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!


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!

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! 

It’s Blowin’

Hello friends!
Winds blowing like crazy again. It does that this time of year, but it seems like it’s a little crazier this year. A little harder, a little colder, a little meaner.
The other day it was blowing hard from the west, just a mean, terribly biting wind. This was especially odd since we almost never get winds from the west. Northern winds sometimes, southern winds most often, but never western winds. Or at least, we don’t notice them because out hill often disrupts that pattern before it bothers us. (Eastern winds are a metric we can’t really gather because of the hill as well).
But today its blowing terribly hard, absolutely rattles the house when it hits, its brought some nasty storm clouds and driving rain too, although no thunder yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if that came along soon enough though.
I’ve tried to be a little less of a helicopter mom with the animals during rough weather days now. When my mares first came home, I would keep them in the corral area with food and stand near them supporting them if it even rained. Then I was reminded that all I was doing was teaching them that I found unpleasant weather scary, and they should too. Well, that’s not what I wanted because short of the severe winds like today, or hail, tornado warnings, etc., weather isn’t a big concerning thing. So, i started trying to just do the occasional check in but mostly let them ride it out. I still bring them into the corral when the wind gets really bad or the thunder starts really rolling, because they have to walk under a tree to get to the corral for water and shelter from the pasture and that gets exponentially more dangerous the deeper into the storm we go.

Here’s Joe, because I really don’t know how to capture “wind” effectively and don’t really want to soak my camera or phone in an attempt

But, it also means I get my steps by walking back and forth from the kitchen window to my desk about a million times, and out to the living room picture windows to monitor the weather. I’m still a nervous pet parent.
Weve been so unsettled this year that I think the girls are really getting used to the insane weather, yesterday it graupeled (I have no idea how to verb that noun) multiple times, and then would be sunny three minutes later. They didn’t so much as flinch. When it got pretty loud in the house, I stepped out just long enough to see if they needed to be under cover, and they ignored all attempts at attention getting in hopes of eating a little more grass before they were called in. Usually if they’re ready to go in the corral, whether for the evening meal and tuck in, or to come hangout while I clean the barn, or to escape the weather, they’ll come get me at the corner of the gate. They can go in by themselves, and they do regularly travel in and out, but if it’s a little spooky that day for some reason, they’ll wait for me to walk down to the barn, so they have someone friendly on the other side of the scary space.
The weather though, has been so exceptionally spastic this year, the girls have started to be much more brave about their daily activities, and pretty much only start to get worried if the wind picks up or I come put to usher them in.
It’s been a couple days since I wrote those earlier paragraphs, and we’ve had two major wind advisories since then. One, later in the evening, I was home alone and had luckily just taken the boys out to use the restroom and gotten the girls bedded down and fed for the night. No sooner had I grabbed my dinner and snuggled in with Project Runway (it’s taken me a while to catch up with the most recent season, don’t judge me), suddenly I was on the phone with family members letting them know that they needed to either stay where they were and settle in, or come home NOW because the winds were getting out of control and the dust was getting so thick I could hardly see across the pasture.

Here’s my dinner, because I really don’t know how to capture “wind” effectively and don’t really want to soak my camera or phone in an attempt

Luckily Christopher made it home (he’s been taking care of a friend’s house for a bit while they are off having a couple babies, so he had to secure their animals) and shortly after so did mom and dad, but not without crazy stories. By the time they got home the winds were sustained about 35-40 mph with gusts closer to 60 mph. It came up so fast.
Christopher’s car was hit by a bunch of debris and dad and mom watched with horror as the camper trailer in front of them on the highway lost its awning to the wind. Shattered and scattered debris across the highway. I’m so grateful they made it home safe and feel just awful for the camper trailer owner.
Even as I type, the wind is gusting 60+ mph and the freezing rain has me panicking about the animals getting too cold. I just spent the last hour with them and am soaked through. Ro has a blanket on, Nellie only recently decided blankets might not be scary so this storm has convinced me she’s getting one this week. Hopefully my local tack store carries Nellie sized blankets.
All in all though, I will forever be grateful that my “crazy” weather stories are so mild, and send all my love to those where the weather has cost them their homes, and in worst cases, their lives and the lives of their loved ones. It’s a terrifying weather year, that’s for sure.
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! 

Brave Little Mares

Hello friends!
I’ve been absolutely loving the warm weather we’ve been having! Its officially spring and I am all sorts of here for it. I’ve been digging the warm days, the longer evenings, the little storms that pop up. I am a warm weather baby through and through.
Ro and Nel never cease to amaze me. We’ve been slowly getting back into our work patterns as the weather gets nicer and they are just so keen on it. We’ve had some stiffness and sore muscles, which really shouldn’t surprise anyone since this winter you couldn’t hardly walk around with everything as frozen as it was. But they’ve seemed almost excited to work and play, even when scary monsters are afoot, like the fire breathing dragons (the ditch guys burning the underbrush) and large horse eating goblins (the neighbors taking down a tree with a front loader). Ro yelled at them a lot, stomped about and got all huge, but she didn’t spook or run over me, she handled herself really well.

Nellie did too! She did try to stress eat my mounting block, but we all have our vices. To be honest, she regularly tries to eat the mounting block, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. She was a cribber when she first arrived, but her anxiety has chilled out, especially lately, so that problem more or less solved itself. She doesn’t really crib on the mounting block, she sorta just makes a lot of noise, chews on it, drags her teeth across the ribbing (the texture-y non slip stuff so you don’t eat it off your mounting block) and does her best circus impression by trying to step up on the block. I try to correct where I can because I don’t want her hurt, but her sass during the whole process actually warms my heart a little because she’s gotten confident enough to be defiant.
She is learning that privileges come with listening ears. In the past she’s had to watch from outside the arena when I’d ride (don’t worry, she always has a turn to come out and work too, in her own unique way) because she likes to pick on her sister when Ro’s attention is focused on me and it would slowly turn into a big argument if I didn’t step in. She also loved to crowd the mounting block and rush in between Ro and I while I was tacking up. Then she’d be upset when I’d ask her to step out of the arena. To be honest it broke my heart a little too. But she’s starting to put it together now that if she waits patiently while I tack and mount up, she not only can hang out in the arena the whole time, but also gets invited to practice ponying and other skills.

The whole springing forward thing with daylight savings has really goofed but my sense of timing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the later evenings, and since I work pretty early in the morning the slightly longer dark mornings don’t really bother me, just gives me more of a chance to catch the sunrise. That being said, getting out of bed on time and not falling asleep on the couch early is still a work in progress. I definitely didn’t actually go to bed around 7 pm three nights this week. It seems like it’d be an easier adjustment, but I swear it actually gets harder every year. Falling back goofed me up too, but in the opposite direction.
I’ve heard they are discussing eliminating daylight savings time as a whole concept. I, personally, don’t mind the idea of never changing clocks again, as I find it to be mostly antiquated and not terribly useful for my particular lifestyle, but I’ve seen some arguments for those who still utilize it, so I won’t be upset either way. I’ll moan and complain twice a year and then not think about it at all any other time.
Either way, I love the later evenings and the fact that it marks the beginnings of those long summer days. We just had the first day of spring, the spring equinox, and it’s really starting to feel like it around here. I feel bad for those in the northeast with their winter weather warnings and those in the south with those crazy storms but feeling very blessed to have warm weather and sunny days and spring grasses popping up as the markers for our springtime. We’ve only had a couple of good sized storms, which is about average for us.
Speaking of that sweet spring grass, I have some inpatient mares waiting to be let loose into the daytime pasture, so I think I’d better scoot. They take grazing very seriously ya know.
Until we chat again my friends. 

Spring Fever

Hello friends!

We’ve seen some sunshine and temperatures above freezing, so yours truly is a happy girl! 

The girls are happy too, not only is it warming up a little and the sun is out to play in, but yesterday they had a nice little spa day with the farrier coming out to trim up their feet. They love that.

They both had just a little bit of a hard time standing still, but I think it was mostly excitement, they love Jimmie, our farrier, and they both can develop a good case of happy taps when excited. Jimmie is just such a gem of a human, I’m so glad he was suggested to me as a farrier possibility because I now count him a friend. He’s pulled my tail out of the fire a couple times and I can always count on him to have a joke and some helpful advice. 

The warm temps in the day time have creates a couple interesting scenarios here on the farm. First, due to the run off and refreeze each evening, there are parts of the farm, mostly the little concrete patches in the driveway, that are a couple inches of pure, slick ice. To the extent that it’s getting difficult to get the car out of the garage without sliding about a little. Not ideal.

With the runoff and refreeze, the other issue is that doors and equipment are freezing and completely stuck. The building we call “the dirt floor garage” which functions somewhere between an equipment shed and a catch-all, as well as Cordelia’s main home, has been completely frozen shut a couple times. Once it took three of us to work on it before it came loose, once we sorta just gave up and fed a Cordelia on the porch. I don’t think she minded. We also had to perform an early morning repair on my parents car as the ice buildup had managed to catch and pop loose the little air dam on the front. It looks pretty rough, it cracked the plastic and scraped the paint, it also broke the little clips and needed to be fixed up before it sat right, but I think it’s mostly going to be a cosmetic thing, unless it makes a habit of falling the front of the car or something. 

The warmer temps have also meant that there are places where you’d lose a shoe to the mud if you aren’t wearing the right boots. Especially around our lower elevations, since were on a little bit of a slope, the corral and lower driveway are basically a lake. I’m looking around to find a gravel company so I can get quotes and start saving up to add some structure and drainage to our mud. It’s been a particularly wet year.

Nellie and Ro are still having just a bit of a power struggle, but something interesting has occurred. Nellie Belle has more or less set her boundaries and will enforce them with a quickness whether I’m around or not. Usually, she stays pretty chill when I’m around, but it appears shed had it with her sister

She’s run Ro out of the barn area a couple times during feeding, stares her down, and then let’s her in a moment after, which is very uncharacteristic for Miss Belle. She doesn’t try to hoard the food but doesn’t let her sister hoard it either. 

I’ve also seen several instances now of them sharing their food piles with each other (willingly) which has never happened before. I usually feed in two piles a minimum of a couple horse lengths apart so if anyone wants to guard the food, they have to at least really work at it. 

Joe has been having a hard time with the warm temperatures too, he wants so desperately to play outside and run and play fetch, but it’s still cold enough I worry about him getting soaked and then getting cold and ending up with a doggie cold. We’ve had some of those go through the house this year and convincing a dog with a cough to sit quietly and rest is darn near impossible. So, Joe has done a lot of small trips in the yard, taken a few extra warm baths, and does a lot of staring out the window. 

I have a serious case of spring fever, and much like Joe am struggling with wanting to be outside but not wanting to get soaked and cold and eventually sick. I’ve definitely spent more time in the pasture, and the dogs outdoors times are creeping longer and longer. We’ve had some of the most beautiful sunsets lately, I’ve been trying to figure the best way to capture them for you, as I’m sure you all know, a simple phone snap usually doesn’t cut it with sunsets, but I haven’t had quite the time to get a true camera shot set up (been working longer hours at work, so the sunsets kinda sneak up on me). But I’ve got an extra day off coming up and I am already excited to use it to get all my camera gear set up for spring again (I tend to not get out with my camera much in the winter, a learned behavior from my time in Seattle when it would rain solidly from September to April and, at the time, I was a broke college student who couldn’t afford rain gear (and was not going to trust my camera to a plastic bag or something similar). I have to remind myself that its different here. Although this year it was so cold for so long, I had battery drain and cracking parts issues which are a whole new thing to contend with. Anyways, I’ll figure it out and hopefully you’ll get some sunset photos soon. 

Until we chat again my friends! 

You Ask A Mare

Hello friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until we chat again my friends! 

Signed, Your Very Opinionated Blogger

Hello friends!

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

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

Bring on spring.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until we chat again my friends!