Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

Another year finished, done. It has been a rough year on the farm and feel that not much was accomplished, especially from 'the list.'

We brought Lexie home from the rescue; she's been a pretty good girl, a pal for Irene and wresting coach for Max.

We lost April, our farm dog extraordinaire, in February. She was a huge presence and is sorely missed.


The hardest project was the basement renovation. Installing thirty-one sheets of drywall, a mile of crown and floor moulding, and an acre of vinyl flooring was a feat unto intself. By March it was substantially completed and furnished. The laundry room was upgraded, too, with finished walls and painted/waterproofed exterior walls. He created a shop area with shelving units and his work tables, installed doors and door stops, fixed the ceiling and installed window treatments. The paint color scheme is fantastic and fresh. It is gorgeous!

We didn't manage a vacation this year, only using the LQ trailer one time for a long weekend. Thought about it, delayed it, then just didn't happen. One thing after another and the time, and year, escaped us. He replaced the awning on the trailer, but we've not yet used it.

The Orchard Grass Project is coming along, busy growing grass. We do need to fertilize, and are still discussing the pasture fence placement. Getting that fenced in is top priority (for me) this coming year. Along with that we'll need to clean up the old fence line; there are still downed Cherry trees, wrapped in poison ivy vines, and fence posts, pig wire fencing, and buried barbed wire. Ground hog eradication needs to get serious.

The most fun was the bridge replacement project on the roadway. It was great getting a break from traffic and meeting our neighbors, riding along the roadway without fearing cars doing 60 in a 35.


Cleared out a large pathway at the bottom of the property, cutting limbs for head clearance, making it easier to get the tractor down there. We have to clear out the hillside, too. Lots of decent trees have volunteered, now need to clear out the mult-flora rose and blackberries that are hugging the saplings.

The dying Maple in the front yard is history. The precarious limb that hung over the FIOS cable line fell on its own accord, without bringing the line down. The rest of it came down last Saturday; want to replace that with a Willow Oak.

It has been a rough year for us, but tomorrow is another day, another year, and we are making progress.

I hope everyone has a happy New Year!





Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Maple's Demise

The dying Maple in the front yard has succumbed to the Stihl chain saw. Boom, Boom, out go the lights.

We had thought originally that we would let it collapse on its own, but that didn't happen. The base was in good shape, but so much of it was rotten, spongy, with fungus on lots of it, perforations administered by birds. It fell with a thud.

Even though there was not much left of it, there is now a void that will need to be filled. The sooner the better.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." ~ Charles Dickens



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yuletide



I really like this photo, but we've got no snow. Much cooler now, freezing, but dry with flurries predicted later in the day.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter Comes In Like A Lamb

The weather has been strange around these parts. Having a high of 70 in late December is practically unheard of!

Skip continues to be off and Sara the Farrier was out on Saturday morning. She put a bar shoe on his 'bad' foot. A bar is actually round, giving him elevation all the way around. By Sunday he was worse. He is showing a temperature in his heel,
above the hoof-line. Sunday evening he got another round of Epsom Salt soak and duct-taped boot. Even though it was warm, the low being 60, the boys stayed in overnight because of the rain, heavy at times.

We installed new hay nets for all of them; two in the run-in shed for the boys and one in the aisle for the little guys. KC HATES the net and sulked all day by the fence. Fred was afraid of the new addition, but eventually got over himself.


He also cut down half of the dead Maple in the front yard. Eventually that tree is going to collapse on its own.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Heat Wave

Being dramatic, I'll state that we are experiencing a heat wave. Still have icy patches in the parking lot, the new pasture has plenty of snow, but the temps are rising. Winter has not officially started and we're coming out of the deep freeze and heading into mud season.

He took off the boys' heavy coats so they could enjoy the mild day, I turned off the bucket heater, first time in weeks. The grass is showing in the pasture, and after today surely all the snow and ice will be gone. High today is predicted to be 60, tomorrow 65, 70 on Sunday.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Long Cold Nights

It has been so many nights in a row that the boys have stayed in, I honestly have lost count. The manure spreader needs emptying, but the snow has been too deep to pull the mower out, and it is composting in the aisle.

We've been letting them in as soon as we get home from work, and they have stayed in from that time until getting out when we leave in the morning. Some would argue that we're keeping them like veal, but they honestly want to be in, really. Asking to be let in.

Last night they stayed out for some time; I prepped stalls around 9:pm, and they were in the run-in shed. I came out later, around 10:30, and they wanted IN.

The low was going to be around twenty, and the breeze was picking up. I know they have blankets on, but the ground is hard as a rock, snow and ice. I had to let them in.

It has been like that all week - too cold, too windy, too snowy, too frozen, too much!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday - 13th


I'm not superstitious - but thought this was too good not to share.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Day

We already have snow on the ground, with a layer of ice on top. It warmed up a little to make a slushy mess, and the icicles melted. Before dawn the snow started falling, accumulating fairly quickly. School was canceled. Lots of opportunity to create Christmas cards.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Cold Wind Blows

The roller coaster of weather is upon us. Earlier in the week it was in the 60s. Yes, the 60s! Like Spring, except in December. Heavy fog in the morning, warm breezes through the days. That didn't last.

A weather front the size of the Western Hempishere has come our way and bringing with it frigid temps, snowy/sleety precip. O boy.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

"Off"

"Off" means lame, like limping. Although I've known people to pronounce their horse as 'off' and no one could really tell. It is a great excuse if you need one. I knew a horse that would go lame in a couple walks around an arena if you used a loose rein.

Skip has been off. He's been trying to be off for going on two weeks, but right before last weekend he was walking gingerly. We didn't ride because of the holiday, and the weather, and this and that. He didn't get any better. In the last couple days he's been walking around on his knuckles (not really) and if you pick up his good foot he can't support himself with his 'off' leg.

The vet came out, punch two holes in his foot (ouch) but he immediately responded well to the second hole and is feeling better.

Now we start the regime of soaking twice a day (20 minutes each) with Epsom Salts and hot water.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Crows


The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" -
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never - nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore:
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting -
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kitchen Drawers

The house was missing drawers when we first saw the place, and later became a contentious point in the property settlement. I personally don't like the kitchen cabinets. They are too dramatic and refined for the house, and on further investigation discovered the cabinets didn't even belong in the house. They were pulled from a renovation of another house in Sandy Spring.

That one fact put everything in perspective. The cabinets didn't have end-caps, some doors didn't open all the way and there were strange holes in some of them. I'm sure they looked great in the house where first installed, but they just didn't fit in the house.

Two drawers were missing and to replace with matching from the original manufacturer was $1,200.00. Needless to say, ain't gonna happen. Ever.

My fantasty is to pull them all out of here, drag to the burn pile and light them up! Along with the counter-top that has been gouged, burned, scorched, scraped, chipped, stained, pock-marked, blistered, punctured, cut, and otherwise abused, I want a new kitchen. With new flooring. I'm not asking for much, right?

The lending institution saw pictures from the appraisal and tried to have the drawers installed before settlement. I pleaded with the realtor to please not waste time, energy, or money on this venture. We would eventually replace it all. He put cardboard pieces with spray paint to match, sent it to the lender. They were not impressed. We thought it was hilarious.

With the time and materials, plus the wood-working equipment on hand he decided to build drawers to match. And if I do say so myself, they are beautiful! They match like they belong with the original installation for a nominal cost.

And can't do any major project without help, or at least supervision.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Arrives

Been cold, but today is actually mild, for December. High is nearing 50, not a cloud in the sky, but still has a damp chill to the air, even in the sun.

We decide to go to Annapolis, just because it's there. There are lots of sail boats out in the bay, people are putting up Christmas decorations and are out and about with their dogs and kids. We do see some mid-shipmen out, too, from the Naval Academy.

Lots of brick - brick sidewalks, walls, gutters, houses. Anywhere they needed pavement bricks were used. Also used was granite from Granite! We ride through Granite a lot, and the same stone is used for window sills (never rot!), steps and street curbing.
Max is now two years old, and like a light switch, is calming down and mellowing. Maybe we can get our life back!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November's Last Day

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.


With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.


The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.


~ Elizabeth Coatsworth


Friday, November 29, 2013

Hay!

Skip has been 'off' so no riding in the immediate future. We need hay, the sun is shining, so we'll knock that task out.

We head over to Todd's with the old horse trailer. Todd himself is there, giving us a tour of all the hay that he has in the various locations. We end up getting the hay the horses like best out of the big red barn. The hay in the green barn is lovely, but we don't need them to get used to that expensive kind.

We have plenty of help at first, then when nearly done the help along with Todd vanish. He never stated the price, the board is ambiguous and we decided we would pay $6.50 a bale, but we also lost count of how many bales were in the trailer. I make no secret of being math-impaired and knot-impaired.

He wanted to have it divide by $6.50 so the amount could be believable. Makes sense, where is the calculator?

Didn't take us long to get the hay into the empty 5th stall. This much hay will get us into mid-January, but that is when hay is scarce. We'll need to get more real soon.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Favorite Day

My favorite day of the year is Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I like it better than Christmas, New Year's Eve, and July 4th.

When I was in school we would get out early, at the job the office would close. This is the day that everyone comes home for the Thanksgiving holiday; before the arguments start, the bird gets burnt, the potatoes won't mash right, and the pie is a disaster.
Before 9-1-1 is called. When everyone is just glad to see everyone else.

This is the best day of the year.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Upgrade

It warmed up to rain - started out sprinkling, with some sleet and ended up raining. Still cold but not freezing.

I worry about my boys, especially KC, being out in the elements. They are blanketed after they grow their winter coats. If it is cold during that time they spend the one night inside. I like to keep them unblanketed until mid-November.

One of the problems is rainRain will soak their jackets and make them ineffective. Skip has been known to not allow KC access to the run-in shed. This was the cause of his hoof isses mid-year. The mister put in geo-textile cattle carpet and stone dust at the openig of the run-in shed so that he doesn't stand in mud. He is still getting wet, but not soaking his hooves.

Today he got them new blankets. I had protested that they didn't really need new coats. I shouldn't have wasted my breath.

.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cold, With a Vengence

The COLD blew in - with 35 mile an hour gusts. O boy

He still hadn't emptied the manure spreader and we've reached critical mass. Too cold and late in the day to dump it now, so I moved it around, did what I could and brought them in. They wanted in.

Did a few things around the house, house-wifery stuff, then went to the grocer for his mother. Brought back a trash bag full of recycle paper that is too heavy for her to carry down to the street.

The wind is frightful. And it is cold, not just a wind chill, but cold, cold, cold. Like eleven. The buckets are crusting over.

Why does November hate us so much?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Last Saturday Before Thanksgiving: Ride Time

What a beautiful day! I sleep in until almost 8, what kind of farmer am I! Have housework to do, but the weather is delightful (for November). Let's ride instead!

We head over towards Marriottsville; it is now closer to 11:00 a.m. so decide to park at the trail head. While we are taking up, friends drive by, yelling at us to come on up to the League. So we finish tacking up and load the boys into the trailer. They are confused. I really enjoy messing with their minds!

We trailer the extra mile up to the club. We notice several trailers, some obviously camping out, and some belong to people we know. We're tacked up ready to go. Now there are four of us, and we head out to our favorite destination: biker bar!

Most of the leaves are down, visibility is great. We can see lots of wildlife, and defiant deer not wanting to walk away from their hiding places.

For a biker bar, this place doesn't do a very good job being tough. There is a kid's menu, and kids having lunch with their parents and grandparents, the clientele is friendly, the bar keeps are personable, and the food is pretty darn good. By the time I get back from washing my dirty hands in the ladies loo a tall Ginger Ale is sitting on the table for me.

The clouds move in, the breeze picks up, but still a warmish day (FOR LATE NOVEMBER). We now are six, with a really green gaited horse, that is an established kicker. O boy.

Fairly uneventul, the green horse gave KC a shot, but missed. In the open meadow KC decided it was a good place to buck, and when I pulled him around he bucked while stopped. One of these days....

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Trespass

Friday night, sort of balmy for November. The leaves are mostly off the trees but it is high 50s with a slight breeze. I could get used to this!

He has recently installed several survellience cameras, some with memory cards, around the barn. We can see, in pretty close to real time, anything that happens, like a tail swish, or a fox walking across the pasture.

Last week he sent me a note. Skip was down. So? He's still down. He's sleeping. He is flat. Want me to go home? See, I knew you were worried, too! No, I'm trying to make you feel better. Never mind, he's up.

Sometimes too much information can get you. I have a friend that has a boarding facility, and lots of his fields border a busy route, his number is posted on the farm signage. He gets calls from time to time about dead horses in the field. No one bothers you when you go to bed, right? Horses need to take a load off, too.

Friday night, just by happenstance, he turns on the camera monitor. He sees a bright light in one of them. Wha? We are in the flight pattern for BWI Airport, but none fly this low. Let's go see what it is!!

We jump in the RAV4, lights remain off. By now the vehicle has made an arcing turn at the bottom of the hay field, now coming back through the power line trough. I turn the headlights on, but they are already at the roadway, turning left. Darn it! We drive down but see nothing amiss. Maybe a hunter was dropped off for the night?

We need to put better signage down on the right-of-way. There is a 'no trespassing' sign, but who thinks that applies to them?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Light

Never, ever, has there been a light in the front of the house. When the house as built in 1949 there was no electricity available and the house was constructed without outlets or light switches.

By the time electrical ruralfication occured, the owners had been in the house a number of years and judiciously chose outlet locations and porch lights. None were installed on the front of the house.

I've gone on, and on, about the lack of outlets and odd placements throughout the house, like in a closet. There were no outlets in the hallways or bathrooms. There still is no exterior lights in the front, not on the porch or even a lamp post. No street lights on the road, either. When it gets dark, it is really, really dark.

Yesterday he installed a lamp that we've had for years on the front of the shed, facing the front yard/roadway. The house is transformed. What an huge difference. The lamp is green, a style that is found on barns, old gas stations, and new restaurants. What is old is new again.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mixed Bag

Friday night it rained, the boys spent the night inside, without their jackets. It was 'warm' but wet. By morning it had cleared out, but remained cloudy and foggy all day.

Packing our lunch, we decided to check out a new location to ride. In the same county, but way up county in Boyds. There are many farms and forested areas in this area and the land owners got together to create a wonderful trail system. Mostly open meadows, signs say to stay at the fence line or on marked trails. The corn and wheat fields link together into a lovely three or four hour ride.

Parking at the 'Pony Club' parking lot we headed out, leaving our lunch in the truck because it won't be that long a ride, follow the signs. The deer, although plentiful, are rather shy and vanish quickly from our view. We find deer stands all over the place, outfitted with ladders and lawn chairs.

We don't encounter any railroad tracks, but we hear the trains announcing for Boyds at-grade crossing. It takes us longer to get back to the trailer than we thought it should, getting a little lost here and there, we eat our lunch at the truck closer to 3:30.

On Sunday we head over to the League, choosing to go to Sykesville. This was a mistake. Earlier in the week he got an email from the ranger thanking him for the information concerning the blocked trail. The ranger said his crew had worked on removing the tree. We were excited to go back through the restored trail, the 'go-around' was awful, scary, and causing serious erosion. I deemed it dangerous, period.

We came upon the trail section and immediately saw the sign designating that horses go this way, bikes that way. We got off to investigate and interpret the signage and the choices. FAIL! FAIL! FAIL!

I had a melt-down. Not proud of it, but am holding my ground. I am NOT GOING DOWN THAT HILL again. The first time was horrible, the second time I thought it would be better. It was not. Not going to be a third time. No. Way. Ever. Again.

The trails that were installed by bench cutting with a MacLeod tool were not horse-safe. The trails are sited along the edge, and will cause erosion and probably a mishap. The soil is not stable, full of Mica and sand, it shifts and nothing, not even the trees, will stay rooted.

We turn around, a rare occurrence for us!, and on the way back to the trailer we seek out two new trail routes. The first one needs a little bit of work, but has potential. We stop at the top of the 'cliff' to watch the train going into an 'S' curve through a narrow trough of the Patapsco River.

The second route we had been on about a year ago, but didn't stay on it to the end because we believed it was not going to end up where we wanted to go. It was obvious someone (horse) had been on it recently, tagging with orange tape and cutting downed logs. I think this might be the better way to go from now on, less erosion and better footing.

Nearer the trailer we saw probably close to twenty deer, some with good-sized antlers (6 to 10 point bucks) and unlike yesterday's ride, they did not want to move on or even get up.

Going without lunch because of our trail re-route plan, we stopped by a place in the closest strip-mall to our house and got fried chicken and fixings. Yum! We ate in the truck at the Annapolis Rock cow pasture.

Then we pulled the boys out of the trailer, saddled up and rode out again. We had little daylight left, and being foggy with a low ceiling dark was rapidly descending. We did a short loop, getting turned around and ended up riding on the road.

I ride 'ahead' and saw the motorcycle coming before he did. The crunching leaves made it impossible to hear, but I let him know the cycle was headed our way. He pulled out his phone and turned on the strobe light, the biker saw us and slowed down, we waved to him from the side of the road. It is getting dark.

We encounter another car, meeting the SUV using the strobe light. This really does work! We find the cut in the fence and take off up the hill towards the trailer. Getting darker every minute, but it is only 5 o'clock! Mild and humid, but the daylight has left us.

Weekends go by so fast!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fox Chase

Saturday night the boys stayed out all night. Mostly, lately, they've been in because it has been cold/wet/windy and it is better to have them in. When they want in, they want in.

Around 10:00 p.m. I go out to 'throw hay' and check water. I usually put the hay in four different places, near each other, but far enough away so they have room and Skip can move KC off of a pile of hay, and KC can then circle back to another pile. While I was in the process of doing this, had five flakes of hay in my right arm, had KC by the halter with the other, I noticed the fox pretty close up to the designated drop spots.

The lighting has been much improved lately, and can see the black stockings, and the white and black on the tail. Since the Skunk has been dispatched, the fox have resumed their original haunts.

As I'm walking towards the drop spot the fox starts up the hill towards me! I'm sure I squeaked, wouldn't you? I toss the flakes towards the fox, KC pulls loose from my grasp on his halter and charges towards the fox, head down, ears pinned. Yikes!

The fox does a dainty roll-back and goes to his original locations, proceeds to scratch his ear, then picks his butt. KC comes back to me and puts his head into the pile of hay. I'm freaked out at this point. I go into the run-in shed, peering out of the window to see what the fox is doing. He's ignoring the horses, and they are ignoring him.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cold Patch

Been cold around these parts lately, breezy and freezing. The boys are making it a habit to stay in the barn overnight. With their winter coats on. Yes, THAT cold.

Frosty mornings, windy nights, they really need to come in. And they ask to come in, so how could I say 'no.' He put their blankets on Tuesday, and they wore them until Friday morning. Friday morning it was 29 degrees, but warming up to high 50s during the day.

On Tuesday he got a good supply of sawdust, in plastic bales, storing in the shed. This could last most of the season, because they don't stay in every night. Sawdust is easier to clean up than shavings.

Also have closed the top of their Dutch doors, while keeping the barn aisle door at one end wide enough for Sprite and Lil Fred to come and go as they want.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Don't You Forget About Me!


Sprite and Lil Fred, relaxing in their domain.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fear

Fearful, Fearsome, Fearless

Which are you? Which is me? I tell anyone that will listen that I'm not a good rider. I'm not. I learned all the bad habits as a child, as an adult these cannot be corrected, even with excellent teachers, mentors, books, DVDs, and tutors.

I've seen good riders. The riders with a good seat, soft hands, body control, spine of steel sitting on a bucking horse. I'm not a good rider.

I'm not a good rider, but I'm fearless. I'm not dangerous (my opinion) or reckless. I take my horse's ability into consideration, don't get too far past his comfort zone. Or mine. You won't catch me Eventing, or showing, or doing acrobatic feats. I'm not a good rider.

However, I find it hard to wrap my head around fearful riders. I know so many. Sitting on that horse like a little hunchback, toes pointing into the dirt, wearing the stirrup like an anklet, fetal position. Death grip on the reins.

I'm not a good rider, and my horse doesn't know any better. I'm totally aware of his short-comings and accept them. He's unique, like everybody else. It's no stretch to imagine him stumbling over a log, or down an embankment. Because of this I try to sit straight up, heels down, knees in, shoulders back. Sometimes he disappears entirely from my view - no head, no ears, no mane - no horse! I remain in the middle of his back and wait for him to catch himself, staying out of his way.

I try not to ride with fearful riders, the riders that are afraid of their horses, afraid of what their horse might do or not do. Afraid of their surroundings, of other riders, bicycles, rocky trails, or dogs. Some I've wonder why they even have a horse, why they ride at all, why they stick with the same teacher.

Life is too short to be scared. Horses are a choice, not a requirement, don't have to do it if you don't feel comfortable. Pick another teacher, another horse, another pastime.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Daylight Saving Ends

I could barely stay awake, not making it to 10:00 p.m. Then I'm awake at 3:37 a.m. And then again at 4:32 a.m., and on and on until I give up at 6:25 a.m. and leave the bed. Chilly overnight, the trough has a slight skim of ice.

The time shift has made it possible to do barn chores in some daylight. It will be dark for evening chores. I'm going to miss the daylight hours spent at home, not to be seen again until mid-January.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

First November Sunday


It just doesn't get any better than this. Am I right?