If you ask me what’s new or going on or how we’re doing these days I might pause for a few seconds before I answer.
I’m just trying to remember where I am.
After Alistair’s surgery to remove hardware from his pelvis on May 6th we returned to Montana to begin his slow recovery.
Somehow I managed to keep his activity to a minimum and the healing process has gone well. The main thing is that the pain from the migrating pins is gone so the surgery was a success! The recovery phase now is the soft tissue healing.
But we still had to get back to Bismarck to tend to our horse herd and our garden so we loaded up the 3 dogs and hit the road for the 11 hour drive yet again.
We abandoned the cages and brought the “Magic Blanket” instead and the dogs travelled beautifully, even if Miss Cleo was a little bit dramatic about the whole thing.
Highway 200 is a sparsely-populated trek across the plains. We often encounter enormous farm machinery or equipment being hauled on equally ginormous rigs and we don’t see many other travelers.
Which is probably why you can still have a bona-fide cattle drive taking up the road!
The moo-ing and occasional “yip” from the cowboys (riding ATVs, not horses) was old school Montana but hey, when you have to move the herd several miles down the road what else are you going to do?
We finally got by them (moo!) and made it back to our own herd in sunny North Dakota.
Its where we had a nest full of new neighbors and a slightly peeved Mother!
The nest appeared last summer and a new one was built on top this year. Its location is cleverly tucked away from the winds that blow constantly but not so clever in that its immediately outside of our front door.
The adult robin continued to bring worms up and we tried to make an effort to use the side door through the garage when we could.
The babies grew and grew and the day after I took this photo they were out of the nest, flying around on their own. They hovered near the area but we never saw them in the nest again and another cycle of nature has been completed.
Bismarck is also where we got our garden up & running.
Its a large garden that Alistair has tweaked over the years. This was the first year I was there to help get everything in the ground.
5 types of potatoes, 8 different tomato plants, 8 each of cauliflower, spinach and broccoli, red and yellow onions, herbsherbsherbs, pumpkin, cucumbers, squash varieties and 3 types of corn.
The only thing now is hoping that the North Dakota winds don’t destroy things like they did after the first planting last year.
Our farm is also where we had to take care of a few equine-related things.
Combing out tangled manes and tails and moving pastures.
And saying goodbye.
We laid Brutus and Raven to rest on the same day and even though we both knew it had to be done it still hit me harder than I thought it would.
Brutus, a bay Paint gelding we raised had injured himself years ago at a trainer’s and could never be ridden. His labored mobility had become difficult to watch and with a new worsening respiratory condition this spring we laid him to rest on the farm he was born on.
And then there was Raven.
A Fyfe Farm staple and Boss Mare for almost as long as I have known Alistair.
We bought her as a yearling in 1995 at a reduced price because of a hoof injury she had sustained that made her an un-rideable well-bred American Paint Horse broodmare.
She produced some gentle, gorgeous, personality-laden foals over the years and was an exceptional Mama.
Raven never minded us being right in with her and the foals and each one has been fun and relatively easy to work with.
While she always had that misshapen rear hoof it never bothered her over the years. She really had a great life for a horse.
Never had a saddle on her.
Always top quality hay and big pastures to run around.
She had the herd’s respect.
And three of her foals stayed on the farm and became part of the herd.
Last September we noticed a forelimb lameness that suddenly appeared. It didn’t go away. In fact, it got worse. During my trips back to Bismarck it became clear that she was struggling to get around and was dropping her weight and not shedding out well. One of the easiest keepers of the herd was starting to look tough.
So it was Time.
Raven sedated calmly near the rest of the herd before Alistair slowly led her to the area where we had buried Brutus just a couple of hours beforehand and she let me rub her a little before I gave her an intra-venous boat load of tranquilizers and she got stoned and wobbly and kept eating the rich, thick grass in front of her and then I injected the pink solution and I kissed her one last time.
And I choked up walking away as Alistair climbed up into the tractor again that day.
The herd dynamic definitely changed that day. When we did vaccinations and deworming of the remaining 13, having to separate them in small groups, they all seemed more anxious and worked up to be apart from each other.
They whinnied, they nickered, they kicked up and ran around.
And now 2 are coming back to Montana this week with Alistair and UB because its time to get the pasture here gobbled up and hopefully it will be time for some riding.
And Alistair is healing, having good days and great days and Loki and Cleo are so tight with me its becoming difficult to walk around the house and I think that’s enough driving and uncertainty for awhile and I’m not sad because of what we had to do, I’m just sad because everyone and everything keeps getting older and I’m sad they are gone even though its the circle of life and everything has a cycle and I know that our second year of Attrition hasn’t been any easier than the first but I also know that’s how it goes and I’ll be damned if I bottle it up and develop Compassion Fatigue.
And there are so many wonderful things going on that make me want to smile right now. Happy Hubby. Garden. Loki (sleeping on my foot right now). Rain. Springtime.
While things occur that make me feel sad I’m still very happy, even if I have to pause when you ask how things are going. My head and heart have been kind of full lately.
Its what it is.
Its what’s up.