Friday, December 30, 2016

Merry Post-Op

Here we are on the cusp of the new year, and I am finally getting around to posting about all the happenings on and off the ridge over the past couple of weeks.

My thyroid surgery went well on the 22nd.  I had a drain in immediately after surgery, and they needed to check my calcium serially to determine that I didn't have parathyroid issues, so I stayed overnight.  The surgeon was in bright and early the following morning to pull the drain and report that the calcium levels were ok, so I was able to head home by 10:30 or so.

I didn't have very much pain, but it was uncomfortable to eat and swallow for a couple of days.  We decided to go ahead with Christmas dinner with my parents on Christmas day:  beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, tossed salad with mandarin oranges and cranberries, and a flaming plum pudding for dessert!  The girls enjoyed opening their presents in the morning.

It took a while to get pictures...

Girls & Stella in their Christmas jammies
 We ventured out on Monday for me to have blood drawn again at the Hospital - still ok.  I see the surgeon back next week.

L turned 11 on Tuesday.  She helped me make the ice cream on Monday (Chocolate Hazelnut), and the cake on Tuesday morning (Tres Leches.)  We went out for Indian food with my parents that evening, and then returned for cake and ice cream (delicious) and presents.  I think she had a good time!

 
On Wednesday we watched Star Wars episode IV in tribute to the late Carrie Fisher.  Consequently we have watched the next 2 episodes over the next 2 days!  We had our friend, C, out for the day, and the girls spent several hours playing with their new chess set.  Snow was forecasted, so JP put the snow plow and chains on his lawn tractor, and hauled water again.

 
Speaking of water, the well drilling men were out for a couple of hours on Tuesday afternoon.  Apparently the water pump on the rig had frozen, and they were waiting for parts.  Once they arrived, they fixed the rig, and fired it up momentarily...haven't seen them since...

We got about 3+ inches of snow overnight last night.  The girls, Stella & I spent a couple of hours playing in it this morning. 

J and her Snow Totoro
 
L and her Snow Fort
 
It is cozy here in the house, sipping cocoa and watching Star Wars VI.  We have plenty of water, and plenty of wood, so we are set for awhile...not that we are snowed in, the temps are due to rise into the 40's tomorrow!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you all!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Bring. It. On.

We got freezing rain overnight.  J stayed over at a friends' house, and L had a friend staying here.  Mid-morning we needed to make the switch - drop off  C, and pick up J.  We only had to travel a total of about 2 miles, but getting down the ice slick otherwise known as our driveway was the tricky part!

JP put the chains on the van, but after sliding a few feet down the drive, we decided to go off road, and drove down through our neighbors' field.  No problem.  Dropped off C, picked up J, tried to go up the driveway - no go.  Tried to go up the neighbors' field - no go.  We ended up parking at the bottom of the driveway and hiking up.  Good exercise!

We still didn't get water (due to the ice issue), so no cleaning or laundry happened.  JP caught rain/melting ice water off the barn roof that we are using to flush toilets.  We're managing!

Since we couldn't (and didn't need to) go anywhere today, I thought it was the perfect time to get the Christmas baking done.  For the past couple of years, we've only been making 4 varieties - we each pick one type.  That way we don't get inundated by cookies, plus we have a few to share!

Here is our assortment:


Counter-clockwise from upper left:  L picked Haystacks (peanut butter/butterscotch no bakes), J's choice was Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies, JP likes Chocolate Chip Surprise Cookies (there's a Hershey kiss in the middle), and I tried a new recipe from Cook's Illustrated called "Millionaire's Shortbread".  It might not look like a million bucks, but it tastes pretty doggone good!

So everything is done.  The decorations are up.  The presents (Christmas & Birthday) are wrapped.  The cards have been mailed.  The baking is finished.  The girls get out of school at 1:00 on Wednesday.

My surgery is first thing Thursday morning, and I won't come home until some time Friday.  Then I will have a little over a week to recover and everyone will be around to help out.  It's all good!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Confession

I have to confess...I'm bonkers.

To many of you, this will not be a new detail about my life.  What I'm hoping is that talking about it will make it easier to live my day to day life without a breakdown.

I am completely focused on, freaked out about, and obsessed with the water situation here.  Understandably, it's been a huge thing to tackle on many levels.  The financial cost is pretty ginormous, but that doesn't bother me as much as the conserving water or budgeting time to haul said water on a weekly basis.

The well drilling rig came out Monday afternoon, and after the guys spent about 30 minutes setting things up, they disappeared...haven't seen or heard from them since.  In the meantime, it snowed an inch or two, and the temperatures dropped into the single digits.  This means that the snow is staying, and where we've driven up and down the driveway on it repeatedly, it's gotten pretty slick.  Consequently, it is a bit dangerous to drive the non-4WD truck up and down it multiple times to haul water. 

I'm getting really tired of conserving as well.  I'm grossed out by unflushed toilets, and I freeze in the shower where I spend only 3 minutes under hot water, and the rest of the time soaping, shampooing or conditioning & shivering.  It worries me to use extra hot water to thaw the frozen water-ers from the below freezing chicken house.  I finally broke down today and did a load of laundry because I put on my last pair of clean underwear this morning.

It is taking it's toll physically.  I am not sleeping well - I wake multiple times a night and think about what I need to do that uses water, whether I'll be able to do it, and if I might be able to haul a load or two in the upcoming days.  I have a chronic headache, and I'm starting to get a chronic stomachache.

It sucks.

This is how I used to feel every time I saw a forecast for a winter storm for a few winters after the one that left us in the dark and the cold for over a week.  (Oh yeah, there's one coming tonight, so the driveway will not be getting less icy any time soon.)  That anxiety is better now, especially since I have this new obsession to focus on.

I'm not sure how to deal with this.  I'm trying to make use of the nervous energy by tackling all of the end of the year projects I have.  I've tried to distract myself by listening to podcasts or reading, but I can't concentrate.  If I could just SEE someone out here, starting work on the well, it would do a world of good...for a while.  In the meantime, send all of your warm weather this way.  That and some Valium might just do the trick!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Well, Well, Well...

Look what arrived on Poplar Ridge this afternoon:


We are FINALLY on our way to a new well!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hunting Season

The girls had no school today in honor of the first day of rifle season in Pennsylvania.  JP, my dad, and I all sat out for varying amounts of time.  The first week of deer season in our area is buck only, and none of us saw any eligible males!

This guy was hanging around the girls' swing last week, but I never saw him before or after.


I sat in the tree house this morning, and watched the sun come up.


Lizzie joined me after awhile, as she typically does.


This afternoon, I sat out in the old chicken barge, so that I could scan the woods to the east.  It didn't prove to be an advantageous position either.

J went to a movie with friends on Wednesday night, we had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with my parents on Thursday, met up with old friends for Mexican food on Saturday, and had our honorary 3rd daughter, C, out on Sunday.  Our break was packed with comings and goings.

Tomorrow we are going back to school and work after a marvelous 5 1/2 days off.  That thought  makes me want to be independently wealthy so that I can have a manservant and lounge around all day (I have been reading the "Jeeves" books by P.G. Wodehouse.) 

Seeing as I fill the shoes of manservant the best around here, I guess I should get off my butt and pack some lunches for tomorrow.

I hope that your Thanksgiving breaks were equally lovely!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tis the Season

It always seems that Halloween ushers in a flurry of activity that lasts through the end of the year.  It has been no different this year, although I think we had a single week with nothing happening after school except for music lessons.

Last week, L began having Basketball practice 2 nights a week, but they begin right after school, so I only have to drive out once to pick her up.  Last weekend, we also attended a presentation of "Little Shop of Horrors" in one of the neighboring cities.  (It was fun, but the venue was not great and we didn't get good views of the stage.)  The following day, we had Mom & Dad over for a meal (homemade pasta, turkey meatballs and sauce) with cake and ice cream for dessert for Mom's birthday.



Yesterday was J's 14th birthday.  She was not feeling well - and has actually been somewhat under the weather all week.  She rose to the occasion, however, and managed to enjoy a tiny slice of cake and opening her presents when Mom & Dad came to join us after dinner.

 
Next week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, and since JP is on call, we will be staying home and feasting with Mom & Dad.  Hopefully we will be able to meet some old friends for a meal later in the week as well. 

The Monday after Thanksgiving is the first day of Rifle Season in our neck of the woods, and I feel woefully under prepared for hunting anything this year. 

I just received notice that we were approved to hold L's Birthday party at the HS pool on December 10th, which is really just around the corner.

That will be followed by my thyroid surgery, which is scheduled for Dec. 22nd, and will involve an over night Hospital stay.  At that point I will need to be completely ready for Christmas, and L's REAL birthday (Dec. 27th), since it will literally be hours away from my discharge.

SIGH.

In the meantime, we are still having to haul all of the water that we use, as we have not had any progress on our new well yet, although the "PA One Call" folks were out to mark the buried electrical and telephone lines.  I spent 4 hours doing it on Friday, when the weather was a lovely 70* and sunny.

Today it looks like this outside, and we received an estimate for the well (which is higher than my guesstimate that I was HOPING was high, and does not include the actual pump.)  Good news though - he may begin work next week.


It's November 20th, and I'm already stressing about the Holidays.  Sheesh.  I think it's time for a cup of tea!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dumbstruck

In light of the Presidential election results, I am sticking to the policy: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything."

Monday, November 7, 2016

Deep Thoughts

"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?  We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason."  - Jack Handey

 
The title of my last post reminded me of the "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey" segment that  used to run on SNL back in the day.  I had to go look up some "Deep Thoughts" and have a good chuckle!

The well driller came out last weekend and has selected a spot to drill for a new well.  Unfortunately, he will not be able to start for another week or two.  In the meantime, I've called the "PA One Call" number, and expect people out to mark the buried electric lines next week.

Three of the four vehicles are now in working order.  I take the van in to the Toyota place this week.  I am pleased to say that I was able to tear out the old glove box and surround, and then install the new one in the Subaru by myself!

Ole Bessie returned from the Ford Service department last Friday, and my dad was able to use her to haul water on Saturday.

We have really been trying to conserve water, and it seems to be working...a full cistern is lasting the 6 of  us almost a week.  In the meantime, we have become proficient at the 3-4 minute shower where the water is turned off while shampooing and soaping.  It's a bit chilly doing that some of these mornings, but luckily the weather has not turned super frigid yet.   We are sticking to the old adage "If it's yellow, let it mellow.  If it's brown, flush it down."  Please don't be offended if you stop by to use our bathroom!  In addition, I have been waiting until I have a really GIANT load of laundry to run the washer, and I try to repurpose dog, cat, rabbit or chicken water for the plants.

Chaz went out for a stroll in the clover this weekend
It is amazing how much we take unlimited running water in our homes for granted.  I know that I will do a little happy dance during each shower once I am able to leave the water running the entire time!

L's final soccer game was on Sunday afternoon.  It will be lovely to be able to observe "Girls' Night" again tomorrow evening.  (JP works late on Tuesdays, so the girls and I usually do something fun, like playing Wii, watching a movie, or going swimming in at the HS pool.)

The weather has been so lovely lately, that she, the dog & I had a great time playing in the leaves yesterday afternoon.  I've also been able to spend more time in the garden in the past 2 weeks than I have in the past 2 months!


The girls have a 4 day weekend coming up, and we are looking forward to it!

 
It's all sunshine and roses up here on the hill (watered only with rainwater & tears.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Deep Subjects

We are no longer getting any water from our well.  We think that the pump is burned out - probably from trying to run when there is consistently little water to pump.  In any case, we are needing to haul water more frequently than in the past.  I discovered this issue a week ago when the cistern was frighteningly low.  Long story short:  we have a well driller coming this weekend to start the process of digging a new well.

We have also had consistent vehicle issues, which is driving me crazy.  I have spent one or more days every week for the past 4 weeks at one or more auto repair shop.

Ole Bessie:

Key wouldn't turn in ignition & eventually got stuck.  Dad took it apart and suggested ordering new lock cylinder.  When parts arrived from Ford, Dad discovered more bad parts.  Called AAA and towed to Ford Service Department.  This is bad news cuz she's our water haulin' truck!  Due back this weekend.

JP's old Pickup, "Monty":

This one just sits under the lean-to most of the time, but I had to jump it to start it to take it in for state inspection last week.  The guy doing the inspection had to jump it to get it into and then out of the garage.   I returned the battery (just over a year old) to Autozone yesterday, and they read it as still "good", but replaced it anyway as it was still under warranty.  With the new battery, it started right up, and I drove it to Autozone to check the alternator & starter, and they both read as "pass."  Guess this one is fixed for now.  Good thing too, cuz this is now our water haulin' truck with a trailer in tow.

Electra the 2 year old Subaru:

L broke the glove box out of the car last summer while throwing a temper tantrum.  Gorilla glue held for almost 4 months.  Ordered new glove box last week.  Installed yesterday, but still not staying in place.  Took car back to Subaru place today, where it took 2 specialists to discover that she also broke the part of the dash that the glove box connects to.  Ordered more parts.

Minivan "Rhonda":

JP walked into the house last night holding the handle from one of the sliding doors.  I called Toyota to order new parts.  They suggested that I bring it in to find out if any parts inside the door need to be replaced.  I guess that's my Friday outing.

All this is getting mighty expensive.  Let's hope that the current round of repairs lasts for awhile and that we can get a new well drilled and operational in short order!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Harvest

Just a quick picture of my potato harvest:

Friday, October 28, 2016

Boo!

It is definitely Fall in our neck of the woods.  Last week, our route into town looked like this:

 
Last weekend, we got 3 more inches of rain, which emptied many of the trees of their leaves, and leaving it not quite so pretty.  The evenings have been cool, however, and we've had some overnight frost in the low lying areas a couple of times.


Consequently, I have been working hard in the garden, trying to get everything harvested and weeded before winter sets in.  It is coming along fairly well.  All of the tomatoes are pulled, so I am FINALLY done with the weekly canning/cooking of tomatoes!  Same with the peppers, although I still have a bag full in the fridge, waiting to be chopped and frozen - I already have about 3 gallons frozen...should never have to buy another pepper for cooking!  Half of the cornstalks are pulled as well.  I dug the carrots, and they were fairly nice this year...there are still a few beets to dig.  Most of the basil has been harvested, and I plan to make Thai Basil Chicken for dinner tonight.

 
Unfortunately, October is the month when 2 of the vehicles need to go for inspection, so I have spent a lot of time at the Auto Repair Shop over the past 2 weeks.  JP's old truck, which mostly just sits around these days, has had issues with the battery draining over the past year.  Last year we bought a new battery, but the thing died again.  This time it cut out on me in the driveway (luckily I was on the way home.)  I also had to take Ole Bessie in a few weeks ago, as it died while Dad was hauling water - had a cracked fuel line.

On Tuesday, I happened to check the cistern on the way back from the garden.  It was distressingly low, especially given that Dad had just hauled 6 loads (1200 gallons) 5 days earlier.  I cleaned up slightly, and jumped in Ole Bessie to go haul some more, and the ignition was locked - key wouldn't turn at all.  Unfortunately our Fix-It-Man (Dad) was out of town for a couple of days, so we had to break down and get a truck of water delivered...much more expensive. 

JP messed with it a bit that evening, and ended up with the key stuck in the ignition!  Dad was able to remove the key lock cylinder (with the key still stuck inside) yesterday, and it is my job today to take it back to the Ford dealership to try to get a new one ordered.  Yesterday I was at the Subaru dealership to order a new glovebox, which L destroyed back in the summer when she was having a temper tantrum in the car all the way to the next town.  I Gorilla glued it, and it limped through the past 4 months, but now it is done for.

So...sigh...there is still the question of whether our well is also done for, and the water hauling truck is still out of service.  I am getting a bit weary of all of these extra worries and expenses.

Luckily we had some fun stuff going on that lifted our spirits!  As relative "newbies" in town (we've been here over 13 years now), we are still trying to wrap our minds around the strange custom of holding Trick-or-Treat festivities on the Thursday BEFORE Halloween.  It makes no earthly sense!  In any case, that happened yesterday.

J was informed last year that she would be too old to go this year.  Instead, she and a friend took her friend's little sister around.  The 2 of them dressed as "Spice Girls."

J had this spice bottle pinned to her shirt.  She was
 "Cayenne", and her friend was "Curry."
 
L walked around with some friends in town.  She was Hermione this year, and one of our friends was Harry Potter.

 
She and I made our Jack-O-Lanterns last night.  Alas, J was too busy with Geometry homework, so perhaps she will do hers tonight.  We used the volunteer pumpkins from the chicken yard.  Mine had a hole in the top from insects of some sort.  JP suggested that I use it as a bullet hole, so mine ended up as a sad, deceased JOL.  L's has a deathly hallows symbol (more Harry Potter stuff) amid many flourishes.


I hope you all enjoy your Halloween festivities....when it actually rolls around!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Quarter Century

The girls and I have recently returned home from a road trip.  We left right after school on Friday, and drove down to VA for my 25th college reunion.

We had a really fun and busy weekend!

We stayed with JP's cousins, who hosted one of their sisters & her husband, as well as JP's sister & brother-in-law, along with us for a delicious breakfast on Saturday morning.

Afterwards, the girls headed off with their Aunt and Uncle to the Book Fair, which was a place that JP and I enjoyed going once a month to stock up on books.  While they were otherwise entertained, I drove the couple of miles to my Alma Mater, and met with the other 10 people who showed up from my graduating class of 1991.


After lunch in the cafeteria (which hasn't changed much), the girls and I met up again with my sister-in-law and niece to walk in a nearby park for an hour or so.

We returned to the school in time for the women's soccer game, in which 3 of my classmates had daughters playing!  We managed to find a food truck from our favorite ice cream joint in the parking lot, so we could eat our Kline's ice cream during the game.  I also got to hang with our Loyal Royal mascot, Herm, for a couple of minutes.

 
After the game, we went to one of my friend's homes to continue catching up.  It was SO MUCH FUN!  J had a hard time believing that all these women were part of "my squad."  I think it's because sadly, I don't have many friends that I hang with anymore.  She was also astounded when I said that college was a lot of fun.  "I thought it would be a lot of work, "  she said.  I assured her that we put the work in too, but living with your friends 24/7 had a lot of positives, along with just a couple of negatives.


My "Squad" (along with a little photo bomber in the upper left!) 
This morning we drove back to our corner of PA, and have spent the afternoon catching up on laundry and homework.

My mom & I went to the orchard last week, and came home with 2 bushels of apples of 4 different varieties, so it's time to make my Special Ingredient Apple Sauce tomorrow.  Sigh...the weekend flew by way too fast!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Critter Update

The minions are back!  By that I mean the swarms of nasty stink bugs that have been visiting our neck of the woods every Fall for the past few years.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB)
-By Yerpo - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32004988
JP wages war with them every year, but usually it seems to be a losing battle.  This year, however, he found information that they can be killed with a solution of soap and water.  Most evenings lately, he has been outside, spraying hundreds of BMSBs with his squirt bottle of soapy water.  There are minion carcasses everywhere, and splotches all over the siding and windows from the soapy water.

Yesterday I hosed down the front door, as the glass was all smudgy from the soap.  I guess I did too good of a job, because early this morning, before the sun was even up, a little bird flew headfirst into the storm door.  I was cautious opening the door when I heard the thump, because I was a bit concerned about things bumping into my door at 7 AM when it was still fairly dark out.  The little guy was on his back, and I thought he was a goner.  I nudged him with my toe, which flipped him right side up, and he stood and hopped a bit!  I put him in a box of wood shavings on the deck - safe from marauding kitties, and an hour later, he had flown away.  I was able to identify him as an Eastern Towhee...a pretty little thing.

Photo by Jim Hully of smugmug.com
Ernie cat has been looking a bit bedraggled lately.  Over the weekend, I noticed that one of his cheeks was puffed out pretty significantly.  He unwillingly let me feel around, and I didn't see any wounds on his face or neck, and his ear on that side looked ok too.  He wouldn't let me look in his mouth though.  Last night, JP told me that I should probably take Ernie to the Vet today, because he was "smelling."  This morning, the poor guy had goo all over the side of his face and neck, but the swelling was gone.  This afternoon I was able to examine it better.  He is obviously feeling better, and purred the entire time that I washed his face and sprayed it with my magic farm boo-boo spray.  He apparently had an abscess that ruptured on it's own.  Right now it looks clean and should probably clear up on its own.  Whew...Vet visit averted!


Now I am off to clean out the chicken house a bit.  It was pretty smelly this morning when I opened up after closing up for our chilly 38* night!

That's the critter report from Poplar Ridge.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Autumn

I have been feeling nostalgic this week for the walks that the girls and the dogs used to take with me.  Every walk was an adventure, and we were guaranteed to find something interesting.  I would hold the girls' little hands, and we would chat about anything and everything.  J no longer cares to go for walks with me, and I no longer have 2 dogs to walk with.  In fact, I find it so much more efficient to get on the elliptical for 30 minutes, that I haven't walked regularly for a long time.

This afternoon after L's soccer game, she and Stella and I took a walk around the property.  We found turkey feathers, cow hoof prints, and Stella almost had a conniption when she spotted a squirrel.  L held my hand, and we chatted about this and that.  It was lovely.

It did a great deal to relax me too.  This is J's last week of soccer, which means that we can soon eat dinner together again at a decent hour most evenings.  Things are looking up!

Enjoy Fall!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Country Life

I never know what sort of hick thing is going to make me late on any given day.  Earlier this week, the chickens got out, and I had to spend time herding hens.  Today I got behind this guy:


If you can't make it out, there's a cow walking down the middle of the road.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Crafty

It has been a quiet week.  That is not to say that we haven't been busy, we have.  The house is quiet with Kali gone.  Stella was quite depressed for a while...didn't really eat for about a week.  I think she is back to normal now.

It has rained over 3 inches in the past 24 hours.  That, along with the fact that I hurt my back carrying Kali, and digging a hole, gave me the opportunity to sit at my sewing machine for the past 2 afternoons.

I did a bunch of little projects that have been sitting on my desk for awhile:


Two heart shaped pincushions.

A tea bag wallet.
 


Fruit placemats.



A pillow made from my worn out T-shirt from my trip to the Philippines in 1989.

The most fun thing was this tea cosy for my new tea pot!


 
Now that there will be mud outside instead of rock-hard ground, and I am almost back to normal after 2 visits to the Chiropractor, I will have to head back to the weeding project in the garden this weekend.

Have a good one!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Holes

Kali didn't make it.  She seemed a bit better yesterday morning, but wasn't drinking again by bedtime.  She couldn't even stand this morning, and was jaundiced.

I took her back to the vet this morning, and she offered to admit her, but wasn't holding forth much hope due to her rapid decline.  Instead, we all said our goodbyes to her before heading to school and work, and I brought her home from the vet in a shroud.

Mom and Dad helped me dig a hole under the big oak tree where Zach and Daisy are buried.  When JP and the girls are home this evening, we will put her to rest there.

She is leaving a big hole in our family...bigger than the one under the oak tree.

Sleep sweet, Kali Gal.


Stella is gonna miss her too!


Chasing the ball was her favorite thing - she did it on Thursday.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Time Flies When You're Having...Fun?

When I stop and think about it, the amount of time that I spend on seemingly futile activities every week is somewhat staggering.  For example,  I try to spend some time weekly to keep my moss bed free of weeds.  As you can see, I seem to be fighting a losing battle.


I did spend over an hour on Friday making that delicious Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream that I made before, and then accidentally left out on the counter over night.  This time we were able to enjoy it twice!

On Friday afternoon, I picked L up at school and we drove 40 minutes to watch J's first soccer game (which they won 7-0.)  I wouldn't consider that time wasted, as we had time to chat, and even listen to a story on CD. 

Yesterday morning, I spent an hour and a half at the vet with Kali.  It looked like she was peeing blood on Friday night.  After a bunch of tests, it looks like she was dehydrated, had a UTI, and also has Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (in which her body is attacking her red blood cells.) So this explains the "blood" in her urine, which is probably mostly bilirubin from breaking down those cells, as well as the fact that she has been laying around so much for the past couple of weeks.  In fact, on Thursday afternoon, she was too tired to chase the ball, which is one of her favorite things to do!  She got IV fluids at the vet, as well as injections of antibiotic and steroids, and she came home with antibiotics, steroids and Pepcid to take twice a day for a while.  She returns to the vet tomorrow morning, where I assume they will check her blood again. 

Her urine is lighter in color today, which I am taking as a good sign.  Otherwise, it is basically wait and see...there is a very real possibility that she will not recover from this.  I think that fact hit J hard last night, as she got out of bed after 10 PM, and came upstairs to "say goodnight to Kali."

After we got home from the vet, I spent another hour and a half hauling water for our cistern.  It isn't wasted time, but it is extremely boring:  it takes 30 minutes to drive to the water station, fill the buffalo, drive home, and empty it.  Thank goodness for podcasts to listen to during that task!

Today the whole family drove an hour into the Middle-of-Nowhere, PA for L's first soccer game.  Unfortunately, her team was shut out, 0-9.  Since today is officially "National Cheeseburger Day", we stopped at Five Guys on the way home for some awesome cheeseburgers and fries.

Now here it is:  Sunday evening.  A whole, new week begins in just a few hours.  This week features more soccer games and soccer practice, voice lessons, vet appointments, Dr. appointments, work and school, along with the weekly making and canning of tomato sauce...along with all of the little futile things that eat up the hours.  Enjoy them all!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Poison Ivy

You're gonna need an ocean
Of calamine lotion
You'll be scratching like a hound
The minute you start to mess around
- The Coasters

This summer has been the Poison Ivy Summer.  Personally, I've had one worse Poison Ivy Summer - back in 1997.  JP and I discovered that the "hedge" growing around our yard was actually poison ivy.  After I made the discovery, and avoided it like the plague, I continued to break out with it for more than a month, and puffed up on the steroids so that I didn't fit so well in the bridesmaid's dress for my brother's wedding.  JP eventually suited up in his Haz-Mat suit, cut it all down and stuffed it into garbage bags.  I finally deduced that it was our little dog that kept re-infecting me.  He got more baths that summer than he thought he could survive!

This year, I discovered the poison ivy remnants in the wood chips that I spread all over the garden.  I have since finished that project, and washed anything that I used out there.  My reaction only lasted a couple of weeks.

Poor L woke up with a high fever on Monday morning.  As the day wore on, we also discovered that she broke out with a poison ivy rash on one leg.  She stayed home from school on Tuesday to recover and scratch.  At this point, she has a good sized patch of poison on the first leg, as well as individual bumps for about 6-8 inches above and below the patch.  The other leg has all the bumps...MORE of them even!  Last night, she started breaking out with 2 patches on her face and one behind her ear.  She is MISERABLE!

JP started her on steroids this AM, and I've been treating with topical steroids and Domeboro solution.   I'm pretty sure that she picked this up at the soccer field, as I saw a huge patch of poison ivy down there near where I park the car.   So last night I went out with the Chlorox wipes and wiped down every interior surface of the car that I possibly could, I also washed the covers to the folding chairs (that have been riding around in the back of the car with L's soccer ball for the last couple of weeks.)  I've washed her ball and her cleats twice now.

This morning I went back out and wiped all the door handles, and then came in and wiped the backs and seats of all the chairs.  I hope that I've removed all traces of the remaining oil by now.  I do know that I'm feeling rather itchy...

Leaves of three...leave them be!!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Shhhh....

Today was the first day back to school for the girls.  It seems to have been uneventful, except for the fact that J forgot her lunch.  Luckily JP was able to give her lunch money before dropping her off at school, so I didn't actually have to run in to school already this morning.

 
Both girls are in the highest grade at their respective schools, which means that J will head off to High School next year, and L to Middle School. They won't be in the same school again until J's final year.

It was super quiet around here today.  (Although to be honest, we had a pretty quiet summer, with lots of reading going on.)

I ventured down to the garden, where I've taken a maintenance break for a couple of weeks to finish up my flower beds and around the ornamental trees, as well as to make the most of the girls' final week of summer vacation.  I have continued to pick the tomatoes about every other day, as well as cantaloupes (I've picked 11 so far), but the weed control has not happened, and it's getting pretty scary in there!

I listened to several podcasts, and removed a pile of weeds taller than myself from 2 1/2 beds, and about 1/6 of the lower end of the garden.  I was thoroughly spattered with mud when I came in, including my glasses and my phone, but I cleaned up in time to pick up milk as well as a book for L at the Library before the girls arrived home on the bus.

They have been back to soccer practice for a week, but tomorrow L starts back to music lessons.  She is taking Voice this year, for a number of reasons, and is very excited about it.

It will be busy, busy, busy for the next few weeks, so I'm trying to save up the serene, quiet moments to pull out when the days get tough.

I hope Fall is off to a good start for everyone!

P.S.  This close up of L shows her newly pierced ears.