Farewell Nancy Mae

I know she can hear me…

Her eyes closed, pressed into drug induced coma.  The air from the oxygen clashing with the rattling rasp coming from her throat.         The death rattle.  I recognize it.

So much I want to say but as I go to speak my words catch and my eyes well and the words cannot tumble out without the crashing of tears inhibiting my sentiments.

So I stay silent.

She taught me to be a woman.  A good woman.

A good wife, calming and agreeable.  No matter what grandpa says, even if it is terribly obvious that she knows that bit of information, she looks grateful and sweet and nods.  Everything he says is fascinating.  Ever caring, every meal made with love, every thing taken care of for him.  The looks they share.  A love affair of seventy-something years.  To be a wife like that.

A good mother, adoring and loving.  Her children make up the fiber of her essence and she would have done-or did do- anything to help them.  Across the miles or next door, her love for them never failed.

A good grandmother, ever supportive and beloved.  Beloved.  Cookies in the cookie jar and hot coffee at the ready.  Even if we were six years old.  Always there for us.  Always cheering us on.  Like we were the most important people in the world.  Grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great grandmother.  She has lived a life of loving.  I think she waited until my second granddaughter, Ayla Mae, was born a few months ago, on their 70th wedding anniversary.

Every piece in me she filled, that of mother, grandmother, friend.

There was room in her house for anyone who needed a place to stay.  Always ready with a handout or a smile.  Her generosity extended endlessly.

She taught me to sew, to crochet, to cook eggs.  Every Tuesday for years as an adult I would pick her up and we would go to IHOP or a new restaurant (usually IHOP though, she loved the pancakes) and then shopping.  We talked about anything and everything.

She grew up on a farm.  She married a dashing cowboy at the age of sixteen.  Grandpa.  She was a waitress for many years because, in her words, she had nice legs.  Oh my goodness, I will miss that woman.

I know she can hear me.

Goodbye Grandma.

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Grandma and Grandpa used to take me and my cousin, Helen on many fun adventures.

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My first crocheted blanket that Grandma taught me to make.
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My grandparents with their great, great granddaughters. So much to be thankful for. A life well lived.

Nancy Mae Horner

May 26, 1932-February 18, 2009

Mama’s Makeover; Unfrumped (part 2)

Twenty pieces.  But, as is most cases in homesteading, we can make do.  I bought ten new pieces on the cheap at the mall because there are some great sales going on because everyone is still broke after Christmas.  I had  four more of the pieces.  And I will for sure be picking up some wrap around espadrilles for spring.

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My husband said that if he hadn’t seen me working on this page he would have thought it was a stock photo!  Sweet man…

Lesson 1: Don’t be afraid of color.  A pair of maroon jeans may seem like it won’t match anything but you will be surprised.

These two looks are comprised of the jean jacket, blouse, jeans, and ballet flats.  Then a comfy, silky v-neck, and long cardigan.

Lesson #2: Don’t be afraid of florals.  Florals are really versatile because of how many colors they contain to match.

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Lesson #3: Think outside the jean box.  Jeans are miserably uncomfortable on me.  I am 5’10” and they just don’t make comfy ones for tall girls.  These are super stretchy and soft and feel great against my skin.

These two looks have the blue jeans, the off shoulder sweater (we noticed that tag on the sweater later.  This is real life, folks.), and flip flops (that the dog ate after the shoot) and then the other floral blouse with jeans and heels.

Lesson #4- Get you a “hot damn” dress.  There is a flattering style out there for everyone.  This one is stretchy and super comfortable.  It could be dressed up with a faux fur jacket and heels or perfect with ballet flats and a jean jacket.

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I love that feminine florals are making their way back from the time of Laura Ashley and original Waverly.

Lesson #5- The jean jacket is still king….I mean, queen!  It goes with everything, goes everywhere, lasts forever, keeps the chill off, keeps the cool on.

My daughter, Emily, is a great photographer.  I am thankful that she trekked all the way out here (an hour and a half from her home) to make her mama look fabulous.  This particular shot made me realize that yoga and veganism look pretty damn good on me and I am not sure why I cover myself with fifteen layers of clothes.

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You know, it didn’t take me but two minutes to throw some gel into my wet hair or to put on some cruelty-free makeup.  I don’t use foundation or powder, just some eye makeup and a slick of “lips” as Maryjane refers to lipstick.

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My work isn’t glamorous, I teach herbalism and make tinctures.  I feed chickens and write my blog in my pajamas.  I don’t want to get new clothes dirty.  I have a big, muddy dog.  But these clothes wash up just the same as my others.  I felt myself standing a little taller in soft jeans then I would in sweats.  A little lipstick makes all the difference in how old my smile looks.  I got lots of sweet messages about how I am beautiful on the inside.  It is amazing how we approach the world and our day when we look and mirror and see how beautiful we are on the outside too.

We were looking for frumpy pictures of me on my husband’s phone.  When he sent them to me he titled them, “Beautiful”.  He is a keeper for sure.  But for me, I think I can take on the world and achieve my goals a little better with some cute soft jeans and pink lipstick.

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The Gushing Grammie and Mini-Farmgirl

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We have the great honor of babysitting our granddaughter, Maryjane, five days a week during the day.  Many of you know our sweet Maryjane in person and many of you know her through my writings.  Some of you were there when she was born, peeking through the computer screen at our newborn.  She has stellar parents who work hard and go to school so we lucked out to be able to watch her.  It is one of the joys of homesteading and making our own schedule.  We live with less, but we have time.

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This little girl has the most adventurous spirit.  She brings out the fun in us too.  I have found myself pretending to feed my “horse” while we are driving and picking our imaginary horse carrots from the front seat.  She wants to play music.  Any platform at all from umbrella stands at restaurants to real stages will find her atop them singing.  She dances suddenly and smiles unabashedly.  Then throws a mighty temper when she doesn’t get her way.

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She loves animals and is a compassionate little girl, brushing the hair from your face and kissing you if you are sad.  She notices everything in her little world.  She is a great gift to this life and I am so very thankful for her.  She makes this farm all the better.

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The moment she entered the world I had the oddest sensation that I knew her.  Like we had been sisters or friends running through woods together in a past life.  I knew her soul instantly.  Perhaps I just knew her because she came from my daughter.  I do not know.  All I know is that this is the greatest job that Doug and I have had yet.  And when the others have children we are getting a van that reads “Grammie and Papa’s Sittin’ Service” and will drive around town to pick them all up and bring them back to the farm!