With A Heavy Heart

Outside the house the wind is howling
and the trees are creaking horribly.
This is an old story
with its old beginning,
as I lay me down to sleep.
But when I wake up, sunlight
has taken over the room.
You have already made the coffee
and the radio brings us music
from a confident age. In the paper
bad news is set in distant places.
Whatever was bound to happen
in my story did not happen.
But I know there are rules that cannot be broken.
Perhaps a name was changed.
A small mistake. Perhaps
a woman I do not know
is facing the day with the heavy heart
that, by all rights, should have been mine.
~Lisel Mueller “In November”

It does not escape me~
(I wake every day knowing this)
the earthquake happened somewhere else,
a tornado leveled some other town,
a plane full of ordinary people like me was shot out of the sky,
a drunk driver destroyed a family,
a fire left a forest and homes in ashes,
a missing son’s body was found frozen in an avalanche,
a devastating diagnosis darkens
someone’s remaining days.

No mistake has been made,
yet I wake knowing this part of my story
has not yet visited me-
the heavy heart
that should have been mine
awaits,
still breaking,
still bleeding,
still beating
still believing miracles can happen.

How to Almost Kill Your Farm Dog

 

sammySamwise Gamgee still blind the day after almost dying

 

Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?
~L.M. Montgomery

 

I’ve owned dogs and horses and a host of other farm animals during thirty years of farm living.  Animals can be unpredictable in their behavior but they don’t make mistakes — only humans do.  One of my mistakes nearly killed my dog Sam last week.

My Cardigan corgis Sam and Homer are full time outdoor farm dogs who do chores with me morning and night.  They accompany me to the hay barn to fetch bales of hay, they gather up the barn cats for herding practice, they help me clean the horse stalls by picking up (and usually eating) stray manure balls that I fail to pick up fast enough.  These are very important jobs for a corgi whose brain and sense of self worth depends on being needed.

All was ordinary on Sunday morning as we went from stall to stall doing our clean up work, including my quarterly deworming of the horses by syringing wormer paste into their mouths before letting them have their morning meal.

A few hours later on Sunday afternoon I went out to the dog yard to let out Homer and Sam to do barn chores and Sam stood immobilized at the gate, trembling and blind.  His pupils were completely dilated, he couldn’t see a thing and had been vomiting — a lot.  The only possibility was a toxic exposure, most likely licking up a glop of ivermectin paste in the shavings of the stalls we were cleaning after a horse slopped it out of their mouth during the worming process.

We scooped him up and took him to the emergency animal clinic, where the suspected diagnosis was ivermectin poisoning with severe dehydration and acute blindness from the neurotoxicity of the drug in a smaller herding dog with genetic propensity to this kind of reaction.  He was lucky to be alive as the case studies show that sensitive dogs often go into seizures and coma.

In thirty years of worming animals with farm dogs around my feet, this had never even occurred to me to be a risk.  Now I know better, and the dogs will stay out of the barn during worming and for several days afterward as the manure can end up with toxic amounts of wormer drug in it too, and corgis happen to consider horse manure a delicacy.

Sam was vigorously rehydrated with intravenous fluids overnight, had an appetite in the morning but still remained blind as his pupils remained fully dilated for about 24 hours.  He slowly regained his vision over several days, and now is back to his sweet, playful  incorrigible corgi self.

I’m very grateful I didn’t kill my dog, but I sure managed to come close.

At least tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it — yet.

samlook

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offtoadventure

Christmas Mess

sashaeye

When the barn doors are opened
on a bright frosted Christmas morning,
the inner darkness penetrated by a beam of sunlight,
exposing an equine escapee.

His stall door stands ajar,  the door unlatched,
he meanders the black of the unlit barn aisle lined with hay bales
munching his breakfast, lunch, and dinner
all of which lies strewn and ruined at his feet.

Not only did he somehow escape his locked door
but he has chosen to leave poop piles
on every other horses’ breakfast, lunch,  and dinner
as futilely they watch from behind their stall doors.

He has had the run of the place all night~
obvious from his ubiquitous hoof tracks amid
the overturned buckets, trampled halters, tangled baling twine,
twisted hoses, toppled hay bales and general chaos.

At least he didn’t climb up and start the tractor
or eat the cat food or pry open the grain barrel
or chew a saddle or two, or rip horse blankets apart,
but from the looks of things I think he tried.

His head goes up as the sunlight highlights his nocturnal escapade,
catching him red-hoofed and boldly nonchalant, proclaiming innocence.
Like a child asking for milk to go with a stolen cookie
he approaches me, begging for a carrot after his all night repast.

I grab a fist full of mane, put him back, double lock him in.
Surveying the mess, I want to turn around, shut the barn doors
and banish it back to the cover of darkness,
hide his sins now illuminated in the light of day.

Instead
I remember all the messes I’ve made in my life.
I clean his up, give him a hug,
and forgive as I’m forgiven.
~EPG

barnlight2

 

Should Have Been Mine

maple10141

Outside the house the wind is howling
and the trees are creaking horribly.
This is an old story
with its old beginning,
as I lay me down to sleep.
But when I wake up, sunlight
has taken over the room.
You have already made the coffee
and the radio brings us music
from a confident age. In the paper
bad news is set in distant places.
Whatever was bound to happen
in my story did not happen.
But I know there are rules that cannot be broken.
Perhaps a name was changed.
A small mistake. Perhaps
a woman I do not know
is facing the day with the heavy heart
that, by all rights, should have been mine.
~Lisel Mueller “In November”

pears1