Tuesday, July 30, 2013

House of Fungus...


Well, we have finally discovered the source of my fungus affliction.

It’s Daisie.

She’s covered with it…and now Angus has some spots too.

This is just another chapter in the long saga of Daisie’s suffering. For the past couple of years, we have fought to keep her muzzle free of bacterial infection. This spring it got out of control, so the vet brought out the big guns and put her on a course of antibiotics and steroids. (Don’t get ahead of me here!)

Swift progress was made…until we started easing off the steroids. Suddenly, she was itching, and scratching and making things worse than when we began. The Doc said we needed to go for a longer course of steroids, “which is not good news”. I thought, if it keeps her from scratching and helps healing, what could be so bad?

Little did I know…

So Daisie has continued on steroids, with a slow, sloooowww, weaning process for the past two months. She’s experienced the side effects…and so have we! She needs to go potty often – and we have sometimes forgotten that to our detriment. She’s hungry all the time. She’s been feeling a little ‘roid rage. When Angus bumbles around playing, and ends up falling on her head, she no longer takes it with grace, but barks in his little face, and leaves the room. He thinks it’s great.

And she’s become more assertive, which in Daisie’s world means that she no longer lets a biscuit fall out of her mouth when Olive gives her the eye. In fact, she just keeps crunching, saying “Take that, you little tyrant!”

Yea – she’s pretty much out of control…by her standards.

Around the time, I found out that I had contracted The Fungus, I noticed that Daisie was losing hair…she was bald…wherever she had previously had the bacterial infection. I thought it must be part of the healing process. However, soon there were hairless patches popping up all over, and I became concerned that she was suffering another side effect of the steroids. I didn’t consider that they were fungus spots because they were smooth, without edges…didn’t look at all like what I had on my face.

And then one day, I finally found a spot – on her belly – that looked just like the one on my face…And it all started to make sense…

Daisie was on steroids. Daisie was extremely susceptible to fungal infections. Daisie was a walking biochemical weapon!

The vet got us in right away, and sadly informed me that Daisie had widespread infection. Because she was on steroids, the infection did not look like the usual ringworm, so it was understandable that we had missed it. (Thank you!) She would need to be on meds for a month, and be bathed with a special shampoo every couple of days.(Woot, woot! Daise hates water, except for drinking it.) Angus and Olive would need to come see the vet as well, and likely be on medication.

I asked how long Daisie would remain contagious, and the vet said that she is contagious until she has a negative culture result…and she won’t be tested again until a month has passed. In fact, they would be scrubbing the exam room we had occupied, and changing out the rug before another animal would be allowed in there.

Pariahs…that’s what we are!

I started thinking about my car, my house, my crew! We had all been exposed…every day for the past 3 weeks.

Oh boy…I’m picturing our end-of-year send off: “Thanks for working for us this year – and by the way, here is your bonus: a tube of clotrimazole. If you notice any funny spots on your person be sure to apply this liberally…and DON’T use hydrocortisone for the itch.”

I repeat, Oh boy…

We are outcasts, living in The House of Fungus…

The vet reassured me that just petting the dog would create a minimal risk for infection…but if you snuggle the dog, or love to put your face next to her soft face, you will suffer the consequences.

So that ‘splains why, so far, I am the only infected person.

If you stop by our place these days -- and few are -- our greeting to you will be: “Don’t touch the dog!” before we say hello.

And Olive and Angus aren’t visiting until they have a week of medicine in them…and Macy had to find a new place to spend her vacation.

The Doc was right…steroids=not good news.

I’m happy to report that Lysol kills fungus, and I will be using it liberally, in hopes that this is the last chapter in The Infection Saga.
And if you have stopped by recently (-- I know! all who have are now feeling itchy --) and notice an itchy patch or ring shaped spot on you, call me. You need clotrimazole -- and I'll deliver.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Well...


…I ought to let you know that my email to Tootsie Roll Industries was not in vain.
 

I received a very nice letter from them saying: “The assorted flavors are intended to be as fairly represented as possible. Inspectors monitor the mixing process continually in order to assure the proper levels, but as with all highly automated processes, there can be imbalances such as you received. We are working to improve our methods in order to achieve a more balanced assortment.”

Imbalances?! How about you have to buy 3 bags to get 3 Orange Pops, and then suffer through 40 Cherry ones before you can afford to buy any more! Those inspectors must be partial to Cherry…

I had hoped for something more like: “So sorry! Next time we will have someone from the OCD Department count out the Tootsie Pops and make sure there is an equal number of each flavor. We will be vigilant to ensure that Cherry Pops do not overpopulate the bags!”

I’m just looking for a little equity for us orange lovers.

They did show some compassion for my plight: “We regret any undue concern this matter may have caused you and we hope you will continue to enjoy all our confections for many years to come.”

And they enclosed two $1 coupons just to make sure I did.

My concern was so undone as to encourage me to run right out and buy another bag. Lo and behold! There were FOUR, count ‘em, FOUR Orange Pops in the bag AND two blueberry ones…a new flavor!

Hey, folks, it pays to complain…I fixed the problem for everyone, and got paid $2 to boot.

I did a good day’s work last Wednesday, after all.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fun...

…gus – or NOTFUN…gus – or FUNGUS is no FUN.

Just in case this harvest was going along too well, and life was too easy and luxurious,  I have been allowed to contract a case of fungus…{drum roll} on my FACE!

It is commonly called ringworm, but I want everyone to know, that NO WORMS ARE INVOLVED. REALLY.

However, a nice quarter size ring of flaming red, scaly skin is prominently perched on my chin.

Cool.

It started inauspiciously…a couple of small irritations on the chin. I am prone to dermatological rashes…a tag on a new shirt can begin a rebellion that grows to the size of my palm in a day or two. (Hey, immune system, calm down! Stop panicking!) Because of this propensity, the doctor has kindly allowed me to carry a prescription for a steroid cream to use as needed. I call it my miracle cream.

So, of course, I went to my miracle remedy…and treated the spots for a couple of days…but they didn’t go away. In fact, they were getting larger.  Impetigo? No – it wasn’t grody enough to be that…

And then, it occurred to me…When Daisie had a suspected fungus, they said that we must stay away from steroids because putting steroids on a fungus was like feeding it.

Oh boy…

In effect, I had created a monster. My miracle remedy seemed a miracle to the fungus, and they have happily grown to cover half my chin.

So attractive…and such a sensation with the constant stinging and burning…what can I say, I’m just lucky that way.

I went to the doctor, hoping that he would have some miracle cream to stop the growing ring – but the only remedies available are the over-the-counter anti-fungals, and it will probably take a couple of weeks to eradicate it.

And no, I don’t know where I got it. Of course, the pups were suspect, and I stopped asking for puppy kisses immediately. But the pups show no signs of infection, so now I’m not allowed to kiss them because I am the source of danger.

That’s a turn…

I would REALLY hate it if Cait had to bring them to the vet and tell them that they got The Fungus from their Gram.

Oh, the humanity!

In the meantime, I am thankful for my harvest exile…and hoping the medicine works before it is over.

‘Cause seriously, how do you hide your chin? I think people would be looking for the white coats if I went around town with a veil over my face!

Oh, that’s right…I YAM WHAT I YAM…

And right now, I’m wormy…

And pretty much free of cockiness.

Fun…

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The truth about Wednesday...


Well – two consecutive days of purposeful living and today I was off the wagon.

I woke up feeling like I was ready to go to bed…because I had spent some time during the night listening to it rain hard and wondering what that meant for picking.. When finally I returned to sleep, it was as if I had slipped into a coma.

My slightly wet bed time hair had become a spectacularly spiky bedhead do. My eyes were puffy; my joints stiff. When I got dressed, all I had were quarter length sox to put with my Keens and crop pants. It looked bad…and worse, I didn’t care.

When I made Daisie breakfast, the ring on the pop-top can popped off without removing the lid. It took a pliers and a can opener to wrestle the can open. I hurried through my own breakfast because I thought it was already 8:30 when it was only 7:30.

I stood in the garage wondering why…then returned to the kitchen, wondering the same thing.

I checked my email to find 10 emails of warehouse documents and invoices that would not print out the single pages I needed. I could only print all 16 pages, or none at all. I only needed 6 of them.

Daisie kept sighing heavily at my elbow, expecting we should be out walking by now. I finally gave in to her demands and grabbed my rake. Our walks these days include raking out the piles of leaves and green berries that get pushed out of the pickers, so as to save the grass beneath.

As we headed to the back 40, I saw that The Farmer had started up the little irrigator on the grass…which meant we must run through at the correct timing or get wet.

I decided to get wet.

We raked out the piles, and made it almost all the way around the field, when we ran into a neighbor and her friend walking around the adjacent field. Too late, I cared about the quarter sox and crop pants…

Back in the house, I anticipated the sipping of my coffee and the boost that caffeine would give me…but I was interrupted by the crew arriving and had to drink it cold.

I returned to those problematic emails, and when I kept dozing off while working through them, I gave it up, and lay down to take a nap.

After naptime, I stumbled around the kitchen gathering Otter Pops and Tootsie Pops for the kids (my worker kids) lunchtime. Appalled at the disproportionate number of cherry pops and the dearth of orange pops, I got on the computer and filled out the Contact Us email form for the Tootsie company and gave them a piece of my mind…

…that I can ill afford to lose.

She gone.

It didn't get any better from there. My tootsie complaint ended up being about the biggest thing I accomplished today. I hope I at least get a coupon out of it, or the whole day will be wasted.
I hope I can crawl back on the wagon tomorrow...I like it better. But I'm going to bed now (again), and mulling over this lesson:
Purpose: not always easy to attain…similar to sleep...but always worth the effort.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I wrote this on a good Monday...


First beets from the garden...
 
I felt like a real country girl today. For one thing, I wore my Romeos out to work in the garden. And a ball cap. And gloves.

I looked like a hick…which I only sorta am.

More so, I felt like a country girl because I was efficient with my chores this morning. No dallying around, I got the dailies done and then went out to plant and harvest and weed in the garden.

For once, I had reasonable expectations of what I could accomplish. I worked steadily, but not feverishly…and I enjoyed myself.

It spurred me on to greater accomplishments in the house…paid the bills, washed, baked, tidied. Later I picked some berries and got them in the freezer.

You know, if more often I approached my responsibilities with this kind of attitude, I might actually like them.

I spend too much time dreading, avoiding, distracting, and not deciding…which crams all my work into a space of time that makes the dread a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I lived with purpose today…and it felt good. And it was good.

I’m going to try that again tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's about time I posted a recipe...

...for raspberries, of course!

I got this recipe from my friend and neighbor, Carol Rinehart. She used to compete with our mutual friend and neighbor, Juella Vander Veen, to see who would make the first Royal Raspberry Cake of The Season. Juella has been in heaven for a few years now, and I have tried to take her place and try to beat Carol for the First Cake of The Season, but have not been not so good at it. This year Carol had already made 2 before I made one. Sorry, Juella! I will try harder!

Since my family likes this recipe more each year, I'm hoping to make up for my loss next year. This is a simple recipe, and oh-so-good! Great for breakfast, or dessert!

ROYAL RASPBERRY CAKE
2c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. butter
1T. baking powder
1c. sugar
1 egg, room temp
1c. milk, room temp
1t. vanilla

Mix all together.
Pour into greased 9 X 13.
Top with 3 1/2c. fresh raspberries.
Bake @ 350 degrees, 30-35 minutes.
Cool 5 minutes.
Top with glaze: 1 1/2c. pwd. sugar, 2T. cream, 1t. vanilla

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Glorious...


I consider it a glorious thing to walk through the berry field in the  morning, sun comfortably warming my shoulders; the bushes liberally dotted with red; my faithful dog obediently walking beside me; a clear blue sky overhead.

It doesn’t get much better than this…except that I have been able to do this for nearly two weeks straight!

Indeed, glorious! And extraordinary…

As expected, the ugly picking was limited to a few days and since then it has been absolutely wonderful. The beautiful weather has allowed us to pick clean and lovely fruit, which makes the processing go so smoothly.

I have only had to fill in on the machine once, and I made it without injury or power failure. Still I am more than glad that the crew shows up every day, same time, same place, same old, same old. Bless them!

We are probably halfway through the season. We’re expecting that when July ends, harvest will end. It’s a rare treat to have all of August free to enjoy summer activities. So looking forward to that!

We were lucky to not have to pick berries on the 4th of July. That gave us time to linger and enjoy the Annual Cowboy Breakfast. Jess was home then, and again this weekend for his birthday. We managed to sneak out to El Nopal for dinner in his honor.

 

Daisie has been through rehab, and seems to be free of addiction. Of course, she is rarely out of my sight. Strangely, instead of finding her moping at the restriction, she seems to believe that she is more loved than ever, and is obviously enjoying it. Go figure! I believe she is thinking: “Mom needs me to be with her all the time!” She follows me around with the questioning look: “Hey, what are we going to do now, Mom?” It makes me feel a little sad that her forays out into the field were a result of feeling neglected. Those rolls in the stink ended up being a blessing in disguise…and what a disguise!

The weather forecast has us believing that we will continue in this course through the end of the season…I can’t tell you what a blessing that is! To just get out there and work hard, without concern of what disaster might be lurking off the coast, is doable. No hour by hour decisions, no worrying whether the next rain is going to finish us off, no changing up the schedule because the bushes are wet again, no scrounging for people to man the processing line because there is much to clean up.

Whatever the outcome in pounds, or price, this harvest is poised to be a memorable success.

God is gracious.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Addiction stinks...


So my docile, predictable, laid-back dog is torturing me.

Now that we are busy with harvest, and the weather is punishingly hot, she has developed a new hobby.

Said hobby shows blatant disregard for the Number 1 Rule for Daisie Lee Duke Honcoop: DON’T DIE.

We have discovered that she has been CROSSING THE ROAD into Farmer Frank’s menagerie pasture. Farmer Frank has a goat, a burro, a Longhorn steer, 3 cows, 1 calf, 2 horses, an unknown number of chickens and a couple of dogs.

The menagerie leaves behind them (literally) a plethora of piles – a variety of manures, afterbirth, and other forms of rot.

Eeeeewwwww…

And Daisie has become an addict…a rot addict.

With blatant disregard for her safety, she delights in the various piles…And by delight, I mean she rolls in them…and ingests them…

So now, the dog that we trusted to hang out on our 60 acres; to go for a stroll, and return to lounge on her outside bed…now this dog has repeatedly and rapidly disappeared only to return panting, smiling and covered with foul smelling crap. She’s found her bliss…

And it is the foulest of the foul, I tell you…

Since Saturday, she has had 5 baths…mostly successful. However, yesterday we scrubbed and scrubbed but couldn’t defeat the noxious scents emanating from her. Finally, we lifted her ears and found that she had packed one full of…stuff…Have you ever looked in a dog’s ear and seen how many pockets and wrinkles are in there?

GOOD! NESS! It was…daunting. {gag and gag again!}

An intervention is planned for today.

Yesterday, she was on probation – some outside privileges – but today she has moved to restriction. And that is such a pain! It’s been so nice to have her hang around wherever we are working in the yard, or out in the field. Now The Sneak will have to be kenneled; and she will hate it, and so will I. She’s gonna work me over with pathetic looks and drooping eyes, and I will be worrying about her mental state…

But the alternative will be to worry about her death, or her smelling LIKE death – and more of those blasted baths that she hates too…

It’s going to be a hard fight to defeat her addiction…There it is, Candy Land, right across The Highway of Death…within sniffing distance.

Oh, Daisie…just say no…
 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Going on Day 4...


For all my boasting about how calm we were as harvest approached, it went a bit south in the 2 days before…Because, of course, we had a lot to get done! And there were some things we had forgotten about…So we did a bit of scrambling, and I was stressed.

I was so stressed that I took not one picture of the first day of picking! Historian fail! Although, I could probably just reprint a picture from last year, or some other year, because they all look the same. We always start at the same spot, and you can barely see the crew, so I could probably substitute a print from any year and no one would know!…Which begs the question, why is taking a picture on the first day such a big deal?

Oh, yeah.

A much bigger worry was getting the subs we needed, but thankfully, the spots all got filled, and the kids who needed to be somewhere else got to go. We’ve got one more day with a sub this week, and then it’s back to The Regulars. I worry less when The Regulars are on the machine because: 1.) They know the job. 2) They know the trials that await them. When we have new kids on the machine, I worry if they can handle the conditions.

AND when it is beastly hot like this, I worry about everyone! It’s miserable out there, and I just can’t imagine making it through the whole day…

AND, I’ll be honest here, a good part of my worry is that they might not be able to, and then I WILL HAVE TO GO OUT THERE!

Heaven help us…well, me…Heaven help ME!! Check that…The Farmer would need Heaven’s help too if I had to work a full day out there in the heat.

Oh, how I appreciate these kids…and pray fervently for their health and safety and that they come back every day.

No altruism in it; carnal self-preservation is too dominant in my requests. But I do try to express my gratitude in ways large and small – otter pops, ice for their water bottles, cold water, praise…eventually, a good wage…They deserve all of it!

As predicted, the first pick over the field had a lot of soft berries and a liberal dotting of mold…not so pretty as we like it to be. Now that all that stuff is cleaned off, we should be seeing prettier berries populating the flats…However, the heat will contribute to making them soft. We are happy to know that the forecast ahead is dry, and the heat will lessen. So looking forward to that! Staying at this temperature is hard on the bushes and the kids!

Today I think we are getting in the groove. I’m remembering to charge the radios each night, and wash the sun shirts, and make sure there are enough Otter Pops in the freezer. I made a grocery run to stave off my panicky thoughts of running out of supplies: we were out of Jasmine rice and Kosher salt! I mean, how were we going to get by without these items essential to life?

I think I have 3 of most everything now, and 6 cans of baked beans because I am forgetful, so we can survive the harvest, or a protracted blizzard should the need arise…and I will probably still be using up some of these supplies when it is time for a blizzard to come. Except the Otter Pops…I hope to be able to store enough for at least one week…8 young adults eating Otter Pops means they disappear quickly! A week's supply is quite a few boxes if the weather stays like this.

I’ve also been looking for muu-muus. I never understood the attraction these held for older women – until I began experiencing sudden heat spikes unregulated by my own personal thermostat.

It’s a problem. And now I understand muu-muus…They are as close as you can get to being unclothed, but still be decent.

Two words: rush shipping…

I’m off to Amazon.

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)