Notes from Windward: #66

Jannel's Update for June 23

Jannel proud of her fresh batch of homemade cookies


      Hello again!

      Another week has passed, it seems, in the blink of an eye, and here I am struggling to remember what exactly I've accomplished or experienced. That's the thing about rural life: the days begin to blur together, not to say this is bad or good, just something that happens.

      The rabbits arrived several days ago, New Zealand and California breeds, which we will then crossbreed for "hybrid vigor." We obtained them from a judge of the local rabbit breeders' association, and they are absolutely beautiful rabbits, with sleek white coats and solid bone structure. Three of the five females were bred before we picked them up, so we should have babies in about 3 weeks…then comes the true test, for me at least, deciding which of the new arrivals to cull and which to keep (most will be culled for meat).

young bunny in its new home


      Sadly, the New Zealand rabbits are not adjusting to their new surroundings nearly as well as the Californians (even though the New Zealanders are not really from New Zealand, ha), and the three of them have barely touched their food (despite being provided with delicious alfalfa) and water these past couple of days. I just cut up a few carrots, celery and radishes in an attempt to entice the timid little guys to begin eating again, otherwise their condition might become seriously life-threatening.

      We finished the work on the sheep pen yesterday! Well, for the most part, we've still got a few sections to work on yet, but the temporary structure is at least secure, and we've moved the females and babies into their new loafing quarters in the woods. They are loving it! Actually, it was hilarious, despite having a large section of woods in which to tromp around, and thus a whole lot of shade in which to rest, the sheep chose to hang out in the sunniest part of the pasture, near the hay barn, and to instead hide themselves from the sun under the tarp that is attached to the hay barn. We could see a little row of sheep butts sticking out from under this great billowing tarp. Sigh, they are not the brightest animals.

      Oh, and the old ram is dying…it's very saddening; we all really like the old guy. He took a bit of a spill the other day and hasn't broken bones as far as I can tell, but he is very weak and his breathing has become irregular. We tried to get him to eat molasses and even to pour sugar water down his throat in hopes of perking him up a bit so that he'd have enough energy to eat or drink, but no such luck…he's on his way out, so best just to make him comfortable and leave him in peace.

      In other news, it seems I've had a hell of a lot to think about lately. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about intentional communities and how they figure in to the larger scheme of things. I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of restructuring the present day system (as it is clearly not sustainable), but of course small, intentional communities are not the end-all solution. We can't ignore that land is limited and that there are lots of people living within urban centers lacking the resources to move elsewhere. I worry that small sustainable communities may be elitist to some degree. I also worry that quite a few people would feel isolated.

       Also, Walt and I had an interesting conversation about social relationships within intentional communities, and it's clear that I really do have a lot to think about with respect to the social aspects of communities, as it's not something that environmental studies classes usually touch on. In short, yeah, I just have a lot to think about, and I'm grateful that I've been given the opportunity to think about various issues, to be challenged, and to be presented with new ideas.

Take 'er easy,


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