Check out the customer reviews on these gummy bears. My cheeks still hurt from laughing so hard. I literally had tears coming out of my eyes.
Kid 4 found this reptile as he was leaving school and snuck it home on the bus. I checked with the school to see if anyone was missing a pet. No such luck. One of the teachers found him in her yard, brought it to school to show her student and then allowed them to turn him loose on the ditch bank.
George is currently living in an aquarium in my front room. Kid 2 says he keeps her company while she is doing her schoolwork. I guess that means we've added to the menagerie. Lucky us.
As many of you know, Kid 2 had a nasty horse wreck earlier this summer. The green horse she was riding bolted through the trees at a dead run. Kid 2 kept it together and was attempting a one-rein stop when she hit her head on a tree trunk and was knocked to the ground. Thankfully she was wearing a helmet, but she was still diagnosed with a concussion as well as a sprained shoulder and told to take it easy for a while.
Time went on. Her shoulder healed, but the severe headaches did not go away. School started. She made it through the first school day, but came home in a lot of pain and spent the rest of the night curled up in a little ball. Traditional school was clearly not going to work for her for a while. We enrolled Kid 2 in the district's Home Bound program so that she could keep up on her schooling, but do it at her own rate, depending on how she felt.
I took her back to the doctor who diagnosed her with Post-concussion Syndrome, a fancy term meaning that the original concussion hadn't healed yet. Full healing can take weeks, months or even a year. There is no way to predict. Kid 2's symptoms include the headaches and delayed processing when asked a direct question. It just takes her an extra couple seconds to figure out what you are asking (but thankfully, that seems to be improving!)
The recommended course of treatment is to do something strenuous (reading, math, exercise, etc.) until a headache is triggered, then rest, recover and repeat. They liken this process to how you build a muscle by stressing it and then allowing it to rest.
Interestingly, watching TV or a movie is considered "rest" since your brain apparently shuts mostly down, and is recommended as a distraction.
The doctor also recommended allowing Kid 2 to participate in as many social activities as possible. Head injuries are often accompanied by depression and he was concerned that the isolation of home schooling might increase that risk. Because of this, there have been times when I've had to force myself to let her go out even when my preference would be to wrap her in bubble wrap and stick her in bed.
I got a few smirks from acquaintances who saw Kid 2 at the homecoming game and knew that Kid 2 was Home Bound for schooling. The attitude was that if she was too "sick" to go to school, then she shouldn't be at the game. That's understandable. I might have made the same judgement if I didn't know better.
She's had days where she's had to leave church, because the background noise triggers the headaches. I was concerned about the noise of the football game, but I think the open air versus an enclosed room made it possible for her to deal with it. I suspect she'll have a harder time at a basketball game.
She's excited about participating in the high school musical this fall. I know that there have been times she has had to find a quiet hallway to recover from the noise of rehearsals. Her sisters and friends do a great job of keeping an eye on her so she doesn't overdue it.
The point is though, she doesn't have the flu. She has a concussion. She has good days and she has bad days. I think the good days are finally starting to out number the bad days, but we take each day as it comes. If she's hurting, we encourage her to rest. If she's feeling good, we try to push her as much as possible.
I'm just grateful that she is recovering, albeit slowly. I'm also grateful that she was wearing her helmet.
Check out this video of Courtney King Dye, a former USA Olympic dressage rider.
"On March 3, 2010, a horse Courtney was riding tripped and fell. Courtney was not
wearing a helmet and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. She spent 4 weeks in a
coma and 3 months in in-patient rehabilitation re-learning how to walk and talk. She
was the catalyst and is an avid supporter of riders4helmets."
Taken from http://www.ckddressage.com/
I finally caved and got myself a smart phone. So far it is not making me feel very smart as I try to figure out how to use the silly thing. Kid 2 rather eagerly volunteered to keep it for a few days and then teach me how to use it. So thoughtful of her, don't you think?
Friday night she was messing with the ring tones. She pulled up one that just seemed to demand a disco dance. Kid 1 instantly said, "NO! Not that one, or we'll have to watch Mom do that stupid dance every time the phone rings!" Nice, huh?
Kid 3 and I went for a short ride together in the woods next door after riding lessons yesterday. Piper had to poop and since Kid 3 was right behind us, she got a good view of everything as it fell out. "Eewww...It looks like cinnamon pull-aparts!" she exclaimed.
Anyone else going to have a hard time eating those now?
Finally managed to pick the remaining apple trees yesterday. We lost some apples to the recent cold temperatures, but as you can see, we still have plenty--including 3 more boxes of damaged apples not shown here that we set aside for the animals.
The apples didn't sweeten up so much this year, so they would probably be better as pie, juice or sauce than eating apples. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing some for $0.50/pound.
EXCITING NEWS-- I was finally able to order the overhead door for the south side of the barn. It should be up in a couple weeks. Stable Boy spent yesterday afternoon installing a header and making a few carpentry adjustments to accommodate the new door. It will be so nice to no longer have a wind tunnel for a barn--I can't wait!
Just wanted to send out a heartfelt "THANK YOU!" to all of you who have participated in riding lessons this season. We more than doubled the number of students over last year. Many of those additional students were due to you spreading the word. I really appreciate your positive referrals. You guys are the BEST!
I've had a lot of people ask about riding through the winter this year. Here is what I've come up with.
I ride year round--outside when possible, but at the indoor arena when the conditions are too extreme. I am willing to haul Piper & Valentine to the Madison County Fairgrounds to do lessons there. The arena is not normally heated, but it will get us out of the wind and weather.
We will have to work around the fairgrounds schedule. The fairgrounds are normally open Monday-Friday from 9-5 pm, but are subject to closures for special events. Tuition will be higher to offset fuel costs and arena entry fees for the horses. Contact me to schedule.
$20/person/hour for group lessons at the fairgrounds
$35/hour for private lessons at the fairgrounds
I've included pictures here of some of my students, but I know I'm missing most of you. If you have a photo of you or your child that I can add to the montage, send me an email and I'll get it posted on the blog.
We spent over half the day Saturday gathering windfall apples and turning them into fresh apple cider. Fifteen GALLONS of apple cider. And that's just from the windfall apples. We haven't even started picking them off the trees!
Then we got started on moving the back fence. If you recall, last spring we rented a mini-excavator and moved our irrigation ditch back about 15+ feet cuz the horses were collapsing the ditch banks. We brought in a LOT of dirt and fill to support the new ditch bank and then I seeded that area with grass and fenced it off to allow the grass to grow.
With the grass now mature, I wanted to get the fence shifted back adjacent to the new ditch before winter, so that's what we did. The back fields look so much bigger now.
Kid 1 was out of the picture because she stood up under an apple tree in the morning and gave herself a nasty headache.
Kid 2 did a great job manning the post-puller in the SW field--right up until she somehow bashed the top of her head with the lever arm and knocked herself loopy while trying to remove the last post.
Stable Boy and I made do with the remaining two helpers and had the fence mostly back up by the time it became too dark see what we were doing (even with headlights!). We finished up the job last night.
And that was my weekend. Ta-da!
Sometimes people are surprised to see my lesson horses being ridden in just a halter. This article by Michael Gonzalez does a good job of explaining my philosophy on bits.
I received another summons for jury duty. This time I actually had to make an appearance! I arrived at the courthouse about 8:45 since my instructions were to be checked in and seated ready to go by 9 am. We watched a question-answer video about what jury duty entails.
We were then told that the judge and lawyers were discussing the case and would be out shortly. We sat there for over an hour. When the judge finally appeared, he thanked us for our service and informed us that they had been able to settle the case and we could all go home.
I kind of felt like it was a waste of time, but the judge assured us that it was the pressure of our presence that forced the people involved to come to an agreement between themselves. Then I was just relieved to be able to get on with my life.
Speaking of my life-here's a snapshot. So this week I was getting Piper out of the neighbor's field where the horses have been eating down his grass. All of the horses were grouped around the water tank. I knew the tank wasn't totally empty, cuz there was water dripping from their mouths when they raised their heads, but something didn't feel right.
I went over to investigate and this is what I found at the bottom of the nearly empty tank.
I really wish I had footage of the day I went to pick up Lily-Dezzi. You would never guess this is the same horse. She's doing great. This video highlights Lily-Dezzi's ground work training to date. Watch for the little funny right at the end.
I think Lily-Dezzi is ready to be ridden, but I'm holding off for a bit. The other day she was racing around in her pen and cut the corner too close next to the hay feeder, slamming into with both her shoulder and her hip. She's a little lame from that, so I'm just doing "quiet" things with her until she heals up.
Today we worked on sending into my little two-horse trailer. It was a bit more challenging since I wasn't able to move her feet around too much with her gimpiness, but I kept things really low-key (even with the wind) and had her all the way in and out of the trailer a several times.
If I'm not posting here, I'm probably out horsing around!