Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Making a come back, and the hope at living....

She has gained 100# this month!

Several weeks ago, one of our previous horses trotted back into our lives, and would change how I look at re-homing horses forever. 

Mia was our first horse.  I purchased her for Katzya when Katzya was 10 years old.  Mia has always been the love of our lives and the gold standard in measuring the greatness of horses whom have come after her.  Mia is kind, quiet, and is as bombproof of a horse as you can get.  As years went by, and Katzya became a more advanced rider, she outgrew Mia in terms of riding ability, not because Mia didn't have the talent, but instead that at 25 years old she just didn't deserve the wear and tear on her body.  Because having horses is expensive, I decided we would find Mia a retirement home.  In my mind it was a waste of money to pay for a horse if we weren't using it, so  I looked for the perfect home for her. 

I really did this out of a place of love, and it had been said to me that this is how things normally go.  It's pretty common place for show people to retire and re-home their previous horses, so I thought I was doing the best thing for her when trying to find a place where she would only be ridden on occasion and could offer another family the opportunity at having a safe horse.  It was supposed to benefit everyone, man and beast. 

However I now know, I failed my horse.  I let down an animal who deserved so much better of me, and who gave me all she had to give, only to be put in a situation that is going to take a year at minimum to correct and that is IF it can be corrected.

The last month has been full of veterinarian and farrier appointments, a strict food re-introduction diet, and we still don't know what the future holds for her. 

I have promised Mia that she is home to stay for good.  If she leaves again, it will be because she has taken her last breath.  A friend who has given you the best years of her life, and whom you have trusted with your child's life, deserves that and so much more.

Friday, May 17, 2019

I asked God for a sign......



A year ago today would be the last time my Dad and I took a car ride together.

A year ago today, I picked my Dad up at 5 am to take him to the Cleveland Clinic for additional testing on his heart with the hope of preparing him for surgery to relieve the pressure in his head caused by AIDS dementia.  (I bloody hate both of those words....)

A year ago today, unbeknownst to me me, time was closing in, and to be honest I really struggled all day today.

So, tonight in order to clear my head, I decided to take Fenna on a walk downtown.  On the walk, I was crying and praying, and I said aloud:  "God, I need a sign.  Lord, I want the sign to be so obvious that there is no doubt.  I need to know my dad made it to Heaven, and that he's okay.  I would give anything to see him just one more time....."

As Fenna and I approached the Hotel Gallery downtown, I noticed it was "Open Mic" night.  I paused at the doorway for a bit to listen to a few artists perform, Fenna made herself comfortable at my feet, and we stood there on the stoop, watching the entertainment take place inside.  As I was getting ready to leave, I made eye contact with the owner, gave her a friendly wave and she motioned me to come inside.  I motioned there was a dog at my feet, yet she shrugged her shoulders and waved me in even harder.  Fenna and I quickly made our way into the Gallery, quickly sat at a table in the back, and were watching the artists perform, when I looked up and there was my Dad!

And I don't mean this man looked a little like my dad, I mean, I legitimately could not tell the difference between that man and my father.  It was as if, I was watching my dad on stage perform right before my very eyes.  As I sat there astonished, watching this man sing and play the guitar, it was as if the world stopped moving, and God gave me back my Dad for just a short while.  I left before the gentleman sang his last song, mainly because I didn't want it to ever end.  I couldn't bare to say goodbye, it would have felt like I was loosing my Dad all over again.

I hear this band will be back next week to play during "Open Mic" again.
Perhaps I will go back.
Who knows, perhaps I will become a "groupie"?!

To God and my Dad, I see what you two did here tonight.
Well played boys.
Well played...  



Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Grow where you are planted....


One of my biggest heartaches after The Reluctant Farmer and I parted ways was that I sold my Urban Farm.  I not only lost the place that cultivated my heart, but in essence I lost my identity when I walked away from everything.  You see, my gardens weren't just a hobby.  They were a way of life.  They were who I was.  You don't sustain a family for 6-9 months of the year on the food you grow yourself and not put your entire heart and soul into it.  At some point it surpasses being just a hobby and becomes a piece of you.

Ever since The Nurse and I bought our new place, I have had visions of a new garden dancing through my head.  I measured, plotted, and planned like we were going into battle.  The only problem was, the area I had plotted in my head for a future garden was right smack dab in the center of my backyard, and after already loosing a portion of our yard for 8 months due to regrading and tiling our backyard,  I honestly just could not bear to loose anymore grass.

We have a narrow asphalt pad that runs next to our garage, so I thought about gardening in containers, but honestly it was almost an insult to where I had come from and what I was used to.

And then I had a vision......

Behind our garage was a 20ft X 20ft concrete basketball court.  We were going to tear it up eventually, but it was going to be a project in the way distant future.  The more I stared at that concrete square though, the more my vision came to fruition, and they next thing I knew, the first raised garden box was built, and then the second, and the third, and... and.... and...

I don't have nearly the space I had before, and I miss my chickens and meat rabbits, but it will come.  My goal is to work my garden this year, and possibly add some rabbits before winter.  I want to put food away, and say goodbye to the grocery store where I can.

This will be a year of learning though, because I have never planted on concrete, but grow where you are planted, right?!  Even if I don't eat anything from this garden, having dirt under my fingernails again has  returned me to a place I have missed terribly.  A place I thought I could forget, yet a place my heart demanded I return to.  God, am I grateful to cultivate again!

    

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Being a Gay Christian in the United Methodist Church. What does it mean for us?!




Over the last few days, across my Facebook page, my news feed has been dominated by post after post regarding the 2019 General Conference of the United Methodist Church.  The United Methodist Church had been meeting this week to decide the future of the UMC and whether or not to uphold previous bans on gay clergy and same-sex weddings.  Today they decided to uphold the previous bans, and for a Christian-lesbian (Yes, you can be both...) it really hurt me for a minute, and I wasn't
alone.

The pain of the LGBTQ folks across the message boards has been so raw, and so real.  You can absolutely feel the pain, sadness and disappointment through the keyboard of the computer.  I've wanted to wrap my arms around so many of the hurt and struggling folks who were on these message boards, but it got me to thinking.....

The worst part of being gay for me has always come in the form of organized religion, and I found the church I attend now, when I was the securest I've ever been in my spiritual journey, but at my lowest point with organized religion.

I will never forget the first Sunday I attended church at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church.  That day was over 9 years ago.  I rolled into that church expecting to be hated upon entering, but there was something magical happening in that place.  That Sunday, I sat in the 6th row from the front, on the end, just in case I was going to be beat with a Bible and needed a quick escape route.  I came into that church that morning, with a ninja-princess-warrior vibe, and a chip on my shoulder bigger than I had as a hormonal teenager.  I DARED God to try and convince me being in church was a good thing.  In fact, as I sat there in prayer, I sort of shrugged my shoulders, looked upward towards the Heavens, and said:  "You want me here?!  Prove you exist in these walls, because until now I have never felt you in a church.  I need a sign Lord that I can be a lesbian, a Christian, welcome in a church, and I need it to be blatantly obvious..."  (I like to keep my conversations with God super real.)

And then it happened.  This bald man, with skinny jeans and glasses walked out on the stage and started to preach.  I remember holding my breath.  It was as if this man was preaching directly to me.  I can't remember the exact sermon that day, but I can remember Pastor Mike Slaughter saying something like this: "People always want to know my views on homosexuality in this church, and I am going to say it again:  Everyone is welcome here.  Not everyone in this congregation will agree, but if we start looking at one person's sins, then we have to look at everyone's sins, and there is no one here who can say they haven't sinned.  If we single out homosexuality, we also have to single out those people who are divorced, all the way down to those people who have had speeding tickets.  I expect the homosexual members to abide by the same principles in which the heterosexual members do:  I expect them to be faithful in their marriages, tithe 10% and raise their children in the church."

So, I did, and these folks have become my family.  They are the wacky, weird, yet fun relatives that save you at boring holiday functions. Like family, we don't always get along.  We don't all have the same beliefs.  But we have traveled together, served together, laughed together, and cried together.  They have been seen me at my best and at my ugliest.  And therefore, as people are questioning where they are going after this ruling in the UMC, I have decided I am staying right where I have been.

I'm secure in my relationship with God, and my relationship with Him didn't change yesterday because of some ruling at a conference.  My faith is steadfast, He knows my heart, and despite whether a church acknowledges it or not, He made me in His image, exactly how He wanted me to be.  I go to church to enhance my spiritual walk, not for validation.  I serve, because as we all know we do greater things when we're in community, and I'm blessed that my church welcomes everyone.  If you are reading this post and you are struggling with the UMC ruling, I'm going to need you to get up, adjust your crown, and remember exactly whose child you are.  He didn't make you to hate you!

Now get out there and go be the hands and feet of Jesus.
God needs all of HIS children today more than ever.
Like seriously, get up and go right now!
 



 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Recipe: Simple Liver Dog Treats



We bought a cow to put in our freezer last Spring, and when talking with the butcher about how we wanted our meat cut, I explained to him I wanted whatever by-products I could obtain (heart, kidneys, liver, tail, etc....) as well.  I use these parts of the animal to enhance our dog’s diet and because I like to use as much of the animal as possible.  As we were making room for the winter cow, I realized I needed to hurry and do something with the organ meat I had on hand in order to free up freezer space.

So this weekend’s treat recipe is a simple recipe made out of liver.  Liver is a nutrient-rich organ meat that can provide your pup with protein, Vitamin-A, and is an excellent source of copper, iron, and Omega 3-6 fatty acids.  This recipe is a favorite here with our dogs, and they go nuts for these homemade treats!

For this recipe you will need:

     1 lb. of beef liver (chicken, lamb, or pork will work too.) **
      6-8 cups of chicken broth

1) Rinse liver in cool water.
2) Fill a large pot with the chicken broth, and bring to a boil.
3) Add the liver to the boiling broth and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until done.
4) Allow the liver to cool.
5) Cut liver in 1/2 inch cubes.
6) Spread on greased, foil lined cookie sheet.
7) Bake at 250. F for 2 hours.

Enjoy!

Liver should be stored in the refrigerator for approximately one week, or for about 2 months in the freezer.

Liver should be fed in moderation do the possible overdose of Vitamin A.  If you have any questions about how much liver you can feed your dog, please consult your veterinarian.  


** Do not use deer liver for this recipe.  Where venison is an excellent muscle meat to feed your dog, deer can have “liver flukes” therefore making their liver unsafe for consumption.  



Please note:  ontheurbanfarm.blogspot.com or anyone associated with this site, assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences resulting directly or indirectly from any action or inaction taken as a result of following information contained or derived from this site or in any linked material.  Attempting to try any recipes is at the sole discretion of the reader.  The content on this blog is provided for information and entertainment purposes only.



Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day Skeptics




I've always been guilty of being a cynic when it came to Valentine's Day.  It has never mattered if I was in a long term committed relationship, or as single as a Pringle, my stance on Valentine's Day has always been the same: "It's a Hallmark holiday.  Save your money, and don't but my anything.  A card is just fine, and actually it's too much...."

What I realize now is that Valentine's Day is all about love, and in a world where hate, and negativity seem to be the new norm, we could all use more love!

So today, instead of running from Cupid and his arrows, what if we run towards him with our arms open wide, ready to receive love, and more importantly give love?

Today I encourage all of the Valentine's Day skeptics to go into the world celebrating the love you have for your significant other, family, friends. and anyone else who crosses your path.  If you have the chance today, spread love.

Treat that stranger to a cup of coffee.
Buy the roses.
Hold the door.
Hire the baby-sitter.
Thank the people who matter the most to you.
Eat dessert first.
Proclaim your love loudly.

Whatever you do, do it out of love, and spread kindness like glitter today.
Make it rain!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Happy Birthday to My Nurse!



Today is The Nurse's birthday, and as I reflect, I'm reminded just how much I love her.

To know my Nurse is to know a strong, fierce, talented, independent woman, with a wicked sense of humor and infectious laugh.  She has the tenacity of a lion, the heart of a lamb, and the mouth of a sailor.

Truthfully, I could talk about her all day, and all night, and still never run out of things to say about her.  Too many words become meaningless though, so I will just leave it at: She's the most amazing woman I have ever met, and I can't imagine not having her in my life.

Happy Birthday to the love of my life, to the woman who holds my heart, and rocks my world.

I love you forever and always.....  


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Recipe: Ander's Apple Cheddar Dog Treats


I have a confession to make:  I don't cook with ease.  What I mean is, I am not a natural in the kitchen, therefore, I follow a recipe to the tee.  I've been working on my fear of mistakes in the kitchen, but I have noticed I find myself being freer when I'm cooking for the dogs.  When it comes to dog treats or food, I am a rock star!  Check out these amazing dog treats I made yesterday.  The pups LOVED them!


Ander's Apple Cheddar Dog Treats:

1/2 cup natural applesauce, no sugar added
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of  enriched white flour or whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. backing soda
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder (Wonderful antioxidant!)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 medium-sized apple, peeled, chopped and cored
1/4 cup unsalted walnuts, chopped

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.  With a teaspoon, drop the dough onto greased cookie sheet, allowing about 1 inch between each treat.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  Cookies should be firm to the touch.  Let cookies sit 2 hours to harden.

Makes approximately 40 treats.

Remember, because there are no preservatives in these treats, store in an air tight container for up to one week.  Freeze if going to keep for a longer period.

Enjoy!



Please note:  ontheurbanfarm.blogspot.com or anyone associated with this site, assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences resulting directly or indirectly from any action or inaction taken as a result of following information contained or derived from this site or in any linked material.  Attempting to try any recipes is at the sole discretion of the reader.  The content on this blog is provided for information and entertainment purposes only.


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Woodland Creature's Grocery Fund



Saturday night The Nurse and I were driving home, and as we approached our driveway, 5 deer sauntered out into the road and in front of our car.  We both immediately got as excited as kids seeing Santa for the first time, pointing and giddy.  We finally saw the deer that have been making their rounds through our yard!

Right now it's common for deer to expand their "home radius" as food is scarce and they have to range wider in order to survive, and with the below freezing temperatures and snow we've had recently, these critters have been working overtime trying to find a meal.

We decided this week to set up a feeding station for the deer, and the other critters that eat from beneath our bird feeders.  It has taken them a few days, but this morning when I went out, there were deer, raccoon, rabbits, and skunk tracks all over!  Hopefully our donation to the woodland creature's grocery-fund helps them through these rough months.

May they will return the favor by helping me with my laundry or housework, just like on those Disney movies?!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Polar Vortex and Keeping Warm



The Polar Vortex is upon is here in the Midwest and to say it's been bitterly cold would be an understatement.  It's so cold outside that it hurts to breathe and if you're outside for even a few minutes your fingers are numb and you can't feel your face.  This morning, as my feet hit the snow, I expected it to be the usual soft snow, but instead it crunched under my feet, too cold to even give to my body weight.  

I was most worried about Chloe this morning.  The barn temperature runs about 10 degrees higher than the outside temperature, which isn't too warm when the outside temperature is -9 degrees!

I shouldn't have been worried though.  
As soon as I got to the barn, I was greeted by a hungry horse demanding breakfast, and she was warm as toast under her insulated blanket.  

There are very few joys in life as blissful as the sounds and smells of  a horse contentedly eating, even when it's below freezing outside....

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Butt Raisins!


We live right smack in the middle of town, but our lot of land is 3/4 of an acre and it's semi wooded.  Across the street from our house there are more woods, and last year we found the skeletal remains of a fairly large buck, so we figured there were deer in the area.  Kay was so excited when we found that skeleton and really wanted us to have deer on our property.  Sadly, we have seen no signs of deer though ever since.

And then Mother Earth dropped over 14 inches of snow on us in the span of about a week.....

Along with the snow, it has been bitterly cold many days, and truthfully it hasn't been fit outside for man or beast.

The other morning I noticed a bunch of tracks in out front yard.  They zig-zagged back and forth between out yard, the neighbors yard, and disappeared into the woods behind the neighbor's house.  At first I thought they might have been the tracks of a rogue dog, however when Kay and Piper Ann went outside to collect the mail, Piper made this delicious (To her!) discovery.  Our new friends left us: BUTT RAISINS!

It appears our front yard had a visit from several cloven hoofed animals!  The snow must have been too deep for them to find forage, so they came over to our yard to eat a little shrubbery, and take advantage of our always stocked bird feeders.  Can't blame a beast for wanting an easy meal!  We've added chopped apples and carrots under the bird feeders for them and their raccoon counterparts to help them out.

I'm not sure who's more excited in our house.  
Kay because her deer friends are back, the deer because he has an easy meal, or Piper Ann because her new friends leave her delicious "butt raisins".

Everyone is happy here on the Urban Farm!     



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Enough is enough


Several years ago, I quit dog rescue.  I couldn't handle the stupidity of people any longer.  I couldn't handle the fact that people suddenly needed to find their dog of 12 year a new home because it's fur didn't match their new couch.  (Yes, that was a thing and it was my final straw...)  I couldn't handle the inhumanity of people, and if I'm being honest, seeing people always behave at their worst made me hate people.  Rescue was tiring because it never ended.  You would place one mended heart and the next broken heart would find you before the ink dried on the first one's adoption contract.  It was a cynical, self gratifying cycle.  

In all my years of rescue I prided myself on the the fact I was never a "foster fail".  Now, there were times I did take on a dog who returned to rescue or I adopted because it was a bite case and euthanasia was the only other option, however for 22 years I never adopted a foster dog.  I was and always have been dead set against it. 

Just before Christmas, my daughter begged me to foster a dog she had fallen in love with.  This dog was in bad shape.  Definitely one of the worst cases of abuse I had ever seen.  I won't go into the specifics, but Rodger Dog had never known kindness in his life, had never known consistently being fed, and the abuse left him physically and emotionally incomplete.  Rodger Dog was terribly dog aggressive when he arrived here out of  fear, had separation anxiety something terrible, and his eyes eluded to the fact he didn't really care about life anymore.  I told my daughter that Rodger Dog could only stay with us long enough for me to find a rescue who would take him.  I told her, we didn't need another dog.  I told her not to got get attached, because he was not staying.  The truth of the matter is this though:  I couldn't give him up.

Perhaps it was the hollow look in his eyes, perhaps it was the hunched over posture that said:  "I can't do this anymore."  Perhaps it was the fact this dog showed absolutely no emotion what so ever with his body, or maybe it was the way he slept when he finally realized he was safe.  I don't know.  I have no idea what made me finally say:  "Enough is enough."  But, enough is enough.  

This dog is here to stay.  There is something fragile about Rodger that I can't quite put my finger on.  He's learning to be a dog again, learning how his new body works, and supposedly dogs don't generalize, but I can't help but wonder: "What if he feels safe for the first time in his life?  What if he thinks he's "home" only to have his life uprooted again?  What if he leaves us to go to a rescue and wonders where we went?"  I can't let him be lost, confused or feel pain again.  There is something about his broken heart that deserves someone saying enough is enough.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Goodbye 2018, You Won't Be Missed!



Last week as we said good-bye to 2018, I was as elated as a stay-at-home mom sending her children back to school after a summer full of refereeing arguments.

2018 shook me to my core.
It rattled my being.
It taught me what the word grief meant.
It nearly broke me.

I'm not normally one to wish moments away, but I had to remind myself continually in 2018 that all bleeding stops eventually, though many times I wasn't sure if that was true or how it would happen, and I found myself longing for a less chaotic life.

2018 was a huge reminder of just how fleeting and inestimable life is, and it has been the hardest year of my life thus far. The feelings of despair and sadness I've felt over the last year tops any and all other years of my life combined.

I am praying that 2109 takes notes from 2018 on what not to do!  Regardless, I am marching into 2019 warrior style, determined to live intentionally, and vowing to get my life back on track.  Life is too short not to, 2018 taught me that....