Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas 2020!

Merry Christmas! 

I realized this morning I have not posted in weeks.  

I apologize.  Where I once posted daily, I realize life overtakes things and I just don't get to it, even in this strange year we are having. 

So, this was going to be about Christmas, etc., but I did not gather with my family this year... so... it is going to be about squirrels with a couple of look backs. 

First, the big present... 

My grandson Nathan and his significant other, Rachel, are expecting in June. 


This very blurry photo taken with my phone is a picture of the sonogram 
they sent me, "Only the best parents get promoted to be Grandparents" ... and Nathan 
has taken to calling me "Great Grandma" now.  

They bought a house in Garnett in September, and he has been on his job for 
two years now, so I think they feel stable. 

Yes, it was a surprise and what a Christmas gift!

So... the squirrels....

You know that I have a camera up in the bird-feeding area all the time. 
I saw 300 some pictures on it today, and saved some of them. 

You know that they say cardinals are visits from your lost loved ones. 
I have seen as many as eight pair around my feeder. 

There are MANY blue jays here, too. 

The dark shadow pole is the suet pole that the camera is on. 

They crack me up. 
(I am sure he was jumping down because there I am at the gate) 

This strange cat appeared on the porch cam this month, but I 
have not seen it again.  And, in sadder news... 
Spot has not been here since last Saturday morning. 

I am not giving up hope, he was gone for ten days once. 
I believe he has a former family somewhere around here.  

Then, while reviewing the feeder cam this morning after church, 
I found this picture. 

Is this Spot???

I don't think so... but I may be wrong. 

You know what?  Maybe it IS him.  He hates the blow up Santa I have had 
up for the last three weeks.  It sits on the corner of the deck. I do take it down at night. 
(comparing the two pictures now, I don't think it's him) 

That is the only thing I can think that would keep him from coming to the door. 

Today is Santa's last day for the year. 

The possums are fast to get the food on the deck in the evening, so I am not 
sure what he would have found, and he has always come to the door, he does not really like the dogs, but he tolerates them. 

Speaking of the dogs... I also looked at a lot of pictures in my Google pictures archive. 

That was my beautiful Lilly Ann in December, 2014.  We had officially bought 
a big new house about fifteen miles from here, and we were three months away 
from a renter moving into this house.  I came over every day, because, of course, I still 
had chickens here,  Keith's health was failing by this time. 

There is my handsome Jester, the same month. 

And the two of them, running up the driveway. 

And what would a Christmas day post be without a Christmas picture... here is 
Keith in the kitchen of our big house with Madison, my granddaughter, who is a mother now herself, and Amy, my daughter in law.  

Keith was in pretty good shape here, all things considered. 

He also LOVED Christmas and having parties. 

And... he loved his grandkids.  Here he is with baby Hayley, who is a big 
sister to twins now.  This was at her big sister's Brynn's party that same 
December of 2014.  How little we know what is in our future... but these pictures 
bring back such happy memories. 

My big brother Pete was still alive, and had another Christmas to go... gosh, I miss my brothers and my little sister.  If it weren't for my first cousins, there would be no one who remembered sitting around my family table, that sits in my kitchen now. 

Little Snowy has been sick all day today, in fact, she has only just now, at 2:30, laid her head down 
for the first time.  She has periodic days when she vomits copiously all day... and I mean copiously. 
This morning, I could not get her to take her morning meds.  

After I came home from church, I discovered she had been sick and urinated in the house, and she never pees in the house.  After that, she vomited two more times.  It was only after the second large one that she was able to lay her head down and rest.  I gave her Cerenia for vomiting about two hours ago, and I did not see it come up... so... I am praying it is helping.  She is gently snoring on the orthopedic bed behind me.  I had actually made an appointment for both to see their vet tomorrow morning at 9:30, and am planning on taking them so Dr. Coles can check her out thoroughly.  Jester needs his 
eyes checked again, so he is going along for the ride. 

And now, a little bit about Snowy. 

I took her in as a foster for a rescue in March, the week the area shut down for the pandemic. 
I decided to keep her in about two weeks, I knew she was sixteen, but it was not until they emailed her 
vet records to me that I realized she was turning seventeen on July 1.  She settled in okay, but was not overly affectionate.  She was the only dog that slept with me at this point, but always across the bed, she did not snuggle.  She has clung to Jester since Fritzi has gone, but.... she began snuggling at night a month ago, and this morning, I woke up with her in the crook of my arm.  

I had planned to take her picture over again today with her little Santa dress spread out over her back... but we are going to forego that. 

Here is one of our "official" Christmas pictures, 
take by one of my Grandkids whom I ran in to get specifically for this purpose. 
You notice the dogs are facing away. 

We tried.  (laugh). 

( my hair was also crazy) 

Friends, several friends of mine and one set of dear cousins have 
had Covid.  I know many of you know some who have been lost to it, and who have been ill and recovered.  Please, I beg you, 
wear a mask and stay safe.  I wear a mask whenever I go anywhere, and in fact, we cannot attend church without masks and our chairs in the sanctuary being six feet apart (unless you are family members).  We have to register for mass. 

This morning, at Christmas Day mass.... I was alone in the middle of a row, but grateful to be there.  

Everywhere I go here, a mask has become part of my wardrobe.  I know many people have a problem with this, but I do it to protect me and mine.  

I hope you will all be here to read my next blog post, and those of 
next year's.  I want to be here, too. 

Stay safe, and I pray you have had a Merry Christmas! 

I admit it, I love him.  He lights up at night, too! 


Sunday, December 6, 2020

A Loss

My last post was entitled "Still Alive and Kicking". 

Little did I know that the very next day, I would lose this little girl. 

I adopted Fritzi last year, three months after I had lost Lilly, 
who had grown up here at Calamity Acres. 

Fritzi was one of three dogs, all older... whose mama sat 
down in her recliner one day and passed away.  One dog was so old 
as to be unadoptable (ill health).  The other two were placed with a foster by a local rescue. 
Fritzi's sister, Dotte, had already been placed when she came through 
my Facebook feed.  (and crossed the bridge three months ago). 

Jester and I went to meet her, and I fell in love with her little "one ear up, one ear down" 

She was not a cuddler, but she always wanted to be near me, and padded around the house to wherever I was.  She was also the BEST watchdog, nothing escaped her eye and certainly not her hearing and smelling. 

She was a barker, where the other two are not. 

I would sit in the recliner and read (snooze) in the afternoon, and Fritzi was always close. 

She loved my son, too, if he walked in, she was all cuddles and squeals. 

In March this year, she became very sick.  She spent five days at a very expensive 
ER specialty hospital, and was diagnosed with diabetes, and later, with Cushing's disease. 
Around mid-summer, she went blind. 

We got used to the daily routine of shots morning and evening, but we were never
able to adjust to the "twelve-hours apart feedings".  The blindness was another thing, 
as she constantly bumped into things, and broke my heart.  She did learn to turn left
off the front door step, and was able to cross the porch to the east, get down the three steps, potty, and then for some reason, she would go around the deck and come up the south side, until she was 
having difficulty doing that.  We put a ramp in, but it was not soon enough, she did not learn to use it before the blindness set in all the way. 

By Sunday the 15th, she was in a bad way, and I did not realize she was 
suffering from low blood sugar, and I am diabetic, I should have. 
Monday morning, I rushed her to the vet, she was in her final throes.... and the vet 
thankfully helped her cross the bridge as I held her close to me. 

This one hit me hard, even though I had only had her sixteen months. 

Within a week, this one got sick: 

The vet did a very careful exam, and discovered soreness along the spine. 
He also noticed definite soreness above the right eye.  He ran a senior panel. 

We started pain meds. 

Two weeks later, she was very bad again, and I took her back in, 
and he did another panel... she was holding her own, but he gave me 
meds for vomiting and I really changed the way she is eating (it helped). 

He examined her again, and he thinks what has happened is that 
the cancerous tumor taken off her mammary gland in August had already spread. 
The cost of an MRI is prohibitive, and frankly, it would be done if there 
was any hope of a surgery, but... she is seventeen and a half.  He believes the tumor 
is above her right eye.  

Snowy had a grand mal seizure at 1:45 AM in bed with me.  It was scary, but 
I knew enough not to touch her, but just spoke reassuringly.  The vet told me 
they do not realize they are seizing.  

She continued having small seizures, for instance, on Thanksgiving she 
was laying on the couch across from me, and her head would jerk suddenly and hard. 
I took my phone to the vet's office the next morning and he looked at them and then 
looked at me and said "Those are hurting her". 

So..... she is taking Keppra for the seizures, three half pills a day. 
She has gabapentin in the morning and evening, for pain. 

So far... so good.  Except for two days when her tummy was upset and she vomited 
over and over, she has been much better.  We now have Cerenia in the house for 

This morning, she took advantage when I opened the pasture gate to fill the water fortex there 
to shoot past me and take off down the pasture.  I can't trust her, she has selective hearing, and sure enough, (I followed her), when she got to the bottom of the pasture she tried to go through the fence twice.  I had to carry her back up. 

She has become much more affectionate, and likes to come across the couch to where my recliner is, jump into the recliner, see me for a minute while I scritch her, then jump back to the couch where she has two big comfortable pillows to lay on.  (these jumps are inches apart) 

Once in a while, she will lay on my chair next to me for a while. 

She has become cuddly with Jester, too. 

Jester, my Goodest Boy.... he is my rock, the one I always depend on. 

And... Spot the Cat has been spending days and nights here lately... though I have come 
to believe he actually has a family somewhere around here. 

He does NOT like this guy: 

That's Ben, who works in the yard for me .... 
Ben came yesterday to put Santa together and tie him to the deck. 

I'll show you some changes made to the deck and some other things happening around here in my next post. 

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, as good as could be expected in this crazy year. 

I pray everyone has stayed safe, and will continue to do so. Forgive me for the sad post, I just had to talk about little Fritzi again. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Still Alive and Kicking!

Friends, I am still with you all. 

I believe I have dodged the bullet... this time. 

I will be enquiring about the vet this week, as I must take 

Snowy in for some sneezing that she is having. 

I want to thank you all for your wonderful comments here and on FB enquiring about my health. 

Trust me, every little sneeze or headache made me wonder. 

I have since found out that the wonderful family from whom I buy pork and used to buy 

my hay has had it run through their family, rampant, the sons missing work (unpaid) and 

the matriarch exhausted.  The patriarch has ALWAYS worn masks to deliver, they have 

a little granddaughter whom they try to protect, and he told me "You do not want this thing". 

I don't, I agree. 

Since I last blogged, we have had the results of an election and a run of 

wonderful weather here in Leavenworth County (Kansas). 

I think those lovely days are coming to an end, we had crazy wind today, 

and again, tomorrow... and then rain and then cold temps return. 

Fritzi is still with us... by the skin of her teeth.  The Cushings and diabetes is 
taking its' toll on her, and she is now blind, I believe completely so.  She may still be 
seeing a bit of light versus dark.  It is heart breaking to watch her, and many of you have told me 
that blind dogs get along well... I can tell you from watching her she is scared, and will start at the slightest sound... has bumped her poor little head over and over.  I go out with her, and guide her 
by my voice... but she is not the same happy go lucky little dog of yore.  She has had a really good day today, and when it is time, I have found a practice who will come to the house to 
let her cross the bridge, here where she is loved and cherished. 

Look who is back!  After an absence of almost ten days... and I thought for sure he had been killed by something... Spot returned and has been here since.  He has a little house by the door, and he so wants to come in, but he attacked Fritzi once.  She can smell him, and goes right up to him, barking... so I can't chance his going after her little face.  When Fritzi is no longer here, he is welcome in here, the other two dogs pretty much ignore him. 

He and Snowy actually helped me do chores Friday morning in the fog. 

Snow Snow had her grooming done Thursday; she was overdue.  I have never had a dog 
before that had to be groomed!  She was sweet smelling over night, but by the next day, 
had found something to roll in... see the previous picture. 

Brooke, the groomer, has backdrops for the various holidays, and you can book just a photography session if you would like. 


The squirrels love to eat the cat food on the deck. 

This baby possum was so close to a camera outside I thought it was a rat for a minute. 
I hope it's the little gray possum, I have not seen it during the day now for about a week. 

I found a dead baby at the back of the house last Monday, but it was darker than this one. 

This gorgeous tree stands in the valley below me, 
on the other side of the Spehar's two ponds.  I look for it every year, 
and this year, I waited so long, I was afraid they had cut it down. 
On the second, there she was in all her glory. 

If you enlarge that, you will see I caught the reflection in the waters of the pond. 

I hope....hope... that I can have all the fir trees that have grown up in the fence line removed this year. 
They were not there when we moved here.  They are not just tearing up the fencing, I am losing my view. 

Spot waited for me to come from the pasture the other day, at the top of the stairs where so many of our pets have awaited me.  I am going to do a story about JUST that one day soon. 

This is the view out my kitchen window, on the west side of the house... fading now. 
That is the 26 acres that is undeveloped, with the communications tower on it.  I used to 
wish I won the lottery so I could buy it and keep it undeveloped forever. 

I am seeing so many birds at the bird feeders now, after a spate of about two months 
where I saw few.  

There are five crows in that picture, picked up on the garden cam, 
one is still on the flat feeder.  

They watch for me to put out the birdseed. 

Those are the two little old ladies, Fritzi and Snowy. 

Since I started this post last week, little seventeen year old Snowy had a grand mal seizure one morning, 
about 1:45 AM.  I sat and watched her, she was in bed next to me... she is the only one who sleeps with me now.  I actually thought she died.... but she was disoriented and her eyes rolled back. The vet was good enough to get me in that day (not always possible any more) and we ran tests on her.  They all came back good... he told me that she may never have another.  

She did exhibit pain in the back, and now is on gabapentin for it twice a day... I can see 
it has helped her, there is more spring in her step. 

I am planning changes around here, and have not spoken about them until now. 

The raised bed garden which Keith planned and made so lovingly back 
ten years or so ago, has been a pain. 

It has to be filled almost every year, and the beds were made just close enough together 
that you have to weed eat them instead of pushing a mower through. 
I have to pay someone to do that weed-eating, Ben, my wonderful yard helper. 

These beds.  
(this year's zinnias in them) 

Ben worked hard on these beds, tilled them, filled them, and weed ate between them all summer. 
We talked about pulling them up... I told him no.... but... I have decided that it makes sense to 
do so.  I am going to ask him to do it (pay him) and then we will till this area and grow bigger pumpkins next year. 

I'm getting an extension made between the original south deck (the back is the front of the house) and the side deck, put on years later.  This will let me go out and feed the birds by simply walking onto the deck, not going down steps, walking around, and going up steps on the side.  
The steps are being replaced, they are a hazzard. 

I'm also getting a new front door and storm door, I should have done that four years ago, to keep 
the winter winds at bay! 

I hate to preach on my blog... but friends, we all 
need to conquer our fears. 

I am planning on being around for a while. 
I am being careful, I hope you are all, too. 
I value your friendships and value the fact 
you still read this blog after all these years. 

I'm holding onto fall for a few more days.... 
holding onto hope, too. 

Everyone have as good a Thanksgiving as you can make it, this year.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Quarantine Times

Oh, yes, friends, I'm in quarantine. 

On Tuesday, I took Jester to the vet for an eye check, and to have his nails trimmed. 

My vet's office requires everyone to mask, and they are very serious about it, I jokingly say I need to have a standing weekly appointment, because Fritzi and I have been there so much this year. 

Jester was lifted up by the associate vet who was seeing him.  His eyes were checked, and then I offered to hold him while the vet did his nails.  I held Jester closely in an embrace while the vet worked and we visited.  

Yesterday, I was in the dentist's office and my phone began to vibrate.  

  It was the practice owner... the vet who saw 

Jester had tested positive for COVID.   

Notice I said I was at the dentist's office?  I had removed my mask only for a minute, so that he could check something in my mouth on which he was doing a second check.  They have literally had to shut down three times for covid exposures. 

I had been to the feed store and to a friend's house during the week, I let everyone know. 

I am home until November 3rd, now, after talking to the Health Department. 

I am not to get tested UNLESS I show symptoms, and I have not shown any... the Health Department spokesperson told me that usually, symptoms are shown within five to seven days after exposure. That would be today through Monday, and so far, so good.  My son is taking care of grocery runs, and a friend will pick up feed I need at mid-week, so, except for not going to church, I will be good here at home. I like to be here, too, so everything will be fine barring any crisis with Fritzi. (I'm thinking positively there). 

So, let's look at some pictures. 

The weather has been bizarre here in the past ten days.  We literally went from 85 on Thursday to 40 yesterday, and right now, it is 39, with a feels like of 33.  All hoses are unhooked, I am carrying water in buckets, but, thank heavens, I do not have the sheep to worry about. It has been easy keeping the chickens supplied, I have four outside water fortexes, and the two fountains inside. 

We have had some beautiful sunrises.  I am 
not usually up and out the door now at sunrise, as I used to be while I was working, but I have had to get up early with Fritzi several times.  The thing that is remarkable about this 
picture is that enough leaves have fallen that once again, I can see the pond at the foot of the pasture hill.  I have missed seeing it.  If I had taken this during the day, you could see that the Spehar's cabinet shop and barn are visible now, too. 

If my Google photos had synced with my phone, I could show you some even better sunrises, but somehow, I have turned it off again, I think. 

Guess what?  Here is Spot Yoder, the Feral Cat, sleeping in the 
Cathouse, which is now right by my front door.  Spot has actually come 
into the kitchen several times, but he struck out at Fritzi, who cannot see, 
when she smelled him and got too close.  I can't take a chance on her 
being caught in his claws, so.... He has his own little house. 
He is using it, too, I have actually taken several pictures of him now in it. I had to use hay because 
I had no straw but... this week, I will get a bale of straw delivered with my feed, and re-bed his house. Straw is better and warmer for him.  I hope to one day get him truly IN the house with us, but we are taking it slowly.  For now, he is comfortable. 

This doghouse, now the Cathouse, is up on blocks, and so far, none of the wild creatures have tried to nest in it. 

This baby was hiding in the cement block the other night.  More about it in a minute. 

Oh, no no no.... don't even think about it!

You can see here that Fritzi  struggles often, and was out in the wind the other day, trying to get back to the door.  I don't let her out alone, but she still can see a bit of light, I think.  Her nose is still working, and she knows something is living in the doghouse by the door.  
My son and I actually said our goodbyes last week, but my wonderful vet has managed to keep her going for a bit longer.  The Cushings is taking its' toll on her. 

She turns left going out the door, goes down those three steps... does her business, and for some reason, about 90% of the time, goes around the well house and to the patio, and back up the south steps from the patio, crossing the deck as she is here.   I don't argue with her, I think it's good she is still able to do it. 

One thing she is smelling is this little one. 
It has been coming out in the day time for several days. 

 It's darling, with its'
tiny little pink feet. 

"Admit it, you know you think I'm cute!"

It is not wrong for possums to eat during the day, and they are generally very 
calm creatures.  They WILL kill chickens, I admit that, so I don't necessarily want to encourage this baby to be around when the birds are loose. 
That said, it got cold pretty fast here, and the spilled seed is helping it. 
I did not see very many possums during the summer, now I am seeing them when 
I take the dogs out during the evening. 

I'm seeing lots of these guys, too.  I'm going out here in a bit to rake up the walnuts into a pile, so A. I won't break my neck turning an ankle on them and B., the squirrels can find them in a convenient pile. 

For about a month there, all of September, I had very little traffic at the flat feeder.  I took that to mean that the wild birds were eating in the fields and finding plenty of natural food.  I have noticed an upturn in feeding the past week. 

I have been seeing bluebirds on my railing outside the kitchen windows, so got some meal worms to mix with the finch mix that I feed there.  I am also putting out one of the low water basins I used last winter, they are heated and I keep it going all during the bad weather.  My problem is that the bigger critters tend to empty it at night, but I do not think it will catch fire. 
I have noticed in the past that bluebirds will literally sit around it, drinking and bathing.  

The goldfinches are still gone, but the house finches are still here and going strong.  The goldfinches will be back any day now.  I also am seeing... besides sparrows and chickadees... dark eyed juncoes, and tufted titmice, and several woodpeckers. 

And these friends;  there were six out there eating, yesterday. 

Here is a kind of grainy picture Jeff, my son, took of us last week when we 
thought Fritzi might not be coming home from the vet. 

As you can see, it's hard to get everyone to sit still for a second... if you saw the outtakes, you would laugh. 
I would love to have a professional picture! 

I'm thinking positively, friends, and all of you think positively for me too, please!