Just Nice Folks

tow truck

We had an experience that no one wants- a broken down truck in the middle of no where, in the pouring down rain, early in the morning before church.  What started as a panicked “what are we going to do?” turned into a testament to the niceness of people.

After sitting with the truck for several minutes, it was obvious it wasn’t going to start. AND we did not have a clue what was wrong with it; after all we had just had it serviced from hood to tail.

We decided to call AAA.  We have a membership and towing is free within 3 miles. That’s all well and good, but in small towns nothing is open on Sunday. When asked “where are we towing you to?” we answered “we have no idea.” We hoped that in the 90 minute wait we could find a place open on a Sunday. Our church is 60 minutes from us, so towing us home was not really an option–that would be one expensive tow!

We are pretty new here and we don’t know many folks yet at church, but hubby had been to a men’s retreat and met some nice men, so he hunted in his cell phone for a number to call.  He came upon one and called their home. It was early and his wife answered. Hubby explained our predicament and our objective. We didn’t need them to come and get us or anything but we wondered if ANYTHING was open that we could tow our car into for a look.

She was the first highlight and testament to niceness.  She hung up and started hunting. She called and called around to places she knew of.  How nice is that? Unfortunately no one was.


We thanked her sincerely for her time and trying and looked at each other. Hummmm…what’s plan b?

About that time our tow came.  Big ol’ dude came walking up to the car in the rain and said “what’s up and where are you getting towed to?” We must have looked like we just fell off the turnip truck as we said “we don’t know and we don’t know.”

He took pity on us and said “try to start your car.”. Hubby did and he said “you got air in a line, open the hood.” We did as instructed and he pushed on something and air released. Truck still a no go however. He said “you need starter fluid; you got some?”. To which we answered, “no you don’t use that on a diesel.” He grinned and said “oh yeah you can.” I’ll go up the road to the gas station and find you some.”

Wow, OK! We will wait here… (where would we go?) We had hope.

But when he returned, he couldn’t find anything open either. He said “let’s go to Walmart-get in the tow truck.” We hopped in, he connected up our truck for the tow and off the three of us went to Walmart to buy the starter fluid. We were still concerned about using it on a diesel, but we had to put our trust in him. We had nothing else at the moment!

The dude let off our truck, waited around while we made the purchase and then used it himself on our truck to get it going! WOW again.  And the charge was “zero.” He had towed us within the three miles, and wasn’t going to charge us for us other efforts.  We gave him a nice tip and told him to go get a good breakfast somewhere. We did the same and then went to late church mass.  We found ourselves in disbelief over our misfortune in the early hours but our fortune in such nice folks.

I know there are nice people everywhere, but it seems to me that in a small town you just run into it more. There is more of a “help your neighbor” feel. Like the man that stopped by our house one day to help get our tractor out of a ditch. Or another time when our tractor was stuck up to it’s belly in mud and a farmer down the way brought by heavy tow straps for us to use and said he’d pick them up on another day when he drove by.  We did not know any of these folks, but they saw a need and stopped to lend a hand.

I love it here in small town USA. I love all the niceties that I encounter in seemingly hopeless situations. How about you? What’s something that someone, you did not know, did you for you lately? How did it make you feel?

Happy Unleashing!



Musings: Identifying Passions


Many of us “love” many things. We love this, we love that–sometimes we overuse that “L” word don’t you think?  I really like a lot of things, but LOVE is strong.  It is the for better for worse stuff right? It is loving this thing when all is well  but also loving it when it is not.

I spent the day in my veggie gardens on Friday.  I had taken a day off of the “day job” and asked myself what do I really want to do… my answer was quickly “play in the yard.” As I was out there for 7 hours all by myself (with an occasional visit from hubby and Jasmine) it gave lots of time for thinking and pondering and yes, musing.

I am in school studying Organic Agriculture. I have many ideas from supplying a CSA, to renting garden plots for community folks, to teaching organic gardening, to teaching growing your own food to lower income, single moms, to hosting farm to table dinners and on and on and on.

As I was outside on Friday, I wondered to myself if I could spend all day, everyday outside, growing things, helping others grow things, being dependent upon the weather, sweating, getting totally dirty, and yes, being by myself for much of my day.

I think that answering that when you are picking the red ripe tomato, cutting bloomed flowers, smelling strawberries as you put them in your basket is pretty easy.  Yes, I could do that everyday. I also feel like the days that I am planting is an easy yes. I love a freshly planted garden and the following days that you are waiting for the little guys to start popping through the soil. When the work is “glamorous” it is easy to say “yes” isn’t it?

But Friday was a great day for me to pose this question to myself.  Friday, for 7 hours, I weeded a 43 ft x 33 ft garden, raked mowed grass into a wheelbarrow (a bunch of times) and then filled the 80+ tomato cages with the grass to mulch the tomatoes. There was no planting, no picking.  It was what I would call “grunt” work.

Midday when I pondered over my question of if I could do this everyday, it was a resounding yes! I don’t need glamour to love my gardens. All my green babies don’t have to be magazine perfect (they are not). I love the grunt work of gardening as much as the glamour. That tells me, with a resounding “yes” that my gardens are a passion. I love them in glamour and grunt. I love them in seeing the fruits of my labor and the days that I really don’t see it immediately.

How about you? How do you know what your passion is? What do you love the GRUNT work in? Identify that and you will be on the road to knowing what your passion is.

Happy Unleashing your Passion!



Musings: Night Sounds

No pictures today, because this post is on sounds–night sounds specifically.  I remember years ago visiting my sister in NY city. She lived smack dab in the middle of the city and it is noisy there.  All night long I would hear sirens and I would get up and look out the window to see what was happening. The next morning when I shared all that I had seen, she said “oh I didn’t even hear them.”  I could not believe my ears!  Maybe she was going deaf, maybe she had some illness that knocked her into a coma like state when she slept.  I mean how could you not hear that!? She said she was “used to it.” For her it was just the sounds of the night.

Hummmm…I recall living near a train track years ago and at first the train whistle at 2 a.m. would wake me up and I would complain about it.  It did not take long though for me to “get used to it.” My mom and dad would visit and my mom would say “how can you sleep with that train going all night?” And I would say, I did not really hear it; I guess I was “used to it.”

I would go away and sleep elsewhere and I would miss it.  That had become the night sound that I could count on; it told me all was right with the world out there in the darkness.

Now we live on a State Road.  Our house is set way back, but we can see the traffic and hear the traffic when it passes. The road is a byway for cars, trucks, tractors, and motorcycles when the weather permits.  I love sitting on the porch watching them all pass by.  I imagine that they all envy me for living here in the openness of BSA. They probably don’t even notice me or the house, but in my imagination they do. 🙂

Last night while sleeping, I turned over and as I was in that in between state, I heard a truck go by.  I realized I was snuggled down and smiling to that sound.  That sound tells me so much.  In the winter the lack of that sound all night tells me it is icy outside and impassible.  Last night in the quietness, that little hum of the passerby truck, told me all was well.  I love the hum that I hear while sleeping here.  It is my lullaby and eases me back to sleep when I turn over to fluff the pillow or pull up the blankets.  Some folks that visit think that is disturbing.  I just say that I don’t really notice it; I guess I am “used to it.”

What is your favorite night sound?

Happy Unleashing,


Musings: Country Byways

After traveling so much lately it is refreshing to be out of traffic.  This “hit me like a brick” yesterday while running some errands and driving home. I realized that although I was driving–the same task that I have been doing weeks on end, my posture and feeling about it were 180 degrees totally opposite from what I had previously been experiencing.

I don’t care for traffic at all.  I get impatient, I get nervous, I get worried, I stress over being late, I fear that I will get hurt or killed, I watch the clock and listen to traffic reports.

Yesterday while driving on the very open road and listening to “Desperado” (singing  along  very loudly I might add), I realized that I was so content and happy and just in shear enjoyment of my surroundings.  It was as close to a spiritual experience as one could have while driving a car.

I raised my phone and using my touchscreen I just started snapping pictures. Since I was driving and could not look at my phone to focus, many of the pictures were trash, but some captured the beauty, serenity and majesty of what was before me.

Isn’t this lovely?








Just me and the open road. Some would have find this drive “boring”; I find it delightful and peaceful. When I arrived home, I was in the best mood and just totally happy and relaxed.  What a different feeling from driving (sitting) in traffic.

I just love it here!  Again, I say “there’s no place like home.”

Happy Unleashing (on the open road)


Saturday Musings: Heading Home

Two weeks in Atlanta with the new grandbaby and my daughters.  It has been wonderful and not to be traded!  A little life came into the world perfectly and my daughter has transformed into a beautiful (obsessed) mommy; her first step towards a lifetime of “momminess.”  I have loved being here, loved holding that little bundle and will long for that when I go home.

arlo and me

But home is where I am heading this weekend and I am equally excited about that!  Now it is not a neat little package I am walking into!  A remodel is underway and the crew and my hubby have done a lot of work while I have been gone.

I can’t wait to see my new door.  A window was here previously but this gives us great access to the deck (which we live on practically!) and look at all the sunshine into the room! Jasmine still looks a bit confused by this new addition, but I am already in love with it.


From the outside I think it looks great and I can start to visualize the end result. We are coming along in our journey to get the house where we want it.  AND all the vinyl siding is off (yipee!) and the house is wrapped and ready for the new Hardiplank that is painted and waiting in the pole barn for action.

exterior deck


So, it is a bit chaotic and terribly dusty and things are torn up but it is HOME.  I look forward to all of the craziness that will welcome me home.

I also have day lillies that I have not seen yet…


And tomato plants (and weeds) that I haven’t seen in over two weeks…

tomato and weeds


I am plenty excited to head back to my country home. I love seeing my family and I have LOVED that little bundle of joy, but am ready for a sunrise on the deck.  I am ready to play in the dirt again and hop on my tractor instead of an interstate.

But for my last day as a “city girl” we are getting our nails done–soon to be replaced with a farmgirl manicure; I will eat a fantastic dinner and drink some great wine tonight–soon to be replace with veggies from the garden and CSA; I will chow down at Waffle House–soon to be replaced with green smoothies and I will probably run some errands that really aren’t needed–soon to be replaced with not leaving my home for days on end.

I will also hug my girls and kiss those precious cheeks on Arlo–soon to be replaced with longing for that as those things really can’t be replaced.

I am heading home to my country home that is in chaos.  As I click my red shoes (red Teva sandles actually) I repeat “there’s no place like home.” 🙂

Happy Unleashing today in your home sweet home!


Mimi Moments

mom and arloLife changing moments occur for all of us. A biggie happened to me on June 17th when I witnessed my middle daughter become a mommy for the first time!  And I, instantly transformed into grandma, affectionately known as “Mimi”  to my family. It is amazing, as many of you know, to enter this experience on the journey of  life. As each day passes and Arlo is in our lives, I find myself finding multitudes of joyous moments that I have been referring to as “Mimi Moments”  I would love to share some of these with you. The first moment having Arlo in my arms was pure heaven. The happiness is and was indescribable. mimi and arlo Another came in calming baby Arlo and showing his mommy and daddy some “tricks”.  After several minutes of “blowing off some steam” (ie crying), Mimi had a try at comforting the little one. I pulled out an old carrying position that was always a sure thing with my girls, and instant quiet. Magic! (not really, just some years under me) My daughter is nursing Arlo. I nursed all three of mine and it thrills me when Laura asks me for guidance or just feels like she can talk to me about this. I love that we are experiencing the same emotions with our firstborn 25+ years apart. On Day 2 the nurse arrived to examine Arlo. He was not happy about being undressed and poked at. I stood over the bassinet held his little hand, rubbed his leg and foot and he calmed. I felt so happy knowing that I could make that traumatic experience a little better for him. Afterwards as he stared at me I felt like his little eyes were saying “wow that was a team effort!” I have loved Laura recalling childhood and teenage moments with me as her mommy.  Some I remember and some I do not.  It is amazing what sticks with your children. I am so happy that Laura takes with her the fact that I loved being a mom. I also take such joy in seeing Arlo’s daddy loving his new role. The way he waits on my daughter and grandson is thrilling and assures me there is nothing to worry about as far as their care goes.  Laura has a partner in parenting; what a gift! I was honored to drive the new family home as Arlo “sang” the entire way. carseat Laura and Adam have been so grateful to have “Mimi” around which of course makes me happy.  I am glad I am helping and easing their worries the best I can.  Adam thanked me sincerely before leaving the hospital and said he felt like he was learning from the “master.” That strokes the ego, but more than that really fulfills something deep inside.  My most treasured role is that of mommy. The nights awake with all three of mine in the quietness of their nursing and breathing are some of my most sacred moments of my life. I am beyond happy to share those experiences of joy (and fear) with them. Yesterday, when I visited them at home, Arlo was happily lying on Mommy.  At my arrival she passed him onto “Mimi”.  Arlo in turn got a bit fussy about leaving mom.  The greatest Mimi moment yet, was passing that little guy back to mommy knowing that his greatest comfort is in her arms. Me becoming a “Mimi” or my daughter  becoming a “Mommy”?  It is a toss up as to which is the greatest Mimi moment. Happy Unleashing! FGU

Adjusting to Four Seasons

I love living in an area with four seasons.  I have loved the fall colors, the snow, the lillies in the spring and hot, humid days of summer. BUT I still don’t seem to really be in sync with the four seasons.  In the south, on Jan. 2, you basically are blowing leaves off the driveway, ordering your pinestraw to put in the beds and if you plant you are planning and getting going on the garden Feb/March. My friends in the south are posting pics of veggies and garden fresh dinners and I am feeling behind!

We are at May 15th and I have been in a panic about getting my tomato babies outside!  I “feel” like I am behind.  My brain is still on the schedule I have had for 20+ years.  Last weekend we prep our big bed for them at BSA (Big Sky Acres).  It is 33 x 25 (Garden Bed #6) and had a cover crop on it during winter.  We went out and turned the cover crop, we laid out a wonderfully measured grid with string, I laid out the plan of what tomatoes and what peppers where going where in a beautifully color coded spreadsheet.

garden grid


Yes it is a little geeky, but I am in technology by day don’t forget. 🙂

It has rained this week and now we have cool temps.  AND I have been in this upheaval about getting these tomatoes in the ground (like yesterday!).  It had to happen NOW! I mean it is about the middle of summer (isn’t it?)

This morning, when the temps were showing 48 degrees and my forecast didn’t look much better, I took a breath and paused and asked myself if my tomatoes were worrying about leaving the warmth of the pole barn and their heated mat or was it just me who wanted to throw them into the cold because I was on an old time frame in my head. I mean look at my forecast!



I had not even checked my soil temps yet!  I can just about guarantee that they are not in the 70’s yet and certainly not approaching 80 degrees.  Then I asked myself “when did I plant tomatoes last year?” Well…. that would have been June 10th I said to myself sheepishly.

THEN I MADE A DECISION!  I need to remember I am in Indiana.  My Indiana guidelines say NOT to plant until after mid May (which I am just now approaching and my hubby’s mamma said her rule of thumb here was Memorial Weekend).  I am NOT in the south.  I love Indiana. My mantra became–

I love and embrace my planting schedule!

So for today, my tomatoes and peppers will stay with their heat mat and lights. I will begin to harden them off next week. Garden Bed #1 that is also prepped will today receive seeds of spinach, chard, peas, lettuce and radishes.  ALL of which love 45 degree soil and planting at this very time in Indiana.

I am in Indiana. I am not late on my garden. I am in perfect timing!

Happy Unleashing in whatever gardening zone you are in!



School Lessons

school booksGoing back to school was a scary thing for me.  I have not been to a college class in 30+ years AND I dabbled in college when I was young.  Took a few classes, did not graduate and went on to working, then getting married and then having babies. I have considered going back off and on through the years, but it was not until we moved out to “Big Sky Acres” (BSA) that I really started contemplating what I wanted life to look like now.

Gardening was already in my heart and I had dabbled in that too during the years off and on.  BUT having all this land and a pond, it seemed that the possibilities were endless. So we kicked off our experiment in breaking the ground last year and grew lots of yummy things in a total of 8 gardens by the time we were done.  AND the bug hit hard! I knew there was and is something great I can do with this land. But what????

Trying to figure out what “that great thing is” led me to school.  If I want to grow for a CSA, or have a community garden, or teach people to garden organically I was going to need some education. Experimenting is wonderful, and I will never quit that, but I need some major knowledge to help guide those experiments here.

I cannot say enough good things about the global university program at Washington State University. They have a wonderful Organic Ag program and I LOVED the first semester.  I have just completed that and I have learned alot already.  And I don’t just mean about Ph, Soil Taxonomy, Ions, Cation Exchange, Plant and Human Nutrients, and a plethora of other topics covered.  I learned so much I could not possibly list it all here AND it is stuff I am using which is really great!

The really awesome thing is what I learned other than the scholarly stuff. It has been a challenging few months and it ended well with two A’s but as I reflect my lessons are so much greater.

What are they?

It takes discipline to manage many moving parts.  I love to be casual with my schedule at times and “go with the flow” My creative side loves that. But discipline is what it took to study and still do the other things I needed to do. I wrote a schedule down and stuck to it.  I am convinced that helped me in more ways than one!

It takes support.  My hubby made meals, cleaned house, took the dog to the vet, went to the grocery, and TONS of other things that were falling through the cracks on “my watch.”  He never complained but just continued to tell me he was proud of me and was happy to do anything that was needed so I would not have to.

It takes a dictionary! Yeppers!  I have not opened a dictionary in a long time.  Dictionary.com and I have become good friends.  The app for my phone even says the word for me so when I read a word like “campylobacter” or “mycorrhizae” or “hemosiderin”,  or “Histisols”my little app can tell me how to say it. 🙂 I can save favorite words too.  That became a great study tool!

It takes a positive attitude. There were many times that I did not have that.  I got overwhelmed with the classes, work and our remodeling that we have going on.  And spring was knocking at the door and I wanted to play in the soil, not just study about it!  Those were the times that I needed my Farmgirl friends that are online, a chat with a daughter or a hug from hubby.

Which leads me to you need to be unafraid to tell your real feelings to someone. There is no crime in asking for help or just telling someone you don’t thing you can do it anymore or that you want to jump out a window, or crawl under a blanket.  Talking helps!

You need to learn to say “no” and honor your time and commitment.  No matter what you are doing in your life today, there is something you need to say no to. There is nothing wrong with making a commitment to yourself, scheduling the time for it on your calendar and then KEEPING IT THERE.  I think as women especially, we tend to let anything and anyone override our commitments to ourselves.  I could not afford to do that this semester and it has taught me that the world continues to function when I say no.

AND I learned that if I think I can, I can. If I believe in something I can commit to it.  If I commit to it and I can hang in there, I can succeed at it!

Success came in the form of two A’s from WSU, but for me it comes in alot of these other lessons that were packaged along with those A’s.  I believe that I would have still learned those things even without the A’s and those lessons along with all the great AG stuff I am learning is a winning combo!

Have you ever tried something totally new and learned not only that new thing but other things in the process?

Happy Unleashing with something new today!



Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #154

apronSpring is in the air and I know this for a fact because I have spent many hours on the tractor this week cutting and raking! I even got to turn my headlights on the Kubota last night since it was dark when I finished!

AND my tulips are coming up and adding color to the otherwise barren landscape.


The garden is full of all kinds of things growing.  Some would call them weeds; I like to think of them as nutrient sources for the plants to come!

Are you in sunshine?  Are you enjoying outdoors again?  Take a few minutes and share what you are up to this week.Let’s get it going! Be sure to stop by all our hosts! And a Happy Easter to those of you that will be celebrating this weekend! Blessings to all!

Deb of Dandelion House (our blog hop founder and hostess primo)

Heidi of My Simple Country Living  

and White Wolf Summit Farmgirl Blog

and me, Debbie of Farmgirl Unleashed

So, do a little bragging on yourself, your homestead and your doin’s!  We are so excited you are here.

Be sure to leave a note if you’re new to the hop! If you haven’t clicked that follow button yet, please join us and be sure to stop by our FACEBOOK page and like us there too!
Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
You don’t have to live on a farm to join this hop!

 Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart~ MaryJaneButters


Saturday Musings: Wintertime and Waiting

DSC_0793Winter has been a long one this year just about everywhere.  I have loved looking at the snow and the stillness of it blanketing our land.

But on the flip side we have had more than one occasion where we have been unable to leave for more than a week because our uphill driveway is a skating rink when it ices and snows.  If you are paved, you can shovel.  If you have a gravel, curved, up hill and down hill driveway, that is pretty much impossible, so you just wait.

Waiting has goodness in it– you learn patience, you learn to slow down, you learn that you really can get by with what you have at the house, even if it is 2 weeks since you have been out.  You learn that what you thought you had to have, you don’t have to have.

I remember living in a sub division in a warm climate.  Snow did not keep you incapacitated for a long period of time. If we had snow or ice on rare occasion it stood the city still for a day or maybe two at the most.  That seemed like an eternity when you live in an area where running errands are part of your lifestyle.  Where running low on anything (even if it was something you really didn’t like) meant near panic, making a list and heading out to run errands. If I stayed home all day for any reason it was really almost like a badge of honor. “What did you do today?” “I was HERE ALL DAY; never left; wow!” And even if I had taken a day to grocery shop, get personal items and whatever else that was deemed a “got to have” just yesterday,  I would run out again to pick up something, to do something, to see something… just to whatever something! 🙂

I think living in a place where there is so much stuff, so much choice and so much accessibility causes you to be create a lifestyle of errand running.  Sure you complain about how much you have to go do, how much you hate traffic, how much you hate lines, but the truth is you know no different.  It is your lifestyle. Stuff is all around you and there has to be something you need out there!

When I visit I find myself in the pattern in less than 24 hours.  A couple times a day, I am somewhere getting something or doing something that I have to do.  It is funny because I really do think it is like an addiction. Remember the line in the movie “if you build it,they will come”.  That is so true in a metro/suburban area.  If it is there, you got to do it!

So, back to snow and slowing down.  I love living out away from traffic lights, away from corners and streets that are so busy your brain is on overload.  I love living away from all the stuff that calls for me to leave everyday and go buy something, or go do something. Since moving here, I have changed my errand lifestyle into a LIVING lifestyle.  I LIVE here in my home.  I don’t just hang out here until I feel that I have to be somewhere else.  It is just the opposite; it has to be a good reason to leave.

During one of the storms this year, it started with ice and lots of it.  Our driveway was packed solid and our truck would spin and it was going on 10 + days since we had left.  I was getting creative on the dinner front (but that was really fun and another blog).  Hubby was determined that he had to get us out.  He took the tractor out with the scoop and tried and tried.  But even big orange Kabota tractors can’t break up gravel cemented by ice.

Conversation when he came in went something like this:

“Wow, I cannot get that stuff to break up”.  It is solid ice!” I will try again later”


“Because we have been here for a week and a half. We gotta go get stuff.”

“What stuff?”

“Aren’t we out of stuff?”

“Yes, but nothing that important.”

“We need to keep eating and stuff.”

“We have so much food that we haven’t even discovered yet in the pantry! We will not starve.”

“There must be something, are you sure????”

“If it was 70 degrees and sunny, would we feel compelled to go out today to run errands?”

“Hummm…. probably not! I guess we can just forget the ice and stay here, huh?”


“Are you sure? I mean really sure?”

“Positive! Forget the ice and relax. We are good!”

So funny that sometimes we don’t even know what the “stuff” is that we need.  But bottom line is that it is probably nothing that we do need. Learning to wait, learning to make do with what you have and learning to run errands when you really do need to shop for a couple weeks is a wonderful lifestyle.  Lots of friends from suburbia think they would go crazy being “stuck” for 2 weeks. Maybe for the first couple of days, but then you relax, enjoy what you have, and realize, just like Dorothy that “everything I was looking for has been here all the time. There’s no place like home.”

Happy unleashing today! (whether you are snowbound or not!