Wednesday, July 21, 2010

T-minus I don't want to think about it...

Whew – had to go back to work to get a rest!

Saturday, I was the energizer bunny – I unloaded 20 bales of hay into the barn, rearranged part of the barn to accommodate more hay to come, loaded up the truck for the first of several dump runs (it’s right down the street – why don’t I go more often?), and drove to Corvallis to get sack feed. At the current time, the sacks of feed are still in the truck.
When I got home, I hit the wall… big time.

Sunday was spent on pain meds and reading a book – so much for getting the turkeys moved! However, there is progress on their new pen:

I need to back up – Friday was Pony Pedicure day. Some of you may remember when Merlin got done last time and the blow up we had (see this post). This time, I broke my vow not to catch the boys in the barn – it was the easiest thing to do. Since they both have issues (Chris weaves, Merlin leaves his body), I got them in with their vitamins, and lots of hay, and fed everyone else. I came back and stood between these rather large brown hunks of horse, and calmed them down. Chris started eating, and Merlin actually came back to his body! They both ate some, and then when the farrier arrived, I caught Chris and tied him up (since I can), and caught Merlin and held him. Of course, Chris was the perfect gentleman for his pedicure – his feet are really awful (cracked and split), but I can see where the new growth is coming out much better with the supplements that they’ve been getting. Merlin was a little apprehensive, but I had filled my pockets with treats, and so long as he was eating or looking for a treat, he was fine. He did really well. Meanwhile, the alpacas were standing around the outside of the barn humming and wondering what was going on.
Since then, Merlin has been more accepting of me coming up to him loose in the pasture and patting and petting him, and he even seeks me out for strokes. He’s still very much 9 going on 2 – and I will start him over in a logical, calm progression as soon as I’m mobile again.

And just because they’re cute, here’s an updated picture of the piggy girls:

See this post (link here) for the contrast in size…

Speaking of mobile – in 1 ½ weeks, I’ll have new knees. I know better than to listen to all the horror stories that people tell about what they’ve heard, but I want to be on my feet as quickly as possible, and I’ll do everything in my power to make that happen. I need to be able to drive back to work in about 3-4 weeks. I have the choice of the short (lots of bending to get in) automatic Volvo, or the tall (easier to get in and out) standard truck. Neither is great, but I’ll make it work.

I’m almost done with my dad’s sweater:

About 20 years ago, he and my mom were in Maine and bought enough Peace Fleece yarn for my mom to make a sweater. Over the years, she’s knit and ripped, knit and ripped, and never finished it. When my sister and I were going through all of her stuff after she passed last September, we found the balls of yarn and the ribbing. I told my dad I’d take it home and knit it. Well, as you can imagine, the yarn was toast. There were lots of places where it had been chewed completely through, and more that were only partially chewed. On top of that, the yarn was just plain awful to handle. So, I called my dad to get permission to chuck it and get new yarn. Permission was given – my sister bought the yarn and I have been knitting off and on since December. I found a pattern in an old Interweave Knits that was close to what I wanted, and with modifications, I was off and running. Since my Dad is coming up to stay with me, I wanted to have it done before he got here. Right now, as you can see, all I have left is to sew the right sleeve on, sew up the underarm seam, and put the buttons on.

YAY! I’m very proud of myself. The yarn is Knit Picks’, Wool of the Andes worsted in Arctic Pool Heather (the picture does not do it justice). I really like this yarn – I buy a lot of it to dye to sell, since it’s rather inexpensive. It has a really nice handle and their heather shades have a real depth to them. The buttons are hand-cast pewter from The Ram's Horn - they have beautiful stuff (link here).

Since I am not able to do everything I wanted, I’m scaling back my preparations. The turkey house is almost done, and with the installation of roosts, birds, food and water, I’m calling it good. I would like to get more feed stockpiled. The house is coming along, but needs more work. I’m getting there… Really!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Progress Interrupted...

I got the auger, but fell feeding the turkeys when I got home and sprained my arm to the point that I couldn’t operate the auger. Fortunately, when I called the rental agency, they said bring it back and they’d zero out my account (I love these guys!). I got my arm x-rayed, and there was no break, but I wanted to make sure. So… On the way home, I stopped at my local organic farm (Morning Glory Farm), and got some wonderful cherries. I asked if they would sell me a box, and while they couldn’t right then, they would order me some.

Wednesday I got the call that they were in. I picked them up on the way home – 20+ lbs. of Rainier Cherries. 

So instead of putting stuff in the truck to go to the dump, I pitted cherries. I have a pitter, and it clamps onto my counter with the dishwasher door open.

In the background you can see a partially done seal-a-meal bag, and the seal-a-meal. I love this tool. It sucks out all the air and then seals the bag so there is very little, if any, freezer burn. Since I don’t have time right now to make my special Cherry/Basil Jam, I’ll store them until I do.

I saved some for eating, but they won’t last long!!

I did get the younger auburn turkeys out into the tractor with the bronzes (man are they getting big) this morning before work. It’s been very warm so while it looks like they have algae water, it’s really a vitamin/electrolyte mixture. This frame arrangement is easy to move because it’s light weight – it’s a good thing, too. With that many turkeys in there (about 25) it gets moved 2x a day!

This weekend, I have Tristan (Correy’s future SIL) coming to help me put up some sort of semi-permanent turkey shelter. I have several car canopy/carport tent frames, and plan to use one for their pen for now. I can add the run on with t-posts and wire, and cover the frame with more chicken wire and tarps. That will get them through the winter and be easier for my helpers to feed them all in one place. If you’re interested in building one for yourself, email/comment and I’ll send you the plans.

My chickens are not laying well right now – 2 raised chicks (only 3!), 2 are setting on nests – hopefully they’ll be more productive in the chick department – and two are running around with the roo like valley girls. It’s really fun to watch the roo interact with his kids – he’s very good with them. Of the three, 1 is a dark brahma, the other two are from the late RI red hen. They’re really cute – little reddish chicks with feathers on their feet! I’m hoping that whatever the other two hatch out are dark brahmas – it would be nice to have them reproducing themselves! They’re fast little boogers – I’ll try to get pictures soon.

Friday, July 2, 2010

T-minus 30 days and counting...

My knee surgery is August 2.  I'm not ready - what a surprise!  It's not that I'm not ready for the surgery - I would do it tomorrow if they'd let me!  It's all the prep stuff at home that's fallen behind.  In an effort to make it easier on my wonderful caregivers-to-be, I need to get the animals situated.  Let me count the ways:
  1. I have to build a turkey house and run.  I'll rent the auger this weekend and hopefully get the posts in and maybe get some of the roof rafters on. 
  2. The horses need to be separated so that at feeding time, they don't knock my dad down (he's 86 and coming to watch over me - he's in better shape than I am!).  Turns out, he's somewhat afraid of horses, and my two are not small ones...  I was feeding the other night and they were rumbling around me, and somehow I got in the middle.  I saw a big brown butt swing by my head and slapped it as it went by.  It brought home how much I am able to read their actions, but even I am not always on it - my dad doesn't have a clue about how to read them.  I need to divide my pasture - Merlin and the alpacas on one side, The Big Guy (more on his name later) on the other.  I can do it with t-posts and hot wire, but it still takes time.
  3. The Pigs need to be moved so that I can build the turkey house (maybe this should have been #1...).  That's not hard, I can feed them, lock them up, move the electric fence after turning it off, turn it back on and let them out.  Also need to come up with a better feeding arrangement - they move their trough around, and they're getting too big for me to get in there with them!  I did the other night and the biggest one ran between my legs (don't know why and it surprised her, too!), and almost ended up on my butt...  Don't want my dad (or anyone else) having to deal with that, so I'll need to secure their trough to the fence somehow.  Also need to come up with a better way to water them - they like using the 50 gal. stock tank as a wallow, and get mud and ... in it, which requires emptying it daily.  This is not fun!  Any suggestions would be welcome - remember that pigs are bulldozers on legs, and gladly tip anything over that they can...
  4. I need to finish readying the house so that I can navigate through it easily when I'm mobility compromised.  I've started this one, rearranging my bedroom so that I no longer crawl into bed from the foot, but have lots of books (where did they all come from?) to move and arrange in the other bedroom, which needs to be done so I can set up the spare bed for my helpers!
  5. I need to put in a couple of tons of hay so that I don't have to go get it while I can't.  I also need to stockpile feed for everyone else, and it needs to be in a rodent-proof container.  I kind of hate to do it, but I think I'm going to have to break down and get an old chest freezer to hold all the extra stuff.  I may hire the young men from the farm down the street to unload it for me, otherwise it would take me all month just for that!
  6. I need to get a new camera.  I was awakened the other night by a buzz-click-pause-buzz (repeat).  Turns out my camera had a seizure, and was turning itself on, pushing out the lens, pulling it in and turning itself off, over and over and over.  Dang.  Looks like Craigslist for that one!
  7. I want to cook a bunch of casserole-type things, put them in seal-a-meal bags and freeze them so that dinners (or other meals) aren't a big deal for me or my helpers.  I have lots of hamburger, ground sheep, pork chops, canned chicken on hand, so it's just a matter of doing it.  I'd really like to have a bunch of bread made, too, but it's just not as good after it's been frozen.  Since I use the bread maker to do the dough, I guess I can make it fresh when I need it.
I had my first pre-op appointment yesterday - I gave blood for myself.  I do that again next week, along with the pre-surgery class, then a couple of doctor's appointments the week after that, and then two weeks to wonder and panic before surgery.  I have 4 weekends (this one's a long one, though) before I go in to the hospital, and with my knees hurting as they do, it's hard to get stuff done.

Correy reminds me that it's ok to ask for help, even though it's really hard...  This is a skill that I don't always appreciate, preferring to do things my way.  I think I need a crash course in this!  Also, rather than hurting, and moping around because it hurts, I need to take drugs and get to it, with rest periods, of course.

Most of all, I need to ride my horse - I haven't ridden The Big Guy since the day I brought him home.  I made contact with his former owner - she's a traffic technician in Bend!  We had a nice talk, and turns out he responds to Chris (his registered name is Chrisnesian), or Big Guy.  Since the latter really fits him, that's what I've been calling him (Stryder brings no response whatsoever).  I finally got a bridle that will fit him (and it's this pretty sage green), so I'm going to try to do that tonight.

I know that when I get home from the hospital it will be quite the trial, but the good news is that the end of knee pain is in sight - YAY!  True to form, I want it now...