Thursday, September 29, 2016

Meeting Dignity

I know this is totally unhorse related but I thought I would share a few photos as the days/weeks progress and we get further into fall/winter. I took a TON of fall pictures while out in the Black Hills and want to share. But today I want to share a beautiful statue that was dedicated mid-September. We had the chance to "meet" Dignity on a stop heading home from the Hills.

For those trying to figure out how tall Dignity is, Mike (the guy in black) is 6 ft 2 in. Kinda neat to see a new "monument" go up. And to think my kiddos will always know this monument to be at this location.

You can read more about Dignity if you go to South Dakota Magazine.


And I promise to post horse pictures soon. Trying to get caught up but some things I just want to share.

Pony Gods

You would think by now that I would have it together. But...I don't.

In the past two weeks, I have been home seven days (and not all consecutive). So it makes planning a few fundraisers a bit tricky.

Way back in April, we bought tickets to "Day out with Thomas"...that's Thomas the Tank Engine for those that don't have kids. The adventure took place near Ames, Iowa and that meant a car ride and a weekend trip into Iowa. We did more than just the "Thomas" thing to make the trip worthwhile (including a steam engine tractor event, the Madison County Museum, and a couple  of the covered bridges of Madison County). We pushed our limits on that trip and didn't get home until late...and then had to go right into the paying job the next day.

But what did we do the following weekend, head to the Black Hills for our final family vacation before winter sets in and we are snow bound. This trip has been on the books since about April as well but I didn't really put two and two together until we were only a few days away from both vacations. It's been a whirlwind adventure and nice to get away and see some of the sights (and colors of fall). We pushed our limits on this trip as well but luckily today is the "work from home" day so I'm not as stressed. Usually after coming back from the Black Hills, I'm re-energized but I haven't been for the past couple of years (thanks to kids).

You'd think that I would either schedule a fundraiser BEFORE or a month AFTER these busy vacations but nope, not me. Now the next two weekends see me scrambling to get fundraisers going to help offset the cost of hay. I need to do some research on grants but cant' seem to find the time. By the time I'm done with the paying job, caring for the kids, getting them to bed, and then doing chores (in the dark), I'm beat. And with the sun setting at 7pm (and going up at 7am), I don't see much daylight any more.

Oh the vacations were worth it. I wish I could be on vacation permanently or better yet, run the Sanctuary as a full time job rather than on the side, trying to run it as a full time job but finding very little time to get the bare minimum done, let alone everything else.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to live in chaos for the rest of my life. And with that chaos comes disrepair. So if you happen to stop out, don't expect pristine conditions (not that anyone does) and possibly expect things falling apart (but hopefully no loose horses). 

And I have to tell a story, and I'm sad to even admit it. I moved the ponies over to a different spot so that we could go to the Hills (and they would be on "auto-pilot" so I wouldn't have to ask anyone to feed them). I had to move corral panels last week. I'd had the ponies there before so it wasn't a big deal. I prefer to move ponies a day or two ahead of time to work out the kinks. It's a good thing because Skippy was standing on the other side of the fence. I apparently didn't secure the corral panel well enough. I don't want anyone looking after the place to have such a surprise as a loose horse.

I fixed the corral panel and put Skippy back in. I went to check a few other water tanks and other such things and was walking through where the ponies were. Only to discover my HUGE mistake. A horror of all horrors. And yet, I was totally amazed. Apparently the ponies hadn't gotten to walking around the entire "pasture" or they would have had the time of their lives. When  I'd moved the ponies to a different part of the lawn, I'd had to use all the corral panels. Well, when I was putting the corral panels up for this past weekend, I apparently FORGOT to put up two corral panels in a small section of the "pasture". The ponies could have, at any time over 24 hours, walked out and run all amuck to never let me catch them again. But they never even noticed. I tried to be sneaky and get the corral panels up in the open spot of the "pasture" without them noticing. They didn't even care. I think the Pony Gods were looking out for me.

So, here's two the next few days of me scrambling around trying to get things back in order after being gone and getting things ready for the two upcoming fundraisers!

Fall colors in the Black Hills (sorry for the glare, I didn't roll down the window)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hay, Nets, and Corral Panels

Had a busy night last night getting everything rearranged. Mike unloaded the big round bale out of my truck and dumped it into the smaller pen.  Unfortunately, it landed on it's side so I wasn't able to get the haynet on. Those bales are a tad too big for the hay nets. Hopefully the mares and Junior wont' completely destroy the bale and pee all over it.

We are going to have to bring a load of hay home for the big herd in the next week or so and start round bales.

When I brought Junior and Lace home, I dumped them into the pasture with Rabbit and Mayhem. But after getting the haynet half way on, I had to go in search of the mares and Junior and get them switched over (and get their tank filled).

I think everyone was content to sit in front of the bale and eat. I guess that means the pasture is either done or very nearly done anyway. But I do want to move them back to the pasture once I get more fencing done. Fencing and repairs are the bane of my existence.

When we moved the bale in, I had Mike take one of the cattle hay rings and put it on the bale. The other two horse hay rings I knew I'd need in the big pen. I am on the look out for another horse hay feeder ring but in the meantime the cattle one will have to work and hopefully the horses don't rub too much of their mane off (and Lace doesnt' get stuck). She couldnt' figure out how to back up and not lift her neck up to catch the top ring. Crazy mare.

But the cattle hay ring was in the pony pasture so I had to get them tied up. While they were standing not so patiently tied to the trailer, I went ahead and moved corral panels around so that they'd have one last place to graze before I'm back to feeding hay morning and night. They didnt' seem overly impressed with me moving then, which is a shock to me. I figured they'd run and jump and fart all over the place but instead they hung out watching me. So I'm not sure if that's a sign that I havent' been around much or that they were displeased with me making more changes.

But for now, everyone is set for the next couple of days, which is a good thing. We have a few family activities to do so we'll be around but not around. I thought life would get a little slower but it seems to be getting busier and busier these days instead. So I may not post much the next couple of days. Each day getting closer to winter and not getting my to do list done.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Playday Information

Ghetto Style

Caption This!

There's so many options for captioning that image. And Yes, that was me just a little while ago.  I took a long lunch and flew up to Madison to pick up Lace and Junior (if you look hard you can see them in the trailer).

I needed a bale to keep the mares and Junior occupied while I fix fence and I figured I might as well swing passed my hay guy and pick up a bale. I forgot how big his bales are. It was a bit unnerving driving home but we made it as you can see.

Junior and Lace are in the pasture with Mayhem and Rabbit until tonight when we put the bale in. Then we'll play musical pens/pastures and get things moved around.

The ponies need to move to a different part of the lawn too. I foresee a long night in front of me.

But its' all worth it. Junior and Lace both put on weight and Junior is as good of a weight as he'll get until next year. He does so much better on lush grass. I wish I could have taken Bo up as well but he's too pushy. What you don't see are the cockleburs on Junior and Lace. I'll probably roach them. And for anyone that complains and says I'm being mean. I dont' have time to pull 1000 cockle burs from each horse and it's even crueler to leave them in and let the burs fall out. The only other option is for you to volunteer. And  I'd gladly accept that offer.

We didn't put in our order for hay but I did talk with our hay guy and he's trying to figure out prices and set a price for me. So in a little bit we'll know. I need to get a load down in another week or so. I usually start feeding in October and much to my dismay, we WILL start feeding the first of October.

But, that's Sanctuary life

Thursday Rambling

What a difference 12 hours makes. On the last day of summer (yesterday), temps were in the 80s. Today, the first day of fall, temps are in the 60s. Fall is definitely here...and I am NOT ready for it.

We are in the beginning stages of planning for our playday. I didn't do it last year because my mind wasn't totally with it yet. I was on maternity leave and could have held the playday but my mind...well, it wasn't there.

But we definitely need to be doing some major fundraising to help offset hay costs. Our hay guy has always wanted us to pay for hay the following year. Not something I liked but as the years passed, that's just how it was and I got used to it. Then I got an offer for the same quality of hay, cheaper, AND I can pay right then and there instead of waiting to find out what prices will be like (I got schnookered this year for last year's hay).

So now I find myself in a pickle. I had to pay for last year's hay and now I'm scrambling to come up with the money to pay for this year's hay. I know it doesn't make sense but to come up with $8,000 in a couple of months is impossible. Luckily our new hay guy is understanding but it's going to be tight this year. I knew at some point this manner in which we paid for hay was going to bite me in the butt. Unfortunately, it's now when I'm still trying to get myself refocused on the Sanctuary instead of letting it coast. It sort of has to coast when you're pregnant and then have to figure out baby stuff.

But I digress.

Last Friday a neighbor stopped out and asked if we wanted some small square bales of hay. Well of COURSE! We never turn down hay (unless there's a timing issue in that we have to get the paid hay home and the free hay has to wait). So Saturday morning Mike ran over and loaded the stock trailer full of hay. The flat bed is still loaded with alfalfa that was donated and I haven't had time to unload. The alfalfa is a bit trickier as it's drier and not nearly as easy to man handle.

But, we need to bring Junior and Lace home tonight. That meant last night after the kids went to bed, that I had to unload the hay into the the dark. It wouldn't have been too big of a deal but where we put the hay isnt' exactly easy to get into. I tried to drive straight in but that didn't work so had to go through the front and haul each bale through the little door. It didn't take long luckily and it's a great feeling to have some extra hay.

The Farmers Almanac is calling for a bad winter. I had a feeling we would have one. It's been a few years. I'm not talking polar vortex kind of bad but real bad with lots of snow. Hopefully we won't have another year like we did a few years back where the snow was so high on the road that it was like driving through a tunnel (yes, I realize I sound like an old person talking about the "good ol' days").

I also need to pick up a bale of hay. I need to put the mares and Junior into the smaller pen instead of letting them stay in the pasture. I dont' trust Junior to fall out of the pasture again like he did this summer. And with the corn being almost ready to pick, I don't want him out there running around. So until I can get electric up, they will have to stay in their other pen. I know Mayhem is going to start pushing on the fence pretty soon as well. So even more incentive to get it done. Now that we have electric hooked up in the barn to keep the horses off the fence in their pen, it'll be easier to take care of adding electric to the pasture. The only catch is timing. There's just too much to get done with no time at all.

I always overestimate what I can get done and underestimate the length of time it takes. If we were in the middle of summer instead of the first day of fall, the days would be longer and I would push to get stuff done. But with the sun setting at 7pm, it's really hard to get anything done outside.

I am planning on taking a day or two off from the paying job to work on a few projects on the Sanctuary. Blankets need to be washed, repaired, and water proofed and a few outbuildings could do with a scrape and a paint. I don't know how much Ill get done. The blankets are high on the priority list. Unfortunately, I don't see it happening until mid October and by then it'll be chilly washing blankets. My goal was to have them washing in July when it was super hot. But that didn't happen. I guess because there wasn't as much pressure to get them done. Well, now there's pressure. Those blankets haven't been washed and waterproofed in quite a while.

And to add insult to injury, we are still in the middle of two house remodels. It's been since March for the one and June for the other. I know it'll all get done but I'm anxious. Before long snow will fly and everything will end up coming to a complete halt for the projects that I want to work on.

Hopefully after I get over this darn cold, I'll have more energy and can take on a bigger project. I'm going on almost a full week without my voice. Ok, so it's there now but not very good. Luckily I don't spend a lot of time talking (I make up for it by making long posts).

It'll all get done, or it won't and I just have to come to terms with it. But in the meantime, I'll still be a bit panicked. I'm slowly working on the playday fundraiser. I could use some help...spreading the word is the biggest part that I need help with.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Playday Planning

And the planning begins. We are having our annual playday Saturday October 8th at the Cowboy Way Church south of Hartford, South Dakota. I don't have all the games finalized but will very soon. I need to get the show bill figured out ASAP so that I can start posting it to a few Facebook sites.

Now that I've made it official, I'm starting to get nervous. I'm a bit run down from going so hard with non-Sanctuary related activities. I'm afraid I'm going to get burned out soon and I really want to set my focus and attention on the Sanctuary rather than silly stuff like the paying job drama.

We did get an unexpected surprise last Friday. A neighbor stopped over and said he'd donate some small square bales of hay. We were going out of town over the weekend so Mike went first thing Saturday  morning and loaded up the stock trailer full of hay! It's last year's hay but we aren't picky. If we are going to have the winter that I'm thinking we are going to have, we need all the hay we can get.

I  need to unload the hay tonight so that I can pick up Junior and Lace from their "fall" retreat. If the pasture still has anything left, I'll take them back up but I have a feeling that their pasture is done. I also think the  mares' pasture is done too. I didn't get a chance to fix fence so I'll have to put them into the small drylot and pick up a round bale for this coming weekend until I can get the electric fence up and running.  Always so much to do an and so little time to get it all done.

I'm dragging a bit because I caught a terrible head cold and lost my voice in the process. I guess it's a good thing to lose the voice. I'm still opinionated enough online.

Anyway, we are here but super busy. I need to get the ponies moved around to a different part of the yard because they are out of grass again and I'm throwing previous hay. I'd rather hold off on throwing hay until October. I know, October is almost here but still...even a day or two helps.

Anyone want to help with the playday? We need volunteers, donations for name it, we need it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Playday Scheduled

Mark you calendars for TWO fundraisers coming up in October. I don't have all the details but wanted to get the word out as soon as possible.

The first is Sunday, October 2nd. It'll be a costume and other fun type of fundraiser. I still need to work out the details...ok, someone else is running it for me and volunteered but at least mark it on your calendar. I'll get more details soon.
The other is Saturday  October 8th. It'll for sure be a  playday and possibly something else along the way. I'm still working out the schedule and the details but put it on your calendar.

Lots of planning and spreading the word. If you can help spread the word that would be great.

You Just Need To

I've been a little touchy lately. I know the reasons why but I won't bore you with the details. There's simply a lot going on right now and I'm struggling to keep my head above water. In fact, my head isn't actually above water. I am just below the surface and can see what's going on but I'm drowning.

There's been a lot of pressure put on me (both by others and by myself). Some I can fix, some I can't. I need to let the pressure I can't fix go and focus on what I can fix.

But I've been hearing a lot of "you just need to....".

But those that say those words to me have no grasp of what my life is like. I work a 40hr a week job but have to drive an additional two plus hours each day (coming and going), there's also time I need to spend with my kids when they first get home. There's supper, there's cleaning. It's all stuff people do on a normal basis...but then add in a baby. Then add in 16 horses to care for. Then add in a new dog to bond and work with. It all takes time.  Oh, and add in two remodels.

So, lets swap shoes for a little while and tell me that my life is easy and that it's simple.
Here's my schedule:

5:20am alarm goes off. Snooze because I'm exhausted
5:50am finally crawl out of bed (yes I could do more in that half an hour but my body requires eight hours of sleep and I typically only get six and those are never consecutive)
6:15am leave for work (after rushing to get ready)
7:00am start work
3:30pm leave work
4:10pm arrive at daycare to pick up kids
4:20-4:30pm leave for home
5:00pm arrive at home, hang with kids, and start some type of skirt work
5:30pm start supper
6:30pm have supper and then go outside to get some fresh air with the kids
7:00pm baths
8:00pm bedtime for kids (by this time it's dark)
9:00pm go out and do chores, clean up supper, take care of dogs/cat
10:00pm done with chores and go inside (shower and get ready for bed)
11:00pm go to bed

Sleep for 6.5 hours but wake up in the middle of the night to check on kids and then start the day over. There's no room for anything else. Chores take a little longer because I do them in the dark. I sometimes can start chores while we are outside playing after supper but I can't count on it.

Oh sure I could give up time with my kids but they are small. At some point, they won't be around and I want to enjoy their time now while they want to be around me. But tell me...can you handle my day, everyday? There's no room for much else. So the "all you have to do is..." and "you just need to..." crap doesn't have any allotted space in my schedule. Tell me how to fit it in and we'll see.

Add to that mess of a schedule two house remodels and trying to spend some quality family time with extended family on the weekends. It doesn't leave time for anything else.

So before you tell me "you just need to...", put yourself in my shoes for a little while before giving me advice.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Country Living

It's a good thing I live in the country. I'd probably be ticketed for indecent exposure or some other weird thing.

Last night I needed to move corral panels around so that the ponies could graze a little more. I can't put up electric because the solar fencer is broken and I don't want electric fence on when the kids are around. Besides, Skippy has decided that he doesn't respect electric fence (but that could be because it wasn't powerful enough). But for now, I'll just move corral panels around until I either cant' reach all the grass or we run out of lawn (which is happening quickly for both).

Anyway, I was out moving corral panels after the kids went to bed (meaning, I was doing this all in the dark). I realized that this was absolutely silly. We have machines to help. The corral panels that I needed after getting a few set up were by the red shed and I needed them by the new garage. It might not seem like that far but when you are carrying a half dozen corral panels and have already carried almost a dozen, you realize the absurdity of it all.

So I trotted by happy butt back in to the house and pronounced that we have farm vehicles that should be doing the work and that I am NOT moving another five corral panels when we have a tractor that can do the job much easier and much quicker than me. Mike wasn't all that pleased but he did agree. And if he refuses to let me drive the tractor (long stupid story), then I guess HE gets to go out in the dark and mosquitoes and pull down corral panels.

While he was out with the tractor, I did a bit of paperwork. Of course because I was outside, I was dirty. As is the case, I typically take off my pants and find comfy clothes but everything was still in the dryer at the time. So I sat doing paperwork in my's a common habit...sorry.. I know.. TMI. :-)

While Mike was moving corral panels to where I needed them, I had water going to the  mares. Of course, I forgot about it and had to run out and turn the water off. This is when I say it's a good thing I live in the country. Out I go in a long sleeved shirt, my cowboy boots, and my underwear. Luckily it was dark...dark, dark, dark. And no one but the dogs were around. No sense in putting on pants when I'm just making a quick trip outside!!

Mike finally got the corral panels moved over and finished up a few of his things and I went back out to finish setting up corral panels. These are the days that I wonder why I do what I do. Here I am doing chores at 10:30 at night with lightening to the  north. I started booking it when I started seeing lightening. I new the weatherman had been talking rain/thunderstorms but I wasn't sure when they were coming. I didn't want to be caught outside trying to finish my chores and have to figure out a plan B so late at night.

I did finally get everything (and yes, I was wearing pants when I went out to finish  my chores). I beat the storm. Of course, the storms didn't really roll through our area until 5am and again at 6am. I was so confused and disoriented at 5am when I was supposed to get up that I didn't. And when I got up at 6 am I had to hoof it to get everything done. I still didn't beat the rain but at least I didn't get drenched.

Yeah, country living. It's always interesting.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

In a Nutshell

It's been a little while since I last posted. The days are getting shorter, the paying job is adding more work, school started, and now fall is in the air. I mentioned before that I'm panicked about this winter. Nothing has changed, although I did take one stressor off myself. We'll revisit that idea in another six months.

I need to really refocus my attention on the Sanctuary and I'm struggling. We are still in the  middle of two remodels on the house so my attention has been there. Some days I wonder why I get myself into these predicaments. What I would give to just have someone else do all the maintenance and I could focus on the fun stuff like horses and kids, rather than fencing, painting, and mending everything that breaks. I have now been told that if anything gets done on the house, it has to be me that does it. One more stressor.

Not too long ago we re-fenced the drylot. We'd put up cattle panels before after the original panels were pushed over by the horses. We had to redo that fencing because the horses were climbing the fence and getting out. We went with sturdier fences and fence posts but I'd noticed that they were still climbing the fence. I guess I should have sucked it up and paid for the no-climb fencing instead. Even with a board over the top, it wasn't stopping them from climbing. Who knew horses could climb. So this past weekend, I begged Dad to come down and help put up some electric fencing. It's not perfect but it'll do. I may very well extend the electric to the pasture where the mares are at. I have still not figured out where Bo and Junior escaped. But if I extend the electric all the way around, I KNOW Mayhem won't push on the fence (she is a fence pusher). I won't be able to do any fencing this weekend but maybe a little bit at a time during the week I can get a few things set up.

Junior and Lace are still in Madison and they look great. They both have put on the weight. Junior will always be on the slim side but he's looking good.

I am trying to get a fundraiser going for next month but I'm coming up against a road block. I have all these damn ideas and yet  no follow through and when I do, I run up against road blocks. I need to do fundraising to help offset costs for this year's hay. I got schnookered on the price of hay last year and finally wrote the check. My cash flow is depleted and with winter coming, we need lots of hay and grain to keep everyone up to the proper weight.

The place is looking shabby right now. I am going to have to start taking time off the paying job to do some scraping and painting. I don't really want to do that because the paying job is putting pressure on me so I can't get behind. But I fear that winter will be upon us sooner than expected. There was fog today but I'm not counting that because it wasn't pea soup kind of fog. But I dont' see how we'll not get out of a bad winter this year. It's just my intuition but my intuition has been pretty spot on lately. Lets hope I'm wrong.

I need to spend some time getting organized too. I've let the place become a disaster. But I blame that on being pregnant and then spending this past year trying to simply survive with a baby. So now, I'm trying to get back into the swing of things but before I can do that, I need to get organized and find everything that I've misplaced over the past two years and take a tally of what I'm missing and what needs fixing. They hay shed roof needs to be repaired now too. A small section blew off in some wind and other parts of the roof tin need to be re-secured so that when the wind blows 70mph, it wont' blow off. I do have stalls in the hay shed so I'd rather not lose those stalls because the roof isnt' any good. But it'll be up to me to get the roof fixed. I just wish it wouldn't get dark so fast. Daylight savings time won't help me either.

So I'm desperately needing help. I need volunteers to help with some of my projects (both big and small). I need funds for hay and grain. I need help with getting fundraisers going. I need moral support. Anyone willing?