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Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Walk in Early Spring

Yes, I am going to post twice today.  Because I feel like it.  A bit over a week ago I took the dogs for a walk out to the west of the house, just above the Faerie Spring...which I haven't been to yet this spring.  At any rate here are a few pics from that. 

This, I believe, is a marker tree.  I think sometimes these trees a created naturally; but this one just seems too, I dunno, too perfect.  Apparently the Native Americans would tie saplings over to create these trees on purpose to mark trails, or some other landmark.  There are three of these, the other two are much smaller and may be just coincidence, but they are all along a ridge just above the Faerie Spring.

Here's a panorama picture I tried out with my camera.  I wanted to get a shot of the dogwoods in bloom.  I always try to get blooming dogwood pics but they never turn out as breathtaking as the trees are in real life. 

Another dogwood shot.  They have been really beautiful this year.

Closeup, with Bella's hiney in the background.

(Thankful notes:  I am thankful for lovely blossoms in spring.  Fascinating mysteries like marker trees.  And a dog I do not want who photo bombs my pics.  LOL)

New Monster on the

My husband is working on a new enterprise; he always has a project going on.  In any case, here is his newest baby:

Some sort of gravel sifter.  It had to be delivered at night because it wasn't exactly road legal.  So the hauler showed up with it pretty soon after Gary'd started his milking at 5 AM-ish. 

It was quite the ordeal getting this monster unloaded; they'd had to remove the wheels to get it on there.  So Gary had to use his backhoe and his bulldozer and I don't know what all to unload the thing.

In the meantime though, guess who was pressed into milking duty for a few batches?

It was all good.  These were some of the first batches of cows; the older cows.  I could tell because all I had to do was open the door and they'd file into the milk barn and take their places.  The older cows have worked out their own pecking order as to who gets to come in first, second, third and fourth.  Bovines love routines. 

(I am thankful for a husband who is always busy.  I am thankful for cows who amuse me, almost as much as they can annoy me at times.  I am thankful for the trees getting green in the background, as you can see in the cow pic.)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Three Guesses...

So, from the beginning of my being "hired" on this operation (Meaning after we got married, as it were) I was put in charge of the calves.  So I am the "Calfkeeper" as it were.

Well, here is a calf that I really messed up on. 

A couple of weeks ago I noticed there was something wrong with this 6 month old heifer out in the weaner pen. 

One hundred meaningless points if you can guess.  Though it might be difficult to perceive from the angle, but yes, yes there is something wrong with this heifer.

I leave it up to your perspicuity to determine what it may be. 


Just going on...

Soooo...  I just can't finish the January 14, 2017 story.  I can't.  I keep putting it off and it never gets done.  There have been various stories I have wanted to put down but haven't because I haven't finished the J14,17 one.  But I am just going to quit and go on to other things now.

Ellen is doing well.  She is struggling with the idea of doing her own lancing, let alone the injections; but she will get used to the idea and do fine. 

She has to, else she's not going to get to go on the Silver Dollar City day trips or overnight trips with her aunt and grandma any more.


She will learn.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


After changing some sheets and washing a couple loads of laundry the dogs and I decided to take a break from our domesticity and escape to the wild side.

Looking down the hill toward the creek bottoms you can see things starting to green up a bit.

 We headed down to the pretty-much-dry creek bed.  The dogs romped around and had a splendid time.

 We found one fairly large pool, which was handy and they worked up a powerful thirst.  Deuce, as is his wont, promptly waded out and laid down in it.  But was up too quickly to catch on camera.  He believes in total immersion while Bella daintily laps around the edges. 

 My mom is forever fascinated by "those white trees" so I took a pic of the gigantic sycamore down along the creek bank; leaning up against it and looking up.  

On the way back we cut across the field.  Bella was fascinated by the mouse trails in the grass.  They wear little rodent highways from grass clump to thorn thicket.  
This pond used to always be dry; even in the wettest weather, even though it is spring-fed.  Now it seems to always have water, even when it's been so dry.  

Then we trudged up the hill and came back to reality.  But even a brief escape from reality is nice.

I am thankful for dogs who don't know how to worry, they teach me to enjoy those stolen moments of peacefulness in life and endure domesticity until an escape happens again.  I am thankful for the refreshing of a pool or pond of water when least expected.  I am thankful for the green things coming back to life again. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

January 14th, 2017, "It's a Political Thing"

The last normal Saturday of our lives began as usual.  I got up at about 3:40 am-ish, got Gary up at 3:45 am, served breakfast, saw him out the door, went back to bed for a bit over an  hour, went out did chores for a bit while Ellen slept in.  Her last peaceful sleep in...for awhile yet at least.

I told Gary out in the barn during chores that I reckoned I'd take Ellen in to the walk-in clinic in Buffalo and have them do a blood sugar test on her, that way I wouldn't have to pick her up from school on Tues and be late for supper and all.  He agreed that would be better.

I naively made a shopping list and figured we'd stop by the library as well, so she could pick out her own books.  I think I had a couple of other errands to run, but I forget.

Oh, weep for the best laid plans of mice and men which never come to fruition.

There weren't many people at the clinic so we got in pretty quickly.  Ellen wasn't nervous about a finger prick, she was worried about having to maybe pee in a cup.

But there was no need to worry about that then; they didn't bother with peeing in a cup.  Her finger prick showed a blood sugar level of 390.  Quite high.   I'd noticed on the way to town that her breath smelled, and the nurse practitioner, Jesse, mentioned that.  Said she was in ketosis.  It meant her body was starting to consume itself to get energy.  I sat there numbly and listened to him tell me I needed to get her to the emergency right away.  Jesse told us we could either go to Mercy or Cox hospitals in Springfield.  Said we'd have to stay overnight to get her stabilized.  My internal voice reassured myself that this would be no big deal; she might miss church but would be back to school by Monday.

Ha ha.

When we got back home Gary was in eating his lunch.  He was surprised to see us back home so early.  He was stunned when I told him the news.  I think Ellen was too tired to much care.  She was pretty draggy.  But she willingly packed her backpack.  Thank God Gary had his head straight, he called around and found out exactly where we needed to go.  Yes, because we have Cox insurance we needed to head to Cox in Springfield.

Off we went.  When we got there we went to the urgent care section.  I am still unclear if that is what they call their emergency room or not.  We filled out paperwork, described the symptoms, gave the findings of the walk-in clinic...etc.  Then we sat and sat for 30-45 minutes or so.  When we went in they did all the vitals and then handed us a cup for her to pee in.  Ellen nearly broke down there.  But, after much trouble, we got a bit of a sample.

Then we went in to a room where the nurse asked us more questions and we waited on the doc.  She came in and pretty much told us they could stabilize Ellen there, but they didn't have an endocrinologist so they'd take her by ambulance to either St Louis or Columbia.  Gary asked; "What about Mercy here in Springfield?"

"Oh," she says.  "They do have an endocrinologist, but they won't take your insurance." 

Gary: "So the local hospital we have insurance for can't help her and the hospital that can help her won't take us?"

Doc: "Yes, it's a political thing."

Gary: "How long until you find out the results of the test?"

Doc: "About an hour."

Gary: "So we have to wait an hour, even though you can't help her here, then you'll transport her by ambulance and a great amount of money to where she needs to go?"

Doc: "Yes, heh-heh-heh,  blah blah blah blah, it's a political thing.  blah blah blah"

Doc leaves the room.

Gary looks at me: "Let's go."

So we left.

Maybe THAT was in and of itself a political decision, but we left.  We wanted to get her where she needed to be without the political crap.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ellen's T1D: How it Began

In December 2016 Ellen developed her annual seasonal allergies.  On Dec 28th I took her in to the clinic and they prescribed allergy meds for her.  She weighed in at 98 lbs, I forget how tall, but she's taller than my chin and I am about 5'4" or so. 

A week or so before this; late December, Ellen started developing a powerful thirst.  As time went on into January 2016 it worsened.  She began drinking unusual amounts of juice and water and spent quite a bit of time going back and forth to the restroom.  Even more unusual she began getting up at night to go pee; sometimes twice. 

This concerned me, but not overly at first.  I just figured it was the allergy meds that was making her thirstier than usual.

But then I noticed that she seemed to be losing weight.  And at the same time she was eating more.  In the evening, not an hour after eating a full meal she began to complain of being hungry.  She'd eat a pbj and some fruit, along with a glass or two of water. 

About oh, January 10th or 11th so I began to worry.  I mean, really worry, because all the signs pointed to one thing.

I was in tears when I went to Gary.  He reassured me that there wasn't any family history of diabetes and surely it was because of the meds and a growth spurt.  But we agreed that I'd take her in to get checked out, just in case.

The dr appointment was for the evening after school on Tues the 17th. 

But come Saturday, we agreed that I'd take her to the walk-in clinic to get checked out.

It was to be the last normal Saturday morning of our lives. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

"Why Me?"

Ellen finally asked me that this evening.  I'd wondered when or if she would ask it.  A very natural question any intelligent person of age would ask.  I didn't have a good answer.

I broke down. 

The whole scene only lasted 3-4 minutes, but it still it breaks my heart.

Yes, I know.  There are all the usual answers that can be trotted out.  Good answers.  Answers that are uplifting and enlightening.  But those can only be understood and accepted by the mind after the heart has grieved. 

How do you tell a child that she should be glad she isn't the little girl in town with cancerous brain tumors?  At age nine empathy is not an easy thing when you are undergoing injections of your own. 

At age nine you don't want to hear how you can still go on to do great things, live a long and healthy life with type one diabetes hounding your every step.  A needle is a needle.  Daily injections are a dreaded looming monster.  

A future irrevocably changed. 

Innocence lost. 

Thankful:  I am thankful that my child is finally starting the emotional healing process by questioning.  Perhaps it will help us all to heal.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

I Don't Know What to Write

Last Saturday, January 14, 2017,  Ellen was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In the jargon I have recently learned she is T1D, a type one diabetic. 

I fully intend on writing the story all down in here and I rehearse the words and ideas in my mind while I am putt-putting up and down the road on the 4-wheeler in the mornings, graining the animals.  While I am doing dishes, elbow-deep in suds and comforting warm water, the phrases flow through my mind effortlessly.

But when I sit down here at the computer it is all a jumble.  My emotions are still right under the surface and trying to put the story into words is painful. 

For now I only wish to urge you, whatever your age, if you have children in your life or not, please read up on the signs of both type on and type two diabetes.  Diabetes can rear its ugly head in any child of any age, and on any adult of any age, regardless of family history.  There is no history of type one diabetes on either side of Ellen's family. 

Type 2 can be controlled by diet and lifestyle, Type 1 cannot, but the symptoms are pretty much the same:

Excessive thirst
Excessive urinating
Excessive hunger, even after eating
Weight loss, in spite of the huge amounts of eating
Signs of dehydration
Fatigue, dragginess
And in the last stage before it becomes super, super critical; ketosis, or sweet-smelling breath. Not long after ketosis (which means the body is consuming itself and becoming acidic) a coma can set in.

These are all the signs I saw in Ellen.  For a week or two I tried to deny it.  I even made her an appointment for Tues Jan 17th.  But I became scared, super scared and took her to the walk-in clinic on Saturday.  Yes, her blood sugar tested high at 390 and we were advised to get her to the emergency ASAP.

It's at this point my emotions break and I can't go any further now. 

Thankful:  I am so thankful that somewhere along the line I had read up on the signs of diabetes.  I am thankful that Ellen is feeling so much better.  I am thankful that diabetes can be treated; with careful management and God's grace Ellen will live a long and otherwise healthy life.  I am thankful that though Ellen does not like the pokes and injections, she has not fought this, she has not questioned "Why me?"  At least not out loud to me.  I am thankful that I still have my precious girl.