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7/29

i'm leaving tomorrow.
The kittens are gone to another house for the 2 weeks, i may never see some of them again.  It's peaceful in the house, but i keep looking for their little bodies sprawled behind me on the chair or curled between the restless blankets on my unmade bed.

.  .  .

i see Kevin tomorrow.  First time in almost a year... 10 months and 3 weeks.
i have no idea what to expect.
i am terrified.

.  .  .


i really, really miss Tom.

.  .  .


i wonder if this trip will be a turning point in my life or simply an adventure and a memory as my life just stays the same.

Aug. 22nd, 2012

As shared by Rahdne









School Prayer
by Diane Ackerman

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.

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A birthday and a deathday

         i have thrown Kevin a birthday party for the last 3 years, a habit i have enjoyed and hope will be a tradition for the future.  This year it was on the 7th. It's always a big thing... the house crowded with laughing people trying to navigate my narrow little hallway and bewilderingly crowding into the kitchen instead of the soft and welcoming couches of the living room or even the memory foam topped futon in the front room.  There is often music, drums, or some combination of the two.  A gathering of people come to celebrate Kevin's birthday and enjoy each other's company.   i love it. 

      It's a big undertaking that takes cleaning and set up - if nothing else to create more places to sit then there usually are.



           On Friday i worked a traded shift that freed me for Saturday and came home to finish stacking the firewood, let the birds out, spend time getting ready in a relaxed and not stressful timeframe.... and in the middle of these chores i noticed Honey, who has never been the most social hen just looked... miserable.  i had dismissed vague pricking of worry the day before when Honey seemed more miserable then the chill and light dusting of snow warranted... convincing myself that my spoiled girls were not used to the cold of real winter since we have gotten off so lightly this year.  But this... this was concerning.  She stood, fluffed and tucked in, not looking for food, not scratching or hunting, avoiding the other birds as they bopped around.  She was alert enough to scuttle away when i tried to catch her but once she was tucked into my arms she hunkered down on my lap as i sat on the wet ground and seemed content to soak in what warmth she could get.  Even when Harriot came over, curiously, to see what was going on, Honey didn't show much interest... until she perked up and attacked the buttons on my shirt.  She stayed in the upstairs bathroom, reveling in treats she didn't have to share and seemingly content to be warm, tho a bit baffled by the change in scenery.  i wish i had gotten a photo of the scene the one time Prem pushed the door open and Honey went from lazily preening to a hawked eyed glare that stopped my punk-ass little cat in his tracks.  The swelling in her belly got worse, and no amount of warm baths seemed to help or relieve. i wavered between frantic worry and hope, depending on how how active and alert she was at the moment... her obvious interest in and enjoyment of the meal worms raised my spirits at least as much as they raised hers. 

      On Saturday morning i called the vet, we took her in at 10:30.  Dr W grumbled gruffly about being forced into being an avian vet when he really wasn't one and shared funny stories of the one required class on chicken health and the antics of students in it back when he was in school.  Grumping about being in the mature years of his career and looking forward to the easy cases... and poultry are not the easy ones.   Long used to Dr W's grumbles i just sat and smiled serenely at him, radiating my calm belief that if she could be saved, he would.  i mean, he didn't direct his staff to accidentally lose my calls when i repeatedly brought him a furious and bad tempered guinea hen named Penny, so clearly my faith is well placed.  Honey got poked and prodded, got an ultrasound and a blood test.  She squawked and cursed, grumbling and glowering, and providing an entirely out of the norm for the new vet tech assistant girl who looked totally overwhelmed at the idea of treating a ...chicken.  While we waited for the blood test results, Honey settled into her pink towel and puffed up, occasional opening an eye to fix Kevin of me with a reproachful look and then settling back down into quiet.  With a diagnosis of organ failure, we both agreed there was no reason to leave her suffering.  We had 15 minutes to sit with her, scratch her ears and just generally pet her...probably more comforting for me then her, i admit.  At about 11:30 am, Dr Wilhelm put sweet Honey to sleep.

   It was a pretty rough 2 hours from leaving the house to homecoming.


         The last picture i took oh Honey is a difficult one for me... if i knew she were healthy, it would be hysterical - the grumpiest, most annoyed chicken on the face of the earth, glowering at the camera.  But knowing that she was sick and in pain... it is perhaps the best reassurance i have that we made the right choice.





       We drove home in near silence... and set about setting the house up for a party i... was suddenly unexcited about, but glad for the list of chores that needed to be done.  It seemed so... odd.  Adam came over to help Kevin bury her in the heavy clay soil next to Penny.  One reason to be grateful for our mild winter so far, i guess.

    And now... now i have 4 hens, 2 guineas.  they don't seem to notice the loss of one of their number, which seems so wrong.  And yet is...  yet i suppose it is a blessing.  Would i really want to wish grief on them?  It seems a cruel thing to wish on someone else, especially animals.  I have thought more about the lives of the meat birds from poultry farms that i still eat - lives a billion figurative miles away from the experiences of my pet chickens.  It strikes me sometimes that a life ended, a life i nurtured and a pet i cared for, and yet it doesn't effect me all that much - the birds themselves aren't so much a part of my every day life, living in the coop, having such limited contact.  i can't decide how i feel about that - if it is sad or a relief... perhaps just something that is.  i am reminded of a comment from a mother whose 12 year old daughter lost a classmate to cancer... and she watched her daughter grieve and struggle with the pain and yet also wish the pain would not go away; that pain being the memory and meaning of this life suddenly ended ...wanting that meaning and that moment and the memory of a friend not to fade, even if it meant holding pain, and even knowing that it would fade, no matter what.


   Honey.  i remember thinking it would be nice to have a hen named Honey, all the better one from a sweet natured, bright gold breed.  And then getting to know each of the chicks... and the one who was most often quietly alone, and seemed most content to keep company with me.  Ah, i thought.  This is my sweet girl.  One that should be named Honey.

              Her yellow feet, quiet nature, easily recognizable comb - the smallest of all the girls. 


Honey, who used to fall asleep with her head draped over my hand as i typed.
Honey, who seemed the happiest to be cuddled, always.



    It's just... so strange.  And yet, when i count out of habit and realize i am not actually missing one each day... it is with a quiet sorrow ...both for her loss and for how easily it is and will be to move on... and in a way, how i hope it will not be so easy to forget, or adjust.

 Rest well, sweet girl.

A Poultry Update.

    The Ladies are doing well, tho it's clear to me if i want to keep calling them truly spoiled, the next step to to expand their run.  Since i mean, *obviously* it's just not big enough.  The even have their own facebook page now, and have more fans then my professional page.  Brats.

         We did made the hard choice to put Pretty Penny to sleep this month.  My beautiful, beloved, fierce, furious, injured girl slipped away with a sigh.  We buried her in the ferns the flock is so fond of, and in the spring i will plant guinea hen flowers over her grave.  

        With some guilt, i can admit that there has been much less guinea screaming since Penny was put down.... tho of course, Pippy is still prone to hysterics over nothing now and again.  i still need to decide what to do with Luke and Pippy... the keeping or the eating.  i have no idea what to day right now.

     The girls will soon be adopting 4 more sisters into the flock..or at least i hope they will.  4 of Raine's hens will be moving here, 2 by 2, to (i hope) integrate smoothly with the flock and settle in before winter arrives.  We'll see how that goes.


PicturesCollapse )

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 There is a point at which all the soft, soothing lotion in the world is not going to make a tissue less painful on one's nose. It just isn't going to happen. 

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i love this.







I Asked...

I asked The Goddess to take away my pain.
The Goddess said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.
I asked The Goddess to make my handicapped child whole.
The Goddess said, No. Her spirit is whole, her body was only temporary.
I asked The Goddess to to grant me patience.
The Goddess said, No. patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is earned.
I asked The Goddess to give me happiness.
The Goddess said, No. I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.
I asked The Goddess to spare me pain.
The Goddess said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.
I asked The Goddess to make my spirit grow.
The Goddess said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
The Goddess said, No. I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.
I asked The Goddess to help me love others, as much as she loves me.
The Goddess said, Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.
~Author Unknown

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Mostly Poultry Photo update - Winter

The birds are still stunningly and deeply unimpressed with winter.  And snow.  And cold.  i wonder sometimes if they even remember the days of wandering the yard, foraging in the ferns, dust baths and sunbathing.  i wonder if they remember grass, bugs, sunlight.  Or if their world has simply shrunk to the walls of the coop, the little area at the door that i shovel, and once or twice the shoveled path to the deck.






That is *totally* a disgruntled chicken expression - from after the first decent snowfall.
And as Crystal noted, the one on the roost looking up as if to say W.T.F.




Nesting.




Harriot, Buffy and Blanche (Luke behind and Pipkin the Screaming Moron on the perch)





Even Penny came running when i opened the door... but everyone is daunted by the snow today.
You can see the mirror i put up for Luke... and if you look closely you can see how in one day he's starting to chip away at the frame in the bottom left corner from pecking at it.  What an asshole... i feel like i've failed as a parent!!  Hopefully it distracts him from being a jackass to the girls - especially Penny.  i'm going to start carrying small rocks to throw at him whenever he rushes and pecks at her, i swear. 




One dedicated girl.




They say:  Just... no.  Hell no.





The paths, freshly re-dug.





Meow, primed for adventure, ready to explore...well, take a stroll along the dug paths.  With her stylin' purple harness.
Not so much in the plowing thru the snow on her own, thanks.
(that's why we employ humans, isn't it? hellooo)





The family of deer that come around at dusk.  The one in the middle... i just.. i love the expression on her face.




Meow, being uber cute.



 

Best. Photo. Of. Meow. Ever.


          My morning started with Kevin gently waking me, asking about corbins or if i wanted to sleep in... and then one of the worst statements ever, delivered as gently as possible: "Um, I don't think there's any water."  which of course sent me bolting from his bed, scrambling for glasses, pants and the water room.  The pressure tank at 0 sent me scrambling for the phone to call poor Tom, who is sick as a dog and i woke out of a dead sleep to ask questions about the system.  When even under his direction, it refused to build pressure.... he finally advised me to call someone and just pray it wasn't the well pump.

     i am not proud of how snippy i get when i am scared.



           i called  Mr R, our faithful gruff water man who i adore a little bit (and am intensely amused every time he eyes me and says in that Mr Reynolds accent "Now Rebecca.  Don't you have a man here to take care of these things for you?"  And when i reply that Tom has moved to California for work and Kevin knows computers and electrical not wells, he man-fusses "Well.  (harrumph.)  You should have a man here to take care of these things for you."  And somehow, even tho it's a statement that would offend from almost anyone else, from him it's... well, kind of strangely endearing in its well meant concern.), i called every likely number i could find... and i finally called Mr Rooter.  They were the only ones to answer, and the nice lady on the other end of the line said she'd send a tech out, he'd be there within 2 hours.   then i got a call froma slightly confused woman named Chris from Southern Tier Pump Systems
"Is this the Kevin Wilson residence?"
"Uhm... he lives here, yes."
"Ok, um, he called but didn't leave a message.  Are you having trouble with your well?  Do you have water currently?"
"Oh.  Oh - that was me, i called.  No, we don't have water, but i think i have someone coming out.  So i should be good.  Tho, if they can't fx it if it's ok i might be calling back."
"Oh" (she sounded so disappointed.) "Sure, give us a call.  Thanks."
It took me a few after the phone call to realize that with this shared plan my number probably shows up with Kevin's name.

          The Mr Rooter tech showed up, on time as promised, a perfectly plesent young man who tapped the pressure tank and checked voltage and poked around... and then came up to say he thinks it's the well pump but the well guys would be in on Monday, he could have them come in to check. 

And so i called Chris back, second opinion and desperation.... you never think about how much you use water until you can't.  She was careful to get my infomration but was clearly bewildered by the household situation.
"Do you own the house?"
"Yes, i co-own the house."
"With Kevin Wilson?"
"No, with Tom Hanley.  My phone is just a shared plan with Kevin's."
"Oh." (conversation on directions follows)
"It's a brown duplex set back from the road, immediately after the blue house as you come down the hill.  There's a red sailboat in the yard, if that helps."
"Oh.  So you have renters?"
"Yes."
"Does Kevin Wilson live next door?"
"No, he lives here."
"...oh."
All i could think was, 'Hunny, i'd have to write up a flow chart...'

  And so, after a warning that her husband looks like Santa Claus and not to worry - it wasn't a homeless man turned up on the driveway, but he'd arrive around 3:30... he did.  i'm not entirely sure what i was expecting... while in my head i was fully aware that this is water and we really can't go without water for 3 days, i am not sure i expected him to actually fix the problem in one day. But he arrived fully prepared to work, not just give me an estimate and leave, like i have been used to. 

And of course, it was the well pump.

And so, i ended up with a well truck in my back yard (the getting that truck there was a rather dramatic mix of gunning the engine up the driveway, a lot of flying snow and skillful driving).










 
    And now... maybe 4 hours and $1569.00 later... i own a shiny new well pump happily supplying water to the house.
                             i'm grateful and all, don't get me wrong... and am bemused but touched by Kevin's praise of how i handled things (even tho it didn't feel like i did anything very well except dial a phone and manage not to cry in front of some poor unsuspecting technician about the cost), Tom's advice and guidance (and his "Sweet Jesus!" response to the picture of the well truck, which was somehow very satisfying),  Stoney's patient unflappable support and Eithne's comfort-food dinner at the end of the day, and i enjoyed tonight's shower with an extra dose of awareness.... but... but yeah.  i remind myself i didn't cost as much as i feared it would, and we have to have water... and i love this house.  i do. 

         But i'm really done with the water issues for now.  For long term now.  For like many many years.  Really.  i'm done.  Please.  Please.

.  .  .

And after all that, Kevin came with me to the spa to back up the server, so i can spend at least part of tomorrow trying to catch up on years' worth of updates so i can then update Millennium.  Thank gods he was there and thank gods he puts up with my crap enough to help me in what is so entirely not his job.

  i really hope tomorrow goes well.  Gods help me.



quote

  "It doesn't matter if the glass is half full or half empty as long as there is an umbrella in it." (sophie nong's FB)

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