Friday, October 9, 2015

Like Warning Lights on your Car - Growing Old Indicators

Old and haggard. 

I’ve been seeing all these professional looking articles – 5 Indicators of Aging, Signs of Aging and etc.

Well, here are my 5 indications that aging is happening.

1.  When you curl your hair you can see your upper arms waving hello in the mirror.

       2.  Squatting down turns into being on your knees and then what the heck, might as well crawl around and pick up everything down there before you feel as though you have to climb Mt. Everest to get back up on your two feet.

       3.  When asked if I get winded when I run, my answer is “Beats me, I don’t run cause if I do my pee runs down my leg faster than I can.”

       4.  You search the internet to see what would speed up age spots. Soon, I’ll have enough to look like I have a good tan.

       5.  Your array of items to get your day started gets larger every month. Brush your false teeth, put on several layers of face paint, adding the false eyelashes, color your hair – don’t forget your eyebrows if you have any left, arrange your padded bra to look more realistic – kind of hard to do with the tight spanxs squishing everything flat. The line of pill bottles snake around the counter reminding you of everything that has gone to pot on your body.

There you have five easy indications. This list could continue on and on like ketchup running down the outside of the bottle.

To sum it up and make it easier for y’all, the indicators of you growing old is one simple thing. Breathing. If you’re breathing you’re heading into the “old age” category.

So, keep calm and age on.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Squish and Search

When I left home this morning I knew I had a possibility of being told I might have breast cancer.
Earlier in the week I had my annual mammogram. You know the regular squish and search.

A couple days later I received a call from my doctor’s office saying I had to go downtown because they didn’t get a good enough picture of my right breast. Speaking of pictures, I generally have my blog full of them but considering . . . .

Annoyed, I called the downtown big time breast building and made the appointment.

When I called, they informed me they saw a spot that needed to be looked at and to be prepared to stay for a few hours depending on the findings. Well, they said a spot not that they didn’t get a good enough look.

For a split second my heart sped up and fear was climbing up my pant leg like a cat being chased by rabid dog.

I didn’t like the feel of the claws and then I just started to pray and ask God to help me to resist fear. And, this time I was able to knock the cat down.

This morning I went in and donned a lovely maroon smock and waited in a very nice waiting room with about eight other women. The TODAY show was on and they were doing a piece about Breast Cancer Awareness. How weird I was sitting there during the month of October.

As the few minutes went by more women joined the fashion brigade.

I was called back for an enhanced mammogram – basically a little bit more of the one I had earlier in the week. I was dismissed to join the other waitees in the waiting room. By then a few more women joined.

I was looking around and there were young, middle aged and older women. Some had on make-up and nice hair and others clean scrubbed face and hair that seemed like a bother to mess with. Most of us were Caucasian, there were two black women and one Hispanic.

One by one we were called and returned to our designated parking spots.

Soon I was back in for a really nicely intense squish and search. After assuring her I was fine and the machine stamped its finger print upon my body I was ushered back to wait.

In and out we were called. Nancy, Judith, Carol, Beth, another Diane and even a Granola – yep I was fascinated by that name too.

Third round I got an even more fun squish and search. This one would last about 6 seconds while moving and taking pictures. Think of pinching your finger in the door and having someone say “I’ll be there in 6 seconds to help you out.”

Once again back to the waiting women. Some were reading, some texting on their phones, some even carrying on conversations with each other, some watched TV one looked out the window. A couple women who were called back and forth never came back. Apparently they were good to go.

Then I was issued into the hallway, not a room. I was asked if I had done anything to injure myself or if I just started hormone therapy like within the last two years. Heck if I know when it was. Good Lord here I am 55 plus years . . . umm 58 plus, OK dang it 60 plus years when I feel like it should be 40. I don’t tell time well.

I needed an ultra sound and could I please figure out when I started the hormones.

I called the office and it was about two years ago – just about the time I started to develop dense breasts. Here all along I thought they were pretty smart!

We needed to do the ultra sound to continue checking so I was back in my parking spot. I was thinking cows in a free stall barn – they all know where they belong.

I read, I watched TV, I played solitaire and I watched the other women. A couple others left the group and didn’t return. And then there were those of us who continued our stay.

Finally, my turn. And I would choose the ultra sound over the squish and search any day. After she was done I had another bout of waiting – but in the nice private room.

She returned with a doctor that just wanted to check for himself.

He concluded I had dense breasts. (I tried not to be offended.) And there was a small cyst that wasn’t cancerous.

I need to go back in 6 months to check on things.

Meanwhile, I’m going to teach my breasts calculus and Spanish so they won’t be dense anymore.
I then became one of the women who didn’t return to the room.

As I changed clothes and was leaving I couldn’t help but pray for the other women. Chances are one or more would have to continue on with a biopsy and then the next step and so on. They might be facing chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or all three.

I’m so grateful for the advanced medical treatment and screening. I hope and pray I won’t find out about any other segments of this.

I felt blessed as I drove away.

But, as I came home from work the magnitude of my blessing hit me. I could have been coming home to tell my family some bad news. They didn’t know about this and probably won’t unless they read this – that hardly ever happens, why read mom’s blog when we can hear her every day blah, blah blah.

So for any of you who are putting off getting things check – just do it.

For all of you who are struggling through issues with breast cancer, I encourage you to seek God in your healing. I pray for you, your family, and the medical professionals that are caring for you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What Are You Listening to? Hollywood Hype or Ag Accuracy?

Apparently Hollywood celebrities like Nikki Reed, Sia, Ryan Gosling and Bill Maher know more about the well fare of chickens and the quality of eggs for the general consumer population than farmers. With all their knowledge they are demanding Costco to sell eggs from free range chickens instead of caged chickens. Well, why wouldn’t we all bow down and listen to these folks? After all with all their energy going into the make believe world of acting (which they do very well) and singing about life, they should know much more than the farmers who spend every day down in the trenches of egg production. And I’m sure that the fact that the farmers depend on the egg production for their livelihood has no input on their educating themselves for a better product.

Apparently McDonald’s caved to the pressure of the so called experts. And in California cage free legislation is in force and prices have nearly doubled.

Let’s take a closer look at the cage free verses the caged.

Everyone wants to feel good – warm and fuzzy with the thought of chickens running free and not in cages. After all, that has to be better, right? According to an open letter to McDonalds from the president of the National Association of Egg Farmers, that is wrong. There is a “pecking” order in the chicken world where the lower chickens are pecked the most. Now mind you this information is coming from an egg farmer, not the all-knowing celebrity panel of experts. The pecking order results in diseases and cannibalism.

Also, with free range, the chickens lay their eggs on the floor – right with their poop. Yum, a poop covered egg – also higher pathogenic bacteria than caged chicken eggs. The manure from the caged chickens fall through the slats of the floor of the cages and away from the eggs.

So as a chicken would you rather face thousands of chickens waiting to peck you to death or be confined in a cage where there are fewer birds to deal with?

As a consumer would you rather eat an egg with higher bacteria or with a lower count?

As I see it with these two issues the caged chickens are safer. And isn’t this what the band wagon movement is all about?

A few other thoughts.

Why would a farmer choose something that would cause problems with his source of income? Mind you, I’m not a chicken farmer – I know some. And, I’m a dairy farmer and know about taking care of our animals.

Right now we have a fairly reasonably priced food system for most consumers. But if we “force” the farmers to change farming to appease the pretties from Hollywood, prices will increase. The Hollywood gang can afford higher priced foods. What about the single mom, the family struggling to make ends meet? It seems the better choice is to eat food that is safe, affordable and taken care of by people who need to take care of the animals.

As a society we are so far removed from our food sources that we forget the source.

Would you want a celebrity to choose your medical procedures, the safety of your home against intruders, or train the firefighters in your neighborhood? Of course not. We want experts to take care of us.

So, why do we so easily hand over food decisions to some who may have never ever stepped foot on a farm?

A great source of information and a place to ask Farmers any and all questions is on face book – Ask The Farmers and There are a group of all different types of farmers waiting to help. Organic, conventional, large, small, grain, beef, poultry, dairy, swine and other farmers. No question is too hard or too insignificant to address. Please check us out.

Here is another great blog concerning this from Lara Durben, one of the farmers on Ask the Farmers :

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Farm Reality Means Life and Death

Some consumers want to think of farming as a romantic, feel good profession that Grampa and Grama used to do. In their minds they see feed being scattered to a few free range chickens, leftovers dumped over the fence to the four pigs snoozing in the mud, a hat wearing, weed chewing, one strapped overall wearing farmer on a three legged stool milking Bessy. Oh, and he occasionally squirts milk into the mouths of the two cats sitting there watching. The two work horses, Joe and Ned flick their tails while munching on a pile of hay waiting to get harnessed up to work the rich dark soil behind the white farmhouse with the huge oak tree holding a rope swing from the limbs that are shading the front porch.

If only we could live in a fairy taled world.

The truth is, there are a lot of wonderful things about farming today. And, when we have visitors or speak to people about farming we love to show and tell the good, heartwarming things.

But, there is also another part. An inevitable part.

There comes a time when a business decision has to be made. Yes, I said business. Most farmers are farming as a business and it supports their employee’s families and themselves as the only income. For some reason people don’t want to associate farming as a business. And, if they do associate it as a business many equate it with something evil and harmful. You know, the big farmers that mistreat their animals and etc. That’s a whole ‘nother story.

Farmers are farming to create a future for their children and grandchildren as well as make a living. Hard decisions have to be made. For instance, when a cow is sick or hurt we decide how or if we will treat it or sell it. There are many reasons for treatment, but occasionally the treatment is more costly than the value of the animal. Making this decision is not enjoyable but necessary. The cow is then culled from the herd. Culled means removed.

Also, as the young cows move up and more new cows come into the herd the cows with the highest production value are the ones who stay. The others are culled.

What happens to a culled cow?

It goes to the slaughter house where it is sold as meat or to an auction house where buyers from food companies purchase them for a food product.

Yes, they are killed. No one wants to say that out loud because if you hear a farmer say they kill animals, then they are in the group of non-caring, cruel people who need to be punished. Specialty groups will swarm over them like vultures over road kill.

But, this is part of farm life. A good farmer takes very good care of his animals, land and resources. And part of that good care is making proper decisions to keep the farm going to be able to provide that good care and a living for the animals and themselves.

We have a dairy herd and when bull calves are born we sell them within a few days.

The people who buy them raise them for beef. For food. So, ultimately they are raised to be eaten which is another fact that people don’t want to discuss. They want the cute little calves to become pets that roam the pasture swishing flies off their backs with their long tails.

That’s not reality.

It’s time for consumers to realize that death is as much of a part as life in farming. Also, there is nothing wrong with raising animals as a food source. Cows are not a domesticated animal yet some want to equate a thousand pound cow with a pet cat or dog. They want them to live their lives out in the barn yard eating, consuming and taking from the farmer without giving anything in return. That’s a great strategy for failure as a farmer.

Farmers shouldn’t have to apologize for choosing what’s best for their business. Too many outside sources have become “experts” and continually inform the population what is right and wrong with a business they have no experience.

The fact is life and death happens on the farm. It’s time to discuss all aspects of our food sources.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Happy Birthday Candy Cake

Wigglie #6 wanted a Candy Cake for his 8th Birthday. Well, Grama does her best to deliver. This cake is so full of candy it's disgusting. I am no cake decorator but I do try to be creative. 

Cake mix - 2 round pans. Yes, I cheated and used a mix. I struggled with this - HA!

Operating tools.

First layer. Cut middle hole and then I added smaller holes in the outside of the ring. 

Fill it up.

Slather icing on top. I made the icing quite soft so the cake wouldn't fall apart.

Add 2nd layer.

Repeat cutting and filling.

Frost the whole cake and the decorate to your liking. Serve with ice cream and send said Wigglie home before the sugar high kicks in!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Oh What a Night - Rewind Wed.

Ooh, what a night
Late August, back in O ‘14
What a very hairy time I seen
As I remember, what a night

That’s what I’m singing as I write this. If only the Four Seasons could be here in person.

Last night Farmer and I were in bed watching Farm Kings – Lisa King was wearing my shirt again and I was waiting to see if she would take her bibs down so you could see it!

Just before 11 we heard this strange noise – like a hissing sound – like when I have the garden hose turned on filling the pool. Only this was ramped up. So many thoughts went through my mind as we were trying to discover the source. Such as:

Is Son #2 playing a joke and turned on the hose?

We’ve had a crew here the last month up and down our road installing new gas lines. Last night around 5:00 we discovered they cut our water line and they had to fix it. So another thought I had was – I’m gonna look out the window and see Ol’ Faithful in my yard. The fix didn’t stick.

Well, none of the above.

We opened the slider and you could smell the faint aroma of gas and right away we knew.
I said to Farmer “I’m calling 911.” His immediate stupid (this word will be used a lot here and if you think it’s harsh or that I’m a bad wife for admitting this – tough) response was “No” as he searched around for his pants and shirt. I felt like I had one leg shorter than the other because I was walking yet going nowhere – I couldn’t find any clothes. I then said “I don’t care what you want I’m calling.” He agreed – he got smart – for a while.

The 911 dispatcher asked if we were sick or injured. I explained the work going on and that we were sure it was a gas leak. She directed us to leave the house immediately, don’t turn off any TV, lights, phone – nothing. Move away from the house.

I had a problem. I cleaned that day and there were no dirty clothes lying around to put on and I wasn’t going out in my “bed clothes”. Why I didn’t just get some out of the dresser drawer is beyond me. I ran up to the laundry room grabbed some jeans, T-shirt and bra. By the time I got them on Farmer was out the door on the phone with one of the sons walking towards the front of the house where the leak originated. I must tell you the noise from this leak was very loud. You had no doubt where it was coming from. I was on the phone with another son who had been on the Fire Department and asked if he still got calls to see if ours went out. He doesn’t but was asking where we were. “Get away from the house” he said. “Where are you and dad?” “I’m by the clothes line pole and dad is walking towards the leak.” I am also yelling at Farmer to come this way – get away from the house. Mr. Stupid ignores me, waves me away and Son is telling me to get farther away from the house and to tell dad to also.

I finally got him to at least get into the road but Mr. Stupid was too close. I was heading east away from the house on the road. I called back 911 to see if the Fire Department was on the way. She said they should be there shortly and asked me which gas company we use. I told her Consumers and she said they would call them. She then asked “Can you still hear the gas?” I was having a hard time hearing her because the noise was so loud. I said “Yes.” Then she told me that if you can hear it you are too close. I tried to relay to Mr. Stupid and he ignored me. I told her I was heading away but I couldn’t get my husband to comply. She told me to tell him he needed to move. So while I’m on the phone with her I’m yelling (to get above the noise of the leak, because I’m farther away from him and because I’m mad) for him to come this way per the police. He’s totally ignoring me. So I told her I was moving and he was doing his own thing.

Just west of our house is the barn driveway. I saw headlights coming from that direction then stopping and swinging around and disappearing behind the corn. The field across from the house is corn so tall we can’t see what’s coming or going up the barn driveway. Later I discovered it was Son#2 coming to the rescue but he came to a halt when he heard the sound of the escaping gas above the sound of his car.

A car approached from the east – the direction I was walking so that forced Farmer to follow me further east with his flashlight to stop the vehicle. It was one of the fire guys and now Farmer HAS to stay there. He told the fireman that Son #2 was at the barn driveway (the west side of the leak) waiting for the fire trucks.

After a bit I just sat down on the road – totally disgusted with Mr. Stupid and dead tired.

The fire trucks came and Son #2 flagged down the first one and told it to stop – which it didn’t. He jumped up on the floor board and said “Stop there’s a gas leak”. The driver slowed but didn’t stop. Finally my son reached through the open window, grabbed the steering wheel and said “Stop. There’s a gas leak there by the road.” Apparently Mr. Macho man got the idea and stopped.

A few minutes later Son #2 phoned Farmer and I asked Mr. Stupid to request my daughter-in-law come around and pick me up. I was totally ticked off at Farmer and just wanted out. I couldn’t walk to the farm unless I walked through acres of corn well above my head, in the dark, barefooted.

She drove around the section and picked me up. As we were driving back she told me her side of the story. Their story started when Farmer called Son #2 telling him we had a gas leak.

Son #2 and daughter-in-law jumped in the car because they thought the leak was in the house. They were flying down the barn drive way heading to our house and when they got to the end where the corn stops (the corn muffled the noise of the gas) Son #2 hollered. “Stop, stop. Reverse, reverse!” She slams it in reverse and narrowly misses wagons parked in the field. When he heard the noise level of the leak he could imagine a large explosion. But when, daughter-in-law is telling me we are laughing our heads off.

We got back to the other side of the house by Son and I told them I was totally unprepared for such an emergency. I flew out of the house – hair a mess, no make-up, no shoes. I said I had visions of Channel 8 finding out about this, an explosion, an interview and I would have to hide so I wouldn’t have to be on camera with bad hair and no make-up. Another absurd thought process. I did say that when this event was done I was going to make an emergency box to keep by the back door. Son said “I can see it now, a huge wardrobe closet by the door with clothes, make up and curling iron. And a very long extension cord.”

Even though the fire dept. and police department called the very stupid (a lot of this going around) Consumers Power Company, they said we were not their customer and they had no service on our road. I wondered who in the world has been cashing our checks the last four decades. Because Farmer has a hot line to someone there and was already talking to him, a representative finally arrived.

She - the representative - and Farmer/Mr. Stupid went into the house to check for gas levels and she checked the leak. Because the wind was strong enough to dissipate the gas and no levels were found in the house with minor levels just outside my bedroom she said it was safe to re-enter. Keep windows shut and do not turn on the air conditioner we were told. We would have to wait for another repair truck to come fix the problem now that the official Consumer’s person said “Yep, it’s a gas leak”. Apparently we and the several Firemen were too stupid to discern the loud, gas smelling sound as a gas leak.

I decided to trust this woman I’ve never met and went in to go to bed. About 30 minutes later she and Farmer had to traipse through the bedroom again checking levels. I was so tired and thought right about then that maybe being blown into heaven where I could get some rest might not be such a bad idea.

Somewhere in the wee, wee hours I heard voices and footsteps wandering through the house again. I was waiting for them to come into the bed room but thank goodness I was spared. 

Eventually the leak was fixed.

It’s time to get that emergency box ready. Who knows what’s in the future.

Celebrate the ordinary

Today is the only day you have. Don't wish it away, worry it away or plan it away. Your ordinary days add up to life.

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