Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018 – Shopping and Dialyzing

Today was all about doing some shopping and getting Hubby dialyzed. We made several stops for a variety of things, finally filling up with diesel (at the remarkably low price of $2.99/gallon!) Got back to the farm, and got Hubby all hooked up, had a fabulous dialysis session with a great arterial rate, which we’ve been having a bit of trouble with, and hardly any alarms! Yeah! Had a relaxing evening watching a movie, and an early night to bed!

Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018 – Travel Day to Richer Farms, with Belt Blowout

Got a nice early start today, took an hour less to get ready since I didn't have to load the trailer, then move, then unload the trailer, then load the horses, the load the trailer again, like I had to do at Coldwater, so things went a lot faster. We were out by about 8:30, and since we had had a sewer hook-up, we didn't even have to make a dump stop. We dropped a Fedex box at the office, as I had made arrangements for a pickup here today, with labs that are essential for Hubby to get an in-center dialysis session next week on our business trip to Nebraska. Things were going great until I got a phone call from Fedex wanting to know where in the campground we were located because they couldn't go searching all over for us to pick up the package. I called them and learned they were trying to find us at Wolf Creek Campground in southern Illinois! Evidently, all of the information about being at McCulley Farms was completely ignored, they just went back to an address we had used ONCE about 10 MONTHS AGO!! How stupid can you get??? I argued with them for a long time, explaining that this was literally and truly a matter of life and death, and they said they would "try" to get the driver to go back and get the package. They wanted me to meet the driver at a Flying J 15 minutes from McCulley Farms (we were already 100 miles from there), and it only got worse from there. After we had gone through the Ag stop on I-75 south of Lake City, our ETA at our friend Cherryl's horse farm was 12:30, which was spectacular. I had planned on arriving early, doing some socializing to get caught up, and then dialyzing Hubby this afternoon. But you know how it is with the best-laid plans! We were only about an hour or so from our desitnation in Dade City when I suddenly felt something change in the feel of my truck. I suddenly had no power steering, no brakes, and my battery light came, which I realized meant my serpentine belt had given way, darn it! Fortunately there was an exit a half mile away, with a mechanic shop just on the other side of the overpass, so I parked along the exit ramp and walked over. They managed to drive it over, checked it out, ordered the part, tried to talk me into a bunch of other stuff, and charged me $250 to change the belt, including $35 for "shop supplies," $94 for a belt my mechanic says costs about $40, and charged me more than an hour of labor @ $130/hour, even though it only took about 10 minutes to do the job. What can I say, we were a captive audience with no place else to go, darn it. That episode set us back a couple of hours, but we managed to get on the road and still get to Cherryl's by around 2:30, with me still arguing with Fedex almost the entire way. What is it with them? Why can't they just say YES and be good at customer service, rather than NO, NO, NO and making enemies? Again, mostly captive audience, I guess. In the end, they promised to get the package picked up today, and eventually left me a voice mail saying they had, so I guess the labs are on the way. After getting set up and the horses settled in, plus a bit of catching up, it was too late to dialyze Hubby today (and I was a bit too irritated to focus after all the crap that happened). Our hosts fed us a spectacular meal, which went a long way to assuage my stress, and we finally settled in for the evening before heading to bed in this quiet, and (finally) dark place!

Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 – Finally Hubby Has A Ride Day

After a day off from dialysis, Hubby's legs were a bit stronger, so today I once again saddled up both horses, and this time, he was able to get on. We had decided to change saddles, as the Aussie saddle I've been using has kind of a high cantle, which made it hard for him to get his leg over last time, so I added a thick pad and used his old Abetta cordura saddle from Clio on him, and he had a much easier time getting his leg up over it. Up and running, and praying thet Apollo didn't explode any more and Flash would stay calm and not get too excited, we headed off to the trailhead that would wind us down to the Withlacoochee River. I had been trying to do the blue trail in reverse to get to the Fish Camp, but hadn't succeeded, but today we did it! We mostly kept Apollo in front to keep the pace slow, and Flash did a great job of staying slow and overall behaving himself the entire way. It's almost as if he knows Hubby needs special care and accommodates him accordingly. More likely he was just tired after two days of pretty hard riding, though he didn't behave as though he was the least bit tired. He never does, which is why I think this horse will be great for endurance, if I can keep up his conditioning. We were out for nearly four miles, which is a good ride for Hubby at the moment, and we were both pleased at the whole day. After getting the horses and Hubby settled in to his dialysis, I started doing some packing for our departure tomorrow. The rest of the day was just another ordinary day on the road!

Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 – Double Duty on Riding Today!

With full intentions to go for a ride on Flash today, Hubby got all ready to go, and I saddled up both horses, and then, unfortunately, Hubby just wasn't strong enough in his legs to climb into the saddle, even with the 3-step mounting block. I'm still working on getting Flash to stand completely still, and he did pretty well, but he moved a couple of times just out of reach, After a while of trying, Hubby decided it was best if he skipped the ride today, and left me to take BOTH horses for a ride! I started with Flash, going on a fairly speedy ride. He got a bit excited again, so I decided to do what I've been threatening to do for a while, start getting him conditioned for endurance riding, so I let him go as fast as he wanted, no matter what kind of trail we went on. We cantered down wide roads, gaited fast through single tracks in the woods, generally covering a lot of ground in a relatively short time (compared to my slug Apollo, anyway). Other than wanting to go, go, go, he behaved himself quite well, a lot better than yesterday, but still with a lot of P&V being expressed. Got back to camp, grabbed a quick bite, then off again on Apollo, who is long overdue for some exercise. He started out his usual sluggish self, and after about a half a mile, when I got nice and relaxed, he suddenly exploded for no apparent reason, except maybe because there was a live oak tree with a particularly low-lying, menacing branch on it, and it took a one rein stop to quiet him down. Then off we went again, slug, slug, slug, until about another mile or so in, and then suddenly, he exploded again, though I had no idea why. One rein stop, settle down, then slug, slug, slug. Then we saw a couple of deer on one side of the road, and kind of watched them as the crossed the trail behind us, then 5 seconds later, after they had gone, another explosion! Grrrr! I don't know what got into him, except lack of practice, but we exploded a couple more times, once stepping so far sideways I came out of the saddle (glad I had my helmet on!) before we finally got back to camp. Still don't know what all that was about, but Flash was happy to see Apollo and Apollo seemed to bask in the adoration, so things are getting better between them. Hubby said Flash whinnied practically the whole time Apollo was gone, though Apollo doesn't quite share the same enthusiasm, at least not yet. That day will come, though, I'm sure! Got the horses put away, fed the panting and finally tired Lola dog, and relaxed the rest of the evening, after a rather tiring but productive weekend!

Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018 – Ride Day With Nancy

While feeding the horses this morning I got into a chat with the group that had been camping next to the covered stalls, and in particular, a woman named Nancy who also has a Paso Fino. She invited me to ride with her, but I told her I’d have to see how Hubby was feeling this morning, in case he felt up to riding. Generous Hubby said, by all means, take a ride with another Paso Fino person and see what happens, so that’s what I did. Flash was calm for about the first half mile, then after that he started getting really fussy, jumping and pulling, at times he literally was cantering in place! Not sure what got into him, except maybe he wanted to move out more, but Nancy was working on teaching her horse to just walk quietly, so I didn’t want to interfere with that. There were a couple of times I let him run, though, but evidently not enough, because he kept prancing almost all the rest of the time. What a workout! Flash worked up quite a sweat, too! We were out for nearly two hours, so it was a good workout for everyone. Nancy was pleased her horse stayed calm through Flash’s histrionics, even bumping into her a couple of times. Crazy horse, don’t know what got into him, he was perfect last week! Anyway, got him put away, then spent the rest of the afternoon dialyzing Hubby before settling in for the evening.

Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 – Cold Morning Followed By a Shopping Day

Last night, I put one too many electrical appliances on and set the circuit breaker off. Unfortunately, there aren’t individual breakers on the box that I was plugged into, which is the typical setup, and it was too dark to go looking for the breaker, so we just took it as a sign to go to bed. Since we didn’t have the electric fireplace to keep us warm, I turned on the gas furnace. Naturally, we ran out of propane halfway through the night, and, of course, it was the coldest night of our entire stay, close to freezing, so it was a chilly start to the day! Took the opportunity this morning to run up to Valdosta to do some shopping, though we forgot to take the propane tanks with us to refill, so grateful we have four LP tanks on this trailer! Did our running around, then got back to camp in time to dialyze, and that was it for the day, other than taking care of the horses, of course!

Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018 – Travel Day to McCulley Farms

Thought we'd be waking up to cold and clear skies, but it was still cloudy when we got up at dawn. It took us quite a while to get everything packed up, it's a lot of work when you're on your own like I am now. Hubby's just not strong enough to help much, though he did assist in getting the truck hooked up. We didn't have any trouble getting the horses loaded, though the ramp was a bit slippery and they both slid a bit on the way up. On my list of things to do is to try to solve that problem. We headed for the dump and managed to clear out the gray water in the front tank, but discovered that the second hookup for the gray and blackwater from the bathroom had a very strange setup and no connections to make it work. The previous owner of the trailer had given me a huge plastic bag full of hoses and adapters, but none of them actually worked with the setup that was on there. Weird! Anyway, we opted to just travel that way, and would solve the problem when we got to McCulley Farms, where we hoped to get a sewer hookup, and thus have the chance to fix the problem. Once we got out of the campground, we had an uneventful drive to Jasper, FL, though we did have to stop once for gas at the only diesel station in town, so naturally it was 50 cents more a gallon than everywhere else. One thing that we saw on the trip were a lot of downed trees along I-10 from Hurricane Michael, which came through the panhandle a few weeks ago. Even though it was pretty far inland, there were whole forests that had been decapitated, with 12-15 foot high stumps just broken off. It was obvious from the many crushed guardrails just how many trees had come down, and there were work crews all along the way. Plenty more work to be done, no doubt! We arrived at McCulley Farms around 4:00, (having lost an hour from changing time zones), and met up with owner Richard, who was happy to let us have a sewer site at no extra charge. We found a great spot out in the open, though it was quite a walk to the stalls again. Unfortunately the stalls aren't in that great shape, none of them have latches so I had to use their lead ropes to tie them shut. Mostly metal gates chained onto half-fast posts, and a lot of the boards that make up the other walls look like they'd been kicked, broken and repaired more than once. A bit disappointing considering the fairly expensive price tag to come here. Can't wait till we can actually just high-line them nearby! Anyway, we got ourselves hooked up, and I spent a little time sorting out the sewer problem, managed to take an end off an old split pipe and put it on the end of the attachment to the drain. I have to say, as many wonderful attributes as this trailer has, the plumbing system is NOT one of them. Discreetly hidden behind a couple of compartment doors, which open at about a 45 degree angle to the ground, when you open the door they're in your way, and the actual fitting for the hose is way inside that compartment! You can't actually see it unless you're on the ground looking up. The previous owners had added a short piece of hose to make it more accessible, but the end doesn't fit the typical drain hose, which was my problem. Anyway, I got it fixed up so that it was usable, at least temporarily, because the hose end doesn't fit exactly right, but I can solve that problem later. I drained the black water and rinsed with the gray water, then set it up to use for our stay. That all done, we relaxed for the evening after getting the horses settled in.

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 – More Rain

Another day of cold rain, cutting into our plan to leave today. Did little else except look after the horses and dialyze Hubby, though I did put a few things away in anticipation of our departure tomorrow. Temp supposed to get below freezing overnight, so hoses came in, along with whatever else I could pre-load. To bed early, for an early morning wake-up tomorrow!

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018 – Rain

Rain, rain and more rain today. Temps dropped overnight, so it ended up being a cold rain. Happy the horses were under shelter, but starting to get tired of the rain!

Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 – Veteran’s Day with Shopping

It started raining overnight, and kept raining all day today. Since we couldn’t ride, and we needed a few things, we decided to drive into Milton about 25 miles away for a meal and shopping. I had to take the hay out of the back of the truck and put it under the gooseneck. I only hope it doesn’t puddle under there too much, some of the hay’s gone a little moldy already from the rain we had the other day. Went into town to the Tractor Supply for a new manure rake (my old one kept breaking tines for some reason) and a few odds and ends, had lunch at a nice little Diner called Ace, and they let us hang around and do some computer work that I desperately needed to do. Finally a trip to Walmart for the rest of the items we needed, mostly things to help get our new “cabin” more organized, now that I’ve got everything in it. Miracle of miracles, Hubby decided to WALK around the store! That may not sound like much, but he hasn’t attempted to do that in over a year, always opting for a scooter cart to get him around, so it’s obvious that a horseback ride and a glass of wine (which he had for the first time in a long time last night) is the key to strengthening his legs! SO HAPPY! Got back to camp a bit later than we hoped, so his dialysis session started late and ended late, but we’re determined to be in bed early from now on, since it gets so dark so early these days! It will be better once we get into Eastern time, but at the moment, it’s pitch black by 5:30, even earlier with the rain! Well, it is well-lit here, so feeding in the dark isn’t too bad, just soggy lately. Off to bed around 10, later than we wanted, but as early as we could under the circumstances.