6 Days in the 9th Circle

Remember how it already snowed 6 inches in my corner of central Texas back in January? Texas got wrung through the iciest wringer in the state’s recent history (meaning since weather has been recorded here back in the late 19th century) starting with Valentine’s Day. And then President’s Day. And this extended through an entire week — 6 days below freezing, 6 days of ice and snow, and wouldn’t you know it, our federal regulation-free, independent little power grid almost collapsed catastrophically! 

Along with many, many trees. So yes, as I am sure you have now read in the news, Texas went through days of “rolling blackouts” which were just straight up blackouts for some, no rolling about it. I stayed up all night without power the night it was 5 degrees at the lowest, snuggling Conrad under 5 blankets and drinking hot beverages periodically because the gas stove could at least be lit with a match to heat water. I have rediscovered the deliciousness that is percolator coffee. I was lucky, as my house stayed just above 50 degrees and we got power back before many people. And I never had a water issue, but I am sure you have also seen the news — Texas is in a water crisis as a result of the “rolling” blackouts. Water treatment facilities lost power and left 14 million Texans without potable drinking water. FOR DAYS. Some had no water at all. 

No, snow is not fucking pretty. No, we do not have snow plows in central Texas (Dallas has a few). No, we do not have snow tires, crampons, pipes buried eight feet deep, or taboggans. (We can’t bury pipes 8 feet deep in central Texas anyway because just below a thin layer of crappy topsoil you get into our limestone karst systems — our ground is a mix of solid sedimentary, fossil-flecked rock and hollow caves that live and grow and store water for some of us.) Why I bought snow boots years ago I have no idea, but it made me the designated backyard guardian so I cleared small areas for Conrad to relieve himself and for birds to eat birdseed. I regularly tromped through icy, crunchy, deep (for Texas) snow and I NEVER want to do it again. And compared to many, I had it easy.

People died here because of this weather. It started with a heinously nightmarish pile up in Fort Worth caused by black ice and ended with children and the elderly freezing to death in their homes, or dying due to lack of access to medically necessary life-saving treatments like insulin and dialysis. And but for Texas’ obstinate independence from federal regulation of electric utilities, these deaths were preventable. 

Like I said, I am one of the lucky ones. Conrad is totally ok. Eli is totally ok and was in the best care for the worst of the weather and it’s already spring-like here again, the kind of Texas winter Texans know and love. I may have gone 6 days without seeing my horse because of hazardous road conditions (and a car that did not want to start so that was a’ whole n’other thing), but I knew he was safe where he was.

Eli’s opinion of snow seemed pretty low, after he licked some while grazing – it produced the flehmen response so I’d say he is still indeed a summer horse. He finds the white stuff bewildering and of course there was too much ice along with the snow for safe turnout. The turnouts dried out enough fairly quickly and he’s had sunny outside time again. I am keeping tabs on him closely though, since stuck-in-a-stall time for 6 days other than hand-walking is not his favorite and I hope he is not getting ulcery again from it. 

So …. yeah. 6 days of the 9th circle here in Texas. I much prefer it in the 1st circle … or even the 6th is probably ok for me personally. Anything but entombment in this much ice and snow ever again. 

That’s a Lot of Snow

For here, anyway, in Central Texas. I got like 6 inches of snow at my house! It snowed ALL DAY. That just … doesn’t really happen here.

I really don’t like snow at all. Snow is pretty and magical for about an hour, then it’s just cold, wet, and hazardous to tree branches. Some of which snapped loudly as though someone fired a rifle just on the other side of the fence. 

Cardinals do look really good in snow, though. I am sure the ones here were surprised AF. Conrad was also surprised.

I did not think I would ever need snow boots for my dog, but he could have used them on Sunday.

I am pretty sure I am satisfied with the amount of snow that has fallen at my house in 2021 for the next 30 years or so. 

The snow was nicer than the usual ice storm we get around this time of year, at least, so perhaps we’ve dodged that bullet? Ha, yeah right. 2021 seems to be continuing in the tradition of 2020 but on steroids so I am sure we will get an ice day before the end of February. 

I am ready for warmer weather now for sure!

Weenie Wednesday

Conrad update! He had a minor surgery a while back and was a bit restricted in his movements. He also did not enjoy wearing a tshirt inside.

But his stitches have come out and he is busy sleeping, or enjoying sunny weather, or eating, or enjoying cold weather slightly less than he enjoys sunny weather.

Maybe he needs sunglasses? Our walks have been short and we are still avoiding the park for now, mainly in an effort to avoid people but he doesn’t seem to mind the shorter, slower walks because I give him as much time as he wants to smell everything.

Weenie Wednesday: Doing Better!

Indecisively staring at his toy basket.

 

My squishy little weenie man seems to be doing much better after all the ER vet drama. (I was pretty much the drama part.) Conrad has his sass and energy level back (still a very low-energy dog at home) and I am making a change to his diet.

And he seems to being doing well after this change! His previous food had a crude fat min. percentage that I think is just too high for his sensitive stomach to tolerate any more, considering his age. I found a few things that have less than half that and so far he is loving it. He had gotten very reluctant to eat his food, and now I understand why. It was probably making his tummy ache a little every time he ate. Poor little man.

Could possibly be trying to hypnotize me into giving him fried deli turkey.

 

So we are sticking with the newer diet, helping the transition with boiled white meat chicken and white rice, which Conrad wished he could eat all the time.

The chicken and rice gets warmed up and mixed in with the new food — I think Conrad prefers warm food to cold. He can’t eat a whole can of dog food in one go, obviously, so his dog food gets refrigerated. Putting the warm food in with the cold food makes it easier for him to eat for sure.

Omeprazole for Everyone!

Omeprazole: I’ve taken it myself. Eli just finished up a course of it. And now Conrad gets some for a few days.

Yep, this little man, who was quite himself on Tuesday — had a good walk, ate his meals, snuggled in his blankets — was just not right on Wednesday. This not-rightness went on all day and I finally decided he need to go to the emergency vet as he was refusing any and all food and treats. He had some other symptoms, too, and generally looked like he had a bad tummy ache.

Fortunately, the ER vet called with his blood work around 9:30pm on Wednesday night and said everything looked good other than that he was very dehydrated. He got IV fluids and antibiotics (because he had signs of some GI inflammation) and small bites of food and drank well overnight. Conrad felt much better Thursday morning. I got to pick him up and he was sent home with the antibiotics and omeprazole. He was also vvveeerrrrrryyy tired. The ER vet experience was interesting but very organized and seemed to work well. While it was upsetting that I couldn’t go in with Conrad due to COVID-19 restrictions, the vet and office were very helpful and communicative and everything was done through phone calls and emails. I’d use this ER vet clinic again if I had to! For anyone in the Austin area, it’s the Central Texas Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital in Round Rock. There is also a south location. There is a third location in northwest Austin, but that location is temporarily closed.

Conrad fussed a bit until he got comfortable on his sofa in my “home office” …

I’m going to split up his meals into three a day instead of two as the vet recommended this. And he can keep having his boiled white meat chicken toppings, so he’ll be happy about that! He has been eating and drinking well since he has been at home, too, so dear dachshund gods, please do not let my dog forget to drink water anymore!

In Eli news, in addition to the Incrediwear Circulation Wraps, Eli gets to wear wet Incrediwear Hoof Socks after a ride. His front feet need AAAALLLLLLLL of the help they can get. Don’t worry, his farrier is wonderful and I stand ready with Sole Pack paddies at all times, but I figure a little cooling down, especially in the coronet band region, can’t hurt, either!

The hoof socks are really interesting — they are super stretchy so not difficult to get on. You just gotta be careful about snagging them on nails but I have avoided that so far. They can be worn basically all the time when dry. I don’t think Eli needs that kind of use, but I do love using them after a ride.

I hose off Eli, put these on, and hose them off. He stands in front of fans to dry, so after all of that his fetlocks and hooves are nice and cool. The hoof socks seems almost foolproof to use, so if therapeutic polo wraps aren’t your thing, these would be a good alternative.

Debating with myself whether I can get him to wear a pair on his hind legs with no drama …

Eli is a very lucky pony because he’s got some Incrediwear standing wraps to try now, too. I see some goofy rooster walking in his future. I am even tempted to try the standing bandages on his front legs in hopes of a little extra padding to keep his right hoof/shoe from rubbing his right elbow when he lays down. I think it is just TOO HOT here for any kind of overnight wrap, but maybe in a few weeks the weather oven will no longer be on broil.

And one last thing — a few have commented on Conrad’s fuzzy blankets and I wanted you to know they are inexpensive and easy to get and come in a variety of colors. Strangely enough if you search “game of thrones blanket” they come up.

These blankets are fleecy on the inside and furry on the outside. They wash well, they don’t pill up, and they don’t shed in the wash or on furniture. Conrad might have three… the Rose Dust color is tempting me …

Weenie Wednesday: Conrad Pretends It Is Cold Outside

If you saw Conrad only in the house, you’d think it’s 40F and raining.

He does love a good fuzzy blanket. But it’s warm outside, so he’s not wearing any cute outfits on our walks.

He did get a bandanna for being a good boy for the groomer!

We’ll just be over here pretending it’s winter until it is actually winter. Then we’ll be too cold.

Weenie Wednesday: Sleeping on the Job

Conrad now understands what “we gotta go to work” means. It means we go upstairs to my corner office and he takes his spot on the couch. He hops right up the stairs when I say it. Of course, why have apprehension about work when your job is to sleep?

He is really into fuzzy blankets.

He is also getting more short walks during the week.

Many times the walking involves a lot of sitting … but then he gets to rest and watch a little tv with me when I get home from the barn. He likes pretty much anything thing that involves doing not much of anything.

He also likes hanging out in the kitchen, hoping for scraps of turkey or another one of his own dog cookies.

He almost blends in with the flooring and cabinets.

 

Weenie Wednesday: Conrad Enjoying Himself

Conrad has taken to understanding the me saying, “okay, I gotta go to work” usually means he gets to come with me to work upstairs in the loft and he stations himself on the couch. Maybe he is actually my security guard? But anyway, he is getting extra attention.

He gets many extra walkies. He also had a grooming appointment. The nice thing about his grooming appointment is that it’s with a mobile groomer and I am working from home — I don’t have to take any time off, because I can keep working. If we ever go back to full time on site office life, that will be very difficult for both me and Conrad.