The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Back in the saddle

It has been two or three months at least since I blogged with any regularity. Sorry, dry eye friends!

I just looked at the email folder marked "Blog". That's where all the automated emails I get with new dry eye studies, drug news and so on get filed. As of today it stands at a record 244 unread entries (gasp).

So what have I been doing all this time that has kept The Dry Eye Digest" stuck in endless limbo between the bottom of my "gotta do" and the top of my "wanna do" lists?

North edge of our property last fall. The sheep have done
a great job clearing land for us since then, but we have
to keep them away from the alders because they strip
the bark in no time flat.
First, for those who haven't already noticed from my occasional personal blog posts... I moonlight as a sort of modern day homesteader. We've been hobby farming for a few years now on rented land, but late last year we finally were able to buy some land of our own. Raw land needing everything done. I mean everything. We started from scratch and are substituting labor and love for cash, which is a wonderful workout for our creativity. It's a ton of work and I've never been happier.

Winter was a long battle trying to scrape together enough daylight hours to keep clearing 8-foot overgrowth - in areas that weren't flooded by heavy rains - for some reasonably dry pasture for my sheep and poultry. Then with spring came a host of projects.

Spring also brought our first lambing season! It has been so exciting. We have 7 lovely icelandic lambs. Two are ewe lambs we will keep for breeding. Of the five ram lambs, one (now a wether) will be kept as a companion to the new breeding ram that we are trading a second for, and three will eventually go in the freezer. Next year I'm planning to build a stanchion and start milking our ewes to make feta. Sheeps milk feta is simply the best.

May arrived, and the lambs were all doing well, and we had most of our permanent fencing done or nearly, and other projects were all moving along nicely including planning for the tiny house we're
Noah and her lambs, Tiger and Sugarlips. They were
both born black but Sugarlips had the telltale white
wool around his lips that showed he had a white
undercoat and at 2.5 mths old he now looks like his mom.
planning to build, barn-raising style, in August. And I thought, great, I can finally get organized and back into some of my routines like blogging. Then, out of the blue, I got appendicitis. Nothing like an emergency abdominal surgery to remind you that "the best laid plans...." I remember cringing when the ER doc looked at me with a smile and said, "You'll need to clear your schedule for the week." Sigh. I had my appendix out more than three weeks ago and I'm still not caught on emails.

But I really have no right to complain at all. If you're going to be unlucky enough to get appendicitis at all, may you get it like I did! (If you're not familiar with it... a belly pain that starts generalized or around your belly button and then moves to your right side is The Big Red Flag.) I was quietly at work on a Tuesday afternoon. My abdomen started hurting. I gave it a couple of hours to settle down and it only got worse. Two hours after that when I could barely walk or talk, I had a friend drive me to ER. Straightforward diagnosis. Laparoscopic appendectomy several
"Spot the cow", with his mom, Mahlah.
Spot was born looking like a miniature
holstein. His spots have faded now.
hours later. And yes what they found sure confirmed I needed that thing out. Only mini-complaint was that it was 4 hours after arriving at ER before I even saw a doctor, but I think that was my own fault for inadvertently understating the pain... which was like one endless contraction.

I rested at a friend's house for a couple of days and took it pretty easy at work the following week and since then I've been more or less back to normal.... I am so thankful, seriously. Seems like everyone who hears about it has some horror story to tell about a family member or friend who didn't get diagnosed in a timely manner for some reason and had a perforated appendix,

The surgeon was adamant that I not lift anything greater than 10 lbs for SIX WEEKS. Oh. My. Gosh. Are. You. Serious. How do you farm without lifting anything? My daughter thankfully can do all the routine stuff, but all my late May and month of June projects, like digging a curtain drain across the pasture for better drainage next winter, have become July projects.
Lion, our bottle-fed lamb (we kept him in
diapers at the office at first).

Ah well, that means at least now I have time to start getting caught up on things like my blog.

Apropos of the appendix thing, isn't it amazing what a different world we live in from what it was just ten years ago? I started hurting on a Tuesday at 3pm. By the time I got to ER at 7pm, I had spent an hour or so googling, knew what was wrong with me (or at least pretty sure, and I was right) and also knew roughly how much the surgery and hospital stay were going to cost. - Although that actually turned out to be not quite right... I remember poring over forums seeing a lot of quotes between $18k and $30k. When I finally worked up the nerve to visit my PO box the other day, I had $40k of bills waiting. (No, I'm not insured.) But anyway, the availability of information makes everything so different. There is nothing that has not been discussed on the internet. Just try googling "Can't poop after appendectomy" and you'll see what I mean.

Now, back to dry eye at last. After one last lamb picture....