OK, I’m Back

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I know you were worried about me, but no need. In December of 2013, I married the best husband on the planet (sorry, girls) and moved permanently to Crane, Mo. So, I no longer live on a farm, but I’m definitely “far out,” and realize that you can take the girl off the farm, but not the farm off the girl. So – the name stays. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the site now, but it will probably contain more of the same. So, sit back, tighten your seat belts, and get ready. An election year is coming up, and I’m feeling feisty.

There is much going on here in Crane. For those unfamiliar with Crane, Mo., let me enlighten you. The sign on Hwy. 413 claims it is the “Neatest Little Town in Missouri.”

I tend to agree. Crane reminds me of my old home town, Noel, Mo., in McDonald County. It has a river, and it has a train. The town is a slice of Americana, complete with apple pie, plus a pool. My house even looks down into the town and the pool, so I can see a lot of action from my back deck. The animals and I enjoy the view. Mike and Heather and I have seven animals: dogs are Pippa the Pit Bull, Sophie the bichon, Allie Mae the miniature schnauzer, and Shiloh Moon, the bichon. Pippa looks ferocious but is a sweetheart, even if the neighbors are wary. Shiloh looks like a sweetheart, but watch out. Cats: Regis, a 30-pound male orange tabby, Annabelle, a 10-pound (maybe) female grey and white tabby, and Fantine, a tortoise-shell female with a bitten ear. All have been neutered, and all have had their shots. They kind of run the place, but I have been successful in getting them somewhat civilized. Well, with help. We are animal people. When visitors arrive at the front door, all hell breaks loose, and it is rather unsettling at first for most.

My main job right now is taking care of the house. We live in a two-story, walkout basement house on four lots. The yard needs lots of work. None of us are good at that around here, so it looks like I am going to need to bone up on my landscaping skills. One time long, long ago, I actually won a landscaping award. But I was only 12 years old. Things have changed. Probably much of this blog will center on my efforts in that regard.

Mike is an accountant here in town. Right now is his busiest time of the year, and he works seven days a week. Starting the end of April, he will begin taking Fridays and weekends off, and I’m looking forward to having his help with the yard. Don’t laugh.

Well, that is enough for now, dear readers. I look forward to seeing you here later.

Won’t be Far Out on the Farm for long. . .

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Dear Readers:

It is with great pleasure that I announce my upcoming wedding to Michael Kaup, of Crane, Mo. We plan to be married on December 21, 2013, at 11 AM, at the Marionville United Methodist Church. I will be moving to Crane a few weeks before that date. Mike and I are like kids, planning our wedding and getting excited. And our daughters, Desara and  Heather, are also excited and helping us plan. 

The last two years have been challenging for both of us. His wife, Vera, died in December, 2011; my husband, Larry, died in January of 2012. But today we both look forward to a wonderful future together, and are grateful to have found each other. I won’t be living on a farm much longer. At that time, however,  I will continue my blog and will probably change the name. The website will remain as “faroutfarm.me” for the meanwhile, and only the appearance of the blog will be changing. Look forward, with me, to more exciting posts that are more frequent and chronicle my new life. And thank you for your good wishes.

Brenda Kilby 

How different this summer is from last. . .

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droughtLast year was the year of a terrible drought. It stopped raining somewhere around April, and didn’t rain again substantially until September. My ponds nearly disappeared – the one that is five acres of water went to a small mud puddle. And in my own life, as well, there was a drought. My husband had died suddenly the night of Friday the 13th in January, and I was utterly alone. Then to make matters worse, 2 1/2 months later, I fell and broke my left foot, shattering the metatarsal bones; the next day, using crutches, I fell and broke my left wrist in two places. For six weeks I was a cripple, and in pain; for weeks, I was unable to live in my house alone.

And the house, it was in transition. The rambling farmhouse where I had lived for 35 years, raised my daughter, helped Larry raise his sons – my house – was silent. I slowly began to put the pieces of my life back together, while my broken bones healed, and I changed the decor, bought myself flowers, and tried to don a brave face. Part of that was attempting to date again. I decided to use the Internet so I could “pick and choose.”  Unfortunately,  I found the whole thing somewhat disgusting. I enjoy meeting people, but some of these people were beyond the pale. I had no idea there were this many miscreants, liars, selfish jerks, and just plain low down characters in the world. But I was finding out.  Few were worthy of my time.  And the ones that were, well, they just weren’t right somehow. So I was about to give up on finding someone to date and go out with occasionally, just about the time I met Mike.

At first, Mike didn’t interest me much. He wasn’t that good looking in his photos, and he had health problems. But Mike was persistent. He continued to write, and he called, and he insisted that we meet. I reluctantly said yes, and we made plans to meet at Famous Dave’s in Rogers. I got out of my car and saw him immediately, a giant of a man standing by the door. To make a long story short, we did connect, and we became very close, and by Thanksgiving we knew we could make this work. The only problem was his terminal cancer. Unfortunately, in May of this year, Mike died. I was sad, and felt devastated at first. But then I began to realize that Mike W. had given me a great gift – the knowledge that I could love again, and that there could be a future for me with another man besides my husband who died in 2012.  So I went back online, this time being extremely careful to look for people who fit my exact criteria: men about my age, preferably widowed, who had similar interests, education, goals, and lifestyles. After a few misses (and there are always those, dear readers – no matter how hard you try to match up the possibles) I was lucky again. Another man named Michael, this time whose last name was also a ‘K,’ like mine.

Mike K. is amazingly perfect for me. And he says I’m perfect for him. What’s even more interesting, we have many more things in common than I had even dared to hope for. We are both into the mystical, with similar religious backgrounds (Methodist), and he reads even more than I do. And wonder of wonders, he matches me (and probably exceeds me, truth be told) in intelligence. To make the package even sweeter, Mike K. has a daughter about the same age as mine, and Heather is delightful.

So the long drought is over. The rains came and the ponds filled up, and I’ve put the farm up for sale. I’m moving 100 miles north, to be close to my Mike and Heather, and probably to live with them at some point. A new life looms for me, as it can for all of us, if we just keep the faith.

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Stay tuned…

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I love this blog –

Dear Readers,

We have been kind of quiet since the Board of Governors (they get their real name back) came to its senses and sent RTV to that great hat shop in the presidential sky.

That will continue until they — as we used to use as our tag line — start doing shit again. But we plan to do some analytical and speculative posts.

Right now, Dr. Alan is doing all the right things, half a day in.

He was pictured in The Globe greeting students who returned from an (gasp) international trip. And the university is talking about its mission and what it should mean to Southwest Missouri. Will it be an international mission? Maybe. But if it isn’t, it seems Dr. Alan is willing to have a DISCUSSION. A CONVERSATION. An INCLUSIVE, OPEN PROCESS.

Shit. We can’t even remember the last time that happened. Look at Chad…

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I’m Naive, Not Stupid. There’s a Difference.

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The Oeditrix

This morning I woke up after a surreal night with a lot on my mind. One phrase in particular was ringing in my ears: “Don’t be naive, Amy.”

Back when I quit writing for CultureMap Austin over a nasty, misogynist editorial masquerading as a news story by the Dallas staff, the business manager (then–he’s since been fired) called me up on the phone to “discuss” my decision.

What he really wanted was to cajole or shame me into reversing my position–if not publicly, at least in a private phone call. He talked in circles, but having survived grad school, I am not easily confused even by smart people talking in circles, much less idiots. While some of the details of the call have become fuzzy in my mind, one stands out. After he had failed to make his arguments look logical for half an hour, he went ahead and said what bullies…

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Getting used to my CPAP machine

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Image

Pretty scary, huh?

It happens to all of us at some time or another.

We get old. And we get stuff. Like sleep apnea. I have been told by several people that I rivaled a freight train at night, and would wake the dead. So, I did the hard thing and got tested, and now I’m a proud owner of a CPAP machine that forces air into my mouth so I don’t stop breathing in the middle of the night and I don’t snore anymore. However, this was not an easy thing to come to.

For one thing, they are far from sexy. And I would like to be sexy, if only to my menagerie of cats and dogs. At this juncture, I’m being shunned by all of them. They wonder who that monster is in the bed with me. It makes noise, but not the usual noise. LOL.

The first night was terrible. I bought a special mask that was pretty and had leopard skin on it. I thought it looked sexy. But one hour in, I had a terrible asthma attack. So off it went. Not for me, this leopard-skinned beauty. I went back to the tried and true, the ugly but functional full face mask that did the job.

The jury is still out on how refreshed I will be in the morning. But I will keep you posted. I’m sure I would scare just about anyone with this gettup, but that is OK. My health is worth being unsexy. And besides. I do wear socks and pajamas to bed, anyway. How sexy is that?

About that rose garden. . .

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pots and pans

“. . . and if ifs and ands were pots and pans, there’d be no work for tinkers.”

When I was a child I had a romantic vision of the future: I would marry a prince, have a nice, medium sized family, and be allowed to dabble in my favorite pursuits of music and writing, but not expected to contribute greatly to the coffers.

Instead, I’ve worked harder than most women in my life – maybe not at the most difficult jobs – but I’ve put in many, many hours away from home and on the job. As for the prince, neither of my husbands were so inclined, even though the first one was a royal pain. (snicker). I did get the nice family, a child of my own that is the apple of my eye, and three stepchildren that I couldn’t have loved better if they had been my own. Life was not perfect, but I was “allowed” to write and perform music, and be myself. I was also given the opportunity to go to college and become more educated than I’d ever wanted to.

You see, I never planned to get a Ph.D. I was content with the master’s degree and a half. But I needed job security, and without a terminal degree in my field, job security is hard to find. I’m a professor and a writer, and a social scientist. So, terminal degree, here I come. Now I have a 100 graduate hours, or more, and that’s a lot. I’ll have a few more by the time my dissertation is finished. And after finishing it, I won’t be allowed to sit on my laurels (there’s that word again, ‘allowed’). I will need to get a job and work as long as I can, so I can make at least a dent in my college loans. Of course, I’m not worried about those loans. They die with you. Nobody will be saddled with them. But during my lifetime, I will have to pay on them. I read an article the other day about the unique plight of senior citizens who decided late in life to return to school and now have student loans, or whose student loans are still unpaid. A bill sponsored in Congress this spring, the Student Loan Fairness Act, would make repayment of student loans 10 percent of a person’s annual discretionary income, for 10 years, with the unpaid balance forgiven. I could live with that. The question is, what is “discretionary income?” Wikipedia (gotta love Wikipedia) states that Discretionary income = Gross income – taxes – all compelled payments (bills). That would be nifty. And I believe fair. People making a great deal of money would pay more – a lot more – and people like me with no real discretionary income – would probably pay a pittance. The upside is, more people would go to school and not worry so much about making a great deal of money when they got out. So we would have more rural doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs. People with talent would take up work they love, not the work that makes big bucks. The down side is, the Republicans in Congress will never go for it. They fear a lot of things – like having to pay through their noses for an education – (although the rich are not taking out student loans, actually) and the real fear: a more educated populace who is happy are likely to vote Democratic. And that is something that cannot be allowed to happen. And not on their watch, if they want to stay in office. So the little man and woman suffers, so people who never have to meet us can keep their jobs.

No, it is far better, according to these folks, that we keep the little people miserable, keep them poor, and keep them ignorant. They can fight our wars, and die there with our blessings and profound thanks, and work in our low-income service jobs and listen to us tell them who to vote for. But I don’t think most people who vote Republican feel that way. In fact, I know they don’t. Maybe it is time they wised up and started holding their office holders accountable?

And policies this these? They also mean there is no hope for a romantic, like me. I don’t get the rose garden, the picket fence and the chance to rest, ever, on my laurels.