Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sunny wintery day

Sunny days must be appreciated. With the Winter solistice, our shorted day of the year was only 9 hours of daylight. Yuck! but now we are again increasing our daylight, so spring is on its way. (I must be optimistic, or I will just roll over and die as I wait for the cold to seep into my bones)

Lady, Mystique, and Princess (and Shooter)

Lady, Sassy, Barnaby, Shooter, and Sergeant

Belle, Shooter, Sassy, and Princess

She is still running.

Mom, you need to pay attention to me, not the neighbors!

I am trying to eat, here!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sled Ride--

Just getting caught up on the blogs that I have written at home.
As mentioned before, it is cold here in Wyoming. We must be very careful to not let the horses sweat when we exercise them because we really can’t cool them off properly. If I were to give Belle a nice cool shower, she would become a Clydecicle. I would also wash off all of the protective oils in her skin. But the temperature got up to 34 ° F on Sunday. This is the first time in over a week that it has been above freezing, so we had to take the kids out for some fun.

That is Sergeant pulling the sled. I really love the audience from the horses next door. They all ran over to see what crazy thing we were doing today. Rascal, the cat is also taking a ride.
But then they hit a bump.

and she took off.

Tigris is not doing as well as his lively sister. Last week as he was basking in the sun, blocking the entrance to the barn, Sergeant was coming in. Normally, the cats will move, but not this time. Sergeant nailed him with a front hoof, rolling him over and then again with a back hoof. He doesn’t have any broken bones, but he is pretty banged up and doesn’t like to be carried around anymore, so he did not go for a sled ride. He did get to sleep inside for a few days, though.
This is Socks, he kind of came with the house. I am fairly certain that other people feed him, too, but he is such a nice cat and with the cold weather he lives in the yurt right now, so we feed him and let him stay. Shooter doesn’t like him anymore, but he is solid muscle, so Shooter can’t catch him very easily, and Socks is a smart cat, so Shooter has no chance of outthinking him.

I am now going to rant for a minute. I will even stand on a kitty litter bucket (versus a soap box, since it is much more durable)

You should NEVER give a child an animal for their birthday. As the custodial parent, it would be ok, ONLY if you are prepared to care for said animal in the event that the child is unwilling or unable to care for it. We have 6 cats, why in the world do we need another indoor cat. NO, NO, NO. Poor Gizmo is now a very unhappy barn cat. Rascal would hiss and growl at her whenever she tried to get food. Gizmo is scared of Shooter, so she was sleeping all by herself, trying to acclimate to Wyoming winters in a barn instead of Utah apartment winters. Fortunately, for Gizmo only, when Tigris was hurt in the house, Rascal felt lonely and started cuddling up to Giz for warmth. They are now fairly nice to each other, but Gizmo doesn’t come out of the barn for sun and play time like the other barn cats do.

Now that the Rabbits are back outside, I rigged up her carrier on top of the heated rabbit cage.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh, No!!! Its a CupCake Cake!

Kid #1 had a birthday over the weekend. (Hey, she is the first kid and I had only been drving carriages for a year, I did not realize that fun in March would lead to a messed up Christmas season. I drove up until four days before she was born and finished the Christmas season December 27-31st. I don’t recommend it.)

She said that she wanted a Puma cake.

I understood this to mean a cake vaguely resembling her cat, Puma. Nope, she wanted a mountain lion cake, oops. This is what she got. (I have been reading CakeWrecks too often to buy a cake from a “professional” bakery at Smith’s or Walmart) It’s a dreaded cupcake cake.

Mr. BPA thought that we ought to send it in to Cakewrecks, but it is obviously not a professional cake, so I am posting it here, instead.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's a little cold here-- Revised

ok, here is the revised entry with the pics. I thought that I added them yesterday, but it did not post, so I will try again.

I have lived in Wyoming for a little over a year now. Last winter, Belle and Foxy shared a barn with 20+ other horses with automatic waterers and someone to feed them in the morning. Shooter’s dog house was in the garage with a doggy door and we had Puma. Her food and litter box were upstairs and I only went up once a day to tuck the kids in bed. This year, since we bought the property and a ton more animals, so the morning starts off a little differently than last year.
First we fill the gallon water jugs.
Then the grain buckets are checked for oil. 1 cup for Barnaby and two for Belle.
(We leave the oil in the house because it is just too cold).
The outside temperature is checked. This morning it was only -5° F. That is 37 ° below freezing. That is a lot better than last week when we had a night of -32 ° F. So we load the gallons of water out to the wagon.
(Actually, we only haul out the gallons of water if it is 10 ° F or below. It is just too cold to haul out the hoses if it is below that. The effort of the gallons definitely outweighs the pain of a frozen hose later in the day)
Then the grain buckets.
The chicken and dog bowls
(meat scraps for the puppy, everything else for the chickens)
generally get hauled to the barn by one of the kids as do the rabbit waters
(except this morning the kids forgot the dog bowl AFTER I reminded them on my way out the door and Mr. BPA reminded them, too).
One of the rabbit waters must be thawed out and given to Cinnamon, the doe with 6 babies that are currently living in the house. We brought them in the day before the -32 and have been letting them grow and the temperature to improve before we send them out to the cold, cruel world.
(We had duplicates for each of the three cages, but these rabbits are a little aggressive and the fryers turned on the runt and tried to kill her. I once lost one of my favorite does to her own litter when they turned on her, so they have been away from Mom for over a month. I left them all together for warmth, but they are now separated and I haven’t bought new bottles yet)
While a few of the people are doing this, everybody is getting geared up for the Antarctic exploration. Gloves, hats, scarves, coats, bibs, the whole nine yards. Mr. BPA actually puts on two coats, his warm one and then a light one on top so that his parrot
(Rascal the cat, but when he is doing chores, she must be perched on his shoulder, this pic is not of Mr. BPA, it is too dark for pics at feeding time, this was the day of -20 and an attempt at a group pic and Mr. BPA has a lovely beard for Rascal to chew on. I merely have ears for her to cling to when she doesn’t want to get off of my shoulder. Yes, both ears have cat scratches)

can sink her claws into the fabric rather than the slick heavy coat that she slides around on (isn’t he so sweet) One of these days, the kids will be able to put all of this on without at least one of them getting to the barn and freezing their hands because they forgot their gloves.
(How do you forget your gloves in -32 ° F weather? It’s not like showing up at the carriage barn after driving from the house and then realizing that your third pair of gloves got left on the dryer from last night. The second that you walk out of the house, the cold attacks, attempting to invade and penetrate any exposed flesh. The walk down to the barn is 100-120 feet. I would think that you could figure it out by then, rather than whine once you got down to the barn)
Then we start by dumping the grain into the buckets. Barnaby’s goes into a bucket hanging on his door. Belle’s goes into a flat bucket in the breezeway and the oil is allowed to drain as the windows to the hay racks are opened. Shooter is also let out of his stall. He sleeps in the barn for warmth. During the summer, his dog run was outside. His stall is left open just enough to let the cats in and out, but he stays in (most of the time) Sassy, Princess, Mystique, Sergeant, and Foxy get 1 quart of complete feed to supplement the hay. Lady gets 2 cups of Foal grain. I let Belle out of her stall and she will stand in the breezeway, dripping grain on Shooter’s head as they share her grain. Foxy will eat all of the grain if she is fed in their stall. (Belle, Foxy, and Lady share stalls connected by their outside run that runs down four stalls to Barnaby’s run. Shooter’s stall and the rabbit stall do not have outside doors) Lady is fed her grain out of a bucket to prevent Foxy eating that, too. She must eat in her stall, though, because if she gets out, then she wants to play, not eat. We used to just stand guard over Belle’s grain, but there is just too much to do in the winter to have an adult keep Foxy from Belle’s grain. Lady’s doesn’t taste good enough for Foxy to put up much of a fight and with a small grain bucket; she doesn’t normally get her head in very easily, anyway. Foxy then gets 3 flakes to keep her busy while Lady is still finishing her grain. The other horses get their hay while Critter and Mr. BPA break ice. The kids feed the chickens, give them more water (they have one of the few heated water buckets) feed the cats, dump the ice out of the cat dish and refill with some water from the gallon jugs, rotate rabbit waters, feed the rabbits, feed the dog, fill up his water bucket, (he got a heated bucket over the weekend, too)
Once the ice has been broken on all the horse waters, then the kids come around with the gallon jugs and fill up the buckets. They don’t get filled up all of the way, but enough to get them through breakfast and out to pasture so that the temperature can warm up enough to break out the hose. When the temperature does not reach 0 ° F as the high, this is not fun. One of the things on my wish list this year is a water heater that can heat up the water in the tank in 10 minutes. Next year, I want de-icers in each tank. (They even have heated rabbit bottles!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Football, Thanksgiving, and Utah

This is Rascal. This is Rascal watching football. Actually, she is not even facing the TV screen. She is supposed to be one of the barn cats, but she is completely attached to Mr. BPA, so occasionally, when he is vegging out in front of the TV, he lets her in the house. She rides on his shoulders during chores, too. She is a very good mouser. We had tot run down to Utah over the weekend to rescue the kids. We saw Bart.

I test drove Liberty (wouldn't two moody Clydesdale mares make a Great Team?!)

I really miss Driving!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gravel up the nose makes it hard to breathe!

Warning, this is a blog about one of my kids. If you don't like to hear about other people's kids, feel free to pass on this blog.

Seat Belts are now a law in most if not all states. (I don't feel like verifying that a state does not have it as a law, and since Wyoming is generally the last to jump on any safety bandwagon, and they have it as a state law, I think that it is probably a law everywhere in the U.S.)

I prefer not to wear a lap belt if there is not a shoulder belt also because that is what screwed up my back at 15.

I understand that bike helmets are important, but when kid #1 crashed her bike and landed face first on the asphalt, a helmet did not keep her front tooth in her mouth.

This is why I have not been strict on the riding helmets on the kids while riding. When they jump, absolutley. When they are on a new horse, absolutley, but when Kid #2 is up on Foxy, or if any one is on Belle, I haven't worried about it.

That is no longer the policy. (By the way, this happened a couple of weeks ago, but since I am still at the mercy of library internet, I am only just now posting this)

Kid #2 was up on Foxy. It was clear, but chilly, and we wanted to make sure that we would be able to get in line to see "New Moon" so we stayed in the yard (Hey, Kid #1 is a teenage girl, and I am just selfish enough that I wanted to be the one to take her rather than her new stepmom)
I was up on Belle and Critter was on Sassy (appalousa for those that are not prepared for the popquiz, SD that's you!)

Foxy has been bucking at the lope, the first couple of times that she is asked, so Kid #2 worked her in the morning in the round pen. Then in the afternoon after he had warmed her up with walking and then jogging, he was supposed to lope for a couple strides, bring her back to a walk, then ask for the lope, to keep her from bucking. It has worked in the past. (Did you notice the past part of that?)
The second series of loping strides started with her leaping forward, throwing him off balance and then a hard buck which had him sailing over her head, faceplanting it into the dirt, gravel, weeds, grass, etc. I jumped off of Belle (Foxy had been right behind me before the leaping and bucking) and lost one of my spurs. Critter jumped off of Sassy, but fortunately she did not let go of the reins. (Belle and Foxy went back to the Barn) Kid #2 had landed face first. I was concerned about his neck because he planted his face into the ground, but the rest of his body kept flying up before landing again. He was moving, so I flipped him over, but with the gravel, dirt, etc. in his nose and mouth, he couldn't breathe. Once he could his breath, I went to catch the horses and he got up on Sassy to get a ride back to the house.

Sidenote -- cell phones are only helpful in these type of situations when whomever you call actually answers the phone, and if you actually take your phone with you!
(critter had her phone, I didn't because we were at the house. The two phones in the house where set on silent)

By the time that Kid #2 reached the barn and I had caught the mares and hitched them to the fence,he asked how he got up on Sassy, freaking Critter out.

Once in the house, I saw that the nosepiece to the glasses had smashed into the side of his nose, his glasses were a mangled heap of plastic and wire, one side of his face was hamburger, his nose was almost flat, his eyes were blackening and his pupils were dialated. His memory loss was really scary, so we loaded him up to the emergency room.

Many prayers and miles later,(have I mentioned that we don't live in town? We are quite a ways out of town, so he had plenty of time to panic me with worst case scenarios by the time we made it to the hospital. But at least, we got right in with no real waiting) he just had a slight concussion, and now, his face is completely healed. His glasses took a while to get back into wearable condition, but the optical tech was able to fix them.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday morning ride

The weather has not been really terrible lately. Cold in the morning (2 Degrees Celsius) and then 50-60 in the afternoon. Since Utah was getting pounded with snow (we got many calls from family asking about the weather) we decided that we should take advantage of the weekend and leave the confines of the property and explore the country side. Critter (my sister) called it a trail ride, but since it was on a dirt road, it doesn't really qualify as was pointed out by a neighbor.
At the last minute we left Lady at home in Mystique's stall so that she would be adjacent to Princess and Sassy that we also left home. Critter was up on Sergeant, Kid #1 was on Barnaby, Kid #2 on Foxy (first ride off of the property without Lady!), niece on Mystique (First time off the property with 9 year old) and me up on Belle.

All went well, at first. Lady was with her friends, so she wasn't screaming. Foxy was trimmed the day before so she wasn't screaming for Lady, she was too busy trying to decide if she liked her most recent manicure. (It was really weird, she was putting each foot down like she was testing for pain. She quit after the first 50 yards) Belle and Foxy started in the back, just in case they panicked without the baby. All was going well. To get to the open area, away from the houses, we have to go past a mud hole. We haven't ever gone this way before because the last time we tried, Sergeant walked in up to his knees and hocks, while Belle and I stood, watching and agreed that we were not going to try it. They had only gone in a little way. This is how it looked.
Now, this pic does not demonstrate that there is only one way through without going through ice patches and deep mud.
Critter and Sergeant led with me bringing up the rear. The Morgans all traveled right up the drier mud path, Foxy followed along just fine. Belle SLAMMED on the brakes. I tried again. Belle thought that going up be the fence would be better. The second that the ice started breaking under her feet, she panicked. My neighbors, out for their Sunday morning stroll, were able to laugh at me. Finally, so that 1) the other horses would not get it into their heads to be a pain, 2) we only had so much time before we had to head back for church, and 3) Belle let me know that she was Way to big to fit on that little strip of drier mud and I was crazy if I thought that she was going to go on it, I hopped off and led her across. sludging through mud with spurs is not the easiest thing, especially when the neighbors, the sibling, and the kids (and probably the horses) are all laughing at me. Belle had no problem following. (I guess that she figured that although four horses couldn't convince her that it was OK, it took me to walk across to prove that it was safe, thanks for the ego boost. And to think that it was only Thursday that I confirmed that I have been losing weight, I was able to go down a size in wranglers! Thanks, Belle!)
We finally got going again, when Foxy and Belle were pushing trail etiquette.
The three Morgans can walk out fairly nicely, but when Belle and Foxy get their "Trail walk" going, they really eat up the ground. Plus, Belle kept asking if she could really move. So, we took the lead. One of the reasons that Belle retired from Carriage driving is the fact that she likes to stretch and out and trot. She is always in a hurry and needs to be first, so we did some moving. I did not want to push Foxy too much, so we did not do too much jogging, but enough to really loosen everybody up and feel good.
Kid #1 and Barnaby did some loping.

The hubby found some more Belgians, but he didn't get close enough to see if they were geldings. the Beast was moved. His herd was moved to the field across from him, so I think that they moved him to keep from tempting him to break out and cross the road. he hasn't been in with his mares for a while. I need to take some pics of the Belgian and Percheron herds. Maybe next week.

It looks like we will be heading to the big city (SLC)after Thanksgiving so that I can give Bart his Christmas carrot. Too bad we won't be able to hijack a horse and carriage for a night, but I don't even want to think about how much stuff we would have to search through to find all of our carriage driving gear! And we forgot to sign up for opening weekend, anyway, so we will just have to miss out!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hay was NOT the best idea.

When I bought my last load of hay, the weather turned quickly. I did not even get it unloaded before it snowed. I left five bales in the bed of my truck to allow the extra weight to give me more traction. I was meaning to unload it so that I could get another load, but I was just not getting around to it. I finally did.
Can you see why?

Poor Lady is too short to get her mouth on the hay. Belle and Foxy shredded the bales, but the bad part was the other horses that do not adequately respect the white Elephant. It got a few dents from the squabbling, so the hay is no longer in the back.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Manicure

Lady got her first manicure. These aren't the best pics, they are from my phone.Critter was taking the pics since I was holding onto Lady.
We are in the barn since it was a miserable day outside and the footing was terrible.

She was pretty good, but since she is not used to holding her feet up for that long, she was bored fairly quickly. At one point she buried her head in my coat, like she was trying to hide. She got tons of loves, eye rubs, ear scratches, etc. to make it through. At another point I had give back scratches to keep her from leaning. She about fell over a few times. But she was better than Belle. Belle tried leaning a few times, too. NOT GOOD!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had found the perfect stud for Belle. We even named him The Beast (Beauty and the Beast reference). When I finally went over to the pasture with the camera, the herd of belgians and percherons was gone. They are used for hunting and packing trips, so they went elsewhere. Yesterday, they moved The Beast to a new pasture near my house. So, out I went with the camera BEFORE they moved him again.

Since the offspring are used for packing and hunting, they are bred for endurance and strength, so my foal would not be whimpy!

Isn't he pretty?!?!!
I love his grey mane. When I got too close to the fence he wandered off.

This picture is for Cowboy. Shooter doesn't sink to the nose and eyeballs, but he does love to lay in the water trough. It was 35 degrees this morning, and his water bucket was frozen, but he had to climb in the trough anyway!

I tried out my niece's mare yesterday. She is really timid. She doesn't like to lope under saddle. I figured with lots of room, I would give it a try. Instead she slammed it into reverse. I will leave the training to the professionals.

Lady is starting to wander on her own. Here she is with Sassy, the roan appy, Sarge, the bay, and the two blacks, Princess and Mystique.
Shooter loves his ponies
Foxy and Belle were doing their best Giraffe imitations.

Today, Belle and I were working on her back feet. She has never been great with her back hooves. Since her beloved farrier is too far away, I am trying to convince her that she must pick up her feet better. Its a struggle. I have not been the best about those back feet and as long as there was nothing in them, I did not try and make her hold the hoof up. For our first serious session, it went really well. The right rear she held up for total and complete picking. I rubbed and scratched her for her excellent behavior. The left rear, it took about 5 tries to get it completely clean and for her to hold it for 20 seconds. 20 seconds may not seem like a lot, but for that leg, it is. Expecially since I did not get kicked. It was that leg that got me one memorable driving day so badly that I could barely get on the box to drive because my knee was so swollen. (Not a fun day, I did not send happy thoughts down the lines that day!!!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mud bath

This is my first serious attempt at uploading pictures at the library. It takes a while.

Here are the barn cats.

Lady was in desperate need of a bath. The weather is supposed to be great his weekend, so I took at chance. Here she is before.
(isn't she getting so big?)

After her bath, I was going to put her on the walker to keep her from rolling until she was dry. She decided that she was hungry, so I let her nurse. I took that opportunity to take pictures. . .

She took that opportunity to roll...

then she did not want to be caught.

She got another bath.