Today was one of those days I got to be reminded of who I am, or rather who I was many many years ago. Before I ever got into farming I had a joyful hobby breeding fancy rats and occasionally other little pocket pets. Since I also had a thing for furless animals I ended up hand-rearing a number of baby rats (whose furless mothers could not lactate.) It’s another one of those skills I now have that lays dormant and useless in an old dusty box in the back of my mind…. until someone insists on opening it again.
Someone posted to a group on FaceBook about three baby mice she found in a barn still suckling off their dead mother who had succumbed to wounds from a cat. Pretty much everyone posted back something to the effect of they’re mice let them die until one person who knew me saw it and messaged me. So I’m a sucker. I’m also the only one in the area who will deal with rodents (even the rehabbers here won’t touch them.) I contacted her and said I could come pick them up and give it my best. Their odds are not great. I’m not going to lie. It all depends on whether or not they will get used to the milk and nipple (a make-up sponge cut and wedged into a 1cc syringe) and eat or if they would rather starve. At this age, somewhere in week two of life, they’re especially hard to convince. This is made all the worse by the fact they’re probably within days of opening their eyes and eating semi-solid food on their own. So far I have tried KMR (kitten milk replacement) and light cream. I got two to take one sip so far. I will keep trying.
In the meantime I have gotten a lot of sweet responses… people who I had no idea were still following me on FaceBook who reminded me how I helped them raise a baby vole probably fifteen years ago. I had no recollection of this until it was brought up and all of a sudden I realized I have always been there helping, spreading joy, teaching, and making the world a brighter place. It’s nice to remember this because I think I lost sight of this very important ideal for far too long. These past few days have brought me such peace, joy, and hope. I will continue forward stepping softly and trying my best. Here’s hoping you are doing the same.
As summer comes to a close and my garden gives up the last of it’s labors I am forced to turn my attention to more indoor activities. Of course while there’s still no snow on the ground I will continue to travel for my other blog Catching Marbles but after that?
A lot of homesteading online seems to revolve only around gardening and raising of livestock – which is nice but not all inclusive enough. Traditionally homesteading included a lot more skills than just the preparation of food. In the winters women in particular would spin, knit, sew, read, and indulge in creative arts. So this is likely what I will be doing as well.
Lucky for me I just scored this wonderful industrial sewing machine. All I had to do was replace the switch on it which took me around $6 and fifteen minutes of my time, if that. It works like a dream and I am excited to get back into something I abandoned years ago: making corsets, historical garb, and designing other unique and beautifully odd clothing. It’s about the right time too because none of my clothing fits me anymore since a rather drastic loss of weight. Did I mention I loathe shopping? Nothing in these little podunk towns sparks my imagination like the things I can create on my own… Perhaps I’ll post a few of my creations from time to time. I’ll be starting out in celebrating androgyny, one of my favorite things in the world. And not to leave my dear readers out of the fun stick around because I will be starting an Etsy shop and I don’t know what I will be throwing on there but at the very least it’ll be interesting. Corsets, hand-made sculptures, knit octopuses… all likely! And if that isn’t enough I am going to see if there’s any arts or craft shows I can afford a table for. Time to get my name out there.
Well it’s been a rough few days. After eleven months planning and working I finally released my campaign to raise funds for a new farm and raised all of the $5 I paid myself to test the GoFundMe page which I have linked to everything – every travel blog page, every other blog I have, FaceBook, FaceBook groups, Twitter, just everywhere. And it worked – to a degree. My friends shared it on their pages with glowing endorsements that warmed the cockles of my heart. I got many more followers and likes on all my linked websites but only a little over forty people actually viewed the video – though over forty people also shared on FaceBook so clearly I was hitting on something there. Still to work so hard for five dollars was more of a blow than I anticipated. My body sort of fell to pieces. Yesterday I spent all day with a killer migraine that was lovely enough to come with full body aches and nausea so bad I couldn’t eat. Being here, in what I affectionately call the Love Canal house, is taking a fierce toll on my body and what I am capable of doing. Winter is always the worst and I brace myself for those cold and dark months.
But with all that being said I am NOT defeated. I am NOT giving up. Yes, I am frustrated that the only thing keeping me from such a clear and concise dream is finances. Fucking money. It always comes down to that and it always makes me so angry. Here I sit with so many talents and skills but none of them are apparently wanted enough to make any kind of income whatsoever. But I still try!
I’m taking this moment to refocus once again. I will continue to travel and take beautiful photos whenever my health allows. This is wholly good for me and probably what is keeping my sanity at the moment. And since my writing seems to be getting more attention these days I guess I will go back to working on the novels I once abandoned. They sat lifeless and dusty for too many years because I needed to puzzle some things out in my head before I could make sense of them. One I just had characters whose interactions with each other I couldn’t understand at the time but now I do so I will go back to work on that. I will make it my goal to publish at least one of my novels and at least one of my art books this winter, something I was planning anyway. Besides this I will use my new calmer self to clear my mind, work a bit on my spirituality, re-center myself with all that is good in the universe.
I will continue to work on my art and will put up a new Etsy store. This has failed me twice before but what else am I going to do with a surplus of figurines and magnets? They’ve proven unsellable at our cheapskate farmer’s market here and are just piling up in boxes. I will also continue to share my photos on Instagram because I seem to be spreading a lot of joy there. Every day I get over one hundred likes and about four comments and five new followers, the vast majority from complete strangers. Even my Twitter is starting to get new followers. Perhaps I have just not allowed any of this enough time. As long as I stick with it perhaps things will pick up. I still feel like I am on the right path, doing the right thing, going towards my destiny. I have had an unwavering faith in this. That has kept me strong. I will try to keep this is mind as I slog forward. It’s weird right now because I have been feeling way too wired and by that I mean connected to the internet. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I am interacting with people, inspiring others, spreading laughter and joy, but the secretarial aspects of this and the sheer amount of time it takes keeps me a bit overstimulated but I know these are the tools of my generation and what I must do to succeed. No breaks. This is a 24/7 world. I will try not to fall into the same trap everyone else does… Don’t let me get addicted to the likes, the shares, the comments, and new followers. Numbers are not happiness, even when they’re climbing. They’re just a gauge. I seek something far deeper and more meaningful and in the end I will achieve it or die trying.
So thank you for anyone who is still sticking around to read this overly wordy diatribe on not quitting. I appreciate that! I really do. Sorry I can’t be writing about how wonderful it is to be sitting with a bunch of free range chickens but I will get there again someday… I just know it. Until then let peace and love multiply in your heart and calmness settle your mind. You’re all beautiful to me.
This is going to be big! Time to start a new farm! Inviting you all to come with me!
Well, it’s been almost a year since I first was hit with the devastating news that I was losing the farm and my future on it. At the time it was the worst thing that could have happened to me and I was in utter shock and horror which was followed by anger and sadness which came in waves and washed over me again and again until I grew so very tired.
I won’t say I don’t still miss the farm – I really do – but this past year has been oddly wonderful. I have learned so much about myself and my place on this planet. Yes, I have had a lot to deal with but I think I have come through the storm with grace and honor and I think I have grown as a person so much that I hardly recognize myself anymore. I stand here tall and proud and ready to tackle this next chapter of my life with poise and passion.
I thought I was happy as the not-quite-housewife who ran a farm on the side and was hoping for children in the future. Now I realize I was only happy with the farm part of that. Granted I may always want children but only if the circumstances are right and they weren’t then. I was blind to that and thank my lucky stars I can see it now with such precision and clarity. My purpose here was not to be a housewife, I am so much more than that. My mind is realing all the time and I connect things and see things in a different way than most. It’s a gift and it’s going to lead me where I need to go. Today it was if I realized for the first time in years who I really was. I was looking at old computer files – comics I drew many years ago, writing I wrote at the same time, before I ever got into a relationship. I was startled by who I saw behind those little masterpieces – I saw someone so full of life, so full of humor, so unrepentantly eccentric and happy. I have regained my optimism, my passion, my creativity. All these things were lying dormant in my mind until they came flooding forward recently. Now I am sculpting, and pursuing photography, and traveling. With every little trip into the woods I have a silent conversation with nature and I feel reassured. With every piece of artwork I bring joy to myself and whomever receives the art. With every piece of writing I strike a chord with someone, somewhere, sometimes half a world away. I have never felt more connected, more needed, more alive, than I do right now.
It’s as if I had to go back to the beginning to remember who I was and upon learning who I was I could see who I had become and who I need to be in the future. I am stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. I am someone so full of life, so full of vision, someone who can see every possibility and someone who can at last achieve the impossible. All these years I thought so little of myself and everything I could do – I saw myself as just a shuffling and silly little thing, perhaps an amusing distraction but nothing else, but in this past year I have found my voice and it sounds like a roar. I am confident, capable, passionate, optimistic, and ready to fulfil my destiny as a visionary.
Yes. I will be on a farm again but it won’t be my farm – it’ll be our farm. Yours, mine, the rest of humanity. My farm will stand to benefit whoever it can, to help the lives of many, to educate, to inspire, to create community. Everything I have ever done, every thing I have ever been through, has brought me here and I stand before my ultimate jump nervous but not showing it as I stride forward with a newfound confidence. Thank you everyone who has come with me this far and thank you everyone who will join me in the future. I am not going away.
Although I am “between farms” I still am very much involved with the community – this take taking photos of other people’s livestock and hopefully rallying support.
Setting up at the season’s first farmer’s market, lamenting about gardening, and aspiring to the future homestead.
There is a happy balance between Old School Sustainable Farming and new and upcoming technologies. We CAN have the best of both worlds!
I haven’t updated this blog forever and I know I should – people are wondering, did I fall off the face of the planet? Not quite but pretty close. I am back to living with my mother and it’s been a month and hasn’t been easy. This house is hoarded to the hilt and there’s really no room for me here. It’s taken me a month to set up the pull out couch to sleep on, get the bathroom functioning, set up my bunnies in a proper habitat, and haul out the kitchen enough to cook in. Anyone who has had to live with a hoarder knows it’s a depressing prospect with no end. I wouldn’t be here if I had a choice. Still, in the face of what seems to be insurmountable odds I am not depressed or defeated. I have found within myself a strength I didn’t know existed, a hope for the future, and a joy of life.
I know the more time I spend here the more likely I will become sick and depressed so I have made it especially important to leave whenever I can. This has resulted in me starting up a new travel blog, Catching Marbles. I have decided to explore all the odd nooks and corners of New England, learning history and seeing beautiful sights in the process. And if you are still sticking around to see what I do as far as farming… well, I am starting up a garden here. It’s little and nothing like what I was doing before but I hope it’ll be full of whimsy and joy, keeping one last little bit of the farming life with me as I live “between farms.”
I continue to aspire to having my own tiny house and homestead and truly believe I can make it happen some day. I haven’t been looking for properties or new housing options since I moved in because I have yet to set up a work space here to do all my computer chores and continue making art for my fund raising campaign. This is driving me nuts but I will get there! And there will be no stopping me from there!
In the meanwhile I am looking forward to selling unusual cookies, maybe nougat, and weird pies (parsnip and carrot to start off with) at three local farmer’s markets – Rindge, Peterborough, and New Ipswitch. I may bring some art along too – really depends if anyone is interested. Life is not over. I may have taken the hard path and continue to do so but I feel it’s the right path and should I reach the end of it I will be so thrilled to be running an educational farm for the community!
It’s a sad day but Rindle Ridge Farm is no longer a thing. I moved off the farm a whole month before I was scheduled to because things were getting hostile and I didn’t feel safe there anymore. I did what I had to do. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life but I packed the rest of my things, loaded the car, and fed and watered everyone one last time with enough food and water for twenty four hours before giving my notice that I was gone. I offered to drive back and feed and water everyone again if I had to, at least a few more times, but I was told to stop dealing with the animals and that I was lucky I wasn’t being prosecuted for abandoning them. From here I was publically blasted on FaceBook as being the horrible wench that “suddenly abandoned” the animals. I didn’t bother to reply to this with the above information because I felt saving my reputation wasn’t as important as getting those animals the care they needed, even if it was from people who clearly didn’t have all the information on the situation. The goats were whisked away by someone thinking this was an emergency after being told they didn’t have any water (which was literally in front of the gate in front of the pasture. How these people checking in on them didn’t trip over it I will never know.)
I regret not being able to get the chickens in a better situation. There’s nothing good coming for them… but with that being said I have no regrets. I did what I had to do, I did it as respectfully, morally, and lawfully, as I could have. Now I am looking to the future! And this time when I get back on my feet and running a farm it’ll be for real, for myself, without the overwhelming pressure of someone who wants me to make it profitable two days before yesterday.
Money isn’t everything. It’s just a string of pretty numbers that can give you what you need, sometimes what you want if you have more. I am so happy to be away from that sort of goal keeping. You know what my monetary goal is from here on out? Getting enough money to get settled somewhere on a teaching farm and having enough to pay for my meager bills to live a simple rustic life. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake, not something that desperately needs to be achieved.
So I am living back at my mother’s in a far from desirable situation. I love my mother and get along very well but her house? I think it was imported from Chernobyl. At least that’s the only reason I can figure so many weird health problems happen here with every pet I chose to keep and myself. I struggle to keep my head above the water but I am remaining positive. I feel like I need to be here right now no matter how bad a situation it is because something better is coming.
I have yet to set up a work station for my art but I have started taking little road trips to keep my mind sharp and to get out of the house. I am starting to record my journeys in a new blog Finding Marbles.
And of course I continue to figure out my campaign to raise money for my future homestead. I also am continuing to look into all the options. Are shipping containers really cheaper? Can I manage to bury one so I don’t have to insulate it? Or is buying a tin “arched home” cheaper? Or maybe just going all out pre-fab tiny house is cheaper since everything is included? My mind whirls but I am getting a better grasp of what I need. I need a place with a large kitchen as cooking will be a big part of my life and I really would appreciate a full bath tub and a spot for a stackable washer and dryer. However other things in the house, like a bedroom can be compromised. I don’t feel I need a bedroom, just a place to put a bed and maybe a lamp if I decide to read in bed. Everything else is excess. I will also need a working space for my art which will likely take over the room traditionally used as a living room. Should I have need for entertaining space there is always the great outdoors or the possibility of adding on later. Of course all this depends on how many square feet I end up with and what I can do with it.
Thank you all for continuing to come with me on this journey. Feel free to stay tuned as I continue to make art and go to Farmer’s Markets, travel, and get on with my life. I am sorry there won’t be any more fun chicken photos for now but I have great hopes for the future.