Wednesday, May 16, 2012
From Jim: This morning Don, our good next door neighbor will bring his serious-big backhoe over and start digging the drainage for the upper barn! Hurray! The barn flooded several times this last winter during some of the biblical downpours-like 6 to 10 inches and hour. The current drainage was just overwhelmed. Don is a blessing. Dr. Darling will be here again today. There are a bunch of critters that need floats and we still have a few that have reached their time and will be getting their wings. Babe, our POA, and Cash, an OTT will be a last act of kindness today. They are now so old and so frail. We have loved both of them and I'll dedicate a whole blog to telling their stories. The sanctuary promises the animals that their welfare is the prime concern and that places the burden on us to do the right thing for them. We never like it and will never get used to it, but we will always honor our responsibility to the wonderful creatures. Thank Goodness for Dr. Darling. His wise and knowing counsel makes our difficult choices bearable. I hope you had a chance to read yesterday's blog. As I grow older, I realize that I don't know a lot, but I do know a few things. I know that we need to live our lives to fullest, everyday, all of the time. There's a limit on our time here. We need to make the most of every moment. I hope you have a wonderful and joyful day, full of the wonder and surprizes that are waiting just around the corner. Oh, and love on your critters. Those are good moments for sure!
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
From Jim: Yesterday was a hard day. It was jam packed with things that had to be done. It was Quest's time and that was really tough. It was a day to celebrate the little ones from the school that came to learn about the sanctuary and about our critters. There was a lot of hard work that had to get done so than the backhoe could get at the drainage work for the barn. Many fences that had to get moved and rebuilt. It was a school board meeting day-a chance to give back and insure that the kids would have a strong place to receive their education. It was really OK when it came time to put our heads on the pillow. And, today, we got up and got at the chores and took care of the herd-food and water and the odd pet or scratch or pat on the nose. Banjo, in particular, needed his pretty face rubbed. Juan asked to be in his "special" turn out, where he can spend his day eating and dozing in the shade of a big old oak tree. The modified goat pen needed some shoring up, as goats tend to leak through fences. Gotta love em! It'll be a little cooler today. That's a nice change. The sky is glorious and blue and beautiful. We're going to lunch with some really dear friends. Life will flow along. The art of being in the moment is always a work in progress. Worry and regrets and second guessing are the thieves of our present. We fret about the future and bury our now in the past. It's easy to do and such a waste. Life is about living and being in touch. It's about standing on the edge, not leaning back or forward too much. Our equine friends are so very good at sharing this with us. They accept what is and move forward. Their days are filled with living. They seek peace and know how to enjoy the content of their days. Yep! Yesterday was a hard day and that's really and truly OK. It was the day we had been given and we're grateful for it. Hope your day is wonderful and peaceful and joyful! Hope your heart sings!
Monday, May 14, 2012
From Jim: Quest was a big leapard Appalousa. He was Donna's horse and a great old friend to both of us. He had quite a story. He had been a string horse and was attacked by a mountain lion. The big cat ripped his withers open clear to the bone. The wings of his vertabrae were exposed and the wound gaped open by many inches. The folks that were running the dude string gave up on him and were going to shoot him. He was rescued and, with a lot of care and attention, recovered. Even the 4 or 5 inches of his mane that had been ripped out grew back in. Quest had been born with a moon eye on his off side. He never let that bother him. He was a good mannered trail horse with a good fast walk. The most remarkable thing about Quest was that he wanted a home, a person of his own, a chance to be someone's very own. He sure got that with Donna. As he grew older, he enjoyed being groomed and petted. He would spend lots of time napping and hated to be awakened. I woke him one time and for a week he would turn his back on me everytime he saw me. He had a temper. A while back, as he got into his late 20's, it was harder to keep his weight on. We moved him to the front yard and feed him senior equine 3 times a day and still his weight would fall off. Saturday morning he was standing in his stall, wouldn't eat or drink, but didn't show any signs of colic. Maybe a bad tooth? Maybe a choke? A virus? By Monday morning it was time to call the vet. Dr. Darling thought is was bad, but there might be chance if it was a massive choke and could be pushed on through. The tubing was really abnormal, like nothing we had ever seen. We've tubed many many critters. This was way different. Then chunks of the tumor came back when the fluid returned. Quest"s stomach was blocked off by a mass. Probably had been growing for some time and finally, the blockage was complete. There was nothing to do but let our old friend have peace and end the pain and suffering he was feeling. We had Quester for 7 years. He had the home and the person he wanted and he was a true pet and part of our family. See you at the rainbow bridge old boy. See you again.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
From Jim: Here, at Home At Last, we love longears. These donkey/horse hybrids are pretty amazing and wonderful critters. Two of ours are miniatures-Posey, a mini-mule, and Sugar Pie, a mini-hinney. They're both mollys and both gunmetal duns. They're each very special in their own way. Sugar Pie was rescued from a local mountain community where she had been abandoned and survived with her friend, mini-mule Maggie, by going feral. As you can imagine, this was a tough time of life for this little critter. She did not exactly find our kind to be trustworthy or even very useful. Maggie, who got her wings at 45 years of age, was even more suspicious of twoleggeds. They were a pair for sure. As the years went by, Sugar Pie slowly came to understand that at least some twoleggeds were "OK", if not great. She made good friends with Gracie and is part of a small herd of longears and horses. One member of that herd is Posey. This little girl suffered more than abandonment. She was abused, beaten in the face with a coiled rope while a grown man forced her to spin like a reiner. Like most mules, maybe all mules, abuse is often a one way street. Mules are about self-preservation, not a bad trait. It can result in a mistrust of people that can, and often is, impossible to overcome. At the sanctuary, we never force the issue by putting a frightened and untrusting animal in a pen and "desensitizing" them. I'm pretty sure with a mule that would be a waste of time anyway. Nope, we put them with a herd, at liberty, and offer them friendship when opportunities come around. It can take years and may never happen. For them, sanctuary means being left alone by our kind. We respect that. Posey and Sugar are friends. Posey has a lot of equine friends and moves from herd to herd. Fences for her are about like they are for most mules-somewhat of a nuisance, but no big problem. We love our Posey girl for her willingness to just get on with it and have a good life. She has come to tolerate us and knows she won't be chased or cornered, but has no use for contact. We've caught her only for necessary vet care, shots and all. You see this is her sanctuary which we share with her, not ours. There is never an expectation that critters here will do anything but be themselves. We would be happy to see Posey master her "demons", but it sure isn't a requirement. There's no calender in play and no timeline or fixed set of goals. There's just the flow of life and what it brings. So Sugar Pie has learned that getting petted is a fine thing to do and Posey wants no part of it. Well, alrighty then. We love them both for who they are and for the certainty that they are the very best critter they know how to be. How many of us can say that about ourselves? Posey and Sugar Pie are just fine here at Home At Last. Just the way they should be. Oh! and go love on your critters, they either were or had mothers and need to celebrate!
Saturday, May 12, 2012
From Jim: We have some really high-tone thoroughbreds at the sanctuary. One of our boys was training up for the Rolex when he was injured. Another permanently registered with the Breeders' Cup. Still others that were highend dressage critters. We also have some wildy mules that were put on the ground, but never trained. Two are a pair of molleys that are Bacshir crosses-curly horse mules. Now the reason they are mentioned in touching sentences is because they've formed a bond-mule to T-bred, T-bred to mule that's pretty remarkable. Our two big old T-bred geldings, Pedro and Marny are the apple of Tawny and Tango's eyes. They find the same devotion returned by their boys. Another of our T-breds, Teddy, hangs with Toby, the Kiger mule. Our Standardbreds have Wild Bill, another Kiger mule, as a stablemate. Our Hackney pony, Sweety Pie, is great friends with Lady Bug, a Hackney mule. And Jake, our Brabant Belgian is a very close friend with Tucker, our Appie mule. These friendships, however, are not the same as the closeness that Pedro, Marny, Tawny and Tango share. At the sanctuary, we try to always respect the friendships that form within the herd. We are very careful to not separate pals. Sometimes we even need to bring a friend along for a vet call or farrier work. That can be a trick when part of the pair is a wildy mule! Separation anxiety can be a training issue for horses that have work to do, but here the animals are allowed to just be themselves. Their days are their own. We have experienced an almost universal response from folks that visit the sanctuary. "The animals are so peaceful". "They're so calm and gentle". "They get along so well". It's true. We manage the subsets of the herd to keep the aggression levels balanced. We're careful about space for all of the critters to freely move about. We make sure there's food in abundance. And, we care about their peace of mind and emotional well being. Seems pretty straight forward to us. We believe that sanctuary is a state of mind. Peace, security, friendship, kindness, and love are all part of it, but as a wise man once said, "The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts". A state of sanctuary is a nice place to park your mind. Oh, and go love on your critters! You'll like where your mind finds itself.
Friday, May 11, 2012
From Jim: Gotta get hay tommorow. It'll be the last of last year's. We went through 5500 bales. There was none to spare and the back wall of the barn is showing pretty much side to side and top to bottom. The new hay looks really good. Our late winter rains and Lyle's extra shot of fertilizer worked wonders. There's something comforting about the May cutting and baling of the next year's hay. It's another of those cycles that fill in the patterns and routines at the sanctuary. The back wall of the big hay barn will disappear for another year and by the time we see it again there will be all of the changes that are sure to come with the passing of the months. We'll set aside the very best hay for the winter months. Anything that's not just perfect will be used right away. Some of the hay that was cut to make way for the swather will bale up a little loose and be fed during the next few weeks. The harrow-bed will most likely be in the way when I pull in to get a load and squares of hay will be sitting here and there until the squeeze can put them to bed in the barn. We use a square every 5 days. That's 12 bales a day on average. We'll hold back 4500 bales this year. The herd is down some. We have some critters in foster care at really great homes and a number of our very senior animals got their wings this Spring. Their days of smelling the sweet aroma of new hay have come to an end. But, the cutting and baling of new hay is about life and the joy of living. It is another expression of the promise the sanctuary has made to the critters. Not tomorrow, but the next load will be new hay. It'll be hay that was headed up, loose and maybe a weed or two, but it'll be new hay...the start of another cycle. I like that!
We've been off this blog for sometime now. The new blog, that was part of our new webpage, decided to have an issue and doesn't function right now. I will try to use this venue until the newer blog is repaired. We'll see. This has been a very challenging time for the sanctuary. Winter was late, wet, and intense. We're still working on repairing the damage. Also, the demographics of the herd meant that we've faced a number of euthanasias recently. That's always really hard. We miss our old friends, even knowing that they were no longer enjoying life. We still have more to ahead of us this year. The efforts to gather the necessary funds for Dunny's eye surgery has been both uplifting and frustrating. $5000 is a lot of money and it's going to take awhile to gather it up. On the other hand, the days go by for us and for Dunny and we work to get donations and he still can't see. The generous folks that have sent gifts lift our hearts. The time it's taking is a test of our patience. Oh Well! We'll not give in or give up. Dunny's eyes are just too important. If this "make-do" blog will work, I'll try to get back to a regular edition. Because it's no longer supported by our browser, I can't spell check or print pictures. That will have to wait for the blog to get back into service. Thanks again for all of your support, both financially and emotionally. We sure appreciate it!