First Summer Here

Now that Fall has arrived I realize how much I have been observing and soaking in my surroundings.

I’m learning new roads and new places to shop; establishing new routines and favorite routes.

Driving along these back roads in the midst of this gorgeous and productive farmland I realize how out of touch most of us are about where our food comes from. I know! We hear that all the time but when you watch the corn grow on a daily basis and you see the labor put into caring for the earth and the food growing on it, I really feel grateful about how easy we have access to good food. I appreciate the incredible amount of labor that goes into growing it.

One of my observations was how quickly the corn grew making the roads feel more like tunnels. Everyplace felt closed in. I missed some of the beautiful views. In the last few weeks the roads have been slowly opening up again. Row by row the Amish harvest the corn. And row by row the drive feels more open. Some of the fields are left with nothing but a few inches of stalks sticking up from the ground. When you look at a whole field, it reminds me of whiskers on a man’s face.

I hope in time to see a pattern to the planting. Corn, wheat, soybeans, squash, onions, tobacco. None of the fields stay empty for long. Once one crop is harvested another is soon planted. Sometimes cover crops to keep the soil rich and productive.

Oh, and I have to mention the ‘spreading’. This is probably the biggest drawback to living in this area. Manure and a manure sludge are spread and sprayed on the fields continuously until they are all planted. Let’s just say that the smell has a physical substance to it! Ugh! I overheard one woman complaining about the smell in a parking lot one day only to hear another woman proclaim that it was the smell of money. That is an interesting perspective!

The various techniques are fascinating too. In the spring I saw families planting field after field all day. There was one piece of farm equipment that was pulled by one horse or mule. One person, usually a man, steering the horse. Down in front two people, usually women or girls sat on narrow wooden seats with boxes of plugs or tiny plants and leaned down planting them one after the other as the whole thing moved down the row. As I drove to work and back I saw the fields fill up with these plants. I also had to wonder how it felt to do that work all day for days at a time.

In the tobacco fields I saw bundles of sticks ready to hold up mini tepees of tobacco leaves in the fields. I assume it’s one way to let the leaves dry. Sometimes they take all the leaves and hang them in ventilated buildings, hanging them upside down to dry.

Once all the fields were growing the smell of the earth has been amazing. I know we all get that real earthy, loamy smell of good soil every now and then but that aroma is ever-present. With the high humidity and heat this year, smells get amplified and that is a good one.

When we get storms, it pours hard here. I’ve learned which roads to avoid in case of flash flooding and have decided my next car may need to sit higher. Then the sun comes out again with amazing clouds off in the distance.

Now there are wagons and stands full of pumpkins, squashes and gourds everywhere. I didn’t know there were so many varieties of these crops! They come in every shape, size and color. I’ve learned that if nobody is there to take your money when buying some, you leave the money in a box or plastic containers. The local economy relies on the honor system and it works beautifully here.

I feel like I have spent this summer filling up on the way life is here. There are families here who have lived here for decades if not a century. I feel like I am settling in and growing into a feeling of being home.

I know I have rambled a bit in this post and I apologize for that. As you have read, there was a lot to share and this is what happens when I don’t post more often. Thanks for reading!

Sky Love-Clouds

I’ve always loved the sky. Day and night. As a kid I did that stereotypical thing of lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. I still do but not nearly as often as I should or would like to.

Any time of the day or night there is beauty above us. It’s ever-changing and always flowing. I think it reminds me of how tiny we are on this little planet in the universe hurtling through space and what a miracle it is to be here at all.

I’m been amazed at the sky where we live now. I think because it’s so open and I can see so much of it at once that it keeps fascinating me.

The clouds are magnificent.

I know when I was a preteen we lived for a short time in Wisconsin and I have never seen mountainous clouds like I did there when the thunderheads were growing a storm.

One of my favorite experiences was a day spent in the mountains of Colorado with my brother. We were hiking back down the mountain trail because storms were building in the heat of the day and you don’t want to be in a lightning storm up there. The sun was still out with clouds in the distance. At one point we stopped because the view was breathtaking. There was feeling of reverence. We sat on a boulder looking out over a valley and watched a cloud growing. It was literally growing before our eyes. There was no sound except the wind and we felt like we were the only ones in the world to witness this beauty. It was a spiritual experience.

More recently, I visited family in Colorado again and in thinking about this post decided to take pictures from the air. Flying over this country is amazing anyway but I was thrilled by the variety of clouds I saw in that one trip.

And now my obsession with the sky has been in overdrive because of where I’m living. With so many rolling fields the view of the sky here is huge. I think it’s the grandeur of it all. It gives me that feeling of being tiny in a powerful universe filled with beauty. Again, it feels like a spiritual experience. This has been happening frequently. I hope I never take it for granted.

15

Spring moving in.

No matter where you are, the sky is always there.

We live crazy busy lives but I hope you can take a few minutes to look up and enjoy the view.

Writing or a Lack Thereof

I haven’t been writing despite the fact that I am chock full of new experiences.

I think a big part of it is because I am trying to absorb so much right now that I haven’t been able to put words to all I am feeling, seeing and experiencing. I don’t even know where to begin.

One reason I keep putting off posting here is because I keep discovering amazingly beautiful things that I want to share but feel I really need to have a photograph to go with it. Then I don’t want to stop and take a photograph because I’m enjoying what I’m seeing. I want to just be in the experience. I don’t want to be one of those people that miss things because they are so busy trying to record it all. So I found an image online that shows a bit of what I’m talking about. Thanks to Wikimedia for this image.

I had this novel idea that maybe I should work on my descriptive writing skills and see if I can capture any of it. Duh! That’s what a writer does! I’ll see what I can do.

So I am starting with this:

We recently moved to a very rural and extremely beautiful part of the world. This is rolling farmland filled with hard working people. Our house is new and built in a tiny old village. We can walk to a bank, a tavern, a general store and some other small businesses. There is a fire company manned by volunteers. I am discovering that this is an area of community. Of people taking care of the land and each other.

I drive winding country roads and the views are breathtaking. There is one high point in the road where I drive daily which curves around revealing a view that goes on for miles and takes my breath away. Fields and farms. Dramatic sky with majestic clouds and beams of sunlight shining through. I know this sounds corny but it’s real and I hope I never take it for granted.

We originally decided to move this way because the cost of living is so much cheaper than where we were but we continue to discover more and more wonderful things here. Priorities seem to be more in tune with us. The pace of living is slower which is great. People are friendly. There is very little traffic and as far as we can tell, little or no crime.

Even though we have only moved a fairly short distance, we feel we have landed in a new world and one that we are very happy with. I feel like I am starting a new life here. And I feel like I’m on an adventure discovering new things daily.

When I manage to get pictures I will share them. In the meantime I will try to paint this new life I’m living in words and hope I can capture at least a small part of what I’m experiencing. I need to start again somewhere so I’ll just dive in and see what shows up. I hope you’ll come along and if I manage to get it right, maybe you too can find some of these things fascinating too.

Grateful Sunday

I’m sure some of you saw in the news that a tornado touched down in Pennsylvania Wednesday night. That was about ten miles from where I live and that storm roared right over us. It was very scary. We didn’t have any damage here and I am feeling incredibly grateful.

It was amazing to watch the community pull together to help those who were hit. There was mainly property damage and I don’t think anyone was hurt. Another thing to be grateful for.

So other than some flooded roads and a longer ride to work the next day, we were fine. Others nearby are still picking up and rebuilding.

Add that to a busy week I decided that I needed something relaxing to do. When my daughter invited me to visit, I was thrilled. We both have very busy lives so when we get together it’s time we don’t take for granted.

It was a gorgeous day today. It got into the 60’s with sunshine. In February! On the drive over it was nice to be driving on a beautiful day enjoying the countryside.

One of the loves in my life is horses. Since my daughter has two horses it was a doubly good day. My grand-horses! Her one horse is Musical, and she is a rescued thoroughbred racehorse.

Musical

Musical-her beautiful, content face.

She is a beautiful horse enjoying a nice quiet life. The other horse is Hercules, and he is a rescued miniature horse who is so cute it’s ridiculous.

Hercules

Hercules-happy little guy.

What a gift it was to be able to be outside and not be freezing. No more snow on the ground. And two content horses to spend time with. Lots of loving.

That is why this is Grateful Sunday.

I hope everyone had something to be grateful for today.

Skylights

One of the many things I am learning from moving is appreciating the details. One of the details that I have in this new house is a skylight. Two of them actually. It may seem like a silly thing but this is something I’ve never had before and love the idea of letting more light into the house.

It reminds me of the ceiling in the Great Hall in Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series. That ceiling always shows what is going on outside; whether it’s day or night, sunny or snowing. My skylights are doing the same thing and its magical.

Since I moved in I have been in love with the skylights. They let in as much light as I had hoped. The angles of them are fascinating. They flare out from the roof so there are no boring angles. And when the sun hits them they leave the most wonderful playgrounds of shadow and light. 

Sunlight & Frost

Sunlight & Frost

 

I catch myself stopping to see where the light is hitting at various times of the day and realize that this will be an ever-changing progression to watch as the angle of the sun changes constantly. How amazing!

I love being able to look up and see the sky. Or watch as clouds slide by. My favorite so far has been looking up one night and seeing the full moon in one of them. I wish I had taken a picture!

I wonder if I will ever get used to the sound of rain tapping on the glass above? Or waking on a sunny winter morning to see them filled with Jack Frost’s artwork? (Rise of the Guardians fans will understand the importance of acknowledging Jack Frost!)

Frost Art

Frost Art

During the blizzard last month it was fun to see how quickly they were covered with snow making our home a warm, calm cocoon in that wild storm. And then observing how one melted away quickly while the other one stayed covered for a few days.

I look forward to many years of seeing what these snapshots of the sky show me.

The Wisdom of Kittens

Just for fun, this is a small list of watching kittens exploring the new world they find themselves in. We can look at the world like it’s all new again when we watch the young do this.  I hope you enjoy some of these things in your own life. What would you add to this list?

-Look at anything new that crosses your path with curiosity and wonder. Then play with it!

A box and tissue paper. Amazing!

A box and tissue paper. Amazing!

-Play a lot.

-Remember to notice even the simple things in life. Take nothing for granted.

So that's the sky!

So that’s the sky!

-Enjoy the comforts life offers like a big warm pile of laundry. 

Warm clothes.

Warm clothes.

-Sometimes you just have to run at full speed because you are so full of the energy of life! Plus its fun.

-Play until you can’t keep your eyes open for another second.

-Eliminate the negatives in your life by swiping at it, slapping it, shaking it until it can’t hurt you anymore.

-Get plenty of rest.

-Cuddle with a friend. 

Cuddling

Cuddling

-Take care of the ones you love.

Good to Be Back!

I can’t believe it has been more than three months since I’ve posted! Where have I been? Moving. Twice.

My husband and I have been talking about moving for a long time. The kids are on their own and our home was becoming too big and the yard was too much to take care of so we started looking at our options. A very long story short is we stumbled upon a perfect townhouse way out in the country. And that was all it took.

We listed our house and it was under contract in four days with the stipulation that we had to be out in a month. So we scrambled and were determined to make it happen. That deal fell through and without going into all of that stress, we put the house back on the market while continuing to hope our new place wouldn’t sell in the meantime.

Well we did sell our old house. We were able to put a deposit on the new house. We moved out the week of Thanksgiving. Our new house was done on the outside but wouldn’t be completed inside for another month. So we lived in our motor home for a month. With our two cat-sized kittens! The good news is that it went very well which was a relief.

The week of Christmas we moved into our new house. We managed to move during the two busiest holidays of the year. Which really made me think hard about what is most important about Thanksgiving and Christmas; spending it with family and friends.

So far our new home is wonderful! It’s in a new neighborhood so there is a lot of construction still going on but when I saw that beautiful rainbow, I took it as a sign that we are meant to be here.

All of my energy and concentration went into this hectic time. I’m very far behind in reading all of your wonderful blogs. I kept checking in when I could. I’ve missed the blogging community and plan on posting here again.

I may try to write about the whole moving experience a bit. There is a lot to talk about there! I always manage to find something to share.

Anyway, I hope everyone made it through the holiday season okay. I look forward to catching up again. It’s good to be back.