Thursday, May 8, 2014

Been a while .... again

I keep telling myself to update things on here but it always slips my mind. I'll come up with a way to remember.

I had surgery on my right knee (top of Tibia, to be exact) on April 29th and am still recovering somewhat.  Bandages came off after three days and a shower was finally taken.  I had to stop using the crutches because of what they were doing to my bi-lateral carpal tunnel and armpits.  My armpits were nothing but bruises - I could hardly lift my arms and it hurt to put deodorant on. The weight put on my wrists proved too much for the carpal tunnel. I tried to distribute it equally between the armpits and wrists but it just hurt too much. My doctor won't be happy. I'm supposed to be on the crutches until May 15th when the stitches come out.

Leg is orange from the sanitizing stuff they use.

The day the bandage came off.

Several days later with nice bruises starting.
The pain killer (Vicodan) they sent me home with didn't agree with me so the next day I went back to town and got different ones.  I had to drive myself the 42 miles round trip because my post-surgery support system ended when I got home from surgery. I don't know why but she just sorta changed her mind.  The second pain kill (Percocet) was even worse.  I'm allergic to Codine so, hello, I'm probably allergic to those related to it.  After two doses of Percocet and Bendadryl (to stop all the damn itching), I gave up, slept the rest of the day and switched to Acetaminophen every 6 hours.  It's been a week on that and now my stomach is getting unhappy. Starting tonight, I'll take the Acetaminophen at night only. My surgery area (and areas around it) still hurt pretty good but I'll live.

It's hard to get comfortable at night. That's the worst time, night time. The only position that feels OK (doesn't hurt) is on my back with my legs up on 4 pillows at the knee.  I have a bone spur on my L5-S1 that pinches my Sciatic nerve on the left side so laying on my back is only possible for about 2 hours before I'm in pain.  Regardless of how I sleep, every morning I'm staggering around debating which is worse - pinch nerve pain or surgery site.

The only restrictions I was given was use the crutches until May 15th (yeah, right). I don't know what he sent my boss but she has me off work until the 15th. We get paid on the 15th and 30th of the month. The check for the 15th covers the period of the prior month from the 16th to the 30th.  I'll get a check on the 15th of May but won't get another paycheck until the 15th of June because I missed work from April 29th to May 14th.  That means an entire month without a paycheck.  It's not going to be fun.  I only work part time so it's especially hard when I miss a check.

All of this makes me glad I didn't get my chickens yet - I wouldn't be able to move the coop like it should be. I did get a container garden started. The seeds didn't like the little (free) terra cotta pots plus they were started late. I hate it when a plan not only doesn't come together but completely falls apart.

This years garden


Cilantro and Parsley



Another Romaine

Only the peas are happy

In the back there are happy pumpkins

I'm spending my days doing gardening/chicken/rabbit/homestead research, getting caught up on housework and, right now, scanning pictures to my computer so I can put them on Shutterfly.  I have a lot of pictures on my computer but I also have a lot of prints. I want to get them all on Shutterfly so if my laptop crashes or house burns down/hit by tornado, I won't lose them.  I nearly lost all the digital pictures recently when my old laptop crashed.  The computer guys were able to get them onto thumb drives. Several years ago, I moved from one computer to another. I followed the instructions and was told by both computers that the data moved from one to the other - documents, pictures and music.  Later when I was in search of a certain song, I discovered that none of the music and only 1/2 of the pictures (if that) moved to the new computer. The old computer was long gone so I couldn't do anything about it. Those pictures were digital only and are gone forever.  Mostly pictures of my cats and dogs but they are my family so it still breaks my heart knowing those pictures are gone.  I don't want to go through that again.

My sister and mother are planning on visiting in late September/early October and will not only bring me a treadle sewing machine (hooray!!!) but they are bringing photo albums that belonged to my father's mother.  I will scan those pictures and get them on Shutterfly as well.  I hope to contact other family members and see if they will scan their pictures and get them on Shutterfly and have them public or have the pictures scanned to discs or thumb drives then send them to me and I'll put them on Shutterfly. I doubt any of them will do it but all I can do is ask.  They are spread out all over the country - from New York to Idaho to Texas to South Carolina - and I don't have the funds to visit them all with my scanner and laptop.

I have a week before I'm back to work and I'm looking forward to it but will miss my naps!!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Busy, busy and surgery

I really need to start scheduling blog time at least once a week, if not more.    I'm not sure I can remember everything that has gone on since my last post.  Let's see what I can remember -

I finally got my seeds started.  I need to come up with a way to do them inside earlier in the late winter.

Greenhouse Bookcase
I had to try again with a couple of the seeds. None of the parsley, cilantro and carrots took. I think it got too cold or they got over-watered.

I had some store-purchased baking potatoes sprout while in my pantry so I planted them as well.

Happy Potatoes!

An evergreen tree was growing up against the mailbox and I really didn't want to cut down the tree, so I moved the mailbox.  Only I hit a layer of rock and couldn't get the hole deep enough.  I went with plan B.

Straighter than it looks

I promise that the mailbox is actually straight.  It's survived two storms like this so I think it will work. I'll have to find someone with a small backhoe to put it in the ground permanently.  I've planted marigolds in the bucket since I took this picture.

The drainage trench before and after the driveway culvert was clogged so I had to burn leaves and dig dirt out.  That was fun, fun, fun.

Before the culvert, facing North

After the culvert, facing South and down hill

I spent two days digging this trench. I saved the dirt for other projects.  I was surprised that my lawn mower started so easily but it was a temporary situation.  I finally had the money for lawn mower gas this weekend and wanted to mow before the next storm. I filled the ride-on mower's tank and tried to start it. It wouldn't start. I called AutoZone to find out if I could jump-start/charge my lawn and garden battery with my car (2007 Chevy HHR) battery. They said "Yes."  The battery wouldn't hold the charge and now I have no power steering.  I ended up spending all day Friday and after work Saturday using a push mower to mow as much of the yard as I could get.  The mower used to be self-propelled but that part broke a couple years ago.  I have about 2 acres of yard and I got almost 1/2 of it done over those two days.  Where I didn't get is so over-grown and wild, I'm not sure the ride-on mower will be able to mow it. It will take more than one pass with the mower, that much is certain.

All of this, and more, was done with a bum knee.  I have a medial collateral ligament strain, a small moderate size joint effusion with small popliteal cyst, evidence of mild degenerative joint disease and a small amount of bone marrow edema in the medial tibial plateau.  All this means that my knee hurts due to ligament strain and inflammation/increased water content in bone marrow of the right tibia and arthritis in the knee.  Supposedly all the pain I'm in is the tibia issue, not the ligament. It took a month from time of injury to the time I saw the orthopedic doctor.  He gave me a shot that was a mixture of two local anaesthetics, a pain reliever and a corticosteroid.  It didn't do anything. I'm now scheduled for outpatient surgery tomorrow morning.  The procedure is a subchondroplasty.  Using an x-ray machine, they will find the right place, drill a hole through the tibia to the spot and inject a paste into the edema.  The paste immediately hardens, making the bone stronger and making the pain go away. If it works.  I will have a brace on for the first 72 hours and after that, I don't know. I assume I have to use crutches for a while. The stitches come out on May 15th.  Now I'm kinda glad I didn't get any chickens. I won't be able to move the coop for a while.

I have to be at the hospital by 830 AM for a 930 AM surgery.  It's coming up on midnight and I need to take my regular medicines then nothing - not even a middle of the night glass of water.  I'm a little worried, I think.  I don't think I've thought about it much.  I've been too busy and tired to think about it.  I am trying to get some last minute stuff done - laundry, dishes, etc.  I wasn't able to get my paycheck early so I wasn't able to do a last minute grocery shopping trip. Oh well.  I'll just use one of the motorized carts and try to not run anyone over.  Do you know if those can do wheelies?  'Cause that would be cool and I'd get to feel like a bad ass.

Sunday, April 6, 2014 Wish List for Homestead

I started a wish list on for the homestead. I'm sure it will change and grow over time.  I've included items for my cats, dogs and bunny. They are a part of the homestead and getting help with their supplies frees up money to expand and improve the homestead.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Interesting Saturday

I had a rather interesting day today. More interesting that usual.  First my alarm didn't go off when it was supposed to.  It's a new alarm clock but I think it got knocked onto the floor one too many times. It was set to go off at 745 AM because I work on Saturdays.  Luckily, my pinched nerve woke me up at 755 AM so I made it to work on time anyway.  I need to test the clock out this weekend. I can use my cell phone if I keep it plugged into an outlet.

There are four of us who work Saturdays 9 to 2.  Two of us in Osceola and two in Lowry City. Today was the city wide garage sale in Lowry City and one of the four took the day off to have a garage sale.  Another one of the four is still new and doesn't have keys so the one I normally work with in Lowry City was supposed to go to Osceola instead. She forgot and showed up in Lowry City.  I sent her on her way and called down.  I LOVE working alone but if the library isn't busy (and Lowry City never is), it's hard to stay awake.  I spent the day working on the Christmas CD inventory (which means I have Christmas music playing in my head whether I want it to or not) but I struggled to keep awake. There's a pop machine in the building that, thankfully, has Coke Classic (the only pop/soda I will drink) but it was out!  No Coke for me!!!  Because I was working alone, I couldn't run over to the gas station to get one so it was after 2 PM before I had my first caffeine of the day (I don't drink coffee or tea - can't even stand the smell of them).

At 1 PM I had a brain-fart. I worked 9 to 1 on Friday and counted down to 1 PM today thinking that we closed at 1. We don't. On Saturday we close at 2. Sigh.  That last hour was TORTURE.

But 2 FINALLY rolled around and I immediately went to the gas station and got two cans of Coke Classic. Ahhhhhh.

It was pretty nice out today - sunny and in the upper 50's.  I changed into my yard work clothes and ball cap so I could finally have some fun.  My plan was to do some burning but we had a day of solid rain on Thursday so it was just too wet. Some burned but not much. Oh well, on to plan B.

I took down the downspout on the northwest side of the house, cut it down and put it back with my rain barrel under it.  Only took me 8 years to do that task.  ::eye roll::  Since I had the ladder out, I thought I'd go up and clean the gutters but I'm terrified of my extension ladder.  It's a 20 footer and I just can't climb it more than half way and that's not high enough to get on the roof.  I just can't do it.  The house I used to have had a lower roof line over the carport so I was able to just use an A-frame ladder to get on the roof and I'd get up there all the time.  I've managed to get on the roof here once.  I tried three times to get on the roof but I just couldn't do it.  It pisses me off of but the ladder has won.  I'll have to find a handyman who can come out and clean the gutters and take down the unused old satellite dish.  From what I saw of the roof, it doesn't really look all that great.  The shingles look OK but I think the plywood under it is bad in places.  We had a second layer of shingles put on back in 2006.  We probably should have had a tear down done. Oh well.

We had enough rain to give me back my pond even though it is temporary.  Izzy the cat
and I wandered over to it and I gave the neighbor's property (all wooded and overgrown with no one living there) the finger as usual.  I think I already reported that she had a backhoe come out about 2 years ago and had her side of the pond dam trenched out, resulting in the pond draining taking all the fish with it.  Apparently, the man I bought my property from put the pond in 30 years ago without her permission and she has just been waiting for the opportunity to drain it.  There's a strip of land, now overgrown, that is flat and more than big enough for a huge garden and a spot for a couple goats but it's on her side. When I bought the property, it was mowed and taken care of and the old man told me it was part of the property. That's why I bought it - flat land for garden, room for livestock and my dogs plus a pond.  Nope. Turns out that the best part - the flat part - was her land. She had a survey done several years before but not only were the above ground markers gone but she didn't record it. There wasn't a recorded survey of my property at the time.  I didn't know any better and neither did the realtor.  We just believed the old man.  So I'm left with land that slopes to the south and to the east, is very acidic due to lots of black walnut trees and is very rocky below ground.  All this makes the garden I've been planning next to impossible. I just don't have the money to bring in a load of dirt and a load of manure/compost and whatever else I need.  Container gardening only gets me so far. I have pots of various sizes but not enough of the right size. And, again, no money to get more.  Since I have to work Saturday's I miss all the garage sales. But the garage sales never happen when I have money. Like now.  After getting my 2 cans of Coke, I have less than $1.00 in cash/change and just over $3 in the bank. And this must last me until the 15th.  The next 10 days will be interesting.

Luckily, I clean a friend's house every Sunday or Monday for $20. I'll need that next week for cat food and produce for the bunny.  I have the ingredients to make a loaf of bread so I don't have to worry about buying that but I'll run out of milk before the 15th and I'll get close with gas in the car.  Just gonna keep my fingers crossed as usual.

Sorry, got off topic there. Let's see... where was I? Pond. Yeah, pond. OK. So Izzy and I gave our neighbor the finger and returned home. The bird feeders were empty so I filled them back up - just sunflower seed. The suet cake was only about 2/3 gone. I have another one in the fridge (makes it not so messy to put out).  On my way back to the garage with the container of bird seed, I spotted weeds in the old daffodil garden so I started weeding.  Ditch the cat
helped. By helped, I mean laid on the weeds I was trying to pull out.  He's soooo helpful.  He and I played our game of "Chase/Tag" on the way to the garage.  Then I put the car away, took a shower and have been chillin' ever since.  Everyone has been fed. I can hear the bunny eating more of his salad.  The dogs and cats are snoozing.

I have "Ghost Adventures" Season 3 playing and am going to rip some of my music cd's onto my computer. I have good songs on my iPod but I need to add more songs or I'll go nuts. I want to have more songs available when I start mowing the yard.  I always  listen to my iPod when I mow and usually whenever I work in the yard.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March Pictures and An Update

Sweetie the Vampire

Pretty Girl's First Time Eating Peanut Butter
Three Kitties In A Box (Sweetie, Oreo and Tailess)
Bubba and Pretty Girl
Honey, Sweetheart and Tank
Piglet and Ditch
PeeWee and Bud On Dumb Bunny's Box
Dumb Bunny and His Former Food Dish (He Kept Tossing It Around)
Just a few pictures I've taken this month.  We are very, very ready for spring.  We had the windows open today and will reopen them tomorrow but then they will have to be closed with the heat on. We are going to get into the 70's only to fall to near freezing on Tuesday. Then warm way up again on Wednesday but have thunderstorms. Can't catch a break.  I had planned on spending the day working in my yard but my friend Toni offered to pay for my help with her yard and shed cleaning so off I went.  I was with her all day and didn't get home until after 7 PM.  I go back over tomorrow to do my normal weekly cleaning.  Between helping her today and the cleaning, that's an extra $40 I desperately need.  It only takes me an hour or two to clean her place so I'll have most of the day to work in my yard. Naturally my next days off will have storms but that will be a good time to get caught up on reading and other house stuff.   I will be so glad when I can open the windows and keep them open.

I'm thinking of getting another bunny - a female one - as a companion for Dumb Bunny. He's neutered so there won't be any babies but I think he'd be happier with a friend.  I'm also still looking for banty hens - I'm not real picky about what kind of banties but right now I don't want a rooster. I also don't want young chicks because I don't have anywhere to keep them warm and safe.  Plus I don't want 25 or so. I just want three.  I have the coop but I didn't know it would be this hard to find the damn chickens.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wow! Has it been nearly a month??

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I wrote on my blog. I didn't mean to neglect it. I'm not sure I can remember what's happened over the month.  Let's see..... not in any particular order:

Itsy has gone into heat and will be spayed tomorrow. Pretty Girl turned 1 year-old on the 17th and finally went into heat. We were starting to think something was wrong with her. I hope to get her fixed next month. The other dogs are fixed and she never runs loose so it can wait.  Itsy kept trying to get out and there's a feral tom cat hanging around so getting her fixed is more urgent.

Dumb Bunny is getting bigger and bigger. I just saw that the people I got him from have more to sell. I want to get a female companion for him. He's fixed and I'll have to get her fixed as well. I've had to limit him to the kitchen and his room - I couldn't handle the damage done to the carpets, books and shoes.  Putting him in the kitchen will mean pulling the throw rugs up and setting them out of his reach.  I'm down to 2 of these out of 3. He just had to nibble on and basically destroy the new $13 one. He could eat the older ones that were needing to be replaced soon.  He peed on the kitchen floor today (no surprise) but it scared me because the urine was reddish.  From what I'm seeing online, that's no indication of a problem. Rabbit urine can be all sorts of colors.

Weather has been completely crazy around here. Really really cold then much warmer only to get really cold again.  I don't know how much longer I'll be able to afford - literally - this winter.  They haven't come to do the winterization yet and I know I'm heating the underside of the house. How do I know? Well, not only can I feel the cold come up through the vents but Izzy keeps announcing herself by crawling through the duct work only to meow at a vent.  I don't know if she can't turn around and find her way out or what but she doesn't really want in. As soon as I pull the vent cover off and let her out, she goes right to the door to go back outside.

Had an appointment with a neurosurgeon up in Kansas City about my back. The MRI shows bone spurs on L5-S1 on both sides. The one on the left side appears to be pinching the sciatic nerve but he doesn't understand why it only bothers me when I lay down. He said that's highly unusual.  I guess with most people they have pain when they are standing and/or sitting and get relief when they lay down.  He wants me to try steroid type shots first and, then if I don't have any relief, he will order a new MRI with contrast.  That might show that surgery is needed. I would hope they plan on removing the bone spurs regardless.  The relief I get from getting out of bed and sitting somewhere is taking longer and longer. I usually go to the bar stool with an old footstool my grandfather made for me when I was a little kid.  I've had to move them both to my bedroom near my bed. It was getting too painful to get from my bedroom to the kitchen.

I finally saw an orthopedic doctor/surgeon today. My knees have been grinding and crunching when I do just about anything.  Going up and down ramps and stairs is the worse.  The left one has been bad for several years and the right one got bad after a bad fall last year. Note to self : Don't walk off a ladder on the wrong step. Falling 3 feet and landing on a concrete floor smack on both knees is a total bitch. At some point we are likely to do arthroscopic surgery at some point. I had it once before in the early 1990's.  My knees weren't nearly so bad then.  He gave me a shot in both knees - Synvisc One - which is supposed to be like a lubricant. When I read up on it, afterward of course, it said it's made from chicken combs. I don't like the sound of that. I really don't want to know more than that. Trying not to think about it. My knees are stiff and painful now. It could take a month before I might feel relief.  You can get the shots every 6 months. Dunno if I want more of them.  Damn it, it really really hurt.

It was a fairly nice day out yesterday - once you put enough layers of clothes on and kept moving.  I fixed the tires on my portable chicken coop but the damn thing is still hard to move. It's partly because I'm out of shape and partly because it's still really heavy.  I think I need to find a pair of skis and put the coop on them or ball-bearings along the bottom or something. It has to stay close to the ground (on the ground) to offer the best protection from wild animals. There has to be a better way to move it. Anyway, it wanted a blood sacrifice.  It got one.  It got blood from two fingers, almost three. The first was the almost one - have a lovely blood blister on the pad of my left index finger. Hurts like a bitch (and this typing isn't helping). Then the hardware cloth/wire got my right index and middle fingers. Took chunks out of both pads of those fingers (making typing much more fun).  The blood blister came from working on the tires. The others came from lowering the lid to the "free range" part of the coop.  There's a handle on it now to prevent further injuries when closing it.  I think I need to find a way to lock the lid down in case any critters figure out how to open it.

Been spending too much time on the computer and not enough time doing other stuff but that's the way it goes. Especially when it's too damn cold inside as well as outside.  Oh well.  And it's midnight and I have to take Itsy to the vet early. Oh, better go put the cat food away......

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ahhhhh.... the weekend has finally started for me

Some what fun day at work today.  Went to bed extra early last night because of the fun day I had driving to get my new glasses. Just over an hour there in horrible winds and another hour back in even worse winds plus menopausal hot flashes. Fun!  So, I was in bed by 9 PM, which is good but it gave the pinched nerve more time to hurt during the night.  I was up at least 3 times due to the pain.  The last time it never fully went away but by then I was so exhausted I just fell into a nice sleep. The alarm clock was exceptionally loud and rude at 730 AM. Anyone else notice that the earlier your alarm goes off, the louder and ruder it is?

Naturally, as soon as someone came into the library, I had to potty. It never fails, right? Luckily, he took his time and I was back at my desk before he was ready to check out. My co-worker was scheduled to come in an hour after me so that first hour was relatively peaceful. Until the boys showed up. They weren't that bad. The two brothers were actually a good influence on the third boy. He's always trouble.  Unfortunately the brothers left and the sister of the third boy showed up.  He's a bad influence on his little sister and there's always trouble when the two of them are there.  We, the librarians, are used as baby sitters by several parents, including theirs.  Some of the kids are better behaved than others.  I was very, very, very glad when their mom showed up to take them home. And she was only an hour late.  The final two hours of work were, ahhhhh, peaceful.

Then a trip to town to get my new glasses readjusted, pick up a few groceries, cat food and dog food.  Been watching movies since I got home.  First it was "American Psycho 2" which was more of a comedy than I realized and now it's "Dirty Harry" - a classic.  I like Eastwood as Harry but don't like his westerns. Not sure why but I do.  I have "Magnum Force" which I think is the second Dirty Harry movie.

Dumb Bunny was allowed to be "free" today - free to roam the house rather than stay in his not-so-little section of it. I'm going to have to reconsider that with all the rabbit pee I had to clean up. No wonder I'm always out of cleaning rags. And just after I cleaned up one place, either the bunny or one of the cats peed all over the floor somewhere else.  Sheesh.  I discovered why the bunny didn't use the litter box I put in the cat room for him - the cats are using it. He won't use their boxes.  So I might have to only put a box out when I'm going to him roam but will limit where he roams to. Wait. No, that won't work. He can get on the seat of the bar stool to the kitchen counter and down into the living room from there. Drat.  He may just have to be stuck in his room except when I'm home and can keep an eye on him.  He doesn't pee anywhere except his litter box in his room. Sigh, again.

It's supposed to be in the 50's tomorrow so I'm hoping to finally finish moving the mulch pile. It will be so nice to have my lean-to back.  We are supposed to have snow the first week of February and if I get into the lean-to, I won't have to brush/scrape off my car. Naturally the day we have a 70% chance of snow, I get to drive to Kansas City to see the neurosurgeon. Oh well, that's how it goes. I'll make sure to have a good book on cd to listen to and my cell phone.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Youtube Channel

Finally posted some videos onto youtube. They are mostly of my cats and dogs. This one is the one for Daddy.

Daddy - I miss you

I should be back here later. It's nap time.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Updates and Links

Hello again. It's been a while. How have you been?  I've been busy busy busy.  Well, as busy as my back will let me.  Not getting nearly enough sleep  and it's taking longer and longer each morning for the pain to go away.  Some nights it doesn't wake me completely but I spend the night in a light nap stage and in pain.  I finally found a neurosurgeon in Kansas City.  My first appointment is on Feb 3rd. According to the radiology report, I have a large bone spur on L5-S1 that is pressing on the nerve. There's another spur on the right side but it's not a large. I am hoping they can do a minimally invasive surgery to shave off both spurs and have me back to work at the library and at home right away better than before.

I have an appointment with my primary doctor this Monday and I'm going to ask for a referral to one of the orthopedic doctors at the clinic. My knees are getting worse and worse. They grind and grind when I walk up or down the ramps leading up to the house or when I walk the stairs at work (just a few into the library).  If we can get my back to stop hurting and get my knees to stop grinding and hurting, I can start exercising and doing more around the yard and maybe lose this extra weight I'm carrying around.  I could stand to lose 80 lbs or so.  I started packing on the weight while recovering from bi-lateral carpal tunnel surgery back around 1998 or so.

The only good thing about the pinched nerve pain is that it won't let me go back to bed in the morning. I work at the library part time and most days I don't start work until the afternoon. I'm used to sleeping in, especially on days I'm not working. I'm NOT a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. I never have been. Everyone says "Oh, you'll get used to it" and "It'll get easier before you know it". Yeah, right. Bull crap, I say.  Everyone morning I had to get up for school starting with kindergarten, it was a fight to get me up. I would get up early for Saturday morning cartoons but within 15 minutes, I'd be sound asleep in front of the TV and would miss all the cartoons. Nearly every job I've ever had required me to get up early for work. And it's always next to impossible for me to get up and get moving. I'd continue fighting to stay awake until close to lunch time every work day.  Come the weekend, I wouldn't get out of bed until lunch time or later. Then struggle to get my errands and housework done. Then the struggle would start again that next Monday.  Forget going out with friends, going to movies, concerts, etc etc etc. It's still like that but now I can sleep in to a point every day except Saturday.  I'm getting lots done every day now that I can't go back to bed but I usually end up taking a nap (on my days off) or start yawning and fighting to stay awake starting around 5 PM at work.  It's just freakin' crazy.

I want to give you some links to other (much better) homestead blogs.  I'll try to share one each time I get online.  If you visit them, please provide them the link to my blog and let them know I directed you.  I'd love to get more followers and more comments.

This is a link within a link. More like 12 links within a link. Blue Yurt Farms is providing links and information about homesteads with blogs they like and follow. Lots of information here, folks.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow snow snow brrr brrrr brrrrrr

Started snowing Saturday (1/4/14) night and didn't stop until late in the afternoon on Sunday.  It was also very windy so some of the drifts got pretty deep.  On Sunday, I went out three times to sweep off the deck and ramp for the kitties (they are so spoiled).  We actually had temps of -21 with the wind chill on Sunday. I've lived in Missouri since the summer of 1995 and I've never known us to have temps so cold. We've had winters with way more snow and ice but not these temps.

I keep the central heat (propane furnace) set on 66 to 68 degrees all winter but I don't have enough insulation in the house and a lot of the duct work is, apparently, uninsulated as well. The area under the house (a 1974 single wide with a 12x30 completely uninsulated living room attached) is pretty much as warm as the inside of the house. Guess where the outside cats are spending their time?? To make it even warmer under there, I've been doing a load or two laundry every day. The dryer isn't vented through the skirting, just under the house.  Warm warm warm!!!  I'm running an EdenPure heater in the living room because it doesn't get nearly warm enough. Not only is it not insulated, it has a tile floor and many windows.  The main thing the heater does is run up the electric bill.  $60 in summer with central air running jumps to $110 in the winter with this damn heater.

I have a 500 gallon propane tank for my furnace. We had it filled up this past fall and it was down to about 30% already. They came to fill it today - $785.40 for 350 gallons. I wonder what my electric bill would be if I had just electric heat.  I wish my house was better set up in terms of the floor plan so I could use wood heat.

A couple of the outside cats are inside but will likely leave in the morning.  One cat has found a burrow in an amazing place.  There's a concrete culvert under my road along the highway. There's a part of it in the middle that has crumbled or something and there's a hole/burrow there.  I delivered food and water to the culvert for her.  I have a food dish in the garage and in the pump house along with the ones on the front porch (where the cats are usually fed). I go out several times a day to make sure their water dish isn't frozen over.

The county doesn't plow my road and no one on the road has a plow so we're all stuck until a big truck or someone with 4 wheel/4x4 drive uses the road. I normally clean my friends' house on Monday but didn't know if I could get out. Then the MFA Propane truck came and I was able to get out. She is an older widow with two dogs and I also pet sit for her. We can't find her snow shovel so I took my outside broom and snow shovel with me.  I shoveled off her front porch and made a trail to her garage and her cabin (where she scrapbooks) by shuffling my boots through the snow. She's a tiny little thing with tiny little feet so she's able to just walk in my prints and be fine.  When I finished with that, and was completely frozen, I thawed out while cleaning her house.  She's usually gone when I do it but she was there today. When I finished she paid me for last week's cleaning and this weeks plus paid me back for something I picked up for her at WalMart and extra for the snow removal.  A nice $60 which is exactly what I needed - money. I went to town - the smaller one but bigger than here. They have a Dollar General, a Subway and a little grocery store. Dog food, dog snacks, people snacks, footlong chicken bacon ranch sub with extra bacon and a container of chocolate almond milk. Perfect.  On my way home I stopped by the library here to see if the entry area needed snow removal. I had my broom and snow shovel so I cleared it off. Decided to go ahead and do it instead of waiting until tomorrow.

I've been home since 5 PM and I'm still cold from my time outside today.  I looked at the temp a bit ago and it's back to -10 on the back porch. Brrrrr.

The treasure found at Dollar General this trip - season 1 of Poltergist The Legacy on DVD for $5.95.  Whoop whoop.  I love this show. Something new to watch.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New glasses and snow - finally!

Snow started falling last night around 6 PM and didn't stop until close to midnight. Ended up with a couple inches of light, dry snow.  Just enough to make the roads a bit messy.  Naturally I planned on driving to another town to pick up my new glasses today. Well, a bit of snow and lots of cold temperatures weren't going to stop me. And it didn't.

The glasses have progressive bifocal lenses in them and come with their own sunglasses held on with magnets. The frames cost a ton but cheaper than getting a pair of glasses and a separate pair of sunglasses.  The lenses were pretty expensive too.  Thanks to Mom for the Christmas money - otherwise I wouldn't have gotten a new pair of glasses at all.  It's going to take a while to get used to the lenses - weeks they tell me.  That won't be much fun.  I picture lots of headaches until I get used to them. I just hope I do get used to them.  I have 90 days to get used to them or take them back and get a different prescription.  It's a little over an hour's drive to get to the store so I hope I don't need to drive back.

I'm going to have a 90 minute drive to Kansas City sometime soon to meet with a neurosurgeon.  Appears I might need surgery on my lower back.  I have osteoarthritis somewhere along my spine that is pinching the sciatic nerve.  Last night wasn't much fun.  I was already in pain when I went to bed due to a nap with the dogs. After 2 hours I was up in too much pain to sleep. I walked around until the pain lessened and went back to bed. Another 2 hours and I was up again.  I did this through the entire night. But I woke up and got up before the pain was so bad I could barely get out of bed. Guess my brain and body have finally got the message and aren't letting me sleep/lay down too long now.  But it sure as hell leaves me too tired.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I'm sorry I haven't posted to my blog in a while.  I've been working extra hours and dealing with health issues.  My rheumatologist ordered an MRI and it showed that my sciatic nerve is being pinched but not by the piriformis muscle like we thought. There's osteoarthritis in my spine. I'm not sure if it's in the lumbar area or the sacrum.  It only bothers me when I lay down, which I think is weird. After 2-4 hours, the pain in my left butt cheek, left calf and left foot wakes me up.  My pain level is off the chart.  It's all I can do to sit up on the edge of the bed then stand up (on my right leg only at first).  I have to use the wall to help me walk until the pain in my foot (which goes numb sometimes) and calf subsides enough to walk with a limp.  Things usually settle down as I move around.  If I don't have to stay up, I go back to bed for a while.  It doesn't always work. Sometimes I stay up reading a book until it's time to feed the critters.  Other times I start on housework. Lack of sleep plus more hours at the library are a bad combination.

I have a list of neurologists who accept Missouri Medicaid.  I'll start making phone calls either tomorrow or Friday.  They are all in Kansas City, MO which is about 90 minutes away. I sure wish they were closer but oh well.  I hope that if I have to have back surgery it's the less invasive type and will allow me to get back to work around here immediately.  Otherwise I'll have to either postpone getting my hens or not get them unless I get a regular coop.  If my back is too trashed to move the portable coop around, I'm gonna be pissed.

I did get a good surprise and laugh this morning.  I was up just before 5 AM, put the dogs out with their breakfast and let the bunny out of his room.  I went back to bed and when I got up again just after 8 AM, I found the bunny on the kitchen counter next to the sink.  I think he jumped up the cat tree and jumped over to the counter through a cut out there. A sight I wasn't expecting and don't have a picture of it.