Thursday, January 31, 2008

My horse is a BAD BOY. I was getting ready to look for my snowshoes but decided to look out toward the horses to see how bad the snow is. He was chasing Clara, biting her, and just not leaving her alone. Bella was getting in on it a bit too. I hurried out there, yelled at him and he stopped. It took me a while to catch him, he was being a wild boy. My fault for not playing with him enough. I finally caught him and took stock of the situation. Had to figure out where to put everyone... I decided to put him with Mack and Soxy, then I can have the tiny pen and the small pen to keep Bella and Clara separate. On the way into the other pasture we had to go through a ditch. The snow was up to his belly! I didn't have my camera at that point unfortunately. Then Mack ran him and ran him, while I cheered him on.

Look what he did to poor Clara's eye and ear:
Her other eye has a broken blood vessel near it, and who knows what else is there that I can't see under her fur.

Mack is trying to be an appaloosa:Soxy IS an appaloosa, but she's spottier today:
Tonka was being ostracised, the big jerk:

He looks skinny today with his fuzzies plastered down:
My little visitor:

I'm glad I don't use this gate often:
Bella belle, looking slim too, other than the belly:
The hens know the good place to hang out on a day like today:
Yesterday, in the process of removing the van from the ditch next to my driveway (see yesterday's photo), I lost my fence. Just one post, but I don't know if I can put a new one in. I'm hoping to have John try it later. He says he can drive a T-post through anything. So hopefully Bella and Tonka won't be confined to the small pen for long. They're sharing with Clara the heifer, and they all seem to get along well, but at feeding time there can be some kicking of the cow. Not very nice.

We already had too much snow, thank you very much, but this morning we woke up to another 6 inches or more. And this heavy snowfall is supposed to continue through most of the day. With wind. So not only do we have a whole lotta snow coming down, it's drifting too.

I've got to find my snowshoes so I can go feed. Seriously. I am not making that long trek out to Soxy and Mack at the grain bins without snowshoes. Not only would it wear me out, but I'm not sure I even can walk in snow that deep. Actually, it's a little bit fun, roughing it... If only John didn't insist that he has to go to town today. If he doesn't it's going to cost us a lot of money. But if he does, well, bad things could happen. If he can even get to the highway. I imagine our road may be impassable if the plow hasn't come through yet, which it probably hasn't. Maybe I'll hike out there in my snowshoes and check it out. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sorry, not much time to type, but here are some pictures of my world today. (The picture of Bella is kind of awkward, but look at that belly!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Here are a few pictures from my front yard. Just look at that forbidding sky. This would be a lot of the reason why you aren't hearing much about time spent with the horses. The weather is not fun right now. Pretty, but not fun. As we speak a good part of my driveway has completely disappeared under snow drifts caused by the high winds. I'll try to get some more pics to share tomorrow. The wind is making some neat snow sculptures and the horses clatter when they walk because of snow and ice balls hanging from their legs. They do have shelter, I'm not inhuman. They just don't choose to stay in all the time.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tracey tagged me! I don't know if I can possibly come up with 7 things that I haven't already told the world, but I'll give it a try.

1. I am a freak. I grew an extra bone in my ankle when I was 11 or 12 or so. It just kind of pokes out above my ankle bone. Not very big, but an obstacle when I shave. And a pain today because I had a lapse in judgment and went out to feed in mud boots with no socks on. Chafed all the skin off my little extra bone...

2. I lived in 16 houses before I turned 18. Add 6 more since then for a total of 22. That I can remember anyway. I wasn't a military kid.

3. I'm 30 and still don't know what I want to do with my life. Actually to be more accurate, I don't know what to do that I can physically continue to do for a long time and that will allow me to take time off all summer and any other time my kids are at home. Something that doesn't include working with kids. Because I'm just not patient enough for that.

4. I'm a horrible gardener. Let's not even talk about last year's wasted money and effort...

5. I haven't been to a concert in at least 5 years. Going to go to one in March though (Ingrid Michaelson)! Bands I've seen: Judas Priest, Scorpions, Rush, Nine Inch Nails, STP, Megadeth, Metallica, The Black Crowes, Sarah McLachlan, Lisa Loeb (not quite on purpose), 3 bands at a concert I don't remember too well... Bare Naked Ladies, saw Santana briefly at Jazzfest in New Orleans, Stomp (if that can be considered a concert - LOVED it), Green Day before they were famous. Violent Femmes THREE times in the FRONT ROW. John's still bitter about that one, the bass player made him jealous. And Della, he was checking me out, and that pick was for me, you thieving unmentionable! Hee hee. Good times!

6. I used to sleep with ET every night.

7. I have amazing organizational skills. Hence the carpet tape in my underwear drawer, the embroidery thread in my dish cupboard, the seamstress' measuring tape under my bed... But I know where they all are! (After thinking about it for a minute in the case of the carpet tape...)
Sorry I haven't been here lately, it's been an odd week...

So, not a whole lot new with the mustangs, except that Bella has started to build a bag. (Bag=Udder). Pretty exciting. She might foal in about 6 weeks. Or whatever. Horses have their own schedule. So we're going to try to get ready for it now. I got started on the fence work, haven't started cleaning out the stalls at all. My good wheelbarrow has a flat.

Last night Bella gave me a scare, she didn't come in when I fed. I had to go out and get her. She was fine. I think she'd been sleeping and didn't realize I was feeding. When I got out there she looked like she'd just gotten up, was having a good shake. Glad I didn't find a baby on that cold ground!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This isn't really all about the horses except that I was going to fill troughs today. We have no water! I don't know if the pump or the pipes are frozen or what... It did get down to -8 last night. The weird thing is it's been colder than that before and we didn't have this problem. We put a heater on full blast in the pumphouse, and we'll see what that gets us. Luckily the troughs still have a fair amount of water in them. I might just have to keep the de-icers turned off part of the time so it doesn't all steam away. Here's hoping this resolves soon!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bella went out on a big long walk today. We didn't go five miles or anything, just around the place, but we took our time and toodled around and she had to put up with me taking pictures constantly.

First we walked up to the house, Liam came out and I asked him to get his sister to bring the camera. Then we went out to the field and explored while waiting. I sat down on the table that Katia uses to mount when riding bareback, and Bella tickled my eye with her breath. No child with camera, so into the front yard where I could just barely reach a window with my whackin' stick (more commonly called a handy stick or carrot stick). Tap tap tap. Bella didn't like that in conjunction with the propane grill she was trying to come to terms with, and she did dance around a little. Got her straightened back out, facing the scary stuff, and tap tap tapped again. Finally got a camera and took her picture in the front yard. Isn't she fuzzy?

We continued on down the driveway and found the trailer! How neat! She was a bit wary, took her time and sniffed, and eventually touched the wheel well. What a good girl. In this picture you see my stick, my camera case, and my lead rope all in one hand. I wouldn't have chanced that if she wasn't such a good, steady girl. By the way, this is the first time I've used the stick with her because I kept forgetting it at my sister's house. She acted like we've used it all along, taking it for what it was - an extension of my arm - either moving when driven or enjoying a rub with the end of the stick, or just ignoring it.

I went to the back and opened it up, expecting her to then remember her not-so-fun experience of being hauled home in there. If she thought it was really scary, she didn't let on. She was again curious. I tried to get her to line her body up against the open door, but instead she offered to go in a couple times. I had to stop her since the trailer isn't hitched. I like to introduce them to the trailer that way, so I'm not tempted to rush things. The next thing we'll work on is getting her to position herself right up against a wall, so when we trailer load she won't be uncomfortable and feel that she needs to move into MY space. She reminds me of a pony in this picture:

Next we headed into the round pen, walked around, sniffed the fence, went back out. The sawhorses are still out there from when we built it, and she had to investigate those.

Here we're down by the creek, where coyotes and deer often come through. No tracks there today, probably all filled in by snow in the big wind last night.
I thought these next two pictures were cute. She was really wanting to graze, so she dug a little hole and got her nose all snowy.

Now check out the depth of this snow drift! She didn't hesitate at all to walk through it when I asked her to. Notice that when I asked her to stop she just let her right front hoof sit on top of the snow. Funny girl. I think she'd just noticed the horses across the highway. Or more likely saw something I didn't even know was there. These mustangs notice everything.
We went into the hay field where the snow was easier to deal with and she got to eat some tasty dead grass. Yum.
At this point she was so totally unconcerned that I was thinking we ought to head for a walk down the road. That would have meant leaving my kids with no supervision though, which isn't an option for at least a couple more years. So we called it a day. On the way back past the house she got a bit alarmed at some unnatural objects, but dealt with it well.

Pretty good for her second walk outside the fence! I think she's going to be a phenomenal saddle horse!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I haven't got much going on here so I thought I'd share with you some of the horses up for adoption online through the BLM. Lots of Kigers in Burns. I'm not real partial to Kigers, but I know a lot of people really like them. I see a lot of long backs and straight shoulders. I'm looking mostly at the ones in Burns, Oregon, because that's near me, and they have free shipping within 400 miles of the facility for the next 3 months. What a deal! Not that I'm adopting, but if I were, I think this would be my boy:
He's a yearling from Beaty's Butte, unfortunately a grey, which isn't my favorite color, but isn't he a tank!

This one reminds me of Bella. She's from Beaty's Butte:

This one I call the Tonka Twin, from Jackie's Butte, but he seems to have a crooked leg:

Just look at the handsome face on this one!

This one I would absolutely adopt, but he's in Arizona:

To see them all, visit here:
(All photos are borrowed from the above website.)

If you're interested in adopting from the BLM, check out the adoption requirements here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming in order to show you what I was up to today.
Every now and then I get to help out with some very nice sheep at my friend's farm.

Here are two of the Great Pyrenees coming to see what's up:
Here are the sheep, coming obediently when called:

And the rest of the flock follows:

Here the ladies are in the home stretch, almost to the barn:

And here's my good buddy Angus, a really sweet & impressive dog:

Today we put hands on all 60 sheep, grabbing, holding, bending, struggling. It really was very mellow, not near as hard as it has sometimes been in the past. They are a very nice, sedate flock of sheep. Unfortunately all the bending does a number on my back. I think I really can't do it anymore. It scares me thinking what damage I may be doing to my back that I won't be able to reverse. It really bums me out, because I really enjoy the time with my friend, talking about mutual interests. And I love the sheep. They're just so sweet with their big eyes looking up at me. The dogs are a joy to visit with too, treating me like a long lost friend. I'll have to keep going up just to visit. And I'm on the schedule to work at least half of shearing day. That's not the same though, it's so rushed and chaotic.

I have to say that I am totally impressed and inspired by my friend Melissa. She's a woman farmer who does all the work on her farm, has excellent marketing skills, speaks well in front of a class, has great ideas, and is a great teacher. She actually manages to make a living solely by raising sheep. That's quite an accomplishment these days, and I applaud her.

Anyway, just a little break from the horsey monotony here on the blog, and a look at someone else's passion and life work. It's really a great thing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Big day! Bella went for a walk outside the fence! Very, very short one, but still... We went past a garbage can and over by the old decrepit shed that's generally pretty scary to horses that aren't used to it. Then we went back. She went in and out the gate like a pro, no hesitation like I'd half expected. It was really cold, or I would have taken her about and around a bit more. And this way she got outside her comfort zone, was fairly stressed, but it was short and sweet and she got to see that it wasn't that big a deal. And she didn't overreact at all. I love this horse. I really need to do this sort of thing more often, it's such a rush. Maybe we'll go for a real walk tomorrow. Hope the wind dies down.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Todays' Bella Belly shot.

Sorry, I don't really have much of interest to report today. Except that I haven't left the house in almost a week and I'm going nuts. I almost got the car out of the driveway today, just 30 feet from the top on my last try. I felt like an animal futilely trying to jump out of a cage, over and over and over...

Catch y'all on a happier note some other time! Here's wishing for an early spring!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Another Picture from the Porch:
Aren't they adorable? That corner of the pasture is Bella's favorite hangout. I'm sure that, given the choice, she'd have her baby there sometime, then it would roll under the fence, get up, and toddle off the drop off into the creek. Of course, she won't be given the choice.

I have some fencing work to do before the baby gets here. I'm going to cut that pasture in half so that the pond and the lower half of the pasture that can flood are not accessible. Plus of course adding fencing lower down so baby can't go under.

Looks like I need to replace my temporary fence that you can see in the picture too. There are 25 or so tiny golden willows being protected by that fence. May as well make a better fence since it'll be a LONG time before the trees can handle horses around them. I can't wait to plant more trees this spring!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Here's another story that starts with, "I had just gotten done saying..."

In this case, "My horses aren't stupid enough to run around on this ice and get hurt." Not five minutes later:

Granted, they didn't get hurt. So I guess what I should have said was that my horses aren't clumsy enough to run around in this stuff and get hurt. Because there is a lot of ice under all that snow.