Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Baby pictures

Please ignore the complete mess in the background. This is our "bunk house" and we use it for storage. It has heat and electricity with no running water. Makes for a good nursery anyway, the goat-lets don't seem to mind the mess.... neither do the chicks in the next stock tank over!
Baby goats will try and nurse anything. I'm sure Furry Husband's goatee looks strangely familiar....
Even tho' they have the hang of it, it's still a little messy. MMMMMM. Dinner!

Itinerary...

Furry Husband leaves at O'Dark Thirty tomorrow for his Napa trip. We are BOTH really glad the babies are here and the routine is settling in.

Spot's first four milkings are colostrum and treated as such. We heat treat and freeze the colostrum to have on hand just in case something should happen. The babies MUST have colostrum or they will die - they won't have any immunity if they don't get it and they would slowly die from infection. We used some of Spot's colostrum from this year but most of her colostrum is being heat treated and frozen for next year. We use the frozen colostrum from last year for this year's kids.

We've also had calls in the past from people who lost does and needed colostrum for newly orphaned babies so it is really handy to have on hand for emergencies. The goat colostrum also works for llamas and alpacas. I don't know if it would work for foals? Probably would work on calves... but I'm thinking there just wouldn't be enough of it?

Spot is getting penicillin 2x a day sub-q (under the skin vs. in the muscle) to prevent any infection since I introduced my hand into her body. She is bright eyed, alert and eating so I'm sure she's fine but it doesn't hurt to give her penicillin for the next 4-5 days. I'd rather prevent something from happening than nurse her back to health if infection sets in.

Since Furry Husband and I have day jobs, we feed the babies in the mornings, when we get home from work and right before bed. They are getting the hang of it and we don't have to help them out much now.

The first couple of feedings are slow and MESSY. It's like their tongues don't know what to do at first and they don't have any mouth coordination. Their tongues will stick out the side vs. wrapping around the bottle nipple... they'll suck for a few seconds and then the tongue pops off the nipple and sticks out the side while the colostrum dribbles down their face.

They also keep falling asleep! They will be nursing one second and then the sucking slows.... stops.... their mouths open, their eyes are closed and they are dead weight, fast asleep. Being born must be very tiring!

And they don't instinctively know to open their mouths to take in a bottle nipple vs. a warm udder teat so we pry open their little mouths and stick the nipple in - they struggle against this indignity - squirming and sometimes screaming bloody murder. Colostrum squirts all over. It's the same every year.

By now tho, the light bulb has gone off and they know our voices mean food is coming. We walk into our bunk house talking to them and they wake up, give us little goatie hullos, get up, shake off and begin wagging their tails. And now they know bottles are the vehicle to a full belly so they latch right on and drink it all down.

I'll keep posting pictures and try to get some video loaded of them. They are just too cute and so much fun! Rosie is due April 16 so we'll be posting more soon with a second set of kids...

Oh - Furry Husband e-mailed me his itinerary which I posted below. Life is hard for him don't you think? He is going to have a blast and I know he'll bring home some killer wines!


Triple Crown Event
Itinerary
April 2-5, 2009

Welcome to Triple Crown: Furry Husband

All flight arrangements have been e-mailed out by Emma. If you have not received your e-mail, please contact Margie immediately at (xxx) xxx-xxxx.

Please note dress code as ZinZanni Teatro and the Awards dinner are more formal .

Hotel check in time for the Ritz Carlton is at 3 PM, but you can leave your luggage with the Bellstaff and they will safely store it for you.

Below is the itinerary for the event as well as your confirmation numbers. Please bring this paperwork with you as this is your map for the event.

Thursday, April 2, 2009
Arrival to San Francisco
Super Shuttle, Bart or Taxi to hotel

Hotel for April 2 and April 3
Ritz Carlton
600 Stockton Street
San Francisco , CA 94108
Phone: 415-296-7465
Fax: 415-364-3455

Your hotel reservation confirmation # is: xxxxxxxx

6:00 PM Please join us in the Lobby Lounge at 6 PM for a drink. Then we will walk to Scala’s for dinner. (4 blocks)

Scala’s Bistro, 432 Powell, St. San Francisco, CA 94102
Dress Code: Business casual or San Francisco evening wear.
(Shanster in here – what the hell is San Francisco evening wear?!?)
Friday, April 3, 2009

10:30 AM Please meet in hotel lobby to board the bus to go to Hornblower Yachts for a cruise and lunch on the San Francisco Bay .
Dress code: Casual, jeans and tennis shoes ok.

2:00 PM Bus returns to hotel



5:30 PM Please meet in hotel lobby to board the bus to go to:

ZinZanni Teatro for dinner and a show. Strict Theatre Dress Code: Business casual to formal wear, retro chic to elegant. (Shanster in: retro chic?? Oh - I'm dyin' ovah hee-ya picturing Furry Husband in retro chic! hoo hoooo hoo - ha ha ha -snort)
(No sweat shirts, shorts, t-shirts, jeans or tennis shoes)

10:00 PM Bus returns to hotel.

Saturday, April 4, 2009 – A Busy Day – Be prepared for bus ride, vineyard tour, tasting, blending session and after hotel check in, the reception and awards dinner.

8:45 AM Please be downstairs, checked out with your luggage.
Dress code: Casual, jeans and tennis shoes ok.

9:00 AM Bus leaves for Napa Valley .

10:00 AM Carneros Vineyard tour with Al Wagner, Vineyard Manager

11:30 AM Formal Tasting at Clos Du Val with John Clews, VP of Vineyard & Winery Operations

12:30 PM Lunch at Clos Du Val

1:15 PM Blending Session at Clos Du Val with John Clews

2:45 PM Shopping at CDV – Instructions will follow.

3:15 PM Leave for River Terrace Inn for check in.

Hotel Accommodations for Saturday, April 4

River Terrace Inn
1600 Soscol Avenue
Napa , CA 94559
Phone: (707) 320-6901
Fax: (707) 258-1236

Your reservation confirmation number is: xxxxx

Please join us for the awards dinner which will be held at Restaurant Cuvee (in front of the hotel) at 1650 Soscol Avenue , Napa .

7:00 PM Welcome Reception
7:30 PM Dinner
Dress code: Sports coat/tie (equivalent for ladies).

Sunday, April 5 – Departure Day for our Guests and Sales Managers

There is a complimentary full American breakfast buffet served from 7:00 AM to 10:30 AM at the River Terrace Inn. Please see the chart below for your time to leave.





Monday, March 30, 2009

Babies!

Sorry for the "graphic" nature of this pix but um... this is how we tell babies are comin'. There is a string of mucous from the vulva... we call it The Shoelace.


As in, we just got home from eating Mexican food at The Rio Grande restaurant and I had dos margaritas. We got home not exactly expecting kids and I had a killer buzz going.

Furry Husband says, "Honey, I think you better check on Spot cuz it looks like we are gonna have kids soon." Talk about a buzz kill!

I went to check and yes - there was a shoelace. Sigh. Instead of crashing on the couch, I grabbed the birthin' kit and sat on it in the quonset hut waiting for Spot to begin pushing.


Spot isn't feeling too good. She gets up, lays down, digs around, pushes her head against the wall, grunts, groans, makes very pathetic small bleating noises and she is EXTREMELY licky.... lick, lick, lick... licking me, the walls, my jeans, my sweatshirt... lick, lick, lick. Getting ready to lick off her babies.

The other goats are completely unconcerned. It's a particularly nice sound when they jump on top of the quonset hut and begin dancing around while Spot and I are in there. Poor Spottie.
I actually had to go in and fish out the first kid. I really, really HATE going in there. I'm afraid of hurting her, I'm afraid of introducing infection, I'm afraid I won't figure out what is what.
I read a lot and I mean a lot of James Herriott... read his books more than once. Listened to local veterinarian stories and had a couple give me some tips. Like if you have to go in? Don't be that concerned because the babies have to come out and they are as big if not bigger than your arm and hand.
Another vet told me if I have to go in, that I should think about how the legs orient on an animal. The front legs bend at the knee and go back toward the belly, the back legs bend at the hock and move forward toward the belly. When I go in I close my eyes and I have to trace the animal with my hand while picturing it with my mind. I've had to go in 2 other times before this time.
Spot was pushing and straining and after an hour there was nothing for her effort. No little hooves or a nose - nothing. I called our vet and she confirmed that I should go in and have a feel. Remove all jewelry - rings/watches etc. and wash your hands and arms up to the elbow with soap and hot water.
I did and went in.
I could feel legs, front ones and I could feel a head but the head was so big it wasn't making it through the pelvic opening. If I pulled the legs, the head would go back to the shoulders. I KNOW for a fact Spot can't fit a head PLUS shoulders through her pelvis so I had to place my hand over the kid's skull and keep it coming along with the legs.
Oh man. Every time she had a contraction, I thought my fingers were gonna break! Frickin' hurt.
Tho' I'm sure Spot was thinking about the same and much worse!
I got the kid out - he was alive. A big buck kid. Spot had a petite doe kid next on her own just fine. I'm towelling off the doe kid in this picture. She is almost like her mama - only no white spot anywhere.

Another picture of the doe kid.
Lookit that head! Hu-gong-ous! I'm thinking of that Mike Myers movie, So I Married and Axe Murderer? And the kid in the movie whose head is so huge?

Once Spot is through, I have to milk the colostrum, or the first milk full of antibodies and goodness for the kids. We heat treat it to kill any lurking CAE disease. CAE is passed from goats to goats through their milk. It doesn't affect humans, but heat treated or pasteurized milk does not have it.
Colostrum is heated to 135 degrees and placed in a thermos for an hour to hold it's temperature.



We bottle feed all our babies. The first year we did this, I felt like the most awful, big, bad carnivore... ripping babies away from their mamas.
The babies really don't seem to care a bit as long as someone feeds them. The does aren't happy for about 3 days and I really do feel bad for them. They go through all that work and there is nothing to show for it! After around 3 days, if they see those babies, they want nothing to do with them and I feel much better.
What a good doe Spot is.... having her babies at a decent hour of the day and before Furry Husband leaves for his Napa "work" trip. Did I tell you he's staying at the Ritz freaking Carlton in San Francisco?
He gets the Ritz, nice wines and incredible gourmet meals. I get to stay home and bottle feed baby goats. At least I have Cozzola's award winning pizza to help ease my pain. heh heh.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blue skies...

The blizzard is over. We have blue skies today!

AND we have knee high and thigh high drifts at home because of the wind. We ended up blanketing horses last night because they were wet and started shivering. This morning baby Rosso had busted 2 straps on his blanket - a belly strap and a leg strap. Sigh. He doesn't like blankets much but if he's shivering and wet, I don't give him an option. I have to catch him with a halter and someone has to hold him or he needs to be tied in order to get a blanket on him. If he spies a blanket or sees you thinking about blankets, he becomes awful tricky to catch.

Sera, on the other hand, seems to really appreciate a blanket during particularly inclement weather. She stands perfectly still and lets us fuss over her.

Brandon - the old man - NEVER needs blankets. The Cushing's disease makes his hair growin' spiral out of control so he is like a prehistoric beast. I think he is happy when the weather turns nasty cuz he finally feels a little bit cooler.

The extra time I had at home from my snow day gave me a chance to create a cost analysis spreadsheet and I created a lotion calculator geared for my specific lotion recipie. Now all I have to do is plug in the total number of ounces I want and tada! Each ingredient is calculated for me. Way cool. I used to sit down and figure it out with a calculator each time.... 8 bottles, 13 bottles, 4 bottles... always figured it out by hand. Now I can plug in a number and Excel does the work for me. Nice!

Then, because it was snowy and cold out, I made chocolate chip cookies. Nothing like filling the house with that warm cookie smell.... they won't last the weekend I betcha! I remembered to follow the high altitude recipie so my cookies turned out perfectly!! I forget half the time and they end up being awful flat and crunchy. We still eat them - I mean it's still chocolate and sugar for chrissakes, but when I remember to follow the high altitude instructions they are EXTRA tasty!

Mojo provided some entertainment last night. He walked non-chalantly up to Itty Bitty Opal Kitty, bit her on the back of the neck and tried mounting her. I would say he's feeling better if his old neutered but pretending I'm not male cat fantasies are resurfacing!

Tonight is Cozzola's take and bake pizza! Every Friday night we bring one home. Herb crust, garlic red sauce, pepperoni, mushrooms, roasted garlic, extra sauce and extra cheese. It is DIVINE. It's our reward for getting through the week and we usually have a really nice bottle of wine to go with it. We love our Friday nights...

Furry Husband read in our local paper that the owners of Cozzola's flew to Las Vegas for the International Pizza Challenge held March 10-12. The country was split into regions, with Cozzola's in the Mid-America region. They WON!

The pizza we eat every Friday night is THE BEST pizza in Mid-America. I can't tell you how much I love that!



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blizzard

We are getting SNOW and the high winds just kicked in but more importantly SNOW!! Blizzard conditions. Good. I miss having snow in CO during the winter.

It makes the horses act like wild jungle animals... well, not the 31 yr old horse. He never acts like a wild anything anymore! He's too old for that nonsense.

Anyhoo - here is the youngest horse first thing this morning before the high winds.
He's the one that needs to be reminded he is much lower on the food chain than us humans? Yeah. He's pretty full of himself today with cold and snow making him crazed.



Money

You aren't supposed to talk about it are you? Well - I won't go into absolute details because I might be giving away proprietary information for my little bid'ness venture...

I picked up my labels last night. Man, do they look SMART! It gives me that old twinge of excitement from when I first thought up this idea.

I sat down to begin crunchin' numbers. I have two different size products. A 6oz stand alone bottle of lotion in four different scents and a four-pack of 2oz bottles with all the different scents in a clear make-up bag.

The nice, fancy labels add .25 cents to the cost of my 6oz lotion bottles and .75 per package for the small makeup bag of lotions. Not bad.

The small bottles are pricey... I have to include the cost of the make up bag, along with the increased packaging involved - four bottles and labels vs. one.

Furry Husband and I have to include a profit margin that won't price us out of the market and we both think we should be paid for our work. I'm not talking a six figure salary, but our time is worth something. We have a wholesale price in mind, but we don't want to put ourselves out of the market and we don't want to stiff ourselves either. Talk about a fine line.

I know I personally don't pay a lot for bath and body products (I use my splurge $ for horse related items!) but I know many people do. I do have dry, dry, dry skin. Colorado sucks the moisture right out of your body and I will definitely pay more for a lotion that WORKS vs. a lotion that is crap and doesn't get the job done. My lotion works. It's not my bias either... Furry Husband's hands haven't gotten those deep nasty dry skin cracks and my farrier said he would endorse my product because it really helped his weather chapped hands.

And I've been reading and watching. When the economy is in the crapper, people splurge on smaller products like an expensive lipstick or a specialty lotion vs. buying the more expensive and traditional splurge items like new shoes or a new outfit. (ummmm - not that Furry Husband or my very manly farrier are buying lipstick...) Anyway, the idea being, people can buy the smaller items and feel good about a splurge without doing much damage to their pocketbook.

I'll meet with a couple of businesses I respect and talk to the owners about retail mark-up. How much do they mark up? I'm assuming 100% but I don't know that and you know what happens when you assume! How much do they think people would pay for a unique, specialty item locally made? I know the Denver markets will spend more than the Ft. Collins market. Ft. Collins is full of poor college students and cheap farmers/ranchers.

Ha - ME being one of them! I am a complete and total cheapskate. Hello? This is why I wanted to make my own lotion vs. buying it in the first place.

The ONE thing I saw last night that disappointed me was that my supplier now has paraben free preservative. I MUST have preservatives in my lotion. It prevents mold or bacteria from developing in a warm, moist environment like lotion, it keeps the goat milk and oils from going rancid... the risk of selling a product without preservatives is much too much for me to even think about.

Parabens are the new big bad thing in cosmetics. However, they have not been scientifically proven to cause any sort of human health issue. It's a case of the press spreading fear over something without really having any direct link or facts proving a single thing. There isn't enough data. Personally it doesn't bother me to use a product with parabens. However, I'm in Colorado and there are a lot of holistic, environmental, natural, green conscious people here and I have to listen to the market.

This is the one thing that people have asked me now and again. Could I make something paraben free? At the time I couldn't. Now my supplier has this paraben free preservative but my labels are finished - listing the ingredients of my paraben preservative. I made a note to switch but it's going to be a while... I have 2500 items to sell first!

I wanted to smack my head with a big ol' Homer Simpson D'oh!

I have to remember though, this question has only occured twice in all the lotions I've sold and tested. So yes, I'm sure some buyers will be turned off, but it can and will be corrected in the future.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bitty's Box...

We are all about the ani-mules at our house. Sometimes we get something in the mail that comes in a box and the cats LOVE the boxes, so we keep their favorite ones for them to lay in, play with - whatever.

Furry Husband's mom came to visit one summer, looked skeptically at the kitty boxes.... "Well. You just spoil those cats. They don't need those boxes!"

Nope. They sure don't but the boxes are cheap entertainment! (for us AND the kitties)

Someone with a 4 yr old boy came to our house once and one of our old kitties was curled up, sleeping in a box. The little boy asked me if she was sick. I said, no - it's our kitty in the box! He looked a little dubious. "Kitty in da box?" Yup! I happily confirmed, kitty in the box! He left looking totally confused.... do kitties come in boxes? Why is the kitty in the box?!

Bitty has this little box. She is growing and filling it up and won't be able to fit in it much longer. She likes to sit in it and bite it. There are little pieces of cardboard all over from her biting the box and spitting out the pieces. ptooey! It is hilarious and makes me laugh... she was in a box biting mood this morning.

Bitty in her box.... dilated pupils... hooked monkey tail... Bitty is in quite a state and lookin' for trouble.She's so big now, she tips the box over and sticks her paws thru the seam looking for something to snag and pull into her lair.

By the way, Mojo was spotted eating kitty kibble on his own this morning as well as last night. We think this is a GREAT sign! We continue to feed him through his stomach tube because the vet says we need to aggressively get food into him to reverse the hepatic lipadosis for the next 3 weeks.... keep those fingers crossed!

While watching Bitty attack her box this morning, I took some pictures of some of my favorite things in our kitchen....
Our fridge looks chaotic but I love all the little pieces of our life stuck all over it. Our fridge was bare growing up - never anything on it - so I don't know why or where I acquired this quirky habit, but I love having stuff all over our fridge.
There are magnets from places we've been, pictures of people we love, some cartoons that struck us in some way, postcards from people who travelled to far away places. I could tell a story about each thing stuck there....
We'll never have a fridge that magnets won't stick to!
Furry Husband and I were going to be married at the Maroon Bells in Aspen. We went to Aspen to check it all out and it didn't feel right to us.... just too.... rich. On our way through town I spotted a thrift store and I wanted to see what wealthy people in Aspen took to a thrift store. It was woefully bare, but I found this porcelain pig head missing an eye. What IS this? What is it's purpose? It is so strange, I must have it!
And then I began finding more of them??? I found some on Ebay, I found some at local thrift stores... a neighbor gave me the cow head. I found a chicken head and a duck head. I wonder what other animals they come in and what in the hell they are?! There are no identifying marks on them, no company label, no stickers, no imprint or etching- nothing. Other people bought them because I keep finding them for cheap, cheap, cheap. I've never seen one in any sort of retail store. The best guess I or any of my friends have is that they are kitchen towel holders. shrug.
Each time I find one, I bring it home. Furry Husband shakes his head and wonders what will I do with more and how many will I bring home? When will it be enough?
I don't have any answers for him.
I found this cast iron boar head at an antique sale... I thought it was so unusual. The thing weighs like 30 lbs. I don't know what it is either. Some sort of really old cake pan? Instead of Barney the Dinosaur, some lady back in the day made her child a boar's head birthday cake??

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

labels, labels and more labels!

I'm so excited! My color labels are done and ready to be picked up. However, everyone loves a story right? I added our story to the back of my lotion along with my contact info because of the Fair Labeling Act... gots to list your ingredients and a way for people to find you.

Furry Husband wasn't so keen at first listing our phone number, but I'm just not sure about the web provider and I may go in a different direction...so something might change and then we'd have all these labels with the wrong information. I know our phone number won't change, so that is what I ended up doing. Had to change our voice mail message to say Hello and you've reached Star's Hollow Farm vs. just Furry Husband and myself....

The labels look so great. The back story will be done by Friday and I'll wait til then to take pictures and show them off.



Monday, March 23, 2009

Horses...

I don't write about my horses that much. I'm gun shy. Well - not as much anymore, though I figure my audience isn't completely horse oriented so I try to ramble on about lots of other things too.

I was horse CRAZY growing up. Read all horse stories in my grade school library over and over and over. I drew horses, dreamed horses. Any time I could ride a horse I was head over heels with happiness. I lived in suburbia. No one I knew had horses or rode horses or even liked horses all that much. It was a very, very rare treat to be near horses, see horses or touch horses.

When I was 13, my Mom bought me a small horse for $250. This probably sent my Dad thru the roof since they were divorced and I constantly heard, "Your mother buys your love."

The pony was named Pal and he was a palomino paint. He was a GREAT first horse. Dad would grudgingly drive me out to this boarding facility 40 minutes away and leave me there for the day. I brought food I think and drank out of the hose and just hung out there all day.

No one taught me how to ride. I just did. It was enough to climb on and go! I learned how to saddle him and some basics from a group horse class with other kids Mom sent me thru when I went to visit her in the summer.

None of my friends understood why all I could talk about was this horse. They made fun of me for it in grade school and complained how boring I was because that was all I ever talked about....and it was this way until I went to college. I'd bring friends out to ride with me every once and awhile - it didn't always go so well. Horses are big and scary to other people - no one ever seemed to have as much fun as me. Quite the opposite in more than a couple cases!

I guarded my horse habit like a little jewel in my heart. Or maybe like gollum with his ring.... yessssss my precious!

By college, the habit of hiding my horse love was sorta ingrained. I would bring some college friends who were more horse oriented out to see or ride my gelding occasionally. (He's the gelding I still have who is now 30+ yrs old.) Mostly I listened to all their stories of pony club and all the horses they rode and how well they rode them.

Each person told me how I should be riding. Then they'd get up on my horse and ride him the way they thought he should be ridden and it wasn't always right.... but I wanted people to like me and I came from a home where you did NOT voice your opinion, you were NOT contrary and you simply did NOT EVER rock the boat. shrug.

I had a lot of fun sometimes, and sometimes I wished I hadn't brought anyone out to see my horse. I didn't know as much as a lot of my friends who'd been through pony club or who showed regularly or who had a bunch of instruction...

I'd done some hunter/jumper stuff and a teensy bit of cross country jumping. It was against the norm and I had a lot of older men who rode Western give me a hard time about riding English. I had a few lessons from this woman named Nancy who was from WV and studied under Danny Emerson. I'm not sure what she was doing in NE or how I found her? She didn't stick around that long and moved back East.

While she was around, I got along really well with her and my riding improved. She was of the school that you shouldn't use artificial means to make your horse be correct - it was you, the saddle and the bridle and you worked it out that way - no artificial training devices or severe bits or anything.

I went to a few local shows with Nancy. I did o.k. Got some ribbons, some compliments...

I broke my leg in a bad car accident just before going to a cross country event with Nancy so I never really did officially get to experience it. It was a Sunday when I broke my leg. The cross country event was the following weekend.

I was sitting in my hospital bed with oxygen tubes in my nostrils, a neck brace on and a cast from my left foot to the middle of my upper thigh trying to figure out just how to ride in my cast and maybe go anyway? See? Horse crazy!

I met a woman I'd heard was a good trainer when I came to college. She taught Dressage. I sort of knew was Dressage was ... the more I learned the more I really enjoyed it. It was increased communication between me and my horse and it worked naturally - no artificial training tools - increasing the natural ability of each particular horse. Never mind what type of horse you rode... you didn't need an expensive horse or a fancy horse. You worked with what you had.

It was always more of a private goal for me. I was competing against myself - it was me doing better and me trying to improve and me trying to learn. I wasn't about trying to best anyone else or be the best rider known or collecting blue ribbons... I was trying to be the best I could be for ME and for my horse.

I still feel that way. Dressage to me is a personal journey of discovery, joy and communication with these incredible animals that are big and powerful and could do me a whole lot o' harm. Yet they let me sit on their backs and they willingly (well, most times! ha!) do what I ask of them. It brings me joy. When I have a bad day, it soothes my soul. I don't know what I would do without horses. Even now, I worry about a day when I am too old to ride. What will I do when I'm in my 70s?!

I have two young horses now, both Thoroughbreds from the racetrack. I brought home my mare, Sera, when she was 3 in 2003. I brought home my young gelding, Rosso, a couple years ago when he was 4.

I've never had young horses that I had to re-train. Let alone more sensitive, hotter horses like Thoroughbreds. I'm unfamiliar with the things they throw out at you. Sera is now 9 and we will show 2nd level Dressage this summer. (Dressage has levels - training, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.... etc) I learned a ton from teaching her about her new job as a riding horse. I'm still learning!

Rosso is also learning his new job but he is way different than Sera. His reactions are different, he thinks differently. He's at the stage right now where he is testing me as his rider... seeing what he can get away with. Bullying me a bit. He is 6 - still young.

It's really scary to me! I'm still working with my trainer - not the original Dressage trainer I began with, but her daughter. She is helping me to recognize the naughtiness and how to correct it.

I know I'll get through it. I have to!

I got through it with Sera and I remember feeling this same exact scared feeling. It will give me such a sense of accomplishment to get Rosso through this ... tho' I'm not sure I want to bring home any more young horses. The mature 9-12 yr olds are looking pretty good to me now that I'm pushing 40 and fully realize I'm not at all bullet-proof!

I'll keep you posted...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Music

Oh - I forgot. Remember how I posted 'bout my love o' the banjo? Well, I ordered "The Crow" by Steve Martin and it is MOST excellent. While I was on Amazon.com looking for cheap, used CD's, I also bought this CD where Jack Black sings a bluegrass tune which totally kicks ass... but I've had a glass of wine or two so I can't remember the name of it right now...

Well, a while back there was this PBS special on John Denver. Furry Husband remembers LOVING John Denver as a young lad. I sorta remember liking him a lot too... I remember him on The Muppet Show. Gawd, I loved the muppets.
Anyway, we watched this PBS fund raiser all about John Denver. I remember in the 90's when I was going to Colorado Avalanche hockey games pretty regularly, there was this odd crowd pleaser thing that happened randomly. The "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" would blare while this guy did this crazy ass goofy exaggerated country/hick dance on the edge of the balcony. The crowd would go crazy for this guy.
And then I realized that I actually really LIKE that song! I know it's lame but I like it.
I found a 2 CD John Denver compilation that had "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" on it for around $4. I bought it and got it in the mail last night.... I kept asking Furry Husband if he wanted to listen to John Denver. He kept looking at me funny and saying No. No Thanks. That's o.k.

And I'm all - ??? what the heck? Didn't we watch that PBS John Denver thing and you talked all about how much you loved John Denver when you were a kid?

Welllllll - yeah. (he is in total and complete John Denver denial at this point - as if it never really happened - like we never really watched that PBS special and I am all about realizing your dork-dom and sort of revelling in it)


We went out to do chores and I needed to run back inside for something.... and then I opened up the house windows, cranked (and I mean CRANKED) the stereo up and played track 14 on disc one.

You guessed it.

Thank God I'm a Country Boy


I walked down our little gravel pathway with an exaggerated farmer hitch in my git'along. I grabbed Furry Husband and we did the funny little square dancin' ho down thing and I shouted out a yeee haaaaaa!

Heck - we LIVE in the damn country and we might as well admit our goofy, closet, music fetishes on a Friday night while milkin' goats and feedin' horses.


So while our John Denver music might horrify you.... we had a really good time last night listening to him and his geeee-tar. In fact, Furry Husband came to grips with his fetish and put it on again tonight.... oh - hang on - I think I hear track 14 startin up again... I gots to go ho down with my schweetie pa-teetie in the kitchen!

Lazy Saturday

We've been so busy lately and today our schedule was pretty wide open. Furry Husband harrowed the pastures to break up all the clumps of horse manure which helps the grass to grow more evenly and distributes whatever nutrients the horse poop brings...

I rode my mare, winter watered stuff, cleaned the bathroom and generally putzed around.

Here are the pictures of those suns I brought back from Mexico - Furry Husband promised that if I got them home, he'd hang them up. This is the side of our hay shed that faces the road and I think they look great! The horses are bored. They are locked in their pens and aren't allowed out on pasture because we live on only 5 acres and and the pasture grass needs time to regenerate and grow. It's beginning to grow and the horses would love nothing better than to eat everything down to nothing making our little place like the Oklahoma dust bowl.

Rosso (the super, annoying, baby brother) was pestering the other two horses to distraction so I threw the Jolly Ball out to him. Our dog, Bequia, borrowed it and before that, our buck goat, Mario, had it. I think we need some more Jolly Balls so EVERYONE on the farm can get their jollies...
After Rosso chewed it and pawed at it and carried it around, Sera wanted to investigate.... ( Sera has one white hind leg while Rosso, her 1/2 brother, has one white front leg. )

No way - that is MY Jolly Ball! Rosso promptly sent her away and resumed playing with it.


Hmph! - it's a dumb game and I don't want to play anyway. You bore me with your childish antics. Stupid baby brother.
My old, old man, Brandon. He was born in 1978... he is so shaggy because he has Cushing's Disease which causes the hair regulator in a horse to go haywire among other things.
He has arthritis and has a lot of sore days. We dose him with bute on the bad days (horse aspirin) but for the most part he still gets around o.k., nickers for his supper, bosses the youngsters and still has an overall interest in being around.
I've had him since I was 16. He's taught me a heck of a lot over the years... will be hard when it's time for him to go. I keep trying to "prepare" for that but I don't know if it's really possible.
He wears horse boots... the Cushings also causes sore feet. The boots help him out and keep him more comfortable. I can hear the goats screamin' for their supper... time for me to head out for chores!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Country sayings

When I moved to Ft. Collins to go to Colorado State University, I waited tables at this funny rancher/farmer restaurant called The Hauf Brau. I guess there is a chain or was a chain with the same name in Denver. This Hauf Brau was NOT remotely connected to ANY chain restaurant.


The clientele of this place were farmers and ranchers. At Christmas-time, the local Harley Hogs would rent the entire restaurant for their Christmas shenanigans. The more they drank the better the tips and we all wanted to work that Christmas gig.


The BIG, BIG deal there was the Friday night prime rib dinner. Oh! I just remembered they had fried frog legs on the menu! I wore a black skirt and a white shirt - and the shorter my skirt, the better my tips were.

I asked a guy in the attached bar once, "How are you tonight?" before taking his order. You know - the standard wait staff greeting.

He replied, "Finer than frogs hair."

I didn't react, I took his order and went back into the kitchen where I told the other two waitstaff... " I think that guy out there said I have frog hair!" I mean - my naturally curly hair has known to get wildly out of control and it earned me nicknames in high school but um ... hmmmm. I've never had anyone tell me I had FROG hair. What does that even mean??

Someone explained it's an expression for people who feel FINE with a capital F! Frog hair (if they really did have hair) is so fine you can't even SEE it with the naked eye. So to be finer than frogs hair... well. You are pret-ty damn fine. A few weeks later someone responded to my polite "How are you tonight?" with, "I'm finer than frogs hair parted FOUR ways!"

Allrighty then!

Much, much later I worked at that feed mill where I learned some other funny sayings:

That dog'll hunt. Translation: That will work

That dog's not gonna hunt. Translation: That won't work


I'm so hungry I could eat the festered ass of a menstruating skunk! Nice huh? Somehow I don't think you need a translation for that one...


It's rainin' harder out there than a cow pissin' on a flat rock! Here's a 'nother one that doesn't need no translatin'


It's darker than the inside of a black cow at night out there! Translation: It is dark outside


Dumber than a bucket of hair. Now that is really dumb.

I'm Damn skippy! or That is damn skippy! Translation: I'm happy! That is a good thing.


And if you watch any old black and white movies? They have hilarious sayings... we watched one the other day and the lead actor said with a very serious and perfectly straight face to his leading lady:

"That's five day old fish and I'm not buyin' it"

Do you have any bizarre, quirky, fun, odd sayings in your repertoire? Let's hear 'em!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mexico

HA! I made it back with all THREE suns in one piece. You have to keep reading to understand the significance of this modern day marvel. Ummm. I went to all girls Catholic school and I don't think we loved Jesus THIS much.

Lunch after wine tasting.



The last winery we tasted at. GREAT olive bread and cheeses laid out for us.


I think these corks halved and glue gunned? to the wall are cool. I am so going to incorporate this into our house somewhere.


One winery we sorta got mixed in with the blue hair tour. This must be the Mexican version of a riddling rack?



The original grape stompin' footwear. Are you gellin'?


I made a couple smiley faces in the dust...



When I saw this poor, old dog I said to Furry Husband, Oh, sweetie! Look at that poor old dog with saggy boobies! The Dr. of the couple we were with (Dr. and D) quickly replied, "If you refer to my wife that way again, I refuse to ride in the same car with you!" See? Told you they were fun to hang with!

Our first Mexican winery. D, Dr, La Jefa, Me, El Jefe Me, Furry Husband, La Jefa, El Jefe

A cool dog... he was colored just like MY first dog ever who was half Bloodhound and half Australian Shepherd. I had to have some puppy love.

Ahhh - vines and vinyards.


Blue skies and orange trees.


Bonito!



Ensenada.


I kept looking for Lyle Lovett. After all - we were ON the road .... to Ensenada.


Funny.


We didn't see him anywhere.



The huge ass sea lion.


Surfers! El Jefe (Furry Husband's buddy) is the one on the left.


This bird appears in my NIGHTMARES. Big time Stephen King moment here. Just look at that stub of a leg. Furry Husband says to me, "Wow. I bet that one leg is really strong." I found this bird completely disturbing... and it would scratch it's head with that weird missing foot of a leg. Ewww. Do you see how it's giving me the stink eye. This bird wants to eat my kidneys.



This seems to be the logo for the main liquor store in Mexico - fat guy carrying his belly in a wheelbarrow. Nice. Makes me long for another six-pack.


We followed Jefe in another car cuz he needed to drop his off at the mechanic. This guy was working on a car and it made us laugh.


I liked the tidal pools!

Everything was GREEN! I loved it. CO is so dry and brown and drought ridden.... Birds of Paradise everywhere.


The beach and coast line where we stayed for a week. That doesn't suck does it?


More cool tidal pool stuff. It was just like the Discovery Channel.


Furry Husband with his frisbee... we didn't know our beach would be so rocky. No frisbee - we woulda broken ankles for sure - snap, crackle, pop! The tide pools were awesome tho!




Our stop at the Mexican grocery store... El Jefe is looking at me indulgently with all my bread and pastries. Mexican pastries pale in comparison to American pastry so compared to French pastry... you don't even want to go there. But I was hungry and I stocked up on Mexican pastry. Tho' in reality most of it ended up in the trash by weeks end. Tsk tsk.


Furry Husband's buddy, El Jefe, has a 6 yr old daughter - isn't she cute?!


Our first stop at the border.... I think the guy in black is another Federal employee... CBP maybe?


We had a great time in Mexico! The press is sorta having a field day with the drug wars etc. but it is NO WHERE near the tourist areas. I think it's a case of wag the dog...


We went whale watching and there were Grey Whales everywhere! I read some brochure about how they would be curious about the boat and come up to it - let people touch them - open their mouths like Shamu and let you scratch their tongue. Seriously, this was in the brochure!



Shame on me because I 1/2 way believed it. And let me tell you - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably IS too good to be true. They are like any wild animal - you spot them and you can get within some type of range before they move away... just like a squirrel in your yard.



BUT it was extremely cool to see them out in the ocean in their environment. This short clip doesn't really do it justice at all. You can see some spray - we saw backs slicing through the water and we saw tails. The ocean was pretty choppy that day making it more difficult to see.

video

On the way back in, the guys manning the boat put lines out to catch fish. They caught 4 Bonito. I've actually had Bonito as sushi - EXCELLENT fish if you like it raw! Anyway - interesting to see the whole fish vs. a little piece of it served on sticky rice.

When we docked, there was this HUGE sea lion. That thing had to be 800 lbs... sitting on the next dock sunning itself.

Furry Husband and I went over to take a look... not every day we get to see a sea lion. We are in a dry, drought stricken, land locked state. As we headed back to land, the man from our boat is cleaning the Bonito. He offers me the bloody fish head and entrails to throw to the sea lion....
A very nice offer... but um. No. I don't want to hold a bloody fish head in order to feed a wild 800 lb sea lion. Really. Thanks but um. yeah. No. Thank-you very much.


I mean the guy had blood dripping down his hands....


I'm a farm girl who won't hesitate to dive into a goat vagina to fish out babies... but somehow on vacation, it's nice to stay clean and free from the blood and gore.


We visited wine country one day - really beautiful, picturesque countryside. The wine was suprisingly good and we had a wonderful, wonderful day. Another couple, D and the Dr. were part of our wine country day and they were super fun. Everyone was down to earth, friendly and interesting.

I had to bring home some decorative suns. We stopped on the way to the airport to get ONE. I ended up getting THREE. I know Furry Husband is seriously questioning my simple math skills. He shook his head - "how are you going to get those on the plane?!"
Simple honey. I'll just tie all the sun spokes together and it'll be like it's only one!
He looked at me skeptically shaking his head. He's lived with me long enough he knows when it's a lost cause to argue.


We arrived at the airport in San Diego and I carried all THREE suns to the check in counter. The ticket agent gave me a roll of packing tape and left me to it. Thirty minutes later, I felt my suns were adequately secured together and I checked them. Furry Husband had to walk away and watch me from a 10 foot distance because I am so insane and stubborn and I was gonna get those suns on the plane if it killed me. He didn't want anyone to know he was associated with the crazy sun toting woman.



THEY MADE IT WITHOUT A SCRATCH ON THEM! HA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (manical laughter)