Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Oh How I Hate Snow!

Here I was thinking I'd gotten over my loathing of winter, but it turns out it's snow I hate.  It's here, and it's horrible.  So hard to get chores done.  Not to mention not being able to get the truck out.  At least my lovely little car can handle the driveway so far.

Solitude, that's another bummer.  My sister has always been the only person I talk to daily, and she's not around anymore, calling me all the time with weird stories or to complain about the weather or plan summer adventures.  Or talk about horses. Hah, that's most of what we did!

Do you have any big adventures, or little adventures planned this year?  I'm not sure what we're going to do.  Not much holding me back, other than my horse and my energy, and I can work with/around those.  But I need some ideas!

I'd like to go to Escure Ranch in the early spring and do a weekend, maybe long weekend camping trip.  Beautiful there when it's green.  But the ticks!

Boy, how I wish Tonka was still here.

Later in the year we'll probably do a weekend at Heyburn, they have such a nice camping area with corrals.

I've never been to Farragut.  Well, not since my daughter was a baby.  And never with horses.  I'd like to check that out.  And Riverside up in Spokane, now that they have horse camping...  I haven't ridden there since we had our Mustang Club rides years ago.

I would love to go on a week-long trip down on the Snake River in Hell's Canyon, but I don't like the idea of just taking off in a new place I don't know.  My sister's friend offered to take us.  I might have to take her up on that.  She's a sweetheart.

For my sister's birthday in July we'll probably camp out at her favorite spot, where Tonka had his accident and then died.  Which is hard for me, now for more reason than one...  But it is beautiful out there.  Sometimes you hear wolves and elk calling.  Maybe no elk in July.  But wildflowers galore.

Today it's snowing hard again.  I've had to cancel my farrier 2 weeks in a row because of my driveway, so I'm going to trim Sawyer's hooves.  Might work on the wee donkey as well, if I feel up to it.  Then maybe I'll rearrange the barn.  I need to do something other than sit in the house.  I'm getting seriously depressed.  We're overstaffed and slow at work so I only worked one day last week - I'm just about to go crazy.  I'd love it if the weather was good - I'd be outside constantly.  But this being stuck in the house stuff is dumb.

Seriously, tell me about your fun plans for the year, or even just things you'd like to do, even if you aren't going to do it.  Or blog about it and send me the link.  I'm needing a pick-me-up.  And maybe you are too?  Just writing about it here made me feel a bit better.

Now, kind of a dumb aside - I'm digging this new vertical mouse.  Maybe you all know about them, but I was looking for a trackball mouse because I thought that was the good ergonomic mouse, and I stumbled on this vertical mouse.  I'm using it for the first time today and it's the bomb-diggity.  I want to get one for work now.  (I have no idea what those 2 buttons above the thumb are for, you click like a normal mouse.)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

More Blather

So the sleep doctor thinks I have narcolepsy. How weird is that?!?! I knew that it wasn't always the sudden dropping off to sleep that the TV would have us think, and I had even considered it as a possibility, but dismissed it. Nah, not me. But he seems pretty convinced. I can't do the sleep studies they need until May because they're all booked up. Unless they get an cancellation.

On one hand I wish I'd known 20 or 30 years ago, and on the other hand, what good would it have done? I'm not sure I'll tolerate the drugs well, and I might have used it as an excuse to do and be less... But what if the drugs are fine, and I could have been awake all this time??? Ah well. Life, you know? It is what it is.

I never would have thought I needed a sleep study. I sleep just fine! Really, it's my super power. If only my doctor had listened a little better when I told him how tired I was. We tested other things. It's not like we weren't looking, we just didn't pursue and he didn't ask more questions. It got worse after the car accident and I just couldn't ignore it anymore.

Weird.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Whole Food

Since my head injury/migraines and even more so while my sister was sick, especially toward the end, I haven't cared about food.  I'd just eat whatever was handy and easy.  I wasn't cooking, and my poor kid was eating a lot of Hot Pockets (not that he minded).  I even got to where I was eating fast food, which I really hadn't done much in years and years.  I tried to choose somewhat healthy crap food, but it was still crap food.  I was back up to my highest weight ever, and weaker than ever because I'd been babying my injuries.

I was ready to make a change, and my fall from my horse was a good catalyst.  Then I got some more inspiration from my Blogger buddy from Health and Life at the Rough String, and off I went.  I'm not going to endorse a certain method or diet or anything, but I'm going to say eating real, whole foods is worth it!  I even cook breakfast every day (and manage to get out the door for work on time).  I have been a die-hard cereal eater for life, anything else for breakfast - just the idea made me nauseous.  Today I had cod and kale.  I'm not eating sugar, grains or milk products, and no soy or legumes, but I am eating lots of meat, veggies, some fruit, nuts and lots of healthy fats - basically paleo/keto.  No weight loss yet but I think my dimensions are changing slightly.  Maybe I'm building muscle without trying.  Certainly chores have been a little harder lately. :)

It's helped the whole family eat better.  Liam has been enjoying the foods of my labors too, and his mood has improved.  He doesn't complain much that there isn't a ton of junk food in the house (I do cook him some noodles or potatoes sometimes) and he gets creative and makes himself a smoothie for dessert now that we're using the Nutri-bullet more often.  John has chosen a healthier diet too, but not the same as mine.  We don't eat together often during the week, and even on the weekends we generally do separate breakfast and lunch, so this works just fine.

My energy levels really boosted the first week or two (the weather was better too) and now they're pretty blah again...  I'm going to fine tune my diet more with a nutritionist.  I'm also going to see a sleep doctor next week.  I'm not sure if I have some sort of chronic fatigue or if it might be narcolepsy or what...  It'll be interesting to see what they say.  I still haven't been told what the results of my home sleep study were, except that I needed a referral to a sleep doctor and another couple sleep studies.  I know I don't have sleep apnea.

I dug out the laptop from the spare room, and I'm loving blogging on a keyboard rather than my phone!  I missed real typing.  This could be a gamechanger for me.  :)  Now, if only I could charge and print wirelessly. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Fowl Winter

As it has in so many other places, winter has decided to grace us with its presence.  A couple days before the big freeze and bad weather, I took in these 3 hens, which had been running loose fending for themselves.  They were so hungry.  I wonder if they would have made it if they hadn't had food and shelter once it got cold.

My mom gave me this teeny coop just a couple days before I brought the hens home.  I actually wasn't planning on keeping it, it's so small, but it turned out it came in handy. They'll only have to live here until I can integrate them in with the ducks and move their tiny coop into the duck enclosure.  I didn't have help when they got here, and now it's frozen to the ground. For now it's keeping them plenty warm and they seem happy.

The ducks didn't know what to think of them at first.  It was pretty cute.

They've already given us four eggs, despite the cold and dark weather and their recent stress. Good girls!  Unlike the ducks, who have been taking an extended vacation. 

This one below is Rose.  I think the other two are Cotton (I forget why) and Delilah.  I left the naming up to the menfolk.  I had a little hand in it, or they might have been Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.

Below are my beautiful quackers, enjoying some sun during a break in the snow.  Shadow, Sybell, and Zorro, from left to right.  Sybell has pretty white eyeliner, if you look closely.  Zorro has a white feather on her shoulder now.  I don't know why.  They've all changed a bit over time.

Sybell, Shadow, and Zorro.  Ducks are so loud!  I didn't really realize just how much louder they are than chickens until these nice quiet hens came.

Well Hello!  No, I didn't have any treats.  Darn.

I love their snow beaks.  Shadow, in the back below, is the most timid, and she bobs her head a lot when approached. Like bowing or curtsying politely.  I don't know what it means...  I bet someone studies duck-speak and could tell us. 

Today we had snow, snow, and more snow, and it's much colder.  Huckleberry loves it!  He keeps asking to go outside and then coming back in covered in snow.

The horses don't seem to mind too much.  I'm sure they'd prefer the cold without the precip.

I like how Scout and Bella are so often parallel in posture.  And they share nicely.  I don't have to worry about spacing hay.
I've let all horse work go for a bit.  The weather is just too yucky.  If I have to wear ski gloves and still my fingers are hurting from the cold, it's just too cold.

I hope everyone is weathering their weather well.  At least we know it isn't forever!

Monday, February 04, 2019

A New Obsession

I had to take a few days away from the horses. Three whole days, now that I think back. Terrible headache with all the extras. I wasn't very functional.

Anyway, I was able to talk on the phone and do research on the internet and eat.

I think we're going to get a yak! Or maybe more than one...

Gosh, where to start? I'm kind of on a food evolution as well. Looking into which things I want to grow/raise here at home, so we're eating healthier and not supporting inhumane and unhealthy practices. So I have been looking at cattle. Because I know I like beef. But I also know I don't like grass fed beef, which is what I decided I was going to have to make myself eat.


Enter the yak, which it turns out tastes very good, and is grass fed. You do have to cook it correctly because it is very lean and can be tough if overcooked. Same for grass-fed beef. Turns out yak is healthier in other ways, I forget though. Maybe more of the good cholesterol and less of the bad.

Mainly... They're cute! And gentle, easy on fences, excellent oxen or pets if raised right. They can be milked (not much yield) and their fiber is semi-precious. One person said it pays for her hay every year.

So I think we're going to buy a steer now, butchered. Although I wish I could bring him home and get to know him, he's ready to eat now.

In the spring the ranch will have babies that can be raised as bottle babies, which is how you bond with them to make them into pets or oxen. I feel like that's almost unethical, taking one from mama at 2 weeks old, but I want our little one to be totally tame. We'll breed her when she's old enough, and I'll milk her, but also she'll be a pack animal and I can ride her! Talk about fun! We may also get a steer to finish when we get her, I'm not sure. I need to find out more.

I'd like to have a small herd eventually, but we'll see.

We are also adding 3 hens to our family, hopefully today. I was a little hesitant, but heck, why not? They needed a home, since their owner had to suddenly move into an apartment. Apparently they're so friendly they'll jump right into your lap. I can't wait to meet them.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Backward Steps and Yawning!

Wow, yesterday was interesting. Halla was not with me in the round pen. She was having trouble slowing down her walk and trot even on line, but since she's more relaxed (sometimes) when at liberty, we moved on.

That definitely didn't help. I had a horse that couldn't get herself under control. I could get a trot from her, but only because she was tired. Walking was not really an option.  She was having trouble changing directions, trying to switch back to the left, taking off again when things didn't go right. She wasn't seeing my cues. She was just in robo-drive. I even walked out of the round pen at one point while she was circling. That got her attention. I took a moment to think, gain my composure. Let her do the same and breathe.

Eventually she was able to walk calmly in both directions. We were still having some hiccups with directional changes but rather than having her get upset again I haltered her and we walked and worked on other things while she cooled down. She was too worn out for more of that crap. It took her a long time to cool down and dry out.
We did a lot of quiet but sometimes mentally hard things that we've been working on lately, and we made progress!

Still not cool with the mounting process... That one is requiring some creativity on my part, and a lot of patience. We are making progress, but she's still stiff.

By the end I had this horse. Thank goodness.
Relaxed, reaching out, interacting.

Then we both took a nap. That was mentally and physically exhausting. 

I went out later and we had a short session and it went very well. No round pen. Calm, interactive, no fuss. 

Juniper really wanted some attention so I took her for a short walk.

She's the cutest. 
 A friend of mine (my equine dentist) wants us to get her trains dto pack ao she can pack water and equipment up to places on her land that aren't accessible to motorized equipment. Wouldn't that be fun? She's working on a Palouse native prairie reclamation project. Totally worthwhile too!

Halla watched us the whole time but pretended she wasn't waiting for us when we got back.

While Juniper and I were having a good butt-scratching session Halla came up and joined in. She stood there and yawned and yawned and touched my hand and arm and yawned some more, then started specifically requesting scratches. She's never come up and relaxed and yawned with me like that. I think we made some huge progress yesterday. That's a big, big deal.