Meet Dora, she’s going to help me go public. Up until now I’ve been intensely private, fighting my own fires, keeping my deep philosophical thoughts to myself. It’s funny how you view your life when Asperger’s, Student Debt and the desire to get Permaculture right keeps you busy.

I never thought the life we lead was all that interesting (to other people) given a number of factors; the unbelievably harsh stark environment in which we reside, my repulsion towards endless postings of ‘selfies’ and the distractive minutia of social media, and just my own plain myopic focus of getting this right.

This: Living in concert with the Universe.

 

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Our utility bills are $200 per month for everything; water (zero), electricity (zero), firewood and pellets $200/month – and that will change when we install a rocket mass heater and our woodlot provides the fuel. We have zero food waste (that’s huge coming from a 30 year restaurant catering career). Cans get recycled, glass never leaves the property (building material for walls), plastic coffee cans get used for multitude of projects. In fact we produce so little waste we go to the dump only once per year and barely make the minimum weight.

 

There is no lawn (see Espoma Award), no lawnmower, no leaf blower, no rototiller, in fact no mechanized gas powered yard tools of any kind. We own a back hoe. You won’t find weed & feed, round up, or any pesticide of any kind for that matter either.

 

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There is no TV except for this one.

TV and Chair

No Cable, No Satellite, No radio spouting the same vacuous crap from MSM; CNN, NBC, ABC, MSN, NPR or Conservative talk shows. We have a vast library with real paper books.

There is Internet. We use it for four things; International communication on permaculture subjects, research to save the lives of our animals and keep them healthy, scanning 100’s of articles each week to observe the patterns of human interaction and the feedback loops humans are creating on this planet, and occasionally streaming music.

This is a place where you can go outside during the day and hear your own heart beat (blood pressure in the inner ear), hear coyotes howling or a deer snapping a twig in the orchard as it walks.

This is a place where lifeless dirt is becoming vital soil, water is conserved and morphed into life- giving applications, all sentient beings have value (reciprocity not stewardship), and Nature provides feedback every day.

 

We calculated (roughly) that we may be in a small group (10,000) out of 310 million people that live this way. Maybe it is interesting after all.

 

Meet Dora

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Dora was sitting in a cage in a Petco in Pasco Washington, another drive by shit hole eastern Washington town, like so many others, filled with Jiffy Lubes, Fast Food ‘restaurants’ and homogeneous box stores. I was in a rush on my way to the bathroom. Her energy caught me mid-stride and yanked my entire body to a standstill.

She was 3 ½ months old. Some no name rescue mill had passed her along, spayed and inoculated to Petco and there she sat.

And now she was going home.

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Dora as a Baby

 

 

 

going home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She was ecstatic with her new situation and exuded a low key court jester personality. We began to notice her confirmation and continual wheezing with every inhale and exhale. Her front legs were short, unusually so, a birth defect that apparently can occur naturally and gives the appearance of an almost donkey – like posture. She was jacked up in the back.

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She played with us continually; hide and seek, jumps, flips, and one day a new game emerged; I heard it from the balcony office, a low growling. I looked over and down to see her attacking her back right foot as if in a life and death battle.

Honey, our daughter is a cutter.

She celebrated her one year birthday in mid-June, a Gemini by my calculations. Other behaviors keyed us into the idea that her first 3 ½ months on this planet weren’t good.

On July 15th something went wrong and her self-attack game became very serious. My brand of Asperger’s has gifted me with the ability to be a research machine. Dora has Hyperesthesia, a very serious condition that includes self-mutilation.

Cornell University has this link: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/health_information/HyperesthesiaSyndrome.cfm

And says the following: “While veterinary neuroscientists continue to make progress in diagnosing and treating many feline afflictions associated with the brain, some conditions remain a mystery. Such is the case with hyperesthesia syndrome, a bizarre disorder that can affect cats of all ages, although its onset most often occurs in mature animals.”

Help is available at this website including two videos that demonstrate the syndrome:

http://www.thecatsite.com/t/250756/hissing-and-growling-at-nothing-biting-and-attacking-her-tail

On July 16th we picked up Nature’s Valley chicken, duck, rabbit and venison all of which are grain free and fish free foods. Read the labels and make sure the oils are from flax seed, not fish oil. Cats are obligate carnivores and there is great debate as to legitimacy of fruit and vegetable ingredients like carrots, peas, blueberries, cranberries. The pet food industry has to make a profit and high protein ratios are expensive so visit http://www.catinfo.org/ to grasp a full understanding of feline nutrition and make your own choices.

We also separated her from the other indoor cats, placed her in the bedroom in a comfortable cage for the first day, access to the full room the second day, water, food, litter box and toys and placed a baby gate at the door.

Within two days her episodes declined and shortly after that we built an outdoor enclosure to provide her with the ability to go outside.

The enclosure was purposefully made to include only a small area initially – for Dora to acclimate – about 30’ x 30’ space including the 5×10 raised bed we now use to raise small shrubs. Last year was an abundant year for apricot harvest, annuals planted in this bed died, so the bed was converted to a red wriggler worm bed, apricot seeds were thrown in along with other kitchen scraps.

 

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This spring I decided to plant left over plugs of service berry, wax current, snowberry shrubs and while digging discovered more than 50 young apricot trees. Vermicomposting works. A shade cover protects both young shrubs and allows a shelter from the sun for Dora.

On August 5th a larger enclosure was built.

A large Black Cottonwood is inside the enclosureDora in tree2

Her episodes have been reduced. This probably isn’t curable and we’ve been warned they may get worse with age. We can only try our best.

This is just the beginning for both Dora and myself. I have just submitted the latest paperwork involving my student debt jail loans. In the last three years I have chosen to “opt out” and have taken a path that few persons would; no bank, no credit cards, no income over $10,000/year, thus no taxes, thus no contribution to an extremely violent corrupt government (most are one or the other or both) and – no social safety net handouts.

Instead I will Go Public about the animals, plants and beings that surround us, student debt, and how we practice Permaculture.

thank you for reading this,

sheila