Wednesday, November 3, 2010

First hard frost and blanket month

What the heck does the first hard frost in the fall have to do with veterinary medicine?  Well not much except that it helps explain the absence of this blogger.  Unlike my early days just out of vet school, I actually have some semblance of balance in my life which means that sometimes I actually do things that aren't associated with veterinary medicine.  The biggest chunk of time outside of medicine revolves around the farm business that my husband and I own.  Most of you already know I raise meat chickens and laying hens although that is a very small part of the farm.  Most of the farm income comes from raising vegetables.  My husband is really the force behind the farm, but there are times during the height of the picking season that I will pitch in.  I've spent more than one evening after work helping the guys pack boxes of produce.  And as a by-product of living on a vegetable and poultry farm, I am in charge of food preservation for the family.  Eating fresh, locally grown, healthy food is very important to me.  So during the months of August, September and October, many of my days off from the clinic are earmarked for preserving food for the winter.  Of course we have butchering day for our meat chickens.  Then I'll spend a day blanching and freezing sweet corn.  Green beans get a day for canning.  Apples get made into applesauce and frozen.  Pumpkin gets made into pumpkin puree and frozen.  Broccoli blanched and frozen.  Tomatoes get canned.  Each of these is done on separate days and takes up much of my free time during the late summer and early fall.  Combine that with a very hectic schedule at the clinic and something has to give and it has been my blog.  So now the first hard frost has finally killed the garden.  The chickens are all butchered.  Only some winter squash is left to put up for the winter.  I can actually do some other things on my days off and maybe leave myself a little time to blog.

October was a very fun month for us at the clinic.  Everyone at work has expressed a desire to reach out to the community with various projects. (Do I not work with the greatest people on the planet!)  So October was Blanket Month.  We collected blankets to give to the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League and the Ashtabula County Humane Society and Dr. C. agreed to donate $1 for each blanket that was donated and the amount would be divided equally between our two local shelters.  The end result was so much more than I expected.  It was so fantastic.  We took in 249 blankets total. One of clients that works at one of the schools got the students involved and they brought in 182 blankets.  Now you have to understand that we have a kind of small building at the clinic.  There is no wasted space.  The doctor's office was already being taken over by bags and bags of blankets, so when Shannon dropped off 182 blankets, well, we were at a dilemma on where to store them.  My car got to be the designated storage location.

I now have an appreciation for people who hoard and their cars are full of stuff.  I drove around like this for two days before making it to the shelter to drop off my "treasures".  Unfortunately I never did make it up into town with my car looking like this.  I thought I could start some crazy rumor about why Dr. Di. has a car full of stuffed full trash bags.  Maybe my husband kicked me out of the house and I had no place to live.  It was close to Halloween, so maybe it could have been some creepy spooky rumor.  But no, just home, back to work, home, back to work and to the shelter with no chance for anyone to make up some juicy gossip.

Well we are doing a canned food drive at the clinic in November.  Maybe I'll get another chance.   

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