Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mouse in the House

Actually the mouse is in the barn. Irene would never put up with a mouse in her house.
But the mouse has made quite a house for himself. On the shelf, in the radio.
The Blacks are progressing, slowly, with their ‘gentling’. I think having them in for three days during the blizzard really showed them what the ‘good life’ is all about. A luxury once tasted becomes a necessity. And they most adamantly want in with the others every night since.
He decided that we need to up the ante with their training, and that includes playing, non-stop, the ‘spooky noises’ CD as presented by Clinton Anderson. I know it literally saved my butt from hitting the ground with KC. The noises are varied, all happening in real life, and moves their knowledge base forward. He plans on installing speakers in their stalls, too.

I had some 'gas points' that expire tomorrow, so I filled up.
Haven't seen these prices since the '70s!

He got the CD out and tried to put into the radio, which is actually a car stereo/CD/Tape player. There was CD already in, which came out, but the new CD wouldn’t play. He wiped the CD, put it back in, wouldn’t play. Again and again. Wouldn’t play.

Last summer he built a surround for the radio to keep it bolted to the shelf he had made, so the horses would stop pulling the radio off the ledge. It’s not going anywhere.
While he was trying to trouble-shoot the problem, he saw a mouse run onto the ledge, I saw it, too! It quickly ran all the way around the walls, on the ledge, hopped down the lower wall braces, across the doorway and into the pyramid of tools, rakes and shovels. In a flash, gone.
The mouse had made a home in the back of the radio, filling up the warm cavity with debris, paper shreds, and all manner of stuff and stuffing. Setting up a cozy home in the secure and warmed radio, it was a palace!

The radio is now off, this having become a barn fire hazard. No news, no music, no noise. No CD.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ally is a Nurse!

A few weeks ago, he managed to ‘persuade’ Beau into taking the de-wormer. The first attempt that evening he got more on Beau’s face and jaw, but the second attempt was successful. Ally would not allow it, not one single bit.

This afternoon, in front of him, she picked up the slightly used plunger from the ledge in her stall and managed to suck down the de-wormer in the tube. This is awesome! She is self-medicating!

Both of them, but particularly Beau, have a serious case of rain rot. Which is a fungus. Which can be treated by the de-wormer. If the de-wormer is actually ingested. And now they both are done!

Today was a busy day, with Sara the Farrier coming out at 10a, needing hay and bags of saw dust. I went to the grocery store first thing, getting that out of the way, and doing a load of laundry.
To get Sara into the interior dry paddock, he had to blow snow that remains in the parking lot and everywhere else. He worked really hard on getting this done on Friday night, and now it is passable. It also allows the boys more access to space.

Sara came in with her truck and trailer, no problem. The boys were good, I left the Blacks in the stalls, and too, so they could be spectators to this chore that one day will include them. The boys were good, standing like statues while she put the red-hot and smoking shoes on their feet. The sounds, smells, and movements were totally sinking in.
I picked up eight bales of hay and a dozen bags of saw dust. Surely the saw dust will last for the rest of the season. We are keeping everyone in, every single night, since January 22.

He managed to empty the manure spreader, we filled it up again, and he dumped the spreader again. The barn is neat and clean, fresh shavings for everyone.

This is Max, showing his one trick he knows: holding a biscuit on his nose. He's managed to catch it twice but mostly he just holds it on his nose until you say he can have. it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday, Still Not Back to Normal

School and Federal Government remain closed.

While running errands a tree had just fallen in front of the van I was behind. You can't do the Limbo under this one! Dusk is encroaching and pretty soon we won't be able to see this at all.
The guy driving in front of me, and the two in the white van coming towards us rocked this large tree using the guard rail as a fulcrum and made it passable using one lane. There are not lights in this tunnel of trees.

By the time I returned there were three county boys with their lights on, the tree was cut up and on the other side of the guard rail. All clear.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday - SNOW DAY!

Bright and sunny, and the snow is still there. Our road is still not exactly clear, but traffic is making it slowly past our house. Traffic is sparse.
He's been snow-blowing non-stop for hours, trying to make 'paths' for the horses, Max and for us. It's not easy!

We then went over to his mother's place to shovel her sidewalks and driveway. Unfortunately the cul-de-sac she lives on was not plowed. Got my RAV4 stuck!
Used the snow blower to get us unstuck, and the worst part was my jacket, while lifting the hot snow-blower into the back of the car, melted and also onto the long-sleeved t-shirt I had on! I love that coat, but now is in the rubbish with the t-shirt. Casualty of Snowzilla.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunny Sunday!

Another day of working on shoveling and snow blowing. We got the cars moved around, the driveway open, the exterior stairwell drift has been cleared out, open areas in the paddock and field #1, and a decent track in Max's field. (he loves it!)

The Federal Government is closed tomorrow, along with all the schools and everything else. We only lost power twice, for a minimal amount of time. No need for the generator.

The road is open, but only has a lane and a half. Not really ready for prime time. And the moon is full, glistening off the sparkling snow. The wind has diminished and it really is nice out, but still cold, cold, cold.

Everyone was glad to get out, but they were just as glad to return to their stalls for the night.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Snow, Continued

It snowed all night, the wind was howling, and snowed all day long. It got dark, snowed like mad, lightened up, still snowed. All day long.
Our road, a numbered state route, looked like an open field. He worked really, really hard, snowblowing all day long, until dark.

He cut open areas in the field and in the dry paddock. Even under the overhang had to be cleared, the wind blew the snow everywhere. Even in the barn aisle there was a three foot high drift, the hay-minder was covered in snow, the snow had blown into hay stored in the stall.

The horses have been in the barn since Friday at around 6:00 p.m. They are glad to be in, out of the drifting snow and frigid temperatures.

Friday, January 22, 2016


We haven't had any measurable snow this season. So our inaugural snow has to measured with a yard-stick? Ugh.

I've made it no secret that I really hate snow. Horsekeeping can be a challenge in snow, the deeper it is the worse it is.

We are prepared. We have a snow-blower, two generators, fuel on hand, groceries, feed, electric buckets. It makes for pretty pictures. But I still don't like it. Not. One. Little. Bit.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cold Before The Storm

It was cold overnight, but I had everyone out. They are going to be spending serious blocks of time in the barn this coming weekend, so while they can be out, they are going to be out. The moon is so bright, it is casting shadows like a sunny day.

Gave everyone extra hay in their fields, topped off the electric buckets and called it a night.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Snow Tonight (Pre-View Edition)

Last night we ran errands to get feed and and replacement electric buckets, tonight I went to the grocery store and the gas station. Both places had lines.

Didn't need much at the grocery store, but what I needed I needed. With the impending blizzard, everyone else had the same idea. Tank up, get the gas can filled, and wipe out the bread, milk, eggs, and toilet paper.

While I was throwing hay to the gang, before heading out to the store, it started to snow. Just a little spit and flake. When I left the store, after standing in the check-out line for 20 minutes, the snow was really coming down, it was getting icy and dicey, and sticking to everything.

At home I was able to sweep the snow off the bricks; it has been so cold, continues to be cold, that it sweeps up like flour.

I had been thinking about letting everyone stay out overnight, because the wind is flat and the low is around 25 or so. But I don't want them out in the snow, getting wet. So, once again, they all are in overnight. They've been staying in every single night since Monday night. The Blacks are getting used to being in and being fed in. They expect me to come into their stalls and clean up, replenish the water, put sweet feed in their corner bins and throw hay down. I do this in a methodical way, and they are getting acclimated to my timing and rhythm.

The days are getting longer, but the temperature is getting lower. With the wind chill we've down to single digits overnight and never above freezing during the day.

He wishes we had coats for the Blacks, but getting coats on them would be a dangerous proposition. We'll have to wait until we get the round pen up and training commences.

Monday, January 18, 2016

MartinLutherKing Jr Holiday

Cold, frozen, bright and sunny. Windy!

We're having a 'Freeze Warning' and it is illegal to keep pets outside when it is this cold and windy in the county in which we live. Everyone is staying inside for the night. Cold is one thing. They have Rambo coats, but the wind AND the cold make it really brutal.

Electric, Man!

Shed /garage clean up goes into day #2 - believe me when I say the place was a sight! And it didn't get in that condition in a day, or a week. We worked on getting that place in a state of unorganized, willy-nilly, dangerous condition.

He worked so hard on it, going to the BigOrangeBox a couple, few times for solutions for storage and stowage. It looks great!

Later in the day he installed a fluorescent light fixture we bought over five years ago. It is up and a wonderful addition!

And to top it all off, Beau is a pawer (I don't think that's a real word) when I'm getting ready to feed. He's pawed the gate so aggressively that it is dented badly. While in the stall he paws at the aisle wall.

He was pawing in anticipation of getting fed and got the electric cord for the electric bucket hooked on his fetlock and one more paw and POOF!! before I had a chance to unplug the bucket he had ripped the cord out by its roots and there was a soft POP and a flash, plus water splashed out of the bucket and onto the stall floor.

He'll need a bucket tout de suite because it is not getting any warmer in the near future.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Snow Ride!

When we were putting the horses in the trailer it was snowing like mad, strong flurries. By the time we got on the interstate it had stopped snowing, but was still overcast.

We headed out, the trails were sort of slippery and soft from the rain Friday, but we were dressed for the occasion and weren't in a big hurry. It started snowing as the morning aged.

We stopped for lunch and it was fairly crowded, but not a motorcycle in sight! The snow was still coming down, and I didn't bring anything to cover my saddle with. The snow was sticking to everything but the roadway.

I felt proud of myself for not falling off, and we did find a good many places to pick up the pace in the meadows and woods.

And I fell! Not off the horse, but slid on a wooden trim piece on the walkway back from the bathroom at the Horsey Club! And I know better not to step on wood in this kind of wet weather. Might as well of had my feet roped. I tripped so quickly I didn't have time to do anything but fall. Hit my head, my shoulder, my arm and elbow hit the ground, which squished my ribs, hit my hip and leg. Slammed to the ground. It hurt more than a fall from a horse, which I am practically an expert.

Took the hottest shower and two Advil and watched Downton Abbey.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

This And That Kind Of Day

He decided he was going to clean out the shed/garage - rearranging and adding shelving (3)! and adding a keeper for all the shovels, racks, mops, saws, farm implements and what-nots to the wall. We really gained some floor space!

We ended up with all kinds of different weather, in just the daylight hours! Sunny, warmish, cool, cloudy, smattering of rain, cloudy. With the rain overnight it was soft and muddy.
Round Pen Panels
We're really anxious to start using the round pen, but the footing isn't ready, so we'll have to wait.

When I got back, he had more stuff on the bricks, we'll need another dump run pretty soon.

Today we both cleaned stalls, the house, and visited with my mother-in-law late in the afternoon, early evening.

I decided I would feed the horses and run out to the grocery store. Unfortunately the deli counter was closed so didn't get a few things that we could have enjoyed over the three-day weekend.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Let's Spend The Night Together

Everyone stayed in overnight, not because it was too cold, but because it was raining, wet and muddy. The temperature was pretty mild, but I didn't want any of them outside in that slop. And don't want them tearing up the grass!

Getting the boys in is a snap, getting the Littles in can be aggravating but getting the Blacks in can be a scary task. Their fear factor ramps up and the tractor is still parked in the barn aisle, and all hell can happen. They are getting used to being in, and want to enjoy the good life, dry and pampered. Civilized!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


The wind really picked up, gusting up to 30 mph, so I opted to keep everyone inside for the night. Sounds easy? It would have been, except the tractor is parked in the barn aisle, with the tiller attached, and the manure spreader attached to that. No problem, right? Except for the Blacks.

Did I mention it was also snowing? Flurries, really, but with the blast of wind gusts, it was nearly white-out conditions. The snow was accumulating on the bricks, the cars, gravel, and anywhere the wind placed it.

The boys are easy, they know which stall is whose, but the Blacks, nope. They don't officially have an assigned stall, and it was easier to get them into a stall when the tractor wasn't in the way.

I got the boys in, simple. The Blacks had to wrap their heads around the strategy. He came in, and around, and out, then in, out, around, out, and eventually got into Lil Fred's stall. OK, you can stay there. She had more issues, needed even more time.

Ally got in as far as the newly installed corner feeder, surely she could smell the sweet feed that Beau was rapidly consuming. She tried to get her lips between the bars. Didn't work. With his dinner diminishing, I'm sure she could still smell the feed in Sprite's stall. All the while the Littles were trying to come in, but Ally was repelling their attempts. In and out, around, backing up, in and out, around.

Finally she got herself into Sprites' stall and found the corner feeder. Yea! The Littles got their feed out of the blue pans. Hay all around. Electric buckets filled and plugged in.

They are in for the night. The wind is howling. Going down to single digits if you count the wind chill, which I do. The snow squalls have cleared out and it is bitterly cold, bright stars.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Old Time Religion

Round pen arrived and we are almost in business with the Blacks. Won't take long, they all have a 'come to Jesus' awakening when confronted with the hard way or the easy way. Making the right thing easy, the wrong thing hard, allows them to realize they need to give up the Union card and surrender.
We also need sand, for best footing, but the sand is frozen, because it is darn cold around these here parts!!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Weather Or Not

We thought we'd go riding today, because we didn't do it yesterday. Yesterday was overcast, foggy, wet. We made plans. We didn't ride.

The weather forecast was a little off. It was raining in the morning, which was expected, but it didn't clear up as anticipated. So we didn't ride.

I had things on my to-do list. I actually got most everything done! He 'played' with the Blacks, I did more laundry, and like that, but later in the afternoon he said he was going to the BigOrangeBox to get a mirror for the upstairs bathroom. Do I want to go? No, I want to get hay. OK, we'll go to the Box and swing by to get hay on the way back. But we'll need to take my car. OK.

We did all of these things, and while coming back from getting nine bales of hay it was hailing! Crazy weather. We watched the rain band coming our way, and when it hit, it hit hard!

We not only got the mirror, we picked up a glass shelf, a dual towel rack and a door hook. All matchy-match!

It's going to be a cold, windy night, but everyone will stay outside. The boys will have their blankets on, I'll keep the Littles in the barn aisle, out of the wind, and the Blacks will be on their own. Hay for everyone, electric buckets plugged in.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Time Is All We Need

Today was foggy, from start to finish. No ride time. We went to the grocery store to pick up things for his mother, I did three loads of laundry, mopped the kitchen floor, and other housewifey stuff.

After we got back from his mother's I went to the grocery store and did my own shopping.

It seemed warmer later in the day, and by the time I fed everyone I was positively overdressed for the occasion. The gate post has swollen again so I have to use the chain to secure the dry paddock.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Forward, Onward

Got word that the round pen will be delivered on Monday! This is great news, but we don't know how it will actually be delivered. Since the fencing project was completed we don't have THAT much room for an 18-wheeler to turn around in the parking lot. And the delivery weighs 900 lbs. He does plan to be home, but I don't know what to expect.

After everyone ate, we were at the gate for field #1 and I hadn't yet put hay in the keeper for the Littles. Beau came over for a visit, and the Littles were surrounding us. It was sort of sweet. If there was hay to be eaten, the Littles would have been out of there.

I made a fuss over Sprite and Lil Fred, in front of Beau, and then he allowed me to touch his nose! Then his face, and his neck. I retrieved the metal curry comb from the barn shelf and he allowed me to comb out his neck, and chest, and shoulder, and leg - all on the left side. I tried reaching around to the right side, got some of that, but not enough to brag about.

This is HUGE! He is so soft, and black. I can't wait to trim his ears and mane. His ears look like old-man ears, with hair sprouting out of them, and the hair has a red ending. So does his mane. Red tips. I want to trim them, too, so he looks really black. Like Black Beauty.

When the round pen shows up, it won't be long before I'm allowed to trim anything I want!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bot Flies

We had Bot flies when I was a kid, and actually hadn't seen one in years and years until I noticed the eggs on Skip's legs when he was at Cara's place. I asked her to remove them before we brought him to the boarding barn; we didn't need an outbreak there!

Bot flies look a bit like skinny honey bees. One or several flies will hover around the horse's legs and body and dive in to attach their eggs to the hair strands. Bot flies don't sting like a bee, or bite like a horse fly. They are basically little flying egg laying machines and they dart at the horse repeatedly, attaching each egg to a single hair. If you see one, kill it!

Bot flies don't normally lay eggs around the head and ears, so a fly bonnet won't be much help. One species of bot lays eggs around the horse's nose. It's hard to protect your horse from these. Bots also lay eggs on the horse's mane, legs, shoulders and flanks, so insect repellents and fly sheets may help.

Don't worry that you or the horse will get bit or stung if you swat this fly. More likely you'll be disgusted by a smear of yellowish eggs on your hand or horse. If this happens, wash the eggs off your hands or horse, but don't let them fall where the horse may accidentally ingest them.

There are lots of ideas out there about the best way to remove bot eggs. If there's just a few eggs, you can pick them off with your fingernails. Wiping mineral oil or petroleum jelly over the eggs is supposed to suffocate them, killing them before they hatch. This leaves a greasy mess, but is harmless to the horse—and possibly the bot eggs too. Kerosene and diesel are not good for your horse, so don't use these. Sponging the eggs with warm water is supposed to pull the eggs off as if the horse is licking it's coat, but I've never seen this to be effective. Pulling a block of pumice stone over the areas where eggs have been laid helps pull them off the hair. In 4-H in the mid-60s we used a straightened coat hanger with a cotton swab dunked in alcohol, lit, and then burned them off. Now I can't believe my horse stood for that, and that we actually did that.

The easiest way to pull the eggs off is with a knife blade, special bot knife or scissor blade. I just open my scissors wide and use one blade to scrape the eggs off. Be careful to keep the blade almost flat against the horse's skin. You don't want to accidentally cut your horse or yourself. Pull the blade down in the direction of the hair growth and the eggs come off easily. Sweep up any dropped eggs and put them in the garbage where horse's won't eat them. Or burn them.

De-worming medication that contains Ivermectin or Moxidectin will kill internal bot larvae. These medications also kill other internal parasites, so can be used in place of your regular product. Give your horse this medication after the first hard frost that kills the insects in the autumn. Administer it again in early spring to kill any remaining bot larvae in your horse's system before they are expelled with the manure and develop into mature flies that will begin the bot's life cycle again.

He's been working on the Blacks, and part of this is getting rid of the eggs on their legs.

Monday, January 4, 2016


Christmas night we watched 'Frozen' with my sister, her husband, him and my aunt. The three of them had never seen it before and my aunt said she had seen it but kept confusing 'The Princess Bride' with 'Frozen'. I love both those movies.

Today is our anniversary. Twenty-eight years. We got married in a snow storm, and that day government and schools opening was delayed a couple hours. I had taken the day off as a vacation day, anticipating getting married, but he had failed to do that. I had moved the ‘date’ around and maybe he thought I’d do it again? We had to wait for the court house to open because of the snow delay, then rushed to his job to inventory the company’s assets for tax purposes. The proceedings went so quickly I didn't even take my coat off, getting married in my down parka and blue snow boots.

Today it is cold, and by cold I mean freezing. But no snow. The springtime weather of Christmas is gone, replaced by real-feel winter climate. Tonight our game plan was to try to get the Blacks into the barn for their first overnight stay. It is predicted to get down to single digits with a stiff wind.

I got all the electric buckets out of the shed, cleaned out, filled and plugged in. Straightened out the stalls, he put fresh sawdust in there, too.

After feeding everyone we started our ‘Keystone Kops’ version of moving equines. He moved the tractor out of the barn, tied Sprite and Fred to the aisle hay net, then persuaded Beau into Sprite’s stall. He immediately started to panic, ate some of the fresh shavings, but I threw a couple flakes of hay into the stall and he settled down.

Next was Ally, who is very suspicious but doesn’t want to be left out. With a couple laps around the manure spreader parked in the aisle, she found herself in Fred’s stall. She also wanted to panic, but a couple flakes of hay were like a pacifier for her, too.

We left them to ‘rest’ but came out later for a check of the water buckets. For some reason he thought now would be a good time to try to worm them! He did actually succeed with getting the plunger between Beau’s pursed lips, but with Ally it was going to be a no-go. We feel this is HUGE progress.

Cut the lights out and left them for their long winter’s night.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sunday - First Ride of the New Year!

Finally, got a ride in. I did keep my coughing to a minimum, had plenty of tissues with me. And it was cold. The sun was bright, not a cloud in the sky.

I wore two shirts, a sweatshirt, a Melton wool vest, my Carhartt coat and flannel-lined jeans, heavy socks and insulated Ariat Boots. Suede lined work gloves. I was ready.

Had a nice ride - there were so many people out, but only saw four horses. Saw Glen from across the tracks and river, yelled out our howdies and HappyNewYears, he was alone and the other three were with about 10 dogs on the pipeline, said they were the Hernwood Hounds. Quite the assortment pack of no particular breed or size. No one was at the LOMH.

So many walkers out, it was great! I thought we would be all alone, but was glad to see people, with kids and dogs, out in the park and using this great area. Saw a Big Buck near Driver Road at Ivy Hill, a Buzzard spooked the horses right in the main area of the park. They were jazzed for some reason and the Buzzard came right across the trail, no more than 20 feet above, Skip did a roll-back.

We had a nice lunch, and The Woodstock Inn was fairly busy, but only one motorcyclist ventured out on this cold windy day. Later on he made dinner again. Leftovers, which is fine, perfect for me. Clear that stuff out, hate to waste food.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Year, New Resolutions

Last year is history, this year is brand new. My old list had lots of things finished, resolved or over-ruled. Some things were not addressed and will move forward. Maybe this is the year?

One resolution I want to move forward is the camping promise. Last year we camped two nights. That's it. We didn't even do that until Labor Day Weekend, and were planning on camping in October, but that got rained out. Well, really it was flooded out. This year I think we need to start earlier and get more nights out under the stars.

We also added two young horses to the herd. Getting them finished, rideable, would be the best thing for them, for us. All the other things that get done, planned or not, will just be icing on that cake.

Friday, January 1, 2016

First Day

I have to confess - I have a head cold. I came down with this thing last night. Sneezing, coughing, can't taste or smell. Sore throat. I don't feel like doing anything, so I'm doing very little.

I put a load of laundry in and he wanted to go to Mt Airy, so we did, but the feed store was closed, and I didn't have the strength to then go to the grocery, so we went home and I went back to bed with Max.

He had a couple things he wanted to do, but these were not things on my 'honey-do' list. He also had a cold, starting it earlier than I did, but he was home all week and I had to work a few days. He got a couple things done, like fixing the stockade fence gate but mostly hanging out with the Blacks. He can lift Beau's feet! This is HUGE!

My honey-do list consisted of indoor work, just the little things that need doing from our ongoing house renovation projects, but nothing vitally important or necessary. We have the materials and tools to finish, but these can wait. It really is more important to work with the Blacks.

I'm waiting for the round pen. And a sunny day.

Happy New Year!!