Thursday, January 22, 2015

January Thaw

I had such high hopes yesterday of taking pictures and getting them posted online. Neither happened. I did go out the other day just before the sun set and snapped a few pictures of the horses. They aren't flattering pictures but I wanted them for the 2015 cheat sheet. I can't believe that it's already mid-late January and I havent' gotten anything accomplished. I'll blame sickness in our household for losing three weeks worth of productivity.

I'm hoping tonight to find the camera and at minimum, download the few pictures I took. I'm still trying to figure out if I can swing the two photo challenges that are going on this month. If I do, it'll be a mad dash to get them all done before the end of the  month and it'll all come at once. I guess procrastination is my middle name.

I also need to get ready for  my Empowerment Ventures class that's coming up this Saturday. I can at least say that I finally found the flash drive that's been missing since Christmas! Now to play catchup before class to get all my homework done.

I hate to say it, but from mid-December to now has been an absolute blur. On the bright side, we are in the middle of a January thaw and it's GLORIOUS! The snow is melting and chores are a thousand times easier to manage. What a difference 20 degrees  makes... we're in the 30F temps and it's lovely! It makes me want to start planning for warmer weather and all the fun activities I want to do for the Sanctuary and all the necessary work that needs to get done around the Sanctuary. If I'm not careful, that list will triple before we are done with winter. But for now, I'll be happy when doing chores that my hands don't freeze to the gates and that the buckets of water I haul don't freeze me into my coveralls when I splash water everywhere.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winning Streak

I don't want to jinx it but good things are happening around the Sanctuary. Maybe it's just the good old fashioned "do unto others as you'd want them to do to you", finally paying off.

Back in November/December, our local tack shop, Horse N Hound (http://horsenhoundsd.net/) had a Holiday/Customer Appreciation Day. I like supporting our local stores (especially when they revolve around horses), so we went. Of course I bought stuff. How can you walk out of a tack shop without buying something right? I entered my name in to a drawing, not knowing what the drawing was for but figured, what the heck. I never win anyway but I'm not out anything. Lo and behold, I actually won! Considering I don't win, this was a real treat. I ended up winning a pair of Cruel Girl jeans priced at $60! I don't think I've ever owned a pair of jeans worth that much! I am so grateful to Horse N Hound for hosting the Customer Appreciation Day and for having the drawing! I thought I was one lucky girl!

Then in the beginning of this month, I was puttering around on Twitter and Horse Health Products was doing a promo. Sure, I'll retweet something to win a chance at getting a free Ivermectrin wormer. Heck, any chance to help cut down on the cost of deworming horses! Five people would be drawn. Guess I was one of the lucky five! How cool is that?

Things like this don't happen to me, so I'm happier than a lark. It does pay to support others in their endeavors!

Speaking of Horse N Hound. This past weekend, Mike was busy welding and  making some horseshoe art. He stopped in to Horse N Hound and talked with the owner, Amanda. She's letting us display Mike's horseshoe art at her store. So, if you're interested in any horseshoe art, stop on out to Horse N Hound. Mike took only a few designs because he didn't want to take up too much wall space, but he can make just about anything. I'm hoping that with the sale of one or two pieces, Mike might take a few more fancier pieces in to see if they sell. I'm not exactly sure what he took in but I think it's a star, small coat/bridle rack, and cross. All proceeds of these horseshoe art pieces will go directly to caring for the Sanctuary horses. Go check it out!

Friday, January 16, 2015

One Person

So much for 2015 being a good health year. I've spent the last two and a half days sicker than a dog. My son managed to get pneumonia some time over New Years and we'd been dealing with that. I couldn't take it any more and went in Wednesday only to be told that I have walking pneumonia. It's the first time I've ever had pneumonia. Not something I'd wish on another being.

Least to say, absolutely nothing has gotten accomplished the last few days.

On the bright side, the weather is finally warming up. I had just enough energy yesterday to pull blankets while out doing chores. That's right. Even with pneumonia, the horses still needed to be fed and watered. Doesn't matter if you're sick, animals still need to be taken care of.

Of course, what would have taken me 20 minutes to accomplish took me an hour. But it was nice to get some fresh air. I guess the herd wasn't expecting me out so early. They were out in the pasture. I wish I would have had a camera. The sun was just right and it would have made for some beautiful shots. Maybe another time, when I'm feeling better.

I love knowing that the horses have their own blankets but I really do love seeing the bays, blacks, browns, sorrels, grays, and whites rather than a sea of green blankets. I know it sounds silly but I sometimes forget what they look like during the winter when they are sporting their blankets. Don't get me wrong, we check them to make sure the blankets aren't rubbing but I'd much rather see them wearing their own coats rather than blankets all the time.

I'm so ready to soak up some sun.

I was thinking the other evening (in my pneumonia induced sleep), that I haven't been on a vacation in years. Now, don't get me wrong. We go on our annual family vacation to the Black Hills. But I'm talking an all inclusive vacation some place tropical. Most people save up for a few years and head to Cancun or Mexico. I can't remember the last time I went on a serious (out of the state and somewhere tropical) type vacation or even on a vacation not within the surrounding states. The last time we sort of went on a "vacation" where there were beaches and salt water was March 2006. In fact, it might have been considered a vacation but it was really only to see family. In fact, Mike and I will have been married for five years come June. We didn't even go on a honeymoon. Our honeymoon consisted of renting a cabin at the local state park that's a few miles away from the house.

You know why...because of the Sanctuary. I wasn't going to rant but I guess I am. I'll blame it on being sick. I am the Sanctuary. I am one person. Oh sure I have a few helpers and volunteers from time to time but the day to day activities fall on my shoulders. The decision to bring in a horse falls on my shoulders. The decision to let one go falls on my shoulders. I see so often people telling me they can only afford so many horses and they want me to take one on so they can get a "useful" horse. How is it that that person can't afford another horse but expect me to? Because I sacrifice my life for each horse. I guess that's why. I had someone look me in the eye awhile back and said they had such and such a broodmare since she was a yearling and they loaded her and another they had since she was 2 and took them to the Corsica Loose Horse Sale. They didnt' bother doing anything. And then had the audacity to tell me that the hoped both mares found a good home. I'm flabbergasted. The owner signed these mares' death warrant. You don't take a horse to the Corsica Loose Sale and expect them to find a good home. That's the dumping ground for lazy horses. They served their owners for 16 years and that's the thanks that they get. Yet if this person's employer were to cut them after 16 years of service, they would make a bunch of noise and complain. I'm not sure if that's my bigger pet peeve or if someone asks me to take in their 25+ year old horse and when I put a stipulation on saying that they need to provide funds or hay, there's no response. How did I become the bad guy? Why am I being marked as bad for being willing to take in a horse that will be here for a short time, have to adjust to all new routines and horses, and ask for a little bit of help offsetting the major expenses that come with senior horses. I am one person. I am the single person taking care of 15 horses. I am the single person paying for the 15 horses (minus some fundraising). But I also work a full time job, and am a mom (which in itself is a full time job). Try to fit in three full time jobs into 24 hours and ask me how I am to manage. We all should do our part. I'm not saying that chores at the Sanctuary are easy. We don't have automatic waterers at all the pens. We have to haul back two to six five gallon buckets of water back to the mares' pen. It's not a short walk. Add to it, wind, snow, ice, it's not an easy task. We feed from a large square bale so there's individual piles. We could make it easier and are looking at ways to make it easier but we are also making sure that the individual horses are comfortable in their pens/pastures. It's an inconvenience to me but I do it because that's what I'm supposed to do. Would I rather have ALL the horses in one pen so I don't have to haul water. One thousand times yes!! But it's not in the horses' best interest so we separate a few. Don't tell me that it's not possible to separate your horses because one is picking on another. There's always a way. It's simply a matter of personal importance. Horses are a lifetime commitment. If you ask, and I offer but with a stipulation, don't give me a lame answer. I'm actually giving you an easy way out. I'm giving you the opportunity to not be the bad guy yet some how it turns into me asking for the world when in reality, I'm only asking for a small penitence of what is right. I am but one person. And one person can only do so much.

Ok... I'll stop. I'm sorry. I'll get off my soap box and go take some more antibiotics and sleep. Tomorrow will be another day with another horse that needs help.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Photo Challenges

I was going to be so good this year. Post pictures all the time and be less chatty and more photographic. Then sickness hit our house and that's the end of that. I've been sicker than a dog for the past few days. I'm afraid by the time I have time to sit down and actually do anything on the computer at night, I'm sound asleep. So not much is getting done.

There's actually two photo challenges that I want to participate in. The first is from the same organization that hosted a photo challenge back in October. BC CD Ideas. I think I posted about it before I got super sick. I'm going to have to play catch up if I want to participate. The month is already almost half through and I haven't even gotten any decent pictures as of late. The challenge is #NPCommPix. It should be fun coming up with pictures to fit their challenges.

The second challenge comes from Strides for Success (http://stridesforsuccess.com/). It's a wonderful business that I was blessed with the opportunity to have some coaching from the founder, Lorna. I love Lorna.  She's very upbeat and positive. She has wonderful insights and really wants you to succeed. I've loved every minute that I've had with Lorna's coaching and although there's a few time constraints right now, I'll be going back to Lorna for additional coaching in the very near future. I'd love for you to check it out. So Lorna is doing the #SFSHorsePhotoChallenge. This one actually seems tougher than the other challenge but it's way more horse related so for others it might be easier.

I'm excited to participate in both challenges. Now it's just a matter of finding the strength from being sick for so many days to go out and take pictures. We are supposed to be warming up into the low to upper thirties over the next few days. That means blankets are coming off the horses and I'll be able to spend more time outside. I'm SO looking forward to better weather.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ramblings from the Frozen Prairie

I went outside yesterday to do chores and was faced with five inches of snow. I'm sure to some, that wouldn't mean much but with my short stature, it means dragging buckets of water through snow. Luckily Mike went out to push snow about the time I needed to do chores. I hate hauling water. I hate hauling water through snow even more.

But the snow is all piled up so hopefully it'll stay there for a few days. We are dealing with subzero temperatures and subzero wind chills. It took 1.5 hours to get everyone tucked into their stalls last night. I'm putting everyone in their stalls again tonight. I'm not looking forward to doing chores in below zero temperatures with even colder wind chills. But I can get out of the wind for the most part. And I'm usually hoofing it to get everything done so I'm usually warm throughout all of chores.

We are in a blizzard warning starting at noon tomorrow. I'm not sure what's going to happen. Our road is already blowing shut with just 20 mile an hour wind. I'm not sure what will happen when we get the 30mph sustained winds and 40mph gusts. I'm staying home and working the paying job at home but thinking I'll have to cut out early to take care of animals.

I guess the Farmer's Almanac was right. Normal snow but bitterly cold temperatures. Boy howdy were they spot on. Come January first and we've been dealing with terrible weather.

Unfortunately with Garrett being run down, I'm starting to get run down as well so hopefully I can get my feet up for a few days and relax/recover. The horses dont' seem the worse for wear. Although Dude now demands to get into the barn. I know when it's bad out when Dude insists that he be in the barn instead of just the hard keepers. Unfortunately Dude doesn't understand that if you're one of the first ones in, you're also one of the last ones out. His herd boss mentality doesn't work with me. Jim hangs over the stall wall and pins his ears at all the horses trying to get out of the barn. I don't want to put up a screen because it makes chores harder. I haven't figured out exactly how to fix Jim's bad habit. It's the only time he shows his bad side. Oh what I would give for a 20 stall barn with luxurious stalls that lead right into the drylot and where I dont' have to make sure specific horses are in the barn first before others come in. And a barn aisle. What I would give for a barn aisle. Our barn is all stalls. There's no aisle. Of course with this weather, I'd probably turn any aisles into stalls to make sure everyone was out of the wind.

Even Rabbit is very opinionated about coming in out of the cold at night. She was disgruntled with me this morning when I kicked her out of her stall. She pouted in the corner of her pen until everyone else was eating at the bale. I know when she wants her stall time when I come around the corner and she lets out a gigantic whinny. She's normally not very vocal towards me unless she really wants something.

With everyone wearing blankets and everyone being bored with this cold weather, the horses are getting antsy and naughty. Maverick keeps messing with everyone's blankets. I discovered a new tear in Rain's blanket and I blame it on Maverick. I hope that the weather will get better so I can pull blankets and get Rain's blanket fixed before it gets any worse. There's no money in the budget to buy blankets right now.

Speaking of blankets, I have pictures of Ivan sporting is new to him blanket thanks to Erin from Head Heart Hooves. His new blanket fits him perfectly (so does Junior's blanket).

I'm hoping that we won't have too many  more cold spells and we'll be over all the sicknesses at the Border household soon. I'd really like to get 2015 rolling on a good start instead of frozen on the prairie.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

#NPCommPix - January 2015

I know I'm a few days late on this one (just found it actually) but think we'll participate. I had so much fun the last time.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Stresses

I have a son who's home sick with pneumonia, a hubby who's stuck in town for jury duty, and a snowstorm coming in and dropping anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow (possibly 1-2 inches per hour). So much for 2015 being an easier year. If I wasn't stressed out about one thing, I'd be stressed out about another. Lets hope the wind doesn't pick up like the weatherman is predicting so hubby can get home before the roads blow shut. Not sure how to take care of all the Sanctuary horses when my son is home sick. Oh the stresses of running a Sanctuary and having children.