Sunday, April 16, 2023

A Long Post for Mid-April

The world is greening up here, lately....

The Bartlett and Callery pears, though "trash trees", are beautiful in the landscape.  I wish my dad (who died in 1969) could see these beautiful trees in the spring, and no... I have none, here. 

This striking tree is directly across from my porch in the valley. 

This is my view this morning, after two days of rain and blustery storms. 
Our winds are back... they are so annoying.  It is hard to get things done in the yard with the wind blowing constantly, and don't get me started on mowing!  This view of the ponds will be gone by the weekend, as the trees leaf out, I lose my view.  I have talked to the tree service about clearing the fence line at the bottom of the pasture, and I am saving up for it.  I love that pond view! 

I have as many as thirteen pairs of cardinals eating here.  If they are, indeed, souls of those who have been loved by us, then all my family and favorite pets are still with me. 

Speaking of family, I had breakfast on Monday with four of my first cousins, and it was so very good to see them... our regular breakfasts were interrupted by covid, and we are only now starting to meet in person again. 

I have lost my two brothers and my sister, and these dear people are like siblings to me.  They are some of the last to ever sit at my family kitchen table, the one at which I am typing now. 

This last full moon coming up over Calamity Acres. 

The big boy and his bestest friend, Bob the Porch Cat.  Bob was busy playing with Buddy's tail and I tried to get a picture of it... but he saw me.  

This morning, I found a patch of cat fur in front of the shop... Bob was following me... he is a troublemaker, despite his innocent look... and he stopped to smell the fur carefully... someone had a fight last night, and from the color, it could only be Teenie.  I will take a close look at her later, but she was moving around freely when I got their breakfast for them a while ago. 

The girls are starting to lay again, but oddly... I'll get ten or so, and then the next day, I'll only get three.  I know for a fact four hens are laying right now this morning. 
One old hen, a VERY old cochin, is on two eggs and those eggs should be close to hatching.  Her color is fading, and I am going to have to make a decision to move her into the pen I had reserved for chicks if she does hatch them.  Chicks can wait for a few weeks.  

These flowers, from an envelope from Croatia marked "Sunny flower mix", have gone berserk under lights in the shop.  I literally have the lights up as high as they will go, and the plants are still reaching.  I had hoped to harden them off and get them planted this week, but after two eighty degree days, we are at 45 at this moment.  It is also blowing like the dickens AGAIN and we are under a red flag warning for about the sixth day in a row. 

I honestly don't know how I am going to harden them off, unless I take them out from under the lights, put them in the garage during the day where the wind can't bother them, and move them back in the shop for shelter at night.  I'll think about that. 

Jester is enjoying the balmier of our days, but yes, I have turned on the air for the dogs because the house has heated up several times by late afternoon.  Crazily enough, the heat is back on today. 

Here is my little doll, Zoey, two weeks ago yesterday, April 1st. 

She loved that bed. 

On Sunday, the 2nd, she ran around here like a little farm dog.  She came in and took a nap with Bullseye in the big crate. 

On Monday, about mid-morning, she seemed to be having trouble breathing, and I called her vet's office.  They were unable to get her in until Tuesday, so I made the appointment.  I left to do another errand, but by the time I got back, I realized she had become exhausted because she could not lay down, when she did, she could not breathe.  We left for the emergency pet hospital that I have used many times in the past. 

One look at the front door and they rushed her back into an oxygen chamber. 

After two hours, a young vet came out to speak to me, and I must have rankled with my questions, because she asked me if I was "in the medical field".  I wanted to tell her no, I have had dogs for fifty years. 

In March, Zoey was treated for a chest infection.  On the 23rd, we had a follow up, and the vet said her chest was clear and heart sounded good.  I asked if she wanted to xray and she told me there was no need. 

The young vet told me Zoey's lungs were full and wanted to call in a cardiologist. 
Friends, Zoey was eleven, I adopted her as a foster fail a year and a half ago.  The estimate of care for three days was 6000.00.  I am telling you all of this for a reason. 

I was asked if I wanted to see her in the ICU.  After four hours, I asked to see her, and went back there.  I wish I had not.  I will spare you the picture I took, I need to delete it but cannot bring myself to.  She saw me, and tried to touch the side of the chamber... but she was struggling oh, so terribly. 
I saw the young doctor again for a minute, I wish I had told her then and there that I wanted to euthanize gently, holding her.  
The "ICU" was bright, a huge room, with people working on a big dog frantically and my poor little girl in the chamber, suffering.  It will never leave my mind. 

I had signed a DNR when I signed the paperwork... you see, I left that hospital with a bill over 5000.00 for Fritzi's care a few years ago, and I admit it, I have to be more circumspect now.  I knew that resuscitation measures would add hundreds to a bill, with little chance of a good outcome. 

The next morning, I was here at the table when my phone rang.  It was the doctor who had treated Zoey... she had died very suddenly.  I yelled into the phone... I did not curse, but I was so stunned that I yelled, and then apologized.  I had made a decision during the night to euthanize with me holding her, as I do all of my beloved animals, if she were no better in the morning. 

The thing that made me so mad is that she died alone, with strangers, in that horrible room. 

The hospital has a new policy where "animal advocates" call to update you on the progress of your pet.  I knew when the doctor himself called that it was bad. 

I was told that I could go there and see her, and I changed out of my chore clothes and drove the thirty miles to settle the bill and see my poor little girl. 

The tech who brought her to me in the "family room" told me that when they reached into the chamber to give her a lasik shot that morning, she had fallen over dead.  The doctor believed her heart failed. 

I held her for a while... and then let her go.  I have so many little boxes of cremains here I have had to stop doing it.... though the rep from the front desk who took my payment tried to upsell me on all kinds of mementoes. 

After a few days, I wrote a letter to the actual doctor who treated her, asking for an informed guess about what had taken her from a playful farm dog to death so fast. 

I have not received an answer. 

Her cost of care for twelve hours was 1880.00. 

Now, my comment about all this... and remember, I have been there many times in the past. 
I noticed when Bullseye was there last summer that things had changed... we were now addressed by the pet's name, not our surnames.  Upselling happened as soon as we were in the room with the young vets... they are a for-profit hospital of course, though they  provide a needed service for emergencies. 

I believed the night Bully was there that he was set aside as not serious and minimum care given. 

I believe the same happened to Zoey... that she was kept "comfortable" and left in the chamber to let nature take it's course, because I had not agreed to the 6000.00 plus care that was estimated. 
If the vet had told me to my face "your dog has no chance unless we expend thousands of dollars of specialized care".... I would have euthanized immediately to spare her the agony of suffering, and for that, I am furious with myself. 

Will I go there again?  I pray I do not have to, ever.  Do I recognize I may have to?  Yes, and they are the closest of the two emergency hospitals.  

Ultimately, I am angriest with myself for not insisting that we immediately euthanize after the vet talked to me after I had been there two hours.  I have taken myself to task night after night, and for the first four days, could not hold down any food I was so upset.  
I miss my little girl.  It hurts me that she suffered so. 

I have not put anything about this on Facebook, though I shared it with her groomer when I cancelled her appointment,  and then told the groomer it was okay to make a tribute, not realizing she meant for FB.  None of my friends but one saw it.  I literally have not been able to talk about it for two weeks, and have told very few friends and my family.  I am still looking for her, and reaching for her in bed.  I am starting to cry again while typing this.  I still can't believe it. 

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Some Disturbing Pictures

I am going to start out with an innocuous picture, so that the disturbing ones won't show on Facebook when I post there. 

This is one of my favorite views, I'm sorry it was so hazy when I took it yesterday. 
Those are my neighbor's ponds at the foot of my pasture... there is another in the cow pasture that runs up my northern fence line.  I love this view, but it will soon be hidden when the leaves come out.  
I did get a bid on removing the red cedars, and it is affordable... they are in my fence line.  I am saving up for that and will coordinate it with the neighbors. 

On Thursday and Friday, March 30th and 31st, we had huge winds that frankly, scared me and the dogs to death.  Zoey, especially, was affected by the atmospheric pressure and had a miserable night on Friday night.  They died down by noon on Saturday, but are back today, not as heavy as those two days.  They make it so hard to get things done outside. 

These, again, are the daffodils growing at the base of  "Oscar's Tree", on the north end of the house.  Our min pin, Oscar, is buried under this tree.  You see the box around the base has burst.  
I have never planted any but I am going to this fall... someone planted these before we moved here 18 years ago, and I want someone in the future to enjoy flowers like I do. 

Here come the disturbing pictures. 

If you have read this blog for long, you know that when Keith was dying, we were living in a big house fifteen miles from here.  I still had a flock here, and came back and forth daily while we tried to sell the house.  
I stopped in a rural area where there was a bridge over Stranger Creek, which is the biggest creek that runs through our county... I live a mile from it here. 

There were beautiful bluffs there, and I took many pictures from the bridge over the creek and posted them here. 

Here are the beautiful bluffs in May of 2016. 

On Friday, I was giving my work partner at the Ag Hall, Wayne, a ride to Tonganoxie to pick up his car from the garage.  He lives in Basehor, and to avoid some construction, I turned down Leavenworth Road to cut through to Tongie. 

We came through the farm fields and I said "Let's stop at the bridge for a minute."  I pulled onto the bridge and we got out of the car... I had taken him by there once before, but he had forgotten it. 

Here are pictures of what we found: 

That wasn't even half of it.  On both sides of the bridge there were tractor tires, a huge number of road signs WITH their poles.... furniture... and dead coyotes, that someone has been killing and dumping in the creek.  It broke my heart. 

I am actually going to go back over there with the Canon and take some more pictures and then I am going to go to the courthouse and show the pictures to the Road dept.  I have never, ever seen this beautiful place so polluted. 

It made me sick.  It is still making me sick. 
This is a wondrous place where swallows circle around you, feeding from bugs in the air in the summer.  There were two ducks on the creek, they proceeded downstream from us. 

That picture above did not show all the dead coyotes.  Shame on them. 

There is only one house near there, and it sits way off the road in the woods... I am sure they cannot see when someone is vandalizing at night, and would be too afraid to confront anyone. 

On a happier note, some of the seeds sent to me by my friend Iva in Zagreb have germinated, and are under a grow light in my living room, thanks to my grandson Jax who helped set everything up. 
They are doing so well! 

I still have more out in the shop that are under lights there. 

Today it is 75 and sunny, but our temperatures have been going up and down like a roller coaster.  
I put my Carhartt away, and then had to get it out again.  I am hoping that it will soon be put away for the summer. 

I am starting some chicks.  I cannot believe I am even typing that. 
I am only going to start about eight, though.  
I am trying the above heating plate for the first time, instead of a chick warming bulb. 
I am actually going to set it up today and get it warm in anticipation of the chicks moving in. 
I am also going to use a paper bedding, instead of pine shreds, which I have never done before. 
It's an adventure! 

I have been looking to see what chicks are being carried at the local farm stores, and I have found one with the best choices... as long as I am starting a few I want to get breeds I have not kept for a while.  I am overrun with red hybrid layers and am avoiding buying any of those (eggs are not the chief object, here).  

When I finish this post, I am going to go out and get the chick feeder and chick water and bring them in and clean them thoroughly. 
Coco the black cat has been sleeping in the big hen house with Wanda for the last week, and she is sleeping in the brooder pen where I will be keeping the chicks, so she is going to find it off limits.  They have to stay in this pen, because, my friends.... Just because I did not see a snake yet today, they are out there! 

This is my beautiful hospice foster, Buddy.  Buddy is entering into his final weeks, I'm afraid.  He is having pain from his hips and is now on two pain meds twice a day, but, alarmingly, he is having trouble getting up and down the stairs.  There are only three short steps up from the yard, but I watched him last night, it was all he could do to get those hind legs under him.  I hoped we would have until June, but I don't think it is going to happen. 

Here he is waiting for me while I did chores last night... if I let him through, which he loves, he has to lay down and rest before he can make it back to the house. 
His friend Bob the Porch Cat is with him there... Bob, Mama, Bullseye... they all adore Buddy and want to be with him. 

I go out and check on him frequently now when I let him out... IF he even wants to go out. 
He sleeps, mostly. 

I cannot tell you what a blessing it has been to have him.  Yes, he can be a pain, blocking the kitchen or hallway with that big body... and the crate in my kitchen... well... I have to laugh, it has been there almost nine months now.  

He accepted everyone and they all accepted him, except maybe Molly Cat, who has had some reservations all along.  
He ignored the chickens, and he loves men, when my sons and grandson are here, he is in heaven. 

I know he'll be waiting for me one day. 

Zoey and Bullseye shared the crate this morning. 

I took these from my back door through the window last night. 

That's my north fence line. 

Ten days ago, my neighbors across the road saw a bobcat cross their driveway one morning, and walk across their front pasture to the pond. 

Last Sunday, I was laying in bed and looked out to see what I thought was a vulture by the comm tower across the road from me... it was a bald eagle. 

Friends, you just don't know where the heck they will strike! 
I try to keep an eye on everyone, and my days of letting the chickens wander in the pasture are long gone. 

These guys are back, too.... but I am not seeing the huge numbers I used to see.  There are these two and one that is going in and out of the shop at night. 

Those fat coyotes have been having a good winter. 

I try to live and let live... that has always been my philosophy.  

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter, and I'll keep you informed about what is going on with the creek situation. 


It's 4/2/23 and I can hear someone out on their mower on my road! 

I think it's Troy or Kathy next door, I'm going to go look.... it's about time to roll mine out!