Monday, November 18, 2019

farmette life, for a while

Too much coffee, too much herbal tea, too little food. Many conversations, with everyone except the person who feels himself to be needing another world, one without conversation.

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That is my morning.

I have stumbled into a state of inertia, because I haven't the information to make any good decisions. So I kill time until some inner wisdom pushes me in one direction or the next.

For those of you who worry (as I surely did), do know that Ed is in Puerto Rico and doing fine. Yes, I'm happy too. I want that guy to stay well!

There is a lot of beauty in the world around me, here, at the farmette...

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... though I feel myself to be at the edge of it right now. My lingering lung infection and dark brooding skies are juxtaposed against lingering memories of sweet blossom on trees and in the gardens, of walks across hills filled with butterflies ("you've got to come see them! let's go right now!"). Was that really only a few weeks ago? The butterflies escaped to Mexico, Ed escaped to Puerto Rico, while I'm watching too many cats and too many chickens and the plants shriveled and tumbled under the weight of an early winter.

At least the grandkids are like a burst of goodness, of sweet hugs and innocent dreams...

(Sparrow has a hard time with parting with his lunchbox once he leaves school!)

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Snowdrop starts off with a percolating story, but she gives up on it quickly. This has been a pattern for her lately: tell story, give it up, plunk down on the couch and ask for a few chapters of a book.

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Sparrow, on the other hand, starts with play and then, toward the end of the evening, asks for book after book after book.

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There is almost never a time when either kid is not into art. Recently, Sparrow just wants to draw with a pencil. Snowdrop would prefer markers, but today I insist on her sketching with a pen. (If there are markers, Sparrow goes wild with enthusiasm and inevitably, there will be marker stains everywhere.)

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Later in the evening, once the kids leave, I make my way to the sheep shed to feed the cats. I have a cavalier attitude about them right now: they're all grown, they're all strong, they're all messy. Three weeks ago, I cleaned up after them. Unless it's totally gross, I don't do that anymore. I don't wash their bowls. I don't stay and chat them up. I dump food and water into the bowls and leave with a "so long, cats.... you pushed me over the edge this month. I love you, but we're one step from you being on your own."

I walk back to the farmhouse breathing in the beautiful November air and think -- this month wasn't supposed to be like this.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

farmette life, for a while

Ed is delayed. He was to come home tonight, but that return trip has been cancelled. We're waiting to hear of a new date.

Am I disappointed? Let's search for a better word: crushed. Like a soda can, fizz and bubbles all gone, last drop shaken out, smashed together into a fragment of what it once was. He is, unfortunately, not in communication range and so I have no clue as to his goals, nor his return. A friend of his reminded me that he has been known to linger on those islands and indeed, some time ago, when everyone was at wits end as to where he was and what he was doing,  he had parked his boat off the coast of Cuba and was making his away across that island. He stayed there for a long time and then, just as suddenly, he reappeared. 

I'd heard those stories many times, but of course, that was about then. That was before me. That was before our common home and our shared life.

I miss him every minute he is away, even as I'm not really allowed to miss him that much. It's not part of our deal. Our agreement is that each does what her or his soul dictates, without the layers of encumbrance and constraint that most younger people necessarily have to impose on each other.

Unfortunately, as Ed well knows, our emotional ranges vary tremendously. He is steady as a rock, with very occasional tilts toward annoyance and, too, the rare tilt toward bliss. My range, on the other hand, is huge. My default is "happy," but one big swipe at me and I tumble. On the other hand, one lovely family moment at the table, or couch moment with Ed and I soar. Like Snowdrop, I frequently say, quite truthfully, that I am very happy.

All this to say that the news yesterday of the delay in his return pushed me down there to the wormy bottom of my emotional range. Daughters insisted I stay with them rather than in a farmhouse that suddenly seems even emptier without the promise of a a soon to be arriving Ed and so I packed my bag and went to the home of my geographically closer girl and her family. Snowdrop was counseled to go gently with Gaga and she did, cheering me up with a spectacular dance to the music of Frozen II.

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This morning, I ate breakfast with these two sweet people...

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Snowdrop did forget herself and said, excitedly -- it's Sunday! Ahah's coming home!  Everyone hushed her in the way that you do with a child who has stumbled into uncomfortable conversational territory.

And then I came back home. To this suddenly hollow empty space that I love so much insofar as it has an Ed in it and that hasn't much meaning for me now, even as it still holds the comfortable reminders of my (our?) everyday life.

I feed the animals. I clean. I do laundry. I water plants. I cook dinner for the young family.

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(for the love of asparagus)

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(for the love of dance)

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They ask me to return home with them and I am tempted, but I cannot live out of a bag. It makes everything suddenly feel so temporary and wobbly at a time when I desperately want to feel strong and in control.

I'll leave you with song lyrics. I like the Stacey Kent version:

When the sun is high in the afternoon sky
You can always find something to do
But from dusk til dawn as the clock ticks on
Something happens to you

In the wee small hours of the morning
While the whole wide world is fast asleep
You lie awake and think about the boy
And never even think of counting sheep

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
You'd be his if only he would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
That's the time you miss him most of all.

Perhaps you'd like to listen? Here it is.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

farmette life 18

The music uncurls with 
The soft vowels of inlets,
The christening of vessels, 
The titles of portages,
The colours of sea grapes,
The tartness of sea-almonds,
The alphabet of church bells,
The peace of white horses,
The pastures of ports,
The litany of islands,
The rosary of archipelagoes,
Anguilla, Antigua,
Virgin of Guadeloupe,
And stone-white Grenada
Of sunlight and pigeons,
The amen of calm waters,
The amen of calm waters,
The amen of calm waters.
(Derek Walcott)

By midnight, the sailors pulled into a cove of a protected island off the coast of Puerto Rico. (I know this from satellite charts -- they are still out of communication range.) I would guess that this is exactly what Ed would want to do, though he would push for something more remote. "Uninhabited" would be ideal. Turquoise waters, a sandy strip, perhaps a smell of a pine tree. Sleep there, under the stars. Swim out to sea, come back again.

My own Caribbean dream would be different. I would go inland. Taste their foods, smell their flowers, watch the people work, the children play. It would not be Puerto Rico, because the island is too big, too hard to navigate. But nor would it be remote. Derek Walcott's lyrical verse has me grow wistful. But I know, too, that his poem was written many decades ago. Tourism, including, hypothetically, my own, does not always benefit the islands. (One very good story about Walcott can be found in this New Yorker article from 2004.)

Every person deserves to come close to her or his dreams and I wish Ed had chosen to stay a little while longer out on the Caribbean. To sail out to some of those remote islands. To swim out, swim in, settle in on the warm sands and fall asleep.

*   *   *

Here, on the farmette, things are very calm.

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We've bounced back to November temperature normals.

The animals are behaving, hanging close to their sleeping quarters.


My energies are slowly coming back, so that weekly grocery shopping, postponed from yesterday, feels doable. Well, sort of odd again because I'm shopping for a week with Ed in it, an Ed who may be trying on new hats. For all I know, he has turned vegan. Or embraced meat. People get very happy with their travel habits and vow, at least initially to keep them alive upon a return.

Friday, November 15, 2019

farmette life 17

Oh, the time will come up
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathin'
Like the stillness in the wind
Before the hurricane begins
The hour that the ship comes in.
(Bob Dylan)

Journeys come to an end. Always. Even if you are a lifelong sailor, each voyage has a beginning and an end.  Your boat must touch shore.

Sometime, in the Caribbean Friday night, Ed's sailboat came into port in Puerto Rico.

Does a sailor feel relief? Or regret? Perhaps a sense of pride?

Ed always claimed that these voyages are life changing. Perhaps he is right, at least with respect to younger sailors, but at our age, there's not much that can affect the course we choose for our lives. True, when I travel, I always learn something new. If the destination is especially challenging, I learn more. But I have traveled all my life -- from rural postwar Poland, to within other poor and prosperous countries, to distant and vast continents. Going forward, no one trip will likely transform me anymore. It's not that I've seen it all, it's that I'm too formed to be transformed.

Ed will be within communication range again and though he will continue to live on the boat for a day or two, the big sail is done. Boat safely delivered to the southern climes. The captain will remain there, his family will join him, but the men who helped sail the catamaran will fly to their respective homes, transformed or not!

It's a very pretty day here, at the farmette.

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I don't spend time reveling in its prettiness, but I take note of it, even as I'm still moving slowly. Rushing recovery is never a good idea. I should grocery shop. I don't grocery shop. I should visit my mother. She is 96 today! Neither of us thinks it's a good idea for me to cough my way into her apartment. I should tidy more. I do little of that.

I feed the animals,

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Eat breakfast...

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... and settle in for the rest of the morning on the couch.

In the afternoon, I play with Snowdrop.

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When she is here with her brother, she is oftentimes distracted. She ignores most of the games that would have been her mainstay before he began joining us here after school. Today (Fridays she comes to the farmhouse alone), she goes back to that standard repertoire of make-believe play.

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And, she thinks it to be a good day for painting.

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Me, I'm just glad to be getting my voice back. It's rough to read book chapters when half the words you utter are without sound.

As I drop her at home and visit briefly with Sparrow, I think about how good this week has been for these grandkids. The days grow shorter, the weather stuns you with its cold, grandma hacks away all afternoon-long and yet they have thrived and blossomed. We feel overwhelmed by hurdles, kicks, stumbles. Kids, they just grow.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

farmette life 16

The storm hath passed;
I hear the birds rejoice; the hen,
Returned into the road again,
Her cheerful notes repeats. The sky serene
Is, in the west, upon the mountain seen:
The country smiles; bright runs the silver stream.
If, by some monstrous growth, miraculous,
Pleasure at times is born of pain,
It is a precious gain!
(Giacomo Leopardi)

This morning, I lifted the brick that kept the coop door shut for the past three days. By 8 a.m., the cheepers were out. True, they merely moved from the coop to a corner of the barn that stays a tad warmer than, say, the open field, but still, I felt that they should benefit even this tiny bit, given my clearing head and my calmer soul. I have it in me to chase them down and lock them up again before the kids come.

It's still not quite November weather out there, but we're moving closer. By tomorrow, we'll be back in positive (above freezing) territory. That's reason enough to be happy!

As I sit down to a very late breakfast...

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...I think about the small ways in which being alone here has not been so hard. For a little while, you get to be selfish again.

You want the living room neat and tidy all the time? You can do it! (The farmhouse living room has been the epitome of neatness and tidiness for the past 16 days.) Tired of menu planning every night? Steam up some veggies, bake a potato, but some cheese on it, add a nice slice of smoked salmon and a salad and call it dinner. Oh, I would have occasionally done something similar for us when Ed is here, but this has been my dinner for three days in a row now! With a cup of soup straight out of a container ("super greens creamy soup"). With Ed, I always cook soups from scratch.

And the candle burns and the music plays.

These are small pleasures of course and they do not diminish my longing for Ed to be back again, because this place lacks a heart when he is away, but still, one has to acknowledge that there are, in fact, joys and pleasures for him out there on the boat, and, too, a small trickle of joys and pleasures at the farmhiuse as well.

I can muse about that again because, knock on wood, this morning, for the first time, I wake up fever free.The tumult of this week -- the sickness, the cat drama, the utter cold -- it's moving elsewhere. Here, at the farmette, it's time to imagine pleasure again. Can I interest you in a cup of Blueberry Hibiscus tea, with a splash of elderberry juice, a squeeze of honey and some lemon juice? [A thank you to Snowdrop's teacher who pointed me to the elderberry juice. It's expensive! -- I protested. Well, my grandmother had elderberries growing right in her back yard. Hmmm. Maybe Ed and I should pant elderberry bushes and then the grandkids will some day say -- oh, we picked those in Gaga's yard!]

*   *   *

It's one of those school pickups where neither kid is ready to stop what they're doing: Sparrow is solidly asleep and Snowdrop begs for more time to finish her book project!

It takes us half an hour to leave the school building.

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At the farmhouse, Sparrow always notices Stop Sign. Always.

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Snowdrop, overjoyed that there is indeed a Little Gray stuffie waiting for her...

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Evening visitors...

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The kids and I watch the deer, because we happen to be outside at the same time. I'm taking them to Snowdrop's dance class. It's a project, but today, their parents are helping me tremendously by meeting me at class -- to manage Sparrow while I makes sure Snowdrop is ready for class.

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Evening. Remarkable in the fact that it is quite unremarkable!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

farmette life 15

Some people live in a house on the hill
And wish they were some place else
There's nobody there
When the evening is still
Secrets with no one to tell

Some I have known have a ship where they sleep
With sounds of rocks on the coast
They sail over oceans five fathoms deep
But can't find what they want the most

Even now when I'm alone
I've always known with you
I am home
(Vanessa Carlton)

The farmhouse, painted by us a "Caribbean yellow," stands on top of a hill -- in the country, yet so close to Madison. There's so much to love about this place and I knew this when I finally agreed to move here nearly nine years ago. We have made it our project: to care for the land, to expand flower fields, to encourage pollinators, to support the flora and fauna here. We don't always agree on how this should take place (I would like Ed to get help and cut back more of the trees), but this is trivial. We work together here.

Over the years, however, it became abundantly clear that I haven't the mechanical smarts to make much needed ongoing repairs and I haven't the physical strength to clear fallen timbers, move boulders, and maintain the land on my own. We could, perhaps, hire gardening help, but the mechanicals here would ultimately do me in. And so, if anything happens Ed, I will have to move. The farmhouse, for me, is only good when Ed is part of it. My home is here because he is here.

It should have been no big deal to be alone for two or three weeks. I mean, November gloomy and maybe a little sad, but manageable.  Nothing that a credit card can't solve.

Then came the cold days. And of course, let's put at least some of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the one who is responsible for much of the animal drama here: Stop Sign. In one year, we went from being catless to being flooded with cats. They're all over the place! And winter is coming and I felt sorry for them and so now we have cats in the shed and cats on the porch and cats under cars and cats on the road.

It is truly not the case that Ed should have stayed home. He should have done just what he did -- go help his friend sail a boat south. But my plate was already heaping before he left. Add some problems to is and the apple cart tips and everything falls apart.

So, perhaps we should have put some helpful pieces in place. And, from my own personal standpoint -- sympathetic utterances would have been super helpful. Words, gestures -- they matter!

Let me finish with Vanessa Carlton's last verse:

For me it's a glance and the smile on your face
The touch of your hands
And an honest embrace
For where I lay it's you I keep
This changing world I fall asleep
With you all I know is I'm coming home,
Coming home.

Or, you can just listen to the youtube clip. It's a song that had meaning for me when my daughters first left home and eventually moved back to the Midwest. And now it has this very real new meaning, something that became beautifully evident this month.

Breakfast. With a quilt.

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Kittens. Just two.

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Snowdrop asks -- can we see the dead cat again? 
I buried her, little one.
So she'll rest in peace.
She's resting?
Well, sort of. You say that out of respect. 
So, she wont come back?
No, but her memory stays with us. (Snowdrop has no memory of this kitten, so it's an idle point.)
And now we have only two kittens left.
Is one of them Little Gray?
No. Remember? We told you. (Clearly she does not remember.) Little Gray was hit by a car too.
So I wont be able to ever cuddle Little Gray again? Nooooooooooo! (lots of big tears)

And later:
Gaga, could you maybe sew a snugglie of Little Gray? So I can touch her?
Can I just find one on line?
No, can't you sew one? (Not gonna happen...)
I'll look into it. (Amazon to the rescue.)

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Evening. I feel that suddenly, everything is swinging upwards. Fever down, lungs clearing, temperatures rising, snow melting. And the sailboat is coming closer to shore. And there's a one way ticket for Ed, who is coming home.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

farmette life 14

Oh, something is missing here
Oh, something has disappeared
'Cause I'm all alone
Like a bird that's flown
Into the great unknown
On my own.
(Madeleine Peyroux)

The farmette is complicated. There are many components to it, most installed by Ed. I don't think he set out to make it complicated, but his lifestyle changed since he moved here several decades ago and so tweaks were made and connecting lines were installed and it all works fine, because Ed is good at installing things and tweaking stuff.

Until it doesn't work fine.

Before Ed left on his sailing expedition, we went over the various things that could go wrong here, in his absence. The list is long! And it's complicated. The set up for the internet alone is comically convoluted. Gas lines feed the sheep shed and the farmhouse. The water is heated one way here and another way there. The furnace heats the house, water pipes heat the sheep shed. And all this is somehow connected in ways that I do not understand.

In this beast of a month, we've had the snow. The freeze. I'm still sick. Cats have been sick. Cats have died. It's been two weeks of keeping this place afloat and though I'm sure the sailors have had their challenges out at sea, at least there are five of them. The farmette ship, on the other hand, is mine to handle. Alone.

I wake up to 5F (-15C) outside. That's brutal, even for January. It's insane for early November. The cats are hungry. I run through about a dozen tissues to clear my sinuses, seize control of my cough, and go out to do the morning chores.

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In the sheep shed, seven powerful cats (I can't believe they were once babies!) are clamoring for food.

Hold on! -- I tell them. I need to clean these disgusting bowls of yours!

And that's when I notice there's no hot water. Indeed, there's no water at all when you turn on the warm water faucet. The water heater is in the kitchen. It seems dead.

Perhaps this is not a big deal. I simply do not know. I do not smell gas, but then the sheep shed right now smells of machines and cats, so anything else would be well camouflaged. Is there danger? A gas leak? A malfunction requiring immediate attention? I have no idea and because I don't understand the complicated farmette system, I have to call Madison Gas and Electric and ask for an immediate visit (which in itself is complicated -- kids, doctor's appointments -- how am I going to fit it all in?)

It's going to be a crazy day.

*   *   *

I'm in my doc's office. Not because of the cold/virus/whatever, but because I want to find out why a report on my abdomen last week revealed that my gall bladder was just fine. I do not have a gall bladder. We parted ways more than forty years ago.

She looks at the report thoughtfully and concludes finally that it must be boilerplate language, pasted in when things are fine. I do like my doc very much and she is not the author of the report, but still, shouldn't we do better than to slap in boilerplate, especially incorrect boilerplate?

As long as I'm here, my doc listens to my lungs. I think you have pneumonia, she tells me. There is a crackle...
Am I okay around kids?
She notes that if she had pneumonia, she'd still be around her kids, but she gently suggests that I should also rest.

People point fingers at kids, but I want to say that they are not my problem! The strain is in dealing with the complicated farmette, the 17 animals and the most bizarre November weather in our history! There's the strain!

As I sit in the doc's office, I receive a message from the captain of the sailboat out there on the Atlantic, via satellite or some such nonsense. He asks if I can book a flight for Ed and assures me that Ed is enjoying himself.

I know that this is a family-friendly blog, but I don't care! My reaction is visceral -- are you fucking kidding me?? You think I'm sitting around worrying if Ed is having fun? You think, as I am cleaning animal vomit, burying cats, discarding squirrels and mice and chasing chickens before little Sparrow comes and requires my hands on care, you think in this coldest of cold months, with snow piling up and water heaters breaking, while I'm coughing up a storm and fighting a fever, that I'm really worried whether Ed is having fun??

Who are these strange people, the five sailors out there flying with the wind (or lack thereof) and testing their manhood against the elements?

I calm down. It's not my doc who is the author of the report, it's not Ed who is the author of the email.

*   *   *

Somewhere in there, there was breakfast.

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*   *   *

In the early afternoon, the Madison Gas and Electric truck pulls up. The two men inspect the gas water heater, do not understand how it all works (It's not just me!),  turn off the gas, just to be safe (with what consequences? I do not know) and depart, leaving a trail of wet muddy footprints all across the sheep shed (and seven terrified cats hiding in the barn). 

I quickly get into the car and head out to pick up the kids. Was it me? Was it the gas guys' truck? One of us, likely me (though I do not hear or see anything) hits a kittie who has parked herself in the middle of the road. (I see a second kittie, sitting on the road further down. I screech to a halt and chase her off. But it's too late for her sister -- the pretty little one with the orange patch on her white skinny body.)

*   *   *

The highlight of the day? Easy.

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*   *   *

The low point? Uff! This.

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Darkness and the cold do not keep me from burying the little one. Next to her little cousins.

Monday, November 11, 2019

farmette life 13

Lord, I'm one, Lord, I'm two, Lord, I'm three, Lord, I'm four
Lord, I'm five hundred miles from my home
Five hundred miles, five hundred miles
Five hundred miles, five hundred miles
Lord, I'm five hundred miles from my home...
(Hedy West)

If I'm reading the nautical data correctly, Ed is still some 500 miles from his destination, traveling at just under 5 mph. I hope I'm not reading the charts correctly. I hope it's last week's data and he is as we speak sitting at a bar in Puerto Rico enjoying a Medalla Light (the island's most popular beer).

500 miles is just so far...

In the meantime, we have one more week of bitter cold. And snow. Several inches of dry powder blew in last night. And I mean blew in: the porch is snow covered. The farmette paths are snow covered.

I feel my patience with this November is being tested.

Added to the woes of the day is the fact that I really do have a fever and the malaise that comes with a fever and a chest cold. I had to give myself a pep talk before I could stumble out of bed and make my way to the barn and shed to feed the animals. Right on the spot I decided to keep the cheepers locked up for the day. I may not have the energy to corral them into the coop in the afternoon. And it's not as if they want to go out and scratch the snow.

The porch cats are out exploring this morning. That's a problem. If I put out food for them, it will freeze. But I can't wait for their return! I just want to crawl back in bed!

I put out the food and it freezes, of course, and this is just one example of how caring for all these cats can be one giant headache.

The snow, I suppose, is sort of pretty, especially when we get a minute of sunshine later in the day...

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But I can't get excited about it. It's too cold and I'm too sick.

As for breakfast -- aren't you supposed to feed a cold and starve a fever? What if you have both? I compromise by eating my morning meal at noon.

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On the upside, Motrin is very effective against fevers. And here's another bonus: the furnace is chugging along! When Arctic air comes your way, think how wonderful it is to crank up the heat in your house!

Fortified with several cups of herbal teas, I set out to pick up the kids. I mean, I'm sure I'm on the upswing. A morning rest does wonders!

(Rediscovering Duplo: Snowdrop is trying to imagine state fairgrounds, ferris wheel and all...)

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(Sparrow is happy with whatever has wheels!)

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And when I am just too tired to be entertaining and stimulating, there's always Olivia on YouTube. Their brains will not rot with an hour of video clips about a spunky pig and her baby brother.

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Evening. How about some chicken noodle soup? Sound good to you? Me too!

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

farmette life 12

But through the clouds I'll never float
Until I have a little boat...
(William Wordsworth)

I woke up thinking that it shouldn't be terribly hard to locate a small boat out at sea these days. We have satellites. Ed's sailing with a registered crew of sailors. They leave a trail.

But I didn't set to the task of finding out more straight away. My sniffles have fogged over my entire brain and it seemed ambitious enough to go out and deal with the animals. [All of them managed just fine in my absence, though the cheepers were worst off: I left them plenty of water and feed. Or so I thought. Everything was dry and empty last night as I shined a flashlight into the coop upon my return.]

After the laborious hike to the barn, shed and back again, I climbed into bed and thought more about whether I really want to know where Ed is, especially since I'm not positive I can track the correct wee boat of theirs. And what if they are making slow progress? Do I really want to know that? Strong winds would have put them in Puerto Rico tomorrow, but I'm fairly sure there are no strong winds now over that part of the Atlantic.

Nothing like stirring the bug of curiosity: once you pose a question (where are they?), you want an answer.

And I think I found them! Terribly far from any shore. Like, not anywhere close to P.R.

Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps they will have made it in record time. I remind myself that I really do not understand nautical charts well and that it could be that my days of cleaning the sheep shed after seven rambunctious cats may be drawing to a close.

I thrive on optimism.

Breakfast. Very late. It's a droopy dreary day. We're anticipating snow again and then a blast of coldest yet air. An insane November, weather wise! And I know that after breakfast comes farmhouse cleaning. So why rush breakfast!?

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I stay indoors, move slowly and neglect my to do lists. By the afternoon, I know I'm spiking a fever. I can't afford a fever. Please go away.

The day passes. My woodsy soy candle burns brightly, music coming out of my computer is fabulous. I will myself to get over this bug quickly. Tonight, I have the young family here to feed.

A rest: that's always good! By evening, things improve. And by the time the young ones arrive, I'm more or less back on track. Kids have a way of bringing you out of your own misery.

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Our evening is lovely. They want to hear all about my visit with Primrose and her mom. I want to hear about their own weekend adventures. All over a warm meal that will give me plenty of leftovers for the week ahead.

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(Post supper exhale. On the couch.)

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I do think the powers that be should address the problem of curing the common cold before taking on more glamorous projects, but, since this wont happen in my lifetime, the best we can do is ignore the menace, rest, and hold on to the belief that someday soon this too shall pass. Boats come back to shore, sniffles go away. Thank goodness.