Monday, December 28, 2009

Bumper Sticker of the Week

"Rodeo...because football, basketball, and soccer only requires one ball"

Horse Injuries Don't Take Holidays Part II

Injured horses tend to be rather stoic. Smokey, however has a flair for the dramatic. To be quite honest, I prefer it that way. The earlier we become aware of a problem, the sooner action to prevent further injury can be taken, and treatement can begin.

My non-veterinary opinion, based upon experience, is that he sprained a tendon or ligament in his fetlock. He had a marked limp when he walked, and was avoiding placing weight on it. There was heat and swelling in the fetlock, two of the more common symptoms of inflammation. I kept him penned up in his shelter for two days after first noting the problem. On Saturday morning I noted that The affected leg was beginning to stock up. Stocking up is a phenomenon that sometimes occurs in a horse's legs due to inactivity. It is the result of blood and lymphatic fluid pooling up in the joint, thus swelling up. To combat this I hand walked him for nearly an hour on Saturday, after running cold water over the joint. While the leg was still swollen, he was no longer limping when he walked, and was bright eyed as he followed me up and down the path.

On Sunday, our farrier stopped by, as we wanted to rule out a possible hoof abscess, a condition to which Smokey is prone. Smokey has his winter pads on, so the possibility of an abscess is not obvious to the naked eye. Not the case this time. Since he is no longer limping, and to combat the stocking up, he is no longer cooped up, and is free to roam his paddock. I checked on him this evening, and things were neither better, nor worse. These injuries generally just require time to heal.

Note to self: I've been spraying DMSO on the injury, to promote blood flow to the area. After spraying it this evening, I absent mindedly ran my bare hand down the leg. Immediately realizing my mistake, I rinsed my hand in the water bucket. Too late. My hand was tingling, and I had the taste of it in my mouth. There are just some things that I must periodically relearn.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Seems that the donkeys in a live nativity scene in Vail, Colorado, weren't happy with working conditions.

So, they set out on their own.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Today we celebrate the birth of our savior. I hope this day finds you all well. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ghost of Christmas Past

Christmas 1970. I would have been just shy of my 5th birthday.

I'm flabbergasted that I was permitted to step outside dressed in such fashion.

On that note, something a little more fashionable. And pleasing to the senses.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

The poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas", penned in 1822 by Clement Clarke Moore, provides one of my earliest, and fondest memories of Christmas past. The memory centers around the reading of this poem by my Paternal Grandmother. It is so vivid that I still remember what the book looked like, and the drawings that accompanied the tale.

Years later, I would revel in the opportunity to read the poem to my daughters before they retired to bed each Christmas Eve.

Which begs the question: Is Santa Claus real? I would argue that yes, he is. Not, of course not, in the conventional sense of a living person. No jolly old elf will be setting out from the North Pole, clad in red, pulled a regal team of reindeer.

What Santa Claus represents, at least for me, is hope. The hope that there is goodness in the world. That there are those who do good deeds simply for the sake of doing them. That we can make the world a better place, through simple acts.

Horse Injuries Don't Take Holidays

Smokey came up limping this morning. His left hind fetlock is swollen, and their is some heat. He can walk on it, so I don't suspect it is anything terrible. Probably sprained it running around his paddock.

It should be noted that Smokey has shown a flair for the melodramatic when he is hurt. He was in his shelter when I headed back to the barn to get the DMSO. When I came back he was walking around in the back of his paddock. He was limping on it, but clearly it wasn't going to slow him down too much. When I went to get him, the limp became noticeably more pronounced. For my benefit, I suspect.

For good measure, after spraying it with DMSO, I penned him in his shelter so he'll stay off it. We'll be keeping a close watch on it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Got Nothin'

Can't even conjure up a news story or stolen post. Wholly uninspired even. A couple tales brewing, but, like good beer, not ready to be served yet. Hope everyone is making their way through the Christmas Season after their own fashion.

A few pics of life:

The weather was soggy yesterday.

Khira announces that the water bowl is empty by placing it in my lap. This is a fairly routine occurrence.

Rather unique Christmas decoration.

Friday, December 18, 2009


I must have been asleep at the switch, as I failed to catch wind of the fact my two bit town has declared war on the state of Alaska. The weapon of choice?

Christmas Trees.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Letter

I'm certain most of you have heard about the four Police Officers who were gunned down in Lakewood, WA, by a piece of human trash.

It's hard to believe that any hope could come out of such a thing. But maybe it can.

Recently Spotted at the Loading Dock

I think I need to revise my Christmas list.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Deadman's Party

So, there was the family BR, watching marathon episodes of the "Ghost Whisperer". In one scene there was a party going on, and all the guests were, well, dead.

Thus inspired, I broke out in the refrain from "It's a Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo. This immediately garnered the eye from DN3, along with the accusation that I am weird. It's worth noting that this accusation is levied in my general direction quite frequently. I'm starting to believe it. You try spending 20 years going to sea on submarines, and see how normal you turn out.

Without further adieu:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Glowbull Warming Strikes the Pacific Northwest

Records fall as temperatures plunge to single digits.

I know it isn't midwest winter cold here, but it's cold nevertheless. Colder than it typically gets in this part of the world. Meanwhile, there is a summit in Copenhagen to perpetuate the fraud that Al Gore started and has benefited handsomely from. And the President is threatening to have the EPA take action to control carbon emissions if Congress doesn't tackle the "problem" post haste.

Nevermind that recently hacked emails have exposed the whole thing to be the sham that most reasonably intelligent people believe it to be. When the subject comes up, the lamestream media resembles crickets chirping. Wouldn't want to expose the media darlings for the shysters they really are, would we? And "Call me Senator" Boxer is calling for an investigation into the hackers. Ma'am, if your going to throw a smokescreen, make sure you've added the smoke fluid to the generator. Seems to me that it should fall into the whistleblowers category, and you should be calling for an investigation into Al Gore, et al.

It's my opinion "climate change" is a manufactured crisis, with the purpose of allowing the self declared "elitists" to gain a further measure of control over those of us who comprise the unwashed masses. They long for a return to the class structure of the early 1900's, but we just won't lay down and roll over on command. So, mix climate change, healthcare, TARP, crushing national debt and tax burdens, throw in a dash of Republican bashing, bake at 500F for a few congressional cycles, and Bam! Sheeple loaf.

It baffles me that there seem to be so many people drinking the kool-aid.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Most horse owners will probably admit that there are times when we become convinced that horses must be the stupidest creatures on the planet. Getting spooked by, and whirling to run away from a rock on the trail, but aren't in the least bit phased by the appearance of a black bear. They will ford a river without qualms, but will go to great pains to avoid a mud puddle. Jump ten feet sideways at the appearance of a cat on the rail in the arena. The list goes on.

Truth be told, they are incredibly intelligent. And, provided that you go about things correctly, they tend to be pretty willing to learn. Case in point:

To be able to teach a horse to do that takes skill that I doubt I will ever possess. The style of riding is called dressage, and while I have no desire to be a tally ho rider, I am nonetheless impressed. And it looks so effortless, I believe, because the mare knows her business. And I find it doubtful that the horse is an unwillning participant, else it would be nigh impossible to keep that up for over six minutes.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Contrary to the previous post, the family BR did not go Christmas Tree hunting last weekend. No, we saved that for today. Good thing too, since last weekend temperatures were in the 40's with little wind. This mornign, it was 30F with a 20mph wind. Ideal Christmas Tree hunting weather, since one does not get the full experience without the threat of frostbite thrown in for good measure.

We aren't hardcore enought to get a permit from the forest service and set off into the forest on the search. While their may be some sense of adventure involved, the trees that can be found in the wild tend to be a bit spindly. My brother-in-law routinely has to drill holes and glue extra branches on the wispy little sticks he brings home to Mrs. BR's displeased sister. Thanks, but I'll pay the extra $20 to avoid getting the eye, and being accused of stealing Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree.

The valley we live in is lined with tree farms, all vying for your business, all providing the opportunity to hack down the tree of your dreams. The choices can lead to sensory overload.

The first place we stopped in was rather proud of their trees, with prices starting at around $50 for a 5-6 ft member of the fir family. Apparently one is paying for the experience, what with an espresso stand on site, and the melodious sounds of Christmas music filling the air. We were greeted by cheerful young lady who spent two minutes reciting their list of "don'ts". Quite a few rules just for tree hunting. After listening rather dumbfounded to this, we stared briefly at their price list, and handed the saw back to the young lady. We avoided the phrase "highway robbery", although it certainly did cross our minds.

We loaded back up in the pickup and proceeded to our usual tree farm (which we should have done in the first place). Any size Douglas Fir for $30. No music, no latte stand, no cheerful young chippies reciting rules. Just acres of trees, and a saw. At this point, the adventure must be choreographed, since the chain events differs little from year to year. Off throught the foliage we go a trooping. Stopping to admire numerous trees. Of course, with seven people involved in the process, the odds are fairly good that each candidate will be vetoed by one or more. And, of course, periodically, one or more would become separated from the main body of the group. I can attest that "Marco" "Polo" works just as well at at tree farm as it does in the pool.

After a seeming eternity, our core body temperatures falling dangerously low, feeling lost in all extremeties, the Perfect Tree was located, and felled.

Of course, said Perfect Tree was located on the edge of the field as far away from the pickup truck as humanly possible. I'm not certain that we were still in the same county at this point. Fortunately, DN1 & DN2 brought their boyfriends along, and I didn't put up much of a struggle when these strapping young buck's volunteered to carry the tree.

The first warning sign of impending trouble should have been the fact that the tree hung about four feet past the end of the tailgate. But, mind numbed by the cold, I did not connect the dots at this point.

Arriving home, the tree was unloaded, placed securely in the stand, hauled into the living room, and placed upright. This is where the trouble began. It was touching the ceiling. Now, bear in mind that the vaulted ceiling tops out at 12 feet. And this tree was too tall! Cue the ominous music, as this is the point where I get grumpy, and tend to turn the air a little blue. The damn tree sure didn't look that big on the farm.

A brief side note. Two years ago, we had the tree wrapped in that plastic netting prior to loading it up. Makes it easier to get through the front door. After the tree was erected in the house, I took the scissors to the net. Those of you who recall the scene in "Christmas Vacation" when Art Griswold cut the twine from the tree will have a fairly good idea of what happened. It didn't break a window, but that is about the only difference.

After hacking about six inches of the bottom, and a foot off the top, the tree finally cleared the ceiling. After decorating was complete, I measured the distance from floor to top of the star at 10.5 ft. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Mrs. BR is, of course, taking great satisfaction in having snuck another Treezilla past me.
Tis the Season...

I may need to take that ceiling fan down...