Everyone walked away

Saturday morning started with a call from one of Sarah’s friends looking for a ride in to town.  Now, this friend lives out of town on the other side of Pilot Rock, but her parents were gone and she had no way to get to town to meet her commitments for the day, so Sarah took the pickup and headed out to pick up the friend and her brother.  All good.  I fed the horses, and got into the shower.  Sometime in that process, Sprout decided to go adventuring.  He didn’t return when I called, so I decided to go ahead and shower.  He comes home eventually.  So, when I was getting dressed and heard his bark, I didn’t think too much of dashing out in a very immodest state to let him in.  Until I saw Mom on the front porch.  I dashed back in to get something on other than undies, and she informed me that it was going to take more than my robe.  Sarah had called her.  She had crashed the pickup.

I dashed upstairs to get clothes, asking the pertintent questions – was she hurt?  how bad?  was anyone else hurt?  how bad?  The information I got was the Sarah had a bleeding lip and a small cut on her lip, and Ina had a hurt and bleeding finger.  That doesn’t sound too bad, now does it?  I got the location from Mom and headed out.  I was pretty sure they were beyond cell phone service, so I didn’t try to call (Sarah had called from a nearby house).  What I found when I got there were two very hysterical girls and one rather worried brother.  I hugged the girls and got everyone calmed down.  Noone was hurt badly enough to require an ambulance, but Ina (the friend) was clearly in pain, and has an underlying medical condition that required her to be checked out, so I loaded all of them into the car, and drove up to see the pickup.  This is what I found.  Needless to say, they all got to get checked out at the hospital.

Sarah had been driving down the gravel road at a decent clip, when a deer wandered into the road.  She had not completely internalized the advice to, “hit the deer” and swerved.  The deep gravel at the side of the road grabbed her and she over-corrected, ran up the bank, and rolled / cartwheeled the pickup back down the bank.  If you look closely, you can see where the side-beam of the room is sitting on her headrest.  I’ve had more than one person tell me that they’ve seen vehicles with less damage in which people had died.  I am eternally grateful that all three people in this vehicle were able to walk away from this crash.  Needless to say, we will be purchasing a new pickup.

Sarah has a mild concussion as well as various muscle-aches and a wide variety of bruises, but again, there is nothing that won’t heal.  The policeman was wise enough to see that she was taking the whole thing quite seriously and did not write the citations he rightfully could have issued.  Two of the occupants were seat-belted.  The third was not.  Again, I say that I am eternally grateful that no one was seriously injured or killed.  I can almost guarantee that none of the them will ever again ride in a vehicle without a seat belt.

Day 21

I’m a couple of days late with this update, but Mahogany is doing very well.  She’s even using the foot a little bit.  The tissue wound is healing fantastically, and is completely closed up.  The final layer is even beginning to form across the center of the wound.  She’s out in the pasture at will now, and is enjoying activity as she can tolerate it.  Of course, as these things go, there is a new concern.  Now that the tissue wound is healing and is no longer distracting me, I can see that there is damage to the top of the hoof.  I’ll give things a bit of time to heal and then call my farrier.  I think she’ll be able to grow it out in much the same way that we can grow out damage to a fingernail.  The difference, of course, is that we don’t put several hundred pounds of pressure on our fingernails with every step.  So, the farrier may have to help.  We’ll see what he says.  In the meantime, things are still looking good.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the positive progress continues.

Day 14

With the pear tree down, and Mahogany’s love of pears, I thought I could turn her out into the pasture yesterday and she would be a little happier, but the pears would keep her from moving around too much.  I was sort of right.  She was happier, and did just fine, but she did not just hang around the pear tree like I had hoped.  When I got home, she was up on the back hillside, near the back gate.  Now getting around up there takes a bit of coordination, so I was slightly terrified that she would fall trying to make her way back down, but she did fine.  The injured leg was not swollen at all, so she tolerated the activity just fine.  I brought her in for a dressing change and some feed (she’s getting rather thin.  I think healing this up is taking a lot of energy) , and kept her in overnight, but she got to go out again today.  I think that will be our routine for a while.  The wound itself is looking great.  The drainage is decreasing almost daily, and the depth of the gash is visually decreasing to where it’s nearly closed on the outside (deep end) and the inside end is completely closed.  The center still has a little depth to it but not nearly as much as even last week.  There is still no sign of infection and I’m slowly moving from hopeful to downright optimistic.  If she keeps healing at this pace, we could be down to a surface wound in just another week or too.  It may be a while longer before she walks easily, but she already takes short little steps on it when she doesn’t know I’m watching.  Just like a kid, I swear.

It’s one way to thin the orchard.

Yesterday we had a wild storm pass through.  The winds topped 70mph!  No buildings were damaged but one of the two pears trees in the orchard broke.  The tree snapped its trunk in half about five feet off the ground.  So we put the sheep in the orchard this morning to clean up the mess.  There were hundreds of pears all over the ground.  The sheep will eat all the leaves and hopefully strip the bark off also.  Once the tree is bare I can go out and cut it up and throw it on the burn pile.  We have already talked about replacing the tree and planting 6-10 more fruit trees out in the orchard.  There are only a few trees left from the original orchard that was in place when the Annmarie’s relatives purchased the place.  The three black walnut trees I planted this summer are hanging in there and we will be planting a few more next month.  

I really want to just take a nap.

There are days on the farm when you realize why farmers are on farm time.  Farm time has its own dictations and sometimes it passes quickly but usually it drags out and sucks you in until the task is done.  Farm time does not care for a schedule or deadline.   I had plans to go out first thing in the morning and load up some hay in the pickup and move it around to the wood shed.  Annmarie and I had talked about feeding Hogs (horse) in the yard daily and how much time it would take.  School is starting and we don’t have as much time in the morning.  It was decided that moving the hay next to the house would make all things easier.  I didn’t get to do it first thing as I had to run into town for an errand.

  I went out to the barn and started loading 8 bales into the back of the truck.  They were heavy!  I drove around to the back hillside and figured I would just drive in next to the fence and directly behind the wood shed.  My handy dandy rock wall is making a fairly level area.  It was tight but I made it.  I drug all eight bales into the wood shed and started to back up.  I tried to back out but the dirt is super light and kinda steep.  I kept spinning the back tires.  By the time I tried to put it in four wheel drive I was stuck up against the rock wall and couldn’t get enough travel to engage the hubs.  After 20 minutes I called uncle and got Annmarie to come out and help while I went for the tractor.  I chained the tractor to the pickup and had Annmarie drive the tractor.  No go, it could not pull it out.  I dug a path three more times by hand, threw rocks under the back tires repeatedly and even went and dug up a whole bucketful of dirt to weigh down the front of the tractor!  In true guy fashion I just kept trying different things.  Two hours later we finally got the pickup out.  I then filled the area with a little more dirt and leveled it with the tractor.  I really need to work on the wall and raise it another three feet.  

Annmarie woke me up from my prework nap so we could change Hog’s dressing.  She was not very cooperative and threw a little fit.  We did get the dressing changed but she is not happy about having to stay in the yard.  
After dinner, Donna called to say that the sheep were out front around the houses.  Yesterday, we saw them out and just figured it was because our nephew was mowing the lawn and left the gate open.  Zeke loved it as he got to go chase the sheep.  So today when we told him he could go do some more “work” he was a happy camper.  I grabbed two horseshoe gate chains and we went down to chase the sheep back into the correct field.  I was able to tell Zeke to go around our in-law’s house, he just ran around the house to meet Annmarie on the other side.  It is amazing how smart he is and how easy it is to move the sheep.  We installed the new gate latches as we think the sheep were pushing on the gates and squeezing through the gap.  I sure hope that is the problem.  
All these things needed to be done and none of them cared that they were cutting into my chore and sleep time.  I do love the farm and our life.  Somedays are just easier than others.

Day 7

It has been 7 days since Mahogany cut herself.  She is still housed in the yard and is starting to get a little grumpy about it.  But, she needs to not use that foot too much, so the yard it is.  So far, there is no sign of infection.  The wound is big and deep, and is draining as it heals.  It is healing, but the word from those with experience with these types of wounds is that it will take months.  We are changing the dressing daily.  She tolerates this pretty well as long as we don’t have wash the wound out.  I did more research tonight and the recommendation is to just wipe the discharge off with saline-moistened gauze.  I’ll try that tomorrow.  For now, she’s healing well and we will continue to do what we can.

Horse woes

Steve alluded to Mahogany’s injury in an earlier post, but I have avoided talking about it because I wasn’t sure what I was going to say.  We are a few days out from the injury now, and Mahogany is doing well, and I’m optimistic for a positive outcome, so I can describe what happened.

Monday morning, Steve and I went out to take pictures of something (neither one of us can remember what at the moment) and noticed my brother’s girlfriend’s horses were on the hill behind the creek, outside of their pasture are.  We walked down to check out the fence Steve had just tightened earlier this spring that was supposed to keep the sheep out of the horse pasture and on the farm.  Physics being what it is, if a horse can get through the fence, then so can a much smaller sheep.  Before we headed out, we noticed blood on Mahogany’s back foot.  The blood, however, was coming from her front foot.  She had a very deep cut across the back of her front foot, just above the hoof.  That’s bad, for the non-horse people among us.  It was important, however, to confine the sheep, because they were headed for the hole, so I put the horses in the yard, registering that it was bad, and went to see what was up with the fence,  it turned out the horses had just rubbed the gate open, so we closed it up and went back the house.  On the way, I called Mom to get a hold of Matt to catch the wandering horses.  
We got back to the house, and looked for the source of Mahogany’s injury.  She had apparently been striking at the other horses, whom she has previously gotten along with just fine, and caught the second-from-the-top strand of wire and broken it.  Yes, she snapped the wire with her foot.  About that time, my brother showed up and helped me evaluate the severity of the injury.  We determined that she had not cut the tendon, and he called someone he knew with more horse experience than both of us put together.  We just honestly did not know whether there was any hope of a horse recovering from this type of injury.  It turns out that if the tendon is not cut, and if you can keep the flies out and if an infection does not set in, the wound will probably heal.  If you have ever tried to bandage a horses ankle, you will realize this is not necessarily an easy set of conditions to achieve.
Matt was willing to help, and I really do care for my horses, so we gathered supplies and proceeded to treat the wound with Vetricin, then cover it with gauze and vet wrap, followed by a fancy duct tape booty for her.  The goal was to keep dirt and insects out of the wound so it could heal, while preventing her from re-opening the wound with every step.  Mahogany was not impressed, but we (mostly Matt) prevailed, and she ended up with a pretty silver toe.  We left that for two days, and yesterday, we reversed the process to see what we had.  It didn’t look good at first.  There was a strong odor coming from the wrappings, and there was evidence of fly penetration into the tape layer.  I was getting a very bad feeling.  But, we got everything off, and amazingly, the wound itself looked very good.  Everything was the right color, and there was minimal swelling, and no evidence of infection.  So, we applied more Vetricin, wrapped it all back up, and tonight Mahogany got a shot of antibiotic.  Tomorrow we will change the dressing again.  We’re on a two-day schedule for a while.
Right now it looks hopeful that she will recover.  Only time will tell if she has long term lameness or weakness.  Keep your fingers crossed for us.  I’ll keep you updated.  In the meantime, she’s confined to the yard.  I bring her in some hay once a day, but she’s still eating the grass down very short, and Sarah has a new chore that involves a shovel and the removal of the applied horse “fertilizer” on a daily basis.  Meeka comes and goes, but really, Mahogany is much calmer with her in the yard, so she spends about half her time in the yard too.  It’s a good thing I hadn’t put a lot of time and effort into our landscaping, because its going to take a beating.