Monday, November 30, 2009

Some suggestions to cure a bad day - candles, kitties, cookies (I've had far too much comfort food lately) and of course a soft fluffy puppy named Huck.

Other things that helped shake off the blues, if only for a moment, were hard work:

And watching the horses kicking it up. I didn't take pictures, I just put down my hay hooks and enjoyed ths show. Cisco is FAST. Tonka is an uncoordinated doof. Scout is somewhere in between but he can really kick UP those heels. Soxy stayed out of sight, not to be drawn into such childish play. Moments later John showed up with cookies and helped unload the rest of the hay, then the kids came home and I got a big hug even though I was covered in hay.

Bright moon on a cold night, happy, hungry horses. A hot bath perhaps?

Tomorrow I think I'm going to take the day off. At least no trips to town. I'm tired of trips to town. My plans always seem to change before mid-morning though.
Anyone know the cure for a bad day?

My sister's mastectomy is coming up at the end of next week. I know they all say the chemo is the worst of it, and she had the last of her bad chemo treatments last week (YAY!) but the emotional part of the mastectomy... It's stressing me out, just because I know how much it's stressing her out. I know it means her life, but still, it's not easy.

Today I spent an hour and a half at the vet with two of my dogs, trying to get to the bottom of some things. Came away with a bunch of pills and will do a re-check in two weeks. Angus I'm not worried about. His leaky urine problem is annoying but not life threatening. India, though, concerns me. So many little symptoms that don't add up to anything specific but I know she's not right. I am almost positive she has cancer, but that's not really a diagnosis. Anyway, we did x-rays today and came up with some interesting results, but nothing conclusive. It looks like there's probably a mass in there. Could be cancer, could be lymph nodes, or ??? Then he said, "hmm, there's something here too," and tried several different ways of looking at it, ending up still stumped. So we wait, and treat some other things, like her slightly puffy liver and her bad hair coat, and be careful of her back because a couple disks are calcifying. He's going to have someone at WSU look at the x-rays.

AND I have to go to the doctor AGAIN. I hate going there. I think I have PTSD from when my daughter was hospitalized. Just kidding. Kind of. I also hate giving them money. Especially when they could just prescribe a better antibiotic for this stupid ear infection, which still hurts like heck sometimes.

So I think I just I discovered the cure for a bad day. A puppy, with a deer bone sticking out from his bulging cheek, looking like a one-tusked boar with a severe case of cute. Of course he dropped it before I could find my camera.

Thanks for putting up with my whining. I really try not to, but some days I just can't help myself.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I was going to take some more pictures of Tonka today, since it was sunny, but I got distracted by the cuteness of a boy and his horse.

We started out in the round pen because Soxy seemed a little forward. Let me point out she hadn't been ridden in... I think five months? This is the horse everyone wants, that you can let sit and then ride and you have the same horse each time. She was mellow as can be once there was a job to do, so we graduated out onto the driveway and the front field. But first I saddled my horse and mounted up.

We had so much fun! It was great to have riding buddy (of the child type) who doesn't complain. He whined once, right in the beginning, about having to help me get his tack together. After I talked to him about that he was a complete angel the whole time. My daughter never could get through a riding session without making me steaming mad. That's probably why she quit riding with me. :(

I think I have my horse-crazy kid. He's fun. I heard him talking to Soxy at one point. "I have to get you really well trained so you can be my sh- my cowboy horse." (He was about to say show horse but that wasn't cool enough.)
He talked to her a lot as they worked together. It was super sweet.

Here's a little video I took. Sorry about the wind...

Look at his little flappity feet when he asks her to walk. So cute! He's not a superb rider and I cringe somtimes at his steering (poor Soxy) but we all have to start somewhere and I don't want to play battleax like I did with Katia and make him hate riding. We'll take it one step at a time.

He needs some new stirrups too. He can't keep his feet in those tapaderos. Thinking of putting English peacock stirrups on there for safety.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I got to ride twice today in my new saddle and I love it. Okay, so I've said that about other saddles before, but I think I love this one even more than any of the others. It's so comfy. I finally got the stirrups right where I like them and I feel just as stable as if I was standing on the ground, no feeling that my feet are pulled forward or outward or that something just isn't right.

I think it fits Tonka. He was cranky at the arena this morning but this afternoon he was an angel when we toodled around the farm. So I think the crankiness may have been due to not being ridden for over a month, going to the arena for the first time in probably 9 months, and a little social misbehavior toward Cisco this morning. We'll see over time how he continues to do, I just hope the saddle wasn't the issue.

Oh, and John got to ride him today! I wanted him to try my saddle. He's sat on him once before but never ridden him. He loved it. Loved his backup and his light leg cues. He was fascinated by the difference when you're used to your own horse, and he thought Tonka felt very powerful. He also had a few choice words about his tallerness. He's only 15.2 1/2 but maybe he has long legs or something. It's a stretch to get up there. John's actually a lot more limber than I am, so I was happy to watch him struggle to get his foot in the stirrup. :)

Here's Tonka looking in the front door today. He thought that was fascinating.
"Pose for the camera!"
(He is so bored with this whole picture taking thing.)

"Hey Tonka! Tonka! Want a treat?"

Someone else heard the word "treat."
Those pictures don't do the saddle justice, especially on Tonka. It looks awesome. I love the way the colors of the saddle match Tonka's colors. One of these days I'll get pictures in better light.

I think my riding slump is over for the time being. I am excited to start riding again, and working with Scout. I've been soooo busy these last weeks - taking care of two farms and going to various towns every day for something or other - and I just had no drive to do anything with them. Now I can't wait to get out and ride again.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hi, my name is Andrea, and I'm an addict. I'm addicted to saddles most especially, but also tack in general. Check out my Christmas present:

I've loved wade saddles for a while now, but never been able to afford one. This one has been used pretty hard and definitely has that lived-in look. The roughout is worn smooth. But I saw the ad and I had to go take a look. It didn't come with the tapaderos that were pictured in the ad, which really hurt my heart, but I still love it. Just have to find a pair of stirrups for it. Well, and try it out on my horse, which I'll be doing first thing in the morning. The WSU Polo team has the local arena booked starting at 10, so I want to make sure and get there bright and early to hopefully avoid having to share the arena. It's too muddy to do much at home other than maybe ride up and down the road, which doesn't sound like much fun.

I love the above picture. If you click to enlarge it looks all misty and magical, like some place I'd like to visit. But really it's the view from my own front yard, made pretty in the misty morning light.

Okay, so back to saddles. I know I just recently sang the praises of my expensive custom saddle that I bought last summer. Although it wasn't custom made for me, the quality can't be beat. And I thought the fit was perfect. However, while I was feeding the other day I found the telltale white hairs that had come in with Tonka's winter coat. (Insert expletive here.) So the search goes on. Hopefully this saddle will be the perfect one. I'm not holding my breath, and I can take it back tomorrow if it doesn't work, but I really hope it works.

An "awwwww" moment:

I'm off to look for stirrups. What kind of stirrups would you put on a saddle like this? I'm thinking either wood bell stirrups or maybe rawhide covered. Oooh, the darker brownish rawhide might look nice.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mikey posted a video challenge - post what we're doing at 9, noon, and 3:00. Here's my shot at it. Not extremely exciting, I must say.

Headed to the doctor:

My ear's been hurting for at least a couple months now. It got a lot worse yesterday. Turns out I have an ear infection in both ears. I'm an adult, I shouldn't get ear infections. Explains why I've been dizzy and nauseous on and off.

Noon and 3:00 were actually taken at the wrong times, but close enough...

Heading east:

Visiting the lambs. They're getting big.

My sidekick, whose eyes totally remind me of the squirrel who lost his nut in the Ice Age movies.

Do you see it? (Click to enlarge.) I think John thinks I'm crazy. Or maybe he's just not as interested in every little detail about this dog as I am.

You can also see the tiny bit of snow that's left and the hopeful toboggan waiting next to it. Not much room for sledding there.

My handsome Huck, on the alert:

So, that was my day. I had hoped to dig some post holes and spend some time with Scout, but now it's just about dark, I don't feel too good (although the doc did say I should feel better in about 12 hours), and it's really icky out. I might just curl up in bed for a while and read a good book. Until it's time to make dinner, anyway.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I need me one of these real bad.The sweetness! The serenity. She's like a big hairy therapy session. I love Peaches the donkey.

And I love her soft nose.

And I love her ears too.

I love her ears a lot.

She's just special.

After I tore myself away from Peaches, I came home and got ready for Kinderpuppy. It went really well. Puppy Playtime was a blast! The pug was very, very obnoxious outgoing. Seriously though, he was soooo cute and funny and proud of himself. The rest of the dogs were a mix of playful and cautious. Huckleberry headed over to the people next to us and seemed more interested in meeting people overall, but eventually got over it and went around sniffing butts. Puppy butts, that is.

This week's homework is again Watch and Sit, but also Down and Come. Huck made awesome progress on his Down earlier today. I didn't have to lure him into position, he was getting it on a hand gesture and verbal cue. He's also starting to Stay, but we need to work on it more with distraction and distance. For Huck specifically, but not the whole class, he needs to learn not to nibble on people he's greeting. He doesn't do it to me so I'll have to set up sessions with other people to get it through to him.

Since this is, after all, supposed to be about mustangs, I'll tell you the only thing I really have today. They get bored easily. Then they start breaking out occasionally. So you really ought not to keep them locked up. Or so they tell me. I've got my pasture fence all charged again and I've been gradually re-introducing them to grass. I'm not sure what to do with Cisco. He's so fat. I think I'll put him out in a separate pasture, because he needs the exercise, but I'm not sure if what little grass is there will negate the goodness of the exercise.

Speaking of escaping. They've gotten out twice by pushing on two different gates until the hardware shifts and the gate magically opens. I'm not sure if they knew what they had done the first time, but the second time they had a good inkling, because they did it again. Only this time the gate was chained so HA! Anyway, I think I found a job for Huck. Cisco was rattling the gate as I mixed vitamins, and I got after him. The next two times Huck got after him for me! I told him good boy. All he did was bark. That would be a good job for him, keeping the stock off the gates.

Oh, and my saddle is beautiful! I got it mostly done, and no white residue in the tooling. The Obenauf's is way better than the Saddle Butter I've used in the past. Or maybe I just followed directions better... But it buffed to the prettiest shine, and my saddle is a richer color now. I'll post before and after pics when I get a good after pic.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Too many irons in the fire!

Friday I stripped my horse trailer so that John could use it to haul some furniture. The mats are out waiting to be scrubbed. The boards are bare and ready to be scrubbed as well. I think I will also paint them, or at least the part that is under the horses' hineys. I wish I could scrub and paint the whole trailer, but that will have to wait for another year.

As you can see in the picture below, I also need to paint the walls in my bedroom. I painted test patches and never got around to actually painting the room. That color is too dark so I still need to come up with a good color. Blech. I hate painting.

When I emptied the trailer I brought my saddle in to get ready to clean and treat it. This is the one I bought this summer, the one that I searched for years to find, the one that fits my horse. Unfortunately it has some tooling on it, some of it is rather deep. (I admit it's kinda pretty and you don't see work like this often, but tooling is a pain.)

So my question for you is this: how do you put a waterproofing treatment, such as Obenauf's LP on the tooling without leaving white residue? Or can it not be done?

I was thinking I'd heat it up first, use a hair dryer to keep it liquid, work it into the cracks with a toothbrush and then remove the excess first with a bit of towel and then with Qtips. I don't know if that will work?

Here's my saddle all clean and ready for the next step. I'll have to get it done soon because I don't want to ride again and get it dirty and have to clean it again.

Looking at the saddle reminds me, I have another question for you. Have any of you ever tried a sheepskin seat cover? This saddle is very uncomfortable for me. I don't want an ugly tush cushion. But I don't know if I want to invest in expensive sheepskin if it isn't going to help. I also wonder if the underside will rub my saddle in bad ways.

Tomorrow and possibly Tuesday I'll be helping John move store furniture and I'll be helping out on my friend's farm all week. I have a fencing project I have to get done, but happily I got most of that done today. Just have to reconnect some things and plug the charger in. Need to set up water and trough heaters and rearrange horses. Scoop poop and all that everyday stuff. Then there will be the barn to deal with. That's going to take months to clean up. Life sure isn't dull around here. Don't have to look far to find something to do. One of these days I'll actually ride my horse.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Here's what we did today!

Check your volume.
Some of you might not like the music
but it is oh so appropriate.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mornin' TonkaMornin' Scout

Mornin' Cisco
Mornin' Soxy
Afternoon Butt

Evenin' Snow

Friday the 13th has yet again passed with no major crisis in my world. Although for a minute there I thought the police department was calling me to tell me my husband had gotten in a bad wreck pulling the trailer in the snow. But it was a wrong number. I am thankful for the safety of my family on this snowy night.

I hope you all had a wonderful day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"All the horses are out!"

I didn't like hearing that. We've had escapes before but never on a grand scale.

Turned out to be a non-event. Soxy hadn't escaped, just the boys. The worst of the damage went to Tonka, who had burrs stuck under his jaw. Nobody got into the grain, nobody went anywhere. Tonka and Cisco were just grazing right around the gate, and Scout was in the hay storage area. What a bunch of wild mustangs. I think they must not have been out long. They had pushed the gate until the latch moved and came loose. Buttheads. I fixed the latch and chained it. And they got their breakfast early. Maybe that was the plan all along. "Let's get their attention so they have to come out and feed us."

I love the flip of the fringe as I walk along. It's like being a little girl with a twirly dress again. Today I am thankful for my sister. She gave me this pair of chinks yesterday. They were her husband's but he had some custom made, and they didn't fit her right. As you can see they're pretty much brand new. This isn't why I'm thankful for her, but it sure is generous. I'm sure I've written about her enough here for you to all know why I'm thankful for my sister.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Scout went on his first outing as a big boy. The last time he left the farm was way back when he was about a month old, to have his eye checked at the WSU hospital. The last time I loaded him in the trailer wasn't too long ago, maybe two months. Today he just walked right in next to me like we were walking down the road. I asked him to step into the front of the trailer, hooked him to a Blocker ring, and then shut him in. Next I put his best buddy Tonka in the trailer, and we were on our way.

We went to my sister's to do some groundwork. Really I wasn't as interested in doing groundwork as I was wanting to get this first trip under our belt. He unloaded pretty nicely, with some hesitation backing out. I don't allow them to turn around to unload until they're a pro at backing out, and even then it's a special occasion sort of thing to unload that way. When I was first teaching him to load, it was the unloading part that was hardest for him.

He was an absolute gem the entire time we were there! He is going to be such a wonderful horse to ride. He doesn't go out of his way to find boogeymen like Tonka does. I pushed a tarp under the round pen so he could check it out. It bumped his hind leg and he didn't even look at it. Tonka spooks at that tarp every time we go over there.

He got to visit with his mama over the fence and then after Amy and I played with our horses some, she worked Scout and Camria in the round pen at the same time. It was interesting to watch. It stressed Camria out. But not terribly. She was just a little confused, and Scout was as usual a little lazy so when my sister got after him Camria wasn't sure she wasn't in trouble too.

After Tonka and I did some respect work (he's been a jerk lately) I tried my hand at working two horses at once. It was fun! Neat to get them both hooked on, one on either side, and wander around. I couldn't get Tonka to stay in the center with me while Scout circled us, but Scout easily figured out how to pivot with me while Tonka worked around us. Tonka could have figured it out if I'd given it more time and effort, but I was getting cold.

Spending time tied - Tonka, Scout, and Camria:
(I keep having to backspace when I start typing the name Bella)

I got some good pictures of the dogs over there today. They are weird. They sure have a lot of fun playing together though.

Here's Oreo, Huck, and Bella. Their expressions are priceless. I feel like it needs a caption but I have no idea what it would be.

This is how Bella greets me almost every time I go over there. If I'm not quick about telling her no, I get muddy paw prints. She also likes to stand up sometimes to get a better view of her surroundings, like an otter or a bear.

The Fearsome Foursome. Oreo, Bella, Huck, and Bear.
Oreo is sweet in a timid, chubby sort of way. He never could have been a cowdog. Bella is a big happy dumb puppy. I'm sure you know the type. Bear has a depth to him. He is an extremely intelligent dog (Kelpie X Border Collie). Very caring, but if you don't know him he's just weird. He obsesses over sticks, rocks, and dirt clods. To him, strangers are for throwing things. Family is for poking sharply in the butt or the back of the knee (I don't know which is more shocking) with his pointy nose and pinching their tender parts with his teeth. The back of your arm just near your armpit is a favorite spot. I don't think I've ever known another dog with a sense of humor like his. He's a cuddler too, when he's inside. Huck... Well, I'll get back to you on who he is. He's not old enough yet. He's intense and smart and devoted but still kind of independent. Soft and cuddly with a wiggle-butt to make up for his lack of a tail.

My silly silly boy got his glasses today. He loves them. I love them. I hope reading becomes more fun for him now. He's a hard worker, and he does well, but I'd love to see it come more easily for him.
I thought I'd come back and write more today, since last night I was in a hurry. Kinderpuppy was really fun last night. There were so many cute puppies! A mastiff/Great Pyr cross (talk about drool), three German Shepherds, three lab and lab crosses, a pug, a teeny weenie Yorkie, and a choodle, which is apparently a chihuahua poodle but looks like a biggish blond Yorkie. They were all super cute.

One thing I wasn't expecting is that she asked everyone why they were there. I'm there because I want a well behaved dog, I thought that was self-evident. But I thought about it and came up with a more specific answer. Because I think this dog is going to be more challenging than any other dog I've had. Not because he's bad, but because he's so darn smart! And I want a well behaved dog. I'd love to have one of those nice quiet dogs that heels and sits under your feet and doesn't pester people or pull on the leash. It would be cool to go even farther with it, but we'll see what I have time for.

Another reason I was able to come up with, although it's more of a question that has come up than the reason I'm there, is that he is weird with strangers. He loves some people, and others he barks at in a rather alarming way. Seems like he likes the people who ignore him at first. She suggested practicing weird behavior and postures at home, so he gets over his worry about how strangers introduce themselves. John immediately rose to the occasion with that one, he's a pro at weird.

Our homework for the week is to practice "sit" (he knows that one), get them responding eagerly to their name, and practice "watch." With that one you take a treat, say "watch," and bring the treat up to your eyes. When you get eye contact you say "good watch!" and give them the treat. The name thing and the watch thing are both so you can get your dog's attention quickly in a distracting situation.

At the end we were supposed to have puppy play time, which I was really looking forward to, but we took too long so had to skip it. I can't wait to see how all the puppies interact! The poor little yorkie. Her owner will have to watch that she doesn't get smooshed.

Going through old photos I found this:
It's amazing how much the barn has gone downhill in just 5 years. I've been told by the neighbors that some idiot took out key parts of the structure inside before we moved here. I don't know why. Unless it was to make more open areas inside?

Here's a good illustration of why I was taking apart the fence yesterday. John is planning on pulling the barn down from that front corner there, and there's a decent chance it could fall all the way across the driveway. (The guys are so excited about this. My sister keeps calling every day and asking if we can do it today. Her husband is like a kid about it!)
Just for fun, here's my boy 5 years ago, in a post hole. Good times.
Oh, and back to that older barn photo, my husband is insane. I wonder how much that post weighs. I might be able to drag it with a rope around it, or roll it. How the heck did he even pick it up?

Today I am thankful for my husband. I can't even tell you all the reasons why. For his tremendous and unfailing support and his ability to think clearly on subjects I'm emotional about (horse stuff). Sometimes I really need a naysayer. Sometimes he surprises me by encouraging me to do things that make no sense, like taking on a horse to train at our own expense. I am grateful for his patience with the the kids, and how fun he is as a dad. And for all of the comic relief. He's a goofball. I think that's what I like best about him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I got a lot done today, but it was all tearing down. Got the fence taken down in case the barn falls on it when we pull it down. Also made a bunch of phone calls.

My daughter and I took Huck to his first Kinderpuppy class. It was fun, there were lots of cute pups there. He is one of the oldest. I'm not sure how they got all their shots done that fast. Maybe their vets have a different schedule for shots.

I better go before John shoots me. He's waiting for me to watch a show with him. Good night!

Today I am thankful for my physical ability to work. And for my tractor, for those jobs I'm not physically able to do, like pulling enormous fence posts out of the ground.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sentimental Saturday on Monday. I'm growing up to be one of those people who is often late. I just wasn't feeling very sentimental over the weekend.

Today I was reorganizing some stuff and I came across Tonka's tag that he wore in the BLM corrals. It came off just before he loaded into the trailer to come home to me.
Someday I will make some sort of shadowbox frame to display his stuff in, but for now it stays in a file.

That made me nostalgic, and I had to go back and read my post about Tonka's adoption. Reading it brought tears to my eyes again. I love my horse. If you read it you'll see I write about Tracey and her darling daughter, and about Anchor, but with much less knowledge of them than I have now. They didn't have names then. Well, I'm sure Tracey and Darling did, but I didn't know them yet. :)

Also while transferring my files from a tiny file box to the bigger file cabinet I got today, I found this:

My baby boy's wrist was so tiny! The weird thing is, this comes after an afternoon of watching old videos of my adorable kids, and my sister telling me today that I have to have another kid since she can't. I know that's crazy talk, but they're so wonderful when they're little. I wish they didn't have to grow up. Not that I don't think they're wonderful now, and I'm sure they'll be wonderful as adults but in different ways. But they're so snuggly and sweet and hilarious when they're little. It would be a bad idea to have another, but apparently I need a toddler fix. Della? May I borrow yours? I know, he says, "My is a CHILD," but I think he's jumping the gun a bit.

Lea suggested that we all post something we're thankful for, every day between now and Thanksgiving. Today I am thankful that I have such sweet children.

I hope you all had a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Today was an awful long day. It rained all day, and I barely went outside at all. I should have made myself go out and work, a little wet never hurt anyone. But I had my usual Sunday disease - laziness and a disgruntlement caused by doing nothing and being bored. We had planned on doing a bunch of work around the barn, and John did, but I didn't. I visited with my parents instead and after they left I sat around complaining that there was nothing to do.

Then I made scones. I've never made them but I had one that I really liked a while back, and decided one of these days I'd try making some. I made Irish soda bread scones because of their simplicity and the fact that I had buttermilk left over from a recipe last week. They were okay with lots of jelly and butter, but really not worth making again. Next time I'll try something with some butter in the recipe.

I thought the pooches were especially cute tonight. And they kind of spelled "Om." Huck is able to get on the couch now, which is something that makes him very happy. Guess we're going to have to buy another couch for the humans, and maybe a bigger house while we're at it. :)

This next bunch of long-nosed shots must be a product of the camera lens. They don't quite look like themselves.




The horses, they were wet. I didn't do anything but feed them. This blog is going to get pretty boring over the winter, I fear. Either that or I'll have to get out of this horse slump and actually start doing things with them again.