Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sick

I was sicker than a dog last night so did minimal chores and headed back in to sleep off whatever bug I caught. The horses were rather disgruntled with me. I'm anxious to get them out on grass so they can be happy horses again. If I do it right, I'll have left over hay and hay has been on my mind. I've talked with a few people and they all say the same thing. The pastures aren't coming up as fast and I don't want to over graze what little pasture we do have. So I normally put them on the pasture for 12 hours but I  may have to cut that down. Let them out at 6am just before I head for work and then put them back in right when I get home (although that's 5pm so not really cutting down on hours). But we'll see how that goes. I hope we can get some sunshine and heat along with the rains we've finally gotten. I'm not up for a drought or dealing with sky high prices for hay this year.

I also made some calls and think I found an excavator to do some work at our place. Three years ago we had a fire and the chicken coop burned down. I'm still mad as a hornet over it and I'm even madder that it's taken this long to take care of it but with all the health issues we had and then paying for the health issues, we are just to the point of getting our head above water. Now I'm ready to tackle these projects that have been sitting for three years. It's a wait and see game right now to see if we get a call back. But I'm hoping we do. Then we'll have a place to permanently park the trailers instead of moving them around and killing off the grass.

I also called the farrier so hopefully if the weather holds this weekends, we'll have a farrier day. I'm behind on trimming as well as a few other horse activities. I need to get back into the swing of things but I'm struggling. I'm afraid I'm hitting the beginning stages of the last phase of pregnancy and I'm just exhausted. I'm sure my mood today is a mix of still feeling sick from whatever bug I caught yesterday and being overly exhausted in general. A good night sleep will cure almost anything.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Late Nights and Raccoons

Wow, Memorial Weekend came and went and I'm still trying to figure out what I should have worked on during the long holiday. We spent some good family quality time Friday and Monday. It was a good break from the stresses of life and Sanctuary work. I hate to admit it but I didn't post anything last week because I was out of sorts and didn't want to bring anyone down. I'm still out of sorts but dealing with it. Unfortunately, it's not all pregnancy hormones causing me to be out of sorts.

On Saturday I finally got busy and cleaned out the hay shed. It felt really good to be productive and get all the pallets stacked and ready to store until we get our winter supply of hay. I'm not sure how we'll store our hay this coming year because we are doing all round bales instead of big squares. It definitely changes everything up. We still have some square bales in the red shed that I want out. I think they are getting ruined in the red shed and hay is too darn expensive to get ruined.

I'm hoping to get the horses out on pasture this coming weekend. We'd hoped to temporarily divide the pasture on Sunday but the rains squelched that project. I'm hoping this weekend I can get out there and step in some poly posts and get some electric fence up. It'll have to be temporary until I can figure out how to get the fencing done the way I want it (and not the way we've been doing it). When we do put in permanent fence, we'll have to put in some wood fence posts/panels because of the hill in the pasture.

And we have a family of raccoons living in the hay barn. We've been dealing with raccoons in the grain bin and I've been fairly patient about trying to remove them but now there's baby raccoons living in the hay barn and that's unacceptable. Dad had patched the hole in the hay barn (it's only been there for 10 years) but now that they are in there, they can't get out. Oh there's a hole for them to get out, but it's the hole leading from the  main floor to the hay loft. On Friday, I didn't get home from hanging out with family until 11pm. That meant doing the shortened version of chores and not letting anyone out on grass. But as I walked through the dark hay barn, I heard something. I figured it was either baby raccoons or baby possums. Either way, not something I want to be near in the dark and alone. As I made my passes back and forth in the hay barn, I realized I'd better be in a hurry and have a flashlight in hand. Because it wasn't just the babies making noise. The momma raccoon was there and she told me in no uncertain terms that I was trespassing. Least to say, I got out of there as fast as I could. I spent a bunch of time in and out of the hay barn Saturday afternoon and didn't hear anything but I'm still creeped out by being in there at night so until we can remove them, I'm not lingering in the hay barn. If I were to get  bit, I'd have to have rabies shots and being prego, not sure how that would all work out.

Monday after we got home from hanging with family I put the horses out on the lawn for an hour. Everyone did really well and I was so impressed with them when I called them in for the night. Everyone went in without a fuss until Jim. I'm not exactly sure who the culprit was but someone came back in the barn to head back out to the grass and made Jim turn around. All I remember is seeing a bunch of bay and brown butts and getting pushed out of the way. Of course being prego, and not having a great sense of balance, the one little push that would have been easy to catch, didn't happened and I flailed around like I was falling from a 10 story building until I fell face forward. Luckily I caught myself but it left me feeling irritated to the max. Caring for horses is much different when you're pregnant. I'll never dispute that one again.

I did talk with mom and dad, and we agreed that their pasture is doing pretty well. Instead of waiting until August when the grass has grown and gotten hard and stalky, that I'll bring up a couple of horses so they can enjoy the pasture. Maybe if we don't over graze it, I'll be able to bring horses up again in August or September for a month. That's my hope but we'll see. I'm planning on taking Ivan and Brego. Brego needs the weight and with Ivan out of the picture, he won't be pushing Bo around (so I won't run the risk of getting run over as well). And with two gone, I can maybe consider putting Junior out with the big herd.

Junior has lost a lot of weight lately. I think he needs to be out on grass ASAP. He's on a bale 24x7 but I don't think it's the greatest. I have no luck with bays....Bo, Brego, and Junior. They are all such hard keepers. It's now my superstition that all bays are hard keepers (at least when I get them). I know it's not true but sheesh, how many hard keepers can a person get before you start to notice the coincidence.

I've been taking pictures when I let the herd out onto the lawn but haven't downloaded any pictures to the camera. I'll try to do that soon but I'm also looking at getting a new computer. The one we have is dying a slow and painful death and I'd rather get a new one before it actually calls it quits. We've been without a computer before and it's just not possible these days.

So, we've been busy at the Sanctuary but not with anything of all that much importance. Hopefully I'll get out of this funk soon and avoid all the irritations that have been causing me such grief as of late. I expect in another week, having the horses out on pasture will alleviate a lot of hassle for me and make life way easier for the next little while. Then it'll be time to focus on getting the mares used to grass and get them out to pasture.

There's always something....

Monday, May 18, 2015

Spoiled

We are in the middle of some weird weather. I guess the rest of the country is in the middle of some weird weather as well. We had rain all weekend which was very much needed and I won't complain about it one bit. I was concerned that if we didn't get rain soon, that the pastures wouldn't hold and the price of hay would sky rocket like it did a couple years back (having flashbacks of when I was pregnant with my first child and we were dealing with a drought and major heat indexes).

I'm not sure exactly how much rain we've gotten but we could use more. We're dealing with a little bit of mud right now but it's not too terrible, not like in years past.

The round bales we put in are finally done so I'm back to throwing hay. Boy was I spoiled not having to throw hay. We've had terrible winds since yesterday late morning. I forgot how much I hate throwing hay in the wind (those round bales really got me spoiled).

Now I'm hearing awful rumors that we are in a frost advisory starting tonight or tomorrow? I think we are supposed to get down to freezing. Not good! I'm going to have to top out the tanks and roll up hoses so nothing freezes and breaks. I've been known to break a few hoses because there's still water in the line when a cold snap comes through.

I FINALLY got most of the herd out on the lawn yesterday! Usually I try to get horses out on the lawn the first weekend in May but the grass wasn't growing and I couldn't seem to find the time. I didn't want to overgraze the lawn because I'll be putting the ponies on the lawn after the big herd and the mares go out to their respective pastures.

It was nice to get a little bit of help yesterday with putting in fence posts and stringing wire. My little boy is such a good helper! I decided that instead of putting the entire herd out and worrying about them running through the electric fence (which wasn't on), that I'd let out just a couple. Actually, my son was out and I didn't want to try and chase an entire herd around the countryside with a toddler in tow (speaking from experience). I also wasn't sure he wouldn't run in with the horses so I played it safe and only let tree out at a time.

I started out with Bo and Zeke because they kept getting pushed out of the remaining round bale. I also put Junior out with them. I wasn't sure how well that was going to go. Zeke had a death wish on Junior when I put him in with the big herd late winter. But they all seemed to be ok. I think Zeke was simply mad that Bo was with the mares and now his best friend was across a fence instead of with him. So there's hope I can maybe put Junior in with the big herd (if the pasture can handle it).

I left them out longer than I'd wanted thanks to a rain storm blowing through. Once I put them back, I pulled out Jim, Rain, and Dude. Dude was super naughty about demanding he be the next horse to go out to the lawn pasture. He's really lost his manners as of late and that makes me furious. Going to have to do some work with that brute. I wasn't sure how I'd be able to get them back in. I always put halters on when they are on the lawn in case they do break through the fence (safety precaution for me). But when I opened the door, they ran right in. They'd had to deal with a rain storm earlier that pummeled them and I think they were ready to get in out of the rain and back with the rest of the herd.

Then I pulled Chaos and King out for a little while. I didn't want either of them out for very long. I have to keep a close eye on King. But they were out longer than I'd wanted but I pulled them back into the drylot just before the next storm rolled through. Unfortunately, I didn't get Brego, Ivan, or Maverick out on the lawn.

I'm hoping tonight that I can maybe put some of the herd back out on the grass to get them adjusted. It's a lot of work because I halter each one (for two reasons. 1) so that I can catch the buggers and get them to go back in 2) in case they blow through a fence and we have to chase them from here to never never land). No it's not right but that's just how it has to be. Halters come off once they get into the drylot so no worries about them getting caught up on any feeders.

Once the big herd is out on pasture, I'll work on getting the mares out on pasture. Once they are adjusted to grass, it'll be the ponies' turn to go out on grass for a little while. It's a long, drawn out process but it seems to work (and then I don't have to worry about mowing).

But for now, I'm still throwing hay. Hopefully the grass and the remnants of the other ground bale will help offset the hay I have to throw. We will definitely be going with round bales next year. I got spoiled not having to go out before dawn and after dark to throw hay. Luckily it was light enough this morning for me to see the gigantic raccoon that scurried away. I hate coming face to face with varmints in the dark. I watched something the other day waddle through the knee high grass. I was hoping it was a cat. Nope, possum. I'd rather meet up with those critters in the daylight.

Godbout Express

Lets not turn a blind eye to what is happening...

https://heatherclemenceau.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/godbout-express-observed-shipping-horses-to-canada-on-long-holiday-weekend/

I'm not exactly sure what to do other than to spread the word and hope that someone with a bigger voice than mine has the power and authority to step in and stop what's going on.

Friday, May 15, 2015

12 Years

Last night we had to make an emergency trip to the vet for our little house dog. We've had her now for 12 years and she's been a part of our lives longer than the Sanctuary has been up and running. The only other animal that we've had longer is Dude. Everyone else has come since we took Trouble in as a two year old. She's 14 years old and her health is failing.

It's difficult to watch the progression and for some reason I'm struggling with it a little bit more than I do with the horses. Maybe because I've turned a blind eye to what I know in my head and heart is really going on.

So I had a discussion with a co-worker about euthanasia and death in general. It was nice to get someone else's perspective. She couldn't figure out how people could turn a blind eye to what needs to be done (you know, the whole quality of life), but she's never had to make that final decision, to have to play God.

People continually tell me they don't know how I do it, to care for an old animal and then have to make that final decision. What I can't figure out is how people can NOT make that final decision and instead they do something more cruel and walk away from the animal when they deserve so much more in their final days/months.

Of course it's not an easy decision and there are going to be many tears shed over the next few days on what we do with our little dog (and there are many tears shed of horses that we have had to say goodbye). But I have a clear conscious. I know I've done right by those that I've had to make that decision. I can only hope they forgive me for ending their time sooner than maybe their body/mind was ready for.

I'll be truthful, it sucks to have to make that final decision. It sucks to have to play God. It sucks to be the one that has to decide because others won't. It sucks. Plain. And. Simple. But if I don't do it, who will? I will not dump a dog at a shelter in hopes that someone else will give them a "good home" when there's only a few months left and I won't don't a horse at an auction in hopes that they get a "good home" when you know damn well that they won't because you didn't put the elbow grease in to showcasing that horse.

Death is inevitable. It is not a topic that people want to discuss but it is a part of our life. There is no way to get around it. Do you have to play God all the time, no. But when it concerns your responsibility, then perhaps to the right thing and evaluate quality of life and ask yourself what is really right.

I will gladly go with you if you can't handle watching a euthanasia. But unless the animal is in my care, I can't make that final call because it's not my place to do it. But I will support you if you need that moral support.

So the next few days I'm sure I'll be in turmoil over the decision that I know is coming, it's simply a matter of when I will have to make that decision. You don't throw away 12 years for nothing.

Peace

The last two nights I've let Junior and Bo eat a little extra to hopefully pack on the pounds that they've dropped over the past month or so. I know why they dropped the weight and now it's a matter of getting it back on. Luckily we are going into summer so it'll be easier to get that weight back on instead of looking at trying to put weight on going into the winter.

So that means that I haven't been going out to let them back into their pens until 10pm. As hard as it is to drag my butt off the couch at 10pm when all I want to do is fall sound asleep for the next few hours, I pull on my boots and head outside. These past two nights have really revitalized me. No wind, clear skies, curious horses. One word to describe it.....

PEACE

It's amazing how content the horses are when they have a round bale at their convenience. Unfortunately I'm going to have to start throwing hay sooner than expected. They ate one entire bale but the bale with the cinch net on is still partially there. Now the bullies are eating and pushing out the others. Always something I suppose. We'll be going with round bale this coming winter so I need to save up and buy another cinch net so there's no issue on which bale to devour.

But the last two nights have been relaxing. The horses have been curious and I think might actually miss me?!? I doubt it but it's nice to think anyway.

I still don't have the horses out on the lawn yet but that's my goal for the weekend. Usually I have the horses out on the lawn by the first of May but somehow I've lost track of May. And next weekend is Memorial Weekend and that's usually when I let them out onto the big pasture. Not going to happen this year. Actually, I've been stalling for two reasons...1) I lost track of time and 2) the grass hasn't really grown as quickly as I like either out in the pasture or on the lawn. So I want to make sure that the grass lasts as long as possible. Knowing that I'll be having a baby in September, I NEED to make sure that all pastures can sustain the horses through until I recover at least slightly from having the baby. It's all stuff running around in my head that I need to get figured out. I'll be dividing the big pasture soon (maybe this weekend?!? hahah ) and then rotate the herd.

So much to do and so little time to get it all done.

Repeat

Thought we all might need a good laugh to start our Friday