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 

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! 

You Ask A Mare

Hello friends!

Spring planning is underway, if only in its most speculative sense. It’s a little too early to start actually prepping anything, but we can start researching our options. 

We are currently deciding what we’d like to plant in the garden. We didn’t have much luck with the starts last year, but our seeds did okay. I tend to think it was already too hot for our little starts when they were sent through the mail, we had such an unusually warm summer. Since this winter, funnily enough, has been unusually cold, I have a sneaking suspicion we may be on the hook to deal with another crazy summer. But I could be wrong. Either way, I think we are going to stick with seeds.

I definitely miss mornings in the garden. My favorite work schedule is a couple hours in the morning, long break for a morning ride and walk around the farm, and then the rest of shift. Works fantastically well for my brain, is the correct amounts of physically being busy and mentally, but this time of year, it doesn’t quite work because I can’t trust I’ll thaw back out after my break. And it’s been so cold lately I’m honestly concerned about coming back in and needing to finish the work while feeling suddenly ill. I’ve already had a bit of a rough go of the winter cold season this year. But spending some time in the garden each morning is good for the soul. Better yet, spending each morning out with the horses is good for the soul.

Poor Nellie Belle is definitely over this weather. She’s absolutely had it with walking on the ice and snow. Makes sense, her little leg was not made for intense terrains. Luckily, we have a warm, dry covered area. Unluckily for her, it’s a little small so for exercise and in order to not be completely bored she’s got to head outside.

Yesterday she wanted to hang out in the barn, Ro wasn’t done being in the pasture, and Christopher walked out into the middle of a huge horse argument. Basically, Nellie having an absolute shout from the barn, and Ro was grumbling from the pasture while frantically trying to finish grazing. Generally speaking, I would say Ro makes the lion’s share of decisions, she’s declared herself lead mare, but every now and again Nellie throws her weight around a little and an argument breaks out. I’m not sure the exact timeline but by the time I got signed out of work and out the door, Ro was dejectedly standing by the corral fence and Nellie was happily watching the world go by from her warm barn. 

Seems like about every six months there’s a small war about who calls the shots, and I think we’re fixing to step right back into the middle of one. As Nellie gets to be a calmer and more logical little mare, she wants more and more say in how she spends her days. She’s really done a lot of growing in the last few months especially, and I don’t think Ro quite knows what to do with it all. I’m so glad my reactive little fireball has a much longer fuse now, and I walk away from many more of our interactions without injuries. She’s such a little gem of a horse. They both are.

There’s been lots of signs they’re in a little bit of a tiff again, beyond just yelling about how much time they spend in the pasture. I’ve also seen teeth marks in hides and there’s an ongoing bullying situation with Ro trying to hoard her food and Nellie’s food, but lately Nellie isn’t putting up with it. To clarify, these bite Mark’s don’t break flesh, and they absolutely would if my mares intended to, so while I hate that they nip at each other when mad, there’s not a huge injury situation at hand at the moment. 

The food situation is harder, I just generally feed far enough apart that Ro can’t easily guard both and I try to correct the bad behavior when i see it. Problem is that as soon as i turn my back Ro Is back at her antics. But i tend to think Nellie waits to school her sister until my back is turned too, because despite Ros attempts at hoarding, there’s no noticeable weight gain on her part or weight loss on Nellie’s. Ros a pretty easy keeper so I’m pretty sure she’d put on some pounds if she suddenly doubled her food intake.

But isn’t that just the way with owning horses, and especially being a mare mom. You really can’t convince a mare she’s wrong, she just has to love you enough to concede to your wishes. I’ve always loved working with mares because of their attitudes, it truly feels like a win when your mare wants to do what you want her to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love a sweet little gelding too! Geldings can be such little goofs with high spirits and big antics. But mare behavior is just one of life’s little joys.

You tell a gelding, you ask a mare. You don’t even get to have a conversation with a pony… you just take orders as they come. At least that’s my experience.

Until we chat again my friends! 


Hello friends!

I just finished bathing the dogs. Let me tell you, that is a whole experience. Weve got it down to a science in the house, but it doesnt change the fact that it’s a big old deal to bathe the critters.

We always start with Joe. Joe has two moods when it comes to bathing. First mood is playful, he thinks its play time and wants to chase the water and blow bubbles in the soap, and he wants to paw at me and knock the shampoo bottles off the ledge of the tub. He is having a grand time and bath time is the best and isn’t everything delightful. His other mood is dejected, he goes boneless when I try to get him in the tub, lays down when I try to scrub his belly, leans on the wall to hide whatever side I’m cleaning, sighs repeatedly and loudly. Hes mad about the bath, this is the worst and hes definitely going to reach out to the ASPCA about this. 

Today we were dejected. Hes still miffed about it, and is begging to go outside, I’d assume to roll in whatever he can find to remedy the problem. We simply smell too nice, you see.

Scooby rarely gets truly upset about bath time as long as he likes the tub, the water is warm, and you move with a quickness. If anything is off he starts to get fussy. He likes the big sink in my kitchen and the tub in my bathroom, but not the guest bathroom tub. I think its a little too dark for him. Plus he rarely goes to the guest spaces on his own because he is a little too blind for the steep basement stairs. Totally understandable. 

Scooby also has special shampoo and a fancy procedure to his baths because of his skin condition. Hes always been an itchy dog and we learned that he is actually allergic to almost everything to some degree. We’ve tried a lot of options over the years but have mostly settled on, at least for now, a fancy shampoo and a glove with the nubbins on it for a cleansing, massaging effect. He sure loves that thing. The shampoo has lots of anti-itch and moisturizing ingredients so he walks away feeling so soft and good about himself. It’s pretty fantastic. Hes got some minor allergies to lots of things, including his own saliva, so anti-itch is a must.

Watson tends to always hate baths but that’s because hes so little it’s hard to warm up after hes cold. Hes so small it doesn’t take a terribly long time to get him all scrubbed up and clean, but he pouts and grimaces about it the whole time. He also tries to hide, or bail out of the bath, which means we’ve switched from bathing in the kitchen sink to my bathtub, because I was really worried he was going to escape my grasp and make a run for it on my kitchen counters. Less than ideal. Now he just gets all angry trying to climb the tub walls and eventually just starts yelling his little head off.

After bath time is his favorite part, he gets wrapped up in a big fluffy bath towel and then gets toted around for a while in his little bathrobe. Usually I end up cleaning the bathroom up and doing some minor cleaning and “puttering” around the house while hes along for the ride. I sit him down in his little towel occasionally when I need two hands and Christopher thinks he looks like little baby Yoda. All you can see is his little face popped out. Hes perfectly happy being babied, it’s just the actual bath part that ticks him off. Go figure.

I wish I had gotten some pictures of the beans in their soaking wet state but two important things happen during and after baths. I hide my phone in my room and close off the whole space in an attempt to prevent water damage and general destruction and your usual mayhem. Joe especially thinks anything remotely soft is a towel, so bedding, office chairs, clean laundry, anything within reach will smell like wet dog. The other important thing is the two and a half sets of zoomies. Joe and Scooby start immediately, I get about a minute to dry as much off as possible and then those two have to be free to run around like crazies. I’ve started strategically leaving some of their bath towels in their day beds, and usually in their crazy, gotta-run-gotta-play state they play with the towels enough to help the drying process. Watson waits until he has soaked up every ounce of his post bath cuddles and then goes for his zoomies, which is great because he can mostly avoid being run over by Joe at that stage. Joe tries very hard to be mindful of his brothers but sometimes the play is just too fun to stop and pay attention. I usually get knocked over in those moments too.

But the beans are going in for some official haircuts and spa days soon, and I will get some glamour shots then hopefully. 

Until we chat again my friends. 

All God’s Critters

Hello friends!
This week on the farm we’ve basically been perpetually cleaning up after our wilderness friends and their poor life choices.
First, we had a coyote appear to get lost and end up in the corral. Why do I think he got lost? Well, the tracks tell a pretty good story because the snow has been freezing in the early morning hours and preserving the evidence of the nights shenanigans.
Looks like this little coyote crossed the empty canal and found a tiny hole in the chicken wire we have up on that fencing. He pushed his little body through, my guess is because he smelled Cordelia’s earlier travels, and suddenly realized he was face to face with two very angry mares. The evidence suggests a very panicked zigzag pattern that ultimately leads to a new, bigger hole in my chicken wire that I am pretty sure he punched out with sheer force of will.
It definitely stresses me out that a coyote crossed the canal into my corral on a whim and my sweet girls had to handle it, but I am sure, to a point, there’s tons of midnight adventuring that I am generally blissfully unaware of. The fact that the girls seemed entirely unbothered in the morning and the only reason I know about it is the broken fence and snow marks is definitely proof toward that assumption.

We’ve also had some incredibly brave deer come down the driveway and into the pasture in broad daylight. I’ve known for a while that they didn’t fear us here on the farm, but they’ve taken it to the extreme and hang out on the nearby hill most of the day. Then in the evenings they come down to munch on my hay bale (for what it’s worth, we do not feed or actively engage, they steal it from my storage space since I can’t secure it yet). I’m glad they feel the farm is a safe place to come hangout, wouldn’t want it any other way, but I’m always worried they are going to forget that other humans are scary and should be avoided.
This week I watched as two deer calmly maneuvered around my hotwire and through the fencing on the hill and around the pasture, with a surprising amount of dexterity and problem solving. Then I continued to watch as their third friend just busted through as though the fencing didn’t exist at all. Long story short? He’s fine as far as we could see from a distance, and I gotta rebuild my fencing again. He literally just sorta did a Kool-Aid Man impression and totaled out the hotwire and everything secured around it. He also made a show of yelling at the fence in his little deer noises. Definitely don’t think it was his intention to make such an entrance.
We’ve also had a lot of birds move into the barn, which Nellie enjoys immensely as she is a Disney princess who loves all of God’s creatures. She’s been known to let birds ride around on her back as she goes about her day. I’ve even had to scrub bird poop off her back, which is a downside to being a woodland princess that no one mentions. Nellie doesn’t mind though, she’s never met a critter she didn’t at least try to make friends with.
Ro, on the other hand, is not even remotely a fan of birds. She ranges from begrudgingly putting up with the little ones that run out in front of us on rides, to a deep, angry fear of ducks and cranes. I’ve often had to come rescue her because there’s a duck on the path from the pasture to the corral. When the crane is around, she won’t use that little pathway at all. I end up either chasing the crane away or feeding a little extra in the barn itself. She will angrily yell at the pheasants when they pass through, but if you’ve ever heard a pheasant…well they make quite the ruckus themselves. We have one we call Freddy the Four O’clock Pheasant, who, unsurprisingly, cries out for his family about four o’clock every day during the summer, and Ro has some choice words for him. She’s fairly annoyed at the magpies as well but she doesn’t completely lose her mind at them.

Anyways, the birds are making the kinda mess you’d expect birds to make in the barn, and it’s not really appreciated. I obviously wont kick them out, its winter time and all God’s creatures need refuge, but I’m not excited about consistently cleaning up the messes of a little nesting community. I hope they find more suitable nests in the spring, because last year I spent a lot of the spring being chased out of the arena by angry mama birds for accidentally invading their nests. Oh well, such is farm life.
I think I’ll wrap this up here, gotta go feed the girls and do a little deer spotting on the way.
Until we chat again, my friends!

Amanda Rants for about 300 Words, then She Rambles

Hello friends!

How are we doing today? Well, I hope. It’s been a crazy week for us around the valley, with weird storms and family members visiting and the newfound knowledge that I am hosting Thanksgiving. We potluck it and I’ve hosted the last couple years so it’s not the biggest deal, but still a lot to prep for.

This year I’m getting wise and buying take home containers, because buying a new set of Tupperware every year is not financially workable and chasing down my shared dishes is a feat for dwellers of Olympus. The dollar store has these cute little containers that could be reused if treated nicely, or recycled if beaten up, and knowing my family, well, recycling is nice.

Because we potluck each year everyone has a dish or two that they’ve gotten pretty good at. I usually make the mashed potatoes, not because I am particularly amazing at potatoes, but they are an easy dish when I have my whole house to clean and childproof before the meal. (My house is usually pretty kid safe, but when there’s so many people around, I tend to take extra precautions like baby gates and locking the pantry door. One year my cousins then 6 month old, who admittedly, I didn’t even know had the kinda grip strength required for this feat, got into my junk drawer and was chewing on a lightbulb. How she got it open, as it’s a hard pull, and reached over her head into the drawer is beyond me, but I still hear about the lightbulb incident).

I’ve also started the very preliminaries of my Christmas shopping. A few family members hang out in this corner of the internet so I can’t really discuss it in detail, but it’s a nice jumpstart. I just really don’t want to be panicked, running around when the snow flies. Since we are such a big family, outside of our immediate members, the larger subset of extended family does a secret Santa, and it’s quite the spy game. Its especially difficult when you get someone you really don’t know. I’ve felt a little sorry for my person the last two years, my cousins son, a now 16 year old who came into our family around 2017 when she and his dad hit it off. He’s a lovely kid but very shy and so my gifts for him have always been an educated guess based on anecdotal information. I hope I at least hit in the ballpark of his interests.

It’s also that oh-so-wonderful time of year when “sportsmen” start making poor decisions about their hunting habits and try to hunt near my property. It’s such a weird thing, because I was taught that you do not aim or fire when you have an unsecured backdrop, which is to say, if you’re aiming at anything that you don’t explicitly mean to shoot at, you are doing it wrong. I bring this up because in the past we’ve had some incidents where I live with people using my farm as a backdrop, putting my family, both two and four legged in jeopardy. My neighbor has had bullet holes put in her home and come face to face with poachers, which are somewhat prevalent in the area because the roads are winding and dark. 

But all this to say, someone used my farm as a backstop again this week, and I swear it took years off my life because I was actively trying to bring the girls in for the evening, so I nearly got trampled, my family was outside in danger, and it was getting dark so visibility was going away fast. There’s no sad ending to this thank God, but there’s no resolution to this either as it was a lucky thing, he was a bad (or good?) shot. Point is, only aim at things you intend to shoot, and for the love of God, think about your backstop, bullets don’t just fall out of the sky if you miss.

Okay, rant over, please enjoy these cute little noses as a resting point, fuzzy horse noses are the best thing for a troubled soul

My Favorite Nellie Snoot to boop
My Favorite Ro Snoot to boop

In happier news, another of my many cousins, one of the last couple that don’t live here in the valley, has been put to visit. It’s been super fun to see her, as it’s literally been a couple years now, and so much has changed for everyone. We got together to have an Aldrich Family lunch. It’s a little sad she can’t make it to Thanksgiving, but I’m so grateful she got any time off to visit at all, as time off is a real battle at her place of employment.

So, all in all, a crazy busy week, especially when you add in torrential downpours and lots of work meetings. I was supposed to meet with my lovely farrier, but he was kind enough to let me push it out a week so I could dry out the corral and catch up to life a little (and frankly, remind my girls the pasture isn’t that scary after the hunter situation). 

Its beginning to look a lot like the holidays around here, which means I get busier than Santa Claus and need January as an entire “mental health month”. Could you imagine? A whole month off? I bet I’d go stir crazy

Until we chat again my friends.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Hello friends!

Well, it’s almost Halloween, and the trees have finally started showing their colors! You may have noticed the banner changing quite a bit on the site, that’s in large part because I simply couldn’t decide what I wanted it to look like and was having a hard time getting the colors to translate on the site. I wouldn’t be surprised, and you shouldn’t be either, if I end up changing it yet again.

My Two current contenders for new banner

We had the worst rain storms since I’ve moved here this week, although the old timers will tell you this was nothing. It started raining a little before 6 am on Friday and didn’t stop until Tuesday evening late. I know the specific start time because I told my brother he probably didn’t need a jacket, the rain wasn’t predicted until later and it was pleasantly warm out. Not more than three minutes after he drove off did it drop ten degrees and start aggressively raining. In my defense, there was a 7% chance, and the radar was clear! It was also 65° out at 5 am! How was I to know?

The other crazy thing was the wind. It started about 8 am on Sunday morning (I sent a text to my dad that my phone had a severe weather warning) and continued until about 4 am the next morning. So, the swimming pool that was once my driveway had waves. 

The trade off about living in the high desert is that while we don’t get really rainy, gross, cold days often, when they happen, they are total deluges it can cause flooding and damage. Last year in June I found out the hard way I needed a new roof during one of those major storms.

But compared to when I lived in the Puget Sound area, I enjoy the rain a lot more, as its the exception, not the rule. While the scenery is gorgeous over there, I certainly don’t miss being wet from late September through early may. Turns out I’m a natural desert dweller.

I’m gearing up for a low key Halloween on the farm. We don’t get trick-or-treaters, which I wholeheartedly support, please don’t take your little ones (or big ones) to a random farm house in the middle of nowhere. I’m lovely, and most of my neighbors are lovely, but the horror stories speak for themselves. Also no one buys candy because we never get trick-or-treaters so it’s a waste of a journey unless the farmhouse residents know you’re coming.

Generally, I spend most of Halloween watching my animals (especially my tuxedo cat who normally loves the extra familial attention but, of course, on Halloween feels stifled by it) and keeping an ear out for my cousins, safety first on Halloween. Sometimes in the afternoon before the daylights fails, we will have a family Halloween bake off in town, but this year with the new arrival, one on the way, and the consistently bad weather earlier in the week, nobody felt it was a worthwhile endeavor. We will probably do a Thanksgiving bake off instead. I’m still planning on some spooky snacks. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The doggies got haircuts this week, so they’re looking all spiffy for the fall again. They always look so much better and are so much happier than when I try to groom them myself, so they go to the local pet shop. Funnily enough, since moving here, I’ve found the dog grooming community to be incredibly judgmental. I’ve had people tell me I’m abusing my dogs because they don’t get daily baths, that I need to have weekly grooming appointments, that its mean to have a poodle on a farm. Which is silliness because a lot of people use poodles for hunting dogs. My animals are always well cared for, admittedly this time of year the wet, musty dog smell is a constant battle, but I’m obsessive about their health and wellness. My only sin is that their fur gets a little too long in between visits, but that’s mostly because it’s impossible to get ahold of the only groomer in the area who is open more than once a week and I can’t always schedule them. Beyond that lack of pho places, this really is the only consistent frustration I’ve had with the place since moving here. 

But honestly, really, I guess I can see why they are easily upset, the turnover for assistants is high, I’m sure the pay is less than ideal, and I’d imagine they do see their fair share of underwhelming care situations. But I promise you, my critters are fine, they are just like their mama, a little sassy, big fans of the midday nap, and constantly in a state of getting dirty playing in the mud. But currently? For the next 36 minutes (until the next potty break) they are looking quite dapper.

Anyways, I digress. Have a safe Halloween, a fun weekend, and I will talk at you soon.

Until we chat again my friends 


Hello friends!
I have a new family member! Little Hazel joined us shortly after the blog went out, she’s a beautiful, healthy little girl born to a healthy proud mama. We are all very pleased. She’s absolutely perfect. Her older sisters and father are over the moon as well, excited to get to know their new person.
The beginning of this week was a little rough, as I have been battling an on again off again cold. It’s very annoying when you feel ill, but not quite ill enough to justify calling out of work or backing out of chores. Especially when you work remotely, it can feel really hard to call out, since I can work from under a blanket and make as much warm broth as is necessary. But such is the time of year, the unsettled weather tends to cause at least a few days of gross feelings and low immunity.

Hazel isn’t old enough to make her debut online, so please enjoy Nellie scratching a good itch instead

My sweet mama has been decorating the house for fall. She loves getting the house all pretty for the different seasons and holidays. When we were kids, the house was always so magical, especially at Christmas time. There were so many Santas and Jesuses and garlands and bells it was borderline hard to move around, but just about as cozy as you could get. As adults who moved home, we’ve politely asked for a little reining in solely so that we can go to work and move about without waking the dead. My sweet mom, while making leaps and bounds towards recovery, doesn’t always have that 3rd person perspective, so usually at least once I have to gently move a nativity or pumpkin array from the threshold of my door, so I don’t inadvertently kick the baby Jesus.

Mom asked that I wait until shes done decorating to show off her work, so stay tuned for that, and enjoy a pic of Ro from my pasture picnic

The coyotes have been very close lately, I’m thinking I’m going to need to spray for them again. I buy wolf urine and occasionally spray key areas around the farm in my best attempt to mark my territory in a spooky way. It’s one of the most nauseating jobs on the farm, but it helps a little. When we first moved in the coyotes were so bold, they would shout insults from the pasture fence when you came out on the porch, so about 20 feet away, and a couple times I was late to my job at the time because I’d have to wait for the pack to mosey on. They don’t fear humans around here much, but at least for now, they seem to fear wolves still.
Which leads me to an exciting turn of events that you know probably nothing about. Our sweet Juliet returned home!
For some context, Juliet is one of our barn cats, she was part of my parents buying the farm, so we joke that she was a very expensive cat, and we got the land for free. Either way she’s a sweetheart, if not a little entitled and needy sometimes. I love her to bits when she’s not intentionally trying to trip me or knock whatever out of my hands. I love her then too, but with more colorful language.

But mid last week she stopped coming to morning roll call, and we got a little concerned, because of the aforementioned coyotes. She’s disappeared before for a few days, it’s no secret she’s got food bowls filled by some of my neighbors too, but I am also aware the nature of barn cats is that you can’t totally keep them safe. Their roaming nature insures it.
But we weren’t ready to start mourning yet, as her sister seemed sure she’d come back, and Cordelia was right, Juliet came back after about three days, and we are quite happy to have her. She’s no worse for wear so we’re working on the assumption she holed up in a neighboring barn or something until the coyotes moved on.
Although admittedly, moved on is a strong phrase.

The neighbors felled a tree a couple days ago. Jury’s still out as to whether it was intentional. They had a tree trimming service out, and apparently the tree was supposed to come out eventually, but it chose its own timing, deciding it wasn’t pleased with the new haircut, I guess. All I know is there was a whole heap of cracking and then a very loud thud when that giant tree hit the ground. It was very old and very tall, an ash I believe. I happened to be out by the arena gate when it fell. I watched the sudden flurry of activity while getting some chores done. (I checked, no injuries, I’m not completely useless in a potentially emergency situation, promise)
Overall it’s just been a pleasantly mundane week. Got a lot of little pre-holiday projects done, since I know once we are entrenched in the season emails get forgotten, updates go unscheduled, and generally things get left unfinished, so I’m trying to prevent some of that this year. Theoretically.
Real talk? Stuff will still get missed. Joys of adulting.
Until we chat again my friends! 

Playin’ Possum

Hello friends!

Wow-wee, it got cold this week! And blustery and rainy and goodness, fall is starting to feel very much like early winter. I’ve gone ahead and changed the site to fall colors, I’ll probably end up changing the banner again if we get some colors, but that cute little tree in the pasture might just about it. Which I’m grateful for, don’t get me wrong.

Its feeling really odd for fall, which seems to be the theme of the year, because it’s alternating strongly between “it’s still summer!” And “if you blink there will suddenly be snow”… but as for fall feelings? Not a ton of those. It really can’t decide if it’s like to be a long summery slope into a brisk autumn or a free fall plummet into winter. Seems like each day it changes its course.

We’ve been winterizing where we can around the farm, it’s a little difficult when one day everything desperately needs water to stay healthy in the midday warmth and the next, you’re worrying about overnight freezing. We’ve pulled the irrigation pump setup for the year and emptied the system. Seems like no matter how well we winterize the system each year, there’s one little brass fitting that fails every single season, so this year we pulled it completely off the pump and it has pride of place on a shelf in the warm basement. We shall see if that fixes the problem. It’s a pricey little piece to lose every year, and also, it’s just ridiculously annoying to fix again come springtime.

The house irrigation is a fancy mess that we have someone come help us with. It’s a computer run system with fancy automated valves, and it has never consistently run right, so we have professionals come handle the winterization for us. I don’t want to accidentally flood my basement because I thought I had the system shut down properly. In fact, he came out yesterday to winterize it since we are officially under freeze warnings for a while.

We plowed the remains of the garden under, hopefully any nutrients left will return to the soil and it will prevent the opossum from finding our farm a habitual resting place. It’s like fighting an angry tenant at this point, he regularly goes in and chases the cats away from their food unless we leave the shed lights on, will sneak into the equipment workshop and throw every tool and stored item on the ground, and will now taunt the chickens from the mesh roof of their run, since we leave the lights on in there as well, and no longer easily come in. I’ve been looking into lower cost lighting for the outbuildings, which I needed to do anyway, but it’s a priority now since darn near every light has to be left on to protect the farm animals. And honestly, our sanity, since it’s really disheartening to have to clean up thousands of nuts and screws off the floor every time that crazy rodent goes in and rips the shelving units off the walls. Did I mention he’s easily pushing 20 lbs? He’s gotten quite comfy helping himself to my produce and unfortunately, several of my chickens. The jerk. He even scared off the sprinkler guy for a while. I thought I was going to have to break in a new one. Do you know how hard it is to find a good sprinkler guy? Ugh. The best part of all of this craziness is the little guy is no longer afraid of us, so the tables have turned, and we’ve developed this odd sentimentality towards him that is absolutely not reciprocated. All in all, a very weird situation.

If you can ignore that I am incapable of selfies, I thought you might enjoy my “proof” for the tack store, so I can purchase dewormer sometime in the next couple weeks. Not pictured, Nellie nearly wiping me out seconds before we got the shot because she got too excited about selfies.
I had to “convince” her to hold still for me, she was really focused on eating some grass and I was blocking the way

I managed to make some cinnamon rolls since I have been craving them for about a week. They weren’t from scratch or anything, didn’t have time for that, but they were very tasty and lasted in my house less than 24 hours. My family is very strongly hinting at my making them again, but I’m running low on baking supplies and need to make a grocery run first. Especially because every time I use powdered sugar it goes literally everywhere and gets into everything. That particular product runs out very quickly.

As of the writing of this blog, we are still awaiting the arrival of a new family member, my cousin is having another little girl and she’s set to make her arrival any time. This will be my cousins third little girl and she is so excited to be growing her family again. Her older two are four years old and five years old and little spitfires to boot. They love coming out to the farm and playing with the animals, “helping” in the garden, investigating whatever new toys I’ve put in the toy boxes, and generally getting so dirty that I feel a little badly putting them back in their mom’s car.  Not all that terribly though, because clothes wash but childhood farm memories are forever. Trust me.

As a protip, if you live on a farm, dollar store toys are your friend. Let’s face it, balls will pop, dolls will take dirt baths, crayons will get mashed into your fences and porch railings (my fridge is partially purple because apparently even goof-off can’t remove crayon from a textured white fridge. I dunno, I think it adds something to the kitchen). The dollar tree in my area gets a lot of my business because at least twice a year I go a little crazy on the toy section to refill our stock (and update it as the girls get older and new arrivals join, age-appropriate toys are a must). And I pick up new toys here and there all year long to replace or improve. Usually in the spring I walk out with a whole load of balls, jump ropes, chalk, hula hoops, and whatever yard games I can find, and in the winter, I restock on crayons, little dolls, and those plastic food and utensils sets. The girls absolutely love those. I like that it saves my pots and pans a little wear and tear from rambunctious play.

The dollar store is also great for basic stationary supplies, holiday decor, and some kitchen accessories and baking supplies. I’m a big proponent of the “buy cheap and if you break it buy expensive” rule for kitchen gadgetry, and honestly, some of the stuff I’ve picked up at the dollar store outlived my nice utensils. The holiday decor is great as long as you get there early, in my area the Halloween stuff is out and picked through usually by mid-August.

Well, I think that’s all there is for me this week, as we get into the colder season, I’m going to have to get creative about the work on the farm, and I guess I should start working on all the indoor household projects that I’ve been putting off. Time to get organized for the colder months, I think.

Until we chat again, my friends!


Hello friends!

Pumpkins! Look at these pumpkins! Aren’t they cute? We took a couple to my uncle’s so they could decorate too, as well as some other produce. I don’t know if they will make it to Halloween, but I do think they brighten up the porch for the fall! They also prompted me to take a few minutes to myself with my camera, which hasn’t happened in a little while due to the craziness of the harvest season. Unfortunately, my editing software isn’t playing nice so those photos will have to wait for the next post, these were taken with my smartphone.

I gotta say, while they don’t hold up as well overall, in most cases I am pretty impressed with the photos that come out of my phone’s camera. I’ve heard the newer phones are even better at that. Not as fun as exploring with a DSLR though, and no one can call or text my camera, so it still wins.

Watson was helping
“Mom, worry about the pumpkins later, let’s go play!!!!”

Speaking of craziness and cameras, I had a rapidly growing list of photoshoots my cousins wanted, namely two pregnancy shoots and a mother daughter shoot, and I thought “Why not pack them all into one day, since they are all sisters, we can make it a family event”. Good news, it was so much fun, and a lot of the photos turned out cute, the only downside was it was about a 4-hour nonstop process, and I was thoroughly exhausted by the time we were done. I had taken about 3000 photos? (The kiddos were all five and under so, much like with animals, sometimes you just have to furiously snap and hope you got something). I also picked up a little bit of a sunburn, because I wasn’t paying attention while roaming my aunt’s gardens in hunt for “the perfect backdrop”.

As I get those edited, if I get permission from the girls, I might be able to share those photos, or at least some of them. I don’t like to post other’s faces without permission, although that seems to be a dying sentiment as I often have to track down family members and explain why I really would prefer that picture of me taken down. Why are they never flattering? Maybe that’s a sentiment I don’t want to chase.

Honestly, I still maintain that photographing people is really stressful. I definitely think I’m getting better, and Lord knows I have enough family members that there’s never a lack of practice options, but I always worry that someone will be offended. I always make a point to return the candids with the fancy posed shots, so hopefully people are too busy laughing to notice that my editing skills need some work. I have super beautiful cousins too, so that definitely helps, instantly makes the photo better when the subject naturally lends itself to looking good.

My aunt gave me some pears this weekend as well, and I think I might make some pear bread with them. They are a different variety than I am used to but I’m sure it’ll probably be fine, right? Or it’ll be not fine, and we shall never speak of it again. So, ya know, the stakes are fairly low. I think I’ll make some pumpkin bread too, if I have all the ingredients. I hope so, as pumpkin bread is my all-time favorite bread. Either way, if they turn out, I’ll share the photos, if you never see it mentioned again, you can safely assume it went the way of that doomed cobbler and we can pretend it was never a thought.

Nellie Belle had her Gotcha Day this 26th! She got the day off, and lots of pats, apples, and carrots! She’s been my good girl for three years now, and I honestly can’t hardly believe how far she’s come. From the scared, underfed, little critter who shied away from everyone, would barge into me if I got too close, and called mournfully after every train that went by, to the bold, sassy little mare with a little bit of a tummy and a penchant for pickpocketing, she’s blossomed into an absolute riot to have around. She calls after us each time someone comes home, chases the lawnmower (from behind the fence, she’s safe, promise), and gently bullies her Uncle Christopher. To be fair, he dishes it just as much. He will walk out on the porch, stretch, and then absolutely bellow “NELLIE BELLE” at the top of his lungs. Which is usually followed by Nellie whinnying back and running toward the fence because she knows he will sneak her some cookies. They make quite the pair.

I seem to be having a hard time getting most of my photos to post this week, so there will be more Nellie Belle to come in the next few posts, but please enjoy this lovely one of my mom and Ro giving Nellie gotcha day hugs

This coming weekend I’m planning on hanging out and getting some winterizing done. It’s getting cold enough that I need to hook up the heat lamps and the water trough heater. Stay tuned for barn cleaning and prep antics.

Literally the only tree turning colors on the farm. I’m hoping to update the banner soon, but for now we stay summer themed

Until we chat again, my friends!