It is almost the end of 2011.  I thought I would do a quick review of our life this year.

Decorated Christmas Tree

Happy Holidays!

Rogan started working this year for the State Library.  He was named a Mover and Shaker by the Library Journal.  He has published several articles and even cowrote an RPG book.  He has presented at several conferences, and has been asked to speak at more in the next year.  He is working too many hours and has too much stress, but I am proud of all of his accomplishments.  Rogan was in the parking lot of Walmart one day this fall and saw a man with a box of puppies.  He brought two of them home.  We are now up to five dogs in the house and I am officially sick of house training dogs.

 

Rhiannon finished 12th grade this fall.  She has changed hairstyles at least four times.  She is not sure what she wants to do with her life, so is in the process of “finding herself.”  Currently she watches the girls for me four hours per day during the week, so I can get some work done that requires concentration.  We also let Rhiannon pick out a cat from the humane society, where she volunteers on Saturdays, as an early Christmas present this year.  We are now up to two cats and my allergies are not amused.

 

Rowan started kindergarten this fall.  She is smart as a tack, picking up her ABCs, learning to write, learning about new animals in the documentaries and learning programs on the iPad.  She isn’t reading yet, but that is only a matter of time.  I cut Rowan’s hair this summer, so it is shoulder length and much easier to brush now.  Unfortunately, when I cut it most of her curls went away 😦

 

River thinks Rowan doing school is interesting at times, but she never wants to join in.  Maybe next year she will garner some interest in learning herself.  We may need an extra iPad or two!  River didn’t want me to cut her hair when I cut Rowan’s, so I am still struggling with hair brushing with River and her tangle of curls.  Would help if she would let me brush it more often.

 

Me?  I’ve been working more hours, picked up extra work from one client and in the last month gained a new client.  Things are looking up in the work at home front.  I also started testing recipes for a website for a cookbook author.  (I haven’t been keeping up with the recipe testing very well the last six months, I hope they don’t kick me from the program.)  The last few months have also seen a significant improvement in how I feel with the PPD/A.  I am on an upward curve and hope this means the end of the evilness that is my hormones.

 

I am sure I have missed a lot of what has gone on in our lives, but that is a broad overview.  I hope you and yours are all happy and healthy and that this continues on into the New Year!

I don’t know about all my pet owners out there, but the last few weeks of warmth we’ve had has made the fleas around here go nuts!  My poor pooches have been itching and bitting and basically driving me batty by waking me up in the middle of the night scratching at the fleas.  So I am going to have to head out and grab some of the really good flea killer for them.  Normal homeopathic remedies have not worked at all in our time here in the PeeDee area of SC, so I have to grab the Rx stuff.  We use K9 Advantix II, this stuff works really well on our dogs and cat. 

And for all of my loyal readers (Hi, Mom, hi sis!  Anyone else out there??? lol) I have teamed up with PetSmart and 1-800-PetMeds to bring your bank account AND your pets some relief during the upcoming flea season! Until March 28th, you can save $10 from PetSmart on all K9 Advantix II and Advantage II Flea and Tick 6 pk at PetSmart!  Click this link to grab your savings now!  http://bit.ly/h6XqIF  You can also get a special deal from 1-800 -PetMeds on the K9 Advantage red box!  Just click this link:  http://bit.ly/dZO6iY

I don’t know if I have mentioned before, but we moved to Hartsville from the very large city of Charlotte, NC.  I was born and raised there.  I was a nice medium sized city when I was small and grew up in what the the kids in school teased was “the boonies”.  There were three horse pastures in our neighborhood and a cow pasture.  I lived a mile from our elementary school and used to walk home from school and pull grass and weeds and feed the horses.

By the time my now almost 17 year old daughter was born, the neighborhood had been annexed into the city and there were Housing Developments (aka HOA controlled land) and a condominium complex.  Two of the horse pastures were gone, replaced by several new houses in our unrestricted area of the, now, suburbs.  The cow pasture was still there, but no longer had cows or any animal roaming its fields.

So, I grew up a little bit of a country girl and my daughter, who grew up in the same neighborhood, in the same home, grew up more of a city girl.  The passage of time can be weird, huh?

Anywho…the purpose of this post is to show that even though you think of yourself as a country girl and you move into the real country and decide to be a homesteader and raise all kinds of animals and be a bit of a farm girl…well, nothing really prepares you for the realities of life with animals, not even domestic animals.

Last night Rogan and I were settling into the office, him to be with me while he messed around in WoW because I needed to stay in the office and get some work done while our two youngest daughters were out swimming with their grandparents.  I was pulling up the document for an ebook I have been working on for bookkeeping when we heard the teenager going OMG OMG and yelling our youngest dog’s name.

She said she saw him grab our oldest cat by the neck and shake him from side to side and then throw him down.  He kept attacking him after that.  This all happened across the street.  I went over with the teenager and the cat was dead.  There is nothing in the world that can prepare you for two animals who got along together most of the time and were both healthy, ie no rabies here, to just suddenly go berserk and one kill the other like that.  Yes, they had their differences of opinion with each other every once in a while; Severus is still a pup (less than three years old) and Casper was an old cat (seven years old), so when Severus would get excited around him, Casper would hiss and swipe at him.  But they could also be found later in the day laying in the sun together.  I am still in shock.  Labs aren’t know to be like this – eat and chew everything in sight, yes, kill animals in their family pack, no.

When I was growing up we had a whole parade of animals, cats and dogs both.  We kids would talk my stepfather into letting us have an animal.  We would get it and have it for a while and then something would happen and he would make us get rid of it.  So, when Rogan and I decided to bring pets into our life, I swore the animals would be loved and a part of the family and would be with us for life.  Now, in addition to mourning the brutal death of a very loved cat, I have to mourn the fact that my puppy has to go.  I cannot trust him around our other animals – especially our other cat – or the two littlest girls.  One of our neighbors, who loves Severus as much as we do, told us she was going to ask around and see if anyone she knows who has a lot of land and no other pets or kids will be willing to take him in.  Otherwise, we will have to take him down to the local humane society (I refuse to put him in a pound).

I knew when we moved here and we started our homesteading efforts that we would lose some of our animals to predators – like when we lost six chickens to one of the neighborhood dogs.  I just never thought we would lose one of our animals to one of our other animals.  I am just happy the two little ones (two and three years old) weren’t here to see it happen.  We buried Casper, whom I got as a kitten from the daughter in law of a coworker, before they got home.  I am only dreading when they start to ask today where he is.  Maybe the addition of six new chickens from my inlaws (animal control in their city found out about the chickens and they had to get rid of them before they were taken to the pound) will distract them from the kitty being gone.

So, rest in peace, my sweet kitty.  We love you and you will be greatly missed by us all.

I used to think squirrels were just the cutest little things.  Sitting up on their hind legs and munching on seed I’d left out for the birds (my Mawmaw hated them because of this, they can be greedy and eat all the seeds so the birds don’t get any).  Their little tails twitching so evilly cat-like cutely.

This was before the weekend.  Now I know my Mawmaw was right.  BB Guns should be used without hesitation when you see these little buggers.

I know, I know, don’t email me about the violence to animals.  Until YOU have gone out to check on your painstakingly tended garden, proud of how well it is developing and mouth watering to pick tomatoes and squash to cook fresh dinners…only to almost faint at the sight of only a few plants being left in the ground.

No, it wasn’t the chickens.  There is a fence around the garden and there are no tell-tell scratch marks from the chickens.

No, it wasn’t the black lab – this time!  (He ate my entire garden last year.)  See above about the fence, and there were no signs of a dog’s presence in the mud.

Could it have been birds?  Yes, if they were the size of dogs ducks.  Those plantings were well along and a small bird could not have pulled the ENTIRE plant out of the ground.

Deduction:  Evil Squirrels did the deed.

Solution:  A netting of chicken wire ON TOP of our fence.  And purchasing growing plants and re-seeding others.

Bloody Squirrels….