Disabled Farming

(copied from my old blog)

October 25, 2015

I had two weeks notice of my knee surgery that was scheduled for mid June this year.  I would be fully on crutches for at least 6 weeks, not able to put any weight on my left foot at all.  So I used those two weeks to prepare as best I could, making things as easy as possible for my dear husband while he was without my help.

I planted just one row of green beans in the raised bed garden, hoping to have figured out the crutches by the time they were producing.  And Frank helped me lay down silo plastic in our 20×30 garden space.  I cut holes in the plastic and planted watermelons in about a third of the space.  The other third was planted with Sweet Meat Squash.

I also planted a couple of tomato plants in pots that were next to the driveway, along with some of my favorite herbs, figuring that I could sit in a chair to care for the plants as much as they would need.

That all worked out quite well.  We bought 2 Jersey bull calves about a week prior to the surgery and they had the “assignment” of nursing the cow so that we wouldn’t need to worry about milking.  I wanted to be able to visit the animals – one of my greatest joys in living on our hobby farm – so I built a seat that would fit into the weight bucket on the back of our small tractor.

Here’s a picture of me sitting on that seat, from just a week or so ago, while pulling the milking machine up in the garden wagon:


The hope was that the surgery would relieve my pain enough that I could return to work and to a more normally active lifestyle, however, the arthritis in my knee worsened during those weeks of inactivity.  So, my life now is at a more sedate pace and I am learning to adjust.  I am free of the crutches, but still use a cane when away from the house.  If I walk up to the barnyard, I take a walking stick along to help me be more steady on my feet.
While I enjoy milking by hand, sitting on the low stool to do so is very hard on my knees and getting back up from that position is agony.  So I am learning to enjoy how quickly the cow milks out with the machine.  And, frankly, I get a LOT more cream when using the machine.  So, a bonus I wasn’t expecting.
I plan on building more raised beds for the garden in the future, as I can sit in a low chair to work.  I will have Frank till up my “intermittent row garden” again next year and I will either sit in the grass to tend it or I will put down the side of the garden wagon and sit in it to do the work.  Here’s a picture of the intermittent row garden from a previous year:
I’m moving more slowly now and sit down to work as often as I can.  I plan things I can do while sitting in my recliner with my feet up, as sitting with them down makes my knee ache even more.  Instead of working away from home, I am venturing into selling my body care products online and have been doing some writing online, too.
One good thing about all of this is that it has freed me up to be of service to family and friends who need a bit of help.  I can’t do a lot, but I can drive, I can listen, and I can be moral support.  I am incredibly blessed by otherwise good health and having a direction to go now that the path has changed.

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