Monday, February 18, 2013

So much work to do, so little time

I looked at the blog and realized I hadn't written in two weeks.  It's not that I don't have anything to say.  I always have a bunch to say.  I don't have the chance to get onto the Internet everyday but when I do get on I read what everyone else has written, sometimes even making a comment here and there, and then when it's time for me to write on my blog I realize it's bedtime.  This new job is kicking my rear! 

I like the job but the 5:30-19:00 hours, including the commute, from Monday through Thursday aren't the easiest.  Then comes Friday and I think I'll be able to get all my chores taken care of and then the grand kids and I will have fun for the entire weekend.  WRONG!  I've been on the job for two full months now and I have had zero Fridays where I've been able to stay home all day and not have anyone show up to interrupt.  But the stay home all day has only happened twice.  The rest of the Fridays I've had appointments of one type or another.  The only Friday appointment that I had that had anything to do with prepping was the day I went to the range to qualify for my CCW renewal. 

This past Friday I was spitting fire.  Last week, on Lincoln's birthday, the grand kids had off school but I had to work.  No problem.  Sent them up to the Bug-out property.  Boy spent the day helping by gathering firewood from the five acres and getting it stacked.  While he was out he got into the poison oak.  Not a problem, he's been in it before.  That evening he got a shower and went to bed, still at the Bug-out property.  Son and daughter-in-law said that they'd get the kids to school on Tuesday since they had to come into town in the morning anyway.  Tuesday night I got home, got dinner on the table, the kids ate and went to bed.  Boy wasn't swollen at all from the poison oak.  Wednesday morning he got up and was a little swollen on his face.  I gave him some Benadryl and sent him off to school.  He said that he was going to go to the nurse when he got to school.  No DON'T!  Let's keep this our secret.  Not that I want it a secret, it's obvious he has poison oak.  I don't want him wasting time going to the nurse when he should be in class.

He got home and was a little more swollen.  I sent an email to his teacher saying that he has poison oak but isn't having itching problems so I'm sending him to school.  He is not contagious.  He just looks funny.  Thursday morning I left for work.  He went to school.  His teacher didn't have a problem with his swollen face.  His classmates asked him what happened (he looked like he'd been in a brawl without the bruising).  Another teacher sent him to the nurse.  The nurse tried to call me, although she didn't try very hard.  She called my office, which only gets through if I'm sitting at my desk.  I wasn't.  She didn't bother calling my personal cell phone, which is the main number I have on every single contact list they have at the school.  Instead she sent boy home at the end of the day with a note that she is very concerned about his "condition".  She recommends that he see a doctor and he can't return to school until I speak with her.  What she didn't put in the letter, but boy told me, was that she rubbed a white lotion all over his face (hydrocortizone) and then took pictures of his swelling.  (Do I detect her building a case for child protective services?)

Friday morning I called the school.  She wasn't in so I left a message.  If he gets worse I will take him to the doctor but he is not sick.  This is not affecting his breathing because if it was I'd have him at the hospital.  No, he just looks funny.  I didn't know kids got kicked out of school for looking funny.  As an RN you should know that he isn't contagious.  This is five days after he was in the poison oak.  She never returned my call.  This means he's not supposed to show up to school tomorrow.  He's going anyway. 

I did bring him to the doctor to get a prescription for prednizone (did you know there is a prednizone shortage in the US?) just in case it was needed, although I knew it wouldn't be.  You see, I've had the same type of reaction to poison oak before.  The biggest concern is making sure it doesn't affect the breathing.  Then it's making sure your eyes don't swell shut.  I know that it takes a while for the swelling to come on and then it takes a few more days for it to go away.  Towards the end your skin feels like rough leather.  Then it itches.  That's where he is now, so it's doubling up on the Benadryl.  The doctor agreed with me on my treatment for him. No kidding...

Army daughter tried to take the nurse's side.  Maybe she didn't know it was poison oak.  Maybe she was concerned that his breathing was going to be affected.  Maybe she was frightened because he was so swollen.  Sorry, I'm not buying any of it.  She's an RN.  She should know what poison oak looks like.  The RN at the doctor's office saw boy and said "nice case of poison oak, where'd you get that?" There was no panic.  Does the school nurse think that all parents are stupid or neglectful?  Anyway, boy is going to school tomorrow and the principal is going to get an earful from me.

We've had such nice weather lately that I have been able to get a lot of the yard work done.  I mowed the front and back lawns (weeds) and the kids gave that grass to the chickens.  They had a great time eating it all.  I went into the coop today and there wasn't any grass left.  They devoured it all! 

We have a new lamb, so that's three lambs so far.  I only expect another two or three more.  That's good because we've had so little rain (only four inches so far this winter) that the pasture is less than 6 inches tall.  I have the sheep in one section only to try to get the rest to grow.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow and Wednesday so hopefully there will be more growth.  I don't want to have to buy any hay.  Maybe when the neighbors mow I'll ask if we can have the clippings. 

The pasture may not be growing but the weeds in the garden sure are!  I pulled bunches of weeds for the sheep and chickens but knew that I wasn't going to be able to get to them all.  The weeds in the garden beds were pulled the weeds in the paths were Round-Up'd.  I sprayed out 12 gallons, although I could have sprayed 5 more if my arm didn't get tired of pumping the backpack sprayer!  If I was home everyday I'd be able to get them pulled by hand, but not being home during the day Monday through Thursday puts me at a disadvantage.  Normally I spend between 30 minutes and an hour hanging out in the garden after work.  I can't do that now. 

The other day I did sit down to write and decided that I had nothing to say.  Imagine that!  I was wrongly thinking that I'm almost done preparing.  You know that feeling of how much is enough...  But then I snapped out of it.  I'm not nearly done.  My goal, if I really finished prepping would be that I wouldn't ever have to shop (or barter) again.  Everything would be here, stored away in our home store or mini-Walmart of a garage.  I decided I'd better inventory the home store.  I haven't done that in a while.  It's looking better than I thought.  I don't mark the sheet every time I take something out so I know it needs to be replaced later.  I used to do that.  Now I'm in such a routine when I shop that I just buy what I know is needed.  

When I went through the home store I was happily able to note that the inventory of most of our items have doubled or tripled in the past year.  There were a few things I had less of now than the last time I inventoried.  I only had four boxes of gallon size freezer Ziploc bags.  I'd prefer a dozen boxes.  I also was down to my last 90 33-gallon trash bags.  That may seem like a lot but last time I inventoried that there were 200.  I only had one gallon of ketchup left!  That may sound like a lot but it isn't around here.  I know it's something that can be made with the ingredients grown in the garden but it's so inexpensive to buy when bought by the #10 can that I'd rather buy it.  We also only had 1/2 gallon of syrup left.  I do have lots of sugar and imitation maple flavoring so I could make plenty of syrup, but again, this is something that isn't expensive and lasts forever so it's worth buying. 

Not bad on the inventory.  It did show that I am able to just shop and improve on what we have.  I am in no way done with our food store, but my home store is bursting at the seam.  So is our trailer.  I'm going to start stocking up on things at the Bug-out place but I have to make it not only mouse proof but also son and daughter-in-law proof! 

I found some 275 gallon square plastic water containers.  They are the kind that are enclosed with metal (aluminum?) as a support.  I would like to get several of those to keep at each end of the barn and other outbuildings to catch the water from the rainfall - if we ever get any rain.  While I've got a hand pump for the well, I'd like to set these up to automatically water the sheep and chickens during the summer. 

I am also trying to order security screen doors for the house.  Only the front door and the back sliding door have screens.  There are three other doors that go outside, one goes into the garage, and two go from the garage to the outside.  My first goal is to get the security doors on the three doors from the house to the outside.  The doors I want are made of metal and have a metal screen on them.  They have two holes for the regular lock and the deadbolt.  These three doors are 30 and 32 inches, which is not the normal 36" size.  This is making it harder to find what I want.  I found some at Home Depot.  Lowe's didn't carry what I wanted in the color and size I need.  Any other suggestions on where to buy these here in the Great Central Valley?  

During nice weather it would be good to be able to leave the doors open but be able to lock the screen doors.  Both the front door screen and the sliding door screen are vinyl and can be broken though with just your foot walking through.  There's no security there at all.  In the olden days (prior to becoming enlightened about serious prepping) I would just leave the front door and back door open all night to let the air flow through the house.  Not very safe, even in my safe neighborhood. 

Hopefully I'll be on the computer sooner rather than later.  It's past bedtime and 4:45 comes very early! 


  1. good to hear things are still good out your way.

  2. Nice to hear from you again. Figured you were busy, but. . .

    Good call on the school nurse. They seem to be paid to make sure the school's liability is covered.

    Our weeds are going wild also. The nettle is being dried for tea, and the rest is for the chickens also.

    We were in the big city today to run some errands. I needed some school supplies that we can't get in our village. Also looked into some archery equipment. As a youngster I shot at scout camp and thought it could be good addition for hunting and defense. We'll see.

  3. So glad you are back. When we didn't hear from you for 2 weeks, my first thought was "CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES" All it takes is one angry neighbor and your kids are gone. Be careful.

    1. I agree! The way the system is now all a kid has to do is say the wrong thing, even if it was just an innocent comment and everyone's world can come crashing down. Fortunately we have good neighbors, it's some of the people at the school that are trouble.