Sunday, February 24, 2008

Our local paper had an article on Hypertufa. I had never heard of it before. There would be a class in town at the Hilltop Gardens on how to make your own hypertufa planters. It looked so interesting that I emailed them that I would like to attend. A couple of days later I received an answer that the class was full. Another one would be scheduled. That one was yesterday. It was lots of fun. We were given the recipe to go home and make our own. We each made one while at the class and since they have to cure a week before they can be taken out of the forms, I won't be able to bring it home until next Saturday. Here is a link if you would like more information about these intesting planters.

The instructor said they needed 12 people to enroll to be able teach the class and they had 90 people register! They had to put on several classes to accomodate everyone.

I love gardening and flowers. Can't hardly wait until it warms up outside. Did I mention that I hate winter? Ick! I want to get my hands in the dirt again!

My new Barefoot Trimmer is coming again Tuesday afternoon. His first time was January 14. I'm anxious to hear if he thinks Solomons feet have improved since his last visit. I think they have. Solomon is going to be 19 this spring. He is 16 hands, and has big feet and a huge head! He is a registered Tennessee Walker, flaxen maned, red roan. He has always even as a very young horse, grown a thick, long coat in the winter, more than any of my other horses. His legs are so hairy, you would think he was a draft! I helped bring him into this world and he will always be my baby. He used to be my primary riding horse, but he has arthritis in his right stifle joint, from an old surgery when he was a 2 year old, so he is mostly a pasture pet. I can ride him on level ground for short periods, but that is all. He will always have a home with me.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Yesterday, we had some really nasty weather here. We already had about an inch of snow, but during the day yesterday it started to snow a little, soon turned to sleet with some rain. Temperature was 19 degrees. I usually work from 8:00 to 3:30. I always worry about our three horses when the weather is bad and I'm at work. Their lot is seperate from the barn, across the driveway.

The horses have a large run in shed at the north end of their lot, and their heated water tank is at the south end of the lot. When the ground is frozen they don't want to walk all the way down through those frozen hoofprints to drink. They will once a day, but don't drink as often as they should. And what is the shed for? To keep them out of the weather if they so choose. But if the weather is nasty, they almost always stand outside in what ever weather we are having. We have a hay feeder in the shed and they will eat their hay, even take naps laying down in the shed. But let the weather turn ugly and they stand outside!

After putting them inside, and giving them a slice of hay, Katie gave me a warm, whiskery kiss. Made it all worth it. Frozen fingers, heavy winter clothes, cold feet, the whole winter thing. Have I mentioned that I hate winter?

When I arrived home they were outside, had icicles hanging on their whiskers, manes, everywhere. They looked at me with hope and anticipation to "get us out of here!" Of course I did, but that is the reason we built the shed, right?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sawdust and Woodpeckers

I love to feed the birds and watch their antics at the feeder. Here is a photo that I took Sunday morning. Last winter there were four of these Pileated Woodpeckers feeding. Usually I only see one at a time. This was a surprise. Her is more information about these large birds:

My horses will sleep well for the next 6 to 8 weeks or so. This afternoon, after work, we had a load of sawdust delivered. It is clean, bright and beautiful and smells good too.
My husband is quite ingenious. After shoveling the sawdust one too many times from the back of a pickup truck, he remembered using a grain elevator on the farm where he grew up. He found a used one for about 60.00 and set it up in our barn doorway. He had previously fully enclosed one of our stalls, except for a small section above the doorway, for the top of the elevator.
We had the sawdust dumped from the truck right on a huge tarp, right next to the elevator. We shoveled it into the hopper and the job was done in no time and bedding is ready to use. I feel so much better now, knowing it is there.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I was pleasantly surprised to receive an award from Victoria at . This award came from Diane at Mind Sieve . You can go to her site and pick up your award also. She asks that it be passed on to 10 of your favorite blogs. Here are a few that I enjoy reading. I don't have 10 to pass it on to, but I'll do my best. I am not a computer whiz as it took me most of the day to figure out how to do this! I really do need some computer classes!!





Here is one of my quilt blocks that will eventually be made into a quilt and be raffled off for the Days End Horse Rescue in Maryland. Here is the link if anyone wants to check it out. I have my other one half done. It is very different from this one.

Maddie hates to be out in the rain. Since it was 60 degrees today, I left them outside. It rained off and on all day, but the wind was gusting to 50 miles an hour at times. She was getting irritated. She would sling her head in a circle, round and round. It sure looks like it would make her dizzy, but she does it often. She does it when she is impatient to come in for her supper too, or if she thinks the weather is just too icky for her delicate self. She doesn't like mud either, although that is all we have around here right now. Solomon is very stoic, he just takes whatever comes and doesn't bat an eye. When it comes to getting shots he acts as though he never feels them, he doesn't flinch or move a muscle. Poor Maddie starts to tense as soon as the vet walks up to her. She is such a princess. It will be fun this summer. She will be 5 in May, and I still haven't ridden her yet, but this is her summer to become a trail horse!

Friday, February 15, 2008


Cleaning horse stalls. Is this an icky job for you? Do you like doing it? Maybe I'm the odd duck, because I like cleaning stalls. Turning chaos into neatness. This is my quiet time, time to reflect on the happenings of the day, on the horses, on life in general. Sifting out the crud and laying a new bed down. Sorting my thoughts and pondering problems. When I worked on the Arabian Horse Farm, we had 2 barns, total of 27 stalls. I liked doing it then and I still do, even though now I only have 3 to do. Since I'm not paid to do it anymore, my three are enough. The horses enjoy them and our young cats like playing in it too.

I'm really getting so tired of cold and mud. I want to ride, but I hate being cold with a passion! And all the mud makes it so sloppy everywhere. If I were to ride ( I don't have an arena) it leaves deep hoof marks and pockets in the ground. We live on a hill, so it is either up or down hill to ride to anywhere, and when it is so soft everywhere, it really tears up the ground. So I don't until it dries up somewhat. But I'm itching to get back in the saddle!

On another note, had a wonderful visit with Mom, and two sisters. They came up to visit Moms dentist and get her dentures adjusted. We went out to lunch at Panera Bread and visited a couple of other shops. I had my little boys with me and they were very good boys. Being 2 1/2 years old, you expect them to be a bit unruly, but they were so good. No, they weren't sick either!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Having had a metabolically challenged horse, I am being extra careful with the remaining three. I never ever want to go through that again. of the best things I can do for their well being is to feed them a balanced diet. They are on dry lot only and that makes it extra important to get their nutrition the best that it can be. We buy our hay in summer and usually get 600 bales to last us until the next season of hay is cut. We have purchased our hay from the same farmer for the last 4 or 5 years. It is a mixed grass. We have bought it for 2.50 a bale until this last summer. We had such a drought that there wasn't any hay to buy. Hay was brought in last summer for 8.00 to 10.00 a bale for small squares of grass hay. I've recently seen it in our local paper for 5.00 to 8.00. Our farmer sold us his for 3.00 and we feel blessed to have gotten it. It was mid October when we got the bulk of it as the weather was not very cooperative. Ok, back to the balanced diet. I sent cored hay samples to a Forage lab and had a sugar, starch and mineral analysis done, so that I would know if there were deficiencies of any minerals in the hay. Once I received that, I could then balance the hay properly. I had some help to interpret the analysis, then purchased the needed minerals and add them to each horses' supper.
Horses were designed to eat forage, not sweet molasses and other sugars. It is especially important to a horse with Insulin Resistance. Sugar is a death sentence, as in developing laminitis. It is a devastating disease and very painful for the horse. Having been through this with my Rocky Mountain gelding I am doing everything in my power to avoid it with Solomon, Katie and Maddie. Even though I don't think they are IR, I want to give them a solid, balanced diet.
Do they like this new diet? (I have only been doing this since January 3, this year). I suppose the minerals taste funny. Katie picks at hers but it is almost always gone by morning. The other two eat it with no problems. The trick now is to find something that she thinks is yummy to mask the flavor a bit. I expect to see a difference in their coats when they shed out in the spring. I did this for the Rocky and it made a visable difference in his coat and in his general well being.
Is this a lot of work? Not really. Is it expensive? Not really. It could be, depending on what the hay was missing or an excess that would need to be balanced out. Since the horses are not where they can range far and wide to feed themselves, it is up to me to give them a balanced and complete diet, right? I think so. I will do my best to keep you three healthy.
Apple Spice Cake

1 stick of margarine (I used butter as it is what I had on hand)
1/2 cup solid shortening
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
5 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup seedless raisins

Prheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt pan. ( I think a 13 x 9 inch would work well also).
Cream together the margarine (or butter), shortening and sugar.
Add in eggs and mix until fluffy.
Mix in flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
The batter will be very creamy.
Fold in apple chunks, pecans and raisins.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes. (I had to bake mine for 60 minutes in a Bundt pan, but a 13 x 9 would likely bake about 40 minutes).
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from pan (if using a Bundt pan) and let cool completely on a wire rack.


5 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in brown sugar and salt.
Cook, stirring until the sugar melts.
Add the milk, bring to a boil, and pour into a mixing bowl.
Cool for 10 minutes.
Stir in confectioners sugar and vanilla.
Beat well. ( I wanted a soft frosting so I added enough more milk to make it 'pourable' over the Bundt cake). Add more confectioners sugar or milk to make is as thick or thin as you like.

I took this to work with me and was told it was 'to die for'!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Katie, the Mom

Maddie, the daughter

I found this "Horse Quirks" on another horse lovers blog and thought I would list some of my horses' strange quirks too. There are lots of things the three of them come up with but here are my six:

1. Maddie has this weird thing she does with her tongue that just drives my husband crazy! she sticks her tongue in and out rapidly and makes slurpy noises. And she especially like to do it if she can find a puddle or even in the water tank.

2. Katie has this cute habit of holding up her right front leg, folded at the knee, while she is waiting for me to put her supper in her feeder.

3. Solomon is a licker. He will lick my hand for a long time. It is almost like a kiss, so glad to see you again!

4. Katie will lay her head on your shoulder and shut her eyes. A horse hug?

5. Solomon will eat anything as a treat! If he hears a crinkle of paper or a wrapper, he will come from anywhere as long as he is within hearing distance to see what you have brought for him! The mares are a bit more picky.

6. Maddie plays in her water so often at night that she has to have the bucket locked to the stall wall. She will kick it and throw it around and bang it back and forth. The more noise the better!