Sunday, September 25, 2011

hodge-podge of a week here on November Hill

I kept thinking things would settle down and I could write a focused blog post, but each time one thing resolved, a new one popped up to grab my attention and my energy.

It's been a busy month on November Hill.

I'm not sure I've mentioned here that we have been doing research on family milk cows. I'm following the writings and research of Weston A. Price these days. I cut all processed sugar and white flour from my diet and have been pleased with the results. The first week was hard. I started craving desserts like crazy, and it can be challenging to use anything that isn't made from scratch. The evil "high fructose corn syrup" seems to be in everything!

It's gotten easier. I've made my own salad dressings as well as mayo, and we've been enjoying lots of good locally grown/raised fruits, veggies, meats, eggs, and cheeses.

The one thing we haven't been able to get locally is raw milk. Thus the family milk cow research.

As things seem to happen, when I start thinking about something, it tends to present itself. Outside my daughter's art class I met a mom and dairy farmer who just happened to have a Dexter cow in milk. Her name is Raspberry. She sounded perfect for us, and we were readying to go learn to milk, taste her milk, and then assuming all went well, to bring her to November Hill.

About that time the dominoes started toppling. Salina had been acting a bit iffy with one hind hoof. I wasn't sure if she'd pulled something, if another abscess might be brewing (she's only ever had one in a hind hoof), or if other things were going on with her.

Muffine Eloise, the princess puff feline, has had a rough summer with flea allergies and suddenly I noticed she was in the litter box a LOT. It's been many years since I had a cat with urinary issues, so I needed to research that issue anew.

Salina went pretty much 3-legged lame.

On Thursday I became convinced that it was time to think about helping her go. As is my usual routine, I asked her about it. She pinned her ears at me! I couldn't stand seeing her so lethargic and clearly not wanting to move. We'd done one round of abscess treatment. It hadn't worked.

We did round two. Husband felt strongly it was an abscess.

Meanwhile I had Muffine Eloise and in fact all five felines on a new food routine that gives them two half-hour eating times a day. They are used to free choice and I don't know if you've ever lived with five cats all wanting food at one time, but whoa! They all seemed to be starving. Both teens expressed concerns that the cats might actually leave home. I had an image of five felines with little suitcases marching up our lane.

Yesterday morning I woke up stiff and sore. I haven't felt that way in over a month, thanks to the new "diet" and the fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter I'm taking. I've also been doing lots of stretching in bed before I get up in the mornings.

Yesterday, I decided to do some EFT tapping. I tapped and tapped, thinking of muscles releasing tension and soreness. My mind was also on Salina, and what might be waiting at the barn. I had given myself a window. If she weren't better by Monday, we would need to resume the conversation about what to do next for her.

Husband went out to give morning hay and I got up. I looked out the kitchen window and saw him leading Salina around the arena. She was doing a big, bold, incredible walk. I went out on the back deck and called to them. The abscess had burst.

Muffine Eloise is 100% better. A homeopathic remedy and changing from free choice dry food to two feeds a day have relieved her issue.

It seemed clear to me this past week that taking on a milk cow, as much as I want to do it, is not in the cards right now. So that plan is on the back burner. But we have a mare who is walking again, a cat who is only using the litter box the normal number of times a day, and we have trees beginning to change color for fall.

(We also have black ants coming inside and fire ant mounds rising from the earth but you know, if there has to be something to manage, I'll take that over urinary issues and abscesses!)


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

So glad to hear that Salina's abscess burst! Sweet relief for horse and her humans.

Around here we do two daily feedings of a measured amount for felines and canines. I've also heard that the scent of always available food isn't good. They'll get used to it. :)

billie said...

Thanks, C.

Apparently some cats can manage the free choice routine w/o issues, but since we have one slightly overweight cat and one now having urinary issues, we had to accommodate their needs. I read that the urine needs to concentrate and that continuous feeding affects that - if fed the way they tend to eat "in the wild" - as carnivores do - the urine does what it's supposed to do.

It was marked how quickly this made a difference for her.

Meanwhile I am in taking a little break. Husband and daughter are volunteering today at the P'hurst dressage show. (and hopefully looking out for rollkurists and those who crank cavessons way too tight)

I am dealing with a monumental amount of manure as well as Rafer Johnson who seems to have sprained his right front leg.

That's the third thing. Enough already!!!

Amy said...

First thing I was going to ask when you started talking about a milk cow is, do you have an outlet for all of that milk? They can give gallons a day and that would be alot of milk to deal with. I have a family milk goat and she give about a quart a day when I just milk 1 time a day and that is enough for my family.

I know how you are feeling. Having all your animals at home can sometimes become completely overwhelming. I wouldn't trade it but sometimes we have to know when to say enough is enough. SO glad to hear Salina is better!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm happy for Salina that her abscess finally burst. That's a relief for her and you both. I don't have cats but I'm glad the little puff princess is doing better. As for the cow, don't really know enough about drinking milk fresh from the cow to comment. We buy organic. Sounds like a busy time on the Hill but at least the news is getting better and the leaves are changing the scenery.

Máire said...

That is so interesting. I was at an excellent open day of the Irish Seed Savers yesterday and Darina Allen gave a cookery demonstration and sang the praises of raw milk (and was very cross about EU regulations).

A cow does sound like work, as you have a lot of animals there. I am so glad that Salina's abscess burst.

Good luck with the no-sugar diet: I have done that quite often and always feel better for it (and vow that I will always stay sugar-free and lapse of course).

billie said...

Amy, the cow we were looking at is a smaller heirloom breed and doesn't produce as much as the bigger dairy cows do - we were told to expect a gallon and a half a day.

My plan was to use some for drinking, cereal, and baking, and some for making yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, cream, and butter.

(ambitious, aren't I? :0 )

With anything left over we had hoped to barter with local farmers for meat and veggies. We have a fairly huge and flourishing sustainable agriculture community here and I suspect it would work out well.

Now we're thinking about a 6-month old heifer who I think might be ready about the time we are in terms of adding this new family member and routine into our lives.

We'll see!

billie said...

A, thanks for the good wishes. She is turned out right now, enjoying the relief. Rafer Johnson has a sprain that is also much better today.

What a week!

billie said...

Maire, I have heard amazing stories of folks curing things with raw milk. I think it has a lot of live enzymes and cultures that get cooked out of it when processed.

Thanks re: no sugar... :) I am having some treats now and then but only those that use evaporated cane juice. It's like tiny brown pellets - not processed at all and supposedly doesn't produce the same glycemic response.

ponymaid said...

billie - how alarming! I'm very relieved to hear that both leg and hoof respectively are doing better. And of course the feline bladder situation...Perhaps the bovine is simply on hold for a bit...

billie said...

Sheaffer, it's crazy! I also have to tell you that the dear husband took it into his head to put a grazing muzzle on Rafer Johnson yesterday. He said that Redford was afraid of it and Rafer was taking full advantage - waving it at Redford to fend him off.

Things are more normal this evening - about time!

ponymaid said...

billie - A grazing muzzle?! Tell Rafer I will be right there to deal with this new nonsense...Redford is wise to be leary of the monstrosity.

billie said...

Rafer was definitely happy to hear that I spilled the beans and that you are on the way to deal with this!

Redford got a wicked gleam in his eye - I have a feeling he thinks Jack is coming with you and he will, at long last, have a herd of donkeys to rival the horses here. Donkeys rule! is his mantra.