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.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I am thankful for

My camera-shy daughter, and the fact that I finally sneaked some pictures!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I am thankful for

(And my daughter too, but she won't let me take her picture.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I recently read in a book about horse camping that mustangs make great mountain horses because of their sure-footed sturdiness, but don't let them loose or you won't see them again. That hasn't been my experience, although Tonka is the only one I've turned loose in camp in the mountains to graze without any restraints.

Tonight I headed out to feed and was turning right, toward the mares, when I glanced left and saw horses in my front yard. The boys were having a grand adventure, exploring, finding my empty feed buckets, and eating the long green grass under the trees. I laughed, walked over and grabbed a halter off the fence post, and caught them one by one. I started to get irritated with Scout for leaning his shoulder into me when I was haltering him, then realized that I could have a much worse mess on my hands if they were high-strung, naughty, hard to catch horses. But they aren't. I found where they got out, and of course it was my own fault. There was a short stretch of temporary fence not hooked up to the electric and I'd been hoping they wouldn't figure it out. Silly me. I'm glad it was right near the house and they didn't end up out down by the creek. So many things to be thankful for in life! Our place may not be fancy and our house may not be large, but we are fortunate to be a little distance from any roads, which keeps our animals and our kids safe from crazy drivers in the snow.

We're getting some pretty good snow out there right now. It's the kind where if you look really closely, you can study the individual complexity of each glittering snowflake. The night is so quiet and bright. Perfection. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanks everyone for the good wishes. I think Soxy is going to be okay. I don't know why she's off her feed but she did eat this morning, a little hesitantly. Linda mentioned her old horse going off feed because of a hoof abscess. Soxy has one leg that's been stocked up, I thought it was just from standing around too much, but maybe she has something similar going on. I'll be keeping an eye on her, for sure. And I've got a nice sloppy wet bunch of beet pulp soaking for her.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Soxy is off her feed tonight and was very lethargic today. I haven't written about it because there was nothing I could really put my finger on, but she's gone downhill lately. I hope I'm worrying over nothing. It could be just a minor tummy ache, after all the weather is changing. If you wouldn't mind sending some prayers or healing, comforting thoughts, I'd really appreciate it. If it is her time to go I hope she goes quickly, peacefully and painlessly. But I keep reminding myself that it could be a little bug or infection. She was much like this when she started coming down with pigeon fever a few years back. But she didn't physically look as bad as she does now...
This picture is from last week. She doesn't look terrible, but her spine is prominent, and her face just looks old (of course you can't see that in the picture).
The boys got to go out in their big pasture today
and they really liked it.

They'd been in really gross, saturated mud overnight, so excuse their lack of grooming.
(It is that time of year, and I'm not one for grooming mud off several horses who just roll in it again anyway...)
"What's that?"

That face. Nobody else looks at me like that, except Huckleberry, maybe.
(Note Huckleberry butt in the background. He'd caught something big, maybe a weasel or a big fat vole. I wasn't going to go look, I think he was toying with it for a while before he killed it.)

Here's a cute pic of fat Scout a couple days ago.
I think I'm ready for the weather that's coming. Winter is on the way!

I almost forgot to link to these two poems on Kate's blog. I either love poetry or I hate it (I usually avoid it) and I LOVE the one about the old woman. Wow.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I am back in the world of the blogging! Besides not having a lot to blog about, I had no power for 2 days. A huge storm ripped through here on Monday night and took out a lot of power poles. I was up half the night listening to the wind, thunder, and rain, and worrying about the horses. They were fine though.

In the process of being without power for 2 days I learned that my water is gravity fed and just runs a bit slower without an electric pump. I learned that I love propane and propane accessories. My water heater and stove still worked, but I couldn't figure out how to light the oven. I used a little propane space heater to warm up the bathroom and I had the luxury of a hot bath. Overnight we piled every warm body in the family into our bedroom - 4 people and 3 dogs. The kids were on cots to keep them off the cold floor. It was a bit crowded but it stayed toasty warm in here. Thank goodness this didn't happen during a cold snap. We have no back-up heat system. Someday I want a wood stove or a wall mounted propane heater that can be manually lit. With that and a cooler for the food we'd be all set. We didn't lose a lot of food but I did throw some out, and I'm giving the fridge a deep cleaning today. Yuck!

Other than that, I've been working on moving my temporary fence and giving the horses a big fresh pasture to run around on. I have one little bit left to do, I've been too much of a pansy to go out in the wind and do it. I've been riding when I can. The group of ladies who were supposed to meet at the arena today all canceled due to weather except me and my sister. We were going to call it quits but decided to go anyway. So it was just the two of us but it got me out of a cranky mood. Tonka was funny, and good, and I sure do love that horse (even if he does coat himself in mud right before I go to get him). Next time I think I'll take Scout. He could use the experience.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program in hopes that there is someone out there with money and compassion and a love for the older horse who can't work. This one really tugs at my heart strings because her feet (and presumably her diet) need help and she needs to be gentled. I love gentling, fixing bad hooves, and dinking with dietary needs. Those are my passions. But I can't afford another mouth to feed that also needs veterinary treatment.

Today I got this message from
"...an Animal Protection Officer for SCRAPS. We recently seized an 18 yr old Mustang mare with hooves in deplorable condition. The mare is not easy to handle and the vet stated she has laminitis. She is gorgeous and has a kind eye, but really prefers not to be messed with. We were able to get the owner to surrender the horse to us today and just wanted to see if there are any rescue options for her before we decide to euthanize. The vet sees her feet as being able to come around with continued work, but she does need to be completely knocked out to be trimmed. We realize there may not be many options for an 18 yr old mustang that is not very handleable, but we did want to try to get her a better happy life before it ends. If you can help in any way, or know of anyone who may want to take this horse on, please let me know!"

Her name is Destiny and she's bay with a star. I will have more info and photos tomorrow.
I've got my mojo back! I think I just needed something to look forward to.

My sister and I were talking about how we'd like to have a group of like-minded people to ride with. Actually it was more my sister's idea, because I'm generally pretty happy to have anybody to ride with. But she wants a group that is into... compassionate horsemanship? Feeling horsemanship? I don't really know the right term for it, but it's not forcing a horse to comply, and it's not necessarily natural horsemanship, which can just be another way of forcing the horse. It's kinda woo-woo and vague and undefined. Focused on the journey and not the results. Unrushed. Anyone who has been to a Mark Rashid clinic will know what I'm talking about. We're going to get together sometime next week with a few other people, unplanned agenda, and kinda see what happens.

Besides that, we went for a walk/ride today. I alternated walking and riding and Amy had to walk because her horse has a chunk missing out of his back and it needs to heal before she rides him again. It was good to see how he did with Tonka along for the walk, so that we'll know how they do when we ride together for the first time.

My sister is kind of shocked to find that she has enough hair now that it interferes with her peripheral vision. It came back very curly, but maybe it will straighten out as it gets longer.

Tonka got to enjoy a very rare treat after playing in the water- grazing while at work.
(One of these days I'm going to have to start taking better pictures)

Amy's horse has a new name - Lakota. It means friends, allies, or those who are united. Kinda similar to my boy's full name, Khota Tonka.
She's still just tickled pink with her new boy. He's a good horse.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Yet another boring blog with no pictures, but I'm hoping to have enough energy to haul the camera outside with me tomorrow!

I'm feeling pretty good but not great. I don't know if I'm still sick or if the seasonal depression is hitting me. I think it might be a little bit of both. And I think I gave my sickness to both of my kids, but we'll see. Hopefully not.

Saturday my sister brought over an old camper that she fixed up but she doesn't need anymore now that they have a huge new 5th wheel. It's small, fits in the back of the pickup without spilling over, and will be perfect for weekends with the horse trailer in tow. She even fixed it up with a horsey theme. I want to make some new pillows for it and do some sort of decoration behind the range, plus hang some cowgirl paraphernalia on the walls, but other than that it's good to go.

I spent part of the day Sunday doing a bit of sewing by hand and embroidery. I repaired Angus's foal blanket and stitched his name on there. (Angus is John's big dog). The weather was so rainy, windy, and cold that being outside wasn't an option unless it was really a necessity. I enjoy that kind of quiet crafty work when there's nothing else to do (besides housework, and who wants to do that?)

Along those lines, I've decided I'm going to make a hooked wool saddle blanket. I can't wait to get started. I bought some of the stuff for it today, and might barter for the roving sometime soon. I've also considered using my precious Roseanne's fleece for it, but I don't know if I can make decent roving, having never done it before, and I'm not sure there's enough there to send off. Roseanne died after her only shearing and I had only kept half of her fleece.I'll look for it in the attic tomorrow and see how much there is. When I get started I'll keep you posted on my progress. I am so grateful to Linda at "Just Another Day on the Prairie" for doing a tutorial on how to make these saddle blankets.

Yesterday (that rainy, icky day) we took 4 grocery bags and a box full of books to our local used book store to trade them in. They didn't take very many of them, I think because they're full to overflowing with books. Seriously, it was hard to navigate the aisles for fear of tripping over piles of books. But I did get two good books in trade, and the kids got some books too. Right now I'm reading "The Gentle Tamers" about women in the old west. I love it! It really keeps my attention (I can hardly put it down), which is saying a lot for a non-fiction book. The other book I got is also about women of the west, and has lots and lots of pictures, which I love looking at. Not near enough horses (I like to check out the old-time tack) but really great pictures. It also has many letters written by women over the years, and I can't wait to read the details of their daily lives. The one I'm reading now has more of an overview on the different women it talks about.

These books make me feel so inadequate though. I'm so tired, and I get so little done. Look what they endured! It's inspiring though - if they could do all that, I can get a few projects finished around here!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

If I were to blog today it'd be mostly complaining and some good news delivered in a ho-hum voice. So I'll save you from that and be back when this bug leaves my system. Hopefully very soon.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I decided not to ride today since my cold has gotten worse. So what do I do? Get two horses out and end up trimming Scout's hooves, which is much harder than riding...

Before I got Scout out I put Tonka in the round pen with his hobbles on. This is the first time I've used my pretty hobbles that came on my saddle. He hasn't worn hobbles since spring. I keep meaning to get him more accustomed to them but I forget. So today he stood in them for about an hour while I worked with Scout.

There have been 2 or 3 incidents with Scout where he's gotten something around his leg and kicked or ran until the thing broke. Luckily no damage done, other than him learning that it worked to fight the thing. So I roped his feet today. He fought it more than I'd prefer, kicking quite a bit. No crazy hysterics, but definite irritation and trying to get rid of the annoying rope. We made some progress but we'll have to do some more work on it before I'd hobble or picket him. It is tempting to tie his leg to a fixed post rather than let him jerk on me, but I'm afraid he'd hurt himself, even if he is a pretty level-headed colt.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I had hoped to get in a good ride today in the beautiful weather, but instead I spent the day on the tractor (which is still good because I was out all day soaking up the sunshine). I evened the driveway out a bit. When we bought this place I thought the driveway was so cute with the strip of greenery down the center. Ha! That center strip doesn't erode like the ruts where car tires and rain go, and we end up bottoming out in the car if we're not careful how we drive. So I scraped and redistributed and scraped and raked and kicked gravel until it was somewhat better. Hopefully it will stay good for a while. I almost broke down and bought a couple loads of gravel today, but then I remembered a more important debt we need to pay.

Speaking of gravel, as soon as I put away the tractor I got a call from the gravel guy's son and I had to run to get ready to receive two loads of gravel for in front of the horse barn. My mom is a good sugar-mama for Bella. She didn't want her slipping in the mud (I think there's a spring there) so she bought gravel. I spread it out very thickly because the mud's going to eat it up. Then I ran out of diesel in a rather awkward position on the pile... I think I have a can of diesel here I can fill it up with, but I need coffee first!

Bella is still recovering well. She got to spend half the day out of the stall yesterday, and more time today. She was NAUGHTY though! You should have seen her running and jumping and bucking. She can sure kick high out behind her. I had to put her back in her stall for a while. I may just have to put up a small temporary corral for her to get well in.

Tonka and Scout are cute as heck, poor Cisco is bored out of his mind and always hungry (he's on a diet) and Soxy's face is looking very old lately, although she's happy and chipper. That's the status of the herd on this fine day! Hope you're having a wonderful day too!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

What a beautiful day to take both of my boys out for a ride.

Golden boy:

Scout's shadow here totally cracks me up:

Scout's neck looks naked without the mustang brand:

Trying on the big guy's saddle:
Glorious, glorious day. Hope to have another couple good ones this week.