Sunday, November 28, 2010


I am not my grandson, Edgar's favorite person. Neither am I his second ... third ... fourth ....fifth favorite person. I think I might be in the twenties somewhere. But some of Edgar's favorite things in the world are "horsies".

I have decided that Edgar will have access to as much "horsy-ness" as I can get for him. When he gets a little bigger, I will be taking him to Parelli events and I will give him the very best tools and understanding that I can. After all, I'm just the grandma. I'm not the mom.. or the dad. I'm the person that's back a row. The support staff.

But who knows, with this mutual love, this indescribable draw we have to the magic of the equine species, we will get closer. We'll learn to see one another with fresher perspective. We'll see one another with "horsey" eyes.


Poor Relations

As I have stated before.... I hate electric fencing. It is, on the whole....crap!! My electric fencing that is approximately three weeks old for whatever reason, broke under the influence of a haflinger. So the ponies departed for greener pasture. The neighbor girl got them caught and put into their round pen. I went out to fix the thing but the evening over took me. The ponies had an overnight with the neighbors and the next day I continued my repairs. I decided that instead of just mending the break that it would be an okay spot for a gate. This it seemed would be a nice change as Chloe isn't quite ready for the four foot gate.

The reason I have electric fence is because it is suppose to be good enough. I've been told so. It's good enough for you. It's good enough for now. It's good enough for ponies. It's good enough because that is what you can afford. Good enough for poor relations....beggars can't be choosers. This despite the fact that I own wooded property that is loaded with natural resources suitable for fencing. But I can't get the help. Even when someone owes me money and offers to work it off, they dictate HOW they will work it off. I am thinking that I have a tatoo or marking on my forehead that indicates I am the poor relation. It is in some way an indicator that I will damn well take whatever someone is prepared to give me...PERIOD!!

Well, if I have to be a poor relation then I would just as soon be no relation. I want what I want for a reason. I really want to just stab somebody with my warrior woman sword today......nothing bad....just a small flesh wound. Just enough to relieve some pressure.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

People Watching

I'm sitting at the rest stop on I-35 and watching folks. People have started their coming and going for the Thanksgiving holiday. People stare at me while they walk by and others make a point of looking the other way.

Their seems to be a family group caravaning along. They stop and use the facilities and it seems diapers have gotten taken care of and babies handed back and forth.
Bigger kids bouncing around. They all load back up and leave.

Another couple stops. More sophisticated. One dog and no kids. The dog is walked and garbage taken out of the car and the particular process of feeding the dog also proceeds. Smooth and coiffed.

A truck driver comes by. Probably a career driver based on his mid section and billed cap. He opening watches us.

Mac goes into the vending kiosk and picks up a couple of candy bars and then everybody is gone. We sit in the dark. A stream of lights go down the interstate.

Almost time to go home...and then we'll have to wait another couple of days to get to internet. I just hope that you're still out there waiting for me. Out there in the dark.


Another day

Another day of fearing winter's arrival. Hoping that I won't have to try and dig post holes without equipment. That is a hard chore!!! and I really don't know if my back can take it either. Oh well, it's going to hurt no matter what. My decision is more about how much will I let it hurt. To achieve some goals, it is completely worth it!!

I made an easy day of it today. Today was all about compost. I burned last year's compost pile. I'm kind of reeking of eau d' moldy wet hay. I also stacked up a fresh compost bin. I did the magic layers of soil, manure and dried grass, then topped it off with a pumpkin that a mouse had started snacking on. The pumpkin will winter over, rot a bit, Then next spring it will grow out again. It is the perfect system. The pumpkins are more protected and seem to start out at the right time to miss the vine borers. It is easy and so far seems to be a fail safe system. Anyway, works for me and I know that my pumpkins are already planted for next year.

Now, if I could only find my perfect method for tomatoes..... and rosemary.... and lavender.....


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pre-Winter to-do list

This autumn I refined my to-do list for things that ABSOLUTELY had to be done before the snow flies. With no internet access, I decided that there was no excuse for not hitting the list as hard as I possibly could.

I started out with thirteen items on my list. Some were kind of involved. For instance... item no.9 is simply re-configure the horse pasture. Well, first we had to make another fenced in pasture for them (the ponies) so we could move them and THEN work on their existing pasture. Fences have been torn down. I've pulled soooo much wire. I've removed tee posts. Then measured and re-measured and to be sure measured again. Then laid out new perimeters and set the tee posts. I'm still not quite done. Need to see if my neighbor guy can come down and auger out some post holes for me and help me set some of the hedge posts. Then even if snow is on the ground I can go ahead and get new wire up. Once the wire is up , I can cross 9 off the list.

I was stupid and added five more items to the list. The good news is that over all I have crossed nine items off the list. I am close to crossing three more things off.

I am tired. I am a little frustrated. I am worried about the weather holding. I am feeling more than a little isolated. Mostly, I'm thankful. Because the worst, most frustrating, tiring day on the little farm is better then a day in a hospital.


P.S. I do wish someone could have seen me on the roof the other day. You would have been so proud of me!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sometimes Life Sucks

There is just nothing you can do about it. Sometimes life just sucks. And when that happens the sissy, wuss bags lay down and give up. I'm not a sissy, wuss bag.

There is no snow on the ground so I just keep going. I spent today putting up fence posts and taking down other fence posts. Rolling up and and taking down the old wire. Old wire on a cold blowy day doesn't do much for your hands. But I got a fair amount done none the less. Soon I'll be ready to have the neighbor down to auger out the holes for the wood corner posts. I still have plans for a round pen..... NEVER SAY DIE!!!

The other day when it rained I built my binding jig for my little books. I can't give up on that either. No matter what, I can't seem to quit. Things get harder but I can't quit. I seem to have the need to just keep beating my head against the wall. Bruised and bloody but still moving forward. The bruised and bloody is mostly emotional. Though I did raise a goose egg on my head today after hitting myself on the noggin with the post pounder. That's okay.... sometimes a bit of pain brings about clarity.

I know things will get better though... I know this. I have a dream to catch.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Just when you think.....

Yea, that's the way it goes... just when you think you are on an even keel, when things have found their bottom, when it's not going to get any worse.... guess again. It does get worse. In this particular case the getting worse was kicked off by losing internet access. The closest free wi-fi is ten miles away. So it's time to try and save up some bucks, find a new internet provider and start over.

That's bad enough. However it gets worse.... when the internet was lost, this led to a spirited conversation. The kind married people have on occasion. It was pointed out to me that what I envision, I am not capable of fulfilling. I lack the ability to make money so Mac doesn't want to hear about it. He is tired of my dreaming and scheming. I'm not to speak of it again.

I believe the gist of the discussion is that I am a failure. There is something in me.... something that's very angry, that just cannot accept that. So that which is deep inside me... which allows me to dream and scheme will live a life unto itself. I am separate from him. I cannot give up..... the warrior woman won't let me. Then there is that smoldering rage to contend with.

More then ever, I have to succeed. I'll succeed by myself, for myself. Alone does not mean weak. This sounds like divorce. No, it's not. It's just that the heart of me is alone.... it probably has been for a long time.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wacky Wafers

Well, as you all know, Mac had his scope last week and while everything went well, it seems my coping skills were not the best. Certain areas of the hospital gave me a bit of flash back response. There was some pacing and need to escape. I didn't think much of it, but a friend of mine says I was exhibiting signs of post traumatic stress.

Well, this is a head scratcher! I always knew that I thought a little differently then other people. Not that I am diminished in any way, actually I just thought I had gotten TOO MANY bricks stacked in certain areas. The results however are the same... I'm a little off plumb.

I remember when Mac was first diagnosed with leukemia. We had made plans to go to our first Parelli event just weeks before he was diagnosed. There was the seven week hospital stay... going septic.... the ICU experience... on and on. Then we went home. We were only home a week before the Parelli event and I was just not going to go. I was going to stay home and make sure Mac took his pills and ate and slept. All the stuff I knew I was suppose to do.

Mac urged me to go. Other people told me I had earned it. I needed the rest. Eventually I was talked in to it. I was terrified of leaving but I did it. I went to my first Parelli tour stop. At break I went looking for something to take home to Mac. I got him a baseball cap and stood in line to get it signed by Pat Parelli. After quite a wait, I made it to the front of the line. My intent had been to say, " Hi, Pat! I would like you to sign this hat for my husband. He has been in the hospital with leukemia and isn't able to make it himself." Perhaps every third word made it out. After weeks of holding it in... weeks of pretending that everything would be good.... weeks of exuding the confidence that all would return to normal... I had to have my breakdown, in line,
in front of Pat. Gushing tears, contorted face.... it was awful!

He was decent. He was kind. He just looked at me and asked, "Do you need a hug?"" He gave me a squeeze and told me his niece had had leukemia as a child and was a healthy grown woman now. During the rest of the tour stop I would feel like his eyes would on occasion fall on me and it made me feel better. I went home stronger, more rested and ready to cope.

This time though... after the transplant, after the liver complication, after the graft vs. host... I don't know what normal is anymore. I can't seem to have a break down. There are a few things that might tear me up a little, but that's about it. Maybe it is too much. Maybe I have gone a little touched in the brain. Perhaps I am a wacky wafer. I don't know.

Oh well, everybody has to be something.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Plans, plans, plans......

It has hit me that it is NOVEMBER!!! How did that happen!! As usual, I have gotten my back up against the end of the year and wondering how in the world will we get everything accomplished! So, I was making plans, trying to come up with some sort of a strategy. Little does it matter that most of my plans usually bite me in the ass. Oh well, they get me close enough.

Here it is November. I still have fence to put in. I've only crossed off two things from my list of stuff to get done for winter. I still need to pick up my hay and I have no place to put it. I need to build a shed.

Everybody is broke and the economy here is horrible, so we have decided to do a home made christmas. I love making things for christmas, but it requires another plan. Stuff to make and time to make it.

Darling Petra is helping me with my web site. I get closer to accomplishing that every day. When the web site is up and running then I'll offer a farm calendar as my first for sale item. I know exactly how I want it to be. It will be.... unconventional!! I know this because .... I have a plan!!!

After the calendar, I have two books simmering in my head. I inch closer on finding ways to make that work out too.

But in the meantime.. I don't know if all of my planning is what keeps me sane, keeps me from thinking about possibilities that I don't want to be possible, or maybe, all of my plans are slowly driving me mad. It's like having a tiger by the tail, isn't it? You don't want to be hanging on, but you sure as hell can't let go. Winter is coming and I will be locked away with my own thoughts then.

I think I'll slap together a small shed down by my ponies and make a little tiny wood burner stove for it. I'll spend the winter with them. My ponies will take care of me.... they always do.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I don't know....

I can't seem to make a decision regarding this.... my hedge row. I read an article in Mother Earth News. Not from the magazine but one of the old articles from the web site. It was about living fences, which is something I am very much into. A living fence doesn't use up a bunch of environmentally "expensive" materials, it provides habitat and protection from the elements in the form of windbreaks. So, what's not to love?

Well, the plant either takes too long to grow, or if it steps up to the job then you have to make sure it doesn't get away from you. The latter is the case with the hedgeball tree. They are also called hedge, hedge apples, or I believe, the official name is the Osage Orange. No matter what you call them. They make some of the toughest fence post you'd ever want to find. They are long lived and they have thorns that rip the hide right off of you. That is a plus if you want to keep in cattle. Doesn't thrill me to death when you have to clean up. Yes, you will have to clean up! Because hedge suckers new growth off the roots so one hedge tree becomes a grove of hedge trees.

The instructions for creating a hedge ball fence were kind of cool. Collect a big bucket of hedge balls. I can do that! I have a big bucket and I have hedge balls out the wazoo. (figuratively speaking) Take your big bucket of hedge balls and set it outside for the winter. That's easy, I can do easy! Next spring, clear away the grass where you want your fence to go and create a small furrow. Okay, it's still easy. Take your bucket of disgusting looking hedge balls that seem the worst for wear from their winter ordeal. Add water. Mash them into a slurry. Pour the slurry in a thin line in the prepared furrow. Now how easy is that!!!

At the years end, you thin and bend the young trees over. Tying them down like hoops. The following year do the same, making the hoops go the opposite direction. It will take annual attention. Eventually, you will be harvesting fence posts off the growth as well. It's just too good to be true. I really want to try it. I am just really worried about the sucker growth going onto my neighbor's property.

I don't know.... maybe I'll go ahead and get a bucket of hedge balls and think about it over winter. It could work..... maybe.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Yet More Doctors

So, at the last minute the referral to see yet another new Dr. was approved by the insurance company. We were up and out in the dark. Got there in time to have to do a run down to the oncology office for an extra set of labs. Because there is nothing like squeezing in one more thing to make somebody else happy. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic.) Luckily, I ran into one of Dr. Silverman's assistants in the hallway out side the lab.

"Kim, I just wanted to point out that Mac has been NPO since midnight."

"Oh okay."

"Just wanted to point that out because it will more then likely affect the UA you ordered."

This was followed by a deer in the headlights moment so I gave her a moment to think and went on...."At the very least, things will look very concentrated, I don't know how much it will throw off any numbers." She blinked. Then she turned to a trainee she had with her and explained that Mac had been a transplant patient. Then I turned my gaze to the trainee and said, "I just wanted to make sure that you guys were aware that Mac has been NPO" I wanted to instill that thought with her, hoping that someone over there would have a memory. I was trying to send her some telepathic message... to shove some light into the darkness.

Kim said, "Why don't you come back over here when he's done with the scope?"

"Well, I don't know when he will wake up or how long this will take. There isn't any cell phone reception in this building, so how about you just call the digestive disease office if you find anything you want to see us about?" What I didn't say is that I saw no reason to drag Mac's limp, semi conscious body all over God's creation if there was no reason for it. If there is a reason then... Fine! But for God's sake have a REASON for making him sit another damn hour in yet another damn waiting room while falling asleep and drooling on himself! That's all I need... a REASON!

She countered with, " How about.. if you get done before three then come on over. If you get done after three o'clock then just go on home."

Well, we made it through the day. The endoscope was done. Mac has a smaller esophagus. He has some rings that they believe are the result of damage from radiation. He has a fibrous area that they stretched out. and an ulcer that they believe is the result of graft vs. host... no mention of reflux.

We started the trek out of the digestive disease office at twenty minutes to three. I rolled him out through the cross walk through the parking garage. Made sure he was okay to stand and move. Got him into the truck. Took the wheelchair back to the elevators. Got into the truck and turned the key. The clock lights came on with the ignition.....3:00.

"Look Hon, it's three... we're going home."

Now several days later, I wonder how in the world he ever developed a small esophagus. Was it the disease? the treatment? I remember we used to have an ongoing battle about his spoon usage. He would balk at using the regular, everyday, what everyone else was using teaspoon.

He'd whine, " I want to use this spoon"

"That's a serving spoon."


"You don't need to eat off a serving spoon. You NEED to eat off a normal teaspoon, like everybody else, so I have the serving spoon to serve with."

"I like this spoon, It's the right size."

"It's the right size if you're a pig. Use the same spoon as everybody else."

"I'm not a pig. I'm a manly man. I take manly man bites and I need a manly spoon!"

"No, you're a pig! and you need the same spoon as everybody else!"

Then I would shove the big spoon into the mashed potatoes. Then I would walk into the kitchen to get the rest of the meal and I'd hear the girls giggle. I'd come back in and his mouth would be stuffed and his hand would still be on the serving spoon.

"What????" he said, like it was a protest, but all he did was display the more then ample amount of mashed potatoes that he had in his mouth. This would send the girls off in giggles and shouting, "Dad's in trouble!!"

Well, if he wasn't in trouble then, I guess he is now. No more serving spoons for you, Manly Man.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

More DR. Shit

I will try to cram as much in today as I can, because tomorrow we go to Iowa City again. This is an extra visit. Mac has been referred to a gastro-intestinal specialist for a scope of his esophagus. It is hoped that the problem is a little graft vs. host that will just take, hopefully, an adjustment in medication. The scope would also show if it were acid damage from reflux. I really doubt that as it responds directly with his prednisone dosage. Of course, there is an out side chance that he could now have throat cancer as a result of the total body irradiation, which he received as a transplant prep. It is probably a slim chance and I don't speak of it out load....... but it hovers out there.

Dr. Silverman says she will just feel better about dealing with the throat situation after someone has had a look.

The insurance company has decided to not accept Dr. Silverman's referral. They want primary care DR. to make the referral. Mac went to the nurse practitioner from the primary care DR.'s office a couple of times but has never seen the DR. himself. So that Dr. won't make the referral. Insurance has decided they would take DR. Hiatt's referral as primary oncologist. It takes time for a referral to go through plus Dr. Hiatt was gone the day they were trying to get stuff organized.

Insurance company called to notify that they would not pay for the procedure if Mac went through with it. At least they wouldn't if the insurance company's ok to the referral wasn't in place before hand. We have not heard if the referral has been made.

So what do we do?

We can't afford the procedure. Maybe we will hear something at the last minute. We will plan and work as if we will go but be ready to not go as well.... I suppose.

On one hand DR.s try to scare you with health issues on the other hand the insurance company tries to scare you with money issues. Wish they would leave us out of it and just let us know when they have come to a decision.

I think I'll go and see my ponies for awhile. They won't have any answers either, but at least, they make me feel better.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Life in Movies

Yesterday, my mind went roving, as it wasn't required for the mundane tasks of rolling up old fence wire and pulling old posts. Amongst some of the odder thoughts I perused, I got to thinking about what kind of movie my story would make. Probably a real slow, boring one. Other then that it would kind of depend on who was making the movie. You know, the trademark styles... the treatment.

For instance, if it were anime', I would spend the whole movie in a grimace and making little growling noises with a black exclamation point hanging above me and bizarre sweat drips suspended around my head. That is until the final minutes of the movie where I would be blown into another dimension by some sort of martial arts/ wizard being.

Now if Disney did my movie, they would kill me off in the first ten minutes. Disney always kills off the mom. Then for some strange reason, Mac would have to trek across country with the dog and the ponies. All of whom would be able to speck english, when no one was looking, and would have bows in their hair and wear stylized team jerseys. Then their pictures would turn up on the fronts of lunch boxes and as mini collectibles.

If Hollywood got ahold of me, I would also be killed off, but they would kill me off because I'm boring. There would probably be some sort of light plane accident in my pasture so there could be an explosion. Hollywood has to have an explosion! This would, of course, rip a hole in the earth that would uncover?....... a deposit of alien babies that would spring out and wreck havoc on the world? ..... possibly a buried clue to a lost ancient civilization, thus leading Mac on the adventure of a life time where he would meet the woman of his dreams. Possibly played by Catherine Zeta-Jones....... a knight's templar?

God help me if the swedish film makers get ahold of me. My slow, dull life made to look even more slow and more dull. Then I would drop dead in the pasture puling fence posts. My life force would fade in a glow of cold, brilliant white light that would morph into the highlight in the eye of a child. Then you would hear a voice in Swedish ( english subtitles), "Inga, what are you doing? Go outside with the other children." The child would slowly blink, then get up from her white chair in the white kitchen and run outside as her mother instructed. Then leaning, and looking out the window at her daughter. the mother would murmur in Swedish (english subtitles), "My daughter... she has such an old soul". Roll credits. It would win some awards but it wouldn't sell much popcorn.

The movies all seem to require my demise. I think I'd rather just hang on. I'll keep working on the little farm with Pip and Chloe and Fiona, the dog, and possibly someday, we will have a story worth telling.... and without explosions. It could happen.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just thinking

I'm sitting here and thinking just how good the bed felt this morning. Thinking what folly it was to get up. Thinking I need more magic elixir (coffee).

I think the to-do list is somehow longer today. I did start the tear down of fencing for the winter pasture. Fingers crossed we will quickly get it back up to it's new shape, including a run in and a round pen so our winter won't be wasted time. As I look at the remains of the old fence, and all that it enclosed, I dream of owning my own manure spreader. Nothing difficult. A little something that I can manage on my own. That will pull behind my little lawn tractor.

Because I have thoughts like this, I think I'm a low maintenance woman. Mac thinks I'm just a weird form of high maintenance woman. He doesn't think about being the one that will have to just go ahead and shovel up all that horse residue and put it in five gallon buckets and put it in the little red wagon and pull it out into the hay field and rake it in. If he ever did perform those tasks... he would want a nice little manure spreader too.

I've been trying hard to get stuff ready for winter. Working at some tough stuff. As a result, I have gone down over a bra size. But I think it is unfair that my ass remains the same. Obviously I need more work. Perhaps I need less thinking as well.

Thinking leads to wishing... wish I had air in the wheelbarrow tire. That would be way easier then the red wagon. Oh well.

For now... I think I need more magic elixir.


Monday, November 1, 2010

What a weekend!

It feels like I just survived a whirlwind! Mac had parent/ teacher conferences last Wednesday and Thursday. Those were days that started around 7:30 in the morning and ended at 8:00 at night. Friday was a no school day, but he had blood tests in Des Moines. So Friday, off we go to Des Moines. Went to the Dr. office and then hit a couple of stores. There was nothing that appealed to me, which seems to be the case more and more often.

Saturday, the oldest daughter, Michal came down with her husband, Micah and we finished up the last of the bigger pasture for the ponies. It took twice as long as we had planned on. But once the fence was done, we went to get the ponies. Pip haltered right up like a champ. We didn't bother haltering Chloe. We counted on herd instincts and figured with the uproar that she would just stick with Pip and we'd walk them right down to the new pasture and she would go through the gate and life would be good.

She didn't do that.

We moseyed along. Chloe decided she liked having the big field to herself after being on dry lot for two months. We were not phased by this. After all, I am a Parelli student. I'm not great but I'm not useless either. We did a slow drive to the new pasture. Pip was already installed but Chloe when she got there, though she wanted to be with Pip was not going to go through the four foot gate. We drove her to the gate again. Everything was good and happy. The second gate approach was too much pressure. She didn't run away but she just couldn't do what she knew we wanted..... and there was all this GRASS! So once more a slow , mosey kind of drive and then my mom decided to call me.... twice.

Chloe the pony, does not like the Klingon drinking song that is my ring tone. As a matter of fact it makes her head go way up in the air and then she has to run to Pip as fast as she can. But there's a fence in the way. So, I circle around. Then I scratch her shoulders and tell her life is still okay. I holler at Mac and tell him to cut the wire. As soon as Chloe has an eight foot opening, she trots right in and settles down next to Pip. We mend the fence. My fault, I knew I was pushing my luck with the narrow gate, but there just wasn't the money to buy a big gate yet. Everybody just did the best that they could with what they brought to the table.

After the ponies were ensconced, we rushed to middle daughter, Kate's apartment where we celebrated the girls' Godfather's birthday. We made it home late and there were no ponies in the yard ... always a good sign!

Sunday I hauled water, walked fence line and pasture. All seemed well so went back to the house and collapsed.

Today, well, Took Mac to work so I could have the truck and do errands. Dropped him at the school. Went to the lumber yard and picked up a few supplies and priced some other stuff. Picked up postage stamps. Bought groceries. Went by the feed store and picked up a bag of feed. Home! (phew!) Groceries put away.... mostly. Grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down at the computer. Going over the to-do list. Three days of good weather and then the cold is suppose to start.

The clock is ticking. In three days there will probably be a fair amount of cussing. It's inevitable.