Thursday, March 22, 2018

Listening for a Sound

I am listening for a sound or a signal from someone,
or something to touch me down deep;
that will remind me, why I am here.
Or where I came from and where I will go.
Timeless visions embedded in my mind,
that remind me of sights I have seen.
Of looks that have become stuck in an endless reel,
over and over again, backwards and forwards,
with no end. A loop that just keeps going,
my mind sees it over and over and needs relief,
but it never stops, this parody called my life.

Early morn I arise at first light,
see the glint of sun in the sky.
Hope abides in my thoughts for the day,
it will be better, I will be sane today.
I will feel the air against my skin,
and sunshine will bathe me in its rays.
Hope and dreams for a better day
for today, and every day as it begins.
Though somewhere in my morning,
those thoughts are erased from my mind,
now dark thoughts, discouraging words
are all that remain.

I searched and searched for someone or something,
to lift my sadness even for a day, for an hour or so.
There is no remedy for that coming from any being.
The only one that has that power is me.
Not sure it would comply with what I need or seek,
having spent a lifetime in search of it needlessly.
Now my days are spent in endless boring tasks,
chores that run my house, but have no affect on me.
Nothing that makes me think, hope or dream,
nothing that makes me happy, alive or full of joy.
It is all sad, unhappy moments in a woman’s lifetime,
that consumes her every thought through out her day.
Will it ever end? Will she ever be free? When?

She feels like she is wrong. She is living in her fantasy world,
but feels like a whore. Feels like she is doing wrong for wanting,
for wanting a life that is hers, a life that is fun and happy.
What is life if not meant to be enjoyed? Is it just for work,
boredom and doing for others, what they can do for themselves?
How do you escape this dull gray life for life beyond?
How? Can someone tell me? Tell me it is possible,
not a futile dream from novels and movies,
that make up her fantasy world.

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

Peaceful Forest Homestead Video

This is a video my husband made a few years back about our little homestead here.  I hope you will enjoy it and please "LIKE" it on YouTube.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Video Copyright © 2018 Larry G. Lupole

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Outdoors in Winter

Peaceful Forest Homestead Barn

Winter brings a lot of work around here, every year I always expect it to get cold, to need heat and firewood to fuel it. Snow is expected and the clean up work is a part of it. What else can you do? I have written many many times on all my blogs (Homesteading on the Internet, Solar Baby and Lupe Shop), that preparing in advance is the best thing you can do. So if you are stockpiling wood, food and any fuels you will need if you are snowed in then you should be fine. Not having those things stored will make your winter season pretty tough indeed. Living in an area where you may get snowed in or flooded roads means you better prepare even more. I am not talking about "prepping" just because you think the world is going to change and we are headed for disaster. In any case, preparing now, would help in that situation also. 

Shoveling and snow clean up is probably one of the jobs everyone hates who lives in a cold climate. It is harder as you get older and some people just cannot do it (like me). I believe it is one of the main reasons why people move to a warm climate. They will always say it is pretty but I don't want to live in it. I can understand completely, even though it is not and never has been a chore I have had to do. Having a snowplow on your truck would make the driveway easier to clear. All these years my husband has hand shoveled it until he got the Snow Wolf. The paths though, can not be plowed with a snowplow. They have to be shoveled. This is a lot of work when you have a heavy snowfall. I never mean to make light of it since I recognize that fact, even though I have never had to do it. It is part of living in a cold climate and especially in the country. In the city, it depends on whether you live in a house or an apartment. 

Owning horses also make the chores tough in winter. Our horses have the freedom to go in or out of the barn on their own. We have three mares and they share one big stall that has a big open door leading to the paddock. So if they want to go outside in the winter that is their own choice. Now actually, they love winter and cold weather. They are not crazy about cold rain or strong winds. Having been in a pretty bad tornado some years ago, has made two of them skittish when the winds start. Hot weather means they choose to only go outside in the evening when they get their night hay. They forage around for it since it is distributed in many piles around their paddock. That way one horse, the boss mare, cannot claim it all for herself. Which she would certainly do. The bugs is the main reason they do not like to go outside in the warm weather. I know, the bugs are inside the barn as well, but they don't believe me when I tell them that. Bringing in hay for them in the winter is also a job and the area to the barn needs to be cleared so the truck can be backed up to load the upstairs of the barn with the hay. This is a once a month job at least. And a hard one as my husband has gotten older.

Firewood is needed for fuel and for cooking. Cooking, not so much this year. Since I lost my cook stove and we replaced it with a little heating stove I do not do my cooking on one anymore. Our little piece of property is barely an acre but when that tornado hit us it took down over 300 trees! I stopped counting after that. It was heavily wooded and the house had a very tiny back yard. All trees and big ones at that. Recent years, after having burned all those other trees that came down in the tornado, the trees around in our yard have been slowly harvested for fuel. Now people will ask why those trees were cut down. The main reason is that most of them were old and dying. That means they were beginning to fall and when a tree falls on its own, you do not know where it will land. Like on our house, barn, shed or truck. Best to do it yourself. Just within the last few years, we have started buying firewood. My husband prefers log lengths but sometimes that is just not doable for us. Stocking wood would be a good idea, though we have never done that here. Not my department so I will not say more on that subject.

Winter is hard and so is life here. But this is what I have at this time and this is an idea of how you would have to work hard to prepare and survive to live in a cold climate. At least this is the way it is here on my homestead. Everybody is different so your needs may vary. Best to be prepared the best you can wherever you live.

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

Monday, March 19, 2018

Beginning My Bucket List

The last few days I have started working on my "bucket list" which one of my homesteading friends mentioned to me on Facebook. At first I didn't understand exactly what she meant. I had heard the term before and had a general idea of it but nothing I had ever done before. Normal for me, I started researching how to get started and what it meant. My first list ended up just being my "to do list" which is endless, living the way I do. That is not a "bucket list" though. I had to rewrite it a few times to get it right. It is not things I need to do. It is things I want to do. A big difference. So I thought and thought and tried to imagine if I could do anything I wanted and was not limited due to my lifestyle here, what would I most want to do (before I die is the line of thinking this is based on)? 

As I made the list I started becoming enthusiastic about it. What is something I want to do? Things that I have never done, but had the desire to do? Well, I need to get exercise (I have done that before, but not lately). I bought a recumbent bicycle for exercise last year and I could not wait to use it. I found could not use it due to my knees. I could hardly work the peddles and my knees clicked the whole time. I could not walk afterwards. So I put that aside for now. What other exercise is good for people with bad joints? Swimming! Yes, and one of my favorite sports, but I have not been anywhere to swim in many, many years now. So the first entry on my bucket list is to join my local YMCA for their swimming program. That is very doable for me! I am excited about that. I have already found the information on doing that.

The next item is to make new friends.......friends in person. I have plenty of online friends, but not really many that I see in person. I feel at this age, 65, almost 66, I badly need friends. I used to have a lot of friends and would meet them places and go places with them. Not now. I am changing some things in my life and when I do, I will be able to have friends again. Another thing that excites me! To do so, I am going to start going to my local senior center for the various activities they have. I would also like to be going to the various churches to find one that I feel is right for me. I am particular about this and am not going to one just because someone recommends it. I want to test them myself. Both places are good ways of meeting people and making friends. I also have some Facebook friends who live locally, whom I would love to meet in person.

Now before I met my husband, I was really into NASCAR racing. He didn't like it and even when we had a television, we did not watch the races. I was sad about it at the time, but our relationship was new.........and you know how that goes. Now years later, I wonder why did I give up my interests? He didn't. He still rides his motorcycle and that is not something we share. So back to the track I go! Maybe just to watch on my computer, or listen to the radio broadcast (which I love the best) or maybe seeing an occasional race locally if my knees can take it. As a child, my brother and I grew up going to the races with my parents and are some of my best memories. Loved being wrapped in an army blanket in the bleachers listening to the cars whirl around on the track. Afterwards we always walked around on the track seeing where a car may have hit the wall or whatever, seeing a piece of a car left behind on the track after a wreck. I wrote about my life involving my love of NASCAR, here.

Now this one may seem a bit lame to a lot of people. But I have been living a whole different life than most people and I am timidly testing the waters beyond. I added to my bucket list to go to a movie theater and to a drive-in to see a current movie. I don't care what movie. I want the experience. The last movie I ever saw was at a daytime matinee and it was the Tom Cruise movie, Days of Thunder. That was a long time ago and the theaters have changed and improved since then, I am sure. When my son was growing up, we went to movies all the time. Several times a week, in fact, sometimes Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I really enjoyed those times, seeing a movie when it was just out. I want to do that again. Even if I do it by myself, it won't bother me. When I was single, I remember going to movies or out to restaurants alone and I was comfortable doing so. I enjoyed people watching.

Now this last one is the last thing I have on my bucket list so far. Another thing that most women take for granted. I was planning on letting my hair grow out to my natural color and let the gray come in. Since I have not been to a hair dresser in a very long time, over four years, I believe, my hair has become very long. I want to get it cut and colored again. I decided it looks too plain without the color. So even if I have to pay double, I will. My hair is thick and they always have to use two containers of the color. It is too long for me to handle and care for. So I am saving up my money and will make an appointment soon. After the winter weather is gone and the snow has disappeared. 

That is my bucket list so far. It is just in the beginning stage, but I will be adding to it in the future. What is on your "bucket list?"

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

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