Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Turnings We Can't Imagine




The little house on the hill in Gradyville

Nearly a week ago, on Thursday morning, I loaded photos, typed in a post title, thought about how I could condense the happenings of the past week or two into a coherent story.  
I was pressed for time, with my second cataract removal scheduled for late in the afternoon.
I scurried about, doing laundry, putting fresh sheets on the bed, trundling the vacuum cleaner through the house. 
[The cataract removal is done by laser, a brief and nearly painless procedure, but one is left with blurred vision for several days and the recommendation is for rather limited physical activity.]
My post -op appointment was early on Friday morning. The eye doctor pronounced that all is well.
It was a day of glowing sunshine--I would have liked to spend it outside tidying the garden, but knew that I needed to stay inside out of bright light.
Jim had a flurry of errands, so I stayed at home and made apple pies. [It is quite possible to peel apples and roll pastry with one 'good eye'--and only a bit awkward!]


The Bedford Stone house in Cane Valley
I am still bemused by recent happenings, 
Here then, an attempt to update this journal and put my loyal readers in the picture.

Those who have been 'with me' for a number of years will perhaps recall our exodus from Wyoming after 12 very busy years in which Jim first built custom houses and then began to purchase land, subdivide and design/build homes for resale.
In 2010 we 'retired' and chose Kentucky as a place of milder winters and reasonably
 priced real estate.
We had spent months researching properties online, had contacted an agency, and arrived with a list of properties to view.
We hoped to find a small acreage with a farmhouse in decent condition--a house which we could renovate as needed.
We quickly learned that 'farmhouses' on offer in our price range were usually neglected buildings that had stood empty for a number of years, with leaking roofs and sagging floors.
Often we learned they had been given up by families who opted to build a tidy brick bungalow or vinyl sided 'ranch house' nearby, and as an afterthought had put up the old house with an acre or two for sale.
Disillusioned we arranged to view a 5 year old log home on five acres.  
It was beautifully done, very like what we had been building in Wyoming.
The kitchen was fitted with the very line of cabinetry we preferred; the landscaping was tidy, there was a neat small barn on the property. It was situated a little too near a busy highway for comfort. 

We headed back to our motel room that afternoon, tired, minds boggled by the whirlwind trip of nearly 2000 miles, the several days of being whisked from one property to another.
Our home in Wyoming was sold, our worldly goods packed into two trailers awaiting the move.
We needed to find a home!
Jim had driven the old Dodge truck to Kentucky, pulling our car on a trailer, planning to find a storage lot where we could safely leave the car until we made our move.
Strangely, the truck, serviced a few days prior to our journey, developed a need for a new alternator.
We left it at a repair shop conveniently located down the street from the motel.
Jim stopped at the repair shop to settle the bill while I drove the car up the hill, parked and let myself into the motel room.
Jim breezed in a moment later waving a business card.
It transpired that a local farmer coming into the repair shop noted our truck with out of state license tags and inquired of the shop owner what he knew of us.

'Folks looking to buy a small farm and retire here,' was the answer.
'Give them my card and tell them I have a farm to sell!'

I was tired, a bit down-cast, aching from too many miles.
Jim called the number on the card, was given directions to meet the gentleman in half an hour [when he would be finished with feeding his cattle.]
I declared that I wouldn't go. I was sure it would be another disappointing venture.
Jim coaxed, I got a grip on myself, put my shoes on again and followed him out to the car.

We collected the man, J.M. at his tidy home place.
He was friendly, comfortable, out-going.
He had bought the place a few months earlier when it came up for auction, had done some tidying of the grounds, some cleaning in the house.
As we approached the property, he had Jim drive slowly along the country road, pointing out the boundaries--28 acres of gently sloping fields and pasture, two weathered barns, a bit shabby but straight and sturdy. 
A cautious excitement began to stir within us.
No woods, but a fine garden spot, an ancient pear tree in the north field, a dirt-floored 'garage'--smaller than Jim needed as a shop--and the house--a 30 year old 'ranch'--small, but nicely situated at the top of the drive.

I will always believe that we were meant  to find that property.
By the end of the month we had taken possession.
I chose paint, we ordered cabinetry and appliances.
Jim ripped up 30 year old carpet, put down hardwood floors. 
He tilled a garden plot, laid out my flower strips.
While I planted vegetables and perennials, he spread fertilizer on neglected fields, sowed the mixed seed for a hay crop.
I discovered old plantings of peonies, clematis; I disinterred and divided clumps of iris.
Outdoors in the warmth of a Kentucky springtime we weeded, pruned, planted.
Inside we painted, unpacked, tried to find room in the little house for the belongings which had so recently been arranged in a bigger space.

From time to time we pondered how we could enlarge our living space: close in the front porch? Build a room off the dining area?
We couldn't quite commit to such a project--there was too much else going on!

It became clear after the second year that putting up the hay as a cash crop wasn't viable.
Much as Jim likes to 'make hay' it is a labor intensive process when done on a small scale, and the return didn't justify the effort.
We kept an eye on area real estate--simply because we are interested, sometimes combining errands with a drive-by of some place offered for sale.

It is difficult even now to trace the progression of restlessness which gripped us at the 
start of  the past winter.
We had discovered in the listing of a local realtor a property which appeared to be what we had looked for 4 years earlier.
A farmhouse, tastefully restored, with a few acres located at the end of a dead end lane.
We drove by, liked what we saw, called for an appointment.
The holidays were barely past and the owners when contacted by our agent declared that they were in some disruption and couldn't show the house.
Inquires the next week brought the excuse that they had discovered the need for repairs to the septic system--didn't wish to have a viewing with the dooryard torn up.

Jim was away with his family for over a week. Upon returning he called our realtor who stated that when he tried to pin down the sellers of the property in question they declared they had decided 
not to sell! 
We put the property out of our minds, but meanwhile, the longest and coldest winter since our arrival kept us cooped up; we got in each other's way, the house seemed crowded with furniture and heavy coats; we tripped over the boots ranged by the kitchen door.  The wood for the fireplace seemed to take up half the living room!

I was working with Jim in the shop on a February morning, carefully 'masking off' a tractor he intended to paint, when the phone rang.
It was our realtor, wondering if we had decided to continue our search for a bigger house and 
list our property.
We asked for five minutes to talk it over.
We decided to put the little farm on the market and within a month had purchased the Bedford stone house with its mere acre of land located 10 miles away.
We spent much of the summer renovating, planted and tended a garden, moved our belongings over in a rather desultory fashion--whatever fit in the van on any given trip.
We spent our first night in the house September 16.


Front view of the 'big house.'

A few days before our move, a dilapidated pickup pulled into the yard--a 'driver' bringing an Amish gentleman, M. Miller, on a quest.
Several of his sons had recently located in the Gradyville neighborhood and he was interested in purchasing our property.
He had land for sale at the eastern end of the county and a prospective buyer who would know in a week if he could arrange financing.

The morning after my first cataract surgery, our son [staying at the Gradyville house] phoned to relay the message that Mr and Mrs M. were coming down in an hour to view the place.
We hurried over--to find the Millers already there, strolling about in the garden.
They had knocked at the door but H. hadn't appeared.
I went in, heard the roar of the vacuum cleaner drifting up from the basement.  Going downstairs I bellowed at H. He was, in his persnickety way, hoovering cobwebs from the floor joists overhead!
Informed that the Millers had arrived, he replied crossly that people hadn't ought to arrive earlier than anticipated.
Mr. Miller informed us that the sale of his land had fallen through, but that he still would like to own our property.
He asked that we visit him at home on the following day to 'see what might be worked out.'

The 'big house' on the Amish property, with carriage shed and barn in the back.

I was skeptical of what might be suggested, Jim more optimistic [that's the way our personalities react!] Howard declared that he was merely along for the ride.
We followed directions to the dead-end lane and turned in past the house in the above photo. 
I took this photo as we approached the upper house.

Miller's Harness Shop
Mr. Miller gave us a tour of his harness shop [remember that post?]
then invited us to cross the drive and go inside his home.
It was plainly furnished according to Old Order Amish sensibilities, but all was immaculate and tidy.



A gleaming wood range presides over the vast kitchen.

The Amish don't use built-in cabinetry--the kitchen is furnished with dressers and hutches--which move when the family moves.
Plain white curtains hung at every window, upstairs and down.
Sunlight gleamed on hardwood floors and shimmered against the gloss paint which the Amish use to play up both natural light and the glow of their kerosene lamps.

I was immediately seized with 'pantry-envy!'

Paths are graveled, and plantings mulched with gravel.

From a tour of this house we went down the hill to view the large house where the Millers raised their family [15 children!] now occupied by a son, his wife and three young children.
We then drove with Mr. Miller around the boundaries of his property which are on the road--some 60 acres, with 40 acres leased out to a corn crop.
Convened again in the harness shop, Mr. Miller came to the point.
He wondered if Jim would be interested in some sort of a 'trade.'
Jim had an inkling that some sort of 'deal' would be suggested but assumed that we would need to put in cash.
"What are you proposing?" he asked quietly.
"Would you swap your property for mine--straight across?"

A moment of astonished silence, then Jim offered his hand, Mose Miller grasped it with a firm clasp.

"If you will make the arrangements for the title search, then come back for my deed, and we'll go from there," he suggested.

We drove home in stunned silence, punctuated only by Howard's skeptical comment that the task of retro-fitting plumbing and electric to 2 large houses would be daunting.

From that day, events have moved with incredible speed.
Our lawyer had time to do the title searches immediately, so we were back at the Miller's next morning to pick up the deed. I asked hesitantly if I might take photos of the home's interior, a request graciously granted.
We knew already that this was not going to be an 'investment property.'
We knew we had found the 'farmhouse' for which we had searched in vain 4 years earlier.

At this writing the deeds have been exchanged and recorded.
We have listed the Bedford stone house with our realtor.
'How could you not accept this trade!' he exclaimed.
He is well acquainted with the large extended Miller family, and does considerable business with the Amish community.
So--have we gone quite mad?
We have reminded ourselves of all the 'reasonable' motives for down-sizing--getting rid of acreage, refurbishing a sensible [if rather uninteresting] house--near to town--closer to church, suitable for drifting into our 'dotage!'


We are elated, excited, energized!
In a way that cannot be mere coincidence, things have come together.
Jim has been put in touch with the septic inspector and has the necessary certificate of approval.
The permit for temporary electrical power is in process.
Jim is supplying truck and trailer to move his own tools and such to our new property and on the return trip the Miller's tools and machinery of the harness making trade are hauled to Gradyville.
The Miller sons lift and load and unload at either end of the journey.

I will not be finishing the task of 'settling in' to the Bedford stone house--a task for which I have been strangely lacking in enthusiasm.
I am sorting--anything not needed for comfortable interim living, will be packed up to the Amish house--or given away--all the sorting that should have been done before this piece-meal move!
As I journal this adventure, it is possible that my readers may tire of the details!







Thursday, October 9, 2014

Burning Books

From the opening paragraph of 'Dragonfly in Amber' by Diana Gabaldon:
"Roger Wakefield stood in the center of the room, feeling surrounded...the books..the books!"

When we began packing at the end of August I was horrified to discover that some items in our finished basement room had fallen prey to mildew.
In four previous years of similar hot and humid summers this hasn't been an issue.
Most affected were books on the bottom two shelves of my small open bookcase.
I don't mind the slightly stuffy odor of old books--that scent of softened and yellowed paper and shabby bindings.
It was the smell which hung about the stacks of the library in my hometown, familiar and expected.
The odor from my mold be-speckled tomes is another matter.

Teasel--my devoted helper.

Books from the upper shelves and some of those in boxes were afflicted in varying degrees.
I began sorting those which were impossibly vile into one heap, setting aside others which I hoped could be salvaged.
I made a solution of Murphy's Oil Soap diluted in a little water and spiked with a generous dollop of tea tree oil. 
Sunshine was streaming into the garage, so I worked there, swabbing down book covers, wiping them dry, standing them, spine uppermost, on a bench in the front porch.
Most responded well to this treatment although
if I were to stick my sensitive nose directly on the pages I would have to admit that they don't smell like new books.

Reluctantly I carried a number of damaged books out to heave onto Jim's bonfire: the tattered copies of the 'Pooh books' beloved since childhood, a dear old songbook, the entire Poldark series in paperback--a few less cherished.
I watched for a moment as the bindings caught and flared and pages began to blacken, then returned to my sorting.
Books in the glass fronted cupboard fared well.
They had been removed and carried to the other house before hot and humid weather arrived.
I dusted the cupboard, dusted each book as I retrieved it from the guest room closet.
I have a box piled with books destined for the library or charity shop.
After years of lugging around numerous tomes on crafting, gardening, decorating, I've reached a place of wanting to have less.
As I picked up each book I asked myself, "Will I really want to read this again?" Or--"Am I likely to suddenly undertake the crafts outlined in this book which I have had for a decade?"
I steeled myself to an honest answer and added yet another book to the give-away box.

The favorites which I re-read once a year or so have lived in the fireplace cupboard--they were safe and sound, smelling only slightly of woodsmoke.



This small bookcase resided in my downstairs sewing room, tucked against an outside wall. 
We have a dehumidifier in the basement.
No idea why it was invaded with mold.
I thoroughly scrubbed it, set the case in front of a sunny open window, took the removable shelves out to spend the day in fresh air.
I happened to harvest lavender from my herb garden at the 'other house' [which we once called 'home'] and decided that its fresh scent in this newly painted room would be beneficial.  When it has completely dried, I will place sprigs on all the book shelves.

There are still boxes of books [boxes of everything!] in the lower level back room here.
I tackle them a few at a time, doing the sorting which ideally should have been done before moving.
Our week has been busy with unexpected and [to us] exciting developments--not conducive to plodding away at settling the house!




Monday, October 6, 2014

A Visit to Miller's Harness Shop


We have had some business recently with an Amish gentleman from the other end of the county and as a result have been twice to his leather shop.
This man and his industrious family have restored my faith in the Amish culture a bit.
Mrs. Miller keeps an immaculate home, Mose is a canny businessman--personable, a craftsman of a high caliber.
The many machines are powered by a gasoline generator which sits outside the workshop.


Horse collars ranged above a bench that holds a variety of hides ready to be worked.
Mose explained about different qualities and thicknesses of leather and how it can be sliced into very thin layers.


Halters and such waiting to be shipped out.

 So many pieces to admire.




Mose brought out a matched set of harness specially made for a pair of miniature horses who will wear these when on show.
The harness is going to a customer in England.
The cost?  A mere $6400.00!
The harness hardware is stainless steel.
Photos not good as the lighting is from overhead skylights--very practical in a shop that has no electricity.



I would love to see the little horses rigged out in this.


The head pieces are patent leather adorned with heart motifs in stainless steel.


The carriage horse belongs to one of the Miller's sons, who lives at the bottom of the lane.
This is a typically large Amish family, and the sons also work at the leather/harness trade.

 One of the family's buggies. 
It was a joy to be shown around here--everything so tidy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Small Accomplishments


Late afternoon sun peeks around the edge of the house, bathing the corner of the porch 
in a warm glow.



There was wispy fog hanging over the soybean field to the east when I opened the 
dining room blinds at 6:45.
Crossing to the living room I noted that the cattle pasture across the road had that softened look which is part of autumn light.
Early morning mist is not as pronounced here as when we lived just above Big Creek.

I made repotting the rosemary and thyme seedlings my first priority today.
With breakfast out of the way and laundry chugging in the washer downstairs, I began gathering small tools, pots, a stool [since I'm not supposed to be working in a bending position until my eye heals] a watering can.
My seedlings have had rather haphazard attention during the moving uproar--watered sometimes when the sun was hitting them too directly--other times remembered when they had gotten too dry.
I lost several of the largest of my rosemary seedlings.  I considered putting them aside to cosset and then got sensible about the matter. I did take four which looked less than thrifty and put them together in one large pot. If any of them revive I shall be pleased.
The ones in the smaller pots had grown good roots.  They should have larger pots before winter.
For now I resettled them in fresh soil mix and arranged the clay pots in a large planter left behind by the previous owners. 



Although I can't/shouldn't use a garden spade or fork just now, I decided that kneeling to weed along the front porch border would be safe. You can see how dry it is.
I tucked in thyme along the outer edge and some at the left against the concrete barrier.
I still don't know where I can establish an herb garden here.
The peonies and lilies which I brought over in May are looking unhealthy--it will be a challenge to save them
The area of established perennials in the front yard is heavily shaded and I found that roots of the so-called water maples have been very invasive making digging difficult.
A truly desperate measure will be to plunk the unhappy plants at the end of the annual strip in the back garden--letting them take their chances of rooting in before severe cold weather.



Over the weekend this mantis appeared on the screening of the dining room window, moving from the center window to the one at the left. Her slow progress was followed by Nellie and Bobby who sat on the edge of the table--sometimes jumping down to pat at the window with inquiring paws. 
Monday evening we noticed that the mantis was producing an egg sack.
She remained upside down most of today.
Tonight she has gone away, her work done in assuring posterity.
I suppose we must leave the egg sack glued to the screen!

Tonight I made bread--just out of the oven at nearly 10 P.M. 
I also replied to the comments left on my most recent blog posts--a treat to have that bit of time.


Monday, September 29, 2014

I Make Lists


I have been making lists for weeks. At the farm I jotted down things which needed to be  in the earlier loads of household goods hauled to the 'other house.'
Now the farmhouse has become the 'other place'--and I make lists of cupboards there to be emptied, items to be searched out and put in the van. 
Mostly I make 'to do' lists of things to be accomplished here in the faint hope of creating order.
Today's list went something like this:

Paint front door
Seal the small walnut shelf that I sanded more than a month ago
Finish emptying the boxes ranged along the dining area wall
Re-pot the rosemarys which are suddenly looking poorly

The day wound down without any of the tasks accomplished.
Jim put up the house numbers that we bought on Friday.
Yesterday he spray-painted the mailbox--a task I planned to do.
Sometimes I feel mildly chastised when he does a job which I've decided to tackle.
Admittedly he is probably better with spray paint than I am.

We inherited a mailbox in a crumbling stonework 'tower'--doubtless quite upscale when the house was built in 1969.
The mortar has come out of the base in spots leaving blocks of stone dislodged.
Weeds grow in the planters flanking the 'tower'--sad and unkempt.
I have felt unreasonably annoyed that the name of the original owner of the property was still visible beneath a faded and scabby scrim of paint.
[We have found that the people from whom we bought the house were apparently not blessed with maintenance skills!]
Jim's paint [Massey Ferguson grey] covered the scrawling letters, and he resettled the little flag in its slot and gave it a shot of red paint.
It was left for me merely to apply the stick-on numbers this morning, tuck a birthday card and the utility payments into the box and raise the flag.
I went online to order new address labels; when I attempted to open my email to check had the order been confirmed, I found that access even to web mail was blocked.



A tangle of goldenrod near the east boundary of our acre.

The email glitch has been annoying me for some time.
I tackled the issue with grim determination, following various suggested 'fixes' without success.
After about 3 hours of fussing I was able to access a security code by opening an alternate email on my laptop.
I changed the password, entered it on the sign-in form and almost literally held my breath while the great wizard of cyberspace mulled over my credentials, then suddenly mail was loading--86 messages which had accumulated over the past week.
I scarcely dare state that the problem is 'cured' for fear of jinxing the whole show.


Jim has been burning out two huge locust stumps in the back yard.
He jabs at them, gathers brush and paper debris around the base of each and  sets them 
alight each day.
While monitoring his smudge he decided to harvest carrots, sort apples, and set up the juicer which we haven't used in months.
He demanded various containers to hold juice--a request which had me opening cupboards, poking into cartons, feeling the dismay of misplaced items which has haunted recent days.         

Coneflower staging a late bud.

With the email seemingly sorted I decided it might be wise to balance the checking account --after a fashion. Nellie, bored with his indoor existence, hopped onto the table, prodded helpfully at the keys of the calculator, batted petals from the roses in the vase beside me.


Hawkeye Belle transplanted from an offshoot in May.



Teasel and Mima, spending the warm afternoon in bed.

Somehow the day had dwindled away in small frustrations, several tasks started and almost immediately abandoned for something else.
I prepared a chicken for roasting, decided that the cover to the roasting pan had not made it here.
I pawed through cartons for jars of herbs and spices, seasoned the chicken, tucked some of our garden carrots alongside, made a cover of aluminum foil.
I carried in cartons of books, bins of fabric, oddments, that I had sorted yesterday at the farm and 
loaded into the van.

This is one view of my 'study'--disheartening--overwhelming.

 I announced that I was headed to town to purchase a bag of potting soil--still hoping to resuscitate the small rosemary plants.
Jim suggested that I try the farm supply store a few miles away--not a place we have often shopped.
[I drove there--my first outing as driver since the cataract removal last Wednesday.]
I bought a sack of soil mix, but realized there was no time to start the potting project before supper.


I washed dishes, put away food, took out scraps to tip at the edge of the soybean field for the feral cats. The soybean field adjoins our acre to the east.
We are in near drought conditions again, the grass of the back yard crisp underfoot.
Jim set up his sprinklers again today to water what we have of a fall garden.

A sickle moon hung in the sky.
To the west, toward the neighboring dairy farm, the sky was pink-streaked.


A day ended with none of the tasks ticked off my list.
I long for a bit of settled space!
'Tomorrow--and tomorrow--and tomorrow ?'




Thursday, September 25, 2014

Trying To Bridge the Gap

Autumn in the garden

We spent the first night in the 'new house' on September 17.
I didn't sleep well--over-tired, feeling dislocated.
We moved 5 cats with us [!] which is a story in itself.
The cats were not particularly happy, but several crept onto the bed in the wee hours to join us. [Two more cats were moved on successive days.  Willis, Charlie and Willow are currently staying at the little farm with our son, Howard.]

During the Wyoming years [1998-2010] we lived in several houses that we built and then put on the market.  With each move I learned that there is a time of adjustment--days or weeks when I reach for a light switch in a familiar place only to find that it is on the opposite wall. Waking in the dim hours of the night, I turn instinctively to the faint light which should mark a window, then sleepily remember that I am in a different bedroom.
I stand in the middle of the kitchen, wondering which drawer or cupboard holds the items I need. 

A technician from our new phone/internet provider installed a line on Wednesday, running it across the ground from a wildly overgrown thicket of locust saplings. 
We have yet to see the crew that are meant to put the line underground!
The new line was run to the old entry box in a corner of the master bedroom and the router 
plugged in there.
We discovered that the cord furnished wasn't long enough to reach my desk in the 'study' next door.
Howard bought a longer cord and he and Devin came over yesterday morning to drill a small hole and thread the cord through to my desk.
Thus ended several days of perching with my laptop at the dining area table.
The laptop and I are not on a friendly basis.  I use it mainly if we are traveling and usually feel that I am fiddling and fumbling with it. 


A transplanted rose holding its own in a forest of sunflowers.

The tomatoes we purchased needed to be canned.
I slogged through that on Thursday and  Friday while Jim moved still more boxes from the farm which in a reversal of roles, has now become 'the other house.'
Late on Friday afternoon I made a batch of oatmeal bread--paring down my recipe of many years from 4 loaves to the 3 that will fit--barely--into the smaller wall oven in this house.


The sunflowers in a final moment of glory.

To complicate life just a bit I had an appointment with an eye clinic to evaluate my cataracts--they've been there for a number of years, quietly forming, but in the past 6 months have made my vision problematic. An eye exam in late February at a local clinic confirmed that the time had come to deal with them.
Unfortunately, the optometrist there prescribed new lenses which have been of no benefit.
I was urged by friends to made the 45 minute drive to a larger and more reputable clinic.
I was a bit disconcerted to find that they could schedule the first procedure in a weeks time. 
Jim and I decided to accept the appointment although we are very much in the midst of moving upheaval.


I keep flowers on the dining table for encouragement.  

I scrabbled through as much housework as I could on Wednesday morning [yesterday] before Jim drove me to the clinic.
I was passed from one nurse's station to another, receiving drops in my left eye at each stop; I was also asked by each nurse why my 'medications' record contained no listings.
It is apparently unheard of that a woman  my age is not on any medication!

I was directed back to the waiting area where Jim was alternately staring at a TV set with the volume turned low or restlessly riffling through the magazines on offer.
By this time my vision was so blurred that I removed my glasses and tucked them into an 
inside pocket.

Eventually I was led to a final prep area where I was invited to climb onto a gurney.
Paper 'booties' were slipped over my shoes and I was asked to tuck my long hair into a paper 'shower cap.'  I was given a Tylenol and a Valium to swallow .More eye drops, an IV port slipped into my right arm,[more Valium]  an oxygen line draped across my chest.
I was offered a blanket with the explanation that the procedure area would be colder than 
the prep area.
I said 'Yes' to the blanket, and was tenderly tucked into one that had been pre-warmed.
Lovely!
The procedure itself was painlessly swift.
I was positioned under the laser unit, told to gaze into the circle of bright light--and not move.
The surgeon's soft, Kentucky-cadenced voice, "I'm removing a big cataract--you'll feel a
 bit of pressure."
Splashes of brilliant light--yellow, green, deep pink, then a view of dark particles--sort of like pixels resolving and disappearing on a screen. A sensation of something cold flooding my eye.
I was whisked to another machine where the new artificial lens was inserted, and suddenly it was over. The nurse at my side inquired, 'Sharon, are you awake?"
I was, of course.
I was wheeled to an adjoining area and discovered as I was cranked to a sitting position, that Jim was there waiting for me.
I was offered a choice of something to drink--longing for hot tea, but it wasn't available.
I was handed a can of Coca Cola, assisted into a wheel chair.
I was instructed to put on a pair of huge dark glasses, then trundled off to our car!

Valium, which I've had in tiny infrequent doses for the aches of fibromyaliga, makes me stupid!
I knew Jim was ready for a meal and I was hungry as well.  I also knew that I could not navigate without bumping into things, couldn't manage to eat without spilling.
We compromised on a Dairy Queen drive-through--with Jim handing over chicken fingers and fries, one by one.
Back home, still stumbling and bumbling.
I don't do daytime naps, so changed into a soft pair of pants, my slippers, made the longed-for mug of tea and flopped into the wing chair with my feet on a hassock.
I was visited by several sympathetic cats, while nodding away the remainder of the afternoon, trying to convince myself that I was alert and perfectly capable of managing with one eye.
I found I couldn't focus to read.
Vision in my left eye was reduced to a grey blur and my right eye seemed to be doing much less than its share.
The surgeon phoned at 7:30 P. M. to inquire if I was doing well; he explained that the grey blur was to be expected.
I blundered off to the bathroom to put in eye drops and tape a small plastic shield over my left eye per instructions, tumbled resignedly into bed.
Thanks to the lingering effects of Valium I slept soundly.

Blooms of Hawkeye Belle--precious.

A new morning and the effects of the drug finally out of my system.
A cautious opening of my left eye was disconcerting--still grey blurry shapes.

Howard phoned as we ate breakfast [I had been slicing potatoes and had the knife taken away by Jim who apparently expected me to cut off a finger] to state that the Amish man who had expressed interest in our farm was bringing his wife to view the house.

Howard, like his sister Gina, is a fanatically tidy person.
He has been mopping and hoovering behind us with a vengeance that leaves me somewhat ashamed of my more casual housekeeping.

By the time we turned into the driveway the Amish couple had arrived an hour early.  Their 'driver' waited in the yard and they were exploring the garden site.
Howard was in the basement, vacuum cleaner roaring as he dusted down the floor joists [!] and hadn't heard them knocking at the door!

I invited Mrs. M. inside to view the house, taking special pride in demonstrating the fittings of my [much missed] Kraftmade cabinetry.
Jim and Mr. M. eventually joined us to view the basement area.
Mr. M. was much taken with the basement shower area--which Howard had just mopped.
H. was persuaded to turn off the roaring shop vac [he was attacking the caned goods shelf] so that we could hear ourselves talk.
They want the farm.
There are contingencies, of course--they own considerable land and buildings in the other end of the county. Two of their sons have recently moved into the neighborhood;
amongst them they operate a thriving harness making business. 

This Amish couple rather restored my interest in this sect.
Although traditionally garbed, they were immaculately clean--a feature lacking in most of the neighborhood Amish whom we have met.
Mr. M. is well-spoken, obviously a man of business and shrewd transactions.
We can only wait to see how this turns out.

I have a few mis-givings as Howard has so recently moved in his belongings, although he knew that the farm was on the market when he decided to come to Kentucky while he waits for his damaged wrist to heal.

I have moments of feeling over-whelmed by so much change and upheaval.
I'm having to come to terms with the reality that I can't 'settle' this house, unpack, sort, make curtains, in a matter of days or even weeks.



The blurred vision in my left eye is starting to clear.  I have a post-op appointment tomorrow.
If all goes well with this healing process surgery on my right eye will likely be scheduled  within the next month.
Our daughter, our grandson, our son, have been generous in their help to pack, move, organize, clean, in both houses.
We came home today with a basket of lunch beautifully prepared and presented by Gina.
My hasty photo doesn't do the contents justice: sandwiches on hoagie rolls with pickles and chips on the side. Empanadas--new to me, but similar to pasties stuffed with chicken, onion and mashed potato; 'dessert-in-a jar'--a sort of trifle with chunks of cake, strawberry preserves, crumbles of chocolate.
We are tired, encumbered with more worldly goods than we need to be moving, a bit confounded by the possibilities and challenges of the immediate future.
We are also blessed!



Monday, September 15, 2014

The Bedlam of Moving


Howard used his well-organized tool/job trailer to move his belongings from Wyoming to Kentucky.
His boxes and furniture have come out so that Jim's tools can be conveyed to the 'other house.'


Our bedroom dressers going into the trailer drawer by drawer.


The living room is an uproar of our belongings and Howard's.
I have decided that I won't remove pictures, quilt racks and such until we have [somewhat] organized the heaps of 'stuff' which have landed at the other house.
I have not been there for several days and can only imagine the jumble which awaits sorting.


Bobby naps on our bed minutes prior to it being dismantled.
He refused to be dislodged from the bedspread, rolling himself up in it.
As each successive layer of bedding was removed he inserted himself in the folds.
Finally he stood on the bare pillow-top mattress, happily kneading the fabric.
The king-sized box spring comes apart in two sections.
Devin carried out the first section.  On picking up the second half, he realized that it felt heavier in a lop-sided way. Turning it up he discovered three frightened cats lodged inside, clinging to the wooden slats. 
The cats have been, according to their various natures, appalled/frightened by the shuffling of furniture, [Teasel, Mima, Chester, Edward] or intrigued and underfoot [Charlie, Nellie, Bobby, Raisin.] Willis has declined to grace the operation with his supervision.


By the end of the afternoon we had decided that trying to set up our bedroom at the other house and stay there tonight was not a working plan. 
H. set up his bed in the master bedroom, brought in one of his dressers, a nightstand, various boxes.
Our clothing remains in the closet, our bedside tables against the wall by the windows, my shoe rack shedding shoes near the door.
The cats have come out of hiding but are obviously confused.
Jim and I spending the night in the guest room.
Moving the guest room bed to the other house needs to wait until I have cleared the small bedroom there.  I have been using the floor and the closets as a landing place for books, baskets, various oddments.



Meanwhile [!] I am canning tomatoes!
We have yet to harvest enough tomatoes for the amount that I like to put up.
No matter how well we start out, blight and high heat put an end to tomato productivity.
Accordingly, we attended the Casey County Produce Auction on Friday, coming home with 14 boxes of tomatoes--half of them for Gina.
These are the best quality we've had from there--and the best price.


We are puzzled as to the variety of the tomatoes. 
They are very firm and 'meaty' with shiny, smooth skins.--the appearance of hot-house tomatoes.
I put up 15 1/2 quarts on Sunday afternoon. Gina popped in as I tipped the first colander of scalded tomatoes into the sink.  She peeled and cut up tomatoes into the kettles for simmering [we hot pack our tomatoes] while I tended the scalding and eventually the ladling of  hot tomatoes into the jars.
This evening I processed 7 quarts and 2 pints.
Most of my empty canning jars were conveyed to the other house in an early move--not sure why.  
I will now have to haul the remaining tomatoes to my 'other' kitchen--more sensible than bringing jars back here, then packing filled jars to the shelves in the other house.
[Why does my life get this complicated?]
I need to be at the other house on Wednesday as a serviceman is meant to install the phone and internet line.
The familiar task of processing tomatoes seems preferable to attempting to organize the house!
I very much want to be sorted and settled.
This is obviously going to require more time [and energy] than I optimistically projected!
The cats will need to be gently transferred in batches, and I don't want to do that while doors are being left open to haul in furniture and boxes.
I tell myself it will all get done, we will survive the upheaval one more [last!] time!
Posting here, reading, commenting, will likely be a bit sparse for a few days.
I am looking forward to setting up my 'study' in the sunny room with the soft yellow walls.
Perhaps I will place my desk in front of the window which looks out to the front lawn.