I woke up and the sun was shining in a cloudless sky, the temperature was pleasing and the barometer was holding steady. The pain in my body had eased to a point I could almost forget it was there. I set about cleaning the kitchen, feeding the sourdough, putting some jerky on to dry and putting a couple of roasts in the crock pot with seasonings to be canned up later for burrito meat or taco salads.
I grabbed the last bucket of oils I had pre measured for soapmaking, along with a jar of lye solution. The resulting soap was poured into log molds and set in the back room, insulated with towels to begin its cure. It will first ‘gel’, becoming very hot and translucent, then the insulation will be removed allowing it to cool slowly and to prevent overheating and cracking. The next day or so, it will be removed from the mold and cut into bars to begin its second state of curing. I still have a long way to go to catch up on my inventory.
I headed outside to check the surviving turkey poults, my little “birdbrains”. Unzipping the door to the green house I stepped inside to check the seedlings. There were a few that needed to be moved up to larger peat pots so I did that, then filled the birdbrains’ water jug. They were hiding in their little sleeping quarters, but curiosity got the best of them. Making little peeping sounds they stepped out and investigated me. I went back outside deciding that today was as good a day as any to start tilling the veggie garden. I knew this would come at great cost to me, but it has to be done and it was supposed to be nice all weekend. That is one of the things about having Ra and its related companions, when I CAN do something, I need to get it done because there is no telling when I might have a good day again.
I grabbed the heavy electric cord and plugged in my little tiller. I have a tiny electric one because I am not strong enough to start a gas tiller engine and it’s small enough for me to handle as Randyman doesn’t have the time to help me with the yard. It is not without its problems. It is so small that it bounces and tends to beat me to death and also makes a very narrow swath. This is a good thing for weeding between rows, but not such a good thing for getting a large garden ready to plant. As I drag it into position, I notice the bird brains are following me. I turn it on and both birdbrains stop. Instead of running, they squat and watch. I start a row that will pass them within inches. Instead of leaving, they both lay down in the sun, necks outstretched and take a nap, the roar of the little engine drowning out any other sounds.
When I have done all I could manage, I walk to the house for a hose and both birdbrains jump up and run after me. I squat down and pet Ted, the larger one. He seems to enjoy it. I drag the hose around the yard, watering my little fruit trees and the perennial plants that survived an unusually hard winter. I notice the parsley and thyme are actually thriving and the strawberries are springing back to life. I groan as I take in all the bare dirt around me, wishing I had the money, strength and time to get my landscaping up to a standard that is satisfying to me. It is a high priority on my list that has, for obvious physical reasons, not been accomplished. There are many times I miss my old yard...my house...my kids and not in that order...
The weather is clouding up suddenly and unexpectedly and I can feel the results of that. So much for a long, constructive weekend. Sunday I am down all day.
Monday, we jump up and head to town. I have been pushing EmmaLouMoo’s milking back to 8 p.m., as I still have no relief milker and we have to try and make it back in time to milk her.
We leave at dawn and 2 hours later Randy blasts right past our normal doughnut stop, to my dismay, as I had been slavering thinking about the fresh maple bars we would finally get to eat...then he blasted right on past the big truck stop, where I could get a cup of coffee. We got into town just in time to pick up a special delivery of wheat berries and other things at a drop point. Afterwards we picked up 5 little guinea fowl at the hatchery. Hopefully they will grow up to be well behaved and eat lots of ticks and bugs. They sure are noisy little campers! A few more stops and we finally get to eat dinner before the long drive home.
Discussed treatment options with the doctor and thankfully received an injection that really helps with the pain and inflammation. It was a short trip, as we left home at 6 a.m. And got back by 10:30 p.m., only 2 1/2 hours past Emma’s regular milking time. She wasn’t very happy with us, but the Maremmas were beside themselves. As I sat on my stool next to Emma, I suddenly found two very large, heavy, white, hairy legs ending in enormous polar bear sized paws around my neck while someone licked my ear. Cletus could not contain himself. I extricated myself from his hug and gave him a big squeeze. When we got back to the house he climbed up on the couch next to me and growled and grumbled at anyone who threatened to come near me. It’s nice to be loved.
Pain has come and gone according to the barometer. I seem to keep rallying every time high pressure comes back in, which is unusual, but exceedingly welcome. We had picked up 40# of potatoes in town so I canned a bunch in chunks and about 8 quarts of ham and potato soup which is our favorite. I also canned 8 qts of apple pie filling and have a boatload of apples left so while the peels and cores from the pie filling are turning into vinegar, I need to find time to make and can some applesauce.
My niece and her family are coming to visit for the first time and I am very excited! I think they will have a lot of fun here. It is incentive to get the house straightened up more as it tends to fall into chaos when I don’t feel well, which this year, was most of the time. I’ve been doing pretty good, with the exception of a few mental lapses, such as forgetting I DID put bread in the oven. Four hours later, it made a remarkably durable toy for Cider to fetch and run around the yard with, once it cooled.
The grass is beginning to come on nicely so it was time to rotate the animals around. Emma was kicked out into the old milk pasture, below Mister, so nothing can nurse on her. Sushi and Chuck were released out into the lower pasture with the sheep and a couple of calves the boss kicked out in there.
That night I slept in the chair, again, because of the issues with my hips and back. Randy let the “polar bears” in and I woke up to Potamus hugging me with his head. He had managed to slither about 80 of his 120 pound body up onto my lap, only his hind legs reaching the ground. He moaned in ecstasy as I hugged him back and rubbed his ears. It took about ten minutes for him to get his quota of huggin’s before he was willling to get down and let me up. Then it was Bruno and Cider's turn. They are not so needy.
I spent a good day with the critters, working on the house and yard. When I went out that evening to bring the sheep into their corral, I noticed Sushi was up at the top with everyone else...but something wasn’t right.
I walked out closer and found Sushi on her knees, trying to nurse....
Yup. She was desperately searching his bag for a spigot, determined to find one. She has been watching the lambs nurse and I guess she figured that since he wasn’t spoken for, she’d just belly up to the bar.
I guess it’s time to tell her about the birds, the bees and the sheep, after I get her into a 12 step program for milk addicts.