Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

This past week brought something new into our lives. We learned how quickly our lives can turn around and all of our plans and normal routines can be changed in an instant. The new thing that we learned was all about Guillain-Barre Syndrome (pronounced: gee-yan-buh-ray). Our youngest Son began feeling weak the week before last. He had an upper respiratory infection and cough for about two weeks and suspected that he might have pneumonia.

My Husband seen him walking across a parking lot at work and said that he noticed he was walking strangely. On Friday night he was here and was complaining about his fingers and hands being numb. On Saturday he was loading cross ties into the back of his truck and started feeling weak and fatigued. He has always been strong and a hard worker. On Sunday morning he couldn't get out of bed. His hands, arms, feet and legs were becoming numb.

On Monday morning his wife insisted on taking him to the Doctor. His Doctor asked many questions, then sent him to the Emergency Room for some tests. They did an MRI and other tests and would not let them leave the hospital. He asked if he and his wife could go for something to eat and they let them go but wanted them to return as quickly as possible.

Finally they were sent to a Neurologist at a larger hospital in a larger city. Once there, more tests were done including a spinal tap, shock tests, an EKG, an Echocardiogram and another MRI on his neck. He was diagnosed with GBS even though his spinal fluid did not contain the protein that is normally present in Guillain-Barre sufferers.

None of us had heard of GBS before and so the research began. The first thing that they were told was that this disorder could paralyze his diaphragm and he would have to be placed on a respirator in order to survive. This disorder is life-threatening and is considered a medical emergency. Which was the reason that they wanted them to stay at the Hospital and why he had to be admitted.

This is what we learned about Guillain-Barre Syndrome. It has no cure and is not a disease. It is a disorder where the body's own immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system, so it is sometimes called an autoimmune disease.

No one knows exactly what sets it into motion but it usually is brought on by an upper respiratory infection (in our Son's case), the stomach flu or a flu shot. The first symptoms are usually weakness and tingling in the feet and legs that ascend to the arms and hands and even to the face. In my Son's case it started in his hands and descended to his legs and feet. In severe cases symptoms can increase in intensity until the muscles cannot be used at all and the person is totally paralyzed.

We were told of several cases where the person could not even move their eyes or blink. One nurse told us of a young man who you would not even have known he was alive if he hadn't been hooked to a heart monitor and you could see his heart beating. Even his pupils were non-reactive.

Many people die from this by simply not realizing what is happening to them, they don't get to the Doctor fast enough or their Doctor fails to diagnose it quick enough. Our Son's was caught early thanks to his wife, his Doctor was smart and it wasn't a severe case but most of all, he had many, many people praying for him. For him to only be in the Hospital for six days is incredible and to leave the Hospital with nothing more than a cane is even more incredible.

On Tuesday he was at his worse, he could not move his right arm at all. His left arm was still slightly usable, he could still move his legs but walking could not be done safely. We were worried about it getting worse because by now we had heard the stories of total paralysis. His head got a little wobbly but it didn't go into his face. The good news was that he didn't have any pain because of the numbness and he never had to be put on a respirator.

On Wednesday he was on the mend, they had started treating him with infusions of intravenous immunoglobulins. We started seeing some improvements right away and by Friday he was able to hold his 4 month old Son and hug his three very young daughters.

Hospital stays with GBS are usually very lengthy, many months to a year. Our Son was released from the Hospital on Saturday after his last infusion. So he was only in the Hospital for six days. He had proved to the Physical Therapist that he could not only walk without the use of a walker but could also climb stairs.

Most Guillain-Barre sufferers are sent home with a wheelchair or at least a walker but he came home with only a cane. He is doing all of his therapy for himself as he is very anxious to get this behind him, he is working hard at it. On Friday before last he could curl 150 lbs. Yesterday he was able to curl 1 lb. and we are thrilled. Our Son has a new respect for paralyzed people.

Most people do recover from GBS but it is a long, hard road. Some are left with partial paralysis. There is always a chance of a relapse. He cannot ever give blood again, which is something that he always did. He can never have a flu shot or pneumonia shot. They will have to watch him very carefully if he ever has to have any type of surgery. He was also told that from now on if he gets sick with anything for more than two days he has to see a Doctor. 1 in 10 people will suffer a relapse.

The disorder can strike anyone at any age but it is more common in the elderly and young men. Our Son was told that if he had gone to the Doctor for his cough and gotten it taken care of, this would never have happened to him. Children can also get this disorder but it is not as common. Andy Griffith had this disorder and it is suspected that Franklin D. Roosevelt had it. It is also suspected that people have been buried alive who had it many years ago.

It was a tough week to say the least and it was very hard on their 2 yr. old daughter who didn't understand what was happening. She cried for her Mommy a lot. The 4 and 5 year old's were disturbed by seeing their strong Daddy so weak and unable to walk or give hugs. We had to take them to the Hospital to reassure them. The youngest was reassured by seeing that her Mommy was still alive but the older girls were still upset at the sight of their Daddy in his condition.

I am so thankful that he is home and doing well and that their little family is back together again. He even went back to work yesterday. Their 4 month old Son is the one who is having the most trouble readjusting. He stayed at the Hospital all week with his Mommy and Daddy, so he had gotten used to being held all of the time and passed off to every visitor who came to visit. He is missing the attention.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Feeling Thankful

I am in severe pain today but feeling very thankful for God's blessings. This past week was terrifying for our family but I am happy to report that we are nearly back to normal. I plan to post about it but it will be a long post and I am not currently able to sit in a chair for more than a few minutes at a time. I have to stand or get on all fours to relieve the pain in my back. I will post as soon as I am physically able.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Phone Calls on Dial Up

We had a wonderful thunder storm on Wednesday night that produced enough rain to keep us from being forced into a burn ban. One flash of lightening was very intense and the boom that accompanied it was deafening and too close. Our lights did not go out but my phone died.

Sometime later one of our phones rang but it wasn't the one that is hooked into our computer system, so I knew that the problem was with the phone or lines into my computer. I started plugging and unplugging and testing until I found the problem to be with my HotCall HC2000 box.

The HotCall HC2000 is a little device that rings to let you know that you have a call coming in while you are using your dialup internet connection. This box has kept me happy for many years and I am sure that it has kept our family and friends happy as well because they didn't always get a busy signal when we were online. It has lasted many years and served us well. It will be disposed of with honors.

So, off I go to look for another HotCall box with thoughts of having to order it and how long it might take to receive it in the mail. But then, I think that with all of the new technology that is out there today and the fact that I haven't researched this in a long time that there might just be a software solution other than CallWave and some of the call forwarding programs that I have tried before. They require a call forwarding from your phone service and there is a small fee that you have added on to your monthly phone bill.

Sure enough there is a little program that works wonderfully with no fees from the phone company and it actually works great. I had it downloaded and installed in no time. I am really happy with this software. It is called PhoneTray Dialup and it is located at http://www.phonetray.com/index.htm.

They have other programs too that are free that will zap telemarketers and block callers that you don't want to talk to, but the one that you want is called PhoneTray Dialup, it is the only one that allows you to receive phone calls while being online.

It has a 30 day free trial then after the 30 days are up you have to pay $15.95 USD to purchase it. This is a one time fee that you can use on other computers and never have to pay for again. You will receive a license number that you keep in a safe place in case you have to upgrade or download a new copy to a new computer.

It only works if you have Call Waiting through your phone company and it works really well if you have Call Waiting Caller ID because it will tell you who is calling and their phone number. You even have a choice of whether it tells you in a male voice or just in a text box. You can chose to disconnect and take the call, place the internet connection on hold and take the call, ignore the call or zap the call with a choice of recorded messages.

I do have call waiting which is required but I do not have call waiting caller ID, so all calls just come up as N/A for me. I can't believe that it took a storm for me to find a program that I like so well.

If you have a dial-up and you can't get phone calls while online, you should check this out. If you have a modem that allows it, you can even put your connection on hold and take the call, then go back online without having to redial. This works for me for about three minutes before my internet connection disconnects.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Second Day

After my successful ride on Tuesday and feeling so well Tuesday evening, I was afraid that getting out of bed on Wednesday would be hard, it wasn't. However, this morning was a different story. I was sore in all of the places that you get sore after riding a horse for the first time in a long time.

My last long ride was in the summer of 2004, we took an 8 hour ride and I was quite sore after that, today wasn't that bad but I sure am feeling it. I hope that the weather permits us to ride for at least another 3 hours next week and hopefully even a little bit longer.

We have some neighbors with horses now who ride nearly every Sunday. They have been making some trails that are very convenient for us. We don't have to ride on the road for very long and we don't have to trailer our horses anywhere.

And now back to the farm news...I lost another Silver Lace Wyandotte hen. She just died on the roost like the last one. I hate losing them without knowing why but I don't know how old they are. The rest of the hens are giving us at least a dozen eggs a day and sometimes fourteen. I haven't had any hens go broody yet, so I guess they aren't convinced that Spring has sprung.

Calico continues to grow wider, as does Paris. Everyone who sees them say that they both must be bred but I am still not convinced about Paris, we will see in a few weeks. She has still not shown any signs of heat, so hopefully she is.

Angus is growing and getting a little too smart for his own good. We may have to confine him to his own area soon. He still has the run of the farm and we couldn't find him the other night at feeding time. He had made his way through the electric fence and was in the goat/chicken shed settled in with the goats.

When he gets to feeling his wild oats, he takes a run out into the big horse pasture. He loves being chased by our curious young horses, I guess it gets his adrenalin pumping like it does mine. He can outrun them now but I told him that as he gets bigger he won't be able to run that fast and then what is he going to do when they catch him?

Wool Felted Dryer Balls

I just recently made some dryer balls by felting. I used my DIL's (Daughter-In-Law's) instructions. I had some wool roving that I could have done this with by needle felting, but also had some wool yarn, so I used the yarn. This will not work with washable wool yarn.

You just make a yarn ball the size of a golf ball, then throw it in the washing machine with a load of towels or something that you can wash in hot water then dry well in the dryer. Next you wrap more yarn until you have the size of a baseball and wash again in hot water and dry. I didn't make mine large enough they should probably be the size of a softball instead of a baseball.

To add scent to these you can start out with a scented sachet and wrap the yarn around it. These is suppose to reduce your drying time and soften your laundry.

Felted Wool Dryer Balls
This is the first step of felting the small ball,
the larger ball is finished but has not been through the last felting yet.

Dryer Balls made with Yarn
These are the fully felted and finished smooth balls.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back in the Saddle

The end of the trail and I was still smiling!

I am so proud of myself and so happy. My DH even congratulated me yesterday evening on our good ride. We started out at 3:00 yesterday afternoon, we would have started out earlier but we ran into the usual sequences. We had mud to scrape off of horses and saddles to scrub, then of course we had to find a headstall that would fit my gelding.

My goal with my new gelding is to ride him with just one of my rope halters with side pulls, so I wanted to start him out with a kind and gentle hackamore. He has only been ridden with my former horse Dan's sweet iron split bit but that is the same bridle and bit that my DH uses on everything. So locating something else was not easy. We have tack located in several different boxes, in several different locations.

I haven't ridden a horse but three short times (less than 15 minutes) since the wreck that messed up my back four and a half years ago. I was determined that I was going to ride again. My Doctor told me that I could try it but only without any medication, so that I would know when to quit.

Since the one bridle was all my DH needed to ride with, my bridle was used for all of the horses. We finally located one of our good aluminum hackamores and then had to find a leather curb strap because I didn't want to use a chain curb on him. My poor DH was getting quite annoyed at the time that it was taking us to get ready. But it was a good lesson in patience for him.

After my heavy Tex Tan saddle was placed on my horse, I had to listen to my wonderful Husband gripe again about having to tighten my saddle. It has one of those square metal girth riggings built into the skirt. I hate them too, we both prefer a round rigging ring that isn't built in and I usually like to tighten my own saddle but I was trying to conserve my energy yesterday.

When Ranger, my new horse (Dan has been semi-retired at 22 yrs. old) was saddled and bridled my DH got on him to take the buck out of him. Ranger has only been ridden a few times at 7 yrs. old and still bucks a little when starting out. He humped up once, then they spun around several times, I got a little dizzy watching them. When they finally started walking out in a nearly straight line, he bucked and got his hind feet a good 6 inches off of the ground. Six inches doesn't bother me because Dan always bucks that high when a fly lands on his rump, even higher if it is a horse fly.

My DH on Ranger after the buck was taken out of him.

Now it was my turn to ride Ranger for the very first time, the problem was that I couldn't get on him. He wasn't suppose to get as big as he is. His Sire is only 14.3 and his Dam is maybe 14.1. Ranger does have a full brother who is over 16 hands and thankfully Ranger only grew to around 15.2. On a side note here, to those who now own Feather, Shadow, Thorn and Shay, Ranger is their full brother.

My first time on Ranger. Had on my back brace.

I decided to keep Ranger when he was first born because he is an Indian Shuffler and I love that gait. He also has a lateral canter that is smooth, if you can hold him at the right speed. My DH isn't good with gaits, so I hope to be able to teach Ranger the speed and gaits that I want now that I can ride him. That will take some time but that is another of my goals for him.

Ranger and Leroy stood pretty still for me before the ride.

I had a horse fall with me several years ago and he stepped on the outside of my left knee when he got up and totally messed it up. After that I always had to mount Dan on the right side, Dan has always been a hot horse but he did always stand perfectly unflinching when I mounted, no matter how long it took me. This is something else Ranger will have to learn.

Tying rope halters has given me good upper body strength and even after our accident and my being overweight, I could easily pull myself up on a tall horse. However, now I am having some problems with my left shoulder and that made mounting difficult for me yesterday.

Once onboard, I couldn't reach the left stirrup, this was strange, maybe I am shrinking on one side. My DH adjusted the left stirrup but not the right, they felt balanced but I didn't feel balanced, after we took off I completely abandoned that left stirrup. We rode off down the road and I was having to fight Ranger all of the way, he doesn't neck rein at all and he didn't respond to plow reining very well either. I was also having to kick him hard to get a turn out of him. This just wasn't working for me.

I felt thrown forward in the saddle, I did have a back brace on and I thought that it might be causing the problem. After riding my boy for 15 minutes I was done. My back was killing me and I was very upset. The combination of kicking hard, pulling hard on the rein for every turn and feeling thrown forward, I told my poor DH who had worked so hard to get me going in the first place for only a 15 minute ride that I was done and wanted to go home.

When we got home, he asked me if I wanted to try changing horses. I took my back brace off and got on Leroy, another of our young horses in training. The difference in saddles shocked me and I realized that I have a saddle problem. My DH said that my saddle throws you forward because he could feel it too. This saddle had always been comfortable for me before, but with the back injury that I have, it just won't work. So now I am on a saddle hunt.

We ended up riding for three hours and it was great, Leroy is a perfect horse and his price is going up. We had a inquiry on him the other day and they wanted to know if he had ever been trail ridden, I had to say, no. He had only been ridden in an arena and on the road in traffic.

Well, Leroy has been trail ridden now and it was a new experience for him. But I was able to negotiate trees and brush on him without one skinned knee and we accidentally got off the trail once and it was rough going but he and Ranger both did great. We did a little mountain climbing and they were exhausted when we reached the peak. Then we did some mud hole wading that neither of them liked but with encouragement they learned that deep mud holes aren't always quicksand.

Here is a list of things that Ranger and Leroy learned yesterday, some of which they had experience before so it was just a refresher course.
  • The hollow sounds of hoofbeats on a long and tall bridge can be soothing.
  • Stepping on solid ground again at the end of the bridge is startling but not life threatening.
  • Muddy waterways will not suck you in deeper than knee height.
  • You can trust your rider to guide you through the woods and brush even without a clear pathway.
  • Ranger learned that you can't stop and eat just because you are hungry or there is something new on the menu that you have never tried before.
  • Large hay bales wrapped in tarps are not meat eating dinosaurs.
  • Stumps are not hungry wolves.
  • Large camping trailers in the middle of nowhere do not contain vampires
  • Abandoned tires and brightly colored plastic jugs in roadside ditches are harmless.
  • Walking through junkyards on a windy day is very interesting, there is so much to see and do.
  • Cadillac Eldorado's look very different when standing up on one side, the bottom is just not as pretty as the top, it in no way resembles a rogue elephant even if it does have a trunk.
  • Junkyard dogs can be ignored, their bark is much worse than their bite even in packs. Though these Pit Bull and Pit Bull mixes look much more intimidating than the neighbor's little Jack Russell Terriers, they aren't nearly as dangerous.
  • Diesel trucks make a lot of noise when coming up behind you but not as much noise as a big well drilling rig coming up from behind.
  • Discarded tires, roofing shingles and other unwanted household items in a quarry hole are not environmentally friendly but are not an immediate danger to a passing horse and rider.
  • When riding South to North in the evening hours your shadow will not give you much trouble, but when turning eastward you will suddenly have the setting sun behind you, you must not be alarmed at your own shadow.
This list is just to let you know what we and our two horses experienced on our three hour ride yesterday. They didn't, however, have a problem with most of this stuff. The only slight problems that we did have were with the knee deep muddy waterway, Leroy had a slight problem with stepping on the solid ground again after being on the bridge for awhile. Ranger did spook at his own shadow. For the most part these boys did excellent with all of the scary things we exposed them to.

The end of the ride, I was flexing Leroy to the left.

Then to the right. Who is that fat Granny?

I did great too. It took me a little while to get my land legs back after the ride was over and I did take some pain medicine to get me through the rest of the evening but I surprisingly felt really well this morning and am looking forward to our next ride and getting a new saddle for Ranger.

I reached some personal goals yesterday and I look forward to reaching some more this summer. We have several young horses that need some wet saddle blankets, this is something that I used to be able to help out with and these horses deserve a chance to become the excellent horses that they were bred to be.

Wet saddle blankets are good for white horses,

But look better on Leopards.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More On Amber

Since I have been asked some questions about Baltic Amber, I will tell what I know. I got started with Amber after my DIL (Daughter-in-law) asked me to buy an Amber necklace for the baby, they were suppose to relieve teething pain and slobbers. I ordered one that she picked out on eBay. I was amazed by how my Granddaughter stopped slobbering. So I did some research and discovered that adults with arthritis were reporting pain relief with the necklaces and bracelets.

I have had neck pain for many years and found total relief with a necklace. I then bought bracelets and more necklaces for other parts of my body. I have put necklaces on my shoulders and elbows secured with ace bandages. My Son has secured a necklace on his aching knee with an ace bandage.

I have even bought elastic braces and sewed the Amber beads on the inside for quick and easy help. The Amber does have to be applied directly on the pain source. So it has to come in contact with the skin at the sight of your pain. I have found that it starts to work within 10 minutes of application.

My other Son and Daughter-in-law were babysitting an infant who was teething, she was a mess with slobbers. I took my necklace off when they had her at our house and slipped it on her neck, within ten minutes her slobbers had dried up and she went to sleep and slept for a long time. They told me that she hardly ever napped and if she did it was just for short periods.

Amber is hardened sap from trees. It comes in many different colors and can even have leaves, debris or insects inside it. The very best color to get for pain is yellow that is not clear, it has more of the properties that you need to relieve your pain.

I have Bracelets that are made with elastic and they are really pretty tough. They also come on strings with clasps. I have not had any problems with any of my necklaces or bracelets except for the time that one of my goats grabbed a bracelet to eat it. She did break the elastic and ate several of the beads before I could get them away from her. Goats love the smell and taste of real Baltic Amber.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Morning

My oldest Granddaughter spent the night with me last night. Unlike her sister who likes to sleep late, this one is an early riser. When she was younger she used to wake me up by lightly tapping me and sweetly saying, "It's wake-up time." Now she just bounds out of bed, gets dressed and tells me she is going outside. Of course, I try to reason with her about the earliness of the hour and the coldness of the early morning air. To which she responds that she will wear a sweatshirt.

I drag myself out of bed when she comes running back inside to tell me that there is something weird out there. I ask her what it looks like and she says that it looks like a dead Elvis but it isn't Elvis. She is talking about my Polish rooster and not the singer. She has seen Elvis and he is still alive, so now she is among the many who can attest to the fact that Elvis lives.

I put my coat on upside down and go out there to see what this is. I should have known what it was when she said that it looks like a dead Elvis, because Elvis is black and white. It was indeed a dead skunk that either Angel had killed some time ago or had found somewhere. Either way it didn't smell like skunk anymore.

My Granddaughter is truly a farm girl. After my DIL (Daughter-in-law) had told me that Elvis had tried to chase and flog her, I was standing talking to my three Granddaughters. Elvis came slipping up behind the oldest one. Like any good Grandmother would do, I waited to see what would happen.

Elvis did indeed flog my oldest Granddaughter, she turned around to see what the problem was and I told her to kick him like a football. She then spent the next 30 minutes chasing him and trying to use him for a football. Elvis has learned a valuable lesson, don't mess with the little people.

Later, Elvis tried to get her Mother again to which her mother responded by asking her daughter to protect her. So my Granddaughter got between Elvis and her mother and Elvis was subdued.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Amber Back Relief

I am participating in a test of a new product, if you follow my blog you know that I love Baltic Amber for pain relief. I wear an amber necklace for my disk problems and arthritis in my neck. I also wear amber bracelets on my wrists when tying horse and goat rope halters.

I was recently contacted by the lady at www.forfinn.com, who I purchase my amber from about testing a new product, an amber belt for lower back pain. Since I have four herniated disks, degenerate disk disease, spinal stenosis and arthritis in my lumbar spine, I was thrilled to help out.

These amber pieces are about the size of a dime and are slightly flattened. So far so good, I am finding it hard to deal with the string but within 20 minutes of putting this on, I noticed a reduction of my back pain. Amber is anti-inflammatory and since I am allergic to NSAIDs like Ibuprofen or Alieve, this is a blessing for me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Calico Update

Do you think that she might be pregnant? Since her due date was not March 9th, I am guessing that her little rendezvous with Cooter on November 11th has paid off for her. So her official due date is now April 10th.

Paris looks somewhat pregnant but I am still not sure with her. It will still be wait and see. I have never had a single, so I don't know what a doe looks like when pregnant with a single.

My hens are blessing us everyday with 12 to 14 eggs. My little Fleur banty hen has started crowing. She is laying eggs and crowing, I don't know what is up with that. If anyone has any information about why a laying hen crows, I would love to hear it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


For those who do not torture themselves by owning goats; scurs are what you get if you do not completely kill out the horn bud when disbudding. This happens quite often in Bucks because of their hard headedness and large horn base. My own dear Cooter has a really nice scur going on right now.

Scurs come and go, they are normally somewhat like a loose tooth, you can jiggle them around a little bit. Cooter doesn't like it but we try to loosen them on occasion, he usually knocks them off himself without too much help from us but the one that he has now is getting quite large. They are actually incomplete horns without a solid foundation.

They can bleed profusely when they are knocked off, leaving him looking pretty mistreated. I always try to put a little blue medicine on the open sore, he doesn't like that either but then the only things that he really does like are does, food and a good scratching on his neck and horn area.

When you mention dehorning or disbudding to goat minded people, they usually have very strong opinions one way or the other. There are those who would never disbud because they feel that nature intended goats to have horns. They also would never ever put a baby animal through that much pain for 60 seconds. However, these same people do sometimes circumcise their male children. They also feel that horns are there for goats to protect themselves and so on...

The other side of this issue, which includes yours truly, believes that horns are dangerous to humans, grandchildren and even the goats themselves. Goats are experts on sticking there heads in unusual places and mine get their heads stuck even without horns to entangle them. They can also injure their herd mates, human caregivers and human children by accidentally catching them with a horn.

As far as goats protecting themselves with horns go, I believe that a pack of dogs or coyotes don't make the distinction, the horned goats taste just as good. Horned goats also run from danger just the same as unhorned goats do.

I strongly believe in disbudding, dehorning an adult goat is another matter. I would not purchase a goat with horns but if the occasion did arise that I came into possession of a horned goat, I would not try to dehorn it. I would however attempt to blunt the sharp ends.

Even a blunted, loose scur can cause you problems, as demonstrated by Cooter and his human caregiver. I had gone out to feed the rascal and he, being his impatient self was trying to help me pour the feed into the feed pan. I was bent over and he is pretty tall and we somehow got our heads together. His thick, hooked, three inch scur weaved itself into a portion of the front of my hair that was pulled back in a bun. I also had a hair clasp in the front of my hair and the scur was between my tender scalp and the clasp.

I tried to straighten up and was attached to Cooter who was by this time trying to inhale the food in the feed pan. I am not much of one to say that animals are kind, gentle, intelligent and have human emotions but Cooter did feel the pressure on the scur and instead of jerking away like he normally does when we touch his scurs, he actually moved with me.

I just knew that at any moment he would pull away to continue eating but he raised his head and let me untangle us without jerking me bald. It took me several seconds to free myself and I was even to the point of trying to take my hair down but I finally got loose. For once, I was impressed by Cooter's kindness, intelligence, gentleness and human emotions. But what I really believe is that he was in as much of a predicament as I was in and he knew that if he jerked away it would cause him great pain. So, I still give him points for intelligence.

Monday, March 9, 2009


As far as I know we were not even in a tornado warning area but when the storm hit this afternoon, you could just about feel it in the air. The thunder and lightening, the hard rain followed by dime sized hail, then very strong wind gusts.

When is started to calm down I called the neighbors to check on them and even though they only live a little ways up the road they didn't get the hail. They were not even aware that they had been in any danger at all. They hadn't heard the severe thunderstorm warning.

The small town on the other side of us didn't fair as well. Several homes were destroyed, several injuries but nothing life threatening. We had to drive through the area for an appointment in town. We were nearly late because of the amount of sightseeing traffic. We passed car after car full of people just driving out to see the damage.

The Police closed the roads that were hardest hit, so other than one barn with it's roof peeled back, there wasn't much to see. When we came back through the area tonight after dark, we could see a large area with flood lights and you could still see the flashing lights on the police cars.

The people who decide whether it was a real tornado or not will be here tomorrow but since someone actually got a picture of it, I would say it was.

This is only the second time that we have had one come close to us since we have lived here but I was raised in an area that had them pass through on a regular basis, so I won't let two scare me too bad. Just another sign of Spring in Indiana.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Foaling Anxiety

I am going to try to answer your questions here, Rae. I don't know what is up with all of the problems trying to leave comments, but I wish they would try to get it fixed.

One thing that you said in your comment was: "So who knows???" and that is a great summery. We have been foaling mares for many, many years and I still get nervous and anxious with each one. I lose many hours of sleep and when I do sleep it is so light that the lest noise startles me. Our foaling stall is right outside our living room door, so that makes it very convenient.

My DH just goes to bed and says, "Wake me up when you see feet." He figures I worry enough for both of us. But if he doesn't have to work the next day he does occasionally set his alarm and checks the mare throughout the night to let me get some rest.

We have had mares foal at all hours, day and night. All mares are totally different but I do take notes on each mare and they usually follow the same pattern year after year. We have one mare who stands and eats hay, stops, yawns, then yawns again, then lies down and pops the baby out. She shows no signs of foaling other than yawning.

We have had mares who just turn and look at their bellies on one side, then turn and look at their bellies on the other side, then lay down and foal. We had one mare who would try to destroy the stall. One of our mares was an embryo transplant mare for many years for a popular show stallion and she thinks that it takes a whole crew of people for her to foal. She will definitely let you know when her time has come, she wants you to hold her hoof and tell her to breathe.

People do not understand why we watch our horses so closely and won't leave home if we have one close to foaling but we have had so many times that if we hadn't been there we would have lost both the mare and the foal, we take it seriously because they are our responsibility.

Another sign that you can look for but probably not with Georgia is by opening the vulva. Mares will normally be pink inside but will become very red during or right before labor. Their udder can look tight without being tight also, the only way that you can tell that the udder is strutted to the max is by touching it, again this is probably not possible with your mare.

I would just about bet you that your mare has the same bloodlines as mine. Our mare is a registered TW and she is beautiful but totally nuts, we took her in on trade from someone who rescued her, they thought that she had been mistreated and would come around but she never did and she ended up kicking the lady. From what I have been told about the bloodline they are the smoothest of the smooth but are crazy and very high strung. The good news is that we have had two foals by her and she has not passed this trait down to her foals when bred to a level headed stallion.

We have thirty something horses at the moment and we have had tons of abscesses, we have even had two get abscesses in two feet at once. They are very painful and disturbing to see but they eventually blow out the top of the hoof and all the pain is relieved. You can have a Vet or Farrier open them up but we only did that once because it really didn't help that much.

As for the bute, we don't use it. We do use banamine and it has it's problems too. I have even been told by a Vet that she doesn't recommend the injectable because it can cause a rotting hole at the injection site. We have given a lot of shots and have never had a problem with it but I guess the paste is safer.

Mare Waxing

This is for Kyfarmlife. I tried to leave you a comment, Rae, but I couldn't again, it may be a Firefox thing. But anyway, Georgia's udder doesn't look quite ready to me, in the picture that you posted. Mares are not as predictable as other animals. Before last year we were foaling out about 10 mares each spring. This year we only have two and then another in the fall. With the price of horses being what they are and the price of feed being what it is, we only bred two old mares that we would like to keep the bloodlines on.

We very rarely miss a foaling but we taste the milk, it goes from salty, to oily to sweet. When it turns sweet they will foal within 12 hours. I don't think that your mare will let you milk her, she sounds and looks like my TW mare. Is your mare gaited?

Here is a not-so-good picture of a waxed teat. The waxing will build up and get quite long but then fall off. Some mares never wax at all and one of our mares waxes for a full seven days before she foals.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


My flu symptoms have past but now I am totally down in my back from laying in bed all day yesterday. I did manage to hobble outside this evening with a cane to look at Calico. She wasn't milked all day yesterday or today. She isn't at all strutted so I guess that she is drying up on her own. She is looking very pregnant or very fat.

For those who do not have goats or are thinking about getting goats. They can drive you absolutely mad. They do not care about your plans, they just do whatever feels right to them. They can be sweet and affectionate one minute and devious and hateful the next. Bucks are more predictable than does, at least my Buck is, he is just obnoxious all of the time.

So, at this point I am looking at kidding in 5 to 37 days for Calico. Paris was bred on January 1st. We also have two mares due to foal this spring.

That is all for now because I am still using this stupid laptop that cannot think as fast as I can type. I have a whole paragraph done before it shows the first word, which is just annoying.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not Again...

Just when I thought I was getting myself back together, could catch up on all of the work that has piled up, I get sick. I woke up at 3:30 this morning throwing up, aching all over. Chilling one minute and too hot the next. My back is killing me as well as every other part of my body. I don't have time for this.

My DH did set me up with my laptop in bed but I really don't feel like doing anything online. My fingers even hurt and feel heavy. I hope this passes quickly.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Drying Calico

I have not quit blogging, I have just pushed it back a little ways in my list of priorities. It seems life is getting a little bit more involved with the prospect of Spring. I have had to organize my thoughts and figure out just when these two does are due. I have been struggling with a very sore shoulder and arm plus I had to spend two weeks at the neighbor's house taking care of their animals and wood stove.

My shoulder is improving and I hope that I can get all of my goat and horse rope halter orders completed and shipped out this week. The reason that I had to stop everything and look at my calendar was because Calico's milk production has cut itself in half. It happened overnight, she has just decided to quit producing. She is not even wanting to jump up on the milk stand. She is healthy and doesn't have any problems with her utter.

I looked at the calendar where I write down everything and found that Cooter had gotten loose and with the girls on October 10th. So, that would make her due on March 9th. I don't really think that she could be due that early by the looks of her but if she is carrying a single it could be possible. She got loose on November 11th, which would make her due on April 10th, I think that this is more of a possibility.

Paris and Calico both look bred and neither has come in heat this year, so I guess I will just have to wait and see. If I dry Calico off right now and she isn't pregnant, she is in big trouble. To dry her off I am not milking her completely out and am only milking her when she looks very strutted.

We will desperately miss the milk, I don't think that I can drink store bought milk anymore. The best case scenario would be for her to kid soon with only a single.