Sunday, December 18, 2016

Back in the saddle? I hope so!!

First post in 6 months!!  So I suppose I owe some answers.  Let me see if I can shed some light.

First up, I'd guess, is "So how are you doing?  Last we heard you were mostly confined to your recliner recovering from something or other."  In general, I'm doing pretty well, but there some things about 'the new me' I'm still coming to terms with.  Pretty much everything about eating and drinking has changed.  I essentially lost part of my stomach as part of a massive hernia repair surgery I had in May, and the valve that was supposed to be working away at the bottom of my esophagus was 'refurbed' to be a simple, snug little restriction.  That makes it harder to get things down, and means I'm now eating small, frequent meals with a set of restrictions on what I can eat to boot.  That being said, not having stomach acid constantly spritzing my esophagus, voice box, and bronchial piping has been a wonderful thing, and I haven't felt this good at this time of year in a number of years.  I'm getting some of my energy back - I will likely never get it all back - and (knock on wood) seem to be on track to avoid my annual pneumonia hospital stay.  All things considered, I'm coming out on top!

Perhaps next is, "Ok, so you haven't done ANYTHING useful or interesting in the last six months?"  Au contraire, my friends!! We had lots going on!  I'm planning on doing a (mercifully short) series of "What I did with my summer and fall" posts.  I took pictures of most of the interesting stuff, so it's not going to be 'essay only'.  The highlight reel goes something like:
  • We got most of want we wanted in the garden out before the surgery.  I couldn't do any weeding early in the year and not all that much in late summer, so we lost some of it.  But all in all we had a decent garden year.
  • I got none of the orchard, berry or grapes in.  They're on the docket for this year.
  • We did get a temporary fence around the garden later in the summer.  Hey!  Did you all know you end up with a LOT more tomatoes and green beans that way?
  • It was not, however, done as early as I would have liked.  We learned that chickens are fond enough of beets they will pull them out of the ground, quickly devour all the root part, and move on to the next one.  All this without an ounce of shame!  Tsk!  Tsk!
  • We built a nursery 'annex' on the coop and run, hoping one of the girls would go broody.
  • We found the same hen who went broody last year went broody this year. Yay!
  • We discovered Ivan Crossbeak the rooster is apparently infertile.  Our one broody hen came up with zilcho from the clutch of eggs (from several hens) she sat on.  Boo!
  • We discovered our one broody hen either has a big 'mama chicken' heart or a small chicken brain (or both) because when we clumsily replaced the eggs she was sitting on with six chicks from Rural King she rolled her chicken eyes, puffed up her chicken feathers, took them all in, and did a great job raising them.
  • We learned that the predictions on how long a chicken's productive laying life is pretty accurate.  By fall our flock of 10 old hens, one molting middle aged hen, 5 pullets (too young to lay) and one infertile rooster with a bad attitude were cranking out a grand sum of 2 eggs a day.  
  • After only a little hand ringing, we now have 1 old hen (the one that goes broody), 1 middle age hen, 5 pullets just about ready to lay, and no rooster (fertile or infertile).  
  • We also have a fair number of whole chickens in the freezer.  It was an interesting process I'll tell you all about later.
  • There were memories made with the granddaughters, the discovery of a grandson coming in February, and a bunch of other really good family times.
  • The latest is trying to help a (married) couple of really good friends from the 'day job' as they are starting their own journey with homesteading.  They moved out of the city onto about 5 acres and have a desire to live the whole homesteading life.  With that description, naturally the first thing I did was point them to Leigh's "Five Acres and Dream" blog, and recommend her books.
So what's coming in 2017? (Besides the promised string of catch-up posts).  Let's see - God willing: the aforementioned orchard, a half-dozen more chicks when it gets warm, some better fencing, a workbench in the barn, FINALLY getting my tower up, ...  Well that's probably enough.  I've also decided I'm going to spill at least some of the beans on what the 'day job' is I keep referring to, and what I do for a living when I'm not pulling weeds or pitching the chicken coop.

All in all, we're doing OK.  All the things we have been blessed with are still there and getting better.  I seem to be set for my health to continue to improve, and we have another grandchild on the way!  We are blessed!! 

Col. 1:9-12,

Mark

8 comments:

  1. So glad to "see" you! I was wondering just the other day what had happened to you.
    Looks like you have a busy year ahead. Hopefully, you can muster some help from the grandkids (cheap labor!)
    Hope you're feeling better each day. Good luck

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    1. Hi Sue! It is good to be back on the blog. As usual, I probably have more planned than I can actually pull off, but "hope springs eternal" as the saying goes. As long as I don't get too ambitious I feel pretty good most of the time.

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  2. You're back! Yay!
    Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures!

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    1. Hi Hoosier Girl! I hope to get at least one post a week out to get everyone caught up. It's going to take a little doing to organize the pictures, but I knew I would eventually get back to the blog so I tried to take plenty.

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  3. Hey, I commented but my tome never showed up! (Probably fat-fingered the wrong button!)

    My, my, what an ordeal you've been through. (Which means De has been through an ordeal, too!) All kidding aside, let's hope you're solidly back on the recovery trail to good health where you can do whatever you want to do. I know it's so hard to sit and look at everything around you that you want to do, but to be not quite up to snuff yet. Give yourself good healing time . . . and then we'll all expect your informative, funny, delightful posts to start again of everything you've been up to.

    Happy Holidays to you and De!

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    1. Hi Mama Pea!! So good to hear from you! Yeah, this whole business has been a bit more than I bargained for, but I do seem to be on the right track. Got another CT scan next week and, assuming I clear that, I should be past the big tests until summer when they start poking around to see how all that needlework they did last summer has held up.

      I'm really looking forward to getting back to the blog and whole community of friends! More posts coming soon!

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  4. Great post Mark, welcome back! You truly did get a lot accomplished and seem to have paced yourself well. Looking forward to hearing more from you this upcoming year!

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    1. Thanks, Leigh! The summer was far from a "total loss". We managed to maintain and even make a little bit of progress. New posts coming soon!

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