Thursday, June 30, 2016

Clipping Again

As I was body clipping Cino a couple of days ago and mentally making a list of the horses I needed to clip, I had the thought, "didn't I just do this?" We body clipped 15 horses in April, all of them PPID/Cushing's horses. I clipped 11 horses and Kate clipped 4 horses. I also clipped Sparky the donkey a couple of weeks ago. 

I've now re-clipped two of the horses I clipped in April, Cino and Renatta, and  have a few more that need a 2nd round of clipping. It's possible that a couple of horses will need one more round with the clippers in late August, but it's too soon to make that prediction. With our collection of PPID horses we do tend to have all of the hair, as the saying goes. It is no wonder I have not one but two body clippers and an impressive collection of clipper blades. I'm glad the body clipping list is a lot shorter than it was in the spring. 


scrubbing the dirt off Cino is no small job

Cino had grown back plenty of hair

one side of Cino done

Renatta mid-bath

Renatta also had plenty of hair that needed to go

Renatta asking, "are we done yet?"

Cocomo and Lotus


Murphy, Happy and Lighty

Gus and Faune

Cinnamon and Traveller

Homer, Tony and Baby

Thomas, Hemi and Apollo

Convey and Cisco

Elfin and Trigger

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Jason and I have written about the weather off and on the last couple of months because it has been less than ideal. To date I believe we are about 12 inches/31 centimeters below normal rainfall for this year. The national weather service has placed the southern tier of counties in middle Tennessee, including ours, into the severe drought category. Northern Alabama is also "enjoying" the severe drought along with us. 

We are currently feeding what we thought was our winter hay supply right now. The horses aren't eating as much hay as they would during the non-growing season, but they're all eating hay. It is easy to get depressed when you think about the wasted thousands of dollars spent on fertilizer and weed control only to be feeding hay. However, dealing with the weather is part of farming so although we're depressed, we also know that this too shall pass. Maybe the saying "no pain, no gain" is also applicable. Farmers of all types are feeling the pain in our area. We have purchased as much first cut hay as we could find, and we're now on the hunt for good second cut hay to replenish the winter hay supply we are currently feeding. We are very grateful to have our recently built third hay barn. 

When we saw a high chance of a decent amount of rain in our Monday forecast we were skeptical. We've had a lot of rain chances that have brought us 0 drops of rain lately.  For a change this forecast was accurate, and on Monday we received slightly more than an inch of rain. It would be an understatement to say we were thrilled to watch it rain for a few hours. The rain isn't enough to suddenly make the grass look as it should, but it was enough to keep everything looking green, get a small amount of growth, and get rid of all the dust for a few days. 

The horses wallowed in their newly found muddy areas like they were pigs. They seem to have realized that these types of opportunities are limited at best this year, and they all rolled repeatedly.  The horses were definitely in "git-r-done" mode when it came to getting  filthy, and they appeared to be satisfied with their results. Here's to them having many more opportunities to coat themselves in mud.   


Gus and George - they are both supposed to be gray

Baner, Havana, Hesse and Remmy were feeling frisky after the rain

Baner, Remmy, Hesse, Havana, Duesy, Bruno and Merlin

Gibson and Gus

Cocomo and Asterik - also both gray


Merlin - he could almost pass for brown instead of gray in this picture

 Taco and Happy grooming

Norman and Timbit

Calimba and Maisie

Roho and River

Apollo and Hemi

Sparky, Sabrina and Griselle

Flyer and Gibson

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday Stills

Taco and Blu

A pre-breakfast scene; Cisco, Moe, Levendi and Trigger. Compost piles make the most comfortable beds in case you didn't already know.

a closer look at Moe and Levendi

Walden and Cino

Havana and Baner



Flyer and Donneur (Gibson hiding behind them)

Miel and Mick

Donovan and Roho

Charlotte, Norman, Calimba and MyLight

Dolly and Cuffie having a grooming session

mornings on the farm are always pretty

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Back Soon

Sorry we've missed a couple of posts. All is well and we'll be back soon.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Another Donkey (mis)Adventure

Last week brought us a new (mis)adventure with Sparky.  Sparky has been a member of our family for 21 years, ever since that fateful day when my father felt sorry for him and bought him at a gas station on his way to work one morning. We don't know exactly how old Sparky is, but it was estimated by our vet and our dentist that he was probably 12-15 years old when my dad purchased him, which would make him somewhere between 33 and 35 years old now. 

In some ways he has really started to show his age in the last couple of years.   His main issue is that he has pretty much completely stopped shedding out his winter coat. Donkeys shed their coats a lot later than horses, but last summer I basically yanked Sparky's winter coat out one hair at a time. I had been working on it again the last few weeks, but I was literally ripping the hair off of him a few hair at a time. Unsurprisingly, Sparky objected to this. We had discussed with our vets on more than one occasion that maybe we should try treating Sparky for Cushing's which he appears to clearly have. Due to the many intricacies of working with Sparky's personality, we have decided that attempting to get daily medication into him in any form is hopeless and will only make all of us miserable. 

However, we were still faced with the problem of Sparky's heavy winter coat. It was, understandably, making Sparky miserable. Sparky had ceased his daily sunbathing, I rarely saw him taking his customary 19 dust baths per day, I never saw him playing with Timbit anymore. Sparky had lost much of his Spark. 

As I was discussing all of this with Jason a couple of weeks ago, he made the mistake of saying, "if Sparky has lost that much enjoyment of life maybe we should euthanize him." Cue the instant waterworks from Melissa. Jason was immediately desperate enough to say just about anything to extract himself from the dilemma of the crying wife he had created, and he blurted out, "we should just body clip him." 

Jason instantly regretted those words, and I immediately latched onto them. We already had a vet appointment scheduled the next week, so I decided we would attempt to sedate Sparky and body clip him. Jason pointed out all of the reasons why this was an epicly bad idea. I didn't disagree with any of them, but doggedly insisted we would stick with Jason's body clipping plan. 

The big day arrived. Sparky only has two things in life that he doesn't do, injections and walking through doors. Our last epic adventure involving doors is of course not to be forgotten: Donkey (mis)Adventures Round 1 and Donkey (mis)Adventures the Title Round. As I led Sparky up to the barn he took in the scene which included my body clippers ready to go, the vet truck, and of course the vet.  Sparky immediately sensed needles coming his way and commenced immediately to dragging me around. 

As I skied behind him hopelessly trying to stop him, Jason took over. He was able to briefly stop Sparky. Then the vet approached and Sparky was dragging both of them around without even putting any effort into it. Finally Bryan stepped in to help as well, and 3 grown men were somewhat able to slow Sparky down enough to give him an initial injection of dormosedan. 

Sparky doesn't do injections; look at all of the hair

A half cc of dormosedan barely took the edge off of Sparky. We already knew Sparky did not sedate easily or well so this was no real surprise. Two more injections of dormosedan later he was finally zonked enough to commence clipping. As the vet said, any horse with that much dormosedan in them would hardly be able to stand, but that wasn't the case with Sparky. He was pretty cooperative about me clipping most of his body. I went as fast as I could with my only goal being to get the hair off, and zero attempt to avoid lines or to try and make the clip job pretty. His front legs were iffy but I got them done. Underneath his stomach was even more iffy but I got that done. His back legs I got some hair off, but most of it stayed. Sparky made it clear that he found the clippers on his back legs unacceptable. 45 minutes later and I had removed enough hair for three donkeys off of Sparky.

Sparky spent a few minutes sleeping off his dormosedan with an audience; Hesse, Remmy, Baner, Walden and Bruno

Remmy, Baner and Hesse

Bruno, Fabrizzio, and Remmy

Sparky slept off his sedation for another 10-ish minute with an audience of horses staring at him. Although he lives in the pasture directly across from them and normally doesn't garner a second look, apparently a sedated donkey is an entirely different story. It didn't take long until Sparky was acting as if he had never been sedated (a horse probably would have been sedated for another two hours from the massive dose of dormosedan Sparky had). 

a newly clipped Sparky immediately following one of his many daily dust baths; you can see some of his dust swirling around Sabrina and MyLight

Sparky with a lot less hair

his back legs look pretty bad; Sparky said "NO" emphatically to his back legs being clipped

his front legs look pretty good

Now that most of the hair is gone Sparky has a new lease on life. He's back to sunbathing each day, taking 19 dust baths per day, and playing with Timbit. Sparky always makes it very clear when he does and doesn't approve of things. When you've done something he doesn't approve of he avoids you and won't let you near him for awhile. When you've done something he does approve of he follows you around the pasture every time he sees you for a few days. Sparky followed me around the pasture for days, he definitely approved. 

As donkey (mis)Adventures go, this one turned out pretty well. 


MyLight and Calimba

Baby, Tony, Rip and  Homer

Elfin, Grand and Cisco

Ripley and River

Hemi and Thomas

Rocky and Toledo


Trigger and Convey

Hesse, Cino, Baner, Bruno and Remmy doing some sunrise grazing