Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happiness in the Country

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Sex and the City. When the show was on, I thought it sounded ridiculous (and I still think it is, actually), but a couple of years ago my sister loaned me her entire library of SATC on DVD and that was it. I was hooked.

Thanks, Sis.

I have to be honest: yes, I'm looking forward to the second movie. Why? I have no idea. It's so utterly ridiculous and over-the-top, but it makes me laugh.

It makes me laugh a lot.

I was reading an article last night, though, about how a writer decided to leave the "glamour" of New York and move halfway across the country to escape the rat race. While shows like SATC make city life seem so glamorous, fast-paced, and exciting, her article brought a reality to that kind of life that I'm sure many people enamored with the show fail to realize: city life is dirty, hard, and although you may be surrounded by hoards of people, it can be lonely.

And then it starts to sound a lot like the country (well, minus the hoards of people).

Just one person...and a fire.... "Hi, Dad" (or should I say, "Howdy, Pa?")

The article really made me happy for this life. I could have chosen any life I wanted when I got out of college, but I always wanted my horses, to live in the country and be outside, breathing fresh air.

I don't have to try to side-step a urine puddle on the subway. If I encounter urine here, I either yell at a dog or scoop up the soaked shavings and wheel them outside, whichever may be appropriate, given the circumstances.

I don't have to hear people yelling in an apartment above or below me or out on the street. At night, the most noise I hear is from a coyote's howl or the hoot of an owl.

I don't have to pay for parking, or walk several blocks to feel grass under my feet, or push through a crowd of people to get a coffee in the morning before work. I park wherever I want, can walk right outside my door and can listen to the sound of the cottonwoods in the wind without a single other noise around.

My dogs can run off of their leashes, and no one is around to complain. They ride in my pick-up truck, hang their heads out the window and watch the cows go by....

Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE to visit the city. I love theatre, opera, sushi, concerts, and a good martini. I love museums, art, and all the great shopping.

But when it comes right down to it, I'm a country girl. I may dislike country music, but I'm a real country girl--I'll admit that much. I know how to change a tire on my truck, I can fix fence without even thinking about it and I don't mind having to get dirty to get a job done and take care of my critters (yes, I said "critters").

There's just something good for the soul, to be in a place where you feel like you can breathe.....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Sandra took Colten (known to some of you as Ringo, aka Paula's full brother and my beloved Larry's final foal) out to work cattle this past weekend....

My boy is all grown up!

*sniff sniff*

Oh, give me a break. These are the only kids I'll ever have! Indulge my eccentricities and I promise I'll keep them at a minimum.


OK, deal.

My Girls

Well, it's just after midnight and I just got home from doing some late-night laundry. After a full day of work I came home, groomed horses, took pictures, did chores, and then ran back into town so I'd have some clean clothes to wear tomorrow.

Sleep? What's that?

Well, I couldn't turn in for the night without posting at least a couple of the pictures I took today. The first is Dakota. She wasn't as pissy as she looks.

For some reason I can't get this girl to take a decent picture. It's a shame, because she's as cute as a button in person.

I don't have the same problem with Bambi, though. She insisted that she get a turn, so she got groomed and clipped as well.

Then she posed for the camera. What a ham!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sophie's New Friends

A couple of weeks ago I had to clean up a pile of tin that had sat in the back all through the winter. Little did I know that it was home to a couple of very large bull snakes!

Sophie had never seen critters quite like this before....

Don't worry, they're not poisonous, although they can be pretty cranky for snakes.

These two were pretty docile, though. They just slithered around...

and around...

and around.

...until they found a nice spot to rest and feel safe.

Ultimately Sophie and I just left them alone. Afterall, our mouse population seems well under control thanks to our friendly neighborhood bull snakes.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Day at the Auction

Saturday I went to a farm local auction. My dad has been wanting his own hay wagon for quite a while now, and this auction had two of them, so he asked me to go for him (since he had to work) and gave me $300 as his spending limit.

In case some of you are city-folk and aren't sure what a hay wagon (also known as a hay rack) is, its a large 4-wheeled trailer with a flat bed (usually made of wood) that really isn't street-legal but awfully handy to have around the farm. While we don't use ours (or the one we've been borrowing) for hay anymore, they are awfully derned handy when it comes to picking up branches or moving construction scraps to the silo.

I had seen several nice hay wagons for sale but usually all at least $500, so I didn't expect to get a winning bid on anything, but thought it was a good day to go since it was raining at home anyway.

The night before I had also seen this trailer at the sale preview and Dad expressed interest in it. It is a street-legal trailer and we could put a metal bed on it and use it for the lawnmowers and I could use it for small square bales, too. So, he let me know I could bid on this one instead of the hay wagon if it came up first. Okey dokey.

Well, the bidding got underway and I actually ended up with the hay wagon first. It didn't go for much at all, fortunately. I lucked out in that they held two auctions at the same time and the other area had a lot more interest, so I didn't have many people to compete with on it.

However, a little later, I was watching the bidding and waiting for Dad to arrive to see his new hay wagon and the other trailer came up for bid and no one hardly bid on it, either! I couldn't resist, so I went ahead and bought that too.

I thought heck, it was worth it to me to get if Dad didn't want it, and we had two trucks so we could haul two trailers home, right? At least they weren't horses (since I used to have a bad habit of leaving to pick up one horse and coming home with at least two)!

Thankfully Dad was VERY pleased with my purchases. He commented that he expected for me to go over the $300, since I'm a woman afterall. Gee, thanks Dad....

We paid for the items and went into town for lunch (stopped by to see my new lean-to, of course). When we were in town in started POURING rain, and then even hailed some! We lucked out, though--we were able to get out to the auction site where it was still sunny and get hooked up and on our way before the weather hit there.

Yes, you read that right. Between the town and the auction site, about 5 miles apart, it was hailing in one part and sunny and clear at the other. This is Kansas afterall.

So, we went on our way, Dad pulling the hay wagon and me behind him, taking back roads since the hay wagon can't go that fast and it's not street legal.

All the way home, though, we managed to just barely miss all the storms around us.
It would start looking ominous,

and then clear right up!

Overall it was a pretty darned good day--so much better than last weekend. We got a couple of nice trailers to use around the farm, I got a sneak-peak at my new horse building and I got a ton of stuff done on Sunday as well (to be detailed on an upcoming post). Hope you had a good one, too!
Over and out.

I Don't Need No Stink'n Diamonds

This weekend I went to a farm auction (more on that later) very close to the place where I ordered my new loafing shed from. Shortly after I spent entirely too much of my Dad's money (he had sent me to get an item for the farm) he came up after he got off work and we stopped in to see if they had my shed done.

And they did....

I would have never guessed that seeing my shed would make me so incredibly happy. I was absolutely giddy!!

Isn't it purdy?!

Dad talked me into putting a tackroom on the side. I'm so glad I did.

It will be a nice replacement for the one I currently have in the leaky, old barn.

Forget diamonds! All this farmgirl needs to be happy is a nice little safe place for her horses :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to Shave a Great Pyrenees

Some of you may remember my Great Pyrenees Samson. He was a great dog and BIG and white with long, silky hair.

The breed is a favorite in my family, and a few years ago I drove my Grandma to Hutchinson to get a couple of puppies. One was for my aunt in Oklahoma and the other my Grandma kept. She named her Dutchess and although she was supposed to be purebred, she looks a little different from Samson.

Her coat is much, much thicker, with big, black spots. She doesn't shed well like he did and my 88 year-old Grandmother can't take care of her coat like it needs, so I set out this spring to shave her.

This ought to be interesting....

I had my horse clippers with the largest blade I could buy, a couple of cans of blade coolant, some showsheen for the knots, her brush, a leadrope to hang onto her with and lots of plastic bags for the hair.

I was out there for over three hours! Dutchess was such a good "little" puppy!

And when we finished, she didn't look very good, but she certainly acted like she felt much better.

I actually thought she looked a little like a clipped Olde English Sheepdog :)

I wonder if I could make a living shearing large farmdogs? Well, on second thought, I think I'll just stick to clipping my horses!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's About Time

I thought it was about time for a much lighter post. I can't tell you how much I appreciate everyone's kind words regarding our little lost angel, but both Suzie and I are doing well. Time heals as it moves on. All we need is time.

So time is what I'm writing about this evening....

I have quite a few antiques, many of which are heirlooms, handed down to me from my relatives. I cherish these relics of the past because of the stories they symbolize. However, a few of my treasures are not heirlooms, but they mean a great deal to me just the same.

One of these treasures is my antique Sessions mantle clock.

I bought this old clock at an auction a few years ago. It came without a key and over the years I've ordered a few keys for it online, none of which fit. So I've carried this clock around for years, not even knowing if it ran properly or not, but I loved the style and how it complimented my old photos in my guest room.

The thing I love second-most is the face of this old clock. I've looked for one like it for years and have never found a simple 2-columned mantle clock with this ornate of a face.

You're probably asking if that's what I love second-most, then what do I love the most? Well, I discovered that this week. Friday I was able to stop in at a clock shop in Wichita and the kind owner there actually just gave me a key! And best of all, it FITS!

I was so happy to see/hear last night, when I wound the clock up, that it works, and its chime is hauntingly beautiful. For such a small clock, the chime has so much substance and depth...'s so beautiful, it makes me want to cry.

And that is my favorite thing about time: eventually tears of sadness turn into tears of appreciation. Thank you my friends, for being there for me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our Little Angel

In my post earlier today I mentioned that we had a sad event over the weekend: the loss of Suzie's newborn filly. I thought I'd share the circumstances surrounding this loss, not to gain sympathy, but as a teaching tool, because the filly suffered from a relatively rare, but preventable birth defect: Overo Lethal White Syndrome.

I want to make it clear that there is controversy surrounding this defect. This post is not a declaration of what is right and what is wrong, but rather, my own recent experience and the facts of the situation. I'm not here to judge what other breeders do--it's not my place and I've always felt people have to do right for their own programs.

Due to this controversy I've considered not even blogging about this event, but I've never been one to ignore an opportunity to teach. I've researched Lethal White on the internet quite a bit, but I've never seen any first-hand accounts of a Lethal White birth (and death). I just hope by reading my experience others can make an informed decision regarding the risks of breeding two lethal white positive (or untested) horses.

On Sunday morning, about 11:30am, Suzie gave birth to a beautiful, all-white filly.

I knew even before she was all the way out, that we had a possible "lethal white."

Overo Lethal White Syndrome is a solid white or nearly solid white foal born of parents with an overo coat pattern. OWLS has been tied to the frame overo pattern in particular, but this pattern can be minimally expressed in a way that it is possible for a solid-colored horse to producer a lethal white foal. On the other extreme, a tovero, or a horse that expresses both the overo and tobiano genes, may also produce a lethal white foal.

OLWS foals are born with an incomplete digestive system. Within hours of birth they will show signs of colic due to their inability to pass feces. The birth defect is always fatal--attempts to surgically correct the problem have been unsuccessful due to the extensive nature of the defect.

These foals appear healthy at birth, will stand, nurse, and do everything a normal newborn foal will do, except for the birth defect. It's only after a few hours that the foals begin to show signs of their internal deformaties, and they begin to colic.

It was at this point, when this beautiful filly began to colic, that I knew I could not let her suffer needlessly, when there was no hope of recovery, so she was humanely destroyed.

For me, it seemed like such a waste. She had one bright, sunny day on earth and that was it.

The worst was watching poor Suzie follow her sick baby around, unsure what to do, then mourn her when she was euthanized. She didn't leave her filly for 24 hours, and she might have stayed longer had I not made her move in with the girls so I could bury her baby.

Of course, the obvious question is, how could something like this be prevented? Never breeding overos? Not neccessarily. There are plenty of overos out there who are negative for lethal white. The best thing to do is test: UC Davis Horse Coat Color Testing

This foal was not Eddie's, but Eddie is tested and he is positive. He has never produced a lethal, but genetically he could. Suzie was pregnant when she came to me, so I had no control over this situation, but due to Suzie obviously carrying the gene, I will not be breeding her to Eddie.

As I said, I'm not here to judge anyone (I want to make that much clear), but for me, I cannot accept the risk and the consequences of this sort of gamble.

I pulled this filly out of her momma, dried her off, helped her stand and nurse, treated her umbilicle stub, she nickered at me when I went to go check on her, then I tried to soothe her as she started to decline and get sick, I held her momma when she was put to sleep, I walked around her stark-white body as I tried to feed and comfort her momma, then a day later I wrapped her up in plastic and buried her beside Petie and Chic.

I can't do that again--not for this reason. I just don't have it in me.

Saying Goodbye and a Homecoming

First of all, I owe a big apology to anyone who has checked on my blog all week only to find that nothing has been updated at all. I know how frustrating that is, and to those of you who check back enough times to find this update, thanks for stick'n with me.

The delays have been caused by certain happenings, both good and bad, that I promise to post more about in the coming days. I've got lots of pictures, etc., but for right now, I'll just kind of summarize....

Sunday a little before noon, Suzie gave birth to a gorgeous filly. By nightfall she was gone. Suzie is doing well, though, and we are very thankful for that.

We did have some good new, though! Stupid, the family farm dog of yore, has returned after her surgery to remove what we thought was a mammary tumor. The good news is that she's back home and doing wonderfully and the tumors were actually cysts, most likely not cancerous.

Stupid is about 11 years old, so of course we realize she's getting to the point that we will have to say goodbye to her sooner than later, but we were very happy to welcome her home, healthier than she has been in a while, and we can enjoy her for a while longer.

I missed ya, gal! So glad to have you back home.

Saturday we did a lot more work around the farm, got 2 more piles burned and got the place mowed.

Thanks for bearing with me! I'll get back on track, and I promise, it will be totally worth it. Like, TOTALLY worth it. To be continued.....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Real Costs of Horse Ownership

As many of you have been following, three weeks ago my stud Eddie was injured.

Since the leg was already compromised from an injury as a yearling, I was very worried that this was it.... However, as time went by we finally figured out that he had somehow gotten the smallest of punctures in the side of his leg and developed cellulitis.

The good news is that he will most likely recover! I can't imagine my life without the big goober.

As always, with horses, any small issue can develop into quite the expense. Many people think a "free" horse is a great deal, but I'm here to tell you that the purchase price is the least of your worries.

Now don't get me wrong here. I don't want to discourage anyone from owning a horse. They return your investment tenfold, but I want to make it clear that that returned investment is not monetary in any way. It is emotional. So never get into horses thinking you're going to make a buck.

There's a saying in the horse industry: The best way to make a thousand dollars in horses is to start out with ten thousand dollars. And it's true.

So, by way of example, here is the cost of horse ownership for one horse in three weeks:

Vet visit with meds: $174.00
Antibiotics (two tubs): $108.00
Six tubes of bute (so far): $120.00
2 more tubs of antibiotics on order: $48.00
5 jars of Furazone: $50.00
4 jars of DMSO gel: $40.00
Penicillin w/syringes: $15.00
Additional no-bows: $9.00
Additional vetwrap: $6.00
Plastic wrap and gloves: $5.00

Grand total: $575.00

And this doesn't even take into account the supplies I already had on hand (polos, no-bows), the extra water and electricity from his hydrotherapy, the extra gas going home everyday during lunch, the time off work (approx. $300 lost there), and the hours and hours I've spent treating him.

And the thing is, he's worth every penny.

The point I'm trying to make is that I hope when people decide to get a horse, they realize the responsiblities, possible costs, and the work involved. If you truly love your horse it will be worth it, but Eddie's ordeal exemplifies how a minute injury can quickly turn into $600+ in expenses!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Girls Justa Wanna Have Fun

These are pics of the girls I took yesterday. I had just let them back out into their pen and they started running around like banshees. I have no idea why. They just did. Probably because they can.

And isn't that the best reason of all?