Friday, August 31, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop - 26: Color-Fall

As much as I am enjoying life on the road, it is also good to be home. 

The dogs stayed home with our wonderful house sitter. She loves staying at our home, bringing her two dogs and four horses. So this time she had four dogs to take care of, with Gypsy being the smallest! Gyspy fell in love with the house sitter's huge Golden Retriever named Clyde. I think she is a bit out of sorts with Clyde being gone. She seems to be moping around a bit. But, Clyde will be back. We are dog sitting for the house sitter in a few weeks. Now, this is getting mighty confusing!
The four black beasties are now tarp trained. And they did it all by themselves. Such clever horses! They decided to pull the 16' X 20' tarp off of the hay while I was gone. To do this, they had to reach through the bars of the Priefert panels and stretch their noses at least two feet to reach the tarp. Of course, one would think this would be easier with slim, Thoroughbred necks rather than with squatty Haffie necks!
Regardless, Pippin and Doc, on more than one occasion, managed to raid the hay pile, although they generally reached under the tarp, leaving it in place. The black beasties pulled the tarp off of the hay, through the bars and then out into the paddock. Add another chore for the house sitter: washing the tarp! It was a bit messy after they were finished with their tarp training!
Shall we chat?
In case you are new... or as a reminder:
Each week I'll post two or three prompts. 
Choose one or respond to all. Don't forget!!
Complete your blog post (or comment) by asking a question of us.
Link your post to the Hobby Horse Blog Hop
by using the Linky Tool below. Or... Leave a comment with the answer to the question(s).
Visit other participating blogs on the list
and respond to their questions in your comments.
Hobby Horse Blog Hop Prompts - Week 26:
  1. The big, black beasties have gone back to their home now. I miss having them in the paddock. I've never had a black horse before, and I was in awe of how they glistened in the sun. If you could get another horse, or house pet, what color/breed might you be attracted to?
  2. Ugh, I really should stop working on this post and get out and water the trees and our gardens. It certainly isn't a difficult chore, it is just time consuming. What chore(s) do you find distasteful for whatever reasons?
  3. Shorter days, cooler nights.... fall is certainly on its way. What are your plans or goals for fall?
My answers:
1. I have really come to love paints and bold Appaloosa's, as far as horses are concerned. As for dogs? Give me something that doesn't shed! We are awash with dog hair - everywhere!
2. Well, I think I answered that question already. Other chores that are a chore? Hmmm... sweeping up dog hair and vacuuming? Well, not so much - there are worse things. 
3. I have travel in my plans. Even before we bought the motorhome we had scheduled a fabulous trip - partly in celebration of our 40th anniversary. Yeah... I've been married longer than some of you have been alive! That means, you could be my kid!! In addition to the BIG trip (Rochester, NY for my HS reunion, FL to visit family, then a cruise through the Panama Canal, SanFrancisco to see my son and then home) we have two weekend trips planned with the RV. We are going to Pueblo, CO on two different weekends to camp with different groups; a "Good Sam's" group (it's a camping organization) and a rally for Allegro RV owners. 
Click below to link up, or leave your answers as a comment.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If Dogs Could Talk

What do you think Gypsy is saying?

While we were on the road we had a few flies 
who decided to hitchhike with us.
I got out the fly swatter.
Look at the pitiful posture Gypsy displays.
All we can figure is that she was hit with a fly swatter before.
Poor girl!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Home Again, Home Again

We made it home after three days of driving. Granted, we didn't drive miles and miles each day, but we probably had about 20 hours behind the windshield. Mr. Dreamy is becoming a proficient driver of big vehicles and earned a gold star for getting in our gate without any problems whatsoever. Oh, and he turned the big beast around in our driveway. Amazing!
I amused myself as he drove by watching corn fields.... and fields of corn. I saw my fair share of alfalfa in all stages: growing, drying and in the process of being baled. We noted that some farmers mow their fields at great speed, while others take a bit more time. We drove by a lot of dried, golden fields that were probably brown before their time. The drought is terrible.
The other thing that entertained me was driving by signs for towns that I know of in another location. Here is a list of a few of the towns with signs on the Interstates, in the order in which we passed them on our trip home. The state where I associate the name of the town, not where the town is actually located,  is in parenthesis:

A. Decatur (Georgia)
B. LaGrange (Georgia)
C. Ottowa (Ontario, Canada)
D. Geneseo (New York)
E. Rochester (Minnesota)
F. York (Pennsylvania)
G. Williamsburg (Virginia)
H. Corning (New York)
I. Aurora (Colorado)
J. Lexington (Kentucky)
K. Hudson (New York)

If this had been our itinerary, our map would have looked like this: missing the beginning and ending points:
Now, that would be some sort of crazy trip!!

Being a former teacher of Gifted and Talented kids, and loving puzzles myself, I decided to challenge any of you who like this sort of thing, to see if you can figure out our actual itinerary. Can you determine the actual states we drove through as we saw the signs for these towns on the Interstate highways? Our beginning point was actually about 60 miles north of Decatur, somewhere. Our end point, home, is about 45 miles south of Hudson, Somewhere. The winner will get dinner and a ride in the motorhome when we are in your neighborhood! I'll share the real map of our trip home on a later post. 
It's big... but the picture makes it look a lot bigger than it is!
Oh, and see those lovely clouds?
We had five drops of rain per square foot. 
We did get to see a partial rainbow, however.
At least someone is getting rain!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Blame it on the Internet

I'm in Trouble Again!

As I type this, Saturday evening, I am at a destination far, far from home (destination to be revealed in a future post). Very strange! As you may recall, I just returned from my 25-day jaunt around the northwest on Monday evening. Since that time, (in only 6 days) either Mr. Dreamy or I have:
  • taken my dad to a briefing about mediation regarding legal fees in his divorce
  • picked up the car that had hail damage repaired (actually, we refused their first attempt and had to return a day later after they had finished the job)
  • accompanied my dad to the mediation - which did not go in his favor :-p   But the mess should be totally behind him
  • looked at RV's on the Internet (I'm not sure if I mentioned that we began looking at motor homes on our trip - we saw them in Washington, Montana and Colorado)
  • traveled to two different RV dealers in our area to look at motorhomes
  • drove an RV we liked
  • found the RV at a super deal on the Internet
  • talked with the sales staff at the distant RV dealership
  • arranged for financing for the RV
  • bought one airline ticket for Mr. Dreamy to fly and drive the RV home
  • arranged for the funds to be wire transferred
  • talked to our financial advisor
  • checked to see if the wonderful house/dog sitter could come for a few days on very short notice
  • arranged to purchase another airline ticket for me
  • called our insurance guy to arrange for coverage
  • talked with the salesman about the details of his picking us up at the airport
  • arrived in our distant destination
  • signed the paperwork to finalize the deal
  • spent the night on our new RV in the parking lot of the dealership
  • had necessary repairs and punch list items taken care of
  • spent another night in our new 'home' - again, in the parking lot
  • headed home!
It's all the Internet's fault! Had we not seen this deal, we would never have been thinking of looking for a motorhome anywhere outside our state. But, because we can 'see' everything, everywhere by way of the Internet, things moved a bit faster - I'm thinking faster than 'the speed of light', or at least faster than the old dial-up modems!

Mr. Dreamy and I are still pinching ourselves and asking, 
"Is this just a dream?" 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop - Week 25 (plus): Caught!

I was caught! I didn't post a blog hop last week.  Generally I put them up on Thursday, and I didn't do it this week, either. Then, one of my blogger friends (name withheld to protect the squealer informant friend) ratted on me. Well, she didn't do it publicly, but she did say something in an email. So, I told her I'd get to work and put up a hop. A day late, but as they say, better late than never!

In case you are new... or as a reminder:
Each week I'll post two or three prompts. 
Choose one or respond to all. Don't forget!!
Complete your blog post (or comment) by asking a question of us.
Link your post to the Hobby Horse Blog Hop
by using the Linky Tool below. Or... Leave a comment with the answer to the question(s).
Visit other participating blogs on the list
and respond to their questions in your comments.
Hobby Horse Blog Hop Prompts - Week 25:
  1. Has your horse (dog, cat, other) ever "tattled" on you?
  2. Tell about a funny thing you caught your horse (dog, cat, other) doing.
  3. Has your horse (dog, cat, other) ever gotten caught on/in something?
My answers:
1. While working at a Girl Scout camp, several counselors and I decided to sneak a horse into another camp to 'trade' it for a sail boat. (It as actually Mr. Dreamy's idea!) The horse began to whinny, bringing attention to itself in a hurry. 
2. I always got tickled by Pippin's attempts to remove his halter. Even seeing this picture makes me chuckle again.
The following picture has been circulating on Facebook... which again, makes me think of the silly antics of my horse:
I love it!
3. Pippin got caught in our fence when I first got him. He decided he was going to kick at the neighbor's horse and his foot went under one strand of wire and over the other. His foot was hung up in the fence, about 3' in the air. Mr. Dreamy noticed it and alerted me to the problem. I looked out and told Mr. Dreamy he was wrong. Pippin was peacefully eating. It was only when I got down to where he was standing that I realized his leg was hung up in the fence! So, we all know where Haffie priorities lie!
So, now it is your turn... 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Big Black Beasties

Hey there, friends
Look what I see!
Four big, black, beasties
Looking at me!

OK, so maybe one of them is looking at my feet!
Have you ever tried to get a photo of four horses?

These four three are running to get their dinner...
in MY paddock!
The fourth horse, the leader, 
has already zoomed out of camera range.
 Meet (LtoR) Abishai, Shiloh and Lady Bug.
They came with our house sitter!
But they belong to her neighbor.
Yeah - it is a bit complicated!

However, it's been a win-win for everyone.
I have a house sitter.
She has her horses the horses she is working with, with her.
I get to see and feed the horses for a few days
until her neighbor can pick them up and take them home.

It has been very strange to look out 
and see four tall, slim black horses
instead of two squatty, somewhat chunky light sorrel horses!

Here is Boaz on the left, with Lady Bug.
Boaz is the head honcho of this herd.
He is a handsome guy!

The three black horses are Thoroughbreds.
Boaz was a jumper who was injured
and two surgeries didn't totally fix the problem.
Lady Bug is an Appendix Quarter Horse 
(if I am remembering the details correctly.)
Her mom was starved when Lady Bug was suckling
and she has never grown as much as 
she probably would have otherwise.
She has never been ridden and is the youngest at 5.

 I can only remember a few details of Abishai and Shiloh's lives,
But can't recall which story belongs to which horse!
Well, heck. Look at them - do you blame me?
They are almost identical!
One has been ridden and they aren't sure about the other.
All of these gorgeous equines were rescued by
my house sitter's neighbor.
The neighbor gives them basic care
but doesn't have the interest in doing anything more with them.
My house sitter is interested in beginning an
equine program for troubled youth.
She figured rescued horses with a bevy of issues
might be the key to unlocking some of the problems 
experienced by youngsters. 
Her neighbor was delighted that someone
wanted to work with her horses.

The herd will be heading back to their home
in a few days.
I'll miss having them around!

Our Side Trip to Tuscany

It seems we travelled through some sort of vortex or black hole and ended up in Tuscany on our recent trip. We swung through the wine country of Washington and spent time in Prosser. A number of the wineries in the region have become part of "Vintner's Village". This is an attractive complex that holds about a half dozen wineries and another half dozen tasting rooms for wineries that are off the property. Each tasting room is tastefully decorated and all look like I think Tuscan shops would look - the decorators have done a fine job of creating a pleasant ambiance for partaking of the vine. 

I was pleased with my restraint during our wine-tasting venture. I only tasted wines that I really thought I might like to purchase, and although I didn't spit the wine out, I really only had a sip or two of maybe a dozen different wines over two days. 

OK, to be honest, that doesn't include the wine I consumed from bottles we purchased and took back to the camper!!

We did venture out into the country, driving by field after field of grape vines, neatly tied and bearing thick clusters of grapes, fruit trees and hops. Everything was lush and green. It was a pleasant interlude in our journey.

Friends Like Wine - Older the Better

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch: A Bit About Me

Darn! I'm late again! Everyone is at Patrice's chatting on the porch, and I've been running around trying to catch up on things that piled up while we were away! I hope it's OK if I jump into the chat a bit late. Better late than never, I always say!

You can join the chat, too. You can respond to Patrice's questions as a comment, or click on the image at the end of my post to navigate to Patrice's site and link your blog to her chat.

So here are Patrice's questions and my answers:

1. Are you a list maker? (grocery, to-do, goals, etc.)
First I need to think about this question. Then, I need to type my answer. Then I need to reread it. Finally, I should read the next question.
So... am I a list maker? Most of the time! Especially when I am stressed. Then I rely on lists to keep me on track.

2. Do you have overnight guests often?
Nope! I'd love to entertain folks overnight, but we don't have that many people who visit... and those that do usually have a home or a hotel nearby. It makes me sad. I love my house and love to show it off. So... if you are in town - get in touch with me! I'd love to have guests!

3. Where is your laundry room?
My laundry is next to my kitchen. Since our bedroom is on the same floor it is quite convenient. We looked at a house that had a washer/dryer in a closet in the master bedroom. That was pretty cool! We also have a hook up for the appliances in the basement. I think the original plans intended the appliances to be located there - but someone decided to put them in the mudroom.

4. How are you with tools? Power tools?
I like to think I am little miss handy girl. I use most of hubby's tools: table saw, jig saw, sanders, drills and most hand tools. I'm very cautious with the table saw, but will still use it. Then there is the time I used his belt sander, and got my pants caught in it. That pulled the loose skin on top of my knee cap into the sander until the chunk of skin jammed the sander. I had to pull the electric cord out with my teeth and hobble to the door, holding the sander that had sucked in the skin on my knee. Luckily my son was home and was able to use a wrench to back the sander up to release the skin. It wasn't pretty. My hubby, when he returned, just shook his head in disbelief!

5. Tell me something that will make me smile, please!
Since we are talking on the porch, I figured this might be appropriate:

An elderly lady was rocking on her front porch, reflecting on her long life, when a Fairy Godmother suddenly appeared before her and offered to grant her three wishes.
"Well," said the woman, "I really would like to be rich."
*POOF* Her rocking chair turned to solid gold.
"I sure wouldn't mind being a young, beautiful princess," she said.
*POOF* She was immediately turned into a beautiful young princess with a stunning crown of jewels.
"Your third wish?" asked the Fairy Godmother, just as the old woman's cat wandered across the porch in front of them. "Ohh," the woman exclaimed, "Could you possibly turn my cat into a handsome young prince?"
*POOF* Standing before her was a young man far more handsome than anyone could ever imagine.
She stared at him in awe, totally smitten. As he moved towards her, she could feel her knees weaken. He bent down, lightly brushed his lips across her ear and whispered, "I'll bet you're sorry you had me neutered!"


Everyday Ruralty

Monday, August 20, 2012

25 Days in 25 Feet

We have returned from our 25 day trip in our 25 foot trailer. 

We had a fabulous time.
Neither of us... nor the dogs... wanted to come home!
In fact, if you look closely, you can see Gypsy under the trailer.
Do you see her now?
It's a lousy picture, but she's under the right corner.
You can see the white tip of her tail.

Gypsy's not sure just what defines 'home'.
She has spent more of her time with us living in the trailer
than she has in our house!
She wasn't sure she wanted to come into the house.

Here is a map of our trip.
Each pin is a stopping point for one or more nights. 
Google maps says that we traveled 3,286 miles.
Hubby feels every one of those miles.
The ride in the truck, pulling the trailer, 
is not especially smooth.

So...what other options are there?

How about this rig?
We saw this setup on our first night out in Rock Springs, WY.
It was part of a Holiday Rambler group 
following the Oregon Trail. 
This couple has the mother of all fifth wheelers,
hauled by some sort of big a$$ truck,
and yes, that's a Smart car behind the truck. 
This picture was taken at Rock Springs, WY on July 27. 
The date is only significant in that we passed this
very same rig the day before yesterday,
on a mountain pass between Missoula, MT and 
our stop in Big Timber.
Did you 'get it'???
We. Passed. It! 
Our little Toyota Tundra passed this big a$$ truck!
Ha! Maybe our rig isn't so bad wimpy puny after all!
But, what are the odds of running into the same folks, 
almost three weeks later,
in a different state, going a different direction?
Hmmm... makes me wonder!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to School

My teacher friends are going back to school. This prompts mixed emotions. I am thrilled to be retired and doing wonderful things - but I also miss that excitement (and exhaustion) of the first days of school. I loved the anticipation and the promise of a new year. Thinking of 'back to school' brings a plethora of memories, both as a teacher and as a student. I remember dressing in a new outfit, almost always sewn by my mom, for the first day of school. It was usually a plaid jumper. To this day, certain plaids, harken back to fall. I remember the pinched feeling of new shoes crammed on feet that had the luxury of going barefoot all summer. New books... their odor, shiny pages and so much promising information. Ah... new workbooks - can I keep this new one neat and clean, with the cover smooth and uncrumpled? And the smell of crayons, and the beauty in their perfect points....

Do you have special 'back to school' memories?

To all my students and friends... have a fabulous year! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Centus: ET Go Home!

Ah, Jenny! She threw another challenge in our face; last week we were to write a cohesive sentence without 'e'. This week... we need to 'go home'! We must write a sentence without 'e' and without 't'!

Whatever will I write?!

"Oh, no!"

That was a perfect little sentence, right?

To see more entries, follow the link to Jenny's site:

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Just for the Halibut

We braved Seattle traffic...
(Red means traffic is stopped... yellow means it is slow)

To visit with my friend, Sarah.
We went to high school together.

Sarah served the freshest, bestest fish ever!
I forgot to take pictures!
(And, since I am not usually a fish fancier... 
you know it must have been wonderful if I gave it two thumbs up!)

We had such a wonderful time visiting....
and remembering.
Time went by way too fast.
Soon it was time for us to leave.

We discovered that we haven't changed much...
like fine wine, 
we've just gotten better with age!

Here's our graduation picture. 
I'm on the far right - first row.

Anyway, Sarah, thanks for the memories!
Thanks for a fabulous evening!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gypsy's Journal

Thursday, August 9
I found a cupcake wrapper on an empty campsite. Yum. Dreaming took it away from me. That made me sad.

Friday, August 10
I found a small bone near the fire pit at the campsite. Yum. Dreaming took it away from me and tossed it.

Saturday, August 11
I found the same bone again. Yum. Dreaming took it and threw it in the trash. I was not happy.
We had a long ride in the truck.

Sunday, August 12
I found some old dog food on the ground by our campsite. Yum. Dreaming didn't see that I was eating it until I was almost finished. Yay, me! We had a long ride in the truck.

Monday, August 13
We are at a new campground. It has a play yard with a small A-frame and an agility dog walk. Dreaming feeds me treats if I go over them. Yum.

Tuesday, August 14
Dreaming took us for a walk this morning. I got to smell goose poop. Yum. Dreaming wouldn't let me roll in it or eat it. She is too fussy. We had a long ride in the truck.

Wednesday, August 15
Yummy! I hit the jackpot. Someone spilled something wonderful on the gravel. I licked it. And licked it some more. Dreaming told me to stop. I went back and licked it some more. Yum! I think I like this kind of camping!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch: Wendell Suggests Carrot Cake

Patrice is back with more questions for us to discuss as we sit on the porch and enjoy the summer afternoon. Patrice has flowers on a table. We have really enjoyed seeing the flowers in Oregon - they have been so prolific, so bright and their beauty is truly awesome.

Here are the questions and my answers. You can join the chat by linking your blog to Patrice's page (Everyday Rurality) or by commenting here or there. I'd love to read your responses.

1. What was your biggest fear as a child?
I was afraid of the "Japs". I mean no disrespect to any ethnic group. I wasn't really sure who or what they were, at the time, but I knew they flew in airplanes. Whenever an airplane would fly over and I was out playing, I would run into the woods. I had a plan figured out that if the Japs ever came to my house, I would talk Jap to them and they would think I was not American and I'd be safe. Hmmm... a bit naive, wasn't I? But, I was only 4 or 5. Although this was well after the war my parents must have talked about it enough to cause my fears.

2. Who taught you to cook?
I learned how to cook from my mom. Most of it was just following her example, but even as a young adult I do recall calling her to ask specific questions. The one skill I do recall her actually 'teaching' me was how to tell if a steak is medium-rare while cooking on the grill. To this day my hubby is surprised that I can feel the 'doneness' of steaks.

3. Do you have lots of books in your house?
My kids have lots of books at my house. I have some, but my collection has dwindled with two recent moves. My boys are both avid readers and find it hard to part with their books. I don't mind, since they both enjoy rereading many of their titles.

4. Do you like carrot cake? What kind of frosting do you like best?
I love carrot cake. Yummmmm! I like cream cheese frosting the best. Patrice mentioned a caramel frosting. I've never tried that on carrot cake - but I really like caramel, so maybe I'll need to try my hand and baking a cake and frosting it!

5. What's the last funny T-shirt you read say?
Oh, gosh, I can't remember. Pitiful! I remember reading several shirts just the other day - and I remember enjoying several of the shirts... but, "poof!" that memory is gone!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Marmalade's Story

The story continues, from Marmalade's point of view...
Click here to read previous posts:

As I think you can imagine, the day the filly came had a surreal quality about it. It began in the early hours of the morning, well, to be truthful, I began feeling odd hours before that. I was restless. I was feeling... not quite right. I really can't describe it. When John led me in from pasture in the evening, I wasn't particularly happy to go inside. I wasn't comfortable in the confines of my stall. The walls seemed to come in on me. They were too close. I wasn't interested in the hay that awaited me and I only mouthed the grain. Then the pain came. It started slowly and evolved into a screeching, tearing, screaming beast. It was an Anaconda squeezing me from the outside, putting pressure on a ball with glowing spikes, straight out of the forge, moving within. Nothing brought relief. I tried stretching. I tried pacing. I got down. I got back up again. I was being torn apart. My gut was on fire. The lady came. She soothed me. Her voice brought the focus away from my pain for a moment. The man came. The one with the acrid odor of chemicals and fear. He worked back where I hurt. He pushed. He stroked my hip. And then, with one last tearing, squeezing pain, it stopped. Blessed relief. I lay, prone. My sides heaving. I was lost in the relief. Drops of sweat were slipping through the hairs of my hide. Tickling. My world came back into focus slowly. Like ripples in a pond, my focus moved out. First I noticed the shavings piled in front of my face. Then I noticed my knees, then my hooves. I then became aware of rustling and movement towards my flank. I struggled to lift my head, and propped myself on my elbows. Noticing, now, the stall walls, the people and... with a lurch I heaved myself up, shaking the sweat and shavings from my coat and turned to examine the creature in my stall. I took note of its scent, smelling vaguely of me. I nosed it. I wuffled the breath out of my nose, then sneezed. The creature bleated and moved unsteadily toward me. She reached her head under my flank and pushed, poked, and then a tiny warm tongue curled around my teat and she began to suckle. My vision collapsed in on itself. I was in my own world again. Just me... and my baby.
Although the delivery of this little filly took me totally by surprise, the care of the filly came to me naturally, instinctually. Had you asked me, just hours ago, what it is that a mare does when seeing to a foal, I would have looked at you with vacant, unknowing eyes. But as soon as that little girl began nursing, I somehow knew to nuzzle her, and to clean her and to be wary of how I moved in the stall when she lay down. My heart warmed to the chestnut filly faster than the rising sun brings warmth to the sand in the paddock. The filly collapsed in sleep. I cocked one hind leg and rested. My ear swiveled toward the stall door as I heard John shuffle down the aisle of the barn. He stuck his head over the stall door. I nickered to him, as if to say, "Hey, there. Look what I did!" He came in, moving in his characteristic, slow manner. He put his gnarled hand on my neck and rubbed me. He admired my little girl and murmured, in his deep, cadenced voice, that I had done a fine job. A fine job, indeed. John went about his barn chores. He carried flecks of hay to each stall. He cleaned and refilled the water buckets, and he meted out each serving of horse feed and supplements. Even though he gave me my usual ration of feed, and added something sweet and savory, I didn't have the appetite to eat. John patted my neck saying it was OK if I didn't want to eat. I'd been through a lot. I turned to attend to the filly who had gotten up and was nursing again. The normal sounds of the barn were comforting. John turned horses out and began cleaning each stall, and I dozed as the filly drank her fill. John left me to rest. He didn't turn me out, and unlike last evening, that was fine with me. I appreciated the cool darkness and quiet of the stall. Later John came in and he cleaned me up a bit, with a clean smelling wash. He wiped me down with a damp sponge, cleaning off some of the sweat from last night. He washed down my legs where blood and fluids had dried, trapping bits of bedding and hay.
Aunt Jane and the girl, Sophie, came to visit. They cooed over the filly, calling her, "Easter Surprise". Sophie came into the stall. She put her arms around my neck and laid her cheek next to my mane. She made soft, soothing sounds. I always liked that about the girl, Sophie. She used to make those sounds for me, and rub my neck in a special way, when she began asking me to do horse things for humans.
A year ago I had been living with my half brothers and sisters and some other foals in a large pasture. We ran and we played. We ate lush green grass in the summer and had good hay when the pasture was snow-covered. Then we were collected, as a group, and loaded onto a truck. The truck ride was a transition to a new way of life. One with restraints and rules.  Throughout the summer we were handled by the humans and learned new things. Sophie worked with me. In her gentle way, she introduced me to bits, bridles and saddles. I learned to respond to her light hand on the reins and subtle cues to move forward, turn and stop. Most of the herd went to live in new homes with new owners. I was Sophie's horse, though. And I was staying at the farm. When fall came, Sophie went off to college. My life took on its own new routine. I shared the pasture with 5 other horses. John took care of our needs. He turned us out in the morning and brought us in at night. He brought us feed and cleaned our stalls. On occasion he would brush me and he'd see to my feet. Sophie came home at Christmas for a brief visit, but the snow lay heavy on the ground and we couldn't go out for a ride. As spring came upon us John noticed the growing bulge of my mid-section. He chalked it up to inactivity and too much food. He figured that I would became more active when the pastures cleared of snow and I'd slim down. Little did he realize that I was harboring a secret of my own!
The first hours with Easter Surprise passed in a blur. I was exhausted from the prolonged labor and birth process. I hurt. I hung my head and napped, waking when Easter would nuzzle under my belly, looking for food. Instead of gaining strength and energy, I was losing ground as the morning moved on. My gut ached. My entire body throbbed with each beat of my heart. Visitors came and oohed and ahed over Easter. I sunk further into oblivion. The man with the odor of fear and chemicals returned. After some fussing and increased energy accompanying the hustle and bustle by the humans, I was led to the horse trailer with Easter bounding by my side. Once the trailer maneuvered through the smaller country roads and got onto the Interstate highway, where I no longer had to brace with each turn and rise and fall over the small hills, the gentle rocking of the trailer lulled us to sleep; Easter curled up in the straw with me standing over her. 
As the sun was falling from the sky the trailer stopped and doors were opened. I was led off the trailer and into the bright lights of a strange room with cloying smells. The odors and the movement of so many people put me on edge. My Sophie gave me a quick hug and then retreated. A needle entered the vein on my neck and I was lost in a sea of sounds and lights. Sounds became softly muted. People moved around me, wavering in ripples of light and dark. 
I awakened slowly. First I noticed odors, or rather, I sensed a lack of odor. I smelled crisp cleanliness: pine bedding, astringent antiseptics. Then it was the sounds I noticed: Human steps on concrete. The beeping of monitors. Humans talking. The rustle of horses in nearby stalls. My head seemed to weigh a ton. Everything felt thick and numb. My eyes were heavy but I forced them open. Images were blurred. I blinked to bring things into focus. I was in a large, bright stall. Easter was curled up in the pine shavings. I was tethered to a bottle hanging above me by a tube that disappeared under a bandage that encircled my neck. A human I did not recognize was perched on a stool in the corner of my stall. He talked to me quietly, saying, “Hey there, little lady, it’s about time you woke up!” At the sound of the strange voice Easter raised her head and lurched to her feet. As she made her way over to me and began to nurse I snuffled her from head to toe. Yep, she was my girl.  The human referred to his watch and wrote some things on a clipboard in his lap. Later, after Easter was finished, he got up and approached me quietly, with an air of confidence. He stroked my neck and examined me from head to toe, quietly talking to me and making notes as he went along. A few other humans approached the stall and he shared his notes with them. Apparently I had undergone a surgical procedure to repair the damage that occurred during Easter’s birth. The perineal laceration repair had gone well. Now the two greatest risks were infection and tearing of stitches that had been placed internally in tissues between my rectum and vagina. Intravenous antibiotics would work to counter the first risk, and a soft diet was prescribed to help with the latter. 
I spent 5 days at the University hospital. Easter and I received wonderful care and all kinds of attention. Everyone came by to visit me and to say, “Hello” to Easter.  We had lots of pats and hugs and special scritches. Each day we enjoyed greater freedom, even having the opportunity to enjoy the sun in outdoor paddocks. 
Finally Aunt Jane came back. She led me outside, with Easter at my side, to my truck and trailer. The girl, Sophie, couldn’t come as school had begun again. But the emptiness of her absence was counterbalanced by the pleasure I felt in coming home to my farm, with my pasture and barn, my stall and my friends. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Holy Cow!

We traveled south to Madras, OR to meet one of hubby's high school classmates.  They had not seen each other since graduation, and had only recently found each other through Facebook. Imagine my delight  in discovering a new friend! Our lives have had so many parallels:

  • We attended the same college 
  • We both majored in Special Education and  minored in Psychology 
  • Our moms both graduated from college with degrees in Home Economics
  • Each of us had two children; she had girls, I had boys
  • Both of us had a career in the classroom
I'm sure we will find more similarities in the future given more time to share stories! 

G & B dated in high school and went their own ways. Fairly recently they reconnected and married. Just like in a fairytale! They treated us to an incredible picnic on their ranch. B grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, as the cattle gathered around to see what we were doing. 

Yeah... the perverse humor in the situation wasn't lost on us!

In addition we had a yummy pasta salad  (G shared her secret recipe with me! ), crockpot beans and fruit. We parted ways, carrying off a good part of homemade pie and frozen ground beef. We were told camping just wasn't camping unless one had home-raised beef to cook over the fire!

The ranch is in a bowl surrounded by rocky mesas that were once populated by ancient peoples. B & G have found evidence of their civilization and were married at a Shaman's Holy area on one of the mesas overlooking the ranch. The land is truly magical. 

In fact, we have no explanation for the rainbow effect caught by the camera.

Train tracks circle part of their property. B commented that this was his train set!

B & G raise Decker and Highland cattle - here are Maggie and Courtney. Maggie seems to be having a bad hair day - but I wasn't about to say anything about that in her presence!

Tucker is checking out Smokey. A bull calf born this spring. Tucker was thrilled to meet the cattle, but wished we didn't have him on a long rope. He wanted to try his paws at moving the big beasts!

Following our afternoon adventures, hubby, dogs and I made our way back to our camper at the park. We all (even the dogs) talked about what fun we had!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Centus: Absent-E Absent Me

Jenny Matlock's prompt for today's Saturday Centus brought a smile to my face. It reminded me of torture fun I might have afflicted on students when I taught a class for the gifted and talented. Every day the students entered class I had some sort of puzzle to help them get their brains in gear! This prompt would be perfect! It is such a fun way for me to begin my day! Jenny challenged us to write a cogent sentence without using the letter "e". Being the type of person I am, my first response was:

This assignmnt is a psc of cak!

Because, dear friend, Jenny said the sentence had to be cohesive... she didn't say that we had to spell the words correctly ;-)  Actually I discovered that with all of the efforts our computers make to make certain we do spell words correctly, writing that sentence was a bit of a challenge!

Anyway, here I sit at a campground in Albany, Oregon. We have been on the road for over two weeks - hard to believe! I am limping along on the campground's wireless connection. I remind myself that I am thankful that they have Internet. I think back to the days of ethernet cables and dial up connections. Yes, this is better than it could be. And, the internet is free. So... I shouldn't really get upset that their connection is slower than a turtle... in winter! The stunning speed of the Internet and my feelings about it made this challenge as easy as pie (try writing that without an e!):

Frankly, I don't want to complain, but this is a pain!

What ideas do you have?
Leave Tack on a(n) comment reply annotation with your ideas opinions. 

Have a wonderful weekend.

To see other responses to Jenny's challenge, visit her site by clicking here. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop - Week 24: At The Hop

As I write I am humming and singing:

Well, you can rock it you can roll it
You can stop it you can stroll it
At the hop.
When the record starts spinning
You calypso when you chicken 
At the hop.
Do the dance sensation 
that's been sweeping the nation at the hop.

Ah, let's go to the hop
Let's go to the hop
Oh baby, Let's go to the hop
Oh baby, let's go to the hop.
Come on, let's go to the hop.

Luckily, I have spared you the music. It seems that the Playlist program I've used before to put annoying music on my blog post has changed, and I can't quite figure how to get the code for the song. It must be your lucky day!  If you want accompaniment, you'll just have to hum and sing along and imagine it playing!

I want to welcome a new follower. Ashley has just begun following my blog. She has an oversized Haflinger AKA a Belgian draft horse! It looks like Ashley has just started her blog, The Bitless Draft. I can't wait to read more about her adventures with her horse!
I think I also forgot to introduce another follower, Denise at Autumn Sky Ranch. I think I'd prefer to follow Denise on her blog rather than go visit her right now. She reports that it was 108 today! Ugh!

Well, now, Let's go to the hop...
In case you are new... or as a reminder:
Each week I'll post two or three prompts. 
Choose one or respond to all. Don't forget!!
Complete your blog post (or comment) by asking a question of us.
Link your post to the Hobby Horse Blog Hop
by using the Linky Tool below. Or... Leave a comment with the answer to the question(s).
Visit other participating blogs on the list
and respond to their questions in your comments.
Hobby Horse Blog Hop Prompts - Week 24:
  1. What's the 'next' horse/dog/cat/pet you would consider acquiring? Do you tend to plan and purposefully acquire animals, or do they just seem to find you?
  2. Pet food: are you particular about ingredients or will any kind do?  Do you have a fussy eater?
  3. Camping? Motel 6, RV, tent or 'no way'!
My answers:

1. I am still so very much in love with Haflingers - but when I think of getting a 'new' one, I realize that it wouldn't be Pippin or Doc and I'm not so sure it would be fair on a new guy or gal - I might compare them to my previous horses. I like the concept of a Morgan, but when I went to the Morgan show the horses I saw are NOT what I had in mind. I want a low-key, adapt-to-anything kind of horse. The show horses looked awfully.... showy!

I run about 50/50 on planned acquisitions and found animals. Pippin and Doc were actually not purposeful acquisitions. We had planned to get horses in the future - but we fell in love with them at the auction and we bought them on the spur of the moment. In fact, we had to rush home, before they were delivered, and get the paddock ready. We had to buy buckets, brushes, hay and the basics for horse care on our way home. 
We have always had two dogs. We knew that we wanted to get a dog to keep Tucker company, and we knew we wanted to rescue a dog. We are thrilled with Gypsy. She is a wonderful addition to our family.
The night before Gypsy came to live with us we ran to Petco to get the food she had been eating. They had the cutest cat for adoption. We came very close to having a 2nd cat!

2. I usually buy a name brand grocery store variety of food for the cat and dogs. However, I have just switched to foods that don't have corn meal as their main ingredient. Tucker isn't eating as much bulk as he used to, and even though the new food is more concentrated,  I'm not convinced that he is getting enough calories. I wish I had that problem!
With the horses I was always very particular about the quality of the hay and feed that they received. I used a Purina product to supplement their hay and to give them consistent amounts of protein and fat.

3. We used to go tent camping. When we were first married we went on a 100+ mile trip through Algonquin Park in Canada. We traveled by canoe and portaged everything between lakes. I love the idea of being out in the wild, but I'm not certain I would be able to sleep on the ground again, and now nice weather is a requirement for my outdoor activity. I actually would prefer a camper to most motels. I'm not that much of a 'neat-nik' but some hotel/motel rooms give me the heebie-jeebies! For the last two years of my career I spent some time on the road. One of my colleagues carried her own sleeping bag and pillow. I wasn't that bad... but I was considering it!

Now it's your turn. Answer the questions on your blog and link your blog to mine using the Linky Tool 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....