About martha0stout

I like to read and write and hang out with my family and friends. I currently live on a farm and all that such a living entails.


We have no control over their actions. We can only control our own.

Levi Savage, “17 Miracles”

There comes a time in life
When we stand in pain
Hurt by the actions of others
Knowing how easy to lash back
Whether it is deserved or not is not known
In the end, it matters not
For each must answer for our own
Not for another

It can take time for someone to learn a new way of thinking, a new way of living. It’s not something easily done or even done just once. It’s a choice that has to be made again and again. Sometimes you’ll find yourself backsliding for the way forward is harder than you thought and you are tired. That doesn’t mean you can’t turn and keep going again. Others might step away from you while you are working on yourself, just as you might step away from your path. There is never any guarantee that they will return to you, and though that might hurt terribly, we have to accept another’s choice. That isn’t easy. None of this is easy. Life isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.


Springtime Redux

Author’s Note: I originally wrote this last year on April 13 which was kind of funny because that made it the second year in a row that I woke up to freshly fallen snow, but never posted it because right after I finished writing it I got a call that my brother-in-law had been in a car accident. (He’s okay. He’s still recovering somewhat, but is mostly fine.) I didn’t really think about this post again until almost a full year later. Even that was mostly because I woke up this morning to 2ft of snow (and it’s still snowing). So I thought I’d finally post this.

If it’s Springtime in Utah, my true love gave to me…

Twelve chickens trying to join the ducks
Eleven eggs gathered every day
Ten attempts at rat-catching
Nine cookies as the cut-off limit
Eight hours studying
Seven ducks ignoring their house
Six legal adults in the house
Five times I’ve walked into a wall (today)
Four cats sleeping with grandma
Three dogs frolicking
Two rabbits happy in the garage
And waking up to still watch it snow

Why do we even bother to think about it being spring? Seriously. I went to bed and it was lightly snowing. I thought it would hang around for a bit after sunup, but melt like it usually does. It’s still snowing. Every time I glance up at the window the snowfall is slightly different, but still coming down even as the accumulation builds up on the ground. The chickens only care because we haven’t opened up the duck yard to let the ducks wander around eating the grass and bugs and so they (the chickens) can’t get into the duck’s little house to lay their eggs. Half of the children lay eggs under Wonton’s house, but the other half like to lay them with the ducks like they used to before we had to split the flock due to amount of birds and the size of the ducks’ house. Wonton (our pig) loves having the chickens hang out with her even if they stopped laying the eggs where she could reach and eat them. She’s very sociable.

Our oldest dog is loving it! Our second oldest dog just likes to chase her rats and their pup in the snow. Said pup loves to eat all the snow but doesn’t want to be left outside. We have to grab a bunch of snow to bring in for him to eat to get him to come in because he’ll bark if we go in without him. The cats are torn between playing in the snow and wanting to hang out in my mom’s room because it’s the warmest room in the house. Except for Usako. She’s an old lady cat who doesn’t like the snow at all and doesn’t want to go out and chase vermin away from the animals like our other cats. She just wants to sit where the sun is the warmest or on someone if she can’t find a convenient sunbeam.

The rabbits were moved into the garage as we were working on fixing their shelter and haven’t quite finished it yet. they love the garage even if they aren’t allowed the full run of it, but with the snow… I’m glad we moved them.

I’m tired from all the studying and keep walking into walls. It’s funny to watch, I’m sure, but it gets old quickly. For me. It gets old quickly for me. My niece and nephews find it the height of hilarity. (If I were them, I would too.)

This is based on an earlier post I made back when the pandemic was first starting.


For we are more than blood
And we are less than those gathered
Memories shared of those gone
Instinct calling like to like
Love when there wasn’t always like
You find those you choose worth much

A few weeks ago, the eldest animal we have suffered a stroke in the night.

We didn’t discover it until the morning when I was feeding everyone and she was having difficulty moving around. I won’t go into the details, but it was terrifying. I watched my mother have a stroke in the middle of the night. I watched her recover from it. I have watched my darling Usa recover from her stroke as well.

It was only afterward that I realized I wasn’t the only one who would be profoundly affected should Usa not recover. She is, in a way, my eldest dog’s older sister. They were both raised by the same cat, though years apart and at very different times in that cat’s life. Each of my three dogs kept a close eye on Usako as she worked to recover from her stroke. The truly telling thing is that she actually allowed it.

Usako has always been a bit prickly when it comes to others, especially other animals. Her mom wasn’t much better, though if you were going to live at Cotton’s house, then you were going to live well and pull your own weight as much as possible. Cotton wasn’t a large cat, but she wasn’t small either. She could and did rule a large section of land around our first farm and she taught Vincent (our eldest dog) everything he knows about hunting those who would prey on ‘his’ animals as well as taking care of those under his care.

(I’ll never forget watching Cotton catch and bring mostly dead animals to feed our youngest pregnant cat in the week or so leading up to her giving birth. Cotton hadn’t even wanted us to keep Freya in the first place.)

Even with all of that, Usako doesn’t rule the way her mother did, but everyone gives her space when she walks by. She’s our eldest nonhuman on the farm. She was born under my bed when I was a teenager. I think there’s been maybe half a week where she wasn’t living with one member of my family or another her entire life. She’ll be 18 this year and I know I won’t have her forever. She’s already lived longer than her own mother by almost 5 years.

She let the dogs, who are each so much larger than she is, keep one of them near her for over 24 hours even as we humans kept an eye on her as well. She refused to let us make things easy for her in most instances as she recovered with one exception. She adores getting canned cat food now as we’re really worried about her water intake. That doesn’t mean she didn’t try to steal the dry food that the others still eat. (She can make the jump! I was so worried that she’d never be able to make that kind of jump again.)

I’ve known that my dogs and cats are an intergenerational adopted family for most of their lives. Vincent and his mate Helena had a litter of puppies and we still have one of those puppies. They also adopted two kittens who came home just as their puppies were being weaned. One of those kittens then also had a litter of kittens, and we still have one of them. We had an orange cat, ‘Cutis, who passed last fall who was Vincent’s brother and who Cheese, the puppy we kept, adored like he adored no one else. All of them love Usako just as much as I do if differently.

This was supposed to be a short-ish post, not long and rambly about the family dynamics of the animal family members in my home.

Usako does love her little brother and the continuation of their family even if she finds them annoying sometimes. She used to sleep with Vincent when he was a puppy. She wasn’t so wild about Vincent and Helena’s puppies, but she was a lot older when Cheese and his siblings came along. She wasn’t thrilled with us during the first month we had Helena, but in fairness, we were moving houses at the time, so it probably had more to do with that and her mom also passed during that time. It was a hard month for everyone.

But that’s life a lot when you have people you love that get hurt or get old or get sick. It’s hard, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.

Usako’s an old lady cat, but that doesn’t stop her. Having a stroke doesn’t stop her. Cheese had to relearn how to walk as a puppy after he had seizures (which he hasn’t had in 3 years now), but that didn’t stop him. Losing his mom and our older dog Sissy so close together along with other animals didn’t stop Vincent, though it certainly broke his heart for a while. The family that our family animals have created is multigenerational between cats and dogs where there’s only two instances of actual blood relation, but that doesn’t stop them from loving each other or loving their humans. When Usako leaves us, whenever that may be, it will hurt, it will be hard, but I’m glad I got to know her and love her in the first place.

The Choice

While movement is needed to heal
Ordinary tasks feel impossible
Relying on determination to power through
Taking time to rest is also required
Hoping that everything holds together

Times I have wondered, in pain
Having the thought of another way
Even as I know there is not

All I can know is to move
Going forward needed regardless
Opening myself to healing pain
Not going to ignore what’s needed
Years it may take, but not regretted

Started this because I’ve thrown out my back and it’s agony to work through the stretches for something like a week now. It got me thinking about the pain from emotional and mental wounds, though. We have to stretch in more ways than just physically when we’re hurt in more ways than just physical. It hurts when you’re healing because you’re having to build back up a piece at a time and you still have to rest to keep what’s healing from breaking down all over again.

I read a post once about a child and their parent arguing over whether whatever doesn’t kill you actually makes you stronger. The dad went away for a bit and then came back and reminded their kid about how they had fixed the kid’s bookshelf after it broke and how the use of the wood glue with the screws had made the shelf stronger now than it had been before it broke. Because they had been talking about this, the dad realized that it wasn’t the breaking of the shelf that made it stronger, but the act of fixing or healing it, which was a choice that they had made instead of just throwing the shelf out.

So it isn’t the thing that tried to hurt or kill you that makes you stronger after surviving, it’s the choice you make to heal and then sticking to that choice even as it hurts.