Monday, April 26, 2010

This week, I was going to do a series on Peak Oil and the socioeconomic impacts of the coming oil shortages.

I'm still going to do that, but instead I wanted to turn to a really important issue: why goats should not be allowed to climb on the roof of my car, or, how unsuited to farm life I am. Dammit.

See, this weekend we went to visit my sister, the amazing author, sustainable living blogger and farmer, Sharon. I adore my sister, brother in law, and nephews. We had a great time, and came home with 4 dozen eggs, a bunch of seedlings and some goats milk.

Which I still haven't drunk yet. Yeah, I know where milk comes from, mostly cows, lactating cows. We go through a lot in my house. It's good. And I've lactated myself, so I have no illusions about this stuff. But then there's the whole 'watch a goat be milked and think about drinking it' thing. Weirdly, I don't have the same issue with the eggs, and I do feel like I'm going to get over the goat's milk thing. I think.

And then a goat climbed on the hood of my car and scratched the heck out of it. I really love my car. I'm grumpy about that - not at my sister, of course, but really grumpy at the goat. We're going to try to buff out the scratches, but I'm just generally pissy about the whole thing.

I'm settled at the idea that I am tolerant of poultry but not other farm mammals (at least in their proximity to my car). I might even be tolerant of cows, except for all the manure. At least I think I might be. I know I'm not tolerant of pigs, they really do smell, even those that are raised organically and sustainably. Trust me, I've been near enough pig pens.

It's worrisome to me that I might be too squeamish about these things. Because I really believe in them - sustainable agriculture, being more self-sufficient, that sort of thing. But I really don't like goats on my car, watching them being milked, or anything like that. I get that I'm selectively squeamish, seeing as I'll drink the milk out of a jug, and I'm not contemplating vegetarianism.

Maybe when peak oil hits I can trade some of my cute shoes for farm meat or something.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lessons From A Death

Early this morning, my sister's father-in-law passed away after a long battle with rectal cancer. While this for many may be an extended family they barely know, the closeness of my siblings and I and the integration of both sides of the family at parties and gatherings meant that Big Bill, as he was known, is someone we're all grieving for.

Big Bill worked hard all his life, scrimping and saving for retirement and to provide for his wife and 4 kids. The day after his early retirement, he had a colonoscopy. The following week he was diagnosed.

No one expected him to live as long as he did. Rectal cancer is nasty, and typically the prognosis isn't a good one. But live he did, fighting recurrance after recurrance of the cancer for almost 6 years. In that time he saw an additional 6 grandchildren born to his 4 living grandchildren (one of his grandchildren died of cancer before he turned two, to the family's lasting grief).

Big Bill was one of the kindest, gentlest souls I've ever had the gift of meeting. And he was a fighter, someone whose will to live outlasted every doctor's expectation. I'm going to miss him terribly.

His death is the first of the generation above mine to have hit home, and that too causes me grief. I am not prepared to lose my parent's generation. Not even a little.

Big Bill's diagnosis and years of fighting have taught me something - while saving for the future is important, so is making sure you live now, enjoy now. None of us know when our time will be up, only that someday, at some point, that we'll end up somewhere other than here. And that we'll leave behind people we love deeply.

I hope when it's my time I can go towards my death with as much grace as Big Bill. And I hope I can enjoy my life as he did too.

Here's to you, Bill. We miss you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy or Something Like It

This past weekend, my husband and I were away. Just the two of us, for the first time since the adorable one was born. It was really nice. We'd booked and paid before the layoff, so it seemed like the best course for both our well-being and our wallet was to enjoy what we paid for.
And we did. I shall not bore you with details of sleeping in, sharing many glasses of wine and champagne (the latter being complimentary at our B&B) the jacuzzi, or the conversation. Let's just say we enjoyed it and leave it at that.

On Saturday, we were driving around, and went to Jackson, NH. And we looked at each other and had the same thought "We could live here".

See, we know that ultimately some things about our lives are going to need to change, be that next week or in 10 years or more. I like my work, but I don't want to do it forever. I work a lot (to give you an idea, in 8 months I logged almost 270 overtime hours). So we've talked about downshifting at some point. The thing is, we have absolutely no clue what that means. Really.

Okay, I know some things. More time for garden, chickens, relaxing. Perhaps living on less, maybe even a lot less. Maybe a book or two. But in terms of how we'll do it and idea. Only that someday we're going to not only want to, but need to. But how we'll pay the bills, where we might live, what we might do...nada.
Right now, we're tied to our house, jobs, family around here. That's okay, it's even good. We are profoundly blessed in having such a good life. But we're slowly feeling our way towards some life changes. My guess is that they are probably a good long ways away. But we're reaching for them all the same.
Still, "We could live here" was a profound moment for us - the first time we've looked at a place together that isn't where we are now and thought that. There's no telling where the next few years will take us, but it just might inching us closer to living over a covered bridge somewhere.

So I've Decided

That my blog is boring.
Super, stupendously boring. Really.

I'm not saying it sucks. But it needs some things. Pictures, comments, readers - you know, the sorts of things that make blogs...bloggy.

I've hid beneath the fact that I am literally, truly, html illiterate for a long, long, long time. And I am, absolutely. I look at html and I see gibberish of the sort I remember from high school calculus class. But something needs to be done, so apparently I need to learn. Hrumph.

I hate learning things I don't understand and have no aptitude for. It makes me feel kinda dumb. But apparently I need to suck it up.

In the meantime, here's a picture of my adorable daughter eating pickles. Which she loves, and steals off other's plates given the opportunity. As a fellow lover of pickles, I support this. A good pickle should never be wasted.