Monday, January 31, 2011

The Project - Week Two: Hard Work Has Its Own Rewards

Peter Ustinov was reported to have said,  "The only reason I made a commercial for American Express was to pay for my American Express bill." I'm wondering if our credit card company would like to use our family for a commercial? We certainly have used it enough this week. The swipe stripe is red hot! But, what the heck, we get points, right?!

This week was more about getting things lined up so that we can move forward in the coming weeks. But, we did do a bit of work, here and there.

This week we:
  • Ordered the dumpster and began filling it with material from the kitchen and bathroom demo.
  • Narrowed our choices of wood floor to three, well, maybe not....
    • Brazilian Teak   American Hickory
    • Golden Teak   Gunstock Oak   Tigerwood
    • Tobacco Road Acacia   Hand scraped Tobacco Road Acacia
  • We had an estimate for installing the hardwood floor and received a list of materials we would need should we decide to do the work ourselves.
  • Had the OEM blower replaced (it blows fumes away that may have gathered in the furnace before it fires up) - the furnace is MUCH quieter now. We had budgeted for a new furnace, so this is great news!
  • Removed nails and staples in the walls and from the floor and marked nail holes and dings in the walls.
  • Brought a ton of paint chips back to the house. I'm having a hard time deciding on what colors to use.
  • Invited the Culligan man for a visit. It will be too expensive to repair or replace the system.
  • Invited the Invisible Fence man for a stroll in the yard. It will cost almost as much to repair it as to replace it. We may do it ourselves.
  • Plumbing - we received two estimates on plumbing so we can move the kitchen sink, repair pipes that were cut to make certain water wouldn't enter the house and to put two valves in existing lines so we can install a laundry room sink if we decide we'd like one in the future.
  • We have water! At least outside and... thrill of thrills... in two automatic waterers. The well pump was inspected and fixed and the well was chlorinated, since it has been so long since it has been used. Water can enter a tank in the house and the tank is currently holding pressure.
  • Finalized our list for kitchen and master bath cabinets. The order will be placed following measurement by the installer next week. Currently there are some great deals to be had in kitchen cabinetry. We came in under budget :-)  Oops, we visited the store again and found a different cabinet style we like better and a few 'gadgets' to add to the cabinets. We'll be back with the designer next week. Maybe I was a bit premature in saying we were below budget!!
  • Removed bath sinks, counter and vanities. I began to tear out the tile, of which we have a ton: back splash by sinks, tub surround and back splash, shower and floor. It all has to go. Ugh!
I'm looking forward to getting back up to the house this week. I just love chipping away at the tile (she says with just a hint of sarcasm). At any rate,  it will be very interesting to see how much snow we get here vs how much we get there. 

The Dumpster - Week Two

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    Whither the Weather

    Whether the weather be fine,
    Or whether the weather be not.
    Whether the weather be cold,
    Or whether the weather be hot.
    We'll weather the weather,
    Whatever the weather,
    Whether we like it or not!

    And I don't like it. Not one bit. On Saturday I was riding in the sunshine and it was a warm 59 degrees. At my new house it was 63. Look at what is expected over the next few days:

    Actually, I would like to have a wonderful, blowy snowstorm. We haven't had a good snow yet. However, I would prefer slightly warmer temperatures. Picky, aren't I?

     The 'Polyanna' side of me says, "At least we aren't in the northeast!"

    Weather Prediction for Rochester, NY

    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    Back on Track

    Yesterday I enlisted in the Battle of the Blogger Butts*. My weight has been creeping up. Winter has curtailed some of my outdoor activities and has put me much closer to the pantry cabinet and the fridge. The extended trip over the holidays meant eating out more often, eating road food (Pringles are one of our favorites - and every gas station seems to have them in all kinds of flavors!) and the proverbially cherry on top, or that which put me over the tipping point, a week-long cruise!

    My jeans are beyond snug.
    I have a Michelin Man roll or a muffin top - call it what you will.
    I find it difficult to zip my chaps and forget bending my knees in them!
    I find mounting even my short guys a challenge - and I'm sure they aren't happy with my dragging the saddle down, either!

    I am joining other Bloggers in their fight on fat:
    • I'm with you Farmer's Wifey, in trying to lose 5%  my body weight within 11 weeks. 
    • I'll be "Weighing in with Wynonna" over at The 7MSN Ranch, and OK, I'll put a tad bit more speed into the poop pile pickup!
    • I don't have any wood to chop and drag to the house, but I'm sure that work around our new house will help me get fit. So, I'm joining AJ at A Little Farm with A Big Heart in our quest to get into better shape.
    • Any other Bloggers  who have either publicly or privately proclaimed a plan to pare down on the poundage - I'm with you, too. I'd love to hear your tactics. I'd love to hear what's working for you...and, maybe what's not. Feel free to chime in!
    Although I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and I have been going to my required monthly weigh-in, I haven't really been tracking my food or my exercise. Yesterday I weighed in at WW and I am only 2 pounds below my goal. If I go above that, I must begin to attend weekly meetings and pay for the privilege. (Not to mention the need to purchase a new, larger wardrobe - something I don't want to do.) I got back on the WW site and I have made a promise to use the eTools  tracker - every day...every bite!
    I am back on track!
    And, you guys can hold me to it!

    When I reach for that piece of cake in the fridge, I must remember....
    Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.

    When I see that package of Twizzlers, I must remember....
    Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.

    When I reach for a second piece of sausage, onion and extra cheese pizza, I must remember....
    Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.

    Have a great week and if you are also trying to cut back on calories and increase your exercise, good luck!

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Straight From the Horse's Mouth

    Before the holiday craziness I had the opportunity to hear a very interesting presentation by the equine dentist I use. Since Pippin has poor teeth I've learned a lot from him already, but the dentist had so much more to say. I thought I'd share a bit of what I remember with you. But, since I am somewhat 'long in the tooth'* myself, I may not remember it all!
    * Since horses teeth continue to erupt and the incisors appear to grow longer as the horses age, this idiom came to mean growing older!

    Horses, like humans, begin their early life with baby teeth, also called deciduous teeth. The baby teeth are shed beginning around 2 years of age and will continue to about 4 1/2 years. The roots of the baby teeth disintegrate and the top of the tooth, or cap, remains on top of the erupting adult tooth until it falls off. Sometimes a permanent tooth will erupt and push the cap aside, but it won't completely fall out. This can cause a problem with the position of the permanent tooth or the horse's bite. It is important to have a young horse's teeth checked frequently, maybe as often as every four months, while he is shedding his baby teeth.

    This image shows retained incisors on a  2 1/2 year old horse.

    The caps are very sharp and have ulcerated the horse's lip, causing him pain. If the caps are not removed the permanent teeth will not align properly.

    Unlike rodents, horse teeth do not actually continue to grow. When they are formed the tooth is 4 inches or slightly longer in length. The majority of the crown of the tooth is in the jaw below the gum line, with only about 1/2 inch being visible in the horse's mouth. The tooth surface wears down from chewing and the tooth continues to erupt throughout the horse's life. As the horse ages, less of the crown of the tooth is under the gum line. Older horses may lose their teeth as after many years the crown may be totally worn away.

     This is Pippin's molar. It was extracted last year because it had abscessed. For some reason Pippin never formed cementum in the folds of his teeth, so bacteria from decomposing food caused decay and ultimately infection. The true root of the tooth is the last 1/4" on the right. The clean section of the crown, about 3/4" on the left, is all that was showing above the gum line.

    Like humans, horses have incisors in the front. These are the cutting teeth. Behind the incisors the horse may have a canine tooth on each side, top and bottom. These are often not found in mares. After a space, which we call the bar of the mouth, the horse will have 3 premolars and 3 molars on each side of the jaw, top and bottom. Occasionally a horse will have one or more small teeth called "wolf teeth" snuggled next to the molars. These are often removed as they may cause bitting problems.

    After all permanent teeth are in place horses should have their teeth examined at least once a year. This examination should be more than a veterinarian taking a quick peek in the front and sticking his hand to the back of the horse's mouth to feel for sharp areas. It is critical that the veterinarian (or equine dentist) use a speculum and a flashlight or head lamp to be able to see all the way into the back of the mouth.

    The dental assistant fits the speculum on Doc.
    The specialist should also use a mirror to examine the biting surface of the molars to look for cavities or cracked teeth and to check the gums, tongue and cheeks for irritation or lacerations.

    The teeth of a horse need to be aligned to allow the best possible grinding action. If teeth are unevenly worn they may not only develop sharp spots that can lacerate the cheeks, gums or tongue of the horse, but they may limit the movement of the horse's jaw, either sideways or from front to back.

     This is one type of a 'hook'. The hook is sharp and can cut the gums as well as limit movement of the jaw forward and backward. Click here for more images of dental problems.

    The undulating shape of the teeth in this image form a wave. Again, this limits the movement of the jaw and would cause poor grinding of food. Additionally, pressure points and areas where food can become impacted could cause damage to other teeth and infection.

    Incisors may have problems as well. If the incisors become too long, the molars may not even meet, and thus may not be able to grind the food adequately for proper nutrition. Inattention to the teeth over a long period of time could lead to malocclusion that causes an overbite or an underbite, making it difficult for horses to graze. (An overbite or underbite could also be a congenital problem caused by the length of the jaws.) With proper attention and corrective floating, this type of problem can be lessened, if not alleviated over time.

    If the molars develop waves or hooks that force the horse's jaw in an unnatural position the bite may not be straight.

    A veterinarian or an equine dentist can float the teeth to bring them into alignment, create a smooth biting surface and allow the jaw to move in all directions. Dental health is as important for horses as it is for us. And the saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" couldn't be more appropriate when it comes to your horse's dental health.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Grand National - Pint Size

    I stumbled on this video clip of the 'Grand National'. Well, apparently not THE Grand National, but a race between Shetland ponies. I loved watching the little guys and their riders.

    I've known a few ponies in my life and they have always been very entertaining. My first introduction to Shetlands was at my Aunt's house. She had a little guy aptly named Rascal. I wanted to ride him in the worst way, so my Aunt put his tiny western saddle on (well, you know what I mean...she tacked him up) and let me have a go at it. We made it about half way around the paddock when Rascal stopped abruptly and lowered his head. I tumbled off. Not to be outdone by a pint-sized pony, I scrambled back on. Again, we made it about half way around and Rascal stopped. This time, being prepared and having a better grip with my knees, I managed to stay on....the saddle that is. The saddle slipped right over and down Rascal's neck!
    The next pony that I got to know was Trigger (just how many Triggers do you think are out there?!) Trigger was at least 35 years old and had taught more than a handful of equestrians. The unique thing about Trigger is that he knew his limits. He knew the size of the rider he was willing to take around and he would never let anyone bigger than that size catch him in the paddock.

    Here is a tribute to the pint-sized pals out there:

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    The Project Week 1: Going, Going, Gone

    Now that we have returned from our travels it is time to get to work on "The Project".  Several months ago we decided to purchase a foreclosed home. I published a post describing the house and the pros and cons of buying it and living there.

    Our work this week included:
    • reinstalling the mailbox
    • moving kitchen appliances (no fridge) to the dining room
    • removing the kitchen faucet and installing it in our current home - we discovered that our previous faucet had been broken while we were away.
    • removing the kitchen counters and all cabinets
    • pulling up the remaining hardwood floor in the kitchen
    • pulling up staples left from the flooring throughout the main floor
    • pulling out remaining finishing nails that were left when base board was removed on the main floor



    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Foregiveness, Fuzzy Hats and Stylin'

    Doc has finally forgiven me for my abandoning him. He nickered as I entered the barn this morning...just like days of old. He also has returned to his 'Golden Retriever' alter ego, loving to be petted and rubbed. Especially around the face.

    Here we are having a special moment together. I am wearing the beautiful hat that Lisa (Laughing Orca
    Ranch) knit and gave away as a prize last month. I was so excited to win and just love the colors and the fuzzy fibers. Thanks, Lisa, for taking the time to knit the hat and for the contest give-aways. I will enjoy the hat for a long time!

    Since the hat is so beautiful, I decided that it would be appropriate to wear it for the announcement of the 'Stylish Blogger Award', afterall, what could be more stylish than turqouise and purple, a Haflinger and a beautiful Colorado day?!

    I'd like to thank Sidney at Bitless Horse: Science VS tradition for bestowing this award...well, for sorta suggesting I could 'take' the award! Sidney wrote, "You know I break rules all the time right? Well I honestly would love to go through my blog list and pick 15 of you but .... you'll understand if I gift this award to the first 15 who have read this and haven't received it yet. Please put it up on your blog and link back here so I can see you stylish bloggers please!"

    There are 4 duties to perform to receive this award:

    1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
    2. Share 7 things about yourself
    3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
    4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!
    Seven Things About Me

    1. My life has become crazy since we decided to buy the house. We have begun to work on the house and you will see blogs about our progress.

    2. I love to read, but find I have little time to do so. When I do find time, I'm usually so tired I fall asleep! 

    3. I got a Kindle for Christmas - well, actually right after Christmas. I miss browsing for books and the pretty covers of books, but the ease of buying books is awesome...and scary!

    4. I think I am developing arthritis - boo, hiss. (The Kindle is easier to hold!)

    5. I am trying to learn to be less critical of others. It's a terrible habit and I think I picked it up from my mother. Does anyone else out there find that as they get older they grow more and more like their moms? 

    6. I love watching kids get excited when they learn new things. I love teaching; kids, dogs and horses. Husbands, however, are too hardheaded to teach!

    7. I like alliteration. to give this award to 15 'recently discovered' bloggers. That's tough.

    Like Sidney, I'm going to bend the rules a bit. I will pass this on to 15 folks, but perhaps for slightly different reasons than being 'recently discovered'....I'm going to focus on the 'Stylish' aspect. For all of the following blogs are truly special, and very stylish!

    First, I'd like to give this to Once Upon an Equine who got me into blogging to begin with. I know she is really overwhelmed at work and may not be able to pass this award on for a while (it does take a bit of time to respond to the duties) but I truly enjoy her blog and her wit.

    Next,  I want to pass the award to Mrs. Mom at Oh Horse Feathers & Related Twisted "Tails". She encourages so many bloggers and shares great stories, wit and wisdom.

    Because I think (and no, I'm not the least bit brainwashed biased) Haffies are the bestest and cutest, I'll bestow this award on other Haffie bloggers, if I  am missing a Haffie blogger, please let me know - I'd love to follow others adventures with these not so wee beasties.)
    Reina's World  (This blog actually fits the rules - I have just discovered Reina's world)

    I am smitten with other barnyard animals that are brought to life by the folks they own. I hate it when I miss a day of their blogs:

    Because I'm never too old to learn, and I'm always learning from this 'stylin' lady, I give this award to Kate at A Year With Horses.

    Oh, I only have one more spot...and so many Stylish bloggers...oh, darn. This one I'll give to Buried in Colorado. I feel a special kinship to Danielle Michelle as we both live in this beautiful state and we both know what it's like to have chalk dust and marker all over our hands.

    Well, I am going to break the rules (again)! I am going to give my last, last award to the gal who made me so stylish; Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch . Lisa knit the hat I am wearing in the picture above and sent it to me as a prize in a give-away. Lisa's site is down while she takes a bit of a break. We understand those things!

    Thanks to everyone who opens their souls, pours out a bit of their hearts, gives us a glimpse into another world and shares their love, heartache, good times and bad in their blogs. You are all my special "blog friends" and I have gained much from that connection, even though I've never met you face to face.

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    Planning a Trip?

    Just for fun go to Google maps. 
    Click on Directions. 
    Enter USA for a starting point and Japan as you destination.
    Check out the instructions, especially #31!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Jungle Ride

    I normally don't go on commercial trail rides when I travel as I can ride just about whenever I want and I've been on many wonderful trails throughout the country. But this cruise excursion in Belize sounded a bit different. We could take a horseback ride through the jungle. I've never done that before! And, incredibly, my husband said he wanted to do it, too. I've known him to be on a horse's back 2 other times!
    So, off we went on a bus with about 15 other cruise guests. We traveled for about an hour with a wonderful, cheery tour guide who told us a lot about Belize City and Belize. Our destination was a small resort that looks like it is clinging desperately to life, competing for participants from dozens of listed excursions on too few cruise ships. Belize City does not have a deep enough port or a pier for the large ships. Although one cruise line has offered to build a pier and dredge the harbor, the Belizian government will not allow it as those who bought and operate the tenders would lose out. But I digress....

    We arrived at the resort, put our belongings in lockers, and headed for the picket area. The weather was moderately warm but can probably be unbearably hot in later months. There are areas where the horses can be picketed among some small trees and the day we were there, a nice breeze was blowing.

    Just part of the herd. Our guide (I like to think of him as a Vaquero, but since Belize was formerly British, I guess a Mexican 'cowboy' title doesn't really work) said they had 60 horses that they use for trail rides and others that are in training, or perhaps retired.

    My hubby getting settled on Smokey. Don't you just love the mounting ramps? They had created a series of them so several people could be  mounted at one time. The horses sported either Australian or Charro saddles. They had western shank bits and some of the reins, most made of webbing, had been fixed so the rider only had to hold one strap. This strap was attached to the two reins near the neck. We received brief training and a demonstration: pull your hand to the right to turn right,  to the left to turn left. Pull back to stop, move your hand forward to go. Gee, I never knew that riding could be that easy! Why, anyone can do it! We were offered the option of wearing helmets. They had several adjustable bicycle helmets. I wish it was mandatory, as it is with just one cruise line.

    In the background you can see the horses that weren't used for the ride returning to the barn on their own.

    Here I am on Einstein, next to my sweet hubby on Smokey.

    Our guide gave us a lot of information about medicinal plants in the jungle. Here I think he is getting a leaf to let us smell it or taste it. We also had the opportunity to taste termites, which provide protein and have a fresh, minty taste (if you can get over the idea that wayward bugs that may be wandering around in your mouth). The termites build their nests in trees as the ground is too wet.

    Do you see it?

    Here's a close-up. This is a spiny-tailed iguana. I apologize for cutting his tail out of the photo, but it was a bit awkward shooting behind me and up into the tree!

     This is the only Howler monkey that we saw, and he wouldn't show us his good side! His mouth, smiling at us, is on the lower left. The guide was a bit perplexed as the monkeys usually are in large groups and this guy was all alone.

     Einstein grabs a bite to eat at the dismounting mound. The grass at the resort was very well manicured as they let the horses out to graze after their work is done.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Forgive Me

    Forgive me, Jenny Craig, for I have sinned...
    I partook of the buffet on multiple occasions and filled my plate with heaping piles of tasty food.
    I ate French fries and onion rings.
    I ate cookies and creamy cheesecake and dishes with sinfully rich sauces.
    I ate dinner rolls...
    at dinner and at lunch..
    with butter.
    Real butter!
    I indulged myself by eating appetizers, entrees and desserts...
    at lunch.
    And it was all good!

    I also seek forgiveness from Bill W for I was known to have partaken of drink; wine and beer and creamy, dreamy drinks and drinks that came in souvenir glasses with paper umbrellas, concocted from who knows how many sinful substances...
    sometimes before noon and sometimes after midnight!
    And it was likewise good!

    Finally, forgive me if this offends you, perhaps in the manner in which it was written but not the content. But know that I had a fine time and loved every bite and every sip and now the time of reckoning has come and I suffer regret. Perhaps my biggest regret is that I failed to take clothes with expandable waistlines on the cruise!

    Now it is back to reality and back to Weight Watchers. Even though I will lose the extra baggage I have brought back as a souvenir from our cruise to the Western Caribbean I will have this picture as a reminder of our trip and as a gentle hint that I will be 'Big Momma' if I don't get back on! For the time being, I will have to be good!

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Doc's Diatribe: It's About Time

    Well, you will never guess who waltzed into the barn last night, as if she owned the place.... my Mrs. Owner! She came down around dinner time, all full of energy and excitement. She kept prattling on about being back, and missing us, and being glad to be home, and how tired she was, and how she would be glad to sleep in her own bed, and... and... and! She burst into my stall and gave me a hug. I wanted dinner. She gave me special scritches that she knows I love, but I wanted food. She brushed her hand all over as she walked around me and my stall. I am hungry, can't you see? Then she moved on to Pippin's stall. She gave him a hug. He moved away. He hates hugs. He was hungry. She scritched his face. He hates face scritching. He wanted hay. Finally my Mrs. Owner got down to work and gave us our dinner. It's not like it was a big deal. The house sitter with the kind voice had laid everything out. I had been staring at the hay sitting there waiting for me practically all day. My Mrs. Owner didn't have to do anything but give us the food. I don't see why she took her sweet time doing it. I showed her how I felt. I turned my back to her and I didn't eat a thing...until she went away. I suppose, in a way,  I'm happy that she's back, too... but don't tell her!

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Now Where Has She Gone?

    Put the pictures in a sequence,
    One, two, three...
    And you might guess where I have been.
    But when you 'get it' and know the score
    I will be gone, I'm 'here' no more!





    The correct order is:
    B - Leaving South Carolina
    D - Driving through Alabama (I missed the Georgia signs!)
    C - Entering Louisiana
    A - Getting closer to our final destination

    This last picture ought to give it away
    You might see where I've been at play.
    Bourbon Street is a place of great fun
    New Orleans was my destination!

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    A View of the World According to Pippin and Doc

    If we were in charge of the world
    We'd do away with snowstorms,
    Paddock gates,
    Sealed feed bins, and pesky, playful kittens. 

    If we were in charge of the world
    There'd be lush green pastures,
    Acres of open fields, and
    Light comfy saddles made of glove leather.
    If we were in charge of the world
    You wouldn't have horseflies.
    You wouldn't have vet visits.
    You wouldn't have rocky trails.
    Or cold, ouchy bits
    You wouldn't even have bits.

    If we were in charge of the world
    A romp in the pasture would be considered exercise,
    All meals would include apples and treats,
    And horses who sometimes startle and shy,
    And sometimes stomp at flies,
    Would still be allowed to be
    In charge of the world.

    If you were in charge of the world, what would you change?

    (My apologies to Judith Viorst, author of the original "If I Were In Charge of the World")

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Doc's Diatribe: Dancing Diva - I Think Not!

    Do I look like a ballet dancer to you?
    ....didn't think so!

    But, how do you explain my dainty "en pointe" stance?
    Just look at that toe point!

     Ah, snow balls!
    Some folks say it's hard to make snowballs from dry Colorado snow.
    Just let them pack the fluffy stuff with 1200 'foot pounds' of pressure!

    Thank you, Mrs. Owner, for taking the snow balls out!

    No, Mrs. Owner is not at home with the horses, although she wishes she were. She misses her fuzzy fellows. She made this post late last year. Mrs. Owner has left SC and she's moved on to a different to follow!

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Where's Dreaming Now? - Clue 3

    Here's the final clue for you,
    A picture of a tree.
    From what you've seen can you determine
    Just where Dreaming can be?

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Where's Dreaming Now?

    Dreaming has been on vacation.
    Can you figure out where?
    Here's a picture to give you a clue
    For the next day or so I'll provide one or two!

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    A Conversation: Psst...Are You Awake?

    Hey there Pippin. 
    Are you sleeping? 
    Do you want me to keep watch?  
    Didn't you get enough sleep last night?
    Are you comfortable enough?
    I see someone with a camera, 
    could be trouble heading this way.
    Is the ground too cold, too hard?

    Doc, enough already!
    You sound almost like me!
     Did you get into my Mrs. Owner's coffee?
    ....or what?

    Sorry, old buddy.
    It's just so unusual to see you sleeping on the job.
    It kinda threw me for a loop to see you down. 
    Usually the only thing that is down is your head
    as you eat, eat, eat.

    Who says I'm not eating?

    I shoulda figured...
    Geesh, I give up.
    I'm outta here!

    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....