Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why pigs can fly

Some people have been saying that Americans will accept a black president only when pigs fly.


Barack Obama's been in office for 100 days and swine flu!


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama pledged "great vigilance" in confronting the swine flu outbreak Wednesday night as it spread coast to coast across the U.S. The outbreak hit 11 states and closed schools amid confirmation of the first U.S. death.

The Geneva-based World Health Organization, a United Nations agency, sounded its own ominous alarm, raising its alert level to one notch below a full-fledged global pandemic. Said WHO Director General Margaret Chan: "It really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic."

Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in Atlanta there were confirmed cases in ten states, including 51 in New York, 16 in Texas and 14 in California. The CDC counted scattered cases in Kansas, Massachusetts , Michigan, Arizona, Indiana, Nevada and Ohio.

In Mexico, where the flu is believed to have originated, officials said Wednesday that the disease was now suspected in 168 deaths, and nearly 2,500 illnesses.

Despite calls from many U.S. lawmakers for tightening controls over the Mexico-US border, Obama ruled out that option, even though the swine flu outbreak has been at its most virulent and may have begun there.

At a prime-time news conference on his 100th day in office, Obama said he would heed the advice of health officials, to whom blocking the border "would be akin to closing the barn door after the horses are out, because we already have cases here in the United States."

Is this swine flu going to be as deadly as predicted? I guess that's the big question these days. Should we worry? Change our lifestyles? I've been coughing for almost three months now. My cough has not gone away from the bronchitis/allergies bout I had. My son is also coughing. It's kind of a lame "cough, cough" but it's impossible to hold back. When I go around stores and school, I am amazed at how many other chronic "cough, coughers" there are at this time. Why are we still coughing? Are we contagious? How would I recognize someone who is really sick? With swine flu, for instance? Would you consider wearing a mask? Did you know there are very many different kinds of flu? Swine flu is not new either. There have been flu epidemics before with thousands of people dying. Bird flu was feared a few years back and it sort of fizzled rather than spreading. I'm not sure what to think. It hasn't been confirmed in New Mexico, YET, but I'm sure it will show up. Is it worth worrying about? Or maybe the best precaution is to wash hands often with soap, especially before eating and not touch one's face. Duh! What else is new?

But, still, it is SCARY!!

And on a side note, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU TUBE??? It won't play any videos for me! I guess YouTube sorted out their problems for now.

David Bowie - Seven Years In Tibet [Mandarin Version]

Why pigs can fly - song: Seven Years in Tibet, artist: David Bowie, album: Earthling

I'm grey

Can horses have birthmarks? I know they get unique whorl patterns in various places of their body, especially on the forehead and neck. I was wondering about the white spot on Annie just above her elbow. Here's a closeup. Is it just the coat pattern or a birthmark? Isn't it interesting that Annie is labelled "gray" but at closer inspection, she's not gray at all! I think I'd call her a flea bitten rose gray. Anyone care to guess what part of the body this is? I think it looks kind of cool, the way it flares out, like a peacock's tail.

Also, I wanted to follow up on my "skinny" post. Although she looks a bit thin on her topline, she still has fat. Check out between her back legs! At least she hasn't used up all her reserves yet. I do believe a lot of the problem is the weight of the foal pulling down on her back. Still, I hope to fatten her up some more before she foals in June.

I'm grey - song: Tin Machine, artist: Tin Machine, album: Tin Machine

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You've really made the grade


School's over!!! (dances and twirls!)

I had over six hours of testing on Monday: finals in algebra and music and a makeup/practice test in sadistics. I had a final on Tuesday in biology and four solid hours of finals testing today with sadistics at 7:30 and economics @ 9:30. I am mentally drained! I studied so hard for algebra and statistics this semester that now I'm wondering what I'm going to do with all my free time. (teehee)

Grades: So far, I've gotten an A in my tax accounting class in which I volunteered for TaxHelp New Mexico. I expect an A in biology, biology lab, and early music appreciation. I'm hoping for an A in microeconomics. I would be so happy with B's in algebra and statistics!! Remember how I seriously considered dropping one or two classes? But I stuck it out and now they're finished! Whew! As long as I didn't fail any of my finals I should be okay. (fingers crossed)

You've really made the grade - song: Space Oddity, artist: David Bowie, album: Space Oddity

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

Happy Birthday Annie!!

She's all sweet and sixteen today!

We had a big party bash a few weeks ago for Nadia's 26th and Baby Doll's 16th birthdays so today's was a quiet celebration. I did give all the horses some treats to celebrate though. I made a mash of oatmeal, rice crispies, molasses, and carrots.
Then I added cracked corn and sweet feed and divided it up. Everyone got some. Yummy!!! See the big smile on Annie?

Scout finished his and started scrouging for leftovers. As if!!?!

Nadia enjoyed her ration too. She wouldn't even pick up her head for a photo.

Sweet Sixteen - song: Sweet Sixteen, artist: Iggy Pop and David Bowie, album: Lust for Life


The swallows are back!

Swallows have been coming to my barn every year since it was built and the first pair came and built their nest. Now, the babies of the babies come back. Last year I counted at least three dozen flying around until they finally settled into their nesting arrangements. I usually have about six working nests in my barn all summer. Earlier this week, I saw a few pairs and yesterday, I counted about a dozen birds. You can just make out some nests in the rafters. They love to use the horsehair for linings in their nests.
I love hearing their chatter as they court and set up housekeeping in the barn rafters. See here for more information on barn swallows.

Here is a visiting mourning dove. The little dark spots behind him are all sparrows feeding on the ground. The white blurs are flying birds.
I believe these are common sparrows. My current grass hay has lots of seeds that the birds love to eat.

Swallow - song: Fame, artist: David Bowie, album: Young Americans

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday (Barns 4-26-09)

The view from down under- a mouse's perspective

A view from the top- a bird's eye view
One of my favorite views Can't pass up showing an old barn, now can I?
For more barns please visit Sunday Stills.

Sunday - song: Sunday, artist: David Bowie, album: Heathen

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So thin and frail

Annie has never been an easy keeper. She is not easily tempted by food like other horses. I always believed she'd starve to death rather than give in, unlike most of my horses that have always been 'pigs in horse bodies'.

I believe that an underweight horse is healthier, overall, than an obese horse. There are less lameness and other health issues. Horses can gain and lose weight relatively quickly. My horses are evidence of my low maintenance plan. They almost never get sick or lame. The only lameness I experience are tenderness from freshly trimmed feet on rocky roads which clears up quickly.

But now, with Annie in foal, I feel like she's even more underweight. What should I do? I have more than doubled her hay (at least 3-4 flakes per feeding) and she gets a two pound coffee can of half cracked corn and half sweet feed twice daily along with her mare supplements. I graze the horses whenever I can on fresh grass. The hay I feed is grass (AM) and alfalfa & grass (PM). I think I am going to try adding vegetable oil to her grain as of today. Also, I paste worm about 5 times a year although I have never seen any evidence of worms in the feces.
I never used to give any of my horses grain unless they were exercised. Now I give Scout and Nadia a quarter can of grain mix almost every feeding because they get so excited when I feed Annie. Nadia can use it. Scout doesn't need it.
The last two times I've ridden Scout, he has acted like a fireball. Yesterday, he bucked and bucked. And spooked. This is unusual behavior for him. It could be the wind (it was really windy yesterday!) or it could be the grain.
Whatever the cause, I really trotted him down both in the round pen and out in the field where he was so "dancy". He got all sweaty on his neck and chest but dried very quickly so it was more of a nervous sweat than a workout sweat. He's acting very studly too, prancy and dancy all the time, and having big herd separation anxiety issues. I may just pull the grain and make him mad at me. That'll fix him! ;)
Just a few days ago, I was riding him and jumping off from both sides at a walk and trot to see what he would do. He stopped as soon as I shifted my weight out of the saddle. Of course, this was in the round pen. But still, it's good to know that he stops... And he has no issues with mounting from either side.
Any suggestions on feeding Annie or any of my horses? I'd love to hear your suggestions for feeding plans and how grain affects behavior.
So thin and frail - Strangers When we Meet, artist: David Bowie, album: The Buddha of Suburbia

Friday, April 24, 2009

And if the homework brings you down

then we'll throw it on the fire and take the car downtown.

Well, I didn't throw my homework on the fire yet, but I certainly want to. Finals are coming up. I have three tests on Monday, one on Tuesday and two on Wednesday. Then I'm done! Hooray!

. . . . . . . for three weeks, anyway, until the summer session starts.
This past week I took four tests. Jeez! But last weekend I needed a break after studying from 9AM to 530PM straight on Saturday. I met a classmate at the Hastings coffee shop and boy did we cram! Hastings employees were actually getting ready to throw us out for staying there too long.

So, on Sunday, Lisa and I drove across town to visit some fellow bloggers, Dan and Betty. They have two gaited horses, an Icelandic horse named Morgunn and a Rocky Mountain horse named Sugar. See here for information on Icelandic horses and here for information on Rocky Mountain horses.

I have always wanted to ride an Icelandic horse. I've even entertained thoughts of taking one of those riding vacations in Iceland to do it.

Well, now I don't have to. lol. I got to ride Morgunn. What fun!! And I got to tolt!!!

Betty rode Sugar while I rode Morgunn. We rode around the corral for a while and then we rode out on the mesa for a little trail ride. Then Betty gave me the go-ahead to work him a bit. I asked him into a tolt and it was VERY nice although we didn't go very fast. Maybe I'll get to ride him again in an arena and then we can really open up with the flying pace. A long time ago I rode a Tennessee Walker stallion and we did the running walk. I think the tolt is similar because they are both four beat lateral gaits.
Morgunn was a such gentleman for me. He's a sweetie too.
So is Sugar. Here's Lisa with Sugar.

Dan and Betty have a lovely southwestern style house in the exclusive little village of Corrales on the other side of Albuquerque. I loved the horse accents all around their house (see the light)and the way their horses can come right up to the house. They keep an immaculate horse yard too; I didn't see any horse apples anywhere! Those horses are very lucky to have Dan and Betty as owners.

We had a lovely meal of salads (loved that chicken salad) with creamy orange jello "stuff" for dessert (also a favorite of mine). :) Too soon, it was time to go because I had some more studying to do. But first, we stopped by the river so Lisa could plant a letter box and reminisce a bit. She told me about the great times she and her children had had by the river. I couldn't resist a few quick snapshots before we headed home to the other side of the mountains.

And if the homework brings you down, we'll throw it on the fire and take the car downtown - song: Kooks, artist: David Bowie, album: Hunky Dory

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday (Religion 4-19-09)

I decided to join the Sunday Stills. Check out the website for more.

This week, the topic is religion. New Mexico is very religious in the Catholic faith. Although there are several large, beautiful churches, like the Loretto Chapel shown below, many are small community chapels.

Every town has a church.
In northern New Mexico there is a small town called Chimayo. It is especially known for the holy dirt in the sanctuary which is believed to have special healing powers.
Outdoor mass is celebrated every Sunday.People leave rosaries, crosses, and candles at the various shrines.
Even the bordering horse fence is decorated with crosses brought by pilgrims on Good Friday.
But there are also other religions too. This kachina is standing sentinel on the Rio Grande Gorge bridge near Taos.

Sunday - song: Sunday, artist: David Bowie, album: Heathen

Saturday, April 18, 2009

We're Gonna Have a Party! part II

Nadia: It's my birthday! Let's P A R T Y!!!
Val: Whoa, Nadia, I'm still setting up!Annie: Hey, I'm all dressed up! It was so cold this morning that I got to wear a blanket. (This wasn't planned even though yesterday's post mentioned dressing up Annie! I couldn't stand seeing Annie shivering in the cold so I put a blanket on her, for the first time ever!)
Annie: Nadia, I don't know if Baby Doll is coming. It looks really bad out there. Nadia: She'll come. It's her birthday tomorrow so this party is for her too.

Baby Doll: Whew, we made it! It is cold and wet out there! Look at all the snow on us.

Scout: So glad you made it, Baby Doll!Nadia: Okay, let's get the photo shoot over and start the party! Everyone has to wear silly party hats! Even you, Annie!

Annie: I guess it's not so bad, is it? I do look nice, don't I? Scout: Bobbing for apples! All right! Let me at 'em.

Scout, munching: Yummy, this is great! I can eat them all! But, I better save some for the rest.
Baby Doll: Let me try! Let me try!! Baby Doll: Blehh, Scout slobbered in the water.
Nadia: This is harder than it looked. Oh, yep, I got one!

Yummm, apple water slobbers!

Nadia: Oh oh, look at all that!

My, what a spread! Party hats and popcorn! Sweet oat cakes for us and carrot cupcakes for the humans. Apples, and bubbles and presents too!! Oh, and wine?!? Nadia: My, that cake looks good!
Nadia: How about seconds? (Considering the weather, isn't it fitting that the cakes are on a 'snowman' tray?)

Scout: I want some! I want some!! Baby Doll: See, Scout, good things come to those who wait!
Annie: Go away, Scout! You had yours!Annie: Just kidding! I still like you. Three cheers for the party girls!

Happy 26th Birthday, Nadia!
Happy 16th Birthday, Baby Doll!!

Here's a great big thanks to Jackson and Lisa for all the assistance in horse handling and photo taking! Hope you had fun too!
Visit LaughinOrcaRanch for more fun party photos!

We're gonna have a party! - song: Memory of a Free Festival, artist: David Bowie, album: Space Oddity