Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hidden Hazard

Okay. This is lighthearted I swear!
Picture it:
Zoie and I are taking the cows out to pasture. The milk cows are still really excited, and even though we don't urge them on at all, most are trotting pretty steady the 1/2 mile down the road.
They are kinda ungainly, what with that big udder swinging. Zoie is keeping strides with Gale, a very " endowed " cow, when all of a sudden SOMETHING white and milky squirts out and hits her right in the eye! It was milk of course! As her udder was swinging milk was squirting out and somehow flew right into my 11 yr old daughters eye. I laughed and laughed, and laughed some more. Don't you all find that really funny? Even Zoie giggled. We all know not to walk directly BEHIND a very excited cow on spring grass ( a hazard of a much worse sort there! ) but who would of guessed there was a distinct possibility you might get milk squirted in your eye!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bakers, I need your help!

So I made a DELICIOUS batch of cream cheese, and am feeling inspired to bake some homemade Bagels. Who's got a recipe? I'd like to flavor them too, things like " honey wheat " "multigrain" etc. The weather is turning crappy for a couple days, it's cold and I'll be hiding out in the house so I might as well do some much needed baking. Anyone?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Another Ambulance Ride

We had to go back to the hospital with Ayla last night. This time it wasn't because she was sick----but very intense nonetheless. Her BG had been on the high side all day. I changed the infusion set for her insulin pump a total of 3 times and still the BG wouldn't budge and in fact started rising despite lots of insulin. Checked her ketones and they were unbelievably high, 4.4, and she strated to vomit, complain of headache and blurry vision.
Called 911. They whisked Ayla and I off to the hospital, sirens blaring. I was afraid she was gonna go into DKA any minute. Somehow we remembered to give her an injection, in addition to the insulin her pump was giving and this is what turned it around. Finally her BG was back down to 132 and ketones all but gone. We believe her pump was malfunctioning and not delivering the insulin it said it was. I need to call them, and probably demand a replacement. It could have killed her. That's how fast type 1 diabetes kills. That's why I have to believe in a cure. I don't think people are aware of the differences between the 2 types and exactly how serious this disease really is. Then as I had a feeling it would, her BG took a big drop in the night. I noticed her twitching and as soon as it entered my unconscious mind--I checked her and sure enough she was only 43. Very dangerous too, but in the opposite direction.
We got home at 1:00am. As soon as I got her settled in I started working on some of my orders because I can't afford to miss any sales and Dante just headed off to work too. I have an hour and 45 minutes to complete as much as I can and meet the distribution truck.
Some exciting news:
5 of the milk cows spent the night out to pasture! They were so happy and such good girls. Walked the 1/2 mile to the gate---unfortunately the wrong gate---but they just stood and waited for us to catch up and let them in another one. The babies stayed with 2 babysitters in the barn. I need to finish their fence. If I put the mother/babe pairs in with the bulls I won't be able to go in and get them if I need to, so I need the babies in a different field with easy access.
We are still feeding hay, but those days are quickly coming to an end!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Puppy Love

Ida May ( 20 months old ) and our faithful dog, Cinder. He is the best. Defending the farm from coyotes by night---and loving the kids by day.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

An Interesting Day

Let's see.....It started off with a bang and only 4-5 hours of sleep. This time I have no one but myself to blame, I did a little socializing last night. Zoie had to meet the bus at the school for another peewee tournament game at 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday. What???
I cheerfully launched into a good barncleaning and leisurely milking when Jude runs out and says,
"Papa is coming with the hay and wants a 1/2 gallon of milk." Well it's the least I can do for my Dad bringing me some hay and all. So the milking seriously picked up the pace, with me running in place tugging on cow collars. They can't be hurried you know, just plodding along. I did get him his VERY fresh 1/2 gallon of milk.
Then we needed to load some manure for a friend. I had to threaten Dante within an inch of his life to leave MY 3 year old aged and composted manure pile ALONE and take from a different pile. C'mon girls, you all have a prized manure pile right?
While making feta cheese, I decide to try this workout from Self magazine that claims I'll be "bikini ready" by June. I somehow manage to pull a muscle in my left butt cheek. You don't realize how much you use that left butt cheek until it is in agony! I don't know if I'll be bikini ready by June----but I'll probably be martini ready LOL!
Looking for even MORE punishment, I escape with only Zoie and Ayla and a jogging stroller to go for a power walk/run on the trails. It was good---except for that pulled muscle I mentioned. I kinda had to do an improvised power limp.
We almost made it home in the car when suddenly Ayla just explodes and starts going ballistic screaming and crying! I didn't know what the heck was going on but I stupidly tell Zoie to unbuckle and get back there while I'm swerving around and screaming myself. Then Zoie says,"Mom I see flashing blue lights!" I now have been admittedly driving erratically with 2 unbuckled children in a beat up minivan going 10 miles over the speed limit. But when I look in the rear view mirror the flashing blue lights look strange and the vehicle is pulling a boat. Huh??
I pull over, swearing like a sailor, and know my goose is probably cooked with good reason--but I really thought we were having a medical emergency! In my side view mirror I see a uniformed officer, but he's wearing shorts and a fisherman hat. Okay.....
He asks if I know why he pulled me over. I tell him I was probably all over the road, but I thought my 3 year old diabetic was having a seizure and then I did a brief synopsis of her history of seizures and my PTSD reaction to a certain scream she does. I got a stern talking-to, a slap on the wrist and he was on his way. Buckled the kids back in, and then Zoie says, " Did we just get pulled over by a GAME WARDEN?" " looks that way" As a green game warden truck pulling a boat roars off down the highway. That was a first.
The afternoon sun was shining in my room and my bed was looking so gooooood....before I knew it I had hopped in and pulled the covers over my head. In the distance I hear a pounding on the door and then Dante yelling, " Jess! I need you and Zoie the bulls are over at the neighbors!"
You HAVE to be kidding me! We jump in the van and race next door to see our biggest bull scratching his neck on the corner of the neighbors house. Sweet, really sweet. I leap out and wave my arms and clap my hands. Nothing. He stares at me and lowers his head. Okay. I fly back to our house grab a nice big stick and go back, by now Dante is there and we give chase. Did I mention that one side of my butt is in serious distress? Try hopping through tall grass with the fear of a bull smashing you in front of your kids and the neighbor kids with a pulled butt-cheek muscle! We got them back in and now I'm gonna make some homemade pizza.
Overall, not too shabby. Quite entertaining actually. A good day!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Any thoughts or Inspirations?

Regarding weightloss or lack there of! I have been stuck at the same weight since Christmas BUT I've dropped another pant size and have gotten into much better shape. I know I shouldn't obsess over the number on the scale but I'd like to see that change with all the work I've put in!
This week I haven't exercised as much, I think the stress of last week finally caught up to me. I've had a stiff neck and then my back really was messed up, probably no doubt from the whole cow episode.
I hesitate to do anything other than ride it out. Dante and the kids get WAY too much enjoyment out of recalling the last time I went to the doctor for my back. Dante and I had been rolling round bales of hay onto a pickup every 2 days while I was pregnant, because at the time our tractor couldn't move them, but the cows still needed to be fed. ( No wonder my back was messed up! )
So I went to our family doctor, thinking he'd refer me to a chiropractor. Nope---right there with all the kids watching in horror and amusement---he folded me up like a pretzel and then pounced on me four or five times. It probably looked like some fake wrestling move. I'm glad I was able to provide a quality lasting memory for the kids. They'll probably NEVER seek medical attention for an ailing back in their lifetime!
Anyway, I'm looking for some ideas to ramp up the weightloss again. I think I probably need to switch it up. I usually eat similar foods, and have been pretty much running 3-5 times a week.
So I switched to yogurt for breakfast ( I usually don't eat breakfast ) and I think I'll start lifting weights. I wanted to wait until I reached my goal before doing strength training, ( I lift PLENTY of weight on a daily basis on the farm--but my body is SO used to it ) but I think I'll try it and see what happens. Anything thats working for you?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm Still Here !

Here's a pic of Zoie and I, checking out the pasture--wishing it was greener! I told Dante I want a cabin in that pasture so I can wake up with the cows grazing right outside of the door. He says, " Then the cows will crap on your front porch." and I say, " Well the big ones won't. " I really wouldn't mind. I'd just keep a shovel by the door and clear a pathway!

Things are alright. I keep it in perspective. The kids are all well--we've enjoyed this warm spell.

I've pretty much decided that the cows are moving out to pasture--ready or not---I'll just sacrifice one area. I need to have a break from the intense barn work, and they are just dying to get out anyway. I absolutely LOVE , walking the cows back and forth along our 1/2 mile wooded driveway to be milked, and returning them to pasture. I can't tell you what that quiet time does for my soul. I usually have a whole flock of kids along to " help ". It is as close to a perfect time as any.

I need to go back and calculate Berretta's calving date. I think she's due sooner than the " middle of May " date I've had in my head. I am a bit nervous, but have to remember we did this whole calving routine dozens of times without a glich and Berretta is an old pro. She'll be the last cow to calve, and in fact no one is even bred back yet. I want March - May calving dates next year.

The bulls are bored and have Spring fever, and a gate left untied was all it took for an escape today. I knew they'd make their way up to the barn. Wasn't much a woman and 5 kids were gonna do about it really! especially a woman in a whirlwind trying to finish yogurt and making cheese! I blame them for putting me behind schedule and making me late---ALL DAY LONG--!

We are waiting for Zoie to get home, so we can have a gate opener, while we go in a cut the bulls out of the milk herd, and take them back where they belong.

We were all at one of the last pee wee basketball games, Zoie plays. She has come a long way, but I can tell she favors me more than Dante in the team sports arena. I was always better at running, horseback riding, those type of things. I hated little league. I used to go out in the outfield, and sit down and pick flowers. Didn't even notice the game going on really.

You see.. I've always taken time to stop and smell the roses.

Friday, April 2, 2010

We Lost Brie and her Calf

I hate to even write anything. I know these things happen, and it is a part of farming but I'm pretty torn up right now.
I found Brie down, uterus partially prolapsed but no calf in it. Obviously she was dying. Called Dante home, and a neighbor came to help. They put her down and performed a c-section. I worked really hard on that little baby but he died.
For some reason her cervix barely dilated. I've never had any major calving issues, nothing like this. It was so dramatic and horrible and it makes me not wannna do this anymore.
I'll be fine though. Just another test, for what ---I don't know-- but I'm really sad and plain old wore out. To make matters worse Maddy's calf was looking off this morning. She is still nursing and I have them snugged in now, but I don't know where I'm gonna muster the energy to give that the proper diligence.
That's the thing about it, I keep getting blow after blow but I still have to keep going. I can't even just hide out and cry for a few days because I need to make meals for the kids, check Ayla's blood sugar frequently, milk the cows, dishes, laundry. It's probably good, I guess, but all I want to do right now is go to bed but I should probably go check on Margo. Veda didn't understand and threw a fit about gym class so I got her there. Now I gotta go pick her up and make lunch.
I haven't even gotten to mourn the loss of a sweet cow, too many details to settle.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Baby Margot

Have you ever tried to take a self portrait of yourself and a calf while struggling to hold the aforementioned calf? This is little Margot. She is still really tame and sweet. Althea, 6 weeks old, and Juliette, 3 weeks old, are both full of it now and while very interested in me---they are officially cheeky little nurslings that are hard to catch! I noticed that Althea's collar needs to be loosened. I'll have to try to make a leap for her, and somehow loosen that collar.

Maddy is very good about milking but has a tiny little udder. I think that Margot will be able to take care of it pretty soon. Maddy is so small, that I can't use the milker hanging on its strap but have to crouch next to her and hold it up. Those of you who have held an EMPTY surge milker, can appreciate how difficult this is! Do you think I could add a few rivets or something to the strap to make it fit her?

Maddy has learned the routine and even though she is so picked on, readily makes her way to the gate to be milked, and doesn't she LOVE her little baby.

I need to make a few changes in the barn, and I think I found someone to help me. We'll see if it works out. The milk parlor needs a fresh coat of white paint, and I would do just about anything if someone who doesn't have a pathological fear of spiders ( like I do ) could come in and sweep down those barn spider webs. At least in the areas I spend most of my time. I'm sure the spiders are beneficial, but after having one drop down my chest while milking last summer, I don't want to have a repeat! And you wouldn't believe it but I saw a couple moths outside on the deck off the bedroom. MOTHS! How is that possible? You all know how I feel about moths!
Gooseberry's kittens are fat as can be, and opening their eyes. She still tries to frequently move them into the coldest, dankest corners but we're on to her. It is a bit annoying.
Brie hasn't calved yet, but boy is she close. I'm sure we are probably due for a bull calf, that's okay, I've really lucked out with 4 out of 5 calves being heifers.