Home  •  Forum  •  Blogs  •  E-Mail  •  Support Categories
MyCopper Categories Finance Travel Real Estate Games Autos Entertainment
Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

Internet in my apartment!
For those of you who read my blog, I am back online! And in an apartment since mid-June! OMG! Running water, a private toilet (that I don't have to clean every time I use it), a galley kitchen which allows me to bake a whole chicken AND potatoes, squash or what have you in a full size oven & stove top with four burners. Even though it is electric, I cannot complain but did have to learn how to cook with electric rather than gas. This kitchen even has a DISHWASHER! I am in heaven or at least the Taj Mahal! The only drawback is it is in the city of New Bedford and not the best neighborhood. The building has 114 apartments, mostly single people but some married or partnered couples. The living room & eating area are combined, the measurements are 12' X 30' and looks out onto the courtyard. I really lucked out, many apartments overlook two busy streets or the parking lot. The courtyard is very quiet with trees and some flowering shrubs growing in it. The difference between a street or courtyard apartment is dramatic when it comes to noise. I am on the second level, which is actually on the main entrance floor, so taking BB the dog outside does not involve the elevator.

The building is called the Car Barn, it was built to house the trolley cars that once ran the streets of New Bedford. My apartment has a very large pillar supporting the ceiling (probably an I-beam covered with cement) and the ceilings are still the original shape for trolley cars (concave roughly covered with probably plaster). This gives the apartment a southwestern motif. After moving all my possessions out of one storage area (10x10', mostly my furniture, clothing and valued items), I moved the camper mattresses out of the camper and spent the first night in the apartment on June 24, a week after signing the lease.

One of the first things I did (after unpacking, washing and putting my kitchen away) was hang my sister Velorice's watercolor painting of a Canada Goose. I dug out my framed photographs from college and Vermont and hung them. I set up a lovely glass top end table and set the lamp my mother gave me, a scallop-shaped clear glass lamp filled with beautiful shells (my mom collected shells during her winters in Florida). This lamp had not seen the light of day for many years and was so happy to light up my sister's watercolor! I found the framed ink drawing my classmate Marianne drew for me of Merlin and hung him where he can watch all that goes on inside my apartment.

I unpacked all my skulls and bones, a deer with eight point rack, a cow skull, coyote, fox, goat and hung them over the large window in the living room. My conservation agent friend was cleaning out her office and I selected some posters, l hung them on the walls. I found all my old mirrors, they went well in the eating area (a table found by the side of the road by my ex-friend Ellen serves mostly as my office) and unpacked my mantle clock (a gift from my mom in the 1980's) and wound it. It chimes on the hour and half-hour, one of my great delights.

Unfortunately, I have lost my two steamer trunks (one form the mid-1800's, the other from early 1900) to termites, they came through the floor of the garage storage area and ate many papers stored in those trunks. Fortunately, I had all my winter clothes stored in SpaceSaver bags, so weren't invaded by the little bugs. I am still trying to empty out that garage storage space. I have sold my Old Town Pathfinder canoe, a 16' river canoe, my gas range but still have my gas dryer in the storage unit along with a lot of boxes that need to be re-packed and sorted. I am using my camper for storage. Between the two storage spaces (camper and garage storage), I am paying $150.00 a month.

At this time, I have many unfinished projects to get done over the warmer months. I did buy a replacement steamer trunk while on a trip to Vermont in mid-September when I went to Sheena's wedding (I met and knew her and her family when I lived in Vermont). I stayed next door to the house I lived in for nine years while I lived up in that green state. That was the first trip I had taken since my eventful trip out west in the summer of 2017.

There is more to write but not today. Thanks for reading!
On the farm in Kingston, Ma
I have been here in Kingston for almost a week now and my hip is starting to give me some pain. I know it was all the walking I have been doing between the fields, barns and where I am staying. So now, I will drive around in my car. I can't take the risk of having to take pain killers if I can't take the pain.

It is really a different space here, mostly a gravel pit, big trucks bringing in different materials of different sorts. Cement, rocks, stumps (and there are many stumps after the damaging storms in early March), plus they are burying some kind of sludge. The area where the camp is set up is only dirt and wood chips. There is some crushed cement on parts of the driveways, but it is mostly dirt. It is very windy here with three large wind turbines that are turning all the time. I have found them much less intrusive than some claim. The garden where I have been working is about 300 feet from one of the turbines and I hear it sing in the wind as it makes power. I find the sound to be a lot like the wind through the trees and not so intrusive, almost hypnotizing. They do make some strange sounds when they change direction, but not more noise than the trains coming and going. The transit station is about a half a mile from here. The thought of all the power these turbines are making is staggering. The Red-Tailed Hawks have adapted to the blades and sometimes play around them. I have seen many birds navigate around the tall structures.

The farm is a poor example of the understanding of the word. Most of the planted areas consist of very poor soil. The farm manager is doing the best he can. The big seller here is micro-greens and there is a heated greenhouse for growing them in. Several times a week, the greens are cut and sold to restaurants. There are a lot of veggies in the ground, but they are doing very poorly due to the soil conditions. The owner of the farm (and the "pit") doesn't want to buy the right amendments for the soil, but she expects the farm to produce $$$. I have been told she is "bat-shit crazy" and I may have a deep feeling they are right. She offered me the manager's job, I declined. I now see how hard Jim works as manager, no help, bad soil and just too much on his plate. As she is not paying me (at this time), I am taking advantage of the free washer and wonderful outdoor drying conditions. I hope to be all caught up on washing by the end of tomorrow.

I have signed the lease on an apartment at the Car Barn in New Bedford.. It is smaller than I had hoped, but it has all the necessary things...kitchen with stove (ELECTRIC!!! I shall burn a lot of things, since I am accustomed to gas), sink, fridge and (are you ready for this) a dishwasher! There is one storage closet in the hall. The bedroom is not as large as I would like and has one closet for hanging clothes. The bathroom is tiled in the shower and sheet goods on the floor. The living room and bathroom have indoor-outdoor carpet in black and grey, kind of boring and doesn't match the wall color. Pretty much what you would expect from a low-income housing situation. It is a way from the entry door, I am hoping BB won't pee on the way out!

I plan on starting to move this weekend with help from Bonnie. We can use our two cars, I have the Volvo station wagon & she has a Dodge Durango with a lot of room when the back seats are folded down. When I have found some strong arms, I will rent a van and we will take all out of Titilist Storage first, then Summer Street second. I hope to keep my camper so I can go out to the country when it isn't too hot or humid to get out of the city. I am nor have ever been a city gal, but the lure of running water, space to move and a toilet is just too much to resist. Heat is paid for but I have to pay te electric, that includes the AC. But at least I have AC! I still have to get start an electric account signed into my name.

Time to sign off for today. Sunshine and wind have dried my clothes and made them soft. I need to bring them, fold and put them away. It is so beautiful today, I should be outside, not inside.

Thanks for reading...
A return to the blog!!!
I am checking out a new situation that may work for me...or not. I do not have my 2017 journal with me as I write today, so at this time, I will not continue that saga...except to say A did finally pay me back the $$$ of mine she used during the trip out west and back. Our friendship has been strained and is still tenuous.

I am still struggling with Social Security issues and am waiting for a hearing...filed my appeal in January.

I moved in November from the awful situation in Wareham and have been happy with my new situation. Of course, a toilet is still an issue, I have to wait till after 8 am to go into the house. Sometimes, this is difficult! I have been volunteering at the Acushnet pollinator garden, flame weeding the paths and vacant flower beds. We sorely need volunteers. Maybe something will happen with the women's prison system next week. We shall see...

Over the winter, I felt lousy, no energy, no ambition...in January, a cyst on my back (been there since 2010) became infected or maybe had been infected all fall and I saw a surgeon. He cut it open and removed all the detritus gunk from it. He was quick, professional and very good!  I left the office with a very large, seeping hole in my back. It is between my shoulder blades and totally inaccessible, so for the next six weeks, my friend Syd was kind enough to change the bandage every day. She was putting Manuka honey into the hole every bandage change. A week after the lancing, I saw the surgeon again. He was pleasantly surprised to discover no infection and sent me home. I saw him a total of 4 times and eight weeks after the cyst was lanced, he dismissed me.

The end of April, I found an infected black-legged (deer) tick on the inside of my leg, right under my knee. I went on Doxycycline for 21 days. On May 6, I discovered another infected tick bite on the inside of my lower arm. After consulting with my doctor, I continued the Doxycycline for the prescribed time. When I see my doctor in July, I will request a Lyme disease test. I hadn't felt very good since I finished taking the tick bite meds...my stomach aches every time I eat.

This situation I am checking out may be a good thing for me, I am not sure just yet. It would be working and living on a farm. Housing is gratuitous in this situation should I accept. The Car Barn apartments called me a week ago tuesday and said they have an apartment for me...in ten days! So, it is true! When it rains, it pours. Meanwhile, all my friends tell me I shall go mad living in the city of New Bedford. A friend told me someone torched a truck right across the street from the Car Barn apartment, the heat from the burning truck melted the siding on the house the truck burned in front of.

I packed me & BB the dog up and we lit out for Kingston, MA, south of Boston some and pretty busy place. The farm is just starting up, this is the first year for some new planting beds. Seems there are some problems with the "soil" which is composed mostly from composted wood chips and bio char. I weeded for 3.5 hours today and there are a lot of weeds that have germinated from the "composted" wood chips! I found some dodder, a parasitic plant, in the bed. The farm manager was pretty blase about what to do with the dodder I had in my hand, saying..."Throw it over the bank, there are plenty of weeds here already". I was pretty surprised at this response, since dodder is pretty invasive and very hard to eradicate. I m not sure if I will take this position since I feel the owner would like a new manager but I am not in a position to manage a farm. I would loose my disability and health insurance. But the camper that I could live in has such a nice space! 5X larger than my tiny camper, it has a screened & windowed sun porch, a washer, a fenced yard, deck and porch. RUNNING HOT AND COLD WATER AND A TOILET THAT FLUSHES!! I don't know how I can refuse!

Did I mention I got hives from the sun? Yes I did! That was a week after I finished up the Doxy. Couldn't believe it!!!

Other news, my lovely Toshiba custom laptop was trashed my SmartTrade (?) the extended warranty company because the back-lit keyboard "couldn't be fixed" and since I sent the laptop in twice for the same problem within one year, they had the option to evoke the "lemon law" clause...and no more laptop. I bought another just recently but have no internet connection where I live in Rochester.

I have to order a carburetor rebuild kit now, so I shall say bye bye...

Things I may have forgotten
I may have forgotten some things in the order they happened. So, please bear with me as I just add them to the trip info.

Ten days after Angel escaped and was hit on the highway in Norman. OK, I removed her stitches. She was super during the process, laying on her back with her legs spread so I could cut the stitches. I removed the stitches in two steps, the edges of the cut first and the middle of the cut a few days later. A sat on the bed close to Angel's head and offered support. My ability to safely remove Angel's stitches saved A probably $300.00. The fact that I discovered the cut in the first place probably saved Angel's life. A, of course, made little of my abilities in the healing department.

One morning I took a shower and washed my hair (which is below shoulder length and always kept in two braids). When we left the motel room, my hair was still wet. I don't comb or brush my hair until it is completely dry, so I brought my comb and brush for later braiding.  A was driving that morning. I sat next to her in the front seat and after my hair dried, I brushed and braided my hair. I set the comb and brush on the dashboard. The brush is bright green. 

We stopped for a dog walk in a park. I went off with BB the dog, A took Angel for the normal short stroll, when I returned to the car with BB the dog, A was using my hairbrush on Angel! 

When I commented that she was using my hairbrush, she said it was the dog brush! I will say the dog brush (which was mine since A didn't bring any grooming tools for her dog) was similar to my personal brush, however the dog brush had two sides for grooming and was black, not green. One more time A didn't pay attention to her surroundings....or what she was doing!

Oregon into Washington
I left off as we headed north towards Olympia, WA. We left OR, but I can't actually recall where we stayed. Seems maybe some pass or something like that. We were sneaking the dogs in and out of rooms to avoid the $10. - $25.00 cleaning fee for each dog. We were tight on money since A's money wasn't coming in as she stated. I was overdrawn in my checking account by this time. There was little cash on hand for food or gas. 

We got stuck in traffic outside of Portland, OR for several hours, even tough we drove the bypass highway around the city. It was a beautiful day and we reached Olympia after dark (again). We had reservations at a Super8 close to campus, but the motel didn't seem to have our reservations. I sat out in the car while A got the situation straightened out. Seems the motel had put us up on the third floor and there was no elevator. Bookings.com screwed up yet again. As our custom (since we had gotten a couple of really crappy rooms), I checked the room out before we took the dogs in and unloaded our car. The first impression I had of this place was there was no light at the entrance down the steps to the door to the motel. The interior hall floor, right inside the entrance door, was covered with some kind of sticky stuff in a puddle that was pretty hard to avoid. The carpet leading down to the room was stained and very dirty. There was a toilet plunger outside one room door. When I went into the room, the odor was pretty bad, an odor that reminded me of pesticides. I turned on the AC, an old wall unit, it hummed loudly and put out a small stream of tepid air. But at least the windows would open.  opened them to allow the outside cooler air into the hot room. The fridge was OK, if soiled. 

I went out to the car, we brought the dogs into the room. Both dogs were very interested in the smells on everything. This was the first time the dogs had acted like this, sniffing their way around the room. I wondered if someone had been killed in the room and became aware that motels don't change the bedspreads between customers. 

Once again, unloading the car was a challenge. After all was in the room, I went scouting for the ice machine. We did keep one cooler in the car all the time and ice needed to be replenished daily. There was only one working ice machine in this area and it was a hike to the machine. I collected ice for the car cooler and went outside to fill the cooler. 

The motel room was dark and dingy. That is the best I can say about it. Out by the dumpster, there loomed a huge pile of box springs and mattresses. A mountain! I started thinking about the odor in the room, the discarded box springs and mattresses and thought about bedbugs. I was just waiting to awake in the night covered with bites. But morning came and I was unscathed.

We went off to find a park for the dogs. Close to the motel, we discovered a water reclamation project. It had nice paths around a large pond, many different trees growing there. In that part of WA, holly trees bear blue berries instead of red. There were many sparrows there, none were English and I took some good bread loaf ends to feed them. There were stands with doggie poop bags and disposal places for the bags. It was a wonderful find for the dogs. A, however, didn't want to walk with me since I told her that she couldn't take Angel off leash when she was with me. So, A avoided me and let A off the leash anyway. 

After we walked the dogs, we headed to find where A's son Rob & his wife, Rebecca live. Their house is on a hill, overlooking part of Puget Sound. It is a lovely place, a lot of glass in the kitchen, dining and living areas. Almost like being outside! The yard was outstanding, seems Rebecca had moved tons of overgrown soil & brambles to create her place of peace. There was a play house for their grand-daughter, Ava, who is just five years old. She is a very interesting child, having been brought up by her grandparents and her mother. I think there was a great-grandmother who had since died. Anyway, Rebecca took us on a walk through a temperate rain forest close to her house. It was something surreal to walk in. The trees were covered with green mosses and it was cool and in some places, dark. We came to a place by the river and sat on the bench. Rebecca told us that Great Blue Herons had a rockery across the river in the old-growth forest. As we sat and listened, we could hear the ruckus from the young herons as their parents approached the rockery with food. We watched the adult birds flying around the tops of the trees, landing on branches to feed their young. It was a spectacular sight. And noisy! How could juvenile birds make such a noise!!!??

Later that afternoon, we went to dinner. We left our dogs at Rob & Rebecca's house, their three labs secured in the bedroom, a good gate at the end of the hall and our dogs in the living room. A was paying for dinner for four adults tonight and she chose a fairly upscale restaurant in Olympia. She just needs to impress! Once again, A ordered much more food than she could finish. I cleaned my plate, it was very good! After the meal, we walked down to Puget Sound and the docks. It was quite interesting to see how large Puget Sound is. It travels inland for many miles on many routes. A was tired and Rob went for his truck and picked us up at the curbside. We headed back to Rob & Rebecca's,  took the dogs for a walk and back to the motel with the dogs. I had left the AC on and put out a Air Wick air freshener to help with the smell in the room. 

I found another exit from the motel that would help us keep the dogs secret and we started using that exit rather than the unlit exit.  The trash piled up at the unlit exit showed the lack of maintenance at this motel. This other exit was easier to get in and out of since it had a ramp and cars couldn't park right up to the door, blocking ease of entrance. 

 One afternoon, Rob took us to the military base close to Olympia (or maybe in Olympia?) Since Rob worked for the government and the university, he had passes to gain entrance to both places. Rob had put his dogs in the back of the truck (with a cab cover) and we headed to a place to hike. There was a pond there and his labs chased a stick into the pond, all three hanging on to the stick, swimming for shore. There were places for helicopter training and a tower with a ladder to the top. Ava climbed the ladder, Rob right behind her. They reached the top and climbed down again. It was touching to see how protective Rob is with his wife's granddaughter. Rob and Rebecca had been together for many years and Rob had helped Rebecca raise her own daughter (mother of Ava). Ava stayed with Rob & Rebecca over night often, sometimes for the weekend. Rebecca told me Rob had been in the birthing room when Ava was born and cut her umbilical cord. 

A had a hard time keeping up with us, so Rob cut the hike short. Ava couldn't understand why A couldn't keep up, but did say something about fat people can't walk as fast as thin people, Rob corrected her...but she was right. A was grossly out of shape, overweight and couldn't walk more than 15 feet without breaking into a sweat. And the climate was so lovely! Temps were in the 70's & low 80's and the humidity was non-existent. Nothing like Memphis, TN.  

During our visit to Rob & Rebecca's, Rebecca took the opportunity to speak with A about her entire life-style. I was outside in the yard with Ava, rob and the dogs, but did hear some of the conversation. I believe Rebecca raked A over the coals about borrowing money, taking advantage of friends (me), endangering the lives of passengers in her vehicle (Rebecca told me A had almost killed her while driving badly), and that she needed to straighten out her thinking about those who she wanted to keep close to her in her life.

Rebecca did tell me that A told her she had just come into $4,000.00 in school wages, etc. When we left Rob & Rebecca's house that evening, A went to the bank and paid me $150.00 cash to make up for all the ready cash I had spent. At least I had money to spend when we went to Trader Joe's the next day. Beforehand, I had been buying all the food at markets. When we went to Trader Joe's, I took my own cart and bought only my own food. A did the same. I was guessing that Rebecca's talk with A was making some impact. 

The last day we were at Rob & Rebecca's, we washed clothes in their washing machine. Before I put my clothes in the washer, I took them outside and shook my pockets, clothes outdoors. I had to tell A to do the same! Since she kept her dirty clothes in the car, they could be carrying little critters that would come out on the floor as she unloaded them into the washer. I kept my dirty clothes in a double plastic bag inside my backpack. She kept her dirty clothes in one of her tote bags, no security to keep any of the roaches out of the clothing. After she shook her clothes outside, she actually put the dirty clothes on the kitchen counter! I suggested it might not be such a good idea to put dirty clothing on the same surface where food was prepared. She has no common sense at all !! Once again, A washed all her clothes together, darks & whites...and overloaded the washer, using too much soap. Someone needs to show this woman how to sort her laundry and use less soap!!! Rebecca & I cleaned up the mess in the washer while A watched. 

I fashioned a clothes line outside and hung my clothes out in the sun to dry. A used the dryer. By the end of the good drying time outside, I did have to put some of the heavier clothes into the dryer, but not many and not for long. I took the time while clothes were drying to reorganize the car. Rob put ice into the cooler for us, he had some ice blocks in his freezer. I filled our traveling water jugs with water from Rob's well. At least I didn't have to buy drinking water for a few days. I washed the car windows...and A couldn't understand why I was doing this. I aired out the bedding that the dogs had in the back seat, A couldn't understand why. 

Our clean laundry and dogs packed up into the car, we headed to the motel for one last night in the room from hell. I packed my clean clothes into my suitcase, took out enough clothes for two days. We were heading for the Cascades in the morning. 

Again, I faced packing up the car. By the time I finish, I am in a fit to be tied up! After I had all into the car except for the two chairs we never used, A decided she could leave one of them behind. I was silently cheering! 

BTW, she never used the Cribbage board she packed, nor did she look at the files she had in the file box packed behind the passenger seat. She used her laptop twice. I don't think she wore the 40 tee shirts,four blazers or six pairs of slacks she brought. I, however, wore almost everything I brought at least once. 

Before we headed out for our day, we took the dogs for a walk at the water reclamation park. I headed down the path with BB. A headed through a path into the woods. BB and I walked for about 20+ minutes, then headed back to the car. I saw A with Angel by the car...A was wiping Angel with a towel. Seems A let Angel off leash and Angel decided to take a swim in the pond. The reclamation pond. The pond covered with duck weed and probably contained sewage. And A used the water Rob gave us (for drinking) to clean Angel with. I was incensed! Angel really stunk badly, she was wet with nasty water and now she was going into the back seat! The odor permeated the interior of the car. A has little sense of smell, so she was oblivious.

As we traveled east, we came to a river. I said we needed to rinse Angel off in the water. A and I had a "discussion" about this...she was against the idea. My nose told me Angel needed a dip, so I pulled off at a place where we could walk the river's edge. Angel was less than cooperative and wouldn't go into the water. I picked her up and threw her as far as I could...she got wet enough to get rid of some of the duck weed that remained in her fur. We toweled Angel off and put a clean towel over the (now soiled) cover on the car seat and piled into the car which had an odor but not as bad as before Angel's dip.

We headed east on a secondary highway that Rob had suggested. We would travel only 250 miles that day, but we were going through the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and would see Mt. Rainier close up.  As we ascended the foothills, the climate changed from summer into spring. There were Lupines blooming along the highway. We saw glacier ice hiding in the shadows. Mt. Rainier rose up to greet us, covered with glacial ice, moving down towards the bottom. 

I stopped frequently (I was driving) and took photos. A wasn't interested in getting out of the car. I think she had done too much walking while we visited. She asked me to take some pix with her iPhone and I did. 

When we finished crossing the Cascades, we stayed in a small town motel for the night. Sneaking the dogs in and out, we avoided paying the cleaning fee. I feel strongly the cleaning fee is overinflated and unrealistic. Since BB the dog doesn't shed, had wonderful indoor manners and his own bed to sleep in, he doesn't cost anything to keep overnight. Angel is a larger dog, but we cover the bed (first thing, before we bring her into the room) with a large sheet to protect the bedding from any of her hair or dirt she might shed. BTW, Angel is a great dog. Her owner needs some training.

I was stunned to see all the apple orchards and (possibly) almond groves living in the desert on the east side of the Cascades. Orchards spread as far as you could see. All irrigated, since the green of the orchards were a strong contrast to the brown of the brown grass & sand.

We headed east out of WA and into Idaho.

More later...