Quarantine Week 3 at the GHLHF…

What a long strange ride it’s been! So many ups and downs, vacation in Florida, quarantine, first rides on some mustangs, first dentals for the mustangs, spring drives with the ponies, working from home, a toddler in the house 24/7, countless equestrian activities cancelled, Odessa pops a splint, and the most exciting of all, a baby donkey are just a few of the things that have happened in the past month and a half!

I’m going to just put this out there that I was totally blindsided by the whole Covid-19 hysteria. I’m also going to voice the unpopular opinion, that I don’t think the virus itself was half the catastrophe that it turned into, but who’s to argue with the CDC, WHO, and a whole slew of very politicized groups that the world is coming to an end. I do believe these groups have stunted the possibility of herd immunity all but ensuring there will be a second wave, basically a self fulfilling prophesy that supports their agendas. I’m not trivializing the fatalities caused by the virus, and my heart goes out to the victims and their families. I just feel if the media would stop with the apocalyptic and doom’s day messaging this whole situation would have been a lot different and not half as scary. For the record I wasn’t scared, just frustrated with the whole debacle.

Ok, I’m off that soap box….Quarantine really didn’t affect our personal lives that much. In fact we went to a wedding in Cocoa Beach FL, making a detour to Disney World with Offspring just days before they closed the parks. I’m a bulk shopper, because I prefer animals to most people, and like to maximize the efficiency of my shopping trips. The panic of no toilet paper, groceries, or cleaning supplies was lost on me. We literally had a 2-3 months supply before any one started panicking over Covid-19. The chickens were laying close to two dozen eggs a day, so milk was really the only thing we needed. I figured the whole situation would be a great way to clean out the pantry and freezer. Of course we did make weekly trips to the feed store, because I only have so much storage space in the barn. We also used these trips to support small businesses and purchase food from mom and pop restaurants in our county. Lone Star Burgers rule! I did my best to keep that woman in business and now have tighter jeans to show for it.

So with this whole mess going on, and me working from home due to Offspring’s preschool requesting that only essential, essential worker children come to school and my employer requesting that employees with the ability to work remote stay out of the office, one might think I would have more time for my blog and/or farm activities…not so. First have you ever tried working from home with a toddler in the house and no office area to retreat into? Every conference call I join, and I’ve had almost triple the amount of those because that’s the only way we can stay in touch during quarantine, I bring a whole new slew of background noises. There’s a toddler yelling because he doesn’t understand “inside voice”, and dogs barking in the background. If I go outside I’m serenaded by three roosters who follow me around and compete for loudest/most annoying, or the sheep bleating as loudly as they can. There’s not a single quiet location on this farm or in our house. My workload didn’t increase drastically so much as I’m so inefficient. My child must request a million snacks a day.

I’m not complaining, though. I was grateful everyday Darling Husband and I decided to make Offspring an only child. We love him more than anything, but one is enough for us. There’s truly no place I would rather be than in quarantine on my farm, and it’s been a pretty awesome three weeks. The weather hasn’t cooperated quite like I would have liked. Texas gave us a teaser week of 70-80 degree temperatures, blooming blue bonnets, and bright sunny days perfect for accomplishing all things equestrian. During that week I worked every horse, pony, bathed everyone, and drum roll…..Actually sat on and rode my mustang, Johnny Cash, three times around the round pen bareback. This was an event six months in the making, and Johnny Cash has not been an easy mustang to tame. You can check out my earlier posts to truly understand how monumental the event was. Then it rained for most of the second week, and our entire farm was a mud pit, not safe for any riding.

First time on Johnny Cash, practicing some flexing bareback.

By week three I was excited and getting my mare Odessa ready for our first show, which I’m hoping still takes place on May 2nd when tragedy struck. Easter morning we had an awesome thunderstorm that wasn’t that awesome after Odessa popped a splint in the resulting mud. I put her on stall rest for three days and loaded her up with some Bute until I could talk to the vet on Monday. Looks like she’s out of commission for the next two months, maybe three. I tried to look at the bright side, all the more reason to get those mustangs saddle broke, and with her sidelined I have more time to make Comanche into the show horse I dreamed he could be the moment I laid eyes on him three years ago.

Offspring and I enjoying a quarantine drive!

The disappointment at Odessa’s injury was quickly overshadowed. On Monday we loaded both mustangs up for a much needed dental appointment. The time to introduce them both to the snaffle is quickly approaching, but I refused to put a bit in their mouth until we knew they didn’t have any dental issues that would make wearing a bit painful. The mustangs haven’t been off the farm since we brought them home in October, and they have had limited exposure to other people. Stranger danger is a real thing for them still. Surprisingly they both handled the experience like rock stars, especially Johnny Cash who apparently has the drug tolerance of Ozzy Osbourne. He even stumbled around incoherently after the procedure, perhaps I named him after the wrong musician?

Johnny Cash getting his dental.

Tuesday morning while I was stuck on the never-ending conference call. Literally. It was an online software marathon training course that started at 8:00 am and was continuous through 3:00 pm. As I’m sitting there trying to focus, Darling Husband comes running in shoving his phone in front of my laptop screen. By his level of excitement I think this virus has turned into a zombie creator, and we should be pulling guns/ammo out of the safe and sharpening machetes to prepare for the coming invasion. It was nothing so disastrous, but it was more exciting. Our newest adopted BLM burro, Mesquite had foaled in the night. We knew she was possibly pregnant, but she wasn’t showing signs of an imminent delivery. I figured the way my luck goes, she would wait until my first day back in the office before dropping it on the ground, but instead she waited until the most inconvenient day of quarantine.

Baby Sage born at approximately 7:45 am April 13, 2020.

Mesquite decided to have her foal in the middle of our horse pasture and she was surrounded by five horses and another BLM burro who were just as excited about the baby donkey as we were. Darling Husband’s mustang, Koda, kept trying to sneak around the new mother and lick the baby clean. She thought she was helping, but Mesquite was not of the same opinion. If you’ve ever seen a guard donkey kill a predator, you’ll have some appreciation of the risk Darling Husband and our Saintly Neighbor took snatching up the newborn and high tailing it to the barn with a very angry mother in tow. Mesquite actually attacked Darling Husband in the foaling stall as he tried to reunite the pair and set up her water and hay nets. A few hours of peace and quiet in the foaling stall, and momma had returned to her usual sweet self. By day two she was completely fine with us hugging and loving on the little guy.

Until Mesquite’s delivery, I had never seen a baby donkey in person. All baby animals are cute, but a baby donkey definitely makes the top ten list of cutest baby animals ever. The baby jack, Sage, is all legs and ears. Our burros are pretty lazy. They spend the majority of their time eating, laying down, rolling in a patch of bare dirt and fighting over said patch of dirt. The little guy loves to run, though. I think he may have saddle bronc aspirations because he spends as much time bucking as he does running. After a few days we released Mesquite and baby Sage into the pony paddock in our back yard. We also moved Thistle our other BLM burro into the paddock to give momma some adult company, and to use the baby as a way of finishing Thistles’ training which was cut short last summer because of other projects. We’re refining her halter training and handling her feet a lot more.

Baby Sage has been a nice distraction from everything else that has gone wrong during this whole Covid thing. He’s definitely going to make returning to the office more difficult. I’ll miss the view of ears and legs zooming around while I work. Now that Thistle’s getting handled daily, maybe we’ll start preparing her for her first show. With any luck there may be a chance at a fall show season for the horses and donkeys, maybe even the mustangs!

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