Catching Up


Well, I started and stopped a few blogs on a variety of topics, but nothing seemed quite right. So I figured I’d tell you what all I’d been doing during my self-imposed hiatus the last eight months or so.

Good grief. Hadn’t realized it’d been that long!

Besides all the noteworthy events, we’re still homesteading and prepping. There’s still a large garden to plant and harvest and, in between, maintain; still cleanup and wood-cutting; still a few projects. But here’s the highlight reel:

February

My last post was all about Cody and Cavalry—I looked back and saw pictures of my fuzzy little boy and his sure-looks-pregnant mama. Ha. And ha again. More on that later, but the joke’s on me!

On February 14th, I added two more mustangs to the farm. They came from the same place as Cody and Cav, but a different herd. Meet Virginia Range’s Hallelujah Nickel and Virginia Range’s Hallelujah Valentine, approximately 2 ½ and 1 ½ years old, respectively.

The morning after their arrival, Nickel/Nick/Nicky came right up to me at the fence—I suspect she’s a ringer; but it took about six weeks before Val would stand still for a light touch on her shoulder. They seemed joined at the hip—when one turned, so did the other; when one stampeded, so did the other. I imagine they’re sisters.

March

Hosted the Fourth Annual Campout—the one where we usually, two out of three years, get sleet. This year, we did not; the weather was great! But I swore I saw foal movement on Cody’s flank, and I just knew she was due any day.

We also watched as my 20th wedding anniversary gift rose from the ashes of that old house up by the road: and brand-spanking-new barn! Four stalls, a tack room, and a feed room, 12-foot center aisle. Absolutely beautiful. We had a builder put it up, but we finished the inside.

April

I gave Cavalry his tetanus shot and he did great, considering it’s his very first and my first in about 30 years. Looking back, I also see “potential foaling date” on the calendar. Boy, do I feel dumb. In my defense, I’ve never had a pregnant mare . . . again, more on that coming up!

May

My herd had their first vet visit. Unfortunately, Dr. Dumbass was clueless about working with mustangs. He grabbed a halter and shoved it in Nicky’s face and yes, of course she got scared and swung her butt around at him. He refused to give her or Val their shots, but he did do Cavalry’s. I decided not to proceed with the scheduled gelding, not just because of Dr. D but we’d also had a ton of rain and the mud was a few inches deep.

I also skipped the MWG conference because I was still waiting on a dang foal. Sigh.

We sent the kid off to Copenhagen for a week this month too, with school, for a writers’ conference. He had a great time, would love to go back. I, however, sucked it up and figured it was practice for his July adventure . . .

June

My mom came to visit in June, from Colorado, anxious to see my mustangs. I also made a quick trip to St. Louis to visit friends for dinner and stay overnight.

I figured that dang mare could have her foal without me; on the other hand, she was decidedly looking NOT pregnant. It was about this time I gave up on a foal—after all, the other two females were pretty young, and neither looking like she was expecting. I had four horses, four stalls. Perfect!

July

What a month! First, we sent the kid off to Japan for nearly three months—I talked to him only once, at 50 cents a minute, but we texted every couple days. He was so glad he went. He even climbed Mount Fuji!

Just as we sent him off at the airport and my husband got home, he “happened to mention” that he’d been having chest pains again. Since February. Oy.

So I made him go to the ER, who sent him to St. Louis via ambulance, and he had two more stents put in the same artery as the last two. It was a pretty intense weekend, and if I sound a little blasé about this, it’s because we’ve gone through it before and, well, it was a few months ago now . . .

August

Still going through the pregnant/not thing with Cody, and I got word that another horse from the Virginia Range, who’d been adopted in northern Missouri, needed a home. I won’t go into details, but I saw her picture and felt so very bad for her.

She arrived here on the 19th. Pregnant.

As I write this, she’s due any minute. Any. Minute.

Her name is Virginia Range’s Hallelujah Charm.

September

September is the month for the annual Camp Cedarledge staff reunion, and of course I went. Fantastic weekend camping with some great women! It’s also when the kid finally came back to the US and stayed with us for a week before moving to Texas.

It’s also when we decided to build a cabin near the house, for occasional guests, the kids visiting, or, based on July’s events, if one of us needed someone to live on-site for a little extra help around the farm. Just like the barn, we had someone build it, but we’re finishing the inside.

So, now it’s October—time flies. Today, my studly little man-colt is getting gelded. High time, too, since he seems to think the herd is his personal harem! I’m working on a number of projects, besides finishing the cabin—we spent a couple days laying tile in the front room. I’m also winding down business for Rocking Horse Publishing, since we’re closing December 31—it’s been a good ride, but I’m done.

There’s always something to do around the farm, and sometimes it’s hard to step back and take a break for a minute or two. One of these days, we’ll have that time! And now I’ll leave you with some current pictures of the herd:

 

 

 

Mustangs V


I can’t believe it’s been seven weeks, almost two months! The big questions now are “exactly how old is Cavalry?” and “when is Cody’s foal due?”

Typically, mares aren’t bred immediately after foaling, but physically it’s possible; it’s called “foaling heat,” and occurs within a week or so of a foal’s birth. The gestation period for horses is about 11 months, so two foals from the same dam could be just eleven or eleven and a half months apart in age.

A friend and I tried to “age” Cav by looking at pictures of her foals and of him. Hers are reportedly turning eight months old today, February 1st. I’m sure he’s not any younger than that; but I’m putting him at nine months based on—wait for it—his tail, of all things. Compared to her foals, his is longer and more “horsey” than a foal’s tail would be.

If he’s nine months old, then Cody could foal within two months, or around April 1st. If he’s only eight months old, then foaling time will be around May 1st.

But, here’s the thing: looking at his teeth a few weeks ago, I’m not sure if I saw the third set of baby teeth or not. For obvious reasons, it was a really quick look! But yesterday, with the aid of a very large carrot, I got a much better look, and the third set is most definitely there and looks more like a set of yearling teeth.

And that means that every morning, I count how many horses are in the pasture . . .

Now, originally, I’d pegged Cody’s due date at April 20th, then revised to May 20th based on the discussion with my friend. Cody’s size, however, makes me think it might be sooner that both those dates.

I can’t really use the size of her bag, because Cav is still nursing a couple times a day for maybe a minute at a stretch. However, other signs, like her tail taking its time to lower after she raises it and the muscles on her rump becoming looser, are there.

I think.

I may be overthinking the entire thing. Maybe.

What I really think is that I better keep counting horses every morning . . .

002

003

036