Manmade Mazes and Moxidectin (yum)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Because our *cough* official construction foreman (a.k.a. DH) has been pretty much slammed at work over the past several months, we've had a time of it trying to get the visitor area completed. Since the area is attached to our house, we can't use any of the Epic Farms' funds to hire someone else to do it (a big unethical No-No) so we are stuck doing things a little bit at a time; ergo moving at the speed of snail. This can be quite a challenge for the Type-A personality (and yep, I admit it).
The problem with the piecemeal method is the location of the construction zone: Yours Truly has to walk through it several times a day to get to the horses. This has resulted in a myriad of marital disputes; although I specifically remember mentioning on more than one occasion that my middle name is NOT Grace. Initially it was the thing with string that was giving me a headache. DH put up stakes and ran some nylon cord about 18" above the ground to mark off the visitor area. This meant I had to carefully step over said string both coming and going. Although it was fuchsia and easily visible, I still managed to trip over it after the first few high steppin' days when I shifted my focus to the feed buckets I was carrying and/or the horses (apparently there are time constraints on my multitasking ability :o) I have to admit, that cord held up pretty darn well though. Took me almost a solid week of tripping to actually break it. Of course you just know I got in trouble *sigh*. The support posts weren't so bad; they looked kinda weird sticking straight up toward the sky but I couldn't really miss seeing them, (though we did have some unique challenges there, remember the frogs?). It wasn't so bad, that is, until the concrete was poured to secure them...
The Feeding Time Obstacle Course:
1. Begin by tripping over drain pipe (which has been there forever) because your focus is on the piece of relocated metal roofing ahead; 2. Snag toe of one boot (doesn't matter which) on hose because you are distracted by the pipe and preoccupied with snarling repentable words at it; 3. Take one ginormous awkward step over said piece of metal roofing (while being sure to almost drop the feed buckets); 4. Snag toe of opposite boot on the other end of hose which is hiding in the grass on the other side; 5. Trip over empty concrete bag, then crawl carefully over high wooden brace (because you're too dang old to go under it) without dropping feed buckets, continuing to mutter repentable words while pondering the necessity of having a visitor area in the first place. Repeat course for the next several feedings or until you are ready for some serious therapy. Xanax anyone?
Speaking of challenges, I finally finished playing with the video clips from our latest Worm Paste Party. I posted it a bit further down. For those of you who are not familiar with the deworming process, here is a tutorial from eHow:
1. Choose what type of dewormer you want to use. There are paste wormers available in a large syringe or daily wormers in pellet form to be mixed with your daily feeding schedule.
2. Tie your horse before giving him the paste dewormer. Most horses don't like the taste of the dewormer so he may try to throw his head up in the air.
3. Set the syringe to the correct weight dosage. The numbers are printed on the syringe and are easy to read.
4. Insert the first few inches of the tip of the syringe into the corner of your horse's mouth. It should be pointed towards the back of the horse's mouth.
5. Inject the paste into the horse's mouth and remove the syringe.
6. Hold the horse's head up by pushing up from underneath his jaw. This will allow him to swallow the dewormer without letting it drop out of his mouth.
I found this funky halter for administering worm paste and other medicines to an uncooperative horse (they can't spit it out). While the step-by-step from eHow is handy, generally speaking this rundown from the Horselaughs blog is probably far more accurate:
1. Buy wormer paste.
2. Capture the wild beast -a.k.a- the horse.
3. Firmly grip lead rope in left/right hand (whichever you do not write with).
4. With your other hand insert wormer tube.
5. Pick yourself up off the ground and ask someone to hold your horse while you go to the emergency room to have your dislocated shoulder looked at.
6. Repeat steps 1-5, but duck this time as the back hooves somehow go flying past your head.
7. As your legs get twisted in the rope, try to stand up, only to have your legs pulled out from under you.
8. As soon as you spit out ALL the dirt you just ate, jump up and grab your horse.
9. Ponder why this is not working.
10. Repeat steps 1-5 and 6, but this time go home, change into a shirt that does not have apple- flavored wormer paste all over it and proceed to go to the feed store and buy another tube.
11. When you get back to the barn, see the manager's 10-year-old son walking over to you.
12. Let him take the worming tube from your hand, and watch in disbelief as he worms your horse without getting a single spot of the paste on himself, and there is no dirt on his face, and he's not in the emergency room.
13. Put your horse back in the barn and go home to your nice warm bed.
You probably noticed that there is a considerable amount of harness as well as a crew of three people deworming the horse in that earlier photo (it's not us). I am happy to report that we have been able to *cough* get by with one halter and two people: One to do the deworming, and one to hold the camera...

You're Invited! from Jen on Vimeo.
As with most videos, you probably want to let it hiccup all the way through one time first. Oh, and don't worry, it's not actually 9 minutes long...I have no idea how I managed to do that - Enjoy! :o)

I'm adding a P.S. here... Laura Goldman is a para-equestrian (disabled rider) who has earned a spot to compete at the World Equestrian Games. Laura has an amazing strength of will; she suffers from Muscular Dystrophy, but doesn't let that stand in her way! Unfortunately at around $5,000, the cost of the competition is far beyond her reach and she cannot afford to attend the games. Sheri Israel at Dressage Mom has been trying to help her find a sponsor, but has had no luck so far. If you would like to help this remarkable woman, please visit the U.S. Para Equestrian Association and make a donation in her name (e.g. "for Laura Goldman" where it says Add Special Instructions). Having personally suffered from a debilitating muscle disease (Dermatomyositis - currently in remission), I would love to see Laura have the chance to compete...You GO girl!

But Ma, I don't wanna go back to school

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Oh, wait...I'M the Mom (Dang it!  :o)
I can't believe it's time to go back already. Where did the summer GO?? *sniffle* I have to admit, it sure was nice to have lots of time to spend with the horses this year (last year I was battling that idiotic neurological "thing" that pretty much killed off any and all potential summer fun). As a dedicated Fuddyduddy - uh, that's one of them thar' technical terminyms - I am violently opposed to change of any sort. This is one of several reasons why horses and I get along like a house on fire *grin*. 
Since my previous student (a.k.a. DD) has graduated, I am off to interpret for someone new. Not only am I changing schools, but grades (high school to elementary). Nothing like a little culture shock, eh? Thankfully, I love the new school, and the classroom teacher is absolutely fantabulous. Er, another technical term there - sorry. The only fly (flies?) in the ointment is that it is three time farther (further?) than my previous school and I have to be there 10 minutes earlier. Ugh. Another change? DD is starting college this month. eek! She has also just gotten her driver's license. EEK! That's one way to achieve a more intensive prayer life (I'm going to wear out my knees on that one for sure). Oh, and in case you're wondering? I didn't Photoshop the bus in behind Bella; it lives next door, and of course the backpack is hers :o)
After some seriously hot, humid, yet rainless weather, we've finally started getting some rain. Unfortunately, all that icky sticky humidity threw an annoying (and unexpected) curve our way. Although our feed room is "inside" on the patio, it is screened and visqueened, not walled. We store our open feed in large garbage cans, and all bags are stacked against the wall on pallets (to keep them off the floor). Would you believe that one of the feeds was mildewing inside the garbage can? ARRRGH! Oh, and you definitely don't want to see the tack (blech). For now, I am buying feed every couple of days and storing the problem feed in the house. Of course I can't drag all of the feed stuff indoors, so I am now running back and forth like a lunatic. 

Did I mention that I have to leave for work at 6:45 this year? Sheesh. I am woman, hear me whine (Ha). After four years of a leisurely 7:15 departure time, this is pretty challenging because it means I've got to be outside feeding by 5:45. I have to allow enough time to feed everyone and cool off (ever try to stop sweating in a frantic hurry?), I have to have a wardrobe change (learned that one the hard way; horses love you lots more when you're clean) and slap on some makeup so I don't scare anyone. Here's hoping our pending grant comes through; it's got allotted funds for a dehumidifier in it so at least I can stop running in and out of the house. Of course my new schedule also interferes with my blog visits and Entrecard drops - so shall I apologize for my reduced appearance in advance?
Now maybe it's just me, but I found this solicitation for funds kind of tacky. As a survivor, I can state with absolute authority that cancer has absolutely NO appeal whatsoever (and har-de-har-har). Okay I couldn't resist that one, but let me be serious for a minute: While I understand that places like the Mayo Clinic are humongous contributors to research as well as a marvelous medical resource, it just doesn't seem right to ask their patients to donate money (Um, hello? I had enough trouble just paying my medical bills people). I guess if I were a gazillionaire I might be inclined to donate - and you'll pardon me while I laugh hysterically at that one - but I'm not. The other thing? Well, after three separate trips to Mayo - that generated three separate bills - I was left without a diagnosis. So sorry guys, my pennies are going to the ponies at Epic Farms... A much better bang for my buck don'tcha know ;o)
Look who I almost stepped on yesterday. I'll admit I was beginning to get just a teensy bit worried after a week with no bunny sightings (but a new stray cat in the neighborhood). I'm going to say that this is Harvey, as the little guy was initially invisible... 

I didn't see him until I almost stepped on him; he all but exploded off the ground at my feet (and that'll get the old heart rate up, let me tell ya). Here's hoping your week is full of sunshine and sassy smiles ('cause those are the very best kind). Thanks for reading! 

The skinny on the fatties...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ichthyoidus Butterballus
Sometime around the end of June we decided to purchase some fish to help keep the horse's water troughs clean. After doing some research (and talking to some folks that were already doing it), we bought six itty bitty goldfish. Three for The Girls and three for the Moo Crew. Since Goldfish are essentially domesticated members of the Carp family [a.k.a. vacuum cleaners with fins] and will not outgrow their environment - in this case a 70 gallon stock tank - it seemed to be a terrific and inexpensive green solution. If you'd like to read a bit more about the whole process, I made a lens about it here: An Epic Farms Fishtail.
A stickler for the rules, (remember Harvey and Elwood?) I gave them names on the way home in the car. Since we are a non-profit, Faith, Hope and Charity seemed to be the obvious choice for the Girls' fish. As for the Moo Crew? Why, Larry, Moe and Curly of course (it's SO them :o)
When we first added the fish to the tanks they looked awfully darn tiny in there. Even so, I must admit to worrying whether or not the little guys would have enough to eat after a while (although the horses do dribble an awful lot of "stuff" into the tanks with each visit). To the right is a picture of the Girls' tank on the first day we put the fish in; isn't she tiny? 
Apparently, my fears were groundless. Our little fishies have tripled in size; now they look more like Gobstoppers with gills. Dang. Even my husband (a self-proclaimed obliviousness enthusiast) stated that the fish looked like they were "ready to bust". Thankfully there have been no *kaBOOMs* (well, not yet anyway). Shadow came to see what we were doing when we added the fish to their tank - of course you know he was afraid of the baggie and stood back eyeballing it suspiciously *sigh*.
According to the experts - which would not be me - a fish's activity is directly related to their state of mind. In other words, the more they swim around the happier they are. Cool. Considering the fact that we get dizzy watching ours zip and zoom around in the tanks, I guess it means we may have unintentionally created Fishtopia (we'll call it a happy accident, 'kay? :o) For those of you wondering just how well it worked, here's a before and after of the Moo Crew's tank taken a couple of weeks apart (I left the dates on there for you). You can't even see the fish in the "before" shot; and do I need to tell you it's the one on the left? I didn't think so...
When we first put the fish in the tanks, anytime anything "loomed large" over their little world they would hot-fin it (haha) toward the bottom of their habitat. While it was good to know that they were not in danger of being slurped up anytime soon, it also made it pretty darn difficult to get pictures of them since they were initially quite small. Apparently time cures all in the fish world too though, as it wasn't too long before they figured out where their food was coming from (in this case it's Supermarket Sarabear ;o) Guess that explains why every once in awhile one of the Girls (or Moo Crew) would suddenly pop their head up from the water with a snort of alarm and head for the hills. Since horses cannot see underneath their chins, I imagine our little food finatics (ooooh, that was bad! Did you catch it?) gave them quite a start with their curiosity and enthusiasm. *Grin*  It's amazing how fast they've grown, too!
Of course then I had to see what would happen if I put my hand in there. The answer? They all came to investigate, and Charity even gave my fingers a bit of a nibble (it tickled).
Must be nice to have your food brought to you at home for every single meal, don't you think? I have to admit, I'm duly impressed by their complete lack of fear when it comes to the delivery method...A la Bella this time. Wow, right? So thanks for reading to the end [my friend] and I hope you have a terrific weekend!


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