Sunday 28 December 2008

The week of Christmas

On Tuesday I went out carol singing around the farms with the rest of the singers from the local church, it was great fun and for once a mild night, so no frozen fingers and toes.
We had a quiet Christmas day, though I did manage to get out and gas some moles in one of the fields, we then spent the rest of the day watching the whole of the Lord of the Rings DVDs.
Boxing Day we went to our neighbours for open house, for Tim it was quite a long afternoon/early evening, but we both enjoyed ourselves and if we'd had to go home early because it was too much for Tim nothing would have been said. Then on Saturday my sister, brother in law, mum and the hobbits arrived. I cooked a goose for lunch, bought from a fellow smallholder, it was beautiful. I will have to get one booked for next Christmas.
So far Tim is slowly improving, sleeping less but eating more as his body repairs the damage to his hand. The last report from the consultant was positive and depending on how the x-ray looks over the next couple of weeks Tim could be without his splint in 6 weeks, which is half the time he was originally supposed to be in the splint. That aside he still has to be very careful he doesn't re-break the bones in his hand doing his exercises.
The animals have, apart from the ram lambs, been O.K though we decided to put Hector and Isaac together as there had been no aggressive behaviour between them through the hurdles that separated them. This lasted all of 5 mins as Hector decided to butt the hell out of Isaac. I had to hit Hector with a bucket to distract him enough for Isaac to dash through a gap in the hurdles and safety. Isaac is with Cecil and Archie and happy, Hector is now on his own, but can see the others and complaining. Ghillie and Grommet keep trying to be friends with Hector, but he's got a "strop on" and wants to be friends with no one!!!!
Next week is going to be a bit of a challenge for Tim, there's the village faith supper to attend, usual weekly trip to the hospital, an invite to a New Years Eve party, and a visit to a fellow smallholders, so he's going to need time to sleep to building up his strength.
Have a good New Year

The worm egg count....

Yesterday the vet rang with the results of the worm egg count, and it was not good. There were 2 types of worm found; strongloides (600+) and trichostrongyle (3400+) which is really bad, but there is no record of fluke worm, which is good and a small count for cocci, which could be a result of the lambs being having such a heavy worm burden.
So the ram lambs urgently need to be wormed using a product called cydectin, then a further worm count 14 days later to ensure that we don't have a resistant variety of worm to cydectin. So the plan is to worm the lambs and leave them in the barn for a couple of days then move them to the grass in the veg plot as that has had no sheep grazing it for at least a year. Then take some more poo samples to see what the worm count is like.
In 2009 to rid our land of worms we will have to do the folowing. In the spring allow the grass to grow long enough to cut for silage as well as lime the paddocks thus altering the ph of the grass and hopefully killing the worms!!! The other alternative is to leave a paddock/field empty for 12 months which we don't have the space to do. So in 2009 we will be carrying out worm counts on a regular basis to check how we are doing.
How have we got into this situation? It looks like the ram we brought in either all ready had a resistant type of the trichostrongyle worm and has shed it's eggs in the top paddock, or the ram had no resistance to this type of worm and so has increased the worm count on our land. Hopefully with a careful worming programme and land management we should get on top of the problem.

Sunday 21 December 2008

What have we done this week

Our eldest godson has been with us most of the week and he's been a great help. The jobs he's managed to do are - clear out the ditch by the veg plot and another one near the back field. Cleared one of the paddocks of thistles and nettles as well as feed up and put hay in the hay racks and split wood.
On Thursday he had his first encounter with a dead sheep. We were moving the ram lambs when we saw that one of them was dead in the field. I was quite surprised how shaken he was by it. Anyway whilst we were moving the lambs, it became apparent that all was not well with a couple of the lambs, so the vet was called. It looks like we could have a strain of resistant worms in our lambs. We won't know until the results of the fecal worm count come through next week. Once we know which strain of worm we have we will know what to treat them with and what we will have to do to clear the eggs from our fields over the next few months.
We've given our eldest godson the nick name of "trainee resident vandal" because the first day he was here he managed to break the light in the garage with his head!!!!!!!!!!
On Friday we had a visit to York as I needed to call in at my office before Christmas, this is the most Tim has been up and about and by the time we got home he was exhausted.
Friday evening the Resident Vandal and KD arrived for the weekend to help out. So the generator has been given the once over, more wood chopped for me to split, the tractor moved into the barn to protect it from the winter weather, a hay rack mended and a general walk round the boundary checking the fence posts to make sure they are all still O.K after all the snow we've had, and help me look at Missy's front foot as she had a bit of a limp. He had to rugby tackle her so we could get a look at her foot. She was not going to co-operate. It was just a small stone between her toes, but if not removed can lead to more serious problems. He's back in early January for a week to tackle some of the jobs on our ever growing list.
We are now on our own for the next two weeks, apart from family visiting for Christmas, since Tim came out of hospital, which will give us the chance to get into our own routine. It's great to have help, but it's also nice to have the house to ourselves again.
A Happy Christmas to one and all.....

This weeks update on Tim

Tim had his first visit to the dressing clinic and hand therapist at the hospital on Tuesday. Everything is doing really well. The consultant is very happy with the skin graft and the way the scars are healing well. All of the dressings and bandages are now removed, though he has a stockinette bandage on at the moment to protect the scars from the splint he's wearing. When Tim was in the dressing clinic, wearing the sling, which I'd been shown how to fit on Tim's discharge last week, fastened by a safety pin. Evidently you can't use a safety pin anymore as it contravenes Health and Safety!!!!!! So now his sling has to be secured at the elbow with tape......
At the hand therapist I was able to see the X ray of Tim's hand before it was repaired. All I will say is that the surgeon must be good at jig saws, as the bones in the back of his hand were all over the place. Tim now has some more exercise to do, every hour and his splint has been adjusted to get his wrist at the right angle.
All in all everything is going well. I have taken photos of the graft and scars on his arm etc, but they are not for the faint hearted and we now know why the top of Tim's arm is very tender, there is one heck of a bruise starting to come out, as well as one on his fingers and on his palm.
Tim has been told that he could be in a splint for 3 months because the bones that go to his little finger are so delicate and were such a mess the consultant wants to be sure they are properly healed before removing the splint. It's going to be a very long haul........

Sunday 14 December 2008

Help arrives.....

On Wednesday our godson Ben came to stay for a few days to help out with the work that needs doing on our smallholding.
The weather during the week was cold, but dry and at times sunny, so it was a pleasure to be outside. Ben pulled out a load of thistles and nettles from one of the paddocks, it's surprising what an effect this will have on these weeds in the coming summer. He also split a load of wood, not using the condemned chop saw, but using the log splitter, as well as the usual feeding and stocking up the hay racks with hay.
On Saturday we awoke to heavy rain, and boy did it rain, we had a water plume down the back field so after feeding up there was only one place to be and that was in the house, and that's exactly what I did and spent most of the time sorting and carding some fleeces.
Today is fine, if a little foggy and the land is so wet, you really don't want to be walking on it. So I spent the day in the office, doing paperwork and changing the computerised accounts system to work out the new rate of VAT . It took for ever to do, but now it's done I won't have to do it over the Christmas holidays as I normally do.
Next week is the last full week before Christmas and despite Tim being in hospital I've got all my Christmas cards written and posted out and most of the presents sorted out. Thank goodness for on line shopping!!!!!!

Tim is home.........

Tim has been home since Monday evening, it took him a couple of days to get sorted out with the pain killers he's taking. One lot gave him terrible trapped wind and he now understands why babies cry with trapped wind, it's so painful. He's also not had much of an appetite, but that is slowly coming back, and he's been sleeping a lot. But for Tim, that is good, as that is the way he heals himself when he's ill.
We've had a couple of trips out into Whitby, the first on Tuesday for Tim to get a new prescription for his glasses. He walked so slowly that snails were hooting at him so they could pass, and he was totally wiped out for the next 2 days. His new glasses were ready on Friday and though he was still walking slowly, he was not as bad.
Once you loose the use of one arm, you start to realise just how much you use it and here are some task to try with one hand -
  • Fasten shirt/blouse buttons
  • Wash the arm pit of the one hand you can use - in Tim's case - the right arm pit
  • Tie shoe laces
  • Fasten an open ended zip
  • Get wine from a wine box
  • Open child proof medicine bottles

The list is endless, but these few will get you thinking.
People from the village have been great and so have our families, but Tim has been told, that just because he's hurt his hand, it's no excuse not to go carol singing later in the month!!!!

On his release from hospital, speaking to the consultant we've learnt a bit more about what has been done to Tim's hand. One thing the surgeon has done is re route a blood supply from above his elbow, over the top of his thumb to feed the new skin graft. This has meant that the splint he's been fitted with can't have a strap across the thumb to hold it in place. It gave the hand therapist a bit of a challenge. But the exercises she gave Tim are giving him a challenge as well. He has to do them 4 times a day, anymore and it won't help, any less and he will have problems moving his fingers!!!!

Sunday 7 December 2008

What a way to spend your birthday

For poor Tim he's spent his birthday in hospital. He's in good spirits and enjoyed all the cards and presents he's been sent. He's still got his cards at the hospital but I bought all the presents home with me. Less to carry when he comes home tomorrow - hopefully.
After dashing backwards and forwards to the hospital, I've had to stock the hay racks up on a daily basis as we've had quite a bit of snow. I've had to move the ewes back into fields with shelters, thankfully they are all bucket trained, so they moved no problem, especially as the hay racks were also full of fresh hay. They will now stay in these fields until the rams are moved out in a couple of weeks time, when all the ewes will be put back together as one flock and by opening different field gates they will have access to shelter and new grass.
Today Scooby called to help change the raddle colours for Isaac and Hector, a quick job with 2, but a nightmare for me on my own. Scooby has one problem, he's very long sighted so couldn't see the split pin that holds the raddle chalk in place, but I'm so used to doing it, I can release them no problem.
The 3 ram lambs that were in the barn are now out in a small paddock as they are now not due to go to the abattoir until the New Year, and there is no reason for them to be in the barn now until after Christmas.
Well we will see what next week brings!!!!!

Saturday 6 December 2008

Latest on Tim

It's surprising how a patient can change in a few days.

The 6 hour operation on Wednesday on the the skin graft has been successful. I was snowed in on Thursday so I couldn't get to visit him, though a friend who lives 10 mins from the hospital popped in to see him that night and rang me to say that he looked well, if a little tired.

Thursday night, Tim had a bad night there were concerns about his skin graft, so it was redressed and he was given more antibiotics throughout the night. By the time I saw him on Friday afternoon, he was absolutely shattered and he felt as if he was not getting any better.

Today, after a good nights sleep, and with all the drip lines out of him, he was sat up out of bed, looking an awful lot better and he'd also been told that he may be coming home on Monday if a special light weight splint can be made up for him. So that's good news. But when he does come home he's to do absolutely nothing!!!!!

Wednesday 3 December 2008

Latest update on Tim

The good news about Tim's op is that the surgeon was able to rebuild the bones in the back of Tim's hand with the existing bone that was there, without having to take any from his hip, also Tim has not severed the tendons, how, no one knows, but that means that his hand should recover very well.
The downside is that today he had to undergo another long op as the skin graft had not taken, he's also been moved to a high dependency ward for the time being, I think it's to ensure that the graft takes this time. He's out of surgery now and "doing well" according to the hospital.
I saw Tim yesterday afternoon and he was very groggy and we either speak or text at other times. On the whole he's doing O.K, but he will be in hospital for about a week if not longer.
It will take at least 3 months for his hand to be fully recovered and for him to have full strength in it. It's going to be a long slow process......

Tuesday 2 December 2008

Latest on Tim

Well Tim's had had the operation on his hand. He was in surgery 6 hours yesterday afternoon, as he said "the man with the big hammer" came to see him just before the lunch time edition of The Archers, then the next thing he knew it was 11.30.
He rang me at 5.30 this morning and he sounded a lot happier than he did yesterday morning, he was very worried to say the least when I'd seen him yesterday morning. I should know a bit more later today when the doctor has done his morning rounds. The dogs are a little lost, Deefa keeps going into the barn looking for Tim and Holly is subdued.
Thanks for all your comments, calls and email's and I'll pass your regards onto Tim later today.