Here's a picture of my youngest and his dogs. Their training is coming along nicely. They even quit barking at the neighbor when I tell them to half of the time.

I went to the optometrist yesterday for a check up. I was ready to be told (again) that my vision was worse than what I thought - despite noticing objects farther out in my peripheral and seeing a handful of stars in recent years. Instead, I was told that I have about 40 degrees of peripheral vision, which means I am no longer legally blind! Wow! I don't believe any patient with Retinitis Pigmentosa has been told that before!

The doctor even told me that I would qualify for a restricted use driver's license here in Minnesota with a few extra mirrors. Ok, so my anxiety is not likely to allow me to follow up on that (yet); but, if it could, I would probably be the first 50yr old with RP to obtain their first DL. How fun would that be? (Bob thinks he'd like to pass on that excitement , but wouldn't stand in the way of a potential dream)

It has been quite the journey from being a constantly trembling, legally blind, freshly divorced mess 7 yrs ago to no longer trembling, regaining some vision, and working on redeveloping my confidence today.

Bob and I were in the garage visiting the kittens when we heard a noise. Bob climbed up and found this guy sleeping in the eave (it is rather hot, so he was panting)... I guess he's decided that it is safer to stay in the garage than make the trip over to the neighbors trees and back every day now that he has to go past one of the dogs.

I may be a little distracted. I just blew on a spoonful of shredded wheat like it's hot. lol

After waiting for a year, dealing with a rather moody mare and being so very sure that she was pregnant because she was showing many signs, my youngest decided to take Chrissy in for a visit to the vet when she suddenly got slender again with no baby. Chrissy doesn't like loading into the trailer, but a make-shift chute made the process soooo much easier!

It appears that Chrissy experienced a pseudo-pregnancy. Basically, she likely got pregnant, lost the baby early on, but the body got "stuck" in pregnancy-mode and is now infertile. We are rather disappointed.

And, we lost another cat to an unknown illness. The vet said she'd never seen anything like it before as the blood work came back showing nothing other than a slight dehydration after being unable to move for a day. The last cat came back with a negative for rabies, but they are doing a full autopsy this time in hopes that we can figure out what is going on and if there is a way to prevent it from happening again.

Holly had 19 broken and/or rotten teeth extracted yesterday. We knew of 1 or 2, but 19? and there are more! No one would have guessed with as plump as she is! It is a good thing we already separated her from the other dogs as she now gets to have wet food, which she is not complaining about. I guess we will have to name this year The Year of Vet Bills.

This is what remains of all of my tomato plants. This one, flattened specimen. I guess we didn't really need tomatoes this year... sigh

My garden is down to summer squash, potatoes, sugar peas, and possibly swiss chard (it is just now making an appearance) and it looks like half of that may not survive. Not even the wildflowers have survived (I am fairly certain ants ate them).

It's ok. I wasn't sure that I was truly ready for a garden this year any way. Maybe we can move some stuff around in the porch (including windows) for a small greenhouse to extend the growing season... we'll see.

Currently, I'm just happy that my cycle hasn't completely flattened me this month thanks to some herbs I'm taking (God is an awesome pharmacist! - you just need to do a bit of research and experimenting). I haven't even needed pain pills (the first time in several years)! Still, I am on day 10 of yuckiness and resigning myself that this must be my new normal. It is going to take some getting used to, but there are several menopause specialists who say such things is common (78-90% of women experience this change). Yay me.

So, I can feel sorry for myself that things seem to be going wrong or be grateful that the Lord has seen fit to limit what needs done so that I don't stress about it all and can work on other goals - like finish writing my book! I choose to be grateful.

Turtle has moved her kittens four times in the past two weeks. Her newest spot is next to the stairs of the front porch. Since they have become mobile, they are constantly tumbling over the ledge or down the stairs. They are certainly resilient! Next week, they will likely be running and jumping off of taller and taller obstacles, constantly testing their limits. They are also quite friendly and come over for attention any time they see someone.

I wandered through the garden this evening doing the watering. It has been a couple of days since I last watered as we received a nice drenching rain.

As I went toward the potato section, I was wondering... why bother? there is no life showing, so the crickets probably ate all of the starts. I went anyway and what did I find? A potato plant! (hopefully, it is only the first, but one is better than none!)

Then, I watered the squash and found our first one forming.

And I looked over to what I expected to be an empty spot from the flattened tomato, only I found it standing nice and erect!

So, I decided to wander over to where I had planted the other tomatoes that had died. I quit watering them a week or so ago, because... well... they died. Only I found 4 not-so-dead tomato plants!

What a wonderful way to end a day.

As I was leisurely doing my evening chores, reflecting on my past, I realized that despite the struggles in life changes I am experiencing creating the inability to work on all the goals that I had made for these warm months to the extent that I had wanted, I am the most content now than I have been since I was 19! That year, I was enrolled in a horsemanship program, had my first horse and my first horse to train, a raccoon, and interesting friends. I felt invincible and wonderfully happy! I made quite a few terrible decisions (that often comes with the feeling of being invincible) and that happiness didn't return to the full extent that it was until now.

I have done my best through the years to practice being content despite feeling confined and not completely happy. I do believe it helped as I struggled with the restrictions placed on me. I struggled more with the thought of leaving the life and husband I had chosen - especially with the burdens of being told what a sinful decision it would be. It was a relief when I did though.

Now, I feel so free! Each year with Bob has been more wonderful than the one before. I am able to grow in all the ways I have wanted to grow for so many years! It can be a little scary, but I am ever so grateful for this life we are living.

I powered through the morning and finally finished cleaning the barn! It took extra time because got a little side-tracked and needed to clean out the hay shed in order to have a spot to clean out the horse trailer in order to take Chrissy to the vet. Then, I needed to clean out the old burn barrel and put up temporary fencing to give the horses more grazing area. So, though I can only manage a little bit a day, that little bit is starting to add up.

Now, my youngest comes in and says "Mom, I'm bringing home a new horse this weekend". I guess I finished the barn just in time!

This is why I don't like doctors much unless I have an emergency. 2 years, lots of appointments and 5 doctors later (including multiple "specialists") my youngest finally has answers to why his back hurts. All of the doctors looked at the same x-rays and shrugged it off with: you are young and can't be in that much pain. Grr. This doctor finally listened and took a serious look at the xrays and said "yeah, I see why you're in pain - you have stripped the facets along the spine". Bob and I had told him that he messed up his back when he flipped his truck and would need to learn stretches and rebuild the muscle. But, we needed a doctor to be able to determine exactly what is wrong because exercise can cause more problems under certain conditions. It should not have taken so many doctors to find one that listens. One specialist barely glanced at the xray, said nothing is wrong, and left without even pausing for questions. So irritating! I know doctors have a lot to deal with, but they should at least listen and not assume that someone is there for unneeded pain pills (I know that is a problem, but it should not be the first assumption). *deep breath* at least my youngest finally has answers and is scheduled with a physical therapist (hopefully a competent one) to teach the correct stretches to start with to minimize further pain.

This is not the first time we've had trouble finding a doctor that listens. This is just the most recent experience.

Meet Flicka - the newest member of our family. She is two and has only been handled a few times. But, we can already see a lot of potential in her. She is curious, intelligent, and graceful. She doesn't want touched at the moment. Hopefully, we can overcome that quickly as she knows what the grain bucket is and is willing to grab a bite while someone is holding it.

Here we have a little ball of fluff (aka kitten) that has recently developed a taste for dry food. Now, she sits in the midst of the food tray, that usually is surround by six adult cats, growling while she eats her fill while the others resort to using bowls. lol

Time to eradicate the thistles! I sprayed them with weed killer last year, but they are back. I read that a 20%+ solution of vinegar works better than weed killer for them. So, I ordered a 45% solution a month ago and just now decided to use it. I diluted it in half.

So, I've obviously been ready for a month to get rid of them.... My story is that I was waiting for the flowers to take pictures and in hopes that if they are eradicated after maturity that they will not come back this year. Yes, that is my story. It sounds so much better than I haven't dealt well with changes and got behind on my to-do list...

We had planned to go visit family for father’s day weekend. But, I called the day before and discovered that my step-mom was sick. So, we postponed our visit. It was a good thing because my oldest developed strep throat when we were supposed to be there. The next day, Bob developed a sore throat. Then, my youngest got a sore throat. Yesterday, the grandkids got sick. And, now, it is my turn. I guess it’s that time of year (and we will be postponing our visit yet again)!

Thinking of illness… we finally heard back on the autopsy of the cats. Nothing was found. Two perfectly healthy cats just suddenly became paralyzed. I do have a theory… I believe they received an overdose of spray from a neighboring field and/or they ate something that died after the spray. I know that some sprays are neuro-toxins. I have no idea why it didn’t show up in the report though. It is slightly reassuring that none of the team had encountered such a problem before. If it happens again, we will be giving a bath and feeding activated charcoal. I have read that it can counter the spray if given soon enough. Hopefully, though, it was a once in a lifetime thing and will never happen again!

While my physical goals may have hiccups, I can still work on my education goals!

I have spent the weekend mostly sleeping. I haven't even been able to feed the horses ?? But, I'm starting to feel better. This afternoon, I was complaining that I couldn't sleep any more but couldn't concentrate on anything important. Bob went to do something constructive, leaving me to figure out what to do on my own.

We've been together for 7 years now and don't have a music playlist to enjoy while traveling yet. So, I decided to go through his music to see if there was anything I could tolerate. Imagine his surprise when he walks in to find his ex-conservative Christian (still Christian, but not as legalistic as many conservatives) wife listening to Van Halen and his amusement to discover that there was at least one song she could tolerate.

After I mentioned that some of his collection was rather dark, he agreed and started to list of what I should avoid. Then, he decided to have mercy on me and made a filtered list to work with. Much better.

We had a rather wild tomcat move in over the winter. He appears to be the father of the original cats that were here when we moved in (the son appears to be a smaller version of him). There has been no trouble until the last week. Now, he and this one seem to have decided that they do not like each other any more. Now, this one has a small injury to recover from and is enjoying one of the piles of recycling in our porch area (I have the boxes sorted by size).

Experience has shown that simply neutering at this point will not stop the fighting, so we are attempting for find a home for the bigger, wilder, uninjured one. Each fight has been getting more serious and this one is too stupid and loving to veer away.

I went all night without coughing, was up at a reasonable hour this morning, and ready to get to work. So, I grabbed the pruners to finish cutting thistles and headed out the door. I looked out across the field and the air is full of smoke from Canadian fires. Sigh. I came back inside.

I decided to fry some eggs for breakfast and a drop of hot oil landed in the corner of my eye. Not fun, but didn't damage anything.

Then, my youngest comes in and lets me know that Jericho was unhappy to be left in the dog pen while Bear was getting attention, so Jericho ripped the corner of the fence apart. Yay. Honestly, I expected him to do that months ago. Still annoying. There is a temporary patch in place.

I have been awake for two hours. I have had my fill of excitement. I might need a nap.

Ready or not, hay will soon be delivered. I am thankful to have our own place and I can do a little at a time.

I have been learning about expectations. All of the people that were healed in the Bible expected to be healed. I can say with the leper in Matthew 8:2, "if thou wilt, I shall be clean". In my case, well. This is my prayer - to breathe freely and to have my energy and strength back. And, if not, to be given the strength to endure as, realistically, it could take another two weeks (with my upcoming female problems to start again) before I can expect to put in my regular day.

In the mean time, we were blessed with a visit from a monarch butterfly last night. I wasn't able to get very close, but I was happy to see it enjoying the milkweed.