When Chickens Ruled the Roost

chickens

Janie holding her pet chicken

We had a flock of chickens once. I grew up on a farm, so I thought I knew all about chickens. I remember my mother ordering them and having them shipped special delivery to our general store. She thought about her order carefully; Rhode Island Reds were the hardiest, Leghorns laid the most eggs, Plymouth Rock were the most dependable. They had to be balanced, so that we would have eggs all year. When my father brought them home, there were at least one hundred chicks crowded together in a box with holes in the sides. My sisters and I were allowed to gently pick some of them up and stroke them for a few seconds.

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30 Websites To a Good Nights’ Sleep!

insomniaIf you are still tossing and turning at 3:00 am., you are not alone. It may seem that you are the only person in the world who is awake, but you have lots of company—the latest statistics say that more than 30% of the population suffers from some form of insomnia during their lifetime. Many have progressed to chronic sleeplessness. People over 60 are especially susceptible, with between 40% and 60% unable to regularly sleep well.

You have probably already done some research online about what to do. Don’t be surprised if you find it eats up hours of your time. And it’s frustrating as well, when you come across the same websites over and over!

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All Alone on a Prairie Road

prairie roadI’m walking on the road to our house. I’m all alone, but I’m not scared. Besides, I can see all around me. I can see the farm where the Burmeys live—it’s on the right side of me. I can see the little bushes on the left side, and a little further I can see the big white church that belongs to our family. Way down the road, where it almost stops, I can see the flat roof of our barn, and beside it, our house. I twirl round and round with my eyes closed, wondering where I’ll end up when I open them. Everything looks in the wrong place for a minute, but soon it all goes back to where it should be—everything so pretty and in the right place. It’s not like the story Teacher read once, about someone who came here for the first time.

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Spotlight on 12 Mature Writers

writersI’ve heard recently that writing has become a lost art. In our fast-paced, digital world, pundits say, so much day-to-day communication takes place online via email, social media, snap-chatting and texting, that no one knows how to communicate clearly, anymore, through the written word.

Not so. I’m a member of an online blogging community that loves to write. We wake up in the morning, itching to take cursor to monitor and reach out to our audience—the readers we know and love. But what if we had even more to offer them? What if we had a book or two to publicize, to put on our sidebar and link it to Amazon? Just speaking for myself, it would be a dream come true!

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Solitude: The Gift of Reflection

solitude“For a younger person,” Carl Jung says, “it is almost a sin—and certainly a danger—to be too much occupied with himself. But for the aging person, it is a duty and a necessity to give serious attention to himself.”

Like Jung, I believe that the end stage in life, where many of us are now, is a time to think, to reflect, to make sense of everything that had gone on in our lives before, and to pay attention to ourselves.

This kind of remembering, and thinking, requires that we remove all chaos from our lives, still our thoughts, and find a quiet place in which to think. It requires being alone. and yes, solitude. This runs against the grain of much that is currently proposed about being solitary. Being alone goes hand in hand with being lonely, psychologists and researchers say. The dangers of loneliness in the elderly are so well documented that any image of an older person sitting alone evokes feelings of dread and despair in us.

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Our Dream Home in the Country

Dream Home

Our Dream Home

We bought a 100 year-old French Canadian farmhouse once. It wasn’t a wise thing to do. We knew that right away. But we had two small children, all of our belongings in a van, and no where to live. It was 1967 and Vancouver Island, where my husband had just accepted a job, was suddenly overwhelmed with new residents.

We talked to the owner of the coffee shop, as we were having lunch.
“Happened overnight,” he said, “Hardly anyone living here for years, then suddenly, people all over the place, looking to settle down. Must be the Centennial. Never should have printed all those damned brochures.”

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Still the Lucky Few Newsletter-April 2016

Dear Readers of Still the Lucky Few,

It is almost a year since I launched this blog—a good time to send you my first newsletter! I won’t commit myself to a regular schedule for this, but will write you whenever I feel there is something regarding my blog that I’d like you to know.

Thank you everyone!

First, a big thank you to my regular readers, and especially to those of you who add your comments after reading a post. Comments are the bread and butter of a blog. They are the measure of how much you have enjoyed an article, and how much it has resonated with you. For most bloggers, me included, comments keeps us connected to the human race, rather than feeling that we are toiling alone in a dark, cold attic!

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Late Bloomers: Is it Ever Too Late?

late bloomersThere’s a difference between late bloomers, and talented older achievers.

Late bloomers arrived late to the party. You can say they procrastinated, dawdled, straggled, lagged behind. Some of them didn’t know what they wanted to do. Some didn’t believe they could do anything. Some tried earlier and failed. Some didn’t try at all until they were old. People called them dilettantes, and laggards. Late Bloomers have many different explanations for why they didn’t succeed at their craft when they were young. But they have one thing in common—once they became older and decided to start, they didn’t stop. Once they realized what they could do, they were on fire.

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A Senior Remembers: A Near Tragedy In Our Wellies

Wellies

Wellies (Wellington Boots)

Even before I open my eyes, I can hear my mother humming. She is singing softly, so she won’t wake us up,

“You are my Sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey.”
And not only that. I can hear birds outside, chirping.
Right away I know it is going to be an exciting day.
I wake up quickly and slip out of bed. When I pass the open window, I can feel the air coming in, so soft and warm. It fluffs up against my cheeks as I peek out and hold my face up to the screen.

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Older Adults: Access the Gift of Creativity!

creativity of older adultsWhether you are 60, 70, 80, or even 90, you can use your brain in such a way that this period in your life becomes your happiest and most productive.

It begins with an unguarded moment. We have all had the experience of letting our mind wander, and daydreaming about doing something entirely new. One day we are living an ordinary life—expending our energies just existing, taking care of every-day commitments and chores. The next day, a new possibility pops into our brain, and we allow ourselves to think about it—exploring tentatively at first, returning to it through the day, looking it up online, reading books about it, perhaps even talking about it.

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Creativity And Age—Some Startling Truths

Creativity and AgeWhen I was younger, I delighted in the work of Grandma Moses. Imagine, I marveled, starting painting in your 70s!
Now, I just shrug, so what? She had a busy life. She was a live-in housekeeper, a wife, a mother of five, and a farmer. Although she painted throughout her life, she couldn’t take it seriously until she was in her mid-70s, and able to take time off from earning a living.
But compared to other older people, who suddenly emerge out of nowhere, to thrill and impress us with achievements at an advanced age, she was a youngster.

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A Senior’s Early Years—The Old VW Van


VW Van
I owned a Volkswagen van once. We needed one for hauling seaweed for our organic garden, and carrying stuff around for our hobby farm. We knew there would be lots of them available—this was 1973, and many of the hippies who owned them were back now, from their travels in Mexico, where they could smoke marijuana without being arrested. So we checked every week in the want ads, and sure enough, we found one at the right price and in the right color, blue. It was a few miles away, in another town, so we packed a lunch, and my husband and I and our two small children took off for the day. If we liked it, we decided, I would drive the Renault back, and he would drive the van.

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