May 2018 Mid-month Update:
Well, it’s been a busy month. May and November are my two crush months. While November (some prep in October) is reserved for Nanaowrimo these last fifteen years, it’s usually a slam between work, writing, and content development.
May, on the other hand, is about the mad dash preparation for summer. Plants have to get into the ground, and projects need to be launched in order to meet the harvest window by autumn.
I’m still on track for my 40th birthday goal of being self-sustainable by August, 2018. Sadly, I won’t have a solution to the power supply by then, but I’m on track for nearly everything else.
Writing is stalled for the month, primarily because of the chaos, but also because without the funds to move forward, books are staking up in the queue for production. I hope to have enough to hire a proofer by the end of June and kick Scold of Jays out for a cleaning. My patrons have generously been footing half of my publication expenses, but even still, it does take time to accumulate for the larger services.
It’s been a super productive spring! Here are a couple of videos for things I’ve been working on:
The next big projects on my list are the large chicken enclosure, and the garden boxes. I’ll take pictures and show them off when completed.
Most of April and part of May were also spent recovering from a lung infection. I’m generally due for one a year, but the timing was ridiculously inconvenient. Between that and an emergency bee sting urgent care visit, I’m out some work time and into some medical bills.
The bee sting: I’ve been stung before, and my usual reaction is a red welt and a large swelling. It’s considered a mild allergic response so it’s listed in my medical records, but not deadly. Just annoying and itchy. I do not have anaphylactic response to bee stings.
I was recently stung by a bee I’ve never seen before while working my hives. It wasn’t a honey bee. It was like a mutant bumble bee, four times the size of a honey bee and furry. I saw it as I was walking up to one of my hives, and I was wearing PPE. It was so big I thought it was a baby humming bird at first. When I realized it was a strange bee, I worried it was a honey robber, and I tried to flick it off the hive. MY MISTAKE. Its stinger went through denim and into my hip. YOWZA!
I assumed I’d react to the sting like all the others, I’d be swollen and puffy and have a giant welt. Still, as I tried to get the stinger out of my jeans and shimmy my jeans off—the stinger scratched a path down my thigh.
I still felt okay, so I took a shower and got ready for work thinking I was just going to go in like normal with a puffy hip. About a half hour after the sting, my throat started to feel funny, as a precaution, I drank a few swigs of Benadryl, popped a couple of tablets and went to work.
Halfway to work it started to feel hard to swallow. My pulse was normal, and I felt otherwise fine, so at a pullout, I swigged another sip of Benadryl, and continued on to work. Then when I got to the parking lot—things went a little sideways. I got out of the car and felt woozy, like all the blood had left my body, my pulse was hard to find, and I was disoriented. So I went in and let them know I was going to the clinic and I’d be late.
I quickly drove to the clinic—who told me that they were appointment only, and that I would have to drive to urgent care. I was starting to have trouble breathing, so I didn’t argue, I just drove as fast as I could to the urgent care 40 miles away. Better safe than sorry—the urgent care would be expensive, but not worth trying to just ride it out without backup support.
The diagnosis was hard because I’d taken so much Benadryl, they didn’t dare give me much more, but since I wasn’t in full blown anaphylactic shock they couldn’t give me an Epipen. (I could breathe with a little difficulty, the swelling in my puncture zones was going down thanks to Benadryll, and my pulse was normal. I was weak, drowsy, and sore everywhere as my body processed the venom) They were concerned about Benadryl overdose, but also said it was possible the overdose is what helped keep me going while trying to get to the center.
When I explained that I’d never had a reaction like that before, the doctor told me that the sting plus the continued scrape of the stinger trying to get out of my pants could have caused a toxic venom overload, or that after so many stings…I’m building up an intolerance and will eventually become a dangerous level of reaction to any sting. They prescribed me an Epipen for emergencies, then had me wait under observation until the four hour window after the sting had passed. She said I possibly saved a worse reaction by overdosing on Benadryl, but that such a high dose also exacerbated the low blood pressure and dizziness. All I could think about was that my denim jeans had probably saved me from a much worse reaction if it hadn’t slowed the barb from giving me a full doze of whatever venom that was. (I’d thought all bee stings were the same)
After it was all over, I felt good enough to return to work, though my hip was swollen and all my joints ached like I’d been hit by a truck. I had cotton mouth from the drugs, and was strangely tired. I worked half a shift then went home and slept like a poison apple princess. I was out for a solid twelve hours. The next morning my skin was back to near normal, and all that remained of my injection site and scrapes where light bruises and a red mark barely noticeable. Some broken capillaries in my leg, and tight skin are all that remain.
The revelation was super depressing, because I’m really learning to love working my honey bee hives. It’s been an unexpected pleasure and I don’t want to have to give it up so soon. I still can’t figure out what kind of bee got me. It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen before. Still, if I’m building up an intolerance, I will have to think about how badly I want to farm honey for my little cottage stead. Now that the hives are getting established, I’ll only need to get into them once a week or so. I’ll think about it through the summer and re-evaluate when it comes time to winter them.
Even with the unexpected arising from time to time, life on the stead is peaceful, tranquil, and shaping up to be a lovely little escape. The garden should be done in time for late May planting. The deck tomatoes are already blossoming. Humming birds are showing up for their daily feeds, and the grapes are starting to climb. My new server gig is working out okay, and projects are getting checked off the list at a reasonable pace.
Life is good, and summer is near.