Thursday, December 30, 2010

My test results are back and I'm fine! So now I can go on with my life. Having that hanging over my head has kept me from looking for a job or thinking about going back to school, planning out Scout's training, planning my year of rides with Tonka, or planning much of anything at all. I just had to sit back and wait to see if I'd even be able to do anything this year. Because I've seen what cancer treatment can do to a person in a year... But now I don't have to worry about it. It's going to take some time to adjust. I think I made myself a little sick with worry today too, while I waited for the results. So my equilibrium is still a bit off.

I learned a few things from this though. I'm not always as strong as I think I am, and that's okay. Also, my rational mind and my emotional mind don't seem to communicate very well. No matter how much I told myself everything was going to be fine, even if the results were bad, I was still a mess today while I waited for the doctor to call.

When I did finally get a call it was the nurse and she said I should have gotten a letter with the results. For a test two days ago? So now I'm wondering if she was looking at the right results? But she did say MRI, not the tests from last week. I'm not used to my doctor being that inattentive. Apparently I'll be getting a letter as well, so it will confirm the good results and make me feel better about it all. And now I'm wondering, since we know what it isn't, what is it? What can I do about it? Because the darn thing hurts!

Back to horse related things now, I promise. I have a new drive to get out there and at least be with my horses a bit more. Of course, now the highs are in the teens... I need to treat a case of rain rot (I think) on Tonka's neck, and I'm going to try out that new Vetericyn stuff. What else... Scout had his forelock full of cockleburrs this morning. From the one bush out there. I tried to get rid of it but it was too tough for the tools I had at the time. And of course the colt found it. Going to have to go remove it soon.

I think tomorrow I might write about resolutions, or rather plans (because resolutions are for breaking, right?), for the next year.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope John was taking pictures of the kids this morning, because my phone was dead and I didn't have a camera - until I opened my last gift. It's not fancy but it's not a phone and it fits really nicely in my pocket. Here are some goofy pics of the dogs eating popcorn.

We had a great day, I hope you did too!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My little nine year old "niece" Kaia is visiting this week. Boy, she's having the time of her life. She's flown on a plane by herself, gone sledding, colored ornaments with markers, played with miniature horses and rabbits, ridden a horse, gone to the Appaloosa Museum, painted ornaments, and now she's out playing with BB guns and binoculars, shooting imaginary wildlife. Supervised, of course. Then she gets Christmas with her family and a trip to visit her grandparents (who are really fun people). I think it's her best Christmas break ever. I know I'm having fun with it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I've been keeping a little secret. It's about the size of an olive. I'm not much of a secret keeper and I'm a compulsive truth-teller so it's been hard. Several months ago I noticed a breast lump but then I thought it went away. Then it came back and didn't go away. I told John after that but I didn't mention it to anyone else in the family. I knew they'd freak out after what went on with my sister. Plus talking about it seemed to give it more importance than I wanted to give it, and draw too much attention to myself. So I started applying for insurance, couldn't get it at an affordable price, and applied for something else, and finally got it. There's still some question as to what they'll cover, and I'll probably have to borrow some money anyway, but that's life.

I talked to my doctor last week and he said it had to be checked, after what my sister had. Today I had a mammogram and ultrasound and they looked fine. It was the same radiologist who saw my sister, and hers had looked okay too, other than some tiny calcifications. Her lump was the size of an orange but it looked like fibroid tissue. It's common for Invasive Lobular Carcinoma to be hard to detect. He told her to wait and come back in 6 months. Then he sat there thinking hard, and he said, "No. I have a bad feeling about this," and sent her for more testing. And that saved my sister's life.

Today he told me he thought we should do an MRI. He said it's our call since the insurance company might give us trouble over it. I've got to call around tomorrow while they're open. But I'm going to do the MRI. I have to wait until next Tuesday, and then I'll get results probably by next Thursday. I have been mostly thinking the worst, but after good results today I feel a lot better about it. And really, how could it be that I'd have the same cancer in the same spot that my sister did, so soon after hers and at such a young age? It seems extremely unlikely.

By the way, some of you ladies who haven't had one might like to hear that the mammogram was no big deal at all. I've heard all kinds of stories about how awful it is, and it wasn't. Even with this sore lump I was totally comfortable. Of course it's different for everyone but that's my take on it, and I hope it reassures someone. The ultrasound was actually more uncomfortable, but only because my goofy shoulder started to cramp up.

And I have to say I love Pullman Regional Hospital. Every time I go there I'm amazed again at how great the people are and how nicely done the hospital is. The colors are warm and cozy and the artwork is really nice. It doesn't even smell funny. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I am angry tonight. I don't like being angry. I like to let it mellow, flow away. I realize I'm having a hard time letting go because my feelings are hurt. And I'm a little stressed out.

Unrelated rant: So today my sister's in-laws told her that they thought her cancer wasn't that serious, she would have been fine without treatment (wrong!) and that even so, if it had been them they wouldn't have been treated. They would have accepted that it was God's will that it was their time to die. AND this was in front of her father-in-law, who also had cancer and was successfully treated for it. What an incredibly horrible thing to say! It's the equivalent of saying I wish you were dead! I can't believe the things people will say without thinking. The wife has a history of having a bad filter on her mouth and being hurtful (I think intentionally "accidentally"), but I don't see how it could be much worse than that.

My little 9 year old friend Kaia came for a 5 day visit today. It was a long day, she missed her flight and had to come in the evening. So although I was up at 5AM, we didn't get home until about 8PM. I had a really good day visiting and shopping up in Spokane. Somehow there was more time for real conversation. But I did miss seeing my horses in daylight. And my daughter experienced her first full day at home alone (at 14 years old - is she a little sheltered?)

I'm already feel better. Thanks for putting up with my griping. And do me a favor - send me a little happiness tomorrow.
but I hope I don't need it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Another nice ride today. The weather was GLORIOUS. I went out to feed this morning and it was so quiet and sunny and windless. I laid my cheek against my sun-warmed horse as he ate and I think I was right next door to heaven.

We went out to Melissa's for a ride and Tonka was very naughty. I mentioned it to Melissa and she said, "What? If anything, I'd call that a one." (on a scale of one to ten.) Well, yeah, but for Tonka that's very naughty. He wanted to get back to the mares left behind in the pasture and he was pushing into the halter a little (I wasn't using a bit), rubbernecking back toward the girls, tossing his head and pawing when we stopped, and generally being a doofus. I think we have a few things to work on.

Going back a bit, he was so excited to be there! I assume he remembers being there before, and he could barely stand the wait while I saddled him in the driveway. He wanted to go through the gate and see who we were there to meet. He loved Peaches the donkey, and was happy to greet Jewel (although she squealed and struck at him), and was generally just interested in everything. He must have remembered the sheep because he didn't pay a whole lot of attention to them. Lightning was up close, living with Peaches by the barn because he'd been sick. He's HUGE.

Angus the great Pyrenees was looking so big and regal in the sunlight, but I didn't manage to catch it on camera. I like this photo anyway.
And here's a Tonka photobomb! He's such a fidgety dork!

As always, a more challenging ride is food for thought. I think we need to work on softening when he's in a more excited frame of mind. And I sometimes wonder if we have some respect issues that we should address, but at the same time I don't want all of our interactions to become a shoving match... I should watch how he and Cisco interact. They're pretty decent friends but Tonka gives way to Cisco.

I got to love on Peaches a lot after we rode. That donkey is really, really special. I can't tell you how much I love her, and she's not even mine. She's good for the soul. A long eared saint.

Gypsy looks wonderful. She's a perfect weight and her back looks stronger than it was while she was here. She has lots of room to wander, with hills to climb, incentive to move around, and unlimited hay. The perfect home for an old arthritic lady.

We went to Spokane to watch Tron tonight. It was okay I guess. But now I'm really, really late to feed the horses, so I better get out there!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I had a very nice ride with Tonka today. We went over to my sister's and went down the road with her and her new horse, Lakhota (formerly named Sport). This was his second ride down the road and the farthest he'd gone from home. He did great.

Here's the neat old building and windmill I like to take pictures of.

And I finally got a picture of my sister riding her horse.
It was COLD in the wind. I think I'm still cold from it. But it was totally worth it.

Hoping to have another ride tomorrow, if all goes as planned. I have to take advantage of the decent weather while it lasts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The sun is out! I'd almost forgotten how nice that is. I was going to go for a walk but the wind just about froze off my cheeks while I was filling troughs, so I think I won't. Tomorrow is supposed to have less wind and I'm hoping to go ride somewhere.

My sisters' CT scan came back clear yesterday. I thought they were going to do a full body PET scan but that's just every 6 months, with a CT scan in between. We had a long day up in Spokane but we got to do some horsey stuff shopping while we waited for results. I just looked though, didn't spend any money all day until I had to buy gas. I was proud of me. :)

I haven't done anything with the horses except feed them lately. Feeding is quite a process though. All the mixing of goodies, and Soxy's antibiotics. Scout was rejecting one kind of beet pulp so I went back to the other kind and now Scout is happy but Cisco thinks it's gross. So I have to stand around and keep them from playing musical buckets until they're done eating, and then I go throw hay.

My goofy puppy had quite a wipeout today. It cracked me up. He ran full-bore into the hoses I had slung over my shoulder and dragging out behind me. He did the coolest break-dance spin on his back. I wish I could be more like him - so full of life, falling down spectacularly, rolling with it, and then getting up and running again as if it never happened.

He loves to "kill" this piece of cardboard tube. There isn't much left of it.
I saw a dog that looked just like him in Spokane yesterday. Handsome creature. :) Can't imagine Huckleberry would like living in town.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I just had a thought. Actually I had it at least 24 hours ago but I just remembered it. One way in which my horse and I are not alike. He is an extrovert. So here we compliment each other? Although I am not introverted with him, so this difference doesn't exist in our relationship, just in the outer world. So maybe together we are still the same...

...And butting heads at times. I find myself considering selling Scout so I can have more time with my special boy. I can't sell any of the others. Or maybe I just need to make time for both of them. There are so many things I need to give my time to though... Two kids, one who needs a lot, a husband, a family, a house, a property, 5 horses, 3 dogs, and of course the cats and chickens that get a tiny fraction of time, just enough to feed them. Life... It's rarely empty! And with this winter weather I feel less inclined to have anything to do with the horses. I need to get out and reconnect with my horse and ride soon though, I think.

(I feel the need to clarify that all 5 horses aren't mine, but my mom doesn't live nearby so Bella's care falls pretty much completely to me, other than monetarily - and I am very glad for that financial break!)

We sat for several hours in the U of I Kibbie Dome tonight for a Christmas concert, hoping to see my daughter's school perform more than they did. They hadn't planned on going so didn't do an individual piece, and it looked like they hadn't practiced the pieces that everyone sang. I did finally find out why they named it the Kibbie Dome though. It is named after a person, as I suspected. What a silly name. For a Dome, that is. Except that it's named after someone, for good reason I assume, so it's not really silly. People have all sorts of silly names so it's not really silly for a person either. My nieces' school did a song that was very nice, a good energetic breather from the boring, minor-key elevator music. Whoever chose the music even managed to make Flamenco boring. Liam LOVED the marching band, and there was an awesome percussion/dance group. I missed the bell choir, unfortunately. The performers were pretty much all good, but the pieces were just not quite to my taste. It's a Christmas celebration, not a funeral, after all!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I couldn't stand it anymore, so I stole John's old phone and used it as a camera. It's not the greatest camera, apparently.

I am really enjoying my saddle blanket project. This is the first time I've got to handle anything other than raw wool from my favorite flock of sheep. I spend hours leaning over skirting tables, picking VM (vegetable matter) out in the spring. It's a back breaking job, even though Melissa's sheep are pretty clean. It's a real treat to see the roving so clean, and feel the softness. In some ways it's prettier in raw locks though, shiny and crimpy. The roving still has a faint whiff of sheep, especially the ram fleece, but I kinda like it. I feel so rich! I really am grateful to Melissa for trading me so much beautiful roving.

Here is Lightning's wool. The camera doesn't do it justice at all.
Maybe I chose the wrong lighting too.

White lambs' wool. Sweet! I'd like to climb in there and make a nest.

Linda's wool, and again, the photos don't do it justice at all.

My sister asked me, what the heck is roving anyway? It's a long, washed and combed, but not twisted, "rope" of wool, like so:

Let me digress for just one moment to talk about specifics on my saddle pad project.

If you ever do this, DON'T try to sew the canvas by hand, even if you don't have a good working relationship with your sewing machine. The sewing machine is worth the trouble, even if you break a needle or your thread pulls out of the needle repeatedly or you have to fix your bobbin. It took me HOURS to sew by hand, and I did the last bit with the machine, 3 times, taking it out and setting it on my horse in between, in less than an hour. (I made the rear wedge slightly smaller than Linda's recommendations.)

In regards to spray paint, it's probably better to do that when the weather is dry and above 50 degrees. I did mine in the snow and then hung it in my bathroom to dry. It STUNK. (Is that a word?) When buying my paint I couldn't find oil based spray paint as recommended, so had to go with latex. I chose a "Colonial Red" because it's red like my outbuildings and I thought I'd have some left over. I actually had to go back and get another can. I've never spray painted anything before, so I was surprised how little paint was in the can.

So here's my started project. It's not easy but it's hard to put down, I enjoy doing it. I think it will be easier once I'm into the part where the canvas isn't doubled. I have a bit of a problem where my loops got too big. I can't change them, they're locked in place. I may have to cut them out? I'll have to ask what to do there. I'm hoping that as I work it will start to look less asymmetrical. I like symmetry. Unfortunately this is in the back, where my riding buddies will have a clear view of it, since Tonka is always out front.

See the big puffiness?

I like this area better

That is a LOT of wool (more than I'll need)

The dogs heard me telling Huck to sit, which might mean treats, so they wanted to join in, but they didn't want to pose nicely.

And here's my phone. I think it's toast.
Alrighty, I'm back to cleaning up my living room so I can decorate for Christmas. I've been having so much fun wrapping presents, I need to make room for a tree to put them under! Which means I'm going to have to put my beautiful work of art saddle somewhere else. :(

Here's a story for you, sad but true. I was in the middle of something, walked through the living room, and found myself standing for many minutes admiring and touching my saddle. It's a terrible distraction.

Okay, seriously now, I'm going to get back to work (but I've got to go see my saddle first). :)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

My wool roving is here and I can't show it to you! No camera of any sort here. It's beautiful. The medium grey, ironically, since I'm learning how to do this from Linda in Alberta, is from a ewe named Linda, who I think I remember as being a sweet older sheep. It has so many different hues in it, and almost a... mauve? tone to it. I'm not sure that's the right color. The dark grey, almost black, with silver fibers, comes from Lightning the ram (Linda's son) who Melissa says I named. He was such a cute lamb, dark, with a white lightning bolt across his face, which I commented on. Later she told me she named him Lightning. I am glad she kept him, he was one of my favorites that year, and his color is gorgeous. He makes a great huge, heavy fleece now that he's all grown up. The white roving is lamb's wool from three different girls - Nadia, Hanna, and Melody. I'm sure I've met them but I don't remember them. I'm excited to get started but I've got to do some housework first, and I really am tempted not to do anything until I have a camera.

I think I might put Lightning's dark wool on the outer edge, since it's slightly more coarse, and I assume that means it's stronger. But I'm not decided yet...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The reason I didn't post pictures yesterday is that I've lost my camera and my phone. My son found my phone today, smashed into the snowy road next to the mailbox. I guess it fell out of the truck. Luckily my husband is a phone man and I will have a new trinket to play with soon. Hopefully soon enough to post pictures of my wool roving when I get it tomorrow. I can't wait! I'll be getting started on my saddle pad and I'll post pictures of that also, as soon as I can.

Kate had a blog post asking Are You Like Your Horse? My answer - absolutely. Short attention span, easily bored, fidgety, nervous, intelligent (I like to think) but not a genius, wants to please, works hard when necessary. Weak back! Ha, I just realized that one, hadn't made that connection before. I'll have to put some more thought into that.

An update on my sister (I don't know if she minds me talking about her here, I guess she'd let me know if she did). Her scans are coming up. Blech. Such a worrisome time. She was also concerned about a new lump but they think it's scar tissue from the mastectomy. The chemo drugs she's still on are making her sick, but it almost seems like she's sicker than she should be. We all worry. I'm praying that everything comes back clear as a bell, cancer-free, and we'll have an awesome Christmas.

On the subject of prayer - strangely I had a response to one recently. (You all probably know I'm resistant to this sort of thing and don't like to talk about it but this was remarkable.) Praying about someone I care about deeply, I got a clear message to write a letter. A real one, on handmade paper, with a fancy pen, like I used to do. But I was snowed in so regular paper had to do. And I think my letter writing skills have been spoiled by the internet (and my previously mentioned lack of attention span).

Just to add to the randomness of this post - here's a bread recipe I've been making. (Once again, an idea stolen from an excellent blog, with a pair of really cute asses to boot.) It's really good, no knead, almost a sourdough flavor but not quite, with big air bubbles and a moist, chewy texture inside. Mmm.

Did I mention my truck is fixed? Ball joints, and they found an axle U joint or something that also needed replacing. Les Schwab charged half as much as what the Ford dealership quoted me. Guess where I won't be going anymore? It's a $600 difference, that's not small potatoes. Still, a lot of money gone. But now I can drive (and maybe haul my trailer if it thaws enough) without worry.

That accident I mentioned last week that really shook me up - someone died. I can't help but think of their family waiting for them to get home, not knowing they'd never make it, getting a horrible phone call... I think to much, I think.

I found out that day that my daughter's old basketball coach died in a car accident a few weeks ago on icy roads, and later heard that she was in the vehicle with a drunk driver. I really struggled wondering if I should tell her, after all this was an "adult" she looked up to. (Very young adult). But I decided I had to tell her, so that if she ever considers getting in with someone who is drinking (or worse, driving when drinking herself) she'll remember the very real possible consequences. I told her that whatever is going on, no matter what, any time, if she needs a ride - call me. Of course she doesn't go out anywhere much and she's too young for a driver's license so this is all a ways in the future. Of course I also think she's too smart and responsible to make a stupid decision like that, but then my mom thought I was innocent too. I never rode with a drinking driver by choice though, and I don't drive if I've even thought about drinking recently.

Anyway. I have rambled enough for one night... Good night! Give your loved ones and extra hug for good measure.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I worked on my saddle pad project today. I think I posted about it but maybe not... There is a wonderful tutorial in the works on Linda's blog (and it's a wonderful blog to read any old day - I love her photography). I don't have photos of my process but she has plenty. Here's Part 1 and here's Part 2.

I have gotten to the point where I've put it on my horse under the saddle and marked my edges but I'm not going to cut them out until tomorrow. I've put my stinky, spray painted canvas in the pump house for the night so my house will smell better. I'm going to hopefully have my roving soon. My friend Melissa has generously offered to trade me enough roving in exchange for part of the purchase price of a saddle I sold her. So we just have to find time to get together. I haven't seen the roving yet. I know there's mostly white and a little grey, but don't know what shade of grey. I can't decided if I want to do a strip of white, then grey, around the edge, or just grey around the edge and then all white in the middle. Linda's photo titled Signs and Wonders shows a pad like this under a saddle. What do you think, white on the edge or grey? I don't have enough colored wool to make two stripes of grey, I don't think.

Other than that, I wormed the horses today. I used Zimecterin Gold for the first time. I usually use Quest Plus for my midwinter worming, but I still think it was the Quest that made Bella founder, even though a vet told me that doesn't happen, so I don't know if I'll use it again. I don't feel good about using only Ivermectin year-round though, and I don't have a lot of faith in the other wormers out there. I ought to call my vet. What is your rotation? I know the new protocol is to have a fecal test done and then decide whether to worm, but every fecal test I've done has come back positive, so I just assume I do need to worm quarterly.

Cisco is funny, he always has to tell me exactly what he thinks about being wormed before he submits and takes it nicely. Used to be he'd run backward with his head in the air, but I just calmly followed him, then rubbed him with the wormer tube, then wormed him. Now he just pops his head up a couple times and then stands nice. Scout also protested a tiny bit. Other than that it was pretty uneventful. Tonka was trying to take the wormer out of my pocket, he was so eager to get his so he could have treats afterward.

I think I've hurt my back again. Well, I know it hurts, but I'm not sure exactly what I did. And my toes are kinda numb/painful. Not sure if the two are related. I'm only 33, I really don't think I ought to have this much trouble with my body already. I'd like to trade it in, I think it's defective. Good news though, I have health insurance now! So I'll be making an appointment to see the doctor very soon. I think I might ask to be tested for rheumatoid again, and maybe do some physical therapy for my stupid back. New x-rays would be nice. My lower back looked awful a couple years ago, but it's my upper back that always hurts, I'd like to see what my spine looks like there. I was diagnosed with degenerative joint disease/osteoarthritis in my back a couple years ago, which made getting insurance an adventure, let me tell you. I'm still not sure how we're going to afford the monthly payment...

Enough of my whining. I think I'm going to go stretch again (which is really hard when every time you sit on the floor your dogs pile around & on you and want a belly rub).

Monday, December 06, 2010

Tonka and I had a fun little walk today. Little, but full of groundwork. So while we didn't go far we did do a few things. First I had to get his attention. Scout and Cisco were running all over the pasture. Then we did some backing, basic giving to the halter and keeping his mouth off me. It doesn't take much for him to get going with some bad habits... But luckily it also doesn't take much to remind him that we don't do things that way.

I thought this picture was pretty:

And this was funny, but naughty. He stood ground-tied like a champ but he was eating his lead rope. I let him get away with it for a minute so I could take his picture.

He almost demanded this picture, shoving his eye in my camera. Or maybe he was just looking at it, I don't know.

Huckleberry thought he might want to play. But Tonka would really like to bite him. Or maybe stomp him. Luckily he won't do it, at least not while I'm right there. And in reality Huck does know not to push it. He was just feeling frisky.

I think this last picture catches Tonka's essence pretty well. He has an intense interest in life. He's always looking at something or thinking about something, which can make our work together challenging when I'm not being interesting enough. But he also sometimes leads me to see things I wouldn't have if he hadn't pointed them out. He's a pretty cool guy, my Tonka.

Friday, December 03, 2010

I need to make more of an effort to get out and play with my horse every day. It's good for my mental health, and I think he likes a break from the winter doldrums too. Yesterday I took him for a short walk to the barn to do a touch-up trim on his hooves. Then, inspired by a conversation with a friend, we practiced ground tying. Which was hard for him, because I'd just been giving him treats and he was hopeful I had some more.

I made a realization the other day when I was feeding. Setting down pans of feed, Tonka often tries to nose into Scout's before I get his set down. I moved him off and said "You know better than that!" and he stood there nicely. It made me realize that he did know better than that, and he just took for granted that I didn't give him credit for being smart enough to know that a feed pan set in front of someone else was not his. So he was taking advantage of me. He's such a wiley critter. From here on out I'll raise my expectations of him a bit, and be more consistent, instead of assuming he doesn't know something and letting him get away with silly stuff. Like walking out of a "stay" command. :) He does know what I'm asking for, I just need to hold him to it, and remind him when necessary.

Today India and Huck went to the vet. I think I mentioned the arthritis I recently noticed in India's feet. Turns out she probably has some pain in her hips too. I wasn't sure about putting her on daily Rimadyl because of some eating problems she has (previous x-ray showed some irregularities in her esophagus shape), but the vet said it would be fine, and might actually help with the eating too, if her esophagus is painful. So we started that today, as well as a joint supplement, fish oil, and vitamin C, as preventives. I also got some wormer for both of them, since they're eating so many mice lately. It's like a walking smorgasbord for them out there!

Huckleberry just needed his shots. He was excited to get there, but then he wasn't too sure about my vet. He'd always seen my other vet there, not my favorite horse vet, so this was a little new to him. My vet really admired him, quite a lot - his size, his coat, his nice face & long legs. Asked a lot of questions about how he does out riding with the horses and stuff. He said he's just the type of dog he wants when he gets a new dog soon. Quite a compliment! His old dog can't ride with him anymore. :( Why oh why can't they live as long as we do?

We discussed Soxy and I picked up a HUGE bottle of tetracycline. I've never had a pill bottle this huge. But with the way things have gone with this intermittent infection, we'll probably use it all. She's had her last dose of SMZs and now will be on just the tetracycline for another 3 weeks. The vet reinforced my decision not to do the scope and all the flushing for the infection. He said it's pretty hard on the horses, and doesn't always guarantee it won't come back.

Roads were terrible this morning and this afternoon. I did a little fishtail on one hill on the way into town, and on the way back saw a horrible wreck. I couldn't look but it didn't look good from the little I saw. On top of that, the truck was driving funny and I was so DONE driving by the time I got home. Happy though - we're getting our ball joints fixed tomorrow! Hopefully that will solve the problem I'm having with the truck, and I really hope they don't find any other issues.

That's my day - hope I didn't bore you to death!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

(This post isn't really a horse post, just some thoughts.)

The cold, biting wind blew in my face and I thought cold, biting thoughts. Then I thought to look again at the snow blowing serenely over this beautiful creation and I thought, "How lucky I am."

Continuing on this theme, while I cleaned up the barn, I thought that I might complain that there's too much shit in my barn. But how wonderful that I have horses, that they are digesting just fine, and they have a barn to shit in! Besides, I actually like scooping poop. It's not complicated and it leaves my mind free to think thankful thoughts.

This is a true story so I wasn't sure if I should pass it on, but it's not hurtful gossip because I don't even know who it was. A woman was lonely because her husband was gone a lot. Her friends all told her that he was a bad husband, he should be there for her, she deserved better. She became very unhappy. She asked a professional (who happened to be a woman) for advice and was told - "Wait a minute, he's not getting drunk in a bar, he's not sleeping with someone else, he's just working hard to support your family?" What an eye opener! Granted, there were probably some issues to work on, but it really illustrates just how much the people we surround ourselves with can influence our lives. I think it's important to think about from both sides of the coin. What type of friends are influencing you? What type of friend are you being?

Another thought on a different subject, but still preachy -
"What you put off for later you may have to do in a snowstorm!"
(I cleaned out my stinky chicken house today.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

I have the house to myself again now that the kids are back in school and John is working. I don't seem to get much done when they're around. Partly because I'm cleaning up after them, but I think mostly because I want to hang out in the house with them. Today I spent the morning outside.

The boys at feeding time:
Cisco says, "Git, punk."

"Hmmm, that didn't work."

"Maybe I can move Tonka."

Scout is the immovable object.

A couple hours later I took a break from moving snow, sat down and played with my pup. Look at that naughty sideways eyeball, ready to get me!

This hill. It is difficult. I got about halfway up in the tractor, not even pushing snow, before I started sliding backwards. So I didn't plow it. We need chains. When I was done with the tractor I walked up with a snow shovel.

India had a funny white stripe of snow. She is such a happy girl. I recently noticed that she has great big bulges of arthritis on her front feet. But it doesn't slow her down much at all, especially when there are mice to be caught!

So arrogant a pose... In reality I'd just interrupted him chewing snowballs out of his fur.

I should probably go get some housework done. But I must say it was wonderful spending time out in the snow today.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Go outside?"
And so we went outside and brought the girls in from pasture. It was funny watching them nose around in the snow to graze. They were up to their eyeballs in snow but still getting lots of grass to eat, so I had to bring them in after a couple hours.
After that I got Tonka out of the pasture and we went on a short ride, bareback. He got my coveralls all wet. And I don't think a ride was on his agenda for today. When I'd put my leg over he'd throw his head in the air. I still wonder if it hurts him when I ride him bareback. He seemed to do well with a bareback pad during the fall, but he doesn't seem to like it with no padding at all.

Dingleberry - I mean Huckleberry - grew quite the colony of snowballs while we were out playing.
You can't tell much from the pictures but we've got a lot of snow to trudge around in, especially when your depth perception fails you and you find yourself in a drift. My mom's little dog was having trouble getting through it - he had to follow in our footprints and still had to leap around to get where he was going. It's been snowing steadily all day. I think we're going to have to plow the driveway again in the morning. I sure am glad we got that tractor.

I hope you're all enjoying the post-thanksgiving turkey haze. I'm enjoying it, I think. I even allowed myself to sit down and watch a whole movie today! Normally there's so much to do I can't sit down for that long. I think I'm going to have to find something to do tomorrow or I might go crazy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I talked to my vet this morning and he confirmed my treatment plan for Soxy. She's happily gobbling down her special grub laced with antibiotics in the AM and PM.

Today I really wished I didn't have a special needs horse. My mother-in-law had a minor heart attack this morning and had to be flown to Spokane for treatment. I wanted to go up with my husband and father-in-law but couldn't ask my mom to take care of everything here, with the added complication of mixing and feeding Soxy's meds (and keeping Bella out of her feed). Hopefully the guys are having some good bonding time while John's mom sleeps off the effects of her procedure. They put in 3 stints and she should be fine. Scary stuff though. But she insists that she's fine! She's pretty tough.

We have a lot of snow here that makes driving kind of scary. John said they saw 3 cars off the road on the way to Spokane, one of them flipped right by my sister's house. Getting home tonight through the drifts around Palouse was an adventure. We punched through okay though, and once we crossed into Idaho the roads were kept clear.

It's much warmer now, 30 degrees instead of the negatives we were having. Very nice, even with the wind blowing. I'm off to take a hot bath and go to bed!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I had posted about my concerns about Soxy the other night on a forum and got some replies from someone I don't know... I'm sure the person is trying to be helpful, and they don't know that I'm not the biggest idiot in the world. But their concerns about my care of Soxy are challenging enough to be slightly offensive. But maybe I'm just too prickly. The person wanted to help me with lots of advice, and I replied, and in replying I wrote a lot of the stuff I was going to write here today, so I've just cut and pasted it here. (I know it sounds a little offhand, but let me assure you, I am very worried about her, and I hate not being able to spend all of my last pennies for treatment of a useless, old, wonderful horse.)

"This morning I found out what's been wrong with Soxy. She has had a "sinus infection" in the past, and now she's got nasal discharge again. I suspect it's actually a guttural pouch infection. I've talked to my vet about it plenty in the past. We get it under control and then it comes back. I can't afford to have it scoped and flushed repeatedly or operated on, so I'm just doing what I can with antibiotics. I started her on tetracycline today and I'll call my vet tomorrow, he'll probably have me add SMZ/TMP tablets as well. I gave her bute this morning even though my vet says it probably doesn't help. If I had an infection like that I'd want ibuprofen...

She is eating fine, has been since I last updated that she was eating fine, and she's not depressed. There was just the one night she didn't want her hay. Water is heated, she doesn't need added salt - she spends a LOT of time at her iodized salt block. She's getting a couple gallons (soaked) of beet pulp plus alfalfa pellets, HorseGuard, Remission, CRS Equine Gold probiotics, freshly ground flax seed, a tiny bit of a grain mix my dad left here, and some soybean oil. Plus more orchardgrass hay than she can eat and heated water. She can be in or out of the stall, and I did blanket her for one day but she didn't appreciate it. The snow was keeping her coat from fluffing up and her back was wet, so I kept her blanketed during that time."

So anywho... That's my story.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I was especially thankful tonight for all the good people who plow the roads and keep them passable for us on the holidays, and all the other days.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I had a little visitor today.

She somehow got stuck in my chicken coop.
I was glad to meet her but she wasn't so sure about me. Didn't even want to look at me for a photo, but eventually she did.

I opened the door wide, walked in and out a few times to show her, and then shooed her in that direction. It didn't take her long to make her way to freedom.