(remember- this blog took place prior to our arrival in Lexington)
If you ever have the opportunity to camp in a tobacco barn with tobacco hanging in it – RUN THE OTHER WAY!
Not that we have any problem sleeping in a barn. But the fumes from curing tobacco literally burns your eyes, nose, and throat and if breathed long enough, will give you a raging upset stomach. Personal experience. No offense to anyone, but I seriously don’t know how you can inhale, ingest, suck on, or whatever that stuff cuz it’s NASTY before it ever even leaves the farm!
We spent 5 days at that barn waiting for Bella to get better. We spent many hours on the phone with vets, acupuncturists, and massage therapists. We ended up taking her to the vet with our new friend “Coy” where they diagnosed her with a pulled knee. They sent us away with pain pills and joint supplements to help her joints heal and maintain while she is working so hard. We also had a long talk with Cindy- the lady who donated a 1 hour massage to each of our horses- and she taught us over the phone how to massage Bella’s knee to help it heal faster. This involved heat (warm water heated by our camp stove) and cold (water from a running hose), as well as a specific massage technique. After the first time, Bella learned to sit through the half hour process like a champ.
There wasn’t too much for us to do at the barn other than rest since the cell service was intermittent at best and we had no access to a computer. But we did, surprisingly, get to go to the Kentucky State Fair. Ronnie and Talli (our hosts from our long KY rest) drove all the way out to where we were camped to pick us up, take us to the fair, and brought us back. It was good to see them again one more time before we are totally out of their area, not to mention enjoyable to go to a big fair. It’s been years since we’ve been to anything but small town fairs.
During that time at the barn, we met some very special people. We were introduced to a man who had ridden his horse from Kentucky to California in 1957 with his friend. We spent some time talking about the rides and how having so many fences nowadays made it quite a different trip. We actually met his friend too, who flagged us down as we rode by his house on our way out of town a few days later.
Of course we met Larry’s family who let us enjoy a few showers at his house. We met a number of his friends too.
But most special was Mike Shields. He rode up on his scooter to our tobacco barn one day, introduced himself, and we quickly became friends. He shared with us his love of driving mules, his love for the Lord, the bounty from his garden, his church and friends who generously donated to Hearts Up Ranch, his truck, and his big generous lovable heart. We spent many hours with him enjoying his company. He took us out to eat, brought us breakfast so we wouldn’t have to eat any more dehydrated food while we were stopped, drove us ahead to find people he knew that would host us, introduced us to his family, gave us lots of hugs, and generally became a great new friend. We’re gonna miss that man.