Monday, May 07, 2007

random thoughts

I was amazed, this weekend, while driving down I-5, how much more dry it is this year than last year. I did almost that same drive in April 2006, and although a month can certainly make a difference, it's more than just timing. It was like driving through a desert much of the way, whereas last year had been pretty green. I saw a pronghorn antelope just north of the grapevine out in what looked like maybe a wheat field. That was pretty cool, I'd never seen one in California before. I've seen them before though, somewhere, where was that... may have been in Wyoming.

Sometimes I have the urge to travel more, but I could never be one of those people who is on the road constantly, who practically lives in a motor home. It's hard to be gone for long, it means getting someone to take care of the animals. I wouldn't trade that responsibility for anything though, they keep me sane (well, sort of sane, except when they themselves are driving me up the wall). I have an opportunity to go to Idaho next month. I'd like to go, I'm just not sure I can pull it off. 600 miles of driving all alone? Can I do that in a day? Can I afford to do this at all? Hmmm....

More chicks hatched this weekend. It's a really small batch though. Two more weekends to go. There should be enough of everything, I think, and if not c'est la vie I guess. I feel pretty overwhelmed with the birds lately, even though I culled out about a third of my breeding flock a few months ago just to get my numbers down. Sometimes I really think about cutting WAY back, but I can't bring myself to do it. It takes a certain number of birds to maintain enough genetic diversity, and there aren't a lot of people I would entrust with an entire flock. Can I cut out a whole variety? Yes, I can sell the Cuckoos, I don't think I'm going to be happy with them. Can I cut back numbers? Maybe, but I've already whittled the breeding flock down to the cream of the crop. If I shipped birds it might be better, but I haven't done that for 7 years and I don't even know if I still can. It's SUCH a pain, the postal service is so picky. The weather has to be perfect, the stars have to be aligned (not really). And it's nearly two hours of my day just to take them to the west Sacramento post office, and at a time when I already need to devote MORE time to art and marketing and LESS time to chickens and whatnot, well, I just don't know.

It's hot. It's 91 degrees. I don't like this. In a perfect world it would not go over 80.

Gwen (my older horse) seems to maybe be going downhill. I can't be sure though, I don't know whether she's depressed or hurting, so I'm not getting too worked up about it yet. Probably some of both (depression and pain) because I'm sure she always hurts from her founder-related foot problems (she can't walk on the gravel at all now that's not wearing shoes, but then I'm not sure if it's worth subjecting her feet to the wear and tear of getting shoes nailed on, since I don't ride her anymore) and since she and Shylah are both penned in the corral til the pasture dries, I suspect she's mopey and depressed too. She and Shylah have a very different attitude about things. Sure, it's boring in the corral, but Gwen just gets mopey and listless, whereas Shylah manages to entertain herself watching the chickens/dogs/cats/neighbors/me and really doesn't spend any time moping. Gwen used to eat fast and then finish Shylah's food. Now she doesn't even finish her own hay, and she's losing weight again. The pasture will be dry in another week or two probably and I can let them out again. If that doesn't help, I'll put her on daily pain meds. At 19 or 20, she seems like such an old horse. When Thunder (my first horse) was in her early twenties she still seemed young and full of energy, she loved to run... until she foundered at 24 and only lasted a few months after that. If that hadn't happened I think she would have lived to be a very old horse. I don't think Gwen will make to old age. Of course, you never know, and this is certainly not the end and I would not even consider that, but it's a time when I can't help but be aware that she won't be around forever. I will do everything in my power to never let Shylah founder, it is a horrible thing.

No comments: