Thursday, March 27, 2008

Use Turnouts!

Why is it that many people think road signs only apply to others?

I had to run some errands this afternoon and got stuck behind a pick-up towing a travel trailer. The driver had 13 cars behind him on a 2 lane highway that has signs that say "Slower vehicles use turnouts". The driver was traveling 30-40 mph when the speed limit is 55mph. This is an ongoing problem on a few of the roads around here. Many people don't think these signs apply to them. They have no problem going past people who get over for them but they won't budge for the rest of us!

It starts

As fuel prices continue to creep up, we are currently at $3.70 a gallon for regular unleaded and over $4.00 a gallon for diesel, I'm starting to notice a climb in prices of everything else.

The first thing I noticed was shipping rates. Last time I ordered horse supplies online the oversize charge was 40 cents a pound, up from 20 cents a pound before that. Now the charge is 70 cents a pound. That adds up quickly on some of the bigger items making it cheaper to get them in the city even though the selection isn't very good. The next thing I noticed was food at the local market, the price of meat and milk is inching up. We found that the price of milk at Sam's Club actually went down by 70 cents a gallon so we made sure to stock up there.

Today I found out the farrier has raised his rates by $10! The price to get the horse's hooves trimmed, a 10 minutes job at most, is now $45. I'm really pleased with the availability and skill our farrier has so we will continue to support this young man, but it was quite a shock. I'm just hoping Ginger's hooves continue to only need trimming every three months!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wash and stuff

This week hasn't been a very good one so I'm really glad it's about over!

After being sick for a few weeks, Paul went to the doctor. He was given codeine cough syrup and meds because he has bronchitis. He's feeling much better.

Lorna had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon yesterday. We had to leave at 4:30am to get there by 8:30am. We then sat there for 2.5 hours before she was called for an x-ray. The surgeon then popped his head in to say everything is progressing nicely and he would see us next week. So all that driving and waiting for a 2 minute visit. He didn't even look at the surgery site! Of course there were no open appointments so we have to wait until a week from Tuesday. That means Lorna has to have the catheter in an additional 4 days because the surgeon is so busy. Frustrating.

This pictures ends my week.

The washer stopped working this week. The repairman said the belt slipped and cannot be put back on because he needs a few more parts. He is replacing the pump as well since he said it didn't sound quite right, at least it will save me another call a few months from now. Everything is under warranty so I'm only inconvenienced for the next 8 days. I could rent a washer and get reimbursed but since there is no where to do that in town I'm going to skip it; it's not worth the hassle of driving to the big city 50 miles away.

Overall none of this stuff is really all that big of a deal but coming on the heels of the surgery last week I'm exhausted. Next week will be better I'm sure.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I didn't mean to let it go so long before posting again. Lorna had surgery last Friday and we were gone until Sunday. So far the recovery is going well. She was up this morning feeding her horse for the first time since the surgery. The surgeon gave us the bad news that she won't be able to ride for 3 months. That was the first thing she asked in recovery, when she could get back on her horse. I'm a little skeptical though. The surgeon said she could go back to her normal activities including any sports in a month or two, but when I mentioned her horse he blew a gasket. It seems he doesn't like horses or "horse people" as he put it so he said it would be longer. I'm having a difficult time figuring out how riding a bike or anything else is different than a horse. She will be having a number of appointments as she continues to heal so I'll probably just keep asking when she can get back to riding, maybe he will change his mind as things progress :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Affluenza part 2

I finished the book a few days ago and have been thinking about the "treatment" prescribed. I agree with a lot of it but I do not agree with one of their methods for changing things, through legislation. No matter whether I agree with them or not I don't thinking forcing people to change their habits is the answer. I think education and social pressure go a lot further toward changing attitudes than any benefits gained through mandating change.

I also have a problem with some of the examples they use. There were a number of people the authors mentioned that had made great changes within their lives. These people downsized and learned to live with less, and in a few cases started their own organizations to help bring about change in other peoples' lives. In all of these cases though the people had good incomes to start out with. It's like a number of the homesteading magazines I have read. They talk about how these people live on very little and have no bills but it's only because they started out with land and supplies. These people are not your average citizen deciding to make some changes in their life. I'm not saying it's a bad thing just pointing out that it's a lot easier to liquidate your possessions and downsize when you have something to liquidate.

The overriding premise was that we can and should live with less. I firmly agree with that idea. My reasons for doing that are different than the authors' though. I also stand by the idea that money may not buy happiness but I think it can go a long way to buying piece of mind. It's a lot easier to consider changes in your life when you aren't worried how you are going to pay the electric bill and put food on the table. Of course, my ideas of having enough are way different than many others.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

March Gymkhana

This was Lorna's best show yet!
The past month Lorna and Ginger have been working on loping without bucking and it has paid off. Lorna beat all her previous times in the 7 events today, some by as much as 40 seconds! She was consistent in her placing with 4 second places and 3 first places winning high points for her division. We are so proud of Lorna. It was amazing to see her confidence after making it through the day loping the events. Everyone remarked that she did incredibly and her instructor couldn't be more pleased. It's incredible to think that when she started lessons last August that she was terrified of her horse. She's only been doing gymkhana shows on Ginger since January so this is a great accomplishment. If you've been looking at the pictures as I've posted them you should see a difference in these.

The increase in speed is apparent when you look at Ginger's hooves and mane.

Malachi continued helping out the club by scooping manure. In recognition for his hard work the club has decided to add $1 to everyone's fees to pay him. A few others gave him a few additional dollars in thanks as well. We had the biggest turn-out we've seen with 30 riders so it was a long day of being on scooping duty.

Monday, March 03, 2008


I've been slogging through the book Affluenza for the last few days.

I want to start off by saying that a lot of what the book has to say so far is good. I'm about half-way through but I'm starting to get frustrated with the on-going "preaching" about the problems of society. I think by page 50 I got the idea. I'm now ready for the "cure" or at least "treatment" for this disease.

I'm also having a hard time with a few of the arguments. One thing that is really bothering me is the idea of the exploitation of the poor unskilled laborers of the world. America's fixation with acquiring things isn't healthy and it's done at the expense of those poor people working for low wages. But if we were to fix our problems with consumption wouldn't these poor people be without any income and thus worse off? If we stop buying they stop working, how is this going to solve their problems? Can you complain about the country's love of buying things in one breath and then complain about the low wages of the people making these products? Something just doesn't seem right about the argument.

I'm also wondering about the lack of explanation about how much is too much. My definition of waste is probably different than most others. We are extremely frugal when it comes to electric and water usage so I think most people waste a tremendous amount. But even my electric usage could be considered a problem by someone who doesn't use any. Is it too much to own a second home, or boat, or ATVs, or is it just too much to want a nice first home? Is it just the desire to acquire more no matter what we have?

I guess I'm just wondering how far the author is advocating we go to treat the "disease" he claims we have. The farther I read the more it seems that any possessions are too much but maybe I'm missing the point.