island at war: if you enjoyed reading the guernsey literary and potato peel society you will enjoy this mini series. set on the fictitious island of st. gregory this tells the story of four families at the beginning of wwII. although the island itself does not exist, the series is drawn from events that actually happened on the channel islands during the german occupation. i was particularly pleased to discover that it featured joanne frogatt. downton fans will recognize anna (one of my favorites) ~ it was fun to see her in a different role. unfortunately only one season is offered and apparently that is all that was written. while the series stands well on its own it does end rather abruptly and one wonders what would have happened in a second season.
housewife, 49: an absolutely beautiful piece brilliantly acted. another period flick set in england at the time of wwII, the story is drawn from the diaries of nella last; a housewife who volunteered for the mass observation archive. the archive was set up in 1937 in an effort to record the views of everyday, ordinary british people. nella was as ordinary as they come. her narrative forms the backbone of the story of a lonely woman, her family, and her marriage during the war. it is poignantly sweet, tragic, funny, and devastating. if you are an ordinary person who has struggled to find your voice, at times felt inadequate, or even served on a committee under a chairperson who has allowed their power to go completely to their head – you will relate.
please note that both of the above are (in my opinion at least) for adult viewing only. some scenes, and some of the subject matter would be a bit too strong for a little mind to digest.
i waited six weeks. i was #40 of i don’t know how many holds and now –
i finally have it.
eighty-two card holders are waiting for me to finish this book.
eighty-two people behind me…all of them..waiting….waiting….waiting…with bated breath.
i could be kind and return it as soon as i am finished.
i could hold it for the full two weeks allowed me;
i could renew it for an additional two weeks keeping it for an entire month
i could be exceptionally cruel and hold it. overdue. indefinitely.
i could even try to determine who is next in line and offer it as a bribe for say…
a dozen chocolate cupcakes from merritt’s?
come weed my lawn and i’ll let you take a peek?
oh the power of obtaining a coveted library book!
i soon learned that district #2 is located in maizie. however, the street address reads “chouteau” . when i call for directions i’m informed that this is because the maizie post office burned down ten years ago and was never rebuilt; so the address was changed to chouteau. it is there though, on broadway just past the lumber yard.
it turns out that broadway is a narrow drive about a hundred yard stretch (if that) off the highway. this folks, is mainstreet: maizie ok.
i find the tiny lumber yard as directed. rural water district #2 is one of a dozen or so businesses and homes on this road. the address of one sagging, black mailbox reads “north broadway” while the one right next to it reads “south broadway”. the office is simple enough with a cement floor and a community bulletin board in the front hall; surprisingly full for such a small town. it is furnished with a few filing cabinets, a reception area consisting of two metal frame chairs, and two desks. two ladies sit behind the desks, one decorated with artwork from a grandchild. they both are very nice, very helpful. in the back, a man in blue workshirt, jeans and suspenders manages from his office.
i am to fill out the paperwork and sign a form stating (among other things) i understand that in the event of a drought, water will be rationed. this means that my garden and livestock will only be watered after everyone else. i’m sure every water district has this contract, and i know this is an obvious concept. i just thought it amusing.
i also had to sign a “no sewage” agreement for initial tap that is used during construction.
jo anne behind the desk says to gladys “do you have a copy of this for her?”
gladys: “no, i have to type it up..”
gladys goes to her computer sporting a hay bale screen saver and types up the agreement. she brings it to me with a smile “you have a ball-point pen? “ (pen has two syllables)
while i’m wading through legalese with a country twang, a customer enters.
he’s wearing jeans, work boots, a t shirt, scruffy beard, wad of crisp $20 bills. he looks like he stepped out of the most recent episode of king of the hill. he’s here to pay a bill and he’s mad.
“this is too much. way, way too expensive (expensive is drawn out with a beautiful drawl). what you have here is a monopoly. that’s what this is. ain’t right. just ain’t right”. he goes on and on…
i’m trying not to stare, not to giggle, and just focus on agreeing to (in the event of a drought) not water my cattle before my neighbor has had a bath.
as soon as the disgruntled customer leaves, the man with suspenders calls out to be informed of the mishap. gladys hollers back “it was just a late bill” (bill has two syllables).
papers signed, i hand them over to be examined and notarized by gladys. she stamps with a flourish. i make out the check to whom?
“rural water district #2 but you can just write r-w-d #2 cuz it’s much faster”
joann informs me that there will be a board meeting on march 12 and then i can have my tap. just mark where i would like it to go, then call them and they’ll come out and set the tap.
“mark it? how do I mark it?”
gladys: “give her a stick” (stick has two syllables) .
i’m grandly presented with a pine marking stick sprayed blue.
as i leave joann tells me “make sure you call and let us know when you’re ready to go. otherwise, well , we’ll just have to find something else to do in the meantime”.
my husband and i have never built completely from scratch before. this is a first for both of us. the closest we have come was buying a brand new home the year we married. i remember feeling a bit surprised that i had to buy a bathroom towel rack and a toilet paper holder as those did not come with the house.
purchasing raw land and starting literally from the ground up is quite a jump from simply needing a towel rack. learning first of all: what we need; second: how to ask for it; and third: who to ask has been an experience to say the least. working with rural districts that office in small towns off the beaten path have provided very colorful entertainment as well as insight into the culture we’ll soon be part of.
my first challenge was getting the water tap. this was one experience where google offered little help other than to deliver images of, literally, the tap on your faucet. i quickly learned (as most of you out there who have done this before know and are probably right now sniggering into your coffee) that the tap is installed by the water company close to the edge of your property line. that little manhole cover? out in your front yard? near the road? that is your water tap. sounds simple? i just always took it for granted. now, once you get one installed, that does not mean that you have water on your property. it just means that you have access to it. you still have to pay a huge chunk of change to the plumber to get the water from here to there.
since we are outside the city limits, there was a bit of a question as to which district we were in. is it district #2 or district #6? one afternoon i gave city hall a call. the man who answered the phone told me he doesn’t have the info. “irene” knows all that and “irene” has stepped out for a bit. he is just sitting at her desk and he doesn’t know where she keeps anything.
rather than wait for irene to come back i called district 6 myself.
“what road you on? that the same one dollar general is on?”
“well, yes but we are a long ways away from dollar general. “
“doesn’t matter. you on the same road as dollar general, you are in district #2”.
district #2 it is then.
~to be continued….
who purchases packages of chocolate chips that never quite make it into cookies?
who adds items to a list – items already accomplished just for the sheer thrill of being able to cross them off?
who laments about her weight while shoveling that fourth cookie into her mouth?
whose library books are always overdue?
who, upon entering the house, makes a mad dash to turn off the beeping security system even though it is only 50 feet from the door, and you have a full 60 seconds to get to the key pad?
who spends the week lecturing one’s self on portion control only to purchase a package of cheese puffs without guilt simply because they are labeled “organic”?
who rinses a single dish and then feels a facebook break is well deserved?
…please tell me i am not.
this is a continuation of land shopping part 1
this particular spot wasn’t what one thinks of when one thinks of a farm. the only real place to put a small home and a garden was on a flat, narrow “ridge” situated between two “vallies” each containing a pond. it didn’t fit the image we’d had of a flat grassy plain, but it was beautiful. and standing on the ridge that fall afternoon, looking at the trees just starting to turn, i was swept off my feet. within a few weeks we had a contract on the place.
and then, almost as soon as we’d signed on the dotted line, a very uneasy feeling began to settle in. something felt wrong. we couldn’t articulate or figure out what it might be. there was a deed restriction on the land. i had never seen one before and in my opinion, the wording was very harsh. while we made our intention of a hobby farm clear and put in writing, i still feared that our ducks, goats and chickens, and our “temporary” home (even though it wasn’t a mobile) might get us into trouble. we kept asking questions hoping to stumble across whatever it might be that was causing our apprehension. when all of our questions were answered satisfactorily we chocked it all up to “prenuptial jitters” of sorts and moved to closing.
then, within just days of sealing the deal we were given the final survey of the land.
it soon became clear that our apprehension was there for a reason. the survey showed a significant number easements on the place. the easements could not be lifted, and the majority of them centered around and on the one and only spot to build: the ridge. as far as building a farmette, the land was pretty much worthless. the deal bottomed out the day before we were to close.
as soon as we were released from the contract we both knew where we wanted to be. we wanted to go back to to our original plan. if we had gleaned anything from our previous experience it was this: go with your gut. learning that the ten acres with a pond was still on the market, we took another sunday afternoon drive, and this time we managed to drive right to it. when we got out of the car and stood in the middle of a grassy field we both knew without even saying to each other that this. was. IT.
within six weeks it was ours.
when God told adam the ground was cursed to bring forth thorns and thistles i often wonder if this little plant was one of those thorns/thistles.
when i work the county extension office hotline about this time every year, i invariably get at least one call from a home owner wanting to know what all the green stuff is with little purple flowers invading the lawn.
i used to like those little purple flowers. as a child, i gathered bouquets of them by the fistful regarding them as the loveliest of wildflowers.
but this is not a wildflower.
this ladies and gentlemen, this….is henbit.
i’m told it is called so because the hens love it for breakfast. at the moment however, i have no hens to eat it so removing it is my responsibility.
it prefers cooler weather so it is always the first to appear in masses in the spring, making a second unwanted appearance again in the fall. because it grows before it is usually too warm for round-up it can be difficult to control, especially if one doesn’t treat one’s lawn with a pre-emergent herbicide.
the only way to get rid of it really, is to pull it out by hand.
honestly, i don’t mind so much. i spent a lovely afternoon one recent sunday working hard to get one vegetable bed looking like this:
to looking like this.
it was unseasonably warm, the soil was moist, making for easy pulling and i love the smell of it as it is just starting to warm up.
in the end i had a wonderful pile ready for the compost bin.
and the chicken wire around the beds? that keeps this one out:
he, unfortunately loves beet greens and tomatoes.
if only he would acquire a taste for henbit.