Today’s shakeup

Photo cred : mycdi.com

Nope didn’t vote today. That’s not what this is about. I voted last week. I didn’t want to deal with the crowds when I am in pain.

Today was MRI day for me. Every year I get an MRI now instead of a mammogram because I have such bad nerve damage my surgeon is afraid more will be inflicted if they squeeze my breast into a patty in that machine of torture known as a 3D mammo.

Listen 3D mammos are great if you aren’t damaged in the way I am. I just can’t tolerate it. At all. So every year I have to get my MRI approved by insurance -last year there was a big POW WOW of doctors over the request and after weeks of debate it was approved. This year the process went much smoother.

Today was the day. I really didn’t want to go. I woke up in horrendous pain. This flare that began in early October has been relentless. I’ll have a decent day which means I can maybe go for a walk or to the store. Not a whole lot. But then I have a flare of the flareup!

Today I felt crummy and I was going to cancel this MRI but I decided no I’m going to go. I skipped the Valium this time and opted for some medical MJ and some CBD. I had my cold friend with me. Mr. Ice Bag.

Kevin and I drove in awful rain to the building where the wide MRI is. I like wide. But it still feels like a skinny tube with lots of noise.

I got checked in and changed into scrubs and a gown that opened in front. Kevin got changed into scrubs. He’s my wingman on these excursions. Hand holder extraordinaire.

They gave me great news. The test is only 15 minutes now. Some change in software. Blah blah. They put my IV in. They had me on the table. For breast MRI you lay on your stomach. They pushed me in. I had the emergency call button in hand. Earplugs in. I felt that encased feeling like being shut off from the world. And then…

Nope nothing. You thought I was going to say I freaked out. No I did not. But I was very uncomfortable but thought I could last 15 minutes. But the place was quiet. I was waiting for the banging. Nothing.

Then the techs come back in and roll me out of the machine. There is an issue machine won’t go on. We will try to reposition you.

Back in the tube I go. Ok so here we go. Let the banging begin. Nope. Nada. Nothing.

So by now I’m getting a tad impatient sitting in a wide tube that seems skinny to me and we don’t have anything going. I would never on purpose lay in a tube face down one arm up above my head with an IV needle stuck in my arm with a blanket on! So I wanted to get the show on the road.

Then techs come in again. They roll me out again. Machine isn’t starting – we have to call the company and you need to get up and go sit in the waiting area. They said they may need to restart the computer. As past software engineer I agreed. Reboot.

Kevin the most patient person and I -not the most patient but I was acting like a very patient patient because the techs were very nice -sat in the waiting area in our little scrub outfits. We looked kind of doctor like. Or as Kevin said later- escapees from a mental hospital. That would be more like it.

The techs came back and said the cooling system on the roof broke and they can’t use the machine at all. They said we could head up the road to another of their locations in the same town where there was another wide machine. And the test would be fast. But I had to decide fast because they only had one opening and that was in twenty minutes.

I with Mr. Ice Bag pondered this. I could bag it and reschedule because I felt like crud. Or I could try to go get it over with. Hmmm. In my head I heard “Bag it Bag it Bag it” but I said “ok let’s do it.” I just wanted it over with.

So Kevin -saint that he is- grabbed all of our clothes and we left in the scrubs. Me with the surgical gown tied as best we could get it so it would not open and scare others and the IV needle jammed into my arm.

What a morning this was turning out to be. I took a little more medical MJ. Clearly it wasn’t enough because I was as aware of all that was going on once I finally got into yet another “wide ” machine. But I felt somewhat calm – so maybe the medical MJ helped.

The tech from the first radiology office I was in came to this location with all my paperwork And performed the MRI. She was great and professional through this major blip in her day. Not only did it effect me but also many other patients who may have needed that broken machine now had to be rescheduled.

So crap happens -let’s just get this MRI done. And finally as I lay face down yet again – earplugs in – arm up – IV ready – I hear the sweet sounds of banging metal. Ok let’s start thinking about fun Pinterest things. Bang , whomp, whaa whaa. Contrast in. I always feel a bit weird when that happens. Don’t think about how skinny this machine is. Is fifteen minutes up soon?

And finally it’s over. Done.

I powered through and have had terrible pain the rest of the day. But it’s done and this pain flare will hopefully pass and now I’m counting down the days until I see my surgeon.

23 to be exact. 23.

Imperfect

Today I turned on an episode of “This is Us” to binge watch. I promised myself only one (so not a binge) because they make me emotional every time. I thought I could handle one today before I went off and did things on my to do list.

As the episode began to run I realized it was going to be a tough one. It was the one after the fire where we see how Jack (the father of the triplets) dies. I actually forwarded it through the first few minutes because I was afraid to watch -and it went on to some commercial and that commercial made me think about something and I went to check today’s date.

Oct 23- my dad died two years ago today. His death was sudden -as was Jacks who made it out of the fire only to die later in the episode.

So by now you know I watched the episode. I cried almost through the entire thing. A snotty nosed cry- not pretty.

It’s ok. I kept going because I think it helped me emote and sometimes as hard as that is it’s cathartic.

I miss my dad. A lot. And I often wonder why I miss him so. After all he was imperfect and he had his demons and he and I struggled in our relationship together. I guess I thought because of all of these issues I wouldn’t feel so much grief – that I would have missed him less.

But maybe it is because of these things I miss him more. There were things I lost with my dad. I didn’t have his adoration. Nor did he ever seem to get me -though he and I are so much alike but I only saw it after he died. I can’t blame him for not seeing me as being like him if I didn’t see it either. I spent years not wanting to be like him. And yet… here I am.

We fought a lot. I spent too much time being mad at him. Much less as I aged but I was mad sometimes. I didn’t understand his drinking problem. I didn’t see why he thought he was fine. I worried it would kill him. And in a way I guess it did. He lived to 81 but maybe with less drinking he’d still be here. But that we will never know.

I wanted him to get me. Be proud of me. Later I would realize he was but didn’t show it to me very often. I heard it from others later.

I wondered why he held back praise to me. But as a parent I’ve done the same sometimes to my kids and I have no idea why. See I told you I am like my dad. But I’m trying to praise my kids more. When I see things I want to change I own them and try to do better.

Sometimes my dad seemed mad at me. I didn’t always know why and sometimes I did. We danced all over with each-other never getting the right rhythm. But I’d gladly take one more off kilter dance with him.

Relationships have so many facets and that’s what I had with my dad. I have so many quick snips of memories. Some sad, some not great, some funny as hell, and some so wonderful.

My dad walking me down the aisle at my wedding. I see him looking up the staircase at me (I had a long one to traverse on high heels. On wooden steps). I was praying I’d make it down alive -and I see my dad watching me he’s smiling brightly (at me!) -and his arm is outstretched and his hand wide open ready to take my hand. Step by step I made my way down each step feeling stronger when I finally had his hand. Hand in hand we made our way to Kevin. I got that memory. Some people never get that.

I remember him taking me homecoming dress shopping in 9th grade. I’d been grounded for four weeks — I deserved it. But he shortened it so I could go to the dance with a boy who had asked me. He took me to the mall. (My mom and he were separated at the time and I lived with my dad and my brother.) We went to David’s Village Shop. I knew I had a short period of time before he got impatient but oddly he let me get through a few dresses as he stood awkwardly in the shop. And I only needed to try a few as I found “the one” in that bunch. I got that memory and some people never get that.

I miss hearing him say “How’s Annie today?” I even miss hearing him joke “picked up any horse shit today Annie? “.

I just miss him.

My imperfect father. One thing for sure was that he was always there. Call him and miss him. He’d call you back not long after. I didn’t always confide in him but sometimes I just needed to hear his voice. I’d listen to his rant of the day or a bad joke. Just to listen.

You don’t have to be the perfect human for people to miss you when you leave. God knows I have too many things I’d like to do over. It’s part of life. It’s the hindsight’s 20/20 cruel joke.

My dad could sometimes take imperfect to a perfect level. But we are all trying to figure this freakish world out. My dad was my dad and he meant the world to me.

Two imperfect people just trying to get the dance right.

Miss and love you Dad….always.

Dad and I in 1964

Over planning – my claim to fame

I always have the best of intentions. I always think I can accomplish what I plan. Sometimes I get more done than I planned but often now with my physical limitations I can’t meet my goals.

Case in point. I planned a trip up north for Columbus Day weekend. I was headed to upstate New York with Kevin to visit friends and attend my friend Jon Katz’s open house he has each fall on his famous Bedlam Farm.

I was so happy I was feeling well enough to go on this trek. We were going to drive..and it is long- 7 hours plus. This was to be my first long drive and furthest vacation from home since all my pain trouble began back in May 2016. We have a new large truck that is very comfortable to drive in so I thought the drive would be fine.

I got an AirBnB not far from Bedlam Farm. We planned two nights there. Then I decided to tack on to the trip. I wanted to go see Kevin’s brother and sister-in-law in Maine. It was less than 4 hours to their place from Cambridge NY (the home of Bedlam Farm). So we added two more nights – one in Maine and another in Connecticut. The latter a place as a rest stop to break up the ride home from Maine to Maryland. Oh and we were bringing two dogs. That adds to the planning but I like to have them along.

In my head I was going to be fine for this trip. I planned ahead trying not to do too much the week before we left. I didn’t want to initiate a flare up of pain. I didn’t ride my horse. I didn’t do barn chores except feed the horses and add water to chicken waterers. I didn’t do much walking and I went into the gym once and did a few leg exercises. But I really tried to keep it light.

The big day came. Kevin packed the car and loaded the pups and we were off. I was very excited to see friends I hadn’t seen in quite a while. Then it happened – just a short time into the drive I began to feel the twinge of pain that often comes at the beginning of a flare. I didn’t want to say anything to Kevin. I wanted to power through it. But my heart sank just a bit.

By the time we got to New York I was having definite pain issues. We got to our house – which was awesome by the way- and we got the dogs settled. I had taken some medical marijuana which I use only when I really need some extra pain relief. I also had a glass of wine. Normally I am not a big mixer of these items but drastic times….

I did all this in the hopes that I would make the flare go away. I know better they normally last 3 days – more even. I woke on Saturday feeling just so so- and we went over to a local restaurant in Cambridge NY to meet friends for breakfast. But by the end of the meal I was feeling badly again. I was determined to go to the open house though. I came all that way and I was freaking going. So I took some medical MJ again and I had a couple sips of wine- God I sound like a wino druggy! I can assure you this isn’t the case – but this is what I needed to do at that moment to get through the day with less pain. I carry opiates with me. But I don’t want to take those again unless it was absolutely needed. Medical marijuana is much safer. I will write on that topic a bit more sometime.

I attended the open house which was really nice. I think the best one so far for me. We enjoyed sheep herding and sheep shearing as well as poetry readings and lots of  wonderful art for sale. When we left that afternoon I fully intended on attending it on Sunday as well. Though I was feeling pretty rough I was able to enjoy a nice dinner out on Saturday night with friends. It meant so much to be there among these really nice humans. I hope they know how much I appreciate them.

Sadly the meal didn’t sit well with me later that night. Probably too rich for me and I was a bit ill all night. So I sat much of the night awake and fretting about how bad I was feeling and how I really should pack it in and go back home. But that felt like such loss to me. I didn’t want to give up. In the morning Kevin and I talked it over and it didn’t take long for me to see that it would be better if we went home.

I was sad and depressed.  I had my cry. I worried about disappointing people. Would my New York friends think I was rude for not saying goodbye before I left?  I was feeling so crummy and was so down I just could not bring myself to make formal goodbyes in person. But a couple friends ended up driving behind us on the road 30 miles from the farm.  what are the odds? So we pulled over and I got my formal goodbye with both of them – that did make my heart hurt less for sure.

I also worried I would be disappointing family in Maine because we were cancelling. I have wanted to get up to see them for so long. It wasn’t to be. I think many of these friends and family know my heart and that I would not skirt out without saying a formal goodbye if I wasn’t feeling crummy.

I feel like pain won and I really hate that. I really really do. I am trying to navigate this life and have some semblance of life despite this pain. I don’t like IT to win. And often it is an adversary that wins some of the battles.

It took me this long since I have been home to write this because I have been so disappointed in myself. I am still dealing with pain. I was dumb and went to get a laser treatment this week which caused more pain. Which it shouldn’t but did because we did too big an area. So frustrating.

I just want to live my life and although I have come to accept that pain will likely be part of my life forever ( I sigh when I think this) I hate when it makes me unable to do something I set out to do.

My heart hurts over this. But I need to look at the bright side- and there is one. I had a great time seeing people on Saturday. I got to talk with many people – though there is always more to talk about. And there are people I wished I could have spoken with longer. But overall the experience and being with some people who share my creative spark was just what I needed.  It was enough.  I wanted more but it was enough.

This is what I am trying to take away from last weekend. The good time, the good people, friendships. So I think I won. Screw pain – the visit might have been cut short but it was enough. What was accomplished made me happy and that lifts my spirits.

And I just have to learn not to over plan.

–side note – I have discussed my pain concerns with my surgeon – and the laser debacle-and we are have an initial plan of attack for this flare up.  He is a great doctor to have on my side. Lets hope we get this under control.

_____

Here are some unedited photos from my phone that I took over the weekend – my DSLR camera was too heavy for me to use – bummer.

Red keeping the sheep in on place

Jon Katz- Author and friend and owner of bedlam Farm (along with Maria)

Maria Wulf with an amazing sheep shearer! 

Just shorn

Fate 

Mary Kellogg reading her poetry- she’s a wonderful person

Our next guest home?

On the way home

Somewhere in PA

Taken through a filthy windshield!

Sometimes things work out…

All I can say is we just never know where we are going to end up. We have no real control over anything. All we can do is make plans and have hope that things will be okay. For  the last two years  the one thing I had wanted so much to do was to ride my horse again. It wasn’t  a lofty goal really but one that seemed to be unattainable to me not long ago. I didn’t want to give up the hope that one day I would ride again…..but for a while it was iffy…

Two years ago I thought I would never be able to do many activities again let alone ride a horse. My only goal then was trying to find someone to fix the pain I was in. That was a battle unto itself but I did not want to give up- because to do so left me in a very dire situation. One that I could not accept.

June 2016 was a start of an intense pain drama that was caused by breast cancer treatments. The pain had been an issue since my surgery in October of 2013. I had sought help for it with no luck and then it really  reared its ugly head in May 2016 leaving me bedridden for much of the next year. It was hell trying to find the a doctor who would listen to me and not send me away with a shake of the head. They either had no idea what was wrong with me or they thought I was nuts. But finally I found a surgeon who listened.

Today, three surgeries later. I am not that woman stuck all day and night in bed anymore- but I still live in chronic pain. But the levels I am managing- and there may be more surgery in my future. I am left with a disabled arm that I cant use fully and overuse causes pain. Sometimes I don’t know what that overuse is. But I just try to dance with it- sometimes I am in the lead and sometimes the pain is.

I have been hell bent on doing more living- I have always been a physically active person and I missed the mental boost such activity gave me. So many things I could not do. Some because of the limits of my arm and some activities were contra-indicated by my surgeon- one being horse back riding. It was a total bummer to hear this but I temporarily shelved that disappointment and sought another activity .  I bought a kayak with pedals so I could go out in the bay near our beach house. The feeling of independence being on the water propelling myself was intense and important in my recovery. I bought a bike. I began to walk more. I can do limited exercises in the gym.  But I was really missing the one activity I was told not to do—ride my horse.

In the summer of 2017 I was still in enough pain that I was not sure I could ride and on enough drugs I was not sure I should ride. But one day that summer  on a whim Kevin and I tacked up my horse Harley . He accepted the saddle and bridle so well  that I decided to get on and have Kevin lead me around the dry lot. I knew the surgeon had not been keen on my riding but I wanted to be in the saddle. It was just a pony ride but it was the kick I needed – I set a firm goal – I would  ride my horse again. But there were still obstacles to overcome.

I didn’t think it would take another year before I was able to ride again. I had another surgery in November of 2017 to hopefully further reduce my pain. I would say the result have been pretty good. I am off opiates but still need nerve pain medications. . I have pain flares more often than I would like. But I am doing more. The surgery itself – which was fat grafting -had a longer than expected recovery time.

Every time I went to see my nerve surgeon – Dr. Williams- I would tell him that I wanted to ride my horse.  HIs concern was that my arm would be yanked forward if the horse pulled the reins forward suddenly- and this does happen. This can cause more damage to my arm. Also there is the risk of falling off but I think in my case the real concern was with the yanking of my arm. So I wanted to rectify that. How to keep that from happening. There had to be a way . Maybe I would ride one armed. I began to look into that as an option.

Then sometime this past spring my farrier came. I was telling her my plan to try ride again. I explained my concerns of riding with two arms and one getting yanked and I was also becoming nervous about not being strong enough to ride using only one arm (my horse is also neck reined) if my horse pulled suddenly. She told me to get a Daisy Rein. I had no idea what they were but it turns out they are used often for young riders. The rein hooks onto the saddle and also to the bridle and that keep the horse from pulling his head down. Maybe it would work for this old rider!

I saw my surgeon again in July and explained how much I wanted to ride and told him about the rein. He never did give me his blessing but he told me if I did ride I needed to send him photos after I was safely off.  So that to me was an ok to go ahead.

My plan was to move slowly into riding my horse Harley beginning in early August- but life threw us a loop as we suddenly  lost Harleys companion a- our beloved Arab mare -Airy to colic. It was a tough loss on all of us and I again shelved trying to ride. This time more for Harley than for me. I knew it was a stressful time for a horse when there are changes like that adding me riding him after such a long time off might add to the stress – and we wanted another companion for Harley so the focus shifted on that. It took some time but we now have Hank and Yukon here. Hank belongs to our neighbor and Yukon is our Guardian horse form a local rescue.

One  day a few weeks ago  I went out to the barn to feed the horses and our neighbor was bringing Hank back from a ride. I began to feel that envy. That yearning to ride my horse. I really felt it was now or never so I began to get Harley tacked up. It is a bit of a chore for me to get it on while trying to limit the use of my arm but I was able to do it with Kevins help.

Before long I told Kevin I wanted another pony ride. I have to use a step to mount now to get on- it allows me to not use my arm too much.  I got up and settled – feet in stirrups and I was holding both reins because we put the daisy rein on to give that a try too. He tolerated it well and best of all it worked! He couldn’t pull very far so no yanking of my arm.  After a bit, I asked Kevin to let me go and and I took a deep breathe in and let it out and off I went.  I maneuvered Harley around the dry lot for a while..at a walk.. nothing fast. He did very well – and we then called it a day. Best to end on a good note when working with a horse. And I was not ready to ride in the fields yet. But it didn’t take much time for me to be ready! So much for slow starts.

Since that day I have ridden twice out in the fields. The last time – this past Saturday- I was able to tack up on my own. I have learned to yank the saddle out of my locker with one arm and I can toss it up on his back with one arm too.  It was very freeing to be able to do this on my own.

I also can ride with one arm so I switch from using two hands on the reins to one. It turns out my arms are in a “safe” position so I don’t think I will get a pain flare if I am careful – but again it is that dance i mentioned above. That day I was in the lead. Dismounting is a bit of a challenge. I now lower the stirrup iron and dismount on the  right which is the opposite side we proper English riders are taught to do.

Obstacles aside I can’t begin to explain the mental effect being able to ride again gives me. It is something I have needed. It didn’t feel like it had been two years since I had ridden solo. It was as if no time went by at all. I felt right at home in the saddle. I am so lucky to have the horse that I have. Some horses may have been too much for me after not being ridden for so long. Harley is a true champ. We have a bond.

My goal is to ride twice a week for now. I will have to be flexible on this as well as I live my life around things we have planned – social visits, traveling, and doctors visits. So I often curb any physical exercise for a couple days prior to doing these things because I don’t want to have a flare up of pain which may require me to cancel the plans.

But that is life as I live it now. I accept it. You just never know where you will end up…right now for me I ended up back in the saddle. How lucky I am….

….And Dr Williams has been sent a photo..with more to come…

Thoughts on my youngest son’s 18th birthday.

Today my youngest son turns 18. I was putting together a collage of photos from over the years and I began to feel a little melancholy. Time has gone by so so fast. It floors me.

There are so many things I would like to to do again and many things I would do differently if I could. I like to spend short periods of time in the past. But when they begin to make me sad I know I need to pull back to the present.

To stay in the past can make us miss the joys of the present time. I don’t want to get caught in a cycle of sadness over things I can’t go back to nor change. But it’s ok to step back for a moment and it’s ok to feel the joys in the memories and the sadness over the quick passage of time. I don’t want to forgo looking back in the past because it’s is the framework of what has been my life. I just don’t want to get lost there.

I know today with my youngest son turning 18 – who also was my first child (I know puzzling- but we adopted out of birth order)- there will be memories that will bring laughter and some tears. To just hold that little boy one more time – I know he’s still here to hug but it’s not the same. His hugs are quick and awkward. Appropriate and expected for a teenage guy. I am not the one he would run to for a hug anymore after scoring a soccer goal (he used to)- and good lord he shouldn’t be! But that is why sometimes it’s just nice to remember those times where you were their world.

And truthfully I hope my now adult children have the opportunity to look back someday and feel the same. Because that means they have had love in their lives and that above all else is what I want for them.

Right now I’m am writing this while sitting on the beach in Delaware. Nice start to a day. I’m looking forward to seeing my son tonight for dinner. I figure he may be looking forward to seeing us but probably is more excited to see his dog who we brought with us this weekend. That’s ok. I know we come in second or third to the dog.

I’ll take some photos and someday – yet again – I’ll look back on them and have similar feelings that I have today. Then I will make more and more memories .

It’s the circle of life. And what that means is that I’ve had love.

And that’s what matters most.

Geldings finding balance

Yukon Sticking his tongue out at me? I wouldn’t be surprised.

—–

Note – Gelding is a male horse that has been castrated- making them no longer stallions. Typically Geldings can be kept together. Stallions are often turned out alone – maybe some are turned out together but i have never seen it. I think that would lead to fighting. I have three Geldings living here.

Mare- female horse

—–

Once again this human is learning about horses and how they interact. Horses will teach us a lot…it will never stop. When Airy and Harley lived here we were very used to that dynamic of the two of them together. They ate their grain side by side. They shared a stall. Airy was the boss as many mares are when they are turned out with geldings. We were very comfortable with the routine with the two of them. After she died we knew we were going to add at tleast one new horse so Harley had a buddy.

I knew the dynamic would change and we would have to learn how the horses interacted, what their needs were and we would have to determine a new routine based on the dynamic between the new horse – and now its a dynamic of three horses since we also have my neigbors horse Hank here.

The arrival of Hank and his meeting Harley was very easy and I think I had thought this would be the case with Yukon.

Yukon arrived a few weeks ago with little fanfare. His arrival was uneventful. The truck and big trailer that was hauling Yukon pulled down our driveway and turn around and popped open the gate and out Yukon walked. Head up ears perked. “Where am I?”

We put him in one of our

Getting off the trailer with Sara the Days End Farm trainer

pastures and the current horse residents – Hank and Harley- began the dance of meeting by getting to know each other over the fence. I spent time watching all of the horses reactions.

Hank and Harley checking out Yukon.

Right off I could tell Yukon wanted to be top horse. He spent time nipping Harley – the current herd leader- from over the fence. Harley is my horse and we added Yukon so Harley could have a friend as we lost our mare Airy suddenly in August.

Hank had a few little pushing matches with Yukon over the fence but Hank is much smaller than Yukon and Hank is much different in personality then Yukon is.

Hank didn’t want to challenge Yukon at all and hung back from the fence more often than Harley did.

Over the first few days I spent some time with Yukon out in the field. I wanted some bonding time just he and I. It was a hot week when he arrived and he spent time back in the trees that line the property on one side. Hank did the same when he came.

I wandered out there with Yukon and we sat under the trees for a bit. He kept trying to chase off our barn cat Ziggy. He definitley has a bossy side and I think he is testing the waters. He;s a big horse 15.3 hands. Hands are measured at the withers of a horse- thats sits where the neck meets the back. So Yukon is 5’3″ to the withers and he has a very long neck making him oh so tall when he holds his head high. His body is very long as well. Harley is the same amount of hands but the rest of him just ins’t the size of Yukon.

Looking at the barn from the edge of the pasture. Oh and Yukon’s long back is in the photo too

Temperment wise Yukon is pretty good with humans. As I visited with him the field I was able to lean against him and take some photos over his back. He is nudgy about treats and loves attention. In many ways he reminds me of harley.

Speaking of Harley – I was under the impression that he would try to maintain his head of household status when we let them all be together. I wasn’t off on that. He was that way at first. But it turns out he was bossy over the fence but not once they met face to face.

We decided to introduce all of the horses a few days before we went out of town. I hoped that some routine would be established with feeding and such after they were together a few days.

When we put the together all the horses met up in the pasture and sniffed one another and there wasnt much fanfare. They began to graze near each other and that went on for a bit. I thought that was that. But after about half an hour Harley decided that Hank and Yukon could not be near eachother and he bagan this odd weaving between the two of them . I guess he didn’t want to give up his friend. (Hold on loosely Harley…Hold on loosley). That behavior went on for a while and then Harley began the hazing process by not allowing Yukon too close to the overhang part of the barn.

Here Harley performs his weaving ritual!:

But soon the tables turned and Yukon began to haze Harley. He didnt have to do much- just tip his ears back and drop his head – which is a sign from one horse to another – to move.

Hank has been kind of in the middle of all this. He isnt vying to be top horse. He just wants to be friends with both guys. It seems that he is -though both Harley and Yukon boss Hank around but he doesnt seem to mind. The conflict seems to be between Yukon and Harley.

When we left last Monday for the beach it seemed like things were getting more settled. I figured Yukon won for top horse.  What I realize now is that these things take time. Since i have gotten home I see that some things are better and other things need to be settled .

One moment Yukon and harley will be hanging out in the dry lot next to eachother and the next Yukon won’t let harley under the barn overhang. He tries to claim all the hay piles for himself.

I know Yukons feeding regime is differet now, he had been fed in a closed stall- we do lock him up for his grain but have been letting him out after he finishes to allow him to share hay with the other horses.

Yukon has naviclular issues which means he has painful feet and being stalled can make him stiff so we havent wanted to stall him for too long. – I think his lack of manners when it comes to sharing hay is likley due to his being fed in a stall and not having to share his hay – and i think he thinks that all the hay that is put down is his.

One thing I feel is that the horses have to work these things out between themselves but when there are humans around them a horse cannot behave in a wiley manner and get all the other horses riled up.  Horses moving quiclky to avoid eachother and then a human being in that mix is very dangerous. So I will not allow them to behave crazily if we are working around them.

I have had to stand by while they are eating and not allow him to push another horse off the hay piles. Some posturing is normal but he cant have all the hay for himself. And he cant have the entire overhang to either especially in torrential rain. And we’ve had a lot of that lately.

I think it will take me a while to get used to having three horses. There is more crowding. More poop. More feeding. The good thing is we do have Austin -Hanks owner- who rotates in and helps with the care. Huge for me since I’m unable to do many of the chores now.

I am enjoying learning more about horse behavior. I know they will settle in- it just takes more time in some instances.  I will try to stay out of their posturing as much as possible – I know they will figure it out.

Yukon is a very nice horse. I think he just needs to settle in some.  Learn he doesnt have to own all the hay and know he will get lots of attention.

Since I began this post last week – yes last week (I can’t seem to find time to sit and write) – things have settled down more. I am pleased with this. It’s still a quite a frenzy at feeding time. I’m getting used to it.

I realize now how easy it really was to care for Harley and Airy. Three geldings together is different but fun. I’m pretty sure they will be quite the crew.

I’m sure it will make for some funny stories.

Did I mention Yukon is big?

Things on the mantle.

Things on the mantle (and hearth)….

I’ve been at the beach for a few days. I was sitting on the floor stretching by the fireplace. And I was looking at the things that we chose to place on the mantle and hearth. It’s dynamic – anything can be moved at any given time. I like that it’s fun to change things up.

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This is the lantern? Orb? Lantern orb I picked up at a furniture store. I liked its shape. It really has no function and the fake candles battery has died. But I still like the thing.

Then we have the tin “S” and I don’t think the reason for purchasing that needs much explaining. The jar next to it is for collecting stones and shells we find on the beach by the Bay and ocean.

I might love this bike clock the most right now. I’m having a thing for bicycle decor recently. The clock doesn’t work right and it’s loud so we took the batteries out. But I still think it’s cool.

These are the special stones and shells that are laying inside the fireplace. I don’t know what qualities they have that makes them special. It may have been size or uniqueness that kept them from the jar on the mantle above. Or maybe I was too lazy to put some of them in the jar. Anyway I find myself checking the shells and stones out often and I think the “Joy” stone is my favorite. Oh I ordered those. (In case you thought you could find word stones on the beach. 😉

This real oil lamp is a gem. It is very sentimental. We got this from my in laws Home. It was in their home for years.

I have always been drawn to people’s mantles. Since I was a kid. I think it was because my Nana’s Neighbors used to keep items on their mantle that Kids could play with. They had a puzzle and a Newton’s Cradle. You know where the metal balls hang in a row and you pull one back and the ball on the other end is the only one that moves? I loved that thing. I think that gave me my mantle fascination. I really do like to check out mantles and hearths. They lend themselves to creativity I think.