Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It Runs in the Family (aka, Today's History Lesson)

Last night I did get pictures of my place and had fully intended on giving a progress report, but I worked a bit too hard and was a little too tired. After work I did chores and then worked until dark, came in, took a shower, fed the dogs and went to bed.

Man, were my dogs a-barkin! And I don't mean my own daggum dogs neither!

Translation: My feet ached from the plethora of work I completed yesterday. My personal canine companions were not literally vocally boysterous--I was using a turn of phrase.


I did meander on the world wide web a bit and found some interesting articles on famous horses. Two of these horses ended up having a personal connection that I found both interesting and helpful in explaining my terrible addiction. Apparently a love of great horses runs in the family.

Let me back up a bit here. My 4th great-grandmother was Mary Ann Sheridan. Her family came from Ireland, she married a Neel and gave birth to my 3rd great-grandmother Mary Ann Neel who in turn married George McCandless. George and Mary Ann are buried just a mile from where I now live. And now you know the rest of the story....

Mary Ann Sheridan was a lady I would have loved to have known. She lived most of her life in Ohio and (in her own words) was a cousin of both General Robert E. Lee and General Phillip Sheridan. I've been able to solidify the line between her and General Sheridan, but the connection between her and General Lee still needs to be verified. However, in some way, Mary Ann knew both these individuals as family.

Since I don't want to presume that every one of my readers (including international ones) is well-versed in American Civil War history, here's a little background on these two famous generals:

Robert E Lee is probably the best known (and arguably the most well-respected) of the Confederate Generals. He was the General in Chief of the Confederate Army at the close of the war. Lee was actually asked by President Lincoln to command Union troops but since Lee's home state of Virginia was succeeding from the Union (which, by the way, was a decision Lee did not agree with), he chose to fight for the Confederacy. After the war Lee supported President Johnson's Reconstruction program.

General Phillip Sheridan is not as well known as General Lee but in his own time was considered a very powerful (and sometimes controversial) commander. He was actually instrumental in Lee's surrender at Appromattox. Later in life he helped develop Yellowstone National Park.

Perhaps Sheridan's biggest claim to fame was his famous ride:

Sheridan's Ride
by Thomas Buchanan Read

Up from the South, at break of day,
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
Like a herald in haste to the chieftain's door,
The terrible grumble, and rumble, and roar,
Telling the battle was on once more,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.

And wider still those billows of war
Thundered along the horizon's bar;
And louder yet into Winchester rolled
The roar of that red sea uncontrolled,
Making the blood of the listener cold,
As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,
With Sheridan twenty miles away.

But there is a road from Winchester town,
A good, broad highway leading down:
And there, through the flush of the morning light,
A steed as black as the steeds of night
Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight;
As if he knew the terrible need,
He stretched away with his utmost speed.
Hills rose and fell, but his heart was gay,
With Sheridan fifteen miles away.

Still sprang from those swift hoofs, thundering south,
The dust like smoke from the cannon's mouth,
Or the trail of a comet, sweeping faster and faster,
Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster.
The heart of the steed and the heart of the master
Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls,
Impatient to be where the battle-field calls;
Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play,
With Sheridan only ten miles away.

Under his spurning feet, the road
Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed,
And the landscape sped away behind
Like an ocean flying before the wind;
And the steed, like a barque fed with furnace ire,
Swept on, with his wild eye full of fire;
But, lo! he is nearing his heart's desire;
He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,
With Sheridan only five miles away.

The first that the general saw were the groups
Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops;
What was to be done? what to do?--a glance told him both.
Then striking his spurs with a terrible oath,
He dashed down the line, 'mid a storm of huzzas,
And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because
The sight of the master compelled it to pause.
With foam and with dust the black charger was gray;
By the flash of his eye, and his red nostril's play,
He seemed to the whole great army to say:
"I have brought you Sheridan all the way
From Winchester down to save the day.

"Hurrah! hurrah for Sheridan!
Hurrah! hurrah for horse and man!
And when their statues are placed on high
Under the dome of the Union sky,
The American soldier's Temple of Fame,
There, with the glorious general's name,
Be it said, in letters both bold and bright:
"Here is the steed that saved the day
By carrying Sheridan into the fight,
From Winchester--twenty miles away!"

The horse immortalized in Read's poem,"Rienzi" (whose name was changed to Winchester when the poem was written), now resides in the Smithsonian. Rienzi was presented to Sheridan in 1862 by officers of the Second Michigan Cavalry. He was ridden by Sheridan in nearly every engagement in which he participated during the remainder of the Civil War.

Rienzi/Winchester died in 1878. His body was mounted and presented to the museum of the Military Service Institution of the United States, Governors Island, New York. He is now on display at the Hall of Armed Forces History, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

General Lee's horse was famous, too. His name was Traveller. Traveller was a 16H American Saddlebred and Lee's main mount after he purchased him in 1862. He was reportedly a steadfast horse and not easily spooked.

Traveller outlived Lee and during Lee's funeral procession in 1870 he was led behind Lee's casket, his saddle and bridle draped with black crepe. A year later Traveller stepped on a nail, developed tetanus and was euthanized.

Traveller was so popular that after his burial someone dug him up and bleached his bones. The skeleton was recovered and mounted for display, but students would break in and carve their initials on his skeleton for good luck. Finally Traveller was laid to rest in a cement coffin not far from Lee's grave.

So you see, this addiction...this "horse-thing" has to be genetic, right? I even have historical evidence to back up my theory.

That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's Begun!

Right now, as I've said before, I only have one usable stall, which is completely unacceptable. So far my lottery winnings have not arrived (hardee har har), so I've put together a plan to get some shelter for the horses until I can one day afford to build a new barn on the ole homestead.

The house, sheds, and barn are all currently there, of course. The new items will be the 3 pens to the North. Right now there is only a large brush pile there and lots-o-weeds.

I'm heading to town sometimes this week to order my first outbuilding, similar to the one below, but it will have two 12x12 stalls (lined) and a 12 x 6 tackroom on the right hand side.

The total size will be 12 x 30 and it will house two horses in two pens, plus some tack and/or feed for that area of the place. After a while I'll order a second 12x12 shelter for the next pen over.

I've even decided the color I'll order: patina-green steel siding with a white roof and trim. The lighter shade of green will look amazing with the brown and yellow on the house and the brown metal roof we'll soon put on the hay shed.

It's still a long ways away from the barn, but they will make for some very nice shelters and enable me to keep Paula clean when I'm able to show her :)

First things first, though: picking up about a million branches. We worked on it for two hours tonight. I'll post pics tomorrow!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Eddie's Sons

One more post today: I just had to share this picture of two of Eddie's sons out it Missouri.

This is Sandra Layton on Colton (formerly known as "Ringo" aka, "The Fabulist") ponying Fabian ("A Fabulous Choice"). Sandra owns Colton and Jennifer owns Fabian.

These girls couldn't be doing a better job with these colts! Sandra also owns one more Eddie son: Benz ("LookN Fabulous InaBenz"). They do such a good job with getting them trained and taking such excellent care of them. Thanks, ladies, for all your hard work and doing Eddie proud!!

It Hurts to Get Hurt

We've had a pretty rough last two weeks here at the farm. Of course, the worst of it all has been Eddie's ordeal.

I'm so happy to report, though, that Eddie has a localized cellulitis (infection right under the skin) that caused his leg to swell up and go lame. Things could have been so much worse. He could have had joint ill or even an injury to his already-compromised joints, but thank goodness, he doesn't. This morning he was swinging his leg around freely. I think that he'll be walking on it quite soon. Yay!

In the meantime, Suzie rolled into the fencing and skinned up her back leg. Thankfully nothing even broke the skin. Then Paula's eye was infected and the meds are on backorder, but again, thankfully, that cleared up on its own.

Then there's me. I can barely type this as my hands feel like raw hamburger. Over the last few weeks I've gotten lots of small splinters under my skin from working around the place--splinters that are too small to extract, but of course they always get up under the skin, dig around, cause a small infection and hurt like hell.

Then yesterday I got a couple of nice big wounds to finish it off:

I got a splinter right through the meat of my middle finger of my right hand. The above picture actually isn't mine, but it's very close to what happened to me. Unfortunately while I tried to remove most of it I think some of it is still in there. I tried to "operate" last night but it was much too painful. I'm taking a wait-and-see approach. In the meantime, "Ouch."

I'd to to the hospital but by the time they open it up and I get stitches I'm sure I'll have to come up with the full $500 deductable, which, after Eddie's ordeal now reaching close to a grand in meds, salves, bandages, vet calls, etc., I just don't have to spare.

Then while trying to trim Eddie's foot on his good leg while he was laying down (since, if you'll remember, he's still lacking the shelf he needs to stand on on his bad leg while I do his good one, I thought I'd take advantage of his naps to trim him), I did this to myself.

Rasp and knuckles do not mix. I've done this so many times over the last 5 years I've been trimming that I have scars now. I haven't done it for a long time, though, as I usually have gloves but mine have fallen apart and I've put off order more due to all the additional expenses I've had. Anyway, this is on my left, the splinter on my right and my hands were sore to begin with.

The important thing is we're all doing ok, though! We'll all heal, and maybe this just means that we're getting all of the year's injuries over with early in the year!

One can only hope....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The 72-Hour Day

My busy day started this morning, with meeting the electrician for an estimate to get the vapor lights working back in the horse area.

Then I rushed to work (once chores were all done) and at noon met Dad for lunch, gave him the bill of sale for the vehicle he sold, then picked up grain, drove home and found something very interesting....

Eddie's leg had opened up on the side and was oozing puss!

Yeah, I know...that's really gross, but to me it was very good news. It meant we were dealing with infection rather than injury, so at least now we know what's going on, and I was relieved that I had started antibiotics a couple of days ago, just in case.

Tomorrow I pick up more antibiotics and will talk to the vet, but in the meantime Eddie seems to be acting better. I think it's relieving a lot of pressure on the joint!

After picking up my truck and the bale mover I drove back to work and had the usual busy afternoon of putting together reports, auditing information and answering questions.

Once the workday was done, I had to drive out east of Pratt to pick up a roundbale of alfalfa. To my disappointment, the roundbale was in a spot I couldn't back up the bale trailer to and no one was around, so I had to roll it! I'm happy to report my bale moving skills aren't lost to times gone by! I got the sucker rolled into a spot that I could back the trailer up to, got the fork slid under it then got the 1600 pound bale cranked up into place. It takes me about 40 minutes to get home since the bale trailer isn't meant for highway speeds, but hey, the horses have hay.

I got home and found that Suzie had got herself caught in the fence!! She was ok, thankfully, but the fence needed quite a bit of repair. Then dad showed up with a truckload of stuff from the storage unit (thanks, Dad! :) and we got the first batch of my junk unloaded.

Why does someone need so much junk anyhow? Huh?

So, then I got the bale moved into place, chores done, Eddie's hydrotherapy done, and when I was feeding I found that Paula's eye is all swollen!

Paula, Paula, Paula.... Now HALF my horses are messed up in some way!


OK, I feel a bit better now. Thanks for listening. Off to check on Edward. Keep your fingers crossed that everyone starts feeling better soon.....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The World According to Sophie

Note: We interupt our regularly scheduled blog to bring you this important message from the Sophster.

I have a very important matter to discuss with every dog owner out there.

This is a very important matter, so please listen up.

Since the beginning of time, us doggies have stayed by your side and have asked very little in return. You call us your best friend, yet we are denied the few simple pleasures that we crave.

I'd like to make a plea on behalf of all the doggies out there: please just give us a break once in a while. Okay?

For instance, you dress us up in silly clothes, laugh and take pictures,

Yet you yell at us for eating the yummy frozen road apples the giant mutant doggies leave behind. Honestly, does it hurt anyone for us to eat those scrumptious road apples?

Then you expect us to co-exist with the kitty without ever chasing them and we're expected to resist the temptation of the litterbox?!

Don't you think you're asking for a bit too much here?

Oh! And when you come home from your hours and hours away from the house (when I'm sitting here thinking all day that you're going to be gone forever and ever), the least you could do is bring home a bag full of treats when you return.

Am I asking too much here?


Okay. Thank you for your cooperation.

Monday, March 22, 2010

One of my Favorite Things

To me, there aren't very many things better than the end of a long day:

When errands are run and chores are done,

Than hearing the sounds of horses munching their hay.

The peaceful evening is so serene.

I reflect on all these happy faces

And remember what all the hard work of the day really means.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Waiting for Spring

Today was another pretty good day considering Eddie's ordeal. Of course any day that Eddie feels "okay" is a good day.

This is an old picture, of course, but hopefully what his leg will look like again someday soon. I'm trying a new regiment now: wrap all night, hydrotherapy all day and bute three times a day (versus 4 or 5 times a day before). He's got a deeply bedded stall that he's resting comfortably in, but the door is open for him to go out and enjoy some sun if he feels up to it. It's truly amazing how careful he is with each hop, going in and out of his stall.

Only time will tell if he will recover. As long as he can get by ok and shows signs of healing, we'll keep trying. If not, then we'll do the right thing by Eddie. Hopefully, though, that will be a contingency plan we won't have to act on.

Despite this precarious (and emotionally draining) situation, Eddie was quite perky today and even knocked into me with his butt, wanting a good scratch. :)

I know you're dying to hear of all the other exciting details of my day. OK, here it is...wait for it....

I did laundry.

Of course this would be much more exciting if this was actually my washer and dryer. I'd actually love doing laundry, but alas, it's not. In fact, I have no laundry room at all. It's in renovation. There is simply only a suggestion of a laundry room right now.

I also worked. I will spare you the exciting details, but let me tell you, it was riveting.

In addition to all this excitement, I also got Paula trimmed and groomed.

Her feet were indeed overdue, with the move and whatnot, but they weren't too bad at all. Thankfully they don't grow as much in winter.

However, Paula has grown over the winter! She's now 15.2H! In fact all the girls are growing. Bambi is darned near 14.2 (poor little girl) and Laramie is zooming past 15H. Everyone is shedding out, getting so shiny and slick.

I love spring....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

The snow is falling and friends are calling MARCH.

Yep, yet another late, late, late winter snowstorm after mother nature teasing us with a couple of weeks' worth of gorgeous 60+ degree temps. At least it's nothing like last year's late storm.

Although this year I just about fell on the ice.


Paula feels fine in this weather, though. She feels she blends in a tad more.

Eddie is set as well, in his own stall with lots of bedding, out of the wind and cold. I have to say this stall is downright cozy, as it's on the southeast side of the barn, so it gets all the sun and none of the wind. I was sweating in there earlier this morning....

We had a pretty bad day yesterday but last night I tried a furazone/DMSO sweat wrap on him and it really helped with the swelling, so I'm applying that in several-hour intervals with about an hours rest in between.

He's a lot perkier today, thank goodness. He's bumped into me several times wanting his butt scratched. I don't mind at all if the goober wants to take advantage of the situation and mooch some extra attention. He certainly deserves it, after everything he's been through in his nearly eight years.

Actually he deserves so much more.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Update on Eddie

I appreciate so very much all the kind words, thoughts, and prayers for Eddie. The support helps so much. All your kind words help so much. It's been a difficult time to be sure. My face is swollen from way too many tears, and I'm emotionally exhausted, but I do have a bit of good news--a glimmer of hope.

Eddie has been moving his leg around more, the swelling has gone down some and he's even tried to put a little weight on that leg. The improvement, noticable albiet slight, means this was most likely an injury and not the final breakdown of his leg. If this theory is true, his chances for recovery are so much greater.

And that, my friends, is great news.

I was afraid to give Eddie the stall in the old barn because he has to step (hop) up to get into it, but I should have never second-guessed his abilities. Eddie knows how to take care of himself and he knows how to be careful. He's really amazing, the way he thinks about every motion and how he's going to make sure he doesn't hurt himself. These past two days have made me see how he survived his terrible injuries in the first place. He's absolutely amazing.

So, Suzie got kicked out (she's weeks away from foaling) and Eddie got the stall to weather the upcoming winter storm. You can see in the picture that he's not putting any weight on his white leg. Hopefully in a few days the picture will be much different. Hopefully he'll be back to his same ole goobery self.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Difficult Post

I had planned on posting today about my kissing the Blarney Stone, but when I got home I found that there is no luck of the Irish here.

Eddie's bent leg can bear no weight at all. He's able to get up and down but there is significant swelling and he's in pain. He is in by himself and there's no fencing torn up, so I dont' think another horse injured him. He either twisted it or it's broke down.

I know the day will come that it will break down and I'll have to say goodbye. I want that day to be in the future, though--not in the present.

Please keep him in your prayers and thoughts. He's getting supportive care and only time can tell me if this is just a bad day or if we're at the end. Eddie is a very strong boy, so if anyone can pull through, it's him.

I know I'm asking a lot. Six years ago I was told he'd most likely only make it to 5 years of age at the most. Next week he'll be 8. Please, God, let him make it to at least 9.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Suzie and the Gang

Here are the new pictures I promised oh so long ago of my new mare Suzie (Sheza Triples Zippo).

Doesn't she have the sweetest face?

Eddie wanted to get a closer look of that sweet face, but Suzie really wasn't interested (she's 10 months pregnant, so who could blame her?)

She had all kinds of fun playing today. She's been in her foaling pen for a week so she took full advantage of the opportunity to stretch her legs.

Paula enjoyed the gorgeous day as well!

I tell ya what, days like this, watching the "kids" play just really makes every bit of hard work entirely worth it.

Why else would I work this hard to keep them. Yeah, I might be crazy, but not quite that crazy.

Just look at this next picture and try not to smile. I dare ya.

See, I knew you couldn't do it!

I have oodles and oodles of pictures from today, but unfortunately only a quarter of an oddle of time, so more later. I promise! In the meantime I did do a little post processing on a couple of other pictures that tickled my fancy, so I thought I'd share those as well.

Eepy-cray, yet hauntingly beautiful. I took this picture about 3 or 4 years ago and I still love it. I hate spiders, though. Love the picture. Hate spiders. Go figure.

Then the old barn:
You knew this one would be back, didn't you?

You don't know me ;~)

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Only Constant

After work today I rushed home to get one large project in particular taken care of: cleaning out my feed room.

It's truly amazing how much dirty can accumilate in one unused place over the course of just under three years. It was a mess, but I'm pleased to report that my feed room is once again an organized and fairly clean place to store the horses' feed.

In fact, it's even a little better than it was before. As I set up this feed room (for the second time) I reflected on how much had changed over the past few years and how much I've learned. For example, I used to think that this was the perfect picture of equine bliss for me:

Now-a-days, if I had that many horses, I think I'd be on ulcer meds! It was a great time, don't get me wrong, but my priorities have changed. Now I feel like just six is way too many.

I think I'd be ok with four, but not sure if I'll get there.... With horses, less is definitely more!

Tomorrow I hope to get some current pics of everyone, now that the big projects are done. The next project, the foaling stall, won't take too much time. Hopefully. Then brush burning, putting up the roundpen, fencing off my riding area, taking out the cattle pens, putting in a loafing shed and fencing to replace the cattle pens, fixing up the hay shed and clearing out the back area....

then I can rest when I'm dead! :~)