Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Hardy Folk, Skills from the 1930s, and a much-too-long post

Cyrus & Rhoda
c. 1930

I know. You thought that was Kevin and me, right?

 (Amazing how happy they look, even though they lived before the advent of Facebook or Twitter, isn't it! And they didn't have to worry about recharging their cell phones.)

Before I get into this post, I must say a huge thank you to all of you for your wonderful comments and well wishes! Hip replacement recovery can get reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally long, especially when you look out the window and see nothing but snow mountains and temps that are way below zero, day after long day. It also seems like things will never change, little progress is being made, even though I plugged faithfully through 45 minutes of physical therapy twice a day...boring...boring...boring...owie...owie...owie.

BUT, someone told me that after week FOUR, many people notice a huge difference. Guess what. I am one of those people! Monday was the four-week mark. I can now see that I won't be stuck forever doing a poor impression of the Dowager Countess (of Downton Abbey fame.)

Now on to the show:

I'm pretty sure that if I have the date wrong on that photo, Eric will let me know. And I probably do have it wrong, but if I call him, he'll tell me that he's already told me, so you know how it goes...The photo above was taken in Vernon County, WI. It's of Eric's mom and dad - my husband's great uncle and aunt. As you can see, Wisconsin had a goodly amount of snow that year too, although I suspect it was less than what we're getting this year.

 (Note the patched wheelbarrow, used to haul in wood)

We have mountains of snow. I am not exaggerating. Mountains. This is why December 30th turned out to be a great date for a total hip replacement. It's not like I want to be out in this weather anyway.

My main reason for posting the photo is that whenever I see it, I'm reminded of the hardy folk who lived before this current age of technology. Those were people who were accustomed to daily hard work - often without complaining, and often out in the cold of the long winter or blistering heat of the short summer. Hard work that involved working in the fields raising tobacco or hay, growing a large vegetable garden to feed their families, raising chickens for eggs and meat, caring for dairy and meat animals, including how to butcher a cow, how to can chicken and beef, how to do their own machine repairs, how to knit, sew, cook, clean, etc. etc. And in many cases, it was all done without electricity.

And they didn't have social media. They had neighborhoods. They had churches. They had extended family.

 My amazing personal chef!
I think I'm ready to get back in the kitchen, but he has been wonderful!

I admire those people. They knew how to do stuff. If the grid went down, well, it would hardly have affected them because most of them in my neck of the woods weren't on the grid at that time anyway.

But to the point of this post, I was wondering how we could manage now, if the grid should go down. I don't know if it will, but I do think it's a good idea to be prepared, rather than be taken totally by surprise. And I know that I don't like being totally dependent upon something that may disappear without any warning. Even something as simple as a snowstorm can down the power lines for days, weeks, etc.

So, I was trying to take inventory of my useful skills: I can cook, sew, read aloud to anyone who will listen, knit a bit, raise a garden, make soap, make cheese, pet the dog, can vegetables (it would be a long time before I'd want to can meat), build a fire, pet the cat, and plan a vacation. Surely there must be something else after all these years of living, but I can't think of it. And actually, it might not be a bad idea to take an assessment of what you and your friends can offer one another, should this ever happen. I don't have chickens, but I do make soap. I don't have a cow, but I know how to make cheese. So maybe we could barter a skill or product we do have for a skill or product we don't have. Does bartering seem silly to you? How about trading someone a useless piece of paper for their skill or product. That seems a lot sillier to me.

Anyway, I think it's worth thinking about and brushing up on some useful skills. That applies to us and the under-30 crowd. Who knows how to butcher? Who knows how to use a pressure canner? (Who's heard of a pressure canner??) Who even knows anything about raising a garden? Who knows how to build a fire? Who knows how to get the dog off the couch so I can lie down and rest?

Okay, I've reached my limit for being at the computer. But what are your thoughts on what you'd do if the grid went down? It could happen, and we'd be back living the life of Cyrus and Rhoda. Are you ready?

Picnic anyone?

And by the way, I can't get over our amazing Creator who made our bodies able to withstand trauma and then heal, as long as we don't put road blocks in the way. We're designed to heal - everything from a paper cut to a bone dislocated, cut off, replaced with metal parts, and stapled shut. Praise God! And praise God that there are people who want to do orthopedic surgery. I suspect they're the ones who got bored with regular carpentry and wanted to kick it up a notch. (I saw the tools they use!)

Here's a cute cartoon that both Eric and Bonnie sent me:

Okay, I warned you that it would be a long post!  It's great to be back in blogland, my friends! Hope you all have a great weekend.

P.S. I proofread this and I'll admit it's a strange, rambling, disjointed post. Sorry, but I've got to get that dog off the couch and lie down.


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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Little by Little - Recovery Update

It's been so encouraging to read all your nice comments. Thank you, friends!  I'm doing my regular, 2ce daily physical therapy, involving lots of exercises designed to get those hip, thigh, leg muscles working again, lots of rest, and lots of ice packs. (I found that doing physical therapy four times a day was working against me. I don't know what I was thinking.) Hopefully soon I'll be able to sit for a longer stretch of time and actually get back to your blogs that I love to visit.

December 30th was the perfect time for hip replacement, because it's not like I want to be out in the weather now anyway - this weather that doesn't seem to want to quit!

I hope you're having a wonderful start to our new year.

I miss you all!

 You'll be glad to know that
I have an excellent chef! :-)


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

We're Back...

In between physical therapy and keeping ice packs on my hip and knee, I'm spending a lot of time on the sofa, reading. Thank you to all of you for your prayers and well wishes. Surgery went great. At least I think it did, for fortunately I was asleep at the time. My biggest concern was that I didn't want to hear the saw! (gruesome thought, huh.)

I was thinking of you all as I spent New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in the hospital. Kevin and I celebrated by watching a concert on TV and eating a piece of dark chocolate (for its healing properties, of course!). I'm now home with a new hip which should last me for many years, and after the first not-too-fun week, I had a very encouraging day. There comes a point when you weigh the headache and nausea of the pain meds against the pain relief.

Like many places in the country, we've had very cold weather, -31 degrees F. a week ago, the morning of my surgery, and very cold temps all week. Our daughter and husband had to deal with frozen water pipes and a gas leak this week. School has been canceled 3 days in a row.  How grateful I am that we have a warm house and wood to burn. I know that not everyone has those luxuries.

I took the photos in December, one of those days that was really cold and windy. We had a roaring fire in the stove, and the wind was whipping the smoke around. It was fun to watch. Maybe I'm just easily amused, but I loved the thick, white smoke and the deep blue of the sky.

I'm not sure when I'll be getting another post up, but I wanted to let you know I'm still here. Thank you so much for your comments. I hope to be getting back to reading your blogs very soon. Time for a few laps around the house (on the inside, of course). I should be able to get rid of this thing in another 3 weeks (the walker, not the dog).

 Misty's favorite new place.
(cell phone photo)


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