Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Here's my new Adirondack chair I got a few weeks ago. It's really comfortable. I haven't sat in it much though, it's been so hot with not a bit of breeze. I hope I'll take time to sit outside and just enjoy things. I got it from one of the Mennonite stores. I've been saving up for it for quite awhile. I've moved it around several different spots and still am not sure where I'll put it.
Here's one of the views from my new chair........
The weather is a little cooler, --in the 80s instead of almost a 100 every day. The humidity is extremely high though (94 percent at almost 10 p.m.) so it doesn't seem as cool as it is (66 degrees). However, it is a big relief after the oppressive two weeks we've had. I think it's suppose to remain in the high 80s this week with 60s at night. Maybe I'll get my tomato patch weeded. It's a mess. Boone and I went for a little walk tonight, so you can tell it's not as hot. I'm trying to distract him from things, as he is taking losing Ariel pretty hard. I think he enjoyed his walk.
Hope you all have a good week.
Friday, June 26, 2009
May 5, 1997 -- June 23, 2009
Goodbye Beautiful Girl
Little Ariel, you are missed greatly. Just the other day you came to visit for awhile, as I kept you for your breeder. Just for a few weeks. But you never left. You became Jody's pesky little sister, and a member of the family. What a silly little dog--you enjoyed the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, sometimes all in the space of a minute. You could run like the wind, and used that to torment Jody, who would knock you flying if she caught you.
We went to obedience class when you were a few years old, just to have a bonding time. You were the star of the class, most of it old hat to you. While we were being instructed you would roll on your back, feet to the sky and 'rest'. What a ham. Your big treat after obedience and on the way home was french fries. Your addiction for french fries never went away. As you got older you very conveniently forgot all that obedience. Really you didn't need it, you were smart enough to do what you had to do.
You collie girls saw a steady stream of animals come in around here, and never offered to bother anything. Sheep were cool--you thought they were okay, but Jody adored them. Lambs were enticing and needed to be sniffed over carefully. Cats loved on you obnoxiously and you would walk off when tired of it. You and Jody shared a yard with two chickens for several years and I didn't think twice about leaving you alone with them. Good dogs. Very good dogs.
In your younger days you were a consummate thief. Anything not nailed down was fair game. Tools were a particular favorite. You had a voice that would make a grown man cry, literally. It could send me over the edge in zero point two seconds when you were really revved up. Collie barks tend to be shrill anyway, but you get the prize. Watching you and Jody race the fence barking at loud cars was always interesting. Without fail there would be a meltdown in the system at some point, and you both would turn on each other. It sounded and looked horribly fierce, but if you looked a little closer, you could see it was all an act. Exposed fangs and clacking jaws only rent the air. Then you both would untangle and race on like nothing every had happened, only to repeat a short moment later.
Then age crept up on you, and you lost your best buddy. You slowed down and became frailer each day. You put up with boisterous Boone and forged your own unique bond with him. Finally your body gave out and it was time. The light still shown in your eyes, but you were tired, in pain and confused. It was hard to make that choice for you, but your last day was peaceful and full of the things you loved. My life has indeed been blessed by your silly Arieyberry self for eleven and half years. My blessings are many, and in grateful return, although difficult, my gift to you is a quiet, pain free end, cuddled in my arms.
Three pictures of Ariel at her 12th Birthday.
Because we choose to open our hearts to love our animals like family, we open our hearts not only to joy but to pain. Even if we are blessed to have them for a 'long and healthy' lifetime, their lifetime is painfully short. However, not having them in our lives is not an option. Because the pain they bring, when they pass is far outweighed by the joy, laughs and love they shower us with.
I can't imagine a life without my critter family. I am blessed to have such a welcoming committee every time I come home. They inspire me to get up and get going even on the worst of days. Lessons can be learned from them. Enjoy the moment; don't be afraid to be giddy about the ones you love; every minute is a new minute; run fast, play hard, sleep deep; enjoy special treats, a ride in the car, a long walk; know whats important; cultivate friendships, even if you are nothing alike; enjoy quiet time; don't stress over the irrelevant.
Losing one of the furry family is hard. There is a gap, an empty space, a void that their presence filled. You see them out of the corner of your eye, you continue to do the special things they required, only catching yourself in mid action. It's difficult to see the other animals look for their lost friend, to be unsettled and lonely. Animals do grieve and deeply. I've witnessed it and have no doubts on the matter.
Time moves on, and eventually it's easier to think of the happiness they brought than the sadness they created when they died. Sometimes there is a sense of relief because you aren't worrying about how they are coping or feeling with their failing bodies. Life is different but it continues.
Still, just yesterday you were a pup........
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I hoped that it was because she had been in the air conditioning during the night and she was just really stiff. I stayed home with her, because there was no way to leave her alone, but there was no improvement during the day. She can get up if I help her, and walk with the sling under her belly to support her hips/rear, but can't initiate getting up, or remain standing very long. As the day progressed it has become more difficult for her to walk the necessary steps to go out to potty.
I set up her inside dog bed, which is very thick and put sheets over it. Then I put the ex-pen around it, so she has to stay on it. She doesn't like it, but I can't risk her falling and struggling on the floor. She has been fairly comfortable today and her appetite is good. She is obviously failing though and I've come to the difficult decision to take her to the vet tomorrow to have her put to sleep. I hope that her night is not too hard. I have medications to give her if needed to ease the pain. I keep hoping that she will hop up and be okay, but it isn't looking very good.
Her breathing is hard, and it's very difficult for her to walk very far even with support. I just can't stand to hear her cry in pain, and hope that the meds will keep her comfortable tonight, like they have today.
It's been terrifically hot here and I've had the dogs in the house quite a bit over the weekend, so they could be cool in the a/c. She was fine yesterday--not spry, but moving around okay. I don't know if the extreme heat has precipitated this or being in the cooler a/c air. I guess it doesn't matter. Her health has been fragile for awhile, and it's been noticeable that she is losing ground.
As hot as it is, my worry is for all the critters. This is so hard on them, and it sounds like it's not going to break for a week or more.
Boone and Sage are besides themselves and Meshach has kept his head buried against the covers most of the day.
Tuesday (today)---our vet appointment is for 4:00 p.m. I know it's the right thing, but it's still very hard. She rested comfortably last night, but cannot move around. She can't get up or walk without assistance and it's obvious she is uncomfortable and in pain if the meds wear off.
I take her outside every few hours, but otherwise she is on her big bed resting in the a/c with the fan on her. I fixed her a special breakfast of fried chicken, hot dogs and cheese (she loves all three) and she enjoyed every hand fed bite. I'm just wishing this day was over. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers, please.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Being traumatized from coming upon a thriving store line in the middle of no-where, I just stood in line and zoned out. Conversation swirled around me, and seemed to mostly revolve around allergies and other sicknesses the individuals were experiencing.
Really, all I wanted were two of their glazed donuts.
Once in the store, strict (made-up-by-those-in-line) policy was to turn to the left, and make a half circle around the room. The room which is only about 10 x 10 foot. Only about eight people could fit in comfortably. The honor code forbade jumping out of line and snatching that last package of cookies, or bread. It sure did smell good in there and was surprisingly cool. One lady cut in line before we even got in. However, she apologized profusely and explained she wasn't buying anything, and she sweared (swore?) she wouldn't mess up the line dynamics, but just wanted to see what it was like since her friends were in there. I get the idea she wasn't a local, and perhaps feared we would lynch her? I mean we might be hillbillies, but not Deliverance material even on our worst days. (Maybe this is where I should have said "sure go right ahead" and then started humming Dueling Banjos?)
While standing in line our entertainment was watching from across three fields, the distant figures of Mennonite girls 'picking something up'. Speculation was high--maybe picking up storm debris someone suggested. Hmm...or maybe they were weeding a garden? Again I got the distinct impression these folks were not locals.
So anyway, I may have boughten more than two donuts. Maybe a gooseberry pie (for my folks), maybe a loaf of bread, maybe a couple packages of cookies and stuff. Maybe.
Once I got away from there, my next stop was the veggie stand just down the road. I figured I'd really have to fight my way into that mess. Funnily enough there was only two other cars and they were leaving when I got there. Well, what does that say about us? Don't answer that, I think we all know what the response to that is. At the veggie stand I bought some tomatoes, squash, onions, lettuce and another loaf of wheat bread.
Gosh, it was getting hot. Onward to the little city, to pick up a few things. First though, I wanted to swing by the bulk food store over on the highway. Much to my deep, deep regret, the little bulk food store, once located near the bakery and veggie stands in the heart of the Mennonite settlement, has closed down. There is another bulk food store, ran by Mennonite's but it's closer to town, and these are 'transplanted' more modern Mennonite's from out of the area. It's a nice store, but very modern (without overhead gas lamps and a dark shadowy interior), and it's just not very thrilling to shop there. I did stock up on a few things...and...I bought me a chair! I'll feature my new chair later. I've been saving awhile for it.
In town I headed out to the vet's before they closed at noon, to pick up some Prevacoix for Ariel. It was a mad house there too. I had to wait for awhile, but I didn't mind. It's always entertaining to wait in a vet's office. The most amusing thing was when 'Rambo's' turn came up. Both vet's assistants came into the waiting room (one of which is seven days away from having her baby), and told Rambo he needed to be 'muzzled' up. They quickly fastened a blue muzzle over his snout and marched him off to exam room before he even knew what hit him. Oh, and Rambo was all of a twenty pound rat terrier! Sounds like he has a big reputation though. There was also a 'girl Boone' there, on the verge of whelping pups, it looked like. Gosh, she was ugly. (sorry Boone) She was much shorter than Boone, kinda squatty and her head didn't have much definition or expression. She was also a very pale tan color. She's probably everything a Dogue de Bordeaux should be, but Boone wins in my book any day! Of course I'm not biased or anything.
After that quick stop, it was off to the local 'mart store. Madhouse doesn't even cover it. What about this recession? What about people cutting back on their spending? Not having any money? Staying home 'cause gas is so high? Good grief. Doesn't anyone stay home anymore?
As you can probably tell, shopping and being around other shoppers is the highlight of my day. Not. At least I didn't run over anybody with my cart. Although I came this close, let me tell you. It's like, hello, do you have to squat there in the aisle with your butt covering both lanes and stare at that T-Shirt for twenty minutes? Do you? I only barely brushed against her with the cart, I swear. She never even flinched. Obviously she was a more advanced shopper than I.
Oh, I almost forgot, I also went by the Library book store and dumped off a nice big sack of books, and only came home with four books and magazine. I think that might be some kind of record for me. I definitely need a pat on the back for that.
Back on the home front it's 84 degrees, 'feels like' 91 and the humidity is at a whopping 70 percent. I wimped out. The air conditioner is on, and I've got the back curtained off. The temp has dropped to about 80 here in the back and with the fans and air conditioning on it's very comfortable. I brought the dogs in and they are very happy to be stretched out on the cool floor. The sheep and chickens aren't so lucky, and are laying low in any shady spot they can find.
At some point I'll have to pry myself out of my little ice house, but not until this evening.
Have a great week.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I had worked up several batches to send to the processors a month or so ago--some nice dark moorit shetland for roving and some of the white dorset/merino for pillow stuffing. The upshot is that I still have about 15 or so fleeces out in the garage, still in black garbage bags, waiting their turn on the skirting table. I leave the bags open so the fleeces can breathe, but I cover the bags over with a lightweight sheet to keep dirt and other vile things out of the wool.
There are also quite a few bags of last years fleeces and this years fleeces in the breezeway, which have been skirted but not sold. Since I was getting low on Dorset roving, I pulled out Gracie's fleece from last year which was in the breezeway, to sort through it and get it ready to send off. Gracie is my only Dorset that I have left, so I always save her fleece to have processed. As I looked through the fleece, it was clear that it wasn't as nice as her fleece from this year. Since I like to use some of the best fleeces for roving, I decided to relegate last years fleece to the pile I'm going to send off for quilt batting. So off to the garage I went to pull the sack with her fleece from this year.
Boone has been having a hard time lately, getting in trouble more often than not, so I tucked a treat in my pocket and off we went to the garage. I had him sit, and 'wait' while I squeezed past my truck into the front of the garage where the fleeces were. All the time, I was sweet talking Boone, telling him he was a good boy! and 'wait'. I pulled the sheet off the fleeces, poked around a couple of the bags, looking for Gracie's. Nope that's not it, not that one either. Crawling over bags, I got right in the middle of the pile, and found her bag. Good deal. Boone was still patiently waiting. I backed out of the pile, squeezed back around the truck, swinging the bag as I went. Boone, such a good boy, I cried, making a big deal of his doing something right. Wait...wait... Lay down....good boy! Okay! Then it was time for the well earned treat, but wait, what is that noise? What the dickens? Bzzzzzzzzzz. The sack is buzzing! The sack I had right against me is buzzing up a storm. The sack went sailing and I went running. Yikes. Boone just chomped his treat. Of course Boone also eats bumblebees for breakfast.
I was not willing to relinquish Gracie's fleece to these, these....bees, or whatever was buzzing in the bag! But I'm also a big chicken when it comes to flying stinging things. (Childhood trauma involving cows, cousins, and an underground yellow jacket nest.) So I went and got my pitchfork, and shut Boone in the yard. Thus armed, I advanced on the buzzing sack, speared it with the pitchfork and attempted to dump the wool out on the ground. It wasn't very smooth and I did abandon ship twice, screaming run! run! at the top of my lungs as I did indeed run--even though I was the only one in the vicinity. I can run like the wind when I think bees are thinking about swarming me.
Finally I got the fleece out, and was able to poke it a bit with the pitchfork, until I could see a brown mass, with bees hanging on it. I'm not really up on my bees, but I'm guessing this was their nest (hive?) and they were just starting to build it. They really look like bumble bees, but they are pretty small, I think. In the end, I got the brown mass separated from the wool, speared the wool and threw it up on the bed of the pickup and left it overnight. The next morning, I pulled the wool off the truck (still with the pitchfork) onto a sheet and let it set out in the sun until this evening. I skirted it very thoroughly and found one dead bee in the wool, but no other 'things'. So Gracie's fleece was saved with about six pounds of it use able.
The bees, they weren't so lucky. Their little brown thing is still laying out by the garage, abandoned by the bees. I will be carefully pulling out one sack of wool at a time (with my pitchfork) over this next week, to see if there are more bee sack nests. I sure hope not. Always something to keep a person on their toes! Or at least a person should be on their toes..not poking around paying the least bit of attention to what she is doing. At least I haven't gotten stung....yet....
Friday, June 19, 2009
Portrait of an Unstable Personality
Also known as Sage Grass Cat
(Pictured working himself into a tizzy, because he wanted to play a Sage Grass game, but I was too busy laughing at him)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I sat Meshach up on the cat tree so I could make the bed. He suddenly turned into this ornery trouble making creature. Now I feel I've given Sage a bad rap all along. It's not him--it's the cat tree that makes them do it!!
Meshach has been doing pretty good with his gingivitis problem, but recently his breath started smelling obnoxiously bad again, so I decided to get him into the vet for a followup. When he started drinking a little more, and visited his litter box a couple more times than normal, I decided to get him in sooner. Yes, I equated two extra times in the litter pan, and actually drinking out of the water bowl (normally he uses the bathroom faucets) as 'excessive' and was sure he was developing diabetes.
So Thursday morning, I took all their food and water away before I left for work. I came home around 2:15 and peeled him out from under the covers, stashed him in the crate and took off. He wasn't a happy camper.
To set my mind at ease the vet did a blood sugar test and he turned out fine. He also gave him another long acting antibiotic shot, a refill for the prednisone and --something new--Chlorahexadine rinse for his mouth. Meshach was his normal sweet self, and endured it all with a long suffering expression on his face, but no acting up.
He seems to be perking up a little, but is very clingy--insisting every time I lay down to plop down near or on my head. This is a little uncomfortable with the hot weather, but it's hard to say no to him.
I haven't started the mouth rinsing yet. I know it's gonna be traumatic for all involved! It has to be done every day too. I guess I better just get at it. It's suppose to help keep the bacteria from building up.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Really it took probably only about a half hour to mix up. Shaving the Fels into hot boiling water was what took the most time. Once I mixed it all up, it made about three or four gallons of a soap mixture. It stays the consistency of soft jello, unless it is really warm out, then it becomes more liquid like.
I wash from 5-6 loads of laundry a week this time of year, I'm not a compulsive clothes washer, so I try to get several wears out of my chore clothes and such. However this is a messy time of the year! I've been doing allot of dog bedding washing too. I mixed up the batch around April 20th and have about two and half more gallons or so left now. The total cost of the initial ingredients were about $6.00 to $7.00 dollars.
As far as cleaning, it does just fine. It does not suds up like the commercial stuff, but does clean well. You don't get a strong soapy smell like the commerical stuff. The only problem I've encountered, is when I had some damp wash cloths piled up and forgot to wash them right away. They developed that nasty sour-mildewy smell, and the soap didn't cut the smell. Adding a little bleach to the whites/towels etc has taken care of that problem.
I also add a little Orange essential oil to the mixture so it smells purty. You have to shake it all up in the bottle before use, but I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. I'll probably do it again. This time I'll only need to buy the Fels Naphtha since I have the washing soda and Borax left from the first batch.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Between mowing and garden planting I've been working on a few other projects. I think ya'll will be proud of me. Remember the drama last fall when I had to re-stack the spider infested woodpile? Well.....I just finished up straightening and stacking the still substantial wood pile, and here it is just June! Woot! I'm very pleased that I actually did something way before it had to be done. Of course the garage/hay barn is a totally different story and needs cleaned, like yesterday. I do have a small pile of over sized or odd sized pieces of wood that I need to take the electric chainsaw to. I haven't actually ever used the electric chainsaw before, but I thought this would make a nice little project to learn on.
I also got my very messy, piled up breezeway swept and sort of de-cluttered. It's hard to totally make it look nice, since I have bags and boxes of wool stacked along the walls, in the wood box, and on the bench. It does look better though.
There is some headway being made on washing dog/cat bedding from the winter. Truthfully I had washed much of this before, prepared to pack away for the summer, then along came a cool spell, and I took pity on the critters and put them back in their various houses and beds. Another job on the list is cleaning out Boone's house. It's not really a dog house, but a shed. It started out as a sheep shed, then I added a floor and now it's Boone's house. I pack it with straw in the winter and his big fluffy bed, blankets and several pillows. Now all that needs to be taken out and washed. The fluffy bed and pillows will go back in and I'll put rug mats on the floor. A bug bomb will need to be set off, and his window opened. Yes, he has a window....
My little 'patio' garden seems to be doing well. You can see the picture of it here. The three tomato plants are ones I bought--my seedlings are in the ground on the other side of the house. Of course these are about six times bigger than my home growns.. but oh, well.... I think the one on the left is a cherry tomato, the one in the middle a 'patio tomato' (which I thought was a variety of cherry but evidently is not) and the one on the right, a 'black tomato'. I bought it at the Fiber Fair, and that is about the only description it had. It might have said Russian Black but I'm not sure. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. Immediately behind the tomatoes is a wire rack/tub kinda thing I bought at a yard sale. Not sure what it was for--maybe something out of a store? I lined it with wool and filled it with dirt and have planted squash and some lettuce and spinach in it. We will see how that works! To the right of the picture you can see the sawhorses and the edge of the cattle panel that I use for a skirting table for the wool. And yes, that is an old toilet stool in the back there. I mean what do you do with them? It did have some lovely pineapple mint in it, but it died this winter. I'm thinking maybe basil or flowers this year.
I'm planning on turning the sheep out in the upper pasture Monday night for awhile, so Boone and I went out to walk the pasture. Ariel just didn't think she was up to it, and ended up going back to the house. The warmer weather is very hard on her. We checked fences, with Boone really hoping that the neighbor dogs would make an appearance so he could threaten them (they didn't) . I only found one thistle to chop, so that was an improvement. The field isn't very thick, but does have lots and lots of clover. The overall growth is about four inches so it might hold the sheep for about four weeks. It'll be pushing it, but if we get rain, it might hold out. They will be thrilled though, as it is chock full of clover, hops, vines, tender weeds and sprouts. A sheepie smorgasbord.
This week I hope to get the rest of the flowers and seeds planted and mow one of the paddocks. Maybe get started on that garage too...
Have a great week.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
The weather has settled down a bit, and we haven't gotten any more wicked storms. It's pretty nice at night with a cool breeze. Not too bad today either with a nice breeze, but pretty hot out in the direct sun.
My house was getting pretty rough looking, so I spent some time yesterday afternoon sweeping, de-cluttering and straightening. I had to go to the local 'Mart store--which I loathe--to pick up some supplies so I was later than normal getting home. After getting the house at least half way presentable I started on the dogs.
I was only going to bathe Ariel, because she needed it badly. Bathing, trimming, clipping etc is an ordeal with her, because she just won't relax. She stiffens up like a board and makes it very hard on herself and me. She has always been like this to some extent, but being old and frail just makes it ten times worse. I decided to soak her in Boone's pool, then soap and wash and rinse her. She kept sliding backwards in the pool when I made her sit down, I thought she was gonna mess around and go under! The whole time I'm soaking her and soaping her up in Boone's pool, he was standing in the water looking very stubborn. This is my pool. Mine!!!! While he has never been aggressive he certainly is possessive of his things! I decided since he was just hanging around anyway, I'd give him a bath too. Then of course he wanted nothing to do with getting in the pool. No way.
When I finally got Ariel done, she wasn't doing too good--having trouble with her hips and falling over. I finally got her settled down and locked in the hallway where she could lay in front of the fan or on the dog beds (she did neither). I upped her pain control meds this morning, but she seems to be doing okay for now. However I intend to try and lift her up on a portable table and work on clipping/brushing her later in the day. She needs it so bad, but I know it will be hard on her.
Boone got his soaping and washing and smells much better. I brushed a ton of hair off him this morning.
Yesterday before I left for work, I set off a bug bomb in his house and locked him out of the pen for the day. This morning, I took out his bed, and am washing the covers, and letting the cushion part dry and air in the sunlight. It looks like quite a bit of moisture worked it's way into the house and straw bedding in one area, so his cushion was damp on the underneath. I also forked out all the straw and had several loads to mulch the garden with. Then I climbed in his house, knocked down cobwebs and swept up the floor. Again there are a couple of damp spots the floor that need to air dry, so I might not put any rugs down for a few days. Boone didn't really approve of me moving his things out of his house. He lay down and put on his best sad face and looked all mopey while I worked. Did I mention he does not like change?
I'm still washing the never ending (it seems) supply of dirty animal bedding. I think once I get this batch done today, then it'll only be the normal weekly stuff. At least the sun is shining today so that makes everything dry quickly and sweet smelling.
Thursday night I was pretty tired after the lack of sleep from the storms/electricity being out the night before. I dozed off while reading, around 10:00 or 10:30 p.m. Boone was very happy and was quiet as a mouse so I wouldn't wake up and evict him. It was nice though, because it was cooler, and the fans were rustling up a pleasant breeze. Finally about 12:30 a.m. I rousted myself and went out to put Boone up for the night and check the sheep. After I put Boone up I went out and was shinning the light around, counting sheep. About then I heard a car coming over the hill on the highway from the North. Then I saw that it was two cars, traveling slow. I had an idea they were up to no good, so I shut my flashlight off. I heard them stop down in front of my folks house near the old store. About two seconds later I heard a big crashing noise. I took off towards the fence line, not sure what I planned to do, maybe scream at them or something, but I heard a door slam and they took off almost immediately. I quickly finished counting the now spooked sheep and went inside and called my folks to see if they were okay. I wasn't at all sure what had happened. Mom didn't hear it, but my Dad did. He went out and checked and they had thrown something (or used something to bash in) through one of the large plate glass windows on the old store. Most of the windows have now been damaged as well as the door from these vandals. Miserable little creeps. They tend to travel in teenage packs and never are up to any good. Reminds me of a bunch of dogs--by themselves they are nice little things, but team them up with others of their kind on a dark night and even their mommas wouldn't recognize them. The sheriff's department came out the next day to file a report, but there isn't much that can be done. It's weird though that the one night I'd be out late checking the stock was at the exact moment they pulled into town to do their pathetic little show of juvenile delinquency.
Anyway, I didn't sleep much the rest of the night, since we didn't know if they'd be back or not.
Ah....clean sheets and a cool breeze.....
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The pattern seems to be: pea soup humidity with heat that builds up until it's hard to exist. Then massive storms move through at a rapid pace, with terrifying looking clouds, thunder, cloud to ground lighting, wind, and excessive rain.
Tuesday we had two major storms move through. One was around 2:00 p.m. and I was still at work. The sirens started whooping and wailing while I was at lunch. Taking a late lunch anyway, I thought I'd just settle in my truck for a few, while watching the rain. That didn't last long before the sirens started in. Once inside we (the secretaries anyway) all went to the 'tornado room' to wait it out, all the while listening to the rather idiotic news reports on the radio. I went and looked out the back doors several times, and I don't recall seeing clouds so low and so black as the ones moving in were. Thankfully, despite the radio warnings, this storm was mostly bark and no bite for both where I work and at home. Just before quitting time, around 4:30 it got eerily black outside. Looking out the window you couldn't see a thing, it was so dark. The minute it hit 4:30 I was out the door and headed home---I didn't want to get trapped in at work. I had just left town when my Mom called and told me they had had a bad one come through and that I'd probably be driving right into it. (I was). I could tell by my Mom's voice that she was pretty spooked. She doesn't often sound that way, so I knew it must have been bad. As far as they could tell, though, nothing had been damaged. Going home was a challenge and I drove through about 10 miles of hard rains, occasional hail, lighting and high winds. It was very disconcerting to have the hail randomly wap the top of the truck, so that you were never prepared for it. I didn't have to pull off, but did reduce speed. I was doing allot of cloud watching too. Somewhere along there I hit mild rain, and utter calm--my guess was the eye of the storm. So tightening my grip and preparing for the tail end of the storm I drove on.
Later Mom told me that Dad had been looking out the back door when the second storm rolled through and saw a wall cloud directly over the house with some rotation. As it moved in a diagonal from their house, he could see the rotation clearly over my home. Yikes. Thankfully no damage was done, but you could see a wide swath of little limbs and leaves strewn across a specific path, where both our homes were.
That evening we had more rain and storms move through, but they were fairly mild. The only trauma was certain members of a certain sheep flock decided they didn't want to come off the new grass, no matter that it was on the verge of storming. With a little help from my trusty shepherd's crook and my healthy and angry lungs, they did come in, even though reluctantly.
Yesterday we had a hot humid day, but no storms during the early hours. I took off early from work to take Meshach to the vet again. (More problems with the gingivitis, but I think he is going to be okay). The trip was uneventful and we made good time. I was going to go to the local 'Mart store to pick up supplies but it was just too hot to leave him in the truck. After I got home, got him settled back in the house, ate supper and did a few indoor chores, it was time to turn the sheep out again. I'm getting them adjusted to the new grass/clover on the upper pasture, before I turn them in there full time, so I have to limit them to a certain amount of time. As I turned them out I could see clouds building up and hear distant rumbling. Agh... another storm.
I've been having some problems with my flock of chickens. I have one hen that is totally 'down' and can't walk and another that has started limping. Searching the net, and going on some suspicions I had, it seemed like it might be 'bumblefoot'. There was one long detailed account of how to remove these things from the chickens feet (involving a knife, and tweezers), so I decided to really exam the girls in question and rub some tea tree/olive oil/lavender stuff I'd mixed up onto their feet. Backing up a bit, the one chicken that is down has been getting nightly soaks in Epsom salt, with no apparent improvement. Bear in mind that all my girls and the roo are geriatrics, so some decline is expected...but not this.
I realize I'm veering wildly from my storm story...but it does all tie back in eventually! Once I get something in my mind, it's like it has to be 'done' now, so I wanted to work on the chickens at that very moment. Even though it was starting to lightening closer and closer. Just five more minutes.....okay maybe five more. So, on with the latex gloves, tea tree mixture in hand (in a Mtn. Dew bottle no less), and paper towels, I got out the hen that has been down. With her upside down on a towel on the cage, I started rubbing in the oil. She was very cooperative, and as I rubbed I got a better look at her toes. Yep, big black spot there, one over there. Hmm..lets just peal on the edge of that and see how it goes. Before I knew it, I had popped out this dark black/grey hard mass. Perfectly round and only a little smaller than a marble. Gross. Same on the other foot, only smaller. The hen seemed unmoved by this, so I kept working until the 'things' were out. Once I got them out, I rubbed and poured the oil into her feet and the hole. It was all very weird. Even though the rumbling from the storm was growing louder, I got the other hen out, and sure enough, she had a big one on one foot and a smaller one on the other. The larger one came out easily, but the smaller one was very tender and she balked at that, so I ended up getting only part of it out, then drenching it with the oil. Does anyone out there know anything about this kind of ailment? Any hints or help would be appreciated.
Chickens were up, and it was starting to sprinkle, so I started calling in the sheep. The clouds were pretty ugly by now, wind picking up. Twenty four good little sheep came running in. Six rotten little sheepies totally ignored me and continued eating leaves and grass, with an occasional buck and jump to show they were wild, carefree sheep, answerable to no man or woman. Lightening started cracking and the wind was getting scary. I was watching the clouds, but suddenly the wind got really crazy, so I made a dash to the house. The gate to the sheep paddock wrenched out of my hand, and I had to struggle with it to get it closed. I was getting real skeered about then! Finally I got it latched and got to the yard gate, trying to get in it with Boone leaping around frantically excited. I'm screaming at him to get out of the way, trying to shut the gate, and feeling an awfully lot like Dorothy by then. Only my Toto is obviously on steroids. Dodging Boone I got to the breezeway, just as a cedar two by six I had propped up came flying down. It hit my leg, so technically I got hit by 'flying debris' and have bruise to prove it. I ran to the front of the breezeway to check out the clouds, when suddenly a cold Arctic wind came straight out of the north. Bizarre. By then I'd had enough, and went in the house, gathering up my purse, cellphone, flashlight and blanket and setting them near the vault room in case I had to take cover. Trust me, I normally have better sense than what I displayed on this stormy evening!
After the worst was over I made several aborted attempts to get the blankety...uh...the AWOL sheep in, but the lightening just kept popping around. I did get them up before dark, but it was still raining, and I got soaked getting their rotten hides in. Somewhere in there the electricity went off and didn't get restored until 4:30 a.m. It's a bad idea to have your emergency supplies on the top shelf of the closet, by the way. Climbing up on a chair, trying to hold a flashlight and rooting around in a tub can have negative results. (In this case, a busted flashlight). Finally about nine p.m. I had my backup plug in phone hooked up, my transistor radio up and running and batteries in my little reading lamp. First time I had gotten to use the lamp since I bought it after the ice storm. It works great! Speaking of after the ice storm Mom bought all of us battery powered fans to use 'in case the electricity went out in the summer'. They really are neat, and run off eight D batteries. It was still so hot and humid that I was really glad to have it for Ariel. She needs her fan! Needless to say I didn't sleep well, worried about oversleeping. The complete blackness and silence was different as well. When I went out to do the final barn check and count my sweet 24 sheep and 6 rotten ones, you couldn't see a light anywhere around.
So it sounds like we will have more storms tonight. I'll be mighty glad when this weather pattern moves on out of here!