Monday, October 2, 2017

While I've been gone

 My mind has been and remains a jumbled mess since Lucy's death, 
much like this picture, taken during the middle of one of those once-in-a-hundred year storms
which happened here Friday night. I'll get to that in a minute.

First let me say:

1. Thank you, for every comment you've written and every email you've sent.
I burst into tears just thinking about them
and how you all are always here for me.

2. Our vet concluded from Lucy's necropsy report that she died of kidney failure,
which likely had been coming on for months. Nothing we could have done
in her final weeks would have altered the outcome.

3. George is doing well. His foundered front feet were pain-free for a few weeks,
then it rained and he became sore again, but now he's better again,
and I expect this will be the pattern for awhile until he's fully recovered.
He remains in his pen and is surprisingly calm and content.

As for that hundred-year storm...
It came after three days and 1.75" of rain, which is all but unheard of around here.

 In 30 minutes Friday evening, another inch of rain fell,
plus an inch or so of marble-sized hail, which came down so hard
I was convinced all the windows on the north and west sides 
of the house would break. 

The noise in the barn was too much for Alan to handle.
He chose to stand butt to the storm in the corral for most of it.

I don't know how hard the wind blew because 
the cup things broke and parted ways with the gauge.

The rain and hail overwhelmed the drainage culverts, flooding the corral,
the back porch, the front porch, and just about everything in between.
The barn sits on higher ground, so George and eventually Alan
had a safe, dry place to be.

 The hail stripped the juniper trees of their berries and a lot of their foliage.
I would love to see drone footage of the ranch about now - it would look like
every tree was standing on a bright green carpet.

The really amazing thing about the hail, though (those pock marks above are the dents it made),
 is that it broke apart every bit of donkey poop in the pasture, then the rain dissolved what was left.
I've got to think the pasture will be better for it in the long run, 
with all that fertilizer so nicely distributed.

The fence is another story. 
See those two black straps holding the connector onto the t-post? 

 The storm broke almost every stinkin' one of them.
The straps had been in place – in the relentless New Mexico sun – for 12 years,
and I suspect they were all suffering from UV fatigue. 
The wind and hail accelerated their demise in one fell swoop.
I had spare parts to fix a hundred or so and temporarily fixed 
the other 1,872 (not a typo) with baling wire until more parts arrive.
So it was a busy weekend, and busy is good.
Keeps my mind out of dark, sad places.

 My morning coffee ritual gave me a sign that maybe it was time to try to smile again.

 And then who shows up Sunday morning but Steve
(that's him in the puddle).

He's survived here for 12 years that I know of. 
I'm certain he made his only appearance of 2017 to remind me that
all bad things, bad storms and obstacles in my path can be overcome.

 It just might take a little longer than expected.


  1. So good to hear from you!

  2. Wonderful to hear from you. Looks like Mother Nature is making her presence known all over this country. I can't even imagine how loud it must have been out in the barn with all that hail coming down. Poor George and Alan (and JCC?), not to mention the Girls, must have been in shock. And who walks out of it all...Steve. Getting through life, slow and steady.

  3. I think that image speaks so much, and I can so understand what that feels like. Thank you for sharing it, and for letting us know about the results from Lucy...I know it doesn't diminish the sorrow, but maybe the anguish a bit, knowing that there was nothing you could have done. You did everything possible, and then some, to help her, to heal her, to make her more comfortable. You loved her. She knew that. She knows that. Prayers continue for you, for George, for Alan, Smooch, the girls, Steve...all. You are a remarkable woman...caretaker of these precious fur babies...sending love and hugs always.

  4. Thanks for the update...been so worried about you when you have not posted since that sad day. You will be in my thoughts and prayers as you go through each day...hugs from Rochester, NY

  5. my eyes are stinging with tears reading this, I can't imagine how badly you miss Lucy and on top of that a major storm. I am happy to see you post and silly Alan standing in the storm.. you found a lot of good in the bad and that is so you.... hugs from Florida and hope things look up soon. you havent' posted on chickens and spiders and cats lately, waiting to see. I read every post you write even if I skip comments

  6. Good to hear from you and that it was one of those things with Lucy. We all understand that with our pet families. What a storm I hope blue skies ahead for you all.

  7. So good to see your post today. It is a slow process moving forward. Oh my...all those fence posts, but good to have something to force you outside. Praying for you and your fur/feathered family. Lisa G in TN

  8. It is good to hear from you and get the news about Lucy. Sad as it is there are just things we can't fix. She had a good life with you filled with love and adventure. That storm must have been a surprise. Love that Steve showed up, maybe he'll take a swim in the puddles. Bummer about the fence.

  9. Thank you for posting today. It is good to hear from you. I am sad too.

    Laurie in NB, Canada

  10. That is some pretty amazing storm footage. I’m just happy to read that a bit of sunshine has returned to your life. Hopefully each day will continue to be even better than the last few.

  11. Michelle from Vancouver10/2/17, 7:35 AM

    Steve!!!!!! He brightens my day and I believe he showed up to remind everyone that's things are going to be ok....maybe not today but real soon.
    So glad to see your post this morning, I've been checking in each morning being so worried about you and George.

  12. Who knew Steve had some healing power like a shaman? At least some kind of power. Alan is a match for that storm. It was a doozy. Glad to hear George is coming along. Miss our lovely Lucy too. I find scientific explanations soothing as well.

    That damned fence is going to keep you busy for a while in between other chores.And all that water and fertilizer - late season greening of the pasture perhaps.

    Thank you for getting back on here.

  13. Let me echo everyone else's sentiments; I'm glad you're back. I know the sadness is so deep. And I'm so happy that Steve is back to provide some joy.

  14. I've been watching each day for your next posting, and I've thought about you, living with your loss and your new normal. Like others, I'm glad you know the why of Lucy's loss, and I hope it comforts you to know that you were doing all the right things for her. Take good care of yourself. I loved the 'sign' of the milky smiley face.

  15. So happy to hear an update from you today. I have been (obsessively) checking the blog, hoping to hear a bit of your voice. I know that normal just doesn't feel normal right now. We are here alongside you as you navigate this, and we sure miss Lucy with you.

  16. Holy Moly! I know you needed some rain but wow!
    I wish I could have been there to help you with the fence, even tho I would just point out which ones to fix :-)
    And Steve!! I have been wanting to meet know how much I love turtles. I love all your “signs” and yes I believe they mean something, too
    So do you need to buy a new weather thingy?

  17. Glad the necropsy gave a definitive answer - it doesn't heal, but still, I hope it is a measure of peace. Happy to see you back.

  18. Anne Boleyn10/2/17, 9:44 AM

    Signs are good. Take them where you can get them. Steve and the milk froth are wonderful.
    It's a process. I know.

  19. Been thinkin' of you and da boyz. Lovely to hear from you. xoxo Oma Linda

  20. One thing I try to keep in mind when I feel pain after losing somebody (or something) close to me is this; the more it hurts, the more I cared about them.

  21. You can't rush the healing from grief. I'm glad you are finding little things that help.

  22. So good to hear from you. It's good too to hear about Lucy's illness and have some closure. I am smiling at Alan standing in the storm - we have one of those here, our pony - and am laughing with delight that Steve made an appearance for you. I also enjoy seeing your days to retirement ticking down every time I visit the site! Big hugs from all of us to all of you.

  23. So, so happy to have you back. I am glad you received the results of the necropsy and will hopefully begin to find some closure. Although, I know it will take some time. What a storm! Climate change, baby, climate change. Just what you needed to keep you busy and your mind from wandering too much. Glad to hear that George is doing well and so is Alan. I did worry for them with Lucy no longer there.
    Take care, Linda. Just know that there is love headed your way from Tucson to you and your ranchamily.

    Linda D.

  24. Well, at least Steve has something to be happy about.

  25. Linda, soooooo glad to see your post this morning! I, like others, have been checking daily... words can not say what I feel for you losing another family member. We will see them again... it is going to be so crowded at the Pearly Gates when YOU arrive!

    We in Edgewood have had too much rain also... very unusual, but we'll take it!

    Sandy in Edgewood, NM

  26. Northern AB gal10/2/17, 12:16 PM

    Had to google kidney failure in equines, have never come across that and don't think I would catch the symptoms if I had. Doesn't make the loss any easier but comforting to know you did all you could and in the end that is what matters. I do love the signs and omens that have appeared in your world, just a gentle reminder that life goes on, just takes on a different skew. But the hail storm and the resulting fence damage - I'm sorry but that is just too much! Does the tape eventually disintegrate as well?
    You mentioned a drone, I think you should get one. An author of another blog I follow just got one and has posted some video she shot with it, pretty awesome. I gather it does take some time to get smooth videos so it is not without a learning curve but you might have time for that in another 92 days! You could fence check from the comfort of your couch, lol.

  27. SO glad you’re on the mend, but hate to hear of your horrible storm. Mother Nature can be relentless, as we found out here in the Smokies last year. Hard to deal with loosing Lucy, but so many good memories to be thankful for, plus the love and prayers from all of us that think the world of you Carson.

  28. It's good to hear from you. I hope that knowing what took Lucy from you did everything possible. I'm glad to hear George is doing ok. I think he'll be really happy when he and Alan can start cavorting out in the pasture again. =) So nice to see Steve turn up! Too bad he won't be much help with the fence. ;) Hugs to all of you!

  29. I love your signs or omens or whatever you want to call them. Steve always knows when to show up, doesn't he? I can't help but smile when he comes along. That storm must have really been something! I wouldn't want to stay in the barn with all that racket, either. I also wouldn't want to stand outside. At least Alan has some padding to soften the blows of the hail. I hope George continues to mend and becomes sound again quickly so he can play with his brother and they can get into mischief together. Maybe they'll try to help you mend the fence. Good luck with that.

  30. So glad to see your post! If I didn't live in CA I'd be right there to help you with the fence. You have a lot of friends online that feel the same way. Hope so much that George gets well real soon.

  31. Hail Mary! Jeepers you got a lot rain and hail. So glad you posted. Grief is very painful and it is relentless. Be good to yourself. Steve says so. Many hugs and much love to you.

  32. karenk in Portland10/2/17, 5:49 PM

    STEVE!!! Maybe the storm "thawed" him out somewhere so he decided you needed a visit. So nice to see him again. I hope you've found some consolation in Lucy's diagnosis and that George is improving. All of us in your blog family care about what happens to everyone out there nowhere.

  33. An American in Tokyo10/2/17, 6:59 PM

    I'm glad to hear from you!
    You've been through a lot lately and deserved the rest from the blog, but I was starting to worry that you would never come back!
    Yay Steve! Glad to see he was looking out for you, too! =D

    Love and virtual hugs to you and everyone there!!!

  34. Oh Steve! Tortoises always make me smile too. I have a captive one named Pistachio and it’s always a thrill to see him emerge from his burrow.

    I know you are still grieving, but glad you are still carrying on. Praying George heals up completely soon.

    Wow on that storm!

  35. So wonderful to see your post. I have worried about you. I understand your grief is great, but hopefully your sighting of Steve will bringing along happier days. Sending you love and prayers.

  36. Thank you Carson. It's so good to hear from you again! When Nature shakes all those juniper berrie off of The trees for you, it might be time to make gin!!!

  37. So good to hear from you, Linda. Time DOES heal all wounds...been there myself. Yes, I see those things as signs of better things to come. Loved seeing Steve again!

  38. A lot of normal thought shuts down with grief. I think it is a protective device but it does make life hard to get through at times, like trying to swim through a head full of porridge. (Oatmeal?) I know all about looking for little things and I'm glad all those broken straps gave you something to do. Personally I might have seen them as the total last straw!

  39. Carla (CeeCee)10/4/17, 9:22 AM

    Your first image reminds me that in the midst of sorrow or suffering, our lives tend to feel as though we are wandering around in slow-motion. Everyone and everything else in life goes about in full speed, unaware of our movie-like special effects.
    I'm glad you got some answers regarding Lucy. It takes some of the "what did I do wrong, what did I miss?" out of the equation. You always, always do what is best for your animals are are infinitely aware when something is amiss. She was a kind and gentle soul. I know you miss her company. She seemed to know just what you needed and would listen to all you had to say without judgement.
    Glad to see Steve. I wonder who is coming to visit you?
    Thinking of you in your sadness and hoping you find more bright spots as the days go along.

  40. Wow. What a storm. Hail pock marks in the dirt. Don't think I have seen that before. It's good to see you again, and I am glad you are finding things worth writing about again.

  41. Steve is the veritable rainbow and silver linings of tortoises! I know things have been incredibly hard for you lately, but hang in there girlfriend, you are definitely on the upswing now. ---Mindy from Ohio

  42. so happy to read you again Linda. I couldn't but worry about you as I've been thru that pain and I know it. I secretly hope that you may save 2 girl donkeys from hell again in remembrance of Lucy, I am sure she would agree with me and the boys would feel less lonely...

    1. Maybe two girl donkeys--but I've been following the countdown to retirement, and with each passing day I feel an increasing urgency... to find a total sweetheart of a (gaited) mammoth donkey lady... knowing full well that Lucy was too perfect and too loved to even think about it (at this time). Yet, if I were in the U.S., I would have started looking for the "impossible". I mean, there was supposed to be no other cat after Deets (and boy have I known *that* feeling!)... In any event, I will continue to "secretly" visualize another riding companion for Carson. Just in case.

    2. lOVE CAN TAKE SO MANY FORMS and our animal companions can express it in such varied ways. yes, I agree with you there will be some companion who may seem irreplaceable but yes there are so many in need of our love and Mommy Carson has a huge heart and more free time in the near future. so I visualize with you but 2 donkeys, not one

  43. Come hail or high water! So glad to hear from you again Carson. I echo your blog family above ... I've been checking in and hoping you were okay - and George too. Sending you hugs from Ontario, Canada.

  44. Howz that fence mending comin' along? Hope your fingers aren't worn out.

  45. coming to check on you daily... Hope all is well. Alicia From Austin TX

  46. Hello, Linda. I'm doing the same as Alicia from Austin, TX. Miss you and hope all is well.

  47. Me, too, coming to check on you daily. I hope all is well with you and yours. Laurie in NB, Canada

  48. Just catching up...and my heart aches for you after the recent loss of Lucy. We will all miss her :(

  49. Thinking about you all, and hoping you are warm and dry (and not too warm, and not too dry, and not too smoky, etc)....

  50. I'm hoping that maybe Danni or Ethel have come to hang out - you know, friends who know when to be quiet and who can help soak up the grief.


  51. Just checking in -- you know we are all thinking about you. Hopefully all that fence fixing is also helping with the sadness, physical work has a way of doing that! Lisa G in TN

  52. I rarely post comments here, but please just know that I, and all of us, are thinking of you constantly. All animal lovers know the heartache of owning critters who don't live as long as we would like. I was raised Catholic and the nuns used to tell us "the mysteries of life will be explained to you when you get to heaven." Well, assuming I get there, let me assure you, "short-lived critters - what's up with that?" is very high on my list of things I want explained! (Along with "ticks? Seriously?")