Musings of the Mind

We endured another health set back when DH developed a cough and high fever after his last immunotherapy treatment. The PCR test popped up positive, though they said it can do that for 90 days post Covid, the chest x-ray was cloudy, so he was admitted and treated for Covid and pneumonia of unknown organism. Sunday he was allowed home with three meds and instructions to follow up with the PC Doc and the Urologist. We immediately repeated the home antigen test as we had done one prior to the hospital that was negative and the one upon release also negative. It is likely it was just pneumonia, and probably caused by the immunotherapy treatment. Those appointments are scheduled. To help him regain his strength, we have done slow 1 mile walks the past two days.

Twice in the past, I have written posts about “The Chair.” In brief, he spotted a huge recliner in Sam’s Club about 25 years ago. Daughter and I managed to get it home and hidden for Christmas, a long story. That chair lasted for a number of years, moved to the mountains with him, and the faux leather finally failed to the point that I didn’t want to see it in the house any longer. It was replaced with a second faux leather chair that also failed, and a couple years ago with a slightly smaller real leather chair. Our mastiff used to climb in his lap in the old chair, totally off the floor, but otherwise did not get on furniture. He couldn’t quite fit in the newer chair, but would back up and sit on the edge with his front feet on the floor. (We miss the big guy and his antics.)

At some point, between the second and third purchases, we purchased me an imitation Ekornes chair and ottoman which was faux leather. It lasted a fairly long time, but about a year ago, the pleather began to peel off and now, there is only the ugly fabric base on the seat and arms and mostly gone on the ottoman. Today, we found a real leather recliner in my size on sale at a decent price and ordered it. It will be my anniversary gift from my love and should arrive right around our anniversary on Valentines Day.

Lessons learned about furniture purchases. The living room couch and chair that we bought about 1994 was real leather and has held up remarkable well. The basement couch is a Lazy Boy product that is a combination of leather and faux leather and has not held up as well, but is holding it’s own with the light use it gets down there.

While he was in the hospital, at night I would curl up in his big recliner with my blanket for comfort.

On a humorous note, we have our youngest son’s RV parked on our farm. Because the two auxiliary batteries are under the steps and it is open to the ground below them, I keep a mouse trap on top of the batteries. It is checked every couple of days, always with another caught mouse. The traps that I use are Vector traps and allow the caught mouse to be released without touching it. I generally spring the trap open as I fling it free of the RV out into a field, and reset the trap. Today on our way out for errands and walk, I stopped at the RV to check and as usual, had to deal with the trapped critter. As I flung it out, springing the trap open, the mouse landed on the hood of the car and slid down into the grass. Hubby laughingly asked if I was throwing dead mice at him and threatened to put it on Facebook. Life on the farm can cause amusement at times.

Winter Life

My love gave me 4 sessions with a Physical Trainer for Christmas. My first session was last Thursday and I was very pleased with the trainer assigned to me. My second session was scheduled for this morning, but as she has a 2nd grader and a 4 year old, with the 2 hour school delay, we had to reschedule. It turned out, she found an alternate for the 4 year old, whose preschool is just 3 hours, so the 2 hour delay eliminated a place for her to go. We met at 11:30 and she is an awesome trainer. I wanted to work on upper body strength and flexibility as the left shoulder bursitis and ruptured left bicep tendon, had really taken a toll on what I could do. This gal believes in slow, repetitive, and stretching with weights no more than 15 pounds, and everything she has taught me can be done at home with our 5, 10, and 15 pound free weights, plus a 30 pound resistance band that I did have to purchase. She also believes in using the whole body, so squats with weight, and Romanian deadlifts, along with certain floor exercises are working my lower body as well. This has allowed me to work out at home. Today’s session offered some different exercises and stretches so the first two plans can be rotated. I have two more sessions with her with the option of continuing with more afterward. If an exercise causes pain in my shoulder, she modifies or switches it to a different one. So far, so good as far as not exacerbating the bursitis, though there are two exercises we had to modify or eliminate.

Today was supposed to be warmer, reaching the low 40’s, so on my way to meet her at the gym, I stopped for chicken supplies and pine shavings to clean the coop. The weather prognosticator got it wrong again. It is only at freezing and the litter in the floor of the coop was a solid mass. Much scraping with a flat hoe, hay rake, and square nosed shovel got most of the litter out. There is an area in the center of the floor that nothing would remove it. It is better than it was and an entire bale of fine pine shavings was added to the coop. Since they have changed our forecast to now predict 3-4″ of snow over night with 1/10″ of ice on top, the birds will at least have a dry coop. The water was removed and the black tub in the run was filled, so they can’t dump a partial bucket of water onto the floor again.

When I started the chores in the coop, my entire body was cold, even with the barn coat, boots, and gloves. By the time I finished, only my toes were cold. Rubber barn boots just aren’t warm in the snow. But I did get quite a workout added to my prescribed workout earlier.

It is good that I have added this structure to my winter days as dealing with feeding and watering the chickens, dog, and wild birds, just doesn’t provide enough workout that I get during garden season. The garden needs some time, but it is going to have to warm up some to allow me to finish cutting down the asparagus fronds, and moving a garden box over them with some additional soil. The compost pile is under several inches of snow and probably frozen, so adding it to the asparagus bed won’t happen until the snow melts and the temperatures warm some. I haven’t even started looking at seeds or thinking about what is to be planted this spring. Since last year was such a failure and being able to get so much good locally grown food at the Farmer’s Market, my incentive to garden has waned some. I do want to grow tomatoes, beans, peas, and peppers, but beyond that, I have no plan. I guess soon the seed catalogs will fill the mailbox and I can dream of flowers and vegetables.

Stay warm.

We Have Winter

Last year, there was a brutally cold week around Christmas, but otherwise a warm winter and no snow. We have had a few days of snow showers with only a dusting to show for it, that quickly melted away. The most recent nearly nationwide storm gave us snow. Not a lot, only a few inches, but so pretty.

My social media memory from two years ago showed quite a bit more snow this week and a brief sledding adventure on one of our hills before fleeing back into the house to warm up. No sledding on this, it isn’t really deep enough, but more snow showers are due Friday, probably not enough to make a difference. At least some of this will still linger as we do have cold. Last night it went down to 6*f and not expected to go above 24 today. With a few more nights in the teens or single digits expected before it warms back up above freezing at night next week.

The Nandina bushes across the front of the house are probably not happy, they all looked like they died last winter. Most of them tried to come back last summer, but look skimpy. This cold may be the end of them. Something low and more hardy may have to replace them this spring.

The chickens haven’t left the coop in 3 days and probably won’t today either. The water freezes even in the coop. Once the weather warms enough to melt the snow, the coop will be thoroughly cleaned and the water removed to the run. I am thinking about using coarse sand in the coop now that can be scooped and added to as needed. And keeping the water out of the coop to keep it drier in there. The east side has a screened drop down wooden panel that needs to be replaced with a more air and water tight option. There are two small round bales of hay that were left to put in the run, but it is too cold to go out there to spread it. Providing water, food, and scratch is all I can manage in single digit temperatures.

Egg production is picking up. There are tiny green, blue, and chocolate pullet eggs, and green, pink, and brown hen eggs appearing daily now. Usually around 4 eggs a day. Shadow, the GSD and I are able to enjoy an egg each day and still provide daughter and her family with eggs. The two young roosters seem to get along, but I don’t need two roosters with 8 hens. I need to find a new home for one of them and figure out how to catch him. With the days lengthening, the electric pop door hours will have to be adjusted soon, so no birds end up locked out at night. It might be time to replace the batteries as well.

The two French doors on the back of the house are both showing light between them on the lower edge. New weather stripping needs to be applied, if I can find the right product for the job.

Spring, summer, and autumn are beautiful on the mountain. Winter is depressing except when there is snow to change the bleak gray to bright white. This was the first accumulating snow in two years, I’m sure there will be more in our future, we have gotten snow as late as the end of March, but this one wasn’t deep enough to strand us in the hollow and VDOT actually plowed our gravel state maintained road yesterday.

Not a lot of crafting or reading is getting done lately. The second cataract surgery also produced cornea swelling and so far it hasn’t totally resolved. The surgeon put me on a hypertonic saline drop last week to try to help it resolve. It seems to be helping.

Stay warm and safe with the extreme storms that have hammered the world lately.