Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Searing hot wind chases away last weeks' freezing cold.

We hope for some may showers.

I am going to plant some garden in faith. The early plantings were frozen to death when we were slammed with a 25 degree cold snap. Even a warm blanket wasn't enough to save them.

Never mind! This is pretty typical for our high desert altitude. Last Thursday we huddled in jackets and blankets as Nora played softball. Yesterday we were toasted by warm afternoon sun.

FYI, the chicken butcher went beautifully! We have a freezer shelf filled with 6-6.5 lb beautiful chicken. It is so delicious, and to tell you the truth, the experience was a time of restoration for me.

A girlfriend came over to lend a hand and to learn. I missed our old set up, with Patrick and James on the first end, visiting kids helping with the gathering of the birds. The big pots of hot water, the chicken plucker, Serge and me at the evisceration station, Rose and occasionally Maggie in the gizzard peeling zone. This time, kids were all in school, the plucker didn't make it to Texas as I doubted we would ever raise meat chickens again. So, back to the real olden days, our fingers did just fine. And the spelt dusted fried chicken we consumed like barbarians for lunch, from the free range, healthy poultry we raised in our small town backyard was about the most amazing thing I had consumed in a very long time. I felt hope. I felt like we were finding our way and a little bit of new normal.

The day ran out of time and I left three more big guys for a later date. I am still waiting for the time to finish up our "harvest." Maybe later this week?

Things are still hard here, but hard of the progressive sort, I think. I have an almost completed new kitchen. Wow. Lots of hard work, but so awesome to make things more efficient. We have converted a greenhouse into a spare room. Not quite brought to completion, but coming along. Patrick has been accepted into a wonderful university and his graduation from high school is imminent. He, Maggie and Rose had an amazing year in track and cross country this year, not to mention all the academic competition. State history fair, literary criticism, current events were just a few of the areas where they excelled. Nora is thriving in karate and softball, and is really coming into her own. Thomas will be completing his two year stint at ENMU-Roswell in their amazing program for occupational training and independent living. He has applied for a job here in our little town and I am hoping and praying that he makes a smooth transition into a new chapter of young adulthood.

We have our bumps in the road, some heartbreaks and stubbed toes. To tell the truth, I think I am still recuperating from last year's health issues even though I feel fine physically. The oncologist found a polyp at my last visit and had to send it off to the lab to see if it were cancer or not. Thank goodness it wasn't. But to tell you the truth, I was a bit more shaken up than I wished to admit to myself. Even if it were, the doctor reminded me that the reason I go in to see him every three months is to catch things early. Early detection means early intervention, which means life.

So, nothing to really worry about, just acceptance and adjustment, and facing my fears. I don't really feel like dancing and delighting these days. But if the opportunity comes along, I will try to take it. The other evening a couple of my bff's here in town and I went to the local live music venue. A terrific band was in town from Austin: El Tule. An 8 or 9 man and woman band, playing lively salsa and merengue. We ladies danced and danced and had as much fun as we could. I am holding on to the spiritual lessons I read over and over again in scripture, the concept that eventually our mourning will turn into dancing and that our tears will be replaced with joy.

Bring on the joy, Lord!

We have so many beautiful, lovely things going on in our life. Like the big pitaya cactus by my carport. It is covered with vibrant magenta blossoms. Yum. Those blossoms make my mouth water, thinking of the lovely sweet tart fruit we hope to see on that plant in a couple of months. The fig was hit hard by the freeze, but new little green leaves are starting to show up.

The chickens are mess makers and are causing me to scratch my head, because I haven't yet figured out a happy medium, that is, free-range that doesn't extend into our garden! But they give me such delight. I really love having chickens again. Brownie and Blackie are doing a great job protecting them from local predators. Makes our home seem more sustainable. And raising our own meat and eggs is so encouraging. Having the opportunity to share some of our experience, teaching others how to harvest their own meat, pluck feathers, make fried chicken, well, that's just about the best thing that has happened for me in quite a long time.

Okay, okay, I have GOT to get back to work. But bear with me as I try to stumble and start and get back to writing.

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