Monday, August 27, 2012
I only blinked.....so this is what that song is about.....
I have already reached the point when baby pictures make me cry. Is it sadness for missing those baby snuggles or fear or being that much closer to teenage years and empty nest? I can't tell....
I just know I need to slow down. All those times the wise old people warned me of this I wish I had put more heed in their warnings....
I regret few things in life....hurrying through it is one. I am now the age my mother was when I was only 3. I wonder if that makes my momma sad.....
I remember when 33 seemed so far away....now here I am. I never pictured all the blessings I have received.
I am grateful.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
We take great precautions with our children around the many pieces of equipment here around the farm because it only takes a second for a preventable tragedy to occur.
The fine folks at Kubtoa have put together a list of safety tips for kids that I would like to share with you!
- Stop, look, and listen when playing outside, especially on the farm, and always be aware of your surroundings.
- Farm equipment is not safe to ride on even when an adult is present.
- Tractor's are not toys. They are powerful machines only to be used by adults who are throroughly familiar with the equipment.
- Children should never ride on a tractor; a tractor only has one seat and that seat is intended for the operator. Just say "no" if someone wants to give you a ride. It is not safe to be a "rider" when the tractor is intended for one operator.
- Stay out of the path of all moving equipment. And stand far away from a tractor when it is being started; when it is running; and especially when it is working.
- Never stand behind a tractor-whether it is running or not-because the operator might not see you and you could get hurt.
- Be a "safety sheriff" and encourage use of seatbelts for your entire family. Just like a car, a tractor is equipped with a seatbelt for safety. Additionally, a Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS) on a tractor is in place to protect the driver.
For more tips and information about farm safety visit www.kubota.com
Now for the FUN stuff! Kubota has given me a prize pack to give away to one lucky reader! IT contains a very nice duffle bag, kid size Kubota shirt, ball cap, coloring book, and safety sheet. All you have to do to enter is post a comment to this post and a random winner will be picked next week! Good luck and stay safe!!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
The lack of rain has hurt many local farmers and delayed most common crops. Those poor deer wont be getting the surplus of corn they were anticipating after Georgia passed the law allowing hunters to bait them...corn is almost 4 times the cost it was last year. Those weekend woodsman will have to bait them more strategically than just dumping out a whole bag of corn on the ground. So don't be suprised to see trails of corn now leading directly back to the camp as hunters try to preserve fuel and bullets in the current cash crunch.
Here on the farm we just finished a poorly timed major project of cross fencing the entire place. In my great wisdom I should have realized it would have been better to celebrate Christmas in July and sit in the A/C opening presents while we worked outside gnat and sweat free during December putting up 10,000 ft of field fence. Silly me....why would I think "Mid summer is a GREAT time to put up fence! I can get a tan while I work" .....Someone should have smacked me back into reality that my "tan" would be a deep fried mahoghany shade sprinkled with yellow fly and mosquito bites buried under layers of dust and dehydration! ...Lesson learned.
Friday, May 6, 2011
To lose one is to lose a loved one.
I have had horses all my life of various colors, traits, and characteristics….some good,some bad. Some have been a blessing and others a curse, but a few have made lasting impressions on my heart and have taught me valuable lessons about life.
Rose has been the greatest horse to ever grace my life. She is my hero and the legacy of my childhood. She is my father’s pride and joy and a special bond between a father and daughter. She is getting up in age now and celebrated her 26th birthday on April 28th.
What set Rose apart from other horses was not the color of her coat, her athletic prowess, or champion bloodlines (all of which she possessed)…it was her heart. Rose had “want to”. This is not something you can teach a horse with fancy lessons or time in the saddle. The desire to please comes from within. My father always said this is the hardest trait to come by. This is why I desired to carry on her legacy and set out on a mission to keep her bloodlines and hopefully her traits in our family.
Rose is barren. Despite several attempts to breed her we were never able to get her to carry a foal. I had almost given up hope when, in 2008 ,the idea dawned on me to find a close sibling, perhaps younger, that would have those same champion bloodlines running through their veins. So I set out on my quest and after days of pouring over progeny reports, contacting horse owners, and hitting one dead end after another I finally found a match!
Rose had a ¾ sister named Flashy’s Pleasure who had a 2004 daughter named Tunnie’s Tattoo standing as a broodmare in Mississippi. She would be the closest equivalent to a daughter by Rose I could find. I made the 9 hour trip to see the mare only to find she had an old injury that would prevent her from being ridden. The owners also did not want to sell her but instead promised me first option at her next foal. I was disappointed that she was not for sale yet at the same time excited about the proposition of her new foal.
Months turned into years, and occasional emails checking on her dried up and over time I lost contact with her owners. She had lost a couple foals and it began to look like hope was fading. Then in June of 2010 I received a facebook message from out of the blue. “Are you the Darcy Davis that lives in Georgia and has a Regal Pleasure horse?”
I was elated!! I quickly responded that I was one and the same. The following email would be the beginning of a story that would forever leave a mark on my life. “We have you r foal” the email said. She had lost her spring colt and had been turned out for the summer with a young colt and a band of broodmares and apparently she and the colt had rendezvoused in the summer field and a beautiful sorrel filly was born June 1st, 2010. A flurry of correspondence and phone calls ensued and arrangements were made to pick the baby up the first of November when she was ready to be weaned.
The months seemed to take forever as we counted down our trip back to Mississippi. They sent me pictures from time to time so I could watch her grow as we waited. She was beautiful. She was the same light sorrel as her mother and my Rose. She had her mother’s wide blaze face and from some unknown parts of the gene pool she had been graced with pretty little white legs. She was perfect!
We left the last weekend in October to make the trip up there and as we arrived at the farm I felt like my heart was about to burst with excitement. I felt like a child at Christmas. My dream of carrying on the legacy of Rose was becoming a reality!
After a brief tour of the farm, some time looking at her sire, and sneaking some foal kisses, the owners turned to me and ask me if I wanted her mother too. I thought they were kidding at first. Why would they GIVE me the mare now they wouldn’t sell me a couple years ago? Then I discovered why….
Sometime after my filly was born Tunnie had foundered. This is a condition in which the bones in their feet rotate downward for various reasons, and it separates the connective tissues from the hoof wall and results in painful lameness. It was apparent she was in pain and that her feet had been neglected judging by her long toes and hoof angles. The farm owner said they were probably going to end up putting her down if we left her there.
From prior experience I knew that laminitis did not have to be terminal and could be maintained through intense farrier and vet care and some horses have made complete recoveries so I thought she needed to be given that chance. Ben was standing behind the farm owner shaking his head no but he knew by the look on my face there was no talking me out of it.
I pulled Ben to the side and explained that the trip would be stressful on the filly alone and having her mother with her would make it easier on the baby and worst case scenario I may have to put her down when we got home but I at least wanted to give her a chance. He just shook his head and opened the trailer door. As we got ready to leave the farm owner mentioned “oh by the way…she might be in foal again because she was still with the stallion after the filly was born”.
Ten minutes after we got on the road I called my vet and farrier and had them both lined up to check her out as soon as we made it back home. I was determined to give her every opportunity and yet at the same time I was also trying to prepare myself for a sad ending to this story and to keep my attachment at bay.
Surprisingly she made the trip home in good shape and high spirits despite the long arduous ride and the obvious pain radiating from her front feet. That 500 mile stretch home is when I saw she had it too….she had heart. She doted on her baby, guarding her vigilantly, loaded and unloaded without any hesitation and stayed up around the clock despite her trembling legs. She was a fighter!
After radiographs of her feet and a thorough vet check the prognosis was grim but optimistic. She was a chronic founder and had significant bone degeneration in her feet but fortunately she had thick soles that had prevented the bones from sinking and provided her some support. She had several pockets of infection that would take time to grow out but with aggressive farrier work and some TLC we were all optimistic she would recover and be able to carry on a normal life. The vet also confirmed that in fact the mare was in foal again.
Oh joy! I was going to have two foals!! I was on cloud nine to hear the news. The vet warned me it was going to be a long hard road that would require lots of daily hands on care, dietary restrictions, and patience. I was ready for the challenge as my intentions of staying detached ebbed away.
I got up every morning at 6am to make a special concoction of supplements, fiber, and pain relievers to help her make it through the day and provide adequate nutrition for her developing foal without disrupting her delicate digestive system. In the afternoons I soaked and wrapped her feet, brushed her coat out, sprayed the flies, and held my ear to her side listening for sounds of the foal stirring within.
By December Tunnie had started making remarkable improvements and we turned her out into a large pasture with Rose and another mare named Leah. She no longer walked like a crab and on a good day would actually break into a trot on her way to the feed trough in the afternoons. My heart swelled with pride as things began to look up for my TLC case.
Then in March things took a downturn as I walked out the pasture one day to find the mare could barely move. She had been in the same position so long she had started to dehydrate because her feet hurt so badly she could not even walk to get water. I was devastated to learn that the bloom of green grass brought on by a few warm spring days had caused the mare to founder again. We were back at square one. She was due to foal May 16th so this could not have come at a worse time as she neared her due date. Through her set back and returned pain, she was still standing…still holding on. She was not going to give up….and neither was I.
We moved Tunnie back to the barn beside our house into a paddock beside her daughter. The daily routine of doctoring, medicating, and nurturing resumed. She whinnied every time the door opened to the house and seemingly enjoyed our afternoon visits and looked forward to them as much as I did. As her winter coat shed away her warm copper color emerged underneath, and If not for her ginger steps she looked like the picture of health.
As she entered her last month of pregnancy, her belly started swelling as the baby grew inside and I would sit and watch, with awe and wonder , as the colt inside would do flips and jumps getting ready for the upcoming arrival.
As the days got closer we started making arrangements with the vet to be on standby in case she ran into trouble with delivery. I made my checklist of supplies to have on hand and had her “maternity ward” prepped and ready for the big day.
The vet said if she made it to Monday May 2nd she would be considered full term and the baby could come any time thereafter. Excitement had started buzzing around the barn as we watched the last few days of April roll off the calendar.
Then on the morning of Friday April 29th, the unexpected happened. I was getting ready to take the kids to school and Ben had already gone outside to the barn to begin the morning routine. As I walked out the door I looked towards the barn and immediately knew something was wrong. Tunnie was lying down, stretched out flat, pawing at the dirt. I didn’t know if it was labor or colic. My phone went into overdrive as I started tracking down vets. My fear was confirmed that it was the silent killer… colic. The local vet came out and administered medicine and oil but within an hour there were no improvements. It was clear things were going downhill very quickly.
I frantically called our regular vet and tearfully explained the situation. There was no good news to be found in his words. We were going to lose her and it was too close to call the foals chance of survival. He made his way to the farm and determined the mare had displaced her intestines and could not be saved without a trip to the University 3 hours away and she would not make it that far in her condition. I couldn’t even talk as my emotions overcame me. I left to go pick up the children from school as they laid Tunnie to rest and went to work to save her foal. As I pulled up to the barn Ben was at the end of the paddock sitting next to her holding a beautiful sorrel colt in his arms. He was a week too early. His infant lungs were not quite ready for the outside world.
I went to her stall and leaned over the gate….hot tears burned my face……It wasn’t fair ….She fought so hard…WE fought so hard…..only a few days from the end….we lost them both. I felt like my heart was torn from my chest repeatedly as I lost Tunnie, then her foal. I was heartbroken as I watched her daughter start throwing herself against the fence to get back to her mother who no longer responded to her frantic cries, then the hardest part came when I felt two small arms wrap around my leg and a blonde halo of curls crush into my leg as the warm tears of my own daughter soaked through my jeans…..Gracie had stood by me and cared for Tunnie all those months too. She couldn’t understand and with my voice caught in my throat I couldn’t explain. All I could do was collapse on the ground, take her in my arms and hold her tight while be both cried outside of the now empty stall.
It wasn’t supposed to end this way. In those moments the frailty of life was brought to light. One never knows how many days are left nor do we have any control over some situations in life. All we can do is put up a good fight and take comfort in the peace of no more pain.
In such a short time this mare made such a mark on my life. Regardless of physical limitations, pain and discomfort she carried on with a pleasant manner, a desire to survive, and the strength to overcome. A lesson many would do well to remember.
Carrying on, I find comfort in her daughter who I named after my Rose, but now seems even more aptly named for both of them. Rose Colored Memory will not only carry on the great legacy of her racing heroes before her she will carry on the memories of two great mares that unselfishly gave of themselves because they had “heart”.
Tunnie you will be missed and your memory will forever be ingrained on our hearts and in our lives.
R.I.P. Tunnie’s Tattoo 04/21/2004-04/29/2011.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
We looked at big ones, little ones, dark ones, light ones, spotted ones, fat ones, skinny ones, old and young, near and far....some we test drove and some we LOL'ed and did a U-turn in the driveway. Finally after much searching we found one that (mostly) fit the bill. He is not of fine pedigree, or exotic color, he does not have a list of accolades and accomplishments, nor does he pass the 100-point inspection test but he has what matters most....a good heart and a willing attitude. And for once he was not half way across the Continental United States; he was only a few miles up the road.
I was skeptical at first from the description the young girl gave me from the other end of the phone. He was 8 yrs old and his papers had been "lost" along the way, he was stubborn at times and wouldn't turn, and he was spooky at night. Not really what I had in mind....but he was only a short drive away so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and we loaded up in the truck to go see him. Bryson's eyes lit up as soon as we drove up and saw him tied to the side of the round pen. He was an unusual horse because one of his eyes was equally divided into two colors. The front half was pale blue and the back a chocolate brown. It immediately caught your attention at the oddity of nature. He had an immense white blaze that seemed to gently arc under each eye and then extend down below his chin like an apron. Apparently the only traits his paint mother had passed on.
He stood much taller than I had expected and I had to lift Bryson over my head to boost him into the saddle for his first ride (after mom and dad tested him out first). The gelding stood quietly and waited for Bryson to climb his way to the top up the side of the saddle...he looked like an awkward squirrel. The horse waited to be told what to do; he easily moved from one gait to the next and quickly came to a halt when Bryson asked. My son's face was glowing with accomplishment and confidence as he sat astride this gentle giant.
The girl's grandfather pulled my husband aside to tell him the "problems" the girl spoke of were not "problems" but more a mismatch of abilities. We knew this story well after the frustration with Bryson's pony. This young girl had never owned a horse before and had no one to help her so many of the things she was asking of the horse were confusing to him and when he didn't do what she asked he would stop moving and she would become frustrated. Just like my son and his pony, this girl spent more time watching him through the fence than riding him.
My husband decided we need talk about it on the way home and we had one more horse to look at the following night that we had already committed to. So with shoulders slumped and his bottom lip formed into a disheartened pout, Bryson kicked at the rocks on his way to the truck, disappointed that we were going home that night empty handed. Before we ever started the truck I knew the trip to look at the other horse would be wasted. Bryson had his heart set on the big sorrel with the half blue eye.
We drove home in silence not wanting to give our son any false hopes. I could feel Bryson's sad eyes burning a hole through the back of my seat straight through to my heart. I knew how he felt more than I could ever convey. Sometimes you just "know" when things feel right. So the following evening after looking at one last horse I made the phone call that will forever be a favorite childhood memory for my son. “We’ll take him!” I told the young girl as we made arrangements to pick him up the following evening.
I am sure Bryson’s teachers had a tough time getting him to do anything that Thursday at school as he bubbled with anticipation of bringing his new friend home. We made the trip to Kingsland one more time and after a tearful goodbye from the young girl we loaded up the gelding and pointed the truck north for the hour drive home. Bryson talked non-stop in the backseat about what to name him, what color bridle he wanted, the adventures they would take, and how excited he was to have his first “real horse”. I don’t think he slept much that night as he was a bear to get up the next morning for school!
The following afternoon we saddled him up and once again I lifted Bryson high over my head to start his new friendship. The glowing smile that stretched across his face as sat astride the big sorrel, now named “Big Daddy", was one of those life moments that you know he will treasure for the rest of his life. A flood of memories came rushing back to me of myself being his age and my daddy handing me the lead rope to a little flaxen mane mare named Prancer who sparked my love of horses that still burns to this day.
I am very grateful to be able to share these moments with my own children.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I am still resisting the urge to slap a "I ♥ Tractor Supply" sticker on the back of my windshield. My mother is the only thing stopping me since that would probably have my Christmas dinner reservation revoked if I showed any support for her business competitor at 60 mph up and down the Florida-Georgia highway.
Shopping frustrates me. I don't think I have always been this way because somewhere in the back of my mind in a file labeled PTC (Prior to Children) I can remember spending the afternoon at the mall shopping for the latest fashion trends with my sister and our friends. Somewhere over the course of time though I have lost that ability to engage in retail therapy. Now shopping is like a military mission.....get in, grab what you need, and get out before anyone gets hurt. It is almost painful and now ranks up there with scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush.
There is an exception to my aversion.....Ben would call it an obsession. In fact he tells people that is the reason why he had to take up farming was to support my "addiction". I tell him it can't be considered an addiction if it is therapeutic....at least that is what all the people lobbying for marijuana legalization claim. My exception is not drugs or alcohol, gambling or extreme sports.....it is horses.
It is more than the purchase though....it is the opportunity to meet more horse people and admire one of the greatest creatures God has ever made. I love to "window shop" and look at horses of all breeds and riding genres like a trip down Fifth Avenue....some I will never be able to afford in my lifetime, nor do I have the desire to own them. Race horses are like Maserati sports cars, glorious creatures of luxury that would be fun to run and beautiful to look at.... but God knows I couldn't afford to change the oil in the car anymore than I could pay publicity, marketing, race fees, and hauling for a derby winner. Not to mention the fact I would be an absolute wreck that with my luck the horse would fall over dead of no apparent reason and break not only my heart but my bank account as well!! ....but a girl can dream..... and admire.....
...and shop for her kids!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Towards the end of August when the earthly oven temps were set to broil, I found myself in dreamy dillusions of colder days and a winter wonderland. Now as the hopes of an early spring are promised by the official groundhog forecaster I am feeling the need for green. I miss the lush pastures waving their long slender tendrils in the breeze, the shade of the fruit trees hiding the now naked branches exposing all the empty nests of last years fledglings, and the kaleidescope display of flowers dotting the landscape.
As I look out across the barren fields ravashed by the long battering winter winds, they look so desolate and depressing as the animals graze the scattering of winter rye in hopes to find a rogue blade of bahia emerging.
I miss the warm sunshine breathing on my skin and dabbing little patches of pink across the cheeks of my children.
Spring please hurry....I am ready for summer.....
Yet, I know in a couple months as sweat is pouring from my brow and gnats are partaking of me like an all you can eat buffet I will have to go back and read this post to remind myself of a time when I was looking forward to those moments with grand disillusion that the next season approaching is better than the current....