Tuesday, July 10, 2012


My life has been affected by suicide. More times that I care to admit. But I feel led to admit it, to talk about it. To heal my wounds. My prayer in writing this post is that someone who is struggling with dealing with suicide in their life will find some healing.

"Respect The Need To Grieve
Often ignored in their grief are the parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, spouses and children of persons who have suicided.

Why? Because of the nature of the death, it is sometimes kept a secret. If the death cannot be talked about openly, the wounds of grief will go unhealed. "

Taken from...http://www.survivorsofsuicide.com/help_heal.shtml
My first close encounter happened when my sister's husband's Grandpa ended his life. Phew that was a mouthful! My sister clearly remembers our father talking to her husband. Telling him how sorry he was, that he didn't understand why someone would take their own life. I don't remember getting a full understanding of why he did this. I think there was a doctors visit that he just never came home from. Instead he went and ended his life. Maybe he got bad news that he just couldn't deal with.

A few years later the same man that didn't understand why someone would take their own life; understood why and took his own life. My father killed himself November 9th, 1995. First he took the life of my mother, then his own life.
I really think I would have gone to see him in prison had he not taken his own life. There are times I think of him with a hate so fierce that I grit my teeth. Then there are just as many, if not more, times that I think of him and long for him. I miss him and love him greatly. He had no right to pull that trigger on either of them. But he did and now we live with that pain daily. Not talking about it, doesn't make it go away.

In 2004 my sister in-law overdosed on prescription drugs that were not her own. I believe it was close to Christmas time. She had cancer. It's debated if she intended to end her life or not. But her life ended because of her self medicating with meds that were not her own. No matter what dealer gave them to her, she chose to take them.

In May of 2005 my mother in-law overdosed on prescription drugs that were not prescribed to her. She was a drug user for as long as I knew her. No one knows if she ended her life on purpose or accident. But I do know she was not forced to take those pills. Even if someone else handed them to her or got them for her. She was an adult who took too many pills trying to dull the pain of living and died because of it.

Her brother ended his life as well. My husbands uncle. His son died in a car crash, drunk driving, with in a year of my mother in-laws death. Then with in a year of his son dieing he took his own life.

Now fresh and new my paternal Grandmother ended her own life on July 8th, 2012. I'm sure my grandma must have wondered many times what my dad was thinking and why did he have to take his own life and his wife's life!?  We didn't talk about it much. I wish it wasn't the elephant in the room that it has become. My Grandpa, her husband, has been in and out of the hospital for the last month. I have not been very involved in all of it and just heard about his troubles a week ago. I'm told his doctor said he was fine, normal old age stuff. Grandpa made up his mind that he was dying and stopped eating. He is alive and in the hospital right now. What was she was thinking that she decided it was better to die than to live, we will not know exactly. She was in pain. The dominoes tipped over and could not be righted again.

When my sister told me my dad had said he didn't know what someone would have to be thinking to end their life. The first thing I said was, "Lord, we are next!" The second thing I said was, "shit".  As we both have said the same thing, many times now. Of course I was joking, but it really could be true. I pray I never feel that kind of desperation. I pray no one else feels that kind of desperation, but the reality is, they will. We live in a sin cursed world.

How much can one heart bear Lord? I hurt tonight Jesus, more than most nights. Wrap my Grandpa in your loving arms, Lord. Help him want to keep living. To get better and get out of the hospital. Help those that care for him know what to say to comfort him in his time of loss. Give the doctors wisdom and discernment in how to care for him. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Milkshakes and death

Flash back to May of 2004
Lindsey had just left for softball, game. The kids and I were just starting to make milkshakes.
Lindsey sister called me and told me his mom was not doing good and was gonna die and to bring Lindsey right away. She overdosed at home. She died before we got there.
BUT I put the ice cream back in freezer and took the kids to a friends house and picked up Lindsey from softball. Had to tell my dear husband that his mother was dieing when I rushed into his game, just before it started. 2nd hardest thing I ever told him.
Kids didn't know their paternal Grandma that well, and they were young. Elaine was under a year old. She had seen her one time. Mother's day we took her over to see her. Elaine was born in February. His mom died in May.
I dropped the boys off at a friends. They were upset that we couldn't have milk shakes and they couldn't go with us. So, I promised them they could have milkshakes for breakfast. I must of took Elaine with us, but I dont' remember her going with us. I bet I picked up Lindsey then dropped the boys off. So the boys could sit in the car with her while I ran into the ball field. I don't remember carrying her into the ball field. I was nursing...so I am certain I didn't leave her with my friend.
That started the tradition of milkshakes for breakfast after someone dies. As long as we have ice cream and milk or can make it...we have gone and bought them at McD's before, too.
Call me crazy. I figure it's good to have something to look forward to after a sad night.
Tomorrow morning I will be making Milkshakes for breakfast. My Paternal Grandmother died this morning. A tradition that started with their paternal Grandma dieing has never saddened me like it is tonight. 
My Grandma. Photo taken by my sister, Melissa. Who had this to say about her, "She never liked her picture being taken. You normally had to do it when she didn't realize you were taking it. This was taken last summer at Adam and Kady's wedding. Such a sad day for so many in our family. Grandma went through the pain of losing one of her sons to suicide and now she too has ended her life this way :( I hope to never understand the desperation or low that someone must feel to come to this point in their life. Sending my love and support to everyone in the family. RIP Grandma. http://www.suicidology.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=232&name=DLFE-242.pdf"
For those of you that don't know, the son of hers that took his own life... was my dad.

Friday, July 6, 2012

How I deal with "kickey" goats on the milk stand

Sure the easy and obvious solution is to eat them. But if you want to keep a stubborn goat around, here is what I do that seems to work.

First, I have bottle raised goats and only have experience from that point of view. I have heard a dam raised goat is more "wild". So, good luck and it might take longer to get them tamed down. Just guessing.

Some of this is how I would milk any goat and will address kickieness as I go along.

I get the goat out of the pen, calling her by name. Let's use Angel as our "test" goat here. Since she is thee kickyest goat I have ever owned. I knew I was headed for trouble with her when she was still pregnant and would sit/lay down on the milking stand while I was trimming her hooves. My husband and I dragged her onto the milk stand twice a day, every day, for a week before she started jumping up by herself and it took 2 weeks total before I could trust her to get up there without needing the brute strength of my dear husband. This was all while she was still pregnant.

I had a 30 year goat veteran tell me that they wait till the goat kids and put her on the stand right away and don't mess around with training them to get on the stand prior to kidding. Of course that was after we wrestled a Angel for two weeks. Oye.

So, I have Angel out of the pen and she willing runs and jumps up on the stand. I put her head in the stanchion and lock it into place.

(insert pic of Angel on the milk stand locked into place prior to grain)

Since I have worked with Angel awhile now I do give her grain right away now. When she was very kicky I gave her grain after I brushed her and washed her udder. I was udders with a 1/2 a paper towel or a single select a size sheet. I have a few drops Shaklee Basic G of in a spray bottle of water. Some people find this is drying to the udder and so they use Shaklee H2 instead. I spray half the piece of paper towel with this, wipe the udder, turn to the dry half and dry the udder. If dirty I repeat.

(picture of spray bottle and paper towel)

I have already given her, her grain ration (about 4 lbs of grain), but if you have an extra kicky goat then you will give her grain at this point.

I sit down next her facing her rear, not facing her. I lean my shoulder into her side and reach up under her with my right hand as my right side is against her right side at this point. 

Oh wait lets go back a bit. My milking stand is up against a wall. Then I can push her against the wall when she gets too wild. I have found my kicky goats like to be against the wall anyway. I tried flipping things around in my goat barn once and they freaked out. I had changed it so I was on their left and I had my left side against them. They all kicked and kicked. And I had trouble getting a grip on the Udder, since I am right handed its easier for me to reach under the goat with my right hand.  I quickly switched it back. So, maybe address those issues in your milking set up. See if your kicky goat just wants to be milked from the other side, or with you leaning against her. Up against a wall or away from a wall. If you have a goat that was milked by someone else before you ask them what their milking area is set up like and what not that goat might just want what its used to. Did they hand milk or machine milk? Some goats are stubborn as, well, a goat!

So address those issues and come back, um Kay?

Glad to have you back. grin.

OK, so where were we?

Angel is on the milking stand. Happily eating her grain. I am sitting down facing her rear. Our right sides are touching with my shoulder leaning against her right side. I reach under her belly to her left udder with my right hand, left hand on right udder. I milk her.

Stubborn goat lifts her left hoof HIGH off the stand. I felt her lean towards me readying her self to lift a leg, so I pulled the bucket with my left hand towards me (away from her lifted/kicky leg). I used my right hand to grab her left hoof and pull it back down to the miking stand and hold it there about a half minute, while I resume milking one handed, using my left hand to milk and my right hand to hold down the offending leg.  If it was her right leg I would grab it with my left hand and milk with my right. All in one sweep. I also loudly and sternly say, "Angel NO! Stand good." I release her leg after she has settle down and relaxed. In this case about a half a minute. I slowly release it, ready to grip it again if she shifts her weight like she is going to lift it again.

I have got her teat before and grabbed her leg and took her teat with it. That can't feel good to her. I wonder if that is the main reason she has decided to kick less...hm. So, if all else fails grip a teat and a leg and pull down. (insert evil laugh here)

I also take two stainless steel milk buckets out to milk my four goats. I put 1 frozen water bottle in each bucket to get the milk cooling right away. If you have a really kicky goat I suggest having 1 small bucket you can milk into and dump into the larger bucket(s) periodically. So you don't lose all the milk if she succeeds in getting her hove in the bucket. Or on the edge of the bucket and tips it. I would MUCH rather have a hoof in the bucket and have to dump milk than to have the bucket flip over and spill it everywhere. Easier clean up.

Angel is doing MUCH better. Meaning she lifts a leg up or kicks 2 or three times during our 10 minute milking session, verses 10 or more times. She also does not squat down on the bucket like she did a couple times before.

For squatting on the bucket I jam my shoulder up under her and lift up and tell her, "NO, Angel Stand good." I have been told you can put a bucket or stool or something under their belly, for really stubborn squatters. But she is the only squatter I have had and she does it very rarely.

My first two goats were kickers as well. For them tying them to the goat stand worked. So, I tried this with Angel, once. That was all I needed to know it was a very bad idea.

I tied bailing twine to the leg that she kicked with most often and tied it to the leg of the milking stand. tight enough that I thought she would not be able to lift her leg. She promptly backed up and created some slack and lifted her leg! Then she leaned forward and mule kicked, lots. End of experiment with tieing down her leg. Angel then thought, "That'll learn ya! Don't tie me down!"