Well, I'm glad that's over.
I need coffee in the morning. I could live without it, but would that really be living? I mean I could live without wine too, but why?
I usually need at least one cup normally to make me feel like I can properly start my day. My day wouldn't be the same without waking up and grinding up coffee beans and brewing that hot nectar, heading up to the barn knowing when I return I'll have a cup of warmth waiting for me when I get back to the house. Mostly I think it's for my mind, and less for my body. But then there are other days when it's purely for motivational purposes. Like today. Without coffee today, I would die. Alright, I wouldn't actually die, but I'd feel like I would.
For the past couple of days, we've had our farm hand/babysitter Jim and his brother Dave here helping us with a big project that's we've had going on for a long time (a long, long, time). We have been putting pine boards up in our front room, to finish it. Once the boards are up, we can finally put trim on our windows and eventually we'll put tongue and grove pine on the ceiling, down the road when we can afford that project... (which will likely also be a long, long time, but hey, priorities first.)
So back to the current project. The reason this job has gone on for (*cough* five years) is mainly because we discovered, but only recently, Kevin is allergic to pine. He's allergic to a large number of things, many foods, sulfites, preservatives, but pine was a new one on us (he's also allergic to spruce, balsam, but thankfully not hardwood, otherwise we'd be in serious trouble since we heat our entire house with it and live in a forest full of it). Every time he got sick while we were starting the project up again, we blamed it on something else because he has so many triggers. Finally we realized it was the wood shavings. The wood being on the walls doesn't bother him, it's just the shavings and dust from the pine if you are cutting it, splitting it, sanding it, etc.
So we found some help to get the bulk of the project done anyway, at least to make some major progress. Kevin was already sick and he has been for a couple of weeks because he cut some wood while we were trying to get the sugar shack (where we make our maple syrup and where our evaporator lives) protected for winter since we still have to get a roof on it (a job we now know he cannot do, so we are trying to find some help for). His job during this project was to direct Dave and Jim and just explain what he wanted done, and be here to answer questions.
I was not involved, my help wasn't needed, so I cleaned the barn, went for a hike, did things away from the house for most of the day.
Fast forward to yesterday morning. Kevin calls me into the bedroom for help. Why does he need help? Because he can't see.... his eyes were swollen shut because his face has tripled in size and swelled up like a balloon. Once I got over the shock and finished asking him if he could breathe, and understand me, I told him I was calling the ambulance, I wasn't going to wait around and see if the reaction got worse. He had taken benadryl, and still had this severe of a reaction, so I figured it was dangerous. He could breathe just fine however... it wasn't that kind of reaction. His eyes and face swelled because he clearly got the dust straight in his eyes.
It was a good test run for me though, and I'm being serious. I've never had to call the ambulance out here and we have never had a real emergency, we've had injuries and illnesses, but nothing that stopped us from getting to the hospital ourselves in a timely manner. Kevin called once before because a neighbor, who is no longer with us, walked miles through the bush while he was having a heart attack (because he was confused, not because he was trying to get here, thankfully he just ended up here... he had been looking for someone he thought was poking around his house) and ended up in our living room.
The dispatch center is centrally located so they really have no idea where I am, other than looking at their maps. The problem is the township road you take to get to our lane way, is in one township, along with our mail box which is on that road, but the physical location of our house in the bush, is actually in another township. This is extremely confusing to people, the police, ambulance, election people, census people, you name it. It took me about 10 minutes to get her to understand. Thankfully the ambulance is local, so they had a much better understanding and had no trouble finding us. It took about 20 minutes for them to get here which is what Kevin said it took when he had to call for Anthony when he had his heart attack.
I suppose for being in the bush, about 30 minutes isn't that bad. But it is forever if it was a more serious reaction, or a heart attack or something. But now I know what I might deal with if the situation ever arises. The woman at dispatch says to me, "you must be really in the bush, very off grid." I said, "ya." Then she proceeds to ask me what color the house is, so they can identify which house it is. I said "well it's brown, but it's also the only house here." Sometimes one just has to shake their head.
As I came to find out, Kevin had been cutting boards and he got plenty of dust in his eyes and up his nose - and that was the problem. I was ready to have the guys take all the wood down because as far as I knew, all Kevin had done was nail in a few boards and put some electrical extensions in... but apparently not, apparently he got right in the dust a couple of times.
He spent the day in the hospital, and it took about 5 hours to get his eyes to open and then they kept him longer to give him more medication, they loaded him with huge amounts of benadryl and prednisone.. At 7 PM they said he could come home, he could see but otherwise his face was still pretty swollen. So Jim and I went into town and brought him home.
The nurse asked me "wait, have you seen him?" When I realized what she meant I told her I saw him first thing in the morning and she said "I just didn't want you to get a scare."
He is supposed to just keep taking benadryl and it will take days for the swelling to go down completely. It's much improved today. He'll be out of commission for a while though. I'm so grateful the weather continues to hold, we've had over a week of about 45-50 degree Fahrenheit weather, and consistent sunshine. The house is a complete disaster zone from the recent construction, so I've been working on cleaning up a bit. The guys managed to get a lot done but they couldn't finish the job because we found out our pine boards that were stored under tarps had all gotten soaked through, so we couldn't put them up wet. So our main wall didn't get completely finished. But I'm grateful for the progress. And we have a couple ideas for a different finish on the top of the wall, instead of just straight wood all the way up. Once we get this done we can put trim on our windows and doors, finally. It all has to be made by hand, by Kevin, but with maple, which he can work with. Thankfully. It's frustrating for him because he knows woodworking and he loves it. He can still work with wood but it's going to be hard for him to make his chairs and things. He has a respirator but that's not enough, he needs a full hood protection, not just a small partial face mask, and we haven't been able to find one that will suit his need yet. Hopefully we will.
Horace: What happened? What was with the truck with all the lights on it?
Lambie: Huh? Dad can't see? Now he knows how I feel!
Max: I've got things under control here ma, don't worry about it.
Hang on! Here we come!
Bucket: Honestly I just can't worry about it... As long as we don't run out of food, nothing really bothers me anymore...
Turkeys: we thought there was food... you mean to tell us you are holding a family meeting and there are NO snacks?
Turkey spokesbird: Don't let this happen again. Make sure the next family meeting is catered.
In other news.... Henrietta the Hermaphrodite, who's male hormones are dominate, apparently thinks that the wethers (neutered males) are also fair game and worth chasing and blubbering over. This is new, she (he) never did that before. For some reason, even though her male hormones are dominate, I still consider her a girl. She doesn't smell like a buck, she pees like a girl, and for the first time I'm wondering if my calling her a girl is contributing to her ongoing identity crisis.
I honestly don't care, she can't breed anyone and while she annoys the does sometimes, she is harmless. The bucks don't consider her competition so they don't fight her... However Bulrush is very annoyed he has a boy/girl goat chasing him and blubbering at him, he was pretty freaked out by it last night and even more so when she followed him into his pen in the barn. I saw the relief wash over his face when I removed her.
I have been keeping Buckwheat, my Saanen buck across the road from my barnyard pasture, and Barnaby the Pygmy buck in the barnyard/ goat yard. I tried keeping Buckwheat and his friends in the goat yard, but Barnaby jumped the dividing fence (which is short) to get to Buckwheat so they could fight. They had a bloody fight about 2 weeks ago, which I broke up.
So I've been keeping Buckwheat and Izzie moo and the wethers, and a couple girls, across the road. There has been no further problems.
Until this afternoon. I headed up to the barn to finish cleaning chores and saw that Barnaby had jumped over the barnyard fence, onto the road, and then jumped over the fence on the other side and into Buckwheat's area... and they were in the middle of a serious fight again.
Everyone not involved finds these fights very entertaining, as you can see... they just stand around and watch. I wouldn't be surprised if they were placing bets on their favorite fighter.
Who do you think Sammy is cheering on in the background?
OK boys that's enough. It looks bad I know - lots of blood involved, but just on the tops of their heads where there horns would be... thankfully they don't fight hard enough for blood to come out of their noses, which I've seen rams do. However it's not good - it's dangerous and it's just plain bad behavior. Hormones make one crazy and, well obnoxious, like a permanent teenage boy.
I may have to sell Barnaby. I'd like to keep him because he is cute enough, and while he's not really sweet, he isn't too much trouble except for the fighting with Buckwheat. I'd like to keep him until I see what kind of kids I get out of him, well out of the does he bred I should say.
But Buckwheat, even though he has less of a job now that I only have two big does for dairy, he's got into my heart and will remain there. He is also a very good boy and never causes me a lick of trouble.
But for now, we'll just continue to try and avoid these fights and keep them apart. My electric fence is off so that's not helpful - we probably will have to put a higher fence in or just put more electric wires higher on the fence. So we still have some options to mess around with. We could pen Barnaby up, but I'd rather not. I don't like having to keep anyone locked up, I'd much rather just sell him to another home if that ends up being our only option.
I pulled Buckwheat out of the fight, because he listens to me, unlike Barnaby. He came with me, because I had treats for him and that always works like a charm. He came across the road and into the other yard. As soon as he realized I tricked him and removed him from the fight he ran to the gate and starred across at Barn. Buckwheat doesn't realize you can jump fences, he thinks the only way through to another place is through the gate, so he just stands there and waits for someone to open it for him. No luck this time kid.
Since I separated them, Barnaby has stayed across the road and not jumped the fence again, he's tired now and basically he got what he wanted, he got Buckwheat kicked out of his area. I hate that he got what he wanted, but I can't catch Barnaby and he doesn't care about grain or treats, so poor Buckwheat always ends up being the one removed. Which only makes Barnaby's ego grow. You can pretty much see his head blowing up right in front of your eyes.
Barnaby was bossing around the wethers, which annoyed me. But things seem to be calming down now and everyone is going about their normal business.
Jackson the mini horse meanwhile, didn't care one bit and was sleeping.
I tried to sneak over there to get a picture of him without the fence in the way...
But as soon as I got there, even though I was sneaking, he started to get up...
Jackson: I see you there!
Don't be taking pictures of me while I'm sleeping, you know how I feel about that!