Friday, June 25, 2021

Putting a Hit Out On murphy

 We joke about Murphy's Law on this road.  The neighbor called to ask if Murphy could come and stay with us for a while since he'd outstayed his welcome with them.

He is the invisible plague, wrecker of schedules, my arch- nemesis and now: on my hit list.

On Monday, Murphy managed to have me tied up with contractors in the morning.  I finally extricated myself from the last one at noon who dolefully informed me that a large varmint had, not damaged, but destroyed the ductwork under one of the houses under my charge.  

By 1 PM, I was finally on the verge of being able to bush hog.  Nope.  Less than 1 year old $1000 tire completely flat.  Murphy!!!

Somehow, I managed to circumvent Mr. Murphy and get the John Deere tech to come and fix it by 5.  Tuesday is supposed to be my day off, and I dearly needed a full, uninterrupted day to try to catch up on an Accounting Analysis class that has me contemplating suicide.  Yet, a week's worth of rain was predicted and I hadn't finished my bush hogging.

After supper, already in pyjamas, I snuck out to the equipment shed at 7 PM and took off to do a couple hours of cutting. 

I was absolutely giddy, Murphy had been evaded, he must've thought me still in my house!

I kept cutting after dark, completing the entire Northern section of trails and meadows.  Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. I was driving back to the barn feeling quite smug until Murphy met me on the road.

All this monsoon rain we've been receiving the past 3 years had tunneled out a culvert and created a hidden cavern under the gravel road and when I drove over it, it collapsed under us.. After taking the above picture, I attempted to use the phone's camera to see how deep the hole was.  The phone slipped from my hand (we all know Murphy slapped it out of my hand) and it fell 3 feet down into the hole then it cartwheeled another 2 feet into the tunnel. OK.  Let's assess the situation: it's past 10 PM, I have no phone, no flashlight and I'm 3 miles away from the barn.  Time to get walking.  There would've been enough of a moon to see well enough to stay on the road, if it hadn't been for the overcast skies.  Me, in my PJs, used the gravel under my feet as a guide to walk back to get the other tractor.  I gathered chains and 2 flashlights, shovels, I was going to pull the big tractor out by myself.  

Murphy decided instead that the night should be one where we snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  When I returned to the scene, it was obvious that there would be no pulling it out with a smaller tractor.  The tractor was on the verge of flipping over and rolling down a hill.  I used the small tractor to anchor it with chains to keep it from rolling, then I dug furiously around the wheels to level it a bit and win back some stability.  Then I dug into the sinkhole to retrieve my phone. This is the last picture it took at 1 AM before dying:

The next morning, the neighbor answered my mayday.

We drove his bulldozer over and together with the little tractor tugging on it's ROPS bar, we pulled it out.  I'd brought Luke and Vannah to help, but also to use this as a teaching moment.

No harm to the 5420 (that's the big girl's name, little guy called 5210), I just have a big bruise on my elbow from where I was almost ejected out of the tractor seat and managed to catch myself on the ROPS.  

So, I didn't get to study Tuesday and I decided Murphy wasn't going to stop me from getting my tasks done, so I was back out in pyjamas after supper, working until dark with my big girl.  Secretly, I was digging Murphy's grave, he's a dead man.

Murphy seemed to have gone back across the road to plague other neighbors and on Thursday, I left the farm to go to an appointment in North Atlanta.  Halfway through the drive, traffic came to a stop.  We crept forward for an hour until passed this:

A construction worker had flipped his Tracko over on himself , that was the ambulance I had seen fly up past us on the shoulder of the road.  Gulp.  That coulda been me, except no one would've found me for a few days.

The office refused to let me arrive 30 minutes late for my appointment, so I turned around.

Headed home, knowing Murphy was riding shotgun with me this morning!  

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Being Special

 At the farm, we often joke that it's a haven for 'special' animals... not only special by way of physical deficiencies, but also of mental insufficiencies.  

Welp, I have joined the ranks of Super Special.  Move over Cody, there's a bigger dummy in the house.

On Friday, in a mad rush to finish tasks before a week of rain settles on us, I sprayed RoundUp for 6 hours straight. 

This is the respirator I normally use, in conjunction with a plasticky Hazmat suit.  Seeing as the Real Feel temperature was 95F, the respirator kept sliding off my sweaty face.  I opted for a bandana instead: Retard Maneuver #1.

In a perfect situation, I'd rather we use zero chemicals on the farm.  But, we don't have the staff to weed eat continuously around miles of fencerows, miles of driveways, all the convoluted shrub borders and around the building foundations.  And yes, I've known for years that Round Up is far more sinister than Monsanto claimed.  I worked on an agronomy team 33 years ago that tested RoundUp.  The lead research technician ended up with two children born with birth defects.  I know this and yet, I continue to use the stuff. (Retard Maneuver #2)  It is also the reason I refuse to let anyone else on the farm use it.  Uh uh, I ain't going to Hell for poisoning a 25 year old, not on my conscience.

I was sweating so much in my Hazmat suit that I sliding around in it while I was driving the utility vehicle.  I knew I should drink water, but figured if I stopped to pee, I'd never get the wet suit back on.  Retard Maneuver #3. 

When I spray, I can tell if I'm ingesting the stuff because my lips start to burn.  Not only did my lips burn, but my teeth started to hurt, classic sign of ingestion.  But, I was so close to finishing.  

Then, instead of going home to shower, I hopped on the tractor for a few more hours to finish bush hogging. 95F with the heat index and even hotter with the heat off the tractor's engine. Genius at work. 

At home, I struggled to get a snake out of my coop (story for another blog) and had some neighborhood pet sitting to do.  Didn't actually get in the house until about 9:30 .  Am I on Retard Maneuver #4 or is it 5?

By 2 AM, I was one sick puppy.  By 6 AM, I had returned everything I'd drunk and eaten since last week to the Porcelain God.   I threw food at the horses around 9 and returned home to barf up any shred of moisture left in my body until about 2 PM, when it occurred to me my dehydration headache might be alleviated by an IV drip.  I tried to brush my teeth and use mouthwash before leaving the house, but I gagged on the mouthwash, swallowed it and then vomited it through my nose.  It's been a horrible day.

Finally feeling better. 

Actually ate some plain bread at 4 PM while I was feeding the horses.  And drank water by 6 PM.  Ate a warm bowl of Farina, which I later learned was similar to cream of wheat, my childhood favorite food. The neighbors do take good care of this resident dummy.

My headache finally subsided, I could start studying again, in constant company of at least one dog.

Does this make me eligible for the Einstein Awards?  

Friday, June 18, 2021

Seizing Day and Night

I have 6 partners in crime. The two geriatric boys can't join us on the trails.

What a pity.  I'd love to run in the woods with a galloping herd of dogs. (Even if you are finding more storm damage, arghhhh)

No better way to greet the day, than by watching the sun rise through the trees.

No better way to end the day than to have a dog in your lap while you study.  

How I love a Velcro Dog.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Farm Monday vs Office Monday

 I'm grateful that every day at the farm is different than the last.  But, I'd be OK with a boring Monday every once in a while.  

Breakfast of champions before we all descended upon the barn.

Check out my 45 lb paperweight!  She can spend the whole day sprawled across my desk.

Post-It note guardian.

This Monday was acting normal-- it was a ruse.

We scoop, on average, 7 muck buckets full of manure and pee every morning.

So far, so good.  Horses fed, water tanks changed, million and one administrative and HR tasks handled,  workers off on the tractor picking up after yet another storm, the neighbor leaving to haul one of our mowers to tow for servicing, finally I was ready to tackle my daily jobs.

All was well in the world.  My plan was to mow with the Big Daddy mower.  Until, it wouldn't start.  While wrestling the battery out of it to put it on charge, I managed to arc the terminals with the wrench and the metal pin in my finger.  It felt great. 

Yes, I'm supposed to be wearing a bandage over it at all times.  I tried for 2 days.  I can't keep my hands dry and even if I could, with temps almost at 100 today, the bandage turns into a wet oven mitt..

Checking jobs off my list, I was feeling confident.  Next task: spray a few tanks of RoundUp.  Easy peasy.  Wrong.

On my third full tank, a gasket somewhere failed. The chemical solution started to travel down my back, filling my underwear and then my shoes. It takes a minimum of 30 minutes to pump out a full tank.  I think I did it in 20. 

Completely saturated.  All my clothes were tossed in the pickup and I pulled a Lady Godiva to hightail it back to the barn.

The temps had dropped enough to let our 2 residents patients out of their air conditioned stalls after their supper.  I fill 8 buckets every evening when both our Ice Box stalls are in use.

There's usually spare clothes in the barn, the communal sweatpants must've walked off.  I was improvising.

Jesus take the wheel

Whatever it takes to keep the asthma and Cushing's horses at the highest quality of life.

Last check on the horses and I can finally go home and wash the chemicals off me.

Lacking their regular runs, the dogs have been restless.  Suki had yet another surprise for me when I got home.

I'm not even going to bother to sew it at this point, I've discovered it taunts her even more.  Besides, I had an important Accounting Analytics project due at midnight.  I'd worked it and reworked it for 3 nights. Utter futility.

I submitted it at 11:58 PM.  I do not understand these complex Excel formulas that seem second nature to the other students in the class.  Yeah, genius here weaseled her way into a graduate level accounting class to discover she's the only one who's never worked as an accountant and most of the students are already practicing CPAs. This is going to be double diamond ski hill steep learning curve.  

They say you become more eccentric with age.  I can see that.  I already have an intolerance for TV and all its noise, apart from Pippins occasional barking, my house is a quiet refuge.  My phone goes on mute at 8 PM, zero interruptions after I get home.  And yet, it's still not quiet enough,  I wear the sound cancelling ear muffs when I study. 

I've heard people describe silence as 'oppressive'.  To me, it's 'embracing'.  All in your perspective.

I take a nap until 4 AM and start all over again.  

Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Trouble with Pinkie

Who knew a useless pinkie finger could cause so much trouble. Three months ago, I broke it. So, off  I went to my orthopedic clinic.

Tip of my pinkie broken off.

Best practice is to put a pin in it to set, but my insurance required us to try a variety of splints... on a pinkie finger...for someone who works on the land.  Brilliant waste of two months, while my broken pinkie, cocked at an off angle kept getting caught on things.  After proving the futility of splints, my insurance approved surgery.

These past two weeks have been pedal to the metal to do all the farm tasks the I won't be able to do for a few weeks with my dominant hand in a wrap.

The day before surgery, I discovered a huge oak that had fallen on my back fence.  The manner in which it lay almost parallel to the fence and how hung it was in other trees, made it an especially difficult tree to cut.  At one point, I had both chainsaws bound in the tree.  Sorry no pics.  I thought I was going to pass out and Luke wasn't far behind me.

We weren't stopping for lunch until it was done.  I had my fence back up by 1:30. Farm Team gettin' er done.

I love these old hands.  Their strength lets me live the life I love. 

D-Day, 4:20 AM, Adjanie picks me up at home and drives me to the hospital.

By 6 AM, I'm first in line for surgery.  We had agreed that they'd do a a nerve block of my arm and leave me awake because of : a) my heart, b) general anesthesia scrambles my brain like a shaken Etch-A-Sketch, c) I had to write my an Auditing midterm Friday evening.  They prep you for general even if the plan is for local, just in case.  Welp, by about 6:05, I had a tube in my throat and I was out like a light.  Apparently, my blood pressure was wonking out and my finger was broken in more places than the original break.  Well, that's what ya get for leaving me with a finger pointing in the wrong direction: it gets caught in things.

When I woke with a sore throat and reaching around for a something to vomit in, I was highly pissed.  I disconnected myself, hopped up, wobbled around getting dressed.

I was sitting in the wheelchair when they came to pull the IVs out.  I must've looked like an old wet hen because they processed me out of there like I was in the grocery store express lane.  I even managed to detour a part-timer on her way in to work.  Back home by 9:30.  Now, if  I could just get some coffee in this joint.

I was settling in to follow doctor's orders and lay down with my hand above my heart for a few hours, when the electricians called form the lakehouse to ask where the heck the generator engineer was, who was to have met them 30 minutes ago.  "I'll be right there."  

After corralling the generator engineer and discussing the work they were to do, I tried tip toeing home, but a neighbor needed help.  I make sure every day that I do one kind act, and after this checked off my list, I was going back to bed.

The dogs had other plans.

I didn't see bed by 11 PM.  So much for best laid plans.  Plus, they had wound my hand up too tight and I had to loosen it (not just an excuse to see the work, but thanks to my heart, my hands and feet are swollen by the end of the day).  Look at the pretty pins.  

I didn't sleep worth a toss because I'd refused receiving any pain med shot at the hospital and I tore up their prescription for opiods because of my midterm and because I'm back at work today (Saturday) and I can't be in the barn torqued out of my mind. 

Get er done.