Endurance develops strength of character in us~ Romans 5:4 NLT

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Progress on the Farm~

We're well into our project of converting the old barn into Farah's new home!  The month is flying by & the weather has cooperated.  Not every day - but a couple have been sunny & contributed to our yearn for the brighter, warmer days of spring.
On the 14th - A new home for the sign~
We stopped by the storage, where I found the sign that had hung over the Homestead gate.  Rusted now, it fit perfectly under the gable.
8th, posts going in~
Butch found the edges of the concrete the hard way as he drove the posts - skirting the perimeter of the west end, pieces of concrete pad.
Butch & Dean - 11th
The weekend was gray & chilly - but stayed dry.  A tree had grown up through the middle of a big bale of wire just outside the main door.  With the top of the tree cut, Dean's tractor & the chain were called to action.
With a loud Crack - the tree broke off at the base & it - along with the wire - came loose.  The tree had grown right up & through the concrete pad.
11th - Inside the barn~
Meanwhile, when not needed outside, I decided to get the old hay, straw & dried mud stripped out of the interior.  I used an old sheet of steel roofing outside the east door, to roll the wheelbarrow out over the first couple rows of corn stubble.  
Me & my mask!~
The first day, I didn't wear the mask & the dust was pretty bad.  I decided to try the mask & goggles.  Thankful that it wasn't hot & they were both vented - it's still miserable wearing them. 
14th, fence fabric going up!
Kay & Linus offered their help & how could we not appreciate that?!  Butch did mention that a couple times during the day - he heard Linus say something about the proximity of Tastee Treat. That's where we ended the day :-)
Linus, Butch & Dean~
With all the help, by the day's end, the east side of what will be Farah's walkway to the timber was all in.  Dean & the tractor cleared the path & kept tension on the long run of wire.  Janice & I sat in the sun for a while & acted as camp chair supervisors :-)
On another trip to the storage, I remembered the thermometer that had hung in our barn isle.  It looks great on the back wall of what will be the tack/feed room.
Family History~
At the door of the silo is etched the name of Dean's Uncle.  I've always loved the tradition of adding names, initials & dates to concrete projects.
18th - Inside view~
Sat., on what was a cold & gray day - Butch got more of the inside walls furred for the stall area & sheeting up.  Sunday, Kay & Linus returned & with their help, the fencing was completed around the west end paddock.  I finished clearing the floor on the south side & NE corner - which felt like a huge accomplishment.  Dean moved what was left of the intact, better hay bales to another building.  Now, I just have that area, in the middle of the north side to do & the floor will be done.

I had to climb up & in to see the inside of this amazing structure.  Beautiful, no matter what the angle!  I can see why people are turning them into outdoor living spaces.  Really quality engineering with metal that has withstood the test of both time & weather.
Looking up~
Our to-do list is getting shorter by the day.  I'm so excited at the prospect of bringing Farah home!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Saddle Time @ Glen Cunningham Lake ~

Today, Margie was determined that we were riding at Glen Cunningham.  She didn't have much convincing to do & even talked me into traveling with her. :-)  I always just prefer to have my own vehicle & all our stuff with us, the only thing I forgot was my saddle pad.  I had tossed in a blanket & it worked just fine.
Stellar Day~
The mares traveled well together - plenty of room in Margie's four-horse.  Not as warm as yesterday & with a decent wind, change is in the air, no doubt about it.  Some of the trails were still pretty muddy in the shady spots, but over all the footing was the best we've had so far.
View of the Lake~
The lake was almost steel blue against a steel blue sky when we started out about noon.  We both commented on how the sky seems more blue as the day progresses.  
In the "Deep Dark Woods"
A Nebraska woods - so different - yet so much the same in this area - as some of the plantings on the WA tree farms.  We enjoyed hearing the wind through the trees.
From the hill~
The urban view from this hill seems so striking after the nice trails.  The noise of the traffic is easily heard.  The mares took turns in the lead, Coco still trots when she'd behind Farah, but then gaits when she takes over the lead.
Margie & Coco~
I love this photo of the two of them coming at us.  Such a big solid mare & she looks so gorgeous when she's moving out.
Margie & Coco check out a lake trail~
I'm not keen on the far side of the lake.  It's noisy, lots of road & congestion.  Then, there's the highway crossing to get back to the trailers.  I asked Margie if we could stay on the east side of the lake & that was really fun.  You get more of the feel of being out-there.  We rode to the south park entrance, just over half-way the width of the dam, before turning back.  
Through the Big Cottonwoods~
After an uncalled for sideways spook at a little pink flag,  we came upon a nice hill.  Not too long, but enough room for a little speed.  I decided that Farah could use a good run.  We breezed up to 20 mph., not bad for the short distance.  She felt better & I did too :-)  Now, we'll be watching as the rains & wind return.  At least today's saddle time should last a while!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Say Ahhh ~

With spring around the corner, it was time to make our yearly trek out to Nebraska Equine for Farah's teeth float.  Traffic was light, we arrived on time & Farah walked right in like a champ.
Say Ahhh..
I always try to watch her weight closely.  Even though we measure out her feed in Ziplocs for the barn staff - it's not the same as when we did it ourselves.  Dr. Black put the tape on her & guess what?  She's right at the top end of her weight range at 1,070 lbs.  Perfect as far as I'm concerned - since hopefully we'll be coming into riding season before too long.
Dr. Black at work~
 It was nice to hear that all her teeth look good, the two problem areas were not any worse & all her teeth are solid.  There were a couple small hooks - again in the usual areas - but nothing worrisome.  Since I made the mistake last year of having her vaccinated on the same day - this year Dr. Black said we'll wait until she's moved & do them the first of April.
Farah enjoying some grass~
  Google maps took us back home by way of the far side of the river, so we ended up south of Farah's stable.  I drove on home, unloaded the gold girl & let her graze while we waited for Butch.  It actually worked out well, since it gave me more time to keep an eye on her & make sure she was back to normal.
Sinking in~
We stayed around the perimeter of the yard, as much as I want to ride, the ground is still so very soft & wet.  Maybe the stiff winter will be over & we'll have a nice dryer spring!  Regardless, I hope to be able to do some road & field riding soon.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Farah's New Farm~

 Friends have invited Farah to come & live on their beautiful farm.  A little closer to us than where she's been, with the added advantage of having acres of fields for us to ride & explore.  The roads are less busy than nearer to Glenwood & dirt roads are close by.
The Barn~
This pretty little barn used to house pigs, but that's been over twenty-years ago.  It's stood vacant for a very long while.  With a concrete floor & a new roof, it has the room for a nice large stall, tack room & hay storage too!  We'll be replacing the glass windows with polycarbonate panels.
Inside, we've started to strip things down to the floor.  Butch has some repairs to do & a stall wall to build.  It will go across the room where the support post is.  The door will be widened & we'll be adding plywood on the walls & stall matts.  Farah will be able to have her wall & hay feeder again too!
Butch clearing the concrete apron~
 The south side & west end of the barn has a concrete apron that goes out for several feet.  This area will get fenced for a nice large paddock.  It will be super to not have the mud right up to the building!  From here, she'll have a path down to the timber, a bridge across the small creek & pasture on the far side.
It will be the first time since moving here, that Farah will have her freedom.  A pasture to graze in, spring fed creek & timber to roam.  As we see how she does, there's room to expand her space & even a secondary pasture area that we can use to rotate the grazing if need be.
Beautiful Sunset~
We're so happy that our girl will have a place to live where she can thrive & enjoy being a horse.  Janice & I are already looking forward to sitting back & watching her graze.  Next, we'll be setting fence posts, pulling wire & hope to have her moved by month end!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Wishful Thinkin'

The sun is shining, the day is warm, again I really wanted to ride.  At home, the ice was all melted.  Surface of the ground seemed to be drying & the wind was blowing.  Butch had hitched me up, probably easier than hearing me moan & groan that I could have ridden... 

The gravel road out to Farah's barn, goes from sunshine to shade & can be so very slippery.  I have to be able to turn the trailer around on the shoulder.  The road wasn't bad, but when I went to make the U-turn, I could feel the outside tires of the trailer slipping.  The Bronco was up on the gravel & pulled it right around.

Farah was filthy!  No other way to say it.  This time of year there's no way of picking up outside on the hill, so they are a sloppy mess.  Since she's shedding - rolling is mandatory as far as she's concerned - regardless of what she's rolling in...   I spend at least half an hour with the shedding blade & was filthy myself by the time I was done.
On our way~
Only a couple cars in the parking lot, truck traffic was non-stop, dust flying high into the air.  The noise from all these trucks is so loud you feel like you're in the middle of an industrial zone.  We waited for a break in the traffic & made it across to the trail.
In the woods~
The first half mile or so the surface was really not bad.  Farah was sinking in a little in spots & but we weren't leaving much of a mark.
Sheet of ice~
As we entered the underpass, I could see white on the ground up ahead.  It was a solid sheet of ice, reaching all the way from one side to the other...  I've seen what can happen when a horse falls on ice - so I decided the smart thing to do was turn back.
 Farah wants her friends in WA, who are enjoying green grass, to know that here, you take what you can get!
The large grassy field~
 We stopped at the far end.  I picked up beer cans, beer boxes & other trash.  There was a blue tub for trash right next to the picnic table, but obviously no one had used it.  The limestone surface was rutted with bike tracks & even footprints were visible.
Our track :-(
 As we were coming back, we met a new friend, Jim.  He owns this beautiful farm that I've admired from my first ride past.  We talked horses, the trail, the weather etc. for quite a while.  A nice excuse to sit & enjoy the sun.  Farah cocked a hind leg & tried to take a nap.
Jim's farm~
 Jim said that the water table is very high through this area, so even though the surface looks dry, just a few inches down things are still frozen solid.  He said it would be at least another week - with No moisture - for things to dry out.  Since we have rain & even snow in the forecast, I think it will be a while.
Heading back~
 Even with Jim's horses running at the fence that goes along side the trail, Farah kept her cool & walked right along ignoring the commotion.  She was as happy to be out as I was, even if it wasn't the longer ride we'd hoped for.  I can understand now, why Margie says she pretty much road rides this time of year.
Coal Plant~
Corn fields & the Coal Plant.  What a view...  I took Farah back to the barn, then went on down the road to my turn around.  It was a little firmer than it had been earlier.
Trailer Tracks~
It can look so dry & yet Be so mucky just underneath.  Once in town I went to the car wash & spend $10. washing the Bronco & Trailer.  The road grime sticks like concrete to the underside of the vehicles & with the sand & salt that goes on the roads, it's no wonder most of the older vehicle's here have signs of rust.

We'll be waiting on mother nature now - to dictate our next outing~

Monday, February 26, 2018

Weatherin' Winter~

My shoulder is still very stiff & sore after my slip & fall on ice last Monday.  Butch tried to share his cold with me, after I'd asked him to keep it to himself!  I spent most of  the later part of last week, feeling under the weather.  Saturday was one of the ugliest days we've had.  Gray, freezing rain & cold.  I think everyone stayed in.  Just the smartest thing to do when things are so bad.  Yesterday was much better, the melt again underway.

With the forecast for 50's today & sunshine - all I could think of was, Ride!  Ride!  Told Butch I planned to take the trailer out & see if the trail was dry.  Then - I went outside :-(  Everything still frozen, with standing water on top of the ice.  Getting the Bronco up the gravel road to the farm was a muddy slip & slide.
Silver gene~
I'd noticed last during our ride a week ago, that Farah's mane was showing more silver than I'd ever seen!  All the new growth is a light silver.  I can't imagine it will change from it's dark color, but still fun to see it different from what's been normal.  I have to wonder at the change.
Yes!  Shedding~
At the farm, a truck was parked across the drive down to the barn, so I parked on top of the hill.  That's when I realized that I'd forgotten Farah's tote.  I've kept it at home, since the tack room isn't heated & I didn't want stuff freezing.

Thankfully, I keep a shedding blade, brush, pick etc. in a tote for just such an emergency :-)  Farah was out enjoying the sun, but was more than happy to come in for a good scrub down.  I worked on her for about an hour, until my shoulder said; "No more!"
What was that?
I didn't bring my saddle, so we worked through our routine.  My girl was much better!  I think she enjoys getting to move out.  She let loose with a couple big bucks both directions, when I asked for a canter.  All good.  It took me forever again when I asked her to give me her head at the girth - Step 3.  I wasn't giving up, she knew it, I eventually I got what I wanted - if only for an instant.  The wind always seems to be blowing at the farm & it sounded like a jet taking off overhead.

My plan is to keep at it - maybe if she gets enough one-on-one - she won't be as rowdy as usual the next couple months.  We both want to get Out - but now it's a waiting game.  If the wet weather ends & the winds blow, maybe things will dry up!

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Melt~

The Sun!  The Sun!  After the frozen sleet storm last night - the ice we had - had a new coating of ice.  But the Sun & blue skies brightened my mood substantially.  I texted Butch & told him to pick me up for lunch at the Gathering Place.  Time to see some friendly faces!  Kay's wonderful Chicken & Rice soup hit the spot!  Everyone is missing Linus - who's in Africa on a Missionary trip!
As Butch dropped me off, I couldn't help but see the bright little burst of red in the tree across the street!  I went in for the zoom & Mr. Cardinal was still there!   I'm so excited to be able to capture photos of some of the beautiful birds here!  We're putting up a feeder soon & looking for the most squirrel proof model we can find.
Toward Tinkle Branch~
It's surprising how the sun will start things melting, even when the temperatures are hovering just above freezing.  Now, those temperatures feel warm - so I know I've acclimatized :-)
Melting snow & frozen sleet~
I have to admit that the freezing sleet fascinates me.  The other evening we had what the weather forecaster called "Thunder Sleet", with lightening.  Mid-west weather is in a class of it's own :-) 
The Timber~
As the Cardinal flew away, it felt so good to be outside - that I took a walk.  Monday, I'd slipped & fallen just a step off our front porch.  A nice hard fall on my left shoulder & hip!  I gave thanks that nothing broke, so I'm now on full alert when it comes to ice so clear you hardly know its there...  It's less risky walking in the woods than it is on the sidewalks - since so many are still sheets of ice.
Creek Trail~
My new trails show up better with the snow covered ground than they do dry.  I won't be hauling wheelbarrow loads of ground cedar bark for these trails.  I learned that all that hauling only gave me a trail surface for a few years in WA, before they composted back to soil.

With another snow storm due tonight - I'm just hopeful that next weeks forecast for a day in the low 50's holds true.  Winter...  I'm ready to be done with you!