It's a Girl! and Other Amazing Miracles and Blessings
The past 24 hours have been exciting around here. Yesterday, just before two in the afternoon, the house started shaking. At first, we looked up at each other, and we were worried that one of our neighbors' houses had blown up (one of them had their garage blow up a year ago on the Fourth of July from a gas explosion and it rocked the entire street). We also entertained the tought perhaps the local military base had experienced a problem, and briefly worried about what might have gone wrong.
When the floor started to, well, sort of roll, and the walls were moving back and forth, and the chandeleir began to rock crazily, we realized it was an earthquake. An earthquake in our state? Are you kidding me? Unheard of, at least by us. But just a few excited moments after the shaking stopped (which essentially reminded us of being on an unbalanced washing machine), the phone started ringing, and Hubby reported that there had, indeed, been an earthquake (later labeled a 5.9 or so on the Richter Scale) whose epicenter was less than two hours drive from us. Wow! I know this will sound strange, but we wierd and unsocialized homeschoolers thought it was kind of exciting!!! Frankly, I was relieved it was an earthquake and not an explosion because if something had blown up near here, there's enough major stuff in our vacinity that the consequences would not have been good.
Tex later commented that since we can now lay claim to having been in three major hurricanes in Florida (Ivan, Katrina, Dennis), endured two Nor'easters here that converted our non-waterfront home into an island for a week each, had a tornado destroy a school just a few miles up the road from our house a few months ago, and spent the last several weeks sporadically coughing and choking on smoke from forest fires a few hours away, he wonders what natural disaster could be next? A tsunami? Never say so! I think I will pass on that one!
Though does look like we may be getting a visit from Irene over the weekend. Hmmmmm...it's a good thing we see these things as adventures instead of trials. In any case, by the end of the day, the kids had tired themselves out chattering excitedly about the day's unusual events, and we all agreed that God had truly blessed us all by protecting us.
Well, the next amazing thing to happen around here was and is, indeed, both amazing and miraculous. Tex went out to give the horses their hay around 10:30 a.m. and I asked him to leave the shetland pony, Merry, in her stall (she spends the night in the barn) until I could get out there with Ladybug to brush her and check her. She can be a bit tough to catch at times, so leaving her in would save us the trouble of being out of breath and grumpy when we brushed her.
Bubba showed up about fifteen minutes after that and said he wanted to go out to the barn with us, so I put on some shoes and we went out to the barn together. We (me, Ladybug, and Bubba) walked into the barn, and saw Merry looking through the bars of her red stall door and then I screamed. "Oh my goodness...It's here!! Go get everybody...quick!!!"
This is what it was...a beautiful, dark brown, sweet-as-can-be filly. Lying right there by the stall door, pretty as you please. Not twenty minutes (or so) before it had not yet been born, and there she was, just as real and alive and alert as her Mama...who, by the way, looked exhausted, and had yet to pass the placenta, so she still had some work to do. Poor thing. Yet she was gorgeous to us and handling things like she was a pro...which was good, because this is a first for me.
Bubba sent Tex to the house to grab some towels and he called the vet right away. The kids lined up along the side of the stall, standing on buckets to see what was going on. I had no clue what I was supposed to be doing, but I am used to being the one who knows what to do in any situation, so I went in the stall to see if I could help in any way. I cleared away as much of the wet straw as I could, and once the towels arrived, I helped dry off the wee one. Both she and her mother were very mellow, and they let me help with no fussing. Hubby drove off to the feed store to buy more straw (he's on swings this week, so he didn't miss it...how awsome!), to make their bed a bit more comfy, as well as some Mare and Foal feed for Merry.
Bubba passed on the word from the vet that the placenta should be tied in a knot and it would pass on its own within three hours. I got to do that lovely job, but it wasn't too bad. The kids checked the placenta out (after all, we are homeschoolers) after I put it in a bucket for the vet to check when he comes out tomorrow. Eeeyeuew! But what a miracle.
Within fifteen minutes or so of our arrival, the baby was already struggling to stand. It took her a while, but she managed without too much trouble and began looking for Mama's milk. Merry was understandlably tired, and had been up and down to rest a few times. The vet suggested that if the foal was struggling to find her food source, we might hold Merry so the baby could nurse for the first time to get that important coelostrum, and eventually, she managed. Bubba and I took turns holding Merry, and gently bumped the baby toward the mare's udder a time or two, both trying to stay out of it and let them figure it out as God intended, yet our "new parent" nervousness made us want to help (after all, it is Bubba's naughty Quarter Horse stud colt...now gelded...who got Merry in the family way in the first place).
It amazes me how they go from complete helplessness to standing to cavorting around the stall in such a short time. Our little gal seems to have energy her poor mama lacks, and kicked up her heels a time or two. Her one main problem was not standing up, but trying to get down again. Poor thing wandered around for quite a while, trying to figure out how to lay down.
Mostly, we all just gazed at the new miracle God had given us unexpectedly as a blessing. We all loved her instantly, and are as proud of Merry doing such a great job delivering a healthy foal all on her own as if she was one of our own kids. We made sure we gave her fresh water, a bit of food, some hay, and got the worst of the poky straw out of her mane, then we gave her what she probably wanted most of all...peace and quiet and time to recover.
We all went inside for lunch, leaving Mama and baby getting to know each other, while baby ate a satisfying (and noisy!) meal and mom nibbled on hay. How exciting a day!! What miracles and blessings we have been given.
To top it off, on the way back to the house, we stopped by the tractor shed to drop something off in it and spied this bird's nest in a bag of stuff that had been put it there not too long ago. Tex told me he'd noticed it had eggs in it, so be cautious. I stepped up on a box to peer into it and said, "Nope, no eggs in there." "Wonder what happened?" he said. "The turned into baby birds," I said. And they had. Will miracles never cease...I hope not.