Sunday, March 5, 2017

State of the Farm Address 2017

Ah, the state of Holy Crow Farm. Of...everything. It's a difficult, dark, possibly doomed state. But I'll give it my best shot for you, my dear and several readers.

Population: unchanged since last year (which was, alas, only a few blog posts ago). Holy Crow Farm still contains the same two humans, two equines, three cats, six chickens. I'm considering finding two free goats in need of a home, preferably pygmies, since I already have woven wire fences around my several small pastures. (Good fences make for happy goat-keeping). I'm considering raising meat chickens this year, two to four dozen, depending on who in my extended family a) wants to eat them and more importantly b) wants to help butcher them. This is The Little Red Hen theory of home-grown meat. And that is a politically incorrect metaphor.

Health and welfare:  Lyme Disease notwithstanding (my veins are full of it now, but one can't live here in The Wild if one is a candy-ass) I'm not in bad shape. Last year's new socket turned out to be the best fit yet, as well as being extremely stylish and finished with one of Perry's Cornell t-shirts. Unfortunately, I hurt my back falling off a stepladder at the beginning of last summer, besides having increasing pain in my "new" (replaced in 2012) knee. I didn't swim, didn't walk/hike much & was more miserable than I should have been. I need to make a trek to the orthopedic department of the hospital soon to find out if my knee is full of dry rot or carpenter ants. I'm afraid my kneecap is shot. They should have swapped it for surgical steel when they had the chance. In the meantime, I stay busy driving myself & teenager to doctor app'ts, the chiropractor, therapy sessions and prescription refills. This is why they pay me The Big Bucks. (Joke!)

Relations: As it happens, my parents are now Far Away, as they moved to New Hampshire to live with my sister last summer. It was a time of upheaval and serious trouble with space and gravity (my aforementioned fall off the step-ladder was during the process of building another small addition onto my goat shed/tack room/hay shed to put many treasures and tools from my parents). As a result, I'm now the Away Daughter, after 26 years, and it also gives me a reason to take off for New Hampshire every few months. In the immortal words of Macaulay Culkin, "I made my family DISAPPEAR." :-D  (Except for my daughters, who live near/with me, respectively, and without whom I would be lost, of course.)

Infrastructure: Many projects are in the works. The shop I built to hold the tools last summer turned out quite nice. With enough treasures collected along the roads, plus frequent trips through Ithaca's Reuse/Recycle Center, followed by a lot of paint, eclectic shabby chic is an attainable goal for Holy Crow's Close-Enough Construction division. Our motto: "A blind man would be glad to see it."  My daughters declared the finished building combination resembles the Weasley's house in Harry Potter. Unfortunately, now I can imagine another addition or two that will make the whole thing grow into a small barn, an organic, unending process. (I love to build shit.) Plus I'd like to build onto my back deck, preferably with a roof for shade when I hang my rarely-used porch swing. Then there's the eventual little dock that would make my one-legged entry/exit at my pond so much easier... I don't know if a trillion dollars will be enough after all.  *sigh*

Employment & Budget: I was denied disability last year, another cruel trick of the universe after I finally convinced myself to apply. I jumped through hoops by getting my doctors and therapist to corroborate my inability to cope, let alone jump, dammit. Dealing with the fulfillment of said hoops was itself very difficult. Hello? Did anyone LOOK at my lifetime earnings & spotty job history?? Who wants to survive like this if they had the ability to hold a job?? I've said it before and I'll say it again: I've always been an excellent worker  and a terrible employee. The defense rests, Your Honor. Maybe I'll try again. With a lawyer.

Outlook: Resigned, sometimes content, but mostly lacking real optimism. I want to ride my horse often this year, because I think I've lost touch with that part of me which was so crucial most of my life, and because my fifteen-year-old self is DISGUSTED with how old and pathetic I am. I'll keep writing, keep pursuing an agent and publication. I'll try not to feel I'm living the description of insanity: repeating the same experiment while expecting different results... I miss Perry a lot. I see him when I dream, often at a party, and he always gives me a big hug. I always know he's dead, and consciously try to shield these moments from myself, from my waking self that would end the dream. The other night when I dreamed I saw him, I grabbed him and kissed him. He wore a tan three-piece suit (?) and I said, I know you died, but are you still my sweetheart, the love of my life? He said, Of course!  <3

Till soon, sports fans.

Thursday, June 30, 2016



it is so hard
to lift the wet sheets
out of the washer
and carry them outside
to dry
on the deck railing.
Not even on the clothesline.

But the only way though
is through.

Monday, February 22, 2016

My New AK Socket

Just got this last week after weeks of test sockets & adjustments. It's the best fit I ever had, and it's custom-finished with one of Perry's t-shirts. Well done, Hanger Prosthetics.  Hashtag lifeisgood, smiley face. Bring on  spring!
AK socket 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My 2016 State of the Farm Address

The state of Holy Crow Farm this winter has been (choose one) muddy, spring-like, frozen solid, snowy. Today, it's forty degrees, raining and soggy. However. we upstate dwellers at HCF are enjoying winter-lite, especially those of us who are amputees. (That would be me. The snow-boarding child is less enamored.) 

Our current population: humans (2), equines (2), felines (3), and--wait for it--galines (6). If you read my earlier SOTF address, you'll remember that vocab word. Award yourself a gold doubloon from petty cash. I had to look up the spelling of doubloon so I guess that's my vocab word.

Health & Welfare: One equine is new to the staff, as Rindle is now buried out back. You'll also note the lack of caprines. I don't believe in an afterlife, but if there is one, those old goats are girdling the celestial fruit trees and tearing out the heavenly flowers as fast as they can. We also lost our rooster and a couple hens in the Fox Serial Murders of 2015, and recently lost the junior rooster Martin to a hawk right in the chicken yard. Construction plans are underway to install wire overhead. Martin's sacrifice was his finest hour, as he had turned delinquent, crowing on my porch and nipping me. 

Immigration: The catfish seem to have crowded out all the other fish in the pond. The deer are in my garden less often thanks to new pasture fences, but the undocumented mice in the kitchen are a real problem. The cats are unwilling to deport them, while slaying all manner of wildlife (usually left on the doorstep or in the hallway). I intend to STOP the mice with traps or some kind of mouse-repelling mint stuff I've heard of. Either way, I will make the mice PAY FOR IT. 

Employment & The Budget: Always a sticky wicket. It would appear Disability is a job description I may be qualified for. Stay tuned.

Relations With Relations: Much improved! My therapist is always happy when I work through more anger at my parents but it's a tedious, exhausting process. Perhaps I'm actually leveling out. At any rate, I take my them supper every so often.

The Elderly: It's tempting to think of my father (93 now) as Older Than Old,  but Woozle (Senior Cat) and I aren't getting any younger, as the AARP mailings CONTINUE to remind me. Woozle is long past the days when he could have been a feline Calvin Klein underwear model, but aren't we all? Or something. Never mind. Soylent green is people.  At least we can rejoice: Day after tomorrow I get my new socket.

Outlook: Positive in a way I wasn't expecting after losing Perry last summer. He was an honorary member of HCF and a pillar of my life, though he's not buried with Rindle or the goats (his ashes are scattered at Cornell Plantations, where he worked twenty years, as well as in his home town). I feel him and his influence on me all the time. I'm hopeful about riding my horse and this year's writing projects. I know he's be proud of me. And my new socket will have one of Perry's Plantation t-shirts as its custom finish. 

Bring on 2016.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Think-tank system Macbeth

I shall read from the book of Closed Captions. You know, the little CC icon one can click on in a YouTube video to generate automatic subtitles, if one is watching old, old movies late at night, many with British actors speaking at ludicrous speeds. 

You see, one is drawn into this alternate universe when one has no social life. And one easily forgives auto-title occasionally butchering dialogue along the lines of this email which promises me millions: 
Forgive my indignation if this message comes to you as a surprise and may offend your personality for contacting you without your prior consent... 

One understands when auto-title mistakes "First of all--" for Festival, or "Just think," for Testing. But what situation in a 1930's film justifies the caption Think-tank system Macbeth? One is baffled when the blast of a cruise ship's horn translates to The moon. One suggests you watch movies like Cottage to Let or Ghost Train with the sound off to behold the abomination. 

Here we go. One has added only punctuation. 

That's not the way to lubricate my last statement, just minutes away.OK. Click on them for me. That's it. Baloney Department. Last month, Mom, I made the Eurasian beautiful. 
Thank you, ominous possibility 20. I'm at the Vatican, OK?

May we put one in the Yahoo group?
Paddington trendy pick from Pat the bat. You want static. No, no, no, he should've come home tonight. Yeah, I old.

Thank you, extremism up. You must spatter out to make room for me, because of me.
Missus Brendzen structures all that you want to consider yourself a guest.
I killed them, thank you very much indeed.

I might try to stay up six minutes and 42 seconds. 
Got tough, but what about men? Notably, no lunch.
28 couldn't look good enough
and has an assistant who is, shall we say, a little girl.

You get the gist. Really, I guess I'd like to find a hidden key to this secret language, some profound code.  After all, what's the answer to life, the universe & everything?... 42.  Coincidence? I think not. 

Give it a try. (Your results may vary.) If you need me, I'm at the Vatican, OK?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The View From January

On mornings when I can, I drink coffee by my kitchen window. In warmer weather, I drink it on my deck, with a view of my little pond. I have a rickety, cushioned reclining lawn chair I found for free on the way to Perry's a couple years ago. It's so comfortable, I keep it in the sunny corner of the kitchen all winter. I call it my Titanic deck chair. This was the view, last weekend.

The temperature was in the sixties F on Christmas day. My pond didn't freeze across until January 2, a new late record. I worry about climate change, but selfishly, I'm happy there hasn't been brutal cold and snow so far. I don't like mud, but it's easier to walk in it than on ice with my prosthetic leg. 

My leg's attachment mechanism (the lock that keeps my stump cinched into the socket with a lanyard screwed onto the gel liner) is currently broken. This means the leg can pull out of the socket, gradually, but enough to slow my walk to a cautious creep. This is on top of the increasing layers of stump socks I have to wear since my stump's been shrinking for months. I've started the process of getting a new socket, but I took the leg in to Hanger yesterday hoping for a new lock now. None on hand. Ordered, expected next week. 

So outside, I creep. Inside, the coffee's hot, the deck chair comfy, and the ship isn't sinking right now. The sun is even shining, today. Happy New Year from Holy Crow Farm.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dream of the Long Walk: Solstice, One Year Ago

This is a dream I had one year ago last night, taken verbatim from my journal:

It was the End of Things. Society had broken down. There was lightning in the sky, and a cross between a comet and a bombing. There was an ongoing struggle against shadows. Fear shadows, pain shadows.

The choices: cower in the ruins of our homes in the woods, apart from everything we couldn't remember. Or start walking. Walking was an act of faith. Of surrender. 

At first, there was a veneer of camaraderie. Once you started walking, you found others to talk with as you walked. But as the stream of walkers grew, you lost touch with some, then forgot and met others. Then we just walked in silence.

We walked until we reached covered walkways like markets, but they stretched for miles. Some had people selling eggs, bartering. Then there were concrete paths, stairs through structures with objects on either side, on tables or just heaped. Clothing, watches, phones, shoes, for sale or barter. And also assembled in hopes that one of our steady stream of walkers passing by would see something they remembered.

When we were too tired to walk, we lay down next to the walkway. People gave us something to eat, and a blanket. Then when we woke, we'd start walking again.

As I walked, I realized I had a real left leg, though it should have been an above-knee prosthetic. I began to understand that the people at the sides of the walkways had already remembered, and, more importantly, had found objects that were clues to themselves and what they needed to do now. Gradually, I realized some of them were resistance fighters. Guerrilla warriors fighting for memory, fighting amnesia, on missions to fight the shadows. I identified with them. I wanted to help them. I knew I should have been too old (fifty-three!) and an amputee, but I was neither.

The farther I walked, the more patient, knowledgeable people I met waiting beside the tables to help us remember. I knew the ones who were afraid to remember and discover were still outside this place, clinging to the ruins they couldn't identify anymore. You had to be willing to walk. Everyone walking was ready to consider and confront what they might find.

Then I saw forks in the walkway that led to woodsy, rural areas with animals. There were bears in some enclosures along with cows, and I think the bears had forgotten too because they weren't especially dangerous. There was the potential for us to find the animal we needed to be paired with, like a totem, or an actual individual animal. These people who identified their animal-partner could join with the animal and go fight the shadows, understanding that you both could be obliterated in that battle. Then you'd have to start the walk again.

I found a table of t-shirts, I I shuffled through them. One said Tioga Park [where I exercised racehorses in the 1980's] and I said, This means something... At another table, a phone rang: an old, black phone with a curly cord. Whenever this happened, the person closest had to answer it. It was my boyfriend, Perry. But he wasn't sure where he was. I wasn't sure whether he was walking yet.

Then I passed through a building built on a pillar. To clean it, everything was secured and the whole structure tipped on its side so the wind could blow through, then tipped back.

Then I reached a farm with ponies and cows and pigs in a field. I said, THIS IS ME! We crawled under the fence and I put my hands on a chestnut pony that looked like Cupcake, the Shetland I owned for twenty years who taught my daughters to ride. I started to cry. The people helping me said, Good! This is good! 

They took me to see more horses. I remembered Laredo, and I fell down in the grass and clover and sobbed. I saw an appaloosa that looked like her, but wasn't, then another that could have been her just as I was different, with my real leg. I put my hands on this Laredo-mare, and I sobbed. The people with me said, This is your spirit partner! You'll both join the fight when you're ready. You don't have to walk anymore.


So this was my Walking Dream, solstice 2014. My journal entry ended, I'd like to put a photi of Laredo  **HERE**   but tonight the blog just gives me a frowny-face. Alas. You'll have to use you imagination. Happy Solstice. Tomorrow the daylight starts to increase.