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.
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.
Summer flowers and future decisions are just around the corner.
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.
Spring is out there somewhere south of Nebraska. I’m going in search of that elusive season on March 1st. There has been and continues to be a flurry of events to organize and/or attend, appointments to keep, and chores to do before I leave.
I like to keep early morning set aside to work on poems and short stories, but today, find my head full of lists to be checked, bags to pack, and arrangements to make before I leave. The trip will give me a chance to recharge and reflect.
Pickles the sheepdog will stay in town with family, the house and barn cats will rely on kindness of others to come by and feed them regularly. Horses will get their hay and oats while I’m away. The automatic waterer is a wonder for all.
If planning for a week’s vacation is a major undertaking, I’m trying to imagine how to plan for retirement. How do I capture all of the details in my head and transfer them to paper for the next person, or will it matter? Will supervisors re-write my job description? Will the organization decide not to replace my position? How will I manage my time without a daily schedule? Many questions, but few answers.
The closer it comes to my self-imposed decision time, the more difficult it feels to know what to do. After a successful student-planned dinner last weekend, the club officers have selected dates for the next three years of dinners. This group of students are a lot of fun. I will miss them. However, I can’t base my retirement decision on them alone.
A week away will help me review my options.