Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July's Last Day

*UPDATE* Desitin is a resounding success! Why don't they advertise? I think I know the real answer: this stuff is MESSY and because of the Cod Liver Oil base it does not wash off. Clown make-up is thinner. And Skip absolutely hated having it on, but seriously the difference is incredible. Skip could use a couple more days of daily application, he stresses out too much and is dangerous, but KC's nose looks like nothing happened. Highly recommend this product, no affiliation!

Monday, July 30, 2012

We've got the Power!

While at Bad Dog University the power went out at the farm, for about 2 hours! It was a beautiful, partly cloudy day.

When we got home we changed the clocks to the proper time, reset the light timers. He got the bright idea to address the pasture light issues. The day-light sensor seems to be kaput.

After a trip to the BigOrangeBox to get needed fixtures he tried to install the new lamp. The old lamp was re-installed from our old house; we've had that lamp for years. He chose a white light, instead of the amber glow. It will take some getting used to, really.

On Saturday night we got another thunderstorm, this time the electricity went out for over two hours. We also got about an inch of rain. Keep hearing about the water deficit, but we are regularly getting rain and the beans and corn look great. So does our store-bought Orchard grass.

He also replaced the light switch in the shed. It has been out of order since a severe thunder storm some time ago that also took out our TV that was on my desk. Having no light in there hasn't been a problem, but it will eventually be needed. Nice to have the light back!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Horse Bug

There are two things I need to share:

1. a couple years ago we were in a shopping center parking lot - he went in to the store, I stayed with the boys in the trailer. I had opened the doors for them so they could really have a good look outside. A young woman and her 7(?)-year old daughter wanted to see the horses and I said sure. The daughter said she wanted one. The mother said, "You'll have to find someone who will give you one." Wha?? I'm now at the age where I don't really have to keep my mouth shut. I said, "She's a girl! She can get her own horse, like I did." What kind of lesson is the mother teaching her daughter? She was definitely too young to be from the generation that discouraged girls from playing with insects and wanting to be an astronaut.

2. In the early 1960s a 13-year old wanted a horse and her parents said if she came up with half the sale price they would match it. I'm guessing that the parents thought that it would take so long to save the money, by that time she would have changed her mind. However, it didn't take her long to get the cash and the parents were shocked. When they found out how she raised the money they were devastated. At the time my own mother said, "If you want something in the worst way, that's usually how you get it."

Occassionally parents can effectively kill the 'horse bug,' other times it only encourages them. And sometimes there just is no cure and resistance is futile.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cowgirls vs Cowgirls

Out in the blogisphere there is a controversy over calling someone a 'cowgirl' if they don't actually have cows. Here in the mid-Atlantic area a 'cowgirl' is ANYONE that is a horsewoman, cows or not. If the blogisphere had its way all the dairy maids would be called cowgirls, but they usually don't have horses and certainly can't go camping because they have to milk those cows. The dairy maids usually don't have horses because they wouldn't have time for them on account of the schedule of milking and caring for the herd.
Cows are a business, horses are a recreational hobby. There is no 'free range' to chase cows or drive them to market. Beef cattle are kept in a controlled environment and don't need herding. Not all horse owners are the Dressage type or have race horses. And not all of them are lawn ornaments. There are lots of activities here for horses: parades, pony clubs, amateur horse shows, Mounted shooting, organized trail rides, and riding clubs. There are lots of 'ride for the cure,' too.

Suburbia really encroaches on these operations, but in our county the farmers have absolute rights and complaints about the farms will not be entertained. We are allowed to cut corn, hay or soy beans any time, day or night. No noise, odors, or anything relating to the operation of the farm will be addressed. It doesn't mean that everybody knows that.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Like across the country, we have been enjoying record-breaking heat and a rain deficit. The boys do have a large group of big trees in their pasture and a 10 by 18 run-in shed that provide adequate shade. I do place flakes of hay for them in their shed, plus extra hay in the shade. They both have managed to get sunburned. And it ain't getting any better. Last week it looked like potato chips on their noses, this morning both looked like they had road rash. Painful to look at. Skip in particular does not like to have anything put on him, although he does stand for the fly spray and the roll-on. But not on his nose. That nose is private property. KC has not been so prone to sunburn, but his nose looks radioactive now. We're heating up again for triple digits. This month of July has been the worst! Long-anticipated, now just counting the days until it is history.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rainy, Wet, Humid Weekend

All the things we had planned on doing we did not do. Max also missed his Saturday class because of rain. We have homework for him anyway, and he's getting it. He's also sleeping through the night. We have been taking another tact with him: he is following (he's a follower!) the tractor as Tom mows the new grass. If he's mowing anywhere near the roadway, he is not included. This is working marvelously for all of us. He's getting the exercise he needs, he's sleeping through the night (yea!) and is getting better with playing without hurting the rest of us. It rained, off and on, mostly on all day Saturday. From Friday night to early Sunday morning we got about 3 1/2 inches of rain. I keep hearing we have a rain deficit, when it finally did stop Sunday it wasn't long before everything dried up. It also got horribly humid. And buggy.
I also thought it would be a good idea to include Max with my morning barn chores. This had so much promise, but didn't last long. Now when I bring the big boys in or out, Max goes into stall number five - for his safety and mine. KC does sincerely want to injure him in some way or another.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Trails To You

This farm life is centered around horse-keeping, but the main goal is to ride. We love to ride, even if we have things that need doing we find time to ride. Sometimes a 'quick' ride turns into being out for 5 or six hours. Example: Sunday we left our house at 9:40 a.m. We returned close to 6:00 p.m. True, we spent an equal amount of time standing (eating grass) and relaxing in the rivers.
Years ago our area enjoyed a severe drought. There was no grass, hay was brought in from surrounding states and the local rivers and reservoirs were low. We purposely would trailer to a park that had grassy meadows, ride out to those places and let them eat for an hour or two. They were happy to go for rides.
I've been told that when you are riding you should NEVER let your horse eat grass. Of course I disagree. I know they aren't starving, but I'm going to let them have the grass that is better than at home.
KC in particular is not a 'snatcher.' He's basically not able to do that. I'm sure he'll get better with practice and age, but at this point he can't walk and grab at the same time.
We love to trail ride and our local parks have the BEST trails, allowing us to ride for hours and hours in deep woods with interesting terrain changes and challenges. But right when you think you've seen it all, a Hippopotamus

shows up not three feet from the trail and Skip executes an unscheduled text book roll-back. I had to bully KC past it, but we lived to tell the tale.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mid-July Weekend Update:

A lot was going on this weekend; some not related to farm work but contributed to my sleep deprivation, which contributes to farm work. Friday night we went to the Dream Theater concert downtown DC. I left work around 4:30, feeding everybody, playing with the dogs and going on a long walk around the whole place. April could not keep up, with Max and me coming behind her! She was glad to see us. The horses were surprised to see me so early, with food, but they are always up to eat. Hay for everyone, fresh water, dogs and cat in the house, rush to the METRO station for my trip downtown. A train arrived after only a minute of waiting, quick trip, meet him on the corner, dinner at DC Taco mid-block on F Street at 13th, NW. Highly recommend this place, it is not your typical Taco Bell fare, not TexMex. All you can drink Birch Beer, hand-made chips. YUM At this point we are seeping over the concert start time, but I couldn’t stop eating the chips, drinking the Birch Beer. We arrived at the venue at 13th and Pennsylvania Avenue, still eating chips from the bag. I also have an Orange Crush in my bag. He doesn’t think I’ll be able to get that past security, but these guys think it’s hilarious that I’m stuffing as many chips in my mouth as possible at the trash bin and never looked at my purse.
Show starts at 7:30 with Crimson Project, Adrian Belew and Tony Levin doing King Crimson stuff. Haven’t seen them in probably 30 years but neither has missed a beat and look fantastic. As usual with this concert there are more dudes than ladies. The ladies room was wide open, had the place to myself, a line for the men’s room wrapped around the stairs. When does that ever happen? Dream Theater was awesome, as they always are. Mike Mangini’s drum kit looks like a well-stocked kitchen: drums, cymbals, chimes hanging from a chrome overhead grid. When your drummer is a professor at the Berkley School of Music, you know it is going to be great! On the way out we stopped by his office to use the head and pick up a couple things, then on the train, in the car and finally home again. It was after midnight when we got back. Late night hay and water check, play with the dogs, hit the bed. Saturday is going to be busy, too. On Saturday Max was starting his 8-week obedience training. I wanted to get there early, which we managed to do. He was awful, but after an hour and a half he was most improved, really. And those lessons stayed with him all weekend. Can’t wait for the next lesson!!
Also promised on Saturday was a thunderstorm. We needed hay, but were holding off on getting that. The thunderstorm never materialized. I got a nice nap in while he swept the living room floor. Max had shredded fliers and newspapers, looked like a party had gotten out of hand. We got 40 bales from Tahill, using the Glick trailer instead of the flatbed. It continued to look like rain, off and on, but nary a drop all day.
This is the first hay we got from Tahill since the arson fire last fall. The new shed looks just like the old one, like nothing ever happened. Insurance is a wonderful invention. Because Max is much improved I’ve decided he can ‘help’ me with my barn chores in the morning. He’s learning not to go into the stalls and I’m not as militant about him eating manure. Our vet says it is ok for them, but I don’t like it. Pick your battles, right? It gives him an extra chance to run around and learn the ropes of living the farm-dog life.
Sunday we went riding with friends. We left the house at 9:30 and got back closer to 6 p.m. We ‘sat’ as many hours as we rode. We relaxed a lot in the Patapsco River, saw our veterinarian fishing and kids swimming, too. It was hot and humid. KC was a bad boy, early on, but I did not fall off. After that he kept his head up and his feet going in the right direction.
I got the new saddle pad that Martin had won at the auction. We stopped at the Woodstock Inn for lunch. They have pretty good food and the best Ginger Ale. On the way home we drove through a downpour, but could see blue sky to the East. When we got home it was obvious we never got a single drop of rain, a rainbow – fat and wide – was over the barn. A perfect ending to an exhausting weekend.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Ten Truths - Horse Style

Ten Truths of Equestrianism: Are You Really Fit For Horse Ownership? 1. Upon seeing your first horse, you will acquire a hopeless and obsessive love for them. Be prepared to lose any and all shelf space as horse books, models, and movies fill every square inch of available storage space you have left. You will need every one of these to learn about the vast horse world and the complicated process that is horse-care. Horses are not like dogs and it takes far more than tossing them some food and filling their “water bowl” up to keep them happy and healthy. 2. Finding your perfect horse is going to be a long and difficult process. It will be like trying to decide if a man is the one you want to marry and spend the rest of your life with after only one date. In some cases only by looking at pictures and videos sent to you through email. Do not be in a hurry to find your new partner. Do not fall for flashy colors or fancy breeds. A well broke, older bay Quarter Horse is going to be better for you as a first horse than a big, young, and flashy Warmblood. 3. You will no longer have any money. Between vets, boarding/property maintenance, farriers, food, equipment, medicines, ect, you will be spending a lot of money. Horses are an expensive luxury. If you plan on breeding or rescuing, those prices will shoot even higher. As my instructor once said “If you have a ton of extra money, you’re doing it wrong.” 4. When you begin riding and handling a horse, you are placing your life and trust in the hands of a thousand pound, generally untrustworthy animal. With a well-trained horse and proper handling and riding skills, the danger you face can be kept to a minimum and you can enjoy a safe riding experience. But horses are still prey animals, and when they are scared the last thing they will be thinking about is where your toes are. This is a fact you accept when you begin handling horses. 5. The horse is doing the same with you. They are placing their trust in you to care for them and not to hurt them. They are allowing you on their back – a place that would be a death sentence in the wild. Do not take advantage of that, do not betray that trust and abuse your horse, whether it be by not giving them care or causing them harm. This is how many good horses are ruined and end up on a plate in France. 6. You will never be truly clean again. There will always been that last bit of barn dirt beneath your nails. The smell of hay and sweaty horses will forever linger around you. Your barn clothes will always have horse hairs weaved into the threads. 7. You will fall off. A lot. Falling is part of riding and it’s never a good thing. With the proper riding skills and safety measures, you can minimize your chances of having a fall. However, you will fall eventually and it will not be the only time. Don’t try to keep track of how many times you have fallen, you will eventually lose count. 8. You can’t be afraid to discipline. While you should never abuse your horse by beating it for discipline, giving it a firm smack on the shoulder and either growling or giving a firm ‘No!’ when it bites at you is not going to be considered abuse. Do not punch your horse in the face, do not kick their legs, do not yank violently on their mouths. 9. You must learn to speak ‘horse.' You must learn to read their body language from their ears to their tail to understand what they are trying to tell you and what they are feeling. They can’t understand you, nor can they answer you if you ask “What’s wrong?" When a horse pins his ears, he’s telling you he’s angry. When he keeps his head low, and acts mopey, he may
be feeling ill. You have to understand all of these cues to safely work with your horse and catch when there might be a problem and a vet should be called. 10. After spending years forming an unbreakable bond with your four-legged partner, your soul will be mercilessly crushed when it come time to say that last good-bye. Do not sell your old horse or dump him at an auction so you don’t have to deal with it. Do not say ‘Do it while I’m away.’ Be by his side. He has been your friend, your teammate and your greatest teacher. No matter how painful it is for you, do not send him on his final journey alone. He'll then be waiting for you at the gates of Heaven for that last ride.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th!!

Another hot day, so many celebrations not going as planned: fireworks and parades in the area are canceled due to the high temperatures and power outages. The 4th that didn't happen in the usual, traditional way.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Systems Installed!

Today, according to plan, the company that promised us a new A/C and furnace arrived at our old house. It did take them a good part of the day to install these two units, but we are so glad to have that done. I took a good book and a chair, but mowed the lawn and pulled weeds, too. After these three men left I stopped over at my mother-in-law's house to check on her powerless situation. She had received a regular phone, which I immediately installed and she placed calls to her sons, who have been worried sick about her well-fare during the power outage.

Monday, July 2, 2012


We had a previously scheduled vet appointment in Sandy Spring. Max is due for his distemper booster and a Lyme Disease booster. We ended up taking April, too, because of her nose, which seems to be De-laminating and her chronic sneezing. It took longer to get there because traffic lights were out here, too. A very large Oak tree was still in the roadway, tangled up in wire and a broken pole. The vet's office was without power, but running on an emergency generator. Inside was chilly and bright, every amenity had power.
It doesn't seem so hot today, maybe we're getting used to it. We need to ride, want to go somewhere shady. No open fields for me! We decided we would go in the park behind our house; if trees were down we could do something about it. We brought extra bottles of water, saws and clippers. I had planned on changing the sheets and that kind of thing for Saturday, but with power restored I did that this Monday morning.Unfortunately we then realized our 'bundle' package of tv/phone/internet was not restored. Still no television (no news), no house phone and no internet.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Middle

The middle of the calendar year, it certainly does not seem like it has been six months since New Year's day. Time really does speed up out here in the country, down on the farm. Power was restored at our place around 4:30 p.m.