Saturday, March 17, 2012

the long day: part 3

Gibson and I drove to Saratoga under the order of the vet. We needed a lot more Pro Pen G, Anti-Toxin, and I needed some other bits for the farm as well. I popped in and out of Tractor Supply, loaded up with new syringes, needles, and Penicillin but sadly they were out of Anti-toxin for Tetanus. I shrugged and decided I would call Shelly when I got home. It would cost more to get it from her clinic, but it would be worth it if Tetanus was the culprit like I thought it was.

I stopped at Starbucks next, buying the most caffeinated vanilla latte they could muster on a splurge. It's rare to get coffee that doesn't come out of a percolator or the office's machines, and never a decadent item such as that. I savored it.

Once home I felt the tiredness hit me. Always around 2pm it hits me. I drove home feeling that hollow kind of tired, too much in one day, even for me. Cripes, even the good people at the coffee joint couldn't lull me out of my torpor... But maybe a horse could?

After dropping off the supplies and the birthday hound in the house I packed up my horse gear into the truck and was about to leave when I looked up the hill again at the ewe in the sick pen. I could see her head, it was up. A good sign. I wasn't sure if she would make it or not but the fact she was looking around and no longer on her side heaving was positive to me. When I got back she'd need the second shot of Anti-toxin and another hit of antibiotics, but for now she seemed solid as could be.

I groomed, lunged, and patted Merlin. He seemed calmer after his morning freak out. I wondered (silently to myself and then allowed to other folks in the arena) if horses just have off days? Andrea, who was riding a Warmblood named Kanan laughed and said ponies certainly did. I laughed too. Merlin was starting to shine a little more in spirit and energy. I guess I'd have to be ready for him when he was feeling his oats. I patted his big black butt. Challenge accepted.

It amazes me that no matter how tired I am, or sick, or stressed out: around horses it fades into the background. You can't focus on yourself in those selfish ways around these animals. They demand the best of you, in kindness and in discipline. From the moment I take that lead rope from the pasture to the cross ties and start the gentle work of brushing out mud, combing locks, and picking hooves I am transported away from my own problems. I have tactical and practical tasks at hand and all of it a meditation in preparation for this sacred act of riding. And once you are connected to this beast through straps of leather and metal, you can't get lost in your own thoughts, you NEED to focus and connect. Maybe better riders can drift, but my novice legs and hands need to be entirely there. By the time I have dismounted and we are walking back to the cross ties I feel the way I used to feel at the monastery after an hour of meditation. Clean. New.

Take that, Starbucks.

When I returned to the farm I had the usual chores, and I have to admit I slogged through them. My horse high was memory, and I still had a sick ewe to reload with medicine, grain, sweet water and attention. I called Shelly for the medication and she left it in her mailbox for me to pick up. I did, leaving some money in its place.

When I tended to her, I realized she had moved. She was in another corner of the small shed, head up and alert but far from her water. I carried the bucket to her and she drank a lot, thirsty as Job. I snuck the needles into her, and she flinched a little. I took her fighting the needle, even that little bit as a good sign. I poured her grain in a container and asked her to walk to it. She tried to stand and collapsed. I sighed and brought it to her, feeling deep in my heart she was a goner. I loathed the idea of putting a bullet in another sheep. I handed her the grain and she ate. I said a prayer and left her to her sleep.

By the time the farm was ready for bed I was starving and in need of respite. I made a quick dinner, fed the dogs, and poured a stiff drink before lighting up the wood stove. It wasn't cold out, but cold enough to like some heat going while you sleep with the windows open. I hoped for a bit of rain, maybe a thunderstorm. It seems like ages since I heard thunder and I missed him. Very, very much.

The day was done. My dog was two. My sheep was under the grace of prayer and time. I turned on Braveheart for the pure therapy of it and I was asleep before I even took a sip of my rum.

P.S. When I walked outside the front door this morning that cotswold ewe was standing at the gate bleating for grain! She totally recovered!!!

storm in washington county, ny: grandma moses


Blogger Flartus said...

"Take that, Starbucks!" :D

Amazing recovery--it's nice to see your work and attentiveness pay off.

March 17, 2012 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Phew! Ewe is standing, horses are better than coffee and sleep is better than rum.

March 17, 2012 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Cait said...

Wow, what an amazing recovery!! Will you be able to find out what it was or just take it for what it was and figure that something worked out in her favour?

March 17, 2012 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger Knit Picky Knitter said...

Yippee for the ewe and yippee for you too!

March 17, 2012 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Hallelujah! So glad you did not have to put down! I've had enough putting down daughter had to have one of her 3 dogs put down early this morning. Too sad.

March 17, 2012 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger DarcC said...

So glad you pulled ewe through! She needs a name after that go-round.

Horses are therapeutic, always have been. This morning Merlin just gave you the poke he thought you needed.

March 17, 2012 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

Yayyyy! I was holding my breath and praying on that one. It didn't sound like it would end well. Good on you!

March 17, 2012 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

I second the name thing...

Perhaps 'Ewemadeit' ??

March 17, 2012 at 8:38 PM  
OpenID sissyjane said...

I'm so happy for your ewe, and you! After a good nights sleep, yo must have thought you were still dreaming!

March 17, 2012 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

A name indeed!

March 17, 2012 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Make suggestions please!

March 17, 2012 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger Deltaville Jamie said...

There's a quote by Grace Belcuore that says "the outside of a horse is very good for the inside of a person." I've always agreed with that. I like Maeve a good Irish name on St Pat's. She was a warrior queen

March 17, 2012 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

How about Savannah--a southern city, to stay with your theme, but one known for its St. Patrick's celebration.

March 17, 2012 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"ewe will do anything for attention"?
Soooo glad she's better!
NYC Susan

March 17, 2012 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

Wow! What a great ending to the day's story! Damn, girl, you work incredibly hard.

March 17, 2012 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger jim said...

how about GRACE-since we were all praying for her- would like to know what it was that made her ill though- anyway a job well done but that little NY farmer

March 17, 2012 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Hey - great to hear that your ewe will be okay.

March 17, 2012 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

I'd name her "Rebound." Well done ewe and you, Jenna!

March 17, 2012 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Katou said...

So glad the ewe made it and that you didn't have to put her down. But what a day you had! Hope you have a good night's sleep.

March 17, 2012 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

That's good to see your ewe made it. I like the name Maggie made up for her. Very ewenique. And so glad you had a good workout with Merlin. And that Gibson had a good birthday day.

March 17, 2012 at 11:45 PM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...


March 18, 2012 at 12:24 AM  
Blogger Paulette said...

Ewe-Reka. What a cliffhanger. So glad she recovered. Well done, Jenna.

March 18, 2012 at 12:35 AM  
Blogger K. Jean said...

"Faith" as a name suggestion.
Or something celtic or Irish to remember her St. Patty's day recovery.

March 18, 2012 at 1:16 AM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

Or, rather, Wh-ewe ;)

How about calling her Francis? After St. Francis, the patron saint of animals.


March 18, 2012 at 1:32 AM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

Paddy, for St. Patrick's day. I'm not Irish but I think a bit of the luck wore off!

March 18, 2012 at 1:55 AM  
Blogger blind irish pirate said...

Hah! Good sheep. I didn't expect that ending... not that it was a bad surprise. I was going to recommend - if you haven't already - applying passive range of motion (PROM) exercises as part of her treatments, as well as rotating her hips and (of course you do) keeping her bedding as waste free as possible. PROM is one of the more underutilized treatments for recumbent livestock. I work in large animal medicine (vet tech) and try to apply it to my nursing plans as much as possible. It's a lot harder to do in a cow, compared to a dog. :) Really glad to hear she is up and moving. What a bugger!

March 18, 2012 at 3:35 AM  
Blogger feathers217 said...

So glad for the good news of the Ewe ! You have certainly had alot on your plate lately and you have handled it so well. The name that comes to mind that you yourself have wished for (with Merlin) is "Miracle"... I do believe she has earned it ! She has proven with hope,prayers,love & your steadfastness as a good shepard that all things are possible. Hope she continues on the wellness path & makes a full recovery. You Rock Jenna !!

March 18, 2012 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Debi said...

I'm so glad the Ewe is doing better, and I second Jim's idea for the name Grace, for her.

March 18, 2012 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

Oh P.S.!! My heart was in my throat reading this post; I'm so happy and keep praying for health!

March 18, 2012 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

Grace is pretty.

March 18, 2012 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Bovey Belle said...

Good news about the ewe - I hope the vet's bill isn't sky high!

As for Merlin rearing up like that. Perhaps he caught sight of something he considered spooky out of the corner of his eye? Our Welsh cob mare Maggie would be like a seaside donkey one moment, then a leaf would fall or a twig touch her flanks as we rode close to a hedge and she would just go into total panic - brain not at home. NOT good when you're on board.

March 18, 2012 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Dalesgirl said...

Paddy for sure : ) thanks for the PS I hadn't realised I was holding my breath waiting for the news.

March 18, 2012 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Tina - Our Rustic Roots said...

Glad to read she recovered. :)

March 18, 2012 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

So happy that your ewe has recovered. Another stroke of magic at Cold Antler Farm!! Have a wonderful week, Jenna.

March 18, 2012 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger Noël McNeil said...

I had a sheep with pnemonia in october and it was tiring and I was on pins and needles hoping she'd make it. Nothing like going out one morning to see their eyes and ears pricked and waiting for some food! Glad you hear your ewe is better. Praying for a total revovery. ;)

March 19, 2012 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger jules said...

I totally agree with you on the meditation with your horse. You DO have to be fully there, but there is no better therapy than grooming your very own pony.

March 19, 2012 at 4:55 PM  

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