I’ve changed the name of my blog to TaraWood Acres. That’s because I’ve finally settled on a name for my home Up North: TaraWood. I had to add Acres onto the blog name because there’s already a Tarawood at blogspot, but I kinda like it.
Originally, I’d latched onto Tara as my estate’s name for two reasons: 1) Tara is the name of Scarlet O’Hara’s home in Gone With The Wind, and 2) Tara is the name of a Tibetan Buddhist goddess/bodhisattva. This intrigued me as I’ve felt an affinity for the Buddhist philosophy from as long ago as my teen years when I attempted to become a vegetarian. I also joined a Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist group back in my 30s which lasted only for about a year due to my discomfort with the evangelical nature of the philosophy. I loved doing the chanting and miss it still. You can hear an example here: https://youtu.be/rVr9BzGijPU
So, what’s my new attitude? Humbleness
I thought I knew what I was getting into when I moved here. I sorta did…but the reality is that it has been much harder than I hoped it would be, but also less difficult than I feared it would be. I had no illusions that it wouldn’t be difficult in general; I just didn’t know what the specifics would be. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
November: Got divorced with all the attending stressors and challenges; staged and sold old home, packed everything, searched for and found my current home (thanks to Kerstin who babysat so that I actually could do this); arranged to board dogs; closed on old home; moved into new home without really owning it yet due to last minute impediments of probate proceedings. I am soooo grateful to my ex-husband for all the help he provided me with various things including dog transportation; to Stephanie and Katie from SquatchHers for helping me transport my pack to their new home; to Nikki for preceding my arrival and putting up temporary kennels outside and setting up indoor crates; to Rainey for arriving days later to help me unpack and keep me company so I wasn’t alone on my birthday and Thanksgiving. I’m also grateful that the weather held out until I could get the hatches battened down, because I was soon going to be needing all the protection I could get!
December: The snow arrived. Was snowed in a couple times. Plowing service began on December 1st. Nikki arrived with truck trouble, but Effie Country Service was able to handle it. I became aware of mice in the attic and walls, and also aware that peppermint deters them. Christmas was spent alone, which felt kinda sad. Heard a very strange HUM three times in one week but haven’t heard it since.
January: Experienced the coldest weather I can ever remember starting out with minus 27°F on New Year’s Day. The blower motor in the furnace needed replacing on that same evening and cost a bundle to have it done. Hit 45°F below zero on the 31st.
Both Dan and Nikki drove up to help me in the first half of the month. Nikki and I fetched a cord of wood that I had previously purchased as insurance against a furnace failure. Thankfully, there has been no failure, and none of the wood was used. On the 22nd the sewer vent pipe on the roof froze in the middle of the night and the Bigfork Fire Department came to my rescue. I was subsequently assisted by the owner of the local café, Kathy who gave me the phone number of Jim, a handyman she hires on occasion. Jim was super nice and helped me to solve the freezing sewer pipe issue over the next few days.
February: Both Dan and Nikki (and my daughter Maren) came up in the first half of the month to visit. On the 11th ice dams caused leaking inside the house. All month we got a lot of snow and very cold temps. I struggled to get the snow off the valleys on the roof where there were ice dams but had to hire help to get it done. Found out I owed the government several thousand dollars due to Trump’s tax “cut”. Probate was completed and I was finally officially the owner of the property. Competed in the Neighborhood Tavern’s chili cook-off and lost. The battery in my car died and it had to be towed to Effie for a new one. The snow was so deep that Jeff (who plows) had to bring in his AVS Skid Steer which has tracks, not wheels to move the snow.
March: The SquatchHers had a marvelous attendance at the Tavern on March 2nd for what we call a “Squatch Chat”. We do these in different places to learn of Bigfoot sightings so that we can get leads for investigative purposes. Nikki brought Maren up to visit for a few days. Then Dan came up again for a couple days but came with car trouble. Neighbor Duane was able to fix the problem. Then Rainey came up for a whole week!! And what timing! The basement flooded from a clogged drain tile pipe and she vacuumed up gallons upon gallons of water and carried them all outside where I helped her dump them all on a slope away from the house. Just got the $255 bill for that goat rodeo! Materials were delivered from Marcell Lakeside Lumber for the roofing of the shed.
April: Right after Rainey left, Nikki and Maren arrived at the beginning of the month. Brother Josh arrived shortly after to help roof the shed. Unfortunately, Josh put a 2 inch staple through his knee cap and femur and had to go to the ER to get it out. I had to scramble to find helpers for Nikki but was lucky to have established relationships with community members who could help me. Nikki and Josh also put together a bigger play area for the cooped up pups. Nikki and Maren came up again from the 22nd to the 25th. As they were leaving in truck it became clear that something was terribly wrong. They had to leave the truck and take my car back. The truck was fixed on the 30th.
On the 28th, my beautiful shepherd mix Buddy facilitated a nasty fall for me which put me in the ER. I’m thankful that Jim was available and willing to bring me home in the middle of the night after my discharge. I’m immensely grateful to Nikki for arriving the very next day and taking charge of things.
May: Nikki took me for a follow-up appointment at the Bigfork clinic, and put up an alley to the puppy pens so I don’t have to use leashes and risk another spill. Nevertheless, a day or two after she left I had another terrible fall due to an invisible sheen of ice on the wooden stairs outside which added massive bruising to already traumatized muscles and bulging disks. I’m sure the mix of muscle relaxers, pain killers, and anti-inflammatories contributed to my lapse in good judgment as to my ability to navigate the stairs. I am grateful to the doctor who gave me an Rx for more meds than I thought necessary at the time.
Nikki brought Maren up again less than a week later, and Josh came up as well to grade the driveway, and cut down dead trees. I got my car back but was unable to drive it yet.
I missed an overnight visit with friends on the 11th even though Dan was here to babysit the dogs because I was still so sore from my falls and couldn’t drive.
I was finally able to drive and attend the WOW greenhouse tour however on Monday the 13th after abstaining from narcotic pain killers for a full day. It was uncomfortable, but it was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed it.
Spring has suddenly sprung and everyone is more than ready to welcome it in. I’ve been steadily improving and getting outside to putz around a bit. However, I am missing an adventure with the SquatchHers this weekend due to no dog sitter. Even if I did have a sitter, I still wouldn’t feel up to lots of driving and walking. I have trouble sitting. My sleep is disturbed by pain, and I can really only go for a couple hours before needing to rest.
I’m looking forward to Nikki arriving early this coming week and starting the lean-to which will shelter the dog kennels. Slowly but surely and with lots of help this place is getting made safer and more user friendly.
I’ve been visited by neighbors and welcomed by the community. I’ve had the help I’ve needed when I’ve reached out. Yes, I’ve been lonely at times, but am so happy that Nikki, Dan, Maren, Josh, and Rainey have been there for me!
I still love the North Woods and can not imagine ever going back to the city.
I’ll paraphrase Jim here: You really have to love it here to live here. It’s a hard life and you have to work for each moment of happiness.
When you live in a small community, and especially when it’s dispersed like Effie is, you need to be more careful about everything. You need to know your neighbors. You need to become friends if not just friendly. We all need each other.
I look forward to being able to provide some kind of help or assistance to my community in the future. Until then, I’m going to take a deep breath, continue to heal, and be grateful.
I am learning to be humble.