death of a turkey…

when i was a kid
there was so much violence
so much abuse
so much animal death
my pets gone–just like that
that i learned to disconnect
to stop loving
to stop caring
to stop bonding
and as an adult this continued
this disconnect
i had trouble with relationships
sure that they would leave
or god forbid they had self-destructive tendencies
it was too much for me
i disconnected
i could not bond
and i would try to have pets as an adult
but it was easier to hate them then to love them
love is a fragile thing
so easily killed
i was repulsed by neediness…repulsed by being needed
i closed down
shut off
i often wondered if i could ever even have kids?
was i capable of love at all?
sometimes i still wonder….

shortly after the above picture was taken, a raccoon killed one of my turkeys and injured the leg of another. i named the injured turkey isabeau and took her into my house. i dressed her wound, fed her blue berries and honey and put apple cider vinegar in her water and bathed her when she got too stinky.
months went on. spring turned to summer. her leg healed, but she stopped walking. her non-injured leg became palsied. one wing became disfigured by her always laying on the same side. i would try to put her on her other side–or in a sling–but nothing seemed to help.
and while her brothers & sisters grew huge and mature

she remained frozen in her juvenile state, a third the size of them.

i felt myself turn off. i mean, i cannot pinpoint the exact moment, but it happened. i started being annoyed by her. frustrated with her. dreaming at night that she finally got up and walked again, while watching every day as she just kind of flopped around. i admired her perseverance…but in the end, she just gave up.

i just wish i hadn’t given up first.

i thought i would be relieved when she died. she had become a burden…a difficulty…one more thing to take care of on a busy day. i mean, i knew she would die eventually. there was no way she could continue on like that–what if she tried to lay an egg–that alone would kill her–painfully. she was so vulnerable….
and now she is no longer suffering….

so why do i feel like i failed her? because my heart shut down? because i could no longer muster the energy to care about her even though i was still caring for her?

i don’t like that i learned to shut down when there was danger of pain by abandonment (be it death or whatever.) i want to feel the pain & live through it. i want my heart to warm back up and not be so quick to disappear.

i cried today. i did not expect to cry over my dead turkey.
but, like most mourners, i am not crying for her…i am crying for me.
as i try to assure my kids we did everything we could for her…in my cold heart i feel as if i should have done more…i wish i were capable of having done more.

 

still-life for sawyer

today is my birthday
so
of course
i deleted my facebook page
and turned off my phone
not
because
i don’t want people to celebrate me
but because
i so desperately do
want that.
so if it doesn’t happen
i will be hurt
and if it does happen
i will be suspect
once a year?
once a year you remember me?
once a year you stop by
to say “hello.”
i know.
everyone is busy with their own lives
and how often do i reach out?
but don’t you see
how difficult it is for me to reach out
when all i expect is rejection
and disappointment?
today is my birthday…
i want fireworks, fancy chocolates, and fancy drinks
with loud & happy people…
but i suspect that won’t happen
i’m not that special
no one would even remember me if it weren’t for facebook
so i hide
from disappointment
& insincerity
i curl up in a ball
& cry
because
today is my birthday

it’s like dusty. all of a sudden he is saying all of the things that i wanted to hear ten years ago. and he expects me to just jump into his arms and eat up the bullshit.
but i can’t
because it is bullshit. ten years too late and said in a voice that makes me think he is being coached by someone. someone else. he never listened to me when i told him what i needed from him. now he is listening to another voice that is telling him what to say to get me back. maybe an inner voice…maybe an outer one. should i be flattered that he is trying so hard? to win me back?
but i’m not
because it is insincere. it is trap. it is manipulation. it is his trying to survive by pulling me under and floating to safety on my body. i have to remind myself of this–that his sweet words cover up a poisonous person.

and when i reject his come-ons…he resorts to talking child placement. he starts talking about how he wants the minions half-time. it’s like his next move after i block his move to capture my queen. talking about what an excellent father he is and how much he loves them.
he never did value me as a mother. i have put everything into being a mother, and for a while, i even believed i was a good mother. but he spent the past 12 years belittling my role as a mother. 12 years basically ignoring the minions. he was a dad when it was fun to be a dad–but when it wasn’t fun, he abandoned ship. his character in my moses jones comic wasn’t intentional. i didn’t set out to make him be an absent father figure…but dusty is an absent father figure. he is literally here, but he is gone. away. making himself unavailable to us even though he is right in front of us. it’s a weird gift, i guess, knowing how to make people not ask for your help or your contribution even though you are right there and completely able…and now because i won’t play his game, his next move is to remove the minions from their primary caretaker on a homestead with room to run and a life to live, to live with him half-time. where? at his mom’s house? or when he meets another woman–her house? dusty isn’t one to get things done  himself…he likes to take the easiest route possible. how will he care for four wild minions half-time?

and it’s my birthday.
and i’m broke.
i can’t even bake myself a cake because i have no money to go grocery shopping, and i somehow didn’t get the renewal for my foodshare (yes, i am on foodstamps) so i am desperately trying to get the state to renew my foodshare so i can buy groceries. fortunately, we have a garden giving us potatoes, beans, herbs, & greens. chickens for eggs–though they do so reluctantly. and a small store of dry goods–but no flour or honey for a cake.
and i was supposed to buy two goats this week…but i don’t have the money. obviously…. i am torn–it seems like a good investment, but how do i pull money out of my ass for goats when i am not sure how i am going to take care of every thing else?

i need a life coach. i need a fucking life coach. there has to be a way to make money. i do so much every day. surely it’s worth something to someone?

fuck.

happy birthday, me.

don’t let the crazy leak out

don’t let the crazy leak out
hold in
breathe in
keep it in
don’t let the crazy out
don’t show your hand too soon
get under his skin
become a rash
he doesn’t know he has
an itch he just has to scratch
be charming
drop those red flags
like dainty, lace handkerchiefs
that he will pick up
and find endearing
before he realizes what they are
and then it is too late
he’s stuck with you
voila
love.

so, when i think about starting a relationship, i am like elsa in frozen. (for those of you who don’t have princess-loving children, that is a disney movie loosely based on hans christen anderson’s story “the snow queen.”) when she is trying to hide her strangeness, she feels she has to hold it in–but once she flees society she feels she can be whoever she wants to be.

yeah.

that’s me with relationships. dainty red neurotic flags…oops, did i drop that?

so even though i have been determined to marry my homestead & live happily ever after without a man in my life, i found myself cruising “plenty of fish” and online shopping for a relationship…again.
i didn’t expect to find anything. it was mostly restless energy & hormones. longing for an adult conversation.
i don’t know if i have found anything, but my heart is doing that stupid fluttery thing. wow. i haven’t felt that for awhile.
but he’s too perfect. too pretty. so i am bound to fuck it up.
wait.
stop.
don’t think like that.
be positive.
i am a precious jewel. i am a fascinating creature. i am strong & beautiful woman. i am intelligent & creative & just super fucking awesome…i am worth the trouble….

he says he’s an empath. he seems–dare i say it–relatively sane?

so i will fuck it up.
(no no no. not there again.)

i was “chatting” with some other guy who was all like, “you seem like a catch. why are you single?” and i responded, in typical em style, “oh no. i’m difficult. & strange.” yup. never heard from that guy again.

no one gets me.

but what if this one does? ah crap. i need to check my bee hives. build a new chicken coop. do laundry. muck a sheep stall…what am i thinking?

(ps. i gave up on my idea of cultivating mushrooms when i realized you have to have a clean–super clean–house to do it in. i was all like, “sign from the universe, you are meant to forage for mushrooms!” ha!)

spring garden

my spring garden
my spring garden keeps me from getting any art done
i am so tired by the end of every day
it feels like i never sit still
i go to do one thing,
and i do three other things on my way
because
well
they have to be done.

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so my inkings are few & far between as i am overwhelmed with garden, livestock, a yard to tend, a house to keep clean-ish, four kids to feed & care for….
spring is a busy time.

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now i have to focus all my art on finishing a project
i agreed to illustrate
i am excited about it. yet my sketchbook eludes me.
i think about working on it all the time
but i need to sit & actually put pen to paper.
i need to be sketching the characters ever day
to get familiar with their faces…

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i also need to learn to cultivate mushrooms, grow herbs for health, become more confidant about checking my bee hives, build a bigger house for my ever expanding poultry, and learn more about goats (i’m getting goats next!)

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homesteading
alone
with four kids
is just non-stop

attack of the buttheads

i started writing this post a couple of weeks ago.  unbeknownst to me, dusty started reading it over my shoulder & got all pissed off.  you know, instead of initiating a conversation about it, just got pissed off & hateful towards me.  so i stopped writing it & haven’t felt like trying to write ever since.  last friday, i made dusty leave again.  go back to wisconsin.  again.  & i realized i would rather be alone than to be put in a box.  i would rather be alone than to be told who i am.  i would rather be alone than to not be heard.  to not be understood.

i don’t know if he reads my blog or not….i guess i will find out.

what do you do
when the one person
you always want to tell your thoughts to
funny stories
what happened today
just now
what happens when you no longer
feel safe
talking to that person?
when you feel it might be a bad idea
to open up
to that person?
what happens when the person
you used to wait for to walk through the door
what happens when you start dreading
his walking into the room
when you feel like you have to guard yourself
your heart
your thoughts
for surely he will find something
to criticize
something
to attack
some flaw in you to burst wide open
and leave to spill onto the floor
as he walks away

the other day i was in tears. in the barn. yelling at the sheep. the other day i let my sheep get the best of me. i wondered–loudly and with a great many curse words–what i was even doing here, on this half-assed homestead, trying to get milk from meat sheep who clearly hate me, running from me, and in the case of tyler durden the ram, stalking me and ramming me in the thighs until i cry.

what am i doing?

the other day, i tried to talk to dusty.

stop. right there. that was my mistake. i tried to talk to dusty. i tried to talk to dusty. dusty. who on the day of my brother’s funeral (8 years ago) asked me what was wrong, and when i told him i was upset that he didn’t bother dressing up for my brother’s funeral, he responded, “well look at what you’re wearing.”

dusty.

he likes to ask me what is wrong, and then punish me for having feelings. lately he asks me why i don’t respond when he asks, “what’s wrong?” but the weird thing is, i don’t remember him asking me. i think i have learned to tune him out so that i do not even hear him ask because then, if i hear him, i want to answer…and then i get punched right in my emotions.

so i don’t even hear him anymore.
i don’t look forward to seeing him.
i don’t tell him anything.

or i try not to. i can be a bit of a blabbermouth, forgetting who i can & cannot trust with my feelings. i am like that. soft in the head.

so i tried to talk to dusty, about “us.” it was, of course, somehow interpreted as an assault on him…maybe it was an attack. i don’t know the fuck anymore. but i tried to talk to him. i used the wrong words. then it got ugly.
he accused me of being a facebook junkie (i’m not)
and i responded by slamming shut his video game
and possibly breaking his laptop?
and then
he murdered three of my potato plants.
and tried to knock the internet dish off of the roof
with a steel t-post.

this is where i stopped writing.
his laptop is fine. my potatoes are trying to recover, but look like my heart feels.  wilty & broken.  undernourished.  struggling to survive.

 

chaos

good chaos
bad chaos
& all the chaos
inbetween
my muse
& my unamused

what keeps me busy, inspires me. what inspires me, keeps me busy.

on the bullfrog song homestead with me:
7 sheep
8 hens
8 pullets
2 chicks
7 muscovy ducksings
7 turklings
1 gosling
2 toads
1 tarantula
1 cat
1 dog
2 beehives
4 minions
and one ex-husband.

i welcome most of these things. okay, all but the ex-husband. i have realized beyond a shadow of a doubt that i do not want to live with him.

whether he’s good or bad, i do not want to live with him.
i want to get on with my life.
and he is not my future.
i do not love him.

let me illustrate

a friend asked me to illustrate her story. this is an ink i did in my process of figuring out how i want the characters to look. it’s just a mess around rough draft, but i really liked how it turned out. my months of doing ink stain work has shaped my drawing skills and given me lots of fodder for other projects.
i’m excited about working on this project. it is my first chance to work as an illustrator. other than my own stuff, that is.
i like collaborating. i always have. i have found that i work well with others. either flushing out their ideas or letting them help me flush out my own.
i hope that this is the first of many collaborations & illustration gigs.

i haven’t gotten much art done.
i have tried to milk sheep with minimal success.

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i have been growing seeds for spring.

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i have been putting in beehives.

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and raising up more chickens.

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and planting potatoes…(no picture here because planting potatoes is not really a photo op)
ah. the life of a homesteading artist.
with kids.
and dog.
and sheep, chickens, and bees.

and, of course, the dysfunctional relationship that i am working really hard to avoid dealing with.