Thursday, December 17, 2015

2015 In Review

This evening, Baba Wawa will be presenting The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2015. Since the year is drawing to a close, I thought it only fitting that I present The 10 Most Memorable Events of 2015. They may mean nothing to you or Baba Wawa, but they are memorable to me. Since this is my blog, I can write whatever I want. Rather than counting down to the Number One Memorable Event, my list is chronological, beginning at the beginning of the year and ending at the end.

#1. Both of my daughters and I went to Arizona in early February. What a treat! We saw my parents; my oldest brother, his wife and kids, and their grandkids; friends from Minnesota who now live in AZ; and an aunt and cousins I hadn't seen in about a hundred years. Every day was gorgeous and delightful and crazy. I love my family.

#2. A beautiful February snow in North Carolina. The snow covers a multitude of sins and turns the farm into a fairy tale.

#3. Roger & Eunice, friends from Minnesota, stopped by for a visit. They just happened to be in the area :) We had a wonderful time together, but they'll have to come back. It was so foggy/cloudy they couldn't see Pilot Mountain - not from the farm and not from the mountain itself!

#4. Rita had four kittens in April. That's not an oddity, but she had them in the attic! Totally not allowed. It's a long, goofy story, but all's well that ends well. They were born in the attic, but they don't live there. Yay!

#5. In July I went on a mission trip (through World Changers) to Philadelphia with the youth from our church. We had a great time, but I think I'm getting too old to be hanging out with these young whippersnappers. My time was spent at a Haitian church and I really enjoyed it—speaking Creole and eating Haitian food.

#6. Also in July, the introduction to my book Crap Happens...Wallowing Is Optional was published in Viga Boland's magazine Memoirabilia. You could say I was a little excited. If you look really carefully, you might be able to see my name listed on the cover.

#7. Vacation! Yes, we went to Minnesota in 2014, but Weldon said we were going again this year. I didn't argue. Like the previous year, we flew into MN, drove to IA where his uncle and cousin live, drove up through WI so I could see some of my friends, and then into MN to see my family. I love my family. Did I already mention that?

I love my family, but the photos above don't show my family :) Except for Weldon, of course, and he deserves a photo in this list of most memorable events. Anyway, it's my blog, remember?

#8. In October, I went to see Katie in NY. We did our usual eating and running around, plus we spent a day working on the cover of my book. I also got to meet her kitty cat, Sugar.

Since I flew out of Charlotte, I got to see Anna on both ends of my little trip.

#9. I became a published author! I published my book Crap Happens...Wallowing Is Optional on Halloween. I published the ebook version on Thanksgiving Day. I've sold over 200 copies, but have only eight reviews on Amazon. Such is life. You can buy it on Amazon. Then you can leave a review ... please :) In December I had my first book signing. It was a lot of fun.

#10. Last, but certainly not least, I got to see my grandson Marshall earlier this month. He'll be 17 in March, but I still make him take the back-to-back photos with me so I can see how he's grown. We had a great time together, shopping, eating, and going to a movie together. I love my family.

2015 - What a year it's been. I'm incredibly blessed and so thankful for my life and the good health to enjoy all I've been given. And a new year lies just around the corner.
2016 - It's gonna be an awesome year.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Crap Happens ... Wallowing Is Optional

Two years ago, I learned of National Novel Writing Month and signed up. I wasn't writing a novel, but I had been putsing around with ideas for a book about adjusting to life on the dairy farm for quite a while. It was time to get serious. At the end of November 2013, I had written 50,278 words and was declared a Winner.

I had written a lot of crap, so now I had to see if I could make some sense of my crazy month of putting words on paper. But, did I stick with it? Of course not. Enter NaNoWriMo 2014. I used the month for rewriting my crap—chalking up 50,611 words edited, moved around, and prettified. I was declared a Winner.

Now I was determined that these words would become an actual book. Almost every day of this past year I sat in front of my computer, honed my words, moved chapters around, ditched a lot of junk, and kept on and kept on. Some days I felt like success was getting close, and other days I felt like I had been sucked into some black hole and would never find my way out.

On September 1, a gal from the King Public Library came into the frame shop and, since I was the only one there at the time, we actually conversed :) I told her I was almost ready to publish the book I started two years earlier during NaNoWriMo and she asked if I'd be interested in being on a panel for the NaNoWriMo Kickoff at the library in November.

Now I had a goal. I was determined to have a copy of my book in hand before November 2. I enlisted my daughter Katie to make my book look like the real deal—from the cover to all the interior details. We spent many hours together on the phone and working remotely on each others computers. She's amazing!

Here's the cover:
I submitted the book files via CreateSpace and, after two rounds, I approved the proof copy on October 30th.

On October 31, I published Crap Happens ... Wallowing Is Optional. Click on the link and get yourself a copy :) and after you read it, please go back to Amazon and review the book for me.

NaNoWriMo 2015 is here. I signed up, but haven't written a word so far. Why? Because I'm exhausted. The next big project will be to make the ebook version available. But before that happens? It's the NaNoWriMo Kickoff tonight! I'll have my proof copy in hand and will be beaming like a brand new author.

I discovered this treasure today:
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Welcome to My World

Farm life. Ah, it's a beautiful thing. Except when it's a totally gross thing, which it is quite often. I'm not going to spend too much time musing over the two items described below. I did, however, think it was only right that I share my new-found wisdom with you. You're welcome.

Since corn is one of Weldon's favorite topics and an area of his expertise, he has taught me quite a bit about it since I came to the farm. Years ago he showed me corn that looked even worse than depicted in the following two photos.

Eeuuww. Gross.

Yes, this is corn. But you don't see a lovely cob, do you? What you're seeing is smut. Here is the definition of smut from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: any of various destructive diseases especially of cereal grasses caused by parasitic basidiomycetous fungi (order Ustilaginales) and marked by transformation of plant parts into dark masses of spores; also :  a fungus causing a smut.

So, imagine my horror when just last week Weldon was telling me about some visitors who came to the farm to see if he had any corn for sale. He explained that the garden corn was all gone, but there was still lots of field corn. They walked into the fields to check it out and, when they saw the smut on some ears, they were ecstatic. "This is a delicacy in Mexico. Is it for sale?" Weldon told them they could have the smutty corn.

I still get shivers up and down my spine when I picture the black, rotten, moldy stuff. But it turns out that the "delicacy" is only a delicacy before it hits the rotting stage. When it's "good" to eat (I use the term loosely), it looks like this:

Mmmm. Yummy.

We call it smut, but it's also known as Mexican Truffles or Corn Truffles ... or Raven Scat. It's similar to mushrooms, and they're not so bad, are they? I took a tiny little piece of the corn truffle, and it tasted a little like corn. Weldon sampled more than I did, but an itty-bitty nibble was enough for me. You can discover more fun facts about smut on the website Eat the Weeds. There are even a few recipes for the brave of heart.

Next: yesterday's discovery. I was coming in from feeding the cats and kittens and saw a strange blob, seemingly hanging on the side of the house. I didn't stop to investigate, but hurried in to get my camera. I went back outside and approached the wall very cautiously. What the heck? At first I thought it was a baby snake ... hanging by a "thread" along the bricks?? Can't be. But what?
Eeuuww. Gross. Two slugs getting it on. That's just disgusting. (Sorry, God.)

Eeuuww. Gross.

And then they slithered contentedly up the wall. I have no idea where they went or where he or she or they will have their darling little slugs. I suppose I'll meet them in the garden next spring.

Welcome to my world. Eeesh. I've got shivers.
You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

It Takes a Village

Frankie was born last spring, so now it was her turn to have babies of her own. She had them, but I didn't know where until I heard kitties squalling on Sunday, June 14. I followed the pathetic cries and found four little ones behind this piece of tin.
I feed a whole passel of cats and kittens inside this shed.
I brought them to Mama, who was inside the shed, but she didn't take much notice of them. Over the next two days, she moved them from one place to another, and it didn't seem like she was taking good care of them. They had that hungry cry whenever I came to feed the other cats.

Tuesday evening, I was elated to see them nursing mama.
Unfortunately, they were trying to attach themselves to Grandma Freddie. That didn't last long.

Seen from above, the four babies and Mama Frankie. Frankie is just as black as her mom Freddie, but the flash makes them all look rather washed out.
Wednesday morning and evening, Pat and Weldon skimmed cream from the cows' milk and gave it to the babies. Honestly, I didn't feel like trying to keep them alive. I had lots of things on my calendar and I figured they'd all die anyway. Who wants to deal with that crap?

But, I caved. On Thursday I started giving the little ones kitten milk replacer, morning and evening, via a little syringe. They eagerly sucked it down and, within two days, their yowls were replaced with gentle kitty squeaks.
Cap'n Jack taking a syringe of milk.
I went to give Frankie's babies their milk on Saturday day night. No Frankie. One baby. I called and hunted and called some more. Nothing. So, I gave the little one two or three syringes of milk and went home.

Sunday morning, mom and all four babies came to greet me! Monday evening, Mom and two babies. Tuesday morning, Mom and two babies. Tuesday evening, Mom and two babies. My hunting was futile and my sweetest kitty-cat voice didn't avail. BUT ...

When I continued to the hay barn to feed the cats out there, I was surprised to see Rosemary coming around the bales from the rear of the barn. Hmmm. She didn't usually hang out in the hay barn. She hadn't been "lucky" with her very recent batch of babies, but she had previously proven herself adept at kitty-snatching. As she ate, I walked through the barn. "Where are the kitties? Come on, babies. Where are you?"

I had almost reached the back when I saw little Heddy waddling my way, and there came Tippy. Happy tears ran down my cheeks as I picked them up and snuggled them. Since Rosemary had milk and Frankie wasn't doing so well in the nursing department, I decided to let them stay where they were. Perhaps Rosemary's thievery will pay off this time.
This is Frankie, mother of four.
These are the two who are still with her: Cap'n Jack and Barbossa.
Here's Rosemary with Frankie's other two babes:
Heddy and Tippy
Tonight Pat lay on her belly to look under the pile of lumber where Rosemary has settled in with her adopted babies. And what to her wondering eyes should appear? Four more kittens! We're guessing they belong to LaPli, since she was the only other cat hanging around back there. I checked her undercarriage and she seems to have milk, so maybe she's sharing with Heddy and Tippy, too. The village continues its magic.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Untold Stories

Last month had too many stories and not enough time to tell them. I'm posting pictures, including captions, and you can make up a story. Have fun!

An enemy has done this.

Has anyone seen Mom?





Hmmm. Maybe?

If I can move all this junk ....
In the carport.
In the big shed.
The End