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


Spring on Coal Creek Farm


Salt the Barn Cat had kitties.  She had two white and two black, like little piano keys.  I keep asking them to sing, “Ebony and Ivory”, but they don’t get it.  So, I sing it to them.


Salt helped me plant the day before she gave birth.  She was incredibly helpful and not at all needy.



I’ve planted beets, onion sets, spinach, lettuce, carrots, radish and broccoli.  Oh, how I hope they grow quickly.  I’m a month behind because of the late April snow falls.  I’m taking produce to a farmer’s market this year and I’m a little nervous that I’m going to fail.  The first market is next week.  So far, I have two crops and pork to take.  It’s a small offering, but that’s all I have.  I am learning a lot this year, hopefully I can stumble through and do much better next year.


I can’t write a post without talking about my hair.  I went in for a trim and came out looking like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.  I was a bit shocked and compensated for it by applying and reapplying eye make-up.  Baseball caps are my favorite accessory right now.

It’s spring on Coal Creek Farm.  We have so much to do and so little time to do it.

What are you growing this year?

Run Preacher Run


I am a mental-basket-case type of runner or in my case slow jogging, but from now on we will call it running and then laugh later. In my head I am both the patient and the psychotherapist.  It’s like two crazy people hop in my brain and start playing tennis with my brain.  Sometimes, I am the woman who can’t be beat, I can do anything, GET OUT OF MY WAY!  But, that only happens when I’m yelling at my kids to do their chores, never when I’m running.  Then there’s the other woman in me, the one that needs a lot of attention from myself and *anyone around me that will notice my needs.  And my needs are many.

I need a lot of prep to go run.  I have to make sure my stomach isn’t full and that I’ve had a nice big drink of water.  Then there is the bathroom issue.  Do I have to go again before I leave?  Will I need to go while I’m running?  I’ll just try to go one more time.  It’s pretty amazing that I ever get out the door.  But wait, there’s more.

I’m a spitter.

I know, it’s gross, but I can’t help it.  I ALWAYS have too much saliva in my mouth when I’m exercising.  It was really annoying at the gym.  I so badly wanted to spit on all the tiny women around me that were bouncing around smiling…..but I didn’t.  I just kept my water bottle close at hand.

I don’t take water with me when I run, so I HAVE to spit.  I’ve discovered that the longer I run the drier my mouth gets and I HATE having dry mouth.  Too much saliva, too little, I can’t seem to get it right.  So, I chew gum, but when I don’t have gum I go to the stash of cough drops.  I’ve learned that one cough drop will last one mile, so I have to carry a dad-gum cough drop in my hand and unwrap it while I’m running! Because no pockets.  Why didn’t I have pockets?  And the whole time I’m saying, “Don’t stop, keep running, don’t look at the road signs or you’ll figure out how much you’ve run, keep going, get the wrapper off, but don’t throw it on the ground….where should I put the wrapper?  Don’t stop running!  The wrapper?  I can’t possibly just carry it, it’s so heavy.  And itchy.  Is it itchy?  I think it is.  Could I shove it in my shoe?  Don’t STOP!  Okay, into my waistband, it should stay there.  Yes!  Okay, do I feel it there?  Is it bothering me?  No, it’s okay.  KEEP RUNNING!”  Yeah, and that’s just a 10 second conversation, this goes on for a good 30-45 minutes.

And my nose runs.

Like all the freaking time.  Today I forgot to bring tissues, because of the no pockets, so I kept wiping my nose on my shirt.  I know, I am a vision of elegance when I run.  The spitting, nose wiping woman.  I have issues.



Today, I needed to watch some dance videos to get me pumped up to run.  Because, much of the time when I’m running and listening to fun dance music,  I just WANT TO DANCE!  Why the running?  Why?!

Since I run out in the middle of nowhere I will occasionally start to sing and flail my arms around, but then the needy voice starts to talk, “Don’t do that!  You’ll get tired!  You have to run!  Keep RUNNING you idiot, don’t STOP!!!”  somebody needs to tell that needy voice to shove it.  Do you all remember Phoebe?  You know, Phoebe?  Oh, come on….you remember….

The Phoebe and Rachel Run

The real April in me wants to run like Phoebe.  But the April that’s running just needs to finish the run without dying.

Did I mention I can’t run alone?

Yeah, it’s like I just can’t do it.  The times I’ve gone out to run by myself have been awful.  I totally cave.  I get all mental and talk myself out of running too far or too long.  It’s nuts.  So, I need accountability.  That’s why I begged Clay and Seth to start this program with me.

Today they were both gone.


I asked Preacher if he wanted to go running with me.  He’s always up for an adventure.


Too bad I failed at providing any fun for him.  Yes, that’s him yawning beside me.  He’s not the best running mate for my fragile self-esteem.


I spent the next two miles looking at his butt.  And when he would stop to sniff something I would think, “Maybe I should stop. Should I stop?  I could stop.  I could smell something.  Oh no, he’s peeing.  Maybe I need to pee….should I pee?  Do I need to pee?  I peed before I left, twice.  I’m okay.  KEEP RUNNING!”


*people with a healthy state of mind should avoid running with me

So, you think you want animals?

So you think you want animals?

Okay, but first do this:

1. Take a pair of scissors and scrape down all your window screens.  Then stick a stuffed animal to the screen located right behind your couch.  Open the window, start watching a movie.  Have a friend come scream MEOOOOW!  at the back of your head through the entire movie.

2. Use a wire brush and rub it very hard back and forth on one corner of all your upholstered furniture.  Then try to fix it.  Use the wire brush again on the opposite corners.  Then try to fix it.  Use the wire brush again on all the corners.  Then try to decide if you want to have the wire brush surgically altered so it can never use its wire bristles again.  Come to the conclusion, you’ll wait until the wire brush dies, then you’ll get new furniture.  The wire brush….it never dies.

3. Your going to need some cat urine.  Put it in a spray bottle and give it to a friend.  Leave the house and have the friend play “Spray and Seek.”  If you find it within a week, you win.  Make sure the friend sprays your cook top, just because, so obvious.

4. Cut the toe out of the left shoe of all your husband’s expensive dress shoes.  Go buy new shoes, put them away on a high shelf.  Discover this is where your friend sprayed the cat urine.  You win!

5. You will need an ice pick.  Now hack away at any wooden furniture leg up to about four inches making very sharp, jagged  thorns coming out of the legs.  Then sit in those chairs when you decide to wear nylons.

6. Buy some really cute pet toys.  Put them in a basket where they will remain on display and never be touched.

7. Buy an American Girl Doll, some collectible stuffed animals, a few expensive sets of Lego’s and about ten Barbie dolls.  Put them all in the food processor.  Pulse three times.  Sprinkle the mixture around the house.

8. Everyday when you come home, dump the kitchen trash in a long trail to the living room.  Then clean it up.

9. You’re going to need to use that ice pick again to make three very deep, long scrapes under the door handle on the back door.

10. Get a recording of a dog barking.  Have it go off every night after you go to sleep.

11. Have your neighbor call you after you figure out a fan blocks out the barking sound to tell you the barking alarm is going off and could you please make it stop.

12 Have someone sleep under your bed and fart all night long.  Occasionally, they’ll need to push up the bed to startle you awake.  If they could make the sound of flapping their big ears every 15 minutes and jingle a tag on a collar that would be even better.  Oh, and that person is very itchy….like all the time, because… fleas.

13. Spend a day putting mulch around your flower beds then take a rake and fling all that mulch into the yard.

14. Poop on the porch.  Step in it.  Clean it up.  Poop on the porch again.

15. Plant some flowers.  As soon at they bloom, cut all the flowers off and strip off a few leaves.

16. Poop in the neighbor’s yard while your neighbor watches.  Answer your cell phone as your neighbor calls to tell you, you pooped in their yard.  If you can lay eggs, then…same thing.

17. Plant a young tree then break it in half.

18, Have someone periodically spray you with mud as you’re walking to your car.  It’s better if they can do this when your running late.

19. Break your fence.  Repair it.  Wait a day.  Break it again.  Repeat every other day for about a month.

20. Set aside your life’s savings, mark it Feed Bill.

21. Find a large pile of fresh manure.  Walk in it, then walk through your house.

22. Use that same pile of manure to plop around your yard.  Now go pick it up and put it in a the same pile.  Repeat this EVERY SINGLE DAY.

23. Find some fleas.  Dump them in your house.  Start itching.

24. Spend a lot of time bathing everything and everyone, because… fleas.

25. Try the non-chemical approach to battling fleas.  This will include a trip to the health food store where you need to spend at least 30 minutes looking at oils.

26. Treat everything with the oil.  Find out moments later that at least two of your family members are severely allergic to the oil.

27.  Go to the feed store and buy stuff called Wound Kote, Wazine, Bag Balm, Fly Traps and some weird spray that costs $35 that you swear is just water.

28. You also need to constantly be searching for a cheap sources for hog panels, hogs, and hog food.  This can go on for weeks.

29. Just pretend you never find these cheap sources and go buy everything at the highest price possible.  Like, totally give up on a bargain.

30. Find everything at a great price the day after you’ve purchased all your supplies.

31. You will now learn how to inject an animal with the proper vaccinations.  Good luck.

32. Have a friend look at you with big pathetic eyes and say, “I’m really sick.”  Take that friend to the doctor.  Pay the doctor lots of money to tell you, “I think your friend is just fine, but here’s a bottle of vitamins just in case.”

33. Try not to kill your friend as his tongue wags in the wind while hanging his head out the window all the way home.

34. Become overly emotional because you’re really pissed you threw away that money but, you’re just so relieved that he’s okay.  Cry all the way home while scratching your friends’ back and beeping him on the nose.

35. Realize the relationship you have with all your “friends” is completely one-sided.  They will never scratch your back.

Still want animals?  If this is the bucolic life you are dreaming of, then you better get to building fences!


Wait, so you DON’T want animals?   Because you think kids are better?  Okay, read this first.