Thursday, April 23, 2009

Well, Dakota almost died this morning.   I woke at 6am to dogs barking out front.  Unusual -- they normally bark out by the side drive.   I panicked to see that Xerxes horn had gotten hooked into Dakota's collar and apparently they had both been struggling to get loose from one another. Dakota was prone and looked lifeless.   Panicked, I had to stay calm and smooth or Xerxes would run from me, further strangling Dakota.  I got to them and had to talk soothingly to keep Xerxes still while I ducked his head down and guided his horn backward out of the collar.  Released, Dakota barely breathed.  His eyes were hooded and glazed and spittle dribbled from his nose and mouth.  His face was scraped and bleeding and his legs were straight out and his whole body trembling.  He was wet from being dragged around through the dew.  I figured there was a good chance his neck was broken or his throat too crushed to recover. I covered him with my bath robe to warm him and stayed next to him, talking to him and petting him in the early morning sun. Twenty minutes later, he got up but was still dazed and maybe brain damaged, I thought. An hour later, he followed me to the barn to put Benny away from the round pen.  And now he seems himself again! What a relief!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Getting ready for the Ice

It always comes on before I'm ready. The horse, goat and chicken water tanks were sealed with ice yesterday and today. Armed with hammer, I got them all water access then set about to heat our water world. I bought some heated buckets at RK, for the dogs and goats. Also got ten bags chicken food, two 50lb bags dog food, and a bed for poor Thor.  Looked for dog-coats for Thor but neither RK nor Walmart had anything useful.  Repaired the wiring for the horse tanks. This took an hour, and I got shocked because one of the elements was bad. So need to work more on that one tomorrow. Certainly can't have the horses shocked when they drink. Rigged the henhouse with light, finally. The circuit breaker at the hog barn gave me trouble, but I persuaded it. Newly strawed nesting boxes look cosy in the lamplight. Cleaned up the left over project wood from the outside goat corral today and gave Xerxes a long chin and poll scratching. Medicated Leo... his ERU is acting up again but the atropine and aspirin do help him.  Farrier wants to fit us in tomorrow but I asked him for Wednesday because tomorrow is already so busy. Chuck will come cut a branch of the big Elm threatening to fall on the electric line in next wind storm, plus he'll lend us his tall ladder to reach the barn lights that need changing (about twelve bulbs in all, 16 feet up). Hopefully, he'll also have his laser level with him and can help set marks for the start of our new clubhouse construction in the barn. I put a new toilet seat on, in the house bathroom today. Took all of five minutes; wish I hadn't put that off so long. Got my son's broken dresser unloaded and moved out onto the deck, and cleaned out some stored items I had put (unfairly) in his room. Don't know how I expect him to manage his clutter if I put my own in his way. Cooked several sets of chicken enchiladas and froze them to give away...that was more kitchen time than I've done in a while. Well, got to get on line to see about ordering some Christmas gifts...that, like the tank heaters, is another thing that will sneak up on you if you aren't watching. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yesterday's Work

Greg, 15, got dropped off by his dad yesterday, Monday, at 8, to do some work here on the farm. He fed all of the animals, and saddled up Chester, Leo, and Rialto for training. I stayed in  the house and helped my son get started on his schoolwork, then went out and rode with Greg in the arena. It was 35 degrees and blustery. We worked on better(or any) neck reining responsiveness in Chester and Leo and on getting Leo to take a canter and stay in it. He bucked about eight different times, but not hard. The lazy horses buck when asked to canter (that would be Chester, Leo, and Sheik). Greg is great at staying on the buck and giving a sharp correction/admonition to the horse for it's insolence. Chester is a blond fuzzy Halflinger and Leo is a big blond bronto-quarterhorse-ah-saurus. I also tried Rialto, our strapping young white Arabian gelding, for the first time.  I was impressed with his responsiveness to turn and go commands. Greg has been working on him for months and has done a great job. Our ears got too cold riding in the wind, and with deer hunters out, a trail ride was out of the question, so we untacked the horses and worked inside the barn a few hours. Greg envisioned a playpen for Nathaniel and Bartemaeus, the youngest goats. Fifty nails and two power drill batteries later, their horse-stall home had a balancing barrel, a swing, hanging punch-ball, a laddered ramp, "king" platform, and a covered fort. A friend arrived to take some pears and a quilting kit, and left. Greg and I opened three storage tupperwares on the horse equipment shelves and ferreted out the parts needed to make a new set of reins for riding Leo (Greg doesn't like the knot knobs on Leo's regular reins). We went inside by the woodstove to warm our fingers, create the rein set, and snack on chips. Ten minutes later, I drove Greg home in the old VW. It is still loud despite the new exhaust system I put on it. Will have to crawl under and look at it again.  On the way home, I stopped at True Value hardware to get a lamp for the chicken shed. I saw Fred Garr there, but he dod not recognize me, even though he spoke with me about chickens.  Truthfully, I didn't recognize him either, until driving home and thinking on it...he was so much healthier and able-bodied than when I had seen him last.  His Donkeys, Jenny and Josie, were (are still) staying at my farm while Fred recovers from an injury. At True Value, he was buying fence repair supplies, so I think he will want his donkeys back soon. I will have to call his wife today and see if they want help getting their place repaired and ready.  Anyway, got home and helped my son finish up his school work.  I think he'll ace his geography test tomorrow. Time to quit this blog and go post plans for this weeks outdoor adventure. Last week we canoed. I think we will dig for Jerusalem Artichokes this week.