Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Town Clinic

As my sister is fond of saying, I live in "the middle of nowheresville.” The closest town is 10 miles away and consists of oh, I don’t know, maybe about 200 inhabitants. Although at any given time only about 5 can be seen wandering aimlessly around town. And in reality those are probably either tourists or local cyclists. So “town” may be too big a word. Maybe it’s more like a village or perhaps a large extended household. Guess that should have been the first indicator.

Believe it or not, there does happen to be a clinic in town, right next to the local tavern…ummm, ok, second indicator. Well, I figured I’d check it out on something of a minor nature. You know, see how they do, compared to the big town further away. The Dr, after all, had privileges at the main hospital in the next town and it would be handy to not have to travel 50 miles for medical attention. So I called and made an appointment to have a mole removed. I have this crazy mole on my lower eye lid that I had when I was a kid. I was so self conscious about it growing up, assuming everyone was staring at it as they talked to me. It’s size is less than half a grain of rice, but it may as well have been neon and blinked. I had it removed when I was about 19 or so and for some random reason 20 some years later it decided to grow back.

So I call and set up an appointment to have it removed. Mind you it’s the size of a pin head, but still, I haven’t outgrown the self-conscious nature of it, so ya, its going bye bye. The receptionist asks in great detail its location, size, how far in on my eye, which eye, etc. I felt we had covered more than enough aspects in regards to this thing. Oh, by the way, I tell her, I have another one on the top of my head, may as well take both off at once.

Well, I arrive at my appointment to find out the Dr. is on vacation. A nurse practitioner will do the dirty work. I guess the Dr. didn’t tell the staff he would be out? Indicator three. So I’m in the procedure room waiting and looking around. Ok, this room is quite disorganized and is doing triple duty; it’s a linen room, equipment storage room, procedure room, maybe even the lunch room….indicator four.

The nurse walks in to take my blood pressure, “So you have a wart were removing?” Uh, no not exactly, it a mole…guess that would be indicator five. “Oh where?” I show her my eye. She continues to take my vitals. “Ok, the nurse practitioner will be right in.” So after several more minutes of thumb twiddling and fighting off the temptation to play around with the equipment in the room, in comes the nurse, peanut butter sandwich in hand…na, not really. She was nice, but articulated the same question, “So you have a wart we’re removing?” Ok, so I figure I have two options, run or run fast. I answer again “Um no, actually it a mole and there are two of them” “Oh, where?” “Here on my eye-” at which she quickly responds, “Oh, we don’t do eyes here,” Gee I guess someone didn’t notify the receptionist of that before she scheduled me. I’ve lost count of indicators here. “But I can take care of the one on your head.” She proudly continues.

I’m feeling the guinea pig type today, so I agree. She takes a few squirts with the freezing thing and is done in about oh, two seconds. “Now, if I didn’t get it all, I have the name of a great plastic surgeon in the city that can make sure it’s gone.” Ok maybe you can give me my 20 dollars back then? I fantasize asking. Because you didn’t use enough freezing stuff to make an ice cube for a flea.

Well, I learned a lesson that is worth the $20 I threw away. Don’t go to the clinic in town with anything worse than a mild hangnail. Good thing they are located so close to the tavern, I needed a stiff drink after that. Ok, well, I don’t drink. I gave it fleeting consideration, but had to leave the clinic straight for the dentist’s office. He was equally skilled.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The trip to RMNP

It seems the weather has decided to give in to time’s forward march; days are becoming slightly warmer and the sun comes out much more often, warming the farmstead with its rays. The chicks have graduated out to the garage. They were in a box in the master bath till they realized life exists outside the box. I could no longer keep them contained to their known world, so they are in a 12’ swimming pool in the garage. Freedom has expanded their feistiness; I managed to capture a nice picture of a couple of the roos sparring. The Chicks I hatched last summer from my sister Julie’s hens’ eggs have started laying, the tiny pullet eggs are so cute. I think I ended up with only 2 roosters from that batch, what great odds!

In a nearby town there is a renowned goat dairy, their cheese used around the world, a secret blend of seven different breeds’ milk. Through a relative of a friend I may be privileged to purchase a couple of their does for the farm here. I have wanted to find a couple of nice milking goats so fingers crossed, it may happen soon. If so, I will put a door in the chicken coop and wall off a portion for them, with a pen on the outside and plans to tie them out during the day to graze. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to make butter, cheese and soap.

Steve had Monday off, but the kids had to work, it was turning out to be a pretty nice day, so we took Em up to Rocky Mountain National Park with plans to do a bit of hiking. Turns out temps were in the low 20s with winds near 40 mph there, so we didn’t get much of a chance to hike. We jumped out here and there to snap some pictures and try not to get blown away in the gusts. Although it was too chilly to hike, it was still a fun time. At one point a gust came up just as I was taking a step, I was literally blown off my feet. The Christmas classic echoes through my head, “Good thing bumbles bounce.” My neck was sore for a few days from the snap as I landed, but otherwise I walked away unhurt.

I met Melissa & Rae for Breakfast today, returning Gato the dog to them. I still laugh at Rae’s sense of humor in her choice of names. My faith taught me you don’t call the cat if you want the dog; however I guess this is an exception to that rule. Our pastors Mickey & Scott happened to drop in for a cup of coffee while we were there, so we got opportunity to chat for a few moments before heading out the door and back to the day’s tasks.

Taxes are almost done; we’ll be getting a refund, hot dog. Last year we owed quite a bit, but this year we have the mortgage, so that softens the tax blow a bit. However, I’ll dance a jig the day we have the place paid off, I can’t see paying the bank a dollar to get .25 back from the government. A nice barn is on my short list of improvements as soon as that happens, but unfortunately that’s a ways down the road.

Em posing on a rock between gusts

The effects of the wind on the snow caps, a beautiful sight.

I'll never tire of the beauty, its just incredible.

The newest rooster chicks setting up pecking order.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Elk

Well, its been a while since I've posted, but that's mainly because nothing is happening around here these days. I guess I could have posted.....cold and snowy, cold and snowy, cold and snowy. I keep reminding myself that spring is not too far off. In my mind, it seems every year the current winter is the longest winter ever. No different this year. Why does summer seem to fly by yet winter drags on?

We had some great weather Tuesday and Wednesday. I shouldn't complain, it actually got up to 68 on Wednesday, that was before we got totally slammed with 5" of snow and 25 degree temps just 6 hours later. Like I said, cold and snowy....

Wednesday was just too nice a day not to get out, so I took the girls and we headed up to Estes for a bit. The elk were out on the golf course, I got some great pics of them. They are so used to people, that we were able to get within about 15 feet.

I got another of those great unexpected gifts in the mail this week. Mom sent me a very cool book, "MaryJane's Ideabook Cookbook Lifebook for the Farmgirl in all of us. I highly recommend it. Along with some beautiful pictures its got lots of great ideas and how-to's for the homesteader. Its full of recipes, sewing tips, gardening ideas and many lost-art how-to's, like darning socks and making aprons.

The best part of all was the inscription inside the front cover."To my very own sweet little farm girl. They can take the girl out of the country, but they can't take the country out of the girl." Those are words I've heard my mom echo at every turn; when she saw my first extensive garden complete with 9 different fruit trees to my pantry full of 12 cases of peaches I had canned one summer, to the time she found out I had 28 chickens in my suburban back yard. And, she is right, all those years of city living were pure torture to the farm girl in me. I finally feel at home for the first time in a really long time. I awaken still in awe of the beauty that surrounds me and thanking God for the blessing of living in such a serene place and for the opportunity to take it all in.

Another incredible sunrise from the front porch.

Elk cow, pausing for a second to gaze up at us

Elk on the golf course. The ground was covered in.....well, you know. I bet the golfers hate that.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Weekend

Friday I met Melissa & Rachael for lunch. We had a nice time. I then took Rachael to the thrift store for a quick shopping trip. She wanted to go with me to the airport to pick Uncle Steve up from his China trip, but I talked her into the thrift next door to the cafe instead. She was excited to find a dish set still in the original box and shrink wrap. It was a deal at .99 so I gave her some money and she paid the man and proudly brought it home.

Saturday I picked up some heirloom garden seeds from a guy off Craigslist. I'm excited to get my garden started.  I got 19 different varieties of seeds from watermelon to squash to green beans, carrots, leeks, tomatoes and a few things in between. I've got a lot of work ahead of me between now and harvest. One of the first items on the list is to get the garden area marked off and put a fence up around it to keep the deer and rabbits out.  I've got another connection from Craigslist for a pretty unlimited supply of composted manure to get a good base going. The ground has a dozen or more boulders sticking up a foot in the air, and I'm sure it's just the tip of the boulder so to speak. I will have to do raised beds if I plan to grow anything. It's still a little early at this point. I'd like to start a few things indoors, but I need a heat mat or similar to keep the seeds from rotting. I've thought about just using the heating pad, but I think its best to wait till the time is right. 

Steve has been slow to recover from jet lag, he slept a bit today. Hopefully tomorrow he will feel like himself again. We hung out at church this afternoon and watched the first half of the Super Bowl. Em wasn't feeling well today, so we came home at half time. Tomorrow its back to school and work for everyone.