Monday, June 8, 2015

This could just be the year

                                           tilled and waiting.............from this.............
    I've been trying for years to plant a garden and have it actually produce a decent harvest. Two years ago I had James till up the area over beside the house and I planted a garden. I had cucumbers out the ears.. but that was one vegetable and one year. I had a few squash and a few cherry tomato but nothing to write home about. Last year- my folks invited and I accepted and I got James to till up a garden down at their place. didn't even come close in cucumbers, but I did get a few squash, bell pepper and okra. I was still so very disappointed. In my mind, I was remembering my grandparent's gardens and the abundance of produce that would be harvested every summer. I knew I'd never come close to that, but I still wanted to produce enough that I thought Grandpa would be proud of me. That I had finally reached gardener status. that I had earned my green thumb.
                                           to this.. yes, I put plastic down to keep weeds down

    My husband is a pessimist. Even though the plants had grown ginormous ( the squash plants are waist high) he didn't believe I would harvest much. I told him that the plants were covered in flowers but his response was that he didn't see anything. I got in trouble when I told him that the veggies weren't going to jump out from under the leaves and holler "BOO!!!! Here we are!" I don't know why he gets upset with me.
                                                       a treasure waits beneath those leaves

    So far I've carried my little blue bucket down to the garden three times, and I've come back with vegetables every time. Tonight was the biggest harvest yet. I have enough squash to freeze or cook or can or take photos of. I've shared with mom and I shared some with a neighbor who was right here to help dad when he brought James back from having his wisdom teeth extracted and still drugged up he fell out of dad's truck. She helped dad get James safely into the house.
    I'm looking at that bucket full of squash, zucchini and bell peppers and thinking "thank you Lord" and believing, that my Grandparents are looking down with a smile, a nod and a green thumbs up.

                                           the can of tomato paste is for scale..

Friday, June 5, 2015


Some know, that I grew up on this dirt road, in this very house. My memories of my youth are as close as right outside my door. While we were not among those that are called privileged, as far as material things, I believe that we were and are privileged in better ways. One of which was and is the freedom to roam the woods on our property and as youth exercise vivid imaginations or as adults find a wonderful stress relief.

 As a youth, I was always too busy playing to notice the flora and fauna of the woods. As an adult who returned to my home, I found myself more home bound and less into the woods. It was a bout with cancer that changed that. And even though that battle was seven years ago, and I am healthy now, the changes in my life that it brought about are still ongoing. I returned to the place of my youth, I returned to the woods and the discoveries there.
 The day the diagnoses was official, the first thing I did after breaking it to family, was to hit my beloved but long neglected, woods. I had walked as dad had built a small pond at the base of the hill, but the walks were mainly to the pond, a few laps around and back to the house.

 The walks now were a bit slower and more attuned to what was around me. I was looking for things that would take my focus off the health issues and onto something better, something beautiful. I was not disappointed as every day there was something new and different to be discovered. One of the amazing things was that, some of the plant life that I found, are only found in one or maybe two areas of the dirt road.

Every day I made different discoveries that brought that needed distraction and smile. Today, years down the road I still walk. Not every day as I did then, the distraction is not as badly needed, but life does tend to get stressful and the woods are the perfect place to find balance and peace. And there are still those things that I find in their one place, that reminds me that we each and all have a place, we each and all have a purpose, Our challenge is to find that place and take root and grow strong.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Have Mercy... Now I Understand

I can't, I simply can not get that sound out of my head.

I have a two year old German Shepherd Dog named Bella. I bring her in at night but she spends the day outside in our fenced yard. We live on a dirt road  in a rural area, our house sits literally in the woods. It is not unusual for us to have visitors in the back yard as it isn't fenced and I do have a tendency to toss leftovers down the hill. Many times I've heard the dogs barking at the sounds they hear telling them the raccoon or opossum have arrived in search of a free meal. Deer have a trail that runs just inside the wood line and goes from the main road all the way down to where it meets the dirt road a good half mile away. We've had visitors come around and sit on the outside of the fence teasing the dogs, knowing they were safe. Today, was a different story.

Around five this morning I fought with my alarm clock trying to get the thing to shut up. Dragging myself out of bed I grabbed my housecoat and made my way around the bed. Bella waited patiently for me to move the gate that insures she will stay in the room and not go into the kitchen and steal the cat's food,again. She beat me to the front door as usual and waited none too patiently for me to open the door. When I finally pushed the storm door open she shot out and into the yard, ready to seize the day. I on the other hand sleepily made my way to the coffee pot. I no sooner had cup in hand when I heard the strangest sound. To the best of my memory I had never heard a sound quite like that before so I moved to investigate.

It was still dark outside and with Bella being black she is almost impossible to see until she starts moving. Which is exactly what she was doing, and she was ever in a hurry. When she suddenly stopped I heard that sound again. It sounded exactly like something screaming. Not caring that I was barefoot and still in my nightgown I shoved the door open and went out onto the porch. Shouting at Bella she looked up which gave the victim a chance to make a run for it. Bella immediately again took chase. I quickly set my coffee cup down on the first flat surface and ran to see exactly what Bella was after. It was a young rabbit. Every time Bella caught up with the rabbit it screamed and I shouted. I knew the neighbors had to be hearing me but I didn't care. I grabbed for Bella, but I missed the first time and she kept after the rabbit. Several times I heard the poor thing scream, in fear, in pain, both probably. It was a horrible sound. I finally managed to grab Bella by her by the collar and get her inside the house. By this time the young rabbit was on the front porch and under a chair. As I went to catch it, the rabbit had moved behind a doghouse that sits on the porch. I pushed the dog house out of the way and gently put my hand on the rabbit. It flinched but didn't move away, it had nowhere to go anyway.

Lifting the rabbit I ever so gently stroked its back. It didn't fight with me, it didn't try to get away. That in itself was not a good sign but I carefully carried it across the yard and over to the edge of the woods. I was still in my night clothes but I didn't care. It was still dark, but even if it wasn't. I had just witnessed something I didn't want to see. I don't care if its nature's order of things. To me, my dog had just been a horrible bully to an innocent creature. I could only hope the rabbit would be okay but I doubted it.

I kept Bella in the house for almost an hour. When I finally let her back outside she went straight to where she last saw the rabbit. When I left for work, I glanced over to where I had placed the rabbit earlier. It had died as I feared it would. There were no external injuries so I don't know if it was due to internal injuries, fear or a little of both. I knew that I would bury it when I got home, because I couldn't do otherwise.

All day long, I heard that rabbit's screams. They can not be described any other way but screams. They were nothing less than the sounds of terror. Real terror, not the overly exaggerated sounds that you hear in the movies or the pseudo fear screams coming from those on some thrill ride at an amusement park. Those were the real thing, that were coming from a being who knew their very life was in danger, who felt the physical pain of being attacked. I heard it repeatedly as my dog chased it, I heard it over and over again during the day, knowing I was hearing the sounds of death. And there was nothing I could do. All day I hoped that those last few minutes were comforting as I gently stroked its back as I carried it from the yard. But I do now understand better, to a very tiny degree, how members of the military can be affected by their service. I can better understand the post traumatic stress brought on by hearing the screams of those who are hurt or dying. Brought on by witnessing the death of others, or causing it. Yes, I watched a rabbit, and those are people, I know there is a big difference. But just as the screams from a rabbit echoed in my head, how much more so most the screams of people echo in theirs.