Saturday, May 30, 2015

35,000,000,000,000 Gallons of Rainwater

 If you've not been paying attention to the news lately, you'll be interested to hear that Texas, land of the perpetual drought, is absolutely drowning under a staggering amount of rain. This is the wettest May on record, and as of a few days ago was also named the fourth wettest month out of all the months on record. We've had nearly 8" of rain since then (and more in some places), so it is quite possible that this month may end up being THE wettest month on record in Texas ever. 

How much rainfall have we gotten? 35 TRILLION gallons of it. We've had nearly 20" of rain this month in my area. Here's a handy infographic on what exactly all that rain amounts to:

The devastation has been extreme. Entire families have been lost when their houses just lift clean up off the ground in the floodwaters and wash away down the swollen rivers. Farmers are calling this year a total loss. Businesses, homes, entire neighborhoods have been just plain washed away. Dams have broken, rivers are swollen so far beyond capacity that it's not measurable, and people are still  missing. An entire freeway in the DFW Metroplex was shut down for more than 8 HOURS yesterday when torrential flooding trapped motorists and left them stranded with no way out. 

As such - and I'm sure you're not surprised to hear it - working O has been just totally out of the question. We're finishing up the move to the new place tomorrow - which is SUPER fun to do in rainy weather - and after a torrential downpour this morning, the sun has come out and is supposed to stay out for at least a couple of days. Or at least, we can hope....

There's just no way to work O in our pasture right now - it's totally flooded out. However, our entire property is on a hill, and as such things dry out quickly. Or well, they would if our ground wasn't so completely saturated that there's nowhere left for the water to go anymore.

A wild snorlax appears

As of today we have a lovely river complete with waterfall flowing through our property. Does the property value increase now that it is waterfront?

Enormous shed... huge protective trees... and they choose to stand out in the middle of the deluge. Ingrates! 

We still have no internet at the new house (it comes Monday!), so I'll be back to a more regular posting schedule soon, but until then I'll leave you with the quicknotes version of how the beasts are all doing:



The tiny beast is 5 weeks old now and I can't believe it. Where does time go?? She was supposed to be trimmed for the first time last week, but it's just been so muddy and miserable that I haven't done it yet. A baby's first trim takes literally all of 5 minutes, if that... all I need is 5 seconds of sun to dry out a spot to do it. 

She discovered Monster Dog, and Monster Dog discovered her. Moo is about the derpiest and sweetest dog, so she likes to do that floppy play bow in front of Pax, asking if she'd like to come play with her (she does this to cats too - very gentle with all creatures). Pax thinks she's great, but I don't want to encourage the playing much. It will be a lot less cute when Pax weighs 1100lbs and squashes Moo under a striking front foot.


O is the most protective auntie ever. She spends pretty much every waking hour watching out for Pax, even when P is off doing her own thing totally ignoring her own child. She LOVES the baby and looks out for her all the time - but lays down the law as she sees fit. When Pax gets too annoying, she'll lay her ears back, push her over, and threateningly pick up a foot. She is very gentle otherwise - she's be a super momma herself. 
I'm desperate to get her back to work. Cowboy Country HDT is in two weeks, but we haven't worked in over a month now - we're just not ready. I was really hoping, but we're just not. I'm going to scrap that one, and shoot for the ADT at the end of June - it's an arena driving trial so there will be no marathon. We'll be ready for that one for sure! Unless there is more freaking rain!


P's had a crappy week. She choked twice, much to my total alarm and surprise, and then got an eye infection. She's been eating the same food for literally over three years, and it is always wetted, so I was floored to see her choke. It was easily resolved - I just stuck a hose in her mouth and washed it down, and she was fine in a few minutes. The only thing I can figure is that I wasn't putting her hay in nets for the first week, since the baby had tried to hang herself in an empty one while she was in the stall. Watching her eat hay, she gulps down enormous mouthfuls of it, shoveling it in as fast as she can. I decided that the nets needed to come back out (also they were trampling ridiculous amounts of very expensive hay into the mud), so I hung them back up and kept P off her grainfoods for several days. She's been back on very sloppy hay pellet soup as of three days ago, and no problems to report.
And her eye! Poor mare. She always tends to get one gloopy swollen eye whenever the bugs are out (which is year round here), so she wears a flymask pretty much 24/7, 365. For whatever reason, when I pulled off the mask a few days ago, her eyelids wwere hugely swollen and giant goobers were oozing out of it. When lavage and eye ointment failed to help it, we put her on an antibiotic and an anti inflammatory, and thankfully the eye is 90% normal again and getting better every day. Also thankful that despite going through this on a somewhat regular basis with her, it is never the actual eye that has problems - just the eyelid. We flush her ducts all the time and it does help some, but the problem comes back regularly. She's just a sensitive mare. 

A rare moment of sun, horses under the tree with their haynets. Pardon the overgrown lawn and garden, there's no way to mow when you have a river running through your property!


Wait, who is Darby??
Yes, there is a new face at our property, a 30+ year old mare named Darby who I have a long history with. Darby came home with me yesterday, because after all we've been through, I couldn't stand to watch the old girl waste away and die, forgotten and unloved as she was her whole life.
I'm sure none of you are surprised to hear that she is also red with a lot of chrome. Because apparently I'm collecting them now...!

Darby is either QH, Paint, or grade, nobody really seems to know for sure. She's also been 30+ years old for at least 3 years now, so nobody is really sure of how old she is either beyond "really really old." She's also a cripple with a deformed leg due to negligence.

When I first met Darby in 2012, she could barely walk she was so badly foundered. She was brought to one of the local barns I frequent with a fancy custom shoeing job, but was still crippled. She apparently had been turned out in a big lush grassy field for who knows how long, and she foundered out there and nobody noticed. At that time she also received a puncture wound to her left hind fetlock that compromised the joint, and nobody noticed that either. As a result, the joint got destroyed, and from the fetlock down on that leg, she is calcified into the crooked position like she is cocking a leg. It doesn't bend any other way anymore, but she gets around on it surprisingly well - it's amazing how well horses can adapt. 

Despite the fancy shoeing job, the owners didn't pay bills on her, and the shoes stays on until they fell off. Her feet were horrible and she could barely walk. The barn asked me to trim her, so I started with her in 2013. I saw her on a somewhat regular-ish schedule, when they paid their bill every few months - but I managed to fix her up pretty well.

She was super sound at the time of that last picture, in December.

That's her crippled leg, and she's not resting it, that's just how it is calcified - and that's the shape the foot takes, and how you have to trim it in order to support the limb. It's funky but it works for her.

This winter, we had a slew of neverending ice storms and mud. The ground would freeze solid into giant ruts, and the compromised horses suffered for it. Darby bruised so badly on both fronts that she could barely get around, and the owners didn't do anything about it. The other horses bullied her off the haypile, and she became too depressed and crippled to eat. About 200lbs fell right off of her. 

I stepped in at this point and started bringing some Thrive for her (with permission). I also futzed with her feet some, with Durasole and Magic Cushion and boots paving the way for me. She blew two giant abscesses, then started to get around better again. But the owners had vanished once again, not paying their bills. There was only so much the boarding barn could do - they have to run a business after all, they're not there to give out charity to pathetic old cripple horses - and they lamented to me many times about how they wished they were in a position to do more.

I made a promise to Darby that if we ended up with our own place sometime in the future, I'd bring her home to die at my place, happy and loved and well-fed. Yesterday, I fulfilled that promise to her, and brought her home.

She's really, really, really old. She's going to die in the not-too-distant future I'm sure, and I will cry for her and send her off to be buried next to Gogo. But she will at least have spent some small measure of her life somewhere that is soft and nice, with good endless food and brushes ever day, and cookies and love. She is about the nicest old bird you could ever have the pleasure to know - she calls to you, comes to you, loves to be brushed and soaks up the attention. After being forgotten over and over and over again, she deserves this.

Who are you, new friends?

Finally getting a good solid sleep in, who knows the last time she had somewhere soft to sleep!

I put her in with the girls for a bit today, and everyone was civil enough. Pax wants to run at Darby and play, and Darby wants nothing to do with her. O wants to keep Pax away from Darby, so she has chased Darby off a few times, which Darby is all too happy to oblige with. My pasture is mostly weeds, not really grass, but I'll have to keep a close eye on that with her history. The other pasture is nothing but rocks and weeds, so she has a place to be drylotted if she can't handle what's in my pasture. It's about what she had access to at the other pasture. She deserves some time to be a happy old grandma horse out in a big soft field though, so even if it is beyond what she can handle, I'm happy to let her have her time out there enjoying herself before she goes over the Rainbow Bridge. She really does deserve it. I'm not here to save her, just to give her a good cushy end to her life.

Here's hoping for some sunshine and dry weather... never though I'd be saying it, but we need it!!


  1. Darby is a sweet old soul. Good on you for taking her in - she looks so happy now :)

    I hope the flooding stops!

  2. Over here in tears reading about Darby. What a wonderful old soul she sounds like, who's life you will undoubtedly change for the better.

  3. So glad you're giving Darby love and cookies and a good home. Hope P is doing better and hope you dry out soon!

  4. Damn sodomites, making Texas flood.

    Glad you are doing okay and are safe with all of your critters. You are also my favorite person today - what a wonderfully generous thing to do, providing a safe, lovely place for Darby to pass from this world. Moved me to tears . . ..

  5. You are an angel, for sure. Thank you for everything you do for animals :-)

  6. P.S. Should we send flippers and snorkels yet?

  7. Thinking about you guys in Texas. I'm from Calgary and have lived through one bad flood (2005) and one absolutely horrific flood (2012), so I know the devastation that comes from flood-waters. I also lived in Weatherford for a spell, and have a soft spot for 'ol TX.

    In horse news - good on you for taking Darby on, and very exciting about your new place. She looks happy, and obviously is receiving the best care. That is all that matters in the golden years of great horses' lives I think.

  8. Wow, the rainfall amounts are simply staggering! If only CA could steal some of that water! Though, if they got that much all at once the entire state would be in the Pacific! It's so sweet what you are doing for Darby, and I love the photo of her in the field sleeping. She looks a like a fawn in the grass!

  9. how very generous of you to step in for Darby - i have no doubt that she'll be very happy and comfortable in your care! glad the rest of the creatures are also well. fingers crossed for some dry weather !

  10. Thank you for giving Darby kindness and care at the end of her days. Hoping the deluge is over now!

  11. I love how you took Darby. That is exactly what I want to do someday: have a barn and the ability to take in the horses that need it, if I'm able. Hugs hugs hugs to you and to her and of course to your other munchkins too.

  12. Are you all ok. I've been checking in for weeks now hoping for an update and am starting to get quite concerned at the silence.

    Hope all is well and you've not had to escape in an Ark...

  13. Yes we're all still here! We still have no internet at our house and we're currently on vacation in CA. I have a million updates but haven't had the time to write them - and hate blogging from my phone. *Maybe* we will have internet by the end of the month... maybe!

  14. Ah.. great news.

    I was picturing you all floating around and Pax with floaties on.

    Hope you have a great vacation and I look forward to the updates when you get a chance.

  15. I had already read about Darby, but reading it again makes me all teary eyed... I'm so happy you brought her home so she can live out the rest of her life in peace.

    I'm so sorry P choked. After dealing with that with Faran I don't wish it on anyone. No fun at all! I didn't realize you could put a hose in their mouth and wash it down.... I was told they could get aspiration pneumonia doing that... but maybe that's just what vets tell us so we will call them??? Whatever, I'm glad it worked and that she is okay.