Updated: Jul 2, 2020
After finishing a challenging spring Freshman semester online, I was beyond ready for the opportunity to set formal schooling aside and get busy with the bunnies. If you had 100 days summer vacation, how would you spend it? I think I'll be doing more of the same for another month at least, so here's a peak into what I've been doing:
1) REFRESHING: We are normally super busy leading up to Easter. But with COVID-19 and cancelling all Easter events, this year we had some adrenaline push days, but nothing like years past. No parties. No preschool visits and classroom fieldtrips. Much more time back of house. Much slower days. Looking back, it's been good for my family to slow down and regroup and take care of "wheels that weren't squeaking yet" and some that were. Ok and a few slow oozing punctures too. Quarantine really stretched some people, but I've gotta admit that this opportunity to regroup was what I needed even if I didn't want it. It wasn't restful per se, but I somehow I do feel more balanced and fresh. Seems bizarre without the normal June schools-out-sprint right now. We normally have tons of events right now. And that's just not happening. I've come to a place of peace because that's totally outside of my control, so I'm embracing the break.
2) REJOICING: With the evolving timeline of COVID-19 we quickly shifted gears by using that time to visit more senior homes, bringing some joy to thousands of sweet elders and healthcare workers through windows over the past few months; it feels so good to keep mobilizing teams of bunnies to go visit, even if we still can't allow touching right now. We have truly missed spending time with volunteers, plus I have wished we could have visited all the additional sites where the bunnies were invited. I'm genuinely thankful that we were uniquely positioned to be ready to serve and I look forward to mobilizing more units to go out again starting in July. Some make masks, some write notes... we bring bunnies in wagons. Together we can all make a difference and I'm a little biased, but I LOVE our role and it makes my heart sing.
2) REMEMBERING: I've been intentionally trying to pull thoughts and memories together from the early days of this journey. So many people over the years have asked about how a kid ends up doing what a I do, and we did so much along the way, years before that effort culminated in buying an island. And so much more since we finalized the paperwork! It's amazing the more I think about how each of the rabbits ended up here at Peacebunny Cottage, and how the dream of getting an island came true. At our events we spend our time teaching about the rabbits and never seem to have time to answer those questions about how we got here, so I'm doing some writing to make sure that the stories and lessons don't get lost. I've committed to spending four hours a week to looking where we've been and to regrouping.
It's like a treasure hunt through old emails, journal entries, thank you notes, and photographs. Been piecing together our story from the days of printing paper business cards and learning how to use a paper cutter, to the first time we figured out how to pack bunnies in a Prius. Watching videos of the first 100 mile first trek up the Mississippi River in the houseboat. Some tears thinking about the sweet furry ones who are not longer with us, volunteers that have grown up and moved away. Amazing people we've met along the way. Funny how you can get so busy living that you can't really see or appreciate all the blessings, nor soak in the lessons. Super grateful to my parents and longterm friends who have done extra chores to allow me to dive into this process with a new friend Todd who's helping me pull the memories together. Lots of laughter. Lots of lessons.
3) REGROUPING: With less time at events and being on the road, we've spent a lot more time at Peacebunny Cottage. I love the time at the farm with the rabbits and our four goat, enjoying the turn to spring, planting a garden out back, and just bulk unhurried time with my family and all the furries and our crazy goats! I love this extra opportunity to think, evaluate, strategize and dream -- all of which scratches my entrepreneurial itch. Current problem solving focus: finding new ways to create cash flow when people can't visit with the rabbits and make up for the lost budget. Thankfully we always have planned ahead for six months of emergency and have pre-purchased food and stocked supplies. So although I'm not freaking out, I recognize that this path isn't financially sustainable. I just keep reminding myself that no matter how much I love and care for the rabbits, God does even more. So we continue problem solving mode. And super grateful for those of you who have donated and bought merchandise which helps the budget, but honestly is also such an encouragement.
4) REPAIRING & REFOCUSING ON BIOSECURITY: Long before COVID-19 we were always pushing for good "herdmanship" in order to keep the rabbits safe, especially with so many rare breed rabbits in our care. We have been teaching handwashing and biosecurity to people since I was nine, so not much new here. We haven't needed to make many sweeping changes. However with the RHDV2 (Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease) outbreak in six southwestern states, we are really shoring up the farm structures and processes, thinking about long term safety as we aim to prevent the preventable. New screens, tuck pointing, mowing/clearing vegetation along buildings and fences, preparing for new fencing. Before, we were focused on keeping the rabbits IN, now we are focused on keeping other critters and bugs OUT. Ensuring longterm safe food sources. Glad to share what we've been learning with others too. Plus it's been awesome to meet youth rabbit owners from across the country. All gotta work together!
So what will I be doing this summer over my 100 days? A lot more of these four "R's" I bet. But add the R for River and of course plenty of R for Rabbit time. I'm super excited to be back out on the islands for the warmer months and feel so blessed to be living the dream. Appreciate you being on the journey too!