Thursday, March 31, 2011

Out Like a Lion?

March has been an 'iffy' month. THE groundhog indicated we would have an early Spring. Some Spring-like days did happen, here and there, but not consistently. Last night it was SNOWING. It was so wet that nothing stuck, but, what is that? It also snowed last Sunday morning, sticking to the screws in the metal barn roof.

Tom continues to work on the fence project. This week he extended the fence line to the patio and basement steps. This will really cut down on the wind tunnel and make it easier to grill. The flame would blow out if it was really gusty.

The fence gate hardware has not been purchased yet, but it will be nice to have that buttoned up. I want to get some 'Art' to hang on at least one of the sections, so it doesn't look like Fort Defiance!

The farrier came out on March 18, the following Friday KC lost a shoe. I called him Saturday morning, again on Tuesday; he called back this morning while I was in a meeting and I've called him back and texted him. Would be nice to be able to ride this weekend.

The vet came out to see all the large kids. Shots for everybody and Coggins for the two big boys. Irene's spaying still has not been done. Either the vet has no appointments available or Irene's in heat. One of these days....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Roller Coaster

It's always about the weather. And getting a decent, accurate forecast is nearly impossible. Like when it's predicted to start raining at midnight and it is only 8:00 o'clock and the rain is beating against the windows. How can we manage these guys with that kind of information?

The lightning was so bright and close, like a bomb going off. Luckily we were home and able to batten down the hatches, but it wasn't supposed to rain until after midnight!

The roof didn't leak this time, but we have received two quotes for a new roof. Happily, the metal roof quest has been nixed in the bud. It was wildly expensive and it turns out not a good value. The maintenance would have been ridiculous. The barn has a metal roof, but it is a barn. If it leaks eventually, so what? Cooler heads prevailed and we're not doing it.

The energy-saver shingles are not a bargain, either. All the 'tax incentives' are eaten up by the manufacturer and the installer, so no real savings are passed on to the end-user. And the roof is so old, like the house, that the boards under the shingles are cupping and need to be replaced. We talked about doing the replacement ourselves, removing the boards and placing plywood on the roof. We've done this kind of work before, but we were younger and that roof, although bigger, was not as steep or high up. We'll just have to deal.

Back to the weather: Highs in the 60s, lows in the 30s - a roller-coaster of seasons this week. From wearing no coat to wearing a heavy one. I'm talking about my big boys! The mud was frozen this morning. Now calling for 'wintery-mix' for the weekend. O boy.

My fantasy about hurrying home to ride before dark did not pan out this week. Not one single day! It's always something. On the home front, Tom is teaching Irene, the barn cats' daughter, to give her right paw on cue. It seems to be working! When she is proficient, I'll post a video on this very blog!

Plans to ride with friends this weekend have been canceled, too, because of the awful weather. Who wants to go camping, with their horse, when it is supposed to snow/sleet/rain with freezing temps? No one I know!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday, Monday

Spring has certainly come in with a bang! And lightning and thunder. And rain. We put everybody out today anyway; by the time I got to work the sun was out! They were surprised to be let out in the rain (so spoiled!) but they got to go! The big boys have their light jackets on, too.

It rained more than was expected, but we do need the rain so I won't complain. The grass is growing, the leaves on some trees are popping out. Yesterday saw lots of frog egg masses in the puddles. Yea! Spring really is here!

Irene slept with us all night, April was on the floor. The lightning woke me up, not the thunder (can't hear anything in the house!).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Day of Spring!

I know it is not the FULL day of spring, that would fall on Monday. But Spring is here! Crocus are blooming in the front yard, the forsythia are budding out, the birds are winging around the yard and pasture. Spring is here! Finally!

Tom started his chores early this morning. He already had finished the front fence yesterday, now he was on to the installation of the kick boards on the dry paddock. It sure does look nice.

We went for a 'quick' ride at the Carroll County Equestrian Center on Grimville Road, off of Flag Marsh Road. Can't tell you where that is, because I can't! KC was particularly good today; no dragging his head down, not bucking, no 'fixin' to buck. He was really, really good. We got a good chance to eat grass, too. Happy boy!

When we got back, Tom mounted the Bat House on the top of the barn. It really just disappears up there, no one is going to notice. I hope the Bats do!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Don't Fence Me In

Thursday the weather was wonderful and Tom took the day off. One of his quests was to pick up fencing lumber for the front fence. This fence was installed the week we settled, almost a year ago. It was an impromptu, desperate, spontaneous installation to keep the 'dumpers' off the property. At the time I felt we spent too much valuable time and money with this portion of the fence. I wanted a pasture fence put up, and this location was not what I had in mind.

After almost a year Tom purchased the fencing boards. By the time I got home he had a good number installed. Friday night after work he again got to work right away. It was still light for another hour or more and he got a lot more done. Saturday morning he wrapped it up and it looks fantastic. I don't want to paint or stain this stockade fence. I do want to decorate the new wall. Maybe a Pennsylvania Dutch Hex sign?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

May your day be touched
by a bit of Irish luck,
brightened by a song in your heart,
and warmed by the smiles
of the people you love.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend Summary

On Thursday I thought we would leave all in because there was standing water everywhere, although it was going to be 60 degrees and sunny. I prepared their stalls for another day inside. Tom thought differently, so he ended up putting hay out for everybody. He also forgot to close the stall that we now use to keep hay.

Sometime during the day on Friday, Sprite and Lil Fred got into the hay stall (third time). When we got home she had a patio chair wrapped around her neck. She had put her head through the arm and was wearing it like a necklace. You can't trust these guys for anything!

On Saturday I woke up early to attend to my horse-keeping chores and Tom complained that I was too chatty and noisy, so I laid back down and promptly feel asleep. I got up at 8 o'clock! April was still in the bed with me, and it was a bright sunny day! Oops.

I looked outside, saw Tom spreading manure. He had gotten up, fed everybody and took care of my barn chores. I got dressed and joined him outside. We make plans, make a list, and sometimes we do nothing that was on the list. Not on the list was yard work. We spent the entire day trimming four fir/pine trees and the failing Maple in the front yard. 50+ years of pine cones had to be unearthed and carried to the burn pile site.

The flat bed trailer and the truck are full of tree/yard debris. When we have our next bonfire it is going to be awesome. We can't wait too long, wildlife has already started moving into it!

In the fence line where these 40 foot tall pines are were fence posts with old rusty wire and two forsythia bushes that haven't seen the light of day since probably the '70s. I think they might be able to bloom this year.

By dark Saturday night I was exhausted, stiff. I took most of my clothes off and went back to bed, April joined me. Tom made dinner and woke me up for that. It was pretty good, back to bed, slept all night.

My alarm didn't wake me up because I hadn't turned it off to have it reset for Daylight Saving Time. On my list for Saturday was to get a much-needed haircut and grocery shop. Also on the list was to visit the old house to address the plumbing issues. That would mean at least one trip to Home Depot or equivalent. Now it is Sunday and the list from Saturday is going to be addressed!

First was to get my hair cut, then to Home Depot to buy a 3-inch PVC pipe and two clamps for the basement repair. Tom had taken the appropriate tools to do the plumbing procedure: The Saws-All, pliers, screw-driver and a bucket. Only the one trip to Home Depot was needed and the plumbing malfunction is a thing of the past! We need to get this house rented!

On the way home we stopped by TWO grocery stores, by now it was almost 3 o'clock, bright sunny day. We went for a ride!

We have been working on a connector trail to the main trail network, accessible from our property. We thought we had located a good entry point, but I'm rethinking that now. I'm sure over time the water crossing will be easier, but now it is very abrupt.

The last time we worked on this connector we discovered a man-made trail blockage, this time it was more elaborate. We need to continue to work on this trail, but it is creepy that someone wants to string old barbed wire and air craft cable across our work. While we were working on the trail both KC and Skip took a dump on the trail. I hope who ever doesn't want us there can understand we are not hunters, we have large farm animals in tow.

I also saw two turkeys in the Park. We are so lucky to be here, and within a couple weeks we'll have a new roof. We've decided to re-roof the garage/shed ourselves at a later date. There are no gables and it is low and not as steep as the house. We've done this kind of work before, but I was in my thirties then. Time flies.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

When it Rains...

Rainy day. We need a new roof. Today there is a muck bucket in the living room. We decided the bucket we were using might be too small, so I brought the muck bucket from the barn into the house this morning. Irene was fascinated by it, jumping right into it. I'm sure she'll smell like a horse by the time we get home.

Everybody is in today. The temperature is mild, humid. Last Friday evening there was an earth worm, soggy, in the parking lot. This is a sure sign that Spring has arrived. I don't hear the Peepers just yet, but the Power Lines are singing!

I took the coats off the big boys, Tom opened the Dutch door tops and the big sliding doors to the barn. Extra hay, extra water. Not looking forward to a muck bucket full of water from the living room ceiling. At least this is not over the bed. As you might recall, our bed is in the living room because the three bedrooms are still not ready for occupation.

On Sunday afternoon we hung pictures. Not all of them, but lots. Still startling to see the pictures up when I walk into the house. I'm worse than the spookiest horse when it comes to change. I'll eventually get over it, but takes time.

KC now has the habit of trying to walk out his stall door into the aisle. He can't physically do this because the manure spreader is parked almost against his stall wall. He wants to visit the tractor, also parked in the aisle. He sees it from his stall and wants to sniff or lip it.

Irene has taken to launching herself, from a good distance and height, at April in a sort of 'drive-by' maneuver. April, always the brilliant, clever girl, seems completely clueless that it is going to happen and dumbfounded when it does. Irene is long gone, banking off the wall or stairs and out of sight. Irene really enjoys her super powers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Nice, mild day, overcast but not as cold as it has been. On the way home this evening it was sprinkling, but when we got here it had stopped. The weather forecasters are calling for 3 inches of rain. O boy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rainy Sunday

The rain started Saturday night and continued, heavy at times, the entire day. Water was seeping in around the wall penetration in the basement over the sump pump. It never amounted to anything.

The water was flowing across the parking lot, heading right onto the patio area. This water flow ended up in the well pump room in the basement.

Later in the evening the ceiling in the living room started dripping. We do need a new roof, yesterday. Our long-time contractor is already coming over this week to give us an estimate. The sooner the better.

We spent lots of time in the barn today. Not only the usual horse-keeping chores, but took the time to clean up Sprite and fix her hair. Her mane is finally long enough to lay on the proper side, growing out from being roached when she was younger. She'll be three in June.

Skip got brushed, but he is not shedding like KC or Lil Fred and he wasn't very muddy.

Tom wormed them all, except for KC. He apparently would not let Tom administer the syringe in his mouth. I did it later, but he didn't like it. Wasn't his usual easy, sweet guy. I also cleaned him up; he is really shedding. I also braided his forelock, his hair is so long and beautiful.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Finally The Weekend!

First weekend in March and rain is expected later on Saturday. Perfect timing, right? Twice this week the door to the hay room has been left open. The little ones got in and made a mess. We have got to stop doing that! The first time wasn't as bad as the second, but the second had less manure involved.

KC continues to have lapses in his ability to pull hay from the hay net. Skip never lost a step.

Daylight Savings starts next weekend and it is already sort of daylight when we arrive home. All of them are hard to get into the barn. After the daylight adjustment we aren't going to even try until it is fully dark. Plus, they don't know it, but the big boys are going to be ridden after work and shortly we will install our round pen. The little ones are going to find meaningful employment, too.

We need a new roof on the house, too. This place just keeps on giving!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Finally, March gets itself here and comes in soft and gently, just like a lamb! Last night in the parking lot I saw an earthworm! It was wet, but alive. And on Sunday, after our trail clearing session, I had a tick! on my neck, Tom had two on him! Asked for it, right?

Yesterday started off foggy, then sunny, became windy, then raining off and on all day - everybody stayed in. The highs were in the 70s and last night it got down past freezing, again. Skip pawed himself a tunnel in the corner of his stall, but other than that, everybody was happy to be in. The sun came out, then the high winds and driving rains started.

I'll take the beautiful day any time, but with it being March, it is not just a borrowed day, it will be the norm, I hope. Daylight Saving starts on the thirteenth. I'm so ready and overdue for some riding after work!