One of my goals for this year is to complete 52 hikes for the year. The idea is to go for a hike somewhere new each week. Well, last week on Sunday I was going to go hiking, but then we got 4-5 inches of snow and my knee was hurting, so Rob told me there was no way I was going out. Probably a good choice.
Since I just had a total hip replacement, I can’t go that far yet, or hike major hills, so I decided our local State Park was a good choice for this afternoon’s hike. Hopeville Pond State Park is located 2.5 miles from our house at 929 Hopeville Road in Griswold(map here). There are wooded trails and flat asphalt roads, so a good choice for a gimpy middle aged woman. It is a very popular spot for dog walking, and to let little kids ride their bikes and roller skate etc. There is an 80 site campground (no hook ups), and two beaches to swim at during the summer. I decided not to swim. I drove to the parking lot at the entrance (gates are closed to traffic Dec-Mar) and walked down to the boat ramp in the campground, and then cut across on some trails back up to the main road. I was aiming for about a mile, turned out to be more like 1.3 miles, the longest I’ve walked since my hip replacement.
Planning to go on another short hike on Sunday, and maybe work with my horse (on ground work). Tomorrow we are getting more rain, so not a good day for outside activities.
It felt so good to get outside and move, now to decide where to go for my next hike. Maybe I’ll drive over to Arcadia Management Area in RI and walk around Breakheart Pond, or Green Falls, which is part of Pachaug State Forest…I feel like Green Falls may require walking poles, as it is a more technical trail with boulders, so that one may have to wait. Onwards and upwards.
22 days ago I had my right hip replaced. It was outpatient. Arrived at the hospital at 5.45 am, out at 4.15 pm. I’ve suffered with reduced range of motion and pain in my hips since I was in my early 30s. Bad conformation, especially if you want to ride horses, with deep sockets and constantly hitting the side of my femur, caused severe osteoarthritis. Riding, biking, running, hiking and even sleeping was becoming increasingly more painful. This was my first one, hoping to get the other hip done next year.
I am doing ok. First few days were rough, I am not going to lie. Muscle spasms, swelling, sciatica, pain at night, not being able to lift my leg very well, being dependent on others. Not my forte. And the pain meds made me sick, and gave me a migraine.
Ten things that made my life easier for the first few days and weeks:
Rob, getting up three times a night the first few days and getting me those ice packs, pain killers and making sure I didn’t kill myself getting in and out of bed (I decided I wanted to sleep in our bed, on the top floor, 13 steep steps, step stool to get in our tall king size bed). And allowing me to shower…it’s the little things.
A raised toilet seat, seriously, just get one. If you’re plus size, maybe not one with side bars, my thighs barely fit and I am normally a women’s medium.
Grabber pick up stick. It’s hard to reach down and it allowed me to get dressed on my own.
Long shoe horn, for taking off socks and putting on/off shoes. One downstairs by the door too. Because you won’t be able to reach your feet.
XL Women’s Hanes Boxer briefs. I’m a Hi cut girl normally, but ouch, they sit in the wrong spot, right over my incision! All the forums said to get men’s boxers, but these work great and don’t have a hole in the front. I had anterior approach, and these do not bother my incision. Two sizes up.
Ice packs, big one for the hip and another one for my knee. Doubles are helpful.
Large lounge pants, I’m normally a M, I got XL. You won’t want anything tight on your leg.
A walker, for the first 4-5 days, for me, and crutches for stairs, at first. I was done with these after a week.
A cane, for a walking aid after I was done with the walker. My surgeon is not a fan of using crutches instead, because crutches are to keep weight off your entire foot/leg and make you dependent on your upper body for support and the new joint needs weight bearing to heal.
A sock aid, best thing ever, when you can’t reach your feet.
So, what is recovery from a total hip replacement like? I was up and walking at the hospital a few hours after my surgery, using a walker. Physical therapy was started a week after surgery and I’ve been to my first post op appt. My surface stitches were taken out and I was cleared to drive short distances. The new hip was x-rayed and looks good so far. As far as muscles go, my hip flexors and adductors are super tight, still, from so many years of restricted use and may need additional intervention and it is so hard to be patient. My abductors are all weak. I am not supposed to cross my legs yet and have some stretching/twisting/lifting limitations, so I don’t dislocate the joint. Inside the house I am walking without an aid, unless I have pain and I walk with a cane outside for stability, although I am not always using it now. As far as exercise goes, I’m biking on my new recumbent bike twice a day for 15 minutes and I’ve been walking on the treadmill for about 20 minutes as well as walking some outside and going on short shopping trips. I have PT exercises I am working on after my biking and walking 2-3 times a day. Tylenol and Motrin are the only pain medications I am taking as needed, Vicaden was given to me for the first few days, but made me so sick I stopped taking it. I had a similar experience with Percuset after my c-sections, so not really surprised.
My recumbent bike
After 6 weeks I will be allowed to do more things and, stretching and exercise wise, push myself harder. Right now there is still swelling and angry, short muscles. My TFL(tensor fascae latae) was cut, and will need to heal, I have a 5-6 inch incision over my hip and an additional small area where the robotic cameras were placed. My right knee is angry where the IT band attaches and in general when I overdo my walking. My legs feel slightly uneven, the right leg is slightly longer. I was told my body will adjust. 12 weeks is the big mile stone, which is when I may or may not be allowed back on a horse. And do yoga, and twist, and possibly lift hay bales again. We’ll see. Current goal is getting on and off the floor without feeling like I’m popping my incision open, so there’s that.
Amira and I in 2022 (photo by Wanda Clowater)
I’m looking forward to being able to get back to riding and working on the farm. Goat kids will start arriving in late February. Onwards, and upwards. One step at a time. Quite literally…
Merry Christmas! Happy holidays! God Jul! Feliz Navidad! We are enjoying a quiet Christmas at home this year.
Due to Anna’s surgery and Rob’s injury, Christmas cards fell to the wayside this year. To those of you who sent cards, thank you! We will likely send out cards again next year.
Rob has had a busy and productive year at Sonalysts. When he was not working there, he was working on the farm, or hunting, running, riding, fishing, and whatever else he could find to not sit still. As many of you know, he had a cart accident with Huey in September that he is still recovering from, but he is back to running, riding and hunting, so that is a good sign.
Anna became a US citizen this year! She voted for the first time as well. Anna spent a lot of time training Fiona and let the kids compete Amira in all but one distance ride. This December Anna had a total right hip replacement, and will be recovering from that into the spring.
Alex finished the nuclear technology program at Three Rivers and spent the summer interning at Millstone Nuclear Plant again. This fall he started at URI to finish a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a Nuclear minor. He still enjoys riding Mojo, going trail running, and is the protector of his siblings.
Quinn graduated high school and is attending Eastern CT State University for a double major of computer science and data science. Quinn has claimed Fiona as theirs, and enjoys sewing dresses and other creations, along with showing our dairy goats.
Amanda is in 8th grade, working on making her high school choices. She is currently riding our new horse JJ and it seems to be a great match for her. She is also going hunting with dad, biking and running as time allows. Amanda went to the Big E with our dairy goats this year and enjoyed showing them at fairs and shows throughout the summer.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We hope to see all our friends out there enjoying life in the New Year.
We draw blood and test annually for “the big three” diseases in goats: CAE, CL, and Johne’s disease. In addition, we quarantine new goats for at least three weeks and we buy animals from other herds who test or make sure new animals are negative before turning out with our current goats.
CAE stands for Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis and can be transmitted through blood, milk and other bodily fluids. Symptoms include arthritis in adult goats and encephalitis in young goats and kids (ataxia, progressive weakness, proprioceptive deficits). Subclinical symptoms include interstitial pneumonia, hard udder mastitis, and a failure to thrive. The most common method of transfer is through milk and colostrum. It is common for goat breeders to bottle feed baby goats with pasteurized milk and heat treated colostrum as CAE prevention. Breeding with a CAE infected animal or in utero infection can also transmit CAE, although it is less common.
CL stands for caseous lymphadenitis and is a highly contagious chronic infectious disease that is caused by a bacteria. CL results in abscesses in the lymph nodes, open or not, and/or general poor condition if the infection is internal. Affected animals are often culled to avoid transmission to others. Once established on a farm, the bacteria can live in the soil for a long time.
Johne’s disease, or paratuberculosis, is a bacterial infection of the intestinal wall. Symptoms include weight loss, submandular edema and weakness. The typical transmission route is oral-fecal, but transmission through milk is possible. The bacteria can remain in the environment for years.
We tested our whole herd in November for all three and the results can be found here. We continue to maintain a herd free of all 3 diseases.
This afternoon Alex and Amanda went out into Pachaug for a trail ride. Alex rode Mojo and Amanda rode JJ. Alex is in the middle of finals still, but we all know he doesn’t ever study, so… They did some trotting and the report I got from Alex is “he feels sound”. Mojo spent two months or so slightly off after the Pine tree endurance ride. We did a lameness exam, x-rays and appropriate blocks along with ultrasound and concluded that Mojo’s pastern angles were unfavorable and he had some caudal heel pain going on. Whether it was an injury to the insertion point of the DDFT, pain from the navicular bursa, or slight arthritis starting between P2 and P3, we are not sure, but we decided not to do a standing MRI to find out more, as the treatment was the same for all three. Mojo was trimmed more aggressively at the toe and put into shoes with a wedge to give him relief from the pain he was having and change the angle of his pastern bones. After a few weeks his soundness was definitely improved; it’s been almost 10 weeks now and he looks pretty good.
Amanda has ridden JJ now both in the arena and on trail. When I’ve been working in the arena with Gamble, she has ridden JJ walk/trot and over poles (and a little canter, but JJ is still out of shape and weak behind). JJ is pretty chill riding wise, but gets nervous when tied up for tacking, especially if out of view of her herd. I believe consistency and patience will cure this, just like it has with Fiona.
Amanda and Alex rode 4 miles up to the farmhouse on Lee Rd and back and had no major issues.
Meanwhile, at the house, Quinn tacked up Fiona and worked with her in the arena. Quinn designed and sewed a winter riding skirt and plans to use it while riding Fiona this winter. Fiona can be a bit reactive to flappy things so it is a work in progress, but the skirt is working out so far. Dad helped her get on safely today. The skirt is made out of a waterproof fleece lined material, with a real wool filling and fancy lining fabric. There is a zipper on the back and a little flap preventing your bum from getting wet when open. There is a two way zipper in the front and there are snaps in the front snapping the sides up for mounting. Quinn also has straps that snap around the leg to keep the skirt from sliding off your leg when moving faster. Quinn chose this design over a full circle skirt due to weight and bulk. It is also easier for chores than a full circle skirt.
For those that do not know, I had a total right hip replacement surgery on Wednesday this week. It has been a long time coming. I was told it was inevitable in 2017 and probably wouldn’t make it through the winter in 2021. My sockets are deep and over time hitting the femur repeatedly on the edge, running, riding, biking, any lateral movement really, creating bone spurs, wearing out the cartilage and tearing my labrum repeatedly has created “severe osteoarthritis”. My hip balls were no longer round and my range of motion was very limited. So, it was time.
I am doing ok. The surgery was at 7:30 Wednesday morning and I was discharged at 4:15 that afternoon. I am walking around with a walker or cane for safety and have been outside walking for 2 days now. I am starting PT next week and will likely do the other hip next year. No riding for 12 weeks. The hardest part so far is lifting my leg up due to weakness in my quads and pain from the incision site.
Amira is having a Prostride injection into her tendon sheath injury from August to hopefully reduce it’s appearance (though she is not lame) so we can rehab together.
Life has been crazy. We will probably get to a big blog post this week to catch up on baby goats and life happenings, but after putting some hay in the barn this afternoon, I decided an evening by an outside fire with a cigar and beer was warranted. After all, it’s 51F in March and the peepers are singing. Rusty will keep me company. Maybe I’ll find some amazing insight. Maybe I’ll just relax.
Overnight Monday night into Tuesday we got about 7-8 inches of snow. School had already been cancelled for all the kids, Rob’s work event was cancelled and I was the only one who had somewhere to be (the dentist), so not a big deal. Turns out the dentist was still open and in business, definitely not calling in a snow day. So I got up early to take care of some chores and feed baby goats before I had to leave.
Early Tuesday morning our baby goat count was four. Sawfish Jasmine kidded last Friday and added two bucklings to Sawfish Camellia’s two doelings from the previous Saturday. Jasmine’s boys were named Chevy and Ford by the kids! Chevy is the solid black and red with a star like mama’s. He was 9.3 pounds at birth. The black with red and white markings is Ford, and he was a little smaller at 7.8 pounds. Jasmine needed my help with the first boy, but after that the second one came out without assistance. Jasmine is a smaller, slower maturing doe and a first freshener, so I am not surprised she had a little trouble with a 9 plus pound kid. They both presented normal (two feet, nose), which I am grateful for, being alone on the farm with Rob away on business travel.
Camellia’s doe babies Mercedes and Porsche continue to be doing well and Mercedes (the splashy colored one) in particular is a heap of trouble, hopping around the kitchen and causing mayhem. Porsche is a little quieter, but also a bit more solid in structure IMO. They started going out into the garage pens with heat lamps and will transition to living out there and not in the house. Eventually as weather and temperatures allow, they will move into our outside baby pen.
Chevy and Ford, minutes oldChevy and Ford learning to standChevy, Ford, Mercy, and Porsche from top to bottomChecking out their new digsChevyMercy is the feisty onePorsche
Well, enough of the update, back to the snow day. In the barn, I went to check on Sawfish Freesia, who had a March 2 due date, and she was showing some signs that maybe today was the day to kid. She was breathing heavier than normal, her belly had dropped low compared to yesterday and her ligaments were loose. Her udder was also full, but no discharge. I went to have my cup of tea and coffee, and when I came back to the barn, she had delivered two babies! She might be a keeper. Her mom LongvuTabula Rasa also had easy deliveries. One 7.8 pound doeling and 8.6 pound buckling. Black with tan doeling and black with red buckling with white splashes. We brought them inside to warm up. The kids named them Audi and Harley (I know, not a car, but he has the tough look, apparently). They are both long legged, and will likely take after their mom who is a longer and taller statured goat.
Audi just bornHarley just bornAudi and Harley just insideAudi and Harley about an hour old here
All the goat babies so far are very similar in color. Freesia, Jasmine and Camellia all have the same dad, Idikka Yoshi (out of Barnowl Quartermaster), and were bred to the same buck, so the kids are very similar in look. Black and tan or red, with some sort of white marking. More splashy white on some, only a star or white tail tip on others. Several look a lot like their dad, E.B Farms LL Regal, especially Chevy.
Day old hereAudi and Harley day oldHarley
With babies settled, I went off to the dentist, Rob was working from home, and Quinn and Amanda tended to the babies and took care of Freesia. All is well.
Later in the afternoon, Amanda decided she wanted to try skijouring behind Mojo, so we cleaned the stalls and then got Mojo out. He was game, and besides it is good pre cart training, right? We are working on harness training Mojo to drive. Amanda got tired quickly and decided a sled might be a better idea. We also added a lunging aid breeching to help keep Mojo from stepping on the traces from his breast collar.
Check out some short clips from this adventure below:
Stay tuned as we are expecting babies from wonder goat Phaylene next in about two weeks. Think pink!
Tonight we played Trash pandas. With all the kids. Sometimes that’s what’s important. Amanda picked out the game at Walmart. It was cute. A little card game with a competitive streak. There was a little attitude about playing at first from some members, but it resolved. Rob got a picture of a raccoon on his game camera behind the house while we were playing. Coincidence?
This past weekend we drove up to Cornish NH to participate in the VERDA Bare Bones endurance ride. We loaded up Huey, Mojo, Amira and Missy and drove the three hours to the ride on Saturday morning.
For this ride we were all riding the 30 mile Limited Distance. We felt confident that the horses could handle this distance and we had to get back to CT Sunday night for Quinn’s AP Calculus exam at 8 am Monday morning. Rob also had a flight out at 7 am Monday in Providence to go to VA on business for the week.
Setting up camp, we placed Amira and Huey in our hard panels. Huey can camp in electric, but Amira does not respect electric. Missy and Mojo got electric pens set up.
Vetting in was uneventful. The horses were all good. Nick Kohut and Joan Hiltz were the ride vets. Rob was riding Missy, Alex was riding Mojo, Amanda Huey, and I (Anna) on Amira. Quinn is still recovering from a spinal facet joint issue causing sciatica and back pain, so Quinn was the designated crew person for this ride. We set up the crew stuff for the hold, and I made up electrolytes for the next day. I think I am going to start using a blender to make up electrolyte syringes ahead of time at home to make life easier at ride camp. We use Lyte now tubes for some of our horses, but I mix a special mix for Huey and Amira. Temps were going to be close to freezing so we blanketed horses for the night.
Saturday night I woke up around 4 am to the sound of panels clanking, and went out to check on the horses. I found Amira outside her pen, with the panels still standing. Huh. My guess is she pushed under them to reach grass and went too far and barreled through under them. She did not appear hurt, or scratched up. I put her back in, secured the ends to the trailer a bit better and had her checked out the next morning, but she was not hurt.
Sunday morning we tacked up for the 8 am LD ride start. Huey was full of it and tried to buck Amanda off. We took his rump rug off, but he was still fresh. When the trail was opened we walked out on trail immediately to get Huey thinking about other things than being naughty.
This ride had two loops of the same 15 miles with a 45 minute hold after a mid ride vet check. The loop is basically an out and back with a small lollipop loop at the midpoint. Some singletrack trail and some backroads gravel road. Oh and it’s not flat. My GPS says it’s around 1500 ft of elevation gain over the 15 miles, which is comparable to our home terrain, however the course starts by climbing a hill, and then going down hill through the woods and climbing over another woodsy singletrack hill. Then some roads, a covered bridge, wooded trails near water, and back to the fairgrounds.
We rode together for the first loop. It took us just over 2.5 hours. Rob and I had some disagreements and decided it would be best if we split up for the second loop. Mojo and Missy were charging ahead, creating a pace at which Amira either had to canter, and then trot, then canter to catch up and it was resulting in temperamental fits of bucking. Amira does great leading, but worries about keeping up with the herd when riding in a larger group. Amira’s and Huey’s road trot is 6-7 mph, where Mojo and Missy cruise along at 8+ mph. Which lead to me having choice words with Rob (shocker I know, LOL).
At the hold Missy and Mojo pulsed ahead of Huey, and Amira last (she takes about 10 minutes to reach pulse most of the time). All the horses were fit to continue. We decided that Rob and Alex could head out at their out time and Amanda and I would just ride separate for the last loop. When it came time for Amanda and I to leave, Amira was not so sure she wanted to head out again, and was looking for the others as we were leaving, but once past the first couple of hundred yards she was fine. Eventually, we caught up to Rob and Alex at the midway water stop and stayed together for the rest of the loop after that. Missy had lost some if her initial exuberance, but got a bit of second wind once we were all together and headed back.
Our second loop was a little slower than our first. We finished our second loop in about 2 hrs and 40 minutes. We took our time, let the horses graze some, and stopped to talk to one of the land owners gracious enough to put out water for the ride. They wanted to take pictures of Huey. Everyone loves seeing Huey and Amanda out there.
midway water stop
All our horses vetted through fine and got completions. Mojo went over 500 AERC LD miles with this ride. Huey now has over 400 LD miles with Amanda. We all made top ten, because it was a very small ride, I think only 12 or 13 started the LD. Rob decided to stand for best condition, to judge how Missy was doing an hour after the ride, since she is new to us. Based on end pulse, time, and weight reasons the rest of us opted out. We had a good conversation with Dr. Kohut about how the recovery score of the best condition judging is done. I had been curious since I had seen some very low recovery scores on Facebook after the recent No frills ride.
We ended up with some girth rubs on Missy, which her previous owner said has been a career long issue for her. We are going to try a mohair girth and crupper, and change to a biothane billet/dressage girth set up to see if that helps. We were already doing y style rigging with a toklat woolback western cinch.
Mojo unfortunately also had rubs, not evident until the day after the ride. We have a new Skito saddle pad for him and the construction on the pad is slightly different leaving the half n half mid seam more proud right under the stirrup leather causing welts on both sides from the heat/ friction. He also had welts/rubs from the back biothane billets due to the saddle pad being shorter. May have to pad the strap or get a longer pad or girth. I put some caladryl on the affected areas and it was a lot less swollen that night. Sigh. On the good side, it seems the mohair girth has stopped the rubs he used to get in his arm pit area.
Our goal was to ride and get completions for all the horses we brought, and we accomplished that goal. What’s next? We will have to see how the next week goes in the recovery for Mojo and Missy. College finals, high school AP exams and finals, and Rob’s travels are taking a toll on the family schedule and gas and diesel prices are on the rise. We may have to take a step back and breathe for a few weeks.
We would like to say thank you to the VERDA ride management, the ride vets, and volunteers. Especially the volunteers. We were happy to see Sierra volunteering, she is who has Teddy now, and she let us know he is all good. Lovely trail marking, which is much appreciated. I hate getting lost on trail. Thank you to Jamie and Ranelle for sharing photos with us. Prayers and well wishes to the rider who came off her horse and got hurt at the ride. We hope you have a full recovery. Congrats to our friends completing 50s at this early ride, it is an accomplishment.
Ride on friends, doing what you love, with special people you care about, it is what matters!