Monday, May 31, 2010

The really nice things she does for me

My mom enjoying an Oregon downpour

It has been an indoor weekend at my house. Not only is this the 4th wettest May on record in my part of NW Oregon, my husband and I came down with nasty colds after our recent flight home from Ireland and we're not moving very much.

As I sit here on my bed, wishing for my headache to go away, I find myself thinking about my animals, my garden, and how lucky I am to have the mom that I do.

Now this may seem like an illogical statement or a non sequitur to you, but to me it makes perfect sense. You see, even though I am a really big girl now, my mom still takes care of me. Taking care of me these days, also means sometimes taking care of my animals.

If you have animals, you know how hard it can be to get away from home for more than a day. If you have a farm, it's that difficult times a thousand.

My mom, though, has never failed to offer her unlimited support and help. She loves our life here on Critter Farm and enjoys being out here, I think, almost as much as we do. Even so, when she had to have emergency shoulder surgery six days before Jim's and my departure for Ireland, I knew this would prevent her from doing her normal farm visits.

I couldn't have been more wrong, though. Despite her own healing, she visited our farm every few days while we were gone to see that all was in order. She regularly checked in with our farm sitter to make sure all animals were well cared for. She even made sure that all the eggs were tallied for me:

(My mom totally *gets* my obsession for maintaining my daily egg count chart, how lucky can I be?!)

Knowing I would be worried about my animals, she sent me regular updates (with pictures of my babies) while I was gone:

This one had the caption "Hurry, we are waiting for you!":

It was out of the question that Roxy, our farm pup, would go anywhere but to her house. Roxy *loves* it there. From Roxy I received a "Hi Mom!" attached to this photo:

Pete and Reggie sent me their greetings, too:

Dolly, ever the curious, had to come in for a closer look at my mom:

My step dad adores Roxy, too, and took her for a walk with their pup, Wolfi, every single day:

When we got back home, I found she was able to keep all my seedlings alive that I had had to leave unplanted before I left. I thought for sure they were goners, but they are thriving:

An incredible dinner was waiting for us in the refrigerator:

Sweet smelling, fresh flowers were on the table:

And a sweet note was next to my bed. Though I am still wondering why the word "sweetheart" is in quotation marks. (ha, ha):

Knowing my mom was here, watching over things while we were gone, was such a comforting feeling for me. I just knew in my heart that everything was safe and all would be well until we returned.

I'm so looking forward to the weather drying up, the sun shining just a bit, and my mom coming back out to the farm for a day of hanging with me and my critters.

It's pretty clear she loves them a lot:

They think she's pretty awesome, too:

Thank you again - so much - mom. ♥ ♥ ♥

(P.S. Dinner was INCREDIBLE!):

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I got home from Ireland and found...

Things don't stop growing when you're on vacation.

After just two weeks away, were amazed to find...
ridiculously long grass:

hip-high comfrey:

raspberries that have set fruit already:

the grapes are growing well:

the chives are sprawling:

the garlic is looking good (There are 3 different varieties growing in this photo. From left to right they are: Music, Chinese Pink and Oregon Blue. I am again in awe at the way the Music variety grows and produces):

peas that are plugging along (despite flooding rains, high winds and unseasonably cold spring weather):

the potatoes I planted the day before we left are sprouting:

my columbine is in full bloom:

the irises are, too:

the hostas in front look like they've been fed steroids:

Everything is, quite simply, thriving:

And the weeds...yes, the weeds are doing very well, too:

I also found donkeys and llamas curious at my return:

Goats who needed some good hugs:

Chickens thrilled to be out free-ranging again:

All is well here:

I am happy to be home.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Postcard from the Emerald Isle





time -







Sunday, May 16, 2010

Feel my pain

Driving through Ireland has been an incredible experience. We are in awe of the beauty of this country and, without an itinerary, we have been free to travel where we want, when we want, for however long we want. (Apologies in advance for the blurriness of some of the following photos - many of them were taken through the windshield of our rental car):

Driving on the opposite side of the road has been a bit of an adjustment, but it's gone very well. (My Jim is an excellent driver.) What wasn't anticipated, however, was that driving a 30 mile stretch in Oregon is very different, and much quicker, than it is here in Ireland. Due to the size and condition of the roads here, a destination a mere 30 miles away can sometimes take an hour - or more - to travel to and this is without any measurable traffic. Some days it is taking us a lot longer to travel the distances we plan each morning than we ever thought. This means we have had some really long days in the car.

What I'm about to write now is written with humor (in my heart, at least). It's a bit funny but, all the same, what I'm about to share with you is something that I normally wouldn't. It's really not the type of thing I like to disclose. It's a physical weakness, of sorts, and it drives me crazy. Normally, I would keep details like this under lock and key, but after this trip, I've reached a point where I feel ready to share.

Here it comes.

I suffer from extreme motion sickness.

Oh sure, over the years, I've learned to manage it. I rarely sit in the back seats of cars, NEVER ever in the back of buses, I don't go on any boats that plan to sit and bob on the water, and I can't do swings at the park.

But here, I've been caught off guard.

Between the windy curves:

the narrow roads...:

the bumpy, uneven surfaces...:

...and my sweet husband - a.k.a. Speed Racer (just kidding!) (but not really) flying over these roads, I've never been so sick in my life.

Add to all of these elements a little bit of sudden braking, say, when a sheep:

or a herd of cows:

or a baby deer suddenly crosses the road in front of us:

and this pretty much completes the nausea picture for me.

This is me, after 5 days of carsickness, just wanting to end the suffering:

Fortunately, I've found another solution...or at least something that helps a little bit: Pringles potato chips. They're very popular here. And now they're exceptionally popular with me. I've eaten 3 canisters of them since we've been here. Eating something salty seems to have a nice soothing effect on my tummy, though I shudder to think how much treadmill running I'm going to have to do when I get back home. But let's not think about that now. The important point here is that Pringles chips are my really good friends currently.

The Irish recognize the poor condition of their roads. They're even kind enough to warn us about them. Speed Racer and I always continue on, though, even despite warnings like these:

The pitch of Irish roads is different here, too. It's very steep at the center, so your left side is always lower than your right. I suppose this is to aid the swift removal of rain water from its surface. In addition to this, the edges of the road tend to crumble terribly, giving an effect as you drive over them similar to a twisty turny ride on a roller coaster that is driving over an uneven strip of bricks or cobble stones. It's jarring, to say the least.

The funny thing about these roads is the speed limit seems to be 100 kilometers per hour pretty much everywhere. 100 km/hr, which is approximately 62 miles per hour, is the posted speed even when you are also being warned about the curvy road ahead:

So, let's recap:



Uneven, bumpy edges:

are all bad for my stomach. Thank goodness for Pringles and for the beauty of Ireland...

It really is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been:

One more thing, though. Please think good thoughts for me tomorrow. This is what Jim's hoping we're going to do: