It’s a Busy Home…

Hello friends!

My house smells so good right now! One of those rare moments when I wish the blog had smell-o-vision (although, etymologically speaking, shouldn’t it be tele-olfaction? …anyways). Usually you probably wouldn’t want to smell the blog, I’m guessing it smells a lot like horse manure, eau-de-farm-doggie, and diesel. Just a hunch. 

But, for real, we made almond butter cookies and my house smells like a hallmark movie. It literally smells like a good day in here. It smells like christmas! (It smells like warm vanilla, almond, and unsurprisingly, butter, but let’s be poetic for just a moment).

I generally don’t super enjoy baking, and admittedly Christmas cookies aren’t an exception, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE eating Christmas cookies so I will do my part to get the reward. Love almond butter cookies. They are a bit involved so even though every year I say “I should make these more often”… I don’t. 

It’s been a crazy week on the farm. We had a water pipe go south on us that required digging up a part of the yard and calling a plumber. Then calling a diagnostic imaging company because they couldn’t find the pipe. THEN calling back the plumbers when we found the pipe four inches from where they dug the first giant hole. I’ll attach a photo of the yard now, because you can only dig a hole so many times before it turns into mud. I’m not exactly sure why it happened, something about a nylon joint going bad, but I’m just so grateful it wasn’t the septic system. It also put it on my radar that I should really have the septic system serviced in the spring. Added to the planner.

Second thing that happened was two of my lovely cousins, who are skilled tradespeople (or skilled tradespeople in training) came over to put in an outlet for me. So my cloffice is official! I have power! Now to get shelves and such. I need to paint, because the wiring in this house, and the wall covering too, is a thing of its own. So we had to punch a few holes, and accidentally turned the power off on my dad mid shower, but it’s in and other than the color differences there’s no sign that plug in wasn’t always there. It was so cool seeing my cousins work, and my cousin who did the electrical is an apprentice, so she was really excited to do a solo job. I had to wash everything because I traded plaster for sheetrock in those holes, and both create just the most invasive dust. (Side note, there’s some potentially very dumb cleaning content headed your way, it made me laugh too hard to not share, so you’ll all have to cringe along with me next week).

My room is currently a pretty, but faded, green, and I like it a lot, so I might try to match it, BUT, I’ll add a couple pictures of the room as it is currently, and if yall have ideas I’m all ears. I’ve also, occasionally, had the urge to do some fun paint or wallpaper tricks, so I’m open to those, but wallpaper, even the peel and stick kind, is seemingly out of my price range for now. And honestly, paint feels a little less like a serious commitment, and I don’t know if I’m looking for a long term relationship with my decor choices. I don’t want to feel bad doing a refresh a couple years down the line, ya know?

The snow of course made both of these things a little harder, since windows couldn’t be opened and the ground was frozen. So obviously paint will be waiting for warmer weather. But thinking about it now will prepare us for spring. And it’s just kinda fun to day dream. I’m also minorly entertaining the idea of painting the cloffice a soft pink. Of course with that thought came my brain replaying that scene from steel magnolias on loop:

“My colors are blush and bashful”

“Her colors are pink and pink”

Might be fun though.

Until we chat again, my friend

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

Hello friends!

I am once again calling on your expertise! It’s Christmas time officially and I need some no cost holiday fun ideas for little kids. We’ve been a house of busy working adults for so long that we sorta have our Christmas spirit in batches, and the kids are losing their minds about it.

I also need some very inexpensive but very fun Christmas gifts ideas for these kiddos. Santa is really broke this year because they’ve literally tripled my food and utilities costs and I wasn’t exactly pleased with the budget beforehand. Gotta love when a single tank of gas is your entire commute budget for the month. But I digress. 

The boys have been loving napping under the tree

I plan on making some reindeer snacks for Christmas eve (and the reindeer will enjoy them sometime after the kiddos go to bed). My parents always made it look like the reindeer were super messy eaters, and I think this year that sloppy reindeer might just make a comeback. Carrots and apples for sure, and cookies for Santa.

I was planning on involving them in the cookie making process if they wanted. We always make almond butter cookies instead of sugar cookies, they have a little bit of a deeper flavor and are just a little less sweet. I’ve never heard any complaints so I think the kiddos will like them, and they make up very similarly to a sugar cookie and can be decorated just the same. We usually make a batch of chocolate almond butter cookies too, as well as a couple specialty cookies. Although I learned my lesson a couple years ago with red velvet cookies. It’ll be a while before I try those again. Messy and gross to boot. I think I messed something up, but frankly you have to use so much dye there’s not really a second chance. 

I’ve added a new sweet treat to the mix since I’ve taken over the cookies portion of the holiday. We now also have no baking peanut butter chocolate bars, a recipe given to me by a friend of my grandma’s. They take about ten minutes to make and about an hour to chill (you melt and reset some chocolate) and then you have super cute little snack sized bars to eat. They are super rich but super addictive, so I always have to put them somewhere out of the way to help prevent calamity. I love little treats like that though, because for the most part, I almost always have the ingredients on hand and, other than the small scale crisis caused by attempting to measure peanut butter, they are really easy to make. Same principle as keeping premade cookie dough in the fridge, you literally never know when you might need a sweet treat.

Pretty sure we are going to have something akin to a white Christmas. I don’t know if it’ll snow or have a lot of accumulation specifically over those days but I definitely think that the conditions will be there and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. Last year it was -2 degrees Christmas morning, we had around a foot of snow, and it started snowing more that afternoon. Made it difficult to feed the animals but it was really quite beautiful. 

It was really funny though too, because, and I think I showed you guys in pictures, the little walkway that I throw food into the barn from was completely covered in snow. There was a large pile from the roof to be climbed every time we wanted to feed in the barn. I definitely fell off that pile several times and the horses definitely laughed at me several times, which…fair.

This year so far the snow has been… mushy? Not structures building snow so it doesn’t build into drifts or create those wind balls. Kinda just gets everything wet and muddy. I think the kiddos would like it a lot better if it was the fun fluffy stuff. 

I’m somewhere in the realm of 80% done with my Christmas shopping. I’m one of those weirdos that starts planning in October and as soon as we get Halloween squared away I start slowly enacting my plans. Doesn’t always work, I definitely still have to do the December 23rd quick trip. But I’m getting more organized each year. I have to, my holiday season is packed, have you seen the size of my family? I have events every weekend of November and December and lots of weekday craziness too! This year there’s a color-coded spreadsheet. You know I’ve hit full first born, obsessive planner mode when I bust out the excel formulas. Putting on our serious Santa hats.

(It’s really quite pleasant to see all those pretty little cells though, you gotta admit).

Until we chat again my friends!

Calling All Recipe Sharers!

Hello friends!

The weather is really starting to get to me. Anyone have any good tips for cabin fever? Bemoaning old man winter is becoming a hobby in its own right and I don’t think I like the person I am when I’m stuck inside haha. Grumpy is an understatement. People are crossing the street when they see me. My RBF is strong this time of year.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty, but I think it’s a textural thing for me, I despise being wet for no good reason. Swimming? Fine. Bathing the animals? Fine. Watching the rain from a  window or porch? lovely! But I despise being soaked because of the rain or snow. And I cannot deal with being cold. I’d flourish in the tropics…maybe.

The girls haven’t been loving it either. The blankets are heavy. While it’s better than shivering and being cold soaked, it’s still not ideal. They have a place to go and stay dry, but sometimes I think hell will freeze over before we get to that point. They would rather stand out in a blizzard than go into the warm barn, and I’m pretty sure if I forced it there would be a small scale mutiny. Nice, warm, cozy barn with multiple heat lamps? Nah, we have a random stretch of fence to guard tonight. Nellie sometimes decides she’s simply not having it and spends the evening, or overnight if she prefers, without a blanket because she is bigger than me and some battles are just too dangerous still. She’s got a pretty nice winter coat so I figure she’s old enough to know if she’s not interested. Doesn’t mean I don’t spend the whole night worrying about her. 

Joe is also a big blanket fan

Honey officially has all her initial shots and blood work and is properly spayed. She was such a good girl for the whole ordeal. She was pretty upset in the car and during the initial checkup understandably. I was really worried after being locked up for fasting, left at the vet, and then being on bedrest for a couple days (starting in the Joe sized travel kennel and then in the woodshop) that as soon as she got her freedom she’d take permanent leave of us. But she’s such a sweetie, she marched right up to Christopher and demanded some cuddles. She’s definitely his cat, or more accurately, he’s her person.

She might have a small meltdown when she realizes that she needs a booster shot very soon. But it’ll still be a lot less traumatic than the whole surgery thing. She’s a trooper.

In other news, I’m in need of cost friendly, large scale dinners if anyone wants to share. The kiddos that moved in with their dad are all growing like weeds and eating me out of house and home. I’m over here trying to not go broke and still make sure they are getting all they need, I’m trying to teach myself to coupon, and I’m upping my bulk buy game. 

I’ve been making some pretty wild leftover “casseroles”, which just sounds better than “threw things in a pot and hoped it worked”. I hit on a pretty good one yesterday, leftover taco chicken, garlic rice, frozen spinach, and some cream of mushroom soup, plus a little seasoning. Topped it with some fried onions and let me tell you, it sounds weird but was quite warm and tasty. It was a big hit in our house, and wasn’t hard at all. I’m pretty brain dead after work, so easy is the name of the game.

Haha so ya know, not a big ask, just super cheap, super tasty, super easy meals to feed 9 people. Simple! Easy! No biggie!

(If this suddenly turns into a cheap eats blog, you know I’ve officially lost my mind. Also, if you have a favorite cheap eats blog, send me links! This girls gone full on frugal).

We do have some very cute elementary school art projects on the fridge now, the littlest one came flying in from school yesterday to tell us all about it, so it’s all worth it. I’m a sucker for a happy little kiddo. And these are some ridiculously cute kids.

All in all, I think it’s going to be an interesting holiday season. I had planned my holidays this year around the idea of relaxing calm, since last year’s holiday season was crazy busy and stressful. I definitely don’t think it’ll be calm anymore, I don’t think my house will be calm for a while, but I think it’ll be fun!

Until we chat again my friends

Withdrawals

Hello friends!

Welp, I’ve had to slowly move our morning rides to the midday. It’s not a bad thing per say, I just absolutely love our morning rides, it’s the most wonderful thing to enjoy your time with your horses as the sun is coming up and all is pink and lovely. It’s a special summertime treat. 

But now we get to have autumnal work. Wind whipping around makes warm horsey hugs more special, we bust out the coolout blankets for after work, and everyone starts wearing an extra layer or two. There’s warm beverages to be had, and slightly later starts on the weekends, all good things. The only rough part is knowing we are on borrowed time and after the first snow It’s really up in the air how long we have to work until we have to call it for a couple months. Unfortunately I just don’t have the infrastructure to keep my girls in activity over the winter, no way to cool them slowly enough to not shock them after work, less than great footing when wet (when things aren’t Just straight under water), and no wind breaks, which around here is a big deal. Winds are quite the thing in our little corner of the valley.

I’m really hoping that the weather is milder this year, last winter everything was very wet and the daytime temperatures were well below freezing for a good portion of the winter. I lost a bunch of the plumbing for the barn and had to literally chip gates open. I really want a milder winter, preferably one where we can keep riding and using the arena space for longer into the season before it starts to turn into a lake.

Mom’s got the house all decorated for fall. She absolutely loves decorating for each season and holiday, although we go a little lighter on the Halloween stuff since that’s not really a holiday we celebrate. We maybe watch Ghost Hunters reruns and I might make a spooky dinner, but nothing major. We keep it low key for Halloween, and we never get trick or treaters (for good reason, please don’t drive your kids out to the country to trick or treat unless you 100% know the farmer and know they have candy. It’s a dangerous game otherwise. I know yall are too smart for that nonsense, but it’s worth saying, it is the internet after all). But we get pretty into the fall themed and harvest fest stuff. I think it helps stem off the inevitable blues that the end of summer bring. Not that the other seasons aren’t great, but it’s hard to start slowing down when you just wanna be outside for forever. So we make sure it’s a warm and cozy time. But not christmassy yet. We don’t do Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving and we are careful about it until the 13th, because my dad is a December baby. Don’t wanna step on his birthday. I’m lucky, I’m a July girl, so no overshadowing major holidays for me, and I get fireworks. Truly the best. 

Isn’t he the cutest!? I had to show you, also, please ignore the shaky camera, Joe was actively pushing me over

Winter season also brings out the excuses in me. My eyesight isn’t the greatest and there’s no streetlights this far out in the country, so I always try to excuse myself from events where I have to drive after dark. I also staunchly avoid driving on snow and ice if I can, so I spend a good amount of cozy nights curled up with a book and warm drink. Sorry, I can’t make it, I’m too chicken. 

My warm drink game is a little off right now. See, a few months ago my headaches started getting even worse, and I finally had to do something to figure it out. See, I come from a long line of headache sufferers, migraines, tension headaches, weather affect, you name it, and unfortunately I’ve definitely got one sensitive head. Luckily because this has been a forever thing, normally, unless it’s a particularly bad day, I can muddle through with relative success. I just warn people that I’m one bright light or loud noise from getting irrationally angry and I occasionally  treat myself to an early night in. But a few months ago it got a little crazy. We’re talking midday naps everyday because I could not cope. I tend to have some form of headache around 4 out of every 7 days, I’m told that’s pretty typical, so everyday all day was a lot. And pain meds wouldn’t touch it at all. I actually cried about it a couple times, and I don’t generally cry about medical stuff. On a whim I started cutting things out of my diet and, long story slightly shorter, it was coffee. Not caffeine mind you, I can still drink soda, but specifically an intolerance to the bean. Doc says it’s probably because I lived on coffee for so long my system finally just said no. He also thinks that with time, and a lot more moderation, I can probably go back to coffee eventually. But for now it’s a special planned treat. For example, I really wanted to try the mint chocolate coffee at the candy store, so I got it on a day I knew I could go straight to bed if needed. It was absolutely delicious by the way.

Most days I’ve switched out coffee for warm broths. I’m not much of a tea person but I have a couple I like. But broths also can have a nice little nutritional kick so I tend to reach for them. And I don’t reach for them first thing in the morning, I wait until others are up, so I’ve also kicked the morning march to the coffee maker habit. 

It wasn’t such a big deal over the summer, but as we are going into fall and winter, I am missing my coffee a little more now. There’s nothing quite like a warm cup on a frosty morning.

In any case, I think I’ll survive, pretty sure there are worse fates.

Until we chat again my friends. 

To-Dos

Hello friends!

Let’s chat about winterizing since it’s starting to look like that may be next on my plate. I’m really not ready to see summer slowing down but that’s all part of the deal I guess, gotta explore all the changing seasons. And I do really enjoy that part of it. Fall is a lovely time of year. 

What does it look like at your place when it’s time to start thinking about winding down the summer? I’m always curious, because every place is different. My aunt and uncle have a lot more acreage so they have a lot more to think about. My neighbors’ fields (where the research station workers lease ground to grow their experiments) are already being cleaned up. They’ve been pulling down the netting and veggie cages already. 

I’m still mostly trying to pretend summer has a long run left, but I have been thinking about gathering the winter supplements for the horses, pulling out their blankets and checking the buckles, and bemoaning the fact that at some point I gotta climb up a ladder and check the heat lamps in the barn and coop (Cordelia has one in her cat condo too, but it’s at chest height to me, much easier). Dad’s thinking ahead about winterizing the irrigation system and the sprinkler lines. 

I was so surprised when mid winter last year Nellie tried on her first ever winter blanket and absolutely loved it. Turns out the key to my girl’s heart is cookies and cozy blankets and really, I can completely respect that. I’m also swayed by sweet treats and a warm blanket. I had avoided blanketing in the past, choosing to let their thick winter coats grow in and letting them do the job. And in the past it’s worked just fine. But we are having progressively more extreme seasons and the winter coats just won’t do against -10° and freezing rain. The old timers say it’s cyclical and we are due for some extreme weather. Record setting highs and lows. Can’t say I’m particularly keen on it, but we will figure it out as it comes. That said, my uncle tells stories of tying a rope to the ranch house porch and the barn door because the snow was so thick they were afraid of losing the kids in it. I’m hoping that was mostly just a story, but my uncle usually has a fair amount of truth to his tall tales. Oh boy.

On top of the winterizing chores, I’m slowly thinking about all the fun fall things I wanna do. Soon it will be time to go peach picking, and make cobbler from the treasure. I can’t wait to put up the fall themed decorations and have pumpkins on the porch, and their seeds roasting in the oven. I absolutely love roasted pumpkin seeds. I am excited about pumpkin bread, and maybe even some pear bread if they look good this year. 

I should get back to crocheting my little pumpkins, and Watsons sweater. I started them before my fall way back last year and consistently found that the repetitive actions of crocheting were the easiest way to aggravate my injured elbow. Doc said I should just let it be for a few months and come back when other things have stopped aggravating it too. Sorta fell out of the habit, so it’s worth a shot now. Worst case scenario, I hold off a little longer

please excuse the awkward crop, I am strategically removing as much of my screens as possible. I also have no idea why my sleeve and hand looks that dusty…..

Watson is already cold and the days are still really quite warm, he’s just so little he doesn’t maintain his own heat very well. He would very much like his little sweater to be done soon. I picked a cute soft green in a different yarn texture than I am used to. It’s a slipperier yarn which is annoying to work with but it’s less scratchy than the traditional red heart that I use most of the time. I wanna find two oversized buttons for the closure for easy on and off. Since I’ll be the one putting it on and my hands are usually a disaster of band aids and bruises, I’m sure I don’t want tiny fiddly buttons to do up every morning. 

Farrier has put us on a slightly longer schedule too, since going into winter the horses hooves don’t grow quite as fast, sometimes, like this last winter when it was incredibly cold, they hardly grow at all. I assume it’s a survival thing, I just like that it’s a pocket book thing. Our new farrier seems cool, admittedly juries still out for sure until I see him work on their feet a few more times. But he seems patient and fairly understanding, so that’s a huge win.

Well, admittedly, all of this was a bit of procrastination before I actually sit and make a plan. To quote Game of Thrones, winter is coming, and around here that means there’s work to be done.

Until we chat again, my friends!

Summer Days

Hello friends!

Can you believe it’s September already! I cannot, where did the summer go? I swear it was just July but now suddenly the kiddos are back in school.

Lots of things are signaling its fall and back to school season. A big one being the August 20th flip. When I moved to the valley full time my great uncle told me about August 20th. My great grandmother had told him, her father had told her, it’s a little trick you learn from living here to track the seasons. I’ll be honest, when I first heard it I called shenanigans. I thought they were funning me. No way it happens on the same date every year right? Welp, so far every year I’ve been here it’s been right. It’s subtle. But you notice it. The morning is crisper on the 20th, it seems like the sun takes forever to rise, the critters are suddenly starting to prepare for winter. The last of the garden starts giving its harvest, everyone is wearing a light sweater, and it really starts to put the idea of pumpkins in your head. 

Don’t get me wrong, daily highs are still between 90 and 105 for a bit before declining, so it’s still the dog days of summer, but you can tell something is coming. Your carefree summer days are in limited supply.

But there’s still plenty to do before summer ends, especially for the kiddos in the family, or the kiddos at heart. 

We recently hosted an outdoor movie night in the backyard as a way to celebrate the end of summer and the start of a new school year (admittedly, I was always a little down at the end of summer, but my cousins are all amazing little weirdos who love school). We themed the whole thing like a 50’s or 60s beach party and watched Beach Blanket Bingo. It was a huge fun success, even if most of the kiddos fell asleep before the end of the movie haha. We had a little windstorm issue but the homemade screen held up nicely for the most part, we had super minimal tech issues, and lots of food. Hot dogs, candy and an obscene amount of popcorn. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it and we are already planning the next one, granted I think we are going to wait until the sun sets a little earlier and the high for the day isn’t 107. 

I even got my hands on some drive-in movie style hot dog baskets and some theater style popcorn bags to make it feel really authentic and we settled out all kinds of beach towels and blankets and pillows under the tree! I found some old school movie adverts (think the drive in during Grease, with the flipping hotdog), and compiled an oldies playlist so we were professional, ya know? That said, we are also tentatively planning a trip to the drive-in near-ish by, when they show more kid friendly movies again.

We also got to go to the fair! My mom loves going to the fair, she has since she was little, and she definitely passed that on to me! It’s kinda fun, because I have such fond memories from my state fairs growing up, both as a little fair goer and during my 4H years, but the fair I went to as a kiddo has grown up and is very commercialized. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that but I miss the dirt walkways and slightly grungy animal barns, the possibly questionable food stalls and the weird, random, amazing exhibits. The fair near me definitely still has that small fair charm, while still having enough to do to feel busy. We went on a Sunday, it wasn’t terribly busy, but there were lots of folks around to make it feel full. We got to see the quilt exhibit, lots of animals, and even caught a couple shows.

We got to see Loop Rawlins, a guy who throws a pretty mean lasso, and lit a bull whip on fire. I tried to get y’all some video but lots of people were walking in and out and I am short. Got a photo though. Apparently he’s been on America’s Got Talent, I’m not super familiar with how that show works but it sounded impressive. We also got to see the K9 Flying Dogs, which was basically just a guy who was having lots of fun with his working breed dogs chasing Frisbees and showing off. So much fun, he had a role for all his critters, young and old, and you could feel the love. 

I ate so much good fair food, my favorite of which is always the Elephant Ear, and we got to see many of the 4H and FFA exhibits. We got to see the flocks: turkeys, chickens, geese, ducks, and on and on. I got to say hi to Stanley as he was out meeting and greeting with his adoring public. We also got to see the llamas and alpacas which is always my mom’s absolute favorite. Don’t be surprised if one day you tune in and we are suddenly an alpaca farm. It’s truly just a matter of time.

My favorite, of course, was the mule show, for very obvious reasons, and the antique tractors. I love old machinery and the history of farming, and it’s even more fun when it comes to life.

Behind this section were a whole bunch of pre-and post way vintage tractors, which were super cool too!

But, I also picked up a pretty solid sunburn, so I am going to leave this here to go find some aloe.

Until we chat again, my friends!

*Low Flying Airplane Noises*

Hello friends!

So first of all, look at this super cool video my dad took! I’ve never been this close to an aerial applicator doing their job, it actually spooked me the first time they went past and I decided to stop and wait for the next pass so we could get a cool video (don’t worry, i was the only one on my aunt and uncles mile long driveway so I wasn’t being unsafe). Only thing I would have done differently? Slow rolled as they went by so I could maybe stay with them just a little longer, you can probably tell I put my foot in it a little trying to keep up but for obvious physics reasons there’s no way that was ever going to happen. It was really cool to see it that close in any case.

Why did I refer to them as aerial applicators and not the more traditional “crop dusters”? Well, many reasons. One is, I’ve been told by a couple pilots they prefer aerial applicators, and two, they don’t really dust crops anymore, they more “mist” them, the mixtures are, in general, significantly different than even a few years ago so dust rarely comes into play anymore.

Cheesy Dad Joke incoming! Also, please ignore how dirty my car is, Clifford the Big Red Dodge has been lovingly washed since this was taken

That said, I’m totally guilty of coding switching here, depending on who I’m talking to I’ll still use crop duster, because when your 90+ year old dining companion refers to them as “crop dusters” it’s generally not worth it to correct them, and might come off disrespectful. So, if you hang out with me for a while, you may hear both. I’m guilty of that with a few things. 

Especially because I live in a very old community generally. 

(To clarify, this does not apply to rights issues and the like, I still correct all the “-isms”, I don’t entertain racism, ableism, misogyny, homophobia, etc regardless of who I might offend in the room, because if I offend you, I probably don’t care to be your friend anyway. In the same vein, if you feel the need to discriminate, you can feel free to close this blog out as well, we don’t put up with nastiness here, thank you.)

We’ve had the weirdest weather here. I live in the high desert, right, so it’s, generally speaking, dry here. Dry is nice because at 110° that’s the difference between “it’s far too hot to be outside” and “it’s far too hot to exist”. Humidity is a game changer. We recently had a string of four days of over 80% humidity. This is way too sticky even when you live in a humid place. The girls got a few days off to help manage,since it can be dangerous to work in conditions of heat and humidity that you aren’t used to. It also stormed a lot which makes sense when you consider the humidity most likely came from that monsoonal moisture coming up from the southwest. This time of year they have to deal with lots of flash flooding and storms as well. I’m very grateful we haven’t seen a lot of flooding around here but some places in the southwest got obliterated. 

We mostly just tried not to melt. Everything was damp and sticky, and it’s amazing how quickly some fungi and molds and things pop up after a few days of 80+ humidity. Even my old dead wood pile had little green patches. We had little white mushrooms pop up in the yard and several of my plants just sorta wilted under the dampness. Desert plants aren’t humidity proof. It was also weird because the grass and pasture was all weighed down so no mowing or trimming could be done effectively, the bugs were really bad, and all the the normal characters, like the field workers next door, the early morning joggers, and even the delivery guys were all absent or nearly absent trying to avoid working in the 100° weather with 80% humidity. I totally get it, no judgment here, I was also hiding out, but it was slightly eerie. 

Not much else has happened around here. We’ve been slowing down in the garden, something ate my last two kohlrabi before they came ready, but we’ve gotten lots of potatoes. The dogs tried a new groomer out and I think we like her, I just hope she lasts a while. We’ve had a string of bad luck in the area, groomers come and go with alarming speed. There must not be a lot of business here. So fingers crossed this one works out.

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 

Clouds

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!

Spoiled Horse Diaries

Hello friends!

In today’s episode of “I sure wish someone would treat me like I treat my horses”, Nellie and Ro-Ro are out sunning themselves under what is becoming an increasingly rare sunny day, after spending the night and early morning all snuggled up in fluffy warm blankets due to the rain. They are also relaxing after yesterday’s very long day of having their hooves trimmed and conditioned and getting a chiropractic adjustment to address stiffness and any lingering winter creaks and moans. 

That’s right, after a long day of spa treatments and evening of lounging, my girls got to sleep in and are now sunbathing. If that isn’t the life I dunno what is. Although, some time between now and the end of this post, a break will be taken and a ride will be accomplished. I hope.

Meanwhile, yours truly has been perpetually cold for about three days after spending a ridiculous amount of time standing out in the middle of several different storm cells. Life of a farmer, I guess, but do you ever do something and immediately go “this is the exact reason I’ll be sick in three days?”? I could feel it. Fingers crossed I’m wrong. 

Photo Credit to Christopher, who occasionally texts me critter pics when I am in a stressful meeting

I’m so excited to see how Ro continues to move since she had a set of crossed ribs that we didn’t know about. She’s such a sweetheart and was just working away like it was no big deal, when we saw stiffness even the vet assumed it was just tender feet from all the wet ground they aren’t used to. Ro is such a trooper.

To clarify, we are having a devil of a time keeping their feet nice. It’s just been so soggy. Ro is shedding some of her frog and both my girls are prone to chips right now.

But so far, Ro is moving like a whole different horse! How long this lasts remains to be seen, we may need to schedule visits from our chiropractor more often, but she is running and bucking and kicking and having a great time during our lunge sessions and was way more willing and flexy under saddle. She’s needed a little longer during our lunge session to get her wigglies out, but I don’t mind because once she’s settled she’s got a very steady head on her. And everyone gets the zoomies on a sunny day when you feel good right? I mean, I don’t run per say but I definitely have a spring in my step and a willingness to tackle more projects and things when it’s a sunny feel good kinda day. All to say, I get her point, sometimes you just gotta run around like a total hooligan for a little while to get the crazies out. As her mama I appreciate she does it pre-ride.

Nellie, on the other hand, has had no interest in working whatsoever, and only interests in being a bit of a pill to Ro during her work sessions, although we are trying to remedy that. She is allowed to have “I don’t wanna work days” both my girls are, because of their respective leg injuries. If they are hurting I don’t ever wanna make things worse unnecessarily. But since the vet Nellie has been borderline snotty about it all, so we are stepping back and working on reminders like “pushing someone over to get the the fence is not nice”, “trying to run into your sister while she lopes is dangerous and not okay” and “pulling all the tack off the fences and throwing it into the dirt is not appreciated”, she’s also back to going from zero to meltdown really quickly, which tells me this is all probably a broken trust thing, she’s still upset I brought the vet out. This girl can hold on to feelings with the best of them .But we will get there, I’m kinda letting her come to me, when she’s ready to work again, she will let me know. She is still entitled to all the love and care in the world, but I do think it’s getting to her that Ro gets the post work cookies and she hasn’t in a while. While the definition of work is different for every horse, the rule on this farm is horses have unlimited amounts of love and care and all the necessities of a comfy life, but the coveted peppermint cookies are for horses that have worked that day. Work might look like letting me use the scary fly wipes on your neck, or it might look like practicing 20m circles at the jog, but cookies are a reward for a good attempt at something.
Honestly, “work” for my girls looks a lot like play anyway, compared to the life some horses live, my girls are basically mares of leisure. The fact that Ro often comes trotting in from the pasture herself because she’s excited to run and ride leads me to believe that the work level is about right for her. And that’s all the really matters to me, that in this team of three, we are all happy and fulfilled.

Until we chat again my friends!