Saturday, July 21, 2018

Exit Stage Right

Well after posting flyers at all my local vet clinics I got three calls for our foster kittens. We offered them for free even though we spent the money for vaccinations and vet visit. We want healthy kittens instead of sickly ones.

Here is Frosty and the orange male kitten. Frosty was an only kitten found inside a wall that no one wanted last year, so we kept him. This was his first foster litter. He misses wrestling with them and eating their kitten chow.

This is our first Missouri cat Poppy. He was run over in a parking lot. We picked him up and brought him to a vet 8 years ago and we kept him after that. He wants no part of the foster kittens. He likes our dogs and cats Frosty and Melon and that is about it. He lives outside most if the summertime.

Kittens feasting for weight gain. I wormed, vaccinates and wormed them again after the de-ticking and flea removal. My husband cleaned out their ear mites while I restrained them. I bathed them three times to get all the fleas and ticks off before setting them loose.So happy I have the puppy tent for just this kind of emergency. With so many foster kittens and illness that comes into our home we have to stay on top of pest control and clean up.

This was the prettiest of the trio. She got adopted by a young girl who could not choose one.I picked this one for her.

All three have new lives now instead of becoming road carrion. After three weeks we were concerned about finding homes for them. One way to do that is the local farm auction. But that is very stressful for them and they most likely will not have a good ending. But it is done here with dogs and cats along with rabbits, goats, poultry. Put in a cage and sold. There is no shelter nearby and the closest ones are full/kill shelters. But I did not have to worry. These kittens got news homes to  grow up in.

All kittens and cats love our washable vintage sofa.

This is the best part of fostering sleepy happy safe kittens. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Three Stooges of Summer

Last week we were cattle farm sitting for a neighbor who was out of town. We were driving the dirt road to their farm at dusk when I saw something in the middle of the dusty road. It was a small orange kitten laying in the dirt. We stopped to see if it was still alive and I got out of the truck to check. The kitten looked at me and meowed, I saw no blood, no bones and it got up and climbed me meowing loudly. And then I heard more meows coming from the woods/pasture to my left. Out pops two more kittens from the tall grass. They all are meowing and climbing me like a tree. They are not feral, love humans and were very dehydrated. As it was getting dark and we still had to check cattle, back to our house we drove. Three hungry kittens climbing all over our diesel farm truck bouncing along the country roads. At home, I grabbed my kitten zip tent from the garage, put the wards in there and a bowl of water until we got back.

This is called a puppy tent and it is a lifesaver for me. You can unzip the top and bottom, easy to clean, drys in the sun, the animals can breath and stay cool but also stay caged as needed. The fabric is strong and the zippers well made. I have fostered 4 litters with this tent and it is great shape. I can fold it up after use. I got the 4ft in diameter and can place 6 kitten in here with litter and a bed. The fabric is easy in their paws, no metal clanging  cage rattle to traumatize me nor them. I can put this in any room of my house and the kitten mess stays inside the tent. The kittens can see out, are safe from the older cats and they seem calmer inside the tent. Worth getting this if you foster or raise baby animals.

That night I evaluated the three kittens. They were thin, covered in fleas and ticks. Into the tub with the blue Dawn for a bath. After tick picking, ear cleaning, bath and dusting of DE powder I put them to bed in the kitten tent. The white and tabby kitten has a swollen neck an infection from ear mites and needed antibiotics. Luckily, I had some in powder form to mix with H2O. She had a rough 3 days then the swelling went down and she could eat. I checked the kitten tent and saw more ticks dying inside the tent. I cleaned that out and bathed the kittens- again. Seed ticks, blue ticks, red ticks, lone star ticks - just about every single kind of tick out here was on them- hidden in their fur, anus, paws -everywhere. We put the collected ticks in an alcohol filled jar. Seed ticks are the hardest to get out. But the Dawn works best for cleaning infested kittens. 

I took the stooges to the vet to get their weight, shots and wormer. They are 9 weeks, weigh 2.5 lbs and had a heavy worm load. As I foster I have wormer on hand along with flea drops. Now I am looking for homes for these kittens. We have enough adult cats as it is in our own farm. Kittens are plentiful here in the Ozarks right now. This will be an issue. But we are getting these kittens fixed in 3 weeks and will figure out where to bring them after that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Cancer be Thy Name

I have been very busy in the month of July. I have had one friend my age die after an aggressive three year battle with the big C. She had the genetic marker for it. Her two adult children have to find out if they also have that genetic marker. I had another musical friend who made it clear through her first round of chemo. I have a male friend who has liver cancer and is on hospice. He is also my age and he is dying. He has had to move in with his mother so she can take care of him. I have a horsewoman friend who has lung cancer thanks to her smoking habit. She is in the same hospital as another friend. She is dying as well. I guess June -July is the sign of Cancer. It is all around in its various forms. So many people under the age of 50 have it. So much death and dying.
My solace is that when they die they are suffering no longer. They get to go into another life. There pain is over. Sure the family hurts and still feels pain, that never goes away. But the death is a blessing. I do not have the answer for the cancer. I hope I do get an answer as to who is doing this to our fellow humans. I have my suspects. But that is not my mission. I am here to help those left behind as best I can. But when there are so many at the same time it is like stopping the ocean from moving- you just can't and you get swept up into it. 

They Could be Heroes...

My rant for the day is where have all the good priest gone? We have had 4 priest in less than 2 years come and go in our small church parish. They can't cook, clean a house, mow nor even do laundry. They can minister, preach and do church things but that is about it. I was even told that when they were in the seminary they did not have to cook nor clean it was all done for them.

As a child I had Jesuit priests who could build a house,drive, fix an engine, put in a 3 season garden, sew and coach/teach all in a single day. And they expected you to suck up get to school and then home for chores, sports, tutoring or whatever was expected of you. They could mend a broken bone, milk a cow, teach several languages and you had to get in line and follow their example. They were men of a high standard. I thought all priest where like the Jesuits. But then Vatican 2 set hold in America and we traveled through the country from church to church as a family. Gone was the Latin, lay people were servers on the altar and priest got fat and very lazy. I have yet to meet a priest that can measure up to what I had growing up.

The strong, fit, intelligent and diligent priest has been replaced by a priest who wants his television set up for him ASAP. He can't even do that for himself. I do not think the apostles would have asked for a TV to be set up for them. If you have time to watch TV you probably are not doing what needs to be done. And this rant is not just about priest but Catholic Bishops, Cardinals and all the men of cloth.

When did the global catholic seminary start doing everything for their baby priest in training? It is not fair to the priests and it is not fair to the churches they serve. How can you shepherd men when you do not even know what it means to be a man? Our priests used to be men we could look up to. They could have been heroes. End of rant.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Welsh on Me

For a long while now I have only had one male duck for 25 female ducks. I needed another male to take up the slack and make my girls happy. I had sold off all the males after things got tough financially on our farm last fall. No point feeding male ducks that just eat all winter. So I made cages and took them to auction and kept the females for eggs.
But as summer is in full swing this year, most small animals auction are closed do to summer travel and the heat. So I did not have many options looking for a male duck. I could have ordered male ducklings but they would not be old enough for my flocks needs. I needed a teenage or adult male duck. Luckily, I have facebook friends and one had a male Welsh Harlequin they were going to sell at the local farmers market last weekend. I went to take a look and verify it was a he. But it was fully feathered and I could not find his vent. I felt dumb, but it was hot outside,the duck was good natured and I took a gamble. This week he joined my flock and has adapted well. He goes in with the flock at night. He has beautiful feathers and a sweet personality. I think he will make pretty ducklings this fall and winter. The funny thing is that my Indian Runner ducks I thought were all female- aren't. This week I saw curly tails for three of the eight I have. So I now have all new males on my farm. This means a new chapter in the variety I will raise.

Life and Death and put to task

This is my friend Alfreda and her dog Oso and the yams she grew in her garden. This was taken two years before her younger brothers died and later her husband. This week her oldest adult son at the age of just 44 died at home, alone with his two dogs. He was ill and no one knew. He was retired Navy, did not feel well, went to the ER came home and then died.His ex-wife called and called with no response. His younger brother and sister went to his house and found him. This has torn the heart of out this wonderful woman I know. She cleans houses for a living, grows her own vegetables and takes care of anyone who needs it. She is very religious, of a kind heart, and has the strength of 100 women her age. We got the call from an out of state friend to go to her and be with her. I had just come in from working my own farm. I drove light speed to her house and was the first to hug her. We cried and talked. Soon others began to call and show up as well. I could she her shock. She was planning to moving in with that son. She feels guilty for not doing so, that she could have saved him. But I know that is not why. God spared her being at the death of another loved one. She was there for the deaths of her brothers and husband. This time she was spared. Her youngest son is taking care of everything for her. Her deceased son will be cremated and placed next to his veteran father in a Veterans Cemetery here in the Ozarks. But this happy full of life woman will have another death to morn and loved one to miss. I do not envy her life but I admire her spirit and faith. I am so glad to be a part of her life, even in the hard parts.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Onions and Tabbies

My friends gave me some of their white and yellow onions.

I cut off the tops and will be dehydrating them. I will plant the bottoms and I might have onions later.

With planning we are swimming in basil this season. So I am setting some aside for the fall and winter time cooking by dehydrating them.

Green onion tops to dry.

The tabbies have taken over our sofa. Frosty, Poppy and  Daisy.
Daisy is one of two cats we brought with us from Houston, Texas eight years ago. Both female cats have develops internal and external lumps just like our fish did back then. We suspect these are tumors from the chemicals in the air, soil and water in Houston, Texas. While I am glad we no longer live there, I wonder what issues we might develop later in life. But to circumvent that we now eat healthy stay active and drink home distilled well water. And we live in the wonderful Ozarks where we can see the stars at night and breathe.

The Debt not Owed

Finally found an article about what I am going through as an adult. I never understood why my family life was so different from everyone else. The constant moving, no one allowed to visit the house, strict rules, the long silences, the black moods, the constant feeling of insecurity no money no food, the feeling of not being wanted. Turns out my parents are not the best people in the world. I broke ties with them 4 years ago after I visited them at their request. My dad was sick and my mother asked me to fly up to be with him. I had no idea I would be hit, yelled at, threatened, lied to, held against my will. It was my childhood all over again, yet I was an adult married woman, their only daughter. But I called my husband, he got me a flight home and I never went back. Now I have been contacted by a medical equipment company to inform me of delivery to my dads house, even though I live 6 states away. I know this is a cry for attention as this is what narcissist do. But I have to leave them alone. I will not be treated like that by anyone. They are my parents but they are not nice people to me.

It is sad but it is a repeat of what they did to their own parents, my grandparents. They broke ties from their folks, took off, tore me away from my grandparents, uncles and cousins. I never knew when my grandparents died. They did not attend to their own parents illness, death and funeral. And they have punished me as they have themselves. 
It is a sad and hurtful lonely way to come to their end of the road. 
But I know what a good life can be now. I have been joined with other families and friends who know my story. When life ends surrounded by loved ones it is a beautiful thing. God gives us the gift of life here on earth. He asks we love our fellow man and love Him as he love us. It is not an easy job but a beautiful way to say thank you.
Illustration by Charlie Powell

Sing the Water Song

I was told I am a great granddaughter of an Indian on my mothers side. I have no name only a location in New Orleans. But that is tenuous at best. My uncles had the black hair and eyes and could fix any engine you put in front of them. I have the dark eyes, can fix things, can work with animals and love to be outside. But I have no name, no tribe no idea of what my heritage is. It makes no difference as we do not have prodigy. But I can still feel a connection to the 4 elements once in a while and that is why I live on a farm. I like some of the songs sung by Indians in their various tongues. I am sharing this video created by Victoria Cummings: Sing the Water Song.

And for more information you can go to the website: 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Garden Hands

This is not a photo of my hands but the best one I could find of what soil staining does to my flesh. And this is with gloves. I wear nail polish to hide the nails. But my fingers tell the tale of working in the gardens. This year I have green beans, cabbages, tomato, 3 kinds of cucumbers, 4 kinds of pumpkins, basil, potato and okra. Thanks to pigweed I have many small spikes I have to pull out of my leather gloves and flesh. But I have fresh veggies anytime I want. I grow what I eat and can or freeze the rest. I share what I have too much of like basil and radishes.
It is hard work, sweat, mulch,dirt and pain but worth it. I get to spend time outside with my animals. My husband has to find me to remind me to eat lunch or dinner. Most nights I am outside watering after dark or re-potting seedlings. So grateful to have the strength to do this and the energy do do this. Life is hard but wonderful.

Behind the Scene at Church

We have a very small Ozark church that we have attended since moving here seven years ago. And it has gotten smaller in attendance (30). But when it was built in the 1980's there were over 300+ active church members. So the large building has four air conditioning units, four different makes, filters sizes and locations within the building, offices, classrooms and chapel. We used to pay for a local AC company to maintain them when there was income and interest. However that AC company was not doing its job and cost hundreds of dollars for doing nothing. When the man who oversaw all the building maintenance work died we sought volunteers to take over this enormous task. Since we live in the Ozarks we are blessed with many skilled DIY type of people. We volunteered to clean the air units and replace filters, even ones in the ceiling. This is my husband pulling down the filters, cleaning the coils and looking for leaks. None of the air units have any water catch pans under them.

How fun is this replacing monthly AC filters in the ceiling. Can you say stupidly built?

Cleaning coils

Hot sweaty mouldy work

Since I have fallen through 3 ceilings I no longer go up into ceilings of any kind.

Putting in the new filters in unit one.

Unit two was on the ground, with the wrong metal filters on it.

Coil cleaner and cleaning the intake.

Headlamps come in hand not just on the farm.

Dirty filters on unit three.

We ran out of coil cleaner on unit three and used Simple Green instead. Much cheaper and got most of the caked on dirt of the filthiest unit so far. Have to order yet a third size filter set for this unit as well.

Unit four was behind a ton of classroom clutter. It cools the offices. The problem is that you can't get to any of the coils to clean them. We will have to find someone we can trust to work on this unit. It was out of our skill set.
We now rely on volunteers to take time to fix things at our church. Along with a full time job and a farm that is hard to do for many. Also, our volunteer pool most are over the age of 80. They still work and volunteer but can't climb up into ceilings nor do heavy lifting. It is a lot to ask of people trying to keep their church open and running. The diocese gives nothing to keep up the church, that is our parishes job. I think it has always been that way. But when people die, move away to be closer to their families, lose interest in the church that pool shrinks. Many of our church members wear many hats. I clean, do the bulletin, e-mails, phone calls, keep up with the church members, settle in the new priests and sing in the choir. My husband fixes the computers, piano, plays the music for the choir,  and fixes any broken machines. And somewhere in there we remember to pay attention to God's message, love your fellow man and pray.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Stormy Ducks

Last weekend I was very busy prepping my gardens with my seedlings. We had a late, cold spring in April and could not put in our seedlings. May was very hot and stormy in the Ozarks.

In the morning dark came and dropped little rain and then the sun came out and so did I.

But late afternoon the clouds rolled in again. My shepherds hid, the winds picked up, my chickens ran to the coop and thunder clapped.

Then this rolled right over us. I watched this spin, the winds were wild but silent. No thunder just this huge swirl of twisting clouds.

It moved to the east of us and touch down. It took out some trees in our town but no one was hurt. There was no warning, no alerts, nothing. Just me snapping shots of this cloud as it passed over us. then the winds and rains came with a vengeance.

My Rouen ducks all stood like this as the sky poured cold rain and hail.

My Indian Runners loved this.

Feasting in the rain.

Indian Runners to the left and Cayuga, Rouen and Campbell to the right.