Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Surprise Packages

Yesterday, while working from home for the paying job (not sure when we'll be back in the office), the UPS guy drove up the driveway. I wasn't expecting anything and didn't think Mike had ordered anything (but you never know with him). As I was running out the door to pick up the kids from school and daycare, I took a closer look at the three boxes.

And I began to cry. How can three big boxes make a grown woman cry? Fill them with Weatherbetta blankets for the horses!!! Weatherbetta and a Home for Every Horse donated 10 blankets to us to keep our seniors warm and snug this winter. And yes, it was an ugly cry sort of cry. We have blankets but they are starting to be in tatters and some horses don't get blankets (because they or their buddy) are too hard on them. I can now put a tattered blanket on one of those horses and put one of the brand new blankets on someone else!

I was not expecting such an amazing surprise. I can't wait to pull the blankets out and decide which one goes to who. I know everyone will be thrilled to have a new blanket and I can't wait to show them all off sporting new blankets.

Thank you Weatherbetta and a Home for Every Horse! Thank you for your generosity, your support of ALL rescues and sanctuaries. Thank you for allowing me to sleep easy at night knowing the horses will all be tucked in blankets when bad weather hits this year.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Christmas at the Capital

We were again blessed to have the opportunity to decorate a tree at our state's Christmas at the Capital. It is so amazing to see all the different trees and those behind the decorations. It is not only an honor but a privilege to have this opportunity to showcase the horses that call Borderlands home.

I like to think that we not only represent Borderlands, but ALL sanctuaries and rescues doing amazing work in South Dakota. I hope that our tree sparks people's attention and that there becomes an awareness not just for senior horses but for the idea of rescue and sanctuary of animals. That there needs to be more awareness and more help in caring for these amazing animals should be of great consideration. Wouldn't it be fantastic if our jobs were eliminated because there was no need for sanctuaries or rescues.

We drove out Saturday afternoon after getting all our chores done (thank you automatic water for making life even easier!) and enjoyed some quality family time (it was much needed). Being surrounded by laughing and happy children is the best medicine for stress (unless it's a horse nuzzle from your favorite horse). We were able to get to the capital early Sunday morning before people arrived so that we could properly social distance and do our part with covid. We questioned attending but figured if we went first thing in the morning on Sunday, there wouldn't be many people. And we were right. We had our tree to ourselves the entire time with only one group of people showing up for about 5 minutes.

As excited as I am to have a tree at the capital, I want to encourage everyone to do what is right for them if they choose to attend Christmas at the Capital. I'd strongly suggest masking up, washing your hands, and staying home if you aren't feeling well. But if you can sneak over some time, it will surly get you into the Christmas spirit. Our tree is on the first level and one of the first trees to great you when you walk in! Check out all of our sanctuary horses. They each have a picture in the picture garland and a gold ball with their name on it (minus three horses in the picture garland because I couldn't find their picture; they were at Borderlands pre-cell phone and are buried in one of the computers).

I will leave you with just a few pictures of our tree representing Borderlands Horse Sanctuary

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Chores in the Dark

When the days are so short and I can't get out to do chores until after dark, it's hard to come up with topics to discuss. Oh sure there's the how to blanket, auto water repair, snow removal, etc. type topics but the day-to-day stuff isn't nearly as interesting.

I've been preoccupied with the upcoming Giving Tuesday although I doubt there will be much interest this year. The pandemic has really set us back. I don't know that it has changed the number of horses requesting to come to Borderlands but it has really forced us to hunker down and not do any of the stuff we'd planned to do, thus finding extra cash along the way. We'll survive and continue on but the burnout this year is strong. I chatted with a couple of ladies the other day to find out how to improve Borderlands (at least on the social media presence). I'm always interested in learning how we can improve and make things better. There are so many successful organizations out there, I want to learn from all of them so I can figure out how to make Borderlands more fun. And if you have ideas, I'd love to hear them. Even something simple like more pictures and videos, I'd love to hear if that is what interests you.

The weather is supposed to be nice this week and weekend which will make life so much easier. Of course we'll be on a different adventure for Borderlands this coming weekend. My fingers are crossed that we can haul hay over Thanksgiving so that we can get all of our winter hay home. It's not paid for but at least it'll be home and I'll have to scrape up the cash to make it happen.

We do have some fun stuff coming up starting on Giving Tuesday and throughout the month of December. Hopefully you'll come along for the ride and enjoy a few giggles.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Best Laid Plans

Well, the weekend didn't go as planned. Mother Nature decided to throw 2020 at us to mess up our plans of getting the hay home. I'm already stressed about how to pay for it and now we have to figure out how to get it all home.

Friday evening the wind picked up and what little snow we had gotten on Thursday started drifting on one of the roads (we'd gone to Madison where the hay was and noticed the snow drifts). One of the other roads was a sheet of ice. We'd hoped by Saturday that the temps would warm and it wouldn't be a big deal but in the morning, it was still cold and the roads were still slick.

So instead of hauling hay with the big trailer that holds 11, we used our car trailer that holds 3. We made one trip home with three bales so we'd have at least something. After we unloaded, we headed right back to Madison to pick up another load. Unfortunately by this time, the ground had warmed up and the roads were getting cleaner (still not completely clear) and where they hay was turned into a muddy mess. We got the truck and trailer stuck without even having the bales loaded. Luckily we were able to get a push out after getting loaded up but it also meant that using the big trailer was a no go.

My thinking with using the smaller trailer is:

The big flatbed trailer we can borrow holds 11 bales. If we order 55 bales, that should get us through the winter. We had leftovers from last year which was a good thing, but if something happens and we say yes to a senior horse in desperate need, we'll need to make sure we have hay on hand. So 55 it is because that makes five trips with the trailer.  But because our time is so painfully limited, I came up with the idea that if we took a load of hay back to Borderlands (11 bales), then we could put another three bales on the car trailer. If we did that four times, we'd have the fifth load of hay home without having to figure out a time to get it home. There's an hour + round trip just in driving and another hour or so to unload the hay. So typically we only get two loads home in one day. So if we had a full weekend (which we did this past weekend), we could get all the hay home.

Unless Mother Nature decides to throw us for a loop.

We thought we could at least haul two loads home on Sunday but after looking at the weather forecast, we knew we'd only be able to squeeze one in. Woke up Sunday morning to roaring wind. We aren't going to borrow someone else's trailer and haul it home with hay when we don't typically haul hay. If it was our trailer, we might have thought differently but because it wasn't ours, we weren't going to take any chances. So instead we hauled one load of hay home on the car trailer. It'll get us through until Thanksgiving.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can haul the hay home over Thanksgiving. We've made three trips with the car trailer so we'll only need to make trips with the big trailer. We'll be up to Madison sometime over the next two weeks to get the final load of hay on the small trailer.

The hay that was supposed to be ours is also trapped in a different field thanks to the unseasonably early snowfall. I was a little disappointed but the hay we are using is just as good. It technically could be certified hay if my hay guy wanted to jump through the hoops to make it happen.

So we'll try over Thanksgiving to see how it goes. Of course this coming weekend was supposed to be nice but we are out of town for a Borderlands trip. I'll have to tell you more about that later. But it's a somewhat surprise.

And because we work during the week, we can't haul day or even unload it if they bring it down. It's always dark thirty by the time we get done working and head out to chores when it's this time of year. Makes for some stress. Luckily we only have about two months of pitch black chores but it sure makes me appreciate doing chores in the daylight!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

No Rest for the Wicked

The days have been a blur lately and I'm too exhausted to write. We've been busy working on home improvements and sanctuary improvements all summer. It's all stuff we should have done years ago but life got in the way.

When we started having kids eight years ago, all the home improvements and even some of the upkeep was put on hold. I didn't have easy pregnancies so for almost a full year, it was simply to survive and then the first year of baby, again it was simply to survive. If you're a parent, you'll understand completely. After the first year of baby, I'd finally come out of my fog and look around the place and do a little work but then return to the fog of baby.

Now that I'm too old to have kids, I took a look last September and realized that we needed to do a lot of work around here. I started last year painting the house but only got one side painted. Sadly, I used wrong paint or the wood is so old and dry that it disappeared. Fast forward to this summer and I decided to paint the south side of the house. It took me six months to do because I was doing it whenever I had "free" time. Anyone with kids and/or horses knows that there's no such thing as free time. But I FINALLY got it done this past weekend (after the threat of freezing temperatures). Ok, so it's not done as finished but there's a couple of coats of paint slapped on and I've decided I'll be taking a week off to paint the house properly next spring/summer. I won't try to do it after work and in between all the other stuff. But at least now when you pull into the driveway, the house won't look so ratty.

We also poured a huge concrete slab this spring after digging out what we wanted when we rented the skidloader. It's a lovely concrete pad that I'm hoping will get lots of use. While it's not sanctuary related, I do see that we'll be using it for many different purposes and if I get to do what I want, we may very well be using it for the sanctuary. We also hauled away six of the eight years worth of manure this spring. It's something we should have done every year but didn't. Sadly, we ran out of time to get all of the manure out so we'll have to push to get the remaining manure (and this year's manure) out next spring. After I get the trailer paid off, I'll be on the hunt for a skidloader. I'm thankful for our tractor but we sometimes also need a skidloader. My mother taught me to be as self sufficient as possible and to do that, we'll need a skidloader.

We also finally put gutters on the house. Now I feel like I'm an adult because I'm excited for gutters. We haven't had gutters on the house in years. We finally got rain yesterday and couldn't figure out what that sound was. It was the gutters! It makes me feel old to be excited for gutters and a little sad because we've gone this long without them and who knows what damage we've done to the house because of it. This past week, we also installed five new windows. They aren't officially done and we still have a bunch of stuff to figure out, but we now have brand new windows that open. Of the five, I was down to only having one window that would open. We'd stuffed weather stripping in all the windows because they leaked so bad. Come to find out that when we pulled them out of the house, that these were the original windows. Either original to the remodel or at least to when they put the siding up. So our best guess is that these windows were installed in the 1940s. At this point, we are also figuring everything around here is from the 1940s.

This fall I insisted we get a mini excavator so that we could bury water lines from the barn to where I want an auto water. We finally got the auto water installed although there's still some wiring issues we need to resolve. The barn's electrical box cant handle it. We are hoping though that with the new auto water, the electric bill will go down. We won't have two 500 watt water heaters in an open 100 gallon tank. I am super excited to not have to haul water every day. With how 2020 is going, I wanted to be prepared. It will also make life easier when we go on vacation. I won't have to worry about lugging water up to the red shed and that pasture when we go on vacation and trying to come up with a water holder so that the tanks stay filled while we are gone. We do everything we can to make it so that whoever is looking after the place doesn't really have to do anything (but make sure no one falls out of a fence).

When we had the mini excavator, we also dug out a trench for the electrical to go from the power pole to the new garage (new to us anyway even if it is 10 years old).  I've been trying to get the new garage hooked up with electricity for 10 years and hopefully this winter, we can finally work on it and convert the new garage over to a shop so that we can get a few more projects done. With kids, I see a lot of time in the garage building stuff. We better be prepared now for it.

We also started an accidental remodel of our utility room. Of all the rooms in the house, the bathroom and the utility room are probably used the hardest (with the kitchen a close third). Having the utility room in disarray for the summer was ok, but we are still in the middle of the accidental remodel and now that winter is almost here with boots, hats, gloves, snow pants, coveralls, and everything else that winter requires, I'm struggling. The wood paneling we need to even hide the 1950s mint green (with glue that was used to hold the old wood paneling) is still in eye sore I see every day when standing in my kitchen. We can't find the wood we want to cover it so until we can find it, it's mass chaos in my house. The accidental remodel is going to be moved up higher on the "to do" list very soon.

With all of our projects, we still have work to do to wrap them up and make them look nice. But at least the hard part is done and we can tinker to get everything looking the way we want all winter when we are hunkered down after the snow flies.

I think we made up for the last eight years in just one year. I guess it's a blessing we had the pandemic and I'm working from home at the paying job so that we can tackle some of these projects that have been at the back of my mind for so many years.

It's probably a good thing that winter is right around the corner so that we can rest for a little bit. But not for long as I look through my brand new windows (but see that there's no trim around them). No rest for the wicked.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Beginning of November

I'd hoped that by now the blogger issues would have been resolved but they have not. So we will be forced to move to a different platform. I've been too busy with the horses and life to get anything set up but I hope to very soon.

In the mean time we've been scrambling to get things wrapped up around Borderlands before the snow flies. We had snow in mid October and that sent me into a tizzy because we werent' ready yet. We had snow and freezing temps and we are still working on putting in an automatic water. Luckily this week is supposed to be above normal temperatures so we can get the auto water installed, I can wrap up painting the south side of the house, and we can install a few more windows in the house. While the house stuff isn't directly related to the Sanctuary, it does make my life easier. Once we dont' have to focus on maintaining the house, I can return my attention to improvements on the other buildings.

The problem is that we have spent the last eight full years focused on raising our little family and that takes time away from home improvements. Now that the kids are slightly older, we can get back to working on improving the place. We still have a ton to do before the snow flies again but fingers crossed we'll be able to do it.

It's actually supposed to snow next week (Sunday or Monday). So I'll be rushing around trying to get as much stuff done as possible. We still need to get all of our winter supply of hay home (and pay for it). I'm not sure which I'm more worried about. Getting it home (because it'll take a full weekend to haul 50+ bales) or trying to pay for it because we havent' done any fundraising due to the pandemic. Either way, it's a huge stress and even though we'll get the hay home, I'll still have to come up with the money. At this rate, it'll be coming out of my paycheck rather than out of donations.

Which is sad, because we have been asked to take in close to 40 horses so far this year. It's about the same as last year. Imagine if we'd taken in the 40 this year. And/or the 40 from last year. As much as I'd love to, there's just no way. Almost all of them come with some type of ailment that requires medication or vet appointments. And in the end some of them that do come to Borderlands actually needs euthanasia rather than a retirement home. It makes me sad to have to say no and I really do get worked up not being able to say yes. I want to be able to help but we have to help responsibly and we can't jeopardize the horses that are already in our care.

As much as I would love to have the funds for 40 horses and the volunteers, I'd also miss out learning about each of the horses. I have to remind myself that we can't save them all. But it's still hard. I would love to find some long-term fosters willing to take in pasture pets. We get asked about light riding horses but sadly the horses that we get into Borderlands are passed even light riding. Where the light riding horses go, I do not know but the horses that we get asked to take in are in their twilight years and only have a few years left.

Now that it's November, I will try my best to post more in blogger until I can switch everything over to a new platform. I make no promises when that will be but hopefully sooner than later. I'm never very good with change and when it's change for the worse as this blogger has been, it really makes me realize how old I am.

Happy November everyone! Lets hope the last two months of 2020 are an improvement to the year!