Sunday, August 30, 2009

Washouts from the Rain

Here's the old farmer himself. Who just said he doesn't want a pic of him on here, but alas it is in the name of good journalism so I will prevail. He was retrieving a wayward water trough that got washed away when the brook flooded the cow pasture.

This is May's Brook. Our Friend or Foe depending on the season. She waters livestock during times of drought, and frequently washes away our road at her fancy.

Got some good rain last night. Actually it started yesterday morning, continued all day and of course intensified around the time we needed to milk the cows. Zoie and I decided we better lock Happy and Henrietta in the calving stall because on our property we have not 1 but 2 brooks that converge right at a low point of our driveway and usually flood with heavy rain. You wouldn't believe how much that water rises and flash floods. It's dangerous. Anyway, last year we had a scary situation where it flash flooded and left the milk cows on one side, bellowing, and their calves on the other side, bawling. There was nothing we could do, and the calves kept wading out into the fast moving water. That's how fast the water rose. Obviously I wasn't feeling up to a repeat of that performance.

Last night, it was raining horizontal and the cows were freaking out a little, somehow Happy left the field and Henrietta got separated and then Ellie and Chia panicked and chased her headlong down the field over the rising brook. GREAT! We had to rescue her, get her back to the gate, by this time Happy had turned around and was like a steam roller charging through the rain, then Chia went crazy and again tried to chase Henrietta away! I made a grab for Henny's collar and the safety released, leaving me sitting in you know what with a little collar in my hand. Luckily Zoie was onto this game and gave Chia a good " escort " away from the area, Happy reclaimed Henny and away we went. These pics do not show the flood stage at all, and for the record we've had MUCH more severe flooding. This was pretty insignificant, but made it a little interesting anyway.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Olde Sow Bookshelf......

Well, I'm one of those people that always has 3 or 4 books going at once. One just isn't enough, I've always been a voracious reader. Here's what I'm currently reading:

The Birth House by Ami Mckay

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Anne Barrows

The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Animas Ping Insulin Pump

This is our top pick now. Insurance is likely to cover it, and it is heavily recommended for a young child like Ayla. The technology is amazing especially when we make the leap from multiple daily injections to this insulin pump that can give precise measurements we can't with a syringe. It most closely mimics a pancreas for Ayla. And it comes in PINK!
It will be bittersweet when she gets a pump, I'm sure her control and numbers will be much better and most people seem to absolutely LOVE pumping, but I admit that it still bothers me that she will " look " less normal to me. Breaks my heart, a little, the thought of her hooked up to a device but it really will be better for her health and that's what counts. Not having to give her so many shots is icing on the cake! Also no one has learned how to give her a shot, except Dante and I. I know its scary, and as scared as I would be to trust someone else to care for her for a couple hours, I'm also burnt out. It is intense, this constant balancing act and I really do think for my sanity I need to have a break even if just for a couple hours. I'm kind of surprised that there isn't anyone available at the endocrinologist office solely devoted to the mental health of either the diabetic, or in the case of young children, their parents. It would be nice if they checked in to see how WE are holding up. There have been times when I've been so exhausted from sleepless nights that I nearly make very dangerous mistakes, like giving rapid acting instead of long acting insulin just before going to bed, or GASP a couple of times I've almost given the wrong kid the insulin!
Anyway, I'm digging out my book, " Pumping Insulin" by John Walsh and reading through it again. We have our next appt September 3rd, and it is all about getting a pump. can't wait!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Attempt at Video Blogging

Well, this is a first. Don't spit coffee through your nose or anything, but if I can post this corny, scatter brained video, surely you guys can too!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Anyone Vlogging?

Vlogging, or video blogging is simply blogging with video. I'm sure all you smarties already knew this existed but to me it's a novel concept. I was inspired after viewing this post by Kerri, over at SixUntilMe. What a cool idea! Come on Tammy, Liz, let's try this. I'm gonna try it tommorrow. Right now, as usual I'm the only one awake and I'd like to keep it that way! Ayla and Ida May have had a wonderful snotty cold that has left me even more exhausted the last 2 nights. Apparently it is a short lived torture device, Veda already had it and is over it, the little girls are on the upswing, poor Zoie resembles the cats who had the cat flu last winter, but so far it seems to only be 2-3 days of goopy noses, and dirty looks from strangers. ( " Why'd you bring that germy little rugrat out in public!" )I would totally be into whispering into my digital camera in the dark of my room, Blaire Witch style,but my throat is just too sore to try it. Can you imagine Dante somehow waking from his unshakable slumber, ( which is purely hypothetical he sleeps like a rock ) and seeing me talking into the camera while the house sleeps? He'd definitely think I'd lost it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Cow Chronicles

Man, those first few days after calving can be rough on the milkmaid. Especially when she has little ones of her own to also look after. The theme this morning was sh*t. Let's see milked Berretta first, then Happy. Now Happy doesn't kick much, like Teeny does when fresh, but her udder is so huge, and stuffed with milk, that it is like trying to hook a milker up to a square bale of hay. The pulsator slows way down, we lose suction and inflations keep popping off. She isn't letting down, is EXTREMELY agitated about Henrietta's whereabouts. So we usher Henny up by her head, she slobbers her grain all over the calf, trying to eat and groom her at the same time, and pretty much looks rabid. I get this brilliant idea to feed the calf a bottle while Happy is still in the milk parlor, because Happy has some issues. She will drink milk, doesn't nurse anyone or anything crazy like that, but will drink the buckets of milk I put out for the pigs, and I found out yesterday that yes, she will drink from a bottle. Imagine my surprise when trying to teach Happy's baby to take a bottle, I also have to fight her away from the darn bottle! That's a first! 900- 1,000lb cow drinking from a bottle. I really should get a video.
Anyway, I pour about a gallon of colostrum on the floor trying to fill a 1/2 gallon calf bottle because I'm shaking, because I'm hungry and haven't eaten yet. Before I even cap the bottle, theres a golden shower cascading to the floor splashing in the spillled colostrum. Happy was peeing, Jude dove for the bucket, I've set in the corner for such emergencies. Tally---a 1/2 bucket of p*ss so far. We get Henrietta latched on her bottle, and there is this strange plopping sound. Happy was now crapping in the puddle of spilled colostrum and pee. This time unfortunately, Jude made a grave error in his bucket holding technique and left his hand right in the line of fire. He got a steamy surprise to say the least. He yelled, " YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and I said a bad word--again. Tally--- a 1/2 bucket of p*ss, and a 1/2 bucket of sh*t. I told Jude we had to get her out of there NOW! And gave him the bottle with calf attached to it, Happy in hot pursuit and wouldn't you know it, he stepped backwards into a fresh pile of--yup-- poop. Beretta's little gift in the middle aisle. He was wearing Crocs and it just oozed out the holes. I said another bad word. Jude almost puked and meanwhile the calf was butting him HARD wanting more milk. Then I slipped in the stinking sh*t, trying to make a graceful leap to get her out of the barn for goodness sake, and YES I was also wearing crocs so you know how THAT went!
Somehow we manage to get the other cows milked, and by the time we returned them to pasture we've simmered down, and are admiring what just might be the cutest little Mama and Baby EVER! Seriously those two are incredibly cute, even cuter when I'm wearing rubber boots next time, I think.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Calved Last Night!!!!!!!

I am so Happy! She had a lovely little heifer around 6:00pm last night. She is so dainty and petite but a real spitfire! I've never seen a calf get up that fast after birth, literally only 2-3 minutes. I went down as soon as it was light enough this morning, and she was actually GRAZING with Mom. So far no sign of milk fever. If Happy gets past the danger period with no milk fever, I'm gonna post about my new milk fever prevention protocol. This is the 3rd cow I've tried it on since May, and so far so good. I'll post a pic when I go to get them for milking.
This also means I will have quite a bit more milk available in a couple days.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Creepy Peeper

Sweltering, especially for Maine, especially for this summer. Actually got the cows milked this morning without incident, packed the truck and headed swimming. Our truck is having a rough time. Missing a window, no A/C, tail pipe fell off a couple weeks ago, the whole muffler fell off a couple days ago, the door is duct taped on. Dad, I hope your not reading this--and Mom if you are--don't tell Dad! It is getting a major overhaul next week. I would just stay home or use our van, but it was so hot today, it would have been a crime NOT to take the kids swimming.
We went swimming yesterday too, with my Mom and sister and something creepy happened.
While the kids and my sis were swimming, Mom and I were reclining on the beach with Ida May when Ayla dropped her pink snorkle underwater. She and Veda churned up the water so it was all murky. I rolled my pants up to mid thigh, actually considered taking them off--boy am I glad I didn't, and waded out feeling around with my feet under water for the snorkle. I heard my sister say my name but didn't really realize she was politely trying to get my attention.
Then finally Zoie says, " He's in the woods , getting closer!!!! " Well, THAT got my attention!
Apparently, this really annoying man, that always has this knack for just suddenly appearing without warning, was crouched in the woods no less than 10-20ft away, watching us. When Zoie yelled, he darted behind my van, hid, and then fled up the road back to his camp. All summer the kids and I have been complaining about all the rustling in the bushes, and I swear everytime I go in the bushes because I've had too much iced coffee, if you know what I mean, I hear something behind me, it was starting to get really weird, and now this just makes it really uncomfortable.
I always tell Dante that I'm an excellent judge of character, I think because I've always been able to read animals body language, and there are a lot of similarities with human body language and expressions as well. If I'm to trust my intuition, it's always sent off red flags with this guy. But I had been reassured that while very annoying, he's harmless. I'm just really annoyed that I can't swim at this great spot without that drama. For now, I'll just be super vigilant. No sign of him today. There are other people along the shore spread out at intervals, so I think we are physically safe, you can hear everything there, but I don't want some weirdo hiding in the woods watching us. Is that too much to ask, LOL?
It was so oppressively hot today, I actually dove in fully dressed! I figured I'd just wrap a towel around me and drive home--until I realized I had to stop at the feed store and get grain! Oops.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Zoie's First Race and Hot Air Balloons

We took a Hot Air Balloon ride, there is Grandma, Jude and Veda overlooking the little town of Machias.

Zoie ran her first race yesterday. It was a 1 mile fun run at The Machias Blueberry Festival.I think it was a small miracle that I even got all 5 kids dressed and down there in time to register Zoie. She came in 20th out of 70+, and did about an 8 minute mile. The only training she did was herding the cows a mile everyday!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ayla and Type 1 Diabetes in the News!

If anyone more tech savvy than me ( which isn't saying much ! ) knows how to just post the actual article with all it's cute pics of Ayla,as opposed to the link please instruct me!

Thank you Sharon, you did a wonderful job writing this article for The Bangor Daily News!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Farm Kids Invent Their Own Fun

It's hot, ( relatively ), and I can't bear another ride in the car with Ayla's non stop whining and Ida May's screaming - she is NOT into car rides right now- what to do? Why turn the hose on each other and fill the spare water trough with water and balls and have some good old fashioned fun! I need to take some pics, but for the time being I'm enjoying everyone just chilling out. Sitting up here on my cleaned and plant laden covered porch, blogging and reading blogs, it is sweet indeed. Of course there are things I SHOULD be doing but I think I'll just enjoy BEING for right now.
Nothing crazy on the diabetes front today. I am renewed in my research of insulin pumps. Of course it doesn't mean much if insurance doesn't cover it, so I should probably start with them and find out what brands they cover and then investigate further form that point.
Happy is getting close, is due in 3 days. She is limping today, poor thing, she has a bum knee from falling on the ice last winter. She sure doesn't look imminent though, I know that udder gets a LOT bigger and her ligaments haven't relaxed much either. I hope that doesn't mean a bull calf. Oh how I would love a gorgeous little polled Jersey heifer with a splash of white! That's not asking for much, is it?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Low Blood Sugar Blues

Last night we had an EXTREMELY close call with Ayla, we were probably just moments away from a hypoglycemic seizure. Ayla has been very active lately and we've caught several 70-80's not bad, but no telling if she was rapidly dropping at the time. While cooking dinner she was VERY cranky but I figured she was hungry and dinner was almost done. I yelled to Dante to check her, he does and says she is 35! We grab a juice box and while she drinks that, look for another one. I asked her if she wants to eat her supper on my bed so I can watch her closely and apparently she tried to climb down and just dropped off her seat! We were expecting her to seize any moment, but check her blood again and the juice is already taking effect back up to 76.
I didn't sleep much. It gave me plenty of time to think about how much I really hate this disease. How am I ever gonna be able to let her grow up and take all this responsibility on herself? I don't really want her to have that burden of keeping herself alive 24 hours a day everyday. What about when she is sick, who will check her ketones while she vomits? What if she is really low, and weak and can't pyhsically get to some juice? What about marriage and children? I know she is only 3 years old, but these are the thoughts that plague me and haunt me especially at night when I'm alone.
Pam, one of our midwives called yesterday, to check on me and I broke down and cried. I'm still embarassed about that. I told her I think I'm depressed. That's the first time I admitted that to anyone, even myself. I just can't seem to shake the sadness. I find lot's of joy every day, so I can't be that bad off, eh? But it's the feeling of being overwhelmed, and the pain. I guess I'm still grieving our old life. This stinks, but I'm so very grateful for my family and that we are all still here. There is so much to be thankful for, I am grateful.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Picking Blueberries

Ida May eating her first fresh blueberries

Veda picking berries so dainty and girly. She is our little lady always.

Veda and Jude ahead of us on the road beside my Dad's blueberry fields.

Ayla picking berries, look at her little pail! She did end up eating most of hers though. Who could blame her?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Ida May!

I cannot believe it was a year ago today, at 2:22p.m. on 08/08/08 that Ida May joined our family. She was 5 days " late " but when she decided to finally come, she came in a hurry! Less than 2 hours from when my water broke, so fast in fact that I spent my whole labor with 6 year old Jude and 2 year old Ayla, got my birth tub ready, and had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I was gonna have her alone. I didn't think the midwives would make it and I knew Dante and Zoie and Veda were not gonna make it. Honestly I was totally calm, Ida is my 5th baby and I knew the midwives were close, I figured I'd have her in the tub and then sit there and wait for the midwives. Pam and Suzanne made it exactly 10 minutes before she was born, Dante and the girls arrived about 10 minutes AFTER she was born.
Ida is a sweet, but feisty girl. VERY intuitive, and quick witted. She moves and reacts in that fluid way, that wild animals do. Zoie is that way too. Of course she absolutely adores us all, but has a particular fondnes for me and Jude. She has been the apple of his eye since her birth. I firmly believe it is because he was there and helped me before the midwives arrived and then experienced the beauty and holiness of her birth. Such an important experience for a young man who will someday be a father as well.
Today we spolied her and tried to keep her happy by avoiding car rides, which she hates right now. We did take her to my parents to pick blueberries, which she LOVED! Nothing cuter than those little fingers carefully picking blueberries, one by one, and staining her teeth blue! Then we made her a homemade blueberry cake and had a little party at Nana and Papa's house. Ida May is passed out beside me in bed, in her new little jammies, I'm gonna snuggle in next to her and smell her sweet baby breath. Enjoying every moment, it is going by too fast.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Flowers and Tree Art

This is our Log Cabin.

Here's the entrance to the creamery we built where I bottle all our milk and make cheeses.

Here's a pic of the new perennial flower bed we put in this year.Dante dug most of those rocks by hand out of our lawn, and brought several loads of compost from our pile. I used to think I had no interest in flowers but I guess I was just a " late bloomer ".

Here is some pretty tree art. Purple vetch growing right around this little spruce tree just like a string of christmas lights. I never noticed that happening before. Then I spotted some multiflora roses doing the same thing in a larger spruce tree. It could be that I never really took the time to stop and notice these things before. This summer has been different, and I really relish the memories with my kids.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Baby Steps

Ida May has been walking for a few months, and is really good at it, actually she almost runs now, so of course she is on to mastering steps. Yesterday, Zoie and I were standing on the porch talking to a lady and Ida May grabbed onto our dogs fur, 2 little fists clenched, he darted down the steps with Ida in tow! We both threw ourselves after her and grabbed onto flailing limbs and caught her on the second step down. Zoie scraped her knee good, and my poor brand new Hibiscus plant got knocked down and the stem broke in half but thank GOD Ida May was unhurt.
It got me thinking about how Life seems to be 2 steps forward, 3 steps back at times. " baby steps " also is fitting. I was thinking about our new creamery, we have gotten really good reception and I am pleased, but I think I was a little ambitious thinking I could craft so many wonderful products this year. My kids simply need me too much right now, especially Ida and Ayla. So I will do the best I can, and continue enjoying my kids and dairy and cheesemaking on whatever level I can muster right now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Zoie's trip to Vermont

Here is Zoie and Auntie Elisa in Vermont. She went to spend the weekend with her and had a great time. We received lot's of GREAT photos by email this morning and this is just one of them. They did a lot of hiking and exploring of historical sites. An added bonus--Elisa is really into healthy, organic foods--so are we but apparently it is cooler coming from your Aunt than your parents and Zoie is dedicated to good health now. Whatever it takes. I'm so glad she had this independent experience. A step toward growing up I suppose.