by Maryclaire Mayes
My mom used to say ” Many hands make light work”. I remember she often said this when we would help her can the bushels of tomatoes that came from our garden at the end of the summer. When I had my own children I read if you don’t let your toddlers “help” you with chores around the house, they won’t want to when they are old enough to really help. So even though it always took longer to do chores with a toddler, I considered it an investment in the future. My future, that eventually they would be capable of helping with chores, and their future, that they would become productive adults that have learned that work is part of life.
I know my kids heard “Many hands make light work” a lot growing up too. I always let them “help” with dishes and cleaning and of course canning too. When they were 7 and 10 we moved to a small farm. Then there was lots of opportunity to work together. We did a market garden and our young daughter did most of the planting without complaint. Now we have grandchildren, six so far! They are all becoming eager little helpers. Now our Little Miss Number Five loves to sweep up bugs on our porch. It makes my heart glad to see our kids families carrying on the tradition of ” Many hands make light work”.
by Maryclaire Mayes
I have sweet memories of my mom. We shared a love for gardening, but my mom really excelled at house plants. She had several different kinds of plants. I think orchids were her favorite but mine was her gardenia. It is a treat for your sense of smell and sight. They say fragrance plays an important role in memories and the smell of the gardenia is sweet and intoxicating. It is also has beautiful creamy white petals that slowly unfold like a graceful dance into a beautiful rose – like flower. Unfortunately I’m not as good as my mom in growing them. But every so often I can’t resist bringing one home. The sight and smell of the pretty white blossoms always bring back happy memories of my childhood and my mom.
by Maryclaire Mayes
Oh you just never know what the day has in store for you! I had been having a strange tightness sometimes in my stomach. My coach suggested I should see my doctor. I wasn’t too worried and told her I had a physical coming up next month. She advised me not to wait that long ( Thank you Rebbekka!)
My doctor thought maybe he felt the start of a hernia and referred me to a surgeon who agreed. He said we really can’t diagnose it without a CAT scan. I thought about it for a few days and decided to go ahead with the CAT scan. After the scan the tech told me I could call my doctor in 24 hours. The radiologist would read the scan this evening and send it to the surgeon. So I went home and finally had my first food of the day.
Imagine my surprise when the surgeon called me and asked if I had eaten yet. He said no hernia, but my appendix was enlarged and he recommended taking it out. So the surgery was scheduled, sort of unusual for an appendectomy, which is often an emergency surgery. I was planning of getting up a 5 am, but Dean came and woke me at 4:30, he said the septic is backed up and he had to turn off the water so I couldn’t take a shower. Dean was able to get some warm water from the hot water heater so I could wash off a little and we went to the hospital for surgery.
It turns out it was early appendicitis, so I was very fortunate. The hospital staff were wonderful and after my recovery my daughter suggested I stay with her until we had water at our house again. Our granddaughter, Miss Number One, gave me her stuffed animal she sleeps with, in case I wanted to take a nap and then she read me stories. She was just adorable. My grandson ( Mr. Number Three) was just as cute, he brought me his blanket and stayed close by. He gave me his triceratops to take home. Granddaughter, Miss Number Two, gave me her sheep that she had made in her homeschool class. Dean came and picked me up after he had gotten the water back on at home. I can still feel the warmth of their love. But I’m glad to finally be home. So you just never know!
by Maryclaire Mayes
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…”
It seems lately it has been a time to die with a few of our animals. It started with one of our chickens. Of course it was the friendliest chicken we called Brownie. For some reason she started to molt during the coldest weather. I researched what to do and most experts advised she would be fine, but she didn’t make it.
Then our goat Allie, (short for Alabu) that we had bottle fed as a baby and she amused us with her antics and affection for the past 13 years. She succumbed to old age. Her teeth were bad and for the past few years lost some weight over the winter when there was no grass and weeds to eat. I tried to make up for that with other things she would eat. But last month she was down and couldn’t get up. We called the vet and she rallied. She loved all the extra attention she was getting, from fresh veggies, blankets and even heat via large jugs of hot water. But then at last she gradually stopped her interest in food. There wasn’t anything I could entice her to eat. She was getting weaker and wasting away, so we had to make the decision to call the vet for her again. This time we knew we had to let her go, it was her time to die. We didn’t have any regrets, about not making the decision earlier, she really seemed to enjoy her last few weeks on earth.
At the same time, our dog Chia had been struggling with arthritis in her spine for the past month. Our small animal vet had been treating her for it. Chia would get better and than do something she shouldn’t like try to jump on or jump off our bed and then she would get worse again. This had been going on for the past month. This time she couldn’t stand at all and I had taken to hand feeding her with a syringe. We couldn’t take her to our regular vet as she was closed due to her own health issues. We had planned for the large animal vet that was here for Allie to also put an end to the suffering of our much loved dog. But after examining her and the x-rays we had, he thought a shot of cortisone might be all she needed. We were happy and relieved and Chia slowly made progress to back to her happy somewhat active self. But in a few weeks she went downhill again fast. We took the long ride to our other vet to see what he thought we should do. He did tests for tick diseases and she tested positive for one. He gave her some powerful antibiotics. The next day she was a little worse and we went to the vet again and he gave her more antibiotics. That night it was obvious she was in pain. Chia’s last night was the only time we had ever heard her whimper or complain in her whole life. Every time she would, I laid down next to her and she would stop. I was relieved she was comforted by my presence, but heart broken we had let it come to this.
The next morning we let the grandkids all come to say goodbye to her and then Dean and I took her one last time on the long drive to the vet. We stayed with her and told her she was a good dog. She always liked to hear that. We know she was just a dog, but she was a very good dog who warmed the hearts of all who met her and left a hole in ours. Good Dog Chia!!
by Maryclaire Mayes
We are a small hobby farm. We recently almost lost our aging goat Alabu ( Allie for short). Allie is 12, old for a goat, but not unusually old for a well cared for pet goat. A week ago I went out to the barn in the morning to find her laying on her side moaning and flailing and unable to get up.
Goats don’t do well laying on their side. Gas builds up in their rumen and it is very painful and fatal if left untreated. I ran to the house and told Dean I thought Allie was dying and he came out to assist me. Then we had a decision to make. Do we call the vet for an aging goat?
But goats ( Allie especially) are much like a pet dog. They are smart, funny and crave your affection. I really didn’t think the vet would be able to save her, but at least we could give her a peaceful end. If we were a real farm I’m not sure we would call a vet for an aging animal that cost less than a vet visit (although a real farmer would have know what to do when they found her in distress).
We decided to call our large animal vet and he told us he couldn’t get here until around noon. I asked what I could do until he gets here. He said to prop her up with a bale of hay, take her temp, warm her if she is under 100 degrees and give her a solution of baking soda and water.
Dean helped me prop her up and give her the baking soda solution. I took her temp and yikes it was only 95! So we piled on blankets and a warm rice bag. I called my friend Kris, ( a real farmer) who owns a dairy farm about 20 mins away. Kris is the most generous, amazing person I know. She is the next best thing to a vet. I asked if she had any suggestions and she said she would come over.
So Kris came to Allie’s rescue and was able to make her more comfortable. After Allie’s pain was relieved, she still seemed so weak, I still didn’t think there was much hope for her. When the vet came he gave her more pain reliever and antibiotic. He said that was all he could do but he thought she might make it and she did! In her struggle to get up she had been rubbing her head on the stall floor and managed to damage her eye. So I have been caring for that to prevent infection, but her appetite is back and we are hopeful for a full recovery. At least I have learned how to respond if it happens again and I keep a much closer eye on her.