Why Apache Hurt So Badly

Before I explain that, I want to share that Apache, my beloved paint gelding, is feeling a whole lot better. He’s able to be in the little pasture with the poor quality grass 24/7 again. The next goal would be to get to hang out with the other horses again, but that might not happen.

How we know he’s feeling fine again is a little story. Sara and I were doing horse chores together Saturday night. She remembered she needed to pick some peppers over by the cabin, so we walked Apache over there as part of his exercise program, such as it is. I dropped his lead to let him graze over by the old chicken coop, while we went over to the vegetable garden. I got all excited over some overripe tomatoes for the chickens, and didn’t think about Apache.

Suddenly, he made that horse alarm sound. I turned around to see him take off trotting down the drive, Arabian tail flying high. Next, I heard loud braying on the other side of the huge bales of silage. Apparently, Fiona had panicked because she couldn’t see Apache.

This is the face me made. I didn’t get any actual photos of the event, since I was busy making sure he was all right.

As I followed him, I saw Fiona breathlessly arrive, having been “stuck” in the race (not really). They still appeared a bit wound up, and sure enough, they took off again, heading to the other two horses, who were nearby in their pasture. THIS is when I knew Apache felt okay. He proceeded to not just trot, but canter over there, with a few added jumps. Obviously his feet felt good.

The two of them visited the other horses, then came back to me and Sara, breathing hard and ready to go back in their area and eat their dinner. Yep, he’s feeling better.

Evidence of Pain

Yesterday, we were looking at Apache’s feet, and it was really easy to see a line, about an inch above the end of his hooves. When Sara picked up his front feet, we could easily see where his hoof wall had separated from the inner part. That’s why he could barely walk for so long. Ow!

See those black lines? Pretty obvious.

Luckily, hooves grow out, and now the separated area seems to be in the part he can’t feel anymore (like the ends of our fingernails versus the nail beds). I’m glad we were able to help him and keep the issue from becoming chronic.

Those cracks near the front edge are what hurt.

Now we have to get some muscle back on him, and make sure he doesn’t get any thinner. Wow, this is the first time we’ve ever had THAT weight problem on him!

The sun has now set on this issue. Are you tired of my sunsets yet?

Hey, Hay!

I think the long saga of me needing hay for Apache is over for a while, at least. It’s nice to have kind Master Naturalist friends to come to my rescue.

I thought I was getting square bales from Pamela, who lives nearby, but it turned out her baling guy would make no fewer than 200 bales (understandably). I just don’t have the funds for that.

Pre-moved hay and great sign.

So then my other Master Naturalist friend, Cindy, said she had some old hay for my preferred price (her new hay was too expensive, and besides, the older the better for Apache). That’s probably the best for us, anyway.

That is one neat tack room.

So, after work, Chris and I took a trailer down to Cindy’s place, which is even more beautiful than I imagined. It’s a Suna Dream Property. While I enjoyed her Tennessee Walking Horses, Chris loaded the hay with the help of another Master Naturalist, Sam, and another nice helper.

They’d already taken the hay out of the hayloft, so it went quickly.

We got to look around and chat, too, which was so nice. I miss my friends! It was worth sweating away in masks! It’s a fine bonus to getting the hay. Also, I was so busy looking around and chatting that I didn’t get many pictures.

I also didn’t get any pictures of unloading the hay. At least here’s a picture or two of the loaded hay.

I went to get Lee’s brother a burger, and the onion rings took so long that I totally missed unloading the hay! But the food was good, so yay. And I did get photos of the beautiful stacks Chris made.

Speaking of beautiful, I tried to get a gorgeous picture of Fiona and yet another fine sunset, but every time I stepped back to take a picture, she followed me. This is my best try!

Here I come, Mommy.

By the way, my friends’ beautiful horse property is for sale. Want to bring your horses and come live near me?

The Vines of Hermits’ Rest

I thought I’d take my own advice and get out in nature this morning, so I made up a project to see how many different vines I could see along the fence in front of and beside the ranch house.

Mustang grape. I know because it’s silver and hairy on the bottom.

It hadn’t gotten stifling hot yet, so Vlassic and I set off. I knew a lot of what I’d see, but figured I’d find at least seven different vines.

Vine
Looks boring, right? But if we hadn’t been aggressively mowing, it would produce cool little lanterns. It’s Cardiospermum halicacabum

I actually ended up with 12! At least I hope so. Most weren’t blooming, but I recognized them. The white morning glory had closed up and I couldn’t get to the flowers to photograph.

I was especially glad to see passion vines in more than one place, because I’d worried the poison ivy had crowded it out.

Passion vine with no beautiful flowers.

Also I was glad to confirm that we have sorrel vine here, since the Master Naturalist who lives not far from here has a lot of it.

Sorrel vine or Cissus trifoliata. It’s known as possum grape, too.

Otherwise, it’s the usual prickly, rash-inducing, invasive and/or pretty plants.

Of course I had to snap a few other pretty sights. Plus, there’s action around the hen house. There’s a new spider building a web right in front of where I get the eggs from. Luckily I have another way to get eggs.

And Chris put a live trap by the chicken run. We need to stop whatever took almost all the guineas and a hen! Hopefully, once it cools off, he will come up with more safety measures.

These are prettier than water hose, right? Lady Bird’s Centaury.

We do have a much more elaborate water system, though, since the other one was trying to make the hoses explode. Chris used new water hose/pipe and fittings to make a safer temporary setup until we make the fancy underground one. It’s also too hot to safely dig the trench for that.

At least the dogs are happy we’re inside all day. 102 is too hot for any of our outdoor projects! Happy July.

It’s weather fit for sunflowers!

Pampered Chickens? Nah. (Book Report)

I was a little worried that we are pampering the chickens and guineas. For example, I wandered out into the woods today to make more perches and shade for the chickens.

Hedy and Hedley are on the new perch.

And Chris made a new shelf and perch for the guineas. They have really grown since we got them!

The perch in front and the shelf in back. They still haven’t figured them out.

I feel much better now, though. I got two books of chicken projects at Tractor Supply, and they had some of the most indulgent yet cute projects imaginable. One has 40 projects; one has 50. I guess their editors had the same idea.

One of the authors, Lisa Steele, who is apparently a big chicken blogger,* puts curtains on all her hens’ nest boxes, because some are shy. Lordy. And she makes them salves and feeds them herbs. And builds many adorable hen swings.

We only got to have our shelf because Chris added chicken wire to the top of our cage so we can’t get out.

I did enjoy the projects in both books (Janet Garman is a little more serious but also obviously LOVES chickens) and got some good ideas, like making a low perch for the Jersey Giants. Right now Hedy loves it the most, followed by Henley and Bruce. The young hens do love all the new things. They still like to play.

We love our new perch, say Hedy and Henley.

Oh! I forgot to share that last night I let Ginger and Bertie run around and chase grasshoppers for a while. Lee and I were mighty entertained. Those gals are good! Even Clarence came out and caught some. I got them all back in pretty easily once they had their fill.

I hope we can let them out more often. As long as the big dogs are inside, they’re fine. Vlassic and Gracie just watch like we do!

Nope. Our chickens aren’t pampered. Just fun.

*Like I can talk. I’m a not-big sort of ranching sort of venting blogger.

Risky Business

The Word of the Day in UU Lent is “risk.” Now, there’s a word I’m familiar and even mostly comfortable with. The photo I put on Instagram was this one, taken from the top of the stairs at the Pope Residence, and looking down, somewhat queasily.

I’m not a big fan of heights, but you’re not going to be able to get a shiny new roof without climbing up there.

Risk can be messy, or create messes. Like all the construction debris in the photo, you often have to make a path through a lot of crap when you’re taking risks in life. And there are often metaphorical nails and sharp pieces of metal to wade through.

Easton’s like me. Not a big fan of being on the roof. He and Randy can help from the sturdy floor of the sunroom.

I’ve never been a risk taker. You know how people are divided into the ones who like roller coasters, parachuting, and thrill-seeking activities, versus the ones who prefer their novelty to be more of the “shall I try a new variety of apple?” kind? Well, I have the apple personality.

But as I have gotten older, there are certain types of risks I am more comfortable with taking, like joining groups to make friends, speaking up in work meetings, starting new businesses (talk about RISK – this is WAY beyond my comfort zone for earlier in my life). I think becoming less of a worrier and more of an observer in life helps me be comfortable with this kind of risk taking. You can’t know what’s going to happen in the future, so do what you can do to mitigate risk, then wait and see what happens and deal with what comes up.

This Blog Is a Risk

Today, putting yourself out there in public, warts and all, can be quite a risk. I’m honest about my “stuff” here on this blog, and am not out to make myself look good, be an “influencer,” or make money. I’m here to share experiences that might help others look at things in new ways, or feel less alone in their own experiences.

I’ve received some comments about how that might be risky. Last night, a reader said something about some of the posts being a bit “out there.” And since I have a lot of readers of different backgrounds from mine, I can really see that. I’m not your standard ranch girl, but more of a New Agey hippie trying to fit into a rural culture that has a lot of appeal to me, even if most people aren’t like me.

Another risk
Spring spring. Texas Mountain Laurel to thank Hermits’ Rest readers.

It’s freeing, though, that I’m no longer trying to make everyone like me or please everyone I know. If the stuff I write bothers anyone, they don’t have to read it. There’s certainly plenty of other content out there.

Thanks to you who read this and comment (some in the blog, some on Facebook, and some in person), since learning what you think helps me to get to know you. I know commenting can be a risk, too, but it seems like my community is a supportive one that embraces all perspectives. Take a chance! Participate more, folks!

Past and the Future

When I was in my twenties, big risks were just not my thing. For many years, I tried to stick to a career path I’d set out on at age 18, even when I really needed to get out. I didn’t even DARE do what I wanted to do in my heart, which was perform music with others. By the time I was ready to risk rejection that way, I was much too old for it to be anything other than a hobby. That was the past.

Here they are, live from an iPhone.

The future is bright though. Last week, Anita, neighbor Ruth, and I went to see my son’s band, Big Dallas. It was their first gig, though they have been working on songs a long time. We had low expectations, since they were the first band of the night. But, there were lots of people there, and not just relatives and friends!

And they blew everyone away. Neighbor Ruth said they sound like a country Frank Zappa. The musicianship is so high, and the songs are tongue-in-cheek urban country that has you chuckling the whole time you listen.

It’s Big Dallas, sideways.

Now, this band is a big risk, as all bands are. It’s a bigger risk for my son, who had a huge musical setback last year and nearly gave up his passion. I am really proud of his friends Austin and Russell for taking the risk of sticking with him and working on this amazing music. In my mind, they’ve already succeeded (though I hope to see them again soon).

What risks are you taking now? Are you extra risk-averse, or a go-for-it kind of person?

My Health Is MY Business; Yours Is Your Business

[Skip this if you have food triggers. Thank you.]

I figure it’s a good time to update on my intention to eat in a more healthy way and nip that triglyceride issue in the bud.

(At the same time I am demonstrating that you can post to this blog in columns.)

I’m feeling really good lately, and quite positive about everything. That’s probably why I am not in the least upset to pass by a dinner roll or a piece of pie. It has occurred to me that, just because a piece of food exists, I don’t have to eat it unless I want to.

So, even with going to New Orleans and all those other trips, I’ve been eating reasonable portions of mostly healthy food. I don’t weigh myself much, but my jeans tell me I’ve at least slimmed down a little. This is mainly good, because I don’t want to buy new clothing.

I’ve walked a LOT and have been hitting my exercise goal more often the past month or two. I actually have come to crave movement and don’t like just sitting around for a long time. I just get up and walk! It can’t hurt.

So, my health seems good. It’s how I like it. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

And YOU?

After listening to people tell each other over and over again that they “should” be “doing keto” or cutting carbs, or fasting, or eating what your body tells you to…I sure am tired of people thinking they know what’s right for someone else.

I have friends of all shapes and sizes, as well as exercise lovers and haters. You know what? If you have thought about it long and hard and are happy with how you eat and the amount of movement you get in, well, it’s not my job to tell you otherwise.

If you ASK me what I do to keep healthy, then, sure, I’ll tell you how I am a big fan of moderation in everything, but that I’ve cut back on sugar and carbs lately for health reasons. But do I think you have to do that because I do? Nope.

What I would appreciate, though, would be for people who know I have reasons for my food choices trying to get me to change them. “Oh it’s just one cookie.” Yeah, but right now I don’t want one. I’ll have one later.

Gallery of Me

Me, size large
Me, size Medium
Me, size small
Me, size extra small
Age 27. Hair bigger than me.

Well, Here I Go Again

I think I’m on a big kick of telling you how I handle issues that bug me. I’m like the happy curmudgeon, telling people to get off my lawn, but kindly and with good intent. Thanks to everyone who puts up with these blog posts. Thanks to the few of you who read my odes to my horses, too.

PS: All these pictures of me make me feel a little vain, but the idea is to show I am happy, at least in photos, however I’m doing in the eating department.

Soupy Day

I’m mulling over some thoughts right now, but am in an uncharacteristically frazzled state. It’s been that way all day!

I need to just sit here and not move, even to put away the stray Halloween decoration.

Every errand and small work task I did got wonky. At least I retrieved my remotes I’d left in my rental car before vacation. But I set the GPS to go to the wrong Enterprise office.

I tried to save time and money and make some special gifts for Christmas, but it turned out the woman at the store had not put them together. And didn’t know how. After ruining two presents, I brought all the parts home. Now I’m not saving much time. But they will be done right.

Continue reading “Soupy Day”

Celebrating Friends and Kindness

Yesterday was Kindness Day, in honor of Fred Rogers. While I didn’t wear a cardigan, I thought of him and of my efforts to be kind throughout the years. Sometimes it isn’t easy, as I have painfully discovered over the past few days, but it’s worth it. Please, friends, even when you are displeased with someone, let them know with kindness and empathy.

Friends?

Yes! One of my long-time (and I mean long…at least 25 years) email friends was in Austin, and Anita and I went to have dinner with her. Andi has always been a great participant in a group of women who started out as feminists who chose to stay home to raise their children. We’ve been together through ups and downs, starting and restarting careers, divorces, and triumphs. So, it was great to see her in person.

Andi and I had clashing Overtone hair colors.

We went to a new place right across from the JW Marriott in Austin, called Fareground, where a number of nice restaurants have places you can order food, and then take them to tables to eat. A bar server wanders around to see if you want wine or anything. The setting is really pretty, and it must be a lot of fun when you can sit outdoors.

Continue reading “Celebrating Friends and Kindness”