I got into a conversation about end of life issues with horses this weekend and I thought I would share a little story of this lovely Arab mare, Lallie. She's no longer with me but I will never forget her.
Her fancy registered name was Commons Lalique, but to me, she was just Lallie. Like "my girl lollipop" which I sang to her as a greeting.
She and her herd mate Beau came to me by way of their own retirement of sorts. Their "family" grew up and out of interest with horses. I was just getting back to them after 30 years without a horse in my life.
They had to go as a pair--and at 13 and 15 years, they weren't spring chickens. In fact, Lallie had a sore knee and a noticeable limp but I was not to be deterred by some silly little affliction. I willed those horses to be mine and after the owners were sure I was going to provide for them I rounded up a guy and a trailer and took them to a friend's farm where they would live until Don and I had a country place of our own. I made the 12 mile drive each morning before work to feed and again after work. I relished every moment I could spend with them.
When the time came to move to our forever home at Catfish Corner I decided I would bring Lallie the 100 mile trip south first. She would be more comfortable in the trailer by herself with her gimpy leg. We arrived on a Friday and I planned to go up Monday after the weekend traffic to get the other two.
Lallie did fine on the trip, but when we got here she was noticeably upset that her friends weren't with her. After some calling out and running around looking for them, she settled in--for a while. I heard her whinnying over night....she was hanging at the north end of the field....just watching. Saturday was a long day for her. I just kept telling her her friends would be here soon. But my consolations weren't enough. She was so sad!! By Sunday she was despondent.
Monday morning I led her out to the pasture down the lane. She had the big grassy field to herself and sure enough, she ambled out to the northernmost part and looked for her friends. I got myself up to Frederic and picked up her buddies -- it seemed they were feeling anxious to go, too. The nearly 6 hour round trip went by quickly as I thought about the happy reunion that was going to happening soon.
As I led Ranger and Cerra into their new pasture there were squeals of delight! They couldn't wait to see each other. I have never seen happier horses! But what happened next was above any expectation..........
The three amigos set off to frolic in their new pasture when Lallie abruptly stopped about 30 feet into her joyous reunion. She turned away from her herd and walked straight back to me and buried her head into my belly. I just loved on her and said, "I told you I was going to bring them!" She told me as plain as could be--"thank you so much". She let me pet her a little longer and then she turned back to her friends and trotted off.
It still brings tears to my eyes. And for once, a horse story with a happy ending.
It has taken days and a trip to the chiropractor to get the 20+ inches of snow moved around here. I finally just needed to stay in and BAKE something. Don had been craving fudge, and I really wanted to get some holiday goodies made. I should have just taken a nap.
The baking gods were just not with me! The fudge turned into a brick of solidified lava. I needed an ice chisel to remove it from the pan.
Likewise, the sunbuckles decided they didn't want to pop out of their tins! I have never had this happen before so I'm redesigning the crumbly remains into a crust for a vanilla pudding dessert.
At least it was a cooking disaster that still tastes good!
What a rotten weekend. 20" of snow in a REAL blizzard, frightful winds, and then all of this. Sunday was a day of grief--on top of grief. We were so sad about losing our Helga, when even worse news was just around the corner.
Friend Lois's daughter had delivered a stillborn little boy, Drew, earlier that morning. Everyone was so happy waiting for this little boy to be born and to have such a horrible turn of events was cause for overwhelming grief.
Helga's condition is about the same---so we are being very patient about her condition. She takes prednisone twice a day, another pill to protect her stomach, three vitamin K's, a dose of thyroid medication and a twice a day Amoxycillin. Yuck! That's enough to turn my stomach!
But she's such a good trouper. She knows she doesn't feel good and seems confused about what's happening to her. She is able to go about four hours between trips outside now, so everyone is getting to rest better.
The prednisone is to turn off her immune system which was attaching itself. She will have another blood test and Wednesday and we'll see if Dr. Gilbertson is comfortable reducing her dosage. It will take several weeks to wean her from the original 4 pills, we are at three now, down to zero. At that point we hope her body will have had a chance to reset and that it doesn't detect a threat it needs to defend. All this while testing to make sure her liver isn't getting killed in the process. It's a balancing act.
So.....like I said, we are just being very patient and hoping all will end well for our dear Helga. Thanks for all the concern and kind wishes...... they are so very much appreciated!
Between trips to the vet with Helga, I managed to get my work on this bird panel done. It measures 18" and it is going to be hung in the center of a 36" round window. The last week has been so disjointed with trying to get projects done. Poor Helga is still battling a blood condition that has defied diagnosis. We are walking zombies because we are up several times a night with her.
My etching projects have been driving me insane. This example has several blowouts on the stencil so it will have to be redone. My ultraviolet light exposure unit has developed a short in it -- the timer isn't working consistently so my stencils are either under exposed or over exposed.
The best thing of this weekend has been that--SO FAR--we haven't had the freezing rain that the Twin Cities had. Keeping the fingers crossed that the coming week can be better than the last one!
Don was disturbed to discover Helga urinating blood late yesterday afternoon. Eeekk! He called the vet immediately and they told us to catch a sample and bring it into the office this morning. Later in the evening, I noticed her right eye was bulging and was turning color and not reflecting the light right. We headed into the office this morning with her in tow and hadn't realized until she was examined that her gums were bleeding!
She was immediately given Vitamin K to help her blood to clot---the vet suspected she had ingested rat poison!! We never, no, I mean NEVER have or ever had rat poison on our property--for this very reason. We are completely at a loss as to how this could have happened.
The vet took several vials of blood for testing and we hope to find out by this afternoon if it might remotely be tick related, or if it indeed was due to being poisoned. She is also sending a sample to the U of M for a clotting profile to determine if there are any other reasons for this to be happening--like hemophilia.
It's been a very disturbing morning to say the least. On the good side, her blood-filled eye has normal pressure and although her condition is serious, it's not at a critical stage so she has gotten treatment in time.
We were just starting to watch the Badger game at 11 when I thought I saw antlers. Here they were attached to this cool guy. He was busy raiding the bird seed when I noticed he has been fighting and must have gotten an antler inserted into his right eye.
It looks like he might be blinded or partially so. It was looking white and watery. Hope he doesn't get too infected. It can't be too fun trying to escape being shot by hunters with only one eye.
Long time no post! I had the camera on the way to the barn and caught the new crop of chickens under the bird feeder. The only remaining rooster has been busy with his two dozen or so hens.
The Silverlace Wyandottes are gorgeous with their dotty feathers. The Black Sex Links are so much prettier than their name. I call them the Blackwatch hens--their glossy black, hunter green and navy blue and russet feathers remind me of the Blackwatch Plaid fabric that is such a classic.
The first new eggs from this group are beginning to arrive! We have been living on about 4 eggs a day all summer--and today I brought in 7--three very tiny new eggs from our new hensies!
I found this late bloomer yesterday while I was cleaning out my window boxes before I store them for winter. The empty chrysalis is just behind and she was just hanging out, presumably drying off. I snapped a couple shots and thought it might be a good idea to move her to a sunny spot so she could warm up.
Please pray that this lovely late bloomer makes it to a warmer climate. I hope it finds it's way in this world.
I had the mid-morning with Sandy Gilbert and some of the special horses at Refuge Farms! A big trailer load of hay was due to be delivered at the Farms so it was a good time to show up for my "annual" visit. I should be there many more times in the year--but---today ended up being the day.
I had some time before the hay came so I spent time in the first paddock with three lovelies. Sandy said I could either deburr horses or pick stalls--since both are always in demand. Well......I love nothing more than grooming horses so I arrived with my little kit of pony beauty shop supplies and went to work on the burdocks.
Josephina was in the stall with Elizabeth and was pretty persistent that she should be first! Then I moved on to Elizabeth and--with her little bit of mane and tail--that didn't take long.
Lanna - a new best friend!
Then there was big Lanna. What a huge beauty! She is as tall at her shoulder as I am tall and just massive...and blind. I worked my way toward her and let her know I was a friend...sniff, sniff.....yeah, I was ok. I smell like a horse! She just sank into the brush strokes and let me pull out the nasty stick-tight burrs. Her long locks released the offenders and her lush mane and tail were freed. BIG hugs to this gal! It was such a beautiful day to be in the presence of these gentle giants.
Josephina (l) and Elizabeth
To read more about the Sanctuary Herd at Refuge Farms, just follow the link. Each horse has it's own story there and all are so powerful and compelling. You can't imagine how these wonderful creatures have suffered to finally find their refuge--in Refuge Farms.
Martin and Gretchen Wilson, of Wabasha, MN, won the Celtic Claddagh bevel cluster from last week's art tour. Thanks to everyone who entered the raffle! Between gourd and pumpkin sales, the raffle and other donations, $250 was raised for The Herd!
I had the camera with me when I brought the horses back home to the barn this afternoon. The chickens have been busy on the pumpkins since I placed them before last weekends art show and I finally decided it was time to show off their artistic pursuits.
Lois and Anders came for a visit today! I haven't seen Anders in person since last year's visit and he has really grown into a very charming two-year-old. We went for a walk out to see the horses and we found out he doesn't like the geese AT ALL!
Anders gets a little closer to offering Emmy a treat.
Thanks to everyone who entered our drawing and the Refuge Farms raffle!
We had such a hugely successful weekend at the Fresh Art Tour--hundreds of visitors came to Catfish Corner! I had a drawing for a green and gold mission stained glass panel and also held a raffle for a celtic design bevel cluster. The Hon. Don P. Anderson was assigned the duty of drawing the winning tickets and has at this time completed the selection.
The Refuge Farm Raffle - Celtic Bevel winner is: Gretchen Wilson from Wabasha, Minnesota!
The Mission Panel in green and gold was won by Joanie Pfeiffer, all the way from Omaha, Nebraska!
I hope to get photos of our lucky folks with their glass panels and will share them soon.
In conjunction with the Fresh Art Tour I have donated the Irish Claddagh (Heart in Hands) to benefit the works of Sandra Gilbert, a cause close to my heart, Refuge Farms in Spring Valley, Wisconsin. I love that it's possible for art to benefit horses! It's on display at the studio and I already have entries from visitors who were in the studio yesterday.
The bad photo is reflecting from the sunny window, but trust me, it's beautiful!
Tickets to enter are $1 each--you may enter as many times as you wish! 100% of the entries goes to Refuge Farm so it's a winner either way.
Plus, it's easy with the "Donate" button which sends the money directly to Refuge Farm! One entry will be submitted per dollar--and you will receive an email back so you know what your numbers are.
Entries will be accepted until NOON Monday since I was late getting this up.
Here we go....tomorrow is the first day of the Fall Art Tour. The preparations have been going on for months. Don's workshop area is totally inundated with my STUFF!
I went out to the green shed looking for something to use for displays and found these three small nets that would be a great compliment to the large net I set up over Don's work area earlier this month. Hey! We have a theme going now! Stars and angels shall adorn.
The ladder is decked out to hold the Moravian star display.
The jewelry display. Necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
Don even put a price tag on the trappers canoe. It was built in the late 40's and was used in the bottoms during the winter trapping season. A flat bottom that was easy to drag over the ice--from either direction.
The young roosters (as yet unnamed) are getting pretty big and are trying out their new lives. Chasing hens, and trying to do a proper cockadoodle-doooo are their main interests. Their voices are in the process of changing and we have been chuckling about the "tin horns" going off in the yard. Wilted sounding wails have been building to a feeble rooster crow. Each day they get a little stronger so one of these mornings we should have a real start-of-the-day COCKADOODLE DOOOOO!
Their other interest--that in the multitude of females, has been a work in progress also. The older hens are still chasing them off the feed piles so I don't think they will have success soon in that department either. Doesn't stop them from thinking about it though.
I was just visiting my blog and deciding what to write about when I was dismayed to see Russ Feingold's face in the google ad box. GOOD GRIEF! I DON'T PICK THESE ADS and I am going to find out how to get political ads blocked!
Just FYI----Where's the TEA PARTY when I need it?!
Talk about disappointing. I've been watching the chrysalis every day and it just seemed stalled out. There was a reason for that. Yesterday I noted that a small hole had been chewed into the top and the developing butterfly was no longer viable. Drat. We were looking forward to a lovely monarch to hatch from Catfish Corner. Then I discovered, to top it off, one of the barred rock hens decided to die which added to the cheery mood.
Exercise seemed in order so I went out to the garden and dug up pails full of potatoes. Now that's a treasure hunt--for gold. Yukon Gold to be exact! I have some huge beauties and lots of "small potatoes", too. The reds are plentiful as are the russets. I still have lots more to dig, but they can hold on for awhile. The tomatoes and peppers are winding down but I managed to fill a couple more pails. After awhile, Don and Helga came out to check on me and I suggested they go back for the truck to haul home the bounty.
In years past, I have always highlighted what I call the "Mutant of the Year". It's usually in the carrot or radish department and I was tickled to find this diminutive example to present as this year's winner. Isn't she cute?!
My wild side flower garden is sporting several milk weeds and upon close examination I found many Monarch caterpillars. The munchfest was in full swing a week or so ago and I haven't seen any since. However, I found one lone chrysalis and I'm keeping an eye on it.
Fran trailered in with her two horses and I rode Cerra up to the nearby arena yesterday for a little horsey fun. The weather was so nice-- sunny, dry and breezy. It was the perfect day to get out and ride. I think we were up there for about four hours! Got some good instruction, too. Things to play with - with the horse and things to work on - on the human.
Little Jackie's life ended in the wee hours of Friday morning. He had been steadily declining this summer and even with recent daily fluids he couldn't go on. I didn't serve him well by letting him linger and for that I hope I will be forgiven. It was through my own selfishness that I just wasn't dealing with the severity of his illness. I always think I can make things better but such was not the case this time.
I'll miss his super soft "rabbit fur" and his quiet ways. He was my shy guy--who only recently came out of his secret world to join us in a way he hadn't before. I am so thankful he could share himself and be comforted in the final weeks of his life.
When it's too hot out to do anything else there are two things I like to do.
1. Sit in the basement with the spiders and play computer solitaire.
2. Work in the shop.
Working in the shop has been almost as cool as the basement. There are probably half the amount of spiders and it proves to be a lot more productive. My list of projects is long.... maybe longer than the heat wave.
Bob sent each of us one these cool Airborne hats. Airborne to me meant being thrown off my horse but now I have a new appreciation of the true meaning! Looks like a nice Sunday-go-to-meetin' hat to me.
I had the honor to construct three military themed lamp shades for our retired Army friend, Bob, who lives in Georgia.
Bob was married to my dear departed friend Betty. She started as my best friend's mom in the 60's and then ended up being an integral part of the Studio Works family. We worked, laughed, cried and played together for twelve years and beyond the studio years until she died in 2005.
So, long story short, Bob called me to arrange to have these shades made. Two shades are the same. One for him and one for his crew chief and the last one was designed to be donated to his military reunion auction next year.
This project has been on the drawing board for several months as I dreamed about how to replicate the military badges and service patches in miniature and in the right colors. The result was achieved by first making black and white art work of each element. The design was then transfered to a sandblast stencil and deeply etched onto the glass panels. After the panels were washed I filled in the depressions with black first and then painted in the individual colors. The panels were then baked in the oven to set the paint into a permanent state and the rest of the regular stained glass soldering took place.
It was an interesting project as I learned to use new techniques and tools.
We waited and waited as the storm line slowly made it's way from NW Minnesota. It took all day of sweltering in 93 degree temps and heavy humid air but about 9:45 pm it finally hit us. This is the first big wind we have had in a storm this summer and it snapped off two tree tops in our yard.
We were lucky this pile missed the nearby power line into the house. Don's going to be giving the chain saw a good workout. I think I'm busy today.
Our self appointed Mother Hen has been keeping a close eye on her charges. None of our previous broods have had the advantage of having a foster mom. This "Production Red" is such a sweetie. She first adopted the little Wyandotte rooster. She ran around and found the tastiest bugs--pointed them out to him and let him gobble them up. Then she would scratch up goodies--do her little cluck call and over he would come to eat her findings. Now the other youngsters are hanging closer, too. It pays! When it's time to go in for the night she nestles in the chick area and protectively spreads her wings over as many as she can. They are getting pretty big so not as many fit anymore.
It's relaxing to just sit and watch their little society. We have a big bushy tree that they gather under and hang out. Some of the older hens are grumpy and there are some territorial squabbles but for the most part everyone gets along.
Our new little crown prince is growing. He is a Wyan- dotte, but he looks like a Barred Rock hen. He is about twice the size of his sisters. I fear he might be the only rooster out of the four we started with since we have lost several to coyotes. The little fellas get bold and go to the edge of the yard which is prime hiding grounds for the predators. I was hoping to have more roosters, and we might, but this is the first one to show signs of development.
It was so blasted hot and humid yesterday that we lost one of our Barred Rock (right) hens (not this one!). The hot temps really take a toll on the older ones and this one in particular had been getting more feeble in the past week.
Don has been ordering new equipment to do some serious coyote trapping and having a dead chicken as prime bait should help.
The trap got tripped last night and no coyote. However, just after Don set it, this guy came strolling over and casually stuck his nose in the camera. This was the best shot--and he has some impressive new antler growth coming on.
Head count on chickens yesterday: 16 hens (down one more) and 26 chicks (down 2).
Helga picked up on scent last evening by the barn and she got all excited. She can appear pretty tough when there is no actual threat.
The general philosophy at Catfish Corner is that everyone can live here, predator or prey, as long as we all get along nicely with each other. That has worked for us for many years until the coyotes decided it wasn't good enough to just eat wild game.
A couple weeks ago I had the good fortune to pop a bold one out in the driveway who was trying to kill a chicken. After losing dozens of hens since spring it was very satisfying to even the score. After a couple quiet weeks without any losses we hoped they had moved on. However, this week we lost a baby goose so this means the war against coyotes is on again and this most recent attack has us looking for a more effective solution.
Don put meat out for bait by the green house and the trail camera to see if they can be drawn in. Last evening we got the pictures were were waiting for. Now he will set a trap out and hope this one comes back for another free meal. Hopefully it's his last one.
And yes, I did update the date and time on the camera!