Saturday, January 26, 2008

Moving In: Day One

We brought the first load of belongings to our new home this afternoon. I brought a pick up truck loaded with firewood for the wood stove. We loaded the horse trailer with garage and yard stuff. I packed in lots of cleaning supplies. Jerry insisted we stop on the way and buy our first major purchase for the house, a washer and dryer. Months of using a laundry mat (or as the cowboy says "washer-teria") made him crave his own again as soon as possible.

The trailer is unloaded, but the wood is still in the back of the truck. We didn't get it stacked in the wood shed tonight. Jerry did get it tarped, good thing because it started pouring rain just a few minutes ago. I got some cleaning done. The house is fairly 'surface' clean, the oven, stove top, frig and freezer, bathrooms, all need scrubbed. It took me hours to do the refrigerator.

We love it here. We both feel like we are camping at some lodge. The pine scent in the air, the sound of the wind in the trees, the frogs are croaking in a nearby wet area, and we are in this wonderful log house. Jerry made us a nice padded bed on the floor in the living room in front of a nice hot fire. The rain is singing on the roof top. I'll head back 'down the hill' in the morning to take care of the horses and pick up more belongings while Jerry meets with a painter and carpenter.

Several friends have offered to come up and help repair fence, we'll call on them tomorrow. Once we have the pasture ready to move the horses up, we'll move up here in the 5th wheel and 'camp' while we get the house in order.

Well, I'm off to sleep my first night in our little log cabin in the woods.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Drive in the Country

I came home a day early, about 10:30 last evening, driving through heavy rains most of the 200 mile drive. Bed sure felt good...
We were up bright and early this morning and took a nice little drive, please join us.
Sit back and enjoy.

The sky was cloudy and the weather cool and it was a great day for a drive. We've crossed the river and are headed up and over those foot hills.

The road is a steep, winding road. Guard rails are present every here and there, which is rare in California. As a native 'Flat-lander', the lack of guard rails on the mountain roads here used to bother me, causing anxiety, sweaty palms, and abdominal distress. Now I am just thankful when there's no ice.

This little road curves around through the oaks and pine trees in the hills above the river. Just below the 'snow line', the area gets just a tiny bit of snow each year.

We reach our destination mid-morning and are greeted by these lovely January blooms, brightening the dark cloudy day......

This pair wasn't exactly greeting us; it was more like, "who are you and what do you want?" They checked us out a bit and then casually strolled away. They act like they own the joint....

But they don't..... WE DO! Hurray! We have our 'little log cabin' in the woods.

I am feeling blessed, excited and very overwhelmed. Did I mention excited?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Medicine & Surgery #1

I thought it might be fun to document an interesting case now and then.
I do understand that topics I find fun and interesting as a veterinarian may not be your idea of a good time. If surgical pictures bother you, this may be the time to visit another site. I promise not to do this often.

I didn't think of having pictures taken of this one until the tech had him on the prep table and I was feeling a bit of a challenge presenting itself.

This adult Boxer was diagnosed with a lipoma on his neck 2 years ago. A small one. Not a problem, as lipomas are generally benign fatty tumors that usually cause no problems, unless they grow... and grow.... and grow.... He came in recently for his vaccine boosters and an exam of the lump. It had grown so large he had trouble turning his neck. He is a real sweetheart of a dog and the owners wanted to know if something could be done. I wish I had a picture of him standing so you could see the extent of that mass, it extended from his mandible to his shoulder blade (or scapula to you anatomy buffs).

He is under anesthesia and is being shaved and scrubbed for surgery.

The surgical site is draped, the skin incision is made, I begin bluntly dissecting the lipoma away from the subcutaneous tissue.

Luckily (for me), this lipoma is nicely encapsulated in it's own little sac. It is deep and large, manually separating the tumor from normal tissue is done by hand and by instrument.

Bit by bit the tumor emerges from the incision. The goal is to keep it intact as one piece, it is easier to remove and that helps control hemorrhage.

This lipoma has quite a healthy blood supply. Look at the size of those vessels. Hemostats and suture material are used to tie off bleeders as needed. See how it glistens? The outer surface slips and slides like melted crisco has been poured on.

Slowly the lipoma is being separated from the attached surrounding tissue and eased out of the cavity it resided, grew and thrived in for the past 2 years. It wasn't leaving easily. It actually extended deep beneath the scapula, quite a 'hole' to work in and tie off blood vessels.

An hour after the initial incision, the dog is lipoma-free, at last. That thing is huge and just globs off over my hands.

We place it on the scale. 3# of pure fat... Ugh. I started a diet then and there.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Catching Up

Six month wedding anniversary tomorrow, seven and a half weeks since Jerry's triple by-pass surgery, and life continues to feel a bit off-track. Married life is good, very good, and we continue to adjust to this life partnership. Newly wed, new temporary 'digs', all my 'stuff' in storage, that crazy horse accident injury, and top it all off with almost losing my 'cowboy-groom' to heart disease. I just don't feel like life is back to normal yet. (What ever normal is...) I seem to have skipped Christmas and multiple loved one's birthdays: I am trying to not to be so forgetful, I am trying not to worry about those things I have no control over, I am trying to catch up on everything. It just may take a while longer.

Jerry continues to improve and is doing amazingly well. He has had two recent check-ups and received an excellent report from his cardiac surgeon. He was given the OK to drive a week ago Friday and has been driving...alot....too much....if you ask me.
The horse mugging for the camera while she hugs Jerry is my mare, Rock. She cut up her pastern Friday night on some fencing. I wasn't home yet and the cowboy doctored her up. He did a good job describing the injury so with dread I unbandaged her foot yesterday morning and it is bad, but not crippling. So we spent Saturday morning sedating, cleaning, suturing, bandaging, changing pastures and checking fences. She'll require daily bandage changes, twice daily antibiotic injections, pain meds and probably 6-8 weeks of no riding. I hate when our horses are hurt or 'off ' . Plus I'll be out of town for 4 days and Jerry will have to deal with it all. He's good at doctoring the critters, but dang, it's my job after all.

I scheduled 3 weeks at a job out of town. The same place that I was working when I received the calls about Jerry's heart attack. The deal was, I'd go down and Jerry would come along and stay down there with me, recuperating and catching up on computer work and phone calls. It lasted ONE week. The second week he was allowed to drive and insisted on staying home and going to work. Most people would eagerly accept three months off work, this man couldn't wait to get back in the loop again. Of course I worry that he is doing way too much.
The town is 3 1/2 hours south, the fog above is what I drove through to get there last Monday. The fog hung around all week. I left my truck there Friday and to avoid driving in fog, took Amtrak home for the weekend. Tomorrow morning my train leaves to head back south at 6:30 a.m. I'll be gone 4 days. I'd rather be home. I find myself worrying and feeling a kind of dread when I have messages on my cell phone. Probably some minor form of post traumatic stress that I just need to get over.

Other things have been going better than expected out here. If all goes as planned, this will be one of our new neighbors come Friday. I took this picture two weekends ago. More about that Friday....

I couldn't resist posting this picture. It is a 3# 'something' on a scale. It has to do with veterinary surgery and is quite motivational. Any guesses? Sorry this isn't a contest with prizes to award, I am just not that organized, but go ahead and guess.

I'll post about it next time (Di may want to skip that one)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rainy Days & Rainy Nights

We had a bit of break from the rain. Long enough to fetch a load of hay from the feed store without it getting too wet. It started raining again late morning and came down hard, but the winds are calm. Except for running a few errands and feeding critters, we spent another day indoors, I worry I may be incubating a severe, nasty case of Cabin Fever.

A river runs behind the ranch. I took this photo in September as we rode along the river bed.

This was taken yesterday from the levee, I drove back to check the river level after watching TV reports of all the flooding occurring in Sacramento. It was this dark and gloomy all day long.

This was the river today, taken 24 hours later than the above photo and from the same point on the levee.

The homes on the ranch are about 1/4 mile from the river and there are 2 levees separating us from the raging river waters. This may be important if this rain keeps dumping on us.
The snow dumping up on the ski slopes has me giddy. My leg is improving to the point I am thinking I just may be able to get some skiing in this season. Maybe.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Hurricane: California style

The front pasture is flooded.

The back pasture is flooded.

The middle pasture is flooded.


I feel like I'm weathering a sea storm aboard a boat. Our home is rocking and rolling, rain is pelting loudly, acorns and tree branches crashing off the roof. The roaring gusts of 60+ mph winds are bouncing us around. The rain isn't falling down, it's whipping along parallel to the ground. Just a few minutes outside to toss hay to the horses and I was soaked to my underwear.

The local TV station is staying on weather watch, no 'regularly scheduled programing'. We are sitting here cozy and warm with the heat on, candles burning, and a hot pot of coffee. We still have electric, the candles are just for added coziness. I am certainly thankful we are able to stay house-bound, I hadn't scheduled work today and Jerry is still on medical leave from work. The highways are a mess, the airport is for the most part shut down, trees are blowing over, creek and river flooding is anticipated. This is the warm part of the storm, in a few hours the cold front will hit. The blizzards in the high country will intensify, and the snow will pile up. A skier's paradise.

The ranch buildings appear to be intact, although the roof of the barn next to us is straining hard to break loose. If things calm a bit, I'll drive back to the river for a look. I don't see any trees down. Three separate pastures of horse and mules, none are electing to seek indoor shelter, they are content to stand in groups with their rumps to the wind. The cattle have no choice.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Birthday Girl

I messed up big time, neglected paying attention to the date and then the time difference, and missed saying Happy Birthday to my 7 year old Granddaughter. She was already in bed by the time I got around to calling. I feel bad about it.
I seem to have somehow missed the entire season. Christmas, and multiple family birthdays in December and now January. No Christmas cards or gifts, no birthday cards or gifts.... I need to get my act back together.
Spending last Christmas and the New Year was wonderful in the Midwest with my grand kids and daughters and the rest of the extended tribe.
I was looking through last year's pictures and was reminded of how much fun we had and how funny the kids are.

Six-year-old Princess of the day (2007)

Present opening is very serious work. Grandson-not so serious work.

And then this one..... is there a message being sent here?

I hope the seventh birthday was a fun one. I am sorry I missed it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Nov. 3; seems like so long ago I shared the pictures of Jerry and the Giant Christmas Tree transport to Six Flags-Marine World. The tree was so ugly with the branches chopped off, I couldn't imagine it standing decorated and beautiful. That's my Cowboy up there, attaching cables to move the tree by helicopter.

They had to lift the tree, carry it over the roller coasters and stand it on an island in the middle of the amusement park. The only branches still on the tree were the ones at the very top.

Here's the lift-off. Kind of a pathetic tree isn't it?

We had planned to visit Vallejo during the Christmas season to see the decorated tree. December kept us busy with hearts and doctors and travel out-of-state; the tree was forgotten.

.......until yesterday. We had no New Year celebration plans and I happened to find that the tree was still up at Six Flags and a New Year's Party was scheduled. I just couldn't imagine that naked tree decorated and I just absolutely love roller coasters. Love 'em! Jerry was agreeable to the last minute plans.

He made a phone call. He had been offered complementary tickets for his involvement in the tree transport, he arranged for passes for 4, we rounded up a couple of friends, and headed to Vallejo, arriving at 5:00.

It was cold out there near the water and we were bundled up warm. We were the oldest folks there. Mostly young people having a blast and lots of families with young children. We watched the seal show, the dolphin show, listened to Christmas carols, enjoyed the warm shark aquarium, and rode Roller Coasters. Jerry didn't ride. There were no lines so we just walked up the ramps and got right on the rides. I had a blast. We left before the midnight laser show and fireworks and were home by midnight.

The tree was beautiful, bright, colorful and large.

We spent some time walking around the base, examining how they attached the branches and cables and anchors. They did an impressive job.

The animal shows were cute and creative. Lots of children and adults laughing.

A fine way to end the year.

Peace to everyone.