Archives for posts with tag: rural

Yeah, that’s right – I have mixed emotions about hunting season.  I understand that it’s a way to control the overpopulation of deer in our area.  I understand that venison is a great way to supplement the family’s food supply.  It’s also a way to connect with your ancestors who were forced to hunt for survival, and a way to give thanks for all of the blessings we have in this life.

But that’s not why most people do it.  They make killing into a sport.

That’s what bothers me more than the random gunshots in the middle of the day, the fact that they leave their cars and trucks haphazardly on the side of the road, or that some hang dead deer from trees in their front yard.  (For anyone who isn’t a hunter, you have to hang the deer for several days.  I would just prefer if they did it in their garage or barn.)  I simply can’t get behind the idea that killing something should be held to a fun pastime.

‘But it’s only a deer’, right?  Yeah, it’s only a horse, a dolphin, a whale, a bald eagle.  Their only animals, so who cares?  Who cares about causing pain with the intention of sport?  Who cares about hunting something and leaving everything but the head?  Who cares about wasting a life for a trophy?

I’m not saying don’t hunt – that is useless and wrong.  Hunt if you like.  Do it safely, responsibly.  Don’t leave the body in the woods.  Don’t be cruel.  Don’t be heartless.  Do it for the environment.  Do it for food.  Do it because your ancestors did.  But remember that you are taking a life – you are making a choice, and it should be treated with the proper respect it deserves.

So far, I have written general posts about rural life: chickens, horses, snow, cooking, and so on.  These are things I enjoy – they make me happy, and I figure there needs to be more happiness in my life.  Really, anyone’s life – yours included.  It goes by too quickly to be unhappy.  Whatever you love to do, get out there and do it NOW.  Frankie’s wisdom of the day! 

I was raised in small town America – horses, tractors, bonfires, and beat-up pickup trucks litter my childhood memories.  I love the quiet, open air; the forest with it’s musky smell of underbrush, the beautiful nothingness of an empty field, or long summer evenings with family and friends reminiscing about days and years not yet forgotten.  This is my home in every sense of the word. 

Here’s the kicker: I left. 

When I graduated from high school, I hightailed it out of here.  I went to college in a completely different state, encapsulating the small-town girl, big city stereotype.  In one swift move, I left my tiny comfort zone and experienced life – life, the beautiful and terrifying eternity we share with billions of other humans in an infinitely complicated web that lasts forever, and ends in the blink of an eye.  I lived in Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and finally ended up back here in Upstate New York.  Cities, suburbs, towns, and villages each have their own characteristic uniqueness that have molded me into the person I am today.  No, it’s more than that – these places have allowed me to find, accept, and embrace who I really am.  It took a while, but I finally made it.  There’s only one problem.

I forgot what the people are like.

I really did.  I went out into the world and forgot how afraid they are of what they don’t understand.   I left a shy girl looking to see the world, and I returned as something that scares people.  Gay. 

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Yeah, like this Gay.

Now, I know you don’t ‘turn’ gay.  I was born this way, and it took a long time for me to find myself (a short time comparatively in the grand scope of things), and let me tell you – the feeling of being yourself, and actually liking who you are, is indescribably amazing.  For me, it was an internal transformation.  I never really feel the need to scream “I’M GAY” from the rooftops.  I am comfortable being who I am, and that positively impacts my life.  

The people who live in rural America are apparently mystified by me.  They see my jeans and t-shirt as commonplace while I had long hair, most likely thinking me a variation of a tomboy.  However, I cut my long hair off for donation (as always was the plan), favoring a short haircut again.  This is not the first time I have cut my hair, and I didn’t think it was a huge deal.  (Okay, so it was a big deal to me, but my hair was like twelve inches long and SUPER HEAVY.  It feels nice to not have to rake it out every morning!) Cutting my hair was the only change I have made in the last week, and my goodness, you would think I turned purple and grew a third arm.

I get weird looks going into the women’s bathroom at school.  Today, two girls snickered and got quiet as I entered one of the stalls, leaving with awkward laughs and whispers.  Alone in the bathroom, I wondered what was so funny.  

Now, I have cut my hair short several times while living in urban areas, and I didn’t really get any backlash for it.  Sure, friends were stunned, and always said it looked nice.  Occasionally, while working retail a customer would call me ‘Sir’, quickly apologizing politely when they realized I was a woman.  I never minded, and I smiled, saying it was okay.  I was never treated negatively for having short hair, nor was I made to feel like I was wrong, or bad.  

It is the most ridiculous thing that this is happening.  I get significantly more looks in the past few days than I ever did while being out and living abroad.  It’s just hair!  What is everyone’s problem?  I dress exactly the same as I did before.  I eat the same things.  I use the same bathrooms (literally. Like every day).  It took me a bit of pondering to figure out what the problem was.  Do you want to know?

I look gay now.  With long hair, I was just a tomboy.  Now, with short hair, I’m a dyke.  I’m something that people just don’t understand – they fear.  And, just as you would think, they hate what they don’t understand. 

I’m not that scary.  I promise.  I have stuffed animals all over my bedroom.   Small dogs, cats, chickens, and horses are my furry family.  I play the guitar and like video games.  My favorite music frequently includes annoying synth dance music, rock, and metal.  I drive an old car.  I get a kick out of math humor and science facts.  I’ve never shot a gun, I’m afraid of using big knives in the kitchen, and I have never punched anyone.  When I am angry, many times I cry as a stress relief.  

Yeah, I’m pretty much the devil. 

Through all this, I don’t really hate them – those people who would rather live in the darkness of ignorance rather than the light of acceptance.  In reality, I pity them.  They judge me on how I look instead of who I really am.  Instead of talking to me, they laugh at me.  Instead of stepping out of their small comfort zone, they belittle.  It must be terrible to be afraid of someone because of how they look.  It makes me wonder how small their world really must be.  

I really want to show them how beautiful our differences are.  I will not allow fear to dictate my life.  I am happy being me.  Why is that scary?  

If you are reading this, I know that there are scary things in the world.  Big spiders are pretty freaky.  Heights and deep water are my phobias.  Nuclear weapons is a terrifying reality.  Genocide is unthinkable.  War, poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, and Cancer are unavoidably horrifying to think about.  There are a lot of things to be afraid of in the world.  A big lesbian who sleeps surrounded by cats and small dogs really shouldn’t be one of them.  

PRIDE

Love is Love!

 

 

Yani, left and Fred, right bathing in the afternoon autumn sun! We have been busy, a few setbacks here and there, but all in all out spirits are good. 🙂 I am beginning to post again, which is also good. 🙂 Knitting projects galore. I will share soon!

Have a lovely day everyone!!

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I’ve lives in several different states across the U.S.; Pennsylvania, Florida, and Southern California.  Everywhere I went, I got one big response.  It went something like this: “Oh, terrible weather there!”  Sometimes, there were more colorful metaphors involved with the comment, but essentially it was always the same.  Oh, the terrible weather!  Why would anyone ever live there? 

It always perplexes me that people judge Upstate/western New York without even visiting.  They have no idea what it’s really like.  They always think, “SNOW!” and they immediately treat it with disdain.  The thing is that half the world has snow.  It’s part of the whole climate aspect of the planet.  

It makes me sad that most people don’t even realize that there’s a state attached to New York City, but there’s so many other amazing things through the year that make rural New York amazing!  So, I thought I’d share some of them with all of you! First up: Fall.  

Fall is in full swing.  I live in Western New York, near Buffalo, Rochester, and the Finger Lakes.  The first and most obvious are the trees! There’s forests everywhere, and the trees become a bonfire of colors that really make the season pop!  Reds, yellows, and oranges like roads, hills, crop fields, and especially the Great Lakes.  There’s even foliage reports on the news.  

Secondly, Fall is the time when events and festivals are still in full swing.  For example, there’s Oktoberfest, and New York comes alive with Wine and Beer, giving local businesses a chance to really show their stuff!  There’s also The Fringe Festival in Rochester, New York, and it highlights the performing artists of the area.  There’s more than you think to Upstate New York! 

Fall is the time for family fun!  Hay rides, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and trick -or- treat events are a constant in our area.  Bits of the harvest is coming in, and you can find the farmer’s bounty at farm stands and farmer’s markets all along the roads.  Delicious!  

That brings me to a topic that needs only one word. Apples. New York is the apple state, after all.  They are amazingly wonderful!  New York Apple Cider is the tastiest drink!  Try hot mulled cider on a chilly evening!  You won’t regret it!

My favorite is the cooler temperatures – but not too cold yet.  I love to take the dogs for a walk, sweatshirt and a brightly colored scarf keeping me warm.  I live in an isolated area, and so it’s very quiet through the day, and it makes it perfect for afternoon strolls.  The dogs love to smell and sniff everything!  I love spending time with my furry family. 

These are only a few of the reasons why Autumn in New York is fantastic.  If you visit our lovely countryside, consider Fall for the time of year! 

What do you love about the season?

 

 

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Today we are painting the downstairs bathroom! After, oh, ten years or so it needs a good change! 🙂

Our home improvements sometimes take a while because of budgets and limited manpower. We already put in the new vanity and sink, and now is a pretty green for the walls! We are going a more natural route, with plans for a natural stone tiled shower… At some point! I wanted to break away from the typical blue bathroom for a soothing, unique feeling.

I guess it is apparent by now that it was my job to choose the color scheme.

We have been talking about the shower for a while, planning and such. We had to decide what color would tie into the natural theme of the bathroom without throwing the same color everywhere.

We have just started painting, so here is a picture or two! More to come when it is finished!

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Look! We got our first egg! We are very excited and I wanted to share it with you! We love our girls!

In Western New York (and upstate as well) you always know when it is summer.  Every time you get in the car you’re bound to pass a farm stand or two with summer harvest bounty.  Zucchini, Summer Squash, and endless tomatoes fill the my meals every day.  Here and there you can still find some cherries or a few late berries.  Vegetables from a farm stand are different than the store.  They are warm, fresh, and simply holding them gives you a little thrill.  Every dish tastes better with fresh, locally grown food.  But it’s more than that.  You support local growers.  For example, peaches from down the road instead of across the country. (I look at the stickers on the fruit.)  But this food brings us together.  It brings family and friends around the table, campfire, bonfire, and so on.  It helps us make memories that last a lifetime.

My family has been making a conscious effort to shop at local businesses as much as possible.  We feel that it not only helps support our neighbors and community, but it helps rural poverty.  Here, and many other places like it, are so poor that they barely hang on.  The difference is that nobody talks about it.  Rather, they didn’t before recently. The falling economy has gotten people talking more about their hardships. It can be little things, like the price of milk, or bigger things, like the cost of heating oil.  I know many people who heat their homes with electric heaters over the winter because they can’t afford heating oil.  I guess that if I can help support them, I will. 

Besides, I have been on a journey to get healthy over the last year or two.  I have given up soda, junk food, and fast food.  I have been working vegetables into my diet (because I was one of those kids who hated them.) Shopping at the farm stands makes me eat better, which makes me want to cook more.  And then I buy more veggies.  It’s a fantastic circle!  We all could be a little more healthy, right?

I guess I just want everybody to be happy.  Myself included.  It isn’t always easy, but every little bit helps.  Lately that little bit is Zucchini! 🙂 

Thank you for reading.  I hope you have a wonderful morning/afternoon/evening!

My family has horses.  We used to have many more, but right now there are three: Two mares and a stallion.  They are permanent installments in our daily lives.  Many people don’t understand how much care it takes to keep horses.  They see rich people on television board their horses (which is very expensive!).  This has it’s advantages, but it also portrays that keeping horses is a walk in the park; all reward with no work.  In the real world, the horses are your entire life – the work has to be done every day without fail. 

That made it hard for me growing up because it was painstakingly obvious that I couldn’t do the things other kids did.  I have never been on a vacation where the whole family could attend.  We came close once time.  I was about twelve.  The down side was that my father had to stay at the house at care for the animals.  It was wonderful, but I always wondered about my peers who went to myrtle beach every year, or camping, or so on.  The other side of it is that I love my home, I love my family, and I love my life.  It is the only place I *almost* fit in.  The horses, the work, it all made me who I am.

Every year we pack 600 bales of hay in the barns.  This feeds the horses the entire year.  Sometimes we even have a couple left over when we start the new batch.  In the spring we supplement the hay with fresh cut grass.  The horses love it!  They would eat it like candy if we let them.  (Don’t, btw.  It makes them sick. 😛 )

This year had been wet.  It rained nearly every day for over a month.  Not constantly, but enough so the ground couldn’t dry.  For the hay farmers, that meant that they cut hay very, very late.  Normally we would have the whole batch in by now, or close to it.  However, we are just getting started.  About 1/4 of the way done. 

Horse hay is difficult  because it cannot be moldy.  It has to be cut and dried in the fields, then fluffed and baled.  If it is rained on, it is trashed.  Then it is just cow hay.  Cows can eat musty hay, but it will make horses very, very sick.  That’s why the farmers waited so long to cut their fields.  The crop would be trashed otherwise.  

It takes a lot of work, but in the end it’s worth it. 🙂  

One of my family members is a drug addict.  For over ten years, this family member was addicted to pain medication.  The doctors gave her more and more pills for her pain, never thinking or caring about the fact that she was completely dependent on them.  The fault lies with both the addict and the patient, in my opinion anyway.

Last year, my family member overdosed one night, and was hospitalized.  They went into rehab, but checked themselves out after a few days.  It was about six months before this family member went back to rehab, on her own dime.  We were proud of them, and we offered all the support that was needed. I was cautiously hopeful.  All I want is for everyone, family, friends, and so on, to be happy and healthy.  Isn’t that what we all want?

My family gave this family member money when they needed it.  It started out occasionally – a little here for gas, or to help with the phone bill.  We understood and wanted success through this journey in their life, so my family helped when needed.

Then things started to get bad.  This family member had problems at work, and more problems with their ex-spouse.  Money got tighter when there was only one income in that house instead of two.  This family member began to borrow more and more money.  My family obliged.

And they are still obliging.  Despite all the history, and despite the fact that the family is becoming divided over this.  The money borrowing began once or twice a month.  It escalated to every other week, then every week, and now it is every day.  Every day the phone rings and I wish they wouldn’t answer it.  I wish that they would let it go to voice mail.  It isn’t the money that bothers me (though it really pisses me off!).  It is the fact that my family member never wants to be with us.  They never want to have coffee, or come over for dinner, or host a movie night at their house, and so on.  They never even call to see how we are doing.  That didn’t bother me as much long ago, when they simply ignored us all year.  But now, it feels like to them our only worth is a bank account.

It hurts that my family gives them money when we know they are using again.  They gave away signs here and there, accidentally sending us text messages that were meant to other people, or tremors, mood swings, weight gain/loss, etc.  They ask for more and more money, and my family gives it to them.

It hurts that my family is going through this again.  My Father was an alcoholic for many, many years.  I know what it is like to see someone deteriorate.  The difference is that my Father wanted to be around us.  He played with me when I was a child, took care of me, cooked for my mother and I. We went to the zoo every year.  Birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, weekends, phone calls every day: all I have is memories of how much my father loved me.  That means more to me than his vice.  It means more than all the bad times.

I don’t know where I am going with this.  I am so angry, so hurt, and so frustrated with this whole situation. I wish this family member cared about what they were doing.  I know they will never make it up to my family.  They will never even say thank you sincerely.  I am afraid they will never pay my family back all the money they have manipulated out of us.  And that is what they do – manipulate.

Not all addicts are bad.  I said that earlier when referencing my father.  If you know someone who is an addict, please get them help!  But remember that you need to care for yourself too.  They are sick, and need help, but not everyone wants help.  

I wish my family member wanted help.  I am trying to get the family together and seek counseling.  It is hard because not everyone wants to.  I feel like the whole situation is too bad.  Everyone is so angry, so frustrated, and so tired of it all.  I don’t want my family to be angry anymore.  I don’t want them to be so stressed, because it is bad for your health.  I don’t have much family to begin with.

I don’t know if anyone had read this, but if you have, thank you for listening.  We all need someone to talk to.  Stay cool out there.