Friday, March 16, 2018

Snowdrifts Everywhere I Look

Snowdrifts everywhere I look,
white, pure white snow,
pretty to look at.
Fun to play in.
Just one of those things,
a pretty sight,
beneath my view,
hard work.
Pretty white snow today,
means ice, slush, then mud
will be in its place
for days to come.

Just like life.
Life looks pretty, 
my life included.
Others say, 
"I look up to you."
I politely thank them.
Deep down I cry.
I know I am no one to look up to.
I know my life is not true.
It is sad,
it is lonely.
I am sad,
I am lonely,
crying into my pillow nightly.
Wishing for an escape,
that never seems to come.

Death does not seem so bad,
if it frees me from the ropes,
that keep me in a place I despise.
Is that the only choice?
Finding a new life is my dream,
a dream that seems out of reach.
Imagining a whole new me,
in a whole new life.
It consumes me day after day,
and yes, year after year.

Why can't I find my way,
my way to happiness?
I had it once a very long time ago,
but now, it has been too long to remember it.
Why does everybody else have it, 
but not me?
What did I do that was so bad,
that I can never in my whole life,
find it again? 

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Life Beyond The Comfort Zone

Peaceful Forest 2012

I started writing this blog in 2005, after having so many people asking me questions about this off the grid lifestyle. Most of them were on Homesteading Today which at that time was the number one homesteading forum to belong to. I have written on my other two blogs about it for a number of years also. Now I am making changes in my life as well on the blogs. I am not sure I will keep my off the grid blog going, Solar Baby. When I was new to it, back in 1999, not many people were living this way. Things were harder and we were learning right along with the professionals trying to develop the equipment for it. Now many people can put up an off the grid house with hardly any need to do it themselves. Buy any house in an off the grid area and have someone install your system and then live like anyone else. So that is the way they do it now. Unless they become grid-tied and you can do that in the city also.

The road to my house

I have lived this way and now am ready to move on and make changes in my life. My blogs will reflect that change gradually. I am not saying what will be happening for me yet, because I don't even know myself. But I am not ready to slow down and live my day to day life secluded from the rest of the world anymore. As a human being, changes are good for your growth and abundant life. How can you do something over and over and never go anywhere, mentally or in challenging yourself? Most importantly is that if you are not happy, why keep doing it?

In my garden 2017

At one time I always wrote that homesteading was important to me and in my heart. Not anymore. As I neared my sixties, I found more and more that I was terribly disenchanted with this life and wanted to make changes. I was not sure how I could do so. With determination I have pushed myself to go beyond my comfort zone and find new challenges. It is good for your well being and soul to do so. You will know when the time is right. Good luck!

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, March 09, 2018

Preparing When Living In A City

Forest Path

I have talked many times on my blogs about prepping as part of the homesteading lifestyle. Looking back through them, I pretty much covered my ideas on how to get started. Included was information on how to prepare if living in an urban setting. What about "wanna be" preppers who live in an apartment building with no yards, decks, patios or roof top areas to grow food? Can it be done in that setting? Can your prepare and how? I set out to research that problem this morning.

Wheel Hoe 
Many cities now have those small garden plots that they rent to city dwellers for garden space. It may be inconvenient due to having to drive to it, depending on how far your home is away from it. Though if you are like me, and garden organically, the other plots around your plot may not be and most likely are not organic at all. Using fertilizers and pesticides that contain toxic chemicals would affect your plants and dirt, just by being nearby. In my own garden, I do not even use a rototiller which distributes toxic gasoline fumes onto your garden and lawn.

Saving Seeds

I myself, have never done that. One other problem with gardening this close to other gardens is that if you are a "seed saver" as I am, their plants could cause your plants to not grow true. They may cross pollinate your heirloom plants and your vegetables may come out different than you expect.

Squash Plant in Compost Pile

In 2011, I had a summer squash plant come up in the compost pile. It took over the whole area and was enormous. Kind of reminded me of the play, Little Shop Of Horrors. I believe it was a hybrid zucchini that crossed with my own heirloom yellow squash. These vegetables were huge! Probably a pound or so each. I let it grow and harvested from it for months. My canning cupboard is still stocked from this plant!

A city yard could easily be turned into a garden.

Another idea I had was that you could find a local homeowner who has a back yard and would be willing for you to make a garden plot there. By renting it and paying them in either cash or produce, you both win. Ideally it would be as close to your home as possible. Makes it convenient to go to do your weeding and watering. Time spent gardening will save you big time in the grocery store as well the health benefits of being outside in the fresh air and sunshine.

A window ledge is a good place for your plants.

Everyone knows you can grow in pots and containers inside an apartment if you have sunlight for the whole day. Plants really need a lot of light. All day if possible. But not everyone has bright windows to use for plants. Possibly using grow lights would help. I lived in a small house where I was raising house plants and had shelves with grow lights above each shelf of plants. A window ledge can be used to grow small pots of herbs. Instead of putting the planters on the window ledge, if you even have one, use a couple planter poles. If you are not familiar with planter poles, they were popular in the seventies. I had one in that same small house. I had a lot of house plants back then, no food! A planter pole looks like one of those lamp poles that has a spring on the top so you can adjust it to whatever height your ceiling is. If you need to move it for any reason, it is simple to do. Instead of lamps on it, there are hangers to hang your plants from. Some have little round shelves instead and some have both.

Home canned food

What if there is no way you can grow any plants anywhere? The next best thing is to purchase them from your local farms, produce markets or a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture). Buy in bulk whatever is in season. Then can it, dehydrate it or freeze it. Freezing is not something I do or even would do if I could, because that is how more people lose large quantities of food. Power outages, and don't even tell me the one about canning all that food if the outage goes on for a length of time!  No way in the aftermath of a storm or other emergency are you going to be setting up to do your canning. In our area there was flooding and many people were not even allowed back into their homes for three weeks and not to stay. So all that food and your hard work is ruined.

Another option of course, if you have been into prepping for any length of time, you already know about this, would be to buy from the preparedness types of stores. Buying foods that are dehydrated or freeze dried. I do not buy the meals, instead I purchase the ingredients to make the meals. I buy these by the case from Emergency Essentials. Since I eat low carbs, I do not buy baking supplies, grains, legumes, sweets or the mixes. I always purchase the dehydrated eggs, cheese, buttermilk, meats, vegetables and berries. It is all part of my prepping plan and if you make one for where you live and what is available to you and what you can afford, then you can be prepared wherever you live.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Organizing Old Photographs

A picture of my first house in 1952 on State Road, Binghamton, NY

As I looked back over my old photographs this morning, I see that my life had many happy times in the past. Of course, why would you take pictures of unhappy times? Well nowadays, people do take pictures even at funerals, though I refuse to do that. I am into the process of organizing my photos. At first I almost bought into the idea of not keeping any of your physical photos. But after several times of losing data in my computer, I have learned that is not a good idea. If something did happen in this world where there was no computers, internet or electric, your photos would never be seen again. I am one of those people who studies my old photos over and over again. I relive those memories looking at my photos or listening to my music.

This was a very small photo, but when I put it in the computer, I could see the details.

I have found though, that if you scan in old photographs, the details in the picture show up closer. You can see those details like knick-knacks on a stand, a picture hanging on the wall, the book titles in a bookcase, etc. It makes them more interesting and you learn more about whoever is in the picture from long ago. Seeing crocheted dollies on the arm chairs in my grandmother's photos makes me smile. I realize now how you missed all those great details in old pictures. I love the details of the background or setting of the picture the day it was taken.

A page of Mom's album she made for me.

One of the things I learned from my mother is something she did for me. She was bedridden so had much time to do a project like this. All her photographs were in one of those old black albums that is not really good for your photos. She made individual photo albums of various people. Her children and siblings or places she and my father had traveled to or lived. Like our trip to California in 1954. Instead of doing what I had done for years, putting them in an album by the order they were taken or dates, she put them in according to who, where or what was in the photos. So I am making some changes in the way I organize them in my albums. Thanks for the idea, Mom!

I eventually brought some of my books out and put on a bookcase.

When I moved here, I could no longer display my photo albums or books in book cases due to the wood stoves. I could not tolerate my stuff being covered with dust. I packed them all away and never looked at any of them. Eventually I brought some books out because I needed them. Then I took all my pictures out of the albums and put them under my bed in a plastic box. At least I could look at them from time to time. Now I am eagerly planning on putting them back into the albums and will have a new location for them that will be very safe from dust.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Being A Woman

Being A Woman

Being a woman 
makes me feel so many things. 
I like receiving flowers 
or candy for no reason. 
I like being comforted 
when I'm sad or afraid. 
I enjoy being admired 
by an unknown man. 

Being a woman makes me glad, 
that I have feelings and thoughts 
which are mine alone. 
That a sad movie will make me cry, 
and a funny story makes me laugh. 

Being a woman makes me 
experience many pleasures of life, 
A man making love to me, 
a child's life beginning in my womb. 
Knowing that my being a woman 
has brought much happiness to others. 

Being a woman makes me 
want to be feminine, in a hard world. 
To at times be tough and worldly 
when I don't feel that way at all. 
To want a man take care of me 
but instead I must take care of him. 
Afterwards it is a feeling of 
yes, I did it by myself. 

Being a woman brings duties 
to a daughter of aging parents. 
To be the one to take care 
of a sick or crippled mother. 
To be the one to help a father 
get through the death of his wife. 
Deal with the feelings of being 
a woman losing her parents. 

Being a woman isn't always easy.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, March 02, 2018

Taking A Walk To The Lake Ludlow Lean-To

High Bridge over Ludlow Creek

Today I am sharing my husband, Larry Lupole's newest video. This gives you an idea of where my homestead is and how beautiful the surroundings are. I have over the years had many people ask about living in the state forest. Well this is it. Larry made this video alone with no help from me. Doing all the camera angles, walking through deep snow, walking back forth to set up the camera and then do the shot. All the editing, as well as the music, is written and performed by him. The music is available for sale on Larry Gene Music. I think he did an amazing job! 

Ludlow Creek Lean-To Finger Lakes Trail NY

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Video Copyright © Larry G. Lupole