Attending the WV Small Farms Conference : a nightmare of knowledge

  • Posted on: 4 March 2016
  • By: Previous Farm

by Gianni on our previous farm

First you must be warned; this tale has many gnarly twists.  If you are looking for a review of the conference, this is not what you're looking for.  This is the cliff notes of our experience, the full details would turn this into a novella.

After much discussion regarding the time/cost-vs-benefit of us attending the 2 classes offered at the conference and the value of each day's offerings; I was dispatched to represent WAF at the Better Process Control School that ran wed&thurs. We chose that class over the other being offered (GHP/GAP) because we were told it was a necessary step to getting some of our products to market.  For the most part NO, it wasn't necessary for that.  However, during the 2 days of learning about commercial food canning operations, I was able to get many of the answers I needed for our level of distribution while passing each well explained chapter's exam with flying colors, sitting in a stuffy room all day with several cold/flu victims.  Payin' the price for knowledge. Upon arrival, I was told by the class instructor that I should pay at the Conference Registration.  The conference registration said I had to pay in the class. Told the class instructors that registration said I was to pay them... went to lunch.

while gianni was at the small farms conference as wild art farm's designee, i was holding down the fort, so to speak. My job was to keep the production aspect of the farm in good running order. i continued planting starts and potting up those seedling which were ready to graduate. I also would be doing special cleaning in the house in anticipation of spring's arrival, because the time for such duties would soon be escaping me. what better time to shampoo carpets than when gianni was away? 

By Thursday I'd realized that I should have been taking the {GHP/GAP} Class which was teaching things that were more readily deploy-able on the Farm.  I got us on the list for the next offering of that class.  Thursday was a night of questionable snow, reports of a possible 1-6 inches, so there was a "Should I Stay or Should I Go" moment.  With 2 people clearing the greenhouse roof it's not too bad.  But for 1 person to do it alone it's a very demanding job.  After watching the weather all day for the expected snow that, sorta came; Chappell assured me she could handle the greenhouse alone and I should stay for the  Friday workshop sessions.  The snow wasn't that bad.  I sat out to briefly look for an old friend, didn't find them and pulled into the parking lot at the awesome free bnb which had been provided to me for the conference.

i was happy and thankful for the small blessings that gianni had at the SFC and felt certain it was the blessings of Glennard & Bea. the snow fell in late afternoon. not much. a scant one and half inches of slush ice and snow. it was heavy on the green house roof though... and i managed quite well on my own, in the manner described elsewhere in our jonas blog. i worked until dark and stopped so i wouldn't push through the roof. what came afterward could be taken care of in the morning. all was going so well, gianni was learning lots and he'd be home soon for a report back. 

Friday was cold. 20 something and high wind in the city.   I got up and straightened up my room to Leave No Trace and headed out into the seriously cold wind.  The truck wouldn't start.  It would not even try to start.  The battery was not dead, there was plenty of juice for lights and buzzers, gauge read strong, but it would not even think of turning over.  I supposed that it's just cold because its not used to being outside.  I didn't want to drain the battery beating a dead horse, so I set off on foot.  Yes there were buses, cabs.   I also had 2 errands to complete while in town and the bank was just a few blocks away.  From the bank I was on a road I know I've always seen buses on.  Didn't see any Friday morning...  a mile or so later I came to my 2nd errand, the post office to drop off our Earthineer Seed Swap seeds.  The conference is now less than a 1/2 mile away, I speed walked the remaining distance, paid my 1 day registration and slid into the day's 2nd workshop session "CSAs" a little late.

i woke up to an accumulation of, perhaps another inch and a half of snow. i made some coffee and some breakfast. the sun popped out through the grayness for about five minutes. as i was at the sink with my dishes, i noticed a large dark area toward the back portion of the greenhouse. for that moment i thought the roof had fallen in. the realization quickly followed that it was the mass of our rocket mass heater, warming and melting the ice in the area above it. i dressed, took care of small, essential duties and the sun came back out. i checked the greenhouse roof from the kitchen window as i finished my cup of coffee; two thirds of the snow and ice had melted. i thought: "at this rate, i'll have no hard labor in the greenhouse today!" i walked away from the sink, it occurred to me that all that snow was not evaporating, but had slid down the roof and was now standing on the bottom third of the greenhouse roof. i went out to remove it as quickly as i could and the story ended well. 

CSAs also referred to as Farm Subscriptions or Farm Co-ops... literally Community Supported Agriculture.  Chappell and I had discussed establishing a CSA as a means to move forward with the farm and decided to hold off for this season. They are intended to strengthen the community's connection to their food, keep the dollars local and give a farmer (or farm conglomerate) the upfront financial support to launch their growing season.  Essentially, yearly or seasonal "shares" are offered to the community.  Each "share" is to be paid for in the early spring; when things always get a little spendy on the farm.  Each "share" holder gets a Grocery bag full of produce once a week for a set number of weeks during the growing season.  The management of such an operation is a big distraction from the farm work and the class was warned "it's not for everybody" in regard to the customer service skills required to keep people happy while keeping up with all the farm jobs.  I gathered some useful marketing info should we decide to try this in a year or 2.

Lunch was well catered with food from local farmers.  I filled my plates and sat down at a table full of food farmers.  There was much discussion of deer deterrents, quinoa and mushrooms.   More support for the "peanut butter on the electric fence" approach to deer; even from the Quinoa research professor, who informed us deer won't eat Quinoa.  Due to some TED Talks and webinars, Chappell and I were already sold on the benefit of mycelium growth in the garden; so when 1 of the farmers turned out to be using mycelium for both remediation and food, a bond was found.  Max gave me a starter bag of Stroharia rugoso annulata-'fied wood chips and the knowledge to propagate it all over our hillside planting areas.

The Paw Paw workshop:   Almost walked out, but glad I didn't.  I now know the proper way to tell if they're ripe instead of a mish-mash  of folk tale.  They are ripe when they're a little soft.  The darkness sometimes associated with ripeness is actually a harmless surface mold.  They can be picked a couple days early and shelf life increases dramatically by storing them in the fridge.  I was excited to get some Paw Paw knowledge from the largest center of Paw Paw research in the world, Kentucky State University, and almost walked out when presented with a list of their TradeMarked cultivars and informed that  they use roundup.

The High Tunnel Integrated Pest Management & BioControl for Tomato Disease Management workshops both sent me packing with a lot of actionable advice and tools to identify issues and correct some of the common problems... some of which we have experienced.  Great conference, time to go home and "get right on that"... but the Truck is still on the other side of town.  I've convinced myself it will start when I return, it was just cold.  It's much warmer now, at least it feels warmer for the 1st few blocks.   Made it back to the truck just before dark and turned the key.  It didn't start, didn't sound any different than earlier in the day.  I think it's possible that it could be outta gas.  The gas gauge has been busted for years, we pace ourselves with the trip-ometer.  I should've had plenty of gas based on the trip-ometer but then I remember hauling a full load of soil amendments on that tank. It's probably outta gas.

I was able to borrow a 2 gallon gas can with 1 gallon it.  I put the gallon in the tank and it almost started.  Now convinced it's just outta gas, I shuffled off to the gas station several blocks away to get more gas... and a funnel...   It's into the 20's and windy again.  After walking the gas back and putting it all in the tank, I tried to start it again. It tried to start... almost had a few times, but ultimately it wouldn't.  The battery sounded like it was getting weaker.  I gave it a rest while I shuffled off to the gas station to put a gallon in the gas can to replace the 1st gallon I'd used.  It's about 10pm by now, really cold.  I got the gas and a pizza and returned to my free bnb to spend 1 more night.... but now it's late night Friday and there's not a mechanic in town that works on the weekends.   Once back inside I begun to hack up a lung every now and then. 

"one step forward, two steps back," I think that's what gianni said. i continued with the necessary seed starts, began shifting furniture around for the big clean. our communications were scant, because we had switched me over to a minutes phone to conserve our funds... a case of perfect timing. hahaha! no worries though, we both understand; when there's a problem at hand you do what you can to fix it... one step at a time. 

i spent the night finishing writing a new intro for this site... and woke up bright and early to open the green house for the day. it was a good day... gianni would be home soon and there was so much to be filled in on! i laughed that i had not managed to get done half of what was on my "to do" list. first things first. i fashioned a bunch of pots for planting pumpkin starts, transplanting selected plants to be potted up, etc. gianni let me know by one in the afternoon that he was unsuccessful with getting the truck started, and apparently no mechanic shops were open on saturday, even in the big city of charleston. he was definitely sick. we were mostly texting --but sporadically-- trying to save minutes on a phone that was never intended for heavy communications. i'm thinking i have 'til at least monday now to undertake the carpet cleaning, and i've got all the essentials i need to meet my and pepper's needs.

By Saturday morning I awoke rather ill but I went out to try to start the truck one more time before calling AAA.  It started!  I let it idle for a good long time and then remember it was just low on gas... oh, I need to get that tank filled.  So I decided it was time to drive to the gas station and fill it up, the engine should be charged up enough to stop it by now.   It drove a little weird.  A little sputtery, but I figured it was just working out some air/water in the lines... got to the gas station and was terrified to turn it off.  I just sat in the bay with it running for several minutes trying to convince myself it would start again... I couldn't convince myself.  drove back to the parking lot. 

One of my spiritual guides suggested some gas treatment might help; I immediately wished I thought of that while I had been at the gas station earlier.  Decide to run back to the gas station for the treatment.  I pulled out of the parking lot and within 1 block it was sputtering violently ... and then it stopped.  I quickly ducked off onto a level side road and rolled as far as I could.  I pushed it 15 yards into a parking space where it could be reached in case a Jump was needed.  Wrote a quick note and stuck it in the window. 

Walked to get the gas treatment; I was feeling rather weak and foggy headed too.  Put some gas treatment in the tank.  It wouldn't start.  I could see the bnb parking lot down the street It was only about a block an a half.  Started pushing.  A business suited gentleman pulling out of his driveway stopped, got out and helped push it a couple of houses down and as he returned to his car a lady offered to help.  I kept pushing and steering and by the time I had totally wore myself out and still had several yards of a slight incline into the parking space; the lady and and another man arrived to finish off the chore with me.  I had a warm fuzzy feeling, but the physical exertion in the f'n cold sent into flu-ville.  Ironically, in my sickly, humbled state; walking from the parking lot back to the bnb about 10am, I actually bumped into that old friend I'd been looking for.  Somewhat happy to be in isolation so as to not infect our farm's other 2 legged worker, I noshed on frozen leftovers of meals long forgotten, researched car repair places on my phone and watched Old Westerns.

i have a late lunch at the house, head back to the greenhouse to close it down. call for our working dog pepper, as is my custom when i go outside. i thought i heard her but she didn't come running as usual... so i headed on. when i was returning from the greenhouse, pepper stood at the pond gate with her "bad ears" on. i teased her. she didn't budge... just stood there as i walked toward her from middle field. as i got closer i could tell she was shivering. and i knew something was wrong... i just wasn't sure what.

Then came the sweats... chills  ...aches in every part of my body... more freezing... more sweating... and westerns.   ... about 5:30 I got a call from Chappell.  She was Frantic.  Our dog Pepper had been Very Badly Injured.  Flesh ripped off her body.  The were no vets open and no vehicle for transport or supplies and Chapel on her new "minutes" phone.  I called a neighbor, explained the situation and he said he'd go over right away.  Then came the sweats... chills  ...aches in every part of my body... more freezing... more sweating... and westerns.  It was real lonely and helpless feeling for next 2 days.  Fever delirium / recliner sleeping, uselessness ... more freezing... more sweating... and westerns

i arrived at the pond gate to find pepper's back hind quarter peeled back --a wound the size of my hand-- the skin hanging. oh dear. oh dear. i ran to the garage, grabbed my new limited use phone, ran back to pepper... she had ambled to the hillside, heading toward the chicken house. i can't remember a lot. i know i tried to call gianni. i think he answered right away, but i don't think he was coherent. he was sick... and i mean really sick. we said goodbye. i had tried to assess her wounds. feeling like she had to be in shock, i ran to the garage and grabbed blankets from her bedding and a jacket for me. gianni called back to let me know he had contacted a neighbor who would be right down. i sat on the hillside and comforted pepper, with so many questions flitting around in the silence. our neighbor came down within a couple of hours. i pulled back the blankets to reveal pepper's wounds, his jaw smacked against his chest. he assessed the wounds. not a cow, or a horse. not a coyote or a bear. "at first sight, i thought it was a real bad dog fight. but i do believe she went over to the interstate and got herself hit by a car. no vets open within the vicinity until monday, and from the looks of it, it happened several hours ago. just leave her there, if she makes it through the night you can figure it out in the morning."

i asked if she needed to be put down. he said "no, if she makes it through the night there are probably no internal injuries." suffice it to say, i told him i was not leaving her on the hillside for the coyotes, and i would lay there with her til morning. he asked if she could walk. "well, she made it to the gate there from somewhere... and she made it from the gate to here (where we were) while i ran to get my phone and blankets." "well let's see if we can get her to the house then." i'm worried about the ramifications of taking her in --she's not a house dog. i tell pepper "this is a hell of a way to finally get inside the secret house." pepper is a working dog... she sleeps in the garage in her insulated dog bed and only rarely gets to sleep in the basement when the temps drop too far below freezing. the rest of the house is what we call the secret house. 

she makes it to the porch. it's a long, slow hobble. i go inside and take up carpet, cover the upholstered chair and couch with our blankets in case she makes contact with her wounds, so she won't do any damage. i put blankets on the floor... get more bedding from the garage. with what's at hand we clean her up a bit, put some ointment on the wounds, talk on the porch. our neighbor heads out, saying he will return in the morning to see how things went. i try to talk with my husband. he's very sick. we're limiting our communications to email since the emergency, trying to conserve whatever minutes i have left on my new phone for essential communications dealing with pepper. 

i spend the night on the couch. watching over pepper closely. giving her water when she seems thirsty. she stands occasionally and blood has begun to drip from between her legs. i think it's a sure sign of internal bleeding. try to comfort her. she's stoic. i'm proud of her. it's just the big wait. no sleep.

she makes it through the night. the sun comes up. the greenhouse needs opening or the seedlings could die of heat. i go to the greenhouse. do what needs be done. no neighbor yet, but it's early. i go back to the house. pretty much all work has ceased. i lay on the couch ... pet pepper to soothe her when she whimpers. church is not yet out, perhaps the neighbor will return after noon. 

he arrived in the late afternoon with some antibiotics and a spray for the big wound. he was more surprised than i to find that pepper had survived the night. i told him she had gone outside and peed in the early part of day. the bleeding from her back end was from more lacerations back there. i saw them when she lifted her tail. she had walked to the edge of the yard by the corn crib. she hates to use the yard for a bathroom. she seemed to be doing much better than i expected. he congratulated us, said she would make it and heal... told me stories of some of his wounded animals. she was trying to clean her wounds and i was concerned, as she had tugged at her flap once or twice. a sheet of cardboard was procured from their farm for me to make a head cone for her while we were on the road to the inconvenient store so i could pick up a couple of things. gianni's three day two night excursion was going to be longer than expected and i was running out of things. 

after i was dropped off at the house, i began to work on fashioning a head cone in the kitchen. it occurred to me pepper has a head cone somewhere around here from when we had her spayed. i try to reach gianni... to see if he knows where it might be. unresponsive. i am worried about him as well, i am imagining how sick he must be. hoping it doesn't turn into a hospitalization. the way our luck has turned, who knows?

i go to the garage, look around. no head cone. come upstairs to find pepper in the kitchen. she knows better. "what are you doing in here?" i lead her into the front room. notice her flap is missing. "oh god, did you eat it?!" i investigate. she yelps. yep. it's not curled underneath itself as i had hoped. i turn to retrieve my phone from the windowsill beside the couch. within that moment, pepper stripped her skin back even further, without a sound... doubled the size of the wound. it's sunday evening. i haven't slept since friday. i'm feeling the wear and tear. i call the neighbor and apologize, tell him i need someone to come keep guard while i fashion the cone or find her old one. he arrives with his wife within minutes. his wife investigates pepper's wounds up close and personal with a flashlight. i enter the room and the husband says, "she has to go to the vet." his wife has determined it's essential. he says, "you know how do drive, don't you?" i explain why i don't drive. he asks if i have a license. yes i have a license. the jeep will be dropped by in the morning for pepper and i am to go to summerville, to the vet there. while they keep an eye on pepper, i go through out buildings looking for the head cone and can't find it. we all come back in. we proceed as planned. i fashion the basic shape of a head cone. test it around pepper's head. she won't have it. i look around, gather up bandaging stuff. together we clean her up bandage her lightly. our wonderful neighbors head back to their farm.

My spiritual guide had the truck towed off and repaired on Monday.  I zombie stumbled through a yuppie grocery story in what use to be a low rent district long enough to acquire a rotisserie chicken, orange juice, vitamins and cold medicine and returned to free bnb.  .. aches in every part of my body... more freezing.. more sweating.. and westerns.  I was now "able" to get back to the farm but also able to make healthy people sick and unable to be of much assistance.

pepper finally sleeps around 5am. i follow shortly after. we sleep til 7:30. i look out the window. it's monday morning. the jeep is in the drive. i call the vet in summerville, they don't open til 9. i need to open the greenhouse. i tie a length of sweat pant fashioned into bandaging around pepper's knee, so she can't chew through her bandages and perform anymore surgery. open the greenhouse. try to get hold of gianni for the home number of one of his friends. unresponsive. i am worried about him, very concerned. but have control only over the situation at hand. i think i can't get pepper in the jeep by myself her injuries won't allow me to lift her, i'll need a gurney and another set of arms. she does not like getting in the truck when we have to take her for her shots. she's like a cat that way.

i wait and call the business gianni's friend works at the minute it opens. i hope his wife has the car and can come down to assist me. her car is in the shop. he can come by after work. i'm not sure how many minutes i have left on this new phone. i may or may not be here, but please, yes come by. i call another acquaintance. explain what's up, can he maybe come help load her in and ride with me? his car is in the shop. i call the vets in summerville whom the neighbors have recommended as better and more affordble than the one in town. it's not that much further. i lose contact. guess i ran outta minutes. another case of perfect timing.

i give it a whirl, just me and pepper. i take her to the jeep. try to get her into the passenger seat. it's a struggle. i fear more damage than just accepting how things are. we go back to the house. she's a bit pissed at me.

i've not slept much since friday. i tend to pepper and her needs. gianni's cousin has responded to an email i had sent out on friday. she hunts, traps, runs dogs. kills bear. she's a real bad ass. i figure maybe she can help. she's got a big trapper event coming up and a daughter expecting a baby, but she can advise me. i send her a pic of pepper's fresh wounds from saturday. she instructs me on what to do. she thinks i'm in a panic... but i'm not. it is what it is. it's sad, and i'm worried for both my husband and my dog... for my pack's health and well being, but i can only try to fix what i have control over. i'm worried about the crops, the season is just beginning, and now everything seems out of whack and we're behind. but... i'm not in a panic. i'm in denial.  i've done what i can and that's all one can do. 

she assures me a vet is not necessary, pepper has made it this far, she's seen dogs worse off when she's running bear. they've made it. we try to arrange it so we can video chat and or talk via the internet, so she can walk me through the best means of caring for pepper's wounds. it doesn't work out in a timely fashion, but we finally have the means to communicate via real time, instead of back and forth through email. she has to get back to work, and so do i. i tie another fat bandage around pepper's knee, head to the greenhouse, deal with it. a door was blown out, so i'm gone much longer than i anticipated. i fix it. i go back to the house. pepper hasn't chewed through the sweat pant knee barrier. she's asleep. i thought gianni's friend would be off work by two ... maybe to the farm by three, it's closer to 4:30. i decide i need to be pro-active, he might have forgot. the urgency of the situation is only an urgency for me. there's a jeep in the drive. i can go to town, get a head cone at the vet, buy the rest of the stuff my cousin-in-law has advised me to have on hand to fix her up with and also buy a phone card for my old phone, which i can hopefully restore, and have unlimited service for the time being.

the jeep's gas light came on at the end of the drive. i stopped at the station, filled the tank (after struggling with being locked in the jeep). it really was a comedy of error folks. i moved on to the vets. it was late. a light was on. i knocked. no one answered. missed 'em by a hair. went to the store, picked up more ointment, some duct tape, the phone card. headed back to the farm. gianni's friend was sitting there waiting for me. we clean pepper. i use a tonic i made of spilanthes for gianni watered down considerably. it seems to be an excellent topical anesthetic. we clean the worst wound the longest and speak with gianni's cousin when it is absolutely necessary. she's waiting for that call on the coming baby and i'm not certain if she has caller i.d.  i think we finally finished cleaning and bandaging pepper up around midnight. 

the days were a blur to me. the neighbor arrived with his wife sometime on tuesday. i think he was disappointed that pepper hadn't been able to get to the vet, but i knew he understood. i think he hadn't considered the issue of getting a 60 pound injured dog into a vehicle alone. we talked briefly and i went out to the car to thank his wife. they left taking the jeep back to their farm. my sleep time was relegated to pepper's sleep time. i managed the minimal around the farm. keeping seedlings alive. doing a mommy watch. i owned an american bit pull for 14 years... i didn't trust what pepper could do to her wounds if i weren't at hand to keep an eye on her. she could walk all the way out to the greenhouse and back with me already. a slow steady pace, it seemed she was improving vastly. gianni was still pretty sick. while i had a phone line now, our communications were pretty much non-existant... i prayed for the best for him and kept a watch over pepper.

Tuesday morning I found that I was no longer feverish and went out on a supply run for the items we needed.  A&D ointment, triple biotic ointment, doggy cone head wound protector, more OJ, bandages... and ham: the new dog food. Errands completed near dark thirty, we weighed the value of the fresh supplies with the possibility that I might still be contagious and I opted to head back to the farm Wednesday morning.  I had left the farm for 3 days and 2 nights.  It lasted just over a week. 

i doctor pepper's smaller wounds and decide to leave the largest wound bandaged until gianni makes it home. the newly fashioned skin flap needs time to re-attach. pepper makes progress each day. going on long walks, wanting to take me up into the hills. she misses work, i can tell. the only hurdle left is a bowel movement. she might have injured her bowels, but there's no distention of her belly. our cousin says her colon is probably just dried up... but it is a cause for concern. i look for flax seed, psyllium... find none of that... find some packet of people, laxative and get directions on the dosage for pepper.  

at last!!!! on wednesday gianni returns with the all important head cone!!!! hooray! he's close by, and while he's still sick, i can now gauge that he will be healthy again one day. ha! i've been consuming our elderberry syrup and am not sick --and don't plan to be. i'm still on doggie watch with intermittent sleep. but my pack is assembled again, and we'll make it. gianni was sent to the store for some pumpkin, and other things ... and bless his heart, he makes that run... without his wallet... he's sick folks. but manages to arrive home with the pumpkin. 

Headed off to the store to get the much needed pumpkin and a few other things we needed for the Pepper's recovery; 20 minutes of driving, got my shopping cart and start through the isles.  After putting the first item in, I instinctively felt for my wallet, it wasn't there, searched all my pockets.. I'd forgotten it.  Put the 1st item back.  The only absolute must have item was the can of pumpkin that will make my dog poo.  I dug up all the change from the truck and my pocket 1.37. couldn't find the pumpkin and needed some assistance.  got it... it was 1.39 ... my face prompted "is there something wrong, sir?"  I had already explained my wallet issue and the need for the 1 item..  "Yeah" I said "I've only got a buck 37" the employee offered up some change from his pocket.

... more snow and ice and an hour long walk with pepper at 3:48 am ... every thing works out, if you know what i mean. i'm thankful for the snow fall because it makes it easier for me to see --but i can smell that giant pile of shit from a distance of 20 feet. hallelujha!!! after pepper falls asleep i head to the greenhouse to remove the weight of ice and snow. i know now everything is gonna be alright. amen!  

After 3 days back on the farm I am still sick, but improving... and my dog has half an ass... but she's healing well and getting stronger each day.  Could be worse, she could have half a mind or live half hearted...  or have 2 faces, van gogh ears or 3 nipples.. oh yeah, she probably does have at least 3 nipples...  anyway, it could be worse and there's always tomorrow for that.  ;~}
Can't wait to get back to farmin. 

moody farm
moody farm


What a story - make sure you copy these to the computer so you will have your book someday -- also add a donation blip to the blog --- hell people give change to people along the road with no story and i love you guys -- what an interesting life you both lead -- liked the way you constructed the blog back and forth and did you ever think about skype? Dad

we've got copies. All of our RealLife supporters know where to find us if they want to help. We're not misery bogging for profit ;~) Just sharing our experience. I was in & out of consciousness neither of us had skype already set up. I think at the crucial moments It was probably best for us each to deal with our individual rations of shit.

hey john! :) we love you too! thanks for the compliment (on the story telling) . every novel or story i have written since computers came into my world are sealed within hard drives that are long dead! ha! of course, some of them exist somewhere, in hard copy... either published or in a box somewhere. or gone. which is the course of all things. :) as far as donations and hard luck -- hell, the woman at the pump beside me while i was locked in the jeep (a "quirk" of the vehicle my neighbor hadn't explained) heard the condensed version, prefaced with: "excuse me ma'am, i'm not asking for a anything or a handout-- but i need your help..." she wouldn't even give me the time of day! hahaha! as gianni said in the intro, it's the cliff notes version, and the whole story (on my end) truly felt like an absurd beckett play. i tried facetime with g's cousin, and apple's product centrism kept that from being a simple solution. so we both installed / used software from a social networking platform that we both detest. hahaha! skype didn't even enter my mind, and communicating with gianni was just out of the question. he was down for the count. things are sorta normalized, but not quite. we'll get there. hope all is well on yer end! :)

Wow! What a week. So glad you all are surviving. Hope everyone is well and fully recovered soon.

as my father always used to say, ginny... "it's all good." :)

Good saying.