This morning as I was getting dressed I happened to glance out of the back upstairs window of our house and, in broad daylight, I saw a large male coyote nonchalantly walking across the hillside field. I suggested that Geoff look out the window. He confirmed that it was a coyote walking around in broad daylight and went outside to make sure that particular coyote did not eat any of our livestock for breakfast. Geoff was not able to kill the predator, but he did scare it off and none of the livestock are the worse for wear. It is disconcerting seeing the largest coyote we’ve seen in KY so far brazenly bandying about our property in the daytime. The unseasonably warm weather is throwing everyone off. The daffodils are blooming, there are buds on the cherry trees, and the yotees are wandering around in the daytime. I sure frogs and locusts are to follow.
Here is a brief, yet comprehensive list of my observations to-date about having given up TV for Lent:
- Turns out, while I do watch a lot of TV programs, and frequently have TV on as a backdrop to my life, I also waste quite a bit of time on the internet.
- I have read one new play, one old book, and some of my homework reading for school.
- I have had more meaningful conversations with my husband even though we have spent less time in the same room together.
- I have sung many songs, too many to count, most of them not real.
- I have prayed for people and myself.
- For whatever reason I have not cleaned the kitchen or folded the laundry, though I thought I might.
- I have power napped.
- I have thought deeply about the past and future.
- I have discovered how much I love our house in silence.
- I know Sunday I will feel the magnitude of my TV fast as I do not watch the Oscars.
The first few days have been about not watching TV. I hope the rest of Lent for me will be about using my new free time more meaningfully. Baby steps.
Today was unseasonably warm and beautiful. I drove past the house in town that my parents purchased and will soon move into. The scene was so picturesque, I decided mom might like to see it, so I took out my phone and texted her a thoughtfully composed snapshot of their house across the glistening lake. Mom’s response, “So I really won’t have to wear pants after all!” Apparently the photo made their house appear to be more secluded than it actually is. I am certain the adage, “People who live in glass houses should wear pants,” was invented for just this occasion. When more than fifty percent of the exterior of your home is clear window glass, pants are a thoughtful accessory. At least I think so.
The thermometer hit 78 degrees today in town and the sun was a welcome visitor. I soaked up as much vitamin D as I could in town and threw on shorts and a t-shirt as soon as I got home. Geoff had finished up the chores by that point and I found him sitting in the pasture with the goats. An early spring is not as pleasant for goats as it is for people. Our boers, who grow hearty, fluffy, winter coats were really sweating the unseasonably warm temperatures. It’s rough to rock a mohair sweater 24-7. Nadine and Roja in particular were panting quite a bit. Now that the sun has gone down everyone should be comfy, but I don’t envy those girls. Not to mention the fact that they are both supposed to be pregnant. Not a pleasant way for them to spend an afternoon.
In other news, farmer Geoff does not like to be called Kermit the Frog. Just FYI.
I spent a surprisingly large part of yesterday trying to convince my friend Kelly to dream about an accordion last night. In spite of the many vague and overt accordion references I planted in her conscious awareness yesterday, none of them crossed the barrier to her subconscious and appeared as day residue in her dreams. Bummer. I was hoping mind control could be one of my new skills. Nonetheless, my takeaway from the whole experience is no matter how much you want a dream for someone else, you can’t make it part of their reality. We are each in charge of our own dreams and we’re each responsible for achieving them on our own. This point was driven home for me a second time yesterday when someone I care about deeply told me she was too scared to go after a dream that she once had. This brought to light what I believe to be a second universal truth about dreams. Achieving your dreams requires bravery, boldness, and confidence. Then I had a weird situation today where someone I work closely with may not having the skills and abilities required to achieve her dream–demonstrating dream postulate number three: achieving your dreams takes talent and preparation.
These three realizations about dreams could leave a person a little depressed about the whole notion of dreams. As an eternal optimist, I have a different interpretation. Dreams are special because they are hard to achieve. Dreams are important because for the most part you have to make your dreams come true for yourself. You can’t phone them in. You can’t be like, “Oh, hey, I’m feeling a little under the whether today, would you mind going out and achieving some important life milestones for me while I sit here on the couch and nurse my sore throat.” You can’t do that. Thank the good Lord we can’t. The world would be entirely populated by lame-asses if you could order your dreams to-go like food off of a take-out menu. Dreams have to be pursued and wooed and hunted down. They beg to be fought for. If ever I get discouraged about the slow pace at which Geoff and I are building up Good Life Ranch and Lifestyles Lane, I remember that nothing valuable is acquired without a price. If our dream were easy to achieve it wouldn’t be worth dreaming. If moving to rural Kentucky, leaving our home, our friends, and high-speed internet were easy, everyone would do it.
So on this first day of Lent, in a spirit of reflection, repentance, and gratitude, I thank God for the dreamers and what dreams may come.
It’s Mardi Gras and these are my pancakes. Mardi Gras in South Central Kentucky is a pretty tame affair. I celebrated the day before the beginning of Lent by sharing a king cake with my student aides and then getting my hair cut after school. Geoff and I accidentally had a traditional Shrove Tuesday supper because pancakes were the main food item we had in the house.
I’m pretty pumped about the upcoming season of reflection and meditation. I got even more pumped when my digital bible sent me a text message. I did not know it could text, but it did. That is some pretty 21st century theology.
I’m going to rap up Mardi Gras 2012 by watching the 200th episode of the Biggest Loser, and then bye bye TV until Easter Sunday.
Seven years ago I accidentally read the book Singular Pilgrim by Rosemary Mahoney. It is a non-fiction account of one travel writer’s attempt to undertake six different sacred pilgrimages. If you know me, you know I love to travel and I approach each new adventure as its own sacred journey. I believe travel is the greatest learning experience of all, and if we approach travel, any travel, with the heart of a pilgrim God uses that journey to expand our hearts and touch deeply the lives of others. I think when we travel we have two choices: we can be tourists selfishly taking from and only superficially experiencing our new environments, or we can be pilgrims honoring and deeply experiencing our new environments. I prefer to be a pilgrim. Reading Mahoney’s book all those years ago made me eager to experience certain specific pilgrimages. In 2006 I was lucky enough to get to go to Varanasi, India and set foot in the Ganges, one of the holiest pilgrimages in that country. My dream is to one day walk the 800 km Camino De Santiago, a journey from France across Spain to the believed burial site of James the apostle.
Recently, actor Emelio Esteves wrote, directed, and produced a movie, staring his father Martin Sheen, about El Camino de Santiago called The Way. I had wanted to see it in a theater, but the nearest place it was showing was in Louisville. This weekend we on demanded it from the satellite and I finally got to see it. Regardless of whether or not you have had a seven year obsession with El Camino de Santiago, I highly recommend this movie. It is thoughtful, touching, humorous, and character driven. Best of all you get glimpses of the gorgeous Spanish countryside, the vivacious Spanish people, and the camaraderie of the pilgrimage.
I realize this post doesn’t have anything to do with farming, but in a way our journey to Kentucky and our attempts to build Good Life Ranch is a pilgrimage of its own. So, whatever pilgrimage you find yourself on during this President’s Day 2012, buen camino!
Hey there, America. It’s been a while. Sorry for my long and unannounced absence from the blog-o-sphere. I guess the best way to put it is that life got in the way.
So, let’s catch up. How’ve you been? Great, glad to hear it. Me? Good question. Well, I have not blogged anything since Thanksgiving, and really have not done any serious blogging since the interns were here this past summer. I intend to remedy that. I know you’ve been missing stories about poop and animals and heavy things Geoff decides to pick up. Have no fear, those stories still exist. The animals are still pooping, Scooter is still rolling recreationally in that poop. But before we get to the poop, I’d like to talk a little about what has brought me back to blogging.
During our first year here on the farm I blogged to make sense out of our new life. I blogged because I was sad and homesick and a little depressed, and I also blogged because in the midst of all of that I was also excited and joy-filled and curious. The start of this school year did a lot to propel me into a more positive frame of mind. I’ve loved the students I’ve gotten to work with this year. I’ve loved the contributions I’ve been able to make to my school and our local community. Now that Geoff and I are just a few short months away from celebrating the second anniversary of our arrival here in Kentucky, I definitely feel more at home. I think that is probably why I have not made time to blog much in the past six months. I’ve just been enjoying life and spending my time with the people I love. I realize though, that there are so many people I love who are not here in KY, and this blog is one way I can keep them posted on our lives even when things get too crazy to sit down and call each one of them up.
The timing is also right to begin blogging again because we are about to enter into my favorite season of the year. This Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent (the forty days [plus Sundays] before Easter). If you know me well you know I love Lent because of its focus on reflection and personal sacrifice. I typically celebrate Lent by giving up something and adopting a new spiritual discipline. This year I am giving up watching TV and I am adopting blogging again. I know blogging might not seem like a spiritual discipline, but to me anything that increases mindfulness and reflection certainly counts as a spiritual discipline. I’m giving up TV because, although I believe there are many worthwhile programs on television, I spend most of my TV watching time looking at nothing particularly edifying and before I know it hours have passed. In an attempt to be more mindful, more focussed, and more productive, I’ll take a break from TV.
So stay tuned, America. Farmerlady is back. Now take a look at this picture I took of gummy bears.