Saturday, February 28, 2009


That's right and you probably won't hear anything about it until it's implemented and you'll wonder how the heck that happened! You won't know what hit ya or when it happened.

NAIS is the National Animal Identification System to be imposed by the federal government on individual property owners and horse owners whether you own one pleasure horse for trail riding or a herd of them you've rescued. If you want to take your horse for a ride off your place and "commingle" with other animals you will have to report every time you do it. I scoffed at the idea at first. I said it wouldn't mean me! But alas, it means EVERYONE with any type of animal listed and horses are on the list.

There are groups trying to get pleasure horse, show horses etc off the list, or at the least designated in a different category from "livestock" or "used for human consumption". But, why would the government allow that? They want the property ID to be implemented.

I'm not going to get long winded on this, I could. It has been one subject that has been infuriating and frustrating to me every time I read something about it the past year. If you want to be updated just put NAIS in your search engine and you'll be able to research the topic. This is one "voluntary" amendment that will touch everyone who owns a horse or horses.

Keep in mind, the voluntary status for those of us who live in states that say right now it's voluntary will be short term.

This is only one article I gathered recently from one of my horse email groups, but the author did a good job of getting the information together.

Horse owners are being encouraged to write their legislators if they are opposed to this system. Unfortunately, from what I've read, some of the larger horse organizations are embracing NAIS which I find totally unacceptable.

My own state governor has said it's a good program and much needed for the "safety" of our livestock food system. Where does that put horses?

In my opinion this is one of the worst systems the USDA has ever tried to implement without even being prepared for what will come or even bothering to prepare the public for it's implications, especially for horse owners. One more disastrous "change" coming our way, being slid in under the radar.

Be AWARE!!!! Know how it will affect you. It is coming.....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Catching Up is Hard to Do!

February has been a lost month for me. I know, I know, in January I was going on about how I wanted January to be finished. Little did I know what February would bring to my life.

I'm seeing Spring in my horses though! They are starting to lose their winter coats with some lose hairs from their furry bodies. Daylight Savings Time begins on March 8. Soon, my early crocus and daffodils will pop up. Hopefully, by the end of March, my health issues will be cleared up.

I've been spending time, since my body won't let me do much else, reading up on Endurance Riding. I love the idea of it, though, would probably only ever make it to a Limited Distance ride at a local level Competitive Trail Ride event. That's OK, I enjoy reading about the adventures of other women who've bravely taken on the Tevis Cup and other endurance events. Currently, I'm reading Ten Feet Tall, Still, by Julie Suhr. It's one of those books I almost hate to see end. I will do a review as a soon as I finish.

I feel like life has been on hold but am glad it all happened in the deepest of the winter months, where I'm usually dealing with the dreary, colder, shorter days. This stint of having to deal with health issues, as well as the weather, has awakened me to the realization you'd think I would have figured out long ago, don't take your time for granted.

So, I'm still catching up on many things, yet also having to take it easy until my body can get regulated again. Oh, and those of you who have healthy thyroid glands, never ever take the job of that little butterfly gland for granted! When it's not there anymore, let me just say, it's beyond miserable. AND......if you are over 40, experiencing any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism or have a goiter or enlarged thyroid, get it taken care of because you'd be surprised how that little gland is a major communicator for many parts of your endocrine system, muscles, and brain function. Never let anyone tell you "oh, it's just thyroid trouble."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Punch #2, TKO, Mother Nature 2-0

Wednesday (the 11th) a series of extremely severe storms raged through S. Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, among other states. I believe it was the same system that spawned several devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma. We were hit hard with wind resulting in a nasty storm around 5pm and then 3 hours later, hours and hours of high winds reaching upwards of 70mph. I am literally, worn out.

Yes, our power was out for another 4 days. Total this year now stands at our personal homestead record of 9 days within the first three weeks of February.

More trees, limbs, dangerous debris, I was thankful snow and ice did not follow. Our loss this time around, one aged maple tree, we loved,which managed to split and hit #2 son's '89 Ford Ranger and our '98 Kia, plus the front end of my hay building. I was again, thankful, that was all of the personal damage we experienced. The Ranger is drivable, only the bed damaged. The Kia, well, at this point, Hubby has decided he does not want to spend time repairing because of all the other work these storms have produced for him around here. I am with him on that. He has already found someone who wants a shot at fixing the little car up for a newly driving teenager.

The animals survived fine. The horses stayed back ends parked into the depths of their stall. The dogs huddled in their houses during the winds of Wednesday night. I, however, could not sleep. The roar of the winds were too much for me. I kept a radio close by and tried to nap in the recliner in our living room through the night.

The sunshine of the following day was definitely a stress reliever. I had to be at a hospital that day for tests. My nerves are already on end because I had to be removed from my thyroid medication over two weeks ago and am enduring a low iodine diet for the tests. My energy level is at the lowest it's ever been so these events have worn me down so far, I don't have much to fight with when it comes to stresses. I'm hoping to be through that part after tomorrow's doctor's visit.

I keep thinking in, my low ebb, I should not be hoping for Spring if these storms are any indication of what those months my bring our way, but, you have to hope for better times. So far, I'm sorry to say, 2009 has not started out in a very good way for us.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ice Storm One Week in the Past

A week ago today, I was relieved to see utility trucks in front of our house. I was hopeful our power would be back on by at least the following day. There was alot to do on our little road. They had their work cut out for them. Just seeing the crews work lifted my spirits as I'm sure it does anyone in this kind of situation.

They worked until dark, and indeed, our power came back on around 6:30pm that evening to the joy of all of us, but mostly me. When you've lived with a house full of males (husband and two sons), as the only female, you realize you are more emotional about these kinds of events than they are.

Looking back today, those six days seem like a dream. I remember thinking that would be the case. You just live each day keeping supplies up, keeping the house heated, cooking in the evenings on our gas stove (fortunate we opted for the gas oven/stove when we bought the house), washing dishes with heated water (normally we have a dishwasher), later planning out heating water for the short baths, lighting in a different way and you realize, everything takes double the time than when you have power.

The entire week was not horrible for us, but then I have a husband and a son, much alike in their personalities, who don't get ruffled by much, so their routine calmness about everything tends to temper my own stresses during an event like the ice storm.

I am usually a calm, reasonable woman, but the night the trees started breaking and shattering around our house, and up in the woods, I had a panic attack like I've never experienced before and honestly, I don't know where it came from. It took the calmness of my husband of 26 years to reassure me 1-we couldn't do anything but say a prayer until daylight. 2-it'll be OK. After his reassurances, I tried to calm my thoughts because those fear thoughts are what start multiplying, at least mine did. My parents electric, because my dad is on oxygen. The horses. The dogs. A tree falling on us on the horse stall, all kinds of crazy running thoughts flowing one right after the other. I basically had to say STOP IT! When daylight came and I was able to see what had gone on around us so far, I did feel more at ease.

Around 3am that morning, when I knew the power had gone off by the chirping of our smoke alarms I got up to check things out. The quiet of the house meant the cracking, banging, and thundering of the falling trees echoed up and down our little valley. Sounded as if a war were going on right outside. Extremely eerie. I think my the first part of my panic attack started with concern of my horses. The sound of the trees was more like gunshots and Spirit is very sensitive. So, around 3:30am I put on my coat and boots and picked my way out to the stall. I could tell the horses were nervous so I got hay for them to calm them down. If they were munching on hay, I knew it would help them. Ice had accumulated all around and I had to be careful walking. I figured if I fell and hit my head or something, my family wouldn't even find me until some time in the morning. Poor Maggie, she whimpered to me over by her house, I went to pet her but told her to stay in her house. The "gunshots" were affecting her too. I felt better knowing the horses would be OK, and didn't look like any trees had fallen over the fence anywhere near the corral or stall area.

Carefully plodding my way back to the house over the ice and snow, I thought maybe I could get some sleep. No such luck. The sounds of the breaking trees were too provoking. So, I got our battery operated radio out and listened to local FM stations for the next 4 hours. I think I did nap a little because I remember losing some time between 5-6am. By 7 am I could see light beginning and reports on the radio weren't good. The storm was going to continue through the day. Well, I was going to have to deal, one way or another.

I always keep instant coffee on hand since we do have periods where our power is out after rain storms in the spring and summer. Fixing my coffee was soothing, and drinking it more so. My thoughts were clearing by the light of day. I remember reading somewhere that humans do have an innate instinct to fear dark and the night. It is amazing how black our little road got, and we don't have that many lights up here, when the power goes out.

Day one we continued to have falling trees, tree tops, limbs as the ice and snow continued to fall. Around 11am I was startled by the enormous thud and shaking of the house, glass and pans rattling in the kitchen. A huge maple tree had uprooted and fell just behind the kitchen, just missing our house. Later that day while #2 son and Hubby were attempting to get some trees off the fence out in the field a tree fell across the road, mashing two sections of our wood slat fence and within a short period of time, out in the field where they were working three more pine trees cracked and fell to the ground. Later, again, #2 son had been digging a trench to allow water to flow away from the house, he moved over behind the house and a tree top fell right where he'd been digging just moments before! The sleet and ice had turned to a blowing snow around noon and by 2pm the snow had ended. The trees were still falling all around, but it had become intermittent. I knew after looking at our little area, we were in for a long haul this time.

I was able to phone my parents before we lost our phone the following day. Their electric remained on through the entire event, for which I was entirely grateful. My dad is on oxygen and has a machine at their house. So, my stress was lessened knowing they were OK. However, I became frustrated the following day when our phone went out AND my cell phone would not pick up a single bar. Usually we can get a couple of bars out here. I learned later, there had been trouble with one of the cell towers during the ice storm.

After the initial day of getting things in place, kerosene heater, Coleman light, flashlights, headlamps, candles, the days seemed to roll on uneventful, for the most part. We got into a routine. By Thursday evening we emptied what food we had in our fridge into coolers and lived out of coolers until the power came back. Kind of reminded me of our camping days with the boys. Thursday we also traveled out of or little valley to the world and were stunned by the amount of trees that had fallen across the road, now cut with fresh ends sticking out all along the road. Our two lane passable country road had become a one lane overnight.

Hubby didn't return to work until the following Monday. They'd been on restriction as had many places in our tri-county area because of the level 3 emergency on the highways. He decided to take a vacation day Friday to stay home and attempt more clean up around our place.

Even today, a week back to "normal" we have trees lying around. There are trees out in the horse field, mostly pine. One cherry top fell (I hate that tree standing there, but it's a natural cherry and not in a convenient place to totally cut down near the fence) so Hubby made sure they got that one cut up and out of the field first.

In the evenings we reminisced about the storm of '03 and don't recall it being as bad as what we got this time. Come to find out, our end of the county was one of the worst hit.

I am taking one lesson from this event, fear can be paralyzing. I don't want that to happen to me again, but, sometimes, you cannot control it when it comes upon you. I don't remember being hit with a panic attack like that before. Hubby even said it surprised him. I hope to take from this experience the memory of the fear and how helpless I felt, and how in the reality of life, it did me no good, and accomplished nothing. I had to stop the fear in order to think rationally. As with horses, the flight/fight response is something that may need to be worked out so the thinking side of the brain can work to your advantage, or, you'll just melt.

Yeah, I was wanting January out of here, and I'm glad it's gone. I haven't changed my mind about January being my least favorite month of the year!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

News from the Ice Storm Zone

Just got back online. After the snow started falling on the Tuesday of my last post, later in the day it all turned to freezing rain, sleet, a deadly mix, which lasted into late Wednesday afternoon. January really threw us a going away party this year! I didn't want to attend the party, but was drafted anyway.

We were without power for six days! We managed. This streak broke the '03 record of 5 days. Ice storm hit that year on February 16. This time around, our little road got hit hard with falling trees, tops of trees and limbs. The mail carrier told Hubby our road was the worst on her route although down another smaller side road, they had broken poles including transformers. As of last night, they were going to have to go one more night without electricity. Fortunately, ours came on around 6:30pm.

I have now given Hubby the OK to build the gasoline emergency generator he's been talking about since this type of event,which we thought would be once in a lifetime after the '03 storm, isn't likely the last one, be it ice storms, wind storms or whatever. He has the plan in his head, it just comes down to the $$, as usual, with any extras you want to do of that magnitude. His dad, who lives down the road from us, has a propane generator so they got through fine but now, they will have to have their home heating propane tank filled up because those generators do suck up the propane when in use. You have to be wise on how you use a generator of any kind.

So today, I am catching up on a week's worth of laundry and then some. Getting things cleaned up. It's amazing how things get even with three adults living here! Catching up on my blogs, email, banking, the things I take care of over the course of a normal six day period.

The horses seem none the worse although they did have to drink cold water since the heater went out with the electric. I had to go back to breaking ice for them. I haven't done that in a few years. The last ice storm, I didn't have the horses to think about so they were an added concern this time around.

On one hand it's wonderful to be back in the world, on the other hand, the quiet evenings with our Coleman lantern and radio music in the background were not all that bad. We heated with our kerosene heater and our gas fireplace. Thankful the temps moderated by Friday.

I'll get into how our week went in my next post. We're suppose to get 1-3 inches of snow through Thursday this week. Doesn't surprise me, just proves one more time about my theory that wicked weather travels in 2 week cycles.

My thoughts are with our neighbors down in the Kentucky. As of yesterday, it was reported there are still over 400,000 without power back in the hills and hollers and they may be that way for weeks.