Monday, February 15, 2021

 When we look at today's weather map, we all see the same thing: the Polar Vortex that covers both Canada and most of the USA. Our sub 0 temperatures began late last week. Inside we stay cozy and warm, but we have to worry about the outside critters--rather the Head Gardener who tends to them has to problem solve the effects of such extreme cold, like the -15 degrees that held through most of the night. Even at -6 and a heat wave of 0 cause certain problems for horses. Take POP for example. At 34 while he looks robust and even acts robust,  but the cold is hard him. The HG dug out his winter blanket late last week and covered him up. Sundance suffering from arthritis is stiff and presumably, like we humans, probably has cold aggravated pain. 


Experts will say that horses are build to endure the cold, that blanketing isn't all that necessary, often overheating them, even in this extreme cold. The most important way to keep a horse warm is feed, which as the Vet told us fires up the horse's internal furnace. So Sundance can graze, but POP can't because he doesn't have good enough teeth to grind up forage, so he gets pellets that become a warm mash with hot water added. Only, yesterday his mash was freezing before he get it eaten, so late in the evening when the HG became frustrated that he couldn't keep the mash soft, I suggested using the dog's heated dog food bowl and it worked. We felt much better knowing that POP would get his full ration of food, hoping to help keep him warm.

The Barn Cat Callie is quite spoiled with a heated lamp above her dog crate home, still her water freezes, as does the pigeons' water. The hens stay toasty in their house with another heat lamp. The ponds are frozen, so we try to keep the bird bath filled and the feeders full.

Today the sun shines, giving hope that it will soon warm up. The weather app says that it reach 14 by 4 PM. Not much improvement there. There's a gradual warming trend all week that will take us above freezing. I'll be enjoying that.

Mo doesn't worry about the weather; he just sleeps through it. He's taken to sleeping in my chair by the kitchen window on the soft cushion, made even softer with a towel that I laid over the cushion to keep his hair off of it. He'll sleep here for hours then demand some food or water--but only from a dripping faucet. He's 20, so I guess he has the right to be so demanding.

  I've been keeping myself busy making greeting cards for my DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) chapter to ship to Cards for Soldiers in Michigan, an organization that takes handmade cards and ships them all over the US, but mostly to soldiers deployed overseas. I host card parties here in my basement where several DAR members will join me every few weeks to make cards. Our last party created valentines for the residents at the Cheyenne VA nursing home.

This group of cards are all occasion cards that soldiers will be able to send home to loved ones. As an avid scrapbooker, over the years I have acquired quite a stash of embellishments and papers, so I dug it out and began to create. Mostly we have done Thank You for Your Service themed cards in red, white, and blue, but this program gives us the opportunity to be more creative. It's relaxing and gives us a great sense of contribution to the men and women who serve in the military.


Your can find Cards for Soldiers on Facebook while you are at it, take a look at our Overland Trail Chapter, NSDAR on Facebook, too. 

I am going to close with a personal note, not something that I normally write about--health, but I feel that I should share my experience with my COVID-19 vaccination, more as an FYI just to let you know what you could expect and sort of as a cautionary tale.

Know that I am not making a recommendation to get the vaccine or not to, just to let you know about how I reacted to the shots. 

I took my first shot January 19.  I had just turned 74, so I fell in the age range, so my health organization UC Health of Colorado sent me an invitation (as it is being called) to accept my pre-assigned time. I could choose my location: Pueblo, a 3 hour drive; Colorado Springs, a 2 hour drive; or Poudre Valley Hospital in Ft. Collins, a 20 minuted drive. You know where I chose. 

There was no line; the shot was given, and I was asked to wait 15 minutes to make sure that I did not have a server reaction. My arm got sore, just as the news reports said it would and then it hurt even more and then the 3rd day I barely knew that I had a shot.

February 9th I reported to the hospital for the second injection, expecting to walk in, get the shot, wait 15 minutes and leave. Not so.

The line began almost at the elevator when I stepped off it. It moved quickly and soon we were at the entrance to the cafeteria where the shots were being given, but this time we were directed in other direction.with a very long line, all the way down one side the hall and all the way back up the other side. It took about 20 minutes to make the journey down one side, turn at the end of the hall and moved back toward the cafeteria. 

I asked the nurse about the line and she explained that in the beginning the hospital was assigned only a few hundred; now they are doing 1600 a day from 7 AM to 7PM. Despite the wait, it is actually a very efficient system.

If you research side effects, they will vary from none to pretty sick with fever, chills, body aches, headache and last 1.5- 2 days or 48 hours, as mine did. I spent the next day in bed, not eating, drinking a bit of Gatorade throughout the day. The night was the same. The next morning I was feeling better, but couldn't taste my breakfast and went back to bed. By mid afternoon I was feeling better, but had a headache which steadily got worse through the night and then diarrhea most of the night. At this point, I'm not sure if these were side effects or maybe stress related from not taking my normal prescriptions and not eating and drinking enough, but it was a rough couple of days.

The good news: simply that my side effects were not out of the range of what the medical experts say are normal and are a sign that the body is working to build up the antibodies. 

The bad news: I gained an important insight into my age related health problems and this is the point that I want to make. As a diabetic on medication with high blood pressure, taking daily doses is important in order to keep those functions under control; however, when one gets sick those medications that require food to be taken and one's not hungry and skips those medicines, well that's where the trouble can start. The blood sugar can easily get out of wack as will the blood pressure.  I'm sharing this more as a precaution to remind even healthy folks that when you get sick, you have take care of yourself, even go to the doctor to make sure that you are doing all that you can to regain your health because once one block loosens, the rest will tumble, too. I am thinking that as an older woman, my good health can be rather frail when it becomes challenged, so this experience has made me realize that I have to be even more cognizant of taking better care of myself when I do get sick, even asking for help if I need to. 

I'll be joining Angie for Mosaic Monday--I guess I'd better whip up a mosaic.

One of our favorite spots during the summer is the Colorado State University test garden in Ft. Collins, CO where you can see the new varieties of your favor flowers, a real alphabet from A-Z of the newest beauties along with some interesting garden structures and visitors. The garden has grown to the the side of the street, with fountains and more walking paths. This day we were treated to a not so rare, but not often seen, Queen butterflies, easily mistaken as a Monarch, it can be found on the Colorado prairie, but seems very much at home in the city nibbling on the butterfly bush. 

Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope everyone keeps warm and stays well.


  1. How unpleasant for you. We both had quite bad reactions, my husband having a high temperature and all the other flu like symptoms for 24 hours. That's always a worry . He did manage to have some home made chicken soup, and as a diabetic it was necessary.
    I do hope you feel well now.

    1. I am feeling my old self. Gerald gets his second shot next week. He didn't even get a sore arm the first time. Homemade chicken soup would have helped, but I'm the maker. Should have planned ahead. Stay well.

  2. Ann - here in northwest Montana, it has been a very cold week. Our "tragedy" was pipes temporarily freezing, preventing me from doing laundry! But I have a neighbor with goats and cattle - she had a tough time with just getting them water since all the taps were frozen ... A warming trend is coming, so that's good news. Thanks for sharing your experience with the vaccines - it is helpful advice for us all. Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

  3. This post reminded me of a few things. 1. The mini-series Cranford when a lady makes pajamas for her cow! 2. My Covid experience was awful and your reaction to the shot were some of the worst manifestations (the intestinal upset was so hard for me in the hospital) the taste issue, all the things. My sinuses still feel weird.
    Let's meet at the Botanic Gardens in May!

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  5. I hope it has warmed up by now. We were in a snow globe for about three weeks, then last week, it went away. It’s trying to warm up, and my crocus are peeking out. Sorry you struggled with that second shot. My first one is this Friday. I’m pleased, but nervous.


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