Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

From the Farmette #9 - State of Emergency...

Our state doesn't do winter weather that well, hence the state of emergency. I think inland received some pretty hefty snow totals, maybe up to a foot. We got sleet, followed by freezing rain and sleet over night. Temps went under freezing just in time to keep the trees and power lines safe. We finished up with a nice coating of snow. Snow that hides a treacherous icy layer underneath. Driving is a super bad idea. So it is an emergency, if you're stupid enough to drive.

There were a few hangups the morning after. The front door barely opened because the saggy, frozen stiff awning was in the way. And then there was locating and excavating frozen poo balls... Val helped on this one.

It wasn't a pretty snow, so there likely won't be too many good photo ops. I'm just happy that all the critters are safe and accounted for, and that we have heat and water. I made a big pot of lentil soup and a pomegranate cheesecake (what - I have to keep up my strength - it's a state of emergency! ;D) yesterday, so we're good to go here in the Shimmy Shack.

They call this mackeral skies... signifies approaching precipitation. Yes. Yes it does.

Snow pix are better when it's sunny...

He literally froze his a$$...

Frozen on the outside...

...but not on the inside. Who doesn't love when the water flows? :D

Hot mashes for breakie ♥

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

One of the benefits of throwing caution to the wind....

Stuck inside (again) due to weather. This time sleet, freezing rain, and eventually snow. Driving is hazardous. Walking on my porch is hazardous (waiting for the salt to work) so I'll be farmbound until the smoke clears. Those of you who deal with this crap on a regular basis, I.don'


A few months ago my book club read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, debut novel by Rachel Joyce. To quote the back of the book, "It is about all the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers through the mere process of putting one foot in front of the other."

The book was enjoyable, but that's not why I mention it.

While in the midst of reading, I came across a post over at 7MSN, one of my very favorite blogs (me and about five hundred other readers lol). I was absolutely enchanted by the story of Hannah and her donkey's journey - walking the entire circumference of their home country - Wales. 

Come to find out Hannah has a fundraising campaign going to raise the money needed to write their story, and make a film as well. The Kickstarter teaser blew me away...

Crazy town. A sign from the universe? Reading a book I would never have chosen, about letting it all go, listening to your inner voice, following your dreams no matter how crazy they may seem to others, and then through the beautiful randomness of the interwebs, there is this woman in real life, letting it all go, listening to her inner voice, following her dreams no matter how crazy they may seem to others...

I'm generally not a pledger, but how could I not? I felt a real connection to this wandering artist and her donkey. There was an email this morning saying she made her goal of ₤28,000 with a day to spare, (!!!) but there is still time to help her upgrade production values, and hire more local folks to work on the project.

If you're seeking a bit of inspiration in the midst of this dark, dreary, seemingly endless winter, do yourself a favor and visit Hannah and Chico across the pond in Wales. It will make you smile. :D

(borrowed from Hannah and Chico via 7MSN)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Many Happy Returns!

(edited to add Val didn't get this cake - it's an internet creation - but he would love it!)

Friday, January 24, 2014

In the Arena #153 - She says jump, I say how high...

There was a method to my madness. Dragging the paddock yesterday allowed me to "spy" on Val overnight. My last after dark visit to thaw the remote water bucket showed that Val had barely moved. This morning I could see he had rampaged around some. There were several trails leading into the run-in, as well as missing water and hay. Not anywhere near what is usually consumed, but a safe amount.

nom, nom, nom... guarding is hungry work!

staring + chewing, better than just staring

The sign that Everything Really Is Okay Now was when he followed me around as I picked the frozen manure, resting his head on my shoulder and sighing. I loved on him a bit, and served up a tasty hot morning mash surprise.

Newest theory is that maybe there's an animal, possible dying or dead already, holed up out in the marsh at the back of the property. In the rare instances when it has gotten this cold, for this long, I've run across frozen critters that crawled into bushes and pampas grasses to survive.

Whatever it was, my sensitive boy was very disturbed. Perhaps because he's an only horse, he takes his guarding the perimeter duties very seriously. Standing in one place staring I can handle. Not eating and drinking in sub freezing weather  - a recipe for disaster.


Just before Polar Vortex 2.0 triggered the 24 hour obsession, Val and I spent a fantastic afternoon together. First we did a bit of at liberty ground work, sans treats. Just praising to reward his attentiveness. Walking, halting, turns on the forehand, a bit of trotting. He stayed at my shoulder and seemed happy to be doing something together. I was happy to be doing anything horsey besides grooming, cleaning or worrying. ;D

Then on a whim, I pulled out the jump standards and a few poles. I set up a ground pole initially. After spooking as I brought the equipment in, Val investigated everything; knocking over the standards, lipping the cups, rolling the pole. He walked around the standard rather than through at first, so I grabbed a few cookies.

After walking through several times, I asked him to trot. He got a funny look on his face - oh, I remember this - rocked back on his hocks and waaaay over jumped the pole. Such an effort - it totally cracked me up. Val's not prone to expending extra energy, so he was having fun.

I know if there aren't pictures it didn't happen, but I purposely didn't bring the iphone out because I wanted to really focus on Val, not documenting. I don't have the tack, or the desire to jump Val, and his prior vet advised his jumping days were over, but playing around with free jumping some cross rails would be a nice way to change things up a bit, get some exercise, and enjoy ourselves. We'll have another chance for pictures...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Unencumbered by the thought process...


Maybe he has OCD?

Maybe he's psychic?

Since 9 this morning, and as of this writing, Val mostly has not strayed from the far left corner of the paddock.

I knew something was up, when he didn't follow me straight into the run-in to eat his breakfast. Two hours went by and the breakfast pan and hay were still untouched. Water too. Very uncharacteristic. Val has never willingly missed a meal since I have known him. In these temperatures, barely above freezing, this situation worried me.

He eagerly ate the cookie I brought him, and had produced manure, so I took him a flake of hay, and let him be for a while, confident he'd get bored, and return to the run in for his breakfast and water.

No dice.

On to plan B. Mid-afternoon, I brought him a bucket of water, and coaxed him to it with apple slices, which he gobbled eagerly. I dropped a few slices into the bucket. He quickly fished them out. Dropped in a few more, and he drank as well.

I walked Q the Jack Russell terrorist out into the wild yonder, hoping to flush a napping deer family, which was my guess for the source of the obsession. I reported back to Val that the coast was clear. It did not seem to matter, and he stayed put.

Next I dragged the ring. This accomplished two things - smoothing and softening the sand, which gets rock hard in the sub-freezing days, and giving Val some exercise, as I spun around near his obsession spot. He's moving just fine btw.

I'm planning one more flashlit visit before bed, to see if he has come to his senses. I'll take a hot kettle to thaw the water bucket - it's supposed to be in the low 20's overnight, and that small bucket will surely freeze solid otherwise. I want to believe that he will be sensible; go to the shelter, eat hay to stay warm, and drink water when he's thirsty.

I want to believe, but I'm not 100% on it... Anyone else had a horse act like this? What a flipping knothead...

No one wanted to move this morning...

WHAT'S THAT???????

Do you see what I see?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

(almost) WW

(shamelessly re-engineered from the interwebs)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Back to glass-half-full land...


Yesterday's post was intended to read - disappointment x irritation x impatience. Mostly impatience. But definitely not petulance. Sorry.


How about a little farm tour? Welcome to Val's realm.

Run in barnette with attached tack room

Where the magic happens... ;D

Val's stuff

Where we ride...

Hay storage I


Hay storage II

50 bales + giant jollyball (which can be scary or fun - you never know)

Pasture in progress...

♡ My favorite hayburner ♡

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Please pass me those rose colored glasses...

(yet another) Arm Update:

 While waiting in the exam room for Dr. Dreamy, I distinctly heard him cuss under his breath out in the hall, when the tech handed him the x-rays. Bummer.

Things looked a little better as we peered at that vertical light-table thing. Dr. D confirmed where there was new bone growth, though we had to hunt for it. (giant sigh of relief) I mentioned that patients can hear what happens right outside that door...

We discussed that scar tissue / soft tissue damage is restricting the range of motion in my wrist, as opposed to the hardware. Thank goodness. It will be mostly up to me how much I can recover. He informed me, that only thirty percent of the time hardware needs to be removed - a potential issue someone recently burdened me with. (another sigh of relief) I was sent home with physical therapy exercises, and we scheduled one more appointment.

On a positive note, my range of motion has improved with each pt session. I'm thankful for any good news, because every time I look at the state of the farmette, the state of my bank account, at Val, I have to subdue feelings of guilt, regret or worry.

It's three months today, since the big snap. Three months since I've ridden. Three months since I've worked. I'm ready for everything to be normal again. Really ready.

Four weeks post surgery...

the view that caused the cussing...

faint improvement... can you see it?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Big Chill...

Disclaimer: I'm sure that a windchill of 6 degrees sounds positively balmy to some of you. All I can say is - yesterday afternoon it was 70, and this morning when I went out to do morning chores it was 19 - with 35 mph northwest winds.

Jack Russell terrorists reluctantly sported their pink and purple bones fleece jackets and ottbs were cozy under their blankets. Farm women went from breezing around in flip flops and shorts, to remaining toasty layered in silk long underwear. Cats puffed up and snuggled as necessary, and the Shimmy Shack maintained a (barely) tolerable temperature.

Hurry up lady!
Yep - I'm shivering...
Not cold - hungry...

I learned a lesson about counting my chickens however - a last walk around next door this evening at dusk (different property, shared well point) revealed that congratulations about winterizing success were premature.

While the well pump short cycled, a geyser of water spewed from the outdoor shower head. Despite wrapped water lines, the lack of a cut off valve led to the the rusty fixture giving way.

B & C's Fake-Ass Plumbing rides again. (that should lead to some interesting traffic) Dad and I were able to cut and plug the lines - disaster averted, unless you consider working on plumbing outdoors in sub-freezing weather after dark disastrous. I'm still cold...

We shall see about the gardens tomorrow. Hoping a blanket of hay leavings mitigated the plummeting temps, but I'm prepared to start over. Our unnaturally mild conditions of late were too good to be true.

Tomorrow is also my (theoretically) last appointment with Dr. Dreamy. Hoping for the all clear so I can return to work, to maintaining my property, to riding my horse...

Friday, January 3, 2014

All's well that ends well...

A few highlights of the last month of 2013, where things finally began to look up. Nonetheless, I couldn't be happier for the debut of 2014 - Year of the Horse, as of January 31. Has a nice ring to it right?!

Val has spent much of his semi-retirement learning new skills, and catching up on beauty sleep. Hoping the doc clears me for normal activity next week. It's been a long 10 weeks out of the saddle, for both of us.

 Had the jolly ball for four years - this is the first action it's seen...

Val develops a strategy for getting the tasty hay crumbs out...

Just resting my eyes...

Until recently, the weather's been delightful. Sunny, in the 60's. Sorry - not bragging folks from up north - we're getting our comeuppance next week so I hear...

Lots of visits from critters... a great horned owl has been hanging out nearby - you can hear him whoo-whoo-whooting after dark. On warmer evenings I've been treated to multiple bats performing their aerial displays at dusk, and the other morning I discovered this fine fellow staring at me from a remarkably close distance. Apparently he knows hunting season is over too. 

 We've been treated to some dramatic skies as well. The other night there was a double rainbow arching right over the Shimmy Shack at sunset, which I couldn't help but take to be a positive sign.

Christmas was lovely. Gorgeous weather, and family gathered together for the first time in many years. Several afternoons my pop and I sat on the porch in shorts and flip flops, cracking delicious, icy cold, salty oysters. Heaven.

And today - !!!!! - I received a most wonderful package.

Jen from Wyvern Oaks, my secret santa, sent me a beautiful gift with a sweet note. She picked it up in Austria, and wrote she hoped I could find a spot for it in the Shimmy Shack. I absolutely can, but I'm also dreaming of the day I can give it a place of honor in the future farmhouse. Thank you so very much for the thoughtful gift Jen - I LOVE IT!!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...