Saturday, June 30, 2007

Update on Maggie's Foal

Given that sleeping in a barn on a cot with the flies is not my idea of a good night's rest, I was relieved to find the foal nursing on it's own at noon today. Though she still needs careful watching, I think she'll make it. Our all night vigil, milking the mare every hour and feeding it to the foal with a medicine dropper, has cured me of wanting to do this again, great experience though it was.

We've discovered her name. While speaking to the owner, I mentioned that compared to last year's foal, this one was "Dumber-Than-Rocks". She laughed and suggested "Roxie". Later, I mentioned it to the daughters who'd come up with the same name independently. Weird, huh? So, until she goes to her forever owner, she's Roxie. She's incredibly cute, just quite a bit slower to learn about following Mags or learning to stand in the right spot to nurse.

Here is a video of her first attempts to stand last night. More photos tomorrow after my batteries recharge.

It's a Girl!

Maggie foaled tonight at 7:30 p.m. The girls were running down the driveway as I was running up it (having seen her on the mare-cam). In just a couple of minutes, the little girl was born.
She is strong and doing well but stubbornly refuses to nurse, thus I get a new learning experience and because it would just be too easy for everything to go right. One vet says that I have only four hours to get the foal to nurse or I could lose her. In this scenario, I need at the third hour after birth to call the vet and get colostrum from a local farm delivered here.
Vet number two says I have twelve hours, not four, and that the best thing for this foal is to get it's own mom's colostrum. (BTW, Vet #1 and Vet #2 are in the same practice.) In scenario two, I milk the mom and feed it by bottle or dropper to the baby.
What to do, what to do? I don't know anything about this, except that my former La Leche League training makes me lean towards giving the foal colostrum from it's own mom and with a dropper, not a bottle. Who would have thought I would have gone from teaching women to breastfeed to teaching horses to? I've also never milked a horse, but it is easy. Right now, this is what we are doing, and it looks to be a long night.
Now, here is the actual birth! (Note: graphic birth of foal. Squeamish people should exit now.)


Friday, June 29, 2007

Potty Training?

Picked on to the point of mutilation by all the other chickens and missing her neck feathers, Chicken Lickin' is temporarily housed at night in a plastic tub in our half bath. Normally, she spends the night perched on the edge of it. I had put her away for the night when we heard a terrible squawking and fluttering of feathers from within.

Having seen the cat Lazarus with the lust to kill in his eyes when around her, I feared that he'd somehow gotten in there with her and was making his move. Rather, I found Chicken Lickin' inside the toilet bowl and unable to get out. I don't know if she was needing a drink of water or needed to use the facilities. Likely, she was just curious.

Hopefully, the new chicken tractor for the big chickens will be complete this weekend, and everyone will have their own outside accomodations.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The "why" questions are the most difficult, taxing my creativity, religious upbringing and scientific mind all at once. Yesterday while driving, I was asked by Wm, "Why does God let you get killed?" In what seemed like minutes but was only seconds, my mind zipped through possible answers to this question. I could try the "original sin" story, how Adam and Eve sinned, causing God to allow us to suffer and die. I tossed this aside for the moment, thinking it could get into a very long conversation. I settled for "because if we all had babies, no one ever died, the world would become overpopulated and we'd not have enough food for everyone." That seemed to be something (having enough food) that his young mind could handle.

Ah, another question laid to rest for the moment. "But why does God let you itch?"
Humph! Another question, and this one not so easy. What was the advantage to humans to become itchy? I explained about plants that have protection against other living things harming them, and some of them cause us to itch. Some insects need to bite us to get their food, and their bites itch. But how does one explain allergies, asthma, itchy eyes? Perhaps because of our human nomadic existence, our genes ended up in the wrong climate or biosphere?

Another time, the boy asked how all the water stacks up in the pool. I pointed to the sides and how the walls contain the liquid. He wanted more detail. How is it that when you put your foot in the water, that there is water underneath, and the water moves aside for your leg? How does water keep together. Luckily, I had that answer, describing molecules of liquid being a good deal like marbles that on the ground, roll away from each other, but in a bowl, are all together. Okay, okay, that's simplistic, and yes, I do know about water molecules having an affinity for each other. He's five, okay? But his questions are tough!

That'll Take Twenty Minutes

Can you tell me why it takes twenty minutes to fill a prescription for a pre-packaged vial of eye drops? Are they counting the drops to make sure they're all there? And can you tell me why such a tiny vial costs $25 WITH insurance. Someone is making a lot of money.

What Was I Thinking?

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I am being tortured by a miniature horse. Maggie has not yet foaled. We do, however, now have a "mare cam" which broadcasts live feed to a tv in our house. Though grainy, I can see if she is standing or laying down. Last night, I only had to go to my home office to look at her, rather than a trek to the barn.

I am trying to get live feed on the internet, so that you can check on her progress. It's not available yet.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No Foal Yet

Despite all the signs, Maggie the Minature hasn't yet dropped her foal. Tonight, maybe?

In the meantime, here's how my horse, Bay, gets a drink.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where the Wild Things Are

I'm exhausted today. I can't quite sleep knowing the foal could come at any minute. The neighbor who owns Maggie has reminded us that sometimes, the baby doesn't get out of the sack, and so we hope to be there at the birth. The baby has dropped down, so that Maggie's belly looks pointy to the ground. She looks at us when we peer in at her as if to say "What?? Leave me alone, already."

Lauren found four baby birds dead today, and one still alive, though it didn't make it. At a friend's house, I smiled at the pastoral scene of a bunny running across her yard. Not ten minutes later, I heard one yelp and then a cat, not much bigger than the bunny, dangling the carcass from it's mouth. Today was a rough day for wild things.

I think, however, I am the only person I know that has a chicken in her bathroom at night. Chicken Lickin', rejected by all the other chickens and preferring the company of humans anyway, is taken into the bathroom at night to free the coop for the big chickens to roost. Tonight, we got home late, after chicken bedtime, and the chickens were hiding everywhere. Daisy the dog and I had a good old-fashioned chicken hunt. The fattest, oldest chicken that isn't worth her feed hides best. Tonight, she was tucked under the steps of the back deck, and I had to crawl on my belly through slimy leaves to get her. You can bet that I'm not going to be late again.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Great Expectations

My life has been rather busy of late and I've been reminded that I'm neglecting my blog a bit. Okay, a lot. Perhaps given my long list of things to do and places to be, you might be inclined to understand this morning. I know better, though. How many times must I be reminded? Really.

It started out well. The girls had planned ahead so that all the chores and pet sitting got done before they were to report for duty this morning, 8 a.m. sharp, as group leaders at vacation bible school. I planned to keep Wm with me, knowing how he did not enjoy the one day he'd attended last year before becoming a vacation bible school drop-out. Yet, as we neared the school, he said he really wanted to go.

Moms reading this will understand that my mind began a dangerous journey. With all of my kids gone, I could really get some things done. I could run errands, do the laundry, grocery shopping, get up to top speed and efficiency and, gasp! I could maybe have some time alone!!!
I could ride my horse.... I commited my self-named cardinal sin of "expectations".

Well, we arrived, and in my dream-induced psychosis, I bought the t-shirt. Wm was signed up. We found his group, he sat down smiling. I moved to the back of the auditorium and made mistake number two - I paused to see that he was okay. As I turned to leave, I caught the tell-tale red face, vigorous rubbing of eyes, and knew that I'd done it now. He was bawling.

I spent the rest of the morning helping preschoolers, who couldn't thread a rope through a tire, try to string pony beads on a piece of flimsy yarn. (Have I mentioned before I hate crafts?) Next on to making snacks for the whole VBS. My stomach turned a bit to watch them alternate filling baggies with pretzels and picking their noses.

Likely, Wm will not be going back, unless Anna can convince him to stay with her in her group. Myself, I hold no expectations.

And speaking of expecting, you might remember Maggie the Miniature Horse from last year. (See about April of 2006 in the archives.) We are again a Miniature Horse Birthing Center, helping Maggie during her confinement. She is "waxing" as of yesterday, and birth is imminent. She's "dropped" and we are losing sleep checking on her during the night. Make that "I" am checking on her in the night. The world is very quiet at 3 a.m.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Difference in Perspective

The roof of our run-in shed for the horses is caving in. To repair it, dh and I have dug a hole and poured a concrete post that will support a wooden 6x6 post. Dh began mixing the Quick-crete in a bucket, adding dribbles of water at a time.

"Do you know the correct consistency?" I asked.
"Yes, this looks about right," he said tilting the bucket for me to see.
"Oh, about the thickness of brownie mix," I nodded.
Dh replied, "I see it more as the consistency of dairy cow manure."

Coming from different directions, yet arriving at the same point.

Friday, June 08, 2007

So Much to Write....

...and so little time. The end of the week, finally, and the end of driving 70 miles round trip twice a day for the Suzuki Piano Institute. I will be happy to drop out of life in the fast lane. Today, after William's last class, we popped over to the zoo for a bit before going back to check out a few of Lauren's classes. At least that was the plan.

Click on the photo to enlarge. Can you find the duck?
(Look above the yellow flowers.)
How a giraffe gets a drink

Another learning for the day: We specifically went to see the new baby elephant born last month. It was noticed that the elephant's teats are not in the back like horses and cows. Would you have guessed? No, elephants nurse in the front, near the front legs. Interesting. Well, only to weird people like me (my children would be happy to inform you).

Our day was going so well. Anna and William decided to take the train ride,
during which we experienced a downpour. William, veteran recently of Kentucky Kingdom, put up his arms and shouted "water ride!" Both got soaked. Not wanting to ride, I escaped by watching from under an overhang. No problem, I'd drive them home, drop them off, and make the return trip in time for Lauren's class.
I didn't factor in the tractor trailer that ran off the highway into a ravine, shutting down the highway for an hour. Wm. worried that we were trapped and would starve to death, sitting on the highway. We finally got through to find our small town overrun with traffic trying to use the back roads.
I did finally get down to pick up Lauren, too late to see the classes. Some days..... Lots to write about Institute and my growing menagerie. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"Bubble Practice"

Run around the room as fast as you can with a bubble around you. The bubble protects each runner from collision with the other runners (in theory).

Spare Me!

Let's see, shopping for bathings suits with two teenage girls and a five year old boy OR pulling out all my fingernails. Please, just start with my pinkie.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Creative Movement

This is Suzuki Piano Institute Week, something Lauren looks forward to all year. It is her well-earned reward for a year of diligent practice. For me, it is a twice a day 60 mile round trip to a local university. This year, William is taking one class as a "carrot" to the joys of taking piano lessons. It is his first formal class of any kind, and here is an example of what they did:

The man laying on the ground surrounded by munchkins is Mr. Krigger, the teacher of Creative Movement. William is the boy in the black shirt. After class, Wm. teared up, rubbing his eyes, wondering why HE wasn't going to any more classes with the other kids. I think it's working.

Later, I told him that Mr. Krigger taught and played the cello.
"Do you know anyone else that plays the cello?" he asked.
"Well, I do know of Yo-Yo Ma."
"Do you think that he......" Wm. paused. I'm expecting him to ask if Yo-Yo Ma plays as well as Mr. K. but instead I hear "....tells jokes as well as Mr. Krigger?"

Later in the evening, Wm asked me if I had Mr. Krigger's phone number. He wanted to call him to let him know that he was coming the next day, and not to start class without him. Unfortunately, I told Wm, Mr. Krigger has a secret number (wink).

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Kentucky Kingdom June 1, 2007

Yesterday was Homeschool Day at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. William found his dream ride. As I sat as passenger of or watching kiddie rides, Lauren and Anna went on the wildest rollercoasters.

Then, we went on all the water rides. I've never been drenched like that in my life. The day was a blast but we've all agreed (except for William who wants to know when we are going again) that once a year to this park is more than enough. There is just too much blacktop, noise, people, and overall activity for us country folk. And it wasn't even peak season! It was fun though, and the rides are amazing technology.

The thing that bites my butt is how such a place can justify literally robbing people. How do you justify charging $3.50 for a 20 cent bottle of water? Or $4.50 for a hot pretzel, $5.00 for a 99 cent Icee? How about $6.99 for a hot dog, bag of chips and small drink kids' meal? I don't mind paying a surcharge for being at the park, but this is just robbery. I guess I'm just a miser. We managed with smuggled in water bottles and food we tail-gated in the parking lot.

Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

Homemade bread with freshly made strawberry jam.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Oh, That He'll Always Love Me This Much

Never again in my lifetime will I be held in such love and esteem by my children. At the magical age of four to five, my son still worships me with an untarnished love. It's not occurred to him yet that I'm as fallible and ordinary as other human beings. The time will come, I know, when my angel wings will lose their feathers, and I will be loved, but not with such devotion. If only I could capture this time in a bottle. Before I break out in my Jim Croce imitation, here are some memories to keep.

"Mommy, you're the best mommy I've ever had!" (Obvious response is that I'm the only Mommy he's ever had.)

"I love you more than the planets!"

"Well, you know everything! Like the names of the treeeeees, and that horses have bones in their tails, and how seeds grow, and that dogs have bones...." (We're all laughing by now, and wondering what it is with the bones already.)

And the best one:
Wm. and I were reading a Berenstain Bears book in which Mama is having a cub. Teasingly, I ask Wm if he'd like a baby brother or sister. "You can't have another baby, I know."

Expecting him to declare me too old, he went on to say that I was "too skinny". Bless you, child! If only I could keep him from growing up!


This beautiful vine grows on my gazebo, a gift left from the previous occupant of our house. Except for providing some chicken wire for climbing, I've not had to do anything to it to get beautiful blooms each year.


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