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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Then There Was One...

Bella had three pups, we registered them.  To register them you have to give them names, so from top to bottom: Jip, Bailey and Mick. 

I named the two males; Gyp and Mick.  Ellen came up with the spelling of Jip, so that's what we sent in.  Ellen named Bailey. 

In any case yesterday Jip went to live with a friendly paunchy bachelor-type dude in his late 40s or early 50s maybe.  He lived north of Clinton, Missouri. 

Today Bailey went to live with a family in Springfield, MO.  A lady had called and said they'd come see her today and when two little blond girls got out of the SUV I figured Bailey will likely have a good life.  They were gaga over the pup and the dad seemed really patient with the dogs and the little girls. 

But that leaves just little Mick.  Poor little feller; I hope someone takes him to a good home. 

Monday, July 3, 2017


Good surprises are fun. 

Sometimes you really want something for a long time.

You try to make it happen, but for one reason or another it fizzles out. 

So you don't bother trying any more, you just sit back and wish.

And think how great it would be if you had this thing. 

Occasionally you peruse catalogs and consider buying it, but then you rationalize it away:
......too frivolous room to put it
......likely it would die anyway of
......disease or some varmint

So you close the catalog and toss it. 

Then one day, last summer some time in fact, someone (the husband in fact) notices something and says; "Looks like you have a tree growing there. Might be some sort of fruit tree."

And he adds in his Eeyore way; "Probably be from a hybrid and won't produce anything."

So you forget it. 

But then a year later in March you see something:

No, actually not the photo-bomber in the background.  Ha ha...

You see pink blossoms.

Pink blossoms on your sterile fruit tree.

And you wonder and wonder what kind of fruit tree you have.

Then it comes a killing frost.

So you give up hope.

And forget about it again.

And THEN in June you see it...THEM:



And you count and find out there are SEVEN real live fuzzy peaches on your very own fuzzy surprise fertile peach tree!


They are really good too.  I think a varmint got one.

It's a miracle that the varmints didn't get them all.  But we enjoyed the few we got.

(Thanks: It's fun to get wonderful surprises like a fruit tree you have always wanted but never had before.  Life is a miracle and God still is a miracle worker. )

Sunday, June 18, 2017


For the past month I have neglected to record that the TDIDW (the dog I didn't want) had 4 puppies on May 11th of this year.  She and Deuce finally got 'er done.  Unfortunately the runt didn't survive; so we have 2 males and one female we are trying to sell as registered for $220 each.

To me this seems a crazy amount to pay for a dog; but after doing a search on the WWW it is actually amazingly cheap.  We paid $111 for Bella (the $11) was to get her registered with the ABCA (American Border Collie Association).  But on some Border Collie sites people are asking up to $1600 per pup!  Whew!

We have had 2 inquiries on them, and though we answered them so far no one has taken us up and actually come to see the pups.  I hope we can get rid of them.  It is already a pain trying to clean up after 5 dogs!  And they have little doodles still! 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Childhood and Sunlight

Childhood and sunlight,
both elusive and
Flicker between the leaves
Dance on the water

Shine bright in the treetops

Both grow dim with
The passage of time

But if you search
Peering down leaf-strewn
With the eyes of youth

You may find echoes of childhood
Still wading barefoot
In clear waters

Where childhood and sunlight meet once again
To float free

Or shine on the mossy rocks and feathery ferns

Of a Faerie Spring.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Walk After a Flood

It has rained almost non-stop here for the past 3 days; just one storm after another sailing by overhead.  The flooding in part of Missouri south of us has been horrendous and a few lives have been lost.  Notably a lady attempted to drive over a water-covered bridge and was swept away.  Somehow she managed to get rescued, but 2 small children in the car were swept away.  So needless, so tragic.

The Niangua River here, close to us, flooded badly again.  Not as badly as last year; I don't think it got over the Windyville bridge, but very, VERY close to it.  Neighbors across the river had their basement flooded again.  EEK!

So anyway, after a few days of laying up in their doggy houses I figured Bella and Deuce would like a long walk.  Ellen and I took them down to the creek to see what we could see.

First off at the bottom of the hill they found this:

Some sort of snapping turtle.  They didn't bother him too much; seemed to instinctively know not to mess with him.

There were still large areas of water all over in the creek bottoms.  Deuce had to try most of them out by lying down and squidging around in them.  LOL  Such fun.

Here's a funny pair of pics:  The dogs waded fearlessly into the rushing creek waters.  It looks quite calm in the pic, but it was really running through super high, super fast.  Ellen is watching and almost freaking out because she's afraid they'll get washed away. 

Then in the next pic, they have again instinctively sensed the danger, headed out of the water and toward her to see what her problem is, she is warning them off, "Don't jump on me!"

You can see a ways away from the creek what it leaves behind; every tree and clump of grass has a pile of debris behind it.  

This flood seems to have left quite a bit of debris; leaves and limbs and whatnot.

Last but not least:

Fluffy survived another flood.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Blind Turtle

The post in which I talk about how my RES was blind and now can see!

ALERT!  CAUTION!  I am not a veterinarian.  I am not giving any treatment advice here! 

I am only telling the story of my turtle, a common red-eared slider, or pond turtle.  We call her Turkle. I actually have no idea if this is a "he" or a "she", but I decided on "she" just to make things easier when I write about her. You can find the story of how I found her here: The Turkle"

As of this writing I have had her about a year.  Feeding her has been a challenge; and this is the snag upon which hangs this tale.

Unbeknownst to me the diet of the RES is about 75% vegetation, according to one website.  From the get-go she summarily refused anything but protein; wouldn't eat the pellets, wouldn't strike at earthworms even; just cooked chicken or dried shrimp or mealworms.  So for the first 5-6 months of her life that's what I gave her.

Then Dec of 2016 as the temps grew colder I noticed she began to just not eat.  She'd hide in her hidey hole, or sun herself occasionally under her lamp, but wouldn't eat.  I assumed she was just doing some sort of semi-hibernating like all the pond turtles do around here.  This continued for about 3 months, though she'd occasionally strike at food I'd put in her habitat.

Then about March 30th 2017 I really took a good look at her and was appalled to discover her eyes were swollen.  She wouldn't react by retracting her head when I waved my hand over her.  I got online and did a bit of panicked research on the subject and viewed many many pictures of blind turtles.  I learned there could be 2 causes; lack of vitamin A or some sort of bacterial infection.

Here were some of the suggestions: take turtle to the vet, put cod liver oil on turtle or in her water, give her carrot baths.

I contacted my neighbor who works at the local veterinarian's office; nope they don't do turtles, but did advise that if it was an infection to put penicillin on her eyes.

After a bit more research I started my own treatment. I decided that there was a 99.99% chance her eye problems were due to diet deficiencies.  I wanted to start treatment immediately but since we live way out in the middle of nowhere I had to work with what I had on hand at the time.  Therefore I began with a carrot bath.  (I decided to not do the cod liver treatment; ick, messy, gross.)

Here's a pic of what I used:

                                         (except in total I used several pounds of

Here is the timeline of my treatment:

Thursday 30 March 2017:  Discovered Turkle's eyes are swollen shut, she does not respond when I wave hand over her head.  Treatment:  Whacked about 4-6 carrots into chunks and processed in blender in 2-3 batches w/ water to make carrot juice.  Sieved this through one of my husband's clean older hankies (he won't miss it until he reads this...haha).  Ended up with maybe 2 cups "juice." Put Turkle into bowl w/ carrot juice, it just barely covered her shell.  Left her there full 24 hours.

Friday 31 March:  Removed her from carrot juice bath, let dry overnight in bowl

Saturday 1 April: In the AM: got up nerve, used one of my T1D daughter's insulin syringes to inject 2 units of Vitamin A oil taken from over-the-counter Vit A capsules purchased from Walmart.  Injected into Turkle's butt, about 1/2 inch or so from tail.  Put Turkle back into clean water until evening.
Sat PM: Began second 24 hr carrot juice bath.

Sunday 2 April: Removed from carrot juice bath in PM, put into clean water overnight.

Mon 3 April:  Removed from clean water, let bask under her lamp.  While dry dribbled a 3-4 units of calf med, some sort of anti viral stuff, onto her face on the off chance that this might be some kind of infection.

Turkle jerks her head under in reaction to movement over head.  YAY!

Put her into water and covered surface of water with turtle food; she strikes at it.  Am hoping she ate some.

Put Turkle back into carrot juice bath for 24 hrs.

 Tues 4 April 2017:  Mid-morning...Turkle jerked her head back under carrot juice when I approached her.  Eyes still swollen though, seems to only peer about briefly at intervals.

From this last entry up until Sat 24 April I gave up hope because she no longer seemed to respond.  Though I did do one more injection of Vitamin A into her butt sometime about 10 days after the last carrot juice soak.  I'd put her in a bowl of water w/ food and occasionally she would strike at food, but not often.  But in that time; about 20 days, only once or twice would she strike at food or react to movement overhead.  Her eyes stayed swollen. 

On Saturday 22 April Turkle reacted to movement over her head.  I was so excited.  I gave her another 24 hr carrot juice soak.

Sunday 23 April: I saw her actually peering at me with her left eye.  That eye is no longer terribly swollen.  But the right eye is still profoundly swollen and appears to have white film over it.  I am hoping it is just the inner membrane and that it will retract.  Put her into clear water.

Monday  24 April; Gave her another shot of about 1-2 units of Vitamin A again and another carrot juice bath.

Tues 25 April:  Turtle's right eye is quite miraculously gone down.  At least it's not white like it was.

Wed 26 April:  She's peering at me with both eyes now!  YAY! 

The little dark slit on the side of her head is her pupil.  I will add that in this pic you can see her shell appears to be doing what I assume they are talking about when they say "pyramiding."  She still refuses to strike at any kind of vegetation.  I will have to harden my heart and refuse to give her much proteins until she learns to eat her veggies. Hopefully then her shell will start to grow like it should.

As of today; 28 April, she appears to see out of both eyes, reacts to movement and seems to be doing OK.  Time will tell.

That's my blind RES story. 

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.