Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Deer hunting in perspective

deer I photographed last Oct. 2011

(Every now and then, I come across an email that is just too good not to share. This is one of them.........)

This is a very well written, hilarious story about an attempt to lasso a deer. 

Why we shoot deer in the wild (A letter from someone who wants to remain anonymous, who farms, writes well and actually tried this)

I had this idea that I could rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it home.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope. The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it. After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up-- 3 of them. I picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold..

The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the whole rope situation. I took a step towards it, it took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope .., and then received an education. The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.

That deer EXPLODED. The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity. A deer-- no Chance. That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had originally imagined.. The only upside is that they do not have as much stamina as many other animals.

A brief 10 minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head. At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope.

I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual. Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in. I didn't want the deer to have to suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder - a little trap I had set before hand...kind of like a squeeze chute. I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my rope back.

Did you know that deer bite?

They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when ..... I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist. Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and slide off to then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head--almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts.

The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was ineffective.

It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several seconds. I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim by now), tricked it. While I kept it busy tearing the tendons out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope loose.

That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day.

Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are surprisingly sharp... I learned a long time ago that, when an animal -like a horse --strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can escape.

This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run. The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head. Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down.

Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed. What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head.

I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away. So now I know why when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a scope......to sort of even the odds!!

All these events are true so help me God... 

An Educated Farmer

Monday, January 23, 2012

Concord grapes in an apple tree

Concord grapes
 
One late Summer morning after my mom died, Grandpa came to the house with his little Ford tractor towing behind it a little black and battered wagon. He called to me to get a couple of clean garbage cans and load them into the wagon...we were going grape picking. I did what he asked and climbed onto the back of the tractor, completely baffled...I didn't know we had grapes growing on the farm! 

We went up to the top of the hill, and across the road from the fishing pond that I spoke about in my last blog, was another field and at the very top of it was a huge apple tree. Wrapped all throughout the apple tree were a grape vines, with huge clumps of concord grapes hanging down between the apples and leaves. 

Grandpa pulled the old wooden ladder out of the wagon, and propped it securely against the tree. Without hesitating, he climbed up and began cutting clumps of grapes off, then handing them down to me to gingerly put into the garbage cans. It didn't take only about an hour or two (tops) to completely fill both of those garbage cans. 

Once home and unloaded, I was left with the task of 'what' to do with them. I had never made jams or jellies but I was about to learn. I felt up to the task but had to get the know-how, so I went to one of my mom's cookbooks and began educating myself all about canning jams and/or jellies.


The exact cookbook I used!
Of course, I had to do some shopping...I needed pint canning jars, rings and lids, paraffin wax and a few other things that were not something we kept on hand in the cupboards. Dad gave me the go-ahead and I bought what I would need. 

If you have never made grape jam before, it can be a daunting task. I remember trying two different ways...the first being squeezing the pulp out of the skin...one grape by one grape, then later I made it a little easier by cooking the grapes a little and then running them through a food mill. (Hey--it was faster and saved my fingers from turning various shades of purple!) 

By the time that it was all said and done, I had made a couple of dozen pints of grape jam...which was shared with my grand-parents, aunts and uncles. I was so proud of myself! (And I know mom would have been proud of me too!) 

That was the first...and last time that I ever made jam...although given the chance to get 'free' grapes again, you can bet I would. That was the best tasting jam I think I have ever had!  There is nothing that tastes better than something home made!




Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fishing for a sunburn

The pond I fished in as a child looked almost exactly like this one!

My grandfather was my best friend as a child, everywhere he went, he came and got me on his little Ford tractor or in his car and we went off wandering the farm. One day, he decided he'd take me fishing to a pond that was out in the middle of a cow pasture near one of our barns on top of the hill.

Loaded with worms, the tackle box and our fishing poles...mine was a bamboo pole...we crossed through the barbed wire fence and walked the little ways across the uneven ground (pitted with cow tracks) to the pond. Grandpa told me we had to take some of the bullheads out of it, as it was getting too overpopulated and they wouldn't get any bigger otherwise.

Being a young girl, then of about age 13, and wanting to get a tan, I wore a bikini top with my shorts, even against the warning of my mother, as it was not only very hot and muggy out that day, but hazy as well. She told me I was going to get a "bad" sunburn...but did I listen?

Grandpa baited up our poles...as I was still at the stage where worms were yucky (and I refused to touch a fish without a glove on) and we threw our lines out. Within minutes, we were pulling in bullheads...about 8-10 inches long. 

exactly like the one Grandpa and I put our fish on!


As we watched the stringer begin to fill with the fish we'd caught, I was getting redder and redder...but I was unaware. My head was filled with thoughts of catching more...and more fish.

We whiled away the afternoon, catching fish and before we knew it, it was getting close to being supper time. So off we trudged, back across the cow pasture, through the fence and to the car, stowing our gear and our catch...and home we went.

It wasn't until I got home and inside the house that my mom was like "Oh my gosh..." and I looked at her questioningly. I knew I was red as a crab, but what I didn't know was that I literally had huge water blisters--about 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter--hanging off my back and shoulders. I hadn't felt a thing...until she pointed them out to me.

I didn't cry...not then...and she worked her magic...doctoring me up as she thought was wise (and I am sure cursing Grandpa under her breath for not getting me home sooner). That night though...I did cry...it hurt to lay on my sides or my back...my skin felt as if the sun was still beating down on me.

I ended up having to go to the doctor a day later...I was sooo sick. Headache, vomiting and cold chills. I had a big dose of sun poisoning. 

Lesson learned. (This is why I will not spend long hours in the sun.) Fortunately, I was not scarred from that sunburn...except mentally. 

Regrets?  Nope. It was one of the best times I had with Grandpa!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tree House

chokecherry tree clump

Across the road from where I lived, there was a clump of chokecherry trees, not unlike the ones in the photo above. The difference, however, was that these trees were younger and much more plentiful, and had grown in a circle about 15 feet in diameter. Each tree had grown straight up, had no branches until it reached the top, where it then branched and leafed out during the Spring and Summer months.

A perfect tree house!  My tree house!

The white dot represents where my tree house was...

Somehow, in the way that the trees grew...it was like a ring of trees in the center and then an outer ring...giving way to about a 2 foot walkway in-between...and the center of the clump of trees was barren as well. The only modifications I had made were to make 'doorways' into both rings...thus I had my 'tree house'!

Even as a child, I had a vivid imagination (obviously!) and I had made certain areas (mentally) into different rooms of my house...the very center being the bathroom! I would take various toys with me across the road, across the ditch...little plastic tea cups and saucers, a tea pot, little aluminum pots and cake pans, my barbies and other dolls...and spend hours and hours playing in that clump of trees.

I'd sit on the ground in that outer ring sometimes, the Summer breeze rustling the leaves overhead while I scraped up dirt to pretend I was making a cake, or serving a meal on my little saucers...adding a bit of water that I had brought from the house or scooped from the ditch (after a recent rain)...or sometimes I would have my Barbies go swimming in the ditch. I occupied myself well as my brother was a baby and my sister hadn't been born yet.

Once in a while, I would have a cousin stop by, and I was very reluctant to take her to my tree house...I didn't like sharing my private place, even as a child of 8 or 9. I supposed even then I liked and needed a private space for some alone time.

I haven't thought about that tree house in a long, long time...and thinking of it now brings back some good memories...of a time when life was so simple.



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Taking Chance: Part 2

farms across the valley from me now

The summer of my 16th year, after the death of my mom some four months earlier, I entered into a period of having long bouts of insomnia. Be it from depression or something else...maybe grief...or maybe both. I only know that I couldn't sleep at night...and never was able to get to sleep until the wee hours of morning.

I couldn't sleep, no matter how I tried. I was very restless...and feeling very lonely...to the point that I had to get up and do "something".  And since my dad, brother and sister were sleeping, I didn't want to wake them by finding something inside the house to do, so I would take my Cocker Spaniel, Leo with me and go for walks...sometimes lasting until 1 or 2 in the morning.

The farm--meaning the houses and buildings--was nestled into a little valley between two gentle hills. My home was nearly in the middle between those hills, but I always chose to go what we considered 'up' the hill closest to the barns and there on top, I would turn right onto Cox Road and continue the hike up to the highest point on our property, which overlooked another valley.

We had a silage pit, which had an embankment around it, and it was there I sat with Leo at my side. I can tell you about some of what my thoughts were...and they were about my mom, missing her...wanting to go back in time to when she was still alive; wondering what I was going to do without her...wondering what was going to become of me and my family.

While I looked around the countryside, I cried...wept under the moonlight and stars. This was how I grieved the loss of my mom...letting my tears and sobs be swept up into the night.

Now--thinking back to that Summer...I realize that I also took chances again...roaming around the countryside where anything number of things could have happened to me. Thankfully, fortunately...they didn't happen. For where I walked and sat, I was beyond a place where screams would have been heard...too far from the ears of my family. 

I think we go through our younger years, being fearless and believing nothing bad can happen to us...I know I did. Although I wouldn't take some of the chances I did in my youth, it doesn't stop me from taking chances now...I just chose to do things a little differently to remain as safe as possible. 

I don't fear death, but I would fight to live...then...and now. Some things never change...nor should they! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Taking Chances: Part 1



When I was a child of at least 8 or 9, during the hot Summer days when I was bored, I often wandered down into the woods that were behind our house. My journey would start by walking down our black-top road for about an eighth of a mile, turn left onto a little dirt road and when I reached the creek that meandered into the woods, it was there that I began my little journey.

I would climb down the small bank that separated the road from the wooded land, and then get into the creek and began wading through crystal clear water that was as cold sometimes as ice. I would take my time, climbing over the occasional big rocks some of which had that green slimy, slippery stuff on them, taking care not to fall into the water.

I was fascinated by the tadpoles and frogs that I might find, although there were no fish...even though the creek was the outlet for a pond we had that did have various fish stocked in it. No snakes either...thankfully!

I love walking under the cool canopy of the trees...smelling the damp earth...listening to the water wash lazily over the stones. Above me, birds and squirrels chattered...I never felt alone there. Just free. And cool...the Summer heat didn't penetrate through the leaves overhead.

The creek wandered though the woods for maybe half a mile total, ending up in a field kiddy-corner from where my house was, so I was never too far away from the house...yelling distance if my mom wanted me back home. 

When I was through wandering along the creek, I'd walk across the little field, climb through the barbed wire...walk across a few yards of another field and be in our yard again.

I sat here thinking today about those times of my wanderings around the farm...which to me then, felt safe. But...even then, it could have been a dangerous thing for me to do, and for my parents to allow me to do.

It chills me to think that even then, there could have been a child molester or some other kind of creep around...I could have been kidnapped or wound up dead...you know? It was still a time that we were--as children--not warned of 'stranger danger', of not taking candy or any gifts from strangers...or even getting into a vehicle with strangers. (Although even then, I knew better than to get into a car with someone I didn't know, or take anything from a stranger...remember my story about my swing!)

Too--I think about the wild animals that could have been lurking in the woods...I (years) later learned that we had bands of wild dogs that ran through the countryside...it's frightening to me to even consider the 'what if' this little girl had run into those hungry and likely mean dogs.

I took chances that wouldn't consider taking today, or allowing any child to take without an adult present. The world has changed so much...and is seemingly so much more dangerous now than ever before.

Chances which could have ended in a sad story.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pieces

pieces of life

Back almost twelve years ago to the date (January 4th, 1990) I wrote a poem that still holds a lot of meaning for me...it's power of suggestion is still strong all these years later.


Pieces

I believe in...                                                                                                            
dreams, stranger things, and                    
fleeting moments which gives perspective                           
                                                               to an often blighted world;
mysteries, intrigue and mischievous
eyes, innuendos that hide truth and                                                               
tears on aged faces after seeing
what the future is bringing...                                                               
laughter, pain and the quiet grounds
in-between;
tomorrow's hope, conception in every form, the beauty
of hidden thoughts and...
the knowledge that lays ahead of me.
                        

                         

Silence


From the time I was a child, who had a younger brother and sister, and later a step-sister and four step-brothers...into adulthood, having no less than one child with me (and up to 6 children in the household--my three and 3-step-children--at one time)...then living with my daughter and her three for most of the last decade, I have not known "silence". There was always, always the sounds of children in my home where-ever I have lived.

For all those years in my adulthood, the need for silence, peace and quiet, away from the daily influx of noise, was a thing I coveted. It was my way of recouping and maintaining some degree of sanity...away from children and husbands. What little time alone that I did get, was rare...and there were times that I was lost because that silence was deafening to me. Call it a misguided sense of co-dependency.

When I moved away from my daughter's home last September, away from my grand-children and their daily noises, I was like a bird taking to wings for the first time. Silence was not only golden, but much needed and treasured. Yet...as that first month passed...I also began to miss the sounds of children-made chaos...to the point of tears.

As the months have passed, that sense of loss and temporary need for the sounds of children around me has faded and I have gotten used to the sound of silence. I love being alone...love the fact that my ears can finally rest...I can finally rest.

It may sound odd...but I have noticed that as I have aged, my tolerance for noise has decreased. As has my patience with many things. I am aware that the aging process does that to us, but sometimes I have to wonder if it's not also due to the fact that I have lived the life that I have. 

I can't complain...only fully appreciate those things that are now open to me...and silence is one of the best things that has happened to me!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Shawn Campbell's "Journey to Justice": Appeal Denied

Imbalance in the scales of justice

It came as no surprise when Friday, we learned that Judge Latham denied Shawn's request for a new trial. As I had stated in an earlier blog, there are those of us that really believe that he had decided how he would rule on this as far back as May of last year...but it was even more evident the last day of the court hearing that I attended, as the judge seem short tempered and even bored with the whole issue.

No was contacted prior to the news report that aired Friday night on our local news (but was posted on Facebook by Shawn's cousin--which is how I found out!), so imagine our shock! I talked to Shawn Sunday (yesterday) morning and he had no idea that the judge had ruled on his case until I told him. 

Was he surprised at the denial?  No.

He is anticipating getting his copy of the denial in the next few days from his attorney, so that he can move forward and get his Appellate lawyer working on this at the next level. Because as we all know, "it's not over...yet"!  



What comes next is the judge's decision will go back in front of the Appellate panel of judges, and they will make another determination, as it appears that the questions that they wanted answered (3) in this last series of court appearances, was not answered in entirety. The points I can't say that I am completely clear on, but I know that the judge may have made a crucial error on his part by denying Shawn a new trial.

Judge Denies Campbell's Attempt At A New Trial 
Walter Smith-Randolph

January 13, 2012

BATH, NY (WENY-TV)---Convicted murderer Shawn Campbell hits another roadblock is his attempt to get a new trial.

Campbell is serving a 25-to-life sentence for the 2004 murder of Rhonda Bilby, a crime he pleaded guilty to but Campbell says his attorney withheld evidence to get a guilty plea.

A judge once again denied Campbell’s appeal for a new trial.

Campbell says his attorney never showed him letters outlining a murder-for-hire plot written before Biliby was bludgeoned to death but Judge Joseph Latham isn't buying it.

Campbell’s new lawyer says it's not over yet.

“The letters were something that were not presented to Mr. Campbell prior to the onset of the trial,” says Terry Baxter.

Judge Joseph Latham disagrees. He’s ruled against Campbell.

In his findings, Latham says Campbell was shown those letters by his original lawyer, Bill Kelley, before the murder trial started.

Baxter finds that hard to believe. He says Kelley didn't even know which prison Campbell was in.

"There was no way he could have routinely visited his client because his client was not in the local jail,” says Baxter.

Judge Latham also says the source of the letters, an inmate informant known as "L. R. Huffman" is not credible, but the same inmate worked with New York City prosecutors who've said he's cooperative and provides valuable information.

Campbell maintains his innocence.

In an earlier exclusive prison interview with WENY-TV News, he said he would have never confessed to the crime had he known about the letters.

“It was never known to me, until after the sentencing,” said Campbell.

Bill Kelly didn't return calls on Friday. The case now goes back to the appeals court for a final decision.

[WENY-TV is the only media outlet that has reported on this and we are really confused as to why this is as it is a big deal in our county. Is it possible that someone 'leaked' the news to WENY?  Hmmm....]

 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter has arrived!





Well, it's here...Winter has arrived and with a vengeance.  We knew it would...it was a matter of time, but what was unknown was just how much we would get.

First thing this morning, just after daylight broke, I got a few photos before the snow became too disturbed by the winds that were building:

The truck before my brother left for work
  
I apologize for the quality of these photos...I took them from the windows...warmly stationed inside the house!






You can see the wind blowing the snow



The wind had begun to really start blowing, which can be seen in this photo. The roads have been kept plowed, and school went on as scheduled...no delays.
A good 3 inches already at 7:43 a.m.







  
Snow that had accumulated on the railing...







pines frosted





A closeup of the pines that are catching the snow on their limbs...
better view of the depth of snow on the railing









Snow not only accumulated on the railing, but also was beginning to adhere to the posts.

 




Out the kitchen door: the highway isn't visible




From the kitchen door into the back yard, I took this photo...the highway isn't even visible, nor is the hillside beyond that I have photographed before.








When I first got up this morning, the temperature was still holding at around 38° but now, at 2:02 p.m., this is what the widget on my desktop shows:





The 'severe weather' warning reads:

... WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM EST THIS EVENING...
* HAZARDS... SNOW... HEAVY AT TIMES... AND STRONG GUSTY WINDS.

* ACCUMULATIONS... 4 TO 8 INCHES OF SNOW. SNOW AMOUNTS WILL BE GREATEST OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN.
* TIMING... SNOW WILL CONTINUE INTO THE AFTERNOON... THEN SLOWLY TAPER OFF LATE TODAY.
* TEMPERATURES... IN THE 20S.
* WINDS... WEST 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS OF 35 TO 45 MPH... ESPECIALLY OVER THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS.
* IMPACTS... SLIPPERY ROADS... AND HEAVY AND BLOWING SNOW... WHICH WILL REDUCE VISIBILITY. ALL DRIVERS SHOULD EXERCISE CAUTION... ESPECIALLY THOSE DRIVING HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES.
* A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES... AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
Around 11:00 a.m., I ventured out to the mailbox with my camera stuffed into my pocket to get some better photos:

Winds creating snow drifts on the garage roof...hopefully the rain gutter holds!  (Notice in the background, a vehicle can be seen on the highway!)












Drifts building around the car...which I just had moved into the driveway about 8:00. You can't even tell that I had shoveled the car clean!







The wind had temporarily died-down compared to the photo this morning... 











Row of pines all pretty in snow!














Front steps all drifted-in...















Even the little tree next to the pines has snow built-up on it!









A snow drift is evident around the little pines out back of the house...





At this point, it's still snowing lightly and the wind has died somewhat and the weathermen are saying this should all die down later this evening. Now, we'll be working on digging ourselves out...shoveling the porches and plowing the driveway.

When it's all said and done, we'll easily ended-up with 5-6 inches (+) of the while stuff!



Winter has arrived!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

ImprovEverywhere: 'No Pants Subway Ride 2012'!

Gearing up...er...down!

ImprovEverywhere has released another video with this caption:

"On Sunday, January 8th, 2012 tens of thousands of people took off their pants on subways in 59 cities in 27 countries around the world. In New York, our 11th Annual No Pants Subway Ride had nearly 4,000 participants, spread out over six meeting points and ten subway lines."
Check out the looks on people's faces!  Enjoy!





A child named Disappointment


Most of us go through our daily lives not thinking about much beyond that which we are familiar with on a daily basis, yet every once in a while we are directed to something that we know is there but we keep hidden in the back of our minds. I am just as guilty of doing the same.

In 1990, I wrote a poem which is heart-breaking yet just as relevant today as it was then...about a child who was unwanted, abused and finally run away. I named him: "Disappointment" because a single word can relay so much hurt and anger, loss and loneliness.



A Child Named 'Disappointment'
He walks with head bent
Against a cold insistent wind,
His shoulders are pulled forward 
In an effort known as defeat.

He struggles with his emotions,
Humiliation and loneliness: unwanted friends,
Never sparing him more than a glimpse 
Of life as it could be...should be.

Disappointment is his only name,
Born with him, beaten into him
By a cruel, drunken father,
Never spared by his mother's tears.

In a world where compassion seems limited,
He walks alone. Too afraid to hope,
Too quick to assume nothing really matters,
Not even he matters...anymore.

So he walks the streets, never smiling or speaking,
Never looking anyone straight in the eyes,
A run-a-way child of fourteen-going-on forty,
Believing no one cares about a kid like him.


So for today, look around you and really "see" what's there. You might be surprised to see him (or her) wandering down a street...alone.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

What Winter? A photo montage of Winter thus far

Beautiful skies...Dec. 20, 2011
While we are constantly being bombarded by both the scientists and the nay-sayers as to whether climate change or global warming is real or not...anyone who is really paying attention, can tell you that the weather patterns are changing. I've been witnessing it for years now, and it's more evident this Winter than ever before.

I titled this "What Winter?" for that very reason, as we aren't seeing 'typical' Winter weather here in NY. In fact, we haven't seen more than 2"-3" of snow total yet this season.

sanders plowing and sanding...12/9/2011



With this snowfall we have gotten, of course it's a necessity that the roads be plowed and/or sanded/salted.




Snow storm...12/23/2011








A nice dusting on the trees looks so pretty...
Snow storm...12/23/2011





At least there are still berries on the trees for the birds...
Snow storm...12/23/2011




When the snow did come down, at times it was a literal white out...reducing viability significantly.

Snow storm...12/23/2011



I love seeing the hill tops with a frosty covering!
Snow storm...12/23/2011




Another perfect view of the farm across the valley from me...







Snow storm...12/23/2011



Berries still on the tree...with a touch if icing!








snow melting after Jan. 1st snow storm



The snow melting off the patio stones...










sum total of the snow we had...about 2-3 inches...Jan. 2nd




This is the most snow we have had so far...








shadow of the garage...Jan 2, 2012

Temp at almost 50°F. (10° C.) Jan 6, 2012
sunset...Jan. 6, 2012

sunset...Jan. 6, 2012


Garage's shadow across the lawn...
sunset...Jan. 6, 2012

moon rising...Jan 6, 2012











A heat wave compared to the bitter temps we had early in the week...3°F.










Beautiful sunset....










Fire in the sky...












Amazing sight....











Full moon rising at sunset.




I can remember years ago that by this time of year, it was always bitter cold and there was at least a good 6"+ of snow in the ground. Those days seem to have come and gone...whatever snow storms we still might get as we move toward February and March has yet to be seen. 

I'll be right there though...taking photos and recording it all!

Thanks for stopping by!
 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Haunted

spirit cloud not unlike what I experienced in 1977 - 1982

Many of us are aware that there are both malevolent and benevolent spirits, and in my previous blog posts, I have talked about those that were malevolent...as least in my interpretation. But I have met benevolent spirits as well...although in this particular story, at the time things were happening I wasn't sure which it was. 

Maybe I still don't.

My oldest son was born in July 1977 and that Fall/Winter I had my first real encounter with the spirit world. As I lay in bed one night, with my baby and husband, I had not yet drifted off to sleep and just lay there looking around the room, which was slightly lit from the street lights outside the house. Our bedroom door was open and I could look out upon the stairway that led downstairs, although there was nothing to see as everyone else in the household had gone to bed too. 

My mind was busy, which is probably why I hadn't gone to sleep...I have a hard time even now, getting my mind to shut down at night...it's always replaying things that may have happened during the day, or I may even be worried about one thing or another. 

For whatever reason, my eyes were drawn back to the stairwell...and I had a severe case of anxiety all of a sudden. I watched and could see what looked like a cloud of smoke coming up the steps and when it got to the top, it drifted into the bedroom and hovered over the bed. 

Then, I could feel my body being pushed down into the mattress as if there was something very heavy laying on me, and all my muscles froze. I couldn't breathe all that well, my voice was locked in my throat, and I couldn't move at all. The pressure grew greater and with fear driving me, I forced myself to move a finger to touch my son laying next to me and then the cloud was gone. 

This happened at least once a week for most of the next couple of years, then the visits became less often, although they never stopped. We had a chance to move into our own place, a couple small towns away from Corning, NY...and we grabbed it. With the move, I silently prayed that whatever was haunting me would not follow. 

After we were there for a few months, my (first) husband left me. I was okay with that...I had had enough of his nonsense, partying all the time, disappearing for days at a time...and cheating on me every chance he got. It was just Shawn and I...and I was loving it. 

One night, as I sat in bed reading, and Shawn lay next to me sleeping, I happened to feel a chill and looked down the hallway of the trailer. My first reaction was shock and then fear...but I was tired of this...tired of being afraid of the cloud that was moving toward the bedroom. 

Knowing that I had to be in a position to be able to touch my son, should I need to escape this thing, I slid down on the bed, but never once took my eyes off it and at the same time, I started talking to it before it started pushing me down into the mattress. 

"Who are you?" I asked. "What do you want from me?" 

Continuing, "Are you my mom? If you are, I am okay...really, I am." 

The cloud remained hovering but didn't settle down on top of me as heavily as it had in the past. 

"Mom, is that you? Show me a sign if it is...please! I love you, Mom!" Within seconds, it was gone.  

It's never come back since that last time, whatever I did apparently I did right. If it was my mom, she must have been trying to communicate something to me. 

If it wasn't my mom's spirit...then I don't know what it was and choose not to think about what could have happened had I not found that inner strength and my own faith to fight this "thing". 

I am just glad that it's over.

Lost souls


Sometime over the years, I have read that young teens (13-15) have something within them to draw to them spirits that haven't gone into the light for some reason. And this tends to be more true for those teens that are extremely sensitive, or emotionally/mentally troubled (and not necessarily to a big degree). 

I'm not sure that the story that I am about to tell is the case, but I'll let you decide.

In March of the year 2000, I moved in with my oldest son, having with me my other two children, who were 17 and 15 at the time. I continued living in the house after my oldest son and daughter moved out (within the next year) and my youngest son stayed with me. It was while the two of us were living there that this took place. 

My youngest son was a lost soul at that time, his dad walked away and wanted nothing to do with him, and in many ways, I think he felt that he didn't belong any place, even though that was the furthest thing from the truth. He had his set of friends, and if I had to define the bunch of them, I'd say they were a wild bunch, but not in a bad way...maybe they were all lost kids as each of them had a story of an unhappy childhood.

My son would often tell me that he 'saw' something in his bedroom at night, or would 'feel' something in there with him, and I put it off as imaginings...not that I didn't believe in ghosts, but that maybe he was just messing with me. (He did that a lot!)

That changed one night though. I was on the phone and sitting at the dining room table when I caught movement outside of the window across the room from me as I hadn't yet pulled the curtains. I thought it odd because the window was at least 5 foot off the ground...and seeing anyone standing outside was almost impossible unless they were quite tall.

Then, I saw the movement again...and what I saw blew me away. It was a child, about 5-6 years old, running past the window and I could see him from the waist up...which I knew was not even possible. Every few minutes, he would run by the window, not looking in, but as if he were doing laps around the house.

He had medium dark short hair, and wore a striped shirt...blue and red. I can still see him now, just as if this happened last night. Never once did he look in the window and after a few times running past the window...he was gone.

One night, a week or two later, as I lay in bed trying to go to sleep, I happened to open my eyes and there sat that little boy, knees drawn to his chest, arms around his legs and his back against my bedroom wall...not saying a word, just looking at me. The odd thing was, I wasn't afraid of him.

Suddenly, like a breeze, another ghostly figure appeared next to him, leaning a shoulder against the bedroom wall. He was a teenager, I'm guessing about 17-ish, with bright red hair, a white hoodie and his hands were stuffed into the pockets. What was different though was the teen has a visible wound to his forehead where blood still could be seen on his face, as well as down the front of the hoodie. He had apparently died a violent death.

The teen looked at me and asked, "What's up?"  Then they were both gone.

I told my son about the visit, and he asked me to come into his room a minute, he had something to show me. He directed me to the far side of his bedroom, and told me to 'feel' the air there...and I could. He actually had a freezing cold spot in his bedroom and only in just that one place.

A doorway? I can't say. I just found it strange that it was in my son's room...it was like he was the magnet that drew whatever spirits there. Once he moved out...the cold spot was gone. 

I hope that the two young fellows that I saw have found whatever it was that they were looking for, including peace. True lost souls. 

That was my last encounter with the spirit world, and I am thankful that it was a peaceful one and not shrouded in fear.