Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thank you, God....

.....For, getting us out of the cold season!!  Although this spring, especially the weather, has been super crazy!  I don't ever remember having as much wind in a spring as we've had this one.  It's blowing like crazy outside my window as we speak.  So far, we've had lots of tornadoes and near-tornadoes.  Two of our neighboring cities have had a lot of damage, particularly Joplin.  Some of my family (one of them follows WGL) were buried alive in the rubble of their home, but they were able to crawl out with just bumps and bruises (and aches).  I'm so thankful they are healthy and doing well, although, at this point in time, there are giant question marks looming over them.  But, they love Jesus, and I know that He's got amazing plans for them. 

My original plan was to have Lil' Lady Ann's bio for you, and she's informed me that she's working on it.  However, she's far more into doing things like planting and watering and mulching and weeding (NOT her favorite, but I SORTOF think it's therapeutic.)   I do remember that I said I'd introduce you to Asparagus.  Quite honestly, I don't have much content for this post, but I do have some pictures.  Really, they're acting more as a filler.   So, everyone, meet Asparagus:

Lady Ann has a heart for helping others, and she is doing a favor for a friend by keeping her friend's cats here on the little homestead.  There were four, originally, but one has vanished.  All of them are very skiddish, and don't like people.  However when I came on the scene, I was down-right determined to win their affections.  Asparagus is my first convert.  Wanna know how to win a cat's heart?  Starve it.  Then show up with a palate full of food, like a knight in shining armor carrying a bouquet of wildflowers and a box of chocolate (or, actually, a frozen Chai Bubbletea from Tea Drops.) (Or a frozen Rose Lassi Bubbletea) (I wonder if they'd give me free ones for free advertising...)  Well, it worked for me, at least.  I accidentally starved them (not even for a whole day), and by the time I brought their food to them, they were so hungry, they didn't even care if I was in the same room.  So I took advantage of their distracted eating and showed Asparagus that all cats like to be scratched right above their tales.  She believed me.  And now she begs for more.  We also noticed that one of the cats was pregnant.  Then, one evening as I was checking out the new growth in one of the raised beds....

...I heard the faint cries of baby kittens.  We thought that the pregnant cat had her kittens, but then what we found surprised us.  Asparagus was the mom!  We could not even tell she had babies baking in her belly!  Aren't they so cute?!  They are probably a month old--maybe more-- in these pictures, and we didn't even know they existed until they were about 3 weeks old.

There's only four.  In the above picture, two of them jumped on the other and started biting her.  Little vampires. 
They look so innocent, don't they?  They know how to hiss, but they don't know how to look scary yet.  It's so cute.  The first day I found these furrballs, I found a pile of dead kittens in a box nearby.  I figured Asparagus either couldn't take care of them all, or they just couldn't survive.  I happened to look over and see a another dead kitten half hidden behind something.   It looked newly dead.  It was all wet, and I figured I should get rid of it before it started rotting.  So I grabbed its tail and slid it out, and then it cried!!  It was still alive--and much smaller than its siblings.  The poor baby was laying there wet and cold, and completely segregated from everyone else, and clearly on its way to death.  It was OBVIOUSLY sick, and I will spare you from knowing how I knew.  So, I became its foster mama. 

I kept it warm by taking a feux-fur Russian looking hat and flipping it inside out.  I'm pretty sure it was convinced it was buried in its cuddly batch of siblings.  Can you see it curled up?  It blends.

I warmed it up and nursed it for a couple of days until all sign of sickness were gone.  I tried to see if Asparagus would take her back, but she didn't.  I also realized that I should probably get rid of the pile of dead kittens, but when I moved the box, the OTHER cat was busy nursing them!  They weren't dead at all!  Then, when I looked at their sizes, I realized that the baby I had been nursing actually belonged to THAT batch.  I then tried to see if she would take her baby back.  And she did.  Life is good.

Just a few simple things to share...

I harvested my first ever vegetable.  It's pretty.  Mmhmm.  I don't really care too much for radishes.  But this one was tasty!  Maybe because I'm biased?

 Lady Ann has a super cute little red barn.  SHE says it needs to be repainted.  I think it has character exactly like it is.  I wish I had a before picture of what was going on in front of the barn.  Instead, I have a "middle" picture, because this is not quite an after shot.  There is still more work to be done.  But we cleared out a lot of weeds and other stuff that Lady Ann had been wanting to get rid of, or move.  I found some of these pallets laying around and decided to take advantage of them.  Now we're trying to figure out the best way to deal with the ground.  Our goal is to permanently disable the weeds there, and still make it look aesthetically pleasing.  More potted flowers?  Some pretty, dainty ground cover?  Plant more grass?  That last one wouldn't really disable the weeds, but at least we could keep them trimmed up with those new-fangled machines called weed-eaters.  Any suggestions?

And, some more pictures.....just because.

My parents purchased some property to build their home several years ago, and this little gem was on the property.  They are wise, wise people, for they have chosen to leave beauty unscathed. 

This is the little breakfast area in my apartment.  It's my favorite spot.  It's cozy, and I like the view...

Greenery!  I also love lamp.  That lamp, actually.  I bought that lamp as an ugly brass thing for a few bucks at a thrift store, then spray-primed it and spray-painted it.  It's amazing how the white paint brings out it's curves. 

And last, but not least, STRAWBERRIES.  Yes, person.  I love me some berries!  This year, we will also have a butt-ton of raspberries, and a few blueberries.  Lady Ann also has two mulberry trees that are going CRAZY with berries right now!  Who loves antioxidants?  DING DING DING!  This girl. :)
 That is all I have for you today.  Hopefully next will come Lady Ann's bio, and I will also introduce you to Buddy.  Later, gators!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh my.

It’s been another long while since I’ve written.  I'm a bit suspicious my posting may be sporadic for the next month or two.  We’re running behind trying to get everything planted and  our seeds sprouting, but when things calm down, I hope to have my ninja-blog writing skills down pat.  Stealth-like.  Bam!  You won’t even know what slapped you.  (It wasn’t me.  Or was it?  As I said, you won’t even know...)  Speaking of seed-starting, I’m not sure what the deal is, but  we are having a hard time with our seeds.  It’s not our faults, I’m sure of......  Mmkay.  Who am I kidding.   Somehow, my parents, who merely have a table set up in their living room, have big, beautiful strong-stemmed plants that they ALSO started from seed.  WE have a setup of shelves, WITH growlights (yes, adjustable ones, so we have them close to the seedlings while they’re germinating), and a lot of our seeds are shooting up spindly little  plants.  Wuttup with that?  We’re watering them!  We don’t leave the growlights on at night, so they do have their “sleep”.  We don’t have heat on them, but my parents don’t either.  Advice/experiences, anyone? 

I said in the last post that the next few posts would be set aside for character introductions.  This makes for an awkward post for me to write because, in a way, writing all these "I" statements makes me feel a little self absorbed.  However, whenever I read a blog, I love getting to know the author and hearing their stories.  It's fun for me to see what makes them and what has shaped them.  So, to start, I’ll play Captain Obvious and tell you that my name is April.  True Story.  My friend, Marina (who, I also hope to introduce you to, because she is, like, so totally legit.), calls me Eh-prehl, which makes me giggle.  Think French when you try to pronounce it.  And when she says “Eh-prehl”, there’s this neck-thrust thing that she does that is AWESOME.  I told you—legit.  Anyway, I am 29 years old.  I cringe a little as I write that.  I am less than 4 short months from no longer being a 20-something.  My heart is asking my mind permission to break over this news, but I am edicting that new seasons shall be embraced by all.  By “all”, I mean ALL of me.  Including my newly forming wrinkles.  I'm learning to embrace the aging process, and am actually starting to think of them as "cute".  Yes.  I am declaring my baby wrinkles to be cute.  Beautiful, even. 

Okay, moving on.  I’m adopted.  I and my brother, Seth, were living with my grandma who was from England.  Killer accent.  Loved it.  Miss it.  She took us to church one morning, and, apparently we were little misfits who wore out our beloved self-sacrificing Brit.  (By the way, she had a boyfriend named “Bob”, but she had to call him “Robert”, because with her accent, she would call him “Boob”.   Also a true story.)  A super couple saw how tired she was, so they offered to take us the following weekend.  The plan was for us to stay with them on Friday night, then return to “Boob”’s girlfriend Saturday morning.  We did stay the night, but the following morning, Grandma had a heart attack.  She survived, but couldn’t (obviously) take care of us any longer.  So, SuperCouple (I’ll call them “Mom” and “Dad” from here on out.), decided that they liked us enough to keep us.  They have two sons of their own, Dennis and Doug.  They grew to like us.  I think.  Dennis is married to a cute red-head named Karen, and they have 3 boys that I adore.  Logan, Peyton, and Mason are their names.  Doug is in the Army, and has had two rounds in Baghdad, and one in Egypt.  He’s done.  Seth is 2,000,000 miles away (Texas) from his adoring family.  I also have a very talented interior designer half brother, Dane, who lives in D.C., and a strong and courageous half sister, Jennifer, who lives in Texas.  Anyway, I shared my adoption story because when people find out I’m adopted, I get a lot of curious looks, and then some apologies “for asking, and you don’t have to share if you don’t want to, but how did it all happen?”   I don’t mind sharing.  Yes, I keep in touch with my biological mom, and I have a good relationship with her. 

Right now, I work at a pizza place.  I’ve been with them for ten years in November, and I still love my job.  I’ve had my share of burn-out days, but, because of the people I work for and with, I remember why I love my job.  And then I bounce back. 

I like to go running, except I’m in a dry spell right now. 

I like to eat healthy, but I also like to eat junk.  I love Mexican.  And pizza.   My friend, Kirk (a window-washer/male-model who also loves Jesus), asked me today if I was tired of pizza yet.  What!?  Impossible.  I try to eat lots of veggies and fruit.  Pizza gets in the way, though, and often. 

Anyway, I love mountains and want to live on one someday.  I love hiking and forests, but I dislike desert scenes.  Currently, my favorite color is "greenery". 

I love animals, and I hate killing things, even bugs and snakes.  Sometimes I’ll kill a spider.  While I do love animals, I am not a vegetarian. 
I love the country, but I also love the urban city.  I love charming old houses and buildings with history and character.  I’m not a fan of suburbs.  They’re boring.  Convenient, but boring. 

I could  (easily) have a full day movie marathon. The Goonies, yes.  Flight of the Navigator, yes.  All I need is a cold room, blankets and pillows, and some moderately healthy, moderately junky food.  Like any girl, I love sweets, waytoooomuch.  Whole Foods makes a cookie called the Monster Cookie, or something like that.  It has oatmeal, coconut, chocolate chips, and a lot of other tastes of heaven.  It’s my current sweet crush. 

I try not to spend too much time on the world.wide.web, but I do have a few blogs I like to follow.  They are usually about all things vintage, design (like diy projects.  I'm slowly building my tool collection.), or recipes. 

I’m a dreamer and an enthusiast--both good things--and I’m learning to tame them both.  As we all know, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.  Amen. 

That’s enough FYI on me.  This weekend, Lady Ann and I are going to a seed and plant festival 3 hours away.  There’s classes and workshops, and fiddlers too.  Lady Ann almost jumped out of her chair when she saw that.  While we're gone, I'm planning to have her work on a bio for your reading pleasure.  She's so great.  It's time for me to stop staring at this screen!  Have a great weekend!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Let's get re-aquainted, shall we?

It's been awhile.  I had in mind to post something at least once a week.  Life has been like crazy-ade since my last (and only) post, trying to get everything organized and get all my stuff moved.  I have only had time to pack, clean, unpack, eat junk food (cuz healthy is a little tough on the run)(I know I'm making excuses)(.......sigh), caress a few friendships, move more, sell some, buy lots-o-gas, and then more unpacking.  I actually have a little more to do, but as the Vice CEO of Aprilland, I've authorized myself an evening off from doing stuff.  By the way, I recommend Craigslist for all your junk-selling needs.  One nice thing about the crazy last few weeks is that I made some buckaroos on some of the furniture I was selling.  I advise not top-posting too much, or you can get marked as a SPAMMER.  I didn't get marked, but they sure threatened.  Heh heh.  Anyway,  this post is really dedicated to telling you the story of how the shes came to be-s (That's just suppose to be "be".  I just wanted to rhyme.)  Here we go.....

 My side of the story starts at two years ago.  Ish.  Through a series of not really events, I realized my hippie-like dream to live on a mountain and have goats and chickens and a beehive or two, and eat the fruits and vegetables from my own big garden (it's called "homesteading", folks).  I kinda thought maybe it was just an emotional phase that would pass, but it never did, and, in fact, the passion increased and became a bit like a fire in my chest.  Fast forward a year.  I was in a renting situation that would not allow me to have a big garden in my back yard (or farm animals, for that matter).  A friend of mine (I call him Drewdle) suggested I have a garden on my church's (plenty-o-land) property.  I found out that there was a garden already there, but for various reasons, it had overgrown with weeds and was being largely unused.  So, for six months I dreamed about and collaberated with a friend about revamping the garden.  Then, sadly (sadly then, but happily now), something happened that closed that door.  And THEN.....I cried. Just a little bit.  BUT, I knew that God would open another door, and that there would be a place for me to have a garden!  Yay!  Goats, chickens, and bees were likely out of the picture for awhile, but, whatevs, yo.  Fruits and veggies are high priority, right?  So, I just prayed a simple prayer and asked God to open another door.  Around the same time,  I realized that maybe what I actually needed, more than having a big garden like asap, was a MENTOR!  I mean, after all the reading and studying and researching I'd been doing on how to have an organic garden without spending big bucks on all of todays modern practices, um, I was feeling a little overwhelmed, kiddos.  It actually paralyzed me a little.  I was afraid to start for fear that I'd mess up and waste lots of time and energy.  Oh, fear.  That's what fear does.  It paralyzes.  So, I prayed another simple prayer.  I asked God to bring a mentor into my life.  I asked for someone who's gone before me and who can teach me what he/she has learned. 

On the outside of my garden world, I'm dealing with another situation.  My living situation.  Nothing bad was happening relationally, it's just that a good friend/roommate of mine was financially unable to hold up her part of the deal, and so she left the scene.  So that left me and my other roommate to cover everything, which has been a pretty big blow to both of our financial situations.  Finding a permanent third roommate was sketchy, and I was already experiencing an itch to live alone anyway.  So, I also began to pray about moving out.  Okay, that's that.  That is info you need to know, but back to the garden...

So, TWO WEEKS after I prayed for a mentor, I received an email from a friend who I have not spoken to for awhile (not for any bad reason. Just because.), and she told me that I had been on her heart for the last couple of weeks, but she was just getting around to emailing me.  She told me that a little widow had come into her life.  The little widow has a little farmhouse out in the country with 7 acres of land.  She does organic gardening (and has a worm farm...and brews her own kombucha...and makes lots-o-soup), and ultimately her heart is for this next generation to learn how to tend to the land, and to learn what it is to eat the fruits of their own labor.  Oh, and she's looking for someone to MENTOR (yes, that was her word.  Emphasis mine.), and wants this person to live in the upstairs apartment of the farmhouse, and in exchange, she will teach that person what she knows.  Crazy right?  I don't normally squeal, but I did just then.  Not now.  Back then.

All that happened about 3 months ago.  Since then, Lady Ann and I have talked and dreamed and laughed and planned and jammed on guitars.  I really can't jam much.  I barely remember a few chords, but you should hear this lady!!  Even if I have to go against her will, I pseudo-promise (if there is such a thing) I will capture her in all her Johnny-Cash-lovin' glory and you will be rocked.  She taught herself peeps.  OH, and, she is ALL about me getting goats, chickens, and beehives.  I'd also like to say that I know a God who loves to ten-up His kids.  When I asked for a mentor, and a new place to have a plot, and a new place to live, I really just thought they were all seperate little prayers.  I figured maybe God would bring me a mentor that I would just end up helping them on their own plot, and then my plot might be at a community garden, which means I'd be driving from garden to garden, but I was okay with that cuz at least God opened up other doors, right?  And, I could only daydream my living situation.  What I THOUGHT was my ideal was to have a cute little cottage-y type house all by myself, but I still knew that I'd be paying a lot for rent and utilities.  Well, now, I live in a farmhouse with my cute little mentor, I get a cute little upstairs apartment/loft area, I'm paying approximately $550 per month LESS than what I was (that is also pretty cute), I get a HUGE plot, PLUS another plot Lady Ann and I are teaming up to be able to give food away to elderly, I get mentored on site (she will tell you that she is still learning, too), I get to live in the country, AND I get those goats and chickens and beehives I thought I'd have to wait years to get.  Mmmmhmmm.  God 100-up'd me.  Another one of my favorite parts of this journey is Little Lady Ann, herself.  She is just about as cute as a ladybug's ear.  (No one I know really knows what a lady bug's ear looks like, but I reckon they're cute.)  I'm a pretty big believer that humans are made for relationship, and this one is gonna be one of those pivotal ones, I can tell.  Seriously folks, you will hear me talking about her a lot.  Actually, the next several posts will be dedicated to character introductions.  You'll get to know me a little more, and then, Lady Ann willing, you'll get to know more about her, too.  She also has her side of the story, so whether it gets shared or not is up to her.  And soon, you'll also meet Don, Buddy, and Asparagus.  Hey.  Keep your peepers peeled for some pictures, okay?  Thanks for listening, and until next time.....

Monday, March 7, 2011

pleasure to meet'cha

Hi!  Welcome to The Widow, the Girl, and the Land.  This blog came about somewhat on its own.  The story of how all this happened will emerge in a following post.  But for now, I'll tell you that when this rare opportunity to pursue my dream slapped itself on my forehead, I knew (without doubt) that I would take it, and that it needed to be documented.  So, naturally, the blogosphere would be my rooftop.  The name came on its own too, actually.  Maybe a little strange sounding, but true.  When I realized this journey needed to be blogged, I had a moment's thought about what I would call it.  And just as quickly as that thought came, the answer appeared.  There was no having to think on it, really.  It was simply "the widow, the girl, and the land".  I liked it as soon as I thought it, and that's that.  WGL will document all kinds of things.  Here, you can expect to see crafty DIY projects, before and after pictures, posts about sustainabillity and going (more) green, and stories and pictures of the homestead life.  And you will see recipes for healthy eating.  There will be how-to's on making cheese, yogurt and kefir, and I will probably be forever experimenting with icecream.  Yes sir/ma'am.  (Icecream isn't what most people call healthy, but I will do my part to make it health-IER.  Rose Lassi Icecream anyone?) Little Lady Ann and I are both big advocates for whole foods (not Whole Foods, peeps.  Whole and real food.  Although, I do some shopping at Whole Foods). B-T-Dubbs, my understanding of "healthy" isn't "fat free", "lite", "low cal", or "sugar free"  (although my vice is Diet Coke/Pepsi.  I'm working on it!  Back off!).  But, I will also say that I am no scientist, and I'm not even an expert on any of these things.  Most of my learning has been from resources most people have access to, from the testimonies of others, or from my own personal experiences.  I read articles that convincingly argue for one thing, and then I read another article that does well to counter-argue.  So if you have questions, feel free to ask, and I will try to answer as wisely as I can.  I will likely cite some resources, but then encourage you to do more research.  I'm learning too.  Mostly, this blog is about the adventures of (starting out with) two shes who have been handed some land.  I'm not even exactly sure what to tell you about where the journey is going.  How this whole thing came about is unique and really pretty supernatural.  We're both sort of on the edge of our seats to see what God's gonna do.  We did not orchestrate this.  It just happened.  All we know is that we both love Jesus, and we both love the land.  We love the realm of nature and how everything works so systematically, except with the help (or destruction) of humans, at times.  Think about it!  The bees pollinate the plants, which helps the plants grow.  The plants cross-polinate each other, which helps each other grow.  Bees make honey, and honey, in its raw form, is healing!  And animal poop is good for our food!  What is thaaat all about?!  But, it is!  Anyway, The Widow, the Girl, and the Land is a tale of two shes.  This is the introduction.  I hope you'll join us as our chapters are written, and that you'll love the adventure with us!  God is so good!

Disclosure:  I am no grammar hero.  I think I do okay.  But, if my grammar and punctuation issues drive you nuts, feel free to point out my errors.  Because, I err.  I hope not much.  I feel like a weight just lifted.  However, I like short sentences, and that, you proabably will not stop.