Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Early Monday morning, my big, old, gentle Clydesdale was killed. 
Bella came to me, over ten years ago, as a rescue who required life saving procedures to save her.  In spite of the painful treatments, Bella remained the most forgiving, sweet horse. 

As evidenced by her injuries, we're concluding that the pack of 12 feral pit bull mix dogs that have been harassing the neighbor's cattle are to blame.  And no, we didn't know of the feral dog problem until now... Neighbors around here keep to themselves, but the outpouring of kindness, casseroles, pizzas, loaned cameras has been overwhelming.

She was still warm when found at 9 AM.

The dogs must have chased her relentlessly,until she ran through the fence and collapsed on the other side.  
The remaining two horses are going to need therapy.  They were whinnying and carrying on.  I had to remove Bella promptly.
Losing a herdmate is taking its toll on them.  They are two basketcases.
I've moved Axel and Angus back in with Tommy and Daphne, inside my woven wire fence, by my house, for added security until the situation in their 12 acre field can be dealt with.
Monday, I moved our game cameras to the site where we found Bella. At 11 PM I tiptoed the 1 mile back into the woods and waited.  I depended on moonlight and didn't see the coyotes that were within 50 yards of me.  They're going to feel my wrath too.
Things that go bump in the night:
Jamie or Sasquatch?
I scrapped the grave site with the front end loader, but had to do most of the digging by hand.
Her spot is in on the edge of a big field that fills with wild lupine blooms in the Spring.  

To earn an animal's love and trust is the best gift you can ever receive.
I miss her profoundly.
Two days later, the commotion has died down and it's hitting me hard.  For her to have died such a violent death--- I don't want to think about it anymore, I can't fix what happened, but I can work at preventing this from ever happening again.
Bella-bug lives on in the hearts of all of us who knew her.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Doggone Dogs

Have you ever had the feeling you're being watched?
Garrett, my back seat driver.
How annoying is it to have someone constantly looking over your shoulder?
Pete has become expert at ignoring Cole.
He rarely even acknowledges their presence.
"The clowns in steerage class interest me not".

The clowns.

One concern with warmer weather upon us:  Cole, the Amazing Sinking Dog, takes unscripted long swims to nowhere.
Five minutes later, he's still circling out there like lost duck.
My genius.
... covered in pine tree pollen.  Master of Disaster!

Signs of Spring

First Day of Spring.

Heralds of warm days to come:

A luna moth, Actias luna.  With its giant wingspan, it's one of North America's biggest moths.  It requires up to two hours to unfurl.  She hung out in the house until she was ready to fly.  Releasing her out the front door was necessary because of the insectivore Kingbirds nesting on my back porch.
Latin names fascinate me.  These nest builders go about their business with such fervor that we've nearly collided on occasion when I'm going down the porch steps and they're zooming past with nest fodder.  They'll screech an obscenity at me in passing.  Tyrannus tyrannus, As if calling them tyrant bird once wasn't enough!

Zephyranthes atamasca, or  Atamasco Lily is busting out in the wooded areas.
Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Who'd thunk lime could provoke such an adventure?
Not this. 
But this kind of lime:
Note the remarkably well camouflaged Garrett.
Since November, I'd attempted every manner to coerce the only fertilizer guy in our area to apply lime to all our pastures.  Rather unsuccessfully.  Turns out he did us a favor.  By doing it ourselves, we're pay half the price per ton AND we'll have two tons left over for all the shrub beds everywhere on the grounds that are as acidic as pickle juice.  
But, first, one must travel two counties over to rent a spreader buggy.
I did my best to heed the 40 mph towing limit.  Having the posse with me helped pass the time.
Two excellent passengers in my back seat.
Captain Mayhem snorting bugs up his snout, then sneezing them out onto the windshield, dash and chauffeur.
Loading up the buggy before hooking up to it.  
Murphy's Law:  the co-op manager greatly overrated the repair work, supposedly completed the day I picked it up.  The drive wheel would engage, but not disengage. After half an hour of trying 16 different hydraulic line combo, we ascertained that we weren't nuts, it was broken.  Break out the Redneck ingenuity: ratchet straps.  
I got the AM shift, Tommy took over in the PM.
He alternates between calling me Dirty White Girl and Grease Monkey.
As long as he never calls me Princess, I'll let him live.
Load #2 arrived late today.  Let the fun begin again!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Pushing Past Failure

Trail running was what I lived and breathed for.  One year ago, almost to the day, I was slatted to run my first 100 mile race.  Finding out that I was going to blow up my wittle damaged heart if I ever attempted anything more than a 15k was devastating.  I tried to be optimistic and see how fortunate I was to have had that last minute cardiologist's intervention, but deep down my soul was broken.  I threw myself into work, into boxing, into being a fixture at my local gym. I fooled myself quite nicely.
Last night, a friend suggested I watch the  new movie made about the Barkley Marathons.  That marathon was the crown on my bucket list.  If I finished well in the LM100, I had a chance this year of being accepted at the Barkley.  
You can watch the trailer at    
2 minutes of your time will permit you to get an idea of what makes me tick and why I miss my old life so much.
The Barkley is supposed to be a 100 mile race, but it's usually more like 130.  So much vertical gain that it's akin to climbing Mount Everest twice.  Most years, no one finishes.  That to me, is a worthy challenge.  The potential that everything I can give to a race may still fall short, that's where I want to be.  I've run a few city marathons... to have people lined up along the road cheering me on to finish something I already know I can finish is depressing.  I want to be in the middle of the woods, alone,at night, lost, exhausted and have to scrap up the last bit of courage I have to keep running.  
This is the Barkley.  Run mostly straight through the woods, no trails.
Have you ever thought you were over a lost love until you rediscover  love letters and pictures?  
I started watching the movie over supper and spent the entire time crying.  I took my laptop to bed and watched it a second time.
I miss my tribe.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Living in the Wild West

Rural Russell county Alabama is the Wild West.  One sheriff and a handful of deputies to patrol a lawless expanse.  Utilities aren't even dependable or offered out in these boonies.  Cell phone signal sucks.  Internet cable gets mulched up by the road grader every 3 months, like clockwork.  County water tastes like battery acid... if you're lucky enough to have a water line run past your house.  No worries, even if you don't, they'll take your $1400 and look at the map upside down and tell you the water main runs past your driveway.  I cannot make this up.  
Two weeks ago, we trenched 800 feet of water line from the gate house down to a non existing main.  The water authority's excuse was that they had new office staff.  They could set a new meter 1600 feet up the road where the main ended or refund the farm $1400.  When you've already disassembled the well equipment and run 800 foot of pipe, your options are limited.
My Hansel and Gretel trail through the woods.
The only contractor who would touch the job wanted to cut a line of trees, bring the stump grinder through and then trench, for nothing less than $9000.
Versus one really pissed off woman and a $230 rented trencher.

The starting point.  200 feet of power line, the only flat easy part.  Getting up there was challenging.  I had to enter the woods 400 feet up from the meter and maneuver it through thick brush to get to the starting point.

Mole Woman at 900 feet.

The last 400 foot crucible:  the thickest, gummiest clay and unyielding roots that sent the boom of the trencher flying up in the air.

A day alone in the woods and mission accomplished. Not bad for a 10 hour stint.
I bid a fond adieu to my new best friend.  Until we hopefully don't have to meet again.

Also encountered in the Wild West are dangerous predators.  Like the one who came into my yard and attacked my dogs.  We've had ongoing negotiations with several neighbors concerning their un-neutered stray dogs. These aren't Bichons either.  Pit bulls or mixes thereof.  
I was working in the furthest corner of my garden when I barely registered a white blur running across the yard.  Cole and Garrett are white, so I didn't even turn my head until I heard the screaming and realized three white masses where tangled up in a fight.  The neighbor's white pit had attacked.  The fight was 150 feet away, but I had to run out of the 1 acre garden and back up the other side.  All the while emitting, what I am told, is a blood curdling scream that would make Mel Gibson's war whoop from Braveheart sound like a whisper.  
By the time I was close, the pit had Garrett by the neck on the ground.
The victim:
And Pete had joined the melee by grabbing the pit from behind and violently biting and shaking his legs.  Garrett doesn't realize he probably owes his life to this avenging angel:
The other brother, who shall remain unheralded, broke loose of the fight and attacked the pit bull's side kick:  a little 10 lb terrier.  Cole, my hero...

I'm usually armed, but who knew you'd need a gun when playing in your own darn garden.  Lesson learned.  Garrett only sustained puncture wounds to his neck.  Thank goodness he's a little fluffy and the carotid artery was well hidden in fat!  
On three occasions, I've wasted expensive ammunition firing warning shots over this particular dog's head. Irresponsible owners have now been informed by myself and police that the next time, I won't miss.