If you have horses, or equine of any variety, and you are feeding square bales of hay, you, like Cowboy and me, probably have baling string coming out of your ears. The problem with baling string is that the stuff is just plain useful, and it makes it hard to part with. Many a time Cowboy and I have been working on a fence panel or hanging a fly catcher only to find ourselves hunting a piece of baling string. The stuff is tough. Heck, it holds weighty bales of hay together.
Now as I’v mentioned before, cleaning is certainly not one my fave farm chore as country life is dusty, but this farmgirl loves to organize and find interesting new uses for old things. So for you collectors of hay string, try this one on for size. All you need is an empty tissue box, or two or three depending on how much string you want to keep.
First, take your string and tuck it (or stuff it) into the box. You’ll be surprised how much that little box can hold.
Then, when you are ready to pull out a piece of string, simply hold your hand over the opening, and pull out a piece of string.
Finally, add a box to your tack room or garage to have that amazing baling hay string on hand whenever you need it. (As you can see from the photo, I’m a farmgirl who loves a container and an organizing system. No matter how simple!)
From one farmgirl to another, I hope you find this tip helpful, because if you are anything like me, you just don’t need one more thing to trip over.
Have any of y’all heard of the tiny house movement? The basic concept is that we have too much stuff, and that it’s time to simplify. Reasons for going tiny are many including: financial, freeing up maintenance and effort of home ownership to travel or pursue other passions, focusing on experiences vs. things, and the list goes on. I think the official square footage to be called tiny is 500 square feet, and as we say in the South, that is teeniny!
When Cowboy and I moved to the farm, while we upsized on land (and maintenance work, just ask any farmgirl), we downsized our living space to less than 1,000 square feet. I remember family and friends were concerned what that would be like for us, having come from a 2,100 square foot 3-bedroom-two-bathroom ranch. And let’s be honest, they were worried about how I would do because as long as Cowboy has a workshop, he’s all set.
I have to admit when we saw the concrete slab poured for our barn and I saw < 1,000 square feet carved out for our living space, my immediate thoughts went to, “Oh no! What have I agreed to?” But then I thought, “It’s okay. This is just temporary. We’ll build a house in a couple of years at most.”
So I went about sorting our home into giveaways, keeps for later, and keeps for now. We gave away A LOT. We kept quite a bit in boxes marked “house” in hopes they would be part of our future home once we moved out of the barn. The process was freeing as we got down to our favorite things, which were all going into the barn, and they were the things that had the most meaning to us.
Well here we are four years later, and we absolutely love living in our smaller space. We’ve had to add on a guest room, because as I’ve said in the past the country will attract your city friends like flies to honey, upping our space to just under 1,400 square feet. But we had to find a spot to put folks because the sofa, chairs, and floors were filling up.
Anyway, this summer, we decided it was time to go through those “house” boxes, because if we hadn’t used them in four years we likely didn’t need them. Of course, we found some treasures, and we found some others that fell into the what-were-we-thinking category.
Who knows, we might build a house someday or stay in the barn until we are old and gray and rocking away on the porch. (I’m working on plans to screen in the porch, so that would be just cozy perfect.) So while I’m not a member of the tiny house movement – because let’s face it, I am not a joiner, as friends have pointed out in the past – I do like the idea of simplifying. (Oh, and as Cowboy says we can’t have an official tiny house because where would we put all the fur-kids? True, very true!)
So I vote we not get hung up on rules about square feet or reality TV show definitions of a movement, but we just look inside and find those moments of joy and gratefulness. It never hurts to take an inventory of the external and internal, as we all have growing and learning to do. And being grateful for each little thing is a great way to start.
As I’ve mentioned in past posts, grace is definitely not my middle name. Cowboy could tell you stories of my many trips and falls, and over the years I’ve learned to roll with it and simply laugh. So when I decided to take a yoga class in town, it was with excitement and a supreme willingness to laugh at myself because I knew if one thing was true, it would definitely be amusing.
Having recently had a birthday, I decided it was time to use it as a little inspiration to focus on some new healthy habits. I’ve started walking, and thought a class or two would be fun to add to the mix. Being that I’ve always wanted to improve my balance, yoga sounded like the perfect fit. Again, willingness to laugh required.
So I put on the yoga pants, which by the way should only be worn to an actual yoga class or at home, grabbed the yoga mat, and headed for class. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I walked into a room full of ladies of all ages, shapes, and sizes who greeted me warmly. “Okay, maybe this won’t be so bad,” I think.
Artsy music was playing in the background with requisite chirping birds, strings, and pan flute. In my head, all I could think was Yanni. (Anyone else remember him?) Scents of lavender wafted through the air, and a Namaste sign was sitting at the front of the room. Can you picture it? While soothing, this also just made me giggle on the inside, as it seemed so serious for the what I knew would be exercise shenanigans for me.
I found a spot in the back of the room in the corner. I wanted as many walls to hold onto as possible. Heck, I probably should have been doing this in a stall of some sort. The lights lowered and the games began. Standing, bending, stretching, sitting, bending, standing. “Okay, I’m not dying yet,” I think as I start to relax. Granted, touching my toes seems like a feat for Gumby, but I’m keeping up, somewhat.
Until, we start to go faster. We (and by we, I mean everyone else), easily flows from one position to another. They are on their stomachs, their feet, folding like origami with their feet in front of and behind them. Holy batman, I can’t keep up. I’m wrestling with one leg then the other, twisting myself into a pretzel.
Okay, we’re back to standing, and I thank my lucky stars that I picked a corner. And then it happens. That quintessential Yoga pose – standing on one leg with the other leg lifted and foot against your calf (or heaven forbid your thigh). I weebled and wobbled and couldn’t even get my toes past my ankle or off the floor. Combined with my arm on the wall, I think I created a new move called the tripod.
On top of that, we’re breathing in and out with this move and that, and I am quite sure I am breathing in when I’m supposed to be breathing out and vice versa. On a side note, with all this breathing in and out all I can think about is Darth Vader, and again silence myself as I want to whisper to my neighbor, “Luke, I am your father.”
Class finally comes to a close and we are all laying on our mats eyes closed, meditating or praying. I’m praying and thanking God in heaven that I did not break anything. When suddenly with my eyes shut something drops on my face. “Let’s not panic,” I tell myself. I inhale deeply and realize the instructor has put a cloth over my eyes that is laced with lavender – and by lavender I mean an entire field. “Don’t breathe, don’t breathe, don’t breathe,” I tell myself.
I lay there for what feels like an eternity, and then I swear I thought I heard instructions to twist your hips and stretch. So there I am, flopped out on my mat, eyes covered, stretching away, legs twisted, when I hear lots of shuffling. “Oh no, maybe I’m not supposed to be doing this,” I think.
So I ease the cloth off my face and sure enough everyone else is sitting up and doing some other stretch entirely. I blush and think, “Don’t mind me, folks. I haven’t a clue about this stuff. However, if you need me to scoop a horse stall I can do that like an ace.”
Class finally ends with a group “namaste,” and which point I quell my inner desire to yell, “Yehaw!” Everyone parts with well wishes and see-ya-next-times. And I survived. And I’ll likely do it again.
Maybe if i do enough yoga, I’ll be able to easily balance on fence rails or even shimmy across the ice to beak up frozen water troughs this winter. A girl can dream, can’t she?
P.S. – The local instructor was super nice, gracious, and welcoming. This experience purely speaks to my athletic prowess, or lack thereof.