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Used to run a stable and live on a farm, now I am back into banking for awhile. Still have horses and love animals.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hay is for horses

Just when all seems to be going smoothly, a bounce in the road. I picked up a round bale a week ago, Mr. R. sold his 1st cuttings and saved us 2nd cuttings, it's all orchard grass and it had been in the barn for awhile so I thought okay this will be okay.

First, I forgot that the hay was bulkier and weighted more and the bale would be wider. Sure enough, we let the bale sit in the truck a couple of days while the ponies polished off what was left of the previous bale and then we took the truck behind their little barn and went to push it off. I should have taken the tale gait off but didn't, not realizing the bale would get stuck. Of course we pushed the bale and it got wedged and it was lot heavier so good luck trying to tip it off. It got dark and I decided to just let it sit and start on it in the morning, I broke two wooden ax handles trying to use them for leverage.

Moving out here I don't know anyone to call for an extra couple of arms to help push which is all we needed. I didn't have my big tractor to pull heavy things either. So, I prayed that night and said it is up to you Lord to get that bale out. Next day Kylie and I went out and climbed in the back of the truck and pushed to try and tip the bale so it would roll out. A mighty push and we got it started and we kept going till it tipped and rolled out, I don't know why it wouldn't budge the night before. Of course I thanked God for the help.

I left the twine on the bale so that the Ponies couldn't gorge themselves on it, they had to pull the hay loose and it slowed them down. Saturday was ridiculously warm and by today it was freezing again. This morning I went out to let the Ponies out and our Shetland was not feeling well and refused to eat. I know very well what a sick horse looks like and symptoms of possible colic etc.

I walked him, gave him a mineral block, let him try to get at some grass under the snow but all though he showed interest he just didn't feel like eating. Like children if you let it go a horse will be sick and then be really sick by night time. I called the vet and had them come out. The first time I've had to call a vet in well about 16 years other than shots. Anyway, Pony had a temp but good gut sounds, had pooped and was drinking water.

The vet gave him a shot of antibiotics and some banamene  and within the hour he was eating again. It's funny because instead of the vet saying keep him in his stall she said let him out as usual and move around. I let him out and he went out and started eating some of the leftover hay from the previous bale and then started eating some of the new hay, I could see him from the window so I kept an eye on him.

I brought the ponies in at sundown and just checked them, I offered hay and pony ate but not a lot of poop in the stall. I will check him again late tonight and make sure he's okay. It sounds gross the poop thing but what goes in must come out or it can be big trouble since horses can't throw up when their stomach is off, next thing you know it's compaction.

I love the ponies so and you know the two of them are so close, I never thought about what would happen to one if something would happen to either of them. That would be true devastation since the other two horses are boarded right now. I pray for the day they can all be together again.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Thankful and letting go of the past

It was tough getting into the Christmas spirit this year, a few things probably contributed to that, working full time, having a teenager instead of a little one around, the commercialism of the whole thing played a role and maybe even the weather.

Yesterday it seemed a little better with straightening up the house, I got off work early, and my brother was on his way down. The evening was really nice, Kylie and Uncle Gregg made cookies and she showed him what her friends got her for Christmas and they had a good visit. Uncle Gregg is very important to us, he's been with us through the good and bad, he's been so good to Kylie and is my best friend. I have to mention too that when he walks through the door the dogs all but tackle him, they love company but Uncle Gregg is special and they love him.

I didn't buy many gifts this year but what I did I wrapped last night and as is customary every Christmas the dogs watch me wrap their presents which amount to four stuffed toys with squeakers. Normally when I had a bag with a dog toy in it someone would snatch it out of my hand and dig the toy out but they know that when the wrapping paper comes out they have to wait.

I put a piece of wrapping paper around each toy and carried them out and put them under the tree, they watch me patiently but they don't touch the toys. I leave them under the tree all night and they will remain untouched. Only when Kylie reaches for her first present will the dogs go to the tree excited and wait till I say okay before they take one of the toys. True to form, Daniel within a couple of minutes will have at least three of the toys in his mouth. Daniel is a true retriever and the other dogs love the toys but they let him steal them for awhile and eventually Daniel will get tired and pick one and fall asleep with it.

Dusti old dog, is taking the winter pretty hard this year, I figure he's 13 now and he is pretty exhausted most of the time. I spend special time with him now, I make sure he is close to me at bedtime and keep his hips covered because I know they are stiff and the cold most likely makes it worse. I give him a good run down every night when he lets me. Of course I wonder if this will be the last Christmas with Dusti but you never know, I guess we'll take it one day at a time.

I had wood delivered this week and went and got a round bale for the little ones this week. The house stays warm without using the propane and the ponies are doing very well. Cody and Aubrey are doing fine.

I've had time to think about the past, I've heard things through the rumor mill and it always makes me think of the past. Now that we are clear of things and I've had time to do some grieving and thinking, I'm happier, it is good that somethings are in the past and it's better to look forward to the future. God has been awful good to us, when I hear things which I won't go into detail, I begin to realize that He has protected us from many things that at the time we didn't know.

I am feeling better about my life and I am ready to start thinking about taking better care of myself. I am not so good at taking care of myself, it's a mom thing and I didn't feel like I had much value for other reasons but I want to live and I want to be happy, it's time to start living my life like I care about myself some.

I need to start posting pictures again and do a better job blogging, hopefully come springtime there will be lots of things to blog about, there are always plenty of animal activities to take pictures of around here.   

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lokie, my parrot

Lokie is a Piounus, that is they type of parrot he is, they are very laid back and quiet unlike more active and big personality parrots. I found him about 4 years ago with a woman who bred different kinds of parrots but somehow inherited Lokie and didn't have a female to mate him with in order to make money. She was afraid of him and he hadn't been out of his cage in a couple of years. I walked in and looked at him then I asked if I could open the cage door, she said fine but looked terrified. Lokie didn't come out because he didn't know what to do really but he took a couple of steps in my direction, I praised him and he would do it again, we kind of connected on the spot.

I packed up Lokie's cage with him in it and put it in the back of my SUV and home we went. When we got him in the house I opened the cage door and sat there and watched him from the couch, he didn't come out which of course it was a new environment, he still responded to my voice though.

Several days passed before Lokie came out of his cage to investigate, he really stunk at climbing, he tripped  a lot because all he had to climb on in his cage was just a rope perch, nothing else to challenge him.

It turned out that after Lokie got to moving around we noticed that when displayed his wings that he had at some point had his wing broke, he can't fly more than a glide and he won't step up. If you even say the words he attacks you or anything he can very aggressively.

Fast forward, Lokie is a very good climber, he has things he can climb and get places if he wants. Lokie will not step up, he will allow you to cup your hands and pick him up sometimes but that is it, no matter what you do to reward him, nothing doing. I respect that because I know he has suffered cruelty and trauma, sometimes you can work through things like that and sometimes you can't. Lokie was forced that is the issue so I have always with few exceptions let him make a choice and respected it.

Lokie loves to be scratched and talked to and he will call to me with a whistle, he will take food from my hand and he has even tried new foods, his choices were very limited with food as well. He comes to his name and if I tap a perch he will immediately come down and sit there letting me pet him but that is it, no step ups no rides to the couch for snuggling, nada.

That was until last night, Nana my Cockatoo had a little night fright and randomly screamed and flapped her wings, this happens occasionally with parrots, I checked her she was okay, looked over at Lockie's cage he was okay, turned the light off and suddenly a flurry of wings and Lockie on the floor in front of me standing and waiting to be scooped up in my hands. I know this because usually he scurries back to his cage and climbs up it's legs and back to the top.

I picked him up, he did not attempt to go to my shoulder as he normally would when I pick him up, he stayed on my chest, weird I thought. I took him down to the couch with me, typically he would get on my shoulder or the back of the couch, he didn't, again not the usual. He wattled over my chest and stood right in front of my face with a very serious expression on his face, yes parrots have expressions you just need to know how to look for them, they are very subtle.

Lokie stayed put right in my face and enjoyed cuddling and scratching for a long time. Finally he started moving to the right side of my chest and started looking towards the direction to get back to his cage. It was a cue he was ready to go back, I went to stand up and he finally hopped up on the back of the couch, he perched there for awhile and then I got up and walked to the end of the couch, I knew he wanted to back but I wasn't going to just grab him and take him, I called him over and he wattled to me and stood there, I bent over him and put my arms in a circle around him, he of his own choosing grabbed my sweatshirt with his beak and climbed aboard. I put my hand over him very loosely and walked towards his cage. Lokie sat quietly attached to my sweatshirt for the ride.

When we got to his cage, I leaned over to the rope perch, he waited a moment and very casually latched onto it and that completed his trip back to his cage. In the past he would have tried flying to it when we got close and he would have been in a hurry. Lokie made a lot of choices last night, after several years and without me forcing, coercing or bribing.

This morning I did my usual thing, I give everyone a piece of avicake for breakfast. I gave Nana her cake and the bunnies get a little piece each and I broke off a piece to give to Lokie who was on top of his cage. I held it out and he walked over to my hand lowered his head and bumped my hand with the top of his head, a cue for me to pet him. Lokie loves food as all parrots do but he clearly wanted to be touched first. I was so surprised, and humbled. Lokie chose love, my love,

I pet Lokie and then I watched him scurry down to his dish and eat his piece of very highly prized food. It was a very special moment for me, I don't know why Lokie decided now was the time to up our relationship, he is cared for, pet fed and all but it seems he wanted a closer relationship. He made a choice which is so important, on many levels, trust, healing all of those things.    

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Very low key day

I woke up with a pretty good headache and a few other aches too so I started out a little slow this morning. A little caffeine and some Ibuprofen and I started put together the dressing for dinner. My brother came down this morning and we finished the cooking and had a nice meal.

Nana did pretty well while the food was cooking, parrots aren't the most patient creatures and it has taken a long time for her to comprehend food prep time and cooking time and that she has to wait to eat people food when the people are actually eating. So, she ate her Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of us and was happy and quiet for awhile, she took a nap.

The dogs were very alert all day since they knew there was major cooking going on and eating. Of course they hoped for food in the kitchen to be dropped or unattended for counter surfing (mainly Micah). They got their Thanksgiving food too eventually.

Kylie and I went to see the horses late in the afternoon and they got a couple of apples, some exercise and a little hay before we left. The ponies of course ate their hay all day and so nothing new for them.

It was above all peaceful today, I like that most of all. I'm thankful for a warm fire, a comfortable home, some relaxation and a good dinner. No drama, here just peace and fur babies to love. A great improvement over some past holidays and some of my childhood. I'm very fortunate to have come this far and that God provided for us. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ponies so entertaining, not

The snow has arrived and to be honest I am enjoying it, the lack of sunshine is really the only thing I hate about Ohio winters, we don't get enough sun or breaks in the dismal cloudy days. Since the round bale is outside and I am a firm believer that horses should be out during the day in winter as long as there is shelter for them that they can access if they want I turn the ponies out every day.

The ponies have very think winter coats as their breed originated in cold climates they look like miniature woolly mammoths but if there is a chance of them getting wet I do put little coats on them to keep them dry when they are outside eating.  I do this partially because some overly cautious do gooder might think they were being abused because they are outside in the weather. They are so neglected getting to eat wonderful hay all day for hours on end and room to walk around and be a little herd, I neglect them so much they have water in a heated bucket which I fill twice a day for them.

So, in the morning before I start work I go out and close the door of their barn tight and grab their little coats and proceed to try and put them on. First pony gets caught and I wrangle the coat over his head until I get his head through the big hole and then he lets me fasten the straps, then comes Little Bit who runs on the other side of Pony and tries to avoid me at all costs. I wrangle him and fasten his belly straps and his coat has elastic that straps around his legs to hold his coat tails down and I fasten them. I open the door for them to go outside and step out of the way so I don't get bulldozed down in the doorway.

And so it goes, they are out with their little coats on until 5 and I will again go out, they will be waiting in front of their little barn for me to put hay in their little stall and they will walk in and I will close the gait, get them some fresh water and then take their little coats off. The building is snug and dry and I close the doors when it is really cold and windy at night so they don't have a draft hitting them.

Since they are outside most of the time their little stall is easy to keep clean and I'd say they have everything they need. I've had both of them for years and I know the only thing they are missing is the rest of their herd, the two big horses, I picture a reunion in my head to keep my feelings of guilt at bay.

Cody and Aubrey are happy and getting plenty of hay this winter. They have grown close and are well bonded, Aubrey likes to keep Cody moving with him but he isn't a bully about it. Both have good weight on them and their fur coats are fluffy, not pony fluffy but enough for the average horse. I know they would be jealous if they knew their other herd mates were getting to eat large round bales from Mr. R's farm.

Last winter was tough with the boarding of our two horses, the places they were at were not as horse friendly as where they are now. I am not as stressed as I was and I see them almost every night to make sure everything is okay. I spend more quality time with Cody now and that makes me happy.

Dusti our senior dog rolls in the snow, he is the only one of my four dogs that does this. Courage used to do it and Dusti learned from him but the other dogs after Courage have not learned this. I always am thankful for another winter with Dusti, he's old now but doing well, he has bad hips and conserves his movements but when the snow comes he's like a puppy again.

We burn wood continually now for heat, I have adjusted to the chore of bringing wood in like feeding and watering horses. I guess I wouldn't trade this kind of life for one that was a city life with everything at my fingertips. Although, I know I am rich compared to many and of course have much to be thankful for.

My brother is coming for Thanksgiving and the weekend, it will be fun cooking and hanging around the house and going out in the snow. Working from home I still have to put my eight hours in but of course there's no commute or being stuck in an office far from home, it will be nice though not to be tied to the computer all day tomorrow.

I hope the ice stays away and the people who have to travel will all be safe. This was a tough year for our country, I know their are many who don't have much or anything. I pray for them and all of the animals that are homeless too. We all have to try and help others if we can and remember to be generous. The holidays are largely commercial now, it really is sad what our culture is turning into. I really don't care about gifts or material things anymore, I am just happy for what I have and that my daughter and fur family are well and I am able to feed everyone. I also am happy when I am able to donate or give to someone or a rescue, that is essential, the rest doesn't matter.   

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cold snap

It's cold here, January - February kind of cold where everything freezes. First, higher temperatures and major storms and now within a week super cold and freezing. I just feel like moving in slow motion.

Saturday I took a long nap in the afternoon, I got a much needed deep sleep, I don't know why I seemed to feel better but I did. Sunday we wen't to Granger to get another round bale for the ponies. Mr. R's hay is so much better than anyone's and I've certainly seen enough to compare. The bales also contain more hay and last longer and he sells them to me for a very minimal amount. They are almost all orchard grass from his fields that he tends to very closely.  The ponies are plump and eat all day outside, I put the bale right outside their little shed so they have cover from the wind.

I bought a huge heated bucket last year for Cody, he doesn't need it where he is at now so it really came in handy now with the ponies because their water froze all the way through, eating hay all of the time they drink plenty of water being that hay is dry.

They are happy ponies and I am happy getting everything ready for a cold winter. I don't like having to worry about my animals in bad weather. Cody and Aubrey are situated in a pretty warm barn with all that they need, we exercised them last night and Saturday and they were acting crazy because of the cold snap.

I think of all the days and nights working outside on the farm in all kinds of weather, I really loved it. I can't say the temperatures bothered me that much because you get used to it when you spend time outside everyday.

The early freeze leaves me wondering what the rest of the winter will be like. I have to say I am grateful to God for providing a great source of wood that burns hot and keeps us warm and the good hay and that we are all safe. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Future

Since I don't have a barn anymore and I have a terrible hankering for having a herd at home I have chosen the path to study and read about such things. The book I recently read that I previously posted on the blog highlighted many things a learned from my past experiences.

Towards the end of the book I was reminded of what I think is the worst condition a horse can have, anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety causes bad habits and sometimes it causes anger issues or both. One thing I love about working with animals is the fact that they not only are all different obviously by species but that they are all individuals.

I had two horses with anxiety, Cody and Bit. They both acquired there anxiety issues as babies, one was caused by boredom the other for having to fight for food. While stabling horses I learned a great deal from a couple of horses I took care of for their owners that had both anxiety and anger or acting out aggressively due to their anxiety.

I'm now researching natural pastures, the pasture we had at the farm was very nice because it did offer some natural amenities instead of several fenced in areas with grass but it could have been enhanced. I can't do anything about creating a natural pasture now but I will be prepared for the future.

I  have a dream, I still get plenty of calls for boarding senior horses and refer them as best I can. I want before I die (hopefully I'll be really old) to have a place just for retirement for a few old horses or horses that are useful anymore and the owners just don't want them. Maybe just to save a life here or there from the inevitable slaughter of unwanted horses.

A natural pasture with land designed to give horses some stimulation, to give them a little taste of the environment their wild brothers and sisters experience.

I'm thinking of a plan for mental stimulation for Cody and Aubrey where they are stabled to brake up the boredom, make them use their brains and challenge them. It will be a good way to enhance our relationships too as we will all do it together.

Last night I brought a couple of plastic cartons along with me to the barn, we left the lids off and drilled a couple of holes in them and put some grain in them. Aubrey beat the crap out of his to get the grain after pushing it around the arena, Cody nudged his and them decided to pay more attention to the pieces of hay scattered around. Cody will be more of a challenge, he's so laid back now. But, I am going to find a way to bring his personality out and have some fun.

Yes the future, making the best with what we have now and making plans for that someday that hopefully will come. Lord willing.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Reading a great book

I broke down and bought a book to read that peaked my interest and it's about horses. I am so glad I bought the book, it has restored some of my confidence. I took a real beating sometimes from the owners of the horses I cared for on the farm. I looked at it more from the horses point of view I guess. I don't regret it, some of the intervention saved a life or too but like I said I took a few verbal lashings. The link to the book is

http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Horse-Life-Lessons-Herd/dp/0307406865/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384748212&sr=1-1&keywords=the+soul+of++a+horse

It's a must read for anyone who has a horse whether they are new to horse ownership or have had them for a long time. I learned more about horses from having a herd to tend than any book, video, vet or horse person all rolled up together. I am so blessed for the hours spent with them alone, in the pasture and barn.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dog beauty day is today

I have four dogs, Dusti, senior dog got his trim and bath last week, today Daniel and Cooper got their trims. Micah is in the bathtub now getting bathed by Kylie and will soon be on the table getting blown out. Micah is the easy one because he doesn't need anything except a bath and a nail trim.

The dogs are patient with the process but it is an ordeal to get them all dry. Cooper is the one who hates it the most but he still has butter residue on his head and will have to suck up the bath or else.

I talked Kylie into giving Cooper his bath, he's clean now and fluffy, very fluffy. They are all happy after its over and tired. I have a pretty good headache going.

We cleaned the pony stall out today too and got fresh sawdust in there for them. It's supposed to be cold this week and they'll have a nice dry place to sleep.

I am going to rest a little now and then off to bed, I have to work tomorrow, I'm always tired this time of the year because of the shortage of daylight and sunshine too.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sawdust and butter

Got a load of sawdust yesterday for the little ones, I have them dump it in the back of the pick up, tarp it and just pull it into the garage. It doesn't take much with just the ponies here, they are still nomming down their round bale, there's two holes eaten in it. When it's windy the ponies stand on one side of it and eat and they bale blocks the wind. They are both pretty fat but it is a good thing for winter. They pretty much were out to pasture the whole summer and ate grass. Next year I'll put up a small section of permanent fence for them and just keep moving the electric fence so they can eat a section down at a time.

I miss having Cody and Aubrey at home, they are at a great place and I know they are cared for but my heart longs to have them all together. The ponies miss them too, when the Amish blacksmith comes and does their hooves they call to his horse and they keep it up for the rest of the day.

Other than the profound wish of having all of my horses home again everything else is good. The dogs are happy here, they like the space in the house. I was cooking some vegetables in a stock pot and had put some butter in it and put the lid on and went upstairs to my office and work and heard the pot boiling over. I came down to a couple of dogs that had gotten some of the water that dripped down from the stove on their heads, neither were hurt from the hot water but they had melted buttery water on their faces, it kind of gave them a greasy look. The'll be getting baths this weekend.

Litchfield is a nice little place, it's a slower pace and peaceful with mostly down to earth residents. I have to say though the one thing I don't like is the wind. Because trees aren't as plentiful as they should be due to large flat fields converted long ago for the purpose of cash crops the wind blows without much hindrance. The top soil disappears and everything is hit with rough blasts of cold wind once the temperature drops. You hardly ever see an old growth tree, its such a shame that the future of the land wasn't thought out very well, the land and soil have paid the price.

I had an interesting conversation with the farmer that I still buy orchard grass round bales from. He owns 180 rolling acres in Granger, his farm is orderly, well maintained, and beautiful. It produces the nicest, richest orchard grass every year. My farmer friend who had told me stories about his farm told me at my last visit how bad the soil was when he bought his farm. I had no idea, it too had been depleted of it's topsoil and nutrients from years of farming corn. We talked about how he worked to restore the land. It was maybe a little easier with the rolling slopes of his land providing a windbreak and plenty of trees on the boarders of his fields, some old growth trees scattered.

It's nice to go pick up hay and see my friends farm, he has sheep and this last visit I noticed he had acquired some Highland cattle. He had visited Scotland where his ancestors had come from and learned about them and decided to try his hand at having a few. It will be interesting to see how his project turns out.

He always gives Kylie a fatherly talk about life and goals, I so appreciate his wisdom and the fact that he seems to know what needs to be said to someone Kylie's age and the fact that he thinks enough about her to speak to her that way.

I have met many people these past few years, some I wish I hadn't and a few, maybe a handful that I feel blessed to know, admire and cherish a great deal. There is Ruth, Mr. R, and Ely to name some. The world has a lot of people in it but few that leave a lasting impression, I am thankful to God for allowing me to know some special people and definitely some very special animals.   

Monday, November 4, 2013

Long busy week, short weekend

I had several things to get done this week during the day. I try to plan things and take my hour lunch to do them. I took Kylie back to the orthodontist Monday, to Buckeye high school on Tuesday, Wednesday was an oil change, and Thursday was blacksmith day.

Kylie decided to go back to a regular school and is starting in January. I think it is good because she will be able to get used to being around kids her own age and also have access to more classes. I will be able to drive her back and forth to school until she gets her license.

Our Amish blacksmith came and did Aubrey's and Cody's feet, and floated Cody's teeth. The cracks in Cody's hooves are completely gone now after several years of trying to get rid of them. It didn't take Ely long to get them trimmed out.

Saturday I truly for the first time in a long time took the day off. I slept most of the day which is unusual for me. I didn't even go to the barn, I just vegged around the house, I was so tired and I honestly didn't feel well, I did go get groceries in the evening but that was it.

Today I made up for the day of rest yesterday, we went to see the horses, let them out, brushed them and then wormed them. I don't worm them often, only twice a year, after being at the other place with such a small paddock that was never taken care of and so many horses in and out of it I thought it a good idea to worm them good before winter.

I cleaned the ponies stall and charged the Cub Cadet and then dumped the cart. We got the rest of the wood out of the truck and I cleaned up the dirt off of the concrete driveway. I have to get a load of sawdust in the truck this week and shovel it into the pony stall and then get more wood. We will have to stock up for the winter months.

I am not used to the hard work anymore, I have gotten soft in this place, no farm no muscle I guess. I know I have to get out and do some physical labor or something because that is what makes me feel healthier.

This evening I took a hot bath and relaxed, bracing for sore muscles. I feel much better now and hopefully this week will not be so busy. It is enough to work full time and take care of what I have to and also see the horses almost every evening.

I don't look forward to the short daylight, I hate that the most here in Ohio, the short days in winter. It doesn't help that when it is day time that it rains a lot or it's so gloomy.

At least the fire helps, it keeps things cozy and offsets some of the gloom.   

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The winds of fall

The nights suddenly have been a lot colder, the wind has picked up blowing the leaves off of the trees. Time to find wood, I didn't have the resources to buy wood all summer so I started to find some in earnest. I found some nice block wood at a reasonable price. It burns hot and longer, it is also much cleaner, no bark and the ashes burn down really well.

With fall it is also time to bath the dogs for the winter. Dusti was looking really scraggly, he's so old now and his hips are bad. I can't groom him on the table I have to get down on the floor with him. That's what I did, I sat down on the soft carpet and he laid down and I took the clippers and cleaned him up and scissored him, it wasn't a very neat job because it's so hard to work on the floor and he can't stand up for long. Next was a warm bath with good shampoo. Dusti had some scabs under his fur and now the air can get to them so they will heal. He's feeling much better, less itchy and he smells really good.

Since the fire burns and the insert blows the hot air around the house the dogs get hot and I thin their coats so they are comfortable, it's a plus with the shedding too.

The bunnies cages got cleaned up, we got a load of wood and horse feed and so we are set for a week or so. I always feel like I am running just to stay on top of things.

The ponies are making a dent in their round bale and getting fat, that was the plan before the real winter temperatures get here. I would say at night that little bit is as wide as he is tall with his hay belly but of course he has a really thick winter coat. Pony was a little too thing but he's making up for it now. It's good that he doesn't get too much weight on him, he could founder easily and that is bad.

I've been struggling lately with being a single mom of a teenager, it's tougher now than it's ever been. Kylie is a good girl but she's 16 and she's strong minded and in a full blown teenage rampage of emotions and temper. It exhausts me sometimes and I hate being the only parent fighting all of the battles. They say it doesn't get easier...

This week is going to be very busy, I feel stressed about it already, it will make the week go quickly.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Time pass so quickly

The cold weather is coming, in this part of the country you have to get ready for it. This past week that is exactly what I have been doing. I washed all of the horse blankets, called my hay guy to get a round bale for the little horses, got an oil change and tire rotation on the truck, and the chimney cleaned.

We had a close call with our bunny Theodore, he got an upper respiratory infection dehydrated and almost died, we had to take him to the vet and we got it all taken care of. He's a very sweet bunny and we've had him for a few years, I knew he needed to go to the vet or he would die, money is tight but I did what I had to do and he is back to his happy little self.

My brother took his little bird home and Juliet the parakeet, I asked him to take them so they would get more individual attention. We still have the little bunny that we took for a family that was living in a shelter. I am trying to find a home for him too, he deserves the individual love and attention a family can give him. I love him but I don't have the time to give to him and that isn't fair, if I can't find him a home of course we will keep him and do the best we can.

Kylie went to southern Ohio with a friends family over the weekend and have a wonderful time, I would have liked to go with them but there isn't anyone to house sit the animals, money is tight and I have to get things done around here.  

I received a text message from one of my friends from Wells who was hired when I was, he and many of the underwriters were given a 60 day notice of layoff. The mortgage business has slowed down and will continue to do so through the winter and may not pick up again if rates go up more. I am fortunate that I moved to a smaller company that isn't over staffed, they don't layoff people. Large companies are known for large layoffs in my business.

My next endeavor is to bring wood in for the winter. I am starting late on it but I will manage to find some hopefully at a reasonable price this month.

Cody and Aubrey are doing very well, we see them almost every day and work them a little. They like where they are and I like it too. I spent a good part of time since we moved from the farm worrying about them and now I feel much better. Cody is getting older, I love him so. It is good that I am able to spoil him and spend time with him, he deserves it and I remember when we were so close to each other and it's good to build that closeness again, good for him and good for me.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A little horse that grew up, Aubrey is something to look at now.


A solution for cribbing

Cody always has his collar on but he still grabs the wood. This solution allows him to be able to hang his head out of the door and even scratch his neck but he doesn't like the feel of the bristles in his mouth.

I've made sure to try and prevent Cody from cribbing as long as I've had him and that has been a long time. He is such a good boy, it started when he was a baby before I got him.

Cody is not the worst cribber I've seen and really the most important thing is managing things so he can't crib. 

A very special evening for Kylie


Horses know about hoodies and pockets and treats


A great place to shop on a Sunday morning


Micah the pillow and blanket hog


The new barn






Pictures before we moved to the new barn

Grazing in the sunshine

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The move was a success

It was a busy week, I went to see the horses but didn't do more than mix their beet pulp, give them treats and love on them some. Yesterday I moved the pony fence and went grocery shopping and cut grass. Today was set aside for spending time with Cody and Aubrey.

I brushed Cody out and washed all of our grooming brushes and tools, they were pretty dirty. I cleaned out the ground feeders and rinsed out the container used for the soaking beet pulp. Kylie and I free lunged the two boys and they were full of energy but calm.

Cody had more energy than he has had in several months, I know when things cool down horses can get more energy but I think the biggest reason he feels better is the rest he is now getting in his stall. There was always commotion everywhere non stop at the other barn, the stall was small and always wet and Cody really didn't have enough privacy to rest.

Older horses are still curious but they need to rest and feel comfortable enough to lay down and take a nap. All horses need a stall that if they want to interact they can or if they want quiet and to have alone time they can.

Kylie rode Aubrey for awhile why I cleaned up the brushes and feeders, I saddled up Cody towards the end of her ride and he had some go in him. I was happy that he seemed to enjoy it more and wasn't so tired. We trotted around some cones and jumped over a PVC pipe and just had a little fun.

We'll be riding outside soon, the place sits back far away from roads and houses and has a short trail and a big outdoor arena. It will be fun just to fool around outside and pretend like we are big adventurers. The most important thing is everyone is happy and safe.   

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The week that flies by, not a great week but it will be over soon

Monday was a root canal, I haven't slept as well lately either so I was feeling kind of bad anyway. I had a great deal of stress from last week with the horses that took some time to settle.

Yesterday I had to call a collection agency and try and negotiate some things, still left over bills from last year when we lost the farm. It takes time to pay off bills and get things right. I paid off many of them last year but I can't payoff everyone at one time. The call went okay.

Kylie had to go to her teenager group last night and with the heat yesterday I was feeling pretty tired by the end of the day which was late.

I have been working on a group of loans for the same borrower, I look at loans after they close to make sure they are salable to Fannie Mae etc. because there were so many loans to look at all at once my brain was pretty well drained too, it took about three days to get through them.

I found some problems that took a lot of research and that takes time as well as many emails and phone calls. I'm done with it now except the follow up work.

Today after work we went to see the horses, they are clean and happy. It made a huge difference for therm, they just seem to feel better and so do I.

The heat yesterday and today was something else, one parrot in the sun room was actually panting yesterday and she is a tropical bird. I put a fan on them, Nana is in air conditioning and she is a spoiled bird anyway.

I think we'll get a storm and things will cool down, I hope it is cool for the weekend because I still have plenty to do outside. I don't mind a hot sun but I don't do well with high humidity.

Tomorrow Kylie is getting some cavities filled and it's work for me as usual and then the horses. I hope to cut the grass too as I haven't done that this week and it's grown up pretty well. I like to let it grow some once and awhile and then cut it, all that mowed grass goes back into the ground.

The trees I planted that were tiny this year have grown several inches and I am not worried that they won't make it. We still have various flowers blooming and the runaway tomato plant on the side of the house is going like crazy.   

Monday, September 9, 2013

Root Canals

Today was  my first root canal, besides the numbing and the length of time it took it wasn't as bad as I've heard it to be. It didn't help that I had an infection but it's over now and that's a relief. The rest of the day hasn't been great, maybe because its Monday?

When the chickens come home to roost

Two of my old neighbors called this weekend, they filled me in on the farm we used to live at, I can't help but wonder sometimes, I hate to see the barn go to nothing. What they told me is that it was getting to look worse than it did before we took it over.

I could have gotten it financed by now but I'm not looking back. God has provided and there are things in the present and in the future for us. I will leave the dust behind me and keep moving forward.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Back to living a horsey life

Today we went out to see our boys at the barn and spent almost the whole day with them. We let them out in the arena to sniff around and Cody just took a walk around till he founds some tiny pieces of hay and Aubrey checked everything out with curiosity.

The were settled in enough to take them and give them both baths. The dirt that came off of them was unbelievable. It was gritty dirt and both had stall stains on them. They both pranced a little with the water but seemed to really enjoy it after the fact. We let them go again in the arena know full well they would roll but the arena was clean and we let them roll and walk around picking at small pieces of hay while they dried.

We brushed them out really well and their tails and mane were already much nicer. Their poor legs had long term dirt ground in below the knees, we washed their legs good. Tomorrow we will wash them again and scrub them and we will then condition their tails and manes. Cody has a rub spot on the bridge of nose from his halter and I am going to put a little dab of bacon grease on it till his hair grows back. It's an old trick that I have heard works really well.

We fed them before we left and they were calm. When I first came in the barn Cody was actually taking a nap, he probably hadn't done that in a long time. The space, the clean bedding, and the quiet is what he needed, he will be feeling more energetic I am sure.

We went home dirty, smelly and wet but we had a great time. I am tired, the good type of tired. I am going to give the little ones here at home a good bath and scrubbing and then go to the barn and we will let the horses out on some grass for a little while and lunge them too. It's all good!

Fear, it doesn't come from God

I am very happy right now, things look like they all worked out. The world is a tough place though, I've been through a lot, I hate to say it but I've been conditioned to expect things to be hard, maybe painful and this morning I was happy but afraid to be, cautious thinking something is bound to happen.

These thoughts are an insult to God but it may be the lack of trust I have in my own judgement. Either way, it wasn't in God's plan, trust not in your own understanding the Bible says, if you ask God and He answers and then doubt, it exposes our frailty as humans and our vulnerability. Faith is not only important when we petition God, it is also important when God moves, to accept His blessings, and most importantly to not look at the world, to keep focused on a kind and loving God, that even though the world is hard, and unmerciful, flawed, He is greater than all that.

I wrote this to remind me that although I have experienced hurt and cruel things in life, I need to believe that I am worthy of more, that there is no reason I should accept less because of who I am. I don't mean that as entitlement, but to say that why shouldn't things be right, good and happy for me the same as anyone. God sees us as deserving because of Jesus, we also must accept this and receive it. Although not intentional, I am not keeping my end of the bargain when I embrace fear and doubt instead of God's promises and I am cheating myself out of joy.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Green pastures, still waters

Our horses moved this evening to their new barn. It is the first time since we left our farm that I felt real peace. They loaded easy, Aubrey had a little trouble backing out of the trailer but was fine after that.

They walked in and the first thing Cody did was roll in his new stall in the clean sawdust, he felt secure right away.

I sat down in the chair outside of the barn and watched the sunset before we headed home, I felt like it was home, just something about the place I can't describe. God has answered my prayers, not only for the safety of the horses but the restlessness in my heart. 

Very frustrated this week

The week has been kind of off because Tuesday was Monday with the holiday. Work is very busy for me right now, lots of audits and lots of findings with some not easily fixed or impossible to fix. I am glad I am doing the audits instead of the one who has to go back and try and fix the issues.

The weather is really nice, just right and we got some much needed rain. The horses are starting to shed already and the dogs seem to be okay on the shedding for now. When the dogs blow out their coat it is really a lot to keep up with.

The barn where we have been boarding is small and family run, the folks there are almost never home now and when they are they don't have time to run the barn, so other people are doing the chores and handling the horses and unfortunately the people that are doing this do a lot of things that aren't safe.

This happens in barns a lot when people can't make the commitment it takes to run a barn or won't pay someone qualified to run it. Aubrey is fairing okay, he's young but Cody is getting older and slower and requires more time and consideration. He can't be turned out with a large herd and especially when there are aggressive horses. We had enough space to have two herds and also to let everyone out equally one way or another, that isn't the case here.

So... I went to several barns in the area and with a long list of what must be right and safe especially for a senior horse. I found a barn and it is very nice with a paid barn manager. The best part is many grassy turnouts so everyone can go out and be safe.

The horses are never left out unless supervised, and a bunch of people aren't running in and out handling the horses or doing the chores randomly.

A schedule in a barn is important, we were a small barn and there were days when letting the horses out or cleaning stalls happened at different times of the day, we rarely skipped a day letting them out, once and awhile we missed a day on cleaning stalls. The feeding however, especially with having to feed four times a day with the seniors had to be kept pretty timely.

Our boarders were able to bring horses in and out but they were known and were focused on safety. Anyone who has boarded a horse know there are some folks that really don't have a clue and so it seems I am dealing with some now.

I also went to great pains to make sure that I found a place that seemed secure enough not to have to move them again. I hope to put a fence on the three acres here next year so at least I can have them here during the warm months if need be. I might just have a run in and a fence but I will be the one to take care of them and I know it will be safe. If this place is as nice as it seems though I hope to have them long term, still you never know and I need a real back up plan.

I'm frustrated and I feel that the situation right now is an accident waiting to happen, I have the ground work laid to move them by mid month, if things get worse it may have to be sooner. I did the right thing and gave a decent notice as I believe that is fair, I am praying that it all goes smoothly now that I have given notice but you really never know.

I will not sleep well until things are resolved. A board broke in Cody's stall this evening and so Cody and Aubrey will be in the arena all night tonight, they said they might not be able to fix it till Saturday. I had to stress that I'd fix it tomorrow myself if I had to, they said they'd take care of it tomorrow themselves. So... will I sleep well the next few days? Probably not, and especially tonight. I will be driving down at lunch time and after work too and check on them. I will also make sure they are in their stalls tomorrow night and the board ( a five minute fix) is done.

I hate to say it but we went beyond what we were paid to do so many times and it was taken for granted. We did it for the horses sake and sometimes we did things that the horse owners never asked for or even realized we did just for their horses. When I think about it now (not considering that I did it for the love of horses) I feel like such a sucker. I let people take advantage and then make me feel bad and that we weren't doing a good job. Truth is we did more than most barn owners would have done and we did things that really the horse owner's responsibility not ours.

I was brought up to do the right thing, to think of principles and if the other person didn't do the right thing it didn't matter I was bound to a code so to speak. I am glad I was brought up this way but it is a hard and merciless road to travel sometimes, never expect fairness or think that others will have high ideals, they won't... they'll walk all over  you, destroy your dream and blame you for it.

I have to say I can blame myself in the sense that I should have drawn the line at some point, even though it seemed nobler to go the extra mile. Being noble has cost something greater perhaps then I was willing to pay, the security of having my own barn for my own horses. A place for Cody to spend his senior years and a place for him to have a final resting place. I let people rob us and act like they were doing us a favor, my horses are now paying the price, Mare Girl paid the price.

With all that said, I am comforted by the memories of the horses we loved that were not ours and the comfort we were able to give senior horses that were very special. I pray, that someday I can do the same for my own horse again. God is merciful, kind and fair, He can do all things, and He excels at taking what was meant to harm us and turning it into beauty. Things seem difficult at the moment but the beauty will come because the bible says God hears his servants voice and He hears my pleas I know.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Having a long weekend, living with a teenager and other madness

It was nice to have 3 days off, I made sure and get a few things done before it got here so the time could be spent with the horses and other things.

Kylie and I went to Hobby Lobby to look around and it turns out that Kylie is old enough to work there, 16. Monday she went in and filled out an application, she was scared to death. She asked for the manager and handed it to them personally, after she came back to the car I thought she would pass out.

Saturday we went out to let our horses out for a couple of hours, we fly sprayed them really well because the flies as big as dinosaurs were still biting pretty bad. They were comfortable and it was a pleasure to see them outside in pasture.

Sunday we looked at barns closer to home and Medina because if Kylie does work it would be better to be going that direction instead of the opposite. I also want to be able to visit the horses on my lunch hour. I have learned a lot about different board situations, the tough part is we had our own place and we took the care more seriously than some places I've looked at and also the place we are at not.

I hate the idea of moving my horses again but until I can bring them home or buy another farm, I need them as close as possible and they need a place where they can be outside where an older horse like Cody will be safe. I know only too well what older horses need.

It's such a shame with the job that I have now and the income that we don't have a nice boarding place to run, the old place as far as the house, needed a lot of work, that would have not been a problem and I probably could have financed it by now, the only issue of course would have been the asking price. It was too high and I doubt if an appraisal would have come very close to that price. I am not going to look back with regret though, we are in God's hands and I have to trust it all was for the best. I just hate not having Cody safe at home, Aubrey is young and boarding him is easy but an older horse it isn't so simple. Again, I just have to believe God will take care of it.

My phone completely died, not fixable just dead. I ended up having to sign another contract with my carrier to get another phone, I was thinking of going to NET10 but it just going to work because my phone completely died. It cost us pennies to upgrade both our phones, my daughter's was ancient and I will probably buy a wifi booster for better coverage at home and keep a minimum data plan. I will most likely drop the cable tv because I am determined to save up money for the future. The future that includes my horses!

Kylie is really struggling with issues that teenagers and especially teenage girls can encounter. She is going to a Christian class that includes discussions about marriage, love, self esteem, relationships etc. they made the mistake of saying she would have to submit to her husband and basically would have no say. Kylie was just completely taken aback, she just thinks it's terrible. I kind of think it humorous watching her get really up in arms about such things. It will be interesting to see how she feels in a few years if she does meet someone.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nana on Facebook

Nana's Facebook page and other news updates

Nana finally got her own Facebook page called Nana's Universe- world wasn't big enough for her it had to be universe, silly bird. I have started documenting her craziness now for her Facebook page.

I am still feeling bad about the horses not being home, I am really focusing on finding a way to fix that, I guess I've made up my mind what I want for my future. I have to admit when I see people working with animals I start to miss what I did, not all of it of course but somethings that were really good.

The week has gone by really quick and this weekend I will be working to get things done outside. My work at my job comes first during the week, then the horses that are boarded.

I called the career center today and Kylie and I talked to the administration office, next year she will be taking some courses there. It will be good for her to take advantage of some of her programs to help bolster her for a future in college. She also needs to get out into the world more and may elect to go full time there next year.

She is worried about what she wants to do for her career, she has a lot of interests and talents and it can be overwhelming. I always tell her the most important thing is to be a good person, do the right thing, and live a good life. I know she will choose a good career and hopefully one that she will enjoy and of course have security. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hard to type with a cut finger

I reached in the drawer for a spoon and ended up cutting my finger on a sharp blade, it stopped bleeding but it's going to be touchy for a couple of days.

This weekend was a productive one, I did sleep a lot yesterday, just tired but today I worked outside all day. I mowed everything and cleaned up the garden and picked beans, got a whole pot full. They are pole beans so I had to string and snap them, they are cooking now with bacon grease, the old fashioned way.

I pulled apart the swing set and found a bunch of bees nests, didn't get stung but I will have to spray it before I can finish taking it apart and getting rid of it. The ground is as hard as rock with no rain. We sure need some for a few days to set things right.

Kylie moved the fence for the ponies so they have more grass through the fall, I mowed where they grazed before and cleaned it up. We have huge white pumpkins growing in the pasture where we threw out some parrot bird seed, they are really something.

I guess I've been pretty depressed the past few weeks, I finally realized it is because I am not living on a farm. I don't know if I'll put a barn here or not, or in 3 or 4 years when things are better, buy a little farm and this time the right one and it will be the way I have always wanted it to be. I can't give up my dream or I just can't go on.

Cody got a pretty bad bite or scrape this weekend being out with several other horses, he is getting old and it hurts me deeply that I don't have him home for him to live out his years in peace. All the hard work and care for other senior horses for their owners and poor Cody, it isn't fair.

I prayed about it and I leave it to God, I know things will turn out the right way, I don't know how exactly but I know I can trust God. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A nice family weekend

Saturday I did something I used to love to do, I went fishing. My brother came down just to go fishing and he and I and Kylie went and spent a few hours at Spencer Lake. He caught two little fish and Kylie and I barely got a nibble but it was still peaceful and relaxing. The water was smooth and sparkling, there were little birds and wildlife all around. It wasn't too hot, it was just right.

Today was the horses day. We groomed them, played with the and rode them. Of course they got treats and that was the excitement for them. It was a little humid and they were feeling kind of lazy. We put a PVC pipe down and they both jumped it. Cody used to love to jump and once he got started he seemed to enjoy it. It felt good and afterwards we took them outside for a few minutes before we quit for the day.

I forget how to have fun instead of working all the time and that's not good for anyone. It was a good weekend and I was really happy to spend real family time with Uncle Gregg and Kylie. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Trails, the horror of the shower and flat pennies

Kylie and I took a really short trail ride but it was great. Cody led, the barn owner followed on foot with her horse (he wasn't accustomed to trails at all and then Aubrey. We hit a little path that wound up a little through the trees and there were things scattered around. Cody walked straight that and through the mud and Aubrey danced around them but he did well. I am so proud of Cody, he would have went anywhere and led the other horses or gone on alone like the old days. He loves trails and I know he has perked up since we have started them.

Nana's white feathers were looking pretty dingy and her spray bottle broke. She was being pretty load the past few days and cranky so Kylie decided it was time for a shower. Nana is not a big fan of water or baths. I have a walk in shower with glass doors and it is a good thing to have when a large parrot doesn't like water. Nana wrapped in a towel was set down in the shower with the shower head laying on the floor and the door promptly closed. Nana climbed half way up the door and Kylie opened it grabbed the shower head and let the water (on low) flow over Nana.

Nana didn't get mad but did want out so after being affronted with a good soaking, Kylie slid the door open and she walked out on her own into a towel. The sunroom is hot in the day time and we put her out there on a nice perch and she enjoyed the sun and preening.  Her feather's are still a little gray on the top of her head but the rest of her body and skin looks much better, her white feathers are pure white and fluffy like they should be. She preened with the oil gland at the base of her tail getting them all in order. She is a tropical bird and should be bathed regularly, especially when it is hot weather. Tomorrow she may get another round to get her head completely clean. We both love her so, she is precious except her cage is next to the fridge and she is always trying to see over the fridge door to see what comes out, she has a veracious appetite.

Today we went to the railroad tracks and collected the pennies Kylie and her friends had put on the track a few days ago, the kids get such a kick out of the flat pennies. We collected some firewood for the fire pit and had a little fire this evening too. The yard work is getting caught up and the dishes are getting unpacked slowly. Next the rest of the books and pictures and we'll be done with getting the garage cleared out.

Tomorrow is the last day of my vacation, there were good days and bad days. I did get a chance to rest and to enjoy the house some, I also had some time to think and process. I have to say the best thing I did was spend the afternoon at the barn and riding Cody. It just helped me as I sorely miss the barn and having the horses at home. I miss the lifestyle and even though this place is awesome, the house and all, my soul pines for a farm and the horses just the same. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Absolute joy

One of the few pleasures in my life that I truly feel relaxing is fishing. It's not catching fish that I love, it's sitting on the banks of the water watching the water and the little bobber swishing up and down on the little waves while the fish tease and nip at the bait.

We stopped by Spencer Lake today on the way to see the horses, it was beautiful and peaceful. I will be fishing there soon. It's a welcome recreation for me. It is a close get away from responsibility, cleaning, working and a cluttered mind full of daily worries.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

A peaceful Sunday

I got up around 8 this morning, Cooper had to potty and woke me up and so I stayed up. I relaxed for awhile and watched a movie and then decided to run up to the flea market. We walked around and looked, there were some things I was tempted to buy but didn't. I found an old book for a $1.

I have a small collection of older editions of books like Ben Hur, The Robe, The Keys to the Kingdom and I found a copy of Gone with The Wind. Books, are a treasure, I have bought and sold old books over the years, beautiful old books.

I came home and just relaxed and enjoyed the house and later in the afternoon we went to the barn and rode the horses. Cody wasn't really in the mood, he was tired and he stopped at the gate every time we passed it. I am hoping tomorrow to ride him outside as he will like that a great deal more and maybe we'll do a short trail ride.

When we came home I finished mowing and sprayed weeds. I ate a couple of ripe blackberries growing in the yard and a tomato, there's nothing that can compare with fresh food grown at home. I really don't have that much left to do outside, I'll clean up the garden tomorrow and get started on the garage.

In between the little things that need to be done I hope to have pleasure in just relaxing and clearing my thoughts and mind, taking time for myself and getting into a healthier routine. It doesn't sound like much fun but it's what I need to do, I guess it's my down time and a way to reset myself. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A productive Saturday

I don't want to waste any time while I am off, I started today in the yard with some trimming and I mixed up some more weed killer. This week it took me three days to find the right belt for the mower but I found it and John the neighbor put it on. I hadn't been able to mow grass in a week and was really frustrated as I am OCD about it.

I cut grass after the belt was replaced and all is right with the world. I got grocery shopping out of the way, cut some more grass and went to see the horses. A friend gave us a big bag of really good treats and the horses were delighted.

I trimmed out the strawberry bed as the plants are just so think and growing out of the above ground bed, we had a couple of apples on a young apple tree and some huge blackberries on our bush. I will have to tie up the blackberry bush as it has grown too big and also clean up the garden there's weeds and beans growing wildly.

We dumped the bedding from the birds and bunnies in one spot last year and now we have what I believe a huge pumpkin vine growing which should be interesting. I have plenty more trimming and cutting to do, I really cut into the huge pussy willow bushes because I couldn't mow close enough, I trimmed then I will spray around them so I don't have to trim every week.

Tonight I hit the yellow jacket nest that is between the house and the chimney, they've managed to find a hole in the mortar and have found their way into the house. I foamed them tonight with a big can of spray and temporarily plugged the hole, I will fix it permanently this week. I will also spray the nest from the other side some night this week.

We have a lot of clover here and I see honey bees all of the time, I am delighted and I will never treat the lawn because honey bees are so important. I wish I knew someone who was a bee keeper, I'd let them set up a bee hive here at the back of the property.

I look forward to working outside tomorrow and I will take a break and maybe go for a ride on Cody. I hope the weather stays the way it is now, it will be a nice end of the summer if it does. 

Oh Happy Day

I'm off for a week,  a long week in the coming. Since starting back to work in June last year I faced losing the farm, being dragged into court and fighting with the people I leased the farm from, had to go to Philadelphia for a whole month and then coming home and having one weekend to pack and move everything. The following Monday going back to work, Kylie started school and our whole lives were scattered everywhere.

The next six months were hell with working overtime commuting 2 hours a day and Kylie suffering from an extreme depression. Going through Mare Girls horrible death a month after we moved and having to endure the barn manager being thrown out of her stable and moving with her to a new one which just after moving and going through the same we had to help her and then face months of frustration and listening to the same financial issues we had suffered before.

The long winter, going to Colorado for two weeks in February, more court fights then finally, I started working from home, and the case was dropped. All these months still trying to mop our other financial issues, working through things with Kylie and maintaining the home, land and animals.

Okay so I am whooped, I just want to take a deep breath and stop for a moment and get my head and life clear. I want to focus on actually enjoying this new home, getting myself cleaned up and in a better routine. Just stop for a few days and see that I am in a better place, a better life, take the battle gear and the armour off and just be a human, a woman, like everyone else.

Kylie went to the fair last night with a friend and her family, I was invited but I just felt to tired and sick to go. I'm glad I didn't, she had a great time and actually ended up walking past her dad who she hasn't seen since almost a year. Kylie as she walked out the door all fixed up looked more like a woman than a child. Betty at the Oaks has been working with Kylie through all of the horror of the previous year, the loss of the farm, a home, the abandonment by her father and Mare Girl passing. She looked so happy and confident last night. I thanked God that she had come through a stronger person with her thoughts confident and happy.

Kylie's dad changed jobs last year and failed to inform the child support bureau, being that we had just moved and everything was so tough I wasn't happy even though it's only $250 a month which really only paid for the horse he gave her, food and board. It's never really been enough to take care of Kylie but I refuse to fight for something that a father should feel compelled to do for his child. It's on his head right or wrong. Because he didn't want to face me over the child support he just dropped off the planet basically, leaving Kylie without an explanation. He wouldn't return her calls, she needed him when Mare Girl died, she just needed him.

It was months before child support was paid again because I called the child support bureau to find out what was going on and enough payments had been missed for them to take action. I will say had I not been given a raise after a few months and then getting an even better paying job I would of had to pursue the money and more or we would not have made it. God provided though and so it wasn't necessary. It's interesting but if he would have paid the amount based on his wages all along we probably wouldn't have lost the farm, but... I won't sell my daughter for money, again it's falls on his head.

The most important thing though is even though I would have been very frustrated with him I would have never interfered with his seeing Kylie, I would have supported it because she is more important than anything. The fool, the pitiful fool, if he had just talked with me about it and stayed close to Kylie. Now it's too late, Kylie survived the horrible hurt and although it still hurts she has made her peace with it, and she's moved on. Although she may see her father in the future it won't be the same for her, she knows that she doesn't deserve to be hurt, she deserves much better, she has learned to protect her heart. I feel pity for him, he missed the beauty of his daughter growing into a young lady. All of the girls he's sponsored in showing etc. but his very own little girl he's missed, dismissed, abandoned, marginalized, and rejected.

The girls all call him dad, he buys them things because they show, he's adopted one (not legally) as his daughter and displayed her to Kylie when they spent some time together. How cruel to pierce a child's heart so casually. I often thought how ignorant it all was, did the thought ever occur to him that these young girls had their own fathers, and even the one he adopted, he ran her real father off for being a loser. He ran him off but abandoned his own child, is he really better than the girls father? Didn't he realize that these other girl's parents bought them things, that they had grandparents, and people who took care of them. Did it never occur to him that his own daughter had none of those things, that in struggling through the farm that his own daughter went hungry, lost her home, did without so much at times and did so alone except for me.

There are medical bills still unpaid, they are supposed to be paid by him but I will pay them. Kylie's dad has never taken her to the doctor, never showed up at the emergency room when he should have, the things he has done he feels she owes him something for, that she owes him. Did it never occur to him that children don't choose to be born, that they come into this world at the mercy of world. What does she owe him? Must a child repay a parent for the right to live or does a parent have a responsibility to care for that life by providing the very basics? Should Kylie repay him for being partially responsible for bringing her into the world and unfortunately having needs in order to continue living.

I have a wonderful daughter, for all the hard times, the years of struggling alone, I have a wonderful daughter. I'm the one blessed, there is no monetary amount that can be traded for that, I'm rich. I am happy that the years of threats and intimidation are over, that I am free, I've raised a fine daughter and I can forgive, forget and get on with life. God has been a good Father and Husband, He has provided and I thank Him for it. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Honoring your mother and your father - and it's my birthday

Today is my birthday, no plans to celebrate but I got a lot of well wishers on Facebook, it means a lot to me to see friends post.

I was thinking this morning about some kids I've know that talk to their mothers like they were dirt, that bothers me. Then I realized the commandment of honoring your parents and thought about my adopted mom and family. I've talked badly about them because I suffered some pretty bad stuff from them as a child but... I love my mom so much, I know and it needs to be said, that she did the best she could and many things I suffered were because of circumstances she could not change. A large part was caused by my birth parents, then the extreme poverty and the generation gap. She was born in 1919, she had a rough life herself, she also had old ways of thinking and was very naive about somethings.

It wasn't her fault that her grown birth children hated and resented me either. They also,  in spite of their feelings took care of me when they had to and I should be grateful because gratitude and being thankful is what God expects of me regardless of the bad so I am blessed and not bitter.

My mom loved me more than anyone besides God, she felt guilty about what I endured and later in life tried to make it up to me. She found new respect for me and was the best grandmother to Kylie that any child could have, she mourned having to leave Kylie because she had cancer and she was 83 and knew her time with Kylie would be short.

All parents make mistakes, they don't intentionally mean to hurt us, and maybe some do like my birth parents who are still vicious to me and my birth siblings but they are an exception and not the majority of parents.

My adopted mother deserves honor because she made me strong, she is responsible for the parent I am today by learning from the mistakes, to be loyal and committed and to protect my child with my life. She taught me to work hard by example, to love God and that He is able to hear me and respond.

My mom taught me the value of cleanliness, healthy food, and even with very little you can live a clean and moral life. The people around us growing up were in poverty, they lived in filth and acted like filth but my mom refused to do the same. Our home was always presentable, always clean and guests were welcome and we shared what little things we had, especially good food.

My mom taught me to endure the hardships of life, she taught me to tolerate pain physically and to keep going, Moms words were you have to just get up and keep going no matter what. She did, she worked herself into the grave taking care of everyone except herself.

I have prayed about my birth parents which I feel don't fall under the honor thy parents commandment simply because they are not anything to me except the physical event of being born. Prior to birth I wasn't wanted nor welcome and afterwards there has been nothing but more of the same.

My grandfather, my adopted mother's dad was and is the person I love more than anyone besides Kylie. I honor him everyday, I would almost do anything to see him only for a moment. My love for him is as strong as it was when I was a child, when we were together. I still feel peace and security thinking about him, he was my anchor in a terrible storm of childhood. Tears are flowing down my face now just thinking about him and the long road I have walked without him.

My mom and I had a special relationship, we quarreled a good part of the time when I grew up, normal quarreling, not with anger and hate but just two strong headed individuals hacking out life. In spite of my stubborn ways and the mistakes I made myself she loved me as a mother and honored me. She always sent me flowers on my birthday because she thought I deserved them.

She bought Cody years ago to make up for my lost childhood, she wanted me to have one dream, one thing she couldn't give me as a child. She didn't know the gift she gave me of my beloved grandfather and the strength and perseverance she instilled in me, those gifts are priceless.

I have not seen my adopted family since my mom's death, it has been a hard road raising a child without family. Dave persecuted us for years before he moved on and stopped. I never pursued support on the level I should have from him because he would take it out on Kylie. There were times where I didn't know how we were going to survive and the work at home and on a job and balancing Kylie's care and the threats from employers when she was sick and I had to stay home with her.

No, many years were tough, even ugly, it's taken it's tole on me physically for sure but I never gave up, I never quiet, I never turned my back on God. Kyie is a good daughter, I have raised her without drugs and alcohol and strange men being around, I've fought to give her all I could and will continue to do so. I have brought us before the Lord so that she can see where to find strength and help, I have given God the Glory when He has brought us through so she can see He is real and His hand is upon us. She must always have Him to turn to when I am gone, she must always remember for that is her birthright, and her inheritance.

And so, I honor my mom today by all that I have said, I honor her with Kylie and all that was passed down to me and that I have tried to pass down to Kylie.

Mom, I love you as a child loves their mother, with all my heart and I haven't forgotten your love, your kindness and sacrifice. Your sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, your love not in vain. You saved my life and gave me a future, a legacy and broken the generational curse of my birth family, you healed the broken heart of a child, tried to replace the incredible loss of a mother and father, God Bless you mom. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A successful party

I haven't had a birthday party for Kylie since she was four years old, just to busy trying to survive and time passes so quickly. Yesterday I had a sweet sixteen birthday party for her. I worked every night till 1 a.m. and was up Friday night until 5 a.m. getting the house clean and unpacking and hanging pictures. The backyard didn't get done because I knocked the belt off the mower but it rained and so the party stayed in the kitchen, dining room and sunroom.

I made macaroni and cheese from scratch and baked it in the oven, I added crumbled bacon, a little bacon grease and some smoked Gouda cheese and some garlic powder to give it a little zing. I made salad, bought pizza and had a butter cream icing cake from Giant Eagle. I haven't entertained a group of people in a long time so I was nervous but the house looked great, the food all turned out good and everyone had a good time.

Kylie's and her friends played games and laughed and screamed, the adults all sat around and talked and visited. The neighbor Tammy came over before the party started and helped me with some finishing touches.

Since it rained we didn't use the fire pit but it didn't seem to matter. The only sad thing was all the dogs were in a room downstairs with a baby gate because it would have been too much with all the people and food. Dusti, senior dog was the only one who I let stay upstairs, he was delighted to get all the attention and some tastes of food without the other dogs.

The highlight for everyone was the spotlight thief Nana, everyone spent time talking to her and she ate with everyone and behaved really well. My neighbor brought her little grand daughter over and Nana really liked her a lot, she took sugar snap peas from the little girl and Nana won't take food from people unless she likes them. Nana talked and danced and ate lots of food and people where fascinated by her.

Everyone stayed till after dark and when Nana got sleepy she made it known, I pulled her blanket over her cage and she didn't make another sound even though everyone was in the room talking. We had enough places for people to sit and be comfortable.

This house is nice for company. Kylie had such a wonderful time and her best friends parents and grandparents care for her like she is theirs too. They have adopted her and do so many nice things for her. It helps because we really don't have any family around and Kylie needs more than me. Uncle Greg came out and he wasn't feeling well but he has always been there for Kylie and it means a lot to me.

This week I need to finish the backyard, the garage and the basement so that the following week I am off I can just enjoy the house and have some down time. I haven't just had time off and really relaxed in this new home since we moved. I am looking forward to it.

I thank the Lord for blessing us with good people, a safe home, and my darling daughter.   

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wishing for a day or two off

I am working during the day and then working hard at night cleaning, arranging and taking old odds and ends trying to make things look good for Saturday. I haven't even done anything outside yet. I am tired, I guess that's the way it is.

Kylie has been doing some of the craftier things to help out. I will be glad to have a little time off in August after a year of working so hard and so many changes. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Those people, that person

The Zimmerman case has disturbed me, moved me enough to write about race. Where I grew up there very few if any African Americans, I believed what I had heard and one day repeated it at school, I was chastised and for that I am most grateful.

When I was a teenager I ended up spending a year in England which is a great melting pot of race and culture, everyone is much more comfortable in countries so close to a large continent that yields so many different origins, everyone is accepted and much more comfortable in their own skins. I learned to love the variety of races and cultures available to learn about while I was there, I had friends their that saved my life and took care of me and made sure I made it back to the states safely.

When I got back to the states I ended up in a career that again put me in a place of exposure to many people of all races and backgrounds. I was eventually put in charge of helping low income, inner city families realize their dream of not only owning a house but in a safe neighborhood where their children would be safe and have a chance in life. Many times the mother's would call me after they moved into their new home and thank me and bless me because they knew their children would grow up with a chance of having a better life.

It is interesting that some of my employees where also African American and Hispanic, the Hispanic's had an easier time but the African Americans where treated differently by management. They knew I was different, they told me how things would happen and they were right, managers who were blatant about their feelings towards them made decisions based on those feelings even though they had gone above and beyond their job descriptions and were excellent employees. I didn't allow it and saw to it that upper management was involved and they felt there was no tolerance for that kind of attitude, some managers where called on the carpet, nevertheless, my employees were then treated better and received the same compensation and recognition as their white counterparts.

Much later I worked in a branch in a very white community, by that time I had adopted an African American teen who needed to live with a family till she could finish high school. Customers would come in and for one reason or another allude to African Americans in some derogatory manner with a sneer thinking because I was white it would be a wink and a nod. I disappointed them I have to say.

I will never forget being carded at a Wendy's, it just so happened that my African American daughter was with me, and another time at Buehler's grocery store, the employees wanted someone to escort us to get empty boxes and to walk us out of the store to make sure we didn't take anything, of course I had gotten boxes before without my daughter and there had not been any issues about getting them and walking out of the store.

I guess what I am getting at is whites don't really believe that blacks or people of other races are treated differently or looked at with prejudice before they are even given a chance. I didn't believe it either but it is true all of it and it is quiet a wake up call if you are a fair person.

One of my best friends who happened to be white and Jewish referred to someone who was my brother's best friend as that person, other people with their sneers say those people. The individuals they were referring to have names, families, beliefs and were better examples of Christ's love than the majority of people I have met over the years.

That brings me to hoodie's, no one loves wearing a hoodie more than I do, it offers security and hides how I look. I don't like the way I look and I don't like myself most of the time so I wear a hoodie to hide in and feel secure. I am not looked at suspiciously when I wear a hoodie with my white skin and blonde hair. I wonder if the popularity of the hoodie has something to do with the same reasons I wear one. For African Americans though it seems to symbolize something else to the outside world, people, especially whites seem to equate it with criminal activity.

Now then, the young man who wore a hoodie and had the nerve to walk through a neighborhood at night, he even had the nerve to loose his temper when somebody was stalking him. They say he had some issues in the past with different things that portrayed him as a not so nice character which I believe most teenagers in American black or white if investigated would yield some of the same things, even adults for that matter. I should mention that Zimmerman's past wasn't spotless.

I wished the young man would have just went home and I wish he was alive today. People are angry because the race card has come up in this, they want to blame the kid as an individual that somehow deserved what he got. Race did have something to do with it and there is no sugar coating it.

People are tired of hearing about it, white people and even some African Americans. My words of wisdom for the issues personally is like Bill Cosby said about African Americans taking responsibility for themselves but it is the whites that need to take responsibility, for their thoughts and actions.

We as whites would do well to remember that we have a loving God who created us all in His image, that we are responsible for how we treat other's and He searches our hearts and knows the truth. God will not look at us and say you are white so you are okay with me, you must be better than others that I created. How arrogant to think that because we are white that we are somehow better, that we deserved more and that it's okay to enjoy another's suffering or to judge a person without knowing them because they are different.

I know that as a white person the dialogue that takes place in our homes, from our parents, and generations of influences that say to us without us even knowing it sometimes that you think of a person, their race, religion, sexual orientation etc. in a certain way. It's a record that has played in our heads over and over again for many generations but that is not an excuse any longer.

We need to take responsibility for the world we have created, a world where people are treated differently, for the poverty and family structures we have forced on others. There are no opportunities in the inner city for jobs, no corporations that build businesses there where young people can earn a decent living, there is no hope just street corners. Has it ever occurred to whites that selling African American's mother's, fathers, children separately as slaves might have robbed them of a family structure. It is easy to take for granted what most American families have passed down for generations, the family unit, the importance of everyone in that unit.

So we blame the poor for being poor and we say why don't they do something about it, the only problem is our society has set them up to fail. Sure, people can rise above circumstances, I did but I had a slight advantage, I am white. After getting away from a living situation where I was treated as an outcast I could walk into the world and present myself and be accepted. You can't hide skin color no matter how you have improved your circumstances, if you have a college degree, are successful in life, and have family just like others that are white, it isn't quiet the same, you never make it completely because you still have a skin color issue. Of course, the only issue with skin color lives and dwells in others minds and hearts and naturally it affects you regardless of your accomplishments it exists.

Whites need to take responsibility for the issue of race, we created the problem by thinking it was a problem in the first place, we have placed the issue in our children's minds and built the issue into our society. It's time we suck it up and deal with it and teach our minds and our hearts the truth, it is time we let go of the thoughts and old teachings.

We must fight the battle of race in our own hearts and minds. If what I have said does not speak to you then picture this: Standing before a loving and just God who created us all and sharing your reasons for treating some he created differently with a sneer and try picturing how He might respond.