Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Still here after all these years! Wishing everyone a safe and Happy and wonderful 2012!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hallowe'en has been moved to wintertime

We are forecast to have snow tonight and tomorrow, with thunder. Heavy wet snow. over a foot of snow. I am not ready!

Trick or treat?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hang on to your Hats

First the chicadees disappeared. Then it was the snapping turtle in the driveway. The bullfrog so intent on fleeing the marsh it jumped on and over the cat. The colors were ten days late. Bumper Pine Cone crop. One light frost here so far. Paper wasp nests twenty feet up in trees. Toads excavating soft clay like gophers. Red and grey squirrels engaged in a massive turf war. A murder of crows. My neighbor of fifteen years posted their waterfront for the first time.

We are going to get a bunch of snow and major spring floods. My prediction for 2011/2012.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Everbody's business

October is marching along. Every morning it is a bit darker as the days shorten. Night chores have to be finished earlier and earlier.

The foliage finally took the hint and we had a blaze of color about a week later than normal. Things were looking pretty good and then we had a couple days of wind and rain. The maples have dropped their leaves-the oaks are still mostly green and the beech are changing to bronze.

We have had one frost on our homestead so far.

I made a trip to a southern Maine island with the falafel mastermind to look at a piece of business equipment.

Twenty plus years ago I had a room mate that had grown up on one of the islands and I had made several trips to the big one, so I was looking forward to the ride on the ferry.

I was relieved when I instinctively recalled where the ferry terminal was located, and we pulled in line as the ferry was loading. FM rushed in to get tickets. An obvious gap in my island knowledge was quickly revealed.

"We can't take the boat on the ferry," FM said as he exited the building.

"You have to make a special appointment and can only go when the tide is at a certain height."

Well this island was a bit different than my memory of the big one, I supposed.

We had to quickly decide a course of action. The people selling the equipment had yet to return our most recent calls. The last instructions had been to call the wife when we got off the ferry and she would give us directions from there.

The island was only 2 miles long, and I quickly calculated that we could walk from one end to the other and still have an hour to look at the equipment before having to catch the return ferry. So we put the car in the parking garage and bought passenger tickets.

The ferry at our gate was being loaded with some cargo, and I dug in my memory if we could go on the ferry at will or had to wait for the boarding call. We decided to try and board, and were quickly shooed off the loading ramp back on to the dock and a rope was strung across the ramp to discourage us pushy flatlanders.

The fellow had enough time to walk back down the ramp to the boat and the boarding call went out and he turned around and came back and dropped the rope. We could tell this ferry line was a stickler for regulations.

FM handed over our tickets and waited for half a ticket back like you do in the movie line.

"Oh, we don't take tickets on the return trip," he said.

FM and I exchanged amused glances and had some fun making jokes about that once we found our seats.

I led him up to the top deck front row for the trip out Casco Bay. An enormous cruise ship was in port, and the size of it dwarfed the city. We went by the old fort, lighthouses, islands. The ferry was underway and FM could only get a busy signal from the wife. Vague memories of how things worked on the islands started to come back to me.

"Don't worry, she will probably meet us down at the dock when we get there. She is most likely on the island grapevine telling everyone that she has company coming."

A couple minutes later FM's call went through and sure enough, she was going to meet us down at the dock when the ferry arrived.

We stopped at several islands and finally arrived at our destination.


Our hostess was waiting for us and we piled in a battered Ford wagon with Arizona plates.

"Don't mind my island beater," she said.

I smiled recalling my room mates car and how cool it was that island folks don't have to register and inspect the cars they use on the island. Because the island is two miles long and everyone knows your car. Where are you going to go? Remember now, you don't need a return ticket and you have to make an appointment to get a car on the ferry !

FM decided to buy the equipment, and once he handed her the money her attitude blossomed. She got on the phone to hubby who was working on the mainland to have him make arrangements to get the equipment off island. The island grapevine is so fast that she knew before we got there that we had tried to get a car on island.

I chuckled again thinking about how that would give the islanders some good chatter for a few days about the flatlanders trying to get a CAR on their island without first making arrangements! We were spared making (or trying to make)those arrangements; things were soon arranged so that hubby would deal with the ferry guys and get it on the boat and FM would get a call to tell him it would be at the port.

We had business completed in plenty of time for the ferry, and it was just a short walk from her house to the dock.

"I will give you a tour of the island while you are waiting for the ferry, hop in, " she said.

So we climbed back in the beat Ford wagon with Arizona plates and had a lovely guided tour of the island, which first began with a soliloquy by our hostess on pondering why the ferry boat which brought us was not the usual boat-it was the MAIL boat, and that Never came on this ferry run.

Then we drove by some men that had been on the ferry looking at plans. I remembered them because I am a bit of an architecture fan and I had wondered what was on those blueprints they were looking at on the ferry!?! and so I had also looked at the two men closely as I walked by them.

Our hostess quickly volunteered the island scoop.

"If a property on the island changes hand, even inside the family from an inheritance, the septic system has to be brought up to code. They are not 'grandfathered anymore'. ( most shoreline homes were originally built to dump their sewage directly into the water.)

A friend of our hostess had given (sold/traded-we were not privy to the technicalities)a piece of land so that several homes could unite in the septic system-most likely a holding tank and some form of leach field. And they had to hire the men to design it, and it was costing $20,000 just for the design.

Wow that was a fun bit of gossip.

We drove by the island store, now closed for the season, but the one gas pump still working at over $5 a gallon. I had noted no gasoline in any container may be brought on the ferry, so talk about a monopoly!

We learned that the island was once a refueling station for warships, and there were huge storage tanks buried on the interior of the island. So the island interior was not inhabited. We had earlier peeked inside a large abandoned cinder block building that turned out to house two enormous motors. They were the motors for pumping millions of gallon of fuel on and off the island back in WW2.

We learned that the island had a deer and Lyme disease problem. Our hostess estimated that there were over 200 deer on the island. She blamed the enactment of a leash law on the deer problem. Because the deer swim to the island and have no natural predators. The dogs used to chase them right off the island.

The island also had a resident beaver population.

We were shown storm damage aggravated by logging. Once big trees are thinned out the rest of the stand becomes susceptible to high winds, creating piles of blow downs.

Our hostess pulled down to the dock just as the ferry was pulling in. Islanders seem to have an innate instinct about the comings and goings of their link to the mainland.

We settled ourselves on the back of the boat out of the wind for the return trip. A nice woman boarded at the next island and sat down next to us.

"I've never seen this boat on this run before," she said.

We nodded our heads in agreement. Our brief stay on the island had found us entwined in the island grapevine.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Thanks for your comments Tonia and Dave. :)

My thyroid saga has been reduced to one pill six times a week. I was just a tad hyper my last visit so I get to skip Sunday's pill. Then labs in three months to see how that is working.

At my last visit the doc went through the big list of symptoms I had last December and I answered NO to almost all of them. I told him I was glad I went through the treatment because one pill a day is much better than 5 pills 5 times a day and still feeling like crap. lol.

I still have some real thryroid left, and hopefully that behaves itself and doesn't start overproducing thyroid hormone again. That happens rarely-and usually in severe cases like mine. I think that is one reason I was so aggravated it took so long to get to see the specialist after I was diagnosed- because my thyroid raged on for months. There is some rule that objects in motion want to stay in of Newton's laws?


We had our first frost on the lawn this morning. BRRRRR so cold. We didn't get one yesterday, but other places did. One farm had their front and back field cloaked in frost and I thought that looked like a cold place to live!

Our foliage is a disaster. For the last 14 years the Firebird's birthday has been the absolute peak of foliage here, the height of early color of maples and ash. This year everywhere but the swamps is still green.

We did have periods of wind and rain, and my sugar maples have dropped a lot of leaves before they changed.

I am not the only one to notice, I have seen the foliage story carried on AP the last few days. Many hypothesis abound as to what is going on with the foliage. I don't really have a strong opinion myself-I am puzzled.

The change of fall color is attributed to shorter day length-the leaves stop producing chlorophyll and what remains is the actual color of the leaf. As far as I know the day's length is shortening as it usually does.

As far as weather and temperature, we have not been much different from the norm-we get rain and drought and wind on a regular basis but the the leaves still change every year about the same time.

Fungus is getting blamed-well I hope they find out which one! I heard through the farmer's grapevine that potatoes diseased with late blight have been getting dumped along the shore, and then the moist air coming off the ocean is carrying the blight inland and really destroyed everyone's tomatoe crop here. So perhaps that is what is causing the leaves to drop and not change?

Or maybe those big solar flares triggered the trees to keep growing for a bit longer?

I do know that the Firebird's birthday seemed a little less festive with the autumn colors still in hiding.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Long time no post

My computer problems progressed to the point that if my modem was connected to the phone line, even with the computer disconnected from a power source, the land line had dead air.

So I gave my internet up for lost, relying on my cell phone for limited browser access. Try typing out an email on your cell phone when you are already exceeding 1000 texts a month!

And after my little power struggle with blogger and google over refusing to hand over a mobile number I wasn't going to log into this account on my cell phone, sorry! :D

Somehow, someway, I have been granted a reprieve from the malicious computer spirits and once again have my computer back online.

I really really want to go to New York this week for the film festival. Just to do something fun and glamourous. But that's not happening.

I am house sitting for a friend for the week, and the Firebird turns the big 14. He is really doing well in high school. His soccer team has been doing absolutely awful, but finally at an away game the Firebird scored one of three goals and was promoted up to the JV team. Now he is playing both Freshman and JV games.

I got lost in Waterville trying to find the last one to no avail. The games are a lot further away than in middle school. :)

I quit the farm. Over horse bedding. Seriously, I can't believe it either. The horses have a big concrete floored three sided shelter with a sand based paddock. The younger of the two has been diagnosed with wobbles, a neurological condition that affects the gait and hind end. The Older mare is grossly overweight and has notorious hoof trouble, mostly aggravated by inexperienced help digging between the sole and hoof wall with a pointed hoof pick.

The mare came down lame in the front end-I found an old wind splint but was fairy sure she was having trouble with a knee. This was duly reported to Boss who just shrugged.

The next day I put down a bit of extra shavings and felt satisfied. But there is more to this story. One of my co-workers, the apprentice, only wants a dusting of bedding on the concrete to make it easier for her to clean. So we tend to have this little silent power struggle over it. Because I know as I know horses that horses on concrete should have 12 inches of shavings plus a rubber mat, espcially if they have any kind of leg trouble.

And it should be banked against the walls so they don't cast themselves. (get stuck)

So years ago I was sort of shocked that at the farm they put 3 inches of shavings in the middle and bare on the edges. So when the horses walk in and turn around they spread it down to an inch.

The day I worked I had about an even five inches, which cushioned my feet but I knew it would still seem hard on the legs of those big Norwegian Fjords.

And I got "a note" from Boss Sunday morning.
"Please don't put so much bedding down in the horse barn."

And I returned the note with an explanation, that 5" inches was really the minimum given the overweight lame mare, and I didn't feel comfortable putting down 1-3 inches.

Oh boy. Well, it turns out even though I said I would do what she wanted, since I didn't feel comfortable maybe I should go...

and I thought and said, "so basically you don't want anyone working for you that does not agree with you?"

and that was a yes.

That hurt but I wasn't getting much job satisfaction except from all my animal friends anyhow.

I went right into freelancing at Common Ground Farm, sponsored by Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association. (MOFGA)

All week I helped a friend prep his food for CG. I ground hundreds of pounds of chickpeas, and ground garlic and hot peppers and made taziki with yogurts made right out of organic jersey milk, and can I tell you how good a cup of Starbuck's Italian roast tastes with the yellow cream skimmed off a five gallon bucket of Jersey milk ?

I just wanted to take a straw and sip it off the top, lol.

Then it was time to make the dough. Hundreds of pounds of flour. 10 pounds at a time in the mixer and the cutter turns out 30 doughballs. 5 or 6000 of them for the whole weekend.

I was out of retirement.

I 3/8 inch diced a five gallon bucket of cucumbers. I inch cubed 50 gallons of lettuce and spinach. I got to run the stove.

he he

The falafel mastermind's claim to fame are the wood cookstoves that get hauled to every show. The dough balls get run through a roller, formerly the rollers to old wringer washers, which was quite the show and threw flour across everyone working the stand.

once flattened, the dough gets put on the middle flattop of a hot kitchen stove, and once precooked, put over the open flame where they "poof" and char and are called"wood fired flatbread". Very yum.

The fresh bread is then filled with falafel, fried ground chicpeas, or gyro..ground beef , lamb, goat..

Well, they have a lot of stuff they put on there, obviously including lettuce and cucumbers, but I was in the bakery end of things for the weekend.

Phish blasted through the speakers, the owner's son being a fan and he also grew up at the stove and bread end himself- since the family has been doing this for almost 20 years now.

I found my groove with the stove while he put the new electric roller through its paces. Boom boom bread! boom boom bread! hahah

These sorts of jobs are transitional; I am considering going back to cooking now that the saplings are a little older.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Racoon story

This really isn't a story, it's a true tale.

Tonight dark was just settling in under the trees in the back yard when Willow and I arrived home with groceries. Willow's sharp eyes noted movement in the goose pen. "the raccoons are back, " she said.

"no it's a skunk."
"Skunks don't climb trees."

"Is it a possum?"

"Stay in the car a minute," I said.

"OMG it's a baby raccoon with a peanut butter jar stuck on it's head!"

I ran over to the tree and it was just out of reach as I hesitated a brief moment before reaching out to grab it. I watched as it climbed thirty feet up in the maple tree, wondering how it could manage the climb with a jar stuck on its head.

I knew I had to get it out of that tree. The orphaned baby coons had been eating the residue of grain in the goose feeder; a week or so back we put some grain in the woods on a rock hoping to see the orphans through a tough spot- but not encourage them to go into the goose pen. I went into the house and grabbed a can of goose grain, shook it below the treed baby coon to get its attention, poured it on the ground, and returned to wait in my now dark car.

I didn't have long to wait, the goose at his water bucket honked in alarm at the unlikely sight of a peanut butter jar on the head of a raccoon coming down a tree, and retreated. I waited, straining my eyes in the dim light trying to see if the coon had retreated into the woods or came on for the bait of goose grain.

I saw a wobbly peanut butter jar come around the tree and quietly opened the car door, figuring the jar was probably muffling the hearing and eyesight of the raccoon, and slowly advanced. Either they have exceptional eye-sight, or it had done an excellent job of cleaning the bottom of the jar clear, because it saw me and could climb the tree surprisingly fast with the jar on his head. He was just at arm's length as I reached the tree, and this time I didn't hesitate but went straight for the scruff of the neck and the raccoon was NOT pleased about that!

Raccoons can make a surprising array of sounds. This one was growling sort of like a cat and a dog and a bear all put together, and it was wet from an earlier downpour. Either it had been sprayed by a skunk or they have fear musk glands, because it stank. As I dragged it off the tree, it tried desperately to bite me, but it had the jar on his head.

So I have this wet stinky growling hissing struggling raccoon by the scruff with the jar on his head and I realize I have to get the jar off and maybe I am not holding him high enough and once the jar is off it is going to bite the hell out of me, and it smells skunky so does that mean it has rabies? No, not too likely since it was going for the food.

Then I wonder if it is going to claw me as I try and change my grip a bit higher on its neck so I can get the jar off, and I realize it is tugging at the jar with both paws cause it has realized it can't defend itself with the jar on its head.

and then I am holding it and the jar is off in its paws and it is turning to really get a good look at me and I quickly tossed it away a couple feet and right as it landed it regained its feet and charged me and I ran.

Mission accomplished.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Willow

A lapful of kittens

My three blessings

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kitten City

Ruby had a litter of healthy kittens about a month ago. Here's Willow with her favorite.

I realized that the last litter was probably stillborn because Ruby was letting another cat nurse her when she was pregnant. Not with this litter; she wouldn't let the cat near her.

Then Panther had a litter of kittens a few days ago. Wow. They are cute!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

sometime in the middle of summer

I know the middle of summer is upon me here in Maine when the goldenrod starts to bloom. I mark that as my half point, and I was rather aghast this morning to see the heavy, ripe heads ready to burst into bloom roadside.

Because I have thoroughly blown half the summer away with none of my summer projects even past the concept stage.

But< I have been putting extra days in at the farm; the bosses having gone to Europe for ten days, and one of my co-workers who was covering nights is taking two weeks on the heels of that. And my other co-worker took time off over the holiday.

So I am enjoying spoiling the crap out of the animals under my care. :)

The day begins at the main barn, with all the does and wethers and kids not weaned or sold. And those does are on a time frame! I walk into the barn and they hustle into their places eyes watching me. Except little Lori, who I have alway obliged and spoiled rotten and fed first since the birth of her first born. The only trouble is, her buckling went away for weaning hot on the heels of her mother having triplets, so her Momma became the priority.

Tuesday Little Lori had enough, and inserted herself between me and her mother's pen, which I was trying to clean around her yelling Momma and three tiny siblings. Lori wanted her grain, across the aisle, first. I scooted her over and locked her up and fed her after her Momma.

Today I had a co-worker, and I was running a bit late. He chuckled later as he confided that Lori ran into her pen as soon as I entered the barn. Goats are too darn smart. She knew I would get to her and she was to wait in her pen. LOL.

ok, that's my cute goat story for tonight.

Guess you had to be there to see little Lori trying to shoulder me away from her mother's pen and look me in the eye and say, "you're late! feed me first!"


Summer soccer is really something else. At least we had two refs tonight, but that didn't prevent at least three of our guys getting hurt. Our goalie lunged for a ball and took a knee to the back as an opposing team member somersaulted over him, and our goalie ended up limping off the field clutching his lower back. I later learned he has a history of back trouble.

Our number one player ended up flat on the back after being kicked in the stomach and the other team snickered in their huddle while he recovered and hobbled off the field. The refs called a face off on that one, and our team urged the sub coach to get the hurt player back in so he could get revenge.

Another player took a face plant on the turf and took a moment to recover and no one even looked twice. He should have been pulled and checked for concussion.

Plus many trips, kicks, slams, etc, dirty playing after middle school...

Our regular coach has been on vacation; the sub coaches are recently graduated seniors who are heavily playing the older players. Now I am one of the parents that gets to watch their kid in for 10 minutes the whole game.

The Firebird is learning a lot by observing, however, and considering how balls-to-the-walls rough those teenage American boys get on the soccer field with minimum supervision, that may be a good thing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


How many times can you blue screen a PC trying to connect online and still keep trying? :D

I have my wheels situation taken care of: in three years I ought to be able to afford to address the PC issue. ;)

I am actually the proud owner and insured of two vehicles at the moment. In my true pessimistic fashion, I kept the old beater registered and insured just in case. Good thing, since I lost the only set of keys to the "new" one in the grass plugging in the electric fence and had to dash to the farm, saplings in tow, in the, currently known as, "the Death Trap."

And she was old faithful-plugging down the dirt roads in forward and reverse (doing fence work up a narrow road). Until we pulled in the end of the drive, and she became once again, "Bessie" when she coughed and stalled just as we returned home.

I glanced at the saplings, wondering if the three of us would be able to push it out of the way, before she fired up in a belch of running-too-rich fumes and made it safely back to her spot out back.

Gawd, how can you send that to the crusher?

196,000 and the body has rotted out around the frame, gotta love Maine winters...


The Firebird is kicking some serious summer soccer butt. Now an incoming Freshman, summer soccer is a take all comers game with a range of 13-17 year olds. And only the hard cores, of course.

A couple of the incoming Freshman were star players at schools he was playing against last year in middle school. Now they are his teamates, the cream of the crop. The varsity players are something to watch,strong young men that have years of soccer under their belts.

But the Firebird is tall for his age, and fearless, running right up to steal the ball or fall flat on his face trying, and not afraid to head bump or body block. He's getting some valuable experience playing with and against varsity players. And I have to admit, I love hearing other Moms cheering him on for a move well played.

Yeah, we get serious in High School :D

One of the few blue players with white socks, I call him white legs. :D

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Online for the moment

Another call to Dell, another temporary reprieve from internet banishment?

"Homer's Last Hurrah" BLF Lois and two of her three, hours-old triplets out of Homer. Two bucks and a doe. Homer never fully recovered from injuries, and although obviously still able to breed, was unable to re-join the buck herd and recently went to slaughter. Willow showed him to Grand Champion last year, and he was sire to my Badgee.

Update on my own goats: Jenny the goat, several minutes after my last update about her weeks ago, hopped her dividing fence and worked it out with everyone and is back with the herd.

Willow showed Uther for BLF in the yearling buck division @ the Fiber Frolic. He won Grand Champion cashmere goat. He is half brother to my Badgee. Willow won Grand Champion in Showmanship.

The Firebird graduated 8th grade fifth in his class, top ranked boy. He received several prestigious awards, even though his mother can't fashion a tie, lol.

Beautiful weather, not getting anything done with lots of things dividing my attention.

Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice

Well, I have been offline for about three weeks! The dreaded blue screen error which came every time I connected to the internet. Except, of course, after being on the phone twice to tech support! Each time I tried to replicate the error to tell them it didn't happen! Just like your car won't make that weird noise for the mechanic!

I did some stuff myself after troubleshooting online with the Firebird's laptop. Then the laptop had to be returned to the school for the summer. Here in Maine we have a school laptop program, "a laptop in the hands of every eight grader." (during the school year)

And of course I have been busy busy busy running circles and never a three hour time slot to devote to Dell tech support. Well, bright and early this morning seemed a good time, for me anyhow. I can't say for sure what time the tech had over there in Bombay, since he had to ask me am or pm when he asked the local time. He did seem to know Maine was located around New Hampshire and Vermont, which impressed me since I am sure I could't tell you the states or whatever divisions there are outside of his location.

I was repeatedly called, "Sir", despite my declarations of "I am a girl, " and "I am not a Sir" and "I am a woman with a deep voice, common mistake on the phone."

I finally decided that perhaps everyone over there is addressed as "Sir" despite their gender. Or perhaps it is so uncommon to address a strange (pun intended) woman that no formal title exists to address a woman. LOL

"We" ( the tech and I) uninstalled and reinstalled the modem (much to my delight I did have the CD for the driver), and then I had to disconnect with the tech to try to connect- with the advice that if it reoccurred to call my ISP provider. Which it did, and I did, and the ISP tech support told me they don't do anything about blue screen issues, to call Dell back, which I did.

And I actually spoke with another tech that I could actually understand, who sounded like he absolutely knew what he was talking about. Then he wanted the error number on the blue screen, and of course my paper with my notes had vanished, so I had to disconnect from him and attempt to connect so I would get the crash again.

Then the crash didn't happen. Furious, I disconnected and reconnected three or four times since I actually had someone that knew how to fix it and he was calling back in less than a minute. Nope, no crash, I am online after three weeks...for the moment, at least. Once or twice I have been able to get online, and the last time I immediately went to update MS and it crashed updating. So we'll see how long the old Dell desktop can keep going...

Solstice Blessings,

Monday, May 30, 2011

Long weekend in Paradise

I am finally getting around to posting the rest of the pics from a couple weeks ago.
But first a quick update on my own goats:

I thought it was time to put Jenny's Mom in with Jenny. They immediately got into a knock down, drag-out head-banger. Daphne is half Jenny's size, but she has been herd queen for years and she kept taking the high ground. Jenny wouldn't give up even though she fell down. I broke them up and took Daph out where she stood breathing hard for some minutes.

That means I probably will have to put one of the lesser does in with Jenny, but there is only one house and I don't think Jenny ever bunks with either one of the lesser does. And any of the wethers will most likely be able to beat Jenny up.

My other option is to start taking them on walks and letting her mix with everyone and see how that goes. She is not 100 percent yet as I could see in her bout with Daphne, but I don't like having to keep a goat separate.

Here are some more pics of Willow at the farm:

Willow and little Lori, her momma Lois behind, Maya mare in back.

Willow with Lori's "big Legs"

Willow and Jackson, the biggest goat at the farm.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Goodbye Thyroid

I had my blood drawn this week for follow up on Radioactive I131 treatment for Grave's Disease(hyperactive thyroid). I am 10 weeks after treatment.

My free T4 levels have dropped below normal. I went from 2.58 at treatment to 1.91 six weeks later to .79 this week. Normal range, according to my doc, is 0.91-1.71. I was immediately put on 75 mg Levoxyl once a day with more blood work in another four weeks.

Yeah, I've been feeling pretty lousy the last week. I think there were about 10 days in the last month I thought, "hey, I'm feeling good!" and my muscle tone started to recover a little.

Then I started freezing all the time (all this cold and damp, I thought) and the blues like no tomorrow (ditto weather) and tired tired tired (who isn't this time of year?)

Now I get to look forward to medication daily for the rest of my life. But I do get to phase off the propanolol, oops are you still on that? three days of a gradually reducing dose and that will be ended...three times a day was a nightmare, especially the afternoon one and sometimes the night one too! So yay to that, right?

well, considering I had free T4 of 5.7+ from October through January, I guess I deserve a little crash. I sort of wish the crash was in the winter, but sometimes things are outside of our control...


Blogger appears to be having comment issues.

Jenny the goat is much improved and the wayward hen has been staying put.

The ten days of gray wet weather caused a good slug crop, and they in turn have decimated many of my tender seedlings, including two rows of lettuce mix.

We had two glorious days of sun which was a cue for the mosquitoes hordes to come forth.

Now we're back to slug weather, fogged in since sundown last night.

Ah paradise!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

gotta love May Showers

But heating all month, too? We have had a very cool wet grey month of May! The slugs are loving it. The sun came out for about 5 minutes yesterday and the temps skyrocketed and the moisture filled the air from the saturated ground. I felt like a mole coming out of hibernation. Then the clouds returned.

The sun did come out for about 10 seconds this morning.

One of my goats ran into some trouble this weekend. She was a bit stiff in the rear on Thursday evening, but I had visitors at feeding time and didn't pay much attention. I was rushed Friday morning and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Friday night I had an unexpected guest right at grain time and Jenny was hiding in a house sitting on her rear like a dog. Her hind end buckled under her when I pulled her out of the house. I finally realized there was a problem.

I got rid of the visitor, secured and fed the rest of the herd, and made Jenny as comfortable as I could, and then ran an emergency divider between the house she was in and the rest of the paddock. My three children helped. One sat with Jenny's head in her lap, one ran insulators under my direction, and one stood ready to chase the other goats off when they came back from their hay.

Jenny seemed very disoriented and weak, and we ran watches on her falling down and getting stuck for two days. A goat friend was sure it was trouble with the hind leg. I thought perhaps a bigger goat had cornered her in the house and beat her up. Or rabies. Or brainworm. Or selenium deficiency. Or CAE.

She seemed slightly improved the second day, and finally I located some nutridrench for goats this morning and gave her 30cc orally. This afternoon she seemed much more aware of her surroundings and even managed to squat to urinate without falling down. She picked at her grain tonight and also her hay, and then I drenched her again. I also bought enough wormer for the whole herd and two selenium mineral blocks.

I'll check on her a few more times before bed tonight to make sure she hasn't fallen and hung up awkwardly against some of the big rocks in the pen. That was a real concern the first night as once I found her laying head downhill and unable to rise on her own.

She was obviously in pain the first 24 hours, so a goat may have been beating on her if she wasn't feeling well. Or just the stress of perhaps getting a leg hung up and then someone beating on her. Not really sure, and I don't feel out of the woods with her yet.

Her mother, Daphne, has seemed a bit upset and Jenny has seemed down. They usually bed down together and I had some thoughts tonight about putting her mom in with her. Jenny is still with the herd, just sectioned off alone. I think I will wait until Jenny is getting around pretty well and then put her mom in with her.

All this talking has made me want to go out and check on her. Prayers welcomed!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Gardening etc

Been busy doing outside stuff. A lot of the black gold compost was moved the last couple of weeks, at least 10 wheelbarrows onto the lawn, along with a bag of lime, and a dozen or so in the garden beds and mulching roses and grapes and perennials.

Lettuce is planted, peas are coming up. Squash and beans were daringly planted yesterday. Trying broccoli from seed, and collards, and beets for greens. Planted some flower seeds at the end of the road and in the bucket for the mailbox (which got a load of black gold compost and a small ring of hand picked-rock around the base.)

Started a war against the blackberries that took over the big perennial bed and then I was sidetracked. (translated: scratched bloody and retreated in semi-defeat for the time being)

I picked up all the leftover bits of wood and put them in a neat stack. Now for the bags and bags of bottles for the redemption center!

I spent the week outsmarted by a chicken. A white leghorn hen became an escape artist. You can see, with all that planting going on, that could be very disastrous to have a wayward hen in one's tediously planted vegetable garden!

Well, she kept escaping. I kept sewing possible escape routes shut with baling twine. The outdoor chicken run has become almost festive-looking. Each time I fixed it, I would chase her back in. That sounds simple. First one has to lock all the other chickens out, and then chase a chicken in that has no intention of going in. Chickens can run fast.

Last night I clipped her wings. I thought that would slow her down. She acted like I was killing her, sulked in the house for ten minutes, and then escaped again. Finally the Firebird saw where she was getting out. I fixed it today and it took three of us ten minutes slowly slowly acting like well-trained border collies to get her in.

We will see what tomorrow brings.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

me with Lori's "Big Legs"

me with Sugreca's boy

Willow and Maya

Willow with Carmela's boy

Willow and Jackson

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring is finally here!

All our snow is finally gone. The last little bit of ice just vanished without fanfare. The pond was melted by the full moon, because I walked a friend over to the pond that evening and the water was still as glass.

Eleven baby goats at the farm, all sooo sweet! Silver babies: Little Lori had a single big buck, Sugreca a buck and a doe, Dancer two does. Five brown babies: a big single doe out of Buffy, twin bucks out of Carmela, and twin does out of Bonnie. One black doe out of Coretta.

Sugreca's little buck has one wattle and loves to chew on hair. Bonnie's girls from Prince are so beautiful, and Bonnie is starting to accept me catching them every morning so she can have her grain.

Actually, most of the mothers are relieved when I go after their kids since the does stand in the stalls calling their babies, who are having too much fun playing big goat on the rock wall to be interested in grain.

Combing cashmere is almost over.

Had a bunch of blood drawn last week, called the doc and found out I am still hyperthyroid, although the levels dropped since before treatment. So I have more bloodwork in a month and have to watch for signs of hypothyroid in the meantime. Certainly the swelling at the base of my throat has gone down. I have put on a few pounds, I'm up to 118 now, but still battling the forgetting-to-eat and running typically on 5 hours of sleep.

I get nightowlish this time of year, but having to be to the farm at the crack of dawn is putting a crimp in my sleeping! lol.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


The Phoebes are back.
"phoebe, phoebe" greeted me at yesterday morning when I awoke.

I had a Mercury retrograde day today. I am still convinced it is Monday, lol. first, I overslept. Somehow I shut my alarm off instead of hitting snooze. I am a chronic snooze button user, so I can immediately go back to sleep. Luckily I awoke 5 minutes before I had to leave for work. I was starting coffee and Willow, who was staying home, down with a bug, said, "the goats are out. "

Ok, I won't bore you with the details of how much fun that was (not), but I am afraid of what the neighbors think of me shouting like a wild woman at errant goats at the crack of dawn. Oh yeah, the neighbors must have heard me.

I was about 15 minutes late to the farm, and was paused outside the gate trying to huff down a cigarette before I went through, (no smoking inside the gates) and my ex-boyfriend's co-worker drove by, honking. Now I knew I had to drive by the two of them working at the rock lot on my way home.

I walked over to the upper gate, still nursing the smoke, and there was a small pile of shavings and some blood and a few white feathers, and I thought, "something tragic happened here."

Boss was coming down from the house and I queried her as to the evidence, and she said, "we had the old gander put down."

I imagined a gun to the back of the head, and felt sad for the "oldman", at least 15 years old as just as a guess. I saw the barn cat circling licking his/her lips (there are two gray and white long-haired, both neutered, male and female, and I can't tell them apart- nor would their teeth and claws allow me to attempt to do so)

I thought I , or someone, should clean up the evidence, and followed Boss into the barn for some tools, as she said, "a lot has been going on..." and gestured, and P said, "Bonnie and Dancer had their babies!"

Which was so exciting I forgot all about the loss of the gander. Bonnie has had boys for the last four years. She is a super-attentive mother. In fact, she sort of was adopted by one of Lillemore's kids last year, who would sneak-nurse her while she was raising twin bucklings of her own.

One year she wasn't bred; she fought with one of the mothers so badly because she didn't have her own babies. Bonnie had her ear split so severely it still dangles in two pieces.

Every year at the three-month mark, Bonnie's boys have been taken from her across the hill for weaning, since bucklings can breed a doe when they are three months old. Well, I have always felt pretty sorry for her and have wished to find her with a girl for the last couple of years now.

Bonnie had twins does this year! They are out of Prince, a tall brown and tan, blue- eyed, side-horned buck. And I am sure at least one of the brown doelings will have his blue eyes.

I have joked that this is the year of the blue eye. Last year was the year of the wattle.

The other surprise was beautiful black Dancer with the long fringes had a pair of gray does out of Grand Champion, currently on the injured list, Homer, who Willow showed when she was 8 and who is also the sire of my Badger.

Oh no, I'm off on goat bloodlines now, boorrrinnng, lol

anyhow, Dancer and Homer's girls are adorable! As are Bonnie and Prince's. Bonnie looked so stunned, lol. i know had she feels-I remember learning I was going to have a daughter after two sons and I believe I had that look on my face as well.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Long week

I combed a lot of goats this week. Bags and bags of cashmere. Some goats are nearly completely shed out: others are loaded and just getting started.

The filly at the farm went for training today. And none too soon. She and the older mare have taken an extreme dislike to Lori's little grey Buckling.

Wednesday I saw Maya lunge at him with her ears back and grab him by the back. "MAYA!!!" I screamed and she dropped him and he went sprawling and I escorted her out of the barn with a shovel threatening her big behind.

Then the filly was caught three days in a row charging through the main herd in the big pasture, singling out the little grey buckling with her head down and teeth bared and feet flying.

Don't know what got into those mares, but I suspect a long standing hatred of Lori and her Mom, Lois, because there are seven babies and 30 adults yet they are picking on him. And there is another grey buckling about the same size, but they can tell them apart, apparently.


Beautiful weather today, but we still have a bunch of snow on the lawn. The goat pasture has a steadily receding line of snow that I keep chasing back with the twice daily hay feeding. Nice to have clean snow twice a day to put the hay on.


Radiation fallout from Fukushima is being picked up in the US, and in milk in Vermont. I have a feeling that in order to protect oneself only food harvested before the Fukushima accident should be consumed. Good luck with that.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Birthday with my Firstborn

After we were yanked free of the culvert this morning, and spent the morning tending hungry goats and playing with newborn goat kids, we joined forces with the Eldest celebrating his 22nd today.

We went to Augusta and went to lunch in Hallowell at our favorite Chinese restaurant, Lucky Garden. The restaurant sits on posts along the banks of the Kennebec (wide water) River, an open post and beam high-ceiled room, with windows along three sides with expansive views of the River.

The posts are covered in hanging planters and trained vines of Golden Pothos, and the buffet is humble but was immediately refreshed with our favorites within minutes of our arrival.

The host greeted me by name, the waiter was a little incoherent so I had to translate for the kids. I was very pleased to be out on the town with my three beautiful children!

We also hit the Starbuck's counter at Barnes & Noble and the eldest had a chance to spend some of his birthday cash replacing some books he lost in a fire a few years ago.

An aspiring writer...two books by Bukowski and a nice hardcover Dictionary.

Cake at home afterwards-a lame store bought one, since our power was out and I couldn't bake him a scratch one in my electric oven. But I did have plenty of candles (and all the numbers but 2, of course) so 22 candles went on his cake, and I was worried the thing would melt before we could finish a refrain of "Happy Birthday, " so we sung it double-time.

We stayed up late the night before philosophizing by candlelite, he saying it was the type of light like sitting around a bonfire.

Cherish the moments.

"my memories are like smoke drifting around the room,
and when they dissipate as I try and grab them,
I think...
"it doesn't matter." "

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yay Saturday

Happy April!

Mother Nature had such an Aprils Fool's joke in store for us that we didn't pull any tricks this year. No one I knew did, and that is the first year ever.

We had a blizzard. At least a foot of wet snow in six hours. Last Friday I was in a t-shirt. This Friday I took a ride to the bucks with a co-worker since he had a truck with four wheel-ed drive.The roads were scary. White Out conditions. I wished I hadn't made it to work, because now I had to get home.

The kids were sending reports via cell phone:

"A big tree fell and almost hit the house"

When you're my age you don't get too worked up about almos;, there's a lot of almost in your life...

Then, "The power went out."

Yes, the power was out 24 hours, and when I called the power company an hour later, and they started with Augusta (the state capital) and finished with Yarmouth (a southern town) and listed every town-but mine-alphabetically in between, I knew we would be out three days. So a nice surprise to be 26 hours.

However, when I tried to pull out the end of the driveway in the morning, the car kept spinning sideways, the big ditch and culvert inching closer. The snow was so wet and saturated the car just wanted to slide sideways.

Finally my prayers were answered, as a 4WD came down the road and I walked around pathetically clutching the snow shovel.

A neighbor I didn't know, he hooked on with a chain and yanked me out, and yes, the rear end did jump the ditch and clipped the mailbox-in-a-bucket-full-of-rocks (because this time last year someone broke my post, lol) but that was an easy -just tip the bucket back up, although mail didn't come today, lol.

***.Lots of baby goats at the farm, Lori delivered yesterday and went into labor in collar and chain in a blizzard. I kicked Lillemore out of her pen and set Lori up with the best leafy second cut hay in the loft and she _yumm-yumm-yummed mouthfuls of hay in between contractions, stretched out on her side and straining with no visible result.

All of us, except Boss, kept checking her, and her mother, Lois, tried to climb over the bars of the pen to get closer to little Lori during her labor. That was really impressive to see.

I was worried about complications the way she was straining,and being her first kidding, but we moved off to the Hill with Boss's encouragement not to stand over her (although I think Lori liked me and her Mom being there for her, lol) and when we came off the Hill, there was beautiful white Lori spattered with birth gore ,(chewing a mouthful of hay) and the biggest single grey buckling I have ever seen. He's as big as the two week old single doelings. He's a monster and he's beautiful and clever and of course he will be a great Champion! :)

The kids and I rented the Grown ups, I would talk about goats all night otherwise. I will have to get some pix up soon.

Monday, March 21, 2011

We went to a welcome home dinner on Saturday. Here's Willow dishes up some dinner:

Then we went for a walk in the Maine woods by moonlight.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vernal Equinox

Beautiful day out today! A couple days ago we had 65F in the shade, then flurries the next morning. Still getting below freezing at night.

Yesterday was the first day in ages I left the fire out all day.

My driveway collapsed. It ate a Jeep Wrangler. The passenger side axels and bumpers were resting on the still frozen driveway. The passenger tires were no where to be seen. There was water pouring under the driveway on that side; the top frozen layer gave way.

That was the worst case of stuck I ever saw anyone in my driveway. My Hay guy came over the next day with his 4WD pickup and a chain and I got to learn how to drive a standard in reverse, except the Jeep didn't budge.

Three jacks, digging, and chopping the frozen ground free of the tires, and digging two diversion trenches to try and drain the stream flowing through the tire rims away, and several more attempts and we got it out! Yay!

I really wanted to get pictures but the batteries for the camera were flat!

I found it extremely amusing that my driveway ate a 4WD Jeep Wrangler. Until I worked for two hours to help get it out.

Now I have an impassable driveway and I am parking my car halfway up. My road (not my driveway)is so bad, my neighbor came over and told me the postman, who drives an International 4WD, has refused to deliver mail on our road for the last 10 days.

The road commssioner is not taking any calls.

My car has 6 inches of clearance and patched brake and power steering lines, but I have to drive it or walk a mile. I have had it sideways twice and didn't slide in my car once all winter, but the mud is so deep it throws the car.

We had huge winds Friday and lost the power for a couple of hours. The neighbor came over to see if we had power. Thank goodness it came on just as darkness fell even though Willow had the candles and lamps lit.

We have bare ground in places, and 6-8 inches of snow in places. The plowed snowbank on the lawn is still 3 feet or so.

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


It's been just about a week since I took the I131 treatment. The treatment takes 1-6 weeks to kill the thyroid. Usually in the interim patients continue with their anti-thyroid meds to prevent a spike in thyroid hormone as the dying thyroid releases the stored hormone.

As I had a rare reaction to the meds, I am not on any, and I am experiencing hyperthyroid symptoms. More muscular/neurological stuff, like back pain out of nowhere that turned into curl up in a ball stomach pains.

My back is still a little cranky this morning and an ankle is now protesting.

My brain is very scattered; I am having a hard time accomplishing anything but the must do's.

The total body fidgets are back.

Total exhaustion.

I am not even sure what the Dr.'s plan is. All I can remember was something about, "see you in six weeks."

I am not sure the natural methods will work when I go hypo, since technically there won't be a thyroid to stimulate. I will be on Thyroxine, I believe, so unless there is naturally occurring thyroxine I will be on pharmaceuticals. Even if there is natural thyroid hormone, if I took it that might effect my prescribed dose.


The roads here are a mess. We had about 3-4 feet of snow pack, then we had torrential rain and temps in the 40's for two days. There are orange cones and road barricades all over the place, from where the road flooded over and washed out the road, or turned to ice the night before as it was flooding, creating these crumbling iceburgs across the road in places.

Parts of my road, which is dirt, are nearly impassable without 4 wheel drive (which I don't have). As the top layer of road thawed, the water and muck stayed on top, making mire pits in low sections.

I'll have to take my camera out and get some pictures of a real Maine spring. :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Congrats to the Firebird for winning a trophy for basketball!

So, I'm 50 hours into the radioactive iodine treatment. Although the only known side effect is a possible sore neck, I have been draggin butt and just got up from a three hour nap.

The tech said I was getting a good dose that will knock the thyroid out, so most likely I am looking at replacement hormone the rest of my life. Thanks Tonia, for the tip on the generic, after I took the pill I was thinking that I hope the meds over my loifetime weren't going to cost me an arm and a leg...figuratively speaking.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I go for my treatment tomorrow. I am a day behind, since Monday was a soppy wet snow supposed to turn to rain that made me not want to risk a wreck to drive to town to swallow the test pill.

So I took the test pill yesterday and went back for a scan today and go back tomorrow for the big dose.

I find it so ironic, ne, Karmic, that an anti-nuc greenie like myself is facing nuclear medicine. No hesitation. That or get knocked out and go under the knife and hope the surgeon is competent enough not to slice my vocal cords or the thymus gland. Nope, just swallow a pill. Not have a breast removed, or a limb amputated, or half my face taken away, it's just a pill. Or maybe two pills.

And a whole list of recommended precautions, apparently I could shed radiation from my saliva and stuff that comes out the other end, so I have to keep my eating utensils separate for a week, and throw out my toothbrush in a week, and wipe the phone off after I use it, and flush three times everytime I go...but the scientist in me wonders how to handle the volumes of drip that comes out my nose working outside in the cold? What about the tissues and gloves and yes, ok, shirtsleeves?

My favorite part, and I had the fellow from nuclear medicine giggling nervously along with me, is that I get a dr's note in case I try and cross international borders in the next month and set off the dirty bombs well, the geiger counter...

One most likely thing that will happen is that I will go hypothyroid and have to take a pill everyday for the rest of my life. But the meds I was taking came to 7 pills a day and crashed my white blood cells, so I guess I can happily take one a day forever to avoid that!

I suppose some comfort might be gained from hearing that George Bush senior and his wife Barbara both had this treatment for hyperthyroidism.

Friday, February 25, 2011


My thyroid levels are back up following the dicontinuation of methimazole. I have decided to have radioactive uptake treatment. Waiting for the doc to set that up.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Last night I got the chills. I figured it was because the house was cold after I got all sweaty while skiing yesterday. Then the toilet seat made me yelp when I sat on it. That is always my personal fever indicator.

I am supposed to be watching out for sore throat and fever. One of the rare nasty side effects of methimazole, my thyroid med, is reduced white blood cell count, whose symptoms include fever and sore throat. It can be a life threatening complication.

Last time I went off methimazole for a sore throat, I ended up in the er with a seized shoulder. So I took my meds this morning and called the doc afterwards. I was going in for my three week blood work and figured it would be easier to get the CBC (complete blood count)at the same time this afternoon.

There was a bit of confusion, since the nurse wanted me to go off the meds, but I wasn't going to the lab until this afternoon, and she wanted to know how long the results would take and said she'd call me back.

I got to the lab about noon and they had no CBC order. I told them my situation and they kindly drew the tube and set it aside for the order, and I called the office and left a message that was what was happening.

As I was leaving, the nurse from endo called me back and said she wished I had waited for her call, but that they would get back to me with the results, tonight if necessary so I could continue with the meds if everything was ok. She seemed a little put out, but the blood was ready to go so I was happy. :)

Then she called me this afternoon. My white blood count is low and I have to go off the meds. They will look at the results of the thyroid blood work and then we'll talk some more tomorrow morning.

It's a very serious condition and I can't go to the girls final game tonight because of risk of infection while my White blood count is low. I am under doctor's orders to take it easy and put my feet up! Of course I am still driving him to the game, and driving back to get him, and going to a friend's tonight to watch a movie (I already called to make sure none of them are sick) You can't tell an obsessive compulsive claustrophobic they have to stay home!!

There is another med, but people that react to this one often react to that one as well. That leaves radioactive iodine to kill the thyroid. I knew that was coming I just wish I could have a little more time. My last thyroid levels were still high. I have been feeling pretty good so hopefully it's better.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I've been feeling pretty good lately. Thanks Tonia for asking!
I get mad that I was sick for so long trying to get the first appointment!

I went skiing today! For the third time in 30 years. LOL. I was AWFUL. We went right to the top of the mountain after I put my skiis on, and I fell at least 10- maybe 20 times. I didn't try and keep count.

I forgot to say that I lost a ski pole getting in the chair ("I'll send it up with the next one!")

and then I dropped the other pole getting off the lift.

Once I almost hit a tree, but I fell back and slid into it until my ski tips were touching it. Then I was sort of stuck, my butt in a hollow and one ski up on the big water pipe.

The ski patrol stopped and said, "Did you hit that tree?"
and I was like, "NO< NO I just slid into it...I'm having an adventure."

Once I started sliding backwards on my back and I thought it might be easier to get down the mountain that way. No wonder there were "No sliding" signs posted.

Well, I finally made it all the way down! My bottom feels like someone beat me with a board! lol But, on the bright side, I didn't break anything!

We lost

We're done, we lost our semi-final game last night. I was sure we were going to be making it to the finals. We led by a narrow margin until the 3rd quarter, when the opposing team put in a huge surge to pull ahead by ten points.

Our team was playing the game it had been building to all season. All the little things they failed in previous games they corrected last night. I will miss watching all the boys play so well!!

The spider, a seventh grader who crouched over the ball as he raced it down the court, dribbling back under a leg and pivoting to change direction when challenged. His layups were a thing of beauty; he would spring to the basket with his feet tucked up behind him. When he fought over the ball he would frequently get a traveling call as he clutched the ball to his belly and wrapped his limbs around it as he rolled away.

The terrier, another seventh grader that had the quickest feet and sharpest eyes as he dogged an opponent down the court.

The giraffe, our knee injured eight grader, well over six feet, who could grab a high pass out of nowhere and shoot like a pro.

The bull, heavily built who could swipe a rebound halfway down the court and jump a mile high.

And the Firebird, whose rebounds would swish in time after time, teamates 3 point shot attempts turning into passes for his next basket. He could get the opposing teams rebound, pass it off, and be positioned under his own net in a flash.

Those were our starters, the rest of the team were great players too!

The flea, a tiny seventh grader that had trouble hanging on to the ball but who could shoot like no tomorrow when he was open.

The stag, Willow's favorite, a fifth grader that consistently nailed three pointers.

The twins, one light and one dark, scrappers who were so intent on the ball they frequently fouled.

The parents who sat with me in the bleachers everygame and put up with my cheering.

The coach who went from a quiet, sitting with legs crossed coach to stomping the sielines shouting at every error and yelling game plans, looking so good in his khakis with dress shirt and tie! :D

Good season, don't know what I will do with my free time now!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


No trips to the hospital last week, thank goodness, but a trip to the mechanics. I had a wheel bearing that had been grinding away for awhile and it was to the point I was anxious everytime I drove anywhere. The part was $110 and the labor was a steal for $40.

Kind of a steep repair for my old beater, just hit 188,888 and fast approaching 5 years with me. And the sticker runs out in March, do you hear the death toll? Just scrambling to get on my feet enough to get a replacement vehicle...

The goats are bored! Derek and Obi just stomped over a low section in the welded wire fence this afternoon to chew the tarp covering the hay (and wishing they had opposable thumbs to move the tarp to get to the hay). They totalled the fence, and I was amazed the rest didn't follow creating more damage.

I hauled the section of fence up, and luckily I had a long scrap of 6 foot welded wire I wired right over the bad section. Take that, you brats. I'll run an electric line in front of it if they keep that up!

We have a lot of snow on the ground!! I took Willow sledding to the big hill this afternoon. Just walking from the road to the crest was a nightmare, my weight enough to break through to 3 feet in places. Willow was light enough to mostly stay above a foot deep. No way was I going down and trying to walk back up through that!

Willow went twice, breaking distance records for us both times. She even made the jump at the bottom (where I usually wipe out) and hung on all the way to the bottom. A long way, poor thing slogged her way back up for a second run. By then I was frozen just sitting on the other sled watching. I should have gone down, I would have warmed up on the climb back. I just wasn't sure I would make it!

We have a steep hill to one side of the house, and last week the dog chased her down and could barely make it back up! It was over his chest, and I bet he was thinking he should not have chased her down the hill!

Cashmere combing season is starting, I combed stinky buck Chris last week. He loves the attention so much he had his head on my knee at one point. Until he got his hay, that is. Goats love food!

Monday, January 31, 2011


Yesterday was my birthday, yay me! I had a good time, the pattern of the last few was broken, and although I try and be a traditionalist, change was good. :)

The Firebird is doing great in basketball. He is a shooter. He gets the other team's rebound, passes it off to one of his teammates to move the ball down the court, and races down the court to get in position for our rebound. He made 8 points tonight. His highest so far was twelve. He had a lame couple of games with few or no points right after Kristen's accident. He has rebounded well.

The whole team is doing well; everyone's improving and our coach challenges them more every game. Willow and I are a couple of fans, cheering in the stands. Phoenix's success has enabled us to gain acceptance in his new school. Some of the parents assume I must be a basketball expert, so it's really funny when I make some really dumb comment. haha.

We have a big storm coming, welcome February. January went fast, I'm hoping the rest of the winter follows that pattern. The temp was 10 below zero this morning. Supposed to be 15 below tomorrow morning, and not knowing that I called Boss this noon and begged to work tomorrow. I missed Friday because I was in the ER.

I had three trips to the hospital last week. Monday for my three week blood work. The nurse called me Tuesday and said my levels were coming down and stay on the med. Then I mentioned I had a sore throat. She told me to go right to the lab and have blood drawn. It was snowing-so she grudgingly agreed I could go in the morning, but I had to stop taking methimazole immediately until the results came in.

Methimazole has a rare side effect. It can cause your white blood cell level to crash, making you vulnerable to infection. A sore throat is apparently cause for immediate concern.

Those blood tests came back fine. I was off the med for 24 hours and resumed it that night. The next day my shoulders felt like I had a tetanus shot. By bedtime the pain settled in one shoulder and I struggled all night to sleep, getting out of bed at dawn to drive myself (singledhandedly, literally) to the hospital.

Trying to get into a hospital gown had me in tears. I could wiggle the fingers of my left hand and that was it. I had to use my right hand to move my left arm and even that was agony. I had an x-ray series, an ice pack, and 500 mg of Ibuprofen. They offered me something stronger, but I would have had to have someone pick me up because they wouldn't let me drive. After once driving myself home after receiving morphine in the ER and getting carsick after the rotary, I hastily agreed to just Ibuprofen.

I was diagnosed with rotator cuff injury. The pain started to fade. When I was released 4 hours later, I was able to touch the steering wheel with my fingers. By noon I was lugging laundry one handed to the laundramat. I worked the farm the next morning. By the 36 hour mark all pain and stiffness was gone. Today I split wood.

Ok, that was weird! I had something similar happen before I went on the meds with the other shoulder, only not so painful. So I wonder if there was a relation to going off the meds for 24 hours? I should probably let the endo know, but I am waiting to see if it happens again. So here's hoping it doesn't!

Saturday I went over to visit Kristen's family. They wanted me to go through her clothes. You would not believe the bags and boxes they had put aside. I went through everything one thing at a time. If I hesistated over something, her daughter would say how K had loved that, or wore it all the time, So in the keep pile it would go.

Then her daughter's boyfriend was helping, "Oh, that's a nice shirt," if I hesitated.

The only comment D made was when I put on a silver metallic thread turtleneck sweater. "That's shiny," he said. I put that in the reject pile. :)

About halfway through I said, "I'll just throw out all my clothes."

Because there is two complete wardrobes of stuff sitting in bags downstairs right now. I have no idea where I can put it. So I am going to go through everything again in front of a mirror and try and keep a quarter of it? That still seems a lot!

No tears were shed during the visit, although Willow got a little bleary eyed at one point. That was her first visit to the house since K passed. I am sort of in shock, no so much because of the volume of stuff, but the concept of it. It's like an extension of my own stuff, from old stained sweatshirts, felted sweaters, nice stuff, out of date stuff. So it sort of rocks my feeling of immortality, to put it mildly.

Her daughter had already taken what she wanted, so you can imagine what the entire amount must have equaled! Then, I'll call her Vine, gave Willow several of her own beautiful dresses, including her prom dress. Willow was thrilled!!

D was smoking a butt on the deck when we made our goodbyes. He gave me a big hug and pressed something into my hand and said, "Happy Birthday, this is from Kristen." I closed my hand and thanked him sincerely. As I walked away, I opened my hand and saw her beautiful pair of blue glass and silver drop earrings.

I'm not very fond of Death at the moment.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My car is back on the road for the time being. A friend bought me some power steering fluid and it was still leaking so I took it to the mechanics. Three big guys pushed a truck out of the bay so they could get my car on the lift. Then they fixed it in about 10 minutes and charged me $10.

All it needed was a new clamp on the patch. I am not mechanical, and even after I jacked up one side of the car lying in the snow (on a blanket) trying to seat the clamp on the hose was beyond me. Something about lying down with the car inches over my head made me too claustraphobic to deal with it properly. Definitely worth the $10.

We are under a winterstom watch with snow and ice later. The alert system called and said the kids will be released at noon, no basketball game tonight.

I have 2 cords of wood to stack, groceries to buy, dishes to wash-laundry will have to wait for another day!

Brrr! cold but at least above 0F!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What a week

Thanks Tonia, for you kind words about Kristen. The whole week has been downhill from the funeral!

Wednesday, my cat Ruby went into labor on schedule. She had slipped out a couple months ago and was discovered under the house with the neighborhood tomcat. Willow was so excited to have some kittens in the house.

Ruby went into labor around noon on the couch, and proceeded to have four stillborn kittens. Friday morning I found another dead kitten that she had during the night. She went over 24 hours before she had the last one. We were all heartbroken!

Yesterday at the farm The Boss wasn't in the barn in the morning. The big snow we had Wednesday she overexerted herself. We had about 16 inches of snow. She came up on the hill to trim a buckling's hooves mid-morning, and addressed the three of us: "I am still not feeling well. You all had better seriously start looking for other jobs because I am cutting back drastically."

I embarrassed myself by crying in front of P and R afterwards in the tack room. Kristen got me that job, just devastating to think of the farm downsizing to that point.

Then this morning the Firebird and I got in the car to go to the farm for work. No power steering. I filled the reservoir, still no steering. I backed up and saw all the fluid in a puddle in the snow. I called the farm and told them they would have to come get us or get someone else to work since we were stuck.

They decided to come get us, so I said we would wait at the end of the drive. It was freezing!! Below zero, sun just coming up. I told the Firebird we would be warmer walking and we headed down the road. The breeze from walking was pretty cold. I used to walk a lot, I hit my stride and kept going. Everything was covered in frost from the cold, the low lying sun made everything look as if covered in diamonds.

We walked about a mile to the end of our road. The sun was up by then. The road comes to a T intersection there-straight ahead is a frozen pond and the sun was rising over it. It was almost cozy in the sun. We certainly drew attention from the neighbors. One lady from town was heading down our road and asked us if we needed a ride.

Then my phone rang. Mr. Boss was in the next town over. Boss forgot to tell him to turn up the road we were waiting on, and he overshot us. He did pick us up, the car was nice and warm! He had to drive us to the big bucks over at Prescott mid morning, but I called a friend to give us a ride home and we left from there. It was -4F when he picked us up, and 18 F (heatwave!) when we headed to Prescott.

The Firebird had some trouble with his hands freezing, and like a typical teenager he refused every suggestion. "move faster, get the blood going!" shake your hands, squeeze your fists, take my gloves..." well, it WAS cold, poor kid.

I attempted to fix the leaking power steering line. A patch was put in the last time-of course it was leaking there. I crawled under (the car has about 8 inches clearance and I actually got stuck under there at one point and had to pull myself through the other side!) and loosened and tightened the clamp and it stopped leaking, but I thought I was out of fluid, so a friend brought some fluid and I started the car and didn't see a leak. I crawled back under to tighten the clamp up good just to be sure. And then power steering fluid started leaking all over my hands will I was trying to get the screwdriver in there-it was a nightmare, and my hands were frozen by the time I finished.

Neither friend could fit under the car-the skinny one tried. which was why it was me who was under there.

Now all the fluid has leaked out again so I don't know if it is still leaking or not? The men assure me I can drive it without power steering. hahah. I can't even turn the wheel. I have lost a lot of upper body strength with the thyroid thing. So I guess I will eventually call the mechanic and then see if I can drive it over there with no power steering. Since I don't want to pay $100 for a tow.

That's a heck of a week, isn't it? Nine miles to the nearest store and no car. sigh.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Kristen's service was tonight. Lots of tears and a few laughs. Her father and sisters and brother spoke. And her husband and daughter spoke briefly. I was doing good until her kids filed in, the youngest son glancing at me until our eyes met and I gave him a half smile. But it was the sight of him that had me bawling. Seeing her kids, all adults now, side by side...

Naughty and nice, yes that fit Kristen. And if we all could be a bit more like her, her brother said as I nodded in agreement.

A large crowd, two rooms overflowing to a back room that only had a view through the doorway. Beyond the immediate family, not many familiar faces, but the sisters and father and brother, whom Kristen had spoke of and whose pictures I had seen, helped me get even closer to Kristen. Just as she had described them over the years.

The most devastating moment for me was when her father spoke of the daughter Kristen had given up for adoption. Kristen was very young, pregnant out of wedlock, a part of a fiercely devote Mormon family. She gave the baby girl up for adoption.

Kristen had grieved for that child, even with a full nest of three boys and a baby girl. The records were locked. Her father said he wanted to strangle the man that wouldn't give up the information. Kristen always hoped for the day her daughter might seek her out, because the records were really only locked one way.

That never happened in her lifetime. Then her father shared that now the man is willing to unlock the records.

I let out a cry and buried my head in my hands and wept for some moments. I am sure the immediate family already knew that information, but it came at a shock to me. I have tears in my eyes now reliving the moment. I knew how much finding that lost part of her meant to Kristen.

Kristen was a wonderful mother, friend, sister. I think everyone
that was close to her is having a hard time trying to accept she is gone. Such a vital spirit.

I have been gathering information since her death. She went off the road on her side at a high rate of speed. She did not have her phone on her. Her car had been at the mechanic's the day before. She was known for driving slow, not fast. She was coming off a curve in a straight stretch with an oncoming curve. did someone coming the other way force her off the road? Was she distracted, looking for something? Mechanical failure? She was new to working third shift, did she drift off the road half asleep? The accident is still under investigation.

One thing is sure. My boss (and Kristen's boss for years) is retired Dr. of Psychiatry, and my co-worker knew her for years. We all agree there is no way it was suicide. She hit a mailbox, a telephone pole, and an ancient maple. The car split in two. She would not have committed suicide coming home with groceries and taking out a mailbox. And she was not the type of person to do it.

On her Facebook page a woman posted a photo montage to "Forever Young". Kristen had walked up to her driftwood fire on the beach this summer in the night, and they became friends. My favorite bit was "Kristen's chair". Kristen and her husband were staying at the cabins on the shore to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Kristen took a chair from the cabins and put it on the bluff to watch the sunrise.

Kristen loved life and everything that went with it. We will miss her. She was like a sister to me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Goodbye my Friend

My best friend, she was best friends to many, died in an automobile wreck today around 11 am. I missed the wreck by minutes, and was diverted because the road was blocked. I knew it was someone close to me. Her daughter called me this afternoon with the devastating news.

Rest in Peace Kristen, I know you loved Neil Young:

"After The Goldrush"

Well, I dreamed I saw the knights
In armor coming,
Saying something about a queen.
There were peasants singing and
Drummers drumming
And the archer split the tree.
There was a fanfare blowing
To the sun
That was floating on the breeze.
Look at Mother Nature on the run
In the nineteen seventies.
Look at Mother Nature on the run
In the nineteen seventies.

I was lying in a burned out basement
With the full moon in my eyes.
I was hoping for replacement
When the sun burst thru the sky.
There was a band playing in my head
And I felt like getting high.
I was thinking about what a
Friend had said
I was hoping it was a lie.
Thinking about what a
Friend had said
I was hoping it was a lie.

Well, I dreamed I saw the silver
Space ships flying
In the yellow haze of the sun,
There were children crying
And colors flying
All around the chosen ones.
All in a dream, all in a dream
The loading had begun.
They were flying Mother Nature's
Silver seed to a new home in the sun.
Flying Mother Nature's
Silver seed to a new home.