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Archive for the 'Family and School' Category

Three Feet in the Yard

May 5th, 2010

In between all the outside projects, I’m trying to catch up a little inside as well.  Sometimes it seems there are so many priorities, or “would-like-to-do” things, that it’s hard to remember the things we really need to do.  Or maybe we conveniently place them at the back of the list somewhere.   Anway, I realize it’s easy to put up pretty pictures on the blog, even though that is one of my goals:  To share the beauty of where we live, along with my periodic ramblings.  

I must say that I really appreciate comments and visits from readers, and it helps me to remember that other people enjoy and appreciate nature and many other things about life just as I do.    

But in between all the pretty pictures, there is real life going on here too…  including a messy house and kitchen, a garage and barn that needs organized and tons of weeds in various places that we just haven’t got to yet.   But am I going to focus on those things here?  Heck no!  I’m only going to show the good stuff!  :)    

There’s only so much time and energy each day, and everyone stays busy. This week after cleaning, trimming and everyday stuff, it’s been all chicken-coop building and cutting grass. I’ve been out on the tractor past 8:30 pm a couple days just to keep up.  I guess it all depends upon what we want to do really, and how we choose to spend our time.  

I am just not someone who can sit on the couch for hours and watch television.   There are so many other incredible things to do.  I have to admit it frustrates me when the boy’s first thought when he has time is to go watch cartoons for example.  I suppose a lot of kids are like that (and I watched cartoons as a kid too.)

Ah, but I’ve always got better ideas for things he can do (what parent doesn’t?!) and love to see him outside helping out or just goofing around exploring.  Television is a huge magnet for passive activity… and I think it just turns off the brain.   I enjoy watching a few shows too, but even then I could be spending my time more effectively elsewhere (like organizing or writing a little more).

Once the boy gets outside though he finds tons of fun things to do, like climbing trees!  And the hat is really good for holding peanuts. I need to give him a break this week however, or no, that’s not right… well yes, but what I really mean to say is that he broke his toe last week…    Somehow playing or running around the house he stubbed his pinky toe.   It looked like a little bruise at first, and then his foot was even more bruised behind the joint.   Ouch- he could hardly walk on it for a few days.

Better safe than sorry, so I took him to the doctor and the orthopedic specialist confirmed he broke the big bone in the little toe… not just any break mind you.  It was a spiral break through the bone into the joint.  Yikes.   Now how does that happen?!  

So he doesn’t have gym class at school for three weeks and I’ll take him back to the doc to make sure it’s healing okay.  Which is fine right now because school is basically finished in about three weeks.   The good news is that kids usually heal up very nicely from such things.  So now I find myself saying, “Stop running on your foot!”  to make sure he doesn’t hurt it again.

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The boy’s foot is not the only foot that’s causing a little pain and frustration this week.   A strange time for foot maladies…  My left foot has been really sore too, and old ankle injury that just seems to linger.   So I’ve come to really appreciate our feet this week, and how much we need them.  Well, the whole body really.   Is there anything quite like gardening, landscaping or building something to show you the parts of your body you forgot about for a while?

“I just put my feet in the air and move them around.”    

                                                                                                –  Fred Astaire

The other foot I’ve been keeping a good deal busier with is the one on the labrador retriever.   We haven’t been training, exploring or doing anything particularly fun to bother him.  Rather I’ve been sitting on the floor wrapping bandages trying to keep him from making a “hot spot” worse on his leg. 

Have you ever seen one of those? Basically the dog licks its foot or tail or something so much that it creates a raw, red, and often bloody patch an inch or two in size.   Sometimes it’s because of allergies, or anxiety or even insect bites.  Sometimes it’s just what the dog does.  There’s a good two inch hot spot under this bandage, and you can see a couple of tenative spots where he licks at the edge of the bandage.  

The problem is that it just doesn’t heal on its own because the dog just keeps licking, and then develops a habit for doing it and eventually it can become infected or really hurt the animal.  So how do you keep a labrador from chewing and licking?   You don’t.   At least that’s what I found out.  You have to divert his attention, keep the area protected, try to keep him occupied with other chew toys and generally just watch him as much as possible.

So we find ways to compromise and keep his foot wrapped up while the hot spot heals. I’ve used every bandage, ointment, powder and bitter “anti-lick” lotion there is… or it seems like it. I’ve finally got it somewhat under control and healed to a tough outer skin after nearly two weeks. Not only have I kept it bandaged, but I’ve used my socks to slip up his leg and the cover that with masking tape! 

Of course the dog being a dog needs to go outside… which means the bandages get wet and often muddy.   Or he sneaks down to the pond when I’m not looking and goes for a swim.   The nerve!     

But of course that means his bandage needs changed again. And again.  And again. Ugh!  And if I slip up just once and don’t wrap it properly… he gets to it and it becomes bloody and the process starts all over again. 

But I’m nearly as stubborn as he is sometimes, and we go back to square one.   I have found that if you can get the bloody raw part to heal just enough with a good layer of outer skin, then medicated powder works really well to help the dog not feel itchy or whatever in that area. 

Yes, many of you probably know the other possible solution is the dreaded Cone of Shame.  Did you see the movie Up?    It was very cute, and Up took home two Academy Awards, for Best Animated Feature Film and Original Score.   This is Dug from the movie…

Dug says, “I do not like the cone of shame.”

                                                                                                                     Photo copyright Pixar

People use the cone to keep the dog from reaching places on its body that it will lick or bite. I haven’t tried the cone-thingy yet, mostly because we don’t want a 100 pound labrador running around the house with a huge cone on his head smashing into everything! He would roll and fight with that thing, so I’ve just tried to help his leg heal with bandages. The real verdict will come in a couple days when I gradually lessen the bandages. We’ll see in a week or two.   And as always, if you have any good ideas or “home remedy” techniques, I’d love to hear them.  

I’ve said it before, but I love that quote that says, “Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.”    I try not to let the beauty of each day get too far away…  and while making plans and carrying them out, I think we do need to time to appreciate our lives even when we don’t get everything finished that we would like.   Or when we stub our toe.     Somehow everything in spring seems to happen all at once.  Enjoy the day!

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Everything’s Growing!

April 7th, 2010

How did April get here so fast?! I think I’m still back in March somewhere, planning what to do this month. Now that I’m here, I’m wondering what that was…     As I looked into the small greenhouse this week I had to laugh that our snowman from Christmas was still in there!  He’s camping out in front of some sage.  Kind of a happy guy, isn’t he?   I’m months behind I tell ‘ya. Time just zooms by and I can only wonder what other forgotten treasures we’ve left behind.

But spring is surely here in Missouri.   It’s more than daffodils, because the redbuds and dogwoods have started to bloom… along with a host of wildflowers int the forest.  I’ve seen violets, anemone and even trout lilies this week.   And it’s about time for morels! 

The young boy and I went exploring a little after school yesterday.  The little hollow above the pond serves as drainage for half the watershed, and it’s fun to hike around in there at times.   Something caught my eye while cutting grass, so we went on a little treasure hunt before the heavy leaf cover hides it all.  

We found some neat pieces of dishes or pottery.  I don’t have any idea how old they might be, but it’s fun to imagine someone long ago using them, or the artist that painted the blue flowers.  And what could that rusty piece of metal have been used for?  The boy thought the rock was just neat looking.

We’ve had such warm weather that all the insects have come out.   But there’s a couple of cold fronts coming through this week that will chill things down a bit at night. Nothing close to freezing, so we’ll still be in good shape.  The cool weather is fine by me!  The oak trees have let down catkins already and everything has started leafing out now.  It is so renewing to watch the trees re-dress themselves each spring in shades of light to darker green. 

Even waking up this morning I was amazed at the difference between this picture taken just a day before and how fast the leaves are growing.  Soon we will see the orioles return and even our barn swallows.  The barn swallows are almost overdue, well almost.  But for the two years before last, they have always returned to their nests around the first week of April.  Last year they came around the 15th…  so we have time.  It may have something to do with the storms and weather patterns, but I’m thinking they’ll show up in the next few days.   I did see a tree swallow yesterday, flying low across the fields.

There’s so many things growing around here, which reminds me to share a picture of our new friends.   

I’ll just leave you with this for now… don’t you just want to pick them up or something?   Have a great week! :)




Sunshine On My Shoulders

April 3rd, 2010

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…

If I had a day that I could give you
I’d give to you a day just like today
If I had a song that I could sing for you
I’d sing a song to make you feel this way

 

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

If I had a tale that I could tell you
I’d tell a tale sure to make you smile
If I had a wish that I could wish for you
I’d make a wish for sunshine all the while

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…




On A Spring Day

March 23rd, 2010

Goodness, Spring has arrived in Missouri in force this week!  It was doubtful for a while this past weekend, with much snow for our western friends.   But after a few days of rain, the sun has returned and with it the frogs, flowers and fullness of early spring itself. 

I saw a few crocus last week, and a couple of daffodils peeking out.  I swear they came out so quickly, and then Voila! all the other daffodils are  blooming at once.  Bear with me… I have to share them as the days go by.   After all, we waited all winter for them! :)

We even enjoyed a brief picnic dinner by the pond before the rain last week.  It felt so strange to be relaxing outside in a light shirt after the cold days of winter.   The yellow lab is always your buddy where food is concerned, and hope springs eternal!

The pond is warming up nicely too.  I’ve seen a few more minnows and fish rising.  Today we even saw the koi, but I’ll save that for another day. 

Of course the yellow lab decided to roll around in the grass while wandering near the pond… the same grassy area that had been burned by my inadvertent fire. He seemed to enjoy that smokey burnt aroma!    And he wasn’t quite so yellow after that… 

A quick retrieve in the pond cleaned things up nicely.   He brings so much energy and joy to my daily experience.    I’m working really hard to enjoy life half as much as my dog does!



Have a Green Day

March 17th, 2010

Happy St. Patrick’s Day that is…

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

And may you have something for your table to share with family and friends. 

A little corned beef with potatoes and veggies will fit nicely :)

Speaking of potatoes, it’s a good week to head outside and get a few planted in the garden.  With luck that will leave time for another planting this summer.



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