Wednesday, July 10, 2024

November Hill farm journal, 215

 My daughter took this morning glory photo along our driveway this week and the beauty of its leaves and flowers takes my breath away. These flowers have volunteered here in just one spot every summer since we moved here 20 years ago. 

Right now my family is experiencing a tragic and extremely distressing situation that I cannot go into at this time, but the persistence of these morning glories in our lives is a bit of a metaphor right now for me. 

If you pray, if you send out light, if you offer healing, hopeful energy, we welcome that right now. I am a hopeful person by nature, and I am someone who harnesses every hopeful sign I see in the world around me, particularly the natural world. I am sending out my own light and love on a near constant basis this past month and today and I believe that if those who know me share in this it will be a powerful effort that makes a big difference.

Love to all who read here, and thank you for any positive thoughts you send our way. 

(And on another hopeful note, Apache is now on turnout with Rafer and they are loving the freedom as he continues on his recovery journey.)

Sunday, June 23, 2024

November Hill farm journal, 214

 Apache Moon on one of his grazing times in our back yard, thanks to dear husband who has taken this on and made it happen many times a day for this stall-bound pony boy. 

He’s doing very well and as of today has 12 days left until he can move to turn-out from his stall into the little barnyard that adjoins it. 

Rafer Johnson continues to be a very good friend to the Little Man, with his open stall across the barn aisle and at nights access to the big barnyard where Little Man can see him and know he’s close by. 

I’ve read that if a horse does well for the six months following this kind of surgery, and wasn’t prone to colic before, they generally return to that low risk zone. I so hope this beloved little man takes that path. 

Right now our focus is on getting through July 4th and this wave of high heat days. At that point, we’ll be anticipating Rafer Johnson’s birthday celebration on July 19th! As I say at every birthday at the barn now, it is mind blowing that he will be 17 years old. I hadn’t thought about the difference between Little Man’s age (24) and Rafer’s until right this moment, but wow - these two boys have been friends for 16.5 years now. In any case, it will be a wonderful excuse to celebrate Rafer’s life and also the fact that these two can move on to many more happy years of friendship.

The forecast today is 97 and thankfully/hopefully the trend that it’s been a few degrees cooler on the farm than what is predicted will continue. We have a good breeze this morning and that too may help the heat not feel quite so intense for those of us who cannot come inside!

I am grateful on these hot days for the fans and for the big oaks that shade most of our barn and keep it cool. 

Yesterday I did more watering of some garden beds and also in the morning did some weed-eating of stilt grass to keep it taking over. The upper terraced bed looks quite good thanks to my weeding efforts in the spring and also with the addition of the short-leafed mountain mint, which is thriving. The two button bushes on either side of the driveway are now blooming and creating a kaleidoscope of activity as the bees and butterflies and moths and birds go back and forth to the flowers. 

In a moment of possibly heat-induced irrationality, I decided to power wash the front porch, was thwarted mightily when the outlet on the porch died and took the two inside outlets with it, but I rallied enough to just use the hose by itself with my finger the only engine to make the water flow stronger. The porch really needed some attention, and as dry as it is, the water surely gave some relief to a number of insects and the plants around the porch. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you the cats stretched out in the afternoon as the porch finished drying and looked especially content in the clean and tidied space they love so much.

All the litter boxes got a good cleaning and even the loss of power for 4 hours in the heat of the afternoon did not bring the feeling of accomplishment down!

I’m not planning any big or sudden such projects today though!

May we all stay safe in this severe heat and may we also get a break from it soon. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

November Hill farm journal, 213

 I’ve been exhausted for the past two weeks, since Little Man came home, settled in, and was checked out with two thumbs up by our regular vet practice. As is true for mothers in general, I think, we manage to put off sickness, exhaustion, and all the things that come with maternal cellular focus and worry until we know things are okay, or at the very least, stable, and then we … sleep? Fall apart? Catch our breaths?

The summer heat is hitting us this week too, and I took a long nap on Saturday and a short nap today and neither kind of nap is the norm for me, so I can tell that I’m playing catch up. 

We have 19 days to go until the pony king gets his back door opened up to his small barnyard paddock. I’m sure he and Rafer will be thrilled to be back to that normal, which, this time of year IS the norm for summer days. At night they’ll be able to open into the grass paddock and graze alongside Cody and Redford in the front pasture. By August we’ll be back to herd turning out together. 

When I write that seeing one horse and donkey in the front pasture seems odd, I mean it. It is so rare that we ever split the herd up or have needed to keep one in, seeing Cody and Redford, or one or the other if they’ve wandered apart from one another, is just not right. I find myself counting. I’m still shocked to see 4 and not 5 when they’re all together. I still search for Keil Bay as my eyes go from one to the next in my counting sequence. It’s going to be good to see them all together again. 

We’ve had heat and no rain for the past 4 or 5 days, or maybe even longer, as I’ve been too distracted to count days without rain. I’ve been doing some watering but need to do more of that for the further out plants that went in earlier this spring and need a little pampering this first year during the heat. I’ve only managed to do one patch of stiltgrass removal but I’ll get back into the swing of a little weeding work a day. 

The terraced beds look pretty good right now. This is the view from the back deck looking down. I glimpse these beds from the laundry room window as well as any time I drive in or out, and it’s a joy. Right now everything is white and pink but soon the yellows will begin to come in. 

And more white when the button bush blooms!

We learned last night that the owners of the property we’d been hoping to buy accepted another offer, which we could not counter due to our waiting game with the one thing being in place. It will be, but not in time for this property, unless this offer falls through. I’m trusting that the right thing will happen at the right time, as that has always been the case with us and real estate, and I’m confident that trend is carrying forward to this next and presumably final move. 

For now I’m circling back to my summer plan: do a little of a few things every day. 

Sunday, June 09, 2024

And the Little Man is home!

 They bumped his discharge up a day because he was feeling very good, all his tests were great, and he tried to run away from the techs who were charged with taking him to hand graze. That was the story we were told, but the transporter told me this morning they said he actually DID get away and ran all over the place two times so they stopped taking him out. They assured us no damage was done to stitches and they ultrasounded him to check on the intestinal repair. 

Apparently his recovery is the fastest they’ve ever seen from this kind of surgery. I’m not surprised at all, and am very grateful for it! 

They were expecting him to try to make a break for it today while loading to come home, and battened down the hatches as a precaution, but when my husband took the lead line and led him out, he marched right onto the trailer without any problems at all. He’s a smart little guy. He knew he was coming home!

Here on November Hill, the herd of three and I prepared for his arrival. After I fed them breakfast I told them he was on the way home. And these two stood in exactly these spots until the trailer pulled in about 25 minutes later.

When the trailer pulled in, Cody started whinnying and was very excited. I was a little surprised that he was so vocal, but it reminded me that he, and all of them, lost Salina and then Keil Bay, whose hasn’t even been gone a year yet, so I am sure they were all overjoyed to see that in fact they had not lost another family member. On some level I think they knew he was alive and returning because they didn’t grieve the way they did when they lost their two Hanoverian friends. 

The reunion:

Best buddies together again. :) And the Little Man in his stall.

He’s eaten hay, had half a bucket of water, and a small wet meal. Dropped a very nice pile of manure and is set for hand grazing in about 15 minutes. We have a schedule and a list to detail what goes in and what comes out. This will be our routine until July 5th or so. 

I didn’t get a photo, but Rafer Johnson is right outside Little Man’s stall with his own hay to eat right there, together. And Rafer has access to the stall right across the aisle if he wants to use it. Cody and Redford are in and out of their double stall to the back. All nice and close so Little Man is not lonely. Home!!! 

Thursday, June 06, 2024

A very very very good update!


He’s doing great, coming off a couple of meds, no signs of laminitis or sepsis, eating his feed and dropping manure, and gets to go on a hand graze today! 

Husband gets to visit today while I catch up with clients, and I’ll get back to him tomorrow. So so grateful and relieved to see this progress.