Welcome to the craziness that is Triple T Pittsford Farm

Welcome to my daily dose of craziness.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Life Changer

     Most of the time, we wake up, maybe read the news paper or a bible verse, drink some coffee, and wake our spouses and/ or children and get the day started.  We don't think about the little things that happen throughout our day.  We just take them in stride and go about our merry way.  Little things like a missed appointment, or a missed email, even trouble with the car, are annoying, but not life changing events.  Most of us may have a hard time even pin pointing an event that we would remember as life changing.

     Sometimes, in the course of that day, we may have a fleeting thought that rushes in, then rushes right back out in the blink of an eye.  Some would say their most life changing event was their wedding.  The birth of their first child.  The loss of a loved one.  But, I view these as life adding events.  They're happy, sometimes sad,but they added spice to our life all the same.  Life altering events can be times that are planned, but more often they are unforeseen events.  They are a split second in time when something happens, that one can't always control.  When we think about these times, we usually think of an accident.  Some event that completely changes the way we live.  The way we do the everyday things in our lives.  It changes all the things we so often take for granted.  It drops us to our knees, without warning, and with out any way to prepare ourselves for the what the new normal may be.
     On October 9, 2012, I had one of those life changing accidents.  At the time, I thought it was just going to be an inconvenience.  Something that might have me down for a week or two, then I would be up and right back at the same old grind.  This time however, I was totally unprepared for the events that have since taken place.

     I went to work at 5:00 A.M., the same way I do five days a week.  Clocked in, and started putting merchandise on the shelves, just like I do every day at work.  I'm part of the morning stock crew in the electrical department.  I stock everything from lights and light bulbs, fuses and panel boxes, electric wire and wiring tools.  We have PVC and Conduit pipe in all shapes and sizes.  We stock everything, anyone might need to wire new construction or fix an old lamp.  On this day, my life would change, probably for ever, but at the time I had no idea what was about to happen. 

     While putting away ten foot sections of conduit  (conduit is pipe that is used to bury wires under ground.  They weigh about 18 lbs. each), I felt a lightening strike pain in my lower back, with burning, and what felt like pulled muscles.  I took a few minutes to catch my breath, and returned to work.  After about three hours, the pain was so bad, I had to stop.  Walking was becoming difficult and much too painful.  I reported the accident and went to the emergency room, where I was told that it was pulled muscles, given some pain medication along with some anti inflammatory meds, and was sent home to rest for the week.  The following Monday, I was back at work.  I returned on Monday, but I wasn't any better.  I managed to get through my four hour shift, but I was in tears by the time it was over.  I tried to work through the pain again on Tuesday, but I didn't make it through my shift.  I called off on Wednesday and tried to get in to see my doctor, but he was booked.  I was given an appointment for Thursday.  After seeing my doctor, I was given a letter that stated I would be off work for the remainder of the month, and would have physical therapy during that time, to help heel the "pulled muscles".  During this time, I had not been given any Xray's nor MRI's.  The only way the diagnosis was made, was from my description of the pain and the location of that pain.  Physical therapy was started, and by the end of the four weeks I was worse than when I started.  That's when my brain kicked in and I demanded an Xray and an MRI.  I had no idea what they were going to show.  I only knew that something more serious was wrong with my back.  This wasn't just pulled muscles.

     A  week later, I was told that the ligaments that attach the long muscle in right side of my back, to the bone had all been torn away from the bone.  There is no surgery or magic fix.  Only time would heal this type of injury.  Problem is, the four weeks I spent stretching my back in therapy, only made things worse.  I need to grow scar tissue that will re-attach the ligaments to the bone.  Problem number two.  Bone doesn't grow scar tissue, and with out a signal from my body, like a cut or surgery, the unattached ligament's don't know to grow scar tissue either.  I was told it could take over a year, for my back to heal.  As if that wasn't a big enough blow, the company I work for wasn't paying my workmans' compensation.  So, I'm not only seriously injured, but my family is going down in flames due to the loss of my income.

     We finally got the money worked out, after several phone calls and the threat of a court battle.  At this time I'm living in that little bubble that keeps you thinking that every thing will be fine.  I have good days, and bad days.  I'm very limited on what I can do, but I was hoping for progress and good news at one of the December doctor's appointments.  I hadn't had that moment when everything stops, dead still for a moment while you catch your breath.  The doctor wrote another letter, stating that I was still unable to return to work.  Three months, and I'm still not growing scar tissue. 

     I was required to fill out medical leave papers for my employer.  I took the form to the doctor's office on December 14th.  I got them back on December 23rd.  That is when I realized that my life had been changed, possibly forever.  There it was, in black and white.  the first line on the page that asked the question "How long will the employee be affected by this injury?"  The answer took my breath away.  "Possibly lifelong."  My brain went numb.  It's almost Christmas.  I'm supposed to happy, and filled with joy.  But, instead I was devastated.  How can this be? 

    Throughout my injury, I've been restricted on what I can and can't do.  Along with the usual "no lifting", I've been restricted on everything from the amount of walking I'm allowed, to no standing to cook, do dishes, no bending,  no doing laundry.  No climbing stairs (this is truly hard since our shower is located up stairs).  The normal, everyday things that we don't think about, are difficult at best.  I never thought about how much the muscles in your back, impact everything we do.  I've had disc problems in the past, and am well aware of the restrictions that causes.  But, even a cold with coughing, becomes almost unbearable when there is a serious problem with detached ligaments and muscles.

     There are just too many thoughts for me to process at once.  Since I read the report on the paper work, I haven't been able to sleep.  What does this mean?  Where will I work?  Will I be able to work?  How will we pay the bills?  I just can't shut my brain off at night.  Most nights I fight the bed because of pain.  But now, even with a pain pill, I can't relax.  Sleep and I, are just not finding each other.  Now I have headaches nearly everyday.  I'm depressed I think.  I don't know what depression feels like, but I'm not happy.  I have cried, alone, several times in the past three weeks.  Partly due to pain, but mostly due to worry.  I'm praying for strength and guidance, but I'm still so lost.  I don't talk to anyone about how I feel.  I would only be met with those looks that say "stop whining.  Really, how bad can you feel?  You get to sit around all day.  You get a check every week.  Yea, you really have a reason to be depressed."  I know this is the kind of injury that makes people question the seriousness of what I'm going through.  Others can't see it.  They can't feel it.  Even Tom, is having trouble understanding why it hurts to stand at the stove for 20 minutes cooking.  He was sitting right next to me when the orthopedic specialist said "no lifting, no doing normal chores like cooking, washing dishes, gathering eggs, doing laundry, bending, and being on your feet."

     I know this is that life changing moment.  It feels like I'm on a merry -go- round, with no way to get off, and no way to stop reliving those flash back moments.  The moment I was injured plays like a bad movie every night when I lay down and close my eyes.  That slow motion stop in time when I read the paper work before signing it.  I see the doctors hand writing.  The black ink on the stark white paper, "Possible lifelong".  I hear the words that he said during my last visit.  "You'll just have to wait and see what happens.  It may be 2014 before you can go back to work.  There just isn't anyway to make this heal quickly."  That day was the first and only time, in my adult life, that I have cried in front of a doctor.  Even in 1988, when they told me I had Renal cancer and would have to have a kidney removed, I didn't cry in front of anyone.  Being diagnosed with Fibromyaliga and knowing I would always be in pain, didn't hit me like this.  At least with Fibromyaliga, I can still work, walk, do chores, ride my horse, garden, play with my grand kids and live a normal life.  But this, has shaken me to the core.  Everything has come to a grinding, earth shattering halt.  I hate it!  I'm not in control, and I can't deal with that damn it!

     While most of us may still have a hard time pinning down that life changing moment,  my moment haunts me every minute, of every day.  It's too hard to take things one day at a time, when all the days run together in a blur of pain and sadness.  I feel like I'm trapped in someone else's life, but I feel the pain.  What I wouldn't give to go back in time.  Back to a time, to the point where I hadn't had my first life changing moment.


Monday, November 12, 2012

First Snow

"It's snowing!"  November 12, 2012, and it's snowing in Daleville Indiana.  Now, to most, this would be viewed as just another wet, and dismal Monday.  But, not to me.  I know.  I'm wired a little differently than most folks.

When I was a kid, I fell in love with the seasons.  My parents and grandparents, were all farmers.  Stewards of the land.  They all had a deep rooted love for the land, which they passed along to my sister and I.  In the spring we spent time in the woods, mushroom hunting and watching mother nature spring fourth with new life.  We planted crops in the fields, planted our gardens, and ooohed and awwed at new life as it was being born on our farm.  There is just something heart warming about a new born Hereford calf, or 12 new born piglets, all pink and warm. 

 In the summer we switched gears.  There was work to be done.  Weeds to pull, rows to hoe, and 4-H projects to complete.  Our family is still big on 4-H to this day.  My sister and I took no less than 28 projects to the fair each year.  My children followed, taking 54 projects to the fair between the three of them.  We had things like taking care of our livestock, cooking, gardening, and many other poster projects to keep us busy.  I continue the tradition by being a 4-H leader.  It's in my blood.  My parents were both leaders and judges, and I am doing this same. 

Fall brought harvest.  It's a busy time of  year.  Harvesting corn, soybeans, and putting up the last of the hay, are time consuming jobs, but well worth the effort.  The field isn't the only place for harvesting.  The garden produce that we worked so hard to grow in the summer, was now ready to be canned.  We were lucky.  Both sets of our grandparents lived close.  One set on the other side of the road, and one set on the other side of the driveway.  We had an orchard full of apple, peach and plum trees.  Grapevines, gooseberry, raspberry and strawberry patches in the side yard, and a five acre truck patch garden next to the barn.  We would spend weeks with our mom and grandma's canning jelly, tomatoe juice, ketchup, greenbeans, speghetti sauce, potatoes, and carrots.  We would freeze hundreds of bags of sweet corn, and make our own grape, and apple juice.  We made our own cider, applesauce and pie apples.  We put up gallons of raspberries, gooseberries and strawberries.  We butchered our own chickens, pork and beef.  We were teenagers before we realized other people went to the grocery store weekly.  Our family only went a few times a year for the things we couldn't grow or make outselves.  Dish soap, tolet paper, shampoo, flour, sugar and other staples were all we ever got in town.  Only on a few occasions, our mom would go to town for "party food" when card club was meeting out house.  This meant we would soda pop, with potaotes chips, dip, olives and sweat pickles.  It's funny, but we thought this was a treat.  However, I still love being able to look at my pantry, and seeing that all my hard work through the summer has paid off, and knowing that my family will be well fed during the winter.

At last, winter would arrive.  There was still plenty of work to be done.  We raised pigs, so we farrowed (had baby pigs born) year around.  I'm not sure why, but winter is my favorite time of year.  Most people, including my own family, frawn when winter comes around.  They gripe and grumble when the snow starts falling.  But, not me.  I love the snow.  Maybe I should say " I LOVE THE SNOW!"  There is just something renewing about cold, crisp air, and clean white snow.  It awakens my spirit.  As the earth sleeps, and renews it's self, I come alive.  I'm not one for hot, hummid, sticky day's.  I like the cool, new birth of spring, and I like fall and the cool relief, and color that it brings.  But, give me a cold, snow coverd day in the winter, and I'm one happy farm girl. 

My favorite time in the winter is when the snow has covered the ground.  Cold, overnight temperatures in the mid twenties, and crisp snow.  The kind that crunches under your boots.  That's happy snow to me.  I love getting up early, when it's still and dark, walking to the barn in quiet calm.  My breath rising up as I breath, and the thick frost standing up from the branches.  When I walk into the barn, I see the sheep laying quiet, chewing their cud.  Steam rises up through their wool.  A bed of yellow wheat straw, makes a slight crunching sound as the sheep get up to greet me when I walk into the barn.  The lambs stand and stretch, and  begin to nurse from the ewes.  This is the prettiest picture that I've ever seen. 

I love the snow when the sun hits it, and the yard looks like a field of diamonds.  Each flake with it's own shape and story.  I often wonder how long ago each flake was formed, or where the water droplet that became the snowflake, may have come from.  All this, reminds me of that all things can be cleaned and renewed, though God.  I like to think that God made the snow just for me.  I know this isn't true, but I like to think he had me in mind each time it snows.

My sister once asked me why I like winter and the snow more than I do the summer.  I couldn't give her any other answer, other than, "I just feel better when it snows".  Yes, it snowed for the first time on November 12, 2012.  The first snow of the year, it didn't stick, but it still gave me hope. Made me feel like I was being renewed.  It's just the start to the winter season, but I look forward to every snow flake that will fall this winter.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Not in my Plans...

I don't know about most of you, but I can usually tell when something is about to happen, and it's not usually in my favor. I get this knot in the pit of stomach that tells me to be on guard. Well, I've had that feeling since this past Monday, December 5th.
I knew it wasn't my cousin I was worried about. I knew all my kids were safe, and the grandkids' were safe and well. I can't alwasy lay a finger on the problem, but I can sometimes tell who it will involve. I think this little feeling of ESP is God's way of preparing me for something I may not be ready for. I've been this way since I was very young, so I have learned to brace for the worst. I thought everything was going well down at the other farm with the building of the new barn, and Tom's dad wasn't on my mind, so that was in the clear. But why was I feeling so uneasy? Sometimes this feeling goes on for a few days before disaster strikes.
So, I made it through Monday, and nothing happened. Tuesday went off without a hitch, rainy, cold, but still a good day. Then Wednesday got here and the world came crashing down on me.
Our house is very old, and our landlord hired a man to replace the ceiling in my bedroom last summer, and put new wall board in the up stairs bathroom. He came and looked at the job in August, saying he would be here in a couple of weeks to do the work. August came and went, and no worker's. September came and went, and still no new ceiling, no new wall board. October came. We were busy in the field, and we had a fall gathering, and still no work had been done on the house. I was sure he would show up the same weekend we had our gathering, and things would be a mess. But, as luck would have it, no one showed up to do the repairs. When Tom went to pay our rent in October, our landlord asked how we liked the new ceiling, and having a new light in my room. Tom was a little stunned. He told Roseella that no one had been at our house to do any work. Rosella was upset to say the least. She told Tom that she had given Dennis Construction a check for half of the work up front, and that they had cashed the check back in August when the work was supposed to be done. Tom told her to call them, and then call her attorney. She did call the construction company, then called us to let us know that they would be here the first part of November, and they would give us 48 hours advanced notice before they came to do the work. Well, here is where my little knot in my stomach comes into play.
I was babysitting for the boy's, and we weren't having a good day. I'm behind on the crafts I need to make for the up coming Luminary Festival on Saturday. The boys are off of their schedule because their mom had surgery on Monday. I had the boys two day's that they weren't expected, and they were both cranky, and then the door bell rang. When I opened the door, there stood two men I've never seen before, telling me that they were here to fix the ceiling today. NOT! I informed them they were to give me 48 hours notice. After all, that's my bedroom and I need time to get my stuff moved out. This guy says "well we're today". I repeated a little louder, that they were not only four months late, but they were to give us 48 hours notice, and that they would not be able to work while I had the boys. This guy just stood there on the porch looking at me. Then he said the wrong thing. "Let me speak with your husband". Needless to say, I wasn't very christian like, but I did get my point across. When I called Tom and filled him in, the first word's out of his mouth were "is the guy still alive?"
Tom did come down to talk to them. The guy apologized, and they left. I still only won half the battle. They returned this morning at 8:00 a.m. to start the job. Tom called Rosella and found out that they were supposed to call us in advance, and that the call was to have been made last week. She thought by now the job would be done. So, now I'm stuck. My house that was going to get decorated for Christmas today, is now a mess. Everything from my room is in piled in the dinning room and the livingroom. My bed is now the couch, and I'm not happy. Yesterday they told Tom they would be done by Saturday. Now, this morning they said they are "shooting for Monday or Tuesday".
I guess the moral to the story is, "listen to that little voice or that knot in your stomach". It's usually right. Also, make sure your working with a company who truely cares about what they are being paid to do. I'm not sure how all of this will end. We don't have a dumpster for the old plaster. The constuction guys keep asking me question's that I know nothing about, and they keep calling their boss for advice on how to put up the new ceiling fan, and the wall board in the bathroom. I don't think they are very experienced. I will blog about the out come in my next post...hopefully before next Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mud Bath

I'm a hick, plain and simple. I've tried to take care of my self, even though I don't do all the fluffy stuff or buy all the fancy creams and mud masks. I thought I was doing a good job of keeping up on the new fangled trends, but I found out recently that I'm out of the loop, and I have no idea what I'm doing. My daughter's have set me straight.
It has rained in Indiana for the past three days. When you live on a farm, your life revolves around the weather report, rain or shine. When it rains, it pours in Indiana, and it always pours when we have the most work to be done out side. I do all of the feeding on our farm, so I'm usually the first one out in the rain, and the mud. This wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have a bad back and bad ankles. I have trouble walking on a good day on dry ground, let alone trying to walk carrying buckets of feed in the mud.
Now, the area of farm that I'm in the most are two feed lots located on the south side of our very old, very large barn. The small lot is a "dry ewe" lot. This means that feeder lambs and ewe's that are not nursing lambs get fed out here. I can get into the lot through the barn by going east along an isleway, then through a swing gate that opens into a large pen. Then I make a hair pin turn to the right, duck under a 2 x 4 gate support and out into the lot where a bunk feeder is located. This is the same buck feeder that I have seen the bottom side of several times, thanks to mud and very hungry sheep. Today however, was a safe day. I only have two ewes in this lot since I sold the market lambs last week. Ha! I'm safe, and there is not chance I'm going back to the house wet and injured. Now there are several things wrong with this statement. One, I'm not done feeding. Two, it's still raining. Three, I still have to feed the horses in the big lot. And four, the day isn't over yet.
The ram and the other breeding ewe's get fed next. They are located in the north end of the barn in a large pen that is half inside, and half outside, but their feeder is inside. Once I get throught the gate, I generally ok. The problem begins with getting through the gate unscaved. One the ewe's (10 of them) and the ram figure out that I'm there with two buckets of feed, they all rush the gate. So, there I am, trying to get in while 11 very large sheep are trying to get out. I must look like the only salmon swimming the wrong way in a one way stream. My barn coat is salmon red, so this is a very good explanation of what I must look like to the mice that sit on the raffters and watch me do the feeding. I haven't figured out why the sheep rush out of the pen yet. They turn right around and come back in once they figure out that I still have the buckets of feed. Sheep aren't the smartest animals on the farm, but they are fun to raise. When I get their feed in the feeder, and get the water tub filled, I head to the chicken house to gather eggs, feed and water the hen's. This generally goes off without a hitch. Then I return to the barn and mix the horse feed.
Feeding the horses is adventure on a normal day. But, add mud, rain and three large animals, and it becomes a circus. We have three horses, and for the most part they are well mannored. My horse is the largestest of the mob at 17 3 3/4 hands tall. Stormy is a little hard to move around. He has a huge hind end and he has not idea where it's located. This has caused problems in the past. Cheyenne is 21 year's old and a beautiful bay appalossa mare. She doesn't look or act her age, and when she's hungry she tends to get a little nippy. Whisper is our newest little filly. She is just two, and only green broke at best. We rescued her. A man bought her as a weanling, thinking his 13 year old daughter could break her and have a good 4-H horse when it was all said and done. It turned out to be more work then they planned on, so the turned Whisper out into a steer lot and forgot about her for 2 years. He gave her to some other people who had horses, but they decided she was only worth being sent to the kill yard. A friend of mine heard about her, and brought her to my house. I wasn't really in the market for another horse, but Felicia loves Appaloosa's and Whisper is all App right down to the spots on hind end. Cheyenne's spots don't show up, so having an Appoaloosa with spots was just what she wanted.
From the moment you enter the horse lot, you are taking your life in your own hands when feeding alone. Imagine carring three bucket's of feed, while one horse tries to stick his huge head in the bucket while walking on your feet. Then add two mare's who are bucking and nipping at each other while running circles around you. Add some mud flying through the air, and very lumpy, rutted ground that's impossible to walk on when it dry out, let alone when you've had two plus inches of rain. I thought I was home free, sort of, because I had managed to get all three bucket handles in one hand, and I had Stormy by the halter in the other. I was making good progress toward the horse barn when out of no where a horse came sliding right at me. It was Whisper. When she ran past me with Cheyeene chasing her, we were in good shape. But, then she decided to make a sharp left turn and come back to me. Well, this is a normal every day thing she does. She thinks I will let her get her head in a bucket if she whizzes past me, turns left and run's at me. I'm not sure what she thinks this will do, maybe scare me into dropping the buckets, but in five months this hasn't worked for her yet. Anyway, when she normally does this little trick it's dry, and the gound will stop her in her tracks. But oh no! Not today. No! Instead, when she wheeled around she was a little closer than she expected, and when she spun to the left she lost her footing and was now headed my way on her right side. Well crap! Now what do I do?
That was a very short thought, because by the time I finished it, I was flying through the air, followed by a loud thud, and few unkind cuss word's, and a quick glance over my shoulder to see who was going to run over me. Stormy was headed right for Whisper and I. I ducked! I couldn't really get much lower, after all I was already laying in the mud, flat on my back. Oh lord! My back! I'm in pain! I'm covered in mud. Where is the feed? Where are the horses? Can I get up?
Of course, getting knocked down was the easy part. When I finally got to a sitting position, I realized that I was not out of the wood's, and that I was not yet safe. When I fell, and when Whisper stopped sliding, I was sitting right against her stomach, between her legs. Thank goodness she wasn't trying to get up yet. I rolled around and layed on her neck to stop her from getting up until I could get up on my feet. The only problem was, I couldn't get up. My back was out.
I have three buldging disc and one herniated disc in my lower back. I lays on my siatic nerve, and was causing me tons of pain at this moment. After a minute of getting my bearings, I was able to coax Stormy over to where Whisper and I were laying. Since he is so big, I thought if I could get ahold of his halter he could yank me up off the ground. The plan sorta worked. He got me up, Whisper got up, then Stormy turned and knocked me back down. At least this time I wasn't going to be smashed or kicked by a downed horse. I thought "this is ok, I can work with this". Wrong. In all of the confusion I lost track of the feed buckets. Luck me! They were right next to me, and there were still three hungry horses very near me. Yep! This is it! I'm finally going to die. I did what any insane person would do. I grabbed the buckets and threw them as hard as I could. The horses went for the buckets, thank God.
Now that I was realitively safe, I had to get up. I thought about using my cell phone to call for help, but I was to embarrassed. Instead, I decided to crawl to the picnic table. I finally got to my feet, and made my way through the mud back to the house. When I went through the back door, Tom and the girls started howling. They wanted to know what on earth I had been doing. What could I say. I told them that I wanted to see what all the hype was about taking a mud bath. The girls laughed so hard they almost peed their pants. Once they got calmed down, and Tom helped me up stairs and into a hot shower, they felt a little guilty for laughing at me. I told them I was always behind the times. We all got a chuckle out of my mis-hap. I'm fine. My back has been out for a week now, but the work goes on. I'm getting a little better. And, I'm still working in the mud, but now I know the correct way to get a mud bath.
I think I should start a new trend in mud bath's. I'm sure my mud has more minerals and protein than the average mud does in a spa. Maybe I should start charging for the "farm mud bath experience". I could leave the horses and the feed bucket's out of the experience, however, the horses do a lot to move you around. Awwwww, life on the farm. Now you know why farm wifes have such beautiful, smooth skin.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just When You Think It's Safe....

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  • A couple of months ago I started loosing chickens. Not a lot at a time, but I would notice that every couple of days a few more hen's would go missing. This was not a good thing since I make light bill money from selling eggs.
    I sleep on the main floor of our two story, 95 year old farm house, but I rarely heard anything going on outside. Throughout the summer, I'm awakened now and then by an owl, raccoon, or opossum on the hunt for a plump hen. I'm a lite sleeper, so several of them have met their end. I'm a country girl, I have a my dad's 16 gauge shot gun and several other's, so if you mess with my hen's, you'll meet one of them.
    For more than a week in June, I had been waking up like a shot. The kind of awakening that sits you bolt up right in bed, but not knowing why your awake. I would go back to sleep after making a round through the house and looking out all the windows, only to see nothing and hear nothing out of the ordinary. But I would always go to bed with that uneasy feeling that something was up. I get up between 3 - 4 a.m. and start my day, so I see dawn nearly every day. One morning, after a fitful night of very little sleep, I saw the cause of my uneasiness. A loud commotion caught my attention. When I looked out the south kitchen window, there it was. A fox, trying to run off with a hen that was much too large for him to get in his mouth and run at the same time. The hen was squaking like crazy. I grabbed a gun and headed out the back door.
    Now, let me set the sceen for you. It's June. It's hot out, even in the very early morning. We don't have air conditioning. I sleep in an old yellow, cotton, granny gown. I have boots on, my glasses, and I'm toating a very large gun. As soon as I stepped outside I said a little prayer of thanks for the darkness. We live in the sticks, but people still drive by on their way to work in town. I was sure glad no one would see me. I did get a shot off at the fox. I only nicked him. He dropped the hen, and headed south. I was greatful that I at least knew what I was fighting now. I knew where he coming from so I could be on the look out for him in the nights to come. Well, just when I thought all was clear, I was exposed. I my milling around, the dawn had creeped up on me. There was just enough day light for me to be seen. I sort of picture me glowing in the dark in my yellow cotton gown. Just as I was headed back to the house I heard a noise. The noise of a honking truck horn. Yep, I'd been seen!
    I'm sure that the guy in the truck was now fully awake. He had to be giggling and wondering if he was dreaming. How many guys can go to work and say "you'll never believe what I saw this morning as I was driving to work". I just know that I was the topic of some good belly laughs at break time. Pitcure it. Your driving to work, thinking about your day, when you look across the field to see this grown women, yellow night gown, boots and shot gun. What would you think?
    I could have crawled under a rock. I couldn't believe someone saw me. I prayed that it wasn't any of our neighbor's and that it wasn't anyone I knew. I watch facebook and my emails all week for a comment about the gun toating granny. Thank goodness there were none.
    The fox met his end. It wasn't my hunting skills that got him in the end. It was a pickup truck. My son picked off the fox on his was past the woods a couple of days later. Dustin didn't even know about my adventure. The stupid fox ran out of the woods and ran into the path of my son's truck tire. I'm sure that now, each morning, the gentlemen who saw me out with my gun, looks east each morning as he drives by to catch a glimps of the gun toating granny in the yellow gown.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Letting Go

    I'm not sure how many of you know, but I have been asking for prayer for one of our lambs. She has had a rough life, and it's now coming to an end. Her name is Puddles, and it's time to let her go to the lord.

    Puddles was born at the end of March this year. The ewe, who is experienced, but not very smart, had her lambs outside on the snow and ice. She was in the barn, but as most sheep do, escaped. I was busy with other ewe's so I decided she was still a few days away from lambing and I would get her put back in when I had some help. Well as nature would have it, "Sophie" didn't wait on me. She had two jet black lambs outside on the ice. I was on my way to town when I found them. I rushed Puddles and her brother into the house. Felicia (my eldest daughter) and I went right to work to save the lambs. They were both frozen. I was sure they were both dead, but using my stethoscope (I'm trained as a Medical Assistant) I could still hear a faint heart beat. We tubed each lamb, and gave them warm colostrum, to warm them from the inside out. Then we placed the lambs in front of the heater and began rubbing them to get their blood flowing. The little ram lamb was up and back out on the ewe in about four hours. But poor little Puddles was a different story.

    Puddles was so close to death I told Felicia that we couldn't save her, but Felicia just wouldn't give up. She gave Puddles warm colostrum every hour, and stayed with her on the floor, in front of the heater, rubbing her little body for 18 hours. Finally, the next day, Puddles began to come around. She got to live in the house for three weeks. We had to teach her how to lay down, she would just get someplace and fall over. Then, when her nap was over, she couldn't get up. We spend hour and days teaching her how to be a sheep. The physical therapy worked. She soon moved back to the barn, but this was after she left little puddls on my dinning room floor. Thus her name, Puddles. She would go right at the instant we would take the diaper off.

    Puddles wasn't much to look at when she first went back to the barn, but we decided to giver her a year to grow, then decide if she would join the other replacement ewe lambs, or be sold. Puddle grew nicely, and even went to our county open sheep show and got third in ther class. She has continue to grow since July, and was looking really nice, but then two weeks ago, disaster struck.

    Some how, while everyone was at work on Monday, September 26th, Puddles got both of her front legs caught in a wooden gate that led from the barn feeding room, out to the market lamb lot. We have no idea how long she had been hung up, but her front legs were in bad shape when we found her at feeding time. Dustin (my son) and I called the vet, then loaded Puddles into his truck and took her to Kyle's for surgery. Nearly three hours later we were headed home. The good news was that no bones were broken. The bad news is she had 50+ stitches, the main artery in her left leg was severed, and there is lots of vein damage in both legs. If the bill is below $1200.00, I will be in shock.

    For the past two weeks we've spent hours giving Puddles shots, changing bandages, doing physical therapy, and praying. My husband, Tom, would come home every night and get Puddles up for therapy. Every time anyone walked past the barn, they went in to get her up, give her food and water and get her on her feet for therapy. Even though we have worked hard, hoped and prayed for Puddles to recover, but it's not looking good. Now we are stuck in those hours of asking ourselves when is it time to just say "we gave it our best shot, but now it's time to let go, and put Puddles down?" 

    We'll be praying about what we should do. I know that in God's wisdom, there was a reason we have had to go through all this pain and suffering with Puddles. Maybe it was so we buile the new gate we should have put this spring. Maybe it was to teach me how to be a better "home vet" and learn better management practices. Only God knows for sure what the lesson is in all this. I sure it will come to light someday soon.
    Maybe God simply gave us a lesson in "letting go."

    Sunday, October 9, 2011


    Good morning all. What a beautiful week we have had. Harvest is in full swing here in the mid-west, and the dry weather has been a blessing. Plenty of sunshine and dry weather have helped make the beginning of harvest get into full swing quickley. But all this busyness has made me wonder if I'm the only one who feels like their Sunday is getting away from them.

    Sunday's used to be that day when everything slowed down. Families would get up, go to church, have family over for dinner, and spend the day doing as little as possible. But all that has changed. Of course we all know that all the stores are open on Sunday now. And that most of us work a six day work week, and that Sunday is usually the only day we have to get our shopping done, catch up on laundry and get everything put back in order, so we get up and start the work week all over again on Monday. But, I don't like this. It's Sunday! Things should be moving slow, right?

    I started thinking about this off and on a few months ago. I was all ready for church, and the whole day started falling apart. Just as I was ready to leave, the sheep and the horses got out. Then just as I got them put back in, my husband called and said he needed help down at the other farm. He promised that it would only take a few minutes, I wouldn't get dirty, and that I could still make it to church. Right!!! The "few minutes" turned into three hours, and I missed church. Then just when I thought the worst was over, and could sit down for a few minutes, Tom called again and said that he needed me to follow him to Anderson. He was moving equipment from one farm to the other. Then I needed to run to the feed store for feed and other supplies, then return to pick him up and take him back to his dad's. Oh, then I was informed that I was making supper for them. That meant a trip back to town for groceries. The next thing I knew, it was time for me to do my feeding, and do the load of laundry that some how found its way into the laundry room, via our daughter with a note that said "I need these washed, I'm at Ben's". Wait a minute! It's 10:00 p.m., Sunday is nearly over, and I am still doing things for other people. When do I get my time?

    My plan for Sunday was church, lunch with the grandkids (I was going to surprise them) stop by the feed store, then home to work in the flower garden, sit in the sun, read my book, do my evening chores and maybe go for a ride on my horse. Just a relaxing Sunday. What happened? The next thing I knew it was mid-night. Then the work week started all over. I miss the Sunday's that were spent with my little ones. (Their all grown now). I miss sitting on the porch swing. I miss just sitting and doing nothing for 30 minutes.

    The Amish have the right plan. The veiw Sunday as the Lord's Day all day long. They even skip cooking chores on Sunday. They only do the most basic work, like feeding the livestock. They plan meals of cold cuts so no one has too cook. They go to worship, eat dinner and then spend the day visiting family and friends. Whay can't we do that? They work hard all week long. They have breakdowns. They have meetings to attend, and children. Where did we go wrong?
    I have been more agressive about telling my family my Sunday plans. I'm the only one who attends church, and I'm going no matter what! Breakdowns and laundry will have to wait, at least until I get home from church. They are getting the choice of left overs or pizza for supper. I'm doing my chores, then I'm sitting and relaxing for the rest of the day. I even said all this out loud.
    The only thing that has changed, is that I have been able to make it to church. I'm heading there in a few minutes. We are baling hay this afternoon. Moving the equipment to another farm, and I'm going up north to Marion to pick up my new puppy. Then it will be home for chores and pizza for supper. I still haven't gotten to slow down, but I'm still hopeful. I am keeping my fingers crossed that one of these days we will get snowed in. On a Sunday.