Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Deer Season

Deer hunting...

 I think I'm doing it wrong.

Not to worry, dear friends...I didn't get a single scratch on me.  Thankfully the airbag didn't deploy and thankfully the headlight, which flew off and hit my door a mere two inches from the window, didn't end up in my lap (and neither did the deer, for that matter).  Just a sudden jolt and then a lot of smoke, since the crazy creature made sure to completely take out my radiator.

Toyotas are awesome, though--there was just enough time for me to get it pulled over off the highway without risking the engine overheating.  The car did exactly what it was supposed to--it took the impact and protected me.

I love this car, too.  It is (was) a Camry.  I highly recommend them.

As for the deer?  Well, I can't imagine that it's feeling much better than my car.  While (unbelievably) the impact didn't kill it, at least immediately, it either crawled off into the woods and died or it's nursing some pretty bad wounds, judging by the amount of fur left on my car.  It jumped straight up out of the ditch in front of me and two other cars.  Of course I was the one that was closest to it, and therefore hit it, but a nice person stopped to make sure I was okay before going on.

I am okay.  Bummed, but okay.  I guess after this the lure of deer hunting, sitting in the cold for hours waiting to hit one with a bullet or arrow, escapes me.  I mean, I was going 65 mph and trying to avoid them and managed to bag one.

Elusive creatures they are not.

The buck stops here,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Although this has been a pretty tough year with a lot of changes and a lot of stress, I feel like in a lot of ways, going without makes me even more thankful for the things that I have.  I am so thankful for my beautiful turkeys (who are, in turn, thankful that they aren't dinner this year).  I am so thankful that my 13 year old cat, Harley, and my 13 year old Aussie, Charlie, are both very healthy and going strong.

I am thankful to have added my little mini-Aussie puppy Evie to my family this year.

Of course, I am so thankful to still have my Sophie by my side.

I am also thankful for my three beautiful horses, all sired by the most wonderful horse I've ever known.

I am also thankful for this wonderful old farm that I live on, with this big old house with so much potential.  I am really looking forward to my future here.  Simply put, I love my home, and I love how it's coming along (see the front overhang finished?!  YAY!)

 I am so very thankful for all of my friends and family.  Without your support I don't think I would have survived this last year, let alone all the difficult times before.  You're always there, giving me the strength I need and helping me to live a great life, no matter what gets thrown at me.  I can't thank you enough, and I love you all.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mea Culpa

I have to admit, my last few posts have not turned out as I had hoped, so hopefully I can make it up to both my readers....  I think the best way to make this happen is to not talk about me at all, but some awesome, amazing things that are happening for people/critters/associates I know.  

1.  My amazing, beautiful, smart, talented sister-in-law has just started her own blog, so please check it out!

2.  My amazing, beautiful, smart, talented (are you sensing a theme here?) long-time-friend's sister's (and their friend's) clothing line is really taking off.

I am making a promise to myself that when I get back up on my feet I WILL be taking a trip to see them at Fashion Week.  I couldn't be happier for these ladies.  They had a dream, dedicated themselves to it and WOW, what an inspiration!  

Please visit their line, iCTZN by clicking this link, or the link on my sidebar to the left.

3.  My amazing, beautiful, smart, (and not sure about talented, although she is a very adept sleeper) grandma's dog is going to get a new home.

Poor girl started getting way too lonely out at the home place by herself (my grandma, her owner, passed away in April) and although she was getting fed and visited everyday, she started visiting the neighbors, who really weren't thrilled, so we were forced to find her a new home.  I most definitely wanted her, but with 70mph traffic going on right in front of my house, I was worried that she'd get hit and killed--and I just can't take that (again, after losing Samson).  I was the last-resort home for poor Dutchess, so I am thrilled to say I found her a much better one!  I'm so relieved.  Thank you, Kristi and family for giving this wonderful girl the home she deserves. 

4.  TBD

I'm saving this spot right here, for more good things.  They might happen to me, or they might happen to someone I know.  I don't know what they are, but I'm going to look forward to them, because they're a-comin....  I can feel it in my bones.

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

Story of My Life

I wasn't like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere's a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot. 

I know we've only known each other four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days. The first day seemed like a week and the second day seemed like five days. And the third day seemed like a week again and the fourth day seemed like eight days. And the fifth day you went to see your mother and that seemed just like a day, and then you came back and later on the sixth day, in the evening, when we saw each other, that started seeming like two days, so in the evening it seemed like two days spilling over into the next day and that started seeming like four days, so at the end of the sixth day on into the seventh day, it seemed like a total of five days. And the sixth day seemed like a week and a half. I have it written down, but I can show it to you tomorrow if you want to see it.

In case you haven't guessed yet, there's been a lot of drug traffic on the beach. And I'm not talking about Robitussin and No-Doze. I'm talking about the hard stuff, and a lot of it. I've been trying to find out who's behind it. It hasn't been easy. I don't shower much.

It's the same thing your whole life: "Clean up your room. Stand up straight. Pick up your feet. Take it like a man. Be nice to your sister. Don't mix beer and wine, ever." Oh yeah: "Don't drive on the railroad track." 

And I said, I don’t care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I’m, I’m quitting, I’m going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they’ve moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn’t bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it’s not okay because if they take my stapler then I’ll set the building on fire…

Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people.

Well, it got so that every ticked-off prairie punk who thought he could shoot a gun would ride into town to try out the Waco Kid. I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille. It got pretty gritty. I started to hear the word "draw" in my sleep. Then one day, I was just walking down the street when I heard a voice behind me say, "Reach for it, mister!" I spun around... and there I was, face-to-face with a six-year old kid. Well, I just threw my guns down and walked away. Little bastard shot me in the ass. So I limped to the nearest saloon, crawled inside a whiskey bottle... and I've been there ever since.  

So long boys. See you in the funny papers. 


In order:
The Jerk
Groundhog Day 
Office Space
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Blazing Saddles
O Brother Where Art Thou

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tough Times

I hate it when what I dread/fear most, comes to fruition.

A mare I rehabilitated a couple of years ago, the day I picked her up.

It's started, and this is going to go on for a long time. The bad economy, the loss of jobs, the lack of opportunities, the overbreeding, and the drought have all led up to a depressing mess, where the innocent ones are those who suffer the most.

As I was driving to pick up my grass roundbales over the weekend, I saw along side the highway horses that are so thin that you wonder how they have enough muscle left in their bodies to hold their bones up.  I'd report them, except that a sheriff's car was right in front of me, with the same exact view that I had.  If they hadn't already done something they obviously aren't going to.  I have to tell myself over and over "I can't be responsible for what others have done.   All I can do is take care of my own."

And I'm barely doing that.  I have to feed dehydrated alfalfa that I buy for $15 a bale/bag from the feed store.  I did manage to find some regular alfalfa hay earlier this year that I bought for $10 a bale, but it was so full of stickers and weeds that 75% of it ended up in the burn pile, so I'm through with buying hay from strangers and getting ripped off.  At least the stuff in the bags is of a consistent quality.  I have been supplementing with beet pulp and some grain, when it's on sale, and other times with timothy pellets.  Thankfully since my horses are grown, I don't have to be overly concerned with balance like I would have to be with young horses.  Calories is the name of the game right now.

Fabian playing last night.

Thankfully, we're doing ok.  My horses don't look as good as they did on free choice quality alfalfa while on bermuda pasture, but they aren't going to, unfortunately.  Bambi seems to have an ongoing issue that I have to keep a close eye on, but she's not thin (the vet laughed at me when I said she had lost weight)--I am definitely not happy with the entire situation.  I pray that she has something as simple as ulcers and with time, her stomach will heal and we will get over this hump, but honestly, we don't know.  As my vet said, as much as we don't like it, it's just a try-this-and-wait-and-see sort of ordeal.   She's been eating everyday and she is alert and active, but the slightest change (like worming her this weekend) will send her into a lethargic period. Thankfully she recovered quickly this time, but I still want to see her back to her old, healthy self.

And it seems to be that way--wait and see--with everything right now.  All we can do is hold steady and pray that we can maintain things until life improves because things are sure tough now days, for us all.  I have three horses, two less than I did at this time last year.  I was buying alfalfa for a third of what I now pay.  My income was also four times higher. 

Yes, that's right.  My feed bill has tripled.  My income has been cut to a fourth of what it once was (and not by choice).  And I'm definitely not the only one--far from it.

I'm to the point that I have very little pride left, so I can easily say if it wasn't for my dad I'd be looking at euthanizing my horses.  I still buy most of my feed, but he has helped me out when I couldn't, and he has also helped provide the cushion for my horses in the form of enough grass hay for most of the winter.  The grass has zero nutritional value (since it was two years old when it was cut), but it is something to ferment in the horses' gut (what helps keep them warm through the cold days of the Kansas winters).  It keeps them busy and also keeps something in Bambi's stomach between feedings.  Their nutrition (calories, fat, protein, nutrients), comes from their twice-daily feedings.

I did try to place or lease my horses months ago, but no one I knew and trusted was able to take them at that time, so that's when Dad offered to help me stick it out.  Painted Prairie Farm also helped me out a great deal when Bambi got sick and even my vet, who knows I am on a tight budget and live an hour (and about $50 in gas) away has worked with me to try to have the things on hand that I might need, but that will save me money if the horses do get sick this winter.  Without these people I'd be facing a very difficult decision indeed....  I am so thankful, too, as bad as this sounds, that I only have the three horses left.  It wasn't that long ago that I was in over my head, during good times.  I could have just as easily been in an even bigger mess had the timing been just slightly different. 

Anyway, it's all very depressing right now.  There was a big horse sale last weekend locally and many, many horses went to kill because no one bid on them.  I saw a double-decker full (even though they are illegal) leaving down and heading south. I could report them, yes, but to what avail?  In good times the county sheriff did nothing to keep several horses from being starved to death, so I probably would have gotten laughed at.  They also had to drive clear across down as the sale barn is in the middle of town, so my call certainly isn't going to be the one to stop them, as frustratingly depressing as that fact is.

I was also thinking, though, the other day, that in my county (not the one the sale and double-decker were in), there is only 4000 people and our sheriff has absolutely no resources to do anything about starving livestock.  It's just not anything that is able to be budget for--period.  A few years ago our town mayor was a resident of the town's rest home.  There just isn't the capacity, in our area, to do much about people who don't take responsibility for their animals.  The larger town is different, but then again, when would the resources dry up?  The authorities certainly weren't any more prepared for this drought/economic situation as the horse owners were.  We can all point fingers and say "should" until we are blue in the face, but it doesn't change the situation any, does it?

There are also many, many "free horse" ads, one of which includes possibly 60 very well bred APHA halter horses (mostly broodmares).  In this case, they are going to do the right thing and euthanize them if they don't find homes.  That isn't a threat--that is the responsible thing to do.  My dad and I just had this conversation--with the way things are right now, there are VERY FEW people able to feed a horse right---VERY FEW.  There are a LOT of horses needing homes right now.  You don't have to be a math whiz to figure out that something bad is going to happen to many, many horses.  They will either be slaughtered, die of starvation, or the lucky few will be humanely euthanized at home. 

It is a sad situation all around, to be sure.  I certainly don't have any answers.  I absolutely love my horses, but I do feel guilty for having bred horses for a few years, the handful of foals I created, that added, even a small way to this problem.  I feel sorry for the owners who have made the same mistakes I have and now find themselves a situation with a lot of tough choices to make.  I feel even more sorry for the horses who take the brunt of our bad decisions, through absolutely no fault of their own. 

This post has really no point and no neatly-wrapped conclusion.  I was asked why things were so rough in our area right now and I got to thinking about things and this is what resulted.  I wish I had the answers, but we reap what we sow, don't we?  The reaping has begun, and while none of us can be surprised, I think many of us have learned.  At least I hope so.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Doodoodoodoo, Doodoodoodoo

Hopefully the title comes across the way that I intend--you know, the theme song to The Twilight Zone and not just a bunch of doodoos.  I think with the economy the way it is, we all have experienced plenty of doodoos...or dodos...or both....

In case you're not old enough to remember, The Twilight Zone was an old TV show that featured eerie plot twists.  It had nothing to do with Team Egbert or bloodsucking teenagers or whatever.  When I was little, this show freaked me out.  It's sort of hard to describe, so here's an example clip:

Well, I experienced a bit of my own version of The Twilight Zone today.  At least I choose to look at it that way because the alternative would mean I'm losing my mind.   While I agree the latter is much more likely, I choose to believe the unexplainable.  I choose to believe that I was temporarily sucked into another dimension....

...because that sounds totally plausible.

It all started when I went to town early this morning and picked up my dad from his house. On our way back to the farm I stopped in at the local Co-op to have a tire fixed on my bale mover (a small trailer with a winch that is used to move one large roundbale of hay at a time).  While I waited for the tire to be fixed, I called the farmer that I had been getting grass hay from and asked him if I could buy five more roundbales today, which will basically set me up with enough grass hay for the remainder of the winter.  He said sure, I could do that, and before I could ask him when I could drop by his house to pay him my phone died.

My phone dying, in and of itself, is not at all unusual. My doodoodoodoo of a supposed "smart" phone, more times than not, has a hissy fit and crashes on me if I make a call lasting longer than two minutes.  For some reason a full battery becomes completely spent in a span of a nanosecond and it won't come back alive without some serious charging. Of course I had left the charger in the car (and I was now driving my truck), so I had to live with the fact that I had inadvertently hung up on the sweet old farmer I buy grass hay from and hope that when I went by his house he would be (1) home and (2) understanding about the dropped call.

Once the tire was fixed Dad and I hopped back into the truck and drove over to the farm where I got my phone charger out of my car, then we headed on over to the farmer's house.  I pulled into his driveway, got out and walked up to his door while Dad waited in the truck.  When the farmer opened the door I immediately began apologizing for the dropped call.  He had a very puzzled look on his face, though, so I stopped.  He then said something I didn't expect.  He said, "You didn't call me."

I asked him to repeat what he said and he said the same thing.  The words didn't change.  I thought to myself, oh, he's just confused.  After all, he's quite old and has been a farmer his whole life and exposed to a lot of fertilizer--I just caught him on an off day and he'll remember if I help him out a bit.  I replied, "Yes, I called you about an hour ago, remember?"

He insisted I didn't.  He then asked if I spoke to his son and I said, "No, I thought I spoke to you.  I asked if it was you and they said it was, then we talked about the hay."

He insisted I didn't talk to him and it really wasn't important enough to pursue any further--I thought in my head he must just be having an off day and it's no big deal, so I explained why I was there and he agreed to sell me 5 more bales.  I handed him the money, thanked him, and we chatted a bit before I left and he went inside his house.

I told Dad about my conversation with the farmer on our way to the field to pick up the first roundbale of hay.  He laughed and agreed--he's probably just forgetful and having an off-day.  By that time my phone had charged enough for me to turn it on. I turned on my phone and looked at my call list and immediately dropped my phone.....

My phone showed that I had not called the farmer that morning.

doodoodoodoo, doodoodoodoo

Imagine, if you will, a blonde with an uncooperative phone, just wanting to purchase some hay.  Little did she know, that in western Stafford County, she would enter...
The Twilight Zone.

Friday, November 11, 2011


If you haven't followed Fabian's story since the beginning, seeing him now, you'd never know why his nickname was "Frankenhorse."

I bred Fabian, but when I got divorced, the Coles near Topeka took his pregnant momma so she'd have a good home.  She was a cribber, older, and deaf, so she wasn't an easy horse to place, but thankfully they saw in her the real beauty she was.  

However, it wasn't quite that simple, unfortunately.  First, other friends of mine came to pick up a couple of horses and got the wrong horse, so the Coles and them had to do a switch from Missouri.  Then Fabian's momma developed a deep infection in her back hoof (cause still, to this day, unknown) and basically lost her whole back hoof.  Usually, in a situation like that, it's best to put the horse down, but the Coles decided to work hard everyday to save not only her life, but the life of the foal she was carrying.  With a lot of hard work and many, many hours in the barn, they managed to nurse her to a full recovery.

I was so happy to hear this because I had lost Fabian's full sister two years earlier--the sad result of a red bag delivery that happened before I got home from work.  She was a fighter and lived for 12 hours before a violent seizure finally took her.  I spent every minute of her life by her side trying to help her with her fight.  I had hoped, when rebreeding Fabian's momma (after a year off to let her fully recover), that I'd get a much better outcome, with the same beauty and determination that his sister had.

When Fabian was a foal, he was gorgeous.  Stunning.  Beautiful. Breathtaking.

Then, the Coles so kindly gave me the option to have Fabian and his momma back (because they had gotten so many of their old horses back). Seems as soon as I got him home, poor little Fabian quickly entered into his awkward stage.

And then, as if I didn't think it could have been possible, it got even worse.  Hence, he was nicknamed the "Frankenhorse" because his parts didn't seem to fit together right.  Poor guy.

Then, as if some cruel joke was being played on him, he came down with strangles (as did my whole herd that year--what a nightmare that was) and he was not only awkward, but thin as well.

The poor kid couldn't win.

Well, that was three years ago now...and today (well, as of two days ago, when I took this picture), you can see that although he looks wet and cold (by the way, he does have a large shelter available to him, swine horse), his body parts finally fit together just fine.

Over the past year and a half that I've had him back home after a brief stint in southwestern Missouri, he has really bloomed.  He's gotten taller than I ever thought he would (although he'll never, ever be a big horse), and he's actually gotten to be quite a looker, for the average backyard pasture pony that he is, anyway.

Of course, I might have rose-colored glasses on, but Fabian will always be my beautiful blue-eyed boy...

...frankenhorse or not.

It's alive!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall at the Farm

It's that time of year again....

It's fall at the farm.  On nice days, like today, we try to enjoy the little bit of nice weather we have remaining this year.

And by "we," I mean all the critters, too.

Isn't that right, girls?

The horses, having demolished their last bale of prairie hay, await the delivery of another.

The chickens search out the few remaining bugs around the water pan.

 Evie found a treasure to chew on.  Don't ask what it was--you don't want to know.

Sophie saw I was taking pictures of Evie and demanded equal treatment. Swine dog.

Speaking of camera hogs....  Poor Sweet Pea...she's no Covergirl.

Even if I manage to catch her "good side."

The more beautiful things around the farm are attempting an appearance, albeit a bit early.

Iris my case,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

School Days

My mom suggested an interesting blog topic the other day.  Actually, it wasn't just the other day.  It was more like two months ago, but when you're a student, time suddenly develops the dual characteristics of  being very limited and not existing at all, all at the same time.

Only the academically-weary can comprehend what I just said.  Moving along....

Anyway, she suggested that I do a post on how much college has changed since the last time I attended.  While it's a good suggestion, I have struggled with how to exactly describe these changes.

Not the college I attend.

Here's a little background:  I started junior college in 1996, graduating in 1998 with an A.A. (with honors) in English before going onto a state university, graduating from there in 2000 with a B.A. Cum Laude in English Literature.  Then me wonders why no job.

Now it is 2011 and I am back in junior college--the same one, which does help a great deal with the comparison.  However, I am not so sure it's college that has changed as much as I have changed.  Lemme explain.  Actually, because I am borderline-OCD, lemme outline:

(Yes.  I know "lemme" is not a word.)

1.  I am older.  A shocking revelation, I know, but it's a fact that has a lot more impact than I ever expected.  To over-simplify my relationships of the past, when I was younger and going to school the first time, I served as a pet-project for many--from certain teachers to my fellow non-traditional students.  They sort of steered me into different directions that I didn't exactly request, but where I was happy to be nonetheless.  I ended up doing a lot of things not because I sought it out, but because I was included by some well-meaning individual who decided to take me under their wing.

That doesn't happen now.  I'm looked at as an adult (got them fooled, I guess), and while I have been flat-out told that some teachers enjoy having me in their classes, I am definitely not under anyone's wing.  I have to look out for my own opportunities and have even had a difficult time searching out the process for the things I want to purposefully do.  It's a different climate, to be sure, that I believe has more to do with the differences of how others perceived me in 1996 versus today.

2.  Technology.  I'm not so old that I had to use a typewriter for assignments, but I am old enough to remember when the computer lab did not take up an entire building (it was one room with a handful of computers in 1996).  Today, I go to a "technology center" to get online, download and upload assignments, print handouts and study guides, and look at the course calender to coordinate my school and work schedules.  In lab, instead of recording and writing down the data from the experiments, a computer with various measuring devises is calibrated and used not only to measure our data, but to record it so once we're at home, we can download the information and use it to write our reports. Next semester I even have a science lab "online."  I hope we don't have to do any dissections.  That could get messy.

In addition to this shift in technology, there is also a significant shift in how online research is perceived.   In 1996 "google" was something you did when your neighbors in the apartment above yours had a party and one of the drunks peed off their balcony and onto yours.  Online "research" was looked down on and strongly discouraged.  Now days, written in my lab manual, are terms suggested specifically for online research. 

3.  Life.  In 1996, I had a small apartment, one pet (a California kingsnake), a Honda CRX that got 5 billion miles to the gallon and I was able to walk to the grocery store half a block away.  In 2011, I drive 100 miles a day to get to school, own a private zoo, and although my car gets good gas mileage, it still costs me $10 per day in fuel.  I'd tighten my belt a little more, but it's already cutting off circulation.  

Am I blue?  Am I blue?  Ain't these tears in my eyes telling you? Gives that song a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

And it's not just the expense.  In 1996 I waited tables and went to school, like I do now, but I also lived in town and had few responsibilities.  Now, in addition to waiting tables and going to school, I have to pick up extra shifts to keep everyone in the lap of luxury *cough*,  I spend two full hours a day just driving, have my hobby farm to take care of (which is more time-consuming per head than ever before because of the drought), and add to that my self-schooling on how to help manage a full-fledged farm and this all makes for one very sleep-deprived blond (a dangerous combination indeed).

4.  Stress.  Funny thing is that I don't remember a lot of stress from the first time around.  Maybe I just forgot?  Maybe I'm less adaptable now? No, that couldn't be it at all.  I am a pillar of flexiblity.

I will pause a minute to allow you to stop laughing hysterically and compose yourselves. 


I am somewhat surprised, though, by how much has not changed.  There is still a wide variety of students--from every age, income, race, etc., so it's not that I'm the odd duck out (not this time, at least).  The teachers still care very much about wanting their students to succeed.   I still forget to do some assignments and try to cram them in at the last minute.  I still am accused of being an "over-achiever."  I just got my second invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa honors society, although I think it would be weird to go back into it a second time around, after being so heavily involved with it the first time (I was chapter president and state vice president).

No, I think this time I'll just me a "regular" student.  Whatever that is.  After all, being "regular" at my age is a good thing.

~Ol' J

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Little Late

April showers...

bring November headaches.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not complaining (ok, I sort of am), but it would have been nice to have all this rain...say..in JUNE!?!?

I feel really bad for the horses.  When it started raining, it was almost 70 degrees out--way too hot to put their waterproof blankets on, and now that they are all wet, I can't put their blankets on as the liners would get wet and make the horses even colder than they are, so unfortunately they have to tough it out tonight.

Never mind the fact that they have destroyed a brand new bale of prairie hay in two days, smashing most of it into the mud, rendering it inedible.  Never mind that they have $8,000 worth of custom-ordered, brand-new shelters available to them.  Instead they choose to stand out in the cold rain.  All money well-spent.

Swine horses.