For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Ah, me, and my poor, neglected blogs. ;-)

Things have been going along rather well.  I've been healing up fine, though I did go and push myself too hard a few days back and I'm still feeling it.  Not a lot of pain, but enough to let me know I really shouldn't have done all that in one day, and holy smokes, did that exhaustion come back fast!  Any one of the things I did that day, I would have been fine.  Maybe even two of them.  But all together?  Not a good idea.  Bah.  Live and learn, eh? 

It's getting harder to take it easy, though.  We've had a burst of good weather.  I got Eldest to break out the pots and soil on our balcony, so they're sitting where they're supposed to again, in the sun.  I got a chance to dig around in the dirt - the larger ones were still frozen on the bottom - add fresh soil and fertilizer.  I haven't decided what I'm planting this year, but anything that should have been started indoors is going to come from a greenhouse.  I just don't have the space to start seeds myself this year.

It felt good to dig in the dirt at least a little bit.  I've been gardening vicariously through Ridin out the Recession lately.  I probably shouldn't be following the gardening adventures of folks in Florida when we're looking at going back below freezing with possible snow tonight! LOL  It could be worse.  There's areas south of us that are expecting a snow storm tonight.  I always expect at least one last blizzard in April, but it seems where we are now is dry enough that it hasn't been happening like in other places we've lived that were farther south. 

I've been keeping an eye on the news from back home, though.  There's some flooding going on, and the creek running past my sister's farm had reached the highest level mark they'd ever had before.  She got to watch muskrats swimming in their yard!  It's gone down since then, so where they are will likely be okay, but other areas are still in danger.  A couple of people have already died this year from flooding related accidents, and sandbagging volunteers are out in full force.

I've been thinking about home a lot in the last while - "home" being the family farm.  It's coming up on a year since my brother was killed.  Now that the weather is changing and the soil is starting to thaw, my mother is looking to get a gravestone to replace the temporary marker one of my other brothers made.  She's planning to have the new stone placed in July - I don't know if she deliberately chose the exact day he died, or that it just happens to fall on a long weekend.  She plans to have a mass said for him and for the family to get together at the cemetery when the stone is placed.  I don't think we'll be able to make the drive out for then.  We'd been planning to make another trip out at the end of August - I believe Dh was even able to book time off so he could come with us.  I'll have to double check that.  I don't expect we'll be able to come up for the money to head out earlier - especially with the gas prices getting so high right now. 

As usual, the summer will be busy for us.  Eldest has her spot booked for the art festival again and will have plenty of new paintings available to sell. I'm pretty excited for her.  She got a bigger spot this time, so we won't be putting up her canopy over the sidewalk again!  I want to get a new canopy for her this year.  The one we had last year was good, but it had no walls; just some panels for the corners.  Which was great for not blocking the sidewalk, but not so great for some of the rains we got on those first two days.  That and we used it on our balcony over the summer.  Of course, on a balcony, the legs couldn't be anchored the normal way. We tied the legs to the balcony rail on one side, then added weights to the legs on the other.  It worked well enough, but our balcony gets incredibly windy.  We would take it down as needed, but one time we weren't fast enough, and a section of it bent.  I straightened it out, but it's now a weak spot, and I'd really rather she had something better.  I've found something that I think will be perfect, but we won't be able to pick it up for another week and a half or so.  I think we'll be needing a couple more grid walls, too.  Will have to order those in advance.  We shall see.

We've been having some "interesting" times at our co-op lately.  As much as I like the co-op concept, it proves to me, time and again, just how much a socialist system can't work on a large scale.  I know there are places out there that make it work, but they really need to have dedicated, like-minded members.  I remember during one of our facilitator visits, he told of how he and his wife had gone to The Farm, where she hoped to train as a midwife.  They drove out there, spent one night, and left the next morning after viewing the conditions of the place, but for the people who do live there, they make it work.

One of the conditions of living in a co-op is participation.  It's right in the contract we sign.  All members are supposed to contribute in some way, whether it's taking part in the various committees, helping out with the snow clearing, joining us for the spring and fall grounds clean ups, or anything else they can do.  We are especially supposed to make the effort to show up at the General Meetings, where we vote for various things that involve the entire co-op, yet often they can barely meet quorum.

Some of the most remarkable and reliable contributors are people who have plenty of things they could use as excuses NOT to be involved - like their various disabilities and health problems.  We've got all these able bodied members who don't do anything, ever, but it's folks in wheelchairs and walkers that are carrying so much of the weight.  It irritates me to no end when I see the same people doing all the stuff while others aren't involved - but when things start happening, guess which ones are the loudest to complain?  I just got a letter from a member I've never met, complaining about things I have no actual responsibility for (though apparently, I've got titles for things I'm not even involved in!), and going on about all sorts of things she'd have known all about, if she'd bothered going to any of the many meetings we've got going on all the time.  Having no idea who this person was, I went to our administrator to find out.  It turns out there's quite the background on this person, as she's one of the original members, but there's a reason I've never met her.  She's been completely uninvolved in anything - other than writing letters like the one I got - for years.

There are just so many things I've been finding frustrating, from having virtually no control over finances (there are a lot of laws and regulations for co-ops, and while many make sense and are really good to have, others were brought about when people had no way of knowing what sort of economic situations would emerge in the future), to the constant bickering between members, the slackers, and the endless meetings needed to accomplish even the simplest of things.  No matter how great some idea might be and how many members might like it, there's always one or two bitter busybodies that just love to throw a wrench into the works, for no reason other than they want to exert control over others.  That doesn't even count some of the ideas that we have to abandon because it turns out there are by-laws and stuff that prevent us from doing them, no matter how much people actually like the idea. 

Sometimes, I feel like just throwing in the towel and becoming another one of the slackers who never shows up for meetings or gets involved with anything.  It's almost a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" sort of situation.


That's just my frustration talking.  Living here comes with responsibilities, and I don't shirk responsibilities.  I couldn't live with myself if I did.  :-/

At least one thing seems to be happening a bit faster, if only because the seasons won't allow the usual committee run-arounds.  We should have some wheelchair accessible raised bed gardens built in time for people to use this spring.  The garden beds we do have are on the side of a hill so steep, I've decided not to sign up for one at all until we can finally get some proper - and safer - paths made up to get to them.  Our mobility challenged members can't even get back there, never mind get to the garden plots.  When the idea of accessible beds came up, it was met with great enthusiasm by these members.  Gardening is so therapeutic, it'll be great for these members to finally be able to do some!  We're supposed to be an accessible facility, after all, and about a third of our members have probably never even seen some areas, simply because they can't get to them.

There's still plenty of planning for the accessible beds to do - the layout first proposed just didn't make any sense at all.  How the heck were people supposed to get their wheelchairs through those narrow paths?  Forget about being able to turn in them.  Still, if things work out, our wheelchair bound members will have their own gardening spaces for this growing season, and I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out.

Well...  So long as other members don't kibosh the whole thing.  Some are already moaning about the cost and how people are making decisions without consulting members, and so on.  Cripes.  If they'd show up for some of these meetings we're having all the time, they'd know all about it!


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