Friday, February 22, 2013

Running on Fumes

It’s been an insane week. I’m running on fumes (and caffeine) to get me through the days. I don’t have the energy to go into all that we’ve been doing this week. In a nutshell: lame horse, pregnant mare, sick baby, hospital visits, major surgery, more hospital visits, no sleep, snow storm, bad roads, ice, ice, and more damn ice.

I’ve taken to composing little ditties when I’m rushing through chores.

Hoses are heavy,
Buckets are too.
Any way you look at it,
You know you’re screwed.

 I know, not appropriate but that’s just what it is.

The worst part, I was out feeding horses last night in the snow at 10pm after another hospital visit and got a bloody nose. I hate bloody noses but it’s ten times worse when you’re out throwing hay. Hay sticks everywhere and throw in a little bit of blood and I had hay and blood all over me. I came in from chores last night and told Mike I got into a fight with the hay. I’m not exactly sure who won.

I’m ready for a quiet weekend but I don’t see that happening.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Learning Curve

I think someone was telling me something yesterday, or possibly saved my sorry butt.  I had drill team practice last night and I didn’t want to be late. I’m trying my hardest to be on time or early these days instead of always forever late!
So I pulled onto the gravel and only had about four miles to go. I was happily puttering along and thought something didn’t feel right. Apparently the gravel road was all ICE. Before I knew it, the truck and trailer were at a 45 degree angle to the road! I can honestly say, I few naughty words fell out of my mouth. The ditch was completely full of snow so going into the ditch would have resulted in totally burying the truck in a snow drift and subsequently leaving the trailer to sit on the road precariously (if it didn’t also go into the ditch) and potentially cause an additional accident because it was dark out.
Luckily Rain kept calm during our sliding experience but from now on, I’ll make sure to keep a closer eye on the snow/ice patches when I’m driving. Rain didn’t even seem to care when I unloaded him but I was sure rattled. I’ve had a horse toss the trailer around and make me feel uncomfortable but never have I hit ice while pulling. I’m just glad I didn’t have the big gooseneck. That would have definitely been an accident.  It was a good learning experience for me that I’ll not forget quickly.
In more exciting and fun news, the neighbor’s mare is about ready to foal. Or at least I think so. Every day I go out to take care of her, she gets bigger and bigger. Her owner said it could be any day now. I let her out into her pen during the day and we’ll be stalling her at night. In case she decides to foal during the day while I’m at work, I’m going to cover her entire pen in straw too. I’m sure she’ll wait until night but I don’t want to take any chances.  I have a feeling she’ll foal while Mike is in the hospital. I’ll be glad when we are finally done visiting the hospital and dealing with all these family health issues. Knock on wood that they’ll be done for a long time after Monday.
I am slowly working on the fundraiser. I am getting more and more excited as each day passes by. I am nervous because this is my first fundraiser and I want it to be a success. The more items I see that are donated to the silent auction, the more I think I’ll have to get a bidder number and bid on a few items! The generosity of people amazes me. I am so excited for the fundraiser and for everyone else to see all the wonderful items up for silent auction (and bake sale), and simply for sale.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Proactive vs. Reactive

I feel like we are always in Reactive Mode instead of Proactive Mode. It’s a little frustrating but I guess you learn to live with it until we can get caught up. I was looking at pictures of the herd the other day. I’ve taken to looking at the picture and then looking at the environment around the main focus of the picture. I’m not sure when I started doing that but least to say, what I saw in the picture disgusted me. It wasn’t exactly a flattering picture of one of the herd, but what really disgusted me was the extra clutter and junk in the background. It looked dreadful.
As I’ve said in other posts, we moved in to an old farm that used to run cattle. The horses are currently in the old, cleaned out feedlot but it still leaves much to be desired. If you think horses are hard on fencing and equipment, cattle are way worse. The previous owners made due with the feedlot fencing and we have been too up until now. Now we simply look trashy.
We fixed some of the fencing in the drylot last fall. When you run cattle in a feedlot, the nitrogen in the soil rots fenceposts and trees more quickly than out in a pasture. After seven years of having horses in the drylot after having cattle in the same location for ten plus years prior, the wood fenceposts started rotting away and we were left to scramble to make repairs. Now that one fenceline is repaired, we have another fenceline that is deplorable. I’ve ignored it for as long as I can but this summer we are going to have to tackle the issue.
The problem, the original fenceposts were halfway concreted in to the ground. So now there’s no way to replace the fenceposts in the same location but we also now have to deal with a two foot concrete dropoff. It’s a bit hard to explain and I’m too embarrassed to take pictures to explain it better.  I think the original setup was thought out but the maintenance has gone on too long (even before we got there). I have some extravagant ideas I’d like to do for that particular portion of the fenceline. I doubt we’ll be able to do it due to cost but a girl can always dream.
I know it’s time to do something about the fenceline though.  Maverick was waiting for the four hard keepers to finish up their grain and for me to toss out hay last night. To keep himself entertained, he took to fiddling with a portion of the debilitated fenceline. One of these days, Maverick’s antics are going to take that entire fence down and we’ll have a loose herd on our hands. I feel bad that Maverick is bored (if he would only have worked for drill team!)
So this summer I’m going to have to see if I can scrounge up enough money to buy enough fencing materials to repair that fenceline. It’s fairly short but it’s going to be a bit of an issue to get it to work correctly (and look nice). We also need to paint the hay barn. It’s been looking worse and worse every year and I think this summer is the year we finally tackle scraping and painting the old barn. It’s time the outbuildings get a facelift. Hopefully this year we can focus on repairs and possibly do some proactive work instead of reactive to whenever things break.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Survived the Blizzard

We survived the blizzard. Every time I would check the weather, the predictions would change. But it sure doesn’t feel like it was as bad as other storms. I think the storm was much worse the farther north and west. I don’t know how much snow we actually got because of the wind but we had some decent drifts but nothing like past storms.  It was a heavy snow that covered the ice so we’ll see if we have to deal with ice and snow or just snow.
It doesn’t help that the stock trailer came off its block and rolled a little. I was using it as a wind block for the boarder’s horse but I should have repositioned it before unhooking it from the truck Friday night. That’ll teach me not to calk the wheels. Always a learning experience when dealing with trailers! Tonight I have to figure out how to jack the trailer up so I can get it half way level to get the truck underneath.
I’m definitely ready for spring. Groundhog or no groundhog, I think we still have a few more weeks of winter to contend with. Luckily the hay supply is holding out but I am hoping that we can stretch it out farther so that next year we won’t have to buy as much. The stress of buying hay is getting to me. If we have another drought, I’m not sure what we’ll do.
Mike was happily working on the horseshoe boot rack and horseshoe cross candle holder. They look awesome! We are going to do a raffle both Saturday and Sunday at the SD Horse Fair. I’ll try to post a few pictures so you can see what amazing work he does. He’s also been playing around with a few other horseshoe designs. We are considering putting those up for sale or silent auction at the fundraiser on March 23rd. The fundraiser is slowly coming along. I picked up a few more items for the kids. I’m excited but nervous. This will be the first fundraiser I’ve ever put on for the Sanctuary and I am desperately hoping it’s a success.  But there’s so much to do and so little time to get everything accomplished. I know I should have been working on stuff yesterday but it was so nice to relax and enjoy a blizzard day instead. I still have my priorities (family first)!
I’m hoping that this week will be quiet. We are not so patiently waiting for next week and Mike’s dr appointment. The Bear is also getting sick with another bug. So if you don’t happen to hear from me for the next few days, it’s because we are dealing with yet another round of sickness at our house.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blizzard You Say?

Apparently I’m oblivious to all weather these days. I knew there was talk of rain turning into snow Saturday night into Sunday. But this morning as I was driving in to the paying job, I heard that we are now in a Blizzard Watch. Oh good grief!
I’m not ready for a blizzard! But I guess it all depends on how much snow we actually get. No one wants to predict the actual snow/rain amounts just yet. Last I heard, the weathermen were looking at three different models. One showed that we would have heavy amounts of snow. One showed that we’d get at least some snow. One showed we wouldn’t get any snow. Figures! I guess if we get snow, we get snow. But it does make it hard to plan anything. Luckily I have everything planned for Saturday late morning/early afternoon so I can get home, get water tanks filled, and be done before the first rain drop (or snowflake) falls.
I’m looking forward to the moisture. Maybe now I won’t worry so much. But it would be nice to avoid the artic blast of cold air and the wind chills. I’m going to have to do some rearranging now that we have Copelin. I was going to give her one stall but then put the corral panel in to divide the stalls (yes our barn is all goofy and we don’t have fancy stalls, just homemade makeshift stalls). Well the corral panel is too big. So I decided I would simply give her two stalls (which would be long and narrow). But with the pending blizzard, I’d rather have more horses in the barn than out. So now I’m not sure who will go in. The horses are just going to have to deal with funky sized stalls for the evening if they want to be in out of the wind.
Hopefully the wind will be out of the northwest. If it’s out of the east, it’ll be unpleasant for everyone. I need to move some more corral panels in case the wind is out of the east. I’ve lucked out and had the wind protect the mares and ponies so no putting them in stalls. But if the wind is out of the east for this storm, I’ll have to put them in the hay shed. I also need to figure out how to fix the big barn door on the east. It’s been broken for over a year now (I was too sick and too pregnant to care when it finally stopped working). But we used to always use the big door but now that it’s broken, I use the smaller doors. No big deal except the door isn’t quite shut all the way. It’s slightly adjar thanks to the horses messing with it and pushing it around just a little. How they can push a door open when I thought it was permanently stuck, I have no idea! Oh what I would give for a decent barn with decent stalls and easy access to everything.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we will bypass the storm. As much as I would like to have a day off, this time around, I really want to go to the paying job. I guess we’ll see how the weekend progresses.  I’ll try to post again later today but not sure how this weekend will go.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I can’t seem to get it together this week. I heard rumblings this morning that we are expected to get some weather over the weekend. It’s the first I’ve heard of it. I’ve been so preoccupied with other things that I haven’t had time to pay any attention to the weather.
We’ve actually had some decent weather lately. I’m a little nervous that the warmer temps, that I’m loving, are an indication of the many months ahead (hot with little to no rain). But I guess we’ll just wait and see.  But the weatherman is calling for some sort of moisture Saturday night. Depending on which model they use, we could either get rain or snow.  One of the models is even calling for about five or six inches of snow. Somehow I don’t believe that. But it would be nice to get some moisture into the ground, although at this point everything is still frozen.
I’ve been enjoying our new boarder these past few days. I wasn’t exactly sure if I would like her but she’s a doll. She has a wonderful owner that very much cares for this little mare. She settled in right away and greets me whenever she sees me.  Monday night, I let her out of the barn and put her into her pen. Unfortunately that pen is adjacent to the big herd’s drylot. I was a little nervous but I threw hay to everyone to distract them. It seemed to work. There was a little bit of sniffing noses, squealing, and that little mare knows how to throw a hoof but otherwise, it was pretty low-key. She’s getting bigger by the day too. I need to find out when she’s due but I do think it’s fairly soon. I need to get a few more things ready for her to have the foal. I don’t want to be caught off guard like when Savanna had Sir Prize (aka Jett).  I do really like that little mare. I’m not a mare person but she’s got such a friendly personality. She reminds me of a younger version of Flower and Queen. She doesn’t yet have the wisdom those two had but she has the caring personality that I so very much miss. She’s nothing like Rabbit and Mayhem who want to be in charge. So I’m glad that I said yes to bringing on a boarder for a short time. Having Coplin with us makes the losses dull just a little. And to think, she was a $5 horse.
I was thinking about it this morning on the drive to work. We have lost a lot of family members since 2007 but for the past three years we’ll have new family members. Ok so Coplin isn’t ours nor will the foal but he/she will be born on Borderlands ground so he/she will feel like one of our own family! In 2011 Sir Prize (aka Jett) was born at Borderlands. Last year the Bear was born. And now we’ll have the new little foal born. It’s a warming feeling knowing that we are saying hello instead of goodbye.
If I don’t post much over the next few days it’s simply because we are busy or I’m totally stressed out and don’t know what to say (not that I don’t have stuff to say but I sometimes can’t put a full thought together). We are slowly working on getting things ready for the fundraiser. Mike finished one of the raffle items that we will be raffling off at the South Dakota Horse Fair. I’ll get a picture of it soon to post online for everyone to see. It’s pretty neat. I almost wish we could keep it! Maybe I’ll talk him into throwing a couple bucks into the raffle just to add to the numbers! But if you have any ideas for the fundraiser or want to be a part of it, please let me know. All proceeds will go directly to the horses!!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Guardian Angels

I don’t know what we would do without our supporters.  Least to say, the last few days have been emotionally draining for me. Thursday late afternoon, I was preparing myself for dealing with chores in the freezing cold temperatures when I got the call. Mike had to go in to the hospital for some tests. We didn’t know what was going on or how long they would last but as the hours passed by, I knew I wouldn’t make it home to do chores. The horses absolutely had to have hay to make it through the subzero temperatures and wind chills. Luckily everyone was able to get out of the wind but they needed hay!
I called up our guardian angel supporters and they willingly went out to do chores in subzero temperatures and even colder wind chills. I think if we didn’t hit an all-time record low that night, we were very close. I am at an absolute loss for words on how grateful I am for their help during such a very stressful time. They didn’t even hesitate when I asked. Their kindness overwhelms me and leaves me speechless (which is hard to do).  From the bottom of my heart, thank you S and E!!!
Luckily the temps started to rise over the weekend so when we finally made it home Friday evening, the horses were happy to see us. I did the shortened version of chores, checked everyone over just to say hello, and went in and crashed for the night by 9pm.
Saturday we celebrated Mike’s birthday at Mom and Dad’s so not much got done with the horses. I think they were happy to just enjoy the warmer weather for a change. Sunday I grabbed Zeke for drill team practice. Luckily this time I didn’t take the wrong entrance or get stuck! When we finished up with practice, another amazing supporter came out to help trim Ivan’s feet. In the past, he had given our farrier a work over but our amazing supporter volunteered to give it a try. Luckily Ivan behaved for the most part. I think he’s become accustomed to laziness so he wasn’t as bad as in the past. The only real problem is that he has very hard black feet! I guess I always thought Thoroughbreds had softer feet. That’ll teach me to assume.  
About the time everyone was sitting down to enjoy the Super Bowl, I hopped back into the truck to pick up the neighbor’s pregnant mare. She didn’t want to load last night but I don’t blame her. The trailer was dark (took the stock trailer instead of the gooseneck), it was cold, and it was something fairly new. But after a bit of coaxing, Copelin loaded and we hauled her back to the Sanctuary. She’ll be staying with us until after she foals. The neighbor’s fencing situation isn’t the greatest so we offered a stall in our barn until later this spring. I’ve seen a lot of “Pay It Forward” this year already and I wanted to continue with that trend. We’ve had so many people offer to help us that I wanted to repay the favor.  When we unloaded her, we tucked her in a stall for the night. She’s a very gorgeous little paint and I look forward to getting to know her. I think she’s due very soon. I decided that it would be safest to keep her in the barn today while I was at work. Tonight when I go out to do chores, I’ll put her in the pen. The only catch is the pen she’ll be staying in is right next to all the geldings. If it becomes too much for the mare, I’ll put Bo back into the big herd and move Copelin to Bo’s pen. The hospital ward will turn into the ol’ mares’ pen instead. I’m sure Babe would appreciate a softer and more feminine touch than Bo.  Bo still picks on Babe every chance he gets. He better get his picking in now, because this summer, he’ll be back out with the big herd and have to deal with the “big bullies” picking on him instead.
The fundraiser we have scheduled in March is already in the works. We have a few people working on items for the silent auction. It’s such a great feeling to know there are such good people willing to help out for our cause.  I haven’t been able to focus much of my attention on the fundraiser, but I’m hoping this week will settle down and I can get a few things figured out.  Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more updates.