Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Goes Out Like A Lamb

Spring-like weather today - 65 degrees? The Season is about at the half-way mark, hardly any measurable snow. Haven't used the snow blower once, either. Fine with me.

Today they are all out, with no blankets on, soaking up the sunshine. It's great leaving work with the Sun in my eyes! Been so many weeks since that's happened!

Groundhog Day is this week, too. We'll see if 'Punxsutawney Phil' sees his shadow. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter-like weather will soon end. If it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, winter weather will continue for six more weeks.

KC should also start shedding this week. He's always the first to start, last to finish.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Last Weekend in January

Saturday dawned bright and clear, and cold. Everybody had spent the night inside, too cold and windy to be out all night. The manure spreader is full, too.

He finally got in touch with the woman in Bloomsburg who sells specialty items for minis. It's a 3 1/2 hour drive, one way, to her place. We didn't leave the house until almost noon.

Road Trip!
We traveled from our weather system into their weather system, which was calling for isolated showers. I love Pennsylvania architecture, so my head was swiveling left and right and back again. Bank barns, stone houses, my favorites! We were definitely in Amish country.

We stopped for lunch at the 'General Store' in Chapman, which it was, including a grocery, home decor, clothes and hardware store. I looked at Carthart jackets but didn't purchase anything but lunch; $4.99 a pound for great fried chicken and the best baked beans, the real deal. The Amish carriages were parked out back.

We got the cart, in a box un-assembled, two halters, a buggy whip, and a bio-thane harness with bright neon-green pads. I would have chosen blaze-orange but didn't have that. He was not happy that the cart was made in China. He had wanted to get two, but got one. We can only train one at a time, right?

On the way home it did shower, and got to see rainbows! Home after dark, a little past feeding time. They must have given up on us, they were in the shed.

Spent most all Sunday in the house - he put the cart together and winterized, finally, the LQ trailer. That trailer needs to have the heat off; not only save us $$$ but kill off the Stink Bugs that have invaded and are doing all too well.

I cleaned the bathroom, washed and waxed the shower, straightened up the kitchen, changed the sheets, caught up on laundry - moved furniture upstairs, sorted paper/cardboard recycle - we need a bonfire, but too windy this weekend. When we have one, it's going to be BIG!

Snow expected overnight - winds at 17mph, gusting upwards to 28mph, they all will be coming in for the night.

Been windy all day, but nice in the sun, out of the wind. Put the new halters on the little guys - Sprite was easy, Lil Fred he chased, around and around, before he would finally allow the new halter to be put on him. Sprite's is bright pink, Lil Fred's is Hunter green, both have Native American embellishments.

Skip is without a halter, again. KC keeps breaking it, playing halter, and that was a $35 Weaver halter - maroon, very classy. Broken at the buckle, here in the house. To bring him in and out I throw a rope over his head. He's easy to manage, not an issue.

While looking out the front window, across the road into the cornfield, I noticed something moving on the next hill right of the stand of trees near the grain elevator. I couldn't really see what it, looking through the binoculars I thought I saw a deer, but on second look I realized it was a Bald Eagle, eating something bloody, couldn't really make it out.

He tried taking pictures with his tele-photo lens but it magnified grainy. Most definitely a Bald Eagle! I know he wasn't eating carrion because the family of Buzzards would have already discovered the carcass. Eventually he moved on.

A lot milder this morning than last night - wOw - the wind sounded like an F-16 - the trees by the house were really going at it! Snowing at 10:05 p.m. - horizontally. When I got out there the boys were cowering in the shed. I asked them if they wanted in and KC ran to me! It was horrid, really. They both were glad to get inside, I closed the big doors, so the little guys were in the barn but not locked in their stalls, leaving their stalls open.

When I went to bed April was still on the living room floor - I woke up at 1:15 and she was on the bed, with Irene curled up between her front and back legs. So cute! I had trouble staying asleep because my shins ached (too much going up and down the stairs yesterday) and I was hot. The room is very 'cozy' and warm - not like the living room that was so open.

And yesterday while we were moving furniture upstairs - he says something about all the work it's going to take to fix the walls and the ceiling in that big room - and change the light out because a too-much-wattage bulb had been put into the fixture and burnt it up. One of these days we'll move upstairs? Plus, I'm not moving upstairs until that bathroom is demolished and re-built. It's all small steps.

In his spare time he emptied the manure spreader, I then cleaned up the stalls.

He got the cart together last night - its not as heavy-duty as he had hoped, but it will be great (70 lbs.) to teach these guys to drive. He's talking about taking 2 days off in a row to do that, at which time he'll also take Irene to the vet to get spayed. We think she might be going into heat now, she's about due but it's not full-blown just yet.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Last Friday in January

Dawned rainy but mild, temps in the high 50s! Everybody spent the night inside because of the heavy rain and thunderstorms overnight.

After my barn duties, while getting ready for work, I heard the sirens. He called from the barn to tell me that emergency equipment from Damascus was on the scene at the end of our road. I could hear more sirens coming from Laytonsville. After their arrival I saw Libson responders going past our house.

Occasionally traffic has been backed up as far as our house trying to get through the intersection. It's not unusual for accidents to happen right there.

Damascus Road is a 50-mile an hour two-lane road, but signage warns of the intersection and slowing down to 35 mph. Yea, that's going to happen. Rt 94 is a 35, but rarely does that occur. Making that dreaded left turn off of Annapolis Rock onto Damascus Rt 108 can sometimes be harrowing. Throw in a school bus, and you have the recipe for disaster. Like today.

The intersection was not blocked, there were more vehicles involved than the one that was at the corner. With three Fire Departments responding, hard to say what actually happened, or why, on a dark, rainy Friday morning.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 25

A month to the day since Christmas, and it's time for another rant!!

Most horse-related dreams of a child are squashed by a parent that pulls the ‘wallet’ card. “We can’t afford it” translates to “I’m afraid of horses and you’ll get injured.” Children get injured when they are drawn to horses without parental supervision, i.e., sneaking into the neighbor’s field to steal a ride. Usually doesn’t turn out well because Black Beauty never acted like that! A twelve-lesson series can be the defining moment for a child; either satisfies the desire or sets them on a goal for the rest of their lives.

A child can be very proud of their accomplishments, but without approval from a parent, will feel like it’s not good enough. Parents might go to their kid’s lesson, but are on the phone, or waiting in the car. Others just drop them off to do other things. I've seen and heard the disappointment.

I now have the pleasure to ride with multi-generational families and disabled Veterans because horses are the bridge, the unifying athlete that brings them all together, equally. Hilarity (and memories) ensues.

Life is full of ‘what ifs’ and it’s harder to learn to ride after 50. Of course I now realize that so many times I could have gotten hurt or killed, but had an awesome mare that took special care of me. At the time I didn’t know.

I took lessons for years, but still have the horrible habits I developed as a child that had a pony and no guidance.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


The bedroom blinds came yesterday and he installed both sets before dinner. He had a little issue with the first set; apparently he reads directions and the directions were wrong. I personally don't usually read directions. Brought up that way by an engineer that didn't need them and a housewife that couldn't be told what to do. I didn't have a role model for using directions, but he will download instructions for everything. Unfortunately the directions were not accurate, so a wresting match ensued.

The four of us slept so well last night, no headlights hitting the wall, no barn lights invading our room. All is well with our new bedroom!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Foggy Monday

The land of the ice and snow turned into the land of fog overnight. Pretty cool, unless you have to drive, like the Pea soup everybody talks about. By the time we left for work it was raining.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Went out at 10:00 p.m. to prep the stalls, fill water buckets, turn the bucket heaters on, throw hay and get the little guys situated for the night. While standing at the gate, trying to persuade the boys to come to me rather than me walk to them, it started snowing. I could hear it coming from behind the shed and then it was landing on my face. Snowing!

I woke up at 2:00 a.m. just to see out the window at the snow. We haven't received the blinds yet, so just standing there, looking out, I could see that the snow was deep enough to cover the grass, appears to be about 2 inches already on the patio table. And still coming down.

In the morning it was raining and sleeting, and the snow had been diminished by the rain, the grass was now showing through. After they all finished eating I turned them out, the rain was slacking off. There was an ice coating on everything, just like candy apples. All of them are heavy enough to break the ice, didn't worry about them slipping on it. April was another matter!

We continued working on the closet, he finished painting and we moved the dresser into the closet. Now all three closet doors are hung!

Visiting the BigOrangeBox store late in the day, picking up a couple things and selecting four pieces of carpet for the bedroom floor. We also picked up a wicker-style clothes hamper. I've included a picture of the new hamper and placed the carpet swatch next to it. Yes, the carpet swatch is green. Can't wait to remove the Oatmeal-colored carpet in the living room with green carpeting!

Except for the blinds and picture hanging, this bedroom is done!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Poe's Birthday

A Dream Within A Dream

by Edgar Allan Poe, (published 1850)

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow --
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand --
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep -- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Recently I was asked when are you going to get tired of living this life, caring for all these horses, getting up so early, shoveling manure and like that. WOW. When do parents get tired of feeding their kids? When do parents drop their kids off at the orphanage? When do parents change the locks on their doors and not give a key to their children?

I read the news; parents do give their kids away (I personally know two that were given away as children). Parents do drop their kids off or lose them because of their living conditions. I’m going to try to not be like that.

Just this past weekend I was warned about going to horse auctions. Warned to not take an empty trailer because when you come out you'll have horses in it. I know someone that went riding at a local park; when she got back to her trailer two horses were tied there. Horses are turned loose at auctions if they don't sell.

We're in a world of hurt right now, and unfortunately domestic animals are suffering.

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK, Jr. Day - Monday

“Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way." ~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

We wasted too much time this entire weekend doing nothing. We tried to do stuff, but something or another got in the way. While at the BigOrangeBox trying to choose closet shelving we happened to arrive 20 minutes after a free seminar on closet stretching. That aisle was so busy it seemed fake, like a commercial for 'Closet Maid.' At that same time his mother called, wanting help on getting her computer turned on. Honestly!

The day before we drove out to New Windsor to get hay. He had already gotten a quote from the young lady who answered the phone, with the time we were to be there to get loaded. When we arrived no one was there, no one answered the phone. Eventually a guy shows up, he says the price is much higher than previously stated and the hay bales were small, almost ornamental-size. For that much? Wasted time and Diesel. We stopped by a couple more places, the same thing: small bales for a high price.

Condon Farm has a great website, advertise lots. This must have been a great estate at one time, but no one could spring for a bucket of paint in the last 40 or so years. Very sad. Nothing has been taken off the property in at least that long, too. Tires are piled up everywhere. It looked like the movie set for 'Deliverance' or 'Tobacco Road.' What I'd call 'Hillbilly Hamlet.' I was not impressed.

Sunny Ridge Farm has no website. A little sign is down by the driveway. The place was beautiful, neat as a pin, great outbuildings, very orderly. We drove into the spacious shed and loaded from a huge stack of bales. At almost half the price.

A running conversation thread was about our usual hay supplier's barn fire. There was also another horse barn burned in that general area soon after that. Arson. We talked about getting smoke detectors for the barn that ring in the house. Our boys are rarely in the barn during the day while we are gone.

He installed the shelving for the closet and put the mirror on the wall behind the bedroom door. We also got the wire rack out of the bedroom and into the laundry room downstairs. Because the rack is taller than the basement steps we had to take the rack out of the house and down the exterior basement stairs. That's when he found his keys that he's been looking for for a couple weeks! Right where the burglar can find them!

My long complaint about this house is that there is no 'linen closet' and there never was one, ever. The bathrooms aren't spacious enough to have one, either. With the new shelving unit in the closet there is ample room for my bulk toilet paper, towels, sheets, and any thing else that won't fit in the bathroom cabinets.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Two-Coat Minimum

It's been cold, everybody has spent the night inside for several nights in a row. The lows have been in the low teens. That's cold. The local ski resorts are making snow, under bright starry skies. The Moon is waning, about half now.

The days are getting longer, minute by minute. Still not enough daylight to accomplish much. I've been wearing two coats, flannel-lined jeans and Thinsulate leather gloves. I'm not a hat person, if I was a knit cap would probably be best.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday The 13th!

" A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere." ~ Groucho Marx

No superstition here, it's Friday and I've got three days and I've got three nights! Let's get this party started!

Need hay, need to go to the grocer. Put some checks in the mail, finish the closet in our new bedroom. See, I'm a party animal!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Weather, Man!

We've had all five seasons this week. Snow, rain, wind, freezing temps, balmy breezes. And a full Moon that kept waking me up, so bright.

The boys spent the night inside because it was so wet. We got over an inch of rain during the afternoon. It was pushing 50 that morning at dawn with the wind blowing fiercely.

The next night they stayed outside, no breeze but chilly. Tonight they'll stay in because single digits temps and high winds are predicted. Power keeps going out, too.

We have so much to do and the three-day weekend is showing up at the right time!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Those flurries, allegedly off and on during the day, were on most of the day. Sticking to the grassy areas and mulch but just wet on the roadways. It stuck to the barn roof and the stone dust pile.

Flurries stopped by night fall and by 8 the bricks were dry. The amount of water was not even measurable. The low was predicted to be about 28, the boys stayed out for the night.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Is Back!

When I got down to the very last bag of feed in the shed I noticed a tiny hole in the corner of KC's sweet feed. The hole was so small, my little finger tip would not fit. Some grain had fallen beneath the pallet the bags are stored on. I put a block of 'Mouse Bait' under the slats.

When I got back after feeding everybody the bait was missing! I put another block there. In the morning that bait block had moved.

The next evening we went to the feed store, piling up ten bags of feed for the gang. He swept up the spilled grain. In the morning I discovered the body. A dead mouse is the best mouse!

I am a true animal lover. We talked about 'Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.' Some of you will remember it, others won't have known about it. 'Disney's World of Color' was another program that showcased animals, horses being my favorite. I learned lots from Marlin Perkins, set me on a lifetime thirst for animal knowledge, all animals.

The hantaviruses are a relatively newly discovered genus of viruses. Several thousand United Nations soldiers became ill with "Korean haemorrhagic fever" (now called HFRS) during the Korean War. This outbreak sparked a 25-year search for the etiologic agent. The isolation of Hantaan virus, or HTNV, was reported in South Korea in 1978. It is caused by airborne evaporating mice urine.

We live out in the country, a corn field is our neighbor. Mice have plenty of room elsewhere to reside, don't have to do it in my house, my shed, or the barn.

Sunday evening, at sunset, he decided that would be the best time to cut the three lower limbs of the dying Maple at the edge of the parking lot. We like to park the LQ trailer there and the Maple is failing. Fungus is growing at the root base, and I know from experience what that means! The tree is a goner. I am anxious about the dead, barkless limbs falling on the trailer, piercing the aluminum skin.

He cut three limbs, but he was counting one limb twice, cutting it beyond the 'Y.' The chain saw threw the dull chain so he finished up with the smaller extension cutter. I cut the smaller branches up with the loppers, carried armload after armload to the fire pit. A bonfire remains in my future.

I only pulled enough off the parking lot so he could re-park the trailer at the edge without running over sticks and branches. I had to move on to making dinner, feeding everybody and moving laundry along.

Monday was cold, Winter returned, and it flurried off and on, mostly on for the remainder of the day.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

The 7th dawned practically balmy! After the recent single digit nights and windy, freezing days this weather front that blew in was a welcomed change.

Great ride with friends at the League. Warm enough for dozens of campers spending the weekend there. Wish we could have joined them, but have so much to do at home, we can't do it.

Sunday he jumped right into finishing up with the closet - dry wall tape and wall mud.

Not as warm as Saturday, but for January, this is delicious! Too bad we wasted time at our old house, going to the Big Orange Box and then back to the old house. Unfortunately we'll have to return, hopefully on not so cool a day. The pond needs attention; the drain pipe has cracked and the glue at the liner failed. The good news is the drain clog was unblocked and no longer overflowing!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

First Wednesday in January

Today is our anniversary. Where did the time go?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Newly Renovated Bedroom - Half Empty Living Room

We'll be moving furniture around: from the dining room to the living room. From the living room to the newly renovated bedroom. From the hallway to the renovated bedroom and the bedrooms upstairs.

April and Irene seem ok with it, what choice do they have? We could fit a pool table in the void in the living room.

He installed the clothes rod and shelf in the closet tonight. We'll need rugs or floor covering and blinds for the windows. It will be great!

I will admit being dead on my feet. I knew the boys would be spending the night inside again. This arctic blast is awful, with the wind it is horrid. The manure spreader needs emptying, but too cold to do that.

I prepped their stalls, but Skip had to have his walk-about and Sprite had to get into Skip's open stall, over and over.

When we got back into the house I noticed that Irene had already put herself to bed, in our newly renovated bedroom. She looked so comfortable, April had to join her. When I crawled in there, the girls didn't move. Neither moved all night long.

Random Pics of Projects - Weekend Wrap Up

Monday, January 2, 2012


Usually I don't make any resolutions for the new year. I'm not truly a free spirit, but I've always been flexible, changeable. Last year I had a list - not everything was accomplished, which sometimes made me angry, frustrated or contrary. My list was important, I don't make them lightly. If I bother to make any at all, should be taken seriously.

Irene needs to get spayed. A roof needs to be built over the landscaping bins. Northwest pasture must be fenced in. A run-in shed will have to be placed in that new field.

Once again we vow this new year to ride more. Had a very nice ride on Sunday, mild (for December) temps, mostly sunny skies. KC is still barefoot, some sections were 'ouchy' for him, but he's doing very well. If the Farnam Horseshoer's Secret works as promised, he might be barefooted all the rest of his days.

To start the new year off right, we are going to move our bed into the 'new' bedroom. No longer blue, it looks fantastic! Stayed up late last night, painting.

Happy New Year!