Out and About

Equine Emergency Clinic – a review!


This past Sunday hubby and I attended a wonderful clinic on Equine Emergencies over at Reata Equine Hospital in Weatherford, Texas. Some of you may recall that this is the clinic that did Millie’s surgery a few months ago. Millie is the smaller of our two rescued Molly mules. She developed a growth that turned out to be a Mast Cell Tumor that needed to be removed. Our local vet offered to do the surgery, but I also contacted three other vets that specialize in equine care. In the end, I am VERY pleased that we chose Reata! You can read Millie’s End of August Update HERE.

I first learned about this clinic via a Facebook post on Reata’s FB page. Social Media is a TOOL and for things like this I find it to be a most useful tool, at that!  With their permission, here is the flyer that they had posted announcing the clinic. Weatherford is over an hour’s drive east of us, so we were hard pressed to make it there on time! When we arrived the room was already quite full and they were just giving one of the horses a dose of Dormosedan Gel, which is a mild sedative for horses that is administered orally and is simple enough to be given by the owner! I now have TWO tubes on hand and plan to keep at least one tube in my emergency kit at all times!!!goodies

Zoetis and Midwest Veterinary Supply
co-sponsored the clinic and brought along a table full of products that were given away! Everyone got a sample of Dormosedan Gel as well as a goody bag full of little happy things like brushes and a hoof pick. We were each also given a red ticket as we arrived which were then used to give out the additional door prizes which included thermometers, stethoscopes, hats and two equine emergency kits! Hubby won one of the Reata hats, that is NOT pictured here.

These door prizes were really nice, but more importantly is that after the Powerpoint presentation we all gathered for the hands-on portion of the clinic where we had the opportunity to learn how to properly use the stethoscopes! While we enjoyed Dr. Sutherland’s Powerpoint presentation inside the Podiatry Center, the Dormosedan Gel was making it’s way into the horse’s system and taking affect. By the time we moved out to do the hands-on portion, the equine was quite sedated – to the point that she was doing well to stay awake by the looks of her droopy eyelids and hanging bottom lip! In addition to learning to use the stethoscopes the hand-on portion of the clinic was where we also learned to properly apply leg bandages! This is important because if not done correctly, the bandaging could possibly do more harm than good, especially over the course of several days!

leg wrapping

Photo used by permission of Reata Equine Hospital. Dr. Sutherland is in the red shirt, explaining something important to us. Hubby and I are in the center foreground with our backs to the camera, naturally! To my right is a fellow mule owner, Robin Thomas. She and I have been Facebook “friends” for a while, and this clinic allowed us to finally meet in person! Robin is one of several friends who recommended Reata when we first knew that Millie’s tumor would need to be removed.

Dr. Sutherland’s Powerpoint presentation, which she later E-mailed to each of us, was full of information that all owners need to have on hand. When an emergency happens, we are the first ones there and need to asses if the emergency is something we can handle ourselves or if we need to call the vet immediately! Additionally, when calling the vet we need to be able to answer their questions to help them evaluate what is the best course of action for our animals. For me, this is where the benefit of the Dormosedan Gel really comes into play! Dancer, the larger of our two rescued mules, is still quite spooky. She halters and leads fairly well, and we have started working on standing-while-tied, but that is under the BEST of circumstances. If she were to experience an emergency, I’d need to sedate her just to be able to fully evaluate her condition and answer the vet’s questions!


July 17, 2011 Went out to feed the mules early and discovered Millie had a HUGE gash… if she were a person I’d say she was split open from “elbow to arm pit”! It’s wicked deep, too, with the muscles all exposed!!!

In the short time that we have had Millie and Dancer we’ve already had a small number of equine emergencies! Most of them have been the kind that we could handle ourselves: Dancer now has a split in her right here – possibly from a tussle with a bobcat. She constantly has a nose full of thorns from the Prickly Pear Cactus, too. She once had a swollen eye, but luckily I think it was from a bug bite. Then there is her locking stifles, which about gave me a heart attack the first time it happened because I thought she had broken her leg or something! Lastly, and most seriously, was Millie’s deep wound a couple of years ago where she had practically impaled herself on a section of fencing.

THIS is the kind of wound that required calling the vet immediately! If it had happened to Dancer instead of Millie I don’t know what we would have done because at the time Dancer could not even be haltered. Millie, of course, was a staunch trouper! Our local vet came out and sedated her. Because of the location of the wound it could not be sutured. Instead, she was given an antibiotic injection and I treated it myself for the next eight weeks or so. I’d clean it with the water hose and apply a topical ointment. Millie has a small scar that is only noticeable in summer, when her hair is not so fluffy. My experience with keeping this type of large wound clean while it slowly healed was important because I used that knowledge with her recent tumor removal site. An equine’s natural ability to heal is profoundly amazing!

I’m looking forward to future clinics at Reata and wish our local small animal vet would have them, too! On the feed-back sheet, where they asked us for input on what types of clinics we’d like to see in the future, I wrote Chiropractic care/massage and treating locked stifles NON-surgically!

Categories: Mules, Out and About | Leave a comment

2007 Enid’s Oklahoma Centennial Parade (Part 1 of 3)

Yes, you read that correctly… 2007. This is a “flash back” post of sorts. Not something I plan to do often, but I so enjoyed this event that I wanted to share a bit of it with the world. Having grown up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, just an hour away from New Orleans, REAL parades set a pretty high standard in my mind and heart! As a result, I’m not often impressed by  community parades. THIS parade was impressive, indeed…

Apparently Enid has an annual parade every September, but for the Oklahoma Centennial in 2007 they really went “all out”! We had just moved to Texas a few months before and scheduled our first trip up to Enid, where my parents were living at the time and where my sister and her family still live, to coincide with their city-wide celebration.

As the title implies, this will be a series of posts. The parade was HUGE! Too big, by far, to limit it to one large post, so I’ll try to do it in three. There might end up being a fourth or fifth post from that same trip, including photos from the Covered Wagon Rendezvous at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, but the first three will be just the parade itself! Honestly, it was like several parades rolled into one. It started off with a herd of long horns coming down the road!!! Yes, they walked these beautiful bovines through down town streets with handlers on horseback as escorts…

long horns long horns on parade

We had just moved to Texas a few months prior to attending this event, so I was unfamiliar with the Fort Worth Stockyards and their herd which is paraded through the stockyard on a regular basis. I was completely awe struck by seeing these magnificent animals walking down the street as pretty as they pleased! I mean look at them… they are HUGE! Their presence really set the tone for the rest of the parade, which was phenomenal.

After the longhorns came equines of all kinds. There were dozens upon dozens of wheeled units pulled by horses, mules and donkeys. There were carts with rubber tires, ox carts, as well as all kinds of homemade contraptions!

horse team Collage

I was naturally drawn to the beautifully matched teams. Looking back, I love that there were so many MULE teams! At the time, we had no plans to have equines of our own here on the farm. Now that we’ve got Millie and Dancer, our two rescued molly mules, I love these photos even more.

mule team Collage

Most of my photos are of the more authentic looking carts and carriages. I spent many years playing in an Historic Re-enactment group, so I’m drawn to the more realistic wagons, I suppose. There were many more home made carts and wagons with rubber tires and car seats, but they just weren’t as appealing to me. As you can see in these photos, there were numerous vintage Prairie Schooners, also known as covered wagons, the type of vehicle that many pioneers traveled in as they migrated west. Some of the more interesting units were the pair of restored stage coaches, a surrey, market wagons and a hearse!

two equine Collage


I found the fly dressing on this team (above) of white horses particularly fascinating! Oh, and not all of the teams were large draft breeds like these beautiful teams… There were draft mules, standard mules, average-sized donkeys (right) and even a team of Very Small Equines (below)! There was at least one Mammoth Donkey that was being ridden, too.


vse Collage

wagons and stage coach Collage


In addition to the teams pulling wagons and such, there were also outriders and riding groups. For instance, there was a whole crew of cowboys! Look how fine and fancy they’re all dressed… is it 2007 or 1907!?!?! Nice variety of horses they were riding, too. I love the Appaloosa to the far left and the beautiful buckskin seen in the center of this photo!

native Collage

Since there was such a great number of pioneers and cowboys  I must admit that I was quite pleased to see the Native Americans represented in the parade as well. Sadly, the birth of the State of Oklahoma in 1907 was also the end of what had previously been called the Indian Territory… I don’t have any photos of the other Native American riders, I remember there being a “squaw” or two, but this fine looking fellow on his painted pony really caught my eye!period dress Collage

These two ladies (below), and possibly the gentleman, too, were part of a riding group called OHE. You can see they both have a ribbon with those letters hanging from below their reins. I have no idea what OHE is, but the ladies are in lovely historical riding costumes!

street sweepersSo this was the just the beginning of this magnificent parade! With so many bovine and equine passing by, it was inevitable that there would also be many droppings left behind! Don’t worry, before the marching bands and floats rolled through there was a clean up crew!

Categories: Family and Friends, Out and About | Leave a comment

Walking the “Back 40”

Now that we’re having somewhat cooler weather I’m trying to get back into the habit of going for walks in the evening. Our two dogs, HOSS and Sassy (SassyfrASS) usually go with me. I’m sure we ALL need the exercise, both mentally and physically! So that I don’t have to mess with leashes I usually walk the “Back 40” instead of going out on the road. We only have just over 40 acres total, so this back area is probably only a smidge over 30 acres, but the “Back 40” is what it’s always been called – the wild acreage out beyond the barn.1917774_1268001452601_3742908_n

Not counting the recent weeks of Millie’s recovery (see previous posts about her Mast Cell Tumor removal surgery), I’ve let the mules out in the “Back 40” to browse this summer. The pasture is large, but is not cross-fenced. The recent drought and the mules have really put a strain on the poor pasture, which is just native grasses. We’ve had some rain recently, so with Millie being mostly healed I’ve turned them out again. Hopefully we’ll see some improvement on the pasture by spring.5086_1166203787723_6760028_n

So the mules were out in the “Back 40” and just as the dogs and I were heading across the pasture I noticed them come into their corral. As I went out the gate I called to them, telling them to “Come ‘round” as I continued going on my way. Millie quickly came around and joined us on the main trail. Dancer was a little more hesitant about the whole thing, but didn’t want to be left behind! As I made it to the first turn she came up at a quick trot to join us, too. So there we were, a merry train, two mutts, two mules and myself.

I wasn’t sure how long the mules might keep walking with us, but their curiosity must have got the better of them as they kept following us right on through the brush and briars. I should have had on long pants, instead of Capri, or at least long socks! More than once I had to stop to removed a strand of spiny Green Briar from my flesh… Yeah, my “walks” more often than not become “hikes”. On and on I walked, ducking under low hanging branches, stepping over exposed roots, winding my way along the perimeter fence.258082_1969170501389_752505_o

With the heat of summer, and my crazy schedule of late, I cannot honestly recall the last time I went on a really good, long walk-about. I could really see the “mowing” work the mules have been doing. It had become quite over-grown back there, so in some ways their manicure work has been helpful. Still, I can’t help but morn the wild flowers that would usually be blooming back there, even this late in the year. The Chin Oak has really made a pest of itself in a few areas of the truck path, and unfortunately the girls don’t seem to have much of a taste for it. Not, at least, when there are so many good grasses and forbs back there!28980_1427795047341_6000708_n

When I came back to where the main trail goes from the barn to the stock tank Dancer seemed to make a decision NOT to continue to the right, with myself and the canines. She quickened her pace, kicked her hooves in the air a bit, and turned left (back towards the barn) when I turned right (to continue on to the stock tank). Millie wasn’t sure which of us to follow, so she stayed at the crossroads for a while. I lost sight of them both as I continued on, past the stock tank, and on out to the farthest west corner of the property, where we once had a pig trap set up.

I had just passed the spot where the trap once stood, when I heard one of the mules, presumably Millie, call out to me. Sometimes their bray is very distinct and I can tell exactly which one it is just by the sound and other times they sound exactly the same! This sounded like Millie, but I couldn’t be sure. Apparently at least one of them had decided to continue walking with us after all, but we had gotten too far ahead and were out of sight. I answered the call with my own, as I turned around and headed back that direction. Just as the dogs and I crossed the dry streambed Millie came into view with Dancer coming around the curve behind her at a rather fast clip. So they BOTH had followed us all the way out to the farthest corner and so now we all turned back towards the main trail and headed towards the barn and home.

I know that it’s about a mile, round trip, up the main trail from the barn, out to farthest corner and back. However, with looping out and around the perimeter our walk was surely over one mile and most likely closer to two. Not too much for our first go at it in months! I’ve been saying that I want to start doing some “ground work” with Millie, in preparation for the two of us learning to DRIVE together… This was certainly an unconventional way to go about it! Still, it will help us to improve our connection and start to get us in better condition, too, perhaps. Training isn’t just about getting better with our commands and responses, but also about conditioning mine and the mule’s bodies to be more fit for the hard WORK of driving. Hmmm… So now I’m wondering they will walk with me, on their own accord, again tomorrow evening!

Categories: Dogs, Mules, Native Flora | Leave a comment

Living on the Historic Bankhead Highway

dancing moon farmsteadMany people have never heard of the Bankhead Highway… Before 2007 we were among them! When we first saw photos of this old farm house (while looking for houses in Texas via the Internet) we were intrigued by the beautiful BRICK ROAD. A little research and we soon discovered that what is now a humble reminder of the past was once a great and vast roadway that spanned the entire US from Washington DC to San Diego, California!BH Highway sign

This is a “close up” of the Bankhead Highway Association sign that we have (seen in photo above) displayed on our front fence. The second sign on our fence is a homemade version of what an original Bankhead Highway sign looked like. Below you can really see how expansive and ambitious this project was!



dan smith's book

Dan Smith’s book, “The Bankhead Highway in Texas” is a MUST READ!

union pacific

1923 Railroad bridge crosses the Historic Bankhead Highway directly adjacent to our property…

Shortly after moving in, I saw someone pull over and park near the Union Pacific (previously T&P) railroad bridge that is adjacent to our property. This person was taking pictures, which made me quite curious as to what, exactly, he was up to, and so I went out to talk to him. That’s when I first met author Dan Smith, who introduced himself and asked if I was aware that our place was on an old section of the Historic Bankhead Highway. I was very excited to reply that yes, indeed, I did know this and we spent quite a while chatting about this once great roadway. Turns out, Dan was writing a book about the Bankhead Highway in Texas! That book is now published and available through Amazon.com. Naturally I have a copy and had Dan autograph it for me, too! This book is FANTASTIC in it’s detail, scope and layout.


The Roaring Ranger Museum is located directly ON the Historic Bankhead Highway, in our old T&P Railroad Depot!

behind cisco museum

Union Pacific Caboose in the park in Cisco

just off the bh in eastland

The Majestic Theatre is just off the Historic Bankhead in Eastland

Moving forward, a couple of years ago Joann Moomaw, of Baird, conceived an idea of a Bankhead Highway DRIVE to promote tourism between our local communities. I jumped at the idea, which grew into our First Annual Bankhead Highway drive between Ranger and Baird in May 2011. That very first year, and every year since, Dan Smith has graciously allowed us to use the maps from his book for our annual drive! Twice Dan has even lead our caravan as we bumped along the winding stretches of remaining roadway between Ranger, Olden, Eastland, Cisco, Putnam and Baird. We traditionally start our drive in Ranger, at our old depot which now houses our Roaring Ranger Museum. The very first year we did the drive we had quite a few “oldies” in our troupe, including my 1971 VW Beetle!

In the past, stops along the drive have included the Historic Connellee Hotel in Eastland, which is on Main Street, across from the Eastland County Courthouse. As part of the first year’s drive we also toured the Cisco Museum, while last year we toured the Eastland County Museum. Every year, so far, the drive has ended at the Baird Museum, located in their beautiful T&P Depot.

first BH drive

My vintage VW and a few of the other oldies that made the FIRST Annual Historic Bankhead Highway Drive so memorable!

T&P in Baird

T&P Depot Museum in Baird, TX

Our FOURTH Annual Historic Bankhead Highway Drive is scheduled for Saturday, April 18th, 2015. Last year we “locked in” the date of our drive as the third Saturday in April, which conveniently coincides with the Rip’s Ribs Cook-Off in Eastland www.ripsribscookoff.com. Future drives, like next year’s, might include a Friday meet up at the new TXDOT Safety Stop currently under construction atop Ranger Hill! They are planning to have a static display there featuring the Historic Bankhead Highway.

Gregory Hasman joined our 2014 drive and did a nice write up about it on his blog: greg66blogspot.com/2014/04/a-bankhead-vagabond.html

To further explore the Bankhead Highway in Texas, I highly recommend the following website: Texas Historical Commission – Bankhead Highway

Categories: Out and About | 2 Comments

Fabric Fondlers Anonymous!

Pioneer Sampler Rolling Star

Abilene Quilters Guild

19th Annual Stars Over Abilene Regional Quilt Show

   June 7-8, 2013

So my gal-pal, Robin Angus and I ran away to Abilene yesterday… Yup… we went to the Abilene Quilt Show completely UN-supervised!!! Upon entering the civic center, I immediately directed us to the Guild Booth, which is where the real bargains can always be found. We scored patterns for .25-.50 cents, magazines for .25 cents and hardback books for $1. We also purchased a couple vintage doilies for .50-$2 each and we each bought a medium roll of assorted fabric for $3. We spent the rest of the morning fondling fabric at the various vendor booths and found several bargain bins of fat quarters for $1.50 each!

American StarsSome of my favorite vendors EVERY YEAR:Fairfax County

 A Joyful Soul Fabrics      (940) 228-6122
Joy Tapley
P.O. Box 684
Schertz, TX 78154
Front Porch Quilts          (940) 454-2000
Pam Duke  and Carol Dickson
P. O. Box 136       111 East Hays
Benjamin, TX  79505
Young’s Oldies                (325) 672-4128
Sharon + Jaryl Young
926 Victoria
Abilene, TX  79603
Material Girls Fabrics    (325) 617-4430
Kristina Stephens
PO Box 60581
San Angelo, TX  76906

We shopped so hard that we finally had to take a break and head over to  The Beehive Restaurant and Saloon for lunch! Robin and I shared a “topless” cheeseburger and grilled mixed vegetables, which  was still too much food for the two of us! We brought home our dinner rolls, bun top and french-fries to share with the dogs, goats, mules and chickens! They were all very happy to have me home! After lunch we headed back to the civic center where we completed our shopping and toured the quilts on display. Needless to say, we were completely inspired! We made sure to mark our selections on the ballot forms which we turned in before leaving for the day. Four of my favorites are pictured above. Here is some additional information about each of them:

Pioneer Sampler – Large pieced quilt by quiltmaker: Jane Powers Machine Quilter quilted by Anita Johnson. This delightful 12 block Pioneer Sampler quilt is the creation of renowned quilt artist Eleanor Burns! Her book, Quilt in a Day; Pioneer Sampler (Quilt Block Party – Series Five) contains all 12 block patterns and can be found here: Quilt in a Day Pioneer Sampler

Rolling Star – Another large pieced quilt by quilt maker: Jane Powers Machine Quilter quilted by Anita Johnson. Here is a little information about the Rolling Star Block.

Fairfax County Fair – Quilt Kit pieced and quilted by Barbara Doidge. This stunningly designed quilt is a FTU (free to use) pattern that can be found here: Fairfax County Fair

Americana Stars – Pieced and quilted by Angela McCorkle of Quilts with a Heart Angela is offering this as a “Block of the Month”. Please see her website for details: Quilts With a Heart

At A Joyful Soul Fabrics I found a lovely fat quarter of fabric that is exactly the color I eventually want to paint my vintage Volkswagen Super Beetle!  Here is a sample of the fabric that I found so inspiring, it’s called Joel Dewberry Notting Hill Historic Tile in Poppy. I’ll do a blog about my vintage VW soon! Robin and I did find a vendor with nice quilting/sewing pins, but not one of them mentioned Fabric Fondlers Anonymous! People at the quilt show often asked if WE quilted, bu we had to admit that for the most part we are simply HOARDERS who enjoy fondling fabric as frequently as we can!!!Historic Tile - Poppy

Categories: Family and Friends, Out and About, Thrifty Stitches | Leave a comment

Meet Debra Sisson and visit her on-line Gallery!


Bluebonnets and Babies


Debra Sisson; an amazing artist!

I’d like to introduce y’all to a Facebook artist friend of mine, Debra Sisson. This link should go to her Daily Painters page where you can see numerous paintings she has done. Many of them are available for purchase, too. I think she does exceptionally well with pets and farm animals, and I bet you’ll agree once you go take a look! She has even done a few paintings using my photos as inspiration – WITH my full permission ahead of time, of course! If none of her finished works catch your eye, but you like her style, send her an Email about her commission work.
The two bluebonnet pieces are from photographs I took a couple years ago when we went to the Bluebonnet Festival down in Ennis. I had never seen so many bluebonnets before… whole fields just full of them. Wish I could share the SMELL of them with you! I never knew they even had a smell, but they do when you have a whole field of them warming in the morning sun.

debra sisson donkey in bluebonnets pixdebra sisson donkey in bluebonnets




There is a driving “trail” around the countryside and you get the maps at the festival. They highlight which trails have the best blooms going on right then. The little donkey was in a field with some cows and a horse. In the distance you could just see the outskirts of Dallas to the north. The calf was in another field further down the trail. There was also a HUGE longhorn bull in that field who seemed to be standing watch over the calf while we were all gawking at it!

debra sisson calf in bluebonnets pixdebra sisson calf in bluebonnets
The third painting in this collage is of Sweetpea. She came to us a couple years ago from friends who breed high-percentage Boer goats. As the smallest of triplets, Sweetpea was still a bit of a runt at two years of age and there was no way they could breed her to one of their large bucks. So, they asked us to come take a look and see if we might want her. Believe it or not, I think Troy fell in love with her as soon as he saw her! Can’t blame him, really, because she’s so adorable! So we brought her home and the other goats in our tiny Nigerian Dwarf herd wanted nothing to do with her. LESS than nothing if you asked Ramblin’ Rose. She was down right mean to poor lil’ Sweetpea! Eventually that all wore off, probably about the time that Sweetpea finally got bigger than the rest of them and stood her ground. The photo Debra used for this painting was taken shortly after Sweetpea arrived at Dancing Moon Farmstead.

debra sisson sweetpea pixHere are a couple other paintings Debra’s done from my photos, with my permission, of course! The old stone barn is “local” and where we got hay a couple of years ago…









debra sisson stone barn pixdebra sisson stone barn



Categories: Family and Friends, Goats, Native Flora, Out and About | Leave a comment

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