Sunday, March 30, 2008

Post title?

Tee hee, sorry! I couldn't figure out a good title for this post, so...

The last few days I have taken quite a lot of pictures, but I'm not quite ready to do my "grazing" updates yet... Hopefully soon. I also had a really funny (to me anyway) thing happen. I am going to get a picture of it and let you guys see if for yourselves!

I have been treating Andolu's hooves with the antifungal medicine for about 2 weeks now, and he is noticeably feeling better. Before he spent a lot time resting his back legs. Pretty much as soon as he stopped walking, he would start resting one of his legs, and that was one way I could tell his feet were bothering him. He rested them about equally, and the heel area on both of his back feet was sore. His front feet were not as bad. Now, he is a LOT more comfortable. It's always interesting to see how these types of experiments turn out. I'll keep treating him for at least 2 more weeks, and then see where we're at. A side effect of him feeling better is that he's tearing around the pasture even more than normal. Watching a TB run is awesome to me - he goes sooo fast. And he probably isn't even that fast as far as racehorses go!

Mira's eye is still doing incredibly well. I realized today that the white ulcer area over the surface of her eye has reduced quite a bit in the last month. They are supposed to take a long time to heal up, as long as 8-9 months, but it has really made rapid progress, and she is obviously seeing better and better, too. :-D

Work is going pretty well, although they just increased my workload again - every time they do that I end up basically working all day every day for several days until I get up to speed on the new stuff. Oh well! More money is a good thing, so I won't complain.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Update on MiG Experiments

OK, time to update on this post and the following series (fields one, two, and three). For a general update, I did not get a chance to plant wheat after all. Bummer. It is probably a good thing, though, because this year's precip pattern has not been very good for wheat, so it would not have turned out very well.

I will try to do complete updates with current photos for each field over the next few days. I have been grazing the horses on one of the fields already, and will show you about how much I let them eat before moving them. I am also picking grass as fast as I can every day from a bunch of places that are too steep for horses but have lots of tall, luscious green grass growing. Both horses watch with intense interest whenever I do that... They really love spring grass, and it is cool to watch how relaxed and super friendly Andolu gets towards me when I am hand grazing him. The more I do this with the horses, the more I think it is a really cool bonding tool. I hand grazed Mira a LOT last spring, and it is one of my favorite activities ever, sitting and reading and watching a horse munch happily, and looking up through the light green leaves at the blue sky... Aahhh...

Anatolian is still a bit standoffish with me most of the time, though much better than he was initially, but his whole expression gets very soft when I take him to graze somewhere. :-)

We have not had any rain the last few weeks, just sun, and the grass has grown incredibly fast. Typical springtime for around here. Some parts of the country have a much longer grass season, but around here, grass that is long enough for horses to graze and immature enough to be palatable, sometimes only lasts a couple of weeks. Thus, we have to grab it while we can!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Most Important Holyday

"You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.

He has risen! He is not here."

(what the angel said)

Happy Resurrection Day!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In general...

It's funny, the work today was rather grueling, to say the least, with a doctor who had a cold and couldn't seem to think straight because of it, and another who kept saying really weird things that I thought MIGHT be headings, and then throwing in random "sub-bullets," so that editing the reports took me forever. But, as soon as I finished up, I started feeling totally bouncy. I guess the relief of having finished gave me a rush. :-D

Anyway, the horses are both well. I just had a good conversation with the vet, updating him on Mira's progress. He was very, very glad to hear how well she is doing. After I finish these tubes of antibiotic ointment, then we won't treat her any more, and just keep watching it. I'm hoping, hoping....

Andolu is doing well. Now that I have more time, I am working on an issue he has. When I got him, I was pretty sure he had either fungus or thrush (or both) in all 4 feet, and RIGHT BEFORE Mira had her oh so fun incident, I had gotten the necessary medication. That unfortunately fell by the wayside until a couple days ago, when I dug it up and refreshed my memory on the treatment protocol. I can't wait until this problem is taken care of, because he has some heel pain that is quite obviously due to the infection(s), and his heels are not growing very much at all, either. The toes grow and the trimmer takes care of those, but the trimmer basically doesn't even have enough to work with on the back. In case you are interested, here are a couple links on this type of issue:

Look in More Topics
Case study

Also, on a different subject, I don't think I have yet posted about this blog: Saving Argus is an absolutely heartwarming story of a rescued horse. Very, very highly recommended. Just get some kleenex first.

I took a little time the other to change the horse paddock a bit, in the process giving the horses a few hundred feet of new green grass - it was of course all gone by the next morning! My next project with them is to start rotation grazing the rest of the property. Those of you who remember a certain episode from last year might share my relief that Mira has a companion this year, and will thus hopefully not have nearly as much angst about different pastures...

I am focussing a little more lately on training the horses to come when I whistle, and it is working amazingly well. Andolu really does pay much better attention to voice cues than Mira, and once he starts over she does too. I can now stand across the road, where they know there is no food, and whistle and they'll come over to the fence. Very cool! For now though, I make sure food always follows, because I want to really imprint it in their brains that coming=food.

OK, I know I'm too talkative. Thanks for reading this, and TTFN.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Heart as a Garden

The last couple weeks I have been thinking about sustainable gardening/permaculture and conventional modern agriculture and how it compares in some aspects to the Christian life. I think I first thought about it while listening to a sermon in which the parable of the seed was briefly mentioned. The parallels hit me all at once.

In permaculture type gardening, one of the basic principles is the awareness of the effect of plowing on soil structure. A plow turns over the top few inches of dirt, exposing the underside to more oxygen, and burying the bacteria and organic matter that were on top. This disruption and extra oxygen creates a temporary flurry of activity among the soil organisms that make up a soil’s fertility. However, the effect is not exactly the most healthy one. It is better compared to the effect of drugs on a human, making them “high” for a while before the “crash.” We all know how drugs eventually ruin a person’s health. It is the same with soil. Too much plowing, and the bacteria will exhaust all available resources in the soil, and then die. Then you have dead soil. Permaculture gardeners have developed many ways to garden and farm without needing a plow, and the techniques and results are truly fascinating, to me anyway. :-)

However, my point today is this. I was thinking about how often I have gone to church or somewhere else, and felt God really speaking to me about something. Sometimes I am really convicted about something I need to change. But then I leave, and so often I blithely and easily forget all about the conviction. Many other Christians do that as often as I do. We don’t mean to, but we do. Then we listen to another sermon about the good soil and bad soil, and our guilt feelings are so strong that we resolve for the 276th time to be good soil from now on. Maybe we make another “I’ll be good, really,” promise to ourselves and God, and we go home and figure out all the ways we’ll make sure to read our Bible more and decide to get up early to pray, and do all sorts of "good things." We start well, but two days later, we are already burned out. After enough cycles of this, we have so many different floating guilt feelings that our hearts grow harder. We try not to think about what we should be doing, and we ignore messages telling us to do this or that better. We feel like it’s impossible to make ourselves “be good.” Isn’t this like a plowed field? Cycles of frenzied, unhealthy activity, leading to an eventual absence of life and growth.

The last few years it seems like I’ve been learning about what is really a Christian’s responsibility for personal growth, and what isn’t. I am not my own Shepherd – it is not my responsibility to force myself to “be good.” That is NOT what Christianity is about AT ALL. However, like a careful gardener works daily to monitor relationships between plants, animals, bugs, microbes, and minerals as he enables (not forces) the ground to grow its crop, my job is simply to keep doing my best to monitor my relationship with God and other people, planting and fertilizing biblical relationship patterns, and weeding out things, especially time wasters and sins such as resentments that interfere with those relationships, so that God can grow the crops he wants in me. Like permaculture, doing that is a daily process that should happen without extreme effort, unlike the massive amounts of energy that sustaining conventional agriculture/fake Christianity takes.

In case I sound like a horrible goody-goody here, I’ll just say right now that my main purpose in posting this is to remind me of this in the future. I’ve let myself slide off track in some areas lately, and I’m not really proud of myself. Sometimes it helps to not only verbalize something, but to write it down, too. Basically, I have some weeding to do, and even more fertilizers to focus on. And now that I have more time, I really need to make sure I use that resource wisely, rather than filling it up with unproductive time wasters…


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Photos from today

Yes, I am still alive! I am feeling quite a bit better, too. This last week was the first one that I had fewer hours at my other job, and mostly did the medical transcription. Not having to get up before dawn feels like such luxury! I've been working my tail off at the MT job, but I still feel like one of the "idle rich" because of sleeping in. I'm enjoying the feeling while it lasts :-D

I was out in the pasture with the horses today and actually remembered to get some pictures, so here in they are in all their dusty beauty. No pregrooming to get them looking spiffy for the camera. The top one is my favorite. That is what I often see when I look out my window.

I tried to get a picture of Mira's injured eye, but she kept turning her head, and I was too lazy to put the halter on. I'll try to do that tomorrow. Anyway, for the last week or so she has been holding it mostly open, but it looks inflamed still, and sometimes it waters a bit. Only clear discharge, though. Anyway, since it doesn't seem to be getting worse we are still just putting the ointment on and hoping for the best.

Here are some pics of the Racehorse Dude. He has almost completely shed out his already skimpy winter coat now. I can't wait to see what he looks like after a good bath.

I never thought I would have been grateful to go this long without rain, but I have been really glad, as it's given me a much-needed break and chance to get caught up on stuff. Now I'm hoping we'll get some rain soon - next week would be good. Anyway, I'll try not to go so long between posts next time!