Monday, May 30, 2011

Fans for Everybody!

The 'C' Word

The subject of this photo might be gross to many but to me it is a masterpiece! Done by my little man, KC. This is number three, THE ONE we were waiting for arriving in the afternoon on Monday. What a holiday celebration!

On Sunday evening my panicky assumption turned out to be right! He was colicky and of course it is a holiday weekend, and of course the vet needs to be called. Thankfully we have the BEST veterinarian in the whole world! And the staff is stellar, too!

It all started on Sunday. We had some things to do before we could ride out, naturally, and the day heated up as the weatherman predicted. We chose to go to a place with lots of woods/shade and wet water crossings. We also rode on Saturday. This is the first time in over a year that we rode two days in a row.

After we loaded them into the trailer around 11:30 a.m. both of them took at least one dump. This is normal for our guys.

We got to our destination and he says, "what is the shortest way to the Woodstock?" So we head out the shortest way, but because the woods are full of hikers/bikers and other horse people, we chose other paths that would easily accommodate passing others. This made the shortest way longer.

Along the way we meet lots of riders and hikers. Only a couple riders did we know previously. The trail etiquette is to let the larger party pass, while the smaller party goes off the path. Some people don't know this. The horses, mostly, are beautiful. Colorful, athletic specimens. And riders are dressed in their riding outfits, all different, all very cool.

One larger than us two group pulled off the trail and let us walk on. One of the guys said, " your hair matches your horse!" I said, "I know! I did that on purpose since he's not a gray." Everybody laughed. Unfortunately this is very true. I was coloring it anyway, why not color it to match my horse? He's not a gray, like his mother and sister, I don't want to be gray, so win/win.

We rode on, choosing another way over the original because of the thinness of the trails. This made the trip longer. We stopped along the way to eat grass, but the boys didn't want to drink at the creek crossing.

We rode on to the restaurant. It was hot, the boys were drenched. We had brought their halters and lead ropes so we could tie up at the tavern. They were glad to be stopped, resting, even with the motorcycles and cars whizzing by.

The bar was not crowded, it being 'Rolling Thunder' weekend in DC. Pretty much anyone with a motorcycle was at the rally downtown. The bar was relatively quiet, service was quick.

We left about an hour later, taking the most direct way back. But it was not close, and we took options that made the trip longer. We stopped to do trail maintenance, with the boys taking the opportunity to urinate and eat lots of grass in the shade. We took another path, which prolonged the journey further.

KC had not taken a 'dump' since he got on the trailer around 11am, it was now almost 5pm. I didn't think he was feeling well, and he was wet from head to hoof. Without further ado we got them on the trailer and on the way home.

We got back in about 35 minutes, and hosed off the boys in the driveway, they were wet to begin with and sweaty. I didn't wait for them to dry off like I usually do, just turned them out. KC immediately rolled, like he always does, but he didn't go all the way over. He jumped up, ran into the run-in shed and rolled on the other side, but not all the way over. One side with dirt stuck to water, the other with hay.

He ran back out, running through the pasture like he got stung. I was very concerned since he doesn't do this (he's too lazy). I grabbed a rope and chased after him, leading him into the trees in the corner and he started pawing down there, like he wanted to roll again. I'm freaking out by this time. I'm screeching at Tom to look it up on the internet, I think he's colicking, or something - HELP ME!

I bring him into the dry paddock, trying to get him into his stall. He's staggering by this time and walks right into the wall. BANG! He hits his head pretty darn hard. Now he's shaking his head, plus wringing his hind leg and stall-kicking. He never does this (he's too lazy). I'm into full-blown freak-out.

Tom comes back, confirming that he is exhibiting the classic signs of colic. Call the vet!! Call the vet!! He gets through immediately (one of the reasons I love my vet!) He hands me the phone. I'm freaking. I say, "ask me the questions." She does, I answer truthfully, she says she's on her way.

Dr. Sarah arrives in 15 minutes. Wow - that was fast. I notice, also, that she is pregnant.

The procedure for alleviating colic is bizarre. If this were done to a person there would be a lawsuit, for sure. The physiology of a horse is so different from humans that it is hard to wrap your mind around it. The main issue is that horses can not vomit. Ever. Ain't gonna happen. Which brings about the steps. I've stopped freaking out.

So, Dr. Sarah is pregnant. She has to stick the entire length of her arm, to her armpit, up his butt. She's concerned that he might kick her. Understood. I assure her that he probably won't do that, he was 'imprinted' at birth and is very tolerant of invasive procedures that otherwise would be considered assault if he were a human.

I am holding his head, she's up to her armpit up his butt. He's fine. She pulls out manure. Sure enough, he's full of it and it is not coming out without an intervention.

Next steps: Fill this bucket with warm water. Tom runs to the house with the bucket. I walk KC around the dry paddock, one last effort to go on his own. No dice. Tom is back with the bucket. She pours a half gallon of Mineral Oil and 2 pints of powdered Gator-aide. Smells like salad dressing.

Now she puts the 'twitch' on his nose, twisting it tight - he's stunned! Wha??? Tom gets the task of holding that tight, pinching his nose. Next she runs three feet of plastic hose up his right nostril! Someone call the cops for pity's sake! Then she uses a plunger-like stainless-steel pump to syphon the entire bucket full of the Mineral Oil mixture into his nose, which goes directly into his stomach. She pumps the whole thing. She also blows in the tube, essentially giving him 'gas.'

This episode takes less than 4 minutes. She's good, he's more concerned with the twitch, it is over. She pulls the tub from his nose, releases the twitch and it is done. He's full of warm water, Mineral Oil and Gator-aide plus air. Now my job is to wait, and wait.

I'm waiting for him to take a dump. She said the first one will be 'hard' and what we're really looking for is the one with all the Mineral Oil in it. That one will be 'easy' and possibly explosive, so don't get behind him when that one arrives. The first one will hurt him, probably, and he'll go back to the original signs of colic. If that happens, give him some Banamine with a handful of grain for the pain.

I read a really good book, "700 Sundays" by Billy Crystal. If you get a chance, give a read. I sat in a lawn chair outside his stall door reading until 2:30am. He did urinate, but that was all. I was pooped so I went into the house to have a lie-down. I woke at 4:30, went out to check on him, no dump in the stall, went back to bed, woke at 6:15. No action.

I resumed my position outside his stall door. Tom brought me coffee! Mid-morning he did take that first dump, and it was hard. He was definitely straining. Tom gave him banamine and he did feel better.

Dr. Sarah called to check on him. Everybody stayed in, it was so bloody hot, in the mid-90s, no breeze. Tom went to the Big Orange Box to get fans for the barn, one for each stall. I left Skip's doors open, he wandered in and out, but stayed mostly inside, next to his buddy.

I finished "700 Sundays." He took another dump, another hard one, but was not straining as much. I'm pooped, and it is hot. I have other things to do, but I'm watching him like a hawk, hanging outside his stall, waiting.

Tom takes him out of his stall, it's mid-afternoon. He walks him around and around the dry paddock. He's got gas, too. He follows Tom around and around. Then he stops, Tom is still walking. Wait!! He's lifted his tail, WAIT! He's doing it! 'It' did not shoot out of him like I thought it might. Fell out, with a heavy plop. And it was greasy and beautiful, just what the Doctor had ordered. We all felt better. What a relief!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Finally Showed Up!

Thursday evening we took the time to wash the minis! That was an adventure, you'd think we were spraying them with battery acid or boiling water. Sheesh - these guys are so dramatic.

We used the eZall foaming 'green' all-body wash. New and improved. I also pre-washed their manes and tails with Mane&Tail shampoo by Straight Arrow. I promise there is no bleach in these formulas, but their white is so bright and WHITE it shouts! They look marvelous and smell great.

That's one less thing to do on the long weekend.

It was so hot yesterday, in the mid-90s, no breeze. The weather reports from the surrounding areas were calling for tornado watches, hail the size of ping-pong balls, but we got no rain.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Searching for Friday - Anyone Know Where It Is?

Apparently I'm in a hurry for the weekend. I thought Tuesday was Friday, thought Wednesday was Thursday. Wishing for the day to come doesn't make it show up any sooner. Still have to function and do what needs doing in the meantime.

On Sunday, after a nice ride at one of my favorite Parks we gave the big boys a bath. We used the new and improved eZall body wash with the new foamer/sprayer. The body wash is labeled 'green' and sometimes the 'green' formula of anything is not the best. Not so with eZall! This stuff is awesome! I am not affiliated with this product in any way, but have been using it for years. The new version is far better than the old version. And it is super-concentrated. We'll have this gallon for more than a year. While we were at it we washed the dog, too.

They all smell like flowers. After they dried we turned them out - they both immediately rolled. Hardly any dirt stuck to them and what did was easily whisked away. Their hair still feels clean, and sheds dirt. The dog is really soft and silky, too.

The minis still need their baths; we'll take care of that over the long weekend - promise!

Tom has been working with Lil Fred with the desensitizing method. Lil Fred is afraid of everything. Sprite, not so much. While we are on vacation later in June we'll be taking them to the trainers. Their barn is a busy barn and the minis being so darn cute - and clean by that time - they will have everybody wanting to touch and pet them. Immersion is the best teacher and they'll get the best of it while we are not there.

Tom is working with the plastic bag (yikers!) and the treat bag, too. Fred's getting better, every session. If he's ever going to have a job, he needs to be a little more level-headed, not head for the exit at the literal drop of a hat.

Tom mowed the entire eastern pasture - ran out of fuel twice! Sharpened the blades on the tractor and the riding mower. He also had to order bushings for the mower deck and a belt for the tractor. He had changed the oil in all of the mowers (3). Farming is not for sissies!

We also are being invaded by the Chinese Stink Bugs. He vacuums them from the windows every single evening when we get home. These things are awful and because they are non-native they have no natural predator on this side of the world. They get into everything, in places you wouldn't think they would fit and are hard to get out of those tight places.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Weekend is Here!

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Beautiful day and not riding! We have been busy doing housekeeping chores, but not necessarily in the house, but I'm doing that, too.

Got up at 6:30, slept in! The morning was delightful, everybody spent the night outside. This was the second night that the little guys stayed out all night. After they all finished I turned them back out. Skip continues the bad habit of not going out in the pasture. He's quick at backing up through the gate, or turning around and getting back into the dry paddock.

On Thursday it rained so hard, we got over an inch of rain in about an hour, that everybody stayed in for the night. It was too wet and muddy for them to be out. They were happy to stay in. The night was a starry night, Moon still bright, but too wet for them to be laying around in the grass.

Saturday morning they seemed to spend the entire morning hanging out in the run-in shed. Usually there is no room for KC, only Skip, but they were in there, in the shade, dozing.

Tom washed all the cars this morning and I cleaned out the big trailer (full of stink bugs!) and the truck. The truck was used as a 'farm truck' and not cleaned out since before LAST April. Not even after the three bales of hay in the back seat in October. Also full of stink bugs, live and dead. Tools, trash, brochures, and just plain junk was in there. And dog hair. Stink bugs stuck in dog hair.

The bugs were everywhere in the trailer; in the bed, windows, between the blankets, sheets, couch cushions, shower stall, cabinets, blinds. Everywhere. I'm washing ALL the blankets, sheets, towel, everything. What a scourge!

Tom ran into town to get more fuel. Just this week gasoline has gone down 10 cents a gallon. Still close to $4 but at least it is not going up. Takes more fuel to mow this place, we'll have to think about a different container for diesel and gasoline. The yard looks great, and he's mowing the future pasture (once we fence it in) to keep the poisonous weeds to a minimum.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday, Monday (again?)

Monday? We had one last week!! And today I am dead on my feet! Too much stuff, crammed into too little time, and I'm pooped. We did manage a ride on Sunday morning and it was great!

On Friday evenings, usually when I am in the shed scooping grain/feed into the color-coded buckets for my kids, I feel like I'm on the highest point of a roller-coaster, right before it plunges straight down into a swirling, careening, wild ride! And time just takes off, Sunday evening before you know it!

Right after work we mowed grass at the old house, should have taken 15 minutes, more like half hour. Raced home in the pouring rain, I started laundry, just to get a head of wifely chores. So many things to do and the weekend weather forecasted was dismal.

Back to the old house on Saturday, picked up the riding mower, then went to the grocery store. Not our usual store, one I hadn't been to since last August. One of our favorite restaurants has been closed, bulldozed, and a new grocery is in its place. You can't go home again, right?

Tom mowed grass into the dark, the place looks fantastic! Saturday night, around 10pm, the thunder with lightning started, then rain, heavy rain. I rounded everybody up and into the barn. They wanted to go, all stayed in for the night.

Sunday dawned clear and beautiful! What do those weather people know, anyway? We went for a ride in Carroll County, at Piney Run Reservoir. It was mostly an 'out and back' but there were plenty of obstacles, wet and dry crossings, boats, canoes, bikes, dogs, fishermen, and like that for challenges. Both boys were on their best behavior!

We got back, unloaded, then headed out to the Big Orange Box, had keys made there, too. Filled the truck up with the few things still in the house, pulling the carpeting up, too. Naturally, it had to rain on the carpet. Some of it we did want to keep.

By the time we got back it was dry and the sunset was like Hawaii, again. This place is gorgeous!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weekend Ride!

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Had a great weekend, but they go so fast! Finally got the opportunity to ride, and the weather was delightful. Really couldn't ask for a better day - clear blue sky, low humidity - just perfect.

I went to the grocer on Friday night, getting lots of 'specials' and finding the elusive Soy Yogurt! That was an accomplishment all by itself. It was sprinkling and lightning when I got to the store, heard there was a double-rainbow, saw a little bit of one when I got out of the store. Missed the rain, too.

Got a message from my nephew about stopping over on Saturday to shoot guns. Told him he was welcome, but probably wasn't going to be home. The ride was still up in the air at that time.

The truck was still full of stuff from the old house, including yard debris in the bed. After I got back from the store I pulled all of that out of the truck and onto the burn pile. Tom hitched up the trailer and pulled it around. I was going to put new hay in the trailer but the hay that was there looked good.

We managed, some how, to get out the door and to our designated rendezvous spot on time! We had already cleaned the boys up and they stayed that way. Didn't have to bust up mud and dirt to saddle up.

After a slow start, waiting for others to finish tacking up, we were on our way. Delightful ride, through the woods, crossing rivers, railroad tracks, road crossings, meeting hikers, some with dogs, the ride was moderately uneventful. That's a good thing!

Traveled on some new trails, too. Made our way to the local restaurant/biker bar where there are hitching posts for horses. There are bicycle racks, too. Apparently they'll let anyone in!

Stopped in for a quick beverage and then back in the saddle. KC managed to lose a shoe somewhere along the way, so going back he was 'off.' Rick, the farrier who belongs to one of our horsey clubs, was back at the rendezvous spot and put a new shoe on. KC is fine now!

We watched the Kentucky Derby when we got back. Animal Kingdom. I got no money on any of this. Looking forward to the Preakness Race and the Belmont. Come on Sea Biscuit!

That night we had a bonfire. Bonfires are getting monotonous right about now. Finally got the flat-bed trailer empty and most of the pile now is gone. We have more to go, but we've made excellent headway on this issue.

Sunday dawned a delightful day as well, but riding is not on the agenda. After a brief stop at the Big Orange Box and the landscaping store, we made it over to our old house for more work. Time is growing short; the tenants will move in May 15.

We emptied the shed, mostly, mowed grass, cleaned up more yard debris and mulched the beds. Washed some windows, Tom fixed the outlet in the kitchen (that sparking thing is not good!), replaced the water filters and pulled up the carpet in the family room. The floor is still beautiful.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

First Wednesday in May

Monday night Tom did the deed: administered worming doses to all of the equines. He's so good about that, and they all took their medicine like good kids.

Last night Tom changed the oil in the tractor. Long overdue. He also is working on reattaching the trim (moulding/baseboards) to the hallway and newly refurbished bathroom.

The weather has been pretty good, but a storm came through overnight doing the wind/rain thing. Cooled things off a little too much. They all spent the night inside but went out, in the rain, this morning. Turned out to be a sunny day.

And today, through the power of the internets, we received The Balm and the sheath cleaner. Both products come highly recommended. KC is really going to enjoy this, seriously. Lil Fred? I don't know. Judy never did it so I'm guessing this will be a new experience for him. I hope he likes it as much as KC does.

I hope it warms up for the weekend, we have plans, always lots of plans, but a couple things on the list call for warm temps, like washing April and the equines. They are all overdue for baths, too.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May First!!

The weather held out almost all weekend. The rain came later in the day on Sunday.

Friday, at almost dark, Tom started mowing grass - front yard, side yard, etc., until it was quite dark. On our errands during the day Saturday he bought more diesel to resume mowing at a later time.

On Saturday we worked on the patio project. We went into 'town' to rent a machine to compact the pavers and the sand mix, a 'plate tamper.' It did a great job, but was filthy when we got it, took over an hour to clear the dried mud and stones out of it. I wet-vaced the patio over and over, getting the mud, debris and stones out of the crevices.

David and a friend came to shoot his machine gun (yes, machine gun) because the range that he frequents won't let him use that weapon there. Between the wet-vac and the plate tamper machine, we could barely hear the guns going off.

On Sunday we went to the 'old' house, cleared the yard debris out, Tom repaired the lattice that had fallen during the winter. He also repaired the latch on the gate, sanded the brick walk. We mowed grass, too. Move-in date is May 15. Don't have that many more available days to address issues, but it is coming together.