I am slowly recovering. I have good days and REALLY bad days in which I am unable to even think about getting to the barn. Yesterday was a bad day. I was weak and exhausted. Pete took over all the chores. A sweet eighth grader named Sadie came by to help out. To be honest, she worked better than many of the men that I have had to hire as temporary help.

So far, I have hired TEN different men to do the job I do every day. I am paying well, I don't yell or fuss. I have hot coffee for them and still, they drop like wimps. True, our weather has been pretty brutal but GEEZ LOUISE, if I can clean 14 stalls a day then a young man ought to be able to do it too. If a worker shows up at all most are breaking down after two days. "It's too much work," they complain. WHINE, WHINE, WHINE! No wonder our country is in such a state. No one wants to work!

Smokie continues to wax and wane. She will be absolutely fine until it rains, then she reverts back to spinning and unstable walking. We are watching closely. She has come so close to death so many times I can't count her out yet. Reading this blog clearly shows how many times we have called for the back hoe to dig her grave. JUST WHEN WE THINK SHE HAS BREATHED HER LAST, SHE RECOVERS.  She is amazing.

This coming Tuesday, she turns 33! We will have carrot cake and an awesome party. Dear girl must be holding out for that cake!

Everyone else is fine. They've been through quite an ordeal with so many strange men in the barn. Oh, they LOVE visitors but visitors are completely different than workers. I guess I didn't realize how PRIVATE their stalls are. They truely do not care for the randomness of who ever shows up for work to clean the stalls.

Poor Lotka, rough and tough, Lotka who acts like she doesn't need anyone has fallen completely apart. Strange men have been ransacking her bedding, rifleing through her hay and GASP! Someone even put her hay in the wrong corner! Surely the world is coming to an end! She ran through the back fence, stopped eating completely and has refused to associate with humans. In early February, Pete came down to the house and told me I really needed to try to get up to the barn as Lotka was a complete basket case. So, I went out and yelled, "HELLO!" Lotka RAN towards me, stopping about ten feet away to approach slowly. She sniffed me up and down, loved all over me and guarded me from the other ladies. I was surprised at how much weight she lost. She hadn't eaten in about a week but geez! I asked her to come to the barn with me and she walked very slowly behind me…if you know Lotka, you know she NEVER does this.

I put her in her stall and fixed some feed. I asked her to please eat. She gobbled it up.  Apparently I have to fix the meals if I expect her to eat. It reminds me of Hope Of Glory…she would only eat if I fed her, too.

Anyway, my absence and/or inability to work has caused several issues at the barn. Most of the ladies have lost a bit of weight, we have skin issues because they are not getting groomed like they should be and no one is comfortable with the strange men who appear and disappear.

Sigh, just a few more weeks….

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