4/15/14 Melder, LA State #15, Lucky 4B Ranch
So I decided to go for a walk yesterday (back in MS) with Tommy and try and find the boot that I lost off Dreamy yesterday. It had been a 3-4 hour ride and I used to hike that much daily so I didn’t think anything of it. Well I’ve gotten out of shape. I barely made it back, I was really running on empty. I was mad at myself for going out without a phone, water or snack. I didn’t think it would be so far away but it was. It took us 3 hours but I have the stupid boot now. Good thing I didn’t ride, the trail was really muddy, under water in places. WF needed the time off anyway (she got 3 days off and bute after hauling 2 days with a sore leg).
By the time we got back the thunder was rolling in again. It was already standing water around the trailer. It poured again all night and I worried about getting stuck getting out in the morning…I did. I dug away all the soupy top layer of mud first but it didn’t work. I laid branches down in front of the rear tires…still spinning. I should of got 4 wheel drive. After 2 hours effort, I gave up and I called AAA. I have US Rider now too but I really like AAA-RV and the horses weren’t loaded so they will do anything for me. As I hung up one of the camp owners came out with a box of kitty litter. My dad had told me about using kitty litter when you get stuck, I had a big bag of it too, I had just forgotten about it. Well it worked great! I called AAA back and cancelled the call.
The whole time the sun was shining and the mares were laying down in the arena, occasionally watching what I was fussing with by the trailer, I imagine they were thinking “No way is she gonna get it out of that mud”. Well I did and went to clean their feet and load them. I had a bucket of Nutrena to bribe WF with since the last 2 loads didn’t go too well. She gave me a hard time but the bucket worked again. We hit the road at 11:15, I had wasted so much time with the mud, but it was a short haul. Again shorter than I had planned for. Only 4 hours. I headed south on Natchez Trace Parkway, it is simply gorgeous. I went thru a quaint historic town Cape something, just lovely looking. We crossed the Mississippi river. Tommy stuck his head out the window to look at it, ewww lots of water! He’s still afraid to get more than his paws wet, big baby lab?!
When I stopped for gas about an hour short of my camp, a school bus full of children pulled in for gas too. The woman driver came out and asked where I was going…48 state speech…Why? No one has ever asked me why so quickly. It made me laugh. She said, Well Louisiana isn’t pretty at all, I’ve lived here my whole life, you already came thru the northern part and that is the crust (whatever that means). She proceeded to tell me how beautiful CA was and how she went there with her dad when she was a kid. It was a funny conversation. I kept wondering why she would live here her whole life if she had such a negative view of the state. As I neared Melder I drove into the National Forest. It is just gorgeous. I wonder if she has ever seen this area or if what she thinks is pretty is just something different than I do. Or maybe being a school bus driver with a bus full of screaming kids has gotten to her sanity, I know how that feels.
I pulled into a deserted camp again. There is one trailer here and I think he lives here. He has 2 little goats in a pen by his trailer. There is a saloon, lots of cabins and a few houses too. And a pool. Finally I found the owner and I said I didn’t want the small stalls (they have a lot of stalls that are literally like a cross tie size). As I was backing into my spot I knocked down a tall post that was holding up the electric line. I felt like such an idiot. I didn’t even feel, see or hear it. Its like 15’ tall. It did no damage to the pole or my trailer but it was embarrassing. We put it back in the ground together. The ground is so soft it just kind of pulled out, obviously it wasn’t cemented in. He said he was going to do that tomorrow.
The mares seem content and comfy. I need to go buy shavings & hay tomorrow, they don’t have any here so I used what was in the trailer for now. There is a Tractor Supply 22 miles away. Maybe I’ll get a stronger bit for WF too. I love Tractor Supply! I made pasta and broccoli for supper, talked to my dad (I have cell service and 4G, no wi-fi) and I’m going to go to bed early.
4/16/14 Boring Rest day
Its a rest day for the mares and me. On rest days (the day after a haul day) I am supposed to catch up on a bunch of boring stuff like get hay & feed, groceries, laundry, stuff like that. Contact camps for the future (I am trying to keep at least one month ahead of myself with reservations now). And paint & write too. Today I woke up and it was really cold, 41 degrees outside, but warm in the trailer. I had run both the heat strip in the ceiling and a space heater. There was a slick covering of ice in the truck bed when I went to get hay. I chose a shot from MS to do for the painting and did some prep on the composition, but didn’t pull out the paints yet.
I went walking with Tommy trying to find the trail head, again no one was around to ask directions from. I went out one gate only to realize it was a huge pasture when 2 horses came up to say hi. A car full of people showed up and I chatted with one of them. Tommy was very aggressive and wouldn’t calm down. This has happened before and I am not sure how to handle it. He was on a leash so nothing happened but he wouldn’t stop barking which got to be very annoying when I was trying to have a conversation. Like having a wining child at my side makes my mind frizzle out…
These visiting older folks had gone in together some time ago on a “camp down the road” with 8 partners. They come out to ride & camp regularly and they told me where the trails could be found. They had only come by to see this place and how it was doing. I had thought they were here as prospective buyers (the place is for sale). They also told me where I could find hay in Alexandria, 22 miles away. I followed their directions to the trailhead, down the drive, turn left then right and ended up on National Forest property. It is very pretty, super tall trees, mostly pines. I wonder if the school bus driver has ever been here. The trails, at least what I saw, are easy to follow. I kept Tommy on leash, there are signs all around camp, and the owner had made a point about it. He is not very well behaved on a leash yet, but improving.
When we got back we went to the feed store. The hay that I have left actually was wet on the bottom when I unwrapped it, crud. The timothy I had left for transitioning had probably been wet a few days now. I got 8 bales at $6/bale, pretty cheap. There is no Timothy anywhere around I was told. Its been 10 days now transitioning and so far no tummy aches that I’ve noticed. We’ll be on straight grass (mostly bermuda, which scares me since I was told after Dreamy’s colic surgery never to feed it to her) as of tomorrow. I have no choice, that’s all there is for the last few states now. They get salt and probiotics daily to try and make it easier on them. And they get Nutrena twice a day which gives them their nutrition. The hay is just for their grazing instinct and fiber really. I’m not sure why bermuda is “so bad”, obviously there are a lot of horses in the south eating it. I also got shavings for the stalls and a bone for Tommy. I went to Office Depot to get printer ink and to a store to get some grocery things.
As I wrapped up the new hay back at camp I started feeling weak, sweaty and shakey, which I have had happen to me in the past and I think it is low blood sugar (I am not diabetic tho). I had forgotten to eat real food again for lunch and had snacked on candy instead, and it was late afternoon now. My metabolism is screwed up now. I never used to eat until supper time and was fine. Maybe I should set an alarm on my phone to eat lunch, but that seems silly.
I gobbled down my left over pasta from last night and some cheese and apples and chugged cranberry juice. That’s how it makes me feel, like stuff yourself or you’ll pass out. After about an hour I started to feel a bit better. A trailer pulled in with a mom and little boy, 3 horses a couple of dogs and a monkey! It’s name is Darwin and it is so cute. Tommy started barking his head off again, ugh…They come here all the time. They were hauling a stock trailer and have a rv parked here permanently with a little covered patio set up. The horses went into one of the big paddocks. There are quite a few rv’s parked here and I guess that’s what the regulars do. Its kind of a cool set up. I noticed a few properties on our walk that look like private camp set ups too. This woman said she lets her dogs off leash and asked if my dog was aggressive because it was barking so much. I said he was a puppy and I had only had him 2 weeks and that he didn’t like being tied up. She said she rides with her dog and poo-pooed the dog leashing rules. It is kind of silly, there is no one here most of the time. But I don’t like to break rules.
I got an IM on Face book from Gary I Holt, who hosts a radio show on the internet, asking if he can interview me on 5/8 for a live broadcast. I never heard of internet radio shows before but I said yes. It will be at noon. I will be hauling to a new camp that day and will plan a rest stop to make the call, I have cell service usually on the highways. I need to figure that all out. The show is called Equestrian Legacy and its on every Thursday at noon. It would be good to hear one or two before hand. I’ve never been interviewed before (except for a job) so I have no idea of what to expect. I wonder how I should prepare for it. When I’ve heard my recorded voice in the past I’ve hated the way I sound, ugh…
My DMV papers and plate stickers arrived at Heather’s in CA and I am trying to figure out how to get them. I called some of my planned stops and they don’t accept mail like that for campers. The one I’m at now will however. I called Heather and emailed her hoping she can get it fed ex’d to me here. Then I called dad to see if the AAA auto insurance card had come there yet. He read all the mail I’ve gotten’s return addresses to me but its not there. Some new bank checks, my US Rider card and intro package and a bunch of junk mail arrived but I don’t really need any of those things yet. I do need my new auto insurance card tho so I called AAA to find out where it is. Mine expired today. They mailed it to me (at Heather’s CA address) on 3/6 they said, but Heather said nothing about getting it so it must be lost. They’ll send out a new one and emailed me a proof of coverage letter, but I can’t print from my phone and I don’t have wi-fi here. Technical difficulties on the road are frustrating…and my fuzzy brain isn’t helping me any. I wonder if a cop will accept the document image on my phone as proof if I got stopped.
Wow it got really cold pretty fast, time to shut the windows and doors and turn on the heater. It’s quarter to 8. The day is kind of a blur & I still don’t feel great, I guess cuz I let my blood sugar rise & drop like that. It hasn’t happened to me in a long time and it reminds me of what Tommy (my 20 year old son, not the puppy) goes thru almost every day of his life since he was 13. He is type 1 diabetic. Most people don’t realize how debilitating it is. You don’t just drink some juice and recover, it messes you up for hours afterwards. I miss him so much and hope he is taking care of himself. He is an adult now but he will always be my baby. Its frustrating not being able to take care of him, not that I did a very good job at it. But controlling diabetes is a very serious responsibility and it was super hard to hand it over to him. His life depends on it.
In reviewing what I just wrote I see that it sounds discombobulated (I hate editing!), kind of how I feel today. Combination of being muscle tired & sore from the long hike 2 days ago, hauling yesterday and getting low blood sugar today I guess. And not riding. I hate not riding. I get to ride much less on this trip than I do otherwise. I loose so many days to haul days and rest days (and lately, DOWNPOUR days). But I think it is better for the horses this way, at least it is so far so I will stick to it and deal with it.
Ok now I scared myself silly. I was going to just go straight to bed, but thought I should eat a hamburger. Protein thing and all…As I was turning it in the pan, the grease in the pan caught fire. That has never happened to me before, ever. I thought it would be better to just throw it out the door than try and figure out how the fire extinguisher worked and make a big mess in here. But in the panic mode I couldn’t get the damn door opened. There’s the screen door latch, the door lock and the door handle. I didn’t remember if it was locked or not and I kept grabbing the screen door latch which does nothing for opening the solid door part. In my other hand was the pan of fire and running around my legs was Tommy, he thought he was getting the burger! Ugh…by the time I got it open the fire went out as quickly as it began. No more frying burgers in here I guess. Especially when I am not feeling sharp. Shit that was scary. Now I am going to bed. Not even a shower, straight to bed which I should of done this afternoon when I began falling apart in the first place. Why do I just keep plowing forward when my body says stop? I don’t know, I’ve always been like that…
Oh crap, as I am getting undressed I find 2 more ticks on me. This is a problem now. I pulled out the spray for ticks I got and started spraying Tommy, I know he is probably covered I have found so many on me. He is laying by the co2 detector and the spray sets off the alarm and he gets scared. I don’t care, I am on a mission. I sprayed the rugs the blanket the bench cushions. I want to spray myself. Now it stinks in here so I have to open the door to air it out and its really cold outside. Oh, why don’t I just go to bed??? This day is not going to improve without me getting some sleep. What day, its 10:00 now. I must sound like a lunatic.
Tomorrow it will seem funny…
Today is a NEW day.
I think my idea of eating protein 3 times a day was a good one, but I need more carbs. I learned a lot about nutrition having a diabetic child. I was always concerned about him not getting low blood sugar. Processed sugar is fast acting in your body but doesn’t last long. Carbs are turned into sugars that last longer, fiber slows the process down. I need to pay as much attention to my nutrition as I do to the horses. I was so concerned with eating protein that I cut way back on fresh veggies (fiber) and whole grains (slow carbs). There is only so much room in my stomach! It was a tough lesson yesterday but I am not stupid, I will learn from it.
I fed all the critters, downloaded my DeLorme inReach maps, had coffee and am making oatmeal. I plan on ponying today to get them both out, the trails are good for ponying here from what I saw yesterday. They should both be frisky since its been 4 days since Dreamy’s been ridden and over a week for Wildflower due to her sore hind leg which appears to be healed now. That and being confined to a stall most of the last 48 hours. Tommy will have to stay home, I’ll walk him before I go.
I wonder where I can go to church on Easter in Texas.
Well it was a great day. Tommy went for a long walk in the forest off leash this morning and again tonight. He runs way far ahead, I whistle and yell come and he comes running back for one piece of dog chow. And he does it over and over and over. That chow must taste great! By the time his lope turns into a trot, I know I have started to tire him out. It took 1-1/2 hours this morning but only 45 minutes tonight.
I put him in the LQ part of the trailer while I rode for 3 hours. I ponied WF and both girls seem fit. They started to slow down towards the end but I tried to keep a steady pace. They walked out SO briskly. Its fabulous when they do that! We trotted some but mostly just walked out. There was a lot of slippery muddy puddles and tree roots showing in the trail. When we got back I realized why Dreamy had slowed, her hind boot was turned sideways. And I had used the next size down this time. I give up booting the hind feet. None of them are the right shape. WF was particularly good ponying today. I swapped out the regular smooth rope that is attached to the rope halter, for a heavy twisted rope with a big snap. She paid much better attention, I had a better grip and it was a much longer rope so I didn’t loose her once. They both insist on stopping to poop and just stop dead, that’s how I usually loose them.
I used the inReach, but the LA map is lame (there is absolutely nothing on it at all) and it kept telling me that it didn’t have a clear shot at the sky for way points, I guess the forest trees were in the way. How stupid is that? I should of got a Garmin.
When I got back to camp I saw that there were two more campers here, both single guys I think, both regulars here. I met Sam, the gal part of the couple that own this camp. We talked for quite a while about a bunch of stuff, mostly dogs and crappy divorces. She told me a horrible story about a 4 year old she knew that was recently killed by a pit bull. It was god awful, she knew all the details. The dog went nuts. I hope Tommy doesn’t have any pit in him, but when he growls he does look a little like one. She told me that she was telling her husband how brave I must be traveling alone and he told her no she is in no danger, she has a dog that would die for her. Tommy is making quite an impression on people. She is the first person that Tommy didn’t bark and growl at, he jumped into her lap and started licking her. I wonder if he is just mean with men. He keeps barking at the guy in the trailer next to me. Its kind of embarrassing. Sam said not to worry about it, that its good he’s protective like this and she was amazed that he is like this after only 2 weeks. He was like this day 1. He went barking crazy when I brought him back to my dad’s house and he came out to see him.
Its easier to control him with the chain collar that I got at the feed store, I’m glad I got it. His bone has disappeared tho, hmmm. I made him 2 toys today, one is a twisted rope from an old horse hair rope that WF broke and he loves it, the other was a very thick old wool sock that shrunk so much I couldn’t get it on any more, and I filled it with dog chow. It is now in pieces. He is very food motivated…
I gave the mares 1/2 a flake of the new hay I bought. As I was standing there, Dreamy peed on it. Damn, I have 8 bales of it!
I vacuumed the trailer with my little dust buster type thing, it has to be done almost daily it seems, between the mud, hay and shavings that fall off me and the dog and cat hair…I made a stir fry out of chicken, corn and left over rice with hamburger bun garlic bread. It was yummy. Oreos and milk for dessert. Time to shower and go to bed, its 8:30 and its dark.
One of the new guy campers has a fire going and loud country music. He is sitting by his fire facing my trailer window as I sit in the LQ typing. It felt weird so I pulled down the shade.
Walked Tommy this morning. He is a very fast learner, he actually heeled off leash and walked without pulling when on leash. He has caught on to my trick of making him run tho, he doesn’t stray far now and turns to me waiting for me to whistle. Well I’d rather have him in touch with me all the time and if he runs too much he’ll just get in too good a shape for an old lady like me.
While I was walking I remembered it was Good Friday and reached to the sky and thanked Jesus for suffering and giving his life for my sins and the world’s. And for everything he has done for me. And I asked him to help my children in their struggles and to find their way to him. Its amazing how thanking God for every little thing, even the breath that I just took, makes me feel wonderful. Being in the middle of the magnificent forest added to the impact for me.
The mares ate the new hay after all, so now I’m transitioning to it, the timothy is all gone. I suppose this life will be one constant transition. I feed the older hay in the am and the new hay at lunch and dinner. They are getting about 15 lbs of hay a day now and don’t seem to have lost any weight which is good and due to the added Nutrena feeding. Tommy is learning QUIET now, and he’s catching on. He is a very smart dog.
Well every one is fed but me and now it started raining, crud, stupid weather app. Tommy barks every time the poor guy next to me opens his door. I’ll need to park with my door not facing any one else’s door next time. At least it gives me a good opportunity to teach QUIET.
It only rained for a little while and I had a great ride on each mare today. They were both awesome. Dreamy is feeling great which makes me so happy. She even jumped a few downed trees on the way. There really are wild horses living in the woods here, I thought it was just a joke but its true. They are rarely seen however and I did not see any. During the day today, a bunch of new trailers appeared. Among them was Denise, someone I met on Facebook. That was pretty cool to actually meet someone face to face like that after being just friends on FB. She is here with her husband and is one of the regulars here. It seems like a nice lifestyle. They all know each other and meet up here all the time. Many keep camper trailers here and use stock trailers to get their horses here. It makes it real simple and easy for them to come for the weekend. They are all so nice. Its unusual to see so many men at a horse camp too, there are at least 5 guys here alone.
Tonight Sam made a humongous pot of spaghetti and my neighbor brought a salad to the pavilion and everyone stopped by to eat it. Sam has a very distinctive voice with a big southern accent. She is 44 and has 5 or 6 grandkids. Country folks start young having babies. Something I for some reason had a strong feeling about as being “low class” all my life, but I don’t know where I got that from, my mom was 19 when she had me. Not that I was anywhere near mature enough to have them before I did (36-41) but it makes it easier for the family to be big and tighter knit I think. Family life just seems more natural to them. I actually was never even going to have kids. Once I was told by the doctors that I wouldn’t be able to, that’s when I really wanted them. I was supposed to have a hysterectomy because of cancer of the cervix and was told this 2 weeks before my wedding. Obviously I didn’t have the surgery and proceeded to have 3 babies right away. But that’s another long story…
Heather overnighted my CA DMV registration and plate stickers, thank you so much! I painted while it was raining and again tonight, but I’m struggling with this one. Its of 2 riders in the woods with light coming down thru the trees from Mississippi. Tomorrow I leave for Texas, #16. 16 x 3 = 48. I’m 1/3 done. And 1/3 healed.
Today was a very cool day. Instead of frantically rushing to pull out of camp, I took my time and stopped by Denise’s trailer to chat with her group and really enjoyed myself. I ended up pulling out around noon, but it was only a 3 hour haul to my next stop near Jasper, Texas at Ebanezer Park. It sits on the southern edge of the largest lake in Texas. I drove over a huge dam to get here, it used to be a river a long time ago. The campground is smallish and well set up. The corrals are about 12 x 24 which is big by campground standards, and are right at each site. The National Forest sites seem to be set up like this and I like it. The private campgrounds usually have the horses all in one area and their quarters are smaller than a normal stall most of the time too. I like having the horses right outside my trailer. I didn’t have to get on any interstates to get here which was nice. I was thinking how I only wanted to go on interstates in the beginning of my SHLEP. Country roads scared me a lot. I have gotten so much more comfortable hauling, it is great. The anxiety was exhausting, I’m so glad its gone.
It was hot when I got here and the flies were driving the mares nuts till I wiped them with Wipe. I tried the spray I had first, but nothing works like Wipe. WF was favoring her left hind foot for a while again. And Dreamy was not liking the new hay at all. I only have one bale of the old left so I hope she gets used to it soon. She got her Adequan shot this morning. No serious resting of her legs, just back and forth like she always does, kind of like me and my crooked self.
There are about 15 trailers here, its Easter weekend and they appear full. I went for a walk with my neighbor Gina, down to the beach with Tommy. She is here solo as well, and lives about an hour away I think. She has been married 8 times. I asked her why she got married again and she said and again and again…she didn’t really answer me and just laughed. I can not imagine ever getting married again. Tommy actually went in the water this time, not actually deep or swimming but he didn’t seem afraid of it any more. He was biting at the little waves, it was funny to watch. When he is tied up outside, he keeps attacking my folding chair and the muck buckets and digging holes. And he gets all tangled up in the long leash. He’s like the tazmanian devil cartoon character. Right now he is finally tuckered out, breathing fast and sleeping at my feet as I am typing. Time for me to sleep too.
4/20/14 Easter Sunday 3pm
Well its supposed to be a rest day, but we only hauled 3 hours yesterday and Gina had a friend come with his horse to ride and it was agreed to be short and sweet. And it was. We rode down to the lake, I ponied Dreamy and Tommy came along for his 2nd trail ride ever. It was really beautiful and afterwards I hobbled the girls and let them munch on the grass since they won’t eat their new hay. Gina and Randy left me with the hay they had, its Coastal and when the feed store in Jasper opens tomorrow, I will go see if they have some. I guess I will just dump the 6 bales I have since they won’t touch it and Gina says its too brown. I had fun with these two new friends. Gina tried like heck to get me to pick up and come to her place instead, but its on the gulf and off of my route. So then she tried to talk me into moving here, lol.
WF started resting her hind leg again so I gave her some bute. I hope this isn’t a serious problem. I am pretty sure I know how it happened. She was in the back stall, which is roomier and I had to pull out onto the highway quickly, there was a lot of traffic. I think she twisted it when that happened. This was on my way to my AL overnight, 10 days ago. She is still resting it even with the bute. I don’t know what else to do but give her more rest. It didn’t hurt too much to try and 2 feet kick Dreamy when they were grazing earlier, but that’s not the same as bearing weight I guess. She is so bossy about which blade of grass her dear friend may munch on, they have such a dysfunctional relationship…
Everyone has left, but a new horse trailer pulled in earlier and a british couple (in a rv) just came over to say hi too. They’re just here for the night and wanted to know about going down to the beach.
So its not a typical rest day, I rode a little and nothing is open so I can’t go do groceries or laundry, but I don’t feel like it anyway. I actually pulled out my new bible and read a little since I didn’t go to a church service for Easter Sunday. I read the readings off the daily readings list I got from Steve Barry. The first one was a story about wiping out an entire town and burning it to the ground. So much violence…I don’t understand, I need to go back and read the living bible translation part that explains it.
I’m so sleepy, maybe I’ll take a nap if I can.
STOPPED AT MCDONALDS TO PUBLISH THIS, NO TIME TO WAIT ON PHOTOS TO UPLOAD NOW