Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Cuties

Here is son one!
Oh, so many years ago!

CS - 1986

And number Two with his best girl...
May I introduce you to
Scarlett and Rhett?
DE - 1990

I always enjoyed Halloween and making costumes. 
On various years my boys became a black cat, Superman, a scorpion, a spaceship, and buzzing bees.
As an adult I once went to a party as a bunch of grapes. I wore a purple leotard and tights. We pinned purple balloons all over me and I used wild grape ivy to make a trailing head piece. 
It was a great costume but  presented a few challenges:
I couldn't sit in the car to go to the party. I had to kneel in the cargo area of the van. 
Luckily the party was only a few miles away!
I barely fit through any doors.
It was difficult to move my arms, thus tough to eat and drink,
but that's OK because it was even more difficult to use the bathroom!

Happy Halloween to everyone!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Sticky Situation

As Halloween approaches I am reminded of an art project I conducted with my very first third grade class. It was the only first time that I had over half my class in tears. I taught in a small school and it was my responsibility to teach everything: reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic as well as art, music and PE!

I decided that we were going to make pumpkins for Halloween! Pumpkins of bright orange yarn with yellow eyes and green stems. Boys and girls, this will be a lot of fun! We will make these pumpkins and hang them up in the classroom for decorations. Then each of you will be able to take your pumpkin home for Halloween.

To make the pumpkins you use an inflated balloon and pieces of orange yarn. Dip the pieces of yarn in craft glue that dries clear. Pull a piece of yarn through your fingers to wipe off excess glue and then wrap it around the balloon. Continue doing this until you have a lacy orange ball. Add glued yarn features using other yarn colors, or use a pipe cleaner, as in this illustration, to create the stem. When the glue dries, pop the balloon and pull it out.

Back to that day, long ago, in my third grade classroom: 

We had waxed paper on the desks. Each group of students had a bowl with some watered down school glue and there were piles of yarn cut in about two foot lengths. I demonstrated how to wet the yarn in the glue, squeeze it out and wrap it around the balloon. The students began working. At first they were having a lot of fun. Then, Jimmy's elbow touched his pumpkin-in-progress. The glued yarn stuck to his elbow and came off the balloon. Then, Susie reached across to get a piece of yarn and the whole darn pile stuck to her hand. Mary's balloon fell in her lap with a gooey-gluey plop. Mark's pumpkin got stuck to his hand. Jen started crying because she didn't like gooey things. Jeremy's pumpkin rolled into the pile of yarn and sported a mop-top of lovely orange hair. Jimmy started crying because the yarn that had been stuck to his elbow was now stuck to his shirt. Christy's balloon popped. She bawled. Cameron and Dana's balloons rolled into each other and were mated... like dogs.... they were stuck together. Mark decided to run around the classroom bopping children on the head with the balloon that was stuck to his hand. That meant that some kids had some sticky patches of glue in their hair. My art project had gone to Hell. It was chaos. I had no control. I had kids running around. I had kids crying. I had a few industrious kids still trying to make their pumpkins! Finally, I got the kids attention screamed and got them all back into their seats. I took the garbage can from desk to desk and scraped the gooey-gluey projects into the trash. We washed up, as best we could. I gave each child a piece of paper and everyone got to draw and color a pumpkin. This was not a proud moment in my teaching career!

This weekend I was thinking about doing something crafty and wondered what glue might be best to use.

I found the perfect Internet site (what did I do without the world at my fingertips?!) to help me. It's called This to That and gives glue advice.

3-M also has a guide to their own products which may be helpful as well.

If you have some projects where you need to stick it to something.... you may want to try either one of these sites. (Or you can try making Halloween pumpkins out of yarn!)

Do you know of other helpful sites like this?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Touch of Class!

A Dressage Round with More Than A Touch of Class

I fell in love with this Haflinger and his 'oh-so-cool' young rider.  These outtakes were posted by Behind the Bit who commented about the "talented but sometimes naughty pony skillfully piloted around the ring." She graciously allowed me to share the pictures on my blog. 

What cuties, both the Haffie and his rider! 
Just look at her composure! 

It looks like the Haflinger is having a bit of fun!
And, despite his naughtiness, 
he is somewhat responsive to his rider -
he is staying inside the dressage ring!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Doc's Diatribe: Snow

It makes no sense to me
Why people call this pretty.
I think snow sucks.

It's fills my hooves with snowballs.
And although that makes me tall,
It's devilish to walk on,
slippery and all. 

It turns my paddock to slurpy goop
with chunks of ice and frozen poop.
It makes it hard to find the grass.
Treacherous to walk on, you can fall on your...


Thursday, October 27, 2011

They're Here!

Oh look!
They are here.
Here they are.

I see.
I see the box.
Is it something to eat?
Is it alive?

Yes, Tucker.
They are alive but they are not something to eat.

They are tulip bulbs!
We will have pretty tulips in the spring!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Marchin' to the Boot Scootin' Boogie

I have been ground driving the horses this fall. I've been trying to get out a few times each week, wanting to get as much time in as I can before the snow flies. (And we are supposed to get it today and Wednesday*!) I figure the more hours I have behind the horses, regardless of whether I am in a cart or on foot, the more confidence I'll have in my abilities and the more comfortable I'll be. And heck, it's great exercise! Sometimes I have to remind Pippin that I am behind him and ask him to slow down - especially going up the hills!

Most of the time I have been using a carriage harness. It's a little lighter weight and is easier to access in my barn. But, yesterday I decided to use Pippin's field harness. (That jumble of black spaghetti in the picture below is actually the reins of the harness, tucked under the back strap - it really isn't that much different from the carriage harness.)

We had a wild ride... er... walk! Pippin has a bad habit of 'scooting' when he is startled. I call it his "Boot scootin' boogie!"  He used to do his boogie move when I rode, and I was so uncomfortable with it that I sent him for some training last year. He still does it under saddle, but not as much as he used to. I never saw him do it in harness until yesterday. So here is Pippin's list of 10 excuses for his naughtiness:

10. The reins on the field harness go through a strap that keeps them on top of my butt. They tickle as they shift left and right as I turn.
9. It was windy out.
8. It was sunny out.
7. I could sometimes see the tip of the whip my Mrs. Owner was carrying.
6. It was warm outside.
5. The weather is supposed to turn cold in two days.
4. Doc was whinnying to me.
3. Tucker was barking at me.
2. Mama Boots was playing in the weeds near me.
and..... the number one reason:
1. My Mrs. Owner kept stomping her big, fat feet!

OK. Guilty as charged! I have to admit that many of the times Pippin did his scootin' it was in reaction to my stomping a foot. I have been doing this periodically to get him used to noises behind him. Yesterday he was scootin' before I even stomped, but I added stomps anyway. So we'd scoot left, then we'd scoot right. I'd ask him to "Gee" and "Haw" to return to the 'scary place' and we kept walking... and stomping... and walking! I had it in my mind that we would walk until the cows came home... wait, I don't own any cows. OK, we'd walk until Pippin stops his boot scootin' boogie. We walked. We walked some more. I stomped. We scooted. We walked. It wasn't working. I took Pippin into the round pen. He really was perturbed by parts of his harness flopping. He broke into a fast trot, the harness flopped, he trotted faster, he cantered. I could sense his concern. I stopped him before he broke into a panicky run. We went the other way. We did this until he calmed a bit. I put the reins back on and we began walking again. I decided that perhaps the occasional stomp was just too unnerving, so I marched! Stomp - Stomp - Stomp! We had quite the little parade as we went around, performed zig-zags and small circles. We stopped and I marched in place. Pippin finally relaxed... a bit and I decided to call it a day!
Hmmmm.... I wonder what the neighbors think?!

* NOAA's forecast calls for 4-8 inches of snow possible tonight and 3-7 inches tomorrow. Yesterday it was 78!!

Monday, October 24, 2011


I did it!
I caught it!

what the heck am I supposed to do with it?

Today while my mom was in the barn I was hanging around by the paddock fence. (I'm not allowed in the paddock or the barn - picture a frowny-face dog!) My mom flushed out two pigeons that were hanging around the run-in area. One flew north, the other flew south. I caught that one. Pulled it right out of the air. Wowwy - Zowwy!

I'm not sure who was surprised the most;
my mom
or the pigeon!

The pigeon squeaked just like my squeaky duck.
Holy Pigeon!
I didn't expect to actually catch the thing!
I am not sure what to do with it.
I ran into the small yard.
I ran out.
I pranced by Dad to show him what I had.
I went back to the small yard.
In. Out. In! Out!
What to do?
Bury it?
Carry it?

Tucker, I'll take the keyboard from here.
I think this post is best left as
"Don't ask. Don't tell"
so as not to offend our readers!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Meet the New Mouser

Mama Boots.....
You have competition!

I found this Plains Garter snake on 
the doormat in the garage.

Looks like we have one less mouse around the house!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beans, Beans....

I found this in our garage.
So, what does one do with 4 gallons of beans?
(And why, do you suppose, someone would have had
this item in their garage?!)
In the mode of 'simplify' I tossed them.

Oh, darn, a missed opportunity.
I could have made bunches of batches 
of Cowboy Bubble Bath!

What is Cowboy Bubble Bath, you ask? Cowboy bubble bath is a small bag of dried beans with a tag that says Cowboy Bubble Bath illustrated with some sort of cute cowboy type picture, perhaps a pot of beans cooking over a camp fire. The instructions are written on the other side of the tag. They say: Cook and eat one hour before bathing!! I also added, Eat more for more abundant bubbles...

This makes a cute gag gift. I made them one year for a craft fair and gave them to my friends.

To make them simply buy a bag of beans - any variety will do (oh, and you don't need 4 gallons of beans unless you want to make lots and lots of packages!). Use some snack size ziplock bags, or something similar. Craft a label and print it on card stock. The one I used is shown below. Put some beans in the baggie, fold and staple the tag on the top, and you have a cute stocking stuffer for family and friends.

What does the small print say, you ask? 
The original version had a copyright symbol with the universal 'not' slash over it. (This did not 'translate' from MS Word to Mac Pages.)
The text says: Ripped-off idea from another crafter who attempted to create a juvenile, inane, impractical, inexpensive gift. My apologies to the original artist(?) for reproducing this no-so-original craft. But what the heck...someone out there may think this is cute and others have likely never received Cowboy Bubble Bath as a gift before! I also included the source for the artwork.  

So, in the spirit with which I created this, if you'd like to use my label, go ahead. I'll even send you a more word-friendly version if you email me and ask for it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


We had hooficures today. 
We have a new hoof guy. 
He says he's a barefoot specialist. 
That was weird cause he wasn't barefoot 
at all, he was wearing boots.

Doc, you are so stupid. 
It doesn't mean the guy is 
supposed to be barefoot, 
it means he specializes in 
trimming our hooves in a 
special way so they will be 
stronger and we won't need shoes.

Well, duh! When was the last time
either you or I had shoes on? 
I've been barefoot basically forever. 
Anyway, specialist smeshialist
You can see me in my stall. 
Do I look impressed? 
Most definitely not! 

The barefoot guy says he really 
does cure all kinds of things by 
slowing changing the angle of the 
hoof. He even gets down on his 
hands and knees to look at the view 
of our lovely hooves from the ground. 

What a silly guy. I mean if you've
seen one hoof, you've seen 'em all.

The hoof guy worked on Pippin's hooves first. 
He thought Pippin's heels were a bit long 
and that his frog wasn't getting enough 
contact with the ground. 

What 'cha doing back there? That tickles!

He uses an electric grinder. 
He says it creates less torque than a rasp.... 
but he does use one of those at times, too. 
After his second visit he said my hooves 
looked great and I could be on 
'maintenance' visits. Pippin still needs 
some corrective trimming. 
Ha ha on you, Pippin! 

I wouldn't start getting all high and mighty.
After all, which one of us did he say was
probably the smartest? You... 
who just stood there like a lump, or me?

I was being good! I was letting him do
his job. I wasn't trying to mouthe his
tools and taste the electric cord and
sniff his pockets. 
What he actually said was 
some horses who exhibit a lot of curiosity 
are smart. I think he's on to something.... 
You are smart.
A smart a$$ that is!

Sticks and stones might break my bones
But names will never hurt me! 

My Mrs. Owner Goes Shopping

It seems that my Mrs. Owner found out that there is a very nice lady that lives nearby that has a ton of horse stuff for sale on the Internet at a place called Rock Horse Ranch Tack. So, my Mrs. Owner went shopping. Only she didn't do the online thing, she actually went there! The reason she went was to get me a new driving bit. Hooray! I won't have to share my bit with Pippin any more. I won't have to wonder what kind of slobber is on my bit. It will be mine. All mine! Mine. Mine! MINE! 

This is the bit:
It has a special curvy mouthpiece that doesn't press on a horse's tongue. I can't wait to try it out! It looks really pretty, don't you think?

My Mrs. Owner found more things than just the bit. 
She found some new boots to wear to the barn in the winter.
(She did get two of them even though the picture only shows one!)

She found some cute little doo-dads that really go on a harness, 
but she might use them for decorations some place else. 
(I'm thankful for that... if they jingled on my harness
it would be very annoying!)

She found some split reins for Pippin. 
Ha ha! He doesn't even get whole reins! 

She found some hooks for a curb chain...
whatever that is!

She found a rawhide dropped noseband.
She wasn't even looking for one!
She said it will help Pippin
keep his mouth closed.
Ha-ha-ha-ha... Pippin won't be able to talk
while he's being ridden!

She found some pieces of leather.
My Mrs. Owner said these would be used as gullet straps
so Pippin can't scrape off his bridle. 
The nice lady gave her these...
and a leather keeper...
but Mrs. Owner was really sad 'cause
she dropped it at the nice lady's house.

My Mrs. Owner found all kinds of things.

And I don't think she was looking
for any of this stuff... 
I mean, she went to buy a bit!
One bit!
Not caboodles of stuff.

When my Mrs. Owner got home she ran to the barn and put the bit on my bridle. She wasn't sure if the bit would fit. She said the one she really wanted was already sold. She was just hoping this one might work. She interrupted my dinner to have me try on the bit. I wasn't exactly happy about leaving my hay!

And then....


The bit is too small. It pinches. I feel like Cinderella's wicked stepsister trying on the glass slipper that is way too small. I feel like I have goldfish lips. Take it off! Get it out of my mouth! Yuck. Ptoooey! I don't care if it is pretty. It doesn't fit!

I guess I'll have to put up with Pippin's slobber a bit longer.


Monday, October 17, 2011


Pippin and Doc had a 'hayday' today. 
They were let out on a new pasture. 
The front part of our 'yard' extends over 
400 feet from the house to the road. 
This area is surrounded by fencing except in front of our house.
It was easy to put up temporary 
electric fencing to close up that one side.

The blue line is the electric fence.
The red line is existing fence.
After I strung the electric wire I ground drove
each horse around the new pasture so they were aware
of the boundaries. That was great fun!

They boys enjoyed munching on green grass under the trees!
They give their new pasture two hooves up!


Sunday, October 16, 2011


Morning.... that is.

Makes going out to do chores a pure pleasure.

The beautiful sunrise brought Cat Steven's voice into my head.
He serenaded me as I worked around the barn.

I found this on YouTube and thought you might enjoy it as well.

Good morning to all of you and
Happy *Sun* day!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One Hundred Bales of Hay...

One hundred bales of hay on the wall.
A hundred bales of hay!
Take one down
Feed it around
Ninety-nine bales of hay on the wall!

We had 44 more bales of hay delivered and stacked :) a few weeks ago. We now have 100 bales...well, OK, I took one down and opened 99 bales in the garage end of the barn. 

We have another 106 bales in the run-in... under our lovely Lumber Liquidator's tarp. I bet the neighbors are happy that we moved the pile off of the trailer where the lovely tarp was visible by all!

That ought to last until first cutting - 10.3 months! It is a nice feeling to know that I have the basics for my boys for that long. 

Hay is going crazy around here. I overheard one of the Amish horse traders at the auction asking about hay. There is no hay available where he lives - none of the farmers in that area were able to hay their fields at all; fields that usually produce three cuttings of high quality grass hay. Much of the hay that has been cut in our area is heading to Texas. The northeast lost hay due to flooding and rain. It's going to be a scary year. The horse traders at the auction have noticed a drop in sales of horses and mules as folks consider the difficulty of feeding another mouth. 

Our farrier has gone into the hay business. He is concerned that his clients will forego trimming to feed their horses. Or worse, sell their horses because they can't get hay. Or 'worsetest', starve their horses. He arranged for several truck loads of hay and has resold it to his clients. Smart move! Take care of the clients, and make a bit on the hay besides!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lumps and Bumps and Things That Go.....

It's October. It is the month for Halloween and all things scary. All those things that go bump in the middle of the night. It is also Breast Cancer Awareness month. Fitting. Cancer is a pretty scary thing, breast cancer or other.

Several of my Blogger friends are involved in their own personal battles with cancer. And as far as awareness goes, their fights have certainly raised my awareness level.

"Go West, Feral Woman" had surgery today for a lime-sized mass in her pelvic region. She is a fighter. Stop by her blog to see her "I'm Ready" post and go to previous posts for more information if you care to. You'll see what I mean about her spirit! Go West, Feral Woman is one fire-spitting gal!

Leontien is gearing up for her second battle with cancer. She, too, is quite the fighter. Her spirit is apparent in her blog. Here are two posts that show just a bit of her feistiness!

I recently 'met' Mikael (via Blogger) who experienced colon cancer. She begins the description of her battle with vivid imagery. She is another woman who's picture should be used to illustrate the word, "fighter"!

Take a moment to visit any or all of these sites. Give the fighters a word of encouragement. Help them in their battle against lumps and bumps. Remember others who are fighting this battle as well.

From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!

In response to a comment I started a list of Bloggers or their families, who are fighting this battle. The list is on the right sidebar of my blog. If you know of others who should be added to the list, who can use some encouragement and support, please let me know.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fence Follies #2

I recently read an article about riding that suggested you always ride with a purpose. The horse can sense that purpose and will have a 'going to work' attitude. So, after some foundational exercises in the round pen with Doc I decided to go 'ride the fence line'. I explained to Doc, who was concerned that Pippin was left behind, that we had a very important job to do. We had to check the pasture fence for breaks. This is a job that real ranch horses get to do.

They say attitude is everything and that you really can control things with 'mind over matter'. But geesh... I didn't expect that to work with fences. Wouldn't you know, within 400 feet of the barn, down a steep hill and out of sight of the house, we came across a broken strand of the fence separating the boys from the neighbor's horses.  Not only was the top wire down and pulled away from the fence for at least 800 feet,

but a fence post was broken as well! 
Doc and I finished our task. A job well-done for we had, indeed, discovered problems with our fence. My plans for the day changed, just like that! Hubby's plans for the day changed, too!

Pippin felt a bit left out. He didn't get to do an important job like riding the fence line. So, he found other ways to help out:
You might want to hit the staple instead of your fingers...

 What do fence pliers look like?

That's looking really good. Glad I could help you!

Heart Attacks Not Allowed Tonight!

We had our driveway sealed this afternoon. We had thought about doing the work ourselves - sealing the cracks and then coating it. It really isn't that hard to do... but our driveway is long - and the thought of lugging that many 5 gallon buckets of tar coating and spreading it was daunting.

We decided to hire professionals and it was well worth it! Expensive, but nice to watch someone else doing the dirty job! So, we can't drive a vehicle on the driveway for 24 hours. No vehicles. No deliveries.  No ambulances. No heart attacks allowed!

Why would I think about a heart attack? Only because a few nights ago I thought I might be having one!

That night I wandered to bed, after drowsing on one end of the couch, possibly slobbering a bit as I nodded over my book. I was tired. I climbed into bed and was lost to the world of dreams, until a sharp pain jolted me awake just after midnight. I lay in bed assessing the pain. It was bad. It was just to one side of my sternum. It was burning. It brought saliva pouring into my mouth and I broke out in a prickly sweat. Was it heartburn... or was it a heart attack? I sat up and walked weakly into the bathroom, took a few baby aspirin, in case it was a heart attack and some Tums hoping they would put out the fire. I sat on the side of the tub for a while - afraid to move. Not certain if I could walk and not certain if I was going to throw up. The pain got no worse - but it wasn't getting any better. I was cold, so finally I stumbled back to bed, built a mountain of pillows so I could recline and lay there evaluating the pain. It was still quite sharp, but it seemed more like heartburn than pain from the heart itself. I had taken an antibiotic just before bed. Could it be stuck in my throat? Was I having some sort of esophageal spasm? What about a hiatal hernia? Do they feel like this? I knew that heart attacks in women sometimes mimic indigestion. Was there pain radiating down my arm? No. But, the back of my jaw hurt. Was that a sign of a heart attack, or merely the sign that I was clenching my jaw in reaction to the pain? What about my pulse? It seemed low and steady - in the 60's. After about 30 minutes of this sort of questioning I climbed out of bed and proceeded into the living room where dear hubby was 'watching' TV, whilst snoring a bit! I grabbed my computer to look up heart attack symptoms, while swallowing what seemed like gallons of saliva and occasionally pressing on the painful part of my chest.

The NIH listed the following symptoms for women during a heart attack:
  • Shortness of breath - 58% (of women experience this)  Nope... not me.
  • Weakness - 55% Well... only a little
  • Unusual fatigue - 43%  No, not really.
  • Cold Sweat - 39%  In the beginning, but gone now.
  • Dizziness - 39%  No more than my usual silly dizziness!
The Mayo Clinic suggests that, "the most common heart attack symptom in women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it's not always severe or even the most prominent symptom." They list the same symptoms as NIH and add:
  • Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
By this time hubby has awakened and is asking about my blood pressure. I don't even want to get up off the couch to get the machine. He retrieves it and my blood pressure (which is usually on the high end) is 168 over 108. Uh... a bit too high. I wait and take it a bit later and it has come down to 140-something over 92. Well, that tells me that the pain is real! I'm not imagining it.
I am feeling a bit weak, but the sweat has gone away. All that really remains is the pain near my sternum, a burning sensation and strong heartburn, as if acid is moving up my esophagus. Hubby wants to call 911. I am being stubborn. I really don't think it's a heart attack. I think it is something else... and that would be the Clindamycin, the antibiotic I took just before going to bed. I have been taking this strong antibiotic for a week, since my tooth extraction. Because there was infection involved the dentist wanted to be sure to attack it head on. I'm allergic to penicillin so this was his next drug of choice. It has been tearing my stomach apart since I started the prescription, although the strong heart burn is new. A bit of research about the side effects results in reports from other users of strong heart burn and sharp pains in the chest. Other's commented that it felt like the pill was caught mid-way down the esophagus! Wow! That's what I was feeling! I was reassured. I was not having a heart attack! I remained on the couch and watched TV for a few hours until the pain receded a bit. I wandered off to bed for a good(?) night's sleep.

I've finished the prescription. I don't seem to have any indigestion. No strange pains. No heart attacks tonight! The ambulance isn't allowed to come 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....