Overdue! The Therapeutic Post for Me

I’m overdue for a post, but what else is new? The rabbits have been continuously evaluated and some Silver Fox and American rabbits moved on to their new homes. I’ve lost another intermediate rabbit (sadly :(). More rabbits have kindled and some have lost litters, some babies are doing well and growing into proper bunnies. We’re getting ready for the Maryland Poultry Swap. There are piles of chicks everywhere, the ducklings are turning into ducks and my garden….

Well, I have a lot of planting left to do.

But the updates are for another post.

I’m going to get personal for a minute. So if you don’t like overshares, don’t bother reading. If you’re struggling with a heart rhythm disorder, feel free to read. Maybe I’ll give you some support, or maybe I’ll piss you off because our situations just aren’t the same.

This is a long story because I have to get it off my chest, not because it’s a particularly good story to read. It’s not life-changing for anyone but me. It’s about my anxiety, and my stress, and my need to feel normal again. And how one little [big] thing can throw that off. I’m not going to die, at least not today, and that’s the feeling I need to hold on to. Continue reading

Blog Awards

A month or two back I was nominated by The Belmont Rooster for the Versatile Blogger Award. While I’m going to do this a little differently, I wanted to thank him and just say I think in general, awards are a great way to talk about some blogs you’ve been reading and to get people reading and talking more. I know, I’m horrible at comments. But if I like something–I actually read it and enjoyed it 🙂

So, I figured before going out to palpate the rabbits and take some pictures on this last day of 2013 (and give you some long overdue updates not about our craft days!), I would give you a list of some more blogs to read. I’m not formally calling it an award, though you’re welcome to, and I’m not really following the directions, but–I’m just paying it forward.

These aren’t anywhere near all the blogs I follow or all the ones I enjoy. Generally, these are the people who post more frequently (thank you for entertaining me!) or who I interact with a bit more. Something about their blog or one of their posts intrigued me and makes me smile every time I see one of their posts.

There’s lots more great people out there. It’s a great community. Hopefully I’ll be able to start chatting with you all more!

  • The Tiny Homesteaders – This was one of the very first blogs I found and one of the most interesting as far as “working with what you’ve got.” I’ve learned a lot from his experiences, be they good or bad.
  • Farmgirl School – I was most enchanted when she asked for letters! I still need to write mine, but the thought of going back to penpals just makes my heart warm. Not to mention, everything she does with a small piece of land. It had me telling Mike this morning, “They have 2/3 of an acre with two goats and two alpacas. I want two goats and two alpacas.”
  • When Did This Become a Farm – This is a great blog if you’re getting into rabbit keeping, just because you get to see a bit of the day-to-day from another view. There seem to be few blogs about raising meat rabbits out there, and especially not one that keeps you so up-to-date and in-the-barn so-to-speak on what they’re doing. I know I haven’t been very good about it (to change soon).
  • Hey Lou Writes – She writes, she has chickens, she takes risks, she likes Harry Potter. Sold.
  • Pleasure Pastures Farm – The dogs drew me in!
  • The Electronic Homestead – I had to update to include her blog! I admit, it’s gotten harder now that her posts don’t show up in my feeder any more, but it’s interesting to see what she’s up to every now and then!

I Miss You, My Friend

I know what you’re thinking.

That I’ve forgotten about you.

That I’ve left you for someone else, someone with more chickens. Maybe a louder voice. A louder friend. You see, I may be an introvert and sometimes struggle being social, but I love extroverts. Every best friend I’ve ever had is loud and the life of the party. And then there’s me.

And then there’s me, who hasn’t forgotten about you. I think of you often. I think, “What can I write today?” And then I do a 10-hour day of work. I put favor bags together and build bouquets. I make burlap roses and frantically try to remember to call the caterer. I try the dress on every few days, then worry that I’ll miss a day and it won’t fit. And it will be too late.

If I haven’t told you yet, I’m getting married. In 11 days now. I want to tell you how my chicks are doing (they’re big now, they don’t come running any more, they all survived) and I want to tell you about my quail (only 11 hatched, only 9 survived, and then there’s Charlie), and I want to tell you about my rabbit conundrum. I want to tell you about the county fairs I’ve gone to and why I love work but struggle with corporate life and the 100 pounds of tomatoes I harvested in 2 days, and the 100 pounds of tomatoes I got for free. I want to tell you about my old house in brand new wrapping. I want to tell you about all the good things and all the bad, but, I barely have time to can the tomatoes (there’s still 150+ pounds in my house), let alone write you.

But I think of you, often.

I think about me, often.

I think about writing daily and exercising daily and sitting in my backyard talking to the chickens.

But I can’t. First, I need to finish my work tasks. I need to demand a day at the county fair. I need to get ready for the wedding. I need to not put on a pound in 11 days.

I don’t have a picture for you, but I have lots of good thoughts. I’m looking forward to the days before the wedding just so I can clean my house. But, before then–150 pounds of tomatoes to turn into sauce.

Oh, and before I depart–weddings are disgustingly expensive. But that’s a different post for another day.

This is Not Who I Am, This is Who the World Makes Me

Last week I was on my way to the creamery. I was excited; I’d picked a bag full of basil, cilantro and sage. I was going to make pesto, cilantro ice cubes and jelly. I was going to make ice cream. I had big plans.

Then, at the top of the little mountain we live on (we live at the foot of it), I saw some boys turn a corner. They were easily a quarter-mile ahead, riding 4-wheelers. And that’s when I thought, “I’ll be damned,” and sped up.

Me, in the big red Jeep, trying to push it to 50 in a 30-mph residential zone, so I could speed up and see what their 4-wheelers looked like.


Because ours was stolen. Continue reading

Scaredy Cat

As I tucked myself into bed tonight, I thought of all the things I should have done today:

  • I should have put in another hour of work so I would have less work come morning
  • I should have written out the wedding invitations instead of buying return labels
  • I should have written a story
  • I should have cracked open that last egg and written a post
  • I should have closed up the chickens

Wait, what? What was that, Jessica, you said? You should have closed up your chickens?

Yes indeed. At 11pm I was trying to fall asleep with the dogs on either side of me (Mike still at his friend’s house, fixing the truck). I debated whether to leave the TV on or off, because I appreciate the sound. I wondered if the dogs would fight each other in the middle of the night. I thought, “If something gets at the chickens, the dogs will hear it, I’ll hear it, and then I’ll go outside.”

I know what you’re thinking. That’s not how it works. You don’t get to have a night off because you don’t want to go outside.

But here’s the thing–I was a bit scared.

Yup, me. Twenty-six years old and I’m still a little afraid of the dark. Continue reading

Maryland Poultry Swap Haul

Yesterday we went to the Maryland Poultry Swap out at Green Hill Farm. This is a bi-annual event that Erin (owner of Green Hill Farm) runs every June and September. I think this was the third year, but I can’t be sure because it’s the first for me! All I can say is I cannot wait until September 14th to make the next one! If you live anywhere relatively close to the Maryland/West Virginia/Virginia line, I suggest you make the trip (some vendors came from Ohio!). And if you’ve been needing to take a cross-country trip towards the East Coast, I suggest you do so that weekend and make a detour at the swap!

We got there at 10:30am and I can’t even imagine what it would have been like had we gotten there earlier. I’ve seen a lot of the poultry vendors say they had sold half of their stock by 11am. So if you’re used to showing up halfway through an event like us–this is not the time to do so! I wonder what we might have picked up had we gotten there earlier. Actually, I can tell you exactly what would have happened. I would have come home with more birds and probably slipped a duck or two in my purse.

There was almost anything you could have ever wanted there when we got there. Incubators, cages, show cages, feeders. Quail, pheasants, turkeys, and guineas (I now understand why people say they are loud little beasts). Peacocks and peahens of all varieties. Rabbits (primarily Lionheads, Rex, Lop, and New Zealand)–I resisted because they didn’t have the breeds I wanted. Ducks and geese. Chickens of all types, though I saw mostly polish and I think the silkies were cleaned out by the time I got there. Hatching eggs. Candles. Bat houses. Pizza. Soap. Found vintage items. Guinea pigs. Goats. Pot-bellied pigs. Bluegrass music. Fudge. St. Berndard puppies. Flowering pots. Vegetable starts. Terrariums. I’m probably missing things because it was so overwhelming that the first time I walked through I thought it was a little small. The second time I walked through took over an hour, though to be fair I had to rush back to a few stalls a few times.

There were things I missed out on either because I got there too late (more chicks), I shouldn’t have brought them home to begin with (St. Bernard puppies, pheasants, and goats), I waited too long to go buy them (hatching eggs), or I never got a chance to go back and get them (terrariums, paintings, and soap). But trust me, I made out with a good haul. Pictures (though not the best) are behind the cut. Continue reading

In Summary: The To-Do List Just Got Longer!

This long weekend unfortunately turned out to be less productive than we were hoping. Had things gone according to the original plan, we should have at least gotten some progress on the chicken coop, finished planting everything, and maybe cleaned up the house. Instead, we only got a little bit crossed off on our to-do list and still have a pile of dishes in the sink. Saturday threw a wrench into things, and we used that as an excuse to run errands for most of yesterday and today.

But, we did get some things done and I wanted to post some updates on that! So here’s our progress from Saturday and Sunday. Today the only thing we got done was to pick out a caterer for the wedding (mmm, barbeque!). It just means this week will have that much more for us to get done.

Continue reading

The Story of Diesel

I know it’s only been a day, but I have to get this off of my chest. Just so you understand my frantic reaction to Dixie, to the despair I felt, even when it was because I was too stupid to remove my dog from a fight properly. I get that it’s my fault, and I’m in a much better place than yesterday although it’s still hard to explain to people why my dog isn’t a bad dog.

But let me still start with Diesel, and explain why any sort of aggression towards humans–and especially towards us–makes me feel helpless and like I will never own a dog again. Because there was a moment on Saturday that I thought, “If we have to put Dixie down or send Huck back to the rescue, I will never own a dog again.”

This will be a long post. Extremely long. I’m going to cry by the end and I don’t even know how to make you understand how much we loved this dog and how much we put into him. But you’ll get the long-winded gist of the story. Continue reading

I look like a raccoon attacked a hobo

Today did not go according to plan. Things were going great. Corn bed was put together, newspaper down, compost filled. It was windy, so no bees, but we made it to the tasting on time and had time to come home and start potting some of these leftover plants. There are tomatoes hanging in my carport, herbs planted in the garden, and the backyard is mowed (courtesy of Mike). We even went back and got a second load (2 tons) of compost. I even took pictures of everything to document it, which is something I always want to do but never do.

Then one of our neighbors stopped by to say hello. It was about 7pm. Way past the time the dogs should eat. We were talking to our neighbor when I noticed the fur on Huck’s back going up, a growl start in his chest and then–

Him and Dixie were at it again. They used to fight all the time. Huck has bitten my arm when I’ve broken them up (in an attempt to attack Dixie) and Dixie has sunken her teeth into my leg when I lunged between her and Huck once. You know–when you stick yourself in the middle of a dog fight, you’re going to get bit. But things had been quiet for a few months. A few squabbles, but nothing BIG. Huck turned 2 back in November and so we thought–this is it. They’ve sorted themselves out.

The last few weeks, things have been getting worse again. It’s very bad when Dixie hasn’t eaten. You can’t reason with the dog when she’s hungry. But she’s ALWAYS good with people, with kids. If she’s eating, a kid can walk up and dip his hand in her food dish and walk away without a scratch.

Apparently, I can’t. Don’t worry, there are no pictures behind the cut. Continue reading