Hello world!

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I started working on this post weeks ago and never finished it even though I have been meaning to, and trying to.

 January was a very rough month for me, and February, although *knock on wood* I'm slowly catching up to where I was before in November and early December.

I had a major set back when my Doctor changed the medication I have been on for a year. It was changed at the end of November and for a while things were OK but then things got really out of control very quickly. My entire body went into a flare up with symptoms I've never even had before and old ones stopping in to visit. We did blood work, a CT scan, and took me off all the new meds (3 of them) and put me back on the one I was on originally and after a few weeks of that, things slowly started to calm back down and by slowly, I mean slower than molasses in January.

It was really trying, physically, and mentally for me. It was like going back a year in time pain wise and everything was out of control. This is all due to a problem we've not been able to manage properly yet through surgery or meds, not the main issues that my surgeries either greatly improved or completely fixed. We haven't been able to fix this issue but we know for a fact now that the medication I've been on, while not making it go away, has obviously been keeping it at a more manageable level than any of us (Doctors included) realized.

Finally now I've been coming around although I'm still really tired, and still managing some symptoms, I'm starting to get back to where I was which is to say I am functioning a lot better, can at least get up and out of bed, and am not in uncontrollable pain. And along with that, my mind is waking back up. My mind, my creativity. I can finally think again clearly to write, I'm cooking more, I'm able to draw, get to the barn. So I feel a lot more motivated, inspired, and more like myself.

Finally I am rejoining the world again! It was stressful emotionally for me because I wasn't sure what was happening, or why, and neither was anyone else. It's emotionally draining when you are so consumed with what is happening to you that you can't see past it. But this has been a great time of learning for me as well, learning to stand up for myself better when it comes to my health care, learning what is going on with my body better, and learning how to teach myself better coping mechanisms as I move forward. So it wasn't all in vain, although it would never have happened had my new Doctor not changed my medications. I've still got a very long journey ahead of me, but at least I can see the road again, I was walking blind for quite a while again.

February was a very cold month here at the farm and this year we did not get our usual January thaw or one in Feb. We usually get at least a couple of days of warm temperatures where we can clean in the barn and things thaw out a bit. Last winter was brutally cold but even then we had a break, this Feb it was cold and stayed that way. This winter our well froze for the first time ever (it was easily fixable thankfully but still!) The water to our barn froze for the first time ever to the point where we have been unable to use it for over a month. Our mule (ATV) froze - the engine. We've never had that happen in 7 years.

But just now, it's breaking a little bit, the sun is starting to come back... Even though March has just arrived you can feel the change in the wind, it's not bitter cold, but it's that damp March wind that is warmer, but makes you chilled quickly when it's blowing. And even though March threatens to bury us in snow and it's completely unpredictable, at least we know spring is coming, we don't just know it, we can feel it.

Things on the farm leading up until now have been typical for winter: basic and routine.  Just... survival. The animals get fed and watered and kept warm, fire wood is cut and stacked, brought into the house and thrown into the wood stove to keep the house warm. Meals are prepared and minds are to be occupied. These are the times during the busiest seasons, part of us looks forward to. But during that time it's impossible not to long for the excitement of the seasons ahead. 

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It's been the same in the forest, everyone has just been trying to stay warm and full... and be patient.

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The Woodpeckers...

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Wild Turkeys...

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And our Deer friends. This picture is from January. We only have two or three deer now, which is quite alarming. But our turkey population is higher than usual.

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Every day we have a group of Males, and a group of females that come through past the house, and stop to eat seed. The wind is scattering the seeds off the Sumac trees which is a favorite of everyone.

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The little dogs are more than happy to, and actually prefer to, spend all day in bed. When I can't do anything they sleep with me constantly, get up for pee breaks and meals and that's about it. It's so bad that when I am feeling better and am up most of the day or all day, they actually get really annoyed! Douglas just puts himself back in bed, and the Chihuahua's go from bed to the wood stove, to their  new recliners. We got a new King sized bed and a bunch of furniture in December after Christmas and it just arrived the second week of Feb. Everyone is extra spoiled now!

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But when it's warm enough they come with me on short walks which they enjoy, as long as they get to come home and go back to bed!

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When we were out the other day I noticed there were Coyote tracks very near the house next to the turkey freeway. I found scat as well, just below the house by our garden. Hopefully he was just passing through.

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The little dogs also enjoy going up for a visit to the rest of the family... 

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Jackson had gotten his halter off because I had it so loose... when he gets it off like this (which he
does every winter) he thinks he's a wild man. I used to take it off completely for the winter but I leave it on loose now because he likes to think he's a wild horse without it on... as soon as it's on, he's calm, collected, and sweet as usual.

He wouldn't take any treats from me that day because he thought I was using them as a distraction to fix his halter (I was, but don't tell him) and he was very suspicious of me and my "gifts..." they needed to be left for him in his bowl to collect at a time of his own choosing...

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But no one else had a problem taking the treats!

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And they even shared with each other... kind of!

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Got more?

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Lavender and Beatrice

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Braveheart and friends...

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Douglas feeling very tough, from this side of the gate....

(I wanted to share this picture but I want to add this was taken several weeks ago, we've gotten a lot more snow since then in case you've wondered from the pictures!)

Now things are slowly starting to build up at the farm. Kevin and Jim are getting the sugar house ready as soon it will be time to tap. We made a trip a couple of weeks ago over to Vermont to Leader Evaporator company to buy some more supplies, including a 65 gallon tank to put in the back of the mule which will be easier to carry the sap from the bush to the sugar shack in. We have several barrels we use for this now, but they are heavy and spill quite a bit. There is a lot of work to be done to get ready and if the weather man can be trusted, the sap may run in the next week or so.

I have goats due anytime now so I have started midnight barn checks to keep an eye on everyone. I have three does bred for early March, two who are first time moms, and one doe bred for later in the month. Dahlia, my oldest Pygmy doe was with the buck, but so far aside from being chubby (which is normal for a Pygmy anyway) she's showing me no signs that she is bred, so time will tell.

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I'm very excited and very nervous as usual. I think I'm always more stressed out than they are. While I'm tired and not as strong physically, it feels so good to be walking up to the barn by the moonlight in the brisk air once again. It feels... normal. It reminds me I am still me, and things are still moving forward, the seasons, the days, that there are exciting times coming again. Life is still moving forward.

There are a few things on this on this farm, in my life, that make me feel like I am surrounded by magic. OK, there are more than a few, but a few that every year never get old, never seem just normal and basic, but always seem like suddenly I've been transported to a fantasy world. Walking to the barn at midnight in the cold snow, without a lantern because the moon is lighting my path... being greeted at the gate by my big dogs to walk with me through the snow, that is one of them. My senses are heightened, my mind is at that time (unlike the rest of the time) completely silent. I feel most alive, and most happy then, more aware of my blessings, my surroundings, the elements.

It's a gift. Just as the first time each spring the Whip-poor-will sings outside my window, or the first firefly lights up. Yes it's nature, it's a primal rhythm, but to me, it's also pure magic.

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The first night I started midnight checks really freaked Max out. He knew it sounded like me, and smelled like me but he had to really check me over closely to make sure some intruder had not stolen my jammies and was just pretending to be me.

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The dogs love it. They love the extra snuggle time and usually a treat, and they always like to show off what good guards they are for me, showing me who can run the fastest.

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Cold moon light...

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My target date for my two first time Pygmy moms and my Saanen, Brie, is the weekend. But I'm anxious about all of them and checking relentlessly because you never know. Aurora and Firefly are for sure pregnant, and nicely bagged up. Fireflies babies are making a lot of fuss, and I think she's closer than Aurora. Their sister, our midget Puffin, of course was not bred as she's way too small still.

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Every evening at bedtime, the dogs get a special treat either before dinner, or with their dinner, and every night they get pretty excited about it...

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They appreciate variety as well.

They love winter and actually do best in the cold. They have a house to go in of course with bedding and both of them use it from time to time, but this is their favorite time of year. I think Flavious has more hair on him than the sheep do!

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We've really been lucky the last few nights with great sunsets and clear nights.

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Last night of course the moon, and Juniper, were pretty awesome.

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Flavious under the moon...

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Today, it has been overcast and quite damp. Now it's snowing. We are supposed to get 5 inches but the weather man hasn't been right many times this year, so we'll see.

I washed my hair with a new shampoo... I switched from my usual lime to a coconut and everyone was pretty interested in checking it out. Lavender climbed on my back to get a good whiff of it...

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And then Dahlia who always grabs and sucks on my braids....


She has never actually snipped it before, but today she cut almost the entire end of one braid off. It actually took me a second to realize what happened as I stared down at the hair in my hand.

If you want a hair cut, she's now accepting new clients.

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Since the bucks are not hormonal anymore and are completely calm, Henrietta, the hermaphrodite has taken over as herd leader. Since I lost Sammy, my heart goat, last winter, things in the herd have been different. He was the boss of everyone, and he ran a tight ship. But since he passed no one has taken his place so it's kind of up and down as to who is in charge or who is being the most bossy on any given day.

Henrietta has tried to rise as the leader on a couple of occasions which is interesting because she is usually picked on by everyone. Henrietta's male hormones actually are stronger than her female, but since she looks more female or at least did when she was born, I've always referred to her as "her." I know, it confuses even me.

Anyway, she has never won the position, but with the bucks being real suck ups without their hormones raging and the females not caring right now, she is currently bossing everyone around. Puffin is the love of her life so she spends most of the time following her around.

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Rollie is just content to watch movies and snuggle inside where it is warm. At least until the grass is visible again.

I promise to write, even when I don't feel as inspired, because I think it's important for me, and I'm so grateful for all of you, for caring, for reading, for sharing in my world here. And with hopefully many tiring but great days ahead on the farm, I'll have much to share!


Jan B said…
HELLO! Oh my,I am so glad you are OK. Every day I would click your post and the same thing would come up. With your health problems, I'm sure everyone was very nervous. I wish only "good things happened to good people" But not so! Stay strong and get well,you are loved by many species!
Terra said…
That is good to hear you are thriving again and enjoying tending to your animal buddies. They are each so cute, even the naughty goat who snipped your braid.
The JR said…
I'm glad to hear from you. I'm so sorry about the set back and the issues you had with the change of meds. I'm familiar with how badly a medicine can affect you.

Love seeing all the critters. That last pic is too cute. You look good in the selfies.

I'm glad we don't get snow like that. I couldn't stand it. I hate cold weather and the few days we have are more than enough for me. They are saying we might get an ice storm tomorrow. Hope not, it makes the roads deadly.

Take care,
I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering how things were going. So glad to see a post up! Sorry to read about your little setback - hopefully things now will be on a smooth road of healing for you. Keep your positivity and this will help, I am sure! What a fantastic experience it must be to walk out to the barn under only the moon light. That sounds like bliss to me! Keep well...
12Paws said…
So delightful to read this new post and to hear about your unique farm & dear critters. Sorry, too, about your health upset--why don't doctors listen to us? we know our bodies! So glad spring is on its way. Hoping your sugar season is plentiful and not too labor intensive. And prayers for you & your mama goats.
Bobbi D. said…
So good to hear from you again. I have been wondering, but was pretty sure it was a combo of your health and winter. :) Glad you are on the mend again. Wish I was closer to help take care of you, lol. :)
k said…
So good to hear from you again. Can't wait to see pictures of the coming goat babies.
I'm glad you are back. I hope your health continues to improve and that spring brings back your energy. This winter, like the last, seemed really rough.

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