Life Lately

[blows dust off keyboard] Well, those were a few busy months!

Okay, part of it has been me, also. Not gonna lie — I just haven’t been in the mood to write lately. Thankfully, that feeling has passed, and I’m ready to start pounding the keys again!

There have been some additions to our eccentric menagerie and it looks like some changes are on the horizon, but all good ones. Working full time jobs in addition to caring for the farm has left us little time to do much of anything else, but we’re learning to love our new lifestyle and are figuring out how to make it all work.

We finally had our housewarming party a few weekends ago and now that that’s out of the way, I’m looking forward to slightly more (however slight that may be!) free time.

So, here’s a recap of life lately:

Anfisa is doing fabulous! She’s a real character and loves, loves, LOVES attention! And watermelon! She goes nuts for it! Her feathers have all grown in and she’s a beautiful, silly girl. We are so happy to have her here with us.

"No, dad, I don't want to take a selfie with you. Gimme some watermelon!!!"

“No, dad, I don’t want to take a selfie with you. If you’re offering watermelon, though, I might reconsider…”

About three weeks after Anfisa’s arrival, we welcomed another chicken, Libby, to our farm. Libby came from the same poultry market as Anfisa did, but she was raised for meat, unlike Anfisa, who was raised to lay eggs. Because her only value was her weight and how “meaty” she was, Libby is huge — probably about three times the size of Anfisa — and because of that, it’s a bit hard for her to get around. The cruel reality for meat birds is that they’re bred to grow to unnaturally large sizes in a very short time, resulting in a plethora of health problems and early death. We realize that Libby will become a victim of her breeding eventually, but for now, she seems happy and healthy and we are doing our best to keep her that way.

Beautiful Libby!

Beautiful Libby!

We now also have three Pekin ducks! We had a few possible duck surrenders in the works, but they never panned out and honestly, we were really bummed that they didn’t. We couldn’t wait to welcome some ducks to the farm, so I contacted a rescue and found an adorable trio of boys who had been found abandoned at a lake and were in need of a permanent, loving home. They’re now known as The Three Stooges and are slowly, but surely, warming up to us. They are simply adorable and so much fun to watch!

The Stooges!

The Stooges!

Penny’s kittens are all grown up! They turned 10 weeks old on Sunday and although adorable, they are the craziest little fluffballs I’ve ever encountered. I don’t think they sleep. Ever. We’ve decided to keep two kittens, along with Penny. (That brings our cat total to five! Yes… we are crazy.) The others will be adopted out and sassy miss Chloe has already gone to her forever home. Sending her on her way was a zillion times harder than I ever imagined it to be. I felt like I was giving away my own kid. She’s in a wonderful home, though, and I’ve gotten lots of updates and photos. She is settling in just fine and I know that she will be adored and spoiled, just as she should be!

big cheese 10 weeks

Big Cheese

chloe 10 weeks


james 10 weeks

James (We’re keeping him!)

lil cheese 10 weeks

Little Cheese

mac 10 weeks

Mackenzie aka Mac

sparrow 10 weeks

Sparrow (We’re keeping her, too!)

penny new pic

Mama Penny

We survived that tornado/derecho/storm-pocalypse/whatever-it-was that tore through southern NJ back in June. We lost power for about three days and since our house runs on a well and pump, no power = no water (or flushing toilet!), so it was an interesting few days, to say the least. We were so lucky, though. Many, many people suffered major damage when giant trees came smashing through their homes or toppling onto their cars. Our area was one of the lesser-hit ones and we managed to escape anything major. A few big limbs came down and a section of our pasture fencing (which we needed to replace, anyway) blew over. It could have been so much worse. I now have a renewed respect for Mother Nature and her forces. And a new-found appreciation for electricity! I don’t know how people survived summers back in the days before air conditioning. I had a hard time making it through three days!

An eerie, orange sky after the storm passed.

An eerie, orange sky after the storm passed.

What else?

I’m currently looking to make a career change. I need a job with more predictable hours. Oh, and weekends. Weekends would be fantastic! My commute is grinding on my nerves too, and since we now live in the middle of practically nowhere, it’d be stellar if I could land a work-from-home position. I’d love to get into the non-profit sector, too, since I haven’t been happy in the corporate world in the past and am absolutely dreading having to go back to it. I’m not being too picky, am I? If I have to leave a job I love, I’m trying my damnest to find one I won’t hate. Leads, anyone?

Like I mentioned earlier, we had our farm/housewarming party a few weeks ago and my mom and dad proved (once again) that they’re pretty much the most awesome parents, ever. My mom ordered a few things from Vegan Treats and my dad made the long trek (about 2 hours, each way!) to pick them up! They were a hit at the party, like I knew they would be. That place doesn’t make anything that isn’t knock-your-socks-off delicious!

Lousy pic. Delicious cake! Vanilla sponge cake with lemon-pineapple filling.

Lousy pic. Delicious cake! Vanilla sponge cake with lemon-pineapple filling.

I’ve been getting a lot of  backlash lately about my life choices, my activism and my stance on certain subjects. I try not to let stuff like that get to me, although I’m the type of person who has a hard time letting such things go, and to be truthful, it’s sort of gotten me down. In a weird way, though, it’s also helping to fuel my passions even more and has made me stronger in my convictions. I hope to use some of these experiences as fodder for writing, so be on the lookout for some intense posts in the near future.

I signed up for Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Care Conference in September. I think it will be an awesome opportunity to gain the valuable, hands-on experience that we’ll need to care for the types of animals we hope to have at our own sanctuary, down the road. It’s an intense, 3-day workshop and I’m hoping to come home with the knowledge and confidence to take on more complicated rescues.

Oh, and I’m gearing up for my trip with World Vets! In less than five months, I’ll be headed to Honduras and it’s about time for me to start doing some fundraising to cover my airfare and vaccinations. Has anyone used a crowd-funding site successfully? What are your recommendations?

Well, that’s what’s been up with me. I’ll try not to go so long without at least popping in to say hello, okay? Hope you’ve all been having a fantastic summer!




Here’s Your Sign

heres your sign

Have you ever needed a sign from God/the Universe/Fate/whatever you believe in?

I certainly have and this week, I got two of them.

Late Sunday night, I received a Facebook message from a friend of a friend. She’s an animal activist and had participated in a protest earlier that day at a live poultry market in Philly. She managed to save a chicken and wanted to know if we could take her and let her live here at our farm. Of course, I wanted to tell her yes, we could, but inside, I had reservations. This is what I’ve wanted to do all my life — rescue animals — but I still didn’t feel ready. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed about how this whole rescue thing was going to work out and how we’d deal with it — physically, financially and emotionally. I told her I’d have to talk it over with my husband and promised to get back to her in the morning.

Fast forward to the next morning: Anthony walked in the door after his shift and the first thing he says to me is, “Guess what I got stuck driving behind today?”

“A school bus? Garbage truck?,” I guessed.

“No,” he said. “Our worst nightmare.” And my heart sank as he told me about the truckload of chickens that he drove behind for a while until he helplessly watched it pull into a processing plant.

There it was. My sign.

It didn’t matter that we weren’t 100% ready for her — that chicken was meant to be with us! I contacted her rescuer and we arranged to get her here. She arrived that night and soon after, my second sign did, too.

Lovely miss Anfisa!

Lovely miss Anfisa!

This morning I woke up before the sun had even risen. I had a job interview scheduled for 7am and a full day of dog walking after that. Waking up with a major headache should have been my first indication that things were going a bit awry. I took care of all the animals, including our new addition, Anfisa (which means “flower” in Russian), and got myself ready to go. I looked at the clock and cursed as I realized I was running a little late and still had to stop for gas on the way. I loaded up my hands with everything I’d need for the day and out the door I went. Minus my keys. Yep. Locked out with no car keys to get me anywhere.


Anthony wasn’t home, no one close had a key and I didn’t have a spare hidden anywhere in case of an emergency. After losing it for a second, I composed myself and marched right out to the chicken coop, climbed in and sat and chatted with Anfisa until Anthony was able to come let me back in the house. I missed my interview, but you know what, it wasn’t the end of the world. I was able to reschedule. So my morning was crappy — big whoop. It happens. I was able to spend some precious bonding time with Anfisa and I took the events of this morning as a sign that no matter the feelings I’ve been experiencing lately, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.

So, my message to you is this: try not to worry so much and stop trying to figure everything out. Things have an uncanny way of working themselves out in our favor.

Oh, and always be open to the signs that are sent your way!

Do you believe in signs?

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Adventures in Kittenhood

So, two weeks ago, I walked into Penny‘s room and discovered her in the corner, giving birth right there on the floor! (So much for that birthing box…)! It’s been a crazy two weeks full of wonder and worry and change, and I’m still amazed that six beautiful kittens came out of tiny, little Penny. I was betting that she’d have three. Four at the most! I’m in love with each and every one of them and sit and observe them every chance I get. I know they’ll be all grown up before I know it, so I’m trying to cherish the few weeks that we’ll have with them here before it’s time for them to go to their new homes. Here’s a roundup of some photos from their first two weeks:

kittens 1

kittens 2

kittens 3

kittens 4

kittens 5

kittens 6

kittens 7

kittens 8

kittens 9

kittens 10

kittens 11

kittens 12

kittens 13

kittens 14

kittens 15

One week old!


kittens 16

kittens 17

kittens 18

kittens 19

kittens 20

kittens 21

kittens 22

kittens 23

kittens 24

kittens 25

Look at those peepers!


kittens 26

kittens 27

kittens 28

kittens 29

Two weeks old!


kittens 30

kittens 31

kittens 32

kittens 33

kittens 34


Stay tuned for more kitten updates! And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our farm accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more pics as well as news about our farm/sanctuary, Ahimsa Acres!



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sarah joseph collage

Last week, we welcomed our first residents to the farm!

While they weren’t exactly what we expected our first residents to be (we were thinking more along the lines of chickens or goats…), we’re happy that we were able to offer them a home. Sarah and Joseph are semi-feral siblings who were rescued as kittens, but who never quite adjusted to life inside. Their foster family of the last two years was running out of options as to what to do with them and ultimately decided that they’d be happier as outside cats. A mutual friend put us in touch and we offered to let them come here. Honestly, it was a no-brainer for us! (Especially when I found out they were grey cats — they are my absolute fave!!!) They will be our barn cats. Every barn needs one or two of those, right?!

Sarah arrived first and her brother arrived five days later, after he put up quite the fight to be wrangled up and vaccinated. They are still very scared, understandably, and will be spending another week or two safely enclosed in our hay room until they get acclimated, then they will have roam of the farm. They seem to be incredibly timid around people (hence the not-so-great photos) and we haven’t seen them too much (they’re eating, drinking and pooping, though, so I guess all is well!), so I’m not sure what our relationship with them will be like, but we know that sometimes, animals need a lot of time and space to blossom– we’ve seen that transformation with our own cat, Raven — and we’ll give them whatever they need to stay happy, healthy and safe.

We are happy that Sarah and Joseph are here and hope they will enjoy their new lives with us on the farm!

Stay tuned for more updates on Sarah and Joseph and more happenings on the farm!

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It’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks, and I still can’t fully grasp it, but WE BOUGHT A FARM!!! We still have a ton of unpacking to do and a lot of prep work outside to get ready to welcome some rescue animals, but we’re on our way! My dream is unfolding before my very eyes and I feel so, so blessed.

farm keys

Yes, that’s a skeleton key!

Now that the worst of the move is over (seriously — packing is the Worst. Thing. Ever! Well, to me, at least!), I’ll try to post a little more often and I’ll be sure to include updates on the progress of the farm!

Have a beautiful Sunday, everyone, and remember to always, always chase your dreams!

jena dreams

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March’s Goals and an Update On My Life List

Since we’ll be making settlement on our farm at the end of this month, I expect March to be nothing less than a crazy whirlwind. With that said, I’m giving myself a break from my usual “Three Things” for this month and focusing on just one thing: getting everyone and everything safely to the new house without losing (too much of) my sanity!

I did accomplish each of my three goals for February, though, which I’m pretty stoked about: I finished “To Kill A Mockingbird” on Friday. I thought the story was a bit slow to develop and contemplated nixing it once or twice, but I kept reading and I’m glad I did. What a wonderful and powerful piece of literature. I’m eager to read the sequel when it’s released later this year!

I tried not one, but two new foods — rutabaga and minneolas. I really enjoyed both and I think they’ll be finding their way into my grocery cart a little more often.

This rutabaga made its way into a veggie pot pie and a batch of veggie soup. Kind of potato and carrot-like, and also very tasty!

This rutabaga made its way into a veggie pot pie and a batch of veggie soup. Kind of potato and carrot-like, and also very tasty!

And finally, I did lots and lots of decluttering! I dropped some commitments that really weren’t serving me anymore, I let go of some emotions that were holding me back and I threw away a lot of stuff while packing for our move. February was very successful month, I’d say!

And since we’re on the subject of getting things done, I thought now might be a good time to offer up an update on my Life List…

A while back, I posted my Life List here. Think Bucket List meets To Do List — mine includes everything from visiting the Galapagos Islands to quitting my cuticle biting habit — the big things and the not-so-big things.

I haven’t given an update to that original post (almost two years ago!), so here’s a glimpse into to how my list currently stands.


– rock a pixie haircut

– teach myself to play guitar

– take a road trip across the US

– vacation in Europe

– become fluent in another language

– do more of what makes me happy: I’ve found more happiness than I ever expected in the last few years. I’ve really discovered my passions and have focused on them much more intensely that I ever have. I’m also getting a little better at letting things go that don’t serve me well, which has brought me more unexpected happiness.

happy voltaire

– volunteer more: I’ve done a lot of volunteering in the past two years. It’s something that brings me incredible joy and it’s something I don’t want to ever stop doing!

– maintain a healthy weight

– get a backpiece (tattoo)

– be a better wife

– save a (human) life

– be more “green”

– have a handicapped pet

– own a horse

– keep a cow as a pet

– keep a duck as a pet

– keep a pig as a pet

– learn to like running

– run a 5K: I completed a 5K last year, but I didn’t run the entire time. I’m not marking this one complete, yet!

– really learn how to use my camera – not just auto mode!

– foster animals for a shelter/rescue

– try SCUBA diving again

– and skiing

– participate in a World Vets volunteer trip: I’m going later this year — probably in November or December — to celebrate my 3oth birthday!!!

– quit my gross cuticle-biting habit

– finish all the scrap books I’ve started

– be a more confident public speaker

– be a better vegan

– work for a non-profit organization

– participate in a protest: DONE! I’ve participated in a few at a local pet store that sells puppies, one at a bird store and I was also a part of a circus protest. Protesting is not at all intimidating, like I thought it would be. It feels quite empowering, actually!

bird store protest

– read more books

– write a book: I’ve started brainstorming for a few and have written some rough outlines. Gotta start somewhere, right?!

– write a cookbook

– be a better Christian

– live without credit cards

– eat fewer carbs

– be more organized

– visit as many animal sanctuaries in the US as I can: Three down (Farm Sanctuary, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and Catskill Animal Sanctuary), many more to go!

I kissed a cow and I LOVED it!

I kissed a cow and I LOVED it!


– adopt a pet from outside the US

– watch every ‘I Love Lucy’ episode: I’m on Season 3!

– own every Disney movie

– re-watch ‘LOST’

– travel to Georgia with the MOMS Rescue for one of their monthly, life-saving trips

– anonomously do something nice for a stranger

– grow a vegetable garden: I’m already planning out our garden at the new house. We have almost 6 acres, so we have plenty of room.

– visit every US state: I can check NJ, NY, PA, DE, VA, NC, FL, CA, WA, MD, DC off the list.

– become certified in therapeutic animal massage

– learn more about holistic/alternative medicine

– learn a cultural dance

– own a convertible car

– convert someone to vegetarianism/veganism: I proudly take credit for my husband’s transition to vegetarianism and helping him find his way toward veganism. (It’s one of my greatest accomplishments!) I’ve also created some sparks in the hearts and minds of a few friends and family members! 

– start antiquing: The Mr. and I went on an antique hunt on Sunday. We didn’t buy anything, but we had fun looking. Our new house just screams, “Fill me with antiques!,” so I’m sure it will be something that we do more often in the future. 

– live in an old farmhouse: As of March 31, we will be living in a 19th century farmhouse! CAN’T. FREAKING. WAIT!!!

This 19th century farmhouse, to be exact!

This 19th century farmhouse, to be exact!

– take a solo vacation: My trip with World Vets will be a solo one. I’m excited but a bit scared to be out of the country by myself. Many internal pep talks will be needed for this one!

– visit the Galapagos Islands

– host a fancy dinner party

– see The Starry Night in person

– conquer my fear of city driving


I’m also adding a few more things to my list:

– meet my “soul sister,” in person (you know who you are!!) 🙂

– be part of a documentary

– can and preserve our own food

– earn another degree

– Meet Jane Goodall


Do you keep a “Life List,” or a similar type list? What recent things have you checked off of yours?


Inspirational Ish

I have some freaking amazing news to share!

My life is about to change completely.

No, we’re not having a kid; WE’RE BUYING A FARM!!!!!!!!!! 

I kind of just want to shout it from the rooftops (well, not literally — I’m pretty terrified of heights!) and tell the world. “Hey world, we’re buying a farm!! It’s only been my dream for about forever and it’s finally, finally coming true! Do you hear that world? MY DREAM IS COMING TRUE!!!”

Would strangers care about my announcement? Probably not. And that’s okay. But what I really wish I could get into people’s heads is that last part. That dreams really do come true. They are for me and they can for you. I absolutely hate that people give up on their dreams so easily. Sure, they take a lot of work and you may have to wait what seems like forever to reach them, but they’re worth it. They’re so worth it.

Since I’m feeling uber inspirational lately (and too excited/distracted/busy to actually sit down and write a “real” post), I figured I’d share some of my favorite inspirational things. They’re little tidbits I’ve come across and have saved, printed out or just pondered over at one point or another. They’ve spoken to me and I hope that some of them speak to you, as well.

inspiration 1

inspiration 2

inspiration 3

inspiration 4

inspiration 5

inspiration 6

inspiration 7

Not my hand, by the way. Thinking I want a thumb ring now, though. Isn’t it cute?!

inspiration 8

inspiration 9

inspiration 10

My favorite at the moment.

inspiration 11

inspiration 12


inspiration 13

inspiration 14

inspiration 15

All. The. Time.

inspiration 16

inspiration 17

Imagine what the world would be like if more people took this one to heart.

inspiration 18


Oh, and if you want to know original sources, I have no clue. (I know, I know — I’m breaking a cardinal rule of blogging!). Just about all of these were pulled from Facebook … and who knows how stuff ends up there!?

What’s your favorite inspirational quote?