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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.  

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.