Thursday, September 24, 2009

For the love of God, play something else!

Dearest local radio station;

I understand the morning crew wakes up at ungodly hours to bring entertainment to the community of people within range, and therefore may not be capable of making difficult decisions or ones which require thought. Certainly my brain does not begin to function until the sun rises and burns away the fog. Your grand library of music probably makes these decisions even more difficult with so much choice.

I prefer to wake up in the morning on my own, but since my boss frowns upon tardiness, I use the alarm clock. The jarring beep beep beep is simply too much for me. At it's sound I jolt from the bed and run outside half naked in the belief that the house is aflame. So instead of giving myself a heart attack each day, I wake up to music. To your radio station in fact. The problem I'm having is everyday at the same time, I wake up to the same thing. So I write to you to ask that you provide extra coffee to the morning crew, or something, to help wake them up so they can navigate the great hall of music and make new choices. Enough with ZZ Top at 7:10 am. I can't take it anymore.

My dreams scatter at the sound and no matter how determined I am in remembering them, I fail. What is worse is how the song creeps it's way into my day. Standing in the shower, half asleep, pretending it's heat is that of my bed, I hear the song repeating in my head. It claws it's way into my brain and digs the talons in to hold on all day. I tell myself I'm not going to let it get stuck in my head, but the more I fight it, the tighter it grips. Nothing can shake it. So please, I beg you, play something else. This is the cruelest most unusual punishment. I may have to tune into another station.

Lazy Waker

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last day on horseback

This spring mom delivered Bud the horse, Stella the cow and her bull calf Fuzz Butt. I had the pasture ready from the year before and really expected no problems. When I woke up the next morning to the horse throwing a hissy fit in the field, I knew I was silly to expect anything but trouble. During the night, probably just before dawn, the cow and calf got through the fence and were on the loose. They hadn't been in the field for 24 hours. I'm not even sure they made 12.

In our part of the country there are rolling hills, forests and open fields likely once used for farming but long since left. The cows found them all and called each one home for a night or two. They weren't hungry, or scared, or wild. Just looking for the herd of 80 cows they left behind when they climbed on the trailer. How could they know the herd was a 3 hr drive away? I kept track of them everyday. Every stressful day. But I couldn't catch them no matter how many times the horse and I herded them back to the gate. After 2 weeks on the lam, mom came back and we decided come hell or high water we would catch them Saturday and that would be the end of it. (I must add that Martin wanted to help, but we only had one horse, and the cows were mine, so the responsibility and hardship belonged to me, not him.)

Early in the morning we set off and picked up their trail, finding them fairly quickly. Cattle are predictable creatures, and like I said, they weren't wild, they just wanted no part of us or our company. We walked through brush, up hills, down hills, through rivers, along paths, swamps, fields and back again. If the trees were too thick, I'd tie the horse and follow on foot, letting mom know by walkie talkie where we were. She'd find the horse and catch up.

The whole experience was stressful, hard, tiring, frustrating, and beautiful. We found babbling brooks and wild blueberries patches. Waterfalls dappled with sunlight, all but hidden, nestled between cliffs. We'd struggle through brush and come out into a stand of hardwoods, and couldn't help but think we'd just found some secret place, never before witnessed by human eyes. Bud was amazing. He went places most horses would never go. Trees so thick I had to hug his neck and let him push through. We galloped across a field at full speed, smooth as silk, his feet hardly touching the ground, to cut off the cows from going in the woods. A thoroughbred couldn't have gone faster. I've never rode like that. I've been riding since I was 2 years old and I've never rode like I did in those two weeks, or on that morning. I get butterflies thinking about it. Mom picked up the horse while I tracked through the woods on foot at one point, and she followed along an old 4 wheeler trail. Crackling across the walkie talkie I hear "there's a tree across the path"...."we jumped it!"...."I stayed on!"

We ended up catching the pair by lasso in the woods and brought them back to the field by tying Stella to a tractor and walking home. The calf followed the cow, I followed him on the horse, mom followed me in the truck. After two weeks of freedom and 6 hours of hard walking and riding that morning, we had ourselves a parade down Greenhill rd. I've rode in parades before, but none that special. Definitely none that made me that happy.

Months have gone by since that Saturday morning and Mom still talks about it. About seeing her daughter fly across a field on a horse, about walking all those miles through the woods, about jumping the tree, and riding this horse who couldn't be rode a few short years before. On and on she'd go, telling everyone the stories. She taught me to ride. It's something we've always shared, just the two of us. But I don't think I've ever seen her jump. I thought at the time it was pretty cool, but the stress of the whole thing skewed my perception. She was thrilled though, that we got to do that together. People pay good money to round up cattle on horseback.

Friday I'm bringing mom to the MS clinic to get an official diagnosis. She's been sick a long time, so we're looking forward to hearing what they have to say in a way. In another way the reality of it all becomes clear. Her legs give out now and then. I see why she thinks it was such an amazing day and holds the memory so close. At least if it was the last time, it was great.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wooly Booly

So it was +3 degrees Celsius this morning when I got up, but I didn't care. Why would I suddenly enjoy frigid temperatures and frost on my tomatoes? Because I finally finished a little project that has been collecting dust all summer. Perfect timing I think. While all you guys may have cold toes in your thin summer socks, mine are nice and toasty in my new, blue, oh so soft, wooly booly knit socks.

Tada! (sorry for the crappy flash picture, but I couldn't resist)

You can likely tell that I'm quite smitten with these here socks. The fact that they are warm is just one reason. These are the first of their kind. I knit a pair of thin socks last year, but with a different pattern that I don't care for as much. They fall down. But these are thick and ribbed and stay just where I like them. I get teased endlessly by Martin for my sock wearing habits. I like not just my toes to be warm but ankles and lower calves too, and therefore prefer them old man style: pulled up. Pants are drafty. Plus the stripes are cute. It's OK, I know I'm a little odd, you can laugh all you want and go on your merry way with cold feet.

I tried this pattern before, but misjudged the amount of yarn needed and ended up with two different socks. The yarn made 1 1/2 green socks with the remaining toe a lovely ivory. (it matches nicely) I may be odd but I'm not odd enough to wear those. (in public, warm is warm) The yarn was given to me by my mother and I couldn't find the same kind anywhere, let alone the same colour lot number. I am just a beginner you see. So I have odd socks.

Don't look too closely at these because I've learned a lot in making them. First, it is very difficult not to make a mistake. Most of which I make by loosing my place or reading the pattern wrong. Second, it is even harder to fix a mistake when you know you've made one, without ruining the sock. Third, it is very difficult to get the socks the exact same length. Good thing one foot is usually bigger than the other. My measuring accuracy needs work. So all and all, I am pleased with the pair, if for no other reason than they match and are warm and I have successfully completed a project. The 3 above mentioned difficulties I'll work on for the next pair. If I can avoid mistakes, then I won't have to learn how to fix them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Get a bucket!

I was just reading a post about intrusions. The jarring mind jolt of a knocking on the door or a phone ringing. Especially if your mind is deeply embedded in something else. Even a sweet hello can be jarring, and cause the moment of thought is to vanish. A balancing act, carefully managed until you look away, then splat. Gone.

So all that is true and it happens to me all the time. Yadda yadda yadda. But what it brought to mind was that we never get a knock on the door and the phone never rings. Which I guess makes it all the more jarring when it happens. The last time there was a knock at our door it was shortly after 8:00 pm sometime in July. (I told you no one knocks) We live way out in the middle of the woods. Pass the big tree and the rocks, then ask the deer which way to go and you'll find us. This jaunt is not appealing to door to door sales people, solicitors or whoever else knocks on your door without notice in those places where people live side by side. Fine by me. When the knock came it startled me so badly that I thought it must be something urgent. Something bad. Why else would someone be here? I immediately knew why dogs bark, because if I was a dog, I would have been barking. I sat at high alert in Owen's room, where I was reading him his bedtime story, listening while Martin answered the door. I never in a million years would have expected what was on the other side.

"Do you like mackerel?" Came the loud voice of our neighbour with all the sweetness of a bear crawling from his den in April.

Stunned Martin replies "Yeah, I love mackerel"

"Then get a bucket"

So Martin does. End of conversation.

A few minutes later Martin comes inside with a bucket of fresh mackerel caught for us by our neighbour, who hates everybody, and everyone who knows him apparently returns the sentiment. For whatever reason he likes us. For whatever reason we like him back. The whole episode was so absurd it still makes me chuckle. With a bucket of mackerel, we'll welcome the knock any day.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

stop and smell the potatoes

"You know what's going to happen right?"
"What? With Bill?"
"Yeah Bill. He's going to blow summer away. It only just started and he's going to blow summer into the Atlantic and it will be fall."

Those words were spoken this summer and two days later, in fall of 2009, we knew we were right. Hurricane Bill came by and stole summer.

One of the largest land animal migrations on earth happens in Africa when the wildebeests travel to new pastures. They say they can smell the rain and know when it's time to go. If we stop and pay attention, I think humans can still smell the rain. Maybe not as far as half a continent away, but we can still smell the change.

Bill brought fall in his wake and now my toes are cold in my sandals. But fall isn't so bad. I like sweaters. My butt looks good in jeans and I'm tired of wearing the same old shorts all the time. It came so quick though, that I'm reeling a bit. Spinning around in a room ablaze with only seconds to choose what to take before it all burns. Hurry up and appreciate summer before it's gone. I don't like the feeling, so I set it on a shelf in my mind, acknowledged but ignored. I put on rubber boots, tuck in my jeans and go out to the garden. Appreciate fall before it's winter, or I'll be spinning around looking for my hoe in a few months, always a season behind.

The fresh air is a nice change, and the horse looks cute when he's all fuzzy. Plus, looky what I found after some digging...potatoes! Apparently they did grow. Fall means harvest, and harvest means good food and good food means that we get to eat meals where nothing was purchased from a store. Corn on the cob, potatoes, carrots and pork chops from the farm down the road. Soon it will be steak that we raised. I'm full and happy. The fall colours will be pretty. And Owen finally gets to ride the school bus.