Friday, December 30, 2016

To All The Creatures

"We love because it is the only true adventure." 
Through a lifetime of horse, dog, cat, goat, cow rescues there have been the best of adventures.  Sacrifices to afford the care of so many animals could've been insurmountable so many times, but that's when you reach down deep inside yourself and find a way.  I'll not go to my grave missing the fineries of life I never had, I've had my wealth in other ways.  
Here's a video montage of my family.  51 in all.  45 of them rescues.  I'm 45... coincidence?  I wonder how many more I can help before my time is over?  

So, now you know how I run headlong into the wind, daring the odds... I have an army of guardian angels watching over me at all times.  It's going to be quite to party when we all get back together.
More than half the rescues have been senior animals, discards in most eyes.  I can promise you, the love and loyalty you get from a grateful senior is worth 10x the cuteness of a puppy.  Try it.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A Very Merry Christmas To Me

Last month, everybody pitched in to help me build a riding arena.
My Dad is one digging machine!  We had to dig all +60 holes by hand because of all the unmarked wires running underground.
Progress is good.
Then I had fun mixing all the concrete-- by hand.  Life is most fun, when there's a struggle involved.

Impervious to inclement weather, my crew is always supportive.
And restive!
More progress. 
Only fitting that on Christmas Day I played with a new toy:

The previous administration had purchased an expensive paint machine, fouled it up by not maintaining it and discarded it in a back corner of the shop.  I had it refurbished, and learned that it can be temperamental:
Once you learn to speak it's language, it's a breeze: (video)
The crew, loyal as ever, supervised.
Revlon, watch out, I've developed a permanent mascara.
And permanent tan.  I'm so avant garde, it kills me.
But, she be done!
An official Olympic size dressage arena.  
Letters go up today.

As my knee prohibits riding at the moment, I celebrated by running a dressage circuit, my style: (video)
This have been a fun day!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Ode to Axel

I've been remiss for repeatedly missing an important anniversary on December 5th.  On that day, many years ago, I plucked a 4 year old Appaloosa stallion from a trailer destined for the slaughterhouse.  He'd attacked another horse, maiming him so badly that it had to be euthanized.  He himself had a foot that was so badly mangled that his farm gave up on him, loaded him in a trailer in Central Florida and shipped him to Montgomery, Alabama to get rid of him.  No bandaging, nothing.  A friend had been hired to haul a trailer full to the auction, I got up on the wheel well of the trailer and came eye ball to eye ball with the Appaloosa. And that's all she wrote.  
Without fencing, nor any experience in owning a horse, especially a stallion, I demanded they sell him to me.  His cleft hoof made it unlikely that he'd survive his injury, but I like a long shot.
Not only did he survive, but after a year and a half, he was sound and I decided to break him to ride and teach him dressage... because I'd broken horses plenty of time -- in my former life.  He's pitched me a few times, but we have a mutual understanding:  I feed him and he doesn't try to kill me.  Seems he's not interested in extending that courtesy to anyone else.  He's thrown, rather violently, anyone else who's tried to mount him, including two riding instructors.  Very exclusive, my lad.
Last week, bored out of my gourd, recovering from surgery, I purged my filing cabinet and came across his Coggins test from the year I bought him.  I'd lost track of time, in my mind, he was on the verge of turning 20.  Turns out, he'll be 24 this Spring! 
We've embarked on our 20th year together.  Where has the time gone?!?  Axel has outlasted one marriage, moved with me 6 times, survived last year's wild dog attack... he's due a proper retirement, yet this feisty little spitfire,  a spry Super Senior for his human equivalence of 70 years, he says he's not ready for the Old Folks Home, but he'd rather I not ask him to gallop anymore.  You got it, baby.  
It's on my calendar now:  Dec 5, 2017, we're going to party like it's 1997!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pete at Physio Camp

Monday, Cole went back to Auburn University for blood work.  Pete went too for his first day at Physio Camp.  Garrett was my +1.
Pete instantly took to his new physiotherapist, Liz (aka Cole's BFF).
In spite of the insult of having to be in water...
...exercising on the underwater treadmill, Pete says he'll go back.  The combination of exercise routines including hurdles, treadmill and ramp, put together with laser treatment and a massage as a finale, it all has the purpose of conditioning him to better deal with the progressive hip dysplasia that ails him.
Helps you feel better too when Liz sends you home with a bag of homemade dog treats!
Meanwhile, Garrett and I toured the grounds at the art museum.  
Trying to  add some polish to Garrett's education. Art 101.
This is still my favorite installation.  Missing from the grounds was my least favorite sculpture, hopefully in storage somewhere:
It had been placed so that its back was to the main road, slightly obscured by magnolias... leading one to believe a Walmart shopper was relieving himself in the bushes.  Gawd, I hated that thing.  
Now, this is a better bronze statue:
Four breeds of birds rendered extinct by man.  Garrett passed his exit exam... as did Cole.  His screening shows that he can continue on the new drug therapy.  Throughout this whole ordeal, I've been touched by the caring Cole's team has shown us, sometimes it's the little things: ♡

He gets a big surprise when he gets home: 
A benevolent soul has left us a deer in my truck.  Many, many meals will be shared by all four of us!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cole's Trip to China

On Sunday, Cole spent 2 hours trying to dig to China.
If it wasn't for the cone slowing him down, I'd be renting a backhoe to fill the holes.
2 hours stalking an unseen, underground foe.  Soldier, fall back, no Vietcong in there!
Garrett attempted to join up.  
But, he had no clue what he was doing... or why!
... we're glad we didn't lose him under a mound of soil.
He's almost 10 and I still can't go about my fence mending business without worrying what mischief he's in.
"The veterinarians say I'm a very sick boy.  What does that mean?  It's all Vietnamese to me!"

Sunday, December 18, 2016

One Dog's War on Drugs

Friday night, one week after surgery, I threw in the towel on stoicism and took my first prescription narcotic.  The pain that day had preoccupied me to the point that I was acting the Mr. Bean part too well.
Exhibit A:
After work, I fed myself and the dogs and that's all I remember until midnight, when I woke up in my barn clothes, sprawled on my bed, with Cole nestled on top of me and Garrett laying at me feet staring at me.  Yeah, all the lights were still on. 
I struggled to get back to sleep because now my knee was screaming from being at an awkward angle for 6 hours.  It was a restless, restless night.  Cole shared in my distress:
 He missed my face by 5 inches.  Dog puke is an effective alarm clock.  DO NOT press snooze.
He seemed pleased to have emoted all over the place.
Cole seldom throws up.  Never once during chemo.  But once this past Saturday, 12 hours after I'd been home from the hospital, all stinky of anesthetics and drugs.  So much for my experimenting with drugs. 
I've gone back to being defiant, it soothes him.
By Saturday noon, he was back his normal self.
And we worked together and finished the horse cemetery the guys and I had started on Friday. 

 How can you reproach a creature for being so worried about you?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thursdays are Never Boring

We settle in to panel off the sides to the riding arena on Thursday.

My notion is that I can cut the boards and prop my leg up on the couch in between boards.  Good.
The dogs aren't keen on sharing.  Bad.
Meanwhile, out on the dirt road, hoodlums are looking for a house to burglarize. Bad.

 Our very own neighborhood policeman apprehends them.  Very good.
As the guys are about to finish the arena job in record time, I decide to come up with a diversion to waste their time:
Bad dog.
He's supposed to be a pointer.  He should've pointed out the fact that on my journey around the burn pile there was a tractor tire in my way.  I know it's very immature of me to blame the dog for the effort spent cutting the tire in half to free it, but I am...
Bad mommy.
While I'm out alone with the dogs in the Boonies setting posts, Cole decides to spectacularly burst the cyst on his leg.  He can't have open wounds, he has zippo immunity.  Bad, bad dog.

I have complete first aid kits (splints, sutures, you name it) in both my vehicles, but not the farm truck.  Thankfully, there's toilet paper.  So, the dog with the mummy leg and the rest of the crew throw in the towel and hobble home--- to hide, where it's nice and safe from Murphy and his Law.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Road Trip

The four cavaliers ride again- -- - tonight!  I'm not in the mood for driving with my bum leg, but I received a call from a member of the Mennonite community in Montezuma Georgia.  They answered my ad for a set of draft farm harnesses for sale.  
Should the sale not go through.  Does anyone know of someone who needs them?  27 & 25 inch collars to go with them?  $1000 for the set.  
Extra doubletrees, ox yokes available.
Cole's insurance is balking at some of his chemotherapy charges and my insurance did approve my knee surgery, but now they're declining to pay ANY of it.  Next time, I'm going to India for surgery. 
I wish I had more stuff to sell, but I've been purging my life of clutter.  Should have seen how I took my decorative sham pillows outside 3 years ago and shot them for target practice.  
So, what I do have to sell is highly practical stuff that everyone in your neighborhood will covet:

Awesome little forecart for team or single:
$500. Pioneer brand. Think of it, the neighbor's pair of Saint Bernards could pull you in style.

Pioneer walking plow:
$400.  For your husband, on Valentine's Day.
Pioneer stone boat:

Steel skids $300. Portable deck for your next picnic.
And now for something completely different:
my beloved home built smoker.
1945 modified refrigerator all on a legal 5x8 trailer:  $700.  Every man cave needs one!

Tommy and Mack's massive yoke.  White oak and poplar, over 100 lbs. $150. To hang over the Ponderosa style entrance to your driveway.

Last but not least:  2013 double axle flatbed trailer, 20'  Bought new for $5500.  Asking $4000.  Tires always covered, no dings on it.
Perfect for hauling home all this loot!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sweet Sunday

I had fun playing in the kitchen today.  
Wait for it...
Have a holly jolly Christmas!
Or come down here and slip into a diabetic coma with me!
Melting snowmen, appropriate for Alabama.