Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tip Tuesday - Storing Hay

It's haying season and many are thinking hay. It's also time to think about fires. No one ever wants to think about hay and fires but it's a good idea to have an understanding of what can happen.

So today's #TipTuesday infographic is about storing hay and fire.

Personally at the Sanctuary, we are trying to schedule a time to pick up our ordered hay. I'm hoping with hit having sat out for a few weeks, that there's less risk of fire. We've already had one fire on the place, we don't ever need another.

Here's to a successful haying season.


Nothing like walking out of the house with your kids in the car, looking up into the sky and spotting this....

It scared the holy bajeezus out of me! I've never seen one form. If my kids hadn't been in the car, I probably would have stayed to watch and see what and where it went. It was reported to have been on the ground for 7 minutes. I think I watched it form before it hit the ground. But with kids in the car, I decided to bolt.

In the almost 13 years we have lived here, this is only the second tornado I've seen. The first one I didn't see and didn't realize it was a tornado until afterwards. That was in 2013. We sustained damage to outbuildings that are yet to be repaired because there's been no time.

Luckily there haven't been any reports of damage from this tornado but I had no idea that we would even have severe weather yesterday.

I'll take a good old fashioned blizzard over a tornado any day. I can prepare and plan for a blizzard even if it lasts for a week. I can't plan for a tornado!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Goodbye Junior

On Friday we said goodbye to Junior. It was a fast decision but one that I've actually been dealing with for the past month or more. In truth, Junior should have crossed the Rainbow Bridge in the  middle of June or even the first of July instead of the end of July. His body was giving out even though his mind was still very much there.

The reason for the hold up had nothing to do with my wanting to hold on to him longer, funds, or anything of that sort. Sadly, it all had to do with logistics. With the vet not being able to take his body, I was left with trying to figure out how to bury him. We don't have enough land and all the fields are in crops so knowing where he would be buried and then either coming up with the funds or begging for some help was my stumbling block.

I found out Thursday that my uncle had the excavator out and he would be willing to bury Junior so I made the call to say goodbye to Junior on Friday. It was fast and really didnt' give me any time to grieve. Of course, it was a decision I knew had to be made and should have been made a month earlier so I think my  mourning period had already begun.

I'm going to miss Junior. Lace and Mayhem can't figure out what's going on. Junior was their boyfriend and herd protector and now it's just the two of them. I need to keep an eye on Lace to make sure she doesn't slip into a depression. She's a mare with every mood swing possible and she shows it. When I brought her home on Friday, you could tell she was confused and down right angry. I wish I could tell them, talk to them and explain.

As I sat there on Friday watching Junior enjoy his last dish of grain, mom and I were talking. They'd been taking care of Junior for the past two months in hopes that he'd pack on the pounds (it worked the last two years). We both agreed that Junior was an amazing horse.

We always get the horses in their golden years but always wonder what they were like in their younger years. Imagine what kind of horse they were when they were 20 years younger. I think Junior was a fantastic horse and probably did some amazing adventures in his lifetime.

Junior came to us on a very cold November day in 2014. He was known for being a hard keeper and I struggled with finding the right combination to keep his weight up. I didn't think he'd be with us for as long as he was. He was 26 when he arrived and he left us at the ripe age of 30, which is older than most that come to the Sanctuary. 4 years seems like a short time to be with us, but it's not about quantity but rather quality.

Junior didn't like a lot of horses around him. He had his reasons so we allowed him to be the one and only gelding who could be in with the mares on a constant basis. It seemed to suit him very well and the mares seemed to adore him like they he was their very own boyfriend. I think Junior thrived with being in with the mares. The few times I had to put him in with the geldings, he was uncomfortable. We always try to match horses with what best suits them and being in with the mares and not having a big crowd seemed to make him the happiest.

I'm going to miss him greatly but I will rest easy knowing that he's fat, happy, and running in lush pastures. There's no more worry about gaining weight, hip pains, or anything else that comes with old age.

I feel a little lost without Junior and Bo these days. Both were my hard keepers and kept me stressing every day. With both of them gone, I guess I'll turn my attention to the next senior that needs me. But it feels odd to not have a horse standing in the barn enjoying a meal that takes forever to eat. It's an odd feeling and almost makes me feel as though I've forgotten something.

It is amazing how quickly you get used to the quirks of the seniors and when they are no longer with, you realize how quirky they were and how much you miss it (even if it annoyed you for the years you had to deal with it).  I can't really put it into words what I'm feeling.

We will miss you Junior. I am glad we had the opportunity to open our doors and let you retire with us at the Sanctuary. Until we meet again some day.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Kat Dog Fashion in August

We have exciting news we have been anxiously waiting to share!

The Sanctuary is team up with Kat Dog Fashion (https://katdogfashions.com/) for the month of August! Kat Dog Fashion is a local business that is graciously helping out the Sanctuary for the entire month of August.

For every purchase you make for the entire month of August, Kat Dog Fashion will donate $1 to the Sanctuary!

There's so many choices to purchase items (both for your animal and yourself!) This is a great opportunity to help out a local business (local to Sioux Falls anyway) and a non-profit. I've very excited to team up with a new business and local to the area. I love supporting local businesses and I love that Kat Dog Fashion loves supporting non-profits!

So go check them out and dont' forget to purchase a few items! For every item, the Sanctuary will receive $1 and every dollar counts!

Tell your friends, tell your family, share with everyone!


Painful but Greatful

I've struggled to write this post for five months. Its' not a bad post but it's still hard. Five months ago we said goodbye to Bo, my beloved horse who we rescued from auction and who seemed to connect like no other horse.

Five months later we had to say goodbye to our other hard keeper Junior, this past Friday. The decision to put both down was very quick. But there were months of agonizing over when we should and if it was the right decision. 

There's been many sleepless nights and many tears shed over knowing when and if I was making the right decision. Although we have a Board of Directors and we discuss each horse, their overall care, and the decision to euthanize, ultimately it's my decision. It's a difficult decision and I hate making it but that's part of the criteria for this position.

It's always difficult to say goodbye, to make that decision and to follow through with it. It's harder when the bill comes and you're faced with a $250 bill to cover what was done and not something that you want to do in the first place. But it's the right thing to do. 

About a week after losing Bo, while we were trying to figure out how to come up with the funds to pay for Bo, we had an angel show up. An anonymous donor sent us $250. We have no idea who you are, or where you are from but we are eternally grateful. The funds from that check covered Bo's euthanasia. It's probably not where you wanted the money to go but it was a HUGE relief. I can't really put into words how it was easier for me to pay the bill knowing that the funds were there. 

And again five months later, just as we were trying to figure out logistics for what to do with Junior's body, another check came in the mail from an anonymous donor. Again, the relief was there. Its' such a painful decision to make and the open wounds of losing a horse are reopened when the bill comes and you have to find the funds to pay for a euthanasia. 

Both bays have been a worry and have constantly been on my mind with their weight struggles. Having the funds come in at exactly the times we've have to make the decision to euthanize has been a relief that no words can explain. 

I've wanted to go live and talk in person about losing Bo and Junior but with Bo it's taken me five months to talk about his loss without crying. Junior had a full life so the loss isn't as bitter. It's still painful but but not as bitter sweet as Bo's. 

So, whoever you are, wherever you, thank you for your generosity, your kindness, your thoughtfulness, and your support. I have wanted to tell you thank you for months but couldn't speak the words or even type them without bursting into tears. Of course I wanted to be more eloquent but that's just not who I am. But knowing that you have helped us, whoever you are, please know that I (and everyone at the Sanctuary) is very grateful for your kindness.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Before the Mosquitoes Came

Before the mosquitoes came out, I went to the pasture to bring the herd in and to maybe snap a few pictures. Every picture you see comes directly from my phone, no manipulation or tweaking of any kind (there's no time!)

I thought you  might like to see the herd since it's been a little while. Everyone seems to be doing ok. Jim needs to go on grain but I need to convince him he needs to go into the barn. I can always tell that summers the barn stalls aren't used that often. The spiders take over and build amazing cobwebs (of course we don't have spiders in the winter) but it always surprises me out little I'm in the barn during the summer months and how often I'm in the barn during the winter. I guess that's what  barns are for.

We may be starting to grain Dude as well. He looks ok but I want to keep an eye on him. We wont' have Junior this winter so I wont know what to do with myself, no hard keepers but I do think that we'll be looking at graining others that are starting to show their age a bit more. Jim is not a hard keeper but we'll be graining him, along with Dude and possibly one or two others. Otherwise, everyone stays fat and sassy on a round bale.

But I seem to be rambling so I'll stop and post pictures from last night.

Dude (not the best picture of him but he was getting annoyed at the herd not following him for nightly grain)



Dude with Maverick photobombing (and King without his head)

Brego and Zeke

Wishlist Wednesday - Hay Nets

Today's Wishlist Wednesday is for large round bale hay nets. We aren't feeding hay yet so why ask for one (or two)? Because it's haying seeing and everyone is thinking about putting in their winter supply of hay.

We put in our order of hay and its' ready and waiting for us to haul it but with all those glorious bales of hay, we want to make sure not one sliver of hay is wasted and to do that, we use hay nets. We've been using hay nets for the past four years and after so many years of use and abuse from the horses, they are starting to show their wear.

We would love to have another hay net and replace one that is starting to show it's age. We'd use the one showing its age for emergencies or when we have to be gone for a while and put out an extra round bale for the herd.

I love the hay nets. It's saved us so much in hay and with hay always being such a high cost (and a hot commodity), I want to make sure we use every bit and not waste one leaf.

We can typically get hay nets for around $175 (or at least that's how much it was the last time we bought one). It would be great to have another one so that I don't have to continue to repair the old ones with twine.

Anyone want to help us buy a new hay net? Any amount is greatly appreciated. Every dollar counts, especially for such an important purchase that is used daily for eight months out of the year.

Weatherman All Riles Up

I mentioned earlier this month that the katydids/locus were starting to sing. I used to follow the old wives tale that 60 days from when the katydids start singing that we’ll have our first hard frost. That theory hasn’t really been true for the past few years but I still take heed.

Well the weathermen must not have had much to talk about the other day because they did an entire story about how we could possibly get our first hard frost the first of September or even the end of August. It almost felt like they were trying to rile everyone up.

The problem is, I looked back through the blog and we’ve had katydids start to sing normally around the first of July and we’d never have a hard frost any time in August. But it is a good warning to start preparing for winter now (at least for the Sanctuary). I am too far behind to know where to even begin. Unfortunately, I’m typically sick about once a week and then the paying job has me so buried that during the week there is no time to get anything done. By the time I wrap up for the day I’m exhausted and don’t have the mind power to focus on the computer nor do I have the physical ability to tackle any outdoor projects (not that I could because the mosquitoes are so bad).

I’m hoping we’ll have an easy winter. I don’t have a gut reaction yet on what type of winter we’ll have but I could go for another easy one, with just enough snow to keep the pasture buried and moisturized so I don’t have to worry about overgrazing and running out of pasture. The sad part is, we typically only let the horses graze from the first of June until sometime in October. Then in October, there’s really nothing left for them to eat and we have to start putting out hay.

I’m not ready for winter, I’m not even ready for fall yet. I have already noticed that the days are getting shorter. I love summer and summer solstice, but its’ really hard to roll out of bed around 5:30am to get chores done when the sun isn’t up. I shouldn’t complain. It’s how it’s been for ages and will be for years to come. But the summer is flying by too quickly and I’m too far behind.

The katydids singing every day (and night) is just a reminder that I am far behind. I think they keep telling me to get my butt in gear. Anyone want to help?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

#TipTuesday - Water and Hydration

It's #TipTuesday and we are talking water and hydration. Although the temps at the Sanctuary are absolutely lovely right now (upper 70s and lows in the 60s), it's still a good idea to keep an eye on your equine. I'm guessing we'll go back to having another heat wave in August so it's best to be prepared.

The following are two infographics about water and keeping your beloved equine hydrated.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Life is Insane

Life has been insane lately. There's no time to breath, let alone think Sanctuary stuff lately. Just trying to stay afloat. The paying job has me so busy that all I can do is chores and then I'm back to working at the paying job to not get as far behind, or is it to keep my boat afloat? Either way, I'm getting farther and farther behind or my boat is quickly sinking.

It makes it tough to focus on Sanctuary stuff and I'm frustrated.

Of course sick kids and running kids to their appointments is getting more difficult. I'll be in trouble when they are in school and school activities. They are easy peasy at the moment (what with only being 2 and 5).

So if you have been wondering where we are at, we are here, MIA but here, frantically working.

I am starting to panic. I have a lot to share and a lot of it is really good but internet at home doesn't work and the paying job, well you know.

So I'll try to post again later this afternoon with a few of my thoughts so you'll feel my stress and pain (you're welcome).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Losing Junior

We’re going to lose Junior.

I’m not sure exactly when but it’ll be sooner than I thought. I’m guessing by the end of the month we’ll have to say goodbye. I am cursed with bays. Junior is the last of the super hard keepers. I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself once all the hard keepers are gone. Bo and Junior have been my hard keepers for the past few years and now there won’t be anyone nearly as hard keepers as those two.

I hauled them to their “summer retreat” the first of June in hopes that Junior and Lace would pack on the pounds. With 24x7 pasture and grain, I had hoped they’d put on weight. They’d have the same here but usually they do better in their summer retreat but not this year.

I have been checking on Junior on a regular basis and he continues to lose weight. It’s not for lack of care or feed or trying. He’s simply no longer able to maintain what little weight he has. He was always a hard keeper. From the get go in November 2014, he was tough to put weight on. Only one winter were we able to put weight on and that was a mix of amazing hay/alfalfa, grain, and a ton of blankets.

I havent’ scheduled the appointment because I havent’ been around him enough to know if he’s given me a sign. I think he has and I’ve ignored it. He’s not a touchy feely horse and the last time I was up there, he put his head into my chest. That’s definitely a sign but I’m still ignoring it.

I am sad to see him leave this world but in truth, when he came to us in November 2014 at the age of 26, I didn’t think he’d last more than a year or two. In fact, he’s lasted until the ripe age of 30. He’s lived a life of luxury since coming to the Sanctuary. No work, no demands, just a couple of mares to keep him happy and away from the commotion of the big herd. He’s never liked big crowds so we always kept him with the mares. Mayhem will be devastated but she’ll adjust just as she had to when she lost her mother, Rabbit May 2017.

That’s the hard part of having young-ish horses. They get attached to older horses and when they leave this world, they leave a whole in the herd and in the hearts of everyone at the Sanctuary (both two-legged and four-legged).

I’m coming to terms with losing Junior but it still stinks. I can only imagine that in his younger years he was an amazing horse and riding partner. He’s been a fantastic horse at the Sanctuary. No real demands but he’ll watch you like a fox when it’s time for his grain. There are very few who could love their grain more than Junior.

I haven’t called the vet yet because I don’t want to hear what they have to say. With it being only a few months where the rendering trucks refuse to take horses euthanized with the chemical, I doubt that anything has been resolved. I had hoped that Junior would at least last until fall so we could bury him out back in the field but that isn’t going to happen. I am guessing that we will still need to find a place to bury him on the old farm place and have to call in a favor to have his body taken care of. We will use the chemical to euthanize as I don’t see shooting him as the respectful way to end his life on this earth. He deserves a better end. I haven’t called because it’ll mean calling for favors to take care of his body. I struggle with that part of death. I’m there until the last breath (and even afterwards) but I can’t be there for the removal. But now I’m going to have to figure out what to do with him afterwards. I guess that’s just how things will be for the Sanctuary until something is figured out.

I’m sure I’ll continue to talk about Junior these next few days but his leaving is weight heavily on my mind these days.

Pictures are from last spring after coming out of winter looking fantastic.

Wishlist Wednesday - Buckets

This Wishlist Wednesday, we wish for buckets. It doesn't really matter what kind of buckets they are, as long as they are clean.

We use a number of 5 gallon buckets to haul water for the ponies or to fill water tanks in the winter. Water buckets are always a necessity when having horses. We use them not only for water, but also for grain.

We'd be tickled with any type of bucket, be it a 5 gallon bucket, a water bucket specifically for horses, or any other kind of bucket. Size doesn't matter either. We use a number of the bigger buckets to haul water but we also use smaller buckets to haul grain to different pens.

Buckets range from $5 to $20.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tip Tuesday - Fly Control

Now that we are in full swing of summer, the flies are coming out. In South Dakota, the terrible biting flies tend to come out around July (although they came out early and were biting everyone in June). Here's a few infographics that will hopefully help with the flies this season


July Already?

How can it be almost mid July already? Last I checked, we were headed into June and now all of a sudden it's July. The last four weeks have been a blur all revolving around the paying job. I had to help wrap up a big review right around Memorial Weekend and then was only given about a week reprieve to catch up on everything that got pushed in the shuffle before the next review started up. Least to say, I've spent the last four weeks in such a daze of mass chaos, it's been exhausting. Luckily the review is just about over and my part is about done but now it's time to play catch up. But in dealing with this big review and with playing catch up, there's been very little time to do anything with the Sanctuary other than chores.

I still need to flip the pasture so that the horses can be on the other part of the pasture. That's my goal for tonight and tomorrow night (mosquitoes be damned). I had to throw hay last night for the horses which chafes me to no end. A pasture ready and waiting and I'm throwing hay!

Speaking of hay, we put in our order for hay. Our usual hay guy is going to pull through for us. We're getting different hay than before, hay with no alfalfa so there's no need to worry about King. I'm not sure yet on price but I'm guessing our pasture hay will be the same as the hay/alfalfa that we have gotten in the past. I guess I should have gone with the better hay and just dealt with King's feet some other way. But trying to do right by everyone isn't always easy or cost effective.  I'm not exactly sure when we'll get the hay but we at least have our order in. Now to figure out logistics and to get it all paid for. We unfortunately won't be getting it delivered by semi so it'll take a few loads to get it all down here. But it'll be Mike and myself hauling so not too big of a deal. Thank goodness we can borrow our hay guy's truck and trailer (it's nice to have an "in" with your hay guy). Now to figure out how to pay for five loads of hay equaling 55 bales. I just hope that's enough. Even though we don't have Ivan or Bo, we may be looking at opening our doors this fall, which means we will need additional hay. We are looking at a cost of about $5,000 to pay for the current hay order.

I've been so under the weather for so long, that I haven't had time to do anything but take care of horses. No time to research grants or look into fundraising opportunities. It's a struggle and I'm disappointed I haven't been able to do more but when you're dealing with medical problems, I guess that's just how everything goes.

Junior has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. I'll have to post more about him in a little bit but he's weight heavily on my mind. We are going to lose him.

I'm in desperate need of help in getting things done at the Sanctuary. I'm finally crying uncle and admitting that I need help. Granted, we've had offers but with our policies in place, someone from the Sanctuary has to be AT the Sanctuary, at least in the beginning. The problem is, its' summer and everyone is super busy. I'm just not sure how to get it all done. My list is growing but maybe if I actually write it down and plug along on it, it wont be so bad. I wont' want to be like last year where every time I went for a walk at the paying job to try and take a break, my entire chest would constrict and I'd feel even more stressed about the upcoming winter because I'd be thinking about all that needed to be done.

This past weekend I heard the kattydids. That means 90 days from now is our first hard frost. I think that's usually what sets me into a tailspin. It's not like they don't ALWAYS come out early to mid July but for some reason I spend May and June getting horses ready for summer that I don't have time to prep for anything else. And then I feel like we run so hard there's no time to get other stuff done and we are faced with all these tasks that have to be done before the first snowflake. I swear I spend all winter dealing with winter and then all spring, summer, and fall prepping for winter yet again. Of course when you have winter 6 months out of the year (or at least it feels like it), its' hard not to focus on it, especially when you have old horses to care for all the time.

I know there's more. There's lots more going on but I haven't had the time or energy to share all the news. We have lots of good stuff going on but without internet at home, it's been very trying.  Hopefully I can get that resolved soon and can get back to posting more on the blog and getting some of the really good stuff shared out rather than just posting what I can from my phone.

But for anyone that is bored, I need help. And lots of it. There's too much to do and it's looking like my August is filling up fast so I can use all the help I can get ASAP.