Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Another Weekend Away

Johnny had the farm to himself for four days while I traveled, south this time, to attend a No Laminitis seminar in Jacksonville, Oregon. Laminitis is what my gelding Mr. Smith had in 2004 when he was way too fat with toes way too long. That is a recipe for laminitis and that's what he had... his feet were so sore he could not move. Radiographs showed his coffin bone had rotated on all four hooves, but worst on the fronts. It was a long slow rehab for him and a steep learning curve for me on metabolic disease in easy-keeping horses like Mr. Smith. Ever since then he has been on low carb hay pellets or hay cubes, both with minerals balanced to that hay. The group that helped me learn about Insulin Resistance, as this easy-keeping metabolic disease is often called, was the group that put on the seminar in Jacksonville that I just attended.

However, Jacksonville is very close to Ashland and Ashland is the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I just had to see some plays while there. My friend Ruth from California was also attending the seminar... and also wanted to see plays. So we did: two on Friday... which was one too many, considering that the evening play didn't get out until 11 p.m. and we had to be up by 6:30 to get to the No Laminitis conference.

We each arrived at Judy and Don's beautiful home near Jacksonville on Thursday evening (and I only got briefly lost getting there). Friday morning I stood on their deck and took photos of the sunrise over Mt. McLoughlin with the lights of Medford below. What a view they have!

Soon the sky began to lighten and I went outside to follow Judy and Don, their Australian labradoodle, Rusty, and his golden labradoodle girlfriend, Gracie Lou, who was visiting for a few days, as they made their morning trek to the paper box 1/4 mile away. Mt. McLoughlin was framed by trees in front of their house in the early light.

On the way home, Rusty carries the newspaper. Except when he needs to go sniff something.

After breakfast, Judy, Ruth and I hiked with the two dogs to Jacksonville. Judy and Don have a wonderful, woodsy route into town through private property that they have permission to cross. I took no photos in town for some reason, but was intrigued on the way home by the historic cemetery and neighboring ten acres of hiking trails that were made public through the efforts of an 11-year-old boy who convinced the city to buy the land for all to use. A sign commemorates his efforts.

The old cemetery has areas for specific groups: Catholics are buried in one area, while Jews are in another. There are other categories, too, but I just saw these two.

I snapped off a couple quick photos of the cemetery as I ran to keep up with Judy and Ruth, who were, as usual, way ahead of me.

The trail from the cemetery toward home went through lovely madrone trees.

A deer on the other side of a fence watched our progress.

Lying down in the grass, another deer was all ears as we went by.

Nearing Judy and Don's house, the sun shown on Mt. McLoughlin's new snow.

Those were almost the last photos I took. Judy and Don in their car, Ruth and I in mine, dashed to Ashland after lunch, found all the parking places full, pulled into 2 hour parking spots and barely made it into the theater on time for The Tenth Muse, a new play by a Latina playwright. It takes place in the early 18th century in a convent in what is now Mexico. It was a beautiful and moving play, at the conclusion of which we hurried outside in time to see our parking ticket being printed. Judy and Don went home to take care of the dogs. By now spaces had opened up so we moved to a parking area by Lithia Park and waited for Steve and Munazza and the kids to arrive, which they soon did. Munazza was coming up to attend the evening play with us and then all of them would tour Ashland on Saturday while I was at the laminitis seminar.

I took a couple quick photos of the kids as they waited for the adults to get organized and walk to a restaurant for supper. Kestrel occupied himself with a tape measure while Cedrus sat on the curb.

And those were the last photos I took. From then on, I figured my camera would just be in the way, so I left it in the car. Too bad because it would have been fun to get photos of the Taiko drummers that performed in the traditional Green Show outside the theaters before the evening plays. And it would have been nice to have photos of Steve and Munazza!

We ate supper, then hurried to The Bricks between theaters for the Taiko drummers. They were all retired women with an average age of 72. The oldest was 89! They were great fun to listen to and watch. I just wish my blanket had been a better insulator against the wet grass.

After the performance, Steve and the kids drove to their hotel while Munazza, Ruth and I headed to our evening play. The Liquid Plain is another new play, set in the late 18th century during the slave trade days in America. We wanted to see it because our friend J.P. had a part in it. But it turned out his part was small and the play was brutal and emotionally wrenching. It was not a good play to end a long day on. Hopefully Munazza will join me again in Ashland for a lighter play. I was so worked up afterwards I could not fall asleep. This did not bode well for the next day, the all day horse symposium.

And, indeed, I did not feel well in the morning and spent part of the time walking outside or sitting in my car with my ears plugged and eyes covered. Gradually, I recovered and was able to sit through all of the afternoon session. After a good night's sleep Saturday, I did fine Sunday for the last part of the conference... once I got there. Ruth drove her own car as she was headed south after it was over. Apparently I wasn't all that awake because I drove halfway to Ashland before I remembered that the conference was in Jacksonville, only a couple miles from Judy & Don's house. So I was a little late arriving. My excuse is I was thinking about Kestrel and Cedrus and feeling sorry to be missing spending time with them in Ashland. It seemed so strange to be attending a horse seminar while my grandkids were nearby having fun outside, where I would have liked to be. Sigh. But I did learn a lot at the seminar.

The drive home on Sunday afternoon was wet and windy, but not as windy as it had been, from what Johnny told me, at our farm on Friday when high winds and torrential rains blew a tree across our driveway. Thankfully, it was barely misting when I arrived Sunday evening.

Although it was wonderful spending time with friends and family (though not much time with family), plus gathering lots more information to mull over about laminitis and insulin resistance and hoof trimming, it's very good to be home. I think I'll stay put for awhile.

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