UNIVERSALIST (AKA: Moden Nomad)


Saturday, August 11, 2012 – HOLICONG, PA

Vagabonds. Nomads. Nouns ascribed to us by close friends. Billy. Jeanne. Jennifer  …. and there’s truth to it.

Since returning from Cedar Key in April … and bedding our beloved dog Bucks to the here-after at the end of May … our life has become a whirlwind of people, places and “phun”.

Nomadic? Not quite – We still have a home of our own.  But the amount of time we’ve been spending here has been shockingly low because we’ve been out “a-visiting” friends and family, and renting our house to boot. Cousin Dee coined a more accurate phrase: We have become Universalist: Surfing along as the Universe delivers what we seek.

That sound’s weird I know – but consider this: Since June, we’ve traveled to California, South to North in a convertible …

The Glassons (John’s Daughter’s family) at the Malamut’s Antique Car Museum

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Joleen, Harald and Laura at the Bowers Museum in Orange County, CA

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..

Beautiful Barb Malamut in Thousand Oaks, (North of LA) CA.

John and Granddaughter Meredith in Ojai, CA

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Dean, Sarah and Ivy Lipoff – at Pt Reyes – north of San Francisco, CA

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.. before spending two weeks in Chicago with family (more stories and photos on this, later). All the while, three different, great families rented our house while we were away. A win-win all around.

Greg Sarchet (cousin Dee husband) Chicago

The only one who complained was Daisy – who was left behind at a neighbors for the month.

Overnight side trip to Terre Haute Indiana to visit Jeff and Suzanne Krieble

How did this happen? When John said he wanted to visit his daughter in CA, I put the house on VRBO (vacation rental by owner) and it soon was rented – which paid for the trip and the things we needed to spruce up the house.  John, who was initially skeptical on the VRBO move now crows: “It’s the new economy: Share what you have, get what you need.”

Once we came home, we were happy to enjoy our house again – get our feet on the ground and dive into some projects.  But, two weeks later, we were off again, joining friend’s Cindy and George at their new “camp” cabin for a weekend. What a surprisingly delightful time! (stories and pics to come.)

Cindy and George Saunders at Tripp Lake, PA

View of the Lake from their newly built Cabin.

And the very next weekend, we ended up at our pals Barb and Pete’s farm, about 7 miles from our house – to help out – take care of her horses, chickens and dogs, as her regular help bailed for a previously scheduled weekend away. As we’d already talked about taking care of her brood for a week at the end of August, when they are off to Michigan and we have a house rental, this was fortuitous trial run.

It would be great to stay close to home while renting our house (we are a little travel weary), but we needed to know if we could manage it all.

Good Morning, Horses – time for feed and muck the stalls!

Milly and Mabel – the donkeys – who were the easiest to care for – Hay!

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.Horses and chickens and dogs – oh my!  But the opportunity was priceless – because Barb was also going to be away in late August – when we had renters coming – and when I suggested we take care of her house and animals during that time (so we wouldn’t have to travel out of Bucks County again so soon), this would be a trial run – could we actually do it?

“Green Acres is the Place for me! “

My Horse Man

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Cleaning Boots after chores

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.Barb had us over to dinner before the weekend, to show us the ropes. I was rather nervous around the horses – I was glad John had horse experience and would be with me.  Barb warned me that her youngest horse, Sully, would be quite forward – walking right into the feed barn when we prepped the food – unless we kept the lower door shut.

Suly wants IN to the feed barn. He can smell the oats!

First day on the job, Sully pushed and kicked the door to get in, his huge head looming, and swinging between the hotwater heater in one corner and the other feed bin on the other – stretching his neck to anything he could reach. That got my feathers up. “No” I yelled in my big dog voice and he backed off for a minute.  Since then, my flutters did not return.

Yo, there, big boy! Back it out

After our Friday night feeding, John noted on Saturday morning: “don’t they get smaller every time?” and they do.  I can see them from the window where I type – grazing in the side paddock.  They are each quite nice: Sully, Bergan and Neerie.  So long as we give them a bit of grain right away, they are quite calm. We even had to fix Neerie’s bandage on her leg, which had slid down, exposing a well scabbed but clearly healing cut, with flies abuzzing around it.  We found some “scat” in a small tub – for scatting flies away from wounds – and boy, did that work like a charm.  Must smell it and see if it works on me –  a dab behind my ears.

Pastoral Pastures

The chickens were easy –

Chickens! Here’s some scratch for ya.

clean and fill the water bowls, scatter some corn, collect the eggs (so tiny). Barb had mentioned they like the grass and garden clippings.  So I threw them a big swath of squash vines I’d excavated from the garden – but they hadn’t touched it by morning.  They did, however, devour the beet leaves.  Good to know.

A garden of bounty – tomatoes, cukes, basil! yum

The dogs are on a schedule – a small bulldog and large hound, who, in particular, is the alarm clock for feeding time – AM and PM.  Woooo, Wa-Woooo he bayed when we arrived at 4 in the afternoon and again at 7:30 this morning. Up! Up! Up!  Everyone wanted to eat.

How’s Daisy doing in all this?  Well, I think a little sibling rivalry is a good thing.  She has been a bit sad since we got back from our 30 day trip – even guests at our house mentioned noticing that.  Then most recently, we noticed she was not jumping up in the jeep or truck or bed with the vigor she used to do. First there was a hesitation, then a yelp when she would try, now a refusal.  VET Time: tested negative for Limes Disease so we are going to x-ray on Monday – hips and back.

About a year ago, when I consulted with a medium, she told me Daisy does not like to have her tail stroked when I go down her back.  I wonder if there is a connection. We shall see. I sure do hope it’s not hip dysphasia or something congenital in one so young. But she seems happier now that she is on an anti-inflammatory. (Monday Update: Sadly, Daisy’s right hip did not fully form – no socket. So her right thigh bone has been banging against the hip and becoming rough and engorged.  Surgery will be necessary 😦   Damn!

I also want to mention how beautiful Barb and Pete’s farm is.  He has trimmed all the trees so it has an English countryside look – especially with the pastures rolling down the hill with trees in the distance – and the fence of cornfields surrounding the property.

Sunset off the porch

We so relaxed on Saturday, I took numerous naps.  The actual taking care of the animals was such a little amount of time – 20 minutes for feeding and cleaning up after the horses, 10 minutes for the dogs and chickens each.  The rest of the time was ours to enjoy a pastoral spot of quiet – while the New Hope Auto Show raged just seven miles away.

view from cocktail porch

It was a world away and we were happy to inhabit it for a spell and look forward to our next gig there.

Country Kitchen

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Gerry on August 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Sweeeeet! Can we come visit you at the farm?

    Reply

  2. Posted by ellen on August 21, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I want to come visit too! I love donkeys!

    Reply

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