Friday, May 29, 2015

Dump Run

Removed the construction debris that consisted of insulation, both foam and fiberglass, drywall pieces, moulding, used PVC piping, metal pipes, wood scraps and cardboard. The car was full.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Made serious progress today with the sheet vinyl installation and the shower receptor and left wall attached to false wall framing. The shower plumbing is installed and working, the shower drains into the floor perfectly.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lawn Tractor - Kaput!

Starter motor had shattered inside the sleeve. Probably been like this for a number of years.

All better now, mowed the entire lawn, Max's yard, and down behind the neighbor's fence to the bottom of the field.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ride With The Big Dogs

I'm not calling these riders dogs, but if they were, they would be fierce. And the ride was fierce, too. It was long for long's sake. It was intense and demanding. All the crazy stuff that makes weaker riders cringe or pass. Trains, balloons, bikes, cars, music, flotation devices, loud music, disrespectful drivers and bikers. All of it and more.

Steep hills, river rapids, rocks and gravel, bridges, asphalt. And trotting a long way on asphalt. I hate that, but he was game and everyone else was doing it, so we did, too. We crossed busy roads and stopped traffic.

There were nine of us, and we had not ridden with any of these folks before. I've met some, partied with a couple of them in the past, but never rode with them. Honestly, I don't know if we'd ride with them again. I think I'd want to, but would they want to ride with us.

The destination was a restaurant in Baltimore county, near Catonsville on Frederick Road. We're nuts, right? The horses were glad for the rest in the shade.

No one fell off, no one had a freak out, we all kept it together. I have a deep scratch on my right shoulder from a branch, my arms are scratched up from branches, too, and I have two blue/purple bruises on my left leg.

The ride clocked in at about 18.6 miles, from 10:30 to 5:30pm. Plus, it was hot.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bathroom Project - Ongoing

It was a beautiful Saturday, but we opted to work inside on the bathroom. Ride tomorrow, project progress today.

We also picked out and brought home the sheet vinyl. It was the last bit of a discontinued product, so we got more than we actually paid for. It's all good!

Also spray coated the vanity with polyurethane for lasting protection.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

On Duty ~ On Patrol

I asked him if he had seen the snake and he said no. I said, ' it is right there.' He jumped back, startled that he hadn't seen the snake so close to him while he installed the fan in the 'new' run-in shed.
Tonight we witnessed a Red-tailed Hawk capture a house sparrow on the ground in the corner of field #2. Close by is the bird feeder. Life does go on, and surely the hawk's kids need feeding, too.

These 'predators' are keeping the mice, rabbits, and birds in check. We do not officially have a 'barn cat.'

Monday, May 18, 2015

Taking on Water

We enjoyed watching videos on the bricks under the lowered canopy while it was storming. It was windy, and the rain was blowing in.

Pulling up the weather map it was obvious that after this storm passed we would have another, and we did.

Before going to bed I checked the basement and well room - no water. I locked the Littles in the barn and let the boys stay in the dry paddock with some hay. The second storm woke me around 2:30 a.m. with more lightning and thunder, and more rain.

In the morning we discovered that every corner of the basement had taken on water. We wet-vac'd and pulled the fan out. Then he climbed up the ladder and emptied the gutters. The Maple seed pods (helicopters) had filled the gutters to the brim. He also saw that a shingle had been damaged and the trees branches are really too close to the roof and need trimming. He doesn't want to climb on the roof, but maybe I will. With the battery-operated chainsaw I might be able to pull off some limb trimming. Neither of us like 'heights.'

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday - Ride Time!

DNR Cops in an unmarked black Ford F150 short-bed truck pulled over 4 cars - red S-10, Impala, mini-van and a RAV4, then the train came in, all while we were tacking up in the parking lot in Marriottsville. I do not know what they were pulling cars over for - speeding? cell phone use? no seat-belt?

Still hot and humid, and KC is clearly as out of shape as I am!

I encouraged him to drink at every wet opportunity, but finally had a drink near Bon Secours in the back field near where I saw a red fox.

The 4-wheelers are really enjoying the park, going all the way from Bon Secours to the train tracks and back.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mow Before the Storm - Preakness Stakes

Hot, humid. Time to mow grass!
He hard-wired the exhaust fan controller, allowing a timer to be set and not left on all day long. A great invention!

Stormy afternoon, windy, too. Not enough water but plenty of wind.

What a race! Only 8 horses competing in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore. Rained like hell here, too. Needed it. Horse racing is rarely called for weather. It ain't baseball, right?
American Pharoah wins handily.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Gettysburg Tour (Quick Time)

I had the chance to see a friend of the family that I hadn't seen since 1984. That's just crazy, right? Was only going to meet for lunch, but that got changed this morning when she said she hadn't seen the battlefield, ever.
I hadn't planned on going on a tour of the Gettysburg battlefield. Honestly, my first response was to take the tour bus, but that was shot down, as was the car tour that was 2-hours long. Don't have time for that, need the quick tour.

Everyone, each person I've ever taken to this park, comments on the size of it, the scale. I always remind them that ALL the combatants were on foot or horseback. It is huge, and as an added bonus, people are trying to kill you! And it is HOT, humid in July.

As we were hitting all the hot spots, we stopped at Little Round Top, a strategic point and a magnet for the tourists. I've been here dozens of times, and immediately noticed a gentleman standing in the shade in full period military dress. His riding boots were beautiful. While our friend walked around I chatted up the General. He was originally from California, Anaheim specifically. He's retired and lives north of Gettysburg. He's living his dream.

I am no battlefield expert, there are plenty that are and certified. I'm not one of them. Some things have seeded in my head, like General Farnsworth. There is a B&B and restaurant in town named after him. He was a general, twenty-five years old at the time of his death, sent by his commanding officer on a suicide assault. Because I ride, and ride locally, I have true empathy with this hapless endeavor that he knew was fool-hardy and wrong-headed. He did it anyway. The footing was treacherous for a horse, a rock field that had boulders the size of cows, and people are trying to kill you. And succeeded. When we came upon his battlefield placard I yelled out, 'STOP THE CAR!' Plenty of parking in this park, just pull over to the right side and you're good!

I pointed out the Wiekert house, the house that was missing the large rug from the dining room. It was used to bury the dead in their yard.

We went for lunch at Garryowen on Chambersburg Street, a civil war house that is now an Irish pub.

On our way back home we passed the 'old house' and pulled up to the curb. No. 307 Baltimore Street has been used by a CPA firm before turning into a museum store front. When we pulled up a woman came out onto the porch, in period costume, and we ended up going in!
No. 307 is the smaller house on the right, not in festooned in bunting.

We got invited into the foyer - the stairs have been recovered in industrial grey carpet, and the living room now hosts a counter to buy tickets to the house museums. When word got out that the former owner was in the house, everyone came from all corners. I mentioned the flooring, which is beautiful, but was coated in layer upon layer of grey deck paint. Surely it was lead at that time, too. The sawdust pile had looked like termite hills.

I also mentioned the previous owners, and it came out that the daughter, Olive Smith, committed suicide soon after her mother died. The kitchen was located upstairs in the rear and that's were she hung herself. Put that in your gossip lore of this old house! There was more that I could have said, but didn't want to disparage the reputation of a woman that has been dead over 40 years. Maybe next time.

The dining room is decked out in shelving for t-shirts and other items for sale. Also included is the cabinet and counter from the summer kitchen that had been torn down for the huge addition in the rear. The side porch, that went from the dining room to the summer kitchen, has been enclosed and is used as an office, with copier and like that. A door was cut into the wall where the kitchen window had been and the kitchen window was now on the wall that enclosed the porch. The original glass panes are still there, wavy.

Nostalgia got the best of me, later I was weepy about the whole thing. Some things you don't even give a second thought to, then it all comes back like it was yesterday. For instance, I haven't played Euchre since they moved out of that house. Now I think I don't know how to play anymore.

I miss my uncle, I miss my dog, I miss the way life was. I want to believe I'm the same person, but so much has happened, so much has changed.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day - Bathroom Project Work Day

Trying to explain the deficient electrical scheme in this house would make anyone think I was crazy! The house was originally constructed without electrical service and when electricity was available the home owner went on the extreme minimal upgrade. One outlet in each bedroom and like that, all on one circuit. And grounding wire had not been invented. He replaced all the wire and upgraded the entire floor. What an ordeal!

We're trying to get this house up to the 21st century, but it has not been easy.

I also wanted to wish all the mothers a happy mother's day. Where would we be without them?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

My Cowboy; My Hero

Saturday was ride time! Mother's Day was going to get in the way of riding, and there was a chance of rain, so Saturday is the best choice.

The day started out overcast, low ceiling. I could hear planes overhead but could not see them. Humidity was creeping up. My hair was getting a halo, frizzy.

We headed out to meet our friends at their boarding barn in Windsor Mill, on the other side of the demolished town of Daniels. Our navigator would announce a turn about 50 feet from the actual turn. This caused some issues with lane changing, a problem while hauling a trailer. The barn had a 'red' gate, but the navigator allowed us to go past it, with 5 cars on our butt, announcing at the far corner of the farm's 80 acres. Argh! The red gate could have used a coat of paint, to bring it from rusty maroon back to red.

The further we went the worse the road became. The crowned road was seriously narrow, there was no sign alerting to the one-lane bridge, and the white stripe on the side of the road was missing in lots of places, turned to rock and gravel. There is no shoulder.

We turn left into the next road, allowing the bevy of cars to get past. I jump out and direct him out into the roadway. There are no cars, all is quiet.

It is a convoluted way to get down to the park, through chained gates, open meadows, unmowed fields, and wooded copses. We zig-zag around, and there really should be some trail maintenance. Are we the only ones with clippers and hand-saws? Can anyone get off their horse and move a downed limb?

We come out onto a paved driveway and enter the road way. I hate this part, because it is a blind corner and people really do drive too fast. The roads aren't that good in this area and speed only adds to my anxiety. Traveling down the road about 50 feet to the stop sign to turn left, we do stop traffic. I thank every single driver for waiting for the four of us to cross the roads and into the park.

I now have a scratch on my arm from the branches that should be trimmed! We enter the park in the Daniels section and it is busy. There are several bikers and walkers, some with dogs. KC is heating up, the humidity is rising. I can feel his heat radiating through the saddle. The sun is trying to come out, but not yet burned off as predicted.

We now were on trails that we've been on before and these trails have been maintained. We are warned that the way back, a different route, has a downed tree that is so low we'll have to take our saddles off and let the horses crouch under to get by. Like we haven't done that before!

We pick up the speed where we can, and others, on bikes, are doing the same. I see the bike coming and yell out WHOA (haha) and he comes to a sliding stop. Horses have the absolute right-of-way in the park, and we usually let the bikes go past us, but at this particular area there is no way to safely share the path. Straight up and straight down, the path is steep and is bench-cut into the hill side. The rocks are used by climbers, too. Bare rock walls, solid granite.

We had our pit stop at the Woodstock Inn. Seeing friends there, one shared a wallet he had found in the attic. He has lived in the house his entire life, and has been in his family for generations. One of the pictures is of a horse and rider, dated 1907, Druid Hill Park. Also included and shared with us is his great-grandparents' wedding announcement from 1880.

We headed back out to Daniels and was able to pick up the pace on the trail next to the river. Mostly sandy, with a serpentine trajectory. The sun is shinning brightly. We came upon a slope that had been blocked some years ago when we were last there. Glad to see it cleared. We crisscrossed the river, letting the horses cool off and drink. There were walkers and kayaks and canoes, swimmers, too, on a rope swing, now that the sun is out. I know that water is cold!

We picked up the pace along this straight trail, wide enough for cars to travel and pass. Some wet spots, but mostly firm and solid. I urged KC on, staying in front, and kept going until I needed to stop to rest. We came upon a woman walking a Golden Retriever, off-leash, meeting at another wet spot, rutted out by bike tires with standing water. KC stopped and I said to the woman that he doesn't like mud. She said that was the funniest thing she'd heard! True enough, really.

We aired up and continued on at a fast pace, covering lots of ground. We arrived back at the ruins of Daniels, the dam and parking lot. Busy, busy. KC is soaked and hot. We cross back onto the other side, under the pillars of the old train trestle that was washed away during the 1972 Hurricane Agnes event. Now retracing our steps, through the three-way intersection and back up the hill. Sunny and warm, but the humidity is receding.

Finally make it back to the farm, untack and head on home. We got back with plenty of daylight left; he planned on cutting grass and I wanted to rinse the boys off with our hot water hose.

I put the boys out into field #3, he's mowing #2. KC rolled, like he always does after a bath or a ride, and that was the beginning of an anxious evening.
No affiliation but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - if you have an equine get this product. I believe it saved me a vet call ($400) on a Saturday night. The results were instantaneous, too. Like in immediately.

KC was exhibiting signs of colic pretty much as soon as I put him in field #3. Tom had just gotten onto the tractor to mow field #2 and was coming up the hill and I was waving frantically at him. I advised him that KC was not feeling well, could he please get the bottle of 'STOP COLIC' 'SAY WHOA' from the kitchen, PLEASE. KC was rolling his eyes and kicking the kick-boards in the run-in shed. He was hot to the touch and pawing.

Had taken his halter off, so all I had was a rope around his neck, and that little man is strong. He was dragging me around, while I was trying to drag him around. Needles to say,I'm freaking!

He gets back to the run-in shed and draws the first dose out of the bottle. I'm hanging onto the rope around KC neck, and have a hand on his jaw. Directions say tip their mouth up. We accomplished that and IMMEDIATELY he stops rolling his eyes, now licking his lips and drops his head. W0W! That works faster than the vet-admistered colic remedy. Gut sounds within 15 minutes, drinking and eating within a half hour. This stuff is a miracle worker!

I promise never to rinse him off after a ride, no matter what, ever, ever again, AMEN.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cinco de Mayo

I love this joke, but I have a confession. No, I do love tequilla, that's not it. I did not know what Cinco de Mayo meant. My Spanish knowledge knew it was May 5, but I didn't know anything about it until I was in my early 30s.

I have a beloved boss from back in the day. Still keep in touch with her, hired her son to work for me, and like that. She's now a grandmother.

This was also the place I worked when I first heard the expression "the war of Northern aggression." There were many people from Virginia working there and obviously my education was lacking on the history front. I was not married at this time.

My boss was originally from El Paso, Texas, and back then she was a single mom working for the gas utility company. She was an accountant and one of the hardest working people I've ever met, ever. She carried the work load of her peers and was either admired or resented. Jealousy is a terrible vice.

To her Cinco de Mayo was a huge event because of the Mexican influence in her home town. It also was the day she met her husband. The way she related it to me it was a romantic fairytale.

That year Cinco de Mayo fell on a Friday. Her friends wanted to go to a party and wanted her to join them. It was a Friday and she was tired. She put a lot of energy into her job and she was a single mother. Friday night was usually spent on the couch, winding down with her young son, maybe watch a movie or play a board game. Mom and son time.

Her friends were relentless. One had a daughter that would babysit, plus her parents lived close-by. Let's go, it will do you go, please, please, please.

She relented and went, but by now it was late. Her son was already in bed and she wasn't yet ready. Do we have to go? YES!

So they went, and she says she didn't even get past the kitchen. Her future husband was leaning against the counter, turned to see who had come in the door and WHAM!! Love at first sight. They spent the remainder of the evening talking; she was an Army brat, divorced from a Marine, with a son they had adopted in California, he was currently in the Army, originally from Philadelphia. There was unmistakeable chemistry.

The rest is history.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

First Sunday in May

Beautiful, soft morning. A great weekend to camp out, but we're not. We're going riding!

Because there is an event at the horsey club we parked at McKeldin Park ($6) and tacked up in the horse trailer parking area. While there a woman pulled up with a Bay Paint. She dawdled for quite a bit so we thought she was waiting for someone to join her. Another truck and trailer came in; it was the Volunteer Mounted Patrol (VMP) and we'd seen them in the past. She has a palomino and he has a chestnut. Both are gaited.

The first rider didn't know them, so we took off. While coming upon the VMP trailer he was getting ready to fling horse manure. I interrupted his pitch.

We were starting out earlier than usual and closer than usual to our destination, so we opted for trails that we hadn't been on in years. The fork in the trail to the left is for foot traffic only. Horses have feet, right? We went right and it was a delightful path. We came upon a man with his young daughter. KC walked right up to them, even though they were now off the trail. They both petted him and the man thanked me for the opportunity. He had a European accent.

The man and his daughter didn't have any trouble keeping up with us, seeing them over and over on this switchbacked trail. We passed other riders, riders I know by name who were going the other way. When we crossed the river we saw the man and his daughter for the last time. They waved again and we were gone from their sight.

Heading up the trail from the river a deer stood up from their nap. If she had stayed down I would not have even seen her. And then there were two! We came up onto the pipeline and circled left from there so that we could see the progress of the farm on the park border. They've installed a new barn and clear-cut lots more of their forest for pasture. We continued on and ran into the VMPs, chatting with them for a short while, then following them for even shorter. Skip doesn't like gaited horses, and surely riding him at this point was like being on a paint-mixer, rough ride!

We stopped and allowed the VMP to get a good ways up the trail before we continued and we meandered around, taking trails we rarely have a chance to take, and decided to explore a little bit around the Fox Rock quarry. We headed left instead of right around this quarry and came upon the riders we
Fox Rock Quarry

saw earlier in the day in McKeldin Park and the VMPs. We did not intrude on their chat, but explored further out from there, looking for the other quarries. We did find a couple, but they are unnamed. He saw an otter that quickly dove for deeper water to escape our gaze. I kept hearing a rustling noise and thought it might be a deer or the otter, but couldn't see anything. Finally a snake came into view, sliding through the foliage and rock face.

We've seen lots of hikers, bikers and dogs. One biker said he didn't know what was expected of him, I told him technically he should yield to us but I invited him to pass and thanked him for asking first. We came across other bikers that had to give us the right of way because the trail was that slim and there was no where to pull off except straight down or up.

One of several smaller granite quarries near The Woodstock. A snake and an otter showed up for us there today (in two adjacent quarries) but did not sit still for a portrait!

A cast-off quarry stone, with chisel marks showing. The woods are full of big and small pieces of stone that has been sitting exactly were it originally landed, century and half ago. The granite that was quarried here was used in Baltimore, Annapolis, and DC for curbing, steps, along with brick work, and cobblestones.

After clearing the trail of downed tree debris and exploring we continued on to the Woodstock Inn. We ran into the rider on the Bay Paint who claimed to have ridden 15 miles so she was heading back. She alerted us to other park users that would be in the direction we were heading. He then thought he saw friends riding near the river so we hurried up to catch them. He was right!
Prince & Becky

We ran into our friends and joined them for lunch. They also were with two other riders from the barn where they now board and another friend that rides their third horse. While they were trying to get situated their third horse rubbed up against the hitching post and broke the stirrup leather and the strap and iron fell to the ground in the mulch. If I hadn't noticed that it would have been an hour and half later that it would have been noticed. And they didn't hitch up there, they moved their horses.

Because the leather strap was broken they called their barn manager and she came with a replacement to the Woodstock Inn with her dad and we all had lunch together. We shared horse training advice and strategy for helping their young Appaloosa with bikes and trains, which the park can have plenty of.

On the way back we passed a family group, the first on the trail was holding her nose. I could smell their laundered clothing and soap, so I didn't think she could have actually smelled us, the breeze going in the wrong direction for that. I did not stop and I made sure that KC kept walking, no visiting. Having parked at McKeldin instead of the horsey club we got back to the trailer sooner, finding that the other riders were gone. We arrived home more than an hour earlier than our usual time, he spent the extra time pressure washing the saddle blankets and girths. They needed it!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Insulation, Outlets, and Derby!

You can never have too much insulation, especially when you start with none.

He had a minor set-back with the fan controller installation. Turns out that the controller won't work without a 'ground' wire, and there is no ground in the electrical service to the entire 2nd floor. Fortunately the ceiling is out in the basement and there is room in the chase up the wall all the way up. We fished it up with little issue.
He used tent stakes to fish the wire in the crawl space. Clever!

He then installed a new outlet in each of the bedrooms and one in the bathroom on the interior wall.

R-33 and R-13 in crawl space from bathroom behind cowboy room drive way side. He's taking a shower now. Fiberglass is terrible for your skin. Glass needles.

Derby time! American Pharoah (spelled uniquely) won, with Firing Line placing, and Dortmund showing.