Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Poultice + Fainting Goat = Mess

I learned today what happens when a fainting goat gets into the poultice. You probably don't need me to tell you that it makes a big mess. Poultice makes a big mess anyway without a goat (fainting or otherwise) in the mix!

Faune came in this morning with a fat left hind leg. He had a small cut about an inch above the coronet that we think is the cause. Usually about once a year or so this will happen where a horse gets a cut or a scrape and for some reason it makes the leg huge. 99.9% of the time a horse gets a cut nothing comes of it but occasionally you get this. Oddly enough another horse did the same thing a few days ago. My relationship with my vet (I guess I should say vets plural since we have two main vets from the same clinic that we work with) is very hot and cold. Mostly it is cold and I go for very long stretches without speaking with my vet(s) outside of the occasional question or exchange of text messages. Every now and then our relationship heats up and we see a lot of each other for a little while. I love my vets but I really do prefer it when we are in a cold phase of our relationship . . .

Anyway, we're doing the usual bute, cold hose, SMZ's protocol, and the vet also wanted the leg poulticed and wrapped at night. And of course as much turnout as possible as movement is a good thing. This evening I had all of my poultice materials spread around in the aisle of the barn and was slathering away getting the entire leg covered in poultice.

I heard the sounds of tiny little hooves on the concrete aisle but I was pretty absorbed in what I was doing so I didn't pay much attention. Then I heard the sound of a plastic bucket being dumped over. I turn around to look and Jo the fainting goat had found the poultice. And I do mean she found the poultice. It was all over her face and one leg was coated in it. I can only assume that she stuck both her face and her leg in the poultice bucket.

She then proceeded to smear poultice everyfreakingwhere. She would turn her head around to scratch and get it on her sides. She would walk down the aisle and get it all over the aisle. She scratched on one of the stall doors and left some poultice behind there. I had to stop this or the entire barn and its contents, and Jo herself, were going to be covered in poultice.

I needed to get the poultice off of Jo. If you've worked with poultice you know it doesn't really come off all that easily. If you have goats you know that they hate water. What a lovely combination of factors! Jo and I proceeded to have a rodeo in the wash rack and I attempted to remove the poultice from her. Somehow I got most of it off of Jo and on me. She still has a small smear of poultice on her head but I felt I had done the best I could. Then I attempted to clean up all of her poultice spots throughout the barn. Now that I've removed the poultice from the goat and the barn I am very ready to get it off of me as well!

Faune's leg poulticed from top to bottom

Jason repairing a flat tire on the Kubota; he doesn't look very happy here

Jason doing more fun stuff, cleaning up a downed tree limb (one of his least favorite activities is dealing with fallen trees and limbs)

Slinky, Teddy, Lucky and O'Reilly (Baby behind the fence)

Sebastian having his feet trimmed

Trigger playing with Gwen's ponytail while having his feet trimmed
MyLight having a bath

Cuff Links and Missy

Ogie and Winston

Faune, Asterik and B-Rad


Sunday, June 27, 2010

One of Those Mornings

Saturday morning was one of those mornings. Not one of those ideal mornings where it feels like the universe is in perfect harmony, but more where it feels like you just want a do-over. I'm feeding one of the first groups of horses and three of the horses are not at the gate waiting. I don't think much of it and assume they are probably on their way or just out of sight.

I call for them as I get feedbags on the others but I don't see them and no one is coming. I walk around some looking and see two of my missing horses, B-Rad and Ogie, standing in the shade under some trees. Usually once I'm spotted with feedbags every horse on the farm will come on the run. They just stand there looking at me. I keep calling their names louder and louder. They just keep looking at me. I'm screaming at the top of my lungs as they just stand there and stare at me. If someone had been watching me I'm sure they would have wondered what was up with the crazy screaming person. Finally they decide the fun has worn off in making the food lady stand there screaming and they come for breakfast.

Two horses down and one still MIA. Where is Alex? Instead of hiking around I decide to make a tour around the pasture in the Kubota utility vehicle. I take an early morning drive in the Kubota and don't find Alex. Now I'm getting really worried. I am envisioning all kinds of terrible things, you know how it goes. I make another lap of the pasture and I'm still not seeing Alex. Then I detect some movement in a grove of trees. Alex was camouflaged in there and it was only the swishing of his tail that made me notice him. I shoo him out of the trees and assess that he is perfectly fine except for the fact that he is 3-legged lame. He is doing the classic abscess walk. I am sure I was not his favorite person as I made him walk through the pasture and too the barn.

I set Alex up with his breakfast and his foot in a soaking boot in the barn and leave him munching and soaking while I go feed another group. All were present and accounted for thank goodness and ate contentedly. Next up were the mares and ponies. I notice I am short a horse again, Missy isn't with the others waiting at the gate. I get everyone started eating and start hiking through yet another pasture. Thankfully I found Missy very quickly, she was asleep in the run-in shed. Whew, at least that problem was easily solved.

On to the next group of horses. I bet you don't even need me to tell you that yet again there is one horse missing and not waiting at the gate with the others. I don't see Chili anywhere. I get the others started eating and proceed on to another hike through a pasture. I find Chili in one of the favorite hangouts in the woods. He looks perfectly fine but he isn't moving. I get closer and realize he has managed to get one of his front legs through a vine and he can't get it out.

I try lifting his leg to free it but can't get it high enough to get it out. It looked like he had walked around the tree a couple of times and tightened the vine and gotten it higher up his leg. The vine is too thick for me to break it, I can't lift his leg high enough to get it out so I start shooing him in the opposite direction to get him to walk the other way and loosen the vine. Chili goes along with this plan and obligingly walks a couple of circles around the tree. This does the trick and I am able to lift his leg up enough and Chili is free. The rest of breakfast feeding was blessedly routine and uneventful.


Levendi and Leo

Dustin, Trigger, Baby and Chance

Ivan and Homer walking through the pasture (Levendi and Leo in the background)

a typical scene

Ogie, Winston, Faune, Asterik and B-Rad

O'Reilly, Teddy, Snappy, Lucky (Silky behind them) and Clay

Lightening and Teddy

MyLight, Harmony and Missy

Lily and Missy

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Good Enough

As anyone who works for themselves (and particularly anyone who works for themselves from home) knows, it is often very difficult to differentiate between working and relaxing and knowing when "good enough" will do. We see our work (and a plethora of uncompleted and necessary tasks) every single time we look out the window or open the front door. It is VERY easy for Type A personalities to fall into the trap of working all the time, from first morning light until one minute before bed. I know personally that this entire scenario can quickly become overwhelming for those with perfectionist tendencies (this includes BOTH of us, although thankfully not on the same topics !!). Over time and with much (!) practice, we have devised some coping mechanisms and strategies that work reasonably well for us in differentiating our business from our personal lives and in keeping both running *relatively* smoothly most of the time !

1. The horses' needs ALWAYS come first. It doesn’t matter who is visiting, what the weather is doing, what is planned, or what time it may be, caring for the horses always comes first. This very much includes such items as keeping the fences, buildings and equipment in good repair and keeping the pastures mowed in addition to feeding, emergency care, farrier work and grooming . Regular communication with our clients is very important too, but even this takes second place to caring for the horses.

2. Caring for us comes next. Obviously this doesn’t involve month long vacations in Tahiti twice a year, but we believe it is absolutely critical to take or make adequate time for us, both individually and as a couple. Individually, this includes Melissa taking lessons and riding her horses several times a week while I enjoy some uninterrupted quiet time to enjoy a good book or surf the net. Jointly, this means ensuring that we create enough time on a regular basis to ensure that we can tackle little problems before they become big problems AND ensuring that we have enough time to have some non-work related fun together ! For us this means creating two or more evenings a week when we are focused on each other or on something that both of us want to do/see/watch.

3. Caring for everything (and everyone) else comes next. After tending after the first two, sometimes there isn’t much left in the tank to deal with anybody else. Learning that this is okay was a long hard lesson of a thing to learn for both of us.

I’m very curious to know what similar issues you face in your world. How do you cope with them successfully ? When is “good enough”, good enough and when does it require considerably more effort to be acceptable ? For those with spouses, what are your challenges ?

I think learning to say “good enough” in all it’s ways has probably been one of the biggest marital and business challenges that Melissa and I have ever faced.

(post written by Jason)

I saw these sitting on the fence one afternoon. I don't know if they are hawks, vultures, buzzards or what. I do know that they look like something I don't want to mess with, and I'm thinking their presence means something had a day that ended badly!

Ogie, Winston, Faune, Asterik and B-Rad

Teddy and O'Reilly


Elfin decided that chewing on the fly mask on the gate would be a nice way to pass some time

Hemi and Slinky playing over the fence. Hemi is 17.2 hands and Slinky is a large pony who very much has a macho man personality. Here he is coming down from the classic squeal, swish my tail and strike at the fence maneuver. I hoped to snap this picture sooner but both front feet are still off the ground. Hemi just found it entertaining to make Slinky go through the whole routing. He would basically keep putting quarters in so he could watch the whole routine again.


B-Rad and Alex

MyLight and Lily

Homer and Trigger

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hay Testing, Goat Proofing, Mowing . . .

We've been busy around the farm the past few days. We always like to purchase a year's supply of hay while the hay is actually being produced. I think one of the biggest mistakes a lot of boarding barns make is purchasing hay in small quantities, a load or two at the time. If hay supplies become scarce, or maybe the typical hay source(s) run out, or other things along these lines it can leave a barn in a bad position scrambling for hay at the last minute. Thus Jason and I like to line up our hay for the year during first and second cutting so we know we will have plenty of hay. This is hard on the checkbook to purchase a year's supply of hay all at once but it brings us a lot of peace of mind.

Jason went to visit with our hay supplier a few days ago. He took his core sampler with him and collected several hay samples that he sent off to a lab for analysis. Another advantage to this approach is we can get all of our needed hay testing done. Jason then uses this data to make sure we are on track with our feeding program. For anyone who is interested he sent our hay samples to Equi-Analytical Laboratories and he has the full spectrum wet chemistry analysis done on the samples.

Jason continued to be busy as he continues to try and keep up with all of the mowing. He just completed round two of bush hogging the pastures a couple of weeks ago. I had him busy over the weekend mowing some of the alleys between pastures, mowing around the feed shed, and mowing, mowing, mowing.

Jason heading to the back of the farm to mow complete with his thermos of ice water; when I look at this picture I wonder how long it would take him to mow just one of the pastures on the lawn mower. We will probably never know as I think the lawn mower would die before it finished the job.

Jason's other weekend project was goat proofing the flower beds. My dad had the beds replanted a few weeks ago. I mentioned in another post about going to dinner with him and driving down the driveway as we returned to the farm to see the goats helping themselves to the new landscaping. This did not please him and the goats were banished to their paddock. Usually we just leave their gate open and they can wander around and in the barn and barnyard area but their wandering privileges were removed after their feast on the new plantings. Jason put goat panels (yes, that is their official name, not just what we call them!) around the beds. The goats are back to wandering but they were not happy about that access to the flower beds had been cut off. I don't think they realize just how cushy their life is here!

Goat-proofed flower bed

Jo, one of the World's Cutest Fainting Goats, says "this is so NOT COOL, I'm cut off from the dessert table! Who did this??"

"There has to be a way through this. Maybe if I pull hard enough it will fall over."

Jason driving Trooper and Bush around; he is still taking them on their daily drive

Tony certainly looks happy and relaxed
Slinky grazing with Lucky behind him

Lucky and O'Reilly


Leo and Apollo sharing a drink

Winston, B-Rad, Alex and Asterik

Cuffie napping while MyLight grazes and Harmony hangs out

Levendi, Homer and Thomas
Sky, Traveller, Lexi and Norman
Cuff Links (Cuffie)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mom & Babies

You might recall a post from a couple of weeks ago where I mentioned my dad had been feeding a wild turkey and her flock of chicks. Apparently she was nesting in the woods by their house as my parents saw her with her brood several times. My dad had been putting out both feed and water for them. Like I said, I come from a long line of softies when it comes to animals.

My parents left the first of June and are away until almost the end of the month doing some globe trotting. I have been getting regular e-mails from my dad. They all read something along the lines of "We spent the last few days in blank (insert some foreign, exotic location here), it was great. How are blank (insert the names of all the cats, dogs, pet cows, goats, horses, The Don, etc. here)? Have you seen the turkey and her chicks? Are you feeding them?"

Unfortunately I kept having to say that I hadn't seen mommy turkey and her babies, and actually I had never seen them even before my parents left on their travels. We have been putting food out for them and something has been eating it. Then yesterday morning while Jason was enjoying his morning cup of coffee and I was checking my e-mail Jason starts gesturing out the window and saying "come look, come look!" It was mommy and babies wandering around the barn. I grabbed my camera and snuck outside in my pj's to take a few pictures of them.

Although I never managed to capture all of the chicks in one picture she has twelve total.

I can't really say that they're cute as far as baby animals go . . .

. . . but they are kind of cute in a "they're so ugly they're cute" kind of way


In other animal softie news the dogs have been really missing their daily rides in the Gator with my dad. Since our Kubota has a gate between the seat and the bed they can't jump on the seat and then jump into the back for rides. Bush had taken to sleeping in the Gator waiting for someone to come along and drive it. One afternoon I noticed Jason whizzing by in the Gator instead of our Kubota. He seemed to be pointlessly driving around, going all the way up and down our (very long) driveway, driving around the barn, around the pastures etc. When I saw him later I asked him why he was driving the Gator and if something was wrong. He said he had all the dogs in the Gator and was just driving them around for their mental health as they were all hanging around and in the Gator. He's been taking them for a daily ride pretty much every day since then.

Some of the big boys running around the pond. Baby, Trigger, Thomas, Homer, Ivan, Apollo, Levendi and Elfin. At the end Elfin and Leo have a play session.

Ivan looking at something on the other side of the pond; Apollo, Baby and Tony are in the background

Baby and Trigger

Sky enjoying a roll while Norman grazes nearby

Cinnamon grazing

Bush walking through one of the pastures

Harmony, Missy and MyLight

Lightening and Teddy; Lucky in the background (and O'Reilly's head on the left!)
Thomas, Apollo and Leo