Sunday, March 29, 2015

March, March, Step in Time

Those clouds have been causing a little grief. The barometric changes have been brutal on my autoimmune disorders and I'm still not back on the medication needed to prevent damage, but I do go in next week and hopefully, all that will be taken care of. It's hard living on the ranch, or ANYwhere, when it hurts and you aren't very mobile. The great news is, my new knee is doing awesome. I walk as though I had done it all my life...which, of course, I have...but being in a wheelchair for so long, caused so much weakness, I can only stand up for a little while and only walk a short distance before having to sit or I will keel over. I'm not quite the epitome of an athlete that I once was, but oh well.

The Maremmas have been great. As Cowboy Roo is now top chicken, he has all but abandoned his flock of sheep to impress the hens. Because he always went out in the big pasture and grazed with the sheep, he feels quite comfortable taking his harem a long way from the henhouse, so Bru and Potamus have had to be extra vigilant making sure no predatory birds can swoop down to snatch one, as well as watch for coyotes, bobcats, cougars and other predators that commonly appear in the pastures...or used to, until the dogs came to work here.

This is Cowboy Roo following his first flock home, last summer.

and now he has his second flock, which is his harem

Roo watching over both of his flocks...

The lower pasture is quite large. The grass is just starting to green  up but the critters are happy to be out anyway. It is so big you cannot see the critters from here. Both big white dogs are by that large creep feeder, the chickens beyond that, the sheep a bit further and the cows at the far end. Yeah, it's a nice size.

I'm looking forward to getting stronger, making soap and baking again. The ducks are finally laying eggs for me and I am anxious to bake something using them as I keep hearing how much loft it brings using duck eggs. Maybe today I can push myself a bit more, although I'm feeling the aftermath of going out to the pasture and doing laundry, but I'll get over it. I've done more than my share of whining since last summer. It's time to put on my big girl pants and jump back into life again.

I'm very excited because at least one of our grandkids will be coming alone to visit for a couple of weeks. She's 11 and a big animal lover so I know she is going to be an enormous help to me. I can hardly wait to go get her. We will get to see at least a few of our other grandkids as well, as I am having my 3 month checkup on the leg when we go. I think the surgeon will be pleasantly surprised at how well I am doing, as there were so many problems and issues with the knee pre-surgery and he kept telling me how hard he had to work on it, but he did an amazing job and I couldn't be happier with it. It straightens, it bends and it holds my weight. It very nearly moves as fast as my other leg so I am beginning to walk like a pro. Pretty soon I hope to be riding as well. I've been unable to use my right hand since October so I cannot lift a saddle or halter Mister, quite yet...but soon, I hope. That is my plan anyway. I also hope to start milking SushiMoo very soon...just as soon as I am sure I can make it to the corral and back every single day, no matter the weather.

I've not  yet done my blog on Cider as it is still hard to think of him without grieving, but I am hoping to have a new puppy by June. I have an English Shepherd puppy reserved, that was just born last week so I am very excited. It will still be a couple of months, but at least I have that to look forward to and I am sure it will keep me busy and entertained, as it grows and learns what I hope to teach him and we hang out together. Until then, I will keep working at getting stronger every day I can and enjoying all the blessings that have been bestowed on me. Here's hoping you all have a fine, fine April!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

There's No Place Like Home!

I apologize for being very inconsistent in my blogging …but I have finally returned home and am nearly ready to pick life back up where it left off…almost.

After having my knee replaced, I spent the following six weeks living in a reclining chair in my son and daughter in law's home. I was lovingly cared for, my son Cody bringing me coffee each morning he was home and a plate of dinner each night, when he wasn't gone at work, at the picture above. He works about 80 hours a week, so it's a pretty big deal when he's home. My daughter-in-law (known as a DIL, or Krystal, or Laura for the sake of brevity and a swollen right hand) cared for me most of the time. She is responsible for finally finding a surgeon capable of replacing my big mess of a knee. Every day she gets up early, feeds the kids then races off to work at the hospital where she often has to combat someone crazy in order to do her job, but she comes home each evening to help her older little person, Abby, do homework (I was amazed to see her doing "would, could, know, knee, too, two, to and other trick words in first grade and properly applying them. Most adults aren't that literate these days. I was still a year away from "See Jane Run" when I was in first grade) fix dinner, run two girls to gymnastics, find cuddle time with the very little person, do the dishes, the laundry and get them both showered and into bed…then add me to the mix! My oldest son drove an hour and a half one evening to deliver a care package to help my very upset stomach as I could not eat or keep anything down for days. The care package was lovingly packed by my other DIL, Laura who had just had surgery herself.  Later, when I was a bit better, she drove an hour and a half EARLY in the morning through Tule Fog to take me to Dr appts…TWICE! I don't think I would have done so well without the love of my family. They are the absolute best.

Aside from the fact that they live in the city (in a really nice house) with a "drummer" next door, and I say that loosely as he apparently only knows 3 beats and plays them over, and over and over, day after day after day, a garbage truck that sounds like hurricane force winds and no critters, not cows, chickens or even dogs, it was a good time. The little people entertained me and my almost constant companion, (along with the sitter) 3 yr old Kinley, placed pillows under my leg, brought me ½ glasses of water (so it wouldn't spill) and shared her popcorn and, unfortunately her favorite cartoon with me…several times a day. (I believe I can probably recite every word of Garfield and Micky Mouse clubhouse in my sleep) She is quite taken with TheMan, otherwise known as Papa Randy. He just sits on the couch staring at the TV while she chatters at him and leans against him, and this has won him the highest esteem. Everyday I heard "I like Papa Randy, I LOVE Papa Randy" and so on and so forth. Once he returned to the ranch I assumed it would be MY turn to be popular. One day I told her "Kinley!" She answered "What?" I said "I love you!!" and with a sweet smile she looked at me and said "And 'I' love Papa Randy!"

Another day, Krystal took the girls and I for a pedicure. I was having difficulty getting into the chair and the lady asked "Are you all right??"
To which the older little person replied "She IS 59!" As if that was the root of all my problems. I couldn't stop laughing long enough to get up! I love the way these guys think. The first time I walked without a cane, the littlest little person screamed "LOOK AT GRAMMY KIM!!! SHE'S WALKING!"

I thought "oh, how sweet that she is happy for me!" Then she said "Now she will call Papa Randy and he will HAVE TO COME DOWN!!!"

It was a lot of laughs, a lot of love and finally the Dr told me I could come home, milk my cow, ride my horse when I felt ready and go see the surgeon in 6 more weeks. I missed TheMan and the Maremmas something awful. All the new lambs were born in my absence and the dogs took care of them.

The dogs are great about not only keeping the predators away, but if the ewe doesn't mind, they will often help dry the baby carefully and watch over it while she delivers a twin or triplet. The lambs often cuddle with the dogs or play on or around them and the dogs accept that with grace and patience. There were 7 lambs this year from 4 ewes. One ewe did die from unknown causes when her ewe lamb was only a couple of weeks old so she is on a bottle now. I look forward to going out and watching them play.

Sushimoo is back in and we will be weaning her very soon. The calf will go with the other young calves and I will be milking Sushi. It's been far too long since we have had good raw milk and buying milk products just bugs me no end. I  can't wait to make mozzarella and cream cheese, more ice cream and of course homemade butter!

The hens and ducks are laying eggs and I can't wait to start baking with the duck eggs. I keep hearing how wonderfully light and fluffy baked goods are with them! We'll be eating a lot of egg dishes, as we now have 66 eggs and this far from town I can't exactly gift or sell them.  The ranch cows will start calving in a month or so and that always means leppie calves, so I will be bottle feeding again as soon as my leg and back are stronger. I am looking forward to this spring and summer as I have high hopes for it!

I have a long road to go, but I am on the right road now, healing and getting stronger everyday and it is my hope that I can do all the things I am able to do, and can find a way to get around those things I can no longer do and have them done. Spring will be welcome here, as I am ready for flowers, and color and grass and butterflies. The drought has been just terrible here so we won't be putting the pasture in like we had hoped, or the new fruit trees yet. Maybe next year it will end and we will have a better year.

For now, I will be grateful for all He has done and know I can count on Him for all He will do.

The Ranch Rustics store on Etsy is open again. I will be making and curing soaps and adding them to the list as they are ready to sell. Whipped Tallow is available in Cool Water, Lavender and Bergamot Sandalwood fragrances. Custom fragrance can be made for a small additional cost. Soy wax tarts are available in a variety of fragrances until it gets too warm to ship them.

God bless all and thanks for stopping by!!