Can You Get Frequent Flyer Miles At The Vet?

Alternatively titled: Why is 2021 the year of vet visits?!

Alternatively alternatively titled: This post is just a collection of blurry phone photos

Hi Friends!

Oh my goodness, we survived it. A crazy weekend that involved a wedding, a funeral, and a graduation ceremony and parade and party. Of course, it picked this weekend to be 91 degrees too! But we survived it, and short of the funeral, everyone had a good time at their events. I don’t know if you can have a “good” time at a funeral, but you can laugh and celebrate your loved one’s life, which we did. The wedding was outdoors, but none of the bridal party melted away so that was a success. The graduation was great! They had the AC on full blast, something like 80% of the graduating class earned some form of academic honors, the parade had a live band on the finale float, and the whole town turned out to celebrate in some way or another.

Nothing quite like packing a year’s worth of events into 48 hours. But when you have 20 first cousins and about 35 family members within the county, events start stacking up like jenga blocks. When you plan your weekends down to “and I’ll have five minutes to eat here” it quickly becomes a science. I literally have so many half done tasks that got left behind, and I keep finding more! We won’t talk about the small pull cart in my formal dining space… that’s basically become furniture at this point. I’ll pack it up and get it back into my trunk eventually, it’s fine.

And, of course, a weekend like this also means a lot of things on the farm got a little behind. Dad has spent this week putting the garden in (pictures coming soon, when it stops storming), and I spent the week supporting Watson, who’s run of the mill dental cleaning turned into an 18 teeth extraction extravaganza. Little guy is feeling rough. He’s definitely a little miffed about the situation.

Poor little guy has the curse of poodle teeth, but hes taking it like a champ. Got some tasty soft food, hes basically been toted around everywhere I go, and I worked from home all this week so I could properly manage his meds. Hes definitely milked it a little, but he also had a very sore mouth so I can’t be mad. He is totally okay as long as I stay in his line of sight, if I try to disappear I have to grab someone to babysit because he has a small panic. He is also really frustrated that he can’t eat the same food as his brothers, even though he’s been loving the super soft food. He’s always been a little bit of a food hoarder, so it goes against his life principles to not constantly be eating and guarding the food bowl.

Watson pre-teeth extraction, being a ham
Watson, joining a Zoom meeting, telling me it was time for his antibiotics

Sherlock also visited the bet this week because we noticed a cataract forming on his eye. It didn’t seem to be bugging him at all, but I am a worrier to the maximum and didn’t want something preventable to turn into an issue down the line. Sherlock is such a champ as well and handled all parts of the appointment perfectly, from the dye to the flashlights, to the ear check (we had a lovely vet student hang out with us, who was in awe of how tiny Sherlock is, fun fact, he weighed in at 3.4 pounds this time). The good news is, while our vet has some reservations, she’s pretty sure the cataract is hereditary or at the very lease, an intrinsic part of him, and, while it will most likely annoy him some as it progresses, he seems totally fine with it for now, and there’s no sign of infection or pain. She asked if I had seen any changes in vision but to be honest, he’s always acted as though he didn’t have great eyesight, so I don’t think I would notice the difference.

This is Sherlock’s good eye, also isn’t he cute?!
Sherlock never stops bouncing, so most of my photos of him are blurry, but here you can kinda see to the left of the image his grey eye. Also, peep my amazing, definitely not seriously dated 70s linoleum… yep, it’s several shades of gold…jealous?

Nellie and Ro have had quite a few days off due to the craziness of the weekend and the following vet post care filled week. I did find some time to give the girls a really good brushing out so we have (well, had, for about two minutes, hence why I didn’t get pictures in time) shiny clean coats. Ro usually hates being brushed out, no patience for standing around, but I think she had enough of her knotted sprinkler hair. Admittedly, the mane and tail situation on this farm still needs work.

The latter half of this week has been kinda stormy in that irritating “Technically I can still get chores done but it’s all going to be way harder” kinda way. I am excited for it in some regards though, as my uncle’s water pump went out this week and he’s at serious risk of losing about 200 acres of crop. My aunt has been trying to track down a replacement, or even a temporary solution, but with all the craziness with shipping and import/export lately, it’s hard to get ahold of anything anywhere, let alone machinery parts in a rural setting. Just an icky situation all around. Hopefully the rain is enough to help a little, it’s splattering against my window as I write, so I hope it’s hitting up there as well.

As it all stands, I’m looking forward to a super relaxing calm weekend. Going to catch up on some riding, some cleaning, and most importantly, some resting. Maybe even get some ideas for blog stuff actualized…. Maybe. Overall, a much needed break. Hopefully we will get back to our regular farm shenanigans next week, can’t wait to show you the garden, I wanna try to get some fun horse related footage, and I’ve got lots of summer projects I want to take you along on.
Until we chat again, my friends!

Scooby was trying so hard to be brave, he hates the flooring in my room. Also, new riding boots! It’s only been a decade, about time for a replacement (Especially since you can see my socks through my current boots)

There’s Always Something To Do On A Farm

Happy Friday, you beautiful souls!
My aunt and uncle are visiting me, and I am so excited! Don’t worry, we are being covid safe. I love having them here, prior to covid they would come a few times a summer and stay for a couple weeks at a time, this time they are staying for only a couple days but might be able to come again soon!
We got lots accomplished this week. I’m pretty happy.
First of all, my lovely mom went treasure hunting in our storage space and found something very special to me. For a little context, my parents moved in and my mom almost immediately had her health deteriorate, my brother and I moved back and almost immediately took over a lot of the day to day, so it took over a year to actually unpack and settle, and there’s a storage shed space on the farm that is basically “everything we didn’t have time to unpack at the time”. Which is why I’m still missing items almost three years on. It’s a little daunting to go in there, there’s a lot of Christmas décor, baby clothes, and just random weird nostalgia everywhere. Anyways, my mom has taken to going in there every couple of weeks and sorting a little here and there, she seems to like having it as an independent project, and she found my show bridle!

Some of the details on my beautiful show bridle

I was gifted this beautiful, hand-made bridle by my parents when I was 16. I was showing my trainer’s crazy pink paint horse (he was absolutely pink in the sunshine, and the most opinionated giant puppy dog of a gelding) and I had none of my own tack and equipment. I saw the bridle at a swap meet where I was volunteering, my trainer noticed and sneakily told my parents, and they pulled a sneaky purchase without my knowledge. Funnily enough, it never fit Wilson well, so it never got used, but I loved that thing, and it hung in my closet forever in high school and most of university. When I moved, it never made it to my senior year housing, and when I moved home it wasn’t with the stuff at my parents’ house either. I had a feeling it was gone forever. BUT! Somewhere, and I have no idea where because I hunted for it forever, Mom found it, and it fits Ro! So, my gorgeous show bridle is back in my life!
Also, I got an honest to goodness gate latch on my arena gate! I no longer need to walk around or struggle to unchain the gate, and life just got so much easier. I can’t wait to slowly replace every chain latch with an actual one hand latch. So much easier and safer. I leave the chains on, so that I can secure never opened gates, and so I have a backup should a latch break, but I hate using chain latches for day to day and am always excited to upgrade.
I cleaned up and shocked the water trough, and added a new self-cleaning bag of barley, finally folded up the giant tarp that has been taking over my tack space, and finally got the farrier out to see the girls and trim up hooves! All in between some crazy looking clouds that threatened to turn ugly. It was a crazy busy week.

New Gate Latch (I definitely have found new reasons to go in and out of the arena just to use the gate)

While I’ve been at work (the new job is going amazingly by the way, maybe one day I’ll share a little more about what I do when I’m off being a fancy Software Dev) Mom and Dad have been cleaning out and mulching the gardens around the house. It looks so amazing! I must say, I was a little skeptical about the mulch, I thought it would be too dark and stuffy, but it really is making the beds look clean and fresh. I need to do some work in those gardens, we lost a lot of our perennials this year because of the late cold snaps and inconsistent weather… the winds haven’t helped much either. I have heard, however, that a family member is putting in a new deck and removing some of their beds, so I might see if I can re-home their bulbs. Our tulips have done well, so hopefully more of those will continue to erupt.
In other news, there’s a horse down the way from us that looks so similar to Ro, and I’ve been curious about him for a while, so you can imagine my surprise when I came home this week and said horse, with rider, were wandering along the canal road, just the other side of the canal from my corral. It honestly scared me at first because it kind of looked like Ro had, somehow, gotten out and over to the road. I think I also scared the rider because I went absolutely flying down to the corral to see what on earth was going on. But the horses name is Jack and the rider’s name is Jaime, and I think we might be good neighbors, if all he said about Jack being his best companion was true.

Lots of water for warm weather flowers!

Well that’s all for us around here, the weather is getting warm throughout the day, so soon I’ll need to move my schedule around to be able to work in the cool of the morning outside. Summer is my absolute favorite, and I am so happy it’s starting to show.
Until we chat again, my friends!

The ‘Q’ word


It’s been a sleepy, rainy kind of week on the farm, not a whole lot got accomplished. We had a vet scare on Friday and it definitely set the tone for the week. By the way, what is up with vet scares on Fridays? I swear we’ve gone years without a medical emergency from the critters and now two? Geez.
Watson had a Parvo scare; I got a call at work that he had thrown up and was generally acting like he had a tummy ache. The vet’s office was “pretty sure” it was not Parvo but wanted to be safe over sorry, so we treated it as though it was the case. Thank goodness it turned out to be just a tummy bug. Watson was on a little run of antibiotics for a few days just in case since we couldn’t pinpoint an exact cause. He has some food sensitivities so it also could possibly be something the sneaky pupper got into, despite my best efforts.

A funky little tulip from my garden

Ro and Nellie have been pretty keen to work lately, and they’ve been loving having the sprinklers on when they are out in the pastures. Ro especially been such a good girl, we’ve really had some great work. I think we had a little bit of a breakthrough in one of our trouble spots. I messaged my dear friend and partner in equine related crime (so to speak), and she was able to give us some solid advice. It felt really good to conquer some of our issues. Ro is such a good girl, the issues are minimal, but that just makes me all the more excited to learn how to fix the little things and become a better rider for her. Nellie has gotten really adept at stealing tack off the fence, running away with equipment, and yelling at anyone not actively paying her attention. She has been absolutely cracking me up with her antics. My brother has a habit of shouting “Nellie Belle!” from the porch at her when she’s being cute, and she has started responding in kind. The neighbors probably think we are nuts. They wouldn’t be wrong.
Much of the irrigation still needs work, and my lovely mares have done their part to break as many sprinklers as we’ve been able to fix, but I am hoping to have the pasture lines all fixed soon. That’s this coming week’s goal anyway. But realistically, irrigation is an ongoing battle, we almost never have everything in working order all at once. It does look like maybe the yard sprinklers are back together enough that I can use the scheduling bit again. The brains of that operation, the little computer in an electrical box on my porch, randomly decides game over, and I usually have to call someone. We also found out the opossum that has been wreaking havoc lives in my little cubby for the valves. So, that was a fun surprise for my sprinkler guy. I’m, uh, not sure what the plan will be to ultimately solve that… opossums are kind of scary.
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday had some fun storms. I had tried to capture some of it, but that was just not meant to be. We had a little thunder, a lot of rain, even some hail. The nice thing was the pasture and gardens got watered without much work on our part. The rough part was those storms were spaced just such that we were basically stuck inside for about three days. You really don’t want to be working on irrigation in a lightning storm or trying to clean up sagebrush in the wind. Not super ideal. Made for some beautiful cloud formations and forced me to get some indoor work done. Admittedly, when it’s pretty I have a hard time wanting to clean and keep the house running. My family concurs.
I think we finally got all our seeds in the mail, which is super exciting. We ordered straight from a seed curator this year since last year was such a bust. I bought most of my seeds from a local store, where I had had some luck before, but they hadn’t stored the seeds correctly and most of the seeds were no longer viable. Of course, we didn’t find this out until much later in the growing season, too late to replant things, and we didn’t have much of a yield last year. Hopefully this year, since we are getting them straight from the source, we will have better results.
We ordered some new plant types too, which I am excited to try. We got some peppers, watermelon, and lavender seeds among others.  My brother is particularly excited about the peppers, I’m most excited about peas. Peas rarely make it out of the garden, they tend to become a gardening snack. Hopefully some make it in this year so I can cook with them. I love peas in a bunch of dishes.

This is also a tulip… I know, I was shocked too

We should be able to plant soon, we are waiting for the telltale mountain peak to lose its snow, generally, when that particular peak is bare, we won’t have any hard freezes or frosts anymore and it’s safe to plant. I’ve heard some talk that a few people jumped the gun in the valley and planted early and lost some seeds. I hope that’s idle gossip, and no one really lost an entire garden already. That would be pretty heartbreaking.
Overall, pretty quiet week, although I probably shouldn’t use that word and jinx us. We have some plans for the coming weeks, that I’ll keep mum about for now, but hopefully will make for some fun posts. I’m excited for the garden posts, and upcoming projects, and if I can ever get this file to behave, the blog should switch to spring colors soon. Fingers crossed on that one.
Until we chat again my friends!

Cats, Cameras, and Canals (oh, my)

Hello there!
It’s getting warm out! Oh my goodness, the flowers are starting to bloom, the animals are shedding winter coats, and it’s been a lot of fun to work on the porch when we can. It has been windy though, we lost a flag this last storm, tattered itself to pieces before we could wrestle the pole down. A telescoping pole, when under tension from the wind, is no longer a telescoping pole.

Joey got his summer haircut, and while he doesn’t look like a poodle anymore, more like a lab, he is a much happier dog, and has been wreaking Joe-sized havoc on the farm. He’s a little miffed, because I had to replace one of his tennis balls (I buy them in bulk now, not even exaggerating). Why did I have to replace it? He had literally torn all the fuzz off of it, and it had developed it’s own level of sentience, it was so gross… Joe is rough on tennis balls.
The girls have had an easier couple of days because I cracked a couple ribs and haven’t been big on the whole twisting and bending thing. The doctor said “No driving and stay out of the saddle”, among other things, but what I heard was “you don’t have to go grocery shopping and no lifting the saddle, bareback rides only”… I think that’s a fair interpretation. Although to be entirely honest, I have been avoiding riding for a couple days, because my real life, adult job requires sitting at a desk for a long time each day and I’m pretty sore by the time I get home.
Since I’ve been taking it easier on chores, I’ve had a little extra time to enjoy the outdoors this week, and I got to take my camera out on a (low key) adventure for the first time in a while. I forget how good nature walks are for the soul. The photos are middling, but the attitude has greatly improved. Funny how that works. I’m always happy when I have camera in hand.

The cats, whom you haven’t yet met, are in some level of trouble this week. Juliet and Cordelia have a tendency to get into places they aren’t welcome, mostly because it’s unsafe for them, and Monday morning I found them in my car. They had found one of my windows about a half-inch rolled down, and decided the best option was to force the window lower and spend the weekend partying in my backseat. They re-organized my tailgate storage (I drive an SUV), knocked several knobs off my dashboard controls, and unfortunately used my car as a litter box. The also stripped out the gearing in that window… so it no longer rolls up. Don’t worry, I have it secured closed until I can get it fixed up.
Luckily, my lovely family helped me scrub the new-found gross out of my car, and I spent too much money on air fresheners to help mitigate the smell. This little old lady heard me telling the sales associate what I was looking for and why, and she handed me a little off-brand air freshener, assuring me it would cover the cat smell. Boy, was she right! My car now smells like pina colada… from about 5 feet away with the windows rolled up. Honestly, still prefer it to the litter box smell so I am a happy camper.
Juliet and Cordelia are an interesting duo. Juliet is a social butterfly, more dog that cat in terms of happily following you around doing chores, drinking from the hose, trying to round up horses. Cordelia pretty much hates everyone unless she’s hungry or bored. Hence why it’s hard to get a decent image of Cordelia. Although it’s just as hard to capture Juliet on film because she wants to hug the camera. They are a comedy duo, and they’ve lived on the farm longer than any of us. We joke that we bought two cats and the farm came with them. Juliet has a brother, who we believe we might have seen, but since we cannot confirm it’s Romeo, we call that cat Black Cat (how original). We joke that Black Cat and the other strays that hang around are Juliet’s friends who stayed too late to drive home. I’d like to say they keep the mice at bay, but since my dad is a massive pushover, it mostly just means I buy cat food for a whole herd of cats. They are fun to watch though, so it’s a fair trade-off.

The canal filled up this week, which was super fun. I happened to come home from work just about 5 minutes before it started to fill. While all the animals and the house are obviously on the well, we use our shares of canal water to water the garden and pastures. The pasture really needs some water, but the irrigation has been an endless source of trouble this year. We will get it worked out soon, but springtime is when you find all the winter worn pieces that needed replacing. It will be really nice to have the irrigation working though, as the grasses need it, the horses love to cool off in it, and I like the added security during fire season of knowing my watering system is up and running.
They drain the canal usually just before the first predicted frosts, unless someone needs to keep it running longer, and they refill the canal with flowing water in April after most of the frost risk is gone. This year we had a couple late frosts, and some farmers who were watering already had some icy mornings chipping away at their frozen systems. It’s definitely a calculated risk to start watering earlier.
Well, that’s mostly it for us on the farm. Been a little slower this week. The plan for next week is to get some real riding done, get the irrigation up and running, burn some of our foliage pile (we lost a lot of limbs in the winds this year), and hopefully install a new gate latch on my arena gate, which I am ecstatic about. It’s been a hard gate to find a latch for, because it’s pretty janky, so fingers crossed that works and I can show you in upcoming posts.
Until we chat again, my friends!

The Anatomy of a Farm Call

This week we had our standard, yearly vaccination and checkup farm call. What is a farm call, you ask? A farm call is when the vet comes out to your farm, so that you don’t have to haul all your animals into the clinic. On our farm, those animals getting vaccinated are the two horses and four dogs.
Farm calls kind of stress me out. They shouldn’t, my animals are either trained to stand nicely for the vet, or are actively learning to do that, so realistically it’s not a huge deal anymore. But past experience means I worry. Let’s step through how I prep, get through, and de-compress from a farm call, and maybe, just maybe, it’ll help you with your vet visits too! Or you will laugh at my obsessive over-planning… both are totally fine!

So, like anything in life, prep is key. I always, always try to make sure I am on the farm, and off work about an hour before the vet is scheduled to arrive. It sounds silly, but you are providing the location for your vet visit, you want to give yourself enough time to make sure it’s set up the best for your pets. For the horses, I pull out their favorite gear, like Nellie’s worn out, slightly too tight halter that she loves so much, and I make sure to have some major happy rewards standing by. My girls both love sweet oats, peppermint cookies, and Nellie loves her blue brush, so those are always set within reach. I’m sure you already know, but it’s always good to make sure fences, equipment, etc., is all safe and functioning before the vet arrives, too. While we hope for the best, prepping for a bad day is better so you aren’t caught off-guard.

When prepping with the dogs, I make sure they’ve had time to go outside and work out the crazies, go potty, get some water, and relax. My pooches are all kennel trained, and if they get nervous seeing the white truck, they have been trained that they can go chill in their space until they are needed. Since I have both small and large dogs, I make sure to have a clean table for the vet to use, and a clean floor space as well. Our back porch and picnic table work for this, but anything that is safe and easy to setup will work.

I know you lovely folks are all smart enough to know this, however I would be remiss if I didn’t say: DON’T LEAVE YOUR SMALL DOG ON THE TABLE WITHOUT BEING RIGHT THERE. Small dogs strongly believe they can fly, but have not developed the necessary wings during their more recent evolutionary adaptations. And a final preparatory note, it’s always helpful to have another person or two, depending how many animals you have. Especially with large animals, it’s immensely helpful to have all hands on deck. I am very lucky in that I had three extra sets of hands for this visit, so things went super quickly. I was able to have someone always getting a handle on the next critter in line, someone monitoring or spoiling the animals who are already finished up, and I could just interface with the vet and current animal in question.

A very worn out Nellie Belle

So, how did the day actually go? It went great! Best farm call yet. Realistically, this shouldn’t surprise me as I have wonderful critters and an unusually amazing set of vets. This particular call saw our Dr. Kurt come out, he’s newer to our farm but has proven to be a hoot to work with and very patient. I am forever impressed with how much Nellie grows in between each vet visit, each time she calms herself down much quicker, and the danger level decreases.

Nellie is really our wild card right now. She is the only one who is absolutely, wholly, vehemently against farm calls. She does not like new people, she really doesn’t like vaccines (which fair, no one likes shots), and she finds the whole standing still thing absolutely obnoxious.  The first vet visit after she came home, I genuinely thought one of us was going to end up in the emergency room, and I cried most of the night after because “what if I can’t help her?!”. But we’ve been working really, really hard, and Miss Nellie only minorly freaked out this time. She did spin, and threw her head and tried to get away, but she calmed herself down and, for the most part it, was a successful experience. She is highly food motivated so we are trying to associate her favorite snacks with the vet, and we are hoping the excitement of yummy snacks will eventually outweigh the scariness of a stranger with a needle (not to say I blame her, I would also panic a little).

I usually try to do Nellie first, simply because I know from experience that if she sees what’s happening ahead of time, she will build it up in her head and cause a much bigger deal, and I also know the rest of my critters are farm call veterans and seeing Nellie upset won’t bug them. If she set off the other animals, I would probably swap orders, so I can’t tell you for sure “do your craziest animals first”, that’s got to be a judgement call.

I also focus on one area of the farm than the other, so horses first in the corral, then dogs on the porch, that way the process goes much quicker and when that subsection is finished, they can go back to normal, which makes post-vet cleanup easier. Your vet will also tell you if they need specific changes, like a shadier spot to prevent sunburn, or someplace where the truck will fit easier so they can set up. This will also dictate what order and how quickly you can get things done.

A Sleepy Post-Farm-Call Scooby

After the vet is finished up with an animal, I try to get them back to their normal as quickly as possible. The horses are immediately fed cookies and let back out in the pasture, and the dogs are allowed to roam the house again, whether they want to go hide in their dens or munch on some food or lay in the sunny window. The biggest rule is that the animals get the day off on farm call days, so no riding, no training, lots of cuddles and relaxation.

It’s also worth noting that with some vaccines come side-effects, so it’s good to ask ahead and be ready for that if you can, but definitely at least asking the vet at the time of injection what to expect is a good idea, because, for example, my pack was all a little sore and grumpy after their suite of shots, and I was warned there might be minor cold-like symptoms, which kept me from freaking out when Scooby was not feeling well.

Another note, your equipment, leashes, halters, treat bins, all of that is going to end up everywhere, so plan a few minutes post visit, when all your lovely critters are settled in, to walk around and put everything back in its home, file your paperwork, and take a quick inventory. It’s also worth noting that this is a perfect time to quietly celebrate to yourself, and take note of things that could be improved on from this visit.

Phew, we did it! That’s the basic run-down of a farm call on my little place. I definitely spend a lot of time thinking about, planning for, and admittedly stressing about vet visits, and I’m always pleasantly surprised by the results. Luckily, they aren’t super frequent.

The final tips? Make sure you like your vet(s), make sure you have a plan, even if it goes sideways, a plan facilitates preparation, and overall, make sure you give credit to the critters who are about to have a stranger poke and prod them, get all personal, and them leave. They deserve all the patience and understanding.

Until we chat again, my friends!

A very rare, very blurry picture of a sleeping Joe

History and Hooves

What a week on the farm!

So, really quickly, Sunday night we had a crazy windstorm and let me tell you, no one on the farm slept that night. The horses were cranky, the dogs were cranky, the humans were definitely cranky. So, that set up the tone of the week, despite best efforts, we were all tired and frustrated this week. This is also my excuse for the rambling, incoherent post that you are about to read.
I had a decent amount of Easter prep to do this week, as we are holding a socially distanced Easter celebration at the farm so that we can still participate in my family’s favorite holiday. I have about two hundred eggs that I filled with chocolate, and deviled eggs and ham in progress, plus a couple desserts, at the final writing of this post. Everyone also brings their favorite dish, and we picnic in the back garden. The kiddos hunt eggs, and the adults sneak the extra candy, and it’s a ton of fun.

The restocked outside toy box, not to be confused with the inside toy box, all ready for Easter. No, I don’t have kiddos, I just have wee ones in my extended family

The next super cool thing that happened this week requires some context. Since moving to this little plot of land, on a semi-regular basis we have had people stop by the farm, or notice the address on my license, and mention that they used to stay on my property, or lived on my property, or worked there. It was crazy, and a little worrying, when one man came by and asked if he could bury his grandmother in my horse pasture because she grew up there. We said no… for obvious reasons.
But, with that context, somewhere around a couple weeks ago a little old couple came by, the little grandmother said her family homesteaded the property and she was hoping to walk around and reminisce. She walked around for a while telling stories and sharing facts, it was really interesting. She almost cried when we let her take home one of the foundation stones from the original 1906 stone home that no longer exists on the property (We found out about it when the garden wall initially fell over, and my neighbor let me know that wall was built out of the old home). She promised she would send us some history when she got home.

The original house that sat on my property. Each stone was about 2’x2’x1′

Tuesday evening, she delivered. We learned so much about my tiny slice of the valley and that it has quite the storied history. Originally homesteaded by a woman named Christina in 1888, it became the property of her husband shortly thereafter because she was both a woman and an immigrant, and thus could not hold land. But how cool that she originally decided to take the matters into her own hands as a single woman in the late 1800s? After they settled into the stone home that originally sat on the property, it became quite the hub of activity. They raised race horses and hosted races, weddings, funerals, picnics, and all sorts of clubs in the parlors of the house, and never turned away anyone needing a place to stay for the night. Hence just about everyone having some connection to the land. In 1945 their grandchildren built the house I live in how (admittedly, it was a little smaller, the previous owners added on in the 90s).
So, best we can figure, based on the articles and our new friend’s stories, the garage is mostly original, new siding and roof, but the timber is the same. The pastures were set up a little differently back then, but what I have now turned into a riding ring, probably was also a riding ring back then. There was a lot more property, most likely in orchards, but that land was sold off around the 40s.
My favorite part of this tale is two-fold, one, when the original family sold this property, those who were still working actually went to work on my great-great-granddad’s place, so there’s a connection there. Two, it’s well within circumstantial evidence to conclude that my great-great-grandparents attended parties and events on the land I now live on. I loved this little farm before, but now I feel so much more connected to it.
In other news, Ro had her first saddled ride back since autumn, due in part to a back injury, followed by a severe set of allergies, followed by a gross, wet winter. I rode her bareback lots, but we tried to keep things as low key as possible and just bailed on tacking up, ditching the headstall and saddle for bridleless rides. Coming back into work though, we wanted to get back to some serious work, and hopefully more trail riding, and a saddle is a necessary part of that training.

Fixing up some tack for our ride, photo courtesy of Christopher

I had pretty much assumed she was going to have a fit since it had been so long, but she was amazing. I don’t know why I always underestimate this mare, she’s a treasure.
Nellie was very brave several times this week, choosing to stay out in the pasture by herself during Work Time (she’s allowed to somewhat dictate if she wants to work because of her leg injury) and letting me hang dangly bits to her halter while we worked on her ground manners. Both of those things would have sent her into complete and utter meltdown this time last year. She was so proud of herself yesterday for walking along with her sister while we cooled out, that she’s a little impossible to deal with now. I also think it’s time I find her a new halter, as she’s gotten so healthy and grown into her size recently, that her halter is verging on too small.
We started the process of burning the winter weeds, and they’ve burned some of the canal banks now to clear the brush, which means we are officially in fire danger season but also officially in prep for planting which is always a fun and busy time of the year. The days are getting longer and longer and it’s so hard to be a responsible human and go to bed now. But I love how early the sun comes up. It’s been cloudy this week, so I haven’t gotten many sunset pictures, but stay tuned for that!
I hope your weekend is lovely,
Until we chat again, my friends!

BONUS! Was playing with the hyperlapse feature, so here’s me cleaning up after a ride, and desperately wishing I had a groom

Hail, Winds, Joe, and Other Forces of Nature

Farm Update Time! Lots to talk about this week in the weather category. I should warn you, the pictures are not great, as they were afterthoughts while I ran around trying to deal with the weather. You’ve been warned. Also, side note, I was so bummed, I had literally just plugged in my Go-Pro to charge (I’m the worst, always have at least one dead camera battery) so I could potentially time lapse a storm in the future, and about two minutes later the storm, that you will see in a minute, came on through. How cool would that have been? Ugh.

Oh my goodness, you guys! So, Monday, I had some errands to run, and I noticed some seriously dark clouds, but I figured, no big deal, we have weird stormy weather come through all the time around here. Especially in the spring, it can be sunny one minutes and just miserable the next. I figured, worst case scenario, I’d have to chill a moment and let it pass. Nope! No, I walked out of the CPA’s office and it was starting to rain and thunder some, barely made it to my last stop, and decided it was in my best interest to make it home before it got worse. Super glad I did because the rain was coming down so hard my wipers could not keep up while on the highway. It doesn’t really rain here a whole lot, so it really threw everything for a loop. I normally don’t mind driving in the rain, unless it’s really dark or stormy, but this one was super difficult.

The first front rolling through, as shot out my window, don’t mind the glare

After we got home, it rained a little longer and then calmed down. We could see some clouds forming again in the distance, but the very cool thing about my specific piece of property is that I sit between two forks in the valley, so while I get a lot of storms, usually I can watch the most intense parts in the distance, but they avoid my home and either crawl across the valley toward town or break off behind the hills towards our nearest major city. So, I wasn’t worried at all, the horses were in the daytime pasture, the chickens were out clucking around, and I was heading in to get cleaned up for the evening.
Smash cut to walking into my bedroom, I see this absolute crazy cloud moving incredibly fast towards the farm with the craziest lightning. I have never rounded up the horses in the corral and accounted for all the critters as fast as I had that night. I think it also helped that it was freezing, and I was in my pajamas (I’m going to need you to reserve judgement here, sometimes when you live on a farm you gotta do what you gotta do, and that sometimes looks like chasing horses into the corral in polka pajamas and hair in a towel). I barely made it to the porch before the storm hit.
I’ve seen some fun lightning since living here, remind me, some time I’ll post my old picture of the lightning bolt, it’s blurry and I took it purely by chance, but my point is that I’ve seen some cool lightning. This storm was really spectacular. I, of course, remembered to document literally none of it, which is very on brand for me.

That’s hail, not snow, and it actually got a little worse before it stopped
The ice build-up from the hail hitting the window,

It then started hailing, which immediately changes the storm from “fun, somewhat dangerous” to “ah shoot, this is bad”. We don’t get hail all that often, and we certainly don’t get marble sized hail. The foothills and mountains do, but here on the valley floor its not common. It hailed enough to look like snow, and had not melted off the next day, which made my commute a little sketchy. All in all, it got to a point on Monday that I was beginning to have concerns about riding the storm out, which usually is not a big deal, since we’ve got something of a storm routine.
In non-weather-related news, we’ve been trying to get back into working shape around here, and Ro is not sure she’s into it. She has been running into the arena wanting to play, but she’s not been enjoying the less-than-ideal weather and the fact that she needs to behave while working. She has been enjoying all the cookies, brushings, and picture taking sessions that have been happening again, although she thinks she looks her best when she’s about 2 millimeters from the lens.

Ro, being particularly dramatic about the wind, while doing some groundwork

Joe has been particular humdrum about the weather, because he loves to be outside. He’s made quite the nuisance of himself, but he’s also Joe so we really can’t be mad at all. I’ll introduce you properly to all the canine critters in a future post, but for now all you really need to know about Joe is that he is a 90-pound black standard poodle. We forgot to tell him to stop growing so he’s all knees and elbows. So, when he intends to be the center of attention, he absolutely succeeds. Like, I said, I think the pack needs an introductory post to truly capture the dynamic here.

If the blog post is ever late, you can assume this is why. Hi, Joe!

Other than that, not much has been going on, it’s been rainy and windy all week, we were able to pull off the socially distanced wedding of my cousin’s dreams (well, the wedding bit, I doubt anyone dreamed of socially distancing), no pictures of that though because privacy. It was so much fun, and mostly DIY, so pretty economical. But I have been exhausted since, it was a mad dash to set up everything, have the wedding, and then tear everything down.  But it was beautiful, and my cousin was beautiful, and her groom was so nervous and excited he practically floated everywhere. And I’ve been taking my week kind of slow to recover, which means for a fairly boring blog, but a fairly happy soul overall.
I hope you all are having an amazing week, and that you enjoyed the farm update.
Until we chat again, my friends!

Oh, Deer!

So, the most amazing thing happened the day after my last post! We had a baby deer decide our yard was home. They just hung around for a few hours, eating my flower beds and antagonizing the dogs. I say baby, they’re probably a couple months old, but still little and clearly new to the world. And concerningly, not terrified of humans yet.

I promise I was inside, not too close

So, for a little context, the farm is about ten feet of asphalt away from a neighbor’s grazing land and about two miles beyond that is BLM land, or in other terms, government land set aside for whatever they please. BLM in this instance is Bureau of Land Management… you can imagine my initial confusion when the news first broke earlier in 2020. Why tell you this? It explains the abundance of deer, and other wildlife, that hang around the farm most of the year.
I am not against hunting per say, as I live in a poorer, rural community and I understand that sometimes hunting on their land is how some feed their family, in general, I’m personally not a huge fan of hunting as a sport or hobby. I do not allow hunting or trapping on my small property and most of my neighbors take a similar stance.
And if you poach, I have made it my mission to make your life as truly difficult as I possibly can.

Look at this face!!

This is the secondary reason I end up with lots of wildlife, they are smart enough to understand an ally, and they know the farm is a safe place during hunting seasons. The herd near my home, which fluctuates each year between 50 and 200 deer, have gotten to know my car, and will wait until I turn my flashers on and block the road before they cross.
Well, most of the time…. Sometimes the blind trust is a little dangerous.
I can honestly say however, that this is the first time I’ve been a deer babysitter. This is the first time a mama deer has dropped her baby in my flower beds, gone off to do whatever a mama deer does to survive, and come to get them later. I was honored and concerned, because what if mama deer hadn’t come back? It wouldn’t be the first baby abandoned around here, but I don’t know if my mares are ready to be substitute mamas, although I’d bet they’d try.
This little one has been around a lot this week, and I am beginning to feel a little worried because I have yet to see mama deer at all.
We have a rule here, we do not feed or interact with the wildlife unless absolutely necessary. Usually this means some sort of crisis or issue needs to arise before we engage. The feeding rule is a little hard however, as I have yet to meet a fence, gate, wall, or enclosure that is deer proof if they want it, so I accidentally feed the deer any time I bring home a new bale of hay.

Those ears!

Speaking of hay, we got ourselves another bale this week. The girls are eating so much teff hay right now, because the pasture just can’t sustain them. They have been back out for exercise now that the lion’s share of the snow is gone, but they come back in on their own accord when it gets cold (have I mentioned that they have a run of about 90% of my property? I’ll introduce them properly in another post, you’ll love them)
It’s a funny thing getting hay, because I “buy” it from my great uncle, a fun, quiet man who has lived his whole life on a farm and has a limit of words each day. He will talk until he’s used them up, and that’s it. I think most males around here have that problem, and you’ll never know how many words a day they get. But my uncle loves to visit and tease, as long as you hold up your end of the conversation.
But I digress, I use quotes around buy, because when it’s feasible, my immediate family and I try to lend a hand on his property (He has 200+ acres right now, a bunch of cows, and usually a few strays around) so he always claimed I’ve earned my hay fair and square. I think I’m coming out well ahead, but he won’t hear an argument, and honestly, I’ve been raised not to sass my elders. I also don’t want to waste any of his words on arguing.
In other news, things are finally starting to dry out a little which means it’s getting safer and easier to work with my horses. In fact, we are slowly getting back into training shape. If I’m being honest, I need more conditioning than they do, but they did get a little more winter weight than I had hoped. I think there’s a couple family members of mine sneaking sympathy treats to them when it gets cold. Ro got to try on the two saddle pads I got this winter at a screaming deal, hopefully soon we can try them with the actual saddle (I might need to put it all back together, my leather cleaning day got interrupted).

Photo Credit to Christopher. Ro would like you to refrain from judging, she’s shedding her winter coat and her ears were on backward in this photo. Not her most glamorous look.

We also finally got that tree trimmed back up away from the power lines on the garage. It was a pain, both figuratively and literally, but much safer and brighter in the old chute now. The girls even “helped”, it was a joy watching my sweet mares puzzle through why branches were falling from the tree and then run away with them like dogs with a bone. Crazy horses they are, absolutely nuts.
Well, I think that’s us for this week, I’ve got a couple cakes in the oven for a birthday this weekend, and Costco run to make. We are hoping this week to run the disc and harrow over the “arena’ (my work in progress) to break up some of the mud-turned-concrete, and bathe some suspiciously smelly dogs. We might have seen the last of the frost and I for one am so ready for springtime.
Until we chat again, my friends!

Ever seen a tree attacking a Dodge Flatbed? Now you have.