Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Family Tree Research Is Fun

South Street Cemetery in Triangle, NY
Family tree research has become a hot thing on the internet. Years ago you had to travel places and go to county clerk offices to beg for old records of your relatives. My husband and I spent hours at the one in Tioga County in New York some years ago. We did uncover a lot of unknown information about his 3 times great grandparents. It took a lot of time and looking through those census records was not easy standing at the tables they were piled on. There were quite a few other people doing the exact same thing. Now though, I have Ancestry and it has made my search easy and fun. It is like a game. Finding the clues to your family tree until it builds and builds.

Lyman P. Strickland, my 3rd Great Uncle, 1849-1938
Researching my husband's family tree on his mother's side was so easy. Their family had a long line and once I got online, it was pretty easy to build the tree. My family I didn't hold out much hope for. I didn't know much about my grandfather or his family. My grandmother was separated from him by the time I came along. I only remember seeing him once in my life and that was on a street corner. How I wish I had gotten to know him! Regardless, I didn't know a thing about his parents or siblings. So off I went to Ancestry to see what I could dig up. I also use Findagrave, but their information on my great grandmother is wrong. They have her maiden name completely wrong. I had to discover that information myself.......which I did.

Sheba "Emma" Decker Strickland, wife my 3rd Great Uncle, 1871-1952
How did I find that information? Not by other people's family trees! Do not depend on their trees for your information. If you find clues there, take them and search for them yourself. It is so sad to see all the wrong information on other trees. For me, I really get attached to these family members I have never met. On Ancestry it is easy to put the person's name in and even if there is a mistake in the spelling or a change over the years, you can usually find them. I have a few that are a brick wall for me, but I never give up hope on them. That is why it is really important to set your trees to public, so they can shared. Why keep them private? I share all, including my photos.

Frank L. Strickland, my 1st cousin 3 times removed, 1896-1930
The whole time I was growing up I heard how bad my grandfather and his family were. Lots of stories which I now believe are rumors, that were made up by....dare I say it? My beloved Grandma? Yes, I think she had bad feelings about her in-laws and didn't get along with them for various reasons. So those stories get passed down through the family and everyone thinks they are true. I even found a cousin of my mother's, and became friends with his wife on Facebook. I have the hope that some day I can meet them in person. So if you haven't started doing your family tree, maybe it is time to get started!

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

Monday, February 26, 2018

Spring Time Brings Hope

Horses have been chewing this stump to get the sap.

Today my mind keeps wandering. I think it is because I have spring fever. The sun is out and the snow is melting and the birds are in the woods and singing on and off. Not as much as usual. Our horses have been stripping the bark off the maple tree stump left in front of the paddock. Surprising how far they can stretch their necks to reach it. Even the stumps have the sap running and they love that sweet stuff. I remember my dad tapping the trees when we lived in Harpursville, NY, and going with him to empty the cans. He did not make it into syrup but kept it in the refrigerator in a glass jar and we drank it. It was good. I didn't know for a long time about making it into syrup. It still brings back good memories for me.

Winter means work!

It seems everything stops when winter arrives. At least here it does. Winter means work and lots of chores. Life around here then is not very pleasant. Nothing I can do to help because of my health. Makes me feel like a burden, but it is what is. Can't do anything about it during the winter. All the changes I can make have to take place the rest of the time, spring, summer and fall. That is my time. Working on a lot of plans or goals I have made and now with the promise of warm weather.

Dark Shadow & Patches

I can only say to do the best you can with what you have. No one can ask for any more than that. If you can't do the heavy chores any longer or have lost interest in raising animals and gardening, then just make changes to the kind of life you want. Not what someone else wants. Think of yourself for a change. It is not selfish, it is lifesaving!

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

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Patience Is A Virtue So They Say

Everyone rushing to get somewhere.

Patience is a virtue you don't see much of these days. Everybody is in a hurry. That must be why I took to living here so easily. I had no reason to hurry unless it was during the times I had a job. Then of course, I had to do a bit of rushing around to leave for work, rushing to drive to work and then rushing to do my job. Watching the clock until it was time to leave. At the end of my shift rushing to get home and get all my chores done and supper on the table. Same thing the next day and so on.

It is a lot of work out here.

I find myself not being patient anymore. It seems to me that after hitting the magic number of 65, I am impatient to get on with my life. Needless to say, time waits for no one. Not even me! Some people, like my brother, do not like any kind of change. Not me, I am so anxious to make changes in my life. The trouble is living out in the country where I do, when winter comes it is like being stuck in a time capsule of some sort. Can't move ahead, at least for myself. There are things I need to do for my health that I am unable to do here. I know when I write that, nobody can imagine what I am talking about. They say, "Oh, that Kathy is a drama queen." No, I am just expressing my feelings aloud for once. I am done pretending. No longer will you hear me say I love living off the grid or homesteading. It is a hard way to live. If you never do anything but chores and survive from one day to the next it is not easy. What is the point of it all?

Lilies emerging in the spring

I feel like I have lost control of my life. The urge to take it back is strong. I am using visualization to create the life I want and picture it. I do this many times through out my day. Not everyone is cut out for homesteading or off the grid living. When I was younger it was one thing. But it never got easier. You can't spend your life waiting. Waiting is dying, just surviving. I need to live now. So that is what my plan is. You will see me emerge in the very near future. I will be writing about it on this blog.

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Morning Walk on Wordless Wednesday

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Patches Was Murdered By A Bear

Patches 2000-2017

My cat, Patches, was murdered in October by a bear. I never thought I would be writing those words. Living surrounded by the forest, I guess I should have expected something like that happening. I hadn't seen any bears here personally, but we did have something knock over our composter. It was secured to the ground so whatever did it had to be strong. My husband always though a bear did it. Then in 2015 we found bear scat right next to our truck which is not far from our front door or the barn! If that didn't give me a start! I was cautious at first, but then I relaxed because I didn't see any more signs of it. I should not have become complacent about it though.

Nutmeg & Cinders in happier times.

I have always let the cats go in and out as they choose. In the day time it has been fine because we are in and out all day, so it is not like they are in danger. I had indoor cats most of my adult life, but when we moved here I started letting the ones I had, Nutmeg and Cinders go outside. I admit that I didn't feel they were completely safe out there. Cinders was a neutered male but he loved to hunt. He was killed by a hunter in the woods and it broke my heart to lose him. He was so loving and Nutmeg loved him dearly, as did our dog, Nikita. He would go hunting down the road and when he got a chipmunk or something he would carry it back to the house. He would be calling to Nikita the whole way to see what he had.

Cinders loved hunting!

The question of whether to allow them to go outside comes up all the time. People who have farms or homesteads want them to kill the rodents that seem to overrun your property unless you kill them. Cats are good at that job but they need to be outside to do it. I wrote a previous post a number of years back, Should Cats Be Allowed To Go Outside?

Patches in her favorite spot.

I had a rule that my cats had to come in before it got dark. Most of the time I had to go find them and bring them in. It was rare that Patches or Hobo came in on their own. I really stuck to that rule for years and years. Then when Patches and Hobo were the only two cats left and had become old, they resisted coming in. Finally I gave in. Big Mistake! In winter they of course came in on their own. Too cold. If I heard an owl or a coyote, I'd be out the front door in the middle of the night to collect at least Patches. Patches mostly slept on the deck so I would look out there and there she would be. Hobo slept at the top of the barn stairs on the porch into the second floor. I could shine my light up there see her.

Patches getting a drink

October 6, 2017, was the night Patches was killed. Never heard a thing. No sign of her body or anything. She was 17 years old and kind of hard of hearing. All I could imagine is that she left the deck to go to the bathroom which would have been to the garden area. Hopefully she didn't see what happened. I hope it was an instant death for her. She did not deserve this. Patches was a gentle sweet cat, but she was a good hunter and could kill with vengeance. I miss her terribly. Every morning she sat on my lap while I had my coffee in front of the wood stove. She was my last link with my parents because I took her as a stray that had been at their house.


The reason I know it was a bear that killed her is because in a way, Hobo told us so. We both looked all over the woods thinking she had gone off to die due to her age. That is what animals do or want to do. Even though the night before she bounded out the door after she ate and ran and jumped off the porch fast. Not like a cat that was going to die any time soon. I knew when we could not find her that she was dead. Hobo was acting scared of being outside. She would sleep on the deck or porch during the day and not wander the yard at all unless we were outside too. Not like her at all!

Patches & Hobo

One evening she was sitting on my husband's lap in the living room by the window. It was dusk, barely able to see outside. She jumped quickly to the window and was looking out on the garden area at the side of the house. Her tail was moving back and forth pretty fast. I looked out to see what she was looking at. I saw a big shadow on the ground where one of our garden beds used to be that my husband had removed a few weeks before. At first I thought it was my horse, Tawny. But if she got out she would have never been laying down in the yard. I went to the bathroom window which was closer and shined my flashlight out there on it. It looked right up into the light, it was a big bear! It just stayed there laying there like it was comfortable.

The spot where the bear was laying. I think it is where Patches was killed.

My husband went out on the deck and the bear stayed right there. So he started yelling making a loud noise and the bear jumped up and took off through the woods. We could hear him running in the woods behind the horses' paddock. That got them running and bucking too. As far as I know he hasn't been back since. I know they are not known for killing cats, but if you have an old cat and they are easy to grab, I know they will. They do eat meat and will kill chickens or small animals from time to time.

Hobo is staying closer now.

After this incident, Hobo stayed even closer to the house. After time had passed she started going out to the wood line but not wandering too far. At night she comes in on her own. She will ask to go outside to the bathroom sometimes in the middle of the night, but comes right back. She never was one to use the litter box though she now does. So my rule of coming in at dark is now back in force. but too late for my little girl, Patches. I blame myself for her death and will never get over it. Now Hobo is my last cat and I will not be getting any more. Rabbit, my pet house rabbit, will be my very last pet of all. I am tired of the worry and care of pets and at my age if something happens to me, where would they end up? So this is what I have decided to do.

Last picture I took of Patches

All Text and Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, February 19, 2018

Busting Your Stress With Simple Steps

Peaceful Forest flowers

Stress is a common word we hear all the time. It is that feeling of strain and pressure. Sometimes you can put your finger on what is causing your stress. Sometimes you can't and don't even know it is stress. You just know it is there. Other times you are very well aware of the cause of your stress, even though you do not know how to rid yourself of it. It can be caused by a number of different things going on in your life, such as a job, a family member, finances, not enough time to do things you need to do, other people or negative feelings about yourself. Stress can fester over time if you do not try to deal with it yourself. If you let it go on for too long it can also cause your body to break down and cause various health conditions. I feel that is your body giving you a warning, saying, "Deal with your stress right now!"

Watching the birds is restful for me.

Chronic stress I feel is when you are living with a situation that goes on and on and you can't get rid of it or come up with a solution to end it. Maybe it is caused by a family member's illness or their mental state. Living with others who are the cause of your stress is the hardest to deal with. If it was your neighbors, you could move. Not likely when it is coming from your family. Sometimes you cannot identify what or who is causing your stress. Maybe it is just because you do not want it to be what it is. Like if it is your spouse or child. You can make your feelings known to them about what they are doing to you. If it makes a difference and they try to cooperate with you on eliminating the stress that would be good. But it is not always the case.

Living in a peaceful place is helpful.

Years ago I attended Al-Anon meetings because my 2nd husband was a bad alcoholic. They taught me how to "distance" myself from him to rid myself of the stress of living with him. It worked very well. It also helped me to be able to leave him. I saw no reason to stay with an alcoholic when I didn't even drink myself. I told him when I left that I did not want to watch him kill himself and that is exactly what he did. Dying before he was 52. There are times when you will not want to eliminate someone from your life even if they are the cause of your stress. Such as your child, parent or a sibling and maybe your spouse. 

The bridge to my house.

Learning to deal with your stress by going to counseling is a good way to get started. Unfortunately, at this time I cannot do so. In the past I have done just that and it helped me very much. So I have discovered stress busters that work for me. I am not saying they will work for you but it may be worth it to give a try. Taking care of yourself in any way you can will make a difference. We all have to be selfish at times in our lives. Being a wife and mother is a job that does not come with retirement age limit. It goes on and on. Being miserable, unhappy and stressed out will not benefit anyone, even whoever is causing your stress, but least of all you. You count! You are important too.


These are the ones I recommend:

1. Music! Yes listening to music is my #1 stress buster. It works for me. I have an MP3 player with all of my favorite classic rock music that I grew up with. Listening to Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd before I go to bed relaxes me so much. 

2. Writing. In a journal, working on my blogs, poetry or eBooks relieves my stress immensely. If you are not a writer, don't let that stop you. Get a notebook and just write whatever comes to your head. I can write for hours by hand and it is my best writing by far. I have kept a journal for years and I can look back at any time and see how I dealt with something in the past.

3. Reading. Immerse yourself in a novel for a few hours. Let it take you away from the problems that are stressing you out. I love to read and do it every day. My ideal vacation would be staying somewhere where all I had to do was to read books. Since I do not own a television or watch any type of television shows, reading is my entertainment. I read aloud to my husband in the evening and I notice it takes his stress or anger away. I try to do it every night.

4.Bake something! Yes, I do that quite often. I get into my recipe and forget about everything else for awhile. Taking pictures of it in the process to later post on my blogs or in a future eBook. 

5. Go outside. Take a walk. Visit a park or a wooded area. I love the forest and live in the middle of the state forest. It is my favorite outdoor area. My previous house had a huge hay field directly behind our yard and I would get all stressed out over something and would stop what I was doing and head out to the field. Walking around the edge several times. So relaxing. I spend a lot of time in my garden and that takes all the stress away. Working out there and sitting on a bench in the garden is my thinking time. Nobody bothers me out there and I look forward to that time. I miss it in the winter.

6. Exercise. No surprise there. I like to use dumbbells and work out using a weight bench. That kind of stress on your body is good for it! I also have a recumbent bicycle that I love riding because I can read or mediate at the same time. Lately I have not been able to use it due to my knees being so bad. I am in the process of trying to correct them and will get back on my bike when I do. Any kind of exercise you enjoy is highly recommended.

7.  Meditate. Taking the time to meditate is well worth it. Find a quiet relaxed area away from all the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. Even if you only spend 10 minutes doing it. Do not think about your problems at that time. Just concentrate on your breathing.

8. Take a bubble bath or spend some time, if you have access to one, in a sauna or hot tub. I used to have a hot tub at two different houses I lived in and that was the best. Stress be gone! A sauna will remove all the toxins from your body and make you feel renewed.

9. If you can afford to, go to a bed and breakfast somewhere quiet by yourself. Or camping. It is rewarding to spend time alone by yourself. You do not have to talk. Just you and your own thoughts. Don't have to take care of anyone else.

10. If you own pets, sometimes they are the best stress busters I know of. My pet house rabbit is such a peaceful little fella. He gives me much needed comfort many times through out my day. Cats, dogs, horses, chickens or any pet you have can perform this job quite easily. It is part of their nature, to comfort you (Rabbit told me so!).

Rabbit getting his favorite treat, banana, from my husband.

I hope you can find something useful in my stress busters for your stress. It is not meant to replace counseling if that is what you need. It may get you started and help you get through your day. If you feel you need something more, consider getting professional help. It worked for me. Good luck!

All Text and Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Winter Time Blues Known As Snow

We have had our share of snow now, even though we had very little in the beginning of winter. I am pretty much used to snow every winter, but I do not have to work in it or shovel it. In the country snow is a big job. My husband is able to do this time consuming job much faster and easier on him since he bought the Snow Wolf. It is a great tool and using no gas or batteries you can be pretty well started on your job before your neighbor has started his snowblower. My husband likes it a lot and that is saying a lot for this tool since he HATES snow shoveling.

We had a few days of reprieve with warmer temps and no snow. This morning we woke up to hearing the snow plow going by. Back to the endless snow clean up for my husband. I can usually count on him being in a bad mood most of the morning till he is finished. I don't blame him since I feel the same way about my kitchen work. I used to love the kitchen and didn't even mind the cleaning up afterwards. Now I try to come up with food that doesn't use many pots and pans or bowls or dishes. I just don't feel like doing it anymore. Must be my age. I want to be retired and do the things I really like doing. Not cleaning. 

Even our cat, Hobo, is depressed over the weather. She is normally an outside more than an indoor cat. This winter though, my son and his cat are here and she hates his cat. Being an old lady, she does not care to play with him and he chases her and causes her to scream like a bobcat. So she is staying inside and using the litter box, which she never liked to do. I always had to get up during the night and let her out if she had to go. Not this winter. Must be her age has caught up to her. The other cat is locked in a kennel when he is in the house. I can't have him chasing after her, after all, it IS HER house. If I let her outside during the day when it is sunny, I put him in the kennel till she comes back. I feel bad about him in the kennel, but I have no choice. She is old and she is our loved cat. So we are trying to keep her happy.

I hope spring comes early but I am not counting on it. I think my winter has been the worst I have ever had, but not due to the weather. Personal things going on are having a big effect on me, which has me stressed out. Little things that never seemed to bother me now are irritating. I suppose I am like Hobo.

All Text and Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole