Monday, September 30, 2019

Verge of a Meltdown

I've been feeling overwhelmed and beyond stressed for the past few months. We joke that it's because we have three kids now but I hate to see what happens when all there of them are in school activities and extra curriculars. I'm the worst for over planning and under scheduling. I love to plan but hate following through with everything. But when it comes to my kids, I want them to try everything and see what they do and don't like. That means extra running and we've been running hard since May. And when I say running hard, I mean we are gone anywhere between 2-3 nights a week and then add on a few of my activities without the family and there for awhile I was gone five nights a week. Five straight months of running has left me exhausted, overwhelmed, in tears many nights, and honestly very close to calling it quits with the Sanctuary.

After having my youngest last September, I also switched jobs. It was a good switch (room for growth), but it also leaves me exhausted every day (in mind not body). So not only was I spending my time adjusting to a new baby, but to a new job as well. Then throw in the government furlough (I'm not a government worker but I am a contractor to the government and work in a government building). I've yet to get any of my vacation hours back. I was left with no vacation hours heading into a crazy summer schedule. So now every time we do something fun with the family I have to scramble to make up the hours at the paying job. I know it's a first world problem to complain about but it is part of why I'm stressed and why I've disappeared. I haven't felt like I could write about anything.

I used to write just to share the boring day-to-day activities. It was also when blogging was a big deal. Now with Facebook and so many other social media options, blogging has gone by the wayside and sadly, I've declined in writing about the little things that we do.  I wish we could go back to the days of blogging to get a better sense of day-to-day life and musings. Facebook is great for pictures and fast action but I still miss blogging.

So I'm going to do my best in October to blog more. It'll be the boring mundane, day-to-day activities that go on (when we are actually at the Sanctuary). I'm not sure you really care that we opened one gate and closed another but I'll tell you just because I can.

In a nutshell I've been super stressed because there's so much that needs to get done. When people ask what can they help with, I have a long list but the days are so short and we aren't always home on the weekends so coordinating schedules is tough.

But here's what we have been up to and what still needs to get done.

I've been slowly scrapping the paint off of the house. It's not Sanctuary related but when we do have visitors, it would be nice to have a nice looking place, and that includes the house. I spent half of Saturday scraping, while Mike painted. He used the paint gun but says he won't do it again. So if we get another nice day (where I am not working at the paying job), I'll be out painting the east side of the house. Mike tried using the pressure washer on the west side of the house to blow the paint off and only proceeded to break more stuff so he stopped. But it left wood exposed so now I feel like we need to get the west side of the house scraped better and painted. I don't want to see a half scraped house all winter long.

A long time ago, we used to have gutters on the house. But those disappeared as they fell apart. So now it's time to put new gutters on. Hopefully it'll help with the water issues we constantly battle. But it's more time and money to deal with.

On Saturday we picked up the new lawn mower. The old one broke although Mike fixed it. I'm still a little confused on why he thought he couldn't fix it so bought a new one only to fix the old one. It must be a guy thing. but the old one doesn't owe us anything. Unfortunately the new one was more money than I'd wanted to spend so I'm going to be very protective of it. While we were in town picking up the mower, I decided since we had the trailer, to pick up another 16 foot gate. I want it to replace the old gate in the dry lot that constantly falls off. It's been off its hinges for two years. I'll use the old gate at the other end of the alley so this winter I can push horses into the alley rather than play musical pens and keep the horses off the pasture and out of the drylot when we put hay in. It's been something I've wanted for more than two years that's finally coming true. This new gate will also be up off the ground so I don't have to drag it through mud. I'd love to pour concrete there but it won't happen. But I'm going to come up with a plan to make life easier so there's less mud, just haven't had the time to figure it all out. Any takers?

Sunday I went over to try and load the last horse. She wont' load. Everyone keeps giving me suggestions and they are all great but I've tried them. I'm calling in the big guns and bringing in a trainer. Otherwise it's a 20 mile walk and I don't have the time or the energy to deal with that. Sadly, the owners are tired of me not getting the horse off the property and shut the water off. Luckily there's a stock dam otherwise I'd be furious. I have more to say on it but I'll refrain.

Last night I pulled the big herd off the partitioned pasture. It's the one I was hoping to avoid using but don't have that luxury. Hopefully I didn't overgraze it. They'd been on it for a month but I think a month was too much. I closed that gate and opened up the other side so the herd has the entire pasture except that one little portion. It already looked more lush and green than what they'd been on.

I'd moved Lace last month and she was looking thin. A month on this other pasture and she looks fat again. It makes me sad that I didn't realize the other pasture was done already. I also have to keep a close eye on her and figure out when to let her go. Her legs won't hold up this winter. If they are predicting a bad winter, she for sure can't handle another long winter. I wish she'd go on her own terms but they never do. So I'll be having to figure out when to take her in either in October or November. With the rendering situation, it's not as easy to deal with their bodies and I'm struggling on what to do.

The other three new horses are a small herd but I'm going to have to break them apart. I cant' lug 10 gallons of water every night to their pen thru the winter. I just can't physically do it any more and don't have the energy, never mind the electric bill for having two water tanks going. I want to get a new auto water put in on the mare pasture but I need to find someone who can dig the line in for me. It's not an expense I was planning on but I'm fed up with it and we are so close to the barn we could put the line in and next year find the money for the auto water. whatever the case, it would save me so much time and stress.

I've been trying to with no luck to get the fence guys to come out and give me an estimate on how much it would cost to put in new posts. We don't have the money to put in all new fencing but we at least have funds to cover new panels that could support the existing fence. We also HAVE to replace fencing in the dry lot. It won't handle another winter and I was hoping that the fence company could come in and replace fence. If they don't, I'll be in desperate need of corral panels. I'd love free standing fencing but I can't afford that. I am not sure I can even afford corral panels at this rate.

I have a lot rolling through my brain. Lots of stuff that needs to be done and no time, no money, and no energy.

So that's what's been going on and that's where we are at. Overwhelmed, under appreciated, over stressed, and on the verge of a melt down.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Flying By

Every month I mention that the previous month flew by. I'm not sure when time started to move faster. Must be an age thing.

We've had a lot going on lately and everything has been jam packed with activities. I have been checking horses in the dark the last few weeks because all of our activities are taking so long.

Last week Tommy and Skippy entertained the residents of Avera Prince of Peace Retirement Community. We also brought home three of the four new residents. The fourth horse refuses to load. We spent 1.5 hours last week trying to get her to load to no avail. I have been overly stressed over the entire deal from the moment we were contacted a month ago. We've had family vacations, severe storms, tornados, massive flooding, sickness (me no one else), and the paying job all to contend with. I think I'm close to burned out but life continues.

I had hoped we could work on the place to get things ready for winter but the weather is supposed to turn starting tomorrow so that may make life more challenging. I may be walking the new horse home (it's a good 20 mile walk). And we still need to get blankets ready and the house painted, the manure hauled away and the fencer to get here to figure out our fencing fiasco.

But the paying job is once again my focus rather than the Sanctuary paperwork so I'll be focused on keeping a roof over our head rather than getting anything else done for the next little while.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tommy and Skippy Go on an Adventure

Yesterday Tommy and Skippy went on an adventure to the Avera Prince of Peace Retirement Community and met some of the residents. We had a great time and the ponies had fun showing off (which is what they love to do most!)

There was one gentleman in particular that fell in love with the ponies and it made the trip even more special for me. I can picture myself someday and I hope that there will be opportunities to have horses and other animals visit me when my body is played out and I'm trapped in a body that doesn't allow me to do the things I once did.

I love the fact that our seniors can brighten the days of other seniors. It's what I've wanted to do for years now. Thankfully the staff at Prince of Peace are the ones who made the offering for us to visit and I hope that we can return and share the ponies again and again.

If you check out our Facebook page, you'll see some pictures. I had my hands full with the ponies (although one of their workers gladly helped and I love getting the opportunity to share working with horses with others).

When the time comes for me to retire, I either want to go to Estelline because they have a petting zoo and an amazing garden or I want to go to Prince of Peace because they keep those residents hoping. They had our visit with the ponies and then were headed to the zoo in the afternoon! How fun would that be!

I'm hoping the next time we go, I can bring Penny along too!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Crazy Weather

The past 24-36 hours have been crazy concerning weather. Tuesday night found us hunkered down in our basement because there was a potential tornado in the area. Of course it was nighttime and everything would be rain wrapped and impossible to see. After barely missing a tornado a few years ago, we don't take that chance any more. I think being a parent has changed our perspective.

But after the aftermath of the tornadoes (there's no talk of the one near us because there were three in Sioux Falls; the only talk was some rumblings that there was some damage in the country), there was rain and lots of it.

Yesterday morning I took my normal route out of the Sanctuary and had to deal with the gravel road being flooded. I figured the rest of my normal route might have problems too so opted for a different route. The road to the paying job had water on it but still passible. This morning, the road is closed. We received lots of rain last night. The worst part, is that Madison (30 miles north of Humboldt), received 11 inches of rain. The entire town is flooded as far as I know. Luckily my parents (and the summer pasture, which we didnt' use) are out of town and away from any creeks.

Driving was more interesting, trying to find a route that wasn't closed do to construction and a route that wasn't flooded or potentially flooded.

We ran to Canistota last night to check on the Fabulous Four we are taking in. I've been checking on them for a week every few days. There's flooding over there as well. In fact, there's a no travel advised warning issued from Humboldt west to somewhere near Chamberlain. And of course the Fabulous Four are not far from us but in the no traveled advised. I've been trying to figure out when we can get them but our schedules are so insane, it's a bit tricky. We can't just drop everything. I don't have enough vacation hours, we have childrens' activities, and now there's bad weather.

Our herd faired well through everything. The big herd is in a part of the pasture that is at the top of the hill so there's no worry about them getting into any water. I suspect our pasture will flood but so far the water isn't nearly as bad as it was this March. I'm glad we waited until September to let the herd onto this part of the pasture. It is going to make having the fence contractor look at our pasture a bit more difficult.

I think we finally have someone lined up to come out and give us an estimate on fencing. Sadly, I'm throwing in two additional projects so not sure how much that will cost. It's putting wooded fence posts in only. As much as I would LOVE to have all new fencing, the wood panels are more important. And because outside of the $5,000 we won through South Dakota Gives, all fencing will come out of our personal pocket rather than through donations to the Sanctuary. Donations to the Sanctuary will be solely to help feed and vet the horses.

My mind is running in about a million directions and I can't focus. There's too much going on and there's going to be very little going on at the Sanctuary other than day-to-day chores and trying to survive for the next few weeks until the weather calms down and hopefully our schedules slow down (hahaha, schedules slowing down when kids are in school, wishful thinking).

Tuesday, September 10, 2019


I love brainstorming ideas for the Sanctuary. There's always so many amazing and adventurous ideas. Some ideas have been done before. Some work, some don't. I'm always game to try anything. I have a long list of ideas I'd love to try but we are too small right now to tackle them. Even though we've been around for along time (ok, maybe not incorporated for long but we've been providing sanctuary to horses for years), we are still very, very, very small.

I would love to grow and be much bigger but reality is, we have to continue to stay small. With juggling three kids, a paying job, and taking care of the horses, there's very little time to fundraiser and get our name out there, let along search for grants and ask for donations.

So I'm going to ask for a favor. I need your help. I need your ideas. Maybe some of my ideas are too grandiose and we'll never get to do them. But maybe you have an idea that's never been done before. Maybe you have a never-been-done, thinking outside the box kind of idea and I'd LOVE to hear it. We might not be able to do it right away, but maybe we can.

The biggest thing is to get our name out there. The catch, we have to say no because there's only so much space and only so much money to care for our seniors. We have to be picky on who we take in and that's so heartbreaking for me. I hate to say no. But if we have some amazing fundraisers that can be annual events, I'd LOVE to tackle them. I'm a worker bee at heart so I'm good at plugging along, getting stuff done. I'm not good at promoting and asking.

So if you are good at marketing, good at asking, good at being an extrovert (can you tell I'm a painfully shy introvert), then we need you. Even if you ARE an introvert, we NEED you too! I need all the help I can get.

Send me your ideas, send me your thoughts. Lets join forces and see what we can do for the horses!

I want to be prepared for winter. I want to make sure that if there is an emergency case this fall or winter, we can open our doors to these deserving seniors. Or even this spring (which seems to be the case more in the past few years), that after a long hard winter, we'd love to open our doors to a senior who deserves to relax and not have to worry about their needs any longer.

So lets start doing some brainstorming. Send me your ideas, your thoughts, your suggestions. No idea is too big or too small (ok some might be out of our line of budget but we can still aspire to it in the future!) Too bashful to comment on our blog? No worries. Email is at Right now, I'm the only one that reads the emails in this account so your ideas are safe with me (until we move forward with it and I'll need your help!)

Even if you aren't local to the Sanctuary, even if you are half way around the world, send me your ideas! Maybe something that works in your area has never been done in this area and we can be the first to try it! I love brainstorming. Lets get some ideas flowing.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Staying Busy

I love fall. It's probably my most favorite season. I only wish it didn't follow with a very long, drawn out and super cold winter. Maybe I love fall because of the variety of colors or the way the light shines on the trees and the corn in the mornings and evenings. Whatever it is, I'll take it.

The ponies decided to make a break for it last night. I didn't secure the gate well enough and Skippy likes to itch his butt on the gates and fences. Luckily, they didn't go far and I was able to coax them in to where they needed to go. I need to more corral panels yet again for the ponies. I've been trying to move them around the yard so that we don't have to throw hay. The less I use hay now, the better we will be.

We picked up 50 bales of small squares last Friday and still need to unload them into the hay barn. We also still need to haul the 55 big round bales home (and pay for them). I'll feel better when the bill is paid and the bales are home. It's a bit of a challenge as we no longer get them delivered on a semi. We have to haul them 11 at a time. It's not a big deal, just time consuming and I've noticed in the past five months, we have very little time. As long as we get them home before the snow flies (we have 12 bales at home from last year we didn't use).

We won't have extra hay this year. I'm afraid we may be short on hay this year. We are in the works of picking up some new residents but need to coordinate schedules and get them home. They are perfectly fine where they are at, nice clean water and lots of pasture but no one to keep an eye on them.

We have a trip scheduled for the Avera Prince of Peace Retirement Community later this month but that's it for adventures and outings. I had hoped to get our annual playday scheduled but can't seem to figure out a way to make it work this year. We need to do some serious fundraising but time is so limited I'm struggling. At this point, I'm doing chores in the dark already and although the days are getting shorter, there's still daylight until 8pm. But it seems I'm stuck doing chores in the dark for the next eight months.

So if anyone wants to help, just say the word. We have more than enough to keep people busy (both with and without horses!)