Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fresh Aire

 I think it would be nice sometimes if you could just click a button and refresh our lives in a matter of seconds like you can your computer.  Instant download of new changes and upgrades, or downgrades as it may be.  Well, maybe things are fine the way they are....Sometimes whole new seasons must roll around before we begin to feel progress or contentment.  The past 2 weeks have brought a distinctly refreshing feel to the days and nights as the cooler air of fall rolls in, nudging out the stagnant, humid air of summer.  That bright, clear quality of light only fall sees has arrived also and I couldn't resist trying once again to capture it in a photo even though my view of the horizon is rather limited here. 

 The flowers of fall are jarringly bright and fresh also.  A welcome addition to the gardens as late summer had just about blanched everything else out.  Yellow is the predominant theme but there are some oranges and burgundys thrown in.

 The garden has also seen a refreshing as the old, ragged crops of summer have been torn out and replaced with the vivid green of new fall crops.  A few peppers and tomatoes remain and the fig trees eke out a few ripe fruits as the days pass but these things are winding slowly down.

The cool days have refreshed Chigger's willingness to play.  Frisbee is still one of her favorites.  She's pretty good at catching it if I can throw it right.  I got her to sit by the ferns so that she could serve as a sense of scale.  I don't know that these ferns are native but some of the native ones get as large as this one.

She does find the creek quite refreshing also, as do I.  That cold water will wake you up in a minute!  Every walk must include a wade through the waters for her to get a drink.  Sometimes I wade too, looking for "creek glass" or other treasures that get washed down by most of the large rains.

Our main flock has been refreshed by the addition of the young Easter Eggers into their midst.  They have not begun laying yet but it shouldn't be too far in the future.  I wanted them to get used to the main henhouse and nesting boxes well before they were expected to deposit their colorful eggs there.  So far they are fitting in well.  Not too many pecking fights.  As usual, the older New Hampshires hens are the first to warm up to the new girls and welcome them in their afternoon dust baths.

And in their normal autumn ritual, most of girls have decided to molt all at the same time.  This poor little brown leghorn being about the most pitiful looking of the bunch.  I can't help but think she looks like she had it out with a lawn mower and the mower won.  If you look closely you will also notice she's wearing a "boot".  She got a terrible case of bumblefoot, which required some surgery, and this is the only way to halfway keep their feet bandaged and clean while it heals.  I have to change it every few days.  Hopefully though, she will be refreshed in foot and feather before winter and back to giving us a few white eggs.  These 2 are not my favorite hens but in her condition it's very hard not to feel sorry for her, especially when she comes up begging for a few crumbs of treats in her nervous, fidgety way.

A little update on the health issues:  After taking the new NSAIDS for my foot I became quite sick after a few days and went to a clinic for bloodwork on Friday.  I explained my situation and the Doc was agreeable and sympathetic, so I go in first thing in the morning for a kidney ultrasound and should get the results of my bloodwork too.  I dug out some tests results I had from my yearly exam back in July and those counts showed the possibly of early kidney damage (I checked this several times with multiple sources btw).  I had not really looked at them before, trusting my doctor to alert me to anything and no, he never said a word about it.  That pisses me a tad, especially considering he continued to advise me to take the NSAIDs.  I'm feeling better tonight but still not great.  I assure you I will press this matter until I find out everything I need to know.  At any rate, no NSAIDs ever again and very little salt, etc. and hopefully all internal will be refreshed soon and chugging right along.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wait For Me

We interrupt the regularly scheduled "word" posts to bring you this update on the current state of operations and shipping.  In other words, ya'll give me a bit more time to get those seeds out and such.  I got everybody's request for seeds and am currently working on pottery, so hopefully it won't be much longer before I'll either be contacting you with shipping costs or mailing your seeds. 
On top of everything else around here it seems I have fractured my right foot and so I have had to take yet more time for yet another doctor visit and all that.  My foot had really been throbbing for about a month or so and I finally broke down and made an appointment with a new podiatrist.  I couldn't recall a specific incident that might have cracked my foot, but after talking about it, he surmised I must have done it as I've been repeatedly squatting down so much over the past month or so because I have been unable to bend over at the waist due to my back.  Apparently the "catcher's position" is very hard on your feet.  For now I get very stiff shoes, some new meds and 2 weeks to get better.  If not, I get a bone scan and a cast.  This is all just a classic example of what a sick sense of humor Life has sometimes because it means I have to stay off my feet as much as I can.  But...due to KF I have a deformed tailbone and it is a literal pain in the ass to sit on it for long.  So, I have taken to laying on the floor like a slug.  It's my only defense.

The foot doc was a cool guy and we talked at length about things and after asking about my back etc. he was very curious about Klippel-Feil, so I told him a bit about it.  He was quite sharp and immediately inquired on whether or not I have both kidneys.  (no other doc has caught that connection)  He insisted I find out for sure because if I only have one, as about 65% of KFS people do, I really, really don't need to be taking all the anti-inflammatorys that docs seem to love to prescribe now.  Seems one kidney can't handle the load of those drugs.  So.  I spent half the day today trying to find a doctor or the one who diagnosed me, to give me a referral or something for those tests.  When it rains it pours you know.  But, while I am prone to moments of gloom, I'm generally the type that just gets meaner and meaner the more I get slapped down.
So, ya'll bear with me on all accounts.  I'm limping along but I'm still moving.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Comparitively Speaking

 Comparison.  Countless ways that word can be interpreted or used to prove a point.  Undoubtedly, the way I choose to use the words ya'll gave me will not line up with what you had in mind, or maybe it will.  Either way, it's my turn now! 
I think whenever you are feeling bummed or discouraged it usually helps a great deal to compare your "now" to your "then".  Of course, this doesn't always work; sometimes "now" sucks.  However, in my case, to see how things used to be is quite helpful at times.  I've come a long way, baby.  But I also have a long way to go.  In the following photos I tried to arrange the before and afters right after each other.  The first pair may be hard to discern but I believe you can easily detect the following pairs. 
This first photo is truly the way this land once was.  Almost impossible to navigate without a machete.  I believe it was actually taken on what is now the left hand side of the drive and the second photo is taken on the right side, but other than that they are basically the same location.

 I'm sure, unless you've read the absolute beginning of my blog, you are not familiar with this photo.  The land could not even be accessed by truck or 4-wheeler due to creeks, beaver dams and undergrowth.  You could walk onto it though.  The first time we went completely across it we used a compass to make sure we didn't end up down the road somewhere.

 A fairly nice yard now.  Or the chickens seem to like it anyway.  Ya'll know I have always advocated and preached for people to do so many things themselves and building a house is one thing I don't believe is out of reach for many people.  However.... I fully understand why so many folks don't want to.  It is Freaking. Hard.  Fortunately I had a naive brain when I started this adventure and didn't realize just how hard it would be.

 Of course, it's a lot like that old analogy of eating an elephant.  It's just one bite at a time and then it doesn't seem so bad.  Certainly there are things about the house I would do differently now but I think absolutely everybody says that.  I really enjoying pouring the concrete here and hope to get to do some more of that before the year is out, maybe. 

I also can't help but long to build the rest of the house on this side.  I know everybody thinks the house looks so odd now, and it does in a lot of ways, but when it's all there it will be quite cool.
I do have definite plans to extend the roof on this end before too long so that it covers most of the deck.  Since the rest of the house is taking far longer than I hoped I need to do this to protect the front door and create easier access.  With the roof extension will come a small deck extension with stairs down to the front of the house.

 One thing that always amazes me about these old photos, which really aren't all that old, are how small the trees are.  And yes, I should have cut a number of them down when they were that small.

 So now there is a sweet little house that sits here and I am still plugging along towards it's completion.  Comparatively speaking, I'm doing quite well.  There are not many folks who can afford to take some time off their jobs for illness or injury as I have had to do.  Not many folks that can afford to work at home.  My life does not compare to most anyone I know, but I like it and it works for me.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Honesty Is No Excuse

I suspect I have been a putz on this blog for some time now.  Heck, a putz in real life too, I imagine.  Crabby, griping, bitchy, whining.  Hey, that's why I put that "pissing and moaning" category over there.  Here's Chigger and some funny chicken pictures to make up for it..........  Not enough, eh?....Well, I'll try to do better for the rest of the year.

Seriously,  I have not meant to be a crabby stick in the mud.  Or a muddy crab on a stick.  Either way.  This year just did not start out well.  It sucked and blew chunks both ways basically and it has remained........well......challenging, shall we say.  I hurt every day, all day and like a lot of people it starts to wear on you a little.  I do not mean to take it out on my loyal readers and I know I could have it a hell of a lot worse.

I just wanted to say that despite everything I am still thinking up and working on new or existing projects.  I am not being sucked down the black hole of despair.  I work in the garden every day just about.  I am back to doing at least a little clay every day.  This weekend I have enjoyed every minute of the wonderful weather we have had, staying outside until I just had to come in.  I added a few more feet to my rock flower bed.  I got almost all the winter crops planted.  I take care of my sweet chooks every day and take time to pet those that want to sit in my lap.  Chigger and I have gone for many walks.  She often has to wait up on me but she's patient that way.  I'm still here, I'm still me, the giant pain in the ass you all have known for years.

Y'all gave me such wonderful words and I will get to them all!  Please feel free to continue to leave them too, if you have not already.  I may sprinkle some other posts in between (or not) but will take them all in order.  Thanks for playing along. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Word Play

Well, it seems I have descended, yet again, into the pit of writer's block.  Hhhm, maybe that's not quite accurate.  I can think of subjects to write about, I suppose.  I just can't muster the enthusiasm to write anything about those subjects.  Well, okay, so maybe that is writer's block also.  I know after 6+ years of publishing a blog that's hardly anything unusual but it's a bit interesting to me because I have felt slightly more enthusiastic about several other endeavors lately.  Maybe those things are drawing my attention way from here.  I guess it's just a combination of things going on with and around me.  I still go to the Doc twice a week for treatment and I often feel like poo afterwards, sometimes the next day also if he does new stuff.  I'm hoping that side effect becomes less and less noticeable.  Many world or U.S. events have had me quite bummed out lately.  Seems there is so much bad going on; it's hard not to get discouraged at times.  Seems to be less and less interest in the self-sufficiency/ DIY ideals these days.  I think a lot of people read such subjects just out of curiosity, not real interest in doing.  Maybe I'm wrong?  What do you think?
My physical diagnosis seems to have added yet another layer of why I'm weird, etc etc.  'Ah yes, you're that odd, opinionated woman that advocates for other women to do stupid things (like weld), grow food, not spend their life shopping and now you claim to have a condition that can't be seen and no one's ever heard of...M'kaaay, right.  We'll get back to you on that'.  Not.
And yesyesyesyes I know the mantra..Don't pay attention to other folks.  They're the ones who are crazy.  Live your own life.  And I do..but sometimes it's lonely.
So, any words for the not-so-wise?  I thought we might play a game also since I think most of ya'll like my blog and enjoy coming here.  You give me one word and I write a post from it.  And not something like "chicken" or "garden" either!!  Something a tad more removed or abstract from my normal subjects.  Your call will be answered in the order in which it is received so please remain patient.  Exclusions may vary.

Monday, September 09, 2013


New bird in town.

Old birds enjoying a cool watermelon slushy on a hot day.

Winding down.

Winding up!

Cardinal flower....?

Early morning walk.

Native fern #3

I hope you all are doing well out there.  Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  Just not a lot going on around here.  I did complete a successful firing and was able to take a small load of pottery into Birmingham the other day.  The stores are starting to call and express concern about dwindling stock though, so I've got to try to kick it up a little.  I've been trying to get the garden cleaned up and ready for fall too.  Got my seedlings ready to go in. Chickens, Chigger and Callie are all doing fine.  All spoiled as ever.