We Built A Horsetress

We didn’t build a fortress, we built a horsetress.

Yup, we walled the stalls!
Yup, we walled the stalls!
DASH! is sure he can find a way in somehow!
DASH! is sure he can find a way in somewhere!
Gracie trying to create an entrance.  She was sorely disappointed.
Gracie trying to create an entrance. She was sorely disappointed.
Where the outer perimeter is walled up, the separator bars are open so Hal and Charlie can be close.
Where the outer perimeter is walled up, the separator bars are open so Hal and Charlie can be close.

Charlie has a message for Morty, who is the reason we had to do this:

DSC_3307

The fans installed for mosquito control will help maintain circulation.  We’re also going to drill some 3″ holes for cross ventilation.

We really hated to do this, but despite never letting Morty out unless a) he’s tied up. or b) one of us is there to watch him, he bit Charlie again.    All it took was a blocked view for a few seconds.

With the new Horstress, Hal and Charlie will be brought in whenever the dogs are out, and when the dogs are inside, the horses will be loose.  Yes, it will be a pain in the butt since the dogs go out several times a day, but it’s all about priorities.  Hal and Charlie are just as important as any of the dogs and it is our responsibility to keep them safe.  Morty is family.  Irritating family is still family, you don’t throw them away.

See, it’s not all hummingbirds, butterflies and Slugger farts and Run A Muck Ranch.  We get trials and tribulations too!

Horses/Morty Separator Attempt #8:  This one has to work longer than the rest!

They’re Trying To Do Me In!

It was a long and brutal day that wouldn’t end.  To make it even more fun, I got a call from a client who decided to use the loppers he found today in his garage by trimming his own tree.  He got part way through before he was overcome with exhaustion.   He had branches on the ground, strewn about his front yard, and the blasted things refused to clean themselves up!  Thus, the call to me.  Included in his message was the fact that this “Life threatening landscape emergency” (the branches on the ground) had to be handled before day’s end, or else he would seek the services of a more accommodating landscaper.  Just goes to show the appreciation sent my way for 7 years of hard work…  (I LOVE my job!)

The property wasn’t that far away, the tree wasn’t very large and had just been trimmed last maintenance visit.  There couldn’t be that much to pick up, right?   Maybe 45 minutes max round trip, shorter if I could get in and out before the client saw me and wanted to talk.

The kids had been cooped up inside the house for a rather lengthy day, so I decided to leave the non-horse harassing nim wits out while I made the trip. Crabby was away visiting with out of town guests, so there was no one to supervise.  But again, the kids I left out were the more well mannered ones. What could possibly happen?

Shock and awe.  That’s the only way I can describe what my client did to the tree.  He pretty much took off everything but the main trunk.  Literally, it was a bare, 7 foot trunk with all branches removed.  When I arrived on the property, husband and wife were in a domestic dispute over it.  Once nerves were calmed, the direction to just cut down the trunk made, and the newly found loppers put in a safe place (my trailer) where they can never be misused again, I quickly cleaned up the debris and sped home.  1 hour, 15 minutes had passed, not that I was keeping track…

We live on an easement accessed off a paved road.  I never reach the speed limit on the pavement because I don’t want to be that person who runs over a rabbit or squirrel.  Tonight, however, I not only reached the speed limit, I exceeded it.  I continued to speed until the Stop sign, made the appropriate stop, then proceeded to speed on.  I continued breaking the law…

…until

I saw Slugger, standing in the middle of road, imploring a south bound pick up truck to stop.

When the truck did not stop, Slugger looked my way, then assumed the imploring posture at me, not realizing who it was.  I had stopped, stunned,  in the middle of the road and was opening my door.

I didn’t notice the car coming from the north, and neither did Slugger.

Unlike the pick up truck driver, the driver of the car was a dog person.  She also stopped in the middle of the road and exited her vehicle.

Unlike me, the driver of the car noticed not only Slugger in the middle of the road, but Vito and Hector sitting on the shoulder.

Our "Main Drag" may be paved, but even Google earth is hard pressed to find much traffic on it.  I count that as a blessing.
Our “Main Drag” (center road running vertically) may be paved, but even Google earth is hard pressed to find much traffic on it. I count that as a blessing.

In my panic (finding Slugger loose, about 1/2 mile away from home  and in the middle of the road), I wasn’t very coherent when speaking to the Good Samaritan, and she was a little leery about my “intentions” when running toward Slugger.  Alas, a dog mom herself, she recognized a certain irrational freaking that can only come from love.    Also, at that point, Hector and Vito made it quite clear I was their mom when they came running to me while I was hugging Slugger.  This was when I first became aware of them.  {Increase Freak Out… NOW!}.

It was as I was vacillating between tears of horror (what kind of Mom leaves her kids out in the yard, unsupervised, even for a short duration),  and relief that my boys were OK, when the car alarm went off.  Only, to my trained ear, I knew it wasn’t a car alarm.  I looked in the direction of the sound, and there I saw, making a great attempt to hide herself behind a bush, eyes big as saucers, Marcy.

Whenever Slugger becomes unsure of his circumstances, he looks for the nearest responsible adult to take care of him.  No question, he was trying to flag down someone for help!
Whenever Slugger becomes unsure of his circumstances, he looks for the nearest responsible adult to take care of him. No question, he was trying to flag down someone for help!

Marcy has come a very long way, but she will always have feral in her.  That she didn’t run to me when she saw me meant feral took over.  I knew better than to approach her, even if I wasn’t so upset, as she would run.  I explained the situation to Good Samaritan as I was putting the boys in my truck  and asked if she watch them and hold back any traffic while I went for Marcy.

I went to the middle of the road, centered between my truck blocking north bound traffic and Good Samaritan’s car blocking south bound, took a few breaths to calm myself, squatted down, and called Marcy in my special voice just for her while opening my arms for a hug.  Marcy and I hug every day, it’s our “Thing”.   Though her tail was between her legs, she immediately ran to me, and hugged me back.  To this day, Marcy loathes being picked up, but at that particular time, she never stopped hugging me hard as I lifted her and carried her to the truck.

I  am very impressed Hector stayed with the group rather than exploring on his own.
I am very impressed Hector stayed with the group rather than exploring on his own.

Many thanks were extended, a) to Good Samaritan for her intention to stop and help my boys, and b) to the driver and passenger in a truck, who we blocked from passing, for not getting snarky at me for needing a few minutes to get sane before I could call Marcy.

The world is much too big for Vito to be out in, without parental supervision.
The world is much too big for Vito to be out in, without parental supervision.

Franky, Gracie, Pablo, Sarah, Emmi and Gertie were still safely in the back yard.  The rest of the kids were in the house.  That didn’t mean I didn’t do a total head count, twice, anyway!

The heavy storms of a few weeks back created a dip under the fence, an escape route.  It has been fixed so no more escapes occur.

I am shocked that Marcy left the property. We've had her outside the gate before, and she will never cross the property line.  Actually, she rarely goes more than 20 feet from the gate!
I am shocked that Marcy left the property. We’ve had her outside the gate before, and she will never cross the property line. Actually, she rarely goes more than 20 feet from the gate unless we take her somewhere in the Waggin’ Wagon!

The heart palpitations have stopped and I think I’ll live through this latest crisis.

Honestly, though, I swear the kids are trying to do me in!

Could It Really Have Been So Simple All Along? A Question for Horse People

We’re often neglectful of mentioning the 2 longest residents  of Run A Muck Ranch, aside from me and Crabby.

Charlie and I have been together for 19 years.  He was bred to be not ‘a’ but ‘the’ superior Arabian stud  of the world.  Unfortunately, where he was pretty, and conformationally perfect, Charlie’s brain wiring came out all wrong.  In the end, this horse, syndicated before his birth, for more than most of us make in several years, was given to me because we were the only humans Charlie trusted.  Many people working with Charlie, before he reached 2 years old,  ended up in the hospital. No one wanted to work with him.

Hal came to us 11 years ago.  I used to come from thoroughbred country, and to me, an ex-race horse was a ‘normal’ horse.  Except in the case of Hal.  He is overly sensitive, kind of like Willy. To upset Hal puts him into a colic.  Hay upsets his stomach, and for that reason, he’s on pellets only.   Our mission:  Make sure Hal stays emotionally level to keep him from colicing.

Honestly, with so many dogs, I don’t deserve the honor of keeping Hal and Charlie in my life.  That neither can fulfill their duty to serve humans means no one else would want them.  I’ve spoken to my vet several times about finding better homes for the boys.  Each time she has informed me that I am not as bad a mom as I think I am, and that anywhere else, especially Charlie, would be dead. So the boys remain, and I live in perpetual guilt that I am not a good mom to them.

As substandard a mom as I am, the boys’ well being is still my primary concern:

You would think, living on the desert, mosquitoes wouldn’t be an issue.  You would think wrong.   Post rains, we are inundated them.   I’m covered in bites, but I can go inside.  Hal and Charlie, they’re stuck outside.

 

Hal using Charlie as a scratching post.  The boys look a little rough as they spent most of the night pacing in an attempt to keep the mosquitoes off.
Hal using Charlie as a scratching post. The boys look a little rough as they spent most of the night pacing in an attempt to keep the mosquitoes off.

 

Hal is just too sweet. the bugs love him!
Hal is just too sweet. the bugs love him!

 

Hal, especially, reacts to bites.  They turn into massive welts and itch him so bad.  Despite gallons of chemicals put on him to repel mosquitoes, he still looks like he’s broken out in hives sometimes.   Charlie isn’t as sensitive, but sometimes you can just tell he’s had a hard night.

Crabby read something in one of his camping magazines that gave him pause:  It was written that mosquitoes and other bugs leave people alone when wind speeds are at 5 mph or higher.    Is that true?  And if so, would the same apply to the horses?

To test it, Crabby took the ceiling fans from the greenhouse and installed them above the horse stalls, pointing down, roughly to the center of the 12 x 12 stalls.

 

For those living in areas where barns are solid, trust me, I too was horrified over the concept of pipe stalls.  However, as hot as it gets here, the horses would cook in their stalls if not for the open air of the pipes.
For those living in areas where barns are solid, trust me, I too was horrified over the concept of pipe stalls. However, as hot as it gets here, the horses would cook in their stalls if not for the open air of the pipes.

 

 

The fan's installed were 2 18 inch, Quietaire Haf fans, made for greenhouses, one in each stall.
The fan’s installed were 2 18 inch, Quietaire Haf fans, made for greenhouses, one in each stall.

First impressions after use:

Not as much tail swishing (tails brushing bugs off).  This was both in the dark (mosquitoes) and in the morning (flies).  Yes, a few new mosquito bites, but exponentially fewer than usual, even with the use of chemical.    Equally important, Hal and Charlie are less agitated from fighting the bugs.

 

Handsome Hal, after a good night sleep.
Handsome Hal, after a good night sleep.

Is it possible that all those harsh chemicals I’ve used on the boys were never actually necessary, and that all we needed was forced air movement to keep the bugs away?

I’d like to hear from other horse people if they’ve tried anything like this before, and what the results were.

 

Foiled Again!

Our air conditioning vents are on the floor.  Convincing our assortment of nimwits NOT to lay on the vents in summer, is a constant battle with our electric bill being the collateral damage.

Crabby thought making the vents themselves uncomfortable by placing dumbells over them was a sure fire way to keep them clear.

Look how well that worked out.

 

Sarah will NOT be separated from her beloved air conditioning vent.
Sarah will NOT be separated from her beloved air conditioning vent!

Product Review: ToeGrips for Dogs

I saw a Facebook Share about Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips for Dogs and immediately thought of Sarah and Gertie.  Ours are Pergo floors and traction can be an issue sometimes.

ToeGrips, pursuant to The ToeGrips Web Page, “are the only product on the market that use dogs’ natural bio-mechanics, by providing traction through their toenails.”  I will admit, they did work, however…

Image from https://www.facebook.com/toegrips
Image from https://www.facebook.com/toegrips

I measured twice, Sarah and Gertie’s Toenails, all front and back paws, not just one front and back per the sizing instructions, wearing readers mind you, since sizing was to the millimeter, and carefully documented the measurements.  3 toe nails on Sarah, and 2 on Gertie did not fall within the range of Extra Large sizing with the rest of the nails.  Having not used this product before, I was reluctant to buy 4 different sizes at $29.95 each.  I figured if the properly sized ToeGrips stayed on, long enough to be cost-effective, I could make the correction on the next order.   I really wanted them to work, for Sarah especially.

I paid my $29.95 each, plus shipping, for 2 packages of  XL ToeGrips.

Sarah had her ToeGrips ‘installed’ on August 20.  I started by applying the ToeGrips to Sarah’s ‘good’ front paw.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how they would stay on. They weren’t loose, just flimsy.   Sarah’s nails were at the appropriate length, and when I compared her toes to the photos of properly applied ToeGrips, Sarah’s looked the same.

Image taken from http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.com/
Image taken from http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.com/.  This is the one I compared Sarah’s feet to.

Thinking I may have mis-measured, I re-measured the paw I was working on.  My measurements were accurate to the sizing.  The application instructions said that if a dog drags his or her feet, the ToeGrips would have to be superglued on.  Instead of gluing just Sarah’s dragging paw, I glued them all.

Yes, Sarah walked better.  She jumped on the couch better.  She got off the couch easier. Problem is, the ToeGrips started falling off on day 6 after application.  I re-applied the ‘extra’ 4 in the package as needed.  By September 8, all 20 ToeGrips were gone.  Despite being glued, despite all but 3 being spot on for sizing measurements, they came off.  Actually, the 2 which held on the longest were on toes which, pursuant to the sizing chart, should have been sized XXL.

Gertie’s ToeGrips were applied on August 23. I needed that long to get my fingers unstuck from gluing Sarah’s!  Noticing Sarah’s ToeGrips rubbing at the underside of the toenails (contact with ground), I left Gertie’s nails a little bit longer.

Guinea Dog Gertie.  Playing in the water did not accelerate the loss of her Toe Grips.
Guinea Dog Gertie. Playing in the water did not accelerate the loss of her ToeGrips.

Again, a test paw, unglued, did not look very stable, so, like with Sarah, I glued Gertie’s on.  Her ToeGrips didn’t start falling off until the second week.  Again, I re-applied with the 4 extras as the old ones were lost.  Gertie still had one Toe Grip on at supper time on September 17, but it fell off sometime during our evening walk.   We didn’t see a difference in Gertie’s mobility with the ToeGrips, which may have been due to the fact her nails were longer.

Sarah may be wobbly, but she can still chase a rabbit in our 1/2 acre back yard.  That said, most of her life revolves around the north arm of the couch and her food bowl.  She doesn’t have a lot of ambition aside from that.  Sarah didn’t go for a desert walk until 2 weeks ago, but by then, most of the ToeGrips had already fallen off. She returned from that walk with all remaining ToeGrips still on.

In Gertie’s case, our evening walks are on pretty level grounds, but the roads  or shoulders of roads are gravel.  Only recently has Gert Gone Wild and occasionally breaks into a lope, way outside her usual putter gait.

Given the activity levels, Gertie getting more exercise than Sarah, I would have thought Sarah’s ToeGrips would have lasted longer than Gertie’s. I think Gertie’s nails being longer, preventing so much contact with the underside of the ToeGrip with the ground, may have contributed to their longevity.  But remember,  we didn’t see any difference in Gertie’s movement on the Pergo floors.  This also may have been nail length related.

Guinea Dog Sarah in her natural habitat.  Emmi was on the north arm of the couch.  No problem, Sarah will just lay on top of her to get to her desired location!
Guinea Dog Sarah in her natural habitat. Emmi was on the north arm of the couch. No problem, Sarah will just lay on top of her to get to her desired location!

ToeGrips do come with a 60 day money back guarantee, however, it’s kind of hard to remove glued on ToeGrips, and unless you see one fall off, you can’t retrieve it.  I did hold out hope that perhaps the problem was application on my part, but out of 40 toes total.  you would think even the most moronic of Crazy Dog Ladies could have gotten one right, but not a single one, not even glued, stayed on for more than a few weeks.  I can’t believe user error would be the only possibility for the lack of longevity.  All I am left with is the one empty wrapper that Slugger didn’t eat.  Not thinking I can get my money back on that.

I’ve searched far and wide looking for any negative review for ToeGrips, but can’t find a single one.  Curiously, all reviews were written, and videos made, shortly after application.  I have attempted contact with several bloggers who reviewed the product, but none have responded back as to whether or not they still use it.  The latest I only found tonight.  If she responds, I’ll post the result of our communications in an edit.

I did notice that most of the bloggers reported ToeGrips falling off, but because they worked providing traction, the reviews remained positive.   I love Sarah and Gertie unconditionally, but I can’t afford $119.80 plus shipping per month required to get temporary relief with traction.  Remember, 5 toes did not align with the rest of the XL’s, I would need to buy 1 L, 2XL and 1 XXL to fit all nails.

If ToeGrips were $9.95 plus shipping, sign me up for automatic orders every month! I’ll keep gluing them on as they fall off!   But at $29.95, well, it’s not possible, at least for the 99% of us who don’t hold most of our nation’s wealth.

The idea of ToeGrips is a great one and I truly wanted them to work, especially for our Sarah, but I think the product was released to the market long before it was properly tested and designed.   It is seriously overpriced given not even Superglue and a couch-melded pit bull can keep them on.  If cost is no issue, and you don’t mind constantly re-applying them, go ahead!  They do help with traction!   Otherwise, I’d say wait a few years until the product is improved or a better one comes out.

OMG! WE WON THE LOTTERY!!!!

T’is true, t’is true, we hit on a Lucky Life Scratcher ticket!
To celebrate we went wild and crazy, going out to dinner and then buying new bed sheets and a comforter.  Since we were rolling in the black with our winnings, we also went way out and got Crabby regulation bean bags for his cornhole.

This be a REGULATION bean bag!
This be a REGULATION bean bag!
Just look at Crabby's form!
Just look at Crabby’s form!
There was no way Crabby could make it to the Corn Holer Nationals using his prior bean bags.  Now, with training and practice, he has a shot!
There was no way Crabby could make it to the Cornhole World Championships using his prior bean bags. Now, with hard work and training, he has a shot!  (Don’t believe me that there are World Championships?  See Cornhole.org.  This is a serious sport!)

We partied so hard, we were out, on a Saturday night, 2 whole hours!

But alas, we returned to The Ranch, and the reality in which we live:

Yes, that would be our winning Lucky Life Scratcher ticket.
Yes, that would be our winning Lucky Life Scratcher ticket.

Sigh….

On Forgiveness

Poor Willy.  Gertie has been picking on him lately.  Despite what Willy thinks of himself, he’s a bit of a pansy.  Getting put down by Gertie, an old lady no less, has really taken a bite out of Willy’s Muttly Man Card.

To add insult to injury, to hurry his fall shed along, I gave him a bath today.

How could you Mom?
How could you, Female Human Who I Thought Loved Me?

After his bath, Willy ignored me.  Actually, he went into the office by himself to pout.

No one loves me :(
No one loves me :(

He stayed in the office, alone, and wouldn’t come out.  Not even for people dinner.    I checked on him several times, and even tried to get him to come out to the living room to sit with me on the couch.  But he wouldn’t even look at me.

No, Female Human Who I Thought Loved Me, I do not want to come out.  Bad things happen to me outside this room.  I'm just going to stay here until I die.
No, Female Human Who I Thought Loved Me, I do not want to come out. Bad things happen to me outside this room. I’m just going to stay here until I die.

I had to resort to drastic measures to bring Willy out of his funk, and to hopefully get him to forgive me for a) not sending Gertie to the pound like he asked, and b) giving him a bath.

THE LEASH!!!!!.... I mean, (sigh) I can't fight you if you drag me out...
THE LEASH!!!!!…. I mean, (sigh) I can’t fight you if you drag me out…
You really caused me a lot of angst Mo...  I mean Female Human Person Who I Thought Loved Me.  Perhaps a stop at the Circle K for a Slim Jim will help me see you in a more positive light.
You really caused me a lot of angst Mo… I mean Female Human Who I Thought Loved Me. Perhaps a stop at the Circle K for a Slim Jim will help me see you in a more positive light.
Just so you know, I reserve the right to still be mad at you even after our little outing.
To be clear:  I reserve the right to still be mad at you even after our little outing.
Enough with the pictures already, CAN WE JUST GO!!!!!
Enough with the pictures already, CAN WE JUST GO!!!!!
Seriously, your taking pictures of me in the rear view WHILE YOU'RE DRIVING?!?!? (Just so you know...We were still on the easement where we live - I wouldn't have done this on a real road!)
Seriously? You’re taking pictures of me in the rear view WHILE YOU’RE DRIVING?!?!?
(We were still on the easement where we live – I wouldn’t have done this on a real road!)
On the desert, just Willy and me.
On the desert, just Willy and me.
Just so you know, Female Human Who I Thought Loved Me, I'm still mad at you!
Just so you know, Female Human Who I Thought Loved Me, I’m still mad at you!
Attitude improving!
Attitude improving!
Listening to the call of the wild.
Listening to the call of the wild.
Great find!
Great find!
For the Willy Fans:  Willy just recently learned to sniff.  Here's proof!
For the Willy Fans: He just recently learned to sniff. Here’s proof!
Willy found a bone, so we took a sit down so he could chew it.
Willy found a bone, so we took a sit down so he could chew it.
I got a bo-one!
I got a bo-one!

When Willy was done with his bone, he said it was OK to go home.

I forgive you... Mom.
I forgive you… Mom.

I love all the dogs the same, honestly I do.  But there’s something about Willy.  I can’t bear having him mad at me.   The problem is, he knows it and uses it against me.

Still Kicking

Once again our little piece of the world has been spotlighted on the national, and apparently this time international, news.

Fear not Run A Muck Ranch fans, though Phoenix experienced a record rainfall in a single event, it did not wash south to merge with Tuscon.

The wash in the back yard is a little deeper and a few tree limbs came down, but the dogs are fine and the tarp covering the roof leak is still doing its thing, so all in all, it was a good storm!

Emergency Declared in Arizona Amid Incredible Rain

Hopefully I’ll be able to make up the work I missed today due to the storm quick enough to get The Idiots out to the desert to play in some waterholes soon.   It’s always best when the mud is fresh and gooey.

DSC_0200

The Man, Vets and Adelaide again.

Run A Muck Ranch:

Wow. If every dog could be loved this much, the world would be a better place.
I am so happy these particular souls found each other.

Originally posted on Edgar's Page:

Guard Duty is exhausting
Guard Duty is exhausting

I took the Man to the vet this afternoon because his behaviour was causing me problems. I have not said anything on line because y áll had enough problems but I have been exhausted when I get out of bed in the morning and The Man is the reason for this exhaustion and also the reason why I extended my Sabbatical. I have been wakened two, three and four times a night – most nights – with The Man just yelping – I investigate and he is standing facing a blank wall and just yelping, or he is staring off into space and bark/yelping. He calms down and a couple of hours later, he starts again Its ‘been a concern and after a while I do get tired and sleep deprived.     Ok what I know, –  his arthritis is “progressing” he is going blind, he is…

View original 698 more words