The Struggle Continues

As my living situation becomes intensely more tenuous I am finding it difficult to get everything done I need to get my fundraising campaign off the ground. I was able to make a bunch of magnets but all the other donation prizes I have conjured up have had one issue or another – from making mold that worked, to figuring out selling resin copies of anything is really too expensive unless I have the money to front it first or the donation is pretty damn high. I don’t really have the money to cover it but I might be able to swing it. It’s become very bothersome. I wanted to make this huge, I wanted to make the donation prizes very nice and worth the money and very much part of me and my art but all I have found is I need to make something that takes very little space (as I am literally getting close to the point where I have to surf couches to have a roof over my head) and it needs to be something that costs me virtually nothing. Obviously these things make it very difficult!!

I started making animal shaped beads and charms in the hopes I could do something with that but of ten designs only one mold worked… of a bunny. I guess we do a lot of bunnies (as the magnets I already made are also bunnies.) Lets hope the rabbit people step up to the plate on this one! I need to figure out what to make with the mold too as it doesn’t come out looking like a bead! I am thinking maybe just a little ornament or charm. Think I will paint them all with hammered bronze finish.

In the mean while here is how to donation prize train looks right now:

$1 – a mention in my blog/on my website

$5 – A bunny magnet

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$10 – A signed print (not 100% on the photo I will be choosing yet but here’s a runner up)

Dorking Mafia

$25 – Three Bunny charms (these ones are just out of the mold and need to be cooked and painted – I will update the photos when I can.)

$50 – A mushroom Magnet

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$100 – A set of hand painted resin light switch covers (Again – need to paint these, will update when I do….)

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$500 – A hand sculpted, one of a kind, candle holder of any animal of your choosing

Highest Bidder — my large original sculpture (and if there’s more than one I will make another.) Right now this is a bull in the works who will be cavorting with other farm friends.

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Goodbye Farm

It’s a sad day but Rindle Ridge Farm is no longer a thing. I moved off the farm a whole month before I was scheduled to because things were getting hostile and I didn’t feel safe there anymore. I did what I had to do. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life but I packed the rest of my things, loaded the car, and fed and watered everyone one last time with enough food and water for twenty four hours before giving my notice that I was gone. I offered to drive back and feed and water everyone again if I had to, at least a few more times, but I was told to stop dealing with the animals and that I was lucky I wasn’t being prosecuted for abandoning them. From here I was publically blasted on FaceBook as being the horrible wench that “suddenly abandoned” the animals. I didn’t bother to reply to this with the above information because I felt saving my reputation wasn’t as important as getting those animals the care they needed, even if it was from people who clearly didn’t have all the information on the situation. The goats were whisked away by someone thinking this was an emergency after being told they didn’t have any water (which was literally in front of the gate in front of the pasture. How these people checking in on them didn’t trip over it I will never know.)

I regret not being able to get the chickens in a better situation. There’s nothing good coming for them… but with that being said I have no regrets. I did what I had to do, I did it as respectfully, morally, and lawfully, as I could have. Now I am looking to the future!  And this time when I get back on my feet and running a farm it’ll be for real, for myself, without the overwhelming pressure of someone who wants me to make it profitable two days before yesterday.

Money isn’t everything. It’s just a string of pretty numbers that can give you what you need, sometimes what you want if you have more. I am so happy to be away from that sort of goal keeping. You know what my monetary goal is from here on out? Getting enough money to get settled somewhere on a teaching farm and having enough to pay for my meager bills to live a simple rustic life. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake, not something that desperately needs to be achieved.

So I am living back at my mother’s in a far from desirable situation. I love my mother and get along very well but her house? I think it was imported from Chernobyl. At least that’s the only reason I can figure so many weird health problems happen here with every pet I chose to keep and myself. I struggle to keep my head above the water but I am remaining positive. I feel like I need to be here right now no matter how bad a situation it is because something better is coming.

I have yet to set up a work station for my art but I have started taking little road trips to keep my mind sharp and to get out of the house. I am starting to record my journeys in a new blog Finding Marbles.

And of course I continue to figure out my campaign to raise money for my future homestead. I also am continuing to look into all the options. Are shipping containers really cheaper? Can I manage to bury one so I don’t have to insulate it? Or is buying a tin “arched home” cheaper? Or maybe just going all out pre-fab tiny house is cheaper since everything is included? My mind whirls but I am getting a better grasp of what I need. I need a place with a large kitchen as cooking will be a big part of my life and I really would appreciate a full bath tub and a spot for a stackable washer and dryer. However other things in the house, like a bedroom can be compromised. I don’t feel I need a bedroom, just a place to put a bed and maybe a lamp if I decide to read in bed. Everything else is excess. I will also need a working space for my art which will likely take over the room traditionally used as a living room. Should I have need for entertaining space there is always the great outdoors or the possibility of adding on later. Of course all this depends on how many square feet I end up with and what I can do with it.

Thank you all for continuing to come with me on this journey. Feel free to stay tuned as I continue to make art and go to Farmer’s Markets, travel, and get on with my life. I am sorry there won’t be any more fun chicken photos for now but I have great hopes for the future.

Shipping Containear Homes & Campaign Update

Starting a homestead on a shoestring – should I make a house and a barn from a used shipping container?

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Snow, snow, a creative outburst, and more snow

It’s been a rough few days! I have been trying to work out my fundraising platform and create donation prizes but life keeps getting in the way. This time around it was a familiar nemesis- snow.

This winter has been freakishly warm, with freezing rain and almost no snow, which has been great for me since the snow blower is on strike and has been all season. God forbid you expect a thirteen hundred dollar machine to work more than once (it ran for one storm last winter.) All I can get out of it are increasingly weak sounding sick gurgles. I have tried everything from the rudimentary cussing it out, to adding fuel stabilizer, to adding oil, to cussing it out and giving it a gentle kick again but it’s been a fruitless effort. We have a double wide driveway, no plow, and a barn that’s down a steep hill nowhere near the house which I have to get to because three wussy goats and sixty or so chickens still live there, being taken care of by me for the remainder of the time I am here. Being alone here and having no money to hire a plow I have been reduced to shovelling everything…. Every two hours to keep up. That last big storm dumped over a foot of snow. It took me two days to dig out both the driveway and a path to the barn. Last night the weather reports made no mention of the three inches that fell last night…. And so I got up this morning to a very angry back and more shovelling. Tomorrow it will be snowing again, and the day after…. Looks like another foot, which will make it a full week of doing little else but shovelling!! I fear the remainder of winter will be like this. This is sucking the life out of me, killing my back, and ensuring I have no energy to get anything else done. This isn’t good.

In the meanwhile I have been trying to work on my campaign. I have decided that giving donation prizes to everyone who donates in a $100,000 drive is a hell of a task. That’s a lot of donation prizes!! Because of this I have decided to streamline the process and sadly cut out the choice aspect of it. I wanted each doner to have a choice of five prize designs but alas, that’s just too complicated. Instead I will be offering one prize for every level….

$1.00 – A name and/or website mention on my blog

$5.00 – A small leaping bunny magnet

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$10.00 – A signed 8 X 11 inch print of this photo (Which happens to depict my favorite rooster Rags looking suspicious.) This might end up being a different photo but for now this is my pick….

Rags

$25.00 – A large clay mushroom magnet – each one hand made

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$50.00 – A set of alpaca light switch covers, resin copies of plates I sculpted myself. (Photo shows unpainted prototype)

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$100.00 – A resin copy of a hand sculpted tea candle holder. I am working on this now and I am trying to make it look like a baby goat… Will take photos when I complete the prototype.

$500.00 – All the above! Plus up to an hour Skype chat with me, if wanted.

$Highest bidder$ (providing it’s more than $500) – All the prizes plus one large (probably 3 foot long, two feet tall) sculpture, signed, and if you live local you can exchange the web interview with a face-to-face meeting if you want to! I do not know what the sculpture will be but I will be blogging about it as I make it…. It’s going to take me a while!

 

 

Fundraising Stage One – Working on Donation Prizes

Well it’s been a little bit since I announced my plans to try and do a crowdsourcing campaign for my next big project. I have been wandering around in deep reflection trying to figure out what I was going to use as donation prizes. Could I use some of my old art work? I thought I could at first until I realized everything should be pastoral and farm related so I started from scratch. I decided to make all new items and figure out how to make multiple copies of the same thing. I also wrote out what I was going to offer…

$1.00 – a mention on my blog of your name or website.

$5.00 – A small simple clay magnet. (Five to choose from: teddy bear, sitting bunny, hopping bunny, dog biscuit, or heart.)

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$10.00 – A signed print of one of my chicken photos. I will be figuring out which five I’d like to offer a choice of soon.

$25.00 – A complex large clay magnet. (Chick, owl, mushroom, cat, or sheep – will take a photo soon!)

$50.00 – A matching set of light switches, one single switch and one double switch. (Sheep, Alpaca, Cow, Flower, Dog Biscuit.) I have sculpted the prototypes of these and will be buying supplies to make molds from them so I can make resin copies which I will paint and sign myself.

$100.00 – A signed resin copy of a hand sculpted tea candle holder. (chicken, Pig, Goat, ?, ? – will be working on creating this week.)

$500.00 – All the above.

Higest donation – an original sculpture, likely three feet long and two feet tall. This is going to take me two or three weeks to complete and I am breaking from the pastoral theme to make a gryphon in devastating pose. This will be exquisitely detailed and I will be taking photos at every stage of its creation.

 

An Invitation to Come on a New Journey

The death of Rindle Ridge Farm beckons the birth of a new larger idea – and a request for help.

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A Tale of Too Many Roosters

Sometimes when you volunteer to do a good deed you end up with a coop full of roosters…

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Green Eggs…

I have a hen who every once in a while gives me a green egg. Now I don’t mean the shell is green, which would be totally normal of an Easter Egger or something like that, no I mean the whites of the egg are green! At first I thought I was boiling up bad eggs but the more it happened the more I knew I wasn’t picking up and boiling bad eggs! Worse still I am pretty sure one of my regular customers got one because just as I was having one a day he suddenly stopped showing up… and even if he did confront me about it what could I possibly say?? I didn’t have any answers!

Some time has passed, the green eggs disappeared, and then today I got another one! But this time I might know what’s causing it. Another customer of mine, one who came to buy chickens not eggs, told me he had a hen doing the same thing and he was told that it was because she was eating too many acorns. Acorns. Acorns are nasty things… they’re highly toxic to most livestock and I couldn’t imagine my chickens eating them but now that he mentioned it the piles that used to be around the barn are in fact gone. Had my girls eaten them??

I took a photo of my green egg juxtaposed next to a fresh boiled egg and just for comparison a bad boiled egg (which is brownish and gross… and is the top one in the second photo)

 

 

 

We’re a Business!

Well, we went back to our continued public town meeting to ask for approval to run our farm as a business and after reading a glowing review from the dog officer and setting some very reasonable restrictions they decided to approve our request. Now we have one more step before we have all our bureaucratic homework done and that is have an NPIP inspector in to test our birds for diseases. I am going to try and haul out the barn and make everything picture perfect and then give them a call. I realize they’re already clean by most people’s standards but I like to give a good impression. I have about five hens out there that still need saddles. There’s at least thirty that are already wearing saddles – all made in outrageous colors and patterns. It’s quite a sight. Since I stated using the side pasture (which borders the road) I have seen people looking out there and enjoying them as they walk or drive by. Perhaps they’re wondering about the saddles or maybe they just like seeing the chickens. One guy, a big burly heavily tattooed motorcyclist with a huge white beard, drives by frequently and I always see him turn his head towards the chickens – but if he notices I see him he turns right back and pretends he wasn’t looking! Cracks me right up. Perhaps watching chickens destroys his tough guy image. I don’t know but I enjoy the people watching. But anyway… we’re so excited to be registered as a business! Now we can really promote our name and make a go of it.

Belgian Hare Woes

It took me over two years to find a wife for Max, the Belgian Hare I sort of ended up with out of freakish happenstance. I had no idea they were so hard to find! Or that they were nearly extinct… or that the show breeders who maintained the last ones were fiercely hard to find and even fiercely harder to convince you needed another Belgian Hare.

Freya, the wife in question, literally traveled from CA to a breeder in DC and then came up here to lovable New England after said breeder decided to lessen her herd. She was in the van that was supposed to deliver for for over a week past the point she was supposed to be. As I pulled out hair and bit my nails hoping that she wasn’t just an imaginary bunny she eventually showed up in a van which billowed with a funny smelling smoke when the doors flung open. She was in a cat carrier, driven mad by confinement, and I was given a pair of leather gloves to get her out – the sort of leather gloves you’d use to wrangle a rabid badger.

We took things slowly… really slowly… but within a couple weeks Freya settled in and became a total diva, just loving her new home, and to a lesser extent myself (she adores my dearest far more than me but that’s OK!) So we started building a nursery cage upstairs, where Max runs free, and we were excited to let them meet. The cage is currently only one tier but we’re planning on adding a second tier soon and perhaps even a third someday. Below are photos of its construction…

 

So what did Max do when I brought him the wife I’d promised him for two years? Nothing! Not a thing! He seemed more concerned with pretending the new cage wasn’t in the room! Eventually I was able to get him to sit next to the cage where he shook like a chihuahua before skittering away. Currently he’s hiding in the other bedroom, peering across the hallway at the cage. Apparently Freya is terrifying. Sigh. Guess we’ll keep taking it slow… and maybe someday… someday in the future… we can have little Maxlettes running around…