Friday, May 21, 2010

She's Bagging Up ....

I've been waiting anxiously for about a month now for my mare Genevieve to foal. I was told when I got her she was due end of April. If your calendar reads same as mine, it's now almost the end of May. Doesn't matter that she's a seasoned ol 'timer, I'm a nervous Nellie new Mom.

When I called Roy, he said, wellllll, maybe she was bred the following heat cycle instead of the first heat after the foal heat (huh?). Plus some foals just take longer to cook than others.

Not helping.

But good news. When I did my fourth check of the day on her a couple days ago, I noticed she was bagging up. For you city slickers out there (and you know who you are), that means her udder is getting bigger as it's starting to fill with milk. A soft sign that foaling will happen soon (my book says a few days to six weeks to foaling, so we're really starting to narrow things down here).

So yes, between PTO meetings and baking for the bake sale, I'm checking udders.

Another sign of impending delivery would be elongation of the vulva, but to quote Igor of Young Frankenstein, "I'm not going to be the first..."

Guess I'll have to just be content with apprehensively checking Gen repeatedly throughout the day till the foal is done "cooking". Maybe some LaMaze breathing would help (for me).

Wonder if I could get my hands on What to Expect When Your Mare is Expecting. Anyone have an old copy I could borrow?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another Shoebox Funeral ....

Lost a little loved pet this weekend. Our Daisy.
We learned last week she had cancer. I had taken her into the vet(I saw the staff tittering behind their hands when they saw I had brought a guinea pig in. I was probably the only person in their collective living memory to have taken a guinea pig to their office). But the vet actually did a thorough and professional examination and pronounced that Daisy likely had cancer. I felt about four years old instead of (mumble, mumble) as the tears welled up in my eyes when the vet handed over her death sentence.

But we brought her home and turned her cage into a luxury suite with every ammenity a small rodent could wish for. When it was clear she was living her last moments, we all surrounded her, pet her, cried our tears onto her.

We got a shoebox just the right size, from our avavlanche of shoeboxes that we keep in the attic for school dioramas and the funerals of small pets. We gently placed her in, atop a bedding of soft-as-a-cloud tissue, and put in a few of her favorite things: some hay, a couple yogurt treats, a few grapes. Some of the kids put poems, drawings, cards alongside her as well. One wrote:
I only hope she lives on in heaven. May God bless her soul. From death comes life. Amen.
(I know this all seems overly dramatic, but we're a dramatic-type family).

We buried her out by the old wishing well. In truth, we've buried a number of small pets around this well. To the point that I have to silently pray we don't dig up any previous remains when we start a new hole. It's getting to the point of grisly. Perhaps I should contact Stephen King to see if he'd be interested in doing a book-turned film of little zombie hamsters and toads digging their way out of their graves by moonlight and descending upon our house en masse as we sleep.
Probably not a whole lot of fear factor there, I guess.

Anyway, she was buried, and prayed over, and her name was carved into the well post alongside all the cherished pets of our past.

James painted me a picture of her (above, right) which I will eventually, if my procrastinatory ways don't get the better of me, frame and hang. In the meanwhile, I will try to comfort the children when they miss the way she unabashedly begged for produce and squealed for attention. I will pull them close and impart my words of wisdom that it's better to have loved and lost than....
"Hey, stop texting, I'm trying to comfort you."
"... than to have ....Mister, get off that bike and get over here this instant. I was saying, it's better to ...."
"Put that popcorn back right now, we are not snacking, we are grieving..."

Oh forget it ....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where do the Amish go....?

Question: Where do the Amish go for relaxation?
Answer: Apparently, to my place.

Driving home from some errands this morning I saw an Amish horse and buggy hitched up to my fence and a small herd of Amish parents and children in my lower field. I knew today was a holly-Holy-day for them (Ascension Day), but the sight took me aback. My neighbor Henry and I had talked a couple years ago about the kids coming over to use our pond whenever they wanted to go fishing or skating. But this was not just the kids, but a couple dozen be-bonneted and be-hatted folks picnicking and fishing.
It's a lovely sight, really. As I sit at my computer writing, I can look out my window and see a little girl sitting in her Daddy's lap, another Dad helping a few kids with baiting and casting, a granny camped out in a folding chair, wagons, picnic baskets, and a Mom sitting on a cooler doing cross-stitch.

Perhaps I should think about turning my place into an exclusive Amish retreat. I could call it Plain and Fancy. Or Amish at Ease.

Taking suggestions .....


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