Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A WET pack Trip!

Our camp before the rain hit!
Equines grazing in the field!
Shannon with Seven and Sadie crossing the creek.
Jane at one of the neat over looks with Pack mule Sadie Mae.
I started the weekend off with Seven tearing off his front shoe in the gate to the pasture! I was so mad at him I could hardly speak! I was not going to be able to get a farrier to put his shoe back on Friday night before Memorial Day weekend! After inspecting his foot I decided that he had not ripped any of the foot off and I would ride him anyway!
Jane and I loaded at 5:30AM and took off for South Mountains State Park! We made good time and arrived at about 9:30am. We took our time and got organized but Sadie still looked like she was carrying about a weeks worth of stuff. Really it was Jane's big sleeping bag on top that made the pack look so dramatic! Jane's horse Val was so funny he stood right next to Sadie as we loaded the pack but after he saw her walk with it and it move a little he had to think about it for a minute before he decied it was ok again! Off we went! Miracle upon miracle I must have balanced the pack just right as it stayed centered the whole ride. I only had to tighten the rope one time!
We rode out Rave Rock Trail and then turned on to Fox Fire trail. The Mountain Laurel was in full bloom and all over the sides of the trail! This is a neat winding trail that becomes a single track and goes along a rushing creek. We came to a tree that had fallen over the trail and with no way around it! I got off and took a look! Luck I had brought a folding saw and the limb, that was about 5-6 inches wide was made of soft wood. I was able to get it sawed and off to one side! Good Seven stood in the back and just watched! As we climbed out of the valley we hit a little rain shower. Stopped and got our rain coats our and covered the back! It soon stopped and as we arrived at the camp we actually saw some blue sky! It would be our last!
As we set up camp the mules got to graze with their hobbles on and Val, Jane's horse, got to be loose. He seems to have latched on to the mules and was not going to leave the green grass anyway. About an hour after we arrived a couple of hikers with their two dogs arrived also. They set up camp on the other side of the field. I was happy to see that they had two very well behaved dogs! After the mules and horse had their dinner in the feeding bags, (it is always fun to watch them toss the grain around in the bag) we watered the mules and tied them in the standing stalls for the night. Jane started a nice little fire with the box that held my pine cones called Amazing Blaze, not the fire starting pine cones, but the box and some TP! It was then it started to rain! We tried to haul up the pack with our food and grain in it but the rope would not pull on the branch we through it over and so we decided to let it lay!
I think my sleep number bed at home has ruined me! The bed I had that night was on number Zero! It was comfortable enough to fall asleep but I kept waking up with my back in a knot and needing to move!
That morning the rain had let up and it looked like a nice but cloudy day. Jane got the pack and announced that " Animals are a lot like people!" I asked, how so and she said, "Because they go straight for the chocolate!" A little mouse had gotten into our pack last night and the only thing he ate was some of Jane's chocolate!
It started pouring rain about 7:30 that morning. We just kept waiting and waiting thinking that it had to let up! I was not pleased at the idea of having to pack and tack up the mules in the pouring rain! We layed in the tent for about an hour and a 1/2 waiting! Finally Jane convinced me it was not going to get any better so we devised a plan and went into action! We got Sadie packed up first and left her to graze while we got Seven and Val tacked up. It went quicker than I thought and I was actually not at wet as I thought I would be by the time we hit the trail. It helped that the rain slowed to a light drizzle during the tacking up! It rained on and off on the ride in! We wisely took a shorter trail home but it still took about 3 1/2 hours of riding.
Of course by the time we rode in it was done raining for the day! We unpacked and just through everything into the trailer. We quickly got the mules and horse set up in their stalls and we took hot showers! I think the mules were happy to be in a dry clean stall!
As a reward for surviving I decided that we needed to go into town for a nice dinner! It was well worth it except for the most obnosious kid we have ever come across! At about 4 or 5 years old he was standing in the booth behind Jane and yelling about a toy train that would run through the restaurant every now and again. His mother was useless to do anything and the boy hardly listened to his father either. Oh yea and it started pouring rain again!
We decided that maybe Monday AM would be ok to ride if it was going to be just scattered showers, but no such lucky! It poured from about 3AM till morning. So we packed up and headed home!
My friend Ranger Cheryl Waltz came by to see us that morning and invited us to come up to the main welcome center. She gave us some bandannas with the parks map on it and we got to see the neat huge cabin like building. We also got to meet Park Superintendent Jonathan. Jane found some neat moths that had collected outside a porch door to get out of the rain. We tried to look them up but some where not even in the book. I decided that one looked like a Bat Mobile! It was the craziest looking moth I had ever seen!
We will have to go back another DRY weekend to go see the High Shoals Waterfall!
No Problem! South Mountains State Park is one of my favorite places!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mom meets Navarre

Mom came down for a visit and got to meet Navarre! He was very good for his photo session and mom commented on how soft his hair is and how sweet and cute he is!
Thanks to everyone who came to help this weekend with reflattening out Chester's stall and mats. Kayla, Patty, Mom, Jane and I worked very hard on it. It took four of us to get the mats back in and squared up. At least now Chester can stand on a level matted stall!
We also had time to body clip Sadie Mae and Jane's horse Val. He has never looked so black!
Jane and Kayla had the energy to take a ride. I took a shower to get all the extra hair off me.
We had a nice ladies lunchen with Jane's Mom, my Mom and Mrs. Frances Croom as out special guests!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Goats at the Red Mule Farm?

Two "SO UGLY THEY ARE FUNNY LOOKING" Goats were loaned to me to see if they can take care of some of the weeds around here! I took a "before" photo of the weeds in the paddock. Check back for updates.
The mules and donkeys sure had a good time snorting at them. Shawn the cat thought they were pretty weird too. They made some strange noices and kept butting heads and making a large crack sound!

Donkey Wrestling

Chester and Navarre love to play rough and wrestle! It starts out pretty innocently enough but then Navarre will bug Chester till he will Wrestle with him! So far no one has gotten hurt too badly!
You know what they say, "It is all fun and games, till someone gets hurt!"
Just wanted to mention that Navarre only weighs 413 pounds and Chester weighs 780 pounds!

Chester's Poor Feet

Poor Chester's White Line Disease is back with a vengeance! I feel so bad for him. Apparently all the spring rain and just walking in the wet grass was enough to bring it back. This time he was really in some pain and his foot under the hoof wall was really mushy. Scary!
I took him to the Vet School and Dr. Mansmann and Farrier Kurt vom Orde worked on him for me. Andew, Dr. Mansmann's Tech did a great job keeping a hold of him when Chester kept wanting to leave. Dr. Mansmann said he feels like that is extra thick hoof wall hides the white line until it is really bad and that all the prior damage to his feet (from before I owned him) makes him more likely to get it again!
So in the stall he goes. Hoof drying treatments, including bleach and some baby diapers are in full swing. Guess all my expectations of trail riding him some this summer are on hold again!
Thanks Dr. Mansmann & Kurt vom Orde for all your help!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Navarre Visits NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine

Navarre visited the NCSU CVM to get Gelded on April 29th to be gelded and also have his teeth done! He was a very good boy, once I got him there! I was late for our appointment because it took me 45 minutes and 4 different ropes, all applied at the same time, to get him into the trailer! I can't say as I blame him since his first trailer ride was 15 hours long and to a new home. He unloaded well and walked across the parking lot only to put the brakes on at the Breezeway door! (Going inside can't be a good thing?) All this from a Poitou Donkey who is 18 months old, 12.1 hands and weighed in at 413 pounds?
Well, going inside turned out to not be a good idea! He was soon fitted with a catheter and moved to a back lot where Dr. Fogle and Dr. Lee supervised CVM students in gelding him and then sitting on him while his teeth were done! Once he got up Dr. Lee and Vet Tech Bill had a time getting him back to his stall.
He recovered well and it only took four people to put him back in the trailer to go home later that day. He is still recovering nicely! Many thanks for the Faculty, Staff and Students who took such great care of him!!