My Tunes

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Brad and William liven things up.

Sometimes it's not the cows that make a day exciting.

There I was, peacefully watering my strawberries in the 'strawberry trough forever'.

I find watering plants very relaxing.  

It was then that I heard the sirens start up in town and a few moments later I saw some emergency vehicles racing along the state hi-way and then turn down our county road.  'Someone's got themselves in pickle', I thought.

Yep, I'd just been reading how bad stress is for people with auto-immune diseases and so there I was all chilled and relaxed, minding my own business... until I started walking towards the house and saw something that put me on the stress scale from a 0 to a 10.  Those emergency vehicles, with their flashing lights, were way the other side of our field (over near the ditch) where Brad and William were working!!

I started making tracks towards the house, where I'd left my phone.  Because of the distance, and the fact I wasn't wearing my glasses, I couldn't make out what kind of vehicle they were.   They were parked by one of the irrigation pumps, next to Brad's pick-up.  You know how your mind starts racing and you start thinking of all the awful things that might have happened.  Well, I had a lot of time to think of many horrible things as I covered the distance between the 'strawberry trough forever' and the house, because I can't move very fast!  

As I dashed along, I recalled how, years ago,  Brad stuck a screw driver into the electric panel of the pump and he turned into a bright blue flash before my eyes.  He was lucky he didn't kill himself.  Was I a widow or down a son?  They can't be fire trucks because I see no smoke.  Why would be there be two ambulances then?  Does the town even have two ambulances?  Wouldn't they put them both in the same ambulance?  It must be Brad..because William wouldn't be working on electric stuff...but then that must be why they need emergency vehicle...because Brad let William work on electrical stuff.  

Thank goodness the house wasn't any further because I would have drove myself mental.

I called Brad and he answered... Oh dear, it must be William!  I just shouted "What happened"?!!  Both were fine and they had tried to call me, knowing what I'd think if they didn't.  

Here's what happened:

The next day they were pouring cement pads for the center pivots and thought they would use some of the cement to repair a dam near the pump.  They set fire to the tall dense weeds that were covering the dam and suddenly the wind picked up and the fire got away from them.  When fire gets into the rough terrain it is hard if not impossible for the fire trucks to get to it, and so before it got there William called 911.  Brad operated the shovel, keeping the fire from burning the pump panel and William soaked his sweater in creek water to beat the flames to show them who's boss.  The volunteer firemen showed up in about five minutes.  It was easy to put out and there was a lot of light hearted banter afterwards.  The firemen said it was the first brush fire of the year.  That made me laugh and I asked William if they get a prize.

I saw no smoke when I first noticed the scene because the fire was already out and they were already enjoying the light hearted banter part.  (And people wonder why I'm a gibbering idiot).

We finally got a picture of Teddy smiling.  This how she greets us when anyone of us comes home...even if we have only been gone five minutes.  William was ready with his camera.  She walks low to the ground, head down, eyes squinty, showing her upper gums and teeth.  We think it's really cute and I read that it's an Australian Shepherd thing.

The famous Australian Shepherd grin, demonstrated by Teddy.
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cows can be counted on.

You can always count on cows to add some excitement to an ordinary day.  We were just leaving to make a late afternoon 'farm parts and supply' run to Spokane, when William noticed a cow near the fence by the ditch.  He went over to check her out and immediately called for backup.  Brad walked over there and I followed behind.  I'm feeling miles better now that I'm back on the higher dose of steroids.  I have hardly any pain in my back and the nerve pain, (sciatica) is completely gone.

What William had worried about had happened.  The cow thought she'd be clever and hide away from the other cows to have her calf, on a steep slope - next to the ditch.  The cow pushed the calf out into the world, where it rolled under the fence and then down into the ditch.  When I got there, they were pulling the slimy and very dirty calf out of the ditch and shoving her back under the fence.

Here's what I saw....look directly below her head, that's ditch calf's twin brother!
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To get the the little family away from the ditch, Brad and William carried the calf to the top of the hill.  They are carrying her like that to keep their clothes somewhat clean.
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Mother cow followed her heifer calf to the top and was finally able to start licking her dry.  Brad and William picked up her red bull calf, who had flopped back down for another rest.  Teddy was in the thick of it.  She lives and breathes anything to do with cattle.
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The cow had a double load of maternal instinct going on and was mooing and 'pretend charging' the whole time.  Soon as they plopped calf number two down next to the cow, William ran like hell convinced the cow was going to kill him, but she had already forgotten all about the horror of watching her new babies being manhandled and she gave them a proper greeting into the world.
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I asked Brad how he knew the cow was only bluffing and he replied, "Because she wasn't blowing snot out of her nose".

Monday, March 11, 2013

Trying to get back into the swing of things.

I was always in the thick of all farm adventures, now I just wait, all useless, for Brad to come home and put my shoes and socks on.  I'm not supposed to bend over and for the life of me I can't figure out to get my shoes and socks on without bending.  I'm dreading it when my toe nails need trimming.  The last time Brad trimmed my toe nails (I was pregnant) and he must have missed the "nails" part when I asked him, "Can you please trim my toe nails".  OUCH!

I missed the excitement when the other day one of the heifers had a calf stuck and Brad and William pulled it out.  The heifer was very calm and held still for it.  Both new mother and Big Headed Bull Calf are doing fine.

Today I went on a quad bike (ATV) ride with Teddy riding behind me.  We went cross country to where Brad and William are putting up center pivot irrigation systems on our flat.  Teddy leans into me and I really think she's starting to enjoy it.

Here is where they are putting the circles together.  It's going too slow and in order to be ready for the irrigation season, I think they are going to hire a crew.
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Here's our 10 tower Zimmatic circle that has a stand of timothy under it.  I used to run, maintain and trouble shoot this circle when I was pregnant with William.  Climbing those towers to get to the control boxes is hard work for someone with short legs....not to mention pregnant!
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I took this picture out of my office window.  After the county sheriff was finished at the crash (see below) a deputy came to talk to William and Brad about some trespassers on our property just outside of town.  It was just kids messing around.
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A navy plane crashed just north of our place today.  Three navy aviators not going home tonight.  I always think of their mums, dads, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, children, family, pets and friends.  The sadness this will bring to them.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The calves are being born and all is well.

So far seven calves have been born.  The first one was born three weeks ago to Stella Longhorns.  William has taken over my job as midwife and is doing a very good.  He is even making friends with them like I used to do.  Our cows are very friendly to us and it makes their calves friendly well.

As if to prove the point, William puts his hat on this little darling.
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My surgeon wanted me to walk 2 miles a day, 6 days a week.  I don't think he was taking into account my total ankle replacement and my other joint issues.  I'm disappointed to find out that my sarcoidosis flares up like nobodies business when I exercise.   Before I went down hill, I loved to exercise   There was a time that on a daily bases I'd run two miles, ride my bike 10 miles and then get in a ride on my and daylight permitting.  I'd feel horrid if I didn't get some form of exercise very day.  I found running would make be relax and I'd do my best thinking when I was trotting along.  Note that I didn't run far though.

Brad would worry when I'd go on my long walks around the farm because sometimes it would be dark when I got home.  He'd complain that he had no idea where I'd wandered off to and didn't know where to find me.  I think it had something to do with him wanting his dinner though.  Not being able to get about as good makes me feel pretty horrible.  I decided to walk through the pain and just go.  I did manage two miles, some of it along our creek.  There were lots of ducks and geese.  Teddy was so happy to be going walkies with me.  That night I couldn't put any weight on my artificial ankle and it still hurts.  I hope I haven't damaged it.

These pictures I took on a shorter walk.  Here's the birthday girl.  Dandylyons has turned 22.
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She hadn't seen me for a long time and was pretty keen for a visit.
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There's no information or help on looking after the elderly cow.  No special senior meals or dental care.  I worry about her, although she seems to be hanging in there.
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As you can see, Echo uses some of the edges of the pasture as his poopy place.   He is a tidy boy and tries not to poop where he eats.  On the the hand, Dandylyons doesn't care where she goes.
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Teddy and I said hello to Echo.  He was also pleased to see me and wanted to cuddle.  Here he is looking at Teddy, whom he plays with everyday.  I don't trust Wildairo around the dogs.  He 'plays' very rough.
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

I must go down to the seas again,

to the lonely sea and the sky.
Sea Fever, by John Masefield, 1902.

These pictures were taken last September at Cromer on England's east coast.

I have waited a long time to get my feet in the North Sea.
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Here's my mum.
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Here's my mum and dad's dog, Katy.  We're on the part of the beach where dogs can frolic.
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The town of Cromer is very dog friendly.
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Dogs everywhere.
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Keegan pushed my dad in a wheelchair because his Parkinson's makes it hard for him to walk very far.  I was so busy taking pictures that I was holding up the rear.
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And here's a typical English seaside fish and chip shop...Mary Jane's for when you have the munchies for fish and chips.
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Saturday, March 2, 2013

A bit of post surgery drama.

I got my back operated on February 12th.  Everything went well and the only casualty has been my computer.

Here's the view from my hospital bed.  When they bought me here after my operation, the sun was setting and the valley was bathed in a golden light.  Very pretty.  The view from the window is of Spokane, Washington, looking east towards Idaho.
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Here's the other side of bed.  Notice the crucifix on the wall.  I think they had it handy on the wall so a priest could grab it and wave it at me if my head started spinning around while I had my traditional post operation vomit..(remember the movie 'The Exorcist' :)    
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When the nurses came in to my room and asked me how I was doing I wanted to say, pointing at the crucifix, "Better than him.....he looks cross".   I behaved myself though.

They took really good care of me.  I had some really kind and caring nurses.  I really enjoyed the company of the day shift nurse.  Out of curiosity I asked how many patients she had to care for and she told me three.  When her shift ended she came in to say goodbye and tell me she really enjoyed taking care of me.  I thought that was so nice.

I was kept in the hospital overnight and Brad and William come to get me late in the afternoon after the new tractor they just bought was being delivered.  I was very much looking forward to putting my feet up and enjoying a proper cup of tea....well that's not what happened.

Soon as we got to the house we noticed the porch lights were flickering and when Brad and William opened the door I heard the smoke alarms all going off!   I don't remember getting out of the car, but next thing I knew I was in the smokey house rushing around looking for the fire.  You have to be really careful how you move after you have a back surgery - no bending, lifting or twisting.  In my haste, I forgot all about my back and I hope I didn't do anything to damage it.  It didn't help that in the chaos Teddy was jumping all over me.

This is what happened; we were having continuous electrical surges and the higher voltage fried my computer, the surge protectors, the emergency power failure lights, some electric fence chargers, for some reason my new food processor and the smoke detectors.  When the smoke detectors were hit with the higher voltage they started smoking and set themselves off.  The acrid smoke was coming from all the electrical things that were getting destroyed by the high voltage.  Brad and William's computers were fine for some reason.

William went down to the basement and shut off the electric current coming into the house, Brad checked for fires upstairs and I checked the ground floor and discovered the office all smokey.  We called our power company and they were out in a jiffy.  We were the only ones affected and it was easy for the power company to find the problem because it was at one of our transformers.  While we were waiting to get back on line, Brad went to our little house, which is upstream from the electrical problem, with a kettle to boil water to make me a cup of tea and fill a hot water bottle so I could be comfortable.  What a dramatic home coming!

I bought a new computer and I have been getting familiar with it.  It comes with Windows 8 and I downloaded the lasted version of Microsoft Office, so it's something different for me.  I have my fingers crossed that we can retrieve all my files from my old computer.