Goodbye, My Little Buddy

TW: Animal Loss, Pet Loss

I was told once, shortly after my beloved childhood dog passed, that the unimaginably hard goodbyes are the cost of immeasurable love and years of the best companionship possible that only animals can offer us.

Friday night I had to rush Sherlock to the vet because he suddenly, with no warning, collapsed and stopped breathing. We were able to get him to breathe on his own long enough to arrive at the vet where they tried their absolute best to diagnose and save my little guy.

Unfortunately, there is not much to be done when a brain aneurysm ruptures and the brain is rapidly bleeding. We were told it would be the same outcome, whether we waited for a natural end or not, so we said our goodbyes and my sweet little angel went peacefully to heaven wrapped in my arms.

I’m not handling it well. I’m not, I can’t lie. My sweet pack is lost without it’s littlest member, and I am having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that in less than a half hour, we went from a happy bouncing little critter to giving last kisses. I treat each animal with the same attention, love, and care I do the humans in my family, and at the moment, I feel like a pretty awful pet parent, even though logically I’m aware there wasn’t anything to be done differently.

I desperately miss my little cuddle bug. I miss his gentle paw pets when he wanted attention, and being woken up at 8 am on Saturdays by little tippy taps, and I really miss his “smother Mom in kisses” approach to whisking away sadness. One day these will be happy, warm memories, but at the moment they are also somewhat pointed.

My little bean was 5 years old, he just had his birthday the Monday before. He loved to shout, and cuddle, and chase his brothers. He liked to stash his food under the living room furniture, boss his mom around, and was a serious, professional sunshine napper. But unbeknownst to us, he had more disabilities due to his malicious breeding than we had thought. I knew when Sherlock and Watson came to me that rescuing them out of a puppy mill meant some possible health issues, and unfortunately, we believe that was what ultimately led to the aneurysm. The good news is, even with he couple surgeries he needed, and the cataract he developed, he was the happiest, most content little dog ever, and I truly believe he had the best life he possibly could have. I am so beyond grateful that his five short years on earth were mine to treasure, and even knowing that outcome, I’d do it all again. He was a very special critter.

Some day, maybe soon, I’d love to share some of my favorite Sherlock memories with all of you, and perhaps devote a whole post to the love of my little dude, but right now I am choosing to step away from the internet and focus on my pack and finding our new normal. The constant barrage of information, and especially news, is just not helpful at the moment. I am hoping this won’t impact the post frequency of this blog, but if I miss a week or two, please know that I’ll be back shortly, and that I will most definitely miss our chats while we figure this all out.
Until we chat again, my friends.

A Week of Prep Work

HI friends! This week has been busy busy busy. We had lots of shopping to do, so we spent a lot of time in town, and I had a super fun event to prep for!
My little cousin is going to come out and try her hand out horseback riding! She’s been asking for a while, and I kept saying that she had to wait until she was five years old. I wanted to wait because at five years old, children are usually old enough to be able to articulate when they are excited or scared, what’s concerning them, they understand that they need to be kind to others, and very importantly, they are becoming much more coordinated and balanced.
As soon as she turned five she let me know she was old enough to try lessons. To be honest, I think I’m just as excited as she is. I used to help with lessons as a high schooler, and a little in college, and I have been hoping to have an opportunity to share my love of horses with my extended family more. I would never force it, if she ends up not liking it, that’s totally fine. But, I have a unique opportunity to share something, and if I have little ones around who like it, I can help make cowgirl dreams a reality.

My beautiful girls (and yours truly)! I have sweaty gross hair here, because I am hugely pro-helmet, and I practice what I preach, however when my Dad was snapping photos, he let me know you literally could not see my face under the sun shade.

My farm insurance is a little less jazzed about the idea of my putting a small child on a large horse, so I have spent some time this week researching and writing up a waiver and contract for lessons. I think it is good for all parties involved to have the paperwork in front of them.
Since I don’t have pony sized critters, until my little cousin grows slightly longer legs we will be working mostly on balance, confidence, and paying attention. As she gets more comfortable and gets stronger she will also learn the less fun stuff, how to clean a stall, how to keep tack neat and organized, and the nitty gritty stuff, like how a vet call works, and she will meet the farrier. My goal is to raise up a little well rounded horsewoman, it’s her job to decide where she wants to take her horse journey. Although, if she wants to head straight for the Olympics, more power to her, she’s going to need a better trainer. Your girl’s equitation has gotten… a little rough over time.

Another Dad capture! The girls made rounds running through the pasture sprinklers and rolling in the arena dirt…. it took me an hour to get them looking somewhat clean.

We are gearing up for a parade around here. The National Oldtime Fiddler’s Assoc. Festival and Competition is back this year and we are all really, really excited about it. Usually there’s a little float competition since we all build our own floats out of whatever is available in the local shops, and the float I work on, for our local Love INC, has won it’s share of awards. We are going a little lower key this year, since we didn’t know the state of the parade until about a month ago, and didn’t know the theme until about a week ago. This year our goal is just to beat the local department store. We have an unofficial rivalry with their float team because my uncle works there, but builds on our float. It’s all in good fun, they send spies, we send spies, all in the name of playful banter and getting the town all amped up for the festival.
We were honestly really concerned that we were going to lose the festival last year. It’s been harder and harder for the aging town to keep it going, but the old guard won’t pass on the reins just yet. This is understandable, it’s a town steeped in tradition, but a lot of us younger folk would love to carry on those traditions while still growing our events and the town in general. The pandemic really proved to push the situation, as not only could we simply not have the festival, we couldn’t have any of our usual tourist-y things. This is why this year’s is so so so important. It is partially online, or at least that’s the plan, I’m not entirely sure how that will work, BUT if they end up streaming or posting anything I’ll let you all know so you can be involved as well.

Parade Float Bin, everything I’ve been accumulating decorations wise has ended up here. There’s some bigger items we use every year, like the giant fiddles, that I need to pick up still from the Love INC storage space.

In terms of parade float prep, we are going with a Flag based theme, so I raided some of the Memorial Day clearance racks and have been hunting for Fourth of July based items as well. I have added a laundry basket to my trunk specifically for float finds. (Pro-tip, those Amazon boxes you don’t know what to do with? Trunk organizers… pop the flaps inside the box and they are super handy modular storage that can also still be closed. Second Pro Tip? When you have lots of loose things to carry to or from your car (like, say, float décor) grab a laundry basket. They have handles and are literally made for carrying lots of loose items. Things you learn when you park a decent walk from your front door).

We are looking down the barrel of some storms, so I’m going to sign off here and go park the tractor under shelter and batten down the hatches. It’s a shorter update this time, but I doubt you want the nitty gritty of my shopping trip (I had to go to Walmart, love their prices, generally despise actually going to the store). I’d imagine next week you’ll get pages and pages of my gushing about my little cousin’s first lesson, maybe a parade DIY or two, since we gotta make whatever we can’t find, and possibly a storm video if the gopro cooperates.
Until we chat again, my friends!

It’s Too Warm!

Hi friends!
It’s hot today! It’s actually one of the cooler days this week though. It’s unseasonably warm, today is 98 degrees, usually we are happily sitting mid eighties around late may early June, but this week we hit 106. I wish I was joking.
I’ve had to modify a lot about my schedule this week, which I am super aware that I am lucky enough to work in a job and in an industry that allows for flexible work schedules. It makes farm life much easier when I don’t have to stress as much about scheduling vet visits or farm chores (or repairmen, or more vet visits).
Usually I start work between 5:30 and 6 am in the morning, I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out, I am usually feeling like I put in a good days work around 2:30 or 3 pm in the afternoon and I still have so much day left! This is especially nice when the days are super short in the winter time and the sunlight leaves us at 4 pm. I get just a little more cranky than usual when I don’t get to see the sun. It’s a little easier to get up in the dark when you get a reward.

Dad and his little flock of weed eaters. They take their job very seriously, but are scared of the camera, so I have to sneak pictures.

With it being absolutely melty outside by 2 pm now, I have opted this week to exercise the horses and work on chores before work, which is also pleasant, because I feel super accomplished before even signing in. The downside is, I’m all gross and tired by 7 am. A fair trade off I think.
Ro feels fundamentally very differently than I do. She is not a fan of mornings, and has been pretty vocal about not enjoying 6 am rides. She’s a good sport, she’s been hanging in there and getting our exercise in, but we’ve thrown a few more bucks and kicks, less willing to lead out on rides, and she’s not as easily swayed by cookies. It’s totally fair, we all are a little cranky in the mornings.
I’m not naturally a morning person, so I feel her pain, but I am definitely a “get everything done early so I don’t have to worry about it” kinda person. I love crossing things off that to-do list.
I also can totally see why some people really gravitate toward morning rides, it’s a very fun way to start a morning. I could see it being very peaceful, if your mare isn’t angrily pointing out the sun hasn’t crested the hill yet (it’s light out, I just live next to a large hill, I’m not completely heartless).

Look at how pink and pretty it is in the morning! The sky gets super pink and orange and my phone’s auto setting just didn’t know how to handle it (Also, for some reason wordpress is mangling the quality on upload, not a clue as to why)

Sherlock has recently found out that if he squeezes through the porch rail slats and reaches around, he can sneakily get off the porch and go exploring. This is a big old worry for many reasons. One, Sherlock has literally no equipment or animal smarts, his go-to when frightened is to shrink and hide, especially bad because Ro is not super dog-friendly, she had a bad experience. Two, he’s so tiny that he’s perfect hawk food, which is less than ideal. Finally, I spent a lot of time and research finding a gate solution for that porch to keep him (and his brothers) safe, and I am miffed he’s found a workaround. So, now I am going to weave in some bailing twine to create a soft wall that hopefully he can get around. I’ll run the twine through the gate slats and the offending porch slats just in case.
Speaking of sneaky animals, Nellie has worked out that if she messes at it long enough, she can usually get the arena/corral gate open and closed at her will. Luckily she doesn’t seem interested in playing with exterior gates, but she’s definitely busted the arena/corral gate. I need to figure out how there’s now an inch gap between the gate part and fence part of the latch.
I can’t blame her, Ro and I have been working on opening gates from horseback so we can let Nellie in the arena while cooling out and so we can handle gates on trail rides. I think Nellie just wanted to show off that she’s been paying attention too. It is honestly mind-blowing how smart this horse is when she’s not losing her mind over something spooky.
The beans have started to come up in the garden! They are growing like gangbusters! Well, I think, I don’t really know for certain what that means.

go gangbusters

If something is going gangbusters, it is going strongly and doing very well. If someone comes on like gangbusters, they behave very energetically and sometimes aggressively. [Collins Dictionary]

Peas and okra are maybe starting to come up slowly, and the pumpkins, watermelon, and carrots are now in the ground! Lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers are being started in pots on the porch. All that’s left is the eggplant I think… although I feel like I’m forgetting something. I’ll have to ask Dad. He’s made a bunch of little signs out of the packages, but they aren’t quite ready to go up yet, when they do that will help a lot with identifying veggies.

Happy Little Bean Plant!

We’ve been seeing our hummingbirds lately which is such fun each year. When we don’t have their sugar water up, they come fly between windows until they see a human, and then they tap on the window until you pay them attention.
Public Service Announcement! Red Dye isn’t super great for hummingbirds, so make sure if you are buying hummingbird liquid that you check with your local vet that it is actually hummingbird safe. Boiling certain veggies in your water first will naturally dye it red, I’ve had luck with beets, but I’ve heard cabbage might work too. Bright side is that you also have cooked veggies now, although beets are absolutely the worst so you’ll have to find someone who likes them.
I made homemade spatzle this week! That is the stickiest batter I have ever made, and it turns out that spatzle makers are absolutely not a silly kitchen gadget. I made my spatzle by pressing the better through a colander, and that was a mistake. The spatzle was delicious, I ended up sautéing it in butter, garlic, and rosemary, but I also destroyed every dish in my kitchen. It was super tasty though, so maybe worth it. To be determined.
Homemade gnocchi was a lot easier and cleaner, despite the fact that potato starch gets into everything. It also seems more shelf stable, although I’ve never really had to store any for long. I might make up a batch this weekend, I want to try a new recipe.
Anyways, I’m going to go find the big box fan so I can use my porch again, and I am hoping for cooler weathers moving forward. That pretty much sums up my weekend plans. Hope you had a great week and are looking towards a fun and relaxing weekend.
Until we chat again, my friends!