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Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Musings.

This whole business with Flora has made me realize that I have come such a long, long way from the beginning of my homesteading experience, a little over six years ago.  In my previous life, I had chickens, goats, a llama, and an alpaca.  But - for any problem/issue at all, I called the veterinary and they sent someone out.  I had cute rubber boots with flowers on them.  I wore little goatskin gloves and designer coveralls.  I had a full time job and a boyfriend.  I ate out at restaurants and had a clothing budget.  Then that particular dream turned nightmarish and ended.

When I moved to this little place, I put chickens in as soon as possible.  Then I moved through a series of good moves/bad moves (turkeys/quail/pigs/ducks/too many sheep).  I think that, when you've waited all your life for this kind of life, you can sort of lose your mind if you're not careful.  After a rough patch of hiccups, bumps and missteps, I am closing in on the right balance.  I learned quickly that you better take out a second mortgage if you're going to be calling the vet for every little thing.  Even for bigger things that you don't think you can handle on your own.  Thanks to good fortune, a benign Universe, pure luck, and a little divine intervention (just to cover all my bases), I ended up with friends who have been there/done that, and - most importantly of all, just down the road there is a knowledgeable, funny, smart neighbor (that would be you, Kay) who has helped fortify my self-confidence immeasurably.  I've also taken the time to read a lot and have developed a good animal husbandry library.  That beats running around, wringing your hands and looking for someone to save you any day.

Flora has been a handful.  A sweet, loving handful, but a tough nut, nonetheless.  After reveling in my celebration-ette of finishing the nine day penicillin treatment, I went out Thursday morning to find fluid building up under her jaw.  Again.  This time, I called the vet.  But, instead of making an appointment for a farm call (cha-CHING), I asked to speak to one of the vets.  I then went through the litany of symptoms, treatments, temperature, yadda-yadda.  We talked about cardiac problems, parasite problems, fluid build-up, quality and quantity of sheep droppings.  We talked raspy breathing and runny noses.  She prescribed two new medications, to be injected sub-cu every three days (hooray on both counts).  When I hung up the phone, I stood and emptied my pockets - hanky, reading glasses, empty syringe, notebook, pen, green tomato, and goat treat crumbles.

I still had to take a 5 minute shower, dress for work and drive an hour and a half to the vet's to pick up the meds, then an hour and a half to work.  But I believe I am getting close to arriving at where I want to be.

11 comments:

  1. It is amazing how much we learn and how far we come. Kudos to you! :)

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    1. Mama Tea - Thanks, MT. You are in high gear as well, I think!

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  2. We learned the same lesson.....about the only time we call the vet is for a difficult calf delivery or a cut that needs sutures (can't remember one of those). My vet even told me once that most things with animals will heal naturally given time.

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    1. gld - It's true - sometimes it's better not to interfere. I try to use natural remedies as much as possible. It's tricky with an older animal, as you inevitably reach a point where the decisions are more sobering.

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  3. OMW I can relate to the horrendous price of vets. Crazy amounts of money just to have them pull in the driveway. It's nice that you know people and are gaining the knowledge of treating them yourself. We know people and have learned by trial and error.
    I'm glad your finding you balance in the farming life style!

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    1. SLF - I don't know how small dairy farmers do it. My neighbor said it's $400 at least, every time he has to call the vet for a cow. I am still trial and error, but trying nonetheless.

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  4. Wow! Your last sentence, "But I believe I am getting close to arriving at where I want to be," . . . do you realize how fantastic that is on so many levels? The personal accomplishment? To have done all you have in only six years (and without a partner to share the expense, the ups, the downs, the everyday work load) . . . well, again I say wow and send boatloads of admiration.

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    1. Mama Pea - Oh, thank you - you are so sweet. All I have to do is head further north! ;o)

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  5. Good for you!! It is hard to know what to do and when to call the vet when most of this stuff is new to us. It's really nice that you have Kay close by AND a vet willing to do a "phone" consultation!

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  6. In rural life you gottah know your neighbors. The experience and sharing knowledge is priceless! To coin a phrase. You are doing a great job finding your way to where you want to be. Big pat on the back!

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  7. I love hearing a bit about how you arrived at where you are now, you are certainly a real homesteader now even with a day job!

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