Going dark…

I’ve been doing this blog thing for…oh, my gosh, it’s been nearly 14 years!!!  Over a thousand posts, hundreds of thousands of words, a plethora of pictures, and about 300+ readers followed along the way.

The original Sonnystone Acres morphed into The News, then expanded to include 3 other blogs:  Growing Every Season, Rave On,  MadWoman, and Trailer Trippin’.  (Growing is a seasonal gardening blog and the trippers only post when we are traveling —unless it’s to Disney, which goes on The News.)

Anyone who has tried to maintain a blog can tell you it’s not easy. Each post takes a couple of hours to write, even if it’s a photoblog.   It’s intimidating to hit the publish button…you are putting your Self out there…and I’ve written plenty of stuff that I decided to not share. If you want folks to come back, it has to be published consistently and it has to be at least decent, and interesting, or have pictures of darling children!..  Over the years, I’ve often sacrificed quality just to get something posted, but overall, I’m proud of what I’ve written.  It’s been rare that anyone has actually criticized me, though I can always count on my family to point out my weaknesses.  It’s almost as rare that anyone has actually “liked” my posts on wordpress!!

My faithful readers have shared my joy–births of 4 grand-daughters, 5 Camp Sonnystones, 6 Disney trips– and my pain–Eric’s 1.5 years of fighting cancer, deaths of friends, that damn hip thing.  I sincerely appreciate you.

Lately, though, I’ve felt more obligated than inspired…

So I feel like I have to tell you that I’m taking a 6-week-sabbatical from The News.  The MadWoman will likely be in touch, and I’ve got a few other writing projects going, but mostly I want to just shut up for a while.

I know I’ll be back in time to celebrate the February birthdays, so we’ll get together then!

Peace

The Perfunctory New Year, New You Post

The aroma of hoppin’ john — my stock new-year-day lucky food–is filling the air, warming us on this frigid (10degrees), but sunshiny First Day of 2018.

I’m a little skittish about making Resolutions…  I’ve done it before, but I’m just not a Resolute person.  I have only a passing understanding of Determination or what on earth a Firm Decision would be.  Same way with Goals…  The very word implies Effort and there is a whiff of competition that has never appealed to me.

I reject Bucket List, because I do not have a terminal diagnosis, and I sincerely hope to have done Everything before I get the diagnosis…

But just like the traditional lucky food, and kissing at midnight, I usually make a list on New Year Day.  The List was aimed at Self-Improvement, being healthy, changing my habits… The usual stop smoking, stop drinking, lose weight, join a group, take a class…I Would Become a Better Person!!!  January was always full of hope…  By February, I would be making excuses, and March always saw me in the line of shame to d/c my gym membership.

Why did I spend so much time criticizing myself, always falling short of my expectations.  I set myself up to fail, then beat myself up, feeling undisciplined, even lazy!?  Some of those habits changed, but never because I wrote it down on New Year Day.  Time flew in and changed me.  It works much better that way.

At the ripe old age of 64, I see the Year Ahead much differently.  I look at the Year as an Adventure, Each Day as a New Experience, Every moment present and aware.  So I’ll call it my Adventure List?  My Experience List?  My Learning List?  My Here’s What I Want to Do in 2018 List?

Whatever you want to call it, here it is…
(in no particular order and not necessarily complete)

1. Enjoy Each Moment, no judging

2.  Write

3.  Travel

4.  Spend Time with Family

5.  Learn New Music

6.  Read

7.  Garden

8.  Walk/Hike

9.  Spruce up the House

Asking a lot of myself, aren’t I?  I hope you feel free from self-criticism, too.   You don’t always need to Change yourself, trying to please or fit in.  You Will Be Changed, believe me;  that’s what Life is.  Don’t be so determined to be something.  Open yourself to Just Be.  Enjoy the Journey.
Peace

Bye-Bye, 2017

Before I tear off the rear-view mirror and cruise happily into 2018, let me linger just a moment…

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Peace

Have a Safe New Year’s Eve!

Photoblog

Snow, Birds, and a touch of cuteness…

Winter decided to show us who’s the boss around here–for another week or so, at least–and snowed all over the bloomers…  Whaddaya gonna do about it?  Take pictures…

What I actually Like about snow happens at the birdfeeders.  The birds just flock in.  I love watching them…

I got out my bird book to identify a newcomer:  See the little brown guy in the picture below?  He’s an Eastern Towhee.  They usually feed on the ground, but the snow brought him round to visit.  The cardinals, chickadees, and finches are my usual crew.

The snow is now gone, but the danger to the plants and birds is even greater since the temperatures are hovering between 20 and 35.  I read that March is the most dangerous month for birds, as their natural food sources are already emptied of berries and the ground is frozen.  If you don’t already feed the birds, you ought to try it.

Here’s a little bit of Cute to warm you up…

Peace

Week-end Wrap-up

This winter has sure been whimsical…we went from snow to tornadoes to sunny and warm all in one week.   Those of us who live along the Tornado Highway learn to live with the terror of the Tornado Warnings.  Our area got hit with an F3, on the ground for 45 minutes.  It stayed about 25 miles away from us, so we’re very grateful.  The snow was flimsy, but I managed to get one picture before the melt…

The week-end arrived, all sunshiny and warm…  We took a walk down in our Woods (which we call Solla Sollew) to plan a work/clean/prune day.  Foliage is just starting to green, so it’s time.

Sunday after church we drove over to Audubon State Park, just across the money-savin’ bridge and hiked a short trail…

The place was packed with people out enjoying the spring-like day.  The park is small, but has a very nice museum about John James Audubon, who lived around there for many years.  Naturally, there was a lot of bird information, too, so we enjoyed it a lot.

Just down the road, under the north-bound bridge that spans the Ohio, is the Audubon Wetlands.  Just before you get to the wetlands, there is a pullover that looks out on the nest of a bald eagle.  It, too, was packed with people, as were the wetlands.  There are some great blue Herons that are heronizing in the wetlands, and we were quite keen to see them, but decided to wait for another day.

In fact, we’re excited about sneaking over in the early mornings through the week and watching the nesting of both the herons and the eagle.

Unless there are tornadoes or hurricanes, we’ll be traveling at the end of the month, so I’m deeply steeped in the planning.  We want to get away for the Solstice and return ready to get the New Garden going.  Must be patient.

Till the next time…

Peace

Remember the Book Challenge?

From 2/9/17:

Attention, Readers!  Are you wondering what to read next?

My favorite used-book store, Better World Books,  put out an interesting 2017 Reading Challenge.  Instead of them assigning you some books to read, you pick your own from their prompt.  They started the first of the year, so they are well ahead of us, but we could start now and see how many of the 25 challenges we complete before the end of the year..!  I have tried to link you to the list, but the best I can do is to link you to the blog and you’ll have to dig a little for it here

Let’s get started!  I’m headed to the library to choose a book to fulfill the first challenge:

Read a food memoir…

Ideas?  Suggestions?  What are You going to read?……

The food memoir I chose:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:  A Year of Food Life

by Barbara Kingsolver

with Steven L. Hoff and Camille Kingsolver

animalvegetable

With Barbara Kingsolver as our guide, we live out the year that she took her family from Tucson, AZ to a farm in Virginia to homestead, specifically eating only from their own garden or from local growers.  Kingsolver preaches quite a bit about the evils of the agriculture industry, but she writes so well that you don’t mind the manipulation..at first. I think she could have cut the diatribe short, and her husband’s contributions were pretty technical and dry.  Kingsolver was at her best as she took us through her year of growing and learning from the land and its seasons.    Her daughter, Camille, provides little journal-type entries that include interesting and doable recipes.  They have some funny moments with their animals (they raise turkeys, chickens, cows), and overall the family seems to just delight in their project.   It’s not only their story, but also has a huge amount of information about topics ranging from organics to lactose intolerance, to bad attitudes toward food.

I’m inspired to become totally locally sourced…but…I can’t imagine not having my blueberries and strawberries in winter.  We can’t let them go to waste…  When I walked by the asparagus at the grocery store today, I felt guilty for the longing I felt.

What the author and her family did is out of reach of most, if not all, of us (they are obviously well-off and living on a family farm in Appalachia).   They planned this for years, knew exactly what they wanted, and the 2 daughters are remarkably well-adjusted.   I can really appreciate the work, and their love of it, but I’d make a terrible farmer…too lazy.

Overall, I thought this book was just okay.  It is good for reference.  I like the recipes, and Kingsolver’s prose is seductive.  As mentioned, she’s a little preachy.   The book has a website (click here) with recipes, farm tours, and book info that I highly recommend.

When I was a visiting nurse, my “route” was up in Warrick County farmland, worked by the 80-year-olds who had spent their lives turning that earth.  They were the most inspiring folks I’ve ever come across and I started gardening because I wanted to be like them.   I do my best, and I’m planning a bigger, better garden this year, so this lovely book has reinforced my commitment to growing.  I’m also determined to meet more local growers and am looking forward to Farmers Market season in my area.

Next up on the challenge:

Read a collection of Short Stories…

Oh, good, that’s an easy one…

Peace

When I’m 64…the Birthday Message

Who’d a thunk I’d be this old this soon?  Ya’ll know it, if you’re anywhere near my age, that inside there’s still the same curious spirit, present ever since I can remember.  The body..meh…but it still works, saggier and slower, but still able.

Words cannot express my gratitude for my life, for every day that was and is, and for the Presence that guides me from this Now to the next.  So many wonderful people have helped me, so many kind people have seen me through, many of them no longer here, many still out there, still listening.  Thanks from the depths of my soul to all, even the folks who stepped over me, turned their backs and walked away.  That, too, was for good.  Thanks to my kids, and their kids, who cover me with Love even when we’re apart.  Thanks for a happy marriage and a husband who is my Best Friend.  There’s all the material stuff–beautiful home, travel trailer, enough money to pay the bills, manicures, pedicures, and shopping.   I truly appreciate it All…

Here’s the Birthday Poem for this year, by Dorianne Laux…chosen last week…

 

Antilamentation
by Dorianne Laux

Listen Online

Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read
to the end just to find out who killed the cook.
Not the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication.
Not the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punchline, the door, or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don’t regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the livingroom couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You’ve walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax. Don’t bother remembering
any of it. Let’s stop here, under the lit sign
on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.
“Antilamentation” by Dorianne Laux from The Book of Men. © W.W. Norton & Company, 2011. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

I love that one, but this morning’s was appropriate, too…by Kirsten Dierking…

Lucky
by Kirsten Dierking

Listen Online

All this time,
the life you were
supposed to live
has been rising around you
like the walls of a house
designed with warm
harmonious lines.

As if you had actually
planned it that way.

As if you had
stacked up bricks
at random,
and built by mistake
a lucky star.
“Lucky” by Kirsten Dierking from Northern Oracle. © Spout Press, 2007. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Yes, 64 is a little like that…No regrets, plus a lucky star…

Peace