“Darcy, We’re Not In Kansas – Yet” – or The Tornado Trip

Well, those of you have been following me should know enough about my past to know there is damage.  The fire of 2014 was the worst.  July 29, 2018, comes in a pretty close second – F2 Tornado.

The whole trip was wicked.  We have a huge living room window that I judge when it is time to put the chickens in by.  As it starts turning darker out, I know it’s time for me to move.  Well, at 4:30 p.m. I got up and my phone weather warning alarm went off (I remember cuz I jumped – it vibrates and rings a nasty sound – I made it that way), stating that it was a tornado “warning.”  Those of you that do not know, a “watch” means conditions are right, a “warning” means the suckers on the ground.

As I went to my car (I use my car to close things up at night because I do not trust my new knees yet – tripped and fell too many times and it really hurts), the south side windows showed a clear sky.  Got into my car and rounded the house going north and my stomach turned.  That darn woman’s intuition kicked in HUGE.  I quickly closed up everything and glanced over the chicken barn and freaked out – something massive was coming.

My first thought was another wicked dust storm like we got back in April of this year.  But my intuition would not back down.  I got back up to the house and found my sister stretched out on the couch watching movies like no big deal.  I yelled at her to get downstairs NOW!

Instinct kicked in again – turned everything off, had my phone, grabbed my tablet, thought about my laptop but last minute decided no (great time to not listen to myself – idiot!!).  Let the dogs in and grabbed the cat and we all went down to the downstairs living room – north end of the house.  I closed all the doors in case of windows breaking (there is only one small one in that living room area).  Note: My bedroom door opens to this downstairs living room.  All other doors are in the hallway.

I sat in my fav crafting chair while my sister and grandson snuggled on the couch.  Dogs wouldn’t lie still, and the cat was hiding.  I pulled up the weather radar on my phone and watched the ugly colors flow across the screen, and the stuff outside the window flew.  I distinctly remember my bedroom door rattling – THE WINDOWS WERE ALL CLOSED IN THE HOUSE – this was tornado pressure.  Our ears were popping and plugging like we were going up in a jet.

I think initially, part of me just thought (or maybe hoped) this was some more of our severe winds.  I was not scared – which is weird.  At about 4:45 the power went off.  Around 5:00pm-ish I called our insurance company and told them we were in a tornado and would most likely have damages (after the fire, I learned that Insurance should be the first one a person calls when you own stuff that is insured).  By 5:30 pm we were sneaking back upstairs to check.  The majority of the storm was past, still, some strong winds going on, but the sun was showing.  The first thing I spotted was this:

tornado-pic-1.jpg

The window was blown in, glass and heavy water everywhere. You can see my tablet with the mess on top – and yes, it’s shot! (I cried – silly me lives for writing, and I had some great stories on it.  Hope I can have my friend save the hard drive as he did after the fire?)  My grandsons mini-tablet was thrown off his stand (on the right) and was sitting soaked in his chair.

Then I went to check the office, but the door was jammed.  It took us a bit, but we finally got it open to this:

tornado-pic-2.jpg

We could definitely tell which way the wind blew.  This is our office/sewing room and I also use it to keep track of my yarn goods for sales.  They ended up trashed as well.  Not just soaked, but bits of glass shards embedded in them.  Then I cried again – all that time and effort shot in less than one hour.

The next thing I did was go outside to check the damage.  This was the most noticeable in the front yard:

tornado-pic-3.jpg

It is/was our gazebo.  In the pic, it is facing southeast.  It is supposed to be facing west toward the house.  The twister (appropriately named) picked it up, turned it, then set it down on top of the fence (looks like the vinyl fence is going in the door )..but it left the fence post intact – go figure?

Then the north end of the house:

tornado-pic-4.jpg

This really shows how freaky (or picky?) a tornado can be…both the living room window (to the left) and the office window (right) are blown in/out – but the door window is just beautiful?  The door itself is metal and has massive dings from the large hail, but the glass is untouched – how?  Even the porch light (little black one by the door) had its glass busted on a couple sides – but the door window is ok??

My grandson’s trampoline was the next thing that caught my eye.  Because we have such awful winds, we had it not just staked in the ground in several places but tied to both the tree and the fence.  The weird part on this is that the rope on the tree snapped, but the sucker is still hanging on to the fence.  The fence was not even cemented in?

tornado-pic-5.jpg

The cage is shot – too many busted screen poles, but the tramp itself looks ok.  It did smash into the house above my bedroom window and left a mark – but that was all it did to the house.  I expected a lot worse – guess all the stakes and ropes helped.  If you look close in the center of the picture, you can see the far pole is actually shoved over halfway into the ground.  We tried to pull it out but can’t…gonna have to use a jack.

The big barn had a massive piece of its sheet metal roofing flapping in the breeze, and several pieces of roofing in the back are gone.  Same with the big gray shed.  Our chicken barn roof is gone.  Then there is our greenhouse:

tornado-pic-6.jpg

If I didn’t know better, I would think we were constructing it (my  Helbergfarmstories blog was started because of this.).

You may be wondering what all this has to do with life lessons lived – it’s about finding the humor when there appears to be none.

The first thing my sister said to me was “we’re not in Kansas Dorothy.” And we both bust out laughing.

  • The three of us survived.
  • The critters are all good.
  • The gardens are shot, but the majority of the house is intact.
  • We have full coverage on the house and our possessions.
  • We don’t have insurance on the outbuildings (never got to it.) but we can fix those.
  • Tried to get coverage on the greenhouse, but no takers since “the weather we get out here is too much of a risk to cover it.”  Funny, I always thought that was what you paid insurance for – risky situations?!?

We have seen some of our neighbors and their homes/properties have been devastated by this twister.  All-in-all we did not get it as bad as some of our friends, but we have a fantastic little community here, and we all pull together!  The biggest reason for us to keep pushing forward.

Yes, I had a good cry when I first sat and thought about it (so did my sis and she NEVER cries).  Then I pulled up my big girl panties and got things done.  The barn front and large gray shed are done.  The part of the chicken barn that is over the chickens (other ½ used to cover goats) is covered and they, with the kitties, are all dry and safe.

The greenhouse is what it is.  We cannot afford a new roof right now, and the base 2″x12’x12′ boards have to be reinstalled first.  So, for now, we are going to use it as is   :

  • The far end with the swamp cooler wall managed to save the north end crops – zucchini, strawberries, small tomatoes and some hot peppers – oh and the melons (and they are in the middle of the area – have no clue how they were saved?).
  • I also pulled back some plastic on the west side and found my eggplant and pickle vines were all ok. A bit beat up (smashed) but still good.
  • My grandson’s flowers are next to my Rosemary bush, and both got nailed by the scaffolding (from trying to repair before), but they are good.  So is the Basil next to them…but the rest of the row is trash.  Our big heirloom tomatoes took a beating as well as the other sweet and hot peppers.  BUT as of this morning (8-9-18), I see sparks of life.  Some of the main stalks/vines are showing new leaves.  Now we just need to set up row covers and heaters to keep them going long enough to produce.

The best news after all this mess is that I am a new grandma – sort of.  A couple of chickens that have been setting for the last month are now proud moms.  I love how they puff out to cover the babies.

Well, once again, life goes on.  You can either let it eat you up, or you can bite back.  I choose to bite back!  Hope you do the same.

TOO MUCH TRASH? This can help!

No, I am not talking about garbage in the normal sense.  I am talking about news trash:

  • Politics (just awful over the last couple of years – and NO, I do not approve of our Commander and Chief).
  • Natural disasters (floods, volcanos, hurricanes, fires, and even a huge iceberg).
  • Violence (I swear there is at least one major ugly violent story in the news every day).

I beg you stop telling me TRUMP funny

Well, I have decided to find the funny, fun, and heartwarming stuff that is out there and share it.  This is only going to be one day a week (for now), but if I get enough good responses, I may have to turn it into more.

I hope you enjoy reading, watching, smiling, and sometimes laughing at these as much as I did when I found them!

My first is from our friends at Mother Nature Network.com (https://www.mmn.com).  It is titled:

These comedy wildlife photo winners will make you belly laugh

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards focus on wildlife conservation but lighten the mood with humor.    By: Angela Nelson

I have seen tons of animal pics that have made me smile with funny or heartwarming stuff, but these actually gave me the giggles.  Since the main purpose of my blog is to bring more joy into your life (no matter what is happening in your world), I thought this would be a perfect way to help.  A couple of them I have seen before, but I can’t stop laughing out loud at the crab!

I hope you enjoy and have a great rest of your day.

You can also check me out on:  https://helbergfarmstories.com/ for fun stories from our farm.

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Want to earn a bit-o-cash for free: Vindale  I love how easy their surveys are!

If your life is stuck and you need some new ideas on how to fix it, this nice gentleman contacted me.  I checked out his site and found a ton of great information and guidance help.  He is not an affiliate, just a link that I hope may help to un-stick you:  Miles Anthony Smith – Leadership, Career, & Life Wisdom

WE ARE NOT ALONE, and I am proud of it!

take me to your reader

No, I am not talking about aliens.  I am talking about reading lovers.  Books, ebooks, blogs, comic books and whatever else we can get our hands on –  IT MUST BE READ.   There is one book that stands out in my mind, even to this day – Chatter The Red Squirrel.  I know it is not in print anymore as this was one of my first/best Christmas gifts over fifty years ago.  A book.  It was my first chapter book (the younger generation apparently separates just books into categories).  I have an Aunt that sent me, and only me, a book every Christmas.  She was not my Godmother, so it was not a relation obligation.  She (for some reason) and I connected and, for as long as I can remember, I was thrilled to receive them every Christmas.  I happily charge her with my passionate love of the written word.

red squirrel

I love going to libraries and bookstores are my Achilles Heal.  Oh and don’t get me started with anything involving paper and pens or pencils.  When tablets first appeared I swore I would never have one.  Our home now has three (one for each of course).  I love the handiness of the e-readers. However, my first passion is the good old standard paper products.

ereader

For the longest time, I considered myself a bit of a freak (ok, a really huge freak, if we are honest – but for a variety of reasons).  I thought I was in a very small minority of people that consumed the written word as I do.  I am reading all the time.  Well, thanks to one of my fav websites,  Mother Nature Network (https://www.mnn.com/  no I am not affiliated with them – yet.), I found out that I am not alone but, in fact, I am in great company.   Here’s the link if you want to see if you qualify for this marvelous title:

Too many unread books? You have an ‘antilibrary,’ and that’s a good thing

I think I fit perfectly into a specific statement in their article:

— a very small minority — who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool.

This statement fits me to a tee!  I read to learn.  My elder sister reads romance novels.  My youngest sister reads the strangest (usually nonfiction) stuff like Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools by Victoria Tweed (what kind of a title is that?).  The name caught her eye, and after reading the prologue, she had to read more.  My collection is all about learning.  Learning new things, improving on a current skill, picking up a new skill, finding better ways to get through my days; these are my darlings.

I collect the written word, music, and crafting supplies (I am a Yarnie at heart).  There is not a single my personal space in our home that does not carry at least two of the three.  When I go to appointments, and I know, I will be there for a while, a book, a yarn project, and a smallish notepad and fun pen (or two or twelve) go with me.  I try to be prepared for wherever the mood takes me.

I am proud to have an antilibrary – are you?

The kaizen way(Currently reading.  Not affiliated.)

You can also check me out on:  https://helbergfarmstories.com/ for fun stories from our farm.

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FREE NOW – what a crock!

I get tons of emails on a daily basis. Granted it is all my fault as I have subscribed to most of them.  However, in my defense, I found that when I find an interesting post, go in, sign up and hope to receive more “interesting” posts; I get a load of garbage instead.

I love to write. I love to share my stories, crafts, gardening help (https://helbergfarmstories.com/), and other bits about me; usually with a collection of humor thrown in.  It’s just what I do.  But the stuff I have been getting lately has started to tick me off.

FREE NOW – LIMITED TIME OFFER – COMPLETELY FREE (just pay shipping)…

 I am guessing that you get several of these also, at least on a weekly basis.  Mine are bombarding me daily.  The part that really ticks me off is how they entice with the “free” when it is NOT free.  If I have to:

  • Subscribe to get it.
  • Pay ridiculous shipping, handling, and/or processing fees
  • Watch a full 2-hour webinar to get the information on how to get the freebie, only to then find it is not actually free.
  • Agree to be overloaded with a million emails per day that I did not plan, want, or need.

Then I go to unsubscribe from the nasty only to be told it may take several days.  In the meantime, I get a million more dumb stuff emails that I have to clean up after.

Now, someday, I hope to write the next best novel, create an ebook that people can’t get enough of, or some other wonderful writing income maker.  I have a very simple plan that I wish to share:

  1. When I finish the written work, I would love to give it away completely free – no shipping, no handling, etc. I would request a review from those I provide the free copy.  Now, this is free in a no-money sense. However it will require a bit of your time to tell me if you loved it, it needs improvement, or if it sucks.
  2. If I should decide to do a print book vs. ebook, the shipping and tax will be listed as a charge – NOT FREE THEN IS IT?! So I will tell you up front – this is not free.  What a refreshing idea?!

Several years ago there was a movie made with Dudley Moore.  He was an overworked, overstressed advertising agent that ended up in an institution early in the movie.  The point of the movie was to imagine what it would be like if all advertising simply told the truth.  If the product stinks, but you will buy it because of the cute, half-naked woman presenting it – then say so.  Be proud of how you are shamelessly pushing your products!  The movie was appropriately named “CRAZY PEOPLE.”

 movie pic CRAZY PEOPLE

If You need a giggle, click here to see the trailer on YouTube it’s just a nice movie that makes you smile!bunch of crazies

Happy Monday!

How To Know If You Are A LEARN-A-HOLIC?

I have taken a ton of classes over the years.  Many of the classes were just to gain extra knowledge in a specific area.  The funny thing about me is that I never received an actual degree for anything.

Learn a holic headder

To this day, I still feel that having that piece of paper hanging on a wall somewhere in my life would not make a bit of difference in the amount of knowledge I have accumulated.  My father always wanted me to get one; in his eyes, it was a sign of prosperity.

diploma

Please do not misunderstand, I agree that in certain fields a degree is preferable: Doctor, Lawyer, Scientist, and any profession that puts someone else’s life in your hands.  I want to know that the person that pulls me from a burning building, pulls the knife out of my leg, or protects me from a Road-Rage whack job; has had the proper training and education to handle these types of situations.

goats butting heads

When it comes to me and professional learning institutions, we butt heads.  My first experience left me feeling that I was taking a bunch of “extra curricular” (E.C.) classes that were required, but to me felt completely useless.  I am never going to EVER use physics.  I knew it back in my early twenties and by golly, I was right.  My closest connection to it would be through the show The Big Bang Theory, which I absolutely love.  (FYI, my favorite person is Penny.)

(If you have never seen, check out the Halloween and Christmas – Bath Item Gift episodes.)

I felt that all the extra classes a person is forced to take to get that piece of paper was ridiculous, but I wanted to learn.

This was Hint #1: The thrill of  learning new things.

I took a small business class because I wanted to run a small business.  Part of the class required Accounting 101 – made perfectly logical sense to me.  As that turned out, was when I fell in love with Accounting.  I looked further into becoming a C.P.A. (Certified Public Accountant) – but then again, I would have to take all the E.C. classes – grrr.  I found that I was overly excited about learning more about Accounting, but not so much in the other gunk.

My next hint came several years later.  I had a job that was alright.  It allowed me to work in an accounting field – Bookkeeper which kept the thrill going for a while.  But I needed more and I was not sure what “more” I was looking for.  A friend told me about The Aptitude Test that the local community college provided.  The first time I took it, I had to pay ten dollars for the results.  It was all hand written back then (The old-fashioned pencil and paper type. Man, I am old – eeek!) and took about four hours to complete.

find X

I hate tests.  Every time I take one I panic.  The normal grade school through high school tests were alright, but then I took a Speed Reading class which, as it turns out, blew it for real testing.  Yes, it taught me how to speed read, but the down side to doing it is missing the important details.  Well, I was glad to know that this was not that kind of test.  There was no judging, no grades, and no pressure to finish on time.  The test is simply to help you to understand what you currently hide in your brain, vs. things you have a passion for but may not know yet.

I received my results in the mail along with an in-depth explanation of how to read and interpret the graph.  They also included long lists of the types of jobs related to the different fields on the graph.  According to my results, I could have been in:

  1. Customer Service (that was a given due to my waitressing years),
  2. Accounting, or Math Related field (They had me at Accounting.)
  3. Then it actually said that I could have been a Nuclear Physicist – me? I don’t think so Lucy!

The results even listed a Psychiatrist as a possibility.  I found this very funny because I had been a bartender several times in my life.  I used to make-sport of the fact that I should have been a Shrink after listening to everybody’s problems in the bar.  The bummer of this is I have somehow earned The Bartender Face, not by choice, it just happened.  People you do not know will just start spilling their problems at you.  I have seen others with this face.  If you have ever been a Bartender for more than six months, you will get one.

bartender face (The face on this guy tells me that he has been dong it for way too long!)

Hint 2: Understanding that I have an Impatient Passion for doing many things.

Then my ultimate favorite thing ever happened…The Age Of Computers (insert dun-dun-daa sound here!).  The amount of information a person can get, and store, was amazing.  My main thrill was not in the storage, but in the information.  One class that I did take, complete, and get a certificate in was Computers 101.  This was way back in the early 1980’s.  We got to dissect a computer just like you would a frog.  Somehow tearing the box and its guts apart was calming for me.  The whole thing boiled down to bits of metal and wires.

This was followed up by two more historic moments for me:

  1. Having an employer that paid for all the office related computer classes that I wanted to take – so I did.
  2. Getting to know a Computer Tech who told me: “There is nothing you can do in that computer that I cannot fix.” Best, dumbest, words ever spoken.  I made it my life task take him up on that.  During the day, I got to take all the “heater” calls.  Then, when everyone else got to go home at five, I got to work with the I.T. department.  I made him live up to that statement (for a story at another time).

The very first time I got to push buttons and see something happen I was hooked (yep, a button-a-holic also.).

  • 10-Key by touch.
  • Type 100+ w.p.m.
  • Obsessed library researcher
  • Persistent question-asker.

Roll those all into one and you have me with a computer.  The best thing the computer age has brought about is learning.  There is nothing you can’t find, do, or save in a computer.  I have even taken multiple classes through my computer.  This thought led me to the final definition for a Learn-A-Holic:

Hint #3: You have several projects going at the same time.

I currently have the following:

  1. Knitting projects
  2. 5 working
  3. Crochet projects
  4. 7 working
  5. Card Making
  6. Valentines and Happy Birthday (hope to complete 20 of each by month end)
  7. Blogging
  8. 3 working blogs, 2 of which I try to post at least once a week.
  9. Surveys for cash
  10. Signed up for 3 different ones with a goal to complete 1 survey on each per day.
  11. Writing
  12. Working on 3 how-to e-books.
  13. Farm/gardens
  14. Day-to-day standard duties (feed, water, clean up, and prep for next season.)
  15. Taking online classes through Udemy
  16. 26-hour, slam-dunk class on Character Drawing.
  17. Marketing Strategies (something I am in DIRE need of!!).
  18. Learn how to use Canva (my fav right now).

My mind and my hands must be busy at all times!  I even find that when I sleep, my fingers still move about.  I know my mind wanders because of my various dreams.  This, to me, is the biggest part of a Learn-a-holic.

  • You never stop.
  • You do not have to go fast,
  • There is no set speed or time limit except for the ones you set on yourself.

You may also have several projects going on at the same time, like I do.  You maybe lucky enough to only have one big project going on, and all your being is tied up in getting it done.  It doesn’t matter how you handle it, you just have to keep learning something new or you think you will die.

This all came about because I received the following email article:

Will Traditional Colleges and Universities Become Obsolete?

I used to love going the traditional route, but for the last eight years or so, it has become faster, easier, and better doing it online.  This makes me happy and sad at the same time.

WE NEED TEACHERS!  Yes, I am yelling that out because I firmly believe it.  I can teach a few things that I know well, but I don’t believe I have the patience to be a full-time, in front of class type of teacher.  If it’s one-on-one I do OK.  This is what makes the Learn-a-holic in me feel sad.  What if shutting down the colleges, turns into no one wanting to be a teacher anymore?  How awful our world would be without them?  So I give Kudos to all those Teachers in my life – past, present, and future.  We Learn-a-holics could not survive without you!
Blackboard Teacher Appreciation Blog Graphic

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Top 5 Ways I Beat My Holiday Blues.

Just when you thought it was safe to start hanging all the decorations, it hits- The Holiday blues.  They get me every year about this time.  I always start out so excited going into Halloween.  I make most of my gifts all year long, then around Halloween I start wrapping them up.  After that, Thanksgiving brings on all the warm feelings of family and friends.  Then something weird happens.

The days following Thanksgiving I start to get depressed.  I know that I am not the only one that feels like this, many of my friends have shared their mood swing at the same time.  The problem I used to have was how do I get out of the funk.  Well, I think I have finally figured it out.  The following is my top five big things that help me work through my Holiday blues:

  1. Grateful: Now, when I get up every morning from Thanksgiving into the fifth or sixth of the new year, I lay in bed and think of the three things I am grateful for as of that moment.  I don’t care if they are the same things on several days.  It doesn’t matter.  I just need to say – out loud – the top three things that come to my mind before I get out of bed.  This little trick has helped me to at least start my day in a happy mood.  Keeping in mind, for me, the good things I have instead of the pains I have to endure later makes life a bit easier.

ape - pound on something

  1. Song: I used to have a beautiful voice (at least I thought so), but years of colds and screaming at ball games have done their damage to my vocal cords. I never wanted to be a famous singer, but I do enjoy singing never the less.  I will purposely force myself to sing along to several songs during these dangerous days.  One of my favorites is not even a holiday song; it’s If I had a million dollars by Barenaked Ladies.  I don’t know if it is the melody or the lyrics, but the song just puts a bounce in my step. (Although the lyrics are very funny to me.)

cat singing

  1. Do Something: Not just anything, but something I can do well and am proud of.  My yarn works, paper crafts, and writing do this for me.  I pick up my supplies and just put something quick together.  Most times it is something that I can (and usually do) give away.  The creating, sense of accomplishment, and the warm act of giving all combined seem to perk me right up.  The best part is I can always see the feelings of amazing love and affection on the face of the recipient, especially when I surprise them with the handmade gift.  You’re not crafty – no big deal: bake, read, spend time, or drive someone to lift their spirits.  The whole point is you took the time to include them in your thoughts.

 

  1. Cry: I was a very emotional mess during menopause.  Men don’t understand this, but you women do (or will).  After that ended, I found fewer and fewer opportunities to release stress.  Women accumulate a ton of that nasty stuff, and if we don’t let it out somewhere safe, an explosion will happen.  Not the bomb stuff till it falls apart, but an explosion much worse.  We will blow up at someone (usually someone very close to us),   and without meaning to, we will hurt them with our words.  To correct for this, I have already pulled out It’s a Wonderful Life movie.  Not the remakes but the original black and white one.  I will ALWAYS break into a full-blown crying jag during this.  If you choose to go this route, two words of advice:
  2. First – Have a hankie (look it up) or a box of tissues in your lap.
  3. Second – Do it before bed.

You will cry hard and long until you are exhausted.  That is the whole point of this exercise.  This is one of my best depression releases.  When I get up the next morning, it feels as if the weight-of-the-world had been lifted.  Then I do #1 again.

uncontroled sobbing

  1. Rip out weeds: You can just tear up some papers, scrub the floor on your hands and knees, or over-haul your furniture.  I love ripping out weeds in my gardens.  We cheat because we have an enormous greenhouse, so I can lash out any time of year as needed.  I will get to pulling and digging so hard that I break into a heavy sweat (Sorry dainty ladies, but I have never just perspired – I sweat.).  I do this on purpose for at least a couple of hours.  I wait until my body tells me that I am exhausted.  Then I go in and take a long hot shower.  Sometimes, if things are really low, I may cry in the shower too.  The more stress I can wash down the drain, the better my mood, and the less time the depression hangs on.  Helpful hints:
  2. Keep a pen and paper handy. I have come up with some outstanding ideas while doing this.  When I forgot the pen and paper, I forgot the idea by the time I got back in the house.
  3. Make sure you do not have good plants in the plot. I have torn out perfectly good flowers in a yanking rage.   Don’t do it! You will just feel worse after, and then angry because you will have to replant new ones.

pull weeds

The big picture here is to hold strong during these well-known hard times onto the things that make you happy.  Sad but true, sometimes we just have to fight to be happy (there should be a law against it.).

Calvin n Hobbes(FYI – Christmas has been cancelled this year.  I told Santa that I had been good all year, and he dropped dead laughing.)

You can also check me out on:  www.helbergfarmstories.com for fun stories from our farm.

 
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Do You Fear Weird Too?

I consider myself pretty weird.  Never really doing the normal things you would expect a child, never-the-less an adult, to do.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons my dad’s nickname for me was Dumb Shit.  (Remember back a few posts – this was not a bad thing, but a very loving way of telling me I did something stupid.  He ALWAYS said it with love and laughter.)

As a child, my fear was moths.  There was a very valid reason for this.  I have naturally thick, curly hair (thank you also to Dad) and we loved to play under the yard light at night.  We had Fire Flies, bats, and of course Miller moths.

miller mothsThe Fireflies needed to run from us.  We needed to run from bats dive-bombing all the bugs around the light.  The moths were different.  They are attracted to the light, yes, but they are also attracted to heat.  What is better warmth than a bunch of farm kids at play?  So the buggers would smack right into us – faces, hands, arms, but the worst was hair.

Straight hair kids never had any worries.  The monsters would simply bounce right off them, not so for us curly locks.  They would dive down and then get tangled up in the curls.  The worst part was trying to get them out.  Do you know what it sounds like when you bite down on a semi-stale piece of toast?  That yummy crunching sound is exactly like the sound of trying to get a moth out of your curly hair – YUCK!

squashing mothsThere was not only the fluttering in your fingers of it trying desperately to escape, but the crunching sounds as you hold it too tight then try to rip it out.  This usually included taking several strands of hair with it.

I don’t mind normal things like spiders or snakes as long as I see them first.  Spiders in our house and I have an agreement:  You stay on the ceiling, and you are safe.  Come down to my level, and you die.  We have a skylight where they usually go for the winter because all the heat is up there.  However, it never fails that sometime within those colder months someone gets stupid and decides to venture down to my level…too bad, so sad, you die!

squishing spider

We have three main snakes we need to know about here in Colorado:

  • The Rattler, (mega fear – not a weird one) which everyone knows is someone you do NOT want to meet.

rattle snake

  • The Bull Snake, which I love because they keep the Rattlers off our property. (You always want to check our snakes – tail first – the first, best way to tell which you have in front of you.)

bull snake

  • Then there is the beautiful, and harmless to humans, Garder Snake. Some people call it the Gardener snake since you will usually find in while gardening.  This is a bug-a-holic, and we love it.  They usually don’t get more than about a foot long.  Roughly the size of a quarter around, and will be really stupid on occasion and try to swallow a toad that is three times bigger than its head.  We helped one to spit it out – idiot.

garder snake

Lately, I have taken up the stranger fear of survival.  I am not a Prepper, (although I wish I were) just a small farmer that likes to grow and save our own foods.  My family and I were watching Halloween movies over last weekend, and one that came up out of our stash was:

The Stand by Stephen King.

DVD)

I started to remember that the first time I heard of this book I had to have it. I was just becoming a big fan of Mr. King and was trying to purchase every book he created. Well, I got the book alright. I started to read it and got sucked into it. Yes, I believe that a person’s imagination can be much stronger than any movie. Well, my imagination went nuts when I discovered that all the things in this book were to take place starting 1985. It was only 1978 when I started reading it. I got less than halfway through and had to put it down. I did not pick it up to finish it until after 1985 had passed. Now, how silly was that? I guess it just goes to prove what a great writer I find him to be. He sucked me right into his game at the best time – KUDOS Mr. King.


(Book – even better than the movie, I think.)

I consider that quite an accomplishment for any author that can get me to read their fiction or fantasy novel.  Being more of a how-to or ways to improve my body, mind, skills, or soul kind of reader; there are only a couple of the “FF” types of books that I have read:

      • Stephen King
      • JK Rowling (yep, I am a Harry Potter Head – so is my cousin of the same age – haha.)

    (This is the full series of books.  My set is in a cute looking trunk box.  Yes, I still (at 58) love reading them.)

    • When I was much younger I did love the Nancy Drew Books

(This is only a 4-book set, but you get the idea.)

  • I loved the Child Craft set. They were not really fantasy or fiction but they did get the childhood imagination flowing. I still remember that they had a dark gray hardcover to them.  There were fifteen total books in the set.  They were filled with anything you ever wanted to know as a kid.  I don’t know when they stopped making them, but I wish they were back now for my grandson to enjoy.  I found this set for sale on eBay, not exactly the same, and a bit out of my price range- boo hoo.

old childcraft books

As I said earlier, I have developed an odd fear regarding survival.  It could be because my sister and I are hooked on watching the Walking Dead .  We don’t watch for the zombies (even though the special effects are outstanding), we watch for the human nature part of it.  If you have seen it, you understand.  If you have not seen it, you may want to give it a shot – unless you have an odd fear of zombies, then don’t.

So today’s post is shared to celebrate our weird fears.  May they keep our hearts pumping, and our skin jumping.

OH and…

Happy halloween

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How Do You Find Happiness?

You can look till you are blue in the face and you will not find it – you have to choose to make it!

I can say this because this is what I do, I choose to be happy.  I will gladly share with you examples of my on-going work of attitude adjustment.

I had to have half my left index finger amputated just one month after our house fire took everything (including my 4-year old grandson, but that’s for another time.).  I will admit when the Doctor first announced this I was shocked.  Started crying hysterically.  Thank goodness my younger sister was with me so she could get me back to reality.

I was expecting the Doctor to tell me I would need pins or something, but I never thought of lopping it off.  Well, after the initial shock subsided, I planted my feet firmly on the ground and started to think about the things that I would have to change to accommodate this circumstance.  I am a yarnie and crafter by nature.  If you know anything about knitting and crochet, you know the yarn is held by your fingers.  As I am a right-hander, and as I was taught to carry the yarn in my left hand – the major player was now going to be absent forever.  Now, this was MY first thought.

My sister, on the other hand, looked me straight in the eye and said:

“How are you going to pick your nose now?”

That poor Doctor!  He left the room with a woman shocked and hysterical over the news he had just delivered, and now walked into a room with a couple of dizzy broads laughing so hard tears were all over the place.  Then my sister states:

Where’s the bathroom, I have to pee?” and bolted out.

There are just some moments in life that you just do not think to take a picture at the second.  This was one of them.  This poor young Doctor was beside himself, and it was obvious that he had no clue what to say.

The amputation was done in June 2014 and went off without a hitch.  It took several weeks to get through recovery and therapy.  During the process of this, the Doctor noticed I was having difficulty raising my right arm.  He ordered x-rays and found that there was no ball left in my socket (let me know when you stop laughing.  It’s ok because I still get teased by family and friends on this one – no ball in my socket-  haha!).

He proceeded to order more x-rays and tests which told us all that I have osteoarthritis (arthritis in my joints – oh lucky me!).  To shorten this up a bit, I went on to have six major surgeries within 12 months.  I was also handling all of the fire cleanup, remodeling, insurance, investigators, etc., etc., etc.

I consider myself extremely lucky to have had some fantastic doctors with great funny bones.  My first (the guy that took ½ my finger) also did my shoulders.  Those of you that have been lucky enough not to have it done, you end up with your arm in a sling for about three months.  It just so happens that Halloween fell in the midst of all these surgeries, and the sling provided a perfect hiding spot!

I had to purchase all new things for our home – this included holiday decorations.  The first was to be for Halloween.  Then it hit me – skeletons.  I also purchased a package of those rubber tips you put on the end of your fingers to help turn pages of paper.  My sister had to help me from here.  She cut a small slit in the tip of one of the rubber tips.  Then cut off the little finger from the skeleton.  Shoved the fake bone through the slit and glued it to keep it in place.  Then she painted the rubber a skin tone which left the white bone sticking out of it.  It fit perfectly onto my new Ms. Stubly half finger

rubber finger tips

We’re off to see my doctor, the wonderful doctor of osteo (yes, you have to sing this to the tune of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz).  As with any doctor office, the nurse assisted us into the room first.  She had not seen our Halloween surprise because it was hidden in my sling.  My doctor came in, set my file on the counter, and was looking at it as he asked so naively:

How are things going?”

“Fine,” I said, “But I have a few concerns about my finger, should it look like this?” I said holding back on all my laughter.

“It does make it easier for me to knit now.” 

It took all my sister, and I had to stop giggling until he turned around and saw my Ms. Stubly with the fake bone sticking out from the end.  He burst out laughing at us – now that’s a doctor!  Then he went out and told the nurse, who told a couple of others, and before long we had several people in the room.  It was all great fun.

(The flesh paint has all faded off, but you get the idea.)

When things calmed a bit, we then noticed his attire for the day – plaids and stripes?  My sister very nicely asked him if his wife knew he left the house looking like this today?  Once again, we could not stop laughing.  I swear, from that visit on he made sure his wife helped him pick out his clothes – at least on the days he knew we were scheduled to visit.

This is a small part of how I have taught myself to create my own happiness.  I have many more stories to share, so I hope you will tag along and have some fun with me!

(FYI: My Doctor told my sister on our last visit that he was going to miss us – haha, another fly sucked into our web of humor – hurray!)

spider n fly

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WERE YOUR FOLKS BRILLIANT?

My last post got me thinking about my parents a lot.  They supported us in so many ways, especially in ways that we never even knew.  The last bit of my last blog talked about why I do not do major alcohol.  This was formed by my parents and a well-played evening on their part.

When I turned eighteen years old, it was the legal drinking age in Wisconsin.  They have since upped the age which, after you read this story, you may understand why.

My folks owned a little place called The Wagon Tongue Café back then.  Half of it was a little restaurant by day.  The other half that did not open until afternoon was the bar.  I only had to go to school half days during my Senior year, so the other half of the day was spent waitressing and cleaning up when closed.  I want you all to remember something I hold to be very profound.

EVERY TEENAGER (or early 20-somethings) SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO BE A WAITRESS, BUS PERSON, OR DISHWASHER.

No matter where I have traveled those jobs, along with bartending, have gotten me through the hardest of times.  They are excellent fall back jobs.  I have done some fast food joints to get by or earn extra money.  I never have, and never will feel that they are jobs that are “beneath me” no matter what.  I firmly believe that it would be, to all middle teen to early twenty people, a great service in their life.

On my 18th birthday through my folks, their establishments, and the people connections, they allowed me to create; I just knew I was going to have a great birthday.  This was, after all, a mile marker – number eighteen!

keep calm 18 pic

I had no clue that my loving parents had already spoken to every other bar owner in town warning them of my upcoming celebration.  Yes, spoken to as in told them exactly how to handle me when I stopped in.  They had it all planned out way before I even had a chance to think about it.

The glorious day finally came.  I had to wait tables that morning, then got cleaned up and ready to go out on the town by around 4:00 p.m., everyone was in our bar waiting for me.  Then came my instructions from mom and dad:

“You do not have to pay for a single drink, however; you have to drink what is put in front of you before moving on to the next one or place.”

enjoy your booze

I DON’T HAVE TO PAY FOR MY DRINKS!  That was the only part I initially heard.  Dad started me off with my first shot – blackberry brandy.  Not too bad, this is gonna be fun I thought.

My party group proceeded to lead me from bar to bar, meeting all the owners, shaking hands, laughing and drinking whatever was put in front of me.  I thought I was doing pretty good until about the fourth establishment.  Someone bought me a thing called Tooties Roll.  It did taste exactly like the candy.  I don’t remember all the details after that.  I walked into a parking meter and said: “Excuse me.”  I thought it was a person.  I remember waiving at some friends driving by. Apparently, they had to stop because I was waiving at them from out in the street.

I remember getting back to my parent’s bar, and dad served me a shot called A Flaming Angel.  He mixed it up and set it on fire – I had NEVER seen such a thing before.  He told me to drink it by downing it really fast, as I lean back it will put out the flame.  Well, cool, young, very wasted me just grabbed that shot glass, flung it up to my mouth, and as I threw back my head to down the shot I just kept right on falling backward.  I did the shot perfectly (except for falling flat on the floor on my back) and began laughing.  The next part is hazy.

I was told by numerous participants, that this is what happened:

  1. I stopped laughing.
  2. I turned completely white as a sheet.
  3. I rushed up and ran to the bathroom (apparently someone was occupying it, but that did not stop me – I just told them to move quickly.).
  4. I proceeded to throw up (at least I hit the toilet – I think?).

I spent the next three days in my bed or throwing up.  Since that glorious evening, I think I have maybe taken two shots of peppermint as an after-dinner drink on two separate occasions.  When I get strong alcohol up to my nose, I get a knee-jerk reaction to throw up again.

MY PARENTS WERE BRILLIANT!  They knew way back then how to stop me from ever possibly becoming an alcoholic, and it worked.  I hope you do not think they were bad parents for doing this to me; I don’t.  I have known too many friends that would sneak drinks in fear of getting caught.  Later in life, I saw some of them, and it was not good.  I have learned this lesson from all that:

Be upfront, open, and honest whenever possible, and hope that it will help in the long run.

guardian angel

(This pic hung over my bed as a child – I guess they knew back then it would take more than just a Guardian Angel to keep me out of trouble – LOL.)

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CAN YOU FEEL IT?

It’s out there.  You cannot see it.  You cannot taste it.  You cannot touch it.  But you can feel it and you know it’s there….

THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING – EEEEK!!!!!

I get both excited and scared at the same time.  If I did not have custody of my grandson, it might not feel so extreme?  Then again, maybe it would.  I am a crafter by passion, and I work on my crafts all year long.  With that said, I still get a “major stress on” every year about this time.

  • The kids are back in school.
  • The stores have out the Halloween decorations. (Some are also doing Christmas already-grrr.)
  • The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer.
  • The full course of fruits and veggies are almost done with our mega processing.
  • Pull all that together with the impending tasks of holiday stuff, and you can go crazy.

So, how do I handle all of this mess – laughter!  As much of it as I can muster!

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I try to remember the better holiday times of my life.  Most were from when I was very young, but some (the better ones I think) are from later in life.

FALL:

  • Stepping outside on the first deep freeze. Breathing in real deep and having my nostrils stick together.  For some weird reason, I just loved that?!
  • Digging up the last of the potatoes out in our garden. Here again, I was a bit strange as I would always keep a couple hidden in my pocket for later.  Just loved the taste of a garden fresh potato (yes – crunchy and sometimes a bit dirty but delicious).
  • Playing outside when the winds kicked up just to dance in the falling leaves.
  • The smell of hot chocolate when we came in from a cold day of play (still love this one).

HALLOWEEN:

  • I don’t remember doing much trick-or-treating when I was little as we lived in the country. Running from house to house sucked up a ton of gas with little returns.  Some years we would drive into the local small towns, but not often.
  • I did love the Halloween television shows: Charlie Brown Halloween was (and still is) one of my favs. There were some odd ones too, The Monster Ball and one about a mean Pig creating Frankenstein’s monster – both were in Claymation (this is still my favorite animation form).
  • Then, as we matured (and I do say that lightly), my two sisters and I loved dressing up and bar-hopping.
  • One year I was a black widow spider, eight legs and all, and no one knew it was me.  Loved it as I was completely covered in dark black material and body paint.
  • My younger sister had a party where she dressed as a unicorn (oh, by the way, we made ALL of our own costumes as that was part of the fun of it.)
  • Our older sister dressed as her husband, and he dressed as the Grim Reaper – couldn’t tell them apart – ok, maybe just a bit.
  • o   The most favorite of all was when were still in Wisconsin and owned a little bar/restaurant establishment.  The basement was the place for the younger crowd.  We held our costume party in which our older sister went as a Lobster.  She was head-to-toe deep red – – –for several weeks after!  We still reminisce on that one, especially when we need some great laughs.  (Along with, never at.)

lobster

CHRISTMAS:

  • When we were younger, the routine was the same. Christmas Eve was going to church for our pageant.  After we put on our little play, the church gave everyone a large brown paper bag.   The bag held some of the greatest gifts of Christmas:
    • Always one large navel orange and one huge red delicious apple.
    • A huge variety of fresh nuts – never shelled as that was also part of our Christmas fun…cracking the nuts open.
  • And last, but my very favorite of all Angel Food Candy!  Man did I (and still very much do) love that stuff.  Some people call it sponge candy.  I have heard it called other things, but it will be Angle food for me forever.  Decades later I wanted to surprise my family for Christmas and buy some, but I could not find it anywhere.  I was lucky that computers were becoming very handy then (early 90’s), and I found a website called Wisconsin Recipes.  I do not believe it is still around.  I did find these:
    • http://www.oldwisconsin.com/recipes has some great (looks like mainly German, Swiss, and Swedish foods) main course meals.
    • I also have a childhood friend with which I recently reconnected. Come to find out she loves to cook and to blog about it.  She is not in WI anymore, but I bet she has a ton of recipes from there.  If you are interested, you can find her here: https://indianeskitchen.com/  Her recipes are yummy!
    • The last I found after a ton of searching, cooking, tasting, and comparing. It is the (apparently) secret recipe for Angel Food Candy.  This is one of my most favorite candies ever, and I only make it up for Christmas.
    • The last one popped up by accident. I only saw the Wisconsin Old Fashioned part and didn’t realize until I clicked on it that it was a drink.  I found this as my daily omen as it was my parents drink of preference ( Brandy Old Fashioned ).  Yes, we grew up with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (kind of have to in WI), but as they aged, they went to the B.O.F. for their drink of choice.  Since we owed a couple of different bars and restaurants while I was in my tween-teen years, it was all good.

The funniest part of that candy recipe hunt was the last.  I do not do hard booze at all.  I like my beer during our Friday game night or at family get-togethers, but no strong alcohol. This was also due to my parents and our bar rearing.  But that is a story for another time.

 

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