Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Blues

Winter has come with a vengence and we are enjoying lots of cold and storm after storm. We struggle for warmth from the woodstove, which is our only source for heat. I love the warmth that it provides, yet the work involved is more that turning on a switch.
I like the feel of the wood though and the smell as it is carried in. Then the wiff of smoke that fills the house brings warmth to my soul as well.
When it is cold here, like in the single digits, the stove is going all the time. Last night the temp reached 10 below, but we stayed warm and cozy.
The chickens seem to weather the cold just fine, but eat and eat and peck my knees if I'm not quick enough with breakfast.
Yesterday the Winter got much colder too, as Jeff was laid off from his 12 year fishing job. He's actually fished for 30 years, but has stayed on this boat for 12 years. The Capt. is from a long term fishing family and puts quickness over experience at this time in his career.
It wasn't just the swiftness of the dismissal, but rather the hurt that seemed like a slap for the lack of concern for Jeff's future or injury.
There is no unemployment, workman's comp or disability that will pay our bills. The SS disability can drag on for years and will not cover next months mortgage payment... or any mortgage payment for that matter. It will be less than our monthly house payment.
Just when I thought we could make it thru shrimp season... now there will be NO shrimp season. Ahh, Life in all it's glory!
I'd like to think that this will be a time of healing for Jeff, tho I know there is no medicine to bring back his Love to him. I mean he loves me and all, and the kids, and our home... But the Sea is his true Love and the fishing is what matters to him . It was the air, the water, the sights and the sounds, that drew him to work the briny deep. Each sunrise was new with different colors and each sunset merely brought rest for another day of fishing.
Now that is no more. No more jumping out of bed at 3:15 am, and no more watching what the weather will do... The price of lobster makes no difference now and shrimp has lost it's appeal and taste.
I would like to say we still have each other, tho I know that is not what matters.
No - what matters is work that makes a man feel worthwhile, and whole. What matters is keeping our home that he built and designed with his own hands. This is a place for family and friends, both tame and wild, and bigger than just us. The history of our lives is in jeopardy now and our future as well.
I will close at this time and ask for prayers and blessings from those who know and love us. For indeed we will survive. We have suffered loss before and lived to tell the tale. We've been thru death, severe injury and financial disaster before... so we will try again.
This is not what we had wanted or expected, but Life will go on whether we are here or not. Life has a plan that I cannot always see, but I know it is a good one and better that anything I could have dreamed up!
So count your blessings, faithful readers, and watch that handwriting on the wall... And thanks for listening.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another storm passes... Several inches of snow fell steadily all day before changing to sleet, then freezing rain. Rain on top of a good snow base is one of my least favorite things. It's hard for the deer to run from the coyotes and it's impossible to walk in or shovel. My plastic green house looks like it's bending under the weight of the built up snow and ice.

Then there is the problem of the ice dam on the back of our house. When the edge of the roof isn't cleaned off, ice builds up and then as the snow melts, the water backs up into the eaves of the house and then drips down walls and into light fixtures. The result is not pretty - or cheap.

My battle of the sore throat has finally tipped in my favor! After guzzling Echinacea in every form I could find, I can report that I'm finally feeling healthy and much better!

The wintery weather has brought a a bird explosion to our woods. There are flocks of Blue Jays, Mourning Doves, Chickadees and Finches. There are several varieties of Woodpeckers and a least one male Cardinal. The crows and Ravens have increased their visits to the corn and sunflower and were quite excited yesyterday when I threw out a few little suet hunks with it...

The deer comes to scoop up corn and I throw out old apples and bread too.

I've seen no sign of Fox or Racoon, and no Turkeys have visited this year. Last year we had a resident family, but I never saw them after hunting season in May.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Shrimp, Snow and a Flock of Waxwings

Winter has come in earnest and brings a white, frozen presence that alters the landscape and our routines. The Wednesday storm was quite a blizzard and managed to dump well over a foot of snow in a swirling blowing mass that was impressive in it's intensity. It became a day of rest as school and work schedules were changed.

My month-long sore throat returned only 2 days after finishing the 10 days of antibiotics. A second visit to the Dr. yesterday and she STILL claims I have post nasal drip.... though my nose is perfectly clear, I have no cough, but the agony of swallowing continues... Nothing helps - not salt water rinses, Cepacol lozenges, Cloraseptic spray, Throat Coat tea, Echinacea tea, and tincture, Eldeberry, Thyme... I can't eat - even swallowing water is difficult. The pain radiates into my jaw, my tongue. my teeth and my ears. The rapid stress test was negative, so no more antibiotics... It's going to be a long weekend.

They are setting out shrimp traps today and the season should be interesting and one for the record books. There is lots of shrimp, thus LOTS of people gearing up - to drag and trap. The draggers can tow thru traps and take out weeks of work and hundreds of dollars of gear in a night. The price is up too - they are talking .90 a lb... last year it was about .40. It's an unexpected benefit from the Gulf oil spill and I hesitate to celebrate our good fortune, when I know that others are suffering.

Yesterday afternoon I was enchanted by sweet bird calls from a large Oak tree at the edge of the yard. A closer look revealed a flock of 40 or so Cedar Waxwings roosting and chatting with each other. I was struck by the connectedness of the group and how they interacted in the branches.

Today the political climate of our time was vividly displayed in 2 different but equally meaningful events. At last, Wiscasset School Board banned the use of the term "Redskins" for their basketball team after years of wrangling and discussion. This has been a divisive issue that the town clearly and loudly did not want to change. They were unconcerned for the true Natives' feelings or thoughts. No, it was their 'mascot' and they wanted to keep it at all cost. Finally, the discussion is over... just in time for our new Govenor LePage to tell the NAACP to "Kiss his butt" when he refused to meet with them....
Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year and Old Fear

I want to look forward to this new year. I really do. The possibilities are all there. I know I control my destiny. I can change my life, change the world, change my habits. I can do it - but as I watch the years unfold, I'm less inclined to waste my precious energy.

Now my plans must start with the state of my health (and my loved ones) and then go from there. I can plan to do six things in a day, but I know my body won't let me accomplish them all. So I plan for 3 things and do the most important thing first.... just in case.

The uncertainty of our times hangs over my head too. The economy, the environment (birds and fish are dying! and there are only vague excuses), the instability of our society, all fills me with fear. How do I plan for this in my nice new calender?

I've been sick with a sore throat for over 2 weeks now. My stomach is upset and I feel dizzy. And I'm outside a lot. Is there a bird flu? An allergy to my lovely chickens? Has the government experimented on us all with chem trail chemicals?

I'm not used to feeling so ill and I don't think the amoxicillin is helping.... With the first of the year, my insurance policy turns over, so now the deducible has to paid with any tests to be done.

How do I budget for these little health blips? And our new governor, Paul LePage, has promised to get rid of our health insurance... How do I plan for what will happen for the hubby's foot surgery later this year?

Happy New Year to you and yours. May your year be full and fruitful, healthy and full of love!