Archive for September, 2007


Say it ain’t so! 

A four letter word, to be sure.  Nearly as  bad as the S word.  You know the S word, right?  That cold, flaky white stuff that Lady of Chaos has slapped my hand for typing.

The weather report for last night was that there would be ‘s’ in Western Washington.   The work report was that I was to do it… Yes, my first night on the job.  Thankfully, the S stayed up in the mountain passes, as I don’t think they’d have appreciated me calling in on my first night saying I couldn’t make it.

So, how was work?  Well…it was workie.  I felt like Mike Rowe.  They gave me the dirtiest of jobs.  Wash the dishes (food service dishes are greasy), clean the bathroom, don’t forget the toilet, wash the windows, mop the floors, take out the trash… Such joy.  I get to go back today and do it again.  Yipee.  But first I have to go buy a pair of those non-slip shoes, because regular shoes are like ice skates on a freshly mopped floor.  Ask me how I know…


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To get to town from here, we have two options:  The Highway of Death or Dead Man’s Corner.  Tell me, which would you choose?


When we were kids (Little Hitler and I), we’d ride the bus around the lake to school.  It was a narrow, winding road and at one point just before the Holey Rocks (not holy…they had holes), there was a sharp S curve.  Each year we’d pass at least one horrific accident there where someone had died.  Sometimes it happened twice in a year.  Usually kids who’d come out to the end of the lake where they could drink.  When the Grammar Nazi was but a wee one, we were in an accident on that same corner.  We were on our way home from my parents (we lived in town then) and as we came around the corner we found a car in our lane…parked!  I swerved to get around it only to find another car coming at me!!  I veered back towards my own lane…and hit both cars.  I’m clever, aren’t I?  And I hadn’t even been drinking.  Thankfully, aside from the Grammar Nazi blaming me still for any stomach ache he gets (the seat belt, you know), no one was hurt.

The other option into town is the highway, where people seem to think their cars run on autopilot and will sense whenever they get close to something and veer away from it without the help of the driver.  I’ve never understood this mentality.  The road is wide, sure, but just how much time are we saving by going ten miles over the speed limit?  Is getting to town two minutes earlier worth the risk?  Evidently so, as they go zooming back and forth all day long, and all night, too, zipping past slower cars, completely oblivious to oncoming traffic.

So tonight Darling and I are coming home.  We decide to take the Highway of Death.  Hey, when it’s your time, it’s your time, right?

There’s this little old farm house that sits at the corner of two roads.  Quiet roads.  Or at least they should be.  The roads intersect just a couple hundred feet from the Highway of Death.  The speed limit is 35, and one of the roads has a stop sign.  And there sits the little old house, where there lives a little old couple.  I’ve seen the little old man sitting at his picnic table out in the backyard wearing his little striped Osh Kosh overalls, reminding me of my dairy farming grandfather who also used to wear those same overalls.

As we approached the intersection tonight, Darling and I could see the lights of a sherriff’s car.  “I wonder what happened,” Darling was saying.  And then, “Oh no…Oh no…It’s upside down!”  In the front yard of this little old couple’s little old house lay a not so little nor so old pick up truck, upside down.  How it had gotten that way we do not know…aside from the fact that you don’t land upside down in someone’s yard unless you’re driving too fast.  I wonder if he got where he was going any sooner?  If he’d been looking for a quick trip to the ER, I’m sure he did.

When it gets dark, it’s hard to see the road as well as the little old farmhouse.


Really sad thing is that this couple’s front steps had been completely done in just a year ago by someone who was intelligent enough to go speeding straight into their yard.  They’d had yellow tape across their front porch for the longest time, no doubt insurance companies were battling over who’s fault the accident was.  Not that it was the fault of the little old couple, and yet they were the ones suffering from the intelligent folks who were in too much of a hurry to slow down once the exited the Highway of Death.

I think next time I go to town I’ll take Dead Man’s Corner.  Wonder what I’ll see?

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The trees are beginning to change color; yellows, golds and oranges are beginning to emerge.  It’s lovely to look at, but I wish dusk were later rather than earlier this time of year.  Too many cloudy days during the height of summer.  Now the days are cool and getting shorter, but I’ve still got just as much work to do.  I’ll be doing it in the dark before long.

The sun sets at Carpenter Creek 


Darling helped me take sheep down to the pasture yesterday evening. The weather report is promising rain again, so we wanted to get them moved before we had to go sloshing through the creek; neither Darling or I or the sheep like getting our toes wet.  Right now it’s nearly dry, so it’s a good time to cross.


Through the trees, Darling leads Bessie and the lambs follow. 


My little shepherd girl waits for the straggler to catch up. 


Down the road they go. 


We follow the same path that Sunny did on her wild adventure last week.  Fortunately, our sheep are a bit more mild mannered than wild horses; they followed in an orderly fashion.  Homeland Security came along just in case there were any problems.


Pokey was left at home as he has a special visitor.  Her name is Frieda.  Pokey thinks she’s beautiful.  Then again, Pokey things all girls are beautiful.  He’s not very selective.  Where girls are concerned, he’s pretty single minded.  And I would advise not stepping between him and a girl, as he gets somewhat irate when his line of vision is blocked and he has no qualms about removing you from the picture.


Freida, the object of Pokey’s affection.


Freida was purchased by a 4-H family in our county.  They were told she was a purebred East Friesian.  I was sorry to tell them that this wasn’t the case.  Freida is a cheviot; she may be part freisian, but certainly not purebred.  There are very few purebred freisians in the US; more cross breds.  Even mine are crosses, but high percentage enough to sport the look of a freisian.  Take a look at Freida’s head.  Her ears are upright and perky.  Freisians are not.  Look at her belly, it’s full of wool.  Freisians have woolless tummies.  Then there’s the issue of the tail.  Freisians have what is called a rat tail; there’s very little wool.  Even on those who’ve been docked you can see the difference. Freida’s tail has wool, and lots of it.


The problem is that people are beginning to hear about the whole milking sheep thing, and some take advantage of those who aren’t in the know.  The family who purchased Freida did so without knowing a whole lot about the breed. They were just excited to think that they’d gotten something new to our area.  It’s sad that there are people who will take advantage like this.  Fortunately for the family, they aren’t into milking, so it’s not going to make a big difference.  But they’re excited to breed her to Pokey for a lamb that most definitely will be part Freisian.  Maybe I’ll be able to talk them into milking if it’s a ewe lamb, eh?

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When I stopped to pick up the chicks yesterday, I couldn’t help but be lured out to the garden.  There were, after all, Sunflowers waving to me out in the early afternoon breeze.  They wanted to be included in my photo shoot, and I felt obligated to honor their request.

 Brigget was nowhere to be found, so I helped myself to a mouth-wateringly good  cherry tomato.  Man, was it good!  Brigget, I owe you for a tomato.  Okay, okay…I owe you for two tomatoes!  They were good.  Skip the watch dog joined tried to stop me.  He looked ferocious, really, he did!  Doing his job, that good dog, Skip.  Warned me not to set foot in his master’s garden.  Well, until he was distracted by a fly, that is.

Hey, out of my…wait…where’d that fly go? 

Hey, Brigget, this garden of your’s looks pretty good.  You should think about selling stuff out of it rather than just letting your friends come and sneak tomatoes.  And strawberries.  Is that a scrumtious looking berry, or what?  Brigget, I owe you for a strawberry, too.  Just put it on my tab.  Okay, okay!  I ate two…


Gee, your pumpkins look good…but I see you’ve got your back-up sentry posted.  I’ll not be trying to get past the eight legged wonder, thank you.  I’ll pass on the pumpkin today (although I really need to get going on some pumpkin soap…hint, hint…)

I was about to leave when the table full of drying red onions caught my eye.  You know…I’m the official photographer for Wake Robin Farm (Brigget’s farm), so of course I’m always looking for each and every photo opportunity.  What, you think I just let myself in for no good reason while she’s away?  No, I have a good reason.  It’s to snitch free food.  But I use photography as an excuse.  Anyway (sheesh, stop getting me off track!), I spotted the onions and snapped a couple of pics. Then I realized there were all sorts of red onion skins laying around.  Perfect!  I wanted to try to make a natural dye from them for soap and yarn.  I helped myself to one of those green strawberry boxes that Brigget had hidden in the barn and filled it with skins. There, that ought to be enough!

Er, Brigget…I owe you for onion skins and a little basket.  Just put it on my tab. 

Skip bounced happily  followed me with a scowl to my truck.  He was happy to see me leave (really, Brigget, I promise, he was growling and snarling at my poor behavior!)

That fierce dog, Skip, chased me off! 

Oh, and just so you know, City Boy found out about the chicks.  Go ahead, folks, say it with me…”It’s all Brigget’s fault!”  That lady is nothing but temptation, I swear!

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…but I bought some chickens.  Really, don’t tell him.  He doesn’t like chickens.  The little chickens we’ve got right now run all over the blessed place, pooping like chickens do with little regard to what may be beneath them.  They sit on my hay and poop (plastic tarp business is going strong as a result) and on City Boy’s lawn mowers and poop (and City Boy isn’t too fond of where it lands!)  They also tend to believe it’s Easter every day, leaving their eggs God only knows where…but not in any nests, that’s for sure.  They run across the patio and poop as they go.  They poop on the fences and sit in the barn and poop on the rails.  They’re feathered egg hiding, pooping machines, and City Boy just isn’t too fond of them.

So to make him happy, I’ve brought home 13 more!   Please don’t tell him, though. They’re hiding in the barn.

Thirteen really is an unlucky number when it comes to these little guys.  Cute as they are, they’re destined for freezer camp.  Unlucky.  At just two weeks, they’re fat!  I mean, when I picked them up in my hand it was like picking up a feathered melon.  These are solid little guys!  I don’t even know what breed they are, just that they’re fryers or broilers or some such thing.  It was Brigget’s idea to get them.  She ordered a bunch and wondered if I’d take half.  Well…sure!  Just don’t tell City Boy, because he doesn’t like chickens.

These guys will be ready for freezer camp in an amazing eight weeks.  And since they’re already nearly two weeks, that means just six weeks to go!  Or seven.  Something like that.   End of November.  Not long.  Do you think I can hide them until then?  Well, if he finds out, you know who I’m going to blame.  After all, it really was her idea…

Feathered melon balls 

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Don’t mind my chuckling…

Sunny stands patiently while tied to the rail before breakfast. 

…but yesterday I had nearly 500 visitors to the Mustang Diaries!  Thats like…oh…ten times what I normally get over there.  Why?  Because I mentioned the results for the Extreme Mustang Makeover and everyone and their brother had been searching for them this weekend.

You do recall the Makeover event, yes?  100 trainers were selected, each given a wild horse and 100 days to train it.  This weekend was the competition in Fort Worth, Texas, where prize money was handed out and the horses adopted to new homes.  Well…not all of them went to new homes.  Some of them went home with their trainers.  And you know, I just have to say I LOVE it!  Tons of trainers who’d never worked with a mustang before are suddenly falling in love!

I’m posting in a bit more detail over there today, putting up the horses, riders and the prices that they were adopted for.  Top selling horse?  Hail Yeah for, get this, $50,000!  I told City Boy the news regarding the prices these horses were going for and he commented that I’d probably not get that much for any of mine.  LOL…he’s right!  Although, if the competition had a horse anything like Jet, I’ll bet the money would be up there.

Sunny, on the other hand…well, still a work in progress.  Yesterday I saddled her up for the first time since my less than graceful dismount last month.  I led her around the yard while the rest of the family did their best to get her to jump out of her skin, all gathering around her face, racing lawn mowers past her, and sending the dogs under her legs.  And I’ve got to say that little horse did quite well.  Stayed inside her skin the whole time.  I may not be enrolled in any competition, and it’s taken one heck of a lot longer than 100 days, but this girl is definitely going through her own makeover right here.


Sunny shows no fear as the lawn mower mows by. 

Not content, I drag her to the road in an attempt to scare her with the cars.
No such luck…  Sunny refuses to jump out of her skin!

Sunny is roughly three years old now.  She was captured in October of 2005 and they’d estimated her between 10-12 months.  Because of her tender age and diminutive size, I’ve not pushed the whole mounting and riding thing with her.  Horses grow until they’re five, six…seven…  Meaning that although you’ll see thoroughbreds out on the track as two year olds, their growth plates aren’t near ready for that type of beating.  Often times you’ll end up with a broken down horse by the time they’re ten years old.  Not good.  So although I’ll mount a two year old, I don’t feel the need to head out and rush the mounted training.  Now that Sunny is hitting three, I’m more comfortable with the thought of trying to get on her.  And that’s going to be the trick with this girl, isn’t it?  Because I can barely get my foot in her stirrup without her whipping around and leaving me in a heap on the ground!

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I feel torn…

Does one set about raising funds to rescue a horse from a rescue?  Here’s the scoop:

There is this ‘rescue’ that is in Washington State called the Columbia Basin Equine Rescue, or CBER.  They take in horses, find foster homes where people pay out of their pocket for the upkeep until someone comes along and adopts.  They solicit donations online (they’re non profit) from folks to help care for the horses at their facility.  I’m sure there are some on staff that are paid, and of course it would only be right to do so if a person has left a paying job to do something like this.

However, there seems to be quite a bit of controversy over this place.  Such as sick horses, horses losing weight instead of gaining it, horses who are being sponsored that just disappear.  And then there are the dead ones.  Many dead ones.

These folks are charging a pretty healthy fee for adoption, and it’s not a set fee like most rescues would do.  No, it appears to be based on the horse itself. They’ve been accused of horse trading by many people, including those who once supported their efforts.

Horse traders are like puppy mills.  The only way to stop them from doing what they’re doing is to stop buying (or adopting) from them.  But in the meantime, you’re leaving animals in situations that are just not acceptable.  Adopt, save one animal, encourage the traders to continue.  Don’t adopt, allow a few animals to die and save several?  What kind of choice is that?

I found this link about CBER.  It’s not flattering.  You may find yourself wincing, I did.  In fact, I avoided opening it when I saw it originally posted on a horsey forum.  But when I saw that they had two mustangs there, I had to see what was being said.  http://www.speakforthehorses.com/CBER.htm

Her name is Forgotten…

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