Wednesday, January 31, 2018

One Weird Tuesday in January

Don't learn safety by accident. ~Saying, circa 1949

We have a very nasty flu going around that has caused the deaths of children and elderly. It also mutates faster than most viruses do so no vaccine is really helping and there have been school closures in many parts of the country. My family have been fortunate to not get it..yet, but I was not too surprised that the Princess' piano teacher texted me Monday night to say she had the flu and would not be teaching for most of the week. I did not see it because I was already in bed—not sick, just very tired.

The next day, Tuesday, my husband decided to drive to the account where he was to work, but not with our vehicles, so I had to drop him off to get his rental car. I was just about three miles down the road on my way to the Post Office when he called me to say that he left his computer bag in the van.

I finally made it to the Post Office and to send out payments of my bills. The gas bill was particularly high, but it had been particularly cold. Still, I had called them to be sure that I was not being charged for the gas leak we had at the beginning of the month (after the fireworks fire). I let my Mishka out and smelled gas on the south side of the house, the side with the meter, and realized it was coming from it. The temperatures were in the 20's but within 30 minutes a man from the gas company was replacing my meter, but the next day...there was that smell again. A bad regulator. Now it is fixed, but about two weeks later I smelled gas again on the north side...the firestarter neighbors also had a leak and he smokes outside on that side of the house. Anyway, my leaked gas was before it is metered so I had to pay the entire thing and that was fine because we actually used it.

I also went to the health food stores because we did not go out last week. I had not been feeling so great for quite awhile, but this extra tiredness and weakness—seemingly for no reason, but I think I was fighting off something I did not really get—started that week and I felt a little too weak to try it.

The health food stores are no longer across the street from each other, so after we had finished shopping in the one, we were on our way to the other. The Princess and I had our braces adjusted the day before so we decided what to eat and where. We were sitting at a red traffic light with about eight to ten cars stopped in front of us when we got rear-ended. It was not bad, a bump really, but having worked for a chiropractor, I know that what seems like nothing much right then can feel a whole lot different the next few days.

I called my insurance agent first to ask if we really needed a police report as there did not appear to be any damage to either vehicle, but I was rather shaken up, mostly because I have a sensitive nervous system that gets triggered when things like this happen. They advised to get the report, so the officer arrived and talked to the other driver first and then explained that he would write the report but he was not going to cite the man, who was highly cooperative and admitted what happened. I probably would not have wrote the ticket either. He had a brain-damaged girl in the car with him who suddenly was getting sick and that distracted him. Then I felt so sorry for the man, who was rather nice about everything. The officer could not see any damage to either vehicle, but I knew that bumpers do not always show the internal damage so we shall take it to a shop to have it checked out just to be sure that it will do what it should if it is hit again. I was feeling my upper back on the left tighten up at the scene, but that could have been just me being up-tight about the whole thing. As I write this, it is the next day and I am just a bit sore, like I would be if I had done some gardening, so I am good.

We decided to eat lunch and relax. Then we went on to the other health food store, got the items we needed and some home early to put all our groceries away. The Princess is pet sitting a neighbor's cat and hamster, so she went there to spend about 30 minutes feeding, cleaning, and playing. While I fed our rabbits, the cats, and the dog.

Then I was ready to go to bed early again, but my husband called to say goodnight and mentioned the State of the Union address. I was not going to watch it live and see it in the morning, but...well, I really get sucked into politics and my daughter would have also if she had known, but her mind was on the Super Blue Moon Eclipse that happened this morning...that she slept through. And, yes, I liked Trump's address very much. He is abrasive but he is saying what most the people I know in my part of the country have been saying.

Thank you, my Lord, for protecting us.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

First Minutes into 2018 - Fighting a Wildfire

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. ~Bill Vaughan (1915–1977), in The Kansas City Star

In the first minutes of 2018, my husband and I were out fighting a wildfire...

On New Year's Eve, many people shoot off fireworks, but if there ever was a night that was a bad night to shoot fireworks it was this night. Or perhaps I should say if ever there was a good night to start a wildfire, it was this night. For one, we have been having unusually low temperatures for a few weeks with no precipitation, making everything particularly dry. The wind was gusting from the northwest. The temperature was in the 20's that night so all the water hoses were frozen. In other words, it was foolish to do any fireworks at all, but people did and some of those people lived next door to us. (Ironically, our other next door neighbor is a fireman, who was not home at the time.)

It was just after midnight and I had just put on my pajamas. The next thing I see is my husband with his jacket on grabbing one of our fire extinguishers. Then I looked outside to see the yard on the corner across the street with streaks of fire like in the movie "Back to the Future" and a few people, the people who accidentally caused it, running around seemingly not knowing what to do. So, I ran to change back into clothes, put on my heavy hunter's rubber boots, and my warm camo jacket. By the time I got outside, the streaks of fire had disappeared and it was just a total burn with embers even going over the road into our yard. I ran to get the hose from our backyard as I knew it would reach all our front yard and even the other side of the street, but there was water frozen in the hose so it would not work.

At that point, the only method was trying to stomp it out. The homeowner had gotten some shovels in hopes to save his home. I know how fire can move, but I personally had never seen a fire on a mowed lawn have flames shoot up four feet and advance fifteen feet with one gust of wind! And the same  people who caused it were trying to get in front of it too, but I warned them not to do it that way. Crazy just runs rabid with these people!

The only thing that saved the house was that there was a huge island that the homeowner had filled with rock in the front. It caused the fire to split into two sections. I was on the road side and my husband was on the driveway side. I could not even see him at times because of the flames. We all worked at keeping the fire from catching the bushes near the house, but it had advanced to the backyard on my side. Just ten more feet, just one more gust of wind, and the flames would be into leaves, brush, and then up trees. Should a fire get up in height like that, the whole neighborhood to the south and west would have been in jeopardy.

I was praying under my breath and that one more gust of wind did not happen, the fire just began to fizzle out on my side. On the other side the flames were nearing cars in the driveway, but that is when the fire department came and it took them all of 30 seconds to douse it all.

My husband and I did not wait around, but started home to shower and wash our smoky clothes as we coughed out what had gotten into our lungs. The next door neighbor man, who never talks to us, made a point to thank us with the kind of scary sincerity that comes from knowing what could have happened if we had not been there to help. His wife said over and over that there was a newborn baby in that house and I assured her that we would have had enough time to get the baby out safely.

After our showers, we were up for several hours. Adrenalin! Our stories were different because we were in different areas with different people. Our dog saw the first streak and my husband watched as two more shot toward the house across the street. He realized that it probably was a Roman candle that had fallen over, more likely had been blown over. He thought they could get it, but realized before he had a chance to finish that thought that the wind was a big factor. When he arrived with the fire extinguishers, they all thought it would put the fire out, but my husband knew and told them it would only slow it down as they were halogen extinguishers that are for inside fires because they remove oxygen in the air. They really would not do much outside, but when you are desperate it is worth trying.

One of the neighbors with the best yard now has a completely black front yard. It is eerily striking.

We had not seen our next door neighbors for over a week since it happened. I feel for them, I really do. One stupid mistake can cause property and people to be in danger. I am sure they wish they could hide forever right now. I am hoping that none of them became ill because of it.

Our daughter missed it all as she was staying overnight at a friend's house and I was thankful for that because I did not have to worry about her jumping in to help and possibly getting hurt. No one was hurt, thankfully.

My Lord, just thank you that no one was hurt and the damage was minimal.

Friday, January 26, 2018

A New Year, a New Direction, and a New Meow!

The same Jesus Who turned water into wine can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future. He is still in the miracle-working business, and His business is the business of transformation. -Adrian Rogers

I cannot believe how long it has been since I have posted here, but there are several reasons I have not. As I mentioned before, I started another blog about our rabbitry and I began to keep detailed records of breedings, births, weights, genetics, and so forth. I spent hours making charts, reading, and learning. I had to urge my husband to build at least two more cages, but I really want about four more...or more.

I had bought quite a few rabbits because most of what we had left are old, but I was pleased to see that my old does are still healthy and fertile. Still, we are phasing out one breed and will be focusing on another.

We have not even culled one rabbit since the beginning of this breeding season as we were trying to sell off as many as we could to compensate for the cost of buying young purebreds for breeders and waiting for them to develop. I also am spending more time with my rabbits, handling them, feeding them by hand and, of course, cleaning. (These days, I so much enjoy being outside whether with my buns or plants.) I wish to develop a reputation for not only our purebred rabbits being healthy and good quality, but also for their docile temperaments. My husband is very pleased that I finally am involved with them as much as he wanted me to be from the start—not like I was not busy enough with the Princess and homeschooling.

However, we cannot expand or advertise much because we do not the acreage to comply with our county's requirements, so we are doing things low-key for now as we are also actively looking for land outside of our present county, which is on a mission to drive farmers out by rezoning their properties when placed on the market to be sold. We are looking in neighboring counties to the west or ones farther north that are farmer-friendly.

On Sunday, we walked a lovely 64 acres with a stream that has a low price per acre, but would be too costly for us to buy it and then build what we want. We walked to see how we might sell off up to half in two 10 to 15 acre lots because it has two road fronts on the front and back of the property. The side I like, the higher part of the property, is on the busier front road, but my husband was hoping for the quieter back side that slopes down closer to the road than the other side. The stream is also closer to the back side. The other disadvantage is that it does not have many hardwoods, as the owner is a forester that harvests the pines, some of which could also be sold and provide us with some extra funds, I suppose.

We are looking at land because we are probably going to have to build. There are just very few houses that have old fashion large farm kitchens with space for a full size freezer and a full size refrigerator and space for a grand piano somewhere with nice acoustics that are not like mini mansions, which would be just too much house for us. We just need a customized plan that will fit our lifestyle and plans.

My husband was also thinking of going into business for himself, but I felt the Lord was telling us that we would have another choice that we could make, but no direction of which we should take yet. Just this week, my husband applied for a newly created position within the company he works...the job he was originally hired to do that they never created seven years ago.

I just keep hearing God tell me that He is going to bless me and He has been. 

In the meantime, I need to focus on my daughter and finishing up some of the redecorating I had started in my house. I feel this strong compulsion to not just declutter but to minimize the amount of things we have, as in if we have not used it or do not use it, it needs to go. I am going to be posting lots of homeschool materials, but I plan to keep some things...there may be grandchildren some day that will use it, even though the Princess sounds like me at her age and has no desire for children, she says.

Yet, my husband and I were picking up a doe at a farm and I looked over to see this kitten:

Now, this is EXACTLY the cat I have always wanted for myself and the farmer did not want it, so offered him to us for free. I had promised myself that I would not have another indoor cat, but my husband said that he would not be mine. That was two days before Christmas so my husband and I made him a surprise last minute Christmas gift to the Princess. When we returned home, my husband got the rabbit settled into her quarantine cage while I combed out the cat, and then we were off to the pet store because we no longer had anything for an indoor cat.

I wanted to name him Lynx from the moment I saw him, but the Princess was between Trevor and Link for a couple of days, finally deciding on Link. My husband calls him the Linkster and I keep tripping over not calling him Lynx (or spelling his name Lync at the very least).

Come to find out, after an hour of searching on the Internet, he actually is a Seal Lynx Point Balinese. Not kidding. How is that for being blessed?

The Princess calls him her child, but that is my lap in the picture. He is an equal opportunity kind of cat and will even snuggle with my husband. When you pick him up, he goes completely limp. I have had a lot of cats in my life, but none that did that. So, the rule is the Princess is not allowed to leave home with him....not really, but he is super adorable. I guess these are the kind of sacrifices a mother makes for her cat-loving child.

Thank you, my Lord, for your blessings that have been falling freely upon my family as well as me. Your promises are promises kept.