Sunday, September 6, 2015

Smitten With the Kitten

The Kitten

I am smitten-

Smitten with a kitten

While kitten sittin’

Sweetest little pansy face

Butterfly ears

With curling lace

Put a band-aid on my pain

Gave me laughter

Once again

How did you learn

A life so new,

To make me fall in love with you

Little face with kitten smile

Made me forget

For a little while

Thank you Ollie

From your Auntie Nina

Friday, August 7, 2015

One Last Sad Story about Pip; Acceptance

Looking back now, I know my dear golden cat Pip was never really well. I am comforted in knowing that I gave him a great life, that my love for him will never fade away, that it was enough to keep him going for 12 years. I remember he would have “anxiety attacks” that would send him careening around the house as he desperately tried to escape his fear. When it passed he would lay exhausted panting, his gums blueish lavender. I knew this and tried to never let him be stressed. He would jump on my bed and I would tap him on the bum just above his tail. For some reason that made him feel better. His X-Rays showed that he had only one lung and it was full of tumors. His kidneys, in a matter of days, were huge. He was just too fragile to live in this toxic world. Even if I knew earlier, he could not have been saved. Dear Father Jehovah, how I miss this cat, I am so blessed to have loved him so much, but it is so difficult to live without him. I am truly broken this time. Nina

Dear Friends

Dear Friends, As I sat in the doorway of the barn, soaking my poor neglected feet in a tub of Absorbine and water, drinking a beer and reading “Master Harpers of Pern” (my little escape from reality), my six little hens hung out with me. They know they are safe when I am there. Their intelligence is just amazing. People really need to appreciate the wonders of the beings around them! Chickens—really!! I love my little hens—they feed me! Their eggs are extraordinary! My happy little girls! Gabriel, the KING of EOTS, has been exiled to the outside barn. He loves company, any company. The hens make him happy. They putter around under his feet and “ruffle” in their sweet little feathery huddle outside his stall. He is so gentle with all small beings. In his racing days he was probably surrounded by every kind of non-equine being who were companions of his fellow race horses. He loves everybody and everything living. Such a good old boy. Earlier, as I drove towards the barn, he “sent” me love. It made my heart happy. I know it was from him. Gabriel pushes me around, bullies me, bites me, and sometimes aims a kick in my direction. He treats me like a mare. He just loves me, though his love is often enough to flatten me if I don’t pay attention. He knows that I will scratch his itches, deal with his pains or complaints and cater to his every whim and need. I love him so. He is 27 years old, I will miss him when he leaves me, though it is often difficult and frustrating to be his “wife”. As I soak my feet, he stands by the fence keeping me company. He is just smitten with our vet Dr. Amy and our farrier Georgia. He just loves his human “mares”. I am not jealous. Seventeen hands and 1300 pounds can be spread around! He’s just so funny! He pushes us around, snorts, drools and slobbers all over us. I think we all feel somewhat honored. My beautiful silver stallion. “Hail to Thee”, race horse extraordinaire (aka Gabriel). He is now blind in his right eye; cataracts. He gets 3 feedings of hay cubes soaked in water and 4 small feedings of grain, all the hay he can eat with his old teeth, and he is still magnificent! Absolutely magnificent!! Even covered with mud, he shines like silver! Love-Love- in the hide of a stallion! Amen! Nina

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

You Just Never Know

Dear Friends,

I have been dealing with sorrow for so long I’ve forgotten how it feels not to be sad.

I have found comfort in the strangest and least expected place, with one of our two piggies. Hamish is 16 years old and Blaze is 8. I have never had the time to pay much attention to them. They are clean, well fed and cared for, but volunteers have always been the ones to give them extra attention. After all, I am the “horse person”!

We just moved them from inside the barn, where they stayed for the winter, back to their outside summer digs. I redid their sleeping quarters and fixed it all up nice for them. Now that they are older, they are having troubles stepping up into their “Pigloos” to sleep. As I sat on Blaze’s platform (it’s about 6” in height), he sauntered over and lay down beside me. With his gentle sprit, as if he knew he helped me. As I rubbed behind his ears, the soft pads on the bottom of his feet, and examined his tusks, I felt myself go to a place of peace.

With no demands, he offered me his quiet friendship.

Blaze grew up as a family pet. He was house broken and well loved by his humans. When the family was divorced he lost them all. His story is sad and it doesn’t matter anymore, but he has a piggy’s version of post- traumatic stress. He doesn’t handle change very well, but he just loves people.

While contemplating how to handle the “Pigloo” situation, I slid into the “gray place”. For a few minutes, Blaze and I comforted each other. Who would have thought?

I have loved horses all my life. I think it’s programed in my DNA. Their beauty, intelligence, and their absolute magnificence just blows my mind—but who would even have thought that a piggy could have such a beautiful spirit? Such ungainly, strange little mutants, funny little faces, sparse hair, and baggy little bums.

Do you know that they have no body odor? You can pet them all day and your hands will never smell? They are dear beings. Every bit as wonderful as horses or cats or dogs.

Really! Who would have thought?


The Babies of Spring

I found a nest full of meadow voles between our hay bales. These beasties will methodically destroy ever single bale. They don’t hibernate. They happily burrow through the bales, chewing through every single rope along the way all winter long. They eat, poop, and reproduce. A great deal of our stored hay is ruined.

                There were seven babies in the nest. They looked like teeny tiny puppies, all silky and velvety. They have teeny, squeaky baby voices. They have the same bones in their little hands as we do. They are intricately exquisite. I held one and rubbed it gently against my lip. It was so smooth.

                Setting it back down, I placed a handful of hay on the nest and left them so their mother to find and move to a safer spot.

                Really, what difference will seven more meadow voles make in the world in a family of millions?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dear Friends

Dear Friends,


                I’m sorry I have not been able to write in a while and I’m afraid all you’re going to get from me today is sad stories. It’s just not fun anymore.

                On 10/28/14 Czardas was euthanized. At 31 years old, she reached the end of her life. We were no longer able to manage her pain. She had that “I’m exhausted and ready to go” look in her eyes, so I was there for the end of the life of horse number 31. My last gift to her.

                The list of deaths goes on. In January my most beloved cat Pip died of cancer—how did that happen? He was only 12. It took a month and he was gone. I cannot get past his loss. I cry every single day for him. I feel as if I have lost a child. I just cannot believe that he is just GONE.

                Gabriel fell down in his stall in March. It took us hours to get him outside as he thrashed and struggled to get up. He could not get up inside the barn. The floor was too slippery even though it is all rubber mats. We finally got him outside where he was able to get up on the gravel driveway. We were all beat up (us attending humans), as we cushioned him with our bodies. The muscles across my ribs still hurt and our vet was sure his ankle was broken (but it wasn’t thank goodness). Gabriel was a bit battered but not as much as we humans. He has been exiled to the outside barn that opens directly into a turn-out. He’s not all that happy about it but at least we can get him out of there if it happens again.

                The following day I came in to find dear old Solomon down in his stall, unable to get up. He too was 31 years old. Solomon was always so easy. He was stiff and sore from his past life but otherwise was so consistently well. He lived with us since 1999 and was never any trouble at all. I knew that his situation at that moment was very bad. We tried to get him up, but he just could not do it. His hind end didn’t work anymore. I have seen this in so many old horses on the last day of their lives. When forced to try to get up the just bash their heads on things and cause eye injuries. I did not want that for my dear, old, loyal friend. So I said, “Wait.” All our efforts stopped. “Solomon, my friend, your angel is here, I’m sure. If you want to stay here with me, get up on your own, if not I’ll let you go.” He looked at me one more time, closed his eyes, and sort of sank down with a deep sigh.

                And so I held horse number 32 as he left me in death. He was so beautiful. He never suffered, he knew I loved him and I want to believe his angel was there.

                Elliot my dear friend and barn cat faded away and was euthanized March 31st. He was almost 16 years old. What a horrible two years this has been. They are all growing old. They’re all going to die of something, but I don’t have to like it. I don’t have time to get over one loss before someone else dies. I’m so SAD all the time.

                I wrote a while ago that I don’t cry anymore, well—that’s over. I never stop crying now. I miss my cat Pip so much. The Bible says at Psalms 45:16, “Jehovah is going to open his hand and fulfill the desire of every living thing.” The first desire I want fulfilled is to have my cat back—my Pipper, my beautiful golden cat.

                Gabriel has been unable to rise on three more occasions since that day, but he manages after a great struggle to get up on his own. Those times have always been at night. When I arrive he’s up but his injuries are worse each time. He was a burst melanoma under his tail that is difficult to treat as I think his tail was injured the first time he was down. This is the beginning of the end for him too. This will be impossible to deal with soon. He’s probably going to be death number 33 for me.

                I know these things were inevitable. All our young not ruined horses and ponies are fostered out to trusted friends. Due to the property being up for sale, I have only kept the blind, the geriatric, and the emotionally damaged here at EOTS, where I personally care for them. Crap is going to happen. Our vet bills this year have already been astronomical. We desperately need money. We need a new farm so our program can go on. This is a very bad set up. We managed to shovel off the roof three times during this hideous winter so we weren’t on the list of collapses but that surely gave me nightmares.

                The other day I found dead snakes in the well—I think someone’s messing with me—I need a rest.


My Pip

     In the last two years I have lost 6 beloved horses, my father, my friends Samantha and David, and my cat Elliot. But I am completely trashed over my cat Pip. He died in January and I can just not stop crying for him. What makes some so special?

                Pip was so tiny when found; he was about four weeks old. He was unable to clean himself, and though he could eat wet food he was almost helpless. For the next two weeks of his life he lived inside my shirt, right against my heart. I was his mommy.

                I would set him in the sink and gently wash his messy little bum under warm running water. He trusted me completely. I took him with me wherever I went. He loved riding in my truck. He would lay on pillows in the back seat and watch the world go by.

                We lived in a house where he was not safe. The person living there did not take my tiny kitten seriously. Doors were left open and he could have easily been stepped on. So I moved out.

                My brother Jimmy, bless his heart, took us in. There we lived for the rest of my golden kitty’s life.

                On a freezing cold January day, Jimmy thawed a foot of frost from the ground with a space heater and dug my dear cat’s grave. Thank you Jimmy, that is the greatest gift you could ever have given me, I will owe you for eternity.

                So my incredibly precious cat was gone—gone—from my life.

                Sometimes I cry, sometimes I whimper, and too often I scream. Every single day.

                Maybe I am borderline psychotic over his loss. I don’t know, I haven’t felt like this since I was a kid. I have many, many things to live for, but I can truly understand why people kill themselves over the loss of a pet.

                I want to believe that Jesus has to know how this feels. He lived for 30 years as a “common man”.  As a child he has to have had pets that grew old and died. The Bible says he experienced it all and passed every test that the human race must endure. I want to believe, as our King, that he knows how broken my heart is and somehow he will make it right. How could it possibly be any other way?

                So my beautiful cat has a rock on his grave and a white iris that blooms in the snow. That is all I have left to give him. His little body will go back to the Earth.

                I want him back—I just want him with me again. Amen.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Old Men

Gabriel is a big spoiled baby. He is a thoroughbred stallion almost 17 hands tall and 1300lbs. As stallions go he is a pretty good guy. We have learned to live with each other. I call him my husband, we are like an old married couple. He has always tried to bully me. Now at 27 he has trouble eating hay so he gets hay cubes soaked in water. He loves hay cubes. The problem is he slurps them down so fast that they are gone in a few minutes. Then there is his head, smeared with green slop, over the door roaring, thumping and demanding MORE! He throws his head into my face as I walk by and rumbles his discontent at me. I try to ignore him. Not Easy.

I am dealing with Faith's blindness, her need to be medicated several times a day, worrying over her, just wanting to be hugging her all the time, thinking of how I can make her trust me enough to be her eyes. All the while being interrupted by the big baby Gabriel, shooting his negative, selfish energy at me. I scratch his itches, pick off ticks as he directs me to them by lifting a hind leg and pointing with his nose and grunting, as he shoves me to the spot. He vibrates so violently with pleasure when I find it that I can't keep my eyes focused on it long enough to pull it off without great difficulty. He has no trouble communicating his desires to me, some important, some just plain selfish. He is extremely verbal and obnoxious most of the time. When no one is looking though he lets me know how much he really loves me. He rests his teeth on my shoulder and nuzzles me gently. He likes me to sit with him at the end of the day and just snoozes as I watch TV. He nips me a little but does not strike or kick. He has no interest in breeding mares for some unknown reason so I don't have
that to deal with. That is why he gets to live here. It is extremely dangerous to geld such a big mature stallion and we would never do that to him.

He is spectacularly gorgeous! Even though he's a very old man.
Thank Jehovah for hay cubes! Years ago horses died too young. After they could no longer eat hay they basically starved to death. There was just nothing back then to feed them that they could eat that was nourishing enough. Thanks to soaked hay cubes we can feed them well into their late 20's and 30's until “time and unforseen occurrences” catch up with them. They will, of course, die of old age but not starvation. Both my old men, Solomon (30 years) and Gabriel (27 years) live on hay cubes and 4 small grain feedings a day. They both look like a million bucks!
Solomon is just a good old guy. He has never been any trouble at all, he just goes on and on. Hopefully forever!