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! 

Signed, Your Very Opinionated Blogger

Hello friends!

Its official. I’m over winter. I’m done, got no good vibes left for it. I gave it a good shot, drank the warm caffeinated stuff, crocheted the fluffy blankets (sorta, I’m slow, so it’s like a third of a blanket, but still). I lit the winter candles, and made the fancy soups and the snow angels, and tracked the animal prints. It was fun, I enjoyed it. 

But now I’m cold and my frost free spout to the trough froze again, and I saw two degrees on the thermometer again, and I’m bitter and I’m cold and I’m over it. Everything’s frozen and slick and I haven’t seen above freezing temps in a week and I wiped out in front of the neighbors and Instagram keeps showing me #vanlife #onthebeach posts and I know it’s an algorithm but I’m gonna lose it.

Bring on spring.

Okay, time for a bit of composure. No one should ever let me write posts right after being outside. I can’t be trusted. 

A little bit of a fun fact about this blog, when I first started I would set aside an hour or two every Friday to recap the week and write my posts. But I quickly found that leaving anything to Friday afternoon was a bad plan because I am usually running on fumes by Friday. I’m very much a push through, step up, you-can-sleep-in-on-Saturday kinda person about my weekly to-dos but Friday after work is generally when the wheels fall off and if it hasn’t been started, its not getting done. So I tried a few different systems and found just devoting a few minutes every morning or early afternoon is usually the most productive solution. Which is a very long winded way of saying the blog posts are most generally formulated in smaller chunks, which sometimes allows for refinement, sometimes leads to disjointed topics, and sometimes means the only thing I can think to write is “I’m cold I’m cold I’m cold” over and over. Its probably a good thing I don’t write for a living. 

In actual farm related news, in addition to the ongoing nonsense that is trying to keep my water supply flowing, we are needing to replace the dualies on the flatbed. Its been a pretty long time coming, they’re pretty worse for wear, but after we parked with the latest hay bale I got out and heard the telltale “tzssssssssss” of a punctured tire. Pretty sure I picked whatever did it up on the highway. Probably a blessing in disguise, didn’t really realize how bad they were until I investigated. Taking it to the mechanic so it’ll all be done right and I don’t need to worry about it. 

At least the tire was kind enough to wait for payday. That’s a win.

I’ve also got taxes to contend with this week, although it should be less stressful than last year because I’ve given up straight away and hired a lovely professional like I finally did last year. Turns out if you worked for a questionable company and then abroad briefly (remotely) your taxes get all sorts of screwed up eternally. Luckily 2021 was the last year of weird job situations for a while (I hope) and 2022 taxes next year will be a walk in the park. I still may just stick with the professional. The peace of mind was miles better when I stopped doing them myself.

I convinced my dad to come with me as well, hes hiring my sweet tax professional too, because last year the computer program he used (no names, but I’m sure some of you can relate) screwed up the filing so badly that they ended up declaring my mom deceased (shes very much alive) and they never did get their return (because dead people apparently don’t get returns). I’m sure you can see why I’m throwing in the towel. Some people do this as a choice, and I’d rather pay them to figure it out. Especially since I don’t think I’m shifty enough for tax evasion and even if I was, I don’t look great in stripes.

But, jumping on a soap box for just a minute, why don’t they teach paying taxes in school? At least the basics, that most everyone will have to handle at some point? Because my sweet mother got sick before she taught me, and shed done my parents joint filing for 28 years, so dad and I were hopeless! So much googling that first year when we filed ourselves. Luckily my younger brother was able to benefit from our mistakes, but I really do wonder why there isn’t a “here’s some real world nonsense you gotta learn” class in high school? My parents tried, and I’m very blessed for that, but I know some of my friends didn’t have as much support at home so if there’s real world nonsense I completely missed, I would bet they never even had a chance. And if you screw up your taxes there’s some very unforgiving consequences. I bet a class like that could be kinda fun too.

Anyways, rant over, although apparently ranting is the mood of the week. I will say that farm taxes are easier in that they demand a set amount and that’s it. The fact that they go up every year while the services they are meant to provide seem to deteriorate is another matter. Also why are property taxes and such due on Christmas? That’s some scrooge mcduck nonsense right there. 

Well, that went entirely off the rails. Never let me blog while both annoyed and cold. And somebody take this soapbox from me, its causing me a mess of problems! 

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!

She Cleans

Hello friends!

Well, I’ve been trying to clean a little bit around the house, but decluttering is so hard when you’re basically a borderline hoarder. I wish I was joking.

But since we’ve had to be inside more, and more importantly, since I’m working from my actual home now, it’s becoming increasingly necessary that the house actually work for us, so I’m slowly going through bits and bobs. I figure if I try to pick a single project every weekend (that isn’t already jampacked) eventually the house will come together. 

This weekend I tackled the upstairs linen closet. I wanted to get it cleaned out because I’ve been trying to utilize it as a first aid center as well as a bit of a long term project storage and laundry basket space. Frankly, I’ve been trying to annex it because my room is a bedroom, office, project space, part time tack room, and this year, I fit Santa’s entire dang toy shop in here. Understandably I need a little more space. 

And to be entirely honest, having baby clothes and fancy antique linens in a well traversed area of the house seemed a bit like a disaster waiting to happen anyway. So theoretically, they are going to be much safer in the downstairs closet. 

But at the moment they are all living on the guest room bed because I need to order space bags. At least I think I’m getting space bags, although I think technically the generic name is vacuum bag because yours truly isn’t really into spending a bunch more on a name if they generic works just as well, so were gonna test a cheaper, but still exceedingly well rated option. Fingers crossed.

The other main clutter I’m trying to figure out is my coffee mugs. You see, I have quite a little collection of mugs, some from different experiences, some that were gifts, and all that my family won’t use because most are handwash only. I totally understand that, it’s hard to not just be able to throw a dish in the dishwasher. 

So, to be respectful, I’ve been trying to move my mug collection out of the kitchen space, so that my family can have easier access to the mugs they want to use daily. Unfortunately, at the moment my mugs are carefully stored away in a drawer my brother wasn’t using in his dresser, but he really kinda needs that back now. The boys very sweetly offered to build me a custom display shelf, which I absolutely love the idea of, however with wood prices being what they are, most of their carpentry projects need to be on the back burner.

I have been looking at those mug storage containers, that people seem to use for moving and long term storage, but I worry because so many of my mugs are oddly shaped. I have one shaped like a Boo from Super Mario and a giant Snorlax mug I was gifted this Christmas that is literally 51 ounces. Its giant, I adore it, but I’m not sure how to store it. Eventually I was thinking about getting a little fake plant and making it look like a pot (without needing to drill any actual water holes, also, due to where my room is in the house, it’s not really light or airy enough for real plants, those tend to stay in the communal spaces) but that’s a little ways down the road since I don’t actually have shelf space at the moment.

Speaking of cute mugs, I found an adorable little mug that says “it’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine” at our local department store that I’m sending to a friend (although admittedly, if they still have it next time I’m in there, I might pick up one for me, since that’s one of my go-to phrases). She is going through a rough spot life wise, and I thought she might need a bit of a care package. I picked up the mug, a nice blanket, a couple of my favorite little kitchen things since she’s moving and somewhat starting over (a spoon rest and some magnetic scissors, both have been invaluable in my kitchen), and finally a good dose of the artisan chocolates my little town is known for. Got everything wrapped up with little inside jokes, a little card, and some protective tissue paper, and it’s now on its way to the coast. I hope she likes it.

Please Ignore that I propped it up on a lightbar for photos… also no stress, she doesn’t know about the blog, so there’s no spoilers here
Joe was reaaally trying to help but got reaaaallu bored too.

But other than that, it’s been pretty low key around here. I started trying to build out a digital to do list as a paper and time saving method. I like physical planners, but for the minutiae of a daily to do it feels like such a waste of paper. It’s also the only way I get things done, so just dropping the to-do list habit wasn’t going to work (I tried). I liked using my whiteboard for a while, but its big drawback was lack of portability. So, I’m trying Notion, which is basically fancy online excel, and that way I can have a weekly to-do list and add to it from my pc or phone. So far, I’ve been more pleased with the computer over the phone, but their roadmap shows planned improvements so I’m hopeful the mobile experience gets better.

That’s all for me, I wish you lots of luck in your new-years-new-organization endeavors. Lemme know if you have many good mug storage ideas, I need advice.

Until we chat again my friends!

Cabin Fever

Hello friends!
Let’s talk cold. Like -2 degrees cold. Because over the holiday weekends that’s where we ended up. I know we talk about the weather a lot here, but like, I lived in a place where it rained about 70% of the time and was always grey and overcast! You know why the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle?! Because you get so used to the grey you can’t fathom another color! I’m sure it shocks no one that at one point my little heart considered studying meteorology, but really it is fascinating.

Believe it or not, these were warm estimates, although it has slowly started warming up a little. I am sitting under a comforter next to a space heater though, so not fast enough.

Or, in the case of -2 degrees where its normally not that cold: its terrifying. Sobering. Punched a big ole hole in my “we’re prepared” mindset.
For one main issue: it turns out my heating system stops working at about 20°. This is normally fine because while we regularly get down into the teens, it’s usually only for a few hours overnight. It’s a big problem when 11° is the high for the day. Its been ridiculously cold in the house. I’ve had two comforters on my bed and basically don’t go anywhere without some form of blanket. My little space heater has been working hard because most tech devices don’t appreciate the uncharacteristically cold temperatures either.
It also caused the heaters to my outdoor water supply to quit. Which means literally everything froze up and I had split hoses turning my property into a lovely ice rink the minute we got a little thaw going. Not ideal.
I finally snuck out to get some hay, i was kinda worried about it because we haven’t really had the flatbed out in the snow yet, and due to the temperatures and such neither county had bothered with plowing the roads. In their defense, its been scary cold and dumping lots of snow, plus this time last year they accidentally parked a plow in my neighbors field, which I’d imagine is quite the deterrent. It was very odd to walk into my room look out on a pretty white snow patch (I wasn’t completely over it last year like I am already this year) and just seeing one poor gentleman and my neighbors standing out staring at a plow sitting askew down an embankment into my neighbors field. I’d imagine that was a very scary ride.

Poor dad took a fall in the snow this year, which has not helped his love of the snow, but he’s doing okay now. Jammed his back for a while, the poor thing. He’s already fighting a bad back so I’m trying to help keep him off the slick stuff as much as possible.
The upside to cold temperatures is it’s made staying inside a little easier. I’m less tempted to spend a whole day puttering around outside, which works out since we’ve been crazy swamped at work the last few weeks. My boss made sure we all got lovely holiday weekends, which I am so grateful for, but we are in a highly time sensitive space so there’s always a million things to be done and we are now playing a little more catchup than I think we had realized. I’m simultaneously glad and a little bit regretful I didn’t take any extra PTO for the holidays, because I was able to keep most of my plates spinning, but also, I’m kinda missing the usual new year refreshed feeling.
But it’s also cool because for the first time ever in my actual career I might be able to take a few days off this summer. I always got magically called in on days off in previous roles (except for the last one, to be fair, I just wasn’t there long enough to try a vacation). My first “grown up” role I worked 365 days a year because my boss always forgot they needed something on the weekend or on the rare holiday and I didn’t meet the priority standards for using any time off. We were not in any sort of hurry either, so I never understood. Oh well, each chapter of life is a learning experience. Some lessons blow but whatever.
In any case the crazy hours at work have meant less time to properly focus on the blog, or the farm, or laundry (its getting a little dire, not gonna lie) so I’m hoping to figure out a way of better juggling it all. Especially come springtime because I have plans! I have so many farm related plans. Some may be cost and time prohibitive, most involve me not breaking myself midsummer and needing to drastically scale back everything, and all of them require a good work life balance.
Also, in a completely unrelated realm of topic: I totally selfishly want credit for recording two 45 second snippets showing off some of the snow and my plans were dashed! Dashed I tell you! By the fact that they simply will. Not. Transfer. Off my phone. Help!

Imagine this, but in video form.

(This may be a sign this blog needs a companion YouTube channel so I could upload off my phone… but that sounds really, really scary). Anyways, if I figure this out, I’ll tack them on to the next post, or maybe just put them in their own little mid-week thing? But that’s putting a lot of confidence in my abilities to make my phone talk to my computer, and they simply won’t! Hatfield’s and McCoys dressed up as windows and android.
Welp, this went entirely off the rails, didn’t it? This is what happens when I can’t be outside. I need spring!
Until we chat again my friends 

Auld Lang Syne

Hello friends!
Happy 2022!
We made it. 2021 was an objectively very weird year, to be honest, it almost made 2020 look mundane, and I was scarily unemployed and surviving on my savings for a portion of 2020.
2021 had some extreme highs and lows.
Obviously some of the lows included losing family members both of the two and four legged variety. And the unfortunate issue of really screwing up my elbow with a pretty crazy wipeout off the back of Ro. I’ll eventually have full range of motion again, right? Hopefully?
But the highs were crazy too!
Obviously a big one: I started this blog! I can’t believe I sat down in March to get started, that feels like so long ago. Which is entirely weird since I feel like I still have no idea what I’m doing. I have so many ideas for this little corner of the web and am slowly figuring out how I want to implement them. But to think, I’d talked about starting a farm blog for a while, and it took leaving a job and my then coworkers wanting farm updates still for me to actually start. Its turned into quite a fun journal entry for me of sorts, a way to keep accountable and really think about what’s been happening. It’s also exercised a muscle I haven’t in a long time, like many kids I loved to write, mostly fiction, but our school system did it’s best to kill that love. I didn’t realize how much I missed it.

I was not a fan of the first few hours of the new year, meteorologically speaking

Another huge high was how close Ro, Nel, and I got. Everything from pasture picnics to figuring out mounting without both arms, we kept bumping into moments of growth and trust building between the three of us, and while they weren’t always easy (looking at you, frustrated tears over mounting block woes) we came out with an easy sort of calm about hanging out, something I’ve longed after for many years. Something that can only be achieved when you get to work with and love critters that are solely yours and beyond a weekly lesson or show-lease relationship. I’m so grateful for those horses and trainers that came before but am happier than I’ve ever been with Ro and Nel. Truly, while I’ll never be Olympic levels of good at this sport, I firmly believe I was destined to be a horse mom.
Other great highs include starting at a job I really love! After job hopping a little, entirely unintentionally, I think I have finally found a place to settle. My boss and coworkers are pretty understanding, I don’t regularly get put down, harassed, or threatened with termination over silly, inconsequential things or unavoidable circumstances, and help is generally a git comment or slack message away. Plus, I work with one of my best friends (different teams, same department) and just the comfort of an always friendly face is invaluable. One day I’ll share some of the lessons I’ve learned during my short time in the software development world and the difference between a terrible job, a good job that’s a bad fit, and the right job. Also, the concept of the right role for now. Might make a good post.

Quite proud of our new years dinner too, but ignore my yorkshire pudding. It tasted yummy but didnt poof

So, the standard question this time of year: any resolutions? Not really, in that I’m a firm believer in starting whenever you can, so I generally don’t wait for the new year. But I would like to continue with some current goals. First, I’d like to shake off the work burnout I’ve carried with me from earlier roles and figure out the best way to put lack of confidence and imposter syndrome in its place. I just told you how much I love my job, but the painful truth is no matter how great a position is, if you’ve hit exhaustion and senseless anxieties, you gotta find solutions. I’ve been trying out solutions for much of the latter half of 2021. Secondly, I want to get my health generally more stable (no more constant colds) and lose some extra pounds that seemed to follow me home from college and set up permanent residence. Even if the numbers on the scale don’t move, I want to feel better and more in control of my health. And not huff and puff up my driveway. Finally, I’ve been working more on “acting on ideas”. Not in an “impulse shop” or “start 80 new hobbies” kinda way, but more in a “I really would like to rearrange this space” or “I really want to finally add that section to the blog” kinda way. I tend to get locked in the planning stage, and sometimes something as silly as hanging an art piece on my wall is procrastinated in the name of “thinking it through”. This blog almost didn’t happen for that same reason. This actually affects every part of my life, so I’ve been really keen to start practicing that new habit. Stay tuned for progress.
So what are your goals or resolutions for 2022? What were your highs and lows? Got ideas for the blog? Funny new year’s stories? I wanna hear it all!
Happy 2022 y’all! Let’s make it ours!
Until we chat again my friends! 

The Ho-Ho-Holidays

Hello friends!

(Happy New Years! I am admittedly writing this on the 29th, because I won’t be around the internet much this weekend, but I hope your New Years Weekend is everything you wished, and that 2022 is amazing!)

We did it! Another lovely Christmas in the books! It’s kinda funny though, this year, because I was so careful about spreading the joy out in small doses throughout the month, I think this is the first year where the relief is fairly small, since there simply was not a lot of stress to start. A wonderful Christmas miracle.

We had such fun at the family secret Santa on Christmas eve, got to see some family members who are usually working odd hours or generally don’t make it to as many events, obviously spent a lot of time holding the newest family members, and I think my person liked their gift.

I was randomly assigned my cousin’s fiancé as my secret Santa giftee this year, and since I know family is very important to him and he has a brand new little daughter, I opted to give him a family photoshoot opportunity with all the bells and whistles, prints, a big old frame, the works. A couple people have asked if that was a cheat since I take photos as a hobby and have done shoots for the family before, but to me, saying yes to a photoshoot, whether as a gift (which I’ve done before) or not, guarantees a minimum of about 25-40 hours dedicated work to a project (my cousins wedding was actually closer to 60), and it’s usually kinda expensive for me too, so it’s definitely not a “well I’ll just do this because I have nothing better” gift. At least, I certainly don’t see it that way.

My cousin hosted Christmas since she has such a lovely little home, she’s so proud of. She should be, its adorable and she and her husband have put such time and effort into making it a cozy place to be. They’ve really made it a lovely place to raise kiddos and take on the world together. It’s got lots of little old home quirks but is also updated to show off their personalities.

She made a wonderful dinner, and we all potlucked the side dishes, which worked out amazingly as usual. There was so much good food that I need to run about 40 miles to work off that meal, I ate so much. 

I made green bean casserole with bacon and sauteed mushrooms, as well as no bake peanut butter bars. I know the casserole was delicious, I got to try some, and it was gone before seconds could be had, and I’m hoping the peanut butter bars were good, they were gone before i could try them myself. I assume that’s a good sign. I think it’s also a sign to make some more for new years. I’m also going to make some for my neighbors as a thank you for always scraping my driveway with their snow blade, I’ve never asked but he’s so big hearted that my driveway is almost always cleared day of. I want to make sure he knows he’s appreciated.

I remember as a child someone told me, I wish I remembered who, that calories don’t count over the holidays. Obviously, that’s not true, but I think the sentiment behind it is “don’t make yourself miserable over the holidays, just be prepared to put in the work before and after” and I think that’s fair. For what it’s worth, I also joke that they don’t count because you do so much running around on the holidays you’ve pre burnt them off. Also, I just love watching my brother short out when I say that. I always call it girl math.

Christmas day was lovely and calm, we got up late, and I started the day by baking some cinnamon rolls (that were preassembled, so they were very easy to get in the oven). While they baked, we did our stockings and enjoyed watching the valley slowly wake up. 

I definitely always push the idea that the holiday is not about gifts, as a Christian I think it’s important to consider beyond the platitudes the “reason for the season” and give some thanks and consideration for the overarching importance of the Christmas holiday, but there is something to be said for realizing how much love and effort went into the gifts you received. From my shy little cousin picking out some lovely spice blends for my secret Santa gift, to my dad’s choice of a wonderful light bar for the front of my car (something I’ve been talking about for eons) it was clear to me that a lot of consideration went into my gift choices, and I felt so loved and seen. If similar sentiments are to be believed, Christmas morning had similar vibes for my immediate family members too. My dad got a lovely desk upgrade (which has been riding around in my car under a blanket for over a month because it outweighed me by a decent amount and was both taller and wider than I so I simply could not move it by myself) and I finally (finally!) after many tries in recent years, surprised my brother with a video game he wasn’t expecting but totally loved. My mom’s surprise gift was a hair straightener that is built to work a little better with her disabilities, so now she can do almost anything shed like with her hair independently, and independence is in vogue in our house lately.

I, uh, clearly don’t have a gift for arranging gifts in a decorative way. Also, I couldn’t get the stocking to hang on the stove after I fill them, so they sat in each person’s preferred sitting spot instead

All in all, three days of relaxing, feeling very loved (and very full of food) were much needed, we watched the snow fall, caught a MythBusters marathon, and generally slowed down. Going back to work was a little more of a chore than expected, sure wish I had taken the week off haha.

Until we chat again my friends.

A Quiet Week as Santa’s Elf

Hello friends!
Things are actually fairly chill on the farm, which is a little weird, considering how close to Christmas we are. I’m definitely writing a little early this week, just like with Thanksgiving, mostly so I don’t forget to post. Also going to make use of the schedule feature, although I get a little nervous trusting schedule features. I’ve written enough of them to know it’s really easy to foul them up.
Gifts are all wrapped, and honestly? Can I shamelessly brag for a few? I was on top of it this year, I had all my shopping done by December 1st and 80% of my wrapping done by the fifth. And the entirety of my wrapping was done last weekend. I’m never ever that on top of things. It was such a pleasant feeling.
It helped a ton that my little brother is usually my partner in crime, but he works in shipping and handling, so the closer to Christmas we get, the less time we have, and if I want help I have to get it before, what we refer to as peak season. Since my biggest stress is shopping during this time of year, he helped me get the lions share done before December, so we weren’t majorly behind waiting on his crazy shifts to end.
It did take us forever to put up exterior lights. Our schedules barely meshed and when they did, the weather wouldn’t cooperate at all. It was heavy winds and rains the entire weekend we had set aside to set them up. I finally snuck out and got some of them up after work one day, my dad came out to help, because poor Christopher was so sick, and the weather was just barely cooperating. After helping me reach some of the higher points, my sweet dad offered this summer to put up a permanent set of hooks so, should I have a reason to set up the outdoor lighting alone, I won’t have to wrestle the staple gun up and shoot staples over my head while holding lights. I am very excited about that prospect.
It’s honestly not that I don’t want help, I swear I can totally be a team player, but when you are trying to work around your own work schedule, everyone else schedule, and the unpredictability of care-giving, tasks that can just be picked up when you have a free moment and solved quickly, those are gold. So, having a better Christmas light solution sounds silly, but it means next year I’ll be able to cross it off my list, even if I have to get put at 4 am to do so, without bugging others. Or, like right now, when I have to go fix a dead strand of lights, it’s much easier.
It’s been so windy and gross lately, with rain and snow squalls, freezing temps followed by warm wet weather, basically everything is majorly soupy and borderline unsafe. We’ve been out breaking up ice rinks in the arena and corral for the horses, since it pours and turns into a lake, and then freezes into a slippery situation. I’ve made plans to fix the drainage in those areas, hopefully in the spring, but even if it was fixed, the sheer amount of moisture we’ve gotten this year is completely crazy and I don’t know if my simple gutter and French drain solution would suffice. Definitely makes it hard to work outside, that’s for sure. The wind is so biting, even on the warmer days where we break freezing it’s too cold to be outside. Ears get to hurting, jaw gets to hurting, fingers stop working, too cold. The weird intermittent fog doesn’t help either. It also means I haven’t been outside with my camera in a while, and I miss it!
We had quite the funny situation in my house earlier in the week. I’m not hosting Christmas this year, my cousin wanted a swing at it, so all I have to do is bring a side and a dessert, which I am so excited about. I plan on making a jazzed up green bean casserole and a batch of no bake chocolate peanut butter bars. But earlier in the week, I went to double check the ingredients for my dishes, and I found my mom and dad had gotten very excited about the canned green beans and had eaten the base for my side dish. I cracked up, made a run into town, and all is well, but it was a silly situation to find. I also know I need to keep canned green beans in the house more often, they were a total hit apparently. Also, by the time you’re reading this, unless you’ve read it the same moment it’s gone up, the casserole and bars are done and being enjoyed, hopefully, by my sweet family in Christmas eve. We plan to hide out in our jammies with cinnamon rolls on Christmas day.
I hope your holidays are merry and bright, whichever ones you celebrate, and safe and cozy and restful and wonderful. I’ll catch up with you next week.
Until we chat again my friends!