Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back to the Doctor

Two weeks ago today I got bucked off Paj in our brand new dressage arena.  Today we went back to the doctor for a checkup on my broken clavicle.  It's not the best news.  The break is nasty, and it's in a bad location.  Bummer.  The good news is that the orthopedic surgeon wants to give me a chance to "prove that it won't heal" before we do surgery.  That's good with me, because I really don't want to have surgery.  But the next checkup is in a month, and a month is a long time to be in limbo.

Meanwhile, poor David is stuck doing chores solo.  I am so grateful to him, and to our friends and neighbors.  John (Jan's husband) covered the barn today, and neighbor Chuck covered Tuesday when David was scheduled to go to The Big City for a meeting.  I'm very touched by Elisa's kindness too.  Elisa is Chuck's wife, and she's not horsey (gasp!).  She's also a very pretty girly-girl.  So to have her offer to feed and clean just made me feel warm and fuzzy.  Aren't we lucky to have such wonderful friends and neighbors?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quick Horse Show Update

Jan's horse Elvis had his second show this weekend, and again he was a star.  He was quite a bit more relaxed.  He showed First Level Tests 1 and 4 on Saturday, and First 4 on Sunday.  His scores were 67, 67, and 66.  Yay!!!  So now he has his qualifying scores for Championships.  Yay!!!  He has his last show before Championships this coming weekend, and I am hoping to be able to go.

Neighbor Chuck's horses did great at the cow horse show in Wyoming.  Rooster won his class with a 72, and the pretty palomino Boss Man got a 68.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Plant Villains

I'm just itching to get out in the pastures and attack my plant villains.  Here they are, in no particular order.

Yucca, with thistle in the background.  Yucca isn't that bad, and it's kind of picturesque.  I'm just not sure I want it in the pasture with my horses.

Prickly Pear.  This is a real villain.  A horse could get hurt on this plant.  I've dug out about a dozen muck buckets of this guy, and I still find more.  The blooms are pretty.

Mullen.  The soft rosette of leaves is the first stage of a two year life cycle. 
 In the second year, the plant develops tall seed heads.  The seeds are poisonous to mammals, but an important food source to birds.  It is very invasive, and we have two large patches in the pasture.  One patch we covered with some of the soil we had from arena construction.  It will be interesting to see if that helps.

Locoweed is quite pretty, and it attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.  I was concerned about its presence when we moved here, but my veterinarian explained to me that although livestock can become addicted to locoweed, it's the last thing livestock eat in an over-grazed pasture.  Since we practise good pasture maintenance and feed hay year round, it's not a danger to our horses.

Leafy spurge is our worse plant villain.  We have a 3' x 3' patch underneath a ponderosa pine.  Fortunately, it's not in the pasture.  Leafy spurge has a sap that causes blisters on contact.  It is incredibly invasive, and has taken over entire fields in the area.  The roots can be 30' deep, so pulling it out is impossible.  We have mowed our little patch and are watching it closely.  We would hate to have to spray.  We love the wildlife, and would hate to cause harm.  Time will tell if we need to be more aggressive against this evil villain.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Living Vicariously

Oh woe is me!  Neighbor Chuck is off this weekend to Wyoming for a big cow horse show.  Team Elvis is off this weekend to Boulder for a really nice dressage show.  And I'm on injured reserve!  Drat!

So to cheer me up, friend Jan (Elvis' owner) sent me a link containing a free sample clip from the symposium we went to  (Elvis' first gig).  In the clip, Elvis is the training level horse Janet Foy refers to as an over-achiever.  Yes, it helps.  I'd rather be doing just about anything other than hanging around.  I'd love to be working side by side with my beloved David, cleaning our horses stalls.  I'd love to be scrubbing troughs (thanks, Funder), painting runs or doing pasture maintenance.  Heck, I'd rather even do housework.  Well, maybe not housework! ;)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good News, Bad News

We finally dried out enough for the sand trucks to get back in and finish the arena.  The footing is very good!  It took 11 loads of crusher fines and 8 loads of sand.  We were really glad we put in 16' gates.

The bad news is that I got bucked off, first ride in our new arena!  Boo!  I just got carried away; I was so happy to be really riding again.  I told myself Paj and I would just do a little arena orientation on the first day.  And so we started walking around the track, then across the diagonals.  That went so well, we picked up a trot and added 20 meter circles.  Paj offered a nice big canter and I let him.  It was round and soft and exuberant.  A little too exuberant; the next instant I was sailing through the air.  You'd think I'd know better, but like I said, I just got carried away.  It's the first time in 24 years I've been bucked off.  What I really feel bad about (besides being an idiot) is causing David so much extra work doing all the chores solo for a bit.  Oh boo.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Gully

Yesterday I walked through the gully that runs along the back of our property.  I try not to go there because it's home to the coyotes and great horned owls, and I don't want to disturb them.  But yesterday there was a turkey buzzard circling around, and I needed to see what had caught its interest.  Fortunately I didn't find anything gross, and I had a lovely walk.  The vegetation is quite different along the gully.  There are lots of ponderosa pines.  In spite of my good intentions, I spooked the great horned owls. 

We stared at each other, and then with a great flapping of wings, they lumbered off.

They perched in a lone pine where they could keep a good eye on me.  Can you see them on the right side of the tree, about half way down?
I continued on, giving them lots of space.  I found some yarrow.  I like the legend of yarrow, Achillea lanulosaAchillea comes from Achilles, who used the yarrow to stop the bleeding of his soldiers' wounds.  Yarrow was an important medicinal plant for many Indian tribes; the leaves can be used to stop bleeding and pain.  (I'm paraphrasing my favorite flower book, Wildflowers of Red Rocks Park).

The gully ends in this pretty little pond just off our property.  The pond is dry most of the year.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday - Boomer's Family

Boomer, Aiden, Sam, Diana and Bob
Boomer enjoyed a visit from his family, and he really enjoyed the extra carrots! 

Clifford the Big Red Dog lapped up attention from Sam while Reggie looked on and Aiden kicked back.
It was fun to have young 'uns around the place.

Saturday - Elvis' First Show

Oh my!  Jan's horse Elvis could not have been better at his first show.  He made his debut with First Level Test 1 and First Level Test 4.  The judges were Lilo Fore and Hilda Gurney.  His scores were 65% and 66%.  For you non-dressage folks, those are wonderful scores!  Way to go Team Elvis!

I have been trying to upload his tests to youtube with no luck this morning.  I'll update if/when I get them loaded.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tom and Pat

We had a wonderful visit with my brother Tom and sister-in-law Pat.  They make beautiful jewelry in Asheville, North Carolina.  They are heavily involved in the Southern Highland Guild
and they are avid gardeners and foodies in their spare time.  They also blog at, which I really appreciate because I get to enjoy their garden.

All of our visitors have to admire the horses.  It's mandatory.  Like most folks, Tom and Pat liked big Boomer best.  As long as Paj and Reggie get the same amount of carrots, they're OK with that.

We went over to our neighbors Kate and Mike's alpaca ranch.  Kate let us get up close and personal with her lovely alpacas.


The alpacas were very cute and frisky. 

The speckled one is Mizz Fancy Pantz, and the big black guard llama is Victoria.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Jamie came to visit!  She was the perfect house guest; she petted the cats, fussed over Clifford, and gave the horses treats.

Jamie lives in California now, and we miss her so much.  We were neighbors and coworkers for many years.  Jamie and I were Cartographers for USGS.  We both enjoyed many adventures (and misadventures) doing field work in the early years of our careers.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Stormy Weather

Nature gave us a huge show for the 4th of July.  It started with this big cloud hovering over our barn.

then the sky turned black

wind, rain, hail, lightening and thunder hit us

We thought it was over
and took pictures out the front door

and out the bedroom window, looking south

The storm roared back to life, and raged past midnight.  We were lucky; we only have nuisance damage.  There is a small washout in the driveway.  What little landscaping we have is stripped of leaves.  We had a minor flood in the furnace room.  And finally, I'm a little annoyed because I had washed every window in the house preparing for company.  Gr-r-r.

The horses are fine, although they are annoyed to be confined to stalls and runs until it dries out a bit.  The new arena's crusher fines stood up to the storm really well, although there are a couple of places that need work before the sand comes.  Sand delivery is postponed until it dries out enough to get heavy trucks out there.  Things could have been much worse.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Gravel in Connecticut, Crusher Fines in Colorado

Check out Java's Barn!  My friend Java's Mom is making gravel covered pens for the lovely Java and her friend Stretch, and they referenced us!  How nice!  (Gee, I hope it works for her.  Gulp.)  Her blog is the first blog I ever saw.  I started following her, and it opened up the world of blogging for me.  It's been so much fun to read blogs from far away, and see what other people's worlds are like.  Thanks, Java's Mom.

Back at the ranch, the arena is progressing nicely.  In fact, I'm thrilled with it.  We had 10 truckloads of crusher fines delivered.  Here's the first load -
The crusher fines form the sub base of the arena.  Hopefully they will keep the arena from becoming a swimming pool when we get precipitation.  After our last big storm, one of the local arenas had a pond in the middle, complete with a paddling duck.  I really hope that doesn't happen to us.  We also have a gentle grade to aid in drainage.

We have 10 loads of sand coming Tuesday and Wednesday.  Java's Mom and I were joking about being the kind of  girls (well, in my case, old lady) who get excited about gravel and crusher fines.  Is that normal?