Horsin' Around - Home on the Range Blog at Allrecipes.com - 313146

Home on the Range

Horsin' Around 
Oct. 17, 2013 6:12 pm 
Updated: Oct. 30, 2013 8:10 am

My health is so much better than it was earlier this past year. The constant and intense pain I was living with is very much at bay, so the newest treatment is definitely successful for now. I’m still having a few issues from the cold virus that seized us but I am slowly recovering.

We went riding yesterday. Cider so desperately wanted to come with us. He used to go everywhere with me but his advanced age and the graying of his eyes and muzzle in addition to his recent stroke and weakness made me a little reluctant to think about it. However, seeing the disappointment in his eyes when I shut the gate on him, I considered how unappealing my life was before I started being able to participate in the things I love again. Knowing that like me, he’d rather live a shortened life of quality than a longer life of disappointment, I opened the gate and he bounced past me in great joy and anticipation.

 As neither Chery nor I can mount from the ground (at least not yet) it takes quite a bit of effort to dismount, open and close a barbed wire gate and find a spot to remount. We managed however and were able to chart a path with LOTS  of open gates as they are still working on putting in pivots on the ranch and the trucks are in and out. We moseyed along for about 3 hours, Cider covering at least twice as much ground as we did on horseback. He ran through willows, rolled in creeks, followed bird trails and had an incredible time.



 As always, I appreciated the vista and the vastness of thousands of acres of the ranch as I gazed off at the silhouettes of the mountains in the distance.

We rode under groves of giant trees who have put their fall colors on display. The sheer enormity of them is overwhelming and the thought of what they have seen in their life intrigues me. Indian, cavalryman, cattleman and cowboy, they have seen it all. How I wish they could tell me their stories.

Cider did a great job of keeping track of us and staying close enough not to get lost. Once back, he did collapse next to my horse and I had to work hard to convince him to go into the shed where he couldn’t be stepped on, as he is no faster at getting up than I am and it could be a disaster in waiting. In spite of his initial exhaustion and soreness, he recovered quickly and even has wanted us to throw things for him last nite and this morning. Like me, he has been revitalized by the activity and I think his life has been lengthened by the trip, rather than shortened.

He had fun rolling and splashing in any and every body of water he could find.

And of  course, his trip would not have been complete without a souvenier to bring back, as you can see in the photo above. Of all the millions of sticks that must be on this ranch, I'm pretty sure the one in his mouth is irreplaceable, having just the perfect amount of age and seasoning on it, as well as perfect aerodynamics for throwing. It was well worth carrying miles and miles back to the house.

The other night about 2 a.m. I awoke and could hear the Maremmas barking far away. Then I THOUGHT I heard commotion in the chicken coop, which I had forgotten to close. I was worried that a coon or something had gotten in while the dogs were busy keeping the coyotes and a cougar (that was less than a mile from the corral) at bay. I jumped into some shoes and quietly snuck out to the coop in the moonlight. I could see the dogs way down at the bottom of the pasture. I went inside the coop and quickly flashed a light long enough to see if anything was in there. All the hens were roosting and everyone seemed fine. I turned around to leave only to hear a deep throated growl and see both big dogs charging my way. As they were coming through the last gate they recognized me and met me with bouncy bodies and wagging tails. I was totally shocked they had heard me and how FAST they arrived! No predators would have stood a chance in my coop.I have no idea what I had heard. 

Chery, our ‘roomie’ was riding the 4 wheeler home from the corrals the other night when she spotted a mountain lion. There are a lot of them on the ranch so it was of no surprise, but he is pretty close to the house. It just means the dogs will have to work harder to protect the stock, if said cougar should consider lamb for his menu.

This morning, Potamus came home 4 hours later than usual. One leg had evidence of a great deal of blood having run down it, but not his. He’d licked most of it off but it could still be seen. I considered that perhaps he’d found a carcass and had been disposing of it, but there is none of the telltale smell on breath or body and no blood anywhere else on him. I’ve no idea what he tangled with or why he was gone so late, but other than being exhausted and sore, he is none the worse for wear. I don’t imagine we could make the same statement about whatever creature tangled with him. 

The bucket list for today is cleaning the chicken pen and stripping out Emma's shelter. The horses get a day off, but God willing, we'll be back at it tomorrow!

Oct. 17, 2013 8:27 pm
I'm so glad that Cider was able to tag along. Sounds like he had a grand time. As usual, your descriptions are spot on. I felt like I was right there following you out to the chicken coop in the middle of the night. Glad to know the dogs heard you and came to check out what was going on. The mountain lion being so close is scary. I hope it stays away from your animals. As always, thanks for giving us a glimpse of your world!
Oct. 17, 2013 8:34 pm
Simply awesome petey. I'm in awe with your photos and writing. I agree with you about Cider. It's so good to see that you are feeling better.
Oct. 18, 2013 3:54 am
Love your recent health news as much as the blog. What a wonderful time out for you on those horses, as well as Cider!
Oct. 18, 2013 4:42 am
Good Morning Petey, I am so glad to hear that you are feeling better and getting around more easily. Your day out with Cider was fun to read about. And, it sounds like it did you both good. I could not agree with you more... Quality over quantity. As we walked through George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate yesterday, I thought the same thing of the trees and plants there; "Oh, the things they've seen and heard!" It amazes me that the generations come and go while the rivers and terrain remain.
Oct. 18, 2013 5:07 am
Petey... I'm so glad that your pain is abating! Loved the read and the picks! I found myself bounding along with Cider.. If for a short moment I felt like an aged canine with renewed vigor! I gotta get outside today and get a little of that fountain of youth, of course I don't have that gorgeous scenery to marvel at! Once again .. thank you for the great read! Be Well!
Oct. 18, 2013 5:08 am
Beautiful pictures and now I feel as if I went along with you! My Suzy and Cider would get along just fine - as long as there were 2 sticks. :) Suzy goes "stick shopping" in our woods on a regular basis; the sticks in the yard are just not good enough so she has to go into the woods and drag a few logs down into the yard.
Oct. 18, 2013 8:04 am
Petey, wonderful as usual. Very happy your doing better, and glad you let Cider on your journey with you. You take care.
Oct. 18, 2013 9:00 am
Thank you for all the well wishes. Cider is doing fantastic. I was really worried about taking him as his hips have been so bad and just playing ball with the kids he was unable to get up, but this seemed to have nothing but positive effects on him! Mother Ann, Cider would appreciate that Suzy is also a connoisseur!
Oct. 18, 2013 9:10 am
I'm so happy you are feeling better, petey. I hope you have many more of those days.
Oct. 18, 2013 9:18 am
So glad to hear that you are feeling better. Wonderful pictures. Love to read your posts & your upbeat descriptions. We are hoping to get some chickens next year & try it here in AZ. I was quite successful w/them in CA, but it's totally different here in AZ. Many more predators & colder in the winter & hotter in the summer. Please give Cider an extra hug from me!
Oct. 18, 2013 11:13 am
Hello Petey, I love Golden Retrievers. They love human companionship and being out and about. Cider seemed to really enjoy himself. I hope he continues to feel well enough to go along with you when you ride your horse. Brings back memories of my part mutt part Golden retrievers.
Oct. 18, 2013 12:31 pm
Enjoyed your blog a great deal Petey (as always). The Mtn. lions took me back to the days when we lived on the mountainside and the dearly loved neighbor ladies would call us and tell us that the mtn. lions were out and we should make sure our boys were in before dusk. I believe they did take a dog or two in the 12 years we lived there. One time a cub got trapped in our yard for a day or so. I didn't go check for fear of meeting Mom! Wasn't too worried because our sweet Great Dane patrolled the parimeter of the house. Cub quit yowling so Mom must have come to pick her child up. I know if the cub had perished our kids would have found it on our hillside. Once the oldest boy was looking under rocks on that same hillside and he made the mistake of doing it on the down hill side. The rock rolled back on hs arm and it was too heavy for him to push off with just one arm free. The neighbor lady rescued him. So I can understand how a lion cub could get in trouble too! Kids will be kids. Glad to hear you are feeling better.
Oct. 18, 2013 6:01 pm
Great to hear you are feeling so well! I had an old (17) Doberman with arthritis in her hips & when I put her on "joint health" pills she improved greatly (Glucosamine & Chondroitin available on line). Love your story & pics, as usual.
Oct. 30, 2013 8:10 am
What a great blessing and answer to prayer, that you are feeling better, Petey! I ran across this in my daily study today and claimed it for myself- "Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed." Hebrews 12:12 - 13 Thanking God for healing of all kinds~
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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden. forpeteysake.blogspot.com http://throughthedarkestvalleys.blogspot.com/
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Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
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Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
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Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
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A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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