Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Calgon, take me away!

Stuff is piling up. Big time.

I just finished reading The Elephant Keeper, a novel by Christopher Nicholson. A first person narrative about an elephant keeper in 18th century England. It's also about choosing your truth. The truth I am choosing for myself right now is not the happy one, this book didn't help. It is very good. It is potentially very beautiful or very dark.

Seven doctors and appointments into my sore foot, I have a diagnosis. There is scare tissue irritating the sympathetic nerve where is comes out of my spine between L5 and S1. It really hurts. The treatment is cortisone injection into the nerve root. Very Very painful, additionally, the narcotic they administer to get you through the process gives me a migraine that makes me throw up. It's scheduled for 6 weeks from now. I'm checking out some ways to cope with or avoid that.

Janow is really doing very well with his Adequan. Jay rode him in the park again on Friday, walking only. He says he is a great ride, very light and responsive. I had a migraine and spent all day Saturday in bed. Sunday, Janow would not let me clean his butt, which I do every day. An aging horse butt needs a little bit more care. He usually likes it. Not on this day! He clamped his tail down so hard and was tense and tender over his entire hindquarters. I messaged gently for an hour, maybe more. A passing fellow boarder said "Whatever you're doing, he sure likes it."

Monday did not show any improvement. I found, however, six or so crusty yellow scabs on his inner thigh that were so itchy that when I rubbed them with my fingers he actually held his hind leg in the air. Spider bites. I didn't see ticks nor the bloody smears where I had brushed them off. Diana walked him for me since I can't.

Tuesday, bites appear better but still sore. Emmett's vet was giving him his Potomac shot and I had him look at Janow. He found soreness over his lumbar area only. How old was this horse? "Twenty." Did I have papers on him? "Yes" Well, he said, it was pretty easy ti fake papers on a grey horse. Somebody had misled me and sold me a 25 year old horse. I think not. I have known Janow since he was three. He is not aging well. Neither am I.

I went back later in the day and found bites on his tail dock. I looked because his tail was frizzy from rubbing. That explains the tail clamping and sensitivity there. Today, there was blood in his tail from more rubbing. I don't know what to do to help him. More Tri-Hist. More sympathy. It is cold and rainy without flies. If is were hot and dusty with flies, his tail would bother him more.

I am tired of the cold, just cold enough to be uncomfortable, and I am tired of the rain. I am tired of the pain.

The truth that I am choosing for myself is that the good fortune that was in the future for this great horse and for me has almost but not quite yet happened for us for 16 years. Now we are both biologically old and have long histories of pain and illness and hope for recovery that never lasted.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Here is the microwave picture, as promised. Dave wants credit for installing it. I want credit for living a week without a microwave and not complaining once.

I rode Janow yesterday and he was definitely improved. He felt like he was moving easier from the start, and it didn't feel like the right side of the saddle was higher. I gave him another shot of Adequan.

These bell boots were easier to reach so I put them on instead of the black ones. They were Frix's, so they are about 18 years old. EVERYBODY commented on them! Someone even called Janow "Pinky!"

I couldn't ride him on the small circle and compare times because the recent rain turned the back part into snot.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a little behind

I am behind, way behind. Dave made a salmon dinner and wanted the photos on my blog so he could get credit. Finally, here is the dinner. It was good.

Our microwave stopped heating food, choosing instead to emit a very bad smell. An electrical fire small. I put a piece of masking tape over the controls. Joseph wrote "Does not work" on the tape. For most of the history of man, man has lived without microwave cooking. I didn't think it was an emergency. Joseph felt differently, "We can't have hot food until we get a new one." It took a week to find the time to buy one and install it. Dave did the work, Joseph refused to help. I will take a picture of the new one so he can get blog credit for that too.

I went to a presentation on rabbits by Save-a-Bunny at the Milpitas animal shelter. My foot hurt and I had hard time walking in. I learned a lot about rabbits. I decided Silver needed a cuddle up. Shopping for a cuddle cup I got discouraged. $20.00, which doesn't seem like a whole bunch, but the materials to make it add up to 2.50 at most, if you buy them at retail price. Those things have a 300% mark up and that 2.50 includes that markup. SO I made one. It took me an hour and 10 minutes. I got the fleece scraps from Denise, I had the thermolam scraps myself. Silver was suspicious. I don't know it she'll like it or not.

I also learned how one person can restrain a rabbit for nail clipping. Rabbits HATE to have their nails clipped. You can also use that grip for cleaning anal glands. I didn't know you had to do that. I showed the new grip to Silver. She showed me that it doesn't work on ALL rabbits. Guess we are not cleaning anal glands.

Friday, April 09, 2010

For the Birds

Hers s a picture of turkeys that Dave took up on Mt. Hamilton. This is how they look in the spring when they are trying to impress the lady turkeys. They don't look like this at Thanksgiving.
We had some nice warm sunny weather here, then it got cold and cloudy again. Everybody was pretty disappointed because we had enjoyed the warm sun. Even the birds. They had cold feet so they were warming them in Janow's fur. They pooped while they were there, but it comes off easily if you let it dry.

It got warm again. We are all relieved.

Janow was pretty muscle sore after Jay rode him in the park. Janow can get very enthusiastic and over-do. I had Julie massage him and that helped. Still troubling s that he needs to walk 30 or 40 minutes just to loosen up. Yesterday we made the small loop that we used to do in 8 minutes. The first time around took 15 minutes. The second loop was just under 10. The third loop was very close to the old time.
I gave him a shot, IM, of Polysulfated Glucosaminoclycans. I have to look up how often I can give that. I'll see if it helps.

It's hard to get old.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Monday Bunday

A lady opened her refrigerator and saw a rabbit sitting on one of the shelves.
"What are you doing in there?" She asked.

The rabbit replied:
"This is a Westinghouse, isn't it?",
To which the lady replied "Yes."
"Well," the rabbit said,

"I'm westing."

Roger Cleverly suggested this. Thanks Roger

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Green Batik Dressage Saddle Pad

This needs a better name, but I can't think of one. Anybody have any ideas?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

A rabbit story of happiness

Today is April 3, 2010, the day before Easter.

Rabbit rescue groups and bunny advocates have been campaigning for Make Mine Chocolate. It means the rabbits are not good Easter gifts for children.

Regular readers of my Doublecatbatik blog will know I have a bunny named Silver. Some know that there is a Silver blog called Buns-of-Silver.blogspot.

Today, I will tell you about a remarkable experience that I had with Silver just last evening when Silver actually chose to remain sitting on my lap. She rearranged my shirt, snuggled briefly into my stomach, requested petting posturaly, meatloafed and teeth purred. It lasted about 10-15 minutes. Twelve hours later I am still thrilled.

Silver and I have our regular sessions each evening after dinner. I wash my hands and brush my teeth first, in case I have been eating meat. I do this in respect. I go to her cage* in it’s place on the family room/dinning area floor. She has already had a fresh litter basket with new grass hay and some pellets, sometimes freshly washed green leafy vegetables. Sometimes she gets her evening greens later. She boxed me with her front claws as I did a quick housekeeping in her space. I have a scratch on my hand that will need Neosporin and a Band-Aid later.

I came back after she had time with the new basket, and manually extracted her. Extraction is often difficult and involves growling, but she won’t come out by herself. The ‘picking up’ place in her cage that she has chosen is the most difficult area for me to reach. She can’t understand that, she has a brain the size of a walnut and a perspective that is four inches from the floor.

I held her under my chin where she likes to snuggle. Chin rubbing has social connotations for rabbits. I never hold her there longer than she wants. It can be anywhere from 10-15 minutes to 10-15 seconds. A minute is a long time for a rabbit. Last night was about 3-5 seconds. OK. Often, I stay by the cage and pet her while she is inside. She doesn’t like it when I talk, so I ignore other people who talk to me. The past 6-9 months she has sometimes snuggled into my wrist. I have seen videos and photos of rabbits doing this with other rabbits. Sometimes I am there for 40 minutes to an hour. The floor gets cold, I take a blanket. Last night, she said: “Leave me alone.” So I did.

But I came back.

About an hour and a half later, I came back. We had a very brief snuggle against my neck and she said she wanted down…..but she stopped in my lap on her way back home. She paused, she looked around, she rearranged my shirt, tried to remove the button. She snuggled her head into my stomach. Then she stretched her head out in the ‘dominant bunny requests grooming’ posture. I gave her nose pets and rubbed around her jaw. She made the meatloaf posture and ground her teeth, rabbit people call this ‘teeth purring,’ horse people call it ‘licking and chewing.’

And she sat. Just sat there, while I pet her. She is so soft.

She has been with us for 2 years, since December of ’07. She came from a stainless steel cage at a shelter, about 1-4 years old. She DID NOT like to be picked up, she would NOT be held! Not unusual for rabbits.

Not all rabbits are like Silver. Some are easier, some are harder. But it was over two years before she requested picking up and she has only requested it that one time. More than two years until she voluntarily stayed in my lap.

Two years of daily fresh litter baskets with fresh hay, twice daily 1 tsp timothy hay pellets, two to three times daily washed leafy greens, two or three or more times daily personal attention sessions(sometimes we sit together at lunch time. I don’t have meat at those times) and regular nail trimmings which are really hard for her and the two people involved, and lots of new toys. (….and a trip to the emergency room for a cut finger while rabbit proofing the lamp cords-- which didn’t work, she chewed them anyway and luckily didn’t get electrocuted. We did it all again with new cords--no emergency room this time--and she chewed them again, now the lamps are purely decorative because they have no cords.)

My point today is:

*Cage is a dirty word. She spends as much time out of her cage as I can get away with. The fastidious. His Mom trained him well and thoroughly. I have plans, I will not divulge them.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Grumpy Old Men Remodeling

Janow and Emmett Kelley.

They have been neigh-bors for years. About 6 years, I think. Hard to remember. Emmett is eleven years older than Janow, who is twenty. Sometimes they pretend they will bite the other's pastern. Sometimes they pretend they are going to kick the other one through the fence. Often they just stand together.

This is the swallows' nest in Janow's stall. It gets remodeled and updated every year at nesting time. The swallows have returned this year and there has been some activity around this nest.

When these newer stalls were built in place of some old ones, the new ones did not have any nesting places. I hung a piece of wood here for them.

I remember the tearing down and building new. Ranch management was frustrated because they planned it for the spring, which is nesting time. These swallows are a protected species, so they had to wait until the nests were abandoned before they could tear down the old stalls.

McDonald's on Grimmer in Fremont is also tearing down and rebuilding. The sign says "remodeling." The old building has been totally destroyed to make room for a new one, before the swallows could nest!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Baboon, Chicken, Cat and Ponies

I took my camera to to the ranch yesterday. Janow and Cherokee next door were sleeping in the sun. Janow got up before I got out of the car. He had an itch that he couldnt reach. Cherokee stayed where he was.

The park was closed because of yesterday's rain and the mud. Jay postponed his ride in the park. Good thing, Janow was pretty muscle sore. I got on and walked him around so he would limber up a little. Hand walking would be better, but I can't do that.

Here, also, is the view from Janow's stall.

And, of course, pictures of the herbs I planted for Silver.

Mary Shelley followed me, she was all squinty in the sun.

Paula Pullet wanted to know if I was going to pick her up and carry her, or give her a piece of bread.

Paula likes to be picked up and carried, but not picked up and held. You have to keep walking. I can't do that.

Soon Baboon, I may be mobile again!