Sunday, February 23, 2020

As sick as a dog

On Thursday night, while I was unpacking my car, Skabby ran out of the yard - as always- and explored the field behind the milking shed. When I was ready to go inside, I called him. As he always does, he came after a few more calls and whistles from me.  

As we entered the garden and I closed the gate, he sat down and wouldn't move. It took me a few minutes to cajole him to come indoors. Then he started to pant, salivate and walk in circles. This continued all night. I didn't know what to do for the poor boy. Next morning, I put his bowl of food in front of him. He sat down. Period. Didn't touch the food. 

This was a great worry as Skabby never refuses any food; ever. I spoke to Ron (my neighbors) who was going into Estcourt and they suggested I get into their pick up truck with Skabby and we take him to the vet. 

The vet x-rayed him. There were specks of bone-like material at the end of his colon. All I could think was that while Skabby was exploring the paddock on his own on Thursday evening, he picked up a [piece of] hoof or horn and swallowed it whole when I called him. He knows that I take this type of "treat" from him if I see it. 

The vet gave him an injection to calm him down- he had been panting and salivating for hours. He also gave me a laxative syrup and antibiotics which were almost impossible to administer once I got home. I mixed the medication with sour milk and a few pellets and because the injection had made him feel better, he ate this. 

On Saturday morning he ate his normal breakfast - albeit with much less enthusiasm than normal. Feeling a lot happier that my boy was improving, I went off to Parkrun, where I was volunteering. (I've been a volunteer since six weeks after my surgery in September and not been on the track since then; but this is another story!)

A few hours after lunch, Skabby started to pant and salivate again. By 4.30 I was frantic and phoned the emergency number at the vet. I spoke to a lady who said I should bring the dog in immediately and she would tend to him. She thought (as did I) that the bone or something was causing an obstruction. 

By 5.15pm Skabby and I were being admitted into the gate by the young man, Adrian, who lives on the premises at the surgery. The vet, a lovely young woman, arrived shortly afterwards. After examining Skabby, she said she would sedate him and between her and Adrian, they would flush his bowels out with warm soapy water. 

I took my boy out onto a concrete slab with drains at the end and here the vet injected Skabby. Within a count of five, the dog fell over. The vet and Adrian made him comfortable and between them they sorted Skabby's problem out. It took about forty minutes after which she administered the drug to bring him out of his slumber. Adrian had two huge towels and cleaned and dried Skabby. 

The vet helped me load Skabby onto my back seat and by 7pm I drove into the farmyard. Skabby managed to get out of the car and walk into the house, where he immediately lay down and slept again.

This morning he asked to go out at 5. Later when I offered him a bowl of sour milk again, he merely pecked at it. He seems a lot more comfortable. 

Farm critters and a dog

On Thursday - a very hot day, I took Skabby out for his walk. When we got to the point where we turn around (after he has a dip in the small dam), he stopped dead in his tracks! The pond was filled with cows who were cooling down their legs and bodies as well! 
 A happy dog loping along on his walk with Mama 
 Uh-oh! The dam was filled with cows! 
 Mum, I'm nervous! And yet dying to cool off as well! 
 Skabby plodged in the shallows all the while keeping an eye on the cows...
 ...who were keeping an eye on him too! 
 Back along the farm road we came across a black cow with her newborn black calf. She, too, kept an eye on Skabby as we approached
The calf goes in for a drink

The milk lorry leaving the farm after collecting milk 

I'm linking to Eileen's Saturday Critters here

I'm a bit late - the next post shows why...

Happy Sunday to you all! 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Kitty memories

Meouw-ello to Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose. I had some memories of my Unca Shadow this week. Mum photographed Mama and Missy playing with Shivering Shawn the Sheep. My Unca Shadow used to play with that toy when he and Mum and Dad lived in a faaaaar away place on a big river. 

Mama and Missy playing with Shawn the Sheep

 Missy has also found a spot on top of Mum's cupboard - next to the running shoes ! 
 Here Missy and I touch noses. This is the kitty way of socializing
Chappy says she just hangs around the place where she gets cookies quicker! 

 The dog, Skabby is so happy - you have to see his tail moving in this photo and ...
...and in this one! 

We kitties are sitting on the veranda near Mum's open air office. We love having Mum home instead of when she used to go away every day - all day. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

A very pleasant week

This week marks Valentine's Day and since I've been around, I've had a birthday on 13th February! 
This year I was spoiled even more than past years as a widow in this Valley. 

For my Weigh- Less group on Tuesday, I invited the members to stay behind after the lecture and enjoy legal treats with me. Jill, my wonderful Group Assistant, made her yummy corn fritters. I like to make the apple banana bran muffins which are "legal" for Weigh-Less members. Having several new members, they were intrigued that they could enjoy crackers and hummus; and these other baked goodies.  

On Wednesday, several members joined me for my birthday celebrations in Estcourt; a town 40km from my home. 
 On Thursday, I arrived at the hotel where I run my second Thursday group. When I arrived in the cane lounge, there was a milk tartlet on a dessert plate with a sparkler creating a very festive air. 
See moi in the heart-shaped photo in the center of this collage. Hotel owner, and friend, Shelley had instructed the manager to surprise me thus

A great week, heralding my new year. 

Crowned Cranes

Hello to my blogger friends and especially to Eileen.  I was so thrilled to see this bird for the first time since moving to the farm more than two years ago. Ronnie had told me she sees these, a pair of Crowned Cranes, her favorite birds here on the farm. 

Two weeks ago I was walking my dog, Skabby and heard the Crowned Cranes calling. After I'd brought Skabby home, I grabbed my camera and walked up to the gate from where I could see the paddock. This, Ron assured me, was where they were most often seen. 

And sure enough...

The resident pair of Crowned Crane on the farm 

I'm linking to Eileen's Saturday Critters here

Happy Saturday to you all! 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

At last!

Dear Mum's blogger friends; this is Ambrose. At LAST Mum has a cool new notebook and has allowed me to put my paw to print. Things have been restful here in the Hedges Kitty household . For one, Missy, is acting more responsibly now. She is out on the veranda for the most part of the day while Mum works in her outdoor office. 

 Unca Shadow always told me he "had my back" so here I am "getting Missy's back!" Here I am protecting Missy from the dogs next door who can just be seen on the other side of the fence - see between the far chair slats!  
Mama and I have called a truce, but she still stays far away when I am near! 

This is Chappie in her normal relaxed pose

Skabby, the big dog isn't in the photos. But he is still protecting Mum and us kitties well.

Mum wasn't well for a while last year and missed the post about Bozo going to Doggy Heaven. She told me today. 💔

Rest in Peace, Bozo


... where did January go?

Yet, my blogger friends, I'm back and posting about the first month of the year's happenings. 

As I posted earlier in January, my mother-in-law, Pam, passed away at the ripe old age of 90 going on 91. I knew her two years longer than I knew my own husband; she had outlived him. In November I posted about going to my old home town and packing up our home which had been in storage. During the four days of hard, dusty work, (where my dear old house-lady Emily assisted me) I also spent many hours with Pam in her unit in the assisted care center. I am glad I did.  

With her passing on 11 January, I was very much involved in remotely arranging her room to be packed up (my DIL Amanda and Erica, Emily's daughter did this job with love.) My BIL, Chilly,  Pam's only remaining son, lives many kilometers from where Pam passed away. So, in lieu of his uncle, Angus, Pam's second oldest grandson, attended to the identifying of the body in the hospital mortuary, met with the funeral parlor,  chose the coffin and authorized the cremation. This is all we needed the parlor do. 

Although Angus was on the spot, there were many little facts he had to ask me about: Where was Bammie (the grandchildren and great-grandchildren's name for Pam) born? Her birth certificate was in the home's files. What coffin should he choose? Pam wanted the simplest, most economical coffin. So when he sent me the options on Whatsapp, I chose one. He and my BIL decided on that one. Is there anyone in the family against cremation? I said I could guarantee the answer is no, and Pam told me in November she wanted to be cremated. Pam was a feisty old lady and insisted on this particular last request. I fielded all these questions while traveling in extremely hot conditions to my accommodation in the Valley and afterwards to hold my Weigh-Less group at the Nest Hotel.  

Meanwhile, I was due to attend a Weigh-Less conference  in Durban - two hour road trip to the eastern seaboard of South Africa. This took place the weekend before we were having the memorial service in Marquard - a three hour road trip to the north and center of South Africa! 

These conferences are always pleasant as we country group leaders, meet with the city slickers. Zulaika, my mentor from Ladysmith, rode in the car with me so we caught up on family news. She has been with Weigh-Less for 16 years and I learn so much from her while in her company. 

The meeting started at 11am and after a welcome by  the Weigh-Less Chairman and founder, Mary Holroyd, we had 45 minutes of training. After this we are grilled by the branch manager, Rouna and said Mary on what we learnt from the video lecture. As group leaders guiding people to lose weight the healthy way, Weigh-Less keeps up with - and is often ahead of -  the latest in nutrition and health issues. 

We were served with a delicious meal after which the awards ceremony began. Last year in February  I won the Newcomer Group Leader of the year award. I had been running two groups for five months and had 18 members. here . This  year as Rouna and Mary, awarded this year's Newcomer of the year and the Group Assistant of the year, Zulaika, seated next to me, whispered that she was sure I would get the next award. Mary then stood in front of us and said the Group Leader of the year's membership had grown phenomenally but the criteria for being the winner would be member retention. I, in turn, whispered to Zulaika, that Amina or Sadia, from Durban had a better retention that I. 

Next Mary (looking to the back of the hall where one of my contenders were seated)  announced: Group Leader of the Year for Kwa-Zulu Natal is Joy Hedges ! Mary, Irish by birth, still has much of her accent pronounces my name, Jo as Joy! 

I was thrilled, of course, and went up for the award, a certificate and several  gift vouchers which I will enjoy spending.  

Moi, above with certificate and top with Mary

I now run six groups in three different towns; I  have 85 members on my tallies and I'm quietly training three members (one on target, going for goal; and the other two still with weight to lose) that as soon as they have "qualified" to become group leaders and one group assistant in their home town. 

Back home that weekend, I had to get on with the obituary I had written for MIL in the Afrikaans newspaper in the Free State. I also had a deadline for the first Probus newsletter of the year that Sunday night. Meanwhile, I was arranging eats for Pam's service the coming Wednesday.  I'd spoken to the pastor and pianist the previous week, and they were available. Estelle (my erstwhile employers at The Art Box) and good friend, printed the service sheets for me. 

On Tuesday afternoon, my SIL, Shelley pulled into the farmyard in her Kombi. In the passenger seat was BIL, Chilly and behind them were the two aunts, Gill and Carole. 

We had a companionable trip up to Marquad; a repeat of our journey in May last year! The two aunts, Carole 77 and Gill 84, are delightful company and regaled us with stories from their youth. 
Pam's family: Jo (yes, I wore the same outfit!) Eryn, Gill, Joshua, John, Carole, Angus, Amanda, Shelley and Chilly, with Joel, Abbey and Liam with their mom

We were sad to bid farewell to Pam, older sister to Gill and Carole;  mother to Chilly and MIL to me and Shelley; grandmother of Angus, John (my sons); Bruce, Louise, Kerry and Mitch; (Chilly and Shelley's children) and 13 great grandchildren. But we were grateful for her long life and that she only had a short illness before going to her Maker.