Irma, you b*#ch!

Well we made it. All our hard work paid off. We were pretty prepared. Scott and I worked for days getting everything put away or tied down, we got groceries and feed. We were as prepared as we could be. Jerry actually made it home from Alabama Friday night. It was unnerving and kinda scary. Our power went off at around 10:30pm. The hurricane came through at around 2 am. All you could do was listen and wait, and wait, and wait! It seems like the wind and rain went on forever! I was afraid to think about what I might wake up to, who could sleep? Maybe I should say, I wondered what I would see when daylight broke? Fortunately, although our property was a mess with limbs and branches everywhere, we had no major damage. It looked bad but all the animals were ok not even a scratch!

The first day seemed like a fog, shell shocked, wandering around on no sleep and so many frazzled nerves. But we are here and we are ok. Start up the generators, one for water and one for the house. Ah, the lovely sound and smell of generators first thing in the morning! Next to check our road. We live on a dirt road a little off the beaten path. We had big old oaks go down on the road. We had to cut our way out. So sad, we love our trees. But all the neighbors checked in and everyone seemed ok. We are a hardened group of tough guys back here in the woods! Get out the chainsaws and the tractors and maybe a beer!

As you could probably tell, I have a love/hate relationship with the generators. They make life livable in Florida with no power. We ran the fridge, the tv, and a small window unit ac off of one. And twice a day we would crank up the other one for water, drinking, flushing, and showers. But…THEY ARE SO LOUD!!! My head was pounding from the low pressure and the noise and even though the ac is running, its hard to sleep with the constant racket. Not to mention, they stink! And I can’t start them, so if it happens to run out of fuel, you have the momentary relief of silence, but then 10 minutes later the heat starts creeping back in! Now normally I can deal with some heat. I have lived in Florida for a long time. But now I have to take medication which makes it almost impossible to deal with the heat!

So… this will be alright. Kinda like camping. Camping is fun! Well maybe not in 100 degree weather, but I can deal. Jerry has to go back to Alabama and Scott has to go to work. I am here alone. So I set out with the best intentions. The dogs seem to think it is great fun with so much new stuff to explore! I am trying to clean up after the storm, put things back and trying to feel as normal as possible. I have to take frequent breaks but I am staying in good spirits. Lots of people have it a lot worse, I am still grateful. Trying to find fuel to keep my life line(generator)going is tough. There is none to be found and if you do find some, the lines are horrendous! We have plenty of food, no emergencies, just taking my time, slow and steady. Five days without power, my patience is running thin.

As I am puttering around the yard trying to put my life back together. The dogs, who apparently think hurricane clean up is fun, come barreling into me from behind and knock me down! I didn’t even see it coming! So here I am…sitting in the yard, dogs licking my face, wondering if I broke my leg? Wondering how I am going to get back to the house? I just lost it! I started crying, I was hysterical! No one could even hear me scream over the damn generator! I let out a weeks worth, or maybe more, of frustration, tension, and fear! Then I realized I had not broken my ankle, just a sprain. I got myself up, brushed myself off, hobbled back to the house, found an ice pack and laid on my bed in the noisy ac. I’m just not sure how much more of this I can take. I am tired and hot, and now my ankle hurts! Power came back on! Life is good

 

Whirlwind

So…I wanted to tell you about my awesome first “gig” playing my cello, that happened last week. I wanted to tell you all the great medical test results I have been receiving. I wanted to tell you about a new business I am going to start. I wanted to tell you of the wonderful concert I was supposed to go to last Wednesday but, IRMA!

As it turns out we seem to be right in the crosshairs of the largest hurricane on record, Irma. The last few days have been very strange indeed. Getting supplies and feed. Cleaning and organizing. Boarding up windows. Sleepless nights as this thing approaches. There’s no leaving, the roads are parking lots. As early as Thursday fuel was scarce, grocery store shelves were bare, people were getting crazy! The hurricane will be here late Sunday early Monday. We are as prepared as we can be. We have generators so we should be able to run our well pump and keep the refrigerator on. I have all my water jugs and water troughs filled up just in case. I think we have plenty of fuel. We got charcoal for the grill. Flashlights and batteries. We have lived in Florida for many years so this is not our first “rodeo”. We live inland so we are not too worried about flooding. Our biggest problem is usually power outages, we had no power for 7 days one year.

The animals are prepared. Horses have plenty of hay and water. They have pieces of cloth with my phone number braided into their manes and tails. I wrote info on their hooves with a sharpie. They will be wearing leather halters with info attached. They will be able to go in and out of the barn as they choose. They have waterproof bug spray on, the mosquitos are already awful. They will wear fly masks to protect their eyes from debris. The biggest concern is trees falling on fences and them getting out and frightened. The front get will be chained.

We have put all the lawn furniture away. Put metal on our windows. Parked the cars by the house, not under the trees. And I have been cleaning everything! Is it just me? When ever I feel tense I want to clean! Not to mention I am a nose person, I am very particular about smells and when the power is off for a few days well, it gets kinda musty in here. That makes me crazy! So I am pouring bleach down drains. I made carpet dust with borax and essential oils. Scrubbing sinks, tubs, and toilets. Mopping floors. Laundry, lots of laundry! This helps to calm me and helps me get everything organized. I like to be methodical in my approach. I know that when one area is cleaned and organized I know I’m done with that area.

I’m pretty sure that were we live this will all just be a huge annoyance. A whirlwind of work and worry. Because of the evacuations from South Florida and crazy traffic I missed seeing Apocolyptica a group of four cellos, in Orlando last Wednesday. I was really looking forward to this. I had already purchased my tickets and probably won’t get my money back, bummer! I have to put my exciting new business plans on hold. And I have to spend extra money on all these storm preparations. I hope we don’t lose any of our beautiful old oaks. I pray that all will be safe. We do have plenty of wine…wish us luck!

Feelin’ Froggie

IMG_2291We have been in a drought for quite some time but finally, we have been getting some much needed rain. Just wondering, do we have to get it all at once? This is frog weather! It is smoldering here and the rain just seems to make it worse, feels like a steam room. And this year it’s extra “special” because the estrogen blocker I am on gives me hot flashes. So now I’m hot on the inside as well as hot on the outside! Everything is moldy and damp including me! And since Tallulah, the puppy, will not allow any throw rugs in the house (she seems to think they are possessed and it is her job to destroy them) the floor is in a constant state of mud. The heat makes her drink a lot of water and her lovely beard holds about a gallon, and she likes to share it with everyone! It is true when they say “When it rains, it pours!”

We travel often for work. We live on a small farm and have some wonderful animals, they are family. Little Tallulah is doing great! We call her Lulu for short. She is growing so fast, I swear you can almost see her growing! It is like having a toddler in the house. She believes that everything and everyone is hers. She does not believe in rules. And she has lots and lots of energy! She plays ball and frisbee. We go on long walks and car rides. She loves toys. Right now I am obsessed with dog toys! Well she loves them, all kinds. And it seems like every time I go out I find another toy I just have to get her! She has so many, I have to rotate them. But I must say she does really seem to enjoy them all. Sometimes she will pile them up all around her in the middle of the living room floor!

I have been trying to socialize her, by getting her used to all kinds of stuff. It’s really kinda fun. The other night we sat out in the backyard with her while neighbors were shooting off fireworks. At first she was a little nervous but once she saw we liked them and the treats started coming she was fine with them. I had anticipated taking her everywhere with me for her socialization but of course, about two weeks after I got her this canine flu thing broke out. So I am doing what I can to expose her to as much stuff as possible right here on the farm. And believe me there’s plenty of crazy stuff she has already gotten used to. Tractors and horses and saws and thunder, lots of thunder! I am hoping she will be a very well adjusted dog.

She is potty trained but…last week she had a little tummy trouble. And had me up all night every two hours to take her out for about 4 nights. Ugh! We seem to have gotten all that under control now. She has been sleeping through the night again. I need my beauty rest! So this got me thinking… how in the heck am I gonna be able to go out of town? My plan was to board her when I was away until she got a little more settled. But now with this canine flu thing there is no way!  And I won’t leave her in a crate for that many hours. So…on to the next project. A beautiful little outdoor kennel. I will keep you posted!

What now?

We had a terrible storm pass through last night. Woke everyone in the house up at three am with loud thunder and quiet the light show. I think we may have even gotten a bit of hail. I have always enjoyed a good storm, the power of nature is amazing! And we sure  needed the rain. As I lay in bed, wide wake, I was thinking it is spring a time of renewal. This spring storm is bringing much needed energy to all the plants and animals here. Things are getting greener everyday on the farm,  babies are being born, flowers are blooming, a new beginning, for me too! It has been a rough few months and I am ready to be over all this cancer drama and move on. Finally I fell back to sleep.

So I wake up refreshed and renewed. Knowing that I am five weeks out from my last chemo treatment, knowing my body is healing and repairing itself, I know this because I feel stronger every day. Ready to move forward and get motivated for whatever wonderful adventure is next. Ready to face a new day. Wait! What is this I see in the mirror as I am brushing my teeth? My eyebrows are all but gone! Like little wooly bear caterpillars they marched right off my face while I was sleeping! You gotta be kidding me! I knew they were kinda sparse but I thought I was done losing hair, I thought things were getting better!? Isn’t it bad enough that I am still almost bald? At least the hair on my head is trying to make a comeback! This absolutely SUCKS! So now I am feeling better but looking worse! This just isn’t even funny! Come on already haven’t I been through enough!? What more does this stupid cancer have to take from me? As an artist maybe I can paint some on? But if you see me walking around looking like a clown just don’t say anything, I know, I know…Oh no! I wonder how long my eyelashes are gonna hang in there???

Happy Fourth

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I definitely appreciate my independence, Fourth of July celebrations not so much. Don’t get me wrong, the fireworks are beautiful and cookouts are fun. But every year they seem to have to push the fireworks envelope further and further, more, bigger, better!  Are we never happy? What if the fireworks display was just as good as last year? The crowds are crazy and we live in a relatively small town. You have to park a mile away from any venue if you can even find a spot to park. Not to mention, this time of year in Florida is pretty brutal, July in Florida is usually 95 degrees and 100% humidity. If it’s not storming, with nature putting on her own light show then it’s so humid the smoke from the fireworks lays heavy on the ground. Most of the time there are enough people in the neighborhood setting off fireworks that we can sit in our backyard and see plenty. And then there’s the fact that we live on a farm. With animals. And animals, for the most part, HATE fireworks! The horses will be spooked and nervous and my dog MacKenzie will be shaking under my bed all night. Not a whole lot of fun. We will make it through and I’m sure everything will work out fine!

One of my favorite Fourth of July memories was when my daughter was about six years old and we went to a little town not too far from where we live. We went with her best friend Candace and her father. We sat on blankets in the grass and watched fireflies, there were just enough fireworks and lemonade. It all seemed so magical! Oh for simpler times!

I hope you have a wonderful fourth, enjoy doing whatever makes you happy!

Chica Chica Boom Boom!

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The crew!

The crew!

It is that time of year in Florida, in July and August when you step outside you just can’t breathe the air is so thick! As soon as you step outside in the morning the humidity slaps you right in the face! You will be dripping with sweat just sitting outside, let alone doing farm chores. Even the plants seem droopy and tired this time of year. This is the time of year you lose lots of plants to the heat and moisture. Everything seems damp and moldy, even me! There is a never ending amount of laundry to do since you have to keep changing into dry clothes throughout the day. More cleaning of coops and barns as animal bedding stays damp and gets mildewed quickly. Horses are sweaty and gummy by 11:00 am. Bugs are lovin it! Frogs too, on some nights the neighbors pond is absolutely roaring!

We are in our rainy season which just adds to the dampness. We have been getting lots of thunder and lightening every day, in fact a house down the road got struck by lightening last Monday, yikes! The storms can be pretty powerful here. My dog McKenzie hates the thunder, she has a thunder shirt that seems to help, but she is still not happy about it. It is supposed to rain all weekend, I heard we could get up to 12″ of rain, better get the Wellies out!

If you have things to do outside you better get them done early in the day. Yesterday we made nesting boxes for the chickens. I just found out last week that we do, in fact, have two roosters. They were having a lovely crowing contest! So now we know for sure! We really don’t want to get rid of one as long as they get along, so far so good. But I think I might need a couple more chickens to try and keep the peace! Over the last few weeks I have been letting them free range during the day and putting them up in the coop at night. So far so good. It is very scary because we have lots of predators around here but I prefer not to keep them locked up. We have fencing and plenty of cover for them. I really enjoy them in the yard! They seem so happy running around chasing bugs, scratching around in the grass, and taking dirt naps! It is so peaceful and fun to watch their silly antics. They seem to be pretty aware of their surroundings. If I go out to check on them they come right over and if I sit on the adirondack chair they like to come and sit with me. No eggs yet, but I think it will be soon.

Just found a new pet sitter. We are heading to LA in a few weeks, can’t wait! Looking forward to a much needed break from this humidity! Can’t wait to hit the beach!