Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tenacity

Tenacity: n, the state of being persistent in adhering to something valued, a tendency to hold fast.

Two years ago, I found a single tiny petunia growing by the barn.  An older employee said it had been at least 8 years since flowering hanging baskets had been around the barn.
Last year, nothing.
This Spring:
The whole plant no bigger than a baby's hand, growing in hardpan.
Then, a second slightly larger plant popped up.
And a third:
Proof that in hope there is life.
For the past month, I've looked to these tiny little plants for inspiration--- and they have provided.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day Surprise

Saturday morning, Cole and I travel in stealth to Birmingham.  Our mission:  help Mark plant a garden for his grandmother.  We have been remiss for two years and the weeds have enjoyed the hiatus.

Cole surveys the weed plot.  Then I hurry to get the Commandant's tent pitched.  50% chance of rain and mosquitoes...
All tucked in with our favorite sleeping bag.  Now may I turn to garden work?

"Puny human, hurry up and close the flap, I see a mosquito."

Mulch on top of landscape fabric had composted enough to make a nice propagation bed for weeds and saplings.  Fabric was carefully peeled back.

I commandeered the tiller to play.  Leaving Mark to dig to China on his own.

He cuts through a buried wire and continues to work 'around' it.  And we wonder why women outlive men.
Cole admires the prepared bed.

Hard to see all the tiny plants, but a variety of vegetables and flowers really are there. Promise!

Surprising Helene, who didn't even know that I was in her garden!

Super stealthy!  Surprise, happy Mother's day!
Stealth capabilities dwindled as soon as we engaged in our 2.5 hr return trip to the farm.  Instead of taking US 280 South, I had the ingenious idea to try I-65 South.  5 hours later, we docked at the farm.  What a nightmarish ride.

My phone was threatening to die at 13% battery and I needed to use it's navigation to get us out of the mess of a closed down interstate.  Took almost an hour to get off the interstate, then the police was redirecting everyone to US-31, but my Mapquest app showed traffic at a standstill there too because of accidents.  I'm buying stock in Mapquest... coming through an ice storm in Idaho, it redirected me to safety in Nevada.  Saturday night it took me through residential areas and we bypassed all the traffic.  I mean ALL.

  When I got back on I-65, I was in a group of three cars.  None ahead of us, none behind us, none beside us either because the northbound lane was closed too.  I had been in the back of the queue back in Pelham and now I was ahead of everyone.  I might just get their logo tattooed on my posterior, it's saved it more than a few times!

Cole and I pulled in to the farm a few minutes shy of midnight.  Home sweet home.  Sunday morning was spent on animal projects and the afternoon was mine to zone out on the tractor spraying the pastures.  No traffic, no din of the city, just the soothing rumble of our John Deere and wide open spaces.



Saturday, May 13, 2017

All Creatures

All creatures great and small,

gotta love 'em all.  Check out Jurassic Park iris.  Dwarfs El Chubbo (Pete).
The artificial beetle nursery that I built last year has proven successful.  This female Hercules beetle crash landed into my house.

Happy Mother's Day to me.
And Happy Adoption Day Anniversary to Garrett!

Two years in the Smith clan deserves a homemade meatloaf.

For me???

All of it?

Alright!

Whaddya mean 'share'?  No thank you.
Congratulations of being a Smith.  We love you, Gawwett!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

New Coordinates Locked In

After much research and soul searching, I'm already 99% sure of the path I will choose for Cole during our oncology meeting Monday:  benign neglect.  That's right, nothing.  Everything I've read regarding the newest offered chemo protocol points to a 4-6 more months of life.  Miserable life, all for my benefit, not Cole's. Instead of septic infections induced by low blood counts, and nausea, we're going to welcome Mr. Cancer in.  He's been waiting almost a year.  I've had a full day off to hatch a plan (life is generous that way)... His arrival has been forfeited beyond it's term.  We shall now do a 180' and roll out a very, very, very long red carpet.
There comes a time when the obstinance to fight becomes a futile waste of precious time.  
Rather than be attempting to conquer another trail, we're repositioning  to make every moment comfortable. 
                            (Record cold last night, this is Alabama, not Alaska!)
                                 (Gardening with Mum has become a cushy job)
                              (Previously unaccepted begging is encouraged)
To outsiders, he's just a frigging dog.  To me, he's my furry guru, my best friend, my constant companion.  To let him down at this point would be criminal.  We're doing this:  he's getting an armed escort to that damned Rainbow Bridge. 


Here's hoping Cancer trips on the two miles of carpet I laid.  Come and get us ya b@$%!.  Yes, this is as close to "acceptance' as I can sanely get.
All this crap better make me a better person.  

PS Since I purposefully live in the boonies, it's my own fault if I feel alone at times. Thank you for being my sounding board.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Cole's Cancer Anniversary

A year ago this May, Cole was diagnosed with high grade mast cell cancer.  

After an arduous surgery and two different chemotherapy protocols, we kept proving them wrong when they'd issue their cheery little discharge notes stating he may have less than 2 months to live.
Made them eat our dust in Maine back in September.

Threw snow in the face of defeat in February in Idaho.  

We may be running low on ammo.  Test results from full staging back in April were good.  Yesterday's results were bad:  cancer is fully out of remission.  
Emergency reconvening with oncology team on Monday to weigh options.
Cole's hematocrit and platelet count is already too low to start him on a third rescue protocol. 
We played this one out well, but the final act is upon us, no way out this time, except right through it, just like my favorite Wagner operas.  

Valhalla ain't gonna know what hit it when Cole and I get there!
Seats back, tray tables in their full upright position, seat belts fastened, turbulence ahead, nothing we can't weather together. 


Happy Birthday Angus!

My biggest kid turns 14 today.

A round of carrots and oats for all the party kids!

Welcome to middle age, Angus.  I love ya, man!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Manitoba Mirage

By the same token that chili isn't as tasty in the Summer as it is in the Winter; looking and reading about cold places in the heat of Alabama Summer makes you feel cooler.  
As the first 90'F days hit us, I started dreaming of Svalbard Islands in Arctic Norway.

Better than lemonade!
After today's sweat donation in the garden, I opened my recently arrived Manitoba Tourism Guide.  I need a cardigan and scarf to peruse it!

I only meant to read the introduction, then return to battling the weeds in the garden, but she sucked me in until the last page.  I left quite a bit of drool on the Riding Mountain National Park feature.  
Since adolescence, I've had two steadfast heroes in my life:  my grandmother and Grey Owl.

Grey Owl was a trapper turned conservationist, who wrote stories in the 1930's of his life and struggles in the Canadian Boreal Forests.  He ultimately settled in Saskatchewan, but he resided for 6 months in Riding Mountain Park, Manitoba, where his log cabin still stands.  
He is credited for drawing international attention to the imminent extinction of beavers from trapping pressure and the destruction of the Great Boreal Forest from raze and burn logging.
Can my Bucket List hold one more entry?  Can I retrace Grey Owl's steps to his Manitoba cabin where he lived with his two pet beavers, Jellyroll and Rawhide?  I know the stories by heart...

Just a mirage for now, but maybe reality by 2018.  

"There is silence.  Intense, absolute and all embracing." 
The forest, according to Grey Owl 1931