I've had a pesky rear tire that keeps going flat every few days. It turns out it has a slow leak in it due to a nail. Today, Blake and I set out to have it repaired at the local discount tire store. Blake clearly had a better time than me. I had to shell out over $100.00 for a tire. Blake weaseled a child out of some french fries and a chicken nugget.....
Thursday, December 8, 2016
There is comfort in being greeted by a whinnying chorus of hungry charges on a crisp winter morning, the smell of horse sweat and molasses in the air, and the rhythmic chewing of hay. Where I feel like most of my life is hurried, I don't rush through this task, I instead love to set my pace and let my stress melt away.
From the moment grain hits a bucket, or twine is cut on a bale of hay, there's a peace in knowing you're providing for another being. It's primal, it's humbling, and there is an easy silence that resonates deep within my soul. It makes everything right in my world and it's a miracle I am privileged enough to witness every morning this week.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
From the moment my tires hit the gravel driveway, I can feel the stress of my life melt away.
Here, I feel at home: mind, body and soul.
There is no judgement, only acceptance, and I yearn for the easy silence that I find here.
It's funny how life works.
In the midst of chaos, my heart has found happiness and a place to call home......
Sunday, October 2, 2016
One of the challenges I face as an author is oftentimes how much to share with my audience. I feel an obligation to share with you the funny and the good things going on in my world, but I get stuck when it comes to the personal aspects of my life.
I have been writing this post all week and after talking with a dear friend of mine last night, I realize I need to be honest with not only myself, but with you as well. I know I don't "owe" anyone anything, however I sort of feel if you choose to live your life publicly, if you invite folks in with your words and wit, encourage them to sit down with a warm cup of coffee, and invest in your craft, you do owe them the truth.
Life is not just fluffy bunnies and rainbows. Life is the good, the dissenting, and at times is downright hard. Today's post is not injected with humor and cute pictures of my animals. Today's post is raw, and it's real.
This week The Reluctant Farmer and I ended our relationship.
This decision was not easy, and it was not taken lightly, however it was one I had to make. You see, in life, I try to be 100% real 100% of the time. Likely, this is why I always have something to write about. Last year I went to a workshop on how to be my best self, and I had to identify with the fact I had questioned my romantic feelings towards The Reluctant Farmer for some time prior, and identified that even though she has so many amazing qualities, I thought of her as more of a friend. I had marinated and meditated on this for quite some time, and finally I had to "come out" with what I was feeling in order for me to live my authentic life.
For now, The Reluctant Farmer and I are going to continue living together as roommates. I think this arrangement will work out for the both of us, as well as Miss K and the animals. I pray we can make it through this and come out on top as friends. As always, thank you for showing up to read what I write, and for standing with us as we embark on our next adventure......
Monday, September 19, 2016
Some days you work for a paycheck, and some days you work to pay the vet bill...... Today was the latter.
When I arrived at the horse barn tonight, I was greeted by a tearful teenager. The teen mentioned is a wonderful young lady who turns our horses out to pasture everyday, and she loves our horses as much as we do. Often our two horses, Bob and Mia, get turned out together, and her gelding and our horse Bob often times get turned out together. Today, she thought she would let the three of them out all together, but it turns out the saying it true. Three's a crowd.....
What we can gather is that our mare must be in heat, and the boys must have been vying for her "love". What started off as a benign everyday event, ended up with Bob looking like he was on the loosing end of a bar fight.
As every parent knows you either have the child at preschool who gets bitten or the kid who does the biting. Evidently we have the child who gets bitten. I reminded our teenage friend that it's impossible to control how animals act and react. You can't control an animal's thoughts or emotions any more than you can control the spinning of the earth on it's axis. It's just not possible.
There will be no riding for the next 4 weeks, but all and all we're blessed this just required a few stitches and a shoe box full of money.....
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Late last night we were on a dark country road in the rain, coming home from my mom's house, when The Reluctant Farmer's headlights illuminated several pair of eyes along side the road. Instantly I pulled out the "mom seat belt", thumped her across the chest and exclaimed: "Do you see those eyes?!" This was immediately followed by me saying: "Seriously?! Those are kittens!"
The Reluctant Farmer then said the most profound statement I have ever heard her utter: "Should I stop?" Now, I'm not entirely sure why she asked me this question, but I feel I deserve BIG kudos for not pointing out this was the stupidest thing she had ever asked me... (We have been together for 7 years, and there has never been a point in that time when I have not "stopped" if it concerned the welfare of a stray/sick/injured/orphaned animal or homeless person.)
Perhaps she was thinking she was going to get lucky and I would not make her participate in this adventure. Alas, no.....
Me: "Um, yes! Turn the car around!"
We turn the car around. I get out a flashlight, and I instantly see all these little eyes staring back at me. I did the infamous: "Here kitty, kitty, kitty!" And out of the brush comes the first kitten. Now I am not sure if it's because this was the female of the group, therefore making her supremely intelligent or what, but this girl (Molly) is NOT stupid. She saw her ticket to a warm car and full belly, and thought: "I am outta here, boys!" I quickly picked up the wet, shivering ball of fur and ushered her to the car when I then went back for the next one.
This boy (Harry) made me work a little for his trust. I had to get Molly back out of the car, show Harry that Molly was loving the fact she was warm, and slowly Harry allowed me to pick him up. Quickly we drove back to my mom's house for a box and a better flashlight. We decided to give it one last go, because I was not convinced I only saw 2 pair of eyes peeking out of the brush at me.
On the next pass, an additional pair of eyes glared back at me. This is where the night gets fun...
Armed with a can of tuna and a flashlight I am calling "Kitty, kitty, kitty!" No, kitty.... This goes on for several minutes and I can hear the kitten in the brush, but I can't see him. Suddenly, a nice man and woman pull up behind our car and ask us if we needed help. As I am crawling around on my knees looking deranged and drunk, I explain I am looking for a kitten that had been dumped, fully expecting them to leave, but no! Suddenly the brush lights up so bright I am sure we can be seen from outer space! I turn around, and there is the man from the car with a flashlight so big, we could have landed an airplane on that dark country road. And for 45 minutes, in the rain, that man and I worked on getting that kitten to come to us.
The "dance" was brutal and I kept saying things like:
"Kitty, just come to me. My house is crazy, but you will be well fed and warm."
"Come to me kitty! Coyotes and kittens are a BAD combination!"
"Dude, seriously?! Do you know how much stress you are going to cause me because I can't catch you?!"
And my personal favorite:
"God, why would you show me 3 kittens but only allow me to catch 2?! You know this shit is going to drive me crazy, I will not be able to sleep tonight, and that is not fair! I call bullshit!"
Slowly the last kitten creeped out from under the brush to eat the tuna I offered, and as it was making it's way towards me, I told the man behind me: "Here's the plan. You shine that flashlight on the kitten and don't take it off him. I am going to likely get the crap scratched out of me, but when he drops his head to eat, I am going to snatch him up by the scruff of his neck."
And just like that, with some cat like reflexes and the skills of a ninja, we caught the 3rd and final kitty (James). Excitedly, I hurried back to the car, where The Reluctant Farmer was talking on the phone and I hear her say to the person on the other end:
"Oh, she's back! She didn't die!"
It was then that she explained to me she saw a guy approaching while I was crawling around on my hands and knees, and she could see 2 flashlights in the darkness, but since she did not see the beams of light whirling all around in different directions, she figured I was not struggling for my life against the stranger.
Do you see what I am working with folks?!
I thought about leaving her on the side of the road, but I needed someone to drive the car....
The kittens are all safely home, and are doing well, however I need help with this project.
If you feel compelled to help monetarily to the Herd of Kittens vet care costs, I would greatly appreciate it. I have started a donation page in hopes of raising funds to get them vetted and into new homes. In rescue, I rarely ask for donations, but I am out of funds after saving another cat last week who had been dragged by a car. Please donate if you are able to, or share my post at a minimum.
It takes a village folks!
Thank you for being in mine!
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Tonight, the struggle was real.
Tonight, I wanted a doughnut.
I didn't eat a doughnut, but I REALLY wanted it.
Instead, I took myself, albeit begrudgingly, to the gym to hit up the treadmill for 30 minutes.
At first I was a raging bitch with no will power, however as I watched the calories I burned add up, it dawned on me. If I ate that doughnut, I would have to walk 3 mph for 90 minutes to burn the calories I consumed.
And do you know what I hate more that NOT having a doughnut? Exercise! And the thought of walking on that treadmill for 90 minutes brought that doughnut craving right on down to a screeching halt!
Keeping it in perspective, although unhappily at times.....
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Today was a long, hot day.
Today was yet another day of sitting around the barn waiting for "shit" to happen, literally. Mia just picked at her hay this morning, not really caring if she ate or not, which was surely a sign she was not feeling well, as Mia greets everyone who comes by her stall with a nicker, begging for treats. On a good day, Mia is like an ill-behaved dog begging from the dinner table. More concerning was the fact Mia had quit drinking water and had not pooped. The lack of stool was a big concern.
Again, we had the veterinarian come out to check on her and he felt if she didn't start moving some stool, we were going to have to make some difficult decisions.
He encouraged us to do whatever we would normally do that might result in poop.
Miss K rode her bareback for a bit. No poop....
Miss K gave her a bath, because she loves to poop in the wash rack. No poop....
Miss K hand walked her and let her graze. No poop....
Finally after several hours, the sky parted and poop happened. I have never been so happy to see horse turds in all my life! I am hoping we have turned a corner and are galloping full speed ahead, right towards wellness!
Today I was reminded, for as big as horses are, they sure are fragile creatures....
Last night at about 8 pm I got a call from my "once-husband" stating the stable where we board our horses had called him and it appeared one of our horses was colicing. These are not the words any horse owner wants to hear! Colic is a relatively common digestive problem in a horse where the horse experiences severe abdominal pain, discomfort, and the inability to defecate. All horse owners know, where colic can is common in our equine friends, it's not a benign word. Colic can be the synonym for death.
Grabbing my credit card and leaving dinner on the stove, Miss K drove us to the horse barn where we found our mare Mia, not feeling the best. I called the veterinarian praying this would not be deadly for our sweet girl.
When the veterinarian got there he was able to give Mia medication for pain and passed a tube into her stomach filling, her with water and mineral oil. All the normal things to treat colic.... He instructed us to wait and watch Mia for several hours, to make sure her condition did not worsen.
Finally, just after midnight, with Mia eating a little hay, we left the barn for home, and as I looked up in the sky I noticed the most beautiful full moon. In the world of animal husbandry, a full moon often goes hand and hand with crazy or weird encounters. Last night I think the full moon was mocking me.....
Friday, July 15, 2016
Recently, The Reluctant Farmer and I have noticed the gate in our backyard has been left wide open. I have been more than slightly cranky, blaming her for being so irresponsible, stating homicide as a possibility if my dogs happen to escape the backyard and become injured. Well, after last night, things make sense, and I realize I have wrongly accused her.....
Tonight The Reluctant Farmer downloaded Pokemon GO, and after running around like a 10 year old on a sugar high, collecting Pokemon figures, she goes out to our backyard and says: "Hey! We have a Poke Stop on our deck!"
I immediately wrote Nintendo and asked them to move the Poke Stop to our front yard, since that is where our Little Free Library is located. I am all about luring families to books while playing a video game. I am not on board for folks free ranging in my backyard.... That is a Poke NO GO!
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Lately, as I watch the world erupt in hate, my heart hurts. My heart doesn't just hurt for one group of people, it hurts for all of humanity. The massacre last month in Orlando, the killing of Philandro Castile and Alton Sterling, the shooting of nearly a dozen police officers in Dallas, has left me asking: "Why?!" and has caused me to pause and reflect on how we can counter the hatred and violence in our country.
After my morning meditation, I opened the front door to retrieve the newspaper, looked down and there was an empty egg carton with my neighbor's name written on it. Around here, an empty egg carton is the universal sign our neighbors need fresh eggs. I, as their neighbor, feel I have an obligation to make sure they are taken care of, just as they would or have done for me.
Standing there with the empty egg carton in hand, I immediately reminisced back to last week when one of my dogs ate an entire bag of dark chocolate. Realizing I needed to quickly make the dog purge herself of a potential deadly overindulgence, I reached for a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, but alas: it was empty. I quickly ran to the neighbor's house, was given a bottle of peroxide, wishes for a healthy dog, and a kind text message reminding me "help was only 2 doors away!"
Simple acts of kindness between people, and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, is exactly what's missing in the world. When did we stop loving each other? When did we become so blind to the humanity of our brothers and sisters that we are willing to kill them over their sexuality, religion, race or occupation? It's time that instead of fighting against each other, we stretch our arms out towards one another, rising up and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
On the night of the July 4th, The Reluctant Farmer and I were on our way home, and we passed this barn. The barn sits by itself, out in the middle of a field, with only a few trees to keep it company. I imagine, years ago the trees sheltered a house which sat there too, but I don't know that to be true.
"Miss K" and I passed this barn every week last fall, as it's on our way to her horseback riding lesson, and every week I would say: "I wish I had my camera...."
As luck would have it, I did have my camera the eve of July 4th, and I was so happy to take pictures of this beauty. As I was circling her, I found myself caught up in the "click" of my camera's shutter and I welcomed the strong sense of peace I felt in the middle of that soybean field. With the essence of strength and sovereignty whirling about me in the breeze, it seemed fitting I would meet this girl on a day our country was celebrating it's independence.....
For additional picture of this beauty, please visit her album on our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/OnTheUrbanFarm/photos/?tab=album&album_id=651665014981318
Sunday, June 5, 2016
Today was a day full of hard work, but I am happy to report we have the 2016 garden up and running! We did a massive amount of weeding, and bed preparation, but it is done. I am so pleased that the chickens were able to "prep" these beds all winter with their manure, because I am not kidding you the soil was so rich it was black!
The garden contains:
12 cucumber plants
25 tomato plants
2 different types of lettuce
6 honey dew vines
8 watermelon vines
2 eggplant plants
6 bell pepper plants
2 hot pepper plants
2 tomatillo polants
2 yellow squash plants
2 zucchini plants
1 spaghetti squash plant
My hope is for large harvests and a reduced grocery bill......
Saturday, March 26, 2016
|Photo Credit: Wikipedia|
Last night "Miss K" had a bowling party with her high school equestrian team. Thank God I had the fore site to eat before we went to the bowling alley, because you know how much food you can eat at a bowling alley when you are on Whole30? NONE! But my God, did it look good.... Seriously, it was if my brain had a split personality.
Some folks I didn't even know sat down next to me, and had the greasiest, gooiest, cheesiest pizza I had ever seen and all I could think was: "Divert your eyes... Divert your eyes... Seriously! Divert your damn eyes!"
And now I know I have hit rock bottom.
After those folks got up to leave there were 4-5 pieces of their pizza left on their table, and for a second I seriously had this thought: "Those people looked clean enough. I could probably eat a piece of their left over pizza. I mean why waste good food?!"
It was at about this time that the logical part of my brain piped up and said: "Are you freaking serious?! That is disgusting! We do NOT eat left over pizza off stranger's tables! Control yourself!"
Turns out "logical brain" won.
But damn that cheese looked good.....
Cheese is my gateway,
Friday, March 25, 2016
|The only cupcake I am getting is the soap kind!|
Last night, I woke up out of a dead sleep at 11:30 pm, because I wanted a cupcake. I didn't just "want" a cupcake. I "needed" a cupcake the same way my lungs "need" air. That's how much I "needed" a cupcake.
It went like this:
At 11:30 pm, the house is quiet. All beings are sound asleep. I sit straight up out of a dead sleep, with a clarity like no other, and say: "I need a cupcake!"
I look over at The Reluctant Farmer, who is sleeping peacefully and I know.... She needs to get me a cupcake. So, I shake her awake....
Me: "Honey! I need a cupcake!"
Me: "I need a cupcake, like NOW! Can you drive to Meijer and buy me a cupcake?! They have a 24 hour bakery I think! AND I want LOTS of icing!"
RF: "Are you serious?!"
Me: "Um, yes! Don't I sound serious?!"
RF: "No. No, I am not going to go buy you a cupcake at midnight. You made it all day with no sugar. Go back to bed."
Me: "But, now I am not tired."
RF: "Fine, take a Melatonin, and tell me if you still "need" a cupcake in 30 minutes."
Now, she knows I can't even take a child's sized dose of Benadryl with out passing out. (I am a cheap date!)
But, alas. She was right. I didn't need the cupcake....
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
|Kicking it old school and "juicing" my own O.J. by hand...|
Today I lived....
It wasn't easy. My body is pissed, and I am craving sugar like a crack addict needing her next fix. I am going to do this though. It helps to think that I just need to get through the next meal. And the next meal, and the next meal... This adventure is not as daunting if I look at it in shorter increments.
Tonight, The Reluctant Farmer said to me: "Well, congratulations! You lasted 12 hours longer than I thought you would!"
I wanted to reply: "Thanks, honey!" all sarcastic like. But, I used my mouth filter. (Which is hard to do when I want/need some carbohydrates....)
Truth is, I lasted 12 hours longer than I thought I would too!
Mazel Tov to me!
Wanting sugar and potatoes,
Monday, March 21, 2016
|I will miss these guys....|
Tomorrow I am doing it! I am going to eliminate dairy, grain, alcohol, processed food, refined sugar and legumes from my diet. I have been wanting to try a Paleo diet for a long time, but I just can't commit to giving up all of that amazing, delicious food for all of eternity. I'm not good at commitment....
I am going to try this program called Whole30. It's basically Paleo, but a little more strict. However, 30 days seems much easier to swallow than giving up wine, Pepsi, and cheese for the rest of my life. There is an excellent chance I won't succeed at this, but on a positive note, if I fail, I can still enjoy the weekend!
Begrudgingly changing my life,
Monday, February 15, 2016
4 days ago my life changed. I would like to say it changed for the best, but my mind is not convinced that's the truth just yet.
4 days ago I took the plunge and committed to giving up grain, dairy, legumes, processed food, alcohol and refined sugar for 30 days. This decision come after I had some blood work results that were not too stellar a year ago. At that time I meant to do something about my weight and the year got away from me. Several weeks ago I got my yearly blood work results back and they were worse than ever before. This year my bad cholesterol was worse than bad. My good cholesterol eluded to the fact I never exercise, and my pancreas is working harder than a Target employee on Black Friday. Weighing 233#, it's time for a drastic change. I have hit rock bottom and I never want to be here again.
There have been a few things helping to push me towards making the changes I need to make, other than the deplorable blood work.
The first thing is a blog I stumbled across, 100 Days of Real Food. I discovered this family's blog, and after reading it I really wanted to stop eating food and food substitutes that were full of chemicals. I know eating whole, real food is important. It's the basis of what The Reluctant Farmer and I have built our life on, and we work so hard to produce healthy food for 6 months of the year. How have I allowed myself to get into this situation?!
The second thing is a weight loss competition we are having at work. We have done this competition several times, and I have never really taken it too seriously until a recent conversation. After the last competition ended, a co-worker pulled me aside and said: "I know this is going to sound bad, but you were my rabbit through this competition and I just wanted to beat you. I didn't want to be the heaviest person here anymore."
Well, you know what? I am nobody's rabbit! It is time to get my ass in gear....
Sunday, January 17, 2016
This past spring we bought 8 Americauns pullets to raise for eggs, but after 2 turned out to be roosters and a raccoon got in and killed 4 pullets, we decided to re-home the other 2 girls and try again. In August we purchased 10 golden comets. A breed that lacks beauty but makes up for that in personality and egg production. (This breed is the friendliest breed of chicken we have ever had!)
The girls we purchased in August were born around the 4th of July, so we were expecting eggs at the beginning of November, however as Mother Nature's days get shorter, chickens don't produce eggs. A hen needs 14-16 hours of sunshine a day to produce eggs, and where it is possible to supplement light during the winter to force a chicken to produce eggs, but that is not my style.
I leave the egg production up to my chickens and their natural cycle. There is a school of thought that hens actually stay healthier if they are not "pushed" to produce during the winter and even though our chickens are a food source for us and are not our pets, they are a living being and we try very hard to make sure we treat them fairly, with their best interest in mind.
Last week the temperatures got down into the low teen's and single digits, so I started turning the girl's heat lamp on for them just to keep them a bit warmer during those chilly spells. (Before some of you start writing me to tell me heat is not necessary for chickens, I already know that. I just feel like a little heat is a good thing when it gets bitter cold.) Inadvertently, I must have stimulated a few hens into laying their first eggs, because today when I went out these beauties were waiting for me!
Breakfast is served!
Monday, January 11, 2016
Animal care in the winter is a fine dance.
With temperatures plummeting into the single digits, and snow flakes swirling around us, Lilly and I are diligent about making sure there is fresh water available to "the girls," and that our hens are tucked in well for the night.
There is something peaceful about farm chores and knowing your animals are well cared for. Some nights I sit in the garage, basking under the glow of our chicken's heat lamp, listening as the hens happily "chortle". I get lost in the sound of their beaks eagerly pecking grain, and the rustle of straw under their feet.
In a life where I sometimes feel as if I'm loosing myself, this primal dance brings me back and connects me to the earth.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
|Photo credit to Susan Johnson|
Today was the day Star left for her new home, and I will miss her, but I will enjoy the break this gives me.
It feels good to know you have played a part in helping a damaged soul on to their next stage in life.
Therefore rarely, if ever, do I cry when a foster dog leaves. In my mind, they don't belong to me, therefore they are not mine. I don't get wrapped up into thinking that I am the best home or the only home for a dog, and I don't want to send them off on their next adventure playing off my emotions. That would not be fair to the dog or their new owner.
I am proud of this girl, and I know she will do well in her new home. She has a great family who is very dedicated to helping her overcome her past traumas. I have complete faith in this arrangement and I'm blessed that I was able to meet some amazing new people out of this experience.
I really struggled with my decision to quit rescue a year ago. When I left I was so bitter and angry with the lack of humanity I saw on a daily basis, that I didn't look back or second guess my decision. I have to admit though, it was nice fostering Star. I enjoyed that instead of being in charge of the rescue bullshit and drama, I was able to just enjoy working with a dog. Fostering for American Belgian Malinois Rescue was a dream and I would definitely work with them again. They are top notch, and really care about the dogs under their care. They were courteous, kind, prompt, and are the sort of folks that give rescue a good name. It felt good to work with a group who had the same "rescue morals" as myself. It was perfect!
Perhaps this adventure helped to heal two hearts, the dog's and the human's.
|Photo credit to Susan Johnson|
Monday, January 4, 2016
Dear Forever Home,
Soon I will be letting go of a piece of my heart, so your heart may grow. Several months ago, we opened our home to a creature who was scared, shy, and knew little human kindness. Today we are proud she is ready for the next step in life: being loved by you!
Please remember to be patient with her. She desperately wants to please you, but fear overrides her mind frequently. Pay attention and celebrate her small victories, for they are mountainous to her, and if you pay attention you will notice her moments of fear become less and less with each passing day.
She looks innocent, but she's not. Do not trust her to be left out of her crate. I have lost a few socks because of that trick!
She loves people and wants to be with you. Because of that, she barks in her crate at night if the crate is not in your bedroom. If she can see you, you will all be happier! (If this is not an option, she does respect a citronella no-bark collar, and your house will smell fresh too!)
She is coming to you with a solid "sit", a decent "down" and she is housebroken. She is also coming to you well loved. Please love her like we have loved her: unconditionally and without exception. We have loved this girl boldly, and she is accustomed to being kissed, having her nose rubbed, ears scratched, and being told how beautiful she is. Like most women, she especially loves to sit on the couch and eat cheese while you tell her how beautiful she is....
Always remember, my phone number is 937-***-****. If you ever need anything, I am only a phone call away.
Lastly, CONGRATULATIONS! You just adopted one hell of an awesome dog!