Saturday, September 15, 2012

We Still Love Floppsy

Heart and Soul

Have you found an activity that you love, that's good for your heart and soul? I have to admit, when the subject is "exercise" I am not excited. It's not a proud thing to own up to, but just thinking about "gyms," "fitness machines," "cardio-rhythmic-endurance-training" puts me into a state of resistance and dread. Resistance and Dread, that cannot be good for my heart, right? But, hay, I can't bale on getting fit, keeping a healthy heart, and a happy spirit. I know that's right. So for my Heart and Soul I am looking for ways to move that make me happy, and using these posts to make me accountable.

This week I did morning laps around the track at Maria's school. She runs, and I walk, quickly. When I make this happen, I notice two things: 1. it makes Maria happy, because she loves to run, and she loves to have my company, and it's really dear to see her embracing fitness and fun, together. 2. my day begins energized, perkier, and that's a big return from a pretty small investment.

The other activity I enjoyed this week: Being a Farmer!

Farming, it's for me! I had straw bales to move, and goats to chase, and feed to load, and things to heft around... I dunno... it's pretty small scale, and certainly it's more of a hobby than big time operation, but it keeps me moving, and satisfied.

I put on a hat, and got busy... then I remembered to snap some iPhone pictures for this post, which made my farm work more fun. Moving hay bales? That's some workout! The best part is that after a while, the children found me, and joined me, and it became a farm party!

Naturally, the chicas were the first ones to show up, and help. Chicas love investigating any new features and supplies that come into their turf.

We couldn't leave the goats out of the activity, though I don't think we can call their activity "helpful." I can say their antics are good for the soul.

Every load of Timothy hay was a moveable feast, in their eyes. I love the Timothy hay. It smells like cut sugar cane, warm and sweet. Evidently, it tastes good, too, but I cannot confirm this, personally.

We did a lot of hauling and moving, and reconfiguring. I did more than snap pictures with my phone, honest! We finally settled on a good spot for storing our hay bales, where they'll be out of the weather. Alex is shoring up the base we laid out, to keep them off the ground.

Kick it, Betty! Many hands, and feet, make light work.

We were hot, a bit sore, really messy, and our hearts were pumping. And we were having a really good time. Laughter, conversation, and farm work go easily, together.


It feels either silly, or too obvious, but I am surprising myself by acknowledging and accepting how much I enjoy working around our barn, with our animals, in the garden, and with my family, and that it makes me really happy. It's gratifying, Heart and Soul labor.

Did you make time, this week, to do something you love? Something to make your Heart and Soul happy? I hope you'll share what moves you.

Friday, September 14, 2012

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Felis Silvestris Catus Benjamin

Dear Benjamin Franklin Thundercat, Cowboy and Explorer,

We love you. We love your bunny feet, your white chin, your manly chest, the tufts between your toes, your whiskers, left and right. We adore the pitter of your patter, and the way you meow and chatter.

You are, sir, a fluffy woodgie-woodgie muffin of love.

Thank you, BFTC, for coming inside before dark, for gazing at us with your bright, sometimes drowsy, eyes. Thank you for letting us snuggle and cuddle and fuss all over you. You are dear to us. Stay near to us.


Your devoted servants.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Flopsy's Friends

Everyone who has ever met the Flopsy bunny knows... she is tiny, she is shiny, she is soft, she has levels of adorableness for which there are no words. When people hold her, instead of words, they utter unintelligible endearments, squees, sighs, and unrefined sweetnessess.

She is cute. Was cute. Is. She is cute.

But her cuteness, well, it seems a superficial thing, now. Of course we adored her pert tiny nose, her loppy ears, her darling face... but her best qualities are in her heart. She hops around, curiously, and nibbles her veggies adorably. She lets you hold her, like a baby. She will sit in your lap, then bound around, like a happy child. She is a pleasure to be with. This has not changed... she is still a pleasure, still mellow, and gentle, still a Flopsy bunny.

Grant, June 20, 2012

Of course, she's bigger than when we brought her home last June, when Grant first met her.

Nate, Bambi, Janece, Alex, and Max, June 26, 2012

The attack she suffered two nights ago did change things... we have to wait and see what the long term effects will be. She was bit around her eye, and on top of her head. Her third eyelid is torn. The doctor stitched her up on the top of her head. Her injuries are raw, sympathetically painful to look at.

It was surprising how calm she remained while having her eye cleaned out, then her head stitched. I thought she had been sedated. She lets us hold her. She sits quietly, as though biding her time. Maybe, if she had a FB account, she would whine, and complain, and regularly post about how unfair life is, but no. She nibbles the carrots and apples we hold for her. She leans into my hand when I nuzzle her cheek. And she quietly bides her time. I hope she is recalling visits on the lawn, being held and adored, then nibbling greens.


I hope she knows how much we love her. We have said, "She is therapy. She is calming, peace-generating, healing therapy." We want to be that therapy for her.

In the barn, Maria and Flopsy, July 1, 2012

Her injuries are not cute. She definitely looks rough around the edges, and thinking how it must feel makes me wince. But we still want to sit with her, stroke her fur, watch her step around, and nibble alfalfa. No one is looking at her any differently. We see her the same. And I thought I was being mature, and sort of clinical about it, but the children have been completely at ease and natural... no squeamishness, no reluctance to be with their dear Flopsy bunny.

I wish we could take away what happened to her. Poor innocent bunny. I'm sorry she had to go through that. I am sorry for all the tragedies and injustices... others' pains make me wince, and I feel sympathetic aches.

Austin, Katalina, and Maria, August 10, 2012

Thank you, everyone, for your comments, and phone calls, for the messages of kindness and sympathy, for understanding our sadness, for sharing in it. Your caring is a comfort. Thank you, friends who have met the Flopsy bunny, and held her, and been delighted by her cuteness, the fun-ness of her. By sharing your kindness, I feel like you have made her the sweet, mellow, fun bunny that she is today.

Flopsy meets Puff, June 20, 2012

Alex and I made improvements to Sanka's rabbit loft, and we believe it is attack proof. Flopsy is back to living in the barn, instead of her hutch. She has a quiet, familiar place where she can rest and heal. It's hard to tell, just yet, whether her eye, her vision, will completely recover. We are using eye-drops, and she'll be seen again by her doctor on Thursday. This morning the top of her head looked a lot better, but she does have a Frankenbunny look going on. But, gosh she's a really adorable little Frankenbunny.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Long Night...

Very late, last night a terrible squealing was heard outside the barn. William leapt to his feet in time to see that a very large raccoon was molesting the rabbits. Sanka was, in her loft, kicking and running. But Flopsy's hutch was open, and empty. William called to us, from the garden, and in that timeless, urgent way, everything seemed to register at once. Geoff was already running down the stairs. Maria woke startled, and I calmed her before rushing outside.

"It's Flopsy!" I heard someone say, with anguish. I thought her dead, or worse.

I ran out with towels, and dread. Geoff carried her into the light. Still breathing. Heart pumping. I did not want to know. I did not want to have to make the decision to give her mercy. This was too familiar.

Upstairs, through open windows, I could hear Maria crying. She's become practical... some call it "mature," about these kind of events... injuries, the death of pets, but this is her Flopsy bunny, and roused from sleep this way, I knew she was in her own distress. I brought Flopsy into the room, and I sang to Maria and her bunny.

"She's alive?" It was a statement, as much as an inquiry, and I was trying to assure Maria, and myself, "Yes. She's alive."

I put Maria's hand on Flopsy's body, so she could feel the bunny's pounding heart, her frantic breath. "We have to help her feel safe again. We need to make her heart beat gently."

Maria sang with me, we stroked Flopsy's back, slowly, lightly. Around her eye is a severe laceration. She was muddy. She'd been either dragged or chased around the garden.

Outside, Alex and William were tracking the raccoon, forcing him out from under the barn. Alex set the live trap. They made doubly sure Sanka, the chicas, and the goats were safe, secure. Alex patrolled the yard. William came up to learn about the Flopsy bunny.

The bleeding stopped. We found no other wounds than the one around her left eye. The eye itself appears intact, but the injury is something like a ripped upper eyelid. Still, my biggest concern was her heart giving out. As I pet her, I gently felt along her spine... bunnies very easily break their backs. She stepped forward, she stretched out. Her breathing slowed. Maria noted her improvement, her calming. We agreed this was good.

"Maria, it's good that she is feeling safer, and her heart isn't beating too fast..." and my thoughts trailed. Maria wanted to feel safe, too, "Will she live?" After midnight, with a dear pet in your arms, you want to make promises, and deliver hope, but I could not muster false hope. I reasoned with Maria, "If she can live through the night, it will be a good sign, and we can get her more help. But. If she is hurting too much, if her body wants to let go, then we will know that it's what is best for her. We'll know she needed to die." Maria understood.

Flopsy drank water. William brought a box, lined it with paper. I brought up sweet timothy hay, and we set Flopsy in the box, on our bed. She sniffed, stepped around, then drank more water. We were careful to approach her from the right, otherwise she startled.

Geoff stayed in the barn, alert to any more visits from the raccoon. Alex patrolled until dawn. Maria was sure she would never fall asleep. I read aloud, The Flame Trees of Thika. Maria said she couldn't sleep because she was thinking about Flopsy, that the story distracted her. I explained that the distraction was good. I knew the long descriptions, and slow reading would lull her back into sleep. Flopsy was in her box at the foot of the bed. An owl hooted until sunlight.

And now, Flopsy is in her box at my feet. She is eating a carrot. There is a veterinarian appointment for her, and Maria is sorry to miss it. Max, thankfully, slept though all of the excitement, and only this morning was brought up to speed. He gently examined Flopsy, and kindly expressed his concern for her. It will be a long day... for worry, for lack of sleep. And once again, we are faced with rethinking our farm security. Coyotes, bobcats, skunks, hawks, and raccoons... we've had unwelcome visits by each of these, and we should assume any of these will call again.

Flopsy is not out of the woods. I think she'll need antibiotics, at the very least. She'll have no end of affection, and tenderness. Is there more to say? I only sigh, and wish...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Heart and Soul

Did you make some time this week, time for your heart and soul?
I am on a mission to move more, and to make myself accountable by posting every week something about walking, or swimming, or dancing, or jumping around with goats and hula hoops. And since I am happy with a camera on hand, I *click* away, and note the beauty around me.

As for accountability: I find myself regaining some vigor. Being sick is such a drag. But even on my "laziest" days, I kept reminding myself to push forward. This week it meant re-doubling my domestic cleaning efforts, so I cranked up my tunes, and made livelier steps while polishing and sweeping. Yeah, basically I spent most of the week mindfully moving, but keenly anxious to do something with a little more soul.

And my wish came true... we traveled a dear, familiar road, and found ourselves in Julian. Don't you love to visit a place you love, and just walk, and walk, and walk? The road to Julian, is a road home, and walking there is like visiting the backyard... sweet, familiar, good for my heart and soul.

It was a spontaneous trip, and lo! everyone came! It's not a simple undertaking to corral all six of us, and get us to the same place, at the same time! We were lured by the promise of a late summer storm. Fat raindrops hit our windshield, and we rolled down the windows to take in the fragrance of thunderheads and oaks, sage, and damp dust. In Julian the apples were ripe, abundant.

We walked from one end of town, to the other, then up to the cemetery. We stopped in to visit Coco, the Bookstore cat, and were sad to hear of her untimely passing. Poor, poor kitty.

We saw quite a few horses, and one very small horse, pulling a carriage. We even saw deer... a doe with two fawns. I gathered wild sage and buckwheat. We watched birds.

Maria is still watching birds, listening to birds, and learning about birds. She is anxious to look through her books and figure out what this little bird is.

It was good. So good. The walk, the hills, the views. Did you move this week? Share your comments, or link to your blog post. We want to see where you've been, too. Jan is in Scotland, and with her doggie, she wants to join our movement, and I look forward to hearing from her, from everyone. I love your company!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

For Laughing Out Loud

I know.

This is not the first, second, or even third time, and likely not the last time.

I can't write a caption for this, because seeing Tasha's head, so very committed to being stuck inside that bucket... well, it leaves me with too much to say, then speechless with laughter.


My brother Hans, and his wife, Gretchen, came by the other evening. They met the goats, Tasha and Ada. We hung out and caught up, and laughed at the antics of our funny ungulate sisters. It will be a while before we can all get together again... until then, I'll be keeping Hans in my best thoughts. I want to believe, that like Tasha, he won't find any trouble he can't get out of with a little help from his friends, and when he's home again we can all have a good laugh over life's absurdities.