Starting the New Year on Zen

heading back into the relative norm here on Zen Mountain for Ma; my better half, and myself.

Quick recap and catch up

The Christmas stories and the Christmas card video done and read/ seen , brings us finally back around to the relative norm in these days of chaos.

Myself, being retired now with Ma working through the formidable task of getting the insurance people to get their heads out of their asses and simply stop making Ma jump through hoops to get me added in; started on this in March of 2020….now waiting for the next round of ” well… NOW WE need…”It was sooooooo much easier when I added Ma to my work insurance..

” Hey, need to add Ma…”

” Ok.. Done.. anything else?”

” Naw.. I’m good . “

And I hung up the phone…Finnneee it may have taken a couple days but no where near the friggin almost 11 months so far… What the hell?

So…anyway… I am trying to keep taking on more and more of the tasks Ma has been doing while I was working beings that, well; duh… I am not and she still is..


Growing up, I started cooking at 5 years old. Both parents worked and I was stuck at home babysitting my sister until after dinner when Dad and I would go to work again…. No.. I didn’t follow him around, I worked. Before my sister was born, Mom and I worked with Dad.. Cleaning… I had to drag around a step stool to get to the top of desks and counters to dust and clean ash trays. I cleaned toilets. I drug around the trash cart, dumping the trash. Then down the stairs I would drag the big ass canvas bag full of trash and back up to get my stool , back down to fill the incinerator .. then on to cleaning the break room.. I had to actually climb up on it , crawling around on it to clean.. then up to the sink to dump and make coffee..also crawling on the counter.. I was very small ..well still am, but at 4 and 5 etc..I was really small so lots of climbing….


If I was hungry, it was drag my home stool around to see what there was in the fridge.. Well.. I liked eggs and ham..a lot.. dang bologna sandwich didn’t last forever from lunch.. So I had Mom show me the stove…

Slowly I cooked more and more until I was cooking a lot of the family meals.. get it done sooner so Dad and I could go to work sooner so we could get home sooner so I could start on the next round of homework sooner.. Besides… I made changes to what I cooked…

When I left home, I was given the stove I learned to cook on,,,,I drug it around with me to any home I lived in…Which FINALLY gets us back to the reason of the stories…. Until the new stove in the new place up here, I had always cooked on the same stove top and same oven….FOR EVER….

Trying one of my recipes I had tweaked up here, on the old stove in the old house..well oven… Things went poorly … WHAT the heck? I mean it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t what I expected either…So.. I stopped any type of baking.. Ma bakes so no prob…

Soooo the new stove and I were not overly friendly.. well.. stove top well enough but the oven.. screw that.. I’m taking my baking soda and going…well crap.. I am home…

So.. I finally broke down recently and made one of my middle of the ground no, well not too many, frills corn bread.. in muffins..seem the safest … and it was…. Then on to cookies.. oatmeal raisin .. hard to screw up.. it went well too…and so now on Ma’s days off, I have her run me through the things I use to do all on my own growing up and , well , up to when we put in the new place.

I don’t much care if I have a flop on my own, but not when Ma has to eat my hockey pucks… So slowly but surely I am heading back around to the baking I use to do for decades… In the new stove and house.


another weird thing is that Both of us have green thumbs..Zen…Zen is its own black thumb from hell. It took us years to break in our Nursery Dude on what may grow and what all, we don’t give a rat’s rear end what they say WILL grow in our state, will not.


It isn’t just outside….

We both have done starts our entire lives.. I have up here..old house..old well…

We can’t even get lettuce to grow.. what the heck, right?

So, as it is January already and plants have to be in top shape and a good size to have any chance up here..It is getting time to try yet again…. for that, we will have to see what happens over the next few months.

This last season; between all of the dumbass crap going on and the cold weather ..and the heavy winds that ripped out trees and erased any plants down to ground level, then the moment I went back to work, first the winds hit again, then the weather turned from cold to super hot..and then the months of fires here at our door step….anyway… then the stupid silver grey squirrel wiped out our peppers….Winds had wiped out our cherries.. completely and the prunes.. and the pears….and the apricots…. and most of the Zukes, the winter squash, actually erased pepper plants … Stopped all growth on the herbs.. corn.. erased the green bean plants and so on… We had a pretty rough harvest. Even tomatoes were quite a bit less… Apples were tiny so between that and the ridiculous shortage of canning jars.. which they are everywhere now… Made for a great year for our deer.


Well.. so far , it has been pretty nice, keeping in mind that we are still only days into winter. It got to nearly 60F this morning..temps are slowly lowering already with the sun full up.. but hey.. winter…

Yes.. we got the magical Christmas snow you always read about….So.. Christmas morning, I took out my magical snow shovel and cleared the deck.. then my wonderous broom of enchanted snow removal and continued to clear it for the next several days…until the freezing rain hit…then back to the shovel.

Now, as nice as it is.. my concerns are that the plants will be trying to wake up and get started growing…and then the storms will hit and things will die.. It happens too often up here come February .

But.. for the now, we will enjoy the weather while we can and hope that spring won’t be carrying the chill of a too late winter as it did this last year.

The kids

We see our animals every day still with the weather being nice out. Our deer are in sight most of the day every day.. Our Girl and Lil Buck come a running when they see me on the deck or by the main entry..

” Appules Please..”

I still have several left and toss them a couple when they come in looking for them. I know they’ll get bummed when they run out. but..for the now…

Hummie is up here all the time yelling at Lass to come to town, that it is going to get cold…aaannnnd she ignores him.. He even brought up Ian , his eldest boy to come gripe at her as well… Soo she brought up one of the sisters to annoy them I am sure. For the moment, we have hummies chasing each other around.

Coyote kids are about, of course, we had Limpy, Mama, Rhey and Dennis all up here Christmas eve and Christmas day again.. Limpy, though mostly healed, still has a gamey leg and was up here runnin about just the other day.. Usually he leaves the boundary checks to the kids …. but he likes to visit as well.

The elk were up around Christmas too , They had to come visit for a bit.

Bunnie is about as you can see prints everywhere when it snows.

We haven’t seen the eagles yet though they are probably around when we aren’t looking.. it’s that time of year.

What does he do with himself?

Seems to be the topic of any phone call Ma gets.

I can not imagine running out of things to do and feel like I am falling behind yet every day. If I don’t do some work every day, I feel useless… So it may only be a couple hours of work and then back to whatever I am working on for fun..and some days I am still doing the 6 hour work thing but… LOL… I don’t have a clue what boredom would be….

I have so damn many lists of things to do and just have to hope that when it is their turn, we aren’t in heavy winds or flames or smoke…usually come ” nice ” weather it is one if not all three…most every year.

Knitting and Spinning

If you didn’t see the work Ma does up on the Christmas video, you really should take a look.

What she makes is heirloom quality. There is no

” What is that? A hat or a TP cozy? “


” Oh my! what an interesting shade of baby poo green and Oh my God Orange ..whatever it is..”

She is working on a new sweater design today actually…She has been on it for a week? more or less and it is flying.. I’ll have to put up pics soon as well as the gloves she is working on with all the stats, both, however, are bunnie so amazing… You’ll see.

Again.. on the vid, you get a couple quickies of her spinning as well as the pic of her spun yarn compared to sewing thread.. pretty dang cool.

She has a few projects she is working on and picked up a bunch of new to us fiber ” sheeps and such” to give a try spinning, always looking for the best wool / blend for what she is making.. comfort and wear..

She is also designing some more projects while she is working on the present.. Thing is, you know they will be incredible.

*chuckle* thing is, that is simple fact, not just because she is Ma.

Final thoughts

So here we are, working , at least, towards normalcy up here on Zen. We have a lot to get through before it is our normal but it is always a trip of some kind.. Some battle to get through, just like we all do. Ours may be something like yours or nothing like yours…But we all have something to get through…

Just tacking a new number on the month doesn’t change anything and what changes come, throwing a tantrum about not getting what you want right now isn’t going to make things better, nor does it make you a better person…

Dealing with what we have to and not being a complete ass while you go through it DOES make you a good person… we are seeing waaay to many of the petulant children out there right now and the world sees far too much of this.. but being petulant children, those multitudes that are stomping on their tiaras and screaming don’t even stop to think about what they are making of themselves and how we all see them…

I may be an ass but, I am not a tiara tossing petulant child ,,, So we have that going for us.

Hang in there folks.. Try to enjoy what you can while you can.. Things always change.. Hope is always needed .. Happiness is as well… being a dick..well… we can all live without that for a least a day or two…

Not sure what I did, but even typing, or playing guitar lately makes my neck/ back between my shoulders burn and hurt like crazy.. I’ll figure it out, but for now, at least it keeps me from writing any more today..

Enjoy the day…and remember

It’s just another day on Zen Mountain

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