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Check me out with my working computer. How awesome is this? I'm caught up on my f-list, I'm able to watch videos for my classes (yes, still trucking even if I don't expect to pass or get a certificate), and I can write again!

I started today with morning pages. Back on the Artist's Way wagon for real. Not pressuring myself to meet Coursera deadlines that I can't possibly make. No stress. It's the healthy way.

Our venture into eating chevon (goat meat) was successful! I brined it for about a day and a half, which took a lot of the smell – and, I assume, gaminess – out of it. We opted to try the Chevon and Vermicelli Recipe from this page, since it's pretty similar to my family's Carnita recipe, a recipe we are familiar with and all enjoy. Everyone liked it! Maya even applauded (love applause when I cook...need to get the rest of the family in that habit) and asked for seconds. She's a noodle-fiend though. Did not get to cutting and packing more meat though. Josh and I need to do that today. I'll be working on it a bit while he's gone, I think. I'm interested in trying the crock pot recipe lahermite suggested in my last post.

This means it's time to start making meal plans again. I pretty much took a hiatus on that as soon as it got so bloody hot. Now I can cook again without dying of heat stroke. The mealplanning community is suddenly very active again too, so looks like I'm not the only one! We'll be having a lot of goat in the future. Chevon. But today, I'll have to cook up Goldie, our poor hen that Sasha killed, who was taking up room in the freezer. It is a bit odd cooking up something with a name, not gonna lie. One that isn't “Teriyaki”, “Stew”, or “Parmesan”, etc. I wanted to be a farmer! I'm actually quite pleased with this next step towards our sufficiency goals.

Managed to insist on a walk yesterday. Didn't get it until nearly dark, but at least I got one. Those of you on facebook probably read the story already, which I posted last night. Bo, the dog who came with the house, came with me. I went down the trail through our neighbor's field and into the woods. Dark was coming soon, so Josh didn't really want me on our busy road, where I normally walk. I'm out of practice again, so we figured the trail would be easier on my feet & knee, which gave me trouble last time I was walking/jogging regularly.

It was late, and Josh took the cranky-frantic baby, so I hurried out before he had a chance to change his mind about putting Maya to sleep. I took off – without a gun, knife, or even a walking stick. Won't make that mistake again! We have a little atv trail that leads over to our neighbor's field. Neighbor only has the land, no home on it. He lives in St. Louis & comes to camp in the summer, and we watch it for him the rest of the year. He lets us use it and has given Josh permission to hunt over there in exchange for watching his stuff. He has a big semi-trailer-type storage box out there where he keeps his atvs, and a little pop up camper. I hear the trespasser/bad guys/whatever over there sometimes (and have called the cops!) Well, I was watching for any signs of human activity that might suggest anyone was lurking around. Didn't see or hear any, so I kept on going into the woods.

But I kept feeling funny. Just that feeling. Kept looking around, stopping every now and then to listen. Paranoid because it was getting dark, I figured. I seemed to be alone, and I did have Bo with me, and I've really been wanting quality walking time again (both for health & spiritual reasons), so I passed the camp area and headed into the woods. Saw nothing out of the ordinary. I hadn't gone this far on his trail before (his trail is better than our little one we made when we moved here, which has overgrown already). It wasn't far-far, but I was enjoying checking out the area. Saw where Josh set up his tree stand, and then I started watching for tracks and trying to see if I could tell what they were. I suck at that though. Saw some tracks that might have either been either a deer or goat. I'm not smart enough just yet to know the difference without Josh to help or a reference to see them side by side. I didn't think our goats went that far past the field though, so I thought maybe it was deer. Saw tracks that I thought might have either been a cat or other small mammal. Fox, skunk, something. I know now that canines, skunks, weasels, etc. all have claw marks, while cats retract their claws when they walk. But I can't remember if I saw claw marks or not. I think not. We'll go check out the tracks everywhere when Josh gets home, but I'm fairly sure they might have been cat. We know we have some kind of cat in our woods, likely a bobcat, though I didn't think it was quite so close, and there are mountain lions in the area.

Well, we're walking along this little path, and we came through another clearing that I'd never seen before. It was pretty. A nice little spot for meditation, but I was there to exercise, had a bit of light left before I needed to head back, so I pushed on. Bo had stayed ahead of me, but he trotted back behind me as I started into the woods on the other side of the clearing. I was all, “Come on. Let's go a bit more!” and he just kind of stood there. I urged him to come on, and finally turned and started walking, so he came with me again.

I miss Achaiah.

We went into the woods, and he had kept running off ahead of me, but he stayed in view this time. I thought I heard something, and I hadn't seen the goats when I'd left, but given the tracks I saw, I wondered if they did browse that far back. I hurried to try to see if I could locate the sound. I don't really know how to describe it, but it kind of sounded almost like a weird cow lowing noise. Not a moo-type noise exactly, but a low 'lowing' sound. I don't know how to describe it any better. I almost wondered if a goat or a deer was hurt in there or something. I walked a bit farther, but Bo was sniffing in circles ahead of me and didn't seem like he wanted to go any further in the trail. I caught up to him, and I heard it better, but it wasn't a sound I was familiar with. No crashing in the brush, like if the goats were there. Even if one was hurt, the others would have come when they heard me walking. It was definitely louder, although still fairly far off in the trees off to the left somewhere. Not a noise I knew. Being that dusk was quickly approaching and Bo was pretty skittish – and I was unarmed – I decided maybe we ought to head back after all.

Well, I turned around, and I didn't even have time to take ONE step forward before Bo rushed past me like a panicked bat out of hell. I mean ZOOM, motherfucker, zoom. There was such urgency to it that he nearly knocked me down, and it startled me so much that I started to run to keep up with him (not wanting to be left, for Christ's sakes), but then I thought, You don't want to be prey, so I stopped running. I picked up a good slightly-larger-than-fist-sized rock that was at my feet, turned back to survey the area...didn't see anything. Turned and forced myself to walk, albeit very briskly, and hurry home. Kept looking behind me, feeling like I was being watched, and I got very spooked by the eerie feeling of eyes on me that I just couldn't see. KEPT turning to check if I was being followed, scanning the trees on either side of me to see if someone or something was lurking. Didn't see Bo's good-for-nothing ass again until I got back in the damned yard. He left me. Bastard. And I was thinking that I was safe with that big ol' dog. I know better now. He tried to trip my ass like it was the zombie apocalypse, and then left me alone in the woods at dusk. Seriously, that bastard. I even whistled quietly for him a couple of times, feeling scared and not wanting to be alone, but his ass was long gone.

Made it home, obviously. Listened to a bunch of different animal noises on youtube, and Josh and I feel fairly certain that maybe I came up on a bobcat. Josh says I probably didn't see it because it was up in the trees. Scary. Glad I turned around when I did. It wasn't close enough to hear any growly sounds that I would definitely recognize as cat, but the deep 'lowing' sound did sound awfully similar to the bobcat warning growl heard here at timestamp 1:05-1:12, only without the obvious growly part there at the end. I could have just been too far away to hear the rumble. Scary!

10 minutes after I got home (actually, maybe not even that long!), Bo went crazy barking toward the field. Josh thinks it followed me home.

We'll go out and investigate in the daylight, well-armed. I might even take my camera and take pics of all the tracks I saw, if anyone's interested. Anyway, after getting home safely and finding my chickens all okay in the morning, I'm not scared anymore. I actually think it's pretty cool. I love our little corner of the earth, and I listened to it when it was talking to me, and I made it out safely. I'm not all hunt-happy for predators like most folks around here. I'm content to live and let live in peace as long as they start no war with me.

I do miss Achaiah though. She'd have told me straight out if it was time to go, dummy, and if I didn't listen, she'd have protected me and not left my ass alone with a damned wild cat. But, hell, she might have gotten her ass killed if I hadn't listened soon enough. Oh well. No one will ever be Achaiah. I do miss her every moment of every day though.

I was going to talk about my classes a bit, but that little story got longer than I meant to. I'll save it for later. Baby's napping and I need to go hang laundry, then catch up on my emails & some class videos if I have time.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2012 03:48 pm (UTC)
I'm not all hunt-happy for predators like most folks around here. I'm content to live and let live in peace as long as they start no war with me.

I'm really, really glad about this. There's a short story I have somewhere (probably stored, it was in one of my lit anthologies) written by an environmental writer, that speaks volumes about the destructive balance humans have built in the North American wildlife, hunting predators to extinction or nearso, then killing deer like mad because they're "taking over," and it's just...yeah. The whole thing makes me so fucking sad because this is not what Our Mother had in mind with living off the land. It's destruction of Her creatures so you can feel justified in destroying even more of Her creatures.

When I lived in PA as a teen, it was after years spent like your neighbor (we owned the land, couldn't afford to build, so we camped). I became very connected with the land there (one of the few things I miss about living there; the only bad thing was the people), and I swear I felt the Earth weep from that imbalance. There was such an aching emptiness, and every time people would spotlight-hunt in our fields (and it's illegal there), I'd cry.

TL;DR thank you for having a soul.
Sep. 11th, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
That's so sad. Yeah, don't thank me! That's just basic human decency, I think. I mean, Josh is peeved that if it's so close, it's probably scaring the deer away, but I likely saw deer tracks, so they're at least passing through. He's not going to go out and hunt it so he can have easier or hunting or because it growled at his fool-ass wife. And I should have had *something* with me in the woods, so I was fool-ass.

It breaks my heart that the people around here don't feel the same. I mean, in NC, we had bears and mountain lions, and if you didn't mess with them, they left you alone. It's totally possible to live in peace. Every time there's a mountain lion sighting around here, people get SO freaked out and go "coyote hunting" and suddenly find themselves "attacked" by the lion that was sighted. EVERY TIME. We had one caught in town and released on the outskirts - but still right here in my own town. I thought it was beautiful and my heart ached for its fright, but everyone gathered at the courthouse to see it in the cage, poke at it, and get video. I was glad they released it instead of killed it - but then, and it didn't make news, so I only heard it as gossip, but I'm told that within a week it "attacked and killed several of someone's cattle, so he killed it." We have so many deer, turkey, skunks, foxes, EVERYTHING here locally that one lone lion is NOT going to attack a herd of cattle and bring down several on its own.

There's at least a mom and baby, if that one really was killed. I saw a juvenile mt. lion cross the street right by Josh's work after we visited him for lunch one day. I was so glad to see it! Sure as hell wasn't gathering pitchforks. I think the only thing that would make us go hunt anything like that was if it attacked our girls. But with dogs and goats all over our yard, I highly doubt that would ever happen. It's not unheard of though, but I'm sure not going to go preemptively kill something that didn't do a damned thing. :(
Sep. 11th, 2012 05:00 pm (UTC)
My mother grew up on a farm that her eldest brother inherited when my grandfather died. He had a black bear pelt on the wall, and I remember thinking it was fake. I didn't think people really had stuff like that. I didn't think people hunted ecologically important predators (my child-logic being more simply "but why do you kill the bears and then complain about all the deer?"). It was horrifying when I realized it was real. Just like all the taxidermied animals in the bait shop when I'd go fishing with my dad. There were severely endangered animals mounted on those walls! When I realized they were real, I stopped being able to go. I couldn't even stay in the car outside the shop, it made me cry too much to know they were right there, ten feet away, mocking Nature's balance.

A lot of people don't get why I approach "dangerous" wild animals like this. Like, I want to go shark diving (almost did a couple years ago when Althea took me and Suzume to Hawaii, but the weather ended up not cooperating; I honestly don't think I've ever been so disappointed in my life), but I know I'm going to have to keep some things under wraps if I ever reach the point of doing so outside a cage. When diving, they make you carry a diving knife, to defend yourself in case of the worst. I honestly don't think I could do it. I mean, I'd smack the shit out of anything if it could save my life, but I can't imagine dealing a potentially fatal blow to a creature just doing what Our Mother designed it to do. (This is also why I wouldn't dive outside a cage while my children are minors; I wouldn't want to risk them losing their mom when they can't take care of themselves.) I don't have a death wish by any means, but humanity is so goddamn intrusive, we just think it's our right to plunk ourselves anywhere and demand that the Earth respect our boundaries, bend to our will. I hate it. It's the ultimate egotism, imo.

And the thing is (as you probably know) I'm not vegetarian/vegan. I'm not opposed to the circle of life, I'm opposed to the idea that the circle of life is down there, and we humans are standing on top of it, because everything should bend to our will.

Ah, I'm rambling. This is just something that means a lot to me, and most people are so disrespectful of it. :-/
Sep. 11th, 2012 05:58 pm (UTC)
That all makes perfect sense! Although, honestly, I was just finding myself hoping that my farmy posts didn't bother you when I got to this line: I'm not opposed to the circle of life, I'm opposed to the idea that the circle of life is down there, and we humans are standing on top of it, because everything should bend to our will. I definitely approach it with a sacred & thankful attitude! Even JJ, for all that he scared and hurt Eden. We try to be as humane and compassionate as possible.

Josh wants to learn taxidermy, and I mostly just want to learn proper preservation skills (I love the furhideandbone community, for instance, and find it very educational), but I definitely don't approach anything like that (hunting, homesteading, etc.) with disrespect or a cavalier attitude. If anything, I have a very strong urge to focus on conservation and do everything as mindfully and beneficially as possible. Those that don't approach it that way really break my heart. Sadly, I haven't found a lot of people locally who feel the same way and could help mentor me, so we're kind of just teaching ourselves as we go along.
Sep. 12th, 2012 01:07 am (UTC)
Honestly, one of the things (besides the rampant fatphobia and ableism) that always bothered me about my vegan friends trying to "convert" me was how they pulled bullshit like how I'm clearly not really an animal lover, because I use animal products.

I hate hate hate the state of factory farming, and would avoid the entire industry if I could. Funny thing is, local butchers serviced by local farmers (the small, humane farming I approve of) don't really exist inside major cities, and even if I could afford the gas to drive to them, they wouldn't accept food stamps, so I'd be rather screwed.

In my ideal world, I'd be doing what you're doing. Honestly, I probably wouldn't really eat much red meat anymore, because I have little interest in large-scale butchering, so I'd only eat what I traded with neighbors for, or maybe the occassional butcher-purchased treat. I grew up eating a ton of fish, because my father was an avid fisherman. Easily 50% of our meals were fish. (Of course, Matt hates fish, but he could take care of his damn self, because he walked in on my life plans and I'm not changing them because he's a picky eater. >.>) I'd like to raise chickens, for meat and for eggs, and goats for milk, meat being an I'm-not-sure-yet stance. Since I'm into crocheting, sewing, general textile stuff, it's a huge area of interest in sheering my own sheep and making my own wool yarn. (Also, cheese from sheep's milk is the most amazing ever. Ever.) I've considered angora rabbits for the same reason, but they're notoriously difficult to maintain for sheering, and at this point, I'm probably being fairly lofty in these expectations at all. Wheelchair-accessible chicken coop, anyone? :-P

I grew up eating venison and mutton, because my uncle hunted and farmed, and sent the meat along to us. (Also various gross farmer foods that horrify most people, like liverwurst and blood pudding. This side of the family is Pennsylvania Deutsch, so it was that fantastic mix of farmer-food and German recipes that results in all sorts of horror.) I have actually eaten rabbit, but not willingly. (my family told me it was "chicken stew," and ignored all my "this chicken tastes funny" comments until I was done eating. -.- When they told me, I completely broke down, to the point that mentioning this to my sister recently, she vividly remembers it. And this is not because I inherently think rabbits are excused from the food chain, but simply because I have a special kinship with them, and would never willingly eat them regardless of how humanely they were farmed. This applies to shark, too.)

Apparently my comment's over LJ's limits! C&P'ing, brb. >.>
Sep. 12th, 2012 01:08 am (UTC)
Anyway, back to where I started: The vegan thing. It always upset me greatly, because it is so extremely dismissive of my faith to say that consumption of animal products is always wrong, full stop. No, no it's not. That circle of life is an absolute, inarguable foundation of my faith. I cry when people cut down trees, I am not kidding. I believe that life and love exists in all natural creatures, from plant to insect to farm animal, and it always deeply offended me that people who showed no reverence in accepting Our Mother's vegetation would then tell me I'm wrong because I eat meat. No no no no no. I have faith-imposed restrictions on eating (such as not slaughtering an animal before its rightful time; you will never catch me eating veal or lamb chops), but am not morally opposed to meat any moreso than I could be opposed to salad. Seriously.

So yeah, I have some personal attachments to animals because they're cute and fuzzy and I keep them as pets. But 1) That isn't me condemning the food chain, 2) I don't think anyone is wrong for not feeling the same way, and 3) It's not my damn place to soap-box and scream at people. Not everyone shares my faith, and I get that. Not everyone shares my emotional attachments, and I get that. Hell, I have relatives who were very, very poor before they emigrated from the Philippines, and they ate whatever was available, including cat and dog. (Some of them remember this fondly, like "mmm, tasty tasty cat" and I don't go off on them, 'cause it's not my place.)

TL;DR you never have to worry about me getting angry because you're farming. Truthfully, I'm jealous as hell. :-P Though uh...yeah, lj-cut pictures of dead rabbits. Just because :-( and all.
Sep. 12th, 2012 01:11 am (UTC)
Here, have this, it seems appropriate:

Sep. 12th, 2012 05:25 pm (UTC)
I'm right there with you! With the love of trees - and even the SO who refuses to eat fish. :P Honestly, I don't think I could eat turtle unless it was a survival situation, so I have my own affinity bias as well. I do hope to get into meat rabbits at some time, but I'll try to be compassionate about not posting anything graphic. I try to do that anyway, though LJ is much better than FB as far as controlling when pics show up and to whom.

Honestly, sounds like the way you grew up is pretty much what we're floundering around trying to do now! I wish I had older folks who could teach us. It's working out though, slowly but surely.

I bet Josh could build an accessible chicken coop. He sucks at reading plans or blue prints, but that man can think up something and make it out of thin air. I know I've seen one cool one before, but I don't remember where. A chicken tractor or small coop would probably be easiest to build and clean out, but I do recall seeing an awesome coop somewhere. Can't find it in trying to google atm. Wish I could find it again!
Sep. 11th, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
Even in suburbia here we have coyotes. Their habitat is shrinking with all the crazy building, so they terrorize dogs and cats mostly. AW
Sep. 12th, 2012 12:00 pm (UTC)
good to see you, I will read the whole post later, but I missed you.
Sep. 12th, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I've missed everyone here too. I've been trying to post more and get more active again. Hopefully this computer will last!
Sep. 12th, 2012 05:26 pm (UTC)
Coyotes are everywhere anymore. It's sad, because they should have their own space. :( It was definitely a bobcat who stalked me home though! We found all evidence of it hunting me right back to the yard!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )