High Summer

It’s late July, high summer season for garden  harvests, flowers and mosquitos.  It’s also the general timeline I gave myself to make a retirement decision.  I can busy myself picking green beans,  husking sweet corn and pruning flower beds to avoid difficult decisions.  It’s been a great year for green beans.  This is an early harvest.

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Plentiful rain results in beautiful flowers.

IMG_20180708_211918_073 The flowers are pretty even when shared with another of Mother Nature’s creatures.

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Tending to nature’s bounty is a peaceful way to consider options.  Time on the lake fishing is another kind of peace.  My pole’s in the water on a foggy morning.

Lin's fishing pole

This view and the cover photo are of Lake Oahe in South Dakota. http://sdmissouririver.com/follow-the-river/the-four-lakes-and-dams/lake-oahe/

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Animal Friends

We make commitments to each other in our marriage vows, to our children when we decide to become parents, and to the animals that share our lives.   Dogs and cats sometimes live 15 years, but horses can live 25 or 30 years.  Marriages end through death or divorce, as mine did.  Commitment to my animal friends has been more enduring.

Today’s blog is about the horses that have “peopled” my life.  My husband loves horses. He was the driving force to buy our first horse.  The Appaloosa mare was pregnant.  She gave birth to a big spotted foal.  We provided a home for Jody and Cheyenne until they passed about twenty years later.

Our next horses were another mare for him named Rose, and an old gelding for me named Blue.  Blue was old when we bought him, but he was just right for me.  He was tough to catch, but very gentle to ride.  My kids and many friends enjoyed riding Blue. He lived until he was over thirty-years-old

Blue 1988a

Rose gave birth to six babies over the years; two fillies and four colts.  One of the foals died after a few weeks, but the rest grew into big beautiful mares and geldings.  The last addition to the group was an Appaloosa gelding for my son.  My son was 13 years-old, named his new horse Apache (even though the Appaloosa breed is associated with the Nez Perce tribe in Idaho, it seemed right to name him for a brave Native American nation) and broke him to ride.  https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/appaloosa_horse_breed/#.W46IqPZFyUk

Apache & Rose horses 2005

When my husband and I divorced, we divided the horses.  He took four and I kept three. Apache, one of those three, belonged to my son.  Apache was the “go-to-horse” for new and inexperienced riders.  Like Blue before him, Apache taught many people to ride.  In the drought year of 2012, grass was sparse and dry.  The horses pushed their noses under trees and bushes searching for fresh greens.  Apache punctured both eyes on sharp grasses or tree branches.  We treated his wounds as much as he would allow (a month in the barn alone,  inserting lotions in both eyes is a challenge when the horse patient doesn’t cooperate). We finally turned him back to pasture with the other horses.  He adapted wonderfully, even running blind across the hills with his mates.  He came to the feed bunk when I called him, walking carefully till he first touched the bunk with his nose.  [Apache is the mostly-white Appaloosa in the center of the photo below]

Apache & Jody 2013

This summer has been a tough one for Apache.  He lost weight, became  unsteady on his feet, and as Labor Day approached, went down and couldn’t labor to right himself.  The wonderful veterinarian (the same one that treated his eyes six years ago) said his heart was barely beating.  She gave him something to peacefully end his life .  We said goodbye to this faithful friend of twenty-five years this weekend and buried him on a grassy knoll.

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Hail Storm to Heat Wave

A severe thunderstorm with hail swept though eastern Nebraska  and into Iowa on Father’s Day.  I drove from a family reunion 70 miles west of my house, back toward home late afternoon.  It was sunny and 75 degrees at the family gathering.  As I drove east, the temperature dropped and a rain front became visible on the eastern horizon.  The storm was moving east.  I followed it, believing the edge of the front was far ahead, but as I neared the last turn east toward  home, I caught up with the storm.  There was heavy rain intermixed with hail, beating a tattoo on the car’s roof, hood and  trunk.  At times I could not see to drive and pulled to the side of the road until it cleared a bit.  There was no place to pull completely off the highway as there are no shoulders.  I was a bit shook up after the drive, but neither the car or me suffered any serious damage.

My dog was home alone. She hates thunder and was happy to see me return.

Cell phone May 2017 274 Pickles

A week later, another big storm swept the area, dropping five inches of rain in one day, but no hail this time. It’s a wet year here, but I am fortunate to live on a hill and don’t have to worry about floods, unlike many people who live along the swollen creeks and rivers that feed the Missouri.

The low pressure systems behind all the rain storms turned into a high pressure front that ushered in, and continues to bring, excessive heat and humidity.  I’m not a fan of this part of summer, but my plants and flowers are thriving as well as all the area crops.

As summer marches on, I’m taking steps toward the goal of retiring this fall, along with baby-steps toward beginning a part-time business.  It feels good to see the end of the road.

Road west 2017

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Vacation and back to school

A week exploring western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming ended with a visit to the Dignity statue in central South Dakota.  She is impressive from Interstate 90 as well as from this view at the rest stop where she resides.

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The back of her blanket is beautiful as well.

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It was a peaceful  and fitting finish to vacation to visit Dignity on the hill outside Chamberlain, SD as a storm approached. I’m returning to work for a few more months, coinciding with the beginning of a new school year.  I expect a lot of work-storms during that time period.

I’m planning a new venture for the months ahead after retiring from my current position.  Vacation helped me clarify plans for the future.  Putting a future option in place eases my discomfort with ending a long career just to face empty days as winter sets in.  I’ll write more about my plans in future blog entries.  Today’s entry appropriately ends with a photo of the Dignity’s dedication in 2016.20180806_182046

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Windmills

I purchased a photograph of a windmill in Holland from a Dutch photographer, Adrie Nab several years ago.  It is a beautiful photograph, and reminds me that windmills are changing.  “The iconic Dutch windmills were once state-of-the-art flood control technology. They pumped water from uninhabitable marshes and turned it into farmland, redefining the landscape of the Netherlands. Today, the Dutch have implemented other flood prevention methods, but working vintage windmills still exist.”

The photo below is an example of a Dutch windmill.
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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Wind farms, with modern wind towers,  are springing up in my part of Nebraska like summer crabgrass.  Some wind farms are up and running,  some are in development with windmill blades delivered via truck nearly every day, and some are in the planning stages.  It requires four vehicles to deliver one blade.  The front vehicle has a sign stretching across the top, “WIDE LOAD”, the second one has a rotating radar system, the third is the semi with one blade, and the forth, usually a pickup, has another rotating radar system.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Windmills of my youth pumped water for our house, livestalk, and for the garden. There is a boarded-up well on my current farmsite with a tower above it that lacks blades.  The blades blew away in one of the many wind storms buffeting this land.  A tree has  grown up inside the tower, rendering it merely decorative.

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Spring’s Rollercoaster Weather

I started this blog yesterday, but lost it in cyberspace.  Writing a second draft is a useful process.  It forces me to think about my topic and hopefully  do a better job this time.  

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Late April snow blanked the yard. Trees damaged, siding torn from the house in windstorms, and lilacs blooming late are all victims of the long cold April and early May. Tulips, however, loved the cool early spring.  

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Winds catapulted temperatures to hundred-degrees on  Memorial weekend days. Iris bloomed and died in a day.

My first possible retirement date is July 1st.  However, I feel I’m on a decision-making rollercoaster. I’ve barely scratched the surface of tasks to complete before I turn in a resignation letter, so I don’t think I’ll make that deadline.  These are tasks to-do related to ending one long phase of my life and moving on to another, like selecting insurance providers, a health plan, talking to an attorney, etc.

I found a terrific cartoon about procrastination, that fits me rather well.  It has sections for getting lost on social media (such as writing this blog – twice), cleaning or repairing things (the air conditioner for the upstairs of the house stopped working tonight, which will necessitate contacting a repair person  in the morning, making arrangements to be home when they arrive, possibly buying a new system, etc.), and getting lost in daily chores (it was 95 degrees again today, consequently I’ve been watering every potted plant outside daily.)

I’m moving off the procrastination map and clearing away cobwebs.

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SUNRISE

Sunrise 2017

I like to be up early in the morning and watch the sunrise.  It’s life-affirming to see another day emerge from darkness as mother earth turns.  Spring mornings often go from pink, to mauve, gold, or red as the morning brightens, as if a master light engineer is controlling the process.

I’m sometimes tired and discouraged by day’s end, but the morning brings promise of a better day ahead.  Listening to the robins wake up, begin their cheerful chirping, the mourning dove calling to attract a new mate, and faint flutter of finches’ wings as they fly to the feeder are a tonic for emotional renewal.

I’m writing this blog to help me make decisions about my future.  Each new day brings a little progress, and many more questions.

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Summer flowers and future decisions are just around the corner.

 

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