Friday, June 25, 2010

Strawberries, We Be Jammin' and Motivation

I'm taking a break to sit down and reconnect to myself for a moment while Music Man has the cherubs off to the library to get into their summer reading.  It's been a very busy month for me thus far, and it doesn't really look like it's gonna slow up at all until fall...and of course, then it's school and all it encompasses.

Last weekend Music Man and the boys went on a camping adventure with the scout den.  They had a great time, came home very tired and battle scarred (Maestro's legs looked like he had chicken pox scars all over them from playing in the woods with the other little leprechauns).  A nice way to start the summer and they had a lovely time at Old Orchard Beach.  Music Man's most favorite part of the weekend may have been getting pier fries (which are no longer located on the pier) at Ken's.  When he was a boy he used to go with his grandparents to Pine Point every summer when they rented a house there, so he was anxious to check it out and see if the pier fries were as good as he remembered them.  They were, no doubts.

While they were away, I stayed home and had a very well deserved rest and weekend with the house all to myself for the first time in almost 8 years.  I kept quite busy the entire time, and it was a very nice break from the constant noise and mayhem that is 2 young boys and a chatty husband.  Love them all dearly, missed them, but really appreciated every moment to myself, too. Saturday morning the power went out here (it seems to do this quite frequently in our little town) and woke me up at 7:00 when the fan I use for white noise went quiet.  As most of you know, 7:00am is sleeping in for me, so I decided to get up and go strawberry picking before the heat of the day set in.  Had 4 quarts picked by 8:30am and came home to make jam.  I decided to make freezer jam this time around as the stove I have now doesn't get hot enough to can.  A very gentle rolling boil is all I can manage to get out of it.  The jam is pretty yummy, if I do say so myself.  The boys will love it on P B & J's in January, it's always such a great burst of summer to taste the real deal picked by my own hands in the dead of winter.  I'm looking forward to blueberry picking again.  A new friend tipped me onto some organic ones a few towns away, so I'm going to try them this year. 

This week, I had a disturbing visit to my new doctor.  I've had blood pressure issues in my past, which I was able to eliminate by losing 35 pounds...which have since found me now that I'm sitting on my bum 8 hours a day most days. Not having even stairs in our current house, my exercise level has greatly diminished.  I used to climb the stairs no joke of a lie at least 30 times a day chasing after boys and doing laundry and using their playroom, which was in the basement. Lots of exercise built into life that I don't have here.  I was upset to learn that my blood pressure was in the "dangerously high" range again.  I suspected as much since I've not been feeling my perky self lately.  So, back on medication I went.  Ugh...I sincerely HATE being on any kind of medication.  So, yesterday, I dove back into the South Beach plan and on day two of that, I've already eaten more vegetables then I have in the last 2 weeks.  I also walked/ran on the treadmill this morning, which I will continue with until I get myself back off this medication.  I am physically able to do the exercise and it will be done.  I understand deeply that the older I get the harder all of this is becoming, but with weight and health issues in my heredity, I feel this is the time to make it happen.  It's gotta be now.

So, all that being said, I've gotta add the preoccupation with changing my lifestyle to my already way too busy lifestyle and fit in exercise.  I'm pretty good at taking care of everyone around me, but not so good at taking care of my own needs.  I figure before I have a stroke or heart attack, it might be a good time to start doing that a little more often.  So, I will learn to better balance that with all else because it's necessary for me right now. 

A little nudge in the right direction for me, ~Peacemom

Monday, June 14, 2010

Deeply Saddened

Today has been a really tough day for me. I found out this morning that a person dear to my heart has cancer. About a month or so ago he had a tumor removed from his heart the size of a baseball. At the time, the doctors told him it would not be cancerous, they never are they said, but then last week he got the news that it was indeed malignant. Only in 1%-2% of the cases is it cancerous. And he gets to be the lucky 2%.

My heart is very heavy today. We don't know to what extent the cancer has grown, or if it's spread or if by some miracle they got all the cancer with the operation to remove the tumor. He's got an MRI coming up to help with that information.

I don't know why this has happened to him. It's not for me to know or understand, I think. But I am so saddened that this wonderful person, who is the father of my niece whom I adore, has had this come into his life. Why him? He's a warm hearted, caring, giving person and I don't want to think of him not here. Of course, like I said, it's not for me to know or understand. But it's hard not to be angry or upset. I think acceptance of this one is going to take me a very long time. My prayers are shooting for full recovery on this one, won't you join me?

You're in my prayers, dear one. ~Peacemom

Friday, June 11, 2010

Holy KALE, Bat Man!

First pick up at the CSA provided me with kale...3 types of kale! And swiss chard. So, it's a greens week for sure.

I'm gonna make kale chips to go with my chicken this evening, anyone have any different suggestions for all this kale? Please leave me an idea or recipe, it will be much appreciated.

Happily swimming in the greens, ~Peacemom

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sugar Snap Daddy's!

Hey, look at these! You go boys! If you look back about 5 or so entries, you will see where these were just a few short weeks ago. And I've got 4 blossoms also! Looking forward to some fresh, organic, grown with my own paws, sunwarm sugar snaps. I've got a stirfry in mind all ready for them, if I can only keep everyone from eating them before I get them in the pan. Music Man and Maestro eat them like candy.

Cool, homegrown veggies, I'm all over that! ~Peacemom

Sunday, June 6, 2010


There have been a growing number of days, since moving to this rental home last July, that I'm feeling a big lack of purpose. When we own a home, we always have this project or that project to tackle, or this needing fixing or that. Here, we pay the rent, and there is no motivation to fix up anything as it's not ours. We know it's not ours and are not willing to put any money into making it better because our landlord will not do this for his own house. Things need fixing here, don't get me wrong. When we see something we'd like to improve, like all the planting beds around the house needing new timbers, or the bushes in the front bed that are 3/4 dead and need to be replaced, or the 1950's linoleum in the kitchen that looks dirty no matter how much you scrub it, or just making the second bathroom a size so that it could be used as a second bathroom instead of a closet with a toilet in it, or making the basement waterproof....oh, the list goes on and on. But, it's not ours, and our money is sparse for our own lives and so spending it to fix up a home that's not ours is not financially prudent.

The lack of purpose is many fold. I deeply miss my garden, which gave me a little glimpse into the homesteader I wish I could be. I miss planting, weeding, dirty fingernails and the cracks in my skin that I could never quite get clean no matter how much I scrubbed...soil. I miss soil. I tried with my pots, and they are coming along nicely, but they really need no care beyond watering from time to time. It's tough for me to feel a sense of nurturing when I'm not squatting between rows, picking this weed out or watching bees go about their work to pollinate the flowers and herbs and veggies alike. The sense of purpose that goes along with gardening can't be replaced by pots. Not for me. I know it works for some folks, but for me, I crave the full garden monty. I need to use a hoe in my garden, I need sweat equity in the veggies, I need to stand tall in a bed of taller trellises and feel my true place. I did not know this was not optional for me until I rented a home again.

So, apparently, I am not a person of non action. I've had almost a whole year of not progressing in a bunch of areas of my life, and it's time to change that for me. I've got to get back to purpose, and feeling as if I've accomplished something beyond keeping the house semi-clean and feeding everyone every day. I'm beginning to lose part of me that I cling to with iron fists. The person who has become a doer, not an observer. I'm not a good observer when it comes to certain areas of my life, I never have been. I see a problem, and I want to face it head on. I do not have a mentality of waiting or watching, in fact it's terribly hard for me to do sometimes. I said to a dear friend of mine recently with her problems, the only way out is through. That's been my philosophy for the better part of my adult life. Having had some earth shattering things happen to/for/against me in my adulthood, if there's one thing I've learned it's that avoiding a problem meerly makes it larger then life. So, this problem of lack of purpose and its driving need to be noticed is causing some changes. Though I did not arrive at these changes on my own, my entire family has recognized and agreed it's time (well, at least Music Man and I, the kids are luckily at the age where they don't really care either way).

We will be moving again on August 1. Readers of this blog know that we spent almost 3 solid months with our basement under water this spring. Yes, it was a very unusually wet spring, but our hunch is that this is not the first go around for this problem in this house. It caused mold problems that forced our children on allergy medications, aggravation and loss of property ( Music Man's for the most part since that was his domain). All of this coupled with the fact that we get no meeting of the minds with our landlord about how this will go forward, is leading to this big change. He wants us to commit to another year here by signing another lease, we won't do it because none of us wants to have to deal with another spring like the last one, and he won't allow us to go month to month in case we need to move. So, we're done here.

Our friends that own the CSA where we get our milk, eggs, chicken and pork purchased a foreclosed house this past spring. They bought it for her parents, who are not yet ready to retire here for a couple of years. So, we are going to rent it from them for a very reasonable price at least the next two years. Since we think the world of these folks, and we think they're kinda fond of us as well, it should work out great. This house needs us, it's been vacant for about a year and has some problems. But, they renovated the main floor wonderfully and are working on issues with the basement. The outside is 2 acres of overgrown everything. Grass, landscaping, field, you name it, it needs loving. I am able to have as large of a garden there as I would like (can you hear my happy heart singing all the way to your computer??) and chickens (oh, ditto, see previous happy heart song). That's two steps closer to homesteader then I have here. We probably won't get the garden in this year, but I'll manage to put in some sugar snaps and snow peas for a fall crop and also some spinach and lettuce and carrots. I'll put some of those in for sure. And this property (which is 2 acres next to a huge hay field) has a few fruit trees, so applesauce, here I come! And it has lots of projects that need attention, mostly outside, and that's where we all prefer to spend our time, so it's gonna be...really good. I'm smelling the wonderful sense of PURPOSE...can you smell it too?

Our little family is on to our next adventure. We're really hoping that by the time we're done living there, we will have the condo ball and chain sold, Music Man will be done (or almost done) school and have a job and we will be able to purchase our next place that will be our forever home. Where all we do is for the benefit of our home where we intend to stay until we're too old to care any more. Wish us luck, fun and purpose.

Imaging soil in my hands and chicken clucking serenades, ~Peacemom

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Flume

Over the weekend, we went hiking with a dear friend and her two children to "The Flume" in Franconia Notch, NH. Now, for me, I grew up somewhat in this neck of the woods. The Notch is incredible in and of itself and used to be the site of our state mascot, "The Old Man of the Mountains". For those who may not know, it was a natural rock formation that when viewed from the side, looked just like the face of a man. It fell in 2003, obliterating our state's most famous site. It's even on our license plates. We all felt a sense of sadness when he fell, like a sentinel who left his post forever.

I had been to The Flume in my early 20's, but neither Music Man nor the boys had ever been there. What an utterly amazing, beautiful natural wonder. It's a series of waterfalls that cascade down to later become the Pemigewasett River. There really aren't words to describe it, as all the ones I can think of don't do it justice. Neither do photos. You get a whole sense of a different world in a different time there. The woman who originally discovered it (though I'm fairly sure there are some Native Americans who would beg to differ with the word "discovered") was a 93 year old fisherwoman. She was in pursuit of brook trout and found this amazing site. It entails a 2 mile round trip hike, and before the advent of the walkways and covered bridges, would have been a very treacherous hike for the most fit of adventurers. Seeing it, and knowing she was 93 when she did this...astounding. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something because you're too old!

After leaving this, well, I consider it, holy place, hungry kids and grown ups alike, we ate lunch and then went to The Basin. This is very cool as well. Music Man said it's like a giant toilet in that the movement of the water is just the same...a gigantic, loud, fast moving toilet! The kids dipped in a stream for a long time. I'm convinced kids don't have our thermostats, this water was ice cube cold to me, and my friend's daughter was sitting in it, splashing away with a big ol' grin on her face. When she got out, her legs were P-I-N-K! And not your average pink, but the pink of a deep sunburn. Never bothered her a lick.

We live in such an bucolic state. So many wonderful natural sites to see, so beautiful and wild. I really hope that it never changes. I'm so happy that it is still here, lovely in it's glory for my children to see as I saw it growing up. I'm thankful for the people that maintain it, keep it clean and don't let the public overrun or over burden it. Places like this are hard to find with mankind needing his fingers in every pie. And I'm also so very thankful that my children understand how amazing those places are, that they don't need video games to have fun...nature, nothing tops it. Go, take your children out and enjoy some beautiful views, holy moments and reverence for nature yourself. I promise, you won't be sorry.

Gone to Northern NH in my mind, ~Peacemom