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. 

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.