Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

We had water for one day….

Christmas day started out not too bad just a little breezy. A low was dropping down so as the day progressed so did the wind. As expected I came in around noon, and spent the rest of the day indoors cooking. Ok that’s not so bad. We had a nice Christmas dinner, and I even managed to cook a, shall we call it a fruit pie. I had a can of apple pie filling only it wasn’t quite enough fruit so I went to the freezer, and added whatever frozen fruit I could find. Hey, Rudy had two pieces so it must have been good even if a little different. By evening Albuquerque was getting snow, and even though it was a little late we had a white Christmas, ok a lot late. We woke up to more snow than we had all of last year, like 6 – 8” of the white stuff, and completely frozen pipes. I keep gallons of water in the utility room just for such occasions, and a good thing too. I have learned a few things through the years like if the temps go below 20 we have no water, and it will take at least three days of warm temps before we have water. The nights have been down into the teens, and the days in the 30’s or 40’s. Sunday we got water long enough to get showers, and three loads of laundry done. I was getting really scarce on the bare necessities if you know what I mean. I have at least two weeks of clothing for just that reason. The water cut out on the last load, my jeans of course.
Now we really need the snow, but man is it a pain in the you know whatsie. Cleaning the stalls is not in the cards, breaking ice every morning, and hauling water is. Doctoring Sierra has become a real pain too. He is tired of being doctored, and with every day it is getting harder, and harder. He is doing everything in his power to avoid my touching his booboo. The fact that we don’t have water doesn’t help either. I have to heat the water in the microwave, which means it’s not quite as warm as it should be. Too bad so sad, I manage to get the job done in spite of Sierra’s insistence to the otherwise. What happened to my sweet boy? I’m also trying to desensitize him to being touched wherever I want instead of wherever he wants. Now when he was a baby I did all the baby things including picking up his feet, and touching him all over his body. Now he’s all grown up (or so he thinks), and he gets to decide where he gets touched. I don’t think so. I can pick up his front feet, and even clean them, but get near his back end, and it’s a different story. I think he’s going to be in that stall a very long time. That boy has a definite stubborn streak in him. I will win of course, but I have an idea it’s going to be a long time coming.
The cold is wearing me out as well. I need to clean the inside stalls, but even feeding is exhausting. I have managed to get chicken wire on part of the pasture fencing. I have about half of what I need done. It’s the only way I can seem to keep most of the hay I’m feeding to the pasture horses actually in the pasture once the winds start. When the winds howl (and I mean howl), the hay flies out through the fencing faster than the horses can eat it. With the chicken wire most of it stays in. Grass is the worst, alfalfa not so much because it is heavier. I now have some oat hay (thanks to a friend) as well, which the pasture horses seem to like better than grass. I may switch to oat for them instead of grass. It’s only $10 a bale which comes to about $5 less than what I’m paying for grass without the extra I’m paying for gas to go all the way over to the Downs. I had stopped buying the oat hay because they would eat the heads, and leave the rest. Now all of a sudden the pasture horses like the oat better than grass. Go figure, you never know why horses do what they do. The horses in the barn stalls still don’t like the oat, but that’s ok, at least I’m saving some money on the pasture horses.
My stalls are a total mess again. Now that the snow has all melted (for the moment) I have nothing but muck. That will change real soon since we are supposed to get snow again. We got water late this afternoon long enough for Rudy to get a shower, and wash dishes. It’s supposed to get down to 17 tonight, and only up to 28 tomorrow. Whoopie-ding-dang. I turned off the water at the pump house (can’t afford to loose my transfer pump again), and it will probably be another week or so of no water. I have to try to get the inside stalls cleaned too. Everything will freeze again, so I can forget trying to clean the paddock areas. I’m so glad I was able to keep the stalls up as much as I did or it would be an even bigger mess.
I love winter with lots of snow, and crisp cold air. I love snow clouds creating phenomenal sunsets, and beautiful ever-changing skies. I love the smell of wood burning in the cold mornings, and late afternoons, but it is a mess when you have horses. You can’t clean the stalls properly. There are puddles of frozen urine, and piles of frozen poop. The horses are a mess too especially once things start to melt. Sadie is an ugly patchwork of white, and muck. Why is it they never show that part of life in the movies. Everything is always so pretty, and clean. Hollywood, it’s fantasy all right. Heaven forbid if they show life as it really is, fun, and sad, hard, and sweet, messy, and beautiful all at once. Movies are fun, but life is so much more. Give me life every time with all it’s ups, and downs, good times, and not so good times. I love it all.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Life is so tough or so Sierra thinks...

Sierra is settling down to his new circumstances, but that doesn’t mean he’s happy about it. Every morning he lets me know it too. Star’s not very happy about it either. I haven’t let the girls out since Sierra hurt himself. Normally after I feed everyone, I clean up the barn a bit before I let the girls out. With Sierra up front, and his leg the way it is I don’t need him to try to get at the girls, and do more damage to himself. It’s bad enough that Marina goes to the corner to let him know that she is not pleased that a boy is that close to her. If he were gelded she might not be quite so upset about it, but a stallion! Even Ibn knows better than to get close to her unless she’s in season. Quite frankly he’s scared to death of her. Sierra on the other hand is young, and foolish the way all young studs are. After feeding one day I was in the barn cleaning, and Star was carrying on to the point I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong. I went around to her stall to see what was wrong. There was nothing wrong except for the fact that she was still in her stall, and not running loose. She was quite upset with me, and was letting me know that she wanted out. Oh well such is life you can’t always have things the way you want them. Now if only they could figure that out.
Sierra is doing quite well. He’s very good about letting me clean his leg, and change his dressing. As a reward I give him a good brushing, and extra lovings. I don’t know how long I will keep him up front though. It’s a lot easier changing his dressings where he’s at. On the other hand I don’t want to let the girls out with him up front. It’s going to be quite a while before I can stop doctoring him so maybe I’ll put him back in his own stall sooner rather than later. The girls will be much happier.
The first day of winter has come, and gone. Thankfully now the days will start getting longer even if the weather is getting colder. Up till this past week we enjoyed wonderful weather, then we had two straight days of ferocious wind, and now bitter cold. I can’t really complain when people in the north, and east are facing blizzards. Ok so I’m spoiled, I can’t help it if I’ve lived in the southwest all my life. I am getting better I can deal with temps below 70 now. I lived in northwest MO for a year, but I was foolish, and young then. Now I’m old, and decrypted, and feeling a little sorry for myself, praying for a Christmas miracle, when I should simply be thankful for all we do have. Hey I can still cut wood, and split it. I can spend hours cleaning stalls, unload hay, and feed. I can still ride (or at least I think I can), maybe not all day like I used to, but I can ride for a few hours at least. I have fresh eggs I can eat every day instead of store bought ones, and I have the most amazing sunsets, and mountain views one could ever ask for. Life is hard right now but I have to believe that somehow, someway things will get better, and we will survive.
Tomorrow (or today) is Christmas. It will be cold, and I will try to get some work done, (have to get some more wood cut to ward off all that wonderful winter weather), but mostly I will spend my time indoors. Rudy wants cookies, and we have a Christmas dinner to prepare meager though it may be. It will be a lovely day, as all Christmas days should be. Maybe there will even be some carrots for the kids, and God willing hot water for showers (no water this morning frozen pipes you know). Yes tomorrow will be a wondrous day, and we will survive, and things will get better. I don’t know how or when but things will get better.
Merry, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Who says there’s nothing to write about…

Just when you think life might be getting a little boring life says no way Jose. I should have known that things were going to get dicey when George said he couldn’t come over for the water pump. Our pump is doing double duty these days. While I was feeding April called to see if George was here, and of course he wasn’t, he had already left to go get water. I told him the other day that he was leaking transmission fluid big time. He said his seal was bad, and all he had to do was to put in some stop leak. I had my reservations as to how that would help when the leak was so bad, but hey what do I know.  Well evidently it didn’t work, and that was why he was late getting back to the house. He had to take April back to her apt, which is why she was freaking. At any rate, the long, and the short of it was his transmission was toast so I told him to use out truck. They were totally out of water, and he had to get April back to town. I’m not sure how we’re going to work this out, but we’ll figure it out later.
That was the beginning of my day. The day continued for a while as planned. I got the front stalls cleaned, let the girls out to munch on our local grasses (I’m so mean they much prefer alfalfa poor things), and started on the back stalls. I’m afraid I will have difficulty cleaning the back stalls from now till spring when things warm up again. I’ve already got horse popsicles instead of horse apples. The barn faces north/south, and in the winter it’s almost impossible to keep the back stalls clean. That’s why they are always in the worst shape. I didn’t get all four of them completely clean, but two, and a half ain’t bad. Anyway I had to hurry so I only got the first stall done.
Before Father left for CA I had to get the rest of our feed for two weeks from the Mercantile. I also wanted to take Sherry some eggs. When hens first start laying, they really get into it. I gave Sherry five dozen, and I still had a dozen plus in the refrigerator. I’m getting 4 – 6 eggs a day. They add up fast, and I always share with Sherry. The timing was perfect since her Father is coming for his Christmas visit. Off I go to Sherry’s. As luck would have it she had only been home for about five minutes, and her neighbor was coming over in about 15 minutes to take her somewhere (don’t ask me where, I claim the “O” thing). I got to see her new rescue pup, and heard her story. You see there was this little 2-year-old Beagle with a problem (Sherry’s a worse sucker than Rudy or I). The poor little thing had seizures so bad that either she had surgery, and Sherry adopted her, or they had to put her down. Well we all know the end to that story, of course Sherry would take her. She had the surgery, and came out blind, and paralyzed. Sherry thought oh my God, what have I done to this poor creature. She’s telling me this as the puppy was racing around the back yard even jumping over one of her other Beagles. Obviously she came out of it just fine, it just took a while for her to heal.
So I leave Sherry to her neighbors, and off I go to the Mercantile. I look at the clock, and I’m right on time. I get what I need from the Mercantile, and head for home. I unload the feed, and get to the house, to find Father frothing at the bit (or he would be if he were a horse). He put all his stuff in the car (couldn’t wait for Rudy to help), while I updated his medical history, and filled his pillboxes. I didn’t get his hair cut so he’ll just have to get it cut in CA. It’s 2:30, and off he, and Rudy go (Rudy’s driving of course).
It’s been a rush of a morning so I take my pills, and sit in front of the TV to relax, big mistake. At 4:00 I go down to put the girls away, and feed everyone. One of the worst parts of winter is the days are so short. Marina, and Sadie are waiting at the barn door as usual, and for a change Lizzie is waiting by her stall. Star I have to go get. She’s by the stallions on the south side. Her stall naturally is on the north side, so round I go to get her, and put her in her stall. Hopefully one of these days she’ll figure it out. I get everyone their hay, but when I get to Sierra (aka LBM), I see a lot of blood caked on his foot. The only thing I can figure is he got his leg caught between the paddock gate, and the post. I can’t see how bad it is, but I know it isn’t good.  I go into high gear to get everyone fed, get a halter on him, and move him from his stall in back to the front stall where he is more isolated, and confined. Then I run up to the house in the gator. When I floor it the gator goes quite fast, in fact it was a little too fast when l turned to go into the garage. I picked up needles, and syringes back at the barn. At the least I need to get him a shot of Banamine.  I get hot water, a clean bucket, gauze, and whatever else I think I might need, and race back to the barn. He’s a little anxious after all he has been in that stall since he was weaned. Now not only is he in a strange place, but he can’t see his buds. He could see Marina if she didn’t have her nose buried in her hay. He keeps looking for her feeling very insecure in this strange place.
I get him tied, and give him about 6 – 7 ml of Banamine. He’s such a good boy he behaves magnificently. I put some Betadine solution in the bucket of water (which is now just the right temperature), and proceed to wash his leg. He has more of a chunk taken out of the outside of his leg, while the inside has a deep cut down the cannon bone to his ankle. There are actually two cuts, one worse than the other. Since the only light I have is from the gator headlights, I can’t really tell if he has cut into a tendon, but I can see that it goes down to the bone. There’s really not a lot of meat on that part of the leg so it doesn’t take much to go down to bone.
What I really want to know is why these things happen when no one is around to help out. Rudy was in Roswell, April in Ruidoso, and even Becky was out of town. Once I see how bad it is, I stop to call first Becky (who didn’t answer) then Sherry. I leave messages on both of Becky’s numbers explaining what I can see in my limited light then call Sherry to see what I need to do until I hear back from Becky. The only thing she told me to do that I hadn’t done was to wrap the leg to protect it from debris. That’s when I got another call. Thinking it was Becky I let Sherry go, and answer to discover it is actually Rudy wanting me to call Robert (my brother), and let him know that Father is going to be late. The plane (which was supposed to have left already) hadn’t arrived yet. I tell him about Sierra, and promise to call Robert in-between.
There’s nothing more to do till I hear from Becky so I go back up to the house, I have to, my phone is down to 15% on the battery. I plug in my phone to charge while I talk to Sherry. We talk some more about Sierra, and other things. Eventually Tom (Becky’s husband) calls me. He says Becky is in Carona with her mother who is in ill health, and he wasn’t sure when she’d be back. I in turn tell him everything I’ve done, ask him about antibiotics telling him I have Penicillin. He tells me to give him 30 cc’s. I remind him that we have Arabians, and Sierra is only about 750 – 800 lbs, so he revises it to 20 cc’s which personally I think is still too high. He says I’ve done everything I can do, and asks if I would take some pics in the morning (when there’s good light), and send them to Becky’s cell. He also tells me that sutures on the cannon bone never work. There’s just not enough meat to secure them, and they just end up tearing through the skin. Ok I can see his point, so I thank him, and promise to send pics in the morning when I change his dressing.
Next morning Sierra lets me know he is not at all pleased with this new set up. He’s prancing around like a little idiot showing no signs of lameness. The only good thing (in his mind) is he now gets to be fed first instead of last. That calms him down a bit, but not much. I get everyone fed then go to change his dressing. He’s being a real brat, and won’t stand still. I’m just starting to loosen the bandage with warm water when Rudy comes down to help, and look at the damage. There’s no swelling, which is a good thing, and not too much dried blood. Rudy holds him while I get the bandage off. Now I can see how bad it really is. I can also see that sutures are totally out of the question, in fact it looks a lot like Jeri’s booboo when he tore up his ankle after we got back home after the fire. That means at least 2 – 3 months of doctoring before it is completely healed. I take pics, and proceed to pack the wounds with triple antibiotic. I have non-stick gauze, and this really cool stretch gauze wrap from Father’s many booboo’s which works much better than vet wrap. I try giving him a shot of penicillin, but he is not cooperative, and neither are my hands. I get about 10 cc’s in before my hands give out. At least it’s better than nothing.
I send the pics to both Becky, and Sherry. They both say the same thing, there’s no way anything can be stitched up (which I already figured out). I also tell Becky I have some powder antibiotic left over from when I had to give Espree some antibiotics. She says that will work just fine. She has some tabs, but wont have any powder till Wed. I can crush the tabs so I’ll pick some up on Monday. Meanwhile I’ll use what I have, and the Banamine for pain, and swelling. I send Rudy into town to pick up more gauze pads, wrap, and triple antibiotic. I’m going to need a lot of it before all this is done with. I’ll keep Sierra in the front stall for a couple of days then put him back in his old stall. As bad as it is in the long run this will be very good for Sierra. He needs to be taught to behave himself in strange settings, and being doctored will teach him a little patience. He’s a good boy, but he has not been exposed to a lot of different situations. While it’s never a good thing doctoring a young horse always pays off in the long run.
Like I said just when you think things are getting boring something happens to disrupt your blissful peace. To quote a very dear friend "Ain’t life wonderful"?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wind, wind, go away…

The last few days were miserable with wind. The day before yesterday in fact (while the wind was howling) I spent most of the day with either a hot or cold compress on my eye. I guess I start wearing my safety sunglasses more. My eyes are still a little raw, but not bad. Yesterday I was a good girl, and wore my glasses all the time I was working outside, well at least until I started cutting wood.  Rudy, and I got Sere moved back to the pasture, and Star into Espree’s old stall. He was a little skeptical with three horses running around, but I told him it wouldn’t be a problem, and it wasn’t. Once in her stall Star carried on like a little idiot (she misses her buds) until feeding time. Tomorrow we’ll see how she does with the rest of the girls. I’m sure there will be lots of screaming, as the boys will be clamoring to see the new girl. It’s bad enough that Lizzie is in (again), and I’m sure that Star will come in shortly after she gets to visit the boys whenever she wants.
I know some people will probably have apoplexy over my just letting the girls run loose when I have three stallions in stalls. Rudy was even skeptical, but it is working out well. It takes about a week for the newness to wear off, but once it does the girls are fine. The one issue I have is that Lizzie seems to be constantly coming in season, and since Jeri thinks he’s still a 3 year old he’s lost a little weight running back, and forth all the time. One advantage I can see is that if I can train while horses are out, and about doing their thing, whoever I’m training will learn that above all else they need to pay attention to the person on their back. We’ll see how it works out, especially when I start working more with LBM. One thing he needs to learn about is behaving himself when there are mares around. Ibn used to be real good about it. We could take him to a show, and never worry about other horses either stallions or mares. He knew there was a time, and a place for nookie, and the rest of the time (especially when someone was on his back) there were rules to obey. Nowadays I’m not so sure. The last time I took him down Laughing Horse he bellowed at every horse along the way. I have yet to work with LBM on just about anything, including stallion manners beyond going back, and forth to the round pen. That’s one of the disadvantages of not having Rudy around all the time. He is the trainer after all, and I just don’t have the time to do all the things I need to do.
Meanwhile I didn’t get anything done at all today, not even wood. While I was feeding I hurt so bad I couldn’t even clean stalls. It wasn’t that windy, just cold. I came in took a nerve pill, and a muscle relaxer, and that was all she wrote. There are days when my body simply refuses to do what I tell it to do, and today was one of those. I did manage to let Star out with the rest of the girls before I bailed. I opened the stall gate, and out she trotted happy as a clam. She went to see her buds, and barely paid any attention at all to the boys. Of course she’s not in season so that helps big time. I assume things were quiet, but since I slept all day I really have no clue other than when I went to put everyone back in their respective stalls things were quiet. Even though she wasn’t Johnny on the spot ready to go back to her stall (this was her first day after all), she came right to me when I called. She’s such a good girl. I give it about a week, and then just like the others when she hears the gator she will start moseying back to her stall. Lets face it local grasses are great, but alfalfa is better.
Yes I’m back to feeding alfalfa at night, and grass in the morning. There’s no more Alfalfa mix for a while. Why is it that it’s mostly mares that are picky about their feed? The boys seem to inhale it no matter what it is, in fact sometimes it seems as though Ibn prefers grass. I’ve thrown him a flake each (when I can get small grass flakes), and he will go after the grass first then the alfalfa. Other times he wants the candy first, but whatever I give him (save for oat hay) he eats it all. At any rate this morning for the most part the girls turned their noses up at the grass until they realized that that’s all they were getting. Of course tonight as soon as I threw them their alfalfa they barely came up for air, not even for their goodies (those that got goodies that is), and trust me Marina always screams for her goodies.
So that’s it for today, no real excitement, which is a good thing. Hopefully tomorrow will be better, and I can actually get some work done. It better be since I will have twice the poop to deal with (after all what goes in must come out, and a lot goes in). I also have to cut wood tomorrow or we won’t have anything to keep us warm. Luckily it’s not supposed to rain or snow tomorrow, at least I hope not. You know those weather people there’s always one reason or another for the weather not turning out to be quite what they said it would be.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Back at the ranch…

I finished my last post oh say a week ago, and of course my computer went on the blink. Rudy, and I have spent the last week trying to get it up and running again. You know viruses, and the like taking their toll. Well it probably still has issues, but it’s working, (ok where’s some wood to knock on), I hope. Having Rudy home has been wonderful not only because I happen to love having my husband around, but because it really helps having some help. Does that sound weird? My house is still a total wreck, but the ranch is definitely looking better.
We now have a total of 16 horses on the property.  Besides our 11 we have Penny who is definitely pregnant (I hope), Patty’s three who are now fat & sassy, and Ghost a TB racehorse. Ghost belongs to Jerry a friend of April’s, who is also disabled. Once on top of the world Jerry was crushed between a horse, and a stall wall. Jerry had another horse at the racetrack, but he was stolen. Ghost a 5-year-old gelding was raced when he was out of shape, and tore the lining of his stomach. Don’t ask me, I’m just repeating what I was told. Needless to say Jerry got him for a song, but was left with no place to keep him when he thought someone at the track was trying to poison him. I have no connection to the racing world no do I particularly want one. I won’t even go into what racing is like here, or at least what little I know of what it’s like. At any rate Jerry asked if he could bring Ghost here, and of course I said yes. He told me about his problems (every horse has his own idiosyncrasies), and warned me about his being a bad boy. A horse is a horse, I don’t care what breed they are. If you feed them right, and treat them right they are wonderful trusting creatures , unlike a lot of two legged creatures I know.

April, and George brought Ghost over about 10:30 at night. Evidently you can’t just take a horse from the stables at the racetrack, and load them in your trailer to go wherever. Seems it takes an act of Congress to remove your horse from the premises. When they got here poor Ghost was so hyped just getting him out of the trailer was a feat in itself. I had them put him in the round pen. He would be close to the other horses, but by himself allowing him to settle before putting him in a stall next to other horses. It took a week for him to stop pacing. I had to get all the hot feed out of him first. Once he settled down I had to find a place for him. I moved Stormy out to the pasture, put Ser-Haat between the two stallions, and put Ghost in Ser-Haat’s stall. He really needs a long run like the stallions have, but Ser-Haat is doing so well between the two boys I hate to take him out, and put him back where he was.
After a few weeks Jerry came out with his ex to show her Ghost, and was shocked at the change in him. He’s really a very sweet boy, so sweet I would love to take him out, and start riding him, but I can’t really do that. First off he still has two more years of racing he can do, and I can’t re-train him until he’s finished racing. The main reason though is I don’t have a bridle, and bit that will fit him. I’m not sure I even have a girth long enough for him, he’s 16 hands after all. Then there’s the matter of getting on him. I don’t have a step, and there’s no way I can stretch my legs up that high, 30 years ago maybe, but now I have to stretch just to get on Ibn, and he’s only 15 hands.
I had a little difficulty keeping weight on him at first. Then when I was in Albuquerque with Rudy he really lost weight. It took me a while to get him eating again, and lots of supplements. You have to understand there were a lot of changes for him not the least of which was a new diet. He’s happy, and healthy now though he does get a bit bored. I started taking him out to the round pen then Rudy went in the hospital, etc., etc. Once I get caught up again (I sound like a broken record), I’ll start working horses. The weather has been wonderful (save for today), and if it continues I hope to start riding again. I have my mowing mostly caught up (thanks to Rudy fixing the mower), and all but two stalls cleaned out. I was working on Espree’s stall when Sere sprained her ankle. Poor thing was walking like a ballerina on her right back foot. A little bit of Bute (which I just found out they aren’t going to make anymore), some liniment, and she was right as rain the next morning. I have kept her in the end stall giving her ankle some extra time to heal. Hopefully Rudy can help me put her back in pasture, and take Star out tomorrow. I have been letting Sadie, Lizzie, and Marina loose around the barn area, and I want to add Star to that list. It was real fun at first with the stallions going crazy, Marina trying to keep the mares away from the stallions, and Lizzie, and Sadie teasing the heck out of the stallions. Now they’ve finally settled down, and there’s only occasional screaming. The main purpose of this exercise is to save some money on feed. As a bonus, the girls get some exercise (ok not a lot, but it’s better than none after all), the boys get lots of exercise, and there’s a whole lot less to clean up in the stalls. I want to bring Star out so once I get all caught up on the stalls I can start training her. When I first let her out I know it’s going to be crazy again until everyone gets used to it, but she will settle down just like the others did.
As I mentioned earlier, Rudy has been getting water for me (and fixing the truck, and a number of other things), allowing me to spend a couple of extra hours a day working on the stalls. I want to get it to the point where all I have is a daily amount to pick up, leaving me time to train, and do other things without getting behind on the stalls. I’m bound, and determined to get horses trained so I can possibly sell them. That is why we bred them after all. I also need to start cutting more wood. December is supposed to be warmer than normal, but it’s still cool enough so I need to keep the fire going at night (today of course being the exception). The wind has been howling all day, and we got a smattering of snow last night dropping the temps, and forcing us to keep the home fires burning. I don’t mind the cold, but this wind is for the birds. Rudy just got all the missing shingles repaired on the roof, and I’m sure there will be more missing shingles after this storm. I do so love having Rudy home all the time. If I can just get these last two stalls finished…
Last but not least I have to give an update on my lovely chickens, they are after all members of our household. I was beginning to wonder if they would ever start laying, then it turned cold. Now Rudy set up a red heat lamp in the hen house so the girls wouldn’t get too cold during the winter. While I’m sure they would survive just fine without it, with it the hens lay eggs year round. I had the heat lamp on for about a week and finally they started laying. Their eggs are varying shades of green, and blue, with some having more of a tanish hue. I love having fresh eggs again. I still have to finish their run (more so since I took Patty, and George’s last hen). When I took care of their animals the time before last I almost took their last three hens, then this last time two hens were dead so I took the last one home. She’s past her laying years, but I couldn’t leave her to die also. I should have taken the three but they are much bigger than my hens, and I don’t have enough room for my girls as it is. Oh well such is life, Big Mama will at least be able to enjoy her senior years.
I’m sure I’ve left out all kinds of things that have happened, but at least I’ve sort of caught up on ranch business. I don’t have the time or the energy to do all the things I want to do (or need to do), but I am making progress. I’m getting manure down around the barn area for the coming spring. The eight barn stalls are looking good, after which I will have to start on the stallion stalls. I got teeth floated, Ser-Haat is looking great getting all kinds of exercise being in-between the two stallions. I’m getting Espree used to being handled by cleaning her stall on a daily basis. Everyone is looking good for that matter. Being on a grass/alfalfa mix this summer fattened everyone up for the winter. Letting Sadie, and Lizzie out has helped with their feet (though they’re still long) along with getting them some much needed exercise. I still have a ton of things to do, but I don’t sweat it. I do what I can, when I can, and leave the rest for tomorrow, of which there is an endless supply. One of these days things will get better, until then I work hard, and enjoy every minute I have with all that God has given me, and refuse to sweat the rest. That’s God’s problem not mine.

Friday, December 12, 2014

August is not a lucky month…

I started to write this, I can’t remember when, but obviously it was a while ago. I try not to bother with personal trials and tribulations, but that does not give one a true accounting of what it’s like trying to maintain a small horse ranch in a lousy economy, nor does it explain my long absence. At any rate August was the beginning of a very difficult time. The horses are all just fine (thank you Lord for that at least). The difficulties all started with my father who lives with me. His dementia seemed to be gaining ground at a rapid rate. He turned 90 in July, and as everyone who sees him remarks, a very strong 90, still I became increasingly concerned about him. Well the day came when he landed in a ditch on his way home from town. Now you have to understand that we live on top of a ridge on a very bad dirt road. The rains, which we were very happy to receive, have dug a rather deep trench on the side of one of the steeper hills. A neighbor found him, called me, and I raced down the hill. He was fine, but couldn’t get out of the car. My neighbor went, and got another neighbor who called the sheriff, who got an ambulance up our road. Father had some abrasions, and was lying in the back of his jeep. We got him to the hospital who declared him fit for duty. That evening however I noticed weakness on his right side, and his vision seemed to be distorted probably causing the accident in the first place. I called his doctor the next morning, and told them I believed he might have suffered a mild stroke causing him to run off the road.
Off we went to the doctors’ office, and then back to the hospital for a CT scan. When the nurse asked to see me I knew something was up, and not in a good way. They showed me the CT scan, which was quite alarming. He had an enormous subdural hematoma covering about half his brain. The pressure against his brain was causing all the symptoms of dementia that had become so pronounced, and the weakness on his right side. He sustained a serious fall in January, ending up with a baseball size hematoma above his left eye. At the time a CT scan showed no subdural bleeding. He is a heart patient, and in addition to BP meds, he took blood thinners. His cardiologist changed his meds stating the obvious, that the chance of his dying of a stroke was less than his dying from a fall. He kept him on aspirin which in turn allowed the then unknown bleeder to slowly build up in his brain.
By the time they get everything arranged for him to be medi-vaced for surgery in Albuquerque (he is 90 after all, and finding a surgeon willing to do the surgery was a feat in itself), it was late in the afternoon. I have 16 horses, and various other animals to feed so going with him was out of the question. I got April to stay at the ranch, and I drove to Albuquerque the next morning. Of course when I got there (it’s a 3 hour drive) he’s out of surgery, sitting up, and looking quite pleased with himself. The change was amazing. Overnight I had my father back. He had gotten to the point of barely talking at all, now he was a veritable chatterbox. There were a thousand little things that were signs of a bleeder I had no clue about.
I stayed with him in the hospital for a week, and lucky that I did. They were going to release him to a re-hab hospital when he suddenly started talking gibberish. His salt levels bottomed out, and they had to pump him full of salt before releasing him. Finally he went to re-hab, and I went home. I was exhausted, and of course I also caught a bug. If you want to get sick the best place to catch a bug is visiting someone in the hospital. I sent April home, and spent the next two weeks catching up on all the things I didn’t do while in Albuquerque.
Now it’s about this time that I tend to forget exactly what happened when. I get father home two weeks later, and there are doctors’ appointments, and physical therapy twice a week. In betwixt, and between I try taking care of the ranch.  Rudy’s truck is breaking down every other week, leaving very little in the way of money to feed everyone. Starting in August he tries getting his health card renewed (told you I couldn’t remember what happened when). He himself is a heart patient (thanks to his father who passed on some not so wonderful genes). Now wonderful DOT has changed the rules, (without notifying anyone of course), and it’s a month later when he finally submits to a stress test (you don’t want to know all he had to go through to get to that point). I send him to Father’s cardiologist, who said he had to have a cath done. He has seven stints at this point in his life, so what’s a few more. We of course don’t have insurance so managing to keep our ranch on a wing, and a prayer, is going to take a lot more prayers. Little did we know how many prayers that was going to turn out to be.
Two weeks after I get my father back from the hospital I’m taking my husband up to the hospital in Roswell. Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out so good. Adajar did the cath, and then told me he needed to medi-vac Rudy to Albuquerque for by-pass surgery. Isn’t life wonderful? An $18k bill has now escalated to $31K, plus $74K for the helicopter ride to Albuquerque, and he hasn’t even had surgery yet. Adajar showed me 4 or 5 blockages some of which were actually in stints. Once again I have to go home to feed, and drive back to Albuquerque in the morning. At least this time it’s at Presbyterian. I know where that hospital is since I’ve been there so many times both with Rudy, and my father. Once again April stays with the horses, and by the time I get to Albuquerque Rudy’s out of surgery. Unlike my father he is quite out of it. They did a double by-pass, and repaired a hole in his heart. The cool thing was that he was held together with crazy glue. Yeah no stitches! Once again I stay overnight at the hospital. I’m getting real good at this staying at hospitals when there’s nothing wrong with me. This time however I do go home for a bit planning to go back on Saturday. I have way too much to do, and there are appointments I have to take Father to.
I’m just about ready to leave for Albuquerque when I get a call from the hospital telling me Rudy is back in surgery. When they sat him up for morning rounds he dumped a ton of blood through one of his chest tubes. Ok maybe not a ton, but way more than he should have. They rushed him into surgery, and that’s all the nurse knew at that time. Needless to say I flew up to Albuquerque without the aid of wings. By the time I got there he was out of surgery, and stable once again. His surgeon was more or less still stunned. In his entire career (he’s no spring chicken either) he had only seen this happen twice before. It was so unusual whenever I would run into another Doctor or nurse, they would comment on it. What happened was one of the chest tubes poked a hole in his heart causing it to bleed profusely. They cracked him open again repaired this second hole, and wired his breastbone together with a plate. They stapled him back together, and added two more chest tubes. This extended his stay in the hospital making his recovery a bit more difficult. He also had a hole in his lung from another chest tube but that was healing on it’s own.
Finally I get to bring Rudy home, but before that happens April comes over to the house for a minute. She has been spending a lot of time at her parents because of her mother who still can’t walk from her strokes. She can barely breath, and keeps pressing her chest. She told me she started having difficulty around midnight. I of course yell at her telling her she needs to see a doctor. She tells me she has an appt with Suzanne at the clinic here, but wanted to come over for a bit. I chase her out of the barn, and tell her to go to see Suzanne now. A bit later I get a call from her saying that they want to take her to the hospital because she had a heart attack. We get everything arranged with animals, her mother, etc., and off she goes to Ruidoso, and then to Albuquerque. Turns out some of her meds were interfering with her Asthma stressing her heart to the point of a heart attack.
Everyone is now on the mend, and doing well. The first month Rudy was home was the worst, because he couldn’t do anything. He’s still home, but able to do much more now that his six weeks are over. Actually his being home has allowed me to be able to catch up down at the barn. He has been making the trips to town for water freeing me to work on stalls. He also got the truck running better. I replaced my first U-joint with him guiding me. Then he replaced gaskets on the exhaust system, and got rid of one of the broken tail pipes. We still have to replace tie-rod ends but have to get another part to do that properly. Father has finished his physical therapy, and most of his doctor’s appts. Rudy got his health card though he won’t be able to go back to work for another month (insurance carriers say you have to stay home for 90 days even though his doctor has released him for work). April is doing better, but is still having issues. Her mother had another stroke so George is looking for a part time job close to home. Patti can’t walk again, can’t use the phone or the computer, and has difficulty talking, slurring her speech. She had just gotten to the point of being able to walk to the bathroom, and the front door before this last stroke. I do what I can to help, but unfortunately this is just going to keep happening. She’ll get better, then have another stroke, get better, and on, and on, till finally she’ll have one too many strokes, and will die. That was the way my grandmother went. The thing of it is she’s a year younger than I am myself. I complain about the things I can no longer do, and she just wants to be able to go to the bathroom by herself. It makes one appreciate all the things you can do (so stop complaining!).
Now you understand why I have been remiss in writing. I still have no idea how we’re going to pay for all this, but I can’t worry about that. I have too much to do just trying to keep the ranch going. I have yet to hear back from Presbyterian after I sent them all kinds of financial information. Oh I almost forgot I had to get our taxes done during this time too. Needless to say I waited till the last minute.
Next post I will talk about what has been going on at the ranch all this time. Plenty has been going on which is a good thing or I would probably be fit only for the funny farm. Because of the ranch we have little to no money, and because of the ranch we have a wonderful life. The horses are both our downfall, and our salvation. They make life worth living, bringing both joy, and laughter to our crazy life, and trust me we need lots of laughter!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

As I was saying...

As I was saying after three years of drought the monsoons have finally returned. The El Nino pattern isn’t as strong as first predicted, but that may be a good thing. With everything so dry smaller doses of rain is probably a good thing.  The thought is that it will still be strong enough to last through the winter. That’s what we really need, it’s the snowmelt that feeds the underground rivers (like the one feeding my well). We were just getting a trace of rain here, and there, then a quarter inch, then a half, then the big one came, and we got 3 1/2 “ in one night. Since then it’s been smaller showers at night, like now in fact. That suits me just fine as I have too much work to do during the day.
I said I would try to catch up on all that’s been happening this summer, so here goes. Periodically the truck breaks down, and George has to rescue me, but somehow it always seems to be on a water run. George says I have a hay truck, not a water truck, and Rudy needs to buy me a water truck (like we can afford to buy any kind of truck). So far there hasn’t been anything major (knock on wood), and it just keeps on going, like the energizer bunny. I have to say I was quite pleased the other day when I had to rescue George. He ran out of gas, and I was quite pleased with myself, George not so much.
Don’t know if I mentioned it or not, but April had surgery back a while. She had dozens of polyps removed from her esophagus, and stomach. It has been a slow recovery, and she hasn’t been able to do a lot of the things around the ranch most notably hooves.  Recently she’s been able to do a little more, and we’re beginning to catch up. In the meantime I tried to do what I could, but that is little more than rasp. Because it’s been so dry everyone has overgrown soles causing all kinds of problems. I’ve gone through tons of hoof dressing, and have managed to clean out some of the worst cases. All this rain is making the biggest difference. I can clean out a lot more, of course I don’t have time to get them done the way they need to be done, but that’s besides the point. Next I’ll be treating feet for thrush. You’d think there could be a happy medium where it’s not too dry, and not too wet. Nooo, it’s got to be one or the other.
I’ve had to move a lot of horses around for one reason or another. I may be getting another horse in (a paying boarder no less) so I needed to free up a stall. Jetta has been doing very well even though they still haven’t gotten their teeth floated yet. That won’t be for another couple of weeks, so we put her out in the pasture with the other mares. Now Jetta is 15.3 or there abouts. There was no question who the new lead mare was. Sere always lords it over everyone, but she didn’t do anything more than follow Jetta around as she explored her new surroundings. Needless to say Jetta gets her hay first, and of course Sadie is still on the bottom of the pecking list, but I save the best for last. I’m sure Jetta will put on more weight eating a little of everyone else’s hay once she’s finished hers, but that’s ok, I compensate for piggies, and she needs the groceries.
I took Jazzy out of the pasture so I could start working her. She has developed quite a hay belly. Then I discovered I can’t work her until I get her off her heels, and more on her toes. Like Sadie (her dam) she grows tons of toe, and even though she was in pasture she didn’t wear them down. Too dry is my guess. April has managed to trim a little toe, but she needs a lot more trimming. Seemingly she has also forgotten a lot of things. She’s jumping at everything, and wouldn’t even come into the inside stall to eat. She’s getting a lot of re-education these days. She used to be great about shots, and medicine, but when she got sick a while back she forgot all about oral meds. She did ok with her shots, but wouldn’t take her antibiotic no matter how sweet it was. I had to get a powder for Espree (she’s terrified of needles) so I got it for Jazzy too. Don’t know what it was, but I had three horses sick one right after the other. It started with LBM, though I didn’t know he had it until later. I went out to feed him one morning, and he hadn’t finished his dinner. I took his temp, and sure enough he had a fever. It was only 103, but that’s still high. I gave him penicillin shots (which he took like a champ I might add), and we (April and I) discovered he had evidently scratched himself when he got overexcited when Sere got loose, and stuck her butt right up to his nose. She was in season, which was actually a good thing since she stopped long enough for me to catch her. Anyway between dried blood, and lots of dry skin he ended up in a lot of pain. April, and I washed him twice a day for three or four days before he was back to normal, and then Espree got sick. Whatever it was the only symptoms were high fever (Espree’s was 105), and loss of appetite. When Jazzy got it too I was afraid it was going to run through the whole herd, but she was the last. They got Banamine for three days (to bring down the fever), and antibiotics for seven days. Thankfully April was here to help. It took two of us to give them their meds, although by the time we were finished they were taking the syringe in the mouth pretty well. I still had to back them into a corner, but Jazzy was real good towards the end, and so was Espree.
We got new chickens again, this is the third batch I think. The last batch we believe was killed by our resident bobcat. This time I think we got all hens so I will probably get a few more next spring. I have to have my rooster you know. I've figured out how to reinforce the big run, only it's going to take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I already have the main hen house reinforced (the doors this time). I dare fox, bobcat, or coyote to break in (no I didn't really mean that, knock on wood). I also got a little bunny I'm raising in the exercise room. Isn't that where all bunnies are raised? April raised the first one the dogs found in the barn, so I got to raise the second one. Hopefully mother bunny gets the hint that the barn is not a good place to have babies. The dogs will find them every time.
I haven't had time to ride this summer at all, I'm just too busy cleaning stalls, fixing cars, trucks, mowers, and whatever else decides to break down. Then there are the constant water runs. I have managed to get some of the horses work outs. I still have to chase Ser-Haat to get his halter on, but once it's on he does real well. He walks through the barn like a gentleman, and works well in the round pen. He's one beautiful horse. If I can ever get him trained he will be fantastic, I just have to find the time to do it. LBM has had lessons too. He took shots like a champ, but forgot all about fly spray. He has learned that when you get tied no matter what you do you can't get away. He got his front feet cleaned, but the back are a problem. Hey I got him to let me pick them up even if it was only for a second or two. What kills me is that as a baby I picked up his feet regularly. How quickly they forget.
That catches you up to August, or at least as much as I can remember about it. Now it’s September (don’t know how that happened), and my next post will tell you a little about how August went.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

After three years of drought...

After three years of drought the monsoons have finally returned. Yes I’m back or at least I hope I am. I usually write at night, but I have been so tired, that I’ve just been falling asleep on my chair. Well I’m going to try again to be faithful about writing. That means that for tonight at least I have a little energy left. Now the last time I tried to write a post was the end of February. That’s what I’m posting tonight, and then I’m going to try to remember all that has happened since then (like I can remember what I did yesterday). It’s a matter of discipline, a trait that I seem to be sorely lacking. I did pretty well for a while, we’ll see if I can get back into the habit. Enjoy…
It’s my own fault…
I should know better, if you don’t want to jinx something keep your mouth shut! I’m talking about my water situation. The underground river feeding my well is dry again or at least nearly so. I only had about a week hiatus then it was back to hauling water again. That was the beginning of another two weeks of frustration.
Now I’m not sure I have the correct chronological order of everything, but it really doesn’t matter all that much. I’ll start with my father’s jeep. Now it has been making a clunking noise for I don’t know how long.  I hadn’t been driving it, and father assumed the noise was just his license plate holder. I looked underneath, and sure enough I found a broken bracket. I ordered a new one, and of course when I replaced the broken part, the clunk was still there. We took the jeep in, and somehow father managed to crack the cross member in the rear. Now the Compas may be more of a street car, but it’s still a jeep, and according to the salesman quite capable of traversing a rough dirt road. The mechanic insisted that father either had an accident or drove into a ditch. Father’s memory may not be the best, but he would remember driving into a ditch, besides I would have had to rescue him. The long, and short of it was we had to put in a claim to the insurance company. It’s fixed now, and father is happy to have his independence back. That’s what matters most.
In the midst of all this the truck started giving me trouble. Now remember I have to haul water daily or run out. I got stuck in Capitan while getting water. George came over and tried to figure out what the problem was. He was certain it was the solenoid, so we changed that to no avail. I was certain it was the starter, and after a few tests we decided that it was the starter after all. We left it there overnight, and the next morning replaced the starter. It started the first time. I’m getting pretty good at this mechanic business. I thought I was home free, but no the truck started acting up again. Once I was on 48, George pushed me to Laughing Horse. The next morning I went over to the truck, and it started right up. This went on for a couple of days. I replaced the airflow valve to no avail, and then I decided it must be the thermostat. I replaced that, and everything was fine for a couple of days. The housing on the thermostat was pretty messed up, messed up enough to blow the gasket. I think I’ve replaced like five gaskets, and ordered a new housing. I’ve also gone through enough antifreeze to float a boat. The last time I changed the gasket I bought four gaskets, and some black gasket goop. That finally did the trick, and I haven’t blown a gasket since. Even though I got the thermostat housing so it doesn’t leak, I’m still loosing antifreeze. I need a new overflow tank. That will have to wait till I can find one. Meanwhile I continued to use a lot of antifreeze always keeping a gallon in the truck. Finally I found just the right level that won’t bounce out of the tank, and will still keep the trucks engine cool. I can make about three trips back, and forth to Capitan for water before I have to add a little more. Don’t you just love it?
Since we had no vehicle that was running (father’s jeep was in the shop remember) I had Rudy run through what needed to be done to fix the Z. Actually it was his idea. I replaced the fuel pressure regulator, and did an oil, and oil filter change then when I went to start the car, nothing happened. Well not exactly nothing, once the fuel pump stopped I could hear a click. The battery cables are the same ones that were there when Rudy bought the Z. He was restoring it, but our lives got all messed up, and it’s been sitting there, just like my Fiero, and the Jeep. The Fiero needs a starter, and a new battery, the jeep a new head, and valve job. Back to the Z, the battery cables were such a mess I couldn’t see how it ever ran. I went, and bought new cables installed them, and still nothing but a click. We have no Jeep, no car, and no truck, isn’t life wonderful. The Z is really easy to work on, and Rudy said to look for the wire that connects the Solenoid to the starter. The next day I look, and find a loose wire that clips onto something. I finally figure out where, and vavoom the Z roars into life, and purrs like a kitten. Finally we have a vehicle that works. I even cleaned it all out. I filled the antifreeze tank, and went to fill the tires only I couldn’t get the caps off the stems. Why Lord? I have the truck fixed, I have water (George got my pump working so I was able to almost fill our tank) I have propane (after going a week with no water, I ran out of propane wouldn’t you know), and I have a working car that I can’t use because I can’t get the stem caps off to fill the stupid tires. Next day I try using a socket wrench, and I soak the stems with Liquid Wrench. Finally I get the caps off, and fill the tires. Yea for me, I’m not doing too bad as a mechanic. The Z now has insurance again, and is registered. All I have left to do is to get new mirrors. I start to go to town to get the mirrors, and I think about the gas cap, which is a locking one. Naturally I don’t have a key. I go back home all deflated. I talk to Rudy later, and Rudy never locked it.  He doesn’t even think he has a key. I’ve tried everything, and no go. I can’t get the cap off. It will just have to wait.

Now I have my truck, and Father has his jeep. Next George (April’s step-dad) manages to get my water pump started. At first I still couldn’t start it w/o April’s help. With my smaller tank I can now stand on the bed of the truck, and get it started. It may take a while, but hey at least I can start it. It only takes about 15 minutes to empty the water tank so I have been able to actually get the storage tank full (or at least close to it) in a couple of days. Now everything would be good if the village hadn’t decided to fix Dana’s office, and put her desk etc. in the hallway. It’s been two weeks now that she has had to give me water out of the village’s account, and manually track, my water usage. It wouldn’t be a big deal except that they are only there Mon – Thurs. Thursday I get hay, so I have to make sure that I have enough water to get through the weekend, and do all my shopping, then get hay. It’s all good at least I have water, and I can do three loads in one day if need be. It may only take 15 minutes to unload the water tank, but it still takes about an hour to get the water, and bring it back. I’m not complaining. Father has his car, I have my truck, I have water, and all is right with my world for the present (sort of at least).

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Houston, we have water…

Finally the spring thaw has come, and our underground river has finally reached our pump again. Granted it’s a third of what our previous flow was, but hey I’ll take what I can get. Unfortunately since we didn’t get much snow this year I don’t know if it will last long, but for the time being I get a little break from hauling water. Right now the tank is about ¾ ‘s full, hopefully by tomorrow morning it will be all but full. That means I can actually finish my laundry, you know sheets, blankets, rugs, jackets all the things that don’t get washed on a regular basis, and most of which I can put away till next winter.
Today was a really nice day even though it started off kinda dreary, and cold. Ok downright dreary, and cold. I had to go to Capitan to get a bale of alfalfa, and by the time I came back it was still a little chilly, but the sun was out with only a gentle breeze. We decided to move horses today instead of tomorrow since the first wave of storms (meaning wind, and cold) is supposed to start tomorrow. First we put Sere into the pasture, and brought Penny out. I put her in Sere’s stall next to Marina. Next I put Sadie into the pasture, and April brought Star. Star was higher than a kite so she took a little longer to move. After we got them settled, we took LBM, and Lizzie out to the arena so they could play, and we could clean Lizzie’s stall. For the most part she is over her bout of Pigeon Fever (I swear she’s going to ooze forever). We took all the manure, and dumped it far, far away (like that would make a difference). I was actually very proud of LBM. I picked Lizzie because they’ve been stalled next to each other since he was weaned also she’s an old broodmare who has raised many a youngster. It’s been so long since he’s been able to run, and play in the arena he doesn’t quite know what to do. Lizzie got him running, and let him know when he was doing something wrong. He’s got to learn mare manners, and she’s just the one to teach him. She’s also too tall for him yet. I’m not stupid after all (at least most days). If I put him out with one of our smaller mares I would be taking a chance, this way there can be no surprises, and no hurt horses to doctor. I also want to put him out with Stormy, and maybe even Ibn. He gets along great with Ibn, but there is a fence between them. If I ever want to show him he needs to be able to get along with mares, geldings, and stallions too. This is a first step. He’s still young enough for the other horses to treat him like a baby so I’m not that concerned about safety. Once he understands herd behavior training him to play nice when I’m on his back, and there are other horses around won’t be as difficult, or so I keep telling myself.
April, and I had almost finished Lizzie’s stall when she left to go get Jetta, and Shazam (her mom & dad’s horses). They want to sell Jetta, but she’s only green broke, and she’s still too thin. Shazam is well trained so long as he’s in the round pen or the arena. He’s way too thin, and too spooky. It’s not that they don’t feed them enough it’s that all three of their horses are in pasture, and Shouda takes her share, and some of Shazam’s, and Jetta’s too. Shouda looks fantastic. She’s an old off the track TB who has had more than her share of health issues. Shazam’s a lowly gelding, and Jetta’s just young. Needless to say Shouda puts every one in their place, and they are stuck with leftovers. They’re also feeding them sweet feed to put weight on them. Naturally Shouda gets the best parts of everyone elses goodies as well as her own. What they manage to scarf down before Shouda barges in is too hot a feed especially for Shazam who’s a hot Arabian. I know I’m no expert so if I sound a little snooty forgive me (or not). I also know all the things I’ve done in the way of trying to keep our horses happy, and healthy. I do what works for us, and our horses.
It was getting late by now, but still a little too early to feed, so we took a little break before feeding everyone. For now Jetta, and Shazam are getting one flake of grass, one flake of alfalfa, and one pound of Safe Choice. It’s still 14% protein, but it’s a cool feed. Once I like their weight, I’ll start backing off on the Alfalfa, and then the Safe Choice.  They shouldn’t need the extra calories even when we start working them (at least not till next winter). They won’t be worked that hard. I’ll leave them alone for a week till they get settled, and (Shazam especially) settle down. Poor Shazam was a nervous wreck by the time he got here. Then on top of everything else there was this huge cave. He’s never been in a barn or a barn stall. Rather than stress him out even more I put him in his stall the back way through a gate. I also put his feed right at the door of the barn stall. April said he would nibble a piece of hay then run out side to eat it. I told her once we left he would settle down, and eat. I’ll slowly bring the hay further into the barn. Of course I put his goodies in the feeder so if he wants them he will just have to go into that scary cave. I’m such a mean person. He’ll be fine, he just needs time to learn that he won’t be attacked, and killed. He’s skittish with dogs too. It seems that he was once attacked by two Rotweilers, and you know Arabians they never forget. He’ll get over it. Our dogs are used to horses, and unless I’m chasing them they leave the horses pretty much alone. The only reason they have for even going into the stalls is for horse cookies, or maybe a little hoof leftovers.  We’ll see how everyone is tomorrow morning. What you wanna bet everyone survives just fine.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

More Fun…

It took me over two weeks to get my last post posted. Why you ask, what can possibly happen in two weeks? My wonderful fantastic 2014 is off to a slow start, the wonderful part that is. Well my truck gave me a good two weeks before it started breaking down again. It was doing fine then all of a sudden it started to die on me. Do you have any idea how scary is to be carrying a load of water (275 - 330 gallons of it), and suddenly be dead in the water? It would be fine then start to loose power then stop. It took a while (once George rescued me, and pushed me from Capitan to our road), but I finally figured out it was the thermostat. Meanwhile I replaced the airflow bypass valve, and screwed up the timing that I just got fixed after Rudy replaced the distributor. Oh did I tell you about the episode with the distributor? I was bringing a load of water from Capitan, and the truck died on Hwy 48 in a very bad place. There was no room to pull completely off the road of course, and it just died. Luckily a sheriff’s car pulled up right after, and stayed behind me till AAA finally sent a tow truck. Why is it that when you tell people not to do something that’s the very thing they do? I told them I was carrying 300 gallons of water, I was in an unsafe place, and not to send the tow truck from Ruidoso, which of course is exactly what they did. When he finally got there he took one look at my truck with it’s load of water, and went right back to Ruidoso. The tow company in Capitan, which is 10 minutes away (as opposed to 45 minutes away), has a heavy duty truck with a flat bed. By this time the Sheriff was getting a bit peeved, but I finally got AAA to send the right tow, and he managed to get me, and my water safely up to the house (after three hours that is). Such fun. Anyway Rudy ended up spending our anniversary replacing the distributor. He was working on the timing when he had to leave. He called Andy’s the next morning, which was freezing cold, and snowing, and had him come up to the house to fix the timing. Needless to say when the truck started dying on me yet again I was very nervous about going to town to get water. It would work then not work, work then not work. We figured out it wasn’t the fuel pumps, and it wasn’t the fuel pressure regulator. Rudy was afraid it was one of the sensors, but said I could replace the thermostat with little trouble, and it would be a cheap fix if that was what was wrong with it. I replaced it, and the truck stopped dying, but he didn’t tell me to put gasket stuff on both sides of the gasket so I had to take it apart again, and the second time I put it back together one bolt didn’t go in right. I was going to Andy’s to find out about the check engine light, and of course it boiled over. I just can’t win for loosing some days. They re-taped the boltholes on the motor side, and fixed a vacuum line that had come loose, and I was good again. I still have to re-adjust the timing (George fixed it after I replaced the by-pass valve but timed it too slow), but the thermostat is working fine now that it is broken in.
Lest you think that 2014 isn’t turning out to be so great, there have been some positives. Everyone is healthy again. Marina’s feet are doing fine, Lizzie got over her Pigeon Fever, and it only takes me less than an hour to feed again. Thank you Lord for that! April (God love her) got on the roof for me, and cleaned out the top of the chimney. We now have heat in the main part of the house again. I’ve split a little more than half of the wood I got from Sherry, and spring is definitely here. Patti, and George are going to give me their chickens I just have to fix the chicken run so no more little foxes can dine on their favorite treat. I fixed the barn water pipe (brass can only stand so much cold weather) so we now have water in all the right places. There have been no more run ins with porcupines (don’t know if I told you about that one), and the skunks haven’t started coming out yet. I haven’t taken down my Christmas stuff, but hopefully now that I’m not exhausted all the time, and I actually will have some free time (once I get caught up on laundry that is) I should be able to get that taken care of very soon. Best of all, I made a new friend today, a very good new friend. I was going to get water, and at the dumpster two friends were visiting. They saw me coming, and ended their chitchatting. As I pulled up the man going back home stopped me, and told me he had been trying to catch me (to talk of course). Anyway we talked a bit, and he offered to let me use his 400-gallon water tank. It’s one of the round ones that just slide in the bed of the truck shaped to fit over the wheel wells. Of course I said yes so up to his house we went. We sat, and talked for quite a while, and traded tanks. He only gets water for the horses leaving his well for household use. He said I could just keep it as long as I needed it, and if he needed to get water he would use my tank. He also offered to go with me using my tank, and that way we could fill both tanks, and get my storage tank full (God how I love small towns). His wife loves to ride, but he’s not always able to go. Besides a heart condition (not unlike Rudy’s) he’s been battling hernias, and tumors. He’s beat cancer so far, but he’s not as strong as he used to be. With all he’s been through it’s no wonder. Anyway we exchanged numbers, as he wants to bring his wife over to see our horses. The place is a mess since I haven’t had time to keep up the stalls, but all that will be changing with the fair weather. Who knows I might even get the rest of my house clean. Now that I have water again I can’t wait till I can wash the floors. Then too I need to groom the two little mops that run around the house. You have no idea how wonderful it is not to worry about having enough water.
Last but not least, I think the underground river that feeds our well has been growing with the warmer weather. We didn’t get a lot of snow, but we did get some in November, and December. I shouldn’t have as much water as I do considering there were two days this week I couldn’t get water so I’m hoping. It may not last that long, but even a little break from having to get water every day is greatly appreciated.
Thus ends my saga. I can’t wait to get things squared away again, and start doing the things I love to do like riding!