Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My life in an egg shell

Spring is certainly on the way on the farm. The animals are getting frisky.
I have 3 ducks and a goose. Three of the four are males. One poor little gray duck, named Stormy is apparenlty the lone female. I actually thought all 3 of the ducks were females, since I can never find the bird book to explain anything. Anywhooo, I found out the goose was male because I caught him in the "act" last summer. Yikes. There are some things I don't need to know about my birds.
I watched the goings on yesterday morning. One big white duck, named Sunshine, was trying to "get it on" with Stormy. She wasn't in the mood. Not at all.
The little thing would let him get close and just as he was about in position, she'd dodge him. If was incredibly funny. The wierd thing is the goose, Taloose, was hanging out -- as if supervising. He's sort of taken on this whole Big Brother role. He keeps an eye on all the goings-on around the barnyard. 
During the summer, when I let them out each morning. He's the first bird out of the coop and he immediately does the "fly over". He makes a low flying trip down the side walk. Then he patrols the perimeter of the house. If anyone but me comes in the yard, he hisses and chases them away. I think he thinks he's a dog. So I have a goose that thinks he's a dog and a cat that thinks she's a dog, but no actual dog.
Things that make you go "hmmmm."
Just outside the gate I have two roosters. I call them my watch roosters. Both of them were kicked out of the coop and have managed to survive. I call one Henry. He's white with cool black tail feathers. He charged my calf muscle with his talons. This always pisses me off, so I caught him and threw him outside the coop. I figured if he could survive the racoons, coyotes and cats -- then he deserved to live, but I wasn't going to provide him with shelter. The other one a large Buff Orpington-- a large golden bird. The females are great layers. This guy also hit my calves with a set of talons. Butt head. So he too got caught and thrown into the river bed. But I managed to land him in a larger snow drift. I spent nearly two weeks feeling guilty that I'd wasted the bird -- he would have been good in a stew pot or one of my neighbors could have used him because she likes to hatch her own eggs and you need  a rooster for that. 
I felt horrible, I'd wasted the life, food etc.
Then one day I pulled into the driveway and there he was. I'll be damned. So he hangs out with Henry and they watch over the yard. Out in the coop, I gather in a couple dozen eggs each week. The warmer weather has increased egg production somewhat, which is cool because then I usually have an extra dozen to sell if I want. 
I have heat lamps in the coop this time of year. They're plugged into the coop ceiling.Twice this winter, I've walked in to find the lights broken off at the collar. I have no idea what those birds are doing in there, but I hope they're having fun. I'm guessing the roosters get to goin' at it and fly up and break the lights. The two roosters I have in the coop are miniatures -- I can't imagine they have enough body weight to do much -- but they're certainly up to something.
This time of year, as the snow is melting and the frost is coming out of the ground, it's a mucky muddy mess out there. I hate it, but am always thankful for the change of seasons. I'll be glad, though,when I can walk across the driveway without fear of falling on the ice. However, I'm not looking foward to the amount of work that awaits me when the weather clears. After last summer's remodel etc. everything got neglected and it's not like I'm great in the yard anyway. 
But in light of all the recent stress in my life I'm feeling compelled to focus on the yard and chickens. It seems like a return to center -- to my roots. Maybe a little dirt under my nails will fill up the voids I'm always trying to fill with activities outside my home and away from the farm.  Maybe my grandmothers and my mom are trying to guide me back to what is natural and real -- where I can make a difference in my own world without worrying about making a difference in anyone elses. 
Maybe, just maybe, the garden and farm is the place to be silent enough to hear my own voice -- instead of those who don't have my best intentions at heart. 
More than anything, it's a piece of land offering peace of mind. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

If not me, who will save ... me?

For most of my life, I've been told to slow down. That I had too many projects, committees and plans. Too many things, people and places in my life.
Every so often, I've quit everything and vowed to slow down. Take time to smell the proverbial flowers. And without fail, I'd find my way back into the fast lane with even more activities. 
It's just who I am. I've always wished everyone would just leave me alone about it. I want people to just appreciate me for who I am.
I see myself as a leader and community activist. I feel that God has given me this wide range of talents and that I'd be wasting God's gifts if I didn't do all that I can to do good -- to help, to serve...But, I love what I do. I love organizing events, running a meeting, teaching a class. It's not like I do these things just because I can. I do them because I enjoy every minute of it.
However, as predicted by so many people in my life, I'm burning out. Emotionally  -- well, that's been coming and going for years. But now, physically. 
I've been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue syndrome. I've blown out my adrenal glands -- from spending too much time, doing too many things under the extreme stress I have often lived.
I'll get into adrenal fatigue in a future post -- for it's been fascinating.
So, I quit my job to "take better care of myself," to "focus on health issues" -- but as my daughter pointed out this morning. It's opened up free time that I have already begun to fill in with other things. 
I've often said that while other people are addicted to alcohol or drugs, I am addicted to volunteering. There doesn't appear to be a good support group for this.  But I understand addiction and I understand the reality is that I'm trying to feel a void by volunteering for everything -- by trying to save the world one committee at a time.
Could it be that I feel like I don't exist unless my name is on a committee phone list somewhere. Does this mean that somewhere inside me, I think I don't matter unless I'm doing something outside this home and family? That I have no worth unless I'm accomplishing something???
What would happen if I really did check out -- even just for the summer? What would happen if I only created peace and quality in my own home? What would happen if I actually kept a garden alive or followed through on one of the 100s of projects I want to do with my children? What if I actually  unpacked the boxes we moved into the shed 4 years ago? Would would happen if I actually moved all of my stuff out of the old house? What would happen if I actually did stuff with my kids without saying, "hang on, I just have to finish this."?
Would I still exist? Would my friends still call? Would my friends still think I was fun to hang around? Would I be worthy of love, trust and respect?
I hear the voices in my head in their usual debate. My voice saying YES!! but she's drowned out by the others saying things like "Comitment!" "But who will take care of this stuff?" "I can't believe you bailed out on us!" 
I have no idea how to slow down. How to tune out. It just seems completely out of character. But if I'm truly going to return to center, it would seem I have to disconnect at some level. I keep having these visions of my self working out in the yard -- with a garden that actually survives and thrives in my care. I see myself talking long walks and going camping with my children. I have dreams of just going to a meeting to support my children -- and not volunteering for a darn thing.
It sounds like a fantasy -- a really it's possible. But in my world it would be like letting go of the life raft I've been clinging too for survival.  All this time I've keep clinging to it -- just letting the current  carry me down stream. As these words come flowing out it occurs to me that I no longer need the raft. That if I just stand up, the water is shallow. I'm in control -- 
Wow! I'm in control. 
Someone else will have to save the world. I'll save my world first.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A sign of things to come?

I was in downtown Hailey the other day and I saw a robin.
Yep.  A red breasted robin. 
She was hardly visible -- camoflauged in some sort of tree with lots of little red berries. 
Oddly enough, the tree was in front of the Nature Conservancy offices. 
I watched her a while --every so often she'd snatch a frozen berry off the tree. She was lightning quick in her if she was hoping no one would notice. 
She, like the rest of us was soaking up the sun. Perhaps like me, the sun made her feel feisty and in the mood for a treat -- a reward for a winter survived.
So I quit my job -- for the most part -- I'm done Monday night. I'll be on call until they hire my replacement. I quit because I need to focus on some health issues and let's face it, I suck at grown up jobs. I'm wayyyy too ADD for a straight job. The full time job took a huge toll on my family and my health and cramped my creativity in a big way. I have the luxury of being able to quit without too much of a financial burden and figured since I was so freakin' exhausted all the time, I should take the opportunity to cut my losses and get out.  
I loved the job, but couldn't handle the constant pressure of it all -- waking up in the middle of the night worried about what did or didn't get's just not worth it anymore... 
The most difficult thing is trying to not volunteer for a bunch of other stuff... I just need to sit on my hands... but dang -- there are so many cool things going on -- work that's that needs to be done... I just can't help myself!
More on that later -- 
So here's the deal:
I have been diagnosed with adrendal fatigue syndrome.
You know for years, I've known something was wrong. I have always felt like didn't deserve all the weight I've gained. That I shouldn't be so exhausted, especially in the afternoon.  But all these years I just believed what the doctors told me -- I was fat. And because I was fat, I deserved to be tired, sore and depressed. Inside, I was screaming. There has to be more to it! I'm not sedentary, I don't eat that much -- especially since I stopped bingeing. 
In the last year or so, several people have suggested I have bariactric surgery. Every time it was mentioned, I couldn't help but break into tears. I just knew at a cellualar level there had to be another option.
And let me say that it has stopped being about the weight on most levels. It's about feeling human. There is still a part of me that get's hung up on the numbers, but 75% of the time, sometimes event 90 % of the time, I don't care that much. 
I'm not a sideline mom. I'm not the mom that watches while the rest of the family skis or swims or hikes. But especially in the last year, I haven't had a choice. I've been in pain constantly and so tired I couldn't do anything.
It doesn't seem to matter if I work out like a mad woman and eat nuts and berries -- or sit on my ass and do absolutely nothing -- I only feel a little better. If I feel great it doesn't last. I finally started doing some research and had figured I had a thyroid problem. (see  I have been on thyroid medicine for months -- I felt great the first 6 weeks then nothing. 
Finally about a month ago -- so exhausted all I could do was cry -- I went to see a doctor a friend recommended... one last chance.  This guy Dr. Tom Archie ( integrated medicine and tested my adrenal glands. 
Sure enough: flatlined. 
So I'm on all sorts of herbs, a pharmaceutical or two and accupuncture once a week. 
He warned me it would be slow progress. But I do know I don't feel like I've been drugged every afternoon. I sleep almost every night -- for 6 or  7 hours which is great for me!
Progress -- I think so.
Like the robin is a sign of renewal -- of spring's new growth -- maybe it's a sign or  renewal for me.
No -- there's no maybe... I know it is!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Back by popular demand

I'm back. Again.
Every time I stop writing, someone or something compells me back. My friend Nancy always says when you get off God's path for you, He'll bring right back around to where you're supposed to be -- and that's been proven to me time and time again in recent months.
I've been thinking a great deal about this lately. Figured I might as well share these thoughts with you.
More and more these days it seems I'm supposed to write. Not just for a living or hobby, but because it's my mission. 
In the last few weeks, three different people have said "Voice for the Voiceless." -- Heavy.
But in fact, maybe it's true. 
It's an art and calling, a passion and mission and job and obligation. It is, it seems, what I do. 
If you look at the things I've gone through in my life -- from eating disorders to hormone problems to life and loss and love -- these are stores everyone goes through -- but often think they're going through alone. 
In this day and age, there's simply no reason to go through anything all alone -- we're much too connected. 
Lately, the writing is just of several activities in my life that I keep getting drawn to -- writing, returning to center -- to what is real -- While I love texting and e-mail and am a Facebook addict, it is not always real -- that sort of thing that you feel in your soul. Writing, when it is at is best can make miracles happen -- can plant a seed in your soul that grows into something remarkable and inspiring.
I look around me and I see overwhelming poverty -- poverty in all its forms; financial, time, love, hope... there are stories there to tell -- of the people living in poverty that merely need a voice to reach out of their worlds and into sustainability.
I see  the greed and disrespect (of which I'm guilty) that has driven us to the economic situation we are in -- and see people that have moved too far away from center  -- away from what is real -- there is no fear in what is real -- we eat processed food in our cars while driving down the road to another obligation away from home -- away from our hearts and souls -- and then wonder why we're sick and bloated and depressed. We are two generations away from people who understand where their food comes from  -- two generations from being to fix our own cars -- from being able to take care of ourselves... there is a story here -- somewhere...
I see people like me who have become so busy and therefore so exhausted that we rely on others to tell us whats wrong -- instead of taking control of our own health care, our own destinies, our own thoughts.... again -- there's a story here.
Perhaps I'm living in some egotistical world -- maybe I think I'm cooler than I really am -- but maybe, just maybe I'm finally hearing what the Universe and God have been trying to tell me for years and years -- that its my voice that needs to be heard -- somewhere and some time...