Archive for the ‘Around the Ranch’ Category
Actually, it’s not the tunnel — though vehicles occasionally land in it — but the curve over the top of it that causes so many wrecks. Late yesterday, near the height of the storm, it got another one.
We got a call that a car was upside down in the ditch beside the tunnel, and a horse had broken through its gate and was running loose. It was boarder Lisa, and she had efficiently called 911, put the drenched but OK driver out of the wet, caught the horse, and put it in an empty pen. (It was my Kitty, so if you’re a boarder reading this, it wasn’t yours. And Kitty is also OK.)
I called Scott, since Billy was out making a round and he doesn’t have a cell phone. Scott told Billy, and he drove over to see what was going on. By that time it was dark, and the towing company decided to put off trying to get the upside-down car out until morning. It would have been very difficult on that dangerous curve, in the dark and blowing rain. It was quite a nasty storm.
This morning, they got at it right away. They righted it first, then hauled it up the bank.
Soon it was on the road, ready to load onto the truck. It looked remarkably good for a car that had spent the night upside down in a ditch. I imagine it was totaled, though.
As I walked back to the house, I spotted David on the roof of a tackroom, repairing roofing material that had been rolled up by the wind.
Many people don’t realize just how many skills that have nothing to do with horses you need to run a stable!
Bemired means smeared or covered in mud. It has applied to nearly every horse here in the past couple of weeks, though things are drying out. Hard-working riders have removed a lot of it from their critters, too. The critters go back to their stalls and lie happily in the sun — and the remaining mud.
Little Bella isn’t actually too bad, though her tail could definitely use some work. She was really happy to get out and play in the round pen when it was dry enough, though.
I almost didn’t use this one, because it makes her head look too big. It captures her smart-aleck attitude very well, though. You can almost see her sticking out her tongue at me.
We went for a walk around the place after she played, though. We all enjoyed looking at the changes the rain has made. Now that the sun is out, you can almost see the grass growing. Kern County is out of the most extreme drought category now, and Lake Isabella is filling fast. The Corps of Engineers isn’t going to let it fill up, though, because of worries about leaks in the earthen dam. That’ll mean quite a lot of water flowing past us. We’re looking forward to it — but we sure hope everyone is careful. We’re not used to fast water any more!
There haven’t been many pictures of horses in this blog lately — just weather pictures. Weather is the big story throughout California. The storms just keep coming. The horses (and people) are mostly standing around looking glum. We all know that we need every drop, and that we’ll be grateful in the spring, but that’s hard to remember when you are wading through the mud.
There is plenty to appreciate, though. The mountains have more snow than they’ve had in years. The air is clear enough to actually see them.
When I hiked down to the river a couple of days ago, the backwater that was filled with water hyacinth, and then dried out, was full of water again. Well, and dead water hyacinth. Anyway, there were five little birds — I think they were grebes — paddling happily around. They hurried away when they spotted me. It looked like they were swimming on a sheet of silver.
We’re supposed to have about a week without rain, and things are beginning to dry out a bit. The tractors are still working pretty much full time, but there is visible progress. Pretty soon I might be able to take a walk without hopping over puddles. There are still plenty for the dogs, who enjoy wallowing in them until they are mud-covered. Then they come in the house and share. I haven’t vacuumed in several days, because, hey, what’s the point?
I’ll start cleaning up tomorrow. There’ll be a few days to get rid of the leftover mud, then it’s supposed to start raining again. I’ll just keep thinking of the drought, and repeating, “I won’t complain. I won’t complain. I won’t complain.”
But I’m afraid I will.
Or so it seems today. The last day of 2016 was marked by rainfall. A lot of rainfall. Snow in the mountains, too. In fact, the news said that we had set a record for December — an all-time record.
Last year, which was supposed to be a record-breaker, was pretty much a bust for us. Maybe this year will make up for it. We’re already close to the normal precipitation for the whole year.
Anyway, it was sure pretty outside this morning, and so great to see the snow in the mountains.
There was surprisingly little water on the ground. After the last big rain, the crew did a lot of tractor work, which no doubt helped. Still, in the above photo, you can see the tracks left by the feed truck this morning. It was deep, but they made it!
There wasn’t a lot of run-off in the river, either. It was gone by the time we got down there (me and the dogs, that is. If you look closely you will see a doggy tail.) except for a lot of mud.
There is more rain predicted for mid-week, and yet more for the weekend. It makes for a lot of work — muddy roads, wet pens, leaky tackrooms, and some enterprising horse turned on a hose and flooded his area — but it’s worth it. It’d sure be nice to have water in the river again this spring.
Yes, we had another ambulance a couple of days ago. And fire trucks.
In fact, it started off with a fire truck. Grandson Bruce had just left, and poked his head back in the door to tell us that a fire truck was coming down the road, lights flashing. Billy and I looked at each other, just to be sure we were all right, then I headed out to see what was going on.
People were arriving from all over the ranch, most of them worried that the ambulance was there for Billy. When I ran them down, though, they were just looking for a way down into the river. Someone had called 911 from down there, and it’s always difficult to get a rescue crew through the sand and (maybe) water.
Eventually, they got the ambulance up onto the levee, and got the person in distress out. We never heard just who it was or what happened, but we often never do. If it’s not one of our boarders, it’s not really our business. It’s a relief when it’s not. Our business, that is.
Sister Sally has been visiting from St. Louis, but she’s over on the coast visiting our brothers right now. When she gets back, we’ll continue our visit. We’re planning to drive around Bakersfield just to see how much it’s changed since she moved away. It doesn’t seem all that different to me, so it’ll be fun seeing it through fresh eyes.
We had another serious incident a few days ago, ending in a parade of ambulances.
I was out walking the dogs, and headed back to give carrots to Kitty and Pepsi. As I approached, I could see three things out of place; there was a car parked behind the last pen, there was a horse tied to the fence, and there was a man standing there. When I got up to him, he said something about someone helping the lady. Circling around the car — which was running — I found one of our long-time boarders slumped against the passenger-side door, in the middle of a seizure.
I had come out without my cell phone, which was on the charger, so I asked the little man (who was standing there helplessly) to stay with her while I went back to the house. Off I went at my best old-lady trot, to call 911. There was absolutely no one else around.
I called 911 back at the house, on the land line. I was so out of breath that I had a hard time making myself understood, but I got them on their way. Then I called Scott and Andrew. I needed someone to guide the ambulance in, because the site of the problem was well to the back of the property. Then I set off back to help, as fast as I could go (not very).
When I got back, the man (probably homeless, and Hispanic) was still standing beside her, and she was still seizing. I shut off the ignition, put the horse away, and asked him to go help to guide the ambulance while I stayed with her, as no one else had made it over yet. I stayed there and talked to her, but I don’t think she could hear or understand me.
Luckily, several ambulances arrived very quickly, and they loaded her up and took her to Emergency. She apparently had no ID on her, so we were afraid they would have trouble contacting her relatives. I made a couple of calls, and someone did manage to contact her mother. She came by the next day, and said her daughter was doing better.
The behavior of the little homeless guy was an example of humankindness. I would guess that he wasn’t the sharpest person around — he couldn’t quite figure out what to do, but he didn’t want to leave her. He said he was on his way to his home (likely the river) but liked to stop and pet the horses. That’s when he found her. He could have taken off with the car, or just run off to avoid responsibility, but he didn’t. Billy and Scott had arrived by that time, and we slipped him a twenty, which seemed like the least we could do.
If I hadn’t walked out that way, it might have been some time before she was found. She was not visible until you walked around the car. She had probably lain there for quite a while. It was about seven when I found her, and at about five Scott, driving the feed truck, had stopped to ask her if she was all right. She had said she was, but obviously she wasn’t. All in all, it was very lucky.
But it’s getting so I’m afraid to go out of the door — at least without my cell phone.
On a happier note, here are a pair of blonds — daughter Suzanne and her grandson Weston, communing on the lawn. There are few things cuter than the back of a little boy’s head . . .
They were joined by a third blond — Peaches, wanting to help Weston fall in a hole.
He does that very well.
I’ve been putting off writing this blog entry, both because it was painful and because I wanted to see how things were going to come out. I think it’s time now.
A little over a week ago, our friend and boarder Jennifer was riding in the arena by the house when she was thrown, hard. Luckily Billy was looking out, and saw the dust flying. I ran out and found Jennifer on the ground, unable to move. She thought her knee was broken. I ran to the house and told Billy to call an ambulance. In the meantime, I ran back and forth getting water and pillows. When she was as comfortable as possible (not very) I went to catch the horse.
I looked back when I heard Jennifer scream, just in time to see the ever-sympathetic Peaches sitting on Jennifer’s injured knee. I yelled at her, and she jumped off and ran — but not too far. A fire truck arrived about that time, closely followed by the ambulance, and they packed her up and took her off, calling back that she was going to ride that horse yet!
Later we heard that she had a dislocated knee, but that wasn’t the problem. An artery in her leg had torn, and they were flying her to Fresno for surgery. There they took a section of artery from her groin, and used it to mend the torn artery. It was touch and go; she was in danger of losing the leg.
Now, better than a week later, Jennifer still has both legs, but after multiple surgeries, it’s looking like a long hard road to recovery. She’s getting a lot of moral support from her many friends here. It’s looking like she may be transferred back to KMC soon, though she has at least one more surgery to go.
I was worrying that Peaches’ sympathy might have aggravated the injury, but it was the opposite. I understand that the doctor said that her weight popped the knee back into place, and may well have kept Jennifer from bleeding out. They’re calling her Doctor Peaches around here!
Here’s Jennifer at the beach, a while ago . . .
It may take a while, but I expect to see her back there. She’s a very strong person.
And here’s Peaches supervising Jennifer-the-farrier.
I guess she counts horseshoeing as one of her skills, along with medicine!