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!