Homeland Farm

Homeland Farm

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