Comfort in the night


I have asked myself many times, what is my earliest memory?   You have to be careful because sometimes it is not the memory itself but a picture which becomes familiar and we think we remember something we do not.  I am not sure what my earliest memory is, I have some from age three and four but I clearly remember getting the dog above (or one that looked a lot like him) for my fourth birthday.

I celebrated my fourth birthday in a hotel outside Chicago.  We were waiting for our house to be built and lived for awhile in the Park Ridge Inn.  Things were overwhelming then as we had just moved seven times in one year (and across the country like from Denver to Washington D.C. and Pittsburg to Chicago).  I grabbed onto this dog whom I quickly and intuitively named Brownie (I was sharp like that) and I did not let go of him until he was but a shell of a dog casing.

When all the world was crazy, Brownie was one thing that was the same.  He slept under the crux of my arm each night.  I cradled him in my arms.

One time in third grade when his ears were worn away to nothing, I decided to cut all the remaining hair off and glue yarn on instead.  Really stupid idea.  The old ears were velvety smooth, the new ears rough with glue and not at all satisfying to the Cindy that needed comfort.

I left Brownie behind somewhere between college and moving all over the US.  Since that time I have not had anything to keep me company on such a regular basis as that old stuffed dog. While clearly I have had lots of pets, none of them fit that spot between my arm and my side until now.

In the fall, I came home with two Siamese mix cats, Izzy and George.  Izzy, I say, is my soul mate as she always seems to know when I am sad or could use a friend.  Izzy, like Brownie before her, fits and sleeps in that space near my heart keeping me safe and content.

I don’t know what made me think of Brownie after all these years but maybe it was just having Izzy’s warm presence in these quiet, post-surgical days as I have spent some extra time in bed getting stronger.

I wish I could take a picture at night so you could see how perfect we fit one another but you will have to be content with the day version picture.  Oh, Izzy, how lucky I am to have found you. 

As always, thanks for riding along!







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.

Marching On

Guess what this is?

Guess what this is?

It has been awhile since I wrote about all the goings on at the farm and in the family. We have had a frantic month of selling our farm while dealing with the sellers of our new place that have been less than benevolent in working with us.  From oil and gas leases from the past to multiple surveys to adequately depict the property, we have been flying around.  This has all been coupled with trying to pack everything we own, a busy work schedule, and problems with the animals.

At this point, today, we are scheduled to close on Six Meadow Farm tomorrow and our new place on Friday.  Then a new set of fun begins when we start the construction of the barn and fences.  Lauren has wished for her father numerous times, as she says, “he would make sure this place looked great”.  He was/is a great craftsman and she is right our barn would look infinitely better if he were the contractor.  But, alas, I don’t see him coming to town to take over the job.

The sand and gravel being set down for our new driveway.

The sand and gravel being set down for our new driveway.

It has been a rough and tumble month for the horses, dogs and cats.  Roland was here six weeks ago.  Bruno tore the shoe from his bad foot five weeks and six days ago.  He has gone all this time with no shoe on the foot that must be shod at all times.  The rain and wet conditions have made it difficult to get anyone out to help us.  Snowboy, in a classic Snowboy move, decided to load himself up the couple of steps to the tack room where the feed had been set out for all the horse’s dinner.  He ate at least 18 pounds of feed; high carb, high sugar feed.  Dr. Criner was appalled.  Is he alive?, she asked.  He should have colicked and died.  I don’t believe he even got a belly ache.  He was angrily asking where his dinner was when we did not feed him that night.  Now, his feet are looking horrible and I am hoping it is due to the horrible wet weather and not a result of his binge eating.

Speaking of dying, my brand new cat, the Burmese, that I had waited to get for so long, was attacked and killed by BrownDog.  Lauren ran out the front door to catch Muffy who had escaped the fence and BrownDog took that opportunity to storm the cat room and kill Hula.  I buried him in the back pasture and silently asked for forgiveness from his breeder that I did not protect him better.

If you go to the first, early blogs, you will see my description of BrownDog and that I trusted her the least of all the dogs.  She has become increasing aggressive.  She has attacked both the Corgi and Muffy, injuring them badly.  She has also snapped at my grandchildren.  I thought  about and tried out different alternatives but in the end, I stood with my beautiful BrownDog at the vet as I had her put to sleep.  I could not live with myself if she hurt a child.  She was the sweetest dog ever to Lauren and I.  It was a difficult decision.  But I am happy for my remaining dog family that they are not constantly scared.

So, a difficult time emotionally for us.  Lauren still has not been back in the saddle to jump, but physical therapy is going well and we hope to get her back to work this week.  The pain has diminished a lot for which I am grateful.

Jordyn was out this weekend.  She walked Snow around on his sore feet and then had a great time taking wildflowers to Bruno so he could eat them.  Bruno is so gentle and sweet to her.

Jordyn feeding Bruno wild flowers.

Jordyn feeding Bruno wild flowers.

My mom has had some health issues.  She is better now although her knees are bothering her again.  It might be time for Dr. Chau to inject them again.  It was like a miracle last time.  She has been happy and bright.  I think her memories diminish a little more each day. I am grateful to the staff and especially her sitter, Janet, who give her so much love.  She is safe and loved.  Not a bad place to be.

Thanks for riding along with all our adventures.  Hopefully, I will turning the lock on my home shortly.


Top picture is my water trough which sits under the dusk to dawn light attracting a hoard of June bugs.  We moved the trough.  Yuck!

Top picture and this one are my water trough which sits under the dusk to dawn light attracting a hoard of June bugs. We moved the trough. Yuck!

Poo, Bru and other stories


Finally, the weather has finally broken and south Texas has started to look and feel more spring in the south and less like Chicago in November.  We will remember this winter, and not fondly.  While we certainly have not had the deep snow and below zero temps of our northern neighbors, never in the last 20 years have I experienced multiple ice/snow days or as many cold temperatures.  At least not since I have made my home here.

We got really good at draining the pipes and shutting the water down as a preamble to freezing temperatures.  Once you haul two blankets for every horse to the barn, it is not that much trouble to throw the second one on when the temperatures start to dip down.   We finished using all 80 bales of hay this week that I had budgeted to last through until March.  Sitting in stalls all day with no pasture and trying to stay warm means more hay per horse.

This period has taken a toll on Bruno and his legs.  He pulled up lame about three weeks ago in his good front leg ( not the surgery leg).  With the bad weather there has been little we can do but wrap it and pray.  Ten days ago, he went out for a brief trip to the arena (which was marginally dry) and ripped the shoe from that foot.  He immediately started getting better. I am guessing it was an abscess.  Gee, we haven’t any abscesses in years and two horses go bad in two months.

Bru going down for a roll on the soft ground while the poo looks on!

Bru going down for a roll on the soft ground while the poo looks on!

Friday dawned clear with a forecast for a warm, sunny day (finally!).  By afternoon, the front pasture was sufficiently dry enough to allow Bruno to head out for a romp for the first time in weeks.  The good weather coincided with Bruno also being sound once again.   The day before Lauren had taken Bruno out the gate to practice trailer loading and the big guy about dragged her to the pasture.  We sent Snowboy out with big Bruno and old Kid in hopes Snow would be pushed around and made to run in Kid’s place.  Bruno took off from the gate with Kona the poodle and Snow the pony, strung out running behind him.

Look how both Bru and the poo are rocked back on their haunches.

Look how both Bru and the poo are rocked back on their haunches.

I thought I was videoing the great race of the white pony, black poodle and giant race horse, but apparently failed to hit the record button.  Maybe video next time, who knows?

And off they go again!

And off they go again!

Feather had her first ride yesterday since returning home from the show two weeks ago.  Like any athlete, a horse needs regular exercise and conditioning to stay fit. Just couldn’t happen during the great storms of 2014.   Feather went to a lesson today, loaded first time easily, and was very alert and ready to jump.  Dev told Lauren her body control was better than usual especially with how high and hard Feather was jumping.

The standards are five foot.  I would say Lauren is at least seven feet up in the air.

The standards are five foot. I would say Lauren is at least seven feet up in the air.

My favorite quote of the day was when Dev told us that “Feather looked so good, she was jumping her pants off!”   It is nice she can be off a couple weeks and come back strong.

Levi is fast friends with the new Hula cat.  He calls him “Professor Burmese” because he is so worldly.

Thanks for riding along, I am headed out to see Lauren ride Bruno for the first time in a month.  Nothing like rodeo action in your own back yard!