Thursday, October 24, 2013

7 Random Things

1. Expect the unexpected.

That's what I've learned over the last 18 months.  Once again, the Lord has shown us that our plans are not His plans. HA!  As we were preparing to move to another rental property, a very strange and bizarre thing occurred. I'll spare you the details, but basically, the sale of our rental house was put on hold until spring, and a bidding war ensued to keep us at our current house.  We were fully prepared to move out to a cheaper rental, so the landlord drastically lowered our rent to the point that we would be saving thousands of dollars over the winter if we chose to stay put.  This would help us with our heating bill, and would also help us to save money for our next move.  We were flabbergasted!  It's a huge relief to not have the expense and stress of moving again, and we are so thankful to be staying put for the winter.

Honestly, we could not have lined up the sequence of events that led to this rental reduction in a million years. We're still scratching our heads as to how it all came about.  Isn't that just how the Lord likes to operate?  

So it looks like we'll be living in our house with the white picket fence for a little bit longer.  I feel a sense of relief knowing that we'll be here until spring when the housing market picks up, and builders start building again.

2. Here's a bird's eye view of the fall leaves.  This year, the colors weren't as spectacular as they've been in years past, because they hadn't  quite hit their peak before we got a hard freeze and a snow that just turned the leaves an ugly shade of crunchy brown.

3. We went to our local ski resort to get the kids their season passes, and had the opportunity to take a lift ride on a gorgeous autumn afternoon.

A view from the top.

4.  We have finally finished replacing the pole fence at one of our lease pastures. It separates the pasture from a yard, and cows in someone's yard = trouble.   It took around two hundred logs that were 13 ft. long.  We're so relieved to have that crossed off the list.

Now we can move our weaned calves and dry cows over to the pasture.

We took the old logs from the fence, and cut them up into firewood for the elderly couple who lives in the home.

5. This month's 4-H sewing project was fabric pumpkins.  We made football shaped patterns in 3 different sizes.  Then we cut out 5 pieces for the little pumpkin, 6 for the medium, and 8 for the large pumpkin.  We sewed the football shaped pieces together and stuffed them.  We added a stem, leaves, and a bow to complete the look.  I cut my stems quite a bit shorter after I took this picture, but you can get the general idea.
P.S.- For all of those gals like me who don't have a craft store within a 3 hour radius, you can buy cheap pillows for $2.50 at Walmart, and rip them open for the stuffing.  It's the exact same stuff that you buy in the craft department, but WAY cheaper.

6.  Thanks for all of your prayers for Miss Kitty.  She had a surgery last week to close up the abscess and she's healing nicely.  She's back to her spunky self so I think she's feeling much better.  She gets her stitches out in a week, and hopefully that will be the end of this saga.

7.  My favorite pic at the vet's office:  It makes me laugh every time I see it.  :)

Learning to roll with the unexpected,


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

When you realize you might love your cat.

When you're crying your eyes out in the vet's office at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday night over the possibility of having to bring home a dead cat in a box and the thought of having to soothe the two little girls who are madly in love with their kitty.... the kitty that has slept on their bunk bed every night for the past 9 years...

you have a moment of absolute clarity about 2 things:

1. You realize that you deeply, completely, totally LOVE your cat despite the fact that buying cat paraphernalia; i.e. food, litter, and treats, makes you mortified of the damage it could do to your reputation. Crazy cat lady, anyone?

2. It makes you realize that the love you have for your feline will make you do crazy, outlandish things, like pay a gazillion dollars to keep you from having to bring home a dead cat in a box.

So I did what no sensible, hardened rancher would do.  I told the vet, "Whatever it takes to save her... just do it."  And then I handed over my debit card and  forfeited my plans for a haircut, Christmas presents, and my children's college educations.

Then, through my blubbering tears, and running mascara, the vet said, " You look like you need a hug."

 And she gave me one.  

And you know what? I accepted it. 

I accepted that hug because I didn't know what else to do with all those feelings I had never discovered about my love for a ...a cat.  I accepted it because I wanted everything to be alright for Miss Kitty, and I accepted it because cat lovers need extra affection.  Ironically, this neediness is exactly the reason I never wanted to love a cat. It's so weird and unbecoming of a rancher who has a keen awareness of the circle of life.  Things are born, things die. That's that.  But cat lovers don't get the circle of life.  Cat lovers think the world revolves around their dumb cats. 

I'm not a cat lover, alright?!? I love my cat, but I'm not a cat lover. There's a difference.

My love for my cat made me shell out the money that night at 11:30 pm under extreme duress and tears.

And now our cat is still alive and fighting for her nine lives.

What started all of this madness and opened the floodgates of unexplained feelings of love for a mere feline?

Well, last weekend our cat got into another cat fight while out on mouse patrol.  She got beat up so badly that we took her into the vet on the weekend and payed the after-hours charges to make sure her paw wasn't fractured.  The vet did x-rays and after determining that the foot wasn't broke, she cleaned up the many bite wounds and sent her home with an antibiotic shot.  

Five days later, things seemed to be better, and the cat was actually coming out of hiding to socialize with the family.  Then, at bedtime on Saturday night, she was laying on the couch and the kids went to scratch her belly. When she rolled over, there was a massive, gaping hole in her abdomen that exposed what looked like her intestines.  The hole was oozing puss, and deep enough for golf balls to fit into it.  The fight the week before had resulted in a puncture wound that created a massive abscess, unbeknownst to us.

That night in the vet's office they did blood work to see if the cat was going to die of sepsis and to see if we should just put her down if there was a puncture wound to her intestines.  And I cried at the thought of it.

But the blood work came back good.

 And the darkness lifted, and a glimmer of hope arrived on the scene.

And we were determined to fight this thing; this uphill battle to heal a giant crater of a hole from the inside out. 

And the cat...intuitively knowing that we were there to help her, was a model patient; never biting or clawing during the long procedure that lay ahead of her. They cleaned, they scrubbed, they packed with gauze soaked in salty saline.  Then they sewed, and wrapped, and gave shots to her.  

If she were a child, I'd give her a gold star sticker and a cherry lollipop for bravery.  

We have to go in nearly every day for bandage changes and check-ups, and if our prayers are answered and our toes are crossed, and the wound has healed enough, and healthy tissue is growing, then they might be able to do surgery and sew up the gaping hole next week and put a drain in it.

In the meantime, I'm ever so vigilant to keep my cat at a maximum level of comfort.  I even give her pills twice a day.

Have you ever given a cat a pill?

It's not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.

But I know she appreciates the love because she comes and sits in my lap and extends her paws and her chin out for rubbing.  She purrs in return for light scratching.  She even does this weird kneading thing with the blankets that kind of creeps me out a little. But I accept that she's showing affection and so I don't kick her off my bed.

And as long as she behaves, I don't put the cone of shame on her. So far, she hasn't touched her bandage. She knows the cone of shame will be the wrath she has to face if she dares to touch the bandage.

She's a special cat. She's worth the money, and the effort, and the hassle. I hope she fights this and comes through, and that one day we can laugh about spending hundreds of dollars on a free cat.

I know there are many more important things to pray about in this world, but if God knows when a sparrow falls, then surely he cares about a cat. So if you would see fit to say a tiny little prayer for our kitty who's still not out of the woods with this mess, I'd be so very thankful.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Brand Plaque without a Home for Display

A great friend made us this beautiful plaque with our family's brand to hang above the door bell at the front door. I've always thought that it would be neat to have our brand in the spot that folks would ordinarily put a name plaque or house numbers.  He went home with an idea in his head, and came back with a welded masterpiece.

Here's what the metal looked like when it came to us. He left it plain so I could finish it however I thought it would look best.

I thought a rustic copper finish would make it look fabulous, so I spray painted the whole thing with a very dark brown metallic paint. After it dried, I took some brushed copper toll paint, and lightly went over the edges and a few spots here and there with a dry sponge brush to give it an old rubbed copper look.


Now we just need to find a place to call home, so it can have a permanent location to shine.  We're growing weary of being unsettled as we continue our search for a new home.  Our rental house is now under contract to be sold by the end of October, and unless it falls through, we will be moving.....again.

This month is already busy with weaning and working calves, building fence, and moving cows around.  Now it looks like we'll have to add packing, and moving to the already full schedule.

The prospective buyers fell in love with the way I decorated the home, and they told their realtor that they could really picture themselves in the house. So they made an offer.  The house has been up for sale for 4 years, so I'm certain the owner is thrilled!  A realtor asked if I would be interested in "staging" homes for sale in the spring when the market picks up.  I barely have the time to decorate my own house, let alone other people's. It looks like I decorated my way right out of a rental home! HA!

We are always up for a new adventure, but we would like to be settled before winter wraps its bone-chilling fingers around this part of the world.

Would you pray with us that we either find a home with a nice piece of land, or a suitable rental home with a wood stove that will get us through the long, cold season ahead while we continue our search?

We could sure use it! Thank you.

Enjoy this beautiful fall season while it lasts,