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post #2281 of 2299 Old 11-08-2019, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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AN ACTUAL RIDE!

My lovely horse has been so sociable when I've been working in the paddocks, often coming over to where I am mowing under the fenced shelter belts and shade clumps to say hello and be friendly. When I stop mowing, crawl across the fence and say hello to him, he does "air-bites" with his ears forward, which is a stallion play mannerism his father also had and an invitation to roughhouse a little, which I sometimes do - I'll "pretend bite" at his cannon bones with my hands, and he'll "pretend bite" in the air a couple of centimetres from me, with his eyes flashing in mischief - very like my dog, when I roughhouse with her. Soon that morphs into cuddles and scratchies and the horse will have his head on my shoulder and snuggle up.

So after showering three times yesterday in-between various farm chores, to get rid of sweat and reduce my allergic reactions to the ubiquitous grass pollen - I managed to trim a horse and a donkey in the morning (and was then comatose for two hours ) and was mowing and attempting to drive in star pickets for an electric line but encountered bedrock less than a foot down - I actually tacked up my horse at sunset to go for a ride.

This wasn't a ride instigated by a desire for active recreation, it was to look for a dead body (almost certainly). Two weeks ago I noticed one of our yearling steers was scouring badly coming out of an internal paddock rotation. Sometimes this happens at times of year when there is only very lush grass around and little roughage. There's bush grasses in the open "common" where these animals were going, and I thought that would likely settle his digestion - usually they self-medicate with the coarse grasses if they have access to them.

On Wednesday morning, the steers came up to the house, and I was shocked by the look of that little guy. His eyes were so sunken I wondered at first if he had somehow gouged them out. The area around his eyes was very swollen. It's bushfly season, and sometimes the flies spread eye infections like pinkeye, but he wasn't blinking painfully. He had, however, lost a lot of weight since he'd last come up to the house, and was looking apathetic. He was still scouring too, though not as badly as before. The other cattle all looked fine and were playing their steer games. I was pretty certain the sick steer was dehydrated, whatever else was wrong with him. I brought the whole lot of them into our utility yards, and fed them a load of tagasaste. This allowed me to sneak up close enough to the ailing steer to give him a good dose of backline ivermectin, just in case parasites were part of his problem.

He wasn't eating much, but drinking a fair bit. He'd half-heartedly pick up some tagasaste if I threw it right at his feet, but before too long he wandered away from the others and stood in the donkey shelter, resting, for the rest of the afternoon. When the rest of the herd went back out, he and a little friend of his stayed behind for a bit, but then his friend fretted to go after the other cattle, and both of them went after their herd. The little steer was slow, but not staggering. I knew he would need more TLC or we would likely lose him in the next fortnight, by the look of him. I called our neighbour and bought a roundbale off him, which he delivered that evening. We deposited it in the back internal paddock (which has lush pasture grass only) so that I could lock the four yearling Simmentals up together with adequate roughage (the big 2yo Friesian steers could stay in the common), and treat the little guy with various things in bucket feeds. Salt, for one thing. The cattle do have a lick which they use, for salt and trace elements, but when an animal is dehydrated, extra electrolytes are helpful.

The neighbour told me that sometimes, the odd cow won't make use of the salt/trace element lick, and end up with cobalt deficiency, which causes scouring. Might he be one like that? Had I seen him use the lick? Very good point. Brett picked up some cobalt in town that we could dose everyone with in the drinking trough - it wouldn't harm the others either. The cattle came to the house again Thursday night, and we got ready to herd them into the back paddock - but then we noticed the sick yearling was missing. We went all around our farm tracks on foot that night, but couldn't find him. We think it's unlikely that he's still alive. Sometimes, an animal is so sick that de-worming medication can finish it off - if the liver was struggling, for instance, or if it did carry a heavy worm infestation and the de-worming causes a gut blockage.

But, we're still looking, because once we had a newly delivered weanling straight off his mother go off in the bush by himself instead of join the herd in the common, in the middle of summer too. We looked and looked for a whole week, but there's lots of hiding spots in 50ha of scrub and woodland for a cow who doesn't want to be found. We knew there was no water source in the bush in summer and that he had to come out to the farm dam in the pasture to drink, and wouldn't know where that was. After a four days of sweltering heat we gave him up as lost, although we kept searching - no young animal could survive that long without water in these conditions - and swore never to put a newly delivered animal into the common with the others again; it would go in the internal paddocks until settled.

And ten days after he went missing, and we thought him dead for sure, he was suddenly grazing with the herd on the pasture...

So I'm still looking for this yearling, just in case. Last night I recruited Sunsmart to help. I said to him, "I am feeling very feeble and it would be really great if you would carry me around to look for this thing!" He was delighted to be at the tie rail and showing me all his itchy spots when I brushed him. He's lost all his horrible in-between yak fur and is looking lovely - shiny chocolate summer coat, well muscled, ribs not visible but easily felt so not overweight - and he was full of beans on the outing. You see so much more from the elevated position on the horse - I could see a fair way into the valley floor scrub - and I thought of @Knave and her standard work on horseback. I don't often use my horse to deal with our cattle because if I want them to come in, I simply run my pole saw - they associate that with being fed tree fodder, and race in from a kilometre away when they hear it. It's hilarious to watch a mob of cattle run in mooing and kicking up their heels at the sound of a chainsaw.

But last night, I thought about how perfect a horse was for a situation like that. We circled the valley floor, then went off some beaten tracks through the bush - Sunsmart loves bush-bashing, as we call it, and is often suggesting to me, when we're going along a perfectly nice sandy track wide enough for a vehicle, that is would be so much more interesting to dive down a little overgrown kangaroo track... Sometimes I let him, if there's not too many overhead branches...

We didn't find anything, but I suppose we will keep looking. Not that you can easily find a cow that doesn't want to be found, when it's got so much vegetation to hide in...
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Last edited by SueC; 11-08-2019 at 07:51 PM.
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post #2282 of 2299 Old 11-08-2019, 09:55 PM
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I知 sorry. Things like that are hard; although of course unavoidable, that doesn稚 make them easy. I hope you find him one way or another, and I知 glad Sunsmart was able to help you.
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaam痴 Donkey
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post #2283 of 2299 Old 11-13-2019, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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BLUES GIG REVIEW

Blues gig last night! Long-anticipated, a real Chicago Blues band, in our little town.



The warm-up act was a local guy called Moondog who's been couch-surfing in the US for months every year, for the last ten years. He was very competent with his guitar, harmonica and stomp box. The themes were rather stereotypical - I lost my baby, I got a baby etc, various odes to sex and alcohol, and he had a song called I Mixed Me A Drink which he wanted everyone to sing the chorus to but that felt too much like church to us! Blues has a funny way of making even trite things someone is complaining about sound ultra-significant. Sort of like opera. You could write a song about how bad your potatoes are and you'd have people crying in the audience.

The basic blues guitar sound is very pleasant, and the harmonica is rather atmospheric. It's fun to go to a gig like that once in a while, but I have a feeling I'd go mad if I listened to blues night after night, because it's a bit limited thematically, and a bit howling-at-the-moon. It'd be like eating nothing but Spaghetti Bolognese every evening.

A sort of master of ceremonies appeared and gave a long alcohol-soaked speech during which he lapsed into actual tears several times while mentioning various blues musicians. I recognised him from work way back; he'd been a chaplain at one of the local schools. Back then he had collected applause for God, now he was staggering around emoting and asking us to clap at the mere mention of various names of people not present who were apparently blues legends. He was at that stage of progression through a large number of beer bottles where people get maudlin and cry everywhere, and I was glad when he finally stopped talking and let the musicians do their thing.

The main act was The Original Chicago Blues All-Stars, and they were excellent. Their drummer got ill and couldn't make the trip, so they had a young Perth drummer they introduced as Tyler standing in for the tour, and he'd not rehearsed with them, but did a seamless job, looking incredibly focused. Other than that, they had one bass player and three guitarists. The bass player, Freddie Dixon, was a very cool cat, a total no-nonsense musician who just stood there and sang like he was born to do just that. He had a particularly lovely, large, curvy red bass with two sound holes shaped very much like the f-holes on a violin, and his playing sounded very like the style you often hear on double bass. He sang us a song about "not being superstitious, but a black cat just crossed my path" - much more thematic variation than the support act - as well as some blues standards written by his father, Willie Dixon.

After the bass guitarist had finished his couple of songs, he passed on to a lanky character who called himself Root Doc, and who sang a song that wasn't all that different from Led Zeppelin's Lemon Song in subject matter - and now I wonder which was first... Our eyebrows nearly climbed up over our heads when we looked sideways at each other during that one. There was a comedic element as he started describing the love interest's breasts and playing deliberately ridiculous, sustained high notes on his guitar as his voice climbed higher and higher until he was shrieking incoherently. A bit after that he also sang us a song about a 500-year-old Jarrah tree, which is a West Australian tree, and he said he'd written it especially for the gig (they must have come through Pemberton way...). Later on he did an extremely funny number about meeting a girl on the Internet. He was deliberately hamming everything up, in contrast to the very grounded Freddie Dixon.

I had difficulty in the first half of the show working out who played what, with the three guitarists all playing at the same time. Two of them were doing lead type guitar, and their instruments had very distinctive voices, which combined with the finger patterns usually made things clear pretty quickly. But, the guy standing between them (name of Bob Lassandrello and the club owner back home) was doing a lot of rhythm guitar, and for a long time I really couldn't hear what he was doing at all - it was like he wasn't there, even though he clearly was playing - maybe my brain can only process a maximum of one bass and two guitars, in any given band. After the interval, I finally heard him, because he was doing lead guitar for a bit!

Their young guitarist, name of Michael Damani, early 20s, was fantastic - they all were, but the rest of them were over twice his age, and this young guy looked as if he was completely lost in the music and in a perpetual state of reverie, from which he occasionally emerged to make eye contact with the audience.

These guys played blues, explained a few things about the music, and after the interval, got quite funky, so much so that they ended up having people dancing in front of the stage for the last half hour of the three-hour gig. We were in the front row, and as more people arrived to dance, we ended up shifting backwards from all the wiggling! Brett uncharitably told me he wished for a large trapdoor to make them all disappear, so we could see the musicians doing their thing again. It was nearing 11pm, we'd been awake since 5.30am, and the music was starting to settle on us like a heavy quilt, so we snuck out during the dance encore, but it had been a really interesting night out.

This is a band well worth catching if they're ever touring in other people's local areas.

Here's a clip I found on YouTube with Freddie Dixon singing, Root Doc on the left, and young Michael Damani on the right!


SueC is time travelling.

Last edited by SueC; 11-13-2019 at 08:31 PM.
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post #2284 of 2299 Old 11-15-2019, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knave View Post
I知 sorry. Things like that are hard; although of course unavoidable, that doesn稚 make them easy. I hope you find him one way or another, and I知 glad Sunsmart was able to help you.
Thank you. I went for another ride into the scrub on Monday night and found the body. When I got near it, all I had to do was follow my nose. The animal had been dead three to four days by the look of it. He may have died on the Wednesday night after I had them all in - he wasn't with the herd by Thursday afternoon, when I wanted to get the youngsters into the back paddock with the newly delivered hay, which often settles digestive upsets in cattle, and offer them some supplements. I'm stymied he died so quickly - he wasn't staggering Wednesday night or lying down, or showing distressed breathing, just a bit off his food and very quiet and slow, and had lost condition quickly. And he was dehydrated, but drinking - water and lick blocks are freely available, and everyone else is fine... it's peak spring flush, and there's plenty of good feed in the paddocks, including roughage and bush grasses in the common where they spend most of their time...

Cobalt deficiency can happen this time of year with livestock who don't use lick blocks, but we've never had that happen before... and the animal didn't have a poor coat, nor was he standing with his back hunched... a bit of a mystery. Poisoning is unlikely as well. Johne's unlikely - that's very rare in WA, and we've not had that on our property. Of course, animals can already be infected as they come in... but it doesn't often kill animals under 2...

It's a mystery. Not PMing the body; just keeping a close eye on the other cattle. The whole lot of them came in today and I let them in the back paddock which I had set aside for the four yearlings, and let them at the roundbale I'd gotten in. The big 2yo Friesian steers were headbutting it all over the place - they know how to unroll hay and were at it like a rugby team... The older cattle look great, shiny, well muscled; the three remaining Simmental cross yearlings aren't quite in the condition I expect cattle to be in this time of year. I'm keeping my eye on them. The property was worm-free after a break from cattle and we always backline new stock and graze them rotationally. I'll backline the three young ones this week, just in case... the older ones are probably going to market before Christmas, so I'm not treating them with chemicals for which there is a long withholding period...

The one we lost was about cow number 45 here, we worked out. I suppose a 2% mortality is about average. We've never lost one before, but it was bound to happen sometime. Of course, I'm thinking, "What if this, what if that..." I just hope it's another ten years before we have another thing like this happen...

When I was a kid, my parents kept a small breeding herd of cattle. One cow disappeared one day and we looked for her far and wide. I even searched the river reserve, thinking she'd gotten out, as they sometimes did. And five days later I could smell the body on one of my searches - it was summer - and then I saw legs sticking up out of the drainage channel on the paddock boundary. The cow had rolled into it by accident and gotten cast on her back, but because the drain was nearly four feet deep, and overgrown with summer grass, nobody saw her, not until she had died and bloated and the legs were sticking straight up in the air. She had been home all along, but invisible from ground level. I felt so bad about the horrible death that cow would have had. It's stayed with me for 35 years.

SueC is time travelling.

Last edited by SueC; 11-15-2019 at 08:41 AM.
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post #2285 of 2299 Old 11-15-2019, 08:31 AM
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So sorry about the loss of your cow. We used to lose one from time to time but never figured out why.
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post #2286 of 2299 Old 11-15-2019, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, @knightrider . They say if you have livestock, you're bound to have dead stock sometime. I wish I could have prevented this...

I hope you've had good rides this week!

In other news, I got back on my horse for a ride this evening, and we did the half-hour figure-8 through the valley floor. We can go back on the ridges on the weekend because I trimmed him Monday night, so the boots will fit well again...

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post #2287 of 2299 Old 11-15-2019, 09:56 AM
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That is terrible about the cast cow. I知 also sorry about your steer, but also glad you found him. Some things do just happen. I think cows and horses are almost better off for the fact that unless they are obviously sick they are continuing on. They cannot say 的 feel off, which might more often actually keep them healthy. Then there are the rare exceptions of course.
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaam痴 Donkey
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post #2288 of 2299 Old 11-15-2019, 11:25 AM
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My friend with the sheep says if you own enough animals, you get used to them sometimes dying. With over 3,000 sheep and a couple hundred cattle...

He used to keep around 50 horses, which was way more than he needed for work. With a couple of exceptions, he's very unsentimental about horses. He appreciates "a good worker" and can discuss the different personalities of various horses at length - and can do so without ever having studied horsenalities under Parelli - but he says sometimes you go to the pasture and find one dead. He checks to see if there is some hazard that needs to be dealt with and then buries the body.

He sounded kind of sad, though, when I talked to him a few weeks ago. I mentioned Trooper and said I doubted he ever thought much about Trooper. "Oh," he said, "I thought about Trooper just the other day. He was one of the last horses out of my stallion Joker. Most of the ranch horses used to be from Joker but Trooper is one of the last left alive. He had a couple half-brothers but the herders I've got now don't take good care of the horses like the ones I used to have here and it's been hard on the horses. I like hearing Trooper is living a relaxed life, mostly hanging around and being ridden once in a while. He was always a good horse and I'm glad he's living an easy life."

He says the ranch horses rarely make it past 22 because they put so many miles on them - often 30/day -and because the herders don't always give them the care they ought. Trooper is 21. As I type, he's eating complete horse feed pellets and looking pretty chill...

The sons are now mostly running the ranch and they don't want to breed their own horses any longer. I think my friend misses seeing their Arabian/Appy mixes. There will be more Quarter Horses in the future, and I'll miss seeing these when I go visit:




PS: My diet's weight loss has slowed, but I was 151 lbs this morning and my BP was 129/80 without having taken any blood pressure medicine for several weeks. I read a couple of blood pressure studies. Going below 120/80 helps with stroke, but several large studies in Korea and China indicate lowest total mortality is associated with 135/90...and is pretty flat in either direction for another 15-20 points systolic. Diastolic pressure was pretty flat across the board. I'll be a happy camper if I can keep my blood pressure where it is without medicine. I've taken BP medicine since 2006.

It seems with both blood pressure and cholesterol that there are trade-offs. If you study something just for stroke, or for a cancer, or for falls, then one value looks "good". But what is good for one disease might be bad for another. Same with age. Past 70 or 80, for example, high blood pressure seems to be protective in large part due to fewer falls. Good blood pressure at 25 may be bad blood pressure at 80. Whether it is "Intelligent Design" or "Evolution", the end result seems to be that our bodies tend toward a sweet spot in TOTAL mortality - unless we screw our bodies up with weird foods, or prolonged sitting around - and maybe with drugs meant to solve one problem without taking into account our total existence.

My philosophy of physical health is starting to sound like what I believe in riding horses - get out of the way, interfere as little as possible, and "ride light - but RIDE". The problem is modern society encourages us to eat horribly, ride little, and treat the distortions that result with a harsher bit or bigger whip...um, I mean expensive drugs to act as super band-aids. Too many people just a little older than me end up covered with so many band-aids that they look like The Mummy.

PSS: My wife is fonder of veggies and fruits (carbs) than I am. She's lost about 15 lbs, very gradually, but is feeling better and starting to be able to wear clothes she's kept (but couldn't wear) for 15 years. THAT gives her incentive to keep going...

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #2289 of 2299 Old 11-15-2019, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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This is excellent news, @bsms , well done to both of you for finding ways to take care of your health and get results without the standard drug regimen, which I'm suspicious of as well. So often, messing with one thing via long-term drugs, even if it's positive on the surface for that thing, will mess up another thing or twenty backstage where nobody is looking. I can understand that we sometimes need short-term drug therapy, but the "on it for the rest of your life" stuff has always made me uncomfortable, especially if it's not just low-dose HRT or replacing something we fail to make anymore (like thyroid medication for some people). There has to be something more holistic we can do for lots of things that are now routinely drugged.

Hey, do you like carrots? Because here's a great salad both of us like: Simply cube carrots and cheddar cheese, about 3:1 ratio, squeeze over lots of lemon juice and a little ground chilli, mix well and enjoy. It's a great flavour combination, lovely and crunchy with protein etc from the cheese, Vitamin C and other useful stuff from the citrus, carotenes etc from the carrots, and ooomph from the chilli... and no quick-release carbohydrate or refined anything... Tell you what, I never eat more carrots in one go than when eating this salad, which is very more-ish.

That horse in the first photo I've always thought was stunning! And the other one is a lovely working type too,

Bwahaha about the Parelli. I accidentally referred to him as Pirelli the other day; must have been a subconscious slip. I had Pirelli tyres on my first little car - how's that, Pirelli tyres on a 3-cylinder supermini... Great tyres, though; really stuck to the road and very safe.

The last lot of photos on your journal made me think of one of my favourite comedians, Bengt Washburn, to whom you have a little bit of a resemblance in those photos, with the glasses and hair and looking studious etc. As you've been to Germany, I thought you might enjoy this:


The roads he's describing for America, it's the same here, and quite a contrast to Europe. I find that the more road you give people, the more idiotically they drive...

His story about learning German is also funny...




@Knave , I think you're right... great photos on your journal too, hahaha that haybale jump! Hope you're all super well!

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post #2290 of 2299 Old Yesterday, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
Going below 120/80 helps with stroke, but several large studies in Korea and China indicate lowest total mortality is associated with 135/90...and is pretty flat in either direction for another 15-20 points systolic. Diastolic pressure was pretty flat across the board. I'll be a happy camper if I can keep my blood pressure where it is without medicine. I've taken BP medicine since 2006...

It seems with both blood pressure and cholesterol that there are trade-offs. If you study something just for stroke, or for a cancer, or for falls, then one value looks "good". But what is good for one disease might be bad for another. Same with age. Past 70 or 80, for example, high blood pressure seems to be protective in large part due to fewer falls. Good blood pressure at 25 may be bad blood pressure at 80. Whether it is "Intelligent Design" or "Evolution", the end result seems to be that our bodies tend toward a sweet spot in TOTAL mortality - unless we screw our bodies up with weird foods, or prolonged sitting around - and maybe with drugs meant to solve one problem without taking into account our total existence.
Good stuff. I really like that idea that drugs meant to solve one problem may not take into account our total existence. Or quality of life! I think they need to teach more about practical medicine to doctors. For example, my grandpa was supposed to take eye drops for glaucoma but they lowered his blood pressure and made him get dizzy and fall. The doctor would be upset if he didn't take the medicine, but when you are in your 90s, seeing is less important and preventing fractures so you can walk to the bathroom is more important. I've seen the same thing with elderly taking blood pressure medications. High blood pressure has long term effects on the heart. If you've made it to your late 80s or early 90s, falling from a low heart rate or blood pressure is a big danger and you would probably rather die of a heart attack one day after being able to walk around the last couple years of your life than be stuck in bed with a healthier heart.
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Last edited by gottatrot; Yesterday at 05:53 AM.
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