Heather Sharpe

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since Feb 05, 2019
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Central Indiana, zone 6a, clay loam
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Recent posts by Heather Sharpe

Hi Mark! This totally makes sense to me. I think you articulated that quite well. I often feel frustration and sometimes anger when I hear those kinds of sounds too. It's a very visceral, kind of primal feeling that usually makes me growl and snarl. I find that helps me a little.
I think T Simpson is right on about focusing on what you can do rather than worrying about things outside your sphere of influence. Worrying about things you can't control is a path to burnout, in my experience.

Seeking a good therapist could be helpful, if that's accessible to you. I go to a therapist who practices Somatic Experiencing and she was the first person I've heard talk about how just being a human in a society that destroys our home is itself a traumatic experience and requires support of some kind. Just hearing that made me feel more normal and she has helped me a lot to stay in a place where I can actually help be a steward of the planet rather than get bogged down in anger and frustration at the humans. A lot of the work she does with me is connected to nature. Not sure if that's a theme that carries across therapists who practice that?

The Earth herself is a great ally and support in dealing with these things, I've found. Even something as simple as going outside and standing or sitting on the ground and really feeling into that support and massive energy can help me. Or going and finding a spot to sit for even just a few minutes and observe your surroundings with all your senses. Just taking time to connect with the earth and your body. I find when I do this, I usually feel guided as to what might be most helpful for me to do to help the Earth. At the very least, I feel calmer and more grounded.
I've really enjoyed a book called "To Be Healed by the Earth" by Warren Grossman, Ph.D. It has lots of exercises like that as well as general ways to maintain good emotional and energetic health. Plus lots more. I would highly recommend checking it out.

I've found this song helps me move through these sort of feelings.

It also helps me have some compassion for people who I see acting in destructive ways. I imagine they're really stressed out trying to survive in this society and it's hard to think about how you're affecting others when you're in survival mode. Not that that excuses it, just makes it easier to understand.
I hope you're able to find some support around this. It's not easy to deal with and we're not meant to do it alone!
2 weeks ago
Animals are so wise. I hope to always be learning to better listen to them. And communicate, but mostly the listening. They seem to have some remarkable ways of knowing things. I used to have a cat who was so attuned to what was going on with me that anytime I was hurting, either physically or emotionally, she would put her paws or sometimes her whole body on the exact place that hurt and purr. She was not normally a super affectionate cat, so this seemed notable. I miss her like crazy.
A massage therapist friend of mine has two cats who do something similar whenever I go there for massage, though there's much less of a heart connection. We often talk about how it's the cats who are doing the real work.

One time, we were smelling something dead near our house, judging from the strength of the smell, it was clear it had to be really close. But we just couldn't find it anywhere and were beyond puzzled. I turned to my cat and asked her to show us where it was. To my surprise, she actually stood up and started walking. After going a little ways into the shrubs, she laid down. We looked all over the ground and still couldn't find anything. Then I heard "look up" in my head. She may have looked upward also, can't quite recall. Sure enough, as soon as I looked up, I saw the dead possum hanging by its tail which must've gotten stuck in the fence. It was exactly in line with where my cat was laying on the ground. We gave the possum a proper burial and much praise to the cat.
2 weeks ago
The chiggers are rough. I usually try to limit my exposure time to about 3 hours, then quarantine the clothes I was wearing in a bag and take a shower, making sure to scrub well, especially in those crevices. Frequent brushing off of the legs while I was out there seemed to help a little. Last year, I read a doctor and hiker saying that spraying yourself down with white vinegar before and after exposure would help deter the chiggers, cause them to drop off and reduce the swelling from bites that'd already happened. I made a habit of spraying myself before and after being outside and felt it did help some. Peppermint oil on bites that'd gotten rough seemed to calm them down and at least let me sleep.
It probably doesn't make a huge dent, but I've taken to squishing the adults when I see them. I had to learn to distinguish them from the velvet mites first so I wasn't taking my frustration out on innocent critters. If it's any consolation, from my understanding, because of how crazy our immune response to the bites is, the ones that bite us can't stay attached long enough to get a good feed and don't make it to the next stage of development.
2 weeks ago
You refuse to let the fact that you drive a four door sedan stop you from picking up 10 foot+ long branches from the side of the road. This may or may not have been the only time I filled the car with wood, much to the dismay of onlookers...
3 weeks ago
Flowers are probably the only way to be sure. You could check (without touching, even though I don't think it's hemlock) if it has hairy stems. Poison hemlock has a smooth stem. Often with purple blotches, though not so much when it is young. Wild carrot has a hairy stem.
3 weeks ago
Does look a lot like carrot. Or could it perhaps be wild carrot, aka Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota)? It's also a great food plant for the butterflies and an attractor of other beneficials.
I'd avoid touching it until it flowers and you can confirm its identity, just in case it is one of the less friendly members of the Apiaciae.  
3 weeks ago
Thank you everyone for your perspective and advice on this!

Chris Kott wrote:For me, the livestock vaccine quandary is this: if you vaccinate animals that otherwise would sicken and die, and breed those animals, you pass on their weakness; you end up breeding strains that require the vaccine to live.

That seems dumb to me, or at least short-sighted enough to make me ask if it's a permaculturally-aligned approach. Oh, certainly, treating one animal, one time, to alleviate its suffering and allow it to continue to live and work (but not breed) is understandable. But prophylactic vaccination of unfit livestock so they can live in poor conditions is why the majority of us deplore factory farm conditions and CAFOs. Why does it seem reasonable to extend their ideology even this far?

My advice in short: get strong birds that are unlikely to get sick. If you can get them locally, from a small-scale farmer or homesteader whose poultry you can meet, who also refuses to rely on vaccines, at least prophylactically, then that's your best starting point. If you're keeping everything to healthy bird spec, you might not even need to worry about vaccines.


I totally agree. I want to get chickens to ensure that they are living in the best conditions possible, so blindly doing what they do in factory farms doesn't sit well with me. Alas, our town doesn't allow us to have a rooster, so unless that is changed, I won't be breeding these chickens. And sadly, the only legit seeming local folks I can find to get chickens from only have breeds that aren't suitable for our small suburban yard. The only other potential source I found was the craigslist and all those chickens looked sickly and beat up. So much as I dislike it, we're getting our chicks from Meyer hatchery. Hopefully we can figure out a better source in time if we want to add to the flock.

r ranson wrote:My theory is that in a commercial hatchery there are a lot of chickens.  Often living inside.  I don't know the ventilation conditions or the hygiene requirements they have for their humans.  It seems to me, if someone is careless, that's the place the chicken is going to pick something up.  So when buying from a commercial outfit, I go with the vaccine option.  When home hatched, I don't.    

This makes total sense and helped me feel a bit better about making a choice I really don't like. Thank you. Since ours will be from the hatchery, seems like a wise call.
Does this mean you are keeping birds who have been vaccinated with ones who are not? If so, has that caused any issues? I'm curious since I'd hope in the future to add birds who were from someone local and small scale and thus, probably not vaccinated.

Lorinne Anderson wrote:This may be a geographical issue - is it endemic in some areas, and not in others? Are their factory farms nearby that put you at greater risk?

As to it spreading to the wild, due to viral shedding - I would check with local wildlife rehabbers, Vets or fish and Game/Conservation to see IF this is an actual concern.

Vaccination causes the recipients body to develop an irritation that the body investigates and "takes note". From this it is analyzed, documented and a strategy to defeat this intruder is created, mounted, proven effective and logged for future use. This is how antibodies are created. These antibodies may or may not transfer to offspring - I truly do not know if this potentially transferred immunity ONLY happens in placental animals or if life created from an egg would be the same.

I will run this by my wildlife vet and see if they have any insight.


No factory farms nearby, as we're close to the city. Lots of backyard chicken keepers whose birds probably came from a hatchery and are likely vaccinated. Some of whom I visit regularly, so will have to figure out best biosecurity practices there.
I will check with the rehabber and extension office about these issues. Thank you for checking with your vet about this for me!

3 weeks ago

John F. Dean wrote: I have met many people in my life who were disillusioned with themselves and others. I have never met anyone with the magnitude of hostility she displayed.  This being juxtaposed with what would appear to be a charmed life by most standards. What really sets her apart is the fact she was found dead on her floor with no apparent cause.  She just stopped.


Same here, that does sound like another level though. And confusing. The seemingly charmed life can definitely be an illusion that hides a very ugly truth sometimes.
Holding onto that much anger and/or denying what's really going on seems like it would take a serious toll on one's health, I bet.
3 weeks ago
How sad. I wonder what happened to make her hate herself so much? Crappy parents? Trauma? Society's awful attitudes about women's worth/"place"? The possibilities are endless.
There may be exceptions, but I think most people who direct hatred outward either hate themselves (consciously or more likely, unconsciously) or have a deep need for control because they've experienced something that harmed their sense of control over their life. It's really impossible to know. Makes me think of this quote from Marshall B. Rosenburg, the psychologist who developed Nonviolent Communication, "Every criticism, judgement, diagnosis and expression of anger is the tragic expression of an unmet need."

Since most of us encounter people like the one described, I wonder if there's a way to interact with them that might help them start to see/deal with whatever issue they have within that causes them to act that way? Without trying to force it or change them, since that obviously never works. More to dispel their projection and inspire inward reflection instead. Probably just being nice to them while keeping oneself safe from the venom is a start. I would guess people like that haven't experienced much kindness. Or are so unfamiliar with a genuine form of it that they are suspicious of it or unable to let it in. They probably on some level think they don't deserve it and so neither does anyone else.
3 weeks ago
Going on drives to look at Christmas lights. It was a tradition in my family as a kid and even though I'm not a Christian now, I still love going and looking at all those lights whilst listening to the Nutcracker Suite and the soundtrack of The Muppet Christmas Carol. That and my strong distaste for LED Christmas lights. The incandescent ones are just so much prettier to me!
Also, chocolate and coffee.  
3 weeks ago