Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Vacation

How is it that it’s May 23rd? It should be May 3rd! I’m even more behind than before. I think I’m to the point where I’m a year behind (or at least that’s how it feels lately).
I shouldn’t complain. I am just getting back from a quick family vacation. Before kids, I used to work 40-60 hours on the Sanctuary after the paying job. Of course I was more focused on the horses and not on the paperwork like I should have been. But I wasn’t a non-profit at the time and the horses’ comfort was my main goal (as it still is).
But with kids, I’ve had to reduce the number of hours I spend on the Sanctuary. I’d like to say that I’m ok with it, but I’m not. But I’m not willing to give up my time with my kids. They are little and in a blink of an eye, they won’t need me. Well, wont’ want to hang out with me and will be doing their own thing. So I’m taking advantage of this time in my life. But that also means less time on the Sanctuary and more time with family.
So you’ll be seeing a few more family vacations and since this is my blog (and my life), I’ll try to share some of our adventures. Because the beauty of some the places we’ll be going to this summer are too precious not to share.
For the past two years, we would head out to Badlands National Park in April to take advantage of their free park week. This year we weren’t able to coordinate schedules to go out in April but we did make it! It’s either my favorite or my second favorite vacation. It’s a super short vacation but oh-so-worth-it! I hope to keep it a tradition so that my kids will have the same ideas of tradition and love of conservation that I do.
Gorgeous doesn’t describe the Badlands. We are usually out there in the fall or early spring when the green hasn’t appeared yet but this time it was gorgeous and flowers were blooming! We missed the storms but the clouds made a perfect backdrop for contrast!
I need to refocus and get the horses out on pasture but I don’t foresee that happening this week. I need to divide the pasture and get some spraying done. But the weather is supposed to be rainy and drizzly until Thursday. And I don’t expect to get much accomplished Thursday.
I’m dreading Thursday. I haven’t had Rabbit off the place except once or twice since we brought her home in September 2011. There was never any need except when she needed to have her teeth floated. When she came up lame, I didn’t want to haul her in fear that she’d fall or be super uncomfortable in traveling on three legs. And for those wondering, we will be going to the vet. We simply don’t have enough land to provide a proper burial of all the Sanctuary horses. It’s not my preference but it’s the most economical route to go and I do have to think dollars and cents to care for the other Sanctuary horses. I’m simply going to pamper Rabbit for the next couple of days and try my best to forget about the upcoming day.
Until then, I’ll leave you with a few scenery pictures from the Badlands. I took a ton of pictures so maybe I’ll try to share some more of them.
Near Dillon Pass. I think this is my favorite part of the Badlands (at least for scenery)


Can you count the number of Bighorn Sheep? We actually saw wild life this time besides those pesky prairie dogs.

Normally I never see flowers but I saw this one and a few others. This time of year is so splendid for flora.

Friday, May 19, 2017

May Showers Bring Lush Pastures


The first day of May, we had a snow storm. The second Monday in May, we had 80 degree temps. All of this week it’s rained like cats and dogs with one short day of reprieve but it was still chilly. Next week we are supposed to have rain until Thursday and then the cold snap will be gone and we’ll be back into the 70s and 80s. Just when May is over.

May is always such a crazy weather month. I never realized it until now.

I didn’t realize how hard it is to schedule anything in May based on weather. I’ll remember that for future reference. I wanted to make sure that Rabbit leaves this world with sunshine on her back and a full belly of grass but it’s been a month of dreary.

But I’m not going to complain. It means moisture. Even though the bottom half of the pasture is flooded out right now, it’ll make the pasture super lush this August. I’m going to divide the pasture and keep the bottom half the pasture fenced off until August when everything starts to dry up. Now the hard part, getting everything fenced off. It’ll only be temporary as I don’t have the funds or time to put in a serious (and permanent) fence.

I have so many plans on what I want to get done and I’m afraid none of it will get done. Mike is finally back to thinking about fencing as well. The drylot fencing has always been terrible. It was cobbled together when we moved in. Cattle are notorious for ruining fencing. So we’ve been piecing it together the best we can. It’s now to the point where I’m using corral panels to keep everyone where they need to be.

The problem is, there’s a two foot concrete drop off down to the drylot where the fence is. I’ll have to take a picture to better explain. The original wood fenceposts were put in with concrete but we don’t’ have that capability and I’m not sure I want to drill holes that close to concrete. But Mike has an idea on what should work. Now it’s just finding the time, money, and energy to get it all done. Coordinating that will be tricky. Anyone want to help with any part of it? Helping fund the fencing job or coming out to help where ever needed?

I think there’s more to share but my mind is sort of realing from having to make the phone call with the vet to put Rabbit down. She’s scheduled to leave this world next Thursday, May 25th at 9am. I’m not sure how to pamper her without causing her pain but I’m going to make sure I do right by her. I want her to feel loved and leave this world not in pain. I hate this part of Sanctuary.

Even with her passing, it does not mean that there is room in the Sanctuary. I want to leave any potential available spots for later in case there is an emergency. We are really maxed out. I want to see how summer goes. I had to buy an extra load of hay so that pushed me over the top of what I was figuring. If only I had more time and more help, I could get so much more done.

Dreaded Phone Call

The call is made.


I'm doing my best not to bawl while sitting in my cube at the paying job.


I hate playing God. But I know it's the right thing for Rabbit. Before the heat and humidity sets in to make the heaves and the eyes go bad and before the ground gets hard to make her shoulder hurt more.


But it still hurts.


Now for a week of crying. The appointment is set for Thursday, May 25th at 9am.


I don't even know how to pamper her. I'm afraid to do any grooming on her shoulders in fear of causing her more pain but she'll be getting lots of attention the next week.


I hate this part of Sanctuary.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Rambling

We had our farrier scheduled for yesterday but storms rolled in. I'm quick to reschedule when storms are near after the Sanctuary missed a tornado hitting us by only a half a mile. I don't want to be responsible for anyone getting hurt when storms are in the area. I am slightly concerned because King is off and although he's flat footed, he's typically not "off" like he has been. I'm hoping it's just a stone bruise or an abscess.

I still need to pay the vet bill for Bo's exam and ulcer medication. I dont understand why medications have to be odd colors. Shouldn't they be boring colors like white instead of purple?

I've also been avoiding making the phone call for Rabbit. Turns my stomach thinking about it. But when the ground gets hard, and the sun/heat arrive, she'll be miserable (her uvitis and heaves will flair up). So although she seems to be doing ok right now, I don't want to send her off feeling miserable. I'll be checking the forecast for next week to see if it's feasible next week. I will not say goodbye in bad weather unless it's an absolute necessity. I want warm sun on her back and a belly full of grass.

Need to fight the mud tonight and get bales put in the pens. I can't wait for pasture time but with the rains, I haven't been able to get out and spray. We'll have to extend the hay bales for a couple of extra weeks to ensure the pastures can hold the herd. We need to "rejuvenate" the pasture.

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Getting Fat

I hauled Lace and Junior to Madison Monday night. I think the couple of pictures speak for themselves.






Get fat Junior and enjoy! We'll see you in just under two weeks.


Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist Wednesday: Our wishlist Wednesday item is for electric fencing, either high utility (or whatever it's called) or rope. At this point, I'd be fine with tape but I think the rope would be best of all so they horses can actually see it.

We need to divide the big pasture and it'll most likely be temporary but I would love to have electric fencing to ensure the horses stay in the correct part of the pasture.

I'm not sure what electric fencing is running right now at TSC. I've been sort of ignoring it but know that we'll be hitting our full stride for fencing in another couple of weeks. We are playing catch up on other things. But fencing is always a task that needs to be worked on.
Junior with Lace in the background

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pieces to a Puzzle

I have pictures to share but of course technology is besting my abilities at the moment. Some days I wonder if all this technology is worth it, but then I look and see who reads this blog and I think maybe it is!
For the past couple of years, we’ve been hauling horses to my parent’s place for a month at a time to eat down their pasture. It’s not big and really can only hold two horses for a month and then needs a rest. We used to have four horses on it and had to scramble to find different pastures that would work. But this current method seems to work.
Lush grass, no competition, except for one herd mate and everyone seems to improve when I haul them up. I’ve been hauling Junior up every time because he seems to need it the most.
So  last night I hooked up the trailer and took Junior and Lace up to Madison. I would have preferred to take up Bo because he needs more weight but he has no ground manners. So instead he’s in a pasture by himself. I was hoping to keep everyone off that pasture but not to be the case.
Junior and Lace loaded like champs and hauled beautifully, just like these old warriors do. Lace did surprise me by turning around and unloaded. I think that was the first time in years she’s done that. Normally she backs out of trailers but using a stock trailer is different than a slant load. I don’t think she was comfortable unloading off the trailer but she did just fine.
We unloaded the horses and I never did see them lift their heads. Junior had been losing weight ever since I moved them from their winter pen to the spring pen. I hadn’t been able to get out and grain him on a daily basis and was a little worried after Bo started getting ulcers. But with the lush grass, I’m sure Junior will perk up quickly.
I’ll keep them at that location for two weeks and then bring them home. We’ll let the pasture rest for a little bit and then decide if we haul them up again or take someone else up. I’m sure no matter what it’ll be Junior that goes up, it’s a question of who else should go up.
With the ponies in with the mares, and now Lace and Junior gone, I had thought maybe I would haul Rabbit up as well so I wouldn’t have to throw as much hay. But Rabbit has told me that she’s ready to go so I want to keep her final days/weeks as normal as possible. But I did end up pulling her out of that pen and putting her in with Bo. She has line of sight access to all the horses. She’s also with Bo so she’s not alone. I’m hoping Bo will improve with another horse in the pasture. With Rabbit out of the pen, that leaves Mayhem and the ponies. I’m trying this arrangement for a multitude of reasons. Mayhem has never really been by herself. When I weaned her, I put her in with the ponies. Otherwise she’s always been with some mares. But we’ll be saying goodbye to Rabbit soon and Mayhem needs ot figure out how to handle things on her own instead of relying on her mother. So we’ll see.
I had convinced myself that I would put Rabbit down last week but then I got sick. So I had convinced myself it would be this week. But as I was walking her to the pasture, she acted chipper and not very sore. Her eyes were bright and her breathing was much improved. So now I don’t know what to do. She’s feeling decent but she’s been on soft ground and with moving more, she actually gets around ok. I’m just afraid I’m making a rash decision. The farrier is supposed to come out tomorrow so maybe I’ll ask her opinion as well. When the weight loss is visible, it’s easy to know when to say goodbye but when it’s pain management, it’s so much harder. I don’t want her to suffer and I’d rather she goes when she’s feeling good, can see, can breathe, and isn’t in a lot of pain.  I’m going to see how she’s doing tonight and go from there. I had actually thought that I would give her two weeks and the put her down before Memorial Weekend, simply to put a final date on it. But I just don’t know. I don’t know what to do.
I am anxious to get the herd out on pasture but definitely need to divide the pasture so we can rotate this year. We did it one other year and it really seemed to help. But I need to find the time. We normally let the horses out over memorial weekend but I don’t think that will be the case this time. Going to have to play it by ear. So many pieces to the puzzle.