Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I know it’s been a while, but…

I know it’s been a while, but I have some very good reasons for my absence. In fact I have so many good reasons it’s hard to know where to begin. Lets start with the monsoon season. Now I have lived in the southwest most of my life, so I think I know how the monsoon season is supposed to work in a normal year (meaning no La Nina, and no El Nino). The mornings are beautiful, then is starts getting hot, and muggy. Thunderclouds form where there was only blue sky. There’s wind, lightning, and thunder, and by about 2:00 in the afternoon the temperatures plummet as huge raindrops, and maybe even hail pound the ground for ten minutes or maybe even half an hour. The air is sweet, and clean as the clouds, wind, and rain seem to magically disappear. The deluge is over for now, and the thirsty ground has absorbed the rainwater like a sponge. There is a beautiful sunset, and a star filled sky for a canopy at night. That’s the way it is supposed to work. You’re not supposed to have day after day of rain morning, noon, and night. Towns are not supposed to be underwater, that’s supposed to happen in the Midwest, not the Southwest. Yes we need the rain, but not all at once. You get a little rain, and then you get a little dry spell so the ground can absorb the moisture it so desperately needs. Like I said someone didn’t read the rulebook. The sad thing is with all that rain it still doesn’t make up for the three years of drought. Now we need a good snow season.


Of course in spite of the fact that it may be raining that doesn’t mean you stop doing the things that have to be done. Things like feeding, and clearing out stalls that now have pools of water in them. When you do these things of course you get wet (soaked is more like it) because when you started of course it was dry as a bone. Normally this is no big deal, but when two weeks before you were sick it can become a problem. Yes the chills, and fever return, only now you have a chest that hurts so bad you can hardly breathe. This makes doing anything extremely difficult. Two weeks go by, and you can breathe, but please don’t make me laugh. This starts a coughing fit that won’t quit.


While you’re still recuperating you have a very hectic week of taking your father to various doctors. This in turn elicits various tests one of which is at the hospital 70 miles away for four days. Your body of course vehemently objects as it refuses to allow you to drive such a distance for even one day. You also discover that you no longer have water. The well has suddenly gone dry again (thank you neighbor for that). Since you were caught unawares, and it had to be on a Friday (when the Village is closed, and you can’t buy water till Monday) you get very upset. Thankfully you have some water on your account. It’s not enough, but it lasts a little while, and you have two tanks of rainwater for the horses, at least they will have enough water to last till Monday. Then begins the daily routine of water runs. My tank is old, and brittle with numerous cracks I have fixed with bondo. It only lasts a little while then I have to remove the bondo, and re-do it. The cracks get larger of course, but it’s all I can do. George (April’s father) is looking for another tank for me, meanwhile I try to make at least two runs a day to keep pace with the demand of thirteen horses. Now if I could only get enough to do laundry that would be really nice!


You also have at least two horses that have to be moved since their feet are now mush from all the mud that wouldn’t dry out (we’ve covered that already, the monsoon season that didn’t behave properly). Ok if we move Marina, and Lizzy to the arena their feet will dry out. They have the two wettest stalls. Everyone else gets their feet cleaned, and that’s it. Boy are Marina, and Lizzy in seventh heaven. There is a lot of grass amongst those weeds. Lizzy’s feet are the worst. Not only are they soft, but also way too long, even her soles are overgrown. Things are starting to dry out, and now her feet are cracking etc. The arena is helping, but not enough. April shows up, and manages to get the worst of the overgrowth off Lizzy’s feet, and evens out Marina’s. I move Marina, and Lizzy to
the pasture, and Jazzy, and Penny to the arena. Finally Marina, and Lizzie’s feet start to wear down properly. Once Lizzy gets regular workouts she will do much better. In another week she’ll be ready to ride again. No one’s ridden her since she came here. Joe has a headstall that I think will fit her. What do you want she’s a TB, and all our other horses are Arabians? Her weight is good too. It’s amazing what Pergolid does, she was thin as a rail, and now she’s fit as a fiddle, well ok, maybe a cello.


There are three stalls that have to be cleaned asap. I usually get around to it at least twice a year, but things have been a bit difficult these past few years. It’s dry enough now to do some mowing, but when I said the mower didn’t feel right I was correct. The pulley went flying off before I had a chance to do much. I now need to get two spacers, a new pulley, and a new nut. At least I thought that was all I needed. It turns out the spindle that I got was the wrong spindle which is why the pulley was ruined. I finally have all the right parts, and April helps me torque down the nuts, and away I go. Finally after three months my mower is fixed. Of course one of the blades is only half there, and the other blade needs sharpening. The weeds are so dry now it doesn’t really matter so new blades will wait till next year. I start working on one stall in-between water runs (lets not forget that the well is now bone dry), when I notice that Star has some swelling on her belly. The next morning it’s bigger, and the fur is ruffled. I look more closely, and sure enough it’s pigeon fever. She has another pocket that is forming on the right side of her chest. Now I have to get at least one stall cleaned. I choose the one next to Espree since she had pigeon fever when we had an outbreak in CA. I get not quite a quarter of it done, but I move Star anyway. The next day April, and I work on the stall, and get almost half of it done. This is not going well. The pustule on Star’s tummy slowly seeped out (we got her out of the pasture just in time), and healed quickly. Meanwhile her chest pocket now encompasses her chest, and has traveled to her tummy just beyond her front legs. After a couple of days the chest hardens, and bursts. It takes a few days to drain, and she’s good as new.


Sunday Joe showed up, and helped us get the worst of Star’s stall done. The next day (while I was running around) April got up to the stall front, and all that’s left is the inside of the stall which might as well have a cement floor it’s packed so hard. We leave it for the time being, and the next two weeks Joe works on Lizzy’s stall. I get both floats on the pasture, and arena tanks replaced. I get all of Father’s doctor’s appointments changed so he can go to Tuba City, and then to his sisters for their annual Christmas party. Don’t ask it’s a long story. We buy him a Jeep since he can’t drive the Fiesta up our road in the snow. He can’t drive it anywhere in the snow, at least not around here. I still have to take him to Roswell shopping, and to various doctor’s to make sure he is ok to travel. There’s also a sleep study on the 23rd I have to take him to. I have no clue what we’re going to do about his heart monitor. I’ll have to talk to the doctor’s about that.


So to sum up, the monsoons made a mess of everything including me (I was sick for three weeks). Marina, and Lizzy are in the arena, and loving it. Star is over her pigeon fever, and no one else came down with it. The mower is finally fixed, and all I have to do now is find the time to get the rest of the property around the barns etc. mowed down. I got the floats on the two big water tanks replaced. I have father’s doctor’s appointments set up so he can travel. Father now has a proper vehicle to tool around in here. My Jeep is finally on its last leg so it’s good that father bought a Jeep. Two stalls are almost cleaned (Star’s needs to be cleaned again but it’s only new stuff). I have to catch up on the other stalls, but hey they’ll be a piece of cake compared to the back stalls. I also have to continue to work on the stalls that Joe started. He can’t have all the fun you know. I have to make at least two water runs a day, three if I want to get my storage tank anywhere near full for I don’t know how long. I finally decided to fatten Sadie up, and put her in the pasture with Lizzy, and Marina. I’ll have to make a feeder stand for her, but it will be perfect since all three of them get supplements. Jazzy, and Penny will go back in the barn stalls. I’ll have to work Jazzy on a regular basis so her feet don’t get too long. I got the water heater blanket, but have yet to put it together. I brought in my plants for the winter, but my woodpile is still pitifully small. All in all things have been seriously hectic, and show no sign of letting up. Isn’t life wonderful?