Friday, July 31, 2009

Lavender Harvest

Since my lavender has bloomed, I have been waiting for the best morning to harvest it. The info that I have read deems a dry,cool morning to do this.The reason being that the essential oil levels are higher at this point,and they diminish during a hot day. However,our New Hampshire summer is not being very cooperative with this plan. If it's cool,then it's either raining,or everything is wet from the night before.If it's not raining,it's very humid and warm. So,noticing my Provence Lavender was starting to turn a bit brown on some of the blossoms,I had to bite the bullet and do the total opposite of what is considered proper lavender harvesting protocol.
Last night I cut them after supper,and it had been a humid and hot day.Of course, I should've done this before they started getting a bit brown,but I waiting to see if the weather would cooperate. I know the blossoms aren't at their best point,but I am sure I can still work with them.
I picked the best looking ones,filled my basket,and decided to see what would happen.Since I live in a small home, I really don't have the ideal drying area. It has to be a warm,dark space. Well, my living room will not work,because I get eastern morning exposure and southern afternoon exposure. Zach's room has southern and western exposure. Even though he has blinds to help ward off the hot sun in the summer, I can't expect him to keep them down all the time. My bedroom also has southern and western exposure,and I have white,thin curtains-no blinds.
The bathroom is not an ideal place either ( western exposure). As you can see most of my rooms have sunlight for the majority of the day. The attic,while dark,is too hot,and the basement too damp. So that leaves my dining room,or my eating nook,as I refer to it as. My kitchen and this area is one big room,so I don't consider it an actual separate room. It is the space where I have my dining room table and woodstove. It also the only space where I don't have direct sunlight at all. It has northwestern exposure and is the darkest of all my rooms,though it still has some natural light. Instead of hanging the lavender exposed,which would look nice but would lessen the natural oils,I bundled them up,and put a brown paper bag over the blossoms,which I secured with twine. I then hung the two bundles from a pair of candle fixtures that I have. The one thing with putting the bag over the blossoms is that one has to be real careful that the flowers don't rub against the inside of the bag. I got this info from "Country Wisdom and Know How",but they didn't not mention exactly what would happen if the blossoms rubbed against the bag. I assume it has to do with the essential oils breaking down.
After a few weeks,the lavender should be ready to use. The blossoms should be stored in a dark colored container.
Once I get the lavender dried,I am going to try my hand at lavender tea and lemonade,and perhaps lavender sugar. I also want to find the best way to help my headaches.
I do have allergies,which I never had an issue with until I reached my late thirties. While I was preparing the lavender for drying, I noticed my throat was scratchy and my eyes itchy. I hope that this is just because of the freshness of the flowers and not something that will prevent me from using it when it's dried.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

When A Door Closes,A Window Opens

Well, I must say that things have been crazy in our little cottage in the country. We have been running around on errands or appointments,and I have not had the time to blog as I should. When I have had a break I try to play catch up with my household chores. Yesterday I took a real break.Zach and I went to Milton Town Beach on Milton Three Ponds with my dear friend Michelle,and her two sons,Ethan ( who is Zach's good bud) and Kyle.The boys swam while we girls sat and chatted. We stayed about three hours.
Michelle and I have known each other for about three years,and we met through Cub Scouts. We were friendly,but only saw each other during scouting events. We did have a mutual friend,Alex. Alex was a great person,full of life and love for the land and her family. She had a huge garden,chickens,had raised pigs,and grew her own flowers -beautiful flowers. She sold the flowers,veggies,and eggs at the roadside stand at her house. Michelle and Alex were very close,and Cub Scouting brought Alex and I together when our Cubmaster stepped down. We had been in the program the longest at that point,and had mostly new people,so we kind of took the wheel together. We got to know each other fairly well,and we were becoming real good friends. Then,two years ago,Alex was diagnosed with Stage Three lung cancer,and she passed away this past April. It was this tragedy in our lives that brought Michelle and I into our friendship.
We would talk on the phone and console each other, voice our fears,and our hopes regarding Alex.This bonded us. During this,we found out more about each other,and I was surprised to discover we had more things in common besides Cub Scouting.
She had animals (chickens,goats,pigs) and a veggie garden. She loved working outside,being organized,and trying to find better ways of doing things. She wanted to be more self sufficient and make things herself. I found that very intriguing. She said that Alex had inspired her. Alex lived her life they way she wanted without worrying about judgement. Now she was doing the same. So, as Alex inspired her,she has inspired me.
We started emailing each other bemoaning about getting our lives organized and losing some weight. We followed FlyLady together and talked about our successes and failures regarding food/exercise for that day. She introduced me to homesteading and organization blogs. That got me going on my continuing quest for self sufficiency and making my household as organized as it can be. I have wanted to be more self sufficient for a long time,and was happily surprised that Michelle felt the same way. That being said, she is much more focused than I,and I admire her for that. When we discussed making our soap, I told her I had done melt and pour,not lye. She said she wanted to do lye,and I said it would be fun to try. Well, I still haven't done it,and she has. I think within a week of that email she had ordered the supplies,and shortly after that,she had made her first batch! She gave me two bars of her Oatmeal Honey soap yesterday,saying that once fall starts,she wants me to come over so we can make myself a batch. She has made her own cheese. She has her own worms for composting. She does not like to buy plastic that is not recyclable,and is always trying to find ways to reduce waste. She buys earth friendly household cleaners,all the while tyring to find if there are homemade solutions to them. We also talked about making our laundry detergent-again, I say it's a great idea and want to do it,she has gone and done it. It makes it sound like I am all talk,no action,doesn't it? I truly admire her do it attitude.
She has also introduced me to Jamie and Claire,the lead characters from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. She and Alex enjoyed it,and,knowing my love of history,thought I would enjoy them.They combine historical events with fiction. She was right, I love them,and we are counting down until Sept 22 when the new book comes out. We are hitting the bookstore together. I know our emails will be filled with "Where are you in the book? What did you think of..."
One of things we said to each other was that regardless of how busy we were,we were going to see each other at least every other week. When the boys were in school,it was easier,of course. I would either go to her house,or we would meet at a local restaurant for coffee or tea and a muffin. Now that summer is here,with more chores,and the kids out of school,it's not every other week, but that is OK. We are both busy,but take the time to drop each other a line regularly.( It's one of the first things I do in the morning).Once school starts, our "muffin dates" will resume.
I treasure our friendship and know that it will continue to grow as time goes on. I also know that Alex is looking down at us,smiling with approval.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Busy Weekend

This weekend was a very busy one. Rick's brother Dale came up with his wood splitter so we had two going,but their friend Scott had to work,so it was only Rick,Brian,and Dale working on the woodpile for a while. Zach was very helpful. Dale would use the chain saw to cut some of the bigger logs,Brian would split them with the splitter,then he would throw the split wood into the trailer on the back of the lawn mower,and Zach would drive it to the other side of the garage,unload the wood,and come back for more. Rick worked on the other pile, but it was very humid and he could only split for a few minutes before having to take a break. I was in the house finishing up housework,until Rick came in and asked if I could help outside.
We had a pile of wood from over a year ago that hadn't been touched. It was already split,but when Rick had his stroke,things were put on hold. So we were finally getting to this older pile,and I was threw all the previously split pieces into the bigger pile. Then I ran the splitter with Rick for a while. We finally got all the wood split,and between the two piles,wound up with about two cords of wood. Now it just needs to be stacked.
With the wood out of the way,we extended out driveway. As I mentioned in a previous post,our neighbors down the road gave us 5 truck loads of chips and dirt mixed together. Our other neighbor,Kelly,came down with his tractor and tried to push all the dirt over so we could not only make the driveway wider,but fill in a dip in our yard where the water collects. He had to come back on Sunday. It was taking a while,because technically,the tractor is really a big riding lawn mower with a plow attachment,and because of all the rain,the dirt was very heavy. Fortunately for us, another neighbor,Bob,happened to pop over. He does a lot of logging and selective cutting,and he had a back hoe. He offered to go get it and push the dirt for us. We (and Kelly) gratefully accepted his offer-it would've taken all day otherwise.So Bob brings the back hoe over and moved the rest of the dirt for us. Kelly graded it so the water would not collect,and then Brian borrowed equipment from Kelly to pack the dirt down. They were finally done around 2:30. Whew! And it was the most humid weather we have had all summer,too,what little summer we have had.
Rick and I kept saying how wonderful it was to have such nice neighbors. We didn't even ask for help,they just offered. This is how it should be-neighbors helping neighbors when they can. We figured between the wood,dirt, wood splitter,backhoe,tamping,and and labor,we saved ourselves at least $2,000,probably more.

Friday, July 24, 2009

TBI Update

We went to the VA yesterday for an appointment with a Neuro TBI doctor. He was assessing what physical ailments that Rick has that might have been caused by his brain injury. He did feel that his "blackout"or momentary lapses of time were not from brain seizures,but from micro sleep. Rick only gets about three hours of good sleep a night because of the PTSD and the pain in his knees. These "blackouts" are not really blackouts-Rick will be doing something when all of a sudden he will not know where he is. Fortunately,it has only happened a handful of times in the last four years.
He is going to have a sleep study done to determine if he has sleep apnea,because he snores like crazy,and that only started after he got back.
He was tested for loss of smell, because he commented that he has lost some sense of taste. He got 32 out of 40 smells correct,so he has only minor sense of smell loss.
The doctor said that he has a complex case,because he has both TBI and PTSD,and certainly the medications that he takes does not help the situation. He has been referred for cognitive therapy,so that should help. We go back to see this doctor in August,on Rick's 47th birthday.
We were suppose to go to the Boston VA today for a Neuro Eye appt,but Rick woke up with a bad headache and not feeling so well,so we have rescheduled. We have certainly had a busy month as far as appointments go,and had two more added since I posted our July schedule. Today I am actually going to be able to get caught up around the house! Rick's brother Dale and their good friend Scott will be coming over tomorrow to get the woodpile all cut and split,so that will be a huge help as far as that is concerned,because Rick can only work on it 10-15 minutes at a time before the pain in his knees becomes too much.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


These are some of the blessings we have in our yard:

To you,it may look like a pile of wood and woodchips. Not pretty to look at,that is for sure! Why is this a blessing, you may ask? It is our heat and driveway extension.

We are very fortunate to have friends who have given us their cut down trees ( big thanks again to Michelle and Brian,and Fran and Dave) With green wood alone over $200 a cord,this is a very good blessing. We do have a furnace,and with the price of oil ( our tank is outside,so we have to use the mix,which is more expensive)wood is our first choice. We try to use as little oil as possible. After this photo was taken,we actually received more wood,so we should be all set for the winter. We just need to split and stack it,which we have been doing a little at time,to Rick's tolerance. The blessing goes even further for us,because we did not have a wood splitter,and those of you who burn wood and need to split it know how wonderful and quick it is to own one. We have borrowed one in the past,and had every intention on doing so again,then our friend Scott gave us his old one. So now we have plenty of wood and a wood splitter,which didn't cost us a cent. Just the gas to load up the truck to get the logs,and the gas to run the wood splitter.

The driveway extension is the pile of chips. Our neighbors down the road recently had some trees cut and chipped. They had no use for the chips,so they gave us about four-five truck loads. We are going to use them to extend out driveway out,and to help fill a big dip that likes to collect water. We have also used them to level out the area where our yard swing is.

The idea for this post actually came from another blog I follow,and I am embarrassed to say I can't remember which one it is. I follow about 10 of them,and sometimes the posts and blogs all meld into one. I saw our situation in that post,and wanted to talk about our own blessing and our gratitude for the good people in our lives.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Turkey Lurkeys

We have a few animals here in our little cottage. We have a Bull Mastiff Black Lab cross named Samson, a Chocolate Lab named Sasha,a calico cat named Omar,an outdoor gray cat named Molly Bruce ( when the cat was little Zach named him Molly,before it was apparent he was indeed a he. After we realized it was a boy,Zach didn't drop the Molly,he just added the Bruce. Hence,Molly Bruce),and a parakeet named Benjamin that Zach inherited from my mother in law when she passed away last year.My calico cat,Noel (mother to Omar) seems to have disappeared-she has been gone now for two weeks. I assume that some animal in the woods across the street got to her.
We also have some chickens,which we keep up at my neighbors house with their chickens. We had chickens here before,a few years ago. Next year we will have chickens down here again,I think it was just that we didn't' have the time to rearrange the area where we wanted to put the chickens last year.
Well, now we have two more members of the family - please meet Thanksgiving and Christmas!

This picture is rather Andy Warhol-ish,isn't it? Quite psychedelic,man! It's due to the heat lamp over the bin.

Poor Zach, the turkeys kept wriggling and he tried so hard to keep them still!!! Thanksgiving and Christmas have now moved from small bin to a larger cage in our garage,and soon they will be out in the turkey pen in our backyard. It has been a couple of years since we had a turkey,so the old pen will need some sprucing up. I must admit,once you have had fresh turkey,the frozen store bought ones pale by comparison.

We wanted the bronze turkeys,and we did have them at first,but out of the four we had,two died (which is normal),and the others didn't make it because the heat lamp got disconnected. We got four more,but those where regular white turkeys. Again, we lost two,and so far so good with the remaining two. We feed them medicated mash and green leafy foods.

I didn't realize that it has been almost a week since I blogged! Things have been quite busy around here lately!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Fall and A Frustrating Call

A few days ago, Rick had gone outside to check on our turkeys. I was in the living room,reading a book,when I heard a car horn. It sounded to me like it was down the street,so I didn't bother to check it out. Brian,my brother in law,was on the other side of the house and heard the horn as well, but he heard it better. He went to look out our screen porch,and I saw him go flying outside.
Well I knew something was wrong,so I went outside quickly. Rick was laying by our well. Brian was helping him up. Apparently his knee gave out,and even with his Canadian crutches,he couldn't support himself and fell. He had tried getting up,but he couldn't. He hit the house with his crutch to try to get our attention, but it didn't make enough noise. Since he was right next to the car,he opened the door and used his crutch to hit the horn. Thankfully,he was not like that for very long at all. At first,I thought that he had broken leg,but thankfully,that was not the case. His knees hurt too much to support his weight. He was very embarrassed that he had to have someone help him up.
He now makes sure that he carries his cell phone which has a walkie talkie component with him whenever he goes outside.
We got a call yesterday regarding Rick's med board process. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a series of evaluations the military makes to determine how incapacitated a solider is,if he is indeed unfit for service,and if he is deemed unfit,how much percentage of his pay they will pay him for the rest of his life. Since we live in NH,Rick has to go to Fort Drum,NY for this evaluation. He had been once, in 2007. On the last day of trip,the Dr informed him that his paperwork was not complete and that he would have to come back. Well, that would be fine, except they only take 2 NH National Guard soldiers a month. If he was active duty,the wait wouldn't be so long. ( Bear in mind when he was wounded,he had been put on active duty!) He finally got to go back 2 years later,this past March. After all was said and done,Fort Drum contacted us and said they wanted another test,a Neuro Psych eval to help determine the level of his traumatic brain injury. In 2007 Rick had tried to do this test for the VA,but because his PTSD was not more controlled,his attention span was very poor,and he couldn't finish the test. He took the test in May,and it was determined that he has moderate PTSD,depression,and had mild TBI. So now, we have to wait for the Dr to type his report and put it Rick's medical file,then have the copy sent to us,then we send the copy to Ft Drum. This took longer than usual because the Dr was outsourced.
Tuesday Fort Drum called to inform Rick that the person who they were waiting for to read this test and write the final part of the Narrative Summary had be rotated out,so he could not review the test or write his part of the report. ( The Narrative Summary is the compilation of all the evaluations. The soldier gets to read it,if he agrees with the findings,he signs it,then it goes to Walter Reed where it is read and evaluated by three different drs who come up with a final disability rating).A new person took over and would be reviewing Rick's info.
Yesterday,we received more news. They wanted some more info. The Neuro Psych eval mentioned his "blackouts" where he will suddenly not know where he is or why he is there. Further evaluation was suggested regarding this,thinking it may be some type of brain seizure. Well,we have a Neuro TBI followup in a couple of weeks,and Ft Drum wants those results. OK,no problem. The Neuro Psych eval also mentioned Rick's heavy snoring,and possible sleep apnea ( I have never seen him have this problem). Ft Drum wants any reports regarding that. Well, there aren't any.They also want to know if his heart is fully healed for any regular activity. Yes, and getting that report is not a problem. So far, so good. Then,they told Rick that he has to GO BACK to Fort Drum for another Behavioral Health evaluation. The dr that left did his BH eval,so the new doctor wants to evaluate him herself,which,is a good thing,but not so good if you have been through the med board process three times ( the first was when he was in GA in med hold, he was only a day or so away from signing his Narrative summary when they sent him orders cutting him from active duty and sending him home. It made that med board null and void). Rick was so angry,that when he got off the phone, he couldn't even tell me what was said. He just said, "I can't talk about it now." He is worried that it will take months before he goes back, but he was told once they get all the info they request,they will give him an appt ASAP. I hope so. At his point, we just want the whole thing to be over with.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Beeswax Candles

I make candles,though not as often as I should. I usually make them as gifts for the holidays. Rick is always asking me how come I don't make candles or soap for us. That's a good question. I suppose it's like the cobbler whose children went barefoot.
So,Rick and I decided that we would start burning more candles and kerosene/paraffin lamps in the evenings,instead of using just using electrical lights. The idea is to help save on our electric bill, which skyrockets in the winter months. I am not sure why that this,though. We use a wood stove and rarely use our oil furnace. I do have an electric oil heater that looks like a radiator that we use in our bedroom ( since we have no heat in there),but it really shouldn't push the bill up that much. ( I know NH has if not the highest, then certainly one of the highest, electrical rates in the country).
I will have to balance both electrical light and candlelight since I suffer from depression and it is worse in the winter time. ( My dear friend,Michelle,voiced concern over just using candles in the winter time because of my depression,and she has a very valid point).Rick has also recently been diagnosed with having moderate depression as well. So,we will have to keep an eye on our moods and cut back on the candles if it's causing our moods to plummet. We do love candlelight though. It tends to make the house cozy,especially in the wintertime.
The other day,Rick wanted to make some candles to get started on our stock for the winter, so we made some beeswax candles.

I had some left over yellow beeswax and a new package of white beeswax and some paraffin blocks. Rick wanted to make beeswax,and that was fine with me. You can see the packages in the left corner of the picture. We used plastic and metal votive molds,wicks,a candle thermometer,candle melting/pouring pot,and spice scent.

We used last of the yellow beeswax and about a quarter of the white beeswax (they come in 1 lb blocks). The picture is a bit dark,but you can see the wax starting to melt. The wax should be at 141 degrees melting point. When the wax reached that temperature,that meant it was ready to pour in the molds. Right before we poured,we put in a small piece of spice candle scent and mixed it until it melted.

While the wax was melting,we prepared the molds. There is a candle release that you can buy to coat the molds with to avoid sticking. We didn't have any of that,but we used vegetable spray,which is just as effective. As you can tell by the picture,the yellow holders and the metal ones are different. The tops of the yellow molds make the bottoms of the candles. We took the wick and pulled it through the hole in the bottom of the mold,then pressed a small piece of mold sealer over the hole and wick so the wax wouldn't leak out. In the metal holders,we used toothpicks to wrap around the wicks to hold the wick steady and centered. I have also used mold sealer to seat the metal piece of the wick in the bottom of the mold in the past.
Once the candles start to cool,a small depression will start to form. Poke a hole in the depression,and add more wax. You may have to do this a few times until the wax no longer forms a depression when it cools.
I have used beeswax in the past for candles,and have found the beeswax to be hard to remove from the mold. I was hoping since we used the vegetable spray it would make removal easier, but that was not the case. It took Rick pounding the molds against the counter many times and with great force to get the candles out. Next time I use beeswax I think I will stick with my method of pouring the wax into a canning jar and using that as the mold and candle holder. You don't need to take it out of the jar,just burn it as it is. I tied raffia around the jar for decoration.
Here is our finished product. I thought the scent of the beeswax over powered the spice scent we added,but Rick said the spice scent came through well. Don't you love my teacup saucer candle holder? I used it for photo purposes. :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Puddles in the Garden

Those of us in the eastern part of the US can finally breath a sigh of relief-the sun has been out the last couple of days! Now,those of us in New England are used to rolling with the punches when it comes to weather-if it's 50 degrees outside, we think it's warm. However,this last 2-3 weeks of rainy weather has even the most die hard New Englanders shaking their heads ( mine included).
During a break in the rain,I took some photos of the my garden,such as it is.

Here is a shot of my rain soaked garden. The puddles are where my cukes where planted. Now there is just weeds. The cucumbers never took,neither the plants or the seeds. We planted to both to see what would happen. Nothing.At least,nothing this year.

Here is a photo of what I believe is my squash,either the zucchini or summer. I don't believe it's my peppers.
Here are my carrots. I have a big clump where I dropped seeds. I left them to see if they would take. I only got a few carrots that took in each row (not counting my seed clump). Remember I said it was my garden,such as it is. Now you can see what I mean. It's not a very big yield,that's for sure. Then again, it's not a very big garden.

I do have some nice sweet corn rows coming up, however. We had to straighten them up after all the heavy downpours we have had, but out of all the seeds that took,I have only lost one.

I also have three tomato plants, thanks to another neighbor. We tried seed and it didn't take. We only had to stake one so far.

Next year both Rick and I agree that we will have a bigger garden and we will do more research so we will get a better yield.(I have weeded since these pictures were taken !)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

230 years ago, a group of men who were considered traitors began what became the United States of America.
I wonder what they would think if they saw how far this country has come since then? I think they would be completely flabbergasted at what their little 13 colonies became.
Sometimes I wonder what their lives were like. I'd love to hop into a time machine and check it out.It would be nice if I could go to see a relative, but none of my ancestors arrived in America until the 1870's. I do have some Abenaki heritage,but I have yet to figure out if it stems from Canada or the US.My Dad's side (Lessard,Magnan) and my Mom's side,(Charrette, Thompson)come from Canada,though I do have some Irish and Scottish thrown in there.
Rick,on the other hand,has a long family history in America. His family has been in the US since the 1620's. A member of his family has fought in every war since the French and Indian Wars. On his Dad's side ( Shaw,Batchelder) of the family,great x 10 grandfather Steven Batchelder was a founder of Hampton,NH. He was a persecuted Reverend in England. Daniel Webster,Ben Franklin,Gerald Ford,and Richard Nixon are distant cousins,but still in the tree. On his Mother's side ( McQuilkin,Pratt),the McQuilkins arrived in Maine in the early 1800's from Ireland,and the Pratts arrived in the third ship after the Mayflower,on the Anne.
However,even though Rick's heritage in this country is far more lengthy and interesting,my ancestors fought and struggled in this country as well. Fought not just in wars,but in daily life trying to achieve their American dream. They appreciated and respected the rights that the founding fathers put forth.
" We hold these truths to be self evident,that all men are created equal,that they are endowed by their Creator,with certain,unalienable Rights. That among these are Life,Liberty,and the Pursuit of Happiness."
Happy Birthday,America!!!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Month In the Life

Some people don't understand why I don't work,and some people certainly feel like I am doing something wrong by not contributing to the welfare of my family ( at least, monetarily). I challenge them,however. I DO contribute to the welfare of my family,everyday. I help run the house,remind Rick of various things,and bring him to his various appointments. I offer him physical and mental support daily. Our bills and mortgage are paid,we have food and clothing. Rick gets incapacitation pay from the National Guard until he gets released from the military,and then we will have income from either the military or the VA ( or both) and Social Security for his disability. We are not on welfare. For what my husband has given for this country,he deserves all that he is entitled to.

Now, some months are more busy than others, but we generally average at least four appointments a month. And for those of you who go to the VA,you know how it is. If you aren't flexible in when you can have your appointments,then you have to wait months. Most employers will not take it too kindly if you need to take 3-6 days off a month. Your time at that job will be abbreviated,that is for sure.
For example, this our doctor schedule for this month:
July 8-monthly appt with social worker for PTSD
July 10-three month follow up with VA psychologist
July 13-Eye appt
July 14-orthopedist appt.( Rick can barely walk due to his knees. He had the meniscus removed from both knees from his Airborne days and now has arthritis. He has to walk with Canadian crutches,or,as we call them, "Jimmy Sticks,"based on the character from South Park.)
July 21-Blood work
July 23- Neuro TBI eval ( he is finally having a more complete battery of tests now that he could complete the first Neuro TBI testing. He couldn't before when his PTSD was bad)
July 24-Neuro eye eval
July 28-3 month follow up with primary care physician
Each Thursday, PTSD support group through the Disabled American Veterans.

I have a job! Taking care of my hubby and household.
One of our objectives is being a bit more self sufficient,to help cut some costs.We won't go without,but we will weigh what is necessary and what is not. That doesn't mean we won't splurge on something ( like we bought a few fireworks for the fourth),but we won't go nuts,either.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Forks and Knives

There are things that I am used to with Rick's TBI. Forgetting things,such as the day,month,where he is (though that doesn't happen often),and how to do some things that he used to do.
Then,sometimes,he will forget something that he has never forgotten before,and it throws me.
Sunday, I was in bed all day with a migraine. He made me supper,and as I was eating he came in with a fork and knife.
" I am making myself eggs and toast," he said. "I want to cut up the toast, but I can't remember which hand to put the fork and knife in and how to cut it." I felt my heart drop. This was new,at least to me. If he had forgotten in the past,he never mentioned it,so he probably could bring himself to remember. Not this time.
I took the fork and knife from him and showed him how to hold them and cut with them.
" Oh,now I remember.I just couldn't figure out how to do it," he said.
I know he hates forgetting simple things,and can only imagine how he felt having to ask his wife how to cut food. I know I felt bad that he had to ask.

Heaven on Earth Part II

I'm back and feeling much better. I am going to see if lavender can help these migraines that I get. I would love to use something more natural as opposed to popping Excedrin Migraine. I will certainly let you all know how it works out.

Let's see....back to our camping trip. I know I said this already,but it was wonderful.We saw rabbits,baby foxes,adult foxes,and three moose! Of course, by the time we grabbed our camera,the moose had disappeared into the woods. We saw a moose cow on our second night,then on our last night we came across a moose cow and baby crossing Route 3. It's amazing how big and gangly there are.

Setting up camp went smoothly.Normally,Rick would whip through getting things set up,but due to his PTSD/TBI his self confidence level is not what it used to be,and he defers to me for almost every decision. Should we put the tent here? What about the picnic table? What about the canopy? Sometimes I get quite frustrated at having to make all the decisions,though not as much as I used to. He also sometimes forgets how to put up the tent,which doesn't jar me as much as when it first happened. The first time we set up a tent after he came home,he had no clue how to do it. He had set it up many times with no help,so I never really paid attention. Let me tell you, I learned fast! I lead the way with tent set up,and Rick only forgot how to put on the rain fly. I know it bothered Rick greatly that he couldn't remember,as he used to be able to do it with his eyes closed ( so to speak).Thursday,our last full day,we rented a motor boat and went out on First Connecticut Lake for a few hours. The boys fished and I ( yet again) continued rereading my Outlander book. Though they didn't have much luck catching anything,they did manage to nab this Chub. Rick's lip looks swollen,but it's only a big old snuff dip. It's a horrible habit that he has been trying to break.

The day was beautiful,but hot. We were threatened with thunderstorms.

At first,the clouds weren't bad,nice and white,but you could tell they were thunderheads. After a while, they started getting darker,and I got nervous. The lake was a good size,and we had a 5 horse boat. All I could envision was having a great day then being stuck in the middle of the lake during a thunderstorm. Not a good thing. So even though we had a couple more hours left in our rental time,we headed back to shore.

We didn't get any rain until almost bedtime,and I felt bad that I insisted we head to shore,but Rick agreed with me. We didn't want to take any chances. After spying the moose cow and calf on Rt 3 (they tend to come out at dusk) we trucked back to the camp site and hit some rain. It stopped not long after we got back to camp. I was in the tent,getting ready for bed,when Zach called for me come out and "see this rain cloud!!"

As you can see from the photo,there was quite the downpour happening over First Connecticut Lake.That night after we went to bed,we got our thunderstorms. The sound of the thunder rolling down in between the mountains was amazing.

Breaking up camp on Friday went smoothly. We were sorry to leave, but I was glad that I was going to sleep in my bed again. It was so beautiful and peaceful up there,we didn't even run the radio during the day while we were there. It seemed sacreligious.