Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Responibility & Compassion

It's been two and a half weeks since Aeolae was euthanized and I still miss her. It's not like I'm going to forget her but I mourn for the lost potential and the fact that she was a good horse. The only consolation is the fact that she was in pain that we couldn't do anything about and we had the responsibility to make sure she had a good life. We couldn't reasonably assure that would happen even with another family; in fact there was a decent chance that she would suffer worse in somebody else's hands. This raised the question of our responsibility to her and to ourselves. I am convinced after months of wrangling with the issues that we did the right thing and released her spirit to run and play without the pain of daily living.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A lot of work

I heard once in an interview done by Pat Parelli that many horse owners don't make it through the first five years of ownership. Those that do tend to be hooked in for the long haul. I'd like to be one of the latter but I can understand why people give up on them. They are an awful lot of work especially when one is getting set up. One of the things that I hope to get done, actually need to get done if I'm going to get real training done and the horses are going to quit being lawn ornaments, is to get a round pen built. That means at this point removing the tree stumps from the designated area since our 58 acres is mostly covered in trees, pounding in the poles and attaching the fencing - I'm thinking of using some orange snow fencing we have for that. I try not to think too much about it since it is aan awful amount of work on top of just taking care of the equines. I am gradually feeling better though and with the beautiful weather we've been having hopefully I'll be up to tackling the project. As it is I am resolved to assist more in the daily care of the horses after a winter of not feeling a good at all and conseqently cutting back on doing everything.

Monday, January 18, 2010

They Do Learn

I found a new way of feeding the horses their beet mash this weekend. They used to scare the living daylights out of me with the way they come at me with such enthusiasm when I'm coming out of the tack room into their shelter with the bowl of beets; they like to start eating from it even before I have put the bowl down. This is something that we definately need to work on with training but that's going to take a while. According to our friend and trainer clicker training should work well for this but I still don't wrap my head around how that works to keep a critter away from you.

The other day though they left their bowl in a very convenient spot for me to dish out their beets in the shelter where I could turn my back to them and they couldn't get at the beets although I had 2 horses very interested in what I was doing. A couple of slaps on the nose each with the spatula and they seem to have gotten the message to give me some space since the last couple of days they've minded their manners and given me the space I need when dishing out their beets.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Winter Is Here

There isn't much snow on the ground - yet. It was a winter wonderland out there today though . . . the roads were clear but all the trees and the grasses were frosted with a light covering of snow looking like a scene clipped from a Victorian Christmas card. the sound of sleigh bells from a nearby field would hardly have been out of place.

As beautiful as it was it did bring a note of sadness to the season. Unlike past days, the snow did not melt and served to provide proof that fall has finally fled the field surrendering it's place to winter. For several days now we have been graced with flurries that have added an urgency to getting the last of the apples in and making sure that those things that will be needed later in the season are gathered in the places they will be needed. Fortunately there are no heavy snows in the immediate forecast and it will be a while before any heavy shoveling will have to be done but once again we are reminded that we live in the north country with all of it's blessings and tribulations.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Grass Is Always Greener . . .

Thanksgiving we were woken up by a call from the sheriff's department saying that the horses were out and in our neighbor's yard. At first we couldn't figure how they got out although we did find that someone had turned off the electric fence. We have to wonder if it wasn't this same neighbor since he was demanding we turn it off since his grandson had gotten shocked a few weeks ago despite all the warning and no trespassing signs but that is merely speculation. At first the fence appeared to be intact and we wondered if someone had let the horses out but later I noticed that a tree had fallen on the fence in an area that wasn't easily visible - one of the problems with having their paddock in a wooded area. The tree had pulled 2 sections of the fencing apart so I had my first adventure repairing a fence which was very easy. I love electric rope fencing.

Aeolae and Sam were indeed munching on the neighbor's lawn but as far as I could tell didn't leave any deposits - good horses. The neighbor is a pain and I didn't want to have to interact with anything of his any more than absolutely necessary. Fortunately he didn't come out and we were able to lead the horses home. Literally, we called to them and they followed us home without halters or lead ropes until we came across the apples - then Sam had to stop for a snack and we weren't going to get him back in the paddock without persusion but he was pretty good about it. It was a real nice feeling that they would just follow us home after enjoying their brief escapade.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Daphne, beloved canine companion and lover of life, died last night. She was only 3 or so years old but we believe that she was a pure blood husky, a breed which is known to have multiple physical problems due to inbreeding. We knew that she probably would not be with us nearly as long as Bones, a husky/wolf dog we moved up here with was with us - he passed on several years ago at the ripe old age of 18 - but it is an awful shock to have her gone from our lives this soon. We figure that she suffered a stroke or heart attack in her sleep as she was in fine form when we all went to bed. When something like this happens you'd like to believe that there was something you could have done to prevent it and it keeps going around and around in your head whether you missed something; nothing ever came up on her annual visits to the vet and she's been acting like her usual exuberant, pesky, loveable self.

I have a weak place in my heart for huskies and malamutes and with this being an area where there is winter 6 months of the year they are quite popular around here. When we saw Daphne at the local animal shelter last summer (was it only last summer?!) in an outside pen we fell in love with her and were dismayed to find that she wasn't in the book of available adoptees; we had to wait until we saw a volunteer bringing her back from a walk to get the staff to understand which dog it was we wanted to take home. Come to find out she had been rather badly injured when she was brought in as a stray and the staff didn't think that they would be able to adopt her out since she had bitten a couple of people during her rehabilitation. We had to swear up and down that we understood this and took full responsibility. Of course we understood, she had been in pain, scared, isolated and with all the other barking dogs hadn't been able to get any real sleep - for pete's sake, in tose conditions I probably would have bitten somebody too.

Over the year or so that she was with us we got her over her toothyness (although she did love her knotted ropes) and although she was still high strung (another result of the inbreeding) she was mellowing out quite nicely. It's such a loss to have her gone from us now - especially when winter was her favorite season and I was looking forward to taking up skijoring with her this winter. We were just starting clicker training too which she loved; almost as much as I mourn for the loss of her company and the joy she found in and brought to life I mourn for the lost potential. All I can hope is that maybe there was some little angel recently arrived in heaven that Hashem felt needed a puppy dog.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cat #1 - Fisel

Along with the two horses, 13 chickens and dog, Daphne (see her blog here), we have 3.5 cats. How does one have half a cat you ask? By having one which shows up when it pleases to mooch a meal and help keep the rodents down and spends the rest of it's time at neighboring farms ostensibly doing the same thing. Last winter I think we were it's preferred hang out and it took up residence in the barn; whether it will grace us with it's presence this year is anyone's guess. The feline above is not that feline though.

This handsome fellow is Fisel, 15 years old, who is supposed to stay inside, a rule he would rather flaunt than obey. In fact, all of our permanent kitties are supposed to be inside but there is something about a forbidden area that makes it irresistable to cats. He was my companion throughout my time in law school who had very clear thoughts on when I had studied too much by coming to lay on my books and demand in his Siamese-ish voice that I pay attention to him. Being of a stately and persnickety nature, I think he was a sterotypical English butler in a former life - with all the aristocratic airs and ideas of propriety that implies.

Stay tuned for entries on the other 2 kitties, Calico Kitty aka Kali Ma, the kitten of the clan, and Purrim aka Purr-cat the jester and general pest of the house.