Tag Archives: Sad-Faces

A homestead milestone


In August my sister, Devin, and I drove two hours to collect a family of Muscovy ducks from a former colleague of mine.  Her neighbor had raised them as a small home business and couldn’t take them with him when he moved.  The ducks wandered over onto her property and hatched a clutch of ducklings; she didn’t want to keep them but she did grow rather found of the two adult males of the group.  We took two adult females and 11 six-week old ducklings.

Originally we housed them in a pen constructed of T-posts and welded wire with a dog igloo habitat.  This worked well until they were fully grown when there space was limited.  Devin helped me convert our outbuilding (“barn”) into a shelter for them with a large run.  During the three months we raised them we lost two.  The first to our dog, Dashel, who pushed his way out the side door and did what dogs of his kind were bred to do.  The second to a great horned owl one night before we had a cover on the pen.  The owl removed the adult duck’s head and neck, leaving his body in the pen until morning.  We burned the duck’s body.

With ten ducks left, 3 males and seven females including the original adult pair (named “Mama Duck” and “Masi Duck”) we decided we needed to reduce the herd. Neither Sammit nor I are comfortable slaughtering an animal ourselves at this point, though I hope to build up to that one day.  I found a place about an hour drive north of our house that would process our ducks for $8.00 each.  We made the decision to keep Mama & Masi ducks in part because we had given them names and in part because they are the matriarchs of the group and again in part because they would be tough meat.  We decided to keep one male to either line breed with or trade for another male to improve genetics.  We also decided to keep two younger females because we aren’t sure how old the matriarchs are and want to make sure we have eggs and can hatch more clutches in the future.

Last night around dark I penned the five most generic looking of our 10 ducks.  We’re keeping a male that is in recovery from a leg injury (“Limpy”) and two additional females who are easily identifiable (“Wingding” a duck with a wing that doesn’t lie flat, and “Rascoon” the only one who still sports an all black face).  It was easier than I thought to pen them.  I did it alone and there wasn’t an hour of chasing like I had imagined in my mind.  I just had to be smarter than the ducks.  They spent the night in dog crates in our garage and Devin and I loaded them into the back of the Lexus at 6:30 this morning.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this process.  I had a dream last night that I snuck into the garage and set them free from myself.  I’ve felt like I’m betraying them and their trust which I think is a lot of projection; I actually don’t think they’ve ever liked or trusted me but rather see me as a food dispensing device but I can’t help up interpret their wagging tails at dinner time as affection.  I’m not ready to become a vegetarian so I could not very well let myself “save” these ducks (that were never meant to be pets) while eating my chicken shwarma for dinner.  We thanked them for their lives and for dying to nourish our bodies.  For the short time they were alive they were allowed to be very “ducky” – given free roam of not only our property but that of our neighbors as well.  They were supplemented with a little grain at night when they were penned in a[n eventually predator proof] shelter.  They ate all the bugs and weeds they wanted and always had a pool to splash in.  They could fly where ever they wanted and waddle in puddles – in short, we gave them the best lives we could.

I cried this morning when I got back to the car, just for a second, but long enough to have my relationship with our food system changed forever.

Closing up November 2012


The days are getting shorter, but my semester is coming to a close soon (10 days left not that anyone is counting).  I want to take a few minutes to reflect on and take record of the month.


The Celebrations

The first Om-Nom Acres event was a huge success!  You can read the details over here.

I had a wonderful catch-up dinner with two friends and former coworkers of mine, Catherine and Riley.  We ate great food from Seva in Ann Arbor, talked academics and politics, and laughed for a good portion of two hours.

There was the whole election business.  Yay democracy!

My 26th Birthday rocked.  I had a laid back day where I didn’t have to wake up early.  I stood in line with stranger-friends for hours while waiting for my pastured turkey; the weather was warm and the smell of supporting local farms was in the air – beautiful! Devin and I raided the salad bar at the grocery store toppings and enjoyed delicious individual homemade pizzas with some of my dearest friends, Yolanda and Lisa.  After dinner we decorated mini-cakes (and ate them) then snuggled in on the couch to watch two great films, the 8-time award winning “Waking Ned Divine” and the viral internet sensation “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”

While I had some really amazing birthday presents (like Yolanda’s fantastic tea-spoon, Lisa’s nostalgic pie-bite treats from the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, and Sammit’s surprise-you-thought-I-had-to-work-a-24-hour-shift-on-your-birthday-but-really-I-swapped-with-a-fellow-employee-so-I-could-come-home-early-and-spend-the-night-with-you homecoming and complimentary extra thin-slicing food processor blade and edible arrangement) my absolute favorite was from my sister, Devin.  She spent time contacting people I’ve worked with, gone to school with, and grown up with to solicit wonderful memories from them.  She decorated these memories, put them in envelopes, and wrapped them in string with a plain brown tag.  I opened 26 heart-warming memories, pictures, and letters from the people in my life.  It was such a gift.

I started my new internship this month and it has been a great experience already.  I’m working in my and neighboring communities doing communications and organizing work for TimeBanking.

I spent a great afternoon with Devin and Sammit at our aunt and uncle’s house for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  We had all the fixin’s and enjoyed my aunt’s legendary cheesecake while watching the dog show and the Detroit Lion’s lose (wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it).  My unit of three moved to my father and stepmother’s house for a second dinner in the evening.  I blessed my mother for understanding a blended family and forgoing dinner at her house as well.  On Saturday everyone trucked there way over to my house to enjoy yet another great Thanksgiving.  Devin and I made almost everything the day before and cooked the rolls, turkey, and green bean/kale dish the day of – it was all pretty relaxed.

Our 2012 Menu:

The Sad-Faces

I’m dealing with some serious end-of-the-semester burnout.  I’ve been trying to keep on the self-care wagon but I’m waning.  10 days.

When I sit down to read:


When I try to write papers:


When I try to compartmentalize:


When I try to take my mind of school by doing anything else:


Closing up October 2012


I start the month of October with my wedding anniversary and end it with Halloween!  It has to be my favorite month, November coming in at a close second.  I want to take a few minutes to reflect on and take record of the month.

The Celebrations

Fountain Street Church – 10/2/10

Here’s a picture of Sammit and me during our wedding ceremony.  This is only one of so many pictures that I absolutely adore from our wedding days. That’s right plural!  We had two wedding ceremonies and three receptions.  Whew.  But that’s another post.  For our first anniversary we had a mini-vow renewal at the Michigan Renaissance Festival.  This year, our second anniversary, Sammit had to work but he surprised me with a very nice dinner where he made a Lasagna and chocolate covered strawberries from scratch!  This is huge because up until this night Sammit barely knew how to make a grilled cheese sandwich.  His cooking lesson was a gift from my sister, Devin.  Now he’s going to make Lasagna once a month!

Then there was my trip to Chicago with Monica, but you’ve already read about all that fun.

Cabin Picture 2012

The fall is also a time for another annual tradition and celebration: FTRWW:  F–k The Real World Weekend.  Each fall a group of friends makes the 6 hour trek up north to the U.P. to a cabin in the woods where there is delicious food and general debauchery.  FTRWW started off as a friend’s male bonding event called, “Meat Fest” but as they matured so did the weekend.  Now it is a time where 20 or so people who are vaguely related by blood and common bonds eat, drink, shoot guns (safely and while sober), play guitar, soak in the fire, and play a heck of a lot of Euchre.  Oh and this year including watching the Michigan Wolverines beat the MSU Spartans.  Something Sammit and I, two UM alumni in a sea of green, appreciate.

The Sad-Faces

There are only two sad-faces for this month.  The first is that my field internship for school was terminated after they were unable to provide me with a licensed social worker to supervise my work.  I’m waiting in limbo right now for another placement while paperwork gets shuffled back and forth.  I’m excited to see where I might end up, but I’m sad to see my time with this last internship come to an end.

The second is my life-disrupting cold.  I woke up with a cold, literally woke up with it because the night before I felt great, the day before Sammit and I were scheduled to leave for FTRWW and before we had packed anything.  I was miserable and Sammit was a total champ about it and packed all the food, camping supplies, bedding, and dogs into the car with almost no help from me.  I was also miserable while at the cabin but tried to enjoy myself anyway.  It didn’t occur to me to take any sort of cold medicine until the morning we were leaving.  I’m 12 days into my cold now and just starting to feel better.  I believe it turned into a dual sinus and ear infection and I went on antibiotics on Sunday in hopes of finally kicking it.  I will be trying to catch up with school work for the rest of the semester.  The rest of this post will be dedicated to describe how I feel when I’m sick; I appologize in advance for previous blog readers, you’ve already seen this and can probably just move on now.

A GIF set to explain sickness better than I could ever do with words:

I don’t waste away like so many people I know.

My couch and pajamas get rather dirty.

When I try to focus on anything.

I am easily annoyed.

I just cannot sleep enough.

I am of no use to anyone.