Happy Birthday Amanda!

Tonight we celebrated my sisters birthday. She chose for her meal, Rolled Pork Roast stuffed with Wild Rice, baked sweet potatoes, salad, and bread. We also had a pumpkin apple bread with homemade apple butter.
Joining my sister for her birthday dinner were, seven adults, two tweens, two toddlers and a crawler.

All my kids were super excited to see their tween cousin as they don’t get to see him as often as they had this summer when he spent time on the farm with us. So needless to say they were brimming with energy (especially the toddlers).]As we all settled down to eat my daughter recited our dinner prayer:
Bless this house Lord we pray, keep us safe by night and day amen.

As the food was passed around my littles decided they needed EVERYONES rice, and the tweens were only too happy to share theirs.

How do you eat this?

You’ve never eaten a sweet potato before?

Never like this, do I eat the skin?

Usually not.  Do you want brown sugar or honey?

No, I’m good.

Well, I wouldn’t say no to a little sugar!

I hear happy anniversary is also in order!

How many years have you been married?

33, and how many have you been married?

Since 1980.

37 years!?  Wow!  So, Emily, how old does that make you?

Ummm, whatever 2017 minus 1985 is?  I don’t know, in the thirties, but I have no idea.

Your 32.

Sounds about right.

And we discussed when birthdays stop mattering/counting.

A toast was raised to friend and family who hold us together.

Salute!

Ching Ching!

We talked about auras and energies, and chicken cannibalism and craft shows…

Wait, chickens will eat eachother?

Yes, if they see blood they are all over it, they will pick holes into the unfortunate bird.

One of the homestead bloggers I follow had written an article about how she caught her egg breaker by hollowing out an egg and filling it with blue dye.

That’s awesome!

What happened to the egg breaker?

Well, she either got removed from the flock or removed to the pot…

Hurry kids get candles lit, they are melting!

Is that a big tray of custard?

Nope.

That would be amazing if it was!

Is it apple pudding cake?

Yep!

Hurry!

Ok, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday dear Amanda Happy Birthday to you! (As she ran across the room to blow out the candles because the pan was too hot)

Shortly thereafter the kids ran off to play.  Chicken babysitting, Wi-Fi complications, and magazine completions were discussed. And as my littles started to realize they hadn’t napped all day, everyone started to trickle out to the tune of overtired toddlers who didn’t know if they wanted to play or destroy a room,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where I’ve Been

It’s been a long time since I have sat down to write anything.  It’s been quite a while since I have even cared to.   Since the end of September, my life has felt like “A Series of Unfortunate Events”.

It all started with a minor nose injury, the horses had a disagreement it appeared and Nikki took a bop to the nose in early September and our old donkey Gabby got a knock in the eye.  A vet call, medications, and elbow grease had the wounds cleared up quickly.  This stuff happens…

Then came an eye injury to Sugar Dot.  After coming home from a craft show late, going out to do chores I found her eye bleeding profusely and very swollen.  Fortunately, the eyeball itself was not affected and having the vet come out the next morning saw it have a fairly quick recovery, since giving medications were not an issue as I was intending to dry her up shortly regardless.

Two weeks later, while panic cleaning our house for a Tupperware party, I found a leak in our bathroom vanity sink.  We pulled the cabinet, no big deal right?  No, it was a big deal, that little leak had friends and we ended up entirely gutting our bathroom (which now looks beautiful).  Meanwhile, that Tuesday,  I was on my own with the kiddos, so it was easier to stay a little late and let them fall asleep on the drive home from dinner and do chores with them sleeping.  All seemed well until I got out to the second barn and Sugar Dot did not come in to eat.  This concerned me a good deal since I always joke that she’s the only food aggressive cow I have ever met. But it was late, and I thought maybe she was just mad at me and decided to worry about it if she didn’t eat dinner.

Worry struck me hard the next morning when she didn’t eat.  NOTHING.  Clearly, something was very very wrong if my girl was not eating her grain.  She also seemed agitated and was kicking and licking at her sides.  I called my husband home from work, called the vet and hauled her up as soon as they could get me in.  There was nothing obviously wrong, except for the fact that she wasn’t right.  We treated her for hardware disease with a magnet (cows are known to eat things they shouldn’t), some laxatives and electrolytes to try and get her feeling better.

The next morning she still was not eating and didn’t look like she felt good.  The vet came out and drenched her with some water and started antibiotics.  My husband was home for the vet visit while I was at work, and when I came home and checked on Sugar Dot, my worry only increased, she was still about the same, but her belly looked wrong, not bloated or full of gas, but wide and heavy.

A few more days of about the same, giving antibiotic and pain injections, trying electrolytes and pro-biotics, I even started to pull some of my own tricks when the vet said there wasn’t really much more she had to offer at this point.  I administered some IV fluids and gave her some calf drench for energy.  I made the decision that if by chance she made it till Monday morning I wanted a second opinion.  I owed her that much, just for being a good sport.

Monday morning came and she was on her feet so I called up a new vet to get a second opinion because at this point “I don’t know” wasn’t cutting it for me.   But as I was finishing chores, I noticed something odd. Something white in a place that in the dark morning shouldn’t have been there.  I braced myself and walked out into the pen, to find all of my ducks and one of our geese had been killed by a predator in the night.  I picked up the remains I could find and went in to take my daughter to school.

The vet came, and Sugar Dot looked bloated, my alarm increased because this was not the case when I called initially.  The vet did her physical and gave me very guarded outcomes.  We also discussed possible causes, such as a virus BLV, which can cause tumors in cattle, thus causing her weird symptoms.  While the outlook was still grim we relieved some of the gas and got some diagnostics underway.

A few hours passed (the vet was actually at my father in laws) and I called my husband and told him it was done.  In just that little amount of time, Sugar Dots sides were bloated and she was clearly in pain.  The vet was still with them so he sent her back to me.  We tried once more to relieve the gas with a stomach tube, without success and we tried once with a trochar (sort of a big needle for bellies) and got some gas but a large amount of liquid.

I have been reading veterinarians faces for about half of my life now.  I instantly saw any hope, optimism or anything positive wipe off her face.  I made the call.  We were all done.  Now mind you, my toddlers are also in the barn, watching cartoons on my phone and howling for me in turn.  We carefully lead Sugar Dot out of the barn and ended her pain with her head in my lap I said goodbye to my sweet girl and her unborn calf.  I could not stomach a necropsy, especially not with the girls crying for me in the barn, but a belly tap confirmed she had stomach contents floating freely in her abdomen, indicating a stomach rupture and would never have recovered.

There was still a linger of dread because the results of the virus would take about a week to come back if they were positive we wouldn’t be able to keep Merida for breeding like we planned and she would become beef.

The results came back negative, which brought me some relief, but also the pain in knowing that Sugar Dot likely died from eating a non-food item.  Something I didn’t see in her pasture, something I should have picked up,  maybe something I didn’t know was there.

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I cleaned up her pen, which was hard to do, but we had some happy news coming our way.  Joey, my daughter’s new horse, and riding partner was coming soon!  He has been a fun addition to our home ever since his arrival.

A short time later we had a water line break, leaving me with a flooded barnyard, again these things happen, we had been guessing there was a leak and it finally broke.  This became more complicated when turning off the water in the crawl space resulted in HUNDREDS of wasps invaded our house, in the room with all of my soap.  We blocked the room off with a sheet and went to get bombs.  I rescued as many of my soap supplies and bars as I could.  Deployed the bombs and I was stung. Seriously?

There were other little things that would happen here and there, nothing major, just enough to make that little grey cloud feel like it was raining on me some more. And make mom ask what she could expect to go wrong when I left for the veterinary conference that was upcoming.

Then the dryer quit.  And the basement flooded, and then it flooded again and the sump pump quit.  Now, my dad is questioning where my bad Karma is coming from.

And as I am winding up with where I have been so far, I have to say,  Rest In Peace Blake, we euthanized the dog I had since high school tonight.  Bless my dear work sister who drove two hours out of her way so he could leave us in the comfort of his own home.

 

Rodney Atkins sang some lyrics that were popular a few years ago and they have been coming to mind often lately.  My husband will tell you I am by nature a negative person.  I will openly admit I am not an optimist, but not a total pessimist.  It has been a struggle for me over the last month to find any hope or direction for that matter.  I realize that they are all just things that happen, many inevitable, but when they all inevitably happen at the same time it is a rough place to have been.

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Lyrics:

Well you know those times
When you feel like there’s a sign there on your back
Says I don’t mind if ya kick me
Seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You’d think they can’t get worse than that
And then they do

You step off the straight and narrow
And you don’t know where you are
Use the needle of your compass
To sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie
In a bottle of Jim Beam
And she lies to you
That’s when you learn the truth
If you’re going through Hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared, don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
Well I been deep down in that darkness
I been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons
Breathing fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled
I’d fall right into the trap that they were laying, yeah
But the good news
Is there’s angels everywhere out on the street
Holding out a hand to pull you back upon your feet
The one’s that you been dragging for so long
You’re on your knees
You might as well be praying
Guess what I’m saying
If you’re going through Hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared, don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
Yeah, if you’re going through Hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
If you’re going through Hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared, don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
Yeah, if you’re going through Hell
Keep on moving, face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
Yeah, you might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re there
Yeah
Songwriters: Annie Tate / Dave Berg / Sam Tate