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. 

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Please send light to Little Man

 Wednesday afternoon: 

He’s bright and alert, was happy to see us, and is still doing very well. It was hard to see him in full ice boots, with iv in neck and very long surgical incision - but he is not in distress or pain and one of his vets reminded me that the surgery itself is a huge procedure for any horse, so he is recovering from something very major. 

He has a great team and he’s the cutest pony ever, so getting a lot of attention from everyone. 

I think I am going to take another nap!

Newest update as of Wednesday a.m.:

Little Man had surgery and around 4:30 a.m. was in recovery and starting to wake up. The surgery confirmed strangulating lipoma and that was removed along with around 5 feet of intestine that had died. The surgeon felt good about the surgery and said it went very well. The next hurdle is getting his intestinal motility going normally and gradually introducing feed. I am hopeful that this very spunky pony will come through this, but of course it’s a major surgery and no one knows how things will go. 

I went out just now to tell his herd that he made it through this first phase of treatment, that he needs herd energy, and they were all very vocal and happy to see me and hear this. Salina is here with the herd and Keil Bay has spirited to the vet school hospital to stay with Little Man. I told Little Man this last night before he left, and my husband (who went to the hospital with him) was able to give him hugs before the surgery from all of us and to talk to him in recovery this morning before coming home. 

I’ll go see him at mid-day assuming things are going well. Right now I’m assuming the very best. 


Little Man is very sick. Vet is on the way. 


It is a strangulating lipoma colic. He was in a lot of pain - this all came about between noon and 5 p.m. or so. He was down in his stall and was able to get up and go into grassy barnyard but needed to lay down again, up and down a few times but no thrashing. It was very clear something was seriously wrong but nothing we’d ever dealt with before. Nearly white gums, respiration was normal. 

We gave banamine which relieved him some while vet was on the way. This was our first time using NC State’s Mobile Equine Emergency After Hours Unit - they now take calls after 5 p.m. and on weekends for our vet practice. They were great - the vet was a surgeon and was extremely knowledgeable and kind. 

He will be going into surgery in the next hour, so around 12:30 a.m. EST. Please send him good thoughts. If he had other health issues or were older, we wouldn’t have gone forward, but he has been and is such a healthy, happy pony we knew we had to give him this chance. 

Brave Little Man loaded onto a huge trailer in the dark barnyard and stood up all the way to the vet school hospital. Rafer Johnson stood at the barnyard fence and watched until he drove away, then brayed loudly. We are all pulling for this pony boy who we have loved for 20 years. 

Monday, June 03, 2024

More Moments In Shetland

 I haven’t posted much about the trip yet, but it was magnificent. I loved Shetland more than I expected to, and I really did expect to love it, so in the end I loved it a lot!

I think the way I would characterize it is that Shetland is both rugged and tender. You can see these things in these two photographs:

There’s something about the tender lying alongside the rugged that is so powerful. We were there to see landscape and wildlife, so we didn’t go into the towns like Lerwick, but we drove and took ferries all over the country and I never saw a fast food restaurant or anything resembling a mall. I loved that about Shetland. 

I’m still feeling the peacefulness of being there and the feel of its wind and its sunshine and just a little of its rain. 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

November Hill farm journal, 212

 Getting back into my routine this week with daily gardening, mostly hand weeding the native beds again, starting with the upper terraced bed, which was overrun for some reason. I’ve been pulling weeds for three days and also cutting the tall goldenrod back by 2/3 so the summer blooming plants aren’t dwarfed. I’m pulling out some of the tall goldenrod too, but allowing some to stay for autumn forage. It’s a great plant but as I have noted many times, I made a big mistake putting it in any bed! 

Husband is catching up with some mowing in the mornings before it gets too hot and I started the daily groom and insect proofing of the equine herd yesterday, as we are definitely now fully in that time of year. All appreciate having their legs and bellies sprayed with the nontoxic but noxious spray I’ve been using the past few years. It works the best of anything I’ve ever tried and although they “improved” the smell, it is still not something you want to get in your eyes or nose. We do they spraying in the barnyard and I aim carefully. 

Redford donkey still doesn’t allow spray but was happy to have me apply Coat Defense powder to his entire body. It smells good and he enjoys the rub in part. Everyone looks good and were noticeably happier after the spa treatment. 

I think Cody is looking particularly handsome these days. 

Unfortunately I have not yet gotten his saddle on site and haven’t started riding. I was so excited for that and still am. It will happen. 

The volunteer elderberries are quite stunning right now:

All doing wonderful jobs controlling soil erosion, stormwater run-off, and providing amazing food and shelter for birds and insects. If I get my ducks in a row, maybe I will make some elderberry syrup or cordial or jam when the berries are ready!

I spotted the first Monarchs yesterday and am happy the milkweek is abundant and ready to provide food for the very hungry caterpillars. 

The large blueberry bush in the back yard is loaded and will be fun to pick from when the berries ripen. We also have many figs on the fig tree and will see if they ripen earlier this year as they did last year. 

The potager is looking very lush - I didn’t get photos yet but we’re harvesting lettuce, spinach, kale and have cucumbers and tomatoes on the way. Husband planted everything this year and has done a great job keeping it watered on these hot days. 

We’re all happy to see the barn swallows nesting in the barn and are all keeping a look out for snakes. I noticed a very long snakeskin outside the barn yesterday - we welcome the black racers and other black snake species but also always offer some help to the birds when we can. 

We have had bunny nests too and I think they’re all safely out at this point. 

While we were away, husband encountered (and relocated) a large copperhead in Poplar Folly and also an Eastern box turtle who was allowed to remain. I haven’t made any progress on my work back there but I’ll get around to it eventually. There is much to do and I’ll continue rotating around the farm doing some daily work without going into overdrive. I have committed to that and I’m sticking to it. 

I’m happy to have writing weekend coming up in June and also a reading of my work with Door=Jar which I’ll share this week. It’s online and anyone reading here is most welcome to join us there.