Apples and Horses

Yesterday, while a break from canning, was a whirlwind of activity.  Living in the middle of nowhere means that it takes forever to drive to somewhere!  An hour trip north to the hospital to get my films for Dr. Foote.  A short jaunt over to the library – made much longer by the construction project that took a five-lane road down to two lanes, after which the older of my daughters had an appointment.  Seems like we had another stop in there, too.  Whew!  It was nice to finally get home.

Oh, and I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that we got two new horses.  Neither came with tack, so we headed back out yesterday afternoon, south an hour this time, to visit the tack store.  We decided that getting everything done in one day would be better than having to go out again today.

NewHorses

The paint is easy to spot – the other horse is just to its left, under the apple tree.  Thanks to the horses, we will only have a half-crop of apples from this tree: the top half.  Horses ate everything they could reach!

Today we’ll pick the rest of the apples.  We also have trees to which the animals don’t have access. The younger kids will get to spend tomorrow peeling apples.  My husband will spend the weekend filling the woodshed, and the older kids will go with him so I’ll lose part of my help.

My freezers (we have three) are full!  We have enough beef to last until spring, a few meals of steelhead, a few meals of chinook salmon, a bit of corn, and tons of zucchini.  My children claim that they never want to see another zucchini!

We usually do plums and peaches, too.  Unfortunately, our plum tree only has two plums this year.  After the apples are all done we’ll buy a few boxes of peaches to can.  I still have a couple dozen jars left from last year, so won’t need to do quite as many as usual.

What’s the Point?

Glad you asked.  The whole point of posting this here:  I’m finding ways to make these huge projects easier on my joints.  Sitting in one place for long periods of time to cut/peel/chop/etc. leads to stiffness and difficulty moving.  So I don’t sit.  Instead of working one particular spot on our assembly-line process of getting food from the garden into the freezer/cellar, I do different tasks for a short time-period, frequently moving from one task to the next.

The kids sit at the table for their tasks (cutting corn off cobs, peeling/slicing apples, slicing/grating zucchini (and the occasional knuckle).  I get the food ready for the kids and carry it to the table.  The kids fill bowls; I fill bags/jars/pans and cart it away.

It’s much easier when I keep moving.

Too Much

Ever since my rheumy increased my ssz from bid to tid, I’ve been tempted to quit my meds completely.  I haven’t done it, but I’ve sure been tempted.  A zillion different vitamins plus prescriptions for three pills with breakfast, two with lunch, and five with dinner.  It’s just too much.

toomanypills 002

I’ve dropped the vitamins, reducing my pill count to ten per day.  That’s still an awful lot of medication to swallow.  There are days that I never want to see another pill.

* * *

For the past seven years, I’ve taken my children with me to the local nursing home once a week. 

We’ve met many people with great life stories.  Among them are those who were afflicted with RA before treatment from DMARDs* existed.  I’ve seen their hands and wheelchairs.

Not too long ago I talked to a dear lady who was extremely upset that she’d be getting a permanent catheter – because of her RA.  It was just too hard for the staff to help her to the bathroom, but she couldn’t go by herself, and she couldn’t use a bedpan.

I know what can happen with untreated/undertreated RA.  It’s not an abstract theory — not some scare tactic that I’ve heard from an old guy in a white coat.  I’ve seen it myself.

* * *

I think about those wonderful old ladies in the nursing home.  I think about their hands, deformed so greatly that they can barely operate the joystick on their electric wheelchairs.  No holding a book or writing a letter.  No knitting.  No typing on the computer.  No playing the piano or violin or guitar.  No swimming.  I think of a permanent catheter.  I think of not being able to pick apples with my kids.

Maybe those pills aren’t too much, after all. 

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Edited 9/5/09
Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs – medicines that alter the normal course of crippling rheumatoid arthritis