Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Leg bone is Connected to the ASS Bone, the Ass Bone is connected to the...

No one wants to be a Lame Ass. Especially Rusty. At the beginning of November, Rusty, my prize Jack, got pretty limpy on his Right front foot. The hoof, leg and joints all seemed normal and I couldn't figure out why he was sore. My good friends Dennis and Karen Miller thought maybe he had an abscess in the hoof that needed to work itself out. A few days later, it went away and he was back to normal. But over the next two months, he occasionally seemed to favor the leg. It never lasted very long, or seemed very noteworthy.

Then 4 days ago, he went completely off of his Right front foot. This time when I palpated his leg and joints, he had obvious swelling from the top of the fetlock, along the tendon, almost up to the knee. And pain. Jackasses can take a lot of pain, but Rusty was showing it from the back of his hoof to the bottom of his knee. I've had him on 2 grams Bute, administered orally, bid (that's twice a day in Latin) for the past 4 days and he is slowly feeling better. That heavy swelling in the tendon behind his leg is about a half to a third of what it was Sunday.

This morning, Dr. Barton and Dr. King from the Washington Family Veterinary Clinic came by with their X-ray machine to see if we can figure out why Rusty is so sore. They are thinking it might be an injury of some sort. Maybe he jacked his leg in the fence or something. As a trained, experienced diagnostician (albeit for eyes), I'm puzzled over the intermittent, variable leg pain and the one day last week that he went off feed, while his leg wasn't sore. Is his sick day just a coincidence? Or is there some systemic problem? In the human world, inflamed eyes can indicate arthritis or even stem from an old back injury--and the eye bone ain't connected to the back bone or finger bones, as we eye doctors say.

Rusty was so happy to be done with the X-ray, he bellowed and growled all the way back to his stall. I'm hopeful. He seems spunkier than he has for months since I've had him on that Bute.

PS. The nice sepia toned photo at the top is the natural lighting captured by my Photographer sis--no photoshopping or alteration. Nice SHOT sis!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Frosted Mule Tarts

My sister who lives in Mesa, Arizona has gone pro with her fancy camera. Her family drove up to visit us for my birthday and she got so excited by the morning frost, that she shot off some megs of Compact Flash out in the corrals. I guess they don't see much frost, or mule biscuits down in them parts...

I'm a little worried that photographin' mules might taint her a bit. Everyone's better lookin' on a mule! Look how much it helped me. She might need to get her own half-assed horse (or is it half -horsed ass?) to improve the looks of some of her uglier clients.

She's one of them artistic geniouses. These are probably the only freebies you'll get outa' her, so click and save while the gettin's good.

Its called Head First Photo. If you're down her way, or she's up yours, call her. (Now don't forget that commission check when you get famous sis.)

That's all Folks!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Global Warming my ASS!

Snow Canyon State Park wasn't named for the white stuff. It was named after Lorenzo and Erastus Snow, two prominent Mormon pioneers who settled in Utah's Dixie. Snow in Dixie is a pretty rare phenomenon, and we got a bunch the past couple of weeks. Of course, Christmas was white for the entire state, and half the country this year. Brother Mike and I broke trail in the crusted snow across the Red Mountain Trail to the Snow Canyon overlook today. The mules got a workout--it was tough.

Cold, another scarce visitor, came to Dixie too. It is unusually brisk for a place that boasts an average high of 54 degrees for its two coldest months, December and January. Even November and February see 60-64 degrees for an average high. In this cold, Rusty, my Jackass, got a bit ill and went off his feed for a day earlier this week. If he could talk, I know what he'd say about Global Warming...

(UPDATE: 1/19/2009) Has anyone noticed the sharp contrast in the "news" about global warming lately? Apparently, we may actually be entering a new Ice Age! (click here)

Compare that to this article reported the same day claiming Obama only has 4 years to save the Earth from global warming. Are we being set up for a self fulfilling prophecy? Hmmmnnn...

(UPDATE: 2/5/2009) Click on this interesting article about Al Gore's Venus comparison--junk science at its finest. Of course, no one questions Gore on his conflict of interest in his Global Warming Hysteria--making our lawmakers complicit in the hoax.

Compare that to this news from Buffalo this morning, Or this OP ED compilation of interesting trends.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mules in the Mist

With a climate like Las Vegas, snow in St George is pretty rare. We have this saying, "You might go to bed with snow, but you'll never have lunch with her." It used to be so warm here that snow wouldn't last more than a few minutes, on the rare occasions that it reached the ground. We got some five days ago, and its still on the ground. It is the most snow in 30 years, and with global-warming induced cooling, it hasn't melted yet, which is an even bigger record. I wish they would do something about this global-warming which seems to be plunging the world into a new ice-age. We have a real freeze on, and I'm tired of shoveling snow, which is what I moved here to avoid.

So yesterday, I took the kids on the upper Snow Canyon trail to show them where they got the idea for Winter Wonder Fantasy Land. How can you not believe in Santa after seeing this?! It felt a little like Heaven as we rode up into the clouds--brilliant white everywhere, interrupted by the beauty of Mules in the Mist.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

High Octane Mule on the Dad-Trail

Of all the trails a man rides in this world, the Dad-trail ain't for sissies. Show-horses or pleasure boats need not apply. The Dad-trail is a technical and treacherous ascent through some ledges that appear impossible to navigate from below. Falling down on the Dad-trail in some places could mean a plunge to the boulder-strewn valley below. For this steep pull, you better have a solid, High-Octane Mule under saddle that knows where to put its feet. And you better have a steady heart that can stand having its fear of heights tickled.

Raising kids, especially girl-kids, terrifies the alert parent. Unless you live in a cave, the strident din of exploitative and seductive messages aimed at our daughters is unavoidable. Add that to the busy noise of well meaning experts and you face an importunate quest. So take this daughter of mine. She's the older of two girl-kids, and she has three brothers. At the age of 13, we are only two thirds up the Dad-trail. AND she is AMAZING! Such hyperbolic platitude is all the descriptive power I can muster to lay bare the swell I feel in my heart for her. I've used all the Dad-tools I know to help her get a proper start in life: Godly love, music, curiosity and the desire for learning, firm discipline, horse-sense, and chores without the possibility of parole.

Imagine the surge of systemic shock that burned through my veins this past week when I learned that Child Protective Services had taken her from the middle of a test in class for an unexpected interview. Some anonymous soul had filed a complaint with the State. After some very personal questions about the people who live in my home, he finally asked my sweet girl-kid if she ever felt afraid around me.

"Pshshshaw! You kiddin'? If you saw the places we go together on mules, you'd never ask that question!" Apparently we passed the official inquisition with flying colors...

(These photos were taken today on the Haslem trail. My 13 year old girl-kid skinned this 2 year old mule all by her self.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jerimiah Johnson's Snow Canyon

Several years have past since I watched Robert Redford's classic "Jeremiah Johnson." Released in 1972, I always considered it a favorite for its gritty portrayal of mountain man life and for its cinematography depicting Mt Timpanogos. We all enjoy watching movies that happen in places we recognize, and seeing the back side of Timp in the movies excited my cool-factor. I spent a lot of time exploring, skiing, and even did a little work on Robert Redford's pool on Timp's East side during the first half of my life. Timpanogos has an Alpine beauty second to none.

Only part of Jeremiah Johnson was filmed behind Mount Timpanogos. They filmed most of the rest of it in Snow Canyon State Park, around Zion National Park, near Hop Valley, and around Ivins reservior in what is now the Kayenta development. I hadn't watched the movie since moving the Utah's Dixie 11 years ago, until last night.

Brother Mike and I took a couple of our kids riding through Snow Canyon on Saturday with the Back Country Horsemen. While there, Larry Dunn reminded me of the famous scene where Jeremiah Johnson stumbles upon Del Gue (played by Stephan Gierasch) who is buried up to his chin in sand. The dialogue follows:

Jeremiah Johnson: Are you all right? Del Gue: Sure, sure, I got a fine horse under me! [sneezes] Del Gue: Got one of them feathers in my nose. Jeremiah Johnson: You keep sneezing, it'll come out all right. Haven't seen anyone pass by recent, have you? Del Gue: Nobody's gone in front of me. Can't say what's happened behind me, though. Jeremiah Johnson: The Injuns put you here? Del Gue: T'weren't Mormons. A Chief, name of Mad Wolf. Nice fella, don't talk a hell of a lot. Say, you wouldn't have an extra hat on you, would you? Shade's getting' scarce in these parts. Jeremiah Johnson: What'd you shave your head for? Del Gue: Mad Wolf figures like every other Injun I know. Says this scalp isn't fit for no decent man's lodgepole. Ain't the first time I've protected my head in such a way. Name's Del Gue, with an "e".

While we watched Jeremiah Johnson last night, I became struck by the cinematographic portrayal of Red Rock country. This movie is a where's where of Southern Utah's beautiful places! Our Cool-factors got excited over and over as we realized that we recognized nearly every single location in the film. Its a great movie. Full of classic lines and an amazing catalogue of Utah's diverse beauty, Jeremiah Johnson is a fun watch for the whole family.