Ehm, Oops

Hello friends!

So, short post this week, because I did this:

I took a pretty solid fall off Ro, and am not super keen on the slow, one-handed typing that is currently happening. Work has slowed down so much due to my hunt and peck.

I feel the need to point out, the fall was entirely my fault for making a poor choice, Ro did everything she’s trained to, she listened to exactly what I asked, and when I fell, she stopped and checked on me. She did so well that she even refused to move when I asked for some help getting her back in the arena (we were out trail riding) until I walked along with her, she was not going to leave her rider. She was, once again, a dream of a horse and I don’t deserve how amazing she is.

She also gave my little cousin her first ride this weekend. I felt bad, because I was not super prepared to handle a ride, but definitely didn’t want to cancel again, so there was a lot of low-key walking around. Ro and June did so well together though, June was having a blast and Ro took her job so seriously.

June was so brave too! I was worried the height of a horse and the wobbly motion would spook her (it does a lot of little ones) but the only tears she shed were when we told her to say goodbye so she could go home. She wants to ride every day, but her mom’s sanity, and my healing, we are starting with once a week.

I am actually in the process of planning out her next lesson so it’s more organized and sling friendly, and I splurged and bought “buddy stirrups” which are fit over the horn of the saddle and make for tiny tike sized stirrups so she can learn to use her leg aids and sit correctly in the saddle. She’s using her bike helmet for now, but as soon as I pay off my doctor’s visit, she will be getting a safer equestrian helmet. Unsurprisingly, after my oops, I am really harping on safety stuff more than usual. My helmet saved my brain.

Okay, that’s all for me, ice and ibuprofen are calling my name.

Until we chat again my friends!

Open for Baby Cow Photos!

Hi friends!
I have new baby cow photos! Not many because obviously the mamas did not want me anywhere near, but baby cow photos nonetheless!

Honestly, do I even need to write a post this week? What could I possibly say to top baby cow photos? The all black one is a little 5-day old boy, and the other is a little 3-day old girl. Such cuties. My uncle is the absolute best too, as soon as I stepped out of the flatbed cab because goes, “You have to go see the new babies” because he knows me so well. He also knew I’d forget while we were talking and loading hay, so he made a point to lead me up to the correct corral so I wouldn’t miss them.

My biggest piece of advice? Surround yourself with people as excited about baby animals as you are.

Anyways, its still hot, and unfortunately a lot of the west is on fire, so photos and working outside have a new element of hazard. But the sunsets have been very red and gorgeous, so that’s the only brightside. This time of year is a little sobering, because I live right next to brushland, and realistically, I’m one cigarette-carelessly-tossed-out-a-car-window from a very, very, very bad day.

I don’t talk about work on here much, and I prefer to keep it that way, but I will say that I work for a very news centric company (which is a blessing/curse for a news junkie like myself) and the amount of fire warnings and evacuation alert notices that are popping up is just borderline unbelievable. It’s not a cloudy day out, but it’s smoky enough it feels like a rainy day. Honestly, just in the time it’s taken me to rough out this opening set of paragraphs, I’ve lost sight of the surrounding hills and mountains. The smoke is getting intense.

We had the farrier out to see the girls. I don’t know if I have talked about Jimmie before, but he is one of the loveliest humans you’ll ever meet, and I count him more as a friend than just my farrier. He does absolutely wonderful work on the girls, I keep them barefoot, and he keeps their toes able to do that.

He has also pulled me out of a couple scrapes, sold me a lovely trailer for too good a price, and allows me to pick his brain constantly with horse questions. I absolutely adore him, and I love weeks where I get to see him.

Honestly, some weeks just feel so magical, when I get to see family members I don’t normally, and friends I haven’t chatted with as well.

Speaking of, due to the heat and smoke, it’s almost been like wintertime in terms of being stuck inside, which at first threw me way off because I like doing outdoor things, but it has now settled into building out some projects and getting a few things done. Not anything helpful like laundry or dog-grooming (which I am trying to work out how to do myself since this area seems to lose groomers faster than they can be hired), but things like cleaning up the DVR and organizing the spices. Busywork.

My favorite thing though, since my outdoor work has to be severely limited and mostly finished my about 10 am, is that I have been able to find more time for game nights with friends. We used to play almost every night in college, but adult life has knocked us down to once or twice a week. Which is still supremely better than not playing at all, since I was out of luck before we had a decent internet setup. We used to play mostly board games, whereas now we play online (although tabletop simulator has helped, virtual board games for the win).

We have so many new pumpkin blooms and the plants have mostly merged together into one ginormous plant, which hopefully means lots of pumpkins. One of my little plants is struggling, and I am really not sure why, just overnight he seemed to get really miserable, but I am hoping he will come back and join his siblings.

My peas are just about ready to eat, in fact we may end up picking some for dinner tonight and the lettuce is looking fantastic too! We should have some wonderful summer salads soon. I know we planted some other things, but I’ve lost track of what is where, so I’ll have to consult Dad on how the eggplants and tomatoes are doing. I am hopefully for the watermelon and eggplant, as those will be fun to cook with. We also have a volunteer mystery veggie, I think it’s jalapenos but I am not sure.

Nellie had some more fun with a swollen leg, but I think we finally got it under control. It’s just the extra strain on that bad leg of hers, but she’s so happy-go-lucky that she forgets to be a little careful. I really don’t know how to tell a 900-pound animal not to jump for joy when they are happy. So instead, I just call the vet and ask for the equine equivalent of ibuprofen and they laugh and write me a prescription. Speaking of my sweet girls, we are having a serious fly issue and I’m massively unimpressed with the fly spray I purchased, so if anyone has a preferred brand they can suggest or a recipe for effective homemade fly spray, please share, I would love to hear about it.

We are officially in the lazy days of summer, which is always fun, although admittedly not usually this warm, so we’ve taken lazy to a whole new level. But the kiddos are starting to worry about the next year of school (they go back in August here, and get out in May, which is so weird to me because I always started in September and got out in June), we have a brand new college student in the family who is very nervous and excited to get started, and generally we are settling in for those pretty sunsets and sweet tea and cozy mystery style evening… assuming it cools down.

And while I am not inviting it in any way yet, as I am still enjoying the summer, I am starting to mentally plan for the fall, which will bring baking and decor changes and lots of holidays and harvest activities. This is my favorite time of year, the calm before the winter-based storm.

I did also finally (very late) get the blog turned to summer theming, it took a while to get a decent photo and the colors right but now everything should be pretty and yellow! Hopefully you guys like the change, because I sure do! I am already thinking about the fall theme so I can get ahead, but that will obviously need to wait until the farm is dressed in fall colors.

Until we chat again my Friends!

You Just Have To Wiggle It

Hi all!

It’s a sunny, warm day today, and I am sitting out on my back porch enjoying a breeze. It’s really lovely, I’m very lucky to be living here with my family and friends. That being said, I’m going to need to move inside soon, because I need to plug in my laptop, and while there’s some plugs outside, for some reason, a week or so ago, they stopped working for no discernible reason.

And that, my friends, is the joy of living in a 1945 farmhouse. Things just are weird sometimes.

I always laugh when watching Green Acres (which has started happening a lot for some reason, that show is always on), and they have to do things like climb the power pole to answer the phone or unplug the dishwasher to run the fridge. Luckily nothing in my house is that dire, but when you move into an old house, sometimes things are just odd. Currently the craziest issue is with my plumbing, every toilet has a “special” way you have to wiggle, hold, or otherwise cajole the lever for a proper flush, and my bathroom sink pours just about as much water out of the handles as the actual faucet itself. Funnily enough, in the summer it leaks from the cold water handle, and in the winter, it leaks from the hot. Also, luckily, so far it pretty much only leaks when the water is running. Since it’s an integrated pedestal sink, I can’t super easily pull it all apart, so I’ve learned to not leave anything on the side of the sink.

I figured that you wouldn’t be interested in a picture of my bathroom sink, so please enjoy our first pumpkin blossom! I’m very excited!

Another hilariously common issue is the door handles on this property, as my back door deadbolt likes to lock but refuses to unlock without copious effort, and my tack room door won’t latch at all anymore. It’s not just door latches, you all have heard my gate latch saga, I’m sensing a pattern. Possibly one of my favorite stories actually involves a cousin of mine. The front door handle was really sticky and hard to use when we purchased the house, so we had intended to switch it out eventually, but we had to expedite the process when, during thanksgiving our first year (my first time hosting Thanksgiving too) the door handle came off in my cousin’s hand, effectively locking her out of the house. We put it back together temporarily and it happened to two other people before the night was out.

This has also led to the interesting task of occasionally breaking into our own home, which has now occurred a few separate times. Possibly the most dramatic was my dad taking out the entire laundry sorting system trying to get into the master bedroom window, and most recently was my brother and his friend launching themselves through my front room windows. I have to replace a window screen now, but honestly, I should just focus on fixing the latches and this nonsense would slow…. maybe.

Gardens are in bloom!

Another fun quirk to my vintage farmhouse is our kitchen cabinets. Not only are they weirdly set up (there’s drawers IN cabinets, and none of the “snazzy” lazy susans work properly at all) the doors like to randomly pop open. I had invested in magnets to function as closures at one point, but really that didn’t help much because they open with a stupid amount of force. I’ve gotten smacked in the knees a few times with these cabinet doors. I’d swear we have a mischievous ghost if I believed in those kinda things. One day I’m going to overhaul those cabinets, that’s one of those win-the-lottery plans. Along with updating my grumpy appliances and maybe fixing up the harvest gold linoleum flooring. It’s glorious.

Honestly though, this house is lovely, it needs some love, and maybe some updating, but we got really lucky nabbing this one when we did. We have fantastic water, which is a little tough around here, but we were very blessed with the well we have, and the water rights and mineral rights are ours too, which is becoming less and less common.

One other important thing that we’ve managed to fix about the farm is the internet situation. When my parents first moved in, they were told internet was already up and running, so it would be no worries to set up an account. To be fair, I don’t think anyone lied intentionally, I think the little old people who lived here thought we meant a phone line. So, we found out really quickly we couldn’t get internet, which is a major bummer when you work remotely, like I do. We made do for a couple of years by paying for a connection at my grandma’s, and I worked from there, but it was still so frustrating to not be able to google things. Especially considering cell service is a little hit or miss out here with the hill.

My Dad: “Amanda, did you get a picture of my girls? They are looking really good!” (I took a bunch but chickens are camera shy)

We tried a particular satellite internet company that I won’t name because I don’t want to be associated with them in any way, but they were rude, and the service was so poor we really paid a lot of money to have a house decoration because that’s all that crazy dish was good for. I was completely unhappy with the whole experience.

Luckily! Just this last March I noticed my neighbor putting up a weird radio pole in their yard. Being the avid sleuth (snoop) that I am, I googled the company name and it turned out to be a small radio internet company that I had not heard of. I, again, am not going to share the name, this time because I don’t have explicit permission to and they are actively rebranding as they grow anyway, so I probably would goof the name as it is.

I was highly skeptical because of previous experiences, but so far, I have been really, really pleased with the service. I can google recipes, write and post this blog, and occasionally play an online video game or two with friends.

My favorite part of all of this is that I can now work more often from home. This has been especially important with the serious heat wave. While I miss hanging out with my grandma all day, it makes it a lot easier to shift work around the farm schedule, I can start a little earlier in my day, and if I’m not feeling great, I can log in from the couch. It’s wholly pleasant.

I also love how much easier it feels to “see” my friends with an internet connection. I am very lucky to have friends all over the globe, and it’s fantastic to catch up!

More Blooms!

Overall, I love slowly fixing what I can, and learning to love the quirks of this little farmhouse. Everything from replacing the roof to adding another shelf in the linen closet makes it home and adds that more personal touch.

Sometimes I wished loving this home was a little cheaper though, and required less petty crime (although, is it a crime to break into your own home?). Oh well.

Until we chat again, my friends!

It’s Getting Hot In Here

Hello Friends!

How are we today? We survived another week, so that’s cause for celebration in my book. It’s been 100+ degrees for a while now, ranging up to about 109 so I can say with certainty that surviving is a massive accomplishment.

I have garden pictures this week! The beans are taking off like crazy, only to be outshone by the pumpkins! I can’t wait to roast some yummy garden fresh green beans and I really, really can’t wait to see if the pumpkins come in completely. I’ve not been able to get pumpkins to grow in this soil, although I did have some luck when I lived in the PNW. If we get enough pumpkins, we are going to let the little ones in the family come pumpkin picking, which will be super fun. So hopefully they come in plentifully.

The weeds are coming in plentifully, that’s for sure. My poor dad is out every morning weeding the lines, they come back so fast it might be a losing battle. The chickens are helping too, they love weeds, but they also love the veggies so we have to be very watchful.

Chickens never stop moving! Phone cam + hyper subject = blurry photos

Ro and Nellie are slowly getting used to working first thing in the morning. It’s definitely not preferred, neither of my girls are morning critters apparently, judging by the amount of yawning coming from the loafing area this morning. They take after their mom, I am not a morning person at all.

The other morning there was a miscommunication and the girls got to be out in the pasture super early in the morning before exercise. Ro came running in when she saw me, and she was actually super excited to work, which was great! But she also came in ridiculously muddy since the pasture irrigation was on. She was so, so, so proud of herself. I just had to laugh and take some pictures. We had a spa day Monday, so the girls were especially clean and nice for that muddy morning run. Can stay clean for too long, you see, it’s a cardinal sin.

Look at this smug pony!

The heat has officially pushed the limits of our air conditioning units these last few weeks. We have what are referred to as “room units” in the front room, living room, and master bedroom, but in general they do a pretty good job at keeping the whole house livable. It’s just not fair to judge them when it’s 108 outside and every room has huge windows. We also have some ceiling fans constantly running (here’s your reminder to switch your ceiling fans so they are spinning the right way for summer, because I forgot) to help move air around. Also, keeping blinds closed where we can and working early in the morning helps. But still, I’m fully over it. I miss my warm but pleasant 80s.

It’s also officially mosquito season, which is officially the worst thing in the history of ever (it’s not, it’s absolutely not, but I’m feeling incredibly dramatic today, so bear with me). The county does spray for them usually, which helps somewhat, but they just hired a new guy and he’s not quite up and running yet. In the meantime I am living in bug spray and trying to figure out how to de-mosquito the barn. Also, I bought these super odd bug traps that I need to put up that I am hoping will help, but I just scrape 5′ tall so I need someone taller or a ladder to put them up.

The bug spray is so drying, my poor skin is suffering. I am not the queen of skincare routines to begin with but it feels like I really need to step up my game this year between the glaring sun, insane heat, and aggressive sprays. I’ll let you know if I find something magical, or not so much. I also have a fantastic farmer’s tan going on, and as it is July I think the chances of my actually getting to wear shorts in public are rapidly plummeting. I know I could theoretically sit out in the sun to even the tan, but I burn and I’m way too busy to just sit and not feel guilty. Unless I have a good book. If you all have book recommendations, I love murder mysteries, so anything Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes is a big ole win for me.

Otherwise, it’s still kinda slow, the heat really slows things down. They did pull the bales out of the alfalfa field across the canal, and did so in a wind storm, as luck would have it. They only lost two bales which is about average I think, if you are rushing to pick up bales in a windstorm. Major bummer though because obviously split bales are hard to sell, if you can find someone who wants them at all. But he didn’t really have a choice because we have had a ton of wind lately, so things can’t just stop and wait forever. In any case, it’s tempting the local wildlife, and some of the local livestock too, so I am curious what they will do with those giant broken bales. Did I mention they are big one ton bales?

Anyways, I think I’ll leave this here. I hope you guys are having a wonderful day and are having a great and safe summer!

Until we chat again my friends!

Parading About

Hello friends!

Back in action! Thank you so much for your patience with my break, it was much needed and much appreciated.

The pack is slowly healing and learning the new dynamic. They are obviously still bummed but have started to play and goof again. Watson especially is absolutely in my pocket, I’ve been staying home a lot more because of the severe heat, and he’s almost never not in my lap or under my feet.

And as for the rest? Well, the two-legged family members in this house can now share some happy memories with more abandon, and while we still find new things all the time to miss, we’ve been able to be more grateful for what we had and are healing as well.

But on to happier news: the parade happened! We had so much fun!

We found out we were not going to be able to use a trailer very last minute, so we decked out my uncles’ truck in the most sparkly, patriotic, goofy way possible! Our theme was “Together Again Under the Flag” and I think we nailed it. I will say, I know I said we have a rivalry with the local dept store, and that is true, but the head of their float team had been sick for the two weeks leading up to the parade so out of respect we didn’t really engage in shenanigans this year. It’s no fun if it’s not in good humor, ya know?

The truck just before we left! The red shirts were our uniforms, as some of my cousins are sporting here

Also, to the best of my knowledge, they didn’t judge the floats this year, which seemed odd. Although to be fair, everyone had a similar idea, we were all pretty red, white, and blue from parade start to end, so maybe they just couldn’t pick a winner. It was super fun in any case, and we are already planning to go big for Christmas. Fingers crossed we come up with something cool.

We were planning to build the float in total the night before, because they moved the parade an hour earlier this year to avoid the baking noontime sun. This was a great idea in theory because it would mean we didn’t need to hurry, but the heat proved to be a problem anyway. We couldn’t work the night before because it was triple digits, and we were terrified of accidentally melting the décor to the truck. A grey Ford pickup with red, white, and blue sparkles is a statement for sure, but not for an everyday look maybe.

Thanks Dad for capturing this one! My cousin and I had just passed by with the banner in front, and the truck was getting lots of attention! (Blurred for privacy and because I don’t have explicit permission from those businesses)

The heat has been absolutely brutal! We have been hitting triple digits really frequently and are regularly seeing above 110 on the forecast, which is absolutely terrifying. It was super hard to walk the 2.5-mile parade route, but we made it. I carried one side of the banner in front of the truck, and let me tell you, it’s not hyperbole to say I’ve been waddling since. Seriously sore calves. I always think I’m so in shape until parade day. Every year I end up super sore. On the bright side, I straight up wrote that down as my cardio for the day. It counts, I swear. It was also around 100 degrees on the street itself, which absolutely didn’t help. But we were having so much fun it didn’t really matter.

The last few feet my cousin’s little ones wanted to walk the banner! Thank you Uncle Steve for capturing this from the truck!

We threw 102 pounds of saltwater taffy out to the parade watchers. I heard so many variations of “oh they have the good stuff!”. It’s funny, even though it gets ridiculously soft, taffy holds up to the heat pretty well, that is, if you stick it in a cold place for a few minutes, it’s totally fine. Turns out you aren’t so lucky with chocolates and lollipops. Also, the dentist throws toothbrushes every year, and while that’s noble… really?

(Also, wouldn’t throwing candy be something like job security?)

Otherwise though, honestly, I’ve been kinda hiding out a little. It’s just been too hot to get too much done. I need to get some new pictures of the garden to show you guys, because it’s grown so much! We have pumpkins! But I haven’t taken the time to snap some aesthetic photos. Next time, promise!

Speaking of pumpkins, I’ve been trying to learn to crochet little stuffed pumpkins, so stay tuned for some unseasonably fall content as soon as I learn how to make little i-cord stems. I’m super excited!

Until we chat again, my friends!