Monday, March 31, 2008


Not totally sure of the sex yet. Birth was good, quick. She's having trouble standing still to let him nurse. Giving them a minute alone and then heading back out.

So I'm pretty sure Bella has the "waxy wax" that Doris has commented on here. Yay! I don't put any stock in it meaning she'll actually have the baby this year, but we'll see. :) Seriously though, she's not showing any other signs just yet. Maybe she's waiting until past midnight to have it on April Fool's Day. That would be doubly cool, because that's one of my favorite horse's birthdays. He'll be 30 this year, the wonderful old man. I need to remember to take him some treats and give him a good grooming. He doesn't shed too well, and loves to be curried this time of year.

Here's the April Fool's birthday boy, a wonderful, wonderful horse:
Coda AKA George AKA Skipper's Gold Rush
(George, of all names, for such a horse! Absurd!)
Look at that cute, kissable nose...

So last night, after I discovered the white milk, I had a bit of a panic-stricken moment. What have I gotten myself into? I'm not ready for a baby, I have no need for a baby, what if things go wrong, what if I don't have enough time to train all these horses, what if this and what if that? Etc, etc. Wow, it really felt like a nightmare, this feeling that I'm in over my head. I think I remember feeling that way with my own kids. At least with Katia. I had the freakiest nightmares when I brought her home, all about inadequacy in parenting, or horrible accidents leaving her or my niece (who was 9 months old) dead. These feelings must be perfectly natural. But not much fun...

She spent a pretty quiet night, and was happy to be let out and fed this morning. Her teats were kind of shiny, coated a bit with milk, but the drips you could see hanging there were hard, not wet, so I couldn't check to see if the milk is sticky or what... I figure if it dries shiny it must have some sugar to it. But that's about all I could see that was different about her.

Oh, I did try the hill trick yesterday after it looked like the baby had slipped back down out of position again. Stood her on a hill (luckily it had grass to keep her occupied) with her butt in the air to give the baby room to get situated and moved back into place. There was a definite change in her shape after I did that.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bella has white milk! I caught a drip on my finger tonight. This is good.

It's Sunday again, so maybe we'll get a baby full of grace? Ah, well, who knows... She's looking close again though. It's a nice day for once, sun instead of snow.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I just got done with some nice zen butt scratching. Not my butt, you weirdo! Bella's! And her neck, and her chest, belly, and strangely enough, the insides of her back legs. She seemed to think maybe I'd be willing to hold her up while I scratched her there, but I had to refuse. She is so very itchy! Her hind end is very short-haired. Almost bald. Her neck and side have lots of fried-looking ruffled hair, breaking down from all the rubbing.

I better get to the point and get going, my family just walked in the door. Bella is dripping milk a bit again, and we have SERIOUS kicking in the croup. I haven't seen anything this violent yet. I think she's having contractions again too, she kept stopping eating to stand there and zone out and breathe. So maybe she'll have this critter sometime in this lifetime...
Now don't laugh. Or at least don't laugh too hard and hurt yourself. I am NOT a seamstress. More like the skill level of a demented 6th grader... And I was making it up as I went along. No pattern for me! It'd just confuse me... Now, I just hope they work...

They both have 2 layers of fleece, old remnants I had just laying around. Luckily there are two of them, so the baby can wear one while I wash the other. Fleece and straw probably don't go together too well... Actually, they probably DO stick together too well. I reinforced the belly strap with denim because it doesn't stretch. I think I did alright, for someone who doesn't sew...

Oh, and in case you think I'm prejudiced toward a colt because of the blue, I used all pink thread on both! Not on purpose really, but it's what my daughter had on her sewing machine. Man, I'm lame. I know. I just can't help it...
I went and got my baby monitor the other day. I LOVE it. Well, except for when it brings the lovely sound of jake brakes directly into my bedroom... It lets me sleep better. I still wake up and look out every hour and a half, but if I don't see her all I have to do is listen, and she's never having the baby, so I haven't had to go outside the last 3 nights. Which is nice, because the weather is HORRIBLE. High winds driving snow in your face, down your neck, etc.

Bella has made very little forward progress. Her bag was a bit more full this morning. Everything else seems to have gone backward...

Today my project will be making a foal blanket. Unless I can find one at the feed store. I doubt it though... I had thought I wouldn't need one, but since we're suddenly time-warped back into January, it turns out I do. Wish me luck, I am not at all handy with a sewing machine!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Since Bella still hasn't had her baby, and I really have nothing much to write about, here's a little tour of our horse shed, sometimes called "the barn" although that can get confusing because we do have an actual barn. That barn is pretty much useless and about to come down though, thanks to some previous owner taking most of the supports out. Some people just aren't too bright...

Here we have Bella's foaling stall, which is actually two of the three stalls that make up the shed, making it 24x16 feet. I'm only keeping it half bedded lately, since she's in no hurry to be doing much... I'd skip the bedding completely, but then if the baby did come it wouldn't have anything warm to lay on. As you can see, the hens love the straw. It still has a bit of barley in it, which they are of course overjoyed to scratch around and find. The white powder on the ground is Sweet PDZ, which is a wonderful product. I've never had to use it before, since I don't keep my horses stalled. It's the safe alternative to lime, and immediately kills the ammonia from all the pee. Which is important because babies laying down in ammonia can get pneumonia. Of course ammonia isn't good for adult horses either. The black balls on the pole are gate hardware covered in tennis balls covered in Vetrap. Bella loves to itch there. A gate in both forward corners keeps the downward slope covered so the baby can't roll out. There are two flaps in the back that can be opened to promote airflow. Which we certainly don't need with all this wind. You can drop hay through them too if necessary, but I like to actually get in with my horses when I feed so I can be sure nothing is amiss.

This is a portion of the third stall. It's my feed area. Like my "door?" I tied it on with twine to keep the snow from blowing in anymore. We had a minor blizzard last night. The area was pretty well covered by the time I went out there this morning, darn it. Eventually we'll put a real door up, but for now my plywood does the job okay.

My nifty bucket on its nifty bracket. This is safe for the baby, nothing to drown in since it's up high enough that baby won't have access.

Here's Tonka yesterday, trying on a new bit. He isn't too happy because of the high wind and a tarp flapping nearby. I'm not sure the full cheek is going to work with the slobber straps. I'll try moving the bit hobble below the reins and maybe they won't get hung up on the bit. My sister gave me this because all of my bits have copper, and I think he's allergic to it. He gets red spots all over his gums and lips when I ride. It's not like the bit is rubbing or pinching him, because the spots are pretty widespread and quite small. I think he likes the shape of the mouthpiece on this one, it has a lot of curve to it.

Oh, and behind Tonka in the picture you can see where Bella busted out of the mustang pen last year. Still not fixed, even though the lumber has been sitting there for a while, waiting. What can I say, just about everything around here is a work in progress...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What happened to spring???

I finally called my vet about Bella. I was really getting worried about her having the foal in position, then dropping it back down, then in position, etc. He said that's totally normal and they might do that for a couple weeks. Big sigh of relief. Plus, it's been over a week... So... Maybe there will be an end to this madness!

I also talked to the lady I'm taking lessons with, who breeds horses. Learned something new from her too. A drop in the barometric pressure can be a good time for them to foal. She said Bella would probably have it today. I think she was just trying to make me feel better. I hope she's right! Don't think so though. She uses a baby monitor for her foalings, and she says it works really well so you know when you need to check (moaning and groaning) as opposed to when they're just lying down. I'm going to go get one today. I had thought it wouldn't reach this far but her barn is a lot farther from her house than mine and she said it works great.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No baby news... She was totally out of character this morning. I put her hay outside (keep her out of the stall as much as possible in the day is my new tactic, less straw used that way) and she heard me mixing supplements in the barn, so she came back in. I went around outside to put the grain with her hay and she came out running and bucking! Bucked right up to me, snaking her neck around and tossing her head, as if to say, "Drop the grain and get outta here lady!" I hissed at her and waved my arm and she ran off a few feet (I think normally this would scare her a lot more, I've never had to do that to her), then she came back respectfully. Totally unlike her. Not the respectful part, but the energetic, disrespectful part. But then, she's under a lot of stress lately...

Tonka got a new place to live yesterday. He's been in horrible mud for a while, with just a windbreak for shelter, since Bella is taking up both stalls. I had to string new electric to run a temporary fence out by the mustang pen. Now he has a nice grassy paddock with the mustang pen as shelter. I thought he might refuse to go under the roof because it's kind of an enclosed space, but I could see that he had been in and out of there in the night.

I washed his tail before I moved him, because it had terrible mudballs at the bottom that clacked together when he walked. He wasn't too fond of the washing process. The water wasn't an issue, but every time I pulled the hose to get in a better position he'd jump a bit. I sprayed some conditioner in his tail afterward, and thought about braiding it and keeping it up so it would stay clean, but I don't want it getting any longer. I'd have to cut it so he wouldn't step on it and I don't know how to do that without it looking unnatural. Besides, he's on grass now, not too much mud, so hopefully it will stay pretty clean.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Doesn't she just look totally beat? I feel bad for her.

She is slab-sided. Yay. Maybe she still was last night and it just didn't look like it to me.

I tried uploading a video of the baby kicking around in her butt/tail area, to show that it's just waiting at the door, but it didn't show well here. Bummer.

PLEASE do a baby-dance or wish really hard or cross your fingers or pray or holler at the moon for me. I need this baby here tonight! I have a BLM volunteer training that I really, really want to go to tomorrow. I don't know when my next chance may be! That said, she seems pretty calm and content. She may be in no hurry...
Okay, this isn't fun anymore. I'm tired. To the point where I might miss it simply because I can't wake up or I'm too tired to care anymore. I think Bella's not having fun either. She spent another long period laying down last night. I sat in the next stall and read for a little while, just to make sure she was only sleeping and not in labor. She looked totally worn down. Poor kid.

I mentioned the other day how she'd gone slab-sided, meaning we were in the last stretch. Well, she had. Last night she was back to her pendulous wide belly. I don't like taking backward steps!

Here are some fun pics from the other day. She cracks me up. She's an adventurer. Unlike Tonka who I have to constantly remind to walk beside me, she just plows on ahead, ready to take in the new sights. Lately I've kind of compromised. About half the time I just hurry to keep up, and about half the time I make her go my pace. I want her outings to be fun relief from her boring stall and small, extremely muddy pen. And I don't want to stress her out and get her doing any fancy footwork. She's been unsteady on her hind legs, almost falling down a few times. (Which leads me to another worry, what if her young body is not going to pass this baby easily? What if that's why all the false alarms? I know, shut up already and quit worrying...)

Here I decided to take a chance on putting her lead rope over her back and walking away to take a picture of her hiney. Well, she decided that gave her the freedom to go be a moose in the ditch.

Here she's displaying her non-round, slab-sidedness. It's shocking really, since she's been comically wide for so long. And she's being a moose in the ditch.
Here we see that she isn't too worried about hoses. She needs to talk to Tonka about that.

Again, a happy exploring moose-horse. I'm glad she likes the water so much. Can't wait to take her somewhere with clear flowing water and see if it makes a difference whether there's grass in the water.
Another picture of her trim belly. Now sadly not so trim. Ugh.My plans for the day: SLEEP. and SLEEP some more. Then I think I'll follow that with some SLEEP. I might take care of my kids a bit too.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I'm just hanging out... Waiting... John and the kids went to Easter dinner with my family. Mmmm, I'm sure it's tasty. But I don't mind staying home. I got the kitchen clean, even the stovetop. And I got the dogs in before they got soaked. Did some laundry. Bathed (boy did I need it, I smelled like the barn). Put some more music into my iTunes program. That's a pain in the butt, weeding out the songs you don't like. But eventually I'll have a bunch of music I like, and none that I don't!

My husband is WAY too logical. I told him she was going to have the baby while they're gone, and he said no. Then he went on to explain that he's got it all figured out. If he says no every time, he'll be right every time except for once. And I'll be wrong. Just the sort of situation a man will take advantage of, considering they're so often wrong... So I'll just let him have this one... You know I'm kidding, right? :D

Bella spent some time laying down resting. A lot of time eating. Some time acting weird, but not much... She is a hungry hungry hippo. When I go out there she hangs over the gate staring at me expectantly, wanting some goodies. She does have hay, and unfortunately I can't give her unlimited extras, she might get sick...

I'm going to go putter around in the barn, clean some poo, stare at the mare, check her water...
She lay in that spot for 2 hours going from side to belly, side to belly, straining a bit when on her side. Good news is her bag has made a lot of progress in the night. I'm going to disturb you with another pic because I'm so happy with the milk makin' mama. There was a drop of fluid there but it didn't show in the picture. Clearish white now, instead of yellowish.
She did lay down where I said she never does, and now I can't see her from the house. I'm going to go sit out there and watch quietly.
Poor Bella. She's pretty miserable right now. Side biting, face rubbing, lyinging down, getting up, turning in a circle... I got some sleep earlier but around 2 or 3:00 I went to check on her, and I've tried to stay up since then. Mostly... I finally dedided to get up and make some coffee.

She went slab-sided yesterday, which is supposed to mean the baby is in the birth canal and we're in the last few hours. We shall see... It is looking promising for an Easter baby.

Wow, I just got all tingly. "Sunday's child is full of Grace." I woke up one morning with the name Gracie in my head, no dream to attach it to. Then last week as I was telling my sister that I don't have a name picked out, two gorgeous swans landed in the pasture. I was thinking what do swans signify? First thing that came to mind was grace. This was long after the morning of the name, so I don't think it was still in my head to make me think of that... Swans have all sorts of other cool symbology too. But that's just too much to be coincidence. So maybe this is a filly. If it's a colt I don't know what it all means...

She disappeared into the one corner of the stall I can't see her in... Wonder what she's doing... Luckily she's never laid down over there. Oh, she's back. Oh, poor thing, she is so unhappy! Pacing and shaking and yawning and stretching, pinning her ears at her belly. Dang it, she disappeared again, this time she's been gone a while. Wonder if she's lying flat and I can't see her... I don't know whether to go check her or not. I don't want to disturb her if nothing's happening...

I'm going to go ahead and publish this and head out there, I think... Unless she appears within the next couple minutes. Wish for a healthy baby for us! Hopefully I won't have to disappoint you with news of no baby later.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I caught her! Look at her crossing her legs, saying she just ain't goin' to deliver no baby!

And here are my two branded ones. Not the greatest picture but a good concept for a better picture someday.

Here they are again. Short and stout and long and lean. Too lean...

Which brings us to this. This is what you do when you're unsatisfied with commercial grain mixes:
The Bella beastie escaped today. Wild thing that she is. I turned her out of her stall and proceeded to mix feed and rock out to my iPod (actually was listening to my one and only country song...) when I heard a suspicious sound of hooves. I had forgotten to close the gate to her pen yesterday. She went about 10 feet and started to graze. I grabbed a lead rope, petted her a bit, hooked it on, and let her graze a bit more before putting her back. She sure is a wild thing!

She is wearing a halter 24 hrs a day, only as a precaution against dangerous behavior when the baby is born. Mamas can become quite different when they have a little one to protect. And I need to at least be able to iodine his navel. Or confine her if she tries to hurt the baby. Which I really don't think she will. She is quite eager to have a little one nurse off some of the pressure in her udder.

As you can probably tell, there is no baby yet... No dripping anymore either, I don't think, although I belatedly realized I didn't really look closely.

I'm going to risk a trip to the store for eggs. Have to color eggs! Our hens lay brown eggs, which really don't dye well at all. I'll be gone about 20 minutes, max. Think she'll take this opportunity to do something? I'm beginning to doubt the baby will ever come...

Friday, March 21, 2008

This is the best pic I have of her dropping off in the croup area. I'm not imagining it. She really does look poor all along her topline, but that area is definitely angular.

Compare to this, which is the best pic I could find that shows her normal hiney. Not the same angle. But it's the best I could do.

My sister was bothered by her forelock in her eyes, so she braided it. Makes her ears look big. Well, they are big, but it makes that stand out more. :)

I think what I have here is a water loving horse. She didn't get out of the ditch until it ended.

Her teats dripping more seriously now. Her hooves are shiny with it. Some on her legs too. Not a steady drip by any means. I never did actually see a drop fall. But a good sign that things are happening. Her vulva is very wet (Not often you can say that in public and get away with it. Juvenile giggle.) and dripping a bit too. Some good contractions going on... I won't say I think it'll be tonight, because I've said that what, two or three times already? I'll just say I hope she doesn't drip too long before having the baby.
An Update in Pictures

This first one is not a good pic, but you can see the lack of muscle definition along the top of her hip. I hate to admit, but I think she may have lost some weight, evidenced by her spine kind of sticking out. Either that or it's another effect of the baby, maybe pulling down on her? Her feed regimen has been changed, and I've been slowly adding to the amounts she gets of everything. She's really going to need it when she starts making milk.

Look at that poor belly. This is the side she butt-rubs on.

Yawning in pain just before having a nice poo:

Definitely not slab-sided yet:

Bag with continual leakage at a very slow rate:

Sleepy face:

Itchy face:

SCARY face! Actually this is her "Oh that's a good spot, scratch there!" face. Kind of freaky looking taken out of context though, don't you think?
I was going to leave this in the comments for Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses, in response to her comment about signs, but figured maybe y'all want to know the "signs" too.

Yeah, her hips are sticking out like a cow. Have been for a while. Not as pronounced as some mares I've seen, but this gal is rock hard and round normally, and now is soft and flabby and, like you said, hip bones sticking out. She's been working on her bag for about 3 months (in the beginning it was barely perceptible, just kind of swollen). Vulva has been bright red most nights lately, and totally lax. Daytimes less so. Sometimes there is a tad bit of blood, which I'm told is from varicose veins breaking. Temp dropped that first day I spent the night out there, and the day after. Was hot to the touch. I don't put too much stock in what her bag is doing because I know they can really put on a bag at the last minute. But it is getting bigger and now again has some secretion, hard and yellow this time instead of hard and amber. The night I slept out there she was wobbly in her hind end, not walking well. I've seen and felt the baby moving up by her croup. Not huge jumps though, so maybe it's just carrying the violent motion into that area, rather than legs in the birth canal. She has passed through the V-shaped belly stage just before they move into position to foal. Perhaps it moved back out of position. She has not been slab-sided as of yet, but that shouldn't come until she's just about ready. She does look thinner today, but not necessarily slab-sided. Her behavior goes from totally normal and mellow to really spaced out and introspective, to obviously in pain. She is butt rubbing, but only on one side and on her tail. Sometimes she yawns a lot or stands with her lower lip hanging (pain responses). She's had contractions. When she does she gets introspective and breathes hard. Side-biting on and off.

So anyway, there aren't many signs she hasn't shown. She's really turned down the heat on a lot of them now though.

Luckily I won't have to worry about this next year, or any other year, since she won't be bred again.
I got so much good sleep last night! Bella didn't do anything suspicious until morning, she stayed laying down for quite a while, so I went and checked on her and fed early. Her bag developed a fair amount last night. Unfortunately for some reason I took my wallet out there instead of my camera, so I couldn't take pics for comparison...

I am so tired of conflicting advice! Not that I don't love advice, because I am not experienced at this sort of thing. I am very appreciative of the help. But I have people telling me to watch her closely, it could be any time, and I have people telling me she's a long ways off. All of these people know what they're talking about, have been breeding horses for many years. So why are they in disagreement? Probably because mares are fickle! My sister went to the vet yesterday and after looking at the broodmare band there, said Bella must have a LONG way to go. However... Bella is a maiden (horse-people term meaning this is her first, not that this is immaculate conception), and she's in pretty good shape. So maybe she looks different? Or maybe I'm just hopeful. (Delusional?) I don't know. I would like to be able to leave the house without worrying something will happen... I may just do that today. We'll see how she looks. I have some shopping I really need to get done.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Well, it seems that Bella has put the brakes on whatever it was she was doing the past 3-4 days. I don't expect a baby tonight, although an equinox/full moon baby would have been very cool.

Maybe I should take that back, I just looked out the window and she's most definitely uncomfortable, looking at her belly and throwing her head up in the air, not eating. Wouldn't be surprised if she has it tonight, since I didn't bed the stall as heavily as I should have. I'm almost out of straw and didn't have the truck to get more today. Should have dirtied the trunk of the car... I do have enough to throw in there and make it nice if need be.

Either way, I'll be here, watching... I'm not sleeping in the barn after that first night. I'm sleeping with Liam in his room and I can see out the window into her stall. Nice and warm. I still have to go out about 4 times a night when she disappears for long periods of time, lying down. But at least I'm warm the rest of the time.

I was thinking I should apologize for being so baby-obsessed, then write about some training thing or non-baby related mustang news. But there's really no news here. I clean the stall, take care of the mare, and just feed the rest of them. Had to cancel my riding lesson this week. So I really have nothing interesting to tell you. Hope you don't mind too much the baby-obsession. Because it's likely to continue until well after the baby has arrived. Oh, can you imagine? The long spindly legs, the tickly whiskers, the soft sweetness... Babies are so cool. And this one I won't have to stay up with in the night, because I'm not the mama! No diapers either. Can't get much better than that.

Well, now Bella is just standing there, doing nothing. Either dozing or contemplating her navel. With that, I am off to bed. Happy Equinox!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I just got a nice little uninterrupted nap. Then John came in about when he said he'd wake me up and said, "I think you need to get up." Now I realize he said it rather urgently, but then I was out of it and thought he was just waking me up. He said Bella was laying flat out with her legs stuck out and didn't get up when he went out there. I finally got my daft head in line and managed to get bundled up and get out there. (It snowed!) She was like that for a while. She'd lie flat and moan and strain, roll up onto her sternum and sit there for a while, then lie flat again and moan and strain. Eventually our being there bothered her and she got up and started eating again. Oh how I wish I had a monitoring system so we could watch well without bothering her. If she doesn't have it tonight I am going to seriously think about the baby monitor idea (if they have any that reach this far), and listen for the water to break. That didn't work with the other foal I had, somehow either she broke water quietly or I slept through it. But it would be nice to have...

Here's a picture (without flash), poor miserable thing. It was really rather alarming. Her eyes, nose and ears got all twitchy at one point. The glazed eye really kind of scared me. Now I realize rather than hope she'll have it soon, I'll hope she'll have it safely.
Bella has wax! Sorry to those who are easily offended, but I'm going to have to post an udder pic. Or several... Oops, you got lucky, just two.

This one was around 10 this morning:
I just love her speckles. Yes, I know, the "ponytail" is funny looking.

This is from about 5:30:
You have to look closely to see the little droplets of wax.

PLEASE send us some birthing vibes or prayers or what-have-you. I'm tired. Really tired. And I am dying to meet this wonderful little being.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Well, darn it. No baby. What a long night. I think she shut down the process because I was there. Which maybe isn't fair to do to her. But I'd really like to be there for the birth.

It's pouring rain now, and I told her she had about a half hour before I go back out, so she's probably having it right now. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My cot is set up and I'm planning my warm wardrobe and pile of bedding for my campout. I think tonight is the first (and hopefully the last) of my long cold nights in the barn. Bella is looking pretty ready. If not tonight, probably within the next few days. Of course pictures will be posted the first chance I get. Wish us luck!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

At my 2:00 check Bella was sleeping. At 4:00 she was eating. When I went out to feed she was laying down and I thought, "It'd be great if she was just now having the baby, just in time for me to get out there." But she got up and was standing there waiting for some love when I got into the barn.

She was so sweet last night, really worried, but when I scratched her neck and loved on her (as opposed to poking and feeling around all her sensitive areas) she calmed down and really seemed to find the attention relaxing. Even came back to me for more. That's really an uplifting feeling, to be needed, especially in a time of stress. She's not a very demonstrative mare, so, you know, it's nice... I guess I'm not feeling very eloquent this morning.

I'm having sourdough pancakes for breakfast! Mmmm. So I better get going. Have a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bella is really agitated tonight. But I don't think it has to do with the baby. Something outside has her really worried. There is music coming from somewhere, sounds like a bass guitar. Could be scaring her. Or who knows, she may be noticing something I'm not. considering I wouldn't know if a cougar was 10 feet away in the dark, I'm not a good judge of whether something threatening is around.

Her temp is up a couple points, which is the opposite of what it's supposed to do if she's going to foal. All other possible signs are exactly the same as they have been lately. I really don't think tonight's the night. I'll be peeking out the window at her on and off tonight anyway.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Well, it's not really all that horse related, but here's what we did yesterday after I played with Tonka.
I took the mats out of the trailer to check the floorboards. I did find a couple small spots of rot. Nothing that needs to be replaced immediately, but it bears watching. Why don't people paint the boards to seal them from moisture? Not worth the effort? Seems like it'd be a good idea to me...

Meanwhile John was being a pyromaniac. We did get a lot of old brush and fence burned in a short amount of time though!

Katia enjoyed a good book, a hot fire, and a warm cat. Mama Cat (we didn't name her, couldn't re-name her before we got in the habit of calling her that. She is fixed.) is probably the friendliest cat in the known universe. She even lets me clip her bald every spring to rid of her mats. Which I will have to do as soon as it's warmer...

Liam found some black walnuts, which he called coconuts. John broke them open so he could see the pig nose inside.

Mama Cat "helping" Katia read her book.

Here's the second hidden nest I found yesterday. I wish they'd use their nesting boxes. I must admit though, it's kind of fun making a discovery. At least right now when the eggs are sure to still be good. When it's hot out and you have to toss them all, it's depressing.

And finally, here's Bella's bag. Not too impressive just yet, but nothing to scoff at.