Animals, Faith, Gratitude, Healing, Homesteading, Spirituality

Little Crises

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Domino the Nigerian Dwarf has been off his feed the last day and 1/2. Feces are a bit irregular, too, with the pellets all stuck together rather than “raining” out single file. “Little Crises” because I always panic a little whenever one of my fur- or feather-babies is “under the weather” but I also thank God for all of the reference materials I have on hand, the friends (other farmers/homesteaders) in the know, the good relationships with vets and vet techs. I panic but then the little squirrel turning the wheel in my head gets a poke in the backside and starts running steady again.

Okay, now…breathe!

Not enough symptoms for some of the more severe illnesses. He’s passing his waste. It’s not the little dry pellets but not loose enough to qualify for diarrhea. Though they received deworming meds in September, I reached for the bottle still sitting on the back of the kitchen counter and realized why it was there–to remind me I need to buy another bottle (sigh). Mom and I took a road trip to Tractor Supply this morning and I purchased another bottle, then over to Walmart for some Pepto-Bismal. I have it in capsule form; liquid is much easier to administer with a goat. And, thankfully, for their mouthy-baby sort of curiosity, Domino took his meds with enthusiasm. While I dosed the other goats with the dewormer–something they seem to regard as a treat so it must taste pretty good–only Domino received the Pepto. And lapped it up like it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Keeping Felicity and Chester away while he got this minty-tasting “treat” was the biggest challenge! Hopefully, this does the trick and he’s back to his old self again soon.

Of course, I always worry about both Domino and Chester, my other Nigerian wether, because they were overweight when I brought them home and, though I’m very careful not to feed them too many treats (usually nothing more fattening than a piece of carrot…); still, the “damage” was already done before they came to me and, like the rest of us, it’s a lot easier to maintain a good weight than to take off the excess after the fact. With goats, something I learned about at Goat School many years ago, is that, if they’re overweight, their liver can caramelize, resulting in death. I love my goatie boys way too much to want to see that happening!

And Friday Mom’s dog, Max, goes back to the vet for a re-check and a full, senior blood screening (I think that’s what it is called…). He’s no longer passing massive amounts of blood in his urine but he’s still straining a bit. He’s more of a challenge than any of the others when administering meds. Max was diagnosed with Lyme disease just before Christmas and his vet put him on Doxycycline. The Lyme had gone into his kidneys so he’s on the strongest dose available. Initially, Mom put the pills in his food but he’s smart; he picked around them. So we’ve gone through a considerable amount of peanut butter and hot dogs but we’re prevailing; there’s no sticking it in the back of his mouth so he’s forced to swallow; Max isn’t opposed to biting the hand that feeds and usually requires a muzzle at the vet. Fun, fun, fun (insert sarcasm here)…

Though it sounds like I’m complaining a bit, I’m really not. There’s a simple confidence that grows from learning and caring for these creatures. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything else in the world. Every life, every choice we make has its challenges but, the reward is in seeing these babies thrive again when all is said and done…or, at the very least, knowing you gave them the best care you could and were by their side through it all. I am fairly confident that neither Max nor Domino is in such dire straits. While Domino is off his feed a bit, he also followed me back to the house, nosing and headbutting me for more Pepto along the way. And Max, Mom and I have been having regular howling practices on an almost daily basis (don’t ask…) so he’s feeling much better. Of course, I’m adding some prayers to all these treatments but, sometimes, the best treatment of all is in knowing someone cares enough to try in the first place. That’s true even for humans…

May God bless you & keep yoU!

Animals, Environment, Gratitude, History, Nature, Religion, Spirituality, Writing

First Decent Snowstorm

First big snowstorm hit last night and I became a little kid again. Though an inch of snow fell in December, it barely coated the ground. This is different. According to Channel 3 News, 8 inches in some areas. I’d say we’re pretty close here in Brooklyn, CT. The snow hadn’t finished falling last night when I went out to the barn around 7:30-8 o’clock to feed, water and check on the animals, and it was over the back of my calf.

I love it!

Of course, I’m not looking forward to the clean up this morning. My driveway’s not super-long but my shoulder will be screaming abuse at me before the job is done. Thankfully, this is the light, fluffy, sugar-snow…as opposed to the heavy, wet variety…and I can push more than actual shoveling. That’s a little easier on the back and shoulders but, though I am scheduled as a Eucharistic minister this morning, I doubt I’ll get shoveled out in time for the 8 a.m. Mass. No burly young men to sweet talk into doing the shoveling for me (and I’m not really lamenting that, just stating the facts) nor do I own a working snow blower. This ought to burn some calories. =)

But, aside from these practical considerations, and a deeply-felt gratitude that we did not fall victim to the power outages that were predicted for the area (we were woefully unprepared for such; we have plenty of bottled water, candles, oil lamps but no wood for the stove), I’m feeling that childhood magic that comes with the first big snowfall.

And, yes, I do feel that it is magical. Those first few moments, before any of that snow is disturbed, that pristine blanket makes everything feel safe, clean and fresh, and makes me think of some sort of fairy land, like Narnia. I sincerely hope the White Witch doesn’t come riding up on her sleigh, but the artist and author in me sees a thousand pictures, paintings and/or stories hidden in each and every flake. I see a snowman on someone’s front lawn and think of Frosty. I see a pattern of hoof prints in the snow by the woods and, despite the yuletide season being over (unless you’re of Ukrainian descent; yesterday was Ukrainian Christmas (or Eastern European)), I think of Santa’s reindeer and their white-tailed cousins who live in those woods behind my house. The big kid in me wants to follow their trail, roll one of Frosty’s cousins into existence, throw a few snowballs at someone and lay in that snow to make an angel.

Of course, for those of us who grew up in Rhode Island, there’s still that little kid inside, hoping to hear Salty Brine’s voice singing out over the radio: “No school Foster/Glocester!” (I always wanted to live in either Foster or Gloucester as a kid…they had more snow days than every other town/city in RI combined!) God bless him; he will forever be a Rhode Island icon, his voice forever recorded in my memory.

I’m praying that these magical snowstorms will never be “forever recorded” in just a memory. Eight inches on the ground today; temperatures in the 50’s Tuesday through Thursday this week. As a kid, this sort of snowfall would last weeks. Guess I’ll have to do the angel thing on my way to the barn again. Might not get another chance.

May God bless you & keep you!

Healing, Holistic Health, Yoga & Fitness

Woefully Out of Shape

I am determined that this year I WILL lose these extra 30 lbs. So Wednesday Mom and I visited Pourings & Passages’ bookstore in Danielson, CT. This is a second-hand bookstore that also carries pre-owned DVD’s and such. I purchased a Jillian Michaels’ 30 minute Shred DVD.

There’s a reason why Jillian is known as the toughest trainer in Hollywood. There’s also a reason why she’s got such an incredible, muscular shape. She works her…can I say it?…ASS off! This video is intense. So much so, I only made it through the first 8 minutes before I was ready to collapse. If I can finally see my way through the whole thing–even just this beginner level workout–I will be back to the slender frame I vaguely remember a couple of centuries ago.

Yup. I did a more traditional resolution this year. Lose weight. Middle-aged spread didn’t just creep up on me. It clocked me over the head. And my vanity is seriously offended. Which isn’t exactly the stuff you’d expect to hear from an ordained minister but I am only human, after all. And, really, the extra weight has brought a decrease in energy; I can do a lot more for Him if I’m feeling my best. And right now, I’m not.

Back to the video, those 8 minutes left me with a right knee that didn’t want to support my weight yesterday and an aching shoulder this morning. Of course, this is an older video. Jillian looks to be in her mid- to late-20’s–about half my age. Maybe at 25 or 30, I could’ve made it all the way through the beginner’s 20 minute workout. I certainly didn’t have the injuries that are flaring up from all these new moves. A car accident in 2002 threw the shoulder out of whack and a close-range shot from a paintball pellet screwed up the right knee/calf area. So I’m feeling it a bit, shied away from it this morning, but more determined than ever to finally work my way through level 1. I’ll worry about levels 2 & 3 later…

May God bless you & keep you!

Creativity, Faith, Writing

Getting Back in the Groove

I’ve heard it said that it takes 21 days to make a new habit. That makes sense, actually, because it takes time for that habit to become ingrained. And, for some of us, simply remembering this new habit can be the challenge. However, I don’t know as if I’ve ever seen data about how quickly a habit can be broken. It seems like a much shorter process. It only took me 2, maybe 3, days to break the early-morning yoga/blogging routine. And, I’m thinking, much more than those 21 days to get back into it.

I have MISSED blogging. Every day that I spent knitting, looming, painting, my fingers were itching to get back at the keyboard. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy all of these activities. But, there is a fine line between enjoying that whole creative process–whatever the medium or creation–and having your home look like a warehouse or assembly line. Due to that ol’ bugger Procrastination, I kept putting off making my Christmas gifts until that final moment. And then I crammed.

That happens a lot. I tend to motivate under pressure…and panic. As, I blogged earlier this week, I am determined to break this habit. But, in this case, it means developing a better habit to replace it. It means becoming that self-starter. Again…

Years ago, Thanksgiving would arrive and I would have already finished my Christmas shopping/creating (depending on which) before this holiday, have it all wrapped and would spend Black Friday filling out and mailing Christmas cards early. I would put up the Christmas tree and have it decorated so it could be enjoyed throughout the whole yuletide season. This year I didn’t even put up a Christmas tree. I got lost with Overwhelm, the buddy of Procrastination. How on earth did I fall off this bandwagon??? I can’t even remember the point where it all fell apart. But I am determined to rekindle that fire, that Something, inside of me that had me pumped so early in the season. I enjoyed it more.

And it is not exclusive to the holiday season.

Life seems to have gotten away from me. Maybe because I keep trying to take control instead of letting the One who is truly in control take charge. Maybe it is because I keep looking at the calendar, seeing that time running out, but, for some strange reason, think it will slow down for me long enough to catch up. Maybe I simply overcrowd my life with too much “busy” work. Or I simply have abandoned the discipline I used to have to put down that book, that magazine, that game or puzzle that has captured more of my attention than things more important. Maybe it’s a little of all of these things.

But this year, I am waging a war on it. I’ve been in this ‘blah’ sort of slump for too long. And it shows. I’m still searching for that accountability partner though…

May God bless you & keep you!

Animals, Creativity, Faith, Gratitude, Prayer, Spirituality, Writing

Reflections

As the last 28 minutes of 2016 wind down to the first seconds of 2017, nostalgia for what has been, both the good and the not-so-good things, of this year kindles.

I am liable to start blubbering. I lost a lot of fur- and feather-babies this year and I feel those losses keenly. I keep looking for Alice and Ariel, Trooper and Jillian, Blessing, Patience, Squire and Charity. It doesn’t help that Ariel, Trooper and Jillian were all geriatrics. No matter how much time you have with someone you love–human or humane–it is never enough. Trooper was my problem “child”, always into mischief and squabbling with the other cats–especially Pearl. And every day we shared was a gift that I wouldn’t trade for all the tea in China. Nor would I have wanted him any other way. Ariel…she and I go way back. I was blessed with 16+ years with her; I couldn’t have asked for much more but, again, there is never enough time. That was especially true for Alice, who died too young and unexpectedly, but who graced my life with so much love and hope while he was here. (Yes, he. Alice was named for Alice Cooper.) Jillian Bunny was probably the least skittish out of all of my bunnies and patiently put up with regular groomings and haircuts. Though the latter was always a little stressful due to the constant worry about nicking her, it was also a bonding time with us, a time where she was the focus of all of my attention. And my chickens all greeted me with their songs each morning–except for Squire. I confess, though it saddens me that he also died fairly young, Squire was the meanest rooster I have ever known. I did everything the “experts” suggested to tame him but he was a nasty boy. I’m saddened over any loss but was more relieved than anything else when I found him in the barnyard last summer…suspiciously so after he challenged Sargent Feathers earlier in the day. Just saying…

That’s true for humans, too. There is never enough time and I am more grateful than any words can express that friends and family are all hale and hearty this year.

As midnight creeps ever closer, I’m looking back not only at the losses but also the triumphs of this year. I had a lot of good classes, wrote some good pieces for those classes and kept the 4.0 grade point average in tact. Yes, I am boasting a bit but I’m proud of what I have accomplished. I also worked with a wonderful woman named Farnoosh Brock this year, taking her Smart Exit Blueprint course–it helped me to focus on what matters the most in my life, my passions, hopes, dreams, and gave me the courage to step out of the comfort zone and follow my heart’s desires. I’m not changing careers so much as simply giving myself permission to pursue the one I have always wanted. That has been writing, of course. And this blog is another triumph. It’s no longer collecting dust and I have been blessed with new acquaintances along the way. Lastly, through the SEB program, and a fundraiser at church, I discovered a love for painting. I use acrylics for the moment; hoping to branch out with watercolors and oils, too.

New Year’s Resolutions? I blogged this morning about overcoming my tendency for procrastination. And that’s a big one, one I can’t ignore. I think I’m also going the more traditional route and add “losing weight” to my list. Forget the 20 lbs. by November 20th. The goal is to lose 30 lbs. this year, to get into better shape, improve my circulation and eat better, healthier. That will do for starters.

And, as it is now 12:05 a.m., I say ‘goodbye’ to 2016 and welcome a new year filled with hope and prayer and faith. It will be a good year.

Happy 2017!

May God bless you & keep you!