Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter is here

We've had a very dry and mild winter so far.

Not today.

It's 1 with wind gusts of 38 mph and a wind chill of -22.

We left the dogs inside when we went out to do chores... no sense in them being absolutley miserable along with us.

Poor goats and horses! They all have extra hay to eat and generate heat... the goats houses are bedded with straw but... dang. Everyone still looks damn cold and miserable.

Wishing for the wind to stop soon.

Oh. And lucky me... I'm cleaning the barn today! 10 stalls and an outside paddock. May not be my best work today.... I'm jus' sayin'.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Look what Santa brought Furry Husband...

He's been dying for a young dog/puppy of his own since I brought Toe home... welcome Keenan to our little ever increasing hairy household!
She is 10 weeks old, roughly 22 lbs... Toe adores her and plays with her constantly much to the relief of our older dogs.
She's half Akbash and half Australian Shepherd. We met Clyde, grandpa to the little boys who own the Akbash, at the feed store party. (And this is maybe why we haven't been to any other feedstore parties....we end up with more animals!)
The neighbor's Aussie jumped the fence and hence the Akbash/Aussie mix. There were 3 puppies left.... Clyde told us if we were smart, we'd take the little yellow one. She was the best of the bunch.
Furry Husband worked all day Christmas Eve but someone else had the day off.
While he was working, I went to have a look at the puppies.
The other 2 had long hair... "perfect!" I thought. I won't have to make any decisions because I know Furry Husband is grooming averse. I told the 8 yr old boy in charge of the puppies that I would take the little yellow one. (little being relative)
By that time the little boy's mom came out to meet me and we were chatting.... when she sees that I've picked the little yellow pup, she says to her son, "Uh-oh. You know your Dad wanted to keep this one... go in the house and call him to make sure he's o.k. with this"
The little boy comes out of the house downtrodden, kicking the dirt with the toe of his shoe... "I guess he wants to keep her." he mumbles, barely audible.
Oh. O.k. then. Well, lets look at the other two puppies...
Just then Dad pulls in the drive... he walks over and I say to him, "So you stole a puppy right out from under me!"
He hems and haws... says they haven't talked about it as a family. I say, it's fine. If they need to talk, they can go in the house and talk and I'll wait out here. It's not a deal breaker if the yellow pup isn't available, I will take one of the other ones.
They all go in the house.
I'm acquainting myself with the other puppies and I have a second choice picked out.
The little boy comes out of the house and announces to me, "If you want her, you can have the little yellow one."
Turns out the little boys take ropin' lessons from Rex's brother who lives right around the corner from me. I told the sad little boys that when they came for roping lessons, Justin could tell them where we live and they are welcome to come visit her any time.
And THAT is how Santa brought Furry Husband a puppy on Christmas. (can you say, sucker?)
Furry Husband is over the moon happy to have his very own puppy and Toe finally has someone to play with....

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone feels peace, love and joy this holiday! All the best to you and yours...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I gave my word.

I stopped at the feed store yesterday to pick up a couple bags o' horse chow.

The feed store fella Ben, says, "Do you want to know about a party you won't come to?"

I say - where and when?

About this time the feed store owner says, "Awww, they won't come"

I say - I promise we will come. I give my word. (uh-oh. my word? what does that mean exactly? what am I getting us into here?)

They say the party is tomorrow - which is tonight after work. I flava-flaved some goat cheese with sriracha and green chilies... I'll pick up a bag o' corn chips at the store on my way over ... Furry Husband will bring the cheese and we'll meet up at the feed store.

Our feed store is always having parties and we happen to have plans or something happens where we can't come every single time they have a party. Every single time. They think we are party averse.

Oh-ho. They are sorely mistaken.

We'll show them. We'll show up with goat cheese and chips... and we'll hang at the feed store with the fellas and the hundred baby chicks for sale, and the feed store cat and all the fella's feed store dogs - there's gotta be at least 23 dogs at the feed store at any given time.

The year 2010 will be THE year we started attending feed store parties.

It can only go downhill from here....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice!

LOVE me that winter solstice! Today will be short but every day after will get a little bit longer and a little bit brighter....

and look - Santa loves goats! The only thing this has to do with winter solstice is that this pix was on Wikipedia under winter solstice. Romans celebrated it on their Julian calendar December 25, at Christmas. Hence Santa riding a goat....
Goatie love ringing in the holiday and winter solstice.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Christmas week!

Hope all of you are enjoying the holiday hustle and bustle, no matter which holiday you celebrate! I particularly love all the Christmas lights... just love them. They help fight off all that darkness!

I offered some goat poop to my girlfriend to put in her yard as evidence of Santa's reindeer. She politely declined.

We decided I could spray paint it with some sort of glitter sealant, package it up and sell it on EBay as Santa's reindeer poop.

Why glitter?

Oh, everyone knows that Santa's reindeer poop rainbows and glitter... don't they?

I read somewhere about someone who spray painted their goat poo metallic colors and strung it with thread like popcorn garland for their tree... hmmmm.

Maybe next year I'll experiment with goat poop and how to incorporate it into the holidays.... do you think it'll catch on?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sera vs. Rosso

I think it's hard to have two horses. I've always owned one. Learned that one horse and that horse's abilities and quirks. Currently I'm riding both Sera and Rosso each weekend with Rex.

It's really interesting to see how they differ.

I am perfectly comfortable on Sera - even if she's a bit of a bitter fish at times. We were working on flying changes earlier in the year. Last Sunday we were in the middle of a 3 loop serpentine at canter for the counter-canter. During the middle loop her little ears went back, she wrinkled a nostril and she leaped in the air kicking out with both back legs.

Flying change.

Not a pretty one tho' it was clean I am told. I don't have much feel for this yet either. We aren't at the part of "learning a flying change" where it's pretty yet. Not even close.

I wasn't expecting it.

It was this big, sort of ugly, surprising movement... I laughed a bit and on we went not skipping a beat. It didn't unsettle me or unseat me. Not one little bit.

She is high headed and short backed. Partly the way she's built. She holds in her back notoriously. She can never be deep enough. When she gets tense - at a show or when learning new things - up goes her neck and her back locks against me.

When I think she is deep and long in her neck, and I feel happy because I've gotten her stretching down so much? We go past a mirror. Uh. Right. She really isn't all that deep - nothing to be proud of so much. Makes me laugh at myself. Especially compared to other horses who seem to root in the arena sand with their noses.

She is a hard nut to crack from front to back but she really, really likes her lateral work. When she gets tired, she rushes, gets on the forehand and tries to anticipate what I want. I have to half halt to slow her down, get her attention back on me and what I'm asking.

Then I ride Rosso.

And while my confidence is returning... I am very aware of paying attention to his body language. His ears. If they shoot forward and focus on one thing and his head begins to come up... I better get his attention back on me pronto.

I don't think he'd really do much in Rex's indoor arena and he's never had a big, violent outburst with a rider. My issue is in my head. I know this.

I don't fully trust him. Not yet anyway. I think we are on the right road to having a good relationship but... it's not there yet. Lots more work ahead of us. Ahead of me, that is, in my funny, wee, little brain.

He is tall and leggy with a long back. He carries himself very low... hello... where ARE his ears? He doesn't curl up and disappear; I can still feel him in the reins but he is one of the sort of horses that would like to root around in the sand with his upper lip. Very opposite of Sera and what I'm used to from riding her. Can be a bit unsettling to me.

His back is very loose and relaxed. He is long and limber with lots of movement. He is easy to balance from front to back - not so much in the lateral movement. When Rosso gets tired he offers to stop. All of a sudden there just isn't much forward anymore. He half stops and I push, push, push him to go on as he is slowly fading away.

Go figure.
They are complete opposites.

Hopefully these differences, recognizing them and riding them will make me a better rider and horse person.

Hope I figure it out.

Or one of these days, I'll be living in a van down by the river.....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Song in your heart?

You ever wake up with a song playing over and over in your head? Like the instant your eyes open there is this song in your head in a loop.... you aren't even fully conscious yet and here is this song playing, clear as day, in your brain.

Today I woke up with that 70's? 80's? song... "Domo arrigato Mr. Robot-O"

What the hell is that?

I don't know any more of the song other than that stupid phrase. I don't know who sings it. I never liked it. I never bought it. Never encouraged anyone around me to listen to it and yet....

Today. December 16, 2010. 9 days away from Christmas. In my 40th year of life. This is the song stuck in my head when my little sleepy eyes cracked open.

Where did it come from? Why is that taking up any space in my brain. C'mon - I need all the brain cells I can spare. I don't need to waste them on a file like that.

Two weeks ago I woke up with Whitney Houston in my head. A song from before she got all whacked out and drugged up with Bobby Brown. Talk about a bad influence. Don't get near that Bobby Brown. He'll mess you up.

"I believe that children are our future... teach them well and let them guide the way... show them all the beauty they posses insiiiiiide..... "

Seriously. Did I ever own Whitney Huston albums? No. My little sister liked her. Did I? No. Did I wanna dance with somebody? No.


You and I need to have a talk.

No more.

I don't know what you are up to while I'm sleeping. Don't know what sort of parties you go to. Don't care. No more of this crappy 70 and 80's music. C'mon. I mean it. Quit with the bad music.

Quit bringing it home with you.


I'm serious.

Are you listening to me?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Goat Ultrasound Party.

The above is what Furry Husband and I did Saturday night.

We are pretty weird. (I didn't really need to tell you that did I?)

We went to the Larson's house... they were ultra sounding their does. We coulda brought our does too but since we aren't breeding them this year, it would have been even weirder if we brought them.

We watched a goat being ultra sounded.... the vet couldn't see anything indicating pregnancy.

She stopped, walked over to a cupboard and pulled out this soft case that looked like a shotgun cover.

Furry Husband said, "Wow. You guys are hard core. She's not pregnant so now you're gonna shoot her?"



The soft shotgun case held a long thin ultrasound attachment. It was lubed up and promptly inserted into said doe's rectum.

Guess it gives a clearer pix than the ultrasound roller whatjamacallit on the outside of the goat's belly.

Turns out the doe WAS pregnant after all. Cigars all around.

I became so absorbed in trying to read ultrasound screens that I didn't notice Furry Husband slipped out with Mr. Larson to go in the house, out of the cold and product test the hot chili bubbling on the stove and the frosted Christmas cookies...

Does that make me a bad wife? I didn't even notice he was gone! I was too absorbed with goats. Am I a bad person?

The rest of the does were ultra sounded and I can say with absolute confidence, I can identify a goat bladder full of pee on ultrasound.

Uterus? Nope. Can't see it.

Placenta? No.

Baby goat-lets? Right. No. I can't i.d. them either.

I can tell if a goat has to pee tho'.

And I think that could save some one's pants or shoes from splash back.

So yeah. I think a full goat bladder is pretty important.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sugared Nuts

I'm making these tonight for my Mom-in-Law's Christmas care package...they are so easy and so tasty! Wanted to share them with you. Watch out tho... you leave them around your house and you WILL eat them.

1 lb unsalted nuts - (walnut, pecan, almond halves and or pieces - whatever blows your skirt up)
1 Tbl water
1 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (more or less to taste - flexible)
1 egg white
1 small capful of vanilla extract or orange extract or cointreau (optional)

Preheat oven to 250

Whip egg white til frothy - not stiff

Add water and flavor, mix gently

Coat nuts with the egg white mix until all nuts are shiny

In a separate bowl mix cinnamon, sugar and salt together. Fold it into the wet nuts until all are well coated.

Coat a baking sheet with butter, spread nuts evenly in a single layer.

Bake for 15 minutes. Take them out of the oven, turn them with a spatula, put 'em back in and continue cooking for 45 more minutes. (recipe is very forgiving if you go a few minutes over)

Cool on wax or parchment paper

They freeze well and it's very easy to double the recipe. Yum, yum and yum.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What's on top of a house?

and our dogs say, "ROOF! ROOF!"

Before. Sad. T-lock shingles. (see the dogs? 1, 2 and 3!)
Roof felt.

Voila! Little copper colored roof!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mr. Burns

I'm taking these pretty dry on-line courses at work.

They are interspersed with random test questions to make sure you grasp a concept. When you answer it correctly - the word Excellent. complete with a period at the end appears in small, newsprint font on the bottom left hand corner of the window.

Every time it appears I hear Mr. Burns, in my mind, saying "Excellent"....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Exciting news!

Well - exciting to Furry Husband and I anyway. Probably NOT so exciting for anyone else.

We get a new roof today!

For once, having aged, out-dated, old, dilapidated stuff worked in our favor! Long story short, we have t-lock shingles on our roof - they don't make t-lock shingles anymore and our roof needs to be replaced so insurance will cover it!

Of course I tend to have champagne taste on a tap-water budget... I wanted a metal roof. Furry Husband was in charge of getting quotes and talking to contractors. He found a friend of a friend who gave us a "friend of a friend quote" for a metal roof. We'll still have to pay around $1,000 out of pocket, but because metal roofs are green and environmentally friendly, we'll get a tax credit and still come out about $100 ahead.

YAHOO! We found a way to get that metal roof!

They just arrived at our house and when I get home... we'll have a new, metal roof.

Is that exciting or what?


I bet our dogs and cats livin' inside aren't going to enjoy the process..... Hang in there guys, it's only for today!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Angry Chicken

We took our holiday Christmas picture Saturday morning. We used our white chicken "Salt" cuz we thought she'd show up the best. She was SCREAMING the entire time. Ear shattering, can't hear yourself think, full-on hysterical chicken screaming.

She was a very angry chicken. This is an angry chicken and an out of focus angry chicken that for some reason makes me laugh...
And then our picture taker, Panzee, decides to take one of me looking like this. I think I'm dreaming of sugar plums in betwixt all the chicken screaming. Maybe my eardrums ruptured and are bleeding. I don't really know....
Then our picture taker, the funny and sardonic Panzee took this picture of Sammy looking ... well, frankly looking like he's pleading with someone to save him from this debacle. Can you see the plea in his eyes?

Until finally we have our Christmas picture! (we cropped out the hay pallets for our card, but you guys can have the full on country effect...)
Toe is WAY focused on the screaming chicken.... he'd like to make that chicken stop screaming in his special bird-dog way.
Brandon, the horse, is 33 this year... and you can almost see him thinking "Oh the humanity.... I live 33 yrs on this Earth for ... ?"
Our little cattle dog... - wait - ... dachshund mix (from dna cheek swab results - hiliarious) is 12 this year. How can she be 12? We adopted her when we got back from our honeymoon and we've loved her ever since... do they have to get old?
Our doe, Spot, has her 3 coats on... a blue long sleeve fleece, a grey fleece vest and finally a lovely red ensemble. The cold bothers her much more than any of our other goats. I looked into mini horse coats or goat coats.... it's cheaper to stop by the thrift store and outfit her with some lovely fleecewear. (she wears a women's XL if anyone is wondering)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fuzz-butt, dirty, little, stump wagger

I took Toe to his second Rally class last Friday.

He wasn't as excited this time and thought, "ohhhhh - new place! I think I'm going to sniff over here... and wow this is a good spot to investigate .... and oh, look! what's that over there? What? Whozzat? Who's there? Is that my owner talking to me?"

I got lost on course once the first time through. Mildly. I remembered my name and where I was. I didn't have to look at the information tag pinned to my shirt should I go wandering off....

Furry Husband came to watch.

He wanted to see what this Rally bid'ness was about and figured it'd be a bonus to see me turning circles looking for the next number. He's supportive like that and of course, anything I can do to keep him entertained....

After my turn, the other dogs were going through the course - Golden Retrievers, Cavalier Spaniels, German Shepherd, Boxer, a couple of very pretty mix breed dogs...

I leaned over and whispered to Furry Husband, "Honey, snookums, sweetie-pie? (that's how we talk to each other... really....) Look at all the dogs... Toe is the dirtiest, scruffiest dog here!"

Furry leaned over and looked down the line of dogs waiting their turn. He looked at Toe, raised his eyebrows and started laughing.

Toe lives on our little farm-ette, he runs around outside, he comes to the barn with me to help clean stalls or hang out while I ride. He rolls around in the oiled sand arena....wrassles with the barn dogs, eats choice horse turds...

I try to groom him once a month since the hair is always growing, growing, growing and the dirt piles on in layers, layers, layers.

I think I forgot November.

Well, he is clean and de-fuzzed now. He doesn't look like he's been on the streets anymore. How much you wanna bet no one will recognize him at Rally Friday?

Monday, December 6, 2010


I hope everyone had a good weekend!

I had a lesson Saturday on...... Rosso! Yup. I did! Me. The big yeller chicken.

I'd been taking him up to the barn on my cleaning night to let him hang out, stand like a polite member of horse society, then tacking him up and lunging him in the indoor before taking him home.

I rode him before I began showing Sera this summer but my tiny pea brain couldn't focus on a youngster that I was having brain bugs about AND work toward Sera's tests and movements and shows.

Saturday I brought him up, tacked him up with shaky fingers... told myself. "Self. Hey - pay attention. Is he doing any thing that causes you to worry?"

"No." I replied to myself.

"O.K. then. You have to trust he knows his job, he doesn't have the pain in his back anymore, he is being a model equine citizen. You have to extend trust!"

Sigh. "O.K., O.K., O.K. self - quit nagging"

I led him into the indoor, lunged him for a bit, put the lunge line away, led him to the middle of the arena.

"Here goes Self!"

Up I went. Settled into the saddle. Rosso stood stock still. Good boy! I scritched his withers, rubbed his neck. Wiggled around in the saddle... let him stand and let both of us relax a minute.

I asked him to go forward. He did with a nice, springy, forward walk. It felt like a walk you'd see in a Richard Pryor/Gene Wilder movie... Yeah. I'm bad. I'm cool. I'm bad.

We did lots of changes of direction, 3 loop serpentines, diagonals... bumped it up to trot. Very even, rhythmic, forward... some slight spiral in on a 20m circle and leg yield out.... shallow loops down the long side.... then some shallow loop with leg yielding back to the wall.... all went very well. I was relaxed, he was relaxed - nice floppy ears.

Then I had no horse left. He was tired... I had to drive him forward - he went - I just had to put a lot more effort into it and then I was tired. We pushed him for a bit longer and ended the lesson there.

I didn't want to get down! Such a nice ride and I wasn't afraid and all went well...

So I stayed up there.

For the rest of the weekend.

Rode him into work today. In fact, I'm typing this from a laptop up in my saddle. Getting him up the stairwell was hard, but worth it. Good thing I have a big cubicle.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Our buck finally gets some lovin'

Princess, the doe brought to us for breeding, came into heat today.


Our buck is overjoyed. He is fulfilling his sole purpose in life today.

bow chicka chicka bowwwww -

sky rockets in flight... afternoon delight...aaaaaaaaaaaafternoon delight....

great. now I have that wierd afternoon delight song stuck in my head going round and round...
*head hitting desk*

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Now that Toe has his tracking title, I'm movin' on to Rally.

I wanted to try different dog performance things with the little fella... this one is next on my list.

I was learning formal obedience when Rally arrived on the scene and I know a lot of traditional obedience people sort of poo-poo'd it.

However, I think it does have practicality behind it. Your dog goes into a ring on lead with you, the lead stays loose at all times, you are allowed to talk to your dog and the two of you perform obedience maneuvers while following a numbered course with pictures at each number of the movement you are expected to perform.

I think it's a great way to introduce dogs to working in a ring with everything that happens at a dog show going on all around... it keeps things upbeat, happy and fun and once Toe gets his Rally title, we'll move into the more formal obedience world for his first obedience title.

I have to laugh at myself tho because I know I've told you all what a klutz I am. Well, I'm also very directionally challenged.

I'm not at all used to following the numbers or signs in a ring. In formal obedience, the judge tells you what you'll be doing next and you do it. You don't walk a course looking for which number is next...

I get a little lost and corn-fused. Turning in circles looking for the next number... are we on 8 or 10? Did I just go right at 12 and where is 13??

It's like a jumper course.

I never could remember which jump came next when I was young and fearless.

I'm afraid I'm struggling in Rally the same way. Tomorrow is our second class and I'm sure after some more practice I'll figure it out and look a little less confused. Turn fewer circles looking for the next number... right?


Geez. I sure hope so!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Controversial therapy?

I told my boss about my dream - coming to work without pants and with really hairy man legs. I don't think he knew what to do with that information. It's good to keep management guessing.

I called my horse chiropractor/acupuncture vet yesterday. I like to have her visit about two times a year. Rosso is starting back up to work and while lunging was having a hard time in right lead canter. He kept falling out or switching behind.... wanted to get him checked out before anything goes amiss and he's in pain and I end up back on the ground.

Also figured I'd have Sera checked over. We are starting a winter clinic series December 8 and her work level is going to increase in difficulty while we learn Third Level movements.

Was glad I had Dr. M out. She teaches a course at CSU for the vet students there and I think she is pretty reasonable. She charges roughly $75 per horse, more if acupuncture is needed, less if a horse is fine and needs minimal work. That includes the farm call and a good 30-40 min going over each horse from ears to tail.

Turns out Rosso had some soreness in his right SI joint and left hock. Not enough soreness to show any lameness - just sore enough to show a little discomfort with hard prodding and groping.

He went through our tape fence a month or two ago - think he went ass over tea kettle - but I wasn't there to see it. We had just fed, went back in the house and I heard a big commotion outside followed by galloping hoof beats.

I went out to see what was going on. Our tape fence was down and Rosso was in the front pasture running scared. Our other two horses were watching him like he was insane. I'd love to know what happened but none of them are talkin'. Anyway - she thinks he may have hyper extended something... we'll give him some oral anti-inflammatory for a couple months and she adjusted his SI so there was no more discomfort. She didn't think he needed rest per se, but we'll work him walk/trot and over ground poles to build up some core strength before he does much canter work for the next 4-6 weeks.

Sera was in pretty good shape... she had a bit of pain in her left SI which was adjusted out and she was stiff in her first two neck vertebrae which was able to be worked out as well. I was a little bummed out because Dr. M found some discomfort on the right side of Sera's withers and in her left lumbar area that may be due to saddle issues. I had my saddle re-evaluated and re-flocked for Sera at the end of summer.... something to keep an eye on anyway.

Always something.

Dr. M didn't need to stick anyone full of acupuncture needles as all the sore spots could be adjusted away. It's pretty interesting to watch her work and how the horses respond.

I know it's a a little on the controversial side o' things ... and yet I truly believe I see positive differences in my horses for it.

Have any of you had any good, bad, indifferent experiences with this sort of treatment?