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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Friday, October 03, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours--June

The month of June did exactly that – poured.

June was a busy month all the way around. Two and I talked about going to a few Powwows this summer and worked toward spending a few weekends together. Sort of like getting some of our life back—but not. All of you who had been and still are care giving know what I mean.

The first Powwow was at the beginning of June. It was a powwow we hadn’t attended in four years. We planned to take Mom with us, but when we called about facilities and conveniences for her, we were told there were no bathrooms close to the Powwow circle and the camping was a half-mile from the circle. While on the phone, the Powwow director asked if Two Feather could set up his Indian art since we were planning to go. After thrashing around the idea for a few days, I decided that the best place for Mom would be at the ALF for that weekend. There would be no way I could keep and eye on her, help Two with his booth, dance, and get her to the bathrooms and camper a half-mile away when she needed to go.

We enjoyed the Powwow immensely. Two was gifted highly and honored by the lead lady dancer, a Cherokee woman from Oklahoma. She gifted me as well. It was a very spiritual and relaxing weekend.

Here is a picture of Two Feather’s set up at the Powwow.

Mom did fine in the ALF and enjoyed seeing her friends there again.

The rest of June was filled with the sound of chain saws and trees falling. I decided to have a selective cut logging (14" or more in diameter) done on the property in order to put some use to the larger and older trees rather than have them die or blown down in storms. The logging started June 11. All I’ll say about the logging is to make sure “everything you expect” is in the contract.

They knew the terrain would require a bulldozer to cut in trails, but they wanted to cut corners and not bring one in. That resulted in them ripping up the yard and damaging the block foundation of the barn before they finally decided to bring in a dozer. Also in the process, one of the logging trucks ripped the cable line off the house and we had no cable or TV for nearly two weeks. (One of the reasons I hadn’t posted anything in June). Comcast cable finally got the cable repaired and didn’t charge us, but the barn damage became a two-month-long issue with the logging company owner, who would not take responsibility. One of the Amish workers who ran the bulldozer ended up paying for the damage since his boss wouldn't.

Here is a picture of just one pile of logs brought in before it was loaded on the logging trucks.

I wouldn’t recommend the logging company I hired. In fact, I won’t even mention the name, but I would recommend Detweiler’s Wood Products of Kennerdell, PA. Mervin Detweiler IS a man of his word.

During the time of the logging, Two and I were traveling back and forth from our house to Mom’s on his Kawasaki Mule while she was at day care. One early morning on the way to Mom’s we saw a small animal move its way slowly across our path. I got off the Mule and walked to the edge of the path and found a fairly young, weak baby raccoon. He couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old, if that. He was very skinny and clumsy. Either he had fallen or had been pushed out of the nest by the mother. We picked him up and took him up to our house to see what we could do for him.

This is what he looked like when we took him home before he was cleaned up.

After a quick exam of the scrawny little masked creature, we found he had ticks in his ears and between his toes. We put Bag Balm on all the ticks and within a few hours they had backed out and died. I gave him a warm bath and wrapped him in an old towel to keep him warm and Two Feather named him Ricky. We figured we’d try to nurse him back to health and give him a fighting chance.

This is Ricky after he was all cleaned up. He's cleaning himself and our dog is curious about this new little furry creature in our kitchen.

We had an old wire dog-training cage in our garage and put an old blanket in it for him to sleep on. He had to be to force fed with a dropper because he was so weak. Two Feather and I were planning for our second Powwow the following weekend, so we had to somehow get Ricky on solid food before we left. We had six days to accomplish that.

The morning after we found him we thought we might lose him. He was lethargic and barely breathing. We took him out of the cage, wrapped him in a warm towel and continued to dribble milk in his mouth every 20 minutes. By afternoon he was much better. He was up stumbling around the house and curious about our little white Maltese. By the end of the second day we had him drinking milk from a baby bottle, he was more stable and running around the house playing with our dog.

Nose to nose.

Every time we called his name, he’d make the cutest squeaking or chirping sound. By the fourth day he was gaining some weight, getting frisky with our dog, giving me kisses on the cheek when I asked for a kiss, squeaking when he wanted fed, and came running when he heard his name. Ricky would crawl up Two Feather’s pant leg and sit on his lap, or crawl up to his shoulder and sit on his shoulder. He would make the cutest chatter or chirping sound.

Two days were left before it was time for us to go to our second Powwow. Ricky was still drinking out of the bottle but wouldn’t drink out of a bowl. We couldn’t leave milk in a bowl to spoil over the weekend anyway, so we had to get him on solid food.

The day before we left he finally drank out of a bowl. I decided to get some soft canned cat food to put in the bowl for the weekend and hope he ate. If he didn’t eat, he wouldn’t have been any worse off than when we found him. He turned his nose up at the cat food and squealed for his bottle. We fed him one last bottle before we left for the weekend.

The second Powwow we attended was in Farmington, Pennsylvania. The Powwow this year was in honor of the celebration of the birthday of the two-year-old white buffalo born at the Woodland Zoo. We camped at the edge of the Powwow grounds in direct view of the white buffalo. The zoo named the buffalo Miracle and its color has not changed to brown; by Indian belief, if a buffalo is born white and stays white, it is the sacred buffalo that will bring all races of man together.

At both Powwows the Longest Walk II participants were there. It was good to support them in their efforts of keeping Native American traditions alive and raise the awareness of Indian culture.

It was a very special weekend. Two Feather and I enjoyed the Powwow, dancing, watching the buffalo, and we met some very special people that weekend.

When we returned home, we were greeted with little squeals from Ricky when he heard his name. Nearly all the cat food was gone. He had done just fine! He climbed up the side of the cage by the door and squealed until we let him out. Once he was out the door, he climbed up Two Feather’s pant leg and chest and sat on his shoulder chattering.

During the logging and the Powwows, June was full of rain. It seemed the puddles didn’t get a chance to dry before more rain came to make more puddles and mud. The dampness and chill played havoc with my body. That brings us to July.

I’ll be back very soon with another update.

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Blogger ~Betsy said...

You certainly had a busy June! Even though we live close (only a county away), much of the rain you experienced would veer north or south of us. We had an excessively dry summer.

Glad to see Ricky did well. You and Two have very kind souls!

10/07/2008 9:38 AM  
Blogger rainbowheart said...

I can understand the rain. It is pouring here now! I love your post with all the pictures.
And Ricky, (my deceased brothers name) is wonderful. You and Two have wonderful and kind souls. Take care and hope to hear from you soon.

10/08/2008 8:10 PM  
Blogger Lori1955 said...

I'm so glad you got to get away and get to the pow wows. I would love to see a white buffalo.

Ricky is just too cute. It doesn't surprise me that you rescued him.

Sorry about all the logging problems. It's really a shame that so few people have integrity anymore.

10/09/2008 8:42 AM  
Blogger Ray Wong said...

The powpow sounded so much fun!

10/15/2008 11:08 AM