Saturday, April 30, 2011

Violet Marie Burwell McCandless

My grandmother passed away Wednesday morning. The service is today.

As a small tribute to her, I thought I would publish something written in her own words. Several years ago I sent out genealogical questionares to my relatives and my Grandma McCandless was the only who sent hers back. She knew how important family and history were. Here are her responses, with the questions removed. In this format, it reads as a story of parts of her life.

I was born September 12, 1921 on a farm near Elk City, Oklahoma. I was named Violet Marie Burwell. My father was Ira B. Burwell and my mother was Cecil Pearl Allender Burwell. In those days most children were born at home. The doctor came to the house for the delivery. His name was Dr. Kilpatrick. Grandma Allender came to help, too. I weighed 8 lbs. I had an older sister—June Delight Burwell who was 18 months old when I was born.

I started to school—first grade—January 1928. We did not have kindergarten. It was not a one-room school. There was a teacher for each grade. Since I was not six when school opened—I could not go the first semester. I was six by January, so I went to school only one-half year in first grade then was promoted to second grade. I attended Merritt school located near Elk City, Okla. I rode the school bus to school. It was a consolidated school. At that time in Oklahoma, school started about Aug 1 and ran for six weeks. Then school was dismissed for six weeks. The children were let out of school to pick cotton for their parents. The farmers all grew cotton in that area and some still do. Then after six weeks school started again to finish the school year—nine months.

My sophomore and Junior year I went to Halstead, Kansas to school. Mama thought she was sick so we moved there to be near the hospital. My father stayed on the farm. He owned it. My senior year I stayed with an aunt who was a teacher in the Tulsa school system in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I graduated Tulsa Central High School in May, 1939. By then mama had moved to Hutchinson, Kans. I moved back home and attended Hutchinson Junior College. I taught school two years and took courses at Hays State and also Wichita University. I do not have a degree but I have lots of hours.

One of my favorite things to do when we lived on the farm in Oklahoma was to go to town on Saturday night. We fixed our hair and dressed up and met our friends. We would walk along the streets and visit. Most everyone did this. After we moved to Kansas (I was fourteen) we lived in a rooming house that mama ran. It was kind of like the Bed & Breakfasts we have now.

Our chores were not assigned. We did what had to be done. No electricity on the farm then. We had to garden—had to carry water to water it. We milked cows—maybe 3 or 4—not many. We had milk and butter. We gathered eggs as we had a flock of chickens. I did not chop wood, but we heated the house with wood. We did have fried chicken from our own flock of chickens and sometimes in the winter parents would butcher a pig. We always went to church on Sunday and sometimes ate dinner with other families that went to church or we came home and sometimes had company for dinner. Transportation then was limited—Model T and later a Model A and in 1925—a Buick Touring Car. It was real classy.

[When I was younger,] I do not remember having a job that paid money. Sometimes we were given a little money when we went to town. A candy bar cost 5 cents. My father gave us some money for working in the cotton field. He also hired people to work in the cotton field. We did not have to do it all. When I taught school I was paid $80 per month. This was about what teachers were paid.

I lived in Oklahoma on a farm as a child. Our house was a white frame house—a good house—an average house. There were four rooms downstairs and one large room upstairs. The room upstairs had sloped ceilings. The children slept upstairs. It was heated with wood stoves. No electricity and no cooling in the summer. We all slept outside at night during the hot summer months.

The most exciting thing that happened was the advent of rural electricity—Franklin D Roosevelt was president. He did a lot for the common person. He promoted the building of rural electric lines, the 4H clubs, jobs for people, CCC men who worked in national parks, built outhouses on farms, and did public works. The worst thing was the war. We went from the depression years to the war years. A depression is a disappointment—we couldn’t have what we wanted because there was no money. A war is a heart break—to lose friends to such a senseless act.

Bill and I met when I was teaching school in Stafford Co. He was a native of Stafford County. I went there in Sept. 1940. In 1940 the draft came into being. Males 21 years and over were required to register for the draft. Bill drafted into the army Feb. 1941 and was sent to Camp Robinson, Ark., at Little Rock. War was declared in Dec. 1941. Thirty-Fifth division, Camp Robinson, Little Rock, Ark was shipped to California. They were stationed up and down the California coast. The United States thought Japan was going to attack the west coast.

We were married June 15, 1942, in the Little Church of Flowers at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California. It was a beautiful little church—only movie stars and important people and rich people were allowed to be married there. During the war soldiers were allowed to be married there. We were honored. We went to San Diego on our honeymoon on a three day pass—not a long honeymoon. For the wedding I wore a Sunday-like dress. Bill wore his uniform. During wartime soldiers were not allowed to wear civilian clothes. Guests were soldiers and a few of Bill’s relatives. I had no relatives in California.

I worked as a school teacher before I was married. Why? Because my mothers relatives were all teachers. They thought I should do that, too. During the war I worked in a J.C. Penny store. When we were in Laurel Md.—Fort Meade—I worked in a drug store. Teaching paid more than working in a store. On the move with the army like we were—I had to get a job where I could. I did not renew my teaching certificate.

[When] we were married during the war, the army picked the places we lived: Inglewood, Calif. Buzzard’s Bay, Mass., Enterprise, Ala., Laurel, Md., Little Rock, Ark., Fredericksburg, Va.—to name a few of the places we lived. After the war we lived two years in Los Angeles, Ca., In 1948 we moved to Stafford County, KS and lived there ever since.

Missing my "Greatest" from the Greatest Generation,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Several years ago, back when I was married and living in Arizona (where my husband was stationed at Ft Huachuca), the Army decided that a full year in one place was out of the question and decided to send him back to Georgia. Rather than follow him around the country trying to get one short-term job after another, I came back to Kansas to attempt to regain a semblance of a career.

The point is, I had to leave my Rav4 with him because I needed the truck for the horses. However, commuting in the 3/4 ton truck had its own issues. I found myself needing an inexpensive, dependable car, and found a 1989 Honda Civic, similar to this one.

After some intense negotiations I bought the little car for $1000, all-in, and my sister (who had so kindly brought me to the city to buy the car) and I decided that we needed to get the car moved out of there fairly quickly.

See, the guy selling the car saw two young ladies and perhaps saw an opportunity. After test-driving the car, I told him all I had was $1000 cash and he proceeded to try to "sell" me the car, but it wasn't working. I just repeated my original proposal, over and over and finally he gave in. We went inside to do the paperwork. He got the temporary tag ready, all the receipts, etc., and then told me the total--the $1000 plus tags, taxes, administrative fees, etc. I repeated, "All I have is $1000."

The salesman was not pleased. He ripped up the note, scribbled a new one and told me "get out of here." I handed him the $1000 and so it was at this point, my sister and I decided we'd best get the heck out of Dodge.

However, we both wanted to do more in the city before heading home, so we parked the car down the road in a restaurant parking lot near the freeway overpass. As we got into her car, I remarked to my sister, "Now I just need to name it!"

She replied, "Oh, God!"

My retort was, "God it is!"

So then, the rest of the day was filled with comments about my car named 'God.' At one point we drove along the overpass and I strained to see if my car was still there. My sister told me, "Just because you can't see God, doesn't mean He isn't there." Hysterics ensued.

And it didn't stop there. A few months later I planned on seeing my sister and she said she wasn't sure if my car would make the trip. My reply was "God will get me there." Once again, we broke out in roaring laughter.

This went on for the entire time I had that car, and it was a sad day when I decided we no longer needed it and it was quickly sold. It was just a cheap, little, dependable car that got me to work inexpensively, but ever since, it has been known as "The Car Called God."

Lord, I apologize,


Monday, April 25, 2011

A Word on Advice

Recently I've been asked by several people for advice, help, or suggestions. Times are tough, which means that people are faced with tough situations that are far from easy to resolve. Like many people, my first reaction is to try to help wherever I can (and be honored to have been consulted), but I've come to the realization that what these people are looking for is not advice. Understandably, they want to be told what they want to hear.

Let me make this perfectly clear: I am not talking about any one particular person that I've spoken to in the last few weeks. This is something that has recurred many, many times and this post is about how I've decided to finally handle these situations. The status quo is broke, so I have to ask myself, "What is the solution?"

The status quo goes like this: Someone will call, email, or text me asking me for advice. Because I am not the type to blow smoke, I state what I believe is the honest truth in an attempt to genuinely help said person. Then, said person will usually either become angry or silent. Then I stress, worry, and dwell on it, because my intention all along was to be helpful, but I am left feeling like I failed them.

What went wrong? They asked for advice. I gave it as best I could. What else is there?

What I've come to realize the hard way is that generally, people asking for advice don't want the truth. They want someone to validate their heart's desire. This is not a unique phenomenon. I can site many specific instances where I have done this very thing myself.

For example, one time I posted on a forum asking for any tips on how to fit a horse for halter less expensively. I was promptly lectured that I had no business trying to fit and show a horse if I didn't have the money to do so, that I should cut back on the number of horses I had and then I'd have the money to show. Of course my first reaction was to be hurt and angry. How dare this person reply in this manner! It was none of their business what I did with my horses or how many I had! Why in the world would someone be so hateful and hurtful when all I wanted to do was ask a simple question?

Well, as they say, the truth hurts. That person, while the candor of their reply cut me to the core, was, as I now know, absolutely correct. I had almost TWENTY horses at the time, less facilities and less available income than I have now (even being unemployed). I was truly in over my head, and that person was being helpful than most in telling me so, but of course that wasn't what I thought was happening. I thought a perfect stranger was being hurtful to me, just for sport. The only problem with their reply is that it wasn't what I wanted to hear. How ridiculous my actions now seem....

There have been so many times in my life where I thought if I lost something, my world would end. If I sold this horse, or if I gave up on this goal, or if I left a place, my whole world would come crashing down. It's taken losing everything I loved all at once twice to show me that this is not the case. By the time I had to euthanize Eddie last year, I had learned that while I will miss him the rest of my days, my life will continue on without him. And it will be (and has been) a fine life at that.

Sometimes it is so difficult, so hard, so scary to let go. I've been thinking about this quite a bit today as these dilemmas that I was consulted on have really been stressing me out. Then I had to ask myself "Why?" I've stopped breeding horses for this very reason (so to cut down on the amount of times I had to make these type of tough choices) and yet I'm letting other people's decisions stress me. Seems a bit silly.

So, in an effort to lead by example and encourage my friends to "walk away," if that is indeed the right choice for them, I am officially walking away from my pseudo-ordained responsibilities as advice-giver. I will no longer help anyone sell their horse or give any advice regarding what to do with any particular horse. The only exception is if someone needs to place their horse, meaning give it away (for free) to a good home. So many times I am told a horse absolutely must find a home, and then find out that the person has priced them with their heart rather than their head. I cannot help in those situations. I cannot help someone find the perfect horse, or change the horse they have into the perfect horse, because there is no such thing as a perfect horse. I cannot lessen the pain of having to say goodbye to a cherished horse. Believe me, I have done it more times than I think my heart can handle and if I had found a way to lessen my grief, I would have shared the information long ago.

I wish I was able to find a magic wand and make everyone's troubles go away. I sincerely do, because I would include mine! But, until that day comes, I think the best advice I can give is only to myself. For the sake of my own well-being, and the well-being of my friendships, I am "walking away" from giving advice.

Fittingly, there is an article published today on this very topic: How to Walk Away When it's Not Working. Please read it, even if you're smart enough to have never asked me for advice. Unlike me, it is written by someone fully qualified to give advice in these types of tough situations.

Life is hard and for those of us who are lucky enough to live our passion, life can be even harder. The higher our soul soars, the farther we have to fall. The good news is the fall cannot kill us. We are stronger than that. We are resilient. We are horsepeople.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I plan on spending my Easter taking the day off from ALL farm work and just working with my horses. How about you all?

Have a terrific day!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Old Windmill Pump

One of the smaller projects I've been trying to complete is the old windmill pump, in front of the pumphouse and right beside the walkway up to the back door of the house.

Which is the front door to the house. Confused?

Out in the country, particularly in Kansas, almost everyone I know uses their back door as their front door. This is especially applicable to native Kansans. You can always tell if someone who comes to my house is from the area. If they come up to the back door then I know they're local (or loco, if they're a relative). If they knock on the front door then I know they're completely out of their element. The sidewalk of my house even leads to the back door. It's a Kansas thing....

Anyway, I wanted to do something about this eyesore that has so much potential. I almost forgot to get a "before" picture, so just imagine it without any primer at all. Just an unattractive, rusted old pump.

It was already looking a little better with some primer.

And the red paint really sets it off!

Because I can't afford to do anything drastic with the base yet, I got a new stall mat, cut a big hole in it and used that as the base. Add a pail I found and some cute little annuals and VIOLA!

Next up is the paint the pump house behind it.

Here's the before and after, side-by-side.

Overall I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's just a small step in making things look better, but that's all I can do--take it one step at a time as there is SO much that needs to be done! One day I also hope to find a handle for it.

And maybe find my handle on reality as well.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Betty See, Betty Do

And that's where my camera ran out of juice. And so did Betty.

Sunshine keeps falling on my head (because it certainly ain't raindrops right now),

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Overo Lethal White Syndrome (OLWS)

This week is the sad anniversary of my little lethal white foal. It was thankfully the only lethal white I've ever personally experienced, and while I didn't breed the foal, it was certainly an eye-opening experience. It was an unfortunate and unhappy ending to a brief life that I had not planned on bringing up again, except for a couple of incidents that have prompted me to feel like this post is warranted.

A few weeks ago a reader commented on my original blog post about the day. I didn't want to just publish the comment and have it get lost in the archives, so here is the comment:

"Great of you to share your story. I do want to clarify one fact. All overo horses carry one copy of the 0 and one n nO and the problem comes when you breed to another overo and thus 25% of the time BOTH parents will throw the O and thus the heartbreaking ordeal you were faced with. I have Overo's as well. I ONLY breed Overo to Solid horses that have NO O gene or tobiano horses with no O gene. Thanks again for sharing!"

The reason why I didn't want this comment to get lost is because this is a very common misconception. Not all overo horses carry the OLWS gene, and you cannot assume that all solid horses do not have it. Case in point, I have had a horse that was an overo test negative for OLWS--Truly Apparent.

I can send her test results to anyone who would like to see them, but as you can see, she is a true overo. I believe she had the "splash" overo gene, which has not been linked with lethal white, but they have not developed a test for "splash" yet.

I have also had a solid-looking horse test positive for OLWS--NSN Momma Tried.

As you can see, she has very little white on her at all. She did barely qualify for regular registry based on that line of white by her nose, but it is safe to say there are many quarter horses and thoroughbreds with more white on them than this horse has.

The point is, you can never tell just by looking at them. In genetics, there are our genes, and then there are millions of factors that control the expression of those genes. Lethal white can cause a horse to appear overo on its own, but the expression of the lethal white gene might be so minimal that the horse appears to be a solid-colored horse. The only way you can ever know for sure is by testing.

The test is very easy to perform. Although I'm not breeding my girls anytime soon, I am ordering the kits this week just to get it out of the way, so I will go over, on this blog, the steps for ordering the test, taking hair, and the results for each of my girls. If you'd like to review the test information, it is under "Color Coat Test" on the UC Davis VGL website. The test is only $25 per horse, which is significantly less than the cost of having a vet come out and euthanize a lethal white foal.

Furthermore, I think there is sometimes some confusion about how exactly the genetic component of lethal white occurs. Not everyone aced high school biology, and not all of us are good at remembering everything, so I thought I'd copy here an explanation I wrote out a few weeks ago. It isn't perfect, but hopefully it will help if anyone reading this finds genetics confusing.

Of course most of us know the biological event of conception, but genetically, the egg carries one half of a potential baby's genes, and the sperm carries the other half. So every time you want to calculate chances of what color a horse will be, what genetic flaw they might carry or even what color a baby's eyes will be, you have to factor in the genes of both parents 50/50.

The lethal white gene (frame overo) is a recessive gene (as opposed to a dominant gene), meaning a horse can carry it and will not suffer any negative effects from being a carrier and you cannot tell by looking if a horse is a carrier of the gene.

A lethal white foal is a foal that carries two lethal white genes (in other words, is homozygous for frame overo). That means that the foal has to get the gene from both parents--one from each.

Lets say you have two known positive horses. Their genetic code for lethal white is N/O (N stands for negative, O stands for positive, so they have one negative gene and one positive gene). So, if you take two horses that are N/O and breed them (N/O plus N/O), then the resulting foal will get one gene from each parent. 25% of the time the foal will get both N genes, so end up being N/N (negative for lethal white). 50% of the time the foal will get one N gene and one O gene, resulting in a N/O foal--a foal that carries the gene but is perfectly fine. Then the other 25% of the time, the foal will get an O gene from each parent, resulting in a foal that is O/O, or homozygous for the lethal white gene--a lethal white foal.

My stallion Eddie was positive, so there is a 50% chance that any foal of his is a carrier, regardless of what their dam's status was. I only bred him to quarter horse mares and negative (splash) mares, but his daughters and granddaughter could very well be positive for OLWS.

Therefore, they are all getting tested. As money allows, I will also test them all for HERDA and GBED, although Eddie was negative for the latter. It's important to have all the information at hand before breeding a horse and all these things cost money, which is why I'm starting long before I ever even think of motherhood for any of my girls. When the time comes for these tests, I will share the information on those as well.

Although this post is atypically dry and serious, I hope it's been at least somewhat interesting and informative. I hate to see anyone go through a heartbreaking experience because they had to learn the hard way.

Tomorrow we will be back to our regularly (or irregularly) scheduled programming....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Save Spiritual Magic

I know I have some readers in Southern California, so please pass this along, if you can.

From Facebook: "Spiritual Magic MUST find a home BEFORE the end of the month, or her owners may have to put her down. Extreme health/financial issues for the owner, does someone have the ability to take her in?. This lovely ex-race horse and broodmare needs are help! If you can assist, please contact THANKS!"

Here is more information from her adoption page (under April horses on Facebook for The Second Race rescue): "(Southern California)-- Mare Spiritual Magic is a retired ex-race horse and broodmare that is need of a new home. Spiritual Magic could continue to be a broodmare, or go on to do something else. Her recent progeny: She has a nice 3 year old in training with Kathy Walsh at SA (08 by Decarchy - "Magic Spirit") and also a nice two year old (09 by Good Journey - "Marmite").

Spiritual Magic (Hermitage--Storm Bird) is 16 years old, a sweet heart and is in good health. She went through the Barretts 2010 sale and was a no bid. We have her catalog page if interested. She is not pregnant at this time.

Spiritual Magic earned $ 65,000 during her racing career.

There is no adoption fee with Spiritual Magic."

I would love to have this mare, but couldn't afford the shipping to bring her here, and my pens aren't done enough to take in another one right now, so I really hope someone in that area can help. I have heard of even these older mares being able to start new careers as riding horses. Look at her face--you can tell she is such a sweetheart that deserves a second chance.

Blessed are the broodmares,

Bambi's Not a Hunter-Jumper

Sunday I made a quick trip with my Dad to Wichita and was back by early afternoon. Good thing, too, because when I got home, half my horses had themselves in quite a predicament.

When I drive up I usually glance over to make sure everyone looks ok, and they did on this particular afternoon. What I didn't know, though, was that although I could see everyone standing in the corner, that Bambi was actually on the other side of the fence--the wrong side of the fence--in the corner, and Fabian had several strands of wire wrapped around his back pastern.

I went inside and changed and came back out to let the horses out onto the grass. Since the bermuda has just started to grow I've been keeping the horses penned up off of it, but I let them out for a couple of hours at a time, so they still get to stretch their legs and graze. In the meantime, they get extra alfalfa to keep them occupied when in the dry lot.

So anyway, I come around the corner and immediately notice that Bambi is on the wrong side of the fence. Since I use that area to mostly ride in, or if I do have a horse in it, the gate is usually open to the dry lot, I have no water tank in there. My first concern was to get Bambi to where she could get water, and that was her idea, too. I opened the gate and she ran in and headed straight for the water tank. She must have been over the fence for while.

After Bambi ran in the other horses went out the gate, and as Fabian went through I noticed a wire on the ground. I bent over to pick it up and it moved. My eyes followed it up and saw that the end of it was wound tightly around Fabian's pastern, right below his fetlock. Crap.

Immediately I walked in front of Fabian and told him to "whoa." I ran my hand down his back leg and he reacted--not really a kick, but you could tell it was bothering him. I couldn't tell if the wire had gone into the skin. There was no blood, which was a good sign, but not an absolute sign that it wasn't in the skin. Plus, he was dragging the wire. If one of the other horses stepped on it, it could sever his foot. I was in a panic, but tried to work calmly and purposefully so as not to alert Fabian. He's a sensitive boy and reacts strongly to people's emotions, so I tried best to hide mine.

It didn't really work, though. The more I tried to get the wire off the more he moved and the more I paniced. I finally decided to take a chance that he'd be ok for a minute while I got a halter and some wire cutters. I ran to the garage for the wire cutters, then to the feedroom for a halter and lead and when I got back, Fabian was thankfully ok. However, Mr Sensitive knew something was up and wasn't really sure he wanted to be caught.

Let me take a moment to explain something about Fabian. He's a horse that can sense the slightest change in a person's behavior, tone of voice, level of stress--anything. There has only been twice, well, three times counting Sunday afternoon, that he has not let me catch him. The first time was when he first got here from Missouri and he just didn't trust me. The second time was after Paula and I had our worst ride ever. Neither time did I get upset. When Paula and I weren't doing well, I didn't even so much as raise my voice. I did tie her up for a while so we could both calm down, but even that didn't help, and I finally just searched for any good note, no matter how small to end on and we called it a day. Thankfully we've worked through those issues with the help of the clinic we went to, but that day that Paula and I had such a hard time, Fabian wanted no part of me. Although I wasn't showing it, he could just sense that things had not gone well. He's very insightful for a horse.

So, on this day, he knew I was paniced, and although I kept my body language and voice calm, it's almost like he could feel my heart racing clear across the pen. He ran into the dry lot and I closed the gate, and after a minute of walking after him he stopped and let me halter him. Thankfully he had not caught the wire he was dragging on anything, but every second of that chase was heart-stopping for me. I was frazzled.

I led him over to a safe place to tie him and then started working on the wire with the wire cutters. This time he kept perfectly still, almost seeming to finally realize that I was trying to help him and in two seconds: "snip!" The wire came right off and the skin wasn't even broke. Talk about a close call!

The wire had been a hot wire across the top of the panels to keep the horses off the fence. I'm so glad that worked so well.

Now that Fabian had been tended to I turned my attention back to Bambi. I feared what I would find--had she sliced her belly open? I looked her over and she only had a piece of skin missing off her back leg that was smaller than a dime. Surprisingly neither she, nor (less importantly) the fence had suffered any damage. It's almost a five foot tall fence and yet this little 15H, stocky mare had almost cleared it. What the heck had they been doing?

Bambi seems to fancy herself a hunter-jumper, but I wish she'd realize she doesn't have the build for it. It's sort of analogous to me trying to be an olympic gymnast.

Flying through the air with the greatest of ease,


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Swinging into Spring

After the miserable weather we had yesterday, today seemed especially gorgeous, and to top it all off, I had a great day! For one thing, the lilacs on the north side of my house are in full bloom.

I love to cut a few and bring them into the house. They make everything smell so good.

This morning Dad and I made a quick trip to Wichita to pick up my new lawnmower.

This is probably the cleanest it will ever be. Also, my dogs love to be in pictures, if you haven't already noticed.

Earlier this week I started a project using something my uncle had made, my dad had paid for, and no one ever used. It was supposed to be a platform to use with a pully to bring shingles up onto the roof. It was never used because Dad, in his infinite strength, just hauled them up there (literally) on his back. Yes, my dad is He-Man.

Anyway, here's the before, with Charlie modeling.

Just a plywood platform with some chains, sitting under a tree.

And here is the after.

A tree swing!

I got the outdoor fabric on sale at Hobby Lobby, had a 40% off coupon for the cushioning, used paint and staples I already had, and got some cheap rope from Orschelns. I'm very happy with how it turned out. Hopefully soon I can get the pump house behind it re-painted and re-roofed (it's on my list to do this summer)! By next spring, when the irises bloom and if everything is painted and landscaped, it should look super-cute.

The house has had some work done on it this week as well. The underside of the roof on the front is being redone, plus guttering was added to the north (left) side.

When my uncle and cousin are done working on that part, Dad and I will start work on redoing the porch. You can see how the one corner is badly rotted out. We will also be ripping out the iron and adding in proper columns with decorative trim.

When Dad and I got back from getting the lawnmower, my farrier came out. I've been trimming my own but asked Amber to come out and start trimming for me instead. I can do a pretty fair job, but she is really talented and between my back and lack of skill, I was thrilled she was able to make it out this far.

Betty had her first trim ever, and she did pretty well considering how foreign it was to her. She looks soooooooo much better now!

Amber got everyone trimmed and then I treated the horses to some non-feed-time-oats for being such good kids.

Overall it was a fabulous day, getting all these things done. The farm has so much more work to be done, but I really have to take the time to feel like each little step is a mini-triumph in the war against dilapidation.

I'm not sure if "dilapidation" is a word, but do me one favor in my little moment of glory--just go with it :)