Changes in Life

Changes. A lot has changed in our lives since the last time we wrote here, but a lot has stayed the same as well. Thought we’d let you know what’s been going on for the last three years.

What hasn’t changed? We still live on our homestead, have goats, chickens, cats and our Great Pyrenees. There is still a garden where a lot of our food is grown. The world continues to appear to be in for a great reset, which seems to be holding off for now, even with the shaking and rattling that comes and goes worldwide every day. That is not a reference to earthquakes, by the way.

What has changed? Much. 

At the time of our goodbye, I was in the midst of having hand surgery for trigger finger and ganglion cysts. That turned into one of the ordeals of our lifetime, which ended up with a serious actinomyces infection that necessitated six months of antibiotic treatment. That story will be an article or two all by itself.

Also during that time, it became apparent that my mother was entering some serious stages of dementia. She is now in the final stages and lives in a nursing home. This will also be a continuing story that contains many trials, frustrations and heartaches that will be shared. It will be good for me to write it all out and get input from others, their perspectives, their insights and experiences.

And then about two years ago Frank had a double bypass. The need for it came as a shock since he hadn’t shown any previous symptoms, nor have a heart attack. This has been the biggest life altering event that continues to impact our daily lives, goals and perspectives. There have been many serious, difficult conversations concerning our lives and futures since this event, and some of those topics will be shared with you.

Frank still works with radio and there have been some ups and downs there which he will be sharing along the way. Some things worked out as planned, and some didn’t.

We have increasingly found our life of homesteading and preparing, our chosen path, has been a lonely one. There aren’t many people we meet that choose to live this way. Some still say ‘that sounds like so much work’ or ‘why don’t you just buy it at the store’. We are just too different for most people’s taste, and make them uncomfortable, and yet, would not choose to live any other way. It seems some of the most meaningful ‘conversations’ we have had about this way of life has been here, sitting at a computer, ‘discussing’ life with strangers. Interesting.

There is much to share now that we’re back to writing on the blog. Know that in many ways it was a relief to stop writing. The blog had become a burden, with the feeling and pressure to perform on a regular basis. That aspect was not missed, so our posts may be irregular and only occur when there is something worthwhile to share. For now we would like to share what we can in the hope that it may help someone else along the way. Frank has always been a teacher and continues to search for ways to help others.

Life’s priorities change with time and circumstance, and you will see this has happened with us. We look forward to interacting with our friends out in blog world again, have missed your comments and have wondered how many of you are doing. It’s an interesting thing to ‘know’ some folks that we have never met, never talked to and probably never will. The way all of us are presented online never shows the real person behind the words, and yet, the interaction it makes possible could never happen any other way.

We look forward to our future conversations.Your comments are encouraged and critical, others benefit from what we talk about here, all of you and I sharing our ideas and visions. We’re all in this boat together. Just remember, don’t get on the bus.

Until next time, Fern

47 thoughts on “Changes in Life

  1. I hope you enjoy retirement as much as I do, Grammy. You'll wonder how you did everything and worked full-time once you retire. Sounds like you have things set up nicely. Keep us updated.Fern

  2. I am glad to read your blog again and see what you've been up to. Like you, I feel as if I'm quite alone in my lifestyle. I am retiring from teaching in May. My husband and I have an extended camping trip planned, and I'm looking forward to my usual summer work. My three dairy goats are due to kid next month, the chickens are laying very well, eggs from my chickens will be hatched by the kindergarten class at my school (which will give me more chicks), and my garden will be planted as soon as the weather permits. I got a Pyrenees mix (with 1/4 Anatolian and 1/4 Komondor) puppy a couple of weeks ago. It's amazing how he's already watching the animals and keeping an eye on me too. Please keep the posts coming, but don't neglect your responsibilities in life.

  3. That is a sweet memory, thanks for sharing.Most of the cherries are pitted and in quart jars. Some were turned into cherry jam and a few were frozen. They are delicious during these cold winter months. Knowing that I paid $1.00 a pound for organic cherries and that they cost $3.99 a pound in the grocery store when they are in season feels pretty good too.

  4. Hello, Spinnersaw. A long, long time ago, when my young bride was shearing her own sheep with hand shears, she tried spinning the wool. Of course, after cleaning it, washing it, carding it and whatever the other its were she did to it, she could not quite master the treadle on the spinning wheel and feeding the spindle at the same time. I hope my terminology is correct. So, I would sit beside her, spin the wheel, pedal with my foot, while she fed the wool into the spinning wheel. We tried that endeavor. The yarn looked similar to the scale of a heartbeat, you know, high then low, skinny then fat, skinny then fat. But after lots of trial and error, and enough yarn to make a decent sized ball, Fern tried to knit a sweater. Fern is an accomplished knitter and at sewing, but the sweater, well, it just never did quite make it. But it was nice to sit beside her while we tried that. It is a good memory.You see, at that time, we were living in a garage. One big room with a bathroom and kitchen in one corner. At that time we were building a house, just Fern and I that is.Thank you for the memory. As Bob Hope would say, thanks for the memories. I saw Bob Hope overseas, in beautiful South Korea. What did you do with all those cherries? Thanks for the comment. Frank

  5. It is a lonely life style. We find focusing on one thing helps. I like spinning wool and knitting and we both re-enact the fur trade era. Having ladies to visit with while spinning or walking a trail shooting at targets with black powder weapons is good. We know no-one who grows a enough garden to eat something for the year or who cans their food every year. One day I went to a u-pick cherry orchard and picked about a hundred pounds of fruit. I couldn't believe it when the person who weighed the cherries asked what in the world I was going to do with all of the cherries, most people who came to the orchard were picking enough cherries to eat fresh for the week.

  6. Miss Vicki, I'm going to have to take issue with something: (in my opinion) Homesteading is not a place but instead it is a mentality. It sounds to me like you are using most of the resources your homestead has to offer. I wish people not in apartments had your drive and focus so carry the homesteading banner loudly and proudly, Mark

  7. Well you have iconic status. When I found your blog via Leigh in her archives I was sad at missing it. So here you are in the flesh so to speak. Nice to meet you. Will be checking in as time and life permit.

  8. Yes, don't get on the bus. FrankVicki, you have a way of putting things that brings a smile to my face. It was good to read about how you and your son worked together to can your bacon bits recently. True teamwork.Do you have a pattern for that tinfoil hat you would like to share? I would rather wear one of those than the pink ones some of the crying snowflakes are wearing now days. It doesn't matter where we live, there are always things we can do to provide for our families in times of need, whether they be personal, local, national or worldwide. Thanks for the encouragement to be ready.Fern

  9. You have had a very difficult trial, Christie. I hope you're doing well now. Blessings to you in healing from your treatments.We understand what you mean about reevaluating the homestead. We have made a number of changes like downsizing the garden and focusing strictly on things we eat instead of experimenting. We still have too many goats right now, but next year will have less, much less. We're looking at equipment, pastures, all kinds of things and trying to peer into the future to see how we can make things most manageable. Interesting changes for another stage of life. There are never limitations on the opportunities to learn.Thank you for the kind thoughts. We play the cards we're dealt, huh? I have always thought that what happens is not the most important thing. What is important is how we deal with whatever comes our way. Sometimes I do well, sometimes I do not. That is the journey and the never ending opportunity to learn through this life. That is a gift we are all given, if we will just open up that gift and cherish it.Blessings,Fern

  10. Life has a way of smacking us upside the head sometimes, just in case we are in danger of becoming complacent. At least, that's the way it works for me. I'm so glad you both are doing alright. Prayers for you both and especially for your mother are ongoing. Having to put my parents in a nursing home, even though there were no other options left, was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.I don't homestead. Sort of tough to do so from an apartment. But I do prepare, and that alone will make some heads explode. Makes me a charter member of the tinfoil hat brigade. I know of only a very few in my area and not all that many within my state who think it is a good idea to stock up. Comes right down to it, we have a better chance of survival than those who think we are nuts to work so hard, whether it is homesteading or just canning in a city apartment. I am so very glad you are back. You have given me so many good ideas and so many things to ponder over the years. And I know when I am reading your blog that I am reading truth. I am blessed with several faithful, wonderful readers of my silly little blog, and it is so good to know there are others out there with the same mindset. Even if we never meet, it is good to have friends. And I promise – I will never, ever, get on the bus!

  11. I hope you don't mind, but I removed your call sign. Lots of information can be taken off of QRZ, and yes, you do live in the boonies. I didn't realize that isolated a spot existed in your part of the world. Nice location.I wish I didn't have all of these antennas and towers. When I first started, my operation was a whole lot more simple. It worked just as well as the towers I have now. It wasn't near as obvious from the road and it cost a good chunk of money for no improvement. I have a friend that operates a G5RV, he runs power and is more than happy with it.My gut instinct tells me that our collapse will be an economic shutdown. Once the dominoes start, it will just cascade. This derivative thing is way out of control.I am sorry about your hospital stay. I hope you recovered from it. I talk to guys in your area every now and then. It seems to be on one of my good paths. If you have any ideas for radio, please let me know.If you have any recommendations for life, let me know. Nice tractor, by the way.Take care. 73, Frank

  12. Lorraine, thank you for your words of wisdom. Even the most subtle encouragement can turn a dark day light. We all have trials in life. A man I barely knew just one day up and died. His wife was grief stricken. No time to prepare. I hurt for that woman. I think about her. With some of our issues lately, we have prepared the best we can for our end of life experience. I know older adults that refuse to even discuss death. They plan on letting someone else take care of it. But that's their choice. I've made mine.Frank

  13. Little steps will get you where you want to go. I watch older people walk sometimes, those little short, shuffle steps. But they get there. Part of life is dealing with trials. I believe they make us stronger. I know the issues with Fern's mother and my heart surgery have made us much more aware and stronger. Thank you and take care.Frank

  14. Fern and I ask ourselves a common question on a regular basis. If everyone else lives a general lifestyle different from ours, wouldn't that mean that our choice is wrong? Our country appears to be heading down a socialist path. If that's what the majority choose, does that make them right? And, conversely, if I choose a different path, does that make me wrong?What's the old story about the road less traveled? But there is nothing new here. I get a check in the mail from Social Security. It's been around a long time. Take from everybody and redistribute the wealth.Thanks for your comment.FrankA wave is coming.

  15. Wow, add me to the list that can't believe it has been 3 years. Life certainly goes by quickly. As someone said above, unexpected life changes certainly bring about needed re-evaluations. Last year I was diagnosed with cancer in my 50s. I certainly never expected it. It has caused us to re-evaluate how we do things around the homestead. It is shocking how fast I went from doing so many things to spending most of my day in bed or sitting resting due to treatment side effects. It really opened our eyes to how necessary it is to consider limitations as we add to our homestead and how we need to change some things already in place.Fern, I am so sorry to hear that about your mom. Dementia is such a cruel disease and is so hard on families. christi

  16. TB, if I were to ever offer advice, it would be start early, involve family, medical, clergy and neighbors. This is a group effort. You might find that not everybody is on the same page. Don't be surprised when this happens. Until then, enjoy life, right now life is good.Frank

  17. Hi, CW. Prepare, prepare, prepare. So what happens if nothing happens? You have a pantry full of food, you have extra clothes, your body is in better shape, your head is prepared to deal with unplanned disasters. Okay, so what is the down side? Or, you can get in your car and drive to the store every time you need a scoop of sugar.Thanks for the comment,Frank

  18. Thank you, Diane. We are going to post an archive article about once a week. Many of them are still relevant to our day and time.I know we're all going to die someday, that's just the way it is. And there's probably not a good disease to die from, but Alzheimer's does seem to be very cruel. Fern and I have read several books on the topic, numerous articles, most of them were from the perspective of a child or sibling of the patient. Some were quick, some lasted 10-15 years. It has altered the way that Fern and I live life. Fern and I will both write some articles from our individual perspectives of dealing with Alzheimer's. Thank you, and thank you for reading.P.S. I have found that people not involved can be extremely cruel either through ignorance or stupidity. It's just unbelievable what relatives and friends can say about how we are dealing with our loved one.Frank

  19. Hi, Nina. Thank you for reading and thank you for the kind words.I had a birthday recently, which technically means I am now pushing 70. As far as health goes, Fern and I are pretty healthy. Some days we hurt here and the next day we hurt somewhere else. I have found that since I have good insurance, that doctors think that I have nothing to do with my time other than take tests for them. So, I've quit that practice and just do the bare minimum. Same with medication, take this, take this and take this. So I quit doing that, too. I wish more people could actually see what's happening in the world, but with their created agendas, they just don't have the time. One of my grandfathers would sit on his porch and watch squirrels gather nuts and then tell me how the winter was going to be. I do believe those days are gone.Thank you for the comment.Frank

  20. You're right, Jana, most people don't want to listen to why we live this way. About half of them laugh at us when Frank tells them he sees hard times or a collapse coming. He keeps trying to warn people anyway.I am sorry to hear about your mother, Jana. Thank you for the encouragement.Fern

  21. Hi SJ. It is interesting to live this life and not have anyone to talk to about it. But I really can't imagine living any other way, it just suits us so well.My mom. She still recognizes me sometimes, talks very little and most words aren't real words. Still uses a few familiar phrases and facial expressions. Someone else told me the same thing about using her first name, but I don't think I will do that, even though 'my mom' has been gone for over a year. I'll write a lot more about her experience and my coping as time goes on.The pigs…..are gone. And that is definitely a Frank story. It will show up here sometime, and is quite the story. I'll leave it at that for now.The kefir? Yep, he makes faces when he drinks it…..and it is funny. Glad you enjoyed the laugh.Take care, Fern

  22. Surviving the Meltdown February 1, 2019 at 4:36 AMFrank and Fern, It's such a joy to see that yall have started posting again.I used to follow yall closely until you sadly signed off in 2016. I understand it though. I'm pushing 70 and the last few years have dealt me some serious health issues to include a 9 month hospital stay. I live way out in the boonies and have an 8 month old beagle pup that has stolen my heart. He's my only company since my wife passed. He snuggles up close to me every night and sleeps more soundly than I could ever hope for myself. I also am a ham radio extra class license holder (Call sign removed). I primarily work the 40 meter band. Don't have anywhere near the great antenna setup that Frank has but I get by with my G5RV which I've used to talk to the other side of the world at only 5 watts. Of course that was one of those rare evenings when everything was perfectly aligned. I hold my faith in the Big Guy closely and spend a lot of time talking with him… May this year be a good one for us all. As a prepper I fear that might not be the case. My biggest fear is global financial situation. I spent 28 years in the Army and found that the first person off the airplane was always Murphy regardless how well the operation was planned.In the global economic situation there appears to be many Murphys… May the Lord watch over yall. Pawpaw in Florida

  23. It was so wonderful to see your names back in my in-box. I am grateful for your thoughts and for what you have shared. We all have these health struggles and losses in life and sometimes it does feel lonely. Who takes the time to ponder the lessons in each difficulty? Not many. I went through several years with my mom's health problems and being the only one to take care of her, it got lonely. It's amazing how uplifting and encouraging it is just to have some one give you an \”Atta Girl!\” Even though the load is not lightened physically, it is lifted emotionally and spiritually. God gives us our marching orders and like honorable soldiers, we continue on in the duty we've been given. Thanks for sharing what you do. We all benefit greatly from your wisdom and insight. Glad to be back \”in touch!\”

  24. It's so good to read your posts again. Your sabbatical in posting is certainly understandable. Our family continues to prep little by little, and your posts are so encouraging. It is a misunderstood lifestyle, and we are going through trials ourselves. Thanks again. God bless you.

  25. As so many have commented, I too can understand the loneliness of this lifestyle and lack of similar minded people. I'm so thankful for the community here. Blessings to you both and thank you for returning!

  26. Fern, this is my third smile in the week! It makes me so happy when I see an update.(I completely understand the aspect of needing to take a break).If it helps at all, my mother is also suffering from a mild form of dementia. She and my father still live on their 90 acres but we are starting to talk about what to do in the not too distant future.

  27. You two certainly had good reasons for taking a blogging sabbatical. It is a huge commitment so we will understand if you need to have your down time too. I do feel like you, and so many who comment, that we are quite alone in our thinking. It won't, however, keep me from continuing my efforts to prepare and stay informed. We benefit greatly from each other's thoughts and words of encouragement. I will be saying a prayer for your mother and the two of you as well. CWfromIowa

  28. I would check often to see if you had posted anything new. How time does fly, I had not realized it had been 3 years either, I love reading your posts and have re-read older ones. I've learned so much from your posts. You two are always held in our prayers.I've learned as time marches on, so does age, tribulations of life and etc. Unfortunately, it seems that our world continues to spiral out of control. At some point, I like you expect it to fall apart and being prepared will be to our benefit. There have been several people/family members, that we have watched go through Alzheimer's. Such a horrible disease for the patient, for their caregivers, family and friends. So sorry you are having to go through this with your Mother. You both are never alone, we are all out here in blog land for you Take care of yourselves and post when you can. As you can see, we all love seeing you back again.

  29. Hi and I hope you guys are having a good day. I know they say that every time God closes a door he opens a window for us.. But sometimes I think he forgets to take the screen out..Will be keeping you all in my prayers.

  30. I had been reading your posts for I guess about 6 months and cannot begin to tell you about that moment of ranting and raving over the fact that the best blog I read is no more!!! Very glad you're back! We here at what I call the ranch are probably more wanna-be homesteaders. We're nearly 70 so other than gardening and canning 300-400 jars of food per year, raising chickens, horses, having a water source and my constant yapping to hubby about needing a heat source and a few goats or rabbits we're surviving with hopes of less interference from the government, like there's even a chance of that! Anyway, good to see your posts and hopefully healthwise both of you will do well. From my perspective health has a lot to do with how well we survive our older age. Thanks.

  31. So happy to see you blogging again. So much has happened to you over the past few years. It is good to share with others who live similar lifestyles. People question why I garden, can, etc. It is so simple to just go to the store. Most do not want to listen to the reasons I give.My mother had Alzheimer's. She was in a nursing home for several years before her death. It is a terrible, terrible disease. I am so sorry that you are having to live with this.Please post when you can. You have so much info to share. Jana

  32. I echo Mary's feelings in the comment above. I surprised myself with how deeply I felt the loss when you stopped. I understood the need to stop and life changes for you. I'm one to cheer people on their own path. But, I felt the loss. I would often come back and read posts just to feel connected. I, too, have no one locally who shares this lifestyle. I kept hoping to find like minded people at the community gardens. So far, no one. And perhaps that is good for I really don't want anyone knocking on my door.I am sorry to hear about your Mom, Fern. My aunt had dementia and was in a facility the last few years of her life. It was heart wrenching when she became nonverbal and could not communicate with us with words. I found it to be a very cruel disease. One coping skill her kids, my cousins, shared that helped them. At the end, they started calling her by her first name rather then Mom. Their mom was gone. It helped them cope with the loss. Regarding your changes –Do you still have your pigs? And your comment about kiefir and Frank's feelings about it had me laughing outloud.Blessings, SJ in Vancouber

  33. Leigh, trials do come, don't they? I'm glad Dan is able to continue doing so much around your place since his hand injury. Things like this help us to appreciate some of the little things in life so much more. Sometimes it's the little things that are much more important in the big scheme of things.Thank you for your input. We do walk to a different drummer in this life and it's good to converse with others that do as well.By the way, I still force Frank to drink kefir everyday. He always says if something ever happened to me he would never drink that stuff again. I just keep telling him it's good for him.Fern

  34. Hi Tewshooz! I was just saying to Frank about an hour ago that I would like to hear from you again…..and there you are. You taught me a lot through your comments before and I hope you will continue to do so. We hope this finds you and yours well.Fern

  35. Annie, anything can be used for bad, and I know there is bad on the internet, but I love the internet. I have contact with like minded people, read some very thought provoking articles, I look up ham radio information and a lot of medical stuff. It's just a new way to communicate. Thank you for the comment, come back often.Frank

  36. I knew it had been awhile but didn't realize it was 3 years! Everything you speak of rings so true. I agree with how important the sense of community is, especially when our individual lifestyle choices seem to take us on a different path than the rest of the world. Our greatest encouragement comes from folks like you, and others we've never met. I didn't realize the extent of your physical trials and challenges. Those always cause re-evaluation, but I'm so happy and thankful that you've hung in there.

  37. I was sad when you gave up blogging….has it really been 3 years? So glad to see you back, even if only occasionally. Life really does have a way of getting in the way of our goals and dreams, doesn't it? Adapt and overcome has become our mantra these days.

  38. I to am thrilled your back posting again! Don't think I ever commented on your blog previously but I live a similar lifestyle and appreciate your an Franks writings. There isn't many folks around me that live this way either or even see the point in it, so the Internet has been a great resource for inspiration and ideas. So happy your back to writing!

  39. Thank you so much for returning to the blog. I have gone back and reread older posts many times. We never met in person but I missed you two like I would have missed friends. Our way of life is emotionally isolated and lonely so when someone takes the time to reveal themselves on a blog if feels like friendship. It is reassuring and enlivening to read your posts, see that we are doing similar things and have similar goals and trials. Welcome back, Dear Friends.Your Iowa Friend Mary.

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