Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Indelicate Matters

So much about caring for horses and chickens is commonplace for me, I forget that others might not get references to why my dog was continually shooed from under the horse while the farrier was here.  What was that reference to "treats"?   Dogs find nothing so tasty as the trimmings from the smelly hoof of a horse.  Daisy will wait to steal each one, run off with it for later chewing.  She will eat them until she is sick, so I must tie her up, gather the trimmings which will dry and can be doled out one at time.

But hoof trimming is actually one of the easier jobs.  You can read here about one of the nastier ones that I wrote about sometime back.  It is an important job, helping Okie to quit rubbing his tail in a desperate attempt to itch a spot he cannot reach.  I am asked, "So how is it cleaned in the wild?"  Well, a man-made problem, as in the wild, it gets a regular workout.  Catch my drift?  Jorgen still does not think I am trying to help him and will pull himself inside so tightly, that I'm sure one day I'll see it come out his back end.  I can, however, now do the task for him without sedation.

William leaned in close and gave me a nice hug.  "Mom, you smell like a horse."

It rained so hard this morning, that a fledgling bird nearly drowned on our driveway.  It is a starling, which is too bad for they crap all over my barn and I'd just as soon it drown.  But it's a baby.  So, we are again living a contradiction - saving a starling while cursing its parents.  Cooing and coddling chickens, while eating their eggs and their cousins who ended up at the grocery.   The near drowning seems to have taken its toll - it cannot hold it's head up though certainly it is old enough to do so.  Be our luck to raise a brain damaged bird we'll have to keep for life.

Whitney (dog) has made a miraculous recovery.  Email suggestions that she might be gluten intolerant (celiac) seem to be dead on.  There are many references on the web to it.  It is said that Irish Setters are prone to it, and because most all commercial dog food contains gluten of some sort, the breed is nearly extinct.  I never heard that before and wonder if that is true.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Heart Meatballs

I suppose it is telling that I was unfazed finding poop balls hanging from the garbage bag.  Who did this? I shouted, thinking someone threw dog do-do in the can, which later was fitted with a bag.  On closer inspection, I found that the do-do balls were in fact meatballs.  Inquiry led to incredulity.  Anna had burned her lunch and threw the meatballs in the trash.  They were so hot, they burned a hole straight through the bag, melting the plastic, where they became glued on.  I  think it is quite special they burned a heart-shaped hole, don't you?  We quickly cleaned up by calling Daisy, our Beagle-Dor, to eat the meatballs.

It is so chilly today that Chiron, our miniature gelding, is shivering even though he's in the barn.  I thought it was fear at first because the farrier was here today and trimmed his feet.  He's still shivering though.  He's lost his winter fur, poor guy.  I know how he feels - I've put away and gotten out my long sleeved shirts at least three times.

Last week, I learned that putting too much of shavings in with baby chicks can be fatal.  Luckily, disaster was averted.  I water the chicks with a very shallow pan, as they are prone to drowning.  The shallowness, however, often leads to the water being dirtied, so I refill it several times a day.  This day, I lifted it up to find a wad of what looked like white toilet tissue under it and down in the shavings.  What is that doing there, I wondered?  Then the wad of tissue started crawling.  Was it a white mouse?  Then, I realized it was one of the chickies, in bad shape, too. Long story short, it was fine and recovered after the mom pecked its head a few times and scolded it for being so stupid.   Close call, though.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Birthday, Anna!

Seventeen years ago, I received the greatest gift a mother could receive on Mother's Day!  
Happy 17th Birthday to a gift that keeps on giving.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Dear Costco

Dear Costco,

Please instruct the gorilla that put my groceries in my cart to not put so much weight in large boxes.  I am 5'2" (okay, almost) and only weigh 108 pounds (okay, I once weighed 108 pounds, but my muscles still think I do).  I about had a hernia trying to lift those two boxes out of the very deep bascart to load them into my car. 

While we're on the subject of bascarts, why are they not motorized?  With brakes?  Here I am pushing around 40 pounds of kitty litter, 20 pounds of dog food, 20 pounds of cat food, not to mention the pounds of human food, and some idiot steps right in front of my cart.  It takes all I've got to stop the forward momentum. It's only a matter of time before I severely injure someone. If you and other retailers can provide little go-carts for those that can't walk, it's time to step up the technology for those of us that can.  At the very least, please provide air horns for my cart so that those people milling about with no better place to waste their time will get out of my way. 

And as for the samples, some people are eating their lunches in your store at your samples counters.  Can you please just rope off an area to do this?  They are always at the end of the aisle and I can't even get into the aisle because of all the people standing around eating out of little paper cups.  People - go to lunch.  Get out of my way.  (Do you hear a theme developing?)

Costco Ron, you dear are not every woman's dream.  I know you think you are, but your demeanor oozes slime.  You need only the white patent leather shoes to complete the picture.  I just love being looked over like a criminal as I leave your store, like there is anything that I could steal between the cash register and the door, (yeah, yeah, you are looking for cashier mistakes, we all believe THAT one), but your job doesn't include looking me over, too.  PS  drop the radio voice

Valued Customer

Friday, May 07, 2010

Over the Back of a Horse

Chiron always greets visitors by looking in the car window

The horse chiropractor came out this week.  Yes, horses have chiropractors.  After all, the work of horses is carrying people on their backs.  Jorgen, our Gotland pony, in particular needs help twice a year.  A stud until age three, he was in some sort of fight or accident, blowing out his knee, giving him TMJ, and a back that goes out easily.  Twice a year, he'll start squealing to pressure on his back.  The chiropractor comes out, does his thing, and Jorgen is good for another six months.

Traveling horse practitioners are always good for news about the neighborhood and interesting stories.  I told Gary about the time that I almost put myself out with horse tranquilizer.   Likely, according to Gary, I was indeed experiencing symptoms from absorbing some of it through my skin.  He illustrated his point, of course, with a story.

Once, he was assisting a vet with a horse that had ripped off it's eyelid.  Because of the delicate nature of the surgery, the horse had to be very sedated, and as they prepared to inject the horse, it jerked and the needle went into the palm of a teen that was helping to hold the horse.  The boy began to feel dizzy, and before the boy could be led outside to the grass for a softer fall, he went down and laid there on the concrete barn floor, passed out cold.

The vet and Gary shook their heads, and continued to work on the horse, knowing from experience that the boy would be fine and wake up soon.   The boy's mother, however, entered the scene before that happened and began wailing and gnashing of teeth and talking about calling 911.   Gary and the vet assured her that the boy was fine, and indeed, came to just as the horse surgery was completed.  I suppose I am with the boy's mother, I'm not so sure I would have trusted that the anesthesia could have been slept off with no ill effects.

Many friends are made over the backs of horses.   Other friends looked strangely one day at Ladina and I as we discussed the terribly uncomfortable feeling of having gotten hay in your bra, and how, as uncomfortable as that was, hay in your underwear (from pushing round bales off the wagon) was even worse.   What a good friend you are, I told her, that we can share that experience!

Harvested oregano and catnip from the garden, and need to harvest the rhubarb.   Not another thing planted, though dh tilled it.

The grass here is so lush and moist from the rain that when cutting it, it becomes slippery and the mower likes to spin it's wheels in it.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Eating Dog Food

I got home late that night and the girls told me that dh had eaten dog food for dinner.  Before you gag, you should know that I cook for my dog, and it isn't as bad as it sounds.  May I back up a bit?

Do NOT buy a Japanese Chin dog.   How I, a Great Dane and giant breed lover, ended up with an eight pound not to mention brachycephalic dog I'll never know.  Anna wanted a cat.  Dh balked - we already had two felines, albeit both moved in without our permission - but he might agree to a very small dog that was noted for it's catlike personality.  Enter Whitney, who came with her four month old baby.  Now who in their right might could resist a little four month old purebred puppy handed to you?  $400 in surgery later, I realized I should have been that person.  Whitney was fine, but Paris came with a hernia, an inverted chest, a very warped skeletal structure, problems with her eyes and ears, and on and on.  Now I know that this breed is prone to a host of problems.

Whitney, the mom, appeared to be healthier until she entered her eighth year.  She stopped eating, appeared in pain, and would not come out of her crate.  Diagnosed with a sluggish gall bladder, the vet recommended a high fiber diet, of course the commercial one that costs more than hormone free, organic beef steaks.  A little research turned up a miracle story on a homemade high fiber diet that cured one dog with a similar problem.  Worth a try, right?

Within a week, Whitney was practically doing back flips and was so animated that visitors echoed the quote from "When Harry Met Sally":  "I'll have what she's having".  She was not cured, for there is no cure short of removing the gall bladder which is rarely done in dogs, but at least the disease was managed.  Though I've changed the recipe (because I can't ever follow a recipe exactly, you know, unless it is my own), it makes a stew that is quite edible to humans:  turkey, lentils, rice and vegetables.  I flavor it with garlic, salt, pepper, and basil.  It smells quite nice.  So, when dh saw that dinner wasn't made and I was nowhere in sight, he ate it.  Luckily, I had not yet laced it with bone meal, lethicin, etc. He said he knew what he was doing, and that the dog food was very good.

The girls absolutely now will not eat lentils.  Lentils = dog food now.

As a side note, I made a batch in the crock pot just before leaving to care for my dad for a week.  I was out of vegetables and used some barley as the thickener instead of rice.  By the end of the week, Whitney was in sad, sad shape and clearly bloated and in pain.  On my return, I made the original batch and she's recovering. She looked greatly improved this morning and even went outside.

And as for the Whitney/Anna relationship, it for some reason, as sometimes happens in relationships, it never gelled.  And we eventually got her the cat.

Monday, May 03, 2010

You're Out!

While Dh and I made dinner last night, William wanted to know about foreplay in baseball. Though I've heard of some men who think watching sports on TV is foreplay (not my husband!), the age of my son required that I delve further into his question.  It seems that somewhere, he's heard that it is possible to get a four-play or four outs in a row, one more out than a triple play.  I tried to explain that after the third out, the inning was over and the fourth out would not count.  He didn't like this answer.  I, however, was happy to talk baseball rather than what initially came to mind.

I've been away caring for my dad who just got out of the hospital.  Stay away from the salt, Dad!

Aunt Rita and Aunt Mary hatched four eggs just before I left.  They care for them together.

William has decided to sell eggs.  I plan to use this as a entrepreneurship lesson and to teach him at the same time that it is nearly impossible to make money from live animals.

It rained so much that our field is like quicksand.  The horses pick their way carefully up the hill, not running with joy like they usually do.


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