"If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." — E.B. White

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Thanks friends! Update

I so appreciate every body's kind words and support!

Thought an update on Merit (n family) was overdue...

Merit came home from surgery at the hospital and slowly but surely got stronger and brighter.
Just last weekend I finally felt she'd regained her zest and appetite.
Poor thing was too thin from the pain of chewing (and tummy ulcers?)
But it's been a real roller coaster.
She continues to have new smaller abscesses that develop and need lancing.
Each time I begin to feel confident, there's another setback.
Kinda like this spring, huh?! 

Today the vet was here at 8 am to lance a small abscess, then later I returned from a school meeting to find a fast growing new ugly swelling near the original site! soooo
The vet's coming back later...

Good thing we  LOVE  Dr Link ~
we see her often and have prolly bought her a trip to Europe at this rate!

Fingers crossed n prayers said that this new swelling doesn't go downhill fast.

We've had plenty of fun too despite this wicked weather...
Impossible to believe that Sunday was 32 n snowing and 

Monday we enjoyed spring peepers, sunshine and 64 degrees!!!

This morning for April Fool's Day (before the vet came)
I did easy / silly pranks like a whoopie cushion n fake buck teeth, falsehoods about a school delay and stuffing shoes with TP in the toes (last year it was ice).
I had more ideas, but less time.  :-(

We also enjoyed silliness when our Leprechaun visited and again caused mischief with green milk, juice n toilet water, upturned furniture and streamers of TP. Thankfully he also filled shoes with rainbow candy and left Lucky Charms!

Although we've not been able to get out fox hunting, we've been exploring pony racing and have had fun cheering for our sweet n talented neighbors The Leathermans as they run ~and won!

We're so ready for some relaxing and EASY play days, but even time to work on outdoor projects and dig in the dirt would be wonderful.

Thanks to you all friends! I'm praying that YOU are well n enjoying warm, sunny days!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sick pony, sad boy, prayers needed

Today's a big day.
We are praying hard for our perfect pony Merit.
We're into the 3rd week of sadness.

Poor Jack is trying hard to be brave but it's wearing thin.
He adores his pony. And it's mutual.
Merit's been sick since we returned home from our trip.
I'd planned on updating trip pics, but constant care has taken over my thoughts (and time).
Merit was hugely swollen along her jaw line.
Her right side only.

Five days in the vet was finally able to find a soft spot to lance and drain.
Apparently it's an extremely delicate area with numerous nerves and vessels so it's only safe to approach areas that are clearly fluid/pus filled.
Boy was it.

We thought the worst was behind us.
Nope. It got much uglier.

Then we were worried that it might somehow be a highly contagious sickness called "strangles." Even tho it didn't present like strangles, our farm would need to be quarantined if it was. 
Maybe MORE of this?!
No new business. No shows or events or outings.
Starting at my busiest time of year.
After a miserable winter.

After that, she coliced on a zero degree night.
She probably had bad stomach ulcers from the intense pain and meds.
The vet and I were out late putting warm water and oil in her via nasal tube.
While she dripped copious amounts of pus.
And I tried to decontaminate with bleach water.
Now I had a very, very sick pony AND a pus n blood n bleach skating rink in my barn aisle. 

We kept medicating, examining, tubing with water n oil and praying.
And praying.

More pus eruptions and drainage by her ears.
Sad pony and little boy.

We thought she was making progress and might eat or drink on her own and bounce back.

Then, two weeks in, there was new swelling on her "good side" but much lower.
Then matching swelling on original side neck muscle...
And heat in her hooves.
Which could possibly indicate her body was unable to process the infection and she might "crash" badly.
I had a day full of lessons and (FINALLY) warm temps.
But I couldn't bear another minute of worry.
Our wonderful vet, Dr. Sarah Link, agreed it was time to ship Merit to the big vet hospital. 
She's now at Marion  dupont Scott Equine Medical Hospital in VA.

Today she undergoes a major surgery to open her jaw and neck 
and try to remove all infection.
It's risky and expensive.
We are grief stricken but putting our faith in God and the surgeon.
Any additional prayers are welcome!

Friday, February 28, 2014

sneak peak of Suisse

I'm back, but still organizing my pics n thoughts (n farm)!

Here's a sneak peak of our trip ~ 

I'd hoped to get shots of swiss farms but these were the only cows I saw!

There were electric fences n water tubs everywhere outside the cities though.
A friend said that much like Heidi, the animals are moved or kept inside in anticipation of the winter snows. I did see large clear bags of sheeps wool outside some barns.
And livestock n horse trailers parked along tiny roadsides.
Along the train route I saw one chicken in a cute coop, and two children riding a big shaggy horse, and lots n lots of small garden plots squeezed in everywhere.

I was really struck by a few things, like how much better the quality of their foods are, and the land use / planning to keep large tracts of green space and small farms in close proximity to condensed (but charming) housing. I must also admit how much I dislike so much of the new "modern" houses in Switzerland. They seemed like something I'd imagine in Stalinist Russia!?

But mostly we moved too fast for me to take "snapshots" with my cumbersome dslr.

I did a bit better with still shots, like these cow n goat bells decorating our chalet!

 I stopped n snapped this wee shack beside the mountain road as I drove to the ski area.

This is the telecabin that brought us to the top of the ski area.

I saw this on my FB feed and couldn't agree more

It was an eye opening trip with folks from all around the world.

I especially loved the cute toddlers skiing and how dogs are welcomed everywhere, including public transport and restaurants!

Here's an idea of what I saw as we left Geneva...
(not my own pics tho!)

Le Jet d'eau

From the train - terraced vineyards n orchards are seen all around the lake... 

with Alps on the opposite shore


Similar ski viliage

Our view as we flew into GORGEOUS Vienna at dusk (we rode that ferris wheel)!

And all along the way new friendships flourished!

I'll be posting more detailed family activities very soon.
It's much colder back here in Maryland than it was in Europe so, between extra chores, I'm hunkering down (just short of hibernating with added jetlag)!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Switz or bust!

buy Katie Daisy's awesome art here

Tomorrow I'll leave for Switzerland with my mom and kids.
Due to 22"+ expected total snow, who knows if we'll make it out.
Although I hear that, much like Sochi,
it's warmer there with less snow!

I was born in Geneva, Switzerland.
My parents were there pursuing degrees, and working.
We moved to the States soon, but travelled frequently.
My Father was British so I spent considerable time in England as well.
He worked for World Health Organization and we visited many wonderful countries.

 "The World is a Book and those who do not travel read only one page".
~ St. Augustine

When I was a kid I did NOT appreciate it.
I wanted to be home for the holidays and build friendships.
We moved back to Switzerland when I was in 6th grade.
That's where I really became a rider as my folks allowed me free range 
riding a friends ponies through the Swiss countryside, bareback.
Then we moved back to a new part of Maryland .
I was bribed to agree with promises of my first horse...
That I had to work and save to buy and care for myself.
(but that's another story)

I think that it's because of so much travelling at a young age, that I've become a real homebody.
My kids, they just love the farm.

Just over a year ago the kids drew our farmhouse with crooked chimney while travelling with Gramma JoJo in Williamsburg. I LOVE these pics!

I've been back to Europe since to visit old friends, but it's been too long.
And my generous mother felt it important that my kids see where I came from
(and have fun skiing real mountains AND MEET THEIR BABY COUSIN in Austria)

It's very hard to leave my farm.
Emotionally and practically.
The Farmer is staying behind to ease the latter.
but that just makes the former worse...

Please say a prayer for every.body~ staying n going!
(I'm quite worried about the 21bodies staying n coping with snowmageddon)