Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nature's Wonders

I wonder about our barn swallows.  This is the first year we've had them.  It's also the year of the flies.  Did they somehow know there would be ample food this year?  Or do we live so far out in the country that it took them 2 years to find us (tee-hee-hee)?  Regardless, 2 weeks ago little Emma and I watched momma barn swallow clean shells out of her nest.  How tiny they are.
Now the babies are showing their big faces.

I wonder about the water beetle in the stock tank.  Where did he come from?  Sure, they can fly short distances, but how did he find his way to our stock tank?  I catch him in a little cup when I clean the tank, then let him go again.  His name is Ringo - he swims round and round in his little cup and he's a beetle.  Silly, but there you have it.
They are tiny wonders of nature, but wonders none the less.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Update - Elvis and Ben

I continue to ride Elvis at Jan's 3 times a week.  It's going really well, and it's so much fun to ride this great horse.  I'm having less and less trouble with my shoulder and fingers, but oh my, am I ever out of shape.  There are lots of rider breaks in our sessions! 

The whip has been an issue for both Elvis and me.  Even though I carry a whip for convention instead of use, Elvis had a fear of the whip.  Jan has done a lot of work desensitizing him.  My problem has been keeping the whip and the reins in my stiff fingers.  We started Elvis back to work carrying a short little hunter/jumper bat, and that went fine.  Today we graduated to a dressage whip, and both Elvis and I forgot it was there!  He wasn't nervous about it, and I didn't have to concentrate to keep it from falling out of my hand.  That's huge!

Here's a look at today's trot work

and the canter work

It makes me feel so good to have my dear friend Jan coaching me and my dear husband David taking photos.  Does it get any better?  NO!

That's Jan's husband John in the background.  He built her arena.

Big Ben is coming along nicely too.  He's had some time off after getting his wolf teeth out, but today David got back in the saddle.

Good boy, Ben!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Ferocious Little Storm

The storm we had the other day was little only because it didn't last long.  But it was fierce.  David, Jan and I think it was the most intense 20 to 45 minutes of weather we've ever lived through.  I say 20 to 45 minutes because how long it lasted depends on who's telling the story.  Anyway, we saw black clouds and decided to bring the horses in just in case there was lightning.  Or hail.

As soon as we got back to the house, the wind began to roar and the hail started.  We drove (drove!  it's a short walk when it's not hailing) back to the barn and shut the horses in.  It took all of our strength to shut the doors.  I quickly learned how much hail hurts, even when it's little splatty wet hail.  I had to pause, catch my breath and give myself a pep talk before I got the last door shut.  We drove back to the house, soaking wet, and watched sidewards sheets of rain blow across.  I didn't get any photos of the storm - I was just standing there with my mouth open.  We got between 2 and 3 inches of rain, depending on who you talk to.  Three inches is my story, and I'm sticking to it.  Over at Jan's, she too was in the barn shutting the horses in.  She thought it might be a tornado.  It was that fast, and that intense.

After the storm, there were streams where there were never streams before.

I didn't get a photo of the little gully that runs along the back edge of the ranch because I was stunned. It was a raging river.  Normally it's dry, but sometimes it has a couple of little puddles in it.  Never running water.  The coyotes like to hang out there.  That night I was mighty glad to hear them whine and complain - I knew they survived the storm.

Our storm is over, and all that's left behind is the flies.  We've never had a fly problem before.  I'm blaming the wet weather.  I hate flies.  The horses hate flies.  Please, flies, be gone!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


We've had a visit from Dr. Gary.  He drew blood from Paj for a RAST test (radioallergosorbent test for allergies; post will follow when results are in) and he floated Boomer and Ben's teeth.  For non-horsey folks, that means he filed off the sharp points.  Horse teeth grow continuously and tend to wear unevenly.  Click here for a better explanation.  Both Clydes were extremely well behaved and didn't need to be tranquilized. 

Dr. Gary, technician Kyle, Big Ben and David

Boomer just had some small points.  Ben had a surprise for us...he still had his wolf teeth!  Most horses don't have wolf teeth, and those that do usually shed them by age 3.  Ben's were none too comfortable for him, so after a pain killer/tranquillizer, Dr. Gary quickly extracted them.  If you're squeamish, don't scroll down...





Ben will be getting a visit from the tooth fairy, and some extra tlc.
He's eating like a horse tonight, so we know he's fine.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Um, Somebody's High

Paj had his first turnout in the new pasture.  He had to wait for it to dry because he plays hard.  Before I turned him out, I gave him the usual lecture - have fun, don't hurt yourself and keep your shoes on.  
I knew he'd do some of this -
a lot of this -
and a whole lot of this -

I'm happy to report that he followed my instructions.
No injuries and 4 shoes!

I have a new follower, and she has the cutest horse blog.  Horse friends, art friends and anybody that likes a fun read, check out Sally Met Harry Horse (click here).

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Clydes Make More Friends

Friends Bob and Diana brought friends Cheryl and Garth and their daughters Emma and Grace to meet the Clydes.  My, those big horses have a way with the little ones.  Ben made Grace and Emma giggle.

Boomer gave everyone a cart ride,

and Bob showed the girls the correct way to give a carrot
for a job well done.  Good boy, Boomer.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

The New Pasture

In spite of all the rain, the crew finished the fence in short order.  They left behind the flower box old red truck with a promise to come get it when it dries out.  They did a great job.  The new pasture looks like it's always been here.

That's Reggie on the left in the old pasture
and Boomer and Ben in the new pasture. 

Boomer couldn't even wait for David to shut the gate
before he started grazing.

The sight of something new and different turned Paj to stone

but he quickly got down to grazing.

Here's his colorful side.

We are all so glad to have more pasture.

Technical Details
A couple of people have asked about the fencing materials.  The posts are 8', with 3' set in concrete.  We used 5 strands of Centaur white lightning (click here), an electric wire fencing that is coated for safety and visibility.  Ours is solar powered.  We chose not to electrify the bottom strand so that Mr. Coyote and the other wildlife can still wander the countryside.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tornado Warning!

This was the view from our house an hour ago.
We're under a tornado warning.
The storm is upon us, but not the tornado.  We are having torrential rains and heavy lightening.  Not to worry, my computer is not plugged in and the boys are locked in the barn.  We'll just ride the storm out.  We have had storms every afternoon for almost a week.  Yesterday's blew the old dead tree on our back fenceline down and into the neighbor's fence.  David and neighbor Cheryl have a date with a chainsaw tomorrow.

I added the following short video clip after the storm.  There is a ground rainbow to the right of the barn, and hail in the distance to the far right.  The rainbow was much more vivid in person.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Daylilies (sniff sniff)

Have you seen the fabulous daylilies on Louise and Lori's blogs?  They posted photos of their gorgeous daylilies last year too.  That inspired me to plant a daylily this Spring.  Now, gardening is challenging at 6,800' in a semi-desert, so I called my little daylily my test pilot.  I was pleased when it survived transplanting and thrilled when it developed a bud.  Sure, it's about 8" tall and some of Lori's are 5 feet tall, but I was pleased. 

 (Cue dark cloud.  Literally.)

Yesterday we had a tiny bit of hail with our monsoon rain.  It struck off a few aspen leaves but did no real damage.  But when I looked at my daylily, the bud was gone!  Gasp!

At first I blamed the hail.  But now I'm not so sure.  That's a mighty crisp cut.  Could one of our billions of thirteen-striped ground squirrels have helped themselves to a snack?  Perhaps.

So I took a stroll and enjoyed the beauty of prickly pears blooming in a rock outcrop.  Yep, it's the very same plant that I behead and dig up when I find them in the horse pasture!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Friends and Fencing

Yay!  It's been a very nice week.  We've had visits from family and friends, and the fence is coming along nicely.  My brother Tom and sister-in-law Pat came out from North Carolina for a visit.  Pat's father lives in Colorado Springs.  He is 98 years old, lives in his own house, has a girlfriend, and goes to the local Karaoke bar.  What a guy!

Our friend Bob lent us Boomer and the surrey so we could take Tom and Pat for a drive.  As always, the Clydes were a hit.

Boomer worked his charm on Tom
while Pat made sure Ben got love too.
Pat still has that thumb, by the way.

Today we had visits from our friend and Boomer's owner Bob, and our neighbor Chuck.  I love living in country where your neighbor rides over.

That's Chuck riding Boss Man and pony-ing (is that a word?) Rooster.  They just got back from a big reining competition in South Dakota.  Boss Man won 1st place and Rooster was second!

This would be a great photo if Chuck's face wasn't shadowed
and Boss Man didn't have too many legs.
I really like Boss Man.  He's a good horse in every way.  But I digress.  Chuck came over to check out the fence progress.  The crew is moving right along.  All the posts are set, and they are working on drilling the holes and inserting the insulator tubes.  It's 5 strand fencing, so that's a big job.

We've had monsoon rains every day since they started.
It's caused some problems.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fencing - Day 2

These guys are fast!
They showed up first thing this morning with a load of fence posts
and a cement mixer.
That's Bill the Fence Guy, helper Dan and David

They've set about half the posts!

Today's wildflower is Spiderwort.
It is a favorite of mine because of it's pretty blue color
and the way the grass-like leaves radiate out like a spider's web.
David likes it for it's other name - Cow Slobber!
The blooms last for just a day, and then they get gooey,
like...cow slobber.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fencing - Day 1

More pasture!  We are fencing in the northwest quadrant of our property.  Bill the Fence Guy is doing the work.  We do what we can ourselves, but this job requires tools we don't have.  Like a Bobcat with big augers.

The utility companies came today and flagged the lines.  The area we are fencing adjoins our neighbor's alpaca farm.  It has the best grass on our land, and some nice wildflowers. 

Firecracker Penstemon in the new pasture
and our house in the background

The new pasture stops where the trees begin.  We want to protect the horses from the rock outcrops at the base of the trees, and we want to protect this pretty area from the horses. We don't have many trees!