Monthly Archives: November 2014

Half generation

With the two big holidays just around the corner, consider this a public service announcement for families like ours.

My nephews and my husband’s brothers are around the same age. (it’s a cool combo of me being the youngest in my family, him being the oldest, with a gap of 8 years between him and his brother)  Waiting to have Madigan later in life has been great for us.  Deciding we were only having 1 kid was also a perfect decision for us, we can afford to raise and care for one other person. The problem, no kids Madigan’s age.

We have a sort of half generation kid.   Madigan’s generation so far is Justin (30) , Mikey (25), Madigan (12). The boys have already started the next generation with Emma, who is 3, Ava turns 1 next month and the new baby (who I shall call Nacho Jazz Butcher).  Boomer’s brothers haven’t started their families yet.  Madigan has no cousins her age. And she never will.

If that’s not sad enough, she ends up being the only kid at family functions.  She will never know what it’s like to eat at the kids table. Being the only kids can’t be easy for her.  Always with adults, having to listen to conversations about who is sick, who just got married, who is going to have a baby or who just died.  She has heard stories about people she never met, and people she will never meet.  Grown up talk is very boring.

Kids are adorable when they are 10 and under, imaginative, playing with little toys, telling stories, saying cute things (when Madigan was small and I asked her if frog friend was a boy or girl, she said “He just a fwog fwend”).  Being cute was all you needed to engage or connect.  It’s tougher the older kids get. There is more of an attitude, more self consciousness, hormones messing with moods all comes with the teen territory.   She would rather I tell a story about what happened to her than her tell it herself.  Her interests are far from mainstream and require effort to learn about and understand.  I know more about her fandoms than should be allowed for an adult.  But if it’s important to her, it’s important to me.

If you find yourself at a family dinner with a teen who has her arms crossed, rolling eyes and seem irritated, please don’t assume they have an attitude or are sullen.  (She might have her arms crossed cause she is not terribly comfortable with her body changing.  Eye rolling is a way of communication, she just might not have the words to explain what she is feeling.  And she is absolutely irritated cause she can’t do what she wants to do right this moment.   Getting together with family means nothing to her now, she has YEARS to do it.  It’s the rest of us who know life is short and one day we all won’t be here.)   It is hard being a kid, and the only kid ever, at family functions.  She didn’t ask for that.  She didn’t ask to be born a half generation.

Oh and lets just say you do ask her about this…


or this


she might make a sound where she exhales very loudly and rolls her eyes, but please don’t stop trying to connect with her.  It’s important that we stay connected to the teens in the not so easy times so when they come out on the other side they realize we have been with them the whole time.  It will make it easier for them to apologize.


We have new neighbors, and I like them

When I went out to let the chickens out I saw our new neighbors.  Six new cows are living where the black and white ones lived two years ago.


I really would like a cow, they are curious beasts.  You know all the Facebook videos where the title says something like “what happened next will AMAZE you!”  Well cows coming over to see what’s going on around their fence is not amazing.  Doesn’t matter if I am just standing there with a camera, or a quartet playing classical music, they are going to come over.

This one was the fist one over, we talked for a bit.  I talk to the chickens so why not talk to the cows next door.  There is one all black cow, two of the light grey/white ones and three this color.


I told her she will see me every morning, letting the chickens out.  Told her I hope she gets to stay a while.  I wish I knew those people on that side, so I could feed a carrot or apple every now and again.

The end

The hoses have been pulled in. The outside water has been turn off. The chickens have been moved on top of the garden.

It’s official the growing season is over.  Typical farmer mentality, all there is to do now is plan next years garden.  Giant fold front moving in end of the week.  If you listen to the old timers, it’s just the beginning of things to come.  Bumper acorn crop this year.  The wooly buggers that usually have a black stripe are ALL black.  Certain color flowers bloomed while other colors did not.  These are indicators of a cold winter.

I have plenty of crafts, cooking and knitting to keep me busy till the seed catalogs start showing up in January.  Presents to wrap, dinners to enjoy, and family to see before we get out there to get the gardens ready.



But first, let me take a selfie


My thoughts this time of year go to how much I love this area.  How the changing seasons mean something.  Fall is my favorite, not for the pumpkin spiced lattes and lead up to christmas, but damn I love fall foliage.


My back yard looks lovely, the greens, reds, yellows and browns.  I get out there when the light is still low and it is a great start to every day.


Every drive to work, every morning drop off at school, turns into a sentimental journey, I really love how the farms and fields look.  I grew up mostly in warm climates, Florida and California, so fall is still a gift for me, every year.  Yes we will have more leaves to mulch up and rake than we will know what to do with, but at this moment, I am enjoying the crunching as I walk out every morning to let the chickens out.

Soon this will all be white!

Past and present


I giggled when I noticed my leather jacket and Doc Martins…


in front of my sewing machine.  I lived in NYC when I got that jacket.  I got the boots when I lived in LA and was obsessed with the Green Lantern.  The person I was could never imagine that I would be here, in SW Virginia, married to a local, with 10 chickens, growing some of my own food, with an ALMOST 13 year old daughter.

I was committed to being single.  Everything that mattered to me fit in my Blue two door Tercel.  I moved when ever I wanted, which averaged about every year and a half. I did whatever I wanted.  I was obsessed with pop-culture, seeing movies the weekend they came out and I spend my winter weekends snowboarding. I was happy-ish.

Now, when I see people magazine, I do ask who is that woman and why does she want to die, I have seen about 6 movies at the theater in the last 12 years, snowboarding only brings up thoughts of me breaking something and not being able to take care of my family. All our cars are 4 door and we have a minivan.  With all that said, I feel better than I have in my life.

I am comfortable in my own skin in a way that alluded me in my 20s.  I am confidant in my choices as a parent in a way I wasn’t in my 30s.  At 45 with green Docs and a leather jacket on a sewing chair mixing my past and present.

Looking forward to the future!

What better living means to me

I hope everyone knows that I have no opinion or judgement about what you do, how you live your life, what food or entertainment you consume…Free To Be You and Me, with that said…

I was at a party last night and made a comment about how I eat what ever I want from Halloween to our Anniversary on the 3rd of January.  It’s like free space in Monopoloy.  I said it for a couple reasons, the first being, I make jokes.  And second, I think people get all freaked out about AMAZINGLY GOOD FOOD, limiting themselves to just “just a sliver of pie” and a “smidge of eggnog”. I hate putting limits and restricting myself.  To forbid is to encourage!  At this party a friend said “what about better living by choice?”

It’s the second time I went to a party with this person and the second time he commented on food.  It might be his thing.  Last time, as I ate perfect little circles of salami he commented on how processed and fatty salami is, and I said “I know and so delicious!”  I do not kid myself into thinking something is good for me, or healthy.  If it tastes good I am eating it.  Not all of it, but I am not going to deny myself good tasting food because it goes over some made up guideline.

Better living for me isn’t just about food.  It’s about choices, read a book or watch TV,  make dinner or go out to eat,  play a game with my kid or get on facebook.  We all make choices daily.  Some choices bigger than others. Job, kids, investments, but most choices are little.  In the case of bad food choices, I allow myself something I really really want even if that means I am going to suffer the consequences.  French fries, PERFECT example, I know fried food is a trigger for my rosacea, 4 days after eating fries my nose would turn red and swell, eventually in my 60s I would look like W.C. Fields. But you know what, sometimes I just want some damn fries.  99% of the time I make the right choice, I pick what is going to be best for me overall, 1% of giving in allows me the strength it all the other times to say no.  This leads to more time between the 1% mistakes.  Because I have to REALLY want fries to deal with my nose for 2 weeks.

There are a million choices and you can drive yourself CRAZY trying to do them all, you can buy local produce, but most local farmers can’t afford to be certified organic. In that battle local beats organic.  We buy all our chicken and pork from a farm that uses non gmo feed, but we still eat store bought food made with GMO, but only grow from non gmo seeds.  Fast food, slow food, organic,low spray, no spray, gmo, non gmo, factory farm, home grown; it is up each person to decide what is of value, what is important to you.  And my attitude is do what you can, when you can.  And if today is a day where you eat dirty food* cause you can’t swing making dinner or would rather spend your energy doing something else, that’s okay too.   Little changes might snowball into something bigger.  We didn’t start on this journey thinking we were going to own chickens for eggs one day, or have our end goal be local/self-sufficiency with our food.

What is Better Living for one, doesn’t dictate what it is for another.  We are all on our own path.  I am here to encourage, support and share what we do, hopefully it helps someone feel like the little change they make today could lead to bigger things!

*I refer to fast food/pizza as my dirty food.  I am not proud of it, but still like it occasionally.