Thursday, August 13, 2020

The "I'm still here, sorta" update

In the interest of trying to write more, I was thinking of doing a weekly update.  However, when you rarely leave your home, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to write about!  This update covers the past two or three weeks…if not longer.

My Mom is working on cleaning up old photos and sent me this gem:

Me at the Kentucky Horse Park sometime in the 80s. Note the love of green even back then! lol
My first update is that our internet has been crappy for the past month. It sort of stopped working properly about a month ago. Calls to the company just resulted in “turn it off and back on again” type of advice.  Fun.  

We have a whopping 2 options for internet service here (15 minutes outside a major city!)  and the first one is now toast, so the 2nd company is coming on Thursday today to set us up.  

Cross your fingers that it works, because we are running out of old dvds and puzzles.  LOL  Totally a #firstworldproblem, I know, but important when I’m trying to work from home!

My second update is that my boarder is leaving in mid-September. This is not a bad thing, I’m kind of looking to have my place back to myself for a bit.   Her horse has been here for 6 or so years though, so I will miss seeing him out back.  What I won’t miss tho, is the extra mouth to feed! 

Which brings me to important update #3: due to the drought earlier this year, hay is in majorly short supply around here.  The price is at least $6 a bale if you can find any and closer to $7 if you go through a supplier and have it delivered.  The price will likely continue to climb over the fall/winter.  I have 120 bales in the barn, but it won’t last me very long, as I’m starting to feed a bit of hay now as the grass was toast due to the drought as well. 

We have had some rain, so it came back a bit, but not enough to support the 3 big horses.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading about how to supplement forage, so there are some good options to stretch out hay.  We also have a lead on these great hay cubes that you can feed dry and are a total hay replacement (long stem forage) so my friend and I are going to do a big order of that in September.

I hope to get my butt outside with a camera in the next few days so I can do some pony updates!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Viva Carlos blog hop: Home office edition

Big thanks to LWilliams for the blog content inspiration!  

I've been having a hard time sitting down to write anything here.  In fact, I'm contemplating not blogging any more.  At minimum, I want to change my url and blog title, but haven't come up with an alternative yet.  Until I decide and/or get some inspiration, I'll try and keep hacking away here.


This whole WFH thing is pretty new to me - my work didn't really support it in the past. This year, however, has proven that most of us can and will work quite well from home, so that has been nice.  Cutting out my 45 min each way commute has been one of the few things I'm grateful for during this pandemic.

When we first moved here in 2012, I had my desk upstairs in the spare room (found a pic from 2013 on my old blog) but ended up moving it downstairs due to crappy internet.    Note the clutter and the all important orange cat in a box.  :-)  The bookshelf is also downstairs now with my horse show trophies and a few token books.
Kinda messy, but lots of space to spread out. I could always close the door to hide the mess!

I kind of like having my desk on the main floor now and have taken over part of the living room.  I've contemplated moving back upstairs since we have marginally better internet, but being down where I can get to the kitchen easier has its perks now that I'm working from home all the time!  LOL
This is the same desk and filing cabinet from the first pic - I've had both for ages and decided to paint both items blue a few years ago to update things a bit.  The only catch is that the paint was supposed to be navy, but it came out more blueberry than navy!  I keep meaning to repaint both, but haven't got around to it yet.   My chair is ancient and the arms fall off from time to My work chair is the only thing I miss from the office - I have a nice Hermann Miller aeron chair - and I kind of wish I could have brought it home back in March!

Also pictured is my ancient Mac desktop - it is from 2011 or maybe 2010 and is still holding on. I'm nursing it along as long as possible.  My work laptop has been dumped on the floor for some reason.  
Archie keeping my chair warm...

I usually have a collection of cats around my desk during the day - they come and go on their own schedule, of course.  Sophie also likes to sleep on my chair legs (no idea why!) so I have to be careful moving my chair. 

I got up for lunch or something and came back to
I thought I'd show you a close up of my "decor" in this area.  The wall is blank - I keep flip flopping on what to put on this big wall.  My desk tends to have a rotating display of little trinkets and stuff that amuses me.  Currently, I have my "I was normal three cats ago" sign that I did at a paint night last year. I've left it there since it is fairly accurate.  ;-)  

Also included is a little trinket from my time in the Yukon. Every time I think of how annoying my job is, I look at that little dude and realize I don't work in a mine, so life isn't so bad.
Knick-knacks and DIY crafts

The latest additions are the two little baby Yoda (or the Child(TM)) watercolour prints I did. I bought a big digital pack of Star Wars and Disney images on Etsy, printed a few and then watercoloured the little dude.  For some reason watercolour "painting" (I'm not an artist, more of a crafter) is quite relaxing and fun, so I do a few little pieces from time to time.

I cleaned out the drawers of my desk so I can put work away every night and keep my desk a bit tidier.  I don't quite have enough room for work stuff and my craft supplies, so I need to work on that a bit at some point.  

We have no indication yet of when we will be allowed to go back to the office, so I expect I'll be using this setup for a few more months at least!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Vet and chiro visits

I normally try to do my routine horse maintenance - vaccinations, coggins (if needed) and dentals in late March, so I'm ready for the upcoming year of shows, riding or whatever might be going on.

This year, covid changed that a bit, which worked out ok in the end.  I had the vet out in April for Copper and Fred's vaccines and check up, but she wasn't doing dental work at that time.

Waiting for the vet
When Ivy came here last month, she needed some TLC. She hadn't had her feet done professionally in a while and hadn't seen the vet for anything maintenance related in quite some time.  No vaccines/dental work is pretty common in broodmares, as there is a small window during a pregnancy where it is thought to be safe to sedate.  Some people won't sedate a broodmare at all, but my vet said it is possible at certain times mid-pregnancy to do it safely.  All that being said, Ivy was long overdue for a dental check and her vaccines. 
Teefs done? Check.
All three horses were booked in for dentals last week, so it is great to have that done and all set until next year.  In the end, splitting up the bill helped my finances a bit as well.  Fred and Ivy were good patients and both had some dental issues that needed to be addressed. 
The mare still manages side-eye while sedated.  lol
Copper also needs routine dental and I feel like I've been pretty lucky with the vets that I deal with - all are more than willing to sit on the floor and do Copper's teeth.   With Ivy's arrival, Copper got booted from his stall.  I tied him up in the aisle and he waited patiently for his turn with the vet.
Waiting. And waiting
Minis have such small mouths and often have major dental issues.  Copper's teeth aren't bad overall, but he has two teeth way in the back that are rotated inwards and can get sharp.  I ended up hanging in the barn answering some work emails as the horses came out of sedation.  Copper was super cute (as usual) and wanted to rest his head in my lap while the meds wore off. 
I feel woozy and need snuggles. Copper, probably.
Fred got to see the chiro as well last week. We all love this chiro - she is super friendly and super knowledgeable.  I haven't been working Fred much lately, as it has been disgustingly hot and well, with no shows, he can just hang out and be a horse...  I had been noticing though, that he was stepping a bit short on his front left, so after the farrier confirmed his hoof was fine, I thought I'd try the chiro before the vet was due to come out. 
Hitting some good spots?
She didn't feel there were any soft tissue injuries, but since he has been growing non-stop, his muscles, especially in the shoulders were extremely tight.  She gave me a few rehab/massage exercises and I do those a few time a week to help relieve the muscle tension.  Luckily Fred loves any and all attention, so he is good for his stretches and massage.  :-)
Happy Fred
She didn't think Fred needed to be seen regularly, as long as I was able to keep up the exercises and see some improvement (I have!).  She also thinks he will maybe start filling out width wise instead of up now, so that would be nice!  I'm still hoping to show him one more year (come on 2021!) so more bulk would be great and the upward growth can stop!  I haven't sticked him lately, but he was close to 16.3hh last time! 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Q2 Wrap-up

Things have certainly being challenging thus far in 2020!  I went back to re-read my Q1 goals post and I had a chuckle at my optimism that things would pick up for shows and things around here.

Note: I’m having internet and blogger issues so I can’t seem to add any more photos. Sigh. #firstworldproblems

Needless to say, I've bit the bullet and totally scrapped most of my horse goals for this year and made some modifications.  I have done ok on the barn/pasture stuff, but need to really focus on the house in Q3 before things totally get away from me.

I think Charlie Mackesy summed up how I feel with this post on Instagram:

I'm also sad that attending QH Congress in Columbus is 95% out - who knows what the travel restrictions will be like by then (the border is closed until late July at least), the US dollar exchange rate is horrendous and I honestly don't know if I want to be around large amounts of people for a few more months. 

My plan B for a big horse show/shopping event was the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in November, but it was canceled on June 25th, so that plan is toast as well.  I guess I should really just focus on saving money so next year can be a good one (fingers crossed!).

  • earn Fred's ROM (AQHA register of merit - each time a horse hits 10 points in a discipline/level, you get a certificate) in halter - we need 1.5 points in open and I think 3.5 points in amateur  - shelved until 2021 due to covid-19
  • show at a different venue/different club (I've shown at the same 2 places for 98% of past shows) shelved until 2021 due to covid-19
  • ride again - might still pull this off
  • attend a clinic of some sort shelved until 2021 due to covid-19
  • find a mare for my friend to ride and maybe breed (added Q1) - COMPLETED! W00t!
  • work as weather permits 
  • continue under saddle work - leaving this on in case I'm inspired to try him under saddle again
  • work on showmanship and in hand trail - maybe show at a schooling show? shelved until 2021 due to covid-19
  • find a bridle that fits his big head - COMPLETED for now with the world's ugliest bridle, found in a heap of old tack at the volunteer place
  • get him more used to the bit and/or try a hackamore
  • stay healthy! - Q1 - check! Q2 - check!
Lucy (my friend's mare)
  • get her confirmed in foal - Check! 45 day u/s done on 04/01 and all good!  Q2 - all good!
  • read 45 books - Q1 was great, Q2 not so much.  There is still time to save this goal!
  • back up and organize photos (my computer is dying, so this is urgent!) COMPLETED!
  • volunteer somewhere horse-y  - COMPLETED-ish early this year.  The therapeutic riding centre is still closed to outsiders due to covid-19 so nothing further for this year.
  • save $$ for foal hopefully coming in 2021- this is going well, thanks to covid-19
  • exercise program of some sort - ahhahaha!
  • stick to a budget - doing ok here in Q2, thanks to covid-19
  • read/listen to some horse training material - podcasts, youtube, books etc - Q1 - I read lots, Q2, not so much
  • continue to declutter and sell unused tack - ongoing - more work to be done here!
  • attend QH Congress (as a spectator) in October (I've missed the past 2 years!) - sadly, I think this will have to be scratched.  
  • use up products that are already in the house/barn (added Q2) - Ongoing - I'm on a mission here to use up as much stuff and not buy anything new unless urgent - like fly spray or something.
  • complete some minor house renos/d├ęcor updates - nothing in Q2
  • stay on top of yard/flowerbeds/fenceline - fencline yes, flowerbeds, uh hells no.  LOL
  • keep barn tidy
    • clean and organize my hay storage area - DONE Q2
    • fix and bury fence ground wires - DONE! Q1
    • check pasture fence and come up with a plan to have fence fixed by mid-May DONE Q2
    • source some 2nd cut hay - DONE Q2
    • clean and organize tack - ongoing, with more motivation now that there is a riding horse here!
    • repaint jump poles 
    • organize electric fence supplies/spare parts - added and DONE Q2
    • clean and put away winter blankets DONE Q2
    • put away the trough heater and extension cord DONE Q2
    • clean the tack room DONE Q2
    • daydream about tack room renos/updates DONE - LOL
    • clean cobwebs/windows/shelves DONE Q2
  • look into and start a plan/budget for some barn renos - eavestrough, upgrade lighting/wiring and maybe refinish the tack room - Q2 - made a spreadsheet with materials list, pricing

Thursday, June 25, 2020

A new face at the farm

And no, it isn't a corgi puppy!  lol

The last week has brought a new equine face to my little farm!  
So cute...
Ivy is a 13yo reg'd paint mare, owned by a friend of mine.   My friend would like to eventually breed this mare, but for now, she is living at my place and I'm going to help ride her and see if we can get her going decently under saddle.
New girl on the left. Notice Copper hiding behind Fred. lol I'm in love with this picture - I might have to get it blown up and printed or something.

She has been good to handle so far and has adapted to my routine without much trouble.  She and Copper had a bit of a rough start for some reason, but she is ok with him now.
Not much grass left and it's only June!

All we know about her under saddle training is that she is a) broke to ride and b) the previous owner saddled her up and went on trail rides.  Not a lot to work with!  lol  Another friend might come over and help if I run into any major issues.
She gets an A+ for standing in the cross ties and for being groomed

 We actually know more about her early and  most recent years, with a big gap in the middle.  She was bred and shown in halter by an acquaintance, so we were able to track down some cute foal and show pics!
The picture for her registration papers 

Weanling Ivy - at a futurity in the US

She was sold and then bought by another acquaintance several years later and he used her as a broodmare and had 3 foals off her.  He sold her last fall to a lady a couple of hours from here and my friend bought her just last week.
Ivy on the far right with a neck ribbon

I had the farrier out on Monday as she was in desperate need of a trim.  That alone made her look better and move better.  The vet will be out in a couple of weeks to get her caught up on shots/dental, etc. as I have no record of her history.

She is in need of some TLC and some good feed, but other than that she is a nice little mare. I might actually have a "between the ears" pic sometime soon...  I'm normally a gelding person, but there is always time to change and try something new, right?  lol

Thursday, June 18, 2020

An update of sorts

I've been having a heck of a time getting myself motivated to write something here.  So this post will just serve as a bit of a photo dump and catch-up of sorts. 

I was very lucky to have a friend loan me his tractor for a week back in late May. I quickly got to work cleaning up my manure piles and scraping the problem spots in the paddock.   I love tractors AND clean paddocks, so I was pretty happy to get this major job done for this year.  I like to have a tractor in once a year, as our equine friends happily keep producing manure!
Not quite a between the ears view, but the next best thing!
It took me a bit to get the controls down for the bucket and the box scraper, but after a couple of hours I got more agile and quicker with my work.

Fred was very curious the whole time I was working outside. He is such a funny guy.  I was trying to get an "after" picture, but Fred kept sneaking in to the picture, so I just went with it.  I told him he couldn't poop in the new cleaned up area, but I don't think he quite got it. lol
So clean and smooth! 
With some help, I have both pastures all set up for grazing.  We fixed the fences and made sure all the fencelines have lots of juice, in case Fred decides to lean on the fence.   The horses sure seemed happy to have more room to wander and lots of grass.  Copper is in a grazing muzzle, since he can't handle that much grass. 
As is the case with a lot of my pictures, when Fred hears/sees me outside, he comes over to say hi. 
So cute...
Things are slowly opening up here in our province, so a friend asked me to go with her on a road trip to a neighbouring province.  She had sold a mare and bought a new filly and needed to deliver the mare.    The farm we visited is a well known AQHA and APHA breeder and I had met the owner a few years ago at a show, so I was interested to see his farm.

And yes, this is a pic of a horse butt.  lol  What can I say?  My friend asked me to take this picture, so I was just doing as asked.  This is a cute little double registered AQHA/APHA filly that my friend is hoping to show next year.

These people also breed corgis and border collies, so I spent a lot of time cuddling cute dogs and even a few puppies.  Luckily all were sold, so I didn't come home with a new creature.  ;-)

I snapped this from the side of the road on an early morning drive - this time of year in this part of the world is pretty amazing - I try and find time to appreciate that.  The long days of sunlight make up for the opposite that we get in the winter.
5:40am drive
On the other end of the spectrum, the sun doesn't set until around 9pm and the sky is still light until 9:30 or so.
And finally, a picture of my peonies, just about to bloom.   I've been busy with the horses/barn/pastures, but have sort of neglected my flower beds.  Clearly gardening is not my favourite thing to do...!  This house has way too many flower beds for a place that has horses to take care of.  My goal before the end of the month is to get the outside of the house tidied up as well.

Hopefully this post will help me get back into the routine of posting...we'll see! lol

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Black Lives Matter

I wanted to take a short moment to post something here - I've been waffling on what to say for many reasons - but those don't matter.  I'm sure I'll make mistakes, but you can't start out perfect.

My anxiety has been high this week - as I do work for the police and police actions are a part of my day to day life - but that's ok, I'm just trying to sit with the feelings and not judge or hide, but learn.

Anyway, I'm reading, listening, learning and trying to find ways to to take action to become an anti-racist.  Cause, guys, racism exists here too.  And just saying it is only a US problem is not good or remotely true.

Please check out L. Williams post, if you haven't already - she generously shared resources and her story and for that I am beyond grateful.

In addition to US resources, I'm making it a priority to find and support Canadian groups/charities and resources to further my awareness.

Edited to add:

Huffpost article - Cdn resources

Farewell Rip and Spunky (alternate title: What a f**ng awful week)

 I've had another spell of radio silence here.  This time for good reason. On Wednesday, October 20th, I lost Rip to colic.  He had just...