Sunday, July 22, 2018

Tornadic Winds Saturday

Murphy and his Laws are KILLING me!
Saturday was one for the books.
While I was trying to rasp a horse's feet, the horse was acting like a Mexican jumping bean, couldn't figure out why until I looked over to see a darling rat snake climbing the ladder to the hay loft right beside us. I ushered him to the floor and reprimanded him for trying to go after all our barn swallows.  The birds are responsible for keeping all the wasps and flies out of the barn.  They must remain unmolested.

I was the bouncer and this guy was escorted out.  

Later in the day, he made his way back up the hill and back into the barn area.  Once again, he was asked to leave. I'm sure he's responsible for the dwindling number of janitors I have in the barn at night. (Usually at least 20 toads patrol the barn aisle at night eating all the bugs, lately I've been only finding handfuls).

Eviction served, but not before he latched onto my thumb.

Next time I catch him, he's getting a ride to the other side of the property-- let's see him find his way back then!
After weeks of trail clearing, I was feeling smug at 2 PM on Saturday afternoon.  75% of the trails were back to pristine condition.  30 miles done, 10 miles left to clean.

Massive amounts of limbs have been run through the burn pile recently.  The cleared trails were enjoyed for 4 hours before a wicked, wicked storm system plowed through here.

A tornado struck in the area and all the tornadic winds caused some major mayhem.
My phone having died earlier in the day, I was unaware that we were under a tornado warning.  It was around 6 PM when I decided the sky looked ominous, warranting bringing the horses in for their own safety.  Usually, we have to bait/bribe them back to the barn.  They all came galloping on their own.  That should've been a sign!
Next, I struggled to manage closing the sliding barn doors.  The wind was trying to rip them off the rails.  Next sign...
Upper cloud formations were moving to the West, lower formations were hustling to the East.  How many signs does one need?
By the time it died down, horses were let out, my dogs and I got home past dark to find oodles of text messages from friends warning me and then questioning our safety.  Oops.
I was able to recon some fence rows by flashlight, but waited until daybreak to assess.

Glad we didn't try to drive to any of the houses.  Foot travel only. 

The formerly pristine trails...

Trees snapped right in two.

It was a chore to get to the main house.

Once there, it became obvious that cutting the grass today was no longer on the agenda!

Even the driveway down was blocked.
This is ridiculous!
Where to start???
When even the pasture fences took a clobbering.

Start somewhere ... getting the patio furniture out of the pool.
Never dull around here.  Thankfully, all creatures are healthy and accounted for.

So what if new erosion sites can swallow a VW Bug!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Random Acts of Violence Against a Tree

When an oak tree fall, who ya gonna call?

The Chainsaw Sisters, that's who.

I think our Dr. Simmons is turning out to be a fine logger.

Stay tuned for next week's episode when she receives alligator baiting lessons...just kidding!..maybe.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Horses have an innate ability to muck up everyone's schedules. Tuesday was no exception.  It was our new part-timer, Heather's responsibility to feed the horses and manage the barn for the morning while I took Axel back to the vet school for an optho recheck.  
When Heather called to report another horse, Cody was in distress, I thought she might have been hypervigilante as it was the first time she'd been in charge of the horses. When she described what sounded like a mild asthma attack, I decided to call Dr. Brown immediately.  The aforementioned super-vet was here in less than an hour. I was going to be late for my appointment in Auburn with Axel, but decided to wait for a diagnosis in case it was 2 horses that needed hauling to the vet school.
Somehow arriving only fashionably late for Axel's appointment, I aimed to be back on the farm within two hours.  Axel had other plans.  
His eyes are remaining stable since his surgery, but the specialists felt he could benefit from steroid injections into his eyeball. Meaning my schedule went out the window and the crew and I were stuck in town longer than expected. I'd been lamenting that I needed time away from the farm, but this isn't what I had in mind. 

The dogs and I lingered far too long at Panera's. Meanwhile, Heather was managing quite well without me... that had been the contingency plan because I know Murphy and his Laws quite well, thank you.

We toured the grounds of the art museum and considering it was 103'F with humidity, I didn't mind that Dax had a splash in a fountain.  I did mind when Peter slipped his collar and waddled in the lake in front of the museum and refused to get out.  Rebel stayed out of reach in order to bob around at his leisure.

I had my fun too.  One sculpture invites you to climb on it.

No coaxing required.

We have way too much fun.
Back at the vet school, the more mature boys behave well.

The other one, not so much.

We all made it back home, hours missed during the day were made up during this other shift called 'second shift'!  Murphy and his naughty horses aren't going to mess with progress on the farm!
Tuesday's report card is out:
Heather A+
Dr. Brown A+
Garrett A
Peter B
Dax C+

Sunday, July 15, 2018

1 Year Memorial

July 15, 2017 Cole had to leave.  I'm still mad at him.  Sucks being without my soulmate. There will be no other.
Here's a montage from his last month alive.

Darn it if he didn't give it his all until the last minute.  My hero.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Back To Good

Last week I was about as demoralized, morbidly tired, dismally discouraged as I've been in a very, very long time.  
This is when you find out how lucky you are to have a posse.  Yeah, I got peeps.  Talk about being encircled so darn tight with love and support that your only option is to get better!
Plus having Thai food brought to you from a restaurant you've been wanting to try for 4 years helps tremendously.

Beef stir fry, some sort of cold Thai version of a fajita and a soup with what looked like donkey nuts in the bottom (they were delectable, little chewy, but what do you expect from...).  Devoured it all after work!

The fajita thingy intrigued me.  I didn't know what half the food was.  What was deduced to be some sort of prickly fruit turned out to have appendages.

Now, I'm thinking it was a marine creature or cat's tongue.  Jury's out, but whatever it was, it was delicious.
While gleaning positive energy from all those around me, I also kept eating other people's food.  It's a great system, you ought to try it!  By eating half a coworker's lunch, I discovered beet hummus.  Unless you've slathered the pink stuff on a Wassa cracker before, you haven't lived.
And living is what I've been doing again for a few days.  Doing the survival stroke for far too many weeks without a day off, then hearing that Flynn's surgery was still weeks away had made me throw my hands up in the air with an 'that F$%& does it, I quit!'  attitude.  Ok, so it's going to be close to three months without a day off.  When life gets tough, get tougher.  
This morning, I did just that and I MADE time off out of thin air.  I took some time for myself.
Dax, Garrett and I went triathloning.

We did our 5 mile run.  Nothing beats running with dogs daily.

Add in kayaking, well that's gravy.

Garrett doesn't swim, so he got his own kayak to keep him from being dunked by Dax.

He dunked himself.

Until he figured out a lower center of gravity is better.

This is how Dax and I towed him across the lake.  

Not too bad for his first time in a kayak.

For the last phase of the triathlon.  Dax helped pull Garrett in the wagon.

Another first for Garrett.  Another A+ for my crew.

When I found Garrett three years ago, he had pneumonia.  His vet at the time said he'd never be good at running because of the permanent damage to his lungs from chronic pneumonia.  Here's proof rehab works.  I impose a max of 5 miles, but I'm proud of that boy.  He deserves a ride home.

In style.
Back home, something arrived in the post.

From a concerned member of my posse, no doubt.  I'm already on Chapter 2.  Thank you, whomever you are.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Father's Foundation

On July 4th, when we all give a tip of the hat to the Founding Fathers, I felt gratitude to one more father:  my own.
The evening of July 3rd, after the usual grueling 12 hour day, I called him to tell him I was quitting, I'm done, finished, can't do anymore, exhausted, totally used up and depleted.  
dad had just put in a 12 hour day himself in record high temps of 100'F in Canada.  His advice: sleep on it.  Make no decisions when tired.  You'll know what to do in the morning.
Thankfully, I did as instructed and curled up with the tome I've been working my way through for the past month:

Tim Ferriss's 'Tools of the Titans'. Tedious at first, but I've been determined to glean whatever I can from it., dog earing page after page, making a file folder of notes.

Don't I hit upon the gem when most in need. I read the interview with Jocko Willink.  Immediately, I'm removed from the dangerous frame of mind I was in and feel focused again. Here's a quick intro into what he's all about.

Mentors are everywhere if you reach out and ask for help.  Thanks, Dad.
July 4th started out with a whole new attitude.  Started work extra early, took Dax for his 5 mile run and wore my ears out listening over and over again to my mix of favorite music for these types of days:  Disturbed, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson.

Goodl old Marilyn has been accused of inciting mass killings, but his music has the opposite effect on me.  Keeps me from going postal.
Eventually, I'll go back to my John Denver and Gordon Lightfoot channel on Pandora.  Just not yet... still have a few more kinks in my brain to work out and I'll still need Marilyn for a few days.  Here's one of his more tame videos. It's an acquired taste...

Monday, July 2, 2018

Pups At Pasaquan

I am no fan of folk art.  In my opinion, if I want to see what a 6 year old can draw, I'll find a kindergarten class, no need to pay admission to a gallery.
And yet, I keep trying to broaden my horizons.  A friend suggested I go to Pasaquan in Buena Vista, Georgia.  It is a 7 acre visionary art site, only recently restored after having been in hibernation for 30 years since the artist's death.
The only reason I put it on my bucket list is because dogs are welcome.

My crew and I went to visit two months ago and ever since then I've been mulling over the meaning of home.  Is it simply a place to hang your hat and watch TV, or is it your castle?
The artist, Eddie Martin, took it one step further, his home was his temple.

As a runaway to NYC in the 30's, he contracted a virus that sent him into a high fever where he hallucinated that aliens had chosen him to represent them on this worldly plane.  Thus, he returned to his native home, became the first Pasaquoyan and renamed himself St. EOM (pronounced Ohm).

For 30 tireless years, he created and added on to his homage to the Pasaquans.
Zany and flamboyant, Eddie Martin was known to load up his sedan with his cats when making a trip to town for concrete mix.  Sometimes wearing see through pants, other times in drag.  

A large man in a dress carrying bags of mortar... wish I could skip back to the 1960's to be witness. Forging ahead to the beat of his own drum.

At first perhaps experimenting, then when he found his vision... he was off to the races.

Over 900 feet of decorative walls.

Murals like no other.

With each subsequent creation, his craftsmanship improved.

The fine details of the construction amazed me.

The world's most ornate propane shed:

I'm still not a fan of folk art, but I am of the first Pasaquoyan who spoke with a Southern lisp while preaching about love and acceptance.  

Contemplating one man's sanctuary... forcing me to question if my home is true to my nature.  Home, being the only place you can honestly be yourself, is your home your castle, or are outside influences running roughshod over it?

If you can create a harmonious place to be yourself, be creative, be happy... as long as you're not lowering your neighbors' property values, why not follow your own path? 
During my many prayers to St. EOM, I've questioned if he felt outcast, living alone, busily creating his grand masterpiece; whether the decisions taken while laying down the rules for his existence alienated too many people? I wondered...

...then I decided that my sanctuary is indeed my own and my need for quietude isn't up for discussion, it's a non-negotiable.  I'm no artist, I won't be painting alien penises all over my house, I won't be going to Home Depot in Indian head dress with Daisy Duke shorts on, but I will stand firm on the principles I hold dear for my sanctuary.  My Fleetwood home with wheels is my castle, it's where I find refuge, it is where no TV, no radio, no booze, no incessant cell phone beeping is allowed.  My temple with a hefty amount of fur.  
Having been raised Catholic, put in a private school run by nuns, I was expected to find a saint to venerate.  Never did, until now.  Hold fast to what you hold dear and live the life you dream.
Amen, St. EOM, amen.