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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adjusting to a new reality
It has been 3 long weeks since we lost Melissa. I never thought I'd miss that little girl so much, but there's a big hole in the herd now that she's gone. All of the horses seem a little down, especially Mist (which is only natural). What's beautiful to see, though, is how Mist's closest friends have tried to comfort her. For the first week or so, Maggie was sharing Mist's paddock—the two of them have been so close, it only made sense. I could look out the window and the two of them were never more than a foot apart, and usually Maggie was diligently grooming Mist's mane. Which unfortunately put a bunch of tangles into it that I've yet to fully eliminate, but it's a small price, and Mist's mane was getting too long anyway. Then we switched things around and put Stevie in with Mist, Maggie with Ray, and Bessie with Rusty. Stevie's approach to comforting Mist (who has been part of his life since he was about the same age as Melissa was) was to make her play with him. And so he teased and taunted until she had no other option but to start chasing him. At first she did it in a manner that could only be described as grumpy, but lately she's started to pick her head up a little—she's clearly coming out of her funk.
5:30 am edt 

Thursday, October 9, 2008


This week has been just awful. We lost our filly Melissa on Monday. She was playing in the paddock and (we think) caught her hind leg in the feed rack, panicked, and snapped the leg in two places. It was all done before we could do a thing about it. We got her back to the barn and called the vet to euthanize her. All of us are heartsick—she was such a beauty, our pride and joy, everything we'd worked and hoped for, the quintessential Lippitt filly in conformation and disposition... and now she's gone.

I can't think of anything else to say about it. It is what it is. We still have Bessie's foal on the way to comfort us, and it's a good thing, because having lost my first baby, I don't know that I'd have the heart to try again if not for the fact that Bessie is already bred. But part of me also says that I'll be DAMNED if I'm going to let that beautiful stallion in Canada die without any offspring to carry on his legacy—not when I'm one of the few Lippitt breeders close enough to do something about it. So we'll just have to recover and keep on going.

9:04 am edt 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Autumn in Maine

Haven't posted in over a month—that's because I've been busting my butt trying to earn enough cash to keep our seven horses in increasingly expensive hay. It's up to $5/bale from our local source, which may seem cheap to those of you down south, but that's a rise of $1/bale over last spring—ouch. Fortunately my job is going well and I've picked up some side work editing articles for a Japanese issue of the journal Biological Conservation. Interesting stuff, but a little, ah, foreign to me... still, it's nice to learn about different things, even if they bear no relation whatsoever to the life I lead today. And it keeps the beasts in hay.

We're doing all sorts of things to keep afloat in the current rancid economy. Like: we raided our savings and took a loan to install a wood-burning furnace, because even at current somewhat lower oil prices, it would cost us in the neighborhood of 8 grand to heat this palace. As I told the salesman when he asked me why I was doing this when I had 3 oil tanks in my basement, "I have 25 acres of pine and maple forest, but not a lot of crude oil on my land." We bought an EPA-rated low emissions furnace so I can at least feel like I'm not INCREASING the pollution my furnace spews into the air, chopped up a lot of the downed trees leftover from the Patriot's day storm that hit the day Eric was born, and it's just about ready to go—there is a little bit of plumbing still to be done, but the main work is done. We'll still have the oil as a backup, of course, but henceforth stocking the furnace is going to be a regular chore of the household. Also, we bought a large trailer, large enough to carry 200-300 bales of hay at a time. We did the calculation, and for about $50 worth of diesel, we can go north and buy 300 bales of hay at $0.50 to $1.00 cheaper per bale. This will save us $150-$300. Over time, the trailer pays for itself, and we end up with a considerable savings in feeding horses. 

And, Stevie starts training today. Not that this is a way of saving money—but it's the next step in making him attractive to a buyer once things pick up. Ray is going to be accompanying him for the sessions too, just so we can get him comfortable with riding in the trailer and being in different places among different horses. He's left the farm exactly once since he arrived at 6 weeks old, and that was a disaster, so it's clear he needs wider exposure to the world. Which he will get.

6:35, which means I'd better start my work day. Ciao for now. 

6:35 am edt 

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