Sunday, September 20, 2020

Projects and Invitations

 Rick had three projects that we had talked about since spring that we wanted to get done before the year was over.   The first one, get the pump in the well so there would be water at the barn and the honey house.  The second one, get a tin roof on the chicken run and fix a shed for the mower and tiller.  The third one, repair the barn which had been hit by a couple of storms in the spring.

The week after he died, I made a promise to him that I would make sure his projects were done.  My nephew Haven and my brother Ricky got the pump in the well a couple of weeks ago.  Yesterday, Haven, our friend Fred and our neighbor Snow got the roof on the chicken run and built a shed.  My goal is to have the barn fixed in the next couple of months, hopefully in November. 

Rick and Haven had started the pump project the weekend before he died, but the heat was unbearable that fateful weekend and it just wasn't meant to be.

Every day I talk with him,  reminding him of how much I love and miss him, but also letting him know that those things he wanted to fix are being fixed.  

The hydrangea photo that I am using tonight was my surprise yesterday.  We had planted that bush two years ago and it never bloomed.   I had told Rick back in the early summer when everyone else's was blooming that I could not figure out why mine would not bloom.   Yesterday when we were working on the chicken pen I looked out across the fence and saw something blue.  Yep, that hydrangea was blooming.  I like to think it was Rick's way of telling me he was happy that I was getting his projects done.

On FB a few days ago, I invited my friends to start meditating with me every morning at 7:00, setting the intention for kindness and peace to spread across our country from coast to coast.  Someone had asked me how do you do that, well this is how.  Set a timer for 5 minutes, close your eyes, begin to breathe and with each breath think of peace and kindness filling every heart in America.  So tonight, I am inviting all of you to join me, each morning at 7;00 or anytime you can to help shine the light and move the darkness.  Tomorrow I will share the study of a similar meditation project that was done in the Middle East and the amazing results they had.

A brand new week, start it with 5 minutes of meditation filling your heart with peace and kindness, it's free and it's something we all could use.


 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Golden

 Jordan's Nana came over and sat with me awhile this evening.  We took the dogs out back and watched them play and talked about how the season is changing.  Tree leaves are starting to lose their vibrant green and the light is becoming more golden.  There was a nice breeze that blew across our faces.  We will still have warm days ahead and then there is Indian Summer, but the temps are dropping a few degrees and it sure feels good.

When I walked the dogs this morning I saw goldenrods blooming.  I miss our bees.  They love goldenrod blossoms though Rick always fretted about the bee's relationship with them.  It seems goldenrod does not make tasty honey.  I took a picture of the golden blooms and thought of course of Rick.  It was a friendly competition we had, looking for the first blooms or signs of any season.  I often won but I would always console him by reminding him my photos were never as good as his.

I hope this day has been a good one for all of you.  Please continue to spread kindness, be grateful and look for beauty.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Two Months

I was sleeping soundly last night, truly resting and in the middle of my slumber, Taz sat up in bed and started to bark.  I picked up my phone and Taz and walked into the living room to see what was going on.  I looked at my phone, 2:21 am...today is the 16th...two months since Rick passed....2:21 am  the official time of death on his death certificate.  Neither of the big dogs barked just Taz.  She has slept in our bed since the the first day we got her.

Two months, for many that might seem like a short time.  It's an eternity for me.  Yet, life goes on and the world around me continues to spin.  The anger and hate and fear that constantly broke Rick's heart continues around us.  Nothing has changed, everything has changed. 

It occurred to me last Saturday as I was having dinner that for the rest of my life, most of my meals would be eaten alone.  I still cook almost every meal, I just call Sam and Jordan and they come over and pick up the leftovers.

I know that there are many who miss Rick, who loved him.  But their lives have continued in pretty much the same way as before.  I will carry him in my heart forever and mourn his loss until the day I die.

 I only hope he didn't die in vain.  That maybe on some level, his sense of empathy, his compassion and kindness for all humans touched and changed someone's life.  He believed in caring for the old, the sick, the downtrodden, he believed that we are our brother's keeper, he believed in women's rights,  that Black Lives Matter, in science, in journalism, in truth, that every one was equal. He wasn't big on religion, but he loved the words in red. He was a veteran and he kept in touch with many of the men he served with. He believed with all his heart if you treated all people the way you wanted to be treated, then you had lived a good life.  Rick Watson lived a good life. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Friends and Surprises

Daily I am astounded by the kindness of friends.  This afternoon UPS brought a big heavy package to my front door.  I saw that it was from our friend James who lives in California.  We met him in LA about 14 or 15 years ago.  He was one of those gentle souls that you just wanted to sit and talk with.
We were at a music convention, hundreds of singer/songwriters pitching their songs to the tv and movie industry.  Meeting James was a breath of fresh air that week and we continued to stay in touch.
It turns out as our friendship progressed, not only was he an awesome singer/songwriter but an incredible artist as well.

Today that package was a gift that brought tears of joy, one of James' paintings which now sits on my mantle.  Suddenly this little cottage I call home had a new energy, a feeling of joy from this beautiful painting.  It had been an out of sorts morning.  My brother Ricky and Jordan went to the feed store with me and helped me load 200 pounds of seed and feed for the critters and then we unloaded those same 200 pounds when we got home.  Much to my dismay, I realized I had forgotten to purchase a 50 pound bag of laying mash for the chicks.  Another trip tomorrow.

Then I came home and took Taz to the vet for her yearly checkup.  Normally no big deal, but we have two local vets and one was sick, so my vet was seeing his "patients today as well."  What is usually a 20 minute visit turned into over an hour of waiting.  Thankfully, another friend, Mary Jane called, she lives near the vet and she came and visited with Taz and me.  And brought me delicious chicken salad for my lunch!

I got home, tired and cranky but lunch and a quick nap took the edge off.  Did I mention very little sleep last night?  Wild critters moving across the property ( deer and coyote) kept Kodak and Hook on "protect momma mode" most of the night.  Protect momma mode, means lots of barking.

And then UPS knocked on my door this afternoon.  Chicken salad and an original art work, I am blessed with incredible friends.
 Here you have a James C Leonard original.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Today

I have learned if you don't try to control, things go as they should.  And trust me, that is such a hard lesson and even now there is that urge that springs to life in me some days  and I think, I can fix this.
Ha!  And the universe just sits back and laughs.

I talked to a friend/counselor this evening.  It was a conversation that was such a healing balm for my soul.  She and I are truly on the same spirituality plane and as I related my butterfly stories, my conversations with Rick, my need to be by myself , she understood. 

This journey I am on is not for the faint of heart. What I once thought was normal has been swept away by an ocean of tears and will never return.  A part of me, of who I am has left and now I have to navigate this path for the me that has been left behind. 

I am grateful that Rick pushed me to write this blog .  Honestly I thought he was crazy when he suggested it.  My reasons for writing now are so different than they were years ago when I started.
This transformation information is my healing and sharing my story will help if someone else finds themselves walking the path I am on, they will know they are not alone. 

I know friends and family worry about me spending so much time alone, but right now it is what I need.  Face to face conversations are still exhausting, phone conversations can be that way too.
For now, spending time outdoors, tending to the farm, taking care of all my critters...that is my connection to Rick and  my way to process the roller coaster ride I am on daily.  I know the people who love me are only a phone call away and that is safety net, my life line.

Please continue to be kind, to treat those around you the way you wish to be treated.  Life is tough, but people who care make it better.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Wonders

 This path that I am on has been glorious and horrific.   The grief and loneliness and sadness, those are horrific transformations you never wish for, but if you live long enough you will experience them. 
The glorious parts have been the love, kindness and goodness that has been showered on me by friends, family and strangers.  I can't tell you how many hours I have spent days on end trying up loose ends, telling the same story over and over to strangers.  Some of them were just doing their job, professional but no empathy.  Others offered love, condolences, kind words and prayers and hope.
Friends and family have called, helped me on the farm, listened to my tears and sobs. Been there when I needed answers and been there when I just needed to know they were there.  Countless emails, messages, cards, letters all came just when I needed them.

Today when I walked to the mailbox there was a package from my friend Christine.  She and I are in the same club, no you don't want to join, it's the widow's club and there are so many of us. Music brought us together and it is a friendship that I cherish. 

For those of you have read my blog for a while, you know that I teach meditation, breath work and yoga at an addiction center.  I have spent the past 20 years of my life encouraging and teaching the importance of breath work.  I know it is easy to forget to breathe, especially in times of stress.  Since Rick's passing I have had to remind myself daily to breathe, Christine's gift  will serve as a daily reminder to breathe.

She sent me the book by Thich Nhat Hanh," this moment is full of wonders."   It is filled with his calligraphy and wisdom.  One of the first pages,  breathe my dear.  There are sections on mindful walking, looking deeply, letting go and being here....I will read this book often.
Tonight in these stressful times, breathe and remember" this moment is full of wonders. "
Be kind to your selves and those around you, even strangers...

Monday, September 7, 2020

Labor Day 2020

A different Labor Day today, just the dogs and chickens and me.  I bought a small rack of ribs and cooked them, made a small bowl of potato salad and baked beans....all foods that Rick loved.
I sent most of it over to my brother Ricky's house for him and Nana and Sam and Jordan to enjoy.
I ate a rib and then took the meat off one and shared the morsels with the dogs.  There is a great deal of new and different every day.  It is a process, this grief.  It comes unexpectedly and it can get ugly.

I appreciate Labor Day.  My mom and dad, brothers were all blue collar workers, union members who worked hard every day of their lives.  Rick's family was the same.  None of us are afraid of a hard day's work and I am grateful for that ethic. 

I hope you all have had a weekend that brought joy and kindness into your lives and I hope you shared that with others.  Let's be kind to each other the rest of the week.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Bee Surprise

It's still very hot and humid here.  There is much to be done but I'm having to wait a bit until the weather cools down.  Rick had plans to build a new shed for the mower and tiller and to add a roof to the chicken run.  And there is some work that needs to be done on the barn.  My nephew, a friend and a neighbor will help me in a couple of weeks with the shed and the run and then maybe in October we can tackle the barn.  One nice thing about being on the farm, I'm exhausted when I go to bed at night.
I don't sleep the whole night but I get a decent night's rest.

I walk the dogs down by orchard which is where the bee hives were.  Yesterday I spied a really tall plant with purple  flowers, when I got closer it looks like some sort of thistle . The thistle here is usually a dark purple and much smaller.  This plant is about eight feet tall.
Whatever it is, it is beautiful and I have never seen a plant like this here on our property.

I call it the bee surprise, or maybe it's a surprise from Rick and the bees.  It's beautiful and purple is my favorite color, so it's a gift.

Many days I am on auto-pilot,  I still miss him so and I know I always will.  But I'm here, so I get up every day and do the best I can.
I hope you all have a good weekend. Be kind, be safe, be well.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Bee Garden

It's a full moon tonight, my second one without Rick to walk out on the deck and watch it rise.
It is so beautiful, be sure and take a peek, it will make you smile.
The zinnias know that fall is coming, they always get brighter and more beautiful as the summer starts to fade.  Once again the bee garden was full of butterflies, finches, dragonflies and humming birds, you can feel their energy, for me it is healing.
Today is also the first day September, let's make a promise to each other to be kinder this  month.  Let's make a promise to let go of the fear and anger that seems to permeate the world around us.
Now let's make and keep those promises.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Suspended

Since Rick passed, most days I feel a bit like this leaf....hanging by a thread, suspended in time.
I saw this when I walked the dogs yesterday and I thought yep, " me and that leaf, right now we have a lot in common."

Be kind this week, live by the Golden Rule, treat others the way you wish to be treated.  Simple yet powerful way to live.  Ya'll be kind.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Another Gift

Another beautiful visitor today, she was as big as my hand and actually flew in small circles around my head.  What a gift!  I could literally feel her energy as she flew around me.

Sending kindness to you all tonight and that is my prayer for my country, for the world...that every human remembers what kindness is and that we began to practice it daily.  Is it that hard to be kind? Kindness doesn't cost anything and being kind to each other can change us and the world around us. Or we can choose to live miserable lives filled with fear and hate and spend the rest of our lives wondering why nothing good happens to us.

When I was in high school, a friend gave me a life changing book called "As a Man Thinketh" by  James Allen.  A small powerful book, only 52 pages but it made a lasting impression on a seventeen year old girl.  I have used his quotes often, one of my favorite "nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles, but nettles."  We do reap what we sow and we do become what we think. We can change ourselves by changing our thoughts, how we see the world and those around us or we can continue to think fear and hate and that is what we will reap. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Grief and Signs

I try  not to write so much about my grief here on the blog, but I realized at some point in our lives we all grieve.  What I have come to understand about my personal grief is this, you can think you are handling things pretty well, but then a grief tsunami washes over you and you realize you are a real amateur when it comes to grieving .

This morning my tsunami hit.  In all  my years of loss, of parents, of a brother, of friends, of grandparents and beloved aunts and uncles and pets, jobs you name loss I thought I had grieved.
Even with Rick I kept having all these what I called meltdowns but the biggie hit today.
It started with a text I sent to a friend this morning.  For those who really know me, you know that music has played a major part in my life since I was a child.  Music has always brought me incredible joy, gotten me through sad times, bad times and good times.  But since Rick has died, I can't pick up the guitar, can't sing and the worst of it all I can't listen to music and I have tried.  I can listen to snippets but to listen to a whole song of any genre ( country, blues ( my favorite), folk, rock, new age, classical) I can't do it.  I sent my friend who is a singer/songwriter and lover of music the text.
About two hours later I was drowning, lying face down on the sofa, sobbing uncontrollably, pleading with Rick to come back and wishing I could go to sleep and not wake up.

Since Rick's death I had cried, I  have had many moments of anger, this morning was the deepest sadness I have ever experienced in my life.  I could taste loss, feel it, smell it.   As I lay there, Kodak came over to the couch and began to lick my face.  I had a profound understanding of the workings of the universe at that point.  In November when Kodak the puppy wondered up in our yard, we did every thing possible to find his family but no luck.  I kept telling Rick we just couldn't keep him, he was too active, too lively, a chewer.  Calliou didn't like him, Hook tolerated him and Taz was planning his demise. But Rick, he loved that wacky pup so of course we kept him.  Did I mention he chewed up over $500 in shoes, countless towels, napkins and anything else he could get his teeth into.

Today as I drowned in my grief and he licked my face and would not leave my side I understood why we kept him, why he's here.

Tropical rains moved in early, so it was bit later before I could walk the dogs.  After my episode on the sofa the rains moved out for a while and the dogs and I headed out.  As I took my daily path down the side of the yard to the barn, I saw something white  on my largest gardenia bush.  Now our blooms and buds have been gone for months, but there in the middle of all those lush green leaves was a pure white fragrant blossom.  Gardenias, I can't get enough of them, when they bloom I fill the house with vases of them.  Rick knew those were flowers that were dear to my heart.  It was as though after all the grief, there was hope and love in that single blossom.  I believe in signs, do you?


Monday, August 24, 2020

Unique Sunset

Usually our sunsets are vivid, lots of reds, golds, oranges that bleed to purple and blue and then pinks and soft yellows.  This evening the light was pure gold.  Maybe it is the activity in the gulf, the changing of the season, who knows.  But instead of the light deepening and becoming more vivid in color, this evening  it is golden and crisp, bathing everything around the farm  in a light I haven't seen in years.

It was exciting to look out the windows and see light more like a sunrise than a sunset.  Everything looked more alive bathed in the brightness.

Several things accomplished on my list today and tomorrow Jordan is coming to spend some time with me.  There are a couple of chores I need help with and he is happy to help.

I hope this week brings you great joy and that every day someone touches your life with kindness.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Hello

Jordan and his Nana came over for a visit this evening.  The deck is nice and shady around 5:30 or so.
In the flowers,  ( the bee garden) there were butterflies, dragon flies, humming birds and little yellow finches, all in a beautiful dance.  Suddenly this beautiful butterfly came over where Jordan and I were sitting.  It danced around Jordan, the butterfly bushes and me.  I kept asking him to let me take a picture and then in the blink of an eye, he posed for me.  He stayed on that bush as long as were out there and when Jordan and Nana went home and I walked in the house he came up to the back door.
Hello Rick!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Firsts

Today was a day of small firsts, I did yoga this morning for the first time since Rick died.  Today was the first day I did not have a total melt down since he died.  And when the rains moved in this evening, I giggled out loud for the first time since he died.  I am grateful for those firsts.

Those firsts are reassuring and to sit here and type these words while the rain is pouring feels healing.

Those ties that I keep having to tie are starting to come together as well and there are not so many of them now.  Still some biggies to deal with, but my strength is coming back and I can take deep breaths again.  I still feel beaten and raw, but I make myself find something every morning to be grateful for and every night as well.

I looked up at the sky yesterday as I was having a melt down and saw those beautiful puffs against that vivid blue.  Seeing beauty, being outdoors has been my salvation these days.

I hope you all are well.  Don't forget to be kind and I wish you peace.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Summer Blues

One month ago today, my life changed in a way that I would never ever wish for myself or anyone else.  Somedays it feels like it has been forever and then there are those moments when it seems to have all just happened.
As much as I have hated tying those lose ends I realize that in many ways that tying has been  a way to step aside from the pain and emptiness.  In a few weeks everything will be tied and those lists I make every morning ...well, we shall see.

His fans, people who loved his writings keep calling and sending me cards and letters.  He was so loved, his writing connected with so many.  I don't know what to say to them, except I am sorry, thank you for loving his writings.
There are moments that I hear that catch in their voice,  and  I wish it had been me instead of him that left this life.  He meant so much to so many and here I am trying to pick up the pieces and console others.  This is a strange legacy he left.

I gather fresh flowers for the house today.   Never have I seen so many butterflies, dragonflies and humming birds, one dragonfly perched for a moment on my finger and so many humming birds tweeted as they flew by me.  I felt wrapped in love in that garden this morning and I am grateful.

I picked the last of the hydrangeas today, they are no longer the blue of early summer but now the color has softened to almost a lavender blue.  The nice thing about the zinnias the end of summer and early fall seem to energize them, bigger blooms and brighter colors.

I hope your week is filled with peace and kindness.  Be safe, be well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Fall's Promise

Some days there are gifts, small subtle ones, yet beautiful gifts.  Yesterday when I walked the dogs I looked down in the ferns that line the road to the barn, there was my gift.  The  most beautifully colored leaf promising that fall would come was nestled in the ferns.  I brought it home and placed it in one of my ferns out front and yes the colors have already faded but the promise has not.

I am still tying up the loose strings and some days those strings are such a tangled mess.  I remember to breathe,  I shed a few tears or maybe a lot and start the process of detangling.  This path is one that I could never imagine, yet I walk it daily.  I see Rick everywhere on this small farm and in our home.
I keep waiting for him to come through the door, yet I know in my heart he won't.

Rain is falling and the sound is so sweet on the tin roof.  I sat out on the screened porch and breathed the wonderful scent of rain on dry dirt.  In between the drops I made sure the hens had some corn to help them make it through the night.

It is so nice to know that no matter where all of you are tonight, you might be reading my words.  I know you miss Rick's words and pictures, so so I.  Tomorrow is mid-week, hump day.  Be kind, be grateful and treat those around you the way you would want to be treated.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Fern Garden

Thanks for your advice, I did it today and hopefully it works, fingers crossed.
The heat has been relentless here this week.  I get up around five each morning and try to accomplish everything that needs to be done outside by 9:00 am  or 10:00am.  Then I come in and do what needs to be done on my list.

The photo today is our last outdoor project together.  It is not finished, but it's getting there.
Our front yard was so shady and so full of tree roots that I had decided we would just go into the woods and start digging up ferns and planting them.  Some are planted in the ground, others we planted in containers.  Rick loved the idea and it really is looking very magical.   We have rain moving in by the middle of this coming week, if that happens then the dogs and I will go to the woods and dig more ferns to plant.  I can't begin to tell you all how much I miss him.

I've gotten the fall crop of tomatoes planted and this week I will start arugula seeds for containers.
Then there will be greens to get started, collards and kale and mustard.  I miss the bees but I know they are being cared for by people who know how to care for them. I still walk down to the area where we kept the hives hoping to see a rogue bee who stayed behind.

Jordan and my brother Ricky came over yesterday and we cleaned the chicken pen, putting fresh hay in the laying boxes and fresh cedar shavings in the roosting area.  Nothing brings you face to face with reality like shoveling chicken poop.  :)

I hope you all have had a weekend full of peace and kindness and good health.  I'm resting tomorrow and might try to do a bit of painting.  I haven't picked the guitar up yet, way too soon.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Help Me

A few weeks before Rick passed, I started getting random lewd sexual comments on past blog entries.  He thought he had stopped it, but they have continued and are becoming more frequent.
Can any of you help me, tell me what to do or who to contact.
Thanks for any input or advice you can offer.  Rick was the technical wiz,  all I know how to do is write this blog. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Routine

I am working out simple morning routines.  Feed the chickens, walk the dogs, feed the birds, do the chores around the house and then spend hours on the phone.

There are so many loose ends to tie, and with every call there is the same story to be told over and over.
And no matter how hard I try, somewhere in the middle of telling that story to a faceless voice, I cry.

After about three hours on the phone,  I go outside.
I walk around the yard, pet the dogs and cry a bit more.  By then I eat a bit of lunch and spend the afternoon reading or writing in my journal.  Then it's time to feed and water the chicks, gather the eggs and let the dogs run again.

I'm getting there, where ever there is.  I do feel stronger and my mantra has become " I can do this."
Though most of the time I am not sure what "I can do this" means.

I am still getting so many cards and calls.  I am sure Rick never imagined how much he was loved.  I hope somehow now, he knows.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Peace

It has been a day of beauty.  Every time I looked out back or stepped out on the deck, there were butterflies all over the butterfly bush.  I always pick fresh flowers on Sunday mornings for the house and there were butterflies all around me...I felt wrapped in love and beauty.

There is a peace that has been with me today.  Maybe it is all the love and energy and prayers from those who loved Rick, maybe Rick himself has had a hand in it, but I have felt peace today.

I called a dear friend this afternoon.  She did not know about Rick.  She lives out of town and she is a fellow songwriter.  We cried tears and promised as soon as it is safe we will get together.

A friend from California sent me wonderful words of comfort today.

On the Sunday before a full moon, Rick and I always did a gratitude ceremony.  I continued that tradition this evening.  Even with a broken heart there is much to be grateful for, and I can't let myself forget that.  I gave thanks for my many blessings.

I hope that for all of you there has been peace in your lives today.   I hope this coming week is full of kindness, good health and peace for us all.   Let me introduce you to one of my visitors today.  Isn't she a beauty!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Season

It's been a day. This morning was spent dealing with more and more paper work and phone calls.
This afternoon we had a rough storm, torrential rain and gusty winds.  The power went off.
I reported the outage and waited.   My brother's wife, Deb came over to check on me.  As I walked her out the door, we both looked up and saw a tree limb dangling on my power lines.
At that moment an Alabama Power truck came by and Deb flagged him down.  He saw the immediate issue and then realized that other limbs were on the line as well.
He spent over an hour, cutting and removing limbs off my power lines.  When the power was restored I made sure I gave him a shout out on social media.

Between the phone calls, and the storm and the outage I have definitely cried a few tears.  This evening I cooked my first meal since the day Rick died.  Samantha has had grueling days this week on her new job with home health care and spending her off day helping me.  I made one of her and Rick's favorite meals of roast chicken and vegetables.  I truly love cooking and being back in the kitchen today was soothing and healing.

This healing/grief process is so complicated.  There are moments that I think I am stronger and things are getting better and then the flood gates open and there is a monsoon of tears falling down my cheeks and I realize I am still a basket case.  There are still so many friends that I want to talk with, but a conversation takes an incredible amount of energy. 

After the storm I walked around the property picking up small limbs and with each one telling Rick how much I miss him.  I am grateful for all who read this blog, maybe at some point in your life my words will help some of you.  But, what I am going through these days....I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.  I find myself singing that old song from the 60's Turn, Turn, Turn.  You know the one that the words are from the Bible, for everything there is a season.  This is quite a season.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Today

I have always made lists and used a day planner.  I am grateful for that, especially now.  It is overwhelming all that needs to be done.  Each morning I am trying to only put 3 or 4 things on the list and get those done by the end of the day.  It would probably help if I didn't cry so much.

At first I didn't think I could write this blog anymore, but I think it is helping the grief and the healing.  I wish I were more computer literate, Rick loved technology and I admit I have tried to avoid  it for the most part. 

I talked with his bee mentor, he is coming for the bees tomorrow evening.  I love them and I will miss them so much, but Rick was just teaching me and I know I cannot
care for them the way he did.  His bee mentor's name is Ricky so I think it is fitting that they go to live with him.  He will love them and care for them and he has promised to bring me the honey from Rick's hives when he harvests.

Hook and Taz seem more settled today.  Kodak misses him, but he's only been with us less than a year.  Hook and Taz are old family members.  I am grateful for these dogs, I talk to them, hug them and feel their connection to Rick.

I called this blog Transformation Information because I wanted it to be a link to students that I had through the years as well as blog friends.  With Rick's death, writing these words are helping me through the biggest transformation I have ever gone through.  Maybe in some way, my transformation will help some of you.

Thank you for your love and kindness, your prayers and energies, thank you for being there.  I wanted to add the photo of the zinnias, to let you know I still see the beauty around me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Limbo

We are living in the land of limbo here on the farm.   The chickens have stopped laying.  Maybe it's the heat, maybe it's the fact that a few weeks ago Rick had asked one of his friends to adopt our rooster because he had become aggressive  with the kids and he came by Saturday and took him to a new hen house.  But the hens are still very loving and attentive so maybe it's just the heat.

Have you ever seen a dog cry?  I had not, not until yesterday.  Hook goes to the window a dozen times during the day watching for Rick to get out of his truck.  Yesterday I sat down beside him and when he looked at me, a tear rolled down his cheek.  The broken pieces of my heart broke into more pieces.

I am in the throes of the paper trail now.  Calling and changing things like bills to my name, trying to make decisions and hoping that I am doing what Rick would do.  I keep watching for him, to walk through the field from the barn or the honey house.  I keep waiting to hear his voice or hear his laugh.
Nothing.

Jordan spent the morning with me.  He's finally eating and speaking to me, but won't talk about Rick.
There is not a manual for this stuff, not really.  This is fly by the seat of your pants and hope you don't mess up stuff.  Walking through darkness, catching glimpses of light that is how my days have been.
This grief is so different from that of losing my parents and brother.  I have lost a part of me.

Take care of yourselves, be kind, wear masks, be safe, be well.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

You Don't

Tonight I made myself a cup of hot tea.  The first I have had since Rick passed.  It was such a simple ritual, one we did nightly, drinking a cup of hot herbal tea before bed.  His favorite was honey lavender and I would sometimes have red zinger, or rose or maybe peppermint.   
Tonight it seemed that hot cup of tea was calling my name, wanting my hands to embrace the mug and let it's warmth soothe my soul.

My life changed on July 16 and every day the ways it has changed add up.  To say I miss him, that only skims the surface.  I am rather lost right now.  Covid 19 changed normal for most of us, but this has erased my normal forever.  These days I am trying to create some ritual of living that makes sense to my broken heart.

I know all you blog followers loved him.  You loved his pictures, his words, his human kindness.
He loved you all as well.  He would spend hours sometimes just reading and catching up on your blogs.   I confess, I have not been that diligent and I will do better, just give me time.

Take care of yourselves, be kind to each other.  No matter how many years you live, life is short.
One of my favorite quotes I have used on my board at work for years, " you think you have time, but you don't."  I have found out the truth of those words.

Stay well, wear your masks,  and above all be kind.  I will write again soon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Living the Dream

If anyone had told me that last Wednesday would have been my last day on this planet with Rick I would have laughed, and asked what the punch line was.
It has been a week, a second, a decade, a lifetime.  It has been hell, tears, pain.  It has been laughter and love and memories.
He had not felt well for some time.  And we would talk about his needing to see a doc, but he was so worried about me catching Covid 19, we kept putting it off.  The weekend before the heat and humidity was brutal and as always our to do list here on the farm was a long one.  On Saturday I think he might have suffered heat exhaustion or maybe heat stroke.  That night was a long one and on Sunday he still felt bad.  We used ice packs and lots of fluids.  On Monday he went to see our local urgent care doc.
He had a bad prostate infection, dehydration, but no evidence of virus showed up in the blood test.
We called our family doctor on Tuesday and made an appointment for Thursday to come in for tests and blood work.
On Wednesday he was better, we walked to the barn, checked on the bees and chickens, but we cut our walk short, the heat was getting to him.  We came home, he rested and I cooked lunch.
Lunch was one of his favorites, fresh corn, fried greed tomatoes and purple hull peas, and he ate better than he had in a few days.
That afternoon I cut his hair,  ( because our family doc has a beautiful NP and he didn't want her to think he was a shaggy old man) :)    He showered,  our nephew Haven called, and our friend Wes called.  By dinner he was not feeling as well and after a few bites  he wanted to study for  his upcoming Bee Masters exam.
We went to bed and he fell asleep.  Around midnight, he woke me up saying he couldn't breathe.
We got up and went to the couch.  Things got worse and I called 911, I began CPR.  The local first responders came and they took over, then the ambulance crew came and they took over.  After 40 minutes or so, he was carried to our hospital in Jasper and the doctor told me what I knew the moment I started CPR, he was no longer with us.
I am living in a cloud of shock.  Right now I am functioning on auto-pilot.
I have lost someone who has been in my life since I was 15 years old.  It has been a magical life, full of love, good times, music, travel, incredible friendships.  I have lived the dream with him.
If anyone ever asked how he was, his response was always the same "living the dream."
It was the truth.  We lived the dream.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Today

The heat and humidity has been almost unbearable today.  This evening something the weather guys called an upfront came through and the temp dropped about 10 degrees.  South of us there is rain and the low that caused the rain in the south created a cooling wind for us.  Wow.  I know I am such a geek sometimes.

Rick is still not feeling well so we will do another call with our primary doc in the morning and hopefully get him better.

Neither of us have had much sleep the past couple of nights, fingers crossed tonight we sleep.
Be  kind, be well, be safe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Mossy Walk

With all the rain, heat and humidity the moss and mushrooms are taking over the farm.
The good news, the ferns that Rick got in the woods and we planted in stone planters out front are thriving.  As I fed everything in planters this morning, I realized our walk way to our front door has become a mossy path.  The moss and the ferns out front give everything a fairy like quality.  I like it.
Be kind tomorrow, stay well.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Today

We got three inches of rain yesterday. Suddenly the moss and the mold and mushrooms are every where.
This morning was heaven, only 68 degrees.  That's a rarity by Wednesday it will be around 75 for a nighttime low and a daytime of high of 96, and oh yes the humidity will be a guest at the party.

It's been a slap hazard sort of day.  You know, one of those when you start something and then you have to do something else and then it becomes like a train wreck of dominos or like those circles on the log in my photo tonight.  You take a deep breath, do what you can do and figure out the rest tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, be kind and be well.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sunday Thoughts

A day of rest today for both of us.  Rick overdid  it in the heat yesterday and I think became dehydrated.  So for him it has been rest and lots of fluids today.
For me, I have read and worked with some new water color paints that I bought.  I love them, they are very vivid and luminous, made in France and get this, have a honey base.
Storms moved in and this afternoon has been so much cooler.  But this is only mid-July and I am sure there is much more heat and humidity to come.
A brand new week.  Our numbers here are still rising daily, so are our deaths.  Wear your masks, keep your distance, wash your hands and please be kind.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

French Marigolds

I write about the zinnias so much, but I also love French marigolds.  This year I grew mine from seeds and they are lovely.  I am one of those strange ducks that loves the scent of marigolds, and like the zinnias they bloom until frost.  These tonight are some of my favorites.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Mail

I have spent the past couple of days painting our new mail box and our street address sign.
We are known for our blueberries and our bees so that's what I painted.    I didn't realize until I started  but the mail box is not smooth, it is covered in tiny ridges.  It is always interesting painting on texture and a black background.
Hot humid weather ( dog days) hit this week, low to mid 90's  and heat index of 100 or more.  It is summer time in Alabama.
Ya'll be kind, stay well.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

A Pitcher of Limoncello

A pitcher of limoncello sunflowers, the perfect bouquet for summer.  Every time I see this on my kitchen table, I smile.

Take care of yourselves, stay well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Bob's Zinnia

It was Christmas in July at our house yesterday.  Our friend Pamela Whitworth from Tennessee sent us two books by Douglas W. Tallamy, "Bringing Nature Home" and "Nature's Best Hope."  Tallamy writes about conservation starting in your own back yard.  Cannot wait to read both these books.

Then our friend Robert H. Miller ( Bob), from Scottsdale, Az sent me the most beautiful piece of art.
Bob is a gifted artist who has so kindly given us pieces of his art since we first met.  I have a painting of one of our roosters that Bob did several years ago that hangs on the wall above our dinning table.
Yesterday he gifted me with "Zinnia".    He will never know how much his gifts mean to me.
His talent is so amazing and I an honored that he has shared his works with us.

I am overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of these two friends.  We met Bob through the blogging world, we met Pam in Nashville through our music.  I love that life brings blessings when we least expect them.  I think that is what blessings are, gifts of love when we need them most.
They don't always have to be actual gifts, sometimes they are hugs, smiles, a call, a note but they show up out of the blue and they leave you with  a better appreciation of the human race.

This life is short no matter how long you live.  It can be difficult but it can also sweep you off your feet with joy.  It's important and now more than ever that we all reach out to each other. That we share our blessings daily.  I believe there is only one race, the human one and we need each other to survive.  Kindness and service to each other will keep us alive and help us to thrive.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Bottlebrush Buckeye

This morning walking the dogs, Samantha and I gasped at the same time.  A few feet ahead of us was something neither of us had seen before.  At first glance we thought it was a giant caterpillar on a plant, but as we got closer we realized it was a large beautiful bloom.
When Rick got home from work I took him down to see it.  He said he thought it was some sort of buckeye.  He used his trusty app that identifies plants and sure enough, it was a bottlebrush buckeye.
So beautiful and unusual. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Limoncello Sunflower

Last year for my birthday, my sister Nell gave me Limoncello sunflower seeds as part of my gift.
I loved them.  They are smaller sunflowers, much shorter than most we plant.  The color is a true lemon.  I think they might be the happiest flower on the planet.  I planted them everywhere this year, in the garden, in the melon patch.  The first one bloomed today.  I can't wait to fill my big blue pitcher with these amazing flowers. 
It has been a good day.  Just looking at this photograph tonight makes me smile.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Abundance

Sunday morning abundance, also 3 quarts of honey.  We work hard, but the rewards are so worth it.  Some years the harvest is plentiful, some not so much.  This year the eggs, fruits and veggies are wonderful but our bees have struggled.  We won't have enough honey to last through winter, but we will enjoy and be grateful for what we have.

Be kind this week, be well.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!  My great great niece Peyton, great niece Kay Lynn and great great nephew Parker gave me the little bird house last year.  It has become my favorite table decoration.  Way too cute to hang outside.  More zinnias have bloomed, the colors just keep on coming.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Patricia's Flower

We visited our friends Dennis and Patricia awhile back.  Dennis has a sawmill and gave Rick some lumber for bee hives.  Patricia has the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen.  She shared flowers with me.  This one bloomed today and for the life of me I can't remember what it is.
I have to call Patricia and tell her about the blooms and find out what the plant is.
I made caprese salad tonight with fresh basil and tomatoes from our garden, dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Served with rosemary chicken and for desert, banana walnut bread.  It was the perfect summer supper.
It has been a good day.  We spent the day on the farm, doing chores.  The bees have discovered our zinnias and today when I picked flowers for the house, bees and dragons flies danced around me.
Tomorrow is our Independence Day.  Often we have had lots of family and friends over and I have cooked ribs with all the trimmings.  Maybe next year we can do those big celebrations again.
Be kind,  be well.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Southern Humidity


We live in the south eastern United States, north central Alabama to be exact.  Our summers are hot and humid, most days you feel the dampness on your skin the moment you step outside.  ( and I don't sweat)  Winters are usually mild to moderate.  If we are lucky we have some semblance of fall and spring, many years we don't.  Tomorrow the dog days of summer start, hot sticky days and nights that seem to have no end in sight.
In years past, we have had friends who have made the mistake of visiting us during July or August.  They are usually from places where hot means an occasional 85 or 90 degree day with little humidity.
They usually don't come back.  Now the ones from colder climates who visit during fall, winter or spring want to move here.  They think how wonderful it must be, rarely any snow or ice, nice moderate temperatures.  We always tell them to come back in July and August.
A few years ago we were at the Phoenix, Az airport.  Everyone was complaining about the heat.  It was a 100 degrees but no humidity.  We laughed. We encouraged them to visit Alabama in July and August.
Our friends in Ireland who have visited Alabama in late summer call it the "hot country."
It's the humidity that makes our summers so brutal. But it is also why everything is so lush and green.  It's the humidity that makes us guzzle gallons of ice tea each summer, why long flowing skirts and dresses are so much cooler, and ponytails are appropriate hairdos for three year olds to 80 year olds.  I think the humidity is why southern women are known for their "big hair".  You reach a point where you just don't fight the humidity anymore and the hair gets bigger and bigger.
Tomorrow starts the beginning of our holiday weekend here, the 4th of July.  Stay safe, wear those masks, distance wash your hands.  Be kind, always, be kind.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Butterfly Bush

I dead head our blooming shrubs and plants daily.  It can be tedious and taxing, but the pay off is great.  More blooms and a longer blooming season are the results of dead heading, as are healthier plants.   My butterfly bushes are a prime example, the blooms just keep coming.
Today is July 1, Happy Canada Day to our friends up north. 
For my American friends, especially those who live in areas like I do where the daily Covid 19 positives and deaths are rising, mask, distance, wash your hands.
Be kind, be well.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Zinnias on Parade

Our zinnias are blooming  all through the garden.  We have some unusual colors this year and I wanted to share a few photos with you.  I think they are beautiful.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Blueberry Goodness

I call it blueberry goodness.  I took my sister-in-law Deb's cobbler recipe and tweaked it.  I do that often with recipes.  It's almost a pie, almost a crumble, and full of blueberries.  Blueberry goodness.
We ate it warm from the oven, with a bit of whipped cream.  I wish I could share.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday Afternoon

It was a very warm humid morning, but we managed to pick about 3 gallons of blueberries.  This afternoon the humidity dropped ( some) a breeze came in, and we saw blue skies for the first time in several days.  Blue skies and sunshine was a welcome change from the grey skies that had filled our week.

I hope your weekend has been a good one.  This week we transition from June to July.  Even in a pandemic times moves fast. 

Make this Monday one filled with kindness and hope.  Be well.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Honey Filled Air

Usually by now, the honeysuckles are no longer blooming.  The rain has changed that.  Ours are still blooming, still permeating the air with their sweetness and enticing the bees with their nectar.
One of my favorite spring flowers, glad they are hanging around a bit longer.
Have a peaceful Sunday, be kind, be safe.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Respite

Even between the raindrops, we find respite on our deck.  Morning coffee is sipped there, afternoon breaks and time with Samantha and Jordan and the dogs, all take place on the deck.
I love our screened porch, but when I move all the plants to the deck, it becomes my Eden.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Thursday Thoughts

Today we masked up, took plenty of hand sanitizer and did a supply run to Costco.  Everyone in the store had on masks, distance lines are clearly marked at checkout.  It was a smooth easy experience.
I also saw my acupuncturist today.  First treatment I have had in about 6 months.  It was time, the heat and storms had triggered more bouts of migraines and vertigo.  Feeling much better tonight.
I was the only person in the office, the doc wore shield, mask, gloves, gown, I felt safe.

Our numbers of those testing positive are rising daily in our county, so are the deaths. People still laugh at Rick and me when we go out with our masks on.  That's ok, the laughter fades when someone you know gets sick.  We are not a heavily populated county, soon everyone will know someone sick.

The rains are moving out for a few days.  It will be nice to see the sun and blue skies.  Because of the dust from the Sahara our sunsets and sunrises have been amazing. 
Be kind, be safe.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Girls

Every morning I make the "girls" a treat.  During the spring and summer months, a salad .  Not your ordinary salad, handfuls of herbs from the herb garden.  They meet me at the gate of the chicken pen, as soon as they hear my voice, they cluck.  They are funny and so full of personality.  Some are reserved and shy, a couple want you to pick them up and pet them, most fuss about like grumpy old ladies.  I love our morning routine.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Almost

The tomatoes are almost there.  Well I did pick one over the weekend and a couple of cherry tomatoes.  But soon, fingers crossed, there will be an abundance of ripe tomatoes.  I have started 23 more seedlings for a fall crop.  We love our tomatoes.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Stormy Flowers

We had storms yesterday, nasty ones.  The power was off around 10 hours and off again today for about 4 hours.  We had torrential downpours ( but we so needed the rain) and wild winds.
After the first storm went through yesterday we had to do damage control in the garden.  Most of the plants were blown around pretty bad.  Many of the zinnia blossoms were face down in the mud.
The ones I could help stand, I did.  The others I cut, washed the mud off the blossoms and brought them in the house.
One  more day of storms tomorrow and then things should settle down.
Ya'll be kind, be safe.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Mangoes

UPS brought a wonderful package to our door yesterday, a box of mangoes.  We have dear friends who live in Miami and they had posted pictures of the most luscious mangoes.  I casually mentioned that I LOVED mangoes and WOW, mangoes delivered to our door straight from the mango farm.
These are the largest mangoes I have ever seen, weighing in around 5 pounds each.  Sweet and juicy, so very good.
It has been a beautiful warm mango filled day.
Tomorrow is Sunday, I wish you peace. 
 

Friday, June 19, 2020

A Dog and Butterfly Story

This evening I was waiting for Samantha and Jordan to come over for a visit.  Hook and Kodak and I were sitting on the steps of the deck.  I noticed this beautiful yellow butterfly on our butterfly bush.
I grabbed my phone and took a couple of pictures.  The butterfly was not shy nor in a hurry to leave the flowers.
The kids got there and Rick came out to join us.  Sam went down to see the chickens.  Rick, Jordan, Hook and I were on the steps of the deck.  Hook spied the butterfly. He bounded off the steps, that is not unusual he loves to chase butterflies.
This was different, this butterfly seemed to be rather confident and coy.  Hook was aggressive, and the next thing we saw, Hook had opened his mouth and the butterfly was gone.
It was in Hook's mouth and he was making his usual swallowing something tasty sounds.
We were a bit freaked.  Hook nonchalantly walked up the steps and sat down on the deck.
Suddenly his mouth opened wide, and the butterfly flew out of his mouth and up into a tree.  Unbelievable...we laughed, we clapped, we were astounded.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Faith

Rick and I are both running on empty tonight.  I think it's a combination of heat, exhaustion, maybe the planets and the stars, the fact that our Covid 19 numbers are rising and so are the deaths here in our county, maybe it's the endless supply of hate that seems to constantly be surfacing on this planet.
I think the best thing I can do tonight is go to bed and have faith that tomorrow will be better.
Be kind, be well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Mushroom flower

Walking the dogs this morning, I spied what I thought was a beautiful white flower in a patch of moss.  I was wrong.  Some sort of mushroom had blossomed in  a bed of moss.  Never saw that happen before.
Enjoy your Thursday, please be kind, be well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Pretty Maids

Zinnias have always been one of my favorite garden flowers, but the bees love them as well.
We plant lots of them now, several different varieties from the small ones to the giant ones, in every color.  They have just started to bloom.  When I saw them today all I could think of was, " pretty maids all in a row."  We always called them old maids.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Summer Space

One corner of the deck, with one table and three chairs.  The other corner, pretty much the same, just different flowers.  I think we  have a pretty nice living space for the summer.  Wish you were here.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Creative Battles

The tables and chairs are back on the deck.  It was late this evening when we got them placed, so I will do pictures tomorrow.  I wish I had done before and afters.  It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do.  They look brand new. 

I love painting.  Every type of painting.  Painting for me is meditative.  When I paint my Christmas cards each year, it brings me joy, painting walls, floor cloths, canvas, doors, furniture, it all brings me joy.  It is transformative for me and what ever I am applying paint on.  I have friends who are fine artists, their work is shown in galleries and museums and I am awestruck by their creative work.
I don't think anyone would ever call mine fine art but it gives me great pleasure so it's art.  I must say painting and playing music takes me to a place of pure bliss, but often I find myself doing everything but painting and music.   I think a friend might have helped me change that this week. 

She sent Rick and I a fabulous book this week, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  Oh my, she knows us so well.  It's about winning your inner creative battles.  If you struggle with allowing your creative side to shine, do yourself a favor and get this book.  If you find yourself procrastinating about anything, get this book.  I am about half way through and it has been an eye opener.

Tomorrow starts a brand new week and we are half way through June.  Be kind, be grateful. Find your creative outlet and explore it.


Saturday, June 13, 2020

Almost Done

We finished the tables and chairs today.  Tomorrow we will place them back on the deck with all the plants.  Jordan and I have had a good time and he made a little extra money.  It was a win win.
Once everything is in place tomorrow we will take more pictures!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Green Enameled Hair

Jordan and I painted the lawn chairs today.  They are wrought iron and had not been painted for several years.  They look brand new.  Tomorrow we do the two tables that match the six chairs.  I will make sure to take photos.  We had one tiny mishap, I was painting the underside of one of the chairs and raised my head.  I now have a patch of forest green on the top of my head.  Jordan volunteered to do my whole head.  He laughed and told me, I could be a weird old hippy with green enamel hair.
We did have fun painting those chairs.
We also picked our first green beans today.  Tomorrow we will have fresh green beans and squash from the garden.
I am a bit tired tonight. 
This weekend, be kind, be well.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Blue Bottles

I love these blue bottles in my kitchen window.  They are beautiful on their own in the changing light, but flowers just dress them up.
The bougainvillea is thriving in this heat.
The stickers are difficult to deal with, but those flowers are worth it, aren't they?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Mossy Path

The past couple of days we have  had monsoonal rains.  It was getting dry here, the rain was welcome but also grateful there was not a hurricane.  This afternoon the sky turned blue and the world turned green.  Even our walk to our front door grew a verdant coat.  It's  not so humid now and a nice breeze  blew across my face a few minutes ago.  Tomorrow, be kind, be well.