An Anniversary to Forget?

IMG_2349Last year at this time I was in such poor health that I ended up in the hospital. Things were not looking good. My spleen was swollen. I was severely anemic. I was having trouble breathing and no interest in eating. I was so weak I could hardly roll over in bed. The doctors were puzzled, I was puzzled. What the heck was happening to me?… After a month of testing and a bunch of blood and platelet transfusions I got my diagnosis, stage 4 breast cancer. What a year it has been! Wow! Cancer sucks, it tests your limits in every way! I am so grateful to the doctors and all the people that took care of me, I owe them my life, I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for them.

Fast forward a year. The weather has been amazing. I have organized and am preparing for a little block party tomorrow. We live on a dirt road and we are getting together to work on it. Trimming branches, raking, picking up sticks, and dragging the road. I will be out there with my pitchfork and loping shears! As silly as it sounds, I am so excited and thankful that I can even participate! I know my neighbors were worried about me and I can’t wait to show them how well I am doing! Today I am making a huge pot of chicken and yellow rice to feed everyone after our work day. I might even make some cupcakes?

It has been a long hard journey, I’m not gonna lie, and I am still recovering. I have been going to physical therapy three times a week, for my shoulder. Oh it hurts so good! LOL I feel like I am getting fitter. My shoulder is getting better, slow but sure. I sometimes still get frustrated with my slow progress but it is progress non the less! I do have to remind myself about how bad I was just a year ago. I finally got to see the neurologist Tuesday and found out I have Meralgia Paresthetica in my thigh which I can work on with exercise, stretching, and losing some of this extra weight.  Which is just what I wanted to hear! My body lost so much last year, fitness, muscle, stamina. I was so weak. I lost all my core strength, which is very unnerving for a normally strong person. I felt like I was in someone else’s body and it couldn’t be trusted! Now with everything cleared I can really get going again, I love moving and being physically active! I am being careful, going slow but steady, everyday. I enjoy taking care of my body it makes me feel empowered. Working out with bands, walking, and calisthenics, eating healthy. Today I even unloaded a fifty pound bag of feed from my car! I kinda shocked myself! I didn’t think I could do it but I thought I would give it a try. It was a bit of a struggle but…I did it! Watch out world, I am going to be stronger than ever!

My Place


A dream of mine has always been to own a bed and breakfast. I love cooking, baking, entertaining, and meeting new people. I live on, what I think, is a pretty amazing piece of property. But I certainly don’t have the house to do anything like that. Idle Wild Farm has always been a special place to me. It has been in my family for over thirty years. It is covered with beautiful old oaks. There are wild untamed spots and thoughtfully designed spots. We live down an old dirt road which makes it seem like we are in the middle of nowhere but we are actually pretty close to everything. We live only minutes away from the greenway which offers hiking, biking, and trail riding all the way across the state. It still gets dark enough here that you can see the stars at night. We have horses, a wonderful little barn, and a nature covered (trees) arena. We have chickens for fresh eggs, our beloved dogs, and a pet rabbit. Oh, and I can’t forget our crazy little barn cat, Twyla.

We have lots of fruit trees, peach, plum, nectarine, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, persimmon, loquat, meyer lemon and lime. We have raspberry and blueberry bushes. I grow fresh organic herbs and vegetables on my deck. We have tons of wildlife here, butterflies and honey bees, raccoons, armadillos, hawks, woodpeckers. Gopher tortoises and every once in a while a snapping turtle comes through, heading to the neighbors pond. We have lots of squirrels and we once had a white tailed squirrel come to visit. We have bats, flying squirrels, and owls. Believe it or not, Jerry can actually call the owls in at night! We have our very own, resident, sandhill cranes that on some years grace us with their babies.

As you can see, we are blessed with an enchanted, special place that I gratefully get to call home. I have tried to create a peaceful little hideaway. Being here, surrounded by nature, makes me feel grounded and allows me to relax and unwind from the outside worlds hustle and bustle. I get to travel this path called life with the animals that call this place home, they are  gentle reminders to stay in the present and just be. I think there is a special energy here, a healing energy. I love to mindfully walk barefoot through the grass and find a lovely place to sit and contemplate the next garden or adventure…

Speaking of my next adventure! I want to share a little bit of this with others who would like a little shelter from the storms of this modern life. People that want to come out and reconnect with nature. We are almost done restoring our first little vintage camper, it is looking amazing! We are doing a total, down to the frame restoration. I am faux painting the walls and ceiling. I am decorating it to be cozy and comfortable. When it is all finished, I want to park it in a strategic place on my property and with landscaping, my goal is that you will feel privacy and peace. I want to rent this as a place to camp and relax for the weekend.

This will be a work in progress. My goal is to have 3 little spots to camp out on the peace and privacy my property. I want to have the camper and 2 tiny cabins, which we are building out of reclaimed materials. I want to do lots of landscaping to enhance whats already here. I want to build an outdoor kitchen to cook amazing, locally crafted meals in. I want to have paths for walking and benches for meditating or bird watching. I would love to make a zen garden or a labyrinth.  Of course, everything must fit in seamlessly with the nature that surrounds it.

Eventually, I would like to offer artists retreats, cooking or cake decorating weekends, horse back riding lessons, organic gardening classes, etc. of course on different weekends of the year. This is giving me the opportunity to to use my creativity and resources to their fullest potential! And also to have a way to make a living doing and sharing the things that I love! In the pictures above, the two cabins are what I want to build. If you have any old building materials, wood, metal, garden furniture, plants or resources that you think I could use, and you live relatively close to me, please let me know, it would be greatly appreciated!  Also, with this beautiful weather, if any one feels like coming out and giving us a hand with building, gardening, or painting please let us know. We can use all the help we can get, as we are doing this all by ourselves!




Puppy Power

Lets get a puppy, it will be fun! A cute cuddly little puppy. Who doesn’t love a puppy? Ah the joys of puppyhood. I do absolutely love my puppy! We have been going to beginner obedience class, she is so good. We are graduating next week! She is seven months old and she is a ball of fire! She has so much energy! She is either full speed ahead or fast asleep! I am so happy she is in my life. But she is a mess! She loves to play outside, she brings the outside in! Her wet muddy paws all over my floors. Stickers, leaves, and sand in my bed. Water, omg the water, she sticks her whole face in the bowl to drink! Then she shakes her wet mop face all over the place. Every water bowl in the house is full of sand. She is making so much extra work for me. She has just recently found the joys of digging so now I am raking and cleaning, and washing constantly! She loves toys and is an expert at tearing them apart all over my carpet! I must be crazy!

She has finally stopped getting car sick so now I can take her places without the fear of having to clean up my car when we get home! She chases my chickens and plays with sticks. She loves to play frisbee and swim in her pool. She loves tackling and wrestling with McKenzie, my poor older dog (she loves her too, most of the time)!  Who’s idea was this?!

She is getting so big. I bet she weighs 40 pounds by now. I know that because she likes to jump up on the bed in the morning and lay on my chest to wake me up! She eats socks and drinks out of the toilet. She chews up shoes, flip flops are her favorites! Her personality is huge, she is outgoing and gregarious. Tallulah Bleu, she is a handful! What was I thinking?! I love her and I can’t imagine life without her.

Dream On!

Finally the weather is beautiful! The air is crisp and clean, fall has finally arrived. It is so rejuvenating! I feel alive! I am so grateful! Breathing in the clean fresh air makes me want to run in a million different directions! I want to do this, I want to do that. I have so much lost time to make up for! There are not nearly enough hours in the day! Sometimes I get so frustrated with my body and feel like I am not making enough progress physically as I would like. I want to keep pushing and get back to normal again. Somedays my body just says NO! Slow down, take it easy. I have to keep reminding myself that last year at this time I was literally dying. I couldn’t even roll over in bed! I have been working out everyday to get back in shape. I have been going 3 times a week to physical therapy for my shoulder. Slowly, very slowly, there is progress. I have to keep reminding myself that these things take time. Next week I am finally getting in to see a neurologist about my thigh, I hope they can do something! The nerve pain in my thigh is annoying and hard to deal with.

Last week we got to enjoy a wonderful Halloween Party. We dressed as Day of the Dead characters. It was so much fun! I did Jerry and Scotts makeup as well as my own. Probably took around three hours to get everyone dressed and ready to go. I also made appetizers, mummy meat loafs and jackolantern bites. I couldn’t have done all this last year! And then actually enjoy the party! Then on Sunday we took my jeep to Jeeptoberfest, a fun jeep event where you get to drive over all these cool obstacles and just jeep out! I haven’t driven my jeep for a year so this was very exciting!

The next chapter. As I was telling you in my last post, I have a new business that I am creating. I am designing a sacred space for people to come to unwind, heal, and relax in the beauty of nature. I am so excited to get this going! This is a healing journey for me as well.

I Am a Dreamer

Autumn, this has always been my favorite time of year. I absolutely love it! Last year I kinda missed it, so I am enjoying it even more this year. It is still unreasonably hot and humid here. The horses are already getting their winter coats. The grass is growing much slower, everything seems to be slowing down and getting ready for winter. This time of year there is so much to do, harvest festivals, haunted houses, Oktoberfest, art shows, pumpkin carving foods and drinks! But it is also a time to slow down a little, and get cozy. I hope I can pull out a few sweaters and a warm fuzzy blanket or two this year. I don’t care for super cold but I love a little chill in the air. A lovely cool evening listening to the owls and watching the bats fly overhead. A crisp morning of hiking, drinking hot chocolate and not sweating. Sitting around a fire and telling scary stories! It is all just so enchanting to me, ahh!

Now on to real business! As a reader of my blog you know I had some really bad health issues last year. Actually November is the one year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. It is something I would love to forget! But I’m not sure that is possible, I have daily reminders (aches and pains) and lots and lots of bills! My health insurance alone costs me a small fortune. This is not good because I am not working right now, yikes! I want to work but some days it is all I can do to take care of all the farm chores. I still don’t have all my strength and stamina back. I have neuropathy in my thigh which prevents me from standing for any length of time, very annoying! I am going to physical therapy 3 times a week. So…I’m trying to figure out what to do. I want to do something meaningful and fulfilling. I want to be creative. I have lots of skills to use and I want to share with other people. You know, be useful in some way!  They say, “Do what you love and the rest will follow.” I have been struggling with this.

Then one day it hit me!!! Something I have always dreamed about was owning a bed and breakfast. I love to cook and bake, I love entertaining, I love sharing my talents with others. But I live in a small house and there was no way for me to do that. There’s hardly enough room for us, let alone any guests, we would be tripping over each other at every turn! I had this idea about ten years ago, it has evolved, but what I want to do is offer camping at my farm! I am so excited! It is going to be great! And I want to invite you to be involved. Details to follow!

What A Year

This has certainly been an interesting year. Some of it is still a blur. I have definitely had some interesting, although not always wanted, adventures. It was right around this time last year that my health was really declining at an alarming rate. I am VERY grateful to still be alive. Every morning I wake up and take a deep breath and offer thanks that I am still here, breathing. Every day is truly a gift! Not that I want to sound morbid or whiney but when you have a scare, like stage 4 breast cancer, it really drives home the fact that you really don’t know how much longer you will be around, not that any of us do. I don’t plan on going anywhere very soon but, I am going to live whatever life I have left!

I am trying to really notice and appreciate everything I have, friends, love, laughter. Lots of things have changed. Things that used to seem so important to me are not quite as meaningful as they once were. I had given most of my life to horses, something that I will never regret, I lived and breathed horses as far back as I can remember, but right now they are just my companions. No more rigorous training and wishful ambitions of fame and fortune. I have spent decades in the saddle and I cherish every moment. The sounds and smells at the barn are intoxicating and fill me with joy. Horses softly nickering or munching on hay. The sound of hoofbeats and snorting. The sweet smell of fresh feed, new shavings, and leather. The barn has always been a place where I find solace, my happy place. Riding, training, the discipline and physical labor involved in horsemanship is a form of meditation. I have spent many years in my boots and breeches. It is something I will never leave but it is different now.

Art. I am an artist. Everything I do is with an artists touch. I can’t help it, it is who I am. I have struggled for many years trying to make a living as an artist. It is not for the faint of heart! I love creating art, however I do not enjoy trying to market and sell my art. I have been wildly successful at times and I have failed miserably at other times. There is never any steadiness to it. You often end up feeling like a ship tossed about on the sea! “Oh we absolutely love your art, but no we don’t want to actually pay you for it!” UGH! Or “We would love to have you pay us to hang it in our shop.” REALLY? Part of creating art is wanting to share it with others, but at what cost? It is not fulfilling to me to create art and store it in my closet. I enjoy the creative process but I would still like to share it with others and have people care or appreciate what I do enough that I could make a living doing it, but alas this alludes me! Art is sometimes like speaking without words. It can also be like working without pay.

So, after a year of pain and struggling with my health I have no desire, at this time, to continue to struggle with these things, or much else for that matter. I just want to enjoy them. However the bills keep coming and I am not making any money right now. So, whats a girl to do?


Ok, let me back up. Before hurricane Irma blew in I had a few exciting things going on. First of all I had some tests done. I was finally ready to really start getting my health back into my own hands. I went to an office that does alternative as well as western medicine. I saw a nurse practitioner there. I liked her very much. For those of you that don’t know about alternative health care, the doctors really take their time asking you questions and really trying to get to the cause of your issues. That is very comforting to me because I feel like they get to know you a little before just doling out a bunch of drugs. I am in a place now mentally and physically that I want to get back into shape. I still don’t have the muscle strength or endurance I had before my cancer. I have been having a lot problems with my shoulder (pain) and my thigh (neuropathy) that is not helping. I also wanted to know how my bones were, fragile, strong, brittle? They sent me for an x-ray, extensive blood tests and per my request a bone density test. I bought a supplement called Restore to help my body get going again.

I am excited to tell you my tests all came back great! My blood work  looked almost as good as it did pre cancer! My X-rays showed only soft tissue damage in my shoulder! And my bone density test was awesome I am .1% less likely than other people my age to have a fracture! No more Xgeeva! Watch out horses! It won’t be long now before I am back in the saddle again! This is all very reassuring and now I know I can work on these things. I am going to a physical therapist and an Alexander Technique teacher to help with my shoulder. I do have some damage in my spine, thinning of my discs that is probably causing the problem with my thigh. I am going to see a neuropathist soon but in the meantime I am using some essential oils and taking vitamin E, lions mane mushroom, and turmeric to try and support the nerves. It feels good to be trying to help myself, thats just who I am!

I also got to play my first cello “gig” it was so much fun! I played the Beatles songs, Imagine and Let it Be, with my friends Chris and Jim at The Backyard Barn. Im not sure how good it sounded? But it was a first for me and although I have to admit I was a little nervous it was a great experience that I will never forget! Things are looking up!

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



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!

Well, Well, Well…

We have been working nonstop on the farm. Putting in irrigation and electric to the out buildings. Although this is a lot of work in this hot sweltering weather,  when its all said and done it will be so worth it! I am so sick of dragging kinking hoses and extension cords around the yard. You should hear me cussing when I drag that hose all the way down to were I need it and then, right when I get there, the water stops because of a kink, or four, all the way back at the faucet, its not a pretty sight! Lol I’m not even sure how many hoses Jerry has run over with the lawn mower.  All I know is we have a stack of patched together hoses! We spent most of the week digging trenches and getting wire and pipes. Connecting all this and hooking up waterers and sprinklers. I can’t wait to flip the switch! Yay! Everything works! No leaks! Ahh finally, no more hoses. Peace of mind with automatic waterers. I feel a sense of relief. It will be so nice when we go out of town to know that the animals will have fresh clean water. Not that my pet sitter doesn’t keep everything in perfect order but, why not make it easier for everyone?

I have been trying to make everything around here as easy and efficient as I can. Having a farm and animals is a lot of work as it is. So why not make it as easy as possible? Being sick last year and having trouble doing a lot of my regular chores made this more apparent to me. Why struggle with a sore back and bending over when you can easily set up a wash table for the dogs? Why drag hoses when you can just turn on a faucet? Why make more work for yourself? Work smarter, not harder! Finally it is happening! It is so rewarding to look back on all this hard work and know it is done.

Wait a minute…not so fast…After working all day in the hot sun and coming in for the evening, enjoying a good shower…the water stopped! The well is not working! No water! All right I guess there is never a good time for your well to go out, but now… REALLY? We are gonna have to sleep on this one. You don’t really know how much you need water until it’s gone. No coffee, no tea, no toilet!

So all day we are working on this well. Methodically pulling heavy steel pipes out of the ground. Sixty feet, foot by foot. We use an engine lift, a chain fall, and vice grips. The danger here is dropping it down into the well and losing everything, pipes, pump, and all. In hindsight, the well has been acting up, so I guess it wasn’t a total surprise, but still. THIS SUCKS! We find out that the bottom pipe has a hole in it and the water was running out of the tank right back down into the ground. Luckily the pump seems to be ok. Next we have to get new pipes. Then methodically put it all back together piece by piece and lower it back down into the ground. Eight hours later…we have water! Yes! I am so lucky to have these handy guys, I honestly don’t know how I would do it without them! So again, happiness and relaxation set in from a job well done. Shower time! I go to get in the lovely, much anticipated shower. Nice water pressure! Ahh…wait, what is going on the pressure is getting weaker and I can’t get this white soap to rinse off? WAIT! It’s not soap, it’s pipe dope! It’s all over me!  Apparently my shower was the last in the pipe line so all the excess pipe dope (glue) ended up there! We had to take the shower head off and wash it out, it will be fine. I scrubbed the pipe dope off and I will be fine. Just another day on the farm.