Saturday, July 31, 2010

One Month’s Bed Rest

No, not for me, although I wouldn’t object too highly, as lazy as I am. This is the prescribed regime for Peanut. That plus steroids for a month!

Peanut, as most of you know, is a Miniature Dachshund and is susceptible to back injuries, as all Dachshunds are.

This morning, she was droopy and not interested in her food, her daily tablespoon of yogurt or even her treats. She didn’t even want to go outside to “help” us clean the chicken house (which is done, thanks to Norm’s great muscles and skills). She went up to the bedroom and slept there. When I came in for a drink, she yapped at me from there, so I went up to see what the problem was. She was on the bed (she has steps to help her get up and down from the bed) and told me she was not able to use the steps to get down. I put her down and she stumbled over to the four steps from the studio to the living room and said she couldn’t or wouldn’t do them, either. I carried her down and she continued to stumble to the door and refused to do those two steps to the outside.

As I carried her out, she had to lean on her elbows to go potty. She drags her paws and walks, for the most part, on her ankles, so she stumbles as she tries to pull her paws up far enough to use them.

Candy was coming over to drop off some cucumbers and discussed Peanut’s problem with us. I called the vet; Norm and I zipped into town with Peanut and met a wonderful woman vet (I hadn’t met her - just the “regular” one). The doctor checked Peanut out, did X-Rays and then we discussed Peanut’s prognosis.

The vet is not sure what the cause is, but the (hopeful) cure is steroids and bed rest. That means that when she is not on a lap, she needs to be crated so that she doesn’t move around. She needs to be carried outside for potty and then carried right back in. The steroids should cause the swelling (whatever it is) to go down and she should feel better in a few days. But she is still to be crated so that she doesn’t try to play or run around. If she were a human, she would be in bed and would probably understand the problem. So we need to assist her in low mobility. We have a dog crate that we used when we showed our dogs that will work and we have a smaller one, as well that will work for the bedroom, so we can have a crate in the living room and one in the bedroom, as the Vet said it would be safer for her to be crated at night, too, in case she felt the need to go wandering.

Worse case scenario? It could be a blood clot on her spine and we might have to take her to the University of Minnesota for further testing. But the Vet is confident that the steroids will do the trick (along with that bed rest).

So, that’s what is going on with Peanut right now - I will let you know how she does as she gets better (as she WILL).

It’s a hot, muggy day but beautiful, non-the-less. You have a beautiful day.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five down and four to go!

Today, children, I am going to talk about my animals (or as Norm calls them - “ani-mules” - he loves being silly).

As I think you know, we have two adult ewes, Soot and Lulu - we also have Lulu’s daughters, Melon-ie and Honeydew. They are pretty nearly weaned and will go back to the Farm when the other lambs go to market. I think they will probably stay on the Farm as the plan is to normally save the ewe-lambs and sell the wethers (neutered boys). Then we will have just the two again. Both ewes have beautiful fleeces that are a joy to work with. I am anticipating the new fleeces we will get next spring that will be just as nice.

Norm has been busy putting up hay for the winter and feels we will have enough without having to buy any. With our acreage, Norm can cut with either the tractor and sickle bar mower or the “Jari” - a hand sickle bar mower - in the small areas. He either rakes with the tractor and rake or does it by hand with the old-fashioned (but newly made) wooden hay rake. And he pitches it into one of the trailers to haul to the barn and put in. I help rake but cannot pitch hay anymore and do not drive the tractor. Norm doesn’t seem to trust me on the tractor although my cousins taught me how to drive when I was ten. I also cannot handle the Jari as I used to be able to do, twenty years ago.

Then, of course, the chickens - we have about fifteen of them and get a goodly amount of eggs each day so that we can keep Candy and Wayne in eggs as well as ourselves, give eggs to niece Cookie and Joy and sell the extras. I enjoy chickens and love to collect eggs and cook with them, even if I don’t like to eat eggs.

Then, the cats. We started three years ago with a kitten from Norm’s home ranch where his brother and wife still live. Norm picked her out and called her “Scooter.” Then in the fall I got a black cat from the Farm - my Halloween cat, Spook. Each year we had only one kitten survive from the batches that Scooter had; we kept Spunky, so named because she was spunky enough to survive from that litter. When Spunky was a year old, she lost her litter through disinterest (and I was too late to notice) and Scooter had one surviving kitten, Tiger. So, with only one kitten per year, I figured that I didn’t need to go to the expense of spaying the female cats. Spook is taken care of (neutered) but Tiger is not.

But now my head hangs down in shame. We had nine (count them - NINE) kittens this Spring out of two mommas!!! What a shame for someone who advocates neutering and not expanding the population of unwanted kittens and puppies!! My reasoning has always been money and the fact that only one kitten survived each year and we kept that kitten each year. But not this year! I have sworn to have the cats spayed this year when the kittens were weaned.

When we worked at Walnut Grove, we took kittens along to hopefully find good homes for them. The first weekend all three of the kittens we took went to one home. One was to be a house cat and the other two were to be barn cats (they do come from excellent mousers, by the way). The next weekend was too hot for either man or beast and so we left kittens at home. The third weekend was cooler and we took four kittens, getting homes for two of them. That makes five gone and four left.

Yesterday while in town, we left flyers for the kittens around and I have gotten two calls, so far. So two MIGHT be gone by tomorrow which makes it much more allowable in my mind! We will keep the ads up for as long as it takes to find homes for all of them.
Gandalf, still looking for a home
Feisty, who is looking for a home, with Onion, who has found a home
Little No-Name (can't think of one for him) and Nelly (who now has a new home)
Yesterday, also, I took Spunky in (she had her kittens first) and she has been spayed now - I collect her tomorrow. One down and one to go for that job! Money is “no option” when it comes to peace of mind and the fact that I will not be populating the world with kittens anymore! Well, it IS an option but I have saved the amount needed and gone without fun things I could have gotten from what Walnut Grove paid me for demonstrating!

And, as to Peanut - sweet little Peanut. I have never in my married life seen Norm react to a dog as he does to Peanut. He simply adores her! He talks to her when I’m not around - I hear a voice in the kitchen and have learned to not ask “What did you say?” as the tone is different from that he uses for me. She is a clown - I’ve heard it said that Dachshunds are clowns and she certainly is one. She and Norm have a little dance routine that he makes her go through for a treat. She knows the word “treat” so we really DO have to spell it or she will head to the treat jar and beg until we give up. Friend Jody says that Peanut is very smart because she has trained US well. We seem to do what she wants - let her outside even if there is no reason except she is sure there are bears on the driveway, give her treats in the middle of the day because she feels she needs one, and so on. Her treats, fortunately, are made up of organic dog food bits that she, fortunately again, loves. So we are not giving her something to assist in making her fat. Norm is the one that insists we take her to town (if the weather allows) and was the first one to insist that she go with us when we travel rather than leaving her at home with a dog sitter or at a kennel. I can tell when a storm is coming because Peanut glues herself to my ankle until I go to bed and then hides under the bed. She is nervous about noises and won’t even go outside if Norm is mowing the lawn.

I have never had a dog as small as Peanut and Norm has not, either. Since she is our “child,” we enjoy spoiling her and loving her as much as she deserves. She turned eight years old this month and hopefully will be around for thirty or forty more to make our lives more enjoyable.

So, children, there is my animal story - we have a few to make life more enjoyable but not too many to make life difficult for two old people. Sister Candy will take care of the chickens and cats and check on water for the sheep when we go to events. We try to make that chore as easy as possible for her and also for Wayne who helps.

It is a beautifully cool day today - only in the low seventies and no humidity .... a day that makes you glad to be alive. You have a beautiful day.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Saturday was the 2nd day of Walnut Grove’s celebration for Laura Ingalls Wilder. That was the hottest (so far) that I’ve had to work this summer. It was 96º with a heat index of about 102º! Thank goodness for the breeze! I would have wasted away to a puddle on the rocking chair without that breeze!

We had lots of people stop who were very interesting to talk to. The one that was very inspiring to me was a woman from Alaska who had moved, with her husband to this area years ago. She is a weaver and a knitter and she is ....... blind! I met her last week but was unable to talk to her for very long. I saw the two of them walking and asked Norm to go stop the husband to bring her (Grace) over to talk.

Now, I have had a nagging fear nearly all my life. If God takes away one of my abilities, which would it be? Sound so I can’t hear beautiful music and the lovely sounds of my grandchildren laughing and saying “I love you, Grandma” ???? Or my speech so I couldn’t holler at Norm anymore? Or my sight? Then I couldn’t weave ... spin, maybe, knit, maybe, but not weave!

And here is a graceful Grace who weaves while blind! I asked details - how does she warp, dress and prepare the loom for weaving? Does she do plain weave or does she do patterns? Grace has her husband help with the warp; if she does patterns, she has a tape player. Friends and family have talked the patterns onto tapes and she listens as she weaves. Pretty cool, huh?

Now I don’t fear losing my eyesight as much as I did. And Grace said that if she had to chose, she would have chosen eyes over ears, any day! But if she could have her sight, even for one day, it would be to look on the face of her granddaughter.

Another woman I talked to was named “Connie” and was thrilled to meet another (it’s a lot of fun, there aren’t that many of us out there). She does fiber research and is doing research on the Wilder family. If you have read the “Laura” books, you will know that the only fiber that was used was purchased materials, as the Ingall women sewed their clothing. They did knit, though, and probably crocheted, and made hand-made knitted lace. But Mother Wilder owned a flock of Merino sheep, sent the fleeces off to a commercial mill to be washed and processed, then spun yarn and wove material for the men’s pants and jackets and the women’s coats and shawls. (Read - or re-read - “Farmer Boy.”) This Connie has been to Malone, New York and seen the Wilder home farm (I’m drooling with envy). She purchased a black walnut spoon from Norm (the Wilders had walnut trees in New York), a wool shawl from Joy - knit from handspun yarn - and two skeins of Merino yarn from me. She was so excited about the Merino.

We also had a distinguished visitor at the celebration. The actor who played “Almanzo” - Dean Butler - in the TV series “Little House on the Prairie” was there, talking about the series, some of the actors and life after the series. I went over to the bandstand where he was and took pictures and listened to some of the talk, then grabbed some ice cream cones for Norm and I and headed back to sit down in the shade while Norm went to listen to his talk for awhile, too. There were a lot of people (maybe 200, in my estimation) hanging around listening and watching. He signed photos afterwards and was going to be at the pageant where he would sign photos there, too.

It was a good day, although much much hotter than I would have preferred, with a lot of wonderful guests. I am looking forward to this next Saturday when we go for our last day. Alison Arngrim, who played “Nellie Olesen” on the series will be there then. I only hope it will be cooler.

It will be a beautiful day today - you have a beautiful day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Dad’s birthday was yesterday, but because we were at Walnut Grove for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Days, I didn’t have time (or energy after a muggy 96º day); I had to wait until this morning to post it.
Dad (Baby LeRoy) with his older brother and his 2 older sisters

Dad, his mom and dad and his 2 younger sisters
Dad was born on July 17, 1920 in Arnegard, North Dakota. He lived there until he went to college in Mayville, North Dakota. He then went into the Army, became a pilot and joined the new Army-Air Force (which later turned into the Air Force) and married my Mom 68 years ago.

He stayed in the Air Force until he retired; he flew in World War II and the Korean war. We lived in many different states while growing up and each of us 4 children were born in different places: Florida, New Jersey, Washington and Minnesota.

Dad has played in many bands as a drummer; last night he played in a Dixie Band and the crowd loved it when they announced his birthday.

Happy Birthday, Dad ... keep your health and have many more years!
 Dad at age 12 as a Boy Scout

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Camera

My faithful Canon PowerShot A570 IS gave up the ghost a few weeks ago and I looked around, trying to decide what to replace it with. I finally decided to get another PowerShot - they really ARE good cameras for their money. So I got a PowerShot A110 IS. It has 12.1 mega pixels (why always the .? number?) and I’m very happy with it.

I went out to play with it and realized that all my many millions of fans don’t really know what my place looks like. So I took pictures out on the road - North, South, East and West, to give you an idea of where I live.

Facing East from the driveway

Facing North - our neighbor's cornfield

Facing West from the driveway

And South - you can see Peanut in the grass and Spook, the cat, on the road.  

The house is to the left, behind the trees and bushes.  Not far enough from the road, in my mind, but at least it's not RIGHT on the road.

I am also playing with close-ups of flowers and took one of Jill and Eric’s bush roses (the wind didn’t pulverize this one) - these roses are so pretty!

On a fiber note, I have missed a few days of the Tour de Fleece but I’m chucking on. I have four bobbins filled with fat blue yarn and hope to get it all done quickly. This is for a lap rug (blanket) that I hope to make for MYSELF. Or for Norm, whichever. The color was dyed by friend Kelly and she named it “Norm’s Civil War Blue” so I probably will have to let Norm have it, right?  I will take pictures of the yarn another day.

It’s a beautiful day - getting hot but not sticky like yesterday so it’s tolerable. You have a beautiful day.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Friend, Jody

As some of you have noticed, I have a link on my friends’ list for Good Shepherd Farm, but Jody has not written anything for over a year. She has given me permission to give you a brief run-down on how she is doing and why she’s been away so long.

Jody moved from her beloved home near me to move to Carver, into a house with her mother. Mom, Marie, had lost her job due to downsizing and couldn’t afford her apartment anymore. They rented a house from Jody’s fiancé, Don, and spent the summer getting ready to move, moving all of Marie’s things in and moving a lot of Jody’s things up from the farm.

Not long after they settled, Jody had an operation to assist in some of her “women’s problems” and to help ease the pain on her back.

Then Marie began to get ill and spent a lot of time either in the hospital or in a nursing home. She was even gone during Christmas due to another emergency. The doctors just could not figure out what her problem was. Jody spent most of her waking time (and waking up from her sleeping time) to help her mother when she was at home.

In January, Jody had an operation on her left thumb. She had severe pain there and had the arthritis taken out and some other “magic” things done to relieve that pain. I could empathize with her for that operation, as it was similar to the two that I had done on my right thumb. Mine was called “joint replacement” - I’m not sure what her technical terms were.

Marie continued to be ill and go downhill. Jody struggled with diet, medication, care for her mother, all the time hoping that someday SOON Marie would turn the corner and start going uphill again.

Jody was scheduled for brain surgery for a tumor like son-in-law Ken’s ... that acoustic neuroma that he had removed.

But two days before her surgery, Jody’s mom passed away, suddenly. The shock of this, as well as attempting to recover from her surgery has taken a tole on Jody and she has fought with illness and depression ever since.

Jody and Don made the decision to sever close relationships and Jody is continuing to live in Carver while he lives down here on the farm. They are still very good friends - Jody could not do a lot of what she IS doing without his help.

Jody has been coming down to the farm to get all of the rest of her possessions moved up to Carver and finally have all of her things under one roof. She has been spending time with me; last Saturday she spent the day with Candy and I at our “Stitches in Time” meeting. 

Yesterday she spent the day with Norm and I at Walnut Grove, demonstrating spinning and the swing picker. She even borrowed a dress from me so that she was “period correct.”

This next week she is taking a three-day course on portrait painting by a pretty famous artist down here. So she will be staying at the farm, packing and visiting with me and taking her painting course (she really IS very good at what she does).

Seeing Jody back down here is wonderful - she is a changed woman from the one I have been visiting in Carver. She BELONGS down here.

Jody has some land in the Black Hills that she is going to sell and then will use the money to buy a house down here so that she can move back home, have her own house and be with the people who love her.

Jody has had a tough year, but we are all confident that she is recovering and will be moved down here soon so that she can join us in our fiber efforts and our fun.

The next thing on our list is to get her back on her blog. However, she has forgotten her user name and password and because she changed email addresses, she is having a problem signing on to her blog. Any one have any clues as to how to recover them?

I hope all of you will say a little prayer for Jody and her efforts to move back “home.” All the prayers will be appreciated and all the help, as well.

It’s a beautiful day - more beautiful because Jody came over with her spinning wheel and visited for a few hours. You have a beautiful day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Two very special days

I'm a little late (sorry, kids) but yesterday was Jill and Eric's twelfth anniversary.

They were married on a very hot day in Aberdeen, SD.  Jill and Eric met at the Storybook park there and decided that was where they would be married.

Jill's all-time favorite movie is "Princess Bride;" therefore she planned her wedding around that theme, as she had promised me and herself years before!  She had silver for her bridesmaids' dresses, she had a a princess style dress and they were married inside the park's castle, which had a real live moat!

On top of all of that, one of Eric's groomsmen sang the song from the movie - the best one (in my mind),  "Storybook Love."

One thing Jill did NOT insist on was that the groomsmen wear tights!  Of course there would have been a rebellion if they had, but I still think it would have been impressive!

The second special day is today, which is Eric's birthday.  It's easy to remember because it is only one day away from their anniversary.  And it makes it easy to remember which day comes first when I remember that Jill and Eric have the same birth DATE ... the eleventh (Jill's is November Eleventh)!

So, happy anniversary and happy birthday to two of my very, very favorite people.  I hope you are having a great time celebrating (only not TOO much) and think of me once in awhile.  I wish I could be there with you.

I love you both!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sixty-eight years!

Today is the anniversary of my folks .... they were married sixty-eight years ago!  What a record!!!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

And, Happy Independence Day to all others!