8/31/14 Evening (IN overnight)
Well despite the fact that I was about to get all down again and it was hot and sticky in the trailer, I pulled out my paints and did the Michigan painting…and I like it a lot. I am just beginning to get my paint groove back. I had gotten kind of stiff in the last 10 years I think, I used to be much more about the feel of paint and its coming back finally. It was quiet here except for the fast cars on the street and the train whistle and the sirens that went on for some time off in the distance. The crickets are chirping and I hear another train, the sun has just set on the last day in August. I finally feel like I am going to finish my SHLEP when I turned my calendar page to September. 11 more states. I can do this.
I called my dad, he answered in such a chipper voice I wasn’t sure if it was him. He said he has some good and some bad days. A woman is now staying there at night as well so he has round the clock attention if he needs it. He said its not so bad yet. I have no idea how long he has left…I used to say; I don’t know how it feels to loose someone, I’ve never lost any one yet. I know how it feels now, it can not be explained, words are inadequate. I am going to loose my dad, I’ve known that for 2+ years. But I didn’t know what it would be like till I suddenly lost mom. Both parents so close together. The same year I am trying to recover from my failed abusive marriage on this SHLEP. What are the chances of this all happening at the same time?
I gave the mares 2 flakes of hay and what was left in their nets from the trailer. They occasionally nibble at it, preferring the grass. The temp has gone down, I had a burger and corn on the cob. I’m going to go to bed soon…early, so I can get on the road by 8. I decided to add 50 miles to stay on interstates that will avoid Chicago and O’hare Airport. I used to live in that area, the traffic is always awful and it will be the last day of a holiday weekend. I overnight tomorrow near Madison, WI. It will be about 4-5 hours hauling I think. I need fuel, a propane tank, bread, diet coke and oreos.
9/1/14 Showtime Arena, Deerfield, WI (overnight)
The ride to Deerfield, WI with my avoiding Chicago traffic route took 6 hours including a 45 minute stop for them to rest. Not sure if this was worth the extra drive time or not. It sure seemed long and monotonous to me. But my back is fine! Thank you tens pack.
Dreamy has diarrhea, probably from the lush grass in the last pasture. I gave her extra probiotics, I’ve never had this problem before so I am concerned. She also seems kind of punky. Tomorrow’s haul should be about 4-5 hours and I am wondering if I should postpone it a day, 3 haul days in a row may not be the best plan for the horses after all. Hmmm
This overnight is a rodeo grounds stable. They are having a very big barrel racing competition this weekend. The owner told me it was going to rain and the ring was sealed, no way I was going to ride anyway. She is a single mom to a 21 year old son that she raised herself while starting this place. Her husband was cheating on her when she was pregnant. Yuck. I think this is pretty common but it really disgusts me.
I realized that I had left the ceiling fan vent open while hauling. Its cracked to pieces and I was told they were expecting a storm here, so I took a plastic box top up and ducted taped it there. Its not going to hold hauling tomorrow. I will need to find a rv repair place to fix this, it will be a big pain in the butt.
A full rainbow came out after the downpour! They never come out quite as vivid in my photos unfortunately.
I got to talk to my oldest son on the phone for quite a while. It is great to hear his voice, boy I sure do miss him. He is still in school abroad and I guess will finish out his degree there.
And I texted with my other 2 kids too. Texting is convenient but can be pretty annoying when they don’t answer you. And it is not the same as hearing their voice.
Its 7:30 here, but I still feel like EST and want to go to bed already.
9/2/14 Spur of the Moment Ranch, Mountain, WI; state #38.
(rest stop on the way in Shawano, WI to bury mom’s ashes)
I left the WI overnight at 9am. Dreamy’s manure was still loose but a tiny bit better. She was still eating and drinking. I gave her more probiotics in her morning feed and decided it was ok to haul. By 12:30 we were in Shawano. The route was good country roads and beautiful. Just like I remember Wisconsin. Rolling green hills with dairy farms in good repair. Pristine. This is my image of the country when I conjure one up. I passed by Neenah on our way, this is where I was born, altho we never actually lived there and I have never gone back to see it. If you look at the big metal sewer caps in the streets you will see this town’s name. I think they make all the sewer caps for the country, every one I’ve ever seen has Neenah on it. I think they also had a big paper mill here.
As I entered the cemetery, I realized my hay rack was going to take off the entrance arches so I backed up. Dana (the woman there I had been speaking with) appeared in a truck and showed me how to go in another way. I parked the rig by the chapel. She said I could let the horses off if I wanted to. I said thanks but no (I could just picture them tearing up the grass, seriously?). She took me over to my mom’s headstone where a small hole had been dug. I placed mom’s wooden box of ashes in the hole and she covered it with dirt and grass. My grandmother lays next to her. Another stone is on grandma’s other side for my aunt who is still alive. I gave her the papers and check and thanked her. I took a few photos and tried to take in everything around me to remember it. I watered the horses and walked Tommy. I then returned to the grave and said good bye, that I was sorry she suffered, that she had been lonely that I had failed to help her these past few years, that I wasn’t the daughter she deserved, that I hope she is enjoying heaven, that I am sorry, so sorry. And then of course the tears came. The chapel bells were chiming some songs, the sun was bright with big puffy white clouds in the sky. It was very beautiful and peaceful there. Then I dumped the mare’s water buckets and got in the truck. As I was about to pull out, my phone rang (it never rings anymore). It was my dad’s lawyer who needed some info since dad is tweaking his will to avoid probate. I guess Dad is getting ready to die, why is he doing this now? I don’t know what to say, I know I will get thru this with God’s help. But I can’t believe it is really happening. The lawyer was very nice. I told him no, I didn’t live in CA any more and that my middle name is not Ann, it’s Burns. He also wanted my social and my birthdate. He asked if I was going to visit soon and that I should meet with him if I did.
Once on the road it hit me that I am a motherless child. Mom has been gone for 2 months and it has finally hit me. All this time mom’s ashes were with me in the trailer, like she was along for the trip, altho I really believe she was gone the instant she stopped breathing, her body was an empty shell, her spirit went to heaven, her ashes are just ashes.
Wisconsin feels like home to me. We used to summer on Shawano lake with my grandparents when I was little. I remember it as a small lake, but it is 7 miles long to my surprise. The further north I drove, the more beautiful it got. This camp is near a lake with a lot of cottages around it. Everything is clean and well taken care of. The camp is immaculate. I have electric and water hook ups. There are beautiful log cabins to rent. The horses have nice sized sand paddocks. I took Tommy for a short walk along the rail bed trail. There are 2 other couples in my area. Neither are here with horses. One in a huge rv with 4 wheelers and kayaks and an old black lab named Duke, the others are in a cabin. There are 2 other campers in another area with horses and a large group with horses is expected in this weekend.
The owner is very nice and gave me a trail map and magazine about the area. The Chequamegon-Nicolette National Forest is 1.5 million acres. The Nicolette State trail (the rail bed trail) is 89 miles long. There are 2,000 lakes. I found all this out from the magazine, I actually knew nothing about the area when I booked this place. I chose it because it was close to Shawano. It was a lucky choice I think, altho I don’t believe in luck or coincidences any more. Its all God’s plan and it makes me smile thinking that.
September has a lot of personal events: 2 of my children were born (they will turn 19 & 25), Bob’s birthday (66 I think), my anniversary (25 yrs). Technically we are still married, we separated 2 years ago tho. On September 18th I will have been on the road for 1 year. By the end of September I will have completed 45 states, leaving NV, AZ & NM. I am getting excited about the end of this journey, not so much fear about it any more. God will take care of me.
Before I fell asleep I started reading the only other novel I have, Divergent. I don’t know why I had bought it (or the Book Thief either). This one is about a future society that is very bizarre. Its told from the eyes of a 16 year old girl who has just chosen to change her life from predictable & selfless to dangerous, leaving her family behind. Hmmm…
I fell asleep with the windows open and awoke to a pretty cold trailer, the thermostat said 56. I really don’t like sleeping with heat unless its freezing out. I got up and turned on the heat to take the chill out.
Everything is working well on the trailer, I no longer worry about it. My duct tape fix of the ceiling fan even stayed on as I hauled yesterday. Duct tape is a wonderful thing.
Dreamy’s manure looks almost normal this morning. No more lush grazing for her. I think it is because it was a mowed lawn kind of grass. Mowing increases the sugar content I think I remember reading somewhere.
I rode Dreamy today, boots on all 4 feet. I’ve been doing this now all the time even if I am told it is sandy or barefoot trails. I have been sorry I listened to these comments too many times now. She was awesome today. We covered about 10 miles in 2-1/2 hours if my calculations are correct. Some was soft sand, some packed sand, some was pavement (when I took a wrong turn) and some was gravel (ATV trails). I tied her to a tree at a bar when I was looking for the ice cream store I had been told about. I had a beer instead. I am so grateful for Dreamy, she is the most wonderful horse in the world to me. I wouldn’t trade her for all the tea in China as mom used to say.
When I got back I let her eat grass for 45 minutes with WF then put them in their pens. Now they just stare at the grass and won’t eat their hay, ugh. Her manure is still not normal so too bad. Wildflower is a muddy mess again, she must of done her usual temper tantrum while we were away. She runs and calls, then drops and rolls and keeps doing this over and over till we get back. I keep thinking that she will get used to it but maybe not.
The young riding couple rode in and told me about getting attacked by a swarm of bees. One horse had quite a few lumps. I gave them a packet of Dex after they called their vet. I think they left now tho.
I took Tommy for a walk on the roads around here. This area is so cool. All the “camps” have the owner’s names on signs out front. There are some trailers, but mostly cabins and nice houses. They are all private and not on top of each other. There are no junk piles or busted fences any where. The paved roads are in good condition and the logging roads are nice soft sand for the most part. The atv-ers are very considerate and slow down or stop for pedestrians and horses. I really like it here. I wonder if I could tolerate their winters.
I stopped by the owner’s paddocks to take some pictures of their herd. There is one huge dark shire kind of horse they use for pulling a carriage and 2 tiny horses used for driving a cart. There are 4 donkeys and a bunch of cornish hens I think. All in the same paddock. Its a really cute combination.
I don’t really have much to do since I already painted the last painting. Maybe I can start the Wisconsin one tomorrow. And I will ride Wildflower. I have to manicure her feet first, my least favorite chore. She is getting better about it I have to admit, but her hind feet are a challenge still, she keeps kicking, she never actually kicks me, but its like she is threatening to or something. Maybe I’ll pull the hoof stand out and try that again. And the boots just don’t fit right if I don’t keep at it, so just suck it up and do it Burnsie.
I have very spotty AT&T service and Verizon thinks I am out of the country for some stupid reason and won’t give me any data service. The camp supposedly has wi-fi but I can’t pick it up anywhere. So I won’t be able to post on my blog till some future date when I can find wi-fi again. No big deal I guess.
It thunder/lightening/poured most of the night. I fed and cleaned out the corrals early, let the horses graze in camp since their hay looked like solid weeds, and it looked like it was going to be a nice clear day. I got 7 bales of hay delivered by the owners who told me another storm was coming. So I covered all the hay and finished the Wisconsin painting in the trailer. Its a shot of the owner’s 2 little horses (I forget the breed) and their percheron. I like it.
Its now 9:30 and I am surprised by how early it still is. It is pouring rain again. So Wildflower may not get ridden in Wisconsin I guess. The prospect of sitting in the trailer all day finding something to do (without internet, cell or a painting to do) somehow does not bother me here. I do have this strange book (which gave me nightmares last night) or I can just snuggle up to Tommy and nap. Usually this situation would make me anxious or depressed, but I feel very peaceful. I have a very strong enduring sense that God is with me lately.
I pulled out my atlas and studied the LA area. Where will I live? It did not produce anxiety this time. And I am getting familiar with the surrounding area’s town names and where they are. When I lived there (for 14 years!) I had no sense of this, I was way too confused and stayed in my little cocoon of a town most of the time. I thought I was loosing my mind, or I was getting Alzheimer’s. I couldn’t concentrate or finish anything. It was the stress of living with Bill I now know. And I shiver thinking about Tommy still living with him. Its hard to explain what he does to the energy field around him, but it is very real and disturbing. I am not imagining this. I have a strong drive to save Tommy somehow. This is my strongest drive now. It has lately become very clear. My son is very stoic I think, he does not complain much about anything, he is just enduring it. I hope he is strong enough that it doesn’t damage him the way it did me. I know it is bad and is the cause of his failures with college, he keeps trying tho. He is young and resilient, he is 21. I love him so much it hurts.
I’ve gone thru my pictures for my next post, written, eaten a big breakfast, its still drizzling, and its only quarter to 11. My my, time is moving slowly today. I have several drips going on in the trailer but I don’t care anymore, as long as my clothes and bed stay dry. Think I’ll put on rain gear and go try and find the wi-fi signal near her house. Or walk Tommy if it doesn’t start pouring again.
I went to clean up the wet hay and give them some dry hay and met the couple in the enormous RV with the kayaks and 4 wheelers and truck in a trailer behind it. This guy can drive anything I guess. They are from Maryland. They said the weather will clear up after noon but that hail is expected right now. Ugh…back to the trailer.
I read more of the book Divergent while it actually hailed and thundered. Its way too warm to hail, but it is! When it stopped I trimmed WF’s feet & booted all 4 (I used the hoof stand and she was much better, actually perfect this time) and saddled her and had a FANTASTIC 2 hour trot and lope with her, mostly on the rail bed trail, some on another trail but she kept slipping so much that I cut that loop short and went back to the rail bed one. She is super sure footed so it must be very slippery. The rail bed is firmer and small gravel stones, perfect for this rainy weather. We headed towards the ice cream store (I got new directions) and on the way encountered a “terrifying” long bridge. Hmmmm…she crossed much scarier bridges like the high long rail tressle in VA, not sure what the problem was. It was cement and had big puddles on it, a short side rail and crossed a pretty wide stream. I backed her part of the way then chose to get off and lead her. When her knickers are in a bunch (Marci’s words) its best to quit or get off I have found. At the other side an atv was approaching with its headlights on. They stopped and a little girl inside with her baby doll fed her a carrot. This is the best way for WF to get over a scary thing, it feeds you a carrot so it can’t be all bad. We continued to the ice cream store but only found a hardware store. Right there at the road was a stocked fishing pond with a big wood bridge over it and 2 horse statues pulling a cart of timber. WF was a bit put off at first till she spotted the 2 deer behind her. She is so funny. Last week I thought gee, she seems out of shape. Well I was wrong, she is the energizer bunny again. On the way back to camp a storm was brewing and she kept wanting to turn around and go the other way, away from home! It was getting dark and thundering pretty loud. It started pouring just as we got back. I quickly got her untacked and while putting away her saddle, she found the new hay under the tarp. Well, I guess she likes it. That’s a good thing, the last batch was full of weeds.
Poor Tommy has had so much thunder here, he is still so afraid of it and won’t come out of the trailer when its going on. Why are dogs so afraid of thunder I wonder.
Well its going to be hard to prep to leave early in the morning with it raining. Guess I’ll have to do it in the morning. Again I did not unhitch or pull out the awning so its not much to do really, just load the hay and fill the nets and dump the tanks. I guess I’ll go over my route and find a Walmart en route, Liza meets up with me Saturday and I’ll need extra groceries, her special water and wine. And I’m running low on some other stuff, I eat just a few things these day, only what I really like: bacon & eggs w fried toast and jelly, cheeseburgers, salad with avocado and blue cheese dressing, broccoli, pasta & oreos. I drink a lot of diet coke, oj, blue gatorade and cranraspberry juice.
Even with the incredible amount of rain we’ve had here, I had an awesome time in Wisconsin. I want to live here. I know I have said that before, but this time is for real. I’ll go back to CA for a couple years till my kids are more independent then come back to Northern WI where I was born.
Man it is still pouring!
OK, one more thing… I just finished Divergent (I think I started it yesterday?) This is not a coincidence, this book is about facing your worst fears (and overcoming them thru exposure therapy basically), being brave & being selfless (which are the same thing really). It is a bizarre story about a future society, human weaknesses, war… and there is a love story of course (which I find charming but can not relate to at this point in my life). But to me it is about ME. I never thought of my SHLEP as exposure therapy, but it is. I know something about exposure therapy from one of my children’s therapy for OCD/pure obsessions, which is a horrifying disorder and requires heroic bravery to treat. Why did I pick up this book at the store? I knew nothing about it. The author’s first “acknowledgement” is thanking God. And I thank him too.
Being brave is not the absence of fear, but the learned ability to overcome fear. The fear will not kill you altho it feels like it will. It is just a fear, a thought. Thoughts can not kill you. Somehow you learn to control it so that the adrenaline doesn’t control your mind.
What a storm last night! Lightening, thunder and pouring rain. I have so much water in the trailer, it was leaking from the ceiling ac/heat vent and the fan that has the plastic cover duct taped over it. I pulled the heavy wet rugs out and hung them on the corrals to dry a little before I leave. It was a spectacular storm! Tommy stayed cuddled next to me all night, he usually does, and on my other side was Nalla. I pulled down the heavier shades on the windows by the bed so the flashes weren’t too bright. The sun has come up and it is a blue sky with white puffy clouds. I hope it stays that way for my drive today, I don’t like hauling in the rain. I forgot how midwestern storms are, they come on hard and fast but when they are over, its beautiful. Like a temper tantrum and then, oh its over and gone, no pouting about it. In CA during rainy season it will just rain and rain and rain for days on end. I remember my mom visiting one December and it rained every day of the month. But of course, the rest of the year it never rained and in recent years it hasn’t rained at all, they are in a very serious drought.