Thursday, July 14, 2011

Snap,Crackle, Pop

On Tuesday I went to my chiropractor for my regular visit to see if, once again, she could put me back together, and pop, pop, pop, she did. She sent me on my way and said to call if I got slammed by a horse and needed another repair before my usual monthly fix. Little did I know just how soon that might be.

So yesterday, feeling fairly mobile and agile, relatively speaking, I went to the barn to work some horses. The current weather pattern remains muggy and hot but I just needed to get on a horse and go for a walk at least. I got on Sunset, my Hummer of a mare, and walked the driveway down to the field below the dam, letting her graze along the way, the grass there being tall and lush. I felt very much like one of the poor kids in a Thelwell moment where the fat little pony eats for distance, despite the tugs and pulls on the reins, but it was ok, and I obliged her passion for the grass. We walked, did a few round of trot and were both drenched, and so headed back to the barn.

Next to go was Cistine, my 17 hand high young mare that I have been training for a while now. Grooming done I went to bridle her and she opened her mouth to accept the bit and I slid my right hand around to place the top of the bridle over her right ear. I never saw it coming, but suddenly I was flying thru the air down the aisle of the barn still holding the bridle. I landed with a resounding thud and a real puzzlement, got up and assessed damages which didn’t feel too bad, and knocked the stuffings out the mare just in case she thought this was a fun new game and had meant to be wicked. I re-approached her and tried again. Again, I suddenly went flying into the air as she hurled her head into my face. This time I managed to catch myself a bit and didn’t make it all the way to the concrete floor.

I may be dumb, but I am not stupid and I did not try for third time. The sheer physics of the weight of her big head on the end of a long neck, being slung into my body at a very high speed was not an equation to be further reckoned with. Something was quite wrong and needed to be figured out before this pattern killed me. I carefully touched her left ear and she was fine, but the right ear drew a very quick withdrawal from my hand, and a threatening look shot from her eyes, so I now knew her objection to the bridling attempts. I could not see anything in the ear but clearly she felt something. I called my vet and made an appointment for the next day, today. My other mare, Kitty had been complaining about ear issues too, so it would be a nice chance to let him fix them both, or at least identify the issue. After they both had their doses of happy juice, a flashlight and probing revealed two large ticks in Cistine’s right ear, and a scab in Kitty’s where one had been.

Ticks, I hate ticks. They are nasty little blood sucking buggers, and obviously are a very painful passenger in a horse’s ear, along with being carriers of all sorts of not so nice diseases. We live on sandy soil and are not usually bothered by these villains, so this had come as a bit of unexpected drama. The dogs are kept of meds which kills whatever bites them but the horses have no such stuff other than topical ointments applied to the ears and faces. So the entire rest of the herd got a swiping of Swat ointment and hopefully this will suffice so that I don’t get bowled again.

We are in a different weather pattern this week, one with an every afternoon thunderstorm and rain that pop up on the radar like popcorn. We have badly needed the rain and that is welcome but the lightening shows have been awesome and some strikes have been close enough that there is no counting how far away it is, no one thousand-one, just a flash, crack, boom. Just now one cracked the air and it rattled the dishes in the sink. Marley, the ordinarily quite brave Yorkie is under my chair and shaking. I am not sure whether her fear is noise related or having had a touch of electricity zap her as she stood around on her well grounded little paws. A glance out the front window shows all horses still standing, grazing and unconcerned.

Yesterday it had just begun alight rain and I asked Mark if he could run out to the pool to get something that did not need getting wet. There was already rumbling in the distance, but didn’t think the storm was too close for the call. The door closed as he came in at the same time lightening bolt flashed and cracked right over the house. Scary to think I nearly got my sweet hubby knocked off by running a little errand for me. The fright deserved solace and nerves needed settling, and so the ‘tini shaker came out early.

We sat a sipped our frosty drinks and listened to the rain pouring down and the continual strikes from both far away and some still close at hand. After a while it calmed and we gave thought to enjoying the remaining storm from the front porch which has a wide view of the fields to the barn and on around to the pond and driveway. We walked out and tried to decide which chairs to sit in as it was blowing a mist on the ones at the end where we usually perch. We took a sip in contemplation of this dilemma, then, out of nowhere, from the heavens above, came yet another rouge flash, crack, sizzle, BOOM. Reflexively I jumped up off the floor and we both headed for the front door, but skillfully did not spill a drop of the chilly elixir.

We spent the next couple of minutes safely glued to the sofa. I picked up a magazine and began to read an article about a group of hikers that had gotten caught on top of the Grand Teton Mountain range in super cell of a thunderstorm in which the group all got zapped many times over and over, some hanging by ropes as they began the descent. One was knocked completely off the cliff to his death and several  nearly died before a very dramatic rescue came and got those who survived it. Their tale was harrowing and sobering, especially in light of our most recent encounter with Thor’s thunder bolts, and there was a good bit of aside information about lightening facts.

Lightening, it said, is initially formed by the friction of millions of ice crystals high in the clouds, is the hottest natural force on the earth, and can range in form and strength from a mere 100 amp flicker to a monster 300,000 amp explosion which can reach a temperature of 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit-five times hotter than the surface of our sun. It kills many people each year, many of them golfers and farmers (and probably fools on horses,) and many survive being directly struck but many are shocked by electricity running thru the ground to hit them. I have experienced the indirect type walking over a wet golf course one day and it scared the bejeebers out of me, like hitting a hot wire fence ten fold. That day, the storm had long passed and the sky was cloudy but looked ok to go out. Wrong.

Our storm for today has moved on in intensity but I think I will give it a bit longer before heading out to feed in barn world, just in case and maybe check the radar. It’s not wise to mess with Mother Nature after all and I certainly don’t wish to be a statistic to add to the list.

The canning, and freezing, and putting up of the summer produce, from both our garden and a local market continues. The peaches from our tree made it to the house this year without being stolen by a masked marauder, and have become a smoked chutney. Tonight I will blanch the lady peas I just bought, and freeze them. The kitchen is staying well used this month, but it’s good because I know that come winter I will be eating pure summer goodness. The work done now will be worth it, and the process is a sort of meditative activity, so it’s good for both my brain and my body.Oooooohhhhmmm.

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