Thursday, August 23, 2018

Packrat under the kitchen sink!


The mouse trap under the kitchen sink had caught a mouse. But when the Mountain Man opened the cabinet door and peered underneath the sink, he said: "Not a mouse. We caught a pack rat."

"No," I replied. "You're joking."

He motioned for me to peek. Yes indeed. A pack rat about half the size of our cats looked at me with annoyance. 
Here's the pack rat we caught underneath our kitchen sink. I moved to the dishwashing liquid to the countertop. No need to accidentally grab a pack rat when I'm washing dishes.

Then he pulled the trap with him as he escaped into the bowels of the camper, where we couldn't reach him. Eventually, we caught him in a live trap. I snapped his photo as evidence of yet another critter that's invaded our tiny home-camper.

Was finding a pack rat under our kitchen sink more alarming than finding a snake curled up on my pillow? No, it actually wasn't. The snake-on-the-pillow incident was more than a year ago. I've moved on. 

Since then, we've been invaded by frogs, mice, yellow jackets, tiny spiders, stink bugs and flies. Lots of flies. 

I'm a tough Mountain Woman now, and I'm less flappable than I was when I first moved to wild Eastern Oregon nearly two years ago. When a dozen tiny spiders descended from the shower ceiling while I was washing my hair, I squished spiders with one hand while I shampooed my hair with the other. 

The other night when yet another frog had hopped out of the living room vent and started making his way toward me, I calmly caught him and released him outside.

Last night we were listening to a Maisy Dobbs mystery audiobook, when the quiet of the night was interrupted by the insistent whinny of the horses. 

"What would make the horses spook like that?" I asked the Mountain Man.

"Maybe a cougar."

I armed myself with my dragon walking stick and a flashlight. The Mountain Man grabbed his gun. We stepped outside into the black night and walked toward the fenceline where we thought we'd heard the horses. But the horses weren't there. They'd likely galloped up the hill. 

We peered into the night. But we didn't see any movement. No cougar jumped out at us. We headed back toward the house. I was in the lead. And I was surprisingly not afraid. 

I wanted to check whether either the horses or a cougar were just behind our house. So I walked quickly, shining the flashlight through the tall grass and sagebrush. But I didn't see anything.

The Mountain Man noticed my fearlessness: "Wow. You're not afraid."

I turned toward him and replied: "I'm not the same woman who moved here two years ago. I've had a snake on my pillow and a pack rat under the kitchen sink."

He nodded.

We walked back to the house and I smiled. I am braver than I was two years ago. But I'm also grateful we didn't run into a cougar in the blackness of night.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Savor the sunrises and sunsets

Savor the sunrises and sunsets, for these small, simple moments are the essence of our lives.

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View from our sunset walk in wild Eastern Oregon

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

How to Overcome Hard Stuff: Keep Paddling

One of my first dragon boat races with the Mighty Women.

Nine years ago, I was a sad woman who was approaching 50 and feeling worn out and used up. I wondered whether I’d ever be happy again. I didn’t dare dream of leading an adventurous, joyful life.

Six years ago, when I was unemployed and broke, I became a Mighty Woman paddling a dragon boat with bold, gutsy women who are unafraid to challenge themselves physically. They welcomed me onto their dragon boat and encouraged me to keep paddling. Becoming a Mighty Woman changed my attitude, my body and the trajectory of my life.

Today, I’m a Mighty Mountain Woman living in a 323-square-foot tiny home-camper with the Mountain Man and two ferel cats in wild Eastern Oregon. Ten years ago, I never dreamed this would be my life. How could I have dreamed up a life this unconventional? This weird, wild and wonderful?

Has this transformation been an easy one? Definitely not! Overcoming life’s obstacles requires persistence, resilience and boldness to keep paddling forward, even when you can’t see a clear path through the obstacles blocking your path toward your goal.

If you're like any other human being, you'll encounter challenges, difficulties and setbacks your entire life. It's best to not freak out about the hard times. Accept the challenges--and then learn how to overcome them. 

Here's my advice to overcoming life's hard stuff: Don’t give up. Keep moving forward. Keep looking for ways through the debris that’s blocking your path. If the first way doesn't work, try another way. So keep paddling. You’ll eventually make it to a calm pool where you can breathe again.

Mighty Women: Paddles up! Take it away!

The Mighty Women paddling in lane one of a dragon boat race.