Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Keeping A Cottage Bunny~Oliver Twistytop's Tale

Oliver loves rose stems from the garden.
I've had several requests upon learning that I have a house bunny, so I'll attempt to tell my story of Oliver as well as give some great information on how to have a bunny as a house pet.

Since my early twenties I have forevermore desired to have a house bunny. It all began when I had my children and I would endlessly read them stories of Beatrix Potter and watch all the videos of the tales of Peter Rabbit.

I've had an allure with Beatrix Potter since my youth, and had always desired to have a bunny in the house such as her.

Needless to say, without going into the beastly details of why I never got my dream of having a house bunny, I had it written upon the pages of my little Beatrix Potter journal from 1993 and that when I acquired my bunny I would give him the name of Oliver. I had wanted to name one of my sons Oliver, but that notion was vetoed with each birth. So I just said to myself, I'll name my pet rabbit Oliver when I acquire him one day.
Bath time...
When I met my dearest Beloved Gardener, and we began talking we shared our likes and dislikes of life and of all the particulars we've dreamt of. I was madly in love with Jeffrey from the first moment I began communicating with him, and it has yet to wane.

When we started dating, my birthday was fast approaching and he asked me what I'd like for my birthday. I told him as I've been on a transformational journey {tale} for the last few years, I was eager to make as many of my dreams come true. Now that I was in control of my life I wanted to embrace all I'd ever wanted without being bridled. I requested to have a house bunny, yes a bunny living in the cottage with the gardener and I hop-hopping about.
He said, okay....If you seek the bunny out and find the one you want I'll acquire it for you. Now, I would be remiss if I didn't explain to you, what that did for my spirit, my soul.

You see, I have constantly over the years been told as if I were a child what is and is not permitted for me to do. Whether it was my parents, religious figures, ex-husband, extended family, etcetera. You name it... people have always desired to tell me what I should and should not do according to their desires.

I was now with a person that was respectful of me, wanting to give me my greatest desires in life even if it seems miniscule to buy me a pet rabbit.

I sat and cried for quite some time, that I was at last going to have a rabbit all my own.

I do now understand looking back just a little over two years that we actually train people how to treat us. We are the ones that allow and accept the way people decide to respect or disrespect us. It's our work to be the powerful creators that we are intuitively. To create our lives the way we so desire. And as an artist I can say paint the life you want with each brush stroke representing a choice and decision in your life that you made all on your own. What you will soon realize is the beautiful masterpiece that you've created is the most beautiful piece of art and it's all your own work,  your own masterpiece with all the colors you decided to use, the canvas you chose, the medium you chose. You are the one in control of your life and no one else. You have to be the one to paint the life you want.

Having a rabbit has been one of the greatest joys my heart has ever known. Rabbits do have sweet personalities, and I manifested the perfect bunny for my soul, and that was Oliver.

I live the Law of Attraction and I believe highly in getting into alignment before ever getting any kind of pet. I was sure to write my intentions about the type of personality my bunny would have and I really needed a calm bunny. I had originally wanted a Lionhead but ultimately chose a Jersey Wholly instead as I think their demeanors are a smidge more calm. Oliver is a Jersey Whooly Blue Tort and he is a full grown weight of 3 pounds.

Upon bringing Oliver Twistytop home, beforehand I had my father create a bunny hutch out of an old pie safe that I had for decades which sat at my parents house being cared for.

I had done and abundance of research about how to care for a bunny, so I felt rest assured that I would be a great bunny owner. There's lots of bunny videos on Youtube, such as how to bathe, clip nails, keep their bedding and how to feed them.
Essential oils for Oliver in case he needs some aromatherapy for healing.
I like to feed Oliver a healthy organic diet and I'll tell you why. Not only because it keeps him  in outstanding health, but because I'm not one to take my pets to the vet, unless I'm in dire straights and can't do something on my own.
This is a shelf right above Oliver in the bunny hutch that I keep his food and essentials for his care. 
I was the same way with my dogs and one out of the two is still living 14 years later and has never went to the vet except for being neutered.

My philosophy is that if I take good care of my pet, trust mother earth to provide for our animals, that bunnies are sort of like that even though we have somewhat domesticated them. They are still animals and are absolutely instinctive. A bunny knows how to do bunny stuff, they don't need to be taught. I take Oliver outside daily to play in the yard, and he knows what weeds, flower stems or branches to chew on. He just knows. Below are a list of things of particulars that I keep on hand for Oliver.

~Timothy Hay {You can get large bags at Walmart for $6.97}

~Purified Water {You don't need all of those fancy drinking drip bottles, just a little ceramic bowl will do perfectly. Again, my philosophy is that rabbits don't have fancy bottles in the wild, they drink from the brooks}. I do suggest purified water though because goodness knows what can cause harm over a time span if we give them water that's not purified.

~Some pieces of wood, driftwood, old branches, etc. {I watched Olivers patterns to see what he liked to chew on and then found that he likes his soft wooded box with his hay in it. So I let him chew that to bits. That way I don't have to have his teeth filed.
I made him some little steps from foraged wood in the garden so he can climb about his bunny hutch.

~Rabbits are like many animals, which means they pee and poop in the same areas from where they have left their scents. But the other wonderful thing about a rabbit is that they are super clean. They can be box trained like a kitty cat.

~Oliver and most rabbits poop where they eat their hay. So I change Olivers bed almost every day, sometimes every other day. Many of the sites recommend getting paper cat litter for the rabbits but I found a few paper towels inside a plastic pan with some hay on top of the paper towels is a much easier cleanup for me and for Oliver. I attempted the cat litter one time and it was a total disaster.

~We grow a garden of herbs and vegetables so I keep Olivers diet fresh from the garden. He has his favorites and you'll have to just give your rabbit samples of things and see what they like and dislike. Olivers diet is mostly Organic Italian parsley, carrots, dried mangos, cilantro, romaine lettuce, black oil sunflower seeds and some dried food that i homemade from an assortment of nuts, oats and seeds.

~I keep on hand Melaleuca, Frankincense, lavender and a few other oils for some blends if I need to make something special for an ailment. Fingers crossed, I haven't had to do that yet.
~If Oliver ends up making a number 2 other than his bed box, I will promptly pick up the poop and take it to his bed box. I also recommend getting some Capture and using that to remove any scents, so that he won't keep returning to go to the bathroom in that same spot.

I keep Oliver in his bunny hutch nightly. In the morning after I awake and meditate I barricade the kitchen and parlor and take Oliver out to roam around. Most rabbits sleep during the day so they are pretty calm and lethargic during the day. I do take him out in the mornings after the dew has dried and let him bounce around and play. He's used to the air conditioner so he can get especially hot really quickly. And then I bring him back in to hang out some more. He mostly sleeps beneath my feet in his basket under the dining table or my art desk. I treat him as a child, so if I'm busy painting I bring him in next to me. He's quite comfortable and will sprawl out and sleep.

Oliver has brought a great sense of joy to my life and I feel as though a home isn't a home without a bunny.

Yours Til My Next Swim, Raquel




Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Quiet Days Of Autumn

“Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields...Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.” 

Good Afternoon, my sweet friends, I was blessed with some lovely Victorian antiques by a dear friend of mine, so I began creating a lovely space in my art studio, which is now named "The Nursery." I named it that (a friend actually named it for me) because it's the place where all particulars are born and grown, from a darling child to my art and books, and my beloved's flowers. I thought it quite fitting. 
I noticed after taking this little photo, that I really love the purple, mauve pink like color. It's in my lamp, my little Magnolia Pearl Jacket, my linen pants, and several of my scarves. I think we are most certainly drawn to certain colors. 

 A beautiful wooden antique bread bowl from my dear friend. The cotton floral hankie is what I use as little placemats underneath our supper plates during mealtime. I find them much sweeter than placemats you'd buy in the store.
"Who Rescued Who"

" Mr. And Mrs. Betrothed"
 As many of you know I am very keen on wearing and preserving the old Victorian clothes that I don. If I have them, I most assuredly wear all of them. However, when doing this... there is bound to be particulars that are inadequate to mend or salvage. Hence, which is what occurred with this Victorian under slip from the early 1900's. I will always invigorate, so I decided to turn this one into an apron. I removed the sleeves and made them into pockets and used an old flat linen sheet for the ties. I am getting such good use out of it, not to mention... it's precious to me.
 I added some lace valances to the kitchen cottage window. Isn't lace exceptional!
 I conclusively hung my shelf from the thrift store in the kitchen, along with my old drying rack made from a gardening tree stake I found in a trash pile. It has the perfect amount of age.
I don't go a day without lighting candles of all kinds at the cottage. I find it soothing, romantic and a beautful elegance permeates the cottage when candles are all aglow.
 The Autumn and Fall months are a delight. The weather is lovely, but there is a small disparity of sorts with mosquitos. I have never enjoyed the smell of citronella even though they do eliminate the issue. I decided to make a few illuminaries for myself with essentail oils and use what I had. They turned out charming.

 Mr. Oliver Twistytop sniffing my Autumn arrangement of flowers.
 I planted my hyacinth bulbs from spring, and I am so excited to see what comes up.
My BG (Beloved Gardener) brought me home some hand me downs and none of the clothes were much to my liking, except for a darling little dress. It was a tiny size so I turned it into an apron. I am wildly obsessed with aprons! Can you tell? If any kind of fabric stays still long enough I'll surely turn it into an apron. (Heh...)

 I made an Autumn wreath from the fallen Confederate Jasmine from hurricane Irma.
 " But do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life." ~R.L. Stevenson

I was determined to be successful with my sourdough starter this go around. I was very strategic. I watched it like a momma bird and it did not disappoint. I found the recipe in a Farmer's Almanac from before the Civil War. They would use potatoes as a sourdough starter becasue it was more common for them to have potatoes than it was milk on the prairies.
 I boiled them until they were able to be strained through a seive.

I'm so happy that it turned out and it tastes yummy. I froze a loaf for my parents to take to them on my next visit. 
 What I love about gardening is the variety of fresh vegetables that are in season. We had a nice tiny crop of cucumbers, squash, and heirloom tomatoes. My brother in law had a nice crop of onions, tomatoes and I think a few of his fruit trees gave him some sweet fruit. He lives where the ground is all clay so he can harvest more things than my BG and I can. It's lovely to share one's bounty with family.
 A little floral saucer that I picked up at the thrift store. It says "You Are Loved" and I love that daily reminder from God.
 I wanted some decor in "The Nursery" so I hung some dried roses with gold Washi tape. Have you ever used Washi tape? It's the lovliest thing around.
"Seaweed Bouquets"

 I was commencing on social media that I had attempted to make some peanut butter cookies for my BG and I and that I was discovering new recipes. I am creating a new little recipe box of receipts that I love. A sweet dear friend sent me a recipe she hand wrote with her peanut butter recipe and it was a big success. It was also the sweetest kindest gesture for her to send me a book of poetry, a teacup, vintage hankie, and her recipe. I had tears well up from the love I felt in that little gift package.
The cottage has been under renovation since I moved in, and I don't see it letting up anytime soon. (heh...)


 All the shelves and hooks in the cottage reveal something fresh always. I am forever changing the vignettes from flowers to candles, to vintage decor.
 I was feeling very Jayne Eyre this day and made myself a black lace apron for a more dressy look. It's not practical at all, but it's stunning to look at while wrapped about my waist. I may wear it with my Hallow's Eve costume and play dress up.
 Oliver and I having lunch outside and snatching up cuddles.
 Bonnets are the dandiest, they are the absolute most practical adornment for keeping the sun out of one's eyes. This one is my most favorite. I feel like a youngster when I'm wearing it, because I like to put my hair in ribboned pigtails. I feel a nostalgic child-like essence and it nourishes my inner spirit to the eenth degree.
 I'm not one to drink soda very often, however when I stop by the little retro candy store, I can't help but get a creme soda. I couldn't bear to toss it and so the spontaneous thought one day was to use it as a vase for the garden. I went on a jaunt one day after hurricane Irma hit because I was desperately needing flowers for the cottage. I couldn't hardly find anything, and then I saw these little daisy looking wildflowers and they straightaway made me go to the memories of my mother. Her most favorite flower is a daisy.
"How Well Did You Fair After The Storm?"
 Some of my art. I've begun painting oodles of fall images, which most assuredly will consist of crows, raccoons and graveyards. My Etsy shop is called RaquelMargaretCarter if you would like a commisioned piece.
"Adele At Thornfield"
I hope you are well and good my sweet darling soul spirited friends. Thank you for swimming by for a visit with me. I lovely love you!

Yours til my next swim, Raquel

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Transitioning...Back To The Simple Life

I'm so appreciative of calm peaceful days spent in the garden.

Entrance to our coastal garden.

Entrance To Our Coastal Garden and those rocks you see is our homemade fire pit made by my BG. 
When my BG and I married I moved into his comfy little home. It's actually right in the heart of bustling suburbia Tampa, Florida.
The front of Staffordshire Cottage. The only difference today is the face of the cottage has creeping fig growing up the sides.
(2015)

The Big Sur (2014) California

Carmel California (2014)
While my BG and I dream of living closer to the shores of the Pacific, but far enough away to have chickens, a big garden, yellow labs, bunnies and a barefoot baby running amuck we are enjoying and making the most of our cute cottage we are now in. 


It's so romantic to paint outside in the garden. 

We plant a limited variety of vegetables and make the most of the small square-foot organic gardening. We also have a clothes line and I've made a few beds for flowers by bordering them with homemade (English) wattle fencing from old branch trimmings of crape myrtles. 


When I first moved in, I created a makeshift clothes line by using the fence posts as my anchors for my laundry line. It's one of two places in the garden that has full sun.


Taking time to pick a few heirloom tomatoes. 


Jeffrey enjoys a garden full of mostly tropical. Whereas I enjoy tropicals as well (the garden looks alive all year around) but I've been adding my own style of English gardening flowers and definitely a tiny fragrant rose garden. I now have a knockout rose bush, blue girl, and a sugar moon. I've wanted a rose garden since I was a tiny girl. I'm quite pleased thus far. 
It's lovely at how quickly the flowers filled out, adding fullness along the pathway to the garden gate.
Sugar Moon's first bloom of the season. 



An experiment where I am trying to get my hyacinths to take root.




Our topiary gardenia bush.
I absolutely adore hydrangeas.
Delicate lavender says English garden to me. 

(I'm saving my love story for another entry), but wanted to share with you here on my new blog how my simple old-fashioned life came to be. 

From the time I was a small child, I would never wear pants. I really enjoyed old things. (I wonder if it's because I was reincarnated so many times that I carry this style with me through the incarnations)... (Hey don't knock it... even Tasha Tudor believed she was a  reincarnated captains wife from the 1800's...I'm not so weird... or maybe I am heh... ) 

I've always loved old clothes, old writing, old books, old music, old people, old vehicles, old lifestyle in every single form there is. 

I clung to the lifestyle of old-fashioned living. I think the first time I wore pants was in high school. As time wore on I began feeling the pressures of society, peers, friends and especially when I began dating. 

It's always been sort of funny to watch people in dismay because I dress like I came from a 1800's reenactment... I bet wondering to them "What occult is this lady from."(heh...)

Picking tomatoes in the garden.
Pulling weeds in the garden.
I held my own for quite some time, even in the midst of my rearing young children (I'm 45 and have 4 children: (Son-Carter 24)(Son-Sawyer-22)(Son-Brooker-19)(Daughter-Zoë Kennedy-17) sewing, smocking and hand sewing all of our clothes. I grew vegetables and canned, and made almost everything from scratch. 

I'd hand knead and bake at least five loaves of sourdough bread a week and freeze it. My older boys had never had bought store bread until the time they were about 5 years old. I've never held a career. I was always a stay at home mother by choice and loved every minute of it. I'd happily do it all again. 
The patterns I've used for years to make my clothes. 


A few of my childrens blessing bishops, daygowns and bonnets that I've smocked.

Sourdough starter.
I homeschooled my two older boys. Sawyer my middle son graduated with high honors. I used a lovely curriculum and his electives were writing music lyrics. He loved it so much and is an exceptional writer to this day. He has his own band and is pursuing a career at it. My daughter lives in Oklahoma with her father. If I had moved back to California after the divorce she would have gone with me, but beings she had been plucked up and moved dozens times prior; I thought it best to listen to my child's desires. And that meant she implored of me that she wanted to spend her last year at the same school and graduate with her friends. I couldn't make her leave with me, I didn't feel in my heart it was right. As much as it's been difficult for me as a mother (someone that was the sole parent for all of their lives) I think it's pertinent to listen to our children. I do believe we as parents can sometimes use children as excuses, as well as, leverage when a marriage dissolves. I was bound and determined to not do that; no matter the disparity. 

My three boys were on their own living in their own place and they chose to stay in Oklahoma as well. I think now that they have all made friends, have jobs and girlfriends they enjoy the state quite a bit. 

Zoe Kennedy has informed me she'd like to travel the world (as a flight attendant) and base out of California. I'm with her...;) that's also what Jeffrey and I plan on doing very soon, making the move to Carmel, California. 

After my divorce, I went to live with my parents for a time and continued to work on my inner being, giving myself lots of love and self-care. I had never done that before. I got lost. I forgot who I was before marriage. I forgot the things I loved, like my painting, and wearing old-fashioned clothes, hanging clothes on the line, sewing by candlelight, and the list goes on. But, I've found myself again. Like a lost treasure deep in the depths of an ocean. I found the treasure and that treasure; IS ME! I found me again and My heart is so full of joy every single day. 
For now, we (my BG and I) are very satisfied with our lives as we know it. I have a small circle of close knit friends that I simply adore, a cottage bunny that is the dandiest companion I could've ever hoped for, and a soul mate love that little girl's dream of. So all in all... I have a simple but fairy tale life if one were to ever ask me. 

Thank you for listening to me. I do appreciate you, dear friends. I thought it best as the dust has now settled to share a few words about my past. Sweet dreams... 

Yours til my next swim, Raquel