Friday, July 19, 2013

Tent Houses

I found this really interesting, even though in our climate's extremes we couldn't duplicate it exactly.
But I love when people live by making the choices best for them and it includes thinking outside the box ...or  tent  :-D

Here's the video...enjoy!

Have a lovely weekend, and for the sabbath keepers, shabbat shalom!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Yep, It's A True Rainy Season

I've heard of a real Florida rainy season, but until this year I had yet to really experience one since I moved here about 9 years ago.  We had hurricane seasons, but the water table levels stayed relatively low since we didn't have The Wet Season.

I think the wet season is supposed to be roughly April through Whenever It Stops...maybe September/October?  I know hurricane season is officially over sometime in November.

Oh, the nay-sayers.  When we were getting quotes on having clearing and fence work done on the farm earlier this year, some of the local men who showed up to give us bids said they thought we were crazy wanting to clear and build on the land.  They said the road is under water every year, not to mention all the properties out there.  They warned of wetland environmental concerns, scrub jay issues, "this land is so far out no one will want to travel here to do any work," and so on.  And then they gave us exorbitant quotes.

There was much scratching, boot scuffling, and a little spitting here and there as they ticked off their long laundry lists of why it would be so inadvisable for people like us to want to actually LIVE on our land.  Mosquitos.  No one else lives out here.  Flooding.  Fires.  Full of rattlesnakes and rats.  Nothing will grow in the soil.  Too far from emergency services.   These men were also wearing sunglasses along with their caps, negativity, and rhetoric. It was so discouraging, if all they said was to be believed.  The whole time I wondered why they were SO intent on keeping us from loving our property.  We truly LOVE it.  Am I just a suspicious person, or were they working VERY hard to discourage us from living here??  What, do they get to hunt free out here if no one else is here or something?

I hate when people won't show me their eyes.  And no, it does not intimidate me.  It makes me wonder why they need to hide, but that's just me.

And I did point out that on our same road there is a gorgeous two-story house further down, and several others of varying construction types on the adjacent roads, all of which have been there and been in full use for YEARS.  And I don't think the hundreds of acres of orange groves behind our properties found the land to be tooooooo unfit for growing ;-)

I digress.  We did a lot of homework before we bought the property due to the fact we've been thwarted in land purchases before (major ouch there) and eliminated properties from our new wish list if they did not meet some of the Musts.   Must not have environmental issues present or future.  Must be able to be used for Ag.  Must be buildable.  Must have access.  Must be HIGH AND DRY.

Well, thankfully the farm IS high and dry.  That's not to say the road is, however.  It's never been paved or had rock or shell put down, it's simply at one time been scraped and had ditches put down.  So now after years of occasional wear, it has huge pits in it and no one has bothered to maintain it.  The only neighbor on that road whose family use it are relocating in the foreseeable future, so no effort has gone into its maintenance, or will, from here on out.

Jack went out the other day in between thundershowers and he won't try it again until there are a couple of days of dry in between.  He said the water was deep enough to go over a normal car's tire tops, and even for the truck it was a challenge getting down and back without being stuck.  All the ditches are saturated and overflowing and there's no shoulder to the roads when it gets like that.  I've been unable to get there for WEEKS and it's driving me crazy...I have this need to be on our land.

I think we'll have to ride out this cycle and just be thankful the water tables are being replenished.  The good report was that even with that much rain, the actual property was still high and dry.

I wonder after having planted some plants along the ditch to help stop erosion, and after having sown a few thousand seeds along there, if any of them made it or if they all got washed away.  I guess I'll know if I see cosmos and sunflowers volunteering along the neighbors' ditches :-)

In my thinking, this presents us with the challenge of making sure any structure we build out there will always be high and dry.  I have said I don't want a house with a second story in the event we aren't able to use steps easily in the future (as I well know with knee problems).  With this much rain, though, the idea of a very small home raised on concrete pillars has been put back on the table again.

I refuse to complain about the rain.  The ground has been hot and thirsty for so many seasons now, I simply cannot complain.  I love thunderstorms.  I've seen the devastation of flooding firsthand before and I don't love that.  But I just love the gift of all that water just now.

I'll be glad when we can resume working there, a day at a time, as we are able.  I long for it!  In the meantime, I guess it's time to learn about timing and letting the rain do what it does best...get things really wet!

It's strange.  Sometimes the less in control I realize we are, the less I fear the nay-sayings of others.  Like those men who gave us quotes.  They would be laughing about now, saying I told you so, and shaking their heads at the crazy people (us).  They also may never have the pleasure of experiencing the benefits of all the things they considered to be deficits, or maybe something else is their idea of a great location and a great day.  It's ok :-)

It helps us.  We need to know the possible extremes of our seasons.  It'll help us decide how the land would best be used, what materials to use, how and what to plant, make some decisions about layout and emergency scenarios.

And whether to build an ark to get to the mailbox down the road each day! :-D

How have you had to accommodate your climate's have you used them to your benefit or what have you had to do to overcome them?   I'm very interested in knowing!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Great Documentary!

We've been rained out of almost anything at the farm because of road flooding, so for now we wait.

I'm very skilled at waiting, but not very graceful! :-)

In the meantime, I watched a documentary (among other things).  I love a wide range of movie genres including all available Jane Austen and that sort of period film, psychological thrillers, history, biographies, some foreign films, intelligent but not trashy or potty humor comedies, romantic comedies, spy and espionage movies, and so on.  Love good documentaries!

I saw this on Netflix and I believe it's from PBS...called My Life as a Turkey.  It was filmed in the flatwoods of Florida and it is...exceptional.  It's not the thing I usually watch, but as I began viewing it, I was drawn into the true story, real pictures and the different perspective of it.

It's clean enough for the whole family, but it's realistic, not a Bambi tale.

If you decide you might want to give it half a chance, it's really worth checking out, and has excellent reviews.

Here 'tis...enjoy!!  My Life As  Turkey

Watch My Life as a Turkey on PBS. See more from Nature.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Don't Take it Home With You

 I was raised in a family that believed girls should be trained up to be...wives. And that was about it.

The belief was that home and family IS a profession, and I have to say I agree. That said, there's a lot lacking in having been taught ONLY that.

There's nothing lacking in building home and building family and nurturing both. It expands me to be stretched in ways I never could be by myself. I love all that HOME encompasses. But I was not given encouragement or direction for taking on any earning skills.

I don't blame anyone, but I do feel the lack and I feel the lack of drive to venture out of my sphere of ways other than creative ventures. When I'm at work, I wish I were home. When I'm working elsewhere, I'm dreaming of what I will do once I'm home. I feel a different gravity at work the further I get from home...home meaning my household, those I love and this place of belonging. I'm about to conclude that I'm a permanent misfit.

I think carefully about things and I've been told others wonder if I'm timid in certain situations, or slow to respond. Or even upset. That can happen as a complete mis-read...I can simply be listening intently and considering what someone else has said. I'm not a Pop Tart responder, ready in a few seconds complete with icing and sprinkles. I assume I'm being taken at face value, like I do others, and when I realize that's not always the case, I feel sensitive and hurt, but responsible not to make a fuss about just big a big girl and get on with things. I wonder if the grown-up Me will ever get past the point of being weary of being misunderstood.

I kind of worry about it because I often in my job put people at their ease while bigger situations are being dealt with. I'm good in an emergency, good at nurturing, good at handling multiple details while others are still in shock mode. But it makes me feel apart, adrift, that there seem to be no lasting "roots" taking hold in those relationships and situations in any real senses, and again I just long to be home. In my space. Where I don't have to explain myself and I can just BE.

I rarely talk about my outside job here. The assignment I've had for a long while now has come to involve dealing with a lot of physical changes (my client's), namely dementia, and now the stress of seeing someone descend into a spiral of paranoia amid other moments of perfect lucidity, and seeing her confusion and dismay. I've been the Equalizer...listening, absorbing some of the shocks with her, recounting to her her own history, reminding her of who she is by simply listening and reaffirming. Repeating that process daily.

Oftentimes we caregivers are closer to our clients' situations than their own family members, because we see the endless minutes as they tick away and we are as acquainted with the mundane as we are the occasional highlights of their days. We know the things that have to happen each day for them to retain their dignity, the foods they love or need, the quick fixes for the ailments that assail, the familiar things that anchor them to their sense of place and safety. So it hurts most when all that snaps at any instant. With paranoia, anyone can become "the enemy." Even the very person who makes everything run smoothly and tucks in the frayed ends of an unraveling world. Even the caregiver, me.

Yesterday there was a snap in which I went from being the nurturer to being perceived as the "enemy."  It stings, this occasion so overtly confrontational it took my breath away.  I maintained calm, but saw something precious just float like an elusive feather away beyond my reach.  It is a loss. It becomes, in these situations, a regular loss to me, and something I can't solve for my confused and enraged client.  She is enraged at her loss of control over life, and I represent that in some way.  I am strong in that situation, but inside, I am a woman who wants to go home.

I want to retreat home, but this time I wish I could afford to choose to stay here instead of returning to my job each day and offer no apologies for just being myself. The hundred things I should do here are always cut short. I want us to get this house ready and I want to get to our land. I want there to be money for all our needs without wondering whether two steps forward will be three steps back and I'll regret some decision I made today, like a schill game where you have to guess which shell hides the prize.

 I'm a bounce-back gal, and I'm optimistic. I'm also that way in others' behalves because I care, I do really truly care. But some days I just want to retire from having to be around anyone at all, except the few who really know me. I wish I had been prepared for the intricacies of a big yarn-ball snarl of a world out there so I could engage with it with a lot more gracefulness and a much better sense of humor. Perhaps I've cultivated some of those things as I've gotten older. I hope so.

 I have hurt feelings right now, and the place I turn to is to talk to God. I know if I spill every complaint out to my trusted friends, it will just be another variety of whine we imbibe for a while but that doesn't solve anything or satisfy. Plus my hubby hears enough of that :)

I want to have integrity, and being still and allowing Him to teach me is usually the biggest fix, that and keeping calm and keeping my mouth shut long enough...not always easy to do, ha! I have no idea where this post is rambling off to... I have trouble not taking "work" home with me because my work requires much from me internally and I'm invested in someone else's care and happiness.

I think I do take my work home with me. My job is to give some of "home" to people in my job and in my life, and it doesn't always seem to matter. For today, I do want to matter, and it hurts when life disappoints. So I take it home. And I'm so very very grateful to have HOME to take it to.

Thank you, Father, for home.

A Wonderful Past Seven Years

This year, Jack and I will have been married nine years. Though they have had their share of challenges and even some setbacks, they have been the best years of our lives. We are grateful to God for all the minutes we've had together, and they simply are going by too fast. I have been blogging since 2007 or before, and my camera came my way shortly thereafter. As I chronicled the beauty around us, it also began to be our pictorial of sorts as the years passed. I deliberately left out most pictures of my family and friends for privacy's sake. But a couple of Jack and Rachel crept in anyway, because my life would not be the same without them. God is my first treasure. They are second only to Him. This is my second attempt to make a video slideshow of pictures. I tried the free program called this time. I'm still working out the bugs, but it fit a lot more pics than the last video did. Somehow it only fit some pics on one vid and the others on the second. Ah well, try try again! :-)
What a Wonderful Past Seven Years by Slidely - Slideshow maker

Wonderful World by Slidely - Slideshow maker