Posts Tagged quince

Angel Friends

6 November 2009
While exhaustion is knocking on my door tonight, I still feel the need to post at least a short note about today.  At about 1:30 this afternoon, I thought I was “done.”  I was ready to give the horses away or let them loose on Barb Ellison’s property up the road (seriously, her horses live better than the average American!).  I was ready to take Dr. Fisher up on his offer to take the dogs.  I was just ready for something to go right!
I managed to motivate to go pick up a few bales of grass hay for the Frankster to try, and on my way there, called and made an appointment for Boots to see the vet.  The little turd was having issues with his pee-pee, and wouldn’t let anyone touch his back. In the past, those symptoms indicated a bladder infection or kidney stone.  When Aimee answered the phone, I just about burst into tears. 
“How’s your horse?” she asked politely.
“He’s fine – today it’s my f’ing dog!!!”
Silence. It was obvious that she was telling whoever else was at the desk that it was me on the phone.
“Oh MAN, Melissa. Ok, we’ll get you in.”
When I walked into the office later in the afternoon, everyone who saw me just looked at me with those eyes that either said, “Lady, you’re NEUROTIC” or “You poor thing!!!”
I had to fight back tears when Dr. Fisher walked into the exam room.  I think he sensed that, because he was exceptionally kind.  After examining Boots, testing his urine, and poking him sufficiently, he decided that Mr. Dingleberry (as he calls Boots) must have been nailed by one of the horses.  Thinking back, I remember Boots howling at Frank yesterday; I had just assumed Boots was being his usual dominating self, but now, I’m pretty sure Frank had whacked him.  
Of course, I couldn’t be with the vet and not discuss Dr. Frank.  We again discussed all the different possible issues, and came up with a few ideas, but nothing solid yet.  We’re putting him on Probiotics for a while to see if that will help.  The fecal and urine tests should be back from OSU tomorrow, at which point we may know more.  There’s a slight chance that it’s simply an allergy…let’s hope.
When I got back to Deer Park, I headed over to the barn to drop off the probiotics in the feed shed and check on the boys.  As I rounded the corner and looked into the field in front of their stalls, I about fell over.  There in the middle of the area I usually ride in was a round pen — all assembled!  I had known that Gabby was going to come out to exercise Avdou for me, and remembered that she had mentioned that her old round pen was leaning up against her barn. But I never in a million years would have imagined that she would go through the effort of loading her truck, unloading her truck, and then setting it all up without even a mention.  I nearly burst into tears.
There are moments when I realize that the hard times that I’m going through are really part of a bigger picture.  It’s so easy to get stuck with the stress that overrides my daily tasks, losing sight of all else.  Gabby reminded me of that today with her kindness.  I needed that gesture of warmth, of care, of encouragement – and it was tangible.  That round pen means more than just a place to exercise the horses; it brought strength back to me somehow.  It reminded me that while I’m challenged by the circumstances in my life, there are people who ARE genuinely understanding, who are also willing to stretch themselves, to feel and sympathize with others, to extend a helping hand – and without even being asked.  Thank you, Gabby, for having a heart of gold.  Thanks to all of you who have offered encouragement throughout the last few weeks!  I really am blessed to have you all in my life!
the miraculous round pen
Aside from my time with the horses, dogs, vet, and hay, I was able to start another round of quince jelly, as well as decorate the living room for Thanksgiving.  It feels good to have that crossed off my list of things to do and to have the bounty of fall right in my living room!  Jeffrey was so complimentary of the sideboard arrangement.  He kept saying, “In LA, that would be like $500!!!” I love that he appreciates weeds that I bring in from outside!
Straining the quince to make juice for the jelly

The fireplace

The sideboard – the arrangement is al

l from our garden!

While I was busy adjusting leaves and wheat, Ellie decided to help me out by giving Boots his exercise (with her pajama cape, of course)!  It really was precious to see the two of them – even when they weren’t in agreement on where they would go next!
Jax wanted in on the fun!

Jeffrey returned home tonight – I’m thrilled!  It’s a good start to what I’m hoping will be a fantastic weekend!

Blowing bubbles all by herself!

Yovani had the day off from school today, so she had a playmate!

When Things Don't Go As You Hoped

4 November 2009
Oh man.  I think I’ve reached the end of my self-confidence when it comes to my horses.  Many of you have been asking about how the visit with the vet went, and frankly, I just want to wipe it out of my memory.  We’re no closer to having an answer, except he totally made me feel like a SH*TTY horse owner, because after examining a flake of hay that Frank hadn’t eaten and I hadn’t disposed of, Dr. Fisher said the cause might simply be “poor hay quality.” WHAT???? I look at every flake I give that horse.  I handed the vet a fresh flake, and somewhere in the middle of examining, he says, “It’s a stretch, but go buy new hay. That may be the problem.”
I love Dr. Fisher – A LOT; and I know through sources close to him, that he feels the same way about me and my animals…but really? Bad hay?  After he left, I sifted through flake after flake, and found maybe a blade here or there that had tiny, tiny specks.  But is that seriously enough to put my horse in the situation he’s in?????  You see, this is where my insecurity flares up. Obviously, I don’t know what I’m doing. And what I’ve been doing is killing my horse. Which means, I don’t deserve to own a horse. Which means….WHAT THE HELL DO I DO NOW?!?!?
Ok, so maybe I’m over-reacting.  I did say to Greg, “Um, yeah. I’m gonna feel like a dipsh*t if it turns out to be hay quality.” To which he responded, “Nah, it wasn’t something that was so bad that it was obvious.”  Yeah, ok. THAT’S supposed to make me feel better?!?!?
To be fair, we took another blood sample, as well as stool sample and will send to the lab down at Oregon State to recheck everything.  There are a few possibilities – bladder stone (which would be highly unlikely since there’s no blood in his urine, and he’s not having issues urinating), an immune disorder that I can’t remember the name of (it starts with a “p” and goes on for ages), or a tumor (likely effecting the liver or kidney).  The treatment for bladder stones? Surgery. We can’t afford it. The treatment for the immune disorder? Steroids. Frank has ulcers, we can’t give him steroids! The diagnosis and treatment for a tumor? Completely out of my range.
All of that to say that as embarrassed as I would be if the problem is as simple as poor hay quality, I hope that is the answer. Why? Because THAT I can change; THAT I can treat.  If all I have to do is swallow my pride for the sake of my horse’s comfort, health, and life…I can do that, and would do it over and over and over.  I understand now why so many horse owners are paranoid: for as big as they are, they are incredibly, incredibly fragile beings.  Here’s to hoping for the simple answer, and to the opportunity to grow in my personal life!
Aside from my drama with Dr. Greg Fisher (who I love, btw), my day was once again non-stop.  I decided to change things up for Ellie Graye and make her french toast for breakfast. I made her my favorite vanilla french toast, and she LOVED it! I didn’t mind it either! 🙂 That was when my day truly got started…

I had saved a few of the quince I had picked yesterday for my neighbor, and wanted to try my hand at making quince jelly…so that’s what I did…or tried to do.  Halfway through the process, I spilled at least half the juice all over the floor, and had to start all over again! Yeah. I was pissed. It really was “one of those days.” I’ll post the recipe when I get the chance!
From this…

To this!
As I look back on the day, it becomes more and more obvious that I was simply “filling” time so that I couldn’t or wouldn’t think about Dr. Frank.  Because, really folks, wasn’t making quince jelly enough? Noooooo…I also made a batch of green salsa.  Yummy, yummy tomatillo green salsa.  I used jalepenos, onions, garlic, and tomatillos from my garden. I think the jalepenos weren’t quite ready yet, because while they packed a lot of flavor, none of it was spicy.  It’s still yummy, and I definitely love that all of the produce was grown here at Deer Park. Besides, it’s a hidden compliment that nearly 3 batches of the salsa that I made in the summer is gone….all eaten by friends and family!

I think I might have burned it a little…but hey, it lends a “smokey” flavor
We spent lots of time outside, watching the geese and the ducks that decided to make the lake where they spent their day.  Ellie Graye is obsessed with ducks, so it was wonderful to see her be so incredibly thrilled and excited to see them.
The Canadian Geese

believe it or not, there are baby ducks in this photo…
 Later in the evening, my mother came over for dinner and brought along an old childhood friend, Luke Maschmyer.  I hadn’t seen him since he was about 11, so it was cool to hang out with him and actually “meet” him and who he is now.  He, like many of the people I grew up with, is quite an accomplished pianist, and immediately asked to play our piano.  Ellie Graye was enthralled, and at one point, attempted to join in.
So precious!
In the middle of all the hooplah with my horse, as well as the salsa and jam making, I managed to throw together a dinner that I’ve been craving for couple days – Chicken Caprese.  I LOVE caprese salad – with fresh tomatoes and basil and yummy mozzarella.  Over the years I’ve adjusted things to work the way I like, and I think by now I’ve come up with quite a good combination.  I’ll post the recipe once I get my head screwed on straight again!
There’s chicken in there somewhere! 🙂
All in all, it was an exceedingly productive day, and as long as I stay busy, I don’t have time to think about the embarrassment I’ll feel if Frank’s troubles all come down to “poor quality hay.”  Sigh. I’ve done my best, but it might not be good enough!
You’re kidding right? With these ponytails, I certainly know what’s cool.

Boots really wanted those geese, but he’d already seen Jax try to go for them!

This is all Victor has been doing for the last two weeks – raking leaves!

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