5.3.2016 Birds, Bees and a Horse’s Butt

Lately, Tuesdays have been the Thursdays of my life.

Last Tuesday, we had the vet out to give one of the horses a once over. Sadie has been coughing for months, and we’ve tried many things to alter her stall environment. We thought we had turned the corner with her. The coughing had eased up quite a bit, her vitals were good, energy levels normal. Then she started heaving when she ate. Her owner took her out for the normal Sunday ride and they barely made it back. The horse just flat ran out of energy. When she exhaled, you could see the “push” coming from the back of the belly. All very abnormal.

So the vet came out, said the horse has developed a whole new set of muscles from all the coughing, did some blood work and pronounced a diagnosis of . . . allergies. Then it rained. (After a very dry April.) She seems totally fine now. No medication. Just rain.

Any vet visit, no matter how minor or routine, really messes with the routine.

Well today, Tuesday, I was on the porch having my morning constitutional when my husband called and asked me to meet him at the auto repair shop. His car was having issues with “frogs.” I couldn’t really afford to lose an hour of work time today, but luckily I now have a Plan B. My youngest is finally legal to drive solo. So I sent him off to rescue his dad, who would drop him off at school and take the boy’s car to work.

After the morning chores were done, it was off to town for feed and bedding. The local horse vets are sending out alerts on social media about the sudden shift from very dry to very wet causing lots of cases of foot rot. So yeah, bedding. Get all four horses in the stalls, give their feet a chance to dry out, and hopefully avoid that bit of nastiness.

As soon as I had all that stuff off loaded, I hauled out my clarinet and practiced for an hour for tonight’s concert. I don’t normally practice at all because I’m a decent musician. I can sight read most of the stuff I’m asked to play. But there was a passage in Porgy and Bess that’s bothered me for years and I was determined to play it and not fake it tonight.

That done, I had to spend a couple of hours online trying to straighten out a credit card mess – not of my making.

The husbands’s car is done. Mechanic says he can’t find the frogs. Text the son. Tell him I’ll pick him up from school and he can drive the Jetta home. Son doesn’t get the text. Rides the bus home. I pay the mechanic and pick up the Jetta key. Come home to wait for the son.

While waiting, I have a few minutes. I mow a path around the house so I don’t have to wade through tall, wet grass in the morning. Not enough time to do the whole yard.

Go to collect eggs and prep the stalls for the horses. As I am coming out of the coop, I hear the buzzing of bees – though my headphones. There’s a swarm in the cedar tree next to the coop. Judging from the agitation around my old hive, that’s where the swarm came from. It’s low down on the tree. I can reach it without a ladder.

Son is home. Called him down to the barn to prep the stalls while I get a hive box together and drop the swarm inside. It starts to rain. I’m out of time. I must leave if I am to make my concert. I leave the bees to finish finding their way into their new home, trusting the rain will chill them and drive them into the hive and darkness will come before they can get all warmed up again. My son helps put up the horses who are not entirely sure I am who I say I am because I’m wearing the bee suit.

Wipe off the sweat. Change clothes. Grab the clarinet and head to town. Drop off the son so he can get his dad’s car home. Very shortly thereafter I am stuck in a traffic jam. Eliminates any chance to grab a bite to eat on the way. Running out of time. Find an alternate route. Arrive on time. Nail Porgy and Bess and all the rest (well, nearly all – which is why I’m not a soloist in that band.) Head home.

Bees are right where I left them. Block up the opening. Secure the whole hive with ratchet straps and drive it to a neighbor’s house. I’ll bring them back this weekend and if my two-week old split hasn’t made a queen yet, I’ll use the swarm and its queen to bolster the split. If the split had a queen cell when I moved it, then she’s probably hatched out, gone on her mating flight and is back to work. I am starting to see some activity outside the split. If that is the case, then I will have three hives. Still can’t believe I got lucky enough to see the swarm and it was in a place I could reach it easily.

So yeah, that was my day. This comes on the heels of Monday where I had to rebuild a section of fencing that my horse, Ophelia, decided to use as a butt scratching post.

And then there’s the duck.  I have one duck and two drakes.  The duck has made a total of one egg in her entire life.  Last summer, she went broody and spent  many long days trying to hatch a potato.  Two weeks ago, she went broody again.  So when a fellow vendor was passing out free guinea eggs, I brought home a dozen thinking a duck could brood guinea eggs.  Well, let me tell you, that duck took one look at her nest all full of eggs and told me, “That’s not in my job description.  Do I look like a guinea to you?”  By the end of the next day, the duck hadn’t changed her mind, and something came and took every single egg.  I’m guessing the crow mafia.  Those crows owe me big time.

Not a whole lot of market farming going on so far this week.

Comments are closed.