm way more aware that there are paths I can't guide someone on, than I used to be. And if someone only listens politely - then continues on the same path they asked for help with getting off - my frustration levels build.

And it's starting to hit Hol, as well... she has more patience than I do, for this kind of "woe is me, help me, but look at me, talk to me not what you want to talk about... because woe is me" treadmill. I don't suffer martyr-Nism, even in it's milder forms, too well. There is a huge difference between true long-lasting misery or grief, and the kind that is used for manipulative purposes. I'm not at all sure I'm qualified to tell them apart.

But I feel what I feel, TOO, dammit. And as it happens, I do hold the command/control authority here - I have hard copy of the orders my friend wrote out for me.

I am NOT running a home for wayward, benighted travellers on life's rougher roads and when I feel I have to take precautions to keep those staying here safe from their own darker tendencies - it's time for them to MOVE ON and try something else. I have my own stuff to deal with - as does Hol. And while I'm happy to offer temporary respite from "life" to the occasional visitor... it's become too damn inhibiting for me.* And perhaps that's a problem I should solve and deal with and change...

but something tells me, when it's MY SPACE... I shouldn't HAVE TO.

And I just had to write that all down, where I can see it... even though I said as much to Hol's boss yesterday (who was here for her birthday party); he's immensely perceptive and intelligent & interesting and even helpful. He & I escaped into talking about historical stuff a lot and that helped.

Writing makes a thought-process an artifact for me. Something concrete. But I'm not at all happy to have to have retreated to my bed & kitty safe-space, to be able to do this in my own home. I resent the hell out of it. And now, I'm going to develop as kind a way to deal with that, as I can.

*What I mean here, is that I have to walk on eggshells in my own home. I have been told to keep my plain-speaking thoughts (ascribed as "dark", because I mean what I say and much of that is based on experience) to myself... to restrain the "mommy-lecture" reflex... etc. To where I feel a prisoner to one person's inability to deal with his own crap. And I know for a fact, I'm not the only one who felt that over the weekend.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on January 09, 2019, 07:34:23 PM
but something tells me, when it's MY SPACE... I shouldn't HAVE TO.

But you do have to because he is ignorant, so why bother resenting. (Easy for me to say as I'm positive I would go there.) Still, you can calmly SPEAK UP and not wait for anyone to guess or read your mind or approve of your choice. Especially not read your mind. If you're been up to your elbows trying to save/reprogram a youNgun and suddenly his lack of noticeable respect or change for all your efforts flips your I've-had-it switch, well, you don't need to explain anything. You owe nobody an intact eggshell in your own space.

Such as:
"Hey, it's been really interesting having you visit. But I need my space/mountain back now. You're welcome through XX [hour or day or date], but then it's checkout time. Hope things are going better soon." He packs, loads, you smile kindly like an older parental-age person does, and wave bye-bye. Noooooooooo drama, drawn out anything. It's a straightforward adult conversation and you are only in charge of one end of it.

All that can be calm and friendly but not, "I'm your new intimate pal so this is a draaaama." No it ain't. Just an adult comfortable with meeting her own needs. Boundareeeeeeeeeeeeeees....

(Damn, I am sounding so BOSSY lately. What's up w/me? Anyhow, dilute all this to the appropriate temp, plz.)

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on January 09, 2019, 07:49:27 PM

You'll explain your position to this house guest , perhaps plainly if necessary, and you'll feel OK about doing it.

 I hope. 

After all, you've shared your bread, wisdom, and patience.  Now you're ready for him to make use of these gifts. 

Or not. 

It seems this young man's journey has stalled.  Moving on might be helpful to him.   

It was very kind of you to extend yourself, and your farm, in any case.  He'll look back, and feel gratitude.


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on January 10, 2019, 02:46:36 PM
Recent example of the exquisite sanity of Carolyn Hax (Wash Post columnist who gets a B+++ on nearly everything, in my bood):

Q: Nope, you have to stay!
Is there any way to deal with someone who feels that you politely excusing yourself from a conversation or social gathering (because the subject matter makes you uncomfortable, because you're tired, because you need to introvert) is unspeakably rude? I'm guessing nope?

A: Carolyn Hax
Depends. The intimacy of the relationship makes a difference to how you manage.

But in general, my advice is to just do what you need to do and politely rebuff corrections that cross personal boundaries. Not just here, but everywhere.

JAN 04, 2019 12:39 EST
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 11, 2019, 06:46:12 AM
Good sense from both of you. Thanks.

That's just it, about not resenting him tho - "it all about him" and what he's dealing with and if we take care of ourselves, then he retrogrades to not taking care of himself. And the fuse on my anger over crap like that is already lit. I can head it off at the pass; find a third path... but I'm going to have to be quick because now Hol is feeling used up too. After JUST getting her back on her feet from her breakup.

I can't be worrying about his state of mind, whether all my tools are locked up, what else he's going to destroy in his misguided belief he can help - without asking or finding out how things work... etc.

I need MY LIFE back and as it stands, all the ways Hol wanted to "improve" my life and have fun with mom aren't possible because he's here. She has another friend here, who flew from Portland - and she's hardly spent any time with him. (HE doesn't need a mommy or caretaker or someone keeping an eye on him.)
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on January 11, 2019, 08:43:37 PM
Checkout time....

Need a bellhop? Hopsette?

Hope the coast is soon clear and calm.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on January 13, 2019, 03:59:49 AM
Sounds like it's time, Amber.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 18, 2019, 06:57:26 AM
Minor crisis here:

Holly went to investigate the difficulty of hooking up the plow to the ranger - I have a delivery coming next week and this weekend looks to be a repeat of last weekend's 9.5 inches of snow - so it would be good to have the ability to plow the driveway. So far, only her redneck jeep and the ranger have made it up the hill, to where our road is plowed. Cleaned off my jeep yesterday and the plan is to get out and get over the mountain for my monthy errands over there.

So, I can't find the remote cable that operates the winch, which operates the blade. Dammit. My brain is so tired from trying to absorb and contain and endure house guest's manic, anxiety-driven activity - and self-absorption - that I haven't sleep well this whole month. He's not unpleasant; unlikeable; just not able to regulate himself - thoughts, emotions or behaviors. And Hol is enabling the continuation of that state, although SHE has an escape hatch, spending time with her new sweetie.

We have been making plain that we are not equipped to teach him how to do that. And the resulting eggshell-walking required to not trigger his depressive phase is mind-blowingly IMPOSSIBLE. Anything and everything can set him off... and what he wants to describe about himself or talk about triggers US. He finally made contact with a place here that has both in/out patient care. They've told him to go to the ER first, for evaluation. Makes sense; is easy... and they have some temporary space for mentally ill people. I think he's simply dealing with a mountain-load of stress that he can't handle intellectually or emotionally all in one big swallow at once. But, to repeat myself - neither Holly or I are capable of helping him with that.

So, the plan is - I'm going over the mountain today for my errands. Holly will take her other guest, who is getting a bit of cabin fever and is a long-time close friend... and attempt to drop off the resident house guest with the issues, at the hospital. It's right on the way into town.

I'm going to be happy to see him go. I'm not adopting grown children this year; or next year either. Don't hate him, but he's making me damn crazy... and I'm tired of not being able to say, do, think or feel those things in my OWN HOUSE. And Holly is going to hear that loud & clear once he's cleared out. I'm not running a ward for people who can't cope with life, here.

Has to be today; last weekend we got snowed in. And snow is coming again tomorrow.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on January 18, 2019, 08:44:46 AM
Yikes, Amber.

 I got chills thinking about you getting snowed in AGAIN with the troubled young man.

Hurry... but keep safe.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 18, 2019, 01:19:51 PM
Yeah, now he's changed his mind and decided instead of waiting in the ER, he'll make an appt with someone private. Sight unseen, of course. Hol says she's trying to be compassionate, but when his anxiety makes it impossible for me to relax in my own home... I'm out of compassion. It ain't limitless, and starts to very much look like taking advantage - given he's taken liberties in my studio, even AFTER I've suggested a good workspace, and why.

He's working with dirt, ashes & old cigarette butts and making one hell of a mess on our socializing table. I said: at least put wax paper under your work... but NOoooo. This is apparently "rude" as well.

If you see an explosion in the near future... you'd be right. I'll drive him myself. JUST to get my house & space back from this kind of "feel sorry for me, but don't try to help me, because I don't know what I want to do... oh, and feel sorry for me because I'm trying not to be a problem even though I pace back & forth in the studio in mania, and between the buildings at all hours of the night - never turning off lights; turning off heaters that are supposed to be left on; and never locking a door.

I'm officially angry now; Hol is aware without me saying it - she's at the end of HER ROPE, as well, and it's now work for her to feel compassion. She didn't comment about my opinion that she's enabling his indecision with "compassion".
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on January 18, 2019, 09:30:40 PM
Do drive him to the help he needs. Now would be good

Why wait to be snowed in with him?

It's not mean. It's adult.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 20, 2019, 12:48:07 PM
Wow. This guy is totally off the wall. Holly & he just left, don't know if I convinced him to go to the hospital for the psych eval (a requirement for the center he chose first) or NOT. I almost don't care.

This morning he told me that Hol and her friend were using heroin. Which I know is an absolute lie. Maybe he's just angry with me, I really don't care about that. He's been making Hol & me miserable and anyone else who is around - uncomfortable - because he goes off into these emotional tailspins and lashes out verbally. Even asking him a question to clarify pieces of his story. Friend John (Hol's known him since HS) was the target of most of the attacks. Having been an RN, and the second person to point out that this guy was manipulative of Holly, we removed a lot of sharp objects. This guy had pics of where he'd been cutting himself.

Holly was MISERABLE because she really wanted to help him, but after a month he still couldn't make a basic decision about any future steps. So, I TOLD him, what my advice was and that he simply couldn't stay here any longer. I am a nervous wreck now...

but I have my Tibetan incense burning... and am just going have a very slow day today. I've told Holly she just can't invite someone (open-ended timeframe) who needs that much help & attention just to regulate his own emotions... and I think we failed miserably anyway because we're not TRAINED to do more than care... and it took a huge toll on us. I know she did it because of another friend who committed suicide and he mentioned that at one point he was suicidal.

I don't know how the pros stay sane.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on January 20, 2019, 05:00:07 PM
Yikes, and yikes, Amber:  I don't like the sound of Hol traveling with this unsteady fellow, having been ejected from her/your home, without a plan he feels great about. 

I don't like the idea of his being angry either.

Please let me know when Hol's dropped him, and back on the road.

I'll breath a heavy sigh of relief. 

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on January 20, 2019, 06:04:26 PM
DITTOS. Fingers crossed, light aloft.

Why would he say that about Hol?

I'm shocked by that (along with the whole story).
And so glad you have extricated yourself.

Seems the I-gotta-fix-this-person gene runs through you both.
It's great that you've drawn a boundary with H about who comes to your farm.

xxoo keep us posted...
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 21, 2019, 08:30:06 AM
She got back home about 5 pm. We all went to bed early, and finally got some sleep last night.

Nurse wanted to ask Hol some questions too, so she had to stick around and also provide moral support to her friend. His plan is, once the 3 day evaluation is over, is to enter a residential counseling facility... and go from there. Steve, Hol's sweetie came over last night with his big lab - a friend of Knuckles - but he got stuck in the ditch leaving this morning.

Holly & Helga (her new jeep) has already freed him and gotten him on his way this morning.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on January 21, 2019, 07:56:50 PM
Thanks for the update, Amber

Hol's done her best by her friend, rescued her sweetie, and now has time to reflect. 

I hope that's the end of THAT lesson.


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on January 21, 2019, 09:44:02 PM
Might take a week of extra rest and
taking things easy, emotionally, hon.

Hope you feel the peace returning fast.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 22, 2019, 09:21:45 AM
Thanks Hops -  taking it easy and physical activity (dealing with weather) - are how I'm dealing with it. Letting it SIT for awhile too... I still feel elevated hypervigilance... but it's significantly down from what it was. Letting it sit, to give myself time to understand just what is going on in that situation - between friend & Hol - and my reactions, and why... before Hol and I start discussing it.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 22, 2019, 11:50:01 AM
Lunch break - c'mon SUN - I need to melt the ice on my steps.

I'm pretty angry at Holly; and it's complicated. I've made it clear to her that she lives here too and if she wants to invite people out here, thanks fine. I truly like most of her friends. Just keep things under control, follow our basic living rules - locking doors, turning off lights, etc. Clean up your own messes.

So, Christmas day she got the news that a friend in her circle had killed himself. Right off the bat, she was asked to help rehome the friend's Cane Corso, which is a very large mastiff. I did some research... finally OK'd a temporary arrangement... and then watch Knuckles hash it out with Steve's dog; Steve is Hol's new sweetie. I brought up a few things she might want to think about, re: the dog... and eventually the folks in the city worked it out. Non-issue.

The day AFTER Christmas, she got the SOS from basket-case friend... needed a place to stay; had been staying in a hostel after getting out of jail for non-payment of child support, after suddenly losing his job (which I suspect was due to his emotional disintegration.) Story was that ex was a manipulative, vindictive N... and I do know there are casualties of the system. I do understand people's need for safe space time to sort things out, too. So yes - I agreed to him staying here. [edit: first mistake; I didn't set a preliminary timeline]

Weekend of the 6th, Holly had 3 additional friends out for her birthday: her boss, her girlfriend who's dating him and her roommate. We got geared up to party... lots of stick to the ribs food, etc. By this time, I was already picking up vibes from basketcase that gave me concern. Boss also did, as did Hol's girlfriend. We conferred a bit and Boss said he felt this guy was taking advantage of Holly's soft spot for her friends. Boss knows Hol VERY WELL; they had had a relationship in the past. And by then, I was seeing it also.

Basically, what I've picked up about basketcase is that he needy in the extreme; is using Hol to regulate his emotions - because HE CAN'T. I watched the guy pick a fight with old friend of Hol's from Portland, who simply asked a factual question about basketcase's story. Accused friend2 of being pass-agg, condescending and patronizing... got extremely angry; stormed out; stormed BACK... and when I got between them, telling basketcase to "calm down", repeatedly... and physically blocking his projection of emotions... he persisted and didn't even HEAR me.

It was at that point, I made my position absolutely clear to him. I saw him distracting himself with a pretense of creating artwork from cigarette ashes, papers and dirt - and any other art supplies of mine he felt entitled to help himself to. He refused to abide by any regular hours, claiming insomnia and emotional distress. Holly and I were not in a position to help him any further and spending more time here would complicate the situation and only spiral down into something worse. [edit: Hol & I had already been searching for moments to even get this OUT between us; it had started with me feeling I wasn't allowed to have my own feelings; in my own house... because she was insisting I walk on eggshells around basketcase.]

It was HIS idea to go get help and so I strongly supported that. Hol was being told he was too scared to initiate the process (manipulating her compassion)... and so he was allowed to procrastinate on making a decision. And he triangulated between Hol & I, as well. One reason she's so angry at me and me at her right now. The night before he actually did leave, Hol managed to sprain her ankle and bruise her foot pretty good. And I'm pretty sure she's not telling me the truth about what happened just yet.

He's made SO MUCH CRAZY in my space, that I haven't been able to even put the basics of the story into words. I'm still shaking and he's been gone 2-1/2 days now. I've taken it out on my woodpile; the snow; the ice (he sure didn't) because apparently explaining to him that the woodboxes on the stoves are 2 different lengths was "abusive"... and I'm getting the same crap back from Holly at the moment when I say the usual mom things... expressing concern, reminders, etc.

Because apparently, I'm not allowed to control conditions in my own space if they conflict with hers.

And we WILL have this out, but not just yet. It's still too raw. Friend2 expressed his worry that Hol was letting basketcase make her responsible for his emotions, which is one of the issues that were unresolvable from her relationship with Matt. I don't want to imply she's responsible for MINE either, and I do need to be able to verbalize exactly the situation as I see it. Fierce, whispered, 2 minute conversations were ALL we were permitted because basket-case was extremely quiet, sneaky and perhaps somewhat justifiably paranoid. We couldn't get any privacy in our own home.

Hol had asked me to pick up basketcase at hospital over the mountain today, if he's released... and take him to a hotel, since she ASSUMED I wouldn't let him come back here. I let her know, that 3 days wasn't enough for him to get his shit together and NO, he wasn't coming back here. We'll see if she continues to mother him through a situation she isn't in any way responsible for, or if she'll admit her superhero cape has limitations. She took my car today to take friend2 to airport, so I'm not going anywhere.

She clearly doesn't want me to point how she's been self-medicating to deal with her end of this BS either. Not at this point in time.

I'm not sure how this is going to turn out yet, but I sure don't need to keep rehersing everything that happened, how I felt, over & over again... so hopefully, putting it down, will let me get some distance away from it.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on January 22, 2019, 02:13:48 PM
Oy, babe. I feel for you and how fraught all this is. Just one small idea to offer.

Here's another opportunity to strengthen the boundaries muscles...again just a calm adult saying, No, I won't be doing that.

Hospitals have services, including community volunteers, hospital volunteers, and other resources for folks who are stuck. If bcase needs a ride from hospital to hotel, the hospital can and will arrange transportation for him. Hol doesn't need to expect you to continue the mommying (which "giving a ride" to him is), and you don't need to grant her request.

Picking him up and transporting him is you being unecessarily in his toxic presence, which is not wholesome for you, and Hol continung her rescue fantasy because one of her issues is difficulty stepping aside and allowing a friend to experience the natural consequences of their own choices.

You're no more responsible for his future transport than you were for his crisis. And it wouldn't be good for him to see you continuing the rescue now, through "a ride." It's a big world and he can learn how to ask the hospital to help him find a ride.

love and support,
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on January 22, 2019, 03:05:19 PM
Duh. Just re-read that it's a non-issue since H has your car. Sorry.

However, the same thinking applies though not to you...H should not be giving him a ride either because that continues her codependency.

If you see the same thing, YOU still can't be tasked with fixing H's codependency (if accurate). Because that puts you in the exact same position re. her. Not to worry. She'll get it in 10 years or so. Seriously. It's her path to carve and get and hike and figure out because, ime, any time someone else explains to me what I need to "get" it never takes. It's the long accumulation of my very own insights that help me grow. I can seek additional wisdom from books or people or Ts, but I gotta get all the way to it on my own.

I imagine this is a really tough line to navigate, but if you want to, you can do it. It's sound and healthy non-enmeshment and I believe that's where you are headed.

You've just had a big check-in about your own sense of self and health and boundaries and patterns and I know this--you will have awesome insights once you've had a chance to sit with it all and ponder in peace. The Amber brain and mind and heart know how to come 'round right.

fwiw, xxoo
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 23, 2019, 09:19:46 AM
Big hug back to you Hops.

Hol and I had our first debrief last night. She's better off, in some ways, than I am. On the other hand I see some things she hasn't recognized yet... but I kept my mouth shut, for now.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 24, 2019, 07:56:00 AM
Quick update... I'm feeling better now; less scattered and run over. Hol's mental state is pretty well intact and she's back up & running on the stuff she needs to take care of, moving forward. No difficulties between us to work out... but until she has her own house, there are going to be some additional clarification of basic "ground rules".

Seems I found a limitation in myself that I'm not entirely sure how to fix. I don't know how to set functional boundaries between my inner state - and that of disturbed people in my presence; their state completely impacts me and except for physical distance (ie, they're not here) I don't have tools to shield myself from what I experience as constant bombardment. It is affected by time duration; it's one of the reasons going out shopping is so draining of my energy. Yes, to a lesser degree than having someone in my house; popping up quietly and suddenly anywhere/everywhere in my space and never ever coming to rest in his constant, manic pacing.

Hol thinks a person can always rise above and conquer personal limitations and should. I see it more like an allergy; it's part of how I'm constituted. And when the person in question is oblivious to how they are impacting others because they're so involved in their own struggles... push comes to shove. In this case, poor guy was depending on Holly (or me as substitute) to manage his feelings for him. I understand how it feels to not be able to do that, and his honest need, and empathize with that.

The hospital is keeping him a week and will likely release him to an in-patient situation elsewhere.

But because of enmeshment and co-dependency, I am allergic to people like that around me. I'm not so sure it's a good thing to "fix" either! Fix it, and one becomes vulnerable to it again, n'est-ce pas?
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on January 24, 2019, 05:57:06 PM
Hol thinks a person can always rise above and conquer personal limitations and should. I see it more like an allergy; it's part of how I'm constituted.

I completely agree with you and, with respect, disagree with Hol. Hate to pull the age-card but I think one (or this one anyway) doesn't quite "get" the we-ARE-wired-certain-ways reality AS full reality until say...50s and 60s. I think in this culture we fling ourselves against various walls for decades because the culture's insistence on self-determination is so powerful.

It's beautiful to know who you are and the atmosphere and boundaries you require, and nobody can know that better than you. Even someone who loves you tons. And there's surely nobody who scrutinizes and judges a mother's makeup more than a daughter, even a loving one. She could be too close to you to really see you...as a person. (If she met you outside your relationship, as a stranger, and you explained how you'd learned certain boundaries are necessary for your well being...she'd admire you for it and accept it as your own smart insight.)

I don't blame her; I think we're all that way to varying degrees until decades and learning and such reach a point within us when we actually accept ourselves. Convincing OTHERS to can be an occasional necessity or if we're not careful, a pernicious hobby.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 28, 2019, 07:58:56 AM
Thank you Hops. I tried to explain N-spots to her, and how her "encouragement" to overcome what I know about myself - and have designed into my lifestyle - is very similar to something she complained about Matt doing to her. She denied it, out of hand of course. LOL. Time will fix that.

I think there is a fear of aging - both in me and her herself - that she's realizing. So, I don't need to press the issue. She'll face it soon enough on her own. We've been down the rabbithole of generational traits & effects too. She's very smart and only needs to have someone to bounce ideas off of, as objectively as humanly possible. I try; do OK for an amateur. But I do know my limitations and when a situation develops into something I wouldn't have initially agreed to... I stand up and deal with it... no matter how many toes I step on. Generally speaking, I've only had to bring up ideas/concepts and then shut up - because she does go off and think it through herself. Like a champ, so far.

I'm feeling a lot better emotionally now. But I was walking in the dark and wrenched or over-extended a knee a couple nights ago. It's quickly getting better, but I am still moving slow. LOL. Feel like a dumbass... for trying to rely on internal sight in the dark (my usual habit is to turn the light on in the bedroom and then turn out the last light in the living area). But that kind of thing is a direct reminder of just what I was trying to explain to Hol, isn't it? She ran and got me a cane and I was up/down all day yesterday dogsitting and just taking it easy... so I think that's helped with the improvement I'm seeing.

The only thing pressing this week, is the bed I ordered back in Oct is finally being delivered Wed, and we're going to have a couple REALLY cold days, which requires some wood chores to take place. Hol will doing the bulk of that since I'm still moving slow. I can navigate steps, if I pay attention, so I am paying a lot of attention!  ;)  I have a couple more ladder projects to finish up, but that's definitely not happening unless Hol takes the ladder half of the job.

We still need to have "Christmas" with Mike's D... and the snow postponed our original date, so maybe this weekend.

I'm not doing any online dating... even tried Tinder, but it meant I needed wifi on, on my phone and it sucks battery life out of it. So, that's on hold for the time being. Ronnie's still being playfully "flirty" with me, but I haven't seen as much of him since the accident. I've seen his brother more often and while he's not flirty with me, he is as friendly and open and nice.

Farmer's Almanac says our spring & summer here is supposed to be drier than normal. We shall see. I haven't noticed any new trends yet, to drier weather. But that would let me do last summer's garden projects a lot easier.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 02, 2019, 10:10:18 AM
So, the house guest is still considered to be in crisis; remains in treatment & observation at the hospital; and it's likely to be another week or two before they're comfortable enough that he's not suicidal to release him. If he's still stuck on that, and still can't formulate a plan for his life (because he doesn't want one) then I suppose they'll look at in-patient options. It is no longer my problem and I hope he gets well. He seems to like the people here, better than in the big city. Holly is releasing responsibilty about him, too... while still showing him loyalty and support, she is separating herself from his outcome.

Hops asked about the purpose of the farm. It's a learning tool for me. A way to relearn that I matter; I CAN do a lot things I don't know how to do, right this second... and in the process, make this place pleasing to the eye, productive and self-sufficient even if there's no power or fuels, in the future. My goals are practicality and functionality, even as I'm aging in place... and proving the theory that functional can be beautiful at the same time.

It's great having Holly here to help with the physical things, but she is going to go back to work eventually. We have diferent aesthetics and routines... and can get in each others way about stuff like that. So, we're figuring out a location and the site work for a "Holly Hut" of her own, to suit herself. She's narrowed down the design stuff and has a list of 42 "must haves". LOL. I haven't seen it yet. The #1 thing on her list is a 2 story wall of glass with a stone hearth to the ceiling in the center. Totally not practical and there's no way to get the interior efficiency for heating/cooling to be economical, either. But she wants what she wants! (mom might try drawing out a compromise for her).

The Farmer's almanac says it should be drier here, next spring/summer. The garden stuff is a priority, since it was a total washout last year. I'm researching high tunnels, for growing under cover. My commercial grower friend has blooming tomatos already! And I'm giving permaculture a deep look; I already do a lot of it, from the years of growing organically, and growing up around Amish farms.

And even my interior design style is morphing from the beach's post-modern pirate to early Viking. LOL. The bed for the guest room finally arrived, so I can finish up the final touches in there. Hol might need another dresser... or hanging space. (or her own house) And I am going to order a double sleep sofa for the office downstairs. Then the house proper is "done" until I edit the living room furniture arrangement. We'll start moving on to the studio... lots of things to do out there, too.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on February 02, 2019, 01:37:53 PM
Well, since I don't want a permanent move to California, your guest room will be fine, thanks Amber.  :lol:

Holly is one lucky young woman if Mama will pay for all that! Have you thought of giving her a budget that represents what you WANT to spend on Hol's House (which is such a great idea for your relationship, very wonderful priority)? Then she knows. Design means thi$ and materials and labor mean thi$, and have at it, dear.

I love love permaculture; Polyface farm is on my daytrip list. I so wish I had a Real Back so I could garden. One of my goals in getting fitter is to do old-lady raised beds or pots or SOMETHING. It's the one part of my new-home dream I haven't helped happen, for many depressive self-sabotaging reasons.

Since you're a prepper (sort of?), I was going to ask what part food storage and raising plays. Now I'm imagining you canning and filling a solar-powered fridge.

Do you think geothermal is a possibility? Or earth-sheltered for Hol's House? Earth sheltered is brillers, and filled with light. Could even justify her 2-story glass, or almost. If you have a south-facing slope somewhere. Hope you do. With all the wood available, passive solar or earth sheltered plus a Tuli Kivi would set y'all up safely forever.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 02, 2019, 05:05:55 PM
I love Tulikivis! But Holly thinks they're hideous. LOL. She does have a budget; it's part of my plan to reduce the amount of estate taxes for the kids... moving up gifting.

Food storage is necessary. There was two weeks only Holly's jeep got out if here. So, a deep pantry. Lots of herb/spices. Freeze-dried ingredients in vacumn sealed cans. I learned to can before the Twiggy days and helped out, peeling peaches, cooking apples down into sauce, snapping beans, etc. So yes, preservation of excess harvest is an essential oart of the plan.

It's not so much prepping for me. It's just how my family always lived. Gramma told me to always keep two years worth if food in storage, because of crop failures. She raised her brothers and sisters through the depression after her mom died in childbirth.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 04, 2019, 12:41:05 PM
Oh this warm weather has me antsy to get things started outside! The winter coat is too warm, even on the porch in the shade. We're going to get the first set of compost bins drug to the location and laid out.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on February 04, 2019, 03:19:02 PM
We've had two perfectly lovely spring like days.  Just beautiful.

Enjoy moving those compost bins, Amber: ) 

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on February 06, 2019, 11:58:14 AM
I sure would love more Gramma stories, Amber.
I am deeply inspired by all of those ways people make so and become resilient.

Until my back and body are stronger (I'm now in my schedule exercise program and very hopeful about it) I can't garden or do homesteady things. But there is so much I COULD do that would bring joy and even a bit of kale.

Maybe there's a Wooden Rack #3 in my future! (#1 drying, #2 shoes). #3 could be for dehydrating produce. But I'd be better backing off the purchasing and actually getting serious about planting my veggie beds this spring. They're not quite raised enough to be easy on my back, but they're not impossible, either.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 07, 2019, 11:37:13 AM
You can dehydrate in your oven at 200 degrees, Hops. And I'd recommend an electric dehydrator, over air drying for everything EXCEPT herbs. Those are best air dried, out of the light. Excaliber makes a decently priced dehydrator - and you can often find them used, for sale.

FEBRUARY = the month where you're "over" the excitement of snow, sick of mud (in my case, because I've been fighting mud since last April), and bored to tears because you can't do any "fun" projects yet. LOL. I might get started on my taxes, but I know it'll be almost March before I get all my documents to send to CPA. It's gotten MUCH simpler for me, since I've simplified the financial stuff, post-Mike.

Going to get into the office for it's periodic de-cluttering episode too. And EVENTUALLY cut down cardboard to recycle on Sat. Sunday-Mon, supposed to get 3-6 inches of snow - or such is the forecast. Sigh. Almost Valentine's Day, and we still haven't gotten together with Mike's D for Christmas yet. (Big Snow - and then, Hol & I both had minor injuries the next weekend... and persistent "house pest" to move on. He's still in the psych ward, btw; but is improving.)
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 11, 2019, 09:13:44 AM
Yuck. More winter here. I'm not energized by it anymore - it makes me want to just sleep till spring. But, I'm going to try to address some smaller inside stuff - catch up on housework: woodstoves make a lot of dust and the gas forced air moves it EVERYwhere, that kind of thing. Finish up the insulation in the garage downstairs, clear/purge, etc. But I don't even have a lot of motivation for that.

Just B L A H.

Hol moved the palettes, to where I want to build compost bins, with her help. That'll be one thing off the list. She's starting to move more stuff from Matt's house too, so there will be studio organization and planning going on. It's hard to even think about getting her house started with the weather so unpredictable... and I still haven't even walked that site to evaluate the geology situation for septic, well, water run-off, etc.

Reading up permaculture... it just seems like a newly minted word for old-fashioned self-sufficient farming techniques. But, even though I DO understand the basic principles, I'm looking for ideas... so will be sifting.

Both Hol and I are kinda in the same mood: patience my ass, I wanna build something.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on February 11, 2019, 09:27:41 AM
Hey, Amber:

I'm curious who you'll line up as builder.  Or do you plan on being your own contractor?

My mom hired a builder who did a very poor job of their mountain home.  I couldn't find decent subs when I needed them on Beech Mountain..... OMG.  Just one nightmare after another.  One electrocuted himself... he was fine, but, OMG.  My mother's home had a front wall falling down in 10 years.... it had to be replaced entirely, such shoddy work.

Are you considering something pre fabbed? 

I just looked at my bathroom ceiling and thought.... I'm going to paint you this week.   It's hard to believe I've left such simple things undone.  And I have baseboards to re paint after caulking.  I get carried away with caulk, forgetting I have to paint again. 


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 11, 2019, 10:10:58 PM
LOL... houses; such a pain in the butt!!! No matter how much we love them. LOL.

Hol is going to start with the gen contractor that replaced my doors/windows. He builds lots of homes - kits, pre-fabs, customs. She is kinda hoping she can help work with the crew, having participated in the building of the house on the first homestead. I don't think she's completely settled on a house kit or floor plan yet. But there IS site work to determine is feasible... so start there. If this contractor doesn't suit her... on to the next one.

She's look at round homes; domes too. I swear I need to pull out my Whole Earth Catalogs from '67 and show her what I was looking at then.

She is vigorously announcing her commitment to being here. Good thing; bad thing; just complicated... eh, we'll see. It's what I said to myself I wanted... so here it is. Whee! She does make me smile a lot - just being her. I didn't have THAT much to do with who she is now, she owns herself. But I can enjoy it just the same.

Steve is making her happy. She's been silly, happy Holly more lately than I've seen her in a really long time. It's a just a way she has of being her... and not quite knowing what to do with "happy"... but doing it anyway, no matter what it "looks like". She's kinda like a gawky puppy. LOL. It's way too soon to tell, but they get along great... and I find his energy soothing. Reassuring. Strong, silent, good man energy. But it's still early days. So I hold my opinions close.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on February 11, 2019, 10:27:05 PM
Lord love ya both.
Would you property allow a separate drive off yours to her place located literally out of sight of yours?

So the interactions could be fewer and the privacy better, and you wouldn't even be involved in comings and goings?

You mentioned house guest again...almost in a way that sounded like continued involvement? Yikes, hope not.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 12, 2019, 10:28:22 AM
Yes, there's going to be separation and visual privacy between houses. As far as comings/goings - my drive is the main access to the back 40. No real good way to create a new road.

Hol is still being a friend and supportive of house guest. Will not be bringing him out here again. IF he's released by hospital, it's most likely going to be to a residential situation until they get him stable. He's still having panic attacks, which bring on the suicidal ideation again - even after he's been past it for a week or so. The hospital only provides medication on an as-needed basis (IIRC) so it could be he actually needs a) a consistent dose to stabilize and b) longer term therapy/support before being functional enough to re-enter his life.

If he is released out into the world again, on his own... Hol is helping him locate jobs, apartment/living arrangements and we'll likely gather up some household essentials for him. I'm no longer directly involved and have no desire to be. But I keep up with the news, because Hol is involved and there is still a tingle in the back of my spidey senses about this guy and her wanting to be helpful that bugs me. She assures me that's just my own anxiety talking; and perhaps she's right.

But the man CAN be suave, charming, and persuasive; seen it in action. And maybe that's the trigger I have to be cautious. Smooth talkers... often turn into controling, manipulative Ns. Even when they're in victim mode; maybe especially then.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on February 12, 2019, 09:26:54 PM

The feelings around Hol's "house guest" just keep getting more and more..... dark. 

He sounds like trouble, and nothing but trouble.  Not worth the time she puts in.  Not worth the risks of interacting with him, IME.

Forgive me if he's mentally ill, and requires drugs, but it's not Hol's problems to solve, even if she COULD solve it. 

I wish we didn't have to learn these lessons the hard way, but we usually do.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on February 13, 2019, 01:12:37 AM
Yeh, me too.

I fully don't understand her continuing rescue compulsion toward him. Hope she doesn't harm her growth too badly.

He was destructive to your serenity, exploitative of you both, and unfortunately, there's codependency going on.

I hope you can step back, not muse over his treatment, and not gather household items for him since he's no longer your charity. There are thrift stores in all communities.

Surely he will soon manipulate some other people into his needy web. Saddens me that through Holly, he's still taking up space in your head. I understand how it happens (remembering my codependent entanglement for two years with my severely alcoholic church friend) but....MY codependency would like to rescue YOU from the pattern.

Faceplant. Busted.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 13, 2019, 10:21:12 AM
Oh, it's just something to talk about for me. He's definitely NOT in my head. And Holly has lots of other stuff going on right now - but she remembers to look in on him and she and I have talked a lot about "enabling" and how it's a real fine line between trying help, out of kindness - and enabling. How easy it is, to not know the difference ourselves, in our motives... and the effect on the other.

She has to figure it out for herself and is fully capable of extricating herself, setting boundaries, and preventing herself from getting in too deep. Her primary focus is her new Sweetie, Steve. She's been spending a LOT of time with him; he went to B'more with her and met Matt; and now, she's starting to get offers of work - one of which would take her to New Mexico long enough to shoot a movie. She's thinking about it... but no decision at this point. It would be a good resume builder.

Things are very slow here in the winter, except for cleaning up after weather. Each day is much like the one before it. Drives her to restlessness, and seeking any kind of external entertainment that is more fun, stimulating or interesting. She can enjoy solitude for awhile herself; recognizes the benefits. But it's not her normal pace of activity and has never been. She's very people oriented and genuinely cares about what's going on with them and enjoys them. They energize her.

Which is the opposite of me, pretty much. I do enjoy a lot of her friends - some of whom are more my age than hers. So, in the process of accomodating each other's natures - we're both intentionally bending a little, finding workarounds, and sometimes screwing it up. LOL. But this living together is a lot more successful than the first month looked like it was gonna be.

My mom-reflex is super-engrained however. She can get me to back off, with a sharp sarcastic comment... but it just doesn't stop, and I seem un-inclined to rein it in since I do really care about her. I have made some improvements though; I am trying. And she's right - she's over 40 and I don't need to say those silly reminder things Moms say automatically. She's kinda decided to just smile at me, wryly, and say: Yes, mom. LOL. That's working.

But that's kinda why we need separate houses. She doesn't need to be mom'd and I need to just have the space to deal with ME, and sort me out... without feeling old roles rise up... and start knocking off some more subliminal "can'ts" off my list. It's all good; we're just both over-analytical and have lots of time to think about things in a lot of detail.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on February 16, 2019, 09:36:58 PM
Separate houses make so much sense, especially given how hard it is to contain those giving-directions, giving-advice impulses. I hear that.

It's really nice to hear about the moments when she gets you, you get her, but it's peaceful. I'm sure her separate abode will help you both. What's the timeline? And what happens when or if she resumes her career? Is her mountain-house going to be home base for a life of traveling, staying with sweetie, etc? Or is the vision that should she commit to one partner, they'd live on your mountain too? Was that the dream, initially? Is there enough City close enough?

Probably one reason I've become more tolerable to myself and my group of others in the last decade+ is that I've moved over a LOT of advice-giving to here!

I'm so grateful for this space to give and receive it on almost a daily basis that words fail...

But if I imagine all of it compressed and pushed into 3D relationships, I think I'd strain them.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 20, 2019, 04:36:27 PM
Hops, the simple answer is YES - some or all of your suggestions. Holly Hut will be "home base". And then, come what may - work, travel & a sweetie intent on building his own place on his own land - we'll see, but she has her OWN, as in ownership... place. She figured out last night, it's been 20 years she had her own space... either living with Matt or her sister... or someone else as roommate.

We've been editing the studio today, while it "weathers" outside. It seems a bit more functional, cozy and balanced (fung shui-ish) than it did. I have a few trips up to the attic yet this afternoon - stuff to come down, stuff to go up - and how COOL is it to have a dry attic in a studio???!

What we're doing today is in no way "permanent"... there are lots of future plans/ideas/changes that will happen over time. But it's been kinda fun watching how the feel/ambience has changed... along with what we actually DO in the space.

Up till now, it's been the replacement for the pool house at the beach - part party room, group therapy room, no judgement zone, spill your guts space... and rumination on ideas. That's changing again.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on February 21, 2019, 10:14:10 AM
Sounds like you're creating sacred space, Amber: )

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on February 21, 2019, 09:11:17 PM
And creative space, at so many levels.

A radiant idea that you're actually bringing into being, Amber.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 22, 2019, 08:25:34 AM
Hmmm. I think youse guys are seeing something "extra" in this. It's OK, I just don't see the process/result being quite that magical. Heck if it's COMFORTABLE, and decluttered, so there's ROOM for creativity/productivity - I'll be happy.

A lot of "personal" stuff - photos over the years, Mike's bar puzzles, and toys... stuff like that is going away. When I moved in, I really had twice as much "stuff" altogether as I could comfortably fit anywhere... and since I'd already selected just the pieces/boxes that went to the house, the movers took a lot of stuff to the studio. That all needed to be sorted, donated, tossed, etc.

We made "provisional" steps along the way... finding a decent place for the bookcases I had, unpacking the 30 some boxes of books... which I did a first sort, putting them on the shelves. Still have 4 boxes of what I culled... and I have to do another resort. We recreated the old "poolhouse" too... as both Hol and I were processing the life changes, and friends would come and do the same. What happened in the poolhouse, stays in the poolhouse - LOL.

Over 3 years, I've sat in that space and "just looked". Been there morning, noon & night. I know what kinds of remodeling things should happen now. I have a long range plan, for putting some intention into the space - not just a slapdash, make do, to make the space functional design. There are some limitations - like the outlets are 5 ft up the wall instead of near the baseboards. No floor outlets; and that's a problem since the floor space is like 20 x 40 (I can't remember exactly). I detest cords running all across the floor.

There are 3 french doors to the deck that people check out the view once - and then they're done. LOL. It's not covered, so it's not terribly hospitable in the rain, snow or summer afternoon sun. There were some serious corners cut in building that double-decker, 360 degree deck too. It doesn't feel overly secure to me. And total lack of forethought to keep both sets of steps to porches/decks uncovered - shovelling snow from steps is a major job, but necessary for safety. That deck will get rebuilt before the one on the house...

because out back - in the old hot tub space - is where I want my outdoor kitchen. It MUST have a roof; half walls - with SCREENS and maybe shutters, too - so the 2nd floor deck is going to get "edited" to accommodate that first floor enclosed - but not "conditioned" space. I can get a propane patio heater to make it bearable in the winter when we tend to large groups here.

The Holly Hut is the "investment"/building priority this year; all I'm working on is the generator and gardens. We are discussing a metalworking shop; but that isn't all that much money to put up another insulated metal building and the site I have picked out, will access the same power line as the barn (we planned for that ahead of time). The buildings come pre-cut/painted and are installed on a concrete slab. I'm thinking it will go in my current shale pit - once we've cut it back as far as we need to, to reinforce the wet spots in the road. Shale makes a better road "topping" than gravel, in the kinds of downpours we've had.

Then, fence will come into play too. Hol is talking about alpacas, for the wool. She works primarily with fiber arts; I've talked about weaving off/on. And if it sounds like I'm biting off more than I can chew, for stuff to take care of... like I told the generator guys: it keeps me out of trouble and off the streets! LOL.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Twoapenny on March 01, 2019, 03:57:13 AM
Wow, Skep, busy busy as always, always so much going on!  How do you manage to keep track of everything, do you have to write it all down or can you just remember?  It seems like dozens of different projects to manage, big and small!  Alpacas sound really cute, although I can never remember the difference between them and llamas (and wouldn't know which was which if I was looking at them).  Both cute, though! xx
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on March 01, 2019, 09:10:24 AM
About the term "sacred space."  I feel it when I clear out clutter, then clean a space down to the corners, and baseboards.... I can actually feel my Grandmother's farmhouse clean around me.... I can remember the smell, and feel of her sunny rooms, and what it felt to be in a space someone created for for me, and all she loved. 

It's like throwing a switch..... sacred or not sacred space. 

Sometimes I feel it in the kitchen after I break glass, then clean the floor so I'm 100% sure there's not a sliver of glass left.  SO CLEAN, and it's how care and time and attention FEELS when space is attended to with such care.

For me.


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 01, 2019, 12:06:04 PM
Hi y'all!

That windstorm we had was mighty ferocious. By the morning, there were 43,000 Potomac Edison customers (First Energy has 3 different power cos.) in WV. By Friday morning, I still didn't have power and there were only 1400 left to reconnect. By 4 pm Friday, I was back in business though.

Holly carried 10 gals of pond water up to the house a day, so we could flush. I had both wood stoves rockin'... and the stove top is propane, so we ate. Amazing how many things I have stored though, that require the oven. That needs to change, I guess. I have plenty of solar lights - but turned out I didn't have a good way to charge ipad or phone. Phone I charged in the car.

All in all, that 4 days kept me hopping a LOT till I finally went to bed. Slowly but surely getting caught up with what went on in the mean time.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on March 02, 2019, 03:07:35 PM
Frankly, when I think "Amazon" -- I think YOU!!

Just amazing.
And sounds like H is too. 10 gallons of uphill water carrying?

Wowsers. Respect.

Still, old lady, be sensible. (I can pee on any parade...)
Don't hurt youssef!

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 02, 2019, 05:28:16 PM
Oh I respect the limitations - too much, according to the kid.

But I was able to keep up with both stoves and not wear myself out too badly. Getting ready for snow, now tomorrow - and kinda still "recovering" from the ABBY-normal we've been through.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 03, 2019, 11:08:45 AM
I've had a new idea tossed at me, that I want to run by you all. It's confusing me.

The idea is that we can simply CHOOSE to not feel old feelings from the past and instead free our feelings from the past associations and simply feel something new/different in the now. That it is simply a matter of choosing, will, and practice.

It sure wasn't that way at all, grieving Mike. Those feelings would show up when I least expected them. Sometimes with no trigger.

So, ok. I know affirmations can be useful to feel differently. I know certain realizations can lift the 16-ton anvil of "over-responsibility" for others and their feelings; sort of a manic "personal responsbility" to "save the world"... and that's not ANYONE'S job.

But I also know that acceptance of the feelings associated from past experiences is absolutely necessary, to heal from them and that trying to avoid them - pretend they don't exist - or telling yourself you're "choosing" to not feel those things is one reason those feelings just DON'T.GO.AWAY (and some of us do suffer the psychosomatic physical consequences) and almost anything can trigger them... and you can find yourself years later still stuck in feeling the same emotions as in the past, almost AS IF - it is part of WHO you are.

That it's not just something that happened to you years ago; and you felt a certain way then - and have moved on, but that it was important to your definition of your SELF, to incorporate those feelings into your everyday reality. Whether anxiety, fear, terror, paralysis... guilt/self-blame for not being a super-hero...

I'm kinda rambling to get the ideas in my head, OUT where I can see them; where you can see them too... and maybe offer some "and" to the "either/or" opposites of these two ideas and our very real experiences. Maybe chronic abuse and trauma emotions differ from the more "garden variety" life emotions. Maybe a part/parcel of those extreme experiences have permanently altered the neural pathways and really ARE a "part of who we are" now.

I dunno what I think exactly. I am hearing a bit of subtle assumption that feeling those old feelings is somehow "wrong" or "limiting" or a waste of life moments. Which I know for a fact is NOT true, when you're actively working on yourself. But maybe there's an aspect of it which IS true, when a person is so attached to that one defining experience that it becomes a defining characteristic of one's self.

I kinda also think that we Amazons have been, still are, actively involved in sorting out this bit of "emotional logic" for ourselves, in a way that frees us from those old reflexes of feeling, at all different levels. So of course, I'm posing this puzzle to you all for imput! From your own experience.

Maybe it'll help me find an "aha!" somewhere in my thinking on it. Maybe you will find one.

This "choosing what you feel" idea seems popular. Not necessarily effective... this article kind of makes sense to me on the topic:


Maybe the feelings don't stop/go away and are an accepted part of who we are -or rather WERE... AND... we can allow ourselves to change, grow, and not let those feelings be the "defining characteristic" of us???
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on March 03, 2019, 12:32:26 PM
What a deep and powerful question, ((((((((((((Amber))))))))))))).

I think it's taken me decades of repetitive stuckness to begin to see the reality of healing. But I measure it differently. What I see now isn't so much a change in the meaning of pain, as a change in the intervals and in the force of the pain.

The pain is pure and true and honest and reflects realities I have been through. To deny it would be to lie. But it's also okay to have hope and to notice change. Healing can't be a goal because somebody else thinks one should "get over it." Anyone who says that is only displaying their discomfort, their capacity for empathy becoming exhausted. That can surely happen, it's not evil to feel drained...though it's unkind to put it that way to someone's face. One should instead simply focus on self care to replenishment. And in some situations, one has to pass the torch to others who have a greater capacity at that moment or stronger filters just because they're made that way.

The fact that when it comes now, it comes at longer intervals, and its intensity and pitch, although real, feel less destroying...that's how I think it changes for me.

I was explaining to M recently my earliest realizations about sexism. Little stories from young childhood as I absorbed shocks about what it meant to be a girl. What I've come to accept is how profound that shock and grief felt from about age four onward. I didn't just think about it, I felt it like a blow to the soul. And I respect that little girl's pain and shock and disappointment in the way things are.

Now, it is something I accept as a deep part of who I am. I can't escape injustice and it won't be gone in my lifetime. But those emotions are part of who I am. Just as I'd never expect a black person to somehow eliminate all grief, all pain, over the culture they endure, how could I ask the same of myself or any woman? So it's part of me and rises now and then. But I'm not bitter. I'm just clear.

They're painful but the reason I think they will always be with me is that they are honest. Denying that pain would be denying myself. My voice.

I just keep minding the intervals, which get longer and are more filled with peace. The capacity for happiness increases over time, I find. The present gradually gets more important than processing the past.

As someone who went through the traumas you did, I can imagine that those particular emotions are something to respect. To honor. To recognize as deep and honest parts of your humanity.

What's disabling isn't the pain but fear of it. Or a sense that you've not "done your homework" if it recurs. I think accepting and embracing yourself with deep company, deep respect for the purity of grief, deep realization of the humanity of what you feel, is strengthening. You're not "failing" if old pain revisits.

Grief is like ripples and it makes no sense to "require" someone to be done with it. Each wave is a greeting from your purest heart. I don't perceive you as stuck, just so frantically busy that maybe a wave from Mike takes you by surprise.

It's terribly hard to sit and let the wave hit alone. It's labor. I'm glad you bring it here.

love and comfort,
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Twoapenny on March 03, 2019, 12:56:43 PM
I've had a new idea tossed at me, that I want to run by you all. It's confusing me.

The idea is that we can simply CHOOSE to not feel old feelings from the past and instead free our feelings from the past associations and simply feel something new/different in the now. That it is simply a matter of choosing, will, and practice.

It sure wasn't that way at all, grieving Mike. Those feelings would show up when I least expected them. Sometimes with no trigger.

So, ok. I know affirmations can be useful to feel differently. I know certain realizations can lift the 16-ton anvil of "over-responsibility" for others and their feelings; sort of a manic "personal responsbility" to "save the world"... and that's not ANYONE'S job.

But I also know that acceptance of the feelings associated from past experiences is absolutely necessary, to heal from them and that trying to avoid them - pretend they don't exist - or telling yourself you're "choosing" to not feel those things is one reason those feelings just DON'T.GO.AWAY (and some of us do suffer the psychosomatic physical consequences) and almost anything can trigger them... and you can find yourself years later still stuck in feeling the same emotions as in the past, almost AS IF - it is part of WHO you are.

That it's not just something that happened to you years ago; and you felt a certain way then - and have moved on, but that it was important to your definition of your SELF, to incorporate those feelings into your everyday reality. Whether anxiety, fear, terror, paralysis... guilt/self-blame for not being a super-hero...

I'm kinda rambling to get the ideas in my head, OUT where I can see them; where you can see them too... and maybe offer some "and" to the "either/or" opposites of these two ideas and our very real experiences. Maybe chronic abuse and trauma emotions differ from the more "garden variety" life emotions. Maybe a part/parcel of those extreme experiences have permanently altered the neural pathways and really ARE a "part of who we are" now.

I dunno what I think exactly. I am hearing a bit of subtle assumption that feeling those old feelings is somehow "wrong" or "limiting" or a waste of life moments. Which I know for a fact is NOT true, when you're actively working on yourself. But maybe there's an aspect of it which IS true, when a person is so attached to that one defining experience that it becomes a defining characteristic of one's self.

I kinda also think that we Amazons have been, still are, actively involved in sorting out this bit of "emotional logic" for ourselves, in a way that frees us from those old reflexes of feeling, at all different levels. So of course, I'm posing this puzzle to you all for imput! From your own experience.

Maybe it'll help me find an "aha!" somewhere in my thinking on it. Maybe you will find one.

This "choosing what you feel" idea seems popular. Not necessarily effective... this article kind of makes sense to me on the topic:


Maybe the feelings don't stop/go away and are an accepted part of who we are -or rather WERE... AND... we can allow ourselves to change, grow, and not let those feelings be the "defining characteristic" of us???

Skep, this is more or less where I am at the moment so what you wrote has rung a big bell for me.

My thoughts, for what they are worth, is that the current, fashionable "you create your own reality with your thoughts, what you put out you get back, you attract your experiences to you, you don't have to let your feelings control you, you can chose how you respond" - and so on - are fine for the day to day, not too troubling stuff - the bus being late, the delivery not arriving, dinner getting burnt - but really no use at all for traumatic abuse, long term stress, grief, divorce, loss of a child, and so on.

I'd go so far as to say a lot of this stuff feels like victim blaming to me.  It feels that there is a trend now to be dismissive of the way someone feels - and if someone's having a nervous breakdown over a broken nail then yes, I'd be dismissive of that, but to suggest to someone who is grieving, for example, that they can chose different feelings, is not only a bit like treating someone with cancer as if they have a bit of a cold, but is also a rejection of reality.   I think that pit you can fall in to after something dreadful happens can be so deep and dark that most of us are lucky if we get through it without doing ourselves some serious damage.

I'm all for being proactive, problem solving, becoming self aware and so on but I'm also - as you know from my other threads at the moment - really keen on accepting the feelings that seem to be considered unwelcome.  There was an interesting Facebook discussion a while ago started by a woman who'd lived in a number of communal settings and who felt that the New Age "you attract your experiences into your life" was being used by some as an excuse for abuse and essentially browbeating victims who were being made to feel that it was their fault they'd been assaulted - same old story, just being told in a different way.

So no, I don't think we can choose to just feel differently.  I am currently in day four of my stupor.  I've done yoga, cleaned the house, read self help chapters, taken flower remedies, meditated, chanted, re-arranged the sitting room, watched comedy shows, visited a friend, been out with son, cuddled the cat, napped, had nice baths, eaten regularly - and I still feel like shit.  In all honesty, I'd cut my own arm off it it meant I never felt anything negative or unpleasant so if simply choosing not to feel like this worked I'd be delighted :)  I think it minimises the intensity of some life experiences.  I don't know if this makes sense!  It does to me at the minute but it might not later.  Lol xx
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on March 03, 2019, 03:06:13 PM
I'd go so far as to say a lot of this stuff feels like victim blaming to me. (http://I'd go so far as to say a lot of this stuff feels like victim blaming to me.)

Me too, Tupp. I kind of feel like mentally slapping people when I hear too much of this. I do get we can make effort to not be disabled by pain, just as we'd endure PT for the eventual hope of physical recovery. But the "you attract everything that happens to you and therefore are responsible for attractng a cure for everything" is bullshit, imo.

We need the help of others, interactions, being heard and validated, to heal. And some kinds of injury require more of this and some less. And that's just real, imo.

I also think that in some cases of stuckness, including my own at times in my history, true chemical depression has begun affecting the brain. I don't need them now, but for about 15 years, antidepressants were a massive help.

Not to sidestep essential pain, but to cope with too much darkness, more than my personal set of filters could cope with then. I feel no shame about that era at all.


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 03, 2019, 04:21:39 PM
Maybe acceptance of those difficult feelings is easier for some people than others? So, once accepted fully - they then "choose" to no longer linger over them? Moving on, so to speak. I wonder about the process of accepting involved; and whether it's TRULY accepting, acknolwedging, honoring and living with those feelings... and forgiving oneself for being human, warts & all... or it's more avoidance, shutting the steel gates to those feelings... hardening one's heart to the voice within??

I'm just trying to wrap my head around the ideas and understand to the best of my ability. So, this is a new age-y thing? 20-30 years ago, "new age" had a whole different set of ideas. Then, feelings were idolized and mattered more than anything else.

I can't keep up with all these things. LOL.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on March 03, 2019, 10:34:05 PM
I think your initial question is a wise one.
There just can't be competition for healing better than someone else heals.
Humans and their wounds are as different as faces. So are lives and experiences.
Just as we needn't judge others we also need to not judge ourselves....

If someone's "moved on" then maybe they have and good on them.
If someone's still at work on healing then good on them too.

If someone's BRAGGING about having utterly healed from really bad things, then I do wonder. If someone's GRATEFUL for having healed then they ain't bragging.

I just don't think there's a secret formula that only special people know. I think we're very complex and very individual creatures and acceptance is easier and simpler for some than it is for others. And the others aren't "lesser" if that's true.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on March 03, 2019, 11:43:16 PM
I finally got to read all responses on this thread... so grateful for it, Amber.  Nice.

I'm still focused on the muscle testing/brain integration to trace back, and find initial threads of dis-ease in the brain, body and energetic systems.

I don't believe the primary indicator for successful treatment is how a person identifies with their abuse, or their abuser.   I believe it has more to do with the person's ability  to self reflect, and observe their inner world without turning away, distracting themselves or avoiding pain at all costs, which is how humans seem to deal with pain, and move through their worlds, IME.

We can hold belief systems that harm, and limit our ability to look inside, and observe our inner worlds.  Whether those belief systems, imbalances, blockages, negative coping strategies will persist depends, IMO, on whether we can come to a place where we learn to suspend judgement. amd endure discomfort/pain/shame/guilt, etc. IMO.

Defensive personality types, who deflect blame, and have fragile egos shattered by any hint of shame will struggle more than people who believe everything is their fault, IME.   

Trauma comes off in layers, as I've experienced it.  The deeper the trauma, the earlier the trauma, trauma involving bonds with caregivers, ongoing early trauma, etc will be deeper and more complicated than single incident trauma experienced later in life. 

Trauma that paralyzes us, makes us feel powerless, and at the mercy of,  is different than trauma we feel we can act through or on.

Nobody can tell someone else what makes sense to them, regarding how we heal, or learn to pay attention to that part of our lives.

Every factor involved.... spiritual, emotional, physical, biochemical, physiological, neurological, energetic, and support systems we have, or don't have in place, will present threads to symptoms, and causes that lead to layer after layer of work we can do, or not do, IME.

I don't think intelligence is a primary factor.... at least that's not been my experience that the most intelligent people do the work, or can do the work.  I've seen intelligent people work well with mental health professionals, and very intelligent people sneer at the idea, and make a mockery of therapy while careening into desperate situations, and death.

Some belief systems appear to be held in our unconscious minds.  We might feel strongly that we're ready to change or ready to choose new things, but not realize that a part of us just can't get there.  If our reticular activation system feels it's kept us safe up to this point, and can continue to keep us alive this way, then it might not see the need to change anything we otherwise feel is negatively effecting our lives, and we're sure we need to change.  The RAS might hold strong, and keep us locked in old patterns until we figure out how to address it, and re boot that belief.... engage the frontal lobe, and shift all the layers of belief within us so they correspond.

Every time I witness a brain balance, it always always leads down one rabbit hole after another, never the way intended, or anticipated, and always always leads to a starting point...  a thread to pull, and follow, and trace to deeper layers of trauma, as subsequent layers receive attention. 

That's enough of my 2 cents for now.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 05, 2019, 10:10:20 AM
New development:

Back when we had all the company, I was keeping myself occupied by sorting out/arranging all my art crap that I've hauled around for 20 some years or more, in the studio. I came across a sketch I made one afternoon of Mike - around the same time, I made the "farm mirage" drawing.

The likeness, for as much time as I put into it was pretty strong. (circa 2005)

So it got put up on the wall, across the room from where we sit & socialize. Along with a painting I did in '78 - before any formal art training - that shouldn't "work" because of the rules I didn't follow/broke that DOES work. Just been "looking" at both of them. The painting, I'd like to change the composition of the canvas size, but basically duplicate.

And 2 nights ago, I pulled out the drawing and started working on the hand gesture. Worked till about 2 am. And midnight, last night. Looks like it's going to become a finished drawing. It's fascinating, that I can remember details about his body structure; the specific haircut he had then - but if I have 3 things to do today and make myself a note - by the time I've written the first 2 down, I've forgotten the 3rd. LOL.

Anyway, the drawing seems like it's some kind of catharsis or exorcism of "something"; it's not about him at all, either. It's something about "me" that is getting dealt with.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on March 05, 2019, 01:38:49 PM
It's nice to picture you rediscovering these pieces of art...... appreciating them... diving back into them, Amber.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on March 05, 2019, 09:46:15 PM

 :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
 :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
 :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 15, 2019, 11:02:02 AM
It sure is quiet in here lately! I take it, people are investing in real life stuff?

Drawing is finished as of yesterday - Mike's birth day, by coincidence. If I figure a good place to upload to, that I can link to... instead of trying to upload pics here, I will post the link. I haven't had a FB account for at least 6 months and Mike's was shut down as a "memorial page" some time ago.

Still just feeling whatever the drawing phase was; no real coherent observations out of it... except it had less to do with grief processing, nothing at all to do with him, and was "some other thing" that it was finally the "right time" to play with pencils again. I've cussed the crappy sketchbook paper every single session of work... I usually draw on 100% rag paper. I built up the shape and character of his face & hand... and the overall posture he was in... with one after another & another layer of light tones, and rarely resorted to the softer, darker B pencils. So, it's a very "tight" drawing - again. But soft. What my basic "style" has always been. The likeness is clear; but there are still things about the drawing that make it look flat; 2D instead of 3D to me. And I think it's because my "memory" of him from then and the afternoon I made the original sketch... was 14 years ago. I wasn't working from "life".

House guest is back after being released. He is very much improved and now, the kinds of things that Hol and I can do... are effective. Trying to help him get launched on his new life, and there have been productive discussions/activities along those lines. He's sleeping all night now. He's engaged and aware of things/people around him more too. So we'll see what happens.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on March 15, 2019, 12:06:10 PM
I was all ready to launch into happy workings on DD's graduation announcements, when you closed with houseguest's return.   Just not sure how to feel about that.  You seem to be doing just fine with it, so will send productive thoughts your way.

::crossing fingers for all of you::.


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on March 15, 2019, 09:46:46 PM
Really super glad about art, Amber.

Not glad about the returned freeloader project.

Also hoping things will turn out well given your change of mind.

Hugs and good wishes for all of this...life is complex!

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 17, 2019, 10:45:12 AM
His month or more in the hospital has truly helped him. Combination of one on one counseling, group and they also convinced him to try ECT.

There initially was some flailing about his plans to get back on his feet - at one time, he was a pretty successful photographer and was signed to NYC galleries - but the logistics of that, is something Hol & I specialize in and we broke that down into basic first steps. We can help a little.

We've been able to let him process his recent experiences even more - and it's clear he's no longer stuck in pain and trying to find a rational way to fix and/or deal with a crazy person in his life. He's accepting that taking care of himself and rebuilding his life is required before he even contacts her re: visitation with his son again.

I think he's going to be OK. And I'm OK with it too. The freeloader bit isn't quite accurate, in his situation. He was truly devastated by what he'd been put through by an N and completely lost everything in his life. Dealing with the emotions prevented him from the capability to make a decision and move forward on it before treatment. I no longer get the sense that he's expecting other people to regulate his emotions. That really threw me for a loop and churned up my own steaming pile o' crap.

And he's only once brought up initiating contact with the N, who is vindictive and totally bat-**** crazy, and quickly understood that he's not strong enough yet; doesn't have a firm base in living his own life yet to even consider that. He needs to rebuild self-respect, by doing for himself and nurture some more resilience. And turn that crap into compost.

And even then, direct contact is going to have to wait a bit longer until he's really in a position to counter the lies that have been told about him. With how he lives his life and lawyers. If she has no ammunition - except fantasies and lies - to use against him, he has a much better chance of winning at least time to see his son. But he has to stay out of her ability to target him, until then. We know how badly an N needs a scapegoat and how much pleasure they can take in destroying said scapegoat. Especially when that person internalizes all that stuff and questions their own sanity.

I must say, that I'm impressed with the hospital staff. They did an excellent job, in a relatively short amount of time, teaching him to unknot that tangled ball of yarn of "the story of what happened, the feelings, the powerlessness and anger/frustration". It's a visible difference in him. And he's been working in his sketchbook... again, concrete visible signs of improvement in use of color, etc. There's a small community of artists in the town "over the mountain" and a small private university... so I think that's going to be his launching pad.

Close enough to the city, so when he is ready to attempt seeing his son, it won't be impossibly difficult to get there. Student housing will be opening up soon, as well some jobs in the hospitality realm and music is a big deal here - and he likes music a lot. Hol and I are close enough to be a support network too - without "doing it for him".

Meanwhile - mio-mio has disappeared. The house has been searched top to bottom a couple of times; no sign of her. A door got left open, and she has been out before - curiosity. There is no sign of her outside either - and the dogs haven't alerted to anything. So, it may very well be that she's exited my life as unexpectedly as she dropped into it. By her own choice. Freddie is taking full advantage of that and hasn't given any signs of knowing where she went, either. She was a special kitty; I've had several. But the first weeks I was here, I realized she would eventually get out and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. She wasn't ever an outdoor cat, so if she does show up again later I'm going to be massively surprised.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on March 17, 2019, 05:11:27 PM

This young man is lucky to have your massive compassion, and support from the safety of your home.  Again.  HIs past, and his present, and his future are coming into focus in your safe space.  Just an amazing gift from you and Hol. 

I am concerned about compassion and understanding warping out of shape... into boundary transgressions, and excuses.  Not bc of you or him, but bc it's sometimes difficult to keep perspective when we want a particular outcome so so much for someone else, with no control. 

You didn't have the ability to do the work the professionals managed, and young man benefited from his time there.  He might need a tune up before the next level of healing begins.  It's OK to be proactive there.  It's not failure.... not a step backwards.  Maybe he'll need help internalizing what he's learned, and cementing it in place, which would be normal while he learns how to handle overwhelming feelings.  Not sure, but his ability to be open to your help is possible bc of the help at the hospital, and awareness around that is necessary, IMO.

Reasons are different than excuses.  Accepting responsibility, and our part in things, is different than assigning blame, without understanding.  You know this better than I, but sometimes we're so close, so invested in specific outcome, we can lose sight without realizing it, IME. 

Good luck with that.  He's a very lucky young man.  You and Hol are very kind spirits.

I hope Mio Mio turns up.  It seems like the door opened, let the guest in, and Mio Mio out. 


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on March 17, 2019, 05:14:56 PM
Can one copy and paste grace?

I'd like to just echo the grace and wisdom of everything Lighter wrote, that I couldn't figure out how to say.

Same concerns, same respect and caring.

with love,
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 22, 2019, 12:29:39 PM
Mio-mio mystery solved. I had strange dreams last night; and Freddy's been extra lovey - even put his paw on my hand as I went to sleep. So... something "directed" me to recheck the new sofa bed in the office... and there I found her. Right before I was leaving the house, even.

I had looked before - the angle of the sofa back left a big enough hole for her to crawl behind it to get comfy and well hidden on the pullout part of the mattress. I guess my flashlight didn't catch her when I looked before or she was hiding somewhere else then. It's a darker upholstery.

I ran up to get her blanket and an angora glove of mine, that she kept stealing from me and carrying around like a kitten or playing with - throwing it up in the air. If it warms up a little, I'll sprinkle some catnip on her too, before I cover her up. I think she'll go out where Mike's ashes are, more or less. She's in the chilly garage for right now... and I have some clean up to do.

Kitties do this, hide to die, I think to spare us. So I knew without knowing. Now, I know.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on March 22, 2019, 06:48:49 PM
Oh, no.... Amber.

I was distracted through that post, and didn't figure out Mio was gone till the last sentence.  So very sad, but I'm glad you found her. 

I'm glad kitty chose a safe, warm indoor space where she was loved as her final resting place.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on March 22, 2019, 08:13:01 PM
Oh, I'm so sorry, Amber.
(((((((((You and Miou Miou)))))))))).

I too didn't quite understand you were saying you'd found her dead.
Until I added it up.

Bless her for her peaceful cat sense of how to go about it.
All is well with her.

And I'm sorry you had that sad discovery.

love to you,
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 23, 2019, 09:17:11 AM
When I was still trying to find her, of course my imagination did bad, bad things to me. There were only 2 actual possibilities: she was hiding somewhere in the house (which I knew what that meant in "kitty speak") or she got out. Easy enough to mix her & Freddy up in the dark and with Freddy going in/out all the time... any of us could've made the mistake.

Knowing is way better than not knowing for me. Had my little wake for her last night and today I get to take care of her again, assuming I can dig a hole deep enough in my rock cliff hill. Holly's idea of a pyre sounds better than digging since it snowed again last night. Maybe house guest will help, if I need it.

House guest is making progress on finding a place to live and getting a job, in the small city "over the mountain". It's good timing for that. He's been helpful around here too - we built some shelves in the garage and started getting that space another phase toward "functional". And he cooks! Honestly, he suffered at the hands of a very PD-malevolent partner and tried to resolve the conflict being gaslighted rationally - which as we know, doesn't really work. But the effort of doing that led him down some obsessive rabbitholes... and he really needed the pro help to get past doing that; grieve what had happened to him; and let go to be able to move on.

He lost friends as well as most of his possessions (including studio equipment) so it's completely starting over from scratch. Holly has introduced him around the people she still knows in town, where he'll be able function without personal transportation. And it's not like he can't come & VISIT here, and vice versa. Hol is usually in town at least once every couple weeks. He's getting super excited about "having a life" - his life - again.

Hol and her sweetie are spending a lot of time together as well. It seems to be going pretty well. She's started the process of working with a contractor toward building the Holly Hut, too. Her own place here. Bigger than a tiny house; not as big as many houses built in the last century after 1920.

So there is LOT going on around here! Generator project is scheduled for the end of the month and it's an expensive undertaking initially. But it's worth it to me, to have the labor-saving "conveniences" (which are the bare minimum) for living "off-grid", in those situations where there isn't any choice. After the wind storm last month and 4 days without power and only minimal assistance from Hol & Steve... I was convinced it was necessary "for me".
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 23, 2019, 01:03:09 PM
Well, that's DONE. I wasn't sure I'd be able to dig deep enough out here - but some kind of determined energy showed up from nowhere. I feel much much better that she's sleeping her last nap, close by. I really wanted to "take care of her" one last time. Myself.

Mio-mio I think, absorbed & used up a lot of my "needing to be needed" habit. Especially when it was just the two of us. Now that she's not sharpening her claws on all the wood inside my house - I can finally sand it all down and where needed, seal the wood up too.

She was a very good kitty friend.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on March 23, 2019, 08:33:26 PM
I'm glad you figured out how to get Mio Mio into her final resting place.  I'm sure you chose some place nice, and comforting.

The entire experience sounds very cathartic for you, Amber.

I hope it is.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 24, 2019, 08:22:27 AM
She was always pretty independent and not a snuggler like some kitties are; half wild and reluctant to be around anyone but me. Not even Holly. Over the years, that changed... she got snugglier with me and even Mike, as we buried his mom, the dog, and the other two cats. She barely let me out of her sight when Mike was sick and even travelled with me - after. She definitely approved of this place, especially as I designated my bedroom as the "kitty safe space" during remodeling or when dogs were here.

But in the mornings, while I'm taking my time waking up and letting myself feel and readjust she would always come lay right up next to me for "kitty pet time". That's as close as she got to being a lap kitty, except once or twice - after Caffiene & Mike passed she came to sit on my chest in bed.

Some cats are "just a cat" - like Freddy; just showing up here and deciding to stay. But mio-mio looked to me to protect her from all the stuff that was scary to her, and keep her happy. She picked me out of a parking lot full of people trying to catch her and snuggled right up from that minute on - even if she kept her distance from everyone else. I was just finishing up therapy back then, I think.

That kind of bond, you don't just "shop" for another one. They either happen or they don't; and usually it's the cat that decides. A dog makes much more sense out here too. But as much as Knuckles and I are learning to get along - there are times I just want to give him benedryl and put him in a straightjacket. Super high energy. Steve's big old chocolate lab on the other hand - Beebs - is way more my speed and kind of a clown in his own right. This big old guy cries like a little baby when you stop petting him... LOL. And he eats kibble - one tiny piece at a time.... no gulping for him!
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on March 24, 2019, 02:46:20 PM
Oh that sweetness. They know when you're grieving. Bless 'er.

For me it's senior dogs only going forward; I'm a year from 70. When it's Next Dog time (no years without as before) I'll head for the pound and find a great ole dog who can still raise a ruckus at a boogeyman, but is otherwise mellowed out. My other limit is 20 pounds max, which feels strange since I had only big dogs (one so big he was remarkable, a purebred yellow lab who somehow got giantish and was dispatched to the pound because he was a "lousy hunter", according to the breeder). Sweetest animal I've ever known.

Present Pooch is 20 pounds but a hundred pounds of charm. Most affection, torso-squashing-into dog I've ever had. Affectionate or needy, take your pick.

I hope the right animal with the right personality appears at the right time for you, ((((Amber)))). And all hail Miou Miou aways. You'll never forget her. I still have times when I enjoy a reverie about my last cat (before I developed the allergy, six months before she died). She was very small, half calico and half siamese. Shy and beautiful. Always ran away when guests came, except once when my Dad visited me in another state. Out of the blue, she trotted down the stairs and made a beeline for his lap. Animals and babies always knew instantly he was better than safe.

Miou Miou was a lucky girl and you did her proud.


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 28, 2019, 01:51:27 PM
Busy days...

Contractor approves of the site for the Holly Hut; I'm doing prep work ahead of the generator project; planning garden work; and house guest moves into his own place tomorrow.

Lots of stuff moving forward right now.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on March 28, 2019, 02:31:37 PM
Well that was a lovely update, Amber.

And on such a lovely day.  It's sunny, cool, a little breezy,  and perfect for mossing, which sis and I have done a bit of. 

::sending Amber, dd, and house guest congrats on every front::.

Well done, moving things along: )

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on March 30, 2019, 10:32:58 AM
I'm still resting from yesterday. Ran all over town, managing my errands and getting house guest ready to tackle the cleaning of his tiny bachelor pad and setting up a kitchen. The rest of the house, he's keeping rather minimal as there is just no space. We found a table that would work for his artwork - and serve as a dining table too. Bought a folding camp chair that he can repurpose later to his porch. Holly will take him a log next week, to use as a little table out there too. He's borrowing my air mattress till he figures out getting a mattress into his place. They had some at the thrift store we visited; all brand new.

He's got some "have tos" on his list that I'll remind him of on Monday... then the "mom reflex" needs to stand down. He can get to everything he needs on foot; with public transportation; possibly a bike or moped. With a ride or Uber, he can get to the train system and get back to Baltimore when he's ready for that. He has several lines on jobs too, to follow up on. The place is very small; think small even for a tiny house - but he does have a porch, and a back yard/parking area; it's extremely private and VERY green in that section of town - surrounded by single family homes. He's only a couple of small town blocks to the main downtown area. LOL, and he can pizza and other food delivered... unlike out in my neck of the woods. Should he need them, the hospital staff are close too. Hol introduced him to the good friends she's known in town for ages... so it's a good supportive send-off, launching platform for him.

We have gotten really used to him being here in 3 months - even though he was in the hospital for almost 2 of those months. So, Hol and I are readjusting to having "our" space back again... and I'm catching up on some of those tasks that I just let slide off the list, indulging my "need to be needed" for as much as he would let me. We worked out those boundaries pretty well this 2nd time. And he helped me a lot in the garage and with ideas on some of my projects.

Only this past week or so, is the weather conducive and other projects moving some "requirements" along to getting back in that groove. But I still have some time yet and can work at my own pace again. My head is taking a serious look at the "need to be needed" thing... and I think I can shift it a little, direct it into "purpose" and adapt it to better identifying and fulfilling my own needs as well. At least, there is now space to do that and the freedom to go about it, the way I like to. LOL.

We discussed all the varying forms of "freedom" in some depth and detail. And it's link to being "connected" to others and yet in control of the things we all need to really have our "own life".
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on March 30, 2019, 02:23:42 PM
Lordy, that need to be needed thing, Amber.

So many sharp edges, and tiny spaces for it to creep back in, IME.

I hope house guest is OK.



Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on March 30, 2019, 03:45:10 PM

I wonder if a wiser way to enact the human need to be needed, in your case, because of boundary challenges, wouldn't be to be a minnow.

IOW, to join other minnows in a small pond of altruistic productivity? Rather than re-event all wheels because you are always a cowgirl?

IOW, to volunteer with an existing worthy organization that is not perfect but stems from the local community and responds to real needs there?

Habitat for Humanity?
Rescue squad/fire house support?
Women's shelter?
Animal shelter?
Hospital volunteers?
Small biz mentoring?
Civil rights group?
Food insecurity help?
Community garden?

Just a thought. Seems that introversion can become isolation and intelligence and independence can become stratification? Interesting to follow that line of thought, anyway. Not a substitute for highly individual, highly personalized meetings of needs. But a complement that anchors it into wider community in a mental-health affirming way, imo.

Couple hours a week or a half-day a month can bring a big shift in perspective, allow you to be needed but in a way you do not always completely structure yourself. (Out of the comfort zone, I know...but it's just a hunch you'd benefit.)


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on April 02, 2019, 12:05:02 PM
Focus for the next little while is just on me, me, me Hops. With Hol having a "standing coffee date" once a week with her friends over the mtn... including former house guest... there's a whoosh of "settling" energy for a bit. She has lots of other things going on, too - I can't keep up with her doin's. I'm struggling a little against just resting, because I have things to finish up, "just the way I want"... but on the whole I'm happy to have some "rutabaga" (ie, vegetable) time. I've caught a bit of cold bug or something is acting like pollen - even tho the weather people say it's low right now - and the trees really aren't doing much here.

The weather isn't helping; chilly and gray - but blessedly drying up around here! When I'm ready to don the boots & pearls and climb back into the bobcat, it'll need to be a little warmer. So I'm thankful I don't have to fight the mud right now. Spring just isn't strong enough to move winter along on it's way to the end of the year yet.

I have lots of non-farm related stuff to attend to, also. Legal stuff. Changes. After now years of thinking about it, I think I'm finally ready to sit down and git R done. Just letting passionate feelings settle long enough to finally know, it's the right thing to do... even if, that was my initial instinct. Making plans for me, too. But they aren't as far along yet.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on April 02, 2019, 03:19:52 PM
Well all that sounds healthy too!
It's good to hear your focus less on Hol and more on your own life.
(That doesn't diminish her significance in your life, but it's good to hear you kind of back in your own life, which is where we all mostly must live and make decisions.)

Big hugs and kudos,
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on April 07, 2019, 11:55:00 AM
annnnnnndddd... just like that, outta the blue...

I got an invitation to meet someone over dinner. Not from the dating site; from one of the forums I read from time to time. I don't post much anymore there because I just spend too much time chatting online with people anyway. Pretty much down to this place (you all) and one other off-grid forum of folks I've known and had mutually caring communications with for a long time.

I've been tossing around whether I would respond to him; and how. Hol took off to hunt morels with her "green man" sweetie. I'm just fiddling around this morning getting things tidied up - will have company the end of the month again. My friend Deb and possibly one of the gents from that forum that I'm still participating in. We're trading some things; and his health is very fragile now. He let me call him at any time of night when I was going through the worst of the Mike thing. A friend; a good friend. Not to say I don't entertain fantasies from time to time. But he really is terminal and may not be able to make the trip. He's postponed a couple times already because of needing hospital care. He's wanting to hang in there until his daughter graduates HS.

It's warm enough today I might need to put shorts on... so many things "to-do"... that I've been just living with, the way it is and doing other things. I just need to start SOMEwhere and get a couple of those things off my mental list.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on April 07, 2019, 02:50:49 PM
Hi Amber:L

Just a reminder to not get all bug bit in those shorts.  It could be time to sluff, have a pedicure, and pay attention to moisturizing hands, face, and skin generally, bc you just never know; )

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on April 07, 2019, 06:55:15 PM
Well there you go! Just dinner. And just a human.

What's nice, I found, is to think of any/every date as "practice."
That really bleeds the valve and lowers the psi.

You're awesome, Amber. And doing such a great job of living life.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Twoapenny on April 09, 2019, 06:22:44 AM
That all sounds like you're in a good place, Skep :)  The dinner sounds like a really nice opportunity.  I did laugh about the duct tape in the dating profile :)  Lol, it might be the bit that makes some men more interested!  You never know :)  I hope the dinner goes well and I'm glad things have worked out with your houseguest - he's been very lucky to find you and H.  I hope H's house plans start to come along well, will you manage that as well as your own place or is Holly doing everything to do with it?  It all sounds very exciting (and busy!) xx
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on April 09, 2019, 10:27:41 AM
Tupp, she'll ask me questions here & there. My opinion on things. The contractor has opinions too, that she needs to listen to. But I am not involved in this project; just paying for it. There are some legalities that I'm tap-dancing through... and for the time being, have to shoulder those. Eventually, the property will be shared ownership.

I think she's done pretty well, paring down her "wish list" of aesthetic features to something more practical, energy-wise. It'll be a cute little house. Big research project at the moment is being able to source/install/design an off-grid solution to the electric issue. I have a feeling it's going to require removing more trees than she wants to take out. But given how many just tip over around here... I can see the wisdom in that. Also - we have an abundance of carpenter bees and also termites. So, all that is a consideration in the site and construction design.

When your main goal is to provide pleasing shelter in a way that minimally disturbs the setting and natural geological/flora environment, the challenges and decisions start to add up. She likes having her head full of that kind of thing. I've been doing it so long, that I have to stop her from throwing a whole week's worth of schedule/activities at me... LOL. I just want to deal with "today's list". Let's see how that goes, and THEN I'll decide on the other stuff!
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on April 09, 2019, 03:12:56 PM

Passive solar!
Earth sheltered!
Straw bale!
Wind turbine!
Plus a Tuli Kivi!


Speaking of vicarious...
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on April 10, 2019, 11:09:40 AM
I love watching shows where these earth homes are constructed. 

Just amazing, and round, and pleasing.... artist marked.... nothing negative, IMO.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on April 12, 2019, 06:13:00 PM
Things are moving along. I have a big propane tank sitting in my "yard" (it's not much of one really) waiting for next week's install of generator & excavater to bury the tank and dig a trench for the pipe to the generator. My backhoe guy will be along this weekend to look at improving the road to the Holly Hut area; Ronnie was here today I showed him... so he'll have some ideas too. He brought his Mom and stepdad, to ride 'up the mountain' with him today. He's starting pool rehab soon; looks good and seems to be more his old self. His mom just kept laughing at me... some of the things that come out of my mouth. <shakes head>

Mr. Forum guy who contacted me out of the blue... started pressing me with questions, then insisted we talk on phone, since he isn't the world's best typist - even after I explained that I do much better making myself understood writing it down, than talking. So, I summarily shut.it.down. I was feeling a tad creeped out, because we'd never conversed with each other on any topics previous to the PM request. A couple years ago, another guy used exactly the same method to get me to talk to him. And I did meet him; and he was even creepier in person.

An online friend who was a moderator at that forum, from the past experience... told me last night, that's how news articles about women found dead start. LOL. I mighta freaked out, but you know what? I feel much relieved now, not dealing with him anymore. Some of the younger married guys who are my friends implied much the same thing. So, I'm glad that's not going to be an on-going thing.

It might sound like I rejected him for his lack of typing, which would be terribly unfair. But what threw my radar into a tailspin was all the similarities between this guy and the one from a few years ago. First guy had contacted several women on the forum, who were recently divorced or widowed - not just me. And tried the same thing with them. Guy #1 read like a total control freak to me, and was specifically looking for domestic "help" - with no consideration whatsoever for my plans, on my place. I literally felt like I was fleeing that first encounter.

So when the patterns matched up on this recent one... I just didn't want it to go any further. I've always had pretty good "creep" radar (given my history) so even if I was wrong about him, I'd rather be safe - and comfortably alone - than sorry. I do remember to double check with other people about the situation, too. Get their perspective before deciding.

Had some time to myself - Hol is helping Steve out, since his car died and she's amazingly tired from all the driving she's been doing. They're getting home tonight, earlier than expected. I just finished up a batch of toll house cookies, and will make a savory meatloaf, mashed taters and broccoli slaw and keep things ready for them to eat when they get here. The rest of the weekend is going to be busy and she won't be around either. I realized some time today, that yesterday was one of M's & my anniversaries... would've been 20 years together.

SOME times, I think I might just be clinging a bit too tightly to what is now past history and trying to make that "nutritious" emotionally. It's definitely NOT, though. I think I am ready to tackle someone new... (maybe not literally)... but, I'm still gonna weed out the guys that are making me feel like I'm doing something I don't really want to do. Just because that's what THEY need. I think I've done that enough already.

Now for something REALLY different! So, without having any criteria... or a plan... just going to mess around trying some different things. Found an over 50 group called "stitch". People get together in groups for activities and meet people face to face that way. Not just romantic things, but friends too. I'm debating joining; everything close to me is in NoVa. And I definitely don't do things in that locale anymore and definitely not alone, especially at night. All very conscious choices, based on my wretched night vision for driving back home. I might be able to come up with creative workarounds. Or I just might find actual local groups to go "play" with - based on certain activities. The biggest, oldest ham radio club is around the corner from where we used to live over the mountain. Once I get my antenna up (I got licensed when we lived at the beach)... I'm going to need help, and those guys/gals are close enough to me to do so. New connections.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on April 13, 2019, 12:49:04 PM
OK..... I'm glad you're instincts are working, you're listening to them, and validating them through others. 

And... I didn't know you needed to be licensed to operate a Ham Radio.  You just get in there, and mix things up, Amber.  See what shakes out.


Glad to read a positive update for Ronnie.  Thanks for that.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on April 24, 2019, 08:50:05 AM
Well, Ronnie's asked me to dinner some weekend. The next couple aren't going to pan out - expecting company (I still need to post a blessed schedule of reservations around this place! So much for solitude... LOL.) I think he's bored and a little lonely in his new life and just needs a friend. He came out again yesterday with his mom & stepdad to get out in the woods again... and Ricky was here, working on widening and improving the road to the future Holly Hut.

Former house guest came out to hang out and spend an overnight; he's still in search of a job but working at it. His tiny apartment is working out pretty well for him so far.

Pollen's at it's prime right now; the redbuds are gorgeous this year and even the oaks are budding out "right on schedule". Yesterday was a tad hot for me, but we're getting weeks of actual "spring" this year... and I'm pacing myself on the outside work. I do have to clean house though, because of company... and it's driving me a bit bonkers trying to do both. Hol is helping of course - but she's often not here, going between Steve's place, the city over the mtn, and taking care of getting herself permanently a resident here.

She's got work in B'more this weekend and hoping to wind up the process of clearing her stuff out of Matt's house. I'm taking a breather from planning any more projects at the moment... I just have to get the other little things done FIRST so I don't feel like I'm piling it all on myself. Hol is planning a moon garden, and she potted up half a dozen peonies to eventually transplant at the "hut". LOL... cart before horse a little bit... she needs to get her floor plans to contractor, and talk about off-grid system vs running power. And she definitely has "neighbors"; Steve saw a young bear the last time they walked the back 40. The old folks with Ronnie, are always armed when they traipse around down there.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on April 24, 2019, 01:17:12 PM
You're always planning and making busy, Amber.  Hows the outdoor kitchen plan coming?  It's nice Ronnie has your friendship.  I wonder if he'd enjoy giving opinions on some of your projects... as they evolve?

Tweaking the right amount of socializing, and solitude will take a while, but sounds like you'[re on it to me. 

I'm glad H has this weekend job, and new love interest while she's finishing up loose ends at ex's.  Hopefully she'll sail through. Hopefully there's closure, and peace around it.

Glad the visitor continues to do well.  That's a good story, Amber/

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on April 25, 2019, 08:52:28 AM
Ronnie freely suggests ideas and hands out advice. LOL. It's good to have a second opinion.

House guest is doing well. His first visit, he was totally broken. There is no doubt that his ex is a malicious, vindictive N, definitely sociopathic tendencies. He let himself believe he could "fix it" by reasoning with her, saying just the right combination of words and sincerely believing them. And when it became too much - or too crazymaking - for him to fix. Then, he couldn't stop thinking suicide was the only out of the emotions he was feeling. We know how miserable those can be. That was just more than I could be around and I sure couldn't get through his obsession either.

After 6 weeks or so, almost 2 months of active treatment in the hospital, his second visit was a second chance for us to try to explain that he wasn't alone in being treated that way; he wasn't just spectacularly "lucky" to have experienced such things. He could actually relate to both Hol's and my experiences - including the ongoing Amy saga - and start to see that there are plenty of people in the world "like that". We could explain, that sometimes people who've been through that trauma develop almost the same personality characteristics (as camo/survival for existing around N). We could share the things we CHOSE to pull ourselves out of it; to "see it coming" better in the future; and to know how to listen to our own inner voice/emotions when something "felt wrong".

So that was a good transition time from intensive treatment, and for us - an ability to observe if he would stay on his welbutrin Rx and involve himself in self-care. So it was a shorter time he was with us. I knew he needed to - wanted to - get back on his feet and independent again. And we were able to help him do that; put him in touch with other artists in the community; help him with finding his way around and making work contacts.

He's been on his own for a month. So when Hol spontaneously decided it was time to get him back here for a hangout, laughs, and an update that's what happened. It's a little reinforcement for him, too. His "support network" - which did not exist for him prior to the first visit - is still here.

Sigh. Perhaps if I'd known (or Hol had known) more of the background, we would've been better prepared for the first visit. But I'm not kicking myself; I hit my limit and seriously needed some peace & quiet again. And the hospital did a stellar job; he's still praising the nurses he encountered and his doctor. He's back in touch with siblings, too. His brother brought him a bike, so he's more mobile now.
He is really committed to putting a life back together after his "nightmare" phase. He's pursuing it with due diligence.

So, alls well that ends well. And he's adopting my "living well is the best revenge" policy - LOL. With proper boundaries, an understanding of the "bait & switch" game N's love, and putting taking care of himself at the top of the list... he's saving himself. We just helped him get to where he COULD.

Outdoor kitchen is on hold for the time being Lighter. It will start to happen about the time I do something about the decks out back. And I've started to lose shingles... so the roof retrofit (w/more insulation hopefully) moves up the list.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on April 25, 2019, 10:06:36 PM
The visitor's story restores my belief in humanity, Amber.  That friend is lucky to have your support, wisdom, empathy, and ear.  I'm sorry you didn't understand how to help him sooner, but who would have?  These things unfold, IME.   

Well done.  Amazing job.  You and Hol did an amazing job.  I see good things for the visitor, bc of your care: )

And.... of course Ronnie's giving advice, and enjoying fellowship. 

That was a great update post, Amber. 


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Twoapenny on April 29, 2019, 01:57:13 AM
The 'Living well is the best revenge' policy has been a life saver for me.  What I do find difficult is finding that balance between needing/wanting to sift through the past, feel it, examine it, deal with it, and needing/wanting to move on, do new things, find your new path.  What I've also found very difficult is that our Western society leans towards evidence of 'living well' as gaining financial and material wealth, or positions of power.  I've found it more difficult to focus on things that aren't obvious - feeling happier, dealing with problems in a healthier way, setting boundaries and so on - and using that as a barometer of living well.  It's just the way we shift through life, isn't it?

Lighter's right, he's very lucky to have you around for him and it's great that you've got Ronnie about for ideas and feedback as well.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on April 29, 2019, 09:49:43 AM
Tupp, I don't care a whit for how other people gauge "living well" - I have my own definition. Not saying there's a thing wrong with their yardstick, as long as they don't judge mine. LOL. Different things matter to me, on my yardstick.

Question about your comment on a switch flipping, Tupp:

I wonder if you're forcing yourself to "suffer" or pay the price to something/someone ahead of "just doing"? As if you KNOW, you're going to pay for it anyway, one way or another? Based on past experience? I certainly felt that, at different times in my life. Like my wish to have things done, didn't matter as much, as all the plethora of things - big and little - that I could be doing instead (that someone ELSE thought was important).

As far as diving back into the past goes, I've pretty much stopped doing that. For me, I have already delved it; gained some "treasure" - enough to be able to free my mind from obsessively seeking "uncontrovertable evidence"; I've already gotten the insight/evidence that was there - and while the old habit lingers on, I spend less time "looking back" now and more time choosing (actively) in the present and planning for the future. I do still do it; and sometimes Hol will point out that I'm still trying to justify present choice/action on past experience - which is a self-limitation.

I can't tell you how valuable it is, to have someone who's done this kind of work around to get feedback from. Like this board. It's too easy to get lost in our own labyrinths of thought-ruts... where we simply relive the same old neural paths over & over. An outside opinion - even if it's wrong - can help SOOOO much in changing those thought-ruts to a smooth road that actually goes somewhere.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on May 11, 2019, 09:26:09 AM
Been "making hay while the sun shines" around here, and this weekend the weather is cool & wet. Have a flock of plants lined up to go in soon. Kitchen beds are done except for stabilizing the taller stacks of blocks - and I planted two kinds of garlic and one of onions.

BIG milestone, since that project got delayed a year and I was a bit tentative about dealing with the bobcat to move topsoil up that hill. Most of the grass has been mowed at least once, so far. The big garden field needs mowed again - and then I'll be dragging the disc through areas for beds (for next year).

Holly's got 6 big pots with peonies coming up; I've got an old-fashioned lilac, echinecea, and a replacement oregano for one that didn't make it through last year's monsoon and the winter. Hol has started splitting wood, from the big pile of trees we cut last year.

I found a place over the mountain that recycles electronics. I can FINALLY purge that pile of gizmos and gadgets that Mike couldn't let go of, and that I kept thinking they might be useful ("someday"). Right now - I just don't want it all.

House guest helped me get some new shelves up and in place in the garage under the studio. I can finally finish the purge out there, too... and it appears I'm going to have the floor space to do the kinds of building/woodworking I want. Bought some new sewing tools; my favorite pair of shorts for the max of summer, are apparently no longer made. So, I'm disassembling them to make a pattern and make my own. Hol made 3 prairie sun bonnets in an afternoon for friends, who saw the one she'd made for herself and wanted one.

Knuckles is home with me so much, he's starting to be more my dog than hers. LOL. He is listening way better than he was as a result. Now I need to teach him how to behave when we're working with equipment or driving around. He can go with her to Steve's once they get a fence up; too close to the road for comfort with the dogs, even though Beebs is already smart enough not to get out on the road and doesn't chase cars. When he's working, I have both dogs to feed, potty and keep busy. Beebs is a lot more low-energy than Knuckles, and he puts the pup in his place enough that he just rolls his eyes at me to save him from hyper-dog. LOL.

Hol is definitely slacking on getting her stuff clear of Matt's house (one more load) and staying on top of the house situation. But, he's not making it easy either. She is trying to teach herself the "standards" for designing a floor plan and got stuck on stairways. I explained that her sketch would be clear enough to the guys that if for instance, the stairs were too short for the rise... they'd let her know and solve the visual problem - which is keeping the stairs off an exterior wall but not interrupting the open floor plan, upstairs.

I'll ask her to let me look at it this evening. I'll bet she could a downstairs closet or shelves under the steps... and that would support the steps. My steps are all open to the catwalk and two bedrooms, and while she likes that airyness... her brain isn't seeing support in her floorplan, yet.

Ricky's been working on widening and smoothing the road to the Hut location; adding very needed drainage. In the process, he's moved or unearthed some very interesting large rocks that I might ask him to relocate for me, before he's all done. The bobcat won't be able to lift 'em. They're THAT big.

It's been a lovely long spring here. We're still wearing sweaters some days and are able to do the hard work without breaking a sweat. Compost bins are about ready to go up too. Then it's on to building a big woodshed; Steve's offered to help with that but Hol said my job is to decide on the location, design, get the materials here... and guess who is still dithering about that? LOL.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Twoapenny on May 11, 2019, 10:47:50 AM
Wow, Skep, you never stop!  So much going on and it all sounds so good and constructive.  Great that you've found a way to recycle those gadgets - I hate to throw stuff like that in the bin but sometimes it's hard to find somewhere else to put it.

I missed your question in the post before; I do think there's an element of me working through the 'bad' situation in case it happens.  I notice it a lot whenever anything comes up from the local authority - any kind of problem and my brain starts working through different scenarios before I've even finished reading it.  I do feel like I need to be on the defensive around people, in general.  Some of it is childhood stuff - whatever I did or said was criticised in some way.  I went down the perfectionist route, sister went down the 'I don't give a crap' route and makes no effort at anything.  So it's partly that, partly wanting to fit in, I think, and then because of all the child protection stuff there's constant efforts in my brain to defend myself and son from unwanted attention or questions.  But I'm working on it!  Lol xx
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on May 17, 2019, 08:52:07 AM
Yesterday was not such a good day. I felt fuzzy-headed, probably for multiple reasons - one being an inconsolable dog who started waking me at 2 am. Some kind of skin irritation and he'd been in the cat box again.

So, knowing I needed to venture out to the grocery... hopped in the car with no other agenda except making up the day as I went along. Just as I'm getting to the highway & mailbox, I notice a truck trying to pull in. Good neighbor that I am, I started backing up - uphill, around the curve to the wide spot at Gladys' drive. It's hard to see out of the Cherokee's back window; they aren't low enough so I was halfway turned around in the seat.

When I saw a UPS truck (wrong time of day for them; I look for them on the road) coming down hill. I went to slam on the brakes and got the gas instead. Could've been the angle I was turned, or that with this new obstacle - my brain momentarily shorted out. So I slammed the back end into the front end of the UPS truck. Everyone's fine - my ego is wounded; this crap doesn't happen to me normally. UPS driver is worried for his job; they are that strict about accidents - despite the challenges that section of my road poses.

The whole window shattered and of course the hatch and bumper are smashed, but I could drive it home to call the towing company to take it over the mountain to the dealer. Talked to a sweet lady in my local insurance office while we waited around. Got home, called the dealer to let them know the jeep is coming and I wanted an estimate to fix it. I saved dealing with the insurance company until this morning because I didn't think I was ready to jump into the red tape game. As fuzzy as I was when I left... it was worse after.

Holly got the Rubicon running and brought it down from the barn - so I have something to drive. And it needs driven. My poor baby has been relegated to a museum piece practically. So he needs cleaned up and gone over mechanically too; a tune up. While the dealer gives me the news on the Cherokee.

I've been bouncing between feeling like I have no business even thinking I can manage on my own in a place like this - and letting the Viking out to play. Mad at myself, because how many times have I been incredulous that anyone could mistake the gas & brake. I'm pretty sure being halfway out of my seat, turned around to back up had a lot to do with it. As for how fast the UPS truck was going - it wouldn't matter on that curve. So, flustered me did exactly the wrong thing. It happens.

The Rubicon is an old friend of my inner Viking. He has style, substance and attitude. I can use a lot more of that in my days now, than worrying over whether I'm becoming a helpless old woman. Besides - the silly ostentatious Cherokee was the very first automatic transmission I ever owned. I'm WAY more comfortable (and happy) in a stick-shift. After 6 years, I still find myself trying to shift the Cherokee some days. If the estimate is high, I'll still get it fixed, regardless of what insurance will cover. And I'll call the generator guy who said twice, and gave me his number, he wants to buy it.

I've been talking about trading it in for a couple years now. It just didn't seem that urgent with everything else I'm doing, building, planting, and working on.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on May 17, 2019, 12:42:53 PM
So sorry about the accident, Amber.  The knock to your inner confidence is hard, I know.  Just keep piecing together what you'll handle yourself, and what you need help with on the farm.  Asking for help isn't a bad thing. It's a necessary thing, and sometimes, for some of us, it's the hardest thing to do, IME.

OK..... thank goodness no one was hurt.  Every time I get stuck in traffic, I go back to....
"I hope no one's hurt up ahead."  That's what's really important in all the slow down, and waiting, and fear of an accident.  Things happen all the time, and this time it was your turn.  You're human.... have compassion for your kind, good, competent self, forgive this bobble, and keep moving.  So much to do.  So much to discover.  So many projects, and you need your whole brain.  Getting bogged down in self doubt, and judgement.... not so helpful, IME.

Breath, and rest up. 

Your inner Viking will recover soon enough.  This is a bobble.


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on May 17, 2019, 02:43:53 PM
What Lighter said. Mega dittos.

And you are far from "helpless", Amber hon.

I think what you face, as an amazingly competent woman facing the natural changes of aging, is befriending it. Or if not making friends with the modifications you are rational enough to make...at least making peace.

You can do this too. It comes to all of us. Denial doesn't help but the gradual compromises we ALL (no matter how Viking) need to make are not the same as capitulation to uselessness and helplessness just because we can't do everything EXACTLY the way we used to.

We are different. And that is okay. There's peace and beauty available about all this. You can find it.

It ain't over. You had a little accident. Forgive yourself. Consider mental space for those projects and plans that aren't herculean, from which just as much satisfaction can be gleaned.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on May 18, 2019, 09:25:57 AM
Thanks, ladies. I'm fine. The thoughts have been getting some analysis though.

Yes, I know - they're JUST a thought and as long as I don't bind myself to it - they're gone as fast as they occur to me. It's one of the real treasures in Buddhist philosophy. Whatever in our minds is ego, likes to think that every thought it can concoct is THE most true, important, and instinctive one EVER. I find the opposite is way more true, in actual practice.

I no longer care to know exactly where or how a particular thought-judgement about myself got bound to me. I scrutinize it on objective merits with actual examples from experience. With SO much noise in the world these days, I've got a lot of practice deciding if something is "important" to me or not; or if it's interesting, draws me, or is just something curious. So when the subject is my own thought - especially when it's colored in emotional judgement - I've been applying the same skills to it.

It was purely an accident. My last fender-bender was over 40 years ago; inattention due to a display of antique furniture along the roadway. LOL. This time, my position in the seat - due to the physical attributes of the vehicle and the maneuver - made it almost impossible for me to reach that pedal without at least a few more seconds to move. My path was clear until it wasn't; and there wasn't enough time for brain-body to manage all the info needed at the same time. Unique circumstances; my turn. My mistake about not getting the brake; but I can also see how superhuman-fast I'd have to move to do so. I was already not having such a "with it" day, too. Didn't WANT to go shopping, just decided to get it over with.

Usually, there's not a soul on our road too. So I wasn't expecting grand central station that morning.

As for getting old - I am dealing with that a LOT these days. Not so much physically. I've just never given much thought to BEING old(er). So, I've gotten the angst about mortality pretty much dealt with. It's the space between now and then, I'm concerned with.

So, the choice of the farm - turning this chunk of the Mother into a nurturing, peaceful, self-sustaining bit of dirt - was perfect for me. There is ALWAYS something to do or that needs doing. Chores repeat themselves; new ideas generate new projects; each sub-circle-system has requirements... which as I build them, I'm doing so with the idea that my physical abilities are just fine right now... but aren't always going to be. On the other hand - I am purposely making sure I don't make it so easy around here, that it contributes to physical decline.

But my over-active imagination - my blessing & curse - can't just always work until I die. NEW thought occurred to me, that I'm looking at this the wrong way. (Again! LOL) Why can't I just design that TIME between now and then, the way I want it? Or try to, anyway. I know better than to attempt to bend life to my ideas about it. But perhaps a truce of sorts can be negotiated. Work out a decent compromise... so life can continue on it's trajectory, while I "make pretties" along the way. Have adventures. That kind of thing.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: lighter on May 18, 2019, 01:05:16 PM
Such a good thought, Amber.

Designing your time, the way you want it.

Again, it's about choices, and not taking what comes to us.  You can change course, add to the plan, or subtract. 

Does it sometimes feel like things are cemented in place?  Just FEEL that way?  Any part of it? 

Good to remind yourself nothing is forever, and you serve yourself.   

Just because you're doing things a certain way now,  or planning to do things a certain way,  doesn't mean you can't pivot.

You can, and it doesn't have to mean anything at all. 

Viking sKeP begins wielding power, sans judgement.

"Power resides where men believe it resides." 
Varys GOT

Rhetorical question here...

DO you feel empowered, fully, and without reservation or doubt, or the hitching of breath, or holding of it.... emotionally?  Physically?

You're right... you can write these next chapters for yourself.

Is there something there, you're not aware of maybe, that keeps you from feeling you're in control?

Glad you're feeling better, Amber.


Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on May 18, 2019, 05:40:01 PM
I really like that idea too! Designing your time rather than endless projects.
Should help you prioritize.

You just seem so buried in construction, mega projects, etc., that at times I wonder if you'll miss a dimension. But that's me, socially dependent, and not physically strong, and just in a different place.

That said, I wonder if designing your time will include time for:
FARM Mega projects
FARM Minor projects
SOLO SELF Relationships tending or seeking
FAMILY SELF Hol et. al
COMMUNITY SELF Volunteering/3-D community activity

Hops who is talking to herself, actually
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on May 19, 2019, 12:18:26 PM
Yeah, no Hops. For one thing, I absolutely don't have the craving, desire, need to make images (art) anymore. It may/may not return. My creativity is going into the farm, planting, etc. And that's actually my kind of FUN. Right now, the clematis and rhododenrens are starting to fade from the height of their glory but they were absolutely gorgeous this year; roses are coming on and it'll soon be time for mountain laurel too. I have a lilac and really nice red raspberry to plant. A couple plum tomatoes; all the garlic & onions I planted are up... and I'm really glad I finished the kitchen beds, with Holly's help.

I have pre-paid my volunteering debt many years ago. I'm feeling more needy these days than generous; but that's transient. Tomorrow I could see someone that I could totally help and drop everything to do so. It's either directly person to person for me, or totally anonymous. There is nothing, no reason, for me to bother with anything in between. That just feeds ego.

There might be a few adventures left in me - but I don't know what they are yet. Investigating that. And my idea of "community" is much different than "normal". It's more like Vonnegut's korass. So that, I may not interact with someone for 20 years - and then when I do, we just take off from where we left off. It crosses time and space.

And I have one basic emotional need at the moment - fill that hole available for a guy who can assure me he's there for me... but doesn't suffocate me, that will let me do the same for him too. When I "crash & burn" emotionally, it's because even the strongest people crave someone to turn to, that they can lean on - emotionally, intellectually, mechanically - whatever.

Fortunately, that need isn't a constant; it's just a periodic thing. Like maybe every 6 months to annually; LOL. My pack of big brothers all look out for me and even try to stand-in for that need when it comes up, too. Ya can't beat that! No socks to wash. I get the most fabulous compliments from the married guys, actually. Guys my age or older; and the younger guys - Hol's age. They are super-sweet to me and very helpful. And it's like grandchildren - I can send them home again. LOL.

Some of them aren't the epitome of "tall, dark & handsome" or even that strong anymore - but if I call or say please help... they're right there. Even Ronnie. Maybe it's coz I don't ask - don't have to ask - that often. Got another guy, that we've been talking for years about a trade. He's making me something I've wanted for the long time, himself. I'm trading him something he's wanted for a long time. AND he's going to give my Rubicon a thorough going over. After he drives here from south of where I lived on the beach. We both know he's terminal due to some blatant medical malpractice; but he was the one person I could call at 3 am, 3 sheets to the wind and bawling my eyes out about Mike or madder than hell and he just let me vent, calmed me down, and helped me stop beating myself up over not being a trauma nurse or endowed with the power of life and death.

I don't know if I'm going to be able to stop hugging him when he gets here. LOL.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on May 19, 2019, 09:51:30 PM
You really do make deep connections with men, Amber.
And it's beautiful to hear about.

I hope the fella you described arrives soon and that connection gives comfort to you both.

I am finding myself stunned by connection with sweet M, who has been the most unexpectedly right arrival in my life, at 69... I am anchored for the first time in so very very long (maybe ever) in belonging, safety and trust. It is amazing. And he is reciprocating so overwhelmingly that I know it's real for us both.

Who'd a thunk it.

I am mentally sending you his cowboy twin.

Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Twoapenny on May 20, 2019, 12:35:03 AM
Skep, I'm sorry about your accident and glad there's no major damage, human or otherwise.  I think it's very easy to be off balance when you're facing the wrong way and going backwards instead of forwards!  You're body's doing everything in reverse so easy to see why your foot went to the accelerator rather than the brake.  It does shake you up, and sorting out repairs can be such a faff.  I hope you're okay and that everything gets sorted out fairly smoothly now xx
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: sKePTiKal on May 20, 2019, 01:26:54 PM
Thanks Tupp. The insurance red tape has been remarkably easy. Never expected that; I was dreading it. But that went a long way toward me not getting stuck in blaming myself. Looks like it's going to get fixed; and when I have an ETA on that, I'll see if the guy who really wants to buy it is still interested - with full disclosure. It drives just fine. Just needs some pretty serious body work.

So, I need to spend time car shopping. I do NOT want another new, complicated car with all the electronic bells and whistles.

Hops, yes - when I find certain types of guys I tend to bind to them tighter than a tick. LOL. Even if they're not "mine" in that kind of relationship. And I am talking to a "cowboy" from one of the dating sites actually. 68 and training to race motocross in his age class. It's all very casual, easy and two people just talking with each other.

He seemed to take my ideas about having some major space & freedom within a relationship in stride. And the distance doesn't seem to bother him (he's in Texas). We'll see if we graduate to email.
Title: Re: 2019 Farm Life
Post by: Hopalong on May 21, 2019, 12:52:01 PM
He sounds interesting, Amber!
Will enjoy hearing how/if it grows.

My 17 y/o Honda CRV is an amazing car.
My favorite ever. Love driving it, being a bit
above the road so visibility is great, comfortable
off road, etc. Highly recommend 'em. And with the
delightful exception of the brake handle (see it, you'll
get it) all the controls are reality based (not designed
by somebody thrilled with layers of menus, etc.)

Good luck on the car choosing! I got this one used
(had been a soccer mom car) and it's kept on chugging.
No problems at all, just routine maintenance.