Regular readers, you have been so patient to wait for new posts here during my long hiatus. For those of you who have checked in with me via email and posts here, I am grateful. I’m still here. There’s been a lot of good in the past several months but also a great deal of sadness, and as time has gone on I’ve been overwhelmed with how to begin.
First, let me say that no humans to which I’m deeply attached are gone. Mr. Homesteader had a little cancer scare that lasted for three months, but it was mostly scary because his doctor hyped his reaction to a test result and because I was so worn out from the summer. I did spend most of the summer, from late May onward, in and out of hospitals with a dear relative, who has made a near miraculous recovery through his sheer will (and a really good orthopedic doctor who did emergency spine surgery over Memorial Day weekend and then helped get the patient into one of the best rehab centers in the region). I have a lot to say about how a family member can survive in such situations, and in time I’ll say it.
I also more recently had experience caring for a relative whose dementia–probably Alzheimer’s–was much more advanced than we realized when we scheduled her visit. My beloved grandfather died from complications of Alzheimer’s, so I knew what to do, but the time involved in caring for her during her visit was not something I anticipated. I’ll need to do a post on that as well, because dementia care can be fraught with danger and frustration, if you aren’t prepared for it.
As for the animals, well, those are the longer stories. We have more chickens than we had when I last posted–a net gain of two–only when I say net gain, I mean that some are gone. I’ve learned hard lessons in chicken raising. I’ve done a lot of things right. I built a gorgeous chicken tractor myself that I can’t wait to show you. And I and Mr. Homesteader made one big mistake with buying chicks. I’ll give you a clue. Go look back at my chick pictures. Look closely. Do you see what’s wrong? It’s okay; this story has (mostly) a good ending.
The last story that will unfold here has to do with my beloved male barn cat, Tucker. Tucker is gone. He died much too young. I’ve spent countless hours second guessing everything I did that day, what I might have done differently to prevent his untimely death. He knew so much about surviving in the woods, and he was really good at exploring the places he loved most and coming home safely. He also knew that he wasn’t supposed to cross the road–yet it was there that he met his maker. I do not want to revisit my grief, but I will post a tribute to the biggest, best barn cat ever–not counting his sister, who, thank goodness, still lives, albeit a much sadder cat than before.
Of course, through all of these events, life has gone on. I or Mr. Homesteader has still cooked from scratch almost every day. We had a really tasty pizza tonight with kale, roasted butternut squash, and turkey kielbasa, for instance. We’ve planted things. We’ve canned. We’ve prepared new land. Life has gone on, and I’ll have plenty to share that way too, and I promise what I share will be happy and tasty and, I hope, creative and helpful.
No pictures tonight, just stories to come. And you’ve been forewarned.