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.
The back of her blanket is beautiful as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s been a while since I posted to this blog, so I’m writing a retirement plan update. One of about a zillion possible ways to think about retirement is to reinvent oneself and start a small business. I’m considering opening a private counseling practice. As I explore this possibility, I learn about a long list of requirements. I’d rather think about the fun side of an adventure first, so following that line of thought, I am considering many names and logos for a potential business.
I had a blue roan horse years ago. Blue was older when he came home from the sale barn, than the seller claimed, but lived a good long life here. Because of his age, Blue was a dependable mount for me, and for novice riders and children that visited and wanted to go riding. I bought a painting of a blue horse this spring from a gallery in North Carolina. I’ve been thinking about adding a blue horse description to my place. I’m taken with the idea of renaming it LLZ Blue Horse Ranch.
I named my first poetry chapbook Hard Times after the title of one of the poems in the chapbook. Some time later, I googled the title and discovered at least a dozen books with the same name. It seems prudent, given that experience, to check out titles first before proceeding with legal steps to establish a business. My first choice is to use the same title for my business as this blog.
When I googled “blue horse”, I found a dozen or more Blue Horse Ranch locations around the country, and a couple of Blue Horse Counseling Services. I’m back to square one looking for a unique name.
It turns out that selecting a name first is also a practical consideration. One needs a name and a location to complete all legal documents.
Sandhill Cranes gather by the thousands along the Platte River this time of year. Even on a overcast grey morning, it’s an amazing sight to see the islands formed in the river from sleeping crane families. As they fly from the river, it’s often in large groups. If you want to learn more about cranes, read the book about cranes by Paul A. Johnsgard, with photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen. It is called A chorus of Cranes, published by the University Press of Colorado.
The cranes feed in fields along the Platte during the day, then return to the river at night.
Two years ago, I visited a Prairie Chicken lek in northern Nebraska. It was another early morning wait in a photography blind for the birds to wake up and begin their mating dance. Most of the people in the blind were professional photographers with amazing cameras, but I captured a few pictures of male Prairie Chickens showing off for the gals.
Weather permitting, I hope to see the mating dance of the Sharp-tailed Grouse this weekend. When I’m home, I watch Doves, Blue Jays, Finches, and Woodpeckers eat from the birdfeeder outside my kitchen window. Bird watching is way for me to chart the season’s changes. I find peace in Mother Nature’s company, at home, or in a bird’s backyard.
It was a wonderful spring break in Nashville, TN and Ashville, NC. The Smokey Mountains are beautiful. I’ve returned home to a snow-covered landscape and below-freezing temperatures. As the landscape here at home is covered in white, my decision-making is obscured in fog. I hoped to make some progress toward my retirement decision during vacation, but I used the week away as an excuse to avoid thinking seriously about anything.
I enjoyed southern food, and visited many beautiful historic sites.
The cemetery at Andrew Jackson’s historic home, The Hermitage, has an impressive garden dedicated to Mrs. Jackson. The garden is already blooming in early March.
Mrs. Jackson’s burial site is near the garden. I hope to think more clearly when it’s warm enough to putter in my own garden.
I learned sad news about two of my favorite antiques stores when I met a friend for lunch recently. One store was already closed with all the merchandise gone, and another posted Going out of Business signs in the window. These stores had their heyday ten or fifteen years ago when everyone wanted to own a piece of the past. The past was defined as eighty to one hundred years old. Shoppers were mid-fifties and older.
We collected furniture, dishes and doodads from our grandparent’s generation. I rarely see unique items to add to my collections anymore. This scarcity tells me that all the good pieces are already sold or no one cares about that type of miscellany today. I’m also more selective about adding items that will be difficult to sell or give away later.
There aren’t many estates of that era left to re-sell as antiques. As the antique store owners have aged, the shoppers have aged with them. Many folks downsize into smaller houses or condos at retirement and stop collecting.
Collectors today are in their thirties and forties and what they seek is mid-century modern furnishing or stylized patterns. The mid-century items remind them of their grandparents.
My near-retirement age dates me more like an antique than some items for sale.