Saturday, April 26, 2008

Oh this weather! Whineywhinewhine

Yes it is April 26th and snowy at a fresh 32 degrees this morning. There goes my horsey weekend. It was supposed to involve a lot of road riding which is excellent for Johnny; close to my barn there's a nice stretch involving two gentle hills that are so good for building up his back muscles after a winter of arena circles. But in this weather I just wimp out; the pastures are open to wind and just thawed enough to be deep mud. Spring is not the horseperson's favorite season in these parts.

So I went to the Whole Foods Co-op and bought these luscious strawberries to console myself:

And in the end, the Stoics had it right:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How many accidents could happen here?!

Here we see my precious horse Johnnie willing to risk his neck for a clump of tasty weeds. We were staying at a friend's house on our way to a great horse camping adventure in the Black Hills, and I was a bit less cautious then than I am now. I have learned that Johnnie is both an escape artist and somewhat accident prone and his gates etc. have to be very carefully checked and double fastened. Also, he will grab, chew, and generally raise hell with any object in his vicinity - the world is filled with toys in his opinion. This includes your jacket hanging on a rail, your water bottle, his own reins, anybody's grooming tote, etc. He unties all safety knots and wanders a short distance away from the hitching post, just to show he can.

This leads me to the subject: Pasture Accidents. He has had two serious ones, awful cuts which put his future mobility at risk (possibility of infection). One was a deep cut to the hock which if the joint had become infected, could have ended his useful life. Another was a mystery puncture/tear wound on his right haunch, about 7 inches long and with an equally long "tunnel" inside between the muscle and the skin, just as if he had sat on a metal rod. We have gone over the pastures with a fine tooth comb and in one case we found what he cut himself on - a corrugated metal facing on a run-in shed - but in the other case it is still a mystery.

It is so hard to keep horses safe! Frightening accident stories are all over the internet and they are only the tip of the iceberg of what really goes on in the horse world. Horses are far worse than toddlers in my opinion, if only because they are so freaking strong. I guess we can only pray and try to set things up for safety.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My son singing! Handel, 'Messiah', "Death, Where is thy Sting?"

He just had his senior recital at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. Yes he is finally going to graduate! But I still have one at Madison so the IV drip from my bank account to university bursars is still hooked up. However, here is some of the older boy's singing, not from the recital but from a concert last December. He is singing a duet with a friend:

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Close Encounters of the Turkey Kind

Last Thursday we were transporting a vanload of Honors students to a conference in central Wisconsin when we encountered a wild turkey of gigantic proportions. I was following the van in my car and saw a big bird come swooping up from beside the interstate, head straight for the van windshield, smack into it releasing a boatload of feathers, land on the pavement and walk away. Yes, strange and even impossible as it may sound, the turkey walked away from this shattering experience at 70 mph. (I think the turkey cannot have lived long after though.)

A student in the passenger seat was sleeping with his hat over his face, which may just have saved his eyesight. As it was, tiny crumbs and shards of glass covered this young person's clothes and he glittered in the sun. We pulled off the freeway and into a convenience store where everybody knew exactly what had happened from the shatter pattern of the glass. "Met up with a turkey?"

I would never have believed a turkey could kill a windshield like this. It was deflected in about 4-5 inches. We made it to the conference after calling the university to make sure driving was legal. And by a miracle, thanks to Kingdom Auto Repair in Menomonie Wisconsin ("Serving Jesus and Our Customers"), we got the windshield replaced and the van & all students safely home.

I felt so bad for the turkey - what must that be like; a beautiful warm afternoon, an adventure out of the usual territory, and sudden impact. These highways of ours cut the habitats in pieces and some animals don't get the message about how we own the whole universe and must drive all over it at will. And what do you think was served at the conference lunch? Yep.