Life Changes

While our younger son and his family were visiting two weeks ago, hubby began to have some concerning symptom. They left on Sunday after lunch and by Tuesday lunchtime, he was in the hospital. We went to the closest hospital which was our first mistake. Wednesday night he had surgery and the surgeon didn’t even come let me know what was going on but sent a P.A. Thursday he had another procedure and again, the second surgeon didn’t come. Thursday afternoon, the process to move him somewhere else in the state to a hospital with a room and the necessary speciality team was initiated. Friday night we were notified that he would be moved Saturday morning to the teaching hospital in the nearest city, so within driving distance for me, then late Friday night he began to have a complication from the first surgery that the hospital did not handle. He was moved, very uncomfortably to hospital #2 where they dealt with that problem to start and made him more comfortable. After 6 more days in hospital #2 with continuous care but no further procedures, he was finally released on Friday with a bucket of meds and multiple doctor’s appointments over the next couple of weeks. He was extremely weak once home from 10 days in bed, but is able to get a night’s sleep, eating meals I prepare, and beginning walking around the house to regain his strength while we await the various specialists and PC doctor visits to plan the future. It has been a difficult couple of weeks, but I am glad to have him home where I can follow his progress more carefully without a 55 minute drive twice a day. Son 1 arrived a week ago and helped me get the house and lawn back to a liveable state, shared the driving and meal prep for he and I after long days at the hospital. I put him back on the train home early Friday morning before bringing hubby home. Daughter is going to help out here today so I can go to the grocery store to make sure I have the proper meal prep for our new meal plans.

The week was not too conducive to crafting, though some Sashiko was stitched during quiet, resting times. A little spinning finally done during the last couple of days of hospital visiting, a pair of fingerless mitts finished once home and a couple of hemp washcloths being knit now when he naps.

The garden is a neglected mess with Harlequin bugs taking over, weeds growing fast. The hay guys may be here tomorrow to get the fall hay down.

Our lives will require some more adjustments, but we can do it. I’m glad he is home with me again.

Weekend surprise

Early in the week, Son 2 sent a photo of him grinning ear to ear and holding a 10 week old, gorgeous, female German Shepherd pup. Then on Friday afternoon, he asked if he and his family, could come in for the weekend. He, wife, 5 kids, the puppy, and their older mixed breed dog showed up around midnight and settled in for the night in their RV that lives on our farm when it isn’t on the road with them. They eat in our house, use one of the bathrooms so the black tank doesn’t have to be emptied each time they come, and the two pups came in with them. The kids are 10 months to 11 years, so lots of activity and noise.

Son 2 is the official bee owner and he and I went down Saturday morning to see if the queens had been released from their cages. One had and was seen on the frames. The second cage had all dead bees in it except one, the queen that had not been released yet. We opened the cage as it had been 6 days and she flew. We don’t know if she flew into the hive or away, if maybe they had raised a queen and didn’t want her, but there were two queen cells about to open, so we closed up that hive. The thriving hive was very thriving and didn’t like us messing inside, though we saw bees of all ages including some just emerging, so they were closed up too. I will go back toward the end of the week and recheck the second hive.

Back in the house, our very brave (Ha, Ha) German Shepherd old lady came down to visit with the kids and their pups and the young puppy immediately wanted to play. Shadow didn’t have any idea what that little active ball of fluff was that chased her around the coffee table, the dining room table, and finally back up the stairs where she could hide out. I wish I had a video of it, we were all laughing til our sides split at the 75 lb German Shepherd running from the 19 lb puppy and going to hide.

I guess it was all just too exhausting.

The big guy because of his age and infirmities has to be locked in the utility room when they are here, out of fear that a toddler that wants to love him will accidently cause him pain and pain reaction, plus he doesn’t like dogs he doesn’t know and we didn’t want to cause him more stress. Being confined all day is also exhausting, so he is in his usual pose.

Blocks were made into towers, knocked down, and thrown; paper colored and ripped up by others; bickering refereed between young siblings; lots of food prepared and eaten; lots of dishes washed. They headed home right after lunch today just before the thunderstorms began. It was an active bit of time and refreshing to have all of that young life around. We picked apples on our farm, I made and canned my first batch of apple/pear sauce while they were off canoeing, and sent them home with a bag of eating apples, and another of cooking apples for their own applesauce. I will pick more apples when the rain stops and make us another batch of sauce for the shelves for winter.

And the week will involved making a couple more batches of soap to cure. A new label, not a shop label has been made for the bars that go to friends and to Son 1 that he uses as gifts.

Tomorrow is a holiday, we will rest, take our walk if the weather allows.

I’m spinning some, knitting mitts, working on the Sashiko sampler, but not participating much in the monthly challenge.

It was a whirlwind weekend. More cooler weather due this week. I went out to pick beans for our dinner last night and the bean beetles have made golden lace of the leaves. I will pick the beans there and consider batch two a basic loss. The peas are blooming so we may get some of them in a few weeks.

And Then There Were 11

The hen flock was a baker’s dozen. Not planned that way, but the way it was. This morning when I let the pups out for their morning chores, I saw a big pile of yellowish white feathers on the front porch, no blood and gore, just a pile of feathers. I swept them off the porch, watered the porch plants, and went over to let the hens out for the day. Curious, I stayed in the run and counted heads as they came out, 1, 2, 3,…9, then from outside the pen came two wet scraggly Buff Orpingtons. One with all of her tail feathers missing. But no more. So 11 in all, missing is a Marans and a Buff Orpington. After our walk yesterday, we were home all afternoon from about 2 p.m. on except for a brief sojourn down to the village store for a quick ice cream bar, only gone about 20-30 minutes at dusk. I never heard a commotion, but when we got home last evening, I went out to harvest some herbs to dry for a new batch of herb salve and the neighbor’s two hound dogs were by the back garden. This morning, our old Mastiff was very curious about various spots in the yard, going much farther afield than his weary old body usually takes him, so something happened, probably while we were out. It frightened the two Buffs enough that they hid and never cooped up last night.

If I had realized all of this before letting them out today, I would have left them penned up for a few days to discourage a repeat performance by whatever got the two. I guess I need to walk the areas they frequent and see if I can find evidence the the melee or remains that need to be more properly disposed.

Last week, before I left for my weekend fiber retreat, the bees were tended. Three of the hives had little to no brood, no eggs, no queen cells. Two had low population, one with good stores, the other without. The third with moderate population and decent stores, so Son 2, the official beekeeper suggested I combine the two weakest hives and try to get local queens. I did the combine and arranged to pick up two mated, marked queens yesterday morning. Their cages have been installed in the two hives with hopes that in the next 7 or 8 weeks until our first expected frost, they can rebuild the hives enough for them to survive the winter. I will make syrup and take it down to those two hives today. The last hive is thriving. So now instead of 4 hives, there are 3, all with marked mated queens, if the two new ones are accepted and freed from their cages by the workers. This has definitely been a learning curve for me, but one I am enjoying.

The retreat was a wonderful respite, even with the couple hundred men and their sons also at the conference center. We have a large room with tables and chairs to convene into each day. Snacks provided by the group, meals in the conference center, and assorted vendors of fibery goodness to play with. I didn’t take my wheel, just spindles and knitting needles, and spun about 28 grams of wool, started a pair of fingerless mitts, and won a door prize of 4 ounces of roving. My Yankee Swap gift is three small skeins of hemp yarn for making spa cloths. Two great gifts. I limited my purchases to 4 ounces of wool from my friend, Debbie, at Hearts of the Meadow Farm, some yarn from another friend, Louise, at Only the Finest Yarns and Fiber to make two pair of fingerless mitts requested by family members for the winter, and a metal insulated mug for my tea and coffee there as I feared breaking my pottery one.

The chaos that 30 women and 1 man can create in a room
My spinning and the start of the mitts
We sat around the fire pits out front at night

It was tough to say goodbye to my friends, old and new, but it is nice to be home.