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I just had a two week break from having my boys underfoot. They went and stayed with my parents up in the UP, and they had a really good time. I’d like to say that in that time I got everything in the garden planted, kept up with the lawn, and got a bunch of household projects completed, but that would be a big fat lie. I had maybe three good days where the weather cooperated with me, and in those days I worked my patootie off. I planted the rest of the onions, some more peas, and all of the peppers. I also mowed the lawn every chance I got because all this rain has been making the grass grow at a rate of about 4-6″ every three days or so. It’s ridiculous how fast the grass grows.

Now that the boys are back, the weather is nice again, so I’m back outside with them tagging along. I have a fairly large garden, and everyone keeps telling me I won’t be able to keep up with it. So far, I think I’m doing well. It’s relatively weed-free. The glaring exception is the onions rows. For some reason, weeds seem drawn to onions, and it only takes one day of missed weeding in there for a new green carpet to form. I’m ready to mulch the tomatoes and peppers, so hopefully that will help tame the weeds and also do double duty as a barrier for evaporation. Do you know how many 5-gallon buckets it takes to water a 20′ x 100′ garden? A lot. My poor back is sick of hauling those buckets. (Note: when we buy land and build our forever home, we need a spigot right next to the garden area.)

The boys help out a bit. They’re only 2 and 3 years old, so there’s not a whole lot they can do, but they like to throw rocks into the rock piles and dig in the soil. I also found a good way to get the lawn mowed today. They have this farm wagon that has a hook-up on it for tractors. I hooked it up to the back of the riding lawn mower and pulled them around behind me while I mowed. Granted, it isn’t a pretty mowing job as I was turning in my seat every three seconds to make sure the boys weren’t falling out over all the bumps, but it worked. When we were done mowing, I turned the PTO off and followed my 3 yo’s advice to “go faster!” We zoomed around the yard twice, leaving a trail of raucous laughter and some very perturbed chickens in our wake.

I’m hoping as my boys grow older they decide they like helping in the garden. I know they’ll enjoy it a lot more once we actually start getting some produce out of it. The peas are in bloom, so that should be our first crop of the year. I’ve been pinching off any flowers on the tomatoes so they grow a bit more robust foliage first. Maybe we’ll plant some little carrots and greens this week. Those are fast crops, and I’m sure the boys would love helping me eat them.

That’s it for now. Look forward to some pictures of the garden’s progress in the next few days!

I just went up to Mackinaw City yesterday to spend the day biking around Mackinaw Island with my boys and my parents, and I was thoroughly impressed. On the entire island, I saw one motorized vehicle: an ambulance. The island is only 7.5 miles in circumfrence, so it’s the perfect size to traverse on foot, by bike, or by horse, which is all that is allowed there. I wish I would have taken pictures, because the island is just GORGEOUS! The houses and bed and breakfasts look like a million bucks, and that probably isn’t too far off the mark since it probably costs that just for the land. We spent around four hours biking around, visiting the beach, touring the butterfly house, and walking the strip in search of some yummy saltwater taffy and fudge. I would highly recommend a trip there for anyone who has some extra money to blow. (Yes, it will make a huge dent in your wallet, especially if you want to rent bikes or ride horses.) We brought our own bikes over there, which only costed us $8 per bike. To rent them, you’re looking at spending $24 an hour per bike or bike trailer. Yikes!

Anyway, being on that island really made me think about how neat it would be to live in a small community where no cars were allowed. I’ve heard of a few such places, but until now I had never understood why they didn’t like cars. Now I know. For one, you don’t have that nasty smell of exhaust or burning oil permeating the air. Two, roads last a lot longer when super-heavy vehicles aren’t breaking them up and leaking noxious chemicals all over. Three, the noise level is significantly reduced. Four, it’s a lot healthier for everyone to use their own two feet, especially in such a small area. Five, you don’t have to worry about the biohazard that a fueling station brings. All the fuel you need is whatever you or your horses like to eat and drink. Sixth and finally – You don’t have to worry about the eventual accidents that follow in the wake of cars, like hitting people or running over things.

I’m a big fan of the idea of a car-free community. Perhaps if we can ever get our intentional community idea off the ground, we can discuss the possibility of leaving motorized vehicles off the premesis, kind of like how the ic called Twin Oaks does it: they have a dedicated garage and parking area at the end of the property, but the rest of the community is simply linked by sidewalks and walking trails.

What do you think? Would you be able to live in a place where cars couldn’t go?

I have moved a lot in my life. I don’t mean like two or three times. I have moved so many times I have lost count. I don’t even remember all of my previous addresses. I’m an unwilling gypsy, and soon I hope to change that. One of the downsides of moving so much is that I don’t have a lot of friends, much less aqcuaintances. When I was younger, I decided to just stop putting myself out there to make friends because it was futile. I didn’t like finding people who I got along with so well and then having to leave them before an attachment could take place. I didn’t like all the effort it took to share life stories and find commonalities when I would be leaving them behind anyway. Why bother, right?

Well, I am sick of being lonely. I’m sick of not having anyone to talk to, anyone to visit, anyone to go out and have fun with. I am tired of being so desperate for company that I latch onto any person who will start a conversation with me in the grocery store check-out lane. A few weeks ago I actually contemplated giving my phone number to a mom who is the anathema of everything I stand for (she was on welfare, had kids with all kinds of behavioral problems, and couldn’t do anything but complain about her deadbeat boyfriend) simply because she had kids my age. Yikes!

This loneliness has got to end, and that is why I have started putting myself out there again. I’m ready for a change. So, since I can’t very well just go to church to meet people as anyone else could, I’ve had to get creative. The library here doesn’t do story time or play time for toddlers, and every time we’ve been to the local park we are alone. None of my neighbors have young children, and the only playgroup that advertises in the local paper is a Christian one. How am I going to meet other women with kids, you may be asking? I took an ad out on Craig’s List. Yep. I listed a wanted ad for playmates for my kids. I’ve actually had a bit of interest in it from moms who are in the same situation as I am, but almost all lived much too far away for us to meet up with. The one who lived a bit closer set up a playdate with me up in Lansing for last weekend. I was so excited. The boys were so excited. We talked on the phone and emailed with this woman, and we even planned out a picnic.

She didn’t show up. I’m glad I volunteered to bring the main parts of the picnic (sandwiches, fruit) because we would have been pretty hungry otherwise. Why are people like this? Why can’t anyone just stick to their word? She had my phone number, but didn’t even bother to call ahead of time to tell us that she wouldn’t make it. Nope, she called that night, all care-free and whatever-ish. She wanted to set up another time, but I politely refused. There’s no way I want someone like that for a friend.

So what’s up with all of the false people lately? It’s not only playmates for my kids, but people who are interested in things I’m selling. I’m trying to sell our new, barely used refrigerator, some furniture, and a few other things. People call and tell me they are interested, then proceed to get directions and set up a time to come and look at my stuff for sale… then they don’t show up! It’s just so rude.

I think I may have found a true friend through this blog though. She is friendly, loves to talk, has kids in the same age range as mine, and to top it all off – she’s a fellow atheist homesteader. I’m going to see her on Friday. Hopefully we’ll hit it off, because I’m starting to go crazy all by my lonesome. I’ve taken to writing stories and inviting over Jehovah’s Witnesses just to feel like I get some socialization. Oh, and I walk through the grocery store chatting with random people, while I push an cart with only kids in it because I don’t need any groceries. Yup. Pathetic.

Carla, I’m really looking forward to meeting you this weekend! And, yes, I WILL show up!

Chickens love foraging.

Bunnies aren't the only ones who love clover.

We're all enjoying the beautiful spring flowers.

My only surviving Paul Robeson. I'll remember not to sell off all but two next year. Something ate the other one.

Peas. These supposedly don't need a trellis to climb. We'll see.

The onions are a foot tall and starting to flower already.

Not too long now until the blackberries are ripe! Yum!

All around the mulberry bush, the Mama chased the chickens...

I don't know what this bush is, but it's very pretty.

A peony bush just popped up out of nowhere in the middle of the yard. I'm not complaining!

I just went and typed www.americanatheist.com into my browser, and it redirected me to a page full of information about bipolar symptoms and depression. Haha. Very funny, you silly religious zealot that bought that address and used it to make fun of nonbelievers.

It seems that I am very outdated. Now the American Atheists website is simply www.Atheists.org. It’s been a few years since I have actually been there. Fun fact about me – my one and only tattoo that I will ever have is the American Atheist symbol on the top of my right foot.

Now I’m off to re-explore the world of the good ol’ US of A heathen.

June 2010
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