Momma

Momma, today.

Momma, today.

I met with the administration of the nursing home this week.  My mother suffered a fracture high in her femur or in pelvis.  It is close to impossible to move her without exacting extreme pain from her.  I broke my pelvis.  Worst pain ever.

The ladies gently suggested moving my mother to hospice care.  I am from the oncology world and usually this means a patient with less than six months to live. I understand the definition is a little broader in the nursing home world.  She may live awhile. Still not long enough.

What we do know is that her bones are so fragile that they breaking in the hands of her caregivers.  She is eating less and less.  She is now equipped with a hospital bed which makes moving her when we have to, easier.

The hospice coordinator talked with me Thursday.  Amongst the questions she asked was if I had funeral arrangements made.  Well, no I don’t.  I mean, I know she will be buried in Denver but how that will occur, I don’t know.

I am pretty raw right now.  I feel my momma has them fooled.  She isn’t dying.  But perhaps that is my own denial.

Please keep us in your prayers.

Rescued Cats-lost Little Girl

Beautiful Burmese cat, Sebastian, headed to his new home

Beautiful Burmese cat, Sebastian, headed to his new home.

A lonely teenaged girl had little in her life. She lived in a beautiful home in a gated community.  Her mother was lovely and mostly kind. The girl’s favorite things were her Burmese cats.   She had the two cats since their kitten hood.  The two cats meant everything to the girl.  She was a little overweight and not like the ‘cool’ kids at school but her cats understood everything. Things changed when her momma got sick.   Her dad left, just left. Her mom got sicker, money got tight, plans were made to move.   She knew it was the only way and was okay until she was told the cats couldn’t stay.

The cats went up on a rescue site.   Some lady from Houston was coming to get them. The day arrived, the rain came down. The woman showed up right on time. The girl held her babies one last time, she cried. She begged her mom to let her keep the cats -but she got the same answer.  She helped carry the cats the lady’s car, tears blocking her sight she watched her best friends disappear in the rain.  They had been rescued but what about her? Who was going to come rescue her?

Jordyn loving the new rescued kitty, Bella.

Jordyn loving the new rescued kitty, Bella.

I have rescued so many animals over the years.  Some owners had neglected their animals, some had deserted them but never had I been confronted with owner that desperately wanted to keep their animals but life had pulled a simple twist of fate and they could not keep their well-loved animal. I will never forget the tears shed by this haunted young girl as she handed me, a stranger, her life’s most precious possessions.  I promised her faithfully to do my best to care for her babies for the rest of their lives.  I am so sorry, Kennedy, I am so sorry.

What story can I tell you tonight?

An extended view across the farm.

An extended view across the farm.

I know I gave a few teasers about the weekend.  Things are never dull. First, my mother has broken her femur.  They are not saying hip, but it is high up in the leg and I feel like it is the hip, or at least the head of the femur.  She needs more x-rays, but it is impossible now to take her anywhere with her high pain level and limited mobility.

She was brighter today, thank God! Because Saturday she just laid in her bed.  Wincing occasionally in pain but not eating or recognizing me.  Things are deteriorating health wise for her.  The osteoporosis has made her very fragile.  It is increasingly difficult to move her, dress her or get her to eat.  I just pray for her not to have to experience the pain any more.

Lauren is still gone on her trip to Florida.  Boy, is she in for some surprises.   Ally and Luke have been wonderful, caring or me, helping with the chores, facing down Bruno when I am too tired for one more step.  I am so grateful. I saw the orthopedic surgeon for my hip as well. I was born with hip dysplasia.  My left hip has been replaced and now it is time for the right.  I am trying to hold on for later in the year, but the pain is more intolerable every day.

Riding buddy Renee cam over Saturday. Enjoyed the ride but really appreciated all her help.

Riding buddy Renee came over Saturday. Enjoyed the ride but really appreciated all her help.

Saturday  a friend from Whipple Tree days, Renee, contacted me about coming over to ride.  So, we rode Mickey and Snow, changing horses half way through and it was nice to have company.  Renee just jumped in and helped with the stalls, chores, moving horses and filling troughs.  Now that is the kind of visitor to have.  Dr. Criner came over to play with the new mare (the mare may not have thought it to be a fun game since she got shots and had a sonagram to check her breeding parts) but TeeDee was so well-behaved.  Then farrier, Sean came to remove the special racing plate shoes that horses wear on the track. They are light weight and have ridges for extra grip on the track.  Sean also re-did Bruno’s bad feet.  We are having problems keeping shoes on him.  He is pulling them off every few days. Dr, Criner said even with all Bruno has been through she has never seen him so lame.  Not good!  I will have to post a picture-but between the vet and farrier they came up with an innovative approach of shoeing him that is working so far.

As Renee and I were riding, we spotted a tiny deer over by the wooded portion of the fence.  I thought it had just wandered into the clearing and surely mom was close by.  Later in the day after I got back from my mom’s, the barn was busy again with Snow’s rider, Mia and Ally and Kendyll.  The baby was still by the fence.  Investigation showed us that the tiny thing was torn up and bleeding from running hard into the fence without a way out.

We tried to call the game warden and the sheriff but no one picked up the phone on Saturday afternoon.  As  Ally said, thank goodness it was not a giant alligator we were needing help with.  In the end, I couldn’t stand it anymore and we decided to try to corner the baby and carry her to where she could get back under the fence to her momma.

Stuck in our pasture between fences made to ensure nothing gets in or out.  Well, it worked-sort of.

Stuck in our pasture between fences made to ensure nothing gets in or out. Well, it worked-sort of.

Note its face and leg-

Note its face and leg-

 

I was letting him go, but unclear if he was headed for certain death.

I was letting him go, but unclear if he was headed for certain death.

It was a difficult and emotional deal for me.  I am not agile but I am determined.  The front leg was bad.  I know several of you would have gotten a dog crate and nursed the deer back to health but I could not.  I let him go under the fence.  The next day Ally saw him with another baby and their momma near the corner of the property so I hope he does okay.  Thanks to Wendy and Mia who helped in the great ‘save the deer’ campaign and also fed the horses and closed up the barn so I could go in for some much-needed rest.

There were so many ridicules points of the weekend it is hard to pin point one, but I would have to say, it had to be when I went to help a friend who had run out of gas.  I had the truck with Lula and Kona riding shot-gun.  We were in a what can best be termed a sketchy part of town.  I got out of the truck to help with the gas and left the dogs inside with the air conditioning running.

We got her truck running and I went back to mine to find I was locked out.  I did not have an extra set of keys.  Lauren keeps them conveniently placed in the truck in the console.  My phone, purse and two sets of keys were in the truck.  I called multiple lock smiths, but if I could not give them a credit card, they were not coming.  That was convenient as well.  A woman without teeth came by and asked for 89 cents.  I guess I would have given it to her but my purse was in the truck. I was ready to break out the rear window, in fact, had already started beating on it, when the dachshund Lula unlocked the truck!

How great!  Too bad, I am pretty sure she is the one that locked it in the first place.

Thanks for riding along.  Please keep my momma in your prayers.

Off the track to Six Meadow Farm

OTTB TryDelta, just barely three years old came home today off the track forever.

OTTB TryDelta, just barely three years old came home today off the track forever.

Showing that thoroughbred speed as she easily out runs the white pony.

Showing that thoroughbred speed as she easily out runs the white pony.

In an absolute contrast to her A. P. Indy cousin, Bruno, TryDelta, by A.P. Delta, out of Native Penny by Saxton, is petite, refined and race track lean.  Barely three years old, she has not finished growing or filling out.  She might be 900 pounds after a particularly large meal and stands about 16 hands. Bruno is almost double her weight at 1650 pounds and sticks at 17.2 and some hands high.   Bruno sports lots of white “chrome” as we call it and this mare does not have a spot of white.

Moving pretty cute for the first time in a pasture in months.

Moving pretty cute for the first time in a pasture in months.

So how in the world when I have every stall accounted for and finally had given up on the whole let’s breed a mare to Feather’s sire Flagmount’s Freedom, did this new A.P. Indy mare show up here?

Well, let’s back up a bit for those of you who maybe don’t manage to catch every word of “Exechorseluver”.  Feather, a Flagmount Freedom mare had been sent to my friends in Florida.  She was young, apparently had some major trust and training issues and wasn’t near the size her half sibling, Prince had been.  She was in fact a disappointment to this solid eventing group.  She was offered on Facebook for a very reasonable price.  I jumped at the chance to pick her up, hoping some part of the Flagmount jump, determination and personality lived within her.

Watching her unload with a group of top-notch horses from Irish Day Farm and the Bruheim’s Nordic Lights Farm was a little like watching you country cousin come off a bus in bustling New York.  All the parts were the same but Feather was not looking very special.

Dr. Lynn Criner has cared for her since the first days.  She has followed my stories about Feather’s rise in jumping, higher and higher, as  she keeps accomplishing more.  And even a quick look at Flagmount’s Freedom Facebook page, will show you various youngsters he has sired.  What do they have in common?  Boy, can they jump.

But Lynn had never seen Feather actually compete.  The slightly neurotic and often frightened mare, becomes super mare when she heads in the jumper ring.  She jumps anything and everything and only stops in Lauren makes a mistake.  I guess it impressed Lynn.  Saturday at the show we talked a lot about a mare to breed to Flag as he is getting older and time (for this year anyway) is getting short.  And, yes, I do remember clearly in the post on Betty Sue that I swore off mare hunting and breeding.

But then things changed.  We had a friend who volunteered her warmblood mare for breeding services.  We were excited about this.  Seemed perfect!  The next day, they backed out saying they didn’t want to risk the mare in childbirth.  I get it-but I had already contacted the Flag people saying we were ready to breed.

Unbeknownst to me, Lynn had contacted the trainer of the A.P. Indy mare to see if she was still available.  On Father’s day, Lynn suggested to her husband, an avid pilot, that they fly to San Antonio.  It couldn’t have been greater!  Her husband got to fly and they went off to the track to see the mare.  Lynn didn’t mention she was a vet.  Why complicate things.

Just as I was contacting Lynn to tell her we lost the services of our friend’s mare, she was reaching out to me, to sing the praises of TryDelta,  soon to be an OTTB.  Dr. Marden, owner of Flag (the sire) told us to find a smaller, refined thoroughbred to offset the Irish bulk that comes with Flag babies.  We love Bruno and his A.P. Indy lines and we couldn’t have drawn a more perfect match to what Dr. Marden requested.

Sometimes things just happen and you trip along stupidly until you see the solution that has been under your nose for some time.  Lynn loved the way the mare moved, she is exceptionally thin and just barely three years old.  She will grow some. It felt exceptionally good to take her away from the track and head her home to my meadows of green.  Another rescue gone right!

Yesterday in the trip from hell, (which I will write about later when time soothes some wounds) we drove the trailer down and picked up the little mare.  Essentially for many months now, she has stood in her stall except when out to exercise or race.  She seemed to know instinctively that we were there to save her.  The trainer warned us she didn’t like people much, but she dropped her head into Lynn’s arms as we arrived. I took her halter and she slowly licked my hand.  Sweetest mare ever.  I swear they know.

She loaded easily and quietly into the trailer.  We headed home.  After dinner I took her out to graze and learn about the pasture. She could not have been happier about the beautiful green grass-it was gold to her.

I started her out this morning in a paddock on her own, afraid she would run a lot and be a little silly.  But she quietly inspected things and talked with cousin Bruno over the fence. She and Bruno bonded over the fence and later I moved him in the pasture with her.  They were inseparable the rest of the day.

Jordyn’s cousin is here for the summer and she just met her for the first time.  But as time has passed, they have  found many like traits, similar expressions and hair spun the same golden brown.  It was much like that with Bruno and TeeDee today.  They are absolutely the same color.  TeeDee is missing her cousin’s white chrome but is just seems elegant-like she has on a simple black dress.

We will try to breed her this season if we can.  Hopefully, next year at this time an A.P. Indy/Flagmount Freedom baby will be making their way out into the world.  What a horse that will be!

As always, thanks for riding along!!

 

 

Can it be done?

Over eight weeks ago Rodriquez Construction, out of Richmond, Texas, walked onto our property to find a structurally sound but basically empty,  1600 square foot barn, several acres of pasture with broken down gates and fencing, a giant slab of concrete seemingly dropped from the sky in front of the barn and a mother and a daughter full of dreams for a new life.

From the first day we have pushed to complete the stalls to move the horses,  to complete the long lines of fencing to let the horses out, then to complete the big arena to let the riders ride and a whole bunch of little projects to make this place our home.

Every time we got close to saying goodbye to our friends we had made with contractor Richard and his crew, we found one more project to do.  Most recently with the barn only 30 days old, we added two more stalls and a feed room.  I don’t think any of those HGTV heroes could get more from the barn space than we did.  Oh, and the giant slab of concrete, well it is now a wash rack.

The new eastern addition includes two stalls and a feed room.

The new eastern addition includes two stalls and a feed room.

Lauren and I love it!  It is a dream come true.  Richard and Lauren are already hatching a plan to do another barn extension in the fall, complete with bathroom and expanded tack room.  In the meantime, for the very first time since this house became our home, I look around and there are no stacks of lumber.  No trailers filled with supplies tucked under the pecan trees in the pasture.  The saws and nail guns are finally quiet.  I really can’t believe it.  Can it really be done or as done as it is getting right now?  I will sincerely miss our contractor friends with whom I have been starting and ending my days.

For tonight as the warm breeze blows across the arena, it is quiet and tranquil and at peace.

Day is done.

Day is done.

 

 

 

A working Farm

Lauren, Kona and Feather riding the endless meadows of Wharton.

Lauren, Kona and Feather riding the endless meadows of Wharton.

We named our little six acre farm in Wharton, Six Meadow Farm.  At the time we had six horses, five of our own and one boarder.  We had six dogs and we looked out upon our six acres of land as it blended into the acres and acres of farm land beyond us.

Bruno running free.

Bruno running free.

At new Six Meadow Farm, we actually own five acres, but are leasing three more.  The pastures are park like with giant Pecan trees shading our days.  The catch pen is actually Bermuda grass and I am working to get looking like the finest hole of a golf course.  The flowers we planted just 60 days ago are maturing.  There is none of the feel of open land that we had at our last SMF.  But it is magical to me as the pastures roll like rivers amongst the trees, from the top pasture to the very bottom, where when it is wet, a little creek flows.  Also, it is common now to see deer in the cool of the shaded evening in the protected bottom pasture.

This new place is infinitely more work.  Maybe because of the boarders, the leasers or Dev bringing his lesson folks here it is like we never stop working.  Plus our tremendous contractors have yet to finish all the work we have asked them to do, probably because, each day we have a new brilliant idea.

Kona and Kendyll in front of the newly made feed room door.

Kona and Kendyll in front of the newly made feed room door.

This new side of the barn (we have fit more into a 1550 sq. foot barn than I thought possible) will include two new stalls.  One for Mickey and one for Betty Sue when she arrives.  They will have their own entrance with a cool Eastern exposure.  That should be finished this week.

We had a show yesterday in Katy.  Lauren’s division didn’t make so she rode against the girls in the division below hers.  Remember this is a timed event.  Lauren had to jump the same courses as the girls before her only jump six inches higher.  I would call that a little bit of a handicap.  But Feather was on and they attacked the courses.  They earned two second place ribbons with times just a fraction off the winning horse, but oh, yea, she had to jump higher. My friend and vet, Lynn Criner was there.  She hadn’t seen the Flag horse jump before.  By the end of the evening we had settled on a mare to breed Flagmount to.  So, we will have a baby next year.  How exciting!

Jordyn and Kona sharing the shade with Feather and the boys.

Jordyn and Kona sharing the shade with Feather and the boys.

Although it was Father’s Day, Luke was shredding pastures most of the day.  Ally weed eated and mowed the people places.  Lauren and I readied the new stalls and re-did the existing ones with an entire pallet of shavings.  I mowed (with the old push mower) around flowers, troughs and construction spots.

I am feeling it deeply in my hip.  I won’t be able to hold off this hip replacement much longer.  It has been ten years since the first one was done, and both needed surgery then.  Maybe over the holidays! Huh, maybe.

Jordyn and Kendyll had good rides on Mickey.  Jordyn trotted away and Kendyll refused to take off her helmet the rest of the day.

Bruno watching the lessons!

Bruno watching the lessons!

 

Oh, Kendyll!

Oh, Kendyll!

Surprises!

Kendyll following in her daddy's foot steps as he taps down the dirt on the new water lines.

Kendyll following in her daddy’s foot steps as he taps down the dirt on the new water lines.

Yesterday morning I went off to work.  I feel like I miss a lot each day I am away from the farm.  Even on a quiet day, horses get ridden, dogs have adventures, the grass grows taller and new things get completed. Lauren is doing a great job as barn manager.  She has a new bank account where board money goes and new excel tracking sheets to watch her expenses.  Certain days are allocated for the perpetual cycle of pasture mowing, most to riding, others to feed and hay pick up.  Lauren takes Sunday off when she is not showing.  Who would have guessed it would have gotten so complicated?

Nary a day goes by without guests.  It is a different life for her.  One filled with commitments and time schedules but one also filled with friends to ride with, new jump courses to design and things like pasture rotation to consider.

Mondays Ally comes to mow the “people/dog” part of the farm.  Frequently, her husband Luke comes along and helps with dragging the arena, mowing pastures or whatever else Lauren has going on.  Yesterday with baby Kendyll standing close by, and Lauren and Ally observing, Luke got down on the ground to attach the mower to the tractor.  Then he moved it forward about a half of a foot to prepare to mow. Directly under the mower was a four-foot (maybe five-foot) water moccasin.

A shovel to the head ended this snake's life.

A shovel to the head ended this snake’s life.

I am not going to go into a lot of “what ifs” because I have already totally freaked myself out by Googling water moccasins and seeing the horrific damage they do to people and animals.  I am grateful no one was hurt.

I hope to not see anymore snakes.  I hope no one nor any of the animals gets hurt in the future.   I do think it interesting that almost two-year old Kendyll’s  longest sentence to date occurred when talking to her grandpa on the phone.  “Poppa, daddy killed the snake!”.  At least she used the unfortunate event as a learning occasion.

Oh, surprises!

I got a surprise text as I got up on Monday that my cousin Deb and her grandson, Christian were in town.  I had known they were coming but not exactly when.  Debbie, with her master’s degree in nursing, has spent numerous years over seas, based out of Dubai.  Recently she retired to Sri Lanka.  A little off the grid for me, but she is enjoying it.  Although my sister and I spent a lot of time growing up with Deb and her brother, Jimmy, I had not seen her for 14 years.

We planned to get together after I got off work to catch up before they jetted back to Sri Lanka today.  Wow.  Anyway, yesterday morning she and 16-year-old Christian headed down to Wharton to visit my mom.  I appreciated with all the miles that she had traveled that she made time to visit my mom.  I also appreciated her honest evaluation of the nursing home and her care.

Deb has never been one to mince words, has been in the medical field 40 years and seen a lot of nursing facilities.  I have gotten a lot of advice about moving my mom to another facility after her serious falls.  Deb found Elmcroft to be the “nicest, cleanest and best smelling” facility she had been to, ever.  That means a lot coming from her.  She spent a couple of hours there and observed the other residents as well as my mom.  She found them to be well cared for and in good physical condition (for being in a nursing home).  This is just one nurse’s opinion, but it is an important one to me.  Falls can happen anywhere but good care is harder to find.

My mom might have recognized her or not, but loved the attention and the chocolate shake from Sonic.  Deb and Christian got to the farm just as I arrived from work.

During the day, the construction crew had ripped the roof off to build on the stall for new Betty Sue.  I know I should have planned better but did not expect to pick up two boarders and a new filly.  I am glad there is space still available in the barn-just a roof that is too low to house the big horses we have.

Making the add-on stalls tall enough for the big girl my little girl will become (did you follow that?).

Making the add-on stall tall enough for the big girl my little girl will become (did you follow that?).

I loved visiting with Deb and could not believe what an intelligent, thoughtful and insightful young man Christian had grown up to be.  With the exception of arguing with his grandmother over his saggy shorts, he seemed like an adult not a teen at all.

Deb has followed my blog from day one.  She rode horses and my uncle had racing quarter horses for years.  Some of my fondest memories were of horse drill team in Shawnee, Oklahoma under the lights in the summer evenings.  She couldn’t wait to met my Bruno.  He was a little dirty from the surprise afternoon shower but it didn’t stop him from posing with my cousins.

Christian wasn't so sure about the big horse but Deb was totally hands-on.

Christian wasn’t so sure about the big horse but Deb was totally hands-on.

I know my life would be richer if I had more family closer (Sri Lanka is a little far).  Debbie is wise, funny and knows my history.  It would be great to have her nearby to share the burdens of my mom.  But,.. technology is wonderful and we will stay in touch.  I suspect they are both reading this blog as they wait in Dubai for their next flight.  I am happy for surprises like favorite relatives and new stalls.  The snake surprise…well, enough said.