Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Brush Fire

Had some exciting activity today - a 'brush' fire along the PEPCO powerlines the next farm over. I had been hearing sirens, but what are you going to do about that? When I saw Lisbon Fire Department come by I took Max out, that's when I smelled the smoke and heard the Maryland State Police helicopter, going around and around.

Went to investigate, traipsing along the powerline cut, over the berm, through the corn stubble and briars. We scared up a groundhog that ran right to us! but then ducked into his hole. Max was outraged! Lots of bluebirds and Robins and the peepers, leaving egg masses in the marsh.

it was so windy - 40 mph gusts, I don’t know how this one started, but it rained pretty good later in the afternoon (twice) and that seemed to have helped, but this incident went on for HOURS - the tankers were going to Mullinix Mill intersection to water at the hydrant there - blocking the road, and running back down to the fields.

Made the local newsfeed and their report says it was a thirty-acre 'brush' fire. Some trees did get scorched, but mostly it was corn stubble, with the wind blowing it up the hill.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Last Monday in March Ride!!

The weather, it is always about the weather, has been lousy and getting a chance to ride has been hit or miss. We took the opportunity to ride.

We started out late, because that's how we roll, and the days are longer so we don't have to chase daylight aggressively.

Hadn't ridden since early February, but the boys were pretty darn good. The one exception was where the tree that had been felled by the beaver, but not blocking the trail as badly as it had: Skip did a partial refusal and fell off backwards off the ledge that is the trail. The solid rock proved to be his undoing and when urged to regain the trail he scrapped the inside of his legs, skinned himself pretty good. Let's not do that again!

Later at home I put some 'Wonder Dust' on the scrapes and he is good as new.

The Woodstock Inn was sleepy on this work day, and only about six of us were there for a late lunch. The barkeep and other patrons regaled us with stories about the train tracks and tragic outcomes when people don't use the sense that everyone should possess. We all think it won't happen to us!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Inside Job

After the complete failure of the original skim-coat he applied another coating of wall mud, and used the 'Magic' trowel, which is actually a squeegee. It worked perfectly. It is just begging for that coat of paint color.

While he had the wall mud for repairs, he started picking at the failed walls in the bathroom. This bathroom is a disaster, honestly. Everything that could have been installed wrong, was. For instance: the bathtub is set at a severe angel, making it impossible not to slop water over the outside rim and into the wall. He repaired the ceiling in the downstairs hallway and now we know exactly why that ceiling failed. Each time the shower was used, water leaked down onto the ceiling.

The bathroom door was installed onto the tile surround. The door hinge didn't stay, so it was reinstalled higher up. After that fix the door never closed properly again. The door wasn't correctly sized but that was another issue.

Maybe we're suffering from attention deficit disorder, but he started picking at the threshold at the living room and hallway junction and next thing you know the carpet is pulled up and laying on the bricks outside. The wood floor is actually in remarkably good condition. Not perfect but it is quite nice.

And it has been cold and windy. Tonight the low will be 8 degrees. March has been brutal and winter will not say goodbye.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Birthday Boy

Today is KC's birthday. He's twelve, and that number is so big it is hard for me to comprehend. He is still my baby, and I call him that, it will make him turn and look at me.

We've been through a lot, ups and downs - me on the ground lots of times! - but he trusts me to look out for his best interests and can get him to do pretty much anything he's able to do.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Interior Projects

Lately, chronically, the weather has been the pits. Unfortunately that groundhog was right! Winter just can't let us go. And between snow storms, rain and ice, the riding part of horse ownership is just not happening.

So we look inward. And maybe address some issues with the house that have been neglected for too long. Five years? Time does fly.

I painted with a ‘special’ formula of KILZ that had shellac in it, he got a mudding blade and special tool to even out the textured wall - I painted two coats, he mudded twice to diminish the severe texturing on some of the walls - dried with a fan and the portable heater - it shrunk away from the wall and tonight it peeled off like heavy vinyl wallpaper - at least the orange paint is gone! but we wasted materials and an entire weekend - darn! But we are making progress. Really we are.

He's replaced or added moulding and closet framing, pulled all the carpet and padding, pulled staples and tack strips, scraped gum and unknown melted objects from the flooring, replaced the threshold in the bathroom.

Also reconfirmed that there is ONE ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT for the entire upstairs and the outlets (in the closets) are back-to-back. The added outlets in the 'cowboy room' has electrical wire under the moulding snaked around the perimeter. Definitely not to code.

In the past plastic sheeting was tacked around the windows. The plastic was pulled off, leaving plastic and tacks imbedded in the window framing and walls. Then painted over. The paint colors that this house has hosted is incredible: from white to blue (3 shades), teal, green, yellow, gray (2 shades), brown, tan, orange, bright red and pepto-bismol pink.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Shedding Season

KC is shedding in globs, Sprite is right behind him. Still cold, but looks like their stuffing is coming loose.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Nothing says Spring like a fresh blanket of snow!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rainy Saturday & Windy Sunday

We haven't ridden since February 8. I keep track of these things, and it has been a long while. The rain started in the evening on Friday and continued, off and on, heavy at times through most of Saturday.

Sara the Farrier was out Saturday in the morning to do Skip and KC.
Skip has had issues with his feet, but he continues to be sound. Sara has addressed his issues but horses' feet grow slowly, like our own fingernails and corrections take time. And the remedies for some problems are out of medieval torture practices. Like a hot poker to burn the root of corns out. You would think it hurt, but he never flinched.

They spent most of the day in, until the rain moved out. The temperature was relatively mild, so they didn't have coats on. They immediately rolled in the mud. They were clean for a few hours, and then not.

Later on after lunch we traveled to the BIG ORANGE BOX for house project ideas and supplies. Too much time spent in the house, not enough time spent in the saddle.

He wants to move on with some odds and ends upstairs, even though we rarely even visit! He now is installing moulding to match existing style. The walls came straight down from the ceiling and now becomes evident in the plaster vs drywall and plywood vs wood flooring. And the missing moulding. Same thing in the cowboy room.

Sunday the wind was howling, corn husks flying and the oven vent flapper flapping. It felt really cold. The blankets went back on them, and they were turned out into field #3. The wind was unrelenting. It was difficult opening the storm door.

He also boxed out the closet opening and upgraded the outlet in the closet. Yes, there is an outlet in the closet. The only outlet in the entire room.
This was missing, framed with pressure treat. He boxed it out with moulding. I don't even know if a bi-fold door will span the opening, but this is a start.

We also believed there was no heat in this bedroom. There is one vent, but many vents in the house have been blocked off and the ducting removed. It is always cold in winter, hot in summer, so we figured it didn't work. It does work, the ducting is in the floor and goes between the two bedrooms. There is 'stuff' in the ducting, like a tube of hand-cream, and we'll address this at a time when the heat isn't on.

There was an 'official' ride with one of our horsey clubs, but we did not participate. Too windy, which made it too cold, and we spent time doing this and that, and painting. There seems to always be something that needs painting.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Another Friday the 13th!

Speaking of lucky shoes, Sara the farrier will be out tomorrow.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


The new barn fans arrived and were installed. They look like vultures in the stalls. I thought the boys would spook at the sight of them, but didn't flinch.

The fans we have used, here and at our previous boarding barns, have been the cause of a few barn fires. They are cheap and don't last long. Dust kills them and might cause the fire hazard. He opted to replace them.

Originally he wanted to put them in each stall, and in the two run-in sheds. That's a lot of wind producing fans. We would start our own hurricanes out here.

Industrial-strength fans, we decided to place two in the barn, in the boys stalls only, and one in the bigger, newer run-in shed shared by fields #2 and 3.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Temperatures are creeping up, finally, but so much snow and ice still on the ground. The fog bloomed quickly, blowing up like a balloon. Didn't take long to obscure any views, socked in.

Monday, March 9, 2015

New Kitchen Light

The original kitchen light, but not original to the house, was replaced some time ago with a $7 fixture that was better suited to a bedroom, but it was better than nothing.
And that was OK for a long while. We hadn't decided what fixture to use, and he literally searched the internet over for just the right one. And he picked a great one!

HOWEVER, when the new arrived some weeks ago it was not as described. The first error was it was a two-bulb, but was advertised as a three-bulb. He even bought three bulbs for the new fixture that would be the correct wattage for the dimmer switch that he installed.

We still loved the light so he installed it. That's when it became evident that one of the light sockets was not functional. He could have fixed it, could have gone to the BIG ORANGE BOX to get another socket, but for what he paid for it we decided against that action.

After contacting the seller and the manufacturer, he got another lamp, just like the original, from another vendor. We've had horrible snowy weather and the shipment was delayed. Should have been here last Thursday, but arrived this afternoon.

We still have the first shipment, still on the kitchen floor in a box. Have yet to receive the return shipping label.

After opening the new box it was obvious that this lamp had been installed and mishandled elsewhere. We swapped out the light cover with the original and installed it.

We really do love this new ceiling lamp! Now on to finding a medallion to cover the ceiling imperfections...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March's Second Snow

Snow started before dawn, already a good inch on the ground when I got up. Everyone had spent the night inside because it was raining throughout the previous day.

He got the snowblower out, changed the oil, and hit the parking lot. Snow continued, heavy at times, all day long.

He cleared lots of areas for the horses, in field #1, the dry paddock, the interior dry paddock and into the outside dry paddock. I distributed hay under the barn's overhang and let everyone out.
The snowblower did not bother them one single bit.
He finally got Max's yard gate open, and we had a pretty good time out there with Max.

It snowed until well after dark, and the roadway was nothing to brag about. The low predicted for tonight is 1 degree. O boy!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Icy Monday

KC gets to stay in while I clean his stall.

Treacherous morning - everything is encapsulated in a cocoon of ice. What had been cleaned up last night was mostly clear, although some black ice was still evident. The driveway was out of control!

Skip's stall was a sight! Usually he is neat and tidy. He deposits his manure in the corner and preserves his sawdust. This morning, with all the 'stall walking' last night, agitated with the noise of scraping ice, it looked like an EPA superfund site. Ugh. I let him out while I cleaned his stall, side to side, end to end. After I put fresh sawdust in he helped himself to a roll in the stall.

The icicles were falling off the roof in the wind, sounding like gunshots. The melting ice was hitting the metal roof, sounding like a downpour.
Max is inspecting the paint job!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Came In Like A Polar Bear!

The Maple in field #2 has red buds, but the weather doesn't care. It started snowing around 8:00 a.m., sleeting and rain arrived around 10:00 a.m.

We continued our stairs project, and he added a couple, three projects in the mix. He repaired the gap on the stringer, added a finished moulding piece to the basement door, did some ceiling repairs, and reinstalled the outlet in the bathroom.

Everything needed to be 'primed' before the finish color could be added.

The snow covered everything, again, and the ice, sleet and freezing rain sealed it all in. By dark it was treacherous. Seriously slick.

The boys were in their stalls, listening to the road crews scraping ice from the roadways, sounding like a pride of lions. Skip in particular was highly upset about this racket. I left the radio up and closed the Dutch doors. I couldn't get the aisle doors to close, he went out with a pick ax and straightened out that situation, locking the littles in the barn for the night.

How can Spring be twenty days away?