Wednesday, July 02, 2008


July rolled in like an autumn day here, after a huge thunderstorm the last night of June. Getting rain and then a preview of my favorite season, midsummer, was like a double blessing.

We spent some time on the front porch and the horses are getting time each day in the front yard, which is a treat for them and helps us avoid using the mower. Rafer Johnson was nearly obscured by the tall grass. He is shedding out and so very muscular and handsome right now.

Keil Bay was in grass heaven. He went straight to the highest, lushest spot and got right in the middle of it. Interestingly, Cody stood on the outside of the same area, and reached in for the good stuff. The pony tends to march around and snatch grass from every part of the yard, as if it might disappear at any moment and he wants to get as much as he can before it does. Salina is not surprisingly more focused on where the other horses are than on the grass she's grazing. She positions herself based on where Rafer is, and where Keil Bay is, and then shifts to the forage.

In one of the hanging baskets on the porch, a small bird has made a gorgeous nest. I was astounded by the weaving skills. I don't think I could match it if I tried. There are 4 eggs, and hopefully all are doing well.

In all this abundance, we are having our share of ailments. Salina got a small wound on her flank, which has required rinsing and treating twice each day. Apollo Moon had a goopy eye, which prompted a call to the vet, who reassured me that it would likely resolve but to call back in a day if it didn't. I discovered that the application of a warm wet washcloth a couple of times helped it heal.

Keil Bay and I took a walk down to the labyrinth, as he'd been asking, and I was ready to show him. He was very willing to leave his herd and march down the hill through the woods with my daughter and me, and was extremely alert and excited. He had a few snacks along the way, and christened the path with his big bold walk. Just at the beginning of the labyrinth itself, he stopped and stood tall, looking one way and then the other, surveying. We marched back up very pleased with the first circuit.

And then discovered that Cody, who had been ridden the day before and was fine, had a patch of hives on one thigh, and was sore in that same leg. He's eating, drinking, walking, and there is no swelling or obvious injury, so he got a dose of Banamine and a number of checks last evening and this morning. It appears to be a reaction to an insect sting. We'll see.

I suppose that's part of high summer - the stable flies are in check, but the big biting and stinging insects are out in full force. Part of the abundance of the season.


Grey Horse Matters said...

They all seem to be enjoying the grass and that's a great way of 'being green', no gasoline smell to cut the grass, just doing it naturally. It's too bad you didn't take a picture of Keil Bay at the top of the labyrinth, it does sound like a pretty picture. Hope everyone starts to feel better from their various ailments soon.

billie said...

Arlene, I had the camera in the tack room, but of course once I started working with the Big Bay, I forgot all about taking pictures.

Thanks for the ailment wishes. Salina did not need rinsing/treating today, the cat's eye is normal, and Cody looks much better.

One thing this little round of ailments has done is prompt a look at my homeopathic kit. I found a list of common homeopathic remedies used with equines and printed it out so I can update the kit (already pretty huge with about 85 remedies plus a number of the Bach Flower Essences) to have things I might need already on hand.

Our vet is sending me an herbal eye ointment I can use on cats/dogs in case of eye irritation in the future.

I hadn't thought about the gasoline aspect of not mowing! Now if we can buy carts and train the horses to drive, we'll really be set. :)

mamie said...

I really enjoyed this post of the ups and downs of your days, Billie. And I love the picture of Rafer Johnson, but I love his name most of all!

billie said...

Mamie, it's been sort of "tidal" here this week. Much ebbing and flowing. There's definitely an art to living with the ups and downs. Some days I do it better than others!

Victoria Cummings said...

When it was cold and icy, I was longing for these summer days, but today I found myself wishing it was cooler and the bugs were gone. I know what you mean about the ebb and flow. If it's any consolation, we've got our share of animal ailments too. How big is the labyrinth? I'd love to see a photo.

billie said...

Victoria, I know what you mean about wanting some cool weather and no bugs. We had a taste of that this week and it was so nice. My energy level went way up.

Tonight I'm on a low and very grumpy ebb - our neighbors across the lane have ATVs and teenagers. The teens are there only some of the time, but when they are, the noise of the ATVs and the riding up and down the lane over and over again starts to get to me.

I have to remind myself that every year this particular couple of weeks is especially difficult. The ATVs go nearly nonstop, there are sometimes fireworks, and while our horses actually seem to take all this in stride, relatively speaking, I become a basket case!

This is when I long for a thousand acres in Wyoming or someplace similar.

The labyrinth is not done yet, but it's curving completely around into the first circuit now, and what was a mishap is now a nice place for a bench or to do a turn-around with a big horse. I noticed tonight that the first of the labyrinth sunflower patch is blooming. The beginning of the path is bordered on both sides by sunflowers, which are nearly as tall as I am now. I can't imagine how wonderful it will be if they all do bloom at the same time.

Rising Rainbow said...

Yes, it seems all the biting insects in the world have bloomed here over the last week. That's the part of summer I could do without.

billie said...

It's true here too, MiKael. I have a string of bites from something - not sure what, so it's full circle now.

We have not gotten the Horse Pal biting fly trap yet, due to some other expenses that came out of nowhere. I so want one.