It’s been over a month since I have last posted, but I’m still here! I’ve been trying to keep us busy and get everything done, but it’s been a difficult chore on my own. I’m not going to sit here and say that I am overwhelmed by the everyday things like cooking and cleaning. That would be a lie. I’m not at all overwhelmed by doing things that I honestly like to do. What is overwhelming is the sense of loneliness that I am feeling press down on me from all sides at all times. It’s not so much that we’re out in the country. It’s not even that I am shy and I don’t know how to make friends. I think it’s just that I feel like I’m in a period of stagnation without knowing what is to come or when it will happen. The fact that my other half is far away and proving somewhat uncommunicative isn’t helping matters. I don’t know where we’ll end up this time next year, if I’ll still be in this farmhouse that I can’t change, can’t improve. I don’t know if I’ll still be alone, or if my husband will be done with this jaunt he’s on.

All I know is that I’m taking things one day at a time, and it is just dragging by. While I am enjoying being a stay-at-home mom to my boys and taking care of the animals, I still feel like something huge is missing. Part of that might be community. Though I have handed my phone number to every nice mom I meet at the parks and grocery store, tried being the best neighbor anyone in this area could ask for, and make it a point to get out into town at least once a week for socialization, I still haven’t found anyone willing to be part of my inner circle. People are busy driving their kids to several different events every evening and weekend, working during the day. For the very little family of my husband’s that is in our area, the church, work, and grandchildren of my sisters-in-law eat up every free moment. Seems more and more like this area is simply blocking me and my family out. Even the ever-friendly, though thoroughly deluded, Jehovah’s witnesses are stopping by less and less. They probably are realizing that I am a lost cause for conversion. Sad that people can’t see past their “religious duties” and just see me as a potential friend.

I apologize that this isn’t a more happy post. I wish it could be, but my life seems to be entering a grey period. Maybe it’s just that the busy, fruitful summer is over and winter is setting in. My parents came down to visit for a week, and they were able to pick me up out of my funk. I was able to take my dad to the range down the road and sight in my new bolt action Ruger 77/44. It has open sights, but I was still able to make it into the kill zone on the third shot at 50 yards. I’m excited to go up to the UP for hunting this year. Hopefully I’ll get a deer or two to keep us in meat through this winter. They also helped me get the farm all winterized and have a blow-out yard sale. We sold all of the old appliances we had kept from our old house, the old bed, and a bunch of little stuff. While they were here we lost a few more chickens, and discovered that the chicken wire in the rear of the coop had been pulled away from its staples for some sort of critter to get in. The neighbor said it sounded like a weasel. Whatever it was, it attracted the attention of a HUGE brown owl, whom we found swooping into the coop at dusk every night.

We were able to completely board up the back of the coop and patch a rat-sized hole I found in the wall connecting the chicken coop to the barn. Since then, the chickens have actually started laying and roosting in the coop. Before, I was getting no eggs. Now, I’m getting 12-13 a day from the 13 hens that are left. Our big, red rooster fell prey to whatever critter was getting into the coop, so we’re down to two roosters. That won’t last long, however, as Crazyhead has repeatedly attacked neighbors and visitors. His days are numbered. When I get a break from the boys, there’s a .410 shot with his name on it. He’s so scrawny I’m not even going to try skinning him and eating him. He’ll get buried in the back of the orchard with the coons, possum, skunks, and stray cats that I’ve dispatched. Cool looking bird, but I’ll never get another of his kind. The wacky feathers on his head make him paranoid since he can’t see well, and that paranoia leads him to attack anything that moves near him, including my small children. Farewell, Crazyhead.

Something else to mark on the done list is the windows. While my parents were here, my mom caulked and insulated all of the downstairs windows. I’ve since put plastic over them, and the change is incredible. I no longer feel an actual breeze coming through the closed windows, and the candle doesn’t flicker in the middle of the room during a windstorm. We also moved the boys and I into the downstairs bedroom. I’ll be closing off the upstairs with a piece of plywood before winter truly sets in. Hopefully our propane and electric bills won’t sneak up on us and slit our throats in the night like they used to. I remember both bills being in the $300’s last winter. It was horrible. Since we are all in one tiny room, the boys have their beds bunked and I am sleeping on a new twin bed opposite them. They’ve adjusted well, though they no longer nap during the day like they used to. Can I get a collective mom sigh for the free time I have now lost?

Speaking of my free time, my mom has convinced me that I need to get out and do something for myself a few times a week and leave the kids with a sitter or another mom. So I have a gym membership that I’ll be starting next week. One of the personal trainers is a student at Olivet College just down the road, and her sorority sisters love kids, so I am hoping I won’t have a shortage of babysitters. I look forward to getting back in shape and spending some time doing something all by myself. I’m sure it will feel very odd, after being with the kids 24/7 for the past several months. I took one break for two hours to go see Eclipse earlier this summer. That’s it. Yeah… I’m due for some me time.

Still not sure what I’ll do about the animals when I go up to see my parents for Thanksgiving and hunting. The last time I took the boys camping this summer, I paid the neighbors to watch the chickens. They are easy animals, really. Let them out for a few hours to forage and drink, fill their waterers every 3-4 days, collect eggs, and feed when you lock up the coop at night. I came back four days into the camping trip to find the eggs overflowing the nesting boxes, no food or water, and it looked like the coop hadn’t been opened up since I left. Yeah. And since I am not the kind of person who goes looking for a fight, I have just avoided contact with them altogether since then. I’m quite upset about it still. I mean, how shitty of a person are you if you promise to do something for someone who has brought you cookies, breads, cakes, pickles, jams, fresh berries and garden produce, and been so nice to you… and you don’t even follow through. Not only that, but you LIE about it when I stop by your house first to pay you and lavish you with even more homemade gifts. Seriously. Grr.

Okay, to end this post on a happier note, my husband should be coming home sometime in the end of December for his two-week leave. I’m still not sure what we’re doing, but I know I’ll be happier once the kids get to interact with him again. We’ve talked about Disney World, but I’d rather sock away that $10,000 for a downpayment on some land than on a trip the boys own’t even remember a few years from now. Any suggestions on things we could do in the Michigan area in the middle of winter?