Tag Archives: country

Home Remedy for Spider Bite

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Most spider bites are harmless and require little or no treatment, except perhaps an antiseptic swab or anti-itch cream. However, there are four types of spiders commonly found in much of the United States whose bites can have more drastic effects and infections.  The four spider bites most individuals need to be especially wary of are those of the black widow, the brown recluse, the hobo spider, and the yellow sac spider.

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Brown Recluse Spider – Wikipedia

The brown recluse spider is native to the United States and found mainly in the central Midwestern states southward to the Gulf of Mexico (see map).  It is also called the fiddleback spider due to the dark violin shaped marking appearing on the spider’s back.  

At our country home, we’ve had our share of insect bites and I’ve been bitten by a brown recluse spider twice before.  Both times the bite grew to golf ball size, became infected and required a trip to my Dr. for wound debridement and a round of  antibiotics.  In both instances, I was left with an ugly dark-colored scar.

About a week ago, my 21-year-old daughter Caitlin showed signs of being bitten by a brown recluse spider.  The spider is not aggressive and will only bite if it feels threatened.  They like to hide in dark snug places and will crawl into clothing left on the floor, and occasionally will get into your bedding.

Brown Recluse Bite Symptoms

Brown recluse spider bites often go unnoticed initially because they are typically painless bites.  Symptoms usually develop two to eight hours after a bite.

Victims may experience these symptoms:

  • severe pain at bite site after about four hours,
  • severe itching
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • muscle pain

Initially the bite site is mildly red and upon close inspection may reveal fang marks. Most commonly, the bite site will become firm and heal with little scaring over the next few days or weeks.  Occasionally, the local reaction will be more severe with reddening and blistering, sometimes leading to a blue discoloration, and ultimately leading to a necrotic lesion and scarring. Signs that may be present include:

  • blistering (common),
  • necrosis (death) of skin and subcutaneous fat (less common)
  • severe destructive necrotic lesions with deep wide borders (rare)

Caitlin initially presented with reddening of the skin, severe pain at bite sight, severe itching and mild blistering.  After doing some research, I decided to create the following home remedy:

Aspirin
Vodka
Baking Soda
Gauze Pad
First Aid Tape (for sensitive skin use the paper type)

I melted 1 aspirin in 1 teaspoon vodka.  Then added enough baking soda to make a thick (toothpaste consistency) paste.  If the paste is too thick, add more vodka.  Gently apply a thick coating of the paste on and around the spider bite.  Cover the area with a gauze pad and tape in place with first aid tape.  I repeated this treatment morning and night for about three days.  Within the first 8 hours the pain and itch had greatly subsided.  By the third day, the bite had opened and the venom began to ooze out in a clear/bloody discharge.  (If at anytime the bite showed signs of infection, I would have promptly taken Caitlin to our Dr. for treatment.)  The bite was still somewhat red and you could feel a lump under the skin about the size of a large marble, but there was little to no pain.  Once the bite opened and drained, I stopped using the paste and started using triple antibiotic ointment.

Now, a little over a week later, the wound is completely healed and doesn’t show any signs of scarring.  I’m sure this remedy would work on most painful insect bites.

Disclaimer: You can use home remedies to treat spider bites, but if bitten by a poisonous spider, it is highly recommended that you also seek medical attention to treat the spider bite before your symptoms get worse.

Hill Country Sonata

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Sunfire sparkling on the Pedernales River

Soaring a red-tailed hawk on the wing

Cedar and Cypress perfume dance on the water

Bull frog on the bank calling out to his love

Fireflies flicker in the wildflower valley

Cicada chorus singing their lullaby song

Whippoorwill lamenting a nightbird’s serenade

Hill Country Sonata playing my memory’s tune

Bending my heartstrings like a sweet lover’s touch

And calling me back to those hills that I love

More Texas Birds

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Male Lesser Scaup – Lake Fork, Texas

Male Lesser Scaup – Lake Fork, Texas

White Pelican – Lake Fork, Texas

White Pelican – Lake Fork, Texas

Red Shouldered Hawk – Mansfield, Texas

Texas Birds of a Different Feather

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My husband captured these shots this week.  The group of vultures were roosting on one of our old trees that fell victim to the recent years of drought here in Texas.  The male painted bunting stopped by our koi pond for a quick bath.  I wish the bunting photos were a little better, but we had to take them through the glass of our back window.

Salmon Croquettes with Sour Cream Dill Remoulade

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For the last week my darling daughter Rachel has asked me to make her some “Smack Mackem” which is her silly term for Salmon Croquettes.  I’m not sure if this is a Southern dish or if people everywhere eat Salmon Croquettes, but I’ve eaten them my whole life.  When I was a kid we dipped them in ketchup, but now I like mine with a little Dill Remoulade.  Since mayonnaise is forbidden in my household, (Rachel hates it) I always substitute it with sour cream or greek yogurt.  Have you ever eaten Salmon Croquettes?  If not, here’s my version.  I hope you’ll try it sometime and let me know what you think.

Salmon Croquettes:

1 egg beaten

14.75 oz can Wild Alaska Pink Salmon crumbled and bones removed

1/3 cup chopped onion

2 TBS Sour Cream

1 TBS Melted Butter

1/2 cup Flour

1/2 cup Yellow Corn Meal

1/2 tsp Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning or use Salt, Pepper and dash of Garlic Powder

Oil for Frying

Mix all ingredients and form into 4 equal sized patties.  Meanwhile in cast iron or heavy skillet add 1 inch of oil and heat on Medium setting.  Place patties into hot oil and cook about 4 minutes per side or until browned.  Place on parchment paper to drain.


Sour Cream Dill Remoulade:

1 Cup Sour Cream

1 1/2  tsp Dill Weed

Mix together and serve with Salmon Croquettes.

The Incredible Edible Egg and Putting the Chic in the Chicken Coop

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When my family moved to our country home in 1995, we were eager to embrace all the wonderful opportunities that country living had to offer.  We mended the old fence and barn and soon added our share of farm animals to complete our little country haven.  Our animal menagerie included a flock of laying hens and a rooster to give us fresh eggs, but over the years our flock decreased and eventually our fresh egg production came to an end.

Recently, after purchasing a $4.00 carton of organic cage free eggs, I discovered all the eggs were disgustingly runny and obviously inedible.  Having this less than satisfactory experience with store-bought eggs, and being aware of the absolute horrors chickens have to endure in the commercial egg production industry, we decided to rebuild our chicken coop and start enjoying our own farm fresh eggs again.

My husband spent all weekend building the new coop and we went to our local feed supplier and bought 4 baby turkeys, 10 chicks and 1 rooster   Like our Rat Terrier, I too find watching the baby chicks completely spellbinding and I have begun to named them based on their personalities.

My favorite is the largest Black Spanish turkey that I have named Hey Zeus.  He is just a baby, but he’s already trying to strut his stuff.  I don’t think the girls are impressed, judging by the expressions on their faces.

Now for my contribution to the new chicken coop; the decor.  My husband is quite the handy man and we always have wood scraps leftover from past DIY projects.  I found these weathered wood scraps and thought they would work out great for making some homemade signs.

Next I gathered up my acrylic paint, paint brushes and paint sponges.  Then I painted the wood a solid color and outlined the edge with a contrasting color, creating a framed effect.

Then I purchased two different stencils.  One was a cursive type and one was block type letters

Using a sharp pencil, I traced out the word Farm Fresh on the wood using the cursive letters and the word EGGS using the block letters.

Then I highlighted the word Farm Fresh in a bright yellow and painted white eggs around the word EGGS.

Next I carefully painted in the words. You will need a steady hand and a very small detail paint brush.

And here’s the finished product.  Add some eye hooks and a chain to hang it and throw on a couple of coats of clear polyurethane to weatherproof and it’s ready for the coop.  Now to decide what to put on the other two signs.

The coop will only be used to protect the babies while they are growing.  As soon as they are big enough, the door to the coop will be left open and they will have free access to the yard and pasture, as nature intended.  If you would like to help support current legislative efforts in banning the barbaric and cruel practice of battery caged chickens in the US egg industry; please visit the Humane Society of the United States website by clicking on this link:  Help Improve the Lives of Laying Hens

The following information was taken from the Penn State Live website.  You can click on the heading below to see the full article.

Research shows eggs from pastured chickens may be more nutritious

The study compared the eggs of the pastured hens to those of hens fed a commercial diet.

“Compared to eggs of the commercial hens, eggs from pastured hens eggs had twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, more than double the total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids,” she said. “Vitamin A concentration was 38 percent higher in the pastured hens’ eggs than in the commercial hens’ eggs, but total vitamin A per egg did not differ.”

 “Eggs of the hens that foraged grasses had 23 percent more vitamin E than eggs of hens that foraged clover. “Results suggest that grass pastures may enhance vitamin E in eggs of pastured hens more than clover,” she said.”

You of Ebony Eye

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Young, beaten, starved you came
I know you, I said, we are one in the same
You of ebony eye, flashing white caution
Tango is the dance for us
I bend and twist to your lead
You show me the steps
We perfect our dance
I know you, I said, we are one in the same
You of ebony eye, flashing white caution
Trust is the virtue we build
I bend and twist to your lead
I give you sustenance
You nourish my soul
I know you, I said, we are one in the same
You of ebony eye, flashing white caution
Time the harbinger that foreshadows
I bend and twist to your lead
Grizzled and gray we race
You take the lead
Furlong by furlong
I am left in the dust

For Cody, today his 24th birthday.  May we have many more my old friend.

It’s Twister Time in Texas

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Living in Texas, tornadoes are just something we have to deal with.  I have witnessed the wreckage and have been within just a few miles of the path of several storms, but never have I actually seen a tornado up close… until yesterday.

Rachel, my oldest daughter is a Marketer in the medical field and yesterday I decided to tag along on a few of her calls.  Suddenly, as we were driving, the sky began to get very dark and it began to hail.  We stopped under an overpass to get out of the hail and within a minute or two the hail stopped.  Then everything got real still, that’s when all hell broke loose.  I did not film this video but we were one exit to the north, and as we turned to the left and looked behind us, this is what we saw. 

 

Twelve different tornadoes ripped across Texas, leaving behind a path of utter destruction, but as of yet no fatalities and very few injuries, which is a miracle in itself.  I awoke this morning to the birds singing and the sun shining.  In true Texas fashion, the weather today is glorious.  Not a hint of the fury unleashed upon us yesterday.  What a perfect day to count my many blessings, snap a few photos and not look back on what could have been.

 

Bring it on Down to My House Honey

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The little boy front and center is my dad Kenneth (aka Ken, aka Benjamin, aka Ben).  My dad grew up in Central Texas during the hard lean times of the 30’s and 40’s.  He was the second child in a family of eight children.  His family was dirt poor and barely had enough money for food and clothing.  In order to survive they all spent many long hours out in the fields, picking cotton.  Life was hard, but they got by as best they could.  The one thing of great value that they possessed was their talent.  The whole family consisted of a hodgepodge of talented musicians, singers, songwriters and storytellers.

His family had very few possessions, but there was always an old guitar or fiddle in the house.  When my dad was about six years old, he was allowed to start learning to play the guitar.  He was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn and like the rest of his family, was blessed with a natural talent.  He learned to play by ear while listening to a songs on the old battery-powered radio and then figuring out the correct chords to play.  In no time at all he was playing entire songs and singing along.

One Sunday after church my Papaw, who later became a minister himself,  invited the Preacher over for Sunday dinner (in the South dinner is the meal served at noon and supper is the evening meal.  (For a of humorous explanation of supper vs dinner check out the Real Southern Men blog:  http://real-southern.com/2011/07/13/twanglish-lesson-supper-vs-dinner/)  After dinner, which I’m sure consisted of fried chicken, pinto beans, collard greens, cornbread, and tea cakes for dessert, my Papaw was eager to show off his son’s newly developed talent to the visiting Preacher.  Papaw said “Ken go get your guitar and play us a little something.”  Little Ken acted shy at first, but with a bit of prodding from my Mamaw, he tuned up his guitar and belted out the following song:

“Well, bring it on down to my house honey there ain’t nobody home but me.  Bring it on down to my house honey I need your company.  Yeah, your momma won’t fret if you bring it over here.  Preacher won’t know and the neighbors don’t care.  So bring it on down to my house honey ain’t nobody home but me.”

To this day my dad is still hilarious and full of mischief.  Thank you Dad for showing me the importance of music, the art of storytelling and most of all for having such a great sense humor.

The Roots of My Raising

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“The roots of my raisin’ run deep
I’ve come back for the strength that I need
And hope comes no matter how far down I sink
The roots of my raisin’ run deep”   – Merle Haggard

I come from a long line of horse people.  Allow me to introduce you to my Great Great Grandfather, George Washington Ivey and his horse Rondo.

Grandpa Ivey worked cattle, and like all good cattlemen, he relied heavily on the skill of his horse.  Grandpa knew Rondo, a stud horse, was high-spirited and a little crazy when he bought him, but that was why he wanted him.  He worked long hard hours in the saddle and needed an alert horse to be aware of his surroundings and to warn Grandpa if something was awry.

One evening, after a hard day of working cattle, Grandpa rode up on a closed gate and got off Rondo to open it.  When he turned his back on Rondo, the horse took advantage of that unguarded moment and reared up, coming down on top of Grandpa.  With pounding hoofs and gnashing teeth, Rondo almost killed Grandpa .  After a long struggle with the horse, Grandpa was left with a crushed eye socket, a permanently blinded eye, broken cheek and badly mauled hand.  He somehow managed to gain control of the horse and with sheer will and determination he rode Rondo back home.

Upon arriving home, later than usual, his concerned family ran out to great him.  Bloody and beaten, he dismounted his horse, tied him to the fence post and tumbled to the ground.  When his teenaged son’s saw what the horse had done, they immediately got the gun to shoot Rondo, but Grandpa wouldn’t let them saying “No you aint killin him, it was my fault and that’s too good an ol horse to be shut of!”

This story was relayed to me by my 95 year old Mamaw.  George Washington Ivey was her Grandpa.  My Mamaw is tough as nails and quite a character in her own right.  She still lives in her own home and I’m sure she will be making an appearance here on my page before too long.  Yes, the roots of my raising run deep.

Frogs, Dogs, Various and Sundry Others: Part 1

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved animals.  As a child of three or four, after being read The Frog Prince, my mother found me in the bathroom holding a poor frog in the sink.  My mom said, “Sister, what in the world are you doing with that frog?”  I replied, “I’m giving him a bath so I can kiss him to see if he’ll turn into a prince.”  I have no idea what I planned to do with him once he did turn into a prince, my plan was not very well thought out at that age, but I did know I wanted him to be clean first.  I’m still a little quirky about things needing to be clean.  Anyway, I digress.

Much to my parents chagrin, I’ve always been one of those kids that brought home every stray animal I came across.  My first dog was a stray Australian Shepherd pup that I called Snoopy.  He was my best friend and constant companion for many years.

I can’t imagine a child growing up without the opportunity to care for and love a pet.  Thank God my parents allowed me to have all of my pets over the years.

As a teenager, shortly after getting my driver’s license, I hit a big jack rabbit.  Mortified and close to tears, I cautiously got out of the car and went back to check on him.  I didn’t see any injuries, but he was knocked out cold.  I grabbed him up and placed him on the back seat of my car and started home.  Before long, he regained his faculties and was doing a very good impersonation of “Ping, Ping, PING! Ricochet Rabbit!” all over the inside of my car.  When I finally pulled over, I was screaming as if a machete wielding Jason Vorhees himself was sitting on the seat beside me.  I threw open the door and sprinted halfway down the road before looking back over my shoulder.  Out leapt Mr. Ricochet, none the worse for wear, and happily disappeared into the neighboring field.  Tricks apparently aren’t just for kids after all.

To be continued…