It has been a quiet day at the farm with lots of fog, very little rain (thank goodness) and enough clouds to make it look like late afternoon, early evening. Except for letting my hens and ducks out this morning and bringing enough wood to fill up the wood rack, I’ve spent the entire day inside writing letters. I hope this is not a lost art because I love writing and receiving letters from friends and family that aren’t living close by. This will be a short post today but I’m sticking to the challenge/resolution to fill my blog with things from the farm daily! Have a blessed evening and we’ll catch up tomorrow.
Hubby and I had a quick window of time to collect our sap this year and it turned out perfect! We decided to make the syrup by ourselves this year because of the unpredictable spring weather. We also decided that about half a batch would suffice so we only filled the sap tank with 135 gallons of clear maple sap!
Today and tomorrow I’ll be finishing up some posts of 2017, so bear with me.
It’s been such a busy year and I just don’t understand how it can be the end of December 2017.
On Christmas Eve morning I went to Covington to pick up my brother Dean and brought him to the farm to spend the day.
On Christmas day we drove to Roanoke to spend some time with hubby’s sister Dreama. She was full of family gossip and news and she seemed to like the gifts we took to her and we thoroughly loved the gifts she had for us.
We had a wonderful evening with the kids the day after Christmas.
Heather fixed a wonder dinner of baked ham, mashed potatoes, bacon wrapped asparagus, and so much more. We were all stuffed but still able to trod upstairs to open the gifts. Our children always gift us with wonderful things that we can use throughout the year and this year was no exception.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Happy New Year!
I’m still playing “catch up” with my blogging so things may come into play a little out of sequence but I write them as I get to them.
I have a twice-monthly ritual in my life that takes me to Covington, Virginia, to visit my youngest brother. I go every other Sunday and we spend the day doing whatever he wants to do. It takes me an hour to get to him and then we usually spend about 4-5 hours together before I take him home to Merryfield.
We go riding on roads we haven’t been on, we visit cousins, we go shopping, but we always go out to lunch together. He loves going to Tractor Supply to look at the farm equipment and all of the “cowboy” clothing! Dean’s favorite food is hotdogs with mayonnaise only and a bacon cheeseburger!! Occasionally we have pizza or we try to find a restaurant that he hasn’t tried. Sometimes we head toward White Sulphur Springs WV or Fairlea, WV or we drive into Lexington or Roanoke. The day just depends on the mood he is in or how much time we have. He loves to shop and we try to find unusual shops to visit instead of Walmart every visit. Eddie and I picked him up a couple of weeks ago and took him with us to a family reunion and my brother, Junior, took him home after the reunion so we wouldn’t have to do so much traveling.
I enjoy our visits and sometimes we just stay at his place and do something in his room. He prefers going out though for that one-on-one visit and we talk about what he’s done since the last visit. When we go out he dresses up in a shirt and tie and always looks like he’s stepped out of a men’s fashion magazine but he likes dressing up. His health is much improved though his kidney function is only 40% but you never hear him complain and he’s put back on some weight! Merryfield keeps him busy going to movies, concerts, wrestling matches, shopping, and Lifeskills during the week. Lifeskills is a school for teaching day-to-day things that most of us take for granted but he enjoys the interaction with his house and schoolmates everyday.
Yesterday, July 16th, I attended a Bradley family reunion at the farm of my cousins in Newport/Craig County. I had not been to a reunion since my Dad died in the late 80’s and it was held at my grandparents, Dewey and Mabel Bradley, home in Paint Bank VA. Most of our grandparents are gone and now the cousins get together once a year in July. My paternal great-grandparents were Ott and Melissa Carr Bradley and they lived on the mountain in Sinking Creek Valley. This reunion was held at the home of Uncle Claude, grandfather’s older brother, and Virginia Kathryn Bradley and I was treated to a tour of the beautiful farmhouse.
Everyone bought a covered dish and there was so much food including fried chicken, venison roast with potatoes and carrots, salads, desserts, homemade rolls and more. We each bought items for an auction to benefit the maintenance of the family cemetery which sits behind the house on the hill.
Cousin Ralph and Aunt Jean now own the house and land around it and are working like all of us that have old farmhouses to keep the house in good shape. Old farmhouses are a chore to update, restore and make livable. This one is gorgeous and I love the lower and upper porches on the front of the house. The banisters on the upper porch are beautiful and add so much charm and grace to the house. There’s porches on both side of the house too. While standing in the house the entrance doors and all windows were open which allowed a marvelous breeze to blow through, making the house feel air-conditioned with 80* – 90* temperature outside. While walking through each room of the house you could hear whispers of the family as they grew old in this incredible home! It made me want to go visit my grandparents home and hear those same voices of time that I grew up with.
Now, the auction was the entertainment of the day!! Cousins Ralph, wife Jean, and Cousin Joe kept the atmosphere full of laughter, smiles and goodwill as they “tried” to be auctioneer’s for the absent cousin that truly is an auctioneer! Everyone went home with treasures that others considered junk and a good amount of cash was accrued for the mowing and upkeep of the cemetery.
Cousin Ralph has promised to take me and my husband on a tour of the farm, cemetery and old home place on the mountain when the weather cools. In the meantime, I’ll pull together more information about my cousins, their families and our great grandparents.
What a wonderful and blessed day!! More stories to follow of my heritage as the summer goes on.
My daughters very good friend from Norfolk VA came to visit over the weekend for her birthday. Ashley and Heather grew up together in elementary school and only recently have they found each other again and I’m so glad they did! Ashley loves it here as much we do and as much as most of our visitors do. I thought I would share with you our farm through Ashley’s eyes.
It’s taken me a month to write this because I start crying! In January 2004 this little lady was given to me from my husband for a Christmas gift.
Due to the fact that it has taken me two weeks to get this far in the post I will just show you some of our pictures of her as she grew. It’s just too hard to put into words what a special dog/pet/family member she was!!
Nope, canning season is not over and believe it or not I’m glad. I’ve been canning half-gallons of apple juice all morning!
Our orchards did not bare much for us this year due to the frigid spring and heavy frost when the trees were budding and flowering. I love a glass of juice when I first get up in the mornings and apple juice is one of my favorites right up there with grape juice. We decided we would have to purchase some apples to make me some juice.
Eddie and I ventured over to Botetourt County last week and picked up six 70-lb. sacks of their cider apples. The day we arrived to pick them up they were sorting Red Delicious and they were beautiful Out of 420 pounds of apples we may have found a dozen with rotten spots.
On Tuesday, our daughter was off from work and came up to press apples with us. We cleaned up the cider press, washed the apples, and started pressing all of the wonderful juice out of the apples.
We finished the seventy pounds with two 12 gallon milk cans full of juice and a bowl full of apples left over to eat and make some apple bars.
We stored the cans in our garage until this morning so it would stay ice-cold and so the settlements squished into the juice would settle to the bottom of the can.
I washed up all of the half gallons jars and sterilized them for the juice. Eddie went to the garage and poured the juice gently into large stainless steel pots and brought them to the kitchen. I heated the juice just to boiling and poured it into the hot jars. placed the lids on and tighten them for canning. The jars were too tall to fit any of my canners so we used our turkey cooker for the job and it held five half-gallon jars.
After placing the filled jars in the “canner”, I filled it with hot water almost covering the jars, turned the heat up to high and waited for it to start boiling. Once the boiling started, I timed the process for 25 minutes and when completed I turned off the stove and let the boiling stop. I then picked up the jars and placed them on a heavy towel on my kitchen table (away from drafts) so they could seal. We have twenty half-gallons which should last through most of the winter.
The difference in the quart and half-gallon jar is shown here.
We saved the sacks the apples were in to use next year when picking our own apples if Mother Nature cooperates, bagging onions, drying walnuts or anything else we may need them for.
The apple peelings filled up one big galvanized bath tub and four five gallon buckets. We feed them to each of the three herds of cattle and our bulls. The extra milkcan of juice will harden to cider which we also love. If there’s any that gets too hard, I’ll let it turn to vinegar and store it in jugs in the cellar.
I just put some apple bars in the oven and I’ll share the recipe if it turns out well since it’s a new one for me!
There’s rarely anything that goes to waste on our farm. This does NOT end the canning season either!!!! I killed a really nice 7-point buck yesterday and the hams will be cubed and canned early in the next week.
Our chestnut season is over though and we sold 35+ pounds of those this week and saved about 10 pounds for ourselves to snack on.
Until next time. . . .
I don’t even know where to begin. My daughter and I decided to have an Estate/Yard sale and for the entire month, we gathered, took pictures, priced, organized and prepared for the largest yard sale I’ve ever seen that was for one family. Of course, it was four generations of collections of one family, the Caldwells. It was a history of the Caldwell family that was taking up too much space and after watching my daughter dealing with my mother-in-laws estate and the clean-out of her house, I decided I would not do that to my children after I’m gone.
We cleaned out my house, the Mansion, and the remains of what Heather and her Dad cleaned out of her grandmother’s “stuff” and had our sale on Saturday. It included, antiques from three or four generations ago, household items from our home, Heather’s home, my husband’s grandmother and aunt & uncle, and his grandfather and great-grandfather, tools, and we filled three entire rooms of the Mansion, the front porch and the yard.
We advertised on Facebook, our personal email contacts and asked everyone to share the details. We did really well and I was blessed to see so many old friends and acquaintances including my Dad’s best friend, Bobby Rose. What a treat to have him here on the farm. There’s a wonderful family story behind this which I will share at a later date.
We worked the sale with the help of a very special friend, JoAnn, my granddaughter and one of her best friends. We were too busy to take pictures during the day but I will share a few pictures of the treasures that left the farm.
This is just a teeny-tiny bit of what left the farm. The rooms of the house were as full as we could get them. It was a beautiful day and the cleanup has begun!!
You know spring is really on it’s way when the Caldwell family fires up the sugar house and loads the maple trees with sap buckets. Eddie and I tapped our maple trees last week with the awesome help of our son, Shawn. It was a spur of a moment decision because of the unpredictable weather situation. We tapped fourteen trees with 1-5 buckets depending on the size and condition of the tree.
We gather the sap every two hours so by the time we had all of the taps drilled, plugged and a bucket hung on them it was time for Shawn to start making the rounds to each of the trees. The sap was running like a heavily dripping faucet and soon the buckets were running over. We had a total of 52 buckets hung and we hauled it in milk cans from the trees back to the 210 gallon storage tank. The tank was filled well past the holding mark giving us about 225 total gallons of sap in 2 1/2 days. On Tuesday afternoon we pulled the taps and buckets, cleaned them and put them away for another year.
At this point we stored the tank full of sap in our garage where it would stay below 40* until we were ready to make the syrup and would be okay for 10-12 days as long as it stayed cold. We now waited for weather that was cool, dry and not too windy to fire up the sugar house.
On Friday, Eddie hauled in the firewood to use for the fire. It had to be dry and a sturdy wood that would stay really hot. We had a stockpile of old locust post that came from replaced fencing on the farm so he brought in two loads and placed them on top of three other posts laid out on the ground to keep the wood dry in the event it rained again before we started the fire.
Friday night we made the decision to make the syrup while we had at least one good day. I emailed the kids and we set the syrup vat on the fire pit. The syrup vat is a stainless steel vat with four sections.
We put the vat on the firepit around 9:00 p.m. Friday night and we thought we had everything ready. The sawed up fence posts were in the pit along with kindling and we don’t put the sap in until right before lighting the fire. (Don’t want no varmints sucking up the water or worse walking through it. The lights for working in the dark first thing in the morning were set up and ready. The hose was hooked up to the tank, buckets in place, and all we had to do was try to get a good nights sleep because it was going to be a long day.
The next morning Eddie got up at 5:00 a.m. and got the vat filled with sap, started the fire and when I got out of bed at 6:00 I could see the steam coming out from under the sugarhouse roof. It had been cooking good for about half an hour and Eddie was going to add more sap and the waterhose from the storage tank to the vat was froze. We were really doing some hustling trying to unthaw it. First he tried a small propane torch but that didn’t work and would have melted the hose. Then we tried running hot water from the house to the hose and that didn’t work. Finally we ran straight hot water into the hose, whipped it against the ground to beat up the slush and ice in the hose and finally after thirty minutes and almost scorching the syrup in the pans it broke free. At this point we filled the vat sections quickly again but this time we kept the hose off the ground by placing it on several milkcans from the garage to the sugar house.
After this things went pretty quickly and I left him to go to Covington at 9:00 to visit my younger brother. This was a short trip because he wouldn’t get out of bed and didn’t want to talk. I got back home a lot sooner than I expected and our daughter, Heather, had joined her Dad around 10:30 and things were going pretty good. Only about 75 gallons of sap had gone through the vats during my absense but I had about two gallons of syrup to strain and process. It was beautiful and so sweet. You have to remember though that when we collect that sap from the trees it looks and tastes like clear water.
We had a very successful day ending up with 53 pint jars and 6 quarts. We’ll sell the pints for $8 and the quarts for $12.
Here’s some of the pictures shared throughout the day.
Our granddaughter, Victoria, and her new beau joined at the end of the evening just in time for french toast and sausages. Fun and hard work was had by all!
What a very blessed Saturday I experienced with some cousins of my hubby! On May 15, 2014, his only surviving paternal aunt passed away. Peggy Ann was such a beautiful woman and I considered her a friend because she welcomed me into the family with open arms the first time I ever met her as did her husband, Dickie. Peggy Ann and Dickie lived in Lanexa, Virginia and have two children, Stuart III and Teresa. I’ve never met Teresa unfortunately but Stuart and his beautiful wife, Debra, have become very special to me and have been to the farm previously. They have a 28-year-old son, Stuart IV, and daughters, Heather, Dana and Brianne. Heather and Dana had not been here before and were anxious to meet us and see where they’re grandmother was raised along with four other generations.
On Saturday, all of the family except for Teresa and Bri, but including two special son-in-laws and four grandchildren, caravan to Craig County to memorialize Peggy Ann and spread her ashes on her beloved mountain on the family farm which connects to our farm. This was the first time that me and Eddie had met Heather and Dana and their children. Our daughter and granddaughter joined us shortly after they arrived.
We spent the day with four of the most adorable kids and one being a seven month (I think) little girl by the name of Vada but I’ve nicknamed Ducky. I was in heaven!!
Cousin Stuart was thrilled to be able to share the farm with his kids, son-in-laws, and grandchildren and they all visited the house that his mom grew up in. It’s still standing and they’re hoping to fix it up a little and be able to come and camp out whenever they want.
Hubby is not a great champion to babies and never was but I think he fell in love with Vada and she him!
He doesn’t let just anyone wear his hats!!
Before they trekked to the mountain in the cold to spread Aunt Peggy’s ashes they all got to visit the animals, check out the cellar, hives and sugar house after we had a small lunch.
This was a day I will never forget and am so looking forward to a return visit very soon.
This is another late post but better late than never!
My beautiful first-born has had a lot of exciting things happening to him in the last couple years.
Shawn was the little tiny thing born in 1973 at 6 pounds 4 ounces and the new love of my life in June 1973.
He grew up way too fast and we are so very, very proud of him. He took a new job in Christiansburg a couple of years ago after receiving his Bachelors Degree in Engineering. Soon after met the love of his life, Jennie Malone.
Recently got a very nice promotion, bought a new truck, bought a house AND got engaged.
Last month Jen’s mom and sister came for a visit with them and the newly engaged couple invited the family to a cookout at their new home and to meet Jen’s sister, Cynthia. We had met her mother, Barbara, last fall when she came to visit and they brought her to the farm. She and I hit it off right away and she’s a genuinely lovely person.
Eddie, myself, Heather and her husband, Joel met at the new house which they had put together after moving in within a month. I was really proud of all they had done and organized in such quick fashion. Eddie was very impressed with their new home and even more impressed that Shawn had a place all his own and not renting.
Anyway, back to the cookout, Shawn was the chef and I’m sad to say I didn’t get any pictures of that but what a spread they put out. He has become the “Grill Master” and all he needed was a chef’s hat!! We had chicken which had been marinated in a special sauce that Jen got from another chef (I believe), we had hotdogs, hamburgers and all the sides you could imagine and we pigged out. Everything was so good!!
Then came the homemade peach tart that Jen made that morning which was great. She loves making tarts. I had picked up a strawberry short-cake on the way to their home (horrible) and she had also made another strawberry dessert that I didn’t get the name of. Heather had made some of her divine deviled eggs and everything was delicious.
Shawn’s best friend joined us and a good time was had by all. There was lots of laughter, touring of the new home and relaxing on their huge deck on the back of the house. We ate until we couldn’t move and there goes the weight loss program I’ve been working on again!!
We’ve all been invited back and looking forward to it!
Not only did he build the table for me but he loaded it with plants that I’ll repot as soon as the cold snap passes this weekend. He also went to the woods and brought me this beautiful bouquet of trillium. The blossoms are so delicate and elegant, don’t you think?
After some searching and trying, reading and experimenting and finally asking the right questions, I got my Flicker widget to work on my blog. I hope everyone enjoys the photos I’ve uploaded and will continue to upload. The widget is to the left of this post and will look a little like what I pasted below.
My Photo Album
All you have to do is click on a photo and you’ll be taken to my Flicker website. I’ll also be adding more photos throughout the year to my photo page which is found in the title bar at the top of my blog. Hope you enjoy looking through them as much as I did when choosing what to put out here.
Now that the addition on the house is no longer a bedroom but a family room I’m working on creating a cozy family room. It’s not a large space but it allows us to entertain in a cooler environment away from the wood stove in the main living area. I want to keep it warm, friendly, country and “my style” and will turn the main living area into a man-cave type decor so that all of hubby’s friends that visit can sit around comfortably and admire his trophies and talk of old times. The man really is a hunter first and farmer second. The man-cave reveal will be in another post and today I’ll show what I have to work with and what I have completed so far.
Most all of that furniture has been removed and I’ve done the following arrangements for now. I want to add lots of seating that’s easily arranged so that when little brother comes for weekend visits I can bring out a fold away bed or futon.
Some rugs and wall decor makes a world of difference. I want to add a futon or small sleep sofa and some hassocks because when the whole family is here, we need the seating. Not too bad for a country girl using hand me downs and years of family treasures!
This is going to be a digest version of my life since 2007. My mom passed away in November of that year and my dad has been gone since August of 1992. When mom passed away I inherited my younger brother who is now 54, soon to be 55 years of age. He was born with a disease called PKU and is intellectually disabled. Me and my wonderful husband had told Mom before she passed that we would take care of him for as long as we could. We had some help from my siblings for a while but over the last four years not as much. I began to worry about what would happen if something happened to me and I did not want my husband to continue to be his caregiver though he has done quite an incredible job since 2007. I work full-time and hubby runs a 500+ acre beef cattle farm which is also a full-time job.
Though little brother is very easy-going and not a lot of trouble, his physical and mental needs are growing which led me to the decision that I would need further help from my siblings or I would have to find a care facility that would better suit his and our needs. The siblings decided they could not take him into their homes so in June I began looking into an intermediate care facility. This is no easy nor quick task because there are so few facilities and to get him accepted he had to be on Medicaid. He was already drawing social security from our Dad. I spent six months of the last year trying to find just the right place and TRYING to get Medicaid. Not looking for a facility that looked like a hospital or nursing home was my first challenge. I won’t go into all the details but if any of you see something like this in your future, don’t wait. Start the procedure now and be patient because dealing with the government is not a simple task when obtaining Medicaid and it’s looks like there lots of options around but they are either full, don’t except Medicaid or any number of other obstacles. We were not financially capable to pay for the change ourselves.
Little brother was very excited and anxious to move into a new place almost as much as we were. We found what I think is the perfect new home for him. There are only eight other residents in the facility and they have equal counselors/staff on premises 24/7. The facility itself is beautiful with several gathering rooms for the residents. Each resident has a roommate that share very nice, large rooms, closet for each and share a huge bathroom. They all have their own TV’s in their rooms as well as desks/seating areas to color, play games, work puzzles, and that type thing. Everyday they have a schedule which includes meals, entertainment, schooling, chores and personal care. There is a nurse on call everyday and a van is provided that takes them to Day Skills school Monday through Friday all year-long. The facility has a doctor that visits the residents on a monthly basis and more specialists that tend to their every need. He moved into the facility on January 20th, 2014 and loves it.
Little brother seems quite content and I call him every other night to check on him. Once a week they go bowling, have music night once a week and he has been able to pull out his guitar to entertain and sing and on Sunday night they have an hour of bible lessons. Plans are in the works to actually teach him some chords on his guitar. He is participating with the Special Olympics basketball team. He has been to the Kazim Shrine’s Circus this month but think the noise got to him there.
In addition to all the fun and learning he is involved in, the staff has been able to get him to see a dentist, had his hearing checked and his eyes checked. He has been to a lab twice for blood work. All of these things I could never convince him to do but I think their staff has a real knack for getting these things done plus the fact that he goes with the other residents that have these regular tests. Medical needs that I was not aware of are being met and I know now that he is in a better situation than he was with me. I do miss him very much but we talk real often and I go visit a couple of times a month or more. Weather has prevented me from going in the last week but he will see me next week.
He made me this for Valentines Day
and gave it to me week before last and he has told me he made me and my daughter a Valentine. Here’s a couple of pictures of him in his new home:
It’s been a bit of a challenge for hubby and I getting used to being home alone again. I think we’ll all be very happy!
We have a beautiful pond in front of the yard and it’s full of fish. It’s deepest part is about eight feet, I think. On good days when there’s not pollen and it not cloudy you can see the fish swimming around. We have perch, bass and blue gill in the pond. We also have some massive carp to keep the pond clean.
I love the gazebo but my favorite part of the pond is riding around in our pedalboat. Hubby bought it for me for Mother’s Day a few years ago. Last year we didn’t bring it out of storage but this year we did and I had high hopes of spending a good deal of time in it reading and relaxing.
Well, I haven’t been it but once since we brought it out of storage and that was to empty the rain water out of it so it wouldn’t sink. It’s been horrible boating weather even on a small pond. It has a lovely canopy that goes over the top to shade you from the rays of the sun.
With tomorrow being the first day of August I’m hopeful that the sun will be seen more and we can play on the pond as we have in the past.
This time last Saturday we were all preparing for a 40th birthday for my baby boy! First there was the outside preparation of mowing, setting up games, cleaning up the paddle boat, most of which my hubby and my daughter did while I was at work.
Saturday arrives and we’re doing last minute things at the farm. Heather goes to Roanoke to pick up the birthday cake and pick up the hotdog and hamburger buns I forgot the day before. The cake is designed to show the past and the present. Shawn had so many superheroes when he was growing up and it was appropriate that the new Superman movie opened this year the week of his birthday. He just graduated with a Masters in Civil Engineering from Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia. He’s had his associate’s degree for quite some time and finally decided it was time to work on the other. We are all so very proud of him!!
Now, all of the guests have arrived and here’s some pictures of the birthday party, guests, games and more!
And a few more pictures of the evening.
Waiting for his guests to arrive!!
Now it’s time for the wonderful slide show that Christine prepared. She used 155 photos I sent her along with some of her own and made a history of Shawn’s life from birth to the present. I got so emotional watching him grow up all over again. Shawn and I both cried at the end and ended up in hugging each other so tight and crying like babies. Christine did a wonderful job and Tim set up the movie screen for us. I’ll never forget the show for the rest of my life and am tearing up now just talking about it. It’s just so hard to believe he’s 40 years old. On with the cake!!
And now the end of the party grows near and Shawn HAS TO HAVE fireworks!!
And we couldn’t possibly end the evening without Victoria lighting up the group with sparklers!!
At 10:30 everyone started helping clean up the aftermath, hugging and promising to come back to the farm real soon and going home!! I think it’s a party/birthday that Shawn will never forget!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY BOY!!! Mama loves you!!
I just want to wish everyone a very blessed Thanksgiving! My home computer is still down and the reason I haven’t posted or responded to your posts. Hopefully back up soon and playing catch up!!
I am thankful for my beautiful family, my friends, my job, the bounty God has provided us and I hope you all are as equally blessed as I am!!
Until next time!!
Wow, look how long it’s been since I did a post!! I want to apologize for being absent! I took a sinus infection on the 16th of September and was out of work for a whole week. I’m still only running on 60% power and get tired easy. I seem to take these things at least once a year and I’m so tired of it. We can’t find one trigger that brings them on but I sure wish they would go away FOREVER!! The pressure in my face this time was unreal and caused a headache that lasted for four days. I would hold both of my hands on top of my head when I coughed to keep the top from blowing off. The doctor put me on 1000 mgs of amoxicillin on Wednesday the 19th twice a day for ten days and I was using Maximum Strength Mucinex for the congestion but had a really bad reaction to it on Sunday evening. I don’t think I’ll be taking it again. Hot wet compresses on my face helped at times and the heating pad on top of my head helped the headache at times. I used a half a bottle of saline solution up my nose. Nothing seemed to help! I am such a wimp when it comes to this stuff and I never seem to take a mild case! I used two whole rolls of toilet paper and two large boxes of Puffs tissues the first two days of the mess. I was scared to death it was going to cause what would be my SECOND case of vertigo and this was my reasoning for going to the doctor early! VERTIGO IS A MEAN TRICK ON THE BODY AND SOUL!!!
Anyway, I’m back to work and feeling better. I can’t wait to go out on the farm to see the new babies. I’m looking forward to bow season and I’m hoping to start a new quilt this weekend. The chestnuts are falling, the English walnuts have all fell, the black walnuts are falling, the pears are falling and the apples are falling.
Yesterday when I got home the chickens had made a huge mess in the yard (because someone left the gate open) and I have a bunch of mulch to rake back around the roses and flower gardens. I think hubby was ready to butcher all of them!!!
Of course, it didn’t help that while he was working with a neighbor to cut corn that the cows decided to widen a missed hole in the fence and now the fall and winter herds are all together. Hopefully, we’ll get them all separated this weekend. I REALLY think it’s time for hubby to take a weeks vacation with friends away from the farm!! He doesn’t do well when I get sick and everything aggravates him ten times worse.
Everyone stay well and I’m back with more stories and pictures!!
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare condition in which a baby is born without the ability to properly break down an amino acid called phenylalanine. Phenylketonuria (PKU) is inherited, which means it is passed down through families. Both parents must pass on the defective gene in order for a baby to have the condition. This is called an autosomal recessive trait. Babies with PKU are missing an enzyme called phenylalanine hydroxylase, which is needed to break down an essential amino acid called phenylalanine. The substance is found in foods that contain protein. Without the enzyme, levels of phenylalanine and two closely-related substances build up in the body. These substances are harmful to the central nervous system and cause brain damage.
Now you may wonder why I would start a post with all this medical jargon. Almost five years ago, my youngest brother came to live with me when my Mom passed away. You see, he was born with PKU and my other siblings could not take him in and none of us wanted him put in an assisted living facility. He is very capable of taking care of himself in many ways but has to be reminded of when and sometime how to do things. If you sat in a room with him you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with him.
He is 52 years old and healthy. He loves watching TV, riding in the mountains, talking about bear hunting and he is an avid Dale Earnhardt JR fan. His days are spent (mostly) in his room watching television, coloring and “writing” in his notebooks. On very warm days you’ll find him outside sitting on the porch watching for wildlife with the binoculars or riding his “big green tractor” (lawnmower without mowing deck) all over the farm. He has wonderful stories to tell me when I get home in the afternoon. Most of the stories have some added imagination.
The main reason he needs to be with us is because he can’t prepare meals for himself except for lunch (he has his everyday favorite peanut butter and apple butter sandwich). He has to be reminded to straighten his room and bathe. He makes his bed every morning and fixes his cup of coffee before retiring to the recliner to watch TVLand all day. When he first came to live with us, my husband had a small suite built onto the back of the house just for him. He has a sitting area and sleeping area and he calls it his apartment. He has a huge assortment of movie dvd’s and when he’s bored with TV he watches the movies. His exercise consists of going to the bathroom or going to the table to eat. He’s convinced himself that too much walking with cause his knee to go out which it has several times but only when he was working in the yard when Mom was alive.
There are several health issues we may face with him in the future but for now he is doing fine and refuses to see doctors of any kind. We are fortunate in the fact that he is healthy. He doesn’t require any special attention but does need to be checked on during the day and this has come to bear on my husbands shoulders since he’s home being the full time farmer and I have to work to have health insurance (enough about us).
I realized last night and thought about it coming to work today of all the losses in my life. I lost my youngest brother when I was six years old to pneumonia and he was eight months old. I’ve lost my grandparents and some very special uncles. I lost both of my parents to brain cancer. Just recently and over the last three or four years I’ve lost some very close friends. I’m amazed at how many friends I have that are widows and they are all my age. I worry that they may have financial difficulties if they don’t have their homes and vehicles paid for, that they may not have family close by, that they will have an empty void in their lives because that spouse is gone. I can’t begin to imagine what they are going through. I feel very fortunate and blessed that I have my husband and kids close to home.
I feel like I take advantage of the fact that I have a husband and close friends with me daily. It makes me wonder, do I appreciate this man enough? Do I tell him enough how much he means to me and how much I love him? Do I appreciate all he does for me every day? Do I know him well enough after forty years together? This goes for my friends too, do I tell them or show them how much I appreciate their being a part of my life? Maybe, maybe I need to show him and everyone more often and in better ways? I’ll work on that.
I met my husband 40+ years ago when he dated my sister a couple times and they parted ways but he and I became close friend and six months later we married. He gave me a home, companionship, my two beautiful children and also gave a home to my handicapped brother when my mom passed away. Not many men I know would have taken on that burden. He’s taught me to respect and love the outdoors and hunting. He’s taught me so much about farming and living off the land as he was taught. I’m not saying he’s perfect but he is a perfect fit for me!! He is the reason, I believe, that I am the woman I am today. I don’t think I would change a thing in my life if I could go back EXCEPT change the closeness I use to have with my siblings.
BUT, life is good and I do love my family and friends very much!! (Note: This photo is 10 years ago but he’s my sweetheart!!)