The Mobile Vet Comes to Call


This is Dr. Clara Mason, at the tailgate of the truck, and her assistant. She’s a mobile vet. Mobile-only! No office. Works out of her truck going wherever farmers need her. I bet she has some stories….

She was at Sassafras Farm yesterday because Zip had herself a little accident. When she didn’t come down for her hay, I went looking for her and found her stuck in a piece of field fence that had been downed by a tree in our latest snow and wind. She had stepped right into the twisted fence, and cut her leg trying (in vain) to get out. It’s too bad horses don’t have cell phones. She could have called. “Woman, I’m stuck up here, come get me.” Instead, she panicked, I’m pretty sure, because that would be how she cut her leg, pulling so hard trying to release herself. After that, apparently, she calmed down because she was waiting pretty patiently at the time I found her.

I contacted Tinia Creamer from the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, who hooked me up with Dr. Mason.
Zip was sedated so her wound could be irrigated thoroughly, treated, then bandaged.
She had an antitoxin shot and is on Equioxx and Uniprim (for those of you to whom that means anything, to the rest of us it’s Greek, but it’s her medicine–anti-inflammatory, pain, and infection control).
Dr. Mason will be back on Thursday for a re-check and bandage change, and to teach me how to carry on with her bandage changes afterward. Zip’s stalled in the barn for the duration. The whole thing was a little scary, but–she’s going to be okay.

And I gotta go fix a fence now……

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Icy Animals


It’s below freezing every day this week. Again. Did I mention AGAIN?
Animals stare, waiting for me at the fenceline, eager for any sign that I have emerged from the house. Usually, I feed the cows, goats, and sheep first. Today I fed the horses first. I figured they deserved a turn. I got in trouble for that because Glory Bee saw me diss her that way.

When I hauled the first bale out of the barn for her, she followed me and head-butted me from behind, nearly lifting me up in the air.
Guess she showed me.

Then I bring another bale, to get everyone else started. (Competing with Glory Bee for food doesn’t work much for anyone but Dumplin. And just barely for Dumplin.) I check buckets, check the creek, make sure everyone has an unfrozen source of water.
This Girl…
And she knows it, rotten thing.

Then I’m happy to go back to the house and if I make it without slipping on the ice.

These days, below freezing, my camera seizes up outside within five minutes. This is probably due to not being a very expensive camera, but it’s making my life difficult at the moment!

But not for Casper! Apparently. Casper, rolling in the leftover hay at the horse shelter.
But all is well and the water is running in the house, the power is on, and there is food even if I can’t get to the store!

P.S. I found out yesterday that my book will be reviewed in the February 23 edition of THE NEW YORK TIMES!!!!

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  1. IMG_1178

    January 24, 2014 - Look What I Found in the Barn

    On this cold, cold morning–

    –there is life!

    Jennie: “It’s trying to eat me.”

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  1. IMG_1056

    January 15, 2014 - Dateline: Barn in the Boonies

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    December 16, 2013 - Another Rural Mystery Solved

    One little, two little–


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    Is that a sheep?
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  1. IMG_1025

    November 19, 2013 - She Was Always Ready Ahead of Time

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  1. IMG_0241

    October 31, 2013 - No Wonder She Was In a Bad Mood

    The vet arrived to see my beautiful Glory Bee yesterday afternoon with a vet tech in training.

    She was just here to watch. And who doesn’t want to watch? It’s so exciting!

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  1. Dsc_8794

    October 30, 2013 - Back to the Bee-Hind

    I. Love. My. Cow.

    (Photos in this post by Jerry Waters.)

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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