Author Archives: Ellys Phox

About Ellys Phox

For years, I worked as a social worker facilitating and encouraging prenatal care, positive parenting and birth control for teenage girls. Mostly, I sought to empower the young women to value themselves, to stand up for themselves. In this culture, where women are STILL paid less than men, respected less--objectified when young and marginalized as they move into old age, this is challenging. I am now retired and my wife and I are in our sixty's. As we head toward old age, we find it harder and harder to be self-sustaining. Our daughter and her partner, both 32, are finding it equally difficult. Though they are hard workers, somehow in this economy and with the reduced opportunity and pay to women, they are struggling. We have found, as a family, we need each other as much as we love each other. In the Lofty View Homestead, we have found a home where we can live, and work together as a family and support each other. Other than the work required to maintain a country property, I continue to write and self-publish through CreateSpace and Kindle ebooks. Ellys Phox is my pseudonym. The Performance and In the Mean Time can be found on Amazon.

#13 Thanksgiving at the Homestead

By Ellys

The week before Thanksgiving, the extended weather forecast called for heavy rain AND snow for the day before and during the Holiday. For many of the 17 family and friends, planning to celebrate with us, this would be their first visit to the Homestead and as previously mentioned, our road becomes quite dicey when inundated by weather! What if they got stuck, or worse yet, slid off the road!

It was clear that if the predicted weather materialized, we would have to call off the gathering. However,LV given the changeability of the weather around here, we decided to wait for a day or two, hoping wunderground.com might reconsider. Sure enough, by Monday, the forecast had shifted to predicting a sunny Thanksgiving and thankfully, they were right. Thanksgiving morning presented itself dressed in sunshine and wonder.

The day was lovely and everyone arrived without mishap. Counting the Homestead members, we had 22 family and friends here to celebrate! (It was wonderful to have you all here!)

Lynnie made the 20 pound turkey and everyone brought amazing offerings, including delicious appetizers, withanksgiving 2015ne, copious amounts of the most scrumptious mashed potatoes (my favorite), homemade dressing, vegis, salads, pies.

OMG, it was a feast; what wonderful company and all in all a delightful day.

OXOXOXOXO to all!

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#12 The White Stuff

By Ellys

It had been raining all day and just as we thought it was clearing, a front of black clouds roiled up the ravine and the rumblings of thunder grew louder and louder.

“Jeez, it’s pouring out there,” I said to Lynnie and went over to the window. “Wait a minute. That’s not rain!”

By the time I got to the front door and threw it open, the porch out front was white with sleet and tiny snowballs bounced and peppered the deck and yard.first white stuff

Raleigh and Reba ran out, sliding and sniffing, quite fascinated, having never seen the white stuff.

The back deck, too, was covered with white and stayed that way till the sun came out the next day.

What fun!

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#11 If Life is a Game…

this is life!If life is a game, this is the one we have been ‘playing’ for the past 8-9 months! Throughout this process, tiles have needed to shift, and then slid back again. Nothing has happened in a linear manner. From prepping to sell the place in Santa Rosa, having it on market and the heartbreak of failed offers, to finally selling, then buying the Homestead and moving to Benicia before we could finally move in for real—then moving and fixing and moving more, to say nothing of the repairing, building and cleaning, weed eating and brush scrubbing and continual unpacking.

Every time, at least two or three tiles had to shift for any one of these steps to be completed. It has been so disconcerting, frustrating and often confusing. As with this game, many of the tiles couldn’t be slid into a final place—but still had to move for the next step to be made– then moved back and then again…on and on.

Right now the biggest tile that needs to move is the pile of boxes in our downstairs project room so we can turn it into a slumber party room for Thanksgiving! But before I can unpack the art supplies in the boxes I have to put up the tall wooden shelf unit (one my dad build years ago) and it is a bit too tall to fit under the high utility shelves. So, an inch needs to be cut off the base in order for it to fit…but there are boxes sitting on the shelves and, right now, there is no place to put them…You get the picture?

And we continue, headed toward the goal of being ALL unpacked and somewhat settled! And more and more it is happening, one tile at a time!

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#10 Blue Skies Smilin’ at Me…

By Ellys

In the three hours of the ‘storm from hell’, over two and a half inches of rain fell! A really cool, copper rain gage came with the property, so we don’t have to guess, or take the word of the local weather channel.rain gage

The short part of our road that is dirt and gravel, punctuated by larger rocks, turned into a river and the soft low place became a treacherous muddy slip and slide.

Given this was our first storm experience since moving here, we were relieved to hear from the locals that this was NOT a typical downpour.

Then again, with the whole El Niño predictions for this winter, it might become the norm!

clouds1

And, yes—the storm did, indeed pass. The sun returned to warm our bones and dry the mud.

Within a few days, the pasture and the hillsides turned an emerald green. All those little seeds, fried in the 106-degree summer heat, wasted no time bursting out of their dried shells.

The turkeys seemed to like the menu change from hard hulls to a salad of sprouts!green pasture

And the song concludes: Blue days, all of them gone. Nothin’ but blue skies from now on.

I would like to say the rest of the song exemplifies our on-going experience at the homestead, but as we all know, ‘nothing but blue skies’ is unrealistic and frankly boring.

As unsettling as the storm can be, clouds are bound to gather, which is far more interesting than the clear, single hum of cerulean!

I say, enjoy the sky, however it presents itself!

 

PS: I just discovered how to make the photos bigger. Very excited. (I know–lame, right? But, hey, I’m easy. 🙂

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#9 The Storm from Hell!!

By Ellys

storm10   (click here–wait for it–turn the sound up–wait for it!)

The flash that woke me at 3:20 this morning was followed by the  booming of thunder–some of the loudest thunder, I have ever heard.

Actually, as much as I have always loved thunder and lightening, I have never experienced such an intense and LONG storm. The video clip (click on ‘storm10’ above) is from before it heated up and when it did, the thunder shook the whole house!

For three hours, a full minute did not pass without lightening flashing and at times it was more like a fireworks display! The thunder was nearly continuous, echoing in the distant, rumbling across the far ridge or crashing directly overhead.

Needless to say, I’ve been up since 3:20 this morning–YAWN! –so I’ll probably hit the sack early!

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by | October 17, 2015 · 3:24 pm

#8 Kelly and Ghost

By Ellys

One morning, the first week we werkelly and ghoste in residence here at Lofty View Homestead, a loud squawking noise woke us. It was early. The sun only peeked above the ridgeline.

Still in that place of hyper caution–you know, what with all the dangerous wild life in the area– I crept onto the deck outside our bedroom. I have heard that mountain lions often sound like screaming and—and—that they often hunt at dawn. I shivered, grateful the deck has no stairs to the ground.

Peering over the railing, I breathed relief at the sight of two peafowl strutting below, calling to each other. One was dark, with the typical iridescent green and black on the neck and tail feathers. The other was almost entirely white, with only bits of darker feathers. Both had the characteristic top knot on their heads.

“Hey look, Lynnie,” I called with great relief, “we have peacocks or hens or whatever they are…”

Of course, with all my commotion, by the time she got through the slider and onto the deck, the two had vanished around the corner.

“See that blue plastic bin there?” She pointed to the middle level of the deck. “There’s chicken scratch in there. I’ll bet the previous owner fed the peacocks.”

I opened the container and threw out several handfuls of feed, hoping the birds would come back around the corner. They didn’t. At least not then. But, every day for the next several weeks, their squawking announced the return of the two pea fowl.

Then one morning, they didn’t come. The next day, only the dark one showed and that afternoon we found a pile of large white feathers below the deck. We were all upset, but concluded this is what we have to expect– living on country property.

For days the dark one, who JP named Kelly (an androgynous name since we still aren’t sure if it’s a hen or a young cock) moped around, calling and calling. Then it stopped coming around at all. I kept throwing scratch out, but he didn’t show. We figured he’d gone the way of the wild, as well.

Then, just the other day, we woke up to the sound of familiar squawking. I ran to the window and, sure enough, the peafowl–both of them–were strutting up the drive, as big as life!

We concluded that the white one, after a narrow escape from becoming that midnight meal, flew away and hunkered down, until it recovered.

JP, appropriately dubbed it, Ghost. We are all thrilled she found her way back!

FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender2

Though the two don’t come by every day, they are still regular visitors to the Homestead!!

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#7 OMG! Get Your Boots!

OMG!  Lynnie just came rushing in from the yard hollering to get my boots on–that a deer was caught in the fence down by the goat shed below the garage! We could hear it thrashing against the half wall of the shed. The poor thing (one of the adolescent fawns) was hanging by his back leg from the upper fenced part of the pen near the roof!! Cannot figure out HOW the hell he ended up like that!!

Lynnie went inside the pen and I caught hold of the little guy’s head from the outside. This seemed to calm him, or maybe it just scared the shit out of him–but either way he stopped thrashing.

“Lift him up so I can get his hoof out!” Lynnie said. We were so afraid that his leg was broken. I lifted him and with the pressure off, Lynnie was able to get his leg free. I righted him, set him down on his feet and he shot off down the hill –using all four legs!!

SOOOOO glad!  My heart is still pounding.

Thank god for our Raleigh boy! He’s the one that kept barking till Lynnie went to investigate.

Wow! Now this is country living!!

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#6 HooRay! Writing Again: Whose Time Has Come

By Ellys

WTHC Cover part one

Not only has this move been exhausting, it has completely occupied my time to the place where my writing has seen little of me. My current WIP, Whose Time Has Come, has been on the table now for over three years (much of that time in serious research). Though the rough was completed before we started our ‘adventure’ in January 2015, there has been no time to complete the editing.

This is partly because the new book is a much longer, much more complicated story than ‘The Performance’ or ‘In the Mean Time’. It is also a departure from the genre of my first two books, embracing the historical, as well as fantasy and magic. (There will be a second book to follow it—and perhaps a third.)

Recently my kid, JP suggested, rather than hold off putting the entire first book out, splitting this lengthy tome into three parts. (Then do the same with the next book as well.) This felt so much more productive and manageable to me!

So, taking a break from the back breaking work of hauling boxes of books and clearing the land and cleaning rat shit from the garage, I have been focusing on splitting the book into three coherent parts and editing Part One: Whose Time Has Come: Suspend Your Disbelief.

It is my goal to get Part One out on Kindle by the end of October with the second part by mid-December and the final part of the first book by February 2016.

Wish me luck.

PS  Big thank you to Beta readers Debra A., Cindy, Emma, Simone, Bobby, Lynnie, Jess and to all those who have encouraged me along the way.

OXOXOXOXOXO

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# 5 More and More– Families are Pulling Together!

A few days ago, Lynnie and I went down the hill into Sacramento to attend a memorial for my dear friend, Pat. Sitting in the back yard, we chatted with a young woman, in her mid thirties, who had once dated Pat’s younger daughter. In the course of the conversation, I asked her where she lived.

“I live in Grass Valley –with my folks,” she said. “I’m kind of embarrassed to say –at my age—that I live with my folks…”

“You know,” I said to her, “more and more, families are pulling together, creating a more sustainable and cooperative paradigm. When families come together it’s a win/win for everyone!” We went on to share with her about The Homestead. She seemed to enjoy the reframe.

Years ago, most families lived close to each other. It was the norm—it’s what families did. They actively and practically contributed to the families success. Over the years, family connections have become fragmented and the emphasis placed more on individual pursuits. There is nothing wrong with this, AND, we are excited to have this opportunity to return to that place where families can actively, literally, physically support, encourage and really connect with each other. This is our goal at The Homestead—to create, together, a safe, cooperative, inspired, productive, FUN place, in which our family can live, grow and thrive.

We are excited and grateful that JP and Dusty (and hopefully Dusty’s mom) are participating in this adventure as well!!

Love you guys!

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#4 Calling 911!

By Ellys

Lynnie and I did a lot of unpacking and cleaning yesterday. We organized the projects room and hung more paintings on our walls. I did some editing of my next book and Lynnie did a computer job. By evening, we were both tired.

Full moon rising at sunset

Full moon rising over sunset

After dinner we relaxed with a Milk Stout, in front of some mindless TV.

Suddenly Reba and Raleigh leaped up and ran to the door. Headlights swung across the front windows and the dogs set to barking. Peering out, we could see a car stopped near the garage. I flipped on the outside lights and the car just sat there. No one got out.

Now, keep in mind we are on over ten acres, up a dirt road, with only two other houses above us. Our own driveway is long, ending at a closed gate.

“Who do you think it is?” I said. Lynnie didn’t answer, she just marched out the door and up to the gate to check it out. I stayed with the dogs.

The driver kept his window up and, as Lynnie approached, gee-hawed the car around, turning back up the driveway; but rather than go on to the road, he turned up the lane that dead ends at our big red barn.

I poked my head out the door. “What’s going on!” I called.

“Call 911!” Lynnie yelled.

“What?” I said, going out onto the front porch.

“Call 911!”

I ran into the house to get my phone, my heart in my throat. “What am I supposed to tell them?” I hollered back. “What’s going on?”

“Tell ’em someone is trespassing on our property, and they won’t leave,” she shouted. “And I’m gonna get my GUN!” She emphasized the last word.

Okay, Lynnie doesn’t really have a gun—well, we have a gun; it was left here inside a small, built-in safe in our closet, but we have never used it and there are no bullets. Of course the guy in the car didn’t know that…

By now, I was on the phone with the 911 operator who kept saying, ‘You’re breaking up—I can’t hear you.”

In between repeating the address, I’m screaming at Lynnie, “Get back here! Don’t be following them, for crying out loud!” Given there were no lights on at the barn, all I could see were the taillights of the car, way the hell up by the barn and hear Lynnie yelling she’s getting her gun.

When the 911 operator, finally could hear where we live, she kept asking me what I could see. I told her all I could see were the taillights of the car. I moved the phone away and yelled at Lynnie again to “Get back here!”

At this point, the guy in the car started to hollering, “Don’t shoot me, don’t shoot me. I’m lost!!”

“Well then, stop and back the hell up and I will show you how to get out of here!”  Lynnie hollers back.

Finally, the guy backed up to the drive. He told Lynnie he took a wrong turn—that he’s a car salesman delivering a car to an address on the next ridge over.

My thought? Sure—in the dead of night, without a follow car to take him back to town? Right.

The 911 Operator was calling into the phone, “Are you alright? Is everything OK?”

With the guy finally headed down the driveway and off the property, I replied. “We’re OK. They’re leaving.”

When Lynnie got back to the house, her face was spread with a big grin. “The kid in the car was scared to death. He really thought I was gonna shoot him!” She laughed. “That was fun!”

I imagine if that guy writes a blog entry about the events of the evening, it would probably be called, “I almost got shot tonight!”

Little does he know!

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