Thursday, April 29, 2010

Monty the Monster

Let me introduce you to one of my other four-legged friends. This is Monty. Monty is our Zebrador. This is Mr. Mellow. This is Mr. Meek. This is the sweetest, kindest, wimpiest dog you could ever meet.

Today I discovered a different side of Mr. Mellow Monty.....I saw the Mr. Hyde side, and it wasn't  pretty!

Meet Mr. Federation Squirrel. AKA: Thirteen-lined ground squirrel, striped gopher, pest, squinney, nuisance, leopard ground squirrel, PITA (pain in the a$$), #%(%#@$^.

Awwww, isn't he cute?!

Our sunshine and warmer weather has brought more than bursting buds and dandelions. We now have these critters scampering around our yard, road and pasture. They seemed to have enjoyed winter under the snow in their snug squirrel dens. Ma and Pa squirrel seemed to have raised a banner crop of younguns in their magnificent burrow systems. Burrows and horse hooves do not go well together. Being the animal-loving kind of person that I am, and also having found no other way to stop these critters, I have obtained a "Have-a-Heart" trap. I bait it with peanut butter and oatmeal which is apparently irresistible to these critters. Then, I take a jaunt into the country side and release the pest cute little guy in open area, where hopefully, no one will care whether they have a new addition to their neighborhood!
So, today (Are you already predicting the gruesome story that is about to unfold? Have you put two and two together?) I saw a number of these guys scampering in Pippin's pasture. I set up the trap, and withing 15 minutes had myself a squirrel. Thinking about conserving gas, I dumped carefully placed the first victim cute, little guy, into my 'Homer' Bucket, and placed a basket over the top to keep him in.
I caught my second little guy within 30 minutes and was able to have him join his pal in Homer's bucket. Mr. Monty watched with interest. I went on about my chores, stepped out of the barn to find Homer on his side, and one (1) ground squirrel, rather maimed, in Mr. Monty Monster's mouth. One lucky guy evidently scampered to freedom. I turned my back, telling the monster to 'have at it', with only the slightest queasiness as I went up to have my PB & J sandwich.
Hmmm, maybe I can teach an old dog new tricks and I can dispense with being the middleman in this odd food chain!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Doc's Diatribe: Hair

Mrs. Owner cut my hair. I am sad. However, there are worse things - she could have pulled it, ouch!
 I don't care what anyone else thinks or says, this song from the musical Hair had to have been written by, for and about Haffies. It 'speaks' for me when I can not!

She asks me why
I'm just a hairy guy
I'm hairy noon and night
Hell that's a fright
I'm hairy high and low
Don't ask me why
Don't know
It's not for lack of bread
Like the Grateful Dead

Gimme head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

Let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for bees
A nest for birds
There ain't no words
For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
Of my...

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

Oh say can you see
My eyes if you can
Then my hair's too short

Down to here
Down to there
I want hair
Down to where
It stops by itself

They'll be ga ga at the go go
When they see me in my toga
My toga made of blond
Biblical hair

My hair like Jesus wore it
Hallelujah I adore it
Hallelujah Mary loved her son
Why don't my mother love me?

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Stills: Barns

I love old barns. I love to imagine the stories they could tell. Sadly, I could not get out to get pictures of some of the great barns near us, so this Sunday Stills will feature our barn, through the seasons.





Hmmm, it's hard to tell one season from another, eh?!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

By the Numbers: After the storm.....

  • 2: number of days the storm held us hostage
  • 4: height of drifts, in feet
  • 5: number of times I snowshoed down to the barn and back
  • 20: number of inches of snow that fell in our locale
  • 21: number of hours without power

Then....the sun came out!
Uh, Mrs. Owner, the snow is kinda deep....

 Going, going.....


Ahhh, green grass. It tastes even better after having been cooped up for two days!

Friday, April 23, 2010

April Showers....or April's Fool?

Wicked wind-blown icicles....

Drifts going over boot tops....

Wet horses...

Messy stalls.....
Didn't clean the paddocks....

Care to sit by the garden?

The weather service says we can expect 5 - 14 more inches by tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Saddle is Never Enough!

I went to an auction last week and put up a post about the Pariani I bought. Since I already have an English saddle (besides the Pariani) what I intended to buy at the auction was a Western saddle. I wanted something with a little more security for the trail, and something that maybe my hubby might consider using, since it has a built in 'handle'.  I've been casually looking for a Western saddle for the boys, and haven't been able to find anything that fits their somewhat chunky withers. I even tried a wide-tree Tucker saddle and the points of the tree dug into their shoulders. My dear husband and I had already planned to load the boys in our trailer to take a trip to a large saddle shop about 2.5 hours from home, but, thought we'd check the auction...just in case there was something that might work. I brought a template I had made from styrofoam, which I could lay inside a saddle to get an idea of how well it may or may not fit. I found about 3 saddles that might work. One was very strange indeed. It was some sort of English saddle that had morphed into a Western, or visa versa. I kinda know that feeling....I'm an English rider from way back, but I love the cowboy thing out west. So I guess I'm morphing as well. Anyway, this particular saddle got stuck in 'mid-morph'!

There were at least 3 of us that were interested in this strange saddle. The other two parties had draft crosses and encountered the same problems I have experienced with fitting Western saddles. This saddle seemed to have a wide tree and it was in excellent condition.  I wondered if it had actually been ridden in. It certainly looked weird, but it began to grow on me. After talking it over with my dear husband, we decided that we would bid on this saddle and hope that it would fit the boys. Well, obviously since Doc is modeling the saddle, we were top bidders!
The saddle had a stamp for the saddle maker; D. Galli from Las Vegas, NV. I found his web site but could not find any pictures of saddles that looked like this model. So, I emailed Doug. Boy, was I surprised (and pleased) to get a return email within a few hours. Doug wrote, "OMG! That is one of my saddles that I made 4 years or so ago.The design came about when I was asked to make several saddles for the UNLV  mounted police.  I had black leather left over from that project so I decided to make a couple more without all the police gear. 
The saddle has an Equiflex tree from Steele Saddle Tree Company and I used grade 1 black drum dyed Wickett and Craig leather . In total there are only 6 like the one you have including the ones that I made for UNLV."

Anyway, I'm thinking this is kinda cool to have such a unique saddle. I  love it. And, since I still don't have a Western saddle..........

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pippin's POV: Worse Than Getting Underwear for Christmas

Oh, the shame! Oh, the humiliation! I can't believe what has happened to me! Maybe the reason it feels so bad is that it started out sounding so good. My Mrs. Owner told me she was going to the Cowboy WalMart to get me a present. Present? I love presents! I was so excited. Maybe she was going to get me some apple flavored treats? Maybe she was going to get me a bubble gum flavored play ball? Maybe she was going to get me a new brush that would scritch the itchy spots? An-ti-ci-pa-tion, An-ti-ci-pa-a-tion (I'm singing it) made me do happy dances all day. And comes Mrs. Owner....oh yes, she has something in her hand....

It's not a bag of treats.
It's not a ball. 
 It's not a new brush. 
It's Super Muzzle!

Oh, the ignominy. 

 Get it off!!! Get it off!!!
I can't eat! I can't breathe!
I'm gonna call the ASPCA!
I'm gonna call PETA!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ride Cut Short by Snail

An ominous cloud started to form just as I finished grooming and saddling Pippin. We headed down to the round pen to make sure Pippin was listening to me before I mounted. Let me assure you, he was not! 
He was happily cantering and trotting around, totally ignoring me. But, what's important....listening to Mrs. Owner or having a good time?! Just as he began to think about doing what I was asking of him, the rain drops began to fall. Nice, fat, wet rain drops. Falling on my nice, new to me, antique (as in over 25 years-old) saddle that I had just purchased at an auction yesterday. The saddle is the same exact model as the one I rode in while in college. It spoke to me at the auction. It implored me to buy it. It knew that no one, well almost no one, would know what it was. The auctioneers (cowboys, all three - uh, I didn't mean for that to sound like an insult. I love cowboys, they just don't understand a whole bunch about English saddles!) couldn't even pronounce it's name and announced that my Pariani was a German saddle - the affront! 

Here's one of my Senior pictures from college riding Marmalade in my original Pariani.
(That almost sounds like the old Maidenform Bra ads..."I dreamt I was riding in my Maidenform Bra Pariani saddle!")
Hey, and doesn't that look of mine look especially dreamy?! What was I thinking? Probably, "When will this photographer ever finish...I am bored and my horse is tired of pointing her ears and standing still"!

Here's my 'new' Pariani. Lovely, isn't it?! I spotted it across the room. There were saddles piled all over the place. There were well over 100 western saddles, 35 youth saddles, ten or so Aussie's, a handful of pack saddles and six English saddles. My eyes were drawn to this and it was love at first, well OK, since it is a replacement, second sight! Other than the girth, which is too large and has stretched-out elastic, the saddle is in incredibly good shape. It looks as good as new.

So, of course I wanted to try the saddle out at the first opportunity today. Sadly, our rain continued. The thunder began to rumble and Pippin and I made a hasty retreat. The rain began to change subtly and we experienced 'snail'. It wasn't snow. It wasn't hail. The stuff that came down was like tiny snowballs, that even broke apart when they hit hard surfaces!

Oh well. It's moisture and we can always use that. I'll have a chance to try the new saddle later on!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Craft Corner - Greeting Cards

In this day of instant communication including email, IM, text messaging, and Tweeting, it is still nice to send or receive a handwritten note. It is even nicer if that note comes on a handcrafted card!
I like making cards and find that it is very relaxing. It's also very easy...oh, and I might add, addictive! There have been many evenings when I have crawled into bed very late because I had to make one more card, or add one more embellishment, or find the perfect paper to line an envelope. I do have some stamps and embossing powders; I have tiny embellishments that always seem to find their way into the carpet and make a terrible noise when I finally decide to vacuum. I have a variety of ribbons and some fancy scissors and punches. But, you don't need all of that to make a beautiful card.

Basic Materials Required

  • colored card stock - available at craft stores by the single sheet. 8 1/2" X 11" or 12" X 12". The smaller size can be cut in half to create two invitation size cards. The larger piece will make two cards, either invitation size or one invitation size and one larger. You will also have some scraps that come in handy for adding contrasting or coordinating trims.
  • decorative scrapbook papers - also available by the single sheet in both sizes. Many stores have color-coordinated thematic series.
  • photo paper or white card stock for the computer (regular printer paper could also be used)
  • computer and printer
  • a picture of your favorite horse or your favorite picture of a horse uploaded into the computer
  • one or more quotations or sentiments formatted in a pleasing color, size and font, possibly with a colored border and/or background.
  • glue stick - I find that the UHU stic has a nice, permanent bond, especially on photo paper, but there are many brands out there that will also work.
  • scissors - if you decide that you like making cards, investing in a paper trimmer helps make straight cuts, especially for cutting card stock down to size.
  • envelopes - invitation envelopes are available at craft and office supply stores.
  1. Cut the card stock to the appropriate size. For invitation size: 8 1/2" X 5 1/2". For announcement size: 6 1/2" X 10".
  2. Design and print your sentiments and photos. I put them on one sheet of photo paper but they could easily be printed on white card stock or white computer paper.
  3. Trim the decorative papers. I cut a rectangle for the background that is about 4" X 5 1/4" so that when it is glued on the card stock, a border of the card stock shows around the decorative paper. Cut your decorative paper smaller for a larger border, or experiment with tearing the paper, using strips of paper or a combination of several papers.
  4. Trim the photos and the sentiments. Mount them on scraps of card stock and/or on scraps of the decorative paper. Sometimes I use additional layers of scrap paper to add dimensionality to my pieces. You can also buy foam dots or 8 1/2 X 11 sheets of foam to mount pieces on your card that you want to stand out. The foam dots come pre-glued.
  5. Use scraps to enhance your design. I added a "ribbon" of paper and a partial circle on one card.
  6. Experiment with the layout of your papers, scraps and images. Decide if you want your card to be a landscape or portrait view. Once you have a design that pleases you, glue them in place.
  7. I like the look and feel of lined envelopes. I created a template that I use to trace the shape on the decorative paper. I slip the lining in the envelope, fold it on the crease of the flap so the lining is just below the glue line on the envelope. I run a stripe of glue on the lining to glue it in place just below the glue line on the envelope. This way the lining can move slightly when you open or close the envelope.
  8. If your card stock is too dark for writing to be seen, cut a sheet of computer paper slightly smaller than the card stock and fold it in half. Put one stripe of glue on one outer edge near the fold to glue the paper into the card. In this way the lining doesn't glue your card open or closed.
So, you can see how easy it is to make attractive greeting cards with only a few supplies. You can add your own creative touch to the cards by using brads, buttons, clips, different papers, ribbons and so forth. Here are some examples of cards I have made:

This card uses torn paper, a ribbon and a square brad. I used an olive colored stamp pad to color the edge of the torn paper. The photo and sentiment are printed on glossy photo paper and are mounted on scraps. The paper's edge behind the sentiment has been cut using special scissors. This is a Mother's Day card with the sentiment from Carrie Latet saying, "The best conversations with mothers take place in silence, when only the heart speaks."

This card makes use of torn paper to create a frame for a sentiment that was printed on parchment paper mounted on the plaid contrasting design. A ribbon adds additional texture. About 1/2" was cut from the bottom edge of the card's top and a strip of the plaid paper was glued on the inside bottom edge.

This card is made from textured card stock. I put a small piece of contrasting paper to add a shot of color. The photo and sentiment are mounted on card stock and decorative paper scraps. I put ribbon through the holes of two heart-shaped buttons and I used the same sentiment for Mother's Day.

This card uses my favorite 'cowboy' papers; the bucking bronco and the neckerchief designs. I also made use of some textured brown paper. The sentiment is printed on parchment paper and mounted on the scrapbook paper. I used star-shaped brads as embellishments.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pippin's Point of View: I Tried to be Good!

Oh what a happy day I had on Friday, and I made Mrs. Owner really happy, too! She told me over and over what a good boy I was. She hugged me, and petted me and scritched that special spot around my ears. It almost made me shiver in gladness. I was better than Doc. Hahahahaha to you, Doc! You were so bad and you made Mrs. Owner feel sad! That's not nice.
Early in the morning, before the sun even came up over the hill, Mrs. Owner came down to the barn. I was really surprised to see her so early. I was thrilled to get my breakfast early, too. Yum! But, then she put us in the big box that makes lots of noise. We rode for a long time and when we stopped moving, we weren't at home anymore. We were some place very strange with lots of strange horses. There were sheep there. There were strange dogs there. There was a cat that sniffed my nose there. Oh horrors, there was a mountain lion there. At least I'm almost positive it was a mountain lion. It was very shaggy. It smelled funny, and when I wasn't looking, it made a very loud, "heehaw-heehaw-heehaw" sound. That terrified me.  I just knew it was gonna come jump on my back and eat me up! But Mrs. Owner talked to me quietly, and pet my neck and said it would be all right. And, you know what? It was!
Mrs. Owner hitched me up, all by myself, and we had a lesson with a nationally known carriage guy name Jeff Morse. Jeff was very kind. He adjusted my bit. He helped me get my tongue back under the bit....three times! He said I'd soon learn not to do that, but Mrs. Owner isn't convinced since I love playing with my bit. I just wished that it tasted like something good to eat. Maybe she'll buy me a flavored bit. Hmmmm, would I want vanilla or peppermint? Tough choice!
Anyway, we drove around and around in circles until I was almost dizzy. Jeff showed Mrs. Owner how to help me bring my head down so I could "pull more efficiently", whatever that means! I did it a lot and Mrs. Owner and Jeff told me how good I was. I walked and I trotted and I really worked hard at keeping my head down. I tried so hard to be good! Jeff put magic elastic side reins on that helped me remember to keep my head down. This is a picture of me in the magic reins. Doesn't my head look pretty? It's not really low here, but it is lower than I usually keep it. Don't you like the nice bend I have? Mrs. Owner liked it and told me I was good.
I told Doc all about how good Mrs. Owner said I was. He turned his head away from me. Then he pushed me out of the water bucket. Then he pouted. He mumbled something about losing control....twice. Oh dear Doc. He said he was afraid. First, Jeff touched him and Doc claims that he didn't see Jeff standing there, so he reared up to get away from the touch. The second time he thought something was behind him, so he ran really fast to get away from it, but Jeff, who was driving at that point, got him to stop pretty quickly and Doc calmed down, a bit. But he was still pretty sure there was something nasty at that part of the arena each time he went by. It took a while for Jeff and Mrs. Owner to convince Doc that he'd be OK. Maybe Doc will have a better day the next time.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Age of Mortal Reasoning

After many years of Pony Club, eventing and fox hunting and then a long hiatus from horses, I am literally back in the saddle again! I bought my team last summer and we've done a little riding. Neither of the boys have much schooling under saddle, so it is always an adventure! I have just begun driving and had only a few opportunities to drive the boys before the snow came, as it took some time to plan, locate, finance and order what I wanted in the way of harness and carriage. Currently I have a pretty harness with 'spots' and my 'Amish tractor'! They don't quite match! I'm looking for a carriage and I will eventually get the boys farm harnesses for their forecart. I have already had them pull the drag harrow and plan for them to spread manure with a small manure spreader. Of course, I am making the assumption that the solid white sort of precipitation we keep experiencing will go away!

I've joined a driving club and I've been to a few events without my guys. It is awesome to watch the seasoned drivers and their horses. I love it! That is...I love it until I think about getting behind my boys. Then my chest becomes tight and my hands grow kinda clammy and I realize, despite my "whistling a happy tune"... that I just might be afraid! When, pray tell, did this happen? At some point between galloping hell bent for leather after a pack of hounds, bounding over rock wall fences three abreast and now, my brain has come upon the awful truth. I have reached that age. I have reached the age of mortal reasoning when my brain decrees that I should proceed with caution and take care. My brain knows what I am afraid to admit. My brain knows that I could get killed by doing X (skiing black diamond trails), Y (clinging precariously to the cupola on the top of the barn to put one more coat of stain on it) or Z (driving a team of horses)!

I received the link to this video clip from the listserv. What a beautiful video! But, as you watch, check out the facial expressions on the driver's and navigator's faces. Is that pleasure or is that abject terror?!! Perhaps I'm not alone in having reached the age of mortal reasoning!
Driving Montage from Tim Maloy on Vimeo.

PS: Each time I drive the boys I gain in confidence and lose some of the heart clenching, Haflinger sitting on my chest feeling. But I still find that I don't approach many things with the abandon I did when I was young. Perhaps it's a good thing...self-preservation, if you will!

Monday, April 5, 2010


Today's Forecast: southwest winds 10 to 25 mph with gusts to around 40 mph. 

Vanderwolf's Limber Pine...Pinus flexilus

Loose shingles blowing in the wind.

 Even Katy, our neighbor's dog who ALWAYS wants to be outside...isn't too sure about liking the wind.

King of the wind.....or a bad hair day

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fuzzy Wuzzy

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Haffie.
He had more hair than Timmy's Lassie.
His owner brushed him, scraped and curried.
She learned that nature can't be hurried!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Doc's Diatribe: And That's the Truth!

Pippin's quite full of himself after pulling the prank on Mrs. Owner. Of course, I had to put up with the pipsqueak for half the night. Thank Gawd he didn't get in early enough to eat my hay! Anyway, I'd like to set things straight and let you know that Mrs. Owner did figure it out, and pretty darn quickly! You see, we have a gate between the paddocks and Pippin, the Pipsqueak, plopped one of his size two's down on it with a bit of force, right near the hinge end of the gate. It seems that his not-so-dainty hoof, along with a little heft on his part was enough to break the weld on the hinge of the gate. After a winter of good hay and lots of rest I imagine we have both put on a few pounds here and there which may have added to his 'heft'. The end of the gate dropped down to the ground, which allowed the upper hinge to slide off the hinge pin. Pippin pushed the gate open and later, leaned his not so tiny hiny against it and shut it again. The chain that latches the gate on the other end acted like a hinge and held the gate upright. In fact, other than being a bit lower, the gate looked almost normal!
Mrs. Owner took a trip to the cowboy 'WalMart'. The good folks at the ranch supply store had never seen that happen before and gave her a new hinge piece. By the afternoon the gate was back on its hinges, ready to keep us apart.

See the pretty, new, green hinge?

Oh, I see the new hinge!

So, who's the April Fool?

What is Four?

Have you ever thought of the meaning of "four"?  Four is the number of: seasons in a year. corners and sides to a square. virtues....