Monday, April 26, 2010

If wishes were kisses

Monday again. Boy, weekends sure do fly! It's raining again and our sunshine which was around for at least part of the last couple of days has disappeared, and grey skies prevail. I read on someone's blog that they have a small peach on their tree and blossoms on their zuchini plants...well, they obviously don't live in the greater pacific northwest!! I can't even imagine such an early growing season - well, anything other than grass or weeds that is. Somehow, it just doesn't seem fair! (snarle)

We stuck fairly close to home the entire weekend. We didn't even go to church, but enjoyed a quiet Sabbath at home and just relaxed. It was nice. The house was cold enough that a fire in the woodstove felt mighty good, and once again we were thankful for our little stove. Our supply of wood is completely gone and we've been burning up old scrap lumber that we've stockpiled over the years. We're also completely out of pellets for the pellet stove. We're gonna be up a creek without a paddle if our weather doesn't warm up soon. I'd like to get our next winter's supply of wood soon if we can, just to be prepared and have one less thing to have to remember to do later. Like my hubby is always saying..."all it takes is money"...There are so many things on the "need to buy" list that it's disheartening, and that list just seems to keep on growing. Oh well, one day at a time, or maybe that should be, one thing at a time. Somedays I find myself wishing for not only more money, but more time and definitely, more energy. If there were only 2 of each of us, we'd make headway a whole lot quicker. Oh well, it's just not worth worrying over. I keep telling myself...worry about nothing - pray about everything. My new mantra.

Sunday was a work day for us. We tackled a long-overdue clean-up project that we've been putting off for a long time. It was one of those fenced-in, catch-all spots near one of the outside barns that was a real eyesore. With Harley's worsening vision, we thought it was the right time to get the job done. It looks so much better now. All the debris is in the back of our truck awaiting a trip to the dump and our burn pile has easily doubled in size. We also have the raised garden bed all cleaned up and ready to go, cleared the apple orchard pasture of the windfall from winter and got the lawn mowed and edged. We took an afternoon trip to Costco and stockpiled for the freezer and the pantry as well. The one area that was ignored was the house. As soon as the sun shows up, the inside is all but forgotten and we're outside playing catch-up. Like I've mentioned before, when both of us work 40 hours a week at an away from home job, have animals to be cared for daily and try desperately to honor the Sabbath...that leaves Sunday for the one day a week to try and accomplish everything that needs to get done. It ain't easy!

My list of warm weather projects keeps growing in size as well. Firstly, the winter's supply of hay needs to be paid for and promptly stored away in the barns. We're down to about 1-1/2 tons and hopefully, that will last until we get the new crop. I'm thinking 16 tons of local grass hay should do; and since that's about as much storage as we have available - that will just have to do. Firewood - I'd like to get/chop whatever about 3 cords and get 1, possibly 2 tons of pellets. I'd like to build 2 or 3 more raised garden beds - one for strawberries and the others for whatever we decide to plant. We'd like to replace the kitchen flooring and paint both the walls and the cabinets, and replace the sink. Of course, if we replace the kitchen flooring we want to include the mudroom, the nook where the woodstove is, and the laundry room. Matching flooring for this entire area would be a nice improvement. And, we need to repaint the exterior of our house, remove the moss from the roof and clean and restain the deck. I'm getting tired just thinking about all of it...never mind having to pay for it all. See what I mean? The list just never seems to ever get shorter, and there's never enough money to even get close to paying for it all. I guess I'm whining, but it seems discouraging at best.

In between all the projects and jobs that have to be done, we still need to enjoy some downtime as well. Remembering to take the time to be thankful for what we do have, realizing that it could always be so much worse, and enjoying the life that we have been blessed with is equally important. Not one of us knows how much time we have, or what will happen "tomorrow", so it's vital that we enjoy our lives, our families and our friends. And for those of us with horses...use and enjoy them when we can too. God knows we do enough laboring just to keep them, it's kinda nice to get to go riding every once in a while.

Some of the best things in life are the simple things...warm sunshine, sitting on the deck with someone you love, sipping a cool drink and listening to the music of nature on a summer evening, watching the dogs play, taking a nap, laughing with a good friend, taking a walk in the many things in life to savor...all I wish for is more time in which to enjoy it all.

If wishes were kisses, I'd be a pretty happy gal...


but then, kisses are pretty good too. :)

Blessings from cingspots

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Life in the day

I had no idea what to title this post. I changed it several times. But, it's not about anything really...just life. When we wake up each morning, we never really know what's going to take place. Could be monumental; could be incidental; could be exciting, or boring...but regardless of the day - life just happens...every single each one of us. Opportunities abound, shit just happens. Most of the time I feel like I'm just along for the ride. I'm definitely not in control of anything; and on those rare days when I think I've got it all's all cool...tomorrow happens and shoves me right back in my place.

I just keep getting back up, and trying to keep moving forward. Ray Hunt told me once that "the energy's gotta go to direct it forward, if you can". He really was a wise man, and definitely not just about horses.

You probably can't tell, but I'm an emotional mess today. Oh sure, I'm at work and functioning just fine. I could almost do this in my sleep. I'm good at it. The smile is there and I'm putting one foot in front of the other. Answering all the questions, helping out wherever I can...autopilot on. "check"

I watched a very well-made documentary film on OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) last night. To say it was disturbing is more than just an understatement. I wish every single person in the United States could watch this film. We all NEED to watch this film. We should. It's called "Food Inc." It's available for purchase online if anyone's interested. I wouldn't recommend viewing it with the kiddies...or before just might ruin your appetite. But, should watch it. Very enlightening stuff.

So, anyway I was out and about on our property the other day and shot a few pictures of the critters. Spring has sprung in all its' glory, and our little piece of reality is a very pretty place right now. The horses are shedding their winter woolies, enjoying their rolls in the mud and eating everything in sight. Life is always grand for the dogs...they spend their time playing, sleeping and begging. Hey, what's not to enjoy? Nellie's been growing leaps and bounds, and has outgrown her first baby collar. I don't think she'll be as big as Annie, but that's just fine. She idolizes Annie and that's okay too. She couldn't possibly have a more perfect mentor.

Ladde with spooky glowing eyes. :) He's as fat as a tick. I need to get started on his conditioning sooner, rather than later. Their shoes go on in early May, and I am more than ready to hit the trails. I cannot wait!

Harley horse. He sure doesn't have the look of a blind horse does he?

He still has some vision. This is his good eye, but there's a little vision in both. I am anxious to get him back out in the woods too. I'm still working on wrapping my mind around the fact that my best trailhorse is nearly blind, but we will work through it together. He trust me and that's what counts.

The infamous cushioned post that was probably instrumental in causing trauma to his left eye. He and Ladde were always playing "face wars" around this post and on several occasions, Harley's eye took direct hits. Aaah...hindsight.

Sorry for the dirty lens...the dogs at frantic play. The term, "whirling dervish" comes to mind. :)

Little Miss "Frosted Siri L" - she has always been so very opinionated. Hmmph!! I bet she wouldn't have been so incredibly rude, had she known she had grass stuck between her teeth!!

The perfect little angel horse...Kadie. THE best mountain horse - EVER!!! How I love this horse!!! She's 24 years old this year. Don't you just wish you could turn back the hands of time?
I sure do...

"The girls" My beautiful dogs and bestest friends anybody could wish for - Annie and Nellie.

Nellie adores Annie. And, I'm pretty sure you'd never get her to admit it; but...Annie's pretty fond of little Nells Bells too. And, that's a very good thing!

Life's pure pleasure for these two!

What a good pup!! She has been the easiest puppy I can ever remember training. She's a very smart little girl. She's about 6-1/2 months old now. She's gonna have a fun summer...I see swimming and camping and a whole bunch of new adventures in store for this little gal!

Sorry for the blurry pictures. Our neighbors finally burned down the big, old, red barn. It was a sad day, but I guess it needed to happen. Nothing lasts forever in this life.

Annie does not dislike cats. However, most of the time I think she would just appreciate them all leaving her alone. But, you know how that goes...they all love her! :) We all do!! *sigh* Whatever is a girl to do?

This is "Princess". I know, it's a ridiculous name, but I've always named the animals whatever pops into my head. What can I say? She's a princess!! Just look at those beautiful, blue eyes!!

Our shaggy little old lady of the herd. Siri is 28 years old now. She's actually shed out since I took this picture and is looking amazingly good for a mature woman of her years. You'd never guess her age if you saw her! Good genes.

This is Harley and Shad - not a great picture, but it does show how wet and muddy our pastures have been. They've dried out some since this was taken, and we're eternally grateful for that. But, spring in Oregon you never know what to expect!

Nellie, crazy puppy!!!!!

The seasonal creek near our house is a source of great joy for our dogs...however, there have been times when it's been a source of great distress for us - in the form of very muddy, swampy-smelling canines. Oh, the ups and downs of living in the country!!

Until next time, blessings everyone! May you enjoy peace and joy this spring!
Cingspots...over and out!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Holy Moly, my baby's 13 today!!!!!!!!

As a yearling...this is the time in his life we referred to him as, "Harley 10 Hairs". His tail, mane and forelock did eventually grow back...just different. :)

He's always been my sweet boy.

He's always been such a loving little guy. We still call him our "little Harley". This is most likely because he and Ladde grew up pretty much like brothers, and Ladde has always been a "big boy". Everywhere we went, everyone without exception commented on how very big Ladde was. It's true...he's a true 17 hands, and weighs 1500-1600 pounds. Harley, by comparison at 15.3 and only 1300 pounds is small. It's all about perspective.

Harley giving brother-in-law, Steve a ride. He's very calm with rookies aboard.

Me and Harley riding in a Ray Hunt clinic several years ago.

Posing with Ray. Sheesh, notice how my flirty sister snuggles up to Ray? She's not a horse person, nor had she ever heard of Ray Hunt before today...some people!! :)

Our two beautiful baby boys all grown up. Harley and Ladde with my hubby in-between.

Harley and me at another clinic. This one was with Brad Cameron, the mule trainer. Awesome clinician!

This was taken summer before last while on vacation in LaPine, Oregon.

Whoowee!!! I can't believe that another birthday for my boy is here again. April 8, 1997 was the day my beautiful Harley horse was born. What a day...I remember it like it was yesterday...

Scooter's due date was in early March and we had just about given up on having a foal, or at least a healthy one. You see, Scooter was our beautiful mare that had chronic laminitis. We had struggled for years to keep her sound and had spent countless amounts of money and effort to keep her comfortable. I can count on one hand the number of times that I was fortunate enough to get to ride her, and she was a dreamboat to ride. She'd colicked on us one of those times while camping at Timothy Lake, and we were pretty sure we were gonna lose her. But, thank God we had Banamine in our med kit and preferred walking for endless hours instead of sleeping like all the other campers in the campground. Around and around we walked, most of the night...when the sun was beginning to rise through the trees, we finally felt like enough time had passed without Scoot having severe pain spasms that we could chance a few blessed hours of sleep. Thankfully, by morning Scooter seemed comfortable enough to travel and we headed for home. Crisis over.

Another time a few years later, Scoot was having another episode of laminitis and our vet tried a newer technique to increase the blood circulation in her feet. The procedure was called a venogram, and consisted of applying a tourniquet around the fetlock and using a butterfly valve, we injected dye and saline solution into the blood vessels of her front feet. Everything went smoothly and Scooter was a willing and agreeable patient. But, for whatever reason, that evening Scooter colicked again. Dr. Rick came out and this time we nearly did lose her. It was a very severe case of colic. Scoot was very painful and for some reason she started having muscle fascillitations (spelling?) and her potassium and other electrolyte numbers dropped off the chart. My vet was scared, and that scared me. We gave her several different pain meds and fluids for hours and stayed with her for most of the night. With many prayers and the constant work of my boss, we once again, pulled her through. Another crisis over. We were starting to think that our beautiful girl was cursed. Without getting very lengthy here, let's just suffice it to say that we started believing that our uphill battle with Scooter's soundness and health might be a losing proposition. She had foaled twice before we had gotten her. Our other horse Ladde, is sired by one of Scooter's foals. A beautiful stallion by the name of Sir Ladigo. Anyway, we wanted to breed her, in fact that is the main reason we had got her in the first place. So, once she had been doing well for a while, we found a stallion and had Scooter bred. I guess what I'm trying to relay is just how much we were dealing with where Scooter was concerned, and now her pregnancy was a full 31 days past due. Our nerves were like steel guitar strings.

My wonderfully creative hubby had devised a very clever way for us to "spy" on Scoot during her pregnancy. He had run telephone coax cable from our house out to the barn enabling us to pick up the tv remote and hit the "Scooter channel". At anytime of the day or night, we could gaze upon our beloved mare and see how she was doing. Without that, I seriously think we would have snapped.

So, one morning...April 8 to be exact...I wandered out of my bed all sleepy-eyed and hit the scooter channel. There she was, still pregnant. *yawn* I headed towards the shower. Whoa!! Wait a minute!! Something; I'm still not sure just what it was that caught my eye, but something made me snap awake and do a 360 and have another look. Yep, this was it - she was going down!!! I grabbed a jacket and jumped into my muck boots and flew like the wind out to the barn! I arrived just in time to see a tiny muzzle and two very tiny little hooves poking out from Scooter's vulva!! Thank you God, the presentation was normal!! I dropped to my knees, tears of joy streaming down my cheeks to witness the miracle of birth. Up until this time, I had never witnessed a birth of an animal of any kind; no kitten, no puppy, and certainly never a foal. To say I felt like a novice was quite the understatement. But, I whispered a quick prayer of gratitude and help on Scooty's behalf, and prepared to take it all in.

Within minutes there was the front half of the most gorgeous foal I'd ever seen exposed. I grabbed my knife and cut open the sack to expose his nose and carefully cleaned the mucus from his nostrils. I remember how his little eyes looked up at me and he blinked twice as if clearing his vision. He was absolutely precious!! Of course he was all wet, but his color was the most exquisite deep red, almost like a rich, liver signs of any white, and I couldn't have possibly cared less! He appreared fine and I was so filled with thankfulness. About this time is when you'd expect the mare to push the foal out completely and finish up. But, no...Scooter decided to take a little break and review her handiwork. She started this beautiful little maternal nickering that just brought me to tears all over again. She was cooing to her sweet baby and he answered her!! Just a tiny little nicker, barely audible but it was there all the same. It was still to this day, one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard. Just lovely, and I felt blessed to be there with them, and I felt so honored that Scooty was so relaxed and comfortable with me being there at such a special time. Since little Harley was still half inside, there was no way for Scoot to do anything but look at and talk to, her foal. I kept waiting for Scooter to complete her job, but she and the foal seemed totally content to just lie there, momma softly talking to her baby and the foal looking around at his new surroundings. I kept smothering his precious little face with kisses and making sure there was no mucus in his mouth, nose or ears. Everything seemed perfectly normal, except for the fact that he wasn't completely out yet. What was going on??? About this time, I began to worry, thinking that this wasn't completely normal and maybe I should do something to help. This was in the pre-cell phone era and I wanted to call the vet and ask him if there was a need for concern, but I wasn't about to leave and miss a moment of this event. So, I just sat there with Scooter, now addressing my attentions on her. She appeared to be relaxed and totally content...wish I could say the same. After about 15 minutes of "time-out", Scooter gave one great big push and Harley was expelled. Whew! What a relief! Now what? I forgot to mention that Scooter had hardly stood on her feet for any length of time in the last 30-45 days of her pregnancy. The extra weight was a bit much for her laminitic feet and she layed down a lot. So, I cleaned up the foal for her, dipped his naval several times, dried him with a towel...and waited. Why wasn't he getting up? This was about the time I decided to make a mad dash for the house and call the vet. I wanted him there - now! I felt like something just wasn't quite right, and I was getting scared again! I made the call, vet's on his way, then called my hubby and gave him the good news. And, back out to the barn I went. Still no change there.

After the vet checked everyone out and reassured me that everything appeared fine, I waited almost 4 hours before Harley decided to stand up. He just made up his mind and stood up...a little wobbly at first, but no big deal. Sheesh!! Scooter was still lying down, but nickered to her foal to come over and he did. He obeyed like a little soldier, and for the first time they sniffed noses and got acquainted with one another. Reassured by everything, I went inside for a quick shower and a much-needed cup of coffee. Later, feeling much better I headed back out just in time to catch Harley nursing with gusto. Another relief. Scoot was lying down holding one hind leg back so the little guy could nurse, which he was with much vigor!! Camera now in-hand, I began shooting pictures for all I was worth. I will try to post some of these very soon so you can all see how very adorable he was. For the next several months, most of the time Harley nursed with momma lying down, and when she was feeling better and he had to re-learn how to nurse while standing, he used to stamp his feet and switch his little tail at the discomfort and inconvenience of it all at having to crick his little neck to get his meals. It was so funny!!

Scooter's registered name was "Mis Star of David", and we decided that given our foal's relaxed, laidback attitude towards life, coupled with the fact that he was so very slow to get started in life, the name "Harley" suited him just fine. So...Scooter had a Harley. We almost named him "Harley David's Son", but I was in a very Nez Perce Indian frame of mind and went with "Ahkunkenekoo" ahh-koon-kee-nee-koo...quite the mouthful huh?? It means, the land above...heaven. And, he was our little gift from heaven. But, he's always been Harley to us.

So, that's the story of the beginning of our wonderful relationship with our beautiful Harley horse...trail pony extraordinaire!!

Happy, happy Birthday sweet little spunky!!!!

You're a teenager now!!

Blessings all...cingspots

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April Fool's Day!!

...or, as it's been more appropriately termed..."All Fool's Day". :) To me, this somehow includes all of humankind and is much more politically correct. Wouldn't you agree?

Shame on me...sorry, couldn't resist!

Anyway, thought I'd better drop in here and chat for a bit. My last posting has been a couple of weeks or so ago. I know...I'm not doing very well here lately. I do, however read my favorites a lot more often than I've been updating my own blog. I love reading about what all my wonderful blog buddies are doing.

Seems lately my life has been in a bit of a standstill for some reason. I get up each morning and greet the day, head off to the clinic and put in my time there, come home and along with my hubby, take care of the horses and the cats, then head inside for a quick dinner. "yawn" See what I mean? Boring, huh? Since the news about Harley, seems like my energy level has dipped to an alltime low. I know it's a bit of depression hitting me, and I will overcome, but it's there all the same. I've actually been feeling more tired than depressed. For a while there, I was walking several times a week, had started swimming with a friend, well I did once anyway... :) , with hopes of doing it at least twice weekly, and riding twice weekly. For the last month, I've hunkered down and done a bunch of nothing, or at least it feels that way.

The rain certainly doesn't help. It's been raining torrents lately...lake backyardy is looking like a great hangout for the local duck and goose's spring, or at least the calendar says so, however our weather since spring has sprung, is far worse than most of our winter was. Sound like I'm complaining? Uh-huh, I am. I am so sick of rain!!!!! And mud, and grey!!!! I want to go lay in the sun and feel the warmth deep inside my bones, and get a sunburn. Yeah, soak up a lot of sun and wear summer clothes and complain about how hot I am...and fan myself like a true Southern Belle. Not some wrinkly old prune drowning in all this dreary Oregon rain!!!!

Okay, that feels better! Just need to vent a little and get it all out. Like a big, loud belch! Admit it - it feels good sometimes.

Thanks for listening...

Blessings ya'll

Cingspots, over and out!

Oh, just thought of something. Quick update on my Harley horse. Last week, I took a day off work and took Harley to an ophthamologist for a thorough eye exam. Diagnosis is chronic uveitis (cause unknown), secondary cataracts in both eyes and mild to moderate glaucoma in both eyes. There is still some vision in both eyes, but not much in his left, more in his right. In human terms, he would be declared legally blind. He sees shapes, shadows and changes in light, but no distinction. This has probably been coming on for possibly several, if not many, least he's had time to adjust. For which, I am eternally thankful. Me, however...I'm still trying to get used to the idea. Blindness would suck. But Harley's so much more resilient than I will probably ever be. I am thankful that he trusts me so much. In fact, I feel honored that he trusts me. I love my wonderful, gorgeous Harley horse!! I just pray that I don't let him down. I hope to ride him again on Sunday, for the first time since finding out about his vision. I will be both our eyes, and we'll be fine.