Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Next Year

This year flew by -
next year we'll have most of our old life back
and have more free time to ride
our horses are in cold storage now - LOL
just hanging around
we'll use our vacation better next year
and not work as hard
this year was brutal
and I ain't no kid anymore
the time evaporated
next year I'll get my pictures hung on the wall
next year we'll finish the bathroom
next year we'll rent our old house
next year
next year
that's in a couple days!

GFI - Ground Fault Interrupter

As I'm dumping the buckets I pulled KC's off the hook and the cord attachment sparked and smelled like something burning - just a puff for less than a second. The breaker clicked off, all the barn outlets were out. I don't know how or why this happened, but the GFI really does work. I pushed in the button and reset the breaker, turning the heated water buckets back on.

I do hope I haven't killed his bucket! It continues to be cold, 26 degrees, and the wind has died down a bit, but it is not calm. No longer howling and rattling the barn doors and windows, so that is a good thing.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cold Monday

I'm getting tired of it being cold and I'm sure getting tired of writing about it. I hear that it will warm up this week, but I don't see it this morning. Twenty-two degrees with a serious wind doesn't sound like warm. It was so windy that Lil Fred's feed bucket flew out of my hand!

Skip's heated water bucket had a skim of ice on it. I am looking forward to having it 40 or maybe 50 degrees this weekend. Our friends to the north and south got snow, lots of it, but we got heavy flurries. I know Tom is anxious to try out the new snow blower; he topped off the tank and started it up yesterday. It would be well worth the money spent if we didn't need to use it this entire winter. Really.

We still have snow on the ground from when it snowed the week before Christmas. We could probably use some precipitation, but right now I'd rather not have it snowy or raining. I do believe the days are getting longer, too, a minute each day.

We want to ride this coming weekend, too. Being New Year's holiday, we have an extra day. We aren't 'fair-weather' riders, but I hate to break ice in stream beds and creeks and the trails seem to keep ice and snow longer than the woods and fields. It has taught K.C. to tip-toe on slippery terrain. Tom commented last night that we are keeping our boys in 'cold storage' and they have had their heavy coats on for so long we don't know what they look like under there! In our previous life, we would have the coats off, riding during the week in the indoor arena. We don't have that amenity at the new place. That is on the 'wish list.'

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another Light!

Cold and windy - this is a broken record, right? Flurrying off and on throughout the day. And really windy. Tom worked on the electrical project in the barn, installing the final light fixture on the back side of the barn, over the overhang. He'll install two more lights, further down, to eliminate the shadows that the barn itself creates. It's beautiful.

The water buckets were freezing over inside the barn today. Hate when that happens! The weather is supposed to warm up for the rest of the week. It would be great if we didn't have to run the electric buckets.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve - on the Farm

Cold, clear day, the wind has diminished to a strong breeze. It almost feels warm, almost. The water buckets that aren't heated continue to be frozen.

Tom is working on the electrical project in the barn. Pulling wire through the conduit, getting ready to install the remaining flood light on the barn. Lots of preparation and pieces; wire nuts, washers, nuts, long strands of wire, conduit and connectors.

He also was 'working' with Lil Fred this morning. Lil Fred has a sour attitude. I believe he needs a job, but we've been busy and it has been so bloody cold. I think I might have mentioned it's been cold here.

Lil Fred tries to turn away if either of us gives him any attention. He wants to walk into the barn, into his stall, without us touching him. He is resentful when we try to brush him or pick his feet. He wasn't always like this. Sprite was just like that but they've switched attitudes over the months.

So, Tom is being rebuffed by Lil Fred and has had enough of his grumpy attitude. He runs Lil Fred off, not relenting. When Lil Fred slows down, Tom sprays him with gravel dust. After about twelve laps, Lil Fred is getting tired. Tom backs off and Lil Fred immediately comes back to him, licking his lips. Lil Fred needs a job. I'm going to start counting the days til we get the tree cut down and the round pen put in it's place.

Skip is quite smitten with Sprite. He really likes the ladies, and it apparently doesn't matter the size. Lil Fred is not thrilled with hanging out with her. It is like Junior High out there! Skip hangs by the fence, hoping she'll come over for a visit. Fluffs doesn't want any competition for Skip's attention and tries to run her off, from their side of the fence. Lil Fred tries to get away from her, but she follows him like a girl with her first crush. He tries to run her off, but she shadows him constantly. The social dynamics with our Gang of Four.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Double Fatality

Tom usually puts the kids in the barn while I change my clothes in the evening. Last night he came in and said the big boys were still out because there were two dead birds in the boy's stalls, one in each. He wanted to clean it up first, before letting them in, but wanted me to see it, too.

I hurried out with grain for everybody, but still left the big guys out. Sure enough, both stalls had experienced a feather explosion! The top of the Dutch doors were open all day, we do like to 'air' out the barn and those doors are under the overhang, so no matter the precipitation, those stalls will not get wet.

I'm sure it was the resident Red-tailed Hawk that figured out how to get into the stalls and catch a Sparrow. The Sparrows are now roosting in the barn, feasting on the spilled grain and orchard grass seeds in the hay. The Hawk has to eat, too, right?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday, Just Like That!

Cold start to the week, more snow is predicted for Christmas, too. Everybody says they want a white Christmas, but it is pretty inconvenient if you want my opinion.

The dry paddock has an ice flow forming from the corner downspout to the lowest point. I'm sure the minis will be careful walking around, but the big boys are not as stable and low to the ground. Eventually we will put 'cattle carpet' down on the entire paddock with stone dust on top, but that isn't going to happen this season.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Electrical Work!

Tom ran the wire through the conduit from the breaker box to the hayloft. The light is on the north side, over the double door of the hayloft. This is a very exciting development in the grand scheme. A dusk-to-dawn adapter is included.

None of this work is easy, the materials are not free AND it has been so cold for so long - but the results are very rewarding.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And Another Thing...

It's been cold, been writing about it endlessly. I like to cook outside whenever possible. Even when it is cold, raining and snowing. The Weber grill doesn't do well in a strong wind and I don't like to cook outside when it is in the 20s.

Tonight is the first time in a couple weeks I've been able to cook outside!

Last Saturday Before Christmas

Tom got up early this morning to get into town, picked up a snow blower! He feels the risk of being 'snow bound' is too high out here in the sticks. Plus, we might have to clear pastures so the little ones can move around, being 'height impaired' as they are.

It warmed up to about 35 today and felt balmy and warm! I only had ONE coat on! We went to Lowes, Home Depot AND Tractor Supply. Continuing to gather materials for the electrical project for the barn and bought a smaller heated water bucket for the boys. The 100-gallon stock tank's heater was not energy efficient. Either it was on or off, no cycling off. The 16-gallon bucket will work out better for the frigid days.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

SNOW! - Again?

"Red sky in morning, sailors take warning..." and the day started off with a gorgeous sunrise, but snow started falling mid-morning and continued for the rest of the day. We left everybody outside for the day, and I got home mid-afternoon, getting them into the barn for the rest of the day.

The snow cleared out by dusk and the stars and the full moon are so bright, snow is glittering in the dark. Still cold as can be. I was able to sweep the snow off of the patio and steps, it is like dust.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Have Another Cold One!

Snow was on the ground this morning and still flurrying when I went out to feed the kids. We kept the radio on in the barn last night. Dean Martin was singing "...Baby, it's cold outside...," when I walked into the wash stall in the morning, but it was nice in the barn.

Driveway was not slick, it's gravel; the roads all treated, actually dry in most places. I got to work at 8:10 but Tom got to work at 9:22. METRO had a meltdown and he waited on the platform for an hour in all that wind and cold and misery. Glad I don't ride that thing!

Sunny by the time we got to Rockville. Everybody is out today except April and Irene. Irene slept with us all night. She must have been cold!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cold is an Understatement

It's cold AND windy, which is making the wind chill around 9 degrees. That's cold. Plus we've been getting snow flurries, off and on all day and evening.

Tonight Tom got the heated water buckets installed, plugged in and the kids love them! The water isn't warm, but it is not cold or icy. A great feature, Skip approves!

We left the radio on in the barn for the night: Christmas Carols, non-stop!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Misty, Rainy Sunday

Tom spent his Sunday pulling wires and installing the electrical outlets, for each stall. They are all tied into a ground-fault interrupter (GFI) as per code. I went over to the old house and painted the front bedroom. What else are you going to do on a rainy day? Everybody stayed in all day, eating hay.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Artic Blast

Continues to be COLD and WINDY, down on the farm. Last night Sprite's water bucket, inside the barn, had ice in it. The barn doors were rattling, Tom put boxes and rakes at the bottom of the door to keep the wind from gusting through the aisle. The boys have on their heavy coats.

Yesterday Tom was able to wire in, with a ground-fault interrupter, the main water trough, installing the heating element. I went to Tractor Supply (again) to take advantage of their 15% off one-day-only sale to get the heated buckets. This is really early in the season to be so cold, for a sustained time. It's feeling Minnesota!

It was great flipping the switch to turn on the stall lights this morning! We are so civilized.

Monday, December 6, 2010

First Monday in December

First Monday and so cold plus relentless wind brings the wind chill to about 9 degrees - brrrr! The boys have their heavy coats on, snow flurries this morning when I was putting hay in the field while the stars were still out.

Tom is home today, working on the electrical project in the barn. Flipping the switch will be so much easier. We've had extension cords from the house since we finished the fence project in July, hanging a 'night light' for the boys. Time is just flying by, it will be Christmas before we know it!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday - First in December

Snow flurries out this way, Tom is working on the electrical project for the barn, tying it into the house panel; we pulled wire yesterday through the trenched conduit. It will be great flipping a switch and getting rid of all these extension cords.

The water troughs are freezing over; we have heated water buckets so we really need the outlets to actually work. Good to do inside work today.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Cold One!

Cold morning - the troughs were frozen over again and the mud is stiff in most places. The gravel was even frozen over, frosted gates. We got around 3 inches of rain yesterday and now there is a 'pond' in the dry paddock, and it is frozen, too.

There is a 'critter' in the barn - I saw it last night and don't know what it is, but it dug into the trench inside the barn where the water/electric lines enter - darn it!

Last night I heard what I thought was a bird, it moved Fluffs' stall door out, rattling, as it made its way out of the stall and into the aisle. I saw it going towards the doors, staying against the wood framing, and then out - don't know what it is. Not a squirrel, ground squirrel, or possum or like that. Small, but bigger than a mouse. Don't know for sure, might be a rat.

Tom put poison in the wash stall this morning, and while we are trying to get out the door and like that, Irene sneaks out of the house. Neither noticed she was out. I moved the car around the front, closed the gate and saw Tom and Irene running around the parking lot, so I joined the chase, trying to round her up. Around the parking lot, under the cars and trailers we went for about 5 minutes. We don't have time for that - boots and tights today, glad the wind has died down.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tornado Warnings!

I watched the Wizard of Oz (1939 edition) over the holiday weekend and was stunned to hear, first thing this morning, that our area will have Tornado warnings until later in the day. "The conditions are perfect for Tornadoes...," is something you don't want to hear heading out to feed the kids. The rain was coming off in sheets horizontally and the storm door wanted to spring off the hinges.

Everybody is in today. Looking at 3 inches of rain, falling throughout the day. I can only imagine what the stalls will look like this evening! I cleaned the stalls this morning, so we'll see. It also is sort of warm, for December 1st, but the wind will bring in a cold front later this afternoon. I took the sheets off the boys last night, it was 60 degrees!