I thought I'd do the exercise that Susannah started over at Ink on My Fingers. I asked her to email me a letter since it seemed genuinely random that way, and sure enough, she sent me "M," a letter I never would have chosen. I can think of nothing wrong with M, in fact there are many proper names I love that start with M. But regular old words, or grand words, they don't tend to start with M for me, which may be why I kept coming up with French ones. I also seemed to pick words for their musical qualities over their substantive meaning. It was nice to spend some time with M.

Mouth. I love this, as noun and verb, because you have to say it with your mouth, and mouth it at the same time, which makes me laugh. I've seen the verb spelled "mouthe" before, which looked right to me, but I don't think it is.

Mange. Not like mange in a dog (yuck) but the French word for eat, as in "mange tout," or "eat all," as in the sugar snap peas growing on my kitchen table. Just pronouncing this word is so sensual and decadent that it makes me hungry.

Manqué. Again with the French. Such a funny, great word, encompassing what might have been. As I leave behind career after career, I worry that my life's work is to be a manqué, but the word sounds so lovely that it makes it o-qué.

Méconnaissance. Yes, I know this is getting ridiculous, but even though I typically write at my emotional (teen) level, I am a grad student. I love this Lacanian word that basically means misrecognition, and he uses it a lot in speaking about the formation of self that comes with looking in the mirror for the first time. It's all very deep, but it has to do with the relationship between outer reflections and subjectivity. I'm sure that this is playing out in some way in the Unravelling class.

Magpie. I don't know anything about these birds. I'm not sure I've ever even seen one. But the combination of syllables and sounds is the most charming thing. There isn't a better word anywhere, I'm sure of it.

Marigold. Who doesn't love these prolific little flowers that try so hard protect tomatoes? And they are edible!

Midge. A fly so small as to be invisible. Have you ever seen a midge? But we know they're there. And it rhymes with smidge, smidgen. Also Barbie's freckled friend. I remember swiping my sister's Midge doll when I was little.

Madrigal. Brings up visions of gorgeous gowns and gay dances in period films. I also love the order and repetition.

Meshuganah. Just so darn fun to say. And we all know some.

Mayfly. I want to cry just thinking of the mayfly. What else could be so poignant?

I also thought about mistress, mademoiselle, maple, mettle, moxie, and my trusty, long-term companions, melancholy and malaise. Can you think of any others?
sneaking around in the kitchen again late at night


I've been having a hard time with the Unravelling course, finding a lot of resistance to thinking of the past or looking at myself. The weekend's assignment was to write our lives as a fairy tales, and it took me a few days to attempt that. Then this afternoon, I braved this week's assignment, looking at our reflections. It turned out to be so wonderful. How inward-looking I've been, when the world is so full of amazing things. The rest of the set is here. I'm surprised how this course is working to create a picture of self, just like it was supposed to.


Write Club

I am still sitting here trying to recover from today's writing. Since I had nothing after an hour and a half, I started cutting and pasting interviews, emails, and fieldnotes into my outline. I do have a very rough outline, and this seemed like a fairly non-threatening task. I ended up with about fifty more pages of stuff this way, which seems good since this is material I'll need to rework and use. I'm so depressed though now that my usual phrase "sticking head in oven" comes to mind. I think part of this is low blood sugar - I need to remember to eat.

I am going to try something new, again. A possibility has opened up for experimenting with writing, Marta's Write Club that just started today. I'm thinking that since two hours has stretched into five, and that it's resulting in black moods that infect the entire day, night and week, I'm going to cut it back to 15-30 minutes daily. I'm going to try to reframe this as writing instead of dissertating. I can play with my structure or form during additional hours if I am able, but I will try to write my own stuff in short spurts and see if I can save this project or if it will get the best of me after all.


Snap Peas, Week 1

House Rabbit Society

I was wondering about the House Rabbit Society. I have a book of theirs here that I got years ago when I had a lop. A vet recommended it after giving me attitude about my bunny living outside in a hutch. I haven't thought about it much since, but now this whole house rabbit question is occupying me quite a lot. My bunnies are currently in a sort of outdoor room, a laundry room to be exact. It's mostly enclosed, but has screened-in windows. I like having them there because they are so easy to hang out with, bring inside, and generally observe. But soon, I'll probably build rabbit housing outside. My thought was to rotate them in and out, but I've also heard that they are not crazy about their housing being disrupted, so I still have plenty to learn and consider.

I am crossing my fingers that Cosset is not bred right now. I've learned that although her baby that she was living with might be able to breed, it's not super likely. Whew!

I see on Ravelry groups and elsewhere the divide between rabbit rescuers and hobby breeders. Angora experts who would be happy to help out shelters are denied rabbits to foster because they do outdoor housing. This just seems whack to me, but I'm interested because I'm so used to this debate occurring with dogs. But rabbits? I'd really like to leave behind my visceral response and consider all sides of this debate equally for the time being. I have lots of thoughts about all this, one of which is whether it would be in the best interests of chickens to live inside too. With the explosion in popularity of urban chickens, is there a parallel movement in chicken rescue?

Back to the House Rabbit Society. Here is part of their stated philosophy:

Domestic rabbits are not the product of natural selection, but rather of human interference by means of breeding programs, and the product is a human-dependent animal who needs protection. It is therefore a human responsibility that these animals be cared for in a manner appropriate to their needs.

Ok, that I totally get, as with any domesticated species. But then they go on:

It is in the best interest of domestic rabbits to be neutered/spayed, to live in human housing where supervision and protection are provided, and to be treated for illnesses by veterinarians.

By "human housing," I assume they mean indoors since that seems to be their MO. But even if they granted that most of these conditions could be met outdoors, their spay/neuter mandate still precludes raising rabbits. Why exactly is it better for rabbits to live in the house? And why exactly is rabbit farming (for wool, let's just stick with that for now) necessarily bad for rabbits?

I hope people will comment and shed light on this for me!

Word Count

Well, this was kind of a crappy day of writing, but some of the concepts might turn out to be helpful. I'm finding that freewriting produces bulk but it doesn't let me organize my thoughts at all. I guess that comes later. Today's total: 2049 unusable words or just over 8 pages.

Good morning, Sunday

Just getting started with writing for today.

Flea marketing



Ok, so it's 3:02 pm, and in a little under two hours I've written 3701 words, which is just shy of 15 pages. Damn! Of course, most of it is crap, but it just poured out. I worked on my original plan, and described one particular incident and got it all down. It's not well-written by any means. But some of the stuff I remembered seemed important. I had thought I wouldn't have such visual memories, that I'd have trouble with details, but it wasn't the case at all. I remembered all kinds of things. I need to work on refining my voice, how to tell the story in first person. How to do dialogue when it's hard to remember exactly what people said. Mostly though, it just wrote itself. Which is really heartening and may mean that I can stay with the plan I presented in my prospectus.

Except that I'm emotionally shredded. My heart was racing and I cried a few times as I wrote. I'm not entirely sure why it's affecting me so badly now, when I held up well throughout the research itself. I'm also not sure how I'll be able do this every day for the next many months. Well, the book says to write six days a week. At least for today, I've done a ton of writing and have the whole day stretched out ahead of me, and the fun art walk tonight. Maybe I can just focus on the feeling of progress and enjoy the day. I also had a glimpse last night of how telling this story could be empowering. Giving myself a voice has to be a way of dealing with grief, and at least in my own small way, I can call bullshit on all of it. Right now though, I feel like going back to bed and weeping a lost river.

late-nite snak

The bunnies are settling in pretty well. I'm starting to get to know them, little by little. I have most of her coat off, but Cosset still has terrible matts underneath. The underside of her neck is a huge muff of matts, and she really, really doesn't like me touching under there. Worse still is under her back legs. I'm just terrified of cutting her, since there doesn't seem to be a way of getting up under the matts. Poor girl has some bare pink spots on her back of scar tissue, I assume where she's been cut in the past. My fingers are all swollen from working on her with my now-dull grooming scissors, so I went and bought some Fiskars as recommended by rabbit experts. Butch, on the other hand, (with his luscious coat to protect) is using his litter box almost without fail. And Junior, he's just all over the place.

This site was recommended over on Ravelry for understanding rabbit language, and it's fascinating. It even compares learning to communicate with rabbits to human cultural studies. I love the comparison of another species to another culture, since it is. With the signals of respect and affection that are described on the site though, I am stumped as how I'm to accomplish all the necessary tasks - clipping, taking them out of their cages, etc. etc., without offending them. Judging from our interactions tonight, Cosset is still insulted from our clipping sessions. I tried to apologize in rabbitspeak again and again, and she was having none of it.



I have to figure out a way to structure my days. I find myself so lonely and alienated some days, and pulling my hair out at the very thought of my dissertation. It must be broken down into smaller chunks, and it must get some attention! I end up doing everything but my writing, and that's because truly, I don't want to write. The days I try, I end up in a black hole of depression, reliving a lot of icky memories from my days of doing fieldwork. It seems to take hours, days, and potentially a lot of rabbits to climb back out. So where does that leave me?

One huge problem is my lack of commitment to the academic path as a career. The crapulent job market for humanities Ph.D's doesn't help one bit in trying to come up with the gargantuan effort required to write a dissertation. When I started this program, I very much wanted to be an academic, and I was so into it. And now, well, part of me just doesn't see it. I may just be burnt, and maybe in time I'll get turned back on to it. And I could just be lazy. I am kinda close to having a doctorate, and I might could actually have a nice career with it, so what is my glitch?

Another issue is feeling so drawn to having a life as a farmer and crafter. That's the life that feels right (or at least the idea of it) and I keep coming back to it. But then, I keep returning to academia too! I also need to make a living, and currently my lifestyle feels a bit off the grid, and not in a good way. I need to get out and be part of the world. I'm not sure a home-based business will suit me longterm. I've thought about working on all this and maybe just teaching here and there at a community college, if they'll have me, but that probably still entails finishing my diss at some point.

Since my current ethnographic approach is causing me distress, I've tried to brainstorm about some other ideas that will get words on paper without me having to relive everything or be so engaged. I've thought about switching to a more historically-based method, kind of ethno-history. A nice thing about this is that I could more easily encompass photos, film and other visual texts. It could start to feel like a collage, and selecting and arranging these artefacts could be very creative. Then later, I could get down my own experiences, once I have some more distance and am in a better routine. That's my provisional plan, I think.

I also need to remember that it's quite luxurious to be able to write full-time; it's a new situation for me, and it won't last forever. I have a lot of guilt at complaining about this lifestyle, since it seems that I have it easy. My difficulty with this glorious freedom is that I work best under pressure, and have done years of deadline-driven fenzied writing. That's got to work against me with a long project such as this. I cannot spend years dithering and guilting myself over not-writing only to slam out a diss in a few months. It actually wouldn't be so bad if I could enjoy those years, but then there's my advisors expecting me to produce something periodically.

What could work for a daily schedule? I'm thinking that this time, it might be best to work with my nocturnal rhythms rather than trying to fight them, because that's when my brain is working. I think six hours a day is quite a lot, more than enough, and maybe even realistic. Here's a proposal, which I may monkey with later:

noon get up, make coffee, check on critters
12:30 check emails, flickr, etc.
1pm begin writing
3pm shower, eat, clean house, hang with rabbits and dogs
5pm run errands or walk or garden, maybe start dinner
7pm dinner
8pm back to writing artsy projects!
midnight reward: spin, read, relax
3am bedtime yoga
4am sleep

This sounds potentially doable except that the writing part makes me nauseous.

OR, I could work it in a completely different direction. Commit to working on the diss 2-3 hours a day. That would surely mean progress, sooner or later. And spending the rest of the time working on farm and art projects. That sounds so much more appealing.

Aha! I just checked and the diss bible says most people can't write for more than two hours a day anyway! He recommends going by page number goals - three to six per day - rather than hours, although he says if you're freewriting for two hours, that's about what you'll get. So conceivably, I could just use that 1pm-3pm block of time to write, and then be done with the damn thing for the day. I'd have that whole 8-12pm block to do anything and everything else. That sounds pretty reasonable, even for someone so unwilling. I haven't read this book in ages, but there also look to be some strategies for coping with ambivalence and block, and I'll have to take in all that tomorrow.


and Junior




The Unravelling e-course has started, and it's already proving to be great fun. This week, we are taking pics of our feet. More are over at Flickr. It's so interesting how looking at my feet is prompting me to look at so many other things, like other feet. And things laying around in the grass. And daily routines. I feel so hopeful about this course and the world that is opening up around and inside me.


I did it

Here's me and my wookie, I mean bunny. It was such a day! I was euphoric at finding rabbits straight out of my dreams. They are the embodiment of "warm and fuzzy." I held them close and felt so perfectly satisfied.

I brought home this doe who is almost three, her baby buck who was born last October, and the father, who is also around three. Daddie was not part of the plan, but he is so magnificent, and the owner was short on cage space, so I took advantage of her desperation! These rabbits make my heart skip to look at them.

Then the euphoria shifted a little bit to fear, because the doe is just terribly matted. It will take me the better part of a day, or maybe five, to get her clipped. I've got no skill at clipping rabbits, and was hoping to learn under less dire conditions. I'm freaked out at how bad her little behind is, matted all to hell and covered in poo. It's not ideal, but much better than not finding her, or have her be culled (the other option, I learned). Is it that hard to find homes for bunnies? The other two have just a little bit of matting, but nothing like her.

I've learned already that the bedding they sell at the pet supply stores is no good for angoras. The little bits get stuck in their wool and it looks disastrous after just a few minutes. From what I see so far, I'm also very skeptical of this house-rabbit, litter-box training prospect. I've got them provisionally set up in these kinds of things. I put down scrap bits of linoleum to cover the wood floor. I'm pretty sure that they are going to have to be outdoors and elevated, and soon!

Tonight I'm cold, tired and my eyelashes are full of fuzz (do contact lens or mascara wearers ever have trouble with angoras?) The bunnies are active, and they seem happy. I feel anxious with getting them set up and taken care of. I'll make proper introductions tomorrow.


Starting seeds

I joined the Cold Antler Farm Snap Pea Challenge, where brave souls are starting seeds together and will chart their progress weekly. I have been an admirer of CAF and Jenna Woginrich since stumbling on her book, Made From Scratch. Her writing is beautiful and her blog is addictive.

So even though I'm still waiting for my bundles of seeds from Seed Savers and some other online seed purveyor, tonight I started with 145 or so humble snap peas on the kitchen table. The light isn't great tonight.

The day after Valentine's is even better


It struck me recently that my current fascination with fiber is something like the flip side of my dissertation research, and perhaps that's why I'm so drawn to it again. What I mean is that it's another culture, a microworld of human-animal relationships. People who do fiber often live their lives around and among their animals: sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, rabbits. They work with the seasons for breeding, birthing, and shearing. It's a lifestyle and people are very passionate about it, and some sacrifice a great deal to do it. It's also steeped in folk tradition.

I don't guess I've talked much on this blog yet about my dissertation. I've been studiously ignoring it. For the last five years, I studied a very different site of human-animal relationships. I don't want to name it here, but as completely different as it seems on the surface, it actually has much in common with fiber farming. Both of these cultures are also very white, and it's probably fair to say that they have come out of Scots-Irish heritage.

Years before I went back to grad school, I tried my hand at fiber farming. I had twelve angora goats at one point, and loved caring for them and working with their fiber. I learned though that with the amount of labor and expense, it wasn't likely to make me a living, and soon I became overwhelmed and discouraged as the work and expenses mounted. I had no-one to help on any kind of regular basis, I had another full-time job and also worked with a nonprofit, and so wrestling with goats to deworm or shear them became such a chore. Then many of them got nasty cases of hoof rot which would not clear up no matter how much I scraped or how many toxic chemicals I dumped into their little stinky hooves. And even worse, a couple died in farm accidents and I freaked out. It all felt like a failure. I see now that I was just a novice, and all those issues are normal for farmers. But my life changed, I went back to school, got married, found great homes for the goats, and immersed myself in another, very different culture based around animals.

Even with the very strong and male shearer, fiber culture is very feminine. I don't mean for this to sound essentialist, but spinning, knitting, weaving were traditionally women's crafts. There are always a few men doing woodworking with wheels, but fiber fairs are peopled mostly with women whose hair is longer, more multi-hued and more beautiful than their animals. I wouldn't worry about going alone to spin night even if I didn't know anyone since it's probably a bunch of gentle, funny, strong women. Not so with the culture I've studied for my dissertation! Even with women sometimes playing a role, that culture couldn't be any more male-dominated.

Now, I'm struggling so much with writing up my dissertation, am so sick to death of the subject and running from those memories. Maybe embracing yarn and sheep is a way of comforting myself, returning to the feminine, while still keeping with what I love: vernacular skills, and lives lived with animals.


Shearing Day

At a local farm. What a nice way to spend Valentine's day with my sweetie. They sheared early, but it couldn't have been more beautiful weather. Feels like Spring!

We were amazed at the Master Shearer's skill with the sheep. I've never watched hand-scissored shearing before, and this guy was mesmerizing. He controlled the sheep with his lean, wiry body, putting sheep heads and legs in between his own in various contortions until their fleece fell off in a single layer. It was sort of like watching yoga, but with sheep. Once he got a hold of them, the sheep were entranced.


How (and who) to choose?

So here are the bunny options that have come up recently. The first three bunnies pictured are all from the same breeder - they are the pedigreed Satins I wrote about before. The first one, an ermine doe, is almost two years old. The little one is a tort buck (baby!) and the third a young fawn doe. They are supposed to be show-quality rabbits, which isn't a big deal except that I do want well-bred bunnies to the extent it means health, good temperament and amazing fiber. If I am going to raise rabbits, I also want as much help as I can get, because I'll inevitably have to place some sooner or later. They are supposed to be a trio that can be foundation rabbits. They are all related but not too closely and good lines. They may not produce my favorite colors as often though - I'm told to expect torts, creams, and fawns/reds. But they're probably all I'll need to raise wonderful Satin angoras and have all the colors to make the things I'm planning. But they aren't available till early March, and they would be picked up at a rabbit show, which means a road trip.

The other two are local buns, and they're being sold as pets/woolers without pedigrees. The mom is three years old and reputedly very friendly and a great mother. For most people, it sounds like three is a little old to get a doe. I love those colors, whatever they are. I am still having trouble correctly identifying bunny colors. One pic said chocolate agouti and the other said copper. I love the colors that look like wild rabbits, but some variety would be nice for yarn, and white is always good for dying. The owner can see me Monday and answer questions, but she had a personal emergency and couldn't really talk until then. One issue though is that the son and the mom are currently housed together (she is short on cage space), so the mom may be bred back to the son. That is probably not unusual (it isn't with dogs), but I wasn't planning on babies so soon. I wanted to get to know my bunnies and make sure I'm ready for that first. I could bring them home Monday, just two days off, and it would help them out since the owner needs space. I could go and see them and could make a much better decision, but then we know it's all over.

So, even though I want them all, I need to choose. I want to be very, very smart and careful with this. Bunnies live a pretty long time, so I need to be sure. With goats and dogs, I have tended to rush in and then get overwhelmed. Trying my best to avoid that this time. So with all this I think I've answered my question. But if anyone has any thoughts or advice, please weigh in!

Update: Turns out the local bunnies have pedigrees after all! I was mixed-up, between an ad on Ravelry and this person's website. I will go meet them on Monday.



Tonight I've been in touch with a breeder of Satin Angoras who has some bunnies available, and I may be able to meet up with her at a show in early March. I hadn't seriously considered going with Satins, but that's partly because I've had a hard enough time locating French locally, and I have no prior experience with Satins. But I remember thinking just the other day how nice it would be to have that glisten in my yarn. So now I'm excitedly researching and comparing French and Satin bunnies and fiber. There's just not that much info online. I know that Satins look a lot like French, but are maybe a little smaller, with possibly a slightly shorter and less dense coat, but with this marvelously reflective wool. It would be nice to see a range of bunnies, handle them, and compare, but ya know, once I make arrangements to meet up with her, there's no way I won't bring them home. I'm sure they'll be beautiful and I'll be gaga. She's sending me pics tomorrow, and I can't wait to see the ones she's described: an ermine doe, a chocolate doe, a broken fawn buck, and a chocolate tort kit (don't they just sound so yummy?!)

There's a spin night tomorrow that I was thinking of going, even though I don't know anyone there. I'm not sure if I'll brave it and deal with the awkwardness of going to someone's house, or maybe try to get to know the people online better first and go another time. I want to get out and meet some people, I just don't know about going alone, at night, and it's about 40 minutes away. Is that wimpy?

Of course, I should be writing.


My bed is calling

I'm having such a hard time getting started with writing. Yesterday, I spent hours going through fieldnotes, organizing and outlining the structure of my chapters. I even wrote two pages, a beginning. I should feel triumphant, I guess. But it was so hard, and I ended up so depressed. I haven't felt so bad in weeks. It just felt like wading back into a world of muck that I was so glad to leave behind. Today, when I should be building on this and making progess, I am yawning, feeling achey, looking longingly at my bed. There are so many things I would like to do, but how can I enjoy anything when I'm supposed to be writing? I must come up with a schedule that works for me, one that's productive but also humane.


Eglu Review

Like most other yuppies-turned-farmers, I'm enamored of the Eglu. I actually had the pink rabbit run in my Omlet USA shopping cart yesterday, ready to plunk down the $495, giddy and hoping to click "place order" before any sort of practical voice made itself heard. I was vaguely aware that I had just been looking at some Chie Mihara boots that were almost that much, and justified it that some people spend money on shoes, others on rabbits. Then I found that the shipping itself was an entire $170 even within the US, and that was enough to stop me in my tracks. I just couldn't do that without feeling like I must be insane.

Because really, even though they say that the Eglu was rigorously designed in consultation with animal behaviorists and such, how is it really any different than a much cheaper set-up? A dog kennel with a top and a bottom and a dogloo would function just as well, even better in some ways. It would be a lot larger to accommodate more bunnies, and basically be like colony housing. It would be harder to move, more like permanent housing than a rabbit tractor, but it surely could be moved. And it would be easier to get inside and hang out with the rabbits than the Eglu, which it looks like people just sort of sit at the end and reach inside. I'm also not sure how the Eglu is truly secure from rabbits burrowing out without the additional floor accessory (which I did not price, I couldn't bear it). That six-inch skirt might keep predators out, but if an Eglu is meant to be permanent housing, surely the bunnies would burrow out. If I pay that much for a rabbit cage, I'd like it to be as secure as it claims to be.

Of course, I love the shape and the colors. It's the Mac of rabbit cages (it actually looks just like my "vintage" strawberry Apple computer). It's so cute that it would probably stop animal welfare people from getting upset that the bunny was living out-of-doors. It's interesting that rabbit and chicken housing, usually makeshift and unattractive, has been reworked in this way, presumably for the urbanite. I'm convinced that animal welfare folks are often looking more at aesthetics and how the property values are holding up than the condition of the critters.

I'm reading a lot about rabbit housing options. There are nice designs for rabbitries, but I still lean toward pasture raising. It just seems more consistent with rabbit instincts to burrow. Plenty of people are into colonies and think it's more "natural," but I haven't found anyone doing angoras in colonies. It's harder to maintain the wool, I'm sure. But it doesn't seem like it would be a huge deal to catch them up and pull a little hay or dirt out of the wool. Personally, I like little farm remnants in my yarn. I'm not sure if there are health issues though - I know cleanliness is a huge priority. And you wouldn't want them turning feral since they have to be groomed. I've heard a couple of arguments that it's not functional for an angora farmer, but I'm thinking of trying it, at least in a rotating arrangement along with cage and house time. Probably not with the Eglu though, although I'd love to know who has Eglus for rabbits and how they get on.


Chicken Dance

I've had chickens for years, but this little hen named Emma was the last of the line. She's survived over a year on her own, after her consort Nacho died. She's at least five years old, maybe more. Then we just inherited three birds who were left in the woods here by someone who had a chicken-lease on some nearby land. We are getting to know this trio, including a beautiful rooster we named Castro and his two lovely ladies. Castro is pretty young, he just started to crow last month. It's so good to have a rooster crowing once again. Makes it feel like home, like I can relax, finally, stretch my wings. In the words of OCMS,

I ain't a turnin' back
To livin' that old life no more.

We were finally able to find and fetch Emma, and this was her first meeting with her new friend. He performed for her, circling her, crowing, and dragging one wing and then the other. But he but was quite the gentleman.


25 random

From Facebook:

1. I love to type, and I type really, really fast.

2. I sucked my thumb until age 13 and experienced great shame at slumber parties.

3. I have hated my name ever since a little boy named Maurice told me on the swingset around age 4 that it was a boy's name.

4. I've always wanted to be a boy. When I was little, I would ask for a "sex-change operation" for Christmas and birthdays. This desire found expression instead in cowboy boots, which I wore (unless forced to wear something else) until high school.

5. I still have trouble embracing my gender assignment and wonder if that means anything.

6. I adore my burly husband and think it's funny that people think he's dangerous.

7. My favorite song is still Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell (it has been since I was 7).

8. My hero is Billy Jack (and second favorite song may be One Tin Soldier - my sister taught me the lyrics when I was a kid).

9. I get absolutely freaky if I eat processed sugar, a condition that has occurred just in the last year.

10. I have one sister and brother who are almost completely estranged. I did see this brother a few months ago after a decade and he looked a little like Kenny Rogers. We had a beer together and he showed me pictures of myself I never knew existed. I still love my big bro, but I doubt we'll talk more than a few more times in our lives.

11. I was named after my dad, and so was my brother.

12. I'm a stepmother to two beautiful women, but they don't know me.

13. I've never hurt an animal, except for that one poor opossum I unintentionally ran over in my Mini, yet I find myself on the hit list of certain animal welfare advocates.

14. The last few months have been the worst of my life, and I am completely disillusioned. I'm going to therapy now for PTSD.

15. In truth, I'm not very good at following rules.

16. I'm also a very crappy lawyer. Once I accepted this about myself, I felt much better.

17. Lately I've become obsessed with rabbits, and am contemplating becoming a rabbit farmer.

18. I'm also thinking of learning the art of taxidermy. There is a taxidermist just down the street and if I can get up the nerve I am going to stop in and talk with him (her?) about apprenticing.

19. I've taken photos of dead animals for years. Sometimes I'll pull over and take pics of roadkill with my iPhone.

20. I have an extreme yearning to be some kind of artist, either with yarn, embroidery, photography, or words. I'm doing my best to harness this energy and put it in service of my dissertation.

21. I have a deep and abiding love of dense theory like Deleuze and Derrida, and this is not at all an affectation.

22. I have loved almost every minute of grad school, although I have complained through most of it.

23. I am terrified of my 20 year college reunion this summer.

24. I worry about my donkeys outliving me (they can live to be 80!), and hope someone will look after them.

25. I want to die a crabby old woman on a very tall bed in an old house, surrounded by dogs and people who love me.

What had disappeared proves Real

Maira Kalman quoting Goethe. We are so grateful than my hen reappeared.

Little hen is in there!

I can't see past you

A print on Etsy, by Julia Pott.



I'm still back and forth on getting started in rabbits. I had a scare yesterday - I woke up early with awful chest pains, and then my hands and feet went numb. As many times as I've been to the ER with my father and mother having heart attacks, I knew enough to be scared. I waited a long time hoping they would go away, or turn out to be a tummy ache, but it just got worse. My limbs were all tingly, and I was doubled over in pain. So I went to the ER, only to throw up all day. And all the tests they did showed no heart trouble, nothing but normal. I'm home and much better today, although I still have no clue what was wrong.

While I was laying there in the hospital, I turned to thoughts of rabbits for comfort (it works!) but I couldn't help but think how glad I was that I didn't have a rabbitry to worry about under the circumstances. Even with the best of intentions, animal care can get neglected. Angora rabbits need to be groomed all the time, no matter what, and they aren't quite as easy to deal with as dogs (in other words, this isn't something I could sluff off when the going gets tough, although I'm sure my hub would help). Normally, I wouldn't think the off-day at the ER would mean I shouldn't be a rabbit farmer, but somehow in our family, we seem to be living in a state of emergency more often than not I'd like. I'm sure I'll still get two bunnies for pets and spinning though - my fear is more about the responsibilities of a larger-scale rabbit-raising venture.

Luckily I was able to switch out of that boring class, which starts tonight, to the other one that starts in March. I'm pleased because this new class is on darkroom photography, something I've wanted to experiment with for years. There is so much to do in the coming months, but things seem to be moving along. And so I need to get the rabbitry planned out, which needs to be part of a larger farm plan. I have tried drawing out a long-term lot plan, but all the decisions get so complicated when we want everything to work together (in a permaculture kind-of-way). I've considered just keeping the first two bunnies on the porch in the short term where I can get to know them and have easy access for spinning. Then we'll have less pressure and more time to design a sustainable farm. It's about that time to plan our vegetable garden and order some seeds to start. I'm frustrated because I'm still recovering from this unknown little malady. But soon enough, I'll be back at it.


Ravelry, love

So I finally figured out what the fuss is about... I've poked around Ravelry before, but not spent too much time with it, partly because there was no immediate gratification (I had to wait 3 days for my invitation after trying to register!) And also, because I almost never finish knitting anything. I read about it, think about it, but don't really do that much of it. When I used to spin a lot, I told myself that I was just more of a spinner, I make yarn. What someone else does with it is their business. But I loved to knit as a kid - I spent much of my childhood knitting and fishing. And I still want to knit, but Ravelry seemed a little intimidating with so many amazing crafty artists. The last thing I want to do is get all competitive with my leisure, or feel lame for not posting finished objects or crappy bout my lack of skills.

But anyhoo, I am so into Ravelry for so many reasons. First, I think it'll help me knit because I can organize my projects and find out answers for anything that stumps me. Also, there are tons of people into making yarn and art yarn. I've been reading endlessly, and there's nowhere else that has so much info on technical stuff related to spinning. And, what a fun and funky community, I looooove the vibe. Oh! And there's an angora rabbit group too!

After all this reading though, I'm really thinking about selling my Louet Victoria wheel. She is so adorable, and I cherish this little wheel, but I really need something that can handle bulkier yarn. Something with a jumbo flyer, and a larger orifice. I think the Victoria handles bulky ok, but I could have a tool that makes it easy. I wouldn't mind having both, but with limits on space and funds I'm thinking I'll try to place the little girl and get something better able to handle the thick stuff.

I'm pretty impressed by the Babe bulky wheel, which I'd never heard of until I joined the Intertwined group on Ravelry. I like the look of it, actually, but I'm not sure if I'll ultimately be dissatisfied that it's not a wood wheel, or want something nicer, or whatever. I'm gonna take my time and read and think on it, just like the drum carder decision (and the bunnies!) Such a different tack for me, impulse buyer that I am, but it is so fun to be excited about something again! When people say that knitting saved their lives (which you hear from time to time), it always seems melodramatic, but now I think I understand.