Friday, November 28, 2008
The woman down the road does this fun thing on Thanksgiving and has done it since we've been here. At least 8 yrs? She goes on a Thanksgiving day walk at 9am. Everyone in the neighborhood is invited - people that used to live in the neighborhood are invited - friends of people in the neighborhood are invited .... you get the picture.
Some years there are one or two people who ride horses, one year there was a pygmy goat, another year someone brought alpacas and a llama.... and there are usually more dogs than people. One section of the walk is along a paved 2 lane road... anyone driving down the road during our walk looks really confused. "What is it?! Are they protesting? Is it a parade? Who are these people en masse with dogs?" Since we are in the country, around the block is 3 miles so it's a good way to start the day of feasting.
Today Jen from Happy Horse Tack Store in Ft. Collins came out to fit Sera for a "new" saddle. New to me anyway - I can't afford brand new - I'll get a used, consignment saddle.
Turns out the saddle I've been riding in doesn't fit Sera the best. I didn't really notice cuz Sera just goes, she isn't off, she isn't sore and my balance has been o.k. No one else noticed either. and then one day we did. Turns out it's a little bit wide for her... When I tried a different saddle... wow. BIG difference.
It makes sense.... it'd be like someone asking you to go on a hike with shoes that didn't fit you properly. You could do it, but you wouldn't do it as well as you COULD....
I put my saddle on consignment with Happy Horse - everyone keep your fingers crossed that it sells! At least I put it up for consignment before Christmas, so hopefully it will go. I brought home two saddles to "test drive". I have a homework list of saddles to go through. We'll see what works. Hopefully it will be one in my budget and near or less what the saddle I'm selling goes for.... sigh. Horses. Any money you might have? Kiss it goodbye!
Now I'm gonna git my butt up to Rex's to test drive saddles. It is 4:30, getting dark and there is a cold wind blowing in a storm... the sooner I go, the sooner I can come back to a hot shower, and a snuggly blanket on the couch.
I am thankful for many, many things in my life. Right now I am thankful for indoor arenas!!!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I started making pies back in 2002. I heard this book review on NPR for "American Pie - slices of life (and pie) from America's back roads" by Pascale Le Draoulec. It sounded interesting. This woman drove from one coast to the other and chose her route based on wherever there was good pie. There are recipies included and I was bound and determined to try each and every pie.
That hasn't happened yet but I DID try "Doris Kemp's Accidental Apple-Blueberry Pie from Mammy's Cupboard in Natchez, Mississippi". It is INCREDIBLE!
No one thinks to pair up apples and blueberries - it is unusual. Most people I make it for have never had it nor have they ever heard of it and so far everyone has RAVED over this pie recipie. Since it's so close to Thanksgiving and I have MY "Doris Kemp accidental apple-blueberry pie" in the oven baking right now, I thought I'd share.
2 unbaked pie crusts
2 C of blueberries - preferably fresh but frozen works
3 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and sliced thin
1.5 C of sugar
1/2 C of flour
1 Tbl lemon juice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbl butter
Combine all ingredients but butter. Mix gently with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture into 9-inch pie pan lined with your basic pie crust. Cut butter over the filling, cover with top crust and crimp edges to seal. Cut slits in top for steam, bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. This time I brushed the crust with milk and sprinkled it with sugar...
I ran out of flour for my crust and used wheat flour for the last 1/4 amt of flour. I am nervous that the crust will taste bland and cardboard-y so I added some more sugar. When in doubt cover it in sugar - right? Well, at least we'll get a little fiber in with our Thanksgiving pie!
You will not be disappointed if you try this pie. Doris Kemp is a genius. A BIG thanks to Pascale Le Draoulec for putting it out there!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Well I met my "case manager", Andrea, a couple weeks ago to discuss mentoring this little girl, Kylie. She sounded cute as a bug to me and I said yes.
Then Andrea had to talk to Kylie's parents to see if they liked the sound of ME...
I guess I didn't scare them off because Andrea just called to say it's a go!
It's Kylie's 10th birthday Saturday. Her mom thinks it'd be a great birthday present for her to meet me. I've never been a birthday present before. Yeah - no pressure there!!
I'm going to her house with Andrea to meet the family, answer questions, ask questions and set up future play dates for me and Kylie to get to know each other.
Here is what I know so far:
Kylie LOVES animals.
Her favorite food is sushi. (I happen to love sushi too)
She wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.
Some of her wishes are: 1. no animals ever had to die 2. all her favorite fish could be her pets (I'm thinkin' you mean OTHER than the sushi on your plate?!?)
When asked what she does for fun at home, she says she plays tag with her family's two llamas.
O.k. Girl plays tag with llamas.
How could this not work out?
I play tag with my goats!
I'm excited to meet her. She sounds really cute and y'all know how much I can feed her love for animals! I'm already thinking of behind the scenes tours of the CSU Vet Teaching Hospital, ride-alongs with horse vets, taking her to National Western Stock Show in Denver, helping us bottle feed our goat kids in spring ....
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
You hear the term sweet spot when a baseball player hits the ball in a perfect location on the bat... I guess my night last night was sorta like that.
We loaded Rosso into the trailer and I took him up to Rex's barn for a ride in her indoor arena. He pulled his, "Oh no. Uh-UH, I am NOT leaving home you pink, hairless, 2 legged monkeys!" Furry Husband kept up his tap, tap, tapping with the longe whip and after 20 minutes, Rosso submitted to the hairless monkeys by loading up.
Rex wasn't home yet when I arrived. I groomed Rosso, tacked him up and went to the indoor. It was freshly oiled and groomed with a harrow. Not a hoofprint or footstep anywhere. Pristine. I paused. Oh. Should I be the one to desecrate??
Aw heck, it IS a riding arena after all! I stepped boldly in. I longed Rosso and then Furry Husband showed up to "babysit" me. I don't ride alone because IF something were to happen... well, it's a long way to the phone in the tack room.
Rosso was a peach. He was nicely forward - he has a tendency to be stuck. Sorta moves but doesn't really GO anywhere. Guess it'd be like a child reluctant to go somewhere? Their feet move when you tell them to go, but they sure don't walk very fast to get there and it leaves a little something to be desired!
We practiced our up and down transitions from walk to trot and trot to walk asking him to stay forward and round like a small "n" vs. flinging his head up and inverting himself into a "u". He was fantastic. I asked him for leg yield and he complied. Nice - maybe the baby horse is growing up a little?
Rex came home. Her mom came by to ride her Trakehner, Highbrow. Rex's husband came out to help Rex doctor a couple horses (bandage change for a cut on a leg for one, soaking a hoof for a sole abscess on another). When Carol took Highbrow's blanket off and walked by the arena door, Rosso spooked and scooted forward - YAAAA LARGE MISSHAPEN GREEN BLOB MOVING!!
He's funny because he is always so dang surprised when someone appears in a doorway. His eyes are wide "WHA? WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?!" As if the doorway is an eternal portal to bring forth the unknown.
S'ok. It was a spook but it was also half-hearted from what I've seen him do when he is scared. I ignored it and went back to work.
After our ride, Rex offered me a beer - who turns down a beer? I groomed Rosso and chatted while Rex and Glen doctored. I chatted with Carol. I watched some of her ride. It was a beautiful night - warm, calm, clear. And of course Rosso loads into the trailer like a perfect gentleman to come home....
There is nothing better than standing around with your lovely, relaxed horse, after a nice ride, in a barn full of horses, on a beautiful Colorado night, talking with good friends.
THAT is my sweet spot.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
If I could have caught them all I would have.
No, I would not have kept them all. There are places that help like Ft. Collins Cat Rescue or Every Creature Counts if we couldn't place them on our own.
I caught one.
I think I caught her cuz she was sleeping and either in a deep R.E.M. sleep or too sick. She was one of two smallest kittens. The rest scattered and were wild. When we went back the next day for the rest of our hay, I tried to catch the other small kitten but it was too wild, fully awake and even with an open can o' tuna, I couldn't coax it out from it's hiding space under the floor.
Yeah, I know y'all think I'm a crazy ass cat lady. But doesn't it say something about society when domestic animals in OUR care are thought of as "throw aways"? There are low cost spay/neuter/vaccination clinics.
How much effort and money would it take to make sure you have the healthiest mouse killin' machine in your barn? $35.00. The low cost place we use when we trap feral cats charges $35 for spay/vaccination.
So I "saved" one.
Please, please, please. Be a responsible animal owner. Spay/neuter your pets. Vaccinate them. Give them a fighting chance. Please?
Onto something more cheerful - butter! My home cheesemaking group on Yahoo has been posting about making butter. I'm gonna give it a whirl!
If you store your milk in quart canning jars and leave it alone for 3-4 days, the cream will rise to the top. Not as much as cow milk, but some will seperate in goat milk. I'll skim it off the top and freeze it until I have enough for butter. It'll be my first experience making butter. Sounds like it is going to take a while to amass enough cream for any sizable amount but I'm excited to try!
Oh - our does are going into heat so our buck is happy! I'm taking his daughter up to SouthFork Dairy Goats for breeding today. No 2 headed, Deliverance, cross-eyed babies for us!
She is supposed to come into heat tomorrow. Now we wait. Does come into heat every 3 weeks this time of year so we mark our calendars and we watch. If they come back into heat in 3 weeks they are bred again. If not, we assume they are brewing up little goat-lets and in 5 months we'll have kids.
Hope everyone has a great weekend! Time for me to load Rosie, the doe kid, into the back of my station wagon (oh yeah, we get some funny looks heading down the highway) and head up to Lyons, CO for some goatie love!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
O.k. everyone, it's time to mark your calendars for the Great Backyard Bird Count! Go to this website: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/ to learn more.Basically, between Feb. 13-16 you watch the birds coming to your feeders, or the birds in your yard for 15 minutes. Count what birds you see and submit them online at the above link.
Yeah, yeah. I'm a dork. A huge dork. Tell me sumthin' I don't know.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Saturday our friends Tom and Laurie came over with all of Tom's tree trimming equipment. He owns Kincaid Tree Surgery in Ft. Collins. We are watching their German Shepherd dog, Norman, over Christmas and in exchange, Tom agreed to come trim our trees.
He put on his harness and climbed into the trees like a friggin' monkey! Amazing. I can't climb higher than 2 rungs on a ladder and sometimes just climbing stairs makes me queasy.
Brandon gets a special halter that holds his head up comfortably (the black halter with the soft plastic tube) and he's fitted with this mouthpiece that has plates for the top and bottom teeth (the metal thing in his mouth). The vet can open his mouth and he can't dislodge the speculum. Even tho' his tongue is trying the whole time! She puts her hands in to feel his teeth and uses her drill to file them down.
Here you can see that the top teeth have been filed flat, the bottom teeth still have some points. The tooth side closest to the tongue curves up and into the tongue. She'll file them down so the teeth are level.
Anytime I go to the dentist, I think about horse tooth floating.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Furry Husband is a weather nut. He got a weather station for Christmas last year so when we got up the first day of wind, he ran in to see the computer read out on the weather.
Yeah - 50+ mph gusts through the night. Nice.
I got home last night and the wind literally pushed me around on my way to the house. I am NO petite flower. I shook my head as I hunched down and forced my way forward to the house. It felt like I was living in a movie where there has been some sort of nuclear fall out and now the world was encompassed by wind, dust and tumbleweeds with only a few humans left to scrabble out a meager existence on the devastated Earth crust... The wind was literally shrieking and howling like some unseen, crazed, wild animal.
I never did get Rosso loaded up the other night. Figured that wasn't fair.
Today the wind was down to 12 mph. Tonight Rosso can head up the road in the trailer....
I was just happy that no one had any eye injuries! Last time we had wind like this, Sera endured an eye ulceration from debris flying around (debris as in pebble or hay stem not debris like broken glass or tin can) and before that in another crazy wind storm, I doctored Rosso's eye the same way for the same thing. This time the wind did NOT equal a vet bill and for that I am thankful.
I decided to milk the does once a day from here on out. I'd been thinking about it since production is decreasing.. The wind helped me make up my mind lickity split!
During wind storms, the goats hide in their quonset hut houses and stick their heads out to make sure we ARE coming to feed them. You can acutally hear their squallerin' over the shrieking wind if they think you are leaving before they get fed. I feel sorry for them and usually put hay inside their houses vs. in the feeder which is out in the wind.
I didn't fill bird feeders the last couple days. I just didn't want to be outside any longer than I had to be with all that wind. I filled them this morning and discovered that the squirrel chewed through the lid of the rubbermaid trashcan where I keep the black oil sunflower seeds! Guess he thought I shoulda been out there filling feeders and since I wasn't, he took matters into his own hands/teeth.
I don't usually mind the squirrel...
Lately he's been showing up with a buddy....
You can see the gnaw marks on the lid so I know it was him.
When I opened the trashcan, there was a big ol' pile of sunflower seed hulls. He musta hunkered down in there, out of the wind, with his little girlfriend and had a feast. Bastard!
At least he's not a skunk.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I have hope again for our country.
I loved seeing the crowds in Chicago - so many people from every sort of background.
I did think McCain's concession speech was excellent. I was disappointed that "his" crowed boo'd. I was proud that he called for everyone to work together and quelled the nay sayers. He gave a wonderful speech.
Obama's acceptance speech left both myself and Furry Husband with tears in our eyes. It was uplifting and hopeful and positive. It was honest - we have a lot of work ahead of us as a nation.
I or Furry Husband will hook up our truck to the horse trailer, we load Rosso, Sera or both and I drive 2 miles up the road to Rex's place. She is extremely kind and lets me come up any time to ride in her indoor. Her only rule is that I can't ride alone. Fine by me. I don't want to end up a grease spot in the sand with no one around either! I'm lucky that Furry Husband will come with and keep an eye on me if Rex isn't home.
I'll take Rosso up tonight. He needs trailer time. He really, really hates leaving home. He puts up a big ol' stink about getting in the trailer to leave home.
Sure sucks to be him!
Furry Husband has learned tons about helping me with the horses on the ground. He patiently gets out the longe whip and tap, tap, taps Rosso's reluctant ass. Forward, forward, forward the taps tell Rosso. Furry Husband stays out of range if Rosso decides to kick and he keeps it up until Rosso decides, "aw hell, I'll GO in the damn trailer already!"
I'm at the front end ready to lead him on up and tie him. Once he's in, he trailers fine. Once he's at Rex's place, he'll load back up just fine. Guess this is one of my winter goals for him along with spending time in the saddle. Get him loading well from home and take him places... will call up some other barns and see if we can't come over for a visit.
Should be interesting to see what he thinks of new places. He is sort of a "fragile flower".
It's interesting that he is such a huge chicken and yet, he bosses Sera all over the place.
Sera is very confident and opinionated bordering on bossy when I'm riding. I wouldn't expect she'd put up with him but she is definitely low man on the totem pole at home. Brandon, our 30 yr old Cushing's horse with arthritis and ringbone is still top dog. He just has to look at either of the red heads and they scurry to comply.
This is our old man - Brandon. I've had him since I was 16... he's taught me a hell of a lot. He is still teaching them red heads a thing or two!
Here are the red-heads. Sera, 8 yrs old is on the left, Rosso, 6 yrs old on the right. Can you tell they are related? They have the same Mama. And both too slow for the races.... somehow I'm thinkin' they like their new "job" much better.
K - it's getting dark out already... time for me to git home and have some fun with Rosso!