Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Well it didn’t rain all night after all, it snowed. We generally have at least one snowfall before Thanksgiving, and last night was the night. I woke early as planned, and hit the snooze button not as planned. It was dark which confused me because there should have been pre-dawn light. When I let the dogs out I discovered why. During the night we got about 3-4 inches of snow, and it was still coming down. I took my shower, and went out to feed. The gator does really well in the snow, and very seldom do I have to lock the wheels. There wasn’t enough snow to cause a problem so I zipped on down to the barn. Marina was quite perturbed (even though I was feeding earlier than normal), sounding her displeasure all the while flipping her head the way only Arabians can do. It was only 30 degrees out, and they were all starving to death. Eating hay actually helps in the process of keeping a horse warm. Don’t ask me where I found that little pearl of wisdom, it was somewhere on the Internet. The process of chewing, and digesting hay helps to keep the horse warm, that’s another reason I prefer grass to alfalfa. Alfalfa is like candy, and just like little kids they inhale it. They will munch on grass all morning, which is a more natural way to feed. In fact if you can feed three times a day you more closely mimic their behavior in the wild.

I got everyone fed then went to check on the truck to see if the battery was charged enough to start. You can guess the answer to that, of course not. I put the charger on a higher setting, and continued with my morning chores. I was a little later than I wanted, but it really didn’t matter because it took another hour for the truck to start. The cold weather was working against me, and I couldn’t even jump the truck with the Jeep because the hood of the Jeep was frozen shut.

I got to Chuck’s a little after nine. He had a rescue truck he was putting tires on, but nothing more. Tommy got to the truck, and while he was working I called Rudy. It was done likity split. Rudy was surprised, but as I told him it was an easy job. The alternator is right there in front with only a few bolts. I could have done it myself if I had the strength to do it, which I don’t. I went over to the Mercantile after we were finished, and got the biggest round foam insulation they had. You can’t get it in sheets, and I needed to make hoodies for the field hydrants. The guy seemed to think that because they were freeze pipes, I shouldn’t have to worry. I found out last year (if you remember) that just because they are freeze pipes that doesn’t mean they won’t freeze up.

I already had ¾” foam left over from last year, of course the freeze pipes were 1”, but I made it work anyway.   I got a little creative, and was able to make a cover for the float using an empty anti-freeze container (yes I washed it very well before I used it). That was Rudy’s idea, and I used the ¾” foam around the hose. Unfortunately, the hose is 10’ long so I couldn’t cover it all. I used two pieces of the larger foam for a hoodie. I had duck tape to wrap around the foam, and that just wasn’t going to work, so I used my stand-by, vet wrap, which worked just fine. I used the duck tape to close the hoodie on top. Both girls (especially Ridalgo the paint) kept trying to see what was going on, and if perchance they could help. Horses are such curious creatures.

I only had enough foam for one hydrant so tomorrow when I am out, and about I’ll pick up some more. Now that I know just what I need to do what I want I can cover the other hydrants. I also have to re-cover the water main. I want to see if I can find some sheet insulation to put on the inside of the barrel we use to cover the pipes. I know if it gets real cold no amount of foam is going to be enough, but at least I can prevent most of the freezing.

It was still early so my next project was to cut more wood. I never did get around to cutting wood. I sawed enough to fill my inside boxes, and enough small wood for kindling. We only have one stove in the computer room, but that should be enough to keep the living room from being too cold. The other stove is in the Utility room where the dogs sleep,. It’s next to the garage, and cut off from the rest of the house so we never use it. The cats are now in seventh heaven with the fire going again. They pretty much stay right in front of the stove all winter long. In fact I have to keep booting them away whenever I need to put in more wood. Grudgingly they move, sometimes that is. They don’t seem to understand that it’s not perpetual heat, and to keep the fire going I have to add more wood. I guess it’s time to bring out more blankies too. They love my quilt, and if the fire isn’t going they are under the covers of our bed. “C” especially likes the quilt. Pretty much all winter long there is a permanent lump in the bed, and it’s not because I don’t make it. She just has to be under the covers.

One more little note, I was reading another blog, and they were talking about Pigeon Fever, also known as river rot, and a variety of other names I can’t remember. It seems a little late in the season for Pigeon Fever, but here is what I know about it. The first time we encountered it I freaked. I ran into the house, and told Rudy there was something wrong with Angel her chest was all swollen. He had never encountered it before so we called Troy (our vet in Auberry). He diagnosed it, and told us to leave it alone, and when it burst to wash the wound out with warm sudsy water, and an Iodine solution. He said it should take a couple of weeks to clear up.

I then called Sandy (who told me the same thing), and emailed other breeders I knew. I also read a lot of articles on the subject. There really isn’t much you can do for it. It can appear on various parts of a horse’s body, but the most dangerous is internal Pigeon Fever. Only then are antibiotics warranted. It is a bacterial infection. The bacterium is in the dirt so there is really no way of preventing it, and there is no vaccine. Some articles say it is only in California, and Texas, which is untrue. We have had one case of it here in NM, and in other states it is called river rot, same bacteria different name. We’re from Arizona, which is why Rudy didn’t know what it was.

It took a few days for the “pimple” to burst, and yes it was gross. We cleaned it twice a day, and I picked up as much puss from the ground as I could find. Then of course we had more cases. Not all the horses got it, but the worst case was poor Sadie, she got it in her udders. In Auberry we had an outdoor sink I could hook a hose up to so we had hot, and cold running water to bathe the horses with. I loved that sink, and so did the horses. I literally hosed out the puss in her udder, and then washed it with an Iodine solution. Finally the infection cleared up only to move over to the other udder, and so it went all summer long back, and forth. I think that was the worst summer of Sadie’s entire life. From talking to other breeders I discovered that once a horse gets Pigeon Fever, they then become immune to it. If you have a large herd, it may take several outbreaks before the whole herd is immunized, but eventually you stop having more outbraks. We are lucky to have a small herd, and until Stormy was about two we never had another outbreak. The minute Stormy swelled up I knew what was happening. It took a long time for the “pimple” to burst, and when it finally did there were actually several pimples all together. The others had several drainage points as well, but they weren’t so close together. Since the wound was so large, it took longer to heal, and it left a scar. His fur is so fine that in the summer you can see it, but in the winter his coat is thick enough to hide the scar. You have to really be looking for it as well. I read all sorts of articles on the subject, some with differing opinions. This was my experience, and how we dealt with it.  I don’t freak out anymore, and I consider it a nuisance disease. Luckily we have never had to deal with a serious case of it. For us it has been localized in one spot. Some horses are not so lucky, and can develop sores all over their body or the worst case scenario, they can develop internal sores. Since our horses are now immune, I don’t worry about it, and trust me I am grateful for anything I don’t have to worry about.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A change in the weather…

Fall is definitely here. Most of the foliage here are evergreens, but not all. There are the Aspen, and along the Rio Ruidoso large cottonwoods that are now golden in color. The scrub oak too has started to turn sporting reds, and gold’s amidst deep greens. We have four true seasons, just not the oaks, and maples found in the eastern forests to fill this hills in glimmering shades of fall. It is raining now, not the torrential rain of the monsoon, but the long soaking rain of a winter storm. It started just before I went to feed (naturally). At first it was just a soft gentle rain with no wind to speak of. The clouds were gathering some black against a bright blue sky, and a beautiful bright double rainbow greeted me as I went down to the barn. The rain didn’t last long, but as the evening progressed you could feel a chill in the air not felt since last spring. The smell of rain was thick in the air, and there was a stillness, a forewarning of the storm to come.

I closed the garage for Bear, and Taggot. They are strictly outside dogs with a very large doghouse, the whole garage. Still the winds come from the south so I close the door to keep the worst of the wind out. It’s still cold, but they have cushions to lie on, and very thick coats. Taggot is a Shepherd/Chow mix (we think). He has a deep undercoat in the winter that keeps the rain, and the cold out. Bear is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever from Ohio. Cold weather bothers him not in the least.  He was bred to endure the cold of the Chesapeake Bay so this is nothing for him. The rest of the dogs have a room inside where they sleep. We have no heat in the house (save the stoves) so it gets chilly in there, but they have plenty of blankets, and doggie beds to keep them warm. Poor little Skye has to sleep in a crate. I hate putting him in there, but he won’t hold it if he is in the house so I have no choice. He has a little doggie bed that I wash quite often.

This has been a quiet week. By that I mean there were no major disasters, well not too many anyway. The first came last Tuesday. Wednesday April came over with her hand all bandaged up. She was trying to repair a fence her puppy tore down. She was holding the T-post in one hand attempting to put the driver over it, and she missed. They took x-rays, and luckily she didn’t break any bones, but she tore every muscle, tendon, and ligament in her hand. Poor thing she wasn’t able to sleep for days because of the throbbing pain. She tried playing with the horses, but couldn’t really do much. It will take 6 – 8 weeks for her hand to heal, and she’s not a patient person. We’ll see how long it is before she is using her hand despite what the doctors told her.

The only other thing that came up was the truck. When I went to get hay last I had to put the battery charger on the truck (it was totally dead). Now I put in a new battery just this last summer so it couldn’t, or at least shouldn’t be the battery. The only other choice is the alternator. Not something I was very happy about. Rudy told me what to do to test the alternator. You loosen the battery cable, start the truck, and then disconnect the cable. If it keeps running then it’s the battery, and if it dies it’s the alternator. When I disconnected the cable it gave one sputter, and died faster than I could get the cable entirely off. Wonderful, just what I needed. I have four vehicles here, and now only one that doesn’t have an issue. The jeep needs a new head, the Z needs I don’t know what all, and now the truck (which is the only way I can get hay) is down. The Fiero runs just fine, but I can’t even fit a bag of feed in it. Well I got a new (re-built) alternator with a lifetime guarantee, and now I have to get up early to feed so I can take the truck in to Chuck’s tomorrow so he can put it in. It’s real easy so long as you have much stronger arms than I have, and the tools to take it off, and put on a new one. I may be able to do a lot, but not put in an alternator.

All in all it hasn’t been too bad of a week. The girls are all happy, and the boys are finally putting weight back on. Jeri is miffed because he’s getting grass hay instead of alfalfa, but prices have skyrocketed. Saturday I’m probably going to have to pay $12 a bale. When you get 30 bales a week that’s a lot of money. I haven’t heard from Katie either, and she’s about to run out of hay, so I may have to get hay for her horses too.  I also received hospital bills. For some reason it doesn’t look like they submitted anything to the insurance company for these particular bills. The main bill was almost $30,000, which thankfully we only have to pay about $500 of. I’ll have to call these other physician offices to see what these bills are all about. They’re just going to have to wait like everyone else if they want any money from us. It’s a good thing I have faith, otherwise I’d probably have a coronary.

Looks like it’s going to rain all night. I really don’t mind. The weekend is supposed to be nice, and hopefully I can get on Star’s back. When living in the desert you learn real fast to be thankful for whatever rain comes your way because you don’t know when it will rain again. Up here you also learn to be thankful for still warm days with no wind, and take advantage of every one winter, and spring. Training is hard here in the winter because of the wind. In Tucson winter was the perfect time to train. Summers are too hot unless you ride in the wee hours of the morning so you train in the winter, and spring. Here you just train whenever the weather permits.  I have been very lax lately. For some reason, I just don’t have the energy to do anything. Of course it has been a bad year what with all my pipes breaking, and the water table going so low. Lets face it I have had a mite more to do than normal. I just have to get back on a schedule. One good thing, with all the rain I won’t be able to clean stalls. Now isn’t that a shame!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A sad day…

My body was not pleased with me, and didn’t let me sleep last night. About 2:30 I got up, and took some Ibuprophen, finally getting some sleep.  I slept late, and was slow getting down to the barn to feed. The pasture horses are the last to get fed, and while I was throwing hay out I was short one horse. There were only three bays Zara was missing. I knew something was wrong, and started calling out to her. As I went around to the gate I could see her standing in the loafing barn in the corner. I went up to her, and found her bathed in sweat. I ran to the gator, went up to the house to get the number of her owner, and to send an email saying she was in extreme distress so I was calling the vet. I raced back to the barn, got a shot, halter, and lead. By this time (only a few minutes) she was down. I gave her the shot, and for a moment I thought I could pull her through this. She tried to get up with me pulling, but I’m not strong enough. I called my veterinary friend, and told her what was going on all the while trying to get Zara up. I had done what she would have done, Zara started making an effort to get up again, so I hung up, but I still couldn’t get her up. Zara started thrashing, and I called our vet. I barely explained what was going on when she gave a huge thrashing movement, and rolled over kicking at the stall wall. It was too late she was dying. Her tongue was turning blue, I got some reaction when I twitched her nose, and for a brief moment I thought perhaps I could still save her then she died. From the moment I found her till she died was only about 15 minutes, it was that fast. I have had horses colic before, that’s why we have the Banamine on hand at all times. Sadie has gotten to the point where her eyes have rolled back into her head, but she has always pulled out of it. Sherry said it wouldn’t have mattered when I found her, or what I did (and I did all the right things), she still would have died. She explained what was happening, and said even with surgery the chances were only 50/50 that she could have survived. She lost a horse the same way only when she went to feed in the morning he was dead. I don’t know which is worse, to find your beloved friend gone, or to have them die in your arms so to speak.

I called Zara’s owner to let her know she was gone, Rudy, and Sherry too. I was just leaving the pasture when April showed up. You always run the what if tapes in your head, and even though my mind knows there was nothing I did, or could have done that would have made a difference, my heart doesn’t understand. We came up to the house and Joe (owner’s husband) called to find out what had happened. He’s not a horse person so I tried my best to help him understand how a horse can be fine one minute, and die with no warning. Rudy said he had a friend who was showing in Tucson. The horse performed flawlessly, and even took the championship, but when his owner washed her down (as he always did before putting her away), she colicked, and died right there on the spot. You just never know with horses.

April’s mother gave me the phone number of a friend of theirs who did work for them, and he said he would be able to come out in the afternoon. I talked to Rudy a bit, then the horses started making a commotion so we went down to the barn. Ridalgo (paint) was making all the noise calling out to the other girls. We had to do something so we took Stormy out to work him. We had just gotten to the round pen when Jan (owner of the stallion Zara was bred to) pulled up. Bobbie Jo called, and wanted her to look at Zara. I’m not sure why, but it really doesn’t matter, she’s dead, and nothing will change that. We talked a bit, she left, and I went back to Stormy, and April. Stormy is still shy with April but he did pretty well. He wouldn’t come in so I took over a bit till he came in on cue. He knows what he’s supposed to do, but he’s a kid, a teenager actually, and you know how teenager’s can be. As with Star we brought out the saddle etc. beforehand so I told her to get the blanket. He had already shied away from the saddle when she took him into the round pen so I figured if we got him to accept the blanket we would be doing good. He wasn’t sure about that strange spooky thing, but we rubbed him with it, and put it on, and off his back, both sides, down his butt, legs, and under his belly. He did so well I had April get the bridle, and let him smell it before I rubbed it all over his face and ears. It was scary, but he did great. We gave him lots of praises before we put him away, and then he got to tell his dad (Ibn), and adopted dad (Jeri), all about his new adventure. I was very proud of him.

By this time it was about 1:00 so I sent April home, and I went up to the house. I was exhausted from all the stress. I sat in front of the TV with my eyes closed until Augnacio called. He would be here in about 15 minutes. I met him at the gate, and led him in where he parked the truck, while I walked over to the pasture. Our horses are used to all kinds of equipment so they were pretty good with the backhoe. Actually I had to chase them away, they’re too curious for their own good. I showed him where to dig the hole, and once that was finished we used the backhoe with a chain to drag Zara out, put her in the bucket, and bury her. She is the second horse this year that I have had to bury. That’s two too many.

It was 3:30 by the time we were finished, so I went up to the house, and rested a bit before going out to feed. When one has animals one never knows when something will go wrong. We have been very lucky. We’ve not lost a foal, and Sara was the only other horse we had to put down besides Lance. Sara was 21, and suffering from Cushing’s disease before there were any real treatments for the disease on equines. Lance broke his leg in a freak accident during a storm, and now Zara has died. It’s a pretty good track record for nearly 20 years of horse breeding. Each death tears at your heart, and even though you know that things will happen eventually, you never get used to the idea of losing one of your best friends. It doesn’t matter that Zara didn’t belong to us she was in my care. She was a good mare, and I was so looking forward to seeing the foal she would drop. I knew it would be a beautiful foal, and I mourn that loss as well. They get under your skin these beautiful creatures who ask so little of their human companions. Perhaps it’s that loving heart so willing to please that touches the soul of man, I don’t know. All I know is that Zara will be missed. I will miss her. She’s in a better place now, where the grass is always green, and she can run to her hearts content free of the bonds of an earthly existence.

Goodbye Zara…

Friday, October 14, 2011

I’m too old for this….

Today I decided to attack Espree’s stall. Somehow the back stalls, and the stallion stalls, never seem to get done. The last time I did them was when we still had the tractor. That was fun. Now I’m back to doing it the old fashioned way, pitch fork, and apple picker. With each year my pain issues seem to increase, and I’m able to do less, and less. Now that April is helping me I figured I had no more excuses so today was the day to begin the unbeginable (I can make up words if I want). The day was cool with just a slight breeze, actually it was a perfect day for riding, but those stalls kept calling at me. The stallion stalls are at least 120’ long. The four mare stalls aren’t as long but they’re still about 100’.Espree’s is the first. I didn’t quite get it all done, but I got most of it. I still have to clean out the drainage on both sides, and take out about ¼  of the top. I think I took out five gator loads. My body says it was more like 500., but I got it started. If April can keep up with the daily poop, then we should be able to keep them all clean between the two of us.

Espree was in seventh heaven as I put her in the round pen, which still has (albeit dry) grass in it. She has come such a long way since we first bought her seven years ago. The first time we put her out in the pasture it took Rudy half an hour to catch her to put her back into her stall. She wouldn’t let me even come close to her then. The funny thing was once you caught her she was (and still is) a perfect lady on the lead line. The one saving grace was she loved to be groomed (don’t they all), so I earned her trust with a brush and comb. Now I can go up to her, and put the lead line on, but it has taken all this time for her to allow that. I can even fix her halter when she rubs it off one ear. It takes a little more time than with a normal horse, but I can do it. Like all of them the more you handle them the better they get. The problem I’ve had in the past was I only had weekends to work with the horses, and most of that time was spent in cleaning stalls, occasionally grooming them, and keeping the barn clean. It wasn’t until I got laid off from work that I had the time to really work with the horses. Now I never want to have any other job than to keep up the ranch. My body isn’t too happy about it, but I’m in my seventh heaven being a full time rancher. If I weren’t so stressed out about money we don’t have I would enjoy it more, and do more. I’m hoping that with more time on my hands for training we might actually start selling horses instead of just feeding them. That would be a novel change for us. Of course if we lived where we didn’t have to buy hay all the time it would be a whole lot easier. Problem is we both love the southwestern deserts, and grass just doesn’t seem to grow without tons of rain or on rocky ground. I guess you can’t have everything.

Now that I have one stall done, I only have six more to deal with. Tomorrow I have to go to town (somehow that takes most of the day), Saturday is hay day, and Sunday I go to Roswell to visit my parents. That means I probably won’t have time to spend with the horses. Then there is laundry, woodcutting, and that most despicable thing of all, housework! If someone could invent a dust free house they would make a fortune. Unfortunately like the barn, as soon as I get rid of the dust, and dirt it comes right back. Somewhere along the line someone put in a cement floor in the barn. Do you have any idea how ridicules it is to have a cement floor in a barn? It’s never clean, and if we ever have to repair a water line in the barn… don’t even ask, it simply can’t be done. We will have to run new water lines. God willing that will never ever happen, or at least not until we have the money to take up such an endeavor (yeah that means never in our life times). At any rate my body is quite upset with me for having it do such a stupid thing as work like a 30 year old. Maybe I’ll make a visit to the chiropractor when I go to town. Lord knows I will definitely get my muscle relaxer’s (assuming of course that I can move tomorrow). Tonight when Katie came over with her tack she said I looked strong, and I thought yeah right that’s why when I have days like today I spend the next day in bed. At least there were no disasters today, or for that matter all this past week. Might things be turning around? That would be a nice change. We’ll see.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

And then there were none…

When I got back from El Paso I was afraid that all the hummingbird feeders would be empty, but was surprised to find one ½ full, and the other ¾ full. It seems only one family was still here. They emptied the one feeder, and then with the last feeder only ½ full the last lone hummingbird came no more. This is the latest they have ever stayed. Now instead of the whirring of wings, and little chirps, I hear the calls of the bull elks. The elk are in full rut, and one can hear them calling out to each other morning, and night. I’ve even heard them during the day. One has to be careful this time of year when one is out, and about. The elk have one thing on their mind, and everyone is a threat to the fulfillment of that goal. Those racks are nothing to sneeze at. One night two were going at it in the arena, and Rudy swore it was gunshots until we went down to the barns, and found two big bulls going at it. Enough said.

The weather has finally given way to beautiful days, and chilly nights. April has been coming over, and the one row of stalls actually looks nice for a change. She comes three days a week mas o menos. She brought over some hay and Senior for Jeri, and has been working him in the round pen. He still needs about 75 more lbs on him before she can start riding him, but he’s getting there. I supplement his feed with beet pulp, rice bran, and oil, and some grass hay. It’s the least I can do. She can’t afford much, and any help I can get is greatly appreciated. He’s the only man in her life now since she has sworn off men. They are totally devoted to each other. Of course Jeri loves anyone who will pay him some attention.

April has been working Jeri, and Star in the round pen, and the other day (while I was around) she worked Storm in the round pen too. She wasn’t as sure about how he would react so she wanted to wait until I was around in case he pulled any funny business. He was a very good boy only she was too soft with him. I took the whip from her, and put him through his paces. He did very well, and even remembered what “in” meant. I was very proud of him, and he enjoyed the attention (just like a man). I told her she needed to be a little more aggressive with him, and she would do fine. Later I showed her how to use the video camera, and I took Ibn out for a ride in the arena. It turned out to be a lesson ride, but in the end I think he actually enjoyed being ridden again. It has been a while since I’ve ridden him, and he had gotten used to being ridden on a regular basis. Being Ibn, he had to put on a front, and refused to do what I asked of him at first. Being me, I didn’t let him get away with it. Once that little misunderstanding was over he did quite well. He has forgotten a lot, like flying lead changes, shoulder in, and out, and side passing, but all in all he did quite well. We’ll do it again maybe tomorrow, and see how he does.

When I went to download the video of Ibn, I discovered that April pushed the wrong button (like I have maybe a gazillion times), and I didn’t get any video. Oh well another time maybe. Today after cleaning stalls April worked Star. I played with Star (grooming), and Ser-Haat (also grooming) while she was finishing up the stalls, then April took Star to the round pen, and worked her a bit. We took one of the sawhorses over to the round pen, and put the saddle, and bridle on it before hand. Star spooked a little when she first saw it, but after a sniff she was fine. Once Star was warmed up she saddled just fine, and when April went to put the bit in her mouth, she lowered her head like she had been doing it forever. April worked her with saddle, and bridle with no problems. She’s a very smart, and sensible girl. I put weight on the stirrup (both sides) while April was getting the bridle, and she just stood there like a champ. Next time I think I’ll have April get on her back. Once she is cool with working in the round pen (and only then) I will take her to the arena. As I’ve said before I’ve never started a horse from scratch. April is younger so I’ll let her do the hard part, then I’ll start teaching Star the ropes of being a proper show horse. I may be a sentimental fool, but I’m not crazy. Ok maybe I am crazy, but I’m not stupid, how’s that.

While April worked Star I shot a video of her. My camera messed up so I didn’t get as much usable video as I took, but I put together a fairly good short video of Star ( it on You Tube. I have decided that I probably need a new battery for my camera. It’s several years old, and the camera seems to work fine just after I have it charged up. When it doesn’t have a full charge I seem to have problems. Even those re-chargeable batteries wear out after a while (nothing lasts forever anymore). For now I’ll charge it before I use it, and maybe that will solve some of my video problems.

In betwixt, and between everything else, Katie brought over her two mares. One is a Paint, and the other is a Black Bay. The Black Bay is the dominant mare. She brought a big water tank to feed them thinking she could put in a bale, and it would last a couple of days. I knew that wouldn’t work, and sure enough they went through it like candy. Katie’s had doctor’s appointments (she a little under the weather) so I told her I would feed them for now. What I didn’t tell her is that I’m going to feed them separately so the Paint will get her fair share. Black Bay won’t let her eat until she has eaten all the best parts of the alfalfa. Naturally the Paint is the larger of the two horses. She also has the worst feet. April, and I checked to see how they would be, and the paint is a little shy about her one hind leg, but did well with the others. The Bay was fine she didn’t even blink an eye when April picked up her feet. Being more timid I would expect that the Paint would be the one with trust issues, and she is. She’s just not that sure about strangers handling her feet. She wasn’t bad she just needs some work handling her back feet. Her hoofs are bi-colored, and very chipped. It will take a few turns with the rasp to get them where they should be.

Hopefully all the drama in our lives is over for a while, and things will settle down to a dull roar. Our water issues seem to have gone bye-bye now that I have floats in all the tanks. Even better yet, I heard on the news that La Nina isn’t going to be as strong as it was last winter, and we just might get a little more precipitation. That’s good for the water table, not good for my transportation. I need a new head on the jeep, and I don’t think my little Fiero is going to make it up the hill through the snow. Hopefully I can get the jeep fixed before the first snow. If not I will just have to take the truck if I have to go out into the snow, or just stay home. I like that idea best. I got some wood cut, and the boxes in the house filled. That’s not enough for the whole winter, but it’s a start. I also re-arranged my little corner where the stove is, which I actually like better. It’s easier to get to the wood, and it’s more open making the room not seem so cluttered. Now I have to get enough wood for the woodpile, so I won’t freeze this winter. If we’re lucky we won’t have the really nasty hard freezes like last year, and I won’t have to repair any more broken pipes. That would be a nice Christmas present (just in case someone’s listening). I want to get some of the foam insulation in sheets so I can make some sleeves for the water hydrants. I’m going to be a lot more prepared this year. Not that it will do any good, but just in case at least I will know that I tried to do a better job of preparing for winter. With April here I can also get that flapping piece of tin roof fixed. She can hold the ladder for me. The girls will appreciate that. Now if the rest of our life will flow into place we just might survive this economic storm.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Never a dull moment…

Well my last post was actually from around the 20th, or a bit later, I just didn’t have a chance to post it. Last week was spent at the hospital in El Paso with my husband. He got a nose bleed which wouldn’t have been anything big, except between the blood thinners, and the fact that he had food poisoning about five days before, his blood wouldn’t coagulate. It took two pints of Plasma, two pints of blood, IV’s, antibiotics, four days in the hospital, and five days of no blood thinners for his bleed time to go from 16.5 minutes to 8 minutes, which is normal. If you ever have a nosebleed don’t have food poisoning the week before, it seems that there is a bacteria in the intestinal track that aids in the coagulation of your blood. Who knew?

Now where did I leave off? Oh yeah, my water issues of course. Well the two floats I replaced are too low, but the horses can get water. I just have to fix them before winter’s freezes begin. For now they work. Neither re-build kit for the field water hydrant was the right manufacturer, so I got both kits hoping one of them would work. One did. All that had to be replaced was the rubber stopper at the end of the rod inside of the hydrant, so I paid 10 bucks for a stopper. I don’t care it’s fixed. Of course I kept forgetting to buy a small hose so I still have to put the new float on the pasture water.  I’ll have to remove them come winter because we still don’t have the electricity fixed to the barn. Running new power lines from the house to the box at the water main is going to be expensive so it will just have to wait a while. That means no heaters in the water. I’m actually hoping the newscasters are right, and it will be a warm dry winter. We need the snowmelt, but breaking ice is no fun.

I finally got new video of Stormy, and Star, and I finally got it uploaded today. It took a couple of days to edit the video, and then of course I had problems with the upload. That took two days to do all by itself. I won’t go into details (too embarrassing), but it’s up, and running. I know kids do it all the time with no problems at all, but I’m a little old white haired lady, that’s my excuse, and I’m not changing my story. Hey old age has to be good for something. I take advantage of my white hair whenever I can. So what if I started turning silver at the age of 24, no one has to know. Next I want to get a video of Little Big Man. My weanling video of him has over 2,000 hits. Impressive since I’m not all that good at making videos. He’s grown so much, but he’s as cute as ever. I’d like to get one of Jazzy, and Star (half siblings) together. Star reminds me so much of Jazzy, I even think she’s going to be a liver chestnut eventually just like Jazzy. Every year Jazzy gets darker. I’ve often thought of breeding her to Burgundy Sun of Phara Farms. He’s a black liver stallion, Crabbett bred, with absolutely exquisite movement, just the right stallion for Jazzy. Maybe one of these years, but not right now.

April has been working Jeri (yes she’s going to keep him), and Star. I want to get Star properly under saddle. Stormy is a little more unsure of this new person we have so she hasn’t worked him in the round pen as of yet. His day will come, and I really think he’s going to be easy once he gets worked on a regular basis. Don’t ask me what a regular basis is, I don’t know. You never know what the day will bring around here (as if you hadn’t guessed that already). Today was chilly, and rainy all day so April didn’t come over at all. Maybe tomorrow I will get to work with the horses. If April can help me with Little Big Man in the arena I may even get a video of him. That would be nice. I really want to show him off, he’s such a sweetheart. If I can get some interest in him before he’s ready to breed, I just might get some outside breedings when he’s old enough. One of these years this farm has to take off. Hopefully LBM will be the horse that will do it for us. You got to keep the faith, and I’m bound, and determined to make a go of this ranch. It’s just taking a bit longer than I hoped, ok a lot longer. At least I’m having fun getting there (most days). They say that it’s the journey that counts, but I’m ready for this journey’s end, and the beginning of a new journey called the ranch that supports itself. Um, that would be nice.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


All I have to say is they don’t leak! I got up bright, and early today (same as usual), let the dogs out, made me a cup of coffee, ate my breakfast, took a shower, and started my daily routine. First I have to feed, then Rudy calls, and we talk a while. It’s a beautiful day, and the hummingbirds are feasting on their breakfast. They have to eat a lot to make up for the cool night. Did you know that hummingbirds slow down their heart rate during the night so they can last until morning without eating? I didn’t until I saw a piece on them on TV. They are truly amazing creatures, and I love watching them.

Back to my day. April comes over, and we chit chat before she starts working. The stalls are first. Needless to say I haven’t had much time for stall cleaning, I don’t know why, after all I haven’t had much to do lately.  I just run around like a chicken with its head cut off most of the time. Anyway, I show her where I am currently dumping the manure. It works great for landfill, and I have a drop off between the road by the arena, and the flat area below. It is full of large boulders, and medium sized rocks. Eventually I will be able to use my mower on the hill all the way down. Getting grasses to grow is the hard part. It may take a while as some parts are all major rocks, but I will get it filled eventually.

I take off for town, get gas, go to the bank, and then proceed to the Mercantile where yet again I am exchanging pipefittings. By the time I get home April is ready to quit for the day. She got the inside stalls, and half of Marina’s paddock area. Marina had a wonderful time in the arena running her little (ok so not so little) butt off. April is quite done in (after four hours of stall cleaning who wouldn’t be), so I told her to quit for the day. Like the manure is going somewhere, it will be there tomorrow, and the next day, etc. We talk a little, and she tells me that her mother decided that she didn’t want Lizzie after all because she is so old. I tell her my idea about Jeri. She’s always wanted a boy, and he can’t do anything with the girls, but still will make a great riding horse. If well taken care of he has at least another seven years or more ahead of him. I also ask her if she knows what Becky charges for teeth floating, she doesn’t but it’s a lot less than Warren. I have to get the boys teeth done. Warren will cost me about $350 - $400, which will take me a while to get since he won’t let us charge anymore. I have to call Becky to see what she will charge, then save up my money. I also have to put away more for feed since winter prices are coming, and the striped hay I am buying isn’t as nutritious as it has been in the past. I need to feed half, and half, and of course the other half is much more expensive. I eat tortillas, and cheese, and they get premium feed. It’s ok because I need to loose some more weight so I don’t need to eat as much.

April likes the idea of taking Jeri, but I can tell she is thinking about it, and what she will have to do to be able to keep him. She’s on disability, and gets very little from the government.  I don’t know how she lives on what she gets. I need to start on the floats, and she takes the truck back home so she can fill the water tank. I told her she can do whatever, and when it’s full bring the truck back, and take her jeep home. That way I won’t have to waste 2 ½ hours waiting for the tank to fill. She takes off, and I start putting parts together. I’m right it doesn’t take long for the first tank though the float is lower than I expected it to be. I go to the next tank, put it together, and wait a while for the glue to dry. Now comes the moment of truth, I turn on the water. The one tank was full so I couldn’t see it fill (it was the one with a drip). The second tank was down a lot, and it filled just fine. It finally stops, and there are no leaks. Problem is it stops too soon. The water level is about four inches below where it should be. I go back to look at the first tank, and it’s leaking like a sieve, great. There is no way to take the float out without breaking the seal on the pipes I have glued together. I go back to the house to get some more tools, and my camera. I’m bound, and determined to get this fixed today. I put the vice grips on, and the glue hasn’t quite hardened completely, good. I pull it apart, and tighten the first coupling (or whatever it’s called), with the vice grips. I sand the pvc, apply the glue again, and wait. It is excruciating, but still I wait. Finally I go up to the water main, and turn the water back on. Yes, no leaks! It only took me three weeks to do it, but it’s done, sort of. I put in new rubber sealing (ok it’s for doors, but it’s close to what is supposed to be there), and then put on the lid. The ball doesn’t even come up to half of where it’s supposed to be.  I put the other lid on, and to me it looks like it is even worse. I think they will still be able to get some water, but I won’t know until tomorrow whether it will fill enough so they can reach it with their noses.

Back to the drawing board again. I tell Rudy I’m going to have to be creative. My float works, but it is too low. If they had done it right in the first place I wouldn’t have to try to come up with a new, and unique design for a float system. I’m quite tired, and disgusted at this point so I go up to the house to get something to eat, take my pill, and lay down for a nap. Things are always better after a nap doncha know. I fall half asleep, and dream that it’s raining. Gee I wonder why I do that, wishful thinking of course. Ok I go back down to the barn, and feed checking the wateriers which are way too low, but it will just have to do for now. By the time I get back April is coming back with the truck. She loves my (Rudy’s) truck. I told her Rudy hates it (it’s not a GMC), but I just love it. It’s an old ’89 Ford 1 ton 4x4. It’s not fancy (understatement of the year), but it’s cool. We chitchat a little, and she tells me if she can ride Jeri she’s going to take him. She has to do some fencing, but she doesn’t care. I told her to work with him first in the round pen with just tack, and then later get on his back. I rode him once in five years, and he hadn’t been ridden since his owner gave him up at the ripe age of 15, now he’s 23. His owner had diabetes, and could no longer ride so she gave him back to his breeder, Sandy, and from Sandy he came to me. He had fits when Rudy rode him because Rudy is a man, and he’s a woman’s horse. Horses are funny sometimes, but only one woman ever rode Jeri, and that’s all he knows. He will be randy since it has been so long, but I don’t think it will take much to get him back to behaving under saddle. He’s a very sweet boy.

I have to think about how I will redesign the piping for the float, and go and get some new parts. I had been afraid that the float would end up being too high, and the opposite happened. Just my luck, I will figure it out. In fact I have a few ideas already. Get ready for a new, and exciting design, or at least a unique one.