rabbit house & a poem
and taking question submission
Well the rabbit house is done! Okay, there’s still little bits to do and I need to pine tar it, but it’s good! The rabbits have come from far and wide to buy property in our new little Leporidae subdivision. Anybunny that’s a somebunny can be found in this fabulous gated community. Very exclusive.
Troy has done such a fantastic job. All brain and brawn, that one! How did I ever get so lucky?
In the video I explain all of the little details that went into building this house. We have had meat rabbits in every type of housing setup since we started raising them some twelve or so years ago now. It’s frustrating to have to learn through failure, but what other way is there? Surely we’re not the only ones who do things, refine them, try again, refine again and on and on until we’re happy with where we’re at? This house is a culmination of years of experience and honing what we like and what we think the rabbits like, too. I explain that a little bit in the video.
I thought I might share a poem I wrote awhile back. It was written to my mentor and dearest friend, Richard. He changed the entire course of my life. He was such an incredible human being. I wish you could have all known him. He was an incredible farmer, a disciple of the land, lovable and funny and so wickedly talented and smart but as humble as can be. He was one of the realest things I have ever known. I was missing him when I wrote this. I always miss him. I wanted to tell him so. Here it is:
My dearest friend, born of the short grass prairie, educated by Red Tail hawks, a herder of wild bison, and a gentleman cowboy from a time long lost. My cattleman spirit guide. The father I never had. The mentor and teacher I needed.
They wrapped him up in a bison hide and carried his body to the centre of the world where sky and land pinched together and all else floated away. There we sang and prayed and hung our heads low. There he squeezed out of the tightness of his body and expanded out and up and away, right before our very eyes.
We gilded his body in earthly treasures to be sent into the fire with him. I laid a bison horn beside his thick, calloused hand. A horn from a beast we once harvested together under that big sky prairie he called home. I kept the other horn for me. One day, I will bring my horn, into the earth with me.
And we will set off, my friend and I, on a grand adventure. We will hunt for the hornless bison to whom we shall return her rightful crown. We will be guided by stars illuminated by the fingertip touch of my daughter who runs alongside. “This way!” She waits.
Here, on terra firma, he scatters blue feathers on my path. “These are good luck.” he once told me. And now, from the hole in the universe that he left behind, he sprinkles them, one blue feather at a time, in front of my feet.
I have enough blue feathers to string them across my bedroom mirror now. They stretch across the face I look at every morning and trail down to the floor. My enchanted feathered veil. They are tied together in bouquets, slipped behind pictures, held in small vases all about my house. An embarrassment of blue and black striped riches to hold me steady. Thick spines, soft edges.
I did a podcast with the wonderful Kate Kavanaugh on her beautiful show, “The Ground Work podcast”. We talked everything from butchering to harvesting, men and relationships, life and death. I think Kate is doing brilliant work in this world. It was an honour to speak with her.
Have a great weekend everyone. Our daughter will be home from her worldwide traveling adventures this week and I plan on spending some time swinging in a hammock with her while she regales me with her exotic tales.
p.s. Paid subscribers have received a separate newsletter via email with a call for submissions to next week’s Q&As. Check your inbox and get your questions in before next Wednesday.
Slowdown Farmstead is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.