Saturday, May 19, 2018

brewing, a curtain, laser and eye drops,
and willie and lobo



The Stellar Jays (thanks, Rob) are back, along with a variety of smaller birds, and even a couple doves. Anyone know what this bird is? I did not notice any last year. And, what’s really cool, this year there are birds singing in the area. Don’t know why there were none last year. Maybe putting out birdseed out as soon as I got here, had something to do with it. It wasn’t until the fall last year when I thought of putting out birdseed. But still, I would have thought birds would be around.


This is a photo of a problem, however. One or two come by every day. I wonder what birdseed is going to cost me this year. The first time turkeys came through, it was a whole family. The evening before, I had put the pan on the steps, since it needed to be refilled. After a couple minutes, two stragglers came through and their path took them to where some scattered seed was still on the ground. I wonder if those two are the ones that keep coming back. It seems they did not share this feeding spot with the rest of the family. But really, come on, who has wild turkeys feeding out of their birdfeeder?
Granted, my birdfeeders are two enameled pans set on the ground. M&M are not into birds. They watch them, but they don’t stalk them. But I’m pretty sure there are no rodents around.
I had to purchase a hanging birdfeeder to make the seed last longer. I also picked up 50 pounds of cracked corn for the turkeys.

In the early 1900s, a German housewife invented a new coffee brewing process, the pour-over. It’s what I use. I had a French press when I first started with this lifestyle, but it took too much water to clean when I’m off-the-grid. So, Melitta Bentz, I’m most grateful.
Yet another example of SIG—Simple Is Good.

After my pint of yerba mate each morning, I have a mug of coffee. Then I’m good for the day. Lately I’ve been adding eggshells to the coffee grounds. The shells are alkaline and are suppose to cut coffee’s bitterness and mellow out the flavor. I don’t know if it is just in my head, but my morning coffee seems to be less acidic and more flavorful. I’m stickin’ with eggshells.


This past winter, I was the most physically inactive than I’ve been in over 15 years. Maybe all the medical issues from the last year and a half finally caught up in my mind. Pretty much lost my gains from all the outside work last summer. When I got back to Timberon and started working on the land again, swinging the mattock and pick, shoveling dirt and gravel into the back of the Dodge, and raking it all out where I wanted it, started off real slow, not much strength or endurance. Payback time for sloughing off last winter. I thank the gods I have a strong enough mind to not adopt the standard senior mindset.
I’m looking forward to getting back in shape, giving thanks for this body that enables me to do so much.


I came out of the library on one of my town runs, and had a little surprise. It was as if a dark, mesh curtain had fallen over my left eye. I’ve been having flashes and pretty much constant floaters for a couple weeks. I know flashes mean get in touch with an eye doctor. I didn’t. It’s a guy thing. In a situation such as this, the word ‘guy’ is a synonym for ‘idiot.’ But the curtain seemed to have taken things up a notch. My eye clinic was only two blocks away so I walked over to see if a doctor could take a look. The next day I was driving three hours south to Southwest Retina Consultants in El Paso.

Okay, I’m thinkin’ laser pulses are going to be sent into the back of my eye to seal a tear around the retina. To prepare me, they put eye drops onto the front surface of my eye. Eye drops! Laser pulses and eye drops. How is this not gonna hurt?

I had both cataract surgeries done last summer, and the only prep given was eye drops. And there was no pain while the doctor pulverized my lens with ultrasound, flushed it out, and replaced it with an artificial lens. But that was pretty much on the surface.

Have you had this laser procedure done? Most of the pulses weren’t bad, no big thing, just exceedingly bright, but really, it’s a laser flashing into your eye, and most of the pulses caused no discomfort. But (sometimes this is not a good word), a good number of them were, Ahhhhh!! I’ve been through a number of unpleasant experiences, but I was SO relieved when this was procedure was over.

Pretty much another experience that I would have preferred—not to have experienced. Why do I find this humorous?
Anyway, then I just had to sit in my truck until I could see well enough to start the drive home.

As you know, a laser is a concentrated beam of light. Retinal lasers are designed to be able to pass through non-retinal tissue, the lens and cornea, without damaging them. How do they come up with stuff like this? The light energy of a thermal laser is absorbed by specific tissue at the back of the eye and is converted to heat. With the heat, wait for it, comes a burn. A burn—in the eye! Why am I chuckling? The ophthalmologist makes a series of burns all around where the retina attaches to the back wall of the eye. Sort of like spot-welding, the retina is tacked down. The scarring that results seals the retina to the underlying tissue. If left untreated, fluid can leak through the tears and cause the retina to detach. No retina attachment—no sight.

My surgeon first used the microscope and lens system, somewhat like the one used to examine your eye. A special contact lens, a big sucker, is placed on your eye to hold your lids apart and focus the laser. For this you are sitting up in a chair with your chin on the support and your forehead against the pad. Familiar? But this time, you have a hand from a doctor’s assistant holding your head in place.
To reach the areas not quite accessible, the surgeon had to use an indirect delivery system consisting of a laser system mounted on his head. For this I was lying down.
Well, yet another informative entry.

I drove back down to El Paso three weeks later for a follow up. It looked good and will not have to go back until the end of July.

The last year and a half is all sounding like some kind of medical saga.


I wonder if this is the same doe who came up to the back window last summer. She has been coming around more often since I put out the cracked corn for the turkeys.

I was sitting in the Nash one evening reading, sipping a glass of red wine, and listening to Willie & Lobo’s album, Caliente, set on low. Typical evening, pretty mellow. At one point I put the Kindle down and looked over to watch M&M sitting out in the window cage. These two are so invaluable to this lifestyle. Then I just sat there for a bit looking out the back window and listening to the music. Through the trees in the gathering darkness, I could see the mountain I hike on, from time to time. I’m thinking, I like this. Having a small piece of land in the woods. I can do with it what I want, and it is always there to come back to. I like having a quiet base, along options for physical activity to help maintain my health. Life is good.

Mind how you go.

When something matters, you work for it.


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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3 comments:

KnomadTrack said...

Hi Sebastian,
Looks like a Towhee in your first photo. You might want to sprinkle the ground with seed and raise your bowl to a platform. Many birds are not ground feeders.
Also a bowl on the ground with water for a bath is one way to really attract birds. Other animals as well.
Hated reading about your eye trouble. I was having trouble with my eyes about 25 years ago and it turned out to be a tumor near my pituitary. The tumor was pressing against the optic nerves. Let just say the procedure wasn't fun. Glad your's wasn't so invasive.

Sebastian said...

Good grief, a tumor against your optic nerves. Makes me almost thankful for what little I've been through. Glad it worked out well for you. I'll be putting out bird water, thanks. I just have to get a stool for the bowl. Mesa covers up any bowl of water I leave on the ground, so my feline water bowl is on the Nash steps. Take care.

KnomadTrack said...

HI Sebastian,
Here is a great website for you. allaboutbirds.org They are the leader in ornithology. At the top is "Topics" and is a great resource for feeding and the like.
The best bird book out there is the Nat. Geo. Field Guide to the Birds of No. America.
Hope these help.
As to the above, the tumor didn't cause permanent affects to the optics, thankfully! Often, its that affect on sight that the tumor is found, which is how it was found for me. Most of the time the tumor is benign, and that was the case for me.
Rob K.