Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween from the Haffies!


Oh, Pippin, you silly horse, you don't even know how to wear your disguise.

Frankly, I think it looks better on this end 
than it does on your face!
What do you think?!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Horse Terms

I was amused by this list of horse terms recently published in the Colorado Driving Society's newsletter:

  • Auction: A popular social gathering where you can change your horse from a liability into an asset.
  • Colic: Gastrointestinal result of eating at horse-show food stands.
  • Colt: What your mare gives you when you want a filly.
  • Endurance ride: End result when your horse spooks and runs away with you.
  • Feed: Expensive substance used to manufacture manure.
  • Fence: Decorative structure built to provide your horse something to chew on.
  • Grooming: Fine art of removing dirt from your horse's body and applying it to your own.
  • Hock: Financial condition of all horse owners.
  • Lungeing: Popular training method in which a horse exercises his owner by spinning him in circles until dizzy.
I also thought you might enjoy knowing alternative names for the parts of a saddle:

What other twists on terminology are favorites of your's?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Doc's Diatribe: He Just Doesn't Get It

I wish a scourge of yellow flies on Pippin!
I wish a plague of hungry horse flies on him!
I wish a pestilence of pests on the pesty beast!
Pippin is driving me crazy and he just doesn't get it. He doesn't get that I don't like him sniffing my butt. He doesn't get that I don't like him nosing around where I am trying to eat. He doesn't get that I don't like him to lip me as we are being led to the pasture. He is a dunce, a dumb, dumber than dumb, dunce!
I've nipped at him to let him know I don't like his pestiness.
I've put my ears back and I've given him the 'stink eye'.
I've pulled my lips back and I've shown him my long, strong teeth.
I've bitten the boy. I've drawn blood.
I've kicked the boy. I've left welts.
And still, he comes back again 
...and again to bug me.
Will he never leave me alone?!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oh...What To Do?!!!

In the last post you may have read that we put a bid in on a house. It seems that while I was away having fun in Detroit, my bored husband began looking at property and stumbled on a foreclosure. Well, our bid was accepted! Yikes! Now what should we do? We have until midnight on October 28 to back out of the deal, so we are making lots of calls and making plans to have the property inspected and to get estimates for tons of work from contractors. We will be busy this week, for sure!

So I've been trying to approach this using  my typical linear, logical thinking - although my lockstep approach isn't often the right way to go about making a decision and may be of no help whatsoever! I've tried to look at the pros and cons of living in one place over the other:

Great neighbors within a quick walk
Fabulous view of Pike's Peak
Open space in back yard and easements for riding
Quiet living on a cul-de-sac
Large barn with ample hay storage
Three car garage
House is paid for
Trees and shrubs we planted over last three years are beginning to
flourish and grow
Vegetable garden beds are established
Invisible dog fence installed
New furnace and AC
Lower taxes
Close to Kit Carson Riding club facilities

Almost double the amount of pasture
Main floor master bedroom
Lower elevation - may mean warmer temps and less snow.  
Scott might find it easier to breathe
Possibly less wind
Camper can be parked at home - wont' have to pay storage fee
Ability to have chickens and other livestock
Four miles to shopping and restaurants
21 miles to Dad's house
Immediate access to main road that will be plowed in winter
Shop equipment may fit in the garage
Large stable across the street with multiple arenas where I might be able to ride
Fenced back yard that might contain dog
House is a blank slate - cost of new kitchen/flooring/paint included in estimate
Automatic waterers in barn and pasture
No covenants to comply with
No HOA fees
House will be paid for if we can sell the current home for a reasonable price

If you think of something I might be missing, please let me know!

Here are some pictures and some additional information about the 'new' house. The house was built in 1994. It appears that it had a loving, caring family until 2007 when it was sold for a lot of money. The new owner financed EVERYTHING with 2 different mortgages. The new owner didn't seem to love the new home and didn't take care of the property. The new owner walked away at some undetermined time.

This is a view of the front of the house. It faces south and sits on a knoll of almost 9 1/2 fenced acres of land. 

Here is a view of the back. The fenced yard might hold Tucker, although I'm not sure that I would totally trust him not to jump over the fence. The yard and gardens were probably very attractive at one time. The small tree in the foreground is just one of about 25 that may have been honey locusts, but which are now all dead :(  The tarps on the roof are gone and the roof has been replaced - naturally with the cheapest shingles.

We really like the floor plan of the house. It has a total of 2500 square feet on the first and second floor. It also has a basement that is half finished and could be made into a nice entertaining area. The rooms are all fairly large and open and seem to be light and airy. 9' ceilings on the main floor and a 2-story entry help promote that feeling.

The front door opens into this entry way, just to the right of the stairs. There is a large window in the dormer that makes this area very bright, and there is a fairly nice chandelier for night time. Two large bedrooms are located to the left and right of the balcony upstairs, separated/connected by a 'Jack and Jill' bath. The tile in the bath is dated and at some point my husband and I could redo it. We've had success with that type of project previously.

This is the master bedroom. The photo was taken from the french doors that open off of the great room. The door on the left opens onto the front porch. The bay window has a view of the distant mountains. There is a copse of trees that shield this corner of the house from the main road. Carpet and baseboards would need to be replaced and again, the tile in the bath is very dated and will probably be one of our first 'do-it-yourself' projects.

We were able to get this house at what may be a bargain because at some point the upstairs toilet became cracked, probably from freezing. When the bank began working with the listing Realtor, the Realtor had the power turned on so the house could be shown. The pump works well and water from the cracked toilet flowed down ruining a lot of sheet rock, carpet padding and all of the wood floors. The great room and the eat-in area of the kitchen have no sheet rock on the ceiling. More sheet rock has been removed in the basement. The wood floors were pulled up and cut away from the kitchen cabinets. We have had contractors in to give us estimates and have priced flooring and installation and even a new kitchen. The inspector will be at the house, with us at his elbows, on Monday. 

This is the view off of the front porch. You are looking at a large riding stable that has a number of barns and arenas. It is all fairly modern. I am going to talk to them to sound them out about the possibility of using their facilities, especially when the weather is rotten. Our paved driveway is fairly long. It meets with a highway running E/W. We do hear noise from passing cars, but, as the road is well traveled, it will usually be plowed promptly in the winter.

This is a view off the back porch. I imagine this porch will be a wonderful spot for morning coffee on nice days and a refreshing drink in the evenings. We have room to put a small table for summer dining as well. The steps lead down into the enclosed back yard.

This shot is taken from behind the barn, looking north. The pasture seems to be less weedy than what we currently have. There is a paddock area and one large pasture, which probably takes up about 7 acres of the land. We have electric tape that we could use to divide the pasture and there are already plenty of gates.
The neighborhood behind us has large lots with large, expensive homes. 

This is what would serve as a least for several years. The two 10 X 10 stalls open to the south and look towards the house. These doors are the only openings in the stalls. There is very little room for runs coming off the stalls. The garage door on the left opens into a large area that could be used for hay and tack storage and could hold the tractor as well. There is an open area of paddock to the left that would probably be the turn-around spot for the trailer. There isn't that much room between the drive and the stalls, so any runs we made would be small. You will also notice that they have a concrete 'sidewalk' in front of the stalls. The paddock goes around and behind the barn, so there is an entrance to the paddock to the right. It's possible that we could use Priefert panels to give the horses access to the stalls and the paddock.

This looks like it was used as a run-in shelter for the horses (and for countless pigeons!) It is located behind the stalls on the right side of the barn. It opens directly into the paddock and has now doors. It faces south. I'm thinking this would be the main shelter for my guys. We could possibly create doors into the stalls (located on the left) from this area. I could also use panels to create a space for each guy in here if I needed to keep them separated. (Doc does get tired of Pippin's that may be needed!)

As you can imagine we have been living an emotional roller coaster. The inspector comes on Monday so we'll know more about the condition of the house at that time. We are aware of many issues that need to be addressed, but those don't seem to be deal breakers. After we get the estimates for the work that needs to be done and do the math, then we'll have to do the hard part....deciding where we want to live. Arrgghhhh! What to do? What to do?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Random Writing

We put a bid in on a house yesterday. Uh, nope, we hadn't been looking for a house...we're quite happy where we are. But my husband was poking around on the Internet, as he often does, and found a pretty house that is  much closer to town with more land. The house is a total fixer-upper. It is in foreclosure and when the bank began working with a Realtor, they had the power turned on to show the house. Unfortunately, no one came by until the next day when they discovered that the upstairs toilet had cracked and water had been leaking all night. Since water follows gravity's rules, sheet rock, wood floors and carpet padding from top down were ruined and have since been stripped out of the house. The house will need major work inside and a lot of work outside from years of neglect. We put in a very low offer and will just have to wait and see.

Tucker was fixed last week. I posted on Facebook that we didn't know he was broken and one of my friends commented that he is now! He was one sad puppy the first night, but it hasn't slowed him down since. We're supposed to keep him quiet for two weeks. Hah! That's a joke! We finished his puppy training class and have begun the intermediate class. The local (as in 15 miles away) PetSmart has an outstanding trainer and Tucker loves the chance to get off the farm, so to speak. He does a great job with all of the commands when he is on leash or in a small area. But, Mr. Smarty Pants knows there isn't much I can do when he is outside and I don't have a handle on him. It is so aggravating!

I haven't had much time to ride, but I did hop on both boys the other day. I visited a neighborhood friend who has an indoor arena. Despite it being a bit chilly out, and even though the boys hadn't been ridden, they were both fantastic. It felt great to be back in the saddle again. I had another brief ride yesterday on Doc.

I found a Dr. Cook's western bitless bridle at a yard sale - it must have been my lucky day! I don't do a lot of yard sale shopping, and my husband rarely will stop at one. We were driving home and saw a yard sale sign stating that everything was half off. Hubby asked if I wanted to go, so we turned around and stopped. The purveyors had a number of horse things hanging on a hatrack. I was immediately drawn to the strips of leather and realized that I was looking at a basically new bitless bridle. The woman said she used it once, and from the condition of the leather, I believe it. The bridle was missing the browband, but I had one from an older bridle, so, no problem. I was able to buy it for half off the $75 price she had on it. I also bought a pair of Prince of Wales English spurs with very small shanks for $ .50. What great deals, eh?!

Our barn kitties, Thing 1 and Thing 2, are spending more and more time outside and showing signs of becoming real 'Barn Cats'. They can often be spotted stalking real or imaginary beasties. While I was in Detroit my hubby reported that they had caught a mouse. Yesterday Thing 2 had a small garter snake. I tried to tell her that the snake is on her side, as far as getting rid of vermin, but I don't think she understood!

Our weather continues to be incredibly gorgeous. We have never, ever had a fall as pretty as this one. We did have a few frosts that have killed the less hardy flowers and vegetables, but snapdragons and petunias are still flowering and we are enjoying root crops from the garden. We were hoping for some rain on Monday, and actually expected the rain to turn into snow as temperatures dropped, but it never happened. We had temperatures in the 50's and mostly cloudy skies, but the sun still managed to peek out and make my day!

I had a post about sheath cleaning in June. Just recently I came across the following 'Sheath Cleaning Song' on YouTube. I thought some of you might be able to relate to this!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fabulous Fall

This fall has been absolutely, positively fabulous. We have had one rainy day in the last 6 or 7 weeks, which has made it a bit too dry, but the sunshine and warmth have been welcome. Temperatures have been in the 70's or 80's just about every day. Last year by this time we had already had one snow storm and we had another on Oct. 21 that brought more snow. Sadly, they are predicting 40% chance of rain with temperatures between 32 and 37 for Monday evening. Shall we place bets on whether the precipitation is in a more solid form?!

Aspens in our back yard.

Autumn Blaze Maple
 Has anyone had difficulty uploading pictures to their blogs? I have always used Mozilla, and tonight I got a message that I had to enable cookies in order to upload photos....and cookies were enabled. I had to go to IE to finish my posting....arghhh!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Accidental Employment

My trip to visit my best friend near Detroit was fabulous. We had a wonderful time catching up on everything! Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Eat. Talk. Talk. Talk. Eat. Etc.

MJ told me that she needed to help a friend and had volunteered my help as well. We're kinda like that. We've worked on many projects together through the years. So, shrug shoulders, no sweat. We arrive to help her friend at 8:30 AM, which is, according to my brain only 6:30 AM since I was 2 time zones removed from my home. It seems that MJ's friend is an event planner and she has several huge events to set up for the weekend. So MJ and I jump into large-scale event decoration grunt work. This requires carrying loads of stuff from the vans and trucks into the hall. Poles, rolls of fabric, lots of decorated foam core boards, ladders, aluminum flashing, heavy metal bases for the poles, tool boxes and various boxes and bags carrying various odds and ends. We begin by setting up fabric curtains to cover some pictures and to provide a backdrop for decorations. Some of the curtains needed to be ironed - they were 60" wide and over 15 feet in length. We ironed on the floor, on our hands and knees. Once ironed, we went up and down ladders to set them up onto standards and cross poles. Later (6 panels later) MJ's friend showed us how to do them without ladders! Oh, we are so ready to be event decorators now! Then we had to trim poster-sized photographs mounted on foam core to fit various frames in the event hall, dining room, the hall ways and the entrance. These pictures were mounted into the frames using tape or T-pins. MJ and I made 9 large centerpieces by attaching sports equipment to poles. We covered the poles with skateboards, ski boots, balls, tennis rackets, skates, golf clubs, swim fins and more.

We hang things from wires, like these huge tennis balls in front of a 4' X 8' tennis court layout. All hanging from the black drapes we had set up and from wire strung near the ceiling.

No, we didn't need to carry in the sound system or the lights - that job belonged to some other lucky folks!

We met MJ's friend at another club in the morning and set up there, returning to our original venue to complete our work. This was a huge party; a bar mitzvah and anniversary celebration rolled into one. The decorating involved 4 other people in addition to myself and MJ and took about 10 hours to convert the staid country club hall into an exciting sports studio. Chandeliers were covered with flashing to give them a new look and a recording studio, complete with flashing lights and labeled director's chairs were part of the scene.

That evening, and into the early hours of the morning, MJ, her husband, her son and I undid all of the work we had done in the previous two days.

Both MJ and I had a lot of fun. But, the greatest fun was being handed a check that more than covered my flight to Michigan! This was a total suprise - I had been employed and didn't even know it!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hey, there. Doc....

What do you want?

Have you seen my Mrs. Owner?

Huh? Have you seen her?

Uh...actually, no. Now that you mention it I haven't seen her for a bit.

Maybe we should go look for her - you look over there.

Well? What do you see?

Pippin, I don't see her on this side of the barn.

I'll look on my side of the barn.

Nope. She's not here.
I don't see her up by the house, either.

Let's look in the barn.

OK....I'll race you into the stalls!

She's not down by the hay.

I don't see her in the tack room.

Where do you think she could've gone?

Did the guy who is always hanging around her say something when he fed us last night?

Hmmm...he grumbled something about someone going somewhere, to do something. He was somewhat vague. He mentioned something about Detroit.

Do you suppose he could've been talking about my Mrs. Owner?

What's 'Detroit' anyway?
Is it good to eat?

Why do you always think about food?!

Who? Me?

Who else?

Mrs. Owner is off visiting one of her great friends who lives near Detroit. She has left her ponies in the capable hands of her wonderful, supportive husband. She will return to give the boys special hugs and scritches next week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thing 2 - Mighty Huntress

I could spend hours watching the antics of our barn kittens. At 6 months of age, the girls have long been venturing out into the field to pounce on unsuspecting grasshoppers and moths. They chase each other up the trees. They charge out of the bushes and through the horses' legs. They swat at each other from the fence rails. The tussle with each other and fight the shadows.

The other day as we watched the kittens my husband commented on Thing 2, the brave huntress, off to rid the world of bugs and butterflies. She slunk across the pasture, her eyes fastened on her pray. She waited. She twitched her tail. She pounced! Imagine our surprise when she turned and trotted toward the barn with her prize....a ground squirrel! Our cute little kitten had her first kill. Well, almost. Apparently she has not gotten to the lesson on how to kill the prey. Soon she dropped it. Everytime she'd try to approach it, the ground squirrel would raise up, wave its razor-sharp talons and bare it's long, dagger-sharp teeth. Too much for Thing 2! She valiently tried to recapture her prey several times, but alas, the varmint made a hasty retreat to it's burrow. Thing 2 waited patiently for an hour for it to reappear, then finally went off to stalk and capture something she could handle....the ubiquitous grasshopper!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

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....