Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Bad Afternoon

Those of you who followed my first blog,Little Cottage In The Country,know of the struggles that Rick has had with his PTSD and TBI  since 2005.. His Canines For Combat Veterans Dog,Richie,has been so very helpful to him.They have such a wonderful bond with each other.

The other day,Richie was sitting on his lap,and it looked so cute that I had to take a photo:

Yesterday,Rick had a very bad afternoon. Everything seemed fine,I went grocery shopping as normal,and Rick helped me unload the bags from the car. He did the dishes,and then sat down to watch the noon time news.

I was in the kitchen,and I happened to look at over him and he was crying. I immediately went over and sat on the arm of his recliner,and asked him what was the matter. He explained that his hypervigilance was really bad,and he was "seeing everything." Every shadow,even me in the kitchen,was putting him on guard,and it was overloading him. He couldn't control breaking down. It wasn't fair,he said. He didn't' want to be like this. It wasn't fair to Zach and I. He thanked me for staying with him and putting up with all this. I hugged him and told him I loved him and tried to reassure him. There was nothing else I could do. He went into the bedroom to rest,and was in a there a bit,still crying. I checked on him again,and he was upset because he couldn't stop his hypervigilance. He was upset because he has no concept of time. Years seem like a month to him. He can't remember Zach growing up because of his memory loss. A picture might trigger a brief flash of something,but even though he was there,he can't recall it,so it's like he's missed it. He looks at Zach and doesn't know how he is now almost 16. When he went to Iraq,Zach was in first grade. He can't remember if  he has spent enough time with Zach,which is why he will drive him to school sometimes instead of letting him take the bus.He can't remember time with me. Sometimes folks will say,"Oh,I lose track of time a lot." It's not the same thing at all. He worries sometimes that I will say I've had enough and leave him. He can't come to grips with his limitations. He tries to be who he was before and do the things he did before,but winds up putting pressure on himself because he tries so hard and it's not the same. He only really remembers military things because,over there,you had to  know your stuff otherwise you might get killed or get others killed. 

I felt so very helpless. Rick hates breaking down,and never wants Zach to see him like that. I told him that Zach is very smart young man,and that if he ever cried in front of him,Zach would not think him any less a man for doing so. That crap has to come out. I don't care what sex you are,holding stuff in is not good for anyone mentally,physically,or spiritually.You have to purge it.

Richie was right there,putting his head on Rick's leg,his shoulder,and lapping the tears from his face. He knew that Rick was upset,and he did his job well. Rick took some Valium (which is prescribed for something like this to) and took a nap. When he woke up,he felt better.

Folks may wonder why I put something as personal as this out there. I want folks to know about PTSD,and how people struggle with it. I have Rick's permission to do so. I wouldn't do it otherwise.

I told him he was still my knight in shining amour. He always will be.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Homemade Dish Soap Trial

I have been trying to find a dish soap that I can make myself. Jill over at The Prairie Homestead (see the link to her site to the right under "My Blog List") came up with a recipe that she loves that I tried.

 Here is the link: 

She did mention that folks may have to make adjustments-she has homemade tallow soap,which is harder soap than the soap I make-and I also only had glycerin as opposed to vegetable glycerin. I followed the amounts in her recipe,however. The soap came out very watery,the dishes did not have grease on them,but because the grease rose to the top of the water,it left my hands feeling greasy and left a grease ring around the sink. I had Rick feel the dishes to see if there was any film on them because I couldn't tell. He said they felt nice and clean,so in that respect it worked great.

I then figured that I would try it again using Fels Naptha soap,which is a harder soap than what I make. I used 3 tablespoons grated Fels naptha,3 cups water, 1 teaspoon of washing soda,and 1 teaspoon of glycerin. I put it in a mason jar and shook it on occasion as it cooled.  It did become chunky when it was completely cooled,so I added a bit more water to it and shook it. Again,it cleaned everything well,but I still had a greasy feeling on my hands,and it left a grease ring around the sink.

I just can't get past the greasy hands and sink ring.Now,I don't know if the vegetable glycerin would make a difference,and it very well may. I am not sure what the difference between regular glycerin and veggie glycerin is, However,as far getting the dishes clean,it works fine. If you try it,don't be surprised to find there are no suds!

Next time I will see if veggie glycerin makes a difference as far the greasy hand feeling goes.

Have you had any success with homemade dish soap?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Homemade Cleaners

Yesterday I spent some time restocking my homemade cleaning supplies. I love not having to buy them! All you need are things you have in  your house:

2)White vinegar
3)Dish soap
And,if you are like me....
5)Essential oils for scent and for disinfecting.

( I do have more oils than these...this is a photo of my newer scents!)

 I make glass cleaner from vinegar,water,and a bit of dish soap. I use equal parts water and vinegar (depending on how much I need to fill my bottle),1/2 teaspoon dish soap,and I use as many drops of a whatever essential oil I am in the mood for. I put in 10 drops,shake the bottle,spray it in the air,and if I like the scent,I am done. If not,I add more drops,etc. This time around I used Fir Needle scent. Shake before each use!

A great disinfectant is water,vinegar,and tree oil. Again,equal parts water and vinegar,then approx 20 drops tea tree oil. Give it shake before  you use it!

If you don't have essential oils,don't worry,equal parts water and bleach work very well,especially in places like bathrooms!

I also had to replace our air freshener. Last time I used Lemongrass,this time I (again) used Fir Needle. Simply fill a spray bottle with water ( I used a 4 oz one)and put essential oil drops in. Since the bottle was not a big one,I used 5 drops to start,shook the bottle,and sprayed it in the air to see what the scent would be like. I think I used 6 or 7 drops. It was just the right amount of pine scent. Again,shake before each use,because the oils will find their way to the top of the water.

Today I made a new recipe I found for dish soap. This has been one of the banes of my life-trying to find a recipe that works. I don't mind lack of bubbles,but it has to cut grease and not leave my dishes filmy. I  have not found a solution to this problem,so I am hoping that this will work. I 'll keep you posted!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Finds I Love!

I am a huge history fan.I read a lot of historical nonfiction and biography-the Middle Ages and the Tudor period are my main loves. I do enjoy some fiction- I love the styles and manners  of the Regency period thanks to Jane Austen,and love the Victorian Era as well.
It seems to me that we could learn a lot about being polite from these times,but I digress.

I wanted some old fashioned style Christmas cards this year,and something that was Victorian would fit the bill. I stumbled across a website, The Victorian Trading Company.They have all sorts of lovely things,from clothing,to inkwells,to calling cards. They also had some lovely Christmas cards. These were the ones I finally decided upon:

If you love the Victorian Era,I suggest you check out their website-you will fall in love!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Polar Vortex

A good portion of the US is in what is being referred to as the "Polar Vortex" right now. Some parts of the country are seeing temperatures down to -75 degrees. That is weather I have never seen before,nor do I ever. Compared to those temperatures,we are down right balmy- 12 degrees,maybe closer to 0 with the wind chill. We did have have a bit of a reprieve for a couple of days where the temps got above freezing,but it didn't last very long.

According to Accuweather,a polar vortex is a large pocket of very cold air,usually the coldest in the Northern Hemisphere,which stays around the polar region in wintertime. The pocket was pushed south,down to the US.The pocket is not usually pushed as far south.

Seasons are no longer the same as they were when I was young. We no longer see much of a spring here,and nice fall weather doesn't last long.Storms are getting stronger. Some folks don't believe in climate change,but I sure do.

All we have been doing here,as we have been,is making sure the sheep and chickens are doing well,and keeping the wood stove going. I have been working on some Scouting tasks,going through my books to see which ones I want to donate,and working on my home management binders. I have also been trying to get caught up on sleep-I have not slept well for four days,and it's beginning to take it's toll. I am someone who needs her sleep-some folks are lucky and don't need much,but I always have. I feel like a walking zombie. Maybe today I can catch a nap. It seems like when ever I try,the phone doesn't stop ringing,or I just can relax enough to get those extra zzzzzz's.

To my friends in the US and Canada,please stay safe and warm!!!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Baby,It's Cold Outside!

A winter storm is winding down now here in NH.It began snowing about 4:00 AM on Thursday morning,and right now,at 7:50 AM on Friday,it's still flurrying. School was cancelled yesterday and today. It's hard to tell how much snow we have,because the wind has picked up and is blowing the snow all over the place,but as of last night before the wind started we had over 6" and were in line to get up to a foot or more.The temperatures have dropped considerably,with the wind chill it's about 20 below zero right now,which makes road treatment pretty much useless. It could go down to 35 below tonight,and the weathermen are telling everyone to stay inside. They are saying it's going to be the coldest weather we have had since the 1990's,but it is going to improve starting tomorrow.

Rick has been checking on the animals to make sure they have plenty of feed  so they have enough calories to help keep them warm,and bedding. The sheep are pretty resilient,but the chickens are always more of a concern. Their house is closed up right now. He also has been taking the dogs out to do their business,and has been doing snow removal. Zach has been helping as well. Rick won't let me go outside to help because of the cold-he is like that.

I just took this photo a few minutes ago,and it looks like no shoveling has been done,but it was shoveled three times yesterday:

Looks like my car is in a bit of a drift! I took this through our bedroom window:

Our furnace still has not been installed,so we have been feeding the wood stove quite a bit. Overnight,however,it had a bit of a rest,so when Rick woke up the house was down to 53 degrees. It's slowly warming up,and right now it's 58 degrees.

It's a good day to read "The Long Winter!"

If you are having cold temperatures,stay warm!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014!

From all of us here at Cöpse Clearing Farm to all of you throughout the world,we wish you a 2014 filled with love,good health,happiness,and peace!!!