The Birthday Beagle and the Unfortunate Chicken Massacre of 2019

This is my birthday cake. A master work of art and craftsmanship, I call it “Eat Your Heart Out.” Absolutely brilliant, doncha think? I was supposed to share it with people (one of whom baked it for me at 6 in the morning…I don’t do anything constructive for anyone at 6 in the morning), but the minute I got to where I was supposed to be, chicken pullets were loose and hiding in a woodpile, and an overly aggressive year-old “puppy” was attacking my friend’s goat herd. And by “attack,” I do mean attack.

Poor Baby just stood there in this lady’s pasture looking completely confused as the shepherd-beagle mix he’d come to play with ran around full tilt like some yippy, gleeful, unhinged hyena, repeatedly grabbed the tethered goats by their throats and dragged them to the ground. If I could have caught her, I would have wrung her neck, but she is wise to Catch-the-Mutt. Instead, I decided to beat her to death…it turned into a fruitless game of Whack-A-Mole.

Whilst my friend went in the house to get a gun, I stood in the middle of the pasture, legs held tight by a half a dozen tangled lead lines and surrounded by terrified does pressed against me for safety, waving around a giant tree branch whilst screaming “NOOOO!!!” like a lunatic trying to protect my friend’s herd. At one point I managed to catch FrootLoops Psycho by the scruff of the neck just long enough to pull her off of one strangled doe and get myself bit, instead….

Two hours later, a months-long wish of mine had finally come true: this high-maintanance definitely-NOT-a-farm-dog was back at the local pound on the shit list for misbehaving cretins, and I felt some relief for the goats and chickens. Not at all the way I had intended on spending my birthday. Especially not when you consider that my friend’s demented (I’m not even exaggerating on this) husband told her that she should leave and go home with me, he wanted to keep the bloodthirsty dog, instead. That was fun.

I left my shindig with a box of 21 coveted Rhode Island Red and Golden Comet chicks (4 died in transit) and my birthday cake in hand. Tomorrow I have to go back when the shitstorm dies down and retrieve Butch’s baby brother, Bobbie. When I do, I’m taking the redecorated cake back as a gift to my friend’s asshole husband, whose unappreciated bride is more than welcome to seek refuge in my guest bedroom until the cows come home.

See, there had been 50 chicks a few days ago….FrootLoops Psycho viciously ate 28 of them and scattered their tiny mauled carcasses like chew toys. I now have the sole remaining sister from the older batch. Asshole Husband evidently forgot about this bloodbath in his family room. I haven’t. And whilst I’m not one for taking animals to the pound or animal control except in the most dire of circumstances, you bet your sweet ass I was happy to give this one a ride, no matter how angry some confused old man gets about it….

Eat My Leftovers, Papa Smurf!

All in all, I had an awesome birfday. You all should have been there. Next year, we’ll do a potluck at my place. You guys bring guns. And beer. It’ll be a riot! 💖

The First Signs of Spring

It’s going to be 60°F this afternoon, and the first time since Equinox that it doesn’t dip down to freezing overnight. The daffodils are starting to swell, and the dewdrops are already nodding their silvery sleepy heads in the shade of the budding hummingbird vine. It’s a beautiful day to take off from work, move the houseplants outside, and red up the front porch for some summer fun. I’ve got some sugar syrup cooling on the stove for the humming bird feeders for just that purpose.

Last night at dusk I moved my 42 surviving egg chicks back to the barn because they are far too big for the bathtub, need space to run around whilst they go through their second and third molts, and they seem to have been an immediate good influence on my spoiled hens, who all decided to bless me with my first edible eggs of the season, layed together neatly right out in the open just inside the barn door, instead of hidden in a gargantuan pile behind the grain bins in their secret hen-spun brooding nests. 9 fresh eggs, and me on a fast…. Screw it! I’m having some stock and celery juice today, and making a big scramble tomorrow.

I made my first big batch of raw sweet Spring butter on Sunday afternoon, packed it in my 1-quart Fido, and scraped the surplus into a butterbell, then split the whey between me, the hens and the dogs. I will use the bell butter to whip up a few of these eggs with a handful of the chives that have come up, and some dandelion greens.

The hillside will be deep green by my birthday on the 13th, and just in time, too: my friend Mary has sent me a heavy box from Georgia filled with roots and shoots and cane cuttings and a big fat garden spider (R.I.P. +++) that will all be going in the ground before the sun sets tomorrow, and my friend Tonjha is sending me some priceless herb seeds from Washington State to get a good start on my neglected medicinal garden. My tomatoes, peppers and chilis are all around two inches tall in their little origami pots, folded from the newsprint circulars that litter my mailbox every Wednesday and Saturday, and nestled closely in nursery trays on the kitchen table.

The robins that live in my living room wall by the kitchen door have a new brood of babies that all start making an ungodly racket around 5 every morning. I got the ladder out of the spring house so I could peek in, and there are six pissed off little black-eyed fluffballs in the nest, clearly unhappy that I did not bring meat as an apology for invading their home.

The most tenacious of my two remaining Cornish Cross hens, Big Mama, is sunning herself in a hole she dug with her stubby toes under the lilac bush. My Buff Orp egg mama, Carrie, is asleep in my lap whilst I write this, Baby is sitting ever so stately in the middle of the front yard – with his face to the wind – watching over the valley, and Sissy is blissfully scratching her butt all over the base of a pine tree with unbridled vigor, sending out giant plumes of white Winter coat Dalmation hair in every direction.

The wind in the trees is like music….Today is a perfectly glorious day. I think it’s time to get nekkid and lay out for a tan….

Who the hell wants to go to a yob on a day like this? Not I, says this little red hen.

The Little Red Hen: Why I love her, why I need her, and why you might need her, too


In the second grade we read Aesop’s Fables as a class. I did not like them. At all. The Scorpion and the Frog gave me nightmares. The fox running back and forth dropping pebbles into a vase to quench his thirst made me parched and tired and just a little bit paranoid about the possibilities of dehydration. But then came The Little Red Hen. Do you remember this story?

In my mind, I always believed that her name was Henrietta, and Henny Penny was her unhinged, batshit, mentally-deranged cousin. Henrietta was hungry because her farmer sucked. All the hungry animals lay sleeping, on the verge of coma in the barnyard because Farmer Ted was an idiot without a clue. One day, quite by accident, Henrietta found a tiny grain of wheat lying under the empty feed crib, and she was so excited, she did a little happy dance right then and there.

“We have food! We have food!” she cried…and all the animals in the barnyard inspected the small fleck of grain grasped in her beak with disdain, and went back to sleep.

“Who will help me plant the wheat?” she asked.

“Not I,” answered every lazy, good for nothing, farmer-spoiled neighbour in turn. So, Henrietta did it herself.

She used a sugar spoon that Farmer Jane had dropped one day off the edge of the porch when carrying a stack of dirty tea dishes into the kitchen, and she fluffed up a little spot near the fence where the sun shown down and the daisies and chickory swayed in the breeze. When she had dropped the seed into the hole and tamped down the earth on top of it, she ran back to the barnyard.

“The seed is planted! Who will help me carry water to feed the seed so it will grow?” she begged. Homer, the pack mule picked up his lazy head for just a moment and yawned a big, buck-toothed yawn, and drawled, “Noooooooot I,” and all the barnyard animals answered in kind one by one. So, Henrietta stood under the spigot by the water trough, mouth open, tongue reaching, and she waited for water to drip down from on high…one drip…two drip…three drip…four drip…five….

When her mouth could hold no more she ran back to the spot where she had planted her seed, and gave it all the cool water she had collected without saving any for herself. Seeing that her seed was nestled in and watered well, she hopped up on the fence, fluffed her wings out, curled up in a puff of feathers, and went to sleep waiting for her seed to grow. And she waited a very long time….

The wheat eventually grew tall and strong, with big, green, bearded heads that swayed in the hot, sunny breeze. When the wheat turned golden, she ran back to tell the others that very soon they would have good things to eat. Sadly, her barnmates seemed to have forgotten that Henrietta had even existed.

“The grain is now tall and beautiful, the colour of sunshine! Who will help me harvest the wheat,” she asked.

“Not I,” said the spotted brown dog, scratching at a flea.

“Not I,” said the cat, licking her business.

And all the other animals in the barnyard answered in kind one by one….

Henrietta went and found a bit of glass discarded from a broken bottle and carried it back to where her wheat danced gracefully under the bright blue sky. Thanking it for it’s gift, she used the glass to cut it down, plucked two seeds from it heads, and buried them right next to the feet of their mother before grasping the straws in her beak and carrying her harvest back to the barnyard.

“Look, I know that you all are tired and very hungry,” she said to the lazy animals, “So am I. But delicious food is so close! Who will help me thresh this wheat I have grown?”

You know the answer….So she did it herself.

“Who will help me grind the wheat into flour?”

Not a single volunteer. So she did it herself.

“Who will help me knead the dough?”

Nada. So…she did it herself. She even put a couple of her own eggs in there, too.

“Anyone wanna help me build a sun oven whilst this dough rises?”

Laughter broke out in the barnyard. This chick must be nuts….So. She. Did it. All. By. Her. Self. It took three damned days to finish, but that bitch got it done.

“I’m guessing you assholes don’t want to help me bake this bread, either, huh?”

Snoring. That was the response she got. Two dozen rat bastard lazy asses lying around her, snoring, seemingly awaiting death. So….SHE DID IT HER OWN DAMNED SELF.

Soon, the whole farm was filled with the smell of rich, yeasty fresh bread baking. Henrietta went to Babs the Cow, “Would you please give me some cream to make some butter,” she asked.

“I’m busy chewing my cud,” Babs answered.

So, Little Red Henrietta went back to her mud stove, built from the remains of an abandoned paper wasp’s nest and the damp edges of Parson Pig’s wallow, and lit by a fire created from the straws and chaff she had saved from threshing, and she sat on her haunches and waited for her bread to finish baking.

Her neighbours started to perk up as the luscious scent grew and hung thick in the air. As Henrietta cut into that fresh, steamy loaf of dense brown bread with her bottle shard, all the animals in the barnyard began to drool, and Farmer Ted and Farmer Jane stood over at the paddock fence, bewildered expressions on their scrawny raw vegan faces at the weird sight they both beheld (starvation, for your information, causes hallucinations in humans). Henrietta, eyes closed, took a slow purposeful bite of her wonderful, delicious creation and a smile spread in her heart as the warmth filled her. When she opened her eyes, the whole barnyard was staring down at her, puddles of drool dripped into the dusty earth at their feet. She stopped mid-chew, swallowed hard, and stared back at them.

…Now, here’s where me and Aesop diverge in the woods of Elfland….

In Aesop’s version, Henrietta tells the whole damned barnyard to go fuck themselves, and carries that warm crusty loaf off under one wing to enjoy the fruits of her labour by herself. My little mind has never gotten the point of that. So, here’s what really happened:

Henrietta swallowed, and looked up at the sea of pitiful hungry faces before her.

“Who will help me eat this bread?” she offered sweetly, and nudged the loaf across the board with her free wing.

Slice after slice came off that loaf until every belly was full and every heart was happy. And without saying another word aloud, Henrietta thought, “I can do anything I want. All. By. Myself.”

…The reason I love this story and always have is because Henrietta taught me, and still reminds me to this day, that I can do anything I want to do if I’m willing to put in the time and the effort to get it done. Having help is amazing. Having company is priceless. Support is always preferable to winging it alone. But it’s not necessary. And, in the end, good things are borne out of faithfulness to ourselves, even when we think that no one else believes in us.

So, here lies a new day of possibilities….Anything is possible!

This story is dedicated to my bratty brother, Eric. It’s his birthday today. I love that douchebag. 💖

Loverly, Loverly Spring

Miki’s Jam <—click me. You know you want to….

Yesterday morning I went and helped my butcher, Jen, harvest three lambs. She had called me the night before and said that she had an ordee, her daughter would be off the farm and that I could have half a lamb if I’d come help her out; I replied, “Throw in a skin and I’m in!” Without skipping a beat, she yelled, “Deal!” into the phone and added, “Be here at 6:30 on the dot! Bye!” hanging up quickly before I could protest. 6:30 on a Saturday? Geez…So, I went to bed.

I was on time, Jen let me one of her big rubber aprons as we walked to her processing room out across the yard from the barn and she threw a big roasted knucklebone in Baby’s direction to keep him occupied whilst we were busy. We watched in the dim dawn light as Jen’s husband carried the first lamb to us from the paddock, and suddenly, I felt very ill, prickly heat overtaking me as I swallowed hard and breathed through my mouth to stave off any unfortunate vomiting.

Vegans thoughtlessly believe that people who hunt, fish, raise livestock and butcher their own meat find some kind of lusty psychotic joy in killing things. That’s completely untrue. Dispatching any animal, even when its suffering and you know it has to be done, is a horrible feeling, one that never gets better with practise. Thankfully, Jen is an excellent butcher and a faithful steward, and lamb #1 was gone and hanging from a hook in less than thirty seconds without a single cry. And as we got to work, the dreadful sensation of sick gradually subsided. She had two sets of freshly whetted knives laid out on the big steel bench so that she wouldn’t have to stop to sharpen between animals, and she handed me the first skin whilst the lamb was still bleeding into the blood bowl, which I dutifully rolled up fleece side in and put in a heavy plastic bag before setting it aside on a shelf in the walk-in freezer whilst she beheaded and eviscerated the carcass. From there, everything went wicked quick.

This is the first time I’ve ever butchered lambs. I tried to think back; I’ve eaten lamb and mutton too many times to count, and have known many people from childhood on who raised them but, no, this was definitely my first. And it wasn’t bad, either; very similar to dressing veal. Jen asked me if I wanted retail cuts, and I said that I only wanted the shank separated, so we took my half, cut it into wholesale parts, wrapped it in paper, and left it on a sideboard to finish cooling. I said I wanted the head, too, so I peeled off the skin with a filet knife and put it in a vacuum seal bag without removing any of the organs. All the rest of the meat and bones from the three lambs was divided into retail cuts and vacuum sealed within the space of four hours, and we had bleached and scrubbed the room down well before lunchtime arrived.

Stepping outside into the cool sunny air was shocking; my sweat-drenched ponytail dripped down the back of my aching neck, the smell of bleach gave way to sweet, loamy pasture and, taking off the rubber utility apron, I suddenly felt cold. Looking down in the outdoor light, I realised that my barn boots were still splattered with blood, but I decided that I would hose them off when I got home instead of going back into that steamy hotbox of a shop. Jen brought out a box that held all of my lamb parts, lifted her washed knife bundles off the top, we chatted for a bit whilst Baby played with her shepherd, Amanda, and I was off to the German meat shop to drop off my new meat to age in the meat locker I’ve been renting since last year. Wrapped in cheese cloth instead of butcher paper, I’ll leave my little guy to settle and dry for a few weeks before I cut him down and rewrap those pieces to stash in the freezer.

When I got home, I put the lamb shank in the oven to roast in low heat for two hours, and pulled two pig’s feet out of the freezer. When the shank was ready, I put a whole chicken in the oven with the foot-long pig’s feet and two whole, unpeeled onions, turned up the heat to 350°, and set the timer for an hour. Whilst the lamb shank rested on the kitchen table, I butter braised two oxetails and a big bloody knucklebone in my five-gallon steel stockpot until they were well-browned and crispy on the fatted edges, filled the stockpot with three gallons of fresh cold well water, added my freshly roasted shank with a half-dozen bay leaves, and covered the pot to low-boil until the rest of the meat still in the oven was ready to add to the pot.

When I went to bed last night, the whole house smelled like Christmas at my Grandmother Susan’s house; that rich, meaty, warm wintery smell of good food to come. This morning I woke to a beautiful pot of rich, golden stock; the lamb shank and oxetail had all but disappeared, the chicken had broken into soft, velvety pieces and the only part of the pig’s feet that was still identifiable was the thick, wrinkled skin and one lone pointy toe floating in unskimmed fat. The big knucklebone that had once been the ball socket from the hip of a steer had given up all of it’s cartilage and marrow in melted gelatin, and I breathed in the vapour with a satisfied smile as I stirred the pot.

It’s the Great Fast, so I won’t be eating any of this now. After Mass this afternoon, I’ll strain the bones and fat from my stock, and divide it into quarts and pints to put into the freezer unsalted. Most of the meat will be separated and frozen for another soup pot after Easter. The onion remains will go to the chickens, and that fat and bones will be ground up with the remaining meat, salted lightly and fed to the dogs as special treats to nourish their dry Winter skin and coats. Every bit used up, nothing gone to waste.

I realised this morning as I stood at the stove gently stirring the big pot what it is I dislike about the arguments of vegans: my food is honest, theirs not so much. Every time I read another one of these articles about how compassionate the vegan plate is supposed to be, or see a YouTube video of blue-haired SJWs crying over piglets in a farrowing house, I think back to the times I spent cleaning bones, wings and skin and the occasional antlers out of combine harvesters and plough implements. The piece of lamb in that pot? I held him close whilst he was harvested, felt his little heart beating against my chest before it was wrapped up and went into my freezer cabinet at the meat locker. There is nothing more intimate or meaningful in this world when it comes to food than that. My meat didn’t come from the supermarket or a feedlot. I raised the chicken in my pot last Autumn myself, and I butchered her alone on my front porch before she, too, went into the freezer. The food on my plate is not a commodity; it’s a sacred relationship actively cultivated since early childhood when, standing in my Uncle Bill’s cattle yard, I watched two birds (Pheasant? Grouse?) get electrocuted on a power line above, and then later watched whilst my father butchered them and we ate them for supper (delicious); the attitude Daddy passed down not to waste life has never been lost on me. Killing any living thing makes me truly sad, but it’s done with a knowledgeable, deliberate purpose aimed at living a happy, healthy life treading lightly on the earth. And at least I know precisely where it came from, how it was handled and what went into harvesting it; there are very few dietary dictocrats who can factually say the same. To each their own….

Last autumn I made the decision that I was going to concentrate on raising Rhode Island Reds as I build my flock; they were my granddad’s favourite breed, they’re good birds, sturdy, mild-tempered, and my two surviving roosters were both Reds, so I figured that’s where I was headed…I was wrong. Unbeknownst to me, my shrewd hens were hiding all of their Spring eggs in two great piles behind the grain bins in the barn and, thus far, I’ve got two big clutches of baby dinos going. The first are nearly three weeks old now, all Barred Rocks, a few Wyadottes and about a dozen or so Buffs; they went outside this past week when they began their first molt. The younger batch are still in the kitchen staying warm, and there’s not a single full-blooded Red in the bunch, just Red paternity. Murphy’s Law prevails. At least I’ll have a lot more roosters than I planned on to choose from this year.

All is well on the green hill in the little valley….Spring has come! WOOOHOOO!!!

When Life Gives You Grenades, Blow Up Conventions

On this day four years ago, I was exactly where I didn’t want to be: sitting on the floor of a cold, empty apartment in the middle of Nowhere, Missouri, hitched to a miserable, lazy bastard who had turned out to be not my type at all, no matter what he said of himself, making soap in a crockpot in half batches because my big soap pot and fully functional stove were nine hours away…at home….Because Creature had insisted on moving, told me that it was my biblical duty to do as he said, loaded my car up with all of his shit, and I was not allowed to bring anything of my own but blankets and a pillow. I tried desperately to put a happy spin on it at the time, but it was a nightmare. A bleak, lonesome, frightening nightmare that really did get so much worse before it got better.

I don’t remember why I took this picture, but I’m glad that I did. It’s a testament to how much things can change in a relatively short period of time. Today, my sunny kitchen is once again filled with my books, my dishes, my soap pots and honey pots, my sister’s beloved trestle table, and my corner hutch overtaken by a thousand nicknacks that remind me of who I am and where I’ve come from. Then, in Missouri, the floor was cold and bare, today it is warm, hay-strewn, stained with joyfully muddy paw prints, and filled with the noise and mess of a brand new flock of mixed-breed chicks, some from my own hens, some from a whirlwind shopping trip with Nancy to provide her with her own first ever egg-laying hens (I will raise them to be strong and healthy, she will get them back at Easter when they’re harder to kill by accident). My soap pot is filled with the very last pound of olive oil, bubbling away on the back of the stove, waiting to be laced with patchouli and espresso powder. And, amazingly, I am content.

Sometime this past year, I began falling asleep before midnight and getting up without an alarm between 6:30 and 7 each morning – something I’ve never done before in my entire night owl life. I relish the days when I can avoid seeing another human being and can, instead, spend the hours wrapped up in a light quilt reading my current stack of “must read” books, highlighter and notebook in hand. I live for the days that are warm enough to take my tarp and rake into the woods behind the house and drag load after load of forest litter up to my growing compost pile that is now hot enough to lie in and take a nap. I love sitting on the hillside above the little cottage, Baby pressed up beside me, watching the clouds sail above us, listening to the cows lowing at each other at the other end of the valley, or sleeping up on the roof above the porch, under the dewy stars.

Life is very different now. Very different. And not what I ever would have envisioned, but it is good.

One of the key people who got me to this place told me that the only way through the mess I was in was gratitude, and he was right. He’s still right. Not everything is settled, but it’s manageable. So much moreso than I could have imagined even a year ago when I moved to this little farm in the green valley. Painting and cleaning continue, miles of fencing still need to be erected, and I have another year of so of film school classes to take before I strike out to make a flick worthy of public critique. The world is full of possibilities, again, and the cold, empty fright is far away.
I am reminded of a lovely photo I saw once and fell in love with in my grandmother’s National Geographics: an old woman in a heavy sweater and woolens reclining in an upturned wheelbarrow, absorbed in a book. I always wanted to know what she was reading, now I just want to be like her, sitting outside in the wide expanse, filling my mind and heart with ideas.

Life blows up and fractures into a million splinters, and it can never be the same. So, you pick up the biggest pieces, leave the smallest, most hurtful shards behind, and make a new life. Like a stained glass window crafted from scraps, it will never look like it used to, and it might leave a lot undone, or questionably unexplained…but it might be just as marvelous, just as fun, just as colourful as the old life left behind. It might even be better. Even when it hurts. I’m just happy to have a stocked kitchen that’s all my own…and a new flock of chicks to prove that Spring is finally here!

The Silent Scream: Covington Catholics Are Wrong and Guilty, and So Are We All

When you live in religious community, if you are fortunate enough to actually be bound to the Rule of St. Benedict or the Rule of St. Albert, you get to experience a lovely exercise called “the Chapter of Faults,” and here’s how that goes:

The whole community gathers in the choir or the chapter room and all members sit facing each other. One by one, from the most senior member down to the newest postulant, each person kneels down and publicly accuses herself of whatever wrongdoing she has commited that week which has caused her to falter on the Road to Perfection in Christ. “On Monday, I saw that Sister Genevieve was having a hard time. I thought about bringing her a cup of tea and finishing the laundry for her, but I went to my bed to take a nap instead. I accuse myself of the faults of selfishness and sloth.” “Yesterday, I took a loaf of Sister Diana’s fresh bread from the refectory without permission and gave it to the Jewish family next door…because I wanted to get the hell out of the priory and I knew that Mrs. X would invite me in for tea. I accuse myself of the faults of theft and selfishness.” “Last night, after Matins, I bit my tongue instead of telling Sister Therese what I really thought about her direction, but in my mind I actively imagined punching her in the face and pushing her out of the window on the third floor landing. I accuse myself of hatred, violence and malice.” “This morning, I peeled the contact paper off a corner of the bathroom mirror so that I could see my reflection to pop a zit. I accuse myself of vanity and disobedience.”

You get the point, I’m sure. All of the admissions above are my own; things that I actually did and said in chapter when I was a candidate in a Benedictine community so many years ago in Pennsylvania. At the end of each admission, the accuser strikes her breast, asks for forgiveness, both from the person that they have slighted, and from the community as a whole. And, when they are finished, they remain kneeling to be accused by their sisters for faults that they have overlooked or omitted, for which they also accept responsibility, beg forgiveness and apologise for, making amends wherever possible and vowing to do better moving forward. It’s a centuries-old proven method for learning to be accountable for our thoughts and deeds, as well as for growing in the virtues of humility and love for our neighbours. It’s also a sound and gentle way of learning how to be honest about ourselves and our many failings.

Calling on this experience with the Chapter of Faults and Catholic Social Teaching, I’m going to lay down my own maternal mixed race heritage to present two sides of the prolife argument that have been completely ignored in the wake of this year’s March for Life in Washington DC, and why I, as a Catholic woman with close ties to and deep love for the First Nations in the United States, firmly believe that ALL of the boys from the Covington Catholic Boys School were wrong for their behaviour during this event, why they ALL need to sincerely, explicitly apologise without excuses for their actions and attitudes, and the sorrow and conflict that their bad behaviour has caused, make amends for the fallout their arrogance has wrought, and why faithful Catholics need to stop defending these kids as victims…because they are NOT victims. Nor are they acting like “faithfully practising Catholics.”

The Indigenous People’s Movement has grown out of the American Indian Movement of the 1970s in the United States in an effort for hundreds of various tribes, bands and nations to come together as one unified body and give voice to the concerns of marginalized people in crisis who otherwise have no voice. Most recently, the IPM has notably given voice to the land treaties between the sovereign Nations in North America and the Federal government, that have been violated across the U.S., taking sovereign tribal reservation lands by imminent domain for the petroleum and non-metallic mining industries and giving the rights to these lands to international corporations for industrial use with absolutely no regard for the people – mostly women, children and elderly – who live there, and whose families have lived and died on these same lands for generations. The IPM has also been the leading voice in publicising a growing humanitarian crisis in the United States and Canada, in which more than 6,000 girls and women from many tribes have disappeared in the past few years without a trace; a few have been found dead, their bodies mutilated and desecrated, and most are feared to be raped, murdered and/or abducted into the sex slave industry which has corporate ties in most major cities around the world. Let’s be clear: these are women and girls, real, living flesh-and-blood human beings with families who love them, miss them and fear for their welfare, all daughters of GOD, all made in His image and likeness. Their disappearances have collectively grown into a silent holocaust that has been roundly ignored by law enforcement, swept under the carpet by the media, and brushed off as nothing to write home about by society at large. What’s worse is that, as a Catholic, these are my sisters, and I feel deep pain at not being able to help them. As a Christian, it is my duty to honour these girls and women as daughters of our Heavenly Father, each of them born into this world posessed of infinite worth, sacred creations of my Lord and GOD. I’m responsible for them; if I say that I am not, then I am no better than Cain.

According the Catholic Doctrine, all life is sacred from the moment of conception until natural death. To be sacred means that a thing belongs to GOD and must be revered as such; a sacred thing is holy. “Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus….” How many times do we kneel before the Altar at these words without truly comprehending their weight and meaning? The lives of these thousands of missing women are holy. Just as holy, just as sacred, just as fragile, hidden and unknown to us as the lives of the unborn.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the Indigenous People’s Movement applied for and got a legal permit from the governmental powers that be in Washington DC to assemble from 8am to 4pm on 18 January 2019 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where they held a peaceful march and rally in conjunction with the National March for Life which held its own march and rally three miles away on the steps of the Capitol. Three miles away. Remember that, because it’s important.

I have heard from dozens of professed Catholics I know who attended the March for Life last week that “we didn’t know that anyone else would be there.” That’s not an excuse. Over one million people live and work in Washington DC on any given day, and this was a workday in our nation’s capital. Are you really that myopic that you can believe that the whole place just shuts down because 500,000 mostly Catholic and Evangelical Republicans show up? Does it really occur to no one to look at the OMB website to see what other groups are scheduled to be in town other than the Roe v. Wade protest committee? Just how thoughtless and arrogant can you be to think that you are the only people who are given a permit to hold a rally in the governmental epicenter of a nation of nearly 400 million souls? Whatever. It doesn’t wash. But whilst y’all right-wing Catholic saints were down there at the capitol listening to a white Jewish conservative gay dude with a hunka-hunka-burnin’-love black husband talk about the evils of abortion, believing that doing so makes you so freaking progressively inclusive and nonjudgmental (the irony here is not lost on those looking in from the outside), three miles away there was another prolife group representing some 200 Nations, 70 cities, those more than 6,000 (that’s six thousand – more than twice the population of the town I grew up in) girls, women and their grieving families, all saying in unison WE ARE HERE, TOO. WE ARE LIFE. WE ARE YOUR FAMILY. WE NEED PROTECTION. They stood on the steps of the memorial of Abraham Lincoln, the Republican man who signed executive orders that allowed the slaughter of thousands of their people during his time in office, including the largest mass execution in American history, and they peacefully mourned the present-day illicit encroachment of their lands, the ongoing assaults on their heritage, and the unacknowledged disappearances of their daughters, mothers, sisters, cousins, children and friends. So peacefully did they assemble, in fact, that y’all didn’t even notice they were there…until….

From the videos I’ve seen, it looks as though there were around 20 big, rowdy, rude, jeering teenagers who showed up at the Lincoln Memorial at the end of the IPM rally, and they definitely weren’t there in support of anything good. These kids claim that they were chaperoned by adults; if this is true, their chaperones were doing a really shitty job of it. But I’ve looked for signs of any adult in this mob of privileged, well-heeled white boys from wealthy families, and I can find none. Nor would I have ever guessed that they represented a Catholic boys school (and, therefore, the Church), if their own friends hadn’t outed them. What I have seen over and over again in two hours of footage is a group of callous assholes, not a single one of them carrying a prolife placard or sign demonstrating that they represented ANYTHING but a bullshit pro-Trump campaign slogan. You know??? The guy who, right up until he switched parties so that he could run for president, was an unabashed supporter of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights. The guy with ZERO military or foreign policy experience who is now our bumbling CiC? The guy who has an agenda that includes making beautiful public lands available to corporations for pillaging GOD knows what for the next century, and who has indicated that the same should be on the table for all reservation lands, too. Yeah. That guy.

When the rest of the world looks at these videos with an objective eye, what they see is not a group of cherubic innocent choir boys from a Catholic school. What they see is a rude gang of privileged bullies advertizing their support for a lying, womanizing, knuckle-dragging sociopathic thug who joined the Republican party to buy an election right after he sold off his string of strip clubs in the casinos that he built and repeatedly bankrupted, living the American dream getting rich off of LLC loopholes and his daddy’s pile of ill-got cash. When the rest of the world looks at the three minute standoff between poor, sweet Nicholas Sandmann and Omaha Nation’s elder Nathan Phillips, they don’t see an altar boy innocently standing on the steps of a presidential memorial; the rest of the world sees an entitled, smug, snide brat backed up by a gang of big, loud, abusive Trumpslugs deliberately blocking the path of a frail old man singing the American Indian Movement anthem of peace, strength and solidarity for all people as one, whilst he is mocked and ridiculed by this same mob of knuckle-draggers. And they see these things in the context of what really happened: these snot-nosed city white kids crashed the back end of an IPM rally and did exactly what snot-nosed city white kids from privileged backgrounds do, they acted like narcissistic bullies with all the social graces of a rabid pack of hyenas.

These kids did not act like Catholics. They are not victims. And any Catholic who treats them like victims is lying about their discipleship to Christ and His universal Church. These kids are not Kentucky hicks from the backwoods of Appalachia; Covington is a cosmopolitan suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, right across the river, connected by multiple bridges. Covington boasts big, posh gated communities beyond it’s seedy downtown area, populated by wealthy professionals living in luxury brick McMansions, and it’s very own private, gated hospital that sits atop a picturesque wooded hill at the end of a winding private road (I know, I’ve been there). By all accounts, these boys are the spawn of parents who all have high profile careers which have allowed them to hire security firms, prestigious law firms and public relations people to shelter their rotten kids and make them into what they are not. And what they are not is Catholic…or innocent.

Just because you are baptized in the Catholic Church, that doesn’t make you a disciple of Jesus Christ crucified. Just because you attend a Catholic high school, that doesn’t make you a good person, anymore than jumping through hoops and getting good grades makes you wise or intelligent. Just because you attend Mass and receive Communion, that doesn’t make you worthy, nor does it automatically put you in a state of grace. Actually, according to St. Paul, unworthy reception of the Sacrament makes you guilty for the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus. And, demonstrably, these boys are no more Catholic than I’m a hot supetmodel and Donald Trump is a real Republican. Even Jeffrey Daumer made a point to remind us that he was a shy, quiet Catholic boy from a good family; that didn’t negate the fact that he was a cannabilistic serial killer. I call bullshit. Unless….

Let’s leave aside the nasty, direspectful display of a mob of teenagers towards an old man that would, under Mosaic Law, earn them a public stoning. The most important thing that has been lost in this circus of media monkeys is that what these allegedly “Catholic” boys are most guilty of is stamping out the voices of 6,000 missing women and their respective families, and shutting them out of the public debate regarding the right to life. By making a public spectacle of themselves, arrogantly “standing [their] ground,” and grooming the media to rake in attention for their future careers as high profile professional assholes just like their not-so-saintly “Catholic” parents, they have done precisely what the Indigenous People’s Movement has been working so hard to combat: they have very effectively, efficiently silenced the very least of our brothers and sisters in their distress and violated Christ’s own gospel mandate in the process. They have, in point of fact, stamped out the cries of innocent blood, calling out from the grave for vengeance against the oppressors. They have used this moment for personal gain and gagged the screams of fear, despair and mourning that sought notice and response in the public square.

Actions have consequences, and these boys are fighting against their own just reward. This is an opportunity for a national Chapter of Faults amongst faithful Catholics who are truly prolife disciples. We are guilty. We are all guilty if we stand idly by whilst the blood of our sisters is spilled and left unacknowledged. We cannot be prolife and ignore the plight of those already here who have no voice to speak. We cannot be taken seriously about abortion if we will not stand up and defend girls and women already born. We are all guilty if we ignore these women, their families and their communities in their distress. They are the real victims in this mess. Don’t turn your backs.

My friend is right. I don’t care about anyone but who I care about. Which means I care about everyone, because that’s what the Gospel says I have to care about. Politics or no, I am my brother’s keeper. The Covington kids were wrong, they need to be held accountable, and they need to make amends, then shut up and go away. And I am wrong for not standing up sooner to say this:


Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Maamwi g’da maashkozimi, Kase eeheho!

REBOOT: The Ordinary Life, My Favourite Storybook Character of All Time, And Why I Deleted Facebook

Learn to make the most of life,

Lose no happy day,

Time will never bring thee back

Chances swept away!

~Sarah Doudney

My stepmother once caught my father and I watching the movie Legend together, and I think it made her jealous. By her account, we were sitting side by side on the sofa in the den, identical expressions of “creepy” half-witted amusement plastered on our enraptured faces, saying aloud in union with Blix the brigand goblin, “Black as night, black as pitch, blacker than the foulest witch.” She said it was one of the weirdest things she had ever been witness to, the two of us sitting there with our toothpicks, happily, mindlessly snacking on cans of kippers and smoked oysters, repeating every important phrase from start to finish….

In truth, the Tangerine Dream soundtrack in that movie was and still is like the song of the Pied Piper, and when it plays in my head, I’m right back there under the big oak tree that shelters Nell’s stone cottage walls, where the sun glistens through faerie snow over the summer meadows and clean white sheets billow on the clothesline, whipped by enchanted winds perfumed with honetsuckle and locust flowers. It’s one of my favourite scenes ever, and Nell is my favourite storybook character of all time.

From time to time I have thought about that scene and wondered why it means so much to me. Nell considers herself poor and of no account, but the Princess Lily counters, “You live a very rich life.” Indeed. Nell’s hands are chapped from washing linens, her nose and cheeks are sunburnt rosy, but one look around her tiny cottage filled with fresh baking and herbs strewn over the table and looms and handcraft projects littering the room in various stages of completion, the life revealed is hearth-centered, busy, comfortable, unpretentious, practical and fascinatingly, paradoxically simple and impossibly complex in tandem. When Lily runs off to the explore the woods, Nell calls after her with the sage wisdom of plainfolk to avoid duplicitous faeries and their toadstool rings before returning to her sunny, quiet productive life under the sprawling protection of the mighty oak canopy….Lily left to go hunt unicorns, but I always wanted to stay with Nell to bake shortbread, make stew, fold freshly laudered sheets into the corners of the fluffy wool-stuffed feather bed, and make something beautiful from all the bits and bobs that fill the handwoven baskets she keeps tucked away in her rafters.

I think that the magic in Nell’s cottage is of the same substance I found at six-years-old in Beatrix Potter’s Tales of the Burrow and later within the rambling domain of impossible towering book piles and wondrous knitting that shelters Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Mrs. Whatsit in A Wrinkle in Time. It’s reflected in Molly Weasley’s own Burrow where dishes politely wash themselves before going to their own cupboards, and a clock over the mantle tells the proximity of each family member to the safety of home.

By contrast, our society has been overtaken by a perverse popularity contest that seems to ignore the real weight of time altogether. Instead of finding contentment and happiness in a cozy room filled with beloved books and rugs woven from baby clothes and old shirts, we trade our peace for the sterility and dopamine-chasing stress of Facebook and Twitter and whatever other electronic drug du jure excites our perverse longing. Instead of growing gardens, hunting rabbits, lying in the sun and playing in the woods, we imagine our connections to nature by posting someone else’s photos of imaginary places in our feeds to be forgotten tomorrow. We don’t eat real food; we buy garbage that tastes good from a giant block box. We don’t create our homes with the work of our own hands, we buy them via mail order from an online picture catalogue that tells us what “home” is supposed to look like.

I can’t tolerate it anymore. Social media has created an entire society incapable of living an authentic life for the simple joy of it, or of comprehending and exhibiting common decency and simple manners. Bratty, sociopathic teenagers are defended by elitist morons in the name of religious solidarity, and abuse of elders is somehow alright when they aren’t expected to be where others smugly plant themselves in a national display of “prolife” lunacy with no regard for others. I’m done paying any attention to all of this nonsense. I have much better things to do with my time and energy than stare at an electronic screen whilst time streams by, never to be recaptured or remembered.

Seriously, can you actually remember the last time you paid concerted attention to creating something tangible and lasting without looking at your “timeline”? Without posting the “results” to be praised like a second-grader at show-and-tell? When was the last time you had a legitimate, deep, independent thought that wasn’t a product of your accepted herd’s mindless paradigm? The world has been robbed of her GOD-given sacramental imagination and the sanctity of the ordinary life by social media addiction, and you’re all idiots not to recognise that you’ve been played. Bullshit! I’m not going to forfeit like that.

If you need me, I’ll be with Nell at the old cottage surrounded by meadow, planting salad flowers and sewing embroidered pinafores by hand. I’m going to paint a window or two this week whilst the days grow longer, and start sorting my seeds to prep for growing Spring seedlings in a couple of weeks for the new garden. Whilst Death chases the old man ’round and ’round Nell’s mantle clock and you all are calling evil good, I’m jumping back over the hedge to find my peace where sanity lives amongst the common things that make days worthy of eternity. I’ll take faerie rings and toadstools in a living garden over the injustice of a false existence on the internet anytime: Life (that you all claim to have such superior reverence for) is far too short to be wasted in the matrix, and far more complex than a stupid, corporatized annual mob that NO ONE in government takes seriously. I’ll believe your horseshit one-day-a-year virtue signalling when you all actually invite real, live women in crisis into to your homes, put your money where your profile badges claim to be, and make a commitment to substantively support their maternity with your own resources and space for the long haul.

You know where to find me when you decide to get real. Healthy, happy, living a very rich life, indeed; just your ordinary decent fat chick under the beautiful sun, hoe in one hand, book in the other, slaying real dragons, not the imaginary glowing ones Facebook cooks up for me. 🐉


I made a decision last week that I’m not going to wait for a financial backer or the landlord’s permission to start making improvements on this place, even though it’s an incredible risk to take when one doesn’t even have an official lease. Tonight, I scrubbed down the entire bathroom again in a manic explosion of discontent and looked through the photos I took of it when I first moved here; it was filthy, gross and out of date – still is in many ways. The bathroom is twice the size of the guest bedroom, and unnecessarily so. I hate its orange-stained shower and gun-metal grey walls with the mismatched counters and cupboard and wasted floor space. I’ve been using that tiny spare bedroom as a catchall for all the stuff I don’t want to deal with….This next week, I’m going to empty it out, take more photos (I haven’t touched it since I moved here), and rip up the existing Formica tile floor to prepare it for blonde bamboo. I want to do recycled wainscotted walls painted robin’s egg blue and bright chalk white below the chair rail, and install wide, heavy baseboards and scalloped crown molding, painted white to match. One of Mavis’ beautiful baroque mirrors will go over the vanity.

Tonight I went looking for a pedestal sink on ebay, and I think I found the one I’m going to save up for. And I’m going to look for a second clawfooted bathtub; I love my porch tub, and I want to keep it where it is. I’m going to aim for finishing the new bathroom before I have to start paying rent in July, and then I’m going to rip out the old gross bathroom, pull up the nasty, multi-layered floor, redo it in 6″×2″ tongue-and-groove barn flooring (the hallway, too) and make it a real, proper bedroom with captain’s portal windows.

I’ve already been ripping up the nasty 40-year-old carpet in my room starting in the back corner where no one can see, cutting it into little pieces and taking it out of the house stuffed into shopping bags; I’ve been throwing them away in tiny batches at gas stations when I fill the tank. I’ve been decoupaging the subfloor underneath with ripped up brown paper and cutout flowers from old seed and bulb catalogues, but I ran out of glue and varnish, so I have to wait to do more when I have moula.

This past week, I had a health scare. I went for a physical and ended up in the emergency room, which was followed up by a CT scan and surgery for a twisted transverse colon and a subsequent blockage. What I had thought was pancreatitis and water fasting before the start of Lent turned into a two day saga of worry, pain and multiple trips to see a surgeon. Fortunately, there were no complications, the experience didn’t interfere with work, and my followup with the surgeon revealed nothing I have to worry about. Still, it was one of those weeks that forces me to re-evaluate what I’m permitting in my life, and how much time I’ve wasted on nonsense…especially other peope’s nonsense.

I’m not waiting for life to begin again in earnest. I’m having the faerie tale, even if I have to beg borrow and steal to get it. I’m making it myself, one room and garden at a time.

Where to Find My Work (It’s Not Patreon)

Last year, some friends convinced me that I needed to start a Patreon page to earn some bank with the stuff I do. Not long afterward, I read the terms of service for Patreon and became uncomfortably disconcerted. You see, I’m a diehard, firmly-rooted anti-feminist, classically-feminine-lover-of-Real-Men-Who-Are-Masculine-As-Shit, unabashed proponent of the imaginary patriarchy (DOWN WITH NOW & NARAL!), totally anarchist, fiscally conservative, socially liberal, anti-war, womb-to-tomb prolife, progressive-despising, homeschool-championing, anti-establishment, moderate-trad Catholic Distributist, pro-Weed/anti-Big Pharma, D&D dice-tossing, Barefoot-in-the-Kitchen-and-loving-it, ultra-crunchie, tie-dye-wearing, long skirt-flaunting, organic-gardening, moonshine-making, slingshot-hunting, shameless meat-eating unwashed hippie (who usually ends up voting Republican, sadly), reasonably convinced of aliens, moonlanding skeptic, climate-change-denier with absolutely NO respect for corporate authority, The Government, liars, or con-artists who has a big mouth and zero filter (it’s just not possible, I’ve tried…repeatedly). Half the shit I love and firmly believe in is illegal or, at the very least, morally questionable to varying circles of teetotalling fundamentalist psychos. And half the shit I say makes at least one person cry…every time. Last week, someone called me “Bambi with a Bazooka.” I like that. It fits…I need to trademark it. But my personality, beliefs and my penchant for telling the unvarnished truth with absolutely zero regard for spineless, mewling persons causes serious trouble for me. I’ve been in Facebook jail over the years more times than I can count; Libtards, FemiNazis, hipsters and snot-nosed millenial snowflakes who think they know shit freak out and start screaming for the hall monitor when I tell them that their version of “reality” is psychotic bullshit. And, quite frankly, I just think that social media is emotionally and physically exhausting, not to mention spiritually vacuous; if it weren’t for the fact that all my photos are there and it takes so much time to move them, I’d already have deleted every account.

Patreon and Twitter have become like Facebook, run on despicable predatory advertising, Socialist models of censorship, group-think and neighbour watchdog reporting policies of renegade terror; GOD forbid that anyone have an insightful opinion that differs from the consensus of Ye Ol’ Hive. Well, I ain’t a worker bee, Borgeans! I’m a princess, a daughter of the King. If you don’t like my spoken thoughts, then get bent…and suspend my account. Or, in the case of Patreon, delete all of my content without warning or recourse. Dammit. …Not a good plan.

This is the scenario I was looking at before I became too seriously invested in posting anything substantive to my new Patreon page, and it bothered me deeply enough to lose sleep over. I don’t deal with change well, anyway. When I start a project, I expect it to go on forever. I also expect to find my shit where I left it, not wake up to learn that some uppity little thought terrorist with a mouse clicker decided that my position on making your own medicine, booze, butchered chickens or [insert activity here] at home was so “offensive” or “threatening” to the weak-minded masses of consumerist sheeple that it needed to be erased and banned from public view post haste! So, I’ve been searching for an alternative, and I think I’ve found it.

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson and his buddies are launching a new platform this month, and guess who’s on it? Stay tuned for details….

Edit: there’s also a sad little problem with the way patrons and fees are now being handled. If you’d like to read the scoop on that trouble, lookie here:

My New Experiment

If you know me, then you’re well aware that I hate heat. And humidity. And I’m always hot. For instance, this morning I went out to open the barn for the chickens and to feed the other furmonsters dressed in nothing but a teeshirt and barnboots, and I was sweating like a stuck pig within 20 minutes and needed a cold shower. It was 36°F. In Ohio. In December.

I’ve been waiting with impatient anticipation for this turn in the weather for months on end – the time of year when the days hold more soft shadow than light, when cold cheeks and cups of hot cocoa make buddy-buddy, and pulling weeds no longer feels like endless torture in a furnace, but a nice workout. This is my season!

So, the other night my friend Kamilla sends me an email about how she’s looking for a local butcher because CAFO hamburger and imdustrial romaine lettuce are killing people again and she ordered a grinder attachment for her mother’s stand mixer and, because I’m too lazy to text her, I emailed back….

“My butcher is saving neck bones and pig’s feet for me for Christmas Octave, and my dairy guy called me the other day and told me that his milking season is ending in two weeks. I ordered extra to process and freeze (they start back up at the end of March when the herd freshens), but it made me wish I had a chest freezer. My chickens aren’t laying because the days are cold and dark, so I don’t have to worry about anything but feeding and watering them…I am glad for the coming Winter because I’m going to spend half of it lying outside in a snowbank morning and evening, working on my immune system and inflammation, but I can’t wait until Spring when I can start hunting bunnies and groundhogs again, and have more variety for herb and veg.”

To which she responds by asking about my snowbank napping attire (preferably nada) and why would any sane person do something so freaking ridiculous (not her words, but I could hear her wheels spinning clear over in the urban wilds of Denver), and the conversation eventually wound it’s way around to:

I love what the cold does for me. And, supposedly, there’s some dude they call the Ice Man who’s been tested in medical schools worldwide up and down the wazoo who is proving that this isn’t just a hot-blooded injun thing.

Kamilla tells me that she was traumatized by snow-onesies as a child in Minnesota, and all I could think about whilst I went looking for info on the Ice Man was how often I got screamed at every Winter for running around outside half naked for hours on end. I have proof that you will not catch your death of cold from losing [read: “accidentally” discarding] dozens of new hats, mittens, scarves and jackets all over hill and dale, and I am that proof. But I went looking for this thing I read from Michigan State about the Ice Man dude to show to Kamilla, and I ended up falling down a two-day rabbit hole of wonder. Have you seen this guy? You should.

He calls cold his “god.” He says he hates it, but he’s also repeatedly demonstrated for scientists how submitting to the cold over the years has helped him to learn to control everything from his breathing to his circulation to his autonomic nervous system. At first I’m thinking this is just yogic breathing, I already do that, but no….

I tried this guy’s “method,” and after two days, I’m a believer. The other day, I brought home 5 – 50 lb bags of feed for the beasties, flipped every single one of them over my shoulder and carried them like bags of Sta-Puf marshmallows up the stairs from the driveway to the porch one after the other without stopping. I shocked even myself. This is the strongest I’ve been since I was hit head-on by a drunk driver in December of 2009 (and subsequently spent a solid year, three-to-four days a week, in physical therapy to avoid spine and hip surgery). I have no explanation for this sudden surge of strength.

Of course, I’m cheap and broke. So, instead of paying $300 for the Wim Hof Method ten week course, I downloaded the app to my phone when I went to town and paid $2.99 for the extention. I’ve been doing the breathing exercises each morning this past week before I roll out of bed. I’m definitely adding this to my Winter napping habit because, holy cow, I feel freaking fantastic and I’m excited to see where I’m at healthwise come Spring. Who knows? I may even have the energy to pound in the remaining 200 – 8ft fence stakes all by myself. Oh my Lord, would that be awesome, or what?!

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