15 December 2008

Finally Fiber

I finally have some fiber updates to share!

The lost silver Glitter has been found behind a bookcase! I can start on my blue DROPS shawl.

I've got a good amount of bulky handspun piling up from the fleece of our Jacob ewe Gruyere.

My progress thus far on the February Lady Sweater. I'm enjoying knitting this easy lace pattern.

In Farm News

We took advantage of yesterday's warmer weather to do vaccinations, hoof trimming, and deworming on the 24 goats. I was dragging my heels, but we can't procrastinate caring for our babies.

The left side has been trimmed, right side has not:

We clip hooves with a Felco trimmer - it is similar to their pruners. Great tool and worth the price.

The hoof in back has not been trimmed; the foot in front is almost finished:

Chef Jeff measures Dexter with a weight tape to calculate the amount of topical dewormer to apply. Dexter came to us as a buck but is now a very happy wether:

Since we rotate our goats' pastures, we worm only twice a year, to ensure prevention of secondary health problems like anemia. We used an herbal dewormer and found it didn't work well at all; recent scientific studies have corroborated our anecdotal discovery.

We now use Dectomax, which is not yet FDA-approved for goat use, but which our vet has prescribed to us for off-label use on goats and sheep at 1cc per 22 lbs. topically. It is safe, effective, and very easy to administer. It does not remain on our sheep fleeces, which is extremely important to me.

We could not do without our milking stand when taking care of the goats. Here is our massive two-year-old Boer/dairy doe, Frieda (the herd queen), weighing in at 180 pounds...

... and here is our Nigerian Dwarf doeling, Sitka, at 78 pounds:

Little Elfine, born this spring, is our smallest goat; she is just 45 pounds, and too short for the stand!

Weather Update

I am seriously not liking this weather today.

My new jacket is awesome - I don't get cold outside at all. The trouble is staying warm inside this drafty old firetrap!

Health Care - Skip At Will

I heard a great story on NPR a couple of days ago about knitting helping depression. For the life of me, I can't find a link, though I've searched for way too long now. Keep your eyes peeled for it - I think it was on Talk Of The Nation, in their book discussion...?

NPR is doing a series comparing health care in America to that in other countries. It should be interesting.

Lael (and others), I'm grateful for your comments. If my friends didn't feel comfortable having opinions that differed from mine, I would never learn anything new. (And Lael, I totally owe you an e-mail - I haven't forgotten!)

I do feel that privatized health insurance buying pools, which would make coverage affordable to the self-employed and un- or under-insured, are a great idea. I'm all for coverage for everyone - just not overseen by the government (which will do everything possible to cut costs, and will likely make a mess of things), and not at a 50% or higher income tax rate.

Such pools would also encourage those who can work to work in order to afford such benefits, rather than encourage freeloading.

I certainly don't want to be financially responsible for people who smoke, or don't exercise, or otherwise don't take care of themselves. If everyone buys their own insurance, I believe it will cost us each less than if the government "buys it for us" with our tax dollars. We can still achieve similar economies of scale in purchasing, while maintaining a competitive market where our doctors' treatments are not dictated by governmental limitations on their services.

One significant reason people may live longer in some other countries is because (thus far) they have not had the sedentary lifestyle we Americans have "enjoyed". Nor the fast food. Nor suburbs, which require the use of cars instead of feet in order to go shopping or to work. I lost a significant amount of weight when I lived abroad, only to gain it back upon returning to an American way of life.

I want name-brand drugs, not non-equivalent (see last post's link - it is factual) generics. I want to spend an hour with my doctor if necessary, not 15 minutes; and I want to choose my doctor. If I need surgery, I do not want to wait a year to have it. If I need mental health care, or treatment for a syndrome which has not yet been defined as a "disease," I don't want it deemed as unnecessary by a bureaucrat. To provide care to those who don't have it should not limit the care of those who can afford it. Socialized medicine has bankrupted the health care systems of some countries who have initiated it,; now everyone's equal... in the lack of high quality (and not just minimal) health care.

Because of Jeff's job in the health care industry, I have access to actual, concrete facts and statistics on these topics. From my personal experience with friends and family who are experiencing many problems with socialized medicine, I gain first-hand insight. I'm not forming my opinions based on information from the politicized media in the US, or based on my emotions. How I feel about what everyone should receive is very different from what I believe to be practical and in the country's best interest.

A question I have asked myself is, if other countries' socialized health care systems are so wonderful, why do many Canadians and Europeans choose to come to the United States, at their own out-of-pocket expense, for procedures?

Just because something is available doesn't mean it should be "free to all." How would we feel if the government decided that, because there is nice handspinning rare sheep wool available, they will make us sell it to them, at a deep discount with a loss of profit to wool growers, in order to provide free clothing to the masses... and by the way, they will increase our income taxes to 50% to cover the administration of the program? Would we continue to breed sheep?

Do I believe the government will fund the research and development of new medicines (a very expensive undertaking, which takes decades, the results of which maybe 10% or less of new medications will end up being feasible)? No way, José.

People don't understand that when a company - any successful company - makes a profit, it is most often reinvested into company growth (= more jobs!) and research and development (= scientific advances! Potential cures for cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's!) Profits don't automatically get deposited in an executive's bank account... if they did, the company would fail in no time.

Many folks also don't understand that "evil corporate executives" and "evil corporations" donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities and the arts. "Evil drug companies" provide FREE medications to those in the U.S. who can't afford them, as well as entire third-world countries! The government won't foot the bill for that!

I suggest that if people want socialized medicine, they consider moving to a country that offers it. Personally, I want to continue to live in a country which offers the freedom to succeed or fail, to buy or do without, due to one's own merits and abilities. With rights come responsibilities. And we can make modifications to the current system without going to an extreme.

I actually wish I lived back in the days when doctors made house calls and were paid in ham and eggs or good old-fashioned cash, and when we didn't have the "benefit" of being kept alive after losing our physical or mental faculties just because it is possible to do so.

Complicated issues, for sure!

Hope you are staying cozy and comfortable today! Be well.


Pamela said...

Hmm, interesting link to the NPR comparisons. It seemed to think the French system was wonderful, but omitted a very significant point i.e. that even with high taxes, the French government has been forced to borrow, and borrow again, to prop up the system. In other words, the French system is chronically underfunded (about 80 billion euros) and is being artifically supported by loans. Not exactly a perfect system!

Linda M said...

Hi, I'm pretty sure I heard some part of the story discussing knitting as a help against depression on To The Best Of Our Knowledge this past Sunday morning. I was listening with half an ear and started paying attention when I realized they were talking about knitting :-) Does the program play in your area?