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Monday, March 31, 2014

Mini Update

Maybe because too many things kept going wrong, or maybe because it was my birthday week, but I found myself at a point where I just wanted to be nice to myself for a change.

I'm a martyr. Well, not really. But I tend to suffer in silence for a long time before I'll complain. Over the weekend, I met my Waterloo. 

Once Greg got here things improved greatly, and that's when I decided to stop pushing myself and treat myself kindly.

The best thing that happened was that he fixed my water lines. No more hauling water to the animals. Woo Hoo!!

It's funny how the simplest of pleasures can mollify me. I want to turn over a new leaf and spend a little time (and money) on myself for a change. Nothing drastic. Just a few new clothes and maybe a day at the hair salon once in a while.

I have a bad habit of doing without and I'm starting to scare myself in the mornings.

A little mini update of the last three days...

• We left the back door ajar allowing Tank and Nana to make their escape. Tank did his old man wandering, but Nana came to find us (we were in the back forty) and tattled on Tank. We nearly had heart attacks when we realized the door had been left open. Fortunately Tank didn't go far, and Maggie and Iko were unaware of the open door. Crisis averted!

• The baby goats are doing so much so much better. They are jumping and running around like normal little goatlings. The blind goat can see now! They are exactly two and half weeks old today.

• Both my heaters in the house went out at the same time. Greg hasn't figured out why yet. It's not a big deal since we haven't needed the heaters in a while. I only noticed it when I flipped the switch on accidentally and noticed it didn't come on.

• We bought custom blinds for the last remaining windows in the house. These things are expensive but I couldn't put it off any longer. Greg is happy. His den will finally have proper window coverings.

• Half my garden is in.

• My birthday was nice. Despite the lightning storms and losing power, it was good to have Greg home. Tank was so happy to see him. We stayed home and I made dinner. Greg brought me a cake from my favorite bakery in SE Texas.

Do you ever reach a point where enough was enough and you make a conscious effort to change it? If you could change anything about your circumstances right now, what would it be? I'll see if I can send a little extra Karma your way.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Taking Some Time Off

Still dealing with critter issues, plumbing issues, and Tank issues. I'm playing the long-suffering, abandoned wife beautifully though. :grin:

This Friday is my birthday. Another chance to blow raspberries at the devil.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, March 17, 2014

State of the Homestead

Lucy's baby girl
It all started with a bunny foundling...and ended with baby goats.

I don't even know what day it is (this happens when you get very little sleep) but I'll try to run down what's happened in the last few days.

Thursday morning I went out to feed animals with Nana riding shotgun in the golf cart. As I made my turn, she jumped out to investigate something in the brush. When she didn't return I had to find out why. I go over there and she has this sopping wet pile of fur in her mouth. I make her give it to me and it turns out to be a wild baby rabbit.

Bad Nana!

I feared for the baby's life so I took it in determined to nurse him back to health. My internet search said that domesticated orphans can drink kitten replacement milk, but wild bunnies should only drink goat's milk. Lucky me. I happened to have two goats with udders full of milk.

I make him a nice warm bed and go off to finish my chores and get a teaspoon of milk from one of the goats.

That's when I found Heidi going into labor. I led her to the birthing stall and gathered my supplies. Hard labor lasted two hours but that kid wouldn't budge. I slathered Heidi in KY jelly. In the next contraction the head finally pushed out.

Seconds later, the rest of the baby came out. Whew!



I barely had time to clean him off when I started hearing a grunting noise in the outside pen. Now Lucy was in labor! No time to get her in the shed. She was having her baby NOW. 

Lucy was amazing! That birth was pure textbook delivery. The first baby barely wobbled on its legs when the second one decided to come out.

Meanwhile, Heidi was not doing well. I scoured the internet and contacted my experts on the goat forum. A shot of penicillin and Vitamin B and she started to feel better. But baby had not improved. 

I trust my gut when it comes to animals. That newborn just wasn't right. He  should've lifted his head and followed his mama but he didn't. That could mean one of two things. If it was a selenium deficiency his muscle tone would be impaired, but the other prognosis floored me.

He was blind. 

My friends on the goat forum assured me that it was possible it could be temporary if it was caused by trauma in the delivery. In the meantime, I have to help him nurse every couple of hours. He's maintaining but still not as active as his cousins.

By the time this post airs I'll be at a vet's office to see if they can sell me a drug I couldn't get elsewhere. It's next to impossible to find a vet who treats goats, but I'm going to try the equine vet down the road.

Da Dogs: Tank has been having a bad few weeks. He's lived far longer than we expected, but some days aren't as good as others. It breaks my heart when he's not feeling well. I am not going to take his death well.

Me: I'd been sick for a while, recovered, got sick again, recovered.... I'm well now, but in dire need of a good night's sleep. I've been on call around the clock with the goats since Thursday.

Orphan Bunny: More web surfing informed me that wild baby bunnies are often left alone almost all day by the mother. She only comes back to feed them at night. I waited until dusk to return him to his nest. When I did, one of his litter mates made a run for it. Good thing Nana wasn't with me. 

I also learned that it's a myth that a mother will reject a bunny if it has human scent. I feel relatively secure that the bunny will be fine--as long as he stays out of Nana-radar.

The Homestead/Casa South: On top of everything else, my main water line leading to the animal pens blew out. There was water EVERYWHERE. So now I'm hauling water to everyone.

Casa South should've been put on the market by now, but we've had endless delays. I need to be at both places at once. I am way past stressed about the other house. It haunts me even in my sleep.

The Husband: And where was hubby when disaster after disaster kept crashing down on my head? Not here, that's where. I'm resourceful, but sometimes what you really need is another pair of hands. Try giving an injection to a goat who doesn't like needles.

Despite all my woes, lots of things went right. We had good weather when the girls went into labor. The bunny returned to his mates. Lucy has two healthy babies (1 girl and 1 boy). Tank still gives me kisses every time he sees me. And although I'm exhausted, I survived all by myself.

Believe it or not, this was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to crises. If I listed any more I'd have to break down and start crying. It's been a bad few weeks.

Hopefully Greg will be back next week. I could use a break.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Getty Images: Free with Catch

Oh, Copyright. You taunt us again.

Getty Images, one of the giants of the stock photo galleries is now offering free images to non-commercial blogs.

Let me repeat this part. Non-commercial blogs.

I read on Real Lawyers Have Blogs where they concluded that it wouldn't be farfetched for Getty to sue if the blog was used for networking to grow business.

No question that law blogs being used to grow relationships and reputations to grow business could be construed as commercial in nature.

Just like author blogs

Our blogs, regardless whether we discuss chickens, children, or our newest releases are basically networking tools to grow relationships with our readers and SELL our books.

Over the weekend I read tweets about what a boon this new change would be for authors. But I don't think people are looking beyond the rim.

Not only would you have to give credit back to Getty, (which is perfectly fair and reasonable) but you'd also be subjected to those images being changed or deleted at Getty's discretion. There's also talk of them embedding their advertising in the image at a future date. 

Getty controls the embedded art because the actual file stays on their server. You have to use a special code to upload it to your blog.

If this doesn't jade you, PCWorld has provided simple instructions on how to embed Getty's stock into your blog.

I am so paranoid about copyright and copyright infringement, I go to great lengths not to allow any art to appear before it's purchased. I don't want any trouble with the law or with the rightful owner of that copyright.

I don't plan to use Getty. Something tells me their honey pot deal isn't as sweet as they pretend. 

Buyer (and Borrower) Beware.

Will you be using them?


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mortality Interrupted

I feel like I've been running from one fire to another, most of my own making. But I had a curious epiphany that probably won't matter to any of you under 50. Just remember this post when you get there.

A year doesn't go by when I don't take some sort of continuing education. But lately, I've had to temper my indulgences with my eventual mortality.

Deep down I still think I'm going to live forever...though all the signs seem to indicate otherwise. Drats!

The other day, I mentioned to Greg that I'd like to take a certificate program in digital design. It would be an advanced set of courses in all the latest software. The price tag is high. The university offering this program is one of the best in that field.

Let's not forget the price of the new and improved software. Tack on another $1500.  Oh, and my present computer is reaching its memory and speed capacity. Add another thousand or more.

Now Greg denies me nothing. (It's a fatal flaw with him.) But even I had to admit that enrolling in this program has limited potential for me. If I was 20 years younger, I'd jump at it because it would open all kinds of doors. 

It would open the same doors for me at my present age, but I don't plan to be doing this 20 years from now. ...I don't think. (I've learned never to say never.)

Chances are good I'd go back to writing or back to my canvasses and oils. Once I hit my 80s I'll probably be more interested in saving the planet than designing a holographic cover for anyone.

My mother is in her mid 80s and she's as spry as they come, but I've noticed as she's slowed down that her interests have changed. I suspect it'll be the same for me.

Is it strange to think ahead 20-25 years in the future? I do this regularly but I wonder if it sounds peculiar to others.

How far ahead do you plan your career(s)? What will you be doing at 80 years of age?


Monday, March 3, 2014

Under the Weather


Who the heck ordered sinus headaches with a side of sore throat? I start to feel better and then it slaps me down again. Common sense says to take it easy for a couple of days, but you don't have that option when you have animals to tend. 

The fickle weather has made things even harder. My guess is all the fronts are responsible for the constant ups and downs of the pressure in my head.

It would be easier if Greg was here, but I'm on my own, battening down the hatches for another freeze. It was in the 80s on Saturday, but it plunged below freezing on Sunday, and currently 16 degrees this morning. Yesterday, we had an ice storm and lost power. Ah, the joys of country living.

During freezes like this I lug buckets of hot water several times a day to all the pens so everyone can get a warm drink.

My poor fruit trees are bursting with little buds waiting for Mother Nature to make up her mind. 

Soon, I hope.

As I look down at my feet I'm surrounded by dog-mines. Each of them perfectly positioned so I can't leave the room without an entourage. They've been good hounds though. I haven't had the energy to walk them like I usually do. I think they realize I'm not at 100%. 

Well...all except Nana. She thinks the world should revolve around her. Rotten kid.

The bright side is that my power is back, and it'll be warmer tomorrow. We'll be back in the 70s by the end of the week.

What do you do when you're not feeling well? Live like a hermit, or have the spouse and/or kids wait on you? (Maybe you can lend me one of them.)