Friday, May 29, 2009


I went out to see The Cowboy last night. He has my young Thoroughbred gelding, Rosso, for some training. Rosso had me pretty buffaloed so I put him in the hands of someone more experienced with the equine brain.... The Cowboy.

The Cowboy took Rosso up to the mountains over the Memorial Day weekend. He said Rosso did great - he climbed up rocks with him, dropped him down a 4-5' straight drop off into a boggy creek that was 15 feet wide and Rosso went through all of it like it was nuthin'.

I went up last night to ride my horse while The Cowboy watched and offered advice.

IT WAS AMAZING! We started off in the arena and The Cowboy showed me how to "knock his ass end out from under him" otherwise known as disengaging the hip I think. The Cowboy has his own unique language however, and that makes me laugh. He's good people.

I was to knock his ass out from under him anytime Rosso was being naughty or getting too fizzy. The Cowboy uses the term "fizzy" when Rosso gets worked up. I like that term - it is mentally so much less intimidating than spooky or hot.

I have a tendency to tense up a little and want to put the brakes on Rosso when he's being "fizzy". Mentally tho', the fizzy terminology helps me because if I think about a bottle of soda that is all shook up and fizzy - if I try to bottle it up - I am only going to have an explosion and mess on my hands. It reminds me to let Rosso move out and go forward - and I did and he was GREAT!

The Cowboy asked if I wanted to go out on a short trail ride... I was sorta nervous but THIS is why I'm here - to learn and do.
Off we went.
Rosso was good... he got a bit fizzy and I knocked his ass out - he went along fine and wasn't quite so fizzy. Another time he got a bit fizzy I moved him forward vs. knocking his ass end out - we did some big trot and canter circles out in the middle of nowhere... he was GREAT! Never out of control, always in my hands and not doing anything scary or bad.
The Cowboy was shouting and taunting me while I did this -- "He's one scary bastard ain't he? You better watch out, he's a big mean horse!"
It helped Rosso to relax when I let him out and work, and when I asked him to stop or walk he was relaxed and happy to do so.

The Cowboy reminded me to relax a few times and I know I need to remember that - but I didn't clutch on or grab or anything - to *ahem* quote The Cowboy "like a monkey fucking a football" - the tenseness was more in my shoulders and low back. On the way home, The Cowboy looked back at me from the horse he was riding and told me he didn't know why I was paying him to ride Rosso. He said I had good hands and a nice seat and there was nothing that I couldn't handle about Rosso. I was beaming!

After my ride, I went up to see my regular trainer, Rexanne. She couldn't take Rosso because she is up to her eyeballs in training horses right now but I wanted to tell her about my ride.
She was happy for me even if she rolled her eyes a little and gave me an "I told you so" because she told me I'd be able to handle Rosso just fine. It's o.k. a boost to my confidence and a bit o' help was needed. I'm glad I took my big, red-headed baby to The Cowboy and I'm glad he's coming home.

I'm gonna pick Rosso up Saturday morning. The Cowboy is going to have one last ride on him down OUR road to my trainer's barn Saturday morning immediately after I bring Rosso home. (It's 2 miles away. ) He's going to show me Rosso is fine on the road and he'll ride him past the llama farm to show me Rosso really IS fine.

I felt a bit like a yeller dog agreeing to have him do that one last thing... but heck. We are paying him and it will give me peace of mind and that leeetle bit of more confidence. He's the one who offered when he saw my hesitation about riding Rosso up the road.

I'm laughing at myself. Gawd. When did I become such a big damn chicken anyway??? BAWK BAWK

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Push away that gloom!

Boy oh boy does that sun help me stay cheerful! I had a nice, big, healthy dose of sun yesterday. Whew.

My hardy water lilies from Lilypons Water Gardens arrived last night! I am a complete cheapskate... the water lilies at the local pond store are $27. I found my lilies for $14 online.

They arrive bare root and it's up to you to pot them. Fill a 7.5 qt pot 3/4 full with heavy clay soil, tamp it down good, place the lily root, more soil, pack it down and cover with pea gravel to keep the soil from coming out of the pot.
Only with me, nothing is ever really simple.
I haven't told you but I have this thing with earthworms. I don't know WHERE this comes from. When I lived in the city - heck - even now, if I was or am out walking after a rainstorm, I would and still do - pick up the worms on the sidewalk and toss them back into the grass.

I was out with my dog in Denver, a long time ago, when I lived there as a single girl. My good, old dog was happily snorffling around in the grass... and I was crouched over the sidewalk saving worms. I had super short hair at the time and all of a sudden I hear this little kid yelling, "MISTER! HEY MISTER! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"

Gawd. I got caught saving the earthworms! I stood up, completely embarrassed, called my dog and promptly walked in a most business-like and adult manner (avoiding stepping on any worms of course) back home.

I asked Furry Husband to help me pot the lilies. I guess I was thinking of using his manly strength to place the heavy dirt and gravel filled pots into the water. I had my little hand trowel and I'd happily scoop up some dirt, look for worms, pick out any I found and place the worm free dirt into my lily pot.

Here comes Furry Husband. All man and testosterone. He's got his shovel. Why is she messing around with that tiny hand trowel? he thinks.
He promptly digs up a big ol' shovel full o' dirt and dumps it in the pot. There! THAT is how you fill a pot! he thinks proudly.
I see a bunch of worms in the dirt. "NOOOOOO ---- honey! We need to save the worms before we plant the lilies!"

Furry Husband stops and watches in disbelief while I sift through the soil pulling out earthworm after earthworm.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


What is that bright light in the sky? It's blinding my eyes! What is it called again?

Ohhhh yeah.... I think I remember now. THE SUN!

Forget how gloomy things are when I haven't seen the sun in so long. Didn't help that I went to see my Pop over the holiday weekend. It was raining and there is never a good time to go see him so I might as well go and get it done.

I was pulled over by the law in NE for going 15 mph over... sigh. When the copper asked what my rush was, I told him I had a Dad in a nursing home and I was trying to get it over with as fast as possible. He was a nice officer and let me go with a gruff warning. I slowed down. Figured I received a gift from the state o' Nebraska. Thank-you Nebraska!

Dad has declined. I've talked to the nurses about it and I knew what to expect but it's a whole different thing to witness it first hand. I know he chose to be an asshole most of his life. He never could control his anger or the violence. I don't agree with how he decided to live his life...

But the thing is, he is still my Dad.

Part of me thinks I shouldn't get so emotional because of who he was... and I know there are people who think I shouldn't care so much because of the things he did...

And yet, it's hard because I DO still care and I still get emotional up in the head watching him wither away.

To me, it's like he's King Kong... no one and I mean NO ONE messed with my Dad when he was in his prime. He was one mean muther and he would mess you up. Now he is shackled and going down... he is the mighty Kong lying in the streets waiting to die. The Parkinson's has brought him to his knees. Nothing to do but watch.

He has a hard time speaking at all now. A word here or there. Sometimes an entire sentence will come out. He is sleeping much more and eating much less - preparing to leave this world - in my completely un-medical opinion. It will be a blessing for him when he does. When I arrived he was catatonic... slumped in his chair staring at nothing. When I left he kept trying to get me to stay and when I walked out the door he was standing in the hall in his walker staring after me.

I don't have anything to compare that feeling to. It sure sucks ass tho'.

Oprah had a good article in her May 2009 magazine called "The Good Old Times" about caring for aging parents.... The author says to try and find some humor and I'm trying to get back in touch with my sick sense o' warped humor about this. I am. Might take me a minute tho'...

The sunshine today is helping. Helping immensely in fact....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rain and more rain...

It rained ALL weekend long. We need the moisture but ... why does it happen EVERY WEEKEND?

I know I was completely geeked to plant my grass seed but the directions say it likes warm nights of close to 60 degrees and this week we were to have some 40 degree nights so we held off for a week. I'd hate to waste $100 worth of grass seed because I am too impatient.... sigh. I will plant it this weekend.

I took Kylee ( my little sister from the big sister/little sister program ) to this Lyric Cafe Saturday morning. They show old cartoons on Saturdays for free with a $5 cereal bar. The sad thing is that the "old" cartoons were the Warner Bros. cartoons I watched all through my childhood.

Not only did I come out of that experience feeling like I am a frigging relic, it was sorta lame. It's a cafe... cafes have coffee. Not this one. Their espresso machine broke so I was without my caffeine and not very happy about it either. Kylee wanted something called "bubble tea". They were cooking it and it would be ready in 30 minutes. When we came out to see if it was ready, they said not yet and it'd be another HOUR.

Well, it sounded disgusting anyway - the cafe guy told me it just wouldn't congeal. Last time I drank something congealed it was called a cement mixer - Baileys and some other liquor poured in to make it curdle. Oh, those were the days.

Kylee and I left, walked to The Bean Cycle where I got my coffee and she had a strawberry/kiwi Italian soda which put us both in a much better mood. Her on her sugar rush and me with my caffiene buzz.

We window-shopped in Old Town for a while and drove to the pond store for pond liner. The guy there was great because he noticed Kylee really liked the fish. He took us in the back where the REALLY big koi fish are kept. And since I don't have children, and I only have Kylee for a few hours each week, I always wonder if the guys who like her just plain like kids or if they are pedophiles. And I feel really bad for those poor guys cuz I know I'm looking at them like they just might be pervs when they are probably really nice, normal guys.

Anyway, the koi were HUGE and Kylee liked them so even if the guy was a perv, he was a nice one.

The store also has this big tortise named Fred. He took us over to where Fred was hanging out and we said hello to him too. He was big - mebbe the size of a decorative throw pillow and probably weighed 50 lbs? Kylee thought those things were pretty cool.

After I took Kylee home, Furry Husband helped me line the pond. It is 4' by 3' and about 1.5' deep. Small but pretty. We found a tiger salamander that we think was hiding in the pond liner from the pond store. They are also called water dogs... we named him Randy. Yes, American Idol Randy, since he likes to say, "dawg" all the time and this was a water dog.

We put him in our pond and I made a hidey house for him. He could get out of the pond on his own and I was going to get him some guppies for dinner (the internet recommended pinky mice but I just can NOT do that - you know what pinky mice are don't you? Teensy little newborn mice with their eyes closed and no fur and they are usually alive.) I don't mind feeding guppies but a brand new pink newborn - even if it is a mouse.. nope. Can't do it. Even with the promise of guppies, I don't think Randy stuck around.

I ran around calling him... Raaaaaanndyyyyyyy c'mere boy! C'mon Randy - whose a good little water dog? You are! That's right - c'mon Randy - Raaaaaannnnddddyyy!

He never did show up.

Our pond is muddy with brown water from the deluge of rain we received yesterday. sigh. The water will clear once the mud settles and the mud won't be a problem once I get stuff planted... so much for my instant gratification! It was pretty for a day and now I have a brown water feature that may or may not have a water dog named Randy swimming around in there.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The mission should you choose to accept....

Turn this into something you'd want to look at.

2000 square feet I'm trying to turn into a native grass area... and this is only 1/3 of our "yard". The other 2/3 will be left until next year and the year after that. I'm trying to learn not to bite off more than I can chew.

I left whatever grass was growing and killed the kocia and bind weed. (I hope) The whiskey barrel to the right of that overturned stock tank is my "water feature".

The overturned stock tank was gonna become part of the "water feature" but we dug the hole to sink it in a bit deeper and decided to make it a little bigger. Once I line it with pond liner and place brick around it for definition, it will become bee-yooo-ti-ful. (in theory)

The square area is... well... we don't really know what it is. When we moved in, there was this 12' by 12' square outlined in concrete. We think it was a foundation for a garage but no one got around to it?

My plan is to fence it, put a cute old-timey gate on it with a little free form brick path leading to a free form brick patio for seating. And I'll put the wine bottle border all around the inside. Someone asked me if I'm scared they'll break? Not if you don't fall on them. Geez. Duh!

I'd like to have an old timey 2 seater metal glider bench or two. The rest will be planted with purty plants you'd want to gaze at while chatting with friends and having a beer or glass o' wine.My water hyacinths in my whiskey barrel...The hole where the pond liner and other water plants will go...We do have SOME green things other than bind weed. I bought 8 honeysuckle plants in the fall last year. They were on the side of the nursery where things go to die... they were on clearance and the tag said they were extremely hardy and fast growing. I picked them up for $5 each. We winter watered them and crossed our fingers. All 8 survived! Here is one below...And what day is complete without a little goatie love? Hello! Lookee how BIG we are now!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The little things get me so excited...

I'm going to plant my grass seed tonight!
I have tingles of excitement up and down my spine because there is possibility and hope that I, Shanster, in Waverly CO, could have native prairie grass! I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope... ad nauseum.

This is the blue grama seed when it is a bad soil loving, low growing, xeriscape grass best germinated from seed. I first saw a mass planting of it at the Denver Botanic Gardens when I was there taking notes about xeriscape plants. It was love at first sight.

Once it's established, I will sow in some native, xeriscape wildflower seeds to create something I hope looks like this!

Or this:

Oh do keep your fingers, eyes, toes, legs and arms crossed for me and the visions of native grasses and wild flowers dancing in my head....

It's supposed to be wet and rainy this weekend. I will plant seed tonight in an effort to take advantage of the natural moisture all weekend. The seed should germinate in 7-10 days and it can be re-seeded throughout the summer because it is a heat loving grass....

Please. PUH-LEEASE.... little, tiny, baby, bobble headed Jesus up in heaven, let me have my native grass yard so's I don't have to knock out a front tooth and learn to play the banjo while I stand in the dirt with cut off jean shorts tellin' people, "my you got a purty mouth... squeal like a pig..."