May 2016 archive

WHAT MEMORIAL DAY MEANS TO MY PIG

Ahhhh…Memorial Day Weekend…such a great American holiday.

Traditionally, there are family visits to cemeteries, mourning mixed with sweet memories, flag raisings, potluck dinners, neighborly get-togethers, BBQs, watermelon, lawn mowing, gardening, hiking, biking, fishing, sunbathing, the Indy 500, horseback riding (had to put that in there…right Gypsy?!), and all the good and the sad that go into this holiday. It’s a contradiction of sorts. A painful, joyful holiday. While some hurt over the loss of loved ones who died for our country in military service, others kick off the arrival of a brand new summer.

Hear Hear!

I wanted to learn more on the history on Memorial Day.

I discovered Memorial Day began after the Civil War but back then it was called Decoration Day. It was declared a holiday to honor deceased veterans by decorating their graves with flags and flowers. But whoa…the Confederates refused to celebrate on the same day those damn Yankees did, and in fact had many different days to honor their dead across the southern states.

It wasn’t until after WWI that tensions eased and a one-for-all Memorial Day was established for all American soldiers who died in any and all of our wars.

I do not have a grave to decorate, but in keeping with a new Freeka’s Funny Farm tradition…I have a live pig to decorate. Indeed, D.O.G. is booked for a deluxe spa and accoutrement session later today…on Decoration Day 2016.

On the funny farm, we lean toward the hedonistic side of this holiday, and celebrate summer with our best bohemian enthusiasm. Please allow me to share this memorable tradition, as created one year ago.

START YOUR HOSES! Mem Day1

IT’S TIME TO CHILL!! Mem Day1(gritting teeth…thinking…um…heavy camera for a selfie…just take the dang photo…will I??? …and where is the pig?)

Why there he is…hot diggity D.O.G.!!Mem Day3

Let’s call this the pre-soak. It serves to remove any loose dirt or goobery thingys…Mem Day4

What a chill way to start the festivities…right D.O.G.?Mem Day5I made preparations for the next step as the pigster rested…hose showers are exhausting!Mem Day6

In order to decorate D.O.G. properly, as I see it, he must first get a facial, followed by a pedicure, a coconut oil rub, and plenty of sun screen powder puffs. In other words…a deluxe spa treatment.

But instead of traditional spa treatments that start with herbal tea or coconut water infused with essential things we never knew were essential…D.O.G. prefers a beer. Yup. And it sure makes a pedicure easier for the pedicurist. Please don’t report us to any even-toed-ungulate-cruelty-associations. I’m telling you…this is one happy-easy-going-cooperative pig with a beer in his belly. And he is far less likely to get nicked by the clippers.

Plus it’s his favorite part of the tradition….Mem Day7

Can you tell?Mem Day8

Such admiration and appreciation for a good beer…Mem Day9

About this time I was laughing so hard it was all I could do to point and shoot without peeing my pants…Mem Day10

BEER BUBBLES!!!!Mem Day11(only a mama could love)

OK…it’s high time to get on with the spa treatments…Mem Day 12

After all…no more beer…Mem Day 13We started with a cleansing facial… Mem Day 14D.O.G. has deep folds on his face and quite a bit of eye discharge which is normal for a pig… Mem Day 15

There’s an eye in there somewhere although I have never really seen it… Mem Day 16Next…the pedicure…see Lily running away when the clippers come out… Mem Day 17I have so many clippers for dogs, cats, fences, weeds….but only one for a pig… Mem Day 18I’ll spare you the clip by clips of the job…it’s tedious and lasts about as long as the beer nap…then on to more pleasurable spa activities…a coconut oil rub and puffs of sunscreen to follow… Mem Day 19And now for the real fun…the decorating part… Mem Day 20Oops…I’m not very good at nail polish…especially with twitching toes… Mem Day 21

Isn’t that the cutest little tail? (I kept telling him. Sometimes being a blind-buzzed pig works for the best) Mem Day 22WAKE UP D.O.G.!! It’s Decoration Day!!! Mem Day 23Let’s honor our veterans… Mem Day 24…and our firefighters… Mem Day 25D.O.G. said…”Enough of this! I want to honor summertime! Too many brothers and sisters on the grill!!” Mem Day 26Well…OK then…howzabout some strawberries… Mem Day 27

I swear he was humming ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’…
 Mem Day 28That is…until the watermelon showed up… Mem Day 29UH BOY!!! Mem Day 30

…and that my friends is how we do Decoration Day on the funny farm…
 Mem Day 31

2016 tradition coming right up!!! Wake up D.O.G.!!!
 Mem Day 32It’s Decoration Day!!!!

FREEKA’S LAWN MOWER MAINTENANCE

I have been living on this funny farm for eight years now. It’s strange how as one grows older, time seems to compress. Eight years!

The past six years I have been a divorcée. (TrAshe County pronunciation; dāy-´VHŌR-sāy) Those first two years while my x and I were separated, we tried to remain friends, and it was during that time I borrowed his trusty old Husqvarna weed eater. Never to give it back.

That was perhaps the best deal of the entire divorce. From both our points of view. I didn’t want his Rolls Royce, his house or his lifestyle. Just gimme the Husqi.

That weed wacker (my preferred term although they are officially known as weed trimmers or string trimmers), has lasted longer than my marriage and almost every other useful thing from my former life. It has also outlived two lawn mowers on the farm, a wheelbarrow, and four short-term boyfriends. I may have to kill it, if it tries to outlive Recluse Man or me.

I could tell you the Husqi has had a good long life because I have maintained it so well, when actually I have done very little, save for replacing a few parts.

I do, however, believe in proper maintenance….hosing after use, storing inside, checking oil, winterizing, sharpening blades…that kind of thing.

This applies to all methods of reducing grass and weed growth. Including my very own free-range-mobile-mowers.

Please meet #1 (Gypsy on left) and #2 (Star on right) mowers….mower1

#3 mower (D.O.G.) is in the distance, and is much loved but obviously does not have the horsepower the others do…mower2

#2 mower has a halter on because he went AWOL several weeks ago, while he was solo mowing. Apparently there was a mower in heat down the road.mower3Watch as #1 mower teaches #2 mower where to refuel…mower4

Normally I break up the carrots but this was one-handed shooting for effects…mower5#2 mower looks a little dorky with burrs in his forelock…ya think?mower6

Oh Boy…high octane carrots!mower7

Self-serve was available…but they seemed to prefer full-serve at the porch fuel station…mower8#2 mower inquired about having his teeth scratched…he’s weird that way…mower9

Talk about full service!mower10

Little did #1 and #2 mowers realize as they chomped their fuel…mower11

#3 mower was fast approaching…well maybe not fast by your standards…mower13As far as I know…#2 mower had never had an up-close and personal encounter with #3 mower…mower12

#2 mower looked to #1 mower for direction…mower14#2 mower decided not to follow course…mower15…when suddenly #3 mower changed direction…mower16

I caught up with #3 mower…who btw…was still sporting the remains of a pink pedicure…mower17

I offered a full-service-on-the-hill refuel…mower18

#3 mower was much obliged…mower19

…until #2 mower came into the picture…mower20That #3 mower sure can cut a turn…mower21Poor #3! Can’t a mower refuel in peace?mower22

Is this fuel wars or turf wars?
mower23#3 mower can really skedaddle when he needs to!mower24

Perhaps #2 mower had never seen #3 mower at full speed…he was amazed!mower25Quickly, any fuel or turf wars were settled.

The mowers were feeling well maintained and revving to go…
mower26

Off to do their duties they went singing… ‘You Go Your Way…I’ll Go Mine’…mower29

POCKETS AND THE KENTUCKY DERBY

When Pockets heard it was Kentucky Derby Day this past Saturday, she went ponkers. Only a ponkey can go ponkers.

You should have heard her.

“OH MY GWAD! I MUST GO! NOWNOWNOW! IT’S KENTUCKY DUHBY DAY!!!! I WANNA WEAH A HAT! I WANNA DWINK A MINT JOOWUP! I WANNA BE A WACEHOSS!!”

It was a gorgeous, breezy, spring Saturday on the funny farm. We were all laughing hard, trying to imagine ‘Pockets the racehorse’. Elizabeth was here at her home-away-from-home to work and play with her Pips. My neighbor Suzanne, had also come over for a weekend visit. She loves to walk the Pips and is now officially ‘Mama S’. She sure earned it on Saturday.

When Pockets expressed her great Derby destination desires, we tried to explain how long a trailer ride it would be to Louisville, Kentucky.

I said, “Remember that four hour round trip trailer ride to the vet the other day? Well sextuple that.”

Pockets said, “I HATE IT WHEN YOU TALK DUHTY!”

Oh never mind.

We agreed we’d have our own Kentucky Derby Day right here on the farm. That pawky ponkey knows how to cast a spell! I love this new word I learned…

pawk·y

(pô′kē) adj. pawk·i·erpawk·i·est Chiefly British. Sly and cunning, often in a humorous manner  (see the pawky ponkey make her mamas swoon)

I photographed the Kentucky Derby three years in a row, back in the 90’s. I was with a group of photographers shooting for the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs. Usually I was assigned a spot on the track near the starting gate, which meant I’d shoot the very start of the race and then the last turn before the final stretch to the finish line. It was a thrilling event to photograph, although you sure didn’t want to blow it.

The most fun of course, was spending the entire day at Churchill Downs with access to almost anywhere.

I entertained Pockets with stories from the Derby, as Elizabeth worked on ‘the look’….
Derby1
 Check out Pockets the Ponkey on Derby Day!!!
Derby2
We tried the ‘ears under’ look…
Derby3

Derby4

…but Pockets much preferred the striking ‘one ear out’ look…Derby6

“I WANNA MINT JOOWUP!”Derby5Elizabeth tried to get her mind on other things. “Howzabout a carrot?”Derby10“NO CARROT! I WANNA MINT JOOWEP!!”Derby7Things got on the verge of ugly when Mama E ‘borrowed’ her hat and shades…Derby9After that, Pockets went off on her own in search of a mint julep…Derby11

I swear we did not give that ponkey a mint julep…although it may appear as such…Derby12

“WEAD MY EAW…ONE MINT JOOWUP PWEESE!!!!”Derby13Well at least pull up your socks and put your bonnet on straight!Derby14

“MINT JOOWUP NOW!”Derby15

Straighten up you PAWKY PONKEY! Let’s go to the races!

‘IS DIS DA STAHTING GATE?” (BIG snort)Derby18“OK OK…I’M WEADY TO BE A WACEHOSS!”Derby19

Elizabeth had been training Pockets to follow the carrot stick…Derby20

Sometimes the races get off to a slow start…Derby21

…and the trainer gets more of a workout…Derby22

Go Elizabeth! Git along Lil Ponkey!!!!Derby23Derby24Derby25Derby26Derby27

Pockets was curious. She was just warming up. “WAT WONG WIF YOU?”Derby28Suzanne to the rescue…that girl is an athlete!!!Derby29

Hither and yon they ran…at least as ‘yon’ as you can get in a round pen…Derby31

Pockets had long since tossed the hat…then the socks…then the shades. Meanwhile Mama S put on her Derby hat. It’s a Run for the Carrots!Derby30

GO POCKETS!Derby32

GO!!!!Derby33

RACE OVER!!! POCKETS CAUGHT THE CARROT STICK! WOOT!Derby34It had been a marvelous Derby Day. Everyone was exhausted. Or so we thought.

“PWEESE CAN I HAVE A MINT JOOWUP?”Derby16

BLOOD, SWEAT & GEARS (Pockets Takes A Trip To The Vet)

OH MY GWAD!

Speaking for Pockets-the-Ponkey, I am sure she would have begun this post with that very same expletive. It’s her favorite line, and what inevitably follows, is some sort of drama.

It was a BIG day for Pockets last week…her first VISIT TO a VET!

A two hour journey down the mountain!

Pockets has been dealing with a leg condition called stifle-lock and Elizabeth was beside herself with worry. If anything, it had gotten worse over the winter.

Stifle lock, or ‘Upward Fixation of the Patella’ (UFP), is fairly common in horses and ponies. The stifle is the upper part of a back leg on a horse and consists of 3 bones: the tibia, femur, and patella. The tibia is like a person’s shin bone, the femur is similar to our thigh bone, and the patella serves as a knee cap connecting them. Stifle lock causes the back legs to pop, or sometimes lock and drag.

Grayson had stifle lock but outgrew it, as is often the case in a young pony or horse. Stifle lock doesn’t hurt a pony but it sure hurts looking at a leg that pops or drags. Elizabeth was coming out nearly everyday to work with Pockets. Exercise is great. And the whole Freeka herd has 24/7 access to the pasture or barn. Which is good. Very good to be mobile.

Sheesh. Somehow I ended up watching The Who in Hyde Park, instead of the news this morning. Much better way to start the day! Their 50th anniversary concert. And this is stuck in my head…

Keep me movin’
Over 50
Keep me groovin’
Just a hippie gypsy

Come on move now
Movin’
Keep me movin’, yeah

Keep me movin’, groovin’, groovin’, yeah
Movin’, Yeah
Mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile

Let’s dedicate that to Pockets. WHEW! I have finally cooled down after watching Roger Daltrey strutting his stuff. That man has no stifle lock whatsoever!

Back to Pockets going mobile.

Mama E and her ponkey discussed the day ahead. Elizabeth told Pockets Dr Meeker is an expert…and I hinted he is a cutie to boot. She would be in good hands.

Here is the P-Pip trying to say Dwoctahh Meekaaahh….Pockets to vet 1

We practiced trailer loading so many times, Pockets was a pro. So long was there was a little grain. (Check out Peak Mountain in this frame. That Mountain. Inspires Me. Every Day.)Pockets vet2

I lifted that darn trailer gate so many times with Star-boy and P-pip…I made the excuse I needed to document. My aching back!!! Such heroes…Recluse Man and Karen…Pockets vet3

I worship the ground they walk on…and the trailer doors they close!
fPockets vet4

Elizabeth was happy…Pockets…not so much…(read ear language)…Pockets to vet4

And check out the look! HEWP!!!! I AM BEING KWIDNAPPED!!!!Pockets to vet21

When we got to Davie County Large Animal Hospital, in Mocksville, NC, we had a little wait. No problem with that. The grounds and facilities make for a very comfortable visit…Pockets to vet5But Holy Patooties!!! Pockets saw the EQUINE AMBULANCE and declared she would not travel home unless it was in that very same ambulance…

Such a Rebel! Such a Drama Queen!Pockets to vet6

Listen here you ponkey…you are NOT Mariah Carey or Beyonce, or any kind of Diva…demanding special transport!!! (Snort…)Pockets to vet7I had to remind her…she didn’t exactly qualify as a ‘LARGE ANIMAL’…(Snorts Galore)…Pockets to vet12

Thank the Ponkey-Gwad…for Heidi…answering calls and greeting clients. Elizabeth had already declared her a great friend after spending loving-lingering-bragging moments on the phone making the appointment…Pockets to vet9Then…the big moment came when Dwoctahh Meekaaahh examined Pockets.

He said…

‘This is the Texas-Ponkey-Two-Step-Syndrome. The way she dances in place!?! Turn up some George Jones!’
Pockets to vet10(totally fooling…forgive me Dr Meeker…totally-totally fooling)

Time for a serious walk to check out Pocket’s moves. After all…she has never stepped two feet in Texas…Pockets to vet11

Mama E showed the good doctor a video. Of course Dr Meeker recognized the problem immediately. But wadda-mama-she-is…showing off her ponkey-kid…Pockets to vet13

It had been eight weeks since Pocket’s last date with our farrier. I had suggested waiting until after our vet-visit to learn the best way to trim her. Too bad the farrier at the clinic was totally booked that day.

I figured Dr Meeker could draw some sharpie lines on her hooves…Pockets to vet14But wait a minute…in a stroke of luck…Robert the farrier pulled up. Hay-lelujah!!!! Good to meet you dude! Just in time!!Pockets to vet15

But first Pockets needed sedation. She has no love for farriers and tends to rear up all high and mighty in defiance. At least as high as she can get. (maybe 4 more inches?)Pockets to vet16

Here comes the Blood…Pockets to vet17

The Sweat…(and dirt from rolling in thunderstorms)…Pockets to vet18

…and the Gears…churning in that ponkey head…Pockets to vet19

The cute-paleo farrier took over after that. He reminded me of a caveman…no business cards to share…no email…no FaceBook. He just said…”If you need me, they know how to find me here.” We were smitten. At least three out of four of us girls. Pockets not-so-much.

She was suspicious to say the least…the dude had scary tools and dangling ropes…and weird britches…Pockets to vet20

But in no time, Pockets was having sweet lil ponkey dreams…Pockets to vet22

Never mind the torture tools at her feet…Pockets to vet23

Pockets to vet26Pockets to vet25Pockets to vet24

In her dreams…Pockets asked Karen….”HOW HIGH DOES A CARROT FLY?”Pockets to vet27

“Way higher than your chinny chin chin,” Karen replied. Karen is so good at bedtime stories. Pockets was in a trance…imagining flying carrots…Pockets to vet28

Later on…Mama E and I agreed we might have a crush on our new vet and farrier…but an even BIGGER CRUSH on KAREN!!! For years shce has offered her Tucker Farm as a sanctuary for donkeys and goats in need of rescue. Now she can add ‘ponkey’ to her resume. Without hesitation, she offered to transport Pockets to the vet. Talk about great friends.

Karen…the ponkey-donkey-goat angel!!!Pockets to vet28Every angel needs a break. Plus angel-duty meant squatting in front of the fan…ahhh…felt so good. It was hot and sticky down down in the piedmont. My turn!!!Pockets to vet29“It’s your second sedation you rascally ponkey…let me tell you a story about the ponkey who fell down and never got up…you listening?” (I admit…I am not so good at bedtime stories).Pockets to vet30Elizabeth was enormously proud of her beloved Pockets…Pockets to vet31

Of course she documented the trim job for our local farrier to see. A half hour of action-packed drama. Soon to be released on Netflix. (not)Pockets to vet34

This is the final trim. How ’bout that!! Four on the floor…Pockets to vet32

However, the photo I couldn’t stop studying, shows the difference between her trimmed back hoof (on left), and eight weeks of growth (on right) The new trim gives her better balance and easier movement. Her stifle lock is not gone…but mo’ betta.
Pockets to vet33One last look after the trim, and a little trot-about. Here is Pockets singing…’The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Girls’. Actually it was more like…”OH MY GWAD…WE DONE???? I WANNA GO HOME NOW-NOW-NOW!!!!”Pockets to vet35Well excuse me m’ dear…but we are not quite done. First, Elizabeth had to express her gratitude to the good doctor.Pockets to vet36Pockets to vet37Lots of gratitude…Pockets to vet38Back home, Pockets set a personal best for her quickest ‘unload’ time…Pockets to vet39

Her elders were excited to have their little mascot home…Pockets to vet40

Grayson not so much. He was still recovering from an AWOL adventure during a thunderstorm the night before…Pockets to vet41

Pockets doesn’t know this yet, but in five weeks she will have another day of Blood, Sweat, and Gears. Poor wonkey-ponkey!Pockets to vet42

Thanks to all for following this little Tale of Pockets!
Pockets to vet44