Sunday, June 28, 2020

Country Roads

My favorite restaurant is Wiley's Pit BBQ in Smut Eye Alabama.  Middle of nowhere.  I mean like Timbuktu.

An hour south, down potholed county roads.  Run by a preacher man and devoted staff.  I love the people as much as the award winning ribs.  

Friday night, I made the pilgrimage. Worth the 2 hours driving?

YES! And I brought a slab of ribs home to gnaw on for a couple days.  Thanks to Covid, the BBQ shack's dining area is closed, only take out orders available and only on Friday nights.  
I found my own picnic area:  

A cemetery. Hidden gem discovered because I stopped to read a historic marker.

Three Notch Road extended 233 miles from Georgia to Florida.  Begun in 1824, it heralded the future settlement of Alabama's wilderness.

Can you imagine British settlers' first encounters with rattlesnakes and alligators?

Bless their pioneering hearts.

I complain when I have a chainsaw and a tractor.  They had axes and, if lucky, a mule.

I even found the remnants of the original Three Notch Road.

Backwoods Alabama ghost town.

Every home virtually abandoned.

Creepy.

A lone inhabitant.

Never know what you'll find down a country road.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Mish Mash

I take my role as Great Protector of all creatures big and small around here quite seriously.
Three years ago, I established grub nurseries in the back of the manure pile for Hercules beetle grubs.  It takes a grub 2 years to develop into a majestic 2" long beetle.  

I was quite perturbed when this baby was found crawling through the barn.

It was relocated back to the manure pile.  

It's hard to keep up with the cornucopia of stuff growing around here.
Or dying.  Every time a storm rolls through, we're guaranteed to have trees come down.

I prefer to use the chainsaw with someone else present in case I chop my leg off.

 So, when I have a helper, I power through felled trees and return later to collect them.

This particular baby wasn't cut all the way through.  Did I return to the barn for the chainsaw?  Hell no.  I like a challenge.  Plus a storm was less than 20 minutes away.  


There's a technique to my madness.

Mostly involves a lot of grunting. Got 'er on the third try.

My faithful work companion, Garrett, never left the truck.

On Father's day, I put on the traditional grilling.

It's an honor and a joy to take care of my entire posse.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Death by Homework

Summer semester began on Thursday.  I was in overdrive at work that week to wrap up my jobs so I could take Thursday and Friday off to study.

Had a little too much help from Murphy and his Laws again this week.  Washing machine supply line failed flooding the main house laundry room.
It wasn't all bad.  One of the highlights of any week is a visit from our farrier.

5 hours spent watching an artisan work.  Here he is putting custom orthopedic shoes on our pony with navicular disease. The terminal bones in Blue's hoof have rotated, with each step he gets a stabbing pain up his forelegs.  Having the cushioned shoes gives him quality of life he didn't have before. He can run now, albeit like a ballerina, but you do what you can in life.

Which is what I'm doing: running, no matter how ugly it is.
No longer bounding through the woods like a deer, I'm more like a wounded moose, almost twice as slow as my pace two years ago.

The Moose is loose.

Never give up. When you want something, grab a hold and don't let go.
Pertains well to a particular log obstructing a trail earlier this week.  The trail bisects a wetland area and the top and bottom of the log were flopped in the swamp on either side.  In order to cut one end properly with the chainsaw, I was trying to pry the top out of the water.  Two cottonmouth snakes were very perturbed by my activity and  started swimming towards me. Took me a fraction of a second to stand up, unholster my .45 and take a step back to flatter ground.  That's when I saw the mother of all cottonmouths come sailing up over the trail from the other side.  It's like she was shot out of a cannon, I saw her belly, then when she landed, her tail passed her and she took a moment to regain her composure.  I never regained mine.  I emptied my clip into this huge thing 5 feet away from me, dropped the empty and did the same to my spare clip to the two idiots behind me that were still advancing. 
Yes, I shat myself.  Took at least 10 minutes to stop shaking before I could start the chainsaw. 

But, I got my log.  Never give up. 

Oh, and yes, the sky broke open, lovely 20 minute drive back to the barn in the pouring rain. My motto:  any day outside is better than a day inside.

Proven by the two days cooped up inside studying.  

Plowing through Accounting homework on the first day until 1 AM .  The next day was Hell.  130 pages of Information Systems Management (computer crap).

I might have to kiss my precious 4.0 GPA adieu because of this class.  

I simply don't get it.  Staring into the computer screen for 12 hours left me contemplating suicide. Two weeks ago, Micah destroyed my $300 prescription reading glasses. 

I haven't had the time or desire to leave the farm to have another pair made. Time needs to be made.  The prisms in my specialty glasses corrected my double vision.  Using my spare drugstore +2.50 glasses only magnifies text, but does nothing for the doubling.  
By Saturday morning, I had migraine headaches and the arthritis in my hips was on absolute fire from being seated for so long at my desk.  This semester might just kill me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Daxo Turns 3!

The Golden child, despite all of his best suicide attempts, has made it to the ripe old age of 3.

Shocking and worth celebrating with a triathlon before work.

The sane child, Micah, never fully had a birthday party in January, so we did a two-for-one on June 1st.

True to Dax's maverick nature, we lost him twice while he took unscripted jaunts without us.

Not the we minded the 15 minute hiatus while the deer flies gnawed on us.

Dax embodies the Go For Broke attitude.  It's why I love him so.

There is only one Dax, a true blessing for our collective sanity.


A whole lot of neurotic for one little 60 pound body.

My own personal trainer.

3 mile run, 4 mile bike ride and a swim across the lake for the finale.

Helping me feed the horses.

Monday was a long day at work, my goal was to finish all my jobs in order to have a peaceful 3 days off to work on my camper.  When we rolled in at the house at 9 PM, I was exhausted, but I'd promised them grilled burgers for supper.
A promise is a promise.  We finished supper around midnight.  Most excellent day.

Happy birthday, kiddos.





Monday, June 1, 2020

Hoof Prints in the Heart

During his week at the vet school, Jack continued to look bright and alert. Unfortunately, he never stopped refluxing.  His vet team was perplexed because in every other way, he was doing well.  They opened him up again on Friday and discovered he had developed adhesions all through the mesentery of his intestines.  Eventually, his intestines would be one immovable mass. Jack was euthanized.
It's with a heavy heart that I went to Auburn with a dump wagon instead of a horse  trailer.  No man left behind is my policy, I was going to get my boy.  An acquaintance (a friend would know better) dared to sigh a relief that he wasn't "one of mine".  I wanted to reach though the phone and beat the woman.  After almost 6 years of tending to all these horses day in and day out, spending sleepless nights in the barn with them to shield them from lightning, stopping whatever I'm doing to watch them gallop back to the barn for feeding because the sound of hoof beats is music to me... I'd say he's mine in my heart.
I buried him that night in our horse cemetery.

In good company with Bella, Tommy, Teejay and Chance.

I can almost hear all their hoof beats over the Rainbow Bridge.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Guarded Optimism

Update on Jack.

By Monday morning, Jack's condition was worsening and his team of vets decided his only hope for survival was surgery. Since admitting him to the hospital, I've kept my cell phone on me at all times and avoided doing any work that would drown out its ring.  
They call me during surgery: it is a strangulated intestine, a mass had a loop of it in a noose.  Not poisonous ferns as I had suspected (I'm still putting up a fence around the dam spillway).  Another call:  20' of intestines resected.
 He did well in recovery. Now all we can do is hope.
I miss the days when we had enough time and staff to ride the horses back and forth to a grazing pasture a mile away.  I've tinkered with the idea of taking them in pairs to the Boonies, but it would take me half a day to get them there, and half to get back.

I must come up with a plan. I'm currently mulling over installing electric fencing corridor from the barn to the Boonies so I can push the entire herd there in a swoop.  Stay tuned.
Seeing as I could finally set my phone down, I went back to my bush hogging detail... in the rain.  Screw it, I'm sick of the bush hogging getting hijacked by everything else.  So what if I looked like a prune after 5 hours in the rain.

Gettin' 'er done.

A little slick on the inclines, but that adds to the fun.

Cleaning off a wet cutter becomes a full contact sport.

All in a day's work.

Actually made it home with an hour of daylight to spare.

Time for some rejuvenation and weed pulling.

Stopping to smell the roses.

And snack, never forget to snack.

Final update comes in around 8 PM from the vet school:  Jack is doing fair, no better, no worse.  Hang in there, Little Buddy, I'm working on a project to make life a little more exciting when you get home.