When You’re Irritated, Go Outside

No matter how many times I try to convince myself not to care to much about my work, I keep doing it, and the way things are set up now, I really need to just roll with the changes. But, I’ll try to do that again, next time.

Goldie is rolling with the changes. Keep on rolling, keep on rolling, as REO Speedwagon advised.

So, today I made a point of going outside and enjoying a relatively cool August day with the animals. I did some excellent breathing, then went out to see how the horses were doing.

What, I’m supposed to be rolling? Usually you make me stop!

I got Drew out and tried to groom him. Oh my gosh, he, too, had been rolling. In the sand. While sweating. He was now an orange horse. He had clay-like clods in his mane that would not brush out. I got my exercise in!

I don’t know what she’s talking about. I look just fine…from a distance, backlit.

We went for a walk, which was fine until Harvey took off after him and he bolted away. Drew is very pretty when running. And he waited for me. I took a deep breath and we finished our walk. Then we went in the round pen, and Drew totally made up for running off. He has improved so much! At least I feel like I’ve taught him something. He slows down, stops, turns, and comes to me when asked.

I’m not so bad. Also, Fiona’s empty dish tastes better than mine.

Then I fetched Apache, who was much less filthy but more bothered by flies. I see why Drew was rolling in the sand. Both got fly spray, so they will be better for a few days. I put Apache in the round pen to see if he’d move better after some pain killer the night before.

Yep. He’s trotting.

He acted like normal Apache. He trotted around and around until I asked him to stop. He turned around when asked. He just kept going. I think maybe it’s just he abscess growing out.

Look, you can almost see my ribs!

We had a good walk, and when he started wanting to eat every time I stopped, I practiced starting and stopping after different numbers of steps. That made him think, and his head stayed up.

My head is up, geez.

Sara has me reading a depressing article on sugar in grass. It makes me feel doomed at slimming him down again until winter. I can’t let him out only between 9 pm and 3 am. Sigh.

I can’t help it. I was born this way. Or mismanagement. Or something. This is my bad angle!

By the time I did all this, I felt better. Keeping myself centered to work with the horses helped a lot! Animal therapy. I’d say it’s free, but horses are not cheap.

Donkeys are cute and cheap!

Reluctantly, the Dogs Have Their Vet Visit

Every year there are more dogs to look at here at the Hermits’ Rest. It makes the fee for the vet to come to us rather than us going to her quite the bargain. Yesterday, while I was in Austin away from the heat, Dr. Amy came out to see all seven dogs (Alfred, Goldie, Harvey, Carlton, Penney, Gracie Lou, and Vlassic). I always feel like I’m forgetting one, but it’s probably because Fiona is the size of Alfred.

They didn’t get rid of all my grass burs.

The big deal was that Alfred got his big problem dealt with, his dew claws. Both of the ones on his back legs have been problematic since he showed up. They grow in a circular shape, and eventually start growing into his leg, leading to pain and infections. Every time we cut them, he has to be sedated, and too much sedation isn’t good for dogs like him. So, we came to the decision that he’d need to have them removed, even though we’d wanted to avoid it.

So, when he finally got zonked out, they put sterile cloths under him where he fell (the floor in the entry to the house), and did it there. Lee has instructions for caring for the wounds and keeping him out of pain. He already walks better. Let’s hope this makes a big difference in Alfred’s quality of life.

Surprise! I’m overweight.

The other dogs got ALL their many shots (including rattlesnake vaccine), got de-wormed, and checked for heartworms (all negative). Lee says they all are getting a bit skittish. Maybe the horses warned them about vaccines?

We knew there’s have to be another sedation, because Vlassic was awful last time they went to trim his toenails, but his sharp toenails are a problem for poor Jim (and the rest of us, to be honest). When they went to get him, he showed up with a big…thing…on his nose!

What the heck?

Both Lee and the nephew had been playing with him earlier in the day, and he was fine then. Whatever it was happened during the afternoon yesterday. Dr. Amy said it looked like an encounter with something sharp, like a cactus or barbed wire (things we have in abundance).

Yuck.

It’s just horrible looking, though he doesn’t act upset. We have stuff to put on it twice a day, so it doesn’t get infected or worse. If he isn’t better in two weeks, she will try to remove it. It’s very weird that it came up so fast! Keep him in your thoughts. At least his toenails look way better!

But, he’s still happy

In other ranch news, chickens laid eggs in one of their new laying box choices, so I took the two that didn’t work out away. Now let’s see if the young hens ramp up and start producing.

And Drew was so happy to see me when I got home that it made up for the fact that I had a tire blow up about a quarter mile from the ranch entrance. I knew those potholes would be my downfall! But, I was driving slowly, so I didn’t lose control, and it’s entirely possible to get it fixed, eventually. I’m not going to stress about that!

Broody Hen, Moody Horses

What better thing to do on a full moon than to try new things? Right. I did it anyway. Good ole Star went broody again, and with something taking the eggs every night, it was fruitless to let her set on them. What to do?

Do something about that hen!

She was also hogging the preferred egg-laying spot, which made me worry about the new chickens when they go to finally start laying. Hmm.

Enjoy a passion vine in bloom while imagining me trying to figure out what to do.

Finally, reading the backyard chickens for newbies group paid off. Someone shared that if you put a broody hen in a dog cage with airflow under it, they would feel the cool air under them and go back to normal. It’s called a broody breaker. Why, there’s one of those in our coop. So…

What are you in jail for?

I thought I’d need help, so I gathered Lee and Kathleen around. But all I needed was someone to open the door for me. I just picked her up and set her in there, with food and water. She is not happy. I hope this works!

It’s cute how all the other chickens keep checking on her. Bruce is especially concerned. He’s such a good rooster.

Moody Horses

I’m not having a lot of horse luck. I’m beginning to think it’s user error, and maybe I should not be riding until I get my lessons going. After not having much luck with Apache the previous day, I figured he’s not feeling well, so I just walked him (and Fiona) around.

Yet another picture of Apache eating.

He had just gotten out of his pen, so he really wanted to eat. That was frustrating, but we had fun anyway. Fiona followed us, and really seemed to enjoy exploring her new territory.

Hey, wait for me! (She’s that fit in the horizon)

Both of them liked the change of scenery, and I enjoyed the restful interlude.

This poison ivy looks fascinating.

I then tried to ride Andrew. I managed to eventually get the saddle and bridle adjusted for him. And he did okay in the round pen, but will now only go one direction. Anyway, I mounted, and he acted all barn sour and was hard to get to move out. Eventually he followed Dusty some, but I had to hood on through some spooking, and he crowded poor Kathleen and Dusty. In the end, Kathleen walked us around until neither he nor Dusty would do anything but investigate a feed dish. I’ll try another day. Who knows where the issue lies? I need help, but will get it soon.

I’m so glad Jim mowed. There’s hay everywhere. All I want to do is eat and gain weight and go lame. I’m a load of fun.

I just want a horse I can go riding on and learn new skills. I can’t do any of the exercises in the working equitation book, because I don’t have a clue what driving through the hindquarters means, and no horse of mine can side pass. I need patience! It’s not a race and is supposed to be fun. Maybe I’m the moody ones here.

Saturday Morning Ranch Sightings

Here at the Hermits’ Rest, weekend mornings start early for some and slow for others. But there’s always something lovely to see or fun to do. This morning was typical. Lee has started taking a walk every morning and asked me to join him. He may not do it again, as I had him go with me to feed the chickens and move Apache into his pen for the day, but we did eventually get to walking and looking at what’s growing and changing along our arroyo, which is still springy after the recent rains. I’m rather fond of the native plants and even the bad ole invasives (the water primrose) that line the stream.

It’s pretty to me.

Heck, to me tie vine is as lovely as fancy morning glories, and the ruellia is as pretty as a garden petunia. Plus, they are free!

A plant I hadn’t noticed much before is blooming right now, and the blooms are so tiny and hidden among the leaves that you almost wouldn’t notice them. It’s called scarlet toothcup (Ammannia coccinea). It’s a riparian plant, which means it grows in moist areas along streams and such. I think the little flowers are lovely.

Lee and I enjoyed many sights. What a great start to the day!

Next it was time to do some work, since the rest of the household had already been up working with horses and other chores. I got to help cut mesquite down where Sara’s horses currently are, in preparation for the cows that live here to rotate there. That was a lot of fun, and I saw some beautiful iron weed growing in that field.

It was good to be able to help by loading branches and opening gates. Plus, I got to see the other horses and more native plants and insects. I’ll spare you the endless supply of grasshoppers.

Everyone was busy this morning. The tenants were haying and Kathleen was horsing with her herd. I enjoy watching her ride. They’re all progressing according to plan, from what I can tell.

The dogs are just having fun, as usual, swimming, running, and rolling. I love seeing a happy Alfred!

Penney’s Adopt-a-versary

My memories on Facebook alerted me to the fact that we have had Penney for two years now. I can’t say she is the easiest dog to own, but she has her own special charms, and has come a long way in her behavior.

Penney likes to be on my lap, when Carlton isn’t there, to supervise activities, like playing with toys.

She no longer insists on licking me in the face and sleeping on top of me. She sleeps by my feet, which is just fine. She is a lot less “needy” but still doesn’t like it when other dogs get attention. She does love to sleep in her little bed beside my office chair (usually with Goldie and Carlton on the couch, and Harvey on the floor).

Her spot by my chair.

She enjoys swimming and playing with the other dogs when they are outside, even Vlassic, who occasionally comes in the house now, after she attacked him in the night for daring to sleep beside me, soon after she arrived. It’s a good thing Vlassic enjoys sleeping over in the RV with Lee’s brother (and he is so good for the brother, too)!

Everybody having fun.

Penney is a real wiggle worm and cracks us up with her extra-submissive behavior sometimes. We just wish it didn’t make her pee on the floor. She was doing a lot better with that for a while, but since Goldie showed up, it’s worse. The two of them get annoyed with each other, especially in the house, when they both want Lee’s attention.

Pay attention to ME!

But, outside, she and Goldie are buddies. Lee told me this morning that they went on a little exploratory walk together, and they looked like they were having a lot of fun.

I’m glad we have her and can take care of her, special needs and all. Penney is full of love, just expresses it funny sometimes!

All the Horse Health News That Fits the Blog

With all these skinny new horses, we have to keep an eye on their health. Kathleen was getting worried about some cuts on poor Mabel’s legs, and we both thought she seemed sad. We weren’t sure if she was sick or what.

Mabel in the stable

So today they took her to yet another equine facility, and Kathleen liked them a lot. Mabel got all bandaged up so she can heal from what are apparently rope burns from being tied, from a previous owner. That makes us all even more glad she is here now. Other than her weight, though, she’s okay. Her sadness is just her taking time to adjust to her new surroundings, which makes sense.

I think she already feels better, because while confined to the mini-pen we discovered can be made from our flexible gates, she actually came up to me and asked to be rubbed on. What a good sign!

What about me?

Meanwhile, my little pony Andrew (not really a pony) is also feeling better. Today’s the first day his eye hasn’t been all goopy in a week! I’m sure he’s glad people aren’t messing with his eyelids anymore!

These guys love each other, but Remi picks on Granny Amaretto

Today Lee had to take his car in for recalls in Rockdale, so I followed him and took the opportunity to get horse supplies from Tractor Supply. The highlight, for my steeds, was new hanging feed bowls for them, like Kathleen’s horses have. These hang on the fence and give them a chance to eat at a different height, which I read is good for them.

Happy spotted butts.

I also got a different girth for Drew, the kind the nephew recommended, and wormer for Fiona. She will love THAT. Plus, I got new treats. No sugar, low carb ones for a certain tubby paint horse. He ate one, so I guess they’re ok!

What about meee?

Don’t worry, dog lovers, my next blog will feature them!

Yes, We Have Gates

As I was out there riding and sweating today (and really sweating as I worked with Drew on the long lead), the real gates on the horse stalls got installed. It’s so great to be able to put them in their own feeding areas with the sand, the water troughs, and their washing station.

Clean Dusty in his new space

These aren’t necessarily the final gates, but building them will take a while. My two horses both like to knock down things and try to open gates, so that’s been getting tedious really fast.

I’m the good one. Nice new gate.

Even Lee got into the gate installation. He had fun, I think.

Don’t fence me in.

We can now arrange the pens in lots of creative ways, depending on how many horses there are and what they need. Makes me so happy.

And yes, I rode Drew today. He’s such a different horse than he was last week! Why? Well, he’s already at a better weight. He eats and eats, just like the teen boy he is.

I look normal for my age!

He also is building muscle like crazy. He now can run and run, bother the other horses, and be a young horse. All this means he isn’t the calm little guy he was before. So, he needs to be exercised a lot. A lot.

So, I taught him to do circles on the ground while wearing my new saddle. It flopped and made noise, which may have contributed to the fact that there was no walking involved. He trotted, cantered, and even galloped. I held on and worked with him on starting and stopping.

Once the rope slipped out of my hands and he keeps going. He does run pretty. But I got him back! Only after a lot of that exciting action did I try to mount him. Mostly I rode while he was led from the ground. That was good, because he wasn’t stopping well. Obviously we have a lot to work on. But we have time!

Speaking of working on things, my feet have been cramping all night. I think I was gripping the stirrups on the new saddle so hard. I have years to learn that, too.

I’m wishing Kathleen had washed ME when I was done. Note Apache trying to catch some spray.

(Sorry no pictures of Drew running dramatically and me looking competent, but we were all busy concentrating.)

Sand and Waters

I rushed to the ranch this morning to be there in time for the swimming pool company guy to show up. I had time to check the animals, and discovered Star is broody again. Fine. I’ll mark what’s under her now and see if we get any hatching. Maybe we can keep this bunch confined long enough to make it.

We are being invaded by these guys. Great. The next plague will be Army worms.

I nice young man came to talk about our pool needs and look at our property. We had a good conversation about pool quality and what we’d like. Also we figured out basically where to put it. Ahh. Hoping it won’t be too big or too small or too fancy.

Pool guy is measuring

Before we could say goodbye to the pool guy, a familiar truck drove up. It was the guy that brought our road base, this time with sand to put in the horse stalls.

A load of sand

There was lots of sand, but it quickly got moved to the horse pens, thanks to the tractor. We’ve sure gotten a lot of use out of that old thing! Then the rest of us had to shovel it into corners and such.

The easy part

I got pretty wiped out from shoveling and went back to work, but Lee and Kathleen kept going. Goldie, however, didn’t help much.

Doggie paradise!

The horses will have a much easier time navigating the sand than the clay when it’s wet. Here are some more sand shots, so you can see what we tried to accomplish with improving the drainage and such.

I think we will have a lot more success with this better dirt. And soon we will have all the gates up. So fancy, right?

The day kept growing and growing. But, I’ll write about it in the morning. Too much going on to blog much!

Glad for Goods and Good Vision!

I’m just plain glad and just plain good, I guess. As always, I’m glad for nature. When I stepped out of the house at 6:45 am to drive to Austin, I discovered we had a visitor. We looked at each other, I took her picture and bid her a good morning. Kathleen said she was still there when she came out to go to the gym, so I sure hope she found someone else to visit before the dogs woke up!

Young, confused skunk.

As I drove down the side road to US 77 (to avoid the potholes of our road), I saw a deer jump across the road. Thinking that if there was one, there were probably more, I slowed down. Yep, another one jumped by. When I got to them, I saw that they were both mature bucks with beautiful racks of antlers. I’m always glad to see the deer population recovering in our area.

Excitement!

All that nature love fit right in with my new license plate, which came in yesterday. It’s even prettier in person, and has my nickname surrounded by hearts on it. The plates raise money for our organization, and look way prettier than the standard one. Those are some good goods.

I learned a lot at work meetings today and got to hug various people who I missed very much during the pandemic times. At one point, my cheeks hurt from smiling at old work friends. That’s way better than my back pain from all the shoveling and Drew wrangling I did over the past few days! All good, though. Goodness.

And in addition, I got to enjoy good vision, finally, because I was able to pick up my two pairs of glasses at the optometrist. They are still very serious about their masking and such. It’s a very clean office. Anyway, the round ones are transitions lenses, which I know aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but work great when I’m messing with horses and having to go in and out of the sun.

I hope you enjoyed that tour of my lip wrinkles and saggy jowls. Both glasses look much better in reality than they do in these photos! But, what matters is that I can see better; good vision is good. I am curious to see how the ones I ordered online came out. They should be done soon for which I will be glad. That will certainly do for glasses for a few years!

That is just about all the goodness I can dredge up right now, but I’m sure something will come up. Are you good? Any goodness to share? Do you hate it when people say “Are you good?” to mean “Are you well?” Are you glad I’m moving on from the topic of goodness and gladness?

Dang! Animal Issues! Plus Sweetness

I have to admire Trixie. She came over and trudged through the scary clay mud to take a look at the new horses. It was obvious she couldn’t do their feet, but she wanted to take a look at Remington, especially.

He immediately took to her and started showing her where he hurt. It was so endearing. She is concerned about his old head injury and his limited vision in his right eye. But she said he’d learned to compensate.

Nonetheless, Trixie doesn’t want to do much with Remi’s neck until she sees the x-rays Kathleen has. But she did a few things for him, and at the end he yawned and yawned. He obviously felt better.

Meanwhile, Goldie wanted to play with Fiona, who was having none of that. Much kicking and donkey attitude ensued.

Dusty was fine, other than having an oddly shaped butt and needing to gain a couple hundred pounds. That was good to know. Trixie recommended supplements.

Then it was Drew’s turn. Trixie thought he may be younger than three, but I think his owner was right; he’s barely 3. Other than being thin, she said he was in good shape, EXCEPT his eye was all goopy. What the heck?

After goop was wiped.

While Trixie was looking Drew over, perhaps the sweetest thing I’ve seen in YEARS occurred. Goldie, who had already herded loose cattle today, came up to us. She sniffed all over Drew as if to figure out he was in pain. Then she licked his face!

Hmm. You smell funny.

Then my heart melted. Drew must have spent ten minutes being kind to Goldie. He licked and licked her back, licked her sore area where she is in heat, and carefully nipped her all over.

You are my friend.

They spent a whole lot of time calmly standing nose to nose. It was so dear. I could not love these two animals more. The both are so full of love and gratitude for their nice new lives.

You smell so good.

Because of the eye issue, as soon as Trixie left, we loaded poor Drew into the trailer AGAIN and rushed him to Dr. Kildore in Rosebud. They were great to let us in. The vet found he had a lot of debris in his eye, so he numbed it, flushed it, and got everything out. His cornea is not scratched. Whew. He needs ointment in his eye for a few days, then should be okay.

I’m staying here forever.

We still had trouble getting Drew out of the trailer. I wonder what has caused it? Once he was out, though, he held no grudges. He is such a wonderful soul.