Saturday, May 12, 2018

My Life Goes On Regardless

As a woman, I have usually deferred to the men in my life. After all isn't that what we were taught? I grew up watching Father Knows Best and shows that featured the man as the head of the family and the one with the final word. I learned pretty early in life that my daddy was not the one to be feared in my family. I loved it when my mother would say she was going to tell him. I knew I would not be punished by him. She told me years later, after I was grown up that he told her he could not discipline me or spank me or even yell at me. I remember for some unknown reason as to why I did this, but my brother would be pouring milk into my glass and at the very last amount I would pull my glass away and milk would spill all over the table. I do not know what was in my head because I did it many times. My father would start to speak harshly to me, and my eyes would fill with tears and that would end it right there. He could not deal with my tears I guess.

As I have grown older, I have come to the conclusion that men are no smarter than me. Nope, I am now standing on my own. Being independent and making my own choices, without asking a man for his advice. Most of the time, my first instinct is usually the right thing to do. Why would anyone know better than me? After all I have lived a long time and have gone through a lot of stuff. Many of the men in my life have relied on me to help them, so why can't I ever just do it myself? I guess it goes back to that father daughter thing. Thinking your father has all the answers. Well, to be honest as my father got older, he actually came to me for my opinions. He valued my advice! And that made me feel good.

Yes, my life has been a series of wrong choices and stupid results. That is what life is about. Making a choice that ends up screwing up your life is something you live with and regret for years and years. Then one day you have to say to yourself, "No more! Forget it and move on." That is what I had to do. For instance, this is one of those wrong choices. When I got a divorce from my second husband he worked for the post office, so he did not pay into Social Security, but into a federal pension program. I was his beneficiary and if he died I would have gotten about $600. a month with it going up every year. The lawyer I had was not knowledgeable in the facts surrounding this pension plan. He should have gotten a court order from the judge saying I would get it regardless of whether I remarried or not. I did remarry. In the meantime, my ex-husband died at 52 years of age. I found out that because of my marriage and because my lawyer did not get that court order at the time of the divorce, I could not collect that pension. Now you say I should not have gotten it anyway since I had remarried? Well, I gave him $50,000. cash to buy a house in 1989 and I divorced him in 1994 due to him being a bad alcoholic. I did not make him pay that money back due to my feeling sorry for him and that as long as I was his beneficiary, I would just leave it as is. Now I could have used my $50,000. and he did not deserve it and the free house he had. So there I was a once again, a big time loser!

Somehow I recovered from the many foolish mistakes I made. It is how life is. You make mistakes and you make some good decisions. Some will be worthwhile and pay off and some will not. I learned many times over that if I did the same stupid things I would get the same results. Now at my age, in my sixties, I think I am smarter, but still making choices that can hinder the rest of my life. Still I have no one to advise me. Just have to stretch my own wings and do the best I can.

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

Friday, May 11, 2018

Tidying Up Cleaning Up My Clutter

For the last couple of weeks I have been going through my things trying to tidy up what I have so it is useful and not just boxes and drawers of stuff. I understand that it is hard to do this, especially at my age (almost 66). Over the years I kept so much that I just moved it from one house to another. Once it is packed away, forgotten. Of course, when I moved here to Peaceful Forest Homestead in 1999, I knew much of my belongings would be packed away for a time. Indeed, they were, but still are not being used in any way since this house is limited in what I can use or do. Today I am planning on going through my cupboards and seeing what I absolutely need. If I don't use it, it will be put in the group of things that I do not want anymore. It is not an easy process and you must be hard on yourself and your possessions. Just remind yourself how much you will appreciate the outcome of this effort. Someone else might be dying for this very item and when it goes to the local thrift store in your donation bag, it is an answer to their prayer.

I won't be getting rid of my doll for sure!

Do you feel bad about that expensive pair of shoes you bought and never wore because they didn't fit exactly right and were too uncomfortable to wear? I know for myself, I got a pair of shoes at my thrift store for free, a number of years ago. They had never been worn. They fit me perfectly and they were a good brand, Talbots. I wore them as my good shoes until recently. I need to replace them soon. The trouble is all those new shoes I have bought the last couple of years, are unworn. I  have not been able to wear them at all. My feet have changed or something, as I got older, but each shoe had some issue that made them uncomfortable. I am going to give them all another chance and then if I still don't care for them, I will get rid of them. Maybe they will be an answer to someone else's prayer!

All those books you have stored on your shelves but never even look at can be re-homed too. They take up precious space that can be used for something more important that you use often. I know for me I have books that I have not read yet and keep thinking some day I will read them. Will I or will they still sit without even being opened? It is rare these days for me to open a physical paper book unless it is  cookbook. I am going to write every month on my calendar whether I opened any of those books. If I did not.........out it goes! My cookbook shelf has been weeded out over the years and I sold those books on eBay. But now the ones I have are ones I use and will be using them even more in the near future. Now I know what you are thinking, that since I eat low carbs what good are those old cookbooks? I love to redo a recipe from my old, before low carbs life, to make it into a good low carbs recipe. I am also going to make many recipes into a recipe for my Instant Pot. I will be using it much more very soon.

As you take things out of your home you will find other things that you thought you lost. It is amazing all the stuff I have found when I was removing things I did not need nor want. Living in a small space makes you remove even more of your belongings. Remember too, many of your family members will not want it either. If they are the ones going through your things after you have died, do you want them to be the ones who decide where your things go or to just put it all in a box to take to the dump? I am making those decisions  right now, because I am not leaving my belongings to anyone. It will all be sold in an estate sale and what money comes from it will be put in an account for my son or for his burial, since he is disabled and I am responsible for him. Not leaving anything to chance. Or to end up in the landfill if it is one of my most beloved items.

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

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Sadness Or Happiness

Sadness encircles my heart today,
a feeling of which I cannot control.
Changes I make for my own well being,
hurt others, once loved by me.
No matter what roadblocks pop up,
obstacles in my quest for life,
a life created in my dreams.
Is there a reason it is not meant to be?
Or is it a life needed to be fought for,
over and over till the end of my time?
Strength fails me at times, I grow weak,
my endurance is tiring, I fall asleep.

Living so long as a shell of myself,
can it even be fixed in a simple moment?
No, I have lived too long in sadness,
agony, bitterness and anger.
I prayed for a way out, for a release,
finally it came, Started to feel happy again,
as time grew closer to my escape,
I became worried, then scared.
Instead of drawing closer to others,
I felt myself pulling away. Standing back
and reflecting on my thoughts, hopes
and dreams. When will my release come?
A prison of a life, held back by circumstance.

Will it be another passing moment in my life,
that was wrong or a disappointment?
No matter how many friends gather
to help me, I feel alone and isolated,
even in the midst of many.
I confide in few, my trust is guarded,
secretive is the way I live mostly.
Not wanting to share my pain with
the world, not needing pity or criticism,
and knowing, judging looks of people
who live superior lives, that look down
on others. I held my head high, regardless.

A friend took my hand and guided me,
encouraged me all the way to the door.
Kept me going and not letting me miss
my chance and on I marched to life,
my life, my new life. So many things
I had to do, sometimes almost giving up,
but on I went and soon it was worth the wait.
Now the day is upon me, leaving behind all my
sadness, grief and unspoken words. All those
reasons that propelled me into my new life,
and on through the door. The door to new
beginnings, my new life.

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Spring Is FINALLY at Peaceful Forest!

A raised bed I built a number of years ago.

Spring has finally shown her face in New York! I was beginning to think it would never truly arrive. Please Mr. Weatherman, do not contact me to say that more cold weather and snow is on the way. I took a couple of walks in the last few days, and the day before yesterday I was able to sit in my garden and soak in the sunshine. I felt it pulsing through my body as I sat in the quiet. I had not been outside much at all for months now. Oh, it felt so good to me! As our winter went through March, I was hoping for April to start warming up, but no, it did not. Still using the wood stove through the whole month. Last night is the first night I think, of no fire in the stove. Though it is a little chilly in the early morning hours now.

Snow still behind my house.

We had a lot of snow, as usual. I don't expect not to get snow. Though some people seem to be surprised when it snows......hey this is NY, we always get snow! Snow is left along the sides of the road and behind my house and barn due to shading. It is melting though and sun and rain will take it away very soon. Seems like our temperatures have finally warmed up a lot. I am hopeful it will stay that way now. Everyone kept posting on Facebook the snow they kept having, way after the beginning of spring. It was sad, after the winter, we were looking forward to spring and it didn't come. Now it should be here. Yesterday was beautiful and I think better weather is finally on the way.

Lilies in the backyard!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to our local city, Binghamton (NY) and it was a beautiful day to go. I had a doctor's appointment but just getting out and about, did wonders for my state of mind. I had such a good day that I was sad when I was on my way home. I came home and then it was back to the every day chores that I have gotten to dread. Making changes in this routine very soon though.

The Jurassic Bed

I have been trying to get up early to write when it is quiet in my house. But not always quiet. I am making a practice of writing this blog daily or close to it. I have neglected it and decided this is the one to work on. I am changing my lifestyle and want to leave the homesteading, off-the grid life behind. So this will evolve to whatever I choose to do. My thoughts and feelings on my life as I age. I hope it is interesting to my readers and I understand if you move on. After all I originally was publishing this blog as Homesteading on the Internet. Now I am not even sure I will keep that one going at all. Unless it is just a canning and cooking one. But life goes on.

Nutmeg's Garden

I have not been normally a depressed person in my lifetime. Circumstances caused me to become depressed and I was getting used to it. Soon I was having friends on Facebook asking me if I was okay. No, I was not. That caused me to think and take stock of my situation and how I can change it. I made a list of all the steps to take to make those changes. I am proud to say that my changes are slowly taking place. Everything takes patience and time, but if you implement those changes in your life, you will see improvements. Soon you will be moving on. As I am doing now.

New life appearing in the dirt!

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

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Believe In Yourself First

On Facebook everyone posts pictures or memes that are quotes, sayings or their own thoughts. Many times these posts mean something to the person posting it and can mean something entirely different to a person reading it. I know for myself, I find quotes that are meaningful for me, my life or what I am going through at that moment. I am not really thinking what it means to you. Then later I come back and have a friend who has written a comment about it from a different concept than I had in mind when I posted it. The reason being is that we are all different. In all ways, not just our physical bodies but our mental state and that includes our thoughts. Your environment affects you greatly. The people you are friends with, or live with, and your family, all affect your thoughts and beliefs.

If you have a child with special needs, such as "learning disabled" which is the tag put on my own son while he was growing up, does that limit his own beliefs that he is, in fact, unable to learn? Maybe. My ex-husband talked about it constantly within earshot of my son. So maybe it programmed him to not do any better than he was. I tried to encourage my son to do other things and he had a good group of friends of which none were in the special education classes like he was. I was happy about that because outside of school he lived pretty normal. He will many times exclaim that he can't read or do normal stuff, yet he does use a computer. I still try to encourage him.

If I believe I cannot do something, then I can't. The moment someone gives me encouragement about something I can do, I become very good at it. It was in me all along. Just like writing. I always wrote. My whole life was spent writing in notebooks. Journals, stories, poems, story books for children, magazine articles, etc. In school I did not get very good grades. I found it extremely hard and now I realize that I may have had some of the same issues my son had, but not as extreme. Learning was hard for me. Maybe I had a mild case of Dyslexia, though reading was not hard for me at all. Yet, it is classified as a reading disorder. So I don't know if I had it or not. I didn't notice mixing my letters up in a word until recent years. I can spell a whole word backwards correctly on my computer. I can't do it if I tried to spell the word that way on purpose. I would have to think about it first. I learned to read before I went to school at the age of four. The subject I was best in was English. I loved everything about it except standing in front of the class giving a book report. If someone had classified me as "learning disabled" or a "slow learner" or having Dyslexia, would that have held me back? Yes, in fact, I am positive it would have.

In school my teachers every year would try to change the way I held my pencil. My mother would come to the school and tell them to leave me alone and not to mention it to me again. She believed that would stop me from writing or wanting to write. I wrote all the time, even before I went to school. I still to this day, hold my pen that same way. And you know what? My whole life, everyone has complimented me on my handwriting! Like they say, "mother knows best" and especially about her own children.

My belief is that if you set your mind to doing something, you should be able to do it. I incorporate the Japanese method called "Kaizen" into my self-improvement program that I am currently doing. Now if you have never heard this term before, "Kaizen" simply means, "change for better." They use it in their businesses and continuous improvements are the result of this method. You do little improvements each day, no matter how little they are. Kind of like building wealth one penny at a time. I have been doing this now for awhile and have seen much improvement in my own life. Soon it will be paying off.

Believing in yourself is the key to developing the life you want. That is my whole idea. I believe I can do what I want to do and if it effects someone else, I am sorry. I need to to do what I can to make the rest of my life happy and free. I am not saying that to hurt people intentionally, but are they hurting you by keeping you unhappy? If so, it is time to move on.

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

Saturday, April 21, 2018

My Favorite Hobby Is Canning

My 2 pressure canners doing their thing

My favorite hobby is canning my own food to use through out the year. The very first food I learned to can was grape jelly, jam and juice. The person who taught me how to do it was my Daddy. He grew the grapes and canned them every year. When I moved back to New York state from St. Petersburg, FL, I became interested in modern homesteading. I was living in an apartment in the country in Vestal, NY, and was reading about gardening and canning. Well the perfect teacher I had for that was my own father! He was an awesome gardener and his plants were always big and beautiful and produced a lot of food. When he was still working, he would load his car with excess vegetables and take them to work. His fellow workers would fight over who got what, even though there was more than enough for them all. You know how people are. One guy would try to take it all, of course. So he was the perfect teacher and another activity we shared as father and daughter. He had taught me how to fish, as well as garden.

Our home in Crescent City, FL 

I remember when we lived in Crescent City, FL, all the times he took me and my friend, Debra fishing in the St. John's River which was just down the road from our house. I will always remember Debra catching a big eel on her line and when she brought it up on the dock (in Welaka that time) we both screamed and ran and then both of us accidentally stepped on it. It was a fun day for us and my father enjoyed laughing at us. After that he always teased us about going to catch an eel instead of going fishing.

Preparing dried beans for canning.

Canning for me became a way of life soon. I loved doing it and was always canning something. I have found having the food in my cupboard ready to eat was handy and convenient. It still is. No matter how much work it is, when you are actually in the process, later on when you grab a jar out of the cupboard for a quick meal, you forget the work it was when you did it. Now you savor the taste of your home canned food. Want stew or chili for supper? Ready in about ten minutes. Open the jar and just pour it in a pan and heat. Want to add some more vegetables to it? Just open a jar and pour it in. So easy!

Canned green beans

Now I have become entranced by Cajun cooking in the last few years. I think it came from reading southern novels that take place in Cajun country. One of my favorite cooking tips was the way they use the Cajun Holy Trinity to season their foods. I took it to another level by canning the celery and peppers together, omitting the onions (because my husband will not eat anything with onions). Now I am going to can it again, but with the onions. He can have something else when I cook this. Many of the foods I favor have to include onions, not only the Cajun food, but my heritage foods of Poland and Germany. Onions are essential for the recipes. So most of the time I do not create meals like this. Mainly just meat and a vegetable or salad. I consider those meals quite boring. Not much else I can do at this time. 

Canned blueberries without sugar

Those little jars I canned of the celery, peppers and onions can be the difference between average and awesome. I was impressed with them and will be doing more of them every year. I put them in the pints or even the smaller jelly jars, the quilted ones. They will need to be pressure canned, of course. I will be coming up with other mixes of vegetables to can this way too. Maybe something including mushrooms. I buy these at the local produce market and bring them home and can them immediately. Always good to have in your cupboard of canned foods. Especially when making a soup, stew, chili or sauce that is lacking flavor. This will liven it up immediately. Try it!

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

Friday, April 20, 2018

Reality Becomes Your Dream

I lay awake at night thinking thoughts of how to make my changes become reality. It is not easy when someone else is involved. You are not free to just do what you please without convincing him or her that this is what you must do for your own self. For your health, happiness and life. Yes, making changes is never easy, but once you do it, you will feel the burden lifted from your shoulders. Life goes on no matter what. If you spend it miserable and sick, that is your fault. You cannot place the blame on someone else.

It is true that like the horses, you may think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Then you find it is not and you want to be led back to the side you were on. Like my horses do when they get out of their paddock. They can't wait to get back in. Alas, the same is true for us when making a change in our life. That is not saying you should never make a change. Change is actually good. It is part of growing as a person. The big life changes are the ones I am talking about here. They are hard to do, but if you really want to make a change in your life, you must take that first step.

A staple of the low carb food plan is bacon and eggs!

Over recent years I have made many changes in my life. I feel I cannot go any further now until I make one of those big life changes, which is in the process as I write this blog post today. A change I made a number of years ago was to start following a low carb food plan, the Atkins Diet, to be exact. I love it and it has helped me immensely. I have not stuck to it as I should though and many times I end up starting over. Now I have evolved to the Ketogenic food plan, which uses many of the same principals as the Atkins 72 (the original one). I am happy with this way of eating and now am making another change by adding Intermitten Fasting to my plan. On I go, making changes along the way to what suits me.

This month I made another big change and that was going to my doctor. I had not been to once since 2002 and imagine my surprise to find that my original and favorite doctor was still practicing and in the same office. I will be going back in a few days and get the results of the blood tests he had ordered for me. Then as I am incorporating whatever changes in my life he recommends, as well as the ones I am doing on my own, I will be getting healthier. I can then compare it to my doctor's reports on my tests. I may ask for a copy of those tests to take home.

The things I need to do to become more healthy are not new ideas to me. I know what I need and I have plans to start more of these soon. I have started drinking more water and I also cut out using any sweeteners for the time being. The ones I use are mostly Sweet Leaf Stevia in various forms and Swerve for cooking. But I am foregoing them presently just to give myself a push. Presently I cannot only buy organic products, though I try as much as possible. If you search on Google for the dirty dozen of fruits and vegetables you will see that some are okay to buy without the higher price of organic. I use that as guide.

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

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Magical Day At The Horse Farm

Horse Farm We Worked At

I remember a time that seemed magical to me. It felt like I was living in a dream. Only it was not a dream, very real indeed. In 1999, my husband, Larry, was working at a local horse farm where they raised Thoroughbred race horses. He helped train the horses, cleaning the stalls, breaking horses and all around horse care. Even though my brother, has always had a horse since he was an adult, I was not around any at all. I did not know much about horses except I was always intrigued by their beauty and strength. Now these horses being racehorses were very lively and spirited. 

Georgie Girl, Boss Mare

I started working there with him, mostly cleaning stalls, feeding the horses and doing some grooming. To make a long story short, I ended up working for a horse, Georgie Girl, that I bought with my work hours instead of receiving money. So she was still at the farm while we were working there, until we cleared an area at home for her. I let her go out with the "wild horses" (not wild horses, just the horses that were not being trained as racehorses) and she had become their leader, the "boss mare." I was really proud of her!

"Did I hear the word carrots?"

This particular day, Larry and I finished all the stalls early and it was a really nice day. I was still a bit nervous around the horses since I was still in the process of learning about them. He told me to come with him and we walked up the hill to the pasture where most of the horses, including some of the racehorses, were grazing together. They noticed us but just kept eating, and a few were drinking from a spring that was flowing nearby in a little gully.

Georgie Girl and Larry

He sat down on the ground and motioned for me to do so too. I sat on a rock and we just enjoyed the sunlight on our faces. It was relaxing, hearing the horses nearby munching on grass and water splashing from the spring. Soon though, one horse, I believe it was Tawny, who at that time I had no idea, I would own her one day, came over to see what we were doing there.  Before I knew it, we had a group of horses around us in a circle. They gathered right around us and were smelling our hats and hair. Soon they were eating grass, but stayed close to us. I loved this feeling of them all  around us!

Georgie Girl at Peaceful Forest

Georgie Girl being the "boss mare" now, stood off to the side. She didn't take to most of the humans she came in contact with (I told her history in a previous blog post). Her and I had established a special bond, and as the other horses finally left, she moved closer. She was the last one to stay near by. I felt honored by her doing this. As she came closer to me, I could feel her breath on me. She is not one to show much affection, even now, that I have owned her for 18 years. She does show it to me in her own way. She is a highly intelligent horse and proves it to me all the time.

Georgie Girl and Dark Shadow and the others

It was such a feeling, I cannot find the words to describe how I felt that day with those horses around us. I was not nervous so much around them after that. I think that is why Larry did that. My bond with Georgie Girl has always been very strong through the years. I will never forget that day and it always has a special place in my heart and memories.

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

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Time of Sadness

Sad days, sad times, seems like I have many,
too many, I thought I found the cure for it,
then I feel the cloud covering again, what I thought
was happiness and joy. I realize it may not be
meant for me after all. My feelings got in the way.
Being a burden, to others, I know I am,
struggling to unwind the ropes I am tangled in.
How did I get here? I ask myself daily.
Most importantly, how do I remove them,
if ever, and what if I never do?
Sadness envelopes me daily, as
I hold back tears, until I am alone,
in bed with a tear stained pillow.
Will it ever end this empty feeling,
or go on and on forever?
Sadness is such a worthless way,
to live, never feeling joy,
never feeling happy, just nothing.
No feeling, nothing to look forward to,
no life outside a monitor screen.

A wasted life, a wasted woman, 
always on the outside, never able
to find the key, the days of joy,
happy filled moments, of true love
of being important to someone.
To be cared about, to matter
to matter to another being, 
whoever, whatever he may be.
I searched and searched my whole 
life, but never found that happy
life, now my life is more than half over,
and I know it is not in the cards for me.
Life is a struggle every day, and most 
days I want to just disappear.

Oh to walk down the road and 
away from here, with no looks back.
With no second thoughts or regrets,
to just keep going where no one
is familiar, and no one speaks.
To be free of all the things, 
and the ropes that confine me,
every day of my life.
Just follow the road and sleep
in a bed made of branches
and leaves, eat the roots and
wild fruits found along the way.
Does it really matter if I disappeared,
would anyone really care,
or only miss me when it is time
to cook a meal, or clean a cage?
Why is it that I feel unimportant,
and can be cast away like nothing.
A useless object, makes me want to just
whisper, "Good-bye."

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