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 on 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..

Monday, October 20, 2014

Where's Carmen? (been...)

       I was totally shocked last week. I flipped on the computer, went to my blog page and found that I haven't blogged since March. Seriously. March.
       I really can not believe it has been that long. I kept clicking the refresh button waiting for a newer post to pop up but no. The 2nd of March was indeed my last post. The fact that 7 months has gone by in seemingly the blink of an eye just makes me really believe that the old saying is true. Time does seem to go by faster the older you get, and this summer I have really felt all of my 51 years. So, let's recap the last 6 plus months of life here at Homeland Farm.
        We had a long, long winter last year so when spring rolled around, I was very ready. I was glad to see the last of the frozen horse buckets and hoses leave my laundry room. Spring housecleaning was done (sort of) and then it was on to summer.
        Ahh, summer in Maine. I wish I could say I swam everyday, or hiked and biked. Unfortunately though, my summer was more like a medical marathon with some darn appointment every day it seemed.
        I have always had "bad knees", which according to my grandmother who also had the affliction, is a family problem passed down from our McKeen ancestors. She would hobble around in her kitchen and exclaim "Oh, these McKeen knees!" When her pain was really bad, I would watch her put a squirt of 'cheese in a can' onto a spoon, insert a Tylenol , and put the whole glob in her mouth. She then had to to try and swallow that whole sticky concoction. I really don't know how she managed to choke it down. I also don't know how she managed to walk at all with only an occasional Tylenol to help with what had to be significant pain.
        Now I have had my share of pain in my life and am not known as a "wimpy" person, but the pain of bone on bone in my knee joints is the worst thing ever. I have no "cushion" left in my knees, and every step is carefully thought over before I make it. It is amazing how many steps you take in a day just doing the usual jobs around the house. I am nigh on to being an athelete, in my humble opinion.
        My fridge is not in my kitchen. It is in the laundry room which is next to the kitchen. It is exactly 12 steps from my kitchen table to the front of the fridge. Then it is 12 steps back to the table in the kitchen. 24 steps to go get the water jug. Or the mustard. Or a baby carrot. A lot of painful steps for a condiment. Certainly a lot for a baby carrot. Yet it doesn't seem like quite as many for an ice cream. Funny how that works.
        I've found you quickly learn some handy coping mechanisms. For example, I need mustard for my sandwich. Since I am making the journey to the fridge, I don't go out empty handed. I grab the water jug and take it with me. I put the water in the fridge, grab the mustard and set it on the shelf. Pause at dryer, where I take out the dry clothes, and put in a wet load. Forget to turn dryer on (this happens every time, I swear..) Load dirty clothes into washer and turn that on. Go to shelf where mustard is waiting, but grab cat food to feed flock of cats howling at my feet like they haven't eaten in days. Hobble over to barn door with the wrinkled baby carrots I found in fridge when searching for mustard. Open door and chuck carrots out to Robin Williams, the pot bellied pig that lurks grunting outside, listening for someone to open fridge. Start to go back in kitchen, and now hear cats howling to go outside. Go back across room to door, let cats out. Hobble 12 steps back to kitchen and plop into the chair with a louder grunt then the pig. Realize the mustard is still out on the shelf, and the bread is now dry. Say screw the mustard and bread, roll meat and cheese into log and eat it. This has just taken 40 minutes.
          It is a freaking miracle I get anything done at all. I do have help though..all my children and Cliffy. When they are home I order them around like a mafia boss. Go get this, grab that, lug that laundry etc. PLEASE. I am nothing if not polite in my bossiness. They have all run the vac, helped cook, and done dish duty on days when my knees are real bad, which isn't ALL the time. However, it has been working to my advantage, so I tell them it hurts bad every day. Why ruin a good thing, says I.
          I recently called my doctor and told her my knees were becoming more painful, especially my right one since my right ankle has been a constant source of misery for well over a year now. Too many health problems to fix it surgically they say. Remember that little ditty..."The ankle bone's connected to the...knee bone, the knee bone's connected to the...thigh bone, etc"? Yep it is true. My right ankle and foot with it's collapsed bones, and torn ligaments has put lots of stress on my right knee, which was always my "good" knee. Now with both joints hurting, I called the doctor for better pain management. As much as I like a good squirt of cheese, I decided tylenol was not doing it for me.
          Doc prescribed some pills, and they helped a little, but I picked up a rather nasty tremor that was so bad, I looked like I was the only person in the room feeling the earthquake. I couldn't even hold the newspaper still to read it. Time to call the doc again.
          More pills prescribed. Worked better then the last ones, but by supper I sounded like I had spent a leisurely afternoon in a bar. "PASSSHHH THE MUSHTARD, WILL YA CWIFFYY...". Nope, that was no good either.
          Yet another call to the doctor. Another new med, no side effects, but very little benefit. Call to doctor, which used to answer the phone with "Blah blah Doctors office". Now they just answer it, "Hello Carmen". Doctor says she will order the same prescription, but a stronger dose. Insurance company now says "no, sorry no more meds for you. " Great. Several more calls to Pharmacy, to doctor, to pharmacy. Finally, insurance company says "FINE! GET OFF OUR BACKS! HERE IS YOUR APPROVAL." Yay me! I am going to make a batch of cookies tomorrow for the gals at the doctors office. They worked hard for me on that problem. So, now I am trying this new medicine, and so far, no slurring or shaking. Looks like we might be headed in the right direction at last.
          The doctor also ordered a lovely purple ankle brace for me, which I can wear once I get my new special shoes that will accommodate the oh so attractive contraption. I am due to get the shoes this week, so I hope with the brace and new meds, I will be tap dancing by the weekend. Film at 11.
          On a good note, dialysis is going well. I am traveling 40 minutes to get it done at the center, but it is a lot easier then when we tried to do it at home. The equipment almost drove Brogan and I to drink. We had a lot of mechanical issues and I finally said enough is enough. It is so much easier to walk in the door, plunk my butt in the chair and let the nurses do all the setting up, labs, clean up and all the paperwork with it. 3 days a week to keep me alive and kicking. Well, I won't try and do any kicking until I get my dandy purple butterfly covered brace. Then watch out..I will be kicking like a mule.
          Speaking of mules, we have had a cute little baby mini mule here all summer and he has been so much fun to watch play. He is adorable in a very naughty way, and alas, will soon be leaving us to go to a good home.
          Brogan has been busy with her animal rescue. Many horses, alpacas, goats, pot bellied pigs, and even dogs and cats, have filtered through the farm this summer, on their way to finding new homes. This is a tough economy to try and do what she does, and it isn't always easy. However, it is her life's work and mission.
           Cameron has been a help this summer. He does a lot of cooking on dialysis days for me, when I often don't feel like doing anything but taking a nap. He made a "pizza cake" that he saw on the internet the other day for us, and it was mighty tasty.
           Liam is doing well too. He has shot up over 4 inches over the last 6 months and sprouted a whole chin full of hair. My "little fella" is now taller then me by inches. He may have me on height, but I have him on chiny whiskers!
            Cliffy is my right hand man (right leg man??) He helps me out so much, running errands for me, or dropping me off at the door of the store to save me the hike in from the parking lot. He will wash dishes, feed the herd of dogs, and runs to the pharmacy for me over and over. And over. A good man, that Cliffy.
           With all that has been going on, it is no wonder it seems we have blinked and it is October. Can it really be almost time for frozen water pails and hoses in the laundry room again? And the holidays too? Yikes! Just the thought of that makes me want to make a batch of fudge. And eat it. But then, the walnuts are in the laundry room, a full 12 steps from where I sit.
           Hark! Is that the sound of cats howling for vittles? And the pig squealing outside the door? Crap. I forgot to turn on the dryer. Sigh. Back to the laundry room. I'm off like a herd of turtles! No, really.
Coming soon to a laundry room near you

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Winter of my discontent (ment)

   Ok..It is official. I am
truly, fully, exceptionally sick of winter. Now, I am not one to whine, (or wine, really) BUT! This seems to have been the longest.winter.ever. Can I get an AMEN?
    Now, I am the first to say I hope we have a white Christmas, and actually I don't mind a "nip" in the air. After all, this is MAINE..LAND OF FOUR SEASONS. But this winter has pushed the limits of my patience. Let me count the 12 peeves of Winter..

1. Spent all of Brogan's inheritance on pellets.
2. Spent all of Cameron's inheritance on firewood.
3. Spent all of Liam's inheritance on oil.
4. Lost all feeling in my fingers while in the barn digging in freezer, looking for something to eat.
5. Wonder why freezer is in barn anyway.
6. Sick of tripping over pails full of "beet pulp" and winter boots while trying to reach pantry shelves.
7. Tired of paying big bucks for veggies when I can grow my own in the sweet old summer time.
8. Tired of seeing a winter coat on every chair in the house.
9. Shoveling, shoveling, and more shoveling.
Just ask Liam..

10. Sick of washing bedding over and over, as dogs are laying on bed all day, every day..and there are a lot of dogs.
11. Is there any Roseanne/The Waltons/or Little House show I HAVEN'T seen??
12. The fine coating of ash/dirt/dust that seems to coat everything, every where. Even the cobwebs are coated. And there are plenty of those.

Roaming goats
   I know I am not alone, as there seems to be plenty of other people lamenting the length of this winter season. I am pretty sure Brogan and her barn helpers are more then ready for a change in the seasons too. And so are the animals...the horses are crabby..the goats have the urge to roam, and the cats are longing for fresh grass to throw up. So I will end with a poem called..what else...SPRING

           Spring ...(ahem)

Come on Spring,
we need you bad!
all this winter
is making me mad.

We long for flowers,
grass and lawn
too much winter only
makes me yawn.

So Come on Spring,
and make it soon
or I am afraid,
I'm gonna be crazy as a loon.

Time for bigger dog beds?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

500 Channels and not a thing to watch..

My view from the dialysis chair, If I don't watch TV
As many of you know, I have to do dialysis three times a week, which I am luck enough to be able to do at home. Three times a week, Brogan hooks me up to my home dialysis machine, and I sit for four plus hours while the machine cleans my blood and puts it back.
      Now, I am not much of a television watcher, but that is what I do during those four hours. I commandeer the remote control, and settle in to watch television. Or should I say, I TRY to watch television. My gosh...we have a ton of channels, and my gosh..there is nothing on any of them. In case you aren't privy to "Direct TV", let me enlighten you as to my choices today.
       I start out at channel 6, and work my way up to the upper 400's every time. It is a habit I can't seem to break. So, off we go!
       I start out with a couple shows that sound breath taking..
"MOP SMARTER, NOT HARDER", or perhaps "UNDER $10 FRENZY". Not sure about you, but they don't catch my attention at all. I'm actually afraid to go to the "frenzy" channel..not sure what I would be seeing.
       Then, there is "SHARK VS DYSON"..Now, I'm not sure who this Dyson fella is, but my money is on the shark. Too gory for me, so I decided not to watch that show either.
       Then I came to a show with a mess of dead guys.."JOHN DENVER, LOUIS ARMSTRONG, NAT KING COLE"..Figured I wouldn't find much on that show to catch my eye.
        A few numbers higher, and it was everything Hawaiian or Alaskan. There was "Buying...Building...and Frontier-ing" Alaska. Oh, and "Alaska Troopers"..them too. For Hawaii, you can "Buy Hawaii", or pretend to sample "Hawaiian Life".
Or watch "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and his gang round up bad guys in Hawaii. I saw all that bling around his neck and said..nahh.
         Then there were the shows about the men. Too many if you ask me. There was "Gator Boys", "Swamp Men", "Ax Men", and "Laz-y Boys". Boring, as well as lazy.
          Soon, I was in California show land. "Kardashians," "Rich Housewives of Beverly Hills", and a new show "Beverly Hill Rich Kids'. Seriously. I just want to slap them. Oh, and make them shovel manure. With a spoon. That is all I have to say about that.
           Then, I was off to infomercials. I saw 4 shows on the best..LADDER, BRA, BLENDER, AND HAIR REMOVER.
Not interested. Unless of course, you can remove the hair..with a blender, while on a ladder, wearing a bra..THAT I would watch. Heck, that I would DO!
           Finally..we were in the sad section of television land..the poor afflicted people. You know the ones..the ones that star in "Hoarders", "Rehab Addict", "Intervention" and the like. No thanks. Not my idea of fun television viewing.
          I thought I was doomed, but I managed to find one station that had something worth watching. My night was saved.
          "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
            the tale of a fateful trip,
            that started from this tropic port..
            aboard this tiny ship......."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


No insomnia to be seen here
Welcome to another episode of insomnia! We are so glad you are back. Our guest today is the lovely blog mistress Carmen C. Horton. She will now attempt to write a poem that rhymes despite the fact that it is the middle of the night! BUT FIRST! A word from our sponsor!

     Tired of going to bed and waking up rested?
     Sick of sleeping like the proverbial log?
     Well, we have something that will eliminate that problem
      with ease!

      With BLOAT-O, you can kiss your good nights sleep 
      GOODBYE! Try one slice for a night of mere tossing and
      turning. Two slices will guarantee at least one hour of
      awake time after midnight. But, if you try three slices,
      you are guaranteed a FREE, YES FREE case of in-
      digestion that will keep you awake for hours!
       SO! Try BLOAT-O Today! Found in your grocery store's
       frozen foods section. (Tucked in between frozen liver and
       old french fries.) Now, back to our show!

        Welcome back to INSOMNIA, America! Now competing
         for our middle of the night poem medal is Carmen Poe
         Horton. Can we have quiet from the audience please!
         GOOD LUCK!

        Ahem...Insomnia, Insomnia
                     you are such a hag to me,
                     Insomnia, Insomnia,
                     you drive me up a tree

                     I'm churning and
                     I'm turning,
                     and desperate to sleep,
                     I guess I better get up,
                     I think I might just weep.

                     Insomnia, Insomnia
                     I guess you're here to stay,
                     Insomnia, Insomnia
                     you wouldn't have it any other way

                      Poor Cliffy is affected,
                      he is bothered half the night
                      He wishes he could kick me out
                      I think he really might

                      Insomnia, Insomnia
                      Time for you to go
                      Insomnia, Insomnia
                      why don't you make like the wind and blow

                       The End.    (Says the chick in the granny nightgown with bags under her eyes.)

                      OH SO CLOSE! The judges say that it does rhyme, but it is a lousy poem so you lose. (Awwww..says the audience of three dogs.)
                        We do have a lovely parting gift for you, Ms Horton. Show her what her gift is!
                         Your gift today is a ONE YEAR SUPPLY OF BLOAT-O PIZZA!  Cases and cases of Extra Crispy, Extra greasy, and the perpetual favorite..Extra Indigestion! Enjoy!
(limp applause from audience of dogs on couch.) (Light from computer is bothering them..they say go back to bed!)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Late Night Visitor

Homeland Farm

  As many of my blog readers know, we have had 5 generations of our family live here in this old farmhouse. Starting with my great grandmother Allie, it has been in our family for over 100 years. Many of my ancestors were born here, lived here and some even died here. Many as well, are buried in the back cemetery-Homeland Cemetery.
Homeland Cemetery
      Due to the long family history of this farm, my family believes that there have been many visitors from the beyond, and many of us have seen, heard or felt things that can not be "explained away". One of these experiences happened to me a couple nights ago.
       I was sound asleep when I woke up with a pain in my hand. As I lay in bed trying to go back to sleep, I suddenly heard a man's voice coming from the room upstairs over my bed. My 13 year old son Liam sleeps in that room, and I thought "he is supposed to be asleep!" I wondered why he was still up and who he was talking to. Then as I heard a deep voice again, I thought perhaps it was my older son Cameron in there talking to Liam, and perhaps telling him he better get to bed before mom catches him.
        I decided that I would get up, sneak up upstairs and surprise him, catching him in the act of staying up way past his bedtime. So, I got up, put on my robe, and headed up the stairs, which are just outside my bedroom door. I climbed up until I was about 4 steps from the top, and stopped, kneeling on the step to listen.
        I was looking around the hallway, which has 5 doors, all closed except one. As I knelt on the step, I heard nothing..no talking, no sound at all. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of brilliant white light on the ceiling half way down the hall. I looked up where it had been, and there was nothing there at all. With all the doors on the front of the house closed, there was no way car lights could have done it, but as I stood there, I thought it didn't seem like car lights anyway.
     I continued to kneel on that step for a few more moments, while I looked all around, trying to determine if there was anything in that dark hall that could have made that flash of light. As I looked over at a large box in the hallway, there was another flash of light, in the same area as the first one.
This time I was almost looking at it, and a couple things occurred to me. First, it was a very quick flash of brilliant, white light, and also, as bright as it was, it didn't illuminate the hallway, like a car light, camera or light bulb would. It was only about the size of my fist..but SO very bright, and well-I would describe it as pure white.
       I had goosebumps on neck, and for some reason, I thought of my Uncle Billy. He and I were pals, and he used to take me with him to visit farms, and see cows and auctions and fun stuff like that. He taught me how to take good care of my animals, and was quick to call and say that we left a gate open, or that a horse (or two) were out, or that he saw a fox, better lock up the hens. He died at the young age of 64, and is buried over at Homeland Cemetery.
Me and one of my uncle's young calves

      I wasn't sure why I thought of him at that moment, but I dismissed it, and thought I would go check Liam, even though I hadn't heard a peep from him since I was standing on the stairs. So, I climbed up the rest of the stairs, and walked down the hall, casting an eye over head to the spot on the ceiling where I had seen the light. There was nothing to be seen, so I opened Liam's door, and he was sound asleep in bed, not moving or mumbling and certainly not saying anything.
       I walked back out in the hall and down to Cameron's room, knocked on his door and asked him if he had been talking to anyone. He said he hadn't been, nor had he heard or seen anything. I told him to keep an eye and ear out, and went back downstairs. Crawling back into bed, I glanced at the clock, and realized it was just after midnight.
       Cliff was awake, and I told him about the light I saw upstairs, and how I couldn't really explain the deep voice we had heard, other then to say I wondered if it was my Uncle Billy giving me some sort of message. I have smelled his "Brut" cologne before at the bottom of the stairs, and have often thought of him watching over the place.
      Cliff asked me if I knew what temperature the furnace was set on, and I told him I really had no idea. He lay there a moment, and said I think I will go check it. He got up and walked around the bed and into the bathroom to go out and check on the thermostat.
       All of a sudden, he exclaimed "Carmen! What is that? Come quick!"
        I could tell by the tone of his voice I had better go and look quickly. So I jumped up, and hurried to the bathroom where he was looking out the window.
       " Oh my god!" I hollered, as I looked out the window.
Across the backyard, over in front of the horse barn, we saw FIRE.
        I turned and ran into the hallway, and hollered up to Cameron. "Cameron! FIRE in the corral!" I heard his door opening, as I rushed out into the kitchen, looking for my shoes.
Cliff was throwing on his clothes as Cameron and I ran out into the big barn which is attached to our house. Cliff came running out behind us, and he and Cameron ran out back to the fence, while I yelled to Brogan in her apartment to wake up.
       It turns out that one of the water tub heaters Brogan uses to make sure the horses have fresh water in the winter, had ended up resting on the bottom of the tub.The newer heaters now all have a cage to keep it from resting on the bottom, but this was an older model, and when the tub emptied, it evaporated the last of the water, and melted down the tub until it caught fire. The smoldering tub then started to singe the back of the corral fence.
       I knew as I smelled all that melting plastic, and watched as they kicked snow over the burning tub, that that was the message my uncle wanted to send me. He is indeed still watching over this farm and all of us, and the bright light and perhaps the man's voice were all part of the chain of events that were needed to get us up and out to that corral during the middle of the night.
The farmhouse from the cemetery
       Some people might think that these were mere coincidences..I prefer to think it was ole Willie keeping a close eye on all of us, and that is a very comforting thought indeed.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Up close and (too) personal

We were in desperate need of a good fire starter, and I am nothing if not a women's liberation gal!
   Just was looking for a specific photo in my albums, and I didn't find it. What I did find, however, were many photos that should never have seen the light of day. SO..why not bust them out. It's hump day..a day in need of a laugh to make it through the rest of the week. Have fun!
Exhibit A..
I swear, a neck like that should only be seen on a football player..oh, and what is with that blonde 'fro?
Exhibit B..
Who looks the most pathetic? A toss up..

Exhibit C..
Never mind the moustache...there are more whiskers on that chin then on the goats in the barn! MAAAAA!!!

Exhibit D..

Even the horses run when they see me coming(esp while wearing a granny)..AND

Exhibit E...
Carrot Top? Is that you?

So..another day ends at Homeland Farm, where self esteem goes to die.Tune in next week to see what sad looking creature will appear on my blog!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

When a mud room is truly, a mud room

   Happy New Year to one and all. I hope everyone had a great holiday night, and I hope we all have a healthy 2014. We are off to a wonderful start, and by wonderful, I mean we are having a snow storm. Oh, and bitter cold. Oh, and I mean wonderful in a very sarcastic way.
     I spent the first two days of 2014 by doing what I do best...cooking and cleaning. Okay, I cook pretty well, but cleaning..not so much. It had to be done however, so I vacuumed, cleaned a few windows, ( Why do I have so many windows..just curious), and even dusted a bit. When I say 'dusted a bit', that means I pulled the sleeve of my sweater down over my hand, and did the worst spots. Then had to change, as one arm was really pretty dirty.
    I always start in the end of the house and work my way out to the kitchen, and finish in the laundry room, or as some people call it..the mud room. I have seen many so called mud rooms in all the house wife magazines I get and they are always so tidy. I mean, they have rattan baskets for each child to store their shoes and belongings, peg boards on the wall for organized coat hanging, and nice racks and boot driers for any boots that might get "damp".
     Let me show you a photo of a REAL MUD ROOM.
  Exhibit A....As you can see, this is a laundry room
Exhibit B...
Or is it a feed room?
Exhibit C..
okay, it is a feed room (warm mashes for a cold night)
Exhibit D..
Let's see..2 coats per person x 6 people..plus coveralls..and hats
Boots galore...Hats/gloves/mittens-stacked up and handy
Finally...Exhibit E..A mud room floor, complete with mud. So, now you know what a REAL FARMHOUSE mudroom looks like. It ain't pretty. I told you I am not an immaculate housekeeper. BUT! Did I show you the   picture of the pie I made??? Now THAT is pretty!