Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday Walkabout 6-17




A sigh of relief.

That was the recurring theme around here this week.

We started off with some monsoon-like rains. There were even more in the forecast. That wouldn’t make our broiler-processing job pleasant, but the chickens were reaching gigantic proportions and we couldn’t wait.

Monday morning found us slogging through the wet grass, catching large, somewhat soggy chickens…

The job went off without a hitch. And, the big rains didn’t arrive until we were done. That caused the Boss to sigh with relief since clean-up includes hauling all the blood, guts and feathers down the hill for disposal. That can prove tricky in the pouring rain.

It was still dark and drizzly when Tuesday rolled around. So, the Boss accompanied me on my trip to the podiatrist. After a couple of weeks of increasing foot pain, I can assure you that the words of the old spiritual song are true…

Well, your toe bone connected to your foot bone
Your foot bone connected to your heel bone
Your heel bone connected to your ankle bone
Your ankle bone connected to your leg bone
Your leg bone connected to your knee bone
Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone
Your thigh bone connected to your hip bone
Your hip bone connected to your back bone
Your back bone connected to your shoulder bone
Your shoulder bone connected to your neck bone
Your neck bone connected to your head bone

Walking is a big part of my daily routine. (my Fitbit says I average about 10,000 steps a day) But, my routine and my gait were affected by this pain. Not only was I walking funny, I was beginning to hurt all over. This just wouldn’t do. Summertime is NOT a good time for physical ailments. Actually, there is no good time for physical ailments, but that’s another story.  

I had no idea what they would find, or what treatment might involve. I didn’t want to think about a boot, or a cast. And, I knew one of those little scooter-things would never work around here.

Xrays revealed that there is a bone spur on the cuneiform bone. Walking on uneven ground causes friction between this and the next bone. This was in turn sending shooting pain down into my toes. Since there’s not a level spot on the entire farm, I am rather surprised this was the first time this had been a problem.

A shot of cortisone had me sighing with relief.

I know this won’t last forever, (there is the beginning of arthritis, too) but with a little tape for stability, I’m not in constant pain and we can get back to work. We’ll address the long-term solution later.

I am heaving a sigh of relief over the barnswallow babies as well. They have finally fledged and taken to the skies over the farm.

almost ready to fly

growing so fast
we're hungry!

Tess was under constant attack from the parent birds

rescued this one from cat attack
giant puppy paws

pretty sure the parents are sighing with relief, too...

can you imagine being faced with this...

With the big rains behind us, the Boss hoped to get back on track with our planting schedule. So, he headed out to get everything ready while I did some odds and ends waiting for the post office to call.
Somewhere in the postal system there was a box of chicks with our name on it. Even though I sign up for text updates, the system isn’t fool-proof and anything can (and sometimes does) go wrong along the way. (last summer’s box with just three survivors proved that...did you read THIS?)

It got later and later and there was still no call from the post office. Fearing the worst, I finally called them and ascertained the chicks were waiting and I headed to town. Just as I was making the final turn, someone else from the Post Office called me to advise that the chicks had arrived. So much for communication.(!)

With the box of healthy peepers cheeping loudly all the way home, I heaved another sigh of relief.
I had some "help" with the chicks

the little peepers are SO cute!

this one must have been hot
or thought he was a duck
he sat in the waterer for a while

Karma keeping an eye on the babies

I got the chicks settled in the brooder and headed out to assist the Boss in getting the next planting of squash and cucumbers planted in the garden.

Once we get the summer broccoli planted, (and some stuff in the hoophouse) we will be back on schedule!

Looming over everything was our early morning trip to UVA on Thursday. Actually, it had been looming for quite some time.

morning light on our way over the mountain

Those “routine” MRIs that the Boss has to have every six months are fraught with apprehension. For at least a week prior, the anxiety builds. We don’t talk about it. But, it’s there…lurking in the background. While there are those who have said he’s “lucky” that he didn’t require further invasive treatments, I would say you have no idea how unsettling and stressful it can be to just wait and watch. You feel helpless and unable to DO anything to promote health and healing.  And, there is absolutely nothing “lucky” about a cancer diagnosis. Nothing.

After having to re-schedule the testing twice, (and the memory of last year's scare) the anxiety was reaching a fever-pitch. Conversation had all but stalled out and it felt like we were holding our collective breath.  

It was an amazingly smooth trip. No traffic, the imaging center saw him right away. The Cancer Center wasn’t crowded and we saw the doctor early.

And, the report was "unchanged". And, that is good.

HUGE sigh of relief. 

And, just like that...his test/appointment/labs were completed for another six months. Imagine if you will, two deflated balloons. That was us on our way back to the Valley. We didn't realize just how tense we were...until we weren't. We got back home in time for lunch and completed the rest of the day’s work in a daze of relief.
cabbage is ready

we're still picking asparagus!

broccoli after the rain

teeny, weeny beans
these will be ready by next week

There was just one more hurdle before Saturday’s Market…

Would we get the lambchops in time? 
We’ve had people asking for WEEKS. And, our sales totals could certainly use a boost.

When the processor called on Thursday afternoon, I was certain she would tell us they were done.

“hey, hun…you wasn’t wantin’ this lamb tomorrow, was ya?” (I think my heart stopped)


They had run into a problem with the labels and she wasn’t sure if they would get done. (oh, bother…I forgot about the labels!)

Since the meat is for retail sale, regulations require that it be labeled with our farm information (as the producer) and the processor’s information, including their federal inspection number. Custom labels are printed and delivered to the processor. They must apply the labels as part of the packaging. (we cannot add these later) But, it looked like they were not going to have enough, and it was getting late in the day...

She would let me know.

Before I processed that information, the phone rang again. It was one of our lamb customers. He NEEDED a fairly large order. He wanted to pick it up the following afternoon. If we wouldn't have it, he needed to know so he could make other arrangements. I relayed the processor story and told him I would let him know.

I'm pretty sure I started holding my breath.

The Boss and I both heaved a huge sigh of relief when the phone call came that the label supply held out, the cutting/processing went according to schedule and we could pick up the lambchops the following day. Yes, I did bake a pan of brownies as a thank-you, I was SO relieved.

We hurried through the picking and the packing and headed north after lunch. A trip on the interstate on a Friday afternoon can be challenging to say the least. Particularly during summer “vacation” time. Thankfully, there were no major delays and we got back in time for chores and the lamb chop delivery.
sighted on the interstate
this made me chuckle

…and the Market freezer was full for Saturday’s Market.

beautiful lamb chops

Saturday’s sales caused another sigh of relief. I think we set a one-day record for lamb sales.

It would appear that we’re finally back on track.

a good day at the Market

Although, I must say, customer flow at the Market is off. Overall sales are down. I guess it’s due to the reconstruction work downtown (?) But, there is a definite difference this year. Several vendors attributed it to all the other weekend activities in the area. Because tourism is our number one “industry” in this area, more and more activities crop up to garner interest. These activities do impact the Market, either by drawing customers to other activity venues or by adding to the parking dilemma downtown. Figuring out a way to create a thriving co-existence might just be an ongoing challenge.

I can assure you we aren't the only ones heaving a sigh of relief...
The hard work of haymaking is in full swing around the county

the satisfying sight of winter rations

But, for now, we are just going to savor the week and sigh with relief once more.

Hope you have a Happy Sunday! 
Karma and Gus in a rare moment of calm

Thanks for stopping by. Come back and “visit” again real soon!


  1. It makes me tense just reading this Barbara, but glad all was well in the final analysis. Happy marketing for next week.

  2. Oh my goodness! That first picture is ABSOLUTELY beautiful! I love silhouettes. So glad to hear about the baby chicks. I have decided to delve in to that world this year. Mine are teenagers right now and in my bedroom (cats), lol. I love them though. I have them for eggs and entertainment. :) So glad the market was better this week. Praying for better times ahead. I have some friends with a house in Staunton and have told them to go and see you guys, hopefully they have or will soon. Have a great week! Bobbi

    1. Hi Bobbi!
      Thanks for your cheery post.
      I LOVE silhouettes, too. Sometimes the beauty of the day stops me in my tracks.
      Good luck with your chickens!
      Our oldest daughter had chicks in her bedroom more than once. She even kept an incubator in her closet. She was our poultry expert and is presently raising the next generation. (I must confess, we referred to her room as the "zoo" on occasion)
      I hope your friends will tell us that YOU sent them to see us. ;)
      Have a wonderful week!

  3. Lovely to read your blog. Your way of life is inspiration to me, and encourages me to keep on fighting the good fight of feeding ourselves, and perhaps sell our excess produce eventually. Lovely photos too, especially those young birds with their mouths open....reminds me of when I had a young family to feed!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Vera!
      Best to you as you "fight the good fight". Sometimes the challenges of growing food seem somewhat overwhelming. I hope the weather is finally cooperating for you.
      That's funny that you commented on the photo of the baby birds. My daughter has two young sons and remarked that YES, she knew exactly how those parent-birds felt. :)
      Have a lovely week!