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Monday, May 25, 2015

The blunderous wonders of a 3 day weekend

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.  Thank you is not quite enough for those who have served, for those who have died, and for the families of both.  The words are paltry, but if we had others to use, I would use them to show the gratefulness of the sacrifices that you all have given.  

In celebration of this holiday, we usually take a trip up north.  It is still too cold to waterski (although I think in past years I may have eeked out a trip), and if I had to guess, I'd say the water was about 40 degrees.  Maybe 50.  Either way, it's the kind of cold that makes you suck in involuntarily and hurts - and if your head dares to dip below, you get the top of head frozen headache.  If you haven't ever been in that kind of water, you really should do it, not because it's fun or anything, rather mostly just to prove you are not a pansy.  

This weekend was no exception.  We did have to find a way to pack baby chicks in a couple bins to take them with us on our excursions (really not super recommended, but what can you do) as well as pack the dog (all in the same truck bed).  A stop on the way over to the feed store for some pine shaving bedding and we could almost convince my parents that chickens don't smell like horrible, filthy livestock.  (They still do.  Please, I love you, chicks, but please can you get out of my house yet?)  

I thought that I would go for a trail run the evening that we arrived - I love the path that takes me up (and I do mean vertically) through the woods, over to some sand hills, and then juts back in past a cedar swamp.  It is nice to have a different path and scenery (even if "running" up a sand hill has the same pace as walking up a sand hill).  I took the diseased dog with me, partly because she loves running and partly because every time I mention I am going to go on this trail, my mother tells me that it is entirely probable that I am going to be eaten by a bear and I figure bears would maybe rather eat a dog than me, so let's give them some menu options.  

I thought that I would go a bit longer on this run (after sitting in the car for 3-4 hours, I had plenty of stored energy), so I ran past the house after the trail run and down to the end of the road (1.1 more miles away).  I was totally down with this and tearing up the pace, but the dog was not really on board with me.  Soon, it seemed that I was dragging her behind me.  Yes.  I was dragging a dog.  This is much more unpleasant than I want it to be, what remedy is there?  I could just loop her leash over a post or tree or something and let her rest while I go to the end of the road (she would still be in sight).  Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.  There's hardly any people up here anyway.  

That looks like a good place!  I hooked her to a post on one of the last and vacant driveways and told her to sit and stay.  I ran off, gloriously faster (no 50 pound dead weight yanking my arm backwards), and turned around at the end.  I could see the small shape of the black dog sitting and waiting for me.  I got about 100 yards further and the dog started to bark the bark of alarm.  What?  What is the problem?  Why would she be barking like that...and she is turned sideways aiming at the house?  Oh great.  I couldn't run fast enough.  (As a side note, sprinting and yelling at a dog simultaneously is a great way to burn a lot of calories, but a quick way to get out of breath.)  Come on, teleporter, make me get up there.  Why hasn't someone invented a teleporter yet? (Seriously, someone needs to get on that.)  

A woman was approaching the dog, walking down her driveway, somewhat meekly as my dog was in full going-to-kill-you bark mode.  She turned short and began her evening walk.  I sprinted my guts off and debated - do I run past her and say, "Oh hi, this is my dog, I thought nobody lived here, and my dog was really tired, so I just wanted her to rest while I was running to the end..."  Explaining always sounds worse, so I just unhooked the dog and sprinted past her waving and smiling instead.  She can imagine whatever she wants, I guess.  On the way home, I learned a new way to breathe while running - it was to put my tongue on the bottom of my top teeth so I could avoid swallowing gallons of bugs (I learned this too late as I probably ate an entire protein bar's worth of bugs on that run).  

Finally, we made it home.  Now I can just take a shower and chillax, maybe read my new book about Elizabeth I.  Perfect - minus the bug sandwiches and the dog fiasco.  Except, wait.  Where are my clean underwear?  No seriously.  I unpacked my entire bag.  I have plenty of socks, 4 pairs of shoes, a plug for my ipod, I even brought Sovereign Silver and P73 Orega-Resp just in case of weird emergency.  And no underwear.  You have got to be joking me.  Awesome.  I guess my undies get a shower, too.  

Sunday was filled with a coma-like nap, the kind that you know you should be getting up because you probably slept so long it's dinner now, but when you try to open your eyes, you feel drugged and dizzy, but you are so determined to get up that you throw your legs over the side of the bed/couch and start walking...over to another place that you can lay down and go back to sleep for a while.  This is unfortunately periodically interrupted by your spouse who keeps sarcastically and dramatically asking you if you are okay, and if something is wrong with you, and purposely loud enough so that your mother hears, who will really actually think you are sick and start bombing you with questions about your health when all you want to do is alternate between punching your husband with his sarcastically amused expression (at the success of getting your mother involved) and actually going back to your sleep coma.  Monday has to be better.  

Except at 4:30 a.m. you wake up to the worst pain in your elbow ever experienced by humans on earth and conclude that you are dying of a black widow or brown recluse spider bite.  The elbow looks like a swollen freakshow and bending or not bending it makes you wish you knew how to do self-amputation.  But wait!  There is danger!  Perhaps that spider is still in the bedding.  I must wake my husband and save his life.  "Honey, I think I just got bit by a venomous spider.  It might still be here!"  

Hubby grumbles, "What?  What do you want me to do?"  

"We need to get up and check!"  

Hubby, "What?!  Didn't you do this like a few months ago and there was no spider?"  

Me, "Seriously!  Are you even talking about that!?  No, I don't recall that.  Just get up, I'm turning on the light."  On goes the light.  He appears half awake.  I am full-blown awake and on a mission to eradicate death spiders, ripping covers and pillows off, onto the floor, but then worrying that the spider already escaped to the floor and is now under the bedding and will likely bite me again.  I sit up in bed.  My hair falls onto my arm, and I do a freak out dance.  "Please can you look up spider bites on your phone?"  

"Right now?  Let me see your elbow.  It doesn't look like a spider bite."  

"Well what the heck else do you think I would wake up suddenly from in the middle of the night in excrutiating pain from?!  It has to be!"  I plod downstairs to get an ice pack for my pathetic pain.  

Hubby, "Google says you could have MRSA.  That is so gross, and I'm laying in bed with you."  

WHAT?!  "First of all, no, I do not have MRSA.  And secondly, what did you just say?  I am probably dying of a brown recluse bite and you're accusing me of having MRSA!"  Finally, after an hour or so, I fall back to sleep (hubby had no problem with that and was at snore level 3 within minutes), cuddling with an ice pack and dreaming of spiders and snake bites.  As morning dawns, I look at it, hoping it is better, but it is worse.  I want to go home and get activated charcoal.  Why don't my parents have weird things in their medicine cabinet?  My mom and dad bring me epsom salt, and my mom suggests that a wasp stung me.  Mom, a wasp?  It was 4:00 in the morning.  Well, it could be, she says.  Dad looks at it, he thinks he sees something.  I soak my arm in epsom salt in the sink and decide I am probably going to die so I should either pack up and rush home (3-4 hour drive) or go the opposite way, into town, to the urgent care/emergency room.  But which one?  I call the emergency room.  They tell me that they can't give me medical advice over the phone.  Thank you.  Awesome.  

I resign myself to my death and tell hubby we probably should go into town to the ER (especially after hearing that my friend's daughter went into shock and delerium from her brown reculse bite).  Upon hearing this, the littles cry out, "Are you going to die, Mom!?"  Well, I hope not, I say, trying to be brave.  I will probably survive, I lie to child #1.  This is very concerning to them because I would only subject myself to traditional allopathic medicine under dire life and limb circumstances and here I am suggesting we go.  As we drive to town, I suggest to my husband that this is our anniversary date.  He laughs.  I wonder if I can get flowers out of this.   

After answering the question, "Do you work?" to the urgent care receptionist with "Well, not really.  Unless you want to buy some Norwex.  I have some here in my purse.  Would you like to see a demo?" I am satisfied that I could entertain myself sufficiently here.  She tells me that there will be an hour wait and I ask her if she would like to take a bribe of some Norwex and bump me up a few people.  For some reason, she just laughs.  Oh well, I tried.  

We finally get in to the room where we are going to see the PA or whatever he is and he walks in with stylish dark rimmed glasses and says he is from California and that I probably do not have a spider bite.  I am scowling inside with disdain.  Not have a spider bite!  Like I believe you!  And then he tells me that people come in everyday saying they have spider bites.  What EVER.  He suggests antibiotics and NSAIDs.  I filter that through my head as "Sovereign Silver and turmeric".  He comes down with the diagnosis (not a spider bite, I'm so sure) - bursitis of the elbow.  What am I, like 65?  Bursitis?  He says I should wear a sling and I make a face with wild eyebrows.  "You're totally not going to wear a sling, are you?"  Well, no.  I will tie myself up with an ace bandage when I get back, though.  

Sigh.  Memorable vacations.  

Peace, love, and I can't wait until 4th of July, 
Ms. Daisy

Monday, May 18, 2015

A new house! And chickens!

Hello, dearies.  It has been a while and I sincerely do apologize, but I have a good enough reason (whether you want to call it an excuse or not is up to you) - and that is that I have moved from being a city chicken to a country in the city chick.  Yay and hooray!  

This move is great in that we get a bit of a bigger house (and you'll remember that we were just lolling about free ranging in our 950 square feet previously) and have acquired something like an extra 200 or 300 square feet more.  This, unfortunately, did not come in the way of having my own bathroom, but the dining room is a freaking paradise that I can do cartwheels in.  I'll take it.  And mad props to all of you who over the last twelve years sat with us smashed to the walls in our previous dining room.  It was cozy and we loved it, but now you just won't have to sit in my lap while eating your mashed potatoes.  (You still can if you want to, I'm just saying you don't have to.)  

This move has also granted us something I've been wishing and hoping and dreaming for - more property and some chickens.  Yes, that's right, I'm officially an urban (? perhaps suburban?) farmer.  We have 5 adult hens that came with the house who lay delicious eggs at a rate of about 3 daily (unfortunately for us, we eat 6 eggs a day around here...) - and might I add, if you thought I had food snobbery issues previously, it is at an all time high for eggs now with the advent of walking to my backyard to a coop and pulling out a freshly laid egg under the sassy, happy chickens. 

These layers are old (in terms of chicken life) - they're 4 or 5 years old.  We knew that they will not be able to lay eggs forever, so we went down to the country feed store and ordered 8 baby chicks (if you'd like to know deets: I have 4 Isa Browns, 3 Rhode Island Reds, and 1 Aracauna - the Aracauna and one of the Reds are my favorites.). 

Right now these little girls are living in a box in my kitchen under a heat lamp.  They provide hours of entertainment for us and the German Shepherd dog.  It sounds like I have tweety birds in my house nearly 24 hours a day.  The also provide lots of poop.  That's not so fun, but I guess it comes with the territory.  (Their poop pales in comparison with what the hens out in the coop can do, though.  And those girls ain't got nothing on my EPI diseased dog.  If you need manure...)  

One thing I did not really know (or experience, I guess I should say) was how terrified chickens really are.  You know how back in the day kids would cluck at other kids and call them a chicken when they wouldn't take a dare or do something...well, they got that from real chickens, yes, it's true.  Chickens are the most fraidy-cat things I've ever seen.  When I reach over the edge of their box to give them a fresh batch of water or feed, they run and peep like I was weilding the Almighty Hand of Certain Death at them.  Have I ever, ever, ever done anything to you?  Have I not always held you gently with two hands and treated you like you were made of porcelain?  Do I not relentlessly care for you and your poopy ways?  Yeah, that piece of grass in the middle of the box that I put in for you is probably an atomic bomb, you're right.

The house is on an acre which means hubby can go out there and shoot his bow and arrow much farther than he was able to do which makes him crazy happy.  It also has a riding tractor lawn mower, which makes kid #1 think he died and went to heaven.  I have a view out of my bedroom to a pond with a fountain and as we're up on a hill, I can see 2 miles away to a water tower ball (I know that for all of you who live on property and can see far away that you are wondering what on earth I would care about this for, but my farthest view before this was to a row of houses across the street.  It's crazy how cool it is.).  There's a giganto fire pit that I can make blazing infernos in and I can see the stars when I go out at night.  It all sounds like I am bragging, but my aim is to tell you that I'm thankful and I am keenly aware of how blessed I am to be here in this place.  

I will be putting in the garden soon and getting the veggies going for the season, and then I'll really feel like a farmer (I'll wear my cowboy hat and boots to make it work even better...probably should get some overalls, though, too.).  It's a great feeling.  If you want to tour Daisy Farm and you're local, just let me know.  We sell refreshing kombucha and water kefir and make our own mayo (with eggs from the backyard hens).  It's your one stop entertainment center, as you can see.  As for now, I need to go tear up some ground.  

Peace, love, and chicken poo,
Ms. Daisy