We started the New Year slowly and quietly. Our house has been plague ridden since early December and I am about ready to call a Haz Mat team in to sterilize everything from floor to ceiling. Between the four of us, we’ve had several bouts of major head cold and stomach flu. Even one of the cats has been sick with stomach issues. At least no one had a hangover on New Year’s Day but I’m not sure the alternative was much better. Jim, having a hardier constitution than the rest of us, has managed to get by (so far, at least) with just some congestion.
It has given me much time to contemplate and regroup. Money is tight so we will be sticking very close to home this year, with one exception–taking my Mom to Sun Valley in October for her favorite jazz festival. We have huge garden plans and will continue to move slowly toward more sustainable living (tip number one for the year–grow something! Even if it’s just a pot of herbs or an aloe vera plant on your kitchen counter).
One thing that I have been giving a lot of thought to, is how do I make this blog something unique. Something that people would want to follow. That’s been a tough one and it’s been as changing as our life circumstances these last three years. I follow many blogs and Instagram accounts of varying kinds but I do notice that so many of them portray the ideal life we all wish we had. The couples who have sold everything to travel the world, the fearless young people who are social media influencers and actually get paid to travel to exotic places, the photographers who roam the world living their dream. I can’t offer any of that, but maybe what I can offer is a dose of reality.
The truth is, we could sell everything we own and we still couldn’t travel the world. My Mom is a widow and needs us close to help with the many things that go wrong in a normal house and yard after 17 years. The dishwasher, the washing machine, the decaying deck. I have an elderly horse who, while being boarded at a wonderful stable, still needs grain and a farrier and good brushings and basic vet care. We have a cat with major health issues who needs a special diet and Sub Q fluids every week and a half. Our yard has no built-in watering system, which is fine for half the year but not in the summer, when it can take almost two hours to water everything by hand. Like so many people, we have responsibilities that can’t be put aside. And, like so many people, things have been getting more difficult for us.
What I can do with this blog is show you that you are not alone if things are going wrong. You are not alone if it’s getting really hard to make ends meet. You are not alone if you suffer from depression but must act like everything is OK. Life for most of us comes with lots of ups and downs and it’s not the exotic stuff of so many social media accounts.
After a year of injuries, I am hoping we will be getting back out on the trails and the water, so we’ll be sharing more adventurous photos; but remember, almost all of our trips are day trips that require just a bit of gas and maybe a Discover Pass (here’s your second tip for the year–we shop at one local grocery store that rewards our loyalty with gas points. I recently filled up the 22-gallon tank on our big truck for $2.39 a gallon!). I am experimenting with herbal remedies and will offer a few more recipes this year (and possibly some products to sell), but I am not using exotic ingredients. I use what I grow, what grows naturally around us, and what can easily be obtained from the grocery store or on the internet for a reasonable amount of money (my latest project involves a bottle of olive oil that was on sale at the grocery store and the tips of our Christmas tree–which we cut ourselves along the gas line trail behind our house). I have given up the idea of mirrorless cameras and am hoping to pick my DSLR camera back up this year and share some good images. This is the year of using what we have.
As always, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to make suggestions or ask questions! And remember, we still have a gift to offer to a lucky US follower once we reach 50 people, so tell your friends!
Happy New Year to you all. May you find joy in the small things and peace in the quiet moments.
PS I have a favor to ask of all of you. (I promise, this is the closest I will ever get to discussing politics on this blog.) Let’s make this the year of truth. Lies and hate have always been a part of politics, but these last few years have been frightening here in the US. Lies on social media are believed far more often than legitimate new reports and they spread like wildfire. They also engender incredible outrage and hate by those who can’t be bothered to check the veracity of what they read. Please, please, please–fact check everything. That means doing research, not just checking in on one favorite source. We are responsible, as citizens, to be truthful. Lies lead to hate, which leads to violence. Truth leads to peace.