Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trail ride and chili feed

Beauties and the Beast (Ed)
These young ladies enjoyed riding Ed before he went to work pulling the wagon. This gentle giant is used at the ranch for logging in the hills, and is gentle enough for a nice ride, too.

Robin with Cowboy Neil on Smokey

Had a lovely fall day of riding at the Robin & Kay Secrist ranch yesterday. This was a fund raising effort of the Trailblazers Saddle Club so it was a must appearance! I left Cerra at home and rode "Juliet" one of the Secrist's horses. She was lovely--so much like my old arab mare, Lallie. She has had lots of experience climbing the rugged trails through the hills and valleys. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Camera Doesn't Lie

With my little horse buddy off hobnobbing with the Parelli's I had to rely on myself. How hard could it be? Set up the video camera, grab a horse and do some stuff with the horse. Little did I know the little circus that would ensue.

A little background for the non-horse person. Horses are simply little kids. Depending on their temperament they can act like kids do around 8 to 14 years of age. Cerra is maybe a "thirteen year old". Cheyenne is probably 9. That means that Cerra is going to be in the teenage "I'm too cool to do this" stage. Chy as a 9 year old is wanting to be the center of attention--PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!!

I got the camera rolling and got Cerra on line. Chy celebrated by rolling. (lol) In front of the camera. Look at me. I tried to focus on Cerra. Chy went over and stood in front of the camera. LooK At Me. She got chased away. Back to Cerra. We are going sideways over the barrels--not bad--except Chy was now standing with her butt to the camera. LOOK AT ME!!! Stopped and moved her again.

I guess I don't need to say more--you get the idea. Even after moving on to the round pen it was the same story. It was actually hilarious--laughed a lot! I didn't get any time worth saving for posterity (or YouTube!) but I did learn some things and this is the whole point of this post.

I haven't had the experience of seeing myself in a ground session and it was valuable in the sense that I now had irrefutable evidence that --- I -- am --- (terrible, lacking, etc.) ok, not good. Granted the focus was scattered, but I got to see first hand that I'm doing a lot of things wrong. I move too much, I use my stick too much, I'm "clucking" too much, I'm not energetic enough, the horses are lackluster because I'm not asking enough. I could go on, but self-flagellation is not my strong suit.

Fast forward to today (Monday)--new game plan. I started the session with Cerra on the 12' line instead of the 22'. Instead of flopping around clucking like a dying duck, I had my stick at the ready in a range that I could make my point. Got their attention--and results--all while picking up points for lots of friendly mixed in. Cerra had one RB (right brain) outburst that was purely a test of me and we survived it and were better for having had the experience.

Turned out today's session was one of the best I have had for several weeks. Cheyenne's was especially good because she walked the teeter-totter for the first time without scaring herself. Next she mounted the wood pedestal with both feet! I asked Cerra, at liberty, to stand on the tire pedestal and I had two glorious horses showing off for our little world and mommy was so happy!

Took off Chy's halter and trotted myself back to the barn with two sweet horses following on each side. It doesn't get better than that!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chilly night

Night before last we hit our first 32 degree evening. I didn't have the greens covered and I lucked out--nobody froze. I had the hose going first thing in the morning just in case. Last night I was more cautious and had the sheets over them so, of course, it only hit a low of 40. I have four 55 gal.  barrels of water to help hold heat but it only goes so far. Eventually everything is going to freeze. The whole thing is an experiment at this point anyway. How much abuse can lettuce and kale take? These big lettuce plants have been producing since August--no sign of them going to seed yet. I am going to stake them up and keep picking as long as possible. There are two other beds coming up so if I can keep jack frost away there should be good eating. We are going to get our straw bales on Monday so I can reinforce the insulation factor.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Horses want their pictures on the internet

The girls--Cheyenne and Cerra
Cerra is six this year and Cheyenne is four years old. They are my "girls" and are recently without their guy, Ranger, who was 20 when he had to leave us this spring. It has been a very interesting summer. I want to be their new alpha--leader of their herd of two. Making it a herd of three. I have been a Parelli student since I got into horses again after a break of 30 some years. My first two horses were older, Beau (13) and Lalique (15) and that lead to acquiring Ranger (16) and after that, the youngster, Cerra as a yearling. I found the Parelli program because I wanted to get into the educational aspects of horse ownership and found that things had changed dramatically since 4-H in the early 1970's!  

The Parelli's, Pat and Linda, teach us that it's about Love, Language and Leadership, which resonates with me.  After moving to Pepin I was fortunate enough to find that there is a young lady, Fran,  who is deeply into the Parelli program and she has helped me tremendously with my horses.  In fact, we got Cheyenne the proper start totally with the Parelli program. More about that later.

Fran has a blog which describes her experience with the program and her further training and experience so I won't try to explain it here. Just visit her journey if it is interesting to you at

The interesting thing about Cheyenne (black) and Cerra (brown) is that they have the same (close to it) facial markings, have identical leg markings (three white feet).  Isn't that what girls do when they find something that works? One in brown, one in black?!

Sunday afternoon at Catfish Corner

Had the family out to enjoy the day! Don and Helga were having fun. Our girl, Helga, is only four years old, but she's really big and it's hard for her to tear around. But she did it today! She knew mom was taking pictures and she tackled me a few times in her exuberance. She can knock me down without a problem.

Our Rooster Louie

Rooster Louie--Took a pic of this big guy yesterday. It was a gorgeous fall day. I'll post more photos later. I know how to do it now! Louie is OUR LAST ROOSTER. Last year I got chicks -- Barred Rock and Reds -- straight run. That means you get whatever hatches. Boys or girls. So I had a multitude of BOYS who grew up into roosters. Roosters have specific needs and they got to be really obnoxious. They wouldn't leave my beautiful hens alone. Hens without feathers are not pretty. Heads rolled. Yes, folks, country people know where food comes from and it's an unfortunate reality that it involves a harvest. At the end of the day there were three roosters left.

They were named: Larry, Louie and Lucky, inspite of the fact that farmers never name animals that are intended to enter the food chain. Lucky was so named because he ran into the woods and survived the day. Larry, Lucky and Louie lived in their ways until one of the hens showed up totally broken down. The next harvest arrived. All of a sudden Larry was going to spend winter in the freezer--with his compadre (not so) Lucky.  That left Louie. He's a Barred Rock rooster--he is magnificent (although I think the red ones were much prettier) and he is the "cock of the walk". And he knows it. Eyes are on him. Hens are growing new feathers. If he can find a way to contain himself he might see spring. 

Nature's Artistry

Lovely fall colors among the pines.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hopping around

I'm throwing all these random things out--just trying to get photos up. I'm resorting to using PC to upload photos. I'm missing out on some turn with Mac to get it to work. So....I email my photos from Mac to PC in the basement and then upload to the blog. At least I'm getting my exercise running back and forth.

Hoop house

Or as Don calls it--my pout house! No pouting allowed here--just growing of greens. This has been the best gardening year yet. After three years worth of composted horse manure we are finally getting some tilth built up.
The window recently completed for RCMC in Menomonie.

Frustration - and Victory!

I spent a few futile hours trying to get my ancient Canon software reinstalled on the PC I had repaired after the meltdown. You know that wasn't going to go well! It wouldn't acknowledge the camera, the USB, nothing was working. I'm just thankful I have access to the photos that were saved.

Just for the fun of it I attached the USB cable to the Mac. It immediately asked if I wanted to use iPhoto to view my pics! No muss, no fuss. LOVE the Mac! 

Now--if I can get blogspot to allow me to use my Mac photos. Houston--we have a problem........

Monday, October 6, 2008

Getting the hang of it....

The new Mac has been here a week now, and after losing so much on the old computer, it's a continuing process of compiling email addresses, etc. Overall, it's just about getting used to how quick it is (I'm not!) how intuitive it is (ditto) and how it just works day after day without having to reboot, throw error messages, or just plain being a pain in the butt!

I have to admit that those tv ads for Mac were persuasive. (I think someone actually accused us of being "gullible" by buying a Mac!)

Gullible, or not, it's nice to have a computer that works for a change!