Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Christmas day was the last day we had water…

Poor Father came home to freezing temps, a cold, and no running water. It’s been more than a week now that we haven’t had running water. Today we got up into the 40’s, and tomorrow it’s supposed to be 51, then Wed temps plummet again. All I need is one day of water for showers (thank God it’s winter), dishes, laundry, and yes I need to fill all my water tanks again. Tomorrow is out because I have to take Rudy to the airport in Roswell, and then see if I can take Bree into the vet. She has gotten weaker, and I’m really afraid we are going to loose her. She can’t hold her head straight, which throws her off balance. She’s also loosing strength. She spent most of the day today in the house. She had been getting stronger, and I was hopeful, then this morning she didn’t eat her breakfast. She is very clingy again also. Down at the barn she kept coming over to me leaning against me, and looking at me with those big brown eyes that can melt even the hardest of hearts. All I can do is caress her. I can’t make her well, I don’t even know what’s wrong with her, but in my heart I feel like we’re loosing her. I bred her for a puppy (Pena) because I didn’t think we would have her for a very long time, but I’m not ready to loose her just yet. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to loose her she’s such a sweet girl, so loving. At any rate tomorrow is full up.
I got a lot done today taking advantage of the nice weather. I didn’t get enough done but thanks to the freezing temps I have way more to do than there are hours in the day. I did get two of the inside stalls cleaned, and I picked up a load of wood. How I wish I had a descent chain saw. I then filled up the small water tank. The automatic waterers were low, and it’s much easier filling them with the small water tank than hauling water bucket by bucket. Ok so I have to fill the small tank bucket by bucket, but I don’t have to walk anywhere. I was almost finished with Ibn’s waterer when Rudy came back from town. Great timing, he could help me fill the tank again. I still needed to give the pasture horses water. We filled the tank, and then he helped keep the horses at bay while I drove the gator in. The kids see the gator, and they come running. The gator means two things, food, or water, the two things they care most about. I actually don’t mind filling their tank the hard way since it gives me an excuse to spend time with them. They don’t get enough attention being in pasture all the time. While the water is filling the tank I can skirtch, and hug to my hearts content. The oat hay has really made a difference with their weight. Shazam is still a little thin, but he’s on the bottom of the pecking list so there’s really nothing I can do about that. Jazzy also needs a little more on her back end, but everyone else has nice round rumps, and unfortunately, nice big bellies. It’s winter, and I would rather them a little fat than a little thin especially since the weather has turned so cold.
I went back up to the house to get rid of the water tank, and cut some of the wood I had collected only it was getting late, and we still had to change Sierra’s bandage. I had given him a little Bute in some goodies to try to make life easier. I realized (a little late) that the reason he was so good at first was probably because I was giving him a shot of Banamine to help with the pain and inflammation. Duh, sometimes I really wonder about myself. The Bute helped, and so did the alfalfa in the feedbag Rudy set up. It was almost feeding time anyway, and there’s nothing like food to take a horses mind off what’s being done to him. He was much better once he realized it didn’t really hurt as much as he thought it would. It’s the anticipation of pain that is making him behave badly. Once he gives in he is real good. I just hope he behaves himself better the next time I have to do it by myself. I have to talk to Becky about him too. There’s a flap of what I think is ligament just hanging that I really think needs to be cut off. Sherry has said as much, and so has Rudy. He’s healing quickly so it will have to be cut off soon, and I can’t do it. Like I said there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. I got everyone fed, and the barn horses watered. Hopefully everyone will have enough water till I get back from Roswell. I won’t be able to fill the big tanks (unless miraculously we get water) until the day after when we’re supposed drop down into the teens again. After that the weather is supposed to improve. Lord I hope so. I need to get back to my routine.
We didn’t get much done after that. Rudy had to pack so the chimney didn’t get cleaned, but at least he got my new phone activated. I got the new iphone. It’s supposed to have a great camera, and lots of space. We’ll see how the pics turn out. I’m especially interested in the new video capabilities. Maybe now I can add some short videos to my blog. That would be nice I think. I’ve been really disappointed in the camera on the phone I have. We’ll see how the new phone pics are.
Well that’s the plan for the next few days. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my stalls back in order, get my wood stores replenished, get running water again, find out what’s really wrong with Bree, and get Sierra’s booboo attended to. Now let’s see how much if any of that actually comes to fruition.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Well I guess today was better than yesterday…

Today was the last day of the year, and hopefully the last of the extreme weather. It has been a few years since I’ve had to deal with these extreme cold temps, and while I haven’t forgotten what it’s like, I have definitely been spoiled the past few years with our mild winters. Why can’t we have just the right amount of snow without going down to nearly 0 degrees? If we have a mild winter then we don’t get the snow we need to survive the summer. If we get snow we also seem to get days in the teens or less, with howling winds that go right through you. It does make for beautiful pics I have to admit. I can’t really complain today was definitely warmer than yesterday. I even saw the sun, it does exist, it does exist!
We got up to a whole 19 degrees today, of course tomorrow it’s supposed to snow so I guess it will be at least a week before I can even think about having water again. Before it starts snowing Rudy will go into town to get a load of water for the horses. I’ll fill the tank up at the house, and the pasture horses tank. I got it about half full today poor things, they were down to just ice. They don’t drink that much, but there are seven of them, and every day I take at least an inch or two of ice out. That means a tank will only last about two days, maybe three if I don’t have that much ice, and they don’t drink too much. It’s not as big a tank as I have up at the house, maybe about 200 gallons or so, I don’t remember exactly. I took the float off deciding to keep it off for the winter. If we are going to have this cold of a winter I may as well since I can’t use it if there’s no water. Besides where it’s located it takes forever for the pipes, and hose to unfreeze even after we get water flowing. The whole pasture setup is weird. I don’t know what Rudy was thinking when he put everything in, neither does he. At any rate we have a pasture, and I am very grateful that we put it in before everything else fell apart.
I had Rudy go pick up hay today since I only had enough alfalfa for today, and Lord knows what the roads are going to be like tomorrow. I got everyone fed, and was just about ready to go up to the house when Rudy called telling me he called Harvey’s, and they would only be open till noon today, and not at all tomorrow or Friday. He also informed me that the electricity was out, and Otero (the electric company) was trying to track down the problem. More fun, I really needed that Lord. I was about ready to come up to the house anyway so I finished what I was doing (hauling water of course), and high tailed it up to the house. I asked dad to make a shopping list so I could do his shopping for him, gave Rudy my shopping list for Harvey’s, and sent him on his way. Without electricity I didn’t want to break ice and put it in the big tank not knowing when the electricity would come on again. It was still too cold to change Sierra’s bandage so I got Dad going with some instant oatmeal since his milk had gone sour while he was gone. Then I got myself something to eat. I’m not picky I had some cold stuffing for breakfast. Hey it has grain, fruit, and protein in it. Sounds great to me. I was going to cut some wood, but Paul Bunion I’m not. I decided to rest a bit before I had to go down to the barn to figure out where I was going to put 16 three-strand bales of alfalfa.
I managed to get about half an hour of rest before I realized that the whole of Capitan might be out of power so I called the Mercantile, and Smokey’s (the grocery), and when neither of them answered I knew there was no going to town for groceries or anything else. I can remember when all registers had a hand crank so when the electricity went out you could still carry on business. Well those days are long gone so I called Rudy, and asked him to stop at Wal-Mart to pick up some medicine for Father, along with some milk. Dad would just have to deal with whatever we fixed for dinner. Poor thing he slept most of the day anyway so food didn’t really matter.
Rudy was going to be back in about an hour so I went down to the barn to see what I wanted to do about the hay. Now our barn is big, but I have to keep all the hay separate. I also have only half of it to work with since one side is all stalls. Then I have my feed area, not to mention various and sundry pieces of equipment. The tack room takes up about a quarter of one side of the barn as well. What I’m left with for hay is about a quarter of the barn. I have Ghost’s hay over by the feed, then there’s George’s, and April’s hay. I have all the oat hay next to George’s hay along one wall, which leaves part of one wall where the tack room is. I can put three bales of grass, and twelve bales of alfalfa there. The rest can go in the front stall across from Sierra where I have the rest of the grass. I bring the last bales of alfalfa from the front into the barn, and move the rest of the grass around so I can put four bales of alfalfa there. I just get everything re-arranged, and the barn swept when Rudy comes back. Pretty good timing if I do say so myself.
Rudy gets back, and we get all the hay situated. It is so much easier with two people. Rudy still isn’t up to par (much to his dismay), but he can at least get the hay off the truck for me to stack. No I can’t carry them. But that’s what the dolly is for. I can only stack them three high, but that’s good enough. Such was the last day of the year. Hopefully the new year will be better than this last. Seems like I’ve said that every year for the past four or five years. Hey the hard times can’t last forever.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

It was 17 alright…

Well the weatherman said the low for the night would be 17, and he was right. When I got up in the morning it was 17, unfortunately that was also the high. By the time Rudy got up (a short time later) it had dropped to 16. He groaned when he looked outside. Driving to Roswell in freezing fog is no fun, but Father was coming back from his vacation. Oh well such is life.
By the time I went out to feed the temp had dropped to 14, what fun. It was beautiful outside. Everything was covered with white, not like snow, but all light, and lacy. The horses were all lacy too. They had frost on their manes, and tails, even their eyelashes sported lacy white frost. Luckily I had put the beet pulp in the tack room so it was only slightly frozen. I tried breaking ice for the horses, but it froze over again quickly. Water is a problem. Without electricity down at the barn I cannot use the water heaters. They don’t drink a lot, but they still need water. There’s not a lot of snow for them to slake their thirst so they have to drink what they can when they can. Unfortunately, I can’t quite seem to make them understand that.
I get everyone fed, break ice, and take it up to the house to put in the big tank where I have water heaters. George calls, and asks for a ride to Capitan. By now the temp has dropped to 13, and I have to doctor Sierra in this? He of course is being a pill yet again. As soon as I get one side done, he paws the gauze off before I can get the other side done. Finally (after I get quite ticked at him) I manage to get his leg up in the air resting on my knee. I slap both gauze pads (loaded with antibiotic) on at the same time. Quickly I pulled out the wrap, and started to wrap his leg, which he tried to thwart till he realized that I was only wrapping his leg. That he doesn’t mind. Finally I get done. Kids! Thanks to his fighting I’m not really that cold, which is a good thing as the temp has continued to drop.
I take George to town, come home, and rest a bit before I start working again. Rudy has called several times, first to tell me that Father’s plane has been delayed an hour. He saw about 4 or 5 accidents on the way up including a state trooper who ended up smashing his front end on a barrier after spinning out. Embarrassing! The roads are very icy. He calls again when he is stuck on 70 on his way back home. A pickup has wiped out, and they were waiting for the salters to come before they let anyone else through. He had already been sitting for half an hour. Actually he was very lucky because shortly after he turned off to 380 they just plain gave up, and closed 70. He called when he got to town, Father had to eat, and because the roads were so icy he wanted to get home as quickly as possible so they didn’t eat in Roswell. They were at Smokey’s eating, and would be home soon. Meanwhile I start cutting wood. It is going to be a very cold night, and I need to get more wood. I test the logs I cut the other day, and they aren’t ready to split yet. This cold should help, I hope.
Rudy gets home, and immediately I can tell that Father is sick. No he says it’s just his normal cough. Right. I get more wood cut, and split filling the wood boxes, and sit down for a few minutes with Rudy. 4:00 has come too soon and its now 9 degrees out. The poor horses, I know they are built to deal with these cold temps far better than we are, but I can’t help but feel for them. I gave them extra hay, and oats in the goodies I give the seniors. I know they will be fine, but ok so I’m a big softie, what can I say it’s cold out. The sun hasn’t broken through the fog all day leaving little light in the barn. It’s so cold that the soaked supplements I give Jeri freeze before I can feed them to him. I’ll have to bring the beet pulp I normally soak overnight into the house. They’ll freeze before the pellets can absorb the water even if I leave them in the tack room. After I get everyone fed I still have to break the ice, and fill waterers. There are two buckets in the barn, Sierra’s small tank, and the two automatic waterers in the back stalls. Star is the thirstiest horse, and because she has such a small petite head with a short nose she can’t reach the water so I have to fill her tank three times a day. As soon as she sees me with the bucket she runs over to get a drink. She doesn’t seem to understand that I have to put it in the tank first. If we ever get electricity back down at the barn things will be a lot easier. Until then I have to do things the old fashioned way. It makes one wonder how our ancestors managed so long ago without the conveniences we now take for granted. Water is always my first concern, but no matter what I can always get some. I just go down to the village key in my code, and fill my water tank. If they had snow they could always melt enough for cooking, washing etc., but what about the desert people. How did they manage? It makes one appreciate our modern conveniences, and points out just how spoiled we truly are.
I finally get done, and head up to the house. I feed the dogs, and chickens, and then myself. I sink into mothers chair heating pad on my back, and plan not to move till it’s time to come to the computer room after Rudy goes to bed. Father comes in, and says, that he’s running a slight temperature, and his cough is going to keep him up all night. I don’t know if he’s insulted more by being sick, or by the fact that I was right. I told him he was sick, but no he knows better than I. I ask him if he took his cold medicine, which he forgot he had, so I get him a cold tablet, and make him some honey tea. That should calm his cough for a little while at least. I also set up his vaporizer with Vicks in it. It’s dry here to begin with, and with his heater, and the fireplace going the air in the house is twice as dry. When you have a dry cough that only makes it worse. Anyway I get him situated in his room, and settle back down. By the time I put Rudy to bed, and sit down to my computer, it’s 5 degrees out. I think that’s cold enough. I start the fire in the computer room since one fire isn’t going to do the trick this night. The computer room is a converted porch I think. There are sliding glass doors leading to it off the TV room. It doesn’t necessarily help to warm the rest of the house by having the wood stove going in there, but it does keep the cold from invading the rest of the house. When we lived in a regular house with heat, and air I would turn the thermostat down to 55 at night in the winter so it works out about the same. Sometimes it’s even a little warmer in the morning, at least in the TV room it is. Now our bedroom is another story. It has lots of windows, and it’s on the north side of the house. That works fine in the summer, but winter not so much. That’s what blankets, and quilts are made for. Finally I settle down and get myself to bed wondering what tomorrow will bring. Hopefully a little warmer day, are you listening Lord?