Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hello HughesNet!

We took the plunge yesterday and had HughesNet install a new dish on our roof. As some of you might remember we already had satellite internet with Wildblue. I'm glad to be rid of their horrible service. The connection they provided was never all that great and the slightest little cloud would knock our connection out. The speeds we received were almost always a small fraction of what they advertise. The final straw was when our TRIA went bad, an ongoing problem for Wildblue customers. With that little piece malfunctioning it was impossible to stay connected for any length of time. They offered to fix it for $120 and a new 12 month contract. Since the last thing I wanted was to be stuck with them for another 12 months I figured it was time to switch!

So far our connection seems incredibly fast. I normally spend 2 hours in the morning reading various blogs, it took me only 45 minutes this morning and I even got to see all the pics and videos I usually have to skip. All satellite internet companies have a max you can download in a given period, one of the great things we found out was that we have unlimited downloads between 12 and 3 am. Since we are "night owls" this works out well :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Debbie's Giveaway

Debbie over at Debbie's Quilts and More is doing a very generous giveaway. Head on over and check it out. And while you are there look at the stuff she has for sale, you may find that perfect gift for someone!


Marie's comment on my last post suggested I make jam, it sounded like a good idea so I gave it a try.

I have only canned once before, about 4 years ago. At the time we were living in IN and a neighbor brought over tomatoes and all her stuff and I gave it a try. Everything went well that time. When we were living in the yurt I needed a big pot so I could heat water on the wood stove. I purchased a water bath canner because of it's size but I never canned anything with it. It came in handy yesterday though.

I don't have a pot large enough for the amount of jam I was making so I had to do it in 2 batches. The first batch is darker than the second, I have no idea why, I heated the mixtures to the same temperature and used the same amounts of all the ingredients. The taste seems to be the same so maybe it was just a difference in the color of the fruit. All 5 jars sealed so it looks like we will have enough jam for at least a year :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


This is our tree after the birds ate about half of the fruit and I picked and ate a bunch.

It seems I'm the only one who likes apricots in the family but by the time I'm done trying to eat all the fruit before it goes bad I may not like them anymore either!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Since we live in the desert it can be months between rain showers. The last time we had rain was sometime in March. The last few days we have had showers in the afternoon. The first day was a good amount of rain but not too much. Of course we all went to the windows to watch it fall for the first 10 minutes of so. Yesterday we had even more rain, enough to realize we have a leak in the ceiling above the couch :) The clouds are rolling in again today and I hope we get as much or more than yesterday.

The air over the past 4 days or so has been really humid as well. Between the humidity and the clouds the temps have stayed in the high 90s, a huge improvement over the really dry triple digit temps we had before this weather system moved in. When it's really dry I find myself laying around a lot more, unable to do very much. The high humidity leaves me with more energy so theoretically I can get more done. Of course that's all theoretical, all I seem to be doing is reading more and sleeping less.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Amigo's First Lesson

Amigo and Malachi had their first lesson together.

It started out a little shaky since Amigo is not sure whether he likes the trailer or not. The entire drive he kept calling to Ginger and looking over the partition making sure she wasn't going anywhere without him. By the time we got to the instructor's home he was shaking like a leaf. He calmed down as he was brushed and saddled.

We are so blessed to have such a great instructor! She helped Malachi with his new saddle, punching more holes in the stirrups since they weren't short enough. She is always full of positive comments and help, going out of her way to make sure the kids are happy.

Amigo and Malachi playing with the ball.

It was a great lesson. Amigo spent about 45 minutes trail riding with the group and the rest of the time running gymkhana events. The flags were a bit scary for him but he will get over his fear of them soon enough. He even did a few low jumps!

Malachi and Amigo jumping.

Ginger and Lorna had a great lesson too. Ginger jumped a few low jumps. Considering that she used to just plow through them, knocking everything over, it was a dramatic improvement. Lorna has come a long way and not just with her riding. She got up the courage to ask her instructor if she could ride one of her Chincoteague ponies and she was rewarded with a long ride on Gracie :) This particular pony is green broke, having been under saddle for about 30 days, and is doing wonderfully. Lorna was so pleased that she was trusted to ride her.

Lorna and Ginger jumping.

Lorna on Gracie.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hoof Trimming

I tend to post in spurts, since it's been so hot here we haven't been doing all that much. That means I don't have much to comment on :)

The last 3 days we've been working on trimming Amigo's hooves. When we got him his hooves were horribly overgrown, he hadn't been trimmed since February. Since he was living on very soft dirt he wasn't wearing them down very fast, once we got him here he started wearing them down much faster. We called our farrier the day we got him and then proceeded to wait for 2 weeks. We still haven't heard back from him and no one else has time to add new customers. We decided early last week we would get some tools and try to trim the horse's hooves ourselves.

I read up on a number of different types of trim methods and settled on the "wild horse" trim. It seemed to best mimic what Ginger's hooves do between trimmings. After looking at and reading a bunch of sites I decided that this was doable.

Here are a few pictures before and after.

This picture shows one hoof done (the one on the left) and the other one waiting to be worked on.

This is the bottom before.

This is the bottom after. I know I could have gone down further but I was afraid of making him sore. I want to see how his hoof wears down in the next week or so before trying to go any further.

Amigo's hooves still don't look perfect but they are much improved. I figure we will look at trimming them again in 2 weeks, after that he can probably go 4 weeks between trims. We even did Ginger's hooves which were much easier. It's nice to have a horse who's hooves look like the pictures on the trimming site, it makes for a nice comparison as we go along. The reason it took us 3 days was because they were so overgrown and the heat was really bad. After working on 1 or 2 hooves I was done for the day. Since we finished we have already noticed a difference in the way Amigo stands, he is more square and seems much more comfortable.