Miolea Organic Farm

  (Adamstown, Maryland)
Organic Farming from a City Boy's Perspective
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The Clock Has Started

We learned the other day that our "God send" has diabetes.  This, in and of it self, is intimidating if you have know idea what you are up against.  What is worse is having gone through caring for a diabetic cat and losing it because you gave it to much insulin. 

We had a cat twelve years ago pass away from hypoglycemic shock.  I know I am not really at fault but I was the one that administered the last insulin shot.  The guilt is still palpable.  His name was Opus and my wife, as a birthday gift, gave him to me.  We had been married for a couple of months and I said I wanted a cat.  She had always had dogs but never had cats before and did not really want one.  But being the kind person she is, she got Opus for me as a gift.

I told her after a month with the cat, we could take a vote and I would abide by the vote.  She agreed and after a month, the vote came out as I had expected, there was one for and one against.  She wanted to keep it; I wanted my clothes to be cat hair free.  Well life continued and at the time, my wife was working many hours and I was working at one full-time job and a part-time job.  I still had weekends free and not being one to sit around and do nothing I decided that Opus was going to do tricks.  We were living in a town house.  We called them row houses in the city.

Opus already chased after round milk caps when thrown and would bring them back.  How hard could it be to teach him other stunts?  So I set about trying to teach Op some tricks.  It was not long before he would lay, sit, come and give you his paw.  All you hade to do was tell him a command and he would act.  I showed a friend one day all of Op's tricks and she looked at me and said, "You need to get out of the house, this is not natural".  What can I say he was a great cat?

Now BC has been diagnosed but we are at least more technologically advanced then we were twelve years ago.  We have a Glu-cometer and a way to track her blood sugar instantly, instead of a stick that changes colors when dipped in urine.  Catching a stream of urine from a cat is a feat unto itself.  But the truth is the clock has started on the end of her life.  This thought is what hurts the most.  I know the clock started when she was born but it was never a thought.  Now we hear the time clicking off.  Our job is to stave off her demise for as long as humanly possible

We were living on the farm about year when BC adopted us.  We were at our lowest.  There were snakes all over the house and we were having buyer’s remorse or what I called our fetal position moments.  Our phone service was spotty (see "Green Acres was...”), there was no cable and I was surfing the internet at 2400 baud (sorry, I am a geek).  In contrast, today we surf the net at about a thousand times that rate.  Then BC came into our lives and started killing snakes.  We had been praying for strength, so we just figured that BC was a Godsend.  Soon after her arrival, things started to turn for us.  The second planting season was disastrous weed wise, but we ended the year in the black.  Mostly, our outlook took a turn for the best and we settled into our routine.  BC kept locating snakes and if she did not I would dispose of them. 

Now snakes are beneficial but they are also territorial.  For the first year, we practiced catch and release.  Then the more I learned I realized all I was doing was temporarily removing them.  They return to their den.  We then had a dilemma on our hands.  I came up with what I thought was a compromise.  We have a gravel driveway that circles the house.  If the snakes were inside the circle of death, they perished.  The snakes in the outbuildings live.  If they were outside the circle that was were they stayed.  It was our own line in the sand.  We ended up pulling sixty-eight snakes out of the house by the time remodeling was finished three years after moving in.  They were all black snakes, except for this one that was so old it was grey.  It was the biggest snake I had ever seen outside of the zoo.

Well we face BC now, but we have experience and better technology on our side.  It is what it is and what we make of it.  We will do what it takes but it is saddening nonetheless, because we now know that the clock has started.

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