Monday, June 11, 2018

Cleaning My House Rabbit's Cage

Rabbit, my house rabbit

Having a house rabbit in a small studio apartment may sound like it is a lot of work. Not really as long as your rabbit is a true "house rabbit" and is not confined. My house rabbit, Rabbit, has a good sized cage where I keep his litter box, his hay and his water. I bought it on Amazon. It is called the Kennel-aire A Frame Bunny House (if you click that link it will take you directly to it on Amazon). What I really liked about this cage was the room and the fact that it has casters so can be rolled from room to room easily. It has two doors, one for the bunny and one on the roof for you to open it and clean the cage or feed the rabbit from the top. It is not that expensive for the quality. I keep the door fastened open so Rabbit can go in and out as he pleases. He loves his cage though. He will lay in it for hours just snoozing. It also has a tray underneath that can be pulled out to be cleaned.

Rolling walker, brake on, next to cage.

When I moved into my studio, I was worried about how Rabbit would take to the move from our house. Well, he took to it very easily and I was so surprised. Everything I worried about was useless worry. I have carpeting in the main part of the studio and the kitchen and bathroom are tiled. So when I figured out how to clean the cage, it was a no brainer to move the cage to the bathroom every day to clean it. Hay will get on the floor during the cleaning process so it is much easier to clean up from the tiled floor than the carpet. Since I had a lot of trouble with standing in one place for a long time and for bending over, I started using my new rolling walker to sit on while I clean the cage. I tell you, this walker has made my life so much easier and happier!

Grocery bags used to clean the cage.

First thing I do is to fasten the top door so it held by a tie to stay open. That way I do not have to deal with it closing on me while cleaning. Then I remove everything inside by putting my garbage bag inside the cage, then I have two recycled boxes that are cut down to fit. They each have a plastic mailer on the bottom of the box, then a doggie pad (which I buy on Amazon) folded in half. The bigger box has two pads. Then I put newspaper over that. Now there is a lot of discussions on the internet about the wire bottom on cages for rabbits. Some people think they are good for the rabbit and makes cleaning it easier. For me, I think of my bunny's comfort first. So I put flat pieces of cardboard on the floor of the cage then put the boxes on top of that. By picking up the newspaper on one end and rolling it toward the other, it keeps the wet urine and droppings to a minimum. Then place it in the garbage bag. That way not much gets on the floor.

Newspapers put down to absorb the urine.

I make sure the layers are plastic wrapper or bag, doggie pads and newspaper. Rabbits are very clean animals and they seem to naturally use the litter box. As anyone who knows me, knows that I got my pet rabbit by accident. He was dropped at my house by an owl. I did not know anything about a pet rabbit. My brother had one when we were kids and she lived outside in a shed, that we opened during the day and she went in and out. She was not caged up like most outdoor rabbits. It was my research online about pet rabbits that I learned that he could be litter trained. Well at first I just put him in this new cage and was going to keep him like that. I did not know any better.  Once I learned online about house rabbits, I wanted to try that method of keeping him. Because I was already hopelessly in love with him!

Hay kept in box in my studio.

Eighty percent of a house rabbit's food is hay. I feed Timothy hay which is the same hay we feed to our horses. I use a couple of flakes, if that, in a month. Not only is the hay his food but is also his litter. I should say bedding also, because my little boy does sleep in his cage often (his own choice and he is NEVER locked in, unless there is a reason, but none since we came here). Now the one thing I see in all the rabbit forums and articles is concern for how dirty hay in your home can be. Yes, hay is full of hay chaff and that really makes a mess! This is how I handle the hay. I keep it in a Rubbermaid container in my storage area and every few days, I go down with a box that fits on top of my rolling walker. Then I keep that box in my apartment and it is closed so nothing ever falls out. When I am cleaning the cage I add the hay lastly, on top of the pad and newspaper. He can hardly wait to get in the clean cage, coming out of wherever he is while I am cleaning it. So he does, indeed, appreciate my work!

That is about all the hay I get on the floor.

After I am done with the hay I put the box right back immediately. I keep it under my table on top of the carrier. I keep my carrier easy to get to in case of a fire and having to transport Rabbit to safety with me. My emergency instructions included with my lease was that in case of a fire, I would need help due to not being able to use stairs and help getting my "companion animal," which is a rabbit out in a cat carrier. That hay box is never opened except in the bathroom due to the carpeting and trying to keep the hay off the carpet. I have done a good job of that so far and on one of my bunny forums, that seems to be a big issue. Carpeting and hay does not mix! I want to keep my carpet so I can sit on the floor with Rabbit. Hay all over your floor and embedded in your carpet would not be comfortable or look nice.

Moving the clean cage back to our bedroom area.

Thanks to the casters on the cage, it is so simple to move from room to room. He does have two lengths of vinyl floor covering under the cage. That protects in case he overshoots the box edges along the bottom of the cage, due to being a bunny BOY. That does not happen very often, but if so, it will be on the floor covering not my carpeting. All that is left to do is to shake out the sheet I keep on the front floor area of the cage where he likes to eat. I give him pieces of firewood and various types of sticks and brambles from the forest. Chewing keeps his teeth down. He is kind of like a horse in needing to chew for that reason or the teeth will grow too long. The sheet is also placed on top of the vinyl floor covering. I try to cover all bases with my little companion. 

A clean cage ready for Rabbit!

I just wanted to point out that this cage is roomy for my rabbit. It is 29.5" long by 16.5" wide and 24" high. He has plenty of room to stretch out, to do complete turn arounds with no obstruction, he can stand on his hind feet and check out the top. He loves it and is very happy with it. He does not feel confined in it. Even when I was still living in my house, and there was period that I was forced to lock him in it at night for his own safety. He was comfortable in it and did not act like he hated it or wanted to get out. Of course, he is a very adaptable boy and easy going too.

A dustpan with a handle is essential!

When I am all done, I use my broom and a dustpan to sweep the floor which takes me all of a half of  a second. Nothing wet or yucky on the floor to clean up. Just sweep and I am done. The handle on the dustpan has been a godsend to me since bending over has been murder on my legs. I quickly get it all done and I also sweep the vinyl floor covering before I put the cage back. Most days I vacuum the whole carpet after I do the cage so anything that dropped, usually a little piece of hay or something, can be vacuumed up quickly. It does not take me long to do this.

All done! Clean!

I write this blog based on my experience living my life. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, June 04, 2018

Living With Physical Disabilities

Yours Truly, katlupe

I have found living with a limited physical disability pretty hard in the past. Living in a regular two story house was hard for me. It was hard even coming into my house because there were stairs to get up and the inside of the house really had no room for using a walker or if ever needed in the future, a wheelchair. The apartment building I have moved into is geared to people with disabilities or elderly residents in general. Having worked in my past life as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), a HHA (Home Health Aid) and as a PCA (Personal Care Aid), I knew the things I needed to make my life easier and keep my independence. Just because your family says they don't mind doing everything for you, that does not mean you are comfortable asking them. I remembered all those little things that the people I took care of needed or wanted. So when I started looking for other options for me, I found that moving into an apartment set up with that in mind was the perfect answer.

kat's Studio door

Now that I am living here, there is no looking back. If you have a physical disability and cannot do simple things for yourself, you get depressed about it. I am happy to say that here, I have my own independence back! I have friends who help me, such as buying stuff from the store for me or taking me to the store. That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the jobs you do every day, such as showering, making your bed, cooking, putting your groceries away, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bunny rabbit cages, laundry, etc. Those every day jobs that you want to do yourself, or at least I did and still do. I hated asking for help or that feeling of being forced to ask for help because I could not do whatever it was. Nobody made me feel bad about asking, it was just in my own mind.

The ramp

There are so many benefits for someone who has been struggling to just walk to the bathroom. Here I have a ramp to use that takes me from outside to the door and from there to an elevator to my apartment, which is on the second floor. My apartment, even being a studio, is quite roomy and there is plenty of room for my walker and if I ever needed a wheelchair, there is room for that too. I have a huge bathroom with a big walk-in shower that I love. I bought a shower chair to use in it and believe me, taking a shower has never been such a hedonist event for me before. What a luxurious way to take my shower! No worry about falling in there now!

My Kitchen

My kitchen has once again become a place for me to create delicious meals. I had lost interest in cooking for some time now. I realize now, it was not the actual cooking that I was dreading and trying to avoid, but the fact that the kitchen was not easy for me to work in. Not any longer. The kitchen here is small, but everything is within an easy reach. Some days if I am having much trouble getting around, and recently I was very sick and didn't do much cooking at all, I can just make up some cold foods that don't require any additional cooking at all. I suppose that is the advantage to living alone too. Cooking for one is a lot less work, not only in the food preparation but also in the clean-up. I try to keep on top of the clean-up work by keeping a dishpan of hot soapy water in the sink while I prepare the meal. I am using an Instant Pot or a toaster oven instead of the big oven in the electric cooking range. Uses less power, does not heat up my apartment and causes me to use smaller pans. I make it a rule to follow Fly Lady and never leave dirty dishes in my sink overnight!

Downstairs to the laundry room

A perk of living in the apartment building I am in, is that it has a laundry room downstairs. Having come from an off-the-grid house, the laundry was one of those jobs that had become way too hard for me. I was washing the laundry by hand and seems I could hardly ever catch up, especially in cold or rainy weather. Here using smart card technology, I just put some time on the card, pretty much like you do a cellphone and use that in the washer and dryers. Take my laundry down and put it in the washing machine, come back in an hour and move it to a dryer. Back to my apartment and when the time is up, I go back downstairs and fold my load. Easy as could be and it is job I look forward to.

kat's cat collection

Having less things makes for less work. If you feel overwhelmed due to a lot of furniture or other possessions that you have to take care of, it can tire you out. I was tired out just trying to organize all my things. What good are they if they sit in a box and you never take them out? Never use them? I have parted with many items that I never thought I would give up. And you know what? I feel like I had a weight lifted off my shoulders. I really do. Moving made me really take note on how much stuff I really had. I kept the things I use or what gives me pleasure. An example of something that gives me pleasure is I have a curio cabinet that holds my collection of ceramic and some brass, cats. I have collected them over the years and many were gifts. I look at them often and in the evenings like to put the light on so they really stand out. Yes, I get pleasure from owning them!

Leaving off residents after a day of shopping

One more reason for moving into a senior housing apartment is that after having lived for close to nineteen years in the middle of the state forest, I found I had no friends. I was alone except for my husband and my critters. I needed interaction. I needed people to talk to, to laugh with, to enjoy. Living downtown in a small city gives me the option to walk to various shops, churches, restaurants, the library, hair salon, etc. I now have a mobile walker, which I will be writing about in a future post so I won't go into that much now. It has made me able to be a lot more independent. There is a county transit bus system that comes here and takes people to various stores and other places. There are local taxi cabs and delivery services available. It has made the option of living without a motor vehicle possible for me and it was something I always wanted to do. Not having to pay for vehicle expenses, covers my electric, internet, cellphone and a large portion of my rent. I like that trade off! 

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole 

All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, June 01, 2018

kat's Studio Is My New Home

My New Home!

As the regular readers of this blog know, I have been making plans to change my life. Actually, I have been trying to do it for a number of years now. Finally, I did it. I moved from our Peaceful Forest Homestead on the fifteenth of this month. After living in the middle of the state forest for close to 19 years, do you think it is a big adjustment to live in the downtown area of the city of Norwich, NY? I thought it might be, but no. I find that I love it. It is not a large city, just the right size for me. I have many reasons for leaving and one of the main ones is for my health. In the last few years, well actually since about 2005, I had been having more and more trouble with my legs. All the jobs I always enjoyed doing or helping my husband with, had become impossible. I started facing the facts, that it was time for me to move on. To a different home and by myself. So  I have.

Color is the focal point in my studio!

One of the things I have been interested in is being a "minimalist" but not a hard core one. My apartment, which I refer to as "kat's Studio" is a small studio apartment in an old school that has been converted into apartments. It is only about 338 square feet, I think. It appears to be spacious due to part of it has very high ceilings. I do not feel like I am closed in, but have a lot of space, even though it is above my head. My windows are all on one wall and are quite large also. Three big ones and I love them. They are the focal point of kat's Studio. My studio is all white and I have made it colorful with added color highlights in the decor. Especially my sheers which are very colorful and draw your eye to them as soon as you walk in. They brighten my day all day long, as I love bright colors.

Norwich, NY

I am out of the country life and all things making up the homesteading life. I am right in the downtown area of a small city. About thirteen miles from where I lived. I already knew my city, Norwich, NY, in Chenango County. It has everything I need and one of the things I really love about my move is that I do not need a vehicle for transportation. As soon as I get settled in, I  plan on exploring the various forms of public transportation that are available to me.

I love my electric kitchen!

After having lived so long on an off-the-grid homestead, now having an electric home that is provided by the utility company is a big adjustment for sure. They estimated my power use cost would be about $40.00 a month, and for what I get for that little bit of money is well worth it. I love it all. I can't say I don't. I am now able to use my Instant Pot, my electric blender and mixer and even have a toaster oven now. Every morning I perk my coffee with an electric percolator. Hot weather has long been a very trying time for me. That is one of the reasons I had not been able to enjoy my garden in the recent years. I just could not take it any longer. Now I have a brand new air conditioner I bought and am just waiting for the maintenance man to install mine. He had a bunch to do.

Cooking Chicken for My Keto Supper!

My physical health was suffering terribly over the last few years. There was nothing I could do about it. I tried to follow my Ketogenic diet but often times I could not stick to it. Now living alone I am able to stick to it much easier. It helps to have only that type of food in your house. Then you are not easily lead to the types that are not good for you, like having sugar, MSG, grains, high fructose corn syrup or anything else you do not want to eat. I have to be careful about others bringing me gifts that contain those ingredients, even though I tell them I do not eat sugar or other processed ingredients. Not everyone looks at the labels as closely as I do. Then I feel obligated to eat what they spent their money on, as I am a very frugal person. I am going to work on being better at enforcing anyone bringing me food to understand not to buy things I cannot eat.


I did not move totally by myself. I brought my favorite little boy, my house rabbit, Rabbit, with me. He has taken to the new place happily. I think he loves having carpeting and he is all over the place due to having more room. Not a lot of stuff in the center of the room gives him an area to binky and play and lay stretched out for hours at a time. He is getting a lot more exercise here and that is good for him. I had worried how he would adjust to life here, but not a worry at all. Him and I are bonding more and more and I can actually get down on the floor here due to the carpeting and sit with him. He likes that a lot.

kat's Studio

Now I will be writing about my life here, the life of a sixty plus woman with health issues and her house rabbit and hope you will continue following along my journey living in kat's Studio. If not, I understand after all this was a homesteading blog.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, May 12, 2018

My Life Goes On Regardless

As a woman, I have usually deferred to the men in my life. After all isn't that what we were taught? I grew up watching Father Knows Best and shows that featured the man as the head of the family and the one with the final word. I learned pretty early in life that my daddy was not the one to be feared in my family. I loved it when my mother would say she was going to tell him. I knew I would not be punished by him. She told me years later, after I was grown up that he told her he could not discipline me or spank me or even yell at me. I remember for some unknown reason as to why I did this, but my brother would be pouring milk into my glass and at the very last amount I would pull my glass away and milk would spill all over the table. I do not know what was in my head because I did it many times. My father would start to speak harshly to me, and my eyes would fill with tears and that would end it right there. He could not deal with my tears I guess.

As I have grown older, I have come to the conclusion that men are no smarter than me. Nope, I am now standing on my own. Being independent and making my own choices, without asking a man for his advice. Most of the time, my first instinct is usually the right thing to do. Why would anyone know better than me? After all I have lived a long time and have gone through a lot of stuff. Many of the men in my life have relied on me to help them, so why can't I ever just do it myself? I guess it goes back to that father daughter thing. Thinking your father has all the answers. Well, to be honest as my father got older, he actually came to me for my opinions. He valued my advice! And that made me feel good.

Yes, my life has been a series of wrong choices and stupid results. That is what life is about. Making a choice that ends up screwing up your life is something you live with and regret for years and years. Then one day you have to say to yourself, "No more! Forget it and move on." That is what I had to do. For instance, this is one of those wrong choices. When I got a divorce from my second husband he worked for the post office, so he did not pay into Social Security, but into a federal pension program. I was his beneficiary and if he died I would have gotten about $600. a month with it going up every year. The lawyer I had was not knowledgeable in the facts surrounding this pension plan. He should have gotten a court order from the judge saying I would get it regardless of whether I remarried or not. I did remarry. In the meantime, my ex-husband died at 52 years of age. I found out that because of my marriage and because my lawyer did not get that court order at the time of the divorce, I could not collect that pension. Now you say I should not have gotten it anyway since I had remarried? Well, I gave him $50,000. cash to buy a house in 1989 and I divorced him in 1994 due to him being a bad alcoholic. I did not make him pay that money back due to my feeling sorry for him and that as long as I was his beneficiary, I would just leave it as is. Now I could have used my $50,000. and he did not deserve it and the free house he had. So there I was a once again, a big time loser!

Somehow I recovered from the many foolish mistakes I made. It is how life is. You make mistakes and you make some good decisions. Some will be worthwhile and pay off and some will not. I learned many times over that if I did the same stupid things I would get the same results. Now at my age, in my sixties, I think I am smarter, but still making choices that can hinder the rest of my life. Still I have no one to advise me. Just have to stretch my own wings and do the best I can.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, May 11, 2018

Tidying Up Cleaning Up My Clutter

For the last couple of weeks I have been going through my things trying to tidy up what I have so it is useful and not just boxes and drawers of stuff. I understand that it is hard to do this, especially at my age (almost 66). Over the years I kept so much that I just moved it from one house to another. Once it is packed away, forgotten. Of course, when I moved here to Peaceful Forest Homestead in 1999, I knew much of my belongings would be packed away for a time. Indeed, they were, but still are not being used in any way since this house is limited in what I can use or do. Today I am planning on going through my cupboards and seeing what I absolutely need. If I don't use it, it will be put in the group of things that I do not want anymore. It is not an easy process and you must be hard on yourself and your possessions. Just remind yourself how much you will appreciate the outcome of this effort. Someone else might be dying for this very item and when it goes to the local thrift store in your donation bag, it is an answer to their prayer.

I won't be getting rid of my doll for sure!

Do you feel bad about that expensive pair of shoes you bought and never wore because they didn't fit exactly right and were too uncomfortable to wear? I know for myself, I got a pair of shoes at my thrift store for free, a number of years ago. They had never been worn. They fit me perfectly and they were a good brand, Talbots. I wore them as my good shoes until recently. I need to replace them soon. The trouble is all those new shoes I have bought the last couple of years, are unworn. I  have not been able to wear them at all. My feet have changed or something, as I got older, but each shoe had some issue that made them uncomfortable. I am going to give them all another chance and then if I still don't care for them, I will get rid of them. Maybe they will be an answer to someone else's prayer!

All those books you have stored on your shelves but never even look at can be re-homed too. They take up precious space that can be used for something more important that you use often. I know for me I have books that I have not read yet and keep thinking some day I will read them. Will I or will they still sit without even being opened? It is rare these days for me to open a physical paper book unless it is  cookbook. I am going to write every month on my calendar whether I opened any of those books. If I did not.........out it goes! My cookbook shelf has been weeded out over the years and I sold those books on eBay. But now the ones I have are ones I use and will be using them even more in the near future. Now I know what you are thinking, that since I eat low carbs what good are those old cookbooks? I love to redo a recipe from my old, before low carbs life, to make it into a good low carbs recipe. I am also going to make many recipes into a recipe for my Instant Pot. I will be using it much more very soon.

As you take things out of your home you will find other things that you thought you lost. It is amazing all the stuff I have found when I was removing things I did not need nor want. Living in a small space makes you remove even more of your belongings. Remember too, many of your family members will not want it either. If they are the ones going through your things after you have died, do you want them to be the ones who decide where your things go or to just put it all in a box to take to the dump? I am making those decisions  right now, because I am not leaving my belongings to anyone. It will all be sold in an estate sale and what money comes from it will be put in an account for my son or for his burial, since he is disabled and I am responsible for him. Not leaving anything to chance. Or to end up in the landfill if it is one of my most beloved items.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Sadness Or Happiness

Sadness encircles my heart today,
a feeling of which I cannot control.
Changes I make for my own well being,
hurt others, once loved by me.
No matter what roadblocks pop up,
obstacles in my quest for life,
a life created in my dreams.
Is there a reason it is not meant to be?
Or is it a life needed to be fought for,
over and over till the end of my time?
Strength fails me at times, I grow weak,
my endurance is tiring, I fall asleep.

Living so long as a shell of myself,
can it even be fixed in a simple moment?
No, I have lived too long in sadness,
agony, bitterness and anger.
I prayed for a way out, for a release,
finally it came, Started to feel happy again,
as time grew closer to my escape,
I became worried, then scared.
Instead of drawing closer to others,
I felt myself pulling away. Standing back
and reflecting on my thoughts, hopes
and dreams. When will my release come?
A prison of a life, held back by circumstance.

Will it be another passing moment in my life,
that was wrong or a disappointment?
No matter how many friends gather
to help me, I feel alone and isolated,
even in the midst of many.
I confide in few, my trust is guarded,
secretive is the way I live mostly.
Not wanting to share my pain with
the world, not needing pity or criticism,
and knowing, judging looks of people
who live superior lives, that look down
on others. I held my head high, regardless.

A friend took my hand and guided me,
encouraged me all the way to the door.
Kept me going and not letting me miss
my chance and on I marched to life,
my life, my new life. So many things
I had to do, sometimes almost giving up,
but on I went and soon it was worth the wait.
Now the day is upon me, leaving behind all my
sadness, grief and unspoken words. All those
reasons that propelled me into my new life,
and on through the door. The door to new
beginnings, my new life.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole