When confronted with your obvious limitations have you ever said, “F*ck off!”?
When you hear again and again, apparently sold with all the best of intentions the same menu: You can’t control the weather; You can’t fight the government; You can’t be David against Goliath; You can’t conquer the dragons; You can’t rise above your lot . . . Have you ever said, “Excuse me, why the bloody hell not?!”
Some are most certainly doing it, so why not me?
You can call that a sense of entitlement if you want. I call it something else entirely.
We have all kinds of sayings to ward off all kinds of issues, mostly with the intention of bypassing, minimizing, and moving on. Shit happens, right? Don’t let the bastards get ya down, eh? There’s always a silver lining. Don’t sweat the small stuff. The sun will come out tomorrow. Look at the bright side. Don’t cry over spilled milk. Buck up, buttercup!
I know, I know, I’ve heard it all and I’ve probably said half of it myself. Really though, when someone’s truly feeling down, no one wants to hear another ‘pick yourself up by your bootstraps’ slogan. A friend to cry in your tea or beer with would be loads more helpful, but sometimes that doesn’t help either.
I count my blessings, really, I do. I’m very good at that.
It’s just that, sometimes, nothing helps, at least not right away. Sometimes there’s a ‘something’s gotta give’ feeling that lodges itself for a while after a big, bad event, even if everything mostly turning out fine in the end.
The triumphs still feel too short-lived and the setbacks too many.
I remember to remember my favorite things, but the joy in them seems less renewing. This in itself is solemnifying.
Visitors are welcome, yet distracting.
I know nature is resilient and life goes on. The very morning after the ‘tornado,’ as I was assessing the damages, the birds were chirping, the critters begging for their meals, and Handy Hubby headed back home from work out-of-state to get us back into gear.
Still, despite my usual mood-shifting tricks, my gears still feel a bit stuck.
The snake getting fat on our eggs in the coop, a rabbit devouring the garden.
Oh, just let them be, I think, which is not really like me.
Sometimes that’s just the way it is.
And, this too shall pass.
The Girl Scouts was as close as this suburban girl ever got to learning any kind of traditional skills growing up.I quit it early on, considering ‘badge earning’ to be well beneath my expanding “cool kid” facade.
But if there’s a badge worth earning, midwifery would be up there with the loftiest of them. I’m humbled and proud to say I got to experience it last night for the first time.
I bit of critical background:I’m squeamish.Considering we didn’t have children of our own and I didn’t have my own dog to take care of, let alone any pet previously to our dear Papi, at about age 42, it seems to me squeamishness pretty much comes with that territory.
It’s because I was well aware of this personal limitation that I NEVER imagined we’d have so many animals.
Chickens, for us and many other clueless homesteaders, are the Gateway Livestock.Then came ducks, turkeys, sheep, pigs, and more dogs.But we both swear we’ll never get cows or horses.(Ahem)
Considering my penchant for ‘Too Much Information’ I’ve now been acclimated to loads of poop, vomit, blood and morbid sounds of all sorts.It also got me scared, very scared, about all that can go wrong with pets and livestock.And how painful that is, and knowing this truth in advance is useless.It does not help the pain by expecting it.It does help though to be prepared.So far I give us a C+ on that when it comes to the critters.
My TMI penchant leads also to so much online and in books about serious diseases and awful complications and the myriad very dirty deeds endemic in the farm life.Talking to others more experienced will also always bring sad stories and sometimes tragic ones.
Maybe I don’t quite deserve my badge just yet, but I’m fairly certain I saved our ewe and her young lamb last night by being at the right place at the right time and doing my usual C-level work.🙂
When our ewes have lambed in the past I was not there to witness the actual event, only woke up to find the lambs delivered, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.On one occasion I found one mutilated by our young puppy and I had to kill it.I cannot speak about this moment still today a year later without tears.It was the most confusing, stressful, tragic, sorrowful day of my life.Like most in the so-called advanced economies, we grew up very sheltered from death and from the act of killing.Hubby would’ve handled it far better had he been home.I was alone and a basket case.
I was alone again this time when Buttercup gave an unusual and very loud bark audible from inside the house that clued me in that something was going down.I went to the stalls and saw mama was in labor.I was determined to watch it all and learn.
I was hoping and intending to remain a bystander to nature’s miracle.
As it happened I could tell something was wrong right away.Then I doubted myself. Then I went back and forth a dozen times, yes, no, yes, no.
Then I concluded, no, something’s really wrong here, get help.Help?Like from who?I called two friends with more experience and they didn’t answer.I looked through our book on sheep, panicky by that time.I call Hubby.He calls his folks and searches online while I pace waiting for the bread in the oven to finish so I can go back to the stalls.
I muse, even in this stressed state: “Oh, we’re both waiting on buns in the oven.”Yes, that’s how I cope with stress, and most things really, goofy humor.
It doesn’t occur to me again that the fetus that the ewe cannot seem to push out is in fact dead until hours later.Yet, I felt it, even considered it immediately, instinctually at the very first moment I saw it. I just tried to over-ride that feeling with too much doubt and reasoning and wishful thinking.
On the phone with Hubby we decide there’s really nothing I can do alone in the dark with no experience and no equipment and no nearby vet.Then he calls back and has changed his mind.He urges me to go back out, put on some rubber gloves, and see if I can help her.
And he was right!As soon as I touched the fetus it was obviously dead and my foolishness at waiting hours to “realize” this washed over me.I strained, along with mama to get it out, knowing if not she would surely die as well.
At last it came free, followed by another smaller, but wonderfully alive little treasure!
I’m happy to report as of this writing about 16 hours later, mama and babe are doing well, eating and drinking and getting to know each other.
Yes, I was alone, but really, it was very much a team effort. Thanks y’all!
A short break from the heavy subject of addiction to share some homestead updates lately as well as highlights and misfortunes from the last year.
Starting with the good news, we have two new happy thriving lambs!
They are the first of the year with two more mamas looking full and ready to follow with some of their own any day now. Or more likely, since today it is beautiful and sunny, it will be the next time it’s pouring rain and freezing cold.
That was the weather once again for this rough start. Unfortunately, our permanent corral space is not yet finished.
I had to cancel a holiday trip at the very last minute and I spent a lot of time stressed and worrying. I couldn’t handle a repeat of last year, which is such a tragic story for me I haven’t yet been able to tell it publicly.
It was nearly a repeat. Hubby was at work again, and to keep it short and simple, I found one of our not-so-well-trained LGD (Livestock Guard Dog) had jumped the fence, grabbed one just after birth, jumped the fence back and was ‘guarding’ it until I found it barely breathing and injured.
Luckily there was a completely unplanned, last minute visit that cheered me up after my canceled trip.
And it’s hard to think of anything worse in the garden than poison ivy and wasps!
And my bee colonies didn’t even last the summer. This is an enormous disappointment. But I don’t give up easily and have next spring’s bees on order, locally sourced this time.
Additional misfortunes include the duck that was mysteriously fried by our electric pole in the front yard. And another incident that shot an electric impulse through my hand, up my arm, and landed in now nearly 2 months of stabbing shoulder pain. Then there’s the ram that’s butted me 3 times and therefore will meet his demise prematurely ASAP.
I don’t think Hubby shares this sentiment, but in my case, I’ve definitely had better years.
Here’s to better fortune in the coming year, for me, and for all y’all!
We just wanted to share a few updates from the wee homestead, on the winter garden and other news.
Dreary weather whiplash here, hard to say if our holidays will be white, green, gray or brown, but thankfully we still eat fresh, easily, every day.
Growin’ on now are: broccoli, lots of lettuces, carrots, cabbage, brussel sprouts, beets, kohlrabi, garlic, onions, kale, our favorite herbs–dill, chervil, cilantro–loads of collards for us and the critters, planted thick as green manure and spring bee food, too, like hairy vetch.
It’s high maintenance, we cover and uncover the boxes as weather requires, and it’s slow growing with shorter days and an abundance of overcast days.
But, the limited harvest results are DELICIOUS!
Triumph for the season:
I was interviewed about natural living on Crow777, a site I’ve mentioned here many times as a cutting edge, paradigm shifting, life affirming podcast I highly recommend.
Balneotherapy, crounotherapy, the drinking cure, taking the waters–whatever you want to call it–chalybeate pools, hot springs and mineral spas have a very long tradition behind them. And before I get accused of ‘appealing to tradition’ once again in order to assert the value of these traditions, there’s beaucoup science behind them, too.
“From the frontier years of the Republic to the postwar years of the twentieth century, people flocked to the state’s mineral waters primarily for one reason–health. In that sense, Texas springs were resorts in the truest sense, despite their relative anonymity to the rest of the nation.” (Valenza)
From the Journal of the American Medical Association, 1943: “Much of the discussion to follow on the historical background of resort therapy will be concerned with the forces which at different periods have raised this therapy to the central feature of medical care, have reduced it to the status of superstition, have diverted its main features into voluptuous cultural practices, have opposed its use on the puritanical background that its measures coddled the flesh that needed scourging from the sins of disease, have degraded it to a social fad, have allowed it to pass into the hands of the charlatan and enthusiast as a panacea, have obstructed it with the lack of economic provision for care and have brushed it aside with a disinterest that has come from attention fixed on only the novel in medicine.”
(Howard Haggard, MD) sited from “Taking the Waters in Texas: Springs, Spas and Fountains of Youth by Janet Mace Valenza
“The use of mineral springs for therapeutic purposes declined for several reasons. Many hotels burned or were washed away by floods, and rebuilding them seemed inappropriate because medicine had begun to change. With the rise of “germ theory” and the discovery of sulfa drugs and antibiotics, the belief in the usefulness of mineral water diminished. Many doctors supported water cures, but some began to eschew balneology, the science of bathing, because of some resorts’ extravagant claims. In Marlin the tradition lasted into the 1960s, primarily because the medical profession appropriated the practice and transformed it into a tool for physical therapy. Other factors, such as war and depression, also hurt resorts. The railroad guaranteed the success and demise of some resort.”
“Texas spas were unique among Texas towns and also different from resorts in the East. Daily life at these resort towns revolved around the waters. Architecture reflected the tradition. Pavilions and drinking fountains became gathering places for local citizens, depots attracted bands and drummers to meet trains, bathhouses set the scene for private ablutions, and large hotels employed big bands for entertainment. Other diversions included domino games, burro rides, picnics, and dances. Bathers overcame the fears attendant upon the theory of miasma-that harmful vapors association with swampy waters cause disease-to seek the sanative pleasures of the springs and wells. Osmotic exchanges with the water were supposed to benefit the body. Rheumatism, arthritis, and skin diseases were reportedly relieved more often than any other condition. (Valenza) https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/sbm11
Sounds to me like getting cured was a lot more fun back then!
As for the science
It was Europeans like Ernest Kapp, an early geographer who opened the Hydropathic Institute, that brought these practices from their own countries and ancestors to ours. “Dr. Ernest Kapp’s Water-Cure Treatment included not only hydropathy, but also gymnastic exercises.” https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fka01
Viktor Schauberger was another early researcher studying the properties of water.
For the deep dive into where the science stands now, including references to the numerous studies and on-going research, I’m definitely over my head with this newish publication, Pure Water: The Science of Water, Waves, Water Pollution, Water Treatment, Water Therapy and Water Ecology.
But it’s fascinating nonetheless and certainly convinces me our ancestors knew more than we often give them credit for.