Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Video production day

Fran and I had a big pony day yesterday. She asked me to film her audition for her Level 3 Parelli test so we set up the obstacle course and got the cameras charged up and went to work--or as we Parelli people say---PLAY! (I love work so I don't consider work a dirty word!)

Fran did two awesome routines--one "On Line" with a 45' line and the second one was "Freestyle" which was riding bareback--without a bridle!--a walk, trot, canter and a huge JUMP no less! I was behind the camera taking in every turn and I could only dream to ride like this young lady. She is doing the final computer work to put the clips on YouTube for the audition process so I'll post those later.

The funny part is that I tested for Level 2--which evidently I could do--bypassing Level 1 and getting both with two 10 minute auditions. One was on a 22' line and the other was riding. Our May 1st deadline was looming and after having had the experience with Farrah I realized I need to achieve some of these milestones so I can take more lessons from a level that is supported by official accomplishment. I think I'll be withholding my YouTube link!

The interesting part of this is--it has been said that if you once get your head into Level 3 you won't quit there. I have felt my head expanding after having had a long drought over winter. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Heavenly Rain

This is the big rainy day we have been waiting for. Loads headed our way and we just had our first heavy downpour with more lining up behind it. Love the radar weather from NOAA! We are located between the "G" of Red Wing and the black line to the right. (The bottom of the "teaspoon" which is Pepin County.) 

I have been spending time in the garden all week--have four kinds of potatoes planted, the onions, peas and parsnips. That's a good start. Much more to do. I am now expecting to have a damp summer because I just ordered 400 feet of soaker hose for the garden. I spent an inordinate amount of time watering last year and decided I have other things to do than stand holding a hose hours a day!

I am using a new system in the garden this year derived from multiple readings and Mother Earth Magazine. I added compost to tilled double-double rows that are laid out in serpentine fashion snaking from the greenhouse to the north. I will use the soaker hose down the middle of the row in one long continuous stretch. This is going to eliminate having multiple smaller rows and paths which hopefully will result in fewer weed problems. I have lots of clean straw to mulch the plants and to serve as a path covering. The theory is less open dirt to sprout weeds and more mulch to hold moisture. This is all leading up to the no-till method of gardening which is also called "lasagne gardening". Instead of tilling everything up, starting new weeds and destroying the microflora you place your new compost on top and just incorporate it into the top couple inches of soil. This repeats year after year which makes the "layers" of continuing decomposition and enrichment.

Our garden has had the benefit of three years worth of composted horse manure and has finally gained tilth and fertility. Now that I'm down to two horses manure is going to be at a premium! We only have one small accumulated pile from all winter. Maybe this shortage will lead to "having" to get more horses! 

I put up my pathetic little chicken wire fence to keep out the skunks, raccoons, etc. after finding my seeds and potatoes on top of the ground in the morning! It's annoying to have to stick everyone back in the ground every day. They like to turn the soil up and look for grubs--so it is a help, but I wish they would do it BEFORE I plant! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sarah's First Horse Show

Sarah Ormson, granddaughter of our friends Al and Mary Ann Ormson, went to her first ever horse competition last Sunday at the Woodloch Stable in Hugo, MN. She won first places in her two western pleasure classes, rode in the parade of breeds and also won high point award. Way to go, young lady! Her horse, Dinah, is a solid paint quarter horse (about the same age as Sarah!) and has really bonded with her. Sarah and her mom, Sandy, are leasing horses and enjoying the equine experience together.

It was also Sarah's 12th birthday on Sunday and I bet it was one she will never forget.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Horse event

Yesterday was a full, and I mean FULL, day of horsey bliss. Even if it didn't start blissfully. Farrah Green, (in these photos) the two star Parelli instructor from Aberdeen, South Dakota, arrived Tuesday evening with her three horses in her huge living quarters four-horse trailer. Wednesday morning started early with loading everyone up to move the whole half mile to the arena! My horses were in the pasture directly across from the arena so I saddled up Cerra and ponied Chy. Chy didn't want to leave her new herd and kept balking and pulling back. We crossed Highway 35 and I realized that she had pulled her nose out of the halter and it was looped around her neck. In my moderate haste to get that halter back on, she took the first opportunity when I loosened it from around her neck to pull her head away and wheeled back to Fran's horses left in the pasture! So here she is running at large down Highway 35. My worst nightmare is unfolding before my eyes. My angels were on duty and thankfully there weren't any cars coming. She was heading for home until I took Cerra away from her and she decided to follow her. Phheww!

I had 90 minutes with Farrah and Chy--worked on some sticky parts and generally got refreshed and renewed in the Parelli spirit. Three others had lessons also and then the grand finale with Farrah and her two wonder horses, Ceasar and Wesley. She was joined by Fran and Princess and they wowed the crowd with jumping, dressage and bridleless riding. We got done around 6 pm and then took the horses home, unloaded equipment and savored the experiences and learning.

It was sure a great lesson day for my horses. Because I rarely take them anywhere they haven't been well socialized in "horse show" behavior. They were pretty loud for awhile! Once they settled down I went to work on probably the biggest homework lesson--getting them to be apart and calm at the same time. I spent the day alternating between horses--playing with one while all the time going farther away from the other. Then switching off to the other. It was a lot of exercise for all three of us and I was beyond tired by the end of the day. 

This morning Fran and Farrah loaded up and headed off to Madison for a 10 day tour of the Midwest Horse Fair and clinic days. Before they left Fran had her lesson with Crest in the round pen which I was invited to watch. Farrah's horses were with us and one of their signature moves is to lie down--and they don't get their morning feed with out this little performance! It's no wonder Farrah's business name is Sitting Horse!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The beginning of the week.......

and this is going to be a big week! (We think any week with more than three things on the calendar is BIG!) Started Monday on a great note--Fran and I rode her two horses, Princess and Crest, the six mile trip down Big Hill to my place in preparation for lesson day on Wednesday with Farrah Green, Two Star Parelli Instructor, and Fran's mentor. I'm going to have a 90-minute lesson with Farrah on Wednesday, and Fran has organized a schedule of other people having lessons, too. This is a stop-over for Farrah as she picks up Fran to go to Madison for the Horse Expo. I have had lots of lessons with Fran and consider her my instructor so this should be interesting having lessons from another "professional"! I think I need 90 days instead of 90 minutes!!

Don and I went to his post-surgical appointment today in Eau Claire and Dr. Immerman had a look at his fine handiwork. Later he had an appointment with an internist who was recommended that he see for his high blood pressure. Fully expecting to come out with a prescription for blood pressure medication, he was instead scheduled for an appointment at the sleep clinic! He thinks Don's high blood pressure is a result of sleep apnea. I can attest to his problems sleeping and have suspected for a long time that he probably has this. Don thinks I have it too, so maybe we can make it a twosome at the sleep clinic. Turn off the cameras! 

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Just noodling around making new things for spring. Can you guess what these are?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Good Days

Don's healing up and is getting less sore! I am making lots of glass for my little cluster of shops! The days are getting warmer and less windy! I got to ride two days in a row! Helga had her first swim of 2009! We are very thankful for having gotten "over the hump".

I got the seeds into trays for tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, broc, leeks and now await their little heads to come popping out. I got some bulbs for the patio pots and they have been soaking up moisture and I keep watching for any signs of life. It looks like spring really will happen.

I have had some interesting cat related dreams lately. Last night I dreamt the old Studio Works building was on fire (by bad people!) and I was gathering up my kitties and putting them in the "Big Red" van that I had years ago. Misha and Boris were first, then old Mr. Dusty, Sam, lots of calico kittens, Timber, and then Misha got in line and I rescued him to the van again! Trips back and forth to rescue their little souls--the most valuable things in the building! There were cats there that I had from YEARS AGO! It was great to "visit" with my dear friends (I do this with passed people a lot, too, but that's another tale). 

Misha (the kitty love of my adult life) was in my dreams a few nights ago and he was accompanied by his cohort Boris and many other youngster kitties. Evidently the cat magnet is working in my sleep, too. He was bringing me these cats--many of them. The same calico ones the same as in last night's dream. 

Maybe Paisley (yes, that is his new name) was sent here by Misha. After Misha and Boris I have been happily enjoying cats without health problems. Until Paisley. His vet visit tomorrow will be interesting and, as usual, expensive!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Cleaning Days

We have had a couple nice days and I have been doing lots of little things that need doing. Don has continued to improve but needs lots of rest. He has had visitors every day and sometimes two times a day. Keeps us both hopping. 

It's also the time of year when you see the multitude of things to clean. The barn is a dusty disaster area. The hen house is in hysteria. The greenhouse is 95 degrees and full of winter straw. The people house--well, it needs more work, too! The yard--don't get me started. The last two day break from rain and wind allowed me to take 9 JD wagon loads of yard debris to the compost pile. I was beat after that one. We moved lawn chairs from the green shed to take a break--and, you guessed it, they need to be cleaned, too. 

The power washer is going to get a huge work out when it gets warmer.