Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Therapy in Rio's Pasture

To give a little context, this is how Rio's corral lot (foreground) and pasture (behind the fence where the row of sunflowers are) looks after all the spring rains.  The native grasses over in the pasture in that section are as tall as Rio.  Dad always kept the pasture and lot mowed, using his little Ford tractor and his heavy duty mower.  He has not been able to mow since 2011.  With all the drought around here, it did not really matter as nothing grew this much.  Rio and Jenny kept it grazed down until summer hit, and then it would all wither and die.  Due to the extremely heavy spring rains this year, it has turned into something resembling the Great Plains grasses before the encroachment of farmers and ranchers on the territory.
The view outside Rio's stall--he has a trail from the pasture into his gate into the stall.  It reminds me of my childhood and riding in the fields and pastures at my grandparents' house, where Patsy had all her little trails worn--to the tank, the back porch where she would get unsaddled, the barn where she would be fed and stalled when she was not in the pastures.
I went out late yesterday afternoon after feeding Rio and used the push mower to mow the knee high grass and shoulder high weeds away from his feed bin, water and the fence.  Sis has used the weedeater a time or two, and Bert went out and clipped them all away from the trough and feed bin once, but it needed serious intervention.   I mowed all the way to the gate going to the pasture, and to the hay storage barn and the hay barn/Rio's barn.  (Yes, this horse has 3 barns.  One in the pasture, the barn where he eats his hay and his little barn which is slightly larger than a stall, but he likes it because he can look out the "window" and watch for me. :)
The grass was not too difficult, but mowing these weeds was a bear.  I worked to just get the trail cleared for yesterday and will work on the rest of it a little at a time throughout the week.
This is what awaits me next:  There is a trail from the gate over between the shop and the garage that runs over to the feed area and the hay barns.  It is not visible, because Rio has not seen the necessity of using it at the moment.  We can go in and out of the feed/water area using the small gate, but I still want to clear this area away from the path a bit in the event anyone needs to traverse it.
Behind Rio's stall, the weeds are over Rio's head, let alone mine.  I mowed all the grass and the shorter weeds from the barn to the pasture gate.
This morning, I went out to see how bad the pasture was--thankfully, all the grazing area is just grass and adequate.  Only along the creekbed is vastly overgrown, so I will work on that in due time.  But for now, my boy is in good shape, his water trough has been cleaned and re-filled, and I have moved on to the next chore: scraping, sanding, and repainting the doorsill on the door to the East deck.

I don't exactly understand why, but doing this kind of physical labor is like therapy to me.  I feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and it simply needs doing so I do it.  It brings me pleasure, no matter how hot, sweaty, or tired I get.  I feel connected.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Amidst the gardenia mist

It has been a tangled and twisted week, not just here, but everywhere.  Everything has seemed overwhelming to many of us, hopeless to many of us.  Anger and pain have been interwoven with hope and despair.  Public pain and private pain have wrapped themselves round us like an ill-fitting shroud.  Injuries pile up in our souls, layers on layers, absorbing not just our own injuries, but those done to our brothers and sisters all over the world, further twisting and twining the tangles.
 In the midst of the barren and beauty-less space, an unexpected work of nature opens the possibility of seeing something that is not there, of re-imagining something that is there, of allowing the emergence of what could be but is not yet, or simply taking the moment to acknowledge and appreciate that it is. 
I had gone over to Rowan Oak Sunday.  It was hot, and the humidity made breathing difficult.  In seconds, I was sweating in the late afternoon, the storm coming in to the west of me.  I needed photographs of the repairs on Rowan Oak for the Preservation in Mississippi post I needed to write for Tuesday, and I was running out of time.   I moved slowly through the roteness of the task, engulfed in the pain I had carried with me for days without sanctuary.
As I turned away from the last photograph of the house, I suddenly caught it--the sweet smell of gardenia floated toward me, lightly enveloping me in a moment of awareness that I am not alone.
I seek to be rooted.  Grounded.  When things happen that disrupt that rootedness, it sets me adrift, circling, churning.  And then I am reminded.
 When I find myself in a river of rapids, ride the current.  The river does not insert itself into the rocks or go through the rocks.  It flows around them.  The trick is not to fight the current, try to override the current.  One ends up in the rock.
The thing is to let the current take you around the rocks to less troubled waters where one can reach the shore.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Iron-cemented Sandstone as sculpture

 I posted on these rocks, known as iron-cemented sandstone, over on Red Shutters, but they are so fascinating to me, I had to do a double post. Hope you enjoy! They are found in northern and central Mississippi, and these are at the University Museum. Click on the photos to see them larger and check out those details!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The last shower I ever intend to tile

 Saturday was a slow day.  I was sore and stiff from Friday's loading 4 bottles of water for the cooler into the basket at home Depot, unloading it into the car, unloading it from the car at home, and getting it up the steps and into the porch.  That was as far as I made it.  As a result, Saturday morning my shoulders and arms ached, and I was not at all certain I could tile, but I did...slowly and with difficulty.  The front wall where the faucets are is always the hardest, but this one actually did not take that much time.  The cuts were spaced in a good place and it took not too much cutting to get those three pieces of tile just right.  The plumbing is all completed, so it only requires connecting the hardware to the plumbing connections. 
The mitered corner was really tricky but the second row of decorative tiles went up like a piece of cake.  I allowed as how we should have just built the whole shower wall with those little tiles that come on a backing and you can not only slap up a square foot at a time, you get to do your "cutting with a pair of scissors, not a tile saw!
Today, we got an earlier start as I was not so stiff or sore, and we finished the back wall in about 3 hours--I was almost flying with the rhythm.  Clean up, and off for burgers, knowing the hardest part is over.
Grouting will be a one-person job as I can do that without help from Randy, so by next weekend, I intend the shower to be finished...and then, just finishing texture on the wall and painting, and slapping down the floor tile. I plan to put this project to the "done" pile before the end of the month and my next trip to Texas.  Dad has been saying for 5 years that I am never going to get this bathroom done, so I plan to show him pictures of my results!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bathroom Remodel: The Five Year Plan

 We have been remodeling the bathrooms in this house since almost the time we moved in.  I have written about the trials and tribulations that came with this house in the Mississippi tiny cottage version of "The Money Pit."  It took me 4 years to complete the master bathroom.  I am on year 6 of the hall bathroom, and finally began tiling the shower walls this weekend.
I am a lot slower this time around than on the master bath tiling.  While it took a long time to get the whole bathroom complete, the shower tiling actually went pretty quickly--about 3 weekends.  One to Kerdi, one to tile, and one to grout.  It took me a weekend to just get one wall tiled this time, as my recovery time was much longer for all the bending, squatting, sitting, reaching, and lifting.  But, I might be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and this time, it's not the train coming.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

On drinking the Kool-Aid

It's true--I have succumbed to the same mysterious affliction that my husband and son have, though so far, I am under control.  That's what we always say in the beginning, right? :)  They have used multiple monitors for a long time now, and the upside is you can work on several things at once, without having to go back and forth between open windows or resize your windows in order to see two things on the screen at once.
You start out just getting a bigger monitor, then at some point, you want two bigger monitors.  I think I can stop here, but already since the guys set this up last night, I'm feeling my productivity increase!  Makes me want to get to work.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Animal Kingdom

Son House expressing his displeasure.
But, we are all better now.
 Mama Callie...maybe...might be Cinco.
Missing Rio,
..so I took a few minutes and put his photos in a couple of new frames I bought for Mom's that did not work out with the size of her pictures.  Rio was walking in from the pasture, hoping for a treat.
Rio and my beautiful great niece K, who just graduated high school this week.

I am surrounded by people and animals who depend on me some of the time for some of their needs.  It is a good place to be.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015