Tuesday, October 20, 2009

chicken appetites, white line disease and spider dreams

I used to have reoccurring nightmares about spiders. The scariest was about twenty years ago when I had a dream that giant spiders were flying at me and my brother in our parent's old living room and we kept holding up encyclopedias to repel them. I told my brother that dream and he said it made him feel sick. There have been many other dreams since then but they have gotten less and less disturbing over the years. Last night I had a dream that I looked down behind my bed and saw two bird-eating spiders sleeping in their nest. Instead of feeling horrified I thought, "They're kind of cute. Like fuzzy stuffed animals. But I think I will remove them anyway." It reminded me of something I'd forgotten from about ten years ago: for years I had nightmares that I was trying to escape my parent's house and I was trying to get to the front door but couldn't move and danger was impending. Eventually, I made it out the door in those dreams, and eventually, I had a dream I was running down the street, and that was the last time I ever had that particular re-occurring dream. I guess my brain is pretty literal.

I saw my old best friend from middle school days on Sunday and she told this really funny story about when her oldest daughter's pet tarantula, Dr. Phil, escaped once and was lost in their house for 16 hours. I just think it's so cool that her 17 year old daughter has a tarantula named Dr. Phil.

It's been very hard figuring out what my chickens will and will not eat (besides chicken mash). I was told they love lettuce but apparently mine do not. They do like spinach. And only Alina seems to like slugs although both she and Janey like earwigs. I keep pulling up weeds and tossing them into their run but they're not interested in very many of them. They like fennel. I've been trying to figure out what kind of small plants to plant in their run but so far all the lists on the internet tell me what they won't eat but not what they will eat. They are also not laying eggs. They're getting bigger every day either because they are still growing or because they are bloating up from all those unlaid eggs.

There is a horse I'm thinking of adopting and I need to talk to my farrier about whether or not she does hot shoeing because he is recovering from a disease in his hoof called white line disease. I need to figure out what the difference between hot shoeing and cold shoeing is. When my farrier comes out they heat up the metal then pound it into shape to fit the horses hoof but I'm not sure if that's "hot shoeing". If it is - then how do they shape the shoe to fit the horses hoof if the metal is cold? I imagine I could google all this to find out. One thing I can say is that I do not have dreams of being a farrier. Cleaning my horses hooves is not my favorite chore and I don't feel like I need a job where getting stepped on by a half ton creature is a regular on-the-job hazard. Or where I can guarantee that at one point or another I'm going to get kicked.

Speaking of horses, I went out to see Girlfriend and rode her with the English saddle again. I'm thinking that is what I'm going to use from now on because I feel so comfortable in it now and I do think I ride better. When I started riding again in summer 2008 after 20-some years off, the first time I got on one of Sheryl's lesson horses in an English saddle I felt really far up off the ground and really unstable. But today I got on Girlfriend and she was feeling really ancy, so as soon as my butt was in the saddle she tried to take off. I didn't even have my right foot in the stirrup yet but was still balanced enough to keep her at a trot, then get her to slow to a walk. And I still felt secure and balanced. It's so huge what a difference there is in how I feel even though the saddle is the same and I'm on a much more difficult horse to ride. I wish I could convey to everyone who's never ridden a horse how great it feels to master a sense of balance on a horse. It kind of makes one feel very powerful and very accomplished. Even if one - like me - still has a long way to go to be a particularly good rider.

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