Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Thought #1

The NaNoWriMo started officially yesterday. Are you involved? Steve is, and his novel is in full force.

I, on the other hand, am just going to post something every single day. I'll try to document our lives in a positive and uplifting way... I hope. And in an entertaining way too, which I doubly hope.

I have stayed away many days because of Thumper's rule: "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all." Yep, lots of those sorts of days really.

But this month has Thanksgiving in it, so it will be a good exercise for me to every day find something to be glad about. Pollyanna-ish. It'll be just right.

Today, my glad thought is that I'm so thankful for the opportunity that I had to live in Kentucky for 5 years. I loved Kentucky and I felt like I grew up a lot there. Let me count the ways:

I'm so glad that I had the chance to see up close and personal how many bugs can live in one area. And I was so glad for spiders... they eat the bugs, see. My family came to visit me once, my sister and her husband and kids, and they stayed at our house. I cleaned and cleaned to get the place just right. In one room, which was an empty bedroom that we turned into an office that I intended for my nephew and my neice's boyfriend would share. There were myriads of spider's webs that I swept up with my Dexter duster. I thought I got them all. The next morning the boys told me how they'd counted 120 spiders before they turned off the light and hoped for the best. I think they just counted the same ... ten... over and over and over. Yep. That is what I think and I feel better for thinking it, too.

On my porch we found all sorts of spiders, but my favorite was a big, yellow and black garden spider. We found it the first part of October on our porch and let him live there past Halloween... we though a cool spider would be a wonderful decoration for Halloween! It got ginormous! It kept all of the bugs down which was absolutely wonderful!

Another spider that is trapped in my memory (a good place for a spider to be trapped. no webs to clean up, you know.) was a running spider that lived under my couch. He hadn't always lived under the couch. He once ran along the wall. I told Steve to kill it. Then I went off and had Michael 10 weeks early and was gone for about 6 months, more or less. When I came home, Steve and I were sitting on the couch watching tv and something that looked like the size of a mouse ran across the floor from the couch to behind the entertainment center. I shrieked and yelled, "WHAT WAS THAT??" "Um," Steve stammered, "that was the spider that you wanted me to kill a few months ago." Ugh. Never, never ask Steve to kill a spider, because he won't.

In fact, Steve is simply *not* a killer of anything. He would rather co-habitate with all of God's creatures than kill them. Because of that, I have learned to kill all of the pests in our house. Spiders, mice, bugs of all shapes and sizes. It is up to me. I have, in fact, caught a mouse by its tail and fed him to a cat alive. Just for spite. Don't mess with me!

In Kentucky I learned about wells. And lack of water. And wells that go dry. Did you know that you can take a sponge bath with just a 2 liter bottle of water?? It is totally possible. I've done it. I've also gotten lost trying to come home from a friend's house after luxuriating in her bathtub and then letting each child have a turn too. Because we were sick of sponge baths, that's why. And I stink at map reading. Don't travel with me or at least let me navigate.

My husband is really good at putting out fires in the field without water. He grew up in Idaho where there is no water and electric fences' sparks start fires. Good thing, because he needed those skills when our 10 year old started the field on fire while he was burning our garbage... and our well was dry. We got a garbage service soon after that experience.

Oh. And did I ever tell you about the time that our trampoline was lifted clean into the air and dropped about 50 yards away in the cow pasture? Yep, Kentucky winds are somethin'!

I also learned to heat exclusively with wood. I learned a *lot* from that! I learned how to start a fire in the morning when no one else will get out of bed to light one because it is way warmer in bed than in the cold, cold house. I learned that deciduous trees are the trees of choice to burn; they burn slower and leave less creosote in the stovepipes. Evergreens: pine and cedar, are wonderful to heat up the stove and house quickly because they burn quickly and hot, but they burn out quickly too and they burn dirty.

I learned that baby kitties are really hard to keep alive, even when you feed them every two hours around the clock and fill their hot water bottles with hot water to keep them warm. And you even take them to church so you can feed them and refill the water bottles. I know because I took them with me and left them on top of the refrigerator in the church's kitchen. I fed them every two hours with a syringe. I stroked them and washed their bottoms, which is what their mommy's do to make them pee and poo (did you know??). It broke my heart when one after another, each day for three days, they took turns dying.

I learned that baby cows die easily too. If a calf gets scours (a fancy name for diarrhea), they are in serious trouble. Premature calves are especially at risk. We had one for a couple of days. In the winter. Just after the kitten incident.

I also learned that human babies sometimes die too. Especially when they are premature. And that sometimes mommies die too; I was fortunate. Baby wasn't. Three days after he was born he died. It was a hard time, but it bonded Steve and I closer than we'd ever been. I learned what kind of a man I was married to. A very kind man. One who didn't think his wife was going insane when she admitted in whispers in the middle of a cold, blowy January night just a few days after the baby died that she wanted to go put a blanket over his grave so he wouldn't get cold. My rational self knew I was being irrational, but my maternal self wanted to care for my baby and couldn't let go. Steve very kindly and gently talked to me about it and let me cry.

I learned to cook from scratch. Even better than I'd learned the year before in Tennessee, when we first moved to the South. I learned that I loved big pantries as big as a bedroom! And that I could totally fill them up with food. I am the biggest squirrel there is, I think. :)

I learned that the best neighbors are Amish. They are quiet, kind, and don't get into a fit about anything. They are the calmest people I've ever met. I also learned that I loved their cooking. And their greenhouses. And their cute little stores. I am a huge fan of the Amish.

I learned that I could actually grow a garden! Steve made me plant a row of peas. Made me. Stood behind me while I did. I knew I couldn't grow anything because I had a black thumb instead of a green one. But he made me. AND THE PEAS GREW!! And I fell in love with gardening. And it is all Steve's fault.

I learned that kids thrive in the country. That just like plants, they need a little dirt and a little water and they grow up really well. Having 120 acres buffered me from neighbors and let my children run in the pastures with the cows, goats, and chickens. They gathered up buckets full of turtles. They gathered buckets full of crawdads. We homeschooled and learned the secrets of the plants, trees, animals and birds around us. The children found Sweet William flowers and sent one along with a letter to the Williams' family from Tennessee that we were friends with and one along with a letter to their Uncle Bill and sent one along with a letter to their Grandpa who happened to be a William too. I've heard those Williams still have that letter, too. We used Audubon books to figure out everything around us. It was a magical time in a magical place. Steve worked from home and we schooled at home and we were always together. I felt like we were living out one of the "Little House" books.

It was the most amazing time in my life. The spell was broken when Michael was born and we had to move away from our Eden, but the memories and lessons learned will stay with us always.


  1. Oh Melody...this was my favorite post of the week I've read in any of the blogs I follow. What a treat to read this. :)

  2. I love that last part!! So wonderful. Magic.

    Writing and thinking gratitude goes a looooong way toward changing things around!