The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!
I’ve been so busy writing about Fiona that I haven’t had a chance to talk about the horrible weather that’s been going on here (what else is new? the weather has been bad everywhere!). But I know the donkey fans out there will also want to know how the little darling is doing.
Well, she hasn’t injured anyone since Wednesday! Hooray! Actually, when Mandi and I went to feed and medicate her yesterday, it went really well. She is always so glad to see me that it makes my heart swell. It’s great to be loved! And with me holding her head and Mandi squirting the medicine in her mouth, everything was over in a moment.
Fiona even took a treat right after the medicine (when I first was working with Apache, he would not take a treat from anyone until at least a day after you gave him his worming medicine, but now he trusts me not to worm him twice).
She is not walking 100%, but is not hopping or anything. Whew.
So, I’m not sure whether they got storm damaged or are moulting. They still fly just fine. And we THINK there may be babies in the nest, but we can’t see them. We just saw an adult act like he or she was feeding.
All of you who are following the woes of Fiona the mini donk already know that she has been dealing with a list of ailments (one, I really wonder about as far as accuracy in diagnosis goes) for a couple of weeks now. I’m going to recap just a bit, and explain why I’m involved at all in this.
I worked on a horse farm with many horses all at once, from the time I was 14 until I was 28. Before that, I grew up in the saddle with my Pa. When you deal with that many horses at a time, someone is always injured. Sometimes it isn’t bad, other times, it can be severe. I’ve seen simple scrapes, bone breaks, one stallion who put a T post through his chest and had to have wound care for months, colic, mares struggling with birth, abscesses on all parts of the body, mild and severe hoof problems, etc. I sure haven’t seen it all, but I have seen a lot!
I learned how to make first aid items from scratch in the field to save a life and stop bleeding. I’m fairly confident in what I can do. I also know when I need more help, a second opinion, or I do not have the tools/gear/equipment to handle a situation.
How I helped Fiona
I originally felt like Fiona’s foot was trimmed too short. With the gap that developed in the way that white line disease (hoof wall separation, seedy toe) does, I felt like she may have developed that.
There is no conclusive evidence as to what exactly causes white line disease. Theories go from poor diet, wet/humid climate, soft feet, trimming the toe too short, injury/abscesses, and the list goes on. What the veterinary world has seen is that there will be horses and donkeys that develop this disease that do not fall into one category, or it seems to come out of nowhere. It develops on healthy feet in dry climates as well, although it is not as common.
It is characterized by the gap in the hoof wall that was shown in the picture, and the gray, crumbling of the soft tissue behind the outer wall. Fiona had that, but she also had a bulge under the foot that seemed like she couldn’t stand flat on it. The cold water treatment probably helped by relieving the inflammation. Horses and donkeys typically do not become lame from white line until it becomes severe and the cannon bone begins to shift down.
What a happy moment it was yesterday when my friend Sean Wall bought me a painting I’d commissioned from him. What makes this painting extra special is that the painting was done with natural pigments he gathered in the wild (other than the white; I think that’s acrylic).
I’ve written about Sean before, so check this link to learn about the book he recently published. It has lots of his art, which is what I call hippie folk art, but I bet he has another name for it. I have a poster of one of the trees he painted, which will go in my office in Cameron, once it’s redecorated.
Hey there. It’s a three-blog day for me. Here’s a quick update on our donkey friend, Fiona. The vet finally arrived around 4:30, right when Mandi had just left to do something for her own family. Sigh. But, it worked out okay.
According to Dr. Richter, whose father apparently treated Mandi’s late horse, what happened was our first theory: her hoof had been trimmed WAY too short by the farrier. It’s made her swell to where the inner part of the hoof sticks out too far.
He gave her some pain medication to give for the next five days, to see if that helps. The cure, however, is for her hooves to grow some. Mandi plans to wrap her hoof again, and we are leaving her in the more dry paddock for the next few days, since more rain is on its way.
Fiona did NOT like the sound of the rain falling on the shed, so it got hard to medicate her. Whew, it all was a success, and we are now just waiting to see if she needs more treatment or not.
I’m so grateful that she got looked at and it wasn’t the fungal infection. We now want to avoid getting one until things dry up!
We’d hoped Fiona was over her rough spot with her hooves, but a sad sight greeted me when I went to feed her this weekend. She would not come up to be fed, so I gave her food to her in the field.
When Mandi and I went to check further on it, she was barely able to put weight on her left front hoof, and was even hopping around on three legs. That couldn’t be good.
Once we got her feet all cleaned out, we could see that it almost looked like her outside hoof was shorter than the inside. That would be like walking on your nail bed. So, we figured a vet visit was called for.
Lately I’ve been writing my posts with a combination of the computer and the phone. I can type a lot better on the computer, but there are certain things that are easier on the phone, like adding photos and videos.
In fact, I’ve been starting posts on the computer, with the nicer interface and more formatting options, then switching over and sticking in photos, which I then go back and edit on the computer. Modern blogging, I guess. Or lazy blogging. Do you have any other techniques for less hassle in your blogs?
This entry is about sound. I was listening to all the bird sounds on the front porch this morning, and I posted on Facebook that I was at church, with the birds preaching, saying amen, and singing. There were a LOT of starlings in one of the trees, so it was quite a cacophony.
I decided to go out to the pond and record all the sounds there. I think it came out pretty nice, but it’s long, so I was not sure if I could get it into the blog. I ended up adding it to YouTube, which worked out well.
I do think the sounds of nature are as wonderful as the sights, so I am giving it a try! Now those of you who have never heard of a dicksissel can hear one and (sort of) see one!