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Losing a friend meanwhile, getting lost. Grief and Life.

 

Well, it was a long week.  And, I reached out a few times and many posts were not posted.

 

I’ll start with this so you may understand my absence.

 

 

And in the words of Mr. Gump.  That’s all I have to say about that.

 

The weekend she passed … here’s what I was doing.

A hike to Richardson Ranch.  This was the beginning of our adventure.  A friends dog stayed with me, probably because she knew I was the weakest link.

 

Part Two:

The ‘noose tree’  – We found it like that a long time ago.  I truly hope it wasn’t used for it’s intention. I truly hope it was designed to haul folks out of the dirt road.

Part Three: I explore Richardsons’ Ranch.

 

Moved on from there and …

Then this happened.  You know, they say ‘Don’t hike alone’ for a reason.  You could sprain an ankle, be struck by a snake, lose yourself.  Which, in this case, happened.  The lose yourself part.

We got home.

One more thing.  I’m watching ‘A Beautiful Mind’ and the doctor is telling John, “You can’t reason your way out of this!”.  Almost verbatim to my doctor telling me “You can’t smart your way out of this.”  Meaning, the anxiety.

But, I’ve made so much progress.

I can drive home.

I can drive to work.

I still do the rituals – my OCD is not going to leave me soon, but will.

I ask myself, things like:  How many times have you HIT a coyote?

How many times have you been in a crash?

How many times has a steer or rock fell off of the pass onto the road (yes, I thought about those things.)

I used logic, even while panicking.

I still acknowledge the unknown, as well as the very known – every cross on that road I take twice a day – but, now I make things practical in my head.

I don’t know what my friend went through in her last days, but I’m betting she didn’t see a light.  I’m betting no phone call or visit would have changed her state of mind.

 

I am here.

I want to be here.

I am making strives without medicinal help.

 

And – Bye for NOW.

 

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Birdhouse

I have a sparrow annoyed with me.

bird

Its previous nest is blocked (literally, with … blocks) and alights on the wind chime directly in front of me and chirps and chirps.

I pretend I understand. I pretend it understands me and I say things like, “Yes, I know!”  “Yes, I’m sorry.”  “I will build you a home, but it can’t be there.”

Well, today was the day.

Butters had me up twice in the night – she’s not getting any younger and it worries me when she’s out of sorts.

I got completely up at 5.  (Meaning, I had the wherewithal to use all of my faculties at the same time.)

The land around was enticing.

Tangent: I was sharing with a friend yesterday that, while I was glad it was Friday, it was suddenly again Friday.  Life is just ticking away!  Every single day, should count.  So, that in mind, make the moments count right?

Sunrise hike was in order!

A grainy picture of the first of many.

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A less grainy picture of the same spot with more light.

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Somehow ‘grainier’ photo of the same place in more light.

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Sun coming up.

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And, brighter.

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Butters

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And some pretentious ‘artistic’ shots.

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Mysterious alien circle or … maybe a tire was there for a while.

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On the way back.

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Butters was exhausted (and, shaking which was scary).

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Then came part two.  Gardening.

Gardening is so relaxing and rewarding – is a sentence I will NEVER say.  LOL!

My mother, my Grandmother, my Son are all excellent gardeners.  They have thumbs greener than envy.

I reluctantly do it and have little to no expectations of survival.

I could probably, literally, waltz by a plant and have an adverse effect on it.

However, as Jeff Goldblum will attest to, “Life, um, finds a way.”

New ‘cones’ on the Pine trees.

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Strawberry basket still blooming.

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My onions, (that I planted entirely too close to each other) survived the snow!

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Freshly transplanted Malabar Spinach.  God be with you – because, you can’t count on me.

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My potatoes are thriving on top.  God only knows what’s going on where they are supposed to be growing.

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Alright, so, now to the bird box.  And, as this picture shows, apparently I have no problems growing weeds/grass.  But, this was what I collected from the barn to create my promise.

 

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Had some problems but, managed somehow.

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Open for business.

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I was trying to be funny on my page – and how the f&$* did Facebook turn it into an ad???  Anyway, I guess if you can fit in there, I can let you rent it.

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Thing is – the bush to the left of it used to be peppered with birds.  Now, they’re wary.  Only had a couple show up at the open house.  And one assumed that the beverages were included.

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I may have scared them off rather than made amends.

Makes sense.

Life.

It finds a way – and – finds a way out.

 

Navigating blocks & Desert Gardening

Okay! Well, this is a turn. WordPress went and changed on me. Has it really been that long since I posted? I am faced with a screen (literally) telling me they welcome me to the ‘wonderful world of blocks!’ WTF? Alright, I’ll bite. We’ll try this. (I didn’t read the directions – and evidently, ‘see next tip’ might be part of a direction. I have not clicked on it.) I’ll pout for about a minute, then click it.

Evidently the tip was ‘Add title’. Wasn’t it just easier before when I had that at the top?

This whole blog is going a different direction. LOL!

Want to share my past week with y’all, as we never say in rural desert land.

Damn. There are more plus signs on this version than any of my school tests. I’m giggling. This thing is writing itself.

Okay, pressed enter and we seem safe enough to begin what I intended to write.

Oh, no. ‘start writing or type/to choose a block.

What is a block?????

Shall I try it?

Okay, so, a ‘block’ is either another paragraph, media or … a bunch of other stuff.

I truly had this down, didn’t need remedial directions. But, thanks I guess?

Let’s being shall we?

Me this morning – #nofilter (lol) Seriously though – just really good light and black and white.

That, my friends, was a block. I’m literally laughing out loud now. Sorry, I can’t get over this. When did this happen??????????????????????? Why was it needed?

I wanted to chat about my rural adventures. And, I shall.

So, last weekend, my brother-in-law was in town visiting.

Here’s us. Me, “look guys! It’s our last name!” Them: We shall look off into the distance and be majestic.

Truth be told, my long underwear was pink and I looked like a hermit crab without a shell. Have you ever seen that?? I have. My son used to have some and anytime they shed their shell, they wouldn’t make it into the plethora of ‘new choices’ and end up all crabby and shriveled and pinkish – kinda like a toe that had been in the bath too long and, yeah. Then, they died. I survived obviously, but did change this pic to black and white. Because, ew, shriveled hermit crab legs.

Let’s get back to rural living eh?

My guy went shopping and brought home some new plants.

Butters checked them out, approved and moved along.

Then came the day I lost any kind of ‘girly’ I had remaining on my hands. We gardened.

Wait! FIRST! I had cleaned the kitchen and cleaned. Let’s talk about this ‘life hack’. Fabric softener sheets on grease.

I took the oven top completely apart. Then soaked the um, thingies, in the sheets.

Worked fine for the ones that had seen less combat. But, after pouring boiling water on the other ones, still had remnants, so, I’m giving that experiment a 5 out of 10. Oh, and about the boiling, yes, I had to be creative because, after all, my stove was in fact ‘apart’.

But! Here’s a very clean oven and some quiches I made.

Plus, a Mexican lasagna.

So, I was Ms. Clean and cook. THEN the plants needed attention.

I know how to plant a tree. And, easy peel navel orange tree needed introducing into our world.

I wanted to do it – after successful trees at my other home, but, my guy is a go-getter and my non-girly hands had already suffered many blows. Go ahead.

Watering time.

Prior to all of this – you’re probably not going to be able to sleep wondering how my phalanges lost their decorative claws. So, here are the planters that were meticulously made by (not me.)

I added the flowers. I’m nothing if not a team player. (insert squinting laughing emoji here).

We also (he) planted more potatoes.

And we added to our seedlings.

I’d like to share now, after (unsuccessfully searc;hing for the spell check feature) that you can flip back and forth from ‘Block’ to ‘Document’. So – there’s a thing I learned.

In between writing this thrilling post, I bathed Butters. Which, brings me to my next set of pics.

I am trying to get her out and about more. Because I hadn’t already done enough yesterday, I decided to hike with her into what we call ‘the square’.

She did very good at ‘wait’. (Mostly when she was navigating areas like a freaking mountain goat, and I was trying not to lose my balance/teeth/in tact bones.)

Okay! Let’s go!

Very deep hoof imprints! Must have been muddy when that happened.

Always something captures my attention – this was hard to take with Butters excited about moving on.

A moment of “Wait!”. (This was before I fell on my arse because she was mountain goating.)

Another pretty spot – still don’t know how I managed this shot either. I think she was being very good at “Wait!”

Waiting.

It was only after getting home and reviewing pictures that I found this amusing and was a tad confused. I think it’s a feather? But, by happenstance, looks like – well, um, anything you can conjure up lol!

She handled it regardless.

I let her lead the way – and she was sure to mark plenty of territory. Hopefully won’t be long before she can be off leash, at least there. But, with coyotes, steer, burros and snakes – not sure I want her to have that much freedom.

She’s definitely living her ‘best life’ out here though.

Not living on a ‘block’ anymore.

(See how I tied that in? Brilliant.)

Saturday Homestead Shoot

There are days I wish we lived closer to ‘town’ – but mostly, I’m so grateful for our privacy, land and peaceful hearts.

I see beauty in everything.  I look for good everywhere.  Even the most simple of things stun me and fill my heart with appreciation.

Without further ado, (okay, a little more ‘ado’ because this meme cracks me up whenever I see it).

I present to you the scenes and views that captured my eyes and heart today.

The monarch I fished out a pool of water drying off for it’s flight.

The shadows from this aloe reminded me of Wilson’s hair from Castaway.

Because we all need some backbone no?

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Butters making sure her shadow doesn’t escape. She’s no Pei-Pan. Keep a foot on it!

Our vegetable garden (which consists only of onions currently) with the bamboo fencing splaying it’s shadows across the dirt.

Aforementioned bamboo with our namesake sign

Listening to the real homesteader chopping wood

Only caged bird on the property – cage door is open though. Even faux birds deserve a chance to be free

Old outdoor sink and plenty of wood

Our gorgeous Palo Verdes and Mesquite trees

The newly finished culvert and rock work

The sun outshining my inner culvert shot

More rock work and view to other side of culvert

Wild desert ‘creek’

Shadow play – and future site of a bridge

Beautiful steps

The wood eater

 

Bottom line is that there is not a direction I can turn without feeling awe and gratitude.

 

 

Moved! Steep Grades and a Special Neighbor.

Well, it’s been a week since I’ve moved into my new home!

Yes, I had that exhale moment.

Still have a lot to do – but for all intents and purposes, we’re moved!!!

I’ve been adjusting to the longer commute, that just happens to be on a road they literally test vehicles on.  No kidding – Ford brings their trucks covered in sensors and hauling tons of weight and drive up and down the grade.  (Here’s an old article about this HERE.)

On the side of the road there are jugs of water that good Samaritans have left for struggling vehicles of the non-test type.

Regular commuters know that the air conditioning needs to be off for the majority of the trip, which, in triple digits can be quite taxing.  And when I say taxing, I mean, sheets of sweat, wet undergarments and complete loss of electrolytes.

Once that hill has been taken though, it’s worth the while.

Let’s get onto introducing you to one of my neighbors.

I say neighbor, but, it’s more like … um … a land mate?  Pet?

I’ll begin with our introduction.

I was sitting on the porch, enjoying a light breeze in the early evening.  Rose bushes were rustling, pine trees pining.  I had a hose running to water the length of the thirsty trees and looked over to check on the progress.

To my surprise, atop the picnic table was  – well … take a look yourself.

I slowly got up and put my dog inside the house.  I then calmly stated, “Um, honey?  There’s a snake on the table.”

Now, I have been aware in my 15 years in the desert that the territory comes with desert creatures.  I’ve had my run ins with an assortment of them.  But, not a snake.

I’m actually quite fond of them.  Had wanted one years ago.

But, considering our location, not all snakes want to be your friend.

My honey came out and we watched from a distance to make sure there was no rattle.  Then, got a little closer to assess the head shape.

He went in as my fascination grew.

Snake (I’ve since named Yogi – because, c’mon, pic-i-nic table!) came closer.  I grew braver.

And, closer still, into the rose bushes.

I followed Yogi around for a while, until it moved off into another lot.

 

I reached out and posted photos to a snake site.  I was informed it is a non-venomous gopher snake, good to have around!  I was also taught that if I needed it to scoot, I could spray it lightly with a hose.

I fretted a little about it interacting with my pup.  I certainly don’t want to have my time outside or hers dictated by our new friend.   Still haven’t quite worked that out yet.  (Any advice is welcome!)

Following night, we were outside when my guy announced, “Your friend is back.”  Sure enough.

 

 

This is such a low-key snake.  I mean, you can literally walk next to it.

But, the issue of the dog.  So, with Butters inside, I decided to try the spritz method.  It worked.  Yogi went back under the fence and curled up and cut its eyes at me.  Had a look of complete inconvenience and indignation.  To add insult to moisture, two sparrows alighted upon the fence and looked down upon Yogi.  I entrusted them to keep watch.

 

SO!  What to do, what to do?!  I’m an animal lover so definitely harming one is out.  Relocating it would be useless as it’s bound to be replaced by another – I mean, we have nothing but desert next to us and own 2.15 acres of it ourselves.

Must find a way to cohabitate.

I guess I’ll have plenty of time to consider just how to do that during my commute.