Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Process Begins

In just about 45 minutes I will begin the process of my dental implant. The first step is the extraction of the tooth. I'm able to save about $250 by having my regular dentist do the extraction. The insurance will pay 100% of the extraction. Had I had the oral surgeon do it I would have had to pay myself because the insurance doesn't pay for the "specialist". Lovely.

After the extraction I will go across the hall to the surgeon's office where he will scrape around in the newly formed hole in my head. I may not have all the details correct but I think this is to clean it all out. There was also something mentioned about a bone graft during this procedure.

I won't lie, I'm a little sick-to-my-stomach nervous about it. I just hope they give me a prescription for some good drugs for afterwards. I know I'll be numb during, but I expect I'll be rather sore when the novocain or whatever they use wears off.

Wish me luck!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Saga Of...

Everything around here seems like it has to be a saga. I'll fill you in on some of them a little later, but first: The Saga Of The Rototiller!

As I reported a couple of weeks ago, after our little Mantis tiller died for good I decided to order a "real" rototiller. I got on line and ordered one from Sears. I wanted to save the $65 shipping fee and said I'd pick it up at the store. Well, that model wasn't available for pick up at the store. I didn't try to have it shipped to the house so I don't know if that would have worked. I went ahead and ordered the next model which is basically identical with the exception that it is called the "CA model", and it was $10 less. I think it has a little less powerful of an engine. It probably has something to do with being a "CA model". They did something just a tad different with the engine I'm guessing to try to be more green or less polluting or something along those lines.

Anyway, about a week later I got the email notifying me that it had arrived and was ready for pickup. It comes on it's own wooden pallet with a box nailed around it. You may recall that when we picked it up the box was basically just sitting on top and when we got it home we discovered there were no instructions.

I did manage to find the instructions on line and printed them out (all 48 pages!). While going through the instructions I found there was supposed to be a hardware pack included along with the missing instruction book and a jar of engine oil. We decided to bring it back. We would return this one and try one more time.

Just as a funny side note when I brought it back to the store and was going through the process of refunding my Sears card before charging it again, the register gave about 6 choices for "reason for return". Oddly enough "missing parts/pieces" was not included in that list. The salesman (I won't be rude, I won't be rude, I won't be rude) couldn't figure out which button to push and he asked my opinion. After looking at the choices I told him to put down #6: "won't start". After all, I told him, it would be hard to get going without any engine oil.

Finally we got the return taken care of and ordered a replacement. It arrived from a neighboring town within a couple of days. This time the box was in good condition, the manual and oil was included, along with some miscellaneous hardware.

Later my husband went to assemble the handle bars and put the thing together. Guess what? Some of the other bolts were loose, some others were missing. Fortunately he was able to tighten what needed tightening and from our stash of nuts and bolts found what he needed in order to get the thing together.

This is what the garden looked like a week ago:
This is what it looks like now:

It's still a little early to plant a lot of things and I still want to add some compost and till that in too. But the good news is now the rototiller works and it works great! It would have taken the little tiller about an hour to do this little plot, but the big one only took about 10 minutes!

I'm dreaming of heirloom tomatoes!

The Saga Of The Infected Tooth:
About a year ago I started having problems with one of my upper molars (#14 in tooth speak). I ended up having a root canal and getting a crown. A few months later it was apparent that there was another infection and we decided to retreat. The retreat didn't work. The infection returned.

My choices were: retreat again; get a partial denture; get a bridge; pull the tooth and do nothing; get an implant. After listening to how each is done and talking to my dental assistant daughter I decided to get the implant. My first appointment today at 1:15 is for a consultation (even though I have already decided that's what I'm going to do it is required. This is with the surgeon dentist, not my regular dentist). I hope we can get this started soon. I just want to get it over with! The bad news is our insurance doesn't cover implants so we'll have to pay for this ourselves. I guess I'll have to wait a little longer for my laptop!

The Saga Of The Young Parents:
My daughter and her boyfriend have split up again. He is living out of town with some of his relatives. They get along okay, fortunately. So now I'm babysitting one week and not the other while the baby goes for one week here and one week there.

This is such a good example for an argument against premarital sex and teen pregnancy!

The Saga Of The Bad Back:
My husband is back to work. His physical therapy is done and he is mostly better. However after talking to a few attorneys and other people he knows who have had similar problems the news is not too good. They are all saying the likelihood that he'll have to have back surgery down the line is not just possible but very probable.

So we have retained two attorneys, one for Workers Comp, and one for Personal Injury. Eventually we'll get this all sorted out, but at least for now he's back to work.

It seems I had another saga to report but now I've forgotten. Old Timer's must be kicking in. Anyway, that's almost enough news for the whole week!

PS: The next lamb is due this weekend!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Baby Meets Lamb

Here's a video of the baby meeting the lamb for the first time. It's just under one minute and the funny part is about 3/4 of the way through. You'll need the sound turned on.

Enjoy!

video

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's A Boy!

Francine gave birth to a very handsome ram lamb.

Last night just after 11 pm I opened the door for the dogs to go out one more time before we went to bed and I just happened to hear the familiar BAAAAAA! of a ewe in labor. I put my jacket over my pj's, slipped on my old Uggs, and grabbed a flashlight and headed for the barn.

Francine was laying in the straw. She didn't look unduly stressed. I watched her for a minute and she stopped baaaing. She appeared to be breathing a little heavier than usual so I concluded that she was in active labor.

I signaled with the flashlight to my husband, who was waiting in the house by the back door. He put his coat on and came out to help me real quickly.

Since the stall was already ready, basically all I had to do was shut the stall door and put a bucket of fresh water in one corner. I cleaned the bucket out and pulled the hose through the mud to the stall. My husband's contribution was to turn the hose on and off when I told him to. Isn't he sweet!

We both went back into the house. My husband went to read a bit in bed, and I stayed up and played on the computer. After about 10 minutes I went back out to the barn, stopping in the big garage for rubber gloves and iodine.

Sure enough, in those ten minutes Francine had pooped out her baby, a very handsome ram lamb.

The flash didn't seem to bother either of them.

I sat and watched for about an hour because I wasn't sure if she would have another. Unfortunately she didn't. The books always say the chances of a ewe twinning are greater if she was a twin herself. Francine was a twin, and her mother, Ewenice, first had a single and then has had twins ever since. I was kind of hoping for a twin, but I'll take whatever I get!
Here he is this morning. Looking good!
Since he was technically born on Valentine's Day, I think I'll name him...

Ralph! No, I'm just kidding. If I were to name him it would be the obvious: Valentine! But I'm not naming him so his official designation is 01-09 (first lamb of 2009). But we'll just call him Valentine for now.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!


One Day To Due Date

Here's the back end of Francine, the day before her projected due date. Compare this to the picture from Wednesday's post. To me it's noticeably fuller!

We also picked up our rototiller yesterday. We just have to attach the handles. The box was pretty much a wreck when it came in and there are no instructions. They probably fell out of the box. I'm sure it won't be hard to figure out and if I need to I can most likely go on line to print out a copy. Our weather is supposed to hold nicely for the weekend so maybe I'll get some rototilling done if I don't get sidetracked with something else!

I hope I have good news for you (with pics) tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Getting Ready

According to my careful record keeping (HA!) notes on last years calendar the sheep are going to start dropping babies soon. Like this weekend. That means the logical thing for me to do would be to start getting ready for the blessed occasions.

This will be the first time we've lambed when it's cold and muddy. Before we've always had late spring or early fall lambs where the weather was not a problem. Although for selling purposes that probably wasn't such a good thing since the 4-H kids already had their lambs by then. Of course it didn't really matter so much then because I could always take the lambs to the auction. But now that the auction yard is closed I'm hoping they still won't be too late for the fair going kids, even though that is still a possibility. If I remember correctly we used to buy Carli's 4-H lambs at the end of February. With any luck all our lambs will be born within the next two weeks and I'll be able to wean/sell them by the end of March.

I hope that's not too late.

And so in keeping with the imminent births I got the barn ready. At least one side. I spread fresh straw out so that the first one will be able to lamb on nice straw instead of cold dirt.
My records indicate that the first one to lamb should be Francine. Her due date is February 15th. Of course she could go earlier or later. But I did notice she is starting to bag up (her udder is filling), which is usually a good indicator that she'll be lambing soon. There are exceptions to that rule, and her mother (Ewenice) is one of those.

Here you can see the beginnings of her udder filling with milk.
I know the picture isn't that great for comparison's sake but here's Baby, who I did not breed this last time. Her udder is nowhere to be seen. (It would be in that dark area that's all flat up against her belly.)
I show Jamie's due date to be February 19th, and 3of4's due date at February 24th. Some how I totally missed marking Ewenice's date, but from the looks of her she'll be in the mix with the rest of them.

I don't know what happened with Ladysmith, the cow. I though for sure she would have had her baby by now. In fact I thought she would be due last November/December. Obviously I didn't pay very close attention. I'm sure she is pregnant though. I just don't know when she'll be calving.

This picture doesn't show it too well but there are times when her abdomen just looks huge. I've been keeping my eye on her and checking for changes in her back end. So far just a teensy bit of puffiness. Ladysmith is another last minute udder filler. One day she will be loose and saggy and the next morning there will be a calf on the ground and her udder is grotesquely swollen and uncomfortable looking. So for Ladysmith I have to keep checking the "puff factor", which is her best indicator of impending calving.
In my other getting ready news I had wanted to start getting our garden ready for planting. It may be a bit early for summer stuff, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to start getting it ready. Our little Mantis tiller that we've had for umpteen years finally took a dump. Even though our garden isn't really big I couldn't imagine turning everything over with a shovel. By hand.

Are you joking? I love power tools so that is just out of the question. I decided to take a few hundred dollars out of my not-so-secret vacation stash and buy a real rototiller. Sears said it should be here and ready for pick up on Friday, just in time to get busy over the weekend. That is, if it's not pouring rain...

And speaking of the weather, we had snow on the mountains which always makes it look like we live in Colorado or somewhere similar.

We even had snow in Taft, a little town about 40 minutes away, and they had to close some of the roads out there!

Any precipitation we get is welcome. We really need it. I remember the winters when I had to build a "boardwalk" to get to the stalls because the pen area in front was so sloppy with deep mud. I haven't had to put my boardwalk out for many years. (I still have it.) The paper this morning mentioned how in spite of our recent rains we are still some 50% below normal.

I hope I have good news to share with you after this weekend!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Canned

This weekend I did a bit of canning. When I've canned before I've always used either Ball or Kerr brand jars. This time I thought I'd try the Weck jars.

The Weck jars are like my aunt in Germany used to use. I sure wish she was still around so I could get her Pflaumenmuss (a dark plum jam) recipe. Anyway, these Weck jars are all glass with a large rubber band. The way they work is after you put your stuff inside you put the lid and rubber band on, then some clips to hold the lid on. Then comes the water bath. Then you wait until the next day and take the clips off. If the lid stays tight then you're good to go.

I'm not sure what my problem was but I've never had this many seal failures before. Two of my five lemon curd jars failed to seal properly and two of my nine blood orange jam jars failed. It's disappointing to say the least.

While I love the look of the Weck jars, I've decided I'll not replace them. The Kerr and Ball brands are much easier and have less failures for me.

At least the stuff inside was still good!

Friday, February 6, 2009

...Now You Don't

All right, it's not readily apparent...yet...but Clyde went to the vet this morning with two danglers and came back this evening sans said ballos. Tonight he has two empty sacks where his testicles used to be.

I try to be a good pet owner and that means being responsible. I'm not showing Clyde (which requires a "whole" dog) and although I may have toyed with the idea of breeding him I knew that wasn't really something I was ever going to do. So the logical thing to do was to neuter him.

This county is overrun with unwanted dogs and cats as it is and I wanted to ensure that I would in no way be adding to the problem, even if it were by accident. Isn't that how a lot of these poor dogs and cats end up in the pound? Because they are "accidents".I am by no means a PETA activist, in fact I think they are a bunch of wackos. And just by virtue of my having sheep, cattle, chickens, a pony and a goat probably disqualifies me. I love eating meat and I don't have a problem with leather products. I think I'm getting off course here.

Anyhow, it really irks me when people want to breed their dog or cat before neutering them so "the kids can see the miracle of birth". Yes, I know people like that and I really tried to talk them out of it. They were able to give away all their puppies but one, the chicken/goose killer that lives next door.

I was all for neutering Clyde when we first got him but my husband and his breeder had a small panic attack about it. They thought he was too young and it would be too much for his system because he also needed a hernia repaired. I looked at it in a practical way. Two procedures for the price of one anesthesia. The vet said the only physiological difference in the early neutering would be Clyde may be a little taller and lankier than if we waited until later. To ease the breeders' and my husbands' minds I acquiesced to their entreaty. Clyde's nuts were given a reprieve.

Now, two years later, it's time to renew his county dog license. "Whole" dogs cost $60 for one year. Neutered dogs' annual tags cost $10. Taking the cost of the surgery into consideration I don't think I'll be saving any money on his licensing fees for at least eight years, but at least I can rest easy knowing I did the right thing.

Now You See 'Em...



Come back this evening for more! Or maybe I should say less?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Another New Hobby!

I was going to wait to tell you all about my newest "thing", but I'm so excited about the results I couldn't stand it.

I made my first hypertufa "trough" the other day. Hypertufa is a mixture of cement, some sort of aggregate, and a lightweight filler material such as sphagnum moss, vermiculite, perlite, etc. There are all kinds of different "recipes" and basically you just work with it until you find what works for you. A lot depends on the area you live in and the current weather conditions.

The results simulate an ancient stone trough. The weight of a hypertufa product is just a fraction of an actual concrete object. I don't yet know about the porosity as I made mine with being a planter in mind. I have read that the inside can be treated to become watertight if that is desired.

Here you can see the drainage hole I made. It's actually the top two inches of a "Comet Cleanser" tube. After this was done I realized it may not have been a good idea after all. I think the cardboard part of the tube will eventually disintegrate and the metal part may slip out, since it's not anchored in the hypertufa. Next time I'll use a metal mesh material and have it anchored in the wet material.

The bad thing is they take so long to "cure". One book advises to wait at least 10 days before using and recommends curing for an entire month. In these pictures mine is just three days old and is getting lighter in color and weight with every day.

Eventually I'll show you step by step how I made my trough (did I mention how easy it is!!). It also doesn't cost a lot, though I'd be willing to bet you'd pay a lot for this at some specialty garden boutique.

The cool thing is I can make any shape I want and even mosaic the heck out of them! Hypertufa can also be used to make sculptures. The possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Candles

I'm a very easy person to buy a gift for. If I get candle(s) and/or bath products (bubble bath, salt scrub, fragrant soap, etc) I'm a happy camper.

Since we go through so many candles (we light at least one almost every day!) I recently began toying with the idea of making my own. It can't be that hard, right?

Right!

Now I'm not talking about making my own candles totally from scratch. That sounds too difficult. Although I do have a small piece of honeycomb I saved in the big garage from one of our passing bee swarms. No, I mean buying the stuff from the craft store and going about it that way.

I had saved and cleaned a couple of glasses from some other candles that I bought at a discount store. I used those as my forms. And the good thing is when that candle burns down I'll be able to reuse the glass. How frugal of me!

I went to Michaels and bought a 2 pound block of wax, six feet of medium thickness wicking, and just for fun a small block of spice scent.

Since I seem to have trouble with instructions I carefully read and reread the instructions on the wax package. I didn't know how much the glass would take so I guesstimated and broke off about a 1/4 pound chunk. I placed it in a glass bowl and made a makeshift double boiler by placing the bowl over a pot of gently boiling water.

Eventually all the wax melted. That's when I put in a chunk of the scented wax and stirred until it was melted and mixed in. I chose not to make the candle colored because I find the white candles give off more light.

I got my wick ready by putting a small blob on the end and securing it to the bottom of the glass, like we used to secure taper candles in a dish. Then I carefully measured the wick so there would be enough to secure with a bit of scotch tape to a stick placed across the top.

The melted wax was poured into the glass jar. The instructions said to reserve a bit to fill in the top. I didn't know what they meant by that so I just poured it all in. Besides, I reasoned I could always get another hunk of wax and melt it if I needed to, and the jar wasn't totally filled yet.

As the candle cooled and the wax solidified I was surprised to see the center area around the wick begin to sink. This must be what they were talking about.

I let the candle cool completely. The next day I took another small piece of wax and repeated the melting process, only without the scent. This time my guesstimate was right on and the wax filled the jar to the top. Perfect!

Here it is on the windowsill right after I refilled it. Yes, next to it is an avacodo seed I started a while ago.

Here the second fill is completely cooled. Yay! No more sink holes.

The wick is trimmed.
Time to light my homemade candle.

It burns beautifully! I actually prefer candles in glass because they tend to burn evenly, unlike the unjarred one.



To compare the price of making my candle vs buying the same size I'd say I can make three for about the same price as buying two sharply discounted glass container candles.

The way we go through candles that means I'll be making more, for sure!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Vote!

This was a picture from early last year. I've entered it in the Capital One Photo Contest and now it's time to vote. Oh, I know everybody thinks their kids/grandkids are the cutest. But mine really is!

Go here to vote. Remember you can vote five times a day!! ☺

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day!?!

Today is Groundhog Day and Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow. That means six more weeks of winter.

Does anyone else find it strange that if he saw his shadow, which means the sun was out, it's supposed to mean more winter? Shouldn't that be an indicator of spring?

Oh well, I'm as much a meteorologist as Punxatawney Phil.

Have a good week!

Walk Walk

(From Dr. Seuss's Hop On Pop.)