Thursday, August 18, 2016

Year One

I've been writing this blog in my head for almost a year now...thinking about what I want to say about having endured a year of my life without my Mother in it.  I had many grand ideas and some less than rational thoughts.  Today, none of them seem to matter.  So I'm just gonna wing it.
Me & my Mom in June 1966...just me and my bestie hanging out

August 19, 2016 marks the first year anniversary of my Mom, Sharon's, death.  To tell the truth, I wasn't sure what I would find when I finally got to this day.  I was hoping to have the mystical and elusive 'closure' that so many people seem to think we need after the death of a loved one.  I've come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as closure.  After suffering through the deluge of emotion and the repeated waves of sorrow at each passing 'first without Mom,' I find myself feeling less complete than I expected.

I thought by now the almost tangible hole left in my middle when she was torn from my life (because you don't really 'lose' your Mom, do you?  She's ripped from you, isn't she?) would have healed over a bit leaving insensitive scar tissue but feeling more or less intact and solid.  That could not be further from the truth.

Truth is the hole is still there.  I imagine the edges are pink and sensitive still but more or less solid.  However, it doesn't take a lot to get them raw and bleeding again.  I don't think I'll ever be really whole again.

So, as is my habit from childhood, I decided to poke the bear.  What can I say?  I'm a little bit of a masochist, apparently.

I've spent my downtime this week going through the huge suitcase of photographs I found at Mom's house last summer when I cleared it out in preparation to sell.  I spent a lot of the time alternately laughing my ass off and bawling my eyes out.  There are a lot of really good pictures that I didn't know existed and many more that I had forgotten about.  OMG I was a skinny kid all the way through high school.  If I knew then what I know now, I never would have been sad about being 'fat'.


But I digress.

I found some corkers in there, too, of Mom.  My goal for this weekend is to get some more of them scanned and 'shopped to share for posterity.  Just a few, mind you.  I would not dilute her memory or sully her life by plastering it all over the Internet.*  My Mom was a very private person.  To put a bunch of pictures of her on the internet without her permission feels like disrespect to me. That was not her style.  I wouldn't do that to her any more than I would scatter her ashes in Nebraska.

She was a Colorado girl through and through.  That's where she'll be once I can bring myself to let go of that box of ashes.

Turns out I have a lot less to say than I thought I would.


Love you, Mom.  Love you gobs.

*More than a couple people in my life took this the wrong way.  I didn't mean to imply that I think sharing pictures of your loved ones is bad.  I don't think it is necessarily.  I just don't think my Mom would have liked it.  So now I'll just put my foot back in my mouth where it clearly belongs.  Please accept my apologies.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Running on Empty

This week has been a rough week here at The Slice.  The mower broke the drive belt, the truck broke something we haven't identified yet, and I've busted my ass all week at the home doing good works.  It's a tough old life.

Today I was off from the day job and I spent my day in a funk.  I was missing my Mom, missing my farm, and missing my freedom from before I took this job.  I was in a deep blue funk.

I should have seen this coming.  After all, it's August.  Usually by now I've either been to Colorado or I'm preparing to go see my Mom.  I have done neither this year and I don't plan to.  It kinda hit me this morning that I won't ever be planning to visit her again.

A deep, dark blue funk.

After I got done with my errands for the day, I cried in the car all the way home.  Then I cried to my husband.  Then I cried to my best friend.  Then I remembered the rabbits needed feeding and cleaning up after.

So I went to the farm and cried to my rabbits.  They were fairly indifferent to my tears as I expected.  I took the big metal pans from their cages and started cleaning them.  When I put them back, I noticed Gordon was nibbling on the weeds that were poking up through the bottom of his hutch.  It was enchanting and I left him until last to put his tray back so he could nibble some more.  In fact, I went and got some more weeds and gave them to the ladybuns so they could nibble delicately at some greenery.

With that task behind me and dusk fast approaching, I decided to do something about the general tallness of all the plant life in the 'lawn' at the farm.  I hauled all 400 feet of garden hose up to the hose racks and wound them up off the ground.  Then, I cranked up the Little Red Mower That Could and I mowed the damned bitch of a Ditch.

Have I ever blogged about the ditch?  Maybe not.  Our Ditch (I think of it as a proper noun because it's a proper bitch) is about half a block long with steep sides and a rather bumpity bottom.  For some reason the 'grass' on the bottom is pretty sparse but the 'grass' on the steep sides grows luxuriantly. Of course.  The part that is hard to mow needs mowing the most.  It's like some kind of twisted corollary to Murphy's Law...inverse relationship between 'grass' and grade?

I know, I know:  Nerd!

It's not a good picture, but that's the Ditch.  Really, it's worse than it seems.  I'll have to try for a better shot than Google street view can provide.
Anyway, I mowed that bitch and the front yard to boot.  Just as the sun started to slip beneath the horizon, the Little Red Mower That Could started running on fumes. I put the mower away and looked at what I'd accomplished.  The mowing is only about 1/5 done.  But, it's a start.

When I got back in my car, I was humming a little tune.  I forget which one because it suddenly occurred to me that I was humming a tune.  Humming.  Like I was...happy or something. 

Then I had a thought.

I spent a lot of time this week inside.  Up until a month or so ago, I was spending upwards of 10-12 hours a day outdoors in the garden or doing something outside.  Now I'm down to an hour or less some days.  I've always been the happiest working outside.  It recharges me in a way nothing else ever has.  You might say that like the mower I was running on empty.  Sometimes when my energy is that low I forget how to fix it.  It's really as simple as mowing the darn bitch of a ditch...or anything else requiring physical exertion. 

Exercise is the best anti-depressant out there.

But don't tell my husband that.  Sheesh.  He'll never mow it again!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

They Have To Eat, Too

This is just a nice volunteer sunflower.  Nothing to do with the post, really.
Last night while sitting eating my 'lunch' at what I've come to regard as my night and day job, I was thinking about what to plant as my fall crop this year.  I don't have a lot of luck with fall crops.  Either I plant too late or it gets too dry or the frost comes too soon or not soon enough.  But I was reading about growing carrots as a fall crop, so I decided to give that go.  I haven't tried that yet.  As a bonus, I happen to have leftover carrot seeds.
So, I'm out in my garden in back of my house digging up what is left of the carrots I planted last spring. I planted a rather long variety and I've pulled a few that were well over 10 inches long. They are some very nice carrots. I had to literally dig some of them out of the ground lest they break off and cause the prolific swearing and subsequent stabbing of the earth with my little garden trowel in frustration.

What can I say?  The sweat was in my eyes.

So I get the last carrot pulled finally!  I'm sitting on the edge of the bed breaking off the carrot greens and dropping them on the bed for mulch when some movement catches the corner of my eye. I look more closely. To my surprise, and horror, here is a baby bunny digging its way up out of the soil.


Right where I was digging mere moments before. Right where I could have ended his hippity-hoppity life with my little garden trowel.

Double gulp.

I decided to poke around a little, with my hands this time, because you KNOW baby bunnies don't come in singles.  I promptly unearth three more.*

That's when I threw up in my mouth a little and eased the wanderer back into the nest with his siblings before I could find any more or any potential carnage.

Now I know what you're thinking. Why am I not freaking out about a cottontail nest in the middle of my carrot patch?

It's the irony. It seems so appropriate to find rabbits in a carrot patch that I can't complain at all. After all, who of my generation can forget the Saturday morning images of Bugs Bunny tunneling under a carrot farm and popping up in a carotene-induced stupor wondering if he should have turned left at Albuquerque?
I expect Momma Cottontail will move those babes lickety split in the night once she realizes they've been found.**

Unlike some gardeners, I don't mind sharing some of my bounty with the wildlife. I don't like that the birds ate so many of my apples. But in a few years, I'll have more apples than I know what to do with.  It's part of the web of life. Besides, they don't understand our arbitrary boundaries.

Not to mention the fact that they have to eat, too. 

*I took my husband out to view the tiny dinkers and we found a fifth bunny.  All carrot replanting operations are on hold for the moment.

**Update 31 July 2016:  Nope.  They're still there.  And we have a wicked rain storm approaching.  Why am I worried about them?  Yes.  I covered them up with some discarded carrot tops.  Hopeless.  I am hopeless.