Sunday, August 31, 2008

Well, we made some progress.

Here John had gotten some done already.

And here's when we had to come in to get rid of a load of wood:

I guess I don't know my own strength...

Lots more to do! I can't decide whether I want to go back out and work or save my energy for riding later.
Just the Mustangs. No Mack. And he is NOT happy about it.

But he looks pretty when he's upset.
And he's running around getting lots of exercise.

I moved them on to some nice grass today, but I didn't take Mack because he has a tendency to stir things up sometimes. Since I have Scout out without a good perimeter fence I thought I better not take any chances. And he could stand to be on a diet anyway. The fatty.

Scout had fun exploring his new digs.

Doesn't this picture look like a sneak preview of what he's going to look like when he's mature? He doesn't look like a baby here.

I better not leave Bella out. Here's a nice shot of a Bella butt, which is all she wanted to show me. She thought I was going to catch her and take her away from all this nice green food.
John led her around to the new spot, and he was really impressed with how calm she is. Scout, on the other hand, was a little bit of a turd. I put a halter that was too small on him and it freaked him out. Not his fault.

Speaking of John, you can see him in that last picture, getting ready to do some actual work, unlike me, who sits here playing on the computer. I better get out there and help him. We have plenty more fence to rip out...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Scout had his hooves trimmed yesterday, and really he was a rather good boy. I was complaining a bit, and then Laura asked me if he was really being all that bad for a kid his age. I had to admit he was being a good boy. He took his hooves away a few times, and was fiddling with stuff a bit, but for a baby he did quite well. I've heard some stories about stubborn babies, and he certainly wasn't that bad. Then I quickly refreshed him on leading and crossing over in the front and back, and then turned him loose.

Soon after that, as I was gathering my things, all hell broke loose and the three boys were running like demon steeds, irrational and strange. Tonka and Mack both had a bad horsefly, or maybe they got stung. I couldn't find a fly on either of them, but they both acted like they were being hurt for a long time. Maybe one of those stings that throbs and stings for a long time afterward. I sprayed them both down with fly spray and soon they were acting more normal. Tonka even let me spray him all over without a halter on.

"A Black Horse in a Dark Place." Laura thinks that would make a good story title. Poor Mack ran into his cave to hide from whatever was biting him.

Later in the day I took Bella away from Scout for the first time. Here are the boys pining after her. Aren't they handsome?

Bella had a nice relaxing grooming session in the shade. I swear this horse is so laid back and not worried that you'd think she was sedated. She checked out a tire and a barrel and walked over some scattered ropes like they weren't there. I think she's going to be a great trail challenge horse.

We wandered over to the bridge and I asked her to step on it. Here she's not so sure it's a good idea:

She needed some reassurance:

And she did it! Needed some more reassurance though:
She was a little nervous about backing off, but she did just fine. Then I quickly tried out the saddle blanket, which she hasn't worn since last fall, and then only once, if I remember right. She wasn't comfortable with it, but she did very cautiously step forward and back with it on her back .

By this point Scout figured his mama needed to get back in the pasture NOW! He was running and calling for a while before I put her back. He nursed immediately. Mack was almost as clingy.

Today I went up to Spokane and picked up a saddle that Arlene was kind enough to let me borrow. I have never ridden in an Ortho-flex saddle, and I'm very excited to give it a try. Thank you Arlene! I think it looks nice on Tonka:

Scout wanted to eat it. So I let him try it on too. It made him want to eat it more. (Don't worry, I didn't let him get his little teeth on it.) I didn't get a picture because I was holding the saddle. He didn't mind much at all though.

I think I'm going to insist on some riding time tomorrow. I can't wait!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Yesterday I got to go visit with Lyric, one of our horses that I sold about a year ago. He's a nice boy. We tortured him though. Wormed him orally with a paste wormer. Most horses you'd say, "Yeah, so?" but Lyric has been known to lift people off the ground with his head when you try to stick that tube in his mouth. But I took my time and didn't get worked up, didn't let him get too worked up, and within 10 minutes we got it done. Then we sprayed him with fly spray. He's not quite as worried about that, but still doesn't like it. It took a little time too, but we got it done.

When we had just finished saddling him up he must have moved his head or something, and I had his lead rope on the ground. That's how I ground tie, and that's how I did it when he was here, but maybe it hasn't been done like that for a long time. And he's always been afraid of dragging ropes and ropes in general. I even left one on him for a couple days once, to no avail. He was scared and unhappy the whole time, and the only thing he learned was not to step on the rope. Anyway, yesterday he started to spook, did a double take, started running backwards, reared up a bit and flipped over on his side. He was headed straight for a t-post, and when I saw him start to go over it really scared me. The post was capped, but still. He didn't touch the fence though. Poor boy, I think he thought he was in trouble after that, or maybe he was just confused about what had just happened. He took a little sweet-talking to calm down.

That horse scares me as a riding horse. This is the second time I've seen him flip over. I hope he doesn't do it again, and I hope he never, ever does it with a rider on.

Then Laura came home with me. She hasn't seen Scout since he was really small. She thinks he's the cutest baby ever. And he's sweet. Mack and the Mustangs were very social, as usual, and they hung out with us for a long time. Well, Bella hung back a bit, but she didn't mind when we brought the herd over to her.

Someday I will ride again... Maybe even today... Although I'm not going to hold my breath. I still have some fencing to tear out on the other side of the creek, some temporary fencing to put up, and my house is a disaster area. So I suppose I better get going.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mack is still doing fine, so I guess we're halfway out of the woods. I really don't think he ate that much...

Soxy is a wonderful girl, she let me medicate her eye and give her bute over the stall gate with no halter on in the dark with a flashlight. Doesn't get much better than that!

To keep it somewhat on the mustang topic, Bella has been really relaxed and personable lately, and even showed some curiosity! That is a big step for her, usually she stands tense and tries to stay in denial about anything that's going on around her.

I got a call from our area's BLM office the week before we left for Hawaii, and he wanted to do a compliance check on her. Since I was going to be gone he said we'll just do it some other time. I get the impression he doesn't get up this way much. I hope he calls soon, I can't wait to show off my good girl. I filled out a volunteer form to mail to him today. I hope I get a chance to help out in some way. He said he doesn't really need any help, they have so few adopters in this area of Idaho. Hmm, well then why did it take him almost a year to do my compliance check? He was much quicker with Tonka, came out about a month after I adopted him. I wonder if he remembered how well Tonka did so he wasn't as worried about getting to me right away this time.

Anyway, those are my blatherings for the day. Hope you all had a glorious one!
Mack is fine so far. The vet thought he'd probably be fine. He told me to just watch him. Check gut sounds, heart rate, digital pulse and leave him in his pasture for the somewhat laxative effect of the grass.

I've been working on fence so I can replace the damaged section with HorseGuard, which is 1000 times better than the cheap tape that Mack broke. Then I spent a long time with Mack and the Mustangs (hee hee, sounds like a good band name). He's happy, lovey, itchy, and overall totally normal.

On another note, Soxy, the old appaloosa, is having eye trouble again. So I have to medicate her eye and give her bute twice a day. Poor girl, you can tell it hurts. She's also wearing her fly mask to protect the eye from the sun. She has shade available but isn't standing in there. Of course, it's cloudy today so that's probably a relief for her.

So far I haven't gotten anything done that I had meant to do today, but the stuff that came up was important, so that's okay.
Darn horses and their need for self destruction! I woke up this morning to see Mack wandering around out in front of the house. No big deal, John caught him and put him back, then closed off the area where they'd broken the cheap electric tape fencing. But when I went out to feed I found my feed room destroyed. I've been meaning to put up a gate, but well, I hadn't gotten to it yet...

So I have a call in to my vet. He ate alfalfa and LMF Prime Time, which luckily isn't really as rich a grain as some, but still not a good thing for him to chow down on. I have no idea how much of either he got. Come to think of it, I have no idea how he got in there and back out again, it's kind of a tight space. But anyway... I'm thinking there must be something I can give him to help his gut through any crisis that may be going on in there. I've read about activated charcoal to bind the starches in an acute laminitis attack, and probios to help the unbalanced gut flora, and banamine to stop any inflammation. But I'm not brave enough to try it until I hear from a vet. I don't have the charcoal, but I guess they sell it for fishtank filters, so I might be able to get it from a pet store if the vet doesn't have it.

So far Mack seems fine. I can't tell if he's looking a little bloated or if maybe he's just as fat as he normally is and I'm seeing things.

I hate waiting. And of course, MY vet isn't there today. Not that I don't trust the others, but Steve is my very favorite. My critters always seem to have issues when he's not there.

I'll let you know what I find out...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What a wonderful, busy week! My dad was here last weekend, and my cousin came to visit with her little boy too. I wish we'd been able to ride together, but it will have to wait for a longer visit. We did have fun just hanging out with the horses. I love having a curious, friendly bunch of horses to show to people. I think my cousin would really enjoy the therapeutic, stress relieving horse time, if she could settle in and just spend time with them. Her little boy was kind of afraid of them. They are rather big and a little overly friendly.
Then my good friend Della and her kids came to spend four days. Four wonderful, too-short days. The kids got in some good horse time. Her daughter got to sit on all of the horses and loved it. She got in a longer ride on good ol' Coda, and did some solo riding on both Coda and Soxy in the round pen. Della had her camera out for that one, but I didn't. I'm hoping she'll send me some good pictures soon.

The wee baby is 11 months old, just old enough to really think the horses were neat. He stuck his fingers right into their noses. He hasn't quite got the knack of petting yet, but he did get a good grip on Scout's mane just like a seasoned bareback rider.

If you click on this next picture and check it out full-size, you will see a most beautiful, joyous face on a very happy little girl. (I'm there holding her if you look closely.)
Tonka loves to sniff feet, by the way. He is a strange one...

When we had the old horses saddled up for a ride I turned Liam loose on Coda in the round pen. When he was asking Coda to trot a very shocking thing happened. He bucked with my little boy aboard! I was petrified. As was Liam. But he kept his seat and was very proud of himself afterward. I was livid. Darn horse! But the next day after I had some cooling off time and went back out to pet the very apologetic old man, I realized we had asked too much of him. His feet hurt. I mean they really hurt. He tried to refuse and we insisted and he did the only thing he could think of to do. So I won't be asking that of him again. He'll get to do pony rides for the little folk at a walk, but that's all.

It really got me to thinking it may be time to put him down, because his feet hurt so bad all the time, but my sister talked me out of it. When she had him she'd let his feet get really long and absolutely horrible looking, but he was sound. So I'm going to let them grow, against all of my instincts, and hope it helps. I will try not to think too much about backhoes and injections until I know there are no other options.

School is starting this week! Free time! Horse time! Time to get a LOT of projects done that got neglected this summer.

  • Cleaning up of old fencing and mowing to do before the environmental group comes to remodel our creek banks, plant trees, build a creek crossing, and put in a wetland.
  • Start Bella under saddle.
  • Get Scout gelded and then weaned.
  • Powerwash and paint the house.
  • Put up another horse shelter.
  • Add a lean-to for tools and yard equipment.
  • Put in a couple new hitching posts.
  • More to come, I'm sure...
Tomorrow I think I'll start with some poop scooping, moving the trailer, riding Tonka a bit, and maybe even get Bella into the round pen and see how she and Scout react to being separated. The rest of the week I'll be going to a meeting, taking down old wire fencing, sorting and holding sheep for their selenium injections, visiting with a friend, and getting ready for my grandparents to come visit. Can't wait to show them my sweet horses!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sourdough Success! (Totally Not Horse Related)

I have tried many times to get a sourdough starter going. Well, at least two times. It didn't work. But I picked up a kit in the San Francisco airport that actually worked! In 24 hours I had this totally nasty smelling, bubbly concoction. Then I separated some out in hopes of having sourdough pancakes this morning.

Around midnight I was hearing the weirdest noise. Kind of like the popping of a fire, but not. it was the darn starter trying to escape the sealed canister I bought for it. So I got up and popped it open, cleaned up what shot out, and went back to bed. The bad news is, this morning my starter looks dead. I'm hoping to rejuvenate it in a warmer area.

The good news is, the baby starter for the pancakes was doing great. The pancakes were very good! Kind of bland, but I think the flavor gets better the more you feed your starter. I used this recipe. She says it's light and melts in your mouth, but I've never met a sourdough pancake that isn't super rich and sticks to your ribs. It almost makes me sick to eat them, but I love them so.

Sourdough questions in case any of you know:
  • Is sourdough residue bad for my septic system? I can just see it bubbling up and filling the septic tank with goo.
  • Is it good or bad for compost? Not that I have a true compost pile, but I'm going to dump this in my "poo pile."
  • Does it get easier to keep clean and fed as you get used to it? It's all very messy and time consuming.
  • Why do I have to keep such a large "mother starter?" This one overflowed out of a two quart container. I'd prefer that it didn't do that... Can I just take a little extra out and feed it the normal amount? I just need it a teeny bit smaller.
I better get online and research this some more... That, and I still have a lot of housework to do. Why do I seem to blog multiple times in a day when I'm supposed to be cleaning? I just can't help myself.

Oh, and on a funny horsey note, I have decided that Tonka needs a binkie. He just loves to play with things with his mouth... Maybe if he had a big horsey pacifier he'd be more settled. :)
I haven't had time to do much with the horses, so I don't really have much to talk about. My time has been taken up by house guests, cleaning, and school shopping. Today I'll be cleaning again. And making sourdough pancakes. For lunch, not breakfast, because my chickens are slackers and we have to go to the store for eggs.

This afternoon my good friend is coming for a visit with her kids. They'll be staying until Sunday. We're hoping to get a little riding in, especially for the kids.

About the saddle...

Isn't it pretty? It doesn't fit. Too wide. But I've had two recommendations on pads that might make it work, and I think it will fit Bella and Mack. I haven't had time to try it on them, but they are both wider than Tonka.

It's been raining here, which means it's an ideal time to trim hooves. All the hard packed dead sole that I'm too lazy to pare out when it's dry and rock hard is now ready to come out. Well, kind of ready. It's still a chore. But Bella got her front feet done last night. I'll hopefully get her hinds and Scout's feet done today. Although, if we get the thunderstorms they're forecasting, the horses may not want to stand for it.

So anyway, that's my boring life right now. Not boring at all for me, I'm keeping plenty busy. I don't even want to get started thinking about all the stuff I should be doing that I don't have time for. Which doesn't include blogging, so I'd best get going...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I am so happy to be home.

I've been busy as heck the last few days, should have some quiet moments here and there tomorrow though.

Look how big Scout got while we were gone:

Bella and Scout have both had a rider up! My 6 year old little mustang tamer sat on them tonight. With my arm firmly around him and hand hooked into his hip. Scout didn't care a bit, just twitched his back a little like he had a fly on him. I only let Liam sit there for a minute or less, don't want to hurt the baby. Bella was worried and it took a few tries. She stood nicely though until she looked around to her off side and saw him there as well. She decided to leave the scene at that point, but not with much speed. He also got to sit on Tonka, who just kept eating his dinner as if we weren't there. Liam says Tonka has a bony back. I agree. Mack was as worried as Bella was, but maybe a bit more reactive about it. He did eventually stand still for it, but didn't keep eating like the others did. He stood tense and worried the whole time. Goofball, he's broke to ride! Something about it seemed unnatural to him though.

I'll get pictures tomorrow, we're definitely going to do it again. Liam was SO excited to be the first to sit on them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wee man on a hike down to the beach to find coconuts:
Katia had a straightening treatment that left her hair soft and silky and easy to manage:

A lovely bunch of coconuts:

Another awesome tree with some nice little monkeys:

I love the shadows under the palm trees:
We get to go home soon! Yay! It's been fun, but I can't wait to get home to the critters. I don't even really remember what it's like to lead a normal life... Two weeks is a long time. If my horses were here I wouldn't mind living in a climate like this, but I don't know, I like a good road trip and well, this is an island.

We're flying overnight. Lovely... Then we get to drive 6 hours to get home. We'll see how that goes, with two kids and my tendency to get tired when I drive. Even if we take turns driving we might have to rent a room for a couple hours and get some sleep.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Watch for wild asses!

I'd expect to see signs like this in Arizona maybe, but not Hawaii.
Unfortunately this is the only one we saw:

We did see some wild goats though. Kinda neat.

Yesterday we went to Hapuna beach north of Kailua. It was AWESOME. If you're ever over here I suggest you just plan on living there. Perfect soft white sand, ocean the prettiest blue, and great waves for body surfing. It was pretty calm while we were there, which was good for our little guy. He did get creamed by one wave, but he was okay.

My camera was in a mood, didn't work while we were at the pretty beach, but did work before and after. I thought my battery was dead, but I guess it was just being temperamental.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

We had a blast yesterday! Went kayaking across Captain Cook bay which I think is actually called Kealakukua but I'm not sure. We saw dolphins on the way there, circling around and coming up to breathe while they slept, with a few jumping and spinning around the edges of the group. Then we went snorkeling, saw lots of good stuff, and then on the way back more of the dolphins were awake and were showing off big-time! I really wished I had my camera with its quick action to catch them jumping, but it's not water proof so it was back in the car. My mom got that first picture though, which shows us in our kayaks with a dolphin fin right next to us.
Liam lost his first tooth! We were snorkeling and he didn't even drop it. But then John put it in someone's shorts pocket and it didn't make it home. I didn't tell Liam that though. He was really excited when he woke up and found his tooth fairy money.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I'm having trouble blogging, so this won't be ordered nicely like I wanted. Here's my parents' house where we're staying:

Here's a big huge black fly who considers himself quite the lady's man. He follows Katia around everywhere, and will even hang out and stare at her from outside the window when all the doors are closed. He decided to follow me when we went for a little walk. He is kinda cute, but it's a little disconcerting the way he hovers around staring at girls.

Let me tell you about VOG. It is like smog, but it comes from a volcano. I was having a heck of a time breathing yesterday. It was spewing 1700 tons of crap into the air yesterday, and it was blowing directly to us. Luckily we were headed to Hilo so we got to leave the nastiness behind.

Normally with this view you can see endless miles of ocean way down below, and SouthPoint with all its windmills.

Here's where it all came from:

We went to see the volcano in the dark, and it was kinda neat. You could see this red glow, and hear it making noise, almost like the earth was breathing. Then some idiot farted, my whole group dissolved into uncontrollable giggling, and you couldn't hear much from the volcano. There was one more big rumble and then the glow dimmed and we left because nobody could stop laughing. Turns out it wasn't one of us who farted, which I guess is a good thing...

Here's how people get their water in this area:

It holds 24,000 gallons. Water is collected from any rainfall on the roof and the pipes take it into the container. Not much rain falls here though, so I think they have most of it delivered. The backhoe is there to help the guys who are building the garage.

The day before yesterday we went to what my mom calls the City of Refuge, but it's officially called Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park. It's an old native Hawaiian settlement and sacred area. It has a bunch of buildings thatched with Ti leaves, and ponds where they raised fish, lots of tiki guys all over the place, and well, it was just cool. I forgot my camera in the car! I was not going to hike back out there and get it in the heat. After we got hot almost to the point of passing out, we went to the beach right beside it and swam for a long time. I saw another eel. Katia went snorkeling for the first time and LOVED it. You should have seen her come back all glowing and babbling about all the fish she had seen.

Last but definitely not least, I won't be going horseback riding while we're here. I woke up yesterday and John asked me how much I really wanted that saddle I saw on eBay, and then started asking me more questions that showed he'd been seriously researching it online. He bought it for me! So check out my new Fred Hook saddle:

I can't wait to get home and try it on him! Cross your fingers for me, I really hope it fits! If it doesn't I'm going to be heartbroken, I love that saddle.

I think I'll go have some nice fresh papaya for breakfast. Oh yeah, we went to the Saturday Market in Hilo yesterday. It was crazy, but there was lots of good stuff for sale. I suggest not taking restless kids into the fruit and veggie area. The souvenir area is good for them though.