Archive for July, 2010

A Mowing Musing

I don’t have a lot of alone time.  What mom of three boys does?  When we purchased our new zero-turn mower earlier this spring I was ecstatic!  Prior to this new ‘rockin’ & rollin”’ machine, we had a Mid-sized White Utility tractor with mower, grader and plow attachments.  It was a great tractor while it work except that I’m 5 foot 1 and 3/4 of an inch and couldn’t reach the pedals…so mowing wasn’t an option for a couple of years.

As a stay-at-home mom, I see the benefits of mowing as being:

  • alone time to ponder life and re-group
  • an opportunity to accomplishing a task where notable progress is visual.  (my favorite benefit)

Both are free therapy.  While doing a 15 min. mowing stretch yesterday morning I began thinking about the phone conversation I had with my mom the evening before.  If you read my post entitled “I Never Believed This Was Possible – But Now I Do,” you know that we’ve recently experienced an unexpected death in our family.

My mom’s boyfriend of 12 years and neighbor for most of my life was killed in a construction accident on Christmas day last year.  We all grieve differently, but watching the process my mom has followed has been an experience to say the least.  About three weeks ago OHSA completed their investigation, fining the company for safety violations.   The week following the coroner then completed her investigation and could rule on the cause of death.  A column fell on the tractor he was using while removing concrete which was falling on the street.  He was only hit on his leg but on a main artery and bled out in less than three minutes.  The coroner’s judgement was that it was an accident but could have been avoided.

As I began to mow I thought about last night’s phone conversation.  She had been crying and had her cousin’s (who recently passed away from cancer) husband on the other line.  She kept saying just how sad she is right now.  Until the investigations  her waves of grief were filled with anger and revenge.  It seems that these investigations have finally triggered some closure as she has been moved to the next step of grieving – sorrow.  I could sense just an out pouring of sadness in her voice.  It breaks my heart, nevertheless, we must plow forward.  It’s almost cliche but life goes on whether we want it to or not.

So as I whipped my zero-turn racing machine around, I noticed the serene blue sky, the different shades of greens in the beans, corn and food plot.  I gazed at my 120 year, leaning old home with it’s beautiful wrap around porch.  I thanked God for giving these gifts and my life.  It reminded me that no matter how bad our deck of cards might be or how miserable we feel about our lives, we should take just 15 min. and notice the miraculous treasures which lay all around us.

Take 15 min. today and find 5 things around you that might normally be taken for granted!  That’s my mowing musing for the day!  Happy Friday!

Soulographer Blog – Awesome Resource for Photographers!!

Through one of my favorite Photoshop Action companies I’ve recently learned about the Soulographer Blog, by Skye Hardwick.  Her work is breathtaking!  She’s currently running a fantastic give-away until this Fri.  If you are at all interested in photography I recommend visiting her site!

Country Kids + Duct Tape = Redneck Water Slide

It’s been so hot and humid around here staying cool has been difficult to say the least.  Our electric bill jumped substantially last month so we’ve increased the thermostat to 82.  The slip ‘n slide was helpful but the kids kept begging for a pool.  During last week’s shopping trip I gave in and purchased a blow-up alligator shaped pool.

Each morning following chores, we try to empty, clean out and refill the pool early.  If we get it done early the water is usually a great temp by the afternoon.  One thing that always stays cool is the well water!  Well, on this particular day we didn’t get out early enough for the water to warm up.

Born creative and ‘redneckish’, the kid’s created a way to stay cool without submerging themselves in the cold pool.  What’s the next best thing to a cold pool?  Creating a Water Slide by duct taping the hose to the swing set slide, of course!

What will they think of next?  Maybe I should start a list uses for duct tape?!?

Raccoon Update…

Right now I’m feeling pretty ingenious about the Raccoon situation.  It seems that a Hot Dog Roasting stick will scare off an entire family of Raccoons….at least that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!   After we found the present they left in my birdbath we did find  a pile on one of our windows  just next to the back porch.  Other than that, we’ve seen very little evidence in the last few days.

For the first time in 10 years, our neighbors had their garbage cans broken into the other night.  So we’re thinking they’ve moved west.  We hope and wonder if Nicki, our new Rat Terrier has been helping with keeping them away.  Believe it or not she’s been known to kill one…although she was a few years younger than now.

I’ll report any new sightings!

The Saga Continues – There are hardly words

Do you know what this is?  This is my birdbath converted for safety purposes.  With a 20 month old boy I felt that taking the bath portion of the birdbath down off the pedestal would be the safe thing to do.  It was working just fine.  You’ll notice there isn’t just water in there though.

Apparently the raccoons don’t find the humor in having some crazy lady running after them with a hotdog roasting fork.  My friends, this additional mass of mush laying in the birdbath is ‘coon poop!!!!!!

There will be revenge….

With a Hotdog Roasting Stick, A Huntin’ I Will Go!

A few nights ago we had a break from the heat and humidity.  From our open windows, there was a lovely chorus of crickets, toads and a slight breeze moving the leaves on our maple tree.  Until we heard an awful screech.  “The Chickens!” I yelled.  With a capital ‘E,’ I immediately jumped out of bed to see what was the matter.  I ran down our 14 stairs out through the mudroom, put on my boots, grabbed the closet thing I could defend myself with – a hotdog roasting stick – went over the river and through the woods (not really), grabbed a flashlight and headed to the pasture.  The glow of the flashlight quickly caught 6-8 eyes peering at me from under the Mulberry trees.  RACCOONS!  Urgh!

By that time my hubby was stumbling out of the front door and watched as I used a hotdog roasting stick to scare and chase four raccoons away.  I’m sure I was a sight to be hold.  The worst part of it is that because they are out of season right now there’s nothing we can do until we feel our well being at risk.   Then you can contact a Conservation Officer who can trap and release them to another area.

Until then I’ll have to wait for opening day.  Watch out ’cause I’ll be counting down the days.  Pesky AND messy little things!!

ps Thankfully, the chickens were all fine.

A Revolving Door

If I could describe the last two weeks I would start by saying it’s been a roller coaster revolving door.  Almost two weeks ago Miss Terry and Lona left us and are now living happily on another Jersey farm in northwest Iowa.  My father-in-law decided that although they both have great potential as ‘milk cows,’ after the time they’ve spent here on our grass pasture, they weren’t shaping into the showgirls he desired.

Then my hubby’s grandmother – who at age 85 was still raising chickens 50+ and 3 ducks on the farm – passed out and fell on her bathroom floor.   Although there are neighbors and relatives who keep a watch on her, she laid on the floor for over 6 hrs before someone realized her paper had not been taken in.  Other than being severely dehydrated, she seemed to be fine.  Even so, it was decided that she needed to be moved to an assisted living facility where she could be checked on regularly.

We knew this day/period of time would come and have dreaded it for years.  She is a hoarder and that experience requires it’s own post.  The last two weekends have been spent camping on the farm and helping separate garbage from keepsakes.  In addition to the chickens and ducks she also has two dogs.  One of which is a keepsake to her and she asked if we could keep her – the other I’m contemplating asking my DH if we can keep her too.   We were also offered our choice of chickens.  At the end of our first, four day camping trip we arrived home with a new dog named Nicki (also a Rat Terrier) and six laying chickens.  (Our own chickens aren’t due to start laying until Oct.)

We started out on our 55 min. drive home when my FIL calls.  He has a buddy who’s selling two Jersey/Angus crossed bred calves.  Would we be interested?  At that point I was exhausted and said “sure whatever.”  I did express that they need to be bucket calves.  So we arrived home, dumped everything we’d packed in the truck and off went my hubby.  An hour later we increased our herd to three calves.

That night I had a Cub Scout Leader’s meeting in a neighboring town.  We were about half way through when I got the call.  It was my hubby…”Are you done yet? (in the background I hear ballowering calves)” “Well, no, why?”  “I can’t get these things to drink out of a bucket for anything!!”  Exit meeting.

So I drove 20 min. to the in-laws farm, picked up two bottles and we are now bottle feeding two mighty, strong calves morning and night.  At first it was a chore but I’m now enjoying our time together.  They are super cute!!

To re-cap…at the end of our first trip we added a dog, six chickens and two calves.

Fast forward to this past weekend.  After doing chores now for two weekends at Grandma’s, I was starting to notice three chickens who looked like good egg producers.  After a 10 min. fight we caught two of the three and gave up.  My hubby had been contemplating taking the three Call ducks.  So we brought home two more chickens and three ducks.  The ducks have since gone missing.  : (  I still have hope that they’ll show up.  The area outside of the pasture is pretty thick timber so there’s places to hide.  Time will tell.

We and all of the animals are slowing getting adjusted and I think the revolving door has stopped…at least for now!  The chickens even laid 3 eggs today!

I Never Believed This Was Possible – But Now I Do

I heard about this new service from that helps when you have writers block.  Although, I do have things to write about I thought I’d give it a whirl.  They give you a question and you answer.  My question is in the title of the post…


And, never did I think I’d open up and blog about this because I want my blog to be upbeat but maybe my story will help someone else….I never believed in taking anti-anxiety medication…here were my preconceived notions about the topic…only crazy people take these meds, I can handle it on my own, they’ll make me sick and feel funny, people will judge me, other mother’s won’t let their kids come over…I could go on but won’t.

Although it took some time to convince me, taking the medication has really improved my life. Quite a while ago I started having these ‘episodes’ where I would be dizzy, unfocused, unable to remember simple things like spelling an easy word, overwhelmed…and just needed to sit down. For months, I attributed it to not drinking enough water and being anemic. Then on Christmas day a sudden and tragic death occurred in our family. Thoughts of losing someone had always lingered in my mind but I became excessively afraid of losing someone else – I call it ‘scared of death’ not ‘scared to death’. In addition to my Wellbutrin prescribed for post-partum depression following the birth of my sons (this has also improve my IBD), my doctor thought it would be best to prescribe a low dose of anti-anxiety medication. Honestly, anyone who knows me would probably say I should have had it before because I am a born worrier.

I continued to have the spells not making a connection with my anxiety issue. I would really push the fluids and eat something with protein and high iron content. At times it would work but many times I was left needing to take a nap. Which is hard to do with 3 very active little boys. I had my check up this week and mentioned what was happening. He asked how much of the med I was truly taking. I admitted only 1/2 a pill and only when I thought I needed it. Not on a regular basis.

Some background info…When first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease/Ulcerative colitis – 15 yrs. ago the meds were shoved done my throat to treat the disease and side affects from the disease or necessary meds. There were times when they had me taking 35 pills a day plus suppositories. I DO NOT like taking medication, especially meds that you being reliant on.

Anyway, my doctor proceeded to explain that he had prescribed the lowest amount possible and I was only taking 1/2 of that. Basically I wasn’t getting much. So he increased it to one whole pill, three times a day. Urgh!

At the appointment, I was in the middle of an episode and he saw first hand what was happening. I can’t remember the term and probably wouldn’t be able to pronunciate it even if I tried. It’s a type of anxiety that makes your body physically unable to function and is many times associated with grief. Finally, a break through and some answers! Yay!

By the end of the appointment I was shaky and was having the ‘scared of death’ thoughts racing through my head. I immediately took 1/2 of a pill like normal – I hadn’t taken any in um, well, uh, 3 maybe 4 days. Ok, fine! I was on day 5 without the med! I drove for about 25 min. and didn’t feel much better. Reluctantly, I took the other half of the pill. I had to stop for fuel and then had about another 20 min. to drive.

I truly NEVER would have believed how I felt once I made it home. The shaking was gone, I was more focused, having happy thoughts and could make a decision about what I needed to do next. Now I need to convince myself that it’s ok to be on medication and that I’m not a crazy person. It is what it is. I obviously need the med. Like it or not, I am who I am.