Archives for posts with tag: living

So far, I have written general posts about rural life: chickens, horses, snow, cooking, and so on.  These are things I enjoy – they make me happy, and I figure there needs to be more happiness in my life.  Really, anyone’s life – yours included.  It goes by too quickly to be unhappy.  Whatever you love to do, get out there and do it NOW.  Frankie’s wisdom of the day! 

I was raised in small town America – horses, tractors, bonfires, and beat-up pickup trucks litter my childhood memories.  I love the quiet, open air; the forest with it’s musky smell of underbrush, the beautiful nothingness of an empty field, or long summer evenings with family and friends reminiscing about days and years not yet forgotten.  This is my home in every sense of the word. 

Here’s the kicker: I left. 

When I graduated from high school, I hightailed it out of here.  I went to college in a completely different state, encapsulating the small-town girl, big city stereotype.  In one swift move, I left my tiny comfort zone and experienced life – life, the beautiful and terrifying eternity we share with billions of other humans in an infinitely complicated web that lasts forever, and ends in the blink of an eye.  I lived in Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and finally ended up back here in Upstate New York.  Cities, suburbs, towns, and villages each have their own characteristic uniqueness that have molded me into the person I am today.  No, it’s more than that – these places have allowed me to find, accept, and embrace who I really am.  It took a while, but I finally made it.  There’s only one problem.

I forgot what the people are like.

I really did.  I went out into the world and forgot how afraid they are of what they don’t understand.   I left a shy girl looking to see the world, and I returned as something that scares people.  Gay. 

Rainbow Quote

Yeah, like this Gay.

Now, I know you don’t ‘turn’ gay.  I was born this way, and it took a long time for me to find myself (a short time comparatively in the grand scope of things), and let me tell you – the feeling of being yourself, and actually liking who you are, is indescribably amazing.  For me, it was an internal transformation.  I never really feel the need to scream “I’M GAY” from the rooftops.  I am comfortable being who I am, and that positively impacts my life.  

The people who live in rural America are apparently mystified by me.  They see my jeans and t-shirt as commonplace while I had long hair, most likely thinking me a variation of a tomboy.  However, I cut my long hair off for donation (as always was the plan), favoring a short haircut again.  This is not the first time I have cut my hair, and I didn’t think it was a huge deal.  (Okay, so it was a big deal to me, but my hair was like twelve inches long and SUPER HEAVY.  It feels nice to not have to rake it out every morning!) Cutting my hair was the only change I have made in the last week, and my goodness, you would think I turned purple and grew a third arm.

I get weird looks going into the women’s bathroom at school.  Today, two girls snickered and got quiet as I entered one of the stalls, leaving with awkward laughs and whispers.  Alone in the bathroom, I wondered what was so funny.  

Now, I have cut my hair short several times while living in urban areas, and I didn’t really get any backlash for it.  Sure, friends were stunned, and always said it looked nice.  Occasionally, while working retail a customer would call me ‘Sir’, quickly apologizing politely when they realized I was a woman.  I never minded, and I smiled, saying it was okay.  I was never treated negatively for having short hair, nor was I made to feel like I was wrong, or bad.  

It is the most ridiculous thing that this is happening.  I get significantly more looks in the past few days than I ever did while being out and living abroad.  It’s just hair!  What is everyone’s problem?  I dress exactly the same as I did before.  I eat the same things.  I use the same bathrooms (literally. Like every day).  It took me a bit of pondering to figure out what the problem was.  Do you want to know?

I look gay now.  With long hair, I was just a tomboy.  Now, with short hair, I’m a dyke.  I’m something that people just don’t understand – they fear.  And, just as you would think, they hate what they don’t understand. 

I’m not that scary.  I promise.  I have stuffed animals all over my bedroom.   Small dogs, cats, chickens, and horses are my furry family.  I play the guitar and like video games.  My favorite music frequently includes annoying synth dance music, rock, and metal.  I drive an old car.  I get a kick out of math humor and science facts.  I’ve never shot a gun, I’m afraid of using big knives in the kitchen, and I have never punched anyone.  When I am angry, many times I cry as a stress relief.  

Yeah, I’m pretty much the devil. 

Through all this, I don’t really hate them – those people who would rather live in the darkness of ignorance rather than the light of acceptance.  In reality, I pity them.  They judge me on how I look instead of who I really am.  Instead of talking to me, they laugh at me.  Instead of stepping out of their small comfort zone, they belittle.  It must be terrible to be afraid of someone because of how they look.  It makes me wonder how small their world really must be.  

I really want to show them how beautiful our differences are.  I will not allow fear to dictate my life.  I am happy being me.  Why is that scary?  

If you are reading this, I know that there are scary things in the world.  Big spiders are pretty freaky.  Heights and deep water are my phobias.  Nuclear weapons is a terrifying reality.  Genocide is unthinkable.  War, poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, and Cancer are unavoidably horrifying to think about.  There are a lot of things to be afraid of in the world.  A big lesbian who sleeps surrounded by cats and small dogs really shouldn’t be one of them.  

PRIDE

Love is Love!

 

 

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Yani, left and Fred, right bathing in the afternoon autumn sun! We have been busy, a few setbacks here and there, but all in all out spirits are good. 🙂 I am beginning to post again, which is also good. 🙂 Knitting projects galore. I will share soon!

Have a lovely day everyone!!

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My family has horses.  We used to have many more, but right now there are three: Two mares and a stallion.  They are permanent installments in our daily lives.  Many people don’t understand how much care it takes to keep horses.  They see rich people on television board their horses (which is very expensive!).  This has it’s advantages, but it also portrays that keeping horses is a walk in the park; all reward with no work.  In the real world, the horses are your entire life – the work has to be done every day without fail. 

That made it hard for me growing up because it was painstakingly obvious that I couldn’t do the things other kids did.  I have never been on a vacation where the whole family could attend.  We came close once time.  I was about twelve.  The down side was that my father had to stay at the house at care for the animals.  It was wonderful, but I always wondered about my peers who went to myrtle beach every year, or camping, or so on.  The other side of it is that I love my home, I love my family, and I love my life.  It is the only place I *almost* fit in.  The horses, the work, it all made me who I am.

Every year we pack 600 bales of hay in the barns.  This feeds the horses the entire year.  Sometimes we even have a couple left over when we start the new batch.  In the spring we supplement the hay with fresh cut grass.  The horses love it!  They would eat it like candy if we let them.  (Don’t, btw.  It makes them sick. 😛 )

This year had been wet.  It rained nearly every day for over a month.  Not constantly, but enough so the ground couldn’t dry.  For the hay farmers, that meant that they cut hay very, very late.  Normally we would have the whole batch in by now, or close to it.  However, we are just getting started.  About 1/4 of the way done. 

Horse hay is difficult  because it cannot be moldy.  It has to be cut and dried in the fields, then fluffed and baled.  If it is rained on, it is trashed.  Then it is just cow hay.  Cows can eat musty hay, but it will make horses very, very sick.  That’s why the farmers waited so long to cut their fields.  The crop would be trashed otherwise.  

It takes a lot of work, but in the end it’s worth it. 🙂  

Off and on through my life, my family has kept chickens.  My Father started the tradition when I was only a child, but I remember marveling at the chickens on the other side of the fenced coup.  Unfortunately, a raccoon (or a similar rascal) broke into the chicken coup.  My parents found them in the morning.  The rooster’s name was Paddy.  He was mean to anyone who got close, but I remember him as being a beautiful rooster with long green tail feathers and a copper red body.

When I was a teenager in high school, I wanted to keep chickens again.  My Mother decided that it was a great idea!  We got one Road Island Red and five black chickens. Each one had a name that described their personality or feather colors.  This backfired a bit when they grew up and all the black ones looked the same.  They became ‘Sunny and The Girls’, since Sunny was the only red one.  I held them every day, meticulously cared for their food, water, and coop cleanliness.  They became lovely free range chickens that lived in the barn alongside horses and barn cats too fat to care about the huge birds.  Since I hand raised them, you could pick them up, pet them, and even cuddle them a bit.  We loved them very much and had them for many years.

A family moved into the run-down shack across the street and had a dog that liked to run away. He got a few of my chickens, but four remained for two years or so.  Eventually, they were gone too.  That’s the way of life.

Last year, my Mother got heirloom chickens that were supposedly the best free range egg layers.  I was very proud of myself that I spotted it in Urban Farmer and researched the breed.  They were nine chickens and a stow-away rooster.  They were… not as wonderful as described.  Only one still lives. My Mother named her, “Sweety Pie Chicken”

 

"What are you doing? Is it time for my close up?"

“What are you doing? Is it time for my close up?”

So, this year my Mother went to the store and told the shopkeepers, “I want smart chickens that are good for free ranging!” They were a bit confused, but they gave her their suggestions. It took her over an hour and a half to pick them out.  She got eight red cross breeds, and a White Silky (who is VERY feathery and ADORABLE).  The Silky was protecting a small grey chick from the others in the pen.  My Mother was so taken with the pair of friends that she took the little grey chicken as well.  She looks like a Dove, and she and the white Silky are inseparable. The whole flock has accepted Sweety Pie Chicken, and they are one big happy family.

This story is a big part of our lives.  Over the years we have learned from our mistakes, and it has made us better at our tasks.  We know the best way (or a very, very good way)  to keep our animals healthy and happy.

There's always one who doesn't want to go to bed!

There’s always one who doesn’t want to go to bed!

Many people go into the grocery store and buy the cheapest eggs on the shelf, even if they can afford something better.  These eggs come from chickens packed into tiny cages, with barely any room to move.  They have no life.  They are fed terrible food instead of their natural diet.  Chickens need to move, they need to peck, and they need to eat a variety of food.  These differences produce a rich, delicious egg that is filled with more nutrients than their counterparts.

But it’s more than that.  We are humans, and that means we have different brains that are capable of compassion and understanding.  Eating and egg shouldn’t mean that you benefit from another living thing’s suffering.  I would rather have my eggs come from chickens who actually can move, eat, and thrive in their lives. I feel that just because something is different from me doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be respected.  A Chicken gives us eggs, meat, and in many cases enjoyment.  They give us their entire existence.  That means they deserve our respect.

You can tell I have had this discussion before, mainly with people who do not value an animal’s life.  They see them like a paper cup: simply something that is theirs to use.  That is so heartbreaking.

It makes me sad that people don’t understand why cage-free eggs are so important.  My family’s chickens have a pen and a chicken house.  They would not be safe at night otherwise.  But they are out from early in the morning through just before sundown.  They explore the world around them: the trees, the Sumac bushes, the horse paddock, and so on.  And you know what?  I think that is marvelous!  I wish everything could be as happy as they! Don’t you?

This is what a Chicken Stampede looks like!

This is what a Chicken Stampede looks like!

So, we are still up here, struggling against oppressive heat, still angrily mourning the tragedy of Treyvon Martin’s memory, debating Florida law, and wishing that something can be actually accomplished in Washington D.C.  We are here in Rural America, Chickens and all, struggling to have our voices heard.

On a happy note, it was announced today that the Lakeside Hospital was acquired, and is being renamed “Strong West”.  They hope to restore services by January.  Or so the news said.  I hope it is sooner.  Either way, it is nice to know that they didn’t completely forget us.  Why couldn’t they have done that before the hospital closed it’s doors is beyond me.  Perhaps it is a conspiracy to keep us dependent on this or that.  All I can say is that we will breath a sigh of relief when the emergency room is reopened.  Until then all we can do is wait.

Wherever you are, please stay cool, stay safe, and stay happy!