Category Archives: How this came to be

Cats & lessons & moving & hiding.


This is Luna.

She’s one of the animals I look after sometimes. An ancient kitty, she loves to sit on my lap & be brushed, and is quite fond of taking over the pillow by the middle of the night.


This is Sophie. It was quite warm the week I stayed with her & her sister, Izzy. 


Warm & humid.

Before this stretch with Sophie & Izzy, I had the good fortune to be with Nemo for a while in July.

This was taken before the recent rains…


On very hot days, she’d hop into a ceramic dish for a nap.

Before this, I was at another house, with two kitties. (No photos that time…)

Basically I was not living in my apartment for the entire month of July.

But I was there a lot, packing. Everything. I just moved.

Thanks to my friends, who helped out in so many ways, to support this past move.

Schlepping boxes, sanding patches, dropping off stuff at resale stores, bringing blueberries & pop, bringing good cheer, texting, offering emotional support over the phone & in person… I really could feel the net of people… & their support.


These follows are older than me, but when together, are like 9 year olds. Another friend (I didn’t catch a photo of her) held the reigns & called the shots to keep things going.

They were a huge help on a very hot day driving boxes from my apartment of 2 & 1/2 years to the next landing place.


Packing selfie.

Basically if I was there on my own, I’d listen to music or a podcast & pack & pack & pack after work before heading back to whichever place I was housesitting at.


Thank the gods for all these friends & all these cats in my life.

Because the day I got there, the day I would officially “move in”, there was a distinct sinking feeling in my heart & my gut.


It was the very same feeling when I crossed the California state line back in 2002.

Something akin to: o no. What did I do?

A sort of “wrong” feeling. Like I had made a mistake.


I get this feeling when I’m driving somewhere & I know I’m lost, that I’m going the wrong way.

It’s the same feeling. 

Driving, though, I can just turn around, get off at an exit, go a different route.

Moving, and renting, & having signed a lease, a binding agreement, the stakes are higher, the consequence greater, especially since I sunk my savings into making it happen. (Rent is expensive in these parts…)


I’m haunted by my decision.

Reflecting on how I only saw what I was looking for, & overlooking the aspects of the place which were, um, funky.


I really thought it was a place I could settle into for a while.

But it turned out the landlord forgot to mention one piece of information which would have changed my decision to apply for this apartment.

Mice. 


She says she mentioned it. I said, um, no you didn’t.

“You could get a cat. That’s what the former tenant did.”

And yes, sure, I love cats. 

But I’m not in the position where I can be with (my own) cat at this point of my life.


Clearly a misunderstanding occurred, to the point where she offered to let me out of the lease.

Now, aside from not having the money to rent a different place (including a security deposit), to simply to FIND a place in this town that was both affordable AND in less than a month and with no back-up alternate place to go (not to mention all of my belongings) was, well, it just seemed impossible.

And, quite frankly, I didn’t have the energy or the will to even try. Just moving that last week of July following the entire month of packing every day & cleaning both places while working just wore me out.


I haven’t blogged about it, because I’ve been feeling pretty bad about myself & my decision, & my life at the moment.

Yes, it’s a privilege to move with all of my belongings. Yes, I am currently employed. Yes, I am rich in community.

And

It still feels bad. I feel bad. Ashamed. Stupid. And then it globs into all the choices I’ve made in my past from places of fear & I just send myself into a sort of spiral.


So I’ve been kind of hiding out in shame & embarrassment that extends beyond this one decision & situation.

Even though had I been given all the information I would have made a different choice.


Luna’s like: “stop being so hard on yourself”

The landlord isn’t going to do anything about the mice.

I’m in a year lease.

I’m buying a *%#^ton of steel wool to shove into any cracks & holes, and screwing welded wire over the really wide gaps.

And I’m telling myself that I’m living in a cabin. For a year.

(Thank you, Amy-la, for that.)


And at the recommendation of my wise sister, & then a friend, I’m going to look at what I appreciate about this place, AND what really doesn’t work for me, and apply that to my decision regarding any future places.

So.

I appreciate that I can heat with wood. I enjoy stacking wood. 

The woodstove was one of the four things I saw and said ‘yes’ to.

Wood stove, separate structure (that is, no one above or below or attached to the side), quiet, & a place to garden.

All really great things.


But just focusing on those four things is like stepping into a relationship with someone just because they have a mouth & a hand to hold & a, well you get the idea.

I tend to overlook the whole picture.

*sigh*

Living and learning here.


On a brighter note, despite the severe drought we’ve been experiencing, the hickory trees are quite abundant in nuts this year.


Mockernut & Bitternut hickory droppings from a very tall canopy & signs of critter munching.

O the critters.

Wishing you all well on this night.

Wishing you gentleness & ease.


Good morning & explanation of awayness.

  
Hey everybody.

This was from earlier today up at a retreat center in upstate New York where I’ve been for the past ten days.

I know I just stopped posting a couple weeks back

  
(Three-day moon. My favorite.)

I’m involved in a Contempletive Care for the Dying program through the Rigpa Foundation & it’s been asking for more attention than I had anticipated.

And to prepare for the retreat, was working every day & just became overwhelmed with all the reading & writing & work on top of that.

  
(A video short of Sara working Conner & Larry, covering up the garlic we just planted.)

  
Fresh ginger drying off & heading to the freezer.

So, I’m now considering deferring graduate school until the fall of 2016.

Possibilities: art therapy, chaplaincy, or simply counseling.

  
(Flecks. My kitty from way-back-when I was a child.)

For now I want to focus on the program I’m currently in.

  
The good morning photos may not come every day…

I need to allow for a little more room in my life for now,

& to focus on my project for class, sitting practice, staying on top of the reading (which I’m slow at) & writing assignments.

  
We had our first snow at the farm on the 18th of October.

More to come.

  
Thank you to everyone’s encouragement, especially regarding going back to school.

Wishing you all good things.


Herbal Sun Tea Punch.

  

Punch.

Here’s a delicious, very refreshing herbal beverage for the summer

In jars, or one large jar, add equal parts Peppermint, Chamomile, Hibiscus, & Lemonbalm.

(In the quart jar, it’s about a tablespoon per each herb)

Add water, put lid on, & set out into the sunlight (or heck, just on the counter if it’s a cloudy day…) to infuse for a good number of hours.

  
Voila.

 
Strain the herbs from the liquid using a fine mesh sieve

  

Little bitty bits of chamomile or peppermint or lemonbalm may remain

Ehng, ’tis not a problem.

  

Add to this a quality apple juice 

…this will do quite well

  

Depending on how sweet you’d like it, I usually add anywhere from 1:3 to 1:2 tea to juice ratio

-so in case I didn’t write that out correctly, (it’s been a loooong time since I’ve been in Math class) I like it best when it’s either equal parts tea & juice or mostly tea.

Do what works for your tastebuds.

Makes a nice ice cube or Popsicle 

Perhaps add fresh basil or mint after it has chilled

Enjoy!

 


Good morning from Caroline.

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Yesterday
Three people asked:
So, do you have any big plans for the weekend?

And for a noticed second
I thought about it,
Yes, there was a relatively big plan. Continue reading


Guest photos of cats due to illness & Ithaca Falls.

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I’ve been sick for a string of days with the flu

Meh

But… It could be worse.

Fortunately for me, Izzy & Sophie’s Mommy has been sending me photos and videos of the Shoofins

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Sisters by the wood stove

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If not by the wood stove, Izzy can usually be found lounging upon her Daddy

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Bliss kitty

The sun was shining today
Holy wowie what a joy

And the fever broke this morning, so I thought I’d get some fresh air

So bundled up for a walk

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Definitely gonna scare the children…

But I’ve been coughing out my eyeballs and want to try to contain this nonsense.

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I was hoping to lay down on the stones by the falls (where those brambles are in the center of the photo) but the water is REALLY high

I’ll be patient until another day comes

It’s really nice, to be like a stone, to relax on the stones all bundled up, feeling the surface of the earth & listening to the rushing water

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It was about 23 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about -5 Celsius

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On the stones, a super thin film of ice had formed in some places

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Like the skin on the palm of a hand

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Or a rhinoceros, perhaps

What do you see?

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I came home to find that there has been vacuuming going on at the Shoofin’s house

Which means that cats will be found under the covers, hidden & safe in beds

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I’ve been doing steams with Ravintsara & Eucalyptus Radiata

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And while forced-air heating in my book is the most inefficient way to heat & I can’t stand it

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It has allowed me to dry out my pajamas that get soaked every three hours in the night

Bright side: I will be ready for hot flashes if they happen to come

Here are some photos from Daniel & Sebastian’s Daddy – friends who have three lovely kitties…

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And the lovely, yet reclusive Lillian

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Be well, all.
And a big thank you to the guest photographers!!!


Hopi Black Dye Sunflower Seed dye & heartbeat.

My heart beats a bit faster
Just sitting here, tap tapping with the tip of my finger on the surface of the phone face
With the thoughts about the Hopi Black Dye Sunflower Seed dye.

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Time is relative
Long, in terms of time, is relative

This is over four years coming
What I would call a long time coming

This Hopi Black Dye Sunflower Seed dye

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I had tried to grow Hopi Black Dye Sunflowers each year since 2010,
finding the seed in the previous Winter

But various conditions occurred

Seeds didn’t germinate…
Seeds were disturbed & eaten by critters in the barn…
Young, tender plants munched down by critters in the field…
Running out of seed…
Trying again year after year with critter munching being the main decider.

Everybody’s hungry.

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But this year

This year, TWO PLANTS SURVIVED!!

And for the past couple of weeks, with the preparations (and even writing this) I notice a sort of anxiety/excitement feeling in my heart

With each step closer

You ever want something so so much and the closer you get to it, the stronger the anxiety-feeling in your heart?

Yeah
THAT feeling.

I’ve been trying to make room for this
(& all of the) feeling that blows through this organism

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All of the Weathers

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No matter what Moon phase

Trying to hold space for, to make room for all of the feelings to come through the pasture, so to speak.

Breathe, Marney

So this process, which has become precious, important, and I bring my attention & thanks to it

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Honoring the heart-longing

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And so, from seed to seeds

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Allowing them to soak for two days in a pot of water

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Brought to a boil, and simmered for 20 minutes

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Then after sitting for two more days
(Thump thump thump goes the heart getting closer)

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With the simple tools, and small stack of paper

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Onward

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It was at this point I considered putting down the phone/camera – out of concern that i could spill the dye…..

Breeeeeeathe

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“…the greater the risk, the greater the glory…” ?!?!??

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Not a lot of dye, so gotta try to get all the goodness…

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Must
Get
All of it!!!

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I found that if I put my fingers below the seed pile on the strainer, more liquid would flow through

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There’s probably some law of Physics which explains this
But I never took physics, sadly

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Yeah, this looks a bit post-Halloween-nails-creepy

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Whoops!
Gettin’ wild in the kitchen…

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Onward

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Step by step

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I had hoped to dye 24 sheets of paper
But it would have been squeezed, so decided to pause at 18 sheets

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Settling in after some minutes

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Thump thump thump
Goes the heart


Black walnut dye, continued.

The first time I remember really seeing a Black Walnut tree was about 15 years ago when I lived in a basement apartment in Brooklyn.

There was a massive Black Walnut tree in the back yard, and the owner of the building –
(who lived upstairs and who was very fond of trees)
– told the story how their neighbor would complain that the Black Walnut tree should be cut down

(Insert incredulous, knitted eyebrow look here)

There was this complaint, because what the neighbor was unaware of, was that Black Walnut trees are exceptionally late to leaf out in Spring & quite early to drop leaves in Autumn…

Otherwise known as: misunderstanding.

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This is at the farm where I’ve been tending a garden this past season

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Most of the Black Walnut trees along the roadside had already dropped their walnut hulls

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…in their Autumn & Winter finery

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Here’s the paper after a three-day soak in the dye bath

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It’s possible to do a second dye but I’m going to go ahead with the Hopi Black Dye Sunflower seeds next

So time to drain the paper

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Let it set tipped over a bit

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Then turn upside down onto a towel

Thump the bottom as needed

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Voila

Only two sheets left in the dye basin to peel out, carefully

(The abundance of liquid pooling here shows me that I could have let it sit a bit longer to drain)

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Again, with care so as not to tear the soggy sheets of paper, peel one by one off the stack and lay out onto a towel to dry

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And after a day of drying…

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A beautiful small stack ready for use

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