Monday, January 19, 2015

"Anything is Possible!" (And a simple DIY Ice skating rink with pictures)

Hello there!

My sister on the left, and myself on the right.
I have neglected you, I know. Sniff. I hope you all haven't given up on me. I'm still here, and I'm back. It's weird, but it doesn't seem like much time has passed since I blogged last.
Is it really 2015?

Why is it that I never manage to get a December blog post done?
 December came upon me so quickly I had to rush to catch up to Christmas before it passed.
I joined a local choir, and I had to learn nearly twenty five songs in a great hurry. Then there were lots of concerts, and Christmas performances, so much so that it was all I could do to keep up with that. So this year, for Christmas, I did music, and that was pretty much it.

Music's good. But it's a weird feeling when it's suddenly a week before Christmas and you realize you haven't bought one thing for anyone, and you still haven't put up the Christmas tree.

That's when the panic sets in.
That's when you wish you had at least one more month to really do everything you had planned.
But Christmas doesn't wait for anybody. Nope.
 We did finally go up to the mountains, and chop down a Christmas tree. It wasn't the most shapely tree, mind you. But it was generally shaped the way most trees should be, and with some pruning, it looked passable.

And I did get my three moss terrariums made, complete with clay mushrooms I made myself. (A gift for my plant-loving sisters) 

And I stayed up till four in the morning baking malt balls, and finishing a family movie I'd been working on. And I also made some very yummy Jalapeno hot sauce, and sour kraut. 
So I didn't let all the Christmas concerts, snow my Christmas completely.
Snow. Oh yes, it did snow for Christmas.  I was out in it when it started to fall, early in the wee hours of morning. I watched it come down as I fished tumbleweeds out of my ice rink from the wind storm.
On Christmas Eve my sister and I  put the ice skating rink tarp down ahead of the storm, and though it was a windy battle to keep it from blowing away, we were rewarded. On New years eve, the ice was ready to skate on. And it was very much enjoyed by everyone. We even had a game of ice hockey with hockey sticks made by my sister and her husband.

I took my sister and I about a month of extra work to expand the area about ten extra feet in width. It's been such a mild winter, I wondered if all our work would have been for nothing. But the cold New years freeze kept our ice from melting, even when the river thawed. 

If you're wanting a simple DIY step by step guide to building an ice skating rink, read on. 
 First you level off an area, and build up a dike tall enough so your water doesn't spill out.

Watch the weather reports to see when it's going to freeze hard. Then after purchasing an ice skating rink tarp the right size, (make sure its white, as it helps the ice stay frozen. Place the tarp, and make sure the edges are secure so the wind doesn't blow it away(we used rocks) You can find ice rink tarps anywhere on the internet. Prices vary though according to size, thickness of the tarp, and quality. Ours wasn't as heavy duty as last years. But for the size, and price, we decided to try it. It's  about 50' by 30'. Hopefully it will last more than one season.    

Add water, and wait for it to freeze. It will take several days even if it's cold.

The water is almost frozen in this picture, but not enough to skate on.

Once it's frozen, you can now go and enjoy the ice. Make sure after each time you skate you clean the ice off with a snow shovel, and then pour water over the top in the evenings to resurface the ice so you can enjoy smooth ice in the morning.

Back to my blog post.
Almost every morning I've been out there, skating away to the music, enjoying the blue sky, the mist, watching the cows in the field, and loving the beautiful symmetry of movement, gliding over the ice, balancing, flying, weaving, spinning, over the ice as if I was a bird.
Sometimes great masses of sparrows flit over me as I skate, and I lift my arms and look up and pretend that I am one of them.
I think ice skating is as close as I'll ever get to flying. It's weird, but watching friends and family who take a turn on the ice, I never see a frown. Only smiles, and laughter. Even when someone falls, and hits the ice over and over again, as with the case of little nephew learning to skate, he just gets back up, falls, gets back up, falls, over and over. He doesn't complain. Doesn't cry. He only skates. And loves it.
My niece lifted her arms to the sky when she was skating and said, "it feels like anything is possible when I skate."

Me with the funny hat, and my nice and nephew.
My sister spinning.

And It's true. When I'm on the ice, it does feel as if anything is possible. Lifting my arms to the sky, to me, seems as much as prayer, as much a gesture of praise, and victory as any statement of faith I can think of.
Anything is possible. I let go. And who knows where I may fly. My sister and I were talking as we were skating this morning, and we both reasoned that ice skating is a sacred experience.
I guess it might sound weird. But truth be told, I feel more at home on the ice, more peaceful on the ice, more connected to God, beauty, and the timeless raw, eternity than in any Church.
If this be sacrilege, then stone me.
The ice is my chapel. And if I were to die and go to heaven, I wouldn't want a golden paved brick road leading to my house. I'd like one made out of ice, so I could skate from one end to heaven to the other.
Thinking about it, I suppose I sound like Elsa. But I can't help it. On the ice, I feel like my troubles melt away. Now that's kind of a funny thought.
The ice melts my troubles.
And when the ice melts, as it surely will, then I'll enjoy the sun. But like I've said many times before, we're all skating on very thin ice, everyday, tomorrow who knows, the sun may come out and it may all melt away---so "skate."

The ice may not be your castle.
But something else surely is. Whatever it, it doesn't matter how well you do it. You don't have to always stand by and watch the skilled Olympian  wow the crowds by their excellence.
Do it for yourself. For the pure raw the experience of doing it. Not doing something because you don't do it well, is as silly as watching someone eat a Twix Bar because they are the only ones who really know how to digest their food.

I've said it before. And I'll say it again.
"Skate! Once you start, who knows, anything is possible!"

For those interested. Below is a sort of Photo Journal. I figure I'll post a picture and write the story that goes with it underneath. 

I'm not much of a morning person. Maybe it's because I stay up too late, and putter around at night. So, I usually see more sunsets then sunrises. But on this particular day, I was lucky and got to see the most beautiful sunrise!

So the other evening, after I finished ice skating I started feeding the animals, and I noticed one of my momma goats straining. What looked like a normal birth, soon turned into a terrible nightmare. The baby was turned wrong, and no matter how hard I tried to pull the baby out, it wouldn't come. And believe me, growing up on a farm, sticking ones hand into (the unknown regions) never gets any easier. But when you try your hardest, and you still can't get the baby to come out, you are left with a terrible feeling of helplessness. We called the vet, but he was too slow. We called my brother in law (who is great with animals) and couldn't a hold of him. My hands were cold, icy cold. My mind felt numb. I sent about a thousand prayers up to heaven. But still no help came. Finally after waiting what seemed like hours, my brother in law finally showed up. He skillfully repositioned the baby, and got him out. Sadly the first baby had water in his lungs, and even after doing CPR on him, he was gone. Then, my brother in law helped un-tangled the last two babies that were both trying to come out at the same time. It took all his strength to get them out. But he did. And I'm still pretty amazed. I don't know if the vet could have done a better job. Both babies are cute, and very healthy.  

The day after the first two babies were born, another goat gave birth to two more with no problems.

Different Christmas Crafts. My mom made these window stars.

Christmas tree pine cones my mom made

My sister's Birthday is on Christmas and every year she kind of gets overlooked. This year, we decided to make a special effort to surprise her---the day after Christmas

An indoor Marshmallow Roast

My goat, Monro, Eating petrified Pizza. It was so tough, it kept her busy the whole time I was milking her. Though, I think later, it made the milk taste like---crap.  

Christmas Chaos

Too much food=sleepy guys

My sister, me, and my two beautiful nieces, getting ready for a Christmas Concert

Our funky Christmas treee

The Tree of Ice I found on the edge of my ice skating rink

A nifty shape-shifting cloud I spied on the way to a Christmas Concert. To me it looks like a horse. My mom thinks it looks like a dragon.

This little guy crashed into our windows right after my mom washed them. He made a pretty loud thud. When my sister and I went out to see him, his little legs were up in the air, and he looked like he had a pretty bad headache. After awhile he soon perked up, and sat on my finger looking at me like I was Marry Poppins. A moment later he flew away.

My sister, Bess, on our Christmas Tree expedition.

It was pretty snowy in the mountains, so finding a tree, was a little bit tough.

Closer to the base of the mountain, things were a bit warmer.

Deer tracks.

A cheesy selfie

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