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ctw1949
Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

One day later
After working at Syd's yesterday for about 2 1/2 hours flame weeding a crap load of invasive weeds in her lawn (drought conditions allowed grass to die and weeds just took over several areas), I stopped off at Hollis' to wish her mom a Happy Mother's Day. BB went into say HI to everyone. Hollis' dad, Wayne, loves BB and how easy he is to get along with, how obedient he is and how much he loves their cats. Then headed to find some  cheap grass seed for Syd's lawn.

BB went with me to Syd's. He and Syd's dog Salty get along very well. Salty is a West Highland Terrier and very friendly. He and BB have pissing contests all over Syd's lawn. It is pretty funny since they have no pee left but still lift their legs. Salty is pretty much the only dog that BB gets along with. And they have similar interests...pissing contests!

I flamed a lot of areas at Syd's yesterday afternoon. More needs to be flamed, but I cut work off after 3 - 4 hours. I find I am not crippled if I limit myself to less than 5 hours of work. Not that flaming is hard, but I stand the entire time and my back gets tired.

I suggested planting some grass seed in the flamed areas and to supplement the grass seed with some clover seed (which I already have). Today, I will pick up my "Weasel" tool and my grass roller on my way to her place. I have to fill 2 - 20# LP containers so I have a good selection to switch to when the tanks ice up (this happens when gas comes out of an LP tank quickly, not something one sees when they are using LP to fire up a grill). Once the tank ices up, the LP pressure reduces dramatically and the flame gets very low. Having another tank (or two) to switch to allows continuing flaming. The iced tank takes probably an hour or more to defrost before you can use it again. Having three 20# tanks at the ready really helps speed up the job.

I should explain the Dragon Weeder. It is a torch with a squeeze valve to control the output of LP gas. I have rigged a stroller so I don't have to carry the 20# tank around, the tank is in the stroller. The torch puts out 55,000 btu's of flame. There is a gas line that gives me 15' of radius from the stroller where the LP tank is. Very handy for burning or flaming weeds, very dangerous in dry conditions. It is the certified organically accepted weed control I like best since results are immediate and visual. It is the preferred way to create a "stale seedbed". I also am a firebug. Using the flame weeder satisfies my inner firebug!

The "Weasel" tool (not sold anymore, I believe) turns the top few inches of soil. This reduces any digging in order to plant seed such as grass or clover, then a rake will bury the seed. I have a small, portable roller to tamp the earth down for better seed retaining. Since we have had such nice cool and damp weather, the seed will sprout readily and the grass will grow back into the bare areas and reduce weed growth (or at least I hope).

On my way to Syd's, I will stop at Lenny's house to check out his rental unit. He is finally ready to show it but some cleaning needs doing in the kitchen and bathroom. Mostly sheet rock dust from replacing the ceilings that fell in when we had heavy snow that caused huge ice dams on his roof, then the water leaked inside the eaves of the attic, resulting in two ceilings coming down. Lenny has been working on this project since summer 2015. But he works mostly alone and it is slow going. He knows I am good for cleaning, so I will do this job for him. I will assess the job to see what I need to bring to clean. I know I have to pick my vacuum up from storage before I start the job.

These two projects will take up the next three days. Thursday, I have an appointment in the afternoon and will take the day off. Friday, I hope to take my 91 year old friend out to lunch. Laura recently gave up her driving license since she doesn't feel as if she is up to the challenges of driving anymore. So, she is pretty much house bound, doesn't get out much. So, we will take a ride and go somewhere to eat.

This weekend, I hope to get around to finishing my Volvo rims so I can get my summer tires on the car. Right now, I am in violation since I am running my studded snow tires (after May 1). I am going to head to Pep Boys for two new tires, balancing all summer tires & front end alignment. I think the work I am doing now will help defray the cost of the tires & front end alignment.

I'm still trying to figure out how to work out the cross-country trip with Arianna. Dean will speak with his aunt and uncle over the next few days to see if they are interested in renting their RV to me for six weeks.

It is raining again. Seems it will continue most of the day on & off. But I will go to Syd's anyway and be happy I don't need a hose when I flame...it is too wet for anything to burn. Flaming is not so much to burn. The extreme heat causes the water in the plants to come to the boiling point and explodes all the cells in the leaves of the plant. This kills the growth above the ground and sets the plant back to dormancy. The plant has to pull energy from the root system to produce more leaves, exhausting the roots of the plant. By the time the plant can grow new leaves, the newly planted grass & clover seeds have sprouted and are growing. Flaming also burns up any new seeds, so flaming is done prior to planting any new seeds.

Time for me to get myself in gear for the day.

Happy damp & cool spring!
Mother's Day 2017
After swearing to myself I would be more faithful about writing in this blog, six weeks have gone by since my last entry. So, I will catch up somewhat.

April, most of the month, that is, was cool and damp. Many around here are complaining about the cool, damps, but I say...there is a virus that lives in nature. This virus kills Gypsy moth larvae. If spring is warm & dry, the virus languishes and the larvae eat all the tree leaves. If spring is cool & damp, the virus will grow and the Gypsy moth larvae die. Rather a cool & damp spring, as far as I am concerned!

Over the past month, I have accomplished little but much. I bought a box truck (the kind a contractor might have to store his equipment in so he can drive all he needs over to a job) for very little money. I paid to have it towed to Dean's place, sight unseen. It needs some repair where some rivets are leaking and floor needs to be replaced in the corners right under the leaks. Not to bad for what I paid. Within a few days after it was towed to Dean's, Lucas put his rough cut lumber into the box truck (without asking, I might mention). Lucas has been working on his table, but it has been slow going. I asked Dean if he might get Lucas to move all his (leftover) lumber out of the box truck by Wednesday so I can pressure wash the outside, the inside and start removing rusty rivets & seal the exterior. Since it has been so cool (in the 40's & 50's), I haven't had the desire to go out on a ladder (in the wind) and get the pressure washing done. But this week, temps will get into the 80's and weather will be perfect for this outside job. Plus, the interior will dry in the warm weather. The object of buying this box truck is so I can  move one of my storage unit contents into the box truck and relieve myself of one of my monthly $100.00 rental fees. The box truck will pay for itself in three months after I have relocated one storage unit into the box.

I moved my canoe from Lenny's in Rochester (where it was for three years) to Dean's. I have to repair the damage done by high winds that lifted the canoe off the top of a jeep, pushing the canoe onto an abandoned hay bailer. I didn't need that!!! I will have to purchase the repair kit from Old Town Canoe since this canoe is a special kind of material. Auto body filler won't work. That will cost about $100.00 + shipping.

I have been struggling with the new lock on the second storage unit I rented. About ten days ago, I went to put some things into storage and take out two of my summer tires. I couldn't get the key to open the dead bolt. The man who rents the house next to the garage (where my storage space is) came outside and he helped me with the dead bolt. He said he had problems with the new dead bolt, too. It came to my attention that the guy (Lucas) who built the wall to close off my storage space had problems with the new dead bold, too. And I let Dean try to use the key in the dead bolt and he had a hard time getting the key to work. Well, the guy who owns the garage (where my storage space is) has known about this challenge with the dead bolt for several months and has done nothing...until I cornered him and told him I really felt exposed when I was outside (in not a great neighborhood), struggling to get the dead bolt to unlock. I am still waiting to hear if he got the dead bolt to work...

On April 10, I woke up with a very swollen left side of my jaw. It was very tender and painful. The pain increased during the day, got so bad, I actually thought about going to the dentist. Then I remembered I have been diagnosed with TMJ (or is it TJM?) and had physical therapy for it some years back. I also have a problem with the salivary gland on that side of my face. Seems it doesn't function right and fills up with saliva. I have to massage it to get the saliva to come out. But my jaw was just too painful to touch, never mind massage. By Tuesday, I was in agony, but thought about going to the doctor or dentist and decided I would tough it out. Tuesday, I started to douse the inside of my mouth with Rescue Remedy as well as the outside of the swollen area. By Wednesday, the swelling had subsided to the point where I could massage the swelling.  The amount of saliva that came out of the jaw was amazing! Friday, it was as if it had never happened. I know if I went to the doctor, she would have sent me to the dental clinic where they would have insisted I had abscessed teeth that needed extracting. All they want to do at that dental clinic is pull your teeth. The older you are, the quicker they are to dismiss any dental repair. My insurance doesn't pay for any dental work such as root canals, crowns, etc. Nor does it pay for any bridge work or dentures. They just pull your teeth and leave you with gums. Nice, huh?

In early April, I got in contact with a friend I hadn't seen since the mid 1990's when she left Vermont for Memphis. We did write after she moved, but we lost contact some years back. I found her on Linkedin...and she responded. She wants to take a cross country trip this summer and I want to go with her. So, I have been trying to figure out how to make this work. My Volvo's motor is just too small to tow my camper. I have thought of renting a vehicle to tow the camper so we don't have to tent out or stay in motels. Besides we will both have dogs with us and some motels are not dog friendly. So, I am working on that idea...but remembered Dean's aunt and uncle have a nice RV that they NEVER use. I asked Dean to approach them about my renting their RV...it is a Georgetown, very nice and well equipped. It is set up to tow a vehicle, so I could drive the RV to Memphis, rent a trailer and load my friend's RAV 4 onto the back of the trailer and off we go. Wouldn't this be nice and easy? But who knows if they will go for it. I am sure I would have to  pay for the insurance, etc, but the trade off from tenting & motel rooms would pay for the rental of the unit easily.

I have been working on a small garden area on the east side of Dean's house. At one time, Dean was trying to grow flowers, but he didn't have time to work the area. I have been slowly removing the grass and planting some flowers where I have removed the sod. I can't do too much of this work at once since it will activate the pain in my hip, so slow it goes.

Well, I am headed to my friend Syd's this afternoon to flame weed some bad stuff around her place. So, I will close for today. Happy Mother's Day to all.





April Fools Day
April has come on with a vengeance. Sideways rain on 50 mph gusts. Bungee cords are clanging against the camper and I always hope they will hold the tarp over the top and not snap. So far, so good. I do change the bungee cords every few months to keep the tarp secure and rain off the top of the camper since it leaks.

I was writing a friend of my experiences with doctors. I thought it might be a good post, so here goes!


On the subject of doctors, I have declined almost everything my doctor offers me for medication. No shots in the sore shoulder, knee or hip. No statins, no vaccinations for shingles, pneumonia or any other disease they want to "protect" us from. I do use an inhaler to help me breathe, fluoride toothpaste and I have a Rx for painkillers (which I seldom use). My doc questions why I want to have my cholesterol checked since I won't do anything to lower it. I tell her I like to be an informed patient and she has no right to deny me the test. Sometimes, she and I are at loggerheads, but I do like her better than other docs I have had. At least she listens. Before I had her, the NP who "treated" me was a real jerk. Five years I complained of back pain and she did nothing. She was a nurse practitioner, supposed a geriatric specialist. She had nothing but criticism for me but wouldn't test me for Lyme. Because I wouldn't take statins, she cut off other medication I was on at that time. Take this or I will take away that! Like she was my mother! Anyway, I got a different person (a real doctor) to take care of me. 

I did take Rx arthritis medication for some time in the late 90's and early 2000. I was on Vioxx, which made me bleed internally, caused great pain in the abdomen. I was on several other arthritis medications, all had little effect or made me bleed internally. I think I was a guinea pig since I no longer see these drugs advertised. I was also diagnosed with h.pylori, a bacterial infection in the gut, but would have never known if the arthritis drugs hadn't made me bleed internally. Seems about 50% of people in the US have h.pylori and don't know it.

BTW, in 2009, my new doctor sent me for physical therapy for my back pain, but when that didn't help, she sent me to a back specialist. The MRI showed I have a bulging disc in my L3-L4 region. Plain as day on the MRI, which I took on  a CD to the back specialist. He ordered a TENS unit which helps a lot. Less pain killers, better pain management. However effective, my insurance wouldn't pay for it...but they did pay for the pain killers. What a system!l The company that made the TENS unit has a scholarship program for those who can show financial hardship, but it took me days to find that out. I didn't have to pay for the TENS unit in the end.

In late summer, 2002, I experienced a lot of pain in my right hip & thigh. The pain ran right down into my foot and ended up in my toes. At that time, I had a large veggie market garden and a full-time job off the farm. The pain was so severe, I couldn't walk without clenching my teeth. So bad, I cracked a molar. The pain didn't subside when resting. At the time, I was being treated by a specialist in arthritis. I was regulated to the recliner. Couldn't even take my dogs for a walk. I had a MRI and waited for the results for over two hours in the arthritis specialist's exam room. Seems they had forgotten I was there!

The arthritis specialist who was treating me, the one who kept me waiting for two hours (in New Bedford for excruciating pain in my hip & leg), gave me a Rx for Perks (250 count), said take as many as I needed and told me to come back to get more any time I needed more. She told me they were not habit forming. When I saw the bottle from the pharmacy, a bigger bottle than I had ever seen before, (I did some online research on "opiod") with the word "opiod" on the label,  I realized all the doctor wanted to do was to pacify me and get me hooked on drugs. I grew up in the 60's and saw a LOT of drug use. I didn't want to go there.

Shortly after I filled the huge Rx for Perks, I called Mass Gen Hosp and saw the head of the oncology department (since my MRI suggested I might have bone cancer but the "specialist" in New Bedford said this was an unnecessary test). A bone scan and second MRI was scheduled, with the results in hand, I saw the MGH doctor. He said the cysts were not growing (one of his concerns). He was the one who explained to me (no diagnosis or reason for the crippling pain was given by the "specialist" I saw down here in New Bedford) what was happening to me. Seems they had NEVER seen this particular condition before. I was a curiosity, my condition unknown at this teaching hospital. Medical students crowded into the exam room, the MRI's hanging on the light boards. However, he told me what was going on, how to deal with it and what the prognosis was. I had a cyst in the head of the femur and another in the acatabulum (pelvis). They were somehow connected, even tho' they were in different bones. He suggested I may have had them from birth, they didn't know.  Since my lifestyle had been so active, he suggested there were micro-fissures in the cartilage in my hip joint from all the heavy work. I had recently developed arthritis in my hip. When the synovial fluid (surrounding the hip joint)  became inflamed with arthritis, it was pushed through the micro-fissures in the cartilage when I did heavy work. The inflamed fluid went into the cysts, spreading the inflammation and the cysts swelled inside my bones.

He said the pain must be excruciating. I said "Mind Bending" and he agreed. Solution: I had to have an entire lifestyle change. No more gardening, pushing a lawnmower, hiking, standing or sitting for more than 20 minutes. No lifting. He was the one who suggested I go on disability. Since I was so young, my insurance was not going to pay for a new hip. I was 53 at the time. At that time, I had a 1/4 ac. market garden and was also working full time off the farm. I didn't believe him and tried to continue my gardening and other heavy work. That put me right back into bed for another few weeks.

I had to wrap my head around my disability. It was very hard not to do the things I loved and lived to do. It took me a year to recover from the pain that came any time I did any heavy work. At that time, I was taking Perks & 800 mg. Ibuprofen 3X a day. I stopped taking the Ibuprofen and  needed less pain killers. I saved my stomach and liver. It made no sense that the anti-inflammatory caused a higher use of opiods, but it did.

I have been on the same dose of perks since fall of 2002. I have not become addicted, nor have I had an increase in dosage or amounts. To the contrary, since I stopped taking the high doses of Ibuprofen and the "epidemic" of deaths due to overdoses, my Rx has been decreased. I now have to see my primary doc every 90 (vs. 180) days for a Rx renewal. This costs my insurance an additional $800. per year. I have to wonder about our medical insurance and our law makers. Always complaining about how high our medical costs are, but I am punished because I really need these pain killers. I am not an abuser, but when I need a pain killer, I really need it. I push the pain away till I can't stand it anymore. 

I applied for disability in the late spring of 2004. I am the only person I know that was granted disability without any battle what so ever. I was very surprised when my bank account showed money and I had no idea of the source. When I called the bank, they told me it was the state who put the money in my account. I called the state disability office. Seems they FORGOT to send me the notification that my request for disability had been granted. I get very little money from the feds & state, but it is better than what little Social Security I get now that I am over 65. This is why I live in a camper rather than trying to rent an apartment. I don't have enough money to pay for rental, car insurance, car repairs, food, etc. I wouldn't be able to take care of BB my dog, either.

I have the doctor at MGH to thank for the ease of my application being accepted for disability. I don't know what he wrote to the disability board, but I am grateful for his input on my case. There is no way I could work a full-time job for any amount of time without a relapse into pain.

Next, I will go to get my marijuana medical card. I have a friend who gets specially grown mj for pain. I tried some and it WORKS!!! Don't get sleepy or stupid, just less pain. Fewer Perks. Maybe someday, there will be no pain killers out of the bottle.

I know acupuncture helps, but can't afford it. Insurance won't pay. For a short time after my diagnosis at MGH, I did have a job (I took care of a 98 year old man, did the night shift) and could pay for acupuncture. It really worked, for two weeks...pain free. But not now, income is too small.

This is only one small excerpt from the medical care I have had since I began seeing doctors on a regular basis. Much of the care I have received in New Bedford has been poor, at best...at least till I got my current doctor.

If it weren't for Romney (when he was governor of MASS) and his blanket health care law, I probably would still be in pain. For those of you who might not know, Obama Care was formed using Romney's health care for the state of Mass as his model for the our current medical care system.

Thanks for reading my blog. Always welcome comments and suggestions!

The end of March 2017
It is the end of March, it is going out like it came in...raw, rainy and windy. There might be some snow coming down, but temps are too warm for any serious accumulation. Just nasty outside today and probably tomorrow, which will be April Fool.

I have been looking for tires for my Volvo. Since it is an older car, they don't make many 14" rim size, not many manufacturers, anyway. I wanted Nokian for the car, but no 14" size. Only 15", that means new rims. My rims need some sanding & painting, nothing drastic, just cleaning up. Snow tire (winter only) rims need more work than summer rims, but it is time for summer rim rehab. The summer tires I have now on rims, two need replacing and I figure since I need two, I might as well buy 4 and have them all the same age.

Today, I am doing research on tires with little satisfaction. I might end up ordering them online since Dean has a tire changer (almost brand new, he assures me) and can do the work here. Besides, I have to do the rehab on the rims and it is just easier to get the tires dismounted here where I am going to work on them rather than haul them from the dealer back to where I will do the work.

I am going to send the NexGuard back to the seller (less 25% restocking fee) since I am not going to give any more to BB the dog. I just printed out the return label and will package up the product for mailing. BB has recovered from the initial dose and is once again his silly self Relief!

I went to storage two days ago and dragged some stuff I hope to list on eBay for sale. Now, to clean up my messy camper! I have several loads of laundry, all clean and folded to put away. This is always a challenge since I store my clothes in totes on the top bunk. I will have to remove all totes to the bottom bunk so I can put the clothes into the totes. Always a challenge, but so happy to have clean clothes! So nice to have a washer here! Yesterday was the only sunny day in a week, so I did get some laundry out on the line to dry. I have been using the indoor drying rack for several days prior.

I still need to install the new door pockets on the Volvo. These are plastic pockets on the bottoms of the front doors so you can stash stuff...maps, tire gauge, ice scraper, extra gloves, etc. I have sorely missed them since my "new" volvo didn't come with them...and they are pricey and will break easily if someone isn't careful. I can only hope I haven't spent $120.00 on them so they can get broken! I also need to find out some code numbers and what they mean for my car.
Several weeks ago,I met a guy in the parking lot at the market. He was parked next to my Volvo in his own Volvo. I couldn't resist asking him how he liked his ride. He was very nice, said he had an '89 240 station wagon at home and he loved Volvos. He showed me how to check out codes (who knew???) under the hood to see what, if any, problems there were. I came up with two codes in the #2 space, 131 & 232. Can't find out what they mean, but the man called me later and told me what they were. I need to replace a crank sensor. Fortunately, I have that part, new in box! But haven't gotten to that yet.

I am hoping to collect the rest of my money from Shirley by Monday. She has owed me since December, I had to call her to prompt some payment two weeks ago. I did take some of the payment out in her grass fed beef, but wasn't going to take it all in meat. I need tires for my car!!! Beef doesn't equal tires!

I still need to connect with an accountant so I can find out a couple of things out about my (supposedly) delinquent student loan. Seems it should be paid up, but I am NOT going to contact them since they have been crooked since the 1970's in their entire collection. Threats, incorrect information...and when I offered a buy out ($.60 on the dollar) they wanted to know where the money was coming from. My mom was going to pay it off, but when they wanted to know where she got her money, I just  went wild!!!
As if it is any of their business where the money came from! After that, I just ignored them. I got unlisted phone # since they were calling me 3 or 4 times a day to harass me. Since then, they took an income tax rebate for over $200.00 and the $700.00 incentive check that Pres. Obama gave to all. But I have not seen any credits to my account for this $900.00 (and my balance is only $1,000.00, all interest and late fees). Principal has been paid for years. If you can ever manage it, don't take any student loans! You will be paying when you are collecting Social Security!

Well, I have to address the laundry...it won't put itself away!




March 28, 2017
Dean did go for the follow-up appointment yesterday. I believe he wanted to be sure he could go back to his regular working habits and be able to lift heavy objects like he normally does. And be sure there wasn't any evidence of infection in his nose. When the nurse practitioner looked into his ear, she found a lot of impacted wax. She used a long probe to remove it. After we left the office, Dean said his ear hurt, by day's end he was complaining of pain in his ear. I made up some fresh pressed garlic in olive oil and heated it, put four drops into his ear. This morning, he says his ear is blocked but not much pain.

Hollis is having her plate overflowing with all the sick family members as well as her own health issues. She took her mother to the doctor this AM b/c her mother's legs are so swollen she can't walk. Hollis took a pix of her mother crawling up the stairs this morning (her mother stays mostly in the finished basement, watches TV and smokes. There is a bathroom in the basement) to get ready to go to the doctor's appointment. When Hollis showed the doctor the picture, her mother flipped her the bird...and the doctor saw it...and laughed. Mom is scheduled for an ultra-sound on her leg this week...and they put her on Lazex (sp) to reduce the swelling, gave her a Rx for a wheel chair. Hollis' father has had two falls recently. Wayne has survived two cancers but is very frail. He also has been having some night time accidents in bed. He will go for more blood work this week but isn't telling anyone the results. Then there is Keith, who is an alcoholic, just released from hospital when he was discovered unconscious on the floor. He wants to go to rehab but no beds available that will take his insurance. The other brother, Erik, is drinking to excess too. Hollis is taking care of all of this via phone and online. Plus her own health issues and her horses. She does all the household laundry, cleaning & cooking for the family (five members). She says her mother is the worst, leaving behind all her dirty clothes on the floor and dishes in the basement. But it is hard to crawl up the stairs with anything in your hands!

I guess I have it easy compared to her.

The weather is very March-like...cloudy, raw, foggy. If it isn't that, it is so windy, one can't go outside and stand up straight! I am behind in the laundry since clothes blow off the line, even with extra pins. The dogs are bored out of their minds b/c it is lousy out. I have been taking BB the dog on walks with Bitty and Hollis, but today my back is screaming in pain, surely due to the lousy weather.

But April is not far away and maybe things will improve. Hope so!