Friday, August 27, 2010

A Planned Life

Driving to and fro, from home to work, consumes quite a bit of my week when you think about it. Living in the country definitely has its perks, but losing 2 hours per workday driving is not one of them. I usually listen to talk radio and spend most of my time pondering, musing, and wondering, and (to be truthful) occasionally ranting and complaining to myself and to God. We've had some interesting conversations. I am very much a "type A" personality. I like to plan. I need plans in my life. I like to organize and to be organized. I like to know what is approaching on my horizon. I am not a risk taker. I (think) I do much better in my comfort zone of "knowingness". I believe that this last year + is teaching me some things about myself that I don't think I like too much. I find myself wanting to have a childish fit and throw myself on the ground and pound my head because ......... "it's not fair!" that I have PLANS that just aren't working right now, and I feel mightily selfish for having such thoughts....because really, under our circumstances, we have it pretty darn good.

One of my favorite personal sayings is: life is what gets in the way of what you had planned. (It is waaaay easier to tell someone ELSE this, than to tell yourself, by the way....because it's not "your plans" that have been altered or interrupted).

So, in my hours of driving and watching other drivers and listening to talk radio, I think:

*I'm sure that person didn't "plan" on having that wheelchair rack on the back of their car.

*I'm sure that young wife didn't "plan" on spending the rest of her married life taking care of her soldier husband who now has a traumatic brain injury.

*I'm sure NOBODY "plans" on being unemployed for what seems like an eternity.

*I'm pretty positive the people on the van for the mentally ill didn't "plan" to have chemical imbalances that would disrupt their entire lives.

*I'll bet that the driver of the remnants of the car I just passed didn't wake up and "plan" to have a wreck that morning.

*I would bet everything I own that nobody "plans" on having a severely disabled child that will depend on them for all eternity.

*Cancer. Now, who "plans" that?

The list could go on forever.

Then, I started thinking that maybe my plans are just assumptions. Mathematical equations......... A + B = LIFE, exactly the way we think it should be. That's not planning. That is presumptuousness of having a life near perfection, and that is embarrassing.

Funnily enough, this week I am nearing 70% completion of my year of reading the Bible chronologically. I have a set path on this, so I am not picking and choosing my verses that I read. And this week, true to form, God throws me a bone to go with my ponderings:

Job 2:10 -- Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?

I will always be a planner, organizer, and forward thinker and I don't think I need to change that. But, I need to remember that while I am wired to work this way, I am still not "The One" whose plans ultimately control or dictate how, where, or why my life turns out the way it does at the end of the day. Knowing that....I need to be more accepting of where the current takes me and what the wind and rain brings.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hey, Nice Asp!

I've been waiting for the end of this little story to emerge from its cocoon, and received word today that it is over. Our toxic little asp is dead. What!?? You may ask? "What?", as in... What is an asp?...... or "What?" as in.....Should we mourn another loss at Ararat Acres? I am here for educate the general public about this bizarre creature in the insect world.

Lest you think we live in a scary world out here in the country (believe me, I think those of YOU living in the city are living in a scary world of a different variety.....but I digress!), an asp is just one of those things out here that you learn about and then watch out for. Nobody's ever died from one (that I know of), but countless people have ended up in the emergency room because of one.
Setting the Stage: So here I was, minding my own business, picking the evil bagworms off of a bush, when what should I see, but just about the cutest little caterpillar you could imagine. Why, it was so cute you'd just want to pick it up and cuddle it. The common sense side of my brain said, "something that cute can only mean trouble". So, with my gloved hand, I picked up the little bundle of cuteness, put it in a jar, and set about trying to identify it on the internet. It took awhile, but when I finally stumbled upon the right website (you really must go to that website to learn everything you ever wanted to know about these guys), I was VERY thankful I had not stroked its cute little furry body like I really wanted to (I am very texture oriented, and I really really wanted to!). See, one little brush with this little guy/gal, and you could end up in the emergency room. (Go here and here to see more pictures and information.)

I called my caterpillar expert friend, Michelle, and told her what I'd found. She raises caterpillars as a hobby of sorts (I think she might try to housebreak them too), and then she turns the butterflies loose when they emerge from their cocoons. It really is quite interesting, and she knows an awful lot. She was so interested that she raced 40 miles over here to "rescue" it. Only she would say, "Hey, nice asp!" , and really mean it. She put little asp in a caterpillar incubator, and within the week, it had finished its lifetime as a caterpillar, woven its cocoon, and was ready to think about being a moth (because, will grow up to be a moth, not a butterfly). There is very little information known about the latter part of the life cycle of an asp, so this was a biology experiment. I understand that the moths are really quite beautiful, except for the part about laying eggs and procreating more little asps.

Almost a month later, Michelle emailed me: the little asp had emerged as a cute moth, and then had promptly died, she feared, of neglect. She said it was so small that she didn't notice it for a couple of days, and by then, it had died. None of us are so sad about this ending, however. While it was a good biology lesson, we weren't sure what we were going to do with an asp moth. I'm sure even Noah had his limits on the ark.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Does it mean anything if you find "the bluebird of happiness" dead inside your woodburning stove? (aside from the fact of HOW did it even get in there?)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (aka, A Week In My Life)

Sometimes I look back, and the beginning of the week seems like a month much crammed into only 7 days, especially when you realize that,........why yes, I do work full time in addition to all the "extras" in my life.

Exhibit A:

The apple tree, laden with apples = picking said apples and then making 4 batches of apple butter and canning the goods (that was an after hours weeklong activity). The fourth batch was actually pear butter with a hint of apple and all are Dee-lish! Canning too, appears to be a success. I am testing the waters and hope to do more of this in the fall.

Charlie managed to nail his toe with the nailgun = a trip to the emergency room (note: picture below is not for the squeamish!). This slowed us down a bit this past week.

Driving our friends, The Waits, to the airport in the wee hours of the morning so that they could make their life transition to Honduras. Happy and sad all rolled into one ball of emotions that early morn. Oh so proud to be able to call this sweet family our dear friends. We cannot wait to see them again.

A trip to the lovely dump with my beloved. Note: the first picture is what the North Texas Municipal Water District wants you to think the dump looks/smells like. The second picture is a better rendition of what we saw as we unloaded a trailer load of debris. I have a rant (regarding what we saw), but I'll save it for another day....I'm thinking a letter to the county might be in order. Anyway....please notice that I WILL follow my hubby pretty much anywhere, even to the dump. I made note that I was THE ONLY female at the dump proper. (Can I see a show of hands, ladies, if you've been to the dump at least once). Being a true farmgirl, I have now been there at least 4 times.

I won't even mention getting a new pasture access ready for our "boys", Donkey Boy getting the big sniparoo (ie- gelded), or Charlie and I doing an incredibly thorough job of getting this house clean. My man is a great vacuum-er even with a hole in his toe :).

How in the world anyone could be bored with their lives is beyond me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dog Days

It's definitely the dog days of summer......too hot (105 is hot!) to do much of anything in the afternoon except sit on the porch and yawn.....

...and nap. Especially if you are a dog. There are definitely days I wish I was a dog, sleeping on the porch. I mean really, how hard can that be?