How You Doin’?

Hey, how was your week?

Ours was…ah, it was a week.
Last Friday, Ms Cookie went off her feed.
Oh, she was still eating hay and drinking just fine, but she refused her beet pulp. That is so out of character for her.
There was no cinnamon, no bananas, no bread (these are all things she’s convinced will poison her) in her bucket. Just her normal soaked beet pulp and ground flax. Same thing she’s been eating for the past 2 1/2 years. Same thing she comes galloping in for…
Friday though, she refused it.
I wasn’t overly worried, because I had put a slice of banana in earlier in the week, and didn’t scrub her bucket afterwards…have I mentioned she likes her bucket spotless? Yeah, gotta scrub her bucket once a week, minimum.

Saturday though…

Came home from the stable to find her napping in the sunset.

<3

So, I went and snapped a few pictures. Then I rubbed her back and rump. She likes that. 😉
Meanwhile, The Kid had gotten the beet pulp ready and taken it out to hang up for them.
Cookie didn’t even bother getting up.

Okay, now I was beginning to worry.
Time to check pulse, temperature, gum colour…
Everything was normal.
*stumped*

Hubby brought hay to the feeders, and she got up and went to eat hay.
Ooookay…
Huh.
So, I went and got a handful of canning salt and offered it to her.
She licked a bit up off my hand, but for the most part, she wasn’t interested. But, was still eating her hay.
So, after making sure I could hear her tummy working, I left her to eat.

And that’s been my week.
Oh, toss in a nausea inducing migraine for me too.
Brought on by the stress of worrying about my big Dork, no doubt.

By Tuesday, she still hadn’t eaten more than a mouthful from her bucket, so I scrubbed it again, rinsed it with an apple cider vinegar/water solution (which I gave to the chickens 😉 ) and soaked a red solo cup of alfalfa cubes with a 1/2 cup beet pulp, and scaled her flax back to 1/2 cup.

That she ate about half of.
Still not normal, but definite improvement.
And that’s where we’re at, feed wise. More alfalfa cubes than beet pulp, flax at 1/2 cup, and she’s eating more and more of it.
Yesterday, she even picked a fight with Astrid…though, I tell ya, I think some of the problems this week have to do with Astrid throwing her weight around. Cookie is still second in the herd and Astrid doesn’t like it. So, when Cookie shows even the teeniest bit of weakness, Astrid is all over her.
Hubby’s theory is that during some asshat-ery, Cookie tweaked something, and was sore from it. Astrid jumped on it, pushing her around and jockeying for herd position. Cookie, not feeling 100% already, felt the stress of it, and went off her feed.

It does make some sense, since, as she’s eating more and more of her pail, she’s snapping at Astrid’s little pushiness movements.
Like, yesterday, she chased Astrid up the snow drift, biting her the whole way. And, when Astrid tried to come down to retaliate, Cookie bit her fetlock (that’s how tall the drift is!).

Either way, made me worry myself sick about it all.
Never a good time. 😦

Edited to add:
She hasn’t refused all food. She’s been eating her hay like normal, she’s been drinking just fine, and things are coming out the other end as they should be.
It’s her daily pail of beet pulp that she was refusing.
She hasn’t lost weight, and yes, she’s been seen by the vet. 🙂

Napping and ignoring The Kid. ;)

Napping and ignoring The Kid. 😉

"Ugh. Child woke me from my nap!" ~Cookie

“Ugh. Child woke me from my nap!”
~Cookie

Cookie and the Stick

Daphne has her stick.
Well, Daphne has many sticks, but this stick:

"I got my stick!!!"

“I got my stick!!!”

This stick is just right.
It’s long and fun to drag around, and sometimes, she can even hit people with it. Horses too…ask Cookie how she felt about getting that to the back of the front leg. You can just imagine…

The other day, during beet pulp feeding, Daphne decided to swing her stick around. I’m not sure what she was trying to do (I don’t think she knows either) but it ended up part way in the pasture, over Cookie’s bucket.
And so, Ms Cookie thought it was for her…

Grabbing the stick and playing tug of war with Daphne.

Grabbing the stick and playing tug of war with Daphne.

I was laughing so hard at the 2 of them, this was the best I could do for pictures. 😛
Clearly, Daphne won!

In other news…

Check this out!
I had an article published on homestead.org‘s website.
Go check it out, and if you’re on FB, don’t forget to click the “like” button. 🙂
And, feel free to explore too…some pretty interesting, and informational, articles published there.
But, here’s the link to mine:
Adapt, Overcome, Move On

Cookie Gets a New Crown

Once again, our dear sweet Cookie had to do hard things.
Gotta say…I ❤ Almost FarmGirl for that saying!
Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read this post of hers…

I can do hard things.

It’s become a bit of a mantra around here…especially when working with Cookie. Cookie can do hard things. Really, she can. She just needs to be reminded of it, and supported through it.
My special Girl. ❤

Onward…

Yesterday, I finally decided that our Ms Cookie needed a new crown on her breakaway halter…Her old one was looking decidedly ragged!

Old crown...ahh, the pink fish leather! Looked so dang good on her too!

Old crown…ahh, the pink fish leather! Looked so dang good on her too!

Yes, I kept it. It’s gross and smelly, saturated with her sweat, some blood (from sticking her fat head out the fence and cutting herself…idiot), mud and shit.
But it’s been a part of her for so long now, I can’t get rid of it.
My heart won’t let me.
I know it’s stupid, but whatever. It’s mine.

The process for changing to the new crown is normally easy.
Lead rope, undo one side, buckle the new crown on, go to the other side, do the same and done!
This time, I wanted her to try on a new halter I got from a friend…a very pretty pink camo one. 🙂
But, when I went to pull the breakaway off, she started to panic.
Poor Dork.
So, the camo one went overtop, and I pulled the breakaway out from underneath. That way, she still had the comforting feel of a halter, but I could fix up the breakaway.
And then, pictures! 🙂

"Uh, Mom?? This isn't right. Not my halter, not right."

“Uh, Mom?? This isn’t right. Not my halter, not right.”

It looks so good on her!
But, not being a breakaway, it’s only for working wear, not everyday wear.

"Kid?? Could ya tell Mom this ain't right?? I'm not okay here."

“Kid?? Could ya tell Mom this ain’t right?? I’m not okay here.”

After a few pictures, and I fixed up the breakaway, I got Hubby to hold the lead, gave Kid the camera, and set about to make things right in Cookie’s world.

My sweet mare...breakaway is back on, nose shoved into me for comfort.

My sweet mare…breakaway is back on, her nose shoved into me for comfort.

When she felt like she was okay again, I got Hubby to walk her out to the others and let her go…just so I could take a few more pictures of her.

This next one I love…

"Oh Cookie! You did so great! You're okay...I promise, you can do hard things!" ~Sable "I'm not okay." ~Cookie "You will be. I promise!" ~Sable

“Oh Cookie! You did so great! You’re okay…I promise, you can do hard things!” ~Sable
“I’m not okay.” ~Cookie
“You will be. I promise!” ~Sable

Aside from the fact that she’s The Kid’s Heart Horse, Sable is worth her weight in gold! She’s always right there to comfort Cookie.
Mama makes her do hard things?
Bella is there, offering her support, because *she* knows how easy peasy this stuff is for a horse to do.

Lo and behold, an hour later, look who was grazing happily, and okay with me taking more pictures of her:

Wearing her new crown...

Wearing her new crown…

Look at that.
My darling can do hard things.

Edited to Add:
Please don’t email me or comment lecturing on the dangers of a horse wearing a halter while turned out to pasture.
I know all about it. I’ve seen the pictures, heard the horror stories, and heard it all before.
However…
This horse, while it was more than challenging to get the halter on her in the first place, needs it to stay on.
This isn’t a case of human laziness, where she’s too hard to catch without a halter on.
This *is* a case of a horse who, without her halter, will run the fence line whinnying for hours. Yes, hours.
This is the case of a horse who will stop eating…yep, you read that right…she’s so busy running the fence she won’t eat.
Last time I took the breakaway off, I left her for a week, figuring she’d work it out in her own head and be fine.
Nope.
She visibly lost weight. Visibly.
I figure about 50 lbs, coulda been more, coulda been less…fact remains, it was obvious she had dropped weight and the only change was the halter was off.
So, I put it back on.
She’s been fine since.
So, please don’t lecture me. I know the risks, but, I also know my horse and what she needs.
Thank you.

6 Days…

When I realized it had been 6 days since my last post, I started singing “6 Days on the Road”…the Sawyer Brown version, just because it’s fun. 😉

Let me catch you up on what’s been going on around here…

Mostly it’s been yard work…still cutting and putting up small bales of hay. I’m getting a cute little pile in the garage. Like I’ve said before, it’s not much, but sometimes, all you need is a little bit of hay to keep an equine face busy while you work with them on other things…or you just need a little hay for them to pick at while the grass grows in spring. That’s what this is for.
It’s handy to have small amounts for those times.

This past weekend it was finally dry enough to get our septic system fully repaired. Thank goodness. That was a hefty, but extremely necessary, repair. And, this should last us many many years…especially since we have a fence around the end unit to protect it so that it can’t be hit with a tractor…which is what happened to the one we had fixed *before* we bought the place. The damage was long-standing and near the frost line, so, realistically, we’re lucky we got 2 1/2 years out of it before needing to have the repairs done.

I’ve been working on edit 3 photos sessions that I need to get done.
1. The demos we watched at Cloverdale Forge.
I’ve shared a few from the set, but I still have 20 or so more to finish up.
2. Jousting. From the same day, we went from the Forge over to the Medieval festival and I have 40 or so images from the jousting to finish.
3. A portrait session I did with a friend from the Stable…this one I want to get done so bad, because the images are **gorgeous** and I can’t wait for her to see them…I gave her this as a teaser shot, but really need to sit down and get the rest done…
KB1 bw wm
And then there are the pictures of the animals here!
For example, I have the following series…animals playing in water…

Daphne goes all in savage when playing in the hose!

Daphne goes all in savage when playing in the hose!

Did you know piggies like to play in the stream fro the hose?

Did you know piggies like to play in the stream from the hose?

Nigella has a drink from the hose.

Nigella has a drink from the hose.

Washing her face a bit.

Washing her face a bit.

Rinsing out her mouth...

Rinsing out her mouth…

Just enjoying the cold water on a hot day. :)

Just enjoying the cold water on a hot day. 🙂

And Ruby…

"The Hell, Dad!! Don't spray me!!"

“The Hell, Dad!! Don’t spray me!!”

Oh, I told y’all about piggies and bags?
Here’s Nigella having a munching good time:

"My bag."

“My bag.”

"Whut? Pigs like toys. This my toy."

“Whut? Pigs like toys. This my toy.”

I missed when the 3 of them each grabbed a piece and started shaking their heads side to side like dogs…oh, it was funny! lol

Another picture of Ruby. Just because she’s pretty. 🙂

Ruby Portrait
Finally, one of Sable and Ruby racing.

<3

Later this week, I’ll share some shots The Kid took of Astrid while I was scratching her back. Astrid really gets into the scratches and back rubs, let me tell you!
I’m also hoping to be able to share some Lawn Pony shots with y’all. When we take Cookie on another excursion into the yard, I’m going to get The Kid to photograph it..
Y’see, Ms Cookie had her very first experience coming out into the yard a couple weeks ago. It was really hard for her. Gates are terrifying, and she was sure she was going to have to go somewhere. She didn’t know where, but she was sure she was leaving. *sigh* Poor damaged horse. lol
When she finally got to go back into the pasture, she darn near lost her shit. Actually, she tried to run me over to get through the gate, which led to a lesson in manners and how to *politely* return to the pasture.
Finally, she figured it out, listen to Mama and you’ll get back there sooner. Act like an ass, and you’re stuck outside the pasture…where something might get her and eat her or take her away. 😉

When she finally did walk back in politely, she waited ’til the gate was closed, spun and went straight backwards until the end of the lead rope. There she half reared and honked like a goose.
I promptly died laughing at her.
She just thought I should know that yard was scary and she could have died. If I really cared about her I wouldn’t make her do that ever again, because “coulda died Mama, I could HAVE DIED!”

Recovering Lawn Pony, back in her pasture...AKA The Drama Queen.

Recovering Lawn Pony, back in her pasture…AKA The Drama Queen.

Double Double

I missed last week’s Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.
Since I have resolved to make a valiant effort to do the post every week, I feel I must do a double post this week…starting with last week’s prompts…Starts with D, Week’s Favorite, and Summer or Winter.

Starts with D

How about a dog named Daphne with a jolly ball? A very nearly destroyed jolly ball?

Daphne and the Jolly BallPuppy sure does love beating on that thing!

Week’s Favorite

Taken a week ago, but I didn’t get to editing it until this morning…

Hubby meeting a friend's Gotland pony, named Huck.

Hubby meeting a friend’s Gotland pony, named Huck.

It’s the first in a series of 6, where brave Sir Huck met Hubby, and tried to decide whether or not this new Human in his pasture was a threat or not…it took a bit, but Huck did decide it was alright for Hubby to be there…after all, his trusted Humans brought this new one to meet him, so he must be okay. 🙂

Summer or Winter

Ruby would like everyone to know, she has dropped her winter weight and is now in her fine, sleek summer body…which truth be told, isn’t that much slimmer than her winter one, but we cannot bruise her delicate equine ego, now can we? 😉

Ruby's Summer Weight 2016

“I’m not fat, it’s the angle Mom took my picture.” ~ Ruby

And now, this week’s prompts…
Starts with E, Week’s Favorite and Bounce.

Starts with E

E is for “Egads Woman!! What the hell did you do to your hand?!?”

I haz a boo-boo.

I haz a boo-boo.

I did that Wednesday afternoon…quite by accident!
I was honing the edge on the scythe, took my eyes off the blade for a millisecond, and sliced myself.
So, the math is this…Razor Sharp Steel + Inattention = OMG!!! Owwww!! (plus some other choice words, and a steady stream of blood) I bled on the deck, the scythe, the honing stone, all the way to the bathroom, and under cold water…
I took the above picture today. It looks much better.
I have been treating it just like I treat an injury on Sable…cold hosing and raw honey. 🙂
If it’s good enough for my Bella, it’s good enough for me.

Week’s Favorite

From last night, while we were BBQing…

Awww! They are the cutest kitties ever!

Awww! They are the cutest kitties ever!

Hot, tired, half sisters Xena and GreyCat having a snuggle. So adorable! ❤

Bounce

Okay, I don’t have bouncing animals, like our host 😉 so I really had to think about this one. lol
Finally, I settled on the bounce of the hammer off of red-hot steel.

Forge2 wmI’m still working on editing the forge images, but as I work on them, I’ll share more. I love the slag flying off the steel after the hit!

My Hubby so needs to get his forge built, so I can do night time shoots!

The Iron Paint Goes Down

Be forewarned…profanity ahead…don’t say I didn’t warn you, ‘kay?

I call my Girl many things…she’s Cookie, she’s a Miserable Cow, she’s my Dork, my sweet chicken livered Dolly, my Heart Horse…she’s also my Iron Paint. By that I mean, she has never been sick, hooves aside, she’s always healthy, and I can count the number of injuries (not bug related) I’ve had to treat on her on exactly 1 finger…
She is as low maintenance, health wise, that a horse can be.

Early yesterday morning I went out with the camera to take some shots of her lying (and rolling) in the grass. I get great shots in the morning light of the Girls, and figured this was another chance to showcase my Sweetie’s beauty.

Iron Paint1
Iron Paint2
Iron Paint3
Iron Paint4
Iron Paint5
Iron Paint6
The whole time I took these, I was sure I was photographing a happy (aside from bugs) horse. Turns out, I was wrong. Very wrong.

I had to go back up to the house to get Daphne out of the cats food, and went in to grab a coffee. When I looked out the front window, I saw not only was Cookie down again, in a different spot, but she was rolling again. Odd.
Out I went to check on her…and then, I saw the droopy donkey ears, the tense looking belly, the all-over sheen of sweat and oh my…the Elvis lip.
Shit…oh motherfucking shit.
My heart hit the ground, because I knew…I just fucking knew, what I was dealing with. And, it scared me to the ends of the Earth.
That one thing that new mothers and horse owners fear at all times…

Colic

Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck…

First stop, call the vet, because a. it’s Cookie, and um, I don’t know how to get her through and b. rolling. Oh, Goddess, rolling.
Rolling is bad.
Really, really, really bad.
It twists guts, which can lead to death.
Vet was busy, but would be on his way ASAP, and, in the meantime, I did what I do with Sable. I deal with this with Sable far more often than I like, but, at least I know what to do with her. So, transfer those skills to the Madam…

Lead rope on her was a bust…she turned into a psycho horse. Rearing, bucking, cantering around me in circles, trying to run over me…okay, lead rope off, because stressing her more wasn’t going to work. And down she goes…into her back I went, knee braced into her withers, talking the whole time…and I start the back rub that always helps Sable. At this point, I’m not hearing her guts working…this is so fucking bad…but I’m hoping it’s because my stethoscope is shit (note to self, spend the $$$ on a good stethoscope!), not because there really is no gut sounds…

When I say gut sounds, I mean, at any given time, you should be able to hear a horse’s digestive system working. Much like we have growly tummies when we’re hungry, that’s what a good working gut sounds like. It’s not because they’re hungry, it’s because their digestive system is working on the food they ate.

No sounds means things are not working…now, it could be a gas bubble holding things up. If that was the case, what I was doing could help stimulate things enough to shift it and move things along. Or, worse…so much fucking worse, it could be an impaction.
A blockage.
The thought scared me, because that’s a guaranteed vet visit and not a guaranteed recovery.

But I wasn’t going to dwell on that thought, because, like I kept telling her…she was going to be okay. Mama said so, and when Mama says you’re going to be okay, you’re just going to be okay. No choice.
We spent the next couple hours with her getting up, turning around, and laying back down…I rubbed her back (palms along her spine, my whole weight bearing down on her), and pushing the pressure point in her mouth. The pain was easing, I knew, because her nostrils weren’t flaring as bad, ears were not as droopy…but she was still hurting.
The vet made it out, she was still down, he listened to her stomach and found he could hear her gut working.
Thank Goddess!!!
Stupid shit stethoscope.
He gave her a shot of banamine, and with discussion and a stern admonition to call him ASAP if anything changed for the worse, he went onto his next call.

During the next couple hours, things were more of the same…she managed to get herself cast against a straw bale, where the Kid and I had to roll her by hand…oh, and stupid fucking idiot at one point lay too close to the white fence, rolled, and got a back leg caught in the fence. I thought she was going to break her leg…the last thing I ever want to have to do is shoot my horse because she broke her leg. Holy shit did I yell at her when she managed to untangle herself and get up. Stupid, stupid horse.
Thankfully, all she has is a scrape on her inner thigh from the fence. Idiot. She has no idea how lucky she is…

Finally, the Kid and I got her settled down over by the shelter. She layed down again, but without trying to roll. So, we let her. She was exhausted, and it wasn’t long before she was flat-out, asleep. In a moment of sheer stupidity (because I can’t get out of her way fast enough if she goes to roll or get up), I sat down next to her, and rubbed her ears. All I could think was “I know one day you’re going to break my heart. Today. Is. Not. That. Day.”
I laid on her side, listening, hoping I could hear those magical, beautiful sounds, and I swear, the first growly sounds I heard, I burst into tears…and then…the tail lifted and out came this teeny tiny tootling.
Oh. My. God(dess).
Nothing has ever smelled so horrible, and yet so wonderful!

By this time, Ruby and Astrid had gone past us, into the shelter. My Girl decided enough of this outside shit, she was getting up and going inside! She heaved herself up, and walked straight into that shelter, with a tail swish that just dared me to try to stop her. She pushed in between Ruby and Astrid and stood there…at one point she tried to go down, but Ruby bit her. There’s not enough room for her to lie down, with anyone else in there, and Ruby was not leaving. The message was clear…”Stand or get out!”

That’s when I looked at the Kid and said “I need a coffee…let’s go have coffee.”

From there we went to checks every half hour, updating everyone who needed it as we went. By 3ish, I was cautiously optimistic that she was through the worst of it. By the time Hubby got home after 5, she was out in the pasture with everyone else, nibbling and being herself…a tired, far more cranky version of herself, but herself.
And finally, the jackpot…that beautiful tail came up and out came the manure…
While I sat on the deck, with my coffee, covered in mud and shit and blood from slapping horseflies off her, thanking every single Deity I believe in for not taking her from me.

Such a beautiful picture...if I can ignore the fact that she's colicking.

Such a beautiful picture…if I can ignore the fact that she’s colicking.

Our Week So Far…

Well, so far, so good.
Weather has been lovely, pasture is drying up, piggies are growing steadily, and my Cookie and I have been doing our springtime refresher.

Y’see, this is our 3rd Spring together, and after those hard, cold winters, we tend to need to get reaquainted with one another. She needs to remember how walk on a lead line politely, how to stand when I ask her to, how to give me her feet, how to just enjoy being groomed.
I have to remember to let her figure things out in her own head, how to let her go at her own pace, stop trying to force her ahead in the “schedule”…in other words, I have to remember to be patient with her.
She’s a special Girl, who needs just a little extra special care.

This week has seen a couple fantastic sessions.
She’s doing very well.
She’s smart Girl, and once she gets what I’m asking, she’s willing.
She is, however, far too used to not being handled…remember, she came to me as a 9-year-old broodie with very little handling.
And a whole semi truck load of issues.
We’re still working through those. I think, some days, we’ll always be working through them.
But, the more time she spends here, the less time we have to spend on basics, and the farther along we get…so, this summer, I plan to push her right out of her comfort zone by putting the surcingle on her. That’ll come over The Kid’s summer holidays, just in case she loses her shit and tries to kill me. I want another person on the Farm to call 911. 😉

That’s later though…now, we’re just enjoying time together, while I remind her what I expect of her, manners wise. And, we’re going to continue gate work, coming into the yard, and going into Hubby’s workshop to stand.
Y’see, coming up this summer, she’s going to need to have her teeth done. As much as I’d like to take her to the vet to have it done, trailering her ain’t gonna happen this year…probably not next year. Hell, it may never happen.
So, the vet has to come here. She has to be comfortable in a place where the other 3 can’t be pushing up on her, or him, while she gets her teeth floated. And, she has to be comfortable in a place where she can be drugged up enough to have them done.
I have my work cut out for me.

"If I make like I'm thirsty, but play in the water instead, maybe she'll leave me alone, and I won't have to work."  ~Cookie

“If I make like I’m thirsty, but play in the water instead, maybe she’ll leave me alone, and I won’t have to work.”
~Cookie

Nah, that didn’t work. I give her a few minutes to play and goof off, then it’s time to work. Going back to that water pan every now and then is her reward…do well with what I’m asking, and I give you a play break. It’s works for her. 🙂

"You exhaust me, Woman." ~Cookie

“You exhaust me, Woman.”
~Cookie

Both Monday, and yesterday, this is what I was left with after we were done…a giant sleepy baby, relaxed and happy.
That’s exactly what I want. 🙂

And now…a piggie picture!

This is Anthony.
Anthony has put on 2 lbs since Sunday.
Anthony eats, sleeps, poops and sometimes plays…especially when I spray him with the hose.

"This trough makes a good pillow...plus, I can eat in my sleep."

“This trough makes a good pillow…plus, I can eat in my sleep.”

Happy piggies are tasty piggies. 🙂