Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesdays Thoughts

Mom and I went shopping today, one of our favorite activities.  We had a few things to return and always seem to come away with more then what we took back.  :o)  Guess that is a sign of a successful shopping trip.  After leaving the dress shop we had to go to the feed store to pick up some things for the new pasture that we are putting in.  It's not huge but it will give the boys a little more grazing space.

They always have interesting things at the feed store.  Today they had six baby goats, or I guess they are called kids.  It was feeding time so Mom got to hold the bottle for two of them, and no I didn't have my camera with me.......grrrrrrrrrrrr......  After that we had to visit Stuart the huge bunny that has been the mascot there for quite a few years.  He has the run of the store usually unless someone brings in a female bunny to give away and then he is very naughty marking his territory so gets sent to his cage with the door closed instead of open.....He just never learns.  Today his door was open and he was half laying out it so we got to pat him and scratch him behind the ears.

We have a new Tractor Supply that is due to open soon.  They were working on hot topping the parking lot today when we went by.  The only one I have ever been to is in Florida and found some cute boots and clothes for the grands so I am excited about this one.  (Doesn't take much to excite me does it?!)

Pam over at Pam's Ponderings had this list in her post today so I thought I would do it too.  Thanks Pam!!!

1. I was so excited when I bought new sheets, pillow cases, blankets and bedpreads at TJ Maxx yesterday for the lake house!  The quality is great and the prices were really good!

2. If I had some "mad money" to spend right now, I'd buy:  now, I'm talking about a lot of mad money here, doesn't cost a penny to talk about it, I'd buy a nice big RV and take a road trip around to visit all of my blogging buddies!  Don't worry, I wouldn't stay long!!
3. I really shouldn't have walked quite so far this morning.  It was fine going but it was a LONG way back!

4. Anything sad that I read about animals made me cry.

5. The antics of my grandchildren made me laugh a lot.

6.  Family  is awesome.

7. I just cannot believe how I am 59 years old and don't feel a day over 35!

8. I'm really looking forward to our trip to Tennesse in June.

9. The weather right now is raining but it could be snow so I'm not complaining!

10. My mood right now is happy for the many blessings God has bestowed on me, good health, wonderful hubby, great kids, beautiful grand kids, food to eat, a warm place to sleep, family that is close knit, my horses, good friends and a Father in heaven to look out for me to name a few.

11. I couldn't believe it when I got on the scales yesterday and hadn't lost a pound!  :o(

12. And now I am going to: read below:

Almost time for American Idol so guess I will get my jammies on and see who does the best singing tonight. I'll have to DVR Dancing With The Stars and then see who gets the boot tonight.  When we were horse showing we used to say we got "the gate" if we didn't place in a class.  Guess this is kind of the same, I don't think they win anything if they get kicked off.   :o( 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Random Friday

I have been working in my gardens a bit this week.  It is so early for this but everyone is loving it.  I love hearing the lawn mowers going and seeing my neighbors out and about working in their yards.  Some of them I don't see all winter until warm weather arrives and then we are all out weeding, planting and trimming.

Noodles is my constant companion even when I don't need one.  He seems to like to lay on my computer table when I am working here.

Now Munchkin on the other hand likes to be in the same room with me but she prefers the sofa with a blanket to sleep on.  She never gets on the computer table for which I am very thankful!

I don't think she even woke up to have this picture taken.

Noodles likes to go on our walks with us but gets tired and wants to be carried or else he howls all the way back.  Tonight we put him in with my mother while we were out so that he couldn't follow us.  We try to sneak out in the morning but he usually hears us and comes running.  Hopefully he will get this out of his system soon and just stay home!

I had a birthday a while back and the kids came over to celebrate.  It was fun as they brought the cake and then let Miss T and Mr. D decorate it for me.

They have these cute little bug cupcakes at the bakery now.  Just the right size for kiddos!

I had a lovely surprise come in the mail from my friend Pea over at Pea's Corner!  What fun to open the box and find a beautifully wrapped present!  Whoops!  I guess I took the picture upside down!

She sure knows what I like!  It's a suncatcher with three horses and it is now hanging in one of the windows in my sunroom and is gorgeous!  Thank you Carole so much, I love it!!!!!

My friend Needled Mom makes the most beautiful post cards and I don't have a clue how she does it but it looks really difficult!  It was such a nice surprise to get one in the mail for my birthday!!!  Thank you NM, I know you put a lot of work into this and I love it!  Some day you must teach me how!!  :o)  Don't you think it goes well with my tiles in the kitchen?!

I don't think she knew it was my birthday but I got another nice surprise from Dawn at Call Me Grandma Dawn!  She knows that I love good old fashioned gospel quartet music as we have had conversations via blogging about this on several different occasions.  Her Hubby has sung in one at her church for many years and they have a cd and she sent me one!  It is excellent, I have listened to it numerous times already and downloaded it onto my Ipod!  Thank you so much Dawn, you made my day!

The turkeys have been strutting their stuff the last couple of weeks trying to impress the ladies.  The ladies looked less then impressed with the whole thing and kept wandering off.  Maybe they are playing hard to get.

If you have stuck it out to the end of this without slumping over in your chair asleep I am impressed.  I didn't get much blog time this week so had a lot to put in here.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Odds And Ends

     No this isn't my horse or cat, I just liked the picture.  :o)

I can't believe almost a week has gone by and I haven't posted anything.  With spring comes more things to get done around the homestead and it seems so nice to be outside in the fresh air.  Dad and I have been walking every day since he and Mom got home from Florida, usually twice a day.  My lame legs and feet are finally adjusting to the big hill that we go up but I am still puffing and panting a bit.  Dad walks all winter in Florida and I sit in front of this computer so he has the edge on me!  :o)

Quite a few of you were on the right track on this contraption.  It is a cream separator that my grandmother used on the farm.  My Dad said he spent many hours as a kid turning the crank at just the right speed or it wouldn't do its job properly. It is about 75 years old and he can remember when they bought it new.  

The boys will be coming home in the next week or so.  I am waiting for things to dry up a bit in the pasture so that they don't muddy it up racing and tearing around.  Nick is off stall rest finally after his injections in his back and has been running and leaping in the air in the indoor arena.   I bought new rubber mats for all the stalls and my yard man put them in for me and they look really good.  He put screws in them to keep them in place and then in the fall we can take them out and wash them with the power washer.

I sold the team harness that Kipper and Skipper have on in this picture.  I haven't used them in a long time and now with Skip gone I have no need for them.  A good friend of mine noticed an ad in Uncle Henry's that a family was looking for a team harness and she contacted them for me and they drove two hours to look at them and bought them yesterday.  It was bittersweet.  In a way I hated to see them go as it was part of Skip's history but I'm not one to have things sitting around until they are of no use so it only made sense to sell them.  The couple that bought them are delightful, we had a nice time talking horses and they brought pictures of theirs for me to see.  They will send me pictures of the harnesses on them when they get them adjusted.

DIL and I went to the lake yesterday to go over things with the project manager.  We are making a lot of changes that will utilize the space better as the cottage is very small.  We have moved the kitchen to the back and put two sets of sliding glass doors in the front so that we can have a better view of the water.

This is going to be the new bathroom downstairs.  There is just a half bath on the main floor.  There were two rooms, one being the full bath and the other the laundry room.  We decided to make it all one room so that it would be bigger and we could put in a tub and not just have a shower. They were putting down the new cement after reconfiguring the plumbing.

We left there and met the project manager at Loews and picked out new lights, ceiling fans, sink, faucets etc  so I think everything is picked out now.  The furniture is in and they will keep it at the store until we are ready for it.  It's been quite a process but will be nice when it is all finished.  We are upgrading the heating system and hot water system to propane to get rid of the furnace and oil tank which are already gone so that has given us about 30% more room in the basement.  When you are dealing with only about 1200 square feet you try to make the most of every inch.

I found this comforter set on sale in the JC Penny catalog and it's perfect for my bedroom at the lake.  I had one very similar before the Niagra Falls incident so was happy to find something so much like it with the bedskirt, comforter, pillow shams, decorative pillows and curtains.  I'm only going to use valances as the room is very small and has two windows so the curtain part would be overkill.

It snowed about 3 or 4 inches last night at my sisters house which is about two hours west of here in the foothills of the mountains!  She is really bummed but it won't last long.  I am going to mow this afternoon which is a first for me to be mowing in April!

Guess that's about it from the Great North Woods.  I know I haven't been getting around like I should to visit you all but will put that on the top of my priority list for next week!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Friends and Family Bruins Hockey Game

This weekend was Family and Friends weekend at the Boston Bruins game.  Son, DIL, the kiddos, Cousin K and his Mom all went down to watch the game.  It was part of Cousin K's birthday present to go to a Bruins game.

They had such a good time and Son kept sending me pictures via his Blackberry.  Mr. D just had to have one of the big foam claws!

Everyone was given one of the yellow hankies to wave during the game.  The Bruins won BTW.

The Three Muskateers

Warming up.  The stadium was packed by the time the game started.

Lots of munchies to eat while watching the game.

The whole gang with the birthday boy.

I'm glad they got to go and have such a good time together.  The three cousins have grown right up together and are more like brother and sister then cousins.  They fight sometimes like brothers and sisters too!

You will all be relieved to hear that I made it through church today without wearing a sign and without tucking my skirt into my panty hose.  Yea!  It was a good day!

Anyone know what this is?  Not the basket (but isn't that cute!), the red thingy.  It came out of my grandmother's house and is in my cousins home.  I have a feeling Donna will know what it is.  Any guesses?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring has sprung, lake house update and more skirt problems........

Spring has sprung here in Maine!  The lawns are green and lush from all of the rain and some of the most daring flowers are peeking their heads out of the ground on the south side of the house.  This is all rather unusual for this time of year.  We have been known to get a whopper of a snowstorm this late in the year more then once.  Everyone is talking about how their oil bill is so much lower this year with the warmer then usual temps we have been having and that's a good thing as Martha would say.

Easter Sunday was lovely and warm.  I remember so many times all dressed in my new Easter dress and hat when I was a child and having to walk through snow to get into the church.  Not much fun in new white patent leather shoes that I didn't want to ruin.

We had wonderful services at our church, I so enjoy singing the old hymns like The Old Rugged Cross and He Arose.  I have yet to learn one of the contemporary praise and worship songs that even begins to compare but that's a rant for another day.  (I'm showing my age here)  During the last song when the trumpet was playing, Funsize was at the piano and then the organist started to play the organ I had goosebumps! We don't normally have much organ music now so it was a real treat.

Son, DIL, Mr. D, Miss T, FIL and the Hubs and I came home and had a nice ham dinner.  I put it in the crock pot on low the night before as it was quite big and it was delicious.  Nothing like nice thick ham sandwiches the next day too.  Sometimes things taste even better the next day.

Things continue to move along at the lake house.  As you can see everything had to be stripped right back to the studs.  All that beautiful knotty pine went in the dumpster.  :o(

DIL and I picked out a few things that will be needed at some point and that was fun.  We have somewhat similar tastes which makes it nice.  This is what the kitchen cupboards are going to look like.  We wanted to keep it rustic looking so chose the oak.

This is the hardware we chose.  I think it is rather unique and rustic looking too.

This is the counter top.  It's not granite but a pretty darned good looking laminate.

We also picked out flooring, windows and some other things but I guess I forgot to take any pictures of them.  The mold is all gone.  The air quality people gave us a clean bill of health.  The electricians are there this week replacing all of the wiring.  Even that got destroyed.  I guess you have to expect that when you have Niagra Falls going through your house!

I continue to make a fool of myself at church..........you must remember the sign I wore all day.......... Well this time was worse.  I was hurrying and unintentionally tucked my skirt into the back of my panty hose and didn't realize it till we got to church and I took my coat off...........I tell you, I am not fit to be out without a leash!  Thank goodness the only ones who got flashed were four ladies and they very discreetly looked away when I made the discovery.  I could see they were trying not to laugh, bless their hearts!

The good news is the signs have been removed from the ushers pew and put on the wall above it!  Sigh.......

Thank you all for you kind comments on Skipper's Story.  Although it was hard to write in some ways it made me feel better and gave me some closure.  It's alway hard losing them, especially so young and so unexpectedly but I believe it was meant to be.  Whether you have dogs, cats, horses or no pets at all I felt you all understood.  Bloggers are the best, especially all of you!!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Final Chapter

I have been putting this off so guess I had better finish up the story.  I love this picture of Miss T feeding carrot sticks to the two ponies.  She wasn't very big then and got such a kick out of them, I don't know if you can see the expression on her face but she is just loving it that the boys want a carrot and Skip is sticking his head out through the fence.

I don't know if it was because he didn't have a lot to eat back before we got him or what but he had a habit from day one that we got a kick out of.  Each morning when I would feed everybody and then turn them out he would sneak back around and come in the back door and go in each stall to check to see if there were any pieces of grain left.  Nick has a habit of eating his grain while standing with his head out his window so some always falls on the ground so Skippy would check that out too.    He didn't want to miss out on one speck of grain.

For being so skittish about some things he was very sensible about others.  One day I STUPIDLY grabbed a lead rope with a chain on the end and looped it through the ring on the halter so that there wasn't so much chain dangling.  (I have never used a lead rope with part chain since btw)  I brought Skip out to graze on the lawn and to visit with my parents who were sitting out there enjoying a nice summer evening.  Now anyone with any brains would have known what was going to happen but sometimes the brain department isn't my strong suit.

When Skip leaned over to graze the chain loop was on the ground so when he stepped forward one of his hooves went right in the loop!  He brought his head up really fast and I thought oh no this is not going to be pretty as I figured he would freak right out and maybe even go over backwards.  Nope, it didn't happen.  He just stood there looking at us with his little hoof in the loop that was holding it up off the ground and didn't move!  We walked up to him, took the hoof out and back on the ground and no one was worse the wear. I think some of my other horses would have chosen that moment to really put on a show and go all to pieces and I wouldn't have blamed them!

Our first few experiences with the farrier were rather challenging.  We have had the same farrier for years and he is really good with the horses.  When we brought Skip out the first time to be trimmed we explained the situation and let him take it from there.  Skip was afraid of him and just kept backing up and rearing a little but Kevin quieted him down and just began to rub his back and then go down his legs.  He didn't touch his feet but kept getting closer and closer and talking to him all the while.  I don't think he even trimmed him the first time but came back and started in again with the back rubs and talking.  In the mean time I did the same thing several times a day and finally could touch his front feet without him coming right off the ground.

Finally he was able to pick up his feet and trim them and even put front shoes on him a time or two as at that time we were doing a lot of driving on pavement as we didn't have our carriage roads.  It took patience on Kevin's part which I am thankful for.  He didn't try to bully him around just because Skip was little.

We decided to put him in training with T's riding instructor for six months.  She is a tiny gal so small enough to ride a pony.  She had him going so well, he really had pretty good gaits for a pony, it wasn't like being on a pogo stick.  She rode him western as that was what we were going to use him for and I wish I had gotten some pictures but didn't. 

Anyway a couple months ago I got a call from the stable that he had had some kind of spell in his stall so I rushed up to see what was going on.  I called the vet first and he said to bring him in asap so we loaded him into the trailer and off we went.  He seemed fine in the trailer and was fine at the vet's office other then his feet being a little sore.  What was up with that?  The vet trimmed him up a bit and took blood to run myriad tests and we came home.  He put him on a tiny bit of bute for a couple of days and after that he seemed fine.

He had no idea why he had the convulsion in his stall.  The stable owner was right there and saw the whole thing, one second he was standing there with his head out over his door and the next one he was on the floor.  I will spare you the details.

All seemed fine until a few weeks ago.  Again I will spare you the details but we knew we had to make the decision to have him put down.  Actually the decision was made for us,  his condition was such that there was nothing that could be done for him.  My vet put him on pain meds until arragements could be made which was just a few hours later.  At 10:30 in the morning I had a pony and at 3:30 in the afternoon he was in the ground. 

I did get time to spend with him while waiting for preparations to be made.  I put ribbons in his mane like I did Buddy's and fed him almost a whole box of sugar cubes.  He wasn't in pain and very much enjoyed all the attention and the treats that he normally would not get in such abundance.  We still don't know what happened and never will.  Sometimes there just aren't any answers and our vet said this was one of those times.

He is up in the field beside Buddy.  Sometimes it still doesn't seem real but I am so happy for the seven years that we had with him and made his life better.  I know all things happen for a reason and in this I take comfort.  I still miss him and always will but things are better.   It's been almost a month.   We are going to use his stall for a hay stall as I don't like seeing it empty. Maybe there will be another rescue in the future who knows.  Thanks for listening.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Skipper's Story Part Three

                                                     Skipper's Story Part Three

The Hubs had purchased a nice training harness from Smuckers and we got everything adjusted to Skip, all except the bridle.  He stood patiently while we hooked and unhooked each part, someone had taken the time to really work with him on standing still while being harnessed which was good.  Then we took everything off him and tried to adjust the bridle a bit before we put it on him getting it as close to what we thought would be a good fit.  When we went to put it on him, with all of blinkers and straps that a driving harness has he went right up in the air on his hind feet. 

Oh my, what could have caused his reaction to this we wondered.  We tried again with me putting the bridle on and the Hubs holding a lead rope which was attached to his halter which was off his face but hooked around his neck.  Again he just went all to pieces trying to get away from us and totally terrified.  We put everything away and just stood there with him rubbing his face and talking to him and all was well until we got to his ears.  The second we got near his ears he just went crazy, shivering and trying to get away from us.

Now we know that they twisted his ears to get him to stand still while they clipped him and anything else that they wanted to do to him.  It is very painful for them to have their ears twisted and horses don't forget.  We worked with him for days and just very patiently rubbed his face slowly working up to his ears.  He would relax but when we got near the left ear he still freaked out.

Finally we thought we would try something different so I took a handful of grain and put it by the bit and it took his attention away from his ears long enough to slip the bridle on.  We lavishly praised him and then harnessed him up.  Down the road we went with the Hubs walking beside us just in case something happened and I needed some help.  Everything went beautifully, he drove like a dream.  This was to be the situation over the years.  The bridle was always an issue and even though it got a little better as the years went by it never was good by any means.  We had his ears checked to make sure there wasn't something going on but they were fine.  Our vet could tell that he had been abused around the face by men which wasn't any surprise to us.

The Hubs would walk along with me just in case I needed some help.

We like to go out in the barn after dinner and spend time with the boys, riding, brushing and just loving on them.  The Hubs would sit in a lawn chair and Skippy would go over and stand by him and over time would allow his ears to be touched.  We did this by the hour.  Just scratching his head, talking to him and working our way up to his ears.  Even the grands knew this was something that was important and would stand on a bucket outside his stall and just scratch his ears while talking quietly to him.  He didnt' seem to be so threatened by them, probably because they are smaller then an adult and less intimidating.

Dad and Hubs getting ready for some ground driving.
I'd like to say that the bridle issue was eventually solved but it never was. (Even with six months away for training with a trainer)  It was better but never the way it should be.  A bridle that could be unbuckled and put the strap over his neck and then hook it would work fine but a driving bridle had to slip over the ears.   We learned how to really do it fast and to distract him with a sugar cube or grain and that helped and we spent many, many happy hours out driving around the neighborhood with the grands and the neighborhood children.  They all loved Skippy.  One little girl used to come over and set outside the fence and read to him, they knew he was special and had come from a hard life.

We decided to get a cart so that we could drive Kip and Skip together as by that time Kipper had joined our family.  The Hubs purchased the proper team harnesses and we got them all adjusted.  I ground drove them for a few weeks before we hooked them up and they seemed to do well together.  Skip knew a whole lot more about it the Kipper but they fell right into a good rhythem and I got some much needed exercise walking behind them!

We knew Skip had been used as a pulling pony at the fairs and we also knows what goes on at home when some people are trying to get them to pull their guts out.  Not all, don't get me wrong, but some people are very cruel about it even using electric cattle prods to make them pull.  We don't know if this had happened in Skip's case but once we got them hooked up to the cart together he just reared up as I was holding him back not wanting him to take off!  Scared the wits out of me I will tell you, also the crew that was building the cupola on the barn roof, I think they thought I was dead meat.  Thankfully the Hubs was right there and we calmed him down and just walked around the pasture area for them to get used to it.

That was going well so I thought I would go out in the neighborhood to use the streets as we didn't have our carriage trails back then.  Out we went.  I must digress a bit here and tell you about a gentleman in our neighborhood that dislikes horses and was the only one that went to the city to complain when we went through the process of getting a permit to have what he called 'barnyard animals' here in the neighborhood.  Even thought we have over 400 acres we are in a subdivision as most all of our land is in the back.  He really talked this up around to all of the neighbors trying to get support for what he called an invasion of stinky animals into our somewhat snooty neighborhood.  He failed as everyone else loved the idea and even wrote letters to city hall in support of us.  Okay back to the story.  Out into the street we went at a pretty good clip.  I wasn't used to driving two and was a bit nervous and guess who was walking up my street??????  Yep, the neigborhood watch dog. 

Kip and Skip started getting a bit excited being out where there was plenty of room and were getting a little strong and we were headed right towards Mr. Watch Dog!  I yelled to him that I thought he'd better get out of the road and I never saw him move as fast as he did that day!!  Being the bad person that I am I was chuckling on the inside, just couldn't help it.  At least I didn't run over him...........

Anyhow that was my last time driving with both of them.  I just didn't like it and didn't feel I had the control or knowledge that I needed to do it correctly.  So I went back to driving one at a time and the neighbors would come out and hop in with me or have their picture taken and Skippy got lots of treats and hugs.  He was my mother's favorite and she would take carrots and apples out to him keeping the other horses away with her broom so that he could get them.  He was low man on the totem pole, as you know herds of horses always have a pecking order but we made sure he got his share.

This was before we had our back pastures cleared so please ignore the mess.

The last part won't be as easy for me to write, not that this has been particularly easy but I feel I need to.  Maybe it's closure, I don't know, but to be continured.......... Thank you to those of you who have commented on this.  It has meant so much to me to read your kind words.  I know in a case like this sometimes one just doesn't know what to say but believe me anything helps.  :o)


Sorry no spell check and I don't have the energy to look everything up in the dictionary!  :o)