Monday, October 25, 2010

This World is Smaller Than You Think

Especially the horse world...

This is the picture of a horse I wanted to buy in 2005. I couldn't afford him, no matter how hard I tried. We were living in Arizona and the cost of living was killing us. I had to take a paycut of 70%, and we were commuting (2 vehicles because of schedules) 90 miles a day. I just couldn't afford him.

Then he came up for sale again in 2006, I think it was. I was home then, doing a bit better, but he was much further away in Tennessee and still the same price. I tried to trade for him, anything to get the price down, but just couldn't arrange it.

Now, four years later, this horse has come into my life again. I'll explain the circumstances soon, but let's just say that it's really amazing how small this world is, and even how much smaller the horse world is. He's not going to be mine, but somehow our paths keep crossing. In some cosmic way we're connected, even if it's only through coincidence.

I have no idea what it all means, but I don't mind a bit. Some souls just get under your skin. And this horse got under mine.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Let There Be Light...Part 2!

You wouldn't think that trenching about 300 feet, running conduit (pvc pipe) and wire would be hard work, but believe is!

It's especially hard work when we haven't had rain in FOREVER, and the ground is like cement, until it's out of the ground, then it's dust.

It's also a bit more difficult when you discover that REAL cement is buried along your trenchline (sigh).

But thanks to Dad, we managed to get it done.

By Saturday morning, the entire line was trenched and ready for the next step.

Saturday afternoon we went to the city for some pvc pipe and the electrical line. We had bought everything else we needed the previous week. Once we got home, we started laying out the pvc pipe.

We got the electrical line pulled through and all the pieces of PVC pipe glued together.

Paula was willing to help, but she lacks opposable thumbs.

The line went in...

...and it was all covered up! Viola!!!

We ran 12 guage to the vapor light, but a lot bigger wire was needed for the breaker box we're putting in out in the back yard (which the outbuildings will connect to later).

After measuring out 150 feet of 6-guage wire clear down the driveway, we managed to get it threaded through the PVC without issue.

We also got the post set!

The line was ran...

...and covered up!!

It's all ready to go now. Just need lights and the breaker box on the pole, and then everything hooked up! Later on I'll get a second outbuilding like the one I got this year, and we'll run electricity to those as well.

It's hard to believe I've been here for less than a year. I would have never guessed when I moved in that we'd have a new shelter, new lights and so many other things done already. I love it here, and think that the future of my little farm is very bright indeed!! :)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Workout Playlist

I find that it's much easier to get motivated to workout if I have great tunes, so I thought I'd share my running playlist. I'd love to hear some suggestions, as well, if you have anything that you love to work out to!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

A Moose and a Sunrise

Sounds like a drink order in Alaska, doesn't it?

I just wanted to show a decent picture before I showed all the bad ones. Come to find out, it's a lot easier to capture a pretty sunrise on my blackberry, than it is to capture a pretty Moose.

Or to capture the prettiness of a Moose. My Moose. Anyway, here are the crappy photos of my gorgeous boy, which you can't tell is gorgeous, because of the crappy photos.

I had to run errands last night, so by the time I got home the only thing I had time for was a quick grooming for Moose.

I faux-tied him, for the third time. I'm not sure what the "right" way is to teach a horse to tie, but the way I do it is to "faux-tie" them up lots of lots of times, until one day I just tie them up the regular way and they're fine! Now, this doesn't mean I let them just drag the line off if they decide to leave. Usually I have a hold of it, and if, like the last time I "tied" Moose up, he decides to have a kitty and jump and rear and carry on, then I hold onto the lead, through the fence, so he has a little give (and doesn't feel trapped), but he learns that a fit won't get him anywhere--he has to still stay "tied-up." It's worked really well so far *knocking on wood* and eventually, once they get the hang of being tied up, they get tied up for long periods of time (preferably to a "patience tree") so they learn to be "patient" as well. The way I see it, if a thousand-pound animal wants to escape, he's going to escape. The trick to me, is to teach them that it's not even in the realm of possiblities. So far, so good *knocking on wood again*.

Moose is easy anyway. He's a lover, not a fighter. He's oddly calm for a halter-bred weanling colt, as displayed in this photo:

Paula, Bambi, and Fabian were all running around like banshees, but Moose just stood there calm as could be, half-asleep, despite the ruckus. He was quite bored, actually.

That doesn't mean he's perfect, though. He still needs some more "patience" work.

Overall, though, he's a super-good boy. I got him brushed and his feet cleaned, then let him back in with his buddy Fabian, just in case he wanted to run around with the banshees as well.

Home boy did run around a tad bit...

But approximately 30 seconds later, he was at his dish, waiting for his feed.

And yes, he's very hip-high. He's a growing boy! He's now 13.2 1/2H at the hip, 13.1H at the withers--not bad for a not-quite 6-month old colt. Right now he's as tall at the hip as my POA show gelding was! In case you're wondering, Moose string tests to 16.1H.

By the way, see the old chair in my truck bed? It was a great find and my next restoration project, but I'll cover that on my next post.

So why didn't Moose want to dance? He didn't have any moosic. Ha!

OK, I'll stop now. Catch you on the flip side ('cause I'm already there),


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Heart ShopRuche

They have their new LookBook out for fall. Stunning....just stunning.

Please visit ShopRuche!


P.S. I don't know why this comes up as teeny-tiny, but if you click on the virtual book above it will show up full-screen. Enjoy! ~J

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10 Things

Be forewarned, this is one of those boring posts without pictures. Just so ya know.

1. I ran yesterday for the first time in two weeks and it felt great. I've been sick (cold and then some sort of stomach bug), but now that I'm better, I am itching to run again. It makes me feel so good--it's difficult to explain. It's a natural high, baayyybeee.....

2. I love getting emails about Eddie's babies. I do. Even though he's gone, he is still so important to me, and so are his "kids." I get absolutely giddy when I hear stories or see pictures of them. I don't have human children, so this is probably the closest thing to grandkids I'll ever get. I bust buttons over those kids, I'm so proud of them all.

3. Yesterday I was reminded of why it's so important to wax vehicles. I washed my car and it took half the time. It looks so purty, too. Now I've got to get the truck and trailer waxed!

4. It's hard to believe that I've had to purposefully make the horses' pens muddy. Their feet are cracking because it's been so dry. When it rains, it's barely a sprinkle, so they never get the good soaking they need. Yesterday I ran water, flooding a small area of both pens. The funny thing is, a few months from now I'll be wishing everything was dry again.

5. I feel truly blessed, that I can have the crappiest work day in a long time, where I feel completely unappreciated, exploited and repressed, and then come home, go for a run with the Sophster (who LOVES runs so much that "LOVES" isn't even enough of a word), then feed horses, condition their feet, run water, sit and talk to them while watching the dogs all play--and by the time I go inside I am completely relaxed and happy. I'm really blessed to have such a wonderful home life, that coming home can completely turn my day around.

6. My brother is graduating from college later on this month. He was a high school dropout and now he's graduating with a BS from DeVry. He's really kicked butt. I am so very proud of him.

7. Here lately I find my taste in horses going from halter to the more thoroughbred types. I just find them absolutely gorgeous. I have no idea what's up with that. I really don't. What does it mean?!

8. I enter contests all the time, but I never win. Every time I think, "I'm overdue--this will surely be the one I win!" That's exactly why I sucked at statistics.

9. It's always around this time of year that I wish I was seven again. I used to eat so much Halloween candy and I was tall and thin. Now I just pass by the Halloween candy at the store and I gain five pounds. I find myself running past the displays now. I get weird looks, but it's not the first time I've solicited weird looks, and I'm sure it's not the last.

10. Fall is bittersweet. It's a beautiful window to the end of another cycle of life. Everything must come to an end, though. Without endings, there could be no beginnings. Once again, I've had a year filled with heartache, but once again, there is so much promise in what remains.

Love ya,


Monday, October 18, 2010

Let There Be Light...for my Equids

I didn't get to work Moose yesterday as I had hoped. Dad stopped by and we planned out adding some new lights in the back.

I used to have a working vapor light out behind the barn, which was handy for feeding in the winter when it's dark 99% of the time (or at least feels like it). In case you don't know what a vapor light is, it's basically a farm light that comes on at dusk and turns off at dawn.

In 2007 an ice storm took out all the wires all over the farm and my dad only had the one for the house hooked back up, which was fine since the others were ran through old, delapidated buildings (can you say "fire hazard?).

Obviously it's not going to work out too well to try to feed in total darkness, so Dad is helping me get some lights set up in the back. I did get a quote to have an electrician do it: $1800. Yes, that's almost TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS for two stink'n lights!! So, Dad is helping me run the lines myself, so I can spend considerably less on the electrician part.

Not only will I save a lot of money, but I'll also be able to prepare to add lights to my new shelter later on next spring, and get an extra vapor light in my backyard (so if I need to go out to the shelter at night, I'll be able to see. Yippee!!

So after many hours spent in Home Depot yesterday, we got everything we needed except the wire and the pvc pipe (so those rascally moles won't be able to chew through the wire). Perhaps by the end of the month I'll have a working vapor light out back.

My future's so bright, I gotta wear shades,


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saddle Up for Some Gorgeous Weather!

Today was so beautiful out that being outside was absolutely mandatory. Fortunately for me, it's easy to spend the entire day outside. I decided I'd work with all the horses!

Paula was saddled and ridden.

I can't wait for next spring! Show season will be here before we know it, and I truly hope Paula and I will be ready. She's doing so well! Right now we're working on balance and control. She's starting to really grasp collecting at the trot, but she will lose her shoulders on the turns, so we've just got to work on keeping it all together.

I left the saddle in the roundpen, hoping I could get Bambi and Fabian both saddled today as well.

Bambi was first. She saw the saddle. She knew what it meant, even though she's only been saddled once before. She wasn't thrilled.

She's not hard to work with at all, by any means. She just doesn't love the saddle is all.

We did some bending exercises, along with work moving her feet. She's still fairly stiff, so much more work is needed. Overall she's accepted the saddle very well, though! Once she's loosened up we'll graduate to driving!

Then came Fabian. I went ahead and worked him without the saddle. He continued to absolutely excel!

So then I thought I'd really push our limits by saddling him (which he took very well), doing our ground exercises (which he also does very well--he's got such an extremely light touch--Bambi needs to take note here :), and then I lunged him.

He had a couple of bucks with the saddle but nothing that was a big deal at all. Considering not even three weeks ago he was scared to death just to lunge, and now he's working smoothly and calmly with a saddle on makes me so incredibly happy!

Moose unfortunately (for me--fortunately for him) was passed over today because Grandma invited me to go to town to eat with her, my uncle, and my cousin's family. It was a fun time, but Moose--buddy, you're up for your workout tomorrow!!

Every Moose has his day,

Friday, October 15, 2010


This is Fabian.

Fabian came back home to me with issues. Well, it's hard to explain--he's always been a bit odd--so he left me with some issues but things got worse, instead of better, so I brought him home.

Fabian was perplexing because his sire, Eddie, was known all over for how easy and sweet he was, even as a stallion. His momma was equally easy--you could do absolutely anything with her and she would just go along...never an opinion or even hesitation about anything. Fabian was bred to be an easy horse, so for him to be anything but easy, was very odd.

So, I got him home and just let him settle in for a while. I thought a lot about my approach. He wasn't mean, by any means, but he wasn't the horse he should be. All of Eddie's babies had been so easy to train, except for Fabian. What was going on here?

The first day I tried to catch him, I wasn't even planning on catching him, but I wanted to fly spray everyone. Normally I just go around and spray them all--they're all used to it, no halter neccessary. Fabian flew off like I was spraying acid on him, though, which mandated an impromptu lesson. I went and got the halter and an hour later (not kidding here), I was finally able to catch him. I didn't get upset or mad or run after him--I just kept walking towards him and he did all the running and carrying on. Eventually he wore out and I slipped the halter on.

Fortunately that was the last time we had such an episode. Now he literally sticks his nose into the halter when I offer it, so problem #1 resolved! I'm able to spray him without a halter on now, too. Problem #2 resolved!

In the past several months I've taken it easy with Fabian and just did nice stuff, like grooming him, petting and scratching and talking to him. I clipped him, which I was told he did great with before, and he continued to be good at it. I've been working a lot with his feet, which still needs to be worked on, but he's getting better. Now rather than lead-foot, he's more of an aluminum foot...stubborn and strong but a little lighter weight :) Problem #3 unresolved, but in the works!

The next issue was the roundpen. Fabian had a history of climbing up the sides of it. Not quite a month ago I decided it was time to start getting Fabian broke. He's been through some training, but like I said, there were some issues, so I decided we'd just start over from scratch. We had a decent lesson, but there was some trouble, as I posted on Sept. 20th. Fabian was scared, tense, and all he knew was "run!!" I worked hard to get him to listen. Listen, listen, listen. That's all we've worked on.

I'm very blessed to have a busy life--a full time job, lots of animals, friends and family to keep me busy, but it means I break one of the cardinal rules of horse training: I'm inconsistent as all get out. So, Fabian has only been worked three times in the last three weeks. But, I'm happy to report that he's shown that he's truly his father's son--he's progressed by leaps and bounds despite our inconsistent training schedule!

Last night he proved it: he lunged like a pro. He was relaxed, happy, even playful! He listened and picked up his gaits flawlessly after a single cue. I'd ask him to transition down from the lope to a walk and BAM--just absolutely perfect. Nothing of that scared, tense horse remained. As corny as it sounds, I had tears in my eyes when we finished. I gave Fabian a huge hug--he's come so far, so fast. He's NOW the horse that I bred--the horse he should be--the product of his wonderful parents. Issue #4 resolved!

We didn't stop there, though. I had brought a couple of things to sack him out with--an old, ripped necksweat and a tarp. He was slightly tense at first with the necksweat, but quickly got over it and was soon more interested in the grass than what I was sacking him out with. Then came the tarp. I was certain this was going to be the test!

Did Fabian freak? Not just no, but heck no! He bit the tarp, walked all over it, even got caught up in it for a second but then backed up and walked right off it. I laid it over his back and asked him to walk around the roundpen. He was aware, but not a bit of fear. He stopped, turned his head, bit the tarp and it slid off his back. He didn't move a single hoof. Issue #5 almost resolved--I've got about 4 more things I'd like to fully sack him out with before saddling him.

Of course, we still have a long ways to go. Eventually I hope to use Fabian for a lot of trail riding. He'll be perfect for it--he's so short that I won't even have to duck under branches! Ha! He's also pretty flashy, and come to find out, he's also got a terrific personality. In the meantime we'll keep working and keep testing those limits. I'm just so elated to finally see the horse that I always knew he could be.

Never give up, never surrender!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Relatively Speaking

Recently in the news, there was an entertaining article about how two rival politicians are related to each other. While entertaining, given their backgrounds, it's not uncommon for people to be related several generations back. Afterall, most of our ancestors followed the same paths across the United States (manifest destiny and all that jazz), or they immigrated from the same countries during the periods of mass immigration from different countries. It's not unlikely that many of us are indeed 10th cousins. The interesting question actually is "how are we related?"

I began researching my own genealogy in 1998 in an effort to determine if family legend was correct: that I was a direct descendent of President John Adams through my paternal great-great-grandmother Lula May Adams. Lula and her twin sister Lois were orphaned and raised by their aunt and uncle, but Lula herself had told my grandmother than she was told she was a descendant of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

Unfortunately the family legend turned out to be untrue. Our Adams line does not lead directly to the Adams presidents. We might be distant cousins, but we are not descended from those individuals.

However, my research did turn up a surprising revelation. We are indeed closely related to one of the early presidents:

The first President of the United States: George Washington.

I'm not a descendant of his, though. No one is. George Washington had no known children of his own. His wife was previously married and had children of her own that she brought into the marriage, but no one can claim to be a descendant of George Washington (unless they can provide evidence of an illegitimate child). Sidenote: same goes with Shakespeare. While he did have children, his direct line died out only a couple of generations after he did.

I am descended from Ann Washington Wright, who was George Washington's great-aunt (his grandpa's sister). She is buried at the George Washington Birthplace Monument along with quite a few other family members.

When you find a famous ancestor the work becomes much easier because the research has already likely been done, and the documentation is readily available. It's not always that easy, though. I still cannot find the parents of my 4th great grandfather John McCandless. We've even been to Antrim, Ohio where he lived and died. The line just stops right there. The further you go back, the less likely that documentation exists. Marriage records weren't kept on file before the early 1800's. The beginnings of birth and death records were often recorded even much later than that. Land records provide proof of existence, but little in the way of giving us leads as to where they came from originally. Eventually you're looking for a needle in a haystack.

Or you can just give up and announce that he was beamed in from outer space. I'm almost to that point, since it would explain a lot.... Almost....

But anyway, folks, it's easy to research your own genealogy if you're wondering who the heck you're related to. It's a fun winter activity as well, since so many of us are stuck indoors. The best way to start is with yourself! What do you know--write down your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Then start talking to those people who are still alive--ask them what they know. It will probably surprise you! Then, you can build on that: your local library will have census records, old newspaper on microfilm, obituaries, cemetery records, etc. The internet is also a handy tool. Rootsweb is one of my favorite sites and Cyndi's List contains many, many useful websites for research.

Just remember, family trees are full of nuts--that's what makes them so interesting!!

Happy Hunting,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

He's Runnin'....In the Rain....

Just runnin', in the rain.

What a glorious feelin'...
He's happy again!

He's laughing at the clouds
So dark above
The sun's in his heart
And he's ready to run!

Let the stormy clouds chase
All the flies from the place
Come on with the rain
He's got a smile on his face

He runs down the lane
With a flowing red mane

Just runnin',
Runnin' in the rain

My sincerest apologies to Gene Kelly,