Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Walkabout 10-1

October 1st

There’s a nip in the air. The leaves are starting to turn. It is definitely fall.

When I saw that the forecast included a chance of FROST, I was not so secretly wishing for a heavy, killing frost. One that would finally, once and for all, put the garden out of its misery. Out of my misery. Just go ahead and finish it.

‘cause I’m done.


I am just SO done with this season.

one last tomato

This has been one tough growing season (not just for us) and at this point, the end of the Market still seems so distant. Personally, I would just like to call it quits and try a whole new, fresh start next season. This one is just too far gone to salvage.

most of the garden is sad and gross
like this tomato

As you are probably aware, the season got off to a rough and rocky start. Read this one.  And, while we got beyond that obstacle, and the Boss has healed nicely, we never really regained our momentum.

The weather, with its weird unpredictability, hasn’t helped anything. New plant diseases created unsolved challenges and more than one research project for the off-season. We have confronted issues with the animals never seen before here on the hill. Changing customer patterns at the Market have us stymied. The Boss’ health issues continue to worry at the edges of our minds as we always seem to be waiting for the next scan.

the butternut squash are rotting
...from the inside...

rats continue to be a problem
this time they ATE the ram marker
somewhere there is a little rat with bright yellow teeth
(and a tummy ache)

slim pickin's at the Market

Add to this a couple of ongoing niggling health issues that I haven’t been able to shake, and it is no wonder that I’m simply over the whole thing. The neck/shoulder injury from last spring was exacerbated by each and every movement of my right arm. The weekly lettuce picking was excruciating. When heat, pests and disease became an issue in the hoophouse, there was little incentive to continue. We found ourselves letting things go.

We let a lot of things go…

But, that made the whole situation even more concerning. I began an existential crisis. Maybe I lost my “mojo” completely and I found myself wondering aloud if a complete life change should be considered. That has led to more than one uncomfortable, slightly argumentative discussion with the Boss. But, then, what in the world would we do? ...I mean, this place, this life, defines US.

I haven’t felt good in a long time. A very long time. I’m actually at the point where I can’t remember the last time I did feel good. There was a time when I felt positive and upbeat about all this. I’m certain it wasn’t my a dim and distant memory or a trick of my imagination. (stupid Facebook reminds me of those great times every single day…and that is not helping at all) When it wasn’t a struggle to get through the work day when I could come up with something to write about and it actually felt like we had accomplished something by the end of the week. However. Those days seem long gone.

I’ve just lost it. Whatever it is. Be it my “mojo” or my “joi de vivre”, or my “groove” ...something is sorely lacking. I hurt. I’m tired and grumpy and uninspired. Every single task seems to meet with an insurmountable obstacle. Not only is that depressing to’s even more depressing to write about. Writing is generally my catharsis, my joy, but when every page seems to include “I don’t know.... I just don’t know...” I can’t bring myself type it, let alone hit “publish”.  And, I certainly can’t tell our customers, “Lettuce? (greens, whatever) I don’t care about no stinkin’ lettuce (greens, whatever)!” (although, quite honestly, the thought did cross my mind)

So, what?

More than once I sought medical assistance. And more than once I followed advice only to end up in the exact same place. Aggravatingly, I thought I knew what was causing the pain, I just couldn’t find a professional who concurred. Hormones, supplements, tests...and still it continued.

Finally, a new doc. She listened and sent me for a different test.

When I got the results, I nearly cried. Not because it said, “large cyst”. Not because there was a slight possibility that this time I was going to be facing “the big scary”.   And, not because she (the doc) was ever so gently trying to prepare me for the likelihood of surgery in my future.

No, the emotion was triggered by the fact that I was right. There was indeed something wrong with me. (the very thing that I supposed from the beginning) It wasn’t all in my head. I wasn’t slacking, and my "mojo" hadn’t been lost completely. I certainly wasn’t doomed to remain a grumpy, old curmudgeon forever. (well, I can hope)

misty, early morning Mbrk

moonrise at sunset
September skies

lamb "ballet"

first frost
While farm work here on the hill continues to move at a crawl, I had what may have been a life-changing appointment. This week I met with the surgeon who will remove the offending cyst and hopefully give me back my life. As we talked over the issue at hand, I told him that everything just seemed so “hard”, that I was SO tired...

He cocked his head and looked at me over his glasses. “Well, you’ve got the equivalent to a baseball in your belly. I guess things do seem hard!”

A baseball?

Well, then. That explains everything!

You try carrying around a baseball for a while (not even in your belly). It’s annoying, it’s tiring and in my case, I cannot set it down or get away from it. Since it’s on an ovary, it is also messing up my hormone levels and interfering with my digestive system.

That’s why all the bending of picking and planting has been so difficult. That explains why nothing feels right and why I find myself sitting down so often. The chronic, inescapable pain makes it impossible to fully concentrate. It is understandable that I just don’t feel like doing anything. It should come as no surprise that I don’t seem to care about much.

But, help is in sight. I go in for surgery on November 10th. (I am counting down the days) In case you’re wondering…the bloodwork indicates that it is NOT “the big scary”. (yay for that)

For now, it’s all about enduring. Hanging in there until I can get resolution. Pushing forward though to the end of the season. Being positive about what we can get done. That may be a challenge.

I know, I know, recovery will be part of the deal, too…(but, after all this time, I figure it should be a piece of cake)

seedstock garlic
time to plant for green garlic in the Spring

the hens started their annual garden clean-up

lambs racing to supper
picking green beans again

I tell you this story not to garner your sympathy, or worry any of you. I'm not asking for help or advice. Although I wouldn’t be opposed to prayers for endurance. Six weeks seems like such a long time to wait. (but it’s nothing compared to how long this has already been)

pretty sunset

I tell you this because I want you to know that if you think something is wrong with you…follow through on it. You’re probably right.  If you ask enough people, you will surely find a solution.

You should also know that there are often things going on with others behind the scenes, beneath the surface, unbeknownst to anyone else…that have far-reaching effects. 

And, maybe now our lettuce customers will have a little sympathy and realize that I’m not just slacking…and I do care about your lettuce. (just not this season)

Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening.

Hope you have a Happy Sunday! 

Come back and “visit” us again real soon.


  1. Barbara - it is difficult to know what to say - one can hardly say one is pleased when something like this is diagnosed - but what a relief it must be to you that it has at last been diagnosed. And luckily you will then have all the winter to recover when there is no market. Soldier on for the next six weeks - I am all your followers will join with me in sending our love and best wishes to you. x

    1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Pat!
      Your kind words and encouragement mean the world to me.

  2. Barbara I'm so glad you finally got a 'good' doctor. They listen. They don't judge. And they are as rare as hen's teeth. (My ovarian cyst was bigger than a softball!) I'm rooting for you and hope your surgery goes as smoothly as mine did. One thing I suggest - please have your Vit D3 levels checked. Any endocronologist will tell you it should be between 50 & 60. Once I upped mine, so many muscle/joint aches diminished and I didn't feel near as washed out all the time. Please take care and hope you find time to TAKE time off. A sabatical. A break. You likely need to find your center again. They do get out of whack, especially these days of trial and tribulations. *hugs* Kris

    1. Yikes, Kris! I can only imagine the pain.
      Good docs are wonderful. I wondered why she tested my Vitamin D levels (they were good) That's interesting.
      I wasn't really looking to "take a break", but it seems I have no choice. But, it is giving me a chance to regain my focus and I guess that's a good thing.
      Thanks for your kind words and encouragement.Take good care of yourself during these "days of trial and tribulations". We can get through this.

  3. Barbara, there are too many stories out there of people who have basically had to push to get someone in the medical field to do their job. I'm so sorry it took so long to figure out but I suspect surgery will be a blessing in the end. I was also tested for the "big scary" due to lower back pain, so I know how it feels to have that hanging over your head.

    Chronic pain is draining. Forgive yourself of all of your negative thoughts and wanting to pack it in. Maybe this is the catalyst to change. Maybe change could be a good thing for both of you because you have such physical jobs.

    Six weeks is a while still, but as you said, you've been living with it for this long... I hope it goes perfectly and relief washes over you soon. -Jenn

    1. Thanks for commenting, Jenn!
      I really appreciate your kind words and perspective.

  4. Oh wow. Prayers for you! Will be praying hard. I have had a pain in my stomach, but have had 2 CT scans and they say it is nothing. I feel it, how can it be nothing?? I just don't get it! No bleeding or anything but definitely feel something. I just need it figured out so bad. Like you, I will be persistent, but it is hard when they make you feel like a hypochondriac or you're insane, haha. *sigh* You have to stay on top of your health though and get things checked no matter what. I will find out, it is only a matter of time, and the right doctor. Thanks for sharing. prayers all around for you guys. I hate that you have struggled this year...

    1. Oh, my goodness, Barbara!
      That must be SO scary and frustrating. I hope they figure it out soon. (I will be praying for you)
      The waiting is the worst...
      Thank you SO much for your sweet concern. That means SO much!

  5. Barbara, I send many caring thoughts to you. It is critical to listen to yourself when you know something is not right with your body. I started with a little nagging pain last year about this time and after two weeks when it persisted I saw my gynecologist and had ultrasounds and blood work. I, too was extremely fortunate that all was benign after having surgery to find there were two cysts, one on and one In the ovary.
    I hope all goes very well with your surgery and recovery and I will be following your blog.
    You and the Boss have had quite a year and I truly wish all the best for you both.

    1. Thank you, Cheryl!
      I am glad that you got your issue resolved. I'm hearing a lot of success stories and that's really encouraging.
      I truly appreciate your concern and words of encouragement.
      Take care of yourself.

  6. Our prayers are with you Barb!!!! You are certainly entitled to just be worried about YOU now! Take care of YOU - and the rest will follow! GOD BLESS!!!!

  7. Prayers for you on a quick recovery, so glad you finally figured it out with the right doctor. Always listen to your instincts.

    1. Thanks for reading, Susan! I truly appreciate the prayers.

  8. Oh, Barbara, I can't imagine how you and Tom must feel after the medical issues you've already faced. May God bless you with the fortitude and strength you will need to get through your surgery, and to heal. You are both in our prayers.

    1. Thank you, Deirdre!
      You don't know how much your kindness means to both of us.