Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

It has been a long El Nino…..

El Nino has stayed a very long time. This is the first dry spell we’ve had all summer. I’m dripping wet by the time I get done feeding, and it’s cool out. Ah yes now I remember that’s what humidity is like, I forgot. Much has happened this summer.
I still haven’t gotten the truck completely fixed, but it is running. I just have to be careful or it will stall out on me. We’re hoping that a new oxygen sensor will do the trick, but I haven’t had time to do anything about it. The truck’s only 26 after all, and it is a Ford so things like that should last forever shouldn’t they?
I discovered why I haven’t been able to get hold of Chad about the well. A friend told me he’s out of business (divorce). The backflow valve went out, and I had to call Huey. K D (grandson) came out, and got everything all fixed up so we’re good again. Now I have to start getting it fixed up for winter. The numerous little critters the Wild West is known for made a mess of things as usual. Lots of rain means lots of food out there, which means critters got carried away with nookie, and had lots, and lots of babies. Insulation makes for good nesting material. I don’t know how many times I have cleaned out the pump house only to discover that they got in yet again. I’ve gathered as much insulation as I could, and put it in trash bags, which I will then stuff in, and around pipes. This is supposed to be a mega El Nino winter, so I will have to take special care to insulate all the pipelines that are above ground. I don’t want to be replacing broken pipe all winter. I wonder if there is a patron saint for broken pipes?
As for the horses, they are all doing fine. Sierra is doing much better on just grass, and only a little sliver of alfalfa. His disposition has calmed down considerably. After the incident of the gate panel I switched him, and Ibn around. The long run gives him more room to burn off energy. It also is helping to wear down his feet since he won’t let me file them down. I haven’t had time to work with him on the necessity of allowing a human to mess with his feet. It was no problem when he was little, but of course he has forgotten all the things I taught him when he was little. Now that he’s a big boy he thinks he doesn’t have to mind his manners.
Moving Ibn put him next to Ghost. He came back to me about 3 or 4 hundred pounds under weight. Since Ibn is his best friend it was a good move for both of them. I had Forrie come, and float his teeth. Besides being depressed that was his main problem. He’s just now starting to look like he should, and starting to act like a horse running, and bucking when there’s a bit of coolness in the air. He hated being at the racetrack, and I swear there is something wrong with his back. When he was so skinny you could see his spine clearly, and it just isn’t right. I learned of a woman who does wonders with horses that have back problems. When I can find the money I’m going to see if I can get a consultation. If I know what’s wrong I can fix it. Meanwhile I’m feeding him lots of goodies to get his weight up. He’s still thin, but at least he’s a happy camper.
I also added a paint mare, and her baby to our group. No she’s not mine, she belongs to a friend. The dam was a maiden mare, and even though they were there when she foaled, overnight she became an over protective mother. She wouldn’t let anyone near her baby. The baby (I call her Smutty Face) is a beautiful Tovero filly just about the same age as Meerche. They’re only a week apart. Anyway her owner hasn’t been able to get near her since then. I offered to bring her here where they are in a stall, and I can work with her (like I have time to spare). The mare doesn’t really trust easily, and has passed that on to Smutty. I can now touch her without her freaking, but she still walks away. At least that’s better than her bucking, and running away. We also touch noses, and if I’m careful I can touch her chin when I offer her a sliver of alfalfa. She won’t take the calf manna I leave for her, at least not when I’m around her. Her dam (Bunnie) is the old fashioned QH style, all muscle. She was a little underweight (Smutty’s fault), but the calf manna has helped with that. She’s not so ribby now, and her tailbone is not so prominent. She’s still standoffish, but that’s mostly bluff. Once she realizes I’m not going to hurt her she’s fine with me. She was sold at one point, and a year later the people brought her back saying they couldn’t do anything with her. She was skinny as a rail, and even more skittish especially around men. If I had her for a while I could do more with her, but my friend said no. She’s going to sell her as soon as baby is weaned as is. She’s broke to ride in a round pen, which isn’t anything as far as I’m concerned. Good news is that Craig Cameron may use her for a training session at the Cowboy Symposium in October. It will do her wonders. I’m very excited about that.
Meerche on the other hand has absolutely no fear of anyone. She’s overly lovey, and insists on skirtches whenever anyone enters her stall. A friend of April’s wants to buy Penny as soon as she’s weaned, which is perfect. Penny will have a good home, and I will have another baby to raise. Meerche is still sweet as they come. She also had a little surprise for us when her foal coat shed out.
On her left back leg she has all kinds of spots, and her mane is coming out very flaxen. It’s not pure white like Ibn’s was when he was little, but that may change. She’s doing well on the lead rope too. I can pick up her feet with no problem, and do just about anything I want with her. Unlike Bunnie, Penny could care less about people getting near her baby. It wouldn’t do any good anyway, as she has a mind of her own, and does pretty much what she pleases. She’s learning not to play with people the way she plays with mom. That was a hard lesson. She doesn’t think of us as being different from her. I tried to explain that our skin isn’t as thick as hers, and we aren’t as strong as she is. A filly on my back is not exactly the way it’s supposed to work. She understands better now, and hasn’t tried it again. Of course I also know how to prevent her from getting in that position in the first place, and if she is behind me I keep her in sight out of the corner of my eye. It’s just a passing phase babies go through. She’s going to be a wonderful mare for April, smart, willing, and just the right size.
Enough for tonight, but wait I have more to tell…

Friday, September 4, 2015

I know it’s been a long time…

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, unbelievably long. I began this post some time ago (don’t even ask) so I thought I would post it now, then later bring it up to date. Here goes.
I have a lot of catching up to do. My last post was written on 01/05, and we didn’t have water. There’s a little pressure hose leading from the transfer pump to a little box that tells the transfer pump to turn on or off (at least I assume that’s what it does).  Well that little hose had a crack in it spewing water all over the place. Hey at least the transfer pump didn’t crack, that would be $1200. I tried to get hold of Harvey’s (Chad Harvey’s Drilling) to no avail. I think the number I have is outdated. I couldn’t figure out how to take it off nor did I have the time to do it even if I could figure it out. You see God decided that we needed a break from the drought, and sent us more snow, and freezing temps. Now I know we need the snow (it’s the only way I’ll get water from my well again), howsoever, enough is enough. My once clean stalls were a sight to behold, and not in a good way. They were one big mucky mess, and so were the horses. It’s not that I forgot what a real winter is like I just forgot how much I don’t like it. I’m a desert rat remember? It was going to take a month of Sundays, and some serious sun to dry things out enough so I could clean them. Well that didn’t happen for a long time.
Meanwhile, the gator decided to go on the fritz. I need the gator, to haul wood (my stores were seriously depleted) amongst all the other things I use it for. I was hauling water one tank at a time, filling what I could, and putting the rest of the water into my big water tanks. I then filled my little tank taking it around to all the various water buckets, tanks, etc. I needed my gator! As I thought it was simply the battery, which Rudy informed me was the original battery. 10 years or so is a long time for a battery, wouldn’t you say? After a few days I finally got it going much to my relief.
What else went wrong let me see. I couldn’t use the front wood stove from which we heat the entire house (plugged chimney). Freezing cold temps, and no heat what fun. Ok we have the wood stove in the computer room, but that heat doesn’t really heat much more than the back room. Still it was better than nothing. Father’s happy he can play on his computer in warmth. Ok no water, no heat, and very little wood. That about summed up the situation. Rudy took his 34-hour break at home. He had to get all the stuff he left at home to put back in his truck. For some reason airlines take exception to tools, chains, mattresses, etc. The snow melted thanks to a nice warming trend (who ever thought that 45 would be considered a warm day). Rudy got on the roof to clean the chimney, and he checked on the pressure hose that cracked. He’s such a good guy.
I took Bree to the vet, and I was right we were going to loose her. She had a tumor that was pressing against the nerves that control balance, and her vision in one eye. I brought her home with some medicine that would at least make her more comfortable for what time she had left. She’s gotten mighty spoiled. I even got some fat from the butcher that I cooked up for her to keep her weight up. She got lots of pets, and Rudy even had her up on the couch with her head on his lap. His rules are animals are not allowed on the furniture. He’s the one that found her, and he’s the one that hurt most when she was gone. The medicine worked for a while, then she got worse again. I miss her terribly she was such a sweetheart. At least she was happy while we had her, and then too I have Pena.
Sierra did well. Thanks to youth he healed quickly, and thanks to Bute he had no pain while I changed his bandage. I weaned him off of the Bute, and had no problem changing his bandage from then on thanks to a feedbag full of alfalfa. I also changed his bandage just before I fed. I’m not dumb!
Rudy got the pump fixed with a new hose, and our water problem became a thing of the past. I put more R19 around the pipes going into, and out of the pump house, and the pipes stopped freezing. It helped that we didn’t get below 0 this year. It snowed about once a week, which made it a very long winter. May, and there was still snow on the mountain. It was finally gone by the end of May. I got the gator going, and my wood supply kept up with the snowstorms.
April was released by her doctor to go back to work again so she was here for about a month before she started working at the track. George’s daughter came from Wyoming to help out with Patty. It was just too much for George, and he couldn’t work because he couldn’t leave Patty alone. She brought her daughter, and then her daughter’s boyfriend. I thought he was a sweet kid. They got him enrolled at school to get his GED, then they will help him get a job. Before his parents got divorced he lived on a ranch, and loves coming to our ranch. Steph loves it too. I’m teaching them to ride, or perhaps a better word is re-teaching Steph, and Bryce. Brianna has never been on a horse till now. She’s 13, no bigger than a minute, and afraid of horses. Even so she is doing well. It’s fun for me too.
Penny had her baby, and we got there just in time. As I suspected she delivered early. She was due on the 20th, but had the baby on the 9th around 9:00pm. I had checked her, then a little while later April, Steph, and the kids came back from Patty’s, and stopped to check on Penny. It was a good thing too, because she was going into labor. Bryce came up to the house, and by the time we got there the feet were sticking out. I took position at the baby, and Rudy took the head. I was so happy Rudy was here that night, he was going to leave the next morning. She took a little while to deliver, but finally we had a beautiful chestnut filly. April named her Aul Meerche (Meershe).
Meerche is different from our other babies. She’s quiet, and shy. By two weeks the others would be tearing around the paddock running, and bucking like crazy. She runs a little, but in a quiet way. She is by far the sweetest baby we’ve had yet. She’s quick to learn, loves her skirtches, and is spoiled rotten (of course).
George got double pneumonia was in the hospital, then two weeks after he got out Patti went in the hospital with the same thing. Because of her other health problems they sent her to Albuquerque. She spent a couple of weeks in the hospital, then went to re-hab. She now has full-blown diabetes on top of everything else. Thank God for Steph. The riding lessons have stopped for now, and I don’t know when she’ll have time to start them again. Bryce took off back to Wyoming, which turned out to be a good thing. He was not the person he put on he was. Poor Brianna has had her first lesson in the perils of love.
I can’t remember whose truck died first, but both George’s, and my truck died (thankfully not at the same time). I discovered that St. Eloi (or St Eligius) is the patron saint of mechanics. I’ve been praying to him a lot. We replaced the fuel pump, and it went exactly a mile, and a half before it quit. Rudy came home, and did a full tune up on it. It still wasn’t working right, so George was getting us both water, and feed. Meanwhile Sierra tore down his gate (actually he lifted it up, and took it off it’s hinges), coming out of it with only some scrapes (thank you for that Lord). I moved him, and Ibn, and took him off alfalfa completely. He had gotten so full of himself he was getting unmanageable. Cutting out the alfalfa has done wonders for his demeanor.
I have one more thing I can replace on the truck to try to get it running properly (an oxygen sensor). God willing it will do the trick. The truck runs well enough to get water, and hay, but still stalls at the idle when it’s warm. I’ve spent so much time working on the truck I haven’t done much else except mow. El Nino has been kind enough to stick around for the summer so I have been mowing constantly. At one point it was the only vehicle that was running. Rudy got the gator going when he did the tune up on the truck. Seems there is an anti-spark screen on the end of the tail pipe. It was so full of carbon the poor gator couldn’t breathe. Rudy poked a hole in it, and now the gator runs perfectly. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get it off so we can’t replace it.
All vehicles are running now (more or less) so the water pump just had to give me problems. It’s not exactly the water pump, but one of the pipes at the pump house. Metal to plastic just doesn’t work well in our extreme temps. I guess this is going to be an annual thing unless I can figure out a way to keep that one section of pip from cracking (yeah right).
That’s as far as I got when our lives got so busy I couldn’t even see straight. Well I’m going to try this again. Keep tuned…