May 2011


An update from Brother Dear:

Hopefully Maggie will be home near Babb very soon, and I for one can’t wait to see her snug in her warehome.   I have been wondering what Maggie’s first spring in Glacier County might be like, so I looked through a folder of pictures from last spring to get an idea.  If history holds true, this is what awaits Maggie Rose Fullerton in the coming months:

Moose, both big and small

Snow!  Sorry Maggie, but the forecast is looking poor…this photo is dated May 30, 2010

Your Dad calling in aliens!

Your parents blasting little clay disks out of the air!  (or trying to)

Campfires with Nan and Chuck!

Extremely excitable dogs to play with….if you ever happen to find them awake!

Hiking with your Mom and the Hot Buns!

And of course, warm evenings on sun-dappled porches with wise old dogs, anxious to hear your day’s tales and always willing to provide counsel or a soft place to snuggle.

Okay so a few of these might fit into Maggie’s plans a bit better a few more years from now…anyways, hurry (ware)home, Maggie!

Yesterday, Maggie Rose had her very first bath.

Thank goodness.  She was growing potatoes in her neck folds, though I found that precious, of course.

Holding Maggie after her bath, it occurred to me that as much as I live for the next great celebration – a windy summit, a glass of French champagne – it’s the dirty coffee cups in the sink and the smell of a freshly washed baby that provide the baseline for all such frivolity.

Here’s to life’s mundane details on this gray Wednesday morning.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

So much has happened since my fingers last flew across this keyboard, eager to announce the arrival of our long awaited, gorgeous daughter to the big, beautiful world.  Since that time, Honeydew and I have gotten a little reminder about the big, beautiful world – sometimes it’s a hard, scary place.

Maggie arrived at 12:06 a.m. on Saturday, May 21.

After delivery, she slept beside me, feeding from the start, through the remainder of the night.  We spent a blissful Saturday showing her off to anyone who would stand still long enough to listen to us exclaim over her perfect toes, long and strong like both of ours, her seashell ears, just like Honeydew’s, her head full of dark hair, so like mine when I was born.  Honeydew changed a slew of muddy diapers and I unpacked her diaper bag, enlisting Nan and Pseudo Sista’s help in choosing a going home outfit for Maggie to wear, once we were sprung from the hospital.  In so doing, I discovered I hadn’t actually packed any diapers in said diaper bag, and we all howled with laughter.

Maggie’s Nan brought roses and cupcakes in honor of her first birthday, and Maggie opened her eyes long enough for us to determine that they resemble deep sapphire pools, luminous in their liquid depths, so like my Grandma Ivey’s.

Sunday morning, I woke up around 4am, feeling feverish and generally wretched, but I didn’t think much of it.  After all, as my OB said, I pretty much experienced unmedicated childbirth, medicated childbirth, and a c-section on Friday, so feeling wretched seemed par for the course.  I called my lovely nurse for ibuprofen, and she took my vitals and realized my temperature was over 102F.  No one could quite figure out why I was running such a high fever, and as a result Maggie’s doctor ordered her blood drawn for screening.  The nurses whisked Maggie away to the nursery, and when they did not return her to me after a hour, I began to weep.  I think I knew instinctively at that point that something was very wrong.

Long story short: Maggie’s platelet count was down t0 22,000, meaning she essentially lost her ability to clot, internally and externally.  A platelet transfusion would be required, immediately, and transfer to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Kalispell was arranged.  The nurses helped me out of bed for the first time since I delivered Maggie, and I sat in a wheelchair with Honeydew and Maggie in the nursery, drinking in Maggie’s scent, marveling over the softness of her skin, memorizing the shape of each tiny nail bed.

Honeydew went with Maggie to Kalispell, while my parents and my nurses helped prepare me for my own discharge and transfer, as I tried to take my first post-C section steps and shower, all the while understanding for the first time just what folks mean when they say that you deliver your heart along with your first baby, and it is never safely tucked within the cavity of your chest again.

After safely making the trip south, Maggie did just what her mama always does: she started working on her tan.

Obviously, I’m just kidding – this is Maggie under the blue lights, being treated for jaundice, though her larger problem is the ABO incompatibility between her body and mine.

We may never know exactly why Maggie’s platelets plummeted to such disastrously low levels.  I’ll paraphrase how my Dad explained the issue: due to a known incompatibility between my blood type and Honeydew’s (I’m O-, he’s A+, and I tested positive for the Rh factor), my body produced some antibodies which attacked Maggie’s platelets.  With so few platelets, a very small injury could have caused Maggie to bleed out – it seems a miracle that several days of contractions, several hours of serious pushing, and then a vacuum assisted C section did not cause such injury.   It also seems a miracle that Maggie’s doctors were able to catch this problem in time.  Had I delivered Maggie naturally, as I had wanted to, I probably would not have run a fever, and Maggie’s blood would never have been tested so early.  By the time she jaundiced, we would have been in Babb, trying not to be first-time, freak-out parents, and Honeydew and I seriously wonder if we would have understood the difference between jaundiced and critically ill, as Maggie would have become.

Happily, I did not get my dream delivery, and as a result Maggie had her first infusion of platelets Sunday, and her second on Monday.  There’s a miracle in that reality, too: there is apparently a serious shortage of the platelets that Maggie so desperately needed, and there were already NICU babies here who were searching for the same type of platelets, and had been searching for days.  By the time they were located, Maggie was on her way to the NICU, and the platelets were on a plane en route from Salt Lake City.  I get the chills just thinking about all the little breaks Maggie has caught in her first three days of life.

At any rate, Honeydew and I have taken all of these events a lot harder than Maggie Rose.  She is rosy cheeked and beautiful, and seems to be responding well to the transfusion.  She’s still eating like the hawg her parents bred her to be, and both Honeydew and I got to hold her for about an hour today in the NICU.  Ah.  All our happy receptors filled up.  Who knew staring at a baby could be so therapeutic?

We’ll keep y’all posted as best we are able to about Maggie’s situation.  We are touched by the outpouring of love, positive vibes, chocolate chip cookies, and prayers that we’ve received, and I look forward to talking to everyone at some point after Maggie is given a clean bill of health and we are discharged from the NICU.  Until then, that’s where Honeydew and I will be.  Just staring at our beautiful baby, the toughest rose in Glacier County.

If you’re looking to help, why not go donate blood?  Click here for information on donating through the Red Cross.

If you’re curious about ABO incompatibility, or hemolytic disease of the newborn, click this link for more information – the so-called “mismatch” between Maggie and I is very, very rare.  And, happily, completely treatable in future pregnancies.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

We are mighty pleased to introduce y’all to our firstborn, Margaret Rose, who arrived at 12:06 a.m. on May 21.  Margaret weighed in at 8 lbs 5 oz and was 21″ long.

Margaret means “child of light.”

Our Margaret is named in honor of Courtney’s maternal aunt Sissynee Margaret Rose Black, who was named in part for Courtney’s grandmother, Betty Rose, who in turn was named for her mother’s sister, Rose.  Sissy has always treated Courtney like a daughter, and has treated Greg like a son since they were first introduced.  May our Margaret Rose be as kind and filled with joie de vivre as Sissy is.

Oh, and this guy? In a nutshell, is a Daddy Rock Star.  Wednesday, he survived a phone call from me telling him I would be induced that afternoon, make tracks!  Then he spent all day Wednesday and all day Thursday helping me deal with pitocin contractions that weren’t going anywhere.  Friday, he dealt with two more failed induction attempts before I finally went into Hard Core Labor.  Then he hung in there with me until it was time to push, and into hours of pushing that eventually led to a C-section.  All of this, with a calm demeanor and wicked sense of humor.  I could not have done it without him.  Maggie is mighty lucky to have him as her dad.

Thanks to all of y’all for your positive vibes, powerful prayers, and unending support.  Bringing a baby into this crazy world is much less scary with friends this good.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co. All Rights Reserved.

I love to cook.  But I don’t post too many recipes on this blog – I feel there is little reason to do so when bloggers like Ree Drummond and Deb and Alex are keeping the internet filled with delicious bites.  Especially when their sites include nice little recipe extras like … measurements.  My recipes often lack such niceties, as any of my pre-Honeydew roommates will tell you.  And actually, Honeydew will say the same thing.

But this recipe is worth sharing, even measurement-less.  My mama came up with it, and I have eaten as much as she will make of it, as often as she will make it, for the last couple of weeks: watermelon-chevre-mint salad, with a balsamic glaze.

Isn’t it pretty?

Strangely, this is quite a healthy dish – as you’re well aware if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve mostly wanted to eat ice cream, frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbet, ice cream, milkshakes, ice cream, pie, ice cream, gingerbread, ice cream, and cake in the last few months.  And ice cream.

But this dish is mighty good for ya.  Here’s the “recipe:”

Ingredients

Watermelon

Fresh Mint

Chevre/Goat Cheese

Balsamic Vinegar

Directions

Chop up a bunch of watermelon.  Flick out any black seeds.  White seeds won’t hurt ya.

Chop up a bunch of mint that you may or may not have leftover from the Kentucky Derby.

Crumble up a bunch of chevre/goat cheese.

Gently combine in a pretty bowl.  Admire.

Boil balsamic vinegar, i.e. pour a couple ounces into microwave safe container (preferably with a pouring spout) for about 2 minutes.  This will give the balsamic a sweet, glaze-y effect.

If going for a beautiful presentation, serve salad from pretty bowl and offer boiled balsamic vinegar on the side, as adding the balsamic to the pretty bowl will make the beautiful salad look like stewed tomatoes, though it will still taste divine.  If not going for a beautiful presentation, dump the boiled balsamic into the bowl and then serve.

Keeps in the fridge for several days, and I think the longer it marinates in the balsamic, the better it gets.

Enjoy!

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  Recipe credit to Nancy Stone.  All Rights Reserved.

In recent weeks, we’ve been spotlighting the latest retailers kind enough to pick up our products – today’s installment focuses on the Glacier Park Trading Company, the year round general store in East Glacier Park, Montana.

Built in 1910, the Glacier Park Trading Company offers a wide selection of groceries, fresh produce, deli meats and cheeses, steaks cut to order, fresh ground burger, pizza, sub sandwiches, bison meat, ice cream, locally roasted coffee, espresso drinks, homemade fudge, over 450 varieties of wine, internet access, a wide selection of great novels, books by Montana authors, hiking and climbing guides, and topo-maps, as well as t-shirts, hats, gifts and souvenirs. Their knowledgeable staff can make you the perfect sack lunch, provide driving directions, give advice on great hikes and suggest the ideal micro brew, too!

Our friends Mark Howser and Colleen O’Brien are the fine folks running the Trading Company, in addition to East Glacier’s Whistling Swan Motel and Two Medicine Grill.  They’re awfully nice folks and y’all be sure to tell ’em we said hi when you stop in to see them.  In the slightly inane way of Southerners, I feel quite bonded to Mark simply because I love to cheer for his alma mater’s football team, the Ole Miss Rebs, and to Colleen because of the way she writes about making her home on Glacier Park’s border, both on her fantastic blog and in her beautiful essay, Harder to Leave, featured in A View Inside Glacier National Park, a book released in celebration of Glacier’s centennial last year.  That, and the fact that just like Honeydew and I, Mark and Colleen are working hard to run a multi-faceted business and raise a family in one of the most harshly beautiful places I know of.

Anyway, I digress.  The Glacier Park Trading Company has picked up our line of handmade, 100% natural beeswax Christmas ornaments!

Here’s a few ornaments in an unfinished state.  Add a rafia hanger and you get the general idea.  How many of your Christmas ornaments are 100% natural and made from a renewable resource that smells like sunshine and honey?  Hmmm.  I thought so.

To git your East Glacier questions answered, your lodging needs met, and your pack resupplied, call  406-226-9227!   Thanks again for carrying our beeswax ornaments, Mark and Colleen.  Cheers to the 2011 season!

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

When you have six months of winter, the rest of the seasons must share time accordingly.  Spring tends to be fleeting in Montana, and this year is no exception.  Our daffodils bloomed just yesterday,

And yet, today I’m declaring that summer has started.

This, of course, is not true, not by the calendar, nor the sun’s jaunty angle, nor the garden – yet to be planted.

But what is true is that the 1st load of our honeybees arrived home from California early this morning.  If you’ve never read about when and why we send them to California, or how we unload them upon their return, you might enjoy these previous blog posts I’ve linked to.  Brother Dear and Honeydew rose with the sun this morning to greet our pretty gals, and as of 8am MST, they’ve mostly got them unloaded:

Now that the bees are home, the work of coaxing them to make about 150,000 pounds of the best honey you’ve never tasted begins.  And that’s why for me, summer starts today.  Welcome home, girls!

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  Photo credits to Sanford Stone.  All Rights Reserved.

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