Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Major Changes

Big things have been happening here lately.

Backstory: For the last couple of months my dad has been out of work. Not one of his usual clients have had work they were ready to give him yet (a couple of them had projects they wanted to do but weren't able to go ahead with yet.) Obviously, my parents have been kind of stressing about it. Dad was searching all over for some more clients and my mom even looked for work, which she has not done since my older brother was born. Now that the two youngest are teenagers they don't need very much attention while doing their schoolwork, etc., so she thought now might be a good time to get a job. However, nothing was available at all in the area for either of them. Meanwhile, their ministry partners in the state of Washington have been having a lot of change happening. My parents and their partners do part time family ministry, with my parents focused on Hispanic families and their partners involved in several specific groups right now. So, they kept telling my parents they should come up there for a while and help out with all the things that are really "popping" up there right now. Everyone was praying about it and door after door kept closing down here. Eventually, dad felt that he had gotten confirmation to go to Washington. (Interestingly enough, the next day after the decision, his favorite client called up and wants him to start on a project, so it turns out dad will have his favorite kind of job to work on while they get settled in up there!)

So, my parents and my sis and youngest brother are moving to Washington for an indefinite amount of time - Brothers # 1 and #2 and me are staying here and running the place and we're going to be really hoping the grandparents all stay healthy and don't get hurt!

I finally get to run a house and make menus *almost* on my own now! It'll be interesting and fun in a lot of ways, but I am really, really going to miss them! I'm sure it's going to be really difficult to adjust to. I told my best friend that she was going to be hearing a LOT more than she ever wanted to about horses now. She says (now!) that she won't mind. Hopefully not, as I usually blabber to mom and sis about horses and they at least are somewhat interested, whereas my best friend is not really an animal person...

Feel free to give me suggestions for getting used to living independently! I expect to get along pretty well with my brothers, but advice on making the change to no parents around is welcome.

Signed, Rather Jittery,


Update on the skinny bay oldster

Initial post here:

When my vet was here doing the boosters and checkup on The Spoiled Ones, I asked him if he had ever been able to catch a glimpse of that horse when driving by. It turns out the owner of the vet just called him and had him come over last Friday! Apparently several other people besides me have called Animal Control and so they called him. The owner told my vet that the horse is about 29 or 30 and he has had him since he was 2. The horse is apparently still bright eyed and moving around, just has been hard to keep weight on, and he wanted advice now that people were calling Animal Control about it. So the vet has given him some advice and I am VERY relieved to know that at least the horse is getting something to eat, got medical care, and should hopefully look a lot better soon! Now I don't have to lie awake on cold nights worrying about if that horse has anything in its stomach and if it has anybody that cares about it - I'll keep an eye on it, but I think it should start to look better soon with some supplements and help. Phew!


Laminitis Update: 8

Hopefully this will be the LAST laminitis update I have to do on the Racehorse Dude! The vet was out here a couple days ago and cleared him for exercise and normal horse life once again! Phew, what a relief... It was really weird having the vet out for a NORMAL vet visit, which sounds bad, but after all the disasters this year I got used to seeing him on half an hour's notice and with all sorts of worries going through my head. I forget how many times he's been here this year, but starting with Mira's eye injury saga last January I've spent a lot more than I want to think about on vet bills.

I asked him to check their teeth and float them if needed, so he looked at both their mouths. He informed me that Mira was missing a lot of teeth (sassy me thinks, "what, they didn't grow back yet!?!") and that even though she has all sorts of interesting bumps and ridges in her mouth, floating would just make her mouth worse. OK. Andolu's mouth was in great shape and didn't need anything. Cool.

I had asked him to give them tetanus and rabies boosters, but I also asked him to show me how to give them their shots myself. So I did three of the injections and it turns out horse shots are much easier to give than dog and cat shots. Another useful skill learned now. Andolu didn't even stop chewing!

I can hardly wait to start riding again! Yippee!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Update on the bee project

Initial post here.

Shortly after that first post, my mother actually posted our info on a local beekeeper association bulletin board saying that we would like to offer our property as a place to store hives during the downtime from pollinating crops. We had two beekeepers call up right away and they acted very interested, but neither was able to come up and check our property out at the time. I suppose the one guy must have found a place for his extra 20 or so hives or didn't think it was worth coming all the way up here to drop off a few hives, but we haven't talked to either one in a while. One of the beekeepers did give us some very useful information though, about a new/ancient kind of hive that is MUCH easier and less stressful on the bees and produces LOTS more honey.

There is even a variation of the hive built with the Fibonacci sequence that has been found to have dramatically more honey production than would be expected of a hive with that total number of inches inside. Isn't that funny? Fibonacci sequence is so fascinating to me!

Anyway, the current status of the bee project is on hold, due to the fact that we were not able to get alfalfa started. Now that I know it needs hard ground, we'll see what we can do next spring... Until then, I don't think there is quite enough food for a hive in this area. I still really want bees, though.

The only bad thing about bees is their unaccountable prejudice against barnyard animals and the smell of manure. Sheesh, what's wrong with manure? :-D We'll just have to put their hive(s) near the pond and away from the horses when I do get them.


Another NHR post

Hopefully this will be a somewhat shorter post... Yeah right :-)

Following up my last post on socialism, I will say that neither candidate has a record of exactly supporting true democracy and capitalism. McCain's so-called campaign finance reform laws (limiting free speech and not reforming anything. Too many hundreds of blog posts out there to pick from to link to) and his records of wanting more regulation on this or that issue do not make me happy, any more than the fact that rather than being a "maverick" he strikes me as more of a "try to please everyone" type of person. From watching him over the last few years he seems to equate making people agree with him to getting things done. I think getting things done means a little more than that and often, unfortunately, getting things done means you will be less popular.

However, Obama really scares me. See this great article for a few of the reasons why. Another consideration - even if you really liked all his social policies, what about the way he would be viewed by other countries and by terrorists? Even if it were possible to prove that he never had any knowledge about the Communist/terrorist work of the various people he worked so closely with, do you think that would get through to Al-Qaida and other organizations? Al-Qaida is a lot weaker now than it used to be, but there are still plenty of people out there who are constantly working on ways to attack us. It is amazing to me that we have not had any more attacks in seven years. It's incredible. If we get a president who is percieved as wanting to be friendly to those people, it is not going to make them decide to like us. They will just decide the time is perfect for a new attack now that our guard is down. What would Obama do? Would he get panicky and use nuclear... would he not react enough and let more attacks happen?

It might be possible to stand a president who does his best to ruin the economy and personal freedom but protects the country's borders, and it might be possible to stand a president who is careless about our safety but protects personal freedom and the economy, but one who actively attacks personal freedom/the economy AND actively weakens our safety is a nightmare. I don't want that nightmare to come true.

Slightly different: What is with this sort of treatment of reporters? For Pete's sake, I can possibly understand charging reporters to travel around with the campaign, but not that much! Limit it to $300 or $400 a day, treat them like human beings, and try to remember what they are there for. Either give them help to do their jobs (i.e. news, information, sound bites) or don't have them there. I do understand that running a campaign is a very difficult job and that leaks can be extremely damaging to any campaign. Newsflash: Leaks inevitably happen. If you build a decent rapport with a press corps, they will be nicer to you in the event of embarrassing leaks. I just cannot understand this seemingly universal abuse of reporters covering campaigns. Oh well. Enough ranting for the day!


Monday, October 13, 2008


It really got cold this last week, down into the 30s. It's been a long time since I could see my breath around here, so it was kind of fun. The horses have been getting extra grass hay at night to keep them warm and they like that. Mira doesn't seem to have as heavy of a coat as she usually does. I could be wrong, but I think it's usually a lot thicker by now. I don't mind if we have a mild winter as long as we have plenty of rain.

My mom made a really cool discovery a few days ago. Apparently there is a kind of Ethiopian grain/forage crop with really, really tiny but nutritious grains that needs heat, very little water, and a short growing season. As long as it gets rained on at least once while it is growing it will produce some sort of crop. If you cut it early it is a great forage for animals (similar to timothy hay, but slightly better) and if you let it grow two weeks more you get a very good grain. It's called Teff and I found a variety that would probably let me grow 2 tons of hay per acre in our area. I plan to order some of this variety soon and plant it next spring. The planting instructions also illuminated what is probably the reason we never got alfalfa to grow - they both need to be planted on firm ground that your foot does not sink into at all. Well, we have plenty of that around here, but we always tried to work the ground a little and make it fluffier before planting the alfalfa. Well, now we know!

I am counting the days until Andolu gets cleared by the vet...


Sunday, October 12, 2008

A rather different type of post

I try not to get too political on my blog, because I started it as a fun stress reliever. However, I couldn't resist putting this post up. I keep seeing all the panicky news articles on the economy. It's been quite obvious for years that we are due for a very bad depression. The roots of the problem go back decades. For example, when the US and other countries went off the gold/silver standards, that was a bad choice for stability. It does seem to have allowed more rapid growth of the economy, but that came with a price - less security.

The incredible amount of debt that most of the world's countries are in is also very bad for economic health. There are so many things that have contributed to this problem and I am surprised the system has done as well as it has for as long as it has. I have a few basic beliefs about politics that rule my opinions/who I vote for/what I want to see happen. What are your basic, rock bottom beliefs about government and economies?

I believe:
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Translation: Any power the government has will inevitably be abused at some point. Thus, the more limited the power of the government, the more limited its power to do harm. There must be a balance between its power to protect the citizens and its power to control the citizens. Part of the way to achieve that balance is by having as few things as possible controlled by the central government, and as many things as possible controlled by each local community. The local government is closely watched and controlled by the people it is overseeing. It is much harder for the local government to abuse its power than it is for the federal government. And, when it does abuse its power, it will affect far fewer people and is much easier to stop.

The opposite, socialism/statism, where everything is controlled by the central government, has always resulted in multiple disasters affecting millions of people and a general ongoing degredation of the population's standard of living. Even the most cursory knowledge of history proves that point. The current world economic crisis is mostly the result of too much centralized power (which means less accountability and far more abuse). Our sub-prime mortgage mess here in the US is largely due to too much regulation and yet because people are scared and reality hurts there are actually calls for MORE regulation! Sorry, but I grew up in a third-world country and I hate watching my beloved America turn into a third-world country. I remember when my childhood country elected a man they knew perfectly well wanted to be dictator. Our friends said quite honestly that they knew it was stupid to elect someone who would take away most of their rights, but they told us that they needed a dictator to make sure things got done. This is a country that has a hard time developing businesses for reasons like the following example:

Say you start an auto mechanics store. You hire a couple of mechanics and buy some of the necessary parts and put out your shingle. One day when you come back from your lunch break, none of your employees are there, and most of your parts and supplies are gone - headed for the black market. You still have a little bit of money left, so now you hire your nephew and buy some new parts. You hang around the shop as much as possible to make sure he doesn't steal from you, but at least he's not as likely to try because he's related to you. You make a decent living now, but you can never feel at ease going on vacation because who knows what might happen if you are not there personally? And of course it would be quite difficult to start another branch of your store because it is so hard to find employees who won't steal and who will actually show up every day.

This is no joke. I lived there and that is what it is like. In order to pay phone and electric bills every month everybody goes to the offices and pays them in person - you can't send checks through the mail because they usually won't get there. That takes a lot of your time every month, especially if you don't have a car. I loved that country, but even as a child with no responsibilities I could see the effects of all the issues due to people not being trustworthy. If the post office had too many letters they would take some out back and burn them. Hmm...

If you talk to policemen or whatever they will loudly complain about all the corruption in the government and how it really needs to be cleaned up and people need to stop accepting bribes. But it was always "other people" who needed to change first. If you asked them, they would tell you that a man has to make a living so they would accept a bribe even if it was wrong, because, after all everyone else was doing it.

A third-world country is that way primarily because the "lowest common denominator," if you want to call it that, of morality, is too low. The less you can trust people, the poorer the country will get, inevitably. We did know some amazing and incredibly honest people in my childhood country, but they were not the norm. America used to have a lot of people with strong characters. Whatever your theory of why, everybody seems to agree nowadays that there are increasing problems with cheating and crime and and more and more hurting people. I see more and more resemblances to the country I grew up in and it scares me. The bad thing is a lot of the socialist, big brother government-type policies have encouraged less and less personal responsibility and more and more laziness. It seems like we're such a busy country, and we're so used to our comforts, that I wonder how much of the famous American backbone is left. Are we like the Romans now, "give us bread and circuses and we'll be happy" or are there enough of us like our forebears who hated the tax on imported fabrics and so began wearing buckskin to make a point to England? I think Americans want to be a strong, kind, and trustworthy people, but we are so busy and distracted that we don't have time to think about things like that much any more.

We've already lost a lot of our freedoms. Both of the presidential candidates and most of the congressional candidates would like to make a bunch more restrictions on those freedoms. Will we wake up? I don't know, but I really hope and pray that this financial crisis will wake people to the dangers of giving too many powers to the government and inspire more of us to take initiative ourselves. Thus, my continued efforts to learn to grow different kinds of food and my resolve to vote (even if I can't stand what's on the ballot) and do my best to push for fewer laws and more freedoms in this country. I also keep noticing how hard it is to find time for people and even just thinking. Have you noticed the same problem? It's really hard! But, it is essential if I want to experience my life rather than zoom through my life doing five things at once. I keep trying to decide what is vital and what isn't. This type of recreation, or that type? Do I need to do this first, or that first?

A final thought:
Issues such as healthcare and education are prime examples of capitalist versus socialist methods and what works to create the kind of healthy, efficient, working system we all want.

Sorry for the LONG post. I suggest reading Instapundit's blog every day for a month if you want a quick and extremely comprehensive education as to the state of the nation and all sorts of opposing views on issues. It's a great place to clarify one's thoughts and beliefs. Anyway, tomorrow I plan a much more cheerful and easy to digest post. Thanks for reading this far!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rain, rain - don't go away!

The last couple of days we've had a decent amount of rain, very soft and misty so it soaked in well. I just love rain... Especially now that I can get up after dawn! Of course the horses like rolling so Mira almost looked sorrel like Andolu until some of the mud came off. They are both doing well and Andolu was a good boy and hasn't been taking advantage of his freedom to zoom around too much. One really good thing about him backing up to voice cues is it made him really good about keeping his distance when I was carrying buckets of food and flakes of hay to the shelter. He is MUCH more respectful now than he used to be, which is very nice when my hands are full!

No update on the horse mentioned in the previous post yet. I didn't see it the last couple times I drove by, but that's pretty common. We'll see.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

So frustrating

First, the background story. On the highway to the town where I used to (and occasionally still do) work, there is a certain hilly area with a couple little houses and a really old barn-like structure. It is probably about 35-40 years old is my guess. Anyway, you can't really see much of the houses or the barn because the hill goes up very steeply right next to the highway and then levels out a bit and then goes up steeply again. There are trees and brush all over. Years ago I remember seeing a fuzzy bay horse grazing next to the barn/shed. It was probably at least 6+ years ago, but for quite a while after that I always craned my neck going past to see if I could see it again. (Despite having my own horses now, I'm still a kid when I see any horses. Not blase yet - I always like to watch horses!)

So, a few months ago I was driving past and I saw a bay horse next to the shed! I have no idea if it's the same one. I thought it looked a little skinny, but told myself not to be the nosy, hyperanxious lady who imagines abuse and starving animals everywhere. Every time I go past now I always look for the horse. It is hardly ever down on that level, and if it is there is only one spot it can stand where you can see more than its head or top of its back. About two months ago I got a really good look at the horse and realized I was not imagining things. Its spine is bony and has big hollows below the spine and above the ribs, all of which are visible. The hips are about what you'd expect, i.e., not really there, and the neck is also too skinny. At the time I thought it was probably a 3 on the Body Condition Scale judging by how easy it was to see too many bones with a glimpse at fast speed. I called the SPCA and asked if they could check it out. The officer told me, "Oh, I drive past that horse every day. He's probably just old. Besides, he has shelter so there's nothing we can do anyway." I realize that Animal Control laws are usually really hard to enforce, and that officers often do not have much horse knowledge. I also realize that it is possible that hearing all the stories about hay shortages and starving horses could be making me hypersensitive. Plus, I do not want to unnecessarily upset some poor old person who might be feeding their oldster that has health issues bags and bags of Equine Senior and just can't keep the weight on. That is possible, although unlikely from the way the horse and his enclosure looks. So, I kept trying to get glimpses every time I drove by. On Friday I saw the horse very clearly again, and he is probably about a 2 on the BCS now. I called Animal Control again and explained the situation. Today I called to ask if they could tell me if they did check the horse out (not what was being done about it, just if they did respond). She said they always check it out same day or the day after. I sure hope so, because he really doesn't look good to me.

I asked my vet about the horse last week and he said he had no idea there was one there, (remember, it is almost impossible to see the horse from the highway) but that he was out on three similar calls with Animal Control just in the last week! I don't like that number... So at least he knows there is something there and will probably be watching for it too.

I'm just frustrated because I saw the horse again today. I was hoping he'd be gone, or that he would at least be eating. Nope. Just standing there. I am doing my best not to get all mad for the horse's sake until I know more facts. But still! I suppose the next thing to do is wait a while and if nothing seems to happen, then try to get some photos without being seen and without trespassing (tricky) and send them to Animal Control with a copy of the BCS. I know there are horse people in the area who would take in this horse if the owners gave him away, so if the officials can't do anything and the horse continues to look worse then I will figure something out with them.

The situation just kills me, though, because the horse is literally a half mile from the feed store!

Sorry for the rant, I'm just worried.