April 6, 2012

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I’m still unable to ride, which is frustrating to say the least. In rethinking this whole eye surgery thing, perhaps I should have waited until the dead of summer to have it done, since I don’t typically ride once the outdoor temps and humidity creep up. I dunno. It’s too late now to cry over spilled milk.

I’m allowed an hour up and about for every hour I spend face down. That’s a good deal compared to having to be face down around the clock like I was all last week. So yesterday I took Dharla down to the ring and worked with her a bit on basic stuff like backing, and moving the hindquarters and shoulders. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to lunge her or not. My vision is still very impaired. My sight in the right eye is blurry from being dilated and I have almost no depth perception. That tends to throw off my equilibrium. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done anything with Dharla and I didn’t want to allow her to get into a position where she might try to take advantage of my impairment.

Still, I wanted to try, so we just started out with a walk/trot on a shorter line. She was so well behaved and listening nicely that after a few minutes I decided to switch over to the long line and see what she would do. She ended up working very well for me. She got a little feisty at the first clockwise canter, so I decided to let her have at it and then when she wanted to come back down I continued to push her more. That made an impression on her the next time I asked her to pick up a clockwise canter she was all business.

All together we worked about 45 minutes, which was long enough work up a little sweat. The gnats were getting nasty, so we headed back up to the barn. On the way back I stopped to let her munch a little green grass in the front yard. She gets kind of worried when we go someplace she’s not used to going, but the lure of the green grass soon had her ignoring her fear. Aldo had left to go riding with Bullet, so when we got back to the barn I hung out and brushed Dharla and combed out her mane and tail. I gave her a nice pile of hay and we just kept each other company for a bit. Dharla always seems to enjoy being with me and she didn’t holler for Bullet at all until after I left the barn. When she gets worried about being alone, all I have to do is step out the front door and call to her and she settles down. I think she just wants some reassurance that she’s not alone. She’s such a smart cookie, that girl!

It felt great to be able to spend some time with my horse. I’m really itching to go riding and I hope I get the thumbs up to start again next Friday!

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In A Fog

Foggy morning

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I haven’t had time to ride in a few days. The weather has been over the top (hot) and I’ve had to pick my activities carefully. I figured since Dharla hasn’t fully shed her winter coat, it would be better to focus on the yard and garden and go back to riding when the temperatures go back to being somewhere near normal.

I’ve been a bit frantic with the gardens. I don’t recall there ever being a spring where I’ve had to uncover and start working my gardens this early. I’ve literally had day lilies shoot up 2-3 inches overnight. If I don’t get the flower beds cleaned up and mulched now, I won’t be able to go back and do it later on, which means TONS of weeding. Here, its a fine line between growing things you want and keeping the invasive stuff at bay.

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I love my gardens, I really do, but every year it gets a little more difficult to do the bull work to keep things under control. Because of my back issues, I can’t do much else on the days when I’m putting lots of energy into the gardens. Typically this is only an issue in the spring and fall, when the major job of splitting and moving things or planting new stuff have to take precedence. I’ve tried doing things in smaller bites, but that really doesn’t make any difference, so now I just hunker down and put everything I’ve got into getting the job done. But it means I don’t have much left in the tank for anything else, including riding.

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My goal is to (eventually) have everything growing where I want it so I can just do the seasonal maintenance. I’m starting to realize that’s probably just a fantasy, but it’s what I’m striving to achieve down the line. We’re in the planning stage of building a new barn (mostly for hay storage) and I’m already daydreaming about landscape options and gardens around the site. I think this is an addiction that never ends!

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On another note, I’m scheduled for eye surgery next week. Almost everything is done and ready for me to be somewhat laid up for a few days. The recovery is supposed to be fairly simple UNLESS there are complications. Thing is, when you look in the New England Journal of Medicine under Medical Screw-ups, my name is listed. Yeah. So while I’m confident I’m making the right decision to do this and I believe I’ve got the best doc for the job, I’m still a wee bit stressed out about it. The last time I got up at the crack of dawn and took a long dark drive to the hospital for surgery, I came out the other side a totally different person. Broken. Damaged. Disabled. Not the happiest of times. That was fifteen years ago this May, but I guess old memories die hard. I’m trying to keep things in perspective, but my track record isn’t the best. Still, I need to get this done. I’ve waited as long as I possibly can, but my vision is too compromised to put it off any longer. It’s my right eye; my dominant eye, my shooting eye. So yes, I’m (appropriately) concerned about the outcome.

Barring any issues, I should be on the mend soon. Or so they say. If everything goes well I’ll be able to use a computer and watch TV (blah), but I won’t be able to read books for awhile. If things go wrong, it gets ugly. I’ll have to spend 50 minutes of every hour laying face down. Possibly for a few weeks. That might be interesting, to say the least. But since I only have two eyes (well, one that works right now) I’ll hope for the best and do whatever needs to be done for a positive outcome. Meanwhile, I’ve got to get back to my gardens  … chores await me!

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PS. I made a new page in the header for the dogs. I thought they deserved a “formal” introduction.

Spring is Sprung

Gardening? I can do that!

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Well, I can’t put it off any longer; spring is officially here. I must admit, it feels a little weird having my windows open in March and walking around with a rake in hand. For two weeks already no less. On one hand, while it’s nice spring has arrived, on the other hand it’s a bit chaotic. As soon as things start popping through the soil it becomes a mad race to uncover and nurture the things I want to have grow, and go after the things I don’t. The last couple of years it seems like the weeds and invasive species have been winning. From rampant chipmunk over-population to spreading mustard garlic (and other invasives), I’m putting out fires everywhere I turn.

Initially, I eschewed pesticides. I tried “spot treating” problems when they cropped up, but I really try to keep my yard, flower and veggie gardens as organic and chemical-free as possible. Lets face it though, that plan isn’t cutting the (garlic) mustard anymore. So last year I decided to take this battle to the Dark Side and started using a few carefully selected chemicals. (If the engineer had his way I’d be spraying everything in sight with chlordane.) I put my magic potions in plastic spritzer bottles so I could hang them on my garden cart and zap the nasty interlopers on the spot. In years previous I did dumb things like “mark” the offending weed with a stick so I could come back and spray it later. With two stick-loving dogs? What WAS I thinking? No, this was serious business and I fully intended to nip things in the bud (so to speak) by hitting the pests with a vengeance.

Problem is, I failed to mark the bottles with what’s inside them. If you’re anything like me you constantly do things half-assed. You tell yourself you’ll get a marking pen and write the name of the potion on the spray bottle later, but you never actually get around to doing it. Instead, you put the chemicals in slightly different looking (read as: recycled) bottles and tell yourself you’ll remember which chemical is which by it’s container. For awhile you keep things straight and know which bottle contains what, but as the summer drags on it becomes a bit of a guessing game. In a pinch, I’ll resort to sniffing a bottle to identity the contents in question, but I never do get that marking pen and mark the bottles. Ever. So chances are when that new patch of Poison Ivy didn’t die off after being sprayed it was probably because I hit it with insecticide, not weed killer. *Sigh*

Eventually, like all good things, gardening season comes to an end. I diligently store the four or five different containers of nasty juice on a shelf; nice and orderly, but still not marked. As I stand and gaze at my handiwork (all proud because for once I actually put my gardens “to bed” and picked up my gardening tools) I tell myself I really ought to figure out which bottle contains what and jot it down, but …. well, I don’t.

Now I’m right back where I started, with weeds and vines springing to life as I try to figure out which bottle contains the concoction I need. Meanwhile, the Poison Ivy, mustard garlic, Virgina Creeper, Wild Strawberry and God knows whatever else has decided to invade my property this year plots their revenge. Sometimes I just want to throw my hands up in the air and say forget it. The bugs, the weeds, the heat and humidity …. is it worth it?

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Hell, yeah!