Thursday, April 23, 2020

Life in the Time of Corona

Things are changing here at Calamity Acres, friends. 

Oh, some things have pretty much stayed the same. 

The tan and white cat and Rusty are still eating in the pasture. 

And Spot, the black and white feral, checks on the porch during the day for food.  I also see him by the water bowl near the big hen house. 

I'm seeing fewer of these guys, because I am pulling the food in very early, now. 

You see, I made the mistake of starting out the door Sunday night without looking first.... as a big raccoon scuttled away under the deck, both Fritzi and Snowy (formerly Gemma) pulled out of their collars and leads, and took off.  I chased Snowy for a while, it scared me to death, because she has gone under the deck. 

I caught her, eventually, when she paused to pee. 

But, never again.  I won't be opening the door ever, without checking. 

This has commenced.... I usually start on or about Easter, but this year,
I had to start before.  

A week after this, I broke the front end of my John Deere motor cover... the mechanic is 
coming for the tune-up next week, and I'm going to call and see what a new cover will cost me. 

Then I'll decide if it's happening, or not. 

We have had wonderful, sunny days. 

I'm having so much fun watching the birds around me. 

I took that through the screen. 

My son came out to look for morels two days ago. 

I have never seen such huge ones on my property. 
In fact, the regular place had NONE this year, these were in a new area

This one alone was close to a pound!

Sweet little Fritzi has had a hard month, and it's only 
going to get harder.  She has diabetes, and spent five days at the Emergency Animal Hospital. 

We have been doing twice daily shots, since she came home.  This morning, 
for the first time, she snapped at me and then screamed as I gave the shot. 

In the old days, Keith would have held her for me.  

I am going to talk to her in a no-nonsense voice tonight 
as I come to her with the syringe... she knows what it is now. 

We will see how she does.  

Friends, I admit it... I was shaky as I gave it to her after she flinched and 
screamed, and it was a scream.  I am determined to give her her shot at 8:15 and we will 
see how we do. 

She is very dear to me, and I am going to do everything I can to help her. 

And... this happened.  My pasture caught fire when my neighbor to the east drove his 
electric golf cart down to his garden spot and set the grass on fire with the electric motor. 
That's my neighbor Troy and another volunteer with the Stranger Creek Volunteer Fire Dept., using the brush truck to put it out. 

It's already growing back. 

And now, friends, something sad.  

For the last two months, I have been waiting to hear from the man who had told me he would shear for me this year.  We actually had two eighty degree days, very early.  I was worrying myself sick about Fluffy and Niblet, who needed to be sheared. 

I spoke with him, and he was worried about coming because he had a granddaughter who had recently been ill, who lived with them.  He told me "he would be there next week". 

In the meantime, Troy saw me post about it on Facebook. 

He called to tell me a young man who was a new volunteer with the fire department kept sheep, 
and could shear for me. 

The picture that has greeted me at my pasture gate for the last year, and really, the last two years, 
as the boarded flock was here before. 

Here is Samuel shearing Fluffy.  It was almost impossible to catch her, and 
Flicka and Cookie literally went through the fence, tearing part of it and breaking a post off . 
Then Fluffy and Niblet jumped OVER it into the pasture.  Samuel did all the work. 
Because.... I was almost mown down, and here we are at the crux of the matter. 

I am 69.  I had been knocked into at least four times in the last two months by an excited Cookie and once by Fluffy, who hit me at the knees in excitement.  I almost went down. 

I realized I could not take care of them right, months ago. 

As Samuel sheared, I talked to him about the sheep.  To make a long store short, 
he talked to his mother, and four days later, they came and picked them up. 

Another rodeo, but his brothers were here to help. 

Yes, it broke my heart. I was crying when I took this picture. 

But, an example... as Samuel was shearing, he casually looked down 
and said "Do you ever trim their feet?".... and folks, I COULD NOT. 
I also could not find a vet who would come for sheep, (there is one in Atchison, 
as Samuel told me) and they had not had their shots. 

It is so easy to watch Sandi Brock do it... she has all the handling chutes, equipment, etc., and it is another thing to be in there by yourself.  Yes, Cookie and Niblet would let me touch them, 
but as far as haltering and leading?  NO. 

They have gone to live with Samuel and his family and their flock of almost thirty. 
Some of them will come here in the next few months to graze in my pasture, but Samuel 
will be taking care of them daily. 

So... my sheep adventure has ended, and I believe it will be for the good of the sheep. 

So, changes have come, but not all are bad.  

I know the sheep (at least the ewes) will have a good home... and I miss them, but am not missing being worried about falling. 

I have plenty to do with the chickens, and the dogs. 

Samuel sent me a wonderful thank you note, he is really a nice young man, and I think the sheep will be fine there, and that is a relief to me. 

I miss seeing them. 

Everyone stay safe! 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Still Spring Here

As I write this, I have another batch of banana bread in the oven! 
I just reread my last post, I was baking then, too. 

I have one of these small loaves earmarked for an elderly 
friend, and hope to run there today and leave  
eggs and bread outside the door. 

Yes, folks, I am wearing a mask when I go out.  It's reality. 

I noticed this morning when I had to pop in the store for a few 
things that even men are wearing their masks with pride. 

We have had some beautiful days here lately. 

Two days ago, we broke the record for heat, it was 
88 degrees out!  I actually broke shorts out for the afternoon. 

I was really, really worried about Niblet and Fluffy, the two wool sheep. 

So, let's talk about them. 

I wrote about Fluffy almost knocking me down a week ago. 
Well, my Good Neighbor Troy was able to find someone for me 
to shear.  The other night, they turned up at my door. 

I would show you the pictures but frankly, I cannot get the phone 
pictures to come over right now. 

The young man, Troy and I tried to catch these two inside the pen, 
they would absolutely NOT go into the barn where it would have been easier. 

They broke a post and pulled all the wire loose trying to go through. 

Yes, the young man finally tackled each.... but as they ran at me, my life 
passed in front of my eyes. 

As the young man sheared, he asked "Did I ever trim hooves".  I shook my head and told him : 
"This is why I  need to rehome them, I cannot take care of them alone". 

And then, a miracle happened. 

The next morning after the Shearing Rodeo, the young man called and told me he 
had asked his mother and my sheep will be joining their flock.  I am overjoyed, to know
they will go to a home that knows sheep and can handle them right. 

Here is the better part.... He will use my pasture and Troy's for several months this summer, 
bringing his flock over (there are about thirty).... and then they will all go home in August. 
I get to watch them all summer, which makes me very happy.  He will be over daily to check on them. 

This young man, Samuel, is on the Stranger Creek Fire Department with Troy. 
I am so impressed with him, and glad to make his acquaintance. 

Yes, friends, I am giving the sheep to him, I was never in this to make money. 
I asked him not to tell me what would happen to Cookie, the wether, my pet. 
I have to let go. 

So, last Saturday, I decided to keep Gemma. 

She was whelped on June 1st, 2003.  She will be seventeen on 
June first. 

She is a chicken killer... she had Buddy down yesterday and by the time I got her, 
I thought he was dead.  He can no longer be in the yard daily because of it....  he did revive, 
after his comb and head had turned blue from shock.  I have him all fixed up in the little henhouse today with one hen... he has a makeshift fence in front, and while he would like to be out with 
the main flock, he is happy and has good shelter.  The thing is, she can't get to him. 

She will literally pace back and forth at the fence for an hour, so I only let her out for 
little bits of time. 

As you can see, she has fit in. 

I no sooner had paid her fee on Saturday,  when I had a crisis with Fritzi.  Fritz had been going in and out 
at frequent intervals day and night, and I should have tipped that there was something very wrong.  I rushed her to an emergency vet hospital last Saturday when my son and I noticed she was 
trembling badly on her bed. 

Fritzi was diagnosed with diabetes and it was touch and go for two days.... she did not come home until Wednesday. 

She gets shots twice a day, and is on various meds for a few more days, 
but is much, much better. 

On our left in this picture is Abby, and in the middle, 
Gertie, and leaning on her, Hannah. 

These three girls were our beloved pugs, they had been 
preceded by Addie Mae, who had already died. 

Abby became diabetic.  Keith and I were not shown how to 
give her shots, and we were given a prescription for human 
syringes and needles, and not trained to use them. 

It was a nightmare, which culminated in Abby dying at home. 

For four days, I agonized about giving the shots to Fritzi. 

Guess what? 


I think it's mindset, and a vet tech at the hospital took time to have me practice with 
sterile solution.  The syringes are much different, and I am getting ones designed for 
animals now.  My vet has the Vetsulin. 

So far, I have had only one tiny yip, and yes, she does not like them... but is 
taking them like a rock. 

I'm proud of her.  We are on a different diet, supplemented with 
some chicken breast cut into it, and she loves it.  It's a whole new world for us, and one in which I believe she will be around for years to come. 

The porch cam caught this bluejay looking for cat food this morning at sunrise. 

The camera caught Gems as she came out, too!

It is going to be a strange Easter this year.  I did drop off 
a makeshift Easter basket for my two youngest grands yesterday, 
and an Easter "sack" for our little friend Brayden.  How good it was to see him. 

Mass will be said on tv and also on Facebook, and I will watch 
from my home.  
My traditional thing to do on Easter (besides cook) is cut grass, 
but I have actually already started cutting this year, you know. 

I am going to do a little trimming with the push mower this afternoon, to get ahead of the game. 
We are expecting thunderstorms late this afternoon, spring is truly here in Kansas. 

Last Sunday was the seventeenth anniversary of this. 

That is my stepson, Brandon, in front of Keith and me at our 

What a happy day that was for us, and we did not know 
we would only have thirteen years together before 
Keith was called on ahead of me. 

Brandon has gone on ahead, too, and they actually shared a birth date. 

I hope they are not laughing to hard at me as they look down on me. 

Everyone stay safe, and have a blessed Easter!