Sunday, July 28, 2013


The war on the hornets continues. I have killed hundreds of them, gone through seven canisters of bee spray and called in the cavalry - my landlord - to take down the nests up in the second floor eaves. The battle has raged on for 3 days now. Bald faced hornets had built a nest behind some shingles in the upper rear wall of the cabin. A portion of the siding was disassembled to get them out. Yellow jackets had built nests in the crevices of the main support logs in the sidewalls. Bee spray, ant spray, starting fluid, long handled screw drivers, hammers, caulk guns - all instruments of mass destruction employed against the enemy.

All day I have been engaging in tracking down and killing hornets that have crept around the window casings to find their way into the house. I was folding laundry when I saw the head of a hornet peek through a tiny crack. It was like a sci-fy movie to see these tiny antennae peering out as he struggled to get his plump body through the opening. With one swoosh of the fly swatter, he was decapitated but then more ventured forth. It was like Alfred Hitchock's The Birds film. I bought some silicon caulk in a tube and pushed it into the cracks around my window. When that was not enough, I used some old beeswax lip balm to fill the remaining cracks. The romance of the old cabin met its end today.

Taking on these wasps, bees and hornets has taken its toll. I am so reminded of my limitations. I am tired. I wish at these times to be the Damsel in Distress and be rescued by the Prince. The Prince comes and slays the dragon for her or at least the bees and an occasional spider in the bathroom. My soul is weary. It has been a long time since there was someone to help carry the groceries, mow the lawn, take out the trash and rid the basement of anything crawly. I can do it and am very self sufficient. I have a reputation of being strong and independent. This is my exterior coating. It has been making the best of a situation and not by choice. There is a reason why I sleep with a german shepherd, a shot gun and bear spray by my bed. I must protect and provide for myself. One cannot wallow and wait to be rescued. I would have long ago starved to death if I had refused to move forward.

It is not my desire to take a stand on the roles of men and women in relationship and yet I do think that inherently we each have certain strengths. Men are traditionally providers and protectors. I know, for me, I sleep soundly when there is a man who can keep the things that go bump in the night at bay. I could not close my eyes if I did not know that Aries watches over me and warns me if there is reason. I struggle carrying wood pellets from the basement and it is so easy for a man. Sure, I do it everyday but it is more difficult each year. As a woman, I am a nurturer and caretaker. I am a homemaker and keeper of traditions. I am a love maker and a fire keeper. I am a communicator and partnership builder. Many people may have opposing views on these roles for themselves. There is no right or wrong combination.

Acknowledging my weaknesses and vulnerabilities is not a problem. Addressing them is. None of us can manifest a partner out of thin air. I continually recognize all the things that men are more capable of handling than me. I have no issue with this. It does not make me feel less empowered or less equal. I know my value and my assets. I would gladly turn the hornets over to a Prince. I'm sure I could find some way to repay his kindness.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Ok, this is it. I have thrown down the gauntlet. I am tired of dodging and racing from yellow jackets every time I walk out my back door. It is my fault. I let my guard down. This spring I was preoccupied and let some duties slide which included getting out the wasp lure early in the game. I know from experience if you have the traps set when the queens are hunting for a nesting site and you snare them, you wont have any wasps all summer. Tough life, only the queens overwinter, the rest of them die. I wonder if the wasps that are so eagerly protecting her now have a clue how this is going to go down? Anyway, I digress.

This morning I began planning my attack. I watched to see where they were coming in and out of the chinks in the cabin. I cut white electrical tape into small sections and each time I saw a wasp enter a crevice, I snuck in and quickly stuck a piece about an inch above the opening. In my haste to retreat while being pursued, my flip flop caught on the low concrete wall and I went sprawling into the grass. I could have added a sprained ankle to my anger at these buggers but I was lucky. Just a bruise to show for it. As I stand back and look at the rear wall of the cabin, it looks like an adolescent with his first try with a straight razor. Little bits of white dot the wall.

I wait for nightfall when I can empty a can of bee spray into these nests and hopefully rid myself of these invaders. I am not happy doing this but they will not live peacefully with me and my pets. That was always the one rule I had on my farm. No fighting. If a rooster, pig or ram began fighting, he was gone. It only happened a few times but I would not tolerate anyone getting hurt by one of my animals. If you cant get along, you are history. These wasps are making it impossible for me to unload my groceries or enjoy the early morning sun with my coffee. One of us has got to go.

I have declared war and now I must follow through. No prisoners. No negotiations. Plans drawn, weapons ready, I attack at sunset.

Monday, July 22, 2013


This morning I get my daily inspirational quote on my email. It states that "happiness comes from acceptance". Otherwise,  not being attached to outcomes. Ok, I agree. Same idea as the Buddhist expression paraphrased, "Pain is caused by attachment to outcomes." 

If this is true and I understand that concept, then why do we pray? Why do we believe in the Law of Attraction and the ability to manifest? If we are to sit back and accept our life just as it is, then why aren't we led to sit and contemplate our navels? Why do we know in our hearts that there is more? How do we choose which of these philosophies to follow? Sit back and  accept or strive and reach? If we are to do both, how do we know when and at what times to do which? 

I will have a long drive today through beautiful mountains to mull over these ideas. In Montana, that can mean going to the grocery store but today I journey farther. I wish we'd been born with owner's manuals to decipher these paradoxes. If I have some epiphany I will be sure to share soon. Feel free to comment. I cant be the only one with this question.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Meet me in Montana

I was driving up Prairie View on my way to twine my hops bines - yes, bines not vines - in the research plot when this song came on the radio. It has been years since I heard it. The songwriter had visited Kalispell, MT and fallen in love with the mountains. I was basking in the sun, looking at the Glacier peaks and loving living here. This song was the icing on the cake. Enjoy!

Meet me in Montana

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I am waiting for an oil change and of course something is percolating through my brain. Last week I was up and down the lake several times working with my cherry growers. On one of those excursions I brought Aries along with me. On our way home, I stopped with her at one of the state parks along the shore. She lives to fetch a stick and swim. Anyway, I pulled into a secluded boat ramp to let her run and play. There on the small dock was a woman in an orange bikini sunning herself. She was so stunning I could hardly believe my eyes. Women like that appear in magazines on yachts or in the movies, but not in real life. I have no idea of her age or anything about her, only that she was a picture of perfection or the ideal of every woman.

She smiled and told me how much she liked Aries. The lady went back to sunbathing and I back to work. I have thought several times of her since that day for many different reasons.

One, reason was that I wondered how I would have felt if I had a man with me that I cared about. If he had not said anything, I would have felt for a pulse. I appreciated her beauty like a fine work of art. Would he feel comfortable expressing his feelings or reaction to me? Would I have felt insecure or would I have agreed with him whole heartedly?

Only a couple days later I was baling hay in the July heat. A young man was there that is an exquisite specimen of the male physique. I do not feel that I am unusual to have noticed him and appreciated his appearance. Could I share that with a partner? "Hey, honey, there was a young guy at the farm that was muscled and gorgeous." It reminds me of the joke...." and then the fight started."

We have been so conditioned to keep these feelings and thoughts secret. I have learned from ex boyfriends that when they ask about past partners, it has not been safe to tell the truth. I have had a hard time mentioning my ex husband in certain relationships. I still think he is a great person. That has not set well with some dates. It has not been ok to mention that I find someone else appealing or fun. It does not mean I want to pursue another, just voicing an opinion. I trigger their insecurities. So, I stay quiet.

If someone is choosing to spend time with me, then I must assume they want to be there. If not, then they will leave. If I was with a man that wanted to chase after the lady in the orange bikini, then he will. He might just want to say, "Holy cow, she is gorgeous." Period. End of story. Same as me. Would it change the way I feel about myself if he preferred being with her? Would it impact my self worth? My reaction would  demonstrate who I am choosing to be in relation to someone else's behavior. This is an area that needs more soul searching for me.

Another reason I kept thinking of the orange bikini lady is that our society tells women that if we looked like her, we would have any man we wanted, we would have jewels and fancy cars. Life will be handed to us if we can only achieve this flawlessness. This is what drives the cosmetic industry, the plastic surgery clinics, the unending supply of weight loss pills and potions. Sometimes a beautiful woman is idolized and sometimes scorned. I wonder how it would feel to be in that skin? Would people see past your looks? Would you be heard or just seen? Is it really all glamour? I could make up a hundred stories in my mind why she was sitting on that dock. None of which would probably be true.

I am not pretending to be anything other than the middle aged woman that I am. I keep my body active, healthy and strong. I accept myself and where I am in my life. A man will not be deciding to spend time with me based on how I look in a swim suit.  I am not dishing myself either. I navigate steady and true.  All that said, I am still breathing and recognizing attractive people all around me. The lady in the orange bikini gives me much to ponder.

Screen door

I am so thrilled by my new screen door. I have spent four summers here without any ventilation in the front rooms. I traded my time baling for my farmer friend's time figuring out how to get a screen door on my cabin. I had been told it couldn't be done because the doors were backwards. So what? It's a cabin. I have the neatest old wooden screen door on the inside instead of the outside. I was so happy today being able to make my breakfast and look out on the front porch to see my hummingbirds feeding on the flowers. It's the little things that bring us the most joy. Fresh air wafting through from the front to the back. Farmer's ingenuity, you gotta love it!


I am on my way home from work today and I am thinking, "I cant wait for this week to be over." This is an unusual feeling for me since I enjoy my job. It just seems like everyone has been wearing their crabby pants this week. I had more complaints and people saying I am not doing enough, than I have had in the last 4 or 5 years. The requests have been for example, "Why cant you stop people from using herbicides to control their weeds? Why cant you find a use for the old aluminum plant in Columbia Falls? Why don't you trace back all the manure being sold and find out what those cows have been eating? Why haven't you been sending me any newsletters for the past year like I wanted? (Could be because there are no apple newsletters, just a guess) Why don't you give everybody grapes to experiment with?"

I was thinking it was my Creator's way of saying, "You really need a vacation", which coincidentally starts tomorrow. Then just as I was coming up to the round-about, not a mile out of town, I saw a red tailed hawk being harassed by a tiny bird. I continued towards home and had gone about another 4 miles when over Foys Lake was an eagle being chased by a crow. Two of these scenarios within 5 minutes? Then I laughed to myself. Of course! Keep soaring! Keep flying and reaching new heights. Don't let petty comments and whiners get you down. The eagle does not turn around and attack the small bird; she does not sit and contemplate their lack of communication; she just flies off in a new direction.

Thank you, thank you for this sign. I know that I can not make everyone happy. I can just keep on putting out my best effort and allow others to say what they wish. Even by writing this blog, I have opened myself up to criticism and comment. I must be able to weather negative feedback. I am writing about my own emotions and vulnerabilities in the faith that it may make someone feel that they are not alone. Be the hawk, be the eagle. Don't take it personally. Fly!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Sometimes it is so peaceful to have a no-brain job for awhile. Baling hay this weekend at Centennial Farm. I said, "Les, I havent driven a tractor in 20 years." "Oh, you'll be fine, just keep going straight." Ok! Two days of turning, baling and loading. Wow, did Aries get a workout. She wanted to follow me every step of the way, round and round and round. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013


My father and I had a pretty rocky relationship while I grew up. I realize as an adult how much alcohol and economics played in that situation. Being young, five kids, broke and raised in a harsh household did not add to his parenting skills. I know he did his personal best. He loved painting, reading, telling stories, horses, camp fires and nature. I am my father's daughter.

 About 25 years ago he became very ill. It turned his life upside down. It scared him; it scared us. No more drinking, lots of exercise and healthy food. He became a new man. The father I had always known that was in there somewhere was released. After 30 years, he was calling me on the phone to talk about oil paint colors, to discuss the attributes of a horse I was considering purchasing, talk about the kids and work. He'd drive the three hours to visit my two baby girls. Dad even changed a diaper. That Christmas, he bought presents and wrapped them for us for the first time in our lives. In January, six of us went to Sturbridge Village for a Yankee Winter Weekend for his 56th birthday. I had never had such a wonderful time with him. I was 32 and when he hugged me and said he loved me at the end of that trip it was the first time I had heard that. He said, "Let's do a trip every winter from now on." 

 The next weekend, I was awakened by a phone call from my parent's neighbor saying that my dad had died in his sleep. It could not be. I was in shock. There must be a mistake. He was well and happy and healthy. Please, God, don't take him. I have waited all my life for him to be a real father to me. My girls would never get to learn all the wonderful things he could teach them and what a great man he was. 

 These thoughts of my father came to me as I drove down Flathead Lake today. I miss him. It has been almost 24 years and I still want to discuss things with him. I want to talk about my successes and my failures. Realistically, he'd probably give me advice that makes me feel like a child but I would understand. A man's opinion can be foreign and yet unique. I appreciate the diverse perspective. My imagination creates a father that I have not had all these years reassuring me and giving me confidence; being a strong male that makes me feel safe and loved. He would tell me to buck up and not put up with turkeys. 

 When I admitted to myself today how I still wish he was here, I could see where my emotions get triggered in other areas. When I really care about a man and then he vanishes out of the relationship, with no reason, no explanation, no call - I feel the loss of losing him very deeply. I cannot control his disappearance. I am not able to bring him back. It is the feelings I had way back then. It is the sudden silence that is what has unsettled me and now I see where that connects back. This has been my experience more than once in the past 15 years. Sometimes it was after years, sometimes after weeks. If my dad were here, I would ask him why. If he were here to ask, I wouldn't have experienced the pain of his unexpected death and the emotions would not have gotten stuck. Maybe, just maybe, I would have a different point of view. Now that I have raised these emotions to the surface for healing, I let them go. I have found the sliver and plucked it out. Goodnight, dad, and thank you.
Dad and my oldest 

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Fall

Some experiences in our life are just too painful to talk about until enough time has passed and the healing has begun. My divorce and a traumatic horse accident changed my life profoundly. These events effected me physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Three years ago, I stepped up onto a horse I did not know. She had been recommended by a friend. Within seconds of getting on board, the mare bucked and bolted and I was thrown to the ground. As I laid in the dirt, in excruciating pain, I knew something was seriously wrong. An ambulance ride later, after a myriad of tests, I was to learn I had broken my sacrum. The doctors agreed, it would be a long road but I should recuperate completely. I went through denial, anger, depression, frustration and helplessness. I could not run away or escape this fate. I had to endure. Wheelchairs, walkers, canes and eventually yoga therapy. Once I could drive, it was daily trips to work with a therapist. A broken back is every horse person's worst nightmare. How did this happen? Would I ever ride a horse again? Would I want to?

I had just purchased Lakota ten days earlier. I was not on her the day of the accident. When I was strong enough to visit her, a friend brought me to the farm. My walker creaked and groaned under the burden as I could not put any weight on my legs.My arms took the full force of my body. Lakota was hesitant until I began giving her treats from the little cloth basket. I was terrified of her, so afraid she might accidentally knock me over. She seemed disproportionally huge. I felt like Humpty Dumpty, fragile as an egg. I was not ready to give her up but it took months before I could muster the fortitude to even brush her.

My agony was the loneliness, the feeling of separation, isolation and vulnerability. I had thought of myself as courageous, strong and invincible and here I was broken and beaten. I could not leave my front porch for weeks. My cabin is not handicapped accessible. I had been carried in and would have to be carried out. It was summer in Montana and everyone was hiking, boating and playing. Everyone but me. Even my dog, Aries, was being cared for by a neighbor because I could not carry her dog food or let her in and out. I questioned all my beliefs about who I was and my place in the Universe. Why had I been abandoned? What had I done to deserve this? Why was all of my support 2,500 miles away? How could I have made such a mistake? What was my future going to be?

Even though my divorce had been ten years earlier, familiar emotions flooded in. The loss of identity, the crisis in faith, the unending ache, the turning around to see nothing had remained the same. Where was I going? Who was I now?

In spite of set backs, I have remained hopeful of once again finding a partner to share my journey and to continue enjoying horses. I could say that men and horses are too dangerous and the chance of getting hurt just too high. But, what is life without love? I am learning how to take more calculated risks. The first mistake was to trust my seat to a horse that I did not know. I have done the same with men. I had to learn the hard way. It is easy to find oneself in a wreck, when you haven't taken your time. There is no rushing in relationships or horses.

To mitigate my risk, a horse must: be calm, listen, be intelligent, be kind, willing to learn, actively engaged, have self control and gives his best effort.

I still dream of riding side by side, hand in hand with my partner over an open meadow, horses walking gently. If he is not a horse person, we will find another way to enjoy our time together. That is not carved in stone.

I realize that I was not forsaken, that I am blessed to be walking soundly. The break in my bone was millimeters from my spinal column. I am so very lucky. My world shifted after my divorce certainly but it also opened and expanded. "Pain is the resistance to what is". Once I could accept, I could move forward.

Divorce did not make me afraid to love again. I am living in faith and trust. I am more aware. My fall did not make me give up horses; it made me cautious. I do not know how long Lakota and I will be together. She has helped me regain my confidence and is willing to put up with my amateur attempts at training. Each day I become more knowledgeable about my Self. I will not pretend to know what is right for anyone else. We all have our own path to follow. I can only share my story and continue my daily practice of unfolding.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


There is a large shrub that has been enclosing on my driveway for the past few years. Each month the branches get closer and closer to scratching my car. I wasn't sure what it actually was but it has beautiful, fragrant blossoms in the early summer. The flowers look like wisteria but are attached to gnarly trunks instead of a vine. It was too lovely to destroy but something had to be done to control it. I learned it was a Robe Locust. This is not like the locust we grew on the east coast. This marauding shrub was actually an ornamental tree that had suckered into an invading nuisance

Today, I decided to tackle it. I cut the young sprouts, then the larger ones at the base. I reached in to clear the branches to get a better view and "ouch!" they had spines on them. At each leaf node there was a pair of barbs. As I sucked the blood that trickled from my thumb, I reassessed the situation. I could go back to the garage and get a pair of leather gloves or I could just be more careful. The next reach was much more gentle and deliberate. I dragged a huge pile of branches across the road without incident by paying more attention, watching to see where the thorns were and getting to know the structure of this plant.

The clearing away of all the extraneous growth, allowed the small trees to once again line my roadway. It made the driveway safer. The tree will be healthier by reducing competition for nutrients and water. It was good to have it done.

There are times when it would be beneficial to a relationship to broach a prickly topic. It is often easier to make a path around it, then to venture in and take a chance of getting stabbed. Avoidance may appear the simplest solution for awhile but sooner or later you are going to have to deal with it. The issue is going to keep growing until it blocks your road to a deeper sense of intimacy.

I will take the lesson of the little locust tree. Keep the intention of achieving a more loving union while carefully delving in. Avoid the barbs when possible and keep envisioning the result. If the intention is to just go in and slash branches, back away and approach another day.

I kept picturing the lovely tree I was uncovering. I had to remove dead wood and suckers to restore it. It took effort but now it will be pleasing to see each time I drive up to the cabin. It will grow more vigorously with this assistance. We are both happy. Ignoring the tree would not have solved the problem. It continued to spread each passing day. It will be easier to control and maintain. I will be more vigilant. Now that I know more about the tree's habit, I will work with it and not against it. I will keep it healthy and strong and it will provide me with beauty and sweet aroma.


Today is the 4th of July and the word that comes to mind is Freedom. I am feeling totally blessed and grateful for living in the United States. If I were living in many other countries, I would not have the time or the desire to contemplate spiritual teachings and my own inner workings. Anyone that has studied education is familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Self actualization can only be achieved when basic needs such as food, shelter and safety have been attained. I give thanks to all of the people that have sacrificed before me so that I have the privilege of sitting under this clear blue sky and typing to my heart's content.

I consider what Freedom means to me personally. My cabin symbolizes Freedom. My life is all about Freedom. I laugh when I think of something my girlfriend from San Antonio, Big Tex, said. She said, "I want to make a t-shirt that says - You are not the Boss of me! It reminds me of you, when we were living in Ithaca." It makes me laugh but it is a little sad, too. I was stretching my wings, rebelling against any limits and constructs surrounding me. There was collateral damage, I admit. I was breaking through the paradigm of feeling controlled by a man. The pendulum had swung way out.

I am not sure if men would understand what it is like to know that your shelter and your food is ultimately controlled by another. I had chosen to stay home with my daughters and work on their school schedule. I have never regretted that decision. I lived in the illusion that I did not have an equal say in marital decisions. It's not conscious, but  you know you are not able to support yourself with that kind of income. I see the error in that thinking now, but that is where I was. I felt unheard.  A book I read called it "de-selfing" when you start to lose yourself for the relationship. Resentment builds. It is cultural conditioning for women to acquiesce. Peace at all costs. I did not have the communication skills to stand up for my Self. When I went back to college in my 40's, I found myself in the same situation. Cripes. I fell into allowing a man to control my shelter and job, again. Out of the pan and into the fire. The proverbial spiritual 2 x 4.

Years later, I am in this little cabin on the side of a mountain in Montana. I have created a sacred space, a refuge for healing, that is true. This place has served its purpose. I have had total Freedom here. I sit on the porch with my coffee and write. I go visit my horse, without someone being envious of the time I spend with her. My work is rewarding and can be tiring. I feel comfortable laying on the settee for a half hour when I return. My gym schedule is erratic but important to me. I come and go as I please. Yet, there is something or someone missing.

I acknowledge my longing for relationship and my desire for Freedom. I asked a male  friend of mine not long ago, "What would you make me give up to be in a relationship with you?" I will ask that of any man I am considering. I understand the balance of "I" and "we". A relationship needs a healthy portion of both. 

I will leave my cabin willingly to partner with a man when the time comes. I have learned enough about me to know that I am not going to be dragged out of here with my toothbrush to be stripped of my Freedom. Sharing a roof does not mean giving up who you are or your values. I will do my best to honor and respect my partner's Freedom, also. There is a delicate balance between Freedom and commitment. I do not pretend to have that figured out yet. I believe that will be a process that will unfold. I'm aware that I could use this cabin as an invisible shield to hide behind. That is not my intention. I had to prove something to myself and I have completed that. It's time to write a new chapter. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Reading has Arrived!

Mystical kingdoms, a forgotten lighthouse, a sojourn into space, a mysterious drowning, talking wolves - sounds like summer reading to me!! Ok, admittedly, one book on woman's anger. For me, all this escapism is well overdue :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Being the Gift

Every Sunday I get up early, make the coffee and take it with me while I venture outdoors. If it is raining, it is onto the porch I go; if it is sunny, it is out to the flowers. Today was no exception. The roses are here so briefly, so I make the most to revel in their scent while I can. I stooped down to inhale the sweet aroma when something moved in front of my eyes. It was an incredibly beautiful moth resting on one of the blossoms. Last week it was a bee nestled in a bed of pollen, today it was a sleeping moth. He is the size of my hand and marked with the shades of the forest. What is he doing here? He is alive and well, simply taking a respite in the shady coolness.

My roses bring me such delight yet I realize suddenly how many others are finding pleasure in them also. The hummingbirds have taken up residency in the yellow climber rose beside the porch. People up the road are happy to see the blooms as they come home from work. A neighbor stopped last night to compliment them. The bumblebees extract their nectar during the day, while the moths feed from them at night.

I wonder if we can imagine how many times we are giving to others without consciously realizing it? We don't see the gift we are being in the world simply by being ourselves. We are impacting people positively by our intention, simply by being who we are. I am just being me and pleasing me by planting and tending my garden of flowers. I can look at it as a selfish activity. I am the only one here. Today I am reminded that I am having an effect on all around me.

I am creating a sacred space. My cabin is a refuge to all that enter her doors. I am surrounded by natural beauty and peacefulness. My home is quiet and serene. I know that my energy expands beyond these walls. I can say that I am just doing my job when I offer assistance or I can acknowledge that I am being a benefit to my community. My intention is to be a loving, spiritual being in my home and everywhere. I am more successful being that at times than others.

The lady bluebird has begun gathering dried grass from the gravel and bringing it into her house. This can only mean that she has decided to bring forth another clutch this year. She is remodeling and making it fresh. The bluebirds affirm that I have provided a safe haven for them to raise their young.

I ask you to look around you and take stock of how you are impacting life. We don't always pat ourselves on the back for the difference we are making just by being who we are. We are good parents, kind children, nurturing the environment, caring for our pets. Allow yourself to receive the gratitude from the Universe for all your contributions. Allow yourself to see the amazing difference you are making everyday. Your smile or the touch of your hand may be the answer to someone's prayer. Recognize the gift that you are.