Scattered Clouds, 72°F

800-942 Fairview-Franklin Road

These last few weeks have been busy, and hot. We have been feeding three Jersey calves. At leat one of them has nearly died. We have been cleaning out the granary too. It has been overfilled and pretty much useless to us in any capacity other than storeage. I have been retrieving firewood frm the mountains when I can, and bringing it back, splitting it, and piling it up. Missus has been working on sorting the stuff from the granary, and painting in the house. We bth did the girl’s bedroom, and moved rooms around so everyone is sleeping and eating somewhere new. It has been so much that today I took the day to rest, because I coud not push through the grog an yuck of the day. I hope to be up for it all tomorrow. There is so much to do to prepare for winter still. I want to be more of a help than I was today!

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Clear Sky, 67°F

800-942 Fairview-Franklin Road

Laying in bed, thinking about tomorrow’s tree chopping expedition, and trying out this journal writing software.

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Happy Birthday Mother

Mom would have called today her birthday, even though it was celebrated on the 11th of July for most of her life.  After years of believing it was the 11th, she got a copy of her birth certificate, which stated it was on the 7th.  Unhappy with her mother for getting it wrong for so long, she started celebrating it on the 7th in spite of her mother saying “it was the 11th.  I ought to know, I was there.”  In the end, mom decided her birthday just went from the 7th till the 11th.  Well, happy first day of your birthday mom.  I love you! 

I still find it so difficult to look at your pictures.  You were supposed to be here another 20 years or so.  You would be turning 64 now.  Instead…  Instead I just hurt inside.  Instead, I have a hole in my heart.  Your father lived till he was 90.  His funeral was two years before yours.  At his, you sat and you cried on the very spot you would lay only two years later.  Momma, these thoughts!  They kill me inside.  I have such sorrows at that cemetery in Duschene, Utah.  At your father’s funeral I spoke to Nancy, and remembered him, though I was only five when he died, and it was shortly after that that I remember being at that place.  And how I still think the kids and grandkids at you father’s funeral should have thrown back shots of whiskey atop his coffin, to honor him as the man he was, rather than the sunshine we tell eachother at funerals. 

When I woke up the morning of April 9th, everything was normal.  Four agonizing days later, your favorite drawing was a stark reminder of you.  Your mother took off to Denver without me, and without asking if I wanted to go.  Add it to a long list of things for which I’ll never forgive her.  You, always the peace maker, would tell me to.  You’d lie and say you had, then drop it, and try to forget it.  You’d mean it well enough to be convincing.  I’ll never know the truth.  I’ll only know that you were always a better person than she, even though you worried deeper, and more that you were not.  

Happy Birthday mom.  Unhappy Birthday mom.  I know you suffered so much.  I am relieved that you are relieved of your pains.  I’d be so selfish to want you back to continue your suffering just for me.  I know you’d do it in a minute if you could.  I know you would tell me to tell your grand babies every single day that you love them.  So, I am so selfish.  I wish so much you could just tell them yourself!  

Dammit Mom!  

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Just a Journal Entry

Tonight I just want to make a journal entry, rather than a blog post on one of the blogs.  I have started writing Dispatches From the Farm as letters to and old friend, which has helped in getting a post out now and then because it makes me feel like I have been writing something to someone.  These Journal entries here are more like letters written to myself, and that is easy enough for me.  Dispatches started out in a mindset of writing something akin to a Laura Engles story or a Tales From Lake Woebegone.  And while I’d like to give such personalities, I don’t want to cross lines of privacy with the people around me.  So, I keep it mostly about me, and on the farm.

Another failed aspect of Dispatches and all of my blogs, really, has been images.  It turned out to be a technical issue that had no resolution till I happened on a setting in the application I use on my Android that was preventing me from posting photos.  I adjusted the resolution down, and next thing you know…

…our lives on the farm are in living color!  And that is pretty exciting!

Our second child, Dylan, announced on Independence Day that he is moving out and moving in with his girlfriend into a house they will be renting in town for $1,000 a month (which is really high for town, and for a place in need of as much work as they say this place is).  Then, after two years of perfect payments, the owner will finance the house to them as a sale.  It will cost enough of their income that they have to rent a room or two out to friends.  Of course we have advised against it, but this is advice given to the guy who spends more than half his monthly income on a car he bought on loan without telling us he was doing it.  And they had already put the money on the house by the time they told us.  

They are running tight on money, and testing friendships in ways they never have before.  They are much braver than I am.  

So, with just us and the girls at home after this week, there will be some room changes going on.  No charge expected on how much we talk to Dylan, because he never says boo to us anyhow.  We have not existed for him since he was what, six?  The girls will move into the room the boys had, after freshening it up, and the rooms the girls and we are in will be used as a suite, which is great because they have to walk through our room to get to theirs anyhow.  We will put our bedroom into their current room, then make our current bedroom into a sitting room, complete with hide-a-bed to convert it into a guest room when required.  I’ll put in a sink and coffee station, and maybe we will round up a viewscreen for movies and such.  The seating will make for a nice place for bedtime stories!  And there is a balcony with full sliding glass for a great view, and a cozy hangout to watch snowfall on winter evenings.  

Katrina has worked out a deal with a friend of Jordan’s to buy a truck off her.  It is an ’82 Ford F150. Jordan thinks the engine is a 351, making it the little brother to the engine in my truck.  That will give us two trucks to get firewood with, or hay, or haul a trailer with, or whatever.  It should make a good animal getter too when we find something to buy.  It has two fuel tanks, making it potentially better for those long trips.  My folks had a van with the same engine and fueltank setup when I was learning to drive.  It was good.  Katrina is excited that it is four wheel drive and has an automatic transmission. It has a hitch reliever,  so we will have to set her up with a hitch ball.  That won’t be a problem!   It may be a lot better for getting firewood with than my truck stands to be.  And, she can paint the her logo on it.  Mine can have the farm logo on it without guilt!  

Well, it is bedtime. Our three year old is in our bed tonight.  She has been sleeping on our bedroom floor, which was progress…

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Thoughts About Mom

I am still so damned unhappy with mom dying when she did.  Sure, I am ready to do life without her.  She did a good job, and raised me right. What I am not ready for is days without being able to have a chat with mom when I want to hear her say, “I love you,” in the way only she ever did.  I am not ready to go months without being able to chat with her about what is going on, and what we have planned next, like I used to do.  I am not ready to go on without hearing her say how beautiful my children are, so I could know how happy they make her.  I am not ready to live without sharing joy with her.  And that’s what I miss above all.  Sharing joy with mom, the way we did for so many years. 

I miss her smile, her laugh, her willingness to pack away all the negative, and look at the bright side, just to make others smile, even when she had lost all hope already.  I miss what she gave of herself.  I miss what she was.  I miss her simple beauty.  I miss her complexity.  I miss her voice, and I miss her silence…  her deliberate silence.  Her silence now was not intended.  Her silence right now is never ending.  And in her words, it sucks. 

I try to tell myself she was just being her usual self and not being a burden on anyone for her end of life.  Truth is, she would be damned well a burden on any and all, just to be with her grandkids, her kids, her family.  The truth is, her death kills.  Her burden bears heavy.  The cold box where she decays does not need her, does not deserve her, but the bastard wants everyone, and takes all.  I don’t resent it for wanting me.  I resent it for taking her too soon. 

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

To the ethereal memories of the one I have called Mom.  Happy Mother’s Day.  This is the first one without you, and you have been gone less than one month.  If I could write you a card, and you could read it, there is one thing I would want you to know.  You mattered. No matter how small this world makes us feel, by literal size,  or in how short a while we get to live here, you mattered. 

I am to the point where I do not cry every day now.  It is not easy.  I think of you, and when I do my heart flutters and instantly my eyes want to water up, and I have to change the subject of the conversation I have with myself in my mind.  I cannot hardly see to write this now.  But that’s something I just have to work with.

Also, I thought today that if ever someone might ask me how my mother was, I may tell them, “She was young, and that is all you need to know.”  It refers to ‘Only The Good Die Young.”  I also makes me wonder why I didn’t ever see it coming.  I should have always known. 

Happy Mother’s Day, mom.  I love you.  I miss you so much. 

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Images of Mom

There is a series of photos in my tablet that is difficult to scroll past.  They are the ones sent to me at the time of her death last month, and the ones taken at her burial.  I go looking for something, and as I pass them, instantly my heart jumps, breaks, and my eyes flood.  There’s no being strong, no peace or acceptance, no solace, just heartache, instant heartache at the loss of my dear mommy.  She has been dead for two weeks and four days now.  From her perspective, it may as well have been a billion years.  From mine, it may as well have been four seconds.  It just hurts.  The rock of our family growing up is the first one in that family to leave us.  That can never be mended.  It can never be ignored.  All I can do is pass by the images as fast as I can.

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Coping With The Loss

It was sunny and beautiful in the valley on mom’s last day.  The temperatures were short sleeve, late spring-like.  Then it rained the day she died.  Apropos.  I hope nobody thought it was because they washed their car.  It was the world crying for her loss.  Mom was a beautiful consciousness, whose love for people, sense of humor, and humility made her a joy to everyone around her.  From my perspective, the world was the worse for her leaving it, and it knew it.

The hardest days were those where she lay waiting to die.  The hemorrhage on her brain had done irreversible damage, and rendered her comatose, leaving death the only natural result of an event that took us all by surprise.  Waiting, wondering if in some last moment effort she might wake up and ask what the hell is going on, or if somehow she might be thinking, hearing, dreaming, and ultimately suffering in there, those are the bits that were brutal.  I gasped for every last breath in a world with her in it.  I cried every last tear in an ocean of love, respect, admiration for the woman who had raised me a man, and had given me everything good in her.  I daydreamed that somehow she could hear me from so far away, telling her that it was okay to let go, to suffer no more, to be at peace.  Alas, I know that those thoughts in my head, those words screamed at the steering wheel of my truck as I drove alone, those sights and sounds, were only for me, and only brought me peace of mind in letting her go.  She lay, unresponsive, so far away.  All I could do was commune with nature, and find peace within myself.

After I carried her to her grave with my brothers and hers, and my sister, the next challenge was to find a day where I was strong enough not to wake up on a damp pillow, and to go the whole day without crying.  I finally made two in a row, a record dampened as I write this.  This could have been the third.  Still, I don’t regret the tears.  They are a natural part of the healing process.  How much worse would it be if there were none?  How awful would it be if there were no reason to cry?  But mom had lived 63 beautiful years, too few years for love, too many for the tragedy she lived.  While she faced the prospect of cancer in the end, the physical suffering that goes along with fighting it, and the pain treatment, it is the torments of her mind that also come to needed rest.  Living is always the best option, but the heart finds peace in the release of life when living well is no longer possible.  Mom’s days of wellness were gone.  My heart was shattered for that. 

As the hours turn to days, and those days are beginning to turn to weeks, I feel as cold as the grave myself.  But one day on my timeline the weeks of my life will turn to days, then hours, and the coldness of the grave will find me, again, this time as participant. Mom would have me spend no more moments mourning her.  She’d stand before me and say, “You look after my grand babies for me, and tell them I love them, every single day.”  That’s where she would be selfish, and demand a daily tribute.  I am sure she would insist these grand babies are the greatest legacy of her life.  I would disagree.  Her greatest legacy comes from the daily lessons she gave me in goodness, and how to raise these grand babies well.  Next comes the glorious memories of my youth, spent in the sacred days we shared.  I began my youth before she ended hers.  And now she has ended her old age before I began mine, if 63 could even be called old? 

As I carry on, suddenly without her, I feel like a cloud drifting overhead.  Sometimes I may rain, sometimes I may let the sun in. In a moment I may drift away, or my vapor may dissipate.  Only a few will notice me.  At times there is thunder and fire inside.  But mostly, I feel like mist, almost transparent, unable to be touched. 

I miss you mom.  I love you.

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Carrie Jo Bancroft, 1952 – 2016

This has been a pretty tough week.  Mom went into hospital on Saturday morning with a massive hemmorage on her brain, which resulted in so much dammage that despite surgery, she could not be saved.  Early Sunday morning she was taken off life support.  Today is Wednesday.  I was born on a Wednesday.  Mommy died early this morning.  I am in a million billion pieces. 

I knew somewhere inside that the day would come.  She had some form of cancer beginning to form in her, for which she had begun chemo and they were looking for a bone marrow doner for her, but none of that could have stopped what eventually took her from us.  I never expected it to come so soon.  She was only 63 years old.  Her own mother was at her side when she died. 

This week took me by surprise.  I have cursed and I have cried.  I have reviewed memories throughout my life, such as when she slept on a sofa at her dad’s house, or had a little apartment on Redwood Road in Salt Lake City, working in an envelope company, but still made sure my Christmas Morning was enough to convice me that there really was a Santa Clause, and that he was generous.  There was the house on Flint Way in Broomfield, and so many wonderful memories there.  I remembered being so upset and shy that I could not speak to my high school crush, and mom sang the Everly Brothers, “All I Have To Do Is Dream” to me.  My heart exploded the other day when it played in the kitchen, by chance.  Mom said last time she was here that she knew my wife and I would do a great job as we began to modernize the house.  I cried today as I wished so badly she cold see it when it is finished.  I decided that her memorial feture in the garden will be a Pitcher Pump well, which will bring the waters from the ground, to give life to the world around it, just as she did. 

My mother, Carrie Jo, was truely one of the most wonderful people anyone could hope to know.  That’s not just my biases talking.  She was a peacemaker to a fault, to the point she could alow others to walk over her.  She suffered more than just the onset of cancer too.  She suffered in her later years from paranoia, and possibly a bit of scizophrenia.  But she learned how to hide it from those who thought she was crazy, and only talked about it to those she thought believed her.  Religion was also one of her greatest downfalls.  She was brought up to believe in Mormonism, but was promised by a Stake Patriarch that she would go to hell if she continued to follow her current path, which at that time was delving into Ouiga boards and the occult.  Till the end, she believed that stones had powers and magnets could help heal her.  Ironically, that sort of thing is frowned upon by Mormons, who don’t believe in the powers of stones, except when translating ancient scriptures, so she was always at odds. 

I am happy that she no longer needs to suffer from the mental or spiritual anguishes she suffered.  I am not surprised that she slipped out before the Chemo Therapy and further Cancer treatment became a huge burden on anyone else.  She and my baby sister lived together, and I know for a fact that she loved that.  If it were up to her, she would of had all her kids living close by.  I had hoped so much she could visit us again, see what we have built, come to the farm and enjoy all of the animals, and the wonderful summer days.  But instead, she spent a beautiful spring day on earth, and then left us. 

I have come to he conclusion that it is ironic that people fear death.  It is only the living who carry the burdens of guilt, shame, fear, or anything else that weighs us down.  That being said, I know for certain the kinds of things my mother, lover of life and people, and most of all family, would say if she were stood by my shoulder now.  “Oh honey, I love you so much.  Don’t cry, don’t be afraid to carry on.  Just take good care of my grandbabies for me.  I love you, my sweet little boy!  Tell my grandbabies I love them, every day.  Remember I love you too!” 

So, to my children, all of them, and my nieces and nephews.  Nanna Carrie wanted me to tell you that she loves you.  She loves you to the moon and back.  To the stars, and to the sky.  Her love for you is like the waters in the ocean, the sun up above, the earth down below, and everything in between.  And she’d do anything she could to give them all to you.  I know this, because she told me so.  I know this because it is how she was from my first memory of her, to the very last. 

So, now I sit here between her death and the funeral.  I have gasped deeply every last breath I could in a world with her in it.  Her body lies in wait to go into the ground.  She is yet to have a funeral that I cannot go to because of cost, and because I really don’t want to.  Funerals are for the living, not for the dead.  Since it is not for her, I cannot really do it.  It is not how I want her to be in me.  I want her ever alive in me.  So I won’t close that door, even though I expect to find myself at some future date, long from now, crying, and whispering, “I miss you Mommy.  I love you Mommy.  And I know you love me too.” 

For My Mommy, Carrie Jo Bancroft.  I will always be who I am because of you.  I will always try to give as much love to my children as you did to each of yours.  Thank you for being my first Best Friend.  Thank you for the times you gave up so much for me.  Thank you for the times we spent together.  You shaped me in so many ways.  You gave me so many gifts, so much of your time, so much of your love.  Now I am a grown man, and you were so right, even when I hated as a yong man to hear you say it, but I will always be your little baby.  I am sure crying like one over you now.  I love you!

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Working on the Kitchen

Today’s fun started out at a Restore store in Logan, Utah, shopping for cupboards to use to build a kitchen island and a baking station.  We got a sort of random bunch of cabinetry that had been torn from some house, and a countertop.  There was no way to bring any of this home in our little Ford Escape, so I had to come home, then go back out again later in a truck to get it all.  When I got there, they had received a few more pieces from the same house, and invited me to have a look.  There were two wall cabinets, and two drawer cabinets.  I snached up the drawer cabinets, because Iwas disappointed on the first trip that we did not get any.  Next we loaded the five cabinets into the truck along with the countertop and headed home. 

We unloaded right away and started experiementing in the kitchen with different layouts till we found one that would create a sufficient island, and enough room to walk fairly comfortably around it on all sides, including where the baking station will go. 

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What we came up with is a double cupboard facing the sink, and two drawers facing away from it at opposite ends. 

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We intend to build shalves on the back of the double cabinet and on the backs of the drawer cabinets where we can either set pots and pand if they are deep enough, of Mason Jars or other canisters of foodstuff if the shelves end up shallow.  We are planning on covereing all of the cabinets with beadboard to match what’s going on the ceiling, then painting it all white in a high durability paint.

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The baking station at the far corner of the kitchen will be a sort of hoosier cabinet when it is done, with most of the baking supplies there to prepare whatever pies, breads, pastries we want at a moment’s notice.  With the oven on the opposite corner of the room, the island is right in the middle to line up breads as they rise, or trays of goodies as they wait to go into the oven.

I know the place looks a bit like a bomb hit it right now, but it should finish up nicely, and complete a sad and wanting kitchen that had poor lighting, not enough cabinet and drawer space, and nowhere near enough counter space.  All of the cabinets and the counter top we bought today cost us a total $150, no tax, and all the procedes go to Restore, in support of Habitat For Humanity. 

I’ll post more as things move along.  We are working on relatively low budget, so this may go a little slow.

Oh, and it is snowing tonight.  Nothing like in Washington DC and New York!  But it was sure peaceful out when I went to feed all of te animals and collect three chicken eggs. 

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