November

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A HALLOWEEN TALE

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I went shopping last weekend with my granddaughters for Halloween costumes at a Target store last weekend. Vivian, who is 5 years old, wanted to be Captain America. Her sister Kaydence was not sure what she wanted to be. Kaydence is nine years old and didn’t want to be a witch or zombie, but she didn’t want to be a princess either. She finally decided to be a cat. She does love cats.

I had to work Halloween night and didn’t get to see the girls in their costumes but I have asked for pictures and will share them with you if you are interested.

Hoping you had a “Spooktalur night,” as my daughter would say!

spookatucar!

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A typical weekend…

Last week a neighbor and good friend of mine asked me to look after her farm place for the weekend, she was going horse camping with her daughter. This would leave only two horses for me to look after, one is in her twenties and the other horse has the “heaves” or COPD and is up there in age too.

Our friendship goes back several years, but really it is quite simple, we help each other out from time to time. So this weekend would be nothing for me to worry about, I thought. Besides she has an old farm with lovely opportunities for photos.

a farmplace in summer

I worked until 3 PM that Friday and really did not need to stop in as my friend had only left at noon, but I wanted a small cooler I had left there a week earlier.

As I rounded the turn into the farm yard after driving through the cornfield that seemed to reach as high as the sky, I saw the two horses grazing peacefully outside of the fence on the cornfield.

Now this was not right at all!

Neither horse was wearing a halter so that meant I first had to get one from the shed. The St. Bernard, Marley, came running all happy to see me. I wasn’t as happy as he was for sure.

I got a halter and lead rope and then decided to open a gate in a more secure area. I thought I was going to have a bit of a battle with getting the horses back in as mine are always cagey. But once I opened the gate up, the horses went right to it and I did not even have to put the halter or lead rope on either one.

In the meantime, I had to keep my eyes out for a goat that has warning signs posted on the property.
He’s not a nice goat. Marley the St. Bernard went in between us once so I wouldn’t get butted! I am starting to like St. Bernard’s.

Here is a picture of the goat guarding the horses after they were confined. Don’t let his cute smile fool you!

hot rod

I did get a few other pictures too, but they can wait!

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Another pleasant valley Sunday….

It was a grey, cool day, and I was just plain lazy. So even though I was fully dressed, I put on a short fuzzy pink bathrobe to keep me warm while the cool breezes blew in from the river and prairie. I had the TV on while I browsed the internet and watched a crazy show on Animal planet and then while watching another show about barbequing someone came to the door.

By this time it was mid afternoon and I had enjoyed a couple of beers and was still in the bathrobe, but a bit embarrassed. The woman I opened the door to asked me if she and her husband could camp on our land for the night. She appeared to be around my age, late 50’s to early 60’s.

I told her that would be fine and exchanged information with her. Turns out her husband, who came up a little later from the river, is an author and former professor who is writing a new book about the Minnesota River. They are conservationists and I hope you will take a look at his web site: http://www.darbynelson.com

It is late right now and well into the early hours of Monday. The valley is making a lot of noise with thunder all around, but no rain. I hope my friends are sleeping well or at least enjoying the beauty in their camp by the river…

Leaving you with a few recent pictures….

the sun begins to setA farm place on the river

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One week later…

the coltI wish I could give you good news but the reality is mixed.

The colt lived though the night, and the next morning I contacted a friend and neighbor who is now doing an internship at one of the best horse hospitals in the country in Lexington, Kentucky. We communicated through email. She knows the colt well. She had been dragged in the dirt by him when we had to rope him once to loosen his halter.

I got some bute from her farm that day and put it in his grain upon her directions. Bute is short for a medication that relieves fever and inflammation in horses. I had to get his fever down because I knew we were going into a heat wave in the upcoming days. I would have to go to work and the fever had to be down.

I am still not sure if he is going to be OK or not.

The heat wave came on. The weather guys had a heat advisory for the entire week as the temps were in the 90’s and the humidity made it worse. The colt has continued to be well enough to evade all my attempts to help him. Since he now has no halter on he moves at will. The mares will let me give them relief with the fly spray once I grab on to their halters, but the colt runs off.

He was off on his feed though today was the first day we had a break in the weather. He trots around the paddock just ahead of me, refusing to have anything to do with the fly spray even when I offer to just wipe him down with it.

So, in order to treat him I am going to have to have someone come down and rope him. Then while he is on the ground being held down, the vet is going to have to diagnose him.

So there we are…

I’m a little put off as well because I had offered him to the Dakota for free several weeks ago. A nice young Dakota woman came and worked with him a few times but then stopped coming. She was making great progress with him.

I offered the colt to the Dakota because I know of their love for horses. They have a horse camp that children go into from grades 5-12 every summer. I was excited for the colt that he would get to be part of this.

I’m hardly able to express my disappointment. They told me today they did not want the pony after I asked directly. The vehicles they drove into our yard were worth at least a third of the property we own. Yeah, they have money from all the casinos and the dumb people who go there and gamble.

I do not have the hours upon hours to sit there and get the colt used to me. But one thing is for sure, he’s not going off this farm anytime soon.

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Dancing on Clouds

The little show off up closeLast weekend I visited with my daughter who was in a motorcycle accident about a week earlier. I fell through the hay wagon on the same day. She is doing remarkably well though I sense her frustration. She wants to be better NOW! And I can’t say that I wouldn’t be the same.

She had planned on a birthday celebration for her boyfriend as well as mine. When she realized she wouldn’t have the strength or stamina, she cancelled the party. I was the only guest that day. This was the first time I had seen her since the accident and it was difficult for me, too.

She had a list of things to get in, “O Town,” or Owatonna, MN for all you outsiders. So I went with the boyfriend; we got the stuff and also snooped around on a property for sale he was interested in buying. It was good to get to know him a little better and I felt we had a good connection.

My daughter is a vegetarian, so she taught me a good recipe for vegetarian pot pie. While the pie was cooking, we watched their 3 D TV. I had never seen one in operation before. It was amazing.

I left before sunset as I had a two hour drive back to home. The ponies and horse got a later feeding that evening, and the sun was just beginning to go down. Something was very wrong because the yearling pony, the one called Cloud Dancer, was nowhere in sight.

When I came with the wheelbarrow of hay, I expected the little sport to be whinnying my announcement as he always did. Instead, I saw him lying on the ground in the lean to of his paddock. Obviously, something was wrong.

This is a colt who challenges you to catch him but now in the shed, he would not move even when I pushed him. I may not know much, but in all the years I have had horses one of the first things I learned was when a horse does not want to get up, make it get up!

The first fear for any horse owner is colic. Colic in horses can kill in a very short time. It is also very common with horses and the first thing to do is get the horse up and walking: this helps to clear their intestines.

Anyhow the colt got up but showed no signs of colic like biting at his sides. He just went right down and collapsed next to me.

I knew this colt was not well at all. After all, he is the one who does not want to get caught and thinks he is related to a mustang who once lived in this valley.

As I stroked his head, now in my lap, I felt his head, ears, and neck. He was burning up from a fever!

By now it was dark. It was also the weekend and I would have a hard time getting a local vet to look at him. So I did the only thing I could which was to run in the house and get some cold water.

The colt never objected to his cold water baths. I gave three that night and was exhausted by the end.

He is doing good now, despite the heat wave. He’s really kind of a remarkable pony and has definitely left a kind imprint in my heart…

Keeping you posted!++

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Relecting on the Fall

048It is less than one week since I fell in a hole in the floor of a hay wagon and bruised almost the whole upper thigh of my leg. I spent the night of the 4th of July icing my leg as an angry bulge seemed to want to dominate me completely.

We were once owners of racehorses, few as we owned, but they incur injuries and the best thing to do is to ice the injury. So I was up late and also slept in late the next morning. I heard the phone answering machine go on but it was in the kitchen. I was in the bedroom and my leg was horribly sore. I went back to sleep.

A somber voice, that of my partner of over 16 years, awakened me and said, “I think you should call Willow. She left you a message and is in the hospital.”

They were riding their Harleys back from a 4th of July celebration when they hit a deer. The deer died. Both my daughter and her boyfriend are lucky to be alive. She now has a six inch gash in her leg and is facing skin grafts to heal the flesh that was ripped from her leg.

But, she’s lucky. She survived.

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