Sunday, May 29, 2011

On Behalf Of A Grateful Nation

Tomorrow is Memorial Day,when we here in the US remember those who gave their lives fighting for our country. I had hoped that Zach would not have to grow up having had lived through a war,let alone having a Dad that fought in one.I have had family members fight in each war since WWII. Rick has had members fight in wars since the French and Indian Wars in the 1600's. Zach has a mighty long line of veterans in his tree,some who died in the Civil War and at Valley Forge. He has much to be proud of.

Memorial Day is especially poignant for me, because I know how lucky we are to have Rick here. He came close on more than one occasion to losing his life. I count my blessings on a daily basis.

There are many who are not so lucky,and this is their day.For hundreds of years, our military members have sacrificed  so that we can keep the freedoms that we hold dear. I hold all of them in my heart...and am eternally grateful.

Thank you,on behalf of a grateful nation.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Making Up For Lost Time

Between the snow totals this past winter,and the rain that we have had over the last couple of months,our water table here has been full.We have had water in our basement for two months. The backyard is the worst that it has ever been-puddles just wouldn't go away,and one would sink about about 3"into the muddy yard. Needless to say,it  has hindered our outdoors plans. The two major ones were:
1)Building a wood shelter
2)Expanding the garden

The Boys got so frustrated that last week they started working in the rain as best as they could.

Now that we are finally getting warm,sunny weather,things are finally drying out. Our yard will finally get mowed this weekend (it is starting to resemble a field) and work has begun on filling the yard with dirt to build it back up and the wood shelter should be finished today.Rick's  brother Spencer is up for a few days to help Brother B build the shelter,and Rick has been using the tractor to fill the yard area.The new garden boxes will be built this weekend as well.

This morning we had a visitor:

This turkey hen had shown up in our neighbor's yard,then decided to check out ours. She enjoyed the bird seed that had fallen on the ground,looked over our compost area,and hung around for about an hour. Our caged Tom started gobbling like crazy,but she never paid him any mind. She didn't even go out back to investigate. Our dogs then noticed her out the French doors,started barking,and she wandered back into the neighbors' yard into the field,where  we lost sight of her.

Our driveway has finally dried out.In this photo you can see the pile of fill that we ordered. We wound up getting two truckloads from a local dealer. The ruts were really bad,but Rick put some fill in and smoothed it out a bit. It's not finished yet:
The main goal right now is to get the garden area situated so we can get going on that. The area had settled,making the water stagnant,so Rick has been filling and back dragging the area to build it up. We do have raised beds,but we still have to walk in that area,which was impossible. The chicken pen will get some fill as well. The girls were walking around in inches of mud for days.
The boys moved the beds we already had and saved the compost mix that was in them. We will mix the old with the new compost we are going to get. We are also going to mix in more vermiculite and peat moss.

A photo of where a big old puddle sat in our back yard and where the tractor got stuck. Lovely,isn't it???

A view of the skeleton of the wood shelter ( which we call a "pole barn",even though it isn't). The posts were cut down to size,and cemented into the ground. We have a green metal roof to put on it and fencing will go on either side. You can see we have lots of wood to stack under it when it's done!The shelter should be done today,but stacking will probably be done tomorrow.

Since I don't have much planting that I can do right now,I did plant my oregano and thyme plants in my herb box,as well as a couple of dill and basil seeds. Our strawberry plants are finally getting blossoms as well. The Boys are taking a lunch break right now and trying to get cool. Temps are in the 80's,quite a switch from the cold,drizzly weather we had last week. I will be glad when I can get my garden done,but I can take comfort knowing that I am not the only one!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Those of you who have been following me for a long time know that the main reason I started this blog was to have an outlet for our journey with Rick's PTSD and TBI.I wanted to have a place to not only vent but also to let other folks in our position know that they are not alone. It has been a long process,from when he came home in April in 2006 to now. When he came home,he was the opposite of the man I married. He was no longer outgoing,filled with humor,affectionate,and easy going. He was quick to anger, quiet,kept to himself,and had emotional walls built up. I knew it wasn't going to get better if he didn't get help,so I gave him a "choice"-either get help,or live alone. I was not going to have my son brought in up walking on eggshells,nor did I want to live like that,no matter how much I loved my husband. Or should I say,I loved the man I married,which I knew still existed inside of him somewhere.

Rick has not told me everything that he experienced in Ramadi,but I do know that he was under attack everyday,was in many firefights,,did have to take lives,saw friends die,kicked down doors and took prisoners,gathered intelligence,and had some situations where he was involved in hand to hand combat.Some things he cannot remember,and whether that is due to his brain injury or just blocking it out we don't know.

What I do know is he has come a very long way. He has his sense of humor back,he is more outgoing,and is more comfortable in public.He is affectionate again. That is not to say he still doesn't have flashbacks,or doesn't get  anxious in public or unfamiliar surroundings or situations. He will always suffer from PTSD and will always need meds to help him out. He will always have effects from the brain injury-he gets confused when he reads,and filling out forms is alot for him. He still spells as words sound,not as they suppose to be written. He forgets things. He has to have sound on even numbers on the TV.He is on Ritalin,and that has been a big help in making him focus on tasks. He will never work again,and that bothered him greatly for a long time. He says he is now coming to grips with it. Now that his knees have been fixed that has helped as well.He is no longer in agonizing pain,and is no longer on morphine. Physically,he can now do many more things,even if it can still be overwhelming for him mentally.

Our marriage took a hit for quite a while. I won't lie and say it wasn't difficult. There were many times I would look at our marriage photo and cry because I wanted that man back. It was hard being shut out and being kept at arms length,when I had always been happily wrapped in his arms! Those who have been through it know what I mean. It made me sad,depressed,and angry.  The wall was between us for a few years. However,we worked through it together,and we have our old relationship back. It took 5 years,but we are now in a good place. Rick is in a good place. Which is why I changed the theme of this blog. It's now more about our daily journey here,less about Rick. Things are on a much more even plane now.

Each day we get up and are happy with our lives. We love each other,our son,our home,and plodding along on our little piece of heaven.It's wonderful to see Rick be able to work his own property,at his own pace,and get such a sense of accomplishment.Right now he and Brother B are outside with the tractor,in the drizzle,putting fill in the backyard. He loves it! I am so proud of how far he has come,and am grateful that he can work as hard as he can and have purpose. We are finally back to where we were. I hope that other families who are dealing with PTSD and TBI and survive and come out on the other side as we have.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Soggy Week

This whole week has been gray,raw,and rainy off and on. Not a great week for doing much outside. The Boys have finally split all the tree length wood and cleaned up the area where it was. The tractor has been a big help-they are out there right now finishing up. Next for the wood is building a wood shelter,with posts and a metal roof overhang that will extend from the backside of our garage.Some of the wood will need to be re stacked (the older wood moved to the front) so they didn't bother to stack all of the new wood yet. Today we are getting some fill delivered. Our yard has taken a beating,what with the new well being put in last year and the fact that the subcontractor did a poor job back filling. We now have assorted bumps,sink areas,etc from the well,across our driveway,to the house. We also wound up with some massive frost heaves in the back,and our yard in general has settled since we moved here. So we are going to fill in as much of our yard as we can,then we will get some loam to put on top.

We are getting compost delivered this year. We don't have enough broken down this year to refill our boxes from last and to fill the 6 new ones that we will building in the next week. We do have peat moss left over from last year,and we will have to pick up more vermiculite to mix in with the compost. The tractor is going make this job much easier than last year. I do admit that I am glad we won't have to manually sift our pile this year!

After the boxes are made,and the garden planted,Rick is going to redo our compost area.Right now,it's a big pile. He is going to build a bin with two areas,one for broken down ready to use compost,the other for stuff that is in the process of breaking down. Yesterday,I tried the tractor for the first time,playing in the compost,and I must admit it was quite a bit of fun! I loved it.

I did have to replant some of my Sugar Pie pumpkins,Jack O'Lantern pumpkins,Straight 8 cukes and National Pickling cukes. For some reason,they didn't sprout at all. We ordered 10 blackberry and raspberry bushes,four blueberry bushes,Red Pontiac potatoes,onion sets,and we bought some Maine white seed potatoes from our local Blue Seal. I am getting anxious to plant!!! But being NH,today is the official last frost date,so as soon as the yard is done and the boxes made I can plant.These next few weeks are going to very very busy,as long as the weather cooperates. We would probably have the wood shelter all done by now.

Is it sunny where you are? We sorely miss the sun...we haven't seen it all week long.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Some Had Fun This Past Weekend,Some Did Not

Friday at 3:00 AM I woke up with the most horrible pain the back of my neck and head that I have had in a while.  I did fall back asleep,but when I woke back up at 8:00 AM,my eyes were sensitive,I still had a pain in the back of my head,and I felt sick to my stomach. I took some  Excedrine Migraine,and went back to bed. I hate when days like that happen,especially days when I have much planned. By the time 2:00 PM rolled around, I was feeling good enough to at least shower,and I went outside to gather eggs,then laid back down. I was wiped out.

Rick,on the other hand,had gone with a friend of ours to pick up what we consider our first farming purchase:
Yep. An Actual Tractor! Rick has been wanting one for awhile to help out around the yard.New ones are way too expensive,but he found this old Bolens on Craig's List,in Farmington,the next town over! He made arrangements to check it out and brought our next door neighbor,Kelly,who is very mechanically inclined and knows alot about tractors,and his friend,Joe. The tractor came with a mow deck,tow behind trailer,weights,and a rototiller. It was for an excellent price. Both Kelly and Joe were envious. Rick did not make any purchase without discussing it with me,mind you. :) Joe helped Rick bring it home and unload it. Then Rick spent the next hour getting used to how it runs,and how the bucket works. He played in the compost pile (which you can see behind him in the photo)moving the compost,then went to the remaining fire wood piles and tried to scoop up some wood to move them to the back of the garage.(he moved a few piles) He proclaimed it "perfect for what we want to use it for." This year, it will be regrading the back yard,redoing the driveway,moving the compost pile,filling the garden boxes,and moving wood.

Zach had a great weekend,at least until Sunday afternoon. He went to the Boy Scout Spring Camporee that was held in Farmington,which was very convenient for us,since it's not far. His patrol won first place in knot tying,and third in First Aid. When we picked him up Sunday AM,he said he had a nice time,and seemed tired,but that wasn't unusual. Lots of fresh air does it every time. He curled up on the couch and slept.By the time late afternoon rolled around,he was complaining that he head felt swimmy. I took his temperature and it was 101.5. I put him to bed,gave him some cold ginger ale,put a cold cloth on his forehead,and gave him some nighttime meds to help reduce the fever and help him sleep. He had no stomach complaints,or body aches. He is sniffly,so I guess he's fighting a head cold. I kept him home from school today,and we won't be going to Scouts tonight. Poor thing. We hate when he gets sick. His little body feels like a furnace,and he never complains,he just gets real quiet. Today I gave him some day time meds and will keep pouring the cold fluids to him.
In plant news, our strawberry plants are coming up nicely,my thyme and oregano have made a strong comeback,and my mint will need to be pulled. It's starting to take over the herb box. I should've planted that as a ground cover. I am going to see if there are any good peppermint soap recipes where I can use the leaves.

I need to go check on The Boy now. I hope you all had a great weekend!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A New Season In NH

What am I doing?

A) Working in my new TV series,"The Woman Behind the Veil"
B)Modeling a new style of burka
C)Keeping bees
D)Wearing anti black fly headgear to work outside

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Belated Mother's Day

As always,it seems that time slips by before I realize how long it's been since I posted last. Many things seem to be in the planning stage now,so what do I write about? That's always the problem!

This past weekend was a busy one. Sunday,Mother's Day,we awoke to beautiful skies and green leaves peeking out on the trees.

Late Sunday we went down to Somersworth for a Mother's Day dinner at my sister's house,so we got to visit with her and her hubby,and my Mom. Dinner was cranberry pork with cranberry "gravy",zucchini and summer squash, beef rice, and strawberry cheesecake for dessert. It was delicious! I asked my sister for the pork and the cheesecake recipe. Before we left for her house, I asked Rick to take a photo of Zach and I. I think it's the first photo we have taken on Mother's Day.

Rick and Zach were at a loss as to what to get me for Mother's Day. I really didn't need anything,and breakfast in bed in fine with me. But Rick insisted that they buy me something,so I said I wanted some alpaca yarn from Kings Highway Alpacas down the street. So they took a walk on Saturday,and gave these to me on Sunday morning:

The Alpaca Farm is run by a nice couple. She shears,spins,and dyes the yarn,in only natural colors. It's so soft! After I finish the socks that I am currently working on, I am going to make Zach a nice scarf for Christmas. I loved the yarn,but no breakfast in bed this year. We had a full house on Sunday AM,because we had Rick's other two brothers,his nephew,and a dear old Shaw family friend came up on Saturday for a wood splitting party.All the remaining tree length logs had to be cut into rounds and split into firewood. We provided beer,soda,hamburgers,and ribs. They worked hard,and all wound up crashing at our place. So we had assorted bodies on the floor,couch,and recliners. Nephew Brody slept in a sleeping bag in Zach's room. I think the fresh air and the beer caught up with men,and having them stay was fine. Best be safe than sorry! All the logs did get cut into rounds,and some of the wood split. Rick and Brother are going to split the rest this week. We should be set on firewood for a couple of years.

My seedlings are doing well. Right now I have Straight Eights and Pickling cukes on heat. The rest I have planted in pots until I can put them outside.

I am very excited because we have sold three dozen eggs! Our first money making venture from our Little Farm! We are selling them for only $1.50 a dozen,which is actually .09 cents cheaper than the supermarket I shop at. I have seen some folks sell for $2.00,and even $2.50 a dozen,but all we want to do is make a bit of pocket money to help toward food for the girls. They are laying on average 7 eggs a day.
 I hope all you Mom's out there had a fabulous Mother's Day!!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Our weekend with the Scouts went well and we had a lot of fun. Zach's Troop helps the district run the Fish and Run each year. The annual Abnaki District Fish and Run is designed for Webelos to stay the weekend,have a fishing contest,and do various stations to test their scouting skills.They have a big competition at the end of the day and a campfire with skits and songs. First year Webelos are fourth graders. Second year Webelos are 5th graders and they are already crossed over into Boy Scouts by the time that Fish and Run happens. Each station covers what the boys are learning in their handbooks. Each patrol is graded on how well they work together,etc. The younger Cub Scout-,the Tigers (1st grade),Wolves (2nd grade)and Bears (3rd grade)-have their own fishing competition and they too,can try their hand at some of the stations. Zach was again this year at the First Aid station,playing an injured person. The Webelos had to figure out what was wrong with him. He enjoyed it,as he got to lay down in the dirt all day!!!! Rick helped man the rain gutter ship building station,and I sold hamburgers,hot dogs,chips,drink,cookies and brownies to help raise money for the troop. Needless to say,by the time we got home on Sunday AM,we were all tired from the fresh air. I think we all napped-I know I did!

 We ordered more turkeys this year. We have 14 Bronze turkeys coming next week.We will have to see how well our remaining turkeys get along with their new pen mates. We are still getting random turkey eggs.

Today Rick and I are going to Zach's school for their "Lunch At School Day." We like sitting with Zach and his friends. The school has a great salad bar,which I always enjoy when we go. After that,I need to get more pots. My pumpkins are growing like crazy and I need to transplant them from the seedling tray.No planting outside yet. It's not safe until Memorial Day-ish,unless you have a low tunnel,etc. Which we don't :(

Our backyard is still quite soft,so we haven't been able to get out and work on our beds.We are going to build more square foot boxes within the next week. We also need to get more compost. I don't think we will have enough to replenish our current boxes and fill new ones. We also need to get some fill for our backyard. When we had our artisan well put in,the subcontractor who back filled the trench did a very poor job,so we have sink areas. Not cool. Just one more thing to add to the already long list!!!!!! Our strawberry plants are starting to come up,and I hope we get a good amount,because I want to make quite a bit of jam this year.

We did have a bit of a scare on Sunday when we got home. Our cat Moxie apparently got out and was gone for over 24 hours. He hasn't been outside since we found him in our woodpile back in November. Monday afternoon I went into the "boathouse" (one of those canopied  half circle storage things that folks put boats or cars in that zippers up)thinking he could be in there. Brother B went on the other side in case something ran out. I called ,"Moxie! Little Mo!" I then heard a faint "Meow." Turns out he was underneath a pile of miscellaneous stuff we are storing there until household pick up day. Brother B was able to retrieve him and now he is back in house. Right now he is laying at my feet under the desk :) Zach was really upset and worried that he would never come back. I was too. I have a real soft spot for cats.

Turkey season opened up on Tuesday,and they boys have been out each morning. They have seen turkeys but never in a good spot to get off a shot. Here in NH,they can only hunt turkey until noon. Maybe tomorrow we will have fresh turkey!