Archive for » June, 2012 «

Daisy Dog

The Daisy Dog found me last summer. Her wet cold nose pushed into my hand as I walked along. After jumping out of my skin I looked down to see a skinny little dog looking up at me. She wiggled and squirmed and begged to be petted.

“Why hello there” I said “are you for me?”

She said yes. It was very clear I swear I could hear her. So I took the Yellow dog with a pink nose home with me.

Daisy is still skinny and still little. She doesn’t believe in eating as there is too much to do in life. She doesn’t walk, she bounds, often visible in short burst as she clears the tops of three foot weeds chasing pheasants. She loves every one and every thing. Her joy is expressed clearly as she leaps up to greet any newcomer with happy licks and a furiously wagging tail. Not to say that she is ill mannered. She comes instantly when called and is a surprisingly good cow dog.  Mostly because she comes when called, a trait I have found to be rare in cow dogs. She easily goes all day behind the cows not pushing to hard or biting at heels.

Or she did until she discovered the joy of four wheelers. She loves four wheelers with an undying love. With that much energy why run when you could ride? Now she runs desperately to the nearest four wheeler and begs to be let on. She’s not picky she’ll ride with any one. She balances precariously on the back, tongue blowing in the wind.

When people ask me what kind of dog my little Daisy is, I smile and tell them “Why she’s a yellow dog  of course!”

Attack of the Gophers

They have been after us for a while now. Creeping ever closer. No one ever sees them but we know they are there. They attack in the darkness of night or in the broad light of day, stealthily so as not to draw attention. So far no real damage has been done but I’m sure they are just biding their time.

When walking through the garden one peaceful evening we came upon a labyrinth of gopher tunnels. Not the one or two fresh mounds that have been popping up regularly but a maze of freshly dug tunnels. Starting (finishing?) by the green house he dug straight down a row of newly sprouted corn. Fortunately he missed it by inches. His path was clearly visible above the ground. The tracks lead south forking and branching in a mad flurry until he ran out of energy at the edge of the tilled ground.

The battle has begun.

 

Earth Wind and Fire

Skip and Smoke.

Nothing is more fun then shopping for horses. I love to browse the internet looking for that perfect deal. Moms old gelding’s health has been getting steadily worse to the point that he is mostly un-rideable. She made the mistake of mentioning that she would like a replacement. Skip of course is not going any where. He will stay a pasture pet well loved and well fed, but a horse that could be ridden would be nice.

I was on a mission. Goggle is my friend. So is Craigslist for that matter. What would be fun? Morgan is preferred but not necessary. Gaited is also at the top of the list. Maybe something older, who want’s to mess with a youngster especially now that my brothers little boy is starting to ride. A good fast walk is a must.

I found some nice ones, that were too much money, not sound or just not the right one. And some that sounded just right. The whole rescue thing is pretty intimidating though.

As fun as it is to look does any one ever really need another horse?

Brave

We picked up our niece Ava last night and went to see Brave. I have been greatly anticipating it. The previews looked great, the horses, her hair, the accents.

It was…  just like the preview. I wish they would give a little less away.

Loved it though. The horses were very fat but well done. The moral of the story was excellent. Bad guys and even good guys were very scary for a six year old. I’m not sure Ava saw most of the movie. She watched with her jacket over her head.

[rating:8.5/10]

Taking Ava home we stopped at the fountain and watched it for a bit. The lights were on and the night had cooled down enough not to be so miserably hot. Family’s were scatted across the lawn watching the dancing water. Alliance really has a beautiful park.

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Ladybugs

The ladybugs are here! Finally! We have been waiting for them rather impatiently. They came in a box in the mail today special order.

The aphids have been devouring the pepper plants in the greenhouse. Ladybugs eat aphids. We avoid spraying any more chemical than we have to, so instead send off for boxes of ladybugs!

Gaited Cow-horses

I was looking for a new horse and trying to decide if I wanted to go with the old Morgan cow-horse blood lines or the gaited Morgan lines which

Arapaho Jerry

trace even farther back. To the beginning you could say. I had been told that I could have one or the other but not both. Every one knows gaited horses can’t work cows. I studied and did my research noticing over and over that the same names were popping up. I realized that many of the great Morgan cow horses were gaited, duh. It makes sense, with lots of ground to cover and no pick-ups or four wheelers the guys would have wanted a smooth ground covering gait. So I looked and called around until I was referred to the Arapaho Ranch. I have never seen them advertised and no web sight but word must get around they sell lots of horses.

So we went and looked and I came home with Arapaho Jerry. She doesn’t show a lot of gait on the ground but once I had her riding out on the trails she would gait down hill. Then when I asked for a trotting leg yield and gradually we learned a cue and occasionally became more often. Depending on her mood she is capable of almost any gait I believe. Once when upset about her buddy being gone she broke into an incredibly speedy saddle rack and we zipped past all the guys on Quarter horses we had been moving cows with. They looked at us funny.

She proved quiet cowy to. I loved showing her at ranch horse competitions. We were the only non Quarter horse and gaited as well. I love being the underdog. She loved to work cattle. When she really gets into cutting she will squeal and ring her head. Maybe not the best form but she is having fun. Calving this spring she ran away (tried to) with Nocturne because a cow was leaving and dang it she knew she was supposed to bring it back. We switched horses after that and I let her have her head a little. She hadn’t lost a thing from her show days. She nearly dumped me turning a cow on the fence. By the last year I showed her we won four out of five classes one second and a judges choice award for best ladies horse at the show. All against very nice Quarter horses.

My point being that the gait seemed to help her work cows. She would pace along side them ready to spin on a dime. I never once felt that it hindered us. I guess you can have the best of both worlds.

First Horses

Ava and the real Neversummer

My little niece Ava was telling my all about her pony, Pony Boy as he is so creatively dubbed, and how he throws her every time she rides him. This made me think about how I bet parents wish they could edit what their children say, and about the importance of a child’s first horse.

Since I have been pregnant my favorite pastime has been looking for a kids pony/horse. This is a very important purchase after all, you are trusting your child’s life to the animal of choice. It shouldn’t just be any old pony someone drops off in you’re pasture. My mom says she was told the perfect child’s horse is lame and has heaves. It won’t want to run away and if it does it won’t go very far.

I was blessed with the perfect horse to start on. My mom’s aged gelding who had been her first horse many years before. He was short just over fourteen hands and so sweet and quiet that all I ever wanted was to ride mom’s new horse. He was a big flashy green broke Morgan with flaring nostrils and hot tippy ears. She let me ride him occasionally. She swears I didn’t fall off every time but until the day he died he remembered me and would try to run off.

I have enjoyed immensely perusing Craigslist in my search. I know every one makes fun of the quality of horses listed there but I have found some that sound perfect. This twenty year old horse or that half dead pony sound perfect and I get all excited then I realize that she isn’t born yet and I’ll still have to wait three four years before she can sit a horse on her own. I can only hope that some of these prospects will even be alive by then. Maybe I should wait a little while. Until then she will be riding in front of me on trusty old Coyote.

Even if I don’t find the perfect horse I am in luck. My mom has a well behaved gelding who is lame and just happens to have heaves.

Midnight Escapades

Grouchy Coyote

I am a bad horse owner.

This point was driven home quite clearly the other night. We had gone for a nice little ride. Me on my little mare Jerry and Nocturne on my gelding Coyote. When we got back I put Jerry into their pen but  Coyote insisted that he was starving so I left him to graze for a bit on the green grass around the yard. I left the halter and lead rope on so I could catch him easily. The horses are in a dirt lot and I like them to get grass when they can. That would be more often if they would stay put and EAT. Of course they can’t do that.

With a ten acre yard to roam the only spots they want to be are the ones they are not supposed to be. The surrounding corn fields, gotten to only by little gates that of course they find the few times they are left open, the lawns green and manicured around the houses and last but not least the half mile dirt driveway with sparse weeds down each side. Why those are better then lush grass I wont ever understand, but I digress.

I was going to turn him out for just a few moments while I started supper then let him back into his pen.

It was the weekend so we put in a movie to watch after we ate. It was over around eleven at which time my equally forgetful husband realized the water was still running in the garden. As he ran over to shut it off I stood in the doorway listening to one of the horses neighing. “Strange” I thought “I wonder what has them upset.” A loud banging convinced me I needed to check on them. I walked out the back door shining my little flash light around only to see eyes glowing back at me. There stood Coyote trying desperately to get back where he belonged. I had completely forgotten him and he was knocking loudly on the gate and calling for help. He had removed the halter on his own and peed on it to let me know just what he thought. I opened the gate and he galloped through. I was left alone in the dark to realize that I am a very bad owner.

Chickens and grasshoppers

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I woke up this morning to the sweet soft chirps of chickens just out side my bedroom window. They are much more enjoyable than the bird that starts screeching at four thirty every morning. The enthusiasm they show in there job is commendable. I spend way to much time every day herding grasshoppers into their cage but everybody has to have a hobby.

Why the big chickens can’t share in the enjoyment of the feast or even at least eat the hoppers that bounce off of their beaks is beyond me. They don’t like life in the big fancy chicken tractor we (he) built for them. If the rooster were a horse I would say he has started weaving indicating stress over his loss of freedom. If he starts cribbing I will be impressed. They could have continued to roam free through out the yard if not for that fateful day in April when they discovered the green house.

The baby Peppers were freshly set out after sprouting in the house and achieving their first real leaves. It was a warm spring day warm enough to roll up the sides and let some fresh cool air in. As we worked about the yard, I may even have gone for a nice ride, they found it. They, all two of them, squeezed under the side and feasted on fresh pepper plants. Carefully nipping the steam off of each plant. We are just lucky they didn’t like the tomatoes.

And so work began on the chicken tractor.

The bees

The bees are gone. Most of them any way.

Earlier this spring the automatic waterer behind the house was swarming with them. They lined up solid three deep around the edge of the trough each fighting for it’s turn. I would stand at the fence and watch them trying not to cower from the constant buzzing stream of them over my head. I was not going any closer, I like bees a lot, but the shear numbers were over powering. I enjoyed knowing that during this miserably dry summer they had a water source. That water drew them in to pollinate the vegetables, the crops, my flowers.

When I stopped to watch them yesterday only a few bees buzzed aimlessly about. I had heard that the bee people moved the hives but it was sad to see the mass hoards lessened. I will be glad not to have so many of the poor things get trapped in the green house beating their wings against the walls until they collapse to the ground. I do worry a lot about them drowning, they get to pushing and one falls in, they don’t swim so good. At my much smaller and less frequented water hole in my flowers I am always stopping to fish one out, but I was not braving the swarm at the more populous drinking hole.

I have been stung many times because of this fascination with bees. I picked one up on a warm winter day and sat him back on the edge of his hive, unfortunately as I sat him down he fell, unbeknownst to me, into my coat pocket. I discovered his presence later that day as I put my hand into my pocket, he didn’t appreciate the company.

While happy for the remaining wild bees I already miss the larger numbers although with all the spraying for grasshoppers I am glad to see them gone.