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!!!