Saturday, February 28, 2009

In Need of Comfort Food...Butterscotch Bars!

Today was a plain old drab day. The weather remained cold at 34 degrees and the gray sky denied us Leo's a glimpse of our treasured ruler, the Sun! But... the evening was perfect for baking. With all the chores completed, the barn babies back in their comfy home from turnout, and the deer and bird bellies full from corn and seed; something sweet was beckoning in my brain. Hmmm, what to make? I found my Aunt Joyce's Butterscotch Bars recipe. 'Annie' Joyce hails from Vermont and is one of the best cooks I know!

Ready?....barely melt one stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter (slice in chunks for a faster melt) on low heat then add 2 cups of Domino brown sugar. ( Domino bakes the best) Bring to a light bubble which will take at least 10 minutes of constant stirring. Turn off the heat. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. This will help it cool out quicker. (Preheat your oven to 350 or 325 if you use glass baking pans) Once the mixture cools down to 'warm', add 2 eggs, but one at a time. Beat thoroughly. Add 1 tsp. vanilla. Then sift in 2 cups all purpose flour mixed with 2 tsp. baking powder and 1/4 tsp. salt. Add 1 cup coconut and add 1 cup of walnut pieces if you like nuts. If you are a dough eater, time to taste! Bake in a greased pan for about 30-35 minutes or until your toothpick test comes clean. Simple, easy and irresistible!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Tiger Came Calling At 2 A.M.!

I finally found it, yippee! It was tiring, keeping away from that huge owl and the hawks. I didn't see any stray dogs, thank heavens! I had heard of this awesome place where animals were treated so well. The deer can't keep anything to themselves; they tell everything they know! I am on the back porch and it is really late. It smells doggy. Oh Lord, they see me! I know the door will protect me. Their barks are so ferocious and there are a lot of them! I saw them earlier; I thought this would be a good time. Please! Where is that good lady? Here comes a man....ahhh, he seems nice. Food! I am starved!

Here she comes. She talks a lot. She calls me Tiger. I guess that is ok. I guess I will let her pet me. Hmmm, her pats are good, she knows cats. I hope everything will be ok. Uhh oh, she picked me up! Don't let those dogs eat me! This huge pen is awesome, it has a fluffy bed! Fresh water in a clean bowl, that is good! More dry food. And a litter box. She likes to sit and talk to me. I am tired. Who is that? She is big and black. Alright! I got it, don't mess with you, you rule! Let me sleep.

Wow, who are you?? Boy are you pretty! So shy though. I won't hurt you. Come smell my nose and greet me. I didn't do anything so why are you growling at me and running off? Whoa! Who is this huge thing? One of his eyes are he a big time fighter? He is shy too. I don't know what is up with these cats... I haven't done anything and I am not even a year old yet! I guess I have to earn my way.

She opened the door so I can go outside...I will hide under a chair so the huge dogs don't sniff me. So far so good. Big Sammy seems to want me for a meal though, but she watches him constantly. Nugget is sweet. Little Bear thinks I am a toy and wants to play. Coty just stares at me. LaQuinta rubs on Coty so I guess he will be ok. I am going down to the barn to explore. Whoa, another huge ball of fur! This one looks mean, his ears are torn and he has scars on his nose, but he is sooo fat! How could he win fights with all that weight? Hmmm...I will hide under the horse trailer. You know, she has allowed me to live here so quit threatening me. I can threaten back! Not that I want to tangle with she comes! Oh, so your name is Daddy Cat. You rule the barn, I see. I guess I will let her get me out of here, that way it doesn't look like I backed down.

Where are we going? You have been so good to me so far...I trust you and I won't meow. This place has lots of cats and dogs! How come I am here? Ouch! That needle hurt. I am sleepy. How come I am sore? I wasn't sore before. Where is she? Why am I in this small cage? I am scared but still sleepy. Back in the black cat carrier...she must be here! I hear my name. There she is! It is good to be back in my bed. I need some rest.

It has been two weeks since I have found the farm. I hope they keep me. I try not to spray but sometimes I can't help it! She follows me everywhere and scolds me if I do and wipes my mark off the white baseboard with stinky cleaning stuff. I guess when I quit I will get more time out. It takes a couple of weeks. I still haven't gotten close to Pretty Princess. I offer my paw under the door but she just looks at me. That Big Rocky eats a few granules of dry food right next to my pen. She is trying to get him to like me. I chased him once. That didn't help but I wanted to play! LaQuinta is the best. She let our noses touch. She keeps me in my place though. I am not sure I love 'Mama' yet. She is good to me. They all adore her and follow her everywhere. I am too independent. I haven't been back at the barn yet. She opened the door again to see if I wanted to go outside but I didn't. I hear there is another fighter down there with his mother. They say he is long, lean and mean. His name is Cricket. I don't think I want to meet him. I hope I fit in here. I know she thinks I am cute but she told me it depends upon the others. She said they come first and I must not hurt them. I don't plan too. I hope this will be my forever home!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Have an Older Horse? Read this The article!

Joint Injections Show Effect in Osteoarthritis Study by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc February 23 2009, Article # 13666

In a recent study published by researchers from the Gail Homes Equine Orthopaedic Research Center at Colorado State University, both intra-articular medications polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG) and hyaluronic acid (HA) possessed the ability to alter cartilage metabolism in treated horses.

"These study results clearly indicate that both drugs are viable therapeutic options for osteoarthritis in horses with osteoarthritis," reported lead author David Frisbie, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS.

To evaluate the effect of PSGAG and HA on clinical signs and various other measures of osteoarthritis, researchers utilized 24 horses with a similar degree of osteoarthritis in one carpal joint. Eight horses were injected with PSGAG, eight horses were injected with HA, and eight horses served as the untreated control group. Injections were administered 14, 21, and 28 days post-operatively. The researchers evaluated the horses for 70 days after induction of osteoarthritis.

"Despite the fact that we did not observe any difference in the clinical signs of lameness between the treated and control horses, both HA and PSGAG did exhibit disease-modifying properties determined by the post-treatment analysis of the structure and metabolism of the articular cartilage," said Frisbie.
Hyaluronic acid and PSGAG are the only two drugs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for intra-articular administration in horses with osteoarthritis. Other products that have demonstrated the ability to ameliorate the clinical signs of OA and/or alter cartilage metabolism include: Avocado and soybean unsaponifiable extracts, Topical diclofenac liposomal cream, Triamcinolone acetonide, Autologous conditioned serum, as well as Interleukin-1 receptor agonists.

The study, "Evaluation of polysulfated glycosaminoglycans or sodium hyaluronan administered intra-articularly for treatment of osteoarthritis with experimentally induced osteoarthritis," was published in the February 2009 edition of the American Journal of Veterinary Research.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fantastic Farrier Friday

It is such a wonderful have a great farrier! My farrier, in my opinion, is one of the best. There is a quote out there....'you don't know what good is until you have experienced the bad'. How true in our case!

Jessie, being older, arthritic and a quarter horse, was diagnosed as having tendencies towards navicular. Her former farrier was doing an adequate job but due to his preferences for traveling far distances where the big bucks are, he forgot his 'starter clients', decided not to return calls thus leaving my horses' hooves long, unhealthy and often times with a pulled shoe! The final straw was when he referred me to another farrier who trimmed Jess so poorly that she ended up a lucrative client of Dr. Scott Morrison, Vet Podiatrist at Rood and Riddle in Lexington, KY. The very next day (she was trimmed late that previous evening) I had to bute her to get her out of the field! She could barely walk back to the barn and her hooves were burning hot! It was in February (the winter was so mild then), I had been riding her regularly and she was doing so well. I just shake my head in disgust remembering all of this.

I found Mark through a referral from a good friend but I hesitated, being burnt before, so I researched online to see if he was a member of the American Farrier's Association and he was....awesome. None of the others we had been using are members and I since learned that the test is tough but not so bad if you know what you are doing and are educated! I also learned that just because a fancy barn uses a farrier, it doesn't mean that he knows what he is doing either! So be careful if you are in this same predicament.

So, it is with much relief that the ponies now have excellent hoof care especially with my 25-year old Jess who requires specialized knowledge and a good eye. She is now not in need of any special shoes, her frogs have widened back to normal and remains happy on plain steel shoes! Makes you wonder... were her issues a result of poor shoeing this whole time? I do not know. I just thank God that there are good decent people out there that want to perform their work ethically, without gouging the client, and hurting the horses! We have a fantastic farrier and all is well on the farm!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Defying Death

Snowy and cold again so I thought I would tell you about a harrowing experience I had one November early afternoon last year. I was cleaning stalls, the farrier was to arrive within minutes and horses were grazing in the field with the barn cats happily exploring...typical day. Not! Coty began barking non-stop with Nugget and Little Bear barking as well. I looked up and saw nothing and thought it was just a deer or a squirrel. It didn't stop. Frustrated with interupting my work, I briskly walked up the barn drive to the edge of the yard, looked where he was looking, and saw a brown head bobbing in the little ground well fed by a spring half way up the hill!

I ran, and of course it felt like slow motion going up this hill! A young deer was drowning in the chilling water and its head was going under! Oh God it was Nub, Brownie's boy! I dropped to my knees and immediately got my hands under his 'arms' and tried lifting him out. He frantically tried to escape my foreign touch and even swam under the ground which I had no idea it was that wide since it had stones surrounding the edge making it look 4 ft square. I kept trying to lift him out. Too heavy. He was about 75 pounds then. I could get him about 1/2 way out but then he would slip back since his front hooves found no traction on the slippery stones. His loud calls of distress will be forever engrained in my memory. During this process I was screaming for help, screaming his name, screaming for God, and just frantic. Why isn't my farrier here yet? Why can't my good husband hear? Was I going to have to watch him drown? Was I going to get kicked into oblivion from a frightened and wild deer? Half my body was over the well; was I going to accidently fall in? I was given the gift of a wonderful thought...get those rocks out of the way so the dirt surrounds the edge, maybe that will help him with traction. So I quickly dug the rocks out, some splattered in the well, probably adding to Nub's fear. Then I tried again. I got him 1/2 way out. Same thing. Instead of continuing to pull, I told him to rest. So we did... for about 3 seconds. Both of us didn't move with my arms around him. Then I heaved, and his hooves found blessed traction and he got out. He ran to cover, unscathed, with no skin scrapes, and no limping. He stopped, shook his thick coat then trotted off. He was fine but I wasn't.

I could barely move. I was sobbing and shaking mostly from the adrenaline and some from the ice cold water. I walked back to the porch, stopping to give thanks to my wonderful dogs with weak pats. I noticed I was covered in mud, thoroughly soaked and had a hole in my pants resulting from bruising my knee. Funny, I felt none of that earlier. Needless to say, I was physcially and emotionally useless for the remainder of the day. Nub and Cocoa are the first fawns I have ever gotten close to and since Brownie is my favorite; my affections for these two babies run deep. We have since covered the well with a metal sheet since one of Big Girl's fawns drowned earlier in the summer and I was not around to help.

I often wonder where Brownie was, did she see this? Did she know? Did she hear his screams? Probably. Nub fed that evening as usual and all was well on the farm.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Scary Sky!

I was quietly sitting in the living room working online when suddenly my good husband bursts into the house and rebukes me for not getting the horses in! Huh? Non-horse husband caring about horses? Why? Then he told me that in 15 minutes we are to receive 60-65 mph winds and that the weather experts warn that tornadoes could occur! I heeded his warnings even though the sky hadn't darkened yet . Running top speed down the lane, passing the pond and scattering the snorting deer in all directions; I quickly got the horses. I put them up, closed the 4x8 heavy dutch outside stall doors, closed the end doors, secured the wind latches, and placed large cement blocks in front in case the latches gave out. I put Cricket in the huge pen leaving Daddy Cat and Callie loose in the tack room as they don't fight as much. I told them all I loved them dearly memorizing their beautiful faces and praying that nothing would hurt them or our farm. Fear began to creep its way into my thoughts. I looked to the sky. The wind was slowly giving me warning but I still had time to quickly feed corn to the deer. Just as I finished, the wind and the rain bore down with no compassion. The deer and I fled to safety.

We were blessed! Once the darkness gave way I went outside to see that our home, barn, and fencing were not affected although we had several trees down. One in particular fell on the Cemetary paddock blocking the lane, however the sturdy oak plank stayed strong! A small group of thin tall pines were uprooted in the backyard and another fluffy green cedar fell on Black Jack's grave. As I was checking it all out, a strange yellow light emerged, bathing the farm with an eerie cast. The sky looked haunted! The puffy clouds were dark grey mixed with a strange yellow. I had never seen this shade of light before! The sun peaked out and an electric blue sky introduced itself so I grabbed the camera. The deer were quietly surrounding the cedar and I worried. Was one of them trapped? They didn't run as we all surveyed the tree and I peered under thick branches to be sure nobody was underneath. The Longtails surprised me by not running nervously away. They just stood there. I finished feeding corn as several more came out. Later that night more winds threatened our safety but thankfully we were spared. The morning news reported several uprooted trees, some on unlucky homes, power outages, and one roof was blown completed off in KY. I pray for those who suffered and I thank God all is well on the farm! (This happened Thursday however the blog would not let me back date!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Piggy Ponies!

At last the ponies get to kick, buck, jump, rear, gallop and best of all ROLL! They are mud balls! Thankfully, the result of this activity has not left any heat in their legs, no pulled shoes, no nicked hooves or bite marks from Blue 'herding' Jessie. Blue was a handful the first day out during a walk to warm their muscles after being in their 12 x12 stalls for 2 weeks! My arm was sore and the chain around his nose did nothing. He wanted to run, run, run! Poor Jessie tried her best at being good with him prancing around. They had to be turned out in the small paddock since there was snow remaining in the cemetery paddock. I placed timothy around the edges since there is no grass and of course, Blue wouldn't let Jess eat after about 5 minutes. There were plenty of other stacks, but she meekly obeys his orders and nibbles on nothing. After a couple of hours, Blue still being wired, I found the perfect opportunity to get her in first...he was pooping! I swiftly grabbed her and out we went! Usually, Blue pushes her out of the way and I have to get him first. Now Jess could peacefully have her fill in the confines of her quiet stall.

The next day was warmer and they were turned out in the Cemetery paddock after a walk down the road and back for 15 minutes. I like to warm them up knowing they will be rambunctious and Jessie being older, needs extra care. Blue, was still bad and was pulling near the end of the walk. No chain on the nose this time since he usually is good once he has regular turnout. Thoroughly disgusted, I prepared to put Jessie in the field first but wouldn't you know she backed right out and decided to play games! I threw Blue in, chained the gate and prayed! An unseen groundhog hole, misplaced rock...anything could cause tendon damage; a dangerous trip or worse, a fall. This doesn't happen often but when it does, I say nothing and calmly let her eat grass and slowly attach her lead rope. Not this time! She trotted on sacred ground, darting here and there avoiding small markers, and various headstones! Then, she decided to go towards the road which really scared me...what if she keeps on going? There is a gate but she could go around it. The land is steep one each side of the gate and floods below so perimeter fencing was only done on one side. Usually a horse will not go far from its pasture mate but she decided to graze in the next tiny field with a steep ravine that goes to the 'river' separating the two fields. Two strikes for the slow approach. Blue's tail was completely vertical during her jaunt and he was blowing hard! He was having a ball watching and running the fence line. Surprisingly she was surefooted the entire time and she finally let me attach her lead rope while she was gobbling grass back at the cemetery.

I was relieved, thanked God, and watched her drink water and monitored her breathing for a few minutes after I put her in the paddock but of course Blue blocked the gate and I had to remedy that situation first! Finally, they calmed down. That evening, I was happy to find legs and hooves were cool with no heat, shoes were still intact but the woof boots were gone. That's okay, I can find them later.

Today has been good so far. We took our mile walk and due to excellent behavior they received a grass break (where there is real grass, not down trodden stubble's of grass as in the paddock). Both received lots of praise and Blue was an angel like Jessie usually is. The bugs are out, can you believe it? These honey bee things are all over the farm. Nugget got stung Monday and they buzzed around Jess's stall while I cleaned. I also saw a grown fly, and some tiny delicate flying gnats. Otherwise, all is well on the farm!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dog Days of Winter

The weather is warming and we got a high of 40! But the icy barn driveway remains too treacherous for a pony walk. Been working relentlously on this beloved blog of mine! Still have lots to do! Looking forward in fingering the pages of that old diary and picking the recipes that look tasty. I know the pickles are excellent! Just had one yesterday on my oven roasted turkey and 'farm' cheese mayo sandwich. These pickles had a slightly sweet taste and I never eat pickles! Sooo good! And it livens up the turkey. You should try it...only you need those special pickles.

Haven't seen Big Girl for awhile. Saw beautiful Runt yesterday with her twins. She's tall, Brownie's small, but Brownie rules! Brown Tail got so close I could have touched him, but he darts off with amazing speed. Little Cocoa surprised me and ran down to the horse trailer to be the first one to gobble from their huge mound of corn and grain. Nub is getting big. One of the Big Girls yearling boys (Twin) lost both antlers. The others remain crowned. It seems Bandit (the new buck with the dark mask) is now relinquishing to Bossy's Boy these days. Not sure what that is about yet.

Tell me what you think about this interesting quote I read from Country Magazine, and be sure to scroll down the bottom for some cute surprises before you leave! "You Can't Put An Old Head On Young Shoulders".

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Are We In Vermont?

This snow is not quitting!! Again, we are blanketed with more of earth's dandruff! Not a good visual, huh? Well, I am tired of it but come the end of the week it will be like we are in the Carribbean with a 50-60 degree forecast. Whoo Hoo!

I thought I would try the spagetti and meatball recipe from one of the morning shows as I have yet to find a perfect sauce and meatball combination. It was bland to say the least, but passable after I added a couple more spices. All it called for was a cup of onion, some salt, pepper and red pepper flakes...I added garlic powder and italian seasonings. I froze all but one serving for leftovers. I googled more recipes and most were similiar with the exception of one that added basil. I am definately into comfort food these days! I won't pass this recipe on as it does not compare to other awesome concoctions that I will soon share

The horses are still fine. Jessie wandered out of her stall for a different view of Blue. Poor things, so bored and unable to be horses. Daddy Cat decided he wanted to spend the day in the 50 degree tack room so Callie reluctantly agreed and perched on top of the thickly covered saddle while he sprawled out in a warm bed. Cricket was disgusted as this is HIS domain and where HE was born and stayed in the barn with Jess and Blue. The birds could relax and eat the corn left from the previous night after the bunny, raccoon and possum had their fill.

Brown Tail, Beauty, the four bucks and the Long Tail family fed early as usual. They are so skittish and are still in the snorting stage with the exception of Bossy's Boy who was a baby almost two years ago. No Big Girl nor Runt. No Brownie and her brood (7 in all). I fed late since I watched Lost and wouldn't you know Brownie, Bossy ( i think they are sisters) , Shy One and Brave One (Brownie's girls 2007 yearlings) along with BB (Bossy's 2008 boy - she turns out boys) along with sweet little Cocoa and Nub (Brownies 2008 girl and boy). I generously gave them corn mixed with 11% Southern States textured Reliance horse feed. I know, they are spoiled. But they get the corn year round so their 4 chambered stomachs are quite used to it. Their coats shine with health, their eyes are bright, and they are absolutely beautiful blessings that God allows me to get close too.

I am so thankful that they survived the two month hunting season as that group is smart and knows to stay near the house and barn. Actually I didn't loose any of my does that feed regularily. I fear my handsome LongHorn and WideHorn are in someone's freezer as they go off for miles so that no inner breeding occurs. I always wondered if my feeding affected them but so far I don't think so. When I walk in the woods, I rarely see them and if I do, they are gone in a flash. I lost Great One who I would see very rarely since I did not feed then when I was riding Blue. The neighbor bragged to me about bagging him that season. I honestly think they know the deer yard is safe. I pray they do and that they remain shy everywhere else. There is no hunting on our land.

I didn't hear the owls this evening like I did last night as this is breeding season for them (as well as for bunnies)...the night was quiet with the exception of a loud noisy four wheeler across the 'river' that scared the deer. All is well on the farm!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Snow Jail!

The horses have been in their stalls for over 10 days now which is the longest they have ever been confined. Thankfully they are doing well! The ice and the snow in their paddocks has not melted. I tried walking Jessie up the barn drive onto the main driveway where it is clear. She got too excited and did not want to leave Blue so it was only a 7 minute walk. Surprisingly, Blue did not protest as he usually does and was busy gobbling his timothy hay. Afterwards, I walked Blue around the aisleway in a figure 8 several times. Jessie approved with a series of low whinnies watching him while munching her hay.

More snow was headed our way so I drove to Southern States to stock up on some more shell corn for the deer, bird seed (Chickadee Select is awesome and looks good enough for humans to eat with cashews and peanuts!), Triple Crown Senior feed (beet pulp which is best for older horses) and some pine shavings. I also filled up the truck with cheaper KY diesel. The snow began to lay and I got home just in time.

The deer heard the loud engine as I drove home down the lane and began to emerge from their wooded hideaways to feast on their evening corn. The four boys and Big Girl were closest to the barn. I scattered the corn in many different areas so the bucks won't be so greedy and push her away. (This helps avoid the painful 'back slams' when too many compete for food). She continues to limp but remains protective of her condition and rises up on her two hind legs to fight off a corn hog. Should a buck challenge her, she just darts away and pushes another doe or yearling out of the way. She used to be on the bottom of the totem pole but I think she has moved up a little bit! I didn't seen my beautiful Brownie and her 'brood'. Young Brown Tail and his mother Beauty were there as were some of the newer ones that remain quite shy. Their tales are much longer than the others, so I call them 'Long Tales'.

Night feeding proved cold and the snow had accumulated to about 4-5 inches of fine powdery sugar. It was quiet. Daddy Cat begged for food with his incessant meowing while I topped the horse's water buckets with steaming hot water. Most folks I know do not do that but I find that nobody wants to drink ice cold water in ice cold weather, human nor animal! With a watchful eye on their droppings, all looked well and moist. No hard balls or small 'pony poop' which would indicate the beginning of gas colic which is dangerous and could lead to death. Thank God for keeping my babies healthy in these difficult days! As usual, Daddy Cat did not want me to leave and before finishing his food, he ran over to remind me to pet his sleek round back. Never getting enough, he stood on his hind legs and batted my leg with both paws before dropping to all fours. What a long way he has come since he was a completely wild cat a year ago! I noticed some deer tracks close to the barn so I poured a small heap of corn under the horse trailer where it wouldn't be buried. It will be interesting tomorrow morning to see who enjoyed a midnight snack!