Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

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!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I know some people have boring lives…

I know some people have boring lives but I don’t think I’m one of them. The last time I started to write a post was 10-20-2013, it’s now the middle of February. At that time I was commenting on the fact that Joe had finally finished cleaning Lizzie’s stall. Eventually we got Espree, Star, and Lizzie’s stalls done a couple of times (thankfully before the weather got bad). Star contracted Pigeon Fever otherwise known as Dry Land Distemper or even River Rot. Evidently this year for some reason there  was a huge outbreak of it in our area. She had three breakouts all of which broke open, and closed up again even before I could flush out the abscesses, then Lizzie came down with it. She is almost over with it yes I know that was over three months ago. At one point she could barely walk but it just wouldn’t break open. I soaked her with hot Epson salt compresses twice a day till about a week or more ago, and I am on my fourth jar of Ichthammol. I had to trim the fur on her chest to get the Ichthammol down into her skin before the fur fell out. Finally it burst, and has been oozing ever since. Her fur is already growing back even though she still has a little oozing. At one point I had three sick horses in the worst weather. Jeri caught a terrible cold, which thankfully he got over without needing medication. The worst was
Marina. She stopped eating, and was down most of three days. Then she went lame on her back leg. With Sherry’s help we decided she had contracted hooves, so while I was soaking Lizzie’s chest, I was also soaking Marina’s feet in Epson salts. At first (not knowing what of a dozen things might be wrong) I was giving her 20 cc's of penicillin twice a day. Then when we decided is was contracted hooves she got 10 cc’s of Banamine once a day for over a week, and was very grateful once I stopped. She has very hard hooves to begin with, and with it being so dry it was just too much for her feet. She is now getting hoof treatments every few days to keep them from drying out again. This last little snowstorm has helped soften her feet so I could get most of her overgrown frog cut down. I’m sure that contributed to her problem.
All this of course is only the tip of the iceberg. Getting water has been an ongoing problem, as our well is now completely dry. Once the cold weather hit the water tank I was using to haul water with kept cracking. It was covered with bondo, which eventually came off so I would have to do it all over again. Finally I got a new used tank (300 gal). The only problem was it was used to transport oil. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get oil out of that large a tank? Taint easy let me tell you. I finally took it to a car wash, filled the bottom with degreaser, and let it sit. Rudy took it back later, and washed it out as best he could. There’s a little crusty stuff on the bottom, but that is never going to come out. Ok now I have a new clean tank so the truck breaks down. After a week of replacing this, and that, taking it down to the mechanic to find out it was something in the carburetor. They of course wore down the battery by taking the key out. I tried charging it, and even used the battery from the Z to get it started to no avail. I replaced the coil, the spark plugs, spark plug wires, and the solenoid. I got a new battery, and it still wouldn’t start. Then Rudy suggested that I look for a short in the wire connecting the solenoid to the starter button he installed. Sure enough I find a burn mark. I cut, and splice the wire, and lo, and behold it starts. Thank you Lord! Between the truck, my tank issues, and busted pipes, we went over a month without running water. Talk about roughing it.
December was a month to reckon with. Since 2013 was the worst year of our married life it decided to go out with a bang. There were freezing cold temps, and though we didn’t get a lot of snow ourselves, there was plenty on the mountain in fact we thought we just might work our way out of our three year drought until January came with no moisture at all. Mostly we had freezing temps. I had heat tape, blankets, and plenty of R19 down at the pump house, and I bought some wood to make a box lines with R19 around the bottom of the pump house. I haven’t built it yet, but I did buy the wood. Unfortunately I forgot to turn on the heat lamp. The result was three busted pipes. This happened about the time the truck broke down. I was hoping to fix it myself, but it was beyond me. Between doctoring horses, hauling water, breaking ice, and cutting wood (my wood pile was depleted by now), I had neither the strength nor the energy to attempt it. George (April’s step father) knew of someone who could fix it for me. I felt terrible because a simple job ended up taking most of his Sunday. We finally got it fixed, and the heat lamp has been on every since. The freezing temps also made for heavy ice, like 6 – 8” thick ice. LBM broke the float in his, and Lizzie’s tank so I had to fix that too. You know I used to love winter of course that was when I lived in the city, and in Tucson to boot. Now I can’t wait till spring.
A couple of weeks ago I had to clean out our chimney. What a mess that was. I was doing real good until the pipe dropped, and I had soot everywhere. The top portion of the pipe is pellet stove piping which is much narrower so I made a chimney brush out of a long broom handle, and a toilet bowel brush. Hey it worked except for the piping above the roof. My makeshift chimney brush wasn’t quite long enough for the pipe above the roof. I still have to go up on the roof to clean out the rest of it. Now I have no fear of heights, just of ladders. Many years ago I was cleaning my swamp cooler, and one time when I was going down the ladder slipped, and I ended up upside down on a chair that was thankfully under the ladder. If not for that chair I would have cracked my head open on the cement. Getting up on the roof is not going to be fun, but it has to be done. While up there I’m going to clean out the other chimney. Might as well, it hasn’t been cleaned for a number of years. It doesn’t get used that much, and is working just fine right now, but with my luck... One day when April is here (and we have the time), she can help with the ladder. Still I’m not looking forward to it.
I have lots of wood now thanks to Sherry. She had some Ponderosas that were dead, and I got two truckloads of wood. Unfortunately they weren’t dead long enough, and still have too much resin in them so I still have to go out get wood, and cut it. Please let Spring come soon.
I forgot we also have a new addition to the family. She’s been the bright spot in this otherwise lousy winter. Since April won’t let me have Dominica, I decided I needed to find my own littleler. I went to the Humane Society, and told them I wanted a Chihuahua or Chihuahua mix. They found me Jessie, Jessie James. They had her for 5 days, and managed to get her up to 7 lbs. At that she was skin, and bones. I’ve put 1.8 lbs on her since. They had her down as a Chihuahua/Terrier mix with a docked tail. She’s heavier boned than a purebred, and longer with shorter legs. Actually except for the docked tail she looks like a Chiweenie. She’s very spoiled, and I
have an idea that whoever had her before she got lost really spoiled her. She’s becoming quite the ranch doggie. She goes down to the barn to feed with me, and just about everywhere else. She’s a bit timid around people but I don’t think it was abuse, I think she simply never went anywhere to get exposed to new situations. Down at the barn she’s quite brave, too brave in fact. She goes off with the big dogs into the woods, goes down the road when I’m not looking, and has no fear of the horses. In fact once Marina was feeling better I put her, and Sadie into the arena, and chased them. When my back was turned there Jessie was in the arena running for her life when the horses came back around. I had to yell at her three times to stay out of the arena before she gave in, and stayed out. She’s completely house trained, about three years old, and sleeps under the covers with me at night. I said she was spoiled.
Anyway thus ends 2013, and here’s to a fantabulous 2014!