Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thank You Baxter Black

Years ago when I had a day job I would listen to our local PBS station on my way to work.  Some mornings Baxter Black would come on and tell a poem and always made my drive to work more enjoyable.  A few years later we went to a Chuck Wagon Show in Colorado and I found a couple books by Baxter Black.  I laughed so hard reading it that I would have tears running down my face.  The kids would ask what I was reading but much of it wasn’t appropriate for their young ears.  We had friends going through hard times and I gave them the books.  I have kept my eye out for more of his books but only found one.  It’s a book of Cowboy Poetry – we really are not much for poetry but Darling Husband actually read it and enjoyed it.  When Teen Son was having more symptoms Darling Husband went to the book shelf and handed Teen Son the book to read.  So while we sat in the hospital waiting to find out what was happening to him every once in a while Teen Son would laugh out loud and read some Cowboy Poetry to me. 
We came home from spending the day at the hospital and I went onto Amazon and found and ordered 2 more of Baxter Black’s books.  He is old enough for the inappropriate jokes now and anything that lifts my son’s spirits while he is recovering from ADEM is worth it. 

Thank You Baxter Black!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Plumbing and More Dr's

Darling Husband’s truck blew it’s head or engine and now needs to have it’s engine rebuilt.  We have a rental house that is almost 100 years old.  It has been having plumbing problems: a few little things, like one of the kids jumping on a hose and breaking the pipe it’s attached to and the toilet regularly backing up weekly.  Finally Darling Husband told me to call a plumber about the toilet backing up.  The plumber we found came out and kindly without charging us told us we needed to get the septic tank pumped.  He said he didn’t think it needed to have a snake go through the line and we just needed to get the tank pumped.  Darling Husband said “Have it snaked anyway”.  But I listened to the plumber and didn’t make him do the snake.  The next day, I called around trying to get the soonest pumping we could and it was going to be 5 days later.  UGG so I ordered a port a potty for our poor tenants.  We got the tank pumped and the toilet still wouldn’t flush.  So I called the plumber out again but he would not make it until the next day. 
We also did some tree trimming and spilt about 4 cords of fire wood.  Hopefully we got all the trees that would have caused trouble if we ever get rain.

I spent time working with the dogs trying to get them to stay home but a week after we were home from the hospital Teen Son had some side effects from the steroids that he is taking for ADEM and he needed to be checked out.
Then a few days later he had some new pains and reactions related to ADEM so back to Children’s Hospital we went again.  On the way to the hospital my tenant called me saying they picked up the port a potty.  UGG I totally forgot about them.  I called the plumber and gave them College Daughter’s phone number and made sure the old house was on the list for being taken care of that day. 
While we were at the hospital College Girl called me in tears to say the Hen we had brooding on her eggs, had broken most of them and was not taking care of the rest of the eggs and as she walked by she saw Palm was dead.  What should she do?  I couldn’t help at all sitting in Children’s.  I advised her to look on the internet to see what to do about the eggs or call a friend.  Thankfully Oldest Daughter was able to help her move the surviving eggs and put them into an incubator. Teen Son and I spent the next 6 hours at Children’s Hospital making sure everything was in the “normal” range. 
Ducks love swimming around the aireator.  
  Stick Boy had an appointment at Children’s Hospital that afternoon, so I got College Girl to pick up Stick Boy from school and meet us at a Half way point and she switched brothers with me.  She drove Teen Son home and I went back to Children’s Hospital.  Stick boy has Trigger Thumbs, his thumbs get locked in a bent position, but doesn’t need surgery at this time.  When I got home I wanted nothing more than a glass of wine but Darling Husband had to meet the plumber and the animals still needed to be taken care of.  Bad news from the plumber, ALL THE PIPES NEED TO BE REPLACED. 
  The next day Teen Daughter needed me to take her places so I couldn’t work with the dogs those days.    

We got Luca fixed so he had to sleep in my bedroom for a week.  We hoped that would stop or slow down his roaming.  Not yet!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Hospital Stay

I didn’t mean to leave on a cliff hanger. 
We picked Tessa up from the pound the day after I wrote the the last blog.  My son was complaining about not feeling well and I just kind of ignored it and told him to eat better because we were eating so much wonderful but bad for you foods from Christmas to New Years.  Finally the day after we picked Tessa up, I called Nurse Advice Line and asked if they felt we would be safe to wait until Monday to take him to the Dr.  They suggested we go to Urgent Care just to be safe, after a few minutes at Urgent Care we were sent to Children’s Hospital and stayed there for the next 5 days.  Teen Son was diagnosed with Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis or ADEM.  It is a rare, 7 kids in 1,000,000, auto immune issue that causes lesions on the spine and brain.  We were lucky and we caught it early many kids with ADEM show up at the hospital looking like they have had a stroke or partially paralyzed.  Teen Son was to get IV steroids for 5 days and then he would go home and slowly taper down the amount of steroids for the next 4 weeks.  Most children have a full recovery after 1 to 6 months we are blessed he has a disease with a high cure rate and blessed to live so close to Children’s Hospital.  Honestly when you are at Children’s Hospital and your child can walk and talk to you, you feel blessed. 
We came up with a routine: Darling Husband would meet the youngest 2 kids getting home from school and they would take care of the animals in the evening.  After Teen Son was given his last dosage of steroids I would go home and take care of the animals before school and get the youngest 2 kids to school.  Then I would go to the hospital and spend the rest of the day there. 
During this time Tessa was feeling neglected so she started jumping the fence it’s a 5 to 6 foot fence depending on where it is but I got a call from a neighbor who watched her jump telling me she could have cleared it if it was higher.  Then Luca started following Tessa, great now we have 2 escape artists!  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Preditors and Lost Dogs

Our turkey, Palm, showed signs of distress (panting, wings puffed out) one morning.  I was busy and didn’t pay a lot of attention but Oldest Daughter called me very upset at how sick Palm was.  I stopped by the local feed store to see if they had any advice.  He said it sounded like Palm had been scared by something and to see how he was in the morning.  If he was still sick in the morning then it would be time for some medicine.  Oldest Daughter was not happy with my wait and see approach and wanted me to bring Palm into the house but by the time I got home Palm was resting happily on her perch and I was not going to move her.  Palm was fine in the morning.
The next day someone left our gate open and Luca escaped.  I chose Luca’s breed because it isn’t known to be runners like some of the Livestock Guardian Breeds are.  Luca checks on me every 20 to 30 minutes and often is by my side when we are outside.  I was very worried about him.  We put up signs and notified animal control.  He showed up sometime the next morning.  We were so relieved.
Here is Luca sleeping after being gone all day.  Dakota is waiting for him to want to play.

The next night Darling Husband and I were snuggled on the couch watching Alaska: The Last Frontier’s show on predators.  I got up to put on my pajamas and we joked about how lucky we were to have such a small predator load.  By the time I got upstairs I was hearing funny barking.  I called Luca and Tessa, Luca came from running from around the bird’s area and Tessa who never barks was barking by the sheep.   I got Darling Husband and a flash light and together we went to see what had the dogs so riled up.  We found Tessa between the sheep and an opossum.  We opened the gate to try to chase it through but it just hissed at us then Darling Husband grabbed a hoe to try to give it a little push.  In case you are wondering – BAD Idea.  The opossum grabbed a hold of the hoe and hissed and gnashed his teeth at Darling Husband.  We were worried about what it would do if it succeeded in getting into the birds coop so Darling Husband got the gun and shot it. 
We had a few peaceful days until New Years Eve.  At midnight a lot of fireworks and guns were shot off in the area.  Tessa ran up to look in my bedroom checked on the cats in the crate by my bedroom door and then ran off.  I got up and checked on her and she seemed ok and I did not bring her into the house.  Partying in our neighborhood, guns, and fireworks went on until 3:am New Years Morning.  I did not check on Tessa after the midnight blasts.  When we got up Tessa was gone.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014


When the dogs chase the sheep I put a dangle stick on them for a few minutes.  Tessa being a super smart dog realized if she holds the dangle stick in her mouth she can run as fast as she wants.  When Luca was bad and needed the dangle stick Tessa tried to help him.  We only needed to do this a few times with each dog and they have stopped chasing the sheep (mostly).

Tessa is a sweet, beautiful, gentle dog who is also very skittish at times.  She spent weeks running through the electric fence that holds the cattle in but one wet afternoon she got zapped and ran off.  We finished doing our chores and then went looking for her.  She was hiding behind rocks at the top of the property.  I gave her love and worked 30 minutes to get her to come about 100 feet down the property, for some reason she was fine walking with me along the fence but leaving the top of the property was terrifying.  Slowly we got her to walk back towards the house and the other dogs running around her trying to get her to play helped her get over her fear. 

The Livestock Guardian Dogs love to play with the house idiot, Dakota.  Every morning we let Dakota out for 15 minutes before we let the sheep out, then again at dusk after the sheep are put away Dakota is out running and playing with the LGD’s for about an hour.  One night as we were walking I noticed a large animal near the fence.  Tessa and Luca took off after the animal with Dakota chasing them.  Dakota out weighs Tessa by a good 10 pounds, but Tessa looked back and saw Dakota following the LGD’s and chased Dakota back to me where he would be safe.  Then she joined Luca chasing the coyote or dog away.  It is amazing to watch the Livestock Guardian Dogs work.  
We have worked socializing the dogs with friends who come over.  They have been fine with our neighbors dogs but they had not been around a small dog since we got Tessa and we were worried how they all would act.  Christmas morning my brother brought his Boston Terrior over and Tessa acted like the babysitter all day.  She never let him wander towards the sheep but she enjoyed playing tag with him.