11 June 2013

A First Ride and Nose Flies

I rode Nevel!!!!!!

I’m not sure I put enough exclamation marks/points ( dang what are those things called?) behind that to properly convey my excitement. He was awesome. Paula is doing an excellent job with him. He was light and responsive we did at least one beautiful rollback. Paula even watched The Small Goblin Child so I could ride. This is full service training.

But that was yesterday. Today she called just as I was getting ready to head over that way to say that she wasn’t going to ride him. She was going to help Allen move cattle instead. I was sad.

However, they had an extra horse if I would like to come along? I would of course love to go ride but, I explained, I had to child to watch. That was alright she said Sandra would baby sit! I was delighted and rushed over. I knew which horse they would put me on, Trouble is the grand-kids horse and I had borrowed him before for my mom to ride and gone riding with him being ridden by Sandra. He is a great horse for my skill level quiet and dependable but surprisingly responsive, a joy to ride.

And I broke him.

Not broke as in broke to ride, broke as in broken needs fixed.

Not to far down the road he began the tell tale head tossing that means nose flies. I hoped I was wrong, maybe I was holding the reins to tight. I tend to ride with contact. So I loosened them and he tossed harder. Allen suggested tightening them and it offered a little more control at least. He was still nice to ride, very upset but not offering to buck or bolt and we made it maybe two miles out before he could not handle it any more.

Nose flies, for anyone who doesn’t know, are large flies that look some what like a bot fly only black that buzz around a horses nose trying to fly up it. I can’t imagine it to be pleasant. It can be distinguished by a very stiff stance with head and neck extended and lips compressed tightly. Maybe a wild half crazed look of dread in their eyes. Horses will gallop madly around their pastures trying to get away. Or stand at their tanks dipping their noses into the water to keep the flies out. Riding a horse with nose flies is nearly impossible. They spend the whole time frantically shaking their heads, pawing and striking. My gelding has thrown himself to his knees and walked on them pushing his nose along the ground.

Trouble finally had enough of a  fit that I hopped off. I no longer claim to be the big time trainer person. I gave that up many moons ago, before I became old and crippled up and had a small child cut out of my stomach taking any stomach muscles I had with her. Now I am humble and even less of a brave rider than I ever was. So he and I walked back to the house. I did get on him once we got there so we didn’t end on such a bad note. We rode around the arena a little and he was back to his usual great self. At least I didn’t break him permanently.

Oh well. I guess I tried and it was a nice ride as long as it lasted. It was so nice to have someone to babysit so I could ride a little. This has got to be the best horse training ever. I hope they didn’t think I was too big a baby and decide never  to ask again. It’s so embarrassing not to be able to ride the kids horse.

7 June 2013

Second Day

6 June 2013

First Day at School

It slowly became apparent to me that I lacked the time and place to start riding Nevel. Once I accepted this sad realization I began looking for someone that I would be willing to have do it for me. I was not interested in letting him be “cowboyed”. I wanted someone gentle and knowledgeable in training, not someone who would buck him out and break him. Out here that is a lot to ask for.

I was thrilled when the first person I asked knew  of a woman who might be willing. I know it is prejudiced but I would so much rather have a woman train my horse than a man. I would be so offended if I heard that said in reverse.

Anyway, she agreed to take him with some reservation being a four year old stud and all. I understand her doubts, when people told me their horses were ready to ride it usually meant they were spoiled rotten and needed twice the work. She even, very nicely, stopped and picked him up. Now that is service. I was very proud of my boy he walked right into the trailer. It’s a little thing but so embarrassing when they wont load.

She even allowed me to come watch today when she worked him for the first time. It always surprised me how seldom people ever, never, came to see their horses in training. I have seen good trainers and I have seen and heard of horrible things done in the name of breaking horses. So we, the Goblin Child and I, watched as she put him through his paces. She asked him to yield his hind quarters and longed him asking him to turn and stop. Then she saddled him, his first time with a rear cinch. After a little ground driving she decided to get on.

I couldn’t believe it, it was so exciting. She called Allen in to hold the long line and hopped on. His first step was a bit unsteady but then he moved right out. All in all it was very uneventful, they walked and trotted in both directions then got off. I couldn’t have hoped for a better first ride. I can’t wait to see what they do tomorrow


5 June 2013

My Flower Garden, As Such

I inherited a once beautiful flower garden that has long since grown over with weeds and grass, mostly grass. It is full of bulbs Hyacinth, Daffodils, Iris (not technically a bulb) and a fall blooming flower that looks like a Crocus. Then there are the Hollyhocks, tons of them around here they are considered a weed, infested with colonies of earwigs. Nasty little creatures, the earwigs not the Hollyhocks. I for one like Hollyhocks.

I have slaved over the small bed of flowers until I have blisters and don’t seem to make a dent. Last year I dug grass and mint all summer. This year you can’t tell that any was missing. It might be easier to dig the whole thing up and start fresh but I just can’t bring myself to do it.

A friend gave me some wild flower seed packets last winter and come spring I spread them through out. They are fighting their way up through the thick carpet of grass and some have even managed to bloom.

Then there are the flower pots and hanging baskets. It has been so fun to watch the petunias blossom from such tiny seeds. I got some surprises. Mostly the huge double blossoms in pink and purple, I really don’t remember ordering anything like that. I have a new favorite color. I always loved the dark magenta, and still do,  but the heirloom in purple with a faintly pink center and distinctly star shaped petals is stealing the show. It helps that it smells heavenly. Kind of like a Lilly but with out the cloying sickly sweetness.

30 May 2013


Not related, I just think our yard looks so pretty right now
Not related, I just think our yard looks so pretty right now

A couple of weeks ago Karen at Lil’ Ladybug told me how to start Osteospurmum from cuttings. After visiting with her I continued my search for a big beautiful orange Osteospurmum in vain. Finally as we visited the last greenhouse in town we found a huge orange Osteo beautifully potted and marked sold.

The lady working there said that they had quite a few of the orange ones earlier in the year but yes this was their last one. I persuaded her to allow me to pinch two tiny starts that surely nobody would ever notice. I stuck them into the dirt of our other purchase thinking they would be well dead by the time we got home many hours later.

Despite the miserably hot day they looked down right perky when I put them in the greenhouse. Immediately after putting each one in its own pot they looked mostly dead. But in a Princess Bride moment they were truly only mostly dead and without even feeding them any chocolate covered magic pills they came back to life.

Now we wait and see what happens.


29 May 2013

And This One Time, it Rained

28 May 2013

Grass Time

It’s a little late in coming this year. I have been told that every thing is a good three weeks behind. I believe it because the lilacs are just now blooming and they usually try to bloom in early may. We have been run ragged trying to get every thing done at once. The garden needs planted, the planter needed filled with seed every couple of hours and the pairs need sorted and worked.

All the corn is planted at least, finally. The poor neglected garden gets a little attention in our spare time, haha. Now the main course of business is the sorting of pairs. This year they are sorting in the corrals and I get to ride my horses for once. Coyote and Jerry have been brought out of retirement, hooray for me but they aren’t very happy about it. I can’t decide which one of them work better for it. Coyote gets the job done quickly, very quickly, some times to quickly. He is always in a hurry and now rather worried about it all since a cow took him last weekend. His nerves are quite delicate.

Jerry is very precise, and slow we could say deliberate or out of shape but she has never been a fast mover when not cutting cattle. As well behaved as she was, especially compared to Coyote, I’m not sure I have the patience to wait for her to arrive at our destination.

Last weekend we began to work the calves. The pairs are sorted into bunches of twenty five because the vaccines come in bottles with twenty five doses each. The calves are sorted off of their mothers then ran through the calf table for shots, an ear tag and the bulls become steers. Then they are loaded in the stock trailer and their moms into the semi for the trip to pasture.

With the uninspiring job of loading calves into the chute my easily bored husband and I need something to keep us entertained. We usually think of names for the calves as they go through. This year we noticed that we had nearly the same number of calves as letters in the alphabet. So starting at Abigail we continued through Delmer, Eugene, Ichabod, Karl, Niel, Percy, Reginald, Thomas, and Xersis until we reached Zulu.

Standing in what I thought was a safe spot outside if the chute a small rotten calf stuck its leg though an opening and kicked me hard in the shin. My cattle pushing husband was in what I would have thought to be the dangerous spot and he didn’t even get his foot stepped on. My mother-in-law tells me that this is exciting work. Although I suppose there is some excitement in trying to avoid agonizingly sharp little calf hooves mostly  it seems dirty, sweaty and painful. I guess it depends on your point of view.

24 May 2013

All The Pretty Flowers

2013-05-17 09.29.52For Mothers Day, my first ever, I got flowers.

Not the cut kind that die in a few days, the growing kind that will last all summer. Longer even if I do it right. Mostly Osteospurmum. What a long fancy name for such a pretty little flower. I wanted orange, I have a bit of a thing for orange and purple. Nobody had any though. Not to complain mind you what I got was just as good, maybe better. I got a beautiful pale orange fading to pink and purple, dark purple, rusty red and a pale strangely shaped purple. What fun. Plus a few other random pretty flowers.

I brought them home and gradually, as time permitted, began combining them with my gorgeous Petunias. Finally yesterday I got every thing into baskets. Some of my poor Petunias were getting pretty root-bound. Others haven’t grown hardly at all. I think they were in desperate need of repotting.

I stopped into our excellent local greenhouse earlier to see what they had and pursue my search for a orange Osteospurmum only to find that they had suffered a power outage during the blizzard. The heaters in their greenhouses were kept running through most of it by their generator. Then at four thirty in the morning they ran out of diesel fuel. They searched long and hard finding a neighbor with out an electric pump on their fuel tank but not until hours later when most of their plants had already frozen. It was incredibly sad for me I can only imagine how they felt. The Lil’ Ladybug is a very small family owned nursery and I wish them so much luck getting through this.

Even with all of her problems Karen was, although unable to help me with an orange Osteospurmum, willing to instruct me in the propagation of one once I found it. It was fascinating. Apparently all these years instead of letting them freeze I should have been taking cuttings. She says if I just stick them in dirt they will root and I will have next years plants.

Don’t believe their signs they are really open. The stock is some what limited but still worth stopping by.

23 May 2013


imagesLast year, and the year before that for that matter, it was Lady Bugs. This year I put in my vote for a change and my adventuress gardener husband complied. We decided to order Lacewings.

They are a beautiful bright green insect with translucent wings and to quote Wiki “they are voracious predators, attacking most insects of suitable size, especially soft-bodied ones (aphids, caterpillars and other insect larvae, insect eggs, and at high population densities also each other). Therefore, the larvae are colloquially known as “aphid lions” (also spelled “aphidlions”) or “aphid wolves”, similar to the related antlions.”

In other words we got them to help control the aphids that get so bad on the peppers in the greenhouse.

They are shipped as eggs and larva when they don’t arrive fast enough. The eggs are spread about the greenhouse to hatch into larva then eventually into the Lacewing insect.