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Jun 18, 2007
I know that it has been quite a time since I have written, but every time I have tried, well, I just couldn't quite do it. It seemed like every time I wanted to try again it just didn't come out right. I have to admit that I really haven't been doing very well lately. And, frankly, that is why I didn't want to post.

I don't want to worry anyone. But, I do feel it is necessary to at least check in with you all. So many of you have been so very kind and supportive that I guess a part of me feels like I don't want to let you down or something like that. I don't know.

This isn't going well either, is it? See why I haven't written anything else?

But, like I said, I did at least want to check in with everyone, let you know I am still here helping animals, building my house (well, trying at least), and trying to pick up the pieces of my life and continue to walk the path that Virgil and I once walked together.

It's been very hard. Very, very hard. I'm still a bit fragile sometimes, but I have learned that I am so much stronger than I ever thought I was. And I will make it. I just still need a bit more time. Thank you all again for everything you have all done.

And a special thank you to everyone who sent food!

Hey, by the way, anyone interested in a schipperke? I took the time to write a short post about Skipper on the Warm Hearts Humane Society site.

Well, I guess that's all for now. Again, this is just really quite hard for me because I can't do it without crying because it is just such a strong reminder of what I have lost. (Oh, and I guess I should probably say that it has been quite a long time since I have even checked my emails. I have over 10,000 of them piled up. I just can't do it. I hope you understand. I just don't even turn on the computer but maybe once a week for just a few minutes at a time. Anything more and I just get too depressed. If anyone wants to "talk" to me, though, you can leave a comment. Since I have them moderated you can use them kind of like an email if you don't really want to post a comment and just want to contact me privately. Simply state so in the comment, and I will get it at a different email address to read myself without approving the comment to be posted here.)

Thanks again, everyone, for your continued support and understanding.

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Posted: Jun 18, 2007 5:51pm
Dec 18, 2006
First off, I want to thank all of the people who have left comments here, emailed me, and especially the close friends who have called. This has been so hard, so terrible, that I just don't think I could have handled it without the support I have gotten from so many caring people. I really do thank you all from the bottom of my heart for you kindness and concern.



Virgil used to say that I was the best thing that ever happened to him - well, I feel like he was the best thing that ever happened to me. We were so lucky to have found each other and had the kind of relationship we shared. Few people ever find that kind of love - that depth of love where you share everything about yourself. And I do mean everything - even the deepest, darkest secrets you have always kept to yourself your whole life. We told it all to each other and loved each other not in spite of, but because of, those things. Because all of those things were what made us who we really were. I loved Virgil unconditionally and whole-heartedly and always will. I knew things about him that he had never told a single, solitary soul, and he knew the same about me. That's so rare these days. Probably always has been. But, oh, is it special!



Unfortunately, it also makes it harder to let go and lose one another, especially so young. It also means that since he was "the one," there will never be another for me. It wouldn't even be fair for me to try if I wanted to, which I don't. I could never have that kind of relationship with anyone else because they would not be him. I will always have friends, but I will never love another the way I loved him. This also unfortunately means that my life will be so much harder than it already has been because I simply cannot do everything I need to do to take care of myself anymore since I became so disabled. There are a number of things I needed to have a man around to do. Like, I can't run a chainsaw and cut the firewood I need to heat my home (yet can't afford to buy it, either). I can't unload 50 lb. bags of dog food out of the car when I get home. I certainly can't finish building this house we started building together. I have done quite a bit of damage to myself even trying. I didn't realize how much until recently when I couldn't do even a fraction of what I could when we started. I always knew I was going against the doctor's orders, but I never realized how much damage I was doing, and now it is too late to do anything about it. I'll manage some way. I really don't have much choice. I have to have a home, and it's cold right now without all of the insulation, and I dream of having my sink hooked up in the kitchen and hot water and stairs instead of cinder blocks to get up on the porch or a ladder to have to climb up into the loft and.....I have family and a few friends, but it will sure take a whole lot longer, and it surely won't be the same as it would be if we were still doing this together as a team like we did everything else in our life.



And there is so much of him here in this place. He is in every board because he cut the logs that the lumber came from. He was part of the decision-making process in the design stage, and the place is designed for him to be here. Two long closets up in the loft, one on each side of the room, along with two sets of drawers that go on each side of the bed. Everything is in pairs. Our coffee mugs, our place mats, even some of our hats and outfits. I just can't imagine a life spent without him being in it. We were supposed to grow old together and sit on our porch in our rocking chairs and tell our grandchildren what interesting lives we had led, showing them all of the articles and interviews and such, sharing what we had accomplished and what we had learned. We wanted them to learn that one person can indeed make a difference in this world. That every single choice a person makes matters in shaping the kind of reality that becomes your future.



Now, it will just be me. And, I don't intend to stop doing what I do and being who I am. I couldn't if I wanted to. Believe me because part of me has tried. Like, this morning, I wanted to just curl up in a ball and not get out of the bed and face the world, but I couldn't. I got up, fed the animals, got my coffee, and started my day. It has been a really hard one, too. Maybe the hardest yet. I won't go into why, as some of what I am going through is just a bit too private for posting here. I may be able to talk more about it at some point, but right now everything is just too raw.



Anyway, enough of the pity party. On to the rest of this post. I promised an update, and I intend to give it to you.



I have been asked about funeral arrangements, so here they are for anyone who cares.



The "viewing" will be held tomorrow, the 19th, at Beasley Wood Funeral Home at 611 Janssen St. in Mena, AR from 6:00-8:00, and the funeral will be Wednesday at 2:00 at

Hilltop Church in Cove, AR (just south of Mena). I know that the vast majority of people who read this will not be there, but perhaps during those times you can hold Virgil in your heart for a moment or so and wish him peace. And, if I may ask, hold me in your hearts for a moment, too, and lend me a bit of strength to deal with all of that, especially since this is not what he wanted done. I won't go into that, either, as I don't wish any more pain on his mother than she is already going through. If this is what she needs to do to deal with this, then so be it. His body is just a shell anyway - his spirit isn't in it anymore. I can't imagine how it feels to lose a son. But I do know now how hard it is to lose the person you planned to spend the rest of your life with and the only person in the world who truly knew you and loved you for who you really are.



It hurts.



A lot.



Sorry, gotta go now. I've done all I can handle for one day. Those of you who have written me personally, I will get back to you individually when I can. I can only handle so much at once. But, I have read every word sent. Thank you all again.



Peace and love and light to you all-----



Laura

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Posted: Dec 18, 2006 6:11pm
Dec 15, 2006
This is Laura writing, and I have bad news for you. Today, 12-15-06, Virgil Butler was found dead.



That's all I have to say publicly at this time other than to convey his wish that anyone who wishes to do so may use the words written here to keep fighting the fight against the scourge of cruelty and the greed that causes it that Virgil spent the last part of his life in fighting. I will not stop doing the vital work we were doing together, though I will indeed miss him terribly. He was my best friend, my soul mate, and the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, growing old together in this house we are still building (well, I guess it's just me now, though, building it alone, isn't it?), and devoting the rest of our lives to making this a better and more peaceful world.



He will be so very greatly missed. He had a hard life and a tortured spirit, shone brightly for too short of a time, but now is finally at peace.



I loved him with all of my heart.



Goodbye, Virgil. Rest now, you very special man. There will be no other one like you. You touched many lives - mine so very much - and I will never forget you. I will keep trying to fight the fight without you by my side, though I cannot imagine doing that right now. This place will always be the sanctuary it was for you and the all of the many others who have come here hurting, especially the many lost and abused animals - a place of healing and love and peace.



I will always love you.



Goodbye, Babes.



Laura

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Posted: Dec 15, 2006 12:11pm
Aug 21, 2006
Unless you have been under a rock, you have heard of the term "ecoterrorist," seen how much it is flying around these days, and how many people are being accused of being one. Even I have been. Yep. Little ol' me - out here in the woods, hurting no one. Just rescuing animals and speaking my mind - telling ugly truths about those who would wish I would just finally shut up, once and for all.



What's funny (NOT!) is that there was a time that I really and truly WAS a dangerous criminal, and even a killer, but not anymore. I am so damned peaceful that I don't even eat animals that OTHER people have killed! I have actually changed so much that it has apparently manifested physically so much so that people who have known me for years don't recognize me when they see me again for the first time in a long time. Quite a few people have just blankly looked at me when I say "hi" to them, even though they knew me for a long, long time. So, it seems that more than just my mind and spirit have changed - my physical appearance seems to have changed as well. Laura says that she can see it, too, though, mostly in my eyes - that they aren't dead anymore. I know that she has helped me open a part of me that I had closed off a long time ago - my heart. As much as it hurt to do it, I have opened it again and experienced emotions - some hurtful, but mostly just loving and caring ones. I have had more than enough of violence and killing, thank you very much. And, NOW that I have changed my life, been living right, and haven't hurt a soul, NOW is when I am harassed and attacked by the law the most!



Well, a friend forwarded a link to me that I want to share with you. http://www.greenisthenewred.com/



I don't think I should have to say anything else. He says it all.



Keep fighting for those who can't and don't ever - EVER - give up!



Might DOES NOT make right.



Love and light do.



One tiny candle conquers a whole LOT of darkness.....



Keep on lighting them, folks.



I will, too.

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Posted: Aug 21, 2006 4:58pm
Aug 7, 2006
Well, besides still working hard on the house, it seems that we now have a new project. Well, it's mostly Laura's project, but I have joined up as a member, too.



As she has spent all morning uploading photos, this will be a very short post, as there is really a lot needing to be done today on the house. And it is time for lunch, too.



There is no point in repeating what all has been said on the new site, so you can go and read it there for yourself just as you can see the new rescues, too. They just keep right on coming! And we have decided that these are the most destructive kittens ever!



And you don't even know about the little mangy dog yet, either!







All of these animals are costing us a fortune! And, right now, no one is able to help. And, like it says in the post on the new blog site, we don't want to give away any kittens until they are fixed. The mother is first, of course, but then, we start on the babies - all 5 of them! And only one of them is male! Scary, huh?



Try building a house with this many kittens scampering everywhere, grabbing at your extension cord and knocking stuff off constantly. Just try.......



Oh, and I don't guess there is anyone out there who knows what they are doing when it comes to those new tankless water heaters, do you? We bought one, both to be eco-friendly and to save on utilities, but after we read the instructions, I have the sense to know I am in over my head and have absolutely no idea how to do it right. Hopefully the compost toilet will be easier. It is on the way.



Man, do we have a L-O-N-G way to go to get this place finished! We really need some help desperately.



Well, gonna go and eat, then get back to work.



Even though it has been terribly hot, suddenly winter doesn't seem that far away. At least not at the pace we are going.

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Posted: Aug 7, 2006 12:12pm
Jul 10, 2006
I know it has been awhile since I updated this blog. I successfully completed my job and have been back to work here on the place, taking care of things. But that's not what I want to write about today. What I want to tell you all about today is what happened to Laura and me during an innocent shopping trip yesterday as we attempted to do a good deed.

You see, Laura and I were both arrested yesterday for doing this good deed. The reason this happened will become clearer as you continue to read. But I would like to get one fact in before I begin. the officer who arrested us knew me by sight before ever asking for ID. He treated us rudely, never listened to our side of things that would have proved our innocence, constantly telling us to shut up.

Now, on with the details:

This time we simply went to Wal-Mart for sandwich makings and gas. Laura always pushes a shopping cart inside the store, usually one found where someone has left one in a parking spot or something, thus helping out the poor, overworked guys who have the job of returning carts, and partially because it takes the weight off her bad shoulder that she had surgery on and which still has a rod in it running from her shoulder to her elbow.

This time, however, we didn't see any carts left in parking spots, so headed for one of the corrals to get one. Well, we found one alright, but someone had left their bag in it, and there were others standing around trying to figure out what to do and who had already left the store and were heading to their vehicles with their purchases. So, we decided that we would do the right thing and take the bag in and turn it in, but first we wanted to see if there was any ID in it, showing who it belonged to. So, in front of witnesses, we began looking for such ID. Once we found a Medicaid card with a name on it, we headed inside the store to turn it in.

As we were heading in, though, we began to notice that there were several different names in there, so which was the rightful owner? As Laura had run into the same problem before and lost her purse and all of the cash in it by having it claimed by the wrong person, we wanted to make sure that the right person claimed it, so we did a little more digging. We moved out of the main traffic area to do this so that we wouldn't get in the way of other shoppers. In hindsight, this was probably not a good idea, but at the time, we never thought anything of it, as we knew that we were only looking out for the person's best interest in making sure that whoever retrieved the bad was indeed the rightful owner. We also knew that we were in full view of security cameras that could see that we were not stealing anything out of the bag and putting everything back in it that we pulled out.

Well, all of a sudden some strange woman came up and grabbed the bag from our cart, implied that we were trying to steal from it (yeah, right under a security camera that we knew was there - are we that dumb?!), took it out of the cart and said that she would turn it in.

Well, we then went straight to the customer service area to find out if indeed she had turned it in or simply stolen it herself, maybe being in the group that formed outside as we all decided what to do with the bag, following us through the store, and waiting on the opportunity to snatch it. Anyway, after giving a description of the woman and filing a report with the people at customer service, describing the bag and all of what happened, we went on our merry way and finished our shopping.

Well, just as we pulled into the line to checkout, there was the above cop - officer Lawler, a brutal man who we have been told has even attacked patients in the hospital. The woman was standing in back and to the side of him pointing us out as the "criminals" who tried to "steal" this bag. Note that there was not one single thing missing from that bag and that we even put the money we found back in it (which should also be on the security tape) So, we got hauled to the back of the store and rudely treated. Laura asked the cop repeatedly to go and check with the customer service people and see that we had indeed reported all of this and had not tried to steal it - that we were trying to prevent a theft, for goodness sake! He just kept refusing.

Well, he just called us liars, handcuffed us, arrested us, and took us in. Meanwhile in the station they took my watch (who knows why?) and some of Laura's medicine that she keeps in a separate bottle that she uses every day to keep up with her doses. Never mind that she had each and every bottle with her name, doctor, and pharmacy (all matching) on the bottles in her fanny pack (which they also made a big deal out of, accusing her of using different doctors and pharmacies, when every single bottle showed the same doctor and pharmacy) - they took every single pill out of the daily dose bottle in her purse that helps her keep up with how many she has taken each day so that she keeps on schedule and doesn't take too little or too much every day. So now she is missing a half a day's worth of medicine that she must make up before her next appointment, which means that she won't be able to take the proper amount of medicine each day that she is prescribed. So, word of warning - if you ever go traveling, don't use a bottle to keep up with your daily doses. Keep all your medicines in their original bottles.

Also, while in the jail, one of the cops that transported us - they called in backup, as if they needed it with us all handcuffed and not putting up a fight or anything, told me "We do not tolerate animal rights terrorists like you and your old lady in Polk county, and we are going to do our best to get rid of you." - can't read the name, but his badge # is 513, first initial T. (we later learned that the arresting officer is named Wolf), the rest illegible. I got the message that none of this would have happened if we hadn't been who we were and doing what we are doing. The jailer didn't even understand why we were arrested. We had no evidence on us, no stolen merchandise or belongings, none of that. Luckily she was really nice. She even brought Laura one of her Valiums to calm her down because she was so upset at being arrested for theft when we were simply trying to prevent one. The jailer said that most people, even if guilty, wouldn't have been arrested, just given a ticket, as it is a misdemeanor, and a small one at that, no worse than a traffic ticket.

Anyway, Laura called her mom from the jail and there was already a bondsman there, so we didn't spend even one minute in a cell. But it cost her mom $300 to get us out on an $1105 bond each (yes, that's extremely excessive, and we intend to fight it all the way). Plus, even as we are standing there being bonded out, the asshole cop had our truck towed away down to Potter - another 80+ charge - that he did completely out of meanness. Mom saw it leaving just as she was pulling up to pay the bond! Even the guy who worked there didn't understand why it was towed. When Laura asked the cop why he did it and accused him of only doing it to cost us more money, he simply said that "it was a liability." Even the guy who towed it didn't understand why it had been towed, saying that it not normal practice, but that he was called and just doing his job.

Before getting in the truck and taking off, just to be sure that things were okay and nothing had been planted on us (it had), I noticed that my prescription was missing out of the truck and that all of a sudden the taillights and blinkers didn't work. More sabotage. And there were cops waiting to pull us over for that sitting in driveways on the side of the road as we left. We were just really careful not to use either so that they couldn't see that they didn't work. I got one blinker working by replacing a fuse, but nothing else works like it did before we left, so obviously someone messed with the wiring or something to get them not to work, hoping to pull us over all over again and probably tow the truck right back to where we had just retrieved it from. Because you know they can do that if they want, just like they can just write you a ticket. It's totally up to the officer. I will just let you guess which scenario would have happened to us.

Well, immediately after getting out of jail and retrieving our truck, we went straight back to Wal-Mart, hoping desperately that the same people were working the customer service desk that were there when we came to report the bag and all and also hoping that the note that they wrote about it was still there (nope, it was gone). No such luck - different people working. All I was able to find out was that the girl that was there before was named Paula.

They referred me to the girl that worked the tape room that colluded with the cop in getting us arrested. She said that she would look over the tapes and be able to see whether or not we actually did what we said we did and went to the customer service desk. So, that will back us up, assuming the dirty cop doesn't destroy the tapes or something. Hopefully Wal-Mart keeps a backup copy.

They are obviously determined to make our lives as unpleasant as possible and cost us as much as they possibly can, with the ultimate aim of making us move or locking us up for good. At the very least, they intend to make our lives miserable. Also, I truly think they are trying to get me to commit a violent act against someone so that they can throw the bitch (slang for the habitual criminal act, for those not familiar with Arkansas law - 3 strikes and you are out, and one more violent act will get me sent away for 40-life, without the possibility of parole - at my age, a death sentence and a damn good way of shutting me up!) on me and have me sent away forever. Luckily I have better control than that and am a changed man. I won't do that and give them the satisfaction, no matter how good it may feel at the time and how much that cop deserved it.

I and Laura both have open sores on our hands from the handcuffs being put on too tightly. Lawler put them on, then came back and tightened them as far as they would go. Then, when it came time to get me out of the car, the other officer who actually transported us (Wolf) jerked me by the arm and banged my head on the car. Still, I will NOT commit a violent act and went peacefully, just as Laura did, even though we both knew we were being wronged in the worst way and for the wrong reasons - because of our unpopular beliefs about animals. So, now we are broke, Laura's mother is broke, our truck can't hit the road without being fixed so that it is legal, my head and neck are hurt (as well as the open sores on my hands), Laura's shoulder is hurting from having it cuffed behind her (in addition to the open sores on her hands), and we both had medication stolen by the cops. All for trying to do a good deed.

Will I give up? HELL NO! I take this as evidence that my work is working and hurting the industry. Every injustice visited upon me is further evidence of that. I figure this was about that last column I wrote that slammed Tyson so badly. though it could also be because of the letter-writing campaign that started when all this first started and I came forward. Who knows? All I know is that I MUST be having an effect - and a big one - or they wouldn't fight me so hard and come after me and now Laura. This is the first time they involved her. But that last column written mentioned the fact that she was the one who exposed the Grannis Chief of Police, Larry Harmon. So, I guess they have decided that she is fair game now, too.

Well, she won't give up, either. No matter what they do to us. We will keep fighting. Just watch. It will only get more intense from here on. Yet it will all stay legal. I will not break any laws because it isn't necessary to do so to expose the industry for what it is - CRUEL.

Keep tuned in for more exciting news on my next effort. I will be blogging about that hopefully tomorrow. I have been setting things up for the past two days. This action will be one that you can all take part in and that will be a lot of fun.

And, guess what - it's another good deed.

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Posted: Jul 10, 2006 4:16am
Jun 1, 2006
Well, I tried to write this post once, but we were so tired that we fell as leep during the middle and erased it before posting. Yep, we have been working hard again. New deadline.



Babies.



First comes George, of course. Then, the mother cat and her three kittens the week before last, then two more kittens last weekend.



Speaking of George...



We got some pictures of him and decided to share:







More on the house (first of the bittshots! ha ha!) was posted before the George entry here.

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Posted: Jun 1, 2006 2:08am
May 19, 2006
Since there were so many pictures associated with what I had to say about us working on building the house, and I was afraid that sticking that many in one post would slow the loading time down so much for this site, I put them all on the photopage along with all of the descriptions and explanations about them. Therefore I see no need in duplicating that information here.



I did break up the pictures by the date they were emailed to me from Laura's mother, so they are put up on different days starting with April 2, and that is also the date that I wrote the post to go with them, but since I haven't updated the photopage any more than I have updated this site, my groups, or done anything else online since we started working like crazy on that house, they should all appear on the front page. At least they should for now if you read them now and have not come to this post at a much later date (which is, of course, the main reason I am explaining this - for those who do come here months, or even years, later). Anyway, that is the date to start at to read the whole explanation, then scroll back up to look at the pictures so that you can see them in the proper order. I will also go ahead and tell you that we took more pictures than appear there, and we will find ut why the rest were not sent to us. Either Laura's mother just didn't send them or her camera was acting up again, and they didn't take or transfer to her computer properly. We don't know at this point - just that we took a lot more than she sent us, so there is nowhere near the number of them that existed on the site. but there are enough to give you the general idea of about how we started and when as well as pretty much what it looks like now. The main difference now is that the roms are full of all of the stuff Lowe's delivered and the vinyl flooring the Laura went and bought the other day to go down in the kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom. Now we can figure out properly how to wire and plumb for it all, so that is one of the next things we intend to do. We talked to the wiring guy just a little while ago (he called while we were writing this post), and he is supposed to come and assess the situation next week and should have it wired in a couple of weeks. After that, it's goodbye trailer! Burn, baby burn! Can't wait to watch and film that either. he he!



Anyway, from this point on, now that we have slowed down so considerably, we will make updates at the time they happen and won't wait over a month to do so, so you can keep up with how it comes along. Like I said, Laura has had this house built in her head for years and knows exactly how it will look, down to where she intends to put what furniture even, but no one else can see the pictures in her head, so everyone will just have to follow along as we get it done just as those of us who are building it are following her directions as to how she wants things done. Of course, I have a pretty good idea of how it will look, as she has explained it to me, and I have been working on it since the beginning, but even I don't have the kind of pictures in my head that she does.



I do know one thing. I can't wait until we get in there.



Today I am using my new planer she bought to run our hardwood flooring through since we couldn't get the boards to the place that does that now that our truck is down, and we can't depend on anyone to do everything like that when we need them to. And, unlike a few sheets of fiberboard or plywood, we certainly can't carry a whole truckload of lumber on top of a minivan! Besides, I have to admit that I am one of those guys who loves power tools and who has always wanted a planer. I have already tested it out and used it on a few of the boards that were more warped than the others, and I love the thing! It works well, and the boards are coming out so pretty. We don't intend to stain them - just put a clear finish on them and cover a good portion of them with area rugs, both to protect them and for color so that each room's decor matches. Again, that part of things is part of the picture in Laura's head. And, like she told her mother the other day, we will be easy to buy for on holidays for quite awhile now! Ha ha ha!



We are so very excited!!!!!!



Well, I'm off to plane some boards now. Talk to y'all later.....

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Posted: May 19, 2006 12:11pm
May 17, 2006
I will write a much longer post later, as I do not have the time now. I will say that I am still around and working a bit on my activism - in fact I did a radio show just a few days ago called "Vegan Stew" out of Colorado, but was too busy at the time to even plug it anywhere, not even in my groups (which I haven't had the time to check yet either - sorry folks, I know I am letting you down and dumping more work on my moderators, though they don't post like I do, but that will change again very soon, too) - for those of you who have become a bit worried about me since no one has heard from me online for about 2 months and I was starting to get worried emails in my private email address from those few people who actually have it, though I admit that I have not had the time to check my online address supplied by this site yet. We have just been extremely busy working on our house. I will update you later and load the pictures we have taken so far - even though things change every day - later as well so that you can see for yourself how fast and hard we worked. I would do so now, but we just dealt with unloading a very large delivery from Lowe's today, then a smaller one from a private company that delivered 3 more appliances that should have been on that Lowe's truck, but weren't. In fact, we have been interrupted so many times today writing this post that it isn't even funny. Believe it or not, but we started this before 7:00 a.m. It started this morning as a short post, but then it grew and grew, despite the fact that I intended to keep it short, so we ended up doing it in pieces as the day went on. And it still won't have everything in it that I had intended to write when I wrote my first update post since the last time you heard from me because I won't make this one ridiculously long by going into lots of details about everything that's been going on while I have been offline - way, way too much for one post!



The main reason I am writing this post without all of the rest of the information yet is because my subscription service for receiving notices of new posts has changed, and we were in a hurry to let you know about that. I was using Bloglet, but I just got an email this morning saying that it would be disabled in the next couple of weeks, as the person who was providing this service did this as a hobby and simply no longer has the time. However, he did leave a way for me to import all of the existing subscriptions to a new service called FeedBlitz, which I have done so that you will all get your subscriptions as usual, though you may have to confirm that you want them through email (seems we saw something about that - another reason for writing this post and getting it up quickly). Laura skimmed over the instructions just enough to get this going for me, just as she handles most of this kind of thing, and we just did the minimum to get it up and running. Hopefully, as this new service is not just a hobby for these folks, but also a way of making income (though I am using the free version, as I do on just about every downloadable program I have - so far there is only one I have thought worth paying for to get the additional stuff I was missing out on), it will also be a bit more reliable than Bloglet has been. At least I am hoping that these statements are the truth. I can't really know until we have tried it and seen whether or not it works properly. (We signed up for a subscription just like we did at Bloglet to make sure that it came through each time we post, so we will get our notice the same way and at the same time that you will - once a day, no matter how much I write, and I am just hoping that I haven't waited to late to publish this one that I missed the time they send out the notices. Guess we will soon see, huh?)



I know that I have received some emails from some of you stating that you were not receiving your subscription updates, and we have had to go to Bloglet to re-enable the subscription updates several times. Bloglet will automatically disable your subscription of posts sent out if it encounters any problems, like Blogger going down or something. Hopefully this service will work differently and fix that, as it didn't mention it being a possibility. We will see. Let me know if you have any problems. The only problem with this changeover was that there were two subscriptions that were anonymously signed up under Bloglet that would not import over to the new service for that reason. I have your email addresses and will send you an email so that you may subscribe to this new service for updates if you like, or you can just go ahead and do so in the box at the right of the screen if you are reading this today, even though you would not have received an update from Bloglet to tell you that I have updated my blog today since we had to disable that service and change the code in the template to start the new one (which we have moved up higher on the sidebar so that it is easier to find for new readers and for the few old ones who never knew that I had a way for them to subscribe - now they can do so).



Anyway, Laura and I will get together later (probably tomorrow, as we are pretty tired) and get you updated more on what has been happening with the old foster dogs, our computer, the arrival of a new dumped dog (we call him George, and the poor guy is just a puppy and was pretty skinny when he showed up, but he is gaining weight fast - now if we can just get him potty-trained...We will also see about getting a picture of him up soon as well - looks part pitt and is a kind of a brindle color. Hopefully we can get a shot of him up today along with the pictures of the house today, though I still use a borrowed still camera and don't control when I get pictures sent to me. Anyway, we will get to the rest of the story later. It ought to bring you up-to-date a bit. It could even be long enough to take several posts.



I will give you a few summary highlights, though.



We did buy ourselves a new digital video camera finally ! However, the guy at the store misunderstood what we wanted, so the thing doesn't just plug into the computer like we had hoped, and we cannot edit footage, which is a REAL bummer! - but it does have much better quality optics than the models that did plug in, so that will make up for it somewhat. We would have probably gone somewhere else and done more looking if we had realized that he had sold us the one he did, as we really did want a better one than the one we got, but without giving up the quality of the video, and we would have had to do that if we had bought the others that did plug into the computer. They just didn't have much of a selection, and we were pretty disappointed. But the one recommended to us by a friend to do what we wanted it to do costs thousands of dollars, and we just couldn't afford that. At least not now. The only real problem we have had with this one so far (we have barely used it - only 3 times so far) is that it is one of those models put out by Sony that makes those tiny little DVD disks, and though we have now upgraded our computer with a DVD burner to make copies of them since we have such a slow dial-up connection and could never send a video out to anyone, the computer will only recognize the RW+ disks for me to use, won't copy a file from the camera to the computer and then burn it back to a DVD that anyone can watch on their player at home because of the format, and we haven't been able to find anything but RW- and, of course, the regular R disks. If anyone knows of a common place to get these RW+ ones, please let me know. (We had to drive all the way up to Fort Smith to the Best Buy - about 1-1/2 hours away - to even buy the camera to get this kind of quality, as Wal-Mart (about the only place around to buy anything at all) just didn't have anything that we wanted or that did what we wanted it to do, but we are hoping not to have to drive all the way up there again just to get a couple of disks for the thing!)



As for the other problem of sharing, we have a workaround since the camera won't play nice as far as making copies of disks we make so that we can share them with others and use them to post pictures from (though we are still considering buying a still camera for doing this if necessary, as we understand that they have better quality and come with programs so that you can edit pictures and all - at least the Kodak one that we borrow does - then we can only use this one mostly for video, but we will make that decision after we have used it to take pictures we can actually view on the computer once we get the proper disks). As for the workaround, I can create and burn DVD's to send to people via a new Nero program that came with my DVD burner, so I can get around not being able to hook up the camcorder to the computer or the disks having the format that the computer reads on the RW+ disks burned to another disk so that it can be recognized and played by a regular DVD player (MPEG-2), or so the computer guy tells us. We haven't had time to try that, either. But we have taken some video with it and a few stills that we would like to share (it at least makes .jpg files for the pictures). Whoever knew that this was all so complicated?! We knew what we wanted to do, but just couldn't find what we wanted without spending some serious money - like thousands of dollars to have one custom-made or special-ordered or something.



Our house is our biggest priority, though we did buy us a car that is not only newer and much more dependable (the truck is STILL broken down!), but also gets WAAAAY better gas mileage, which will make a major difference when we make our tour of the country and all and certainly makes a big difference just going to town and on the environment as well as our small wallet. We never would have taken that truck to do that long road trip anyway. Terrible gas mileage and not comfortable enough, not to mention 10 years older than the car, so probably not as dependable. The new car (well, new to us anyway) is perfect for this, though - a nice mid-sized car with plenty of room for passengers and for carrying things in the trunk. Though it hasn't been very helpful in hauling building materials like ol' Hoss (the truck - Laura always names her vehicles, and this one has a name, too - Lady Blue) was. >



We still want our truck back, especially since the only reason we bought the thing was to haul supplies to build this house! It has really been a pain in the butt to work with this car, Laura's mother's minivan (with luggage rack), and her sister's vehicle's luggage rack. Can't carry much in or on any of them like we could in ol' Hoss and usually have to drive slowly. For the big stuff, we just had to pay for delivery fees. We sure miss ol' Hoss and check on him frequently. He actually carried a whole pallet of cinder blocks from a town 45 minutes away, surprising even the people who worked there. We worked him hard, but he always came through. A rat chewing wires is the problem now, and the repair guy thinks there is a good possibility that the computer brain is shorted out (if you have one for a '91 Ford F150 4wd or know someone who does, please let me know - I have the exact numbers needed to make sure it is the right part). But, at least we got part of the house done with it and got Laura's mother's house built with it, and even used it to earn a little cash for a couple of years until we could get a steady income coming in, even if it is only a small check. At least we and the animals eat, the bills get paid, and everything like that. Though now that we have the new house, our utilities will be higher, I still don't have medical coverage and am having to pay for all of that in cash, and we don't think the check will be enough to pay for all of that, we are figuring out innovative ways to cut monthly costs and continue to build as green as we started out, even if it costs a little more up front for some of the things we are buying, like the tankless water heater, and will require more work for others, like the compost toilet.



Speaking of money, I really want to thank the people who have been sending donations throughout this time, even with me not writing a word or keeping in touch, to help with all those foster dogs and the chickens, not to mention all of those puppies - two of which had to be bottle-fed to survive. Laura really worked hard during that time taking care of both me, with my head injury and seizures and having to be awakened every 4 hours, and still caring for those puppies and all of the rest of the animals. She didn't sleep much and lost a bit of weight then, too. You can't possibly know how much that money really did help, as we were really eating through that house money to care for the puppies (that formula is quite expensive!) since we obviously couldn't afford to spend 40% of our monthly income to do that and still eat ourselves, much less pay the bills and get my medical needs taken care of and all, and one we got the other money for the car, house, and all, we would not have been able to finish that house and still pay for everything else if it were not for you generous people helping us to make sure that all of the animals had food and medical care. We are really cutting it very, VERY close now with the little bit of money we have left, as we have spent quite a bit of it on the animals that we never budgeted for (just like we hadn't budgeted for me getting hurt so badly, being not only unable to work and make a little money doing odd jobs, but costing so much for all my medical care), but what were we to do? The animals had to be taken care of. No matter what.



There were animals needing us. Just like George. No, we can't really afford him, but here he is. And no, we don't have the time to devote to potty-training him at the moment, but he is here, and no animal that shows up here ever gets turned away, especially when they are so obviously starving and you can see all of their bones like we could with him. He was SO glad to see caring people. He licked Laura right in the face when she found him in the new house that morning as she climbed down the stairs from the loft to make coffee and called him to her, thinking he was one of the other dogs (he is about the same color as Spaz) even before she then immediately went and got him a bowl of food and another of fresh water and brought both to him when she discovered he wasn't Spaz, but just another unwanted baby dumped out in the woods on his own and had entered our house while we slept, looking for help. He wanted love just about as much as he wanted to eat and drink. Well, he sure came to the right place for that!



Funny how they seem to just know where to go, isn't it? Poor baby. How can people do that, especially to babies? I will never understand that one. (Oh, that reminds me - we just bought everyone's rabies shots recently and need to give them to them, though we will now have to buy one extra for George since it is really beginning to look as if we will end up keeping him. We didn't want to and intended to try to find him a home just like we have all of the others that have shown up, but he really did bond with Laura's daughter and is quite happy here - not to mention that he appears to be part pittbull, and we are worried about the kind of home he would go to because of that. But those rabies shots need to be administered ASAP. Very important, especially out here in the woods! Glad I made this post today, as I had forgotten about those shots at the back of the refrigerator. They aren't doing much good in there now, are they?) Maybe we will go ahead and give George the one that was supposed to be given to Sly, "our" cat (even though he moved in with Laura's mother rather than stay down here - who could blame him?), and just get Sly another one. Then we can do all of the dogs at the same time, and besides, George is more likely to come across a rabid animal in the woods than Sly is since George is running in the woods with our dogs, and Sly pretty much just hangs around the house.



I know that I have been a bit lax in thanking you each and every one personally for donations lately, and I really do apologize for that. I have always made sure to acknowledge and thank every single person for every single donation, no matter the size (just like I always answer every email I get). I feel bad about that lapse, so take this as a group public thank you and know that your contributions truly did help take care of all of those animals and are still needed for us to keep going, as obviously we are still getting animals and will soon be building the chickens their new home and, best of all, the big yard so that they can roam freely and engage in more natural behaviors than they now do. We work hard to make sure they get fresh natural greenery from around here and have clean places to nest and all, but their house is pretty well shot, and we hate keeping them locked up in that small yard all of the time to keep them from being torn to pieces. Before we got the money to build the house, we were really hurting badly and not eating well, not to mention just not filling a prescription here and there, all in order to care for the animals we had responsibility for, especially when both shelters cut off all the promised help. We put the animals first, though, just as we would our children. I am sure that most of you understand that feeling. Unfortunately, because of the way things went, both places lost a very good foster home, as we were really having trouble properly caring for them, especially as far as tick control went. We won't take that chance again. And besides, Laura's mother got fed up with some of the things that happened with them and has said that we could no longer take in any foster dogs. Dumped dogs are a completely different matter - she wouldn't turn away a starving baby any more than we would. Same for the chickens. And they don't cost nearly as much as dogs do. And they LOVE ticks! Laura actually goes out to their yard when she gets covered and feeds them to them right off her hands and clothes. We were feeding them the ones we picked off the dogs, but we used that spot treatment stuff you put on their backs, so we can't do that anymore lest we take the chance of poisoning them, even if we do find one or two on a dog.



And, as for what we will do next with the donations you send, besides continuing to feed and care for the existing animals here, the chicken yard expansion is next! Yes, I know that I have been talking about doing it for some time now, but if you have been reading this blog long enough, then you know why it didn't happen when I thought it would. There has just been one obstacle after another, but mostly now it's because I physically can't do it after having that tree fall on my head. I am still suffering quite a bit of dizziness and have fallen off of ladders several times in the building of this house and coming down from the loft, which isn't good. It especially wasn't good a couple of days ago when I fell from a ladder about 8 ft. and landed on a cast iron wood stove, hitting my head on the thing. It is still swollen and sore over that. Needless to say, I was out of commission for the rest of that day - just laid down after Laura helped me inside when it gave me another seizure (the first one I have had in a while - we thought they were gone, but apparently not). I have also fallen and landed flat on my back a couple of times - once right on my tool belt with the hammer standing straight up in its holster and stabbing me right in the lower back and another time breaking an old boombox we had out in the house to listen to while we worked (at least it was old and already half-broken anyway). But, since we still don't have the stairs built to get into the loft to sleep, we have to climb a ladder to get up there and come back down every day. That will be one of the first places we put some of the hardwood flooring so that we can build that ladder, especially as it barely reaches, and you have to climb up on the top step to get into the loft because the top of it is still several inches below the floor of it and is resting on a 2x6 that holds it up.



But, back to the chicken expansion. I still have a donation someone sent me for that (well, most of it - a small part of it was used to try and save Feisty's little life when we took him to the vet - but we still have the rest tucked away in our other account for that project. So, if the person who sent that donation is reading this (and I won't mention you by name since I don't know if you want anyone to know or not and haven't received your permission to say anything), I want you to know that we do still have it, and we will still use it for its intended purpose - to build the expansion for the chickens. And I will get on that just as soon as I am able to do so. It will require a LOT of work, and I will still have to have help. Hopefully I can get some help with it without much trouble and, even more hopefully, at no expense, as there is very little Laura can do as far as setting all those posts for the fence goes. She can help a bit with the house and putting up the fencing, though. We are still open to volunteers from the animal community to come and stay for however long you want to, and not just to slave away, but to enjoy the place as well. Now that we have dried in the house, we can even put people up in it, as we have even bought a blowup double-bed-sized camping mattress and two cots with blowup mattresses in them. And, of course, we still have the tent option if you like privacy and camping out. In fact, we just bought a brand new one since last year ours got torn in the side by a tree branch when we had a storm come up that was unexpected, and the person using the tent at the time had not staked it down enough (maybe not even at all, as it usually isn't necessary). It was just a small rip and can probably be fixed, but we went ahead and got a new one anyway, just in case we could not fix it to the point that rain would not come in. We don't like to take chances like that when we go on overnight canoe trips and are stranded out there on the riverbank until we get to the end of the float.



But, since I have talked about spending all of this money on the house, car, and other things, I did feel that it was necessary to stress our policy once again, especially for new readers. We NEVER use any donated money for personal expenses unless the person sending it expressly tells us to use the money sent in a certain donation for one of them, and right now there is only one person who does this occasionally to help with medications. And, we have NOT spent a single dime of donated money to build our house, buy our car, or on any other personal expenses, just like we promised we wouldn't after we pretty much got on our feet quite a while back. That policy still is the same, and it will remain that way unless something unforeseen and major happens, at which time we will let you know. But, we don't foresee that happening.



Every penny sent to us for the animals goes to the animals.



(In fact, we spend more than we take in 99% of the time), and we do keep the receipts to prove that fact if any of you ever question that or desire to see proof (and we would completely understand and not be in any way offended, especially if you were like the person who sent the somewhat large donation towards the chicken expansion and wanted to be absolutely sure that your money would be well-spent and that you were not being conned or anything). Laura is especially careful about trying to keep up with receipts in her files, especially since we are not a non-profit, and the donations are legally treated as "gifts" by the IRS and are not subject to the same scrutiny from the government that the non-profits have to deal with (and, also just in case they ever come sniffing around to make sure that this isn't untaxed income, too - Laura is now saving ALL receipts for that reason, even grocery store ones, and she has always saved ones for utilities and major purchases for things with warranties and such - she is very organized about this and has done it for years, and you would be surprised at how often it has made a difference - I can look up a phone number I called from 2002, for instance, and that kind of thing is nice when you lose those little slips of paper someone gives you with their phone number on them.



Anyway, for now we have decided to keep things as they are as far as that nonprofit stuff goes. It may cost us some of the larger donations that some rich people like to use to take money owed to the IRS off their taxes, but most of those kinds of big checks go to the large groups anyway, not small ones like ours, and if someone really and truly wants to directly help an animal or to help get me to a speaking engagement or something like that, they will do so without worrying about something like tax deductions. A few people have. People do that because they care about our work and the animals we help, not to mention the many thousands of people all over the globe that I have helped educate as to exactly how the poultry industry operates in detail. Details that even the big activist organizations don't always know and ask me about frequently. Only someone who has worked in such an environment for a number of years would know the things I do, and as far as I know, and as far as anyone at the large organizations knows, I am the only person to come forward and talk about this stuff, and am especially being the only person willing to actually use my name and have my private life torn open for the world to see, in addition to making myself a target for those who are not too happy with me talking. And there are quite a few of those, though most of them are just annoying, and some are even funny, but they are almost all pretty harmless. Almost. Some are not. You have read about some of the stuff we have had to endure because of my big mouth, but not everything. There are a few things that only a few people know about.



I mean, I have actually been sniped at. Repeatedly. Really. And I can prove it. A few people know about it, but this is the first time I have disclosed this publicly. Hope it doesn't backfire on me, but several people told me that I should go public with this fact, so now I am finally doing so. And, yes, it has been reported to the authorities - more than one level at that, but no one is doing much of anything about it. Well, I say that because there isn't a cop car parked outside my place trying to catch (or at the very least stop) who is doing it, but I don't mean that there isn't anyone at all in law enforcement that isn't trying to help. And I pretty well know who this person is. And, yes, that information has been turned over, too, along with pictures and other things, but I am not going to tell all on this at this point because the person doing this will definitely read this, and I don't want to completely tip my hand on exactly what evidence I have gathered, exactly who I have talked to, and exactly what is being done about it.



I will say this, though. The person responsible needs to stop it if they want to have any chance of having anything left of a life. You may think you have been smart and careful, but not quite as smart and careful as you thought. And you have severely underestimated who you are up against just as you have severely overestimated your ability to shut me up by killing me. I mean, I am still here and going strong, aren't I? There is a post being written right now, isn't there? If you agree to stop and leave me alone, I will agree to stop what I am doing to ruin you. And believe me when I say "ruin." I don't use that word lightly. And you know me and know that I mean it. I don't give up. I don't quit. And I don't scare off. And there are others who are following this all who have copies of all of the evidence I have gathered, and it is scattered all over. I know much more than you realize I do, and I have been busy going after you since you started this little campaign to kill me right in my own yard, laying in my hammock reading a book. Quit right now. I mean it. I am not threatening you, but let me give you a piece of advice - you have to get away with it EVERY time. You only have to be caught ONCE. It's not a matter of IF, but WHEN. Isn't that what cops tell those who break the law? It's what I tell those few people I still know who do. And you are breaking the law. But, here on this blog, I will make you a deal publicly. You quit trying to kill me, and I will quit putting together the pieces that will ruin you and those you care about. Call it a truce while you still can. If you even still can. Things have been progressing more than some people know because I am not using the usual means of communication that can be listened in on to disseminate this information. Not anymore. I did at first, and I had a reason for it, even though I knew that you would know about it. In fact, your reaction when I started gave me a clue as to your identity. But now, there is more, and you don't know what it is, and you won't until it is too late. At this point, even if you actually got lucky enough to pop me and actually kill me, your eventual ruin wouldn't stop, as it has taken on a life of its own now with this many people involved who want to see you go down.



And that's all I will say about that - now or in the future.



Just stop.



Leave me alone because it really isn't worth it. Not really. Is it? If so, then...



Anyway, as far as the nonprofit idea goes, this is what we have been advised to do, especially given the political climate of industry and the corporate-friendly government going after animal and environmental nonprofits (think PETA and Greenpeace, for starters) added to the fact that we really don't receive that much in donations anyway. So, it would basically be a major red-tape headache for us with no real gain, and it would cost money to do it that could be better spent on the animals. I mean, we aren't like PETA or the Humane Society or anything like that, and we don't take in millions of dollars (we aren't even like one of the larger sanctuaries who not only get donations but also help by volunteers and/or interns to care for the animals) - quite a few months go by with us never getting anything at all, and 99% of the time we receive less than $100 in any month that we actually get anything at all. Most donations are between $5 and $20 anyway. That will feed animals, but those amounts are just not worth even the $150 filing fee we were told we would need to send in with the mounds of paperwork to the IRS, and they certainly aren't worth the time that would be taken away from our work to deal with those bureaucrats that are auditing everyone right now, looking for anything at all to get them on so that they can take away their tax-free status. Some sanctuaries have even folded, like OohMahNee. That's always a terrible shame, as we need all the places we can get for these relatively few animals saved from slaughter or abusive homes. There is a real shortage of space for farmed animals because of their size, their need for lots of space, and their big appetites, just to start - it's even worse for farmed animals, due to lack of space and the number of sanctuaries, than for the millions of unwanted cats and dogs that either go to shelters, are dumped in the woods like George, or are just killed outright. Many are put down in one way or another, just as the millions of dogs and cats are every year just so that many shelters can make room for more unwanted animals and only keep the most adoptable ones. Others just stay full and turn away many animals needing help. We don't do that just as we don't kill so-called "unadoptable" ones - we either find suitable homes for them with people we personally know or just keep them ourselves.



So, we decided that we would rather have every single penny going directly to help the animals, as I am sure you would too if you sent money in. I know that if I donated money to feed and care for an animal, I wouldn't want it spent on administrative expenses, someone's salary (not to put down anyone who does this work for a living or any organization that pays people to do this work, but we just don't have that kind of budget, even if we wanted to do that, and we don't. We do this simply because we love and care about animals, and Laura had already been doing it for practically her whole life before I even met her - it's just more animals and a bit bigger operation than it ever was for her before - and nothing is sent to the IRS, or anything of the sort. And we truly do need every penny we can get to properly care for these animals. I mean, we could probably make sure no one starved without help if we went without a few more things ourselves, but we could never afford medical care for me, for instance. And, at this point, I really have no choice in that matter. Too many things wrong with me.



Much of the healing we do ourselves anyway, as Laura is quite experienced at caring for rescued animals (even those who are hurt, up to a point), having taken in all kinds of species of them in and nursed them back to health, since she was a child and has a good knowledge of herbs. That doesn't stop us from taking in a sick or injured animal that truly needs a vet, though. I believe our past posts will show that we have done that quite often. Just like we make sure every one of the cats and dogs here are fixed.



We were horrified when Sophia (remember the female foster dog brought to us by one of the shelters who was supposedly "spayed," but wasn't and gave birth on the very day I had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital over my head injury?) The puppies who were born in February and had to stay in this little travel trailer with us for 3 weeks until they were old enough and it was warm enough for them to move outside to the pen with the nice insulated doghouse? Well, we intend to make sure that nothing of the sort ever happens here again! We also couldn't afford flea and tick control for everyone any other way than getting some help. There are quite a few things we could not afford to do without your help. It's just basically the two of us, if you only count what happens here on the ground with these animals, and don't count the contributions made by other group members in the groups I started to help to share information on factory farming.



So, you really are making a huge difference in the life of an animal when you make a donation, even if it is only a few dollars. I have mentioned before how there were several times that we were totally broke and out of dog food, wondering what to do, only to check the mail and find just enough in there to buy yet another 50 lb. bag to keep the dogs fed. Those few times that R.V. sent just $10 came at the exact moment help was desperately needed. I mention his initials because he knows this and does what he can when he can and deserves a very special thank you all his own. Just like several others do who donate regularly, even if it is just a small amount, but I talk to them quite often just as friends, and they already know how much they are appreciated. Sometimes that is just what we need, and it really does make the difference of whether or not we can buy food that week or not. Not as often now as it was before, but it still happens, especially when we have some extra expense not budgeted for, like our car breaks down or something. I mean, we just had to put new brakes on the car. Unexpected, but necessary. Just like when the rat chewed the wiring to the fuel injectors in it recently, and we had an appt. in Hot Springs the very next day. Had to be fixed, and had to be fixed that day, regardless. I don't think I actually have to invoke the saying of "Sh*t happens." Every one of you knows that.



Anyway, I will close this post out now so that we can get started on finishing cleaning up after the work done today so that we are ready to begin again tomorrow and so that we can eat something, as we are starving! But, I will be back very soon to finish updating you. We have just been so pressed for time and running around like crazy for the past couple of months to get this thing dried in and to the point where we can at least camp out in it (which we are doing now - we only still have the trailer because we don't have the house wired yet and need the power, though the extension cord thing is getting old, and we are tired of flipping breakers!)



Keeping ours and your fingers crossed, we will be in there full-time and this trailer dragged out of here within the next couple of weeks now that we finally have this delivery here and will know exactly where the appliances will go so that we can install the plugs and plumbing in the right places. It won't be finished by then - not by any means, but it will be far enough along for us to camp out in and finish at our leisure. Just the bedroom loft space is more than we have in this cramped little trailer. So, we will work on finishing that out next after we get the flooring down for the appliances to sit on and get the place wired, plumbed, insulated, and all. Laura is being very careful to do this right, as we will probably never get another chance to redo anything because of finances. Not unless we have another miracle like this one. She is paying a little more here and there to make sure of that, especially since we are both now unable to work enough to earn any kind of a living and will only degenerate worse as time goes on.



Hell getting old, isn't it? But, I guess that's what happens when you treat your body the way I have during the past years and do the hard physical labor I did for so long. And, of course, poor Laura with the damage from the car wrecks, especially when she was hit by the 18-wheeler, is pretty much done for. Her last MRI showed continued irritation and degeneration of the disks in her back, though we were glad to find out that she didn't need back surgery, as the Dr. had feared. (Needless to say, neither of us are supposed to be doing any of this kind of work, and the doctor isn't really happy about it and is advising against it (though he understands reality, and is mainly making sure that we take it as easy as possible and pace ourselves - he was pretty upset with our physical condition the last time he saw us, as we looked rough, had lost weight, and were just generally run down, though we assured him that the biggest rush of work was over and temporary now that it was dried in and that we would slow down very soon), but how else could we get the house built? We sure couldn't afford to pay to have the whole thing built, even though we have paid some people for certain help, especially enlisting the expertise of a contractor for the tricky stuff - you will see pics of him, too. He was great, and we couldn't have done this thing right without him. He was worth every penny.



Anyway, let me close this out and get out there and get to work again. I've been coming in and out to do this, as it has taken longer than I had first planned, so really Laura is the one who has been stuck in here most of the day typing away (though she also had to come out and work, too, especially when the delivery people came and needed signatures, and she also supervises to make sure everything is done the way she wants it done), with me popping in every few minutes to tell her what I want to say. And I am about ready to take a break for supper, when I will read the whole post to make sure it says what I want it to and just to have one extra set of eyes looking for typos. She likes me to do that before she hits "publish."



But, at least the hardest and most important part is over - it is dried in and not still rotting away on us. (There was a LOT more rotten that had to be redone than we first thought there was - not just the subfloor, but in some places all the way through the floor joists and down to the support beam, and in one place, the sill, as well as some of the bottom plates of the walls sitting on the floor, and at that time, we were really glad we had hired the contractor so that it could be fixed right before resuming building on top of that mess.) But it is finally dried in now and the rot stopped, so we can slow down a bit now. After another week or two, we won't be paying anyone else to help and will finish the inside and the rest of the outside ourselves at a MUCH slower pace than we have done this other stuff, as we have literally worked until we dropped some days and lost quite a bit of weight and sleep doing so.



So, anyway, until I get back to you, at least you have an inkling of what has been going on, that I am still alive and kicking and, even though busy as hell working on building our house, still involved in my activism, and you now know about the new subscription service. If there is any more info we need to let you know about it once we have had more time to check it out, we will let you know. And, like I said, be sure and let me know of ANY troubles at all you might have with the new service.



Until then------



Keep being the wonderful and caring people that you are. And if you have emailed me and I have not gotten back to you, you now know why. I will do so just as soon as possible. Thank you all for your caring, patience, and understanding. This house has been a dream for all of Laura's life since she was a child, and she has really sacrificed a lot and worked really hard to get it. I am so glad that she finally is getting it and that we can finally get out of this falling-apart travel trailer. As for me, well, I just never thought I would ever live in a place like this. Never have and never thought that I would. I can't wait until it is finished. We will throw a big open house party at that time with all vegan food and no alcohol - just good clean fun and lots of grinning, hugging, and jumping up and down. (Okay, Laura and her mother have already done that part of it just thinking about it when we first started, but they and we all will do it again big time when it's all done.)



And, yes, we have already put in a doggie door, so that the dogs will be able to come and go freely, as opposed to staying outside. (In fact, that is how George showed up. We were camping out in there when Laura found hinm inside the house when she woke up the next morning, all scared, lonely, and HUNGRY! He is so sweet, and he and Laura's daughter really formed quite a bond when she was here camping out in the house with us recently - her week-long visit was the biggest part of the reason for the big hurry to dry it in. George slept not only in her room every night, but in her bed with her. Yes, he is already spoiled rotten, but then which animal on this place isn't? Ha ha! Just got to potty-train him, as he really leaves big piles! Yuck!



More later....



I promise.

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Posted: May 17, 2006 10:11pm
Apr 8, 2006
Well, today we are taking the three neutered male foster dogs out to try to be adopted into good homes. Sugar Boy (the pit mix), Dusty (the black one that has the red mange), and Jake (the other black one who has been so destructive, tearing everything up and having a wonderful time chewing everything within sight and trashing up the woods). You see, despite our best efforts, we have been completely unable to keep any of these three dogs in a pen.



Jake would sit there and work for days at a corner of the pen and go at the wire until he finally made a hole for himself and get out, so we finally gave up and just left him out with our dogs to roam and play (despite the fact that there were two strands of wire on the pen he was in - both hog wire and chicken wire, as it was really built to hold puppies (not grown dogs) whenever we had a litter of them and is the yard where we put Sophia and the puppies after the little ones were big enough to go outside). Jake and our dog, Junior made especially good friends, and he would also occasionally play with Chakra, Junior's mother. So, since he was so much happier, we just left him out to run and play and be happy, as opposed ot being so miserable in a pen that he worked all of the time on a way to get out.



Dusty and Sugar Boy dug big - really big - craters all in the yard they were in and kept digging out. That yard is just completely ruined and will have to be completely redone before it will ever hold another dog again. We kept filling the holes in with rocks and chunks of cinder blocks, so then they started going over, so we decided to try just leaving them out, under supervision, to see how they got along with everyone else and hoping that it would be like the case of Jake and be just fine. That did go just fine for awhile, but then one day Sugar Boy jumped on one of the two other foster dogs that Warm Hearts had brought us (poor little Bill, who we had finally let out one day when Laura was in there cleaning out his pen and he got by her, and since he was the happiest we had ever seen him his whole time here - running in circles all over the yard and playing with Junior and Jake instead of huddling sadly in the corner of the doghouse - we just didn't ever have the heart to put him back in there once she was done) and really hurt him, almost killing poor little Bill that one day. Then, we locked up poor Bill again as well as Dusty and Sugr Boy, but Sugar Boy and Dusty got back out again a day or two later, and it wasn't long before Sugar Boy got Spaz, though luckily not nearly as bad, though poor Spaz was hurt and did have a very hard time even walking for about a week. We took him to the vet after he started getting a big swollen place on his chest next to one of his front legs just to be sure he was okay, and he is - just mainly sore and swollen, but very few teeth marks. After that incident, we put Sugar Boy in one of those chain link kennels that Laura's sister had brought up from Shreveport just in case it was needed, but he even got out of that by grabbing the links of wire and unraveling them until he even got out of it, too, so he has been out roaming free for around a week now, though we have very, very carefully watched when Bill and Spaz went outside to go to "do their business." (Both of them have now moved up to Laura's mother's inside, as her mother has decided to adopt Spaz, and her sister has decided to adopt Bill.)



We are also taking the three male puppies with us this morning, along with the adult males, to try to find homes for them. All of them are going to be at one of the local grocery stores (Bob's in Mt. Ida, if you happen to be a local reading this), where For the Sake of Animals (who brought us these dogs, if you remember) is having an "adopt-a-shelter-dog day." We are just hoping for the best. We know that they have to go, as there have been too many incidents, besides just the incredibly large expense of caring for all of these dogs, but we are so very sad about it and extremely worried about what kind of homes they will ultimately go to. But, having exhausted all means of finding them homes ourselves by asking all friends, relatives, and even animal-loving strangers in stores and wherever else we could think of, as well as making many, many appeals all over the web to find them homes, we have just had no luck in doing so. It's just so hard to place a grown large dog, especially when you live in the kind of rural area that we do (not to mention that we have already placed so many after taking in so many dumped dogs - we have just used up all of the willing people we know).



We live so far away from anywhere, that even if a person online in a city were to agree to take one of them, it is a logistical nightmare to get the dog there, though we know it can be done through volunteer networks who do this sort of thing, each driving a leg of the journey, handing the dog off to each other to eventually get them to wherre they are going. We would have even driven the entire journey ourselves to place one of them if it had only been a state or so over, even if it had been far enough to require an overnight stay or a turn-around that simply took all day and night to drive it, but we haven't even been able to set up anything like this. Not one single person has written to say that they will take one of these dogs.



They are pretty sure that they will have no problem placing the puppies, as everyone likes to adopt cute little puppies, but the large dogs, especially with their "issues," are not going to be so easy to place, and especially not with people who will be as patient and loving as we have been with their eccentricities (so, if you are reading this and are just now seeing this appeal and how far we are willing to go to make sure they are properly placed, let us know ASAP, and we will let the shelter know, as we don't expect them to have much luck - last time they tried this at this location, they sat out there all day long and didn't even give away one single large dog. Not one. And, you very well may save a life, especially Dusty's, as they might not be willing to do the work and go through the expense to care for him and heal him, as they are now at over 150 dogs, whereas when we got these they only had over 100. To tell the truth, we are considering very hard telling them that if they do not find a home for him and intend to put him down, that we will take him back and try to heal him ourselves and get him adoptable if it is the only way to save his life, especially since we have already gotten him neutered and gotten his rabies shot and had him so long that we have grown to love him so very much. With the rest of them gone, we would be able to afford that one, and Laura's mother has said that she would agree to help us do it if necessary, as she has gotten very attached to him, too, and does not want to see him killed after everything we have been through, as he is so very sweet and loving and has NO "issues" at all except his red mange, which is NOT contagious to other dogs, in case you did not know - it's not THAT kind of mange, and no one else has gotten it, depite the fact that Sugar Boy has lived and shared a pen with him). He won't even hurt cats. The first time he saw one, he ran away scared and yelping! He gets along with every dog here, even the ones that are hard to get along with, like Sugar Boy, loves children, is just fine inside or outside. Just the mange problem - otherwise the perfect dog, except for not wanting to be in a pen all of the time, and can you blame him?



But we are still especially worried about homes for all of the grown ones - very worried. We are worried enough about the puppies, especially as they are the right breed for hunters to be attracted to, and the vast majority of them don't take very good care of their dogs at all and are the most likely to shoot one if it doesn't "perform" well. But, I mean, how many people are going to put up with a dog like sweet Jake tearing up everything in sight? He has torn up Laura's sister's tent, along with the bedding and other belongings that were in it, gotten into Laura's mother's shed and torn up stuff in there, gotten into our recyclables and carried them off into the woods over and over again, keeping us having to retrieve them over and over again and put them back where they belong (especially the plastic jugs and bottles). He has even carried off tools, like hammers and such! He has to be quite a young dog, just coming out of puppy-hood to be this playful and to have such a desire the chew up everything in sight! And, as annoying as that part of his personality can be at times, all puppies are like this, and he is the friendliest and sweetest dog you could ever hope to meet. He isn't even shy with strangers. He just loves everybody! We will probably miss him the most. (Laura is crying once again at just the thought of him going, as we really badly wanted to find someone we knew to take him so that we could visit him often because we became so attached to him.) But we really just don't have any choice about this.



It isn't just the destruction and the expense and all of the other trouble that they have been, but there is also the simple fact that Laura's mother has had enough and put her foot down about this, and after all, it is her place that we live on, so all of us who live here have to go by the few rules she has or makes. And, there is also the fact that For the Sake of Animals never lived up to their end of the deal (any more than Warm Hearts did). Although they did pay to get the dogs neutered and provided food a few times, we have had them since September, and they never did come out to pick them back up like they said they would when they had previous days like today when they were adopting dogs out, just like they didn't keep up their end of the deal as far as providing all of the food and having this whole deal cost us nothing. And just like the fact that Sophia was supposed to be a spayed female when they brought her, yet she still dropped a litter of puppies who have cost us a fortune to care for, especially during the time that we were having to bottle-feed two of them every few hours. That puppy formula is expensive! Just like the regular puppy food we have been buying for them after they were weaned is more expensive than the regular dog food, and since they are all growing so fast, they eat like there is no tomorrow!



So, this is kind of a bittersweet day for us. We are relieved to be finally having at least some of these dogs taken off of our hands, as this was never supposed to be a "forever home," but only to serve as a foster home until a permanent one for each animal could be found. But, since we have had them for so much longer than we ever anticipated and gotten to know and love each and every one of them, we will still miss them. And, worst of all, we will always wonder and worry about where they go and what kind of home they end up in. When you are dealing with dogs that come from backgrounds that are so bad that the dogs end up at Animal Control to be put to sleep, you know for a fact that the home they came from was not a good one or they never would have been there in the first place. I mean, Dusty had red mange. Sophia's eyes were so crusty, red, inflamed, and so infected that it took us quite a while to get them healed up, so she had to be living in completely filthy conditions. And Sugar Boy, though he has never been any kind of a danger to a human here (not even growling at us, even when we made him do something he didn't want to do, like return to a pen he had escaped from), he has been very leery of us and wary of anything and everything we have ever done, stiffening up completely when we would catch him to put the leash on him to lead him back to the yard almost as if we were going to beat him or do something equally if not worse to him for escaping in the first place, although petting him is enjoyed andnot taken as threatening as long as he is in a pen. But, the last time he had gotten out and attacked Spaz and we had to put him in that kennel, he just ran from everyone, letting no one get close to him. Laura just finally kept circling around him in the woods and cutting him off wherever he tried to go to escape her until he finally just gave up and stopped trying to get away and just stood there, letting her wrap her arms around him until someone could get there with a leash. He wouldn't even accept the treats she had in her hand - just stood there dejectedly waiting for whatever punishment he must have expected (but never came).



This whole foster home thing has been a very emotional time for every person on the place. Even when you are mad at the behavior, you love the dog and can hardly blame them for acting the way they do, given who-knows-what background they came from. They didn't even have names when they arrived. All we knew about them was that they were to die the very next day if we couldn't/wouldn't take them in since For the Sake of Animals was full, as was the Humane Society.



(There should also be a correction made here about the Humane Society of the Ouachitas. We were told by the woman from For the Sake of Animals, as you may recall reading in an earlier post, that these dogs actually belonged to them and that they were a kill shelter, but we found out otherwise after actually going out there to try and bring these dogs to them a few weeks ago after Laura's mother said that they had to leave. The man who runs the place is not the same man who ran it back when the arrangements were made for these dogs, so he knew nothing about them and said that they were not his dogs and that we had been lied to by For the Sake of Animals after he called and confirmed that they had indeed come from Animal Control, and then he also told us then that they did not kill, though he did admit that they would have put Dusty down due to the mange. So, anyone local reading this blog should feel comfortable dealing with the Humane Society, as the man who ran it before was fired, the guy who runs it now is very, very nice, and THEY DO NOT KILL DOGS THERE!!!)



Now, you may be wondering about what will happen to Sophia. Well, according to the woman from For the Sake of Animals, she told Laura that they would come tomorrow and pick her up and get her spayed before she had any more puppies again, and then they would work on finding a home for her now that she has been rehabilitated and better socialized as well. And, as for the female puppies, well, Laura was told that if all of the male puppies were adopted out today, that they would come and pick them up as well. They do not adopt out a female dog, not even a puppy, without spaying them first, which is proper and responsible, as all shelters should be. They will adopt out male puppies who haven't been neutered, but they provide some kind of a voucher deal and require the person adopting them to have them brought back to be neutered within 30 days. But they don't take any chances with females. Every female is spayed first before being placed permanently, as the overpopulation problem that causes so many dogs to end up in shelters and at Animal Control (or dumped or shot in the woods) is directly due to having too many dogs around here living with people who are too irresponsible to make sure that they get their dogs fixed. Sure, most of the people around here are poor, but twice a year there are low-cost spay/neuter clinics advertised in the papers, and even then, in special cases like ours, the shelters can usually find sponsors who will pay for the cost of the discounted surgery (plus they get a rabies shot, too). So, really, there is no excuse for anyone not having the procedure done, especially as the group working in our county is even willing to come to the person's home and pick up the animal, get the surgery done, and return the animal after it is over later in the day if the person has no way to get the animal to them. Warm Hearts (who brought us Spaz and Bill, but for some reason also quit bringing food, and even worse, never even showed up with the forms to authorize us to take them in and get them neutered, though Laura's mother paid for Spaz to be neutered since she decided to adopt him, but which is not an option for her sister for Bill since her sister has no income and will have to wait for one of the spay/neuter clinics and have a sponsor like we did to get it done, apparently) really does go out of their way to try and help the dogs in this county the best they can, even though they have no shelter and depend completely upon foster homes and the kindness of strangers to do what little they can do to stem the tide of unwanted dogs being dumped and shot. They just don't have the kind of budget that the shelters in neighboring Polk County do, as this county just doesn't have anywhere near the same number of people in it, being about 75% National Forest and another 10-15% being owned by Weyerhauser. They do what they can, but it isn't nearly enough to get anywhere near to the point of taking care of the overpopulation problem.



That's why we have worked with them before, spending the whole day with them when we took in animals to the spay/neuter clinic so that we could help them take care of the dogs who were there and needing to be comforted as they woke up and then walked around before they could go home, since their people were not there. We felt like it was the least we could do, especially as they had been so kind as to find us sponsors to pay for getting Princess and the cats fixed. (Chakra and Sweetie, our other two female dogs were spayed at the vet, with the bill being picked up by PETA after we told them of our plight, as you may recall if you have been reading this blog that long, as the times of the clinics always seemed to fall about a month later than they went into heat, leading to each of them having a litter of puppies after we had made an appt. that one year, delivering a day apart in February during an ice storm after Laura's mother's Newfoundland male broke a cedar post holding him in his pen so that he could get to them and leaving us with both mothers and 20 puppies up inside this little 28' travel trailer for the whole 3 weeks until the babies were ready to go outside into the pens. We and PETA both didn't want THAT to happen again! Though we dearly love Junior, and are glad to have him around, especially me, as he has decided to be "my" dog - or to put it another way, he has decided that I am "his" person, even though he dearly loves Laura, too - it certainly would have been better if we had not had to contribute to the already overwhelming overpopulation problem by giving away so many puppies and going through the same ordeal as we are going through today, never knowing what kind of lives they will ultimately live - or not.).



Also, just to keep you all up-to-date on the other situations going on around here:



I am continuing to recover from my accident. I still have dizzy spells, especially if I look up. I have regained most of the use of my right hand, though it is nowhere near as strong or as dexterous as it was before the accident when the tree hit me in the head. I still have problems with, well, basically just being a bit clumsy, shall we say. I stumble sometimes and run into things, sometimes resulting in knocking things over or even falling. I also have a tendency to spill things, especially carrying that first cup of coffee in the morning. Occasionally my hands will still shake. And, even more rarely, something will start to try and trigger one of those pseudo-seizures, though I have not had a full-blown one in a long time. They stopped a couple of weeks after the accident. But, to give you an idea of what happens now (and this is still rare, you understand), the other day I was sitting in a chair in the front yard of a friend's house who is working on our broken-down vehicle, and he was flipping through the pages of a car parts magazine/catalog as I watched, and that started me to twitch a bit. I said something immediately, though, and he stopped immediately, and so did the twitching. And, a couple of times when I would go up to Laura's mother's for supper and see Laura's sister's boys playing their video games, the flashing lights would do the same thing. I have not been able to play my own video games since this accident happened. That is not just due to the flashing problem, as we play different types of games that don't do that the way those kids' games do, but my eyesight is still really bad, and I just don't see very well, many times having double vision. I also am just not able to be able to react as fast as I once did, as my reflexes have been affected, so when the enemy comes to attack me, I have a lot of trouble trying to even grab my units to try to defend myself, so I always just end up quitting the game rather than lose and ruin our perfect winning streak. (We have never lost a game on this one, and that matters since this particular game keeps track of such tings and rewards you with medals for winning X number of games in a row. I am not about to mess that up, as we have built up a large number of wins, already having earned several medals for this and accomplishing other things - the game is Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour, as we got the deluxe edition with all 4 disks, two for regular Generals and two for the expansion pack of Zero Hour, for you curious fellow gamers - our favorite type of game is RTS [real time strategy for you non-gamers, where you build big armies with many different types of units and fight terrorists. We also have Real War and the expansion pack of Rogue States, too, for you gamers, aliens {like in Starcraft, and yes, we do have the expansion of Brood War, too}, or whomever the enemy happens to be. I like first-person shooters a bit, like the Rainbow Six series, too, though Laura doesn't, so we don't have many of those and don't play them so often.].).



Anyway, I have been a gamer for a very long time, as has Laura, though she had never played RTS before getting with me, and is the first woman I have ever been with that actually enjoyed playing these games with me, which has been wonderful for me and our relationship since it is something we enjoy doing together - I have to admit that she is very, very good at these RTS games - so I really badly miss my games. They were one of the ways I had of coping with stress and my aggression problems, and, believe it or not, a psychiatrist actually recommended me playing these games to help me deal with my stress and the tendency to get aggressive and hostile and feel like breaking things (in the past, actually doing so before getting psychiatric help - I don't need to do this as much now, as that isn't such a problem anymore) as a way of being able to get out all of that pent-up stress, frustration, rage, etc. and not hurt anything or anyone. And it has actually worked, though to be quite honest, when I first started playing games on a computer rather than one of those game systems like a Playstation or Xbox or something, I did go a bit overboard, as I had never before in my life played a video game with such wonderful graphics, much less one where you could play so many different games, build so many units, and certainly not have the game "learn" from you and not act in the exact same manner every time you played it, making it more challenging and fun! In fact, to be quite honest, before Laura and I became activists, we had this computer custom-built just for playing these games because the requirements to play a game like Zero Hour just can't be played on a computer you buy off the shelf at the store without being upgraded with a ramped-up video card that doesn't dump all of the RAM onto your processor and things like that. In fact, the guy who built it for us told us that he had had many very upset customers come in to him who had just gone out and spent even more buying one off the shelf than we had spent having this one custom-built, only to get home and discover that it would not play the games they wanted to play. And, even now, just 3 years after buying the top of the line that was available back at that time (with a Pentium 2, 512 MB RAM, and a video card with 64 M, when we were far exceeding anything that any game required to play it (as Laura knew how fast even the "top of the line" would become obsolete and not be good enough in a relatively short time), we are now at the low end of what something like Generals Hour requires, so likely we will have to deal with that situation in the next year or two if we intend to keep being able to order more and better games and keep up with the ability to play them, as even Zero Hour will occasionally get jerky on us and every once in a while completely lock up the whole computer - and I don't have to tell you how frustrating THAT is, especially to you gamers who have been playing for a couple of hours, plotting your strategy and getting everything lined up just right and actually starting to move in for the main attack that will finish off your enemy.



Anyway, the whole point of that long paragraph is just a way to demonstrate (especially to gamers who understand the kind of level of alertness and reflex action you have to have to be able to play such a game) how far I have yet to go before I fully recover, if I even do (which is still in doubt). But I have been able to resume some of my duties around here, like feeding and watering the animals (at least 90+% of the time), I can now at least dress myself and fix my own food and pour my own coffee (even if my hands shake enough to spill it on the way to sit down occasionally), dress myself and brush my own hair, and things of that nature - you know, the basics of taking care of yourself and all.



Also, we have finally - FINALLY!!!!! - resumed work on our house! No, we are not doing it all by ourselves this time, and no, I can not do most of the stuff on that as I did before, since I lack not only the strength, but the ability to even hit a nail without a LOT of misses, but I am trying. My doctor told me that the more I continued to try and use that hand, the better it would get. I finally got to where I could accomplish all of the little piddly exercises that were first assigned to me, like simply being able to try and take my thumb and touch the tip of each finger on that hand with it, pick up pages of a book with a spoon until eventually I could pick up the whole book, and things of that nature - VERY simple things that were extremely frustrating at the time when I could not do even those things and had to have Laura zip up my pants after...well, you know, relieving myself...put my shoes and socks on, and basically do everything for me. The one thing I refused to let her do for me was to "hold it" when I needed to relieve myself or "clean me up" after doing the other - NO, even for her, WAAY too humiliating for me!!!



But, I AM slowly (oh! every so slowly - way too slow to suit me, as I have never been one to be taken care of - it grates on me not to be able to take care of myself and make my own way in life, being totally dependent on another person for everything since I cannot work at all - I just can't STAND not being able to take care of myself and having to ask for each and every thing I need from someone else, especially a woman [yes, I know that you feminists don't like those last three words of that, but I am being honest here, and that is just the way I was brought up and taught - that you, as the male, are the one who is responsible for being the one to have the job and bring home the money and not just sit on your butt and live off anyone, and especially not your woman, as that was thought of as being lazy and low-down.).



But I have really been trying very, very hard to work on my feelings about that, and Laura keeps reminding me that this is not my fault because I am injured and simply cannot work, no matter how much I want to, any more than she could when we first got together and I supported her. It's just very hard to overcome a lifetime of conditioning that society put onto you and the ideas that have been drilled into your head since childhood. Very hard. Very frustrating. But, I am getting somewhat better with that, too, though it still grates on me every time I have to ask her for as much as a drink when we are on the road since I am so used to being able to simply pull out my own wallet with my own money in it that I earned and simply buy it for myself. That's bad enough, but then also having her foot the bill for all of my medical bills and prescriptions, buy all of the food, pay all of the utilities, and, worst of all, to have her actually pay what she could on my child support, just really rankles.



The last one is the worst, as that is my responsibility, one I take seriously, and when I worked, I never, ever missed paying that. I even covered his health insurance and went above and beyond what was decided in court and spent extra bringing him things since his mother just still couldn't (or wouldn't - I am not sure which, as the last time I saw her she had a major drinking problem, though that was years ago, and people DO change - look at me!). In short, I took my responsibility very seriously and always made sure that my son has everything he needed, whether the court told me to do it or not. Of all of the things that I cannot pay for by myself, that is the one that bothers me the very most. It eats away at me, especially as I don't want to be sen or thought of as a "dead beat dad," because I am not. If I had ANY way of paying it, I would. I don't even own any assets to sell that I could use to do that with, as every single thing I have (which isn't much) Laura or her family has bought for me (or owns themselves that I just get to use), including the clothes on my back. Laura did that for me even before we were a couple and were still just friends. In fact, her ex gave me some of his clothes that didn't fit anymore, and then Laura took me to one of the resale shops and got me a few more just so that I would have something to go to work in after my trailer burned and they took me in and gave me a room to stay in rent-free, and even fed me.



I told you before that I was one of the many strays that Laura has taken in, and I truly was. She is just that kind of person. Anyone in need, human or non-human, she does her very best to help, even if she has to go through her own stuff and give it away. I even knew of her raiding her cabinets of food once when a young single mother with two small children and who barely survived on welfare and food stamps, with no child support coming in, didn't have enough food to feed her children nutritionally complete meals for the rest of the month, just as she has opened her refrigerator and pantry and given her own food to dogs and/or cats who wandered up when she had no money to go out and buy food for them.



Have I said before what a wonderful and caring woman Laura is and how very, very lucky I feel to have found her? And this that I have revealed in this post is really only a very small portion of the kinds of things she has done for me and others throughout her life since she was but a small child. I mean, she even picked up litter and threw it in the trash when she was a toddler and still does this to this day, just as she picks up cans out of parking lots, crushes them, throws them in our vehicle, and brings them home to be recycled. She even also always searches out a cart at a store that some lazy person has left out in the parking lot to bring into the store with her just so that the guy who has to do that has one less to have to gather up and bring in, and in some cases, opens up a parking place for someone to park that is blocked by one.



For a very, very long time, I just truly didn't - couldn't - believe that such people actually existed in this world. I truly believed that if someone did something nice for you that they must want something in return - that they had some kind of an agenda. That always made me wary of doing favors because you never knew what kind of favor would be asked of you later down the line in return. And, you know, even after all of the years that Laura and I have been together, it is only now that it is even starting to sink in that she really is just what she seems to be - a kind, loving, warm-hearted person who does nice things with absolutely no thought as to what she might get back out of it. I mean, just now, within the past few months has this been starting to finally penetrate the social conditioning that was so deeply programmed into me. And, what's shameful, is that I still catch myself at times wondering what the "catch" is - waiting for the other shoe to fall, as they say. Because every single time that anything at all good has happened in my life, all it meant that it was followed by a letdown.



I guess, no I KNOW, that this belief has been what has led to a good bit of the misery and troubles that I had in my life before Laura took me in and just opened her home and heart to me, asking absolutely nothing in return. I mean, at first when I no longer earning a steady paycheck at Tyson, I truly felt like any help I received had to be earned in some way. If her mother fed us a meal, I did something to help her out around the house. Same with her grandmother. But those were small things. Ever since I got hurt and could not only not earn one red cent of my own money doing odd jobs, much less take care of a single chore around here, even having to have Laura's help in dressing myself, for goodness sakes, and waiting on me hand and foot - getting my coffee and making me a sandwich before I could do such things, for instance - I went into a great depression and felt totally worthless. I felt like I "wasn't a man" anymore. And it didn't matter how many times I was told differently or reminded how much I helped Laura when the situation was reversed and she could not only not earn any sort of a living, but didn't even have the strength to pour herself a cup of coffee if the pot was more than half full because it was too heavy back when she was recovering from the 18-wheeler hitting her car and breaking so many bones and all, and even how back then I paid for taking care of her son, who was living with us at the time - I mean, the situation really WAS totally reversed when we got together! - it just went against everything I had been conditioned to believe was right for so long that I have to confess that I even at one time thought about going out and putting a bullet through my head, thinking I was washed up and feeling so ashamed. I certainly didn't want people going behind my back and saying things like, "Virgil has gotten so lazy that he just sits there and lives off his old lady and doesn't lift a finger, not even to do any chores or anything." I have heard that so many times, and that is exactly what my stepfather did when I was growing up. Lived off my mother's welfare check and food stamps, then sent me to work at 14 catching chickens in the middle of the night, even though I had to go to school the next day and walk to and from where we went to work, even after doing all of my chores after I got home from school and hid out to do my homework (he didn't think I needed to go to school once I was big enough to go to work and bring home money - that it was a waste of time and would even tear up a book if he caught me reading it because I wasn't working and he viewed it as "wasting time." Needless to say, he didn't have much education and can't read.) But I did graduate, just as I promised my mother and my grandfather (rest his soul) that I would.



I know that this has been a long post, but it has been a while since I had written, and I really felt like the people who have been reading this blog from the very beginning and who have been writing personal messages of concern deserved a much fuller explanation of what has been going on that what I have said in the short answers I sent back that just basically said that I was "busy" working on projects, both personal and in the movement. No need to touch on what work I have been doing for the movement, at least not in detail, as it is the same as always - just acting as the consultant that I have come to be, answering questions and giving advice, doing interviews, etc. And, of course, like I said, during this time, I have also devoted a good bit of time to working on the book. In fact, every tape I own that fits my little tape recorder is full on both sides just waiting for Laura to transcribe them. She already did that with the things I had written before receiving the tape recorder as a gift from her mother last Christmas, but with all that has been going on, she just hasn't had the time to do that tape part yet. As you can see from all of the stuff I have talked about above, she has been so busy taking care of ALL of the responsibilities around here, even directing the crew building our house and making sure they know what we want done, not to mention making sure they have all of the materials they need)we spent over 3 hours in Lowe's a couple of days ago and would have been there longer if they hadn't been closing and telling everyone to finish up their purchases and get out! LOL!



So, I guess now you are about as up-to-date as I can manage and still get these puppies bathed, making sure there are no ticks on them and that they smell fresh and clean and are more likely to be adopted out to good homes. Experience has told us that if a well-dressed person driving a nice car and who looks like the type of person able to give a dog a good home comes up, acting so nice and loving towards the puppies and even going so far to pick one out, even so much as sees a flea or a tick on the puppy, that most of them will walk away, not wanting to infect their home and yard or get their nice clean car dirty with dirty little feet and bodies and bugs, so it is time for us to head up to Laura's mother's and bathe the three male puppies to give them the very best chance we can possibly give them at getting the very best home. Because people who don't care if a dog has fleas or ticks on them is much less likely to ever do anything to ever control them, and that's NOT the kind of home we want for these little guys. It was two of the males who were the ones we had to bottle-feed, so we got attached to them even more than we did the others. We love them all, but there is just a special sort of bonding that happens when you hold that little baby in your hands, even before their eyes are open, and feed them with a bottle. Laura has done this many times, both with puppies and kittens (and even some orphaned baby squirrels once!), but I never had, and it made me feel feelings that I had never felt before about a puppy. I mean I have always loved puppies and done my best to properly care for them, but to bottle-feed one is on a whole new level. If you haven't ever done this, then there is simply no way for me to describe the feeling it gives you. It's just wonderful!



Oh, I hope they go to wonderful homes where the people are kind and loving, never harming them, only using positive reinforcement as a tool for training and any discipline they might need. It would be nice for the people to even have a couple of children, as the puppies have loved playing with Laura's sister's boys just about as much as the boys have loved playing with the puppies. Puppies and caring children who love animals and who have been brought up by the right sort of parents to always respect and take the uttermost care to never harm just go perfect together. That would be the ideal situation. A family who has a big yard to let them play in and do their business in, but who also lets the little guys inside and be a part of the family. It would be best if people took two puppies at the same time so that they could play together, but since there are only three males, that isn't even a possibility for at least one of them. Part of us wants to sit up there all day to watch over and get a "feel" for who gets these little guys to do our best to make sure, but then, especially since the grown dogs are involved and we have gotten so very attached to everyone, Laura and I know from experience just how hard it is to do this, especially with strangers simply walking into and out of a store. You just never know. Even with people you know well, there is still no guarantee that they will be well-cared for, as we have found out the hard way.



So, I will close this post now so that we can do what must be done. But I do want to ask one wish of anyone reading this.



Please direct your complete, undivided, and concentrated attention, positive wishes, affirmations, prayers, and everything within the fiber of your being that these dogs and puppies will indeed go to good and loving homes. And please give just a little extra bit of a wish that Sugar Boy will, as there are still FAR too many people in these parts who would see that pit in him and think "fighter!" And even those who wouldn't, since he does have a history of attacking at least two dogs that we know of here, that he will go to a proper home where that isn't a problem (preferably one where he is the only dog), and since there is no way to keep him in any kind of a fence, no matter what you do, that they will not put him on a chain and just leave him out in the yard. Or even worse, that he will do something, and someone will shoot him. We are REALLY worried about him. We are worried about all of them, but he has the most potential to be abused and/or neglected, if not outright killed. Maybe even a little something special for Jake so that when (not if, but when!) he tears up things wherever he goes, that the people will be as understanding as we have been and not hit him for it. Just scold him a bit, smile, and shake their heads and wait on him to grow out of it. And, while I am at it, poor Dusty, who has the red mange. May he not be put down, but be treated for it livingly and properly by someone willing to do so.



Oh man, is this hard.



If you have an animal, please, PLEASE spay/neuter him/her and encourage everyone you know to do the same. We MUST stop this. MILLIONS of animals are euthanized every year in this country while more are bought at pet stores instead of being adopted from a shelter.



In other words, please be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.



Please. (Yep, you knew it - Laura's crying again.)

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Laura w spirit of Virgil Butler
, 1, 2 children
Pine Ridge, AR, USA
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\\nNorthern California Beach Reading 500 CPM on 12/20/2013 - Fukushima Radiation Is Here. Via @ AGreenRoad. \\r\\nFr om Rense; \\\"The above video was taken today with an Inspector Plus Geiger counter by \\\'Dave\\\', giving readings on a Northern Californ...
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\\n\\n\\nAntimatter  \\n\\nAccording to wiki; \\\"A classic staple of science fiction and superhero stories, anti-matter  is matter composed of antiparticles, subatomic particles that have mostly exactly the same properties (mass, intrinsic angu...
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\\nBeginning in the 1950s, American and Soviet scientists engaged in a dangerous race to see who could build and detonate the world\\\'s largest bomb. In the Soviet Union, Andrei Sakharov was the architect of this bomb. \\n\\nAccordin g to the movie, A...
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\\nAccording to NIRS; \\\"Marine life in all forms, from endangered manatees and sea turtles to essential microscopic organisms, is being harmed and killed by once-through cooling systems, used to remove waste heat at nuclear power stations. \\n\\nA t...
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\\n \\n \\n http://www.agreenroadproj ect.org A nuclear subcontractor ordered workers at Fukushima to cover their dosimeters with lead to lower official levels of radiation would be reported; allowing workers to work longer hours inside the plant. By...