New Boots

I finally killed my old Sloggers and got some new ones. They’re great. They don’t have much support, but they take a ton of abuse and are nice and flexible and short. I got my first pair two and a half years ago.

My new ones came today. Aren’t they pretty and shiny?

I should show up like this at work:


The rain is freaking me out right now. Maybe I’ll go check on the remaining few babies in pots (and break in my new boots). Or maybe I’ll just keep lying in bed.

Among the Dirt and Creatures

For a moment today my existence was perfect. Here in simplicity and solitude it revealed itself:

It was cold and rainy and I was out in the garden still sick with a virus. I noticed cutworms had tried to kill another seedling. But the victim, a baby collard, survived with two of its main leaves. I took the nearest tool that had been left out leaning against the pecan tree. It was Silas’ tiny yellow hoe. Hacking around the young plant, I happily unearthed the offending cutworm, in all of its dirt-coloredness. I contemplated how best to kill it without inadvertently stomping it back into the muddy soil and without maliciously popping it between my fingers. I decided to toss it to the hens. As I approached the coop with the intent of nourishing our cute fluffy food source with the enemy of another food source, a deep knowing came over me. I was the caretaker; the sower and the reaper, in sync with life and death and able to tip the patterns of existence toward our favor. Confirmation of my belonging among the dirt and plants and creatures and rain.

A Good Day

Clad in the turtle dress made more than twenty years ago by the hands of my mother and me, today I labored in love.

Stinky organic fish fertilizer nourished the children.

The garden shed is once again in functional form.

The truck topper storage was relocated.

And a grassroots protest took place.

It was a good day.

My Feminism is all Tapped Out Today

I’m a flag-waving, fully practicing feminist. That doesn’t mean I have adopted all of society’s latest feminist ideals or even necessarily know what those are. For me it simply means that I know my own worth and my own strength and that I encourage my fellow women friends to know theirs. Also that being female means that sometimes you’re the smallest kid on the playground and unfortunately you may need to yell the loudest and hit the hardest in order to prove that strength and worth to others. Other times exercising your power means being quiet and patient and making metered decisions, which can also be difficult especially in the face of injustice.

And I’m naturally a fighter. I know that. I was born a pissed off bundle of uncontrollable, so maybe it’s easier for me. But goddamn it, you have to fight in this fucking world. And when one of my fellow feminist friends cries to me that decisions are being made for her, I say “Do something about it! Don’t comply! You are free — no one can force you!” but instead she accepts her shut up gift with a tearful smile, puts on her newest $20 lip gloss, and gets back to her comfortable complaints.

And then another fellow feminist comes to me with a small problem that is going to take an uncomfortable action (very subjective here — more like “should in no way be perceived as an uncomfortable action”) to solve….so she wanted me to do it. I told her that it won’t be scary at all once she does it once or twice and that I have faith in her. So she eventually did it, but wouldn’t do it alone. Waited until I was there with her. I am not complimented by this. I am pretty much disgusted.

I want us to be empowered. Not in some stupid idealistic hypothetical sense, but in a real way. Let us say what we mean and stand up for ourselves and for each other. Let us quit making fear-based decisions. Let us realize that not making a decision IS making a decision; that we choose our own steps every single day. Let us be free to exist in our flesh and our minds however we present on any particular day. And for the love of God, let us fight when it is necessary, and maybe even when it is not.

But today I have my period and I’m done waving my flag for those of you who won’t wave your own. Grow a pair of ovaries — or rather use the ones you’ve got. Mine are yelling at me about chocolate right now, fuckyou very much.

New Garden Helper (or Puppy Party)


I’d like to introduce you to Scout.  She’s the newest member of our family and my latest farmhand.  She’s a 6 week old boxer pup who specializes in wrestling with watermelon vines and herding chickens.

Wendell loves her.


He’ll even (somewhat reluctantly) share his space with her.

IMG_1329 (2)

Welcome, Scout!


(Slipped on a rock and dunked my camera into a creek in Floyd, VA….so I’m down to my crappy cell phone camera.)

Sometimes We all Need a Little Concrete in our Lives

Gordon and I made our escape to Wilmington, NC for the weekend without our children. We’ve been married for nearly 13 years and this is only the 4th time we’ve been away together. I told this to a woman I work with (while explaining how I would in no way be available to deal with anything work-related this weekened) and she looked at me with the most serious face and asked me, “Are you a loser?” LOL. I guess that’s a legitimate question coming from a suburbanite who socializies with other adults and who cares about things like “fashion”. But yeah, even I need to play in the city world now and again. I just never seem to know it without some prodding.

One cool irony is that the first pub we checked out happened to be an old converted seed store.  Felt right at home with a local pint in my hand while staring at a sign about morning glories.

It’s such a cool city.  Lots of history, lots of fun.  Not expensive.  Hip without being pretentious.

Did I mention that we did this without the children? And that it’s been like FOREVER? I had maybe close to no gray hair last time we escaped. So we did it up: a little crazy – but mostly just total silliness. It was great fun.

A Couple of Badasses

Confessions of a Judgy Bitch

“What up, bitch?”

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! It’s a time for self-reflection and goal setting. So in that spirit I’d like to confess that I judge people. A lot. And I’d also like to confess that I have no working plan to change it in 2017.

For your entertainment or scorn, I have comprised a list of my favorite people to judge and why:

  • A co-worker (whom I otherwise like very much) who gets vehemently disgusted by people who hunt or harvest their own animals, BUT consumes a wide assortment of commercially harvested meats on a daily basis
  • My young neighbor who enjoys country living by driving halfway down her driveway to feed a couple of carrots to the other neighbor’s horse and then drives back (and then complains to me how the horse’s owner doesn’t feed her well enough because she grazes all day – – – Google is your friend, lady; horses graze)
  • My father who believes every conspiracy theory known to man and squishes them all together into one big extraterrestrial-driven jumble, and will have no conversation absent of this (unless he is making plans about how someone else should be running their lives)
  • Another co-worker who plops himself at my desk for long periods of time and bitches to me about all the people he’s currently judging

….Holy crap! Wait….my list just totally validated me. I am constantly judging people who are judging others. So that means I’m really nice!

OK no seriously, I’m a bitch. I guess that’s why I like plants and animals so much and why working with them comforts me so. They aren’t people.

Maybe the working plan for 2017 could be something like: Instead of judging myself for judging others, I could actively practice love and maybe it will help crowd out the rest.


Ok for real: I’ll most likely still be the same old irritable bitch by this time next year. And that’s OK because by then I should have grown a lot of Holy Basil to help soothe my judgy heart.

Cheers to 2017! Xoxo

Date Night

One upon a time there was a couple who were creeping up on middle age. Their adventous streak matched the silver streaks in their hair and therefore spent most weekend nights at home with the kids. The husband, however, had asked his wife to go out on a proper date this particular evening. This couple who, after a little back and forth debate of whether to see a cheap music show at a little dive in the city or a cheap music show at a larger dive in the country, took into account the meteor shower that was supposed to be visible and headed out into the wilds of the North Carolina bible belt on a Saturday night. (The wife, in her aged wisdom, fixed herself a hefty to-go wine).

They first found themselves at a fish camp (aka seafood restaraunt) in the middle of nowhere that was so jam packed with folks that there was a line to get into the place and a line to get out. Then they moseyed down the road, bellies full of fried food and red slaw. 

Rolling pastures and wooded areas decorated the journey. They passed a lovely old boarded up church which the wife suggested would probably be easy to break into. Later she begged him to pull over and let her try and climb up an embankment inhabited by three ancient silos. It didn’t happen.  

Eventually they came to a very well kempt little downtown with buildings that were probably two centuries old. A pickup truck sat parked at a storefront with a sign in the bed announcing the entertainment within. 

Rows of various cheap old chairs filled the place, plastic and metal, some with flattened pillows or cushions. The ceiling tiles were actual tile and the stained ones all had the same pattern like brown flowers in the corners. Beyond the hanging fluorescent light, a six piece band warmed up. An old man warmly greeted our couple at the door, pegging them as first timers. He bragged that there were no bad bands that ever played there and that everyone there was just like family…no smoking and no drinking. The wife smiled widely in reponse, nodding but saying nothing, guiltily clutching her to-go wine and trying not to exhale. Over his shoulder, a tiny woman with white hair climbed the stage steps and began singing “I’ll Fly Away” with the band.

The husband and wife gingerly moved among the octogenarian crowd and placed themselves on cushions on the outskirts of the hubbub. The wife’s unease grew when she realized that the gregarious group of spectators near the stage were all wearing tap shoes. What was this place? She took a deep swig of her smuggled wine.

The old man from the door hopped on stage to introduce the band and to do more bragging about the musical lineup between now and the end of the year. He welcomed the audience and asked if there were any birthdays. The husband heard “first days” and mistook his wife’s jittery nudges as an urge for him to raise his hand. Awkward, but truly no big deal except that our couple was all kinds of out of sorts.

The band began playing a toe-tapping tune, and not even a few moments in, the clackety shoe people got up to clog. No time wasted. No liquid courage needed. These ladies and their gents had been waiting all week and were ready to cut loose. The wife woefully noticed that the path to the bathroom was now forever blocked by the tapping spectacle as she finished her cup. The greeter-host pulled a chain off to the couple’s left and the fluorescent light erased, leaving only a warm stage glow. Our newcomers felt immediately more able to sink into anonymity and began to relax. 

The music was good. Bluegrass with some classic country and a little bit of rock. They did a Celtic number as well. The dancing never stopped. Folks who seemed to have trouble walking to and from their seats, bodies full of age and ailment, danced number after number, faces full of smiles. 

The contagion finally spread to the wife and she wanted to partake in the boogie woogie. The husband, not so much. So they began planning the next part of their journey: meteors. 

And old Indian burial mound was nearby and sometimes stayed open late for celestial viewings. Not this night though. Wifey said they should go anyway and jump the fence, hubby said um, no. 

They went outside into the humid night and wandered around the deserted little town, admiring the church and poking their noses into creepier structures. They laughed and tried to guess where the zombies might be hiding. 

Eventually it was time to try and see some shooting stars. As they zoomed through the countryside the wife planned their big trespassing mission. The husband told her to just relax and look at the stars. He opened the sunroof and told her to put her seat back. They rode like that for a long time, listening to classic rock and sharing some light banter. 

The husband suddenly pulled off the road and into the front yard of the boarded up old chuch they had passed earlier that day. Private Property and No Tresspassing signs shouted their intent. The husband cut the headlights and killed the engine. The wife, thrilled that her bluff had been called, jumped out of the car to make good on her part of this scheme. The husband and wife tiptoed up the church steps and looked around the portico lit up by his cell phone. That was enough illegal adventure for our rebels, so they headed back to the car. The husband did stop to pee on a shrub, though. And when he did, the wife noticed the blinking red light of a camera staring down at them. 

Later that night in the safety of their cozy bed, the wife dreamed that new ghosts had followed them home and were fighting with the resident ghosts. The husband dreamed that they were vacationing with the kids in an abandoned town and were greeted by men with guns. 

Perhaps our couple should go out more often. Or not. 

The End

So Thankful

As I was coming into town yesterday on my way home from work I saw an impressive bolt of lightning off in the distance.  Immediately following that I felt the clap of thunder beneath my car. Feeling it seems odd even in retrospect, but perhaps the universe was nudging me. 

Pulling into the drive I stopped to take this picture, happy for the rain.

Gordon met me outside to tell me about the lightning that hit the lamp post out back while he and the kids and the dog stood watching the storm roll in. He said everything turned red. I expressed my disappointment in missing it. He told me that things got destroyed: the modem, the wireless router, the PlayStation. 

A bit later while Gordon was figuring out whether these items were under warranty and dealing with that hodgepodge, I went to wash my hands and discovered we had no water. The well pump got fried as well. Luckily our neighbors had the ability and kind willingness to let us tap into their well for a couple of days until we get it sorted out.

We also lost our security camera. The neighbors also lost their air conditioning unit. Happily for them they have a landlord and happily for us it isn’t us. 

Today Eddie found another striking point. Lightning struck the sycamore in front of our bedroom window that has a destiny for removal (whether I like it or not). Note the new wound down its beautiful length.

This is likely going to cost us at least a couple of thousand dollars. But I’m not complaining.  My boys were all standing beneath the carport when lightning arced over their heads, hitting this tree on one side, and the lamp post on the other. They could have gotten hit. It’s a bit of a miracle nobody was hurt. Never again will any of us watch storms outside the house. 

I am so thankful. 

Storm From Nowhere

Summer heat and whatever else brought us an intense popup storm last night. Winds contorted the highest branches of our trees, seemingly pulling them parallel to the ground until they would shift, whipping the massive limbs back into their sky-reaching form. A constant strobe of lightning back lit this dance. Cracks and booms told of our closeness to bolts meeting earth. I went in to sleeping Silas, in case he woke frightened or if I needed to save him from a falling tree. 

But it soon quieted and morning came. 

The windchime is my mother’s way to converse with me when I’m in the herb garden. I like to think so anyway. And that is her injured tree.