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Natural Babymanship?

Is it the new way of training babies? Does it replace a crude out dated method with kinder gentler means?

I don’t know. I know nothing about babies but when the nurses started talking about body language and watching for a baby to tell you what it was ready for all I could think about was horse training. I have always thought that training children must be the same as training anything else. Consistency mostly. Again from my completely ignorant point of view.  But if we are incorporating natural horsemanship how do you make the right thing easy for a baby? So if we are supposed to watch for signs of hunger and feed them before they cry is a hungry crying baby the equivalent of a colt who has been pushed to far and is bucking?

The nurses (and every one else I’m sure) probably think I crazy constantly comparing babies to bottle calves and horses. The similarities are great though and I am happy to have practiced on them before having to do the real thing.

On the bright and scary side they are saying Elly might be able to come home soon.

Little Elly and More Fires

So peaceful

I got to go see Elly yesterday. She is doing great. They moved her and all her neighbors in the NICU upstairs to the intermediate NICU in pediatrics. We are getting to know the other parents, one family from Chadron and a couple from just outside Rapid. They are all very nice and we are all waiting impatiently to take our babies home.

Elly is doing good. They took the feeding tube out of her nose. It took me an embarrassingly long time to notice. I thought she looked so grown up, then realized something was missing. She is taking all her feed from a bottle now. The doctors keep saying she is so far ahead of where she is expected to be. They figure age and abilities on the proper due date not actual. The suckling instinct they keep saying shouldn’t come in until thirty four weeks. We are just waiting for it to improve, more weight gain, and maybe for her to finish the new round of shots she is getting. She wasn’t making enough new red blood cells, but they promised that it was a pretty common occurrence.

My visit was cut a little short though when my husband sent a text that a friend of mine who lives north of town was bringing her horses down, just to be safe. I decided that if it was getting that bad maybe I should go home. And of course I’m always sure that nobody can take care of my horses right but me.

The skies were blue as I drove south until I reached the state line. From there on the sky, the ground, everything was a sickly yellow brown. I’m used to the grass turning brown this time of year, as the Ian Tyson song says, “The range and the sky, buckskin and blue” but this was unnatural. In the distance plumes of smoke rose randomly from the skyline feeding the disgusting miasma that was masquerading as the sky.

The friends house and pastures are still safe and for the most part the same goes for most people we hear about. Houses at least. In the small groups of people clustered about town, in a grocery store isle or around a table at the fast food joint, stories can be heard in nearly reverential whispers as the fate of neighbors and friends are discussed.

We joined those groups on our trip to town today. One spread word of a school teacher whose house had been lost, another said “No, no they worked through the night and saved it.” A rancher was gently mocked for having bragged about the amount of rain he had received on this dry year, “Doesn’t do him much good now does it,” they shook their heads, “heard all his pasture burnt”.

We came into town from the south on the highway that had been closed the day before marveling at what had burnt. How close the fire came to those big fancy houses built in the timber. The one that had caught fire, what had been so different about that one? On one side in one small spot fresh saw marks were visible where some major tree thinning had been done. Before we left town though the radio broadcast the bad news. The highway was closed again. The fire had jumped the highway.

For once I’m glad Elly is far away in Rapid.

Chadron is Burning, Again

The last two days have brought us dry lightning storms. just what we don’t need at one hundred plus degrees and bone dry.

As I drove home from town Tuesday I watched the lining striking all around me. To the south and west I could see several smoke plums already starting to rise. Two of them seemed alarmingly close so

i continued south on the highway just over the next hill so I could see where they were. I couldn’t see any thing so I kept going. Just over the next hill so I could see where they were. I couldn’t see any thing so I finally decided they were far enough away that it wasn’t an immediate concern.

Wednesday as I headed to town around noon I could see the smoke to the west, as I came home it had become  tower of smoke blotting out sun and sky. Chadron and Crawford were hit hard. By Wednesday evening we received another dry thunder storm.

Shortly after five my father-in-law was called out to a grass fire near the west place in Dawes county. When my husband got home we went to see what we could do to help. With out any way to haul water it seemed unlikely that we could be of any assistance. By then a much larger fire had blown up to the north in the timber and the fire departments were overrun. fortunately a neighbor showed up to the fire with a tractor and disc and was able to get it contained. The lack of grass is a blessing and a curse. Nothing for the cows to eat but easier to put fires out. A pick up with a water tank and pump is always a good thing to have on hand.

Once again I am very happy not to live any where near the trees.

A Busy Couple of Weeks

It has been a little bit since I posted last. Let me see, I can’t think what have I been up to?

Oh yeah, I had a baby!

She was just over 31 weeks almost 9 weeks early, but she’s doing great. Far, far away from me in the neonatal intensive care unit in Rapid City. She is healthy though, that is the important thing. The poor little girl spent the first week of her life with an IV stuck in her head. After my stint in the hospital, a week of bed rest before they decided it was time for her to come out, and a couple of days recovering from a Cesarian, I developed quite a loathing of IV’s. They hurt! Of course it didn’t help that they had to stick me at least twice for every successful IV.  Three successful, so more than six long, slow, painful jabs with the needle, they kept going bad and needing redone.

But we were speaking of her. Named Ileana, Elly for short, she weighed three pounds eleven ounces and measured sixteen inches long. She is nice and chubby and likes her food. She is fed through a tube down her nose, that and the monitors are the last things stuck on or in her. They took the breathing tube off after just a day or two. She has been breathing fine on her own since then.

I am home now and should be happy about it. There was nothing I wanted more when I felt fine and was forced to stay at the hospital on bed rest. Then I had my baby who has to stay there and a c-section which hurt like heck, and they make me go home. Hospitals just don’t make any sense. Elly will get to come home soon the doctors say just a few more weeks. It seems like forever though.


Farm it Maybe

For the sake of comparison


All that good garden produce has been making me hungry. I began to have fantasies about pizza. This weekend I decided to live out one of those fantasies.

So I decided to make pizza. I made the crust kneaded it and left it to rise as I raided the garden. I returned with Roma tomatoes, Swiss Chard, purple sweet peppers and a hot pepper. The garlic was already dug and I had onions and mushrooms in the fridge.

Ava came over and helped wash the vegetables while I chopped and spread the crust with Alfredo sauce. She had to go before we began to add  the veggies. It was as good as my fantasies.

I love cooking out of the garden and try for the highest possible percentage of food that we have raised in every meal. We have sweet corn with every thing. Zucchini used in every way possible, usually involving tomatoes garlic and cheese. The cabbage has matured so we are eating cabbage burgers, corned beef and soon hopefully cabbage rolls.

Riding Lessons

We bought Ava a riding helmet, now I will let her sit on a horse by her self. Sit is all she really wants to do. Ava is happy to sit on Coyote while I pony him around the yard. She talks and talks and talks. I think she repeated her favorite book to me with out missing a word.

I try to get her to kick when we start to walk, or pull on the reins a little for whoa. That sort of thing doesn’t interest her. I noticed that when I tell her to kick only one leg would go. When I told her to use both she said it was to hard.

We have fun though, it gives me a chance to ride Jerry. I’m hesitant to take her out by her self now that I am carrying double, she can be a bit spooky. Ava seems to enjoy it, she keeps coming back for more and wears her helmet happily. She is so timid though. Not very surprising if Pony Boy dumps her as often as she says.

I, mean person that I am, make her go off of the lead line when we get done with our ride. I close up all the gates on a very small corral and try to get her to follow me and Jerry. Ava steers pretty good, but Coyote knows the gate out and stands by it happily. I always go back and get them but one time of that and she is ready to quit. I suppose the only cure will be lots of time ponying. I wish she was here to ride more often, I wish I had a saddle that fit her since she wont go bare back. Oh well, if wishes were horses and all that.

Ava’s little brother wanted a little ride with Ava and I. I told them to throw him up in front of me. Little kids fit so nice on my Wade saddle, they just hook their legs over the bucking rolls. As he settled into place between me and the saddle horn, I realized there wasn’t room any more. It came as quite a shock to me. You would think by now I would remember that big belly sticking out there.


Pregnant Class

We were required to take a class to learn how to be pregnant or give birth or something. All I really got was that I had to be up from six in the morning till after eleven and up again by six the next day, but I got to eat out and they served a beautiful fruit salad.

In the first class we spent the whole three hours giggling over the breathing. It’s a wonder we don’t get kicked out for talking in class, making dirty jokes and cow references. I lived in dread of having to watch the video in the second class. The video was awful; I’ve seen lots of cows do this why should I be forced to watch a person? It seems to get better with each class. They were smart enough not to warn us about the c-section video. I enjoyed it much more than the birthing video. Blood and gore never has bothered me. They showed us huge needles used for epidurals. I giggled (more) thinking of how I have had to give the horses shots since I was a small child. Mom will pass out at the sight of a needle.

Then we got a tour of the rooms. She showed us a bed that cost fifteen thousand dollars. She asked for volunteers to try on the baby monitor. I said no. I am my husbands favorite, non computer, toy though so he volunteered me.

I think I got a good glimpse of what giving birth will be like. There was an audience as I clambered awkwardly on to the bed. My belly was exposed to the public as they wrapped straps around me. The monitor was cool we could hear the heart beat and lots of gurgling. I swear it was just the baby moving.

Then we got a demonstration of why the bed was so expensive. They began ripping covers off to display its guts. While I was still in it covered in straps, by the way, so I could demonstrate the positions. The innocent looking bed had foot braces and stirrups, a large cut out with  a built in trash bag underneath for catching a baby if it gets dropped. OK she promised that wasn’t what it was for, but who knows it could be handy for that. An exercise bar. All sorts of strange and scary extras.

What happened to the way it’s done in movies where she get to just lay there? I didn’t sign up for doing squats.