Thursday, February 22, 2018

Garrett Learns a Valuable Lesson

Garrett learned the hard way today to give these a wide berth.
I had great plans to use my day off to catch up on projects around the house when Murphy's Law came knocking.
Well, actually is was Garrett who came barreling back in from the yard looking very distressed.  I observed he was licking his lips excessively so I checked his mouth and perceived what I hoped was a only a wasp bite.  Dax was harassing him, so I  locked Garrett in the bedroom for 10 minutes while tending to The Entitled One.

This is the sad face that greeted me! His right cheek had swollen up like a balloon.  Ok, not a wasp, but a venomous snake bite. Flynn helped me stuff him full of Benadryl and I blasted off the farm in the direction of the vet clinic.

He still hasn't told me how he ended up with the puncture wounds inside his upper lip.

Just like someone after having wisdom teeth pulled, Garrett drooled a lot.

By the time we left the clinic, I could already see some improvement and reduction in swelling.

With the edema dropping down his face, he has more Chins than a Chinese telephone book.  Rightly so, Dr. Brown recommended removing his collar.

A little sugar, or Haagen Daz, makes the medicine go down.  Poor guy, what a rough day.  He'll be on antibiotics and cortisone for a few weeks.
Who ever heard of snakes coming out of hibernation in February??? Well it is in the 80's-- in February!  So wrong, so wrong.
This is war:

I love my non venomous snakes, but I love my dogs more.  Hopefully, I won't cause collateral damage to my beneficial snakes, but I'm coming after the troublemakers.

Meanwhile, The Entitled One didn't appreciate being out the spotlight.  While Garrett and I were at the vet's office, he drank his sorrows away... in my bed...with olive oil... 

This ought to be a fun night.

He's already farting up a storm under my desk.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Maiden Road Trip of 2018

...3, 2, 1  BLAST OFF!!!
Star Date: 01312018.  The Smith Space Pod leaves the farm orbit with its crew.

Garrett mans the cargo bay of the ship.

Peter and Dax take turns copiloting.  Your eyes are not deceiving you, Peter is getting fatter.  He spends his day at work stealing horse nuggets.  He claims it has therapeutic properties for his arthritis.  Whatever, dude.  Today is Debauchery Day anyway.

We stop at Walter's in the middle of nowhere Macon County because they make Southern food from scratch.  I buy the dogs two bacon sausage biscuits and forget to snag a bite. Dax has never had bacon before and he can't believe his taste buds!

Ensign Dax flips on the autopilot switch and sleeps most of the 150 miles to our destination.

7 counties away in a remote corner of Perry County is a gem of a wildlife sanctuary set in 600 acres of old growth forest in a swamp environment.  Reptilian wildlife teems in the 4 oxbow lakes where bald cypress and tupelo trees grow in the lakes.

Welcome to Alabama's version of the Okefenokee Swamp! Why I've waited for 6 years to come on a cold enough day that the alligators and cottonmouth snakes are dormant.

Gator bait, my crew is not!

7 miles of trails, all explored.

 As it's underfunded and dependent on volunteer labor, many trails are hard to follow with so many downed limbs and missing  markers.

We four explorers ended up on someone else's property a couple of times.  Thankfully, Ensign Dax, like Cole, can sniff out even the faintest trail.

I suppose he's a keeper.

Bridges and boardwalks dot the trails.  

The 100' tall birding tower beckons to me, but I'm not about to leave the trio tethered to the base unattended.  

I can't brag that Dax earned his stripes the first couple of hours.  It was not a running day, it was a hiking day and he did not get the memo.

Eventually, he settles down.  
We discover the last long trail around Secret Lake.  Pictures don't do it justice.  The trees are draped in Spanish Moss, you can only imagine the alligators my old brochure boasts about.  Walking through waist high palmettos, not knowing what's around the corner...

We also find the grove of century old loblolly pines recently saved from logging. Apparently it took a literal act of congress to stop the chainsaws.

What an exhilarating day!

Are you ready for the architectural wonders? I'll start with the covered suspension bridge.

I didn't realize it would swing. With no sides and a nice long drop to the creek.  We regroup and try again.

Auburn University Architecture School's Rural Studio built it.

The dogs have lunch at the pavilion.  Crew chief realizes she neglected to pack herself a lunch.

The pavilion is about 13 years old and needs repairs before part of the roof collapses.  All the more reason the Park needs to be discovered by more people.  Which is hypocritical to say because I enjoyed every minute of being the only human in the entire park all day long.

I've saved the best for last: the bathrooms designed by Rural Studio architecture students.  I make the dogs hopscotch from one to another because I can't decide which one is my favorite. 

3 very different metal and wood structures with 3 very different vanishing points designed to make you forget what you went in there for in the first place.

The last is officially the winner, but the first has the most aesthetic exterior.  This is what we need at the farm along the trails in the woods.

On our way home, I screech to a halt at Whole Foods in Montgomery and we have a major picnic in our shuttle.

Feeding frenzy of beef brisket, caramelized carrots and oatmeal cookies.  

300 miles later, we dock back to the mother ship.
Another destination checked off the Bucket List.  

Where to next time, copilot?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Invalid Update Part Deux

It is said that two thoughts run through a horse's brains: suicide or homicide.  I concur. 
I believe the riding lessons 35 years ago were my parents' attempts to get me over the hump of their divorce.  They cursed me with a lifelong affliction to which I hope there is no cure.  I've been kicked, thrown, crushed, dragged.  Two horses tried to decapitate me.  Angus, yes, the big 2000 lb brute I love the most, he almost succeeded 10 years ago.  
Double herniated discs in my neck.  That was expensive and painful. I had a wreck with Opal and Indigo that left me with broken fingers, nice gashes and wicked road rash.

I have a sister in Oklahoma who can hardly finish telling stories of broken bones and being knocked out because she's bent over laughing hysterically.  With over 40 head on her farm, she's pathologically afflicted! A few months ago, when Angus spun around in his feeding pen, crushing me up against the fence, with his big butt on me, I figured I was in for an inglorious death... until the boards gave way and I fell out and down a few feet into the sand.  I couldn't wait to tell my coworker of the funniest thing that just happened to me.  
Ten years from now, my sister and I will be wearing our helmets, eating our Jell-o with sporks, squishing it through our teeth and laughing like hyenas.  

Meanwhile, my daily job has me baffled at a horse's fragility and its resurrection powers.
Take Henry.  

He's plugging right along now after skirting death by mistletoe 2 months ago.
His pasture mate, Chance, ran out of luck this past weekend.  He went from galloping back for supper on Saturday night, to this by Sunday morning:

Some superficial wounds point to a battle royale with Henry overnight.  Just because they're geriatrics doesn't mean they've lost their ability to kick.

When I tried to lead him back into his stall, he fell over.  And you know what they do with racehorses with broken legs, don't you?  That was my fear while we waited for our vet to arrive.

So, I decided to be ready and finish some fencing around the spare grave we keep in the horse cemetery.

Meanwhile, Chance had limped away and was marooned in the middle of the field.  Room service was provided.
A dozen X-rays later, Dr. Brown reveals that an old injury has been reinjured, yet no fractures or breaks to be found.  Flynn, who held the plate, is still glowing with radiation.  Taking one for the team.  Chance is showing improvement.
We cater to their every need, fuss over their nutrition, all we ask is that they not act like morons.  Too much to ask apparently.

They even get better dentistry work than I do.  What can you do but love them!
And I love this one too:

At Day 7 post surgery, he ate a hole in his cone and pulled some staples out.  That meant recovery time was over.

Not like he ever acted like he'd had surgery.  He only missed one day of work.  His job: destruction.

And he's overzealous. However, I am detecting a slight improvement in his demeanor.  

He's an octave lower on the hyper scale.

I'm even breaking out the good bed sheets, hoping theses don't get remodeled by his Bubba teeth.
On my day off this week, I'm taking my canine trio, Bubba teeth and all, on a road trip.  I've been cleared for driving (not that I had followed that restriction anyway).  But, I didn't like to drive following my eye surgery because it was mostly guess work.
When I returned to the eye clinic, I declined to see the surgeon and went back to my doctor.  Dr. McFayden spent 20 minutes with me  going over every detail and explaining everything thoroughly.  Few are the doctors who will do that anymore.
I couldn't understand why my vision was so much worse post surgery.  I've had this shadowing around everything before.

And believed it was a clarity issue. Turns out it was optical nerve damage (re: past horse related injuries).  When the new lens was put in, my brain couldn't realign the double image, so it gave me separate superimposed images.

Imagine this for two months.  This is exactly what I was seeing. Dr. McFayden gave me a trial lens that has already corrected the double vision. It's much larger than your normal contact, you can see it on my eye and I can feel it's there, but I don't care.  I can see!  This trial lens has no correction for near or far sightedness, my custom lenses will.  Then, by George, then I'll be back in business.  
For now, I'm happy enough with the loss of my double vision that I'm daring to hit the road.