May 2nd, 2003


On Weird Deaths

The Arabian horse chats are going crazy with pros and cons of vaccinating for the West Nile Virus. One tale tells of a breeder (location unknown) who lost 1/3 of her foal crop. Since she'd vaccinated the mares, that was a suspect in the cause. I am unclear if the mares were past the time when the vaccine should have been effective...

But, here's my two cents' worth.

I've been breeding and foaling out horses since 1962.

When a foal that is born healthy and dies the next day, I suggest checking the amount of iodine in the soil/feed stuffs in the area...

One excessively wet year, (when I had given a then experimental vaccine) I started losing foals that were born just fine. The early foals, born while the mares were still mostly on winter hay, were fine. Then we put them out top pasture, which was thick and lush. They were out a bit longer each day, and finally out full time.

The first foal born about a week after the mares were all out in the pasture died the next day without a mark on him. His dam (still alive at 25), was the boss mare, so she got the bestest the firstest... and nobody crowded her. The death didn't make any sense.

The next foal born came so his second day was on a weekend when I could attend to him totally. The vet came out FOUR TIMES, but he died anyway. I still had two mares yet to foal.

"Take it to Ames (Iowa State University, the Veterinary Training School for the area). We shouldn't have lost that one. I'll call up. Go right to the diagnostic lab."

I did. Only students were on duty when I got there, so it was highly unsatisfactory to just drop off the body and go. (The foal had been promised before birth to a youngster, which made it doubly painful.)

A week went by. I was getting VERY nervous. The vet called -- iodine deficiency -- the thyroid was the culprit. I needed to start giving the next foals a teaspoon a day of (T...I forget the name- a supplement) and MIX IODINE into my salt/feed, etc. AT ONCE, for all horses on the farm.

I went into three different vet's offices in the area over the course of that summer, seeing huge stacks of 50 gallon DRUMS of iodine in them all. (I'd been sold a 5 lb. zip lock baggie of it...and I had over 20 horses at that time.)

"Who's buying in that kind of bulk?"

"Cattlemen." It turned out that cows were also susceptible to iodine deficiencies, but in a totally different way. It caused problems THEY would be in danger from.

I've always figured that MY $250 research bill saved countless cows, and my next two foals, both lovely Pinto fillies, in our area. (One filly I still own. One of their dams is now dead -- at age 21, so no lasting problems seemed to develop in the stock I kept, anyway.)

I'm sure there are probably many other reasons that youngsters born healthy die mysteriously, but that one sticks in my mind.

By all means, report the deaths to the vet who sold the vaccine to you, but don't be too quick to throw stones. (And, NO, I do NOT give the other vaccine, but not because of that year's losses...)

Friday Five

The Most Boring Friday Five, ever

1. Name one song you hate to admit you like.
Uhm... Er... Can't think of one...

"How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?"

2. Name two songs that always make you cry.
"Taps" and the funeral hymn played at my father's funeral. I don't know its name, but when I hear it, even on the radio, I'd better have a handkerchief handy!

3. Name three songs that turn you on.
"Loui, Loui", and uhm... Er... Can't think of any more...

I think getting turned on for me is more the effect of the company I happen to be keeping at the time than any song I'm hearing. I'm tactile, not auditory.

4. Name four songs that always make you feel good.
The song by the now dead (at way too young an age) jazz artist that Don Forsling played on WOI-fm right before 7:00 am this morning. I can't think if its name, or hers, either, for that matter, right now.

Our Youth Choir's version of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring".

The one we did about the bells:
Listen, listen
Soft bells are pealing
Listen, listen
To the bells.

Listen, listen
Soft voices stealing
Listen, listen
To the bells. (This is done in delicious, delicate three part harmony, soft, floaty.)

Then we would PELT right on into "Colter's courage was in his heart, but his speed was in his feet" (one Walt Disney blessed us with from one of his westerns.) This was nearly shouted, and sometimes we'd even head around into the verse:

Sing of the bravest Mountain man;
Sing of the strong and the fleet;
Coulter's courage was in his heart;
But his speed was in his feet!

EVERY time we sang it in practice, we added the Walt Disney song, a capella, giving Fern, our long-suffering choir director, the constant nightmare that one day, we'd slip up and do that version in front of the entire congregation. I can't even remember who John Coulter was, now... the guy the Blackfeet captured who escaped barefoot to run through rugged terrain, after being beaten nearly to death running the guantlet, hiding under a bank of a stream with a reed in his mought to breathe through? Or is that five or six of them all jumbled together? That song was just GREAT right after the vesper bells number... a huge swelling of sound that just echoed around the empty church.

And... Uhm... Er... can't think of any more...

5. Name five songs you couldn't ever do without.
Uhm... Er... can't think of any... As long as I can get classical music, not too heavy on the discord stuff like Edgar Varies put out, I'm fine. I'm happy. I hum along. I make up words. I sing badly off key. The cats don't care. The dog doesn't howl along. My horses still love me. (My close friends make exceptions.)

The FFA Banquet

I went to the FFA banquet tonight, but stayed typing too long on the journal entry about WNV, so I snuck in about seven minutes (I'm a SSSLLLOOOOWWWW typist at best) without signing up for anything (drawing at the end of the program...)

I NEVER win anything even when I do sign up, and don't really believe in getting something for nothing, anyway. So, there I am, heading over toward the door at the end of the presentations of the plaques...

"Don't leave, yet," says the sponsor (in general -- not to me specifically.)

The students have a coffee can full of folded slips of paper out, and the FFA Sweetheart is drug back up front and begins drawing names from it as FFA members (14 of them, all told -- A HUGE PROGRAM -- by contrast, the FCCLA banquet last night had FOUR members, one of whom was WORKING and could not attend) pulled donated things from under the head table.

A few dozen people get caps. #1 is the superintendent. It is hilarious! Where, pray tell, will a tie and suit coat fellow wear a labeled SEED CORN CAP? As one gravily-voiced wag suggests, "To the bathroom?"

Another dozen get various livestock brushes, including the superintendent's wife...

Every mother and father present get a lead rope, tee shirt, sweat shirt, $5.00 phone card, stack of metal tomato plant supports, bird seed, or #50 bag of ice melt (corn based product).

"Trade around if you get something you don't need," we're told...

People who HAVE horses or cattle DO NOT get the brushes or halter ropes. People with rock driveways get the ice melt. People with no trees get the bird feeders (made to hang from a tree branch.)

The gal with a whole kennel of coon dogs DOES get the dog treats.

A bald guy gets a feed cap AND an umbrella! (They have more gifts than guests, so the pile is put back in part way through and the drawing continues until all the loot has been distributed.)

Talk about LAUGH...

I strike up a conversation with the gal who is the State of Iowa President of FFA. Suddenly, MY NAME is called. I won a security light. (Of course, when I first got the trailer, I bought one, still unmounted, and have it under the guest bathroom sink... a VERY secure sort of place, don't you know?)

I figure that if I mount it in back of the trailer, whatever horses are back there will get a kick out of turning it on and off all night. If I shut the bathroom door, it won't show into my bedroom. (The skunk and the possum might set it off, too. Hope it doesn't SCARE the skunk into making a deposit...)

If I mount it in front, every time a cat or the dog walks by, the light will come right into my bedroom windows.

MY MOM turns 79 tomorrow -- maybe I can convince her SHE won it...