Monday, December 13, 2010

surgery update

Look at me, on the computer! I asked Miss Kat to bring it up today as I actually felt like checking in online--briefly. It IS almost nap time...

Surgery went well--as far as I know. I was in for two hours rather than one as expected, but I keep forgetting to ask the Dr why it took longer. I won't see him again until the 30th, so maybe I'll remember then, or maybe by then, it won't matter. will, I am a curious person and like answers, so maybe I'll know what all happened.

I can say with all confidence that once I woke up, I hurt. I hurt a lot. I hurt more than I thought I would and I hurt more than I probably ever had. I can also say with confidence that when they ask you to rate your pain level from one to 10...that's a stupid thing to ask--too subjective. Because I refused to say "10" and didn't even want to say "8 or 9" both are wimpy. So I only rated my pain as a 7. Looking was probably a 9. The morphine pump did not get me through the pain for 24 hours. I lived in 15 minute intervals--which was how often I could get another hit. Once we switched to pain pills, I did much better. I did ask my son to shoot me, but he and Mom and Kev were all fairly patient with grouchy me.

I was rather annoyed with my husband, who would check my pump every time he came in the room to see how many times I'd hit it. He'd then announce my number to me and Mom..."O look, your at 17...25...40..." Pissed me off actually. But, in hindsight, I now can see that it was his way of seeing how much pain I was in. I was interpreting it as a "how much of a wimp is my wife being?" (And I did not tell him he was annoying me.)

In actuality, he was a sweetheart. He opted to work in the hospital that day so he'd be close by and could check in on me frequently He stayed late and helped me get in and out of bed and help me get comfortable. Once I was up and walking, he'd walk with me--just like he does his regular hospital patients--except he didn't charge me for the therapy, and he give me kisses. (In fact, one nurse, who didn't know I was his wife, asked him if he kissed all his patients!) He would refill my ice cup whenever I needed more ice too. I didn't have to wait on a nurse, ,which was nice. Since it was his weekend to work, he was there with me Saturday and Sunday too.

I had been told that I'd probably go home Saturday, but I couldn't go home till Sunday because my bowels weren't making and passing gas. SOOOOOOO annoying...who knew farting was so important? But, until then, no food or drink, other than the ice chips. Which was fine, my appetite didn't come back until...Tuesday? Wednesday? One of those days.

I got my staples out this past Thursday. Feels so much better now. I can lay down flat, when before, with the staples, I couldn't. They just pulled and laying down was uncomfortable. My new goal is to sleep on my side again. And for my stomach to not be numb from the belly button down. And to take a bath. I can take a bath this coming weekend. Believe you me...I'm taking a bath!

I did have a couple of issues that came up...1. I am allergic to the tape they used, I had nice blisters and some scabbing under the tape that held the bandage on. And, 2. apparently, I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic, because on Thursday night, once I got home from seeing the Dr, we found I had hives all over my back.

I knew it had been itching like crazy, but attributed that to me laying/reclining so much or dry skin. When I finally caved and asked Kev to put lotion on my back, we found the hives. No wonder I itched! I will have to remember to mention that to the Dr next time I see him. I need to know what exactly he used.

But, I'm on the mend. I'm starting to feel like ME again and I'm getting frustrated with my restrictions, so I'm doing fine. Just don't make me laugh, cough, or sneeze. Those are NOT fun. It's amusing for Kev--watching me suppress sneezes or coughs. But, that's my job, amusing Kev.

I've started doing some cooking again and I help Miss Kat with the dishes, but I'm being good and am not painting the hallway, or cleaning the toilets or scrubbing the tub or vacuuming...but, I am getting tired of TV and my books. I've picked up a little stitching project, but can't seem to work on it very long before I'm restless. I've got 4 more weeks of restrictions. I'm going to try to be good, but it's not going to be easy.

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers everyone. I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Riddle me this...

Why do enema's come two to a package? I have to use one for my pre-op. ONE.

I will never use the second one. Are they so hard to figure out that I need a spare?

And, why do laxatives come in bottles of 50 or 100? I need TWO pills. I do not need a bottle of 50...

And with that, someone is thinking TMI, TMI!

Catch ya later!

Thanksgiving fun

Kev's parents joined us over the Thanksgiving holiday. They drove out from Colorado Springs. Contrary to tradition and popular thought, I like my in-laws and actually enjoy seeing them and spending time with them. I just wish we got together more often.

One of the things we did with the folks was to show them around the area. Kev's Mom wanted to have a feel for areas I talk about here, so showing her around was a perfect excuse for Kev and I to run around--something we enjoy anyway!

I managed to grab the camera and had it ready for our first stop--the Ranch. Kev actually wanted to show his folks where he hunts and the ranch is so rugged and pretty that we just had to show it off.

Dad wasn't at the corral when we got there, but he soon arrived, herding some calves back to the pens. These calves came in last week and Dad likes to keep them close for a while just to make sure they all survive the stress of the move.
My 67 year old father, still on horseback. It was a little chilly--below 32 degrees. I was surprised he wasn't wearing his chaps, but I'll bet he had his long johns on! I like watching Dad ride. He "is one" with the horse--zen like. (And cowboys everywhere are laughing at the Zen comment!)
After this point, we wandered off down in the canyons...and my camera said "Battery Exhausted" and refused to cooperate with me the rest of the day. I asked Kev if he would run me to Minneola to get new batteries, and he gave me "the look" which meant NO.
Our next stop was the farm where we spent several hours looking at "Old crap." Kev's Dad loves old crap too! So we had a good time. In fact, I found this treasure back under the eaves of the house...

An Aladdin lamp with intact chimney and a bug screen to boot! It's a Model B Aladdin lamp made between 1935-1939. Dad remembers studying by the light of this this lamp. (They didn't get electricity until the 1950's).

Sadly, it needs a good cleaning, and I need to see if I can find replacement parts for all the brass fittings. The wick was still in the lamp but I can't get it to move and the burners are in bad shape. (look below)

Never fear, I got it apart, and washed the base. It's much cleaner. The chimney is in perfect shape. The bug screen won't keep bugs out, but I can easily get a new one. So, sometime in the near future, I'll be browsing the web looking for new parts to get this lamp back in business.
It was a nice holiday spent with people we love.
Now, my mind turns to other surgery is tomorrow. Don't know if I'll be blogging again soon, but I'll try. I have a stack of 8 books, my mp3 player is loaded with 2 audio books and 20 some hours of music. I have lots of DVD's waiting to watch and then there are all the Christmas movies on Hallmark. I have several stitching projects lined up too. Most of the Christmas shopping is done. Not wrapped, but done! So, I guess I'm ready.
I'll be seeing you all soon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2 week deadline

In two weeks I'm having a complete hysterectomy. Which will end the issues you've read about a couple of times here. But, the progesterone the Dr. prescribed isn't necessarily helping--it's just masking the issue. I expected him to want to try this and that and something else, but he caught me off guard when he said "hysterectomy."

Now, since the diagnosis, I've been doing a lot of research and knew that this was an option--this and an endometrial ablation--but I kept expecting that I'd just snap back to normal after the D&C. I can't express how I felt when the bleeding started again--after 14 days of no bleeding. So, I called, and went back in, and here we are...

Now I chose to bypass the ablation (which is basically where they burn and scar the endometrial lining which means it can't build up and thus, no blood) because I do have a family history of uterine cancer. If I'd do the ablation, and if I ever developed uterine cancer, we'd not know it until it was in a very late stage. Not good. So, the Dr said my best option is the hysterectomy.

I'm done with my more babies from us. And I'm not adverse to having it removed. But I figured we'd do a vaginal hysterectomy. But NO...I have to have an abdominal one because of the size and shape and tilt of the darn uterus, the Dr's afraid my other organs might prolapse. So I'm guessing there's a chance they might anchor stuff...he said he just wants room to actually see what's where and you can't do that vaginally. Which means I'm gonna have a longer recovery.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm not a very good sick person? I dislike being in the hospital, where your every word is recorded and the nurses don't always understand my sarcasm. (note to self: Keep thy mouth shut at all times when any medical personnel are in the room.) I also greatly dislike someone telling me what I can and can't do. I greatly dislike having to abide by someone else's rules. I also dislike people hovering around me and I have to remember to not tell anyone to "Go away and leave me the hell alone." Cause I'm going to want to say that...a lot.

So...all this leaves me with a slight problem...

I have two weeks to get all my Christmas shopping finished.

I have the little kid's shopping done...and that's it. Nothing for Miss Kat, or Andy, or Kev, or my folks, or Kev's folks. Nothing. Kev and I decided that we'd just do something nice for each other. I want my "Mom's Cooking" framed with barn wood. I've asked him to do that. He wants me to get the cushion sewn for the bay window. And we decided to buy a new dishwasher. The one we had quit pumping water in August and the 14 year old dishwasher is mouthy...I want a quiet one. So, I'm going to go look for a dishwasher over my lunch hour.

But the rest of my clue.

I guess I'd better get myself in gear and finish shopping and get ready for surgery too. It's gonna be a wild 2 weeks...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Once the weather turns cooler, one of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to make bread. I love baking bread. Some of my earliest memories are of Mom making Bread. When it would come out of the oven, she'd slice off the heel, and spread butter on it and then sprinkle it with sugar.

That was the best snack ever. I can still remember the feel of my teeth crunching through that layer of sugar down into that buttery warm bread. (Give me a minute to just enjoy that memory...I haven't eaten bread that way since I was little.)


Kev loves home made bread, so I make lots of bread in the winter months. And now, with the new bay window, I found a new place to let my bread raise:

What? Doesn't everyone stick their bread dough in their living room window to raise? I read in lots of cooking blogs of different ways to cover bread dough, but we have always gotten a tea towel wet --with warm water, and used it to cover the bread dough. So, that's what is on my bowl of dough. It raises quite nicely in the window too.

This mess below is sauerkraut.
Last winter, a friend of ours, Deanna, gave us a jar of home made sauerkraut. Now, I greatly disliked sauerkraut until I tried Deanna's home made kraut. It is SO much better and flavorful than store bought kraut. Nothing at all like that nasty stuff they used to serve us at school. I never had kraut at home because it's one of those food items that Dad didn't like and refused to eat, so Mom didn't cook it or make it.

Kev and I really enjoyed our home made kraut on our home made brats. It was yummy. so, this year, we decided to make some ourselves. I didn't get much brine when I initially made the kraut, so someone told me to simply make a brine when it came time to can it. I did that, but think that the brine was too much. It's a wee bit salty. But, we've rinsed the brine off and that seems to remove that saltiness. I'm not sure my kraut is as good as Deanna's, but we're all set with 7 jars.

I have to admit, it was fun making Sauerkraut. How many times do you purposely let something ferment in a bowl, in your guest bedroom/office? Every day or so, I'd go peek at it and watch the mold grow on top of the brine (and, yes, I discarded the mold. Everything I've read said that was normal.)
Now, we've got Sauerkraut...all we're missing is home made brats. We've still got some ground pork in the freezer, so we'll get those whipped up in no time...and then, aah...good eatin!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More "Flat Kansas"

See those tree tops? You're going to see those trees again. Kev and I walked across the pasture to this draw on the Ranch. Ok, maybe we rode on the 4 wheeler most of the way, but still, it's typical "flat" Kansas...Kev asked me to come join him out at the Ranch late Saturday afternoon. He was doing an all day hunt since the deer have finally started rut, and since we've finally had some cool temperatures to get them moving. He'd seen "his" big Muley buck earlier in the day near this draw and decided we needed to sit and wait for Mr. Big Buck to come by. We examined these two cuts that meet and tried to decide where exactly we should sit. Those little rocks are taller than I am.

We were up on top of the bluffs and looked down this cut to check for deer sign. It's a lot farther down there than it looks--those trees are probably 5 feet in diameter.

Kev was wearing his Guhille suit. We sat down off the top of the bluff and he sat in front of me. The sun was nice and warm shining on us. If you look at the tree below Kev, you can get some idea of how high up we still were--and we weren't up on top either. We were about half way down the side of the cliff.

I enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine, but Kev got downright HOT. We never saw Mr. Big Buck. He chose to go somewhere else. But, typical Kev, we walked down to the bottom of the draw and walked back up by those trees and up the cut. It was a workout. I still can't figure out why he thinks we always have to go down before we have to come all the way back UP. Must be a guy thing.
On the other hand, I must be imagining it, because after all...Kansas is flat.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Pasture trails

There are no roads in pastures.
I take that back...there are a few roads, but most of the roads you make yourself. Pasture roads aren't paved and seldom are maintained unless you have an oil or gas well, and then the oil or gas company usually builds a road and maintains it. This is not a maintained road, but it is a pasture road...or trail.

When you drive in a pasture, over time, your vehicle leaves ruts. Especially when it rains. When the ruts get too deep, you just scoot over and make a new trail. And when that new trail has ruts that are too deep, you slide over again--if you can. Sometimes you can't because of cliffs or fence rows and such.

That's what folks did on the Sante Fe Trail too--when the ruts were too rough or too deep or too muddy, they'd just slide over and start over. In fact, if you go somewhere to specifically look at the ruts from the Sante Fe looks just like this--except the ruts a little narrower and closer together.

Notice those curvy squiggles in the ruts on the far right side above? Those aren't tire ruts...those are cattle ruts, or a cattle trail.While cattle tend to walk in a straight line one behind another, they will also jog around an obstacle too. Who knows what the obstacle was here, it could have been a fresh cow patty, or a snake, or a mud hole. You never know when you're dealing with cattle.

I can tell you, it takes an entirely different set of skills to drive in a pasture. You most certainly don't want to get off the current trail and slip into one of the older trails...especially if you are driving a car and not a pickup. But, it's an adventure. Try it sometime.

Monday, November 08, 2010


Do you get letters--in the mail--anymore?

I don't. Or seldom do. And, I'm bad about writing them too. I need to write to my mentor, and my first supervisor, Ruth. She retired over 20 years ago, and I used to see her regularly, but I haven't seen her since her husband's funeral 2 years ago. I've written twice, but should write more. Does it count that I think of writing her at least once a week?

My Grandma Woodruff was a great letter writer. She's send a letter to all of her kids every week. If she'd seen you in person during that week, then you didn't get a letter, otherwise, you could count on a letter from her every week.

As a kid, I looked forward to her letters. When I was going to school at Texas Woman's University, I enjoyed them even more because they were a symbol of my roots and I knew that Grandma loved me enough to make sure I got mail every week.

Grandma typed her letters, and we all got the same letter. She used this typewriter for years and years and gave it to me when I was in High School, and when she upgraded to an electric typewriter. She's use carbon paper (remember carbon paper?) and onion skin paper. Onion skin paper is very thin paper. Since she usually had 7 letters or more in the typewriter, she used the onion skin paper to keep the bulk down in the typewriter. Typo's and all were still there...she'd try to correct them, but we'd just have to interpret what word she'd messed up. Typo's didn't matter!

Sometimes, she'd add a small short note to us at the bottom of the letter. And she always signed each one by hand. I still have a few letters saved. They are a very special memento.
Grandma's typewriter didn't have the letters printed on the keys. It was a manual typewriter. Pica type. Your fingers had to be very strong to type on this old iron, manual typewriter...
When I quit using it, we stored it in the basement. It's got some rust on it now. I've tried to clean it up as well as I can. And, it now sits as a decoration in my office. I like to think of it as a weapon...if anyone tried to hurt me, all I have to do is heave this 30 lb typewriter at them. It would drop an elephant!
Besides, every time I look at this old antique, I think of my Grandma Woodruff. She was a special lady and I miss her very much.
So...take time to write a letter to someone you love. Me, I think I just might actually get that letter to Ruth written this week. There's nothing better than getting a letter in the mail.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Traveling Conq

There's a 10 year old tradition at DCCC; the traveling Conq trophy. It's given to someone who's gone "above and beyond" and to someone who deserves a little recognition for a job well done.

I received the Traveling Conq last week. Here it is:
It's grown over the years. I'm told that it started out as one trophy. Now, it's 4 trophies tall and is covered with a memento from everyone who's received it. I received it from the Maintenance crew who wanted to acknowledge my hard work and all the changes I've made in the library making it a "warm and homey" place for students to enjoy. It means just a little something special coming from the guys who've hauled out ump-teen loads of crap that I've eliminated from the building. They are special guys--almost as special as the maintenance staff at Colby.
I'm very honored to have received the Traveling Conq. Can you believe it's the first "formal" recognition I've ever received in over 20 years as a professional? Colby CC never recognized anything that anyone did.

I still haven't figured out who to pass this on to. It has to be someone in another building. I've got a couple of ideas, but haven't decided who deserves this award. I do know what' I'm adding to the trophy:
This is an online comic, Unshelved by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes. This strip was published February 6, 2005. Somehow, it fits my library... (just click on the image so you can enjoy the strip.)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Sunday dinner

Our meal yesterday:

Ham--processed, smoked and baked at home.
Potatoes--from our garden
Corn--from our garden
Tomatoes--from our garden

Cherry Pie: homemade. Cherries from a friends tree. Pie crust, courtesy of Pillsbury...
Pumpkin pie: Homemade by Mom...probably NOT from her garden since she didn't grow any pumpkins :)

It's very satisfying to know where your food comes from.

The meal was for Mom and Dad's 48th Anniversary which will be Tomorrow, November 2.

Good times, Good food, Good Company.

It doesn't get better than that.

And, Dad's hearing aids must be working, I didn't hear him say "what's that" all day!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Aren't these just the cutest little kids you've ever seen?

These kids happen to be me and my little brother, Steve. He's 11 months younger than I am. So in these pictures, we must have been 2 and 3? Maybe 1 and 2?

I don't remember these pictures being taken, and I'm not sure you can tell, but I'd been crying. In fact, there is a trace of a tear on my face. (You can see it in real life, not sure you can online.) I hated having my picture taken. Still do. But up until I was in Kindergarten, I cried every single time Mom took us to get our pictures taken. In fact, I distinctly remember Kindergarten picture day. Mom asked me to please not cry, because I was a big girl now. I was so proud when I got home and told her "I didn't cry Mama."

These pictures are "preserved" in plastic. In the later sixties, one popular craft project was to make these plastic thing-y ma-bobs. I remember Mom and Grandma doing some. I know Mom made herself a turtle pin cushion and Grandma had this "paperweight" of Steve and I.
I remember the jugs of the liquid plastic that they poured into molds. Then they tinted a small amount of plastic and poured it on top of the clear to tint their item. That's what I hope you can see in the picture above, the layer of color.

So, they poured plastic, laid the pictures in, poured more, and then another layer that was tinted. It was a short lived craft project, because this paperweight and Mom's turtle are the only two items I remember having around the house.

But still, it's a nice memento of a very cute little girl and her innocent looking brother who was never innocent.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Pellet Stove project part 2

It dawned on me just last week, that I had never posted a "finished" picture of our pellet stove/rock wall project. Maybe I never posted those pictures because

  • we finished it 6 months or more after we started the project
  • Miss Kat had the camera
  • I never got around to it?

Let's face it, with me...any of the above reasons could be accurate.

So...without further ado...ta da!

We halted our initial project about 1/2 way up the wall...because Kev wanted a "chunky" "rustic" mantle. And, living on the High area also known as the "Great American Desert", chunky, rustic wood mantles are hard to come by.

Let's face it, trees are hard to come by...well, trees of any size. And sawmills are non-existent. But, after looking several months, and after preparing to drive several hours to Eastern Kansas, we discovered that there's a sawmill 30 miles away from us. The sawmill owner is a tree trimmer and he has it just for fun. Kev talked to him and he happened to have recently cut up a Black Walnut tree. Kev drove up, and for $50, brought home a huge chunk of lumber.

He decided to leave the bark on, and the white wood that is usually tossed. He then cut the mantle and the supports for it. We sealed the bark with polyurethane and Kev placed a few finish nails in it. He hopes that will keep the bark on our mantle for all eternity.

Kev has at least 1/2 of his chunk of wood still in the garage. He say's he's going to make a coffee table out of it...someday. I'm not holding my breath. But, I have to admit, our mantle is pretty. I like it and I'm proud of what we accomplished.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Just in case

Kev and I went out to the farm on Saturday. Our purpose was to look for deer and deer sign, but we didn't see any, so we spent some time just riding around on the 4 wheeler, and looking through the grainery.

I imagine it was actually built by my Great-Grandfather, Harvey L. Woodruff. It hasn't been used to store grain for years and years. Instead, it's become a storage shed. Because, you know, old farmers never threw anything away. They stored most of what they stopped using--just in case.

I like the grainery. I like exploring the stuff in it, and I think it could be restored and made into a little cabin. It just needs repair and a roof and windows and maybe a little extermination, but it's in pretty good shape for as old as it is. Kev refuses to consider remodeling. But, he does think the foundation would be a great foundation for a new "hunting" cabin. But I'm not holding my breath that we'll ever do anything with it. I'm not even sure we'll ever get it cleaned out.
Remember I said that old farmers kept everything? These are just a few shots of "stuff" still stored in the grainery... When was the last time these horse collars were used? I'm guessing the 30's. I know Grandad bought his first tractor in 1929... But, we still have the horse collars...just in case.

And this is a mish mash of...stuff. Hanging on the wall...just in case.

The knife sharpener...or grinding wheel. We kids used to love sitting on this and "riding the bike". We'd sometimes sharpen sticks on this. I should really look to see if we can clean this up. I'd take it home...just in case I needed to sharpen something.

Some things, were hung from the rafters. To protect them from mice and other critters. I have no idea what is in any of these buckets and barrels. I didn't get a picture of the mattress hanging up there as well. Personally, I wouldn't sleep on it, but it's there...just in case.

Heaven forbid we threw away some bolts and nuts. Instead, let's keep them...just in case anyone needs a bucket full of rusty old bolts.

Now these are really treasures...Those arched pieces of wood are actually wagon bows. The very same wagon bows that were on the wagon my Great Grandfather Harvey had on his wagon when he and his wife, Mary, came to Meade Co. No idea when they were used last...but we still have them...just in case!
(and seriously, if you have any idea of what we could do with them, I'd love to know cause I would like to do somethingwith them.)

This is a shot of Grandad's bolt bin--minus the bolts, cause they are in the bucket. The bin used to live in the garage, but it blew away in the tornado which hit in 1973. But, we saved the bin...just in case!
Also in the grainery is a bed frame--wooden. And it looks like the pieces of an old wardrobe. It's been dismantled, and it looks like all the pieces are there. Kev and I keep telling ourselves we're going to dig both out and see of they can be reconstructed or salvaged. But, we are secure in the knowledge that they are there, waiting...just in case!

Monday, October 18, 2010

New windows

The front of our house looks a little different. Instead of three small windows in the living room, we now have this: Kev and I bit the bullet this summer and ordered new windows for the main floor. We desperately needed new windows. The original vinyl windows leaked badly, and a couple wouldn't open and one (our bedroom window) broke last winter as we tried to close it.

Not very energy efficient. So, this summer, the first of July, we ordered Renewal by Anderson Windows. And, upgraded our three small living room windows to a nice big bay window. They were installed the week of my surgery. (great timing.)
Now, we can sit by the window and hear the waterfall run into the pond. and we can watch the fish swim in the pond.

And then there's this view...we've already spent hours sitting in the bay window, enjoying the view.

Yeah, it just sucks.
We stained the oak trim yesterday and put some poly on it. We're now trying to figure out what kind of window treatment to get because we both like to see out, but at times, even we need to be able to shut the curtains. Who know's what might happen in the living room! And I need to make a cushion for the seat. Which will be a first for me!
I think it was a worthwhile investment. Especially when I'm sitting in the bay window, enjoying the view.


Three cowboys were riding in the pickup, all three sitting in the front seat.

Which one is the real cowboy?

The one in the middle.

Because he doesn't have to drive, and he doesn't have to open the gate.

Somehow, I'm never the "real" cowboy, cause I always have to open the gate.

Barbed wire gates are sometimes difficult to open. If it's a new gate, and it's nice and tight, it's almost impossible to open.

Here's how you open a barbed wire gate...

If it's a tight gate, you lean against the fence post.

Wrap your arm around the other side of the post and grab the gate post and pull it towards you. This lessens the tension on the loop allowing you to lift the loop off the gate post and open the gate. And sometimes, you just don't have enough lead in your britches to pull that gate. At times like that, your Dad, brother, or husband come to the rescue. But they whine and pout about having to help you out--especially if they were sitting in the middle.

I much prefer using a cheater to open gates, like this one...This is a nice way to open a new gate. All I had to do was lift on the handle (on the right side) and it pulled the gate post in and I just pop the cheater off the post and open the gate. Of course you can just drop the gate, but usually, you have to drag it inside, while the guy driving comes in the pasture. Then, they wait until you close the gate.

This is one of the nicer cheaters I've used. Sometimes, a cheater is simply a stick of wood chained to the fence post. You wrap it around the gate post, and lean on it for that extra leverage to move the gate post.

In this case, everyone loves a cheater! Especially me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I should have kept my "mouth" shut yesterday.

Last night, Ifound the chick's body--minus it's head.

Stupid cats.

Stupid me. I jinxed it.

I did suggest to Kev that maybe he should build me a brood house for "next" time. He gave me the look and just suggested that "next" time, I seperate the chick(s) from the hen and raise them like we do store bought chicks.

I'm gonna work on my plan, and work towards a brood house--or brood tractor. Maybe then...I can raise a chick.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New baby

We have a new baby at our house.

Or, at least we had it when we left the house this morning.

One of my hens hatched a chick. I found the chick on Saturday, but I think it probably hatched sometime on Friday because by the time I found it on Saturday morning, it was dry and fluffy and very cute. Mama was still sitting on 3 more eggs Saturday morning and Chick was spending most of it's time under her, but made a lot of noise.

So, I got out one of my chick feeders and filled it with all purpose chicken feed, wheat and black oil sunflower seeds. Then I found a waterer and filled it up and set it near Mother and child.

So far, so good!

But they did give me a scare Sunday night.

I went out to shut everyone in for the night, and no Mama or chick. I just knew one of the stupid cats had decided to have chick for supper. But, I counted my birds and I was one short. So, I went outside and there on the ground was Mama. I could hear the baby--under Mom. So, I picked up Mom and baby and put them back inside the chicken house. They meandered over to "their" corner and the chick nabbed a bite to eat and got a drink before Mom told it to come to bed.

I've enjoyed watching them. Last night, I tossed some food scraps out--to the chickens. I could hear the chick, but wasn't spotting it. Finally, I found it, right beside it's Mama's head. If Mama pecked something, so did the baby. They really liked the tomatoes, and the biscuits best.

Come dark, it was the same as Sunday night...all the other chickens went inside, but my little family. I watched as Mama settled herself down on the ground and the chick ran right over and nestled under her feathers and a top her feet. It was too cute.

But, I know it's not safe to be outside with 40-leven cats roaming in the dark. So, again, I picked the two up and put them back inside the safety of the Chicken house.

So far, so good! Maybe I'll finally raise a home-born chick...

I have another hen who's broody. However, she started sitting before this Mama did. So far, nothin. So, I'm going to give her till this weekend. If she isn't successful--and I don't think she will be--then I'm going to brave her beak and toss her eggs.

In the meantime, I'll watch my little family and hope that chick has a long and happy life.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Normal...well, not really

All my test results came back normal. YEAH!

Now we're concentrating on getting my iron levels back to normal.

And the Dr gave me some progesterone pills to keep me from having a period for 3 months. He doesn't wanting me losing that much blood--or any blood--for that amount of time. We'll see what happens from there.

My Ob-Gyn is a Chinese Dr. His English is pretty good, but not perfect. He did tell me "Your uterus not normal."

And then he went on to draw me a picture. On the outside, my uterus is normal--pear shaped. But on the inside, it's heart shaped. Which is NOT normal. It's not bicournal (sp?), or split in 2 with each side being horn like; but it's not quite normal.

I didn't ask, because it doesn't matter any more, but...some women with this condition can't carry babies. So, I won't dwell on what might have been, and just be thankful for the two healthy kids I do have.

The Dr does think this abnormality might have played a role in my "Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding". But hormones did play a big part.

Will it happen again? He won't give any predictions on that. I hope not...we got the preliminary hospital bill...whoo boy. It's higher than what it was to have a baby 14 years ago. But, remember, I'm not complaining...

Let's all hope that this is the last post about this. Cause I really want to focus on something else for a change...

By the way, did I mention that I had 2 moles removed from my neck? And that one was basal cell carcinoma? Have to admit, I was a little surprised, but on the other hand...not really. I have fair skin...I'm as white as white can get. I grew up in the 70's when our goal was to smear our bodies with baby oil and get brown...except I never got brown. Basal cell tends to be pretty common in my family...which means I wasn't adopted, and I'm not the mailman's kid. (So Dad, this pretty much means I'm yours!)

Have a great weekend everyone. I am as normal as I'm ever going to be and we will return this blog to the mundane, to the chickens...or to Miss Kat, or maybe even hunting...stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


The D&C went very well. I feel better and I think it was necessary. The bleeding has stopped. The before and after bleeding was night and day. Once I got home, I realized just how badly I'd been bleeding. We women are so used to dealing with blood, that I'd just adapted my behavior and coped. I knew it was getting bad, but I didn't realize how bad it was until after the surgery.

The hardest thing for me right now is not taking a bath again until I go back to the Dr this Thursday. I can shower, but I really hate taking showers. Hopefully, on Thursday, I'll have my pathology reports and we'll know where to go from here.

Yesterday, the first bills arrived.

I hate medical bills.

I promised my family that I wouldn't whine or complain or gripe about the medical bills. That this time, I'll just pay them and move on.

It's going to be hard. Cause I have a $3000 deductible and cause what they charge is ridiculous. Why charge $250 for a sonogram if you are just going to write 1/2 of it off? Makes no sense to me.

So, I'm going to try real hard and not gripe...and that last paragraph is NOT griping.

Let's hope that I start getting some energy back and I start stitching again and reading again and having some energy left at the end of the day. I'm taking extra iron, so I hope I get back to "normal" soon!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


In all my Dr visits this week, one of the questions they've all asked is if I've had any previous surgeries. I have. A tubal ligation and an emergency Appendectomy.

There have been several appendectomies on my Dad's side of the family. Dad's uncle Harry, died of peritonitis which was caused by a burst appendix. The family blame his death the Dr because he kept telling Uncle Harry that it wasn't appendicitis and refused to operate until it was too late.

That was in the mid 1930's. Uncle Harry left his bride and his family who loved him very much. My Dad is named after Uncle Harry.

Shortly after Uncle Harry's death, my Dad's older brother, Glenn, developed appendicitis. He was 2. I've heard repeatedly the story of Grandad driving with Dr Robb (who was not Uncle Harry's Dr.) frantically trying to get the Dr to his little boy. Dr Robb made Grandad slow down so they could get there safely. I'm pretty sure that Uncle Glenn's appendix also burst. I know they almost lost him too. How scared they must have been; knowing that they'd just lost one family member to Appendicitis, and knowing they might lose another...a baby at that.

My Dad also had appendicitis when he was a young teenager. His did not burst; he recovered quite easily.

My Grandma often related to me how she'd test her kids for appendicitis. Grandma said that if the kids complained that their stomach hurt, or their right side, she'd slap the bottom of their right foot. Not hard, but just a nice slap. If it hurt in the side, and not in the foot, then the child had appendicitis and it was time to get them to the Dr.

I always thought that was an old wives tale, and that there was no way her test would actually work...until I had appendicitis.

See, Kev was out of town. He and Miss Kat were in Colorado visiting family. For some reason, I couldn't go, so Andy stayed at home with me. On Saturday, we went to lunch with my friend Monica and her little boy. We gals had the same chicken for lunch. That night, around 1 a.m., I woke up with a stomach ache. So I went to the bathroom, decided that maybe my chicken was bad and went back to bed, trying to go to sleep. The pain got stronger. Two hours later, I decided that I'd had enough; so I called Monica, hoping that she was up and in pain too. If she was, then I'd know it was the chicken. If not, well, I was afraid it might be my appendix.

So I called...and woke her up. Which meant it wasn't the chicken. Since she was now awake, I asked her to drive me to the emergency room and asked if Andy could stay with her husband and son. Bless her heart, she came right over. She knew that if I was wanting to go to the hospital, I was really hurting. By this point, I could not stand up straight. It was the worst pain I'd ever felt. And, I have a very high pain tolerance, so it hurt.

So we get there, and the Dr on call was Jeff, my former student. Not exactly who I wanted to see because 1. he was fresh out of medical school and 2. he was my student... But, at this point, I really didn't care. I hurt!

So he did the question thing, where does it hurt, blah blah blah...and it really didn't hurt in my right quadrant, it was a more central pain. So, they did a sonogram, and other tests and then Jeff did a rectal exam (oh, yeah! my student is now sticking his finger up my butt...lovely.) But they still didn't think it was my appendix. So I jokingly told Jeff of my Grandma's test.

To humor me, he slapped me on the bottom of my foot... Let me tell you this, if I could have come off that bed and smacked him up the side of the head, I would have. That hurt. Not my foot, but in my right side! A sharp piercing pain. Holy cow, it hurt! Don't know if Jeff was converted, but it certainly made a believer out of me.

I have no idea who taught Grandma that test, but it worked for me. And, I have carried on the tradition. If my kids complain of their side hurting, or a stomach ache, I tap them on the foot. So far, so good, no more appendicitis. And I am very confident that I'll be able to diagnose it if I ever need to. Which goes to prove, you should always listen to your Grandma.

Thanks Grandma.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This week

Well, I've been poked, prodded, measured, examined, questioned. They've taken my blood and my urine. I've been x-rayed and sonogramed.

Diagnosis: I'm not normal.

I could have told them that...without all the tests and the cost.

So, next step...I'm having a D&C this Thursday.

It had better make this stop, or you all might be reading about my murder trial.

I'm ready. More than ready. At least we're doing something.

But, riddle me this...

I answered the same damn questions for 2 nurses and 3 doctors...all within 2 hours of each other. Why on earth can't the Dr's read what their nurses wrote down? Why ask the same damn questions over and over and over? Next time, I'm gonna say, "Hello! Read what your nurse wrote down..." Sheesh. I expect my students to read and pay attention to questions asked in class, so how come those in the medical profession can't do the same?

I realize that in the world scope of things, that Dodge City is considered a "small town". However, to's a large town, and after all the running from this clinic to that clinic and back to this clinic...I really miss my Clinic and Hospital in Colby.

Bigger facilities really miss out on that personal relationship that you have in small town clinics and hospitals. While I'm not a person who went to the Dr often, I did know my Dr, or my ARPN. Heck, one Dr I saw was a former student of mine (and boy, I had dirt on some of his extra curricular activities...) One of my ARPN's was a former colleague and the other was also a former student. I knew and trusted them. Heck, I knew their kids, parents, and extended families.

Here, the only Dr I know won't see me.

(Cause she's my cousin! Not because I'm a bad patient!)

And, the Dr's I've met...well, I just don't know that much about them, and I really don't have a strong sense of trust.

But, I am going to trust this ob-gyn on Thursday. And, he'd better come through and prove that I can trust a Dr, whom I know nothing about.

I'll keep you posted...

Friday, September 24, 2010

40 days and counting

Noah's flood lasted 40 days and then it stopped.

My flood hit 40 days today and I'm so beyond ready for it to stop.

And if your a guy, you might want to stop there. Personally, I don't care, but you guys are squeamish...

My period started the first day of college classes, August 18. Today marks 40 days. Yes, I've been to the Dr. Yes, we're doing "tests". No, nothing has worked yet. So far, the test results are all normal.

Yes I'm frustrated, angry and annoyed as hell.

You know, my period has never really bothered me. I don't mind having one, don't mind the mess, don't mind any aspect of it at all--until it hits day 40.

The most frustrating part of this is the unpredictability. Some days, I'm afraid to get far from the bathroom. Some days, I wonder if I'll ever feel clean again. Some days, I think that this will stop...and then it gets worse.

My guess is that my hormone levels are all out of wack...and that this is a part of me entering that next stage of life...but dang it's the most annoying thing ever.

It totally takes over your life...and wardrobe...

I'm tired, I'm anemic and so far, nothing has made this stop...

I now understand why so many women say "Just take the dang thing OUT." I never understood that before.

A big part of me wants to ride this out, to let my own body sort out these hormone levels and let nature run it's course. After all, not much medical research has been done on "women's issues", cause most research is done by men who don't really have to cope with it at all and who can never completely understand what it does to us. Because of that, I sometimes think that modern medicine interferes when it shouldn't. And, you know guys have their own reasons for wanting it to stop...think that has any influence on research???

A BIG part of me wants this to stop...immediately. By any means, just make it stop. Gimme some miracle drug to make this STOP cause I want to resume my life. Hell, take the darn thing OUT. I don't care if it's not a medical necessity...I don't care if the stupid, thieving insurance company won't pay...make this STOP. Cause my life has stopped...

Hunting is on hold...evening activities are on hold...some days, morning workouts are cancelled. Long trips are on hold. Short trips are iffy. I'm usually tired enough in the evenings that I'm not stitching or reading. Right now, my entire focus is on my uterus...and I'd really like to focus on something else.

40 days...

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Can you see him? Can you tell what he is?

None of these are what I'd call good shots, but these are pictures of a porcupine. Kev and I stumbled upon him while we were checking out our treestands. He was on one side of the creek and rapidly went up the bank and up this Locust tree. And, while you look for Porky...check out the thorns on the locust branches! I'm not sure which is worse...porcupine quills or Locust thorns.
I wasn't about to get any closer. He was big and he had these things called quills. I've been told that quills hurt! I have to say that he moved faster than I thought he could and he climbed up that tree pretty fast too.
Several years ago, we saw two procupines up by the house. They were black. This fella was brown. Sorry my pictures aren't better, but if you want better shots of him, then you can be the one to brave both the Locust thorns and the porcupine quills.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Prairie Fire

Two weeks ago, Kev and I had run down to Mom's to work on her yard project. On our way home, we saw smoke northeast of Ashland. We knew the Englewood Volunteer Fire Department had already been on one fire that day, and we wondered if they'd get called out again...they did.

As we drove closer to home, the smoke kept getting bigger and bigger and darker and darker. There was also lightening occurring around us, and we're guessed the fire was started by lightening--always a risk on the prairie when it's dry...and it has been. We passed the Bucklin Volunteer Fire Department headed south to the fire, so we knew that it was a big fire.

We knew that any fire over here was going to be tough to put out. Lots of pastures, lots of canyons, and areas where you can't get a fire truck to, and lots of oil wells and storage tanks full of oil.

Sunday, we drove down through the area where they fire had been. It burned 4400 acres before the fire departments got it under control. I'm not even sure how many fire departments answered the call, but I know they had guys come from far western Kansas and Oklahoma. (Rural firefighters are great at helping each other out. They thrive on grass fires and get excited when they get called out.)

The day after the fire, this area got between 3 and 6 inches of rain, so it's already greened up nicely. I took these pictures on the Mt. Jesus road in Clark County--just north of Mt Jesus and just south of where we lived when I was a girl.

I did have to laugh at the fence. A brand-spankin' new fence...hedge posts...A nice tight fence...

The top of many posts were there, as were the bottoms...just nothing in between.

In a few weeks, you'll never know that a fire went through here...well, you won't unless they don't get that fence fixed!

The Mother-In-Law project

I have said repeatedly over the past 15 years that if Kev and I ever divorced, my folks would keep him and dump me. It's true, they would! Why? well, because Kev does handy-man stuff for my folks and he builds things for my Mom. See, while my Dad is a wonderful rancher/cowboy...he SUCKS at anything mechanical or...handy. Granted, keeping cattle alive and thriving is a handy skill to have, and we all appreciate it every time we take a bite of beef. But still, sometimes, it would have been nice for Dad to be useful around the house.

Last year, Kev decided that my Mom needed a disappearing waterfall. He asked her if she'd like one, and she thought maybe that would be nice, so Kev started planning on how he was going to build it. Here's the finished product: It's called a disappearing waterfall because there isn't a pond of water. The water just disappears amongst the rocks at the base. In actuality, it does go in a pond that is under the rocks and it is then pumped back up to the top of the waterfall. (and for all you cattle people out there, we're using a mineral tub for the "pond".)
As part of the project, we decided to expand her deck by the kitchen door--the door that everyone uses. Kev had build the deck years ago--at least 12 years ago. We decided to expand it clear to the cellar door so that we wouldn't have to put pavers between the two. In doing so, we were able to move Dad's grilling table up to the deck, making it much more convenient for him to get to. Dad is a pretty good welder, he built that table for a welding station and Grandpa used it, but now it's a grilling station. (The top is slate left over from a pool table. It makes for a very heavy table.)
Grass has never grown on the south side of Mom's house. So, after putting in the waterfall, we built a stone patio for Mom. We did edge it with timbers and then set the pavers. Instead of sand, we filled it in with fine, red, Kansas dirt which is closely related to fine, red, Oklahoma dirt...only better.
Here's a view of the patio and the waterfall. The area to the right, under the air conditioner, will become planting boxes. That's a project for next spring. We'll put up a retaining wall with a pathway and then Mom can plant flowers or veggies or whatever she wants to there.
It's been a long road to get this far, but we're pleased with what we've done so far. I for one, am looking forward to seeing it completely finished next summer.