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Archive for June, 2011


Wait for it……. farm dust.

Yes, you read that right.  I stumbled across an article in the San Angelo Times today regarding the new White House Rural Council’s mission to work with the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) on regulating farm dust.

Um, ya.  Have y’all been to Texas?  What about the other southern states to the west?  I mean, those parts of the south western states to the south ↓, as in, bordering Mexico.  Do y’all realize there is a seriously severe drought going on and that there are tons of fires? To understand the fire situation, a good place to start is the Southwest Coordination Center (SWCC) website.

Do y’all realize that these parts of the country are desert?  As in, consisting of sand, little foliage, and a lot of wind?  Even in non-drought years, we have wind and blowing dirt.  Where I live, we say we have two seasons: windy, and hot and windy.

Do dust devils count as “farm dust?” I see them on farms all the time, so I assume they would qualify. You sure can feel it when you drive through them. I have no idea how they would be regulated, though.

We are not talking about the Dust Bowl (good info here and here) during the Depression. Believe it or not, we’ve learned a lot about farming since then, and I can assure you, *no one* is interested in a repeat.

Nope, we’re talking about regular ole’ dirt.  I’m gonna go out on a limb. It’s probably not a popular opinion.

I think trying to regulate blowing dirt is ridiculous. In my mind, it’s akin to trying to regulate the salinity content of the ocean.

Apparently, though, I am not alone.  Author Jerry Lackey says, “During the current drought, daily wind gusts stir the powder-dry earth across the West Texas skies. Trying to regulate dust in the Lone Star State these days would bankrupt the whole agriculture industry and the EPA.”

Ya think? ‘Cause Texas isn’t the only large western state with dirt.  While Texas has the second largest land mass of the US states, New Mexico is fifth largest followed by Arizona at number six.  Throw in some mountains (yes, even in Texas) combined with the desert, high heat and drought, and this can be a recipe for disasters of all kinds.

Apparently, now we can add blowing dirt to that list, according to the EPA.

While I am all for preserving the environment and being good stewards of our planet, there is a point at which foolery is trying to take over. This doesn’t affect just the south and southwest, either.  People all over the USA are up in arms about this, and for good reason, in my opinion.

**Disclaimer: I have not gone through these links, so don’t shoot the messenger.  😀

Here are some links to get you started:

Nebraska: Senators fight against potential EPA dust regulations

Oklahoma: EPA to Crack Down on Farm Dust

Bipartisan group of western lawmakers push back….

South Dakota: First Noem bill seeks farm-ranch protection from EPA regulation

Kentucky: Local farmers concerned with proposed EPA dust regulations

Virginia Congressman Robert Hurt: The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act

 

What do you think?  Sound off and leave me a comment!!

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Thursday did not turn out at all as I had planned.  I was hoping to get a whole day at home and an afternoon to get back to my sewing machine and see if I could work on the bobbin issues. Just as I was finishing my run (read: hot, sweaty, stinky), I got a phone call.  First my cell rang, then the house phone, which was answered by one of the kids.  Said child only gave me part of the message.  Humph.

I was looking forward to a shower after hunny went back to work after lunch, but thought I would call my friend back first. And that is where the day went crazy……

As it turns out, she had peacock eggs in the midst of hatching, and she had to go to court.  The story goes….. there are some wild peacocks in her neighborhood, and one of the peahens made a nest in her barn.  After sitting on the eggs for two weeks, she abandoned the nest and went on her merry way.  Now, L, after having a traumatic loss of 19 of her 20 chicks (this is how we came to foster the one extra, which we’re now keeping since it’s the lone survivor and would be too difficult to integrate just the one into the flock with older chickens) has been on the fence about whether or not to order more chicks.

When the peahen abandoned the nest, she candled the eggs and saw that they were viable. The next logical step was to get an incubator.  Into the bator they went! Figuring out when the chicks should hatch has been a bit of a mystery, since she really wasn’t sure when they were laid, although she was pretty sure one was laid much later than the others.

The one egg had pipped during the night, and she slightly enlarged the hole in the morning to see what was going on.  And this began her worry.  At points, a leg would come out then go back in.  She was worried that it was going to hatch too soon with the “help” she had given it. And, she was worried that it would get stuck to the membrane.

Being a lawyer, she wasn’t in a position to skip or be late to court.  But, given our terribly dry climate, she was having to mist the eggs about every 1/2 hour.  (If the egg is too dry, the membrane can stick to the chick and prevent hatching which is *bad*) Because of the imminent hatch, she couldn’t move her incubator and drop it off at my house.

So my girls grabbed some stuff and we raced over to her house so she could make court.  Once we got them settled, I came back home to get a shower and something to eat, and then head back. She had no idea how long her case would take, so I was prepared to be there for a while.

I’ll tell ya, having a conversation with an egg is fantastic fun!!   I’ve never hatched eggs before, and therefore it had never occurred to me that you would hear the peeping before they hatched, much less talk to them in the egg and have them talk back.  😆

When I first got there, I could see the leg coming out and then back in.  The hole was not terribly large.

By the time L got back home, chick had managed to get one whole side moving.

Within a very short amount of time- maybe 20 minutes or so, serious progress was being made.

Whew!  He made it!  Newborn, er, hatched- chicks are pretty floppy.  This little guy was dragging his tummy around the wire on the bottom, which was making his umbilical cord stump bleed.  And, he was bowling with the other eggs in there. We were both concerned about the bleeding, and realized it would be better if we could get him out.  Usually, you would leave a new chick in the bator for a while.  Since he was bleeding, though, we figured we could take him out in the 108° heat and keep him warm.

I went home for my blood stop powder.  When I returned, she had used corn starch which was helping, but not enough to her liking.  The blood stop powder seemed to be helping, but she was concerned and had called her friend, who is a vet, and was literally a block away.  After a few minutes, we loaded into my truck and down the street we went.  He’s not a fowl vet, but he knows how to stop bleeding. He used a silver nitrate stick and sent her home with another, just in case.

Turns out, on his way home, he dropped her off a few more.  Figured she might need them, given the other eggs had started pipping.  I don’t know that she has had to use any more, but she’s feeling better.  😀

Lil guy by the end of the day.  The red is because he’s under the heat lamp in the brooder.

 She was having a great time watching the other eggs pip.

 Pea baby #2. 

And new baby arrived shortly after.  All three are doing well.  Names have not been decided on, as far as I know.  In the running, are Larry, Curly, and Moe; Donald, Goofy and Micky.  My vote goes to Huey, Dewey and Louie.  Of course, there is no way to tell whether they are boys or girls just yet.  😆

Los Tres Amigos. 

 I would ♥♥♥ to have peafowl, but if a crowing Jasmine would be a problem for the neighbors, I can just imagine what would happen if we had a male peacock screaming all the time.  😆  *sigh*  But I do love them!

If I can ever get out to the country, you can be sure these are on my lists of “musts,” in addition to some Nigerian Dwarf Goats…….  😆

What a day!  It was a grand adventure, for sure!

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After having read book 3 (When the Soul Mends) in the Sisters of the Quilt Series (Cindy Woodsmall), I did not have it in mind to read the first part of this story, book 1; When the Heart Cries.  Slim pickin’s on the selection list left me with this book.  I have read one other book by this author, in the Ada’s House series.

Book 1 in this series introduces us to Hannah Lapp, and Old Order Amish young lady not quite 18 years old.  Not having been baptized into the faith yet, Hannah is still in her rumschpringe, which allows her a little more freedom. On the evening of her secret engagement to a young Mennonite man, tragedy finds Hannah and changes her life forever.

I have no doubt that the response to the tragedy is likely authentic Amish.  If it’s not, it’s not doing the faith any favors. I find the general subject in this particular book to be off-putting. It doesn’t endear the Amish people to me, to say the least. I wish the author had chosen a different theme for this story.  I think there are any number of other events that could have led the main character down the same path.

The one thing this book did do for me was make me want to re-read book 3.  I hope that I’ll be able to look at the characters differently than I did the first time around, and that may make the overall story more palatable.

Despite the main story line, the book was well written and the characters well-developed.  I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Help me win stuff by clicking below and ranking my review!

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Clean Plate


I’ve been noticing a pattern, and I’m tired of it.  Seems I’ve been complaining a bit about time, or the lack thereof, to do more of the things I want to do. While venting has a place, I am more of a “crap or get off the pot” (pardon my french) type of person.

I think venting is a good way to release frustration, but for me, when I notice a pattern of negativity, it occurs to me that it’s not just a pressure valve release, but a situation that needs closer examination and in all likelihood, a change. In this case, it’s been a lack of time.

It had really started to stack up on me that during the school year, I am not home a single day out of the week.  Not a single day. Monday was the only day I was home during the day, but there are kids’ activities in the evening, so that was another day that was shot. Weekends were usually pretty busy, too, with preparation for the week and being out on Sunday.

How does one create more time? The easy answer is you can’t. Another thing to think about is consolidation- can I combine things to be more efficient, and therefor feel like I have more time?  Nope.  No can do.

My solution was to clean my plate. I recognize that while this works for me, not everyone is in a position where they can take a clean swipe- but I’ll best most people wish they could from time to time!

In the last week, I have removed myself from outside obligations.  The first thing to go was a volunteer position that took up most of my Wednesday.  Yesterday I quit my very part-time job. One co-worker seemed surprised, as in, “But no one else can do what you are doing!” (that means printed information and a website, more or less, because the other stuff I am pretty sure anyone else can handle :lol:)

As of this minute, I haven’t officially changed my stance.  But, I’ll tell ya, I am waffling.  The one thing in particular, my two youngest are really quite sad about.  And, given that it’s always good brain food for me; is not really stressful; and is on some level actually enjoyable, I’ll probably change my mind back.

The other was more of a relief, honestly. The one environment that destroyed me several years ago has really left its mark (read here for more info).  I am no longer interested in or willing to fight for anything.  It simply is not worth it. I have the luxury of being in a position to ditch things when the going gets rough. And so I have.

Hanging on to something that causes a lot of frustration is just not worth it to me anymore.  I have no faith that perseverance will win in the end, or that things will get better. So I apply the “law of two feet” (although my criteria is a littl different in that I actually am contributing).  I guess, in hindsight, that dysfunctional organization (that I grew up in) taught me that much.

A totally clean plate? Nah, not quite.  Cleaner.  And hopefully that will = better in the long run.  I may be back, though, come this winter, saying my plate is totally clean.  😀

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I’ve long been an Asics girl when it came to running shoes.  I appreciate shoes that are lightweight and breathable. That being said, I wanted to keep an open mind and see what I could find to help my foot pain issues.

What I found surprised me. After significant research and despite not having a local store to go to and try on a pair, I took the plunge and ordered my next pair of running shoes online.

Vibram Five Fingers Bikila.  Hobbit Feet.  😆

A big selling point was getting back to a natural running strike pattern, which changes the way your feet land when you run.  Why is this a big deal? If you have plantar fasciitis like I have (in both feet, although one is worse than the other) and get tired of literally crawling on your hands and knees at times, getting relief is A Very Big Deal.

Another big selling point is that unlike traditional shoes, you don’t need to replace them after 300 miles.  These you can literally wear out.  And, you can throw them in the washing machine (air dry), which is another huge perk.

Not running has not been an acceptable solution, nor does it actually do anything for the problem.  I’ve taken extended breaks from running; I’ve had RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) up to my ears with no relief.  In fact, when the symptoms first appeared, I wasn’t doing any running (this was the onset debilitating illness symptoms) and assumed it was all disease related.  And it still may be.

I have moved on to treating symptoms, so finding a good running shoe for heel and foot pain was part of that natural progression. Throwing caution to the wind (it can’t get worse!), and discovering I don’t actually have a ruler in my house to measure my feet (using other methods to determine length), I ordered online, hoping that my feet and toes wouldn’t be too swollen to actually get into the shoes.

One of the things I noticed while researching was a lack of good (detailed) chronicling the transition to these shoes. I wanted to know what to expect, given the disclaimers that calf muscles would need time to adjust, and to take the transition slow.  Everyone said so, but there was scant information as to what someone could expect- really expect- when starting. If you’re still reading, feel free to check out here unless you want details.  😀 I’m going to periodically post updates on progress.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Distance Summary: 10 days wearing shoes; 50 total miles. Total daily distance (changing shoes) : 5 miles

VFF miles: 19.25

Heel pain level: low- HUGE improvement

Other pain:  might have some extensor tendonitis; likely caused by pressure from the top of the shoe- read log to see when/how this cropped up. If this is extensor tendonitis, it’s not in the traditional place, but this is more likely something caused by where the shoe rests, even though I have not had a tight velcro strap.

Pain Summary: Shoe blister (ball of one foot) has resolved; heel pain minimal (best it’s been in years); watching top of foot pain which is relieved when foot cracks; stretching before, after, and throughout the day is hugely helpful; is marginally tender when pressing on that spot. Still need to do a lot of stretching before supta virasana is not painful; really have to ease into it with the one foot.

Conclusion: Go slow.  Really.  😆  Slower speeds are better when getting used to these. Pay attention to the recommendations.  I did significantly more than the recommeded 10%.  I also run more than one day in a row, but feel that compensating with slower speeds and shorter distances are adequate, given my propensity for being barefoot much of the time anyhow long in advance of getting these shoes.  Honor the way you feel.

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Tuesday; Day 1total 1.5 miles; walked ¼ to warm-up- felt good overall; could feel the pull in R calf around 1.25; although I’ve had knots in that calf off and on for thelast two weeks.  Felt strange changing back to shoes mid-stream. (Tuesday after Memorial Day; hoping for 4 days this week depending on how I feel after using these shoes.  Sensation getting on the treadmill was pretty bizarre, but then the weirdest was going back into the other shoes and finishing the workout.

Wednesday; Day 2– total 2 miles; walked ¼ and slower on additional ½ mile; R calf a bit sore as usual; L calf had the relatively normal shooting pain a little bit towards the end of the run; not prohibitive; both heels were pretty sore last night, but not as bad as they have been in the past; took Tylenol (for headache) but nothing else for pain.

Blister on bottom of right foot after run- think I may have had a sock wedged in there. Legs are getting sore when not moving around. Will probably take something at bedtime just to be safe.

Some archish/top foot pain while doing supta virasana.  

Thursday; Day 3- total 3 miles; walked ¼; speed better today.  Could feel blister on the bottom of foot, but not too bad; was MUCH worse in the regular shoe.  Dreaded putting regular shoes back on, and the R heel pain was noticeably worse in Asics.  REALLY looking forward to not having to change shoe.

When putting VFFs on this morning, outer toes were feeling a bit numb, particular toes 4 and 5 each foot- feet are a bit more swollen today, so that might be partly why.

Monday; Day 4- total 5 miles; walked 1; slower times.  Determined blister on ball of R foot was from the shoes; no issue with it today during run.  Top of L foot; however, is pretty sore; somewhere after mile 3.  Too much too soon? Will have to wait and see how it feels as the day progresses, and tomorrow.  Plan for tomorrow is to change shoes during if there is discomfort. 

From what I have read, the TOFP is a result of either doing too much too  soon OR from a ball strike only and not having contact with the heel.  I’m going to see if I can’t change to a mid strike tomorrow or at least try flat footed and see what happens.  I will say that I have not had this little heel pain in years, so that is encouraging.  Zero calf pain since Friday; some tightness on Thursday.

Afternoon- pain remains.  Seems to be a bruised /very sore spot on the top of my foot, more at the base of my leg.  I don’t know that this is a toe thing, since they feel fine.  Definitely taking it easy.  At this point, walking at all is painful, so I don’t know if I can do anything tomorrow.  Boo. 😦 Ice; stretch foot; ankle brace overnight; hurts even to wiggle my toes; extremely painful; have a really hard time walking in afternoon; completely unable to crack foot. Tuesday was better but still pretty painful. Also took Wednesday off due to pain. Foot was starting to crack again on Tuesday; more so on Wed. Stayed on ibuprofen for anti-inflammatory.

Thursday; Day 5- total only ½ in VFFs due to top of foot injury L foot; moderate pain throughout; wondering now if it could be where the top of the shoe ends on foot; pain was less intense in regular shoe, but R heel was starting to hurt since I was putting more pressure on R side. 

Friday; Day 6- total 1 mile in VFFs; still moderate pain in top of  L foot; taking it slower in the feet; R heel was more painful. I have to think this is some sort of muscle thing in the top of the foot, or where the shoe edge is putting pressure. Have been doing a lot of stretching on the top of foot, and it is sore and painful initially until it stretches. 

Monday; Day 7- total ran 1.5 miles in VFFs; still moderate pain in top of  L foot, although the top of foot was able to crack a few times during run; went slower so as not to delay recovery; still needing to stretch foot quite a bit all throughout the day; continue trying to go barefoot as much as possible.

Tuesday; Day 8 – total ran all 1.25 in VFFs very slowly; stopped short because of the pain in foot and transferred to other shoes; ended up with quite a considerable bit of pain and spent a good bit of time in the evening icing; R heel was also quite sore today. Ibuprofen at bedtime to help with the throbbing.

Wednesday; Day 9 – total 1.5 in VFFs; walked first ¼; had decided yesterday not to use them today, so I started slowly to see how my foot was feeling. LOTS and lots of foot cracking while running; and boy, does that feel good!  My foot has not been cracking when getting up in morning and after long periods of time off of it as it usually does, so this always feel sooooo much better when it cracks and settles. 

Thursday; Day 10- total 2 in VFFs, pushed a wee little bit more today, so we’ll see how I end up feeling- 50 miles total since I got the VFFs; 19.25 miles in them; foot did a bit of cracking during run, which always feels so much better; working on my stride so I can build on time and distance; still doing *a lot* of stretching the top of the L foot; also calf stretches; more hip pain after run yesterday, so back to doing more hip exercises before running; feeling encouraged and can’t wait to cut loose in VFFs without having pain; having to hold back and concentrate on each strike bites and I am *really* looking forward to just running and not constantly having to think about it the entire time. Both feet felt good enough to get back to a 4 day running week; contemplated a fifth, but don’t want my quads to revolt.

I will give updates every 50 miles or so. Please share your experience with me, and stay tuned!

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I’m looking for more.  I need more. I never have enough time to do the things I love to do. So, the only thing I can really do about that is to complain.  😀

The passage of time is something I am acutely aware of. There is something about becoming seriously chronically ill to realign your sense of time, particularly when you have literally no idea about what is around the corner.

As in, will I be healthy enough to do what I want to do, when I want to do it?  How much time will it take?  Will I need a nap? Will I be alive a year or more down the road?  😆

Really.  Seems like “time” is on my mind a lot, and yet I am finding it slipping away in large chunks. My days are flying by. My weeks are flying by. Before I know it, summer will be gone, and I’ll be looking at the necessity of getting organized for schooling again.  Fortunately, my plan is already in place, so I won’t have to spend a lot of time planning, because it’s already been done.

I have noticed that with our intense heat (it’s been 100+ for more than 2 weeks; tomorrow will be 108, and we will finally get some respite supposedly next Tuesday when it hits a much-anticipated low of 98), I am spending a lot more time in the garden watering.  I’ve done another planting, which means keeping the ground moist while things germinate. Seedlings don’t do real well in intense heat, so the continued watering is necessary.

When you are out watering at least 3 to 4 times a day in addition to keeping an eye on chickies, time slips away from you pretty quickly.  That’s why I need more.  I’d be happy with another 2 hours a day.

On second thought, I am not sure 2 hours more a day would really cut it.  Hum. Maybe I should get rid of the clock completely……  😆

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It is with a terribly, terribly sad heart that we say goodbye to Jasmine.  We took a gamble and lost big.  😦 😦

It didn’t take long to figure out Jasmine was not a Black Minorca.  Nope, Jasmine is a Blue Andalusian splash. This breed as once known as the “Blue Minorca.”  Both are Spanish Mediterranean breeds, and are therefore closely related.

According to the ALBC (American Livestock Breeds Conservancy), the Blue Andalusian is a “threatened” breed. 

  • Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the United States, with seven or fewer primary breeding flocks, and estimated global population less than 5,000.

Had I known the name of this breed when we were there, we certainly would have gotten more.  We have one other conservation breed (Dominique) that is on the “watch” list, but had I known the status of the Blue Andalusian, I would have opted for more of those instead of the others that I got.

From the beginning, we were captivated by Jasmine.  The biggest issue – once we figured out the breed-  was not knowing the sex.  As Jasmine grew, I searched all over for pictures of BA pullets and hens.  I found several, which led me to continue scratching my head.

                      

                

You can see why I wasn’t sure.  Red combs and wattles for this breed don’t mean “boy” because both sexes have them!  Early on, I was really, really wishing I had gotten more than one so I would have been able (in theory) to have some comparison.

Saturday morning, we woke around 6:30 am to strangled sounds coming from the living room.  Jasmine tried to crow- twice.  After giggling, I went right away to research whether or not pullets will try to crow.  And yes, they sometimes do. I set out to find a home for Jasmine; you know, just in case. Arrangements were made with the stipulation that I would call the next day or in the future if Jasmine really was a boy.

Sunday morning came. Jasmine started exercising his lungs around 6 am. The 13 other girls seriously were rolling their eyes, like “What is up with him?!  We want to sleep!” After about 1/2 hour, he stopped, but I knew Jasmine would have to go out to the farm (literally, a farm with 60 acres).

I called my contact after church, and we made arrangements for her to come and get him in the afternoon.  She called about 1/2 hour out, so we would have time to catch him and love on him.  Catching wasn’t hard, since all of our chickies are very tame and friendly.

We’ve all been pretty sad.  It is hard to let go when you are unsure of where your pets are going for sure, especially when it’s a real concern that they will be eaten.  If he had not been a rare and threatened breed, I might not be as concerned, knowing it’s usually an inevitability with roos.

We are extremely attached to all of our birds.  I had a hard time thinking about the exchange; his squawking and unease.  It makes me sad to wonder what his new home is like.  I know she doesn’t do fighting, but will he be picked on by the bigger roos?  Will he have the company of some sweet girls?  Will he get treats and be given ample accommodation in this heat?  Hopefully, he will be prized and loved, and be allowed to live out his days safely, mating and being “the man” he was born to be.

We all miss our pretty boy. We are already trying to find a way to be able to get a small number of Blue Andalusian pullets next year.  I’d do it now, but don’t know of anyone who I can combine an order with in small numbers.  In the meantime, I’m going to sit with a chicken in my lap and wait until next year.  And then we’ll let Chicken Math take over again!

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