Yeah. Well, I've pretty much given up on thinking I'll be this living-off-the-land uber woman in 11 years when the boyfriend and I retire to the country after sending our kids off to college. I've been given a more realistic view of the country life. We're planning on scrimping and saving and buying between 60-120 acres that hopefully has a house on it that we can fix up and then when the kids head off to college we'll sell our KC house and head to the country. Jeff will run cattle (I learned it was "run cattle" and not "raise lots of cows") and I'll have a large garden and still work part-time with my consulting job since I telecomute. I'm not much of an outdoorsy kind of a woman, as many of you will remember my fun had with spiders, floods, glasses disappearing into lakes and whatnot. I like my airconditioning. I like my hairspray. But I'm trying. Let's just say my vision has changed from one of a partially environmentally kind human to a mind frame of screw it, I'm gonna chemically bomb the fuxx out of my little area. Why was it that on Green Acres, the little city socialite never had to deal with rats and poop and bugs? Ok, more on that later. First the knitting content.
I've now decided that whole idea of natural dying fibre is also not for me. I reknit the freakishly big hat into one of normal size. Only problem with this lovely soft heavenly pretty naturally dyed alpaca is that as I knit I got these little blue lines across my pointer and pinkie fingers where the yarn was wrapped. No problem, I've had that with many yarns. Only problem is that both palms are blue. Dark blue. All ten fingertips are dark blue. Even my lap where I would rest the hat in progress has blue stains on my thighs. Am I going to sport blue ears and forehead every time I wear this freaking thing? I'm sure there's something I can do like soak in vinegar or other, but seriously. BLUE EARS and FOREHEAD? I am not a smurf. So image #1 of Country-Christine using plants and flowers and lichens and things to dye her fibre while birds sing and butterflies flutter is shot to hell. Fuxx that. I'm hearing those paste food colorings calling my name.
We took an all day trip to the country out south of KC not too far from Iola, KS this last weekend. Jeff's had his eye on this 160 acre farm across the road from his best friend's land, and he wanted me to really SEE the land, walk through the house, etc. We also looked at over 20 farms/land parcels that day. I was being quite the good sport. I had packed extra water and snacks in a cooler bag (you never know when you get to actually find a gas station out there) and had my sock knitting along, I was navigating all these tiny country roads on the map, I wasn't even hardly wearing makeup I was so freaking natural. We went hiking around a few pretty spots that Jeff had found. I really fell in love with this little farm owned by a horse-whisperer guy, but the house was a tiny little concrete box with only 2 bedrooms and not much hope of expanding unless you dozed it and built a new one. We just can't afford to do that. Jeff can do almost anything to existing houses, so we are trying to find an old farmhouse "with potential." I got a few scrapes and a few stickers in my socks and tennies. No problemo. I was COUNTRY CHRISTINE that day. I could handle it.
Well, about 4 farms later we came to the one that Jeff has wanted all along. Everything else we see gets compared to this place, the one across the street from his friend's land. It really does make sense and after hiking through it and one tiny burst of tears and frustration and kicking of a barn timber which made a lot of crappy stuff fall down on my head, I looked at the place with clearer eyes. I saw some potential. There is a beautifully light and cool room upstairs that would make one hell of a craft/knitting/sewing/office room for me. My own little area. That could work. I was using my "potential seeing" eyes and looked past the holes in the ceiling, the RAT POOP, the broken windows and open back door that showed how vagrants and animals had been using the place as a home and toilet for the last 50+ years. I could still see it. Maybe. He promised to take the place down to the studs and the beautiful old wood frames around doors and windows and rebuild it. And put in air conditioning. I could see it. This man of mine really can build anything. Then we hiked back and saw the barn a second time. It really was in good shape, one of those monster old time barns that stand forever. I did like it. Then we hiked back into the back and went through horrendous tall weeds that kept stinging my legs. We hiked back to the remnants of a fenced in old garden. I could see it. I brushed a freaking BIG ASS spider that was about half the size of my hand OFF MY FUXXING LEG and didn't freak out. I was COUNTRY CHRISTINE, remember? I can handle it all. Before this day I often thought of how you can rotate pastures, add plants that repel certain bugs and do things naturally to live with the land. yeah. That thought is over.
We get back to the car, and my legs are still stinging from the grass we walked through. I look down as we're driving to his friends' girlfriend's house and let me just say now THANK GOD there was a house nearby with people we knew. I see these little tiny spots all over my legs. Hundreds of them. Hundreds and hundreds. They looked like tiny spots of mud or blood or freckles. I tried to brush them off, but they wouldn't brush off. I looked closer and THEY WERE MOVING. I start a mild freak out. I look closer and THEY HAVE LEGS and THEY'RE MOVING and they're MY LEGS ARE STINGING. I'm now in what most people would consider full freak out mode. I'm yelling, "THEY'VE GOT LEGS AND THEY'RE EATING ME!" Jeff is trying to reason with me, the poor boy. He's explaining that it's just dirt. I just need to "calm down and relax". I believe my response was something like "RELAX THIS MOTHERFUXXER!" There were an awful lot of F words dropped. Fuxx this, FUXX that, FUXX the FUXXING COUNTRY, repeat. We finally get the approximately 1/2 mile up the road, I jump out of the car and grab the only thing I can find, newspapers and a rock. I'm gouging at my skin and trying to scrape them off. They're not coming off. Jeff comes around the car, I've totally freaked him out by now, I'm shaking and looking for a sharp implement to gouge them off with, I see some metal scythe thing and Jeff jumps in my way and tells me to just take a shower. I run into the house, strip my clothes off on the way and end up in the shower scrubbing myself silly and sobbing like you wouldn't believe. I must have been in there a long time because Jeff came in and asked if I was ok, was I ever coming out. I thought I got them all off, I scrubbed myself almost raw. I'd cried myself out. I came out, dressed myself, apologized for almost running down the people there. I went outside, ready to finish looking at farms. I was ok.
Jeff was treating me like you'd treat a person just let out of an insane asylum. He was speaking slowly and gently. He didn't crack one joke all day about the freakout. I must have been in shock. I couldn't smile or harldy speak. I just walked very slowly. I was doing better, sat in the back seat behind Jeff, his friend Travis in the other front seat. Then I looked down at my poor red shins and (being a redhead with lots of freckles) saw only freckles. I sighed. Then a freckle moved. well FUXX. I was too emotionally shattered to freak out. I scraped the tick and smooshed it. Then another freckle moved. yeah. For the next 3 hours as I rode around that damn countryside I played "kill the freckle". Mostly my freckles stayed put. I just sat there looking and sticking my feet up in the air in strange positions much like a cat cleaning his butt, I'm sure. Then, feeling more like myself, I smacked the shit out of Jeff's headrest each time I killed one. Later that day it was explained to me that those are called "seed ticks." There is also some spray you can use once you mow down the weeds and grass around your homestead area and it will kill the little buggers. Oh, I'm spraying. I'm spraying the FUXX out of whatever country estate we end up with. I almost took a picture of my legs, I wish I would have. I can't explain how many many spots I had on my legs when I first looked down. Of course, once I saw the spots were moving, it was all I could do not to jump out of the damn car.
I figure that boy better damn well marry me before I take on the country life. He's got 11 years. That should be time enough, huh? Here's a few shots of the "before" household. The last one shows the frog that lives in the 3 foot deep pond in the cellar building just behind the house. The house has a basement that's got a solid foundation and is a titch musty but no water in it. Country Christine is dead. City Christine that will try to tolerate the country but is bringing LOTS and LOTS of chemicals is still hanging on by a thread.
When we got home and picked up the kids from mom & dad's I had to laugh. Here's what's on the bottom of our fridge courtesy of all 4 kids. And people thought kids were getting less creative because of all the tv and video games.