Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My will to survive

6/16/10 Wednesday
We’re up early this morning. I was out at midnight after hearing the dogs making a commotion and Gretchen came running but no Ben. That always causes concern so I looked for Ben with no luck. “It’s late. I need to go to bed and not worry about Ben” I told myself, trusting that God will take care of my dog. So Cherie was up at five this morning, having gotten a rare good nights sleep, partly because it was a cool evening, and with energy and the house being a comfortable temperature she’s getting things done. I put on some boxers and grabbed a flashlight to look for Ben some more. It’s nice being out in the country because I don’t have to dress up to look for my dog at this hour due to almost no traffic. I found Ben, he’s bedded down on the other side of the highway and it took a lot of coaxing to get him to come. Little dweeb, got to make it hard and keep me worried. We love our dogs but they are a constant source of frustration and worry. I rewarded Ben and Gretchen both for coming when I called, or perhaps I should say “Begged and pleaded”.

Put in a long day yesterday. Didn’t finish getting the Bermuda sowed till after the sun went down. What a tedious chore that was but there’s no sense doing a job if you don’t do it right. Unfortunately the ground was dried out by the time I got the seed pressed in. I’ll water a small section just to see if that helps or hurts. It would suck to have sixteen hours of work go to waste.

Today I plan on cutting firewood after I disc up the five acres. If discing brings moist dirt to the surface I may attempt to sow the tall Bermuda hay seed on a little over an acre of land. At ten dollars a pound we could only afford ten pounds, which the guy said was what it took for an acre. The hay seed costs way more than the grass seed does. My thought is to get it going and when it goes to seed capture the seeds to plant in other areas. I don’t have a clue if that’s doable. Have no idea of what it takes to harvest those seeds and what must be done to make them plantable. I have a lawn mower with a grass catcher to catch the clippings. Used that to harvest Rye grain before. That was a lot of work trying to thresh the grain and get the seed out. Eventually I’ll have the stuff needed to build equipment for that. I’ve got a cutting and welding torch along with a cheap electric welder. It won’t handle anything big, in fact I haven’t even taken it out of the box yet.

Little by little I’m building this farm, piece by small piece I’m getting equipment and tools needed. Meantime I do the best I can with what I have and that means spending sixteen painful hours doing by hand what could be done in forty minutes with the right equipment. We meet with the USDA guys in a few days again to learn about what resources the state and federal government has for us. A lot of those programs require matching funds or other forms of commitment. It’s our hope to attract business partners in the future that will enable us to qualify for these programs. There’s good money in farming but it always takes money to make money.

I learned that one of Cherie’s sources of frustration has been other’s conveying their thoughts and attitudes concerning me and my dream of building a working farm on this land. When she’s asked “How’s Bob doing with the farm” Cherie is at a loss for words because there have been so many difficulties and setbacks. “I try to put a positive spin on it but don’t know what to say” she explained. This puts her in an awkward position and what’s left is a sense of pity or something like that from the others. I tried to convey that many successful enterprises only happened after the founder overcame great difficulty and pushed through despite the expressed doubts and criticisms of the nay sayers. I’ve built several companies from scratch and done so without a penny to my name so it’s easier for me to see than it is for Cherie, or others. Besides that, overcoming difficulties and doing what some say can’t be done has been the story of my life. Doctors didn’t expect me to live and if I did said I would be a vegetable till I died. Then I was expected to exist at a four year olds mentality level having to be led around and told when to eat and bath. Actually they never thought I would walk again and kept me strapped into the bed to prevent me from getting out of it. I kept insisting and they finally sent up physical therapy guys who taught me how to walk again. Without insurance the hospital didn’t want to incur any more expense than they had to but they couldn’t find a place to send me where I would be cared for as I vegetated in a bed. My improvement was miraculous and beat the odds, the odds being what the “experts” thought. Oh I was a mess for sure, with sever brain damage, but my will to survive and get better was, and is, strong.

Three hours on the tractor and I’m a third of the way done. Forgot just how much that beats me up but part of that is because I’m running at a 90 degree angle to previous runs so it’s bouncing across the old grooves. I need to run to Stanton and get some more diesel fuel. The fuel gauge doesn’t work on the John Deere and the last thing I want is to run out of fuel with a diesel engine. It’s almost 11:00 so I’ll grab mail and something to eat too. That will give my eleven o’clock pain pill time to kick in too. Not sure about sowing the hay seed. I wish I knew more about this stuff or even had a relationship with a farmer who could advise me. That’s part of the damage done by those who whisper in the dark and thus create such division in the body of Christ. Sure, I share some blame in that because I dare to keep a public journal about my life but…
My question on the seed is do I sow it knowing no rain is forecast? Or should I wait till I know rain is coming or after it rains? I know that the previous seed I sowed never came up, even after it rained so am not inclined to throw away a hundred dollars worth of seed.


2:43 – I’ve gotten most of the tractor work done. What’s left is small tight spaces and a garden plot that will require a lot of backing up to do. The tractor started boiling over a little. Not bad, just a little fluid squeezing past the pressure cap. It did this last time I disked this much area on a hot day. I checked and the fluid level was fine and it was evident there is a good amount of anti freeze mixed in the water. Wish I knew more about diesel tractor engines but I am fairly knowledgeable about gas engines. So the question would be, is the radiator plugged up or bad? I need to flush it out and while I’m at it I need to change the oil. I know that changing oil is extra important for diesel engines. I sure look forward to when I get a barn built so I can work on these things.

Anyway, I’ll let the tractor cool off and it’s a good time to lay down and let the pain ease up some. Can’t remember if I took a pain pill when I came in. That’s why I need to make notes when I take a pill because five minutes later I can’t remember. I know I intended to take one and probably did so won’t take another one. I did call the VA to set up a doctors appointment. My other doctor told me he was moving to parts unknown when I saw him last and normally I go in every six months for a checkup. That last checkup was over six months ago and knowing the VA is stretched thin and that I would have a new doctor assigned to me I figured I’d be lost in the shuffle. I was. The Orange clinic, the one I’ve always gone to, no longer exists and when I called the lady told me that the doctor assigned to me is also leaving in a few days so a third doctor will become my primary care physician. Good thing I called. I see the doctor July 22 and the prescription runs out before then so they will renew it early.

The ground is already pretty dry so there’s no sense in planting the seeds. There’s plenty of other stuff to do with weeds on top of the list. Actually I need to get the chain saw out and cut up the branches that were torn out of our trees plus the wood that was dropped off by the guy I saw cutting down trees. I stopped and asked what he was going to do with the wood and he said he would be happy to drop it off. He’s done that three times now so we’ve quite a pile of wood to deal with. That’s a blessing for sure as it sure helps me get a head start on preparing for winter.

I’ve rested long enough and there’s lots to do. I still need to do my laundry as well and that must get done today. It might be smart to take care of that next instead of getting on the wood. I know me and if I start on the wood I’ll never get the laundry done.

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