Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And the Heat's On Again

But the Tractor's OK

The summer heat has returned with a vengeance. It may not be quite as humid as it was most of the season, but temperatures are well up into the 90's F, and it is too hot for me.

The Boys are again alternating their time between the shaded paddock areas and the stalls where I have their fans working overtime. I've been filling the water trough twice a day, so I know they are drinking quit a bit, so that's good. And the apples are being cleaned up under the tree giving them something to amuse themselves. Grass is still sparse despite the bit of rain we had, so I give them plenty of hay.

In the morning, the tractor repair man showed up for the Kubota with the front end loader. Turns out it had a small leak in one of the hydraulic hoses.  He worked for about a half hour to replace it.  But his truck was darn impressive. It has just about every piece of equipment he would need to fix even the largest of farm tractors. There's a welding machine, an air compressor, a generator, a crane, and all kinds of other gadgets and tools so when he makes road calls to the farms he can do almost any repair they may need. He had to do a little creative rigging to get one of the fittings to work properly on my tractor and the "test drive" afterwards proved he'd done a good job. It wasn't too expensive-- nothing compared to the washer or heater and saved me a bunch of money I would have had to pay if I'd had them take the tractor to the shop. I really need the tractor for the snow season, so once again, I'm happy that it's fixed.

I went for a lovely afternoon swim and then my fellow candidate and I went "walking"--campaigning door to door in one of the neighborhoods in her area.  We left our calling card at a number of homes when no one answered the door, but also spoke to a good number of people about local issues before my knees started to give out.  It wasn't the walking itself so much as the standing about to chat that bothered them  Maybe I need to take one of those portable seats with me?

It's good to hear what people are concerned about in out Township.  Unfortunately, taxes are the number one issue and right now there's not too much we can do about them unless we do get elected. I hope to come up with some ideas that might save the Township money and offer them as the election season moves on.  In the meantime, we're all just stuck opening our wallets and paying out.  *sigh*

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Small Deeds Done

Hot, Hot Sunday

As predicted the heat has returned. It was not pleasant at all today and the humidity was up as well.

Yesterday, however was warm with bright sunshine and clear skies. It was also the day of my friend's annual pig roast picnic, so that's where I spent most of the day, well into the evening.  Lots of delicious side dishes--salads, veggies, chips and dips filled me happily up along with a nice ear of sweet corn and just a taste of the barbecue pork.  I also got about an hour of swimming in the pool there before I got chilled and had to get out to warm up. The water was about 75F, so they say, but it felt colder to me.  Still it was refreshing.

This morning it was pretty nice when I got up to feed the Boys, but already the darn horseflies were out and about, including the B52's.  They are not even waiting for the warmth.  Don't know why they are so bad this year but apparently the dry conditions either make them extra hungry or help them breed.  Darn things.  I put the Boy's fans on in their stalls right away to blow the evil biting critters out.  Toby and Tucker spent a good part of the day inside.  Chance seems to be a little tougher and was in and out, although he does run into his stall when he gets divebombed.

I hung out in the AC for the bulk of the day and finally went to the pool for a late afternoon swim.  But when I got home, I actually did some yard work.  The bank in front of the house had a bunch of tall weeds growing in it.  The problem is that when you try to pull out of the driveway, the weeds block the view of the road to the east, so you really have to be careful trying to see the oncoming traffic.  Normally, I weed whack the bank as I've noted before, but since these were all weeds and the grass was not the problem, I decided to pull them.

I'd guess I spent about an hour out there tugging away.  Fortunately, the soil in the bank is pretty sandy so they pulled up easily.  Since I hadn't been able to take my usual shower at the swim club because there were about a half dozen mothers with children in the shower room, I figured I might as well pull the weeds here and then take my shower.

Good move. I'm all nice and clean now and cooled back off after the work.

At the pool, I also went down the waterslide twice just for some added adventure. Then I cruised around the Lazy River.

All in a day's "work."  *LOL*

Friday, August 27, 2010

Not Much Happening


Campaign meeting Wednesday, worn out crash on Thursday, and then today, so far, not much.

I had to wait around all morning for the washer repairman to call and then come, so I was stuck. Then Hayman arrived and we did a bit of cleaning in the carport where I store the hay.  I carted the loose hay out to the paddock with the tractor front end loader--reminding myself, unfortunately--that the load has a hydraulic leak that really can't be ignored.

With a load of hay safely stashed, I called the tractor repair place and am waiting for a call back. Called the other tractor place as well. So that will be more dollars flying out the door, but I can't afford to ignore either one. I definitely need the front end loader for the winter if we have snow.  And the other tractor is the only one that can conquer the weeds in the paddock.

Somehow it will work itself out. *sigh*

It's warm out, but I'm not sure it's quite the inspirational swimming weather.  I'll see.

My knees felt pretty good after my rides, so that's a plus. Thank you all who asked. It was kind of an experimental test flight since I knew the weather wasn't going to hold for too long. But, the evenings and mornings are pretty cool, so if I can manage some time then, I should be able to do some horse work soon.

Now it seems to be a matter of booked evenings. It would be best to do something after dark, actually, when the flies are napping since the B52's and pals are out now.

Once again, things are on hold. Sort of.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Financial Misery

OK, at one point this Spring I had some extra money.  Then, of course the trees fell down. And Tucker went lame, the lawnmower broke, and I backed the car into a tree.  I coped.

Last night, I went to take a bath and rusty water spewed into the tub.  I went down into the cellar to find my hot water heater leaking all over the floor.  It was pretty obvious my hot water heater tank was done for....dead with a hole somewhere in its heart. I am lucky enough to have a super service company here and by this morning they were already hot on the trail of a replacement system.

Dilemma. I could go for a cheaper installation of an electric system or go for a new oil heat system which is what I had. Definite puzzlement for me, but in the end, I opted for the same kind of heater I already had.  Cost a bundle, I fear and I had to tap into my home equity line, but now it's late afternoon, and I have hot water again.

In the meantime, I figured I could do a load of wash in cold water, so I filled the washer and....nothing. The machine made some anemic noises and just kind of shook a little.  I set it to spin and drain, got all the water out--that seemed to work fine--and tried again.  Same result. So, my washer, not even four years old, was not working.  I had to call a repair service for that.

More money down the drain. Another fair sized chunk when it proved that something was wrong in the timer control panel. Fortunately, the motor and computer board were OK.  Now, mind you, this is a name brand washer, hardly used as I don't have a family to wash clothes for. If does not have electronic controls or a ton of "bells and whistles."  I was supposed to be a good, solid "last for 25 years" solid machine. I bought it before I retired with the plan that it was one more thing I wasn't going to have to worry about once I retired.

Wrong. The repair bill--to replace the timer system--is still under the cost of a new washer, but not by much. Should this machine break down again, I will NOT try to get it fixed but simply find a way to buy a new one. I am SO annoyed. And SO broke.

Extra money clearly seems to attract extra expenses, even when you try to avoid them.


At least the Boys each got a bite of a strawberry flavored oat bar from the washer repairman.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Don't Be Shocked

I Rode!!

It was a cool, rainy day again, and this time when I went out to feed, I couldn't resist doing something.

Ironically, Toby seemed particularly cuddly and I caught him first. I put the halter on him and took him out for a short lunge.  Ever mindful that he hasn't done any work in weeks, I only worked him for about five minutes. I'd set up a little trotting pole about 8 inches off the ground, and had him go over that at the trot and canter several times. There is nothing more to say when it comes to lungeing Toby.  He is always practically perfect in every way.

By then, Tucker had decided he wanted some attention, so I haltered him, took him inside, and, on a whim, decided to ride.  How nice to have the confidence to just get on after so many weeks of no work at all.  Tuck walked right off, no fuss no bother.  His initial trot was not exactly forward, but I eased him along, just asking him to step a little more into the rein contact.  I trotted him over the pole as well, just letting him figure out where to put his feet.

Then, we had an almost "naughty" when I put my leg on to ask for a little more forward and he laid his ears back. Then he sidled into my leg as if to kick out at it, anticipating a rather ugly canter resistance.  I pushed him through to the outside rein with my inside leg and we trotted on.

Then, I decided we were going to have to canter, "just because."  Sure enough, he gave a bit of a kick to my leg, nothing big, and then cantered off on the right lead, nice as you please.  I didn't do much, and I certainly wasn't asking him to exert himself.  Work on the left lead was good at the trot, and the canter started off with a soft depart and no real fuss at all.

For the big finish I did a leg yield on each rein at the trot and then worked into half pass on each rein.  The leg yields were spot on, the half passes about half of what they need to be, but still obedient.  Then I halted, asked for a few steps of a lovely reinback and quit for the day.  All in all, it was a short but fun ride.

Chance was totally interested in doing something next so I saddled him up.  As usual, he tried to head for the gate out to the woods, but he gave that up pretty quickly and settled in for some decent work.  I say "decent" mostly because he was obedient, but rather erratic to the rein. On the other hand, his head was down, rather then up, and when I worked the outside rein a little, he did start to reach for the bit.  Considering that we were only just starting to get some consistency before I stopped riding him a long while back, I certainly cant expect perfection after such a long layoff.

But, to his credit, the canter on both reins was really relaxed and balanced. The left lead is expected, but the right one was a pleasant surprise. He used to rush along, out of balance. Today?  Easy, relaxed and controlled-- a huge improvement, and a bit of a surprise.

My knees didn't feel too bad when I was in the saddle, but I'd probably not be able to ride long enough to get a real schooling session in. I guess I'll know better tomorrow.

Meantime, it was carrots all around for the Boys who clearly deserved every bite.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hay, Hay, Hay!

And There Will Come Soft Rains

In case you recognize the subheading, I'm borrowing the title of a Ray Bradbury short story.  It fits. We had soft rains today.  Hay day.

The Hay Man and I had a plan. He offered to clean out my hay storage area to get rid of the loose hay so we could better store the next shipment. I was down to two bales, enough to last, perhaps until Wednesday.  However, the rains were a factor as he could not deliver hay in the rain, nor did either one of us want to clean the hay shed (carport) and put out the loose hay for the horses in the rain.  No biggie, except that the forecast is calling for rain through Wednesday which was going to put the Boys and me in a hay shortage before we could get the work done.

Hay Man and I agreed that I would go run my errands to the feed store--had to pick up a new bag of Strongid 2CX daily wormer.  Then, if the rain had eased off by the time I was back home, we'd get at least some of the job done.  No go.  (I got a really good deal on the wormer, though with both a low Internet price honored at the store and a $!5 off coupon--50 pound bag of wormer is just a bit over $150)  

I called Hay Man and before I could offer my solution, he suggested I drive over and put a few bales in my car to hold us until Thursday when the weather was promising to clear. That was exactly the same idea I had! Great minds think alike.  I drove over--just 30 seconds down the road and across, and picked up 6 bales of hay.  So we are all set.

The Boys were in an out all day, depending on just how hard the rain was coming down.  I do love to see them using the run in sheds as it always makes me feel I've done right by them.  Except for the fact that the two big Boys tend to hog the shelter and leave Chance standing outside if they are all in the same area, it works out well. There is plenty of room for three horses under all the roofs, but for some reason, they just don't see it that way.

Send best wishes to Claire for a speedy recovery after a horse accident that left her with a broken wrist.  It's so hard when a blogging friend from miles away--in this case, Britain--gets hurt or has something sad happen and all I can do is offer words.  But perhaps love and encouragement can pass themselves along.  If so, I am sending tons her way.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


All Around for Most of the Day

A gray and threatening day, from morning on, not that I had anything planned for outdoors. Obviously a swim was out of the question as I'm pretty sure the pool closed due to the weather.

And it was the last day of Rick's Saddle Shop's annual tent sale with a drawing for a $1000 shopping spree.  I really didn't need anything in particular except for some more feed through fly control. But each year I do shop for some Christmas presents for my cousins in the Ariat closeout section. This year, I got a pair of fur lined Ariat boots and a pair of Ariat mules for under $30 each and a pair of Ariat Crowne zip paddock boots for under $60.  Managed to get my fly control which, like everything else in the regular part of the store was 20% off, so I did OK for the day.  Some Christmas shopping is now done and my wallet is flatter.

Once again, I did not win the shopping spree, but a mother with at least one young daughter did, so that was kind of nice.  On the way home I stopped with my friend Stacie for lunch, and we spent well over an hour just chatting.  Stacie's lovely new mare has a swollen leg, so she is a bit worried about that, but her other horses are well and she's been doing only a little more riding than I have--which is none.

But on the way home the radio kicked in with one of those emergency screeches and there was an announcement from the National Weather Service that there was a tornado warning for parts of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey.  I am hoping my blogger buddies are all OK down there.  A bit scary, to say the least. Tornadoes are not common around here and I don't know what kind of warning signals there are aside from the radio/tv announcements.

So, Shannon, in particular, I will be looking forward to a post from you letting me know all is well down your way.

Meanwhile, I am keeping a close eye on the weather forecast for our area.  I heard some thunder as I was feeding the Boys and it's pretty dark out there for this time of day.

Hope you and all of yours are safe and sound!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More of Same

Don't Mean to be Boring

My knees are better, but until the reaction to the treatment is complete, they are still sore. The day after all the injections I could hardly walk at all. Makes me much more appreciative of our horses' ability to tolerate pain when you think about it.

Blistering was a common treatment for tendon injuries. The idea is to cause an inflammation in the tendon or ligament, both to bring blood to the area a long with the heat, and also to inflame the tendon so it would build up scar tissue.  The scar tissue then is part of the healing of the damaged structure. One of the treatments for loose stifles was to inject and iodine solution in the tissues around the loose ligaments to cause the same effect.

With external blistering the horseman could see the evidence on the horse's skin with surface burning, hence "blistering."  With internal blisters, there is no visible evidence, except perhaps, some swelling.

Today, with the development of stem cell therapy, the idea is to inject stem cells in the damaged area in order to encourage new tissue to develop instead.  The horse world is well ahead of human medicine where this is concerned. Equine stem cells are reaped from the horse's own fatty tissue. These stem cells are much better programmed to grow into ligament/tendon/cartilage as they are more like that tissue.  Right now, my doctor reaps stem cells from my blood serum and that helps the cartilage in my knees regenerate.

But, the prolotherapy I get along with it is essentially a blistering, using a sucrose solution to irritate the ligaments. It's one step into the future and one step back at the same time.

Either way, the steps I take afterward are pretty challenging. It really makes me appreciate how more courageous a horse is when he's undergone a similar treatment and then is expected to hand walk or, in the case of stifles, exercise.

Amazing creatures, these horses of ours.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

OK, Knees Are Done

Lots of Needles

I won't go into detail for the squeamish, but I had a lot of needles injecting stuff into my knees.

The right knee did have a bit of fluid which the doctor drew out, and it feels better for sure.  The other treatment does take a while to really take effect, but some things feel a bit better already.  Mind you, I do not expect to be pain free at any point, but the really annoying pain should be gone now

The rest of the treatment takes a while to go into effect. For the ligaments, it's kind of like an internal blister--designed to irritate them into building some scar tissue to tighten them.  For the rest, it's essentially a stem cell therapy which helps heal and build cartilage in my knees.  The doctor also treated the tendon in back of my left knee that had some issues, again encouraging it to heal itself.  So it's a matter of pressing on, some of the pain eased, the rest just kind of gradually lessening as the injections take effect.

I am kind of like a horse in layup, except that I know exactly what the internal damage is and am well aware that some of it cannot be fixed, so I just need to cope. And, unlike a horse, I also am pretty well aware of what I can and cannot do, and what I should and should not do.

My appointment took up the entire afternoon.  Obviously, I didn't do much else all day.  I just got back from an Planning Board Meeting which was interesting, and I think I'm worn out.

Enough for one day, I guess.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Finally Got A Thunderstorm

Some Rain at Last

Unfortunately, yesterday,  I waited too long to go to the pool, and as I got there, they were closing the water due to thunder and lightning in the area. One of the supervisors suggested I wait around, but I could tell by the look of the sky that the storms were not going to be short.

I was right. It started raining a bit by the time I got back home and the storm rolled in for at least an hour and a half. It wasn't violent, fortunately but there was a nice steady rain for a while.  I stood outside in it in my bathing suit for a while to make up for the lack of a swim.  Of course it wasn't quite the same, but it did cool me off and was kind of a "back to my childhood" experience. Fun.

Today, I went to the Township offices to deliver the map showing where the new horse warning road signs need to be installed.  Again, these are to warn drivers that there are horses in the area and that NJ State Law requires them to slow to 25MPH when there are horses on/near the road.  I took a bit of a tour around the area just to check on all the local stables so I could figure out where the best places would be for the signs. Now it's in the Township's hands.

I also looked at the appraisals on the Dog Park property the Township is purchasing.  I did find some interesting tidbits that might be useful in the future.  And, I picked up a copy of the Township Master Plan reexamination report which shows all kinds of information about how the Township planners/administration so now I have to study that for future issues in town.

I did get to swim today. I also got my hair cut and a chiropractic adjustment. I did go shopping on the way home. For good or ill, I did not buy any clothes....well, I did get a swimsuit bottom on sale in a color I wanted to match a top I already had...and I bought a new rug for my bedroom.  I've been looking for a braided rug and sure enough, I found one on sale.

When I got home, I was greeted by Patchadoodle who has now decided that not only is being an indoor cat kind of cool, but playing with me is even better.  I have a feathery thing on a stick he likes, the laser pointer and, fortunately an electric toy called "Undercover Mouse" that keeps him occupied while I do something else. He is quite a clever kitty and really has figured out how to relate to humans--or me at least--in a very clear way.  He responds to my voice, likes to sit with me for cuddles, and now knows how to very cutely paw at my arm to get me to play with him. He is quite the charmer.

Knee doctor tomorrow, so I am hoping things will improve soon.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Swimming in the Rain

Bit of a Shower
Not enough rain to really wet the earth, but at least a little. The only problem is that it brought back the humidity.

This morning was already promising steamy if the sun does come out. Clouds are the only thing keeping it tolerable outside.

No significant horse news to report as my knees are still bad.  The right one felt good on Saturday but yesterday it was back to sore. The left one isn't too good either and that's the reason I messed up the right one more than usual.  Doctor on Wednesday, so I can only hope.

Meanwhile, I have started the chore of sorting my clothes again. I have TONS of clothes.  Surprisingly enough, while I was teaching, I wore nearly all of them. But now, in retirement, I need to think about what I actually need as opposed to what I have.

So I am making several piles.  Get rid of. Barn stuff. Summer leisure stuff. Winter leisure stuff. Nice summer stuff and nice winter stuff.

My aunt used to have a rule that if you didn't wear it in a year, you didn't need it. I am trying to follow that rule.  Wish me luck. Aside from horses, clothes and shoes are my vice.

I did go for a swim yesterday as noted. It was only about 75 F out, but surprisingly, even after I got out of the water it didn't feel too cold.  The water was chilly when I first went in since the nights have been cold, but as they often say, once you were wet and actually swimming, it felt good.  I did 12 laps, as I've been doing. While I could do more, I start to get a little bored after the 12th one, so I stop.  I don't want to ruin the concept.

Once this pool closes for the season, I have some other options. The first is to go to the pool at the County College where I was teaching in the Spring.  Since I am still an employee as a substitute, that is a possibility.  There is also an athletic club much closer where a friend of mine works.  I have not yet seen the pool, but it might be OK.  Apparently they charge by the month, so it could work out.  If I go to the college, I would not swim every day as it's a pretty long drive.  I'll see how it all works out.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Another Pretty Day

We're having a lovely break in the weather. Low humidity and moderating temperatures with a nice breeze.

My knee felt "almost" good enough to try out, but I decided better safe than sorry.  I did not even go swimming, partially because it was cooler out and also because it was the weekend when the pool is very busy.  I was a bit chilled by yesterday's swim, so I kind of figured today would be even chillier.

Just excuses, actually. I was in lazy mode, that's for sure. I didn't sleep well when I went to bed last night after falling asleep on the couch with the TV on.  That put me out really late to snack the Boys so everything was messed up.

However, that does not quite explain the Boys' behavior this morning when I went out to give them breakfast. All three were out in the pasture, grazing on who knows what.  I put all the feed and hay in, filled the water trough and then called them in.  Tucker started milling about, and at first it looked as of Toby was headed in.

Then, Tucker seemed to circle around him, almost blocking his path.  This routine repeated several times as no one seemed quite ready to come through the gate back into the paddock.  I finally walked out to the gate myself, and then partway into the pasture carrying a piece of baling twine to use as a neck rope.  Almost at once, Tucker moved over to me and seemed ready to follow me in.  No need of a lead rope at all.

But he did keep looking at the woods to his right where the gate out of the riding arena is.  He seemed very wary of that area  until he got into his stall and started chowing down.  Once he came in, Tucker and Chance were not far behind and things settled quickly into the normal morning routine.

Now, I did notice that the turkeys were on my side lawn very early --around 6 AM.  Even though the horses are well used to them, I do notice they do tend to keep an eye on the birds when they are about.  I know the Tom would stand up for his flock of hens if he felt threatened, so it could be something happened.

Then again, who knows what beasties lurk in that forest. We did have a coyote a few years ago--I shudder to think--and some of the raccoons are pretty big.

Nothing like living next to 1200 acres of deep green woodlands.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cool Day

Still Lame--Me. That Is

But that's me, not the horses.  Everyone looks just fine to me. So I have three horses to ride and my knee is still sore and a bit swollen--where I think the fluid is.  I did think about lungeing, but that too requires lots of footwork.  I did manage to do some cleaning in the barn, but that was it.

It was cool and damp out, with very intermittent showers. We really have been short on rain.  Since the winter and spring were so wet, I am guessing that the water supply is still OK as I haven't heard any reports of shortages.  Around here the bulk of the water supply is underground rather than from rivers, streams or reservoirs. That's why I am such a fanatic about trying to protect the aquifer areas where the water filters through the surface soils/sands into underground areas.

I get my water from two wells on my property--one for the barn and one for the house. I'm pretty sure they are at different depths but they well could be tapping into the same underground supply even though they are perhaps 200 feet away from each other.  I am not sure how deep either one is, so it's hard to tell.

But regardless, I am always conscious of trying not to use water recklessly.  The bulk of the Township has municipal water lines, a controversy in this election because of the high water and sewer bills and the additional water and sewer tax we all pay.  Yes, I said, "we all pay."  I have to pay too and I have absolutely no access to public water or sewer on my road.  Not exactly fair, and something worth mentioning in our campaign.

So, I lieu of doing anything with the horses, or swimming since it was a bit too cool for that--amazing--I didn't do too much worthwhile.  But when I went out to feed in the afternoon, the turkey flock was out and about and I managed to get one focused picture of baby turkey sitting on the fence below mommy turkey.  It's not the best portrait of the little guy/gal but it does give you a sense of perspective as to the size difference between parent and child.
The little thing on the bottom rail is the baby and on top is mom.  The rest of the pictures are kind of out of focus as in my rush to try to snap them before everyone disappeared I didn't set the focus--something I need to do when using the zoom.

Here too is a picture of Patchadoodle quite happily settled in the house.  I have to laugh a bit as I had the bay windows installed partially for my kitties and to be frank, the other cats don't often enjoy them.  The bay windows started an almost entire house remodeling about ten years ago that I've been paying for ever since. So it's kind of ironic that now Patch seems to be reaping the benefits.

At any rate, here he is, looking, I think quite content with his new status as "house cat."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Status Quo

Hot, Humid, Sore
I did go swimming again and then for a ride on the Lazy River, but as far as doing much else...nope.  The knee is still a pain and will be until I get to my doctor.

Getting the barn chores done in the morning is more than enough for my knee and I didn't have much else to do except to to to the Township Council meeting at night.  Since I am running for office, I need to keep up on Township issues.  Not much going on there aside from the budget.  It's August and the Town still does not have a 2010 budget in place.  They have finally settled on one with a 5 cent tax increase, which means around $50 a year to the average homeowner.  While that may not seem like much, add up such increases over the last 20 years and it starts to add up.  Actually, my taxes have almost doubled since I took over the house.  I won't quote how much, since most of you would shudder, but suffice it to say, I could easily keep two more horses including feed, vet bills and shoeing for an entire year.  (That's shoeing at $150 a pop every 5-6 weeks)

Living in New Jersey is expensive.  Our new worry cropped up on Behind the Bit  the other day.  The Governor is planning on taking away State support of the racetracks.  I posted a rather long explanation of what the ramifications of this move would be for recreational horsemen in the State.  The horse is our State animal, but over-development has taken up acres and acres of farmland, both horse farms and crop lands.

If racing leaves the State and the race horse training./breeding farms go, tack and feed stores will be hard-pressed to stay open as a good percentage of their business comes from the racing industry.  As well, vets and farriers will be likely to go to places where there is more business, especially if a large part of their business is with the tracks.  According to the law of supply and demand, costs will then go up to the horsemen left in the State.  It's a worrisome scenario.

Politics are in play here.  The tracks could be rejuvenated with the addition of gaming machines such as slot machines, but that puts them in competition with the casinos in Atlantic City.  Instead of finding some kind of compromise government forces simply want the easy, "just deal with it" approach, and our Governor seems to prefer the "Just do it my way, " approach.

For all our horses, I hope there is a better way to solve some of the State's financial woes.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Did I Say It Was Hot?

I Know I Did--Too Many Times Already  

This weather is unrelenting. The weekend did moderate a bit, but no we are back in the upper 90's.  The Boys seems to be hanging out in the barn with the fans blowing on them so they do have some respite.

My knee still hurts, of course. I did call the doctor and now have an appointment for next week, so that's a bit better. The nurse assured me the doctor could both drain my knee and treat it with the PRP therapy on the same day, so that's good.  It's still longer than I really want to wait, but my options are limited. If I go to the orthopedic surgeon, they are likely to want all kinds of tests, etc, and I'll be reminded of the replacement option, something I am not quite ready for.

I feel better sticking with the doctor I know, treatment I understand, and the non-surgical approach to it all.

Fortunately, I am able to swim and I did so again today.  I also took three trips around the Lazy River, getting a bit of sun and just relaxing.  It did feel good just kind of floating along, not thinking about much.

Patchadoodle seems to have settled into the house really well.  The other cats are tolerating him just fine and I did some play therapy with everyone both today and yesterday.  Chasing a feather thing on a stick seems to be a fairly universal cat instinct and as the other guys watched Patches bat at the toy, I think there was a bit of feline bonding going on.

I'm glad as Patches really is a sweet kitty who loves to cuddle. He makes a nice addition to the household.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Not Much New To Report

Sang In Church

I had three solos this morning in church.  All spirituals, so I was quite comfortable with them.  I've sung them all before:  Wade in the Water, Steal Away, Poor Wayfaring Stranger.  It went very well.

After church, we went out lunch and had a good time.

The weather was a lot nicer today with at least some lower humidity. But, as you might expect, I didn't do anything with the Boys.  My knee was really sore today and I slept badly last night because of it.  I am calling my doctor tomorrow and perhaps another doctor if I have trouble getting an appointment.  Trouble is, if I go to the other orthopedic office I'll be back into limbo land as they just do regular stuff and not the therapy that has worked so far.

I guess we'll just have to see what I can get done to ease some of the discomfort.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

No Rain, but Water

On My Knee, That Is....

I think that's what's going on with my right knee...a fluid build up.  I will have to call my doctor back, because the last time this happened, he would not do the regular treatment even after he drained the fluid in case there was an infection. So, I don't want to spend the money on the kit for the PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections and prolotherapy--to tighten the ligaments--unless I am going to be able to get the treatment at that visit.  The big trouble is that my medical insurance will not pay for the treatments as they are considered "experimental" and even though I know they work, it doesn't matter.

My hay man goes to my doctor as well and has run into the same problem with the insurance. He fought with the insurance company to no avail and my doctor has essentially given up, at  least for now, even submitting claims for payment.  So, I can't afford to waste money on two doctor visits I have to pay for.

Bummer, but so typical when someone else has the right to make decisions about my health care.

On the kitty front, Patches seems to be adapting well to living inside. This morning, he was sharing the hall/living room area with the other kitties.  There was still some hissing, but then I took out the laser pointer and started playing with everyone and community spirit started to develop.  Reggie and Scooter are most accepting of the newcomer, while DJ is still a bit uncertain.  Church was off somewhere in a huff.  I have for now closed the attic door so he can't go upstairs to adventure and he is not happy about that.  I'm not sure what the allure is up there except for an occasional mouse that somehow gets in through the eaves, but Church likes to spend a lot of time up there.  I wasn't too keen on having Patches vanish into the upper spaces--my attic is rather full of "stuff"--until I was sure he was socialized to the rest of the house, so I closed the door.  Miffed, Church is not speaking to me right now.

Patches did disappear into the back rooms again when I turned on the television.  It didn't help that I put on The Dog Whisperer. *L*  I guess he thinks there are more people in the house when the set's on, so he vanishes.  It'll just take some time for him to get used to such things.

The weather has moderated a bit today, but riding is still out.  No point, again. Bad knee and totally unfit horses. Like they say, "I'll get around to it,"  eventually. The Boys have shelter, water, fans, fly spray, fly sheets, good food, hay, places to roam, apples to eat, and each others' company.  I don't think they mind not working too much.

Hope to get some more swimming in today.  And speaking of the weather...which I wasn't....we REALLY need some rain around here. Even the thunderstorms are passing us by.

Friday, August 06, 2010

K'need I Say It?

Too Hot to Ride

The oppressive heat continues. For two nights now, I have left the fans on in the barn.  The air has been still, hot and humid, even after midnight.  Of course, I am getting supersensitive to the heat, so that doesn't help.

The knee is still painful, although Tylenol helps.  I can get around, but it is painful.  I swam the other day and by the time I was done with my laps, it actually felt better.  But yesterday, I didn't go for a swim because it didn't feel good enough.  It's not necessarily the swim that does me in, but Wednesday, it was the walk from the parking lot.  I got to the pool around 6 PM and the lot was packed!! I did find a "not a mile away" spot, but it was still a hike and once you get in the main gate, the lap pool is at the far end of the place--nearly where I'd parked the car.  So I was making a big circle.  Yesterday, I just wasn't up for it.

The County Fair is going on too and I really want to go for a while.  I figure I'll pull out the crutches and use them just to take some weight off the knee.  When I went to the supermarket yesterday, just being able to lean some of my weight on the cart made a huge difference, so that's the solution for now.

Since there is no real horse news except that the Boys are fine, I do have a cat report.  It looks as if Patches really doesn't mind being inside at all.  With just a little coaxing, he came out from under the sofa and cuddled with me, purring like a buzz saw.  When I went to bed, he started meowing at the door so I opened it to let him, eventually have the run of the house.  He was very curious and quite an adventurer.

On the negative side, there has been a bit of hissing and growling from the other boys.  I am a bit surprised, mostly because they are a very sweet lot of cats.  The bulk of the noise has come from DJ and Church, although I think I heard Scooter hiss too.  Reggie hasn't seemed too bothered yet, but we'll see.  Fortunately, there has been no physical contact and Patches appears to be handling it well.  Basically, he just kind of walks on by the "hisser" keeping one eye on him, but not at all challenging the issue. He doesn't seem afraid, or even intimidated, but quietly continues on his way, almost as if the other cat's not there.

I'll have to observe his tail language a bit more closely, but he's keeping it up in the air, so he is not cowering and is pretty confident.  I can, to some degree, understand the other boys' uncertainty the last cat I brought in was very aggressive--he had been declawed and then either lost or thrown out by someone. Declawed cats feel very helpless and often become biters as an alternate means of protection.  Buddy was a problem that way and never did manage to socialize.  I'm hoping Patches will be a different story.

At any rate, so far, so good.  He may make the house cat grade yet.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Not Happy

Kitty On the Window

Short report now, more later as the day goes on.

Patches is not happy in the sunroom.  The vet suggested I keep him confined for about ten days.  So he's in the sunroom for now--hiding under the couch.  When I first let him out of the cat carrier, he lept up on the back of the couch and proceeded to climb up one of the windows--not good for the woodwork.  I plucked him off and cuddled him for a while.  He was fine for that, but as soon as I let him go again, he started prowling for a hidey hole.

That was the last I've seen of him without kneeling down myself to peer under the sofa.

However, in the middle of the night, there was a lot of noise from the room which again sounded as if Patches was attempting once more to climb the windows to get out. Thunks, scratches, clawing noises, etc. I got up too late to see him, as by then the poor little guy had given up.

I guess ten days will be enough to see if he is going to adjust to being indoors. When I had Mommycat spayed a couple years ago, I thought she might decide that inside was nice. It was a very cold winter, so I kept her in longer than needed for full recovery, but she never did acclimate. I'm not keen about keeping any outdoor cats here as the road is SO dangerous, but if being in is too stressful, then outdoors it is.  Mommy is living down at my next door neighbor's house and she shows up here once in a while.  If Patches decides he wants to be outside, I will honor his needs.

It's not the best place for him to be, but I won't torture him with confinement if he can't tolerate it.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Good News, Bad News

Took Patches to the Vet

The title of the blog?  The story of my morning.

Good news, I was able to rather easily put Patchadoodle in the cat carrier and he was scared, but quiet. The drive to the vet is only about 5 minutes or so and there was no trauma.

Good news, I only had to wait about 5 minutes or less in the vet's office.

Bad news, Patches panicked when the vet tech took him out to weigh him and in the process scratched her.

Good news, the scratching was from trying to escape, not any kind of attack, and he did not bite her.

Good news, he quieted down for me and let me hold him and even weigh him, so he trusts me pretty well.

Bad news, I found a flea on him and a wood tick.  Both are now dead and gone, but they were there.

Good news, he was settled enough to be pretty calm for the vet and the general exam didn't seem to show up any physical issues with his overall condition, heart, eyes, ears, etc.

Bad news, he is not a neutered male, but a tom cat, although perhaps 2 years old, so not quite, apparently mature enough to really act "tommy."  (He has hung around my house instead of roaming off looking for ladies.)

Bad news, he will need to be neutered.

Good news, the vet was able to admit him today and will do the surgery this afternoon. He will also be treated for fleas and given the basic vaccines.

Good news, I will probably pick him up later today.

Bad news, it's going to cost around $450.

Good news, it's going to cost around $450....I was expecting even more. *sigh*

While I hope to give Patchadoodle the option of becoming a house cat, if he does not like it, he can stay outdoors here with the promise of good food and good care. He will be having some blood tests for feline leukemia and feline aids.  As long as he's negative, then being with my other kitties is OK. So for now, it's kind of a wait and see situation.

So, from all we can tell, Patches first showed up here about a year ago. That means he was only about a year old, or younger when he was abandoned by someone. Since he's accepted my handling so easily and seems to enjoy coming on to the totally enclosed back porch to sit/sleep by the door into the house, I am certain he was never a feral cat. At some point in his life, he lived with people and was probably kept inside. What a horror it must have been for him to suddenly find himself cast aside and left to fend for himself.

It's taken me a year to befriend him. Here's hoping he can now live a content life as one of my kitties. It's the least I can do for the little guy.

Monday, August 02, 2010

K'need a Rest Again

Darn It Anyhow

The right knee hurts again today. I made an appointment with my doctor, but there was nothing open until August 26.  However, they will call me if there is a cancellation before that.  That's a long time to be limping around like this.

But, Tylenol helps and as long as I don't have to walk for miles, it's OK.  I'll just take it day by day as each day seems to be a bit different. Knowing my knees, chances are that this will get mostly better on its own anyhow. They are messed up enough that it's just one more pain to deal with.

If I do end up getting replacement surgery, I hope I can put it off for a while yet. The reviews out there are mixed. Some people have had fast, easy recoveries and others....months of misery. Hard to say where I'd be. My left knee surgery was a breeze, but the right knee took forever to get better and until I went to this doctor I'm dealing with now, recovery had plateaued with a swollen joint.  His therapy really helps and I've put it off too long this time.

Once again, I decided not to go swimming. It's cloudy out again with the promise of rain, so perhaps it's just as well.  But as soon as we have the next nice day, I'm back to the pool, even if it just means cruising the Lazy River.

The Boys seem to be spending more time outdoors these last few days. For certain, Tucker has figured out the apple tree possibilities and I think Toby has too. But tonight. Chance and Tucker were in the "apple" paddock, while Toby was off by himself in the front paddock by the barn. It always interests me to see how they group themselves.

Toby, the alpha horse, is usually not too happy off by himself and if the other two get out of sight, he calls for them.  Chance, on the other hand, is completely independent and hasn't a worry in the world about where the others are. Tucker?? Hard to say. He seems to switch alliances as best benefits him.  He is not very vocal, although when he was locked in his stall because of his hoof, he did make some fuss if the other two vanished off into the distant pasture.  It was definitely nothing like Toby when he's locked in, but rather out of character for normally content Tucker.

But, when it comes time for shoeing, I always try to keep at least one other horse inside when Toby or Tucker are being done as they both get restless.  Boy, imagine having to stand quietly for the farrier when your friends are out doing something else! *G*

Just goes to show how nature tends to win over training far too often.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Lungeing the Good One

And Watching the Naughty One Run Around 

I took advantage of the cloud cover this afternoon to do a little lungeing.  Nothing to vigorous as it was still pretty humid/warm and my knees were in braces.  Tucker was quite ready to be caught and equally ready to do some work.  I set up a little jump for the end of the session and once, when the line slipped out of my hand, he jumped it on his own, then stopped to look at me as if to say, "Where the heck are you?"   He was moving really well and it wasn't much trouble to get forward.

Then, I went to get Chance.  Naughty boy. Unfortunately, he has chosen Toby as his new role model and has learned to run away from me.  It's not really nasty, but I do think he seems to think it's part of the game and I enjoy it.  He galloped to a fro, stirring up the other two Boys for a good frolic, while I just stood there, waiting.

At one point, he took off into the pasture with Toby hot on his heels.  Tucker started to go, then stopped and stood near me, looking off where the other two had gone as if to say, "What's that nonsense all about...huh, Jean?"  When the two came galloping back full tilt, he bounced around for a while with them, then came back over to me for a chin scratch.

Finally Chance decided to stop fooling around and stood quietly while I put the halter and lunge line on him.  I kept his session really short because he'd already had his own warm up.  He finished up jumping the little jump nicely, but he was upstaged by Tucker who'd managed to wander into the arena.  When I told him he had to get out, he trotted half way around, jumped the little jump beautifully and exited, stage right.  It was just too cute.  He seemed to proud of himself.

After everyone had cooled down, I gave them each a dose of Ivermectin paste wormer, and then fed dinner.

I was thinking of a swim again, but decided one more day of taking it easy on my knees would be better, so I took a shower instead.  It's not quite the same, but at least I got wet.