Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day


We took the kids to the lake yesterday to ride. It was a beautiful day and the area we went to was mostly empty. We've lived in the valley for almost 4 years and this was the first time we've gone down to the lake shore.



Studly didn't care too much for the water.



Amigo loved it and spent lots of time playing in it. This is my favorite picture of the day. I love the reflection of Malachi and Amigo in the lake!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wild Mustang Video

I don't know how many of you know about the controversial stuff going on with the BLM and the roundups of mustangs. In short, the man in charge of the BLM has been doing a huge number of roundups in the last year or so. At the rate he's going there aren't going to be any free roaming bands left. The lands that supposedly can't support the mustangs are then being given to private cattle ranchers with grazing permits. Private groups are fighting this man with letter writing campaigns and lawsuits. Even when favorable rulings are given to delay the roundups, the BLM has gone ahead with their plans. Here is an entertaining video that one person put together about what's been going on.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hottie

We lost another horse this morning. As I was going through my pictures I realized I didn't have any recent ones of her. The last one I took was in early May and she had grown so much since then. It didn't seem important to snap pictures as Malachi rode her or as the kids ponied her with the other horses because she was young and I figured I'd have many years of picture opportunities.



I should have taken a picture of her when I went to the vet to say goodbye yesterday but I forgot my camera and was too upset. I was focused on getting those last few nuzzles and kisses that she offered. Hottie was our foster horse but I intended to pay for her early next year so that she would be officially ours. We picked her up right after Ginger, Lorna's paint horse, died earlier this year. She would have been 4 years old next month, she was way too young to die. She coliced late Thursday night but we thought we got her through it. Friday morning we saw she was distressed again so we took her to the vet. The news was a lot worse than we expected. The vet tried medicines and fluids but nothing could get through the impaction in her bowels. The vet did a necropsy this morning after putting her down and found that even if she would have made it through it probably would have happened again due to internal problems. It's been hardest for me because Hottie was supposed to be my horse. She would follow me around the pen when I went out to brush her or feed treats. She would come running as soon as she heard my voice hoping for a scratch or a carrot. She was really sweet and I'll miss her terribly.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Snow

We got about 7 inches of snow on Monday.

For those of you in the Midwest that's not such a big deal but for our area that's huge. Paul left Monday late morning for work only to turn around and come home because the snow was piling up. By the time he got back up here we had 7 inches on the ground and he got his little car stuck right around the corner from our house. We took the truck and pulled out the car, barely. The truck's tires were spinning and it was fishtailing as we tried to get the car unstuck. I refused to drive the car around the corner so Paul put the truck in the driveway and then walked back for the car. He almost didn't make it home because the car got stuck again. There was nowhere to pull the car off of the one lane road so we couldn't safely leave it. He stayed home yesterday because the roads didn't start clearing until late. He almost didn't make it out of the driveway this morning because the roads are so icy.

The temps were in the teens this morning and my washer has been frozen since Monday. We were supposed to pick up Lorna's new horse yesterday but that has been postponed until Friday. As of right now we are supposed to have a gymkhana show this Saturday but there is rain in the forecast for the next 3 days so that may not happen. The snow is beautiful though and we very desperately need the precipitation.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

It's the time of the year I almost dread, the holiday season.

Most activities stop because everyone is soooo busy. I'm really not sure what they are busy doing because this is one of the slowest times of the year for our family. Very little happens :(

With that said I'm seeing all kinds of posts on other blogs about turkeys, casseroles, and pies. Hmmm. No turkey here. No pies, no ham, no casseroles, no big dinners. That's right, we have ruined our children's hopes of ever being normal by not cooking them a big Thanksgiving dinner. I think we went to a big family dinner once when Lorna was a baby but maybe not.

We will spend the day munching on various appetizer type things and just relax. Maybe I'll even be able to convince the rest of the family to help me clean the house since I've been ignoring it while I work on a huge sewing project for our chorus. Exciting day we have planned right? I think the best thing about the day is that we get to sleep in and there is no pressure to do anything out since everything is closed :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Disappointment

Lorna is going through some major disappointment right now.

Due to a misunderstanding between Paul's boss and corporate we won't have the money to pick up her new horse this weekend. His pay plan is a very complicated melding of commission, travel allowance, additional assistance, and bonuses. That means that until he gets off of the additional assistance he cannot earn more than a specific amount even though he is technically a straight commission rep. All of this means that she's going to have to wait until some time in January until she can pick up the new horse.

It doesn't sound like that big of a deal but because of the way the gymkhana season is scheduled this means that this season will be a complete wash. She won't have enough shows left to earn anything on the new horse and the horse she's currently ridding isn't capable of much yet. This will make 2 seasons with virtually no awards or progress. When you're 14 and driven that seems like forever.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fourteen!

It's hard to believe but Lorna is turning 14 today!



It seems like just yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital. This past year has seen a lot of challenges for her and I'm proud of how she has handled everything. She's seen a number of disappointments and she has made a number of decisions that have made me proud. I can honestly say that she is a joy to be around! I know it's not normal for a teenager's parents to say such a thing but it's true.

Once again she has decided to skip dinner out in favor of tickets to a horse expo at the beginning of next year. She has chosen one of her favorite dinners for tonight, shrimp pasta. Of course being the weird person that she is there will be no cake because she hates it. The major excitement for her will come this weekend when she picks up her new horse!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Novemebr Gymkhana

This past Saturday we had yet another gymkhana show.

Lorna has decided to pull Sierra from gymkhana for the foreseeable future because neither one was enjoying it. Lorna is going to give her some time off with the hope that Sierra will mature and end up making her a good endurance prospect.



Lorna rode Studmuffin and he did really well, he continues to progress with each show. Lorna originally planned to finish out the season on him but she's getting a new horse this weekend. This one is a patterned gymkhana horse that has lots of potential. We may end up pulling Studmuffin from the season as well so she can concentrate on the new horse. I've actually been riding Studmuffin the past few days. He seems content to just walk slowly around the neighborhood so he may just end up being my mount until I progress enough to ride the other mustang we have.



Malachi and Amigo blew me away this past weekend. It amazes me that they have only been doing this for a year. Malachi started the season as a solid "A" rider but he has started bumping up into "AA" times. They did amazingly this past show. At first Malachi wasn't too happy about bumping up but he's starting to become a bit competitive and has decided he wants to finish the season as a solid "AA" rider. Amigo still has lots more to give him so we shall see where they end up topping out.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Good Life

Years ago when we had cable we used to watch this show called "The Good Life". It was about people who had made some radical change in their life and found what they considered the "good life." Each episode was very different and we found it inspiring.

Last week I finished a book called No Impact Man. If you aren't familiar with it, it's about a man and his family who try to live a no impact lifestyle for one year in New York City. There are many things I don't agree with in the book like global warming being man-made and such but the book was enjoyable because it wasn't preachy. It was more about the journey the author and his family took. It really made me think.

On one of the last pages he wrote, "Who determines what the good life is?"

I've spent a lot of time working on conserving energy just because I think it's important and I like saving money :) We support local businesses whenever it's possible and it makes financial sense. We eat better than ever because I care about what we put in our bodies. The biggest obstacle I've come up against is how to cut back on our car usage. I think I've been going about this all wrong though. I don't want to do this because it makes sense in our lives but because I felt like it was the next logical step in conserving resources. It doesn't make sense for us, Paul makes his living by driving so I can't really do anything about the 5000 miles a month he drives. We can't walk, bike, or even ride the horses anywhere because of where we live. Driving is the only way to get around. Maybe I'm just rationalizing because I no longer want to feel guilty for how much fuel we consume, but our life is going to involve driving a lot and I'm not going to feel guilty anymore.

We haven't figured out what our "good life" is yet but I do know it's going to include a lot of driving!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Car Woes

About a month ago Paul's little commuter car started giving us problems. It lost all power when going uphill. Our mechanic told us the engine needed to be rebuilt. We didn't have the $2000 to have a rebuilt engine put in so we decided to try it ourselves. After a month of frustration we got it running only to have a few other things go wrong. $500 later we still didn't have a running car and it was going to take more money to fix.

After much discussion and $1000 in gas spent while he was driving my truck to work, we decided to buy another car. Used cars are expensive! We found that newer used cars were only a little bit less than new cars. Not only that but it is really difficult to find vehicles that don't have lots of options which add to the overall price. We contemplated purchasing a new car but, just like with the used ones, it was impossible to find a stripped model and none of the others were within our price range. We have 2 small used car dealers here in our valley. After searching the lots in the big city and checking out the lots here in town we decided to buy something locally.

We financed the vehicle through our credit union and did all the paperwork in about 1 hour, most of that time was spent at the bank waiting for the paperwork to print. The transaction was the easiest and most pleasant car buying experience we've ever had. The car was priced about $1000 below what the dealers in the city were asking for a comparable vehicle, there was no haggling, and the money stayed in our valley. Paul got a 2008 Chevy Cobalt and I got a hug from the car dealer owner who sold us the car :) I can't say I'm thrilled with having a car payment again but the amount of money we will save in gas will more than pay for that payment and the extra insurance!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Procrastination and Motivation

I should probably say lack of motivation!

I can't seem to make myself get anything done recently. I read books for fun, I cook when I have to, and school is getting done on a regular basis but that's about it. We have just reached a milestone, 3 years in one place. This the longest we have lived anywhere since we got married. I wonder if that has anything to do with my detachedness. I don't have a move to plan for or anything to really look forward to right now, so I've fallen into a rut.

One thing I'm hoping will help is redecorating each room. Nothing really fancy but maybe new paint and curtains. I want to start with our bedroom which is the only room we haven't done anything to since we moved in. Of course before I do that we really should get a new bed, the springs along the edge of the mattress have broken and are poking out the sides. Since it's obvious we aren't going to sell the house I really want to make it a home and not some place we detest so much. I really think our dislike for where we live affects our attitudes about everything. I'm hoping to change that!

Paul's new job is going spectacularly. His new company has been so helpful and actually called to ask if he was doing okay and needed anything! This wasn't his boss but corporate! The pay has been better than originally promised and the support has been wonderful. I'm really happy that things are going so well but I can't seem to get excited about anything.

I guess that's not completely true. I'm excited about the new puppy I got last week.



I rescued him from the shelter and I couldn't be happier with Jasper. He listens well, he's almost completely house trained, he's quiet, and he loves everyone.
All he really wants to do is lay next to me wherever I am. This has gone a long way toward improving my outlook, now I just need to get motivated!

Monday, October 19, 2009

October Gymkhana

The kids had another good gymkhana show this past Saturday.

Malachi and Amigo continue to do well. They are running solid A times and Malachi has informed me he is happy with where he is at. He's not very competitive which totally baffles his sister. Amigo is capable of running consistent AA times and maybe even AAA times but Malachi just isn't very interested. I'm happy as long as they are running clean patterns and Malachi continues to enjoy himself.



Lorna's new horse, Studmuffin, did exceptionally well. He's running straighter and is still enjoying the work. Lorna enjoys riding him because he doesn't fight and tries to do everything she asks. I wouldn't be surprised if they speed up and start running consistent A times by the end of this season. It will take a bit more work to get him running the patterns a little more cleanly but he did really well considering this was only his second show.



Sierra is doing better. She threw a 3 year old tantrum during barrels, deciding halfway through the pattern that she was done. Other than that she bumped up into A times in 2 of the events which was a first. Lorna is pleases with her progress so she will continue taking her to shows this year.



Once the upcoming endurance ride is over we are going to be making a few decisions where Lorna's training is concerned. The gymkhana trainer she's been working with has made it very clear that she doesn't like Sierra, or any mustang for that matter. It makes for an impossible situation where lessons are concerned. We are looking at other instructors in the area in the hopes that they can help Lorna and Sierra get past their issues. Maybe a change of venue will help them both get past this road block they seem to have hit. Since Lorna is so competitive it has been difficult to watch all the other kids pass her by. Everyone seems to be getting better and faster while she seems to be standing still and even though she doesn't complain I've noticed she isn't happy. We looked at a number of horses before Lorna bought Studmuffin but it's difficult to choose a horse for 2 very different types of riding. She had the opportunity to purchase a patterned solid AA gymkhana horse but she passed it up to purchase Studmuffin. Although she doesn't regret the decision I wonder if we made a mistake, she would be enjoying gymkhana so much more if she wasn't stuck with two horses that are running FC times. I know that in a few years things will be better but when you are 13 a few years seems like forever.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Real Estate Buyer Etiquette

I have no idea if there is such a thing but if not there should be a rule that you don't skip places that you make appointments at.

We got a call from a Century 21 agent in our valley who wanted to come show our place today. I'll be quite honest, I've really let the place go since putting it on the market. We haven't even had one showing so I just got to the point where I don't care. We told the agent that she could come anytime after 4 pm. Since I don't have a working vehicle at this time I took a camp chair and sat at the far end of the property with the horses. It was out of the way enough that unless someone came looking for me they wouldn't see that I was even home. I watched as the agent pulled up, stopped her car, and then proceeded to drive away.

3 hours of intensive cleaning and they didn't even get out of the car! It's quite a drive up here so it's not like it was just on their way to another listing. Why drive all the way up here and not even peek in the house? Then the agent had the nerve to call Paul and lie to him. She said they ran out of time and didn't make it up to our area. When Paul said that was strange because I had seen them drive by, she stammered a bit and said they just ran out of time. Why lie? If the people were put off by the drive or the house itself I would much rather hear that than be lied to!

I'm ready to just pull the house off the market. Our agent isn't even attempting to sell the house and I doubt anyone would be willing to even come close to the price that we owe on it.

On a happy note: Paul's first few days at his new job have gone well. He's very positive and upbeat. He got his first sale today and met a few people who are very interested in ordering stuff in a few weeks. Now if we could just get his car running life would be wonderful!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Job News

3 months ago Paul was head hunted by a competitor of his current employer. After numerous interviews and negotiations we had written off the whole idea because the numbers just didn't make sense. Last week the company came back with a better offer so Paul has decided to take it.

Unlike many industries, you cannot give 2 weeks notice. When you decide to change employers you are terminated the day you give your resignation. Today is the day that he hands in that letter and he starts his new position tomorrow.

We are very excited but also a little apprehensive. The position has the means to put us in a much better financial position but there is no safety net, it's straight commission which is something we've never done before. If he didn't know the industry or hadn't been doing the same type of job for the last 3 years I don't think we would have even considered it. But he has had a very tough year with his current employer and was going to be losing his biggest accounts as of the first of next year. He had been looking for second job for a few months so we would be in a better position when that happened and wasn't having any luck. The new position will allow him to have only one job and I can continue to stay home! We prayed about it and made the decision to go forward, we have faith that God will provide so we are trying not to stress.

School time

This is one of those hurray for homeschooling posts!

I actually buckled down and started school 2 weeks ago. I ordered the few books that we needed, high school stuff is expensive, and it arrived last week. I haven't had time to plan out our year yet but we had a number of things that I wanted to finish up before we started anything new.

Lorna is out riding this morning so I figure that she's doing PE and getting some socialization at the same time since she's working with the endurance trainer :) As I talked to a few of the girls that ride in our gymkhana club over the last few weeks I was saddened by how rarely they get to ride. They have to get up for school around 6am and they don't get home till after 3pm. They also have tons of homework so there really isn't any time for them to ride during the week. Even their weekends are spent catching up on homework and other things that just don't get done during the week. They don't have time for much of anything. That is in contrast to Lorna who rides every day (she usually has time to ride more than one horse), she gets to volunteer at the vet once a week, and she gets to go out to work with the endurance trainer once a week. She's having absolutely no problem keeping up with school, still has time to read for fun, participate in Sweet Adeline's, and has started sewing a crazy quilt. Oh, she also gets paid to ride someone else's horse once a week since it needs more exercise then they have time to give it. Sure there are some days that are busier than others but we have the flexibility to rearrange things if need be.

I'm not saying that homeschooling is perfect because it does have its drawbacks. With a little effort to find opportunities to supplement what I do at home with the kids, I think they are getting a well-rounded education with lots of free-time to explore their own interests.

Friday, September 25, 2009

September Gymkhana

Our first show of the season was last Saturday and it well for our kids. Paul has been voted on to the board for the club and volunteered to help get the arena ready ahead of time, this along with the fact that I help run the booth where we take money and record times on show days, means we are starting to see some of the things that go on behind the scenes which isn't so fun. We are trying really hard not to let this affect our attitudes...

Malachi and Amigo have worked together most of the summer which was evident! Their times are still improving and the patterns were very clean for the most part. One of the things that Malachi learned this show was that when you are going faster and you need to stop in a certain area you need to let the horse know earlier. He blew through the back of the chalk keyhole because of this. Other than that they did great!



Lorna rode both of her horses. Lorna worked really hard with Sierra all summer and I could see a major difference. They seemed more comfortable with one another and the patterns went really well. Lorna is extremely hard on herself though so she is not thrilled with their times even though they improved most of them. They received high points in their division because they were consistent. Lorna's going to work on letting Sierra go a little more so they can get a bit more speed but stay controlled.



Lorna's new horse, Studmuffin, did remarkably well considering he had never done any of these pattern before and had never been in an arena to our knowledge. He listened well to what Lorna wanted and by the end was starting to anticipate what Lorna was going to ask of him. One thing Lorna has found is that he works better with spurs. She's able to get him to turn obstacles with very little pressure and the turns are better. Spurs aren't really used to kick the horse with, generally you use them to put pressure either with your right or left leg. When you use your right leg the horse understands you want to go to the left. Some people may use them to kick their horse hard but any tool can be abused. Lorna doesn't need them when she's out trail riding Studmuffin but will be using them for gymkhana so she doesn't have to pull on the reins and bit so much.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Horse Events

I've held off posting about Lorna's adventure with the Jr Queen competition because of all the emotions involved.



Short story is, she didn't win. She is glad that she tried it but it isn't something she wants to ever go through again. She put a tremendous amount of time and energy into practicing and getting sponsors (although we drove her to the businesses it was her responsibility to do all the asking) and the day itself was really long. She took this very, very seriously and most of the other girls didn't so it was frustrating to watch her lose. I can't even say that she really enjoyed the day itself because of the way everything was handled. We are very proud of the way she handled herself throughout that day though. She was a very good sport and made sure to fulfill all the duties asked of her even though she knew she had lost long before the winner was announced. I can't say the same for most of the other girls. I am very glad the whole thing is over and we won't have to be hauling a horse out that direction every week.

That said Malachi had a very good evening at our gymkhana awards banquet tonight. He and Amigo placed 4th overall in the club!



He also received awards for 3 events, attendance, and participation.
Lorna and Sierra received awards for attendance, participation and one event.

In other horse news Lorna bought a new horse a few weeks ago.



She really wanted a horse that could be ridden everyday and one that she didn't have to be careful with since it is so young. The new horse is exactly that. Lorna is still riding Sierra 4-5 times a week and working on a number of tricks but she isn't pushing her very hard because she is only 3.

The new horse's registered name is Shaka Zulu Spirit (not our choice). We've been calling him Studmuffin because he was a stallion when we got him. We had him gelded 2 weeks ago and he has healed up nicely. He has a tremendous amount of energy and is really quick to learn. When Lorna first got him he would walk, trot, and stop. Now she has him loping, backing without any resistance, and side-passing in both directions. He's been ridden out with Amigo all over the neighborhood and they get along pretty well. Because they are of similar size they keep up with one another most of the time. Once he has some more weight and muscle on him he is going to make Lorna a really great endurance horse. We will find out pretty soon whether he enjoys gymkhana or not :)

Lorna's internship at the horse trainer's place has come to an end. Not through any fault of her own, the trainer just doesn't seem to have the time or inclination any longer. Although Lorna is a bit disappointed she has another opportunity that has kind of taken it's place. She's been training with another woman for an upcoming endurance ride. It's been a wonderful experience and she is learning a tremendous amount. I love it when Wednesdays come around because Lorna always comes home with a very large smile on her face. This has given her an opportunity to see a very different style of training and riding. This has led Lorna to alter a few things in what she's been doing with Sierra and she has seen some wonderful results!

Lorna continues to volunteer at the vet 1 day a week. The summer has been very slow so she hasn't had a tremendous amount to do there, we are hoping things pick up soon.

That's pretty much all the horse news. The new gymkhana season starts next Saturday so I'm sure I'll have more to post about then.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another school year

It's that time again.

I find that I have absolutely no motivation to even think about starting school this year. I haven't even ordered the books we need, although I do have them all saved to a wish list. I keep finding excuses not to order. I figure at this point I might as well wait a few more weeks because everyone has already placed their orders and the place I buy from is usually really backed up at this time of year.

Not wanting to start school seems to be a reoccurring thing for me. Maybe I just enjoy all the extra free time I have when we aren't actually doing school. When the kids were little and we first started doing this I really looked forward to the new school year. I wish I could find that same enthusiasm now!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back update

I had my first check up for my back since I left the hospital.

Unfortunately my fractures aren't healing as quickly as they would like so I have to wear the brace for another 6 weeks. The good news is that I can start weaning off of the brace at night. Last night was the first night without it and I slept so much better! I'm a bit sore this morning but nothing too bad so 2 nights from now I get to sleep without it again! I know it doesn't sound like that big of a deal but it is for me.

Paul has been looking for a second job since right before I got hurt. He's had 2 interviews at Target with a third one scheduled for tomorrow. We attribute much of his success at getting called back to the way he has dressed. The store is interviewing for all positions since it's a new store, so there are lots of people there having interviews. He was amazed to see people in t-shirts and shorts with most men dressed in jeans. We were taught that you show up to any interview, regardless of the type of job, in business clothes. Paul was the only one in a shirt and tie when he was there. Many of the women were dressed in slacks and nice blouses but most of the men showed up in less than professional attire. With the economy the way it is and the lack of jobs out there I would think you would want to give the best impression possible, jeans and shorts just don't do that.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lower taxes?

Most people would rejoice if they received the notice we received in the mail. Our county has lowered the value on our house by $52,000 for tax purposes. Wow! Lower taxes and we didn't even have to ask. But I wonder what this means for us as we are trying to sell our house. I don't think it's anything good.

In case anyone was wondering how the whole trying to sell in this market is going... it's not. We haven't had even one showing. I guess there were initially a few calls but nothing since. We've even tried lowering the price but to no avail. So I guess we will be living here indefinitely. This is a very depressing thought! At least we won't have to pay so much in taxes each year!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Wholesale and stuff

I don't have a whole lot to report other than I received my first wholesale order!

I'm really excited, the order was for 60 items and they will be going to a UK store. Of course with my back it's taking me longer than I'd like to get things made up. I never realized all the things I use my back for like cutting, tracing, sewing. I can only sit for an hour or so at a time before I have to get up and do something else.

The heat wave broke so we are finally enjoying some cooler weather. Lorna has started practices for the Jr Queen competition that will take place the first weekend in September. She has sold all of the required tickets in order to compete and has continued to sell more in hopes that she will win the bit for the most ticket sales. Amigo did great at his first practice and he seemed to enjoy himself.

I can tell that summer is almost over since our calendar is starting to fill up with activities again. Gymkhana starts up again next month, which I'm sure the kids are happy about. There seems to be a lack of horse activities in the middle of summer because of the heat.

Malachi has discovered the joys of reading for pleasure. We are now having to take his books away in order for him to get anything done! I was wondering if this was ever going to happen. The rest of us all read voraciously but up until now Malachi couldn't care less whether he had a book to read or not. He enjoyed reading once in awhile but not like the rest of us. Now we can all be seen sitting around the dinner table engrossed in our books and we frequently have to remind Malachi to go to bed because he's so busy reading.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Generational

I learned something last night, humor is generational.

The Sweet Adeline's chapter Lorna and I belong to does a yearly ice cream social. Last year was the first time I saw or was a part of the show. It was based around a larger show that was taking place later in the fall. The mini show was sort of corny but not too bad.

This year's show is downright slapstick. I just don't find it funny and my 13 year old finds it downright stupid. Think "I Love Lucy" kind of slapstick. Talking it over with Paul we've come to the conclusion that humor can be generational. I think it can also be regional. We don't find this stuff funny because we grew up with dark, dry humor.

If I had seen this type of show prior to joining this group I would have never attended my first rehearsal. I want to sing. I enjoy the performances where we get up in front of a group of people and focus on singing well and performing choreography that adds to the music not stuff that detracts. But as I was told last night, that's not entertaining enough and people don't want to come to hear us sing. I find that funny since we are supposed to be a chorus!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chores

If you are one of those mothers who does all the cleaning and laundry for the family I'm going to give you a bit of advice, teach your family how to help you now. I can't tell you how glad I am that I have made the kids do their own laundry since they were old enough to reach the washer.

Back injuries like mine mean you can't bend over or lift anything more than 5 pounds. If my family relied on me for clean clothes they would be in a world of hurt since I can't carry laundry anywhere and I certainly can't hang it on the line. Because the kids have been doing their own laundry for years they not only haven't had a disruption in their schedule but they have been able to help with my laundry. The same is true for cleaning the house. My mom has been here for the past 2 weeks helping out but at least I know we will be able to function when she leaves on Sunday. The kids are more than capable when it comes to cleaning because they have done every job imaginable around the house at one time or another. Sure they will have to pick up the slack over the next few months as I recuperate but at least they already know how to clean the bathroom and kitchen.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Update

Things here are getting back to normal, sort of. I'm up and about a lot more. I've resumed going to Sweet Adeline's rehearsals and Lorna has had a few rides that I've sat through but I'm still sleeping a lot. Today I'm going to try to drive myself to a music meeting, we'll see how that goes since I'll have to forgo the pain meds until I get home.

Lorna's had a rough week where riding is concerned. It's been really hot (105+) so she hasn't been able to ride much, the trainer she interns with has been busy with breeding the last month or so we haven't been going over there much, and she tried out a horse on Friday where some hurtful things were said about her riding ability during the trial. She ended her week on a good note though, she was able to go out riding on Saturday. She rode a horse that she hadn't ridden before and did well. The best part of it was that I got a glimpse of the happy girl I know is in there but that I haven't seen much of lately. The big smiles and chatter afterward reminded me why we do this. She learned a tremendous amount and is looking forward to trying an endurance ride in October.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Ouch!

I have to say that the ending to our July 4th weekend wasn't good.

The weekend started out great, we were able to visit with some friends down in the LA area. There was lots of food and conversation. It was really nice to get away from the stress in our lives for a day.

Sunday we went out for a pleasure ride. Well it was supposed to be a pleasure ride but Missy freaked out at the end and dumped me on the ground. Our day ended up at the emergency room. I spent one night in our little hospital up here and then was transferred via ambulance to the big city hospital 50 miles away where I spent another night. I have 2 fractured vertebrae and I am very sore all over.

At this point I'm home but there isn't too much I'm allowed to do. I have to wear a brace for 10 weeks 24/7 and then I'll be wearing it a little less each day. It's amazing to see how many friends we really have.

The trainer Lorna works with watched the kids for 2 days since they weren't allowed at the big city hospital. Since we've gotten home we've had food delivered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My friends are keeping us covered until my mom gets here in Friday. We've had numerous offers of help that we've had to turn away. I feel so loved and blessed! I couldn't ask for a better group of friends.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Gift

Some children bring their mothers cards or flowers, my daughter brought me this.



I guess this is what happens when your daughter volunteers at the vet. She got an anatomy lesson and she and the vet dissected the other one. She very proudly came home to tell me how the various pieces and parts worked. I'm glad she's learning and retaining what she sees there but I think I would have preferred chocolate or flowers!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Jr Queen competition

Lorna has decided to run for Jr Queen at the local team penning.

The riding and interview will be the easiest thing for her, the most difficult thing is the raffle ticket and sponsorship sales. She is required to sell 200 raffles tickets.

Willingly speaking to people and asking them for things is not something I thought I'd ever see her do. The last few months of interning and volunteering at various places has made a tremendous difference though. She has visited 3 businesses so far and received two maybes and one sponsorship. Not a bad start. The vet's office is tomorrow and they have already offered to take some tickets to sell to their customers when Lorna isn't there, Lorna will also be asking them for a sponsorship while she's there. We have a Sweet Adeline's mini-show tonight and the directors have agreed to allow Lorna a few minutes afterward to ask the audience for support. She has also spoken with a restaurant owner in the valley who is just waiting for the printed information to decide what level she will sponsor Lorna at, so I guess she really has 2 sponsorships!

I'm so proud of Lorna for stepping out of her comfort zone to pursue something she really wants! I'll be posting pictures of the practice sessions over the next few months, it should be fun to watch her try to pen a cow!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Name that stone fruit!

I need help.

Does anyone know what kind of stone fruit this is?



We received a number of them in our weekly produce box but cannot figure out what they are. I'm not adventurous enough to eat them without knowing what they are and how to tell if they are ready to eat!

Monday, June 22, 2009

June Gymkhana

Saturday was the last show for the season for our gymkhana district. I have to say that this was just not a very good season for Lorna. Sierra came down with a cough on Wednesday evening and it got worse on Thursday so we had to take her to the vet on Friday. The cough wasn't anything serious but the vet said she shouldn't be ridden for 3-4 days so her airways could have a chance to become less irritated. Of course this meant Lorna wasn't able to ride her on Saturday. She did have Missy to ride in schooling runs but she didn't receive any points towards year end awards.



Malachi had an off day, actually quite a few of our riders had an off day, but he still improved his best times on 4 events. Overall this has been a great first season for him, it's hard to believe he's only been riding for a year! Since most of his times have been in the A division (higher than the FC division he's actually in) he will be bumped up to the A division next year. His goal is to be running AA times by the middle of next season.



Missy continues to do really well. She's gained quite a bit of weight and is slowly building muscle. Lorna was able to lope her through a number of events and she was a really good girl. She's the type of horse that just really wants to please. I will be taking a few lessons on Missy over the summer so that she and I can build our confidence so we can do longer trail rides.

Lorna doesn't really have any goals for next season. I can tell that this year was really discouraging for her and I'm not sure what her plans are. Part of the problem is that it's difficult for her to watch everyone sailing through the events on these wonderfully trained horses (Malachi included) and getting these really great times while she continues to struggle with a green horse. When she rides her trainer's gymkhana horse in schooling runs she has a blast! I'm confident, if she can continue struggling through and working with Sierra, they will eventually be a really great team but it's going to take a few years to get there. I'm really hoping the next few months will see Sierra maturing so that they can progress a bit more. The most difficult thing for her right now is that she had to back off of training because Sierra was not mentally ready to go any further. I really miss seeing her smile when she rides and I haven't seen much of that over the past few months. She's considering running for Jr Queen in a small local rodeo in September. This particular competition is heavy on the riding with no modeling and only a short interview. She would be riding Amigo for the Queen run, pattern, and cow penning. If she decides to do this maybe it will give her something to focus on and look forward to.

Eggs!

We finally found our first egg yesterday! I would have taken a picture of it but by the time we found it it was crushed.

I say we finally "found" our first egg because the egg was a pretty decent size which means we've probably missed some of the really small ones. Today Lorna found a really tiny egg in the run and a medium sized egg in one of the nest boxes.



The chickens will be 21 weeks old on Wednesday so it's about the right time to start seeing eggs. We have 2 chickens that will lay blue/green eggs so I know they haven't started laying yet. The silly chickens that are laying right now don't seem to realize they are supposed to be laying in the morning, we've only found eggs in the afternoon.

On a completely different topic, our house is finally showing on the MLS. I have a really hard time being patient so I'm sure I will get some practice over the next 6 months.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Organizing and Cleaning

I've been very lax the last few months. I've cleaned the kitchen and bathroom but not much else. It's difficult to make myself do anything when the house goes back to looking dirty just an hour later. We've talked about putting the house on the market for the past few months. Where we live now is just not conducive to the way our life is going. I've mentioned before that we live up a one lane road that goes up about 2500 feet over 2 miles, towing a horse trailer down that road a couple times a week gets really old. We had talked to a real estate agent last month but gave up on the idea of putting the house on the market because we figured we owed too much.

We received a message last Thursday that the agent wanted to speak with us. It turns out he has someone looking for a home in the area we are in and the price range is right. From the description the buyer gave him it sounds like our home is exactly what he's looking for. We decided we didn't have anything to loose if we put the house on the market so we've spent the last 3 days cleaning. We aren't done yet...

I always forget how many books we have. Paul brought home boxes so we could pack them all up so there was more open space. He didn't bring home enough boxes so we just consolidated everything into 2 bookcase and took the other three out. We also moved everything around to let more light into the house. I don't know why we didn't do this sooner! The house is much more open and spacious with things moved around. Of course we had to pack up a bunch of stuff to do it so that's probably why it was so cluttered.

I still have to do some dusting and moping in the main areas of the house, but I really need to tackle my sewing area in the deck. Trying to sew, package, and store fabrics for my store have made quite a mess in that little area. Today I will be organizing and straightening it out so we can actually get to the dining room table. It's a daunting task so I'm blogging instead!

Even if we don't find a buyer I figure, at the least, I will have a clean house for a time!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Success I think...

It looks like we found a church!

I've put off posting about it because the cynical part of me kept thinking we would find some practice that would send us running. It's not the best church or the most solid, but there isn't any practice that we can't live with. We still haven't communed yet but that is due to our discomfort with the individual cups that they offer. Because of the distance (1.5 hours away) we aren't attending every week but we are attending every Divine Service that offers communion (twice a month for the "traditional" service).

Yes the church has a "contemporary" service, but we figure as long as we aren't forced to attend we can ignore that part :) Amazingly enough twice as many people come to the liturgical service as attend the other one! It's just really nice to find some place that we can be fed on a regular basis!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

March Gymkhana Part 2

We had yet another gymkhana today. The day started out really hot but the clouds came in and the wind picked up so it ended up being a really nice day.





Malachi and Lorna both won High Points in their divisions. This was Malachi's first high points! Sierra was a good girl today, not throwing any fits in the arena. She did throw a fit at the trailer when Amigo went off without her. She was so angry she pulled my purse out of the trailer, dumped everything on the dirt and stomped all over it. I'm not thrilled with that but at least she didn't aim for the judges in the arena.



We also took my new horse Missy. Lorna rode her in 5 schooling runs and she did great. You could tell that she was feeling better than the first time Lorna rode her when we picked her up, her ears were perked up and she happily trotted all over the place. She seemed to really enjoy being doing the events so Lorna wants to take her next month as well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Busy Weekend

Our 3 day weekend consisted of exciting home related activities like going to the dump, butchering chickens, and getting wood for the winter. I think Paul needs to go to work just to relax!

Lorna was supposed to attend her first sleep over but it was canceled due to a major power outage at the end of last week. This opened up all kinds of possibilities for doing stuff around the house.

Hoof trimming was overdue so we started that, it's now a major undertaking with 5 horses. So major that we are finishing up the last 3 today, but that's more because I was lazy than anything else :)

We butchered 7 roosters on Saturday. They were getting to be too much for the hens so they had to go. Lorna was the one who did the most work, by the end it took her only about 20 minutes to skin and clean one after her dad chopped off the head.

The trash is done for another 6 weeks or so. It's not such a big job but I don't like to go to the dump during the week because I prefer to have Paul help with unloading the trash.

We spent over 4 hours at the horse trainer's place on Sunday. The kids worked a few of her horses and then we watched a breeding.

Yesterday we went into the forest for the first time this year to get a load of firewood. We found a great spot with lots of good downed trees. We are hoping no one else discovers our spot so we can go back for the rest on Sunday. While up there we discovered 2 letterboxes in a stump. We had fun reading the notebooks, one of the boxes came from New Hampshire!

I've decided to take the week off school since there was a holiday yesterday and Malachi's birthday is tomorrow (we always take the kids' birthdays off school). Maybe I'll be able to catch up on normal housework and sewing!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Vet observation

Lorna has now finished 3 days of observation at the vet. After her first day they called to ask if she could start coming twice a week, I guess she did a good job!

She is really enjoying the work so far. It's nothing glamorous or necessarily fun but she is getting to see a lot of new things. Lorna starts her days off with cleaning stalls for all the horses that are staying at the facility. She then does whatever jobs they have for her. Some days that means she gets to go out on ranch calls where she is the fetch and carry person for the vet. She has watched dentistry work, bandaging, immunizations, and pregnancy checks. Yesterday she was able to see the scope of a mare who is pregnant, the baby is only a few days old so she said it was just a little dot.

Before starting this Lorna was considering being a vet, at this point she is more excited about the possibility. She has a long way to go but I think this is the perfect way for her to determine if this is something she really wants to do. Her initial reservations were due to seeing her own horse die, but I think she's now realizing that isn't all a vet does. There is so much good and uplifting stuff that balances out the sad parts of the job. If nothing else I love being able to give her the opportunity to interact with others outside of our little homeschool!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

History Days

I'm going to take a quick break from bloging about horses to blog about something else. This weekend one of the small towns in our valley holds a "History Days" weekend. The town has a little museum and invites different organizations to either perform or do demonstrations.

Our Sweet Adeline's chapter is different than many others in that we sing all year round at various community events. Because we are such a small chorus we have the ability to fit almost anywhere. Most of these little performances will feature only a small portion of our chorus because people can't attend for various reasons or they aren't cleared to sing particular songs yet (we have to qualify on each song we sing at a performance).



Since I got into this to sing, I attend every performance possible! Lorna is in the process of switching to the baritone part, the most difficult of all the parts, so she switched off between that and lead (the part she sang before switching). So she slid from one side of the risers to the other depending on the part she was singing. I have to admit that I miss having her sing lead with me, we have lots of fun standing next to each other. But the benefit of her switching parts is that we may one day be able to sing in a quartet together. I'm told it's funny to watch us sing together because our mannerisms are so similar.



If you are wondering why one person is holding music, it's because one of the directors had to sing bass this weekend because we only had 1 bass available. Of course Lorna's outfit is never complete without her gymkhana belt buckle and her ostrich boots, she's a cowgirl even when we are singing!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Insane!

First, I just wanted to mention that we did eat the chicken I wrote about in my last post.



He was really tasty! Even though he was a bit on the small side he fed our whole family with a little rice and some carrots. We look forward to our next butchering attempt!

Now on to my insanity...



From the picture I'm sure you are thinking, "Another one!"

Yep, we picked up another horse today. She is a 7 year old Mustang (can you tell we absolutely love Mustangs?) that was sent to the trainer Lorna works with about a year ago. She had 30 days put on her and did great but has sat for the last year. Lorna rode her a little today to see how much she retained and she remembered everything! I even got up on her and walked her around the arena, she is exactly what I've been looking for in a horse. She walked a little and then stopped. I had to keep after her to keep her walking because she's pretty lazy. She needs to put on some weight and build up some muscle but Lorna's trainer thinks she will make an awesome trail horse for me.

Of course this means our plans with Hottie are now up in the air. She's a great horse and we haven't given up the idea of keeping her. She isn't progressing as quickly as we would like but she is still moving forward. I really don't want to take her back to the sanctuary because she has come a long way and I've grown quite fond of her. For now we will continue to foster her and see what happens. Luckily we just found a great place to purchase hay in bulk so even with adding another horse we will be saving a tremendous amount of money. More than enough so I don't have to make any kind of decision right now!

Lorna starts volunteering at the vet tomorrow so hopefully I will have lots of good things to post about soon!

Monday, May 11, 2009

May Gymkhana

Saturday we had yet another show. I think I spend more time blogging about our horses than anything else. That could be because we spend so much time with them!

Lorna and Sierra won high points in their division again. They may not get the fastest times in each event but they are very consistent. It's a nice way to end the day for Lorna since she has to watch her brother consistently beat all her times because Sierra is still in training. Sierra only had one "toddler moment" when she decided to aim for the judges to try to run them over. This is her new thing whenever she is asked to lope to the left, she takes off to the right really quickly (even though her head is pointed in the opposite direction) and aims for whatever else is in the arena with her. Lorna has a few ideas to work on this week to see if she can redirect Sierra's attention before she starts her little tantrum.




Malachi and Amigo continue to do really well together. Amigo has lots of power behind him and Malachi hasn't even tapped into half of it. He says he's content to just have fun and not push for better times but they continue to improve their times anyway. In one event he bumped up to the AA division. This season they started out in the FC division and now they runs most events solidly in the A division. Their bump up to AA was quite a shock! The thing we try to stress with the kids is that they should strive for control and clean runs before speed. I'd much rather see them run things well than just fast. We've noticed that many of the faster riders in our club aren't controlled so they spend a lot of the time knocking things over.




Now for something not horse related...

We butchered our first chicken yesterday!

I won't share the pictures of Lorna skinning it or Malachi playing with the head because I don't want to shock you, but the whole process wasn't as bad as I expected. Maybe it's because we've said we were going to eat them from day one so I've always looked at them as food, but I wasn't as bothered by it as I thought I would be. We will be eating him either today or tomorrow and we will see if the meat tastes as good as everyone says! One thing I will do next time is butcher more than one at a time. We don't have a large freezer so we can't do them all at once, but we can fit a few of them in there at a time and it would be a lot less time consuming if we did this in batches.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Commitments

You often hear people bemoan the lack of commitment in today's kids. I'm going to bemoan the lack of commitment by adults!

As I've posted before, Lorna and I joined our local Sweet Adeline's chorus. I have really enjoyed learning to sing barbershop and straight acapella music. It has been fun to share this with Lorna as well. The problem I have is that when I commit to something I give 110% and expect everyone else to do the same.

It took me 8 months before I figured out how many members were actually in our chorus. Now that would be no big deal if we were in one of those large choruses with over 100 members, but it turns out we have about 23 members. I don't have an inability to count to 23, the lack of regular attendance by many of the members made it difficult to figure out how many singers we actually have.

The last 4 rehearsals we have averaged between 12 and 14 singers, this number includes a couple of new people just trying us out. I understand that people get sick and have unexpected things arise, but it gets to the point that (in my opinion at least) it's ridiculous. How do you have a functioning chorus when over a third of the members don't show up regularly?

Lorna and I decided that we would just give up after last contest but when I explained our reasons for leaving we were asked to stay and wait out some upcoming changes. I was told by a few members that if didn't like the way things were progressing I should become more involved. So we did both things, I joined the team that makes decisions for the group and we stuck around. I have a better glimpse into what is going on behind the scenes and I've made some suggestions. Things aren't getting any better though and it all boils down to a lack of commitment by people who supposedly want to be part of this group. It's frustrating to myself and everyone else who show up every week, practice our music outside of rehearsal, and truly want to get better.

I still wonder whether I made the right decision to stay but since I made a commitment to be on the team I don't feel I have the luxury of quiting until my term is up. That's the thing about commitment, when you make one you have to follow through!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sierra the Cowgirl?

Success!


I don't know if you can tell but in the above picture of Lorna on Hottie, Hottie has a bit in her mouth!

One of the perks of Lorna working with a trainer is that Lorna gets to take her horses down and get help working with them. Lorna not only gets help but she also learns a lot about fixing certain problems.

We had tried a number of things here at home but the trainer had a few tricks of her own. She ended up getting hay string off of a bale of hay, braided it together and got Hottie to accept it in her mouth. It wasn't easy the first time but she eventually got it in her mouth a few times. She left the string in the horse's mouth for about an hour while she and Lorna worked with Sierra who's new favorite thing is rearing. A little later the trainer went back, wrapped the bit in vet wrap to keep it from clanking on her teeth, and worked on getting the bit in. After just a few tries it worked! She again left Hottie in the bit and went off to work with a different horse.

I was afraid that we weren't going to be able to duplicate this at home but it wasn't a problem. One thing we found was that once we got past getting the bit in Hottie's mouth she hated having something put over her ears. We've been working on this whole process at home and she has finally stopped tossing her head around while we try to bridle her. She still needs to learn to keep her head dropped while we are putting everything on but she is progressing!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

yurtcraft: May Day--Give Away

yurtcraft: May Day--Give Away

I'm linking to this blog, not just because I really want to win the give away, but also to give a little advertisement for a fellow pad maker!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April Gymkhana

We had lots of excitement at yesterday's show. Malachi continues to improve with Amigo and actually got good enough times to get first in the division above him in a few events. He is straddling the two divisions right now and he is hoping by the end of the season to be firmly in the higher one.




Lorna and Sierra had a great day as well. Sierra didn't balk at anything and loped most of the events. They even ended up with High Points for the day in their division!



Lorna also rode Malachi, the Halflinger she is helping the trainer with, in schooling runs. He did wonderfully as well. It's great to see how he is coming along and how much he wants to please his rider. Even though Lorna wasn't sure how he would do at Hurry Scurry (going over small 16 inch high jumps) he did great and only knocked one of them down.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Malachi

Lorna isn't the only one who loves being around the horses. Malachi had a pony named after him at the trainer's place, here is a picture of the two Malachis together.



Lorna also spent time with a different horse yesterday. She started helping to saddle train a 12 year old pony. It is kind of unusual to start a horse this old but until now the pony has only been used as a broodmare. She's had people sit on her back a few times but this was the first time she's really been ridden. She is very sweet and calm and surprisingly quick to pick up on things. I didn't get pictures of Lorna learning to give the horses vaccines because I was too nervous! It amazes me how much confident Lorna has become with all of this.

Easter post

I'm going to have somewhat of a different Easter post than others I have read. We didn't attend church, we didn't have a special meal, and we certainly didn't take family pictures (we would have looked really silly taking pictures in the clothes we used to work outside in).

I keep reading posts bemoaning the lack of church services the week after Holy Week. For those of you who are feeling so down, consider what it would be like to live in a place where this is what happens each Sunday. Consider what you would feel to have no options for a solid church, to not have even a glimmer of what you experienced all of last week. Pretty horrible thought, isn't it? So don't forget to thank your pastor next time you see him, thank him for offering you such great opportunities each week to receive God's gifts.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Progress

Lorna was able to get on Hottie's back last week so this picture is from today, her 4th "ride".



We've had our training setbacks though, Hottie refuses to take a bit which is why Lorna is currently riding her in a halter. We're working with her to get better acclimated to having something in her mouth and also to the bridle going over her face toward her ears. She started out by throwing her head when the bridle would come anywhere near her. Now we can touch her with it and slip it over her ears as long as there is no bit attached. As of today I can slip my finger in her mouth from the side and massage her gums without Hottie tossing her head. I can touch her with a bit but she still tosses her head away when I try to put it in her mouth. We've tried rubbing molasses and honey on the bit but she still won't have anything to do with it. In fact she won't even let me put a finger in her mouth if it has either on it! So much for that "proven method" I've read all over the internet. Not knowing all her history makes it difficult to determine if she's just being stubborn or if she has had a bad experience in the past. We've had a bridle on her twice, but both times she wasn't happy about it either going on or coming off. Since I want this to be a hassle free experience we are trying to slowly get her past this until she's comfortable with the bridling process.

Overall I'm really pleased with how sweet she has become and how fast she picks up on things. She's easy to catch, coming right up to me every time I go out in the pen. Trailer loading is also going very smoothly, although the real test will be the first time we take her somewhere. We will see how she does with shots later this week since it's time for the horses' spring vaccines.

Spaz is also doing very well. Trailer loading has been smooth since the first time we've tried it. She's leading really well and will step on and over things without any problem. She spends more time in the big horses' pen now, although she still sleeps and eats in her own special pen. Because the large pen doesn't have the right kind of shelters to conform to BLM requirements she can't move in there permanently until we either rebuild them or she is titled, which won't be for a year. She seems to enjoy her time away from the others though so I'm not too concerned about moving her permanently.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Odds and Ends

I'm holding a free shipping sale over at my store and the response has been better than I could have anticipated so I haven't had much time for blogging. This is a very good thing since we've had a number of unexpected car repairs and then we received our vehicle registration bills only to find the licensing fees have doubled since last year. I don't know what the state is thinking, people are struggling to pay for basic things and they raise registration amounts on the cars these people will need to work?!?

We won tickets to Walking With Dinosaurs so we drove to Bakersfield last night to see that. Malachi loved it, and the rest of us enjoyed it as well. It wasn't quite what I expected based on the few commercials I saw for it, but it was still enjoyable.

Training has really started with Hottie. The first time Lorna attempted to put weight in the stirrup while getting on two weeks ago ended with the horse bucking and the bolting. Lorna decided to go back to very basic groundwork which consisted of leading, stopping and backing. This week Lorna again attempted to get up in the stirrup and was successful. We've had rain for a couple of days so she has only been able to do this twice this week. She's hoping that by next week she will be able to sit in the saddle without Hottie getting upset.



As you can see we require the kids to wear helmets when riding. I know a lot of people don't think they are necessary but we've seen people hit their heads when coming off of their horse, it is not a pretty sight! There was a great article in the most recent issue of Equus about how a helmet saved a woman's life. If you are one of those people who think helmets are silly, I suggest you read the article.

Lorna had her first lesson on Sierra last week. Sierra started out not wanting to do what Lorna asked of her. It was amusing to watch Sierra swish her tail when she was frustrated with Lorna. She spent a lot of time swishing her tail!



It seems Sierra believed a lope meant buck. Lorna got that out of her pretty quickly but they still have a ways to go before she gets to lope her during gymkhana.

The trainer is convinced that Lorna and Sierra are going to make an awesome team, eventually competing in the faster divisions once Sierra is ready to really run. Lorna is really happy with the way things are going and she is content to go easy on Sierra until she's completely grown and ready for more strenuous activities.

Something seems to have clicked between Malachi and Amigo and they are doing better than we ever could have hoped for. Malachi is happy to keep things at a nice lope for now and Amigo seems to understand exactly what his rider wants. It's hard to believe we've had him less than a year and that Malachi hasn't been riding all that much longer. Amigo is a very laid back horse even though he's an Arab, which just goes to show that breed doesn't necessarily determine a horse's personality.



Spaz has graduated to walks outside her pen and has visits in the big horses' pen. Sierra and Spaz run all over the place when they are together. It's so fun to watch I've forgotten to get pictures every time it has happened.

I think I'm just about caught up with news around here. The chickens are fun to watch but aren't really all that exciting to talk about. They are getting big and we are eagerly anticipating the first egg and first chicken dinner but that's still a ways away!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Regional contest

Lorna and I attended our Sweet Adeline's regional contest this weekend. It was an interesting experience. The best thing was getting to hear some absolutely astounding quartets! We have some really wonderful choruses in our region so it was a real treat to hear the other groups perform.

Our group won the Audience Choice award for the chorus competition. Of course with outfits like these we got lots of laughs.



At the brunch yesterday I won one of the door prizes.



This lovely set was made by this Etsy seller. If you are in the market for this kind of thing be sure to check this 13 year old seller.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beginnings

Yesterday we were able to finish the chicken run so today was the first day the chickens were able to go outside. They don't seem very impressed. In fact they aren't really going outside much, hopefully that will change.



Gideon, our wolf mix, thinks we are raising dinner for him. Every time he sees a chicken he whines and licks his chops!



We brought the new horse home (she doesn't have a name yet), got her in the pen, and prepared ourselves for a long drawn out process before we could really touch her.

Here is a picture about 15 minutes after unloading her.



She's real wild and fierce.



She loves to be scratched on the side of her muzzle and stood still while we groomed her.




I guess since she was born in a BLM facility she's used to people and has become quite friendly. I know we have a long way to go teaching her to lead and such but her friendliness is not what we expected.