Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bye Bye Ty!

Yesterday we were treated to a visit from a lovely couple from British Columbia, Canada. They had an eye on Tyler and came to see him in person, before making a final decision about taking him. We toured the ranch, first visited HeartBreaker who impressed them with his size, build and manners...even though he was being a bit silly wanting to hold his lead rope in his if he was a puppy dog carrying his lease begging for a walk ;-) We visited Tyler a few minutes, then headed up the hill to see the mare herd. The mares were not visible and it took some searching to find them. The luxury for our mares is being able to roam free on 150 acres of grass to their knees, the disadvantage is having to look for them, when I want to find them. They have several areas they like best, at different times of the year...they were down low on our place, in some really good grass. After our visit with our mares, we revisited Tyler and checked out Addy and Handsome Dark Knight....well, after the visit, Tyler headed to his new home in Canada. He traveled well, and had a little case of "sea legs" when he stepped off the truck in Canada, but he recovered quickly. I was quite impressed with Ray's knowledge of horses, conformation and potential...I wish all buyers had his kind of knowledge! We will keep track of Tyler as he grows and matures, and have the joy of seeing him started under saddle and being a great rep for the curly breed.

Monday, May 25, 2009

European news

News on the European front today! DKH Summers Breezy foaled....a lovely filly...This is HeartBreaker's 4th filly of the year! The filly is a replica of her dam, except for the lack of white on white markings anywhere. We are so happy to see Breezy with a new foal, after last years painful loss of her newborn, we are so happy to see this new healthy/active/stunning arrival..and a HUGE congratulations to Aline of JAK curlies, France.....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Celebrating the Graduate

On Saturday, May 16 th we have a milestone in our family. Our youngest son, Matthew, 23 years young, graduated from the University of Idaho, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. The EE program is not an easy one. Matthew spent 5 years in college ( only a rare exception gets it done in 4 years ). Most majors allow you to take a variety of classes, and then a dedicated round of classes the last 1/2 years...but in Engineering, you start out full force from the start. College class homework was always figured at 3 hours per class hour, engineering students average closer to 10-12 homework hours per class hour...some classes average more.

Matthew has spent an in numberalbe amount of study hours, he also worked his way through school, but due to the homework load he did not work fulltime. He had the pleasure of working with a NASA program (NASA RISE) and doing a research project for the Navy, and after his Junior year, he landed a coveted internship at an up and coming company, Schweitzer Engineering Labs. He continues to work for SEL and will start his first job as an offical engineer on June 1st 2009.

SO.....on Saturday, May 16th 2009, we celebrated (food/family and friends) Matthew's hard work and his college graduation! Needless to say, as parents we are might pleased and happy for Matthew. His degree is in a field that will boom in the next few years, and he has a job with a company that is leading in the field of EE. His internship boss, actually created a job in the same department to keep him from looking for work elsewhere...and last week told him about plans for him, and it includes worldwide travel.

I may not understand the specifics of all that Matthew does at work, but I do know, what a great kid ( OK, man really, but still a kid in his Mom's mind ;-) he is, what a great personality he has, and how hard he has WORKED to make himself a really great future...congrats to Matthew!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The first photo contest of the year!

Yeah !!! the results are in.....For the second year in a row, I have placed in the top ten inone of the categories of the photography contest sponsored by the Equine Photographers Network! This contest is world wide, and I am trilled and HONORED to have a pic placed ;-) My photo of Packer and Darryl, taken late last summer placed in the Amateur division...."Horses and Humans"...... The judges give feedback on all your entries, so I will be curious to see what they say I can do to improve. Thank you Packer, Thank you Darryl !!! awesome !!!!!!!!!

Here is the address to view their contest results

I always surf the photos to get inspiration and ideas for the next contest.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Up to my elbows in asparagus

Now that things are on a bit more of an even keel around here, my attention has turned to our garden, orchard and getting prepared for putting food up. Handsome Dark Knight is growing good and being a typical foal...good news in our book!

Each and every year Mike and I have planted a garden. As the result of that garden, I usually can and freeze much produce for the winter. I learned to do this as a young girl, when my parents harvested their mega garden. Jars of beans, corn, and other vegetables lined the shelves in our home...A reward for the winter, of the summer's work. As a way to preserve Mike's skillful fishing trips, for years I have also canned fish..salmon and tuna. We have a few things in the garden already, but we need a bit warmer weather to finish the planting. I must also add, that Mike does most of the gardening. He never had a garden as a kid, and finds it relaxing and rewarding. I love the produce, but I would probably rather clean a stall, than weed veggies, so this really suits the two of us well ;-)

We are lucky enough to live in an area that will provide us with fresh asparagus from the local farm store. The asparagus fields are near Walla Walla , WA, famous for its mild, sweet onions. So, off to the farm store yesterday, to get my box of asparagus. To preserve asparagus, you blanch it for a few minutes in hot boiling water, then plunge it into cold water, and put into ziploc bags and freeze it. You can also can it, but we prefer to eat the frozen version. So, on Friday, I bought not just one 25 lb box ( my usual amount ) but 2- 25 lb boxes. Last year I had gone with out , so I guess I was doing a little make up.....

It took me exactly an hour, to wash, tidy up ( cut off the tough stem if any ) blanch and drain and put into bags for the freezer, my 50 lbs of asparagus. It will certainly be a great addition to our winter supplies. Asparagus is just heaven when it comes right from the field. I feel blessed to be able to have it. No where else that we have lived, have we had access to fresh from the field asparagus ;-) I got 30 freezer bags full, I was not real sure how much to put in each bag, with just the two of us here, but there is nothing wrong with eating it leftover the next day.

It is interesting, for years many folks thought I was nuts, canning and freezing all that produce...fruits and vegetables...was it not simpler just to buy it at the store? but this year the biggest booming industry is new gardeners....people wanting to grow and produce their own groceries to eat. I just hope I bet them to the store for my tomatoe plants and my packs of seeds ..LOL

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dark Knight gets a new Mommy...miracles really do happen!

After we lost Sage, we had another serious problem...a 7 day old foal who needed help and needed it quickly. We tried all the usual methods for feeding an orphan, tubing was the most effective, but time consuming, risky, and not something that would be doable long term. Dark Knight had enough time with his Mom, Sage, to know that milk came from a Mommy, not a bucket or a bottle, and he refused both those methods in a rather opinionated manner.

Time was of the essence here, and we put our heads together, the team helping to care for Dark Knight. Mike and I decided that we would bring our mare Krinkle Clown in the the vet clinic. She still had milk from our month ago weaning of her colt "Tyler" fact, that mare has milk most of the time inbetween foals. We prayed that she would make a nurse mare, or at least buy us some time to find a nurse mare. Krinkles let Dark Knight nurse, but only if we held her and corrected her with our voice if she got crabby with the youngster...though I was thankful he could nurse, this was not going to be our most suitable canidate. I have to thank her though, with her milk she kept him going until we could find our miracle. Our miracle came in the form of a mare that needed her 2008 foal weaned.....the mare, owned by our very own Vet, Shelly O'Connell DVM had been nursing her last years colt and Shelly had not quite got that foal weaned yet. So, we brought in "Addy" and after a bit of fussing with Dark Knight, she seemed to accept her new job. We left the clinic Thursday night wondering if Addy would allow Dark Knight to nurse, unassisted from any human handling/contact.....I barely slept....would it work? she seemed willing enough, but frankly, this is asking a WHOLE lot of a mare, to accept another mare's foal. Just having the option of this mare was a miracle in itself. Finding a nurse mare in a timely manner is not an easy task, most mares will not take another mare's foal, most mares are not in your area, and transporting a 7 day old foal, whose only substance is tube feeding every 2 hours, just to find a mare that may or may not take him was a risk that could not be taken.

Friday morning when we came to the clinic to check on the pair, they were out on the grass area together...Dark Knight was stretched out for a nap and as we approaced he jumped up, headed to his NEW Mommy, hit the milk bag and filled his belly. Totally unassisted, totally accepted...our miracle was truly a miracle after all. The best part was when Addy guarded him from the other horses, that is the sure sign that the "graft" ( that is what the vets call it ) would work. She has accepted him as her own.

We brought Addy and Dark Knight home on Saturday. Addy is so kind, she even lets him share her grain pan. She lets him nurse at will. For a youngster this age, it can be up to 6 times an hour, and that is if he does not get scared or upset, that will trigger additional nursings, nursing for comfort.

I might have forgotten to mention, Addy is a Welsh pony mare. Dark Knight stands pretty tall next to her, and he can lay his head over her back and just be in pure bliss. It was a tough week for him, tough week for us all. We will continue this relationship with a guarded optimism. Dark Knight is getting milk and grain supplements, as well as Addy. They had a wonderful romp around the pasture, when they first arrived here....both happy and content. Addy will teach Dark Knight things we simply can not do as humans. All our attempts to make him drink from a bucket at the clinic were not successful, I cried when I watched her drink, and then he mimicked her drinking up his first taste of water. A Mom is what youngsters need, and Dark Knight has a new one that will love/teach and care for him. Yes indeed, this is a MIRACLE!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Goodbye Sage

On Tuesday, April 28, 2009 we said our goodbyes to our lovely mare "Black Sage"....Tuesday started out to be a perfectly normal day...I had the Vet coming in the afternoon, to do preg checks, the farrier was coming in the morning to trim a couple of our mares.....

I fed the horses that were here at the house, Sage and her new baby "*C-C Handsome Dark Knight were in the pasture here by the house, I threw a small flake of hay to them, and continued my chores.....I was pleased to see the horses out on pasture had decided to come to the barn. Our mare/foal pasture is a bit large, and spans 1.2 miles from the barn to the back of our property. The mares rarely come to the barn in the spring, usually we end up treking up the hill and leading our choice of the bunch down to the barn. I quickly nabbed Ally and Spark, and put them in the stall in the barn. As soon as the hoof trims and preg checks were done, Ally and Spark could go back out on the big pasture. I finished feeding, HeartBreaker get a morning snack, and returned to the house to wait for my farrier to call and say he would be a bit late.....that happens alot ;-) My farrier Virgil is a true cowboy, he has no concept of time...
Sure enough, at 10am sharp, he called to say he would be a bit late....

I was enjoying some caffine when I heard a noise, a rattle....I looked out the window and saw that Sage was down and she had slipped a leg under a corral panel.....I hurried out the door, and got to her, she seemed fairly OK, and I hurriedly unhooked the corral panels to try and free I worked a pickup loaded with hay was coming by, so I stopped him and asked for help...I got the panel unhooked, and Sage hopped up on her own...she headed towards the corral full of mares, on the other side of our big barn, instead of back towards her this point, I knew something was dreadfully wrong.

My helper took a halter and lead to catch Sage, while I put the panels back together to keep her foal "Dark Knight" from escaping....seemed easy enough, catch the mare, return her to her pen and all will be well....wrong....

I was finishing the panels when my helper called out..."she is down"......sure enough, Sage had managed to get inside our hay barn, and she was indeed down again.....could she be hurt from the panels? I had no idea .....we haltered her, and got her up again, a couple times she got very weak and almost went down again....we got her back in her pen, down again she went...I ran and called my vet, she said she would drop everything and be on her way....I returned and struggled to keep Sage on her feet, I administered Banamine, and prayed....Virgil finally showed up, and between the two of us, we kept Sage from rolling down the hill in our pasture , but we both knew it was very grim....Sage was in a horrific amount of pain.

Dr. Shelly arrived soon after Virgil, she administered pain meds, and we managed to get Sage up and Sage and the foal into our least we were in the dry and could proceed from there...
In only a few minutes the decision was made to try and get Sage and the foal to the vet clinic...Dr. Shelly could then administer more meds, and keep a constant watch on her. Dr. Shelly gave more pain meds, and we got Sage loaded in our trailer, we put the baby in the tack room of our trailer, if Sage laid down while on the trip, she would literally crush the foal. It was a very long 20 miles, Virgil drove, my pickup was not home, so we hooked up our trailer to Virgil's truck....

At the clinic we started treating Sage....more pain meds, mineral oil, IV was not long though and it was apparent that this was not a common case of was way more serious, we were losing her. Even with surgery there was no saving the mare... Late that evening, Dr. Shelly , and the rest of us said goodbye to Sage and she was humanely put down....In an autopsy ( sorry, don't know how to spell the equine version of this ) it was found that Sage had a small intenstive irreparable situation...simply nothing a human could do. The twist hit her fast and hit her hard...literally at home, one moment she was fine, the next moment...she was dying.

In our pain and numbness of losing Sage, we had no time to grieve, we had a foal that was a week old to try and save. The tears will come later, but right now, we have a hungry baby who will be missing his Momma....