Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bill and Diesel Trucks

Poor Bill has had the worst luck with diesel trucks this year-----specifically when one comes into his pasture.
That gentle rumble signals the scary, pokey, mean veterinarian has come again.
Neither one knew what hit them and had no memory of the diesel truck when it was all over.

However, the diesel truck came out the very next day because Bill was still bleeding.
This time, it was just him that got yet another big poke in his neck and his boy bits (or lack thereof) fiddled with.

At the time of the first visit, I had begun to notice that Bill had a limp.  I attributed it to the extreme 'horseplay' he and Ted were always participating in.
Lots of running, jumping and literally climbing on one anther.
Perfect activity for pulling a muscle.
I watched him, certain that it would resolve on its own.
It didn't.
I called the vet.
Out came the diesel truck again.
This time he brought a

Hoof Knife (used to quickly carve away hoof and sole)

Not Bill's hoof, or my Vet's knees--a stock photo from online
 and a
Hoof tester (used to pinch to see where a hoof might by "ouchy")

99% of all lameness comes from the hoof.
After gently trimming Bill's hoof, picking about and pinching, it was determined that he had a probable hoof abscess.
Imagine a large, infected area, just under your fingernail.
It hurts like the dickens and his no way to get out.

That's where this silly hoof stuff comes in.
My vet is very cautious when it comes to miniature donkey feet.
Most vets would dig around in the bottom of the hoof until they were able to get the actual abscess to drain.
My vet says the "littles" don't have as much hoof/sole to spare, so he pares it down until he sees what he thinks is the entry point.
At that point, he gave me a lesson in using a drawing salve and wrapping the hoof.
I did that for 5 days and Bill was such a trooper!  
He never gave me a bit of trouble as long as I was quick to hand out his favorite snack (pretzels!).

Unfortunately, the abscess never broke open.
The darned diesel truck came out again!
This time the Hoof Testers, the Hoof Knive and Needles were involved.
Right in his fetlock.
On both sides.
The vet was doubting whether Bill had an abscess at all.
The needles in is fetlock were used to inject novacaine.
If Bill still limped when his foot was "dead", it meant the pain was located somewhere other than the hoof.

It was.
Abscesses are easy fix.
Cracked bones or damaged muscles, tendons, ligaments are not easy to fix.

After much pushing and pulling and fiddling with Bill's leg, it was determined that he had one of those 1% injuries to his shoulder.

He and Ted are locked up in their paddock all day, to try to minimize their horseplay.  
Bill is on an anti-inflammatory.
Next Tuesday, if he hasn't gotten much better I will be renting a trailer and hauling him to the vet for x-rays.

It could be a million things that are wrong.
As of today (day 4), his anti-inflammatory meds are not touching his pain.
He's still as gimpy as ever.

Bill does not like diesel trucks.
I'm thinking he's going to like trailers even less.

Monday, October 27, 2014


I began wondering how long I've been blogging, when a dear blogger friend (Danni) posted about her blog's birthday today. 
So, I looked back in my archives.
Turns out I've been blogging for 6 years and 7 months and change.
Today is my 836th post.

A few things have changed.

I now use all our real names.  
I used everyone's middle names to protect our identity because just like Pioneer Woman, I was certain that I would magically become famous and then end up with stalkers or something.  
I gave up on that and now you know our real names.
However, many people now call me CeeCee---including my sister, Nora and my niece, Sarah.

What else has changed?
My cast of characters has changed a bit.
As happens every single day in this world, pets and people die.

Lucky, my cat, ran out of luck and we believe he was snatched by a coyote.
Jenna's rat, Lucy died.  
Several chickens have died.
Worst of all, my brother John died.

I've added characters too.
I talked Eric into another cat. 
He's a pill, but he's my pill.
Jenna got more rats.
I got more chickens.
I got miniature donkeys, at long, long last.

Preston graduated both High School and college.
Jenna graduated High School and is off at college in Iowa.
Quinn started out this blog as a 9 year old in 4th grade.  
He's now in High School and learning to drive.
Best of all, I got a daughter-in-love, Katie.
She and Preston got married in January 2014.
Bestest of all, I got a granddaughter, Evie, on October 20th!
She was 5 weeks early, but perfect as a peach!

I got to meet 4 blogger friends in the interim as well.
I met Danni and her Critters in June of 2012.
Her place is even more beautiful in person than it is in pictures.
I got to meet Carson (7MSN Ranch), Justina and Don (Morning Bray Farm) in September of 2013 through unfortunate circumstances. 
Carson had emergency surgery and several friends rallied to take care of her ranch and animals.  
I was one of them.
I will say that Carson's ranch really is 7 miles south of nowhere!

All is well.
My life is blessed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

She's Perfect

My first born, with his first born.
My heart is overflowing.

Everly Marie was born on Monday afternoon.
Despite being 5+ weeks early, she weighs 6lbs, 3 oz and is 19 inches long.
Even though she's breathing on her own, and has no problems, hospital protocol dictates that she be in the NICU for a few days.  Something about being born just short of 35 weeks gestation.

Katie is doing as well as she can considering she had a c-section.
She is healthy and will bounce back once the worst of the pain wears off.
Preston and Katie are both exhausted.
The hospital is not the best place to get any sleep.

I can't wait to hold her! 
Nibble on her tiny cheeks and toes.
Sing quiet songs and tell her stories.

I still find it all a bit surreal. 
I think of Grandmas as being gray haired and wearing aprons and sending the grandkids out to play.
Wasn't Preston just in Elementary school?
Aren't Jenna and Quinn still in Mother's Day Out?

I suppose it's a good thing that I feel younger than I am.
I have years and years ahead of me to fully engage in the lives of any grandbabies I am gifted with.

Now, off to hunt for a saddle for Bill.
This grandma has a donkey for grandkids to ride!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Feeling Many Things


Rinse, Repeat.

According to the little widget on the right sidebar, my little granddaughter is due in 38 days.
She decided that was just too long to wait. 
Katie's water broke.
She's coming today.
If you are so inclined, please pray or send positive thoughts our way.
Katie is headed in for a C-section today.
Eric and I  are headed up to the hospital.
We are all on pins and needles, wishing, hoping, praying that this tiny girl is healthy and won't have to spend too much time in the NICU.

Katie's baby shower---just two days ago.
Little did we know how soon they'd be needing the gifts.
(r-l) Me, Katie, Katie's mom Kerry and Katie's Grandma Marion.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Everything is Bigger in Texas

Isn't he something!
This is a male Ox beetle.
I think it should be called a Triceratops beetle, but the bug people didn't ask me.  
I suppose it's possible that this creature was named before the discovery of dinosaur fossils.
I digress.
The female has no 'horns'.
The males will actually use those horns in battle for the affections of a female beetle.
She will then lay several eggs in rotting wood or leaf litter and then go on her way.

photo credit:

The larvae spend the winter growing and eating wood, plant roots, and leaves.

They're pretty extraordinary creatures all in their own right.
Funny, I don't mind holding an adult beetle, but holding the larvae is not something I want to do.
I'm weird.  
I know.

These beetles are considered beneficial insects.  They are among the many beetles that assist in breaking down decaying/decomposing plant matter.
Their larvae however, are considered a pest, as they often eat plant roots and can cause the plant to die.  
Strange how that works.

I can see how their enormous size would put most people off, but they are harmless in every way. 
I will say that if you think having a June bug in your hair is a problem, then this beetle may not be your cup of tea.  
They are drawn to light on summer nights in the southern states from Florida to Arizona.
Oh, and they can fly! 
If you're standing around, shooting the breeze with neighbors in your driveway with the lights on, you may be in for a bit of excitement.  When they come in for a landing, it's much like having a Harrier jet come in nearby. 
Loud and with a thump.  
Lots of screaming and scrambling for cover usually follows.
Luckily, their landing spots seldom involve your hair.

The adult beetles are gone for this year.  They only live 4 to 6 months.
Only the larvae are alive.  
Growing, eating and waiting until it's time for them to fly next summer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This Photo Makes Me So Happy

I have two very unusual chickens---both Sicilian Buttercups.  
Amelia(Earhart) and Marie(Curie).
I named them after brave women who worked outside the norms of their time.
I named them before I knew anything about them--even their breed.

They love to visit with humans.  They love to sit on your shoulder or lap and quietly check you for signs of buggies.  
They seem to have become the darlings of the farm with visitors and family alike.
Anyone who goes out to see the big attraction (new donkey boys) get a visit from the little Italian hens.

This picture makes me so happy because it is of my Mother-In-Love and Amelia.
Partaking in what I call, "The Mutual Admiration Society".

Mom grew up on a farm in Iowa.
She's long held that farming is not something she'd ever go back to.
Especially the livestock part of it.  
For her, it was real work.
Everything had a job or a reason for being there.
My animals are purely farm pets.  
They are here for enjoyment and love (and eggs!).

More and more, when Mom comes over (thankfully, she and Dad only live 3 miles away), she goes to "check on the livestock".  
She seems to take great joy in visiting with the donkeys and the chickens.
This picture doesn't show Dad.
He was down the fence line, watching Mom and Amelia.
Such a smile on his face!
I don't know who was having a better time----me, him or her?

She was happy visiting with my unusual chicken and he was happy seeing her so happy.
I saw real love in his eyes.
Love of 60+ years.
Love has its ups and downs in any relationship.
Often it seems completely missing and you just have to trudge through the proverbial mud to get back to a place in your relationship where you can stand on dry land again---together.
Mom and Dad are testament to hanging in there.
I don't know if they had "muddy" places in their 60 years together.
I'm sure they probably did.

In this picture, they were firmly on dry land.
Love in his eyes and hers.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Red Touches Yellow, part II

I really, really hate killing snakes.
Not because I am terrified of them and afraid to be near them.
Quite the opposite.
I love snakes.
They are beneficial and beautiful animals.

I know I'll get some pushback by the majority of people who read this.
"Snakes are NOT beautiful!"

I happen to think that the patterns and colors on most snakes are quite a work of artistry.
This Coral snake is one of the prettiest.

I know many things about this snake, chief among them is that it is venomous and that anti-venom is no longer produced should a person be bitten.

They do not have fangs and are terribly shy.
Their first reaction is to flee should they be disturbed.

However, if molested by dogs/cats/chickens, small children or teenage boys, they will bite.
This one was being 'poked at' by the dogs this morning. 
That's how I knew it was in the backyard.
They have rows of tiny teeth and hang on for dear life when they engage.
That's when envenomation takes place.

The bite is quite painful, but because the toxin attacks the central nervous system, the severity of the envenomation doesn't become clear for several hours.  A child (read: grandchildren) could be bitten and we wouldn't even know what it was that bit them.  Same with dogs.  There are not two tell-tale bite marks like there would be with a rattlesnake, nor is there extreme swelling at the bite site.  Rather, the bite would appear as several scratches.

That brings me to the outcome of this encounter.  

I'm not proud of it.
In fact, I'm sad.  
They are so beneficial, but can be so deadly.
I could have moved him, but didn't want to risk getting bitten myself.
Maybe I should make a tiny version of a snake catching loop that Carson at 7MSN has at her place for relocating rattlesnakes?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"Brain Surgery" for the Boys

Mini donkey folks have a saying for when you get your donkey boys castrated.
"Brain Surgery"

My boys were sweet as sugar before their surgery on Monday.
However, knowing how intact donkeys and horses can turn on dime as far as behavior
the fact that the world does not need more miniature donkeys; 
I chose to do the right thing for them and me and get them fixed.
Ted and Bill about an hour post-op.
Donkeys are smart enough to stay put when they are heavily sedated.
No "drinking and driving" for them.
It's a bit more complicated than when a horse or a household pet is done.
Not to go into too many gory details, but the surgery site is left open to drain.
There is a large blood vessel involved and it must be tied off and sutured closed to avoid having the donkey bleed to death.  
Their clotting factor is much smaller than a human or even a horse.

Keeping the wounds clean, draining and the swelling down involves a gentle rinsing with the garden hose and forced bit of trotting around the pasture. 
It seems cruel, but I don't over do it.  
If those things aren't done, infection is quick to set up household and then there is a whole 'nuther set of problems to deal with.  

Bill gave me a scare on Tuesday morning.  He was still bleeding and it looked as though something might have gone wrong with the surgery site.  

My vet came right back out.  She sedated him, took a much closer look, cleaned him up and declared everything in order.  

He was right as rain within a couple hours.

Today, they are doing much better except for the flies.
That problem is easily remedied with fly spray.

According to the vet and other mini donkey owners, I can expect for their "Jack-like" behavior to wane by mid-winter.
Until then, they'll continue to try to out-do one another for being herd leader. 
I'll have to keep an eye on their body language for any signs of them being aggressive toward me as well.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

25 Sticks of Butter

No, the title does not refer to a crazy recipe or a Paula Deen Christmas special.
It refers to my continued efforts to get my weight and mostly my cholesterol numbers down.
It would be nice to think that my weight loss thus far was pure fat.
I know it's not, but that does not deter me.
I feel better.
I don't ache as much, despite my increased activity level.
My clothes fit better.
photo credit:
I know I'll never look like this lovely butter sculpture (ironic, huh?) again and 7+ pounds is just a drop in the proverbial bucket toward my goal.

I even weathered a weekend full of eating out and a potluck party at my house.
(tip: there are about 4 servings of pasta in your typical Italian restaurant serving!)

I'm 3 weeks in and hanging in there.

This post is merely to keep me accountable.  
Not looking for praise.