Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter from Alabama

Never mind Easter Egg Hunting...

We prefer rabbit hunting.

Where's Mr. Cottontail.

WTF mom???

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Anatomy of a Day Off

Ready, set, go!
A day off... to work in my garden.

Wisteria bursting with blooms.
When I get tired of weeding, I can play with the chickens.  They relish their hydroponic wheat.

If you get really bored, you can break your back installing pine straw mulch.

It helps to have an assistant on standby.

His only job is to spread sunshine.  Although, I have to be careful not too much sunshine is laid on him.  Pinkie has a shaved belly from having ultrasounds.
At dusk, we retreat back to house and I go to school.
My kitchen shall henceforth be known as The Seale Culinaree Skool.

I'm determined to work my way through Frank Stitt's Southern Table.  Mr. Stitt runs the Highland Grill in Birmingham, an upscale restaurant blending traditional Southern ingredients with French styling.

Tonight's project is Chicken with Autumn Vegetables and Madeira.  Class is in session for three hours because this recipe contains two additional recipes, one for Autumn Root Vegetable Puree and another for Autumn Vegetable Ragout.

Getting warmer.  By 11 PM, we feast.  The taste is incredible, well worth the aggravation of peeling all those itty bitty pearl onions.  But, my presentations always fall short.

Maybe I need a better photographer!  
Continuing education has never been so fun and fattening.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Dog With Nine Lives

After last week's near miss of scheduling Cole's euthanasia, he's been in a celebratory mood. 

Busy evicting geese from the lake while I'm working.
Others are content to conserve energy by waiting at the door for me to finish.

Ever faithful companions.  
While unloading a boat from a trailer, they worry they're being abandoned and try their best to get in the boat with me.

Nice to see I'm not the only one afflicted by separation anxiety!
Nice to see him with an appetite again.

He's eating again!

The Comeback Kid does it again.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Angus Lends a Hand

For over a year, a discarded piece of equipment has been driving me nuts.  
A broken pump down on the shore, too heavy for us to pull out, inaccessible for even my 4 wheeler.  
Then it dawned on me:  I have a draft horse.  Duh.

I squiggled around the trees like a champ.

Job done.
When I tell him he's not getting paid!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Coleman

For over a week now, Cole has had no appetite. His two meals a day tax my negotiation skills to the max. 
Feeding him by hand, piece by piece until on Thursday morning when he refuses chicken and steak. He's lethargic and refuses to get off the couch. 
Is this his time? I can't stand to see any creature linger. I'm the one who can be counted on to trip over Grandpa's life support machine cord. 
For almost a year, I've been preparing for this day.  I have his burial spot landscaped and ready.

I have a checklist of accounts to cancel:  insurance, microchip...
Being prepared is not the same as being ready. 
Calls are placed to his vets. Then I start plotting what last fun things Cole might want to do today. And that's when my life implodes.  So much for battle readiness.  
The plan is to go for a leisurely walk in the woods.

My plan, not Cole's.  He opted to take off after deer and make the rest of us chase him.  

My fear was that his pale gums and tongue were signs that a liver tumor had ruptured and he was bleeding internally ... and now he was finishing himself off by hunting deer.  I'm closer to the golf cart in the Boonies than to home, so the cart is stolen and used as a pursuit vehicle. 
Lead on, Garrett!
When I find him, he refuses to board, he's having too much fun.  Serendipity intervenes and one of his vets responds that he may be afflicted with gastric ulcers from the chemo.  That would help explain how he was zooming down the trails and not keeled over yet.
My Mr. Bean.
Getting photo bombed by Garrett.

Another suggestion was to try cooking liver for him.  I'd been out of milk for days, ditto on coffee, bread, PB, but if Cole needs something-- even if I was crossing over into my second  Zen week of not going to town, this recluse makes a beeline for the grocery store.
Pete is my backup. 

In case zombies attack me at Winn Dixie-- it can happen.  (Reason #1588 why I dread leaving the farm). 
Success:  offered up a banquet of liver, steak, salmon and rotisserie chicken, he eats all the chicken.  
Then crashes for the night.
Friday, we drop Pete off at physiotherapy and Cole has a full day of cancer staging at Auburn University.

Fancy Pants has friends in high places.  He gets to stay in his best friend's office in between procedures.  No kenneling for the King.  
Meanwhile, Garrett and I run errands.

It's very tiring being Mum's bodyguard, BBQ chicken from Earth Fare and ice cream from Bruster's are required to sustain Garrett.

We hover around the vet school, passing the time.
Cole is sent home with a hangover...
...meds for appetite stimulation, gastric coating and nausea...

...I'm left holding the $967 bill.

A barrel racing friend of mine always says: Go big, or go home.  Pedal to the metal is the only way I know how to go through life.  When it pays off, it pays off big.
Ultrasound showed that Cole's liver is still enlarged, but biopsies on liver and spleen found no sign of metastasis.  The chemo he is on that is now being blamed for his inappetence, is doing its job.  Considering this was the prognosis back in January:

He is one of the fortunate 30% who respond well to Palladia.  He is not in remission, but we gain more time.  To me that's akin to winning the lottery.
Once home, he's too tired to get out of the car.

He's cold from being anesthetized, so I jacket him... still cold...blanket him...not warming up yet.  I run an extension cord out to power a heating pad.

Now, we're in business. I hang out with him for an hour reading through all the newspaper clipping Helene has sent me.
When he comes to, I try to feed him supper:

This morning, Cole is bebopping through the house hankering to chase squirrels.  Doesn't appear he's ready to go.  Good.  Because I'm not ready either.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Epilogue to a Storm

Sneaky storm cells sent us flying back to the barn to bring the horses back in.

On the plus side, it's getting easier to call the horses in... I believe they associate lightning with extra feedings. Except for the two Super Seniors, I think they're half deaf.

Zeus is definitely having a tantrum tonight!
Cole helps me calm the troops.

Then the Little General needs reassuring too. 

Maybe we should consider moving to the barn.  Would be a helluva lot simpler.

Alabama Summer

It's official:  Summer in Alabama is here.  Started the last week of March.  Two of our horses who grow woolly mammoth coats every Winter had to be shorn.

Enough hair taken off to clothe an entire second horse.  Titan, feeling 20 degrees cooler!
Chance, about to get his yak legs trimmed.

The last tuft on his rump...

Remind you of anyone?
What about this visitor to my porch, know who she is?

A Polyphemus moth. 5" wingspan.

Delightful surprise for one to swoop in for a hug!
With warmer climes come blooms.

'Rootbeer" Bearded Iris, the fifth of over a 100 varieties in my garden.  This year ought to be spectacular!  Sensory overload.

Well, it's hard to get a reaction out of Pete. Unless he sees me stocking up the storm shelter and making emergency weather preparations.  Then he gets worried.

And we had plenty to worry about on Monday and Wednesday.
Especially today, Wednesday.

The governor of Alabama declared a state of emergency ahead of the storms.  A first for me in the 27 years I've been here.  Does have the effect of raising one's blood pressure.

So does seeing magenta on the radar.  By 4 AM, I had the horses safely in the barn.  

Fasten your seat belts, we're about to hit some turbulence.
There's a price to pay for an early Summer...

Is this the end, or the calm before the next storm?
In truth, we fared well.  Our deflective shields held firm over the farm, while the storms were felt around us.  

Leaving us to work on projects in the workshop, instead of staring at each other by flashlight in a tiny storm shelter.
When severe weather skips your backyard and you get to go home to a house that's till there, that has electricity, that doesn't have trees thrown over have reason to be extra thankful.

Another reason to celebrate:  the barn sparrows came back today.

Our natural fly control program!

It's the same four adults as last year.  Welcome home, now get to work!

Addendum:  celebrations cut short... 10 PM local time here in Seale and a new tornado watch issued.  A line of strong storms popped out of nowhere.  

We're making a run for the barn again!  C'mon dogs, grab your helmets and git in the car!  Hang on horses, here we come.