Change happens.

I can’t even begin to tell all of you how much has changed in my life over the last few months. The people I have met, the food I eat, the way my days unfold and endd, how I push myself, how much Shasta loves the country…..there has been a LOT of change.

I stopped by last weekend to check on my Layers (who used to be Littles but are now Layers) where they have been staying. Thelma and Louise look a bit small up next to some Americauna’s and Lavandar Orphingtons. Yet they are holding there own. Unfortunately Miss Diana met an undetermined demise. She was found dead one morning in the coop. These things happen. She will be missed for her regal presence among the other lovely ladies.

Thelma and Louise

 

My friend at Applegate Valley Lavender Farms https://www.facebook.com/ApplegateValleyLavenderFarm?fref=ts is the one who has been caring for my girls since late winter when I couldn’t provide for them due to my circumstances. Fortunately, plans for a coop have been chosen, the area for the run has been cleared, the wood has been delivered and building should begin this next week for our own coop here on the property where I am living. I can’t wait to wake up to gathering eggs in the morning again.

While I was at my friends farm we enjoyed a visit with the sheep who had given birth to a beautiful black lamb the week before. I also enjoyed the antics of the baby Sebastapol Geese and the three ducklings on site. And of course, there was the Lavender. Some of it is in bloom and the rest is just about ready to unfold it’s lovely fragrance and color for all the world to see.


My newest and dear friends Jess and Gil who were here for about 5 weeks. You can follow them at http://adventuringsouls.com/. I have no doubt in my mind that our friendship has just begun and we will be sharing some adventures of some type in the future. Love these two folks…they are good people.

We welcomed a new comer that was found using the site https://www.helpx.net/ . This newest helper has come to us from Seattle, WA. She has only been here a few days and I am looking forward to getting more acquainted as time goes by. It has become customary for us to take a dinner photo when we welcome someone new or say goodbye, and that is what the last photo is. Goodbyes and Welcomes all in one night!

folks coming and going

I also had my SSDI appeal consultative examination on Tuesday.  It only lasted 30 minutes and I left feeling frustrated that the MD whom I was seen by didn’t really seem interested in anything I said, but rather found delight in probing all my tender spots even after I told her where I hurt the worst. I am doing my best to remain hopeful that with the input from my NP (nurse pratitioner) as well as my counselor that maybe I will be granted my disability and not have to endure any more prodding and probing. God knows I need a break.

I am enjoying the things I am doing for the most part, although I have had to push myself to a much greater degree on a constant basis than I have in a number of years now. How the toll will be weathered over time is yet to be seen. I am trying to keep my faith, do my best and trust that God has me covered no matter what happens.

There is much more to write, but today was my first day off in quite some time and I make a cake, made jelly and dehydrated bananas and I am a bit tired. So….for now that is all. I will be trying to be more consistent in my postings again. It’s just taken me awhile to get settled and get a routine where I have a few extra moments to spare and the energy to walk to the community cabin to make a posting. The next posting will be a compilation of spring photos I’ve shot of nature and flowers and wildlife and the country. I hope you’ll check back for it.

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Fabulous First Friday of February!!!

Miss Donna thinks it is so lovely in the sun!!!

Miss Donna thinks it is so lovely in the sun!!!

For a gal who spent most of her life in the Willamette Valley where the winters start the first of October and the gray dampness falling from the sky often continuing into late June, spending the bulk of the day outdoors in Februaray without getting drenched didn’t happen very often. In fact, I don’t think it happened very often at all.  Which is why I am thrilled to be enjoying my second winter in the beautiful Southern Oregon valleys of the Applegate River area.  February 1, 2013 was a STELLAR SUNNY DAY for me in the country. A perfect ending to a busy week.

I had been invited by E to go mining with a couple of the guys down the road. We were to leave at 9:30am. I was awakened by Lulu barking her head off. I got up and padded my barefooted way across the cold wood floors to peek out the window. I had slept most of the night (a real blessing for me) and the fire was completely burnt out except for a few coals. Lulu was up at the back hill using her most persistant “woof…woof…woof” that goes on and on and on. She really is a great alarm. But there was nothing there. Nothing I could see anyhow.

I drug on my sweatpants and sweatshirt and socks and shoes and coat and headed down the stairs. Time to let the girl out. It was a bit chilly. In the mid 30’s. And it was foggy. A little damp. Did I want to go out and tromp around all morning staring down at the ground?

Of course I did! If I didn’t go I might not be invited again. This was a wonderful opportunity to see some beautiful parts of these valleys that are typically “no trespassing” places. I also have an opportunity to become acquainted with more of my community members. I am learning that country life and farming and self-sufficiency is not about being alone…it is about community. And I like it.

The creek that feeds into the ponds at the quarry.

The creek that feeds into the ponds at the quarry.

The quarry where we went was just over the hill, so to speak. Not a far drive at all. We all took our own vehicles. One guy had to do some noon chores, another had to go back home for something before everyone else had planned on leaving, and I wanted to be able to go home if I got too cold or tired.

Beautiful dog.  Very playful and very well cared for as evidenced by behaviour.  :)

Beautiful dog. Very playful and very well cared for as evidenced by behaviour. 🙂

This beautiful dog showed up out of no where shortly after we arrived. She was very friendly and obviously well cared for. She followed us around and hung out the entire time I was there. In fact, when I decided to hike around the various little ponds and water features she was right alongside me like that was where she belonged. Unfortunately her presence snuffed out all the water fowl and so I was unable to get any photos of the ducks and quails that were quite prevalent.

Flusing out all the water fowl before I can get a photo.  At least I felt safe going off on my own.  It is bear and cat country out here.

Flusing out all the water fowl before I can get a photo. At least I felt safe going off on my own. It is bear and cat country out here.

I headed home around noon. I had hiked up and down the quarry numerous times taking photos of this and that and wanting to see what the guys were finding. There was only one little chunk of hard gray material they were questioning that it might be something when I departed.

This is the main pond.  I love the lighting and the shadows playing across the water.

This is the main pond. I love the lighting and the shadows playing across the water.

I took a little break when I got home. Well, sort of. I gathered eggs from both the big chicken barn (M has been under the weather this week) and my girls coop. I walked down to see the new sheep and cows that were brought here  yesterday to live and graze in the pasture. The sheep is very friendly and not bashful at all in visiting. Both sheep are breeders and will be taken to the ewes later in the spring.

This is the newest ram.  The little white guy with the black eye!  He has two black eyes!

This is the newest ram. The little white guy with the black eye! He has two black eyes!

The new cows are a pair of Dexters. Very good looking they are I think. Effective feeders is what I was told. When they first arrived yesterday it was lots of fun watching them become acquainted with the Heifer we have here. He tried to chase the Dexters around, and he was so lumbersome in his movements comparted to the more svelte and agile Dexters. Yes, I think I like those Dexters.

The Dexter's are here...the Dexters are here!!!  I like them lots!

The Dexter’s are here…the Dexters are here!!! I like them lots!

On my way back up the hill, I found my girls having themselves a great time on Solar Hill. They were dust bathing and sunbathing and lolling and scratching and completely enjoying their chicken life here on the farm. I sat in the dirt near them and just watched for about 15 minutes. They were quite entertaining, as always. By this time the sun was beating hot…well…in the low 50’s anyhow. I needed to go for a ride. A motorcycle ride!!!

Ziggy has herself buried down in.

The girls love this spot under the little Madrone.  Ziggy has herself buried down in and is having a little clucking session with Ruffles

Sunbathing in the dirt and enjoying life on the farm.

Sunbathing in the dirt and enjoying life on the farm.

I have been aching to go for a ride all week. There were some sunny warm days earlier in the week but I had commitments to attend to that required me to use my truck. Going to the feed store was one. I know one of these days it is going to get really warm and I want to be prepared if my deep litter method in my chicken coop gets smelling bad. I bought a bale of straw and some pine shavings. I also bought feed and ordered some chicks. Yup…we are getting chicks next week.

M & E ordered 35 chicks. I only ordered 4. Two Speckled Sussex and two Black Laced Wyandottes. I intend to order a couple more chicks. I am considering doing some breeding and have decided I want to specialize in Wyandottes. I find them so beautiful. I am planning to get 4-6 Blue Red Laced Wyandottes in March from a breeder I am corresponding with via email. They will be my start. The Wyandottes are good for laying as well as for meat. If I am going to be breeding I am hoping I can have some be meat and some for eggs and some for show and some for continuing and improving the breed. Well, that is my idea for now anyhow. I’ll get the chicks and see how it goes.

Anyhow…back to my RIDE ON THE BIKE!!! I layered up. I had on my longies and an extra shirt and a hat and scarf and two pairs of gloves and my jacket and wool socks and boots and fortunately I could still move. I started it up and down the hill I went. It was amazing! It was exactly what I had hoped it would be and what I wanted it to be and what I had envisioned it to be. I was yelling “YAHOOOOOO” all the way down the drive!

Yes, it was cold. My ears were the most affected by the cold wind. The rest of me stayed tensely warm. I decided I would ride into Grants Pass and treat myself to a Dutch Bros. I love going there because you get so much more than just a hot drink. You get some good vibes. They are good folks there! When I arrived I was so ready for something hot and to be out of the wind.

There were 3 guys on bikes having their cup of Joe and smokes and taking a break. I recognized two of the guys from previous times there. Everyone was admiring one anothers’ bikes. And yes, even tho mine is just a little Yamaha V-star 250cc, they still take a look and make a comment to me. It is nice. It’s not about the bike, it’s about the fact that you ride.

I knew I wanted to head home before the sun got behind the hills. Even tho the sun had not dropped, there were many areas of shade along the road home. I decided to go along the Missouri Flats road and stopped by the cemetary to take some photos there too. The lighting was nice I thought.

Even the cemetary was a birght and beautiful place of peace today.

Even the cemetary was a birght and beautiful place of peace today.

I am so grateful I got to feel the wind against me and also enjoyed the sun beating down to take off thie chill!

I am so grateful I got to feel the wind against me and also enjoyed the sun beating down to take off thie chill!

What a wonderful day. I was ready to be home. A warm fire and some hot dinner would be just the thing to settle me in for the evening. But first I had to give the girls a snack of popcorn and stale bread. They haven’t had a hot snack in a few days. I am trying to break them of pecking me for treats every time I go outdoors. It probably wont stop. I love spoiling them too much. They are happy girls tho. They have given me eggs all through the winter. From 12 hens I’ve averaged 5 eggs a day all winter long. One day I had 8 eggs!

It is late now. I am tired. It is a good tired. A fulfilling tired. I am glad I was able to get up and out of bed and enjoy this lovely winter day. This first day of February. The sunniest most outdoorsy February day I’ve ever enjoyed!

Saw these impressive horns on my travels and had to take a pic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Saw these impressive horns on my travels and had to take a pic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

End of the day and the girls get popcorn and some leftover bread pieces.

God slowed me down again today! A walk to the creek was my goal!

Frozen fog

Frozen fog

Only a few people in the world have seen me have a morning like I did today.  A morning where the simple act of sitting upright at the edge of the bed requires  so much effort and causes so much pain that it takes me a minute to realize I am in tears.  Today was one of those days where sitting at the edge of the bed, crying, and looking at the toilet that is 15 feet away and needing to get there NOW was cause for sobs.  It would be so easy to tell you all the things I couldn’t do today.  I could give you a list of things that I wished I could do, have plans to do, am interested in doing, and then tell you that I can’t do them because of this limiting pain.  Instead, I am going to share with you what I DID do!

I  made it to the bathroom.  I sat there thinking about what I absolutely HAD to do.  Now I know if I called M&E they would let the girls out for me.  In fact, that had happened just the other day because I hadn’t been able to make myself get down to the coop before they let their own girls out.   I am so grateful they watch out for me but I really want to do all I can to care for myself and my girls.  So I thought out every action I would need to do if I went down to let them out of the coop.  I thought about the steps, changing shoes, starting the hot water in the wash room, opening the door, looking for eggs, pouring water in their dishes  because everything is frozen again.  I also had to get at least 2 pieces of wood, which turned into a full armload because I  thought I might not get back down to get any more wood except for once when I lock the coop up at night.  I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to get out much at all when I let the girls out at around 8am.  This is all AFTER I dressed for weather.   Today, getting dressed was a big effort.

Winnie loves the sunshine

Winnie loves the sunshine

At noon, when I had to get up and put a log on the fire again, I knew I needed to move some!  So I made a decision to take the girls a hot treat, some apples for the pastured animals and a walk down to the creek!  If I got all the way down to the bridge and back, that was nearly 1/2 mile!  That was a huge undertaking, but I knew I could take my time and I had my phone to call for help if I needed it.

I added some water to the pork lentil soup I had made the other day and boiled some noodles in it.  This was to be the snack for the day.  I have not given the girls many noodles and was anxious to see how they liked them.  They liked them.  A LOT!  I wish I would have been able to get a video of Goldie sliding across the slimy mess in the pan.

She did it twice.

Yummy slippery noodles!

Yummy slippery noodles!

Finally it was time to head down the hill.  I was dressed, had made the treat, talked to the girls and now it was time to walk.  I wanted to get a little bit of the precious sunshine on my face.  I knew it would give me my needed Vit. D.  I also knew that making myself do this one thing would make me feel like I had accomplished something.  It would be veru easy to do nothing except stay in bed and feel horrible.

A walk along the creek

A walk along the creek

This was my first time walking all the way to the creek!  I drive past it all the time, but I had yet to walk to the bridges and take a closer inspection.  What a treat I was in store for!  There is an alternate bridge that has been used upon occasion for very large loads that is a few yards from the bridge we always use to get across the creek. I decided it was time to take a look at it.   It appears to be an old railroad bridge!  How delighted I was.  My grandfather was Chief Dispatcher for SP years ago!  I love anything railroad.  Why am I not surprised that it is here, in this wonderful place I was found to be!

The alternate bridge...looks like old RR bridge!

The alternate bridge…looks like old RR bridge!

Old bridge

Old bridge

The path to get to the bridge was equally enticing.  Mossy trees and rocky paths leading across the bridge and to…the outside world.  I won’t be going there today!

A path to the bridge to get across the creek

A path to the bridge to get across the creek

I was getting tired.  Time to turn around and head back up the hill.  I was moving slow.  I was looking at all the views and vistas and enjoying it all.  And then I saw the glimmer of shimmer on the fence.  Now how had I never noticed that before?   There it was kinda down at the bottom of the gate.  Not a place I would notice while in the truck.  But on foot, I saw it and had to inspect it further.  Yes..it is a perfect representation of this place I live with other people and animals and nature and the world. A sunshiney smile!

A sunshiny smile to the entrance to home!

A sunshiny smile to the entrance to home!

I had a couple apples in my pockets and started calling to Bruce the cow and John the sheep on my way up the hill.  Of course, as usual,  John came at a run!  Bruce held back for a moment, but then he got the idea and was on a run himself!  They both enjoyed their apples, as well as pats and scratches on the head.  I don’t know who enjoyed it more, them or me.

Come and get it!!!

Come and get it!!!

John gets here first!!!

John gets here first!!!

Bruce gets his too!!!

Bruce gets his too!!!

The sky was so blue I couldn’t help but look upwards.  There is that mistletoe.  I have thought about selling it the last two Christmas seasons.  I just don’t know exactly how to get it down.  There are no leaves for shade.  Instead there is an artistic pattern against the bright blue wintery sky!  Majestically the branches arch across the lane, adding depth to the shadows that are visible on the frozen ground.

Mistletoe

Mistletoe

Majestically arching oak branches across the lane.

Majestically arching oak branches across the lane.

I am enticed to keep walking.  I want to see the house gardens.  I had not been over there in a few weeks since I last gathered apples.  I need to get a feel for the various growing areas.  Again, I am pleased with the things I had not noticed before.  My walk was slow, and I was looking at the sky and the ground and the shadows and what was around me.  I was delighted by the yard art.  I also was happy to note the various places to sit and rest.  I was thinking towards summer, when I hope to be gardening, instead of just taking a walk.  There are places to rest.  I need that.

Ms. Ladybug loves butterflies!

Ms. Ladybug loves butterflies!

A place to rest when working the lower gardens.

A place to rest when working the lower gardens.

I love my hill.  I smile everytime I drive up here.  I look up and see the barn and know that it is home.  It is where I can take care of myself.  It is where I can find comfort on days like today where I am in so much pain that eating is something I must make myself do.   I am grateful for the preparations of meals on days I felt well enough to prepare foods.  I couldn’t do that today.  I had left some soup and a leftover half of an acorn squash on the woodstove to heat up while I was out giving the girls their treat.  The girls got a hot homemade healthy treat and I will too.  Neither one took much effort, which allowed me to put some energy into doing something that has been good for me phyically, emotionally and spiritually.

The barn up on the hill

The barn up on the hill

I brought up an armful of wood.  Then another.  I had checked once again for eggs, and was thrilled to find my 7th egg for the day in a nest.  It was too early to lock up the coop.  I was going to have to come back down.  It was time to rest.  I had done what I set out to do.  I got so much more than exercise, fresh air, sunshine.  I didn’t forget about my pain during my walk.  But I was able to find beauty, joy, peace, serenity and motivation in spite of it.   I feel so good about the one thing I did do today.  I did what I could do today within the limits of my ability.  A 1/2 mile walk that took me almost 2 hours.  I didn’t get a cardio workout, but I did get a heart workout!  I love where I live!

My fibromyalgia has not gone away.  In fact, it is quite evident.  Some days really are difficult, like today.  Yet, if I choose to focus, I can always find something to be grateful for and something that is beautiful.  If that is all I get for a day, it is more than many others.  My life has challenges, but it also has many blessings.  Count yours…you might be surprised to see how blessed you are too!

Until the next time!  Bye bye!

Until the next time! Bye bye!