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.


  1. I am so sorry you had to say goodbye to your beautiful girl :( always heart wrenching. Hope sweet memories of Riagan ease your pain {hugs} I don't know what to think about the pandemic anymore. There will no doubt be lasting affects, and not just for those who recovered from having it. What a different world to grow up in. Your hay huts are awesome, no doubt Cowgirl and the rest love them.

    1. I’m not sure if they love them, but we sure do! It might be cramping their style. Thank you for the condolences over Riagan. ❤️ I’m much like you, don’t know what to think about the pandemic. We’ve never experienced anything like it. What a tragedy for our whole world—seen and unseen tragedies.

  2. First- sending big hugs on the loss of your dog.... it's never easy and it always leaves a big hole with their passing.
    As far as the pandemic goes, all I am going to say is that so much of what is happening is unnecessary, that treatments that work are not being utilized and that I have absolutely no faith in their vaccine which is using humans as test subjects. I for one will refuse it.
    Are you able to pony Cowgirl to give her exercise? Even ponying from a quad if it's too slippery to ride. We have no snow here but the ground goes from muddy to frozen and back to muddy. Hopefully we will get a white Christmas.

    1. Thank you. Our time with Riagan was a treasure. She was a gift from my dad, who had loved our family wolfhound, Mish, very much. She also lived to be 10. We went many years without one, but when I mentioned I wanted to experience a wolfhound again, my dad made the offer. We found Riagan, through a bloodline that she shared with our family wolfhound, and the rest is history.

      I don’t know what to think of the pandemic anymore. As I said above, there are so many things that don’t make sense. Maybe we will know more far into the future when we get this behind us. If we ever get this behind us. I was very surprised that hydroxychloroquine worked so well for the member of our family because I have read so much negative. I think most doctors don’t want to give it, for fear of lawsuits. He was lucky to get it. And lucky it worked.

      I invested in Moderna and Pfizer, but sold all my Pfizer stocks and went all in for Moderna because it is easier to distribute. I have friends and family who can’t wait to take it, and friends and family who absolutely will not take it. There are, obviously, no longterm studies, and it’s new technology, but from what I’ve read so far, I will take it and advise my parents, who are at high risk, to take it. But I respect everyone’s decisions. It’s very personal, and no one should be forced or coerced. It’s like having to decide between being attacked by a bear or jumping off a cliff to escape the bear.

      That’s a good idea to pony Cowgirl. We were taking her on long walks at our state park. I have made it a daily routine and my daughter comes and does it whenever she can. It’s good exercise, and gives us one on one time, which she really likes. She loves her girl, of course. When Shiloh is here, Cowgirl won’t take her eyes off her.

  3. I am so sorry you lost your dog. What a kind and loving passing you gave her. This year has changed everyone I think. Our world tilted with the pandemic and the resettling will be interesting.

    1. Thank you for your condolences for Riagan. ❤️ I will always choose a home passing from here on out.

      I’m afraid you’re right about the world tilting. We’ve been lucky to have gone this long without anything horrific like this.

      I think its most horrific element is its dehumanization. As humans, we are herd animals. We take care of our own until their last breaths. We comfort our neighbors. We join together as families and friends and celebrate. We attend school and work together. Games. Events. Worship. Music. Art. All, communal experiences where people from many different places squeeze together and transcend space and time. The societies we admire most are the ones who are most connected and vibrant. But all of that connection has become weaponized against us through this virus.

      I hope we regain it quickly soon.

  4. I'm so sorry you lost your sweet girl Riagan. It was a blessing you could be with her at home and she left in a peaceful setting surrounded by love. Hugs to you and the family I know you will miss her but she will always be with you in your happy memories.

    I'm older than you and can't ever remember anything like this pandemic. I think we've finally got a handle on it with the vaccines. My husband and I will take it because we are older and need to try and protect ourselves if we can. Don't know if it will work but at this point its worth a shot. Everyone should do as they personally feel about it but if it can protect them and the people they come into contact with I'd take that as a plus. We should all be mindful of people around us and try to do what's right for everyone. Hang in there.

    Like your hay huts. Great idea. Hope the walking or ponying helps Cowgirl's leg.

    1. Thank you. Yes, the memory of Riagan makes me smile. And her partner, Maggie, our lab, who died two years ago. They were like sisters, and I always called them my girls. I have their collars by my bed, and every now and then, I hold them in my hands and get filled with joy.

      I agree that the vaccines should be a major turnaround. At the very least, they will give 95% protection to those who want it. And with time, longer studies, more might come to feel comfortable taking it, if it proves safe and effective.

      Stay safe where you are, too! And enjoy your herd!

  5. How wonderful that you could say goodbye to your faithful friend at home...gently ...with a caring Vet. Even so the goodbyes are hard. I just cam e by to see how Tumbleweed was doing...he is sure a beauty! :)

    1. Thank you. We were blessed to have such a serene goodbye with Riagan. It helped with the grieving.

      Tumbleweed is a character, that’s for sure. He is full of personality and curiosity.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.