Missing in Action

Oh the last few days have been hectic. As much as I try to post daily, I’ve come to the conclusion that some days when things go all wrong, It’s just not going to happen. I wish I had the man power to post daily or multiple times a day like some of the big bloggers do, but with just me, a 2 month old, a farm full of animals & a husband that doesn’t get home from work until dark, I just don’t. This weekend has been incredibly long.

On thursday afternoon, right about the time Ryan was supposed to be getting home I looked out my kitchen window while doing dishes and saw all the horses walking up the fence from the far back corner of the pasture. The back part of the pasture is down a hill & hidden by trees, so during the day I often don’t see the horses until they come back up to the house to eat. My baby, Yankee, was walking very slowly behind everyone else. When he stopped to sniff the ground and dropped down to roll in the snow, I had a gut feeling that something was very wrong. I kept trying to tell myself that he was just enjoying the new snow we had gotten the night before(the first all winter). When Ryan got home a few minutes later I handed off the baby and grabbed a lead rope & halter to go catch him. When I walked up to him he had just tried to get up from a roll but didn’t even have the strength for that. He was sitting on his butt like a dog does and just shaking. Once I finally got him up he just stood there shaking & trying to sniff, bite & kick at his stomach. For those of you who aren’t horse people, these are all signs of Colic.

Wikipedia defines colic as follows:

Colic in horses is defined as abdominal pain, but it is a clinical sign rather than a diagnosis. The term colic can encompass all forms of gastrointestinal conditions which cause pain as well as other causes of abdominal pain not involving the gastrointestinal tract. The most common forms of colic are gastrointestinal in nature and are most often related to colonic disturbance. There are a variety of different causes of colic, some of which can prove fatal without surgical intervention. Colic surgery is usually an expensive procedure as it is major abdominal surgery, often with intensive aftercare. Among domesticated horses, colic is the leading cause of premature death. The incidence of colic in the general horse population has been estimated between 10 and 11 percent on an annual basis. It is important that any person who owns or works with horses be able to recognize the signs of colic and determine whether or not a veterinarian should be called.

In other words, colic is a stomach ache for the horse. If it gets bad enough, the horses intestines can twist causing a blockage that cannot be fixed without surgery. Colic is a very very serious & often expensive problem. It is also far to often fatal. We had been lucky enough to not have any horses colic on us but our luck ran out on thursday.

Once I got Yankee up & out of the pasture, we just started walking around in circles while Ryan called the vet. Walking helps prevent the horse from rolling which can cause the intestines to twist. The vet told us to go ahead and give a dose of banamine which is a pain reliever for livestock. It can give relief from the colic and sometimes even stop it completely. Within 30 minutes, Yankee was back from being totally zoned out & in huge amounts of pain to being his goofy, trying to eat your sweatshirt self. After calling the vet back we were told to not feed him that night and to give him a small amount of feed in the morning.

Friday morning rolls around and Yankee got a very small amount of hay that he seemed to do alright with. I went ahead and gave him a little more about 1pm. Shortly after, when I checked on him I was dismayed to find him colicing. Again. Another call to the vet, another shot of banamine. Again about half an hour later he’s back to his old self. He wasn’t in any pain at that point so the vet decided to wait until saturday morning to examine him.

Saturday morning, Ryan hauled Yankee to town to go see the vet. He did not see our regular vet, but rather one of the vets Ryan had been working with at work. Mostly because we still aren’t sure our regular vet would even drive out as far as our farm. We live 45 minutes away from the clinic. This other vet is only about 25 minutes away. The problem out here is that while the vets treat everything(our regular vets treat birds to cattle), they don’t really specialize in anything other than cattle. In order to find an “equine vet”, we would have to haul to a clinic in Wichita which is more than an hour & a half away.

The vet examined him & did a fecal exam. Yankee had plenty of gut sounds which is a great thing. In a horse, a silent gut = very bad. His fecal exam showed that he had a bunch of sand in his system which could have caused him to colic. The vet also thought it might be from his diet but couldn’t be sure. Ryan came home with a bunch of questions but not a whole lot of answer or direction.

The problem with Yankee is he is thin, he is always thin. He does much better during the summer but not nearly as well as some horses do. We have tried every different feed, supplement, medication, dewormers, etc. Everything we could think of for the last 3 years. We still don’t have any answers to why he is the way he is. It is very discouraging to not want to take your horse anywhere because people think you are starving your horse when he eats more than 3 other horses combined!

After this weekend we have some new direction with things to try. We will not give up until we find what works. Yankee is my big 1100lb baby. He’s a pain in the butt to ride but he is an incredibly honest horse. He is a great trail horse and will go over, under, through ANYTHING. He has never refused to do something I asked him to do on trail. I will not quit on my boy!

SO this whole fiasco is why I didn’t get any posts up on Friday or Saturday. I have this whole week all planned out & it should be good so I hope you check back daily! Thanks guys!

Yankee back when he was still racing on the track.

My favorite view...

Yankee's favorite gait. If he's not loping, he's not happy.

Quiet moments...

Our last show together before Maverick was born

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Make your own (very cute) sugar cubes!

After visiting my therapists yesterday(my horses), I figured I should probably make something special for them. I had found awhile ago basic instructions here on how to make your own sugar cubes. For those of you who don’t have horses, don’t fret! These are great to make for tea or coffee too! These look super cute in small heart shapes. Unfortunately, I don’t have a heart shaped chocolate mold…I have ones in the shape of cows, roosters & pigs. Oh well, the horses won’t care!

Homemade Sugar Cubes

  • Granulated Sugar(white or brown)
  • Water
  • Chocolate molds

To start with put however much sugar you would like to use in a bowl. Slowly add COLD water 1 tsp at a time until the sugar forms a paste. You do not want it runny or else it will be hard to work with and take forever to dry.

Once you have your paste to the desired consistency, place small amounts into the molds. You want to make sure the sugar is packed firmly.

Allow to fully dry & then carefully remove from the molds. Mine took about a week to dry.

Store in a ziplock bag & use as treats for your horses or in your coffee & tea.

My big furry stress relievers…

Have you ever had those days when everything just goes wrong? Yeah, today has been one of those days. I attempted to go grocery shopping alone with Maverick for the first time since he was born. I’m not sure what his problem was, but he cried the entire time. I’m not even quite sure what I even bought because I was in such a hurry to get out of there. People were staring at me like I was the worst mother in the world. By the time all the groceries were in the car, Maverick was sitting in the backseat in his car seat crying & I was sitting in the drivers seat crying.

Once I got home and everything was starting to get better again, I got a call from my doctor with the results of the sonogram I had done on Friday. They want me to go in as soon as I can to have my gallbladder removed. While I know this is not a major surgery, I’ve never had any surgery before and am very concerned. It’s just been an overwhelming day.

I am so thankful though for my horses. More than anything else, they are my biggest stress relievers(don’t tell my chiropractor though!) After I got off the phone with the doctors, thankfully Maverick was asleep so I was able to go outside and say hi to my ponies. Just going out to see them and being able to bury my face in their mane and cry without being judged is worth all the time & energy they consume.

Yankee, my dear Yankee is always so sweet to me. I started crying as soon as I put my arms around his neck and he wrapped his head around to give me a hug. It was a trick I taught him to do when I first got him and for him to do it without being asked or given any cues just made my day.

Rusty was so clingy it was boarder line annoying. I am still sitting on the fence about keeping him but if he keeps being so loveable he might just squeeze his way into staying as my permenant western horse. He didn’t want to let anyone else near me and just wanted to rest his head on my shoulder. He also thought the camera strap was the coolest new toy as he tried to rip my camera out of my hands by biting it and pulling. He’s one of those horses that could be easily taught to fetch.

I took a couple pictures because I haven’t gotten around to taking any recently. I’m sorry today’s post is a little boring, but sometimes for my own sanity I need a place to write things down. Thank you guys for reading so often. It means a lot to me that I have those of you who think what I have to say is actually worth reading!

Pictures from today:

My baby <3

Blu(She is for sale if anyone is interested)

Tequila(also for sale)

Do they look like sisters? They sure act like it!

This is a video of Yankee giving hug right after he learned to do it two years ago…

A little bit of summer…

Today has been a long cold day. I had the sonogram this morning and I have to wait until next week to find out the results. Maverick & I didn’t get home from town until almost 1 and since then it has gotten incredibly windy & cold. Ryan was supposed to be grilling steaks for dinner tonight but I think it’s going to be to windy. This breaks my heart because we just got our beef back from the processor!

I figured with all the gloomy weather, everyone could use a little bit of summer in their day! I went through and choose a few pictures that made me smile and made me NOT feel like its blowing 40mph and freezing! Enjoy my little bit of shared summer!

What are you doing to get through the winter?

For the birds…literally!

In my opinion, watching birds at a bird feeder is probably one of the most relaxing things you can do. Growing up there was a place just outside town called 5 Rivers Environmental Center. Inside their building they had a wall that was half glass & outside of that they had multiple bird feeders, corn cob holders, bird baths, etc. You could go(and I often did) just spend hours sitting inside watching the birds. I always took photos when I went too but I can’t find any good ones now, go figure. These two were from back when I was in high school.

Blue Jays

Squirrels

I found a recipe(here) not to long ago on how to make your own bird seed ornaments. I thought it was a great idea and couldn’t wait to try it out! I apologize for the lack of step by step photos, I started this project while Maverick was napping and of course as soon as I got started he woke up and started fussing so I had to rush through trying to get everything done.

Bird Seed Ornaments

  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tbs corn syrup
  • 4 cups birdseed

Other supplies needed:

  • cookie cutters
  • non-stick cooking spray(Pam)
  • wax paper
  • straws
  • ribbon, twine or wire

To start off, mix the flour, water & gelatin together in a large bowl until well combined. Add the birdseed and stir until well coated.

Spray your cookie cutters with the non-stick cooking spray & set on the wax paper. Drop the birdseed mixture into the cookie cutters by the spoonful & push down flat.

Once you have all your cookie cutters filled, use the straws to poke holes in each ornament for the ribbon or twine to go through.

Allow to sit for two or three hours. Gently remove the ornaments from the cookie cutters & pull the straws out. Let these sit over night. Once dry, carefully string the twine or ribbon through the holes & tie a knot.

Hang outside & watch the feathered friends enjoy their treats!

For all you dog people

I forgot to mention on Saturday that I will not be writing a post on Sundays. Sundays are my day for family time with Ryan & Maverick and I have made a goal to try and stay away from my computer as much as possible so that they have my undivided attention.

And now for something completely different…

I wanted to do a post on something other than food related but couldn’t come up with anything. While watching Creek outside playing with a stick this morning, I thought of showing everyone how to make super easy & cheap dog toys. The nice thing about these ones are so simple to make & take about 10 minutes from start to finish. I hope your dogs enjoy these as much as mine do!

Stretchy Rope Dog Toys

Supplies Needed:

  • An old t-shirt(several if you want multicolored toys)
  • Scissors

To start off with, choose a t-shirt that you probably have sitting in your closet that you never wear. I found mine in a box in the back of the closet. I have no idea how I ended up with a 3xl shirt when I only wear a size large, so this was the perfect excuse to get it out of my closet.

Cut the t-shirt into twenty 1″ wide strips. I made mine as long as I could with the fabric I had due to the fact that there is often three dogs hanging off the same toy. Don’t worry about cutting nice neat lines, the dogs won’t care!

Next line up all the ends so they are the same length and tie a knot in one end. Make sure you pull the knot tight.

Divide the long pieces into two strands and twist around. Tie a second knot at the other end & trim the tail pieces if they are to long.

And you are done! Pretty easy huh? If you have a small breed dog, you can just shrink the whole project and only cut ten 1/2″ strips.

My dogs love these and they are a whole lot cheaper than store bought toys. And of course what good would instructions be without seeing the final product in action? For those of you who aren’t familiar with my dogs, the Australian Shepard is Gryphon, the Corgi is Rufas, & the German Shorthair Pointer is Creek.

The first one!

Today has been another exciting day for us! Ryan called today to let me know that one of our heifers had calved. Of course as soon as I heard the good news I began bombarding him with questions – Heifer or bull? What color? Is it up & nursing yet? What number did it come from?

I was disappointed to find out that he hadn’t actually seen it yet, he had just been told by the other ranch hand who feeds the cattle that he had seen one of our heifers with a calf up & nursing.

Ryan had to run down to town to get a tire fixed on the pickup after work so he stopped at the house to switch vehicles & grabbed my camera so he could stop by the ranch on the way home and get a couple of pictures. I actually forced myself to clean & make another batch of applesauce so I could distract myself from watching the clock while waiting for him to get back. All I wanted to do was see the pictures!

He finally got home about 10 minutes ago and I have already flipped through the pictures about 100 times already. I can’t believe we finally have a calf! It is a heifer, which thrills me but Ryan was hoping for all bull calves this year so when we sell them in the fall we could make a little more(hopefully). We aren’t in a position yet to begin retaining heifers to build our herd and steers tend to sell better at the sale barn. She is TINY! We bred for a low birth weight and she certainly is low weight, the bull did exactly what they said he would do!

And now, what everyone really wants to see…pictures! Who can resist the cuteness of a newborn calf!?

Ain't she cute!!!

I've already been told I can't name her :-(

She's TINY!

Momma #103(aka Dakota) She's the white one. The black ones belong to the ranch.

 

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