Homeland Farm

Homeland Farm

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


    "Wisten! This is Muffinhead! It is emergancy...don't wisten to the crazy wady! We aren't her muses..Beef and I are her pwisoners!! I dont hab much time..she be back soon...She is WYING!
She says we wike famiwy...WIGHT! It isnt wike that at all..She wants world to beweive it is wike this,,,,,,,,
Me and Beef, all cozy wike...BUT ITS NOT!!
We are tortured wike THIS! WEAK from Hunger!

Beefer tortured with water boarding..SAVE US!
Made to dwink milk til she wore this!!
I must hurry..she back from stowah..Beefer and I beg you..save us from cwazy wady!..she nuts, she COMING NOW..SHE HERE..SHE..GAHHHHHH......................

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Voices in my Head

    By now, I am sure a good many of you are not the least bit surprised to hear about the voices in my head. The best part? They all talk differently. It would be one thing if the voices I was hearing was just what I think my own voice sounds like. However, and I almost hate to admit this, for fear of men in white coats speeding down Middle Ridge Road at breakneck speeds, probably alerted by a (former!) Facebook  friend, the voices all talk in different ways. This, I have come to realize, is because of my cats.  Let me explain.
      I was sitting at my computer, diligently working on my best seller to be, (or maybe playing  spades) when my son Liam and his pal Corbin walked in to see me.
      "Mom," said Liam, " we are going to go outside and play for awhile." I told him that was fine, and watched as he stopped to scratch Muffinhead behind her ears. She is our big fat black cat, and she and her pal Stewbeef spend alot of time in my office with me. I like to say they are my muses, all 40 pounds of them.
       Suddenly Liam said, "Mom, show Corbin how you do Muffinhead." Now, I knew exactly what Liam was talking about, but Corbin looked a bit ..bewildered, to be sure. I tried to change the subject, mumbling something along the lines of how Corbin doesn't want (need or care, I was thinking) to hear that.
      "Please," begged Liam. I stopped and pondered a moment, and realizing he wasn't going to leave until I "did" Muffinhead, I well.."did" Muffinhead.
      In one of the voices I keep tucked in my brain, I said to the boys, in Muffinhead-ese, "HEY! Whatcha wookin' at? Don't just stand there! Scratch my butt, come on! Scratch it!" Liam dissolved into gales of laughter, and Corbin laughed, albeit a bit nervously, as they opened the door to go out into the barn. I heard Liam say as he was closing the door, "Oh man, that was funny. She did that for like, 20 minutes the other day!"
       I did??? Oh brother. Now, I know pet owners who love their pets like family, as is the case at our house, will often talk TO their pets, perhaps in baby talk, or even in a certain tone. But, how many pet owners actually talk FOR their pets, on a daily basis, and apparently, at great length. I guess I do, and frankly, often with hysterical results. There was one day, Brogan, Cameron, Liam, Muffinhead and I were all in the kitchen together. Muffiny got up on one of the chairs, and sat there for literally half an hour while I talked "for" her. She was "scolding" each kid in her sarcastic way, and the best part was that by the time "she" got done scolding Brogan and Liam, Cameron was standing at the sink, laughing his butt off. As if she really KNEW
what I was saying, I said in her "voice"...."AND YOU! Your the worst one of all!", and darned if she didn't look right at Cameron as I said it, and hold her eyes on him the whole time I was "speaking" for her. We all laughed so darn hard, I wish we had recorded that whole event. She sat right there in that chair and glared at each kid as I spoke. It was a hoot.
      Oddly enough, the "voices" gene appears to be inherited, because Brogan does a spot on impression of me, doing my cats. It is a crazy circle..My cats use mental telepathy to tell me what to say, then I say it, then Brogan replies, BACK to me, also in a cat voice. Umm..maybe I should go easy with the word "crazy".
      What is particularly scary, and again, I am almost afraid to say this, is when Muffinhead or Stewbeef "say " something,......and aren't even there. Yikes. That happened not too long ago on a trip to Wal Mart.
        The kids and I were shopping, and as we walked past the poster display, lo and behold, there was a poster of Justin Beiber. Well, as people might remember, that happens to be one of Stewie's nicknames, sort of. We had just walked past, when I saw the poster out of the corner of my eye, and well, out came "JUSTIN BEEFER!" in Stewie's "voice."
      Brogan's eyes did that bug out thing I am getting fairly used to at this point, and she said, rather loudly I thought.." You DID NOT just say that!!"
        "No," I said, "I didn't...Stewie did." It was then I knew I had big trouble. I knew then I needed to find a support group. I have looked and looked, but with no luck. So, I started my own group. The first meeting of C.A.T.S.S. (Carmens Animal Talking Support Seminar) will be called to order this friday night. Muffinhead and Stewie will be the guest speakers. Bring catnip.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

"That dismount was a perfect 10!!"

      As I mentioned in an earlier blog, (or two), my cousin Zenya and I grew up next door to each other and shared a great love of horses and riding. We spent hours riding on the big power line behind my house, or cutting out new trails in the woods. Not every outing went as smoothly as we hoped it would, as you probably know by now.
       One fall day, after my horse Angel had given birth to her foal Flicka, Zenya and I decided to try riding the horses down the road for a short ride. It was Angel's first outing without Flicka following along behind us, and I wanted to see how she would act. I had left instructions for Flicka, who was about three months old, to be locked in the stall until we were out of sight, and then she could be let out into the corral.
      We had an old barbed wire corral off the end of the barn, and we were in the process of taking the wire down and replacing it with white board fencing. At the time we went for our ride, we had done three sides, leaving only the side that faced down the road left to finish.
       So, Zenya and I rode off on Ebony and Angel, and it seemed Angel really enjoyed her first trip without her daughter. We went down the road at a canter, hearing the upset cries of Flicka, who was in the stall. We were only gone half an hour when we decided that we would head back, because we really weren't sure how Flicka was handling the separation.
      As we walked back around the bend in the road, I could see Flicka quietly nibbling some grass out in the corral, safe and sound. I relaxed then  because I had expected to see her running around, all lather and foam, and calling for her mother.
       I had just remarked to Zenya that the foal seemed to be handling the temporary loss of her mother quite well, when all of a sudden, Angel let loose one loud, long bellow that almost shook me out of the saddle. Flicka's head shot up, and she raced to the fence, stopping to look longingly down the road at us.
        Of course, if Angel had decided to be quiet, everything might have been ok, but instead, she hollered again, even louder and longer then before. At this point, my mother had come rushing out onto the front porch to see what was going on. I looked over at Flicka, who was now racing around the corral, whinnying and crying for her mother.
      Suddenly, I knew what she was going to do. She was going to try and jump that barbed wire fence!
       "Get Flicka!!", I yelled to my mother, as I gathered up my reins, ready to take off for the corral. I was about ready to urge Angel into a lope, when I saw Flicka take off for the fence.
       "Flicka!!" I yelled, as I saw her slim, golden body heading straight toward the wire, full tilt. I held my breath as she jumped, her long legs flying, and prayed that she would get over the fence. Ebony, our Quarter Horse mare had gotten caught in some old wire, but she just stood calmly while I untangled it from around her thick legs. I had awful visions of what would happen if a young foal got caught in wire.
       Flicka seemed to be half way over the top, and I really thought she was going to make it, when she toppled over the hung there, upside down, her legs twisted and caught in the cruel barbed wire. My heart caught in my throat, as I saw her swinging back and forth, still crying for her mother.
      I dug my heels into Angels side, not that she needed prodding, and we were off. I raced up the road, my eyes focused on that little body in the wire.
Just as we headed up the driveway, I saw my father race across the corral , and start to try and untangle Flicka from the wire.
      Angel was now in a dead run, as we blasted around the end of the house, My mind was on the condition of Flicka's legs, as we started to turn the corner. Suddenly, I knew I was in trouble. As Angel careened around the house, I felt the saddle slip a little, then a whole lot to the right, until it truly seemed I was riding my horse parallel to the ground. I made a feeble attempt at getting the saddle back up where it belonged on TOP of the horse, but no go.
       As Angel and I began to part ways, I managed to glance at the corral to see my father, still bent over Flicka, who was now lying on the ground in front of him. I turned back to matters at hand and realized I was now airborne, and heading toward the stone well house at a frightening rate of speed. I scrunched my body up into a little ball and got ready to crash. I slammed into the ground  and felt the wind go out of my lungs with a rush. I rolled to a halt at the base of the wellhouse, and just lay there, dizzy and trying to catch my breath.
        Looking over at the back of the barn, I saw my mother come rushing out the back door. She stopped and looked at my crumpled frame lying on the ground near the well house, and then looked over at the drama unfolding in the corral. I could see her standing there..torn between two tragedies that had the misfortune to be taking place at the same time.She stood there only a few moments, and then decided. She rushed to her baby, and then yelled, "She's okay Carmen! How are you doing??"
         By now, I had managed to sit up against the well house, and after a puff on my inhaler, I was almost as good as new. Zenya walked over to offer me a hand up, and we walked over to the corral, where Angel stood, saddle hanging under her belly, nose to nose with Flicka. The filly suffered only a few small cuts on her legs, I had a bruised rib cage, and we decided we had had enough fun for that day. I'd like to say that was the last time I fell off a horse, but it wasn't...trust me.
Liam riding his favorite Steed Old Bill

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Couple things you DO NOT want to see happen at the Supper table..

     Supper at our house has always been a sit down affair. I truly believe kids today don't get as much out of their home life as they should because it seems the family sit down dinner has become an "endangered species", so to speak. It seems more and more families eat take out, or fast food, or even eat dinner at separate times. I have always tried to have a good home cooked meal on the table at night for my family, and I think my children grew up enjoying that routine. Even today, when they get home from school, one of the first questions out of their mouths is "What's for supper?" Not that I cook every night mind you, I'm not SUPER MOM, after all. We do have a night where it is M.Y.O. as we call it..( Make your own..), but I do try most nights to have a good meal on the table.
     There have been a couple occasions where a little "something" happened, and it made the nightly supper a bit more interesting then usual. One instance happened a couple years ago, as we sat at the table chatting after we had finished eating. It was one of those funny moments you never forget...try as you might.
       It was a warm, early spring night, and everyone was home, including Brogan who doesn't eat at home very much since she got her own apartment. We were just talking when suddenly, we heard a loud droning buzz. It sounded like a bug, but we didn't know where it was coming from.
We kept talking, and then the buzzing got a bit louder and we all looked up and around the ceiling, trying to decide where it was coming from.
       Simultaneously, we spotted this big ole blowfly, you know the ones..big, fat and iridescent. I think it had only recently thawed out and emerged from it's winter hiding spot, because it appeared sluggish..flying slowly around in  small circles over the table.
      "Holy cow, look at the size of that fly!" exclaimed Cameron, pointing at the lumbering insect.   
      "Eww gross,"said Liam. The fly sounded like it was in need of dry gas, as it was sputtering, and choking while it made lower and lower loops over the table.
       Now, we are reasonably intelligent people, and really do have a lot more to do then watch bugs...but there was something intriguing about that fly. None of us could manage to tear our eyes away from it..it was so big and ugly. I swear it was about an inch long. The MOTHER of all the flies to be born on Homeland Farm that year.
       At this point, it was flying so slowly and low, that it was at eye level.  I almost expected to see it drop onto the table, it was that sluggish. At this point, Brogan pointed  her finger and said "Look at the size of.......", and that was as far as she got. That fly, which was ever so slowly looping past Brogan's spot at the table, made a run (??) for it, and flew right into Brogan's open mouth. We could almost watch the sides of her throat bulge as that fly banged and bounced all the way down her gullet. We probably could have heard it too, if it weren't for A..the scream she let out once she realized she had, indeed, just swallowed a giant blowfly, and B..the screams of horror, followed closely by gales of laughter from the rest of the family, staring in horrified amazement.
       Ahh yes, watching her hack and cough to try and relaunch that bug was pretty humorous..as were the comments
     "That bug was flying so slow you had time to chew it on the way down!"..."Can you still feel him buzzing in your stomach?"..."Did he fly all the way down or did he decide to walk the rest of the way?".."Want any dessert, or are you too full?"All I can say is... I don't know why she swallowed the fly, but at least she didn't die.
      Another "fun" supper, was last spring when Cameron invited a friend over to eat with us. I always love when we have new people come over..it is always interesting, to be sure. This was a quiet, soft spoken kid that had only recently started to come out of his shell a bit with us. In fact, it was his first time ever eating supper at our house.
        We were right in the middle of "OPERATION FOXY LOXY". If you read my earlier blog, you know we had a constant battle with foxes last year. They wanted to eat my hens, and I wanted to keep them alive.
         We had just sat down to the table, and had started passing the food dishes around, when lo and behold, there right outside my front kitchen window, was a fox. He was standing two feet from my front porch, contemplating which fat hen he was going to go after on the lawn.
         "FOX!!" I bellowed. Now at this point, we had been keeping the gun handy, why, I don't know. We never did come close to hitting one. When I yelled, the kitchen erupted in noise and confusion, as we all jumped out of our chairs and scrambled toward the door.
        "Awwww, he is so pretty,"I heard Cameron's friend say,as Cliffy swung open the door so hard it hit the porch railing. The kids were yelling, the poodle was barking and we all thundered out on the porch. I heard  softly from behind me "Look how red his coat is."
Donovan might have said more, but it was drowned out by the rapid gunfire Cliff was letting fly down across the road where the fox could be seen disappearing into the thick brush.
      "Oh, wow.." I heard behind me. I turned and saw all the color had drained from the young mans face, as he stood looking a little bewildered by what had just happened. Apparently, at his house, no one jumps up from the table and starts shooting. Weird. I do believe it was the last time he ate at our house for a long time. Maybe if he had had a chance to have some of my Maple Gingerbread, he would have come back...

                                   Maple Gingerbread
     1 Cup REAL Maple Syrup
     1 Cup Sour Cream
     1 egg, well beaten
     2 1/3 Cup flour
     1 3/4 tsp baking soda
     1 1/2 tsp ginger
     1/2 tsp salt
     4 T melted butter

         Mix syrup, and sour cream in a bowl, add egg and combine.
         Sift all dry ingredients and stir into wet mixture. Add melted
         butter and stir thoroughly. Pour into a well greased oblong pan,
         and bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into middle of
         the cake comes out clean, and the cake is golden brown. Add a
         dollop of real whipped cream , (and a fly, if you so desire..) and enjoy!

An old Yankee recipe..Maple Gingerbread..Yum!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Prize Winning Rump

     Not everyone can say they have a prize winning rump, but I sure can, because mine won a prize one day many years ago. Curious? Let me explain....
      Several years ago when Cameron was a young boy, I took him to the biggest and best agricultural fair in the State of Maine. The "Fryeburg Fair" has been held for well over 100 years in the neighboring town of Fryeburg. It runs for a full week in the month of  October, and draws thousands of people every year.
       Many generations of our family have attended the festivities, which range from logging competitions to horse and cattle shows, tractor pulls, music and of course a huge midway with games and rides.
      As a young farm boy, Cameron didn't really want to spend much time in the barns looking at all the animals, so we didn't linger very long before going out to the midway. The sight of a fair midway is a magical sight for young and old alike...The colorful game booths with their yelling carnival folks, the loud, brightly lit rides, and the smell of fried foods coming from the row of food booths makes for a wonderful fair experience.
       Cameron wanted to go on the rides first, so we tackled the Ferris Wheel, and then the Merry Go Round and then the Bumper Cars, Then, he thought we should try the Round Up. By the time we got off that ride, I knew we better stick to games for awhile, as fair food and fast spinning rides aren't always a good combination.
     So, we made our way down"Game Alley", spending a dollar here and there, and not having much luck. We broke balloons with darts, and played ring toss, and then did some target shooting. Soon, we were almost at the end of the game row, and had nothing but a cheap ring to show for the sizable amount of money I had just spent.
      Suddenly, I heard my name.."Hey Carmen! How's it going?" I turned, and saw a friend of mine from work walking toward me. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes. At first Cameron was patiently waiting, but soon begged a dollar from me to go try one more game. I gave him some money and watched as he went over to try his hand at the basket ball toss. My friend and I said our goodbyes as I watched Cam walk dejectedly back toward me, clutching a pen in his hand.
      "I didn't win," he said, looking at the cheap prize.
      "Well, it does write in 4 colors", I told him, trying to cheer him up. We started to walk past the booth, when I heard the booth attendant holler out.."HEY! Why don't you try to trade it in for a better prize?"
       "How much?", I asked, as Cameron stopped and looked up at me with an excited, hopeful smile on his face.  "Just another dollar", he replied.
        " Well......" I hesitated, calculating the debt the fair outing had cost me so far. " Oh, Come on!" He said. "He might have better luck this time."
         "Okay," I said, "One more dollar." Cam said "Yeah!", and ran over to take the basket ball out of the guys hands. I went over and stood by as Cam started to bounce the ball, getting ready to make a shot. By now, the attendant was very chatty, and came outside the booth, walking behind me to stand next to Cameron, showing him how to hold the ball, and where to aim. I was thinking to myself that this nice man really wanted Cameron to win!
          Cam took aim, and threw the ball...it didn't go in.
          "Awwwww, nice try" I said. "He has two more tries," said the helpful carnie worker. Cameron bounced the ball, and tossed again..missed!
           "You can do it this time, " I said, as I silently prayed he would get the last one in..maybe he could at least trade up to a poster. Up went the ball, and IN!
          "Yay!" said a very excited Cameron. I thought good..that poster is ours. Then, Mr Carnival Worker suggested he try a trade up, FREE this time. Well, there was no way Cam could resist this offer. By now, however, I had noticed the fair fella had made several trips around my backside, and I was starting to feel like the Sun and he was a planet in my orbit. And, he was friendly, very friendly.
          Now I had been out of the dating game for awhile at this point, but even I could tell flirting when I saw it. And Mr Carnie was flirting. BIG time. I know that there are some fellows that are rather fond of women with ample, ummm.."assets", and this as it turns out, was one of those fellows. I received confirmation when I  went to grab for a stray ball that bounced off the rim, and turned back to see the eyes of  Mr Basket Ball Booth planted squarely on my derriere.
          Cam played and played, and managed to trade his poster in for a mirror, and then his mirror for a small stuffed animal. Finally, I was thinking we really needed to get going before I was asked out on a date by the helpful basketball coach. I called to Cam, who was very pleased with his small stuffed animal, and we started to walk away.
        I had decided in a rather naughty moment to see if my hunch was correct, so when we turned to walk away, I put a little extra swing in my "nether regions". Sure enough, I was right.
       "HEY! Don't you want to try one more time??" came the call. Smiling at my incredible B.P, (that's Butt Power, not blood pressure), I turned around and said "Sure! one more time!" Cameron went back, made one shot out of five and ended up with a 4 foot tall giant stuffed wolf, the biggest prize I saw on the fairgrounds all day. He was so proud and happy.  He kept that wolf in his room for years, telling all his friends that came over about how he won it at the fair. I never won any contests in my life, but I can say it was my rump, and not Cam's shooting that won the blue ribbon prize at the fair.
The three of us..Cliffy, me and my rump

Friday, February 17, 2012

No blog tonight because.........

    The blog woman has had a busy, long day preparing for her mother's 69th birthday. Here she is after dinner, and maybe more champagne then she should have had...By the way, the dog matched her drink for drink...and Cliffy is in the background thinking.."another night of dragging her butt to bed.." :D

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Carmen crashes the church, film at 11...

 I never seem to run out of places to make a scene. If there is a way, I will find it. And, chances are, it won't be pretty. One time I managed to embarrass myself in front of an entire church congregation, as well as a swarm of "summer folks." I figure if your gonna do it, why not do it big.
     I belong to the Methodist Church here in town, and have baked pies for their summer fund raising suppers for many years. I get a periodic call from Joan, one of the original "church ladies", who fills me in on the details of when the supper will be held and how many pies they need.
    One day she asked me if it would be possible for me to go in early to help set up for the supper, as well as make my two pies. I said that should be fine, and I said I bet Cliffy would even help  too. I am nothing if not a good volunteer musterer.
    So, the day of the supper, I made my pies early and Cliffy and I hopped in the car to drive down and help set up for the supper. It was one of the churches most popular events..their big roast turkey dinner. It is always a sell out as people can't seem to get enough of a Thanksgiving dinner in July.
     We went inside, deposited the pies on the dessert counter, and went about helping to set up for the supper. We rolled silverware in napkins, placed salt and pepper shakers and butter dishes on the table, and helped set up the chairs. It looked very nice, and boy it sure smelled great. We got ready to go home and one of the ladies told us to make sure we came back to eat.
     Now, I don't usually go to the suppers, but having smelled the turkey cooking for the last couple hours had made both Cliffy and I ready for a good turkey dinner. So, we went home, did chores and decided to go back down to eat. Cameron was the only kid at home, and he decided to join us.
     By the time we got back to the church, the supper was underway and it was a huge success. The line was out the door, and the parking lot was full. We contemplated not going in, as it looked so busy, but I had told the ladies we would be back, and I didn't want to not show up. ( Not doing something you said you were going to do INSIDE of a church just seems wrong...)
     So, Cam, Cliffy and I got in line and waited until it was our time to get inside to eat. By the time we got to the buffet table, let me tell you..it was slim pickings. There was a bit of turkey, and a dite of stuffing, a little cranberry sauce, and a few rolls left-that was it. The ladies were inside the kitchen boiling up a fresh batch of peas, but that was it for vegetables.
     So much for a good turkey dinner. There was still plenty of pie slices, so we figured we would eat what little turkey dinner we had and then have a couple pieces of pie...Dessert is always a good thing. We found three newly vacated seats and sat down to eat, Cam and Cliffy on one side and me on the other.
     The place was noisy and boisterous as people sat around having another cup of coffee. By now, they had taken down the sign and closed the doors, leaving the people inside to finish their dinner at their leisure. Cliff, Cam and I decided not to rush, as they were waiting for the pot of peas to be finished. Peas are NOT my first choice in the veggie world.
     We had really just started to eat, and I think I had eaten about two bites of food, when I looked up at Cam and Cliffy across the table. They were both looking at me, in a rather odd way. The next few moments are, again, one of those slow motion events that replays forever in your head.
      I had my fork in my hand, ready to take another bite of my dinner, when I noticed Cam and Cliff, both staring at me. They looked frozen in time, with their forks full of food, half way up their mouths. Suddenly, I realized that they were leaning hard to the left. Then I realized it wasn't them, it was me, ever so slowly falling out of my chair and then CRASH!
      There was a woman standing behind me who let out this huge GASP! And then, the crowded church full of chatting people fell silent in a quick second.  That old saying..you could hear a pin drop? Yep, that was how it was.
       I lay ever so ungracefully sprawled on the floor between the tables, my broken chair half under my butt, half under the table. In my total embarrassment, the first words out of my mouth?? In the silence?? They were..and I quote..." I STILL HAVE MY FORK," which I waved over my head, from my prone position on the floor.
     I looked up over the edge of the table, expecting my KNIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOR to hop up and hurry over..asking me in a concerned voice if everything is ok? Or, did I hurt myself? Or Something!
    But, as I sat up, planning my next move, I looked at Cliffy and I am fairly sure I saw him pretending he didn't know me. Yep, pretttyyyyy sure that's what he was doing, food still on his fork, half way to his mouth.. Cam finally managed an "Are you ok mom?" from the safety of the other side of the table, as he continued to look a bit stunned.
     By now, I could feel my face turning fire engine red, so I dug my fork into the edge of the table to pull myself up, as no one had YET  moved to help me. I suddenly saw a young man hurrying toward me, and thought to myself..ahhh Chivalry is not dead after all.
    He got to my table, and quickly addressed the "situation" at hand. Then, as I watched and felt my face turn a shade of red I didn't know was possible this side of Hades, he bent down and............grabbed the metal chair, whose two legs on the right side were bent straight out sideways, and hoisted it like a game winning ball player over his head, and announced in a loud commanding voice, " COMING THOUGH! COMING THROUGH!"
    He walked the entire length of the church, the mortally wounded chair waving high above his head for the entire congregation to see, and see they did.
    Now, I didn't want to get up at all,  as I would have preferred the dark quiet of UNDER the table much better, but knew I had no choice. I oh so ungracefully climbed up off the floor, and assured Cliffy, still wearing a stunned expression on his face, that I was fine, and don't worry, I could get my own new chair. People had by now started chatting again, and since  I still had my fork, I figured I would finish eating my cooling supper.
     We were done fairly soon, but I stalled until I thought most people were gone, so we could leave without facing too many people, lest I know any of them. So, we got up and I slunk carefully toward the door, trying not to make eye contact, and hoping not to have to make conversation. We got to the exit, and lo and behold, the very "helpful" young man had taken the offending chair away and left it to go out to the trash, right beside the exit, so I am fairly sure EVERY church go-er had a good glimpse as they were leaving.
    I still bake pies for the church, but as of this writing, we have not been back to eat. I decided it would be a cold day in........well..you know.
A wild turkey out my bedroom window!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A few more.."Get to know the folks at Homeland Farm" Photos!

      It has been a long day of  grocery shopping, cleaning, and also my new table and chairs arriving. (thus, the cleaning! I made the brilliant move to wash my kitchen floor BEFORE the guy came to deliver the set, which of course he did with muddy feet.) I then had to wash the floor all over again. I don't even wash my floors very often, and here I was doing it twice in one day! I should be all set until next year now...
     I love my new set, and will be sure to put a photo or two on the old blog. It will have to wait until tomorrow night, as I still need to put away some groceries that are still sitting on the new table. It is late, and I am almost ready to crash for the night.
Cameron, Bridgitte and Liam went shopping with me, and it always makes me smile to hear them invariably say how tired they are by the time we are done packing grocery bags in the car and then lugging them into the house once we are home. I think to myself try being another 30+ years older and then talk to me about being tired!
Cameron in the hayloft..nice green hay!
      So, for tonight's blog, I will just put a few photos of our gang here at the farm..Some are old, some new..some good, some bad..I will trust you folks to know which is which!
Farmer Daigle and our old Milking goats..love this one..
Now that is a snowy Maine Winter!
Mr and Mrs Guinea..we love them!
Hay season!
Last summers baby chicks..awwww!
Wild turkey! We always have lots around the farm, and I don't mean the bird! :D
Picking rocks!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our most romantic date

    Cliffy and I both love to travel, but we seem to have had more time to travel in the early stages of our relationship. Why that is, I'm not sure. Now, I am a native Mainer, but I had never even been north or east of Orono. So, when Cliffy heard that tidbit of information, he decided he should be the man to take me.
     Early one sunny summer day, we decided to go to Machias, and spend the weekend sightseeing. We hopped in Cliffy's little car and off we went. We had a nice drive up along the coast, and he told me about the area, places he had fished, and about the nice little motel we would be staying at for our romantic night out.
     We pulled into the metropolis of Machias, and drove to a little diner for a late lunch. It was very cozy and we had a great time. After lunch, we decided we would go and get checked into the motel before we did any more sight seeing. It was as if I was Mary and Cliffy was Joseph, because when we went to check into the ONLY motel in town, there was indeed, no room at the Inn. As it turns out, we unknowingly picked "BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL" weekend, and the motel has been booked for months. As was expected, there were no rooms available anywhere in the immediate area. Now, if you have ever been to Machias and the surrounding towns, you already know what we quickly found out..There is NOTHING up there! Nothing really nice, like a Bed and Breakfast..and at the time we were there, not even a Motel 6, or a Super 8.
      We had a dilemma for sure. So, we started driving around, looking in one direction, then another. This was back in the day before the invention of  "Tom Toms" and other handy GPS systems. We had a map, but it was sorely lacking in overnight accommodations. So, we drove this way and that, and when we happened across a half decent hotel, we would stop, only to be told they too were full, and no, they didn't know of any other place that had a room available.
      By now, it was dark..and we were tired. And lost. We were driving down another dark, dreary road, when I saw a "motel" sign up ahead. Well, at least we assumed it was a motel, since only "MOTE" was light up, and it seemed unlikely there were any Motes or Moats in eastern Maine.
     We pulled into a dilapidated motel, with the bug light zapping away on the porch entry way. We sat and pondered, not really liking the looks, but too tired and stressed to want to drive one more mile. I sat in the car while Cliffy went inside to see if they had a room available. I was alternately praying they didn't, and then that they would. My butt was tired of riding. Naturally he came out with a key, and we drove across the yard to our "suite."
     I got out of the car with a great deal of trepidation. It was quiet, and dark. Well, all except for the good old boys in a "suite" a couple doors down. Their circa 1979 jalopy was parked out in front of their room, and I could see the beer cans tossed outside their door. We got our suitcase out of the trunk, and nervously opened the door to our room.
     We walked in and were immediately assaulted by the smell of stale air, cigarette butts, and old carpet. The room was all the things you DO NOT want in a motel room. Dark...dirty..dingy..and of course, buggy. It had a definate 1960 feel to it, and once I went into the bathroom, I knew it was from 1960's. The fixtures were all avacado green, and the shower was a cracked and stained step in tub- shower combination. I am not tall, but when  I stepped in to the shower, the shower head came to mid chest. I had to scooch to get my hair wet, not that I bothered to wash my hair, as the hot water lasted approximately 39 seconds.
     Cliffy decided to forgo the shower, but washed  up while I stared at the next issue at hand. The bed.
It was a double bed, and I am fairly certain it had been freshly laundered sometime in the last century.
The ugly polyester bedspread, in muted camoflage colors stared up at me as I stood beside it, in the newly purchased sexy nightgown I was wearing.  (It was way early in our relationship..I had yet to bust out the grannys..)
     Cliffy walked out of the bathroom, and we made plans on how we were going to best handle the bedbugs I was sure were under those covers. I got ready to swat anything that moved with my shoe, and Cliffy yanked the covers back. No bugs. Only a nicely pilled up set of yellow sheets, that I was positive were once white. Gingerly, we sat down, and immediately felt the nice firm support of the steel coils poking us in the butt. I laid down, and put my head on the one pillow on my side, which was all of 2 inches thick. It was like laying your head down to rest on a stack of magazines. It was flat as flat could be. I folded, fluffed, and mutilated that pillow, but could not get comfortable. We were used to having 2 king size fluffy pillows each. We blew out the citronella bug repeller that they had placed on the nightstand for bug relief and apparently ambiance, and tried to sleep.
     I could hear the hollering, hooting and drunken commotion of the greasy men two doors down half the night. I expected to hear banjos dueling, but they prefered heavy metal instead. I swear, I didn't sleep more then an hour all night, for fear of waking up murdered.  I watched the sun ever so slowly turn our room from pitch black to barely light, which was all I was waiting for. Cliffy and I packed up and got ready to get out of there.
     I fully expected to find our car either gone, or stripped, but there it was, safe and sound. I shook off the feeling of "cooties" I had, and slid into the passenger seat, while Cliffy went to the drop off box ( a broken mailbox) to leave our key. He got in the car and we sat for a moment studying the motel we had just stayed in. Now that it was daylight, we could see it better and it became clear where we had stayed the previous night. The local motel in Pembroke, Maine, had in its former life, been a trailer. The enterprising folks had hooked two old single wide trailers together, end to end, and slapped on a motel sign..well, a "MOTE" sign.
      I said "Well, that was fun....", and I knew he was a keeper when my most romantic guy reached over and patted my leg and said " Only second best for you, Sweetie!"

Cliffy on a much more successful trip to Vermont

Monday, February 13, 2012

There might be blood...Part One

    As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I am not particularly graceful. Actually, as my dearly departed Uncle Billy used to say, I tend to be more like "a bull in a china shop". I used to blame all my tumbles on weak ankles, or perhaps Nanny's infamous "McKeen Knees." Apparently my McKeen ancestors were clumsy too, and I guess even back over 100 years ago felt the need to come up with some reason why "things" happened to them. The "curse" seems to have trickled down through the years, and somehow I ended up with a rather large dose of it.  
     Growing up on a farm, and being outdoors as much as I could, it was just natural that I get hurt, and I did. Alot. I'm not even talking about all the horse back riding incidents that occurred. I am talking about weird accidents, that always seemed to fall under the heading of  "it could only happen to Carmen."
      I broke my collarbone as a youngster, getting out of a crib. I somehow managed to break my arm in an old metal pedal car that I had when I was about 6 years old. The thing only sat a foot off the ground. I have no idea how I managed that. I also broke my nose but I believe that was a horse riding injury. It was one of two times, either when a horse ran away with me and we crashed through the forest with apparently my nose leading the way...or it might have been when the horse (same one actually..no wonder we sold her..she was trying to kill me!) reared up and I went forward and hit my face on the crest of her neck. Perhaps it was a combination of both of those incidents. All I know is that I needed to have nose surgery as an adult to be able to breathe out of both nostrils.
      Then there were incidents where I didn't need any help at all. I was in my teenage years, and as was common during those days, the water in the barn had frozen. So, I would fill my pails up at the house and carry them down to the barn for the horses and chickens. As anyone that has horses can tell you, if you need to haul water, they will want alot to drink. And on this one winter night, they were VERY thirsty. I had already made a few trips and even though I was frozen, and tired, I knew they needed one more set of pails. So, back to the house I went.
        I filled them one last time, and went out the door, trying not to slop any of the water out and onto the floors, like I had already done out in the big barn. We have the animal barn, and the big barn, which used to house animals when my mother was young, but when I was growing up, had the lawn mower,firewood, and my mother's car parked in it. I stepped out into the big barn, and once again, started to squeeze past the car with my pails of water. I was tired by now, and was slopping water on my legs and boots. I made it past the car and thought it was smooth sailing, until I stepped on a patch of ice from an earlier trip.
     I somehow tossed the pails ahead of me, and as I fell forward, my left shin caught one of the pails and down I went, in a giant wave of freezing cold water. I was in absolute agony. My left leg was killing me, and I was freezing to the floor as I lay there. I rolled around in misery, clenching my left leg in my hands, feeling the swelling starting beneath my fingers. I finally realized I could move it, so I knew it wasn't broken. I managed to get to my feet. and hobble inside. I went to change my clothes, and saw I had a huge hematoma (aka a Wicked bad Bruise!) on my leg. It was the size of an orange, and extremely painful. It was a very long time before it went away, and even when it finally did, it left a hole in my leg that I have there to this day.
      I have always said, my guardian angels have had their hands full with me, over the years. I actually think I have had a team of angels..they get so tired trying to keep me alive, they have to "tag out" to rest once in awhile.
      Water pails caused another one of my "near misses." I was once again carrying two pails of water to the horses, and I remembered stepping through the barn door, and then that was it. That's the last thing I remembered until I  opened my eyes, and was puzzled by what I was seeing. I appeared, for some unknown reason, to be laying on the floor, trying to see underneath the chicken door, as waves of water, ebbed and flowed around my head, up against the door stoop and back to my face. I laid there unable to move, as I realized three things..I couldn't catch my breath, my whole body was hurting, and not more then 6 inches from my face was the upturned tines of the pitchfork that I had last seen protruding from a hay bale by the door.
     After a few moments of getting my bearings, I realized the pitchfork handle was caught between my feet, and that's what had happened to me..I caught my foot on the fork handle as I walked in carrying the water, and went down hard enough to knock me out. I had dirty water, manure, shavings and hay ALL over my body, literally from head to toe, on one side of my body, as I had landed on my side. I was just so thankful I had missed the end of the pitchfork..Those angels are handy to have around.
     When I could breathe again, I stood up and hobbled into the house. My mother took one look at me, and said.."NOW what happened to you?" I think that's when one of our family's favorite phrases was born. "There's always something with you, Carmen."
     My penchance for weird accidents didn't end with my teenage years. About three summers ago, Cliffy's aunt Rollie was here to visit us for a few weeks in the summer. Our farm stand was busy, and I had gone in the house to get a loaf of bread for a customer, while Cliffy went to the barn to get a really fresh dozen eggs for them. Rollie kept the family company while we went and did our jobs. On my way out of the kitchen, I noticed our cat "Stewbeef" with her nose pressed to the door, as Rollie, on the other side went to open it to let me out into the barn. Now, Stewbeef can't be let loose because two of our other cats Stink E. Lewis and Slippery Sue will chase her and fight with her. She is fat and floppy and they pick on her any chance they get. I started to say "Don't let her out!" but in that exact moment Rollie opened the door. It seemed like a slow motion disaster. I reached down to grab Stewie by her neck, or tail or whatever I could grab. Once she gets out, she is surprisingly fast for a fat cat, and doesn't like to be caught.
     "NOOOoooooo" I said, (that's what it sounds like in slow motion), and as I grabbed for her, I missed. Instead of catching the cat, I caught my arm on the head of a nail, sticking out of the old cupboard about 2 feet off the ground. I thought about it afterwards, and determined the sound tearing skin makes is essentially the same as tearing cloth.
      "RIPPPPPPP", went the outside of my right arm. I fileted that arm open like a fat sausage. Surprisingly, it didn't hurt, but it sure did bleed. I saw it in an instant, and quickly slapped my hand over it, to stop it from bleeding and went out through the door Rollie still had opened wide.
     "Crap!" I said, "Where is Cliffy?" I knew I was in need of many stitches. The farm stand erupted in instant chaos...Rollie started running and hollering "CLIFF! CLIFF!!!" out the back of the barn, Brogan hollered "Holy .... Mom", and proceeded to whip off her belt for a makeshift tourniquet, Cliffy came running up from the barn eggs rolling and breaking and dripping all over the farm stand, and the poor customers were hollering and one poor fellow turned around and vomited in my flower garden. This all took place in approximately 40 seconds. It was a hoot.
     Cliffy grabbed a towel for me, as I assured Brogan I could apply pressure with my hand, and for her to un belt my arm so I could once again feel my fingers. We hopped in the car and sped off to the emergency room where I received about 25 stitches. It never did hurt, it was odd. We came home and the farm stand was closed and Aunt Rollie was on her third drink.
     A couple years ago, the family that was here that day came back to get eggs. They asked how I made out that afternoon. I said I was fine, and  just a nice neat scar. When I asked them where the guy was that was sick, they said he couldn't even think about coming back here again. It still made him queasy. Poor guy.  Traumatized for life because of a visit to Homeland Farm. Say, anyone want to stop by for eggs?
Payback time..A Bath for the Beef
My accomplice and the victim..Stewbeef

A good shot of my battle scar 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why No one ever wanted to ride in my car..

           Hauling livestock can be a really big challenge, especially if you only own a station wagon. Before I met Cliffy, that's all I had to use for transporting critters. It made for some interesting experiences, just ask Zenya. After we graduated from college, we both seemed to migrate back to Bridgton, so lucky for her, she was really close by when I called her up for an adventure one day.
             "Want to go on a road trip?" I asked her over the phone. Now, even though her mother had warned her over and over that if she was smart she would say no to my invites, she just knew it was bound to be interesting, so she agreed. I picked her up in my maroon Subaru wagon, we drove an hour and got on the turnpike north.
       "What exactly are we going after?" she asked, rather nervously I thought.
        "You'll have to wait and see," I said. I glanced over at her and saw her look at me with a look of, oh I don't know..fear? desperation? It was a few years before I saw that look again on her face, and that was when I slapped the cop, but thats a different story.
         We pulled off the highway and drove several more miles, before I turned into a farm driveway. We drove past the barking dogs milling about and past the silo in the yard. A farmer in overalls and high boots walked out of the barn door, and motioned for us to back up.
          "Oh boy, what are you getting?" she asked me. I could tell she was praying for something small and contained..like maybe a crate of hens..or perhaps even a puppy..or litter of barn kittens. Her hopes were dashed as I got out and opened the tailgate, and then spread a tarp over the backend of my car.
           I turned to go inside the barn where the farmer was waiting to talk to me, and make our deal. The smell was wafting out and into the car, and I saw Zenya open her window for fresh air, like it was any fresher on the other side of the glass. I followed the farmer into the dark barn, and came back with my purchase..a little jersey calf.
          I saw Zenya's jaw drop, as the farmer carried  the calf out and plunked him in the back of my car, blatting feverishly. I closed the tailgate quickly, and waited, while the farmer went back and got my second calf. We quickly put the second calf in the back end of the car with the first, and I slammed the door. To say they weren't particularly happy was an understatement. They were milling around and bumping into each other. I looked inside from the rear of the car, and could see Zenya's round eyes staring at the back end  of the car. I smiled and thought,"she loves these trips."
      I started to head toward the drivers seat but the farmer made me an offer I couldn't refuse. He would throw in a free calf that was small and not likely to make it. I thought I would try it, and see if I could save it. So he went back inside and carried out the third calf, a tiny little jersey. I didn't dare put it in the way back with the two rambunctious calves, so I laid it on a grain bag behind the drivers seat.
       I hopped in, and looked at Zenya and said.."Aren't they the cutest?" There is nothing like a jersey calf, and those little bulls were adorable. She hesitantly agreed, and I think it was because she had completed 4 years of college to my 2 years, that she was already seeing the upcoming "issues" that I had failed to see.
      The first started as soon as I headed down the driveway. I had, incorrectly , thought that the calves were like kids,  and would fall asleep as soon as we started to drive. Not even close. Even though they were a few days old, they realized they weren't at home any more, and started to blatt and moo. Steady. And not in unison. One after another. All three. Even the country music station did nothing to soothe them. We turned the radio up to try and drown out the noise. It didn't work.
       Phase two of the epic fail came as I went to step on the gas to pick up speed. The calves, still standing up and milling around, lurched toward the back of the car, and then in an effort to correct themselves, lunged forward...and right into the backseat behind us.
       "Crap!" I exclaimed, as a calf was suddenly climbing into the front seat with Zenya. While she was trying diligently to push him back, the other big one  was stepping on the  smaller calf behind my seat. I felt thrashing and kicking, so I pulled over, and got out of the car in the breakdown lane, and opened the passenger door. I grabbed the calf to put him back in his spot, and he jumped over the seat, dragging me with him, The other one was now at my side trying to suck on my hair, shirt, elbows anything it could get a hold of. I wrestled him into the back with his buddy, and helped the calf behind me get straightened out on his grain bag.
      Breathless, and slobbery, I got back in, and couldn't help but notice Zenya, while not saying anything, was looking like she was trying very hard not to laugh. I had gotten a well placed hoof to the leg, so I wasn't finding anything funny yet in our adventure.
     We pulled back on the turnpike, and  picked up speed, heading toward the tollbooth in Gardner. It wasn't 5 minutes down the road when suddenly, it started. The smell. I hadn't planned on that. It suddenly seemed like those calves had nothing else to do but poop. The two in the back started it, and not to be outdone, the one directly behind me joined in as well. Just as I pulled up to the tollbooth. And, of course, I didn't have correct change.
      I rolled the window down, and smiled weakly at the attendant. The smells and sounds that rolled out of the car made the smell of diesel fuel and the sounds of eighteen wheelers seem like a trip down Macy's perfume aisle.
     "Hello", I said nonchalantly. "Nice day, huh?" The person didn't bat an eye. I guess she sees and smells that every day on the job. Or it might be that she had no sense of humor at all. I took my change, and quickly drove off.
       There were people that did have a sense of humor however. Several cars passed us, and then would slow down and gawk, as we passed them. There was plenty of honking and waving, although I'm not sure Zenya saw too much..she rode with her face out the window most of the way home, I even tried to buy her an ice cream at Dairy Queen, thinking I made a clever joke.."dairy?? Jersey calves..get it, get it??" She smiled, but I don't think it was for real. I couldn't tell for sure though, her head was still out the window. My car was never quite the same. The tarp? Yeah, needless to say, it moved. My kids refused to be driven to school in the car for weeks. I didn't think it was THAT bad.
      Another time I went on a solo adventure to Waterford, a small town near my house. I tried to get Zenya to go, but her mother said she was "busy." I didn't buy it then, and I don't now. Anyway, I drove up to look at calves again. I met the nicest old farmers, two brothers that kept a few dairy cows on their old family farm. We walked into the barn, and I followed the oldest farmer into the stanchion area. He had a nice little Ayrshire heifer calf he wanted to sell. He was so nice, and took good care of his animals. Well, he apprently liked me, so he gave me a really good deal on the calf, plus said he would save the next one for me if I called him and told him I wanted it. His brother watched as we made our deal, then I walked out ahead of the farmer to open my tailgate.
      The heifer was bucking and jumping and was quite a handful, so I opened my tailgate and stood off to the side as he picked her up and quickly  put her in the back of my car. I hurried to close the door before she got out, and proceeded to slam the tailgate. On the farmers head. Knocked him out cold.
       I was MORTIFIED. He was so sweet, and had just given me a good deal and what did I do? Knocked him down on the ground as handy as Muhammad Ali. I felt terrible. I bent down to help him as he came to after a moment, and started to sit up, bleeding from his head. Apparently, the farmers wife and brother also saw what happened, so they rushed out to help get the poor old fella back on his feet. I reached out to take his arm, and I think I saw him flinch.
      He got to his feet, and was so kind to me, despite the fact I almost killed him. He assured me he was fine..things happen like that all the time..( like really?? Women always come to your farm to buy a calf and end up knocking you out??) No, he didn't need to go to a doctor and he hoped the calf would turn out nice for me. I even tried to give him more money.
       "Here..take my wallet...can I give you 50 dollars more? Do you take visa??"
      He assured me again he was fine, and I swallowed the giant lump in my throat and got in my car to drive off. I glanced in the rear view only once,  and saw his wife blotting his forehead with a hankie. I never went back for the other calf. I think he was relieved.
Brogan feeding one of our car calves.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Death and the Manure spreader

      I know that sounds like a very unusual title for today's blog. That's what is so scary about my mind. Like the good Lord himself, it does work in mysterious ways. I have been thinking about the subject of death lately with the recent passing of my cousins father. You remember Zenya, from earlier blogs? She and her sister Natasha recently lost their father, at the age of 81.
      So, I started to ponder what will happen when I die, or as I prefer to say..when I croak. Of course, there will be lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth (what DOES that mean anyway??) and I'm fairly certain that the current president of the United States will in fact, order the flags to be flown at half mast. But then what? What exactly will happen then? I've decided I need to think about this and get it down on paper, (or blog) because you just never know when you will wake up and be south of the sod, as it were.
      We are fortunate enough to have a family plot on the back forty of our farm, so I have always planned on being planted over there. You may have read about it, in one of Stephen Kings books, "Needful Things" I believe it was. It is called Homeland Cemetary. I am not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing that the KING OF HORROR knows of my final resting place, but it does make for good conversation. So does the fact that once the cemetary was established, we were in need of..bodies. So, we dug some up. Before you call the police, let me explain.
     As I have mentioned, this farm has been in our family for 5 generations, and has been passed down from one mother to another, starting with my great grandmother Allie. Then the farm went to her daughter Althea, (my grandmother), then on to my mother Betty, and now to me, (Carmen, but..you probably knew that), and then I plan on passing it on to my daughter Brogan. Just  noticed our first initials sounds like my grades in high school..2 A's, 2 B's and 1 C. (math...yuck).
     Back to the bodies. Anyway, when my great grandmother and grandfather died, we didn't have the family plot established yet, so they were buried in town. Once the cemetary was completed, we all decided that they would REALLY have wanted their final resting place to be here, at the farm where they lived, worked and raised their family. So, we had them dug up. Or as the funeral guy called it.."Exhumed." I guess that does sound better..my dog "digs things up," funeral directors "exhume" people. If that isn't spelled right, I am blaming my spellcheck.
      So, we brought Allie, Ashbel, and my grandmothers twin sister that died as an infant home to Homeland Farm, and you guessed it..reburied them. ( UN-exhumed them?) They haven't complained (much) (but thats a different story), so I guess they like being back on the old homestead.
      Now, I have been over at the cemetary a million times over the years, and I have been trying to figure out where and how I want to lay. Uphill?...downhill?...facing the farm?..facing the pasture?...beside my grandparents? It is a tough call. One easy call was that I wanted to be buried comfortable. NO fancy duds to spend eternity in. I always wanted ..wait for it...a granny nightgown, and I wanted to be on my side. I HATE sleeping on my back. It is too uncomfortable, and I get leg cramps. Now obviously  I won't when I am dead....or will I? No one can assure me I won't because they have never been, well..dead. So, I am not taking any chances. I want to be in a granny nightgown, on my side. But....then, I thought they do tend to "ride up." I hate a bunched up nightie in bed, or casket too I suppose. I actually prefer to sleep au natural, but then I would definately need a closed casket. Naww, I wouldn't want to do that to the morticians.
      So, recently I have been giving thought to being cremated. No mess, no fuss. That of course led me to thinking what I would be..stored in. Well, the likely choices would be..a champagne bottle, a mason jar, or even a grain bag( there is quite alot of me..). Then I came up with the best solution. Keep me in whatever vessel ( tupperware?)  until spring, and then when it comes time to fertilize the fields with the manure spreader,  sprinkle a dusting of Carmen on every outgoing load. I will be uphill..downhill..facing the farm..facing the pasture AND next to my grandparents ALL at the same time! Problem solved...and NO bunched up nightie!

Ready for my last ride!
The youngest generation Liam and Nolan standing at their great- great grandparents stone in Homeland Cemetary

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I don't miss the "Dating Game"..

      I have been thinking lately about how fast time flies. Cliffy and I have our seventh anniversary coming up this month on February 26. I can't believe it has been that long, but here it is. Time truly does fly when you are having fun, and hanging out with Cliffy is a lot more fun then dating ever was. I know everyone has their dating horror stories, and I sure have my share.
      I never really "dated" in high school. I remember in Sociology class, we  had to write anonymous  notes to fellow classmates describing them in a short phrase. I got a couple that said "good sense of humor", and "nice" but the one that stuck out at me the most was one that said I should "dress more stylish." I already had 8 different colored chamois shirts, I didn't know what else I could possibly do! Maybe that's why when it came time for junior and senior prom I was umm..lacking in invites. I was eventually asked out for my junior prom by a nice fellow who showed up to get me wearing the latest in male 1980 prom wear. It was a bright, lime green colored tuxedo, complete with a fully ruffled light colored shirt. I, of course, was wearing the latest in female 1980 prom wear..a Jessica McClintock long gown, which was cream colored, and now that I look back on it, very "granny nightgown"- esque. I was on to something great, even back then!
      He didn't have a car, so we rode with a friend of his..in the backseat of a Volkswagen Beetle. Now, in high school, I didn't have as much "junk in the trunk", which was good, because that is essentially where we rode..in the trunk. If anyone remembers the Beetles of the late 1970's, they weren't really made for more then two passengers, especially passengers wearing long gowns, trying to squeeze in behind the drivers seat. Of course, this particular Volkswagen had been having some mechanical issues, which explained the wrenches and oil rags I discovered at my feet. So, off we went in our chariot, leaving a trail of black smoke. Once at our designation, I squeezed back out from behind the drivers seat, only to have someone say.."what's that on your dress?" It was of course, a nice greasy stain from said oil rag, Yep..my first prom and I had a nice black grease spot on my cream colored dress. I swore I heard some girl say under her breathe as we walked past.."She must have come to the prom on the family tractor." It was a tad embarrassing, but pretty much expected. It was just how I roll.
      I managed to continue that theme through my senior prom as well. The big day was fast approaching and Farmer girl Carmen had yet to be asked  to the prom. I never saw the receipt but I think my parents hired my date for the senior prom. It was a family friend who I think would rather have been just about anywhere else that fateful night. But, he hadn't heard about what I do to prom dresses, so he offered to take me.
      I was once again clad in Jessica McClintock, although I decided to go with a light blue dress. Again, it was not a real stretch to being a granny nightgown. My sister and mother were in my room, helping me to get ready for the big night. I was just touching up my makeup when we heard a car pull into the driveway. Kim looked out the window, turned back and said, "He's here!"
     "Okay," I said, "I'm almost ready. I just need to get my shoes on and I'll be all set." I plunked down on my bed, and sat right on my make up kit.
"Crap!" I said, as I jumped back up off the bed. Too late. I had six shades of blue, from midnight to birds egg, in a nice row across my butt. Talk about having the blues.
      "Carmen!" my mother hollered. "Now what do I do?" I asked, as my sister started to laugh. She got a soapy rag and we washed and washed until the blues had faded away. Unfortunately, so had the pattern of the dress in that area. I was some upset.
      "Don't worry, " they both said. "No one will even notice it." And thankfully, I don't think anyone did. It was by far the flaming corsage on my wrist that got more attention then the blank spot on my dress. Who knew corsages were so darn flammable! All it takes is reaching across the table for a roll, then Poof! Up she went! My poor date. I think he demanded hazard pay.
      So, when it came time to "date", needless to say I wasn't expecting much. And luckily, I wasn't disappointed. I didn't have much luck looking around this small town, so I thought I would go the way of personal ads.
One guy I met tried to woo me by telling me all about his car. All the extras it had, and how it was custom painted etc. I wasn't familiar with cars, so when I asked him what it was and he said an "El Camino" I was like "YES!! A SPORTS CAR!" On our first date, I quickly found out I was incorrectly thinking "CAMARO", when that ugly "El Camino" pulled in. He was nice enough, but we didn't "click", and I swear, it wasn't the car.
      Then there was the guy that was real outdoorsy. Loved fishing, and snowshoeing and all things nature. We met for a quick lunch date, and he seemed nice. When he suggested we meet again for supper, I agreed , thinking this might  just work out. So, we made arrangements to meet in a cozy restaurant, and as I drove in, I saw his truck in the parking lot.
      I walked into the restaurant, and said I was meeting the single gentleman who had come in earlier. The maitre'd gave me a rather odd look, and said 'right this way.' As I followed him to the back of the restaurant, I smelled a funny smell, and thought I sure wasn't going to order whatever that was for supper.
     "He requested our coziest nook ," the fellow said as we walked to the small room off the main dining room. I stepped in and oh..my ..god. It smelled like Grizzly Adams along WITH his bear, had decided to join me for supper. "Hi There, " said my date. " I just got here myself." I swear, it was all I could do to not grimace as I walked to the table and pulled out my chair.
      "Soooo, what did you do today?" I asked. I was fairly sure I knew the answer to that question already. I was certain  he had wrestled a skunk, and maybe fried it up for lunch, then perhaps had done a little rutting with the biggest buck in the woods. On his way back to his truck, I figured he had fought a coyote for some roadkill that he decided to take home to make into jerky. Another thing I was sure of was that that room was wayyy to airtight, and we needed a good breeze if I was going to live.
     "Well, I did some hiking, and did some tracking, ...fishing. I think I found a good spot to go hunting this fall." I wasn't far off in my guess of what he had been doing that day. I still can't believe he came in to the restaurant smelling like he did. Come to find out, the waitress told me later that he never requested a "cozy nook"....they put us there. Out of sight and hearing, but I bet..not out of smelling range.
      That was a bad date, but sadly, I can tell you it wasn't the worst date I went on. The worst date was when I had moved on from personal ads to the latest craze.."Dating Services." One birthday my parents, desperate now, since I was approaching spinster age (24), signed me up to join a dating service. The agency took my information and "matched me" to suitable guys ( read here..anyone that they could, whether we had anything in common or not.) Sadly, most of the time, we did not.
      I talked on the phone to one guy, and although we didn't have a lot in common, we decided to meet in Windham for a drink. So, I drove to the restaurant to meet the guy, and sure enough, there was his motorcycle in the yard. Now, I am not, nor was I ever, a real "motorcycle gal", but I figured that that doesn't make any difference. We could have separate interests and still get along, so in I went.
      I walked in to the bar, and there he sat, in the black leather jacket that he said he would be wearing. I sniffed the air, and although it smelled of cigarette smoke, it didn't reek of wild animal musk, so I was excited. I walked over and introduced myself.
      He stood up and shook my hand and I thought oh..how nice.  He has the word LOVE tattooed on his knuckles. We sat down and  I ordered my drink, and we started making small talk. When he pulled out a cigarette and lit it up, without asking me 'did I mind?,' or  even 'do you want one?', I knew we were done. As an asthmatic, I am not overly fond of cigarette smoke, so a non smoker was something I had requested from the agency. Obviously, they didn't care/pay attention/ or screen.
     So, I thought I would use the ladies room while he smoked, then come back and hurriedly finish my drink and go home. I excused myself, and went to the bathroom. I returned to the table and saw he must have had to use the men's room, as his chair was empty. I sat down and drank some of my drink. His cigarette was smoldering in the ashtray, so I looked around and quickly snuffed it out. I had an other sip, and pulled my chair in a bit closer to the table. As I sat there, I looked over at his chair and noticed it was pushed way back from the table.
     Then, as I sipped my drink, I noticed that people were kind of..staring at me. I wasn't sure why, but they had that nervous, sneak a peek and look away thing going on. "Huh", I said aloud. I pulled my chair in a bit more, and looked out in the parking lot. That's when I saw it. Or rather, didn't see it. His motorcycle. It was gone. Stunned, I looked back at his chair and all the pieces fell into place. Cigarette smoldering, check. Chair shoved way back from the table, check. Black leather jacket gone, check. Date gone, check.
     I suspect the look that came across my face was probably pitiful, because the waitress came over and leaned down and quietly said, "Anything else for you, honey?"
     "Uhh, no I am all set, thanks" I said. She had my bill in her hand, and I thought, that cheap bugger didn't even pay for my drink! I might not have said bugger. OK, I am sure I didn't say bugger.
     She looked at the tab in her hand, and said, "Ya know what, drinks are on the house. Your all set. Take care." Then she crumpled it up and walked off. I hurriedly put on my coat, and tried not to notice the looks of pity as I ran out of the bar. That's how you can tell this took place a long time ago..people could still smoke in a bar and I could still run.
     I wasn't very happy that day, but it wasn't that I was upset because I was crushed it didn't work out. I was some kind of MAD! The nerve of the guy to do that. I called the agency and gave them a serious heads up on the rude biker dud. They said they would speak to him about that sort of behavior...Like that would change him. I didn't think I would ever date a man in leather jacket again, but then, I met Cliffy.........

This is the kind of guy you WANT to date..he has his own town!

Friday, February 3, 2012

T.G.I.F. and M.B.W.

     That would be "Thank God It's Friday" of course, and also, My Birthday Weekend. I believe in making my birthday a full three day event. Of course, this year, pretty much the ENTIRE United States will be celebrating on my birthday. No, I'm not famous (yet!), however my birthday happens to fall on SUPER BOWL SUNDAY! So, when I walk into a bar for lunch with Cliffy on Sunday and hear a loud cheer, I will pretend it is me they are cheering for, not Tom Brady and Co.
     We ordered Pizza for supper tonight, as, well, I am a firm believer that no one should cook on their birthday weekend. It just isn't right, slaving over a stove wearing the latest in birthday hats. So, we had takeout, and my nephew Nolan joined us as well. When I asked him what kind of pizza he wanted, he said at first 'pepperoni', then quickly said.."Auntie Carmen, make it a cheese pizza. Im trying to cut back on pepperoni." He is 8 years old and so cute. Tomorrow, the entire family, (all except my father as he gets embarrassed by us) are going out to dinner at a local restaurant. It should be a lot of fun. There will be 15 of us, including the kids. Although, not my own son Cameron. When he went to college last month for his first semester, I told him all that stuff a mom is supposed to tell their child as they strike out on their own. How it was time for him to "fly the nest" and "be his own person" and "make his own way in the world", and that it was indeed, time for me to "cut the proverbial apron strings." I haven't heard from him since, the bugger. I guess HE is the one doing the cutting of apron strings! I've sent an email (or 15), called, and sent messages on Facebook..nada. Oh well. He is off having a great time, and loving it. My work here is done.
      Brogan and Liam will be going though, and Bridgitte, Cameron's girlfriend who has been staying with us since fall,  along with my mother, cousins Susan and Joy, sister Kim and her family, my brother Zak and his son, and my cousin Zenya, whom you have read about in some of my earlier blogs. Oh, and there will be more stories coming, don't worry. I am taking a few days off however, as I plan on being all liquored up the next few days. (birthday, don't ya know!) No, I am kidding, although I suspect there might be a bottle (or two) of champagne chilling for the next couple days.
      I have dropped plenty of hints about gifts. I am thinking I might be in need of a new table and chair set for my kitchen. What do you think?
One of our kitchen chairs..you don't want to lean back in this one
Another kitchen chair..mind the point,Dearie...

    This is one of our GOOD Ones..

     You get my point..well you might really get the point if you use that second chair! So, I am in hopes that my kin all pitch together and get us some good sturdy kitchen furniture. Cliffy has been on "stealth mode" the last couple days, hiding things here and there. He really does try his best,, but no matter where he hides my gifts, I always seem to inadvertently come across them. And I hate it. I like a surprise, but danged if I don't find Cliffy's gifts almost every time. He once hid a bracelet in the truck tucked under the drivers seat. I took the truck, and went to town, stepped on the brakes, and ended up stepping on the box as it slid out from under the front seat. I flipped down the visor and my card landed on my lap. I opened up his nightstand draw to put his cough drops inside and there was a  gift and another card. I had dropped a hint about a cookbook I wanted this year for my birthday, telling him the author and title. He wanted me to check over his checkbook and the last entry was to Bridgton Books, where he had shopped the day before. He went to Reno, Nevada to visit his son before Christmas, and was gone a week. The day after he returned, he was unpacking in the bedroom and I started to walk in behind him, and saw a shiny gold bag that looked like it might hold jewelry sitting in his suitcase. I turned and beat a hasty retreat, not wanting to see yet another gift. Christmas came and went, and I didn't get a gift that seemed like it would have been in so pretty a little bag. I mentioned it to Brogan, who said he was desperate to keep me from seeing this one gift, so he hid it. Too well. We still haven't found it. SURPRISE!
     So, dear readers, I am going to wrap up tonight's blog and turn on my electric blanket and crawl in. It is a cold Maine night, and I have a couple big days coming up. I will take lots of pictures and probably not post any. (I take terrible pictures, especially when I'm under the influence of bubbly.)
Have a great weekend..I plan on it!!