Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Archive for April 2017

Trepidation Visits

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We don’t really know. Evidence is still rather vague about eliminating either of the two prevailing possibilities about what is ailing Dezirea. We’ve now had three vet visits in two days, and this morning it seems as though the only progress we are seeing is that she isn’t getting dramatically worse.

Is it colic, or anaplasmosis?

There is a second pile of manure this morning, which is generally a good thing, except it doesn’t look normal enough to inspire full optimism. She could still have some obstruction deep within the long tract of her digestive system.

Cyndie spent extended time with Dezi yesterday and came away with a sense that our senior mare is at peace. I’m afraid that has only contributed to our trepidation about where this could be headed.

Meanwhile, the other horses are growing frustrated with the forced separation and lack of access to the lush grass growing everywhere around their confines. It is hard to read their take on Dezirea’s predicament while they are simultaneously frustrated with their own situation.

We have spotted moments when they gather at the barrier fence to stand in close proximity, but not much more than that.

It is noteworthy how much the mental unease over the seriousness of Dezirea’s affliction looms over everything else for us. Finding a healthy and loving attitude and projecting that to our immediate world, and beyond, becomes increasingly difficult. Losing patience with otherwise trivial situations becomes easy.

Even though nature is forging ahead with explosive spring growth and our list of chores we would like to accomplish is longer than can be achieved, we find ourselves spinning in place this weekend.

Maybe our lesson has something to do with facing and dealing with trepidation. Once again, it seems prudent to be most fully focused on the present moment, despite the multitude of distractions lulling us away.

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Written by johnwhays

April 30, 2017 at 10:20 am

Dashed Plans

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Our day’s plan went out the door at the crack of dawn yesterday.

Does this look like the face of a mare who doesn’t want her picture taken?

Yes, it does.

Poor Dezirea is fighting a bug, we think. We didn’t notice anything amiss until serving up the pans of morning feed. Dezi had no interest. It was at that point that plans for the day were scrapped and caring for our senior mare became the focus of our energies.

She was not a happy horse, but at least she didn’t appear to be in extreme pain. After running through our basic knowledge of diagnostic steps, Cyndie wanted to consult with the veterinarian. He felt it warranted a visit so he could do an in-person assessment.

I kept Dezirea walking, which she did so amicably enough for someone not really interested in doing anything.

Her temperature wasn’t alarmingly high, but her pulse was definitely elevated. We had immediately quarantined her to the small side of our paddocks and emptied that box of hay. As the day wore on, I noticed the other three horses had deposited two piles of poo each, but Dezirea had none.

Was it a digestive issue or some other affliction? Hard to tell.

The vet took a blood sample. He believed the problem might be a tick-born infection, anaplasmosis. We are treating it as if, and they administered an intravenous antimicrobial.

This morning, she is at the very least, no worse in appearance. She is rather lethargic, though much less depressed. She seems to be gaining interest in eating, although we are hesitant to provide full rations until we see proof her system is functioning more normally.

We found evidence she was able to expel a small amount of poop overnight, so that provides some reassurance that she doesn’t have a catastrophic twist or obstruction shutting down all function in the digestive system. That also matches with her lack of acute pain symptoms.

So, looking after Dezirea consumed most of our mental energies yesterday. I turned piles of manure while spending extended time with the horses. The other horses tolerated the altered accommodations with only minor complaint. The hours and minutes passed in a blink and accomplishments dropped to bare essentials.

The big milestone that became overshadowed by Dezirea’s illness was the delivery of much-needed hay to rescue us from a predicament. Jack and Joanie were gracious enough to make a long trip from Minnesota to bring us hay because our sources here had nothing left to offer. Their precious energy lifted our spirits and provided liveliness that was particularly helpful in the moment, and their hay will help us greatly for the weeks ahead.

Hunter thinks he has an easy solution to the hay shortage. He desperately wants us to open the gates and let him have at the sweet green grass growing everywhere in sight. It’s like, water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

If he only recognized the risks.

We could use a break from horse health issues. For now, I’m making no plan for the rest of today. Whatever comes up will get my attention. Hopefully, it won’t interfere with the guests and dinner Cyndie has planned for this evening.

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Written by johnwhays

April 29, 2017 at 10:21 am

Taking Precautions

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A few steps forward, and one giant leap back from spring. It is interesting how different 36° (F) can feel depending on whether arriving to it from above or below. When it has been below freezing for months, a day that reaches 36° can feel dramatically warm.

When it has recently been 70° outside, a dip down to 36° feels despicably cold. Same temperature, different perspective.

This morning feels despicable.

Up until now, I have been purposefully avoiding paying attention to the status of the tree we transplanted to the center of the labyrinth last fall. We’ve failed enough times before –three to be exact– that I’m attempting to avoid getting excited too soon.

A couple of days ago, Cyndie texted a picture of the many new leaves that have emerged. Time for my denial to end. With the threat of sub-freezing temperatures predicted, we felt it necessary to cover the sapling for protection from the cold.

It was a challenge, because the sprouts are so delicate that some dropped simply from the abuse of my clumsy attempt to get the sheet up and over the top.

Regardless, I feel better to have tried protecting it, than if we’d done nothing. I’ve watched too many of our other small trees with delicate early growth wither and die in the past two years when warm spring days were followed by hard freezes.

I’m hoping this tree turns out to be as robust as the ten chicks we ordered through the mail have proved to be.

I may be trying to protect myself from disappointment, but I won’t give up without doing everything I can to improve the odds of success. With the cold temperatures, the saturated wetness now, and the likely dry spells to come, we have our work cut out for us for many months ahead.

Here’s hope that our precautions pay off in every way.

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Written by johnwhays

April 28, 2017 at 6:00 am

Good Time

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The chicks seem to be having a good time getting comfortable with their coop, especially since we are experiencing the return of wintery cold rain and dreary gray skies outside this week.

It’s almost time to scrape the poop board!

Cyndie snapped this wonderful photo of the bulk of them making good use of their roost perches. These birds keep doubling in size every few hours, it seems. Can’t wait for them to be out chasing the local fox away and eating all our bugs.

It does work that way, doesn’t it?

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Written by johnwhays

April 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

Value

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If I’d had a chance
to think of that
maybe I would
who can say?
a picture on the wall
painted as art
worth more than the house
to the right beholding eye
a simple line
and a dot
some colors
not all that good together
from what I could see
but somewhere along the line
the painter became a name
and value simply followed
like rain drops rolling together
into larger and larger pools
into streams flowing down
dollar signs piling up
suddenly a picture
becomes like diamonds
a fancy kind of watch
melted bars of gold
they are things that don’t really matter
unless people decide they do

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Written by johnwhays

April 26, 2017 at 6:00 am

Pizza Magic

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 I live with her every day, but Cyndie continues to amaze me with her gifts of getting things to happen. Last night she listed off a couple of dinner menu options that failed to inspire me. Reading my hesitation, she started tossing out other ideas.

“Pizza!”

She said the magic word. That choice resonated for me. I had actually noticed a craving earlier in the day for her homemade pizza, but didn’t want to trouble her with it. Obviously, she sensed it anyway and dug the option out of her bag of tricks.

She channeled George with her masterful crafting of the dough for the crust. I reminded her that I saw George put his crust in to partially bake before adding toppings. As I helped to grate a large block of mozzarella cheese for her, my fingers got cold.

Cyndie mentioned it had come out of the freezer, as had the pre-baked sausage she was using. Even though she had not planned to make a pizza for dinner, she didn’t hesitate to react to my craving and rustle up the best of ingredients in our kitchen, both fresh and frozen.

She knocked this one out of the park!

Even with a sauce she admitted was a compromise settled on by necessity, this custom pizza pie was fantastic. I fear how much better it might have turned out had she been given proper time to plan in advance.

I witnessed some real pizza magic last night, I tell you.

Pizza magic.

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Written by johnwhays

April 25, 2017 at 6:00 am

Small Step

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Giant leap.

The hatch opened and our chicks took their first look at the outside world yesterday. We put up a temporary barrier to contain them to a small yard outside the coop for the training period where we familiarize them with the routine of navigating in and out of their fortress.

The Barred Plymouth Rock chicks are establishing themselves as the first to explore new opportunities, yet the Buff Orpingtons have frequently stepped past them to be the first to leap.

It surprises us a little because the former started out, and continue to remain, the smallest of the group, and the latter have always been the most skittish when activity picks up around them.

I figured the Rhode Island Reds would be the leaders, but they are proving to be more than willing followers thus far.

I wonder which of them will take a lead in ganging up and chasing off the first predator that shows up with nefarious intentions.

A guy can wish.

After Cyndie and I got the fencing installed, she hustled up to the house to prepare a little picnic lunch for us to eat while supervising the chicks’ recess period.

We witnessed a lot of hopping around on the ramp and moving in and out the door while we ate, but only one Plymouth Rock and one Buff took full advantage of the outing.

When Cyndie wanted to end their playtime, she stepped inside the courtyard with several birds on the ramp and the two on the ground. She decided to reach for one of the chicks on the ramp and in the ensuing bird startling, two other chicks made for earth.

Suddenly she had four opportunities to practice catching evasive chicks to teach them how to return to the coop when it’s time.

It was a giant leap of a day for us.

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Written by johnwhays

April 24, 2017 at 6:00 am