YouTube Junkie

“We toss the coin, but it is the Lord who controls its decision.” (Proverbs 16:33)

Who would have thought that life could change so much in the blink of an eye. I know that sounds like a cliche; it is. I’m not sure what I would have–could have–done differently. I fell while going out to shovel the driveway in anticipation of work the next day. Sure, I could see the ice coating the driveway but, in order to shovel myself out, I had to navigate over it.

Now I’m laid up.

Yesterday I was wallowing in self-pity. The mortgage is behind. I’ve been knocking on every housing assistance door in Connecticut. Mom & I have visited a couple of local food pantries to get by until I’m back to work. I put up a Go Fund Me campaign to see if I can generate help with the bills/mortgage that way. And I am grateful to the friends who have been generous in their support; it is appreciated far more than you can ever imagine. I’m still looking at a hefty mortgage payment in three days that I don’t have adequate funds to pay.

But I’m taking it on faith. Either He will provide the means in time. Or He won’t…because maybe He’s forcing me into a decision I haven’t quite been able to make. I’ve spent the better part of 9 years’ oscillating between selling out and relocating (which might just mean closer to my work in Massachusetts) or finding another part-time income to help supplement…provided I can get back to work next month. My medical leave has been extended another month until the third week of March. Of course, part of that oscillation has been the very honest two years of unemployment, followed by 6 years of underemployment. It’s only been a little over a year that I finally found a full-time position. So, in short, the financial means to relocate hasn’t been here…anymore than the means of providing the most basic cost of living. I was still playing “catch-up” when my accident happened.

Okay…so some of that wallowing factor is still happening here…

And yet, it’s not crippling me completely. I’ve spent the better part of the afternoon knocking on those doors I mentioned earlier, filling out applications, etc. to see if there’s something to help preserve this would-be homestead…either here, or in a new location. We have to allow for processing time though. So…

…in the meantime…

When I’m not writing, working on my novel, I’ve become a bit of a YouTube junkie. Having my left arm in a brace means my activity levels are pretty low. Where my days’ off, especially in winter when farm activities are pretty minimal anyway (outside of feeding), used to be spent watching gardening shows on YouTube (Jon Kohler’s Growing Your Greens: BBC2 Gardener’s World with Monty Don; Charles Dowding’s No-Dig Gardening), now I’m expanding. Roots and Refuge Homestead. Off Grid with Doug and Stacy. The Urban Farmer with Curtis Stone. Living Big in a Tiny House. Tiny House Living. I’ve watched videos on raising angora rabbits, angora goats, silkworms, and training border collies to herd the sheep I don’t have land enough to raise.

Yet…

In addition, Mom & I have had a lot of laughs watching Late Night with Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. And ooh-ing and aah-ing over agility competitions where, most of the time, the border collies rock! I’ve watched interviews with old “idols”: Kevin Von Erich (pro-wrestler); Rik Emmett (frontman, Triumph); Jane Seymour. The latter happened to be a walk-through with her researching what became of two of her aunts during The Holocaust; it was actually quite interesting. And she gave a bit of advice in one interview about how her mother always taught her that when you’re down and have nothing to give, you give more. I’m paraphrasing but, in essence, her mother was big on giving back, of giving help to someone else in need. By doing so, you open the door to resolving your own problems. That one’s been taken to heart quite a bit. I’m looking for ways that I can do just that.

Lastly, I’m feeling like a kid watching MTV again. Music videos. This weekend it was some 80’s, early-90’s music that I haven’t heard in a long time: Powerstation; Platinum Blonde; Andy Taylor; Triumph; April Wine; Concrete Blonde, etc.

Of course, the nostalgia conjured up by this music does sort of feed the wallowing factor a bit. I remember my dreams back then and how I gave up on them. I have no desire to give up on the current ones. Ironically, in remembering, it also feeds my determination to hold on to the current dreams; I’m not getting any younger.

Maybe in a month’s time that first draft…well…let’s not jinx it by giving voice to it.

May God bless you & keep you!

PS I would be so grateful if you would share my Go Fund Me link with your friends, family, acquaintances and readers. https://www.gofundme.com/9fymzf-medical-leave?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_content=campaign_link_t&utm_campaign=welcome

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One Day At A Time

“He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! Trust in the Lord God always, for in the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength.” (Isaiah 26:3,4)

I’m holding onto these words of encouragement. As I navigate through this forced convalesce, and watch the bills pile up, and receive letters from the new mortgage company threatening foreclosure, and the bank account getting smaller, the above passage from Scripture reminds me that He really is in control…and my faith tells me He has a plan.

Even if I can’t see it.

I’ve been on the fence about whether to sell and find land/farm in another location, somewhere a little more manageable from a financial standpoint, but also more acreage, less house. The logical, human side of my brain says, if I do default, what are my chances of being able to purchase again? I need to keep up on everything to build my credit score up. Yes, I can see that dream farm somewhere in upper-state New York, or Maine. But my “day” job is in Massachusetts. Logic is saying it’s all beyond my reach. That I need to really push back, commit to staying. And trust that He’ll get me over this rapidly-growing bump in the road.

My faith says to trust in Him…regardless of the outcome. Though it all looks impossible, nothing is impossible with God. He is not bound by human rules of equity and credit scores. And, if the opposite is His will for me, then He’ll provide whatever I need to make the next mortgage payment, car payment, etc.

He’s teaching me patience…I say this while I rail and chafe against both my limited mobility–and my limited cash flow.

More importantly, He’s teaching me to truly put my trust in Him. I have too much of a grasping nature, holding on too tightly to what I have. In short, He’s teaching me to let go.

Can I do it? This one’s a tough one. I don’t like not being in control (as if!)…or at least feeling as if I’m in control.

So, I take a deep breath…

And wait…

And fret…as only I know how to do.

And keep reminding myself that, even if I can’t see the outcome at all, He’s got this. And His ways are always perfect.

May God bless you & keep you!
https://www.gofundme.com/9fymzf-medical-leave&rcid=r01-15506107597-500376eb83394fe0&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w

Go Fund Me Campaign

“And it is He who will supply all your needs from His riches in glory, because of what Christ Jesus has done for us.” (Philippians 4:19)

And so it has come to begging for help as I navigate through this convalescence. I fell on my own property, I am technically still employed (even if unable to work), and thank God, I should be able to return to work eventually so I am not considered disabled. But I am disabled…temporarily. So, I am swallowing my pride and reaching out everywhere for some helping hands. I am forever obliged.

May God bless you & keep you!

https://www.gofundme.com/manage/9fymzf-medical-leave

Goodbye to 2018

“The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; He rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins.” (Psalm 34:18)

In a perfect universe, this post would’ve made it up onto this blog on New Year’s Eve. Mom and I were home, rocking it out with YouTube videos: Casting Crowns, Mercy Me, Francesca Battistelli and then we switched gears and went a little bit country with Brothers Osborne and Carrie Underwood. Mom’s a little bit country, I’m a lot a bit metal. (I restrained myself with the latter) Despite all of this, we both retired about an hour before midnight.

Anyway, I guess we can call this a bit of a New Year’s resolution (of which I seldom make). I decided not to write one of “those” blog posts every time a pet passes away on the farm but to honor those memories on New Year’s Eve. So, while I’m a few days’ late (ever the eternal procrastinator), these beautiful hearts left for their eternal home this year:

Corporal Denim…this little guy started off as a scrappy youngster seven years’ ago, pecking and kicking whenever I went out to feed him. Thankfully, he settled down once the teenage hormones settled down and became a beloved pet–and Sargent Feathers’ right-hand man in keeping the ladies safe and secure.

Prudence…she and Corporal Denim were part of the same batch of chicks back in 2011. This gentle soul will be sadly missed! (Plymouth Barred Rock on right)

I also lost one of the younger chicks that came home with me in April, Sherry, and Whimsy, the duck with the wry neck. I’m not sure what caused Sherry’s passing; I found her lying on the barn floor one morning. No marks/cuts so it didn’t appear to be the result of any fighting/pecking order issues. She was acting a little droopy/lethargic the night before but no specific symptoms of an illness beyond that. Whimsy’s wry neck, as she grew into an adult-sized duck, started messing with her sense of balance. I had consulted the vet and had plans to take her in but, before we could go, Mom found her lying with her face in her water bowl. We’re not sure if she lost her balance trying to get a drink and couldn’t get back up out of it, or if it was simply her time and that’s where she came to rest. I grieve Corporal Denim and Prudence for the elder, beloved pets they were; losing a couple of young ones like Sherry and Whimsy is equally hard, even without the time to really form the deeper bonds that come with those added years.

I had some sort of illness/parasite go through my rabbits this summer. I am even considering it might have been the E-coli issue as all of my rabbits typically get a mix of leafy greens each day and romaine lettuce has been, until recently, a regular part of the mix. Although why (thankfully) it didn’t affect all of them eating from the same mix, or if E-coli even affects rabbits the same as it does humans, I don’t know. I lost half of them though very quickly: Mama Alys, Stormy O., and Blizzard. Like Prudence and the Corporal, they have been a part of this homestead–and deeply entrenched in my heart–for a great many years. Alys was 7; her daughters 6. With Alys and Blizzard it hit too fast. There was no time to call the vet. With Stormy, I made the appointment as soon as she went off her feed but the vet couldn’t see us right away (I need a new vet for my rabbits…). And, over the next 2 days while we waited, Stormy perked up and started eating again. I made the worst judgement call imaginable–I cancelled the appointment because it seemed she was on the mend. She died the next day. The pics are in order: Alys, Stormy and Blizzard:

Gone but not forgotten! Here’s to hoping 2019 will be a healthier, happier year here at The Herbal Hare Homestead–and on your “homestead”, too.

May God bless you & keep you!

Now What?

“He nurses them when they are sick, and soothes their pains and worries.” (Psalm 41:3)

Yes, I know. It’s better not to ask such a question. You never know what gremlins are listening. (Chuckle)

My left eye and ear were slightly puffy and extremely itchy yesterday. I woke up this morning and they’re both quite a bit larger than normal, really red and irritated and I have a rash spreading down the left side of my face, under my right nostril and under my jaw. I’m assuming it’s some sort of allergic reaction so I’m waiting for the doctor’s office to open to see if I can get in. If not, then I guess it’s another trip to the ER before everything swells completely shut.

Now I’m certainly not dissing the medical profession, especially when needed. But all I keep thinking is, “Really?” This year has been the most challenging one I’ve faced: the flu twice (don’t do shots due to bad reaction 3 years’ ago to a tetanus vaccine), heat exhaustion (one episode landing me in the ER), an upper respiratory infection, plantar’s faciitis, a broken toe and now an unexplained swelling and rash. I have health insurance but it doesn’t cover Connecticut physicians. And this out of pocket stuff gets old pretty quick.

But, alas, I carry on, knowing He has a plan for all of this. The impatient little monster that I am would love to know at least a smidgen of what that plan is. Learning patience? Probably. I seem to be forever in short supply of it. (Insert heavy sigh) However, whatever the plan, I know He’s got this, too.

Here’s to hoping the rest of you don’t have quite as itchy, red and irritated a day. (Did I mention I’m a terrible patient?)

May God bless you & keep you!

15 Minutes…to Remember Who I AM

“We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor 4:8)

I neglected the “remembering who I am” part of yesterday’s blog post. The manic dash through what has become my “life” has made me neglect what really matters to me most: family, friends, farm, even my faith.

No time.

Struggle to make time.

I should be able to find the time.

Why can’t I move today?

So tired…

My poor, neglected garden.

We look like Tobacco Road.

I’ll never catch up.

Overwhelmed…

Depressed…

Sorry, Felicity, but I only have 2 minutes to get on the road again…as my cute, little Nigerian Dwarf goat extends her upside down Madonna grin at me. (Felicity’s gapped teeth are in her bottom jaw, not her top, like the singer’s…)

Guilt.

I could’ve spared her a few more seconds of my time. What if this was my last day with her???

Then I’d be late…

Again.

Who cares? (I do…they do; anyone would…)

More depression…

Those are the arguments, thoughts, feelings, etc. the little hamster running the wheel in my head is sending up on an almost daily basis. No wonder I’ve been rundown. And overwhelmed to the point of being unable to take the steps necessary to be less overwhelmed.

I read a notice on the bulletin board in my doctor’s office last week. It was a summer schedule suggestion to move kids away from too much screen time to actual play, chore, exercise time. The schedule listed just 15 minutes of reading a book; taking a walk; making your bed/cleaning your room, etc. 15 minute manageable bites. And once you did just 15 minutes of these tasks everyday, you could play video games, visit your tablet, etc.

15 minutes…

I decided to adopt and adapt it to my own life. Just 15 minutes…

Every day.

15 minutes to remember who I am each day: a writer, an artist, a homesteader, a herbalist, an animal lover/animal rights’ activist, environmentalist, Christian.

I can do that.

And it doesn’t leave me feeling overwhelmed…or depressed.

And that downstairs closet that I spent 15 minutes on this morning? It looks pretty good. And, okay, it’s actually taken me 17 minutes to type this. But, not bad…it’s only 6:25 a.m.

May God bless you & keep you!

Reflections: A Year in Living History

“He said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Notice the ravens: they do not sow or reap; they have neither storehouse nor barn, yet God feeds them. How much more important are you than birds!” (Luke 12:22-24)

Okay. So it’s been more like 14 months since I landed a position in living history; my 1-year anniversary was August 14th. But c’est la vie! Better late than never…

That should be the battle cry of my life these days: a 40-hour work week; 2-hour daily commute; 15-20 hours a week devoted to college studies, and another 15-20 hours devoted to farm work/life = severe sleep deprivation and a perpetual race through life…followed by two days’ off catatonic in the easy chair, dozing, and wishing I could find the energy to get X,Y,Z done. In short, I’m a little over-extended on time, rundown and exhausted. My first reflection on a year in living history is that I’ve caught every cold, flu, and malady that walks through the museum. I’ve heard that it’s to be expected, especially this first year, when working with the public but that doesn’t make it any easier to bear; I get impatient with illness and a “rundown” diagnosis. In some ways, that’s a lament; in others, there’s still a side of me that feels privileged to have spent a little more than a year learning all sorts of unique skills and talents. Now, if we could just create a 28 hour day, I might get that 8 hours of sleep the doctors (and Mom!) are always yammering at me; 6 is more my average.

So, I guess that’s it for my first reflection. ZZZZzzzz……

(Chuckle)

On a more positive note, I’ve learned to make some beautiful pie crusts. And I’m not at all modest about it. (grin) There’s something to be said for such humble accomplishments.

I’ve also learned how to spin on a Great Wheel, which, of course, is now on my wish list. The Walking Wheel/Great Wheel is so much easier than today’s modern treadle-powered models. Once I get going, it’s like zen time. Ditto for the loom. There is something very satisfying in seeing the yarn that you’re creating filling yet another spindle, increasing on the niddy-noddy:

Or the cloth that you’ve helped to weave being put into service as toweling in some of the buildings you work in. I dream of the day I have a loom of my own at home and can produce bedspreads, sheeting, towels, and fabric for clothing of my own. It may seem like “too much work,” to quote my beloved Aunt Margie, but, for me, it is immensely satisfying to work with my hands in such a way and see the fruits of that labor.

Spinning and weaving were kind of a given. I would’ve gotten down on hands and knees and begged to learn. Straw braiding has come as something of a surprise. Young women often braided rye straw to earn extra income. The straw is a by-product from growing rye in the fields, rye that eventually goes to the grist mill to be made into flour for making bread and pie crusts and such. The braiding was used to make straw hats, which were all the rage in the 19th century. I’ve discovered a knack for it and, while the braiding usually went to a local store to then be sold to a hat maker (i.e. the young ladies didn’t typically make the hats themselves), I find myself wondering if I could make a more modern straw sunbonnet from start to finish, from braid to the finished product adorned with flowers and ribbons. I have rye seed in the cupboard downstairs (great winter cover crop). Another humble goal, but a goal nonetheless.

“Period correct” is the answer and reason for everything…even in contradictions. “Ye women must not endeavor to learn tinsmithing or pottery; ’twas a man’s province ’twas. ‘Twouldn’t be ‘period correct’ to see a lady punching a pattern in a lantern nor shaping clay upon the potter’s wheel.” Of course, it wouldn’t be ‘period correct’ to see a lady behind the counter serving customers in the local country store either but we have the lasses in abundance at our store. Nor would it be ‘period correct’ to see a Christmas tree on the town common in the 1830’s. But we must not walk about without a bonnet, or with our sleeves rolled up, because it wouldn’t be ‘period correct’ for a lady to risk getting a tan, or a sunburn. (Gasp!)

And yet, I’ve found at least one unsung hero of the time period: Lydia Maria Child, who penned “Over the River and Through the Woods,” wrote numerous cookbooks, advice books and novels, campaigned to end slavery, the displacement of the First Nations’ peoples and fought for a woman’s right to vote. She was also the editor of a youth magazine called “The Juvenile Miscellany.” Her husband, an attorney, lost his practice once his anti-slavery views were made known, just as “The Juvenile Miscellany” went belly up for the same reason. Yet, David Lee Child continued to work with such notable figures as William Lloyd Garrison and Fredrick Douglass to end slavery. And, unusual for their time, Lydia Maria supported the couple through her continued writing and publishing. Her books on thrift and economy hold time-honored nuggets of wisdom that we could all learn from today. You may be hearing more about this extraordinary lady in the upcoming months, albeit spotty posts created in between the cat naps. (chuckle)

May God bless you & keep you!

REFERENCES

KnitPicks.com (n.d.) “Niddy Noddys from KnitPicks.com.” Image. Retrieved October 2, 2018 from: https://www.google.com/search?q=niddy+noddy+image&rlz=1C1OPRA_enUS563US627&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj-l9OFhejdAhVMoFMKHYHjAyIQsAR6BAgAEAE&biw=1366&bih=657#imgdii=hk0xviP0etfv0M:&imgrc=kIabqBrkBNwUFM: