Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In our neck of the woods

Don't you sometimes wonder where these unusual sayings come from?  I do, and there are several in my vocabulary that I use frequently and have no idea of their origination; other than my mom or dad used them, and so, I do.  You know how that goes, right?  Kind of like my mom and dad called one of my favorite dishes, "fried potatoes".  They came from the midwest years before I was born, Missouri in fact.  My good friend and neighbor, Kelly's family were originally from Wisconsin.  Her family called the same dish, "raw fries".  Interesting.  Either that, or I'm easily amused.

According to our weatherman, we're experiencing one of the driest years (so far) on record, well since they've been keeping those kinds of records anyway.  Back to the '40's, I think.  In fact, our winter of 2012/2013 has been quite mild and overall unusually dry.  We're just continuing that trend into early spring.  I'm not complaining.  It's been beautiful and perfectly comfortable.

The spring flowers are blooming in earnest now.  Below is a picture of my heavenly scented daphne bush.  Oh, how I wish you could smell's just delicious!  One of my favorites.  It's actually burst forth into more open blooming than this and its' scent is heady.  Soon will come the tulips and my lilac bush.

Mountain Heather - beautiful, but not much scent

This is one of our two cats, Snip.  In an accident or more likely an altercation with another cat; quite possibly with our other cat Patch, she lost sight in one of her eyes.  As you may or may not already know, Patch only has one good eye.  Each cats' opposing eye is good; so between the two of them, if they stand side by side, make a perfectly good-sighted, two-headed cat.  :)  Interesting little factoid there...

Ruby basking in the warm, morning sunshine.  And speaking of Patch; he's in the background eating a freshly-caught mouse.  Hmmmm, fresh mouse!  Sorry, did not notice that until I'd already posted it here.

 Annie enjoying a good roll in the sunshine.

 Looking down upon our little homestead from the twin oaks, so often in the background of many of my photographs.

 Ruby having a sniff of something interesting at the base of one of the twin oaks.  This is looking  northeast of our house, towards Portland some 35-40 miles away.

 Another shot looking North/Northeast from the twin oaks.

 Looking  west from the twin oaks down upon our homestead, and our ponies in their pasture.
Those little white sticks are newly planted filbert/hazlenut trees.  In years to come, the view from our home will look vastly different.

 Wide angle shot looking west towards our place.  The Coast Range mountains in the distance.

 Our ponies.  L-R Kadie, Eagle, Ladde, Shad and Sugar far right.  Not sure where Harley is.

 This is where we've called home for 18 years now.  Someday, we'd like to spruce up the two outside shelters.  They're a bit peter tumbledown, but keep the rain off the horses.  Our to-do list never seems to get shorter...

 The coast range got a fresh dusting of snow overnight.  

 The old grainery due North of us.  In this thicket of oak trees is a small, meandering creek where I taught Harley about creek crossings when he was a wee thing.

 The Yamhill Valley, so named for the Yamhill River that flows through this area.  Rich farmland and lots of horses reside within.  This is across the street from us and looking West towards the Pacific Ocean on the other side of the Coast Range mountains in the distance.

Looking a bit more Northwest from our farm, you can see the hills around us are dotted with grapes.  In the last 20 or so years, our area is a mecca of wineries where world-class Pinot Noir wines, among others are made.  We live in the heart of the Northwest's Wine Country.  

 Shad finally spotted Ruby and I coming back.  There's Harley on the far left, then Merlin, Kadie and Shad.  A pretty good shot of our neighbor's place.  They are a horse rescue called the United SPCA.  The mare being loaded onto their trailer was going to her new home.  

 Eagle having a morning nap in the middle of his breakfast.  

 Ladde watching me, watching him.  He and Sugar have fallen so hopelessly in love that, if left alone now, Sugar pitches a hissy fit and runs all around.  Not what she needs to be doing, so Ladde has to play pasture buddy to Sugar.  Poor baby...
Spring has definitely arrived around here, and I am so thankful.  We're very comfortable temperature wise, a few showers here and there, mixed with a fair amount of warm sunshine.  Flowers, trees in bloom, horses shedding like crazy and our lawn growing in out of control mode.  I can now walk out in the pasture without wearing my Muck boots.  We're even supposed to have a dry Easter weekend with temps hitting 70 degrees!  Whoohoo!!  I realize that many of you are still in the icy grip of old man winter.  Will keep you all in our prayers that spring will be arriving in your neck of the woods any day now.

Until next time,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So many wonderful memories - Happy Birthday Ladde!!

About a week old
6 weeks

First birthday with carrot cake

Learning...2 years

Ladde, me and Ray.  3 years old

 Mount up and prepare to be flagged!

Me & Ladde on the right, his little Paint love on our left with Ray.  Day 1 colt starting class.

 First day in the big pen.  Ladde feeling his oats!

 We had survived!!  Seneca, OR - Ray Hunt Colt class - 4 grueling days, but some of the best ever!!

 Sisters, OR  Me and my boy years later...
It's been an awesome journey...
My big, bold and beautiful Ladde turns 17 years old today.  Happy Birthday big guy!!!!!!  :)

We are having a very windy and rainy introduction into spring today.  So, just to keep everyone safe and dry, and mainly to give us some peace of mind, we left the horses inside today.  Just before heading off to work, I made my way out to the barn to wish my big boy special birthday wishes.  He really has been a blessing to us, each and every single day since he was born.  He fills my heart with happiness and gratitude that we can share our lives with this amazing and wonderful horse.  I don't like to brag, but Ladde's pretty much perfect!  :)  Truly.  Well, except for one tiny infraction...he really, really, really likes to get dirty.  *sigh*  And when Ladde gets dirty?  Well, let's just say he knows what he's doing.  He doesn't just roll in the mud.  Nope.  He grinds the mud in, and joyously arches his neck up and throws his head back and twists and groans in ecstasy while the mud (and grass) gets embedded into his forelock and forehead.  There are days when the mud looks as though it's ran down his sides and dried, it's that thick.  And to brush him out takes a lot of time, and effort.  I have to stand on the mounting block just to reach his back and the top of his butt comfortably, and still my arms are aching and sore.  Who needs a gym?  That's a lot of horse brushing!  We don't just call him the big guy.  He is a big guy!!  He stands a true 17 hands tall, and although we've never actually weighed him, we've been given estimations that his weight is likely around 1500 pounds.  Give or take.  That's a lot of horse, especially for a Foundation Appaloosa who came from my feminine, and oh so refined little 15 hand mare, Kadie.  No wonder she quit after one child!!

I recall to this day how that morning 17 years ago played out...I don't think I'll ever forget.  I missed the birth, but happened upon the newborn in a precarious predicament within a few hours time...perched upon a pile of very large rocks that were stacked in a corner of the small pasture where Kadie had been confined awaiting her eminent birthing.  The only place that he shouldn't have been in the whole place, was the one spot he'd chosen to lay down - outside wall of the barn on one side, gate leading outside on adjacent wall and about 6 feet of space to the fence where all the other horses were rubber-necking to get a glimpse of the new arrival.  Kadie had placed herself between the others and her foal, and had been pawing the wall for a long time, judging from the marks she'd made above the foal perched on the rocks. Apparently, he couldn't get his footing and lay there like a stranded ship on a corral reef unable to do anything.  He also had a huge and extremely bright pinkish-red abrasion on his rightt hip from who knows what...he has a scar to this day from that first-day wound.  So, he didn't have the gentlest introduction into this world, but he's always been a tough little cuss.  Mule-kicked me into the corner of their stall when he was only 4 days old, but that's another story, for another day...  We had a meeting of the minds that day, although it rather resembled a wrestling match between a woman and a foal...after catching our breath, me removing straw and some other vegetable matter from my hair, a hierarchy or pecking order, if you prefer, had been established that remains to this day.  Don't mess with gammy, she'll take you down...we've built on that foundation and have forged a relationship that I wouldn't trade for anything.  I adore that horse. Truly one of my greatest blessings of all time.  He's one cool dude.

Somewhere on this blog in my archives is the complete and unabridged, or as close as my memory serves, story of that wonderful day in history.  If I weren't so technologically challenged, I would create a link here for anyone who's interested to read in its' entirety...but I ain't that good!  So, iffin you're so inclined to read the story, you'll have to find it in my archives for yourselves.  :)

I'll head to the grocery story at lunch time today and make a purchase to celebrate this special used to be carrot cake, but at his age he needs to start watching his diet and be more health-conscious.  So...pears and carrots it is!!!  Ladde loves pears!!!  What am I saying?  The boy loves food, of all kinds!!  Big boys have big appetites don't you know?  A small gesture to bring my birthday boy pleasure...and when Ladde is happy...I'm happy!

Happy Birthday "Wagtail Ladde" !!!!!!  aka LaddMonster, Ladde, Petite Flower, Big get the picture.

Oh, and Happy Spring Equinox everyone!
Lorie @ Cingspots

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Not for the squeamish

Heather took several pictures of Harley's eye yesterday during her examination.  This morning I found 2 of those in my email, but for some reason I could only get one to download to my computer.  Technological stuff is such a challenge for me...

I wanted to keep this picture for record keeping reasons and my blog is the best way for me to keep a chronological journal of everything.  My memory's just not what it used to be; honestly, not many things are.  :)  You know, the old grey mare and all that?  Anyway, if you're one of those types that cannot bear looking at photos of a squeamish nature, fair warning...don't look; if not, take a look at a very good example of what we believe to be a ruptured corneal ulcer.  Remember that knowledge is power, and if you can readily recognize what a corneal ulcer looks like, you might be able to get veterinary help immediately and hopefully prevent a rupture with  proper treatment.  I say hopefully, because sometimes against all odds, shit happens.

March 18, 2013

The greenish stuff that is visible in the corners of his eye (conjunctiva) are traces of the fluorescein dye that was used during the examination.  What I originally viewed as a "greenish bubble" was probably what eventually ruptured and now is a shallow hole in his cornea which was originally smooth and round as in a healthy eyeball.

Poor Harley is having a run of bad luck I'm afraid.  Or rather, what seems to be a habitual pattern in his life.  I always want to know; why does this crap always happen to the good horses?  I wish I knew the answer to that, so that my mind could wrap around it better, you know, have some understanding.  But I guess that's just not meant to be.  As I continue to learn in this life, some things just happen for unknown reasons and as I'm slowly learning to accept..."it is, what it is".  Life isn't always fair, best to just get used to that.  

But I digress...yesterday afternoon my husband turned Harley and Kadie out from the round pen where they'd been cooling their jets after Heather left.  Harley walked out and ran squarely into the dozing Eagle's butt.  *sigh*  This startled Eagle (I think) and he kicked Harley squarely in the chest.  Harley was freaked, spun around and Eagle kicked him squarely in the butt.  I'm not sure why he had to kick him again, but maybe it made him mad?  Not sure...anyway, Harley decided to get the hell out of Dodge, sprinting away from Eagle and ran directly into a telephone pole-sized post and hit it hard enough (with his head) that the post is now sitting at an angle.  I tried straightening the pole, but no go.  And of course, now he has a large abrasion about an inch above his left eye (yes, the bad one) and another abrasion down the bridge of his nose.  I just don't know how we're supposed to keep this horse safe.  It just breaks my heart.

Anyway, suffice it to say that our evening was generally not a good one.  I was upset, my husband was upset, I'm pretty sure Harley had a major headache and we all felt pretty disheartened about the whole mess.  My husband was ready to shoot Eagle and I just wanted to crawl away and pretend that everything was going to be alright.  We just finished up the chores, brought the horses in for the night, got them fed, doctored Harley as best as we could (he was not having much of it) and called it a night.

I appreciate everyone's kind comments and certainly all the well-wishes and prayers on Harley's behalf.  Probably more than you'd think...right now, I feel like we're in need of all the help we can get.  I'm feeling very discouraged and am starting to question our motives with everything that concerns Harley.  Are we doing right by him?  Is he living a life of quality?  I don't really know...before recent events, I would have soundly responded with a yes, but now I'm unsure.  Tough questions and tougher decisions.  I really dislike being in this position.  

On a brighter note, here's a picture I received recently from our son Justin.  This is Jenny and our grandkids.  This was taken in January, 2013 in their yard in Nez Perce, Idaho.  Cute little turds aren't they?
Winter 2012 Jenny & Grandkids
Left to right are David, Jack, Jenny and little them to pieces.

Wishing warm blessings to all,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Monday, March 18, 2013

Harley update

I knew it wasn't going to be good, but I was hoping for the best.  I had my friend Heather (also an equine veterinarian) recheck Harley's eye today.  She believes that his eye has ruptured and the eye is no longer viable.  :(

That, unfortunately was his good eye.  Now he has hardly any sight at all.  We don't know what happened initially, just brought them in one evening and noticed his eye was all swollen and puffy.  The original injury happened about 6 weeks ago.  We doctored it on our own for about a week, because normally we get it back to normal within 3-5 days, but not this time.  We called Heather on a weekend because my boss was out of town and Heather was on call.  She thought it was a trauma injury and confirmed that what we were doing was the best option.  She said to expect improvement within a week or less.  Another week goes by and it's no better, so I have my boss come and do a recheck.  He decides the eye needs to be debrided, but refused to sedate him, and didn't do a very good job.  He told us to continue treating his eye with the ointment, and put the PRP in his eye twice daily.  We didn't have much luck with the PRP because it's a liquid, but we did our best.  The eye took a definite turn for the worse after the debridement.  We continued the treatment and Banamine.  Still no forward to this weekend.  I'm home and had a chance to get a really good look in Harley's eye in the daylight and am shocked at how truly bad it looks.  There was what looked like a greenish bubble on the cornea and  a bloody-red outline on the bottom section.  The eye also constantly tears.  Heather thinks the rupture has occurred recently, maybe today or yesterday.  But it's too late to do anything other than put him on antibiotics and continue what we've been doing.  If we can prevent infection, the eyeball should continue to shrink and eventually (hopefully) become very small and pain free.  Worst case scenario is that we're unable to control the pain and we'll be forced to have the eye removed.  I really don't want to do that, so we'll just take it one day at a time.  I don't think he's in horrible pain, and neither did Heather.  Since the eye has ruptured, the pain should be lessened and hopefully healing will be encouraged.  Just sucks.  Wish I would have had her out last week before it got so bad.  If only...

But I can't do anything about that now.  We'll continue taking care of our boy the best we can and pray for the best.  Heather had to chuckle at what a cheap date Harley is...the hardest part of a thorough eye examination is holding his head up.

That's my boy.  :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Daily News

Well hello again!  Not a whole lot happening in my neck of the woods lately, but thought I'd just do a quickie posting here and see what transpires from my thoughts.  Scary thought huh?  :)

I have my annual doctor's visits all lined up and ready to go...oh boy.  Visited my primary care doc last week and did that fun bit, but I'm happy to report that most things are still in good working order, and that's the one that I look forward to the least.  Had my labs done and have to go back for a little talk time about some adjustments that are required, but nothing too bad.  The mammo is at the end of this month, then the annual trip to my eye doctor and that's it for another year!  Yay!!  I always feel so happy to have them behind me again...I've been blessed with very good health all my life so far, but I still hate going to the doctor.  I feel the same way about visiting the dentist, in fact I have some real fear where dentists are involved, but I really don't know why.  I have a fear of pain, I guess!  Maybe it's all that equipment just for a tiny mouth...not really sure.  Anyhoo!!

We got our third delivery from Bountiful Baskets last Saturday, and once again it was a true bounty of fresh produce.  We got mangoes this time!  I love mangoes!!  More lettuce, radishes, bananas, asparagus (yum), lemons, celery and some bokchoy.  There might have been something else, but I can't remember what.  Anyway, so far we're doing very well at keeping the produce eaten up and nothing has really gone to waste, except for that bunch of mint from the prior week.  I occasionally use fresh mint in iced tea in the summer, but I let it go bad.  :(  Just couldn't think of what to use it for...I will just add it to my compost pile and get some benefit out of it in that small way.

I have been working with Eagle and last night he was in no mood for a session...poor guy, he just wanted to go in and have dinner, and I made him work instead...I actually heard him squeal and throw his head down and give it a little shake!  He thought about bucking, but decided against that.  :)  I really believe that Eagle internalizes most of his feelings instead of showing his anger or unhappy emotions with reaction.  That's not necessarily a good thing, in my opinion.  I would really prefer that he felt comfortable enough to show his true emotions, regardless of what they are.  I think that with time, he will feel more secure in exhibiting his feelings, but for right now, I believe that he is still rather afraid to show his unhappy side.  Maybe in his past, he was seriously punished for "bad" behavior.  I'm not sure, but I bear in mind those whip marks on his butt cheeks as evidence of severe repercussions for something.  I have faith that he will be perfect one day soon, he is that wonderful.  I just don't want his feet and his mind getting stuck, and then really blowing someday when everything builds steam.  I don't really fear that happening though, he's pretty serene and laid back most of the time.  I asked him (fairly aggressively) for a canter in the round pen last night.  Going to the left, he obliged grudgingly, but he did it.  Well, actually Eagle doesn't canter, but goes from a trot, to a very fast trot, to a full-blown hand gallop.  There is nothing in between because he's not that relaxed with speed.  We're working on relaxing where speed is involved.  Anyway, he went into this very fast gallop and promptly slipped and nearly went to his knees.  He whipped his gaze in my direction, which clearly stated that his misstep was my fault.  *sigh*  I simply carried on as if nothing had happened.  One more full circle, then asked him to walk, which he does immediately...his favorite word other than whoa, which is swift and sure.  The boy prefers his snuggle time to work, hands down.  :)  Going to the right, I never did get him into anything more than a very fast trot.  He was huffing and puffing, and so was I.  Crap.  Since it was fairly dark, I decided to walk him out and let it go for the day.  It really wasn't where I wanted to end things, but we'd ran out of light and were going nowhere in a hurry.  We'll pick it up on another day.  Our relaxed walk time was sweet and quiet, and for that, at least I am thankful.

Ladde's 17th birthday is coming up on March 20th, the first day of spring.  I simply cannot believe that my big, baby boy is that seems like only yesterday that he was born.  He has been a blessing to us every single day since that wonderful morning on March 20, 1996.  Wow, does time ever fly!!!

I'm really looking forward to spring and the warmer, longer days to come.  The flowers, gardening, time spent on the deck and everything else that the warmer season involves.  I really, really want to make the most of this spring and summer.  I want to have friends over for bbq's, go camping and horseback riding, do the silly summer fairs and anything and everything else that we can think of.  I want to enjoy life and spend sweet, idle time with my husband and with friends and family.  Savor our time together and be thankful for everything in our lives.

Blessings and until next time,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The dear oh dears

Our run of beautiful and idyllic spring-like weather has come to an end.  Or rather, a screeching halt more aptly put.  We're in a rainy pattern once again.  And along with the rain, comes another of the dear oh dears for me.  My husband's grandma used to call those days when you're a wee bit out of sorts, slightly bummed, in a funk...the dear oh dears.  Just hearing it put in that context makes me smile.  :)  My own mom used to call them the blues.  Oh you'll feel better tomorrow, just get a good night's rest and tomorrow those blues will be history.  And you know what?  Most of the time, she was right about that.  There's a lot of things that a good night's sleep can cure.  "Things will look better in the morning, you'll see!"  Oh how I miss my dear, sweet momma's voice.  There's just something about the rain that puts me in a wistful state of mind.  I get emotional, I cry so easily.  I long for my mom's company.  Just to hear her voice again would be heaven! And because I have faith, I know that day will come.  I will see my mom's beautiful, sparkling eyes smiling at me once again.  I can't wait!  *sigh*  There's so many that I long to see again.  I want to sit down somewhere in the sunshine, with a cool breeze blowing and have a cup of tea and a very long conversation, and do a lot of catching up.  But until that time comes, I put up with the dear oh dears and the occasional bout of the blues that always seem to accompany the rain.

Rain, rain go away...

On a brighter note, I noticed that some of my daffodils have blossomed.  Their cheery, bright, yellow blooms just scream spring to me.  My daphne is also trying to burst forth with blossom.  Usually it's fully bloomed by late February, but for some reason, despite our spring-like weather, the buds remain only partially open so far.  I absolute adore their heavenly scent.  Sweet, sweet daphne remains one of my most favorite floral scents.  My mom's favorite were the lilacs.  I'm a big fan of those as well.  My old, aged white lilac still blooms each year, but it's definitely past its' prime.  And the deep purple lilac that I used to have, was eaten alive by Annie when she was just a pup.  :(  I've always wanted to replace it, but still haven't done it.  I really ought to do more of the things that I continually think about doing.  *sigh*   My husband mentioned that the first opportunity he gets, he really needs to mow our lawn too.  Why is it that we think of so many things that we ought to do when it's dry, after it's raining again?  I'll have to chew on that one for a the meantime, out grass is nearing 8-12" in height.  Oh boy, that ought to be a fun first mowing!  Guess I know who will be the appointed raker.  Another one of life's opportunities to engage in good, physical activity!  Always stay in the positive mindset, am I right?

I've found a recipe for Chai tea concentrate and am hoping to give it a go this weekend.  It makes about 4 cups of concentrate that you keep refrigerated until you're ready to use it.  When you're ready for a drink, you mix it with equal parts milk.  You can drink it iced or hot.  I love it both ways, but hot is my favorite.  I have everything that I need except for star anise and whole cardamom.  I think I might be able to find it in the bulk section and just get a little of each for starters.

I've had some really good work sessions with Eagle lately.  Aside from the fact that he's developed a dislike to being caught from the pasture, he's doing really, really well.  I may take a day where I chase him all over the pasture until he's begging to be caught...see how that goes.  :)  I'll probably be the one to poop out first though, and that wouldn't get me anywhere.  Horses and their phases.  I swear they're just like children in more ways than not.  And, I rode Miss Sugar last weekend.  She is one hot little momma!  Really quick reaction times and very sensitive to leg and seat pressure.  I'll bet she is a really fun little horse to ride, but...she's quite lame.  Lame enough that I cannot justify riding her the way she is.  What a bummer.  I was hoping with a little bute she would be alright for trail riding, but I'm just not so sure about that now.  I'm hoping to find some time to sit down with my boss and discuss our options for her.  I don't have a bunch of money to throw at her, but if there's a pretty good chance for improvement, I'm willing to take that shot.  We'll see, but for now I just can't, in good conscience, ride a lame horse.  Sometimes I am my own worst enemy I think.  :(

Oh, and speaking of sleeping well...we bought a new mattress and box springs on New Years Day.  Last week I bought a new, very cushy mattress cover and new flannel sheets.  I. am. in. heaven!  I hate to get out of my cushy little nest in the mornings now!  Seriously, I am loving it.  Why, oh why, did we wait so long to replace our old mattress??  Annie is pretty pleased with her new sleeping arrangements as well.  You see, our old mattress was soooo bad that we had one of those memory foam mattress toppers on it which made it passable.  Now the memory foam gets folded in half, covered with a blanket and wallah!  Annie has a remarkably cushy, new bed too!  She is in doggie heaven herself!!  I love seeing my old girl wallowing in the lap of luxury and bliss!  If anyone deserves it, it's Annie.  Dear, sweet Annie.  Seeing her so comfortable just makes my heart sing!  I love it when my animals are so happy.

Well, I guess that's about it.  Still walking, still eating much more healthy foods and still trying to drink more water every day.  I'm taking my vitamins, eating all my fresh fruits and veggies each day and reading my Bible daily devotions.  And...even my hubby is now taking a daily vitamin as well!  Progress is being made my friends.  Progress in baby steps is progress nonetheless!

Blessings to all on this day only 2 short weeks from spring!!!
Lorie @ Cingspots