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.
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!