Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 – Clinic and Shopping

Well, my intention had been to ride today, either before or after shopping, but Hubby decided he couldn’t take the coughing and phlegm any more, and asked me to take him to the nearest clinic, which I found in Dunellon, right around the corner from both the Tractor Supply and Walmart, so we went there first. After about an hour, we walked out with a prescription for antibiotics, steroids, an inhalor and a chest x-ray which had to be done 14 miles away, so off we went there after going to the Tractor Supply and getting 3 propane tanks filled. With that accomplished, we crossed the street to a Bob Evans for a meal, then headed back to Dunellon to pick up his prescriptions at the Walmart there before heading back to camp. We arrived at about 4:00, too late to take a ride like I had hoped, so we just settled down for the evening, with hopes that Hubby will feel a little better by morning.

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 – Rest Day

All this activity seems to catch up to us today. Hubby is still coughing up a storm, keeping us both awake at night, so we were both tired today. I decided to take a complete day off and do nothing but essential chores and make it a movie day. Watched several old classics and a few newbies, too, before heading for bed, though Hubby decided to stay in his chair tonight. He finds it easier to breath sitting up, which helps him, but I also think he’s doing it because he knows his coughing fits are keeping me from getting a good night sleep, too, so he wants to make sure I get a good night sleep. I was actually feeling a lot more rested by the end of the day, too, so I’m looking forward to a good night sleep!

Monday, Dec. 2, 2019 – Travel Day to Goethe State Forest

Got up around 7:30, and started packing everything away. By 10:30 we were on our way to O'Leno, then back down to Goethe State Forest to the Black Prong Trailhead Campground, which I had confirmed allowed overnight camping (at $10/night!), arriving well before 12:30. We scoped out the best spot to camp, which is right in the middle, where there are a couple of trees perfect for highlining, right next to a water spigot, a stone's throw from a bathhouse with running water (and electricity if I'm desperate), and open to the sun for our solar panel. Perfect! I got the horses on a highline with water and hay, unhooked the truck, got Hubby up and running on his dialysis machine, then proceeded to get everything set up: carpet, screen room, solar panel, the works! By the end of the afternoon, we were home again! The forecast calls for near freezing temps tonight, so I got out the heavy horse blankets them and got them tucked in for then night before turning in myself, settling down for another great evening under clear skies and lots of stars! The cell phone signal is a bit better here, so Prime and Netflix are working much better, so we settled down for a quiet evening in our new back yard!

Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019 – Shopping

I was planning on taking a short ride today, hoping that Hubby would feel well enough, but this cold has really got a grip on him, and he wasn’t fit enough to go riding. He did feel well enough, however, to go for a drive, so we decided to do our shopping today, get the propane tanks filled and get food for the next week, something we would otherwise have had to do tomorrow anyway. We started with breakfast at Perkins, which was a nice change, and got everything done and got back to camp late in the afternoon. I decided that since we only had about an hour drive, plus another half hour running up to O’Leno State Park to use the RV dump tomorrow, I would have plenty of time to break down camp in the morning rather than tonight, so we settled down for the evening.

Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 – Recovery Day

I was so achy from yesterday’s ride, we just did our usual chores and dialysis.

Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 – Double Ride Day

Well, Hubby wasn't feeling any better today, but Apollo simply had to get some exercise, so I saddled him up for a short ride before brunch. He was uncharacteristically jumpy, wanting to go back to the barn and being just plain ornery. I had planned to do the River trail, but he was just not going in that direction, so I managed to swing him past the barn and head straight for the west trailhead, which he finally, begrudgingly, headed for. Once we were on the trail he settled down, at least until we came across some big white rocks, and then he started freaking out a little. Had to pass several of them, and had to make him stand and stare at them long enough for him to realize they weren't horse-eating rocks. Then he started the same thing with some big cut logs by the side of the trail! You'd think this horse had never been on a trail before, rather than having the thousands of miles under his girth that he has! Silly kid! Eventually I managed to swing back around to pick up the River trail on the other side, and he was fine the rest of the way back to camp. Apparently several other folks in camp have been having the same kind of jumpiness in their horses, so it must be contagious! Anyway, I put Apollo away, fixed us some brunch, then went out to saddle up Flash, as today is a workout day in anticipation of the endurance ride in a couple of weeks at the Goethe State Forest that I've decided to enter. We headed out for a long ride, and though he wanted to move out, he didn't jump right into a canter like he did on Wednesday, so I guess we've worn down a little of his energy. We headed out on the main trail straight to crossing at 441, as the plan was to do most of our riding at the O'Leno State Park across the street. I did my best to follow the planned route I had made, but naturally, the intersection numbers on the map were different than the intersection markers on the ground, so it didn't take us long to get off track. We made a couple of loops I hadn't planned on because of that, and missed one turn that I wanted to take, but following the trail exactly wasn't the point today, today it was about mileage and time. We reached the far side of O'Leno, on the old Bellamy Road, in about 2 hours and 10 minutes before heading back on the northern perimeter trail, which turned out to be the worst trail out here. Lots of downed trees with wide berths around them, overgrowth that kept smacking me in the face, and because we were heading back to the barn, Flash wanted to go as fast as possible, a little cantering but mostly his fast largo gait, and we ended up arriving back at the barn almost exactly an hour later. Whew! Average speed was something like 5.6 mph, which is just about a winning pace on an endurance race! He didn't seem any worst for the wear by the time we got back, he just needed a bath, which I gave him, then put him away to rest, which was my plan for the rest of the day! We managed to get through the day running off the batteries, but we're having some kind of trouble, it doesn't seem they are properly hooked up to the generator, as it only shows 6 volts when I try to use the jumper. A problem for another day! We watched a long movie and a quick Cheers before I took a shower and we headed for bed, with a pair of ibuprofen ready to go!

Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019 – Dialysis and Pie Baking

Hubby kept having coughing fits through the night, which woke me up, then he’d go back to sleep and I would be wide awake. Not sure how much sleep I actually got during the night, but I eventually was awakened by his heart alarm going off, at 8:45. There’s a horse in the barn that must be missing a buddy, because he’s been whinnying himself hoarse trying to find him. I did my morning chores before Hubby finally got up, and he was feeling even worse than yesterday. I gave him some medicine and got him outside in the screen room for some fresh air until it was time for him to start his dialysis session. By the time I got us breakfast it was too late to take Apollo for a ride, definitely going to have to do something tomorrow, but I’ll have all day even if Hubby isn’t up to riding. Spent the afternoon doing laundry, baking pumpkin pies for tomorrow (we decided to celebrate our Thanksgiving tomorrow, since he can’t eat a big meal after dialysis), and generally trying to relax after such a lousy night sleep. I can’t remember the last time there was so much whinnying going on in a horse camp, it just seems to be practically non-stop all day!

Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 – Errands and First Ride Day at River Rising

Hubby's little throat tickle yesterday has blown up into an all out episode of cold and/or flu symptoms, so he wasn't up for riding today, or even going with me to run errands. Lola and I headed down to nearby Newberry to the Tractor Supply, and stopped at Winn-Dixie in High Springs for a few last minute things, and got back to camp in plenty of time. I fed us a late breakfast, then I saddled up Flash to go out on our first ride here. He was so full of energy, he pranced for an entire mile before I could get him down to a walk. After about a quarter mile of patience, I finally let him increase his speed, and his gait of choice was a canter, which we did for at least 2-3 miles before he finally "slowed" to a largo (the fast gait of a Paso) and did that for a few more miles. He would occasionally slow down for a brief 100 feet or so, then step right back up again. It was quite an invigorating ride! The trails here are all sand footing, mostly hard enough to not cause any problems, and the forest here is truly old Florida, with lots of live oak and huge old growth trees. We started on the River trail, which is probably the prettiest as it meanders through the forest and by the river, naturally, but many of the other trails here are long straightaways, giving us lots of opportunities to really move out. Our ride came to a sudden slowdown when my stirrup broke, and though I tried several different methods of fixing it, I didn't succeed, so we ended up mostly walking the 1.5 miles back to camp. I got Hubby some tools and he drilled some holes and managed to get it usable again. Meanwhile I have Flash a nice bath, cleaned out the stalls, put down some fresh bedding and put Flash away, only to have him roll in the stall, pretty much erasing his bath. Figures. Giving an animal a bath is probably the most useless expenditure of energy any human can bother to do. Oh, well! I did a bunch more chores and finally managed to settle down for the evening, tired, but glad Flash seems to be in pretty good shape despite his month of inactivity. I'm hoping Apollo will get out tomorrow, we'll have to see how it goes. Hubby feeling slightly better having slept a good part of the day, but despite having had both a flu and a pneumonia vaccine, this is hitting him pretty hard. We guess it is the result of either catching a chill in the barn at Baker, or sick people there walking by coughing and sneezing, of which there was a lot. Hard to escape getting sick when there are so many other people around! Hope he improves tomorrow!

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 – Setup and Dialyze

Got up pretty early and went to work getting down the porch carpet and putting up the screen room, along with all the rest of my chores. This is the first time we’ve had them both down together, and it makes quite a nice “Florida” room! It was pretty cool last night, but the forecast is for the days ahead are warmer, so I expect we’ll be out there more often. Did a few odd jobs, hung some pictures, then had a bit of trouble getting the generator started, though I have no inkling why. There was plenty of juice in the batteries, and the jump starter didn’t seem to work either, so eventually I pulled the truck around and jump started it with the full force of my two brand new batteries, and it started right up. Not sure what that was about, but I hope it doesn’t happen again! Anyway, that caused a little delay in starting our dialysis session today, but we soon got Hubby up and running. The last bunch of sessions have been going really well, so much so we’ve been able to raise his blood flow rate up an extra 50 points, which means his sessions have been a little shorter, which is always a plus. Eventually settled down for the evening with a movie and some old Cheers!, and ready to go to bed early.

Monday, Nov. 25, 2019 – Travel Day to River Rise

Got up at sunrise this morning, with temps in the 30's and signs of ice on the tarp, so it evidently got even colder than forecast! It didn't take long to get everything packed up, get the horses loaded, and we were moving out of the Baker Arena by 8:30. We had no trouble at all on the road, and because we got out even earlier than expected, we had time to stop at Dennys at the Flying J at Midway, topped off with fuel, dropped off a Fedex package in their box, and had breakfast all in one go, and it all only took about half an hour. I called the park and learned that we were required to go to O'Leno State Park first to register and get the gate code, then travel the 10 miles or so to River Rise, where we found quite a few campers already here, though several left before the day's end. I spoke with the campground host, who was very pleasant (unlike the last time we were here, which was a nightmare, but I'm willing to take a second chance!), and decided the best chance of getting enough sun to make the solar panel worthwhile was right next to the barn, which is the same spot where we stayed years ago. Once we got the horses put away in the barn and the trailer unhooked, Hubby and I headed out again, as I had made arrangements to pick up 10 bales of hay at a farm only 20 minutes away, and we had made an appointment at 4:30. Arrived right on time, got the hay, stopped at Winn-Dixie to pick up some essentials for Thanksgiving on the way back, and got back to camp right after sunset. I fed the horses, then defrosted the freezer, a long overdue job, and which I hope was the cause of why my ice-maker had quite working a few weeks ago. It took quite a while to get all the ice out, it had really caked up in there, but I finally got it all cleared out. Hubby and I finished watching a movie we had started the other day on Prime, though the signal here is such that is needs to be nursed a bit, but I think I can solve that once I can put the phone outside more easily. Shared a few pieces of pizza, had a little half-melted ice cream before heading to bed, hoping to get our body clocks on Eastern time by morning. It finally feels like we're back on the road for real again!