The farm house

The farm house

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Quiet Easter Sunday

It is Easter Sunday and there is no hunting for hidden eggs, candy or otherwise. The boys are grown and such traditions are left to the younger members of the family. My regular egg hunt takes place in the barn. Incidentally I have eggs that should hatch today and tomorrow! Barnyard mix from a different barnyard so it should be a bit different from the mix I have.

Perhaps I should visit my Mother, who I have placed in a long term care residence. That took place on my Birthday of all days. I wrote about this on Facebook not to garner sympathy but to prove that things happen regardless if the sun shines or lightning strikes or it's your birthday etc... Life is like that and if you are a devoted reader, you will see that I frequently say "Things happen for a reason although the reason may not be evident right away." And I continue to believe this is true. Since October, I have had to make difficult decisions rooted in emotion. Those are the most difficult ones. But, if you have a goal or know the best outcome should be, decision making becomes easier and something that one needs not agonize for a lengthy time. Since then, I seem to have become a little more self-assured to the point of being bold when it comes to the workplace. I am now fighting for a higher position or two and fight I will. Tired of being overlooked and not satisfied with the voices that say" at least you still have a job"I will continue to challenge management until I see what I want in way of remuneration. Oh, where did that quiet girl go??

This sudden assertiveness has helped me deal with my Mother also. She calls, says nasty things and hangs up. She can't manage to leave a proper message. Last weekend, I calmly told her while explaining to her why she can't go home. Of course she was angry but she needed to hear the truth instead of the sugar-coated half truths that everyone is feeding her. I wasn't mean, I had answers for all her questions and she proved to me yet again that her ability to think has been severely impaired. I told her to look around the residence. Everyone there would like to go home also but it's just not meant to be.

Meanwhile, no lambs, no wool has been skirted, washed, nothing. I am exhausted physically and mentally and need some time to think through my next steps. I have very little inventory for the next Farmers' market season but I did break down and start knitting a pair of socks for "myself". Baby steps in the healing process of having to make the difficult decisions and awaiting the next ones.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Mommy Dearest

Once again dear readers, I apologize for my silence.

 It comes for good reasons and some very selfish.
As you may remember, my Mother suffered a stroke end of October. She has had them before and had shown signs of dementia even prior to that. This time, I knew what was coming but needed someone in an official-doctor-authority figure to make it official. My Mother was not to return home. Three days prior to her discharge, the social worker had suggested making alternate arrangements to returning to her home, alone in an isolated area. My Mother claimed the entire time that nothing was wrong with her head but they could not fix her arm that was left with limited mobility thanks to the strokes.

So, I decided to send her where her sister lives. A newer, nice retirement home. Time was of the essence and i figured that having someone she knew would maybe make the adjustment a bit easier. Here I am, going about my life and then hit with the reality that I am now legally responsible for my Mother, much like having another child. At my age, not a welcome responsibility. It also means finding and arranging transportation upon discharge, to appointments etc...

Due to me working and to the level of stress I was feeling, the fact that I don't have a credit card to book someone to escort my Mother from the hospital to retirement home, my husband had the dirty deed of taking her. She had to be sedated: the hospital expected her not to be very accepting. She yelled and cried because all she wanted was to go home. My husband tried to comfort her by saying it would much like staying at a resort for a little while. Much more happened and very painful to even begin to explain how guilty and emotional it left me feeling. Deep down I knew that I had made the right decision because she would be looked after and safe.

I visited the next day. Husband had bought a kettle and instant coffee, diet soda; I had packed a few dishes as she has a fridge and microwave in case she wanted to heat something. I was very impressed with her room. Meanwhile, the monster unleashed itself and accused me of not visiting her in hospital(not true),I was entirely at fault for her being in jail(not a cheap one) she was perfectly fine, and then she kicked me out and said I was "DEAD " to her. So we left. I have not visited since.

I explained myself to the staff, my family and the doctors. They understood. My mother then started to tell some resident that she wanted to kill me for putting her there which made them feel a little uncomfortable. My aunt was embarrassed by my Mother's outbursts and behavior. My aunt then thought it best not to speak to me because it was stressing her out. Nice.

My Mother even called 911 because she was being held against her will. Ya, she's a real peach. It was then that the doctor prescribed some meds to calm her down. Two months later,she is not as agitated but has now been declared impaired, incompetent ,unfit. She can decide what to wear and what to eat and that's about it.

 Meanwhile, I have continued to pay her bills, manage her dwindling resources spend many of my breaks and lunchtime playing phone tag to a host of members in the medical field. Now, I get to change the list of places for long term care. She is on a waiting list but she declining quickly and will sadly be out of funds for the retirement home. It costs $3500/month now because of the meds after they have been claimed through insurance.

For a while, I felt a deep resentment for all the things I had to do on behalf of this woman who wished me dead. But I understood. She was not herself and never will be again. I have many , in fact years of reasons as to why I kept my distance and there are days when I do flashback to some unpleasant days in my youth. It will take time for me to let that go. The guilt on the other hand, I was told won't ever entirely leave but will become hushed and gently put away in time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Choose Before You Lose Your Memory.

It's been some time since I've written. Partly due to time constrictions and partly because I wonder if what I would like to share is something someone wants to read. Is there something of value that anyone can glean from my outpouring of thoughts?

Well this time, I will encourage you to think about retirement homes. Yes, seriously. Retirement homes and long-term care facilities. There is a difference between the two, chiefly affordability.My Mother's dementia has put me in a position where I have had to choose from a few long-term care facilities in which she may potentially live out the rest of her days. Could be years. Who knows? Fact of the matter is that you must have a need for medical attention in order to be considered for placement. Placement is the catch word here. All residents of Ontario are entitled to care in these facilities. You can be subsidized if your pension or other source of income does not cover the basic cost. IF and that's a Big IF you desire a private or semi-private room, you pay up to $2500/month!!

Retirement homes seem like an elitist club after quoting that last number. An 8oo sq ft room can run upwards of $2700/month!! Bigger room, higher the cost as well as medical needs, add more to the cost.So these are your golden years. If you were fortunate or insightful enough to have a career that provided a pension or you managed to put savings away for such a time, I congratulate you. $3000/month is a working income not pension income for most folk I know...

My Mother insists she is going home. She is currently in Elisabeth Bruyere undergoing rehab for another stroke she has suffered. Her right hand and arm have been affected. I do believe it is time for her to move to  a safer place where she will receive the supervision and medical care she needs. No more living alone in an isolated area... My problem now is financing. The social worker at the rehab hospital says that patients here don't go to long-term care from their facility. So I pondered who will pay for a retirement home because I insist she not return home.

In saying that I realized that nobody seems to be communicating to one another as far as care workers go. Also, I realized just how stressful this all is. I will have to sell her home despite her having a decent pension but debt abounds and she will have a fit-she doesn't know what day it is nor can she give herself her insulin anymore. Yes, the guilt of having to make a decision that you know will not win you any favors. Damned if you do and damned if you don't! To me, safety and quality of life should be primary.

 So, I did lose my temper when I was informed that I must bring her clothes and take her down so she can book a phone and tv... Well, Why could they not take her down for this?? I informed them to not order me again. I live over an hour from my Mother's home, an hour from the hospital, I work full-time and I have a ride in to work , I operate a farm and I can't drive at night so just when in the HELL do you think I'll run over there?? I sounded just like my Mother.

Many people ask me if I am concerned about possibly suffering from dementia like my Mother. I say no. I do many things that keep my mind active including writing this blog post. I think back and she has suffered from it for years but had hidden it well enough, coped through the loss of many sets of keys and misplaced credit cards. No, I'm pretty sure I am alright. time will tell on this also.

Meanwhile, please take the time to consider your finances for your golden years. Selling your house to fund your retirement home costs is not out of the ordinary. At least this way you may choose where you live instead of having it put upon you and not being the most desirable locale.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Heat, Stress and Falling Leaves...

It's hot. Unusually hot for September. In fact, there has been a heat warning for the last few days. Apparently this is foreshadowing for the mild Fall and Winter that will inevitably come and go and leave some memories behind.The heat reminds of back to school for myself as a very young girl. Heading back to school with brand new clothes, which were meant more for October or November weather. I was very sweaty indeed. Much like now.

We have suffered two cold winters in a row so a break will be nice for the animals and the pocketbook. In my spare moments which means any time I am not feeding animals, cleaning the house or working, I am attempting to clean fleeces. I say attempting because no one cares to stand outside in this heat unless they need to. It's been very hot in the evenings also so that option is nullified. Meanwhile knitting for a few sales for this Fall and winter takes place and Farmers' market on  Sunday is still part of the routine. Really, there is no more flexibility in my schedule. That is, until I called my Mother to wish her Happy Birthday.

Misty's fleece soaking in a bath of hot water:
It's a good thing her fleece is a brown color, the water was just as dark though!!
Always a strained relationship, I really must take my Mother's issues caused by dementia with a lump of salt and not a grain. This time, she took the cake. Apparently one of the regular girls who goes in to help her out(which my Mother insists is a waste of time) well, my Mother called her mouthy and wanted her to leave. She also claimed that they come whenever they want and it limits her being able to go anywhere.. Ah, well. Mom is frustrated. She can't drive and doesn't go out for walks so she is lashing out because she is unable to do what she wishes, People coming and going insisting that they can help just reminds her of her incapabilities.

I decided to call the folks who come and help and was re-assured of what was happening. I then spoke to  a case worker who also shares my belief that my Mother should move to a retirement home before she is forced into a long -term care facility.It's a tough call with a losing battle on your hands. My Mother is convinced that she is fine where she is, unable to do anything or go anywhere and refuses to move because why pay when you don't have to?

It's time for me to tell her she no longer has a choice as she is high risk for falling and can barely give herself her insulin anymore. We, that is myself and the entire medical team involved, believe that she has stayed in her home long enough and the time has come to move to a safer place. Which means she must sell her home to afford staying in one of these places.

 Today, I am knitting and hugging a lamb because some day, it may be my turn to leave my home and I want to remember how it feels and the joy it brings and be able to hang on to that if my mental faculties are taken from me. We never know when it will be our last season....

Saturday, August 15, 2015

'Tis The Season To Be Pickin'

August, as I have mentioned before is the turning point for me. The sky is a different shade of blue, plants are dying off and changing color. It's the last of the high, heat and humidity months but it brings out the harvest! Lots of produce is ready to be picked and fine eats one can enjoy. But, why oh, why does it have to happen all at once??

With great and good intentions this Spring, I started plants inside. The weather, along with me working full-time did not permit me to plant what I wanted. I did plant some garlic last Fall...

So, now I have harvested my garlic and I am quite pleased with the results, I plan on planting more in October. Everything else we can forget for now. However, some good friends at the Farmers' market that I attend have LOTS of different things. I chose some pickling cucumbers last Sunday and some dill .(I did plant some but the weeds have overtaken it and it is short) I then made some pickles during an evening.

As you may know, when one works, most tasks are relegated to the weekend. These chores that I put off are usually time consuming and not very much fun. For instance, all my barn needs to be cleaned, chicken coop too. Fleeces need to be skirted and washed, shrubs need trimming... so much work not to mention trying to keep the house from looking like a tornado had been through.

So, last night my husband went to a co-workers house to pick some apples. A bit early but when they come, they come!! Sure, I enjoy apples and can make a few deserts with some. I am terrible at pie crust making, so maybe buying some would be alright...

Now, not to sound unappreciative but given the list of tasks I just mentioned, can you see where a slight problem might arise ? Specifically, what the he-- he was thinking when he picked that many apples and who did he think was going to "work" with them?

He is at the store now picking up supplies for "his" baking fest as the temperatures soar and the humidity is so high you feel like you are actually melting.

How believable would this message to my employer sound? "Yes, I;m sorry to say, but Karen won't be back as she has drowned in a pool of sweat and applesauce." My weekend date with a pitchfork and wheel barrow is looking better by the minute!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Everything Is Just Duckie!

Summer has arrived with a wallop of heat!! We wait so long for the nice sunny weather and then we seem to forget that for a few days to a few weeks, we experience extreme heat and humidity. I can truthfully say that our region is one of extremes when it comes to weather.

Keeping the birds and animals cool can be a bit of a challenge since I have entrusted this task to my son while I am away at work. My contract ends soon so he may not have to be burdened with it for much longer.

Frequent watering and access to water at all times is the key for many of my animals. Especially the ducks. It's been close to a year since I plunged into that world of farming. And, I admit that I enjoy them. In January I acquired more ducks but this time muscovies. I lost a few but acquired 2 more females from a fellow sheepkeeper and now, I can't imagine the yard without them!

Mother duck
I recently experimented with hatching muscovies in the incubator and success was had! A low hatch rate though. I also had a female sit on eggs and hatch some and currently have another sitting!!I also sell my eggs at the Farmer's market. There are quite a few duck egg enthusiasts out there but I am not one. They are wonderful in baking though!

Mature Indian Runner ducks
Muscovy ducklings
Here are a few photos of the ducks around the yard and near a leak in the hose!
2 incubator muscovies of different ages and runner ducklings
A mature pair of muscovies
a female Indian Runner duck

2 muscovy ducklings 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Perspectives- Part Two

In honor of Father's Day, I am posting the story of the party held for my Father as he was leaving his home town and joining the military. Once again provided by my cousin who kind of takes over the story.

I've recently spoken to my Father and he has changed over the years. Once an avid golfer, curler and bowler he now spends his days tending to the lawn, gardens and woodworking. The hobbies may have changed but he is not an idle person.

 So, part two:
The day your dad left Quinton also carved into my mind
Ernie was popular and had a lot of cool friends.  Sorry I  cannot name them all... 
He did have a friend called " putsky " a catterpillar driver and land reclaimer plus buck toothed Tony Lovis
Howie knows these guys better than I do!
Memory of your dad s going away party...
 Bill Kauth our grandfather a true gentleman, was so proud of your dad going into the military
He invited every one from Quinton and surrounding area as befitting a proud and classy man
He was an old world gentleman and I loved him to no end
His pipe his heavy work boots his Farley Mowat and he introduced me to Mark Twain and maybe Steinbeck... but that is really along time ago
The party filled that house... I dont know if you ever went there but I spent alot of time in Quinton at Granny Granpa Kauths house became another home for me!
Uncle Charlie Kauth and Aunty Mary ~David and Irene (Greg truck's crash death 1968) Kauth's parents
Grandpas other brothers and maybe sister I cannot remember them all
Uncle Jim and Mary Sentes was there to mention only a few but...
I digress lol
My family is big we have nine kids we filled that house our self
Leanne was not yet and maybe Kirk Ward and Todd were not yet this was pretty long ago...
My dad drove us to Quinton in a 1952 Chevrolet blue and white (colour for me is memorable)
I was staying in Quinton that summer and had discovered a coin collection including a bunch of half melted gold coins that our grandfather
Brought from the old country or his family brought from the old country due to rapid inflation and currency deflation
Anyway I digress
The same preparation was to take place as the story about your mom's arrival years after this party
All to prepare us for this party so Howie and I were pretty pumped
The food was prepared ... remember in a family with so many kids food like that was so amazing plus granny is still the best cook ever!
Plus grandpa has stocked up on every kind of booze you can imagine
Whiskey (LOL) was only one of the many many drinks that night!
There was schnapps and vodka and sweet liquers and beers and wines and home brew from the Sentes' he really shelled out alot for the booze
The food and drink were suitable for your dad and showed grandpas pride in his son,your dad uncle
ME ...In awe of him too BTY
Anyway to make a long story longer I had not smoked drank or swore we lived in a Catholic Community and I really was pretty young
The heat of the moment and remember your dad was pretty highly regarded by all!
So everyone was loose with the rules
My dad and mom were there but I cant remember where or what they wrere doing
I only remember my time
I had cabbage rolls I had perogies I had ham I had turkey sandwiches lots of mayo I had pie and cookies on and on and on
HOWEVER the sweet drinks in the little glasses tasted so good
The little glasses were not like beer glasses so I didnt fear and wasn't warned about the deadly consequences
I must have lasted about an hour maybe two then I hit the WALL
 Howie, my family, our grandparents are not even a memory of that time
I was so sick I cannot stress how sick Karen
I am talking alcohol poisoning sick
I do remember that basement bathroom and I did stay conscious but
We had to leave early
My mom Edna never mollycoddled us and true to form I *%$^  nearly died on the floor in the back seat of that 52 blue and white Chevy Belair
LOL with no other concern from her than "thats what you get!"
Since this time when I was maybe ten I have been cautious of drinking and never really developed a "taste" for booze
You may laugh but I have never had such a terrible poisoning since
My liver or kidneys  now  even from  then maintain a terrible biological memory of that PARTY UNCLE ERNIE JOINED THE DND!
Hope you get something out of this I feel closer to you hope you feel the same.

After I read this, after the laughter subsided, once again I was shown a view of someone I know well, but not in that light. I'm glad he shared these memories with me. I hope you all have some fond memories of your parents to recollect.