Homeland Farm

Homeland Farm

Monday, December 22, 2014

1 Am ....throwing in the towel

Small dog breed pup
Sleep. I used to be able to sleep all night, with no interruptions. To quote the 1970's ish song - "Those were the days, my friend, we thought they'd never end..." But, end they have. And it isn't pretty. Last night was a perfect example of why I have bags large enough to carry a couch under my eyes. This is how it went...

       1 Am... Sleeping soundly, which after a dialysis session, feels especially wonderful.

       1:15 Am...I am jolted from sleep by the high pitched cry of a dog at the end of the bed. Adrenalin running, I bolt upright..saying What? What? Who was that? Annalee, our 100 pound, "small breed" dog leaps over my body, stepping on my bad ankle on her way off the bed in terror. I see Cliffy making his way around the end of the bed in the low light from the Christmas tree in the living room. "That was Biloxi..I stepped on her foot by accident trying to step over her." "Ohhh, ok" I said, and I laid back down, rubbing my sore ankle with my  other foot.

     1:30 Am...Cliffy comes back to bed, and I try and get Annalee to go out on the couch, instead of sleeping on the bed with us. She came from a shelter, and her paper work said she was a Bulldog/Basset hound mix. They also said she was a "small breed dog". She is huge..over 100 pounds of long legs, and muscles and oddness. When we got her, we said she could sleep with us on the bed, as she was a "small breed dog" and we figured there was room for her on the king sized bed. Now, she is huge, and insists on sleeping where she slept as a pup, wedged between mom and dad. It is like there are three adults in the bed every night. No good. Up she comes anyway.

    2:00 Am...Biloxi, who has laid down on the floor beside the bed, lets out a giant, loud, old lady dog fart. I said to myself, please let that not be stinky. No such luck. The smell of rotting dog food, peppered with a sprinkling of nasty stuff found on a farm, rose up on my right, and with the help of the HFF (Hot Flash Fan), it was blown right across my pillow, since I have it trained on me to help with the emergency, middle of the night cooling. Under the blankets, I go.

  2:30 Am...Still awake, and under the blankets. Since I didn't have a canary handy to test for gases, I had to stick my head out to test the air. I found out it was a tad stale, but no longer toxic. Toss and turn, I try and get comfy, but no luck.

 2:31 Am...In all my tossing and turning, I gave myself a hot flash. I tossed the blanket off me, and it went over Annalee's head, which of course, since she is odd, caused her to panic. Up she jumps again. I pulled the blanket off,  and told her to lay down, or even better..go out on the couch. I get back to matters at hand, and start to fan myself with my pillow. Annalee starts her spin, and before I could grab my blankets out from under her, down she plunks...right along side me. She is pressed up against me, all along my side, and since she is 6 feet from nose to tip of tail, she goes the whole length. She contentedly plunks her head on my hip, sighs happily and dozes off. Oh my. I am, as my Nanny would say..a reek of sweat, and I have this extra large fur blanket on me.

 3:05 Am...I am sufficiently cooled off, having shoved the dog off, and opened the window. Now, I am of course, cold. I close the window over my head and feel for my blanket, which is under the darn dog. "Annalee!!" I exclaim in a whisper, trying not to wake Cliffy who somehow has managed to sleep through the last couple of hours. "For Gods sake, get up!" I said.

 3:10 Am...Annalee decides she has had more then enough bothering, and finally jumps off the bed, heading for the couch. At last. I spread out, pull the blankets up to my chin, and settle in for a long winter's nap.

 3:20 Am...Molly, the Pekinese, starts up with the loudest snoring I have ever heard. She is always snuffly, and congested due to her breed, but man, she was laying on her back, and sawing them off.
I nudge her with my foot. Nothing. Nudge her again. She rolls over and gets up, sneezes and comes up to the head of the bed, where she nestles in between Cliffy and I. Good. Peace on earth.

 3:24 Am...Cliffy starts snoring.  Time to throw in that towel.

Small dog breed no more..and this is without Cliffy..Also Pekinese has staked her claim..on her mother.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A "Nothing to do Day"..

Snowy day at Homeland Farm
Well, it doesn't happen often, but today is one of those rare days where I have nothing to do. Nothing at all, and I am going to enjoy it. I am usually pretty busy around the house, and it is rare that I have everything caught up, but as it happens, this is one of those occasions.
    Now, let me see..what can I do with all my relaxation time. I think I will maybe take a nap, and...ohh, wait.  I have to go wash up the dishes from last night. Be right back.

    Ok, I am back. I just had to wash up the pots and pans from supper last night. SO..now what to do with all my free time. I could practice my crocheting, that Helen has been so kind to try and teach me. That sounds like a good "free time" activity. I have managed to learn how to....oh, hang on a minute. I have to go feed the pig his breakfast.

     Ok, I am back. Robin Williams is a pot bellied pig living outside my kitchen door. I cook him a nice, hot breakfast every morning, and if I don't get it out to him at a proper hour, he bangs on the door and squeals loudly until I do. So, where was I? Ohh yes...relaxation. Yes, I can practice my crocheting for sure. I also have a stack of new magazines to read over, so I think...hang on. Be right back. I have to start a fire in the kitchen wood stove.

     Ok, I am back. The kitchen is cold in the morning, so I had to get a fire started. It is starting to get warmer in there now, but hang on...gotta go get an arm load of wood. Be right back.

      Ok, fire is roaring and it is now nice and toasty in the kitchen. So! Day of leisure, here I come. You know what? I don't even think I am going to cook meals today. I am REALLY going to have a day of relaxation. Except, we are going to put in our Christmas tree today, so I think I will go make some fudge. Fudge and Christmas tree decorating go hand in hand, so I will be right back. Hang on..

      Ok, I am back. Peanut butter fudge is now firming up on the shelf, and it is going to be good. I love fudge, it reminds me so much of the holid---hang on. Dogs want to go out. Be right back.

      Ok, I am back. Dogs wanted to get outside and play in the snow. What was I saying? Oh yes, fudge. Yes, it does remind me so much of the holid---hang on. Dogs want to come back in. Be right back.

      Ok, I am back. I don't even know where I was..Holidays Yes..I love Christmas. I think it is my favorite holiday of the year. Although I do enjoy Easter as well. I really think I just like any holiday that has a good meal involved. Speaking of meals..I am hungry. I think a hearty french toast breakfast is in order on this snowy day. Be back shortly.

       Ok, I am back. I wasn't going to cook, but I was hungry and made french toast. It was good, but now I suppose I better go do dishes. Crap. I have to unload the dishwasher from last night's supper first. Hang on, be right back.

       Ok, I am back. Bridgton has the Festival of Lights parade tonight, and I think I will go. That sounds like a good activity for a day of nothing to do. I wonder if I have any clean jeans? I better go do laundry. Be right back.

        Ok, I am back. Washed a load of clothes and folded a load in the dryer. Now, I have clean jeans for the parade tonight. These days with nothing to do are great. I should have more of...hang on. I need to go feed the cats. Be right back.

       Ok, I am back. Cats are fed, and I had to change the litter box. It was a very unpleasant job on my free day, but it had to be done. Darn cats. They are more trouble then they are wor...hang on. Dogs are barking. Be right back.

       Ok, I am back. Dogs wanted to go out. I decided to be smart and wait for them, before I came back in to the computer. They tracked in a mess of snow, so I had to sweep up the floor, and then wipe it up. Dogs are messy and don't seem to care about this being my day off. Not very considerate....hang on. Stove needs wood. Be right back.

       Ok, I am back. Put wood in stove, and also ate a piece of fudge. Time to get Christmas stuff out of attic for tree decorating. Be right back.

      Ok, I am back. Many boxes later, I have all the tree decorating stuff in the living room. Whew! That was a lot of work for my day off. I will have to get kids to put decorations on tree. Now, where was I? Ahh yes, a free day. I think I will take a nap now, get all rested up before the tree decorating and the Festival of Lights in town. Who knew a day off could be so exhausting?? I am going to go nap. Be right back.

     Ok, I am back. I went in to take my nap, and found the dogs had jumped up on the bed, and left it all snowy and wet dog smell. I am in the process of washing all my bedding. No nap for me. I love a king sized bed, until it comes time to make it. It is a lot of work, going side to side changing the sheets. Cliffy usually helps me, but he is away on a vacation, so I am soloing. Gotta swap the laundry. Be right back.

     Ok, I am back. I have decided I am going to cancel my "nothing to do day". They are way too much work.

Liam and Molly decorating last years tree

Friday, November 28, 2014

Hello Santa, it's me Carmen...

An early letter to Santa...

        Dear Santy...

               Well, it is a bit early for a letter I know, but I have had a little "incident", and it made it very clear what I should ask for this Christmas. As you are probably aware, I have bad knees, and while it would be really cool if you could give me two good knee joints, I know that isn't an option. Since the last three days have been pretty darn busy with Thanksgiving and all it's work, followed by a rousing dialysis session in which they tried desperately to suck off 2 bottles of champagne, I have been pretty much riding on my Rascal scooter all afternoon. That is how "the incident" occurred.
              After my post dialysis nap, I hopped onto my scooter and cruised to the kitchen, granny nightie and all, trying to figure out a simple supper that did not involve turkey. (or champagne.) I rode here and there, mulled over a tuna fish sandwich...maybe eggs...nope. What I wanted was a nice slab of prime rib since someone mentioned those two words someplace earlier in my day, but alas. No prime rib. If only I felt like the leftover 12 pounds of turkey in the fridge...but no.
            Cereal seemed blah. I felt (as I often do after dialysis) like something salty, so I decided on a toasted cheese and a bowl of ramen. Cam and Cliff were wandering around, also mulling over their choices, but as it turned out, both had left the room during "the incident."
             I boiled up my ramen, and as it cooked, I slapped together my sandwich. I took the ramen off, and set it on a pot holder on the table, and then set the fry pan on the burner to cook my toasted cheese. I whizzed here and there while it was cooking, getting my spoon..a plate..a glass. I zipped back to the stove...when it happened.
             I took the sandwich off the burner, and dumped it on my plate. Then I set the plate on the table, the fry pan on a cold burner, then reached over to turn off the stove. I clicked it to off, and started to roll back to the table, when I saw smoke. From my sleeve. Yep, I was on fire.
            Now, I am fine, and typing two handed so all is well of course. But my, it was truly exciting for a few seconds. I think I said some sort of expletive..and started slapping my granny with the spatula I still held in my hand. Now, it is funny how much can crash through your mind in a split second or two. I swear..I thought of all these things as I was putting out the fire..

A...Dang it! There goes one of my best nighties
B...Riding on a scooter while on fire gives new meaning to "stop, drop and roll.."
C...Why does this smell better then my supper..
and last but not least...great..now I am an old person tv commercial...(DOES YOUR MOTHER CATCH HER GRANNY NIGHTIE ON FIRE WHILE COOKING?? GET HER AN EMERGENCY BEEPER!)
              So, after I threw the spatula, and just started slapping with my hand, the fire was out in a few seconds, and I was no worse for wear. I do have a nicely burnt 6 inch hole in my sleeve, and a story for the grandchildren some day, if I am ever allowed to take care of them after this...
              So dear Santa, if you have room on your sleigh, could you please slip in a new granny nightie for me? Any color will do..I'm not fussy. (Except after today, maybe not fire engine red..I might have a flashback.) Thanks Santa..Your a pal!

            I promise to leave you a whole plate of cookies! No bake, of course. Thanks again.

                                       Love, Carmen

PS..Cliffy says please drop him off a fire extinguisher, 'cause he has a hot one on his hands.
This would be the nightie..and sleeve in question

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ooopps! Sorry about that!

      I like a speedy vehicle, I admit it. I imagine you are thinking I am talking about driving in a car. Nope, not a car. I am talking about driving in what we call a "go buggy". You know what I am talking about...Those motorized scooters they provide for us gimpy folks at most big box stores.
      Since my knees have taken a turn for the worse, I have to ride on them if I am planning on shopping for more then 15 minutes at a time. If I don't ride, and am shopping for more then 15 minutes, my left leg goes numb due to the previous blood clots I had in that leg. Then my bad knees kick in, and I am miserable and in pain in no time. So now, a "go buggy" is a necessity for me.
      At first, I hated using them in stores, but now I hate pain even more, so ride I do. Walmart usually has a good supply of them for people to use, and only once did I have to knock an old lady out of the way to get the last one. Kidding! I'm kidding, of course. Hannaford  has only one, so I have to get there and hope for the best. I am usually in luck however..this town is full of healthy nimble folks!
       So, I now ride, and frankly, since I have gotten the hang of it, I rather like it. I am especially pleased when I get a newer model. The older models limp along, wheels wobbling and gears squealing. The newer models are fun...and fast. Ok, and can be a danger, as this next story will explain.
       Let me set the scene..Walmart, a busy pre-holiday friday. The store was crowded, so really, it wasn't my fault. Brogan, Cameron and I were doing a "big shop". I just realized we are a family of air quotes.."Go buggy". "Big shop". "Hazardous driving". Oh, wait. I am getting ahead of myself.
       Brogan, Cameron and I were doing a big shop. I was riding my buggy, Cam and Bro were each pushing a buggy. Cameron was designated "food buggy' "(more air quotes) and Brogan was "other stuff" buggy,  you know like toilet paper, cleaning products etc.
       We were making our way through the crowded aisles, trying to avoid people, but with our convoy, it wasn't easy. Two buggies and a go buggy take up a lot of space, but we were giving it our best shot. We were about half way through the aisles, when we came to the baking aisle, my favorite aisle in the store. I do a lot of cooking, so I usually need a fair amount of supplies in that aisle, and like to take my time, making sure I don't leave anything off my list.
        Apparently, many other folks like to bake as well, because on this particular day, it was busy. VERY busy. People were stacked up, trying to get by each other, looking for their items, but not having much room to maneuver. I was also there, weaving and bobbing my way down the aisle. I got half way down the aisle when I stopped in front of the spice rack, looking for what I needed, and checking prices. Cam was right behind me, and Brogan was behind him. We were a force to be reckoned with.
        I was stopped and had turned in my chair to face the rack of spices. As I sat facing the rack, I saw out of the corner of my eye, a woman near me on the other side of the aisle. I took down what I needed and turned to gently squeeze them into the over flowing small basket they have for you on those go buggies, since Cam's food buggy was getting pretty full. That's when, IT HAPPENED.
        I was done with the spices, and saw just ahead on my side of the aisle, something else I needed.
I squeezed the forward lever, and drove forward. BUMP, BUMP!
        "HEY! Ohhh..." came this voice, from down someplace in front of my buggy. I leaned forward and peered over the top of my groceries, and yep, I had run down a woman, knocking her clean off her feet. She was sitting down, kind of under the front of my buggy, but thankfully not under my tires. BEEP!! BEEP!! BEEP!! I backed off her, hollering to Cam and Bro to help her up quickly.
        Now, I would love to say Cam and Bro both ran forward to help get the poor woman up off her feet, but frankly, no that didn't happen. Cam, right behind me, had this paralyzed look of fear on his red face and I don't think he could move to save his life. Brogan analyzed the situation quickly and opted to pretend she was just some random shopper, not the daughter of the hit and run go buggy driver. Actually, even if they both had moved, the woman, despite hearing my profuse apologies had NO sense of humor, and probably would have brushed off any offers of help.
          She got up, brushed off her pants, shot me a very nasty look, grabbed her buggy and stormed off down the aisle. I was immediately swarmed by my children..MOM!! What did you do!! OMG!'
Now, to be fair..she was the one that knelt down right in front of my buggy, completely out of sight.
How was I supposed to see her all tucked down there, almost touching my full basket. I waited til she was out of sight...then busted out laughing. I wasn't laughing at her, and felt bad I creamed her. But, I just had to laugh at the expressions on Brogan  and Cameron's faces as they stood behind me, in that "do I know her or not" moment. They just LOVE going out in public with me.
         We laughed and laughed (well I did anyway), and then spent the rest of our shopping trip trying to avoid eye contact with that poor woman. We never did see her again, and I am sure she went home and wrote on her blog how some gimpy woman with wild eyed kids ran her over in the baking aisle of Walmart.
          So, there is a lesson to learn from this blog. Never load too much into the buggy basket at the store. Oh, and for Goodness sake, NEVER kneel down in front of someone's motorized go buggy at Walmart. Oh...and maybe, if you see me coming in the store, you might wanna get outta the way...Just sayin'.........
Molly heard about my driving...makes sure she is ON ME, instead of in front of me!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gonna be a long winter.....

As I walked through the living room this morning, carrying a basket of laundry, it occurred to me it is going to be a very, very long winter. Now you may think it is the thought of snow, or cold, or messy floors. If you have read some of my previous posts, you may even think it is because there will soon be buckets and buckets of horse mash lining my laundry room wall. All of the above reasons are true, but not the reason I had that dismal thought this morning.
       The reason for my pessimism this morning was the fact that the simple act of walking past the pellet stove, set on a minimal ONE setting, carrying the partially filled laundry basket was enough to send me into a steaming, sweat on my brow HOT FLASH.
        Yes sir, at the ripe old age of 51, I am apparently smack dab in the middle of what the older generations used to whisper about in hushed tones..."THE CHANGE." Now, I am not one to be all dramatic, and long for my youth, or whine about the wrinkles and saggy skin on my face and arms.
I don't miss having thick, flowing healthy hair and age spot free skin. Ok, maybe I do a little...
         BUT! I hate..no wait..I HATE HATE HATE hot flashes. They are truly the worst thing ever. Just ask my sweetie, Cliffy. Poor, poor Cliffy. I think I'm suffering, but really, I think he is suffering even more. I have several hot flashes a day, and as it turns out, Cliffy seems to have the misfortune to be in the near vicinity for 75 percent of them.
I was folding these pants during a hot flash
          Now, I can tell when they are about to happen. It feels like my internal organs suddenly burst into flame, with fire and heat spreading upwards until the top of my head explodes into a bonfire. It can happen anywhere, at any time. I unfortunately have many, many hot flashes a day, and it ain't pretty. If they happen in bed, off goes the covers, up goes the window. If that isn't enough, off goes the granny nightgown. I swear, steam rises as the cold air meets the hot air over my head, and I wait for a rumble of thunder. I look over, and there is poor Cliffy, only the top of his head showing as he snuggles closer to the giant dog wedged between us.
         I used to be mad at Annalee for wanting to snuggle in between Cliffy and I, but last time we snuggled close, it set off such a hot flash I was actually mad at Cliffy for suggesting we snuggle. I think it is safe to say, hot flashes are not good for the love life.
         Not that they only happen at night. They certainly can and do happen during the day. They happen at dialysis, and it seems to make the nurses job more of a challenge. When a person has a dialysis treatment, the nurses are trying to remove excess fluid that the body retains because the kidneys can't remove it. One way to tell that there is no more fluid to be removed is when the patient gets sweaty and hot, gets cramps or their blood pressure goes down.
         As I am sitting in the chair having dialysis, and suddenly throw off my blanket (they keep it quite cool in the room where we have the treatment), they come running over to see what is going on. Is it one of my hot flashes, or am I about to start cramping due to lack of fluid. More often then not, they decide it is a flash and let me fan myself with whatever I have handy until it is over. Then, I put on my blanket and am fine. I like to keep those girls on their toes, so I have as many as three flashes in the 4 hours that I am at the center. They love me.
        If you have never had a flash, you can't begin to know what it feels like. It is best described, I think, like it is suddenly 105 degrees and humid, in a matter of seconds. I go from normal to "OMG,  I can't stand this" in 5 short seconds. Now, I am a tolerant person, but hot flashes I can not handle.
I also can not handle clothes, during a flash. Now that is fine, if I am alone, or in the privacy of my boudoir with Cliffy Baby. Sitting at the supper table, I have been known to flash the kids, as I fan myself with my shirt. Driving home from Food City, I think I flashed a Town of Bridgton dump truck driver as I whipped off my shirt heading out of town. They come, and I have to react.
Just looking at this picture gave me a hot flash...
       What causes them, you may ask? Well, I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv. However, I can tell you what I know makes them flare up in my case. One word..everything. Lugging a half filled laundry basket past the pellet stove. Stirring too hard mixing cookies. Yelling upstairs to my chillin'.
Laughing too hard at my own jokes (gets me every time!) Letting the dogs outside. Getting the dogs inside. Walking. Talking. Taking a hot shower. (Ever have a hot flash in the shower? On goes the cold water!) Eating a hot bowl of soup. Drinking a hot cup of coffee. You get the idea.
       Cliffy is cold all the time, so he is the one that suffers most. I tell him..."BRR it is cold Cliffy, how about we start a fire in the kitchen stove". I am wearing a sweater, as I say this. He hauls in wood, and kindling and gets a nice toasty fire going. Five minutes later..."OMG..thats too hot! Why do we need such a hot fire?" I go and change into a tee shirt. He closes the damper down on the stove. I walk back into the kitchen and say.."Brr..why is the stove closed down? It is cold!"..You get the idea.
        So, you can see why I say it is gonna be a long winter. I don't dare ask Cliffy what he thinks. Just a word of warning...If you plan to stop by, HONK when you pull in. Oh, and make sure you take your time coming into the house. I might need time to get my clothes on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

T.G.I.T.F.T.I.N. (Thank God It's The First Tuesday In November)

Politicians at the door

      Finally. It is over. It is election day at last. Perhaps after tonight, we will be able to have a dinner without a call from Babs..(Barbara Bush), Ollie..(Olympia Snow) or Annie (Ann Lepage.) I am not sure if it is just me or not, but this election seems to have gone on for an eternity. I think I speak for all people, Reps or Dems, when I say Hallelujah! IT IS DONE. Let the best man, woman, or bear win. In honor of the end of the political assault (for awhile anyway..), a poem. AHEM....

                                 Politics Schmolitics

       It starts as early as January,
       every other year..
       the endless commercials, debates and phone calls,
       I've learned to live in fear

      Now it's not that I'm not a patriot,
      or shrug off my civic duty,
      but by the first Tuesday in November,
      I am feeling pretty moody

      He said, She said...
      it goes on and on and on,
      Who do you believe
      and who is just a con?

      The political signs are everywhere,
       cluttering up the roads
       they ruin all the scenery,
       looking ugly as a toad.

       The newspapers all talk politics,
        television too,
        Isn't there anything else
        for all of us to do?

        At last however, today was the day,
        and yes, I sure did vote
        I hobbled in and marked my choice
        I didn't need my notes.

        So, here we sit, one more night
        of political discussion,
        I hope to God that this is it,
        if not I want a concussion...

        So that when I awake,
        after a good, long sleep,
        politics will be gone,
        and I shall not weep.
        Two more years, and we start again
        this time a brand new president,
        I think if you want to find me then,
        the loony bin will have a new resident.




Wednesday, October 22, 2014


     My daughter is about to undertake the task of setting up a website for me, and has given me the difficult job of coming up with a catchy name. If you watch The Food Network at all, then you have undoubtedly seen the "Pioneer Woman." She is a blogger that also happened to be an excellent photographer and a great cook. She turned her blog into a multi-million dollar business, and Brogan told me I should do that. I said..why not. Okay. Here I go..
Photogenic Cliffy and Molly
      Let's see. Ree Drummond, aka Pioneer Woman has a great eye for photography. The photos on her blog are positively breath taking. She lives on a ranch in Oklahoma with her handsome husband, photogenic kids and beautiful horses and animals. Well, I live on a farm in Maine, have a handsome Cliffy and sort of photogenic kids and animals. See...........

   And now, photogenic Liam..umm..sort of...

   Ok.. a VERY photogenic Cameron and Brogan..Hmmm
Well, all I have to say is that it is a good thing I am so very photogenic, because Ree's photos are all over her blog and website, and she always looks so pretty and put together. She and I are kindred spirits, let me tell you...or I can just show you...See..
Well...maybe this one??
Crap. One more?

  Never mind. Let's move on. Animals we've got. They are almost always photogenic.
Well..sort of..
  Oh...ummm..lets try one more..
   Oh Lordie...maybe not. OK..guess we will hold off on the photographic part of the website for now. I have been told to come up with a "catchy, not already taken, easy to remember name".
  Now Ree has called herself and her website "The Pioneer Woman". Now I am a woman, but not a pioneer-ish gal. Farmgal? Farm woman? Don't really want to use farm...How about Country? Country Carmen? Country living Carmen? Carmen from the Country? Crazy Carmen from the Country?What is a good "country" synonym? Rural?  Rural Ramblings from Carmen? Bucolic? That Bucolic Beauty Carmen? *snicker....
    I can see this is going to take awhile. If anyone out in the world can think of a great, catchy non stupid name like the ones above, let me know! Might mean a jar of homemade jelly for ya if I choose your suggestion. Wish me luck...I surely do need it..