Monday, November 16, 2009

Family is always first

Family is still the most important thing in the world to me. Like many of us, I lose sight of this from time to time: Thinking of my businesses, dogs, cats, chickens, goats, milking, laundry, and other day-to-day tidings.

Absentmindedly focusing only on the now and could be, I was immediately reminded of family when I received a call from the manager of my mother’s apartment wanting to know what happened last night. That's a scary question coming from anyone but from where my mother lives, it became a sharp, significant concern. As the story unfolded I became acutely aware that mother could no longer live alone. She's 86 and has dementia.

For the past four years, she has been surrounded by wonderful people. Neighbors who dropped by for a chat, visited for a few minutes, took turns checking on her, calling her to see how she was doing, and offering to do something to help. Many kept her company until her next nap or the next football game came on TV. Thank you all for what you have meant to mother. But a time comes with neighbors can no longer provide the care and concern that is needed. It is time for family.

I received my call this morning. By the time I arrived at her apartment, the nightly puzzle began fitting together. Mother is getting more confused in the evenings than during the day. Her frequent falls aren't helping either. Sometime she doesn't remember falling much less remember whether she's taken her pills or not.

She took the wrong sleeping pill last week. I so carefully counted each and every pill as I put them in the her weekly organizer but she managed to pick out the pill she wanted to help her sleep. Trouble is that it was a strong pill. We decided to let her sleep it off while we talked about increasing our care. We hovered over her for three days. She's fine -- just confused and forgetful.

She's home with me now so I can watch her more carefully. Between the four dogs and our alarm system, we'll know where she is every minute of the day.

Mother is taking a nap now but when she awakens, will she remember where she is. Apparently dementia strikes in the blink of an eye as her memory fades and she becomes confused. I’ve seen a bit of it in her but I suspect her confusion will increase. Hopefully slowly but it will increase.

I’ll continue producing my goat milk bath products whenever possible. But please know that when mother calls, I will be with her.

Prayers are most appreciated.

Friday, November 06, 2009

My job

I have the absolute most perfect job on the planet. I raise nubian dairy goats and make goat milk bath and beauty products with their milk. Working from home has been a lifetime dream of mine. I just didn't know that it would take 10 acres, miles of fences, several outbuildings, and livestock to fulfill it.

I birth the babies, milk the mamas, and make the soaps and lotions. That's starting at the beginning, isn't it. Actually, the beginning goes back to breeding the right buck to the right doe to get a confirmationally strong baby and body condition. But that beginning goes back even further, too. Sigh ... there is no end to getting the right start. You just start where you are then figure out the rest.

Most folks who breed goats were lucky enough to be born on the farm and continued in the family business. My closest encounter with farm life was spending summers with my grandparents -- both sides. So maybe I'm reclaiming my youth. That's good. My childhood memories of running up and down cotton rows, crawling through an abandoned pig pens, and collecting eggs from the hen house are warm and fuzzy if not a bit black and muddy. But one of my favorite memories was of taking the halter off my horse Dolly. She wouldn't let me put it on, my grandfather had to do that. BUT she would lower her head so I could take it off.

Think about that for a moment. A huge animal (horse) knew that a smaller animal (me at 8 years old) would do what the huge animal wanted simply by lowering its head. Working/playing with animals ignited a passion within me at a very early age. Thank you Dolly.

Unfortunately that passion became hidden when my teenage hormones erupted. Don't many of us lose our minds when hormones erupt? ... moving on ... .

These hormones took over. I got married too early had a beautiful baby boy, then got a divorce when the guy took off his navy uniform. ugh ... . Yup, uniforms do make 'em look better!

Didn't graduate from high school. But have managed to earn two graduate degrees and have enough college hours for three more degrees. School was a p-r-e-t-t-y good deal after all. I became a sponge and just couldn't get enough learning.

That learning passion continues even today. I'm always researching and improving my goat milk bath and beauty products as well as working to improve my goat herd's creditability. There's no end and I like it that way.

Now I need a horse so I can name her Dolly. Actually, we need two horses. This current husband of mine has been around for more than 30 years and is my soul mate. He'll have to name his own horse, though.