The horse's pasture to the East...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I love our gravel road. It winds back and forth, up and down. It's not quite like any of the other areas  here in Northeast Kansas. We're a good two miles off the beaten path in any direction. Most of the traffic we see is other neighbors up and down the road a piece (and around here that can mean a neighbor across the road to ten or fifteen miles away) or a tractor or combine on it's way to any given field for the day.

We moved out here because it is remote, away from all of the traffic, noise and people ... the lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Nothing wrong with living in town if you're happy doing it, but neither John or I was. When the opportunity and reason to move came, we jumped on it and never looked back. The flat tires, washed out roads, loss of power in a storm and extra effort that it takes to do shopping or to get to work is more than worth effort. In fact, it's made both of us more efficient. Going to town is never a willy nilly thing anymore. We always, one or the other of us, have several errands to run. We get them done and then go home with a real sense of relief.

It's taken ten years for the neighboring farmers to accept us "in to the club". When we first moved out here our truck was too new and we were "green" when it came to understanding how to keep a pasture cleared, fence lines in good condition, or how to heat with wood. Course they all think I'm a bit balmy because I name all of the cows. By the end of the summer they're all coming up to me to have their heads scratched. "Miss Nancy, you never name the cows. You know where they're all going so don't get personal." Sorry, they're in our pasture so, while they're here, they're part of my life style. They get apples and the ticks picked off just like the horses. Cows can be pretty cool and their tongues are huge, wet and sloppy.

In town we lived in a much bigger house in one of those suburban places where everyone sprayed their yards and planted bushes. Flowers were planted in careful patterns and no one ever picked them...except in our yard. We took down the fences, made the back yard in to a Wild Life Federation Habitat with paths going through and everyone was welcome to pick any wildflowers they wanted to. In May, right around Mother's Day, kids in the neighborhood would stop by (most of them took the short cut on our paths, through the back yard, on their way home from school) to pick flowers to take to their Mom's. I learned to send notes with the children so the Mom's would know the flowers were given to the kids and not taken without permission.

 Needless to say, the local neighborhood association and I clashed a bit so I compromised. The front yard was where the "formal" gardens were (although anyone could pick those flowers as far as I was concerned and our little patch of lawn had dandylions and wild flowers in it too.). I designed them rather than throwing bags of wild flower seeds out and waiting to see what came up.

My house was bigger and more carefully designed. I was, after all, an interior designer. Long story short, now I'm not!

Now we live in a house that was converted from a barn (we keep it cool most of the Summer using the old barn fan that was put there for the milk cows), it's smaller and nothing about it is designed. The carpets are ancient, the linoleum is fading, the kitchen cabinets are poorly organized and the handles are cheap plastic.  The down stairs is where we write, paint and store the seeds and produce from our gardens. The upstairs is a great, wide open area with no dining room and a huge fireplace that helps to keep the upstairs warm in the Winter.

And every year I find new places to plant more gardens. Some of them are herb gardens, some flower gardens. We have areas that are all native wild flowers that bring in more birds, butterflies and wild life every year. And we have areas that are raised beds for vegetables, a small orchard we've started with each tree commemorating one of our four legged family members that have moved on to whatever comes next.

All I ever wear anymore are blue jeans and overalls, hats to keep the sun off my face and neck, old hankies in my pockets and my beloved beat up cowboy boots. Both of us are hard and skinny from all of the physical work required to keep a place like this going. I never "do" my hair anymore and the make up in the drawer in the bathroom is getting dried up from never being used.

Am I in my element? Oh yeah...absolutely. My horses are in the back yard, my truck is old and faded now and so am I. It's not quite as much fun as having little boys, but it's a pretty doggone close second. I spend my days going sun up to sun down, working, with no other sounds than the wind, the birds and the horses.

A friend wrote to me today and asked me how it's going in "Nancy's World" and I realized I hadn't checked in here lately. I've been doing NANOWRIMO this month. I know there's a way to turn that in to a link to the website, but I'm not quite that tech savvy yet.

I'm writing a novel (50,000 words) in one month. I did it three years ago. It was mostly a disaster, with me coughing up words in no coherent way. I just wanted to get my number. What a silly goal! But it got me going in a new direction, this BLOG being part of my focus. So this year I'm more prepared and have a story line, an idea that I worked out ahead of time. I even passed up the opportunity to cheat by writing ahead of time (which means that I have to make up words after taking the time to write here). I'm interested in e publishing as an additional source of income while I reach for my goal as a certified Parelli Professional...the true final goal.

I've had my own small study buddy group with several very nice people involved along with their horses. What a nice way to stretch myself while I learn how to interact with different horsenalities and personalities.

Is my life ideal? Heck no! I'm probably working harder than I ever have except for the first intense years of being a young Mom. This is like being back in a self imposed graduate school with all of the attendant worries, goals and expenses. Good thing I like to learn so much!

I probably won't write here again until the end of the month. I should have all kinds of funny things to tell you about my latest adventures in writing and whether I made it to my goal of 50,000 words. And I'll have stories to tell you about playing with horses and helping other people to learn how to play with their horses too. That just gets better and better.

In the meantime, if you're out in our neck of the woods...literally!...I hope you'll stop by for Thanksgiving dinner or just to say "Howdy!"

I am, ever yours, Nancy, slightly brain burned and dusty from the gravel dust blowing in the windows, smiling!