Monday, January 31, 2011

Conservation...


My mother was very organized. Among other things she was a list-maker. She kept separate lists for “To Do,” and “To Buy” on a chalkboard handy for quickly writing down any shortfalls in the household inventory she encountered so that when it came time to shop, she knew precisely what we needed.


Her “To Do” list was endless. As one task was accomplished and crossed off, it seemed as though at least three more were added. She was a gardener. She baked bread. She was the pre-Betty Friedan “traditional wife, mother and “homemaker.” And she detested the term “housewife,” proclaiming she married a man, not a house.


She enjoyed her role as homemaker –at least until Ms. Friedan pointed out the inherent disadvantages of it—and things like “sexist,” and “feminism” and “equal rights” crept their way into (raised) consciousness vocabularies. That is not to say Ms. Friedan’s ideas were not valuable to mother. Once she realized she was being treated “unequally” by society, she became an activist. At that, however, cracks began to appear in the fa├žade of domestic tranquility especially when she decided not only to join, but to become the local president of The League of Women Voters. My father to his dying day, called it The Plague of Women Voters. Does that tell you something?


At the heart of it all mother was a conservationist. With uncanny accuracy, way back in the early 1950’s she predicted boldly that someday, people would shop, not for what they needed, but rather as entertainment. At the time, her projections were the butt of jokes. Today, were she alive, I believe she would experience some satisfaction that her prediction was spot on. But I know, too, that her sorrow at our consumption-based society, today, would be great. She was also ahead of her time as she spoke of manufacturers engaging in “planned obsolescence.” Back then, the term was not widely understood.


My father and mother took pride in their low, two-digit membership numbers in REI. They joined when nobody knew what REI was. By comparison, MM's and my membership number is above six digits. My parents were mountain climbers, having climbed most of the significant and challenging peaks in the Pacific Northwest. They were even featured in the Seattle Times for several of their feats.


At seven years of age, I was taught to shoulder a pack and hike between them on the Hoh River trail and the Duckabush River. This was long before Californians discovered the Pacific Northwest. My Duckabush hike was a total of seven miles if I recall correctly—somewhat arduous for a little tyke. Throughout my childhood, we were always enjoying the out-of-doors in this bountiful nature’s paradise, as we alternated between the razor clams at the ocean  or a mountain lake filled with rainbow trout, or even staying at home on the waterfront at Dyes Inlet in Puget Sound. But…I digress.


As I said, mother was a conservationist.  Have any of you heard the word “conservation” mentioned in the halls of Congress, lately? Or uttered from the White House? It’s almost as though the English language has completely eliminated the word from the lexicon. C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-O-N. Say it with me:


Con-ser-VA-tion….conservation.


With her lists, Mother paid attention to the small details of personal activism, living by example.  In quest of the most economical use of gasoline, back in the early 1950’s my mother PLANNED her bi-weekly shopping route by mapping out the anticipated trip to town. We didn’t make frivolous trips to the store. So, the trip had to count.

 Before we went “shopping” we had mother's  list of all the things we NEEDED (as opposed to “wanted”), and we had a kind of roadmap that nominated the stores we would visit in the order of our travel, both going and coming home. If we had to stop at Sears, for example, to pick up our catalog order, it was sandwiched with the dental appointment in the morning (and it was on the same side of the highway), my music lessons at Mrs. McKey's place, and the final stop at TBM (Ted, Bill, and Mack’s) grocery on the way home, (it was last because mother didn’t want meat to warm in a hot car, vegetables to wilt, etc.. Mother's list was the locus point of the whole process, and god forbid if we somehow left the list at home.  (That was probably the only reason for returning home:  to retrieve a forgotten list!)  Once home from Bremerton, the final stop in Silverdale would be the gas station to re-fill the 1941 Chrysler’s tank in readiness for the next trip.


If, when we arrived back home, we discovered we had forgotten something, we would simply go without until the next shopping trip. Asking my father to pick it up on the way home from his job at the shipyard was a strict no-no. After all, he carpooled with four other men and he would not suffer the embarrassment of their having to wait while he gathered forgotten grocery items for his wife.
Compare the process I have just described above with what most do today: run to the store. Lists? Who needs a list?! Shop till you drop. Map? Who cares! Running here, running there, running, running everywhere based on single purpose trips! 

Out here, JOTOLR, MM and I "measure" our trips carefully and cram as much into one trip as possible.   Shopping is not recreation for us.  It is a necessary evil.  And yes, I have a list each time we to to town, of all the items we NEED.  It's geographically arranged, just like mother's was, and we try our best to conserve.






Sunday, January 30, 2011

Totally Overwhelmed (with joy!) - High Speed Update...

Sunrise This Morning
I clicked on my blog to edit my post of the previous afternoon, got up to go do something to "wait" for the blog to come up....and immediately sat back down again because it had already appeared on the screen!  OMG!!  We've also been able to follow the situation in Egypt by video and audio which we find particularly gripping and courageous on the part of the people; and my friend, Debbi, and her husband were with us last evening for dinner to celebrate MM's 80th birthday; dear girl, she spent most of the evening getting the then intermittent HSI straightened out....had to "re-boot" the modem several times (while knowing what you're doing!)(somewhat important!) and she --techie wizard that she is--showed me all about podcasts and iTUNES, and Google docs, and Google Earth; she got MM's and my Gmail accounts set up as a stop-gap between now and when we switch off of our last ISP.  WOW!  I am totally overwhelmed.  Thank you, Debbi.  And thank you Frontier!  Taking a coffee break at the moment.  Back tomorrow!

Friday, January 28, 2011

We Are On! But Email Outgoing Isn't Working...Can receive, just can't send...

OK, everyone!  Altogether now 1-2-3!!!!   Hooooray!  The 21st Century has arrived out here JOTOLR.  By golly it's FAST!  Frighteningly fast!  I am up to my eyebrows with questions, and MM keeps saying how fast it is...! 

For the moment, the email isn't working.  I am loathe to fiddle, so am awaiting more astute assistance from my friend Debbi, and my computer man, Frank.  Meanwhile, we're still able to play with all the bells and whistles....that is, when we figure them out!

Again, Frontier...THANK YOU!

BTW, I can receive emails, but cannot send!  Isn't that odd!

More next week!  As I said before, have a good weekend!

It's a Red-Letter Day!



We have the holy folks to thank for introducing us to red-letter days.  Since the 1500's holy days were marked in red on the calendar.  Hence came the implication that red-letter days were important days.

Today, my dearest readers, is definitely, out here JOTOLR, a red-letter day.   Frontier Communcations, bless their hearts, are bringing MM and me into the 21st Century, right here, right today, as the much heralded High Speed Internet installers arrive later this afternoon!

So, the question is, after hungering for this development for the past four years, trying my best to foster its inception in our neck of the woods, being given the run-around by Verizon multiple times, what will we be able to do with High Speed Internet?  I know all too well about the "waiting....and waiting.....and waiting...."  I can't imagine what that's going to be like NOT waiting.  But let's get beyond that for a moment and let me vicariously sample some of the things y'all have taken for granted for years!

Here's the question:  What can we DO with HSI?  besides quicker connections and information flow?  I'd be curious as to what you think. 

And, finally, I must also mention the Age of Aquarius....my Aquarian husband, who does, indeed, love water, whether it's sailing, swimming, messing about in boats, turns 80 on Saturday.  He's simply amazing!  Love that guy!  A lot!  He is my rock. And at 80, I would definitely describe him as "spry!"

Well, it's been an interesting week.  Win some, lose some.  If I have offended anyone with my brash declarations and approaches to life both here on the farm and in the world at large, with my fiction-clothed objections to our animals being victimized, forgive me please. 

I am slowly becoming more comfortable with being a rebel.  It takes awhile, though, for a Miss Do-Right (me) to step out of the track and dare to swim against the mainstream currents.  I was always the one who never parked outside the lines, never offered a dissenting opinion.  But as I grew into adulthood, I discovered that questions and opinions I had were worth expressing.  In discussion forums I often found I wasn't the only one who had similar questions and opinions. 

There's too much going on in this world that needs our attention.  We can't continue to sit on our hands and simply hope things will be different.  Those of us who care must take up the causes we care ABOUT. Actively and forcefully.  It's our duty.

Have a good weekend. 
Thanks for stopping by to visit this past week.  I seem to be missing a few commenters.  Hope I didn't lose you permanently!
See you Monday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fact to Fiction

With the exception of about a half hour this morning, we spent most of the day finishing up the butcher of our turkeys.   This is an untouched first draft, non-revised.  It is fiction, a piece I may use in the novel I am writing.  It is based on yesterday's facts as they unfolded out here JOTOLR.

************
Rough Draft #1
January 27, 2011
Turkey Killing Scene

The dog’s bark was sharp. Not the mellow sound of Tess’s bark or Ross’s Kate. Mysteriously-- almost gleeful in tone—it seemed celebratory, like a declaration of conquest. It was as if the dog was cornering something as the sound ebbed and flowed with each change of direction.


Andy scrambled out of her chair knowing there was only one thing worth cornering in that part of the yard. Worming into her jacket she brushed the curtain aside and took a quick look out the south window, but couldn’t see a thing for the thick snow coming down. She struggled fiercely with her boots, still damp from this morning’s work, then grabbed the loaded Winchester at the door. On the way out, she reached into the drawer on the secretary, and just in case, pulled out some extra shells and jammed them into her pocket. Gun in hand, she managed to open and close the door quietly, sneaking out in long strides beside the rosebushes in the silent snow. The noise level increased, revealing at least two dogs. They yipped and howled. Upon reaching the corner of the barn and taking a look, she wanted to vomit. It was a grisly orgy playing out before her.

Brownish grey feathers were everywhere. Sizing up the scene she saw a tri-colored coon dog and a black-and-tan. They had the big tom turkey cornered between them up against the barn, one on each side of the bird. Streaks of blood and pieces of turkey were splattered and shredded across the snow as if some wild-eyed artist had flung red paint in all directions, making a ghastly nightmare of the pristine landscape. Snow was coming down at a furious pace, now, all but blinding her. She could barely make out the turkey. The hounds were alternately diving in, ripping out a mouthful of feathers and flesh, and then re-cornering the poor bird, lunging in for successive attacks. The other four turkeys had already been severely crippled and were hunkering low to the ground, trying to hide or simply endure, with huge chunks of flesh gone--torn out from their bodies, leaving bloody, gaping holes in their sides.

Andy didn’t waste any more time. Marking the approximate position of the tom, so as not to hit him, she strode forward, firmed the shotgun against her shoulder, took aim and fired. The loudness was deafening.   The nearby woods reverberated with the shock. Squeals of pain erupted from the first dog. She’d hit it but had only caught it on the side of the head. She pumped the shotgun, aimed a little lower, fired, again and silenced the dog. Andy pumped the gun again, but instead of firing, there was an audible click. The gun was empty. Thankfully, the dog stood still, wagging its tail, looking at her, not sure what to do next. Quickly she re-loaded, chambered a shell, ignoring the pitiful look of the hound. She fired. This time the black-and-tan fell silent and sank to the ground.. An eerie quiet settled over the carnage. Andy lowered the gun and leaned it against the side of the barn. She stood for a moment trying to gather her thoughts.

It was obvious the dogs weren’t hungry, She could possibly have excused them had that been the case, but there were no ribs showing. They’d been well fed and had only one thing on their minds: playful bloodlust.

The sight of the once-majestic tom, cowering against the barn, brought a sense of deep sorrow as she recalled the day she’d found the nest of turkey poults, late last spring hatched only hours before. Perhaps the destruction of the nest had been a harbinger of things to come. The mother hen turkey, obviously had tried to defend her brood against some predator, but lay dead beside the nest. Andy had gathered the five remaining poults into her shirt and taken them home. Without any other ideas as to how she was going to care for them, she put them in with the baby chicks and the old setting hen.. The hen didn’t seem to mind, and scooted them under her wing. And from that time on, the turkeys had made a home and claimed it.

They had not only survived, but grown into exquisitely beautiful creatures, so tame and trusting. Quiet, low key, and regal were words that came to mind as Andy thought of their presence here on Rimglow. She found herself regretting she’d ever taught Tess to herd them, or more to the point, had taught the turkeys to allow Tess to herd them, taught them that such behavior, despite eons that warned otherwise, would cause them no harm..

Photo taken January 26, 2011





Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Warm and Wooly

It is snowing hard right now.  When we lived on the Yukon River in Grayling, Alaska, the natives taught us to call this kind of snow "duck feathers."  It's not real cold, but in half an hour since the snow began, we have at least an inch on the ground.  None of this teeny stuff.  This is serious snow.  Fun snow!  Sledding snow!  And, to me snow and wool seem meant for each other!


I LOVE wool.  To me, wool is one of the very best things about winter.  The basket pictured above contains some of my Leicester Longwool, carded out, ready to spin into yarn. It glistens in the sunny window, springs back at my touch, and invites a hand to probe its many wonderful qualities, wriggling fingers deep down.

Wool is a sustainable fiber.  Each year, the shepherdess takes a "crop" of wool from her sheep, and they immediately start to work on growing next year's.  Spinning yarn from fiber is one of the most satisfying endeavors.  It's quiet, relaxing, and the finished product is ultimately wearable and warm. 

IMHO wool is the single most wonderful fiber!  You can actually FEEL the warmth being generated even as you simply slip your cold hand into a wool mitten.  It practically glows!

But some complain that it's just too "itchy."  Kids object to sweaters that are of the wrong TYPE of wool, being next to their skin.  I know I did.   As with everything else in the natural world, some things are well-suited to a particular task, while others aren't.  So, learn about wool first, and then you'll know what to avoid and why.

For example, LLW is a wool that would be suitable for what is called "outer" wear. Directly next to one's skin, it would be less than pleasant if you're a sensitive.  So, what is knit with this type of wool is anything that doesn't go next to one's skin.  This wool works for under-the-coat-collar scarves, socks, gloves, mittens...anything that doesn't lie right next to skin (with the exception of socks--feet seem to be less affected by the "scratchiness" of this type of wool).  The wool IS long!  Some of these sheep, which I owned a few years back, had "locks" as much as 8-10 inches in length as measured when shorn.  This breed was developed for both meat and fiber, and was thus favored among the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  The wool is spun "worsted" and is exceptionally strong. 
On the other hand, I've now finished the scarf I started a few weeks back, using a blended yarn made of  50% Merino wool and 50% silk.  Talk about soft!  Merino sheep have the softest wool imaginable!  No scratch.  No itch.  Just pure luxurious warmth.  Hence, the yarn is excellent for articles of clothing that are worn next to the skin. 

The point, here, is that you do have choices.  Wool is NOT necessarily synonomous with "itchy."  And synthetics simply do not warm as wool does.  Acrylic "doesn't get it" either.  It has no live warmth.   Even when it's wet, wool warms.  

Many complain that wool is not washable. Yet much of today's commercial wool yarn offerings are indeed machine washable. But, of course, be sure and check the label to determine washability before making any assumptions.

A couple of months ago, I purchased The Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes.  What a delightful encyclopedia!  Subtitled, The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber, it is an exceptionally useful and helpful book both for knitters and handspinners. 

If you're looking for a neat hobby that will keep you learning for years and years, one that teaches you how to make great clothing and home decor items, and vicariously let's you live the life of a shepherd...consider browsing the fiber arts specifically in the "wool department." You will be rewarded a thousand-fold with this fascinating craft.  There are lots of resources and websites devoted to the craft on the web.  Simply Google in the term of your choice, and go from there!  It will be a wild and wooly ride!  Perfect for a snowy day in January!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Free and The Brave?


Perhaps, dear readers, it doesn't take much applause (thank you so much all who commented on yesterday's post!!) to stir the synpases into reflection.  It's your fault that I am now again ascending the soapbox.  So, again, I pre-apologize.

When I was three years old….for those of you who need a quick calculator, that was 63 years ago….my far-thinking mother was publicly urging action against the pollution that was harming the bay we lived on back then. Sixty three years ago.
 The bay was called Dyes Inlet…a beautiful, largely pristine area of Puget Sound’s vast inland waterways. At the head of the bay was a sawmill which daily belched toxic waste into the bay, with widespread and growing extinction of the sea life there. The bay was my world, as a child. I beachcombed for crabs and limpets and sand dollars and starfish. We swam in the bay all summer long. My mother was concerned. I suspect nowadays, she might well be a target for “terrorism,” if she were alive and trying to fight for regulation that would prevent pollution, with big business interests trying to squelch—more like destroy—the opposition.


But Mother was brave and she persisted. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. She went directly to Senator Magnuson’s office…and took me with her. I am told (though don’t remember) that I, at three years of age, when letting go of Mother’s guiding hand for only a moment, marched straight up to the tall and imposing Senator Magnuson, and looking up past his knees, proclaimed with a bold, yet tiny voice: “Senator MagNUson, you have to do something about pollution.” Again, folks, that was 63 years ago. And the fight for our planet has just begun.


Worse, we Americans have grown used to not thinking. Expressing an opinion out loud is likely to bring about “unintended” consequences in today’s politically charged environment. As a population, we rely on “the other” to tell us what we SHOULD think.


Over the weekend MM and I watched the NFC and AFC conference championships (football for those who are not). I listened carefully to our national anthem as it was sung in both games. I also listened to the crowd as the noise rose and fell, most strongly when “the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air” were sung. The noise level surged into the upper decibel region. And I thought, isn’t it odd that we cheer loudest for war. (rockets and bombs) And then came the “free and the brave” part…the roar again erupted, and I thought, “We are no longer “brave” and we certainly aren’t free…at least in the sense that we have the right to be free from terror, (reference Gabrielle Giffords) or free to speak our minds (reference “my way or the highway”  or the Palin-esque "Don't retreat, reload"). Those of us who would like to “discuss” understandably feel threatened.  Perhaps more to the point, we have nearly lost the art of discussing.  We shout, overpower, limit discourse, and display bad behavior at all levels.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave a speech on January 6, 1941 that has come to be known as the “Four Freedoms” speech. The freedoms that all Americans were entitled to were:

1. Freedom of speech and expression


2. Freedom of worship


3. Freedom from want


4. Freedom from fear


How many of these do you believe are missing in today’s political, economic and environmental climates?


Sadly, Americans rely now on the right or the left or the centrist or the fringes to interpret and then to tell them what they should think and do. The last bravery on home soil was the Back-to-the-Land movement in the 1970’s, the so-called “hippies” who saw what was happening then: an unjust war and total intransigence on the part of those in power. Americans rebelled. They rioted. This was the heyday of the anti-war MOVEMENT.  Indeed is was a "movement."  Young and old,  said NO! No, No, we won’t go! The protest songs were sung with loud clear voices, determined for “change.” It was an exciting time. And ordinary people joined hands and stood up for their Four Freedoms and more. And they were called “traitors” and “unpatriotic.” And many went to jail refusing to participate in the travesty of making war.


Now, today, though, we seem to have gone dormant. We imagine that change happens in some central casting…..Meanwhile, we simply “take it (whatever punishment--foreclosures, loss of job, rising costs of education...)” and wait for the pundits to “interpret” while we sit on our hands, lick our wounds and nurse our feelings of helplessness and abuse.


Not so in Tunisia. Not so. If you look at the faces of those who are protesting a corrupt government, you see hope, eagerness, a willingness to put one’s face and body on the line. We’ve lost that here in America. We’re too busy proving a self-fulfilling prophecy that says Americans are lazy, fat, and dumb. And, you know what?. We’ve lost our pride, we’ve lost our homes to thieves, we’ve lost our jobs to other countries, and worst of all….we’ve mostly lost hope . And that's how subjugation begins.  

Or maybe more to the point, perhaps hope is all we have left. And we keep hoping, hoping, hoping….that some knight or knightress in shining armor, will come rescue us. It’s not going to happen, people. As the comic book character, Snuffy Smith, used to say, “We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.” It's up to us. If we envision changing things, if we want things like GREEN energy, high speed rail, free education, public option health care, all the things that Europe enjoys....it's up to us. And it's not going to come easily or without a fight.  And that fight must be generated at the grass roots.  It's obvious the upper 1% of the population, where the wealth is concentrated is only interested in preserving the status quo.

It took my mother 15 years of persistent and vigorous lobbying efforts, but she made it.  She won.  The eyesore/sawmill came down, the polluting source was withdrawn, and the bay does not suffer from that today.  I keep wondering, though, if the next battle there won't be over old septic systems, built when the population there numbered around 3,000--before it was 'discovered'-- as opposed to the present-day 70,000.  And so the world turns.



Monday, January 24, 2011

The Height of Arrogance

Warning:  TWBAR (This will be a rant.)  And many, if not most, of you probably won't agree with me.  In fact, I may just get your hackles up.  I apologize ahead of time, but invite you to comment.

I've been stewing about an article ever since I read  it in the January 9, 2011 issue of The New York Times  It sticks in my craw.  To me, (even allowing for a little forgiveness for embedded hyperbole), I found the article to be totally appalling, disgusting, and unbelievably abusive of Mother Earth.  And, believe me, my ire wasn't because I--a poor country bumpkin--could not afford what was being sold.  No.  Even if I could, even given a free opportunity to do so, I would never, never, never, patronize any of the places listed,. 

The title of the article was "Ten Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride."  It was on the far right side (pun intended) of the Goggle News (which I only lightly patronize, not wanting to listen to any "news" which is not.(news)  Destinations included Spain, Lummi Island (in Washington State), Australia, London, France...and more.

I think what really gets to me is that anyone could even joke about using resources like this!  But this wasn't a joke and I find this to be not just remotely "off color," it's vile.  

You can read all the Wiki answers you want and be convinced that the airliner is "actually very fuel-efficient when you distribute the 36,000 gallons used per international flight distributed over the 500+ people  in the plane who are flying," Airline Fuel "Efficiency" but that's not the point. 

When are we going to start asking the question, "How can we justify such frivolous expenditures of  fuel?" Where did the word "conservation" go?  To patronize ten restaurants with a plane-ride, each?  Come on!

Even the "earth-friendly" among us seem to have developed permanent blind spots when it comes to burning fuel, driving long distances to visit relatives, flying long distances, without a hint of a thought for the importance of the mission, and the goudge that is being wrought on the earth as a result.  Does anyone question the need for dashing coast to coast for the weekend?  You know, we used to embrace a concept called "extended families."  Elders were a part of the family.  Children got the benefit of knowing grandma and grandpa....they were close.  

So, where are the jobs that would sustain a closeknit, extended family and keep them nearby?  What have we done?  Shouldn't we be asking these types of questions instead of accepting a mantra that chants "There aren't any jobs here"?  It used to be you could drive out into the flat country land not far from here, just over the mountain, and see lots of little, clean factories making all manner of products.  Cabinets, appliances, clothing... These provided jobs for the local people here in rural America.  You know where these jobs have gone?  Mexico, Viet Nam, China....and children now travel away to get a "meaningful" job. Comes the holidays and everyone wants to get home all at the same time.  Add a weather event to that and chaos ensues.

And then there are the business people who patently refuse to take full advantage of current technologies to exchange information, favoring "face-to-face" over saving energy, flaunting one's ability to do so, just because they can...justifying it by saying that seeing people "in person" is so much more "effective" than doing business via video conferencing.  And this is "progress?" 

Nowadays, people aren't "into" questioning the meaning of "progress" and "growth."  When they hear these terms daily as being something we're in pursuit OF, they automatically assume "progress" and "growth" to be a good thing.  But, it's not.  We've grown and "progressed"  and "competed" about as much as this planet can stand.  It's time to explore ways NOT to grow and to change the definition of the word "progress."  And "competitive" at what?  

If you take my book recommendation and go ahead and read Mike Nickerson's wonderful treatise, you will be surprised at the forces that are working "under the table" to thwart all efforts toward  sustainability, conservation, environmental protection... 

Remember the blizzard a few weeks back, right at Christmas?  Sure, naturally, flights were cancelled, schedules screwed up...It was a real mess.  I suspect some of you were caught up in it.  And people complained loudly that the airlines were somehow at fault.  You know who was at fault?  Everyone who chose to fly someplace all at the same time. Like trying to jam a tennis ball down a garden hose.   I know, I know...!  I'm going to take a hit for this....but people, we can't keep doing this stuff.  We need to live closer to our relatives, start putting together communities, finding/making work close to home,  and stop flying and driving like maniacs, spending fuel wantonly, just to get to some destination at the screaming last minute before some market-made holiday.  It's really, really stupid.  And it's all part of the same psyche that never stops to ask the question, "Why am I doing this?"  and more importantly, "What could I do instead?"

"Ten Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride?"  Oh, come on! 

Call me a  Scrooge, but get the book entitled Life, Money and Illusion, subtitled, "Living on earth as if we want to stay"  and start your read that will take you on a journey of discovering wonderful alternatives to this madness.  It's by a Canadian, Mike Nickerson.  It's his second edition, so somebody's read it!  You can buy it off of Amazon for $8.85 new (or $8.50 used).  Once you've read it, pass it on to your library.  And spread the world.  It's incredibly revealing, covering multiple perspectives on sustainability, politics, economics, and all manner of issues connected with whether or not we can ever grow a "sustainable" future.  MM and I have been reading it aloud, discussing as we go....and I haven't found a more far-reaching (and interesting to read--lively, throught-provoking, ambitious) work on this vital topic.

And one last thought for the day:  if you missed the  PBS program "Nature" last night, try to catch it today or this evening if you can.  It featured Birds of Paradise...giving you still another reason to contemplate what life would (will?) be like, without them....and to compare the ten restaurants that are "worth a plane ride" to the irridescent feathers and the exotic dances of the Birds of Paradise.



From the restaurant (worth every penny of a walk to the oven) of Chez MM JOTOLR
   

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weather Smorgaasbord

Our weather this morning has been an unfolding cascade of choices.  As the old saying goes, if you don't like the current weather, stick around for the next chapter!  It began with the old adage, "Red sky in the morning, sailors (farmers) take warning (and I've been a sailor, too, so I take no chances and batten down all hatches when I see that kind of red sky of a morning!)  We've had a wealth of gorgeous sunrises this winter, and yesterday's was no exception.

Nonetheless,  I knew we were in for it. 

Indeed.....this is what greeted us at milking time this morning...

And half an hour later, milking finished, we're inside...watching all manner of snow squalls and snow devils (mini-tornadoes, like dust devils, only of snow).  The wind is roaring through the limbs beside the house.  It sounds like it's right here at my desk; and huge swirls of ice crystals are dancing in the sun as it peeps out shyly from behind big billowy clouds. 

The turkeys are basking and preening.....taking shelter from the driving wind between two lumber piles, feathers fluffed to the max.

And now, fifteen minutes later,  the fickle sun apparently has decided to stick around for awhile.....until, that is,  it passes the torch to another weather event, lurking just over the horizon...!


Dearest Readers,

Internet-wise, this week has been mixed.  Yesterday the 'Net was so slow, it made it all but impossible for me to do comments, upload photos and post my blog.  I finally just gave up altogether!  But there is good news on the horizon.  This past Tuesday Frontier Communications called me from Minneapolis to tell me that they were anticipating getting us connected to High Speed Internet by AT LEAST March 31, 2011; however.....they were hoping to get us connected BEFORE then, ideally sometime in February because they are apparently running some specials and would like to include us in their offerings!  WOW!  To think that the phone company called ME!  To give me this news! 

Thank you Dineen Anderson at Frontier.  What great service!

So, anyway....back to the slow, dial-up, Internet at the moment.  As a stop gap I'm going to use my own blog for the moment,  to run a few comments on yours. That way I can minimize the waiting and waiting and waiting...! 
Thank you, everyone!  I love what you write.  You are all such amazing people!
Here's to a wonderful weekend!
See you Monday!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Bit One:  The sauerkraut was finished as of January 6th.  I waited a few more days beyond that artificial deadline and then proclaimed it ready to be canned.  I have one of those modern gas ranges (along with the Pioneer Maid cookstove) that is stainless steel and open across the top.  By the end of the canning season it is a wreck.  But after many experiences of spending a couple of hours during canning season, cleaning it, and having it a complete mess within three days, I finally decided to wait until canning was finished.  By that time, there is no telling what had collected both on top and in the oven  It was beyond Heloise, believe me.  Definitely time to attack with elbow grease and baking soda.  I do not use those horrible chemical cleaners any more.  They leave a residue that smells awful for months afterward.  So, I've gone back to baking soda and a little ammonia on top.  And yes, it is a self-cleaning oven, but I've never used that facility on it either.  Seems borderline in terms of safety...like a confined nuclear blast.  Not that the oven couldn't use something along those lines, but I'd rather not risk a conflagration.  So, as I said, elbow grease and simple cleaners.  After an hour and a half it is gleaming. 

Bit Two:  About two years ago, MM bought a small banana tree.  I believe we're shortly going to be turning over one area of the house to the lovely specimen. It likes us. As you can see, it's grown.  We water it with the leftover bathwater. Talk about fertility!   You can see (by the banana tree how dirty we must be! )  I'll admit during the summer when we're working in the garden, the garden tends to follow us inside and the just-emptied tub could host a pretty healthy crop of potatoes!


Pieces:  One last thought before I leave you, today...have you noticed?  It's lighter, later.  Our milking time has been moved to 5:15 p.m. of an evening and we still get in before dark.  Translated:  spring's not far away!!  And...we've ordered the garden seeds!  So, don't give up hope!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cookies

No, not like the tasty kind--oatmeal and sugar and chocolate.  I'm talking about mud cookies made by "somebody's" boots.  Not mine. Not MM's.  "Somebody's." 


You see, we have what my sister-in-law called menahunies.  (She lived in Hawaii.)  Menahunies sneak in and wreak all manner of havoc on neat-to-the-pin households (which mine is not) and often--especially this time of year-- leave behind little brown shapes as calling cards that tell of their visit.  They are the "somebodies" who press out these mud cookies in the most surprising places.  Menahunies laugh --almost out loud--when they hear us say, "It wasn't me."  "Nope, me neither." 

This marks the beginning of the season when I find these cute little cookies everywhere.  Mostly inside, although they are also found in considerable numbers on our wraparound porch. They're on the stairs, on the kitchen floor. under the table, upstairs on the rug...so far, I haven't found one in bed, but I fully expect to one of the these days.  Who presses out these little miracles, anyway?  They seem to appear out of nowhere.  Oh, it's those dratted menahunies at it again!

The cookies are criminally fragile.  When I stoop to pick one up, it usually breaks apart into at least another dozen pieces which require a broom. 

Occasionally, though, MM will admit to being the culprit.  I've been training him for 43 years.  (After that big an investment in time, divorce is never an option!)  So, from time to time, he will say, "Sorry about those cookies, honey."  Even more amazing is when he retrieves the dustpan and brush and proceeds to sweep them up!  What a guy!

As for the menahunies, there's a lot more winter left until The Great Thaw, and I'm watching out for them hoping to catch them in the act!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Pasta Day

It's what some would probably call a "gloomy" day.  Overcast, dampish-cold, just the kind of day when an afghan (Barbara!) and a good book are the best companions you can find. It's a reading day.  A knitting day.  A spinning day.  A music day.  And it's also a pasta day.

MM--otherwise known as Mama Mia--LOVES to make spaghetti FROM SCRATCH.  Lots of yellow eggs (we're getting between 8 and 12 a day, now, from those little chicks we got back in June), some flour and the nifty pasta machine we bought for ten bucks at the flea market, and he's in business.  I used to think making pasta was a waste of time.  It was so cheap in the store, why in the world would anyone waste their time making it?!  Not anymore.  Once you've tasted homemade pasta, store-bought just can't compare!  And with homegrown eggs, the flavor is tops!

Today, he made enough pasta for a noodle supper as well as a spaghetti supper.  And remember those puffballs I harvested back in October?  Well...guess what!  They're in tonight's homemade spaghetti sauce, along with tons of garlic, home grown Oregano and Basil, and...of course, the lovely and lovingly made pasta.   MM cranks it out while I am on the receiving end of the machine, as it splits the sunny colored dough into strips, which find their way to the laundry drying rack where they crisp up and ultimately cook in the boiling water.  Tonight's flavor is Italian venison rather than sausage or hamburger.  Havested a year or so ago and preserved in jars, it's where I best like to see deer!


Good news on the accordion front!  It's in transit back here from the factory and I should have it early this week.  It seems a reed was faulty and the company replaced it.  So, Mama will have her squeezebox back very soon!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow....

Photograph number 5000.  (taken since the first one in August 2009)
Let us not only hope for better things to come, but let's work together to make that happen.  Choose something you really care about.  Stand up and step out.  Become a voice.  I have just done so, myself.  My environmental concern is water.  I am putting my money where my mouth is with a membership (and a promise to DO something as opposed to being a "clicktivist"...) in the Lower Greenbrier River Watershed alliance.  I care about water.  Clean drinking water, and pristine aquatic environments.  I care about what industry is doing to water, how it is being used, privatized, stolen.  By focusing on one thing, I believe I can be more useful to a cause, than by trying to be a Sherwin Williams and "cover the earth."  So, between seeking to bring about "civil" debate and discussion, and doing something meaningful instead of just griping about things in general, perhaps I put one woman's restless soul to work for something the world needs.

Have a delightful weekend!  We're getting a little respite from cold and wind.  The sun has come out....today!
See you Monday  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Think I Can, I Think I Can......I KNOW I Can!



Today, it's been a whole year-- 297 posts-- since Just Off the One-Lane Road took shape and became a reality.   

My first post back in January of 09 seemed so scary...I remember feeling like my laundry would be on display...with all its stains and raggedy-ness.  I sought help from my expert friend, Debbi (AGAIN!....by now you know that Debbi knows EVERYTHING I need help with!)  She helped me get my header up and when I saw it, I was thrilled beyond words!

I had purchased my Canon Rebel in August 09 hoping to resurrect my photographic skills learned so many years ago.  As a 30-something I had graduated from the New York Institute of Photography, had my own darkroom, published and sold my photos, but when my eyes became less able to discern sharpness, and the need for glasses surfaced, I was sure I was finished in the photographic arena.  

That turned out to be a huge misconception.  I took the leap not only to purchase the Rebel and my own Dell computer (separate from MM's) but I cranked up my courage and bought a pair of Transition lens glasses.  When I put my eye to the viewfinder, I could see everything in fabulous detail!  Again...I was thrilled!  And I loved the freedom of digital!  Having the whole array of "seeing equipment" I have been in Seventh Heaven all this past year as my photos have come to life for me.  The blogging business for Elora was to be a one-year experiment, and the decision as to whether to continue past one year would await the passage of time and depended upon its "success." (defined as my own satisfaction with doing it and at least one other person besides me or MM reading it!)

The other goal I sought, as I entered into the blogosphere was to stay abreast of technology at least to the extent of being able to DO a blog.  What a huge and almost overwhelming task it seemed back then.  And what could I possibly have to say to the world--every day!-- I wondered.  The blank page roared at me and I almost lost my balance.  Then, the skills of the writer, ingrained in me ever so long ago, arose to take command.  The rest is a work in progress...which I hope to continue indefinitely.

And that's only because of all of you, my dear readers, who have--quite beyond my wildest expectations--rewarded me far more than I ever could have imagined.  And for that I can only give you my loving, humble and sincere gratitude.  

Today's photo isn't particularly outstanding, but it was taken January 15, the closest I could find to January 13th.  And, the weather is about the same today as it was back then.  Flurries continue.  The sun is out.  It looks like we've survived another of winter's test, and out here Just Off The One-Lane Road, we're moving on toward the next.  Thank you all for sharing and for honoring me with your gift of time.

Thank you so much!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hot 'n Cold

Well, folks.....it's just plain miserable outside.  The wind has piped up to a steady 20 mph, with occasional gusts in the 30 mph range.  It is snowing horizontally, and swirls of crystals are flying everywhere.  I put out sunflower seeds for the birds.  Normally, we let them pursue their natural food, but in this wind, and cold--it's 20 degrees--they need a little help, so we're providing it.

The wood fire is so comforting.  Knowing that we have adequate firewood, too, warms our hearts!  Last year we got caught and were seriously eyeing the dining set as kindling!  Not this year, by golly.  We're currently in great shape for fuel. It's not exactly hot inside, but, like the British, we are adding layers instead of expecting the thermostat (we don't have one!) to be at 70 degrees in every room!  After all, why learn to knit if you don't wear the sweaters and gloves.

And BTW, those wrist warmers?  I thought they were ridiculous until I got a pair from my friend, Debbi, the fabulous knitter, Debbi, that is.....!  I LOVE THEM!  My fingers are no longer cold as I type!  Thank you, Debbi!

One more milking in about half an hour, and then it's in for the night.  So, here's sending you warmth and coziness for today and this evening!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Puzzling It Out

Winter is puzzle time out here JOTOLR!  I love jigsaw puzzles.  MM doesn't.  So what kind of mind likes them?  I'm not an overly neat person, so it's not an obscession to put things to right.  But once those pieces are out of the box and onto the table, I find them irresistible...no, addictive!  Again, I would venture to guess it stems from my mostly indoor life as a child growing up in the rainy PNW.

I never do puzzles during the summer.  Only during winter.   And I'm not the only one!  Even the library, with their cozy fireside coffee table, has a puzzle going all the time, now. What a nice thing to do!  Inviting folks to come in out of the cold. But never during summer.  Jigsaw puzzles and summer just don't seem to complement one another the way jigsaw puzzles and winter do. 


My friend, Vicki, over at Vicki Lane Mysteries widened my horizon considerably the other day with this: http://www.jspuzzles.com/ where you can work puzzles online.  The main advantage I can see is you will never lose that last piece in the sofa onlyt MS;">History of Jigsaw Puzzles  There are FAQ's, puzzle artists, brands of puzzles, and jigsaw trivia for those interested in finding out more.

Despite the popularity of electronic games and all manner of sophisticated toys these days, jigsaw puzzles remain extraordinarily popular. As for brands, I like Springbok, and this SunsOut is shortly going to join my list of favorite puzzlemakers.  For those who consider themselves afficionados, what's important you in a jigsaw puzzle?  Color?  Size?  And where in your house do you put your puzzle?  I finally purchased a large piece of foamboard at the office supply store, which I can move easily.  I lay the pieces out on a cutout piece of formica left over from sink installation in housebuilding!  And both fit on an old door, propped up with plastic milk crates and plastic drawers from Walmart.

All in all...i believe building a puzzle is a delightful way to spend parts of a winter day (along with writing, spinning, knitting0...inside when it's just plain unpleasant outside!   I find them soothing, lovely, relaxing, and --of course--challenging.

And what do I do with a finished puzzle? Keep it and frame it? Nope. Break it up and pass it on. Anyone want to trade puzzles???? This one is well-travelled. It came from a friend in Idaho!









 


Monday, January 10, 2011

The Gardener's Malaise (continued) --Part Two

(continuing...)

Having monitored the ground temperature for the past three weeks and having now determined that it is warm enough to plant, our weekend wonder emerges like a tool-encrusted butterfly from his house cocoon. Each carefully oiled implement glistens in the late May sun.  Seed packets bloom from multipocketed overalls, and an air of sublime contentment pervades.

There is something soothing about raking and leveling the earth; to see little clods of dirt break beneath the gently nudging tines, that leave behind only miniature furrows in flowered patterns.  Back and forth.  Forth and back.  Not quite level yet.  Just a tad more on that side.  Ah, this is a bit of exercise, isn't it, after that long hibernation.  A handkerchief, here, to wipe the perspiration off the brow.

Time out for an iced tea.  Naturally, there's no need to hurry in this long-awaited pleasure, for a large part of the joy comes from leaning on the shovel, the making ofmeasure strings, and contemplation of row length.  Here, too, is the time for noble, philosophical cogitations, (too grand for utterance, mind you)--visions of the Great Provider, the savior of the family, the when-all-else-fails-at-least-we'll-eat fantasies.  (Whoever starved on lettuce and radishes?!)  However, it is this last segment of pleasant ruminating that arouses the True Garden to the task at hand and sets him double-timing for the hoe and seed packets.

Tenderly, he puts these babies to bed, covering them with a blanket of warm earth, and then begins the wait.

But, a watched seed never sprouts.  And everything else does.  Until a carpet of green covers the entire garden, but no pattern can be discerned as the True Gardener vascillates between To Weed or Not To Weed.

Finally---!!

"The carrots are up! So are the radishes!  So's the squash!  Oh, boy, oh, boy. are we gonna eat!"

Now, daily, the True Gardener leaves his day job and whistles his way home through the commuter menagerie with one thought buoyant on his frazzled mind:  checking his garden.  What a peaceful retreat from the workaday hustle bustle, where tranquility and serenity blend in a harmonious equilibrium between man and Nature!  The mere thought of life itself, springing from one minute kernel, into vernal profusion and fruition is enough to humble even the most jaded soul.  Yes, a balanced ecological system is certainly the answer to man's problems; organic symbiosis of living, growing--

"GAWD MARGE!  GET THE RAID!  MY TOMATOES--THE FLEA BEETLES ARE--OH, N-O!!!  LOOKIT THE CABBAGES!  WHERE'S THE PHENOLENDAHYDROCOXINAN?  QUICK!!!

"But dear, you'll kill the ladybugs and praying mantises you ordered from "The Organic Gardener..."

TO HELL WITH THE LADYBUGS AND PRAYING MANTISES!  KILL THE LITTLE BUGGERS!  KILL EVERYTHING!!!

Colorado potato beetles, Japanese beetles, Squashvine borers, spotted and striped cucumber beetles --all flee for their lives as a gigantic cloud envelopes the yard in a garden-style Armageddon.  What can't fly away, makes a valiant attempt to crawl only to be met by a flat foot that seems to have quadrupled in size in the last half hour.  Nothing must escape!

Peace returns to the little Eden only when every last villian has been exorcised.  Out of breath, the True Gardener bends down tenderly to inspect the ravages.  Yes, some nurslings have the look of granny's lace handkerchief, but most will doutless survive the seiges--of both insects and of gardener, as well.

Before long the planted plants, responding to the labors of love from the True Gardener, begin to overtake the unplanted plants, the latter having to fight back against frequent attacks from this garden variety of Attila the Hun.

As the July sun widens into August, harvest begins in earnest.  There starts a frenzy of storing, processing, tilling, mulching, watering, planting cover crops, spreading manure, re-tilling--time out for The First Melon of the Season--a triumph!--Ambrosia!  You are wonderful, True Gardener!--back to it--digging potatoes, drying onions, cutting herbs, building root cellars, freezing, canning, cutting, peeling, squashing, pureeing, pickling, drying--

And then some crass individual has the temerity to ask, "Isn't anybody tired of SALADS?"
--coring, slicing dicing, picking, dividing, shelling, cracking, and finally, at last, we come to the end.  THE FIRST FROST.

WHEW!

The True Gardener sits back in his recliner beside the fireplace, sipping his homemade low-cal tomato-carrot cocktail and eating roasted squash seeds.  The fragrances of approaching October fill the air:  sweet mellow onions, hanging in the shed; the apples, a tangy perfume.  Reds, oranges and golds paint the countryside as autumn embraces the land.

And then a voice, like the distant sound of temple bells, calling the faithful, tinkles in the offing:

"Oh, I almost forgot, dear.  Something came for you in the mail today."

"Oh?  What was it?"

"It's a new seed catalog, they're putting out early this year..."



Friday, January 7, 2011

The Gardener's Malaise -- Part One

The first symptoms actually begin in January.  There is a restless but covert fondling of garden tools; a secret trip to the garden space to check the freeze depth; furtive glances of anticipation toward the mailbox in search of an early seed catalog.  The True Gardener's Malaise (otherwise known as TGM) has set in.  For those of us susceptible to this most serious of diseases, mid-winter is a trying time.

It is pure frustration to witness the sun's rays, streaming bountifully in through the hall window and look outside only to find them wasted upon the crusted snow that has olbiterated all but traces of last year's garden plot.  Winter periodicals trumpet the joys of growing vegetables in your bathroom window, gardening under artifical light--but somehow, it all lacks the gritty ecstasy derived from kneeling in mucky springtime dirt.  Pacifiers,  That's all they are.  Just pacifiers.  Of course, the True Gardener can hardly be blamed for indulging in some of these lesser endeavors, but come spring you can bet his roving eye will leave the confines of his hydroponic harem indoors for the more earthy company of a compost pile and horse poop.  There's no substitute for plain old garden dirt.  Ah!  The nostaliga of it!  It's enough to make the True Gardener weep with longing as he watches his Burpee Planting Clock slowly tick by.

So, it is with great difficult that he is dissuaded from venturing forth with the groundhogs at the first February thaw to at least till a wee spot for the lettuce.  Were it not for the generosity of the gods in thinking of hotbedding some early greens, a full-blown neurosis could set in.  But, bless us all, the look of golden bliss pours over the grower's face as he beams, "If I plant some lettuce seeds now, we'll have salad by April 1."

Finally, the seed catalog arrives.  And now begins a routine no less precise than the mating ritual of the pileated woodpecker.

"Let's see...what variety of beets should we order?"
"Well, the Slendra-ovals did nicely for us last year..."
"Y-es....But I'd like to try a new variety this year.  How about Purple Passions?"
"Well, let's have a look at what it says.  Hmmmm.  Resists fuzzy wortworm, makes three-foot tops, with large sweet-tasting roots, matures late and is a good winter keeper."
Sounds good.  Let's get a packet."
"What about Lithuanian (for Ruta) eggplant?"
"I wonder what salsify tastes like..."
"Lookkee here, they've go a new thing called celtuce.  Maybe we should get some of that..."

Oh, the dreams of grandeur that plague the process of seed selection!  No caution intrudes here to deter the willful abandon of the enthusiast at this most crucial time.  For seed choosing is the real bash of the True Gardener.  And like many acts of procreation, comparitively little thought is given at the time of choosing, to the enduring task of nurture.

At last the seeds arrive!  Comes now the drawing board and tape measure to lay forth....The Garden Plan--otherwise known as the first time the True Gardener discovers that he has bought far too many seeds for the amount of space he has in which to plant them.  Turning to his library, he finds little help in "How to Truck Farm Commerically in Twenty Square Feet," so there is nothing for it but to.....extend the garden space.  For that--the rototiller.

There is an undisguised authority, now, as the proud owner reads the warranty card on his new machine, a visible swelling of chest, a slight jut of the chin:  "Congratulations! for choosing the most power garden tiller made in America today.  Just read and follow the simple directions carefully and your tiller will give you years of labor-free gardening pleasure."

"O.K.  Now.  Fill the crankcase with oil.  Check.  Fill tank with gas.  Check.  Check the oil level.  Check.  I guess we're ready..."

With the first pull of the starter cord a surge of robust power is unleashed and the True Gardener knows immediately who is in control--the rototiller.

Kids, dogs, and cats watch in utter amazement as the unsuspecting soul suddenly finds himself plunging through the strawberry patch (which did not need tilling) completely at the mercy of this wild and wanton monster.  From a distance the scene is vaguely reminiscent of an enraged Brahma bull charging at full tilt.  Somehow, stuck to the tail end is a wild-eyed, slightly manical-looking creature, contemplating his last will and testament as he sails past the dog house, heading for the beehives.  Mercifully, the thing hangs up on the fencerow and comes to an uneasy rest, but not before making breakfast sausage links of the hose.

A quick re-check of the instruction sheet and one small adjustment--taking it out of gear--sets things to rights and the garden plot is suitably enlarged to accommodate the gourmet assortment.  And now a metamorphisis occurs.

Note:  Part Two on Monday. 

(I wrote this piece over twenty years ago.  But things haven't changed.  Today, January 7,  2011, guess what MM was doing?  Shopping the seed catalogs!

See you on Monday everyone....I'll bet a lot of you, too, are shopping for seeds and pining for summer!
Thanks for stopping to visit!  I've enjoyed your company so very much.  It's snowing lightly here, JOTOLR...looking for more this evening. 
Have a great weekend! 



 


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Waiting and waiting and waiting.....



Remember our number one stock dog, Jessie?  Well, at eleven years young, she has reached the dowager stage and is entitled to special treatment.  It's been quite a year for us, with respect to our dog population here JOTOLR.  It has declined considerably.  You'll remember Torre who was felled by that maple tree.  And just prior to that both of our older dogs, one 13 and the other 12, perished. 


And, quite suddenly we almost lost Jessie, too, who is ten, but she's on the mend.  Jessie was slowing down a lot.  Her agility as she aged was compromised.  We believe, as a result of that she had some kind of tanglement with something--probably the calf, but we didn't see what, which has left her hind quarters impaired and for awhile her mental capabilities were serious diminished as well. 


But, we've been looking after her with devoted attentiveness and our reward is that she is at least herding chickens, now, she has regained a sense of humor, and at least gets excited --as excited as a handcapped old lady can get--about the thought of finding a rabbit or a mouse in the grass.  To be sure, she isn't her "old self" but she's a heckuva lot better than she was on October 15th. 


It's been a long haul, Jessie has moved inside with us, mostly, but she goes out with us to milk, to herd chickens and turkeys and has adapted amazingly to being an inside and physically impaired dog, even has organized herself around her bathroom needs, whimpering if she needs to go out right away; otherwise responding appropriately when let out. 


You see, whatever happened, has left her barely able to rise from her bed.  She's lost considerable weight, and if she were a human she would probably be wheelchair bound.  She gets up, ever so slowly, to our cheering.  And this is an incredible step forward.  For awhile it looked as if she would never get up by herself.  At the beginning of her accident, we had to set her up on her hind feet, steady her until she gained equilibrium, and help her toddle into motion.  We're pretty sure the calf kicked her in the head as her teeth on one side were shattered.   


But, she's a game little thing, and each day she adds another success to her recovery process.  And we are cheering!!


OK...back to the waiting and waiting and waiting....When Jessie goes out in the frigid mornings we've had lately, she shivers.  So, I decided to knit her a dog sweater.  She chose the dusty rose color herself ! :-)) Isn't it divine? Conveniently her tastes ran parallel to the yarn given to me by my friend Debbi.  And Jessie really liked the style as well...


And believe me, she's definitely a fashion statement, when she steps out, now.  The cows are simply amazed, as are her two other Border Collie friends, Cade and Bandit.  They all--cows and dogs (and, I am not joking here)--come up to sniff her and ask, "What the heck is this.........?!  Some apparition?  Or aberration?"  No kidding!  MM had to drive off the cows when Jessie first paraded her new sweater and her Frisbee for all to see!  They wanted an up-close sniff of her!  But Jessie held her head high, disdained their uncouth explorations of her wardrobe,  and best of all....she didn't shiver!


Meanwhile....her sweater, for me, became an Internet project.  What's that, you ask?  Well, since I am still on dial-up, I used "spare" time, sitting at the computer, waiting and waiting and waiting....for images to appear on my blog, for text to download... and as I waited and waited and waited I knitted and knitted and knitted, and Jessie's sweater took shape.  I now have a finished knitting project (wooohoooo!) and Jessie is warm and comfy.  Not only that!  She looks fabulous in it and would be a credit to anybody's runway!


And I am ready to start another Internet knitting project!  Better finish before the end of March, though.  That's when High Speed Internet is currently scheduled to come to those of us living out here JOTOLR!