St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Walking in the Winter Wonderland

Deer bed back in the woods--no antler sheds today
   An SUV hit a deer on the road nearby our place. The driver didn't take the deer--it sat a few days with crows and eagles stopping on the road ditch to pick at it. 
   The neighbor who lives there got it moved out in the field next to us--get those bald eagles, hawks and crows away from the road before they get run into--was his thinking.  Don't know how the DNR in MN works, but now it is a few hundred yards out in the field west of the house--just out of site. 
What kind of tracks--small, slow and maybe a dragging tail?
   Couple of bald eagles and a murder of crows found it already and were flying around, tempting me to take out the camera and zoom in on them.  Can't quite do it from the house, so it was a good excuse to walk out in the woods on this nice sunny, 20 degree day. 
A Pileated wood pecker family has lived in our
woods for several years--raising a youngster each summer
and keeping us company in the winter
   I tried to sneak through the woods, but never even got close before the eagles and crows took off.  Didn't feel like setting up a blind or waiting, so spent a while Kodaking through the snowy woods looking for antler sheds.   
Scott has been trying some bird photos 
   Last year a father and son tromped the woods in February and found a couple of antlers.   I know it is a little early, but thought I might try anyway.  No luck!  Not much deer signs around here since the CWD killoff a couple of years ago. 
   Margo is perking up -- she got a delay until a week from today for the next chemo--a 3 week gap which is helping her get back to feeling better.  We are sticking close to home this holiday season.
   Got a note from my friend and school mate, Ed Wilson of Cushing, that he is having radiation for brain cancer. A few years ago he got through treatment for naso-pharyngeal cancer--took a lot out of him, but he was improving.  I think he is just getting to Medicare age. 

 All this nonsense the Republicans are trying to force on us to not get Medicare or SS until we are older is just that--nonsense.   It is hard enough to get private insurance as it is, and private insurance is too often quite miserable to deal with.  Ed had a big bill the last time because when he was in very poor condition from the radiation and had a feeding tube, he had to go to a sort of assisted care place.  He was directed to the closest one to the University treatment center, but ended up having to pay that whole bill himself as he didn't get permission from the insurance company (he was too sick to think to ask).   The insurance company had one slightly cheaper a couple of miles away they would have paid for.  If Obamacare is not killed by the Republicans, at least insurance companies will have to follow some guidelines on how they treat us!  (Having worked in the medical world most of my career, I do have strong opinions--and the strongest are reserved for the insurance companies that make you go through all sorts of hoops and hurdles when you are the sickest--with more concern for their payouts than our health).  
   I think Ed is just about 65 years old.  He stopped out to visit at the cabin late last fall to talk about supplemental along with Medicare--think maybe early in 2013 he would be eligible.  I told him to stick with his current company and see if they had a supplemental, as it is almost impossible to get a new policy after having cancer already.  Private insurance companies have never cared to insure sick folks.  Good Capitalists, I guess ;-)  When it comes to health care, Socialism is a hell of a lot more sympathetic --at least if you use Medicare as an example. 
   Having to use the medical system intensively this year, I am becoming an expert. Talking to my friends who are also using it more too as they age--it is quite eye-opening how many problems there are with the current system--which of course is not a system at all--just a collection of grasping private companies trying to sell questionable drugs, questionable treatments, bogus insurance policies and a vast amount of quacks with or without MD degrees and a generally ignorant bunch of patients who are rushed through their visits. 
  I do think Mayo--a non-profit--is actually very good. Doctors on salaries are much nicer to deal with than those who have to worry about making a profit off of the MRI machine. Of course I worked there for 25 years so might be biased.   
   My friend and a great helper at the Luck Museum, Harvey Nelson passed away on the 14th.  He and his wife Marilyn ran the furniture shop in Luck.  Harvey always cheerfully volunteered to fix our old museum items, to haul our new acquisitions and was a genuine great guy.  I didn't realize how sick he was when I last talked to him this fall.  He said he was taking some medicine for cancer, like Margo was.  

Going to watch an old version of "A Christmas Carol" tonight and probably open the gifts tomorrow.  Margo and I didn't get out shopping so most of the presents are from Scott to us. 
  Have a Merry Christmas!   We are hoping 2013 will be the year we get back to normal!