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One Month In

July 9, 2015

20150704_125955One month ago tonight the damage was new. Those facing major upheaval know the numbness of the first few hours and days.

Progress is slow but is progress.

Bella was in this crate.

Bella was in this crate.

Special items have been found – photos and books. Items my dad made were pulled from the rubble as well as photos of my mom. A few salt and pepper shakers from her collection have been found but most not yet.

Bella gets second chance

Bella gets second chance

The crate Bella was in is out. We have a roof and basic power and phone. So many things we really take for granted.

Taffy,  feared crushed by the tree, was found unharmed in the kitchen in a crate she never goes in.

A grateful heart especially for those who have contributed and helped in other ways. Good neighbors are priceless and

Kitty seems no worse for wear in the aftermath. Still loves her space, now at the office.

Kitty seems no worse for wear in the aftermath. Still loves her space, now at the office.

we have some of the best.  So much is still ahead but in time things change.

Not my ideal but fast shelter for the rabbits. Some grazing pens are in place too.

Not my ideal but fast shelter for the rabbits. Some grazing pens are in place too.

Six feet dwarfed by one of the tree roots. Two are down

Six feet dwarfed by one of the tree roots. Two are down

When The Wind Damages

July 6, 2015

Many have noticed the sudden disappearance of posts on social media and, due to access, this blog. On June 8, a sudden but brief storm rearranged SlowMoneyFarm.

mobileWe had to immediately get past shock to survival. Rebuilding has begun but it will be a long, long time coming. Trees were down, and crushed the mobile into the living room and kitchen. Our story, in more detail, is in a GoFundMe page. We were very, very lucky.

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The open hole was cut away to rescue the birds inside that pen. All survived.

It buried one pen, destroyed several others and turned birds loose with the tree’s roots creating massive holes in the landscape. Photos taken in the wake of the storm seem like a dream, only it’s real. It’s too real.

We are ok. We had lost some animals in the heat, and stress, following, but we’re ok. Physically.

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It is a massive job ahead to get the trees dealt with. Rabbits under still hanging branches were moved immediately. Dogs that were outside were, obviously, moved immediately. We’re thankful for neighbors who brought meals that first few days, and the neighbor who took off work to rush home and get the chainsaw to help clear enough to find Taffy and Bella, feared lost in the wreckage. Both, it turned out, were safe, although Bella’s mangled crate (see tomorrow’s post for more photos), makes it a miracle. 11244710_983923098308096_6668934022801681669_n

Getting birds caught, moved to housing, making pens, salvaging bits and pieces and keeping them fed and watered has made for full days. We had no power or phone until just recently, and our phone number has changed due to service issues.

There has been good things, and a renewed view of community. It’s been interesting – when there were moments to think – who got in touch and those we haven’t (still) heard from. There isn’t time to deal with stressing about it and enough stress to go around!

But…due to buying “the Office” last year, we have a roof and a nearby base that has allowed being able to get things out, keep everyone as comfortable as possible. Our lives have changed, for sure. The world, in some ways, stopped. No news about pop culture or the outside world.

It was a recovery bubble. In some ways it still is. Rabbits are out in new, but (to me) less than ideal housing that is dry and able to be accessed to care for them, but not what they’re used to. They, too, adapt. The chickens have all been moved, Muscovy ducks and others caught and confined.

We found the living room, found some personal items, recovered books and photos and other odd momentos that don’t mean anything to others but do to me. We’ve pulled out enough kindling to grill for the rest of the summer. We’re working on firewood for the winter. Getting so much done with so little funds is a huge stress, thus the page at the suggestion of a lady in our community.

The Office has been pressed from storage to recovery center and place to sleep. It’s imperfect, but a blessing. There’s not enough time to post much, but I wanted to take a few minutes from the library to make another installment here.

We’re rebuilding and will be trying to post more often. I’ve upgraded to a smartphone, so have phone and some service, but that’s a learning curve and right now there is so much to do it’s hard to spend time learning.

More storms lurk and although this week will be in the 90s, winter isn’t far away when there’s so much to do. A frame for a barn is $3,600 and that’ll take another miracle. There’s no time to waste, so we’d appreciate any help, dear readers, from posting and crossposting to oh so appreciated $5 or 10.

Apologies for the disruption and posting and generating this seemingly frantic post! It will get better. Soon. I hope.

 

 

 

 

 

Patriotic Songs, July 4th and Country Music Day

July 4, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs America celebrates the 4th of July it’s also National Country Music day and it seems this is a natural to have both on the same day. If you’re looking for a “soundtrack” for patriotic songs this is the genre of music to pay tribute to our country.. Here’s 10 songs to start with for the celebration.

  1. God Bless the USA – An anthem from Lee Greenwood it’s been a song that has stood for years. Many consider it the second national anthem of sorts.
  2. It’s America – Rodney Atkins has had a smash with this upbeat song that pays tribute to all American things from Chevrolet cars to Bruce Springsteen.
  3. Only In America – Brooks & Dunn shot some of this video from the air looking over the country and others with images from lines of the song of New York City and the faces of our future. The concert scenes echo “everybody gets to dance.”
  4. Have You Forgotten – Darryl Worley is often seen as a political song but as Darryl says he’s patriotic, not political. Sometimes this gets mixed together but this is another song that doesn’t get old.
  5. Ragged Old Flag – Johnny Cash paid tribute to our flag in the way small towns and old flags can.
  6. What This Country’s Coming To – Buddy Jewell recorded this on his Country Man cd and although not a single it expresses what many feel about the state of our country.
  7. Where The Stars & Stripes & the Eagle Fly – Aaron Tippin has been out several years but is just as well received today as it was when it was on the radio charts. Hearing an entire hillside of people singing along with it at the 2009 CMA Fest Riverfront stage shows clearly it we don’t forget.
  8. God Bless America – Martina McBride performed this before the Rose Bowl Parade in 2002 and although many do it well as a country performer who has seen America coast to coast it is incredible to hear her voice backed with the overhead military flyby.
  9. Star Spangled Banner – Darryl Worley has a version done after recital of the pledge and Amazing Grace played on bagpipes, Taps and a tribute before the 2008 Coca-Cola 600 – on Memorial Day weekend this was an all around.
  10. When a Hero Falls – Stephen Cochran sings a real life and personal tribute to a soldier who gave his life in the line of duty.

There are many songs that pay tribute to our country – this is a mix of common and less common songs. May we never take for granted our freedom and may country music continue to remind us when we do.

Duggars, Jenners, Hoadleys – Does It Really Matter?

June 5, 2015
Goslings getting outside time now!

Goslings getting outside time now!

I’ve been busy offline for a bit, so haven’t seen the deluge of information on the scandals, apparently, involving the Duggar family (shall I admit also that I’ve never watched the show?) or Jenner’s personal decision(s). Headlines that draw attention.

What does their choices and actions matter, in real life, to affect your life? If not for fame no one would know about it, nor care. That’s why it’s awesome to be a Hoadley. It doesn’t have the same bankroll, true. It doesn’t involve millions of people hanging on whatever I say, or don’t say, and evaluating decisions that many face on a regular basis and don’t flood Facebook streams or involve trending topics.

No one cares that we introduced a family to grilled pizza this week. Or the first tomatoes are visible, or the first of 2015 jalapenos are coming off the plant. Does it matter? To most it doesn’t. Guess what – I don’t have to be concerned with sleep aids or self medicating to get through the day, or night. Yes there are down times. Most never see it.

To most of America it doesn’t also matter personally what the Duggars do, or other celebrities. Does it alter your route to work? Does it change how you act with your kids? What you had for dinner? How you treat your neighbor?

Do you know your neighbors? It doesn’t matter what the Duggars do because what is happening here in front of us is a bigger priority. It matters to get the manure hauled, raised beds topped, seedlings transplanted, more things done.

Bloody Butcher corn, heirloom, growing. Over knee high by 4th of *June*.

Bloody Butcher corn, heirloom, growing. Over knee high by 4th of *June*.

I don’t have time to be concerned with what those with fame and money do when trying to cover the load here. How many have taken time to contact a neighbor, or former neighbor, or old friend or classmate? How many have sat out by a campfire watching the lightning bugs and stars? How many have had a conversation – real conversation – with a friend this week?

How many can see the stars? How many don’t have someone to call or sit with and talk? Could it be that lacking those real life things leaves room to fill it with people you don’t know, and gives them the power to take precious time from your life to be concerned? Millions of megabytes of space was taken discussing them this week.

How about those things that really touch your life?

What if we found out we had limited time left – would you spend it with celebrities and sales on things that you won’t have with you after you die? Would you spend it with family and friends, or send that note of appreciation, or spend some time outside in awe of the speck that we are in the world?

Guess what folks – we have limited time left. Don’t waste it. Don’t squander it. Don’t use it commenting on the Duggars or whatever other trending topic society says we should be concerned about. Let’s use the summer to make our communities better and make a difference for others. There’s no replay when it’s game over.

Limited time. Tick tock. Don’t waste it.

 

Dumped Dogs and Faithful Examples

June 3, 2015
Red

Red

Some awesome dogs were given up by others in an age people drove to the farm country and left their dog to fend for itself. Surely a farmer will take him/her in.

Until the dog chases livestock and ends up dead. Or until the dog dies too young because the owner that vowed to love them didn‘t.

Recently I was waiting in the parking lot of a grocery store while someone ran in for a few items. A black dog ran up behind a little red car that was getting ready to drive off. The car stopped at the stop sign, the dog stopped. The car drove onto the highway as the dog tried to catch up, running as hard as it could and seeing the car get further away. The dog ran the other side of a fast food restaurant, out of sight, still trying to catch the car that it clearly recognized.

Red was one that a neighbor took in enough to keep her fed and cared for, and moved in with us when he moved out. She’s not a purebred, doesn’t hung for anything but a food bowl but is a good dog.

What draws someone to take in a pet, then take them to a strange area, boot them out and drive away? The black dog wasn’t giving up, desperately trying to run faster. It was a sad site, and although I hope it was accidental I’m not sure it was. By the time the person I was waiting for returned dog and car were gone.

There are so many alternatives today. Don’t dump dogs. To me, given the loyalty and faithful companionship of dogs, dumping a dog is far worse than chaining them up. Dogs will be content being with you sometimes, but better if all the time. But many aren’t meant to give up on their owner, and that’s what dumping forces them to do.

I recently read “Big Paws Bigger Heart” (recommended for dog lovers!) and imperfect dogs can get good homes. Giving up on the one creature that won’t give up on you is unthinkable.

 

Cornerstones, Or It Takes a Village

May 30, 2015
Shot this several years ago leaving from a visit with the Wittmeyers. It was the cover of my book "Getting By: Lessons From a Rural Past".

Shot this several years ago leaving from a visit with the Wittmeyers. It was the cover of my book “Getting By: Lessons From a Rural Past”.

It’s been a long night of memories. Last night my dad called with word of two losses to our community. Neighbors – second family, inspiration – all of those fit.

Parenting wisdom of it takes a village isn’t new…the difference is the village. In rural areas neighbors may be a half mile, or a mile or two miles away but they’re still neighbors. We knew if we got in trouble at the neighbor’s we were bound to get in trouble at home too. There were cornerstones that we were welcome and one of those was at the Wittmeyers. I don’t remember any particular visit or conversation or what we did, but it wasn’t uncommon if we weren’t at their place they were at ours. There were dirt bikes, horses, walking through the timber, playing in creeks and ponds, snowed in during blizzards.

There was the Peeds where Andy always greeted with a hug. Andy’s been gone for years now, but Norma carried on, never letting his memory fade.

Yesterday Joe Wittmeyer and Norma Peed separately passed away. It’s a dark day of missing with rays of sunny memories that I can’t help but smile.

We kids have stayed in touch, though there’s families of our own and we’re scattered to the winds in some ways. And there’s not a thing that I can do that will ease the loss. There’s no minimizing. The Heavenly reunion with the spouses they vowed to love always is there, and there is no more pain for them.

The village has a loss, and we all feel it, but don’t all feel it the same. So much wisdom and so many stories silenced. Time catches up with all of us, and for all the laughs and good times – and there were many! – it accents the life denial of adding more, and having but memories to rely on. Photographs. Pictures in our heads that we hope we don’t forget.

The reminder that both had long relationships that don’t seem as common today isn’t lost. Certainly over 25 or 50 years there were disagreements. There were times it’d be easy to quit. So many now walk away when things are tough or when it’s not flowers and rainbows. Love is an action to repeat.

Listening to stories from the past gets harder every day. These things are lost as people die and their stories are silenced. The trying to get a quarter for fuel on a date and going to the Maidrite, but not knowing how much he had to spend, so ordering little. Today it seems often the “how much will you spend on me” takes priority. The consideration and working together – and solid marriages and families – were there because it was woven into LIFE.”

The Wittmeyer barn

The Wittmeyer barn

The above story of the date was shared by Joe and Jean Wittmeyer on a visit many moons ago, sitting on the porch swapping stories. Both are gone now and I know they are very proud of the true legacy they left – their family, I’m proud to call friends all these years after high school. I know that without question because they’d say it often.

We get what we look for…what our expectations are. Life passes too quickly.

What a loss for those in the community…and a living loss for those who cannot relate to it. How sad it would be to have no village, even with the hurt from loss.

Someone posed a question recently would I do without internet, cell phone etc for $3million…that wouldn’t be hard. But without a community, a village, a network of pretty awesome people and memories…that is priceless. Some say we reach a point where all we have of value is memories – priceless. Record them, keep them, treasure them.

Because Little House on the Prairie wouldn’t be recorded on the internet. People are a major influence on us – who we are around. Who is your village? Mine’s much smaller than social media lists.

And it’s a bit smaller this morning.

Memorial Day Is Not Happy

May 25, 2015

Many holidays are happy ones. Merry Christmas. Happy Mother’s Day.

LCpl Troy Nealey

LCpl Troy Nealey

Memorial Day is a somber reminder of those who paid the request for service with their lives. When LCpl Troy Nealey went to serve, he knew the risk. That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with never hearing from him again, and saying that sounds dismissive as if it’s strike three of a ball game. There is no do over. There is no restarting the game.

There are no more cattle shows for Troy, no herd of Shorthorns to look over. His dog Zoey joined him this year and I hope he’s taking care of Gael. So many things he never had a chance to do. For someone who liked to laugh and joke, and even on internet chatrooms when there was drama (on the internet? wow! :-) ) he kept it positive.

So in honoring him and thousands of others like him, it’s somber, not happy. It’s with a grateful heart undeserving of a life taken too soon.

We owe our veterans a level of payback that we can never achieve. If all were set up for life like celebrities, it wouldn’t be enough but in paying tribute it honors those who, like Troy, don’t have a chance to go to a bbq today. They may have a stone, a flag, a statue in tribute but that stills forever the life that could have been.

It’s for Ron Payne and Oliver Brown and thousands of others. Oliver was from Pennsylvania, and a group formed from a country music singer’s fans sponsored the Guard unit when they were called up. It made it personal.

Troy’s memorial showmanship for livestock is presented during the summer in his home area. So often in tributes it’s names on a page, or a random flag draped coffin but each of those had a family, had a life before they were a name etched on a stone.

JamieWittmeyerbyKarenAs I think of those lives ended far too soon, I think of the many who served and did come home, thankfully, and continue to serve their communities and be with friends and family. Jamie Wittmeyer has been a friend for longer than I am going to admit to on here. Dirt bikes, horses, late night scary stories before traipsing through the timber (sounded like a good idea at the time) and breaking up I don’t know how many dog fights between his family’s Doberman Eric and my border collie Jerry when they got within sniffing distance of each other. Laughs past and present. Good people.

There’s people like Stephen Cochran, working on this Memorial Day with a mobile tribute on display today in California. Stephen Cochran wrote “When A Hero Falls”, posted below as a tribute to Ron Payne and the many others who are not forgotten. A different version has appeared on his CDs including a new version on the recent release (some other pretty awesome songs on there too – check it out).

There’s J.R.Martinez – some may remember him from All My Children or Dancing With the Stars – awesome person who has overcome more than most of us will ever face. We owe them all. They are not forever damaged…but gave a part of their life to something they believed in.

Today honors those who gave their lives. It honors those lives that make the fabric of American life and those families and friends who miss those lives ever day. We must not forget.

Family pictorial of veterans and a couple others.

Family pictorial of veterans and a couple others.

There are many whose voices are so far removed they are but names in a journal or document. May we never, especially on Memorial Day, forget those no longer here. Those who signed a document payable with their lives to try to help someone else. May it never just be about sales and grilling.

They deserve so much more than that.

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