Sunday, April 29, 2012

Road Trip

Sunny Sunday, beautiful day for a ride! We met friends at the horsey club and rode to the historic town of Sykesville, Main Street. We had planned this ride, lots, but never made it. Got really close once, but didn't have time or enough direction to get there. Some of this ride ends up on the roadway - about a mile of blacktop. We are much better in traffic now, but KC still does not like white vehicles, parked or moving. Everybody was great about us riding in the road, we even stopped traffic while we led them across the short bridge and train tracks on Main Street. Sometimes I've motioned to drivers to slow down; not only do they NOT slow down they also blow their horns. That's just great, thank-you-very-much! Walked right on the sidewalk, Main Street, and crossed at the stop sign to E.W. Beck's Pub. What a gem! We'll have to come back, soon.
There is no place to tie up; we zig-zagged all over the parking lot, Police Station, Town Hall, ending up in the Public Parking lot, tied up to shady trees along the roadway. KC was very happy to have his halter on and immediately assumed the position of relaxed equine.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weather Or Not

Once again the Weatherman was mistaken. We could use the rain, don't want it on the weekend. We had thought about camping out, too, but nixed that idea with the forecast. Saturday turned out to be a nice day, warm breeze, mostly cloudy, sunny sometimes. The rain did start around 6, but didn't get more than a smattering. He spent the day finishing up the installation of the new dual fuel water heater in the big trailer, I did my wifely duties around the house: laundry, changing sheets, cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, and like that. And playing with the puppy. When I went out for 'last call' it was raining. They were standing in the shed, brought them in to put their light jackets on because I didn't want to stand in the rain. By the time I had finished dressing them it had stopped raining. I put hay in the shed and put them back out. Overnight we hardly got any rain, not a 1/3 of an inch. The store-bought grass is coming in nicely.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Everything and the Kitchen Sink

Well, everything including the shower head. Darn it. Broken off at the wall. Thankfully we have a fully-equipped horse trailer that has TWO showers - one inside and one outside. Today my long-awaited house number sign will be delivered. We've gone back and forth, back and forth. To be honest he's argued his case and I've dug my heels in. Typical. Years ago he bought an old horse trailer. I think it was close to 20-years old when he got it. It's in fantastic condition, still is. We use it, lots. He replaced the running and brake lights to LEDs; I rust-proofed the undercarriage; replaced all the tires, including the spare; waxed and buffed yearly; upgraded the electrical system; installed loading lights; etc. It had fancy graphics on it and he wanted to scrap them off. I wanted to keep them because they are nicely done and unique. When we bought the farm I wanted to name it 'Twin Maples.' It was already on the horse trailer. He protested. His arguments were: 1. There is already a Twin Maples Farm 2. There are more than two Maples on the Farm 3. We should come up with our own original name As previously stated, I dug my heels in. No one on Earth can be more stubborn. I pick my battles wisely. The farm where the trailer originally came from is no longer, on account of a divorce. It was also in another state. The other one is in Washington STATE, about 3,000 miles away. Surely we couldn't be confused with that farm, right? There are about seventeen Maples just around the house, too many to count on the farm. Could two of them be twins? Sure. We never did come up with another farm name that satisfied either of us. There are plenty of named farms in the area, some are clever, some not so much: Merrifields, Barber's Grove, Waradaca, Big Meadows, Tahill, Millhaven, Soft Landing Stables, Misty Manor, Whispering Woods Farm, 2Bit Farm, High Horse Farm, Lucky Charm Farm, Windy Acres, A Bit Better Farm, Callithia. Our hay supplier has a farm name, too, but he dropped the 'farm' from it. Tom thought this was a good idea because he didn't want to announce to anyone that it's a 'farm.' Especially a 'horse' farm. Point taken. The sign arrived today.
I'll be anxious for him to install the sign plaque, which also comes with a solar lamp, but it will be more important to fix the shower head. He wanted to also move it but that will entail carving out more of the wall stud. I'll be patient, better than calling a plumber. And the replacement pieces for the harness has arrived! It's all good, down on Twin Maples Farm.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

After The Rains

Cooler, but so GREEN - a great end of the Earth Day celebrations. March and April switched places. March was dry, sunny, blooming trees and flowers. April has been cool and windy, more rain than March. Our world is upside down!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays

Another rainy day, and cold, too. Points north and west of here got 6 - 8 inches of snow! We did not, but got a great soaking. The boys spent the night inside. The Orchard and Timothy grasses are doing well, finally! It's taken most of April to produce an April shower. We also received the 'fly predators' from Spalding Labs. The directions say to place them in manure piles, not near birds and not during rain. Guess what? We have both. Flies are emerging in the pack and can't let them out! Farming is hard, right?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

Rain was predicted, however, the forecast was WRONG. Friday was stellar, Saturday was 'supposed to rain' with fluctuating, fluid time-lines for that. Eventually it did rain, but we were home after a very long ride. Sunday was supposed to be a rainy day. We are seriously looking forward to rain, having planted acres of Orchard and Timothy grasses. Since the planting we have gotten no more than a spit of rain. What happened to April showers?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hubris, Much?

It’s a beautiful day, overcast and perfect temps. I’m not too sure it rained last night – but it did in the evening – I went to the grocery – and Tom stayed home to hitch up Lil Fred and take him for a spin. That didn’t work out very well.

Sprite interfered while he was harnessing Lil Fred – bottom line – the harness is broken and needs to be repaired, the cart was on its side with the wheel spinning and Lil Fred is all wigged out and freaking, even now this morning.

I had mentioned that Sprite was ‘furious’ with the doings and he didn’t put her in her stall like he should have. grrrrrr – now we have broken tack so can’t drive Lil Fred around.

He was too confident and didn’t take into account what ‘furious’ meant to a jealous sibling/mare. I do hate it when I’m right just as much as he does. I still don’t understand why he could not have grabbed the cart, the harness, Fred’s mane or something to prevent Fred from jack-knifing the cart, trying to run down the aisle, get the cart hung up on the lawnmower/manure spreader and break the harness. But that’s just me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Too Good To Be True

Sprite is a bad, bad girl. I had mentioned earlier that she was furious with Fred's ability and prowess. She got even tonight.

Sprite interfered with Tom and Fred while Fred was being harnessed. I was not there, so I can't say exactly what really happened. I know that Fred freaked out, there is broken leather harness straps, the cart on its side, wheel spinning. This I know. Darn it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Lil Fred continues to amaze! He is taking to the cart like it is his personal toy and is very pleased with himself. Sprite continues to be obnoxious about the whole thing. She runs after the cart, tries to cut him off, bucking and farting. She's going to get her own, soon.

Put her on a lead line so that she could be controlled and get some exercise, too. She is very competitive, we all could use the work-out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Today was a wonderful day, got lots of riding in, but the most important thing happened today: Fred was started to cart!

We got another harness, but still can't make heads nor tails of it. The second one has TWO BITS and Lil Fred is so small, I knew we weren't doing this right. He was very tolerant with our fumbling. In the end he looked like Macrame gone wrong.

I took a picture, sent it to Martin and he let us know there were issues. Poor Fred! I know he was trying to tell us it wasn't right.

Sunday Martin and Tracey came over to help with the harnessing, Martin got it sorted out for us. He got rid of this and that piece of leather that was extraneous and extra holes punched into the bridle and rigging. Martin threw in a little bit of baling twine, too. Got rid of the second bit, the Blinkers where they should be, the bit turned around, and everything adjusted. In the end Lil Fred looked rather smart in his new outfit.

This new harness is leather, very stiff, too. The key to 'seasoning' new leather is to put a tablespoon of cooking oil, olive oil, in a gallon-size zip-lock bag, stuff the leathers into it and place in the Sun for two, three days. The oil will disappear and the leather will be pliable without being weak.

After Lil Fred was fully 'dressed' Martin and Tracey took him for a spin around the barn. He's a natural. Soon after that Martin pulled the cart along side of Lil Fred until he stopped jigging. He then was hitched up to it and pulled it with no issue.

Sprite was extremely interested in the doings, and trotted along side or behind the whole time. She also dropped down and rolled in front of the cart. She's going to get her own cart, real soon.

After Martin got in the cart Lil Fred had a hard time making the incline next to the barn with that added weight. We have to work on getting him into shape, we all could use some of that, right?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hay! Friday the 13th

Ran out of 'good' hay on Friday night. I put some of the 'bad' hay out and KC literally stomped off for the far corner of the pasture. Clearly he was not happy with me. Bright and early we got 30 bales of hay from Todd's - the hay buying season is waning, but the grass is coming in, just wish we could buy a little bit of rain. Predicted for the weekend, we barely got enough to dampen the pan on the porch.

I love the old house that is at Todd's. This is a beautiful example of early 19th century Maryland farmhouse architecture. Usually this kind of house was built as a replacement for the original log cabins. There are few of those because the timber doesn't last for centuries. The second house was built after the trees were cut down for lumber exports. The rocks were discovered when the farmers tried to till the ground. There are lots of old stone houses and stone fences.

Best $100 ever spent was on that hay elevator. Got the hay into the loft with little effort. At that time I got a text from a neighbor wanted to know if we wanted to ride. Meet at 1:30 at the 'cow pasture' on Annapolis Rock.

We frequently ride there because it is so close, but we've never ridden there with anyone that knew their way around. In the past we have literally hacked our way through the overgrown paths. Most of the trails are boggy, but it has been so dry even the swamp is draining.

Bottom line: we had the most enjoyable ride, went on trails we have never been on, met up with trails we have been on but didn't know you could get there from here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dry Wednesday

Windy, windy, windy - which brings the 'real feel' temps pretty low - supposed to get some rain, would love to see that! Never seen such dry weather in April.

March 2012 is now confirmed to be the warmest month since recording started. April is acting more like March; windy, chilly and dry.

Once again the riding lawn mower got stuck at the corner post. The terrain really drops off at that corner and the mower has trouble getting enough traction to make the grade. We tried lifting and shoving, lifting and shoving, to no avail.

He got the tractor, got the tow rope on it and gave it a good tug. Free at last! We'll have to put a load of stone dust around that corner, clean up the area with the weed-whacker instead.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Weekend Wrap-Up

Took Good Friday off, ran some errands after the horsekeeping chores. It was a beautiful day, too, the weather has been wonderful, unless you are trying to grow grass. We could use some rain. The full Moon rose over the field, big and bright.

After dinner we started a fire in the pit; honestly, we have so much debris to burn we barely made a dent in the pile. The Moon lit the night up like daylight.

Saturday I got up early, did some things around the house, got ready to meet friends for a ride to our favorite tavern. We had a great ride, the boys were stellar, the weather was dry, the leaves were just starting to make some shade in the woods.

Sunday, Easter Sunday: Another beautiful day dawned clear and calm. Around noon we had family and friends over for a most delicious meal. Those three days just evaporated, but I'm still feeling the love.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Wednesday

Mild day-time temps, chilly nights with freeze warnings. Expecting some rain, but not much. Usually I don't want rain, but now do because we're growing grass! Even the melting frost is water, but we need a little more than a spit for the store-bought Orchard Grass/Timothy.

Last night he mowed the lawn. I think this is the first time in years that grass was cut before Easter.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool

With such a grueling labor-intensive Saturday, we made plans to ride on Sunday, which also happens to be Skip's sweet 16th birthday. We had originally wanted to ride to another restaurant located at the edge of Patapsco River State Park, but there are no hitching posts and the proprietor also is not keen on horses tied to the dumpster.

We changed the destination, going instead to Gunpowder Falls State Park. This ride is a two-bar minimum. It's about an hour's drive to the park, so we had to get moving.

A delightful spring day, mostly sunny, blooming Virginia Blue Bells next to the Gunpowder River, lots of pedestrians out on this beautiful Palm Sunday.

While at the second tavern I was coming out of the ladies room and a guy was looking out the window, laughing out loud. He turned to the table with his lunch guests and said, "there's horses tied up outside!"

Little kids were running from the playground swing set to the horses and back, again and again. One little girl was pulling grass up and throwing it at the horses.

The last hour in the saddle was spent getting misplaced and lost, and blowing past our final turn. We got home around 7:00 p.m. Long day, long day in the saddle. Wouldn't trade that for anything, except maybe hitting the lottery!