Disaster Tips for horse owners

June 27, 2013

Horse Evacuations East does a great job of putting people in touch with each other… now they’ve come up with a list of GREAT suggestions as to what to do in a disaster.  Sadly, we now live in a life where being prepared is not just a boy scout motto.  It’s a reality. We have to be prepared for the worst… and hope for the best. 

Here is the link to Horse Evacuation East.  And if you can, PLEASE friend them, learn about what they do, and HELP.  And while you’re at it, get in touch with Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLEAR).  Both HEE and TLEAR have a FaceBook presence.  It takes ALL of us to make a difference in an emergency.  And the best we can do is to learn WHAT to do and hope to hell we never need the information. 

https://www.facebook.com/notes/horse-evacuations-east/natural-disaster-tips-for-horse-owners/475269735898832

Natural Disaster Tips for Horse Owners
by Horse Evacuations East (Notes) on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 2:50pm

Natural Disaster Tips for Horse Owners

from Horse Evacuations East(HEE) and Oklahoma Livestock First Responders(OLFR)

By Michele DeVinney Schmoll(HEE) and Dr. Clayton McCook, DVM(OLFR)

 

Michele DeVinney Schmoll and Dr. Clayton McCook , DVM have been working with horse owners during natural disasters many years and put together these disaster tips to help you be prepared. With a hurricane you know it is coming and you have time to evacuate.  Other natural disasters such as tornadoes, flooding, mud slides, fire and earthquakes you may not have any warning so you need to pay attention to your weather and environment. You need to have a written preparedness plan and stick to it.   The worst thing you can do is second guess yourself when you are in the middle of a disaster situation.   If evacuation is an option, then do it.  Allow yourself enough time. Do not delay or you may be stuck in traffic with your horse or worse, in the middle of the disaster with no way out.  First and foremost make sure you and your family’s safety is never in jeopardy.   Have everything you need ready to evacuate.  Also make sure you register with the Red Cross’s Safe and Well program so loved ones and friends can find you if they cannot reach you via cell phone.

 

Stock up on fuel: When the gas stations are without power, they can’t sell you gasoline. Is your car/truck full? Do you have fuel cans that you can fill? Your generator runs on gasoline. Fill fuel cans prior to a storm.  They will not be wasted, even if the storm misses you, because you can use it in your car/truck or lawn mower/tractor.  We keep plenty of fuel cans on our farm for diesel and gasoline.  We also try and keep our generator ready in off seasons to make sure it works.  A generator in our area is a must because we have well water and without it our livestock will not have water.

 

Walkie-Talkies and CB Radios a great idea to have

Walkie-talkies are great to have in times of disaster.  Ours have a minimum 6 mile range. We have CB radios in our trucks or they do have handheld models with less range.  This way we can talk to each other and call for assistance on the emergency channels if needed. Often cellphone towers go down and you have no way to communicate.

 

Have Paper Maps

Make sure you have maps of your state and surrounding states in case GPS is not functioning due to downed cellphone towers.  You may need alternate evacuation routes due to damaged roadways or congestion.  Also street sign may be gone after the area is damaged.

 

Mark your property: Place placards on property fence gates informing firefighters that animals are being sheltered in place there. Owners should also include their names and contact information.  Also make sure your address is highly visible in times of disasters mailboxes are often lost and street signs.  If you need help you want them to be able to find you and your home.

 

Emergency Contacts

Keep a paper list of emergency contacts and addresses in case you cannot power up your cellphone.

Make sure your list includes Emergency Management, Animal Control, Veterinarian, USDA, Agriculture Department and other numbers you may need.

 

Team-up with a Neighbor or Horse Friends in your Community

Develop a team plan with a neighbor(s). This may help in the joint use of resources such as a trailer and supplies. It also helps to outline a joint plan. Inform each other in the case of an evacuation. Working as a team, you will be better able to efficiently evacuate in a shorter amount of time.

 

Evacuations Centers and Facilities

Make a list of all facilities in your state or surrounding states that will be open in time of a disaster that you can evacuate to if you don’t already have arrangements made with a facility.  Know different routes to get there in case your main and fastest route is blocked or congested.  Always have a contingency plan.

 

Medical Records, Insurance Paperwork and Proof of Ownership

Have a folder of all your horses’ medical records including ownership paperwork in case you have to prove it.  If you put all of your paperwork in one small portable file container it can be quickly located and loaded in case of an emergency.  If you need to travel over state lines you may also need Health Certificates.  If your animals are micro chipped, branded or tattooed make sure you have this information and photos. Have photos of all your animals so you can identify them.  Taking photos with a family member helps in identifying them greatly.   Without Registered Identification on your horse law enforcement often leaves the horse with the person with possession. Stolen Horse International aka Netposse.com lists these ways to register your horse permanently: microchip, lip tattoo, hoof branding, Freeze or Hot branding your horse.   If you have to turn your animals loose see Animal Identification below. 

 

Vaccinations and Coggins

Make sure you keep your horses up to date on all core vaccines, especially Tetanus and Encephalitis.  Have a current Coggins on your horses. There is a huge risk during disasters especially when there is a lot of debris and flooding involved.   Many facilities will require Coggins if you evacuate to them. Not having animals up to date on vaccinations is a huge risk to take.  Many animals are injured from sharp objects and debris that lacerate their skin.

 

Equine First Aid Kit 

An equine first aid kit is essential for all horse owners to have in the barn or trailer. Make sure it is in a water proof container. A well-stocked first aid kit kept in the barn will always be available when the trailer is loaded with tack and supplies. A general first aid kit that is routinely updated can be used for emergencies like wounds, colic, foot injuries, dehydration or other trauma and then be available for an evacuation in case of disaster.  Make sure you have a sharpie in it, duct tape and a flashlight with back up batteries.

 

Horse Medication

If possible, clearly label all horse medication and keep it in an appropriate container that can be quickly located and loaded in emergencies.

 

Animal Identification

After natural disasters there are hundreds of displaced animals and horses. 95% of these animals do not have any type of identification on them and it makes finding their owners difficult.  We recommend in natural disasters that you horses do not wear a halter because thinks can get caught on them or in fire they can melt if nylon.  If you do leave on a halter make sure it is a break away and it is leather.  One of the goals of Animal Rescuers is to find loose horses and get them reunited with the owners as soon as possible. These suggestions will help tremendously. Remember, you cannot have too much identification on your horse.   If you have lost or found a horse please call your local Humane Society to register it.  A wonderful resource for lost or found horses is Stolen Horse International aka Netposse.com.  In natural disasters we encourage you to also file report on www.Netposse.com and they will waive their fee.  Netposse recommends more permanent solutions of horse identification such as: Microchip, lip tattoo, hoof branding and freeze or hot branding your horse.

  • Fetlock Bands or Evacuation Collars also can be used depending on kind of disaster
  • Braid a water proof luggage tag, ribbon or dog tag with your name, 10 digit number and address on it into their mane.  Try not to use the tail sometimes it can cut off circulation or get caught.
  • Paint your 10 digit phone number on their side with spray paint, livestock paint or shoe polish in case they can’t be caught easily (premade stencils make  it fast and easy to do all animals)
  • If – you move your horses to a facility we recommend you either write your name and number on their halter or we use premade brass dog tags with all our info on them and attached to halter.  You can also put medical information on it if your horse has an allergy or medical condition.  Also putting a sign on their stall helps but they could be moved.
  • Using small animal clippers, body clip the same phone number on your horse’s neck.
  • Do not put a copy of the horse’s Coggins test on the horse. Animal Rescuers may not be the ones to find your horse. A Coggins test is a passport out of state.

 

Evacuation a few things to remember to take

  • Keep your horse’s dietary requirements written down and bring them with you
  • Bring medication, first aid kit and all veterinary supplies
  •  Bring your halters, lead ropes, wraps, twitch, blankets, fly masks, water and feed buckets
  • Take extra 50 feet cotton rope and flashlights with extra batteries
  • Take hay and feed enough for a week if possible
  • Carrying an ample supply of fresh water and buckets on the trailer will be very important during the evacuation in case you are caught in traffic for any duration. You will want to be able to provide the horses water while waiting on the highway. A generous supply of hay and grain will also be necessary.

 

Preparing for a Natural Disaster Regardless of whether you stay or evacuate, start early to clean up your property and remove all debris that may be tossed around by high winds or flooding. Remember, trees could be down blocking roads, and you may not be able to return to the barn immediately following the storm. Leave two buckets of water in your horse’s stall. Be alert to signs of smoke inhalation: Along with risk of lacerations and other injuries, horses sheltered in place run the risk of smoke inhalation if there is fire. Owners should be able to recognize signs that their horses have inhaled smoke; coughing, sneezing, or heavy breathing. Veterinarians treat smoke inhalation with antibiotics, as well as drugs that dilate airways and steroid drugs that reduce tissue inflammation. 

 If you plan to weather the storm at home, here are some guidelines:

  • The choice of keeping your horse in a barn or an open field is entirely up to you. Use common sense, taking into consideration barn structure, trees, power lines and the condition of surrounding properties.
  • Remove all items from the barn aisles and walls, and store them in a safe place.
  • Have two weeks supply of hay (wrapped in plastic or waterproof tarp) and feed (stored in plastic water-tight containers). Place these supplies in the highest and driest area possible.
  • Take two plywood boards and spray paint on one side of each board, “HAVE ANIMALS, NEED HELP.” On the other side of each board paint, “HAVE ANIMALS, OK FOR NOW.” Put both plywood boards with your feed supply.
  • Fill clean plastic garbage cans with water, secure the tops, and place them in the barn.
  • Prepare an emergency animal care kit (waterproof) with all the items you normally use: medications, salves, ointments, vet wraps, bandages, tape, etc. Place the kit in a safe place where you can get to it after a storm.
  • Have an emergency barn kit containing a chain saw and fuel, hammers, a saw, nails, screws and fencing materials. Place this kit in a secure area before the storm hits.
  • Have an ample supply of flashlights and batteries, and at least one battery-operated radio.
  • Using camper tie-downs, secure all vehicles, trailers and maintenance equipment.
  • Notify neighbors and family where you will be during the storm.
  • Before leaving the barn, attach identification to all horses.
  • Turn off circuit breakers to the barn before leaving. A power surge could cause sparks and fire.
  • Do not stay in the barn with your horse during the storm.
  • Place a supply of water and hay with each horse.
  • If fire-Remove horses from barns: Horses should be relocated from barns even if those structures are equipped with sprinkler systems. Paddocks or metal-construction areas provide safer shelter. Close up the barn to prevent scared horses from running back inside and becoming trapped.

After the Disaster

  • After the disaster has passed, roads will probably be blocked or flooded. Working in pairs, try to locate your nearest neighbor.
  • Be very careful when you venture outside. Live electric wires could be all around you.
  • See to your animal’s needs, keeping them as calm as possible.
  • Carefully try to clean debris from the barn, and clear the driveway out to the road.
  • Place one of the plywood signs you made earlier at the edge of your driveway, at the roadside, with the appropriate writing facing the road. Place the other sign in a clear area with the appropriate side facing upwards. Aircraft will be flying overhead, and this will help them determine the severity of the effects of the storm.
  • If you do not have a severely injured animal, put the OK sign up. In either case, help will get to you as soon as possible.
  • If you are in an area with high flooding remember that other creatures like snakes will seek higher ground also.  Please watch out for them hiding in dry places on your farm.

 

Lessons From Prior Disasters

  • Collapsed Barns – Owners thought their animals were safe inside their barn
  • Kidney Failure – Due to dehydration, wandering animals were deprived of water for days
  • Electrocution – Horses sought the lowest areas, in many cases this was a drainage ditch. The power lines that were blown down during the storm were strung over drainage ditches
  • Fencing Failure – Wandering animals, although unharmed during the storm, were hit and killed on the roadways
  • Injuries to animal due to flying debris and burns
  • Trees coming down in pastures due to excessive flooding and becoming a hazard to horses and possibly falling on them.  Check trees on your farm.

 

Resources

 

References

  • Colorado Community Animal Response Training: Distributed by Colorado State Animal Response Team, a program of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation.
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New updated info for Oklahoma Tornado Aid, Rescue and Help

May 21, 2013

I just obtained this list last night.  Please help me update it.  Thanks.

Many people do not realize that Amateur Radio operators (hams) will relay messages for free. Please understand that the messages are brief and will not be chatty and full of details, they’re all relayed into and out of a disaster area, so brevity and accuracy is imperative. Check with www.arrl.org for further information on this, under the National Traffic System.

New Info for Oklahoma donations and aid info:

TEXT BASED DONATION INFORMATION: STORM to 80888 for The Salvation Army USA. REDCROSS to 90999 for Redcross, or FOOD to 32333 for Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Each text is for $10 charged to your phone bill.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, visit www.regionalfoodbank.org or call 405.604.7111. You can also text FOOD to 32333 to give $10 to relief efforts

 To donate $5 to Red Cross from within Canada: REDCROSS to 30333

 The Animal Resource Center is taking in pets that have been misplaced by the tornado. They are located just North of Moore at I-240/i35 intersection. Address is 7949 S. I35 service Road. Number is 405-604-2892

 

  • Shelters Open for Tornado Victims: * PLEASE SHARE *

    Graceway Baptist Church, located at 1100 S.W. 104th in Oklahoma City.

    Oakcrest Church of Christ at 1111 S.W. 89th Street in Moore.

    Victory Church, located 4300 North MacArthur in Oklahoma City.

    Journey Church in Norman I-35 and Tecumseh Road is open as a shelter.

    Fifth Street Missionary Baptist Church, located at 801 N.E. 5th St. Oklahoma City.

    St. Andrews Church, located at S.W. 119th and May.

    The University of Oklahoma is opening up spaces in Housing for displaced families. Call (405)-325-2511 for more information.

    A triage center has been set up at the Warren Theater in Moore for anyone who need to be treated for their injuries.

    Tracy and Holly Porter told News 9 they have 60 acres with barns and pipe fencing just north of Seminole. Anyone needs somewhere to keep their cows and horses, call the Porters at (405)-777-6570 or (405)-921-0204.

    Sonya Martinez said she owns a 125,000 sq ft building at 4300 North MacArthur in Oklahoma City, and is offering services to anyone in need of shelter, food or prayer regarding this tornado.

    Resthaven Funeral Home on S.W. 104th and Western/Walker has water, bathrooms, and phones available for volunteers and victims.

    If cranes or equipment is needed for any tornado damage, the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors can provide equipment now. Contact Bobby Stem, AOGC, at (405)-520-1874.

    The Red Cross has set up a website for people who are looking for their families or friends in the areas hit by the tornado, just go to www.safeandwell.org.

 

If you want to donate on-line to the animals from OKC and those coming into the shelter from other areas who need medical or other care after these tornadoes, please go to www.okc.gov/animalwelfare and follow the link to the Donation Station. You can choose from a variety of donation options, including the Angel Fund, which pays for medical care for animals needing care.

 

 

disaster information for tornado victims

May 21, 2013

I feel this bears re-posting… I have not updated it since Hurricane Sandy, please feel free to post any information you have that would help me keep an updated version.  Thanks- Vivi
(ps- please feel free to repost)

Surviving a Disaster for Humans and Animals
A number of years ago, we had a tornado touch down and do massive damage in our rural Tennessee area outside of Nashville. During the months, and years, that followed, I collected information regarding disasters, which I hope can help those in need now. By no means is this complete or authoritative. It’s just a start. And I hope it helps.
~Vivi
After surviving a major natural disaster, or a disaster of any type, do not be surprised if folks are in shock. Especially those who have lost their homes or had major damage. It seems like everything will be in slow motion- from your own responses to the responses of the Rescue and Recovery teams. But actually, nothing is in slow motion, and that’s when mistakes can be made. Here are some tips to help you through your recovery:
1) Before getting out to inspect damage, make sure everyone, and all pets, are physically ok. Double check to see if there are any cuts, scrapes, etc. This is important, because there will be standing water that might be contaminated. You want to make sure all wounds are covered and protected from potential infection. Staph infection is very common during disaster recovery and can be very dangerous.
2) Make sure anyone going into debris area/inspecting damage is wearing heavy work boots and good gloves. With receding water, the power of high winds, and downed trees, it is very likely there will be sharp debris embedded in the soil or sticking out where it can’t be seen. You DO NOT want to get cut by any of this debris as the likelihood of infection is great.
3) Take a camera with you. And use it. Before any work is done, before a chainsaw comes out, tarps get put on roofs, limbs picked up, RECORD everything. This will help you later when the insurance adjuster comes out and sees only a clean yard and no trees on the house… you’ve got to prove there was damage. In suburban and urban areas, trees themselves are sometimes included in the insurance (i.e., you will receive insurance money for downed trees), but you’ve got to be able to prove those trees were damaged/downed/destroyed by the storm. Therefore, photographs.
4) When photographing damage, make sure you get overall shots with significant landmarks (i.e., a tree on top of your house, the tree down with the street sign- which is readable- in the background, the boat in your yard with the house in back). This will help in proving that the damage actually occurred to YOU… Additionally, take close ups of damage to help prove exactly what was damaged.
5) The usual order of rescue/recover is:
a) Emergency Management Teams (this will include your local EMT, possibly the first wave of Federal folks – FEMA, paramedics, fire/police, and emergency veterinarians in areas where farms might occur). These teams will go door to door to find victims, and will, most likely, spray paint marks on doors or other structures with important information regarding that particular property. DO NOT REMOVE this information until instructed to by your emergency management team or insurance agent.
b) Red Cross- They have shelters already in place. As rescue/recovery starts, they will coordinate with other organizations to help- they will provide water to victims and volunteers.
c) Church Groups- Such as Church of Christ Disaster Relief. These folks are AMAZING! BUT… you must make sure they are legit (some evil folks will pretend to be with relief organizations and then rob you blind), AND do not let them start repairs or clean up until you have spoken with your insurance company and TAKEN PICTURES OF EVERYTHING. We found, after our tornado, that these wonderful people did such a good job of cleaning up and repairing, that insurance companies didn’t believe that damage had occurred. Over the next few weeks, these Church organizations will bring you meals, water, help. I can’t say enough about how wonderful they are-
d) United Way- Each effected area will have a branch set up. They will hand out and distribute funds and each United Way branch/situation is different. In many situations you will have to prove need. It’s just a matter of filling out paper work. They will provide temporary housing vouchers and other vouchers on an as needed basis.
e) FEMA stations- I believe they may already be getting set up.
f) Local volunteer organizations- As the other agencies pull back, you’ll find that you need to either create, or your local area will find a way to create, a disaster recovery volunteer organization. I believe the IRS will grant temporary and/or emergency 501c3 status to such organizations. These are important because they will be the way to apply for grants for repairs, materials, food, etc. Folks good at organizing groups will want to go to V.O.A.D. (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters) meetings. The United Way and the Church organizations will also help communities organize.
6) Some information that FEMA has on their recovery page (http://www.ready.gov/recovering-disaster): Inspect your home carefully before entering.
Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
• Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports.
• Use a battery-powered flash light to inspect a damaged home.
Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
• Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
• Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies.
• As you return home, watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads and sidewalks.
Do not enter if:
• You smell gas.
• Floodwaters remain around the building.
• Your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
Be cautious when entering your home after a disaster.
When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home:
• Natural gas. If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. Call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence. If you shut off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on. Do not smoke or use oil, gas lanterns, candles or torches for lighting inside a damaged home until you are sure there is no leaking gas or other flammable materials present.
• Sparks, broken or frayed wires. Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
• Roof, foundation and chimney cracks. If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
• Appliances. If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again. Also, have the electrical system checked by an electrician before turning the power back on.
• Water and sewage systems. If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
• Food and other supplies. Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater.
• Your basement. If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of the water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.
• Open cabinets. Be alert for objects that may fall.
• Clean up household chemical spills. Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.
• Call your insurance agent. Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.
Be wary of wildlife as you return home after a disaster.
Disaster and life threatening situations will exacerbate the unpredictable nature of wild animals. To protect yourself and your family, learn how to deal with wildlife.
Guidelines
• Do not corner wild animals or try to rescue them. Wild animals will likely feel threatened and may endanger themselves by dashing off into floodwaters, fire, and so forth. Call your local animal control office or wildlife resource office.
• Wild animals often seek higher ground which, during floods, eventually become submerged (i.e., island) and the animals become stranded. If the island is large enough and provides suitable shelter, you can leave food appropriate to the species (i.e., sunflower seeds for squirrels). Animals have a flight response and will flee from anyone approaching too closely. If the animal threatens to rush into the water, back away from the island or you may frighten the animal into jumping into the water to escape from you.
• Do not approach wild animals that have taken refuge in your home. Wild animals such as snakes, opossums and raccoons often seek refuge from floodwaters on upper levels of homes and have been known to remain after water recedes. If you encounter animals in this situation, open a window or provide another escape route and the animal will likely leave on its own. Do not attempt to capture or handle the animal. Should the animal stay, call your local animal control office or wildlife resource office.
• Beware of an increased number of snakes and other predators. These animals will try to feed on the carcasses of reptiles, amphibians and small mammals who have been drowned or crushed in their burrows or under rocks.
• Do not attempt to move a dead animal. Animal carcasses can present serious health risks. Outbreaks of anthrax, encephalitis and other diseases may occur. Contact your local emergency management office or health department for help and instructions.
• If bitten by an animal, seek immediate medical attention.

7) Paperwork. Be prepared to fill out LOTS of paper work. Hopefully you have proof of residence or other proof needed to request help.
Donations- for those not affected by the Hurricane, please donate to appropriate places- such as Red Cross, local collection agencies, etc. BE AWARE that the box of clothes you’ve just donated may not be given out immediately. Folks that have been hardest hit won’t have a dresser to put clothes in- and therefore, will only ask for a clean change of clothes for the time being. GREAT items to donate are personal care items- toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo/conditioner, DIAPERS, feminine hygiene products, underwear/bras, deodorant- especially if you have unused hotel packs of the stuff.
9) Here is a list of organizations that may be able to help, the charitable ones will require that requests for assistance come from a 501c3. If you do not have a community volunteer organization set up, check with your EMT, as they will sometimes apply for assistance on your behalf…
a) Red Cross- http://www.redcross.org/ to donate text REDCROSS to 90999. If you can stop by a blood bank, and donate blood, that is very welcome. Unless specifically marked for Hurricane Sandy Relief, donations to the Red Cross go into the general fund, which is not a bad thing btw…
b) United Way- http://www.unitedway.org/
c) National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD): http://www.nvoad.org/
d) FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/
e) American Veterinary Medical Association: https://www.avma.org/kb/resources/reference/pages/hurricane-preparedness.aspx
f) MERCK (the pharma company- has grants for medicine and supplies for both humans and vets treating disaster victims): http://www.merck.com/merckhelps/
g) Humane Society/Disaster Animal Response Team: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/ndart/ndart.html
h) The Cat Channel has an article detailing animal response/rescue information: http://www.catchannel.com/news/2012/10/29/cats-safe-during-hurricane.aspx
i) PetSmart Charitable Donations (we were able to receive donations after pulling together a list of need and submitting it to our local animal shelter, who applied on our behalf): http://www.petsmartcharities.org/
j) Henry Schein, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSIC), the world’s largest provider of health care products and services to dental, medical and animal health office-based practitioners, today reminded its customers that the Henry Schein disaster relief hotline is open for dentists, physicians, and veterinarians who experience operational, logistical, or financial issues as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the East Coast this week. The toll-free number for all Henry Schein customers – 800-999-9729 – is operational from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. More info here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/10/30/4374779/henry-schein-disaster-relief-hotline.html#storylink=cpy
k) United Animal Nations/Red Rover (has grants for urgent veterinary needs): http://www.redrover.org/index.cfm?navid=161
l) Church of Christ Disaster Relief: http://disasterreliefeffort.org/
m) State Veterinary Directory (can help with finding animal, especially large animal, recovery/information/etc): http://agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/AnimalHealth/statevets.aspx
n) Horse Evacuations East (a FaceBook site dedicated to helping organize evacuations/shelters/information, etc- actually does work nationwide and is time tested): https://www.facebook.com/HorseEvacuationsEast?ref=ts&fref=ts

Hope this helps! Good luck and many prayers.

Disaster Recovery in the face of Hurricane Sandy

October 30, 2012

This is information I’ve picked up over the years. I hope it’s useful…
Surviving a Disaster for Humans and Animals
A number of years ago, we had a tornado touch down and do massive damage in our rural Tennessee area outside of Nashville. During the months, and years, that followed, I collected information regarding disasters, which I hope can help those in need now. By no means is this complete or authoritative. It’s just a start. And I hope it helps.
~Vivi
After surviving something like Hurricane Sandy, do not be surprised if folks are in shock. Especially those who have lost their homes or had major damage. It seems like everything will be in slow motion- from your own responses to the responses of the Rescue and Recovery teams. But actually, nothing is in slow motion, and that’s when mistakes can be made. Here are some tips to help you through your recovery:
1) Before getting out to inspect damage, make sure everyone, and all pets, are physically ok. Double check to see if there are any cuts, scrapes, etc. This is important, because there will be standing water that might be contaminated. You want to make sure all wounds are covered and protected from potential infection. Staph infection is very common during disaster recovery and can be very dangerous.
2) Make sure anyone going into debris area/inspecting damage is wearing heavy work boots and good gloves. With receding water, the power of high winds, and downed trees, it is very likely there will be sharp debris embedded in the soil or sticking out where it can’t be seen. You DO NOT want to get cut by any of this debris as the likelihood of infection is great.
3) Take a camera with you. And use it. Before any work is done, before a chainsaw comes out, tarps get put on roofs, limbs picked up, RECORD everything. This will help you later when the insurance adjuster comes out and sees only a clean yard and no trees on the house… you’ve got to prove there was damage. In suburban and urban areas, trees themselves are sometimes included in the insurance (i.e., you will receive insurance money for downed trees), but you’ve got to be able to prove those trees were damaged/downed/destroyed by the storm. Therefore, photographs.
4) When photographing damage, make sure you get overall shots with significant landmarks (i.e., a tree on top of your house, the tree down with the street sign- which is readable- in the background, the boat in your yard with the house in back). This will help in proving that the damage actually occurred to YOU… Additionally, take close ups of damage to help prove exactly what was damaged.
5) The usual order of rescue/recover is:
a) Emergency Management Teams (this will include your local EMT, possibly the first wave of Federal folks – FEMA, paramedics, fire/police, and emergency veterinarians in areas where farms might occur). These teams will go door to door to find victims, and will, most likely, spray paint marks on doors or other structures with important information regarding that particular property. DO NOT REMOVE this information until instructed to by your emergency management team or insurance agent.
b) Red Cross- They have shelters already in place. As rescue/recovery starts, they will coordinate with other organizations to help- they will provide water to victims and volunteers.
c) Church Groups- Such as Church of Christ Disaster Relief. These folks are AMAZING! BUT… you must make sure they are legit (some evil folks will pretend to be with relief organizations and then rob you blind), AND do not let them start repairs or clean up until you have spoken with your insurance company and TAKEN PICTURES OF EVERYTHING. We found, after our tornado, that these wonderful people did such a good job of cleaning up and repairing, that insurance companies didn’t believe that damage had occurred. Over the next few weeks, these Church organizations will bring you meals, water, help. I can’t say enough about how wonderful they are-
d) United Way- Each effected area will have a branch set up. They will hand out and distribute funds and each United Way branch/situation is different. In many situations you will have to prove need. It’s just a matter of filling out paper work. They will provide temporary housing vouchers and other vouchers on an as needed basis.
e) FEMA stations- I believe they may already be getting set up.
f) Local volunteer organizations- As the other agencies pull back, you’ll find that you need to either create, or your local area will find a way to create, a disaster recovery volunteer organization. I believe the IRS will grant temporary and/or emergency 501c3 status to such organizations. These are important because they will be the way to apply for grants for repairs, materials, food, etc. Folks good at organizing groups will want to go to V.O.A.D. (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters) meetings. The United Way and the Church organizations will also help communities organize.
6) Some information that FEMA has on their recovery page (http://www.ready.gov/recovering-disaster): Inspect your home carefully before entering.
Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
• Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports.
• Use a battery-powered flash light to inspect a damaged home.
Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
• Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
• Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies.
• As you return home, watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads and sidewalks.
Do not enter if:
• You smell gas.
• Floodwaters remain around the building.
• Your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
Be cautious when entering your home after a disaster.
When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home:
• Natural gas. If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. Call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence. If you shut off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on. Do not smoke or use oil, gas lanterns, candles or torches for lighting inside a damaged home until you are sure there is no leaking gas or other flammable materials present.
• Sparks, broken or frayed wires. Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
• Roof, foundation and chimney cracks. If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
• Appliances. If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again. Also, have the electrical system checked by an electrician before turning the power back on.
• Water and sewage systems. If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
• Food and other supplies. Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater.
• Your basement. If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of the water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.
• Open cabinets. Be alert for objects that may fall.
• Clean up household chemical spills. Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.
• Call your insurance agent. Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.
Be wary of wildlife as you return home after a disaster.
Disaster and life threatening situations will exacerbate the unpredictable nature of wild animals. To protect yourself and your family, learn how to deal with wildlife.
Guidelines
• Do not corner wild animals or try to rescue them. Wild animals will likely feel threatened and may endanger themselves by dashing off into floodwaters, fire, and so forth. Call your local animal control office or wildlife resource office.
• Wild animals often seek higher ground which, during floods, eventually become submerged (i.e., island) and the animals become stranded. If the island is large enough and provides suitable shelter, you can leave food appropriate to the species (i.e., sunflower seeds for squirrels). Animals have a flight response and will flee from anyone approaching too closely. If the animal threatens to rush into the water, back away from the island or you may frighten the animal into jumping into the water to escape from you.
• Do not approach wild animals that have taken refuge in your home. Wild animals such as snakes, opossums and raccoons often seek refuge from floodwaters on upper levels of homes and have been known to remain after water recedes. If you encounter animals in this situation, open a window or provide another escape route and the animal will likely leave on its own. Do not attempt to capture or handle the animal. Should the animal stay, call your local animal control office or wildlife resource office.
• Beware of an increased number of snakes and other predators. These animals will try to feed on the carcasses of reptiles, amphibians and small mammals who have been drowned or crushed in their burrows or under rocks.
• Do not attempt to move a dead animal. Animal carcasses can present serious health risks. Outbreaks of anthrax, encephalitis and other diseases may occur. Contact your local emergency management office or health department for help and instructions.
• If bitten by an animal, seek immediate medical attention.

7) Paperwork. Be prepared to fill out LOTS of paper work. Hopefully you have proof of residence or other proof needed to request help.
8) Donations- for those not affected by the Hurricane, please donate to appropriate places- such as Red Cross, local collection agencies, etc. BE AWARE that the box of clothes you’ve just donated may not be given out immediately. Folks that have been hardest hit won’t have a dresser to put clothes in- and therefore, will only ask for a clean change of clothes for the time being. GREAT items to donate are personal care items- toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo/conditioner, DIAPERS, feminine hygiene products, underwear/bras, deodorant- especially if you have unused hotel packs of the stuff.
9) Here is a list of organizations that may be able to help, the charitable ones will require that requests for assistance come from a 501c3. If you do not have a community volunteer organization set up, check with your EMT, as they will sometimes apply for assistance on your behalf…
a) Red Cross- http://www.redcross.org/ to donate text REDCROSS to 90999. If you can stop by a blood bank, and donate blood, that is very welcome. Unless specifically marked for Hurricane Sandy Relief, donations to the Red Cross go into the general fund, which is not a bad thing btw…
b) United Way- http://www.unitedway.org/
c) National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD): http://www.nvoad.org/
d) FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/
e) American Veterinary Medical Association: https://www.avma.org/kb/resources/reference/pages/hurricane-preparedness.aspx
f) MERCK (the pharma company- has grants for medicine and supplies for both humans and vets treating disaster victims): http://www.merck.com/merckhelps/
g) Humane Society/Disaster Animal Response Team: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/ndart/ndart.html
h) The Cat Channel has an article detailing animal response/rescue information: http://www.catchannel.com/news/2012/10/29/cats-safe-during-hurricane.aspx
i) PetSmart Charitable Donations (we were able to receive donations after pulling together a list of need and submitting it to our local animal shelter, who applied on our behalf): http://www.petsmartcharities.org/
j) Henry Schein, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSIC), the world’s largest provider of health care products and services to dental, medical and animal health office-based practitioners, today reminded its customers that the Henry Schein disaster relief hotline is open for dentists, physicians, and veterinarians who experience operational, logistical, or financial issues as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the East Coast this week. The toll-free number for all Henry Schein customers – 800-999-9729 – is operational from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET. More info here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/10/30/4374779/henry-schein-disaster-relief-hotline.html#storylink=cpy
k) United Animal Nations/Red Rover (has grants for urgent veterinary needs): http://www.redrover.org/index.cfm?navid=161
l) Church of Christ Disaster Relief: http://disasterreliefeffort.org/
m) State Veterinary Directory (can help with finding animal, especially large animal, recovery/information/etc): http://agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/AnimalHealth/statevets.aspx
n) Horse Evacuations East (a FaceBook site dedicated to helping organize evacuations/shelters/information, etc- actually does work nationwide and is time tested): https://www.facebook.com/HorseEvacuationsEast?ref=ts&fref=ts

Hope this helps! Good luck and many prayers.

Planes, trains, automobiles & boats

June 15, 2012

Cross into Montana at the fort where Sttung Bull surrendered. Following the Missouri river – passed a cattle drive.  Canola fields.  And honey production.  Accordion music coming up.  Appropriate, as the book I’m reading, The Book Thief, has accordion playing as a central theme. 

 
Lunch as we watched Montana roll by. Buttes, high desert all covered by the bright green of early spring (at least to this part of the country) I can almost smell the sage brush, feel the wind on my back as I ride, in my mind, wingman… That’s me- pick up the stragglers or the calves who turn back.  My dog catches them before I even see the eye if defiance.  Ahhh… I miss it.  She doesn’t. 
Quonset huts store everything from the fierce Montana winters.  Ribbed, like the stomach if a whale, they hold strong against the winds and snow.  
The accordions keep playing.  
To our south , the Bear Paws sneak out if the horizon.  
Things I never thought about.  My years in martial arts gave me the ability to walk thru a bouncy twisty train without falling over.  The first patent in America is the rubberband. That won me a bottle if wine.  
I miss the cottonwood trees.  Down by the railroad tracks, where we slither by, America leaves its trash.  
 
4;50 pmto the north west, the sweet grass hills rise.  
 
Different tales from different trails.  Claire eide (mr)- nps  VIP rails & trails
 
Thor heyerdahl  American Indians in the pacific. 
 
Cross the gorge after sweet grass mt.  Another gorge before east glacier, very deep. 
 
Glacier- fast water, high peaks, chimney peak is about 10 miles from Canada. Waterfalls, snow.  Drunk woman from Yak.  Long talk with Neil, the Amish man from Michigan, who is a horse trainer with a quadrapaleguc son.  Long tunnel… Who turned out the lights.  Why are we stopped in a tunnel?  Talking about getting  claustrophobic.  
 
Midnite, on the way to Sand Point Idaho – were making up for lost time, at a pretty good clip.  Was just drifting back to sleep, the train lurched and jumped …  And stopped suddenly.  Horrible acrid smell like burning rubber .   A few minutes later mom is knocking at our door.  Trying to get us to call the porter.  She says she’s been trying to wake him.  We don’t understand why.  She leaves.   Panicked, disappointed that we weren’t freaking out.  A storm rolls in.  We wake up, David gets the scanner and starts listening, no lights in our room, no aur, thunder and lightfning, & something about debris strewn for a mile.  I go to see mom.  Her neighbors husband come and says we’ve hit a moose and have a hydraulic leak.  Rain.  Dead air.  So much for lost time.  
 
6 am wake up- so sound asleep I almost didn’t hear my alarm.  Ckackity clackity clack, rhythm and rocking.  Gentle swaying back and forth. Occasional lurches but no more mooses.  Boris & Natasha in my brain… Moose und squirrel.  
 
Wake up outside if cashmere Washington.  Produce boxes, the REALLY big ones, all over the station.  We’re in growing country- fruit, grapes, river curves around the mountains.  Here fishy, fishy, fishy.  My casting arm is twitching.  Must. Not. Cast.   
Everyone is talking about moose.  It ripped out hydraulic hoses.  4 gasket and a few hydraulic hoses and a brake line.  They had to check the entire train for damage.  
 
We must be up pretty high.  Snow is pretty close.  28 mph.  
 
Cascades tunnel… Lights out outside.  A bit disconcerting but at least this time I feel movement.  
 
Trees shrouded in mist. Drops are incredible to raging river below. Boughs weighted like hoops on a Victorian dress.  Moss for a bodice.  Soft and velvety.  Cosps of aspen.. Are there aspen here?  A birch family member.  Engineer walks by, says he hears moose parts falling off the train.  Ewww.  
 
White water boiling and raging.  Sign says “River closed to travel”. Flotsam strewn on the banks.  Now quieter, but still quick.  Just less angry.   Falls, not long or even a huge drop… Saw those in Glacier- ribbons falling a thousand feet or so it seemed, no, this one was wider and turned a corner, but the river had narrowed so it forced the water thru- pure white, deceptive in its whiteness- white does not mean innocent, but more like death.  Like many cultures, the funeral color.  
 
57 acre ranch for sale.  Riverfront.  Power lines.  The big ones. Everything is green.  Dark, unless it’s new growth then it is almost neon.  And vibrating.  Holsteins lazily eating grass, waiting for their bags to fill…and then relief.  Pine Creek nursery.  Horse farms, mud.  Lots and lots of mud.  Bamboo. Bamboo nursery. Public notice. Wonder if it’s to tell other residents that the bamboo is out if control.  
East Monroe.  Cute town from what I can see.  
 
Keep thinking about the book, The River Why.  
 
Foxglove blooming beside the track.  Bicycles hanging from the ceiling on the second floor apartment.  
 
Edmonds, over looking the puget sound.  Beautiful homes in the hill with a view… Of the train, and the sound.  The air is heavy, the sky touches the ground, the trees inthe mist like ghosts acting out a ballet.  
 
Landscaping- azalea and rhoderdendrums, nautical themes,  or not landscaped at all & overrun with brush.  Japanese gardens.  Blackberry bushes cling to the hillside, white flowers blooming and promising a harvest incredible… For birds and animals.  Too steep for humans to harvest, with the danger of falling into the RR tracks.  
 
Locks. Or loch ?  On the river side.  
 
Thursday 6/14/12
Ahhhh.  A good night’s sleep in a very comfy bed … That isn’t moving- or hitting mooses. Or meeses. 
 
 Dahlink, we must kaput moose und squirrel. 
 
I think I have a hang up about the midnight moose massacre.  (sigh) 
 
We had breakfast with friends of Mom’s. Woody & Martha Wood, a couple in their 80’s, he built Camp Denali back in the 50’s with his first wife, a bush pilot. Woody cut all the logs for the buildings over 100 miles away and dragged them on a flatbed truck with gearbox issues that they’d bought from Denali National park, and drive them back to the other side.  They’d paid $200/acre for the land, which wasn’t part of the park back then. It’s now a private holding inside the park, as the boundaries have changed.  Woody and crew felled, trimmed, cut and notched the logs with hand tools.  He says it’s much easier now with chain saws (he’s still building log cabins at 88 yrs old). 
 
Mom went off for lunch with girlfriends from the east coast.  We decided to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island.  Love Seattle and surrounding areas because of being so pedestrian friendly.  
 
Walking downhill is not hard.   I will find out later that if I go downhill in the morning, then it’s all uphill in the afternoon. When.   I’m.   T I R E D!
 
Things I’m happy about…
I have comfortable walking shoes. 
My kids listened when I said they needed their fleeces or lined anorak. 
I have a lined Australian oilskin.  
 
The ferry ride over was beautiful, but chilly.  The kids counted jelly fish and tried to catch seagulls as they rode the air currents next to the ferry.  Silly kids!
Bainbridge Island is beautiful.  Nope. We can’t afford to live there. We looked.  Bummer. 
Ate at the Pegasus Cafe down by the water – had to walk thru town to get there.  
 
I get the strange idea I’m paying for 3 days in the train.  Hmmm.  It’s a conspiracy. 
 
Garlic soup with garlic scape. Oh my gawd.  Delicious!  And as an added bonus, we don’t have to worry about being attacked by Vampires. 
 
Then again, no one wants to kiss me.  Or come near me.  Weenies. 
 
Lots of great shops on Wilton Ave.  I started exploring a local artist craft shop.   The peanut gallery stopped me. We ended up going to an outdoor store instead- they talked me into getting gloves for them (and me).  Technical gloves.  
 
We wore them on the ferry back because it was COLD.  of course, it would have been just fine if we’d remained INSIDE the ferry.  Nope, I had to spend the entire rude back on the bow, taking pictures.  Which you won’t see until I figure out how to get them off my iPad and into Facebook. 
 
Or… I could go buy a new MacBook Pro. 
 
Ahh… Well… That was a nice dream! 
 
Palomino Resteraunt – blood orange mojito.  Omg!  I’m in love!
 
Per Meredith:  there’s a lock on the bathroom, I think they’re afraid someone’s going to steal the toilets. 

Sent from my iPhone…Small keyboard, fat fingers!

 

Beech Grove Hunt

June 9, 2008

The alarm went off at 4:45 am. I hit the snooze button until 5, and
then JUMPED out of bed as Becca, my neighbor’s daughter & a rider, was
going to call any second. And she did- then she showed up – I hadn’t
seen her since she was maybe 12… she’s grown up! We got everything
ready, got Mere out of bed, drank a cup of coffee and poured ourselves
in my Land Cruiser to head to the stable, where my trailer & Thomas
were- and the other horses were… Sugar Love Buns, this adorable
cobby paint pony to be ridden by McKinnley, who I think is 10 yrs old,
and Legend, a big horse who is owned by one of Troma’s students and
was going to be ridden by Troma.

We got over there, hitched the trailer, loaded the horses- Tom in the
nose (tack room) of my stock trailer, the other two in the back. We
drove the 2 hours to Beech Grove and started the day. It was 88 by
the time we got there, quickly rising into the 90’s. But a good
breeze and low humidity. We were early and some of the first at the
cross country event- Beech Grove Hunt is absolutely gorgeous. Very
hilly with views to die for. It’s about halfway between Nashville &
Chattanooga. Near Boogher Hill, Hoodoo and Gnat Hill. I can verify
that we were close to Gnat Hill… I have the gnaw marks on my legs to
prove it!

Meredith, McKinnley & Troma tacked up (ok this was actually
accomplished by Becca, me and Honor, the teenager who owns Legend),
and they mounted up and went down the hill to the warm up area- Along
the way, the hounds started braying and Thomas’ ears perked up and his
adrenaline started pumping… You could actually hear him thinking
“FoxHunting! We’re going FoxHunting!” And he wanted to GO! Mere had
a really hard time keeping him focused and in place- it really shook
her confidence and Troma asked Becca to get on Thomas to try to
re-align his focus, but SHE had trouble with him. So we all decided
that Meredith wasn’t going to compete, unless she got her confidence
back. While we were making this decision, other horses showed up at
the warm up area – many people where having trouble, a few bought some
real- estate. Legend started rearing and bucking (Troma almost bought
real estate) after going over a jump, even Sugar Love Buns (I just
LOVE that name) gave a few bucks… This all served to solidfy our
decision to keep Mere safe-

That said, the gals all rode to the pre-novice area where Troma &
McKinnley were going to jump. Meredith stayed mounted for most of the
time we were there.

The first horse that went in refused every jump. The rider, a teen
who’d obviously been riding for a while, got him to his last few jumps
and he suddenly not only refused he also balked and off she went. It
was the scary horse eating watermelon jump. I only saw one horse go
over that jump without problems and it was another grey welsh pony.
That pony took the whole course at a canter with a 9 yr old on his
back, jumped everything cleanly and easily.

Troma was the first in our group to go- her first round was
HORRIBLE… Legend refused everything- he was convinced there were
trolls hiding in every jump. To Troma’s credit, she got him over
everything and when he started bucking, she stayed on. Think she
should try rodeoing! His second and third rounds were clean. He did
well.

McKinnley had a similar problem with Sugar Love Buns- she refused
every jump and McKinnley did come off at one point. Troma was in the
course coaching her over the jumps. 2nd and third rounds were better,
but Troma actually had to show Sugar Love Buns how to jump over a few
of the jumps.

Meredith almost got her confidence up, but to make sure we went back
to the trailer, and Thomas heard the hounds, saw the big horses off in
the distance and suddenly woke up again. And Mere lost her confidence
again.

We’re going back to the next one- If I can get my butt back in shape
and get Beamer, Rohan & Rune up to par, I’d love to take them and we’d
ride them –

Hope everyone had a GREAT weekend!

Vivi

Short stuff

May 29, 2008

A lot has been going on here- everything from grants becoming available, to used telephone poles being held for tornado victims to loggers, loggers everywhere. Everywhere except here. Seems the loggers I had originally signed up decided, with the cost of fuel and the back log of people waiting on them, that they couldn’t handle my 7 acres of downed trees. And now all the other loggers are so jammed packed with work they can’t get to me. Ho hum… Things will work out.

On the critter front, Rollo & Bud have started gaining weight. That’s a nice feeling as I was getting worried with how skinny they were. The vet did look at them and agreed that they were both stressed out- still- and it would just take patience and time to get the weight on them. I had tried giving them alfalfa cubes, but I really think Bud is allergic to alfalfa… When he eats it he really starts itching and scratching and breaking out. Counter productive to trying to fatten him up. But the grass has come in and he’s now on it with Rollo- they seem to get along just fine. Two old men just living it up!

Scottie found a beautiful place in Jamestown TN, up near the Big South Fork National Park. It’s a perfect place for her- although it’s a million miles from a lemon! Peppy (bless her) and I loaded up Scottie’s 5 horses in our two trailers, and took them up there last Tuesday. Or was it a week ago? Time flies! It was an incredibly long, long drive and my poor tow vehicle wasn’t too thrilled about hauling those enormous half drafts up the Cumberland Plateau. I do so need a diesel truck. and I so can’t afford it. Anyway, we got the horse up there, along with the rest of Scottie’s stuff that Peppy & Rick had so kindly packed in her and my trailers the day before. Scottie is now thrilled and Peppy is glad her horses are there.

Other than that, it’s been quiet- ok not quiet as I’ve been dealing with end of school stuff for both kids, and Mere is getting ready for a schooling cross country event. Her first. I have no idea how we’re going to get, then KEEP, Thomas clean. I think I’m going to have to invest in some sleezy sleepwear for the boy. He’ll look like SUPERMAN! Poor pony puts up with so much. He’s just a blessing. And so patient with me & Meredith.

We’ve had lots of rain… a good thing as we’re now no longer in drought conditions here (altho the ground is still suspect). I’m hoping we’re going to have a wet summer. This area could really use it. Just no more tornadoes!

The damned bull!

April 11, 2008

This is a mix use farm. I have the pot bellied pigs I’ve rescued over the years, who are now in their forever home (here) – there are 10 of them. I have the two goats… Billie Holidoe who was found by my horse, Beamer, last spring. Billie was about 4 weeks old (stump of umbilical chord still attached), no mother in sight- have no idea how she got here. And Opie, our wether, who was hand raised/bottle raised by the teenaged daughters of a horse rescue friend of mine in PA. They breed milk goats (for milk), and got to attached to Opie- his weaning and our finding Billie, coincided. I don’t like keeping only one of any specific animal, figuring that the critter might want a friend who “speaks the same language.” So Opie came here, courtesy of a dog rescue transport company!

I’ve got the horses- 8 of my own (altho 2 are mini’s and don’t even count for a full horse if you put them together- unless your talking attitude, then you have two miniature arabians -genetically- with Napoleon complexes).

Of my 8 (and after the 2 mini’s), 3 are PMU foals (a 5 yr old belgian/qh cross, Beamer, and two 3 yr old Norwegian Fjords, Rohan & Rune), 1 is a retiree from a horse therapy program, Jate. Interestingly, they didn’t want him after spending a year training Jate to be the “perfect” therapy horse because he’s got a blown out knee-probably from a previous life of barrel racing when too young & not built for it. He’s a very stocky QH, I’ve been told he’s foundation style- He’s gorgeous, black, and the happiest horse I’ve ever met (dumb as a rock though! Gotta love him for it!). Jate’s also dead quiet- once the therapy program realized he couldn’t be ridden for a gadzillion hours a day going around in a circle, they taught him to be the “net” for wheel chair volley ball games. Jate has raised the two Fjords, whom I got as 5 month olds. It’s his job, he’s perfect for it, and he enjoys being the BMOC… And the pasture puff lifestyle. His only work with humans is to be adored by my 8 yr old twins and their friends, who love to groom him (he eats this up!).

We also have Bud, the 27 yr old retired police horse. He’s a stitch! He raised Beamer, my belgian/qh pmu foal, from a 4 month old- and still is in charge (caught 5 yr old Beam doing the “I’m a baby, don’t hurt me” mouth the other day when Bud was mad at him). I used to ride Bud when we first got him. A few years ago, we think he got into something poisonous, and he hasn’t been “right” since- so he’s a pasture puff too. And a hard keeper. He seems to be allergic to everything, gets stressed out easily and itches terribly. He does have the life though, as he gets all the hay he can eat, and senior feed wet with a beer (liquid hay). He slobbers it all up… The lush! He knows he has it good too- but he’s always the gentleman, dives into his halter when I need to halter him, allows me to clean feet or worm him loose in the field, or will just walk by my side when I take a walk. Love that horse!

That brings me to Thomas the Chaser, our 23 yr old welsh pony. Tommy is actually my cousin’s pony, but her children outgrew him and the people she’d leased him to had in turn leased him out without her permission. He wasn’t being cared for properly, was being chased by unruly children and dogs, was very overweight and not being treated for cushings. So Tommy came here- he doesn’t fox hunt anymore, or do field trials, but my daughter rides and shows him, and often he’s used by the other lesson children in the fun shows we go to as he’s just great. He’s also smart, and a bit arrogant. It took me forever to convince him that I was not going to peel his carrots and cut them on the bias- he was going to get hay like everyone else, and so sorry he’s out in a 4 acre pasture (with little to no grass so he can’t founder) with other horses, instead of being in his own paddock with his own stall. We call that pasture the Geriatric pasture, as that’s where Bud, Rollo (an aged tornado horse), Storm (really aged-30+yrs- tornado pony mare), and Tommy are there- I’ve also got the mini’s in there (they’re 8 yrs old) as it’s got very little grass. Tommy’s finally gotten to the point where he’ll come when I call, and doesn’t always expect a treat (but he’s discovered I have finger nails, which really get those hard to reach itches). So, he’s adapted to “slumming it” and is doing quite nicely.

I’ve still got 3 tornado equines- Rollo, who’s in his late teens, Belle, who’s a 2 or 3 yr old qh mare with little handling, and Storm, the aged pony mare. I put Belle in the top pasture with Jate, Beamer, Rohan & Rune, figuring they’ll teach her some manners (which they have- she’s much more docile now). The pasture they’re in is about 20+ acres and is shared with my neighbor’s cattle- mostly because the tornado took down all the fencing everywhere else and I’m the only one around who can handle the critters. Now the horses in this pasture do fine with the cows, and I have a paddock I can pull them into to hay them. There’s also enough grass for everyone, now that the grass is back up. Now this paddock is actually a sort of “half arena” put together with corral panels on 3 sides (ok it’s oval, so technically there are no sides) and two cargo containers where I keep my hay. I use it as a riding ring, or to feed the youngsters- and the cattle have figure this out.

Now the cattle are a mix between black angus and Guernsey’s (with those big beautiful brown eyes!). And they’re really friendly… obnoxiously so! Even the bull will come over to the fence to get his nose scratched- but I don’t do that when I’m out in the field- in fact, I keep my dogs with me in case the cattle get too friendly I can scatter them.

Well, the other day, I put some hay out in the arena for the youngsters, and then invited them in. Now my horses all know to come when called (they’re even whistle trained) and to go thru a gate when invited. I often don’t use a halter, mostly cause I don’t have one near by (bad me!). But my boys are all used to me and understand what I’m asking of them. I don’t “train” them with one style over another, and I don’t subscribe to any one “clinician”… but I’ve take a peak at a few of them, plus my experiences growing up with horses and horse people, and have my own “system”. It works for me… that said, when it comes time to back a horse, I send them to a trainer I like, and then they get “finished” over the years with a dressage trainer I really like, plus I put miles on them and expose them to all sorts of stuff- My 3 youngest, Beamer, Rohan & Rune, are not only riding horses but also driving horses- (well, Rune hasn’t had any driver’s ed yet, but he’s next on the list!).

The mare, on the other hand, has very little handling experience, is untrusting and generally a pain in the tush. She is pretty, and if someone had some time to spend with her, she’d turn out great. But she’s not mine and I’ve already got my plate full, so I spend only a little time with her each day. And she’s not as familiar with my directions (such as “Breakfast boys” means nothing to her, while my guys come running and salivating!).

So, I open the gate to let them in for hay- Beam, Belle & Rune run in- Jate & Rohan go to say howdy to the old folks in the geriatric pasture. I go to remind them that they can eat and talk at the same time (it’s only about 40 feet away from the geriatric pasture). Jate & Rohan start trotting toward the gate, when Belle gets a bee in her bonnet and high tails it out. Beam gets worried and goes to get her, Jate (the herd boss) doesn’t like all this activity and goes to give the two young whippersnappers a talking to… Rohan & Rune act like fjords and don’t even lift their heads. Off into the woods Belle goes, buckin & fartin’ and having a big time. Beam shakes his head (I swear he said “Women!”) and trots off after her, gets ahead of her and turns her back toward the arena. Once they come out of the woods, Jate starts his “Now just listen here” talk with Belle… who decides everyone is just too serious about life and takes off again. Jate shrugs his shoulders (he’s a very expressive horse), watches as Beam looks totally perplexed, and then decides that food is more important that some mare with whoo haaa issues (did I mention she’s come into heat?). I swear Jate winks at me as he comes thru the gate.

On the other side of the fence, in the geriatric pasture, Storm suddenly kicks up HER ancient heels and takes off around the pasture. Now that totally perplexes Bud, who is madly in love with her. And off he goes to restore order in his domain. I go over to that gate, because at this point the whole thing is hysterical – Bud is chasing this ancient old pony mare, who’s suddenly got hot pants and is having a blast showing off for the men in her life, Tommy is tossing his head back and forth and acting like a stud muffin, Rollo is getting out of the way, and the two mini’s are now flagging and doing that beautiful arab floaty canter thing… A severe case of play is happening and I love watching it.

Little do I know that while I’m busy laughing at the old folks, the bull has sneaked into the arena and is munching on hay… When I finally DO turn around and see him, it’s too late. Just about the same time, Beamer herds Belle back into the arena- and then he spies the bull. Now Beam must have some cow horse in his blood, cause he’ll herd the cows too, even acting like my dogs in that I can point and say “get the cows” and he’ll chase them off. So I point at teh bull and tell him to “get the cows”… Nope, he herd the bull to an even LARGER pile of hay and proceeds to share it with him.

I swear they’re all in cahoots!

I look at my dogs, who are usually not allowed in the arena, and ask them to “get the cows”… nope, they both jump on the front seat of the golf cart and say “forget that Mom, that’s no cow, that’s the BULL.”

Smart asses!

So I go over to the cargo container that has my tack in it, and get my Parelli Carrot Stick- which is a bright orange dressage whip that’s not as comfortable to use (the handle is made from a golf club handle, so it’s quite heavy for my small hands, hence it’s up at the storage container cause I don’t use it much). I climb the corral panel and find myself in the arena with 5 horses and a bull. Jate sees the carrot stick and herds the horses to the far end of the arena (he doesn’t like any kind of whip), leaving me face to face with the bull- who’s eyeing me as he’s munching on his hay. Now I keep my back to the panel, and the bull between me & the gate (which is open), and I start slapping the whip end on the ground in the vacinity of the bull’s haunch. I take my hat of my head and point with it to the gate (this also has the effect of making me look bigger & scarier… at least I think I look scarier). The bull looks up with a big mouthful of hay, rolls his eyes and goes back to eating. I think he just told me I gotta do better than that, cause he’s not buying it. So a little more pressure from the carrot stick and some voice commands (like the bull cares!). He ends up taking about 4 steps, goes to reach for another bite, SLAP goes the whip on the ground, and he walks to the NEXT pile of hay (keeping an eye on me the whole way)- at least this is closer to the gate.

Have you ever seen videos of the Maori’s doing their “war” challenges? Where they slap their chests and make funny faces to look ferocious- and whomever blinks first looses… Well, that’s what I felt the bull & I were doing. And I had to work hard to not let him see that I’m shaking in my boots. What’s worse is the horses are laughing at me…

SLAP! “Haw & Git” says I…

Munch, munch, munch goes the bull… “good hay, by the way,” says he with a full mouth.

snicker, snicker, giggle, go the horses. (my horses tend to snicker a lot!)

This went on for a good 10 minutes. I eventually got my way, but not before he grabbed a huge mouthful and trotted out the gate- shaking that tail at me as if to say “Ha… not sure you won are you?”

That damned bull!

Benefit for Tornado Victims

April 9, 2008

This Saturday, April 12, at the Fairview Rec Center. Posters that are high quality print ready PDF @ http://caneyfork.com/whirlwind.pdf

The sounds of chain saws

March 10, 2008

It’s ironic… last summer I complained long and hard because a neighbor was having his land timbered. Starting in April (I think), the chain saws and heavy machinery would start their engines at 6:00 am and as it was just down the hill, it was loud. I shuddered every time a tree fell (for that matter, the earth shuddered).

Well, during the tornadoes, this neighbor had very little tree damage. Your’s truly with her high and mighty tree hugging ideals had a LOT of tree damage. And now the chain saws are back. 6:00 am. buzzing away for most of the day.

The country is not a quiet place- at least not anymore. Between chain saws and tractors and 4 wheelers the sounds of machines are everywhere. Then there is the sound of nature. Nature is NOISY. The birds start before the sun comes up, wind whips thru the trees, horses neigh, roosters crow… Back in the day, when we had peafowl, we were the scourge of the neighborhood, as my peacock would “cry” at odd times throughout the day, starting early. A peacock’s cry sounds like a woman screaming. It’s eerie!

At night, the noises continue- birds give their final squawks, wind in the trees, owls hooting or fighting, then the coyotes start howling. During calving season we really keep an ear out for the coyotes- they know when a cow is down, and at her most vulnerable.

Summer nights, add to the noise, the cacophony of crickets and frogs. I often don’t sleep well in summer from all that noise. Plus the air is thick. Faulkner always found a way to make a southern summer sound sultry and sexy (a little alliteration anyone?)- for me, it’s oppressive- especially when you add to the heat and noise the smells. The heavy perfume of a Magnolia- the smell is thick like syrup.

Ahhh… but summer is not near, yet. In fact, winter has not gone, yet. Friday we got snow- lots and lots of snow- by Saturday morning, there was over 4 inches on the ground. Kids got breakfast and then dug out their ski pants, jackets and gloves- raced to the garage and found their sleds and whooped it up all morning. I grabbed the camera and explored the beauty- deep long shadows in the snow- heavy wet snow on branches, jonquils peaking up thru the snow, creeks coming to life as the snow melted. And my horses- they were so happy- we played and played and played- even as it slowly turned to mud and muck.

All in all, we needed that- a complete release from the emotional impact of the tornadoes. Maybe, now that I’m a bit refreshed, I can start to refocus on helping those who need it. And stop focusing on how our government is denying claims left and right, and not helping anyone. It is sad to think that the government we all pay our taxes to, the government who is supposed to be kind and generous to people in need- and seems to help those in other countries- ignores it’s own. The heart is gone from this country- although I have to admit, the people on a local level are incredible.

And so it goes. FEMA seems to be a dismal failure, insurance companies (with a few exceptions) are a joke (or worse, corrupt)… It’s not like the people who are asking for help are expecting to have their lives converted or life long handouts. For the most part, these are hard working, honest people. They just want the system to work. The insurance they paid for to pay them when there is a problem, the government they voted for/they paid taxes to, to help instead of saying “oh you had insurance so we don’t help you”- but what the hey- the insurance isn’t paying- these people are getting screwed by everyone.

It’s amazing to read, or even be told by FEMA, that the only way we’re going to get help is through the Faith Based and Volunteer Community Groups. If this is the case, why did FEMA even appear? Photo ops? Feel good press? Well, all it did was tick off the people who needed the help and didn’t get it.

And why the press isn’t picking up on this really stymies me. As one friend says, if you really want to see what’s going on in the US, read the European or New Zealand Newspapers. Hmmm….

End of rant! (at least for today)