I love this article. It’s good information, and it’s not conspiracy theorist to understand that it’s correct that at some point, you will have contact with some regulatory agency. Informing yourself prepares you for cooperation without compromising your rights. If you don’t believe it can happen to you, I recommend watching “Farmaggedon” at the earliest opportunity.
Take a kid fishing. Any kid, any age, (just ask the parents first, or it’s kidnapping) any time. Just do it. Nothing compares to the look on a child’s face when they just caught a fish for the first time. It’s joy and amazement and pride and awe all rolled into one big bowl of awesome.
Over the years, I have seen my honey take countless wee ones fishing and make sure they catch at least one fish. I’ve seen him cast sidelong glances at lurking little ones watching furtively from a safe distance at one of the local parks. I’ve watched him set poles, pick up a soda and sandwich, or a tangled mess of tackle just as a rod tip started to jiggle. And then it’s always the same.
“Hey! You there…young man (or young lady)…I need a hand. Grab that pole there! Quickly! I think there might be something on there. Help me out…I’m tied up with this here.”
He always thinks he’s so sneaky about it. That I don’t notice that he’s just a big bowl of gruffness coated jello when it comes to kids and fishing. If there’s a dutifully watching parent or grandparent near who doesn’t make a move to take a photo, he will do it himself. He’ll patiently instruct the child on the best way to hold the fish so it looks the biggest, memorialize the moment and ask the adult for a number or email to send the photo to. Because that photo isn’t for him. If it’s a monstrous pig of a fish, he’ll ask the adult if it’s ok to submit the child’s photo and name to the local tack shop’s site. More often than I can remember, it’s ended up there, and occasionally even in the paper. He’s never, ever in them…he’s the machine that hums away quietly in the background. Here’s a rare one of him with one of my own boys at 12. Meet Justin, and his first bass.
What he doesn’t think I notice is the light in his own eyes. How he looks just like a big kid himself. How he chuckles quietly to himself later as he updates his Facebook status with his favorite words. “Another first fishy today! Take a kid fishing!”
I could quite literally take this man out on the priciest charter boat anywhere, drop him smack in the middle of a school of prize sportfish. He could battle and bail them all day long and I would never, ever, come close to seeing the light in his eyes when he watches a child pull their very first sunny out of a tiny pond. In fact, he mated his way through his late teens on local charter boats. There isn’t a money fish alive that can draw him away from a kid with a bass on the line. Here’s a photo off of our wall…apologies for the flashback, but it’s old and stuck to the glass inside the frame.
I’ve lost count of the “first fishys”. I’ve lost count of the “Let’s stop here for just a second and see what’s shaking here at the spillway. I hear the perch might be running’s.” The poles come out of the truck, the bag of bloodworms or hidden jug of minnows appears seemingly from thin air, and I know we’re going to be late to whatever destination we were headed for. And I can’t even be mad. I love him all over again.
Spring’s coming on. Take a kid fishing.
A photo I took over our pasture this fall.
Sometimes it’s easy for me to find beauty. Sometimes it seems overwhelmingly, ridiculously impossible. We’re surrounded daily by so much ugliness and evil and hatred and contention on a daily basis that it becomes the norm. Immersed in it. Drowning in a media borne sea of 50 foot waves of awfulness and despair, clinging to nothing but a photo or memory of a baby or a sunset for hope of survival. Don’t believe me? Watch the newscast. Scroll through your local news station’s Facebook feed. Just for the sake of this exercise, grab a piece of scratch paper and a pen. Make two columns. One for positive, hopeful or uplifting, and one for “stuff that angers, horrifies, scares, nauseates, saddens, or in generally makes me feel like crap.” Go ahead, I’ll wait. Here’s mine. For the first 46 items on my local news station’s feed. (Discounting sports articles)
43 to 3. Really? See my conveniently labeled columns entitled “Crap” and “Yay!” (I’m a simple gal.) Forty flipping three craptastic articles featuring (in no particular order at all) murder, mayhem, car crashes, rape, ridiculousness, bomb threats, fires, abuse, arson, assault, suicide, burglary, drug use, overdoses, death, destruction, natural disasters, embezzlement, and dissent. One puff piece about a local teacher of the year, one about the future of Punkin Chunkin that really could go either way (but my right column was lonely), and one about the upcoming local fishing season. I skipped over sports articles.
It even surprised me, actually. I’ve literally stopped watching the news for this very reason. I’ve made jokes for years to my family that if I ever hit the lottery, I was going to buy a mountain, encircle it with an electrified razor wire topped ten foot fence and cloister my entire family there, and any other sane friends who would like to come along. A place to secede from the world’s ever growing insanity. It’s only half a joke. Like this right here.
Or maybe a “tiny house” village. Like this one, only located on said imaginary mountain.
But until then, I just have to boycott the network news media, (because it’s all bad, all the time) and continue my daily search for what’s good and lovely and uplifting in the world. I don’t think of it as willful ignorance, I think of it as sanity preservation.
I still have to send my remaining minor child off to school every day without lurking fear based imagining of an elementary school bathroom heroin overdose or a psycho school shooter. And without using any sort of “happy pills” because I’m in recovery and my program and my sponsor both tell me that’s to be avoided.
So for now…these are my ” happy pills.” Here are some photos over the years that we’ve taken. These are some of our happiest moments. The most beautiful ones. Where the world is not a cesspool of crazy, and we’re consciously looking for and finding the beauty. Because beauty is in the eye of the determined, not the beholder. Some things are just ugly, and you can’t make them feel any different.
It’s a beautiful day. It’s still early and cold enough to freeze eggs in the un-henned nest box, but it’s a beautiful day. And I am assembling an arsenal of boycritter bait. An opportunist Mama, I am. See this right here?This, my friends, is boycritter bait, a la Mark Twain. Ryan also has a friend over for the weekend. Add in some healthy competition, mini mob mentality, and the fact that I am smart enough to fuel the work force with junk food and the promise of homemade brownies and I should have scored myself a whirling dervish workforce times TWO. And Ryan’s poultry pleasure palace should have a pristine coat of Barn Red.
It took approximately 14.6 seconds after I began assembling the tools for Mom’s outdoor sweatshop for THIS to happen:
“Ooooooh…is that paint? Are you painting today”
“Erm…maybe. Why do you ask, boys?”
“Can we help? Pleeeassse?”
It’s at this point the prudent person looking for cheap labor should resist. Just the tiniest bit. This makes the potential drudgery seem an even more attractive way to spend a Saturday.
“Well, I don’t know. It’s kind of a big job over there. And you guys would get paint on yourselves, it’s pretty cold too. Do you think you can do it and follow directions, so it gets done the right way? It’s pretty important for me to get this done today and I just don’t know if ya’ll can do it.”
“Oh, we can, we promise…C’mon Ma, puh-leeeeeze? Pretty please? We’ll be really good and we’ll listen and do a great job. Honest!”
Reverse psychology is now your friend.
“Well, I guess it would give me some spare time to do other stuff. Like maybe make brownies.”
They’re jumping and whooping now. And hunting for paint clothes. Well played, Mom. Well played.
Yep, so my kid’s chicken coop name officially sounds a bit like an Old West brothel. A poultry house of ill repute. I tried valiantly to talk him out of it and into something a bit less…well…Brothel-y. I’ve lost. Guess I’m gonna have to name one of hens Miss Kitty now. No, kid. No red lights. I’ll have the swat team and the vice squad here. Good thing you can’t see it from the road.
My honey came stumbling down the hallway a few minutes ago. Bleary eyed, pajama clad, and very, very confused. The dining room table, though rarely used for actual DINING, is covered this morning in seed packets, starting trays, a gallon sized pitcher of potting soil and the skeletonized remains of a battalion of plastic containers rescued from the recycle bin.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“Good morning to you, too, dear. I’m planting things. Want coffee?”
“Coffee? Erm…no. It’s 3:30 in the morning. I want sleep. What are you planting? Besides insomnia?”
He doesn’t really wait for an answer, just lights the propane heater for me, then shuffles a retreat back to the bed, grumbling to no one in particular. Because he knows. He gets me.
He knows I’m not going back to bed. These are generally the day’s most productive hours for me. It’s quiet. Even the chicks in the brooder bin in the floor behind me aren’t stupid enough to be up at this hour. My son is asleep, the inevitably oncoming day’s dose of crazy hasn’t begun yet. It’s just me, my coffee, and my project-of-the-moment. The phone won’t ring, no one is yet bellowing for reinforcements in the endless search for stray belongings, the weeks homework, or sounding the ever popular where-are-all-my-underwear battle cry.
Everybody in the house is still the picture of sleepy sweetness. I can’t NOT love them all right now. Oh, don’t get me wrong…I love them all. All the time. But…Eventually, they’ll wake up. And then they begin to speak. It’s the speaking that does it. It’s always what comes out of the faceholes that is the straw that sends me over the edge. Sometimes, this results in a temporary inability to like them much. Or for them to like me. You see, today brings the weekend.
I like weekends. Really. I like it when my family is home and we do the things and spend the time and be the normal. And sometimes, the weekends bring the guilt. Maybe you know the feeling…you know the one. The “Oh MY LORD, if you ask me one more question, expect me to entertain you one more second of this day, test me to the limits of my patience for all this damned togetherness one more instant – Jeez, is it Monday yet so you people can go back to work and school and stuff other than irritating the ever loving crap out of me….I. AM. FLIPPING. BUSY! forcryingoutloud” feeling? Because the weekend is the rush for me. Not the “work week”. It’s a triathlon racing between the things I know I must get done, and the things I know they (and I) WANT to do.
So I guess the short answer to T’s question this morning is, I’m planting time. And patience. Planting my own sanity. I’m crossing one of the big things on my to-do list that will rent space in my head when they want my time and company and undivided attention. I’m planting the ability to focus. Even if it’s on cuddling with a small manchild (or a big one) in fuzzy socks and giggling over some Netflix nonsense and popcorn. That’s what I’m planting. The veggies and flowers are a by-product.
Good morning everyone! And Happy Weekend!
Sophie as a baby
I have turned the sweetest fainting goat in the free world into something spawned of Hell or at least one of Satan’s minions. Overnight and quite unintentionally. It’s not very often that Sophie and I disagree. When we do, I’ve come to the realization and acceptance that it’s not very EVER that I’m going to come out on top. Even the horses have gotten to a point that they will allow her to snitch grain from the field pan because she’s conditioned them to know they will lose more than they gain trying to foil her efforts.
Even so, it is painful to admit you have gotten your ass kicked by a creature who doesn’t even reach your knees. Wounds the pride.
This morning the new lamb (christened Radar Ears by the manchild) was doing well enough we felt comfortable moving him to the barn. So I let him out of the Great Dane sized crate in the mudroom and opened the door to glorious freedom (and fresh air, thankyouJesus because a crated lamb and two caged ferrets in an enclosed space overnight can create smells near blindingly unpleasant) so he could meet Sophie the goat, and we could see how she was going to react. Wrong answer. Sophie affected a goat snarl I have never seen on her formerly precious face and makes it clear from very the start that the fuzzy interloper was unwelcome at best.
What followed was nothing short of pure slapstick comedy, as she chased that poor lamb in circles around me and my knees were used as a trench in the the business of caprine warfare. There was much baaing and grunting and bleating, This was still a little amusing but the walk to the barn right behind the house now quickly took on comparison to a half-marathon. If Sophie could talk, I doubt most of whatever she was saying would have been fit for public sharing.
T and I had anticipated a little resistance, so we had set up a fresh crate in the barn where we could allow some interspecies meet and greet without danger of injury. I installed the lamb in the new digs and closed the door, without a bottle, much to his disappointment. So now he’s crying. I turned my back for approximately 14 seconds to gather an armful of fresh hay for the baby, and Sophie used the time to back up, lower her head and butt the living bejesus out of the metal crate so hard it rocked up off the ground a good six inches.
I outweigh Soph by a good hundred pounds, so I yelled “HEY” in my scariest goatmama voice, put the sole of my tennis shoe on her hindquarters and gave her a spirited shove to let her know this behavior was unacceptable and wouldn’t be tolerated. ***Disclaimer: I DID NOT KICK THE GOAT, please limit the hate mail to one per visitor, my circular file is small and requires frequent emptying ***
Then, for the first time in her little goaty life, she lowered that same head and her little weeble body on hooves and came at me with the force of a furry freight train. Almost knocked me flat on my rump.
I yelled. Screamed, really. I cussed her out in grand and colorful fashion, and apparently scarily enough that it triggered her fainting reflex so now her back leg muscles are locked up, and she falls over her own feet and is now rolling helplessly on the barn floor. Now I’m laughing at her, and I’ve pierced her dignity. And I’ve lost all the steam in my mad.
You win again, Sophie.