The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


Vampire Deterrent

My garden is pretty much crap this year.  I planted late and it rained a ton and now I look out there and pretty much want to cry my eyeballs out because I’m a terrible gardener.

Oh, but I did grow some garlic because it took absolutely no effort on my part.  I stuck some in the ground early last fall and wah-la, garlic.

I asked one of my friends if he wanted to take home some garlic and he said, “Uh, I get my garlic from a jar.”  Then he said, “Oh, okay I’ll take half a clove.”  Half a clove?  Who takes half a clove?  And for that I gave him none.  I’ve decided only people that appreciate how hard I worked to grow this garlic deserve to have it and also people that appreciate fresh garlic, because it is NOTHING like garlic in a gall-darn JAR!!!

Also, I need to keep it so I can get rid of all the vampires roaming the soybean field.

The Fish Hatchery vs. Go Carts

My parents were kind enough to invite my family and my sister’s family along to stay in a cabin they rented for the weekend in Branson, Missouri.  Trying to figure out what to do with all the kids without spending a fortune was a bit tricky.  My sister decided we should all go to the fish hatchery.  So off we went.

Guess what we saw at the fish hatchery?  Yep, fish.  Trout to be specific.

Trout, trout, trout and more trout.  Some of the kids were fascinated by the fish.

Others, not so much.

It was fish, it was free, what should we expect?  So, what to do next?

It was a hot humid day which is the perfect weather for…..

riding go carts! The go carts were not free!

Before we left for this little weekend trip, Clay and I budgeted an amount that we would spend and then we decided to spend it on family fun.  So, we skipped going to a show one night and saved the money for some fast fun!

When I asked my kids what they liked best about the trip, the three oldest said, “GO CARTS!”  My kids had a great time racing their dad, uncle and cousins.

The best part was, we had the track all to ourselves!

The kids lined up from oldest to youngest.

The little tiny-tater-tot was too teeny-tiny to go by his baby self, so mommy took him.

Have I ever told you that my itsy-bitsy baby is going to kindergarten this fall and all his classmates are a head shorter than him?  What’s with that?  Cuz, my baby is the squishiest little button baby ever!  Right as I pulled out to race I did what any good mother would do and yelled at the two eight year olds, “SEE YA SUCKERS!!!!”

And we raced round and round and round!

The competition was stiff. The main goal was to run your cousin, aunt, uncle, dad or mom off the track so they got stuck and couldn’t race.  The smack talk continued.  Some were determined to win, some were determined to destroy, some were just hot and sweaty and glad they were still alive.

And when they were done, I asked, “Who wants to go back to the Fish Hatchery?”

I got the same response as when I ask, “Who wants to help clean the house?” …..they pretended not to hear me.



This is Clay’s hand holding Ike’s hand.  Notice the deep pink lines in Clay’s knuckles.  His hands are always warm and dry and rough, I love that.  His hands look old, they have always looked old.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love a man with rough hands.  If a man shakes my hand and it’s all soft and moist I immediately think he must not work with his hands and for some reason that concerns me.  However, one thing does bother me about Clay’s hands and that’s his fingernails…he bites them.  Chews them clean off to the skin.  He’s tried to break the habit many times over the years and does a good job until he starts to stress about something.   I’ll catch him looking at a proposal on his computer and gnawing away at his fingers.  I’ll say, “Let me see your fingers.”  and he’ll look at me sheepishly while he curls his fingers into his palm.  Sometimes, I can figure out that something is bothering him by the condition of his nails before he tells me that he’s worried or stressed or bothered.

When I was young I was told to always keep my hands looking well groomed because when you go to a job interview they will look at your hands.  To me, I thought if my hands looked too nice then the boss would think that I never did anything but file my nails.

When I was in design school I accidentally spilled black permanent ink all over my hands while working on a project. I didn’t have time to get it all off before I had to go to work.  I was a waitress in an upscale retirement home’s restaurant.  The manager saw my hands and made me go to the salon to remove the ink with nail polish remover before any of the clients noticed it.

I stopped painting my fingernails when I was in college too, because the polish would rub off on the velum paper I used to draw sketches.  If I even slightly brushed my nail on it the polish would leave a mark that I couldn’t erase and my professor would take marks off for neatness.  A few months ago, I painted my nails for the first time in probably a year or two and it totally freaked out my family and I felt like my fingers were giant neon signs flashing LOOK AT ME!  My daughter said, “Mom, it just seems wrong that your nails are painted.”

I won’t be painting my fingernails again for a very long time.


I have big knuckles, full of deep lines and my hands are always dry.  My hands look a lot like my mother’s hands except she doesn’t have dry skin.  I like to keep my nails short, but I don’t bite them.  If my nails are too long they just get dirt under them from the garden and it’s painful to wear garden gloves and pull weeds if I have long nails.


It seems Clay and I have given our hands to our daughter.  She told me a few days ago that she doesn’t like her hands.  I felt bad, because hands say so much about a person and it’s not like she can trade them in for a better pair.  Her hands are bigger than mine now.  She can’t wear slip on bracelets and she rarely wears jewelry.  She is constantly searching for lotion.  Her hands sometimes hurt because they’re so dry.  She has chewed her nails since the first day of kindergarten.  It was and always has been her silent way of coping with new or uncomfortable situations.  She’s started painting her nails in hopes that it will make her stop chewing them.  I even offered to pay her fifty bucks if she could stop biting them and keep them filed for a month.  That was about five months ago.  I haven’t had to pay her, but it would be fifty dollars well spent if she can ever beat the habit.  I love her hands because they fit her perfectly, but I’d be happy to see some nails on that girl.

What are some tricks to beat the habit?  I’d like for the girl to like her hands.