Ludicrous Laws and the Walking Wounded

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MY APOLOGIES for the tardiness of this post. I ran smack into the brick wall of my own limitations this week and am still reeling from the impact *laugh*
Did you know (some random levity here) that in Wilbur, Washington it is against the law for a person to ride down the street on an ugly horse?  For those of you who are saying ooo-kaaaay and now looking sideways at the screen, I'll go one better: 
In Marshalltown, Iowa it is illegal for horses to eat fire hydrants. I'm sure that fire hydrants everywhere will rest easily now that they are no longer in danger of being consumed by equines. Wow. Of course Champ did eat that stray golf ball that one time (thankfully, he spit it back out). Hmmmm. Well. I ordered a Scholastic Book entitled, "World's Dumbest Laws" and have to agree they are pretty much right up there with the Darwin Awards.  
For you dog lovers: You can not take a French poodle to an opera house in Chicago (no culture for you, Fifi).  
Oh, and let's not forget the cats: In International Falls, Minnesota, it is illegal for a cat to chase a dog up a telephone pole. I am sure that these laws came with some kind of convoluted rationale, but I for one do NOT wish to know the specifics (because it really scares me).
Champ hurt his leg this week; he seems to have pulled or strained one of the ligaments in his [lower] right fore. Since he was fine the night before and hobbled his way down for breakfast, I'm not clear on exactly what he did. Too much frolic in the field perhaps? Dunno. We bought a ColdFlex wrap from Jeffers, which looked like a pretty cool (ha) thing at first. Sadly, it did NOT hold up worth a flip, so we ended up going back for a "real" ice wrap (pic further down). As you can see, he didn't seem to have any trouble downing his medicine (a mild analgesic) either. I'm betting it was the watermelon that came with it *laugh*. Thankfully, he has put himself on stall rest for the most part. I thought about locking him in, but when you take a horse that was on 24 hour turn out (and used to being able to come and go as he pleases) and stick him in a stall for an extended period of time, that can get kind of dicey.
We did some hosing [of the leg] too, and discovered that the spray nozzle can double as a ginormous waterpik. Seems our boy thought he needed a good flossing:
We got some more wraps and Absorbine gel - the wraps help the liniment to penetrate more deeply. The bottle of liniment we had on hand was so doggone old it had pretty much lost its zing. I think the last time we needed any liniment was around 2006; we're mostly dents and dings around here (no strains). Anybody besides me think that stuff smells exactly like "Freshen Up" gum? - I kept taking little side trips down memory lane to my Sunday school class [waaay back] when a friend gave me a piece of that stuff for the first time ;o) Funny. In case you didn't know, our sense of smell is the strongest sense we possess in triggering memories (a random edumacational fact for ya there ;o)
Champ has discovered room service, which he thinks is pretty great. Shadow kept him company, and helped him eat his hay (for some reason this made me think of visiting a family member in the hospital and sampling the Jell-O, etc. on their supper tray *laugh*).
After three days of alternately icing and applying liniment like a crazy person, Champ's leg seems to be much improved (thank goodness, as I'm worn out!) We're still keeping a very close eye on him and applying the liniment regularly, but hopefully it's a sign he's well on the mend. I definitely like the EZ ice leg wrap a WHOLE lot better than the less expensive Coldflex (waste of money there). Shadow has turned out to be a decent babysitter, and keeps pretty good tabs on Champ. DD was out of town all weekend (Baptist Conference for the Deaf in Florida), so it was a good thing I had Shadow to help me by watching me run in and out and up and down with ice, liniment and bandages, water and hay (he supervised in DD's absence and said all my running around wore him out).
I came within a hair of canceling with Champ hurt and DD gone, but with the liability insurance looming large I went ahead and set up a table at the Twilight Pageant last Saturday (they raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) hoping to sell a few things. I'm thinking the amount of work involved to get everything together, manning the table all day, plus the loading and unloading of all the things I took to sell (including tables and chairs) was definitely not worth the $25 we made. Oh well; it was a thought, right? ;o)
I think that's probably enough of me for now (I need a nap) *laugh*. I do have two more photos to share though. There was an Elwood sighting this morning:
And a really unusual looking sunrise with lots of haze (this is straight out of the camera, too). My apologies for the security light that's marring the shot; I couldn't get him to move *grin*.
 Have a blessed week everyone! What's left of it anyway;o)


A Week at Warp Speed

Monday, July 18, 2011

I can't believe Monday's here...I didn't make my Saturday/Sunday deadline either *sigh*. It has been quite the busy week this week, and happily I have spent almost all of it outside. I did manage to finish our little Epic Farms sign and snap a picture of it for you. It's parked on top of some ADA specs. Although we are not a public facility, we wanted to make sure that we could get our restroom and sink measurements as close as we could to allow wheelchair access. I have a friend at church that does this for a living, and she came out last week to look over the almost restroom and gave us a thumbs up - yay!. Who knows? As medically-challenged as I am sometimes it might ultimately be me who needs the access (although I sure hope not!)
This might sound strange, but I found the neatest little trick the other day. Growing up in the North, my mom always saved the bread bags for us to put on over our socks and jeans before we put our boots on or went ice skating (keeps those tootsies nice and dry :o) We were blessed (thank you Lord!!) with some fabulous rain last week (the non-destructive kind for the first time in a looonnong time). All that wet and mud is great except when it comes to the feet. My muckity-mucks bit the dust awhile back (new pair is "on the list"), so I've been wearing my Earth Boots instead. I really hate soggy socks though, even when it's not cold outside. The bread bag was definitely too much, but you know what? I discovered that sticking my foot in a folding sandwich bag before putting my boots on works like a charm. Isn't that funny? 
After years of missed opportunities, I have FINALLY gotten some decent shots of Shadow's little rolling routine. He will not (for reasons only he knows) roll all the way over like everyone else does. Maybe next time I'll be smart enough to turn on the video so you can see it live and in person (well, in equine anyway ;o), it never fails to make me laugh.
First, we lay down and prepare to do Side A:
I missed the shot of the actual roll on this side as Champ, who I'd just dismounted, decided to poke me with his very big nose). 
Next, we sit up and prepare for rotation:
Front feet marching, rear end wiggling, we scooch and squirm and maneuver ourselves around to roll on Side B:
Side B; ready?
Commence rolling:
And then we shake it allllll off; whatever "it" might be (in this case bits of grass :o)
"And that's how I roll", says Shadow ;o)  Have a blessed week everyone!

Hay-Hay-Hay It's Giveaway Day!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Complete with fireworks and fish tales...
Well we started the Fourth with a bang all right, although it wasn't exactly the kind we were expecting. Thankfully, we were running in and out checking on the horses so our home grown "Old Faithful" didn't spew for too long. Gotta love those exploding hoses. NOT :oP I hope everyone's Fourth was happy and healthy out there. Firework shows here were almost canceled because of the drought; the heavy rain we got last week and then again the night before the Fourth saved the fireworks display.  Meh.
I don't think I told you, but shortly after Larry, Moe and Curly's untimely demise (this post) someone discovered that we had a drive through sushi restaurant on the premises and were serving up fish on the go. First it was Faith; she vanished mysteriously without a trace one afternoon. Two days later I was still puzzling over Faith's disappearance, when I noticed that Hope was nowhere to be found. Now it was just Charity all by her lonesome in there. I may have never figured it out except that as I sat by the tank a day or two later (watching Charity and scratching my head), a large stealthy shadow passed directly overhead. Charity flipped out and frantically tried to hide herself in the silt on the bottom of the tank. Seriously? A hawk? Well isn't that just SPECIAL. Can you not go eat random pond fish or something else that doesn't have a name attached to it dude? Ugh....
Poor Charity; she has been like this day in and day out since she lost her little finned friends. Sitting with her head up against the side of the tank looking miserable. Sounds ridiculous I guess, but this photo is a variation of the theme. She has been this way every day; parked at the bottom of the tank, tail drooping and not moving other than to relocate to the other side of the tank and be sad over there. According to experts (lots of people who are way smarter than me ;o) the happier a fish is, the more they swim around (this post). Apparently fish get lonely and depressed just as we do. This left me with a bit of a dilemma. While I hated to see her moping about, I was less than thrilled at the prospect of continuously feeding Joe Predator. I thought I'd probably better figure out a way to protect the fish first.
I thought we might try one of those fake owls, but since they range between $25 and $30 that was going to have to wait (insurance first). Turns out I didn't have to. I was asking my dad if they worked, and he mentioned that he had an extra one just sitting in his garage. Hot diggity dog! We're extending the courtesy of nomenclature to inanimate resin objects this week, and I've opted to name her "Grimble" after one of the characters in the first book of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series; the only one I've read thus far (it's a children's book). Hey, I work in an elementary school, remember? ;o) Did you know that you are supposed to move the fake owls every other day or so? If you don't the birds can figure out they're fake. I thought that was interesting (and don'tcha just learn all kinds of cool stuff via Professor Google?). Anyway, in case I forget - which is extremely likely - I've put a small silver disk on the post opposite as shiny is supposed to deter birds as well (here's hoping it works!) Then it was back to the fish store to find Charity some new friends - hang in there chickie, company's coming!
You know, if I hadn't watched it with my own eyes, I probably wouldn't have believed it. After seeing Charity just sit at the bottom of the tank day after day I wondered what she would do when she got her new friends. We got no reaction when DD put the bag in the water to acclimate them; she remained motionless at the bottom of the tank. But when we let them out? She popped right off the bottom and started swimming around all over the place. Although I had the camera right there in my hot little hands, I was so interested in Charity's reaction, I forgot to video the actual release (duh). I did shoot a little over a minute for you right afterward though. It cracks me up to watch Charity swim; her pectoral fins seem disproportionately small in comparison to her chunkymonkey shape. She's an Oranda Goldfish and looks like a weeble gone wild or something. Right after the 40 second mark, she swims over and plants one on Hope. Do you think she read my last post on kissing? Too funny.
We ended our week with a bang too (or at least an Arrgh!). Max, our resident problem child, decided that the grass looked a bit greener on the other side of the fence and snuck out. Seems we had a short somewhere, and although the box was happily ticking away the fence was no longer working. I have no idea how he knows these things, but he does. If only he would use his powers for good *sigh*. He didn't go far, just right outside the fence, and was munching away with poor Shadow all in a tizzy on our side. I sent DD to grab the other lunge whip so we could fan out to keep him from going the wrong way while trying to get him to go back in the same way he got out so we could find it (like this clip). I'll admit, had I watched our little drama unfold on someone else, I would have found the whole thing hysterically funny. 
DD, wanting to turn Max back toward me, thought she could just flick the whip at him instead of holding it straight out to the side like I asked her. I saw what she was planning to do and tried to stop her. You know how your brain suddenly screams *Warning*Warning*Train wreck!*Train wreck!* sometimes? Well, waving your arms frantically and yelling "NOOOOOOO" doesn't do a whole lot with a deaf kid that's not looking at you. I tried to run, but factoring in the muscle disease, arthritis and bursitis, the result was kind of a Hop-A-Long Cassidy meets Quasimodo sprint. Not pretty, and waaaay too slow. *sigh* Max shied at the whip, shot around her (in the wrong direction) and ran into another neighbor's yard leaving the area all together and headed straight toward the road. This was entirely too much for Shadow, who collapsed in a distraught puddle by the fence. Oy. Thankfully, Max didn't go far before he realized he was Leaving Home. He slammed on brakes and executed an immediate 180; one that any cutting horse would have been proud of. Since he was all but trying to crawl in my pocket when he got back, I guess it scared him too. While I didn't get a picture of Shadow's initial "swoon" (don't know what else to call it, and we are in the South after all ;o) I did get a shot of his second episode, this time when he collapsed in relief after it was over. Poor Shadow; all that trauma by proxy. I think it wore him out....

Well, I suppose since you read through all that, I should get to the giveaway part of the program. Thank you SO much to everyone who participated, and a very special thank you goes to "Clancy" for her wonderful support and for so generously kicking off the fundraiser. Thank you so very, very much!! Ready? Here we go...Congratulations Grace! If you will send me your mailing address, I'll pop this in the mail to you as soon as I can (it requires a trip to the post office, so it may take me a day or two to get there).
Have a blessed week everyone, and smile (it's better for your face ;o)

The Mighty Muzzle

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Is one amazing muscle...
** PLEASE Don't forget our giveaway! (click here for info) **
It's funny. I googled muzzle and muscle and got hundreds of sites and articles talking about anatomy and/or how wonderfully soft a horse's muzzle is (and it is ;o) but I was surprised that there was little to no additional information about it. Why, you ask? Because that cute little kissable thing is COOL. I never thought much beyond the softness either; until Bella, that is. I walked outside one afternoon to see her with her nose poked down into a sandy area and her head [just barely] moving strangely about. Puzzled, I went to see what on earth she was doing. Would you believe she was twirling a small piece of rope around in the sand with the tip of her muzzle? [Photo inset is Bella's "teacup" muzzle in my mini-mixing bowl; she's eating the leftover shredded carrots from a carrot cake I made. This post].
Standing there (mouth open like a ninny) I stared rather stupidly at her as she continued playing with the rope. In amazement, I looked at all the patterns she had already made in the sand; wow. Shaking my head and laughing I pondered the obvious; Bella was bored and had found something interesting to do to entertain herself. Sometimes I think we should change her name to Cerebella *grin*. Again I say wow.
It's been awhile, but I took a couple of videos of Max and Bella one afternoon (I was sitting on Shadow; I'm tall, but not that tall). I was curious to see their muzzles in action as they grazed. Bella is definitely the more industrious of the two. The efficiency of the whole process is what blows me away. Max used both nose and lower lip to help the closely cropped grass stand up (I want to say it was shot at the very beginning of spring). Bella used hers like a whisk broom to brush away the pine needles and sand in the soil, leaving the grass better exposed.
Check it out:Last week in a discussion group I belong to there was a raging debate about whether or not it was a good idea to kiss a horse on the muzzle. Opinions were split about 50/50 until someone said something somewhere that annoyed someone else and the "discussion" group disintegrated into a major dogpile/nah-nah thing that gave the rest of us a whopping headache. It made me think of what my mom used to tell my brother and I when we started sniping at each other, "Fight nicely children." (hee). It also reminded me why I so rarely post anything to a group and why I don't talk to most horse people around here; they tend to be opinionated to the Nth degree, and if you don't fall in with their line of thinking you're an idiot (and they are all too happy to tell you so - eek :o) Apparently, you guys are going to get my thoughts on this subject - whether you want them or not *laugh*. Ready? Here goes...
The Art of Kissing an Equine
Strange as it may sound, we have worked very hard on perfecting this particular trick. Before we get to the pictures below I would like to say a few things:
1. Bella is the only one of our horses I feel comfortable letting kiss a visitor (with their permission of course);
2. She is not allowed to kiss without the [target specific] cue;
3. Although William [first kid photo below] beat her to the punch, Bella always "kisses" her target and promptly withdraws for her treat. Her kiss consists of a light touch with the very tip of her nose. No contact, no treat. The rules are pretty simple and she understands them well [second kid photo below].
4. She is not allowed to step too far into anyone's personal space; as you can see by the space between her chest and the rails [second kid photo] she understands and respects this too.
Every once in awhile, Bella will make slightly firmer contact when both she and the kissee (haha) lean forward at the same time. Other than that, she is wonderfully consistent. Happily, I was able to put this trick to the acid test by asking her to kiss DH before we moved on to friends and visitors. While Bella is not aggressive toward DH, she does not like him, as he thinks it's funny to come up and put his arm around me when we're working and say "My person" (remember the jealous tart comment from this post?) It makes her mad. She had no compunction whatsoever about kissing DH though; it was all about the treat (she's a professional ;o) 
My only regret over our recent visitors was that I did not have anyone standing there with a video camera while I was taking stills. William, being a kid and all, is pretty short and initially Bella could not "find" him. She had her upper lip stretched out as far as she could and was literally patting the air with the end of her nose in search of her target (she looked like a cartoon - it was hilarious). He had to step up on the bottom rail to get his kiss. Above photo: Bella loves to rest her chin in my hand while we "talk". Mostly about how smart she is ;o)
William was not the slightest bit shy about kissing Bella. He popped right up on that bottom rail and planted one on her.
Keira, on the other hand, changed her mind at the last minute (she's still all puckered up though ;o) You can see what a good girl Bella is, in that she is not plastered up against the side of the stall crowding Keira's space even though she is doing her level best to do what I asked her. I gotta say I just love the photo; isn't it a hoot?
Must. Make. Contact. Strrrrretch....
For my crafty friends, I worked on the chairs (here) and this small sign that will go outside next to the door of the "Epic Farms Room". I'm not quite finished playing *ahem* working on it:
For our donors, I made up and delivered 10 care packages to a local hospital for the Sickle Cell kids (because I know exactly how boring it is to be stuck to an IV pole for hours on end ;o) I'm now working on another batch for the Twilight/Lymphoma and cancer kids in our area. I will add that the only thing I'm going to stamp for awhile after I finish this batch is my foot. Ugh.*laugh*.
I did have to stop somewhere during the week to have a chat with my itty bitty stalker. We discussed exactly why the pasture was off limits, and the fact that sometimes size DOES most definitely matter. Understand, peanut? ;o)
Speaking of a 50/50 split, look at this weird photo I took of the sky the other day. A storm was coming in; isn't that wild? Too bad the wire is in there though. I can take it out, but I'm not skilled enough to do it where you can't tell (I'd make a mess of it). And it would probably take me a week to do it, too ;o)
As always, thanks so much for reading this far and have yourself a wonderful week. The rotten ones are way too much trouble ;o)
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