Saturday, March 31, 2012


Last day in March - that didn't take long!

Got up early, did my dog and pony chores and scooted out to Westminster to pick up my Godson and deliver him to my favorite Aunt's for the week. Lucky guy, wish I could stay all week, too. It was foggy and misting while I was there, but as soon as I crossed the Mason/Dixon line the sun was shining and the clouds were scarce.

The weather forecast was wrong, again. We spent a good part of the day cleaning up the tree debris that is now blooming on the ground. The bees have found the flowers, too. We made several trips with the flat bed to the fire pit. We now have more 'fire wood' than we can burn in a year of bonfires.

Still not done moving the tree debris.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Busy Bees

Boring, as in BORING Bees ~ ~ ~

I noticed some Bee activity on our patio along with the very warm weather lately. The Common Eastern Carpenter Bee is not the typical Bumble Bee. These Bees look similar, act similarly, but will bore holes in your fence, wooden door frames or lintels.

A pile of sawdust is your clue; these are not termite piles. Boring a highly polished hole about 3/8 diameter directly up into the bottom of a nesting substrate (usually an eave, picnic bench, fence belt, or similar wood structure). The tunnels become larger -- about 1/2 in. -- inside. When the female is boring tunnels, there is a collection of fresh sawdust below the hole.

Male eastern carpenter bees are curious and will investigate anyone, including humans, that comes near their nests. The curiosity is often interpreted as aggressiveness; however, the males are only aggressive to other male carpenter bees. They do not have stingers and cannot cause any real harm. The female carpenter bees tend to be busy with floral visitation and nest provisioning, but have the ability to cause a painful sting if captured.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Last Wednesday in March

Where does the time go? I still can't get traction with this time change. Living and sleeping with a puppy has taken a toll on my rest patterns. Whatever were we thinking!

Monday, March 26, 2012

March Finally Roars In

This last Monday in March debuts with true March weather: Seriously windy, freeze warnings overnight. I put the heavy coats on the boys.

The beautiful, glorious Spring weather we've been enjoying for a couple weeks is history.

All the pretty flowering blossoms are taking flight, blowing up, down, sideways and away. More petals on the mulch than left on the trees. Birds are having a hard time staying the course, my car is having a rough time keeping on track, too.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Last Sunday in March

Also KC's birthday - 9 years old today!
He got his feet done yesterday, model prisoner. Recommended to use Iodine on his soles to toughen them up, the hoof wall is in good shape. He's been on "Horseshoer's Secret" from Farnam since probably November. I'm going to do the Iodine bath on his hoof and frog, but I guess he's not going to be able to go barefooted all his life.

Tom spent most of the day packing wheel bearings on the KeiferBuilt LQ trailer. It's a good thing, too, he discovered that the grease was starting to leak onto the brakes. Eventually the weather cleared so he wasn't sitting in the rain doing this chore.

The standing water in the pasture eventually soaked in, but still a little soft out there.

Todd Greenstone stopped by. I confessed to not having checks, so that's why he hasn't been paid. I guess that's the best excuse he's ever heard. The grass seed is starting to come up, he recommended fertilizing the field, but I think we'll either pass altogether or do it ourselves.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rainy Saturday

Another thunderstorm rolled in at 5:30 a.m., I went out because it was so close to when I was going to get up anyway, got them fed and in the barn and promptly went back to bed until 8!

It rained off an on most of the day and they spent most of it outside or in the run-in shed. Well, Skip did, with KC only allowed to get his head in. The temps continue to be so mild and I managed to get myself pretty wet.

Our closest neighbor came over to tell us about the motorcycle crash in front of his house at 1:00 a.m. We didn't hear a thing. I thought I did hear sirens, but didn't wake me fully and the dogs didn't bark.

I believe kids should be able to ride their bikes out in the country, people live out here to allow their kids an active and happy childhood. However, these kids don't seem to have adult supervision.

Starting during the most recent full Moon, I noticed that the kids were running up and down the road - no head lights, no helmets. As the Moon waned, they were still at it, late at night. I know I had a curfew, and these 2-stroke bikes are not quiet. They really jazz the boys up, especially Skip.

On several school nights they are going up and down the power lines at 10:30, 11:00 p.m. No headlights, pitch dark, at high speeds.

Our neighbor said there was a fire truck, two ambulances on the road and cop cars parked in his driveway. Bike parts strew across his yard and his lawn is turfed. He said coins were scattered all over the place. I found a dime and a penny, too.

Can only speculate what happened, but I think they collided head-on or nearly head-on on the road and ended up on his lawn. Some of the bike pieces were very small. Ouch.

He cut a dead tree down, adding to the pile of tree debris in the yard. I got a few texts and a voice mail message from Dean's apprentice, Sarah. She was willing to come out Saturday afternoon to trim the others. I warned her that I had no checks! I had used the last one and didn't realize it was THE LAST ONE in the box. I rarely write checks, most bills are paid electronically.

She was still willing, so while Tom had run to Mt. Airy to get oil filters she stopped by. Everybody was on their best behavior, however, we had sticker shock when she gave me the receipt. She's $15 a piece more per trim than our usual farrier.

She said that KC's hoof wall was in excellent condition, but the sole was soft. She suggested I pour Iodine on his foot, quickly absorbed, which would harden the sole. Eventually I want to get him back to shoes, but this hiatus from shoeing is helping, I think.

Saturday night was really quiet.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday March 23

We got the day off!! Happy Friday! and the day was certainly delightful, warm temps and clear skies, fragrant breeze.

Skip had lost a shoe last Sunday and couldn't raise our farrier through texts or voice mail. Darn it.

I sent a note to an old childhood friend that happens to be a farrier and he said he couldn't come out because he was booked up, then called to say someone had cancelled and he was literally driving past our house right now.

He planned on putting a shoe on Skip but saw that he needed doing, so he did him all the way around. Skip was mostly good for him, too, but as Dean said, "his body language tells me he's nervous." Honestly, you don't know the half of it!

After that we went for a ride, parking at the county line Annapolis Rock lot, crossing the road, going past Mullinix Mill Road, trimming and cutting our way through.

We expected to see no one in the park, but some others also had the day off. A family was at the swimming hole at Mullinix Road, baby stroller parked in the water.

On the way back to our place (didn't go back to the trailer, just rode home) ran into one of the neighbor's kids on his 85cc motor bike in the corn field at the power lines. Later that night there was an accident out on the roadway - I don't know which kid it was, but motorcycle parts, mud and coins are scattered in the yards.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lamp and Other Things Electrical

Finally! The custom-made lamp for the rear hallway ceiling has arrived! Unfortunately he couldn't install this right away because of other, pressing electrical issues.

The thunderstorm from Tuesday morning ruined the GFI in the barn for the pasture light. The GFI was located in the hayloft, near where that barn lamp is installed. A dusk-to-dawn sensor is also attached.

While out there our closest neighbor stopped by and let us know that his phone and internet were still out, having suffered a direct hit on his FIOS box. We knew the strikes were hitting close, wondered what was hit - now we know.

He also tried to fix the little TV from my desk top; it can not be fixed. Another casualty of the lightning storm.

I love the lamp and it will look great in the hallway near the rear door.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First Day of Spring - Blooming

Spring has sprung. Seriously, there isn't going to be anything blooming by the end of April, if not sooner. Trees and flowers are blooming now that normally don't emerge until May. Some of the blooms that are on time are failing prematurely because of the heat.

With the consistently warmer days, mild nights, and now showers and fog, the blooms are everywhere. Even if you are not allergic to pollen there now is enough to choke a horse, really. Our Red Bud is blooming in the yard, so pretty, but too early!

Last night the LOW was higher than the normal HIGH. I’m outside with that darn puppy at 3:30 a.m. barefooted! We’re talking about trenching in power to the run-in shed to get fans installed out there.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

About Last Night

The weather has been delightful around here, warm sunny days, calm starry nights for days and days. It hasn't rained in almost two weeks.

About last night: It started sprinkling around 7:45 p.m., but didn't amount to anything, barely laid down the dust. By 10:00 the bricks were dry. I hayed everyone, took Max out for last call and called it a night.

At 4:45 a.m. April started barking, which got Max awake and barking. Right when we were wondering what that was all about the lightning strike hit the trees down the hill at the creek with a thunderous BOOM. It was truly like a bomb went off, brighter than daylight. At the same time the power went out.

Panic and concern ensued. He volunteered to get the horses into the barn while I held Max down on the bed. I don't know whose task was more difficult. As he opened the kitchen door another lightning strike hit so close the house shook. Yikes!

He wore my rain jacket from Muddy Creek. I highly recommend that jacket! Promise you will not get wet. He said the boys were reluctant to come in, hiding under the trees. He locked the little ones into Fred's stall. Hay flakes all around.

The house gutter was overflowing, hitting the window over my head. Max was alarmed by this, too. So was I, the window well under that would be filling up like an aquarium and leaking into the laundry room, again.

Max needed to go out around 5:30; it was barely raining at that time, still mild. When the alarm went off at 6:01 a.m. I most certainly did not want to get up.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mid-March Sunday

Mild temps continue, more like mid-May, not mid-March. May Apples are emerging, pears and cherries are blooming, tulip poplars are in full bloom. Really weird.

The day started off foggy, humid and chilly. Later on it burned off and got warm; I was wearing a t-shirt!

Had a nice ride this afternoon at Schaeffer Farm. This great park is seasonally closed and only open when the weather has been dry. It was busy, too, which is a good thing. Love that this gem is so popular!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Pat's Day - Green Day

You would think the last thing on our minds on a 'green' day would be cutting down about a dozen full-sized Cherry trees. I wanted the one nearest the barn cut down before it leafs out, to keep the debris down and not have the potentially toxic leaves blowing around the horses.

We got carried away. After he cut that tree up into manageable pieces he decided to brush hog between the trees in the old fence line down the hill in the future pasture. He got lots done, exposing groundhog holes, too, and old metal fencing. Some of the metal is buried in the groundhog hole mounds and trees.

Mid-day, after all this hard work it was decided we would go to Southern States Cooperative and get that Stihl saw he's been eyeing for years. The model is called 'Farm Boss.' We took the dogs, because we can, and headed out for town and lunch.

Everybody was so nice to the dogs, too, Max was mostly on his best behavior and April was a real trooper and a gentle lady. Both were offered treats, again and again. Rounding out our order, we also got another cache of 'groundhog bombs' and 50 lbs. of pasture mix seed. The dogs slept on the way back.

He hit the trees pretty good when we got back; before dark he had most all of the Cherries down, lots of them already cut up into manageable pieces. The pasture mix seed is for the bare ground between all these downed trees. It was a beautiful day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

And They Call It "Puppy Love"

Last night, Tom went to bed, I was sitting on the couch, Max was asleep at my feet,I had his lead rope in my hands, April was by the front door zzzzzz and Irene walks by - Max picks up his head, then flattens out again. Heavy sigh, non-event.

LATER - in the bed, Irene (the window is open) climbs into the bed, walks on the pillows into the window sill - and HISSSSSSes at Max (who is asleep), which wakes him up! She's evil, right?

Last Friday i couldn't get home at lunchtime (too busy) so when we finally did get home at 5:55pm he had wet himself and splashed pee all over the cage, the floor, etc., Tom ended up taking a shower with him to get him cleaned up, I mopped the floor and also washed the cage pan and bars. ugh. He has not had an accident since - but I did come home yesterday at lunchtime. I'll be doing that again today, because I can. He still is not sleeping through the night - he now weighs 34 lbs at 16 weeks, he has webbed feet.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring or Summer - Which?

Things, everything, is starting to bloom in earnest this week. Last night the Peepers in the creek were really singing. And today is supposed to have the high temp of 87. Really? And it's dry, getting dusty.

On Monday the sprayer machine showed up to do the industrial-strength RoundUp treatment. I don't really notice the 'burn' that occurred across the road in the bean field, I want what they got.

Also on Monday he blew up a couple recurring groundhog holes. Max and April assisted. One of the holes was so fresh the dust hadn't settled just yet, and it was the site of a previous encampment. I could see how well my grass seed was doing from last year. Darn it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday, Down on the Farm

Saturday did turn out to be a great weather day. We both had things we needed to get done, in different directions for different reasons.

After noon my Godson, his mother, his aunt, uncle and cousin joined us for the grand tour of our little 'dude' ranch.

Also the weekend for changing the clocks forward. I know you lose an hour in the morning, but I'd rather have it in the evening, the better to use it riding after work! I thought my 'droid phone would change itself but it did not; I slept in, wasting a whole hour on Sunday!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Horses In the Yard

Today Todd's crew came out to start liming the open field and the boy's pasture. I came home at lunchtime to let Max out, like I do every single day, put the boys into their pasture and let the minis out of Lil Fred's stall. I had not noticed that the other gate had been left open by the work crew.

We got home around 6, still daylight. I drive into the parking lot and see Skip in his red coat standing next to the Adirondack chairs in the 'little woods.' KC is behind him, eating Clover in the waning daylight. EEEKK!

We jumped out of the car and I ran to KC, who looked at me like, 'wha? We're good, eating Clover." I walked him back across the parking lot and into the open pasture. Skip has no halter on, as usual, and followed KC into the pasture.

What a relief! I wonder if anyone noticed them out there, and especially how long they were out there.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

First Sunday in March

The John Mace Ride in Kingsville was a fantastic organized ride sponsored by one of our horsey clubs, the weather was great, had a good turnout, about 35 riders; grandmothers, grandfathers, moms and dads, kids, teenagers, everybody had a good time.

KC was fantastic, on his best behavior and the kid's ponies were so cute and capable. Those kids were real riders, too. No whining, just great horseman.

The Gunpowder River was high and fast and some of the smaller horses, KC included, had to swim a few strokes or more while crossing.

At the pit BBQ restaurant there was a 'salamander' type heater and several of the riders were trying to dry out their soaked socks. I saw more than one take their boots off and dump water onto the lawn.

On the return trip from the first bar and pit BBQ most everybody opted to take the bridge on Philadelphia Road instead of swimming across the river again. It was quite a sight seeing about 30 horses stop traffic on that bridge.

An awesome ride - it was mostly galloping, some swimming, lots of running, flying lead changes, trotting and flinging mud. Not too much jumping. Even Tom was surprised at what a good boy KC was! No pulling his head down, no bucking, just doing what was asked. We had ridden there before - the rocks are highly exaggerated. The trails were in fantastic shape and we rode to TWO BARS - Glad we made it to this awesome ride. About 35 riders made it out for this great day of fun, food and bonding.

In between the first bar and pit BBQ and the second bar our little group was stopped up ahead of us and one of the guys was off his horse, sitting on a downed tree branch. Tom asked what he was doing and he said he wanted to break the branch, was waiting for us to get past so that when it did break it wouldn't spook the horses. I said, 'why don't you cut it,' and he said he didn't have a saw. I do, so I gave him my folding serrated knife and he cut through it in less than 60 seconds. I try to be prepared, right?

Resting at the two different locations were good for the boys, too, it was a warmish day and they still have most of their winter coats. KC is shedding, but not enough for that ride. He was damp around the edges and needed the rest.

The ride location was over an hour drive, ride out was 11am, left after 9 so we could also buy Diesel, this was the longest we've left Max in the crate, too. Some time during the day, he tried to break out and did a fair job of it, except that he didn't clear his legs from the cage door, so he was trapped, like a coyote in a trap.

Tom rescued him from his manufactured predicament, but he now has welts on his ankles. Apparently he did the same, only worse, at his Foster's house. He still has the abrasions and scabs from that event. Now use latches on both barrel bolts and he's been unable to break out since.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

About the Weather

There has been severe weather across the mid-west; tragic, destructive storms with numerous fatalities and property damage. This same weather system rolled through our area leaving a couple inches of rain that finally cleared out mid-day.

The boys spent Friday night in because it was soaking wet yet the temps were mild. I brushed them both out after they dried out. KC is really shedding!

The Hawk also was in the hayloft again after not being there since last Friday. I made a dash for a bale and got out of there!

The rained cleared out mid-day, sunny with blue skies, drying breezes. Not drying enough for riding. Later in the day Skip was loitering near the gate so I brought them out the rest of the bale.

Getting more hay I discovered the Hawk still in the barn! She not only spent the night in the barn but most of the day. I opened up the loft double doors, got out of her way and she silently flew through the doors, across the pasture, making a right down to the creek.

A clear night, Jupiter and Venus sparkling in the southern sky, everybody is staying out.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Comes In Like A Soaking Wet Lamb

Mild day turned rainy, breezy and chilly. Because it was going to be so warm during the day, the boys did not have their jackets on.

The equipment and lime are now in the pasture, but it is going to rain too soon to get the lime spread before the rain.

Rain, heavy at times with lightning and thunder. The lightning was hitting pretty close to the barn, too. Continued raining into the night; everybody spent the night inside.