Saturday, December 31, 2016

10th Anniversary ~ KC & Me!

I wanted to mark this anniversary with KC. I got him 10 years ago today! He was born March 23, 2003 and I brought him to Millhaven New Year's Eve when he was an 'aging' three-year old. Being New Year's Eve, I wanted to stay as long as possible with my new pony, my little man, and ring in the new year with him. He looked so small and scared in his stall, next to Skip. Unsure of what just happened to him and what would become of his life.

There was something about him that I was drawn to, that I needed to have him and bring him along, protect him from a cruel world. For some reason I thought I had to be that person. I don't think I've let him down. I think he does realize I have his best interests at heart.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Stormy Weather (Tornado)

The day started out sunny and bright, but by noon the skies were darkening and the barometric pressure was falling. The two boys, KC and Beau, spend the day inside anyway, so I checked their water and picked up as many things as I could find that might become projectiles or broken on the patio.

The radio announced that if you lived in a certain location to seek shelter; basement, interior room with no windows, etc. The location was fairly close to our place.

Leaves flying, sticks falling, water coming into the dining room ceiling. I put two skillets on the floor to catch the water.

The confirmed tornado stayed on the ground an incredible length of time: Nineteen (19) minutes! The tornado traveled nearly 13 miles, with a 500 foot wide continuous swath. It is rural out this way, so there was some buildings and houses damaged, but it could have been much worse if it was only a couple miles south.
Lots of trees broken, some over the roadways, power outages, etc. Could have been much worse.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Strawberry Moon & Summer Solstice

The Strawberry Moon was named by native Americans as the full moon that occurs in June, which also would kick off strawberry-picking season. The full moon occurring during the summer solstice is actually rare; the last one was June 22, 1967, and will not happen for another 46 years, on June 21, 2062. I doubt I'll be around to see it.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Belmont Stakes!

Creator - by a nose!

Hot and humid today, and we spent the day working outside in this oppressive heat! Trimming trees and hauling branches and debris to the burn pile. It was so hot later in the evening that I opted not to work Alli in the round pen after her dinner. Just too darn hot!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Windy, With A Chance of Knocking Down Trees

A cold front blew in. Cold being relative in June. Predicted to have scattered showers and wind gusts up to 30 mph. In actuality the wind gusts were 40 mph. And branches, leaves, and debris were blowing around. Batten down the hatches!

A tree fell over in the old fence row in front of field #3. A 'ghetto palm' Tree of Heaven that was comprised anyway from all the concrete debris that is piled under the trees. The roots of these trees are so below any rainfall reach, that they are in a distressed state and all of them are failing. BOOM. Another mess to clean up.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Play Doh is Found!

This missing horse, Play Doh, has been found. Fully tacked up, even had his fly mask on. I can't get Alli to keep her's on for more than an hour.

Found by three hikers
miles from where he was last seen.

Play Doh first went missing May 27, the Friday before Memorial Day, when Susan Crawford was riding him on a trail, close to our horsey club, where she was camping out. Crawford said the trail gave out, causing them to slide. Play Doh got spooked and ran off.

When the hikers found Play Doh, he was caught on his saddle. However, Crawford said he must not have been stuck for long, because he was not dehydrated.
In this picture you can see the cuts and lacerations on this guy. He will make a full recovery.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The War Never Started

I'm saddened to report that The Rodenator is a bust. It did not perform as advertised. It is wildly expensive and just didn't do anything. We went through one and a half tanks of oxygen, but still not one single ground hog has been killed, relocated or otherwise dealt with. We're back to square one.

In the meantime, a couple more holes have popped up, one in field #2 and the old one outside field #1 down by the creek.

We're sending it back, returning the air tanks.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Alli's Fifth Birthday

Alli has definitely come a long way while with us. Starting below baseline, setting the bar extremely low, but she has grown while with us, and her real personality is coming out. She is a princess, and is enjoying herself.

She's put on weight and is taller. She is really getting civilized and easier to manage. He's also been working with her, doing the hardest, scariest, part. She honestly wants to please and not cause problems. She's getting soft and sweet, is showing how brave she can be. She's going to be a good riding horse.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bonus Day!

Because we couldn't get off on Thursday, we took an extra day today! Yea! And we chose to ride, a bonus day!

Washed Skip after the ride. He really needed one, first one of the year. All that winter smell and spring sweat is rinsed away. He smells like flowers.
The Rodenator has been delivered! This means war!
And the lost horse remains missing.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Last Sunday in May

He took today to work on the rust mitigation on the old trailer. He's had this trailer for nearly ten years, and it was not new when he got it. The rust is taking over, and he periodically busts it out, repairs with Bondo, then sands and paints. Just like new. He took the tires off to get on the underside of the fenders and realized the rear right tire was bald. Not just bald, but looked like it had been locking up and not rolling, making it bald.
From time to time I would say the fender was warm, and smelled like burning rubber. We tack up on that side of the trailer. It wasn't each time, but regularly enough that this is the result. He swapped out the spare tire, which is fairly new with the bald tire.

Also discovered that the wheel bearing was compromised. Being a holiday weekend, it was difficult locating a vendor that was open. He found one in Rockville, a Marine Boat store, and while in town did a grocery run for his mother.

He continued the rust work and pulled the spare tire stem out; this was also compromised, with the peg barely anchored in rotted plywood. With the Bondo work, you can't even tell it had ever been a problem. He used a torch to loosen up the old paint on the bolt.

While he worked on the trailer, I mowed grass with the push mower, then went to Todd's to get hay. This is all the hay in Todd's barn. I put as many would fit in my car, leaving one bale that I could not manage to fit in.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ride Time and Skip is a Jerk

The woman that had lost her horse, "Playdoh", on Thursday, was still camping out.

I broke down and had a beer! There was a live band, 'One Louder' playing in the yard, but the crowd was manageable.

We rested plenty of times in the water, the heat and humidity were building, although we did stay in the shade.

Still no sign of the missing horse.
When we got back we thought it would be a good idea to put the boys in field #3, where Alli and Beau had been all day. That was a dumb idea. As you can see, KC is the only one doing what he should be doing: minding his own business and eating grass.

Skip kept trying to get Alli away from Beau, and Alli would not let Skip have a clear shot at Beau. She was always between the two of them. This went on for hours, until we brought them in to feed. Then it got ugly.

He let them all in the interior dry paddock. All hell broke loose. KC was the only one that behaved himself, coming up to the red gate. I let him in; he walked right to his stall like a good soldier. The other three ran around the interior dry paddock like a horde. Skip was chasing Beau, Alli was running interference.

He opened the gate and all three ran into the dry paddock, circling the barn at high speed. Dust flying, out of control craziness. A real melee.

The gate to the round pen was open, and all three charged in. Alli scraped her shoulder on the gate latch. Skip has cuts on his rear right leg, front and back. Beau seems to have escaped any noticeable injury. Eventually everyone got into their correct stall. They all were soaking wet.

Lesson learned: NEVER let the four into the same pasture. Ever.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday - Moving Forward

Beau spent time in the round pen in the morning, with my saddle on! I was not on my saddle, but, still! He never even tried to buck, or act out or anything. He didn't care for this and that, but got over it and settled down quickly.
This is huge.

We went to Laurel to the 'air' supply outlet to buy oxygen. We got a nice tall tank. We have serious plans for this tank, as we move forward to another phase of groundhog management.

He washed all the cars with the power washer. Now that it has stopped raining, the pollen is so thick that all the vehicles are dusty yellow.

Later in the day he pulled the truck and trailer into the red gate at the dry paddock. We loaded KC on, then asked Beau to load. He was hesitant but through perseverance, and continuing to ask, Beau stepped in with two feet, resting for a while, and then onto the trailer. Another huge moment!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


The riding lawnmower, which we've had for nearly 16 years, had a flat tire. The tire is shot, and pretty much fell off the wheel.

This happened in Max's field, up against the fence in the corner. A terrible place to change a tire!

We already had a tire, having gotten two to replace the rear tires a couple years ago. We replaced one, but not the left. Now it is go-time.

He managed to jack the tractor up with a fence board and pull the flat tire and wheel off. We got the old wheel off, I washed the gunk out of the wheel well, but try and try, we could not get the new tire to seat or air up on the old wheel housing. The wheel that came with the tire was not compatible with the tractor.

I took the tire on the old wheel to the ATCO in Laytonsville. Originally he said it would be 45 minutes, could I leave it and come back or do I want to wait. I do need to drop by the grocery, so this is possible. He comes out to car to get the tire, sees it is already on the wheel, just needs air, so he does it right away. And charged me NOTHING - it was FREE! How cool is that!

We're back in business, and lots of mowing in my future.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Nail Salon ~ Rainy Saturday

Woke up to rain. It rained all day, heavy at times, breezy and chilly.
Raining, more like heavy misting with a steady breeze
when the new farrier came by.

The boys and the Blacks got their feet done. Shoes on front for the boys, trims for the Blacks. This is a huge milestone for the Blacks. We've never had their feet done, but surely they were done before we got them. They needed doing, too.

We've worked hard on getting them to allow us to pick up their feet. This has taken months. I don't want to ACE them or twitch them. It wasn't easy. They didn't want to give their feet up for weeks and weeks. Persistence has paid off. The farrier was really good with them, too. It's not his first rodeo.

The farrier recommended some 'cow' medicine for Beau - who has an infection in his right rear heel 'Thrush'
so we went to Tractor Supply and then into downtown Mt Airy, to Southern States Cooperative to get feed.

He also installed the new belt in the RAV4 that was aging, cracking, and recommended to be replaced. It's not the miles, it's the years. In the rain.

It rained all day and well into the night. We're officially underwater.

Exaggerator Wins The Preakness Stakes!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sunny Friday!

This is the first morning that the sun has shone in nearly 20 days. I'm taking advantage of the decent weather to wash the Littles.

Lil Fred
This took longer than it should have, and wore me out! I hand grazed them while they dried out, and they look so cute! I know it is futile, it's going to rain tomorrow and Sunday. Probably Monday, too.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

15 Days of Rain

We've had fifteen days straight of measurable precipitation. The grass is growing, lush and tall. KC is getting fatter and Lil Fred is portly.

The outdoor activities have been curtailed. The round pen is groomed and unused. He added 25 bags of sand last weekend, which helped in a couple of the low spots. But while it is actively raining, we don't work the horses outside.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Death All Around Us

While mowing I apparently ran over a baby rabbit. I did not notice, but was told later. I didn't want to view the body. I'm sorry that this happened, but they'll make more. It is what rabbits do.

While mowing he ran over a Garter snake in the hay field. It didn't stay long enough to draw flies. Something stole it pretty quickly. I'm sure it is a delicacy for most birds.

A very tiny squab was dead on the bricks. It couldn't have been more than a day out of the shell. The skin was still see-through and blue. It wasn't under a nest, so I believe it was booted out. Nature is as cruel as motorized machinery.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sunny Sunday

On Friday, late in the day, as I was walking into one of the buildings on the campus where I work, I heard a thump over my head and then catch sight of a leaf floating to the ground. But it wasn't a leaf. It was a bird! The bird landed right in front of the main door, and would have got caught in the door swing if someone walked out. It was raining.

I picked up the bird and could feel the warmth and heartbeat. It was not dead, but its eyes were rolled up in his head and one of his feet looked sort of backwards.

I let the little bird rest in my palm for a while, eventually coming around. The left foot grabbed my finger, then the right foot straightened out, even the one finger that looked broken. I put the little bird on a branch under a leaf on one of the bushes in the landscaped garden. It was still raining.

The bird was still there when I left for the day.

A beautiful sunny morning, we opted to park at Marriottsville because our horsey club was having a 'do' and the grounds were closed to non-participants. By happenstance, as things happen, a birder got out of his car, which was parked next to our trailer and asked about trails, particularly if you had to walk down the train tracks. I asked him what bird he was photographing and he said Warblers.

I don't know what a warbler looks like. He said his daughter leases a horse in Virginia; she recently bought a new truck. He showed me the picture of her with the new Chevrolet extra-cab white pick-up. Reminded me of the joke about the man seeking a wife, but in the ad asks for a picture of the truck.

He went on to tell me that she'd always loved horses, and got her love of horses from reading Rita Mae Brown books. I know who that is! Sneaky Pie Brown! He went on to say she had recently been in a tack store buying boots that were only sold at this one place in Virginia. Rita Mae Brown was in that store. His daughter was too shy to approach her, but afterwards asked the store staff if that was in fact Rita Mae Brown. They said it was, she is frequently in the store and gave his daughter an email address to get in touch. How cool is that!

She did email, explaining that she now has a horse because of the Sneaky Pie Brown books. Rita Mae Brown then invited her to go fox-hunting later in the year! I can't believe this story that I'm hearing!

A woman came, with an equally enormous camera, and they apparently knew each other, and after a brief discussion decided to go elsewhere to photograph the elusive birds.

We had a very nice ride, the trails were in fairly good shape, and ate Oysters at the Woodstock Inn.
Delicious! I haven't had an Oyster in years.
The Woodstock Inn is a magnet for cars, bikes, and horses. Sometimes you just hit the right time and see the most awesome specimens parked right out front. This 1927 Model A, beautifully restored, brought me instantly back to the car that my dear sweet husband's grandmother won in a local lottery, or raffle. She won the brand new car and soon after took her two daughters from Maine to Ottawa and back to visit her brother and his family and her own father. My mother-in-law was about 8 years old at the time. It was truly an adventure for her, and one that she loves to retell.
There was a custom built V-8, with nitro canister installed, and the body work looks like WWII fighter plane fuselage. This bike was incredible. The V-8 is bigger than most muscle cars. I was told it was a 551. Could that be right?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Rainy Saturday - Derby Day!

I can almost hear the grass growing. The horses are getting fat. KC and the Littles are spending their days in the dry paddock. I give them hay in two different locations, and KC seems to boycott the offerings. He's holding out for his favorite place to be: field #2.
While it rained in the morning, I straightened up the house.

The Blacks are really coming along. Having them separated from each other has been the best thing we've done. She is easy to catch in the field. Skip is so happy with having his own little princess to call his own. And she feels like a princess, too. She's getting soft and sweet. Both are picking up their feet with no issue. Time to get the farrier out for their hoof trimming.
We've had 12 days of overcast and rain. The sun finally came out, but didn't stay out for that long. Need to mow grass, and we got the yard (front, sides, and Max's field) done. He mowed the side and Max's field while I was at the grocery, I did the front and right side when I got back.

We went to the BigOrangeBox to get twenty-five 60lbs bags of play sand to bolster the round pen footing. We also stocked up on suet. The birds are addicted to it! We spread sand in light rain.

And the Kentucky Derby winner is Nyquist, who had been favored to win. We grilled out and had dinner on the bricks, with a fire.

It rained in the evening, too, cutting short our outside enjoyment.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cowboy Up! (Again)

We've been consistent with how we deal with the Blacks. Like clock-work, a real methodical treatment: Grooming, feet picking, some ground work. Always starting and ending with grooming.

He did all of this, then put the Wintec saddle on Alli. It is really a little big on her, but it still works. Then he got on!
Another HUGE milestone! He stayed up fairly long, we fed her cookies, and when he finally did get off she was shocked that he was leaving!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day!

Yesterday we dodged rain, mostly, but today we wake up to rain. It wasn't 'cold' but it was raining. A lot.

He was busy, busy, busy. He did so many different things:

truck repair
He also installed the alternator, which was delivered today. He replaced the battery cable, the green stub, that had disintegrated and failed.

He climbed up on the roof for gutter cleaning and did a little bit of tree trimming, then moved into the house for electrical work in the kitchen, where he installed a phone charging station with two portals.

I did house-wifey things and had dinner with his mom.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April's Last Day

We opted to ride today because tomorrow the weather won't be cooperative. He's also ordered an alternator for the truck, hoping to have that delivered and installed.

It has been so dry around here, we haven't had rain in nearly two weeks. So much for that 'April showers' thing. The grass, nearly $300 in Orchard grass seed, has not sprouted. Dry and dusty.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday - Catch-up

We spent the evening doing things that didn't get done on the weekend, and dealing with the ailing truck. He thinks it is the battery cable, on one of the batteries. The battery pillar is compromised, so he is going to get a replacement cable.

He mowed grass and worked with Beau in the round pen. After that we put Beau out with KC in #2. The grass is so much better out there and the two of them fell into a eating fest. I did the usual Monday night stuff: Kitty litter box clean out and trash to the road. Dinner on the bricks. A soft, gentle night.

After our dinner and their dinner, he put my old saddle on Beau. He's a natural, really. We're getting back the lost time with his attitude. Maybe these two were double-crossed so many times they just can't believe we're doing what is right by them.

Everyone was easy to put out, too. KC and Beau in #2, Skip and his princess, Alli, in #3, and I left the Littles in the dry paddock and barn because Lil Fred is looking a little portly.

After our day yesterday, I just want to get my lunch packed, brush my teeth and hit the hay.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Eventful Sunday

What a beautiful morning!
Our main objective was to ride today, and we did! It was fairly uneventful. I like to say that because I didn't fall off, I wasn't injured, nothing stupid happened. A good ride.

We parked at our horsey club in Marriottsville and he wanted to go to Sykesville, E.W. Beck's specifically. We haven't been there since maybe last September. Sykesville is a sleepy town on the Patapsco River - has a by-pass that takes all the traffic from Main Street - at one time it was a bustling town - with mills and manufacturing plants but a couple fires and Hurricane Agnes in 1972 finished it off. There is a NEW skate park where the manufacturing plant was located, which was never rebuilt - turned into a park. Now it is getting a skate park, with a concrete half-pipe and everything. A major improvement.

We ride from the state park, and cross right on the river bridge and rail road tracks at the county line, then through a small parking lot, between buildings, then onto the sidewalk (which is pretty darn slim!)
to the first intersection, to E.W. Beck's restaurant - tie up at the Police station.

We had a nice 'brunch' - I had French toast, he had fish tacos. Yum! We met so many people, coming and going, fishermen, families with kids and dogs; everyone was enjoying this gorgeous day!

This is where the exciting part comes: on the way back our truck 'died' on I-70 where the speed limit is SEVENTY - on the side of the road with the boys in the trailer, across from the county fair grounds - YIKERS! He had thought to bring the 'jump box' and if you don't have one I HIGHLY ADVISE YOU GET ONE and after a couple minutes on the box the truck started again - He thinks it is the alternator - the truck is a 2004 Ford F-350 Turbo Diesel Crew Cab 4X4 long-bed. A honking big truck, parked on the side of the road, with a horse trailer, with traffic blasting by. It just turned over 50,000 miles and he recently replaced the Turbo; special Sunday delivery and three trips to two different dealers, he fixed it himself in the driveway.

I was all ready to call U.S. RIDER, but he said 'let the jump box do its job' and in a couple minutes the truck did start again. U.S. RIDER is the insurance company we have that will tow your truck AND trailer - and find overnight accommodations for your horses, too, if necessary. For $89 a year it is priceless. A few years ago there was a local news thing about a truck/trailer breakdown on the Capital Beltway: the tow company would tow the truck but not the trailer, so they took the truck, left the horse trailer on the side of the road, and the woman was hand-grazing the horses in the median strip on the beltway and traffic was backed up to East Jabippy gawking at the horses in the grassy area. We got U.S. RIDER right after that!

The jump box is priceless, and I recommend everyone having one. You can jump your own car, no need for anyone else 'helping' you. No stranger needs to assist you, you can do this yourself. Don't need another car to pull up to yours. Comes with its own jumper cables. It really works. He had the foresight to put it in the truck before we left the house.

Now he thinks this new problem is the alternator, maybe. We just got TWO new batteries for this beast in October; this was the first batteries replacement since we got the truck in 2004. We bought it from a 'no haggle' dealer in Ellicott City on the internet. Coincidentally, he bought his Volt from the same guy 10 years later because the dealership had turned from Ford to Chevy in the meantime. And it was the same deal - on the internet - come get it, good bye. We tend to keep cars for 20 years or so, because that's how we roll. It could maybe be a battery cable. We'll see.

We wanted to get back by 5:30 or so, to take care of everyone, and get to Baltimore, to the Hippodrome, to see Dream Theater.
I ran around like a crazy person while he tried to deal with the ailing truck, putting the batteries on the electric slow-charger. Got everyone fed, then situated for the night, fresh water, and off we went.

What a day! What a night!