Monday, August 31, 2009

A Sorry Looking Lot All Polished Up

A sorry-looking lot faced me yesterday morning when I entered the barn. Munching the last of their breakfast hay, the minis and donkey glanced at me without a care in the world. Until they saw the scissors in my back pocket. And the rechargeable cordless clippers on the picnic table in the aisle way.

Then they knew something was up. "Uh oh, Mom's in grooming mode." Be afraid, be very afraid.

Here are some before and after pictures just to prove the rough looking bunch did go out to the pasture a bit more polished.

Raider has a mane that goes every which way but down his neck. I think it comes from his head being on the ground looking for that elusive blade of green grass.



First I take on the bulk of the mane with scissors. (The local high school head bangers are always hoping to get a glimpse of Raider's Mohawk...and aspire to duplicate it.)



Then buzz the part of the mane known as the "bridle path" close with the clippers. Ahhh...that's much better.



A comb out of Raider's long black tail (and removal of burrs and other assorted pasture dwellers) and Raider's a handsome boy once more.



When we adopted Pete he was very (very) obese. He has safely lost many pounds but, unfortunately, will never completely loose the fatty deposit along the top of his neck. It makes for some pretty interesting trimming.



A snip here and there accompanied by hee-haws of approval and Pete's ready for the pasture again. His drive-by public was so appreciative.





Last but not least, Otis. (Quaker was lucky enough to sneak out to the pasture before I got the idea to document this mess!)



Hello in there! Is there a horse under all that mane?



In certain circles Otis would be a rock star if you added some glitzy chains and a guitar. So, off with the shaggy mane, my little man.



Now you're presentable enough to go out to the pasture Otis. But wait, I have some leftovers.



What a marketing breakthrough! Clean this stuff up a little, package it, hire a pitchman and you could have your very own "Build-A-Mini Kit"!

Nah...

Friday, August 28, 2009

On the Battlefield

I have a theory about flies.

But first, as our vet Dr. Bob says, "Flies are part of being a horse." OK, got it. But, we don't have to like 'em, right? So each year the battle begins. We try to be as environmentally friendly as possible and use fly predators and pick up the manure and compost it and spray the horses as little as possible but...gasp...there comes a time during the fly season that we're just on the losing side, completely and totally.

Yesterday, about 6 p.m. I went out to the pasture to call the guys in. I didn't have to. They saw me coming and ran to meet me. They get a little treat each evening but their gallop was for more than a treat. The controlled stampede had an urgency to it. They wanted to get out of the outdoors fast and they wanted to do it NOW.



Oh, so back to my theory. I don't like flies and they don't like me. But I don't think they think about not liking me that much. I mean, I don't think flies think that much, about anything. This time of year, when the nights are dropping down to the mid 40's, the flies aren't too happy. They have a hard time getting their buzz up in the morning and an even harder time maintaining their arrogant, nasty ways throughout the day. So...they get meaner. I mean meaner in the sense that they just pester the hell out of the horses, all the while sneering and snickering as they dart back and forth. They know soon they'll hit the dirt (Jack) and not come back, no mo, no mo. So they're relentless.

They bite in places that are hard to reach.



And the normal weapons are so worn out and tired this time of the year.



And some never had much to start out with!



Soon Fall will be here in earnest. We can only hope it comes swiftly with freezing nights and barely acceptable days, temperature-wise. We hope it comes with dastardly consequences for those irritable, mean, nasty flies. I'm sure Dr. Bob would also say, "Being dead in the fall is part of being a fly".



We'd have to agree!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Day the (Bleepin') Tree Wouldn't Come Down

The day had finally arrived. The Doug Fir standing by the front gate to our farm was dead. Really, really dead. I remember a few years ago when the wind was blowing or the snow load had been too much for it. The top broke off and it didn't fall to the ground like a good snow broke tree top should. It fell on the gate and the $400 gate opener, smashing both. Grrr.

So, it was time. Should've been a simple job. Our summer had been record breaking-ly dry and hot. The branches of the fir drooped sadly, as if it knew it's time was near.



The logging crew consisted of hubby Bruce, son Bryan and their supervisor "Blue". Add the Stihl and the 1949 Willy's and you've got a team.

So it would be simple. Bring the Willy's out, attach the metal cable from the winch to a stout rope and attach the rope to the tree. That way when Bryan cuts the tree the cable will tell the tree were it should fall. R-i-i-i-ght.



The felling of the Doug Fir (1-2-3) commenced. Bryan cut through the tree and stood back.



And waited. Bruce ramped up the winch on the Willy's and waited. And waited. The supervisor, "Blue" had remained in the truck, as all good supervisors do. He was consulted. He said something like, "Pant, pant, pant." The crew interpreted that to mean, "Haul on that sucker!" So they did.



The loud THWACK heard 'round the county wasn't from the tree. It wasn't from the neighbors siting in their rifles for hunting season. It was the (once referred to as) "stout" rope snapping. We were lucky no living being was close or we would've had more things to worry about than the bleepin' tree not coming down.



Oh, crap!



Time to kick in Plan B: attach the Willy's to another tree to hold it in place. Wrap a cable around the dead (as in weak, feeble) tree and pull it over. Geesh, the tree is practically cut off at the bottom. What could be the problem?

Hmmmm? Heads were scratched (some with a hand, another with a back foot) as theories were discussed.



With competent supervision and a hardworking crew (dog, man and machine alike) the mission was finally accomplished!





The tree can now do what a good dead tree should do --- warm someone's home this winter.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More on the subject of people looking, acting and dressing like their dogs...

Do people look like their dogs OR do dogs look like their people? You decide.

Same hair colorist? Of course! Tell me, how else could a dog achieve that shimmering golden-copper color on her own?



Same wardrobe consultant? You bet. No off-the-rack Walmart shopping for this fancy bitch. (Oh, that's a dog show word. I'm not being vulgar here.)



Same personal trainer? Possibly the same Jazzercise coach? Right again. No way could a dog match it's people, step for step, and look so smashing doing it.



Now, shouldn't you and your dog take a peek in the mirror -- together?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Flood + Friends = BBQ!

Our good friends, Mickey and Peter, had a devastating visitor last winter. Mother Nature came to stay in the form of a "500 year flood". An uninvited squatter, she was cursed while she languished upon their historical farm. She left behind mud, caused lots of sweat and (I'm sure) more than a few bouts of tears.

Yesterday Mickey and Peter showed their appreciation for the post-flood-clean-up-help by giving their "thank you" BBQ. There was a bunch of us, all so very glad to see a dry farm once again in all it's summer beauty. The food and company were great.

My wonderful friends, Dorothy and Tammy, brought their miniature horses to the BBQ! Besides the delicious food, the minis were the high point of the day sharing cart rides through the obstacles of the marathon course. I know from the shouts of excitement the miniature horse driving experience "bit" more than a few folks.

"Buddy" takes Dorothy and friend around the course.



A new driver with the handsome schoolmaster "Klyde".



"Buddy" steps out with Dorothy and another delighted passenger.



"Klyde" takes a new driver through the marathon obstacle.



Dorothy hands the reins to a new driver.



Smiles all around...



Geesh, watching horses drive sure can generate an appetite! Off to the BBQ!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Are There Haylofts in Heaven?

My soul cat Indy left for Heaven yesterday. With only 30% kidney function, life wasn't much fun anymore. It was hard to say good-bye but so easy to make the decision when he'd lived 14 grand years as the boss-cat of our farm.



You've met him here twice in "Indiana Jones Lives in my Barn" and "Sunshine on Petunias and Whiskers on Old Barn Cats" --- and he graces the header above with his wizened and wise old face.

The mice population will grow in his absence, I'm sure. Barn swallows will no longer fly low in his barn, warning him to stay away from their babies.

I'll miss his head bumps as I catered to his every need during these last days of summer.

God Speed my old friend. I know there's a hayloft waiting for you in Heaven.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Anniversary Woodstock!

I'm part of the "Woodstock Generation" and proud of it.

Disclaimer: I'm not solely responsible for much of the great or any of the idiotic things some of my generation has, well, generated.

So, better late than never, today I'll celebrate the celebration held on Max Yasgur's dairy farm in August of 1969. I'll listen to some Creedence and some CSN&Y. I'll Sha-Na-Na into the night. I wasn't one of the 400,000 in the mud but I saw the movie in 1970. That makes me an honorary, but drug-free participant.

One question: If I don't remember being at Woodstock, does that mean I could have been?

Far out...have a great day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hangin' with the Ancients

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

We have ancient pueblo ruins just down the road from our place in New Mexico. They're part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. I visited Abo recently and took some pictures. Rather than bore you with a tour guide-y rendition of what you can read online, I'll liven up your day with some pictures.

I felt the same way visiting Abo as I did at the Little Bighorn battlefield in Montana. There's something about a place once settled by another people, or where a significant historical event happened, that fills my mind and body. It's not a creepy thing. I feel akin somehow to the hidden souls when I'm near these places.

I always pick the middle of the week to visit so usually no one else is around. That way, the whispers I hear are not from this time.

Watch your step now...















Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Major "Awwwwwww" Moment

At the Olympic Kennel Club show there was a breed of dog to suit everyone. I found mine. Heck, I almost stepped on the little guy. (I found out later he was just 4 months old.)

"Uh, 'scuse me."



"What? Huh?"



"Wanna treat little fella?"

"Yeh, yeh, yeh....I mean, yes, please."





"Wow, someday when I grow up I'll master this dog show stuff. It's a tough job, but I'm up to it!"



I was so smitten with this little guy, Bentley. I jokingly mentioned to his owners, "If you find him missing, he'll be living up the road with me!"

I walked away smiling, looking over my shoulder. I think I saw them tighten the grip on Bentley's lead.

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