Brave Little Mares

Hello friends!
I’ve been absolutely loving the warm weather we’ve been having! Its officially spring and I am all sorts of here for it. I’ve been digging the warm days, the longer evenings, the little storms that pop up. I am a warm weather baby through and through.
Ro and Nel never cease to amaze me. We’ve been slowly getting back into our work patterns as the weather gets nicer and they are just so keen on it. We’ve had some stiffness and sore muscles, which really shouldn’t surprise anyone since this winter you couldn’t hardly walk around with everything as frozen as it was. But they’ve seemed almost excited to work and play, even when scary monsters are afoot, like the fire breathing dragons (the ditch guys burning the underbrush) and large horse eating goblins (the neighbors taking down a tree with a front loader). Ro yelled at them a lot, stomped about and got all huge, but she didn’t spook or run over me, she handled herself really well.

Nellie did too! She did try to stress eat my mounting block, but we all have our vices. To be honest, she regularly tries to eat the mounting block, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. She was a cribber when she first arrived, but her anxiety has chilled out, especially lately, so that problem more or less solved itself. She doesn’t really crib on the mounting block, she sorta just makes a lot of noise, chews on it, drags her teeth across the ribbing (the texture-y non slip stuff so you don’t eat it off your mounting block) and does her best circus impression by trying to step up on the block. I try to correct where I can because I don’t want her hurt, but her sass during the whole process actually warms my heart a little because she’s gotten confident enough to be defiant.
She is learning that privileges come with listening ears. In the past she’s had to watch from outside the arena when I’d ride (don’t worry, she always has a turn to come out and work too, in her own unique way) because she likes to pick on her sister when Ro’s attention is focused on me and it would slowly turn into a big argument if I didn’t step in. She also loved to crowd the mounting block and rush in between Ro and I while I was tacking up. Then she’d be upset when I’d ask her to step out of the arena. To be honest it broke my heart a little too. But she’s starting to put it together now that if she waits patiently while I tack and mount up, she not only can hang out in the arena the whole time, but also gets invited to practice ponying and other skills.

The whole springing forward thing with daylight savings has really goofed but my sense of timing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the later evenings, and since I work pretty early in the morning the slightly longer dark mornings don’t really bother me, just gives me more of a chance to catch the sunrise. That being said, getting out of bed on time and not falling asleep on the couch early is still a work in progress. I definitely didn’t actually go to bed around 7 pm three nights this week. It seems like it’d be an easier adjustment, but I swear it actually gets harder every year. Falling back goofed me up too, but in the opposite direction.
I’ve heard they are discussing eliminating daylight savings time as a whole concept. I, personally, don’t mind the idea of never changing clocks again, as I find it to be mostly antiquated and not terribly useful for my particular lifestyle, but I’ve seen some arguments for those who still utilize it, so I won’t be upset either way. I’ll moan and complain twice a year and then not think about it at all any other time.
Either way, I love the later evenings and the fact that it marks the beginnings of those long summer days. We just had the first day of spring, the spring equinox, and it’s really starting to feel like it around here. I feel bad for those in the northeast with their winter weather warnings and those in the south with those crazy storms but feeling very blessed to have warm weather and sunny days and spring grasses popping up as the markers for our springtime. We’ve only had a couple of good sized storms, which is about average for us.
Speaking of that sweet spring grass, I have some inpatient mares waiting to be let loose into the daytime pasture, so I think I’d better scoot. They take grazing very seriously ya know.
Until we chat again my friends. 

Sunshine Musings

Hello friends! 

I have been basking in the sunshine! It’s been gloriously sunny and warm for a few days now and it’s just the absolute greatest thing! It’s been in the 50s! 

It’s been so nice for melting the snow and drying things out and lifting spirits around here. Of course, everything is sunk now in the mud, which is going to continue to be a big old issue for things like driving to maneuver out of my driveway and getting deliveries, but it’s a temporary problem. I have been trying to look at getting a load of gravel hauled in this summer maybe, to help fortify the driveway and to maybe build a drainage system.

I’ve mentioned this a bunch, but work has been pretty crazy lately, and I’ve totally let it get that way. The thing about remote work, at least in tech, I guess I can’t speak to it across the board, is that even the kindest bosses are probably not keeping track of your time like you are and are possibly heaping work on. They don’t mean to, but it’s simply not as easy to notice when the little slack “online” icon has been green for 14-16 hours. And even further in his defense, I’ve said nothing because I figured it was a temporary thing. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve accidentally trained my lovely team that I’m around and working all the time, and that’s never a good thing, but especially not good as it’s getting closer and closer to seasons of outside chores and I can only sit at a desk for so long before the sunshine and soft nickers win out. 

Look at these muddy, happy ponies out basking in the sunshine! Such beauties!!

So, I’m trying to slowly work back into signing off after 8 hours, setting somewhat stricter “reachable” hours, and getting some of my free time back to be outdoors. It’s an ongoing cycle with me, seems like almost every 6 months I have to correct some sort of work/life balance issue, because when your work is always three steps from your bed, it can be hard to disconnect. 

That said you couldn’t force me into an actual office role for anything anymore. I’m far, far too happy to not have a commute, to work on projects in sweatpants, and to be able to eat lunch whenever I feel like it. Remote work is definitely what I am built for, even more so when I can set my own hours (mostly) and work out on the porch. I’d be miserable in an actual office, I now officially can’t be away from my animals for more than an hour or two. Otherwise, I absolutely lose my mind.

Plus, it helps that, despite my complaining, I actually really like my job a lot. It’s not a case of “if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” because, frankly, I think that’s nonsense, but I think it’s about as close as you can get. I think the saying should be something like “find a good team, doing work you find mostly enjoyable, and work will be a manageable task each day of your life” …. but maybe catchier. 

Because let’s be real, even when you love your job like I do, if you wouldn’t do it for free, you’re working.

Anyways, all that to say, I’m trying to arrange life around riding and farm chores again instead of work, and I’m so excited about it. I have had a few days now where it’s been heavy sweatshirt instead of a coat weather, and I am now thriving. When it gets to t-shirt weather, I’ll be unstoppable, and also never at my desk. Those are the days where I suddenly go “oh no, I was meant to finish the blog today!” And I quickly haul everything out to the porch, so I don’t have to go inside to publish it. 

Such a model, always gotta find the best angles

It’s also the season of listening to the doves coo, which is such a warm and nostalgic sound for me. We did not have doves in the pacific northwest so each summer when school let out and I got to come over here to my lovely valley, that first morning waking up to dove coos was the sweetest day of summer. Doves cooing meant I was in my favorite place on earth, where I can read under ancient ash trees, go play with baby farm animals, take long walks with my camera, and write on the back porch to the sounds of running water and twittering birds. 

Now as an adult I’ve been able to add “can fall asleep in my own bed, cuddle my own horses, and have halfway decent internet” to the equation and frankly, sometimes I have to pinch myself. To think I was annoyed when I first moved here, because it wasn’t the plan after college, I had to give up friends and, at the time I thought, the career I’d just worked so hard for as well. I don’t blame past Amanda for being scared about those things, while I’m so happy to be here, it’s not always been peaches and roses, and it won’t always be peaches and roses going forward. But I wish sometimes I could go back and tell her how good it works out, that her friends stay around, mostly online but they do come to visit, that she ends up purchasing two amazing mares, that she still gets to have her career. 

I guess, in summation, take this small piece of advice my dad always reminds me of: “your plans and Gods plans may differ, but it’s only because you don’t know to dream any bigger”. Maybe you and I can both work on going with the flow more, it really seems to work itself out each time better than we can imagine.

Until we chat again my friends. 

A Very Scooby Story

Hello friends,
Well, we need some extra good vibes (and prayers if you do that) for our little Scooby this week.
Little guy has been dealing with cataracts for a while, the vets have said with his age and allergies surgery wouldn’t be an option but assured us that many dogs live long happy lives with cataracts after they get used to it. I know this to be at least anecdotally true as my childhood pupper spend the last few years of his life a very happy, very blind little boy.
Scoobs’ cataracts have shifted and grown again, the vet thinks there’s also a sinus infection situation that is not helping in the slightest, and Scoobs really cannot see at all at night and no longer has any depth perception in lit areas. Poor little bean is suddenly needing to learn how to adapt.
He’s a happy boy for the most part, still comes and sees me in my office, goes and hollers at Christopher when he wants attention, still gets occasional zoomies. Good appetite, good digestion, the vet is certain he’s gonna adapt and it’ll be just fine.

Mom! Stop with the camera! Come on, you’re embarrassing me!

However, he is also getting so so so upset when we try to help or rescue, and he gets unbelievably annoyed at his brothers for helping. Granted his brothers need some lessons in being gentle and kind in their helping, but it’s meant with love.
Scooby used to help his older brother, my childhood pupper Winchester, when his cataracts got bad, so I’m hoping Watson and Joe eventually figure out how to appropriately “help” too. Scoobs used to direct him, and shake so Winchester could hear his collar, and would come get our attention is we hadn’t seen something he thought was important. He was a little star and seemed to really enjoy having a “job”. I don’t necessarily see Watty and Joe-Joe being that involved (which is totally fine, every personality is different, and they are not beholden to be their brothers’ eyes) but I hope they eventually get to the point where they realize, especially giant Joe, that Scoobs can’t see when he’s in the way or hogging the food, etc. Joe’s almost run over Scoobs a couple times because he got excited and expected Scooby to move. It’ll be a work in progress.
But if, in the course of your day, you feel like thinking good thoughts for Scooby and his new normal, I’m sure he’d appreciate it. Also, if you have any ideas on how to help him out more, lay them on me! I’ve put up some more night lights so any dark spots are more illuminated, and I’ve been researching soft corners and furniture gap covers (but most of our problems are with tall furniture, so I’m thinking decorative storage boxes might be more helpful for actually blocking that space). He’s in the phase right now where he gets so cranky if you help him out at all, so we are trying to give him his space, but also, I’m not going to let him get frustrated under the table where at every turn he’s just bumping his little head. Ever since he was a puppy, he gets so annoyed if you help him with something he perceives he can do, jumping into the car, arranging the blankets in his bed, etc. He’s a very independent little bean.

Zzzz Zzzzz

Joe and Watson are not having the best time sharing the spotlight. Scoobs has always been my chill boy, he’ll seek me out if he wants cuddles, and occasionally he will put up with my insistence about snuggle time for a few minutes, but much like a cat, generally he’s just happier to exist in the same space as you. Lately however, I’ve been a little more in his business and apparently Joe and Watson (who have already been battling it out for the title of attention hog) are simply feeling neglected.
Joe’s taken to just coming in and sitting on me. He’s tall enough he can just sorta pop his little rear end up on my lap and wait for pats. He also likes trying to find my feet to sit on. This is a little tougher because he’s all knees and elbows and thus it kinda hurts when he sits on your feet. But I’m certainly not going to teach him otherwise, if the boy needs love then he needs love, that’s all there is to it.
Watson is a little more intense about how he demands attention. He always wants to be the center so it’s a constant case of him yelling while following whoever he’s focused on (usually me) around. I can’t even call it whining, it’s this fun little squeaky grunt that just sounds like he’s one important announcement from full English speaking. He also has a habit of getting under foot due to his excitement and is perpetually being told to chill, that he needs to move out of my personal space while I’m walking. Not that I don’t love having him around, but especially if I’m carrying something (or someone, with Scoobs needing rescuing occasionally) and I can’t really see where I’m stepping, I’m always worried I’m going to squish him, or kick him, or fall over/on top of him.

Had to be sneaky here, because he was technically breaking some rules and was up on the couch without asking, but he was too cute so we ignored it

Although when you have three opinionated puppers the house, falling over excited dogs is just a state of being. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Until we chat again my friends 

A Year On And…

Hello Friends!

I can’t believe I’m getting to type this, but one year ago I started this blog! (Plus a couple of days, because remembering dates has never been my strong suit, would forget my own birthday if others didn’t remind me)

I can’t believe my “Friday Farm Updates” at my last job evolved into this! From a couple of my coworkers who were as critter crazy as I am, to 24 of you! Little slack threads as an excuse to constantly say “look how cute my critters are” are now a weekly blog post about whatever has taken focus on our farm. I started the blog because a couple coworkers were sad about losing touch with Joe when I left, and it was the push I needed to chase a dream that had been noodling around my brain for a very long time.

I’ve had so much fun sharing our highs and lows and just generally keeping a very public journal as we learn how to share our little 6 acres. Some of our highs and lows hurt to write about, losing our little Sherlock and my little ER visit, most were an absolute joy, like all the baby animals and the explosive growth of our extended family, garden trials and triumphs and the joys of hosting holidays.

Sometimes I’ve really struggled to keep up with the blog, there’s been a few times I’ve had to write posts at 2 am the morning they go up, but I love the feedback and warm wishes from all of you and wouldn’t change it for the world.

I know I say this often, but I have so many ideas for this little part of the internet, so please stick around whilst I figure out the best way to start those projects! Plus, more photos of the gang, because I live for pet photos just as much as you do! As spring rolls around we will also have the garden to talk about, the horses will go back into training, and we will have lots of fun summer recipes to try! I’m so excited!

I’m so glad to have you all to share this with, and if there was any way it was possible, just know I’d love to have you all at my dinner table to share good food, pet pats, and some fun games. Truly, truly thank you for this!

(We will be back to our regularly scheduled rambles on Friday, with what I assume will be more shenanigans from my two- and four-legged cohorts.)

Until we chat again my friends! 

Spring Fever

Hello friends!

We’ve seen some sunshine and temperatures above freezing, so yours truly is a happy girl! 

The girls are happy too, not only is it warming up a little and the sun is out to play in, but yesterday they had a nice little spa day with the farrier coming out to trim up their feet. They love that.

They both had just a little bit of a hard time standing still, but I think it was mostly excitement, they love Jimmie, our farrier, and they both can develop a good case of happy taps when excited. Jimmie is just such a gem of a human, I’m so glad he was suggested to me as a farrier possibility because I now count him a friend. He’s pulled my tail out of the fire a couple times and I can always count on him to have a joke and some helpful advice. 

The warm temps in the day time have creates a couple interesting scenarios here on the farm. First, due to the run off and refreeze each evening, there are parts of the farm, mostly the little concrete patches in the driveway, that are a couple inches of pure, slick ice. To the extent that it’s getting difficult to get the car out of the garage without sliding about a little. Not ideal.

With the runoff and refreeze, the other issue is that doors and equipment are freezing and completely stuck. The building we call “the dirt floor garage” which functions somewhere between an equipment shed and a catch-all, as well as Cordelia’s main home, has been completely frozen shut a couple times. Once it took three of us to work on it before it came loose, once we sorta just gave up and fed a Cordelia on the porch. I don’t think she minded. We also had to perform an early morning repair on my parents car as the ice buildup had managed to catch and pop loose the little air dam on the front. It looks pretty rough, it cracked the plastic and scraped the paint, it also broke the little clips and needed to be fixed up before it sat right, but I think it’s mostly going to be a cosmetic thing, unless it makes a habit of falling the front of the car or something. 

The warmer temps have also meant that there are places where you’d lose a shoe to the mud if you aren’t wearing the right boots. Especially around our lower elevations, since were on a little bit of a slope, the corral and lower driveway are basically a lake. I’m looking around to find a gravel company so I can get quotes and start saving up to add some structure and drainage to our mud. It’s been a particularly wet year.

Nellie and Ro are still having just a bit of a power struggle, but something interesting has occurred. Nellie Belle has more or less set her boundaries and will enforce them with a quickness whether I’m around or not. Usually, she stays pretty chill when I’m around, but it appears shed had it with her sister

She’s run Ro out of the barn area a couple times during feeding, stares her down, and then let’s her in a moment after, which is very uncharacteristic for Miss Belle. She doesn’t try to hoard the food but doesn’t let her sister hoard it either. 

I’ve also seen several instances now of them sharing their food piles with each other (willingly) which has never happened before. I usually feed in two piles a minimum of a couple horse lengths apart so if anyone wants to guard the food, they have to at least really work at it. 

Joe has been having a hard time with the warm temperatures too, he wants so desperately to play outside and run and play fetch, but it’s still cold enough I worry about him getting soaked and then getting cold and ending up with a doggie cold. We’ve had some of those go through the house this year and convincing a dog with a cough to sit quietly and rest is darn near impossible. So, Joe has done a lot of small trips in the yard, taken a few extra warm baths, and does a lot of staring out the window. 

I have a serious case of spring fever, and much like Joe am struggling with wanting to be outside but not wanting to get soaked and cold and eventually sick. I’ve definitely spent more time in the pasture, and the dogs outdoors times are creeping longer and longer. We’ve had some of the most beautiful sunsets lately, I’ve been trying to figure the best way to capture them for you, as I’m sure you all know, a simple phone snap usually doesn’t cut it with sunsets, but I haven’t had quite the time to get a true camera shot set up (been working longer hours at work, so the sunsets kinda sneak up on me). But I’ve got an extra day off coming up and I am already excited to use it to get all my camera gear set up for spring again (I tend to not get out with my camera much in the winter, a learned behavior from my time in Seattle when it would rain solidly from September to April and, at the time, I was a broke college student who couldn’t afford rain gear (and was not going to trust my camera to a plastic bag or something similar). I have to remind myself that its different here. Although this year it was so cold for so long, I had battery drain and cracking parts issues which are a whole new thing to contend with. Anyways, I’ll figure it out and hopefully you’ll get some sunset photos soon. 

Until we chat again my friends!