Saturday, June 30, 2012


As previously mentioned, I had planned on taking 5 days in a row off to get some things done, get some riding in, take care of a few things around the house, spend at least one night camping out with the dogs, cat and horses, and like that. I knew it was going to be hot, so I had planned on other things as well, household chores, inside work, getting my nails done. Catching up with laundry. The best laid plans can go out the window when other things happen. Friday night a derecho hit the East Coast. I had never heard this term before, having never experienced one. Apparently a derecho happens in other parts of the country, it can't go over the Blue Ridge intact. Until Friday night. Derecho is a Spanish word that means "straight." It is in reference to the storm's powerful straight-line winds. Derechos typically form along the top of a hot air mass and can move an average of 70 miles per hour. That wind speed is normally associated with a Category 1 hurricane. The weather-dude had mentioned it on the 6 o'clock news, wind speeds around 60 mph, arriving between 9 and 1:00 a.m. It did start sprinkling around 9:00 p.m., so he was right about that. I did not really comprehend the rest of the scenario. We got no power! We live in an all-electric house. We do have a Honda 2000 generator. I highly recommend everyone get one. This generator will run, flat out, for 8 hours using one gallon of gas. We tank up before it runs out. It is a work horse, we got this unit before Y2K and have been so happy with it. We take it camping. We also had swapped out the A/C unit the Living Quarters Trailer came with with a smaller A/C unit so this generator could power it. This generator is extremely quiet. You can run it while watching TV right next to it. So quiet. Our well pump is 240 volts and the generator can run 120 volts. This caused a little acrobatics with running this and that, but we could fill the buckets up before it idled down on over-heat. We had to frequently change out water because it is so bloody hot, the water is cooking in the buckets. We used our trailer to take showers, everything in there runs on 12-volts. The generator easily powered our house refrigerator and a small window A/C unit we have.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Sound and the Fury

It was a dark and stormy night. Always wanted to open a chapter like that, but will not describe this entry. It was a brief storm, not dark at all. The lightning resembled heat lightning - bright, sustained, only a couple strikes, the sky was illuminated almost the entire time the front blew through. Unfortunately two strikes hit very close to home, knocking out power. I had planned on this five-day break for some time. He ended up taking the days off, too. I had a list of things I wanted to do, some fun, some work. On this Friday evening I wanted to catch up on watching programs on my DVR. I was doing that, too, when the hail started hitting the front windows and door. Sounded like thrown gravel. And the sky was bright, like daylight, not flashing. On-going brightness. He had already gone to bed, was sleeping. I had to wake him up for this. I had just put the boys out, too, having left them in the barn for the evening to rest in front of their fans. Been so bloody hot, record-breaking heat for this date. It was barely sprinkling when I came in to watch TV. Then the hail arrived, the wind picked up, wildly thrashing the trees, driving the rain in all directions, even up. We stood at the back door while the lights started flickering, by 10:30 p.m. all was dark. Except for the sky. I could easily see the hayloft doors open, banging against the barn roof. I could also see tree debris in the little woods, but nothing big. Just sticks. The storm did not last that long, but we got a little over three inches of rain. He went out to check on the boys, resting in the shed like nothing had happened. We had no power. No A/C, no water, no fan, nothing. It's really quiet out here in the country.


We're having a heat wave with record-breaking temps - the records from 1934 and 1879 for high temperature today was shattered - officially 103 degrees today. Just last week we were sleeping with the windows opened, under heavy blankets. Where did that air go? Left work an hour earlier than usual to meet him at the train station, his office closing early. I did want to get this party started! I have things I want to get done, plans in the making! Having five days in a row is wonderful!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cattle Drive

We joined Ray and Kevin for the 'short ride' and did find some new trails we hadn't been on before, and saw where they meet up with other trails. We needed to be back at camp so we could go with the brave horsemen that wanted to be a part of the cattle drive! We got back, ate a quick lunch, walked the dogs, then rode out with the group to where the cattle were pastured. Others got in trucks to meet us out there. We need spectators, right? Rich Bradshaw let us know the game plan for moving the cattle, how they would act, cautioned against running them into the fence (they will plow right through it.) I want to say right here that KC was spectacular. In the past he has tried to kill me and us getting away from cattle on the trails. He did none of that today. He was confident, obedient and a real cow-pony. I am so proud of him. Next year I'll join the group and do cow sorting and penning. YEEEE HAW!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hieland Store

I have been putting 'medicine boots' on KC every day. These are made out of a material that is not unlike SCUBA suits. He's prone to slip and fall, stumble, so I think this will prevent him from getting lacerated with rocks and lessen the bruising opportunities. We trailer-ed from camp to the Hieland Store. This became our trail head and cut out more than an hour of riding. It was heating up out there, so we hurried down the gravel road and into the shade. The rhododendron are blooming in the woods, the bushes at home have come and gone weeks ago. These woods are fantastic; as soon as you get in them it feels like the Air Conditioning has been turned on.
We had a great ride. The young cowboy that had on Monday shown the rest of the group how to ride that mechanical bull joined us. He is really a cowboy! When we crossed the Clarion (twice) his mother put his life-preserver on him. When he needed a nap he climbed onto his mother's horse and took one, getting back on his horse when he woke up.

KC tripped over a rock and fell into the river. I did manage to stay on, although it was a challenge. He was definitely listing to one side, but hauled himself up. I was wet past my knees. My boots are waterproof. Unfortunately they were filled with water from the topside. Not a single drop leaked out, all the way home. My toes were floating.

By the time we trailer-ed back to camp from the Hieland Store my Wranglers were dry but my feet were still soaked. I pulled my boots off, my socks were stuck to my feet and my hot-pink toe polish was kaput. I poured the river water from my boots. My feet were pale and wrinkly, the polish was mostly gone. It's hard to be glamorous in this horse life.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Everybody, Change Partners!

Earlier this year I started planting the seed in his head to ride KC. He has never done this. In February we went for a ride with friends in Patapsco River S.P. In the open field, hours into the ride, we all decided to canter up the hill to the turn off for the short cut. KC decided he would rather buck at this point. I pulled him into the one-rein stop and we crashed into some saplings. Everybody thought my riding skills were great (I did not fall off), but I was unnerved after that. After that episode he did not buck again, no matter how many canters up hills and through the woods we took. We were trimming along a favorite trail a couple months later and I got on Skip. Skip was like, "what are you doing up there?" He at first did not notice (both are chestnuts) until he tried to put his tools way in his saddle bags. Where are my saddle bags? He didn't want to get on KC so I dropped off of Skip. All this year I have been riding without my hands on the reins. I just leave them looped on the saddle horn. I use my legs to guide him and make noises for the speed or gait. No matter how hard I push him or kick him his forward speed does not change. I continued to offer him the opportunity to ride KC, he always declined. A couple weeks ago we were alone together, riding to the Woodstock Inn. We were on a fairly flat, mostly straight stretch right before the pipeline crossing. We were enjoying a nice canter, I didn't have the reins in my hand and ducks his head down and starts bucking. Wha!! (I did not fall off.) He's never going to want to ride this unpredictable horse! KC has got to stop randomly bucking, too, although he is not bucking as hard as he did when he was younger. On this beautiful Equinox Thursday the four of us went for the 'short' ride, went on trails we had not previously been on, but when the rest of the group headed back to camp we decided to keep going and find a good place for lunch. According to Martin's GPS a river was down the hill, through a nice meadow with random trees. We let them eat grass the whole way down, too. The 'river' was barely a spit of water, easily straddled. On the GPS it looked much bigger! We had a nice lunch, the four horses enjoyed the break. We then decided to switch horses!
It was really weird seeing him on a shorter horse, and riding Skip was pretty incredible! He complained about my saddle, didn't find it comfortable, hitting him in his butt. I didn't like his saddle; it was too big for me. I had on a belt with a big blingy buckle. The seat was so big that I kept sliding forward into the horn. I put my hand between the buckle and the horn and ended up smashing my hand, over and over. Skip is a fun ride. I felt giddy and euphoric with him. I might as well have been drunk.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Please - Dew Drop Inn!

The rumor was that the Dew Drop Inn had added seven more draft choices. That was almost a dare right then, we had to go to see for ourselves! Also included in the rumor-mill was the placement of outdoor seating. So trendy! It was a hot day, humidity was creeping up. Mostly downhill ride, crossing the orange-colored Toby Creek, and taking the left at the fork. The trail turn-off needed trimming, which he did, the rest of the trail was in the best shape I've ever seen it.
We ran into Bob Beck, the troubadour from Texas; with Tom Wolf, a hand from camp; and the batty lady with the Grateful Dead dually, three miscellaneous dogs and palomino pony. We packed our lunches but decided against eating on the trail, opting to try the fare at the Dew Drop Inn, along with the seven draft options. We already decided it was too hot to sit outside.
The bar keep was not the same as last time we were there, but this young lady knew EVERYBODY at our camp, and then some. She gave us directions to the local tack store, let us know her brother's 4-H project was the palomino pony, 'Montgomery Gentry,' that the batty lady was now riding and gave us the biggest carrots I've ever seen in my life for our horses. After Bob, Tom, and the batty lady left, and Martin and Tracey went out to check on the horses, he regaled the entire bar with the story of Ace'ing himself on account of the confusion with the batty lady, her loose dog and holding her horse. It was pretty darn funny! We knew none of these people, but they were all so nice, friendly, normal folk out for lunch and a beer in a tiny Dew Drop Inn.
There is no outdoor seating, no other beers on draft but 'Bush' and 'Bush Lite.' Where do these rumors come from? The ladies room has two toilets and one sink and no partitions, a room with two toilets. (Just so you know.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ACE is the Place!

Acepromazine or acetylpromazine (more commonly known as ACP or Ace) is frequently used in animals as a sedative and antiemetic. Its principal value is in quietening and calming anxious animals. The standard pharmaceutical preparation, acepromazine maleate, is used in veterinary medicine in dogs, and cats. It is used widely in horses as a pre-anaesthetic sedative and has been shown to reduce anaesthesia related death. We keep some on hand for the horses but were also given several doses for Max for while he was recovering from his surgery. It really did work for that, although once he wasn't Ace'd enough and had strength to eat his 'Elizabethian collar' while he was wearing it. He's so talented, maybe we should have him tested? We brought some along to give to Max so he would be quiet while we were gone during the day on rides. No one likes a continually barking dog. Campers do complain about this, and there were a couple dogs that barked constantly. One barked all night long, someone asked if we heard him. I thought they believed it was our dog, so I offered the truth: Max was inside, sleeping on the couch with April until I woke him in the morning. While we were at our camp-site Max barked, too. A peculiar woman was camping near us - she was petite, a Mandolin player, an off-key singer and musician, had one horse, small Palomino named 'Montgomery Gentry' and three dogs: a Border Collie mix, a Beagle, and a Schipperke. She had a dually that was 'painted' with rainbow colored duct tape, a slide-on camper and an old blue bumper-pull stock trailer. She parked on the corner of two lanes and numerous rigs had trouble getting past her set-up. The dogs were tied to her truck and stayed mostly under the truck or trailer. On this morning the beagle got loose and she asked him to hold her horse. He had been in the process of ACE'ing the dog so Max would be quiet while we were out on the trail. She got the Beagle under control, retrieved her horse from him and he then noticed he still had a pill in his palm. He mistook it for his daily aspirin and swallowed it. He immediatley realized it was Ace. Uh oh. We finished tacking up and went for a ride with our two friends. About an hour after that he started feeling the affects of the Ace dosage. It is for a 50 lbs. dog, but it still had an affect. After some time in the saddle he said he had to get off, or he would topple off. We moved a little up the trail to find a flatter place to stop, but didn't make it to the top of the rise. He had to get off NOW. He staggered to the side of the trail and sat down. That didn't last too long. He keeled over and slid down the muddy hill, resting his head on a rock and tree stump. I couldn't help but laugh at his predicament. I guess this shows my mean-streak. Honestly! He enjoyed a nice nap, in the dirt with the moss-covered rock as his pillow. While he was resting a group of riders were making their way up the hill towards us. It was Helen and Jan, employees and ride leaders from camp, along with a few other riders. Helen asked if everything was alright and could they help. Really, I don't think they could help with anything here, unless they carried Ace-antidote with them! He felt he had to get it together at this point and climbed up on Skip. We continued on the loop with the group, watered the horses at the Toby Creek, then followed them back to camp for a serious nap in the trailer with air conditioning. I still think it is hilarious! Honestly!

Monday, June 18, 2012

River Ride - Mechanical Bull

Today was a whirlwind of activity. It rained over night but there was no standing water or mud pit, but you could tell it did rain. Martin had been concerned about the electrical outlet getting wet, so he wrapped a black trash bag around the outlet, duct taped it together. It rained, heavy at times, starting about 1:00 a.m., really letting loose around 4:00 a.m. The rain hitting the metal roof, not 2 feet over my head, was deafening. The dogs and cat slept through it all. I felt for my boys, high-lined in the rain, but they were dry when I finally got out at day break.
Breakfast was fantastic - they really know how to hurt a girl! French toast, fresh melons, hash browns, coffee. O boy. We had to hurry to get our lunch together, situate April, Max and Irene. We opted to ACE Max, too. Hurry to tack up and join the group for a 9:00 a.m. ride-out. We rode out of camp, past the arena, to the Clarion River and made the big loop, going down the same hill that previously last year we had gone up. The same hill that was so long and steep that my ears popped half-way. It didn't matter going up or down, this hill was hard. At the bottom I had to readjust the saddle; I was riding on his neck.
We reached the Heiland Store - I enjoyed an ice-cold Sarsaparilla - and opted to take the trailer back. This saved over an hour of riding back to camp. A few others decided to ride, but I didn't want to wear KC out on the first day. He and Skip willingly jumped into the stock trailer.
After dinner a Mechanical Bull was set up in front of the Mess Hall. I brought a lawn chair and joined some campers for that night's event. It's been a long time since I laughed so hard, for so long. A 3-year old (toddler) was a real cowboy. His performance encouraged so many others to try their skills at the Bull. There was plenty of 'practice' before the real competition started. Some kids and adults showed real aptitude on this machine. I was really impressed and seriously entertained.
It was also great to be included with John Lyons, Josh, his son, and two of his grandkids: Austin and Ryder. Tommy Turvey was the MC, with running commentary from Josh. Austin was the only Lyons kin to participate in the Bull Riding. Also participating were two genuine professional bull riders, the three Amish sisters, a pregnant woman,and plenty of wanna-be-cowboys and cowgirls from across the country and beyond. In the end the three winners of the final go-round were, in order, a professional bull rider; the youngest Amish sister, Evie; and the other professional bull rider.

Long Ride

It rained off and all practically all night. I heard the rain hitting the roof of the trailer, barely over a foot above my head. He had positioned the trailer so I couldn't see the horses from my bed's window. He knows I get little sleep if I can see them. I still tossed and turned. The morning dawned cool, clear and not as muddy as you might have thought, the boys were dry. Breakfast starts early, and of course we didn't have time to do all the things we would normally get done, like taking a shower. Priorities - get ourselves fed, the dogs and cat fed, the horses fed, but not in that order. Ready to ride out at 9:00 a.m. sounds like you'd have plenty of time, but minutes evaporate in this place. We barely made it to the Long Ride's ride-out time. We were headed to the river with Big Mike and Dan. These two really know how to show a girl a good time. The group was small because Cowboy Polo was scheduled for the early afternoon in the arena and the long ride wouldn't be back in time. It was a great ride, we ranged far from the river, north and east, seeing so much from the back of my little man, KC. Sarsaparilla Root Beer - DELICIOUS!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Saturday we delivered the minis to White Fences Farm. There truly is a void when they are not here. A Mockingbird, nesting in the big pine tree in the parking lot, is imitating Sprite's whinny. She's not here and I can still hear her call out. Last minute things, going over the list twice, getting the trailer ready to roll without anything shifting. Extra hay packed in, hay nets full, litter box stowed in the shower stall, cat in the small crate, dogs nestled in their moving mats and dog beds. GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ready, Set.....

Getting ready for our week-long vacation, taking the big boys, the dogs and Irene. So much to prepare, laundry, packing, sorting, making the bed in the trailer, getting the truck ready for transporting the house crowd. We have a list - an organized check-list sheet for camping with horses. He parked the trailer right on the patio so going in and out of the house a thousand times was pretty convenient. Some things are truly last minute: toothbrush, cat litter box, coffee, Ice. We also took the minis over to White Fences Farm - they seemed to remember being there, felt right at home. I did their hair earlier in the day so they looked extra cute and sweet. Would that be considered false advertising?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flag Day - Banner Day

It's Flag Day, and it was a beautiful, blue-sky kind of day. This evening we finally went to Settlement with the refinance of our beautiful estate. Har Har. As with the first time, this was done at home, and even better, outside! A delicious, soft June evening, too. The weather cooperated and it was relatively painless. We managed a lower rate with a shorter term, while still having a lower monthly payment. Win/Win/Win!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Look out little horses, look out world! Let the games begin!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Earlier in the week, while taking Max out for a weeeee, I noticed something amiss on the patio. It was a ring-neck snake! An adult, like the tiny ones that 'bloom' in the dining room every August. When Max was finished I went in to let him know there was a snake on the patio, but when we went back out it was gone. On Sunday, while he was finishing up the big trailer's clean-up project, he realized that was a Black Snake on the steps, not a tire tube or something like that. This snake was larger than the snake we saw last week in the barn, but it is the same kind. This is country living, right?

Thursday, June 7, 2012


This is our third June on the farm and the birds are an interesting element. The original roof, the leaking one, had holes in the Facia boards. The nesting birds took advantage of that. House Sparrows, Grackles, Starlings and Purple Finches ruled the roost, literally. When the barn was installed they made themselves at home as well. The next spring Barn Swallows showed up, briefly, but didn't nest in the barn. This Spring they arrived and they stayed! I love seeing them flying in and out of the barn, across the pastures or sitting on the fence rails. In the last two weeks there have been seven or so dead birds, all different stages of development, found dead in and around the barn, in the water buckets, on the railing at Skip's feeder, on the stall or aisle floor. Most look like Sparrows, some not more than a squab. Nothing fouls a bucket of water faster than a dead floating bird.

Friday, June 1, 2012


The first of June blew in like the special effects crew from The Wizard of Oz. Predicted were breezy conditions, rain late in the day with as much as an inch in total. Liars! In the end we got close to three inches of rain, some things were rearranged on the patio and the driveway, the power had gone out, the stall doors had blown shut (not an easy feat) and a tornado touched down about a mile north of here.