I graduated! After 2 years of hard work, I graduated! All that stands between me and my license is the Vet Tech National Exam, which I will be taking in November.

Thunder Storms!

I have, for the past three years, documented the first thunder of the season, and it was today! February 24th, 2016. The last two years it has been April 8th, 2014 and 2015, but it's been a very strange winter for New York. It's been exceptionally warm. We've had very few inches of snow and mostly warm weather. It is 54 degrees and pouring with thunder and lightning. I love every second of it! I would rather it rain and pour and carry on that ever snow.

School is going well, but of course I am busy!

Enjoy the crazy weather!

Apartment Homesteader - 5 Things I Did

Cast Iron Steak

1. I tried to cook steak!

Yeah, tried. I mean I didn't catch it on fire or have it explode or anything, but it certainly wasn't great.

2. A no driving challenge!

Whaaaat? I shouldn't really count it, because it didn't last long. I spent Wednesday not driving (I walked to work instead!), and Thursday I walked to my am job, but drove to my pm job. I drove in the pm because the four boxes of donation items were finally loaded into my car and I wanted them GONE. So after work I took them up to the thrift shop, which is outside of walking distance. (The four boxes were also large and HEAVY, so I couldn't have carried them all if I tried.) It seemed like a better use of my time than to walk to work, walk home, then drive the items up. If it wasn't so snowy and slippery out, I would have ridden my bike to work instead.

I know this all probably sounds pretty insignificant, but I have never not had a car of my own (since I was 16 anyway). The tiny place I live in is characterized by several small towns separated by miles of desolate road. It hasn't been until I moved into the actual town last year that walking/biking has even been a remote possibility. It's awesome!

Why did I choose the depths of winter to start this?

Apartment Homesteader - 5 Things I Did

I thought I'd document 5 little (or big) things that I did in the past week to bring myself closer to self-sufficiency and my homestead dream. I plan on making it a weekly event. Some weeks may be the same, but most weeks I don't think they will be! Besides being a potential resource for others, this will help me stay on track (personal accountability, yo), and encourage me to think of new ways toward self reliance.


1. I composted/recycled (almost) everything!

Composting // I don't have a compost heap at the apartment and since I'm only here for a year, I didn't want to start one when it won't be cared for after I leave. So currently I am saving food scraps in a gallon sized bag in the freezer. When it gets full I take it to mom's house and throw it in the compost. I try not to make them in the first place though 'cause a gallon bag doesn't hold a lot and I have to take it when it's full, since I'd rather have stuff in the freezer that I'll eat instead of egg shells and orange peels. Upside: freezing the future compost makes for no funky smells! I'm thinking of starting a small worm composter in my apartment - a friend has them in hers, but I'm not too sure if I want them. She has a lot of fruit fly problems but she also freely admits to over-feeding them... I'm still mulling.
Recycling // I had to upgrade to a bigger container for the recycling 'cause the small one gets too ful too fast, but the new container was also one I don't need and was going to otherwise get rid of, so two birds with one stone! I try to recycle everything I can. The things I end up throwing away are mostly foam meat packages (working on it!), and anything else I can't recycle.

Soul Deep

Hike 05.19.2015

This woman is me:
"Modern society has achieved an almost total divorce from the production of one's own food. An abiding affinity for sentient beings which you fully intend to murder, dissect, and ingest, seems horrifying to present-day sensibilities, which have divided the domestic animal world into cherished pets and plastic-wrapped boneless chicken breasts. But this horror is a luxury, based on the assumption that as long as we put enough distance between ourselves and how our food comes to us, any suffering inflicted can safely be ignored. And, it presupposes that eating someone is the worst thing that one can do to them. The first is obviously not true, the second is surprisingly ambiguous." - From the author of the Working Dog Diary, Chapter 9.

"I couldn't imagine a more fulfilling life than living in an Airstream with my dog, spending every day doing nothing but hanging out with ruminants.

Apparently this dream isn't shared by very many people in the United States.

Mini Apartment Tour

The week of classes beginning for the fall semester, I moved into my own apartment. It has been awhile since I've had a place of my own. I have college students for neighbors, but I live on the second floor and it is mostly peaceful. I have Sawyer and Nova (my cat!) here with me as well as my betta fish named Amos. Honestly I couldn't be happier. A move to town was just what I needed. Even though I can't really plant a garden or carry on with some of my homesteading hobbies, I can carry on with most! I still compost, but I save everything in a bag in the freezer and bring it with me when I go to mom's. I don't have to use my car as much because I can walk nearly everywhere.

Sawyer and I have taken to late night walking and usually travel an hour or more along the well-lit sidewalks. My hometown is very small and I know most everyone here (perks of working at the grocers). My very best college friends only live one house down from mine, so we take turns having movie night and dinner. I love it! I'm getting to practice (and show off) my cooking skills.

I love my little apartment, so enjoy the highlights!

10 Things & Merry Christmas!

I'm a big fan of Christmas. It's the only time of year that I get to see all my siblings. At once. In the same place. We cook and clean together; laugh and give each other gifts. These last two Christmases I have volunteered at the school kennels while Gramma volunteers to go into work so others can have time with their families.

I thought that Christmas should be about giving thanks for all I have (including this nugget).

I'm grateful for:

1. My loving family. We may not always get along, but we love each other without reservation.

2. A warm apartment that is my oasis, my retreat, my home. I love it here.

Sawyer Tried to Howl...

Sawyer Tries to Howl

...and it might just be the cutest thing you see today!

The fire siren went off one night and I happened to have my camera handy. Enjoy my little nugget trying his hardest. One thing I learned that night: he is definitely not part husky! :)

Until next time,

On Saying Yes To Everything

It was 1am when I thought about writing this post. I was outside in my pj's hanging laundry on the retractable line underneath the roof of the deck. It was bright outside due to the nearly full moon. I haven't done laundry in weeks because of time constraints. I used my last clean underwear yesterday (and had to borrow a pair of socks from my mother), so when I got home from work at 10pm, I ran the washer.

I'm one of those weird people that will only wash socks in pairs. If a sock or two in the hamper doesn't have a match, it doesn't get washed. This is faulty logic though because I also keep a box of singleton socks. I bet the matches are in there.

School starts again on Monday. I'm not ready. I don't want to lose the summer vacation that I didn't really get to have. I have been so, so, so busy this summer that it has caused me to really take a step back and re-think what I say yes to. This summer I said yes to everything. I felt like I have to. Like it's my obligation to say yes.

I said yes to working at the animal hospital when it would have been more intelligent to say no after my internship ended. I said yes to working at the college, taking care of the animals on the weekends when it meant 12 hour work days. But it wasn't just about work. I said yes to more material goods that I certainly didn't need and now regret (more stuff = more management time spent with stuff) taking. Especially books. I hate to throw away things I might need, but if I won't read it, don't particularly want to read it, haven't read it in years, why am I keeping it? I just schlep it around with me. Ugh.
"Just because something has made you happy in the past, doesn't mean you have to keep it forever."

"Consumerism is the personification of greed and people don't realize that one can die for greed just as one can die for nationalism. It drives a person to work too hard, to desire money and to consume. One is conditioned to think that without consumer goods, one is nobody. 'I buy therefore I am' is the slogan of the modern age. We must understand consumerism as a new demonic religion and find a spiritual alternative."

Did I further my personal goals? Some. The internship was a requirement of college, but it allowed me to progress through my classes. The goals I hold more important such as healthy clean eating, creating less waste, sustainability, self reliance, more time spent doing things I love like training the dog and making time for friends. Those goals I didn't do very well with. I did spend some time with new friends, cementing our friendships. I did train the dog a little bit (and we spent some time together having fun). I didn't garden, didn't work on any of my other goals. There was no time.

Ugh. No one should live a life so full of doing things that they miss out on life. I suppose I am fortunate to recognize this problem in myself and work to fix it. I realize I am fortunate to complain about these things. Having too many jobs is not something most people can say. Having too many things is a uniquely privileged idea.

Nonetheless, I am paring down. I'm participating in a community yard sale. I am not buying anything I don't need. (Also know as: spending money on only useful things that I see a need for in my life.) I am using up, wearing out, and making due. But it's hard. I am a chronic over-spender. I buy and buy and buy until I run out of money.

As always, I'm a work in progress.

Last Day

My last day at the animal hospital was yesterday.

I can't say I'm terribly sorry, even though I had a few minutes of overly-emotional attacks on the drive home. Working at this particular place was hard. It was difficult and frustrating. I was treated unprofessionally by the staff, and cringed at the way we treated and talked about some of our clients.

While I'm glad to be done with it, and know I never have to return, I will miss animal medicine on the scale I experienced there. School pales in comparison. I learned more than I dreamed I would.

This year of school I finished, along with my internship has taught me that I am intelligent. I'm sorry if it sounds conceded, that's not my intent. I used to feel so dumb. I used to feel like everyone around me knew everything and here I was struggling as hard as I could, and still not understanding. College taught me otherwise. I have begun to understand that it is simply not true, and it's the best and most important lesson I have learned thus far.

Until next time,