A Glance Back at 2018 and a Look Toward 2019

I hate to say I’m glad to see the end of a year, but… I kind of am with this one. Good things have happened, like getting Roe. Roe is the bright light in an otherwise bleak year. Even if he has eaten the last shred of my sanity.

Overall it’s been an overwhelmingly difficult year. I know changing the year doesn’t actually change anything, but toward the end I couldn’t help feeling like if we could just get to 2019 maybe we’d be okay.

First we lost Brulot. Then I haven’t mentioned it here yet, but Zeste and Sel were killed by a sow bear and her cubs in November. They tore down the fence and ripped the door off. I was away at the time, but Jordon tried to scare them away and couldn’t. This bear isn’t afraid of humans at all. He was able to save Beignet and Gueuze, but Zeste and Sel had been killed already.

They were my first chickens, and the reason I realized how amazing birds really are. I was going to do something special for their fifth hatchday this year. At first I just couldn’t write about it, then it was the Christmas season and it didn’t feel like the right time. I’ll try to get something up soon. I started the year with a flock of five, and ended it with two.

There’s also been Suki’s illness. In February she was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease, but now it turns out she doesn’t actually have Addison’s. She has extremely high platelets, which is throwing off her electrolytes (which then looks like Addison’s). The treatment is similar, but just when I was feeling like I had a handle on her diagnosis and things started to feel normal it was like starting from zero again. It also means she may have been unnecessarily taking Prednisone this entire time. Or maybe not. We’ll find out if she actually needs supplemental cortisol. At least she’s been on a very low dose the last few months.

But enough of the last year. To be honest I’m ready to move forward.

This year I’d like to challenge myself. With how challenging 2018 was already I cut myself some slack, and we didn’t really accomplish anything.

Firstly we need to replace the chicken coop door with a new style. Right now we just put the old one back on, and have been bringing the survivors into the house at night to keep them safe. I think the double door with its two center locks, while aesthetic, was a big part of why it was so easy for the bears to rip it out of the framework. They grabbed onto the lock and pulled the whole thing out. The idea is to combine the doors into one that lifts up, and with more subtle locks and latches so there’s less for a bear to grab into. I can always add false trim to make it look like a double door. Plus electrify the surrounding fencing, and install a motion-activated spotlight on the coop so that if the bears return it will be easier to aim a weapon at them. It’s impossible to secure a building enough to actually keep a determined bear out, but if you can slow them down it gives you time to put them down.

Right now I have a mason jar of kombucha on my counter that’s hopefully growing a scoby for me. If that works, I can start brewing my own kombucha. If it doesn’t work, I’ll try again or look into other ways to procure a scoby. I’ve wanted to brew kombucha for a few years now, so this year I intend to actually do it.

I need to build two more garden beds for my tomatoes. And plant the tomatoes early enough to actually get fruit. And plant a nicely organized garden that I get veggies from. I’ve been gardening enough that I’m starting to learn what kind of plants and varieties I prefer, so it’s getting easier to plan the garden out. For example, I actually like dwarf peas better than large vines. The yield was similar but the small plants were more manageable. And of course plenty of French Breakfast radishes for Roe.

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I also want to cover my brassicas with bug netting. Every year I battle the cabbage moths, and every year I lose. No more. This year I plan to win.

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I’d like to hike Elphistone again. Roe’s growth plates should be closed soon, if not already, so it will safe to start conditioning him for longer endurance activities. We did 1/3 of it on New Year’s day, so I’d say we’re off to a good start.

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I want to take a canoe trip. Maybe overnight, maybe not. Maybe on a lake, maybe on the ocean, maybe both. I haven’t decided the details yet. All I know is I want to go canoeing somewhere for some length of time. Maybe a few trips.

Lastly, and maybe most important, I’m going to work hard at not caring what people think or say about my dogs or my training methods. Right now it bugs me if someone calls them a snack, or calls Roe yappy, or tells me they don’t like small dogs for some asinine reason. I can’t fathom why some people feel the need to make a comment on every thing that pops into their filter-less grommet brains. Thing is, those people don’t matter though. My dogs matter. So as long as my dogs are happy, I should be too.

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So here’s to 2019. Let’s see how this one turns out.

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