Saturday, December 12, 2020

Hay Huts, Covid, Pregnancy Update, And A Loss

What crazy, uncertain times we live in. I'm fifty-three, and have never lived through anything remotely like what we are experiencing now.  For us, almost nothing has really changed--we already had work from home--before the pandemic--we have our horses--our ice skating--hiking--snowshoeing--family circle--lots and lots of chores--and my knitting.  None of that has changed one bit.  If anything, it has given us more concentrated time for all those things.

But I worry how it's affecting the world as a whole. One of my kids said they'd read an article about how babies who go to daycare are being raised by caregivers with masks, which takes away the baby's ability to read faces--and may lead to developmental delays. Makes sense.  And, it's just another way--out of an infinite amount of ways--this pandemic has altered our humanity.

I live in a lockdown state with 95% mask compliance. I have so many masks--and some are quite stylish.  Lately, I've enjoyed my Christmas plaid--it is cheerful, stylish, and functional--because it keeps my face warm. To my knowledge, I haven't come down with Covid--although, I did have something very much like it last February, after our trip to Sedona. Some members of my family have got it, and did quite well. One is a nurse, and contracted it at the hospital helping others. He started to take a turn for the worse, and was prescribed hydroxychloriquine, at his request--he was 90% better the day after taking it. Yet another mystery. Why do some people have such bad outcomes, and others are barely touched by it? Why do some treatments work for some people--but not others? 

In our county of 500,000 people, we have had, I think, 299 deaths. Unfortunately, despite our lockdown, and our masks, we are experiencing an awful second spike of Covid. Not only that, but it appears to be a deadlier strain. With all the knowledge we have about treatment, we lost a healthy, prominent member of our community last week. She's a woman, about my age, an avid runner--the picture of health--and founded our local magazine--Spokane Living--and she DIED.  Her husband, who I think is older than her, is in the ICU, but appears to be recovering.  Did they get a worse strain of Covid than others? Why couldn't she be saved at the hospital with all the treatments available to us? Did she have underlying conditions which made her more vulnerable? No answers.

I hope you are all staying safe, wherever you are, and that you're finding your way through this--and maybe even thriving, as I know many people are with the slower paces. Less distraction.  Less chaos. More time to cultivate what is important.

And vaccines are on the horizon.


Speaking of vaccines, Cowgirl had her 5 month vaccination yesterday and the vet had an opportunity to look her over. She developed cellulitis in her back leg injury last summer, and it has left her with longterm swelling. It isn't causing any lameness, but it is something we will have to watch for the rest of her life. Standing around in her stall doesn't help. The prescription for her is lots of movement--walk her, ride her, turn her out. But turnout isn't really possible since she doesn't play nice with the herd, and that would risk a worse injury than she has now. The snow and ice don't help either. But we will do the best we can. For now, I'm avoiding standing wraps, because it doesn't really fix the problem.  But the vet said if walking doesn't work, and if we think she needs them, use them. Unfortunately, that's the uncertainty we're dealing with.

I thought Cowgirl was looking too fat, but the vet said she could be fatter. She has 24/7 grass hay--and we purchased a Hay Hut to keep her round bale dry.  It worked so well that we bought another for the herd. So far, it's extending the life of the herd's bale about 1-3 days, and Cowgirl's bale lasted almost 3 weeks-- all of this is dependent on the temperatures, as they eat more when those temps drop.  The hay huts are cutting down on a lot of waste.  Before the hay hut, they'd stick their heads into the bale and just start tossing out all of the so-so bites--looking for the yummy ones.  Now, they have to make their way through the entire thing. It keeps the hay dry. It extends the life of the bale. And, it cuts down on fighting because they can't see each other as well.  I worried that they'd be hard on the hay hut, but it's super tough, and they don't show any interest in banging it around.  It is, after all, their conduit to food.

As for fattening Cowgirl up--that has never been an issue at our house. We seem to thrive on one thing around here--keeping our horses at borderline founder. Our farrier is always watching them closely and cautioning us to slow down the groceries. I guess Cowgirl is eating for two now, though!


Sad news.  We lost our Irish Wolfhound, Riagan. She was 10 years and 8 months old.  I had hoped she'd make it to 11, but her hips gave out and there was no way to put anymore bandaids on the situation. (Our vet had been working with her for the last year and a half, and we'd moved to palliative, end of life care.)  She had also started a mysterious bleeding at the same time. We couldn't get her in the vehicle to go to the vet, so we had the vet come to us. The night of her passing, she was laying on her favorite bed, in front of the fire in our living room.  I made her a big steak dinner before the vet arrived.  When the vet did arrive, she got down on the ground with us and talked to Riagan very gently and respectfully. She gave her a little sedative and allowed that to take effect for five minutes.  She administered more sedative, and gave that one even more time.  Altogether, we had about 30 minutes or more with Riagan in that relaxed, state--very slowly taking her to new levels of relaxation until she fell asleep in my arms. The vet then administered the barbiturates. 

She was the most noble soul and I love her so, so deeply. Before she fell asleep, I was down on the ground, with my arms around her, and looking in her eyes.  She held my gaze to the last moments--never wavering. I felt like it was an affirmation--a message from her--that we will not be parted forever.