Catching Up

Hello! Friends!
Well, we had a little thunder, some rain, some higher winds, but luckily it looks like maybe the snow is mostly over for the year. There’s been a lot of sad gray days, but that seems appropriate for the last couple weeks. I won’t dwell long on the sadness, we’ve had some truly heartbreaking moments trying to find a new routine without Scooby and watching my four legged family members work out that Scoobs isn’t going to come tippy-tapping through the door. It was particularly hard watching Joe’s face light up when he saw Scooby’s blanket for the first time again, and then look up at the shelf where I had arranged all of Scooby’s things when I went to tuck them in later that night. I know it’s silly to attach human ideals to critters since they truly think differently, but I swear it seemed like he was saying Good Night to Scooby.

Our raccoon has stuck around, although he’s realized we won’t feed the cats while he’s around so he’s now terrorizing the horses and Dad as well, which is grand. To clarify, we still feed the cats, but differently now, they are not going hungry, in fact, our sweet Honey has gotten quite the filled out figure. She’s not fat, but she could very easily get there. In her defense, it’s hard to exercise in the winter. No one wants to move in the cold.

Sunrise on a stormy morning… it was a lot less purple on my phone

I cut my hair finally a couple weeks ago. It was almost waist length and now it’s just above my shoulders. It’s cute, not terribly what I had hoped for, but I forgot how much my hair will shrink up when cut wet and I didn’t let the new stylist know. It’s cute though, so even though I was looking forward to chest length, I have a sassy little short cut, with lots of bouncy layers, and it’s like a bonus! But please, share with me what to do with short hair stylewise, because the last time I had short hair was middle school and I also had bangs and none of that was a good choice haha. I want to make the most of this bonus hair “phase” and do cute styles with it. I love the new stylist though, she’s amazing, and I am officially a loyal customer. It’s nice, I haven’t really clicked with a stylist since middle school, so haircuts weren’t fun or a priority. It’s kinda a fun, indulgent little treat to do something new with your look in a chill, supportive environment. Low key might be considering a balayage in the summer if I get bold.

I finally got some art hung up in my room again. There’s not much more to say on that but I am pretty excited about it. Good way to spend the stuck-indoors time, since unfortunately it looks like we still have a few weeks of mud and rain to mess up plans.

On one of our rare sunny days, I tried hopping on Ro to see where we need to start training wise and…she needs some medical attention. Her arthritis is a little rough right now and she’s pulled something in her back and I’m not surprised, but I think this year is going to be a rebuilding year. It was a wake up call, her little soreness we’ve been managing isn’t just because of the cold, I reckon.  I want to focus hard on getting her topline stronger, working out the best solution for her arthritis, since she’s clearly not mentally ready to not be working (she instigated the initial session, she just got cranky when she got sore, and if she doesn’t get at least a little work occasionally she goes slightly mental), and I want to work on our teamwork, which can be done in saddle or on the ground. As for Miss Nellie Belle, my goals for her are more mental. I really want to expand her horizons, work through her still explosive fear response, and our teamwork… which is a trend. She’s such a clever girl, she deserves to not be scared of her world.
Joe has been spending more time down around the barn with me. I still try to keep a fence between him and the girls, but he’s been doing exceptional with his heel, sit, and recall, so I am slowly becoming more confident with having him around. I still don’t think he will ever hang out with me while I am working directly with the girls, mostly because Ro has no patience for dogs and Nellie is still a lit firecracker when overstimulated, but less so because my sweet overgrown teddy bear can’t listen. Although, spring fever hit him hard and being still pent up inside means our inside the house listening skills are slacking like crazy. He’s taken me out running around like a banshee a couple times already.

Until we chat again my friends!

A Little Shopping…


It’s been a little warmer here on the farm, which has caused a very premature spring fever in everyone. The horses have been fussing like crazy, taking apart fencing, loafing in the sunshine, bullying each other (happens every spring, it seems) and getting all sorts of muddy and dirty. The dogs want to be out in the yard a lot more, especially Joe, which is fine when it’s warm enough, but since someone has to watch them at all times they haven’t gotten to go out quite as much as in the summer. The temperature itself hasn’t really even been too bad, but we have had a persistent icy northern wind for days, and it can physically hurt to be outside.

I did take my crochet out and sit in the sunshine while they roamed a couple days ago. I took some video so I could share it with my friends in Seattle, who were still fighting snow, so maybe I’ll cut that together and share with you all too!

I was on-call at work for a large part of the last two weeks, which means no leaving home or being away from the computer, so this last week has been a mad dash to catch up on all the errands that need running and chores that need doing. I had to go get more grain, run grocery shopping, pick up some cat food (which is a story I’ll share in a moment) and run to get my taxes done. All of which was in a different direction from one another so it took multiple trips. Crazy busy!

We also got to run some fun errands, I made everyone come to the used bookstore with me again and we all have some new evening reading materials. We have been trying to turn off the tv more often in the evenings, sometimes we talk, share news, and sometimes we read, enjoying each other’s company without needing to engage. It’s pretty common for us to do that in the summer on the porch, but in the winter we sometimes get a little attached to our shows. I, of course, got more mysteries, but also Pride and Prejudice, which has been on my TBR list for forever.

Christopher and I adventured a few towns over to check out a store called the Vintage Nerd too, a game store we had never been to. It was much bigger than we thought and we took about an hour and a half to walk through and browse, and I still feel like I probably didn’t see everything. I may have gotten some stickers, a game from my childhood, and some dice. I don’t talk about it a lot here, but when it’s cold and stormy, a favorite way to decompress after work for me is video games. I don’t play super often, at least not nearly as much as I did in school, but I do enjoy them. It should surprise no one that I love a good farming game.

I mentioned that I needed to tell you about the cat food. That was a bit of a misdirection because I don’t actually have much to say about the cat food (other than I tried to fetch it in a windstorm and I learned my local BiMart isn’t windproof). The currently ongoing story is that of a very large, very mean raccoon. He moved a few days ago and has totally trashed the tractor shed. He has terrorized the cats, broken some of the irrigation pipe that was stored in there, pulled wiring out of the hand tools and the lighting. He also got into some stuff a family member was storing in my shed and now I have to replace their stuff too. Luckily it was nothing major but still, I feel bad that their stuff got messed up. They were expecting me to keep it nice while they moved, ya know?

Then this little jerk decided to start camping out on my porch trying to work out how to get in the house. He’s super bold, and doesn’t seem to fear people at all. It’s worrying. He opened the tractor shed door himself, and for context, I can barely wrestle that thing open sometimes. He’s a chunky, clever little thief who is hellbent on food.
So, if anyone has any ideas how to handle that? I’m all ears.
Until we chat again my friends!

Tsch Tsch Tsch

Hello friends!

What a week. I unfortunately got pretty sick again this week, but I think mostly due to the very long hours at work and the weather and pollen counts. It’s not been the most fun so I don’t have a huge amount to report. 

My dad and Christopher were able to get some of the sprinkler lines up and running in the pasture finally. It’s so late in the season, but the weather just hasn’t been cooperating lately. But there’s few things more “spring-like ” than watching the sprinklers run for the first time. I used to love watching the hand pulls and wheel lines start sputtering to life when I was younger, after an early morning helping my uncle with the irrigation. I remember sneaking around trying to get dressed quietly so I didn’t wake the whole house, how my uncle did it was beyond me, but I really wanted to help move pipe in the morning so little Amanda would get up at 3:30 or 4 am. Now I do it for work all the time and, to be honest, still not a morning person at all. I dunno, it never stuck. I can do it, but I’m not built for it.

But I love the sound of the sprinklers moving along. To clarify, impact head sprinklers are my favorite. They spin along on the impact of the little spring mechanism, making that trademark “tsch tsch tsch” noise that is the perfect background for a good book, or a good nap. The little arm swings in front of the water before moving away and that impact pushes the head around its spinning path. It’s a lovely rhythmic noise that screams spring to me because some of the earliest tasks when the weather warms involves getting them set up.

Unfortunately because we keep returning to the cold, late snow and freeze warnings, and nasty storms we have halted most of the spring chores. 

While I’ve been sick, I haven’t been able to ride much, as I start to cough and wheezing and it stresses out Ro. She mother hens me and while horsemanship is almost always good for the soul, it’s a little hard when neither horse is willing because mom sounds more like a velociraptor than a human. I’ve not had much of a voice at all.

So, instead of riding, I’ve started organizing the tack space. It got a little rough over the winter because someone tried to help me clean up, without telling me, and sorta completely changed everything. But it’s slowly getting back in order and the family member meant no harm. 

I’ve labeled the boxes, so I can tell where most things are, my shelves are mostly back in order, I’ve hung up my halter hooks again and I put up my “whoa” sign on the wall. I haven’t cleaned since the last dust storm though because I was trying to not completely aggravate my cough (spoiler alert: I did though). Mostly sitting down jobs for me for now. 

Speaking of signs, I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned in a previous post that we’ve had a new family hanging around that feels the need to sneakily feed my horses, so I bought some “please don’t feed” signs I need to put up (and some “my fence is hot” signs too, no leaning please, although you’d think the barbed wire would dissuade them). I’ve had horses I knew killed by well meaning families feeding recklessly over the fence, plus Nellie has a history of colic now, so it makes me nervous. Plus it’s just a super dangerous habit to teach your children, you don’t know if my horses are aggressive, maybe biters, and you don’t know if my fence is hot, which mine always is.

I’ve tried in the past to educate, and let them know that if they want to feed the horses they are always welcome to come knock and I’ll usually be able to take a quick break from work to come hang out and let your kiddos feed the girls, and most people are receptive or at least reluctantly understanding. Unfortunately this family mostly just got really upset with me. Hence the signs. I wanna be friends with my neighbors, but more importantly I don’t want humans or horses hurt and if they find that offensive, well, I’ve hit an age where it’s no longer important to me to be liked. You can be the sweetest peach…. etc, etc, ad nauseum.

Watson having a nervous cuddle during a storm

Problem is, for now, I haven’t really felt well enough to stand out in the winds and rains to put them all up…. So my porch is a no feeding zone. It’ll come in time.

Anyways, I think I need some more warm tea, so I’ll end this here.

Until we Chat again my friends 


Hello friends!

Can I just tell you about some of the crazy clouds we’ve had lately? I know that sounds like a dull topic but my mom is originally from Nebraska so watching weird clouds with a suspicious eye is ingrained. Even when we lived in the Puget Sound, where severe weather literally never happens, we were taught to watch the skies.

We had the most amazing shelf cloud roll over the other day, it was super windy and gross outside so I took pictures through the windows. We had just gotten inside, see, I had gotten home from running errands and hopped in the shower to get the day off, was just brushing my hair when my dad cam running in (which never happens, with the layout of the house, usually he will just get my attention by calling from the dining space and ask me to come to the kitchen when I have a chance, or he will knock at the door to my room so he doesn’t startle me at my desk, he never just runs in). He was worried about the horses in the pasture and he was right. Behind that shelf cloud was a major set of winds and rain.

Yesterday we had some major clouds as well, and funnily enough, it went a little opposite. I looked out at one while cooking and thought, “oh, that’s a crazy storm”. So I stepped outside to investigate, pulled the radar and my weather map up on my phone, consulted the birds and my girls, and the general consensus was that this giant wall of storms sure looked like it was going to bypass us. Remember, I live off the side of the valley floor, so a lot of times I watch storms roll up and down the valley without being affected. I figured this was going to be one of those cases so I walked back inside, finished cooking my meal, and sat down to eat. I had the spoon halfway to my mouth for the first bite when our emergency alert tone went off. 

Those alerts are pretty accurate so I immediately changed tactics and went running out to bring the animals in and to batten down the hatches where I could. Unfortunately I was, and am, the only one in the house not majorly sick (this flu is awful this year) so while Christopher came down to help, I mostly just ran around doing things myself. I even took a small video, but WordPress and I are having a bit of an argument about it, so no promises it actually plays.

I think the girls are better weather barometers than anything else because while they usually come into the barn area fairly nicely, they do it with a quickness in a storm. Sometimes they will come in and attempt to close their own gate if they think I am being too slow because there’s been a few times I’ve misjudged the weather and ended up having to get them to the barn in a microburst or something.

Anyways, just as I got inside as the rain started to hit and it quickly got so bad it knocked out cell service and satellite. It was so loud that we could hardly hold a conversation, and we mostly just sat inside hoping passed quickly. We also ended up having quite a bit of hail, but luckily it didn’t get as big as they said so we didn’t end up with any serious hail damage.

Poor Joe especially hates the thunder, he gets very stressed out. He came and tackled me shortly before all this went down, at the time I was a little miffed because 100lbs of dog flying at my face was not fun, but I realized he was hearing the thunder in the distance and needed me to know immediately that this was a problem.Joe rarely actually tackles me intentionally, so you know he’s serious.

The emergency alert tones went off for most of the afternoon and into the evening as the storm slowly crawled through the valley. The dogs got used to the sound and that it seemed to go off before more thunder and rain so they would get all antsy when it would sound off again. I also realized that the horses can hear that noise, as I could hear it down at the barn as well, and I noticed they were starting to work out that it wasn’t a good noise as well. I guess that’s a good thing, maybe eventually I can get the dogs to head to their crates when that noise goes off and the horses to the barn. Either way, it’s a shrill noise that they now know is important.

The alerts also managed to go off every time I sat down to eat, and you have to get up and tune the channel in usually to get the information, so the amount of food I spilled Sunday evening was unreal.

We were lucky, the only damage was a washed out driveway and some minor flooding around the barn, some people in the area had more severe hail and thus hail damage as well as wind damage. I am, once again, so grateful we replaced the old roof with metal a couple summers ago.

Until we chat again, my friends!

The Nerdy Owl is a Know-It-Owl

Hello friends!
It’s very early in the morning. I’m awake because a hoot owl has taken to slowly circling the house and, unsurprisingly, hooting in the early morning hours.
Its supremely unsettling. I tend to wonder if it’s to upset the dogs, or if there’s vermin in the bushes around the house that he wants, but either way, being able to follow his path and knowing exactly when he’s outside your window…its unsettling.
This last fall, when I would be sitting at my desk later in the evening, I would often get the impression that I was being watched. My desk sits under the window, across the way from the window is some tall Arborvitae bushes and down a bit is a tree (possibly an Locust tree? Dunno) who’s branches reach out closer to the window. Well, the hoot owl learned that if he sat on top of the Arborvitae or in the outer tree branches, well, he could see right into my room. So several nights in a row I’d get an ominous feeling, start to hear the hooting, and I would look up from my desk just to make eye contact with him. Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway) I started closing my blinds shortly after sunset, no matter what. Previously I’d just sorta waited until the next time I got up to stretch, but now its been made a priority all its own.
I’ve been told that seeing an owl peer through your window is good luck. It doesn’t particularly feel like good luck to have a large predatory bird staring at you while you work. Especially when you have a very small dog sleeping on your lap (admittedly, I don’t think the owl could see Watts under the blanket under the desk but still). So, I thought I’d look it up and see.

One of the owls in the parliament (I can’t tell you how difficult this shot was to get, but I respected the owls space and comfort and used a huge zoom)

(It’s at this point that I tell you my “research” consisted of a Google search, this was in no way thesis level work and you should probably double check what I’ve written before proudly declaring it at your next party/meeting/carpool.)
Looks like, based on the first three links of my Google search, that owls are associated with the night, death, and fear just about as often as they are associated with bravery and good omens. It also seems to be a fairly even split, on cursory look, amongst the Native American populations as it varies wildly by tribe.
In a more blanket “spiritual” sense a lot of religious and spiritual groups seem to see the owl as a sign of good fortune and wealth, and one looking in your window is meant to bring joy and comfort. But I could seem to parse exactly why they hold that belief.
Look, I don’t know if I felt comforted at all about an owl outside my window and I don’t think I believe in lucks and omens and signs. I do believe I will keep a better eye on my small beans as they go through their morning routines. Especially as this owl gets bolder and has started yelling when I turn on my light in the morning. In fact, he’s chewing me out as we speak. I’m meant to let the dogs out for their morning business in about an hour, I always stand out there with them anyway (I never let my beans out at any time of the day without supervision, as I don’t have a fence and they all grew up with a fenced yard, and even if that wasn’t the case, there’s just too many dangers for them to navigate on their own), but honestly, I’m kinda thinking we might push it back a bit. Watson is really owl dinner sized, and this owl has already buzzed family members, so it’s clear he has no regard for humans. Just yesterday he watched me take the boys out and softly hooted from a nearby tree. I have only ever seen this owl from a great distance in the daylight but I know he gets fairly close at night, under the cover of darkness. So I think outside time with the boys will be a two or more person job for the foreseeable future. Safety in numbers maybe, that way we can always have an eye out.

Nellie looking amazing.

We’ve had some other visitors around the farm too that have made the boys and I varying levels of nervous. There was a lone coyote around, maybe still is, dunno, that was getting a little bold and twice I ended up grabbing dogs and hauling them up on the porch and into the house with a quickness. I don’t know if he’s brave enough to try to steal or take on one of my dogs, but I don’t care to test it. I worry about Cordelia, the chickens, and the horses, but Cordelia spends most of her early mornings safely in the rafters of the equipment shed, the chickens are in the coop at night, and while the mares have run of the arena and corral at night, I am pretty sure my girls would win with a coyote, and I’d hear about it fast enough to get down there in help. Basically, I only worry my citified little canine pack because they don’t know any better and I get the distinct impression they would want to make friends.
We’ve also had a skunk hanging around. You can tell because of the way the farm often smells. Theres enough variety of critters around here that the skunk seems to regularly need to defend itself, or at least announce itself, and while I’ve not laid eyes on a skunk since my first year here (when one walked out from under my car and I called my boss to say I’d be late as I hauled to the house) I have absolutely no doubt this guy exists.
The deer have been more hit or miss but I know they’re around too. You can sometimes see their glowing green eyes in the grass and sometimes they still come down to watch me feed in the evenings. There are still tracks and droppings in my yard and evidence they’ve been snacking occasionally on my hay. So, they clearly don’t feel too threatened.
Well, the hoot owl seems to have chilled out, and I’m thinking it’s about time I started work for the day. Keep an eye out for critters on your morning walk, lemme know if you see anything cool!
Until we chat again my friends! 


Hello friends!

Goodness, if it hasn’t been stormy lately. And cold! Looks like winter time just won’t quite give up yet. Usually by May we’ve settled into a nice pattern of outdoor time after work and dinner on the porch, short sleeves and sunscreen. But this year it’s really felt lucky if we see more than two days of sunshine at a time, and it’s consistently cold. I’ve been wearing my big winter jacket out with the horses most days, in the middle of the day!

And today it’s been so muddy you can’t hardly do a thing without losing your boots. I’m equally excited and totally over the rain. It’s great because it usually means snow in the mountains, and we’ve been in perpetual drought for as long as I can remember, so a better snowpack is appreciated. But also, this land and the infrastructure we stuck on top of it aren’t built for this much rain. Roads have lots of standing water due to lackluster drainage, the ground is so waterlogged the new rain simply sits on top, and of course there’s the matter of what you are used to, and no one around here is used to driving in the rain. One thing I’m grateful for is that I learned to drive in the pacific northwest, so for better or worse, rain does not stress me out on the roads.

Did I pull off off on the side of the highway to take this photo right after those clouds produced some killer lightning? Yes I did. Did others join me? Yes, they did. Was it a poor safety choice? Yes, it was. Don’t be like me kids, make smart driving choices.

However, I don’t think I know anyone who would be comfortable driving or working in any of the major downpours we’ve had lately. It’s aggressive rain that sometimes turns into graupels. It’s wholly unpleasant to be around.

I’ve been looking into getting my girls rain sheets for that reason. It’s slowly getting warmer, although it really doesn’t feel like it some days, and I don’t want to necessarily put on their heavier duty winter jackets and overheat them (I honestly try to avoid blanketing at all and let them grow big fuzzy coats, because that’s the most breathable option during mild years), but I got to do something to prevent them getting absolutely waterlogged. They have a lovely indoor space and a covered run in space, but it can be a little loud in the rain and they prefer to be outside. Unfortunately a lot of places are perpetually sold out, because I am not the only one with soggy mares.

It’s also prompted me to mostly give up on getting the hay area covered this year. It’s not that I don’t want to, but since I’m not the only one struggling with the weather and such this year labor prices are through the roof, if you can even get someone to respond. Which, I understand, and certainly don’t want to undervalue someone, but I was recently told over the phone the job would be at least 10k, no matter the dimensions, because that’s simply the minimum the contractor would accept to come out and give it a go. To clarify, I’m just looking for a glorified lean to. If I’m dropping over 10k on something right now, I have other priorities.

I also maybe have a cousin who could help, he’s a contractor and a good one, but he’s been so busy he makes the rest of us look like we are standing still. 

Anyways, as much as I long to be outside, it’s been okay to have a little more indoor time, if only because I just can’t quite get this head cold beat this year. It comes and goes. It’s gotten very annoying.

This little batch of clouds produced some solid rain. Joe perpetually smells of wet dog.

I think I’m feeling a little worse for wear today because I spent yesterday absolutely soaked to the bone out working with the horses. It snowed briefly even, but we got it all done. Sweet girls both got their hooves trimmed up, it’s been quite the battle keeping their feet in good shape with all the wet and soggy conditions. Then Ro saw the chiropractor while Nellie got firmly acquainted with her first ever heavy winter blanket. Ro had a couple of ribs out of place but nothing major, and was a total rockstar. Nellie absolutely blew my mind with how quickly she realized that the scary straps were worth it because the blanket is nice and warm. I honestly think the bigger struggle will be getting her to take it off. She loves being warm and cozy. 

Are you guys having any crazy weather? I mean. I’d imagine so, given so much of the world is having crazy weather. How do you guys cope with excessive rains and winds? Have you had any snow this late in the season? Gotta say may snow is a first for me. 

Until we chat again, my friends!

Mail Call

Hello friends!
Joe got some fun mail today, and he’s incredibly excited about it. See, ever since he was a puppy Joe has loved toys, especially Kong safestix, but he’s hard on toys because he’s an aggressive chewer. I try really hard to make sure about the time the latest toy needs to be replaced, we have new Stix in the wings.
But I sometimes miss the mark and we have to remove the old toy before the new ones arrive. This exact phenomena is why Joe has gotten really used to the Chewy signature blue box (not sponsored, just the only place I can easily get a hold of his favorite Stix).
This crazy dog recognizes the box from the moment the driver pulls it out and waits not quite so patiently at the counter as I cut all the non-dog friendly packaging away. Then one by one (I usually order three or four, in some combination of medium and large sizes for my giant teddy bear of a dog) I hand them to him, and he goes about showing anyone nearby his new treasures. The only downside to this is, thanks to the size of the Stix, if you are standing nearby, you should wear kneepads because he has no concept that he is suddenly a wide load. 

After he’s taken his new Stix, one by one from the box, around the house to show everybody, and finally over to the living room (the most wide open space and thus the best for playing), I get a happy dog tackle hug. Without fail, he hugs and cuddled until I relent, and we are sitting on the floor while he chews, shows off, and inspect the new toys. Sometimes he will hand his Stix off to me or anyone else who’s joined us on the floor so we can play too. But pretty soon he’ll need it back for chewing purposes.
The rest of the work day I get more than my share of the steps in because anytime I sit down to work at my desk for more than 20 minutes, Joe comes in and begs for more play time, and who am I to say no. He loves his toys so much.
Scooby liked toys a little when he was younger, but he has always been more of a zoomies kinda dog, enjoying playing tag with us and other dogs over playing with toys, I think because his big brother, my childhood pupper Winchester, was the king of human vs dog tag matches.
Watson (and Sherlock, sweet little guy) were never as into toys, I think in large part because toys generally aren’t made for their size and if they are we would have to monitor so Joe didn’t eat them. Sherlock did enjoy the occasional rope toy, but his favorite thing was crawling up into the toy box and falling asleep. I have some cute video on my old SD of him quietly puzzling through how to crawl up into the bucket and promptly laying down (before looking up, seeing his mom filming, and diving for my lap). I’ll have to see if I can easily get to that SD.

Editing Amanda here: could not get into the box with the SD, it’s in the rafters of the shed and needs more hands than I have)

Weve had some crazy repairs to make on the flatbed, and we realized that, at some point in the future, were gonna have to tear apart that engine in the name of actual preventative maintenance.
Looks like whoever owned it before us had a penchant for breaking the heads off bolts and then completely ignoring the problem so that weather and leaks and such could get in there and make triply sure those bolts would never move again. It’s an effective technique that means that teardown for cleaning is a pretty lofty goal at the moment.

I really hope this video upload things works….. please, please, please, please, please!

We finally were able to find a small, reasonably priced generator for the farm. It’s not a whole home backup, which is still on my “wants” list for the property eventually, but it’s a lovely little portable generator that will pull double duties on farm chores as well as whenever we do have a power outage and need a little emergency power to run the pump or fridge temporarily.
Dad was quite excited because it means he now how power anywhere on the farm he needs it, which has been an ongoing issue for a while. The way our farm is laid out, all the outbuildings are congregated on one side, which is perfect about 90% of the time, but not great when you realize two thirds of the farm doesn’t have outlets so things like electric chainsaws and weedwhackers and things become a problem. Since we have lots of fence lines that collect scrub trees and tumbleweeds like they are Pokémon, a generator to run those things and keep the fire risk down is a must. Clean fence lines can function as a small-scale fire break.
That’s about it for now, lots of new “toys” on the farm this week.
Until we chat again my friends 

The Event of the Season

Trigger warnings: vet stuff, needles, vaccinations, minor injuries, general farm medical dramas

Hello friends!

 It was farm call day last week, where all the critters on the farm that can get vaccinated, do. 

This one was definitely a little rougher than the others, not going to lie. But it all worked out in the end. Allow me to explain.

So, Ro, Watson, Joe, and Scoobs are pretty much seasoned pros about the vet. Scooby admittedly gets pretty nervous when we go into the actual vet office, and he does try to hide, but when it’s all said and done he stands quietly for his checkup and shots, he just needs a little more reassurance. Totally understandable. And, since I started scheduling farm calls, it’s been much more pleasant for him, since he has no idea it’s checkup time until it’s already in progress. No time to get worried.

Nellie, on the other hand, has a sixth sense about vet call days. We can do everything like normal, heck, there have been times I’ve forgotten the vet is coming out, but she knows. She knows. She will decide the level of crazy she wants to bring when they arrive, but make no mistake, she’s stewing on it beforehand.

The last few times she’s been fine, this time unfortunately she surprised us with how quickly she hit meltdown mode. She was trying really hard, ate some cookies from the vet’s hand and the lovely vet tech’s as well. But she was getting more and more nervous. After that fact I learned that the stray dog that had caused quite the ruckus earlier in the day had come back and my dad was attempting to prevent him from coming back into the corral, I’m assuming that was a large part of why she melted down so quickly, because while she likes dogs, she doesn’t like scary yappy jumpy dogs. And Ro doesn’t like dogs at all so the vibes were off.

(For what it’s worth, we tried to catch this dog forever, and when I called my neighbor she was pretty sure he lived down the road, so we are fairly certain he made it home and was just out on a walkabout)

Anyways, after she ran me over and kicked the vet, we opted to just let her live her life, which I believe was the right choice safety wise, but then after she calmed down she was so in my pocket, like she knew that wasn’t the best behavior and was trying to be especially cute. So, she definitely did not have a great time. It’s so hard because once Nellie has decided there’s an issue, that’s that, she can and will hold on to being suspicious about it for days. Unfortunately the vet and I will need a little recovery time as she grazed him in the shin and strained my shoulder (we’re fine now though, mostly just bruised egos).

While we vaccinated the dogs, we were discussing what to do with Nellie, as I love her too much to let her go unvaccinated, and we ended up with a two part plan that eventually leads to our happy ending. First, we discussed how to get her comfy with the vet, and we decided it probably made the most sense to either get her more comfortable with the needle or more relaxed around the vet so she isn’t thinking about the needle.

So, we decided that first I would try giving her the shot myself a day or two later, and if that went poorly we could give very light sedation so she was just a little bit safer and we could react just a little faster than she could. 

As you can imagine there was one idea I liked significantly more than the other, although neither sounded like the makings of a fun time. 

I won’t keep you in suspense, Nellie was such a good girl that two days after the vet call I was able to give her her vaccinations myself. At first the plan was to hide the needle and sneak attack, but she was on to me immediately. Honestly I should know better by now. So, I showed her the needle and spent about an hour holding it up to her neck, pinching, and feeding a cookie as reward. I kept waiting for the meltdown, but she was all here for the game. After she had thoroughly convinced me this wouldn’t be a big deal,  I spent an additional 20 minutes psyching myself up because while needles don’t bother me, poking those I love does. 

But we did it! She stood so still and nicely that I honestly didn’t know what to do, she was such a good pony. My technique wasn’t great, so unfortunately there was a little swelling and the equivalent to a little equine bruise from a shaky needle, but a couple video calls with the vet and he wasn’t concerned. She was even friends with me after the fact, which was totally new because usually she needs a little alone time to reevaluate what happened. 

As of today, now a few days later, both girls had the teeniest of injection reactions in the form of sore muscles and lethargy, combine that with a string of poor weather, and they have had many days off. Nellie was super touchy about her neck (understandable) but she’s coming around now. Like I said, she just needs a little extra time to process things occasionally. 

So all in all we came out fine. A little more eventful than last year, but the girls are healthy and vaccinated, the vets brushed shin was remedied with some donuts delivered to the clinic, and I can lift my arm above my shoulder again. Plus Nellie Belly and I have a whole new level of confidence since we handled vaccinations all by ourselves. Nellie requests I work on my shot-giving form though, so suggestions on how to do that are appreciated.

This has been a bit of a longer tale of farm shenanigans, so I better wrap this up here.

Until we chat again, my friends!

Everyone Loves a Good Back Porch

Hello friends!
Its officially work outside season, which is, of course, the best thing ever.
Not only is there actual outside work to be done (like redoing the gardens) there’s also just “work that can be done outside”. Luckily, I can usually swing a couple hours outside with my work laptop before the battery starts screaming. It’s a pretty solid little battery, I just usually put it through the ringer trying to develop for, and test against, large scale usage. Obviously, I can’t easily mimic hundreds of users on my local machine, but I can do enough and that’s hard on the battery, among other things.
I absolutely love being able to work outside, although admittedly the farther from the router I get the sketchier my slack notifications become. But I think my coworkers are fairly used to me at this point.
Our Wi-Fi very suddenly cut out this week and would not come back for anything. I was pretty annoyed because a few months ago the radio equipment our ISP provided failed unexpectedly and it took about a month and a half to get it all fixed. A very stressful month and a half when you work from home and are trying to use your phone as a hotspot. My phone has literally never been the same, and I am thinking I may need to upgrade soon because the battery now gets hot enough to fry eggs on.
I used to have a backup connection in town (I used to work entirely in town because we couldn’t get reliable internet access at the farm at all) but I had to cancel that recently as they tripled the price of the service and it was rivaling the cost of my entire electricity bill for the farm. Too much for something I hadn’t used in months.

Buds!! As seen from porch!!

Of course, about a week after I cancel, queue the farm internet suddenly going down. Like i said, I was beginning to get really frustrated and annoyed because I didn’t not want another six months of them being “sure it wasn’t their equipment”. But they got someone on the problem right away, because apparently it wasn’t just my farm that lost service, and the cause? A maintenance person accidentally slicing through a very important cord somewhere in the ecosystem. So only three days down for service, not six weeks. Thank goodness.
An update on Scooby now that he’s had some time to adjust to being a visually impaired pupper. He’s mastered most of his usual routes, and the four steps on the porch. He’s gotten weirdly comfortable with just walking over the top of, or through the legs of, Joe instead of going around. For Joe’s part, he’s gotten very good at standing or laying very, very still while Scooby goes about his travels. He’s pretty patient. He also goes out after Scoobs if he gets too far out in the yard or too close to the retaining wall.
Scooby does still struggle when things are out of place, sometimes he sees them, sometimes he doesn’t. He noticed the Easter eggs on the floor this morning and avoided them but didn’t see the work boots and stumbled over them. I tend to think it’s a depth perception and color thing. Both the carpet and boots are tan, the Easter eggs are decidedly not tan.
We are very lucky to have some very caring folks are part of our “pet raising village” too. Scooby has regular visits with our groomer (they all do) who I truly believe loves these critters like a crazy aunt loves her niblings. She takes special attention to Scoobs now that he has a hard time navigating new or rarely visited places. And our vet has been coming out to the farm for the yearly checkups/vaccinations but is now more accommodating than ever, letting Scoobs stay up on the porch, so he feels comfortable. They also have bumpers they put up in the rooms when he has to go into the clinic so he can’t get stuck under the furniture. We have some amazing people in our lives.
We have blocked up a few places for Scoobs too, although he still gets stuck under the dining table once in a while, he’s a lot better at working out where he is. He’s such a brave little trooper.

And a happy little guy too now that I can pop open the back door while I work, and they can hang out on the porch. They absolutely love being able to hang out outside and in the afternoon when the sun peeks in. Its covered and gated so the littles are protected from predators and Joe is theoretically protected from cars, tractors, the horses, or whatever else he’s decided to make friend with. Although he creates danger for himself because he likes to force his head in between the railing slats.
I occasionally joke about being a “boy mom” because when I describe the everyday chaos to my cousins with human children, our stories sound suspicious similar. It sounds like I just have three young toddlers waddling about. It also helps that anytime someone addresses one of my critters is sounds a lot like “hey Scoobs, where’s your mama?”
(Real talk though, as much as I love being a fur parent, I absolutely realize it is 4000x harder being a parent parent. I only make those jokes around those who unequivocally know I’m joking)
Welp, I’ve prattled on for a while, so I’ll leave this one here. Otherwise, I’ll write a whole book and the editing will be a nightmare haha.
Until we chat again my friends! 

Fix It Lists

Hello friends!
The funny thing about spring time is that it’s always fix it season. It makes sense when you think about it, most things have sat around all winter, cold, unmoving, and without the general mini maintenance that comes with daily use.
We have a little irrigation pump that we use to water the pasture and arena spaces with the canal waters each year. It’s a tough little guy, and mostly comes out of winter unscathed, except for one little valve that breaks every year. Every single year we end up replacing this little brass fitting and pipe section. Weve tried just about everything, it now gets taken off and stored, last year in the garage, where, despite being bone dry and out of the elements, it still cracked. This year we stored it in the basement, but it got so unreasonably cold I don’t know if I have high Hope’s. We will know soon enough, when the frost warnings are past, the canal is full, and we can safely use the pump.

This is when it first started running, it’s not usually this grimy and muddy. Also please ignore the humming, much like a llama I tend to mindlessly hum when I am happy, and any sign of spring makes me happy.

For the first time since moving next to the canal, I was actually outside when it start filling up this year. I was walking Ro into the arena, which backs right up to the canal, and we first it come crashing through some of the tumbleweeds that had settled in the dry ditch. She had one of her rare spooky moments but settled fairly quickly. Funnily enough though, she panicked anytime any of her humans walked too close to the rushing water, which makes me wonder what her past water experiences have been, since no one here has ever fallen in or anything. We ended up mostly just standing near the canal chatting so she could come up and check on the water and then retreat as needed. Nellie was not bothered at all surprisingly. She was completely nonplussed with the whole situation.

This photo doesn’t really relate BUT my girls never share this nicely so I had to share the moment. Please ignore how gross the trough is, it actually got cleaned the morning after this photo was taken and the pvc protecting the heater got resettled

To be honest, I have no intuition as to what this horse will decide is scary and what isn’t. Every time I think “Nellie will fear this” I’m totally wrong, and I have about the same success rate with “Nellie will be fine with this” thoughts too. As long as she’s learning it all comes out in the wash I guess.
We called in the sprinkler guy for our yard sprinklers, because theoretically that thing is all a computerized system. I don’t think the automated part of it has worked for more than a week at a time the entire time we’ve owned it, and the system in manual mode has never made it a full season without breaking down. I’m very grateful for our sprinkler guy, he has the patience for the system that I simply never will. It fouls up like crazy. I don’t know how the previous owners utilized it, or perhaps they had the same issues.
We’ve had significantly worse luck with other tradespeople lately, which makes me even more grateful for our sprinkler guy. I tried to hire a landscaper to help with the ever-growing craziness that is the yard. I can manage the day to day, but the previous owner planted some questionable things in questionable places, and I have bushes threatening my sidewalks, arborvitae growing tall enough to be a problem, trees that need love, and a severe amount of mint… everywhere. I’ve more or less just tried to maintain them until I had solutions but it’s getting a little crazy. I thought maybe someone would be able to help me out, and lots of people responded, lots of people gave me dates and times they’d come give me a bid, and a lot of people suddenly never contacted or responded to me again while I waited for them to arrive. Those that did respond mostly said things like “you’re too far out” and “I don’t work in your area anymore” which is a touch annoying since I clarify my address several times with people (we’re…. not the most Google Maps friendly address). But I assume people suddenly realize I’m not near Boise and it’s not worth it, which is fine, but a cancellation notice would be nice. I missed a fun dinner out the other night because I was waiting for someone who no-showed on me.

Last week my sweet brother started trying to tackle some of the jobs I had hoped a landscaper would help with. I appreciate it so much, he’s really handy when he has time, and my aunt said she’d be able to help me relocate some of those bushes when she comes later in the summer as she’s a hobby botanist. So now I just need to find a dedicated tree guy, and an exorcist for the mint. (I like mint a lot, have always grown it, but in pots, where it can’t rapidly consume whole garden beds. I don’t understand just throwing it out in the beds all over, because it’s truly everywhere now.)
Ah, oh well, worst case scenario the gardens will overgrow, and I’ll lean heavily into the “garden witch” aesthetic. We will call that a solid plan b.
Until we chat again my friends!