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The Coming of Winter

Well corn harvest is over, most of the cattle are home, there are calves to feed and my pumpkins are rotting on the lawn,  winter must be here.

Corn harvest was delayed continually by blizzards, regular snow and rain, but all in all went smoother than the nearly nonexistent wheat harvest. A lot of the corn was laying down, I understand, but the cattle will enjoy eating it and my Father-in-law has been out baling corn stalks. We got to enjoy riding in the combine. It is a much sought after treat for all the children, and the Goblin Child is just starting to appreciate it. Plus during harvest it’s the only way we get to see my farmer husband who gets to take a small vacation from working in town to play farmer full time.

All of last weekend was spent gathering and hauling cattle. Some were there, where they were supposed to be, others were off visiting the neighbors. One way or another they all had to come home. The closest got to walk, the farther away bunch got a ride in the trailer. That leaves one bunch to go, the time and method remains to be seen, by us at least. The Goblin Child and I didn’t get to bring a horse but we got to ride a little on a four wheeler and drive the pick up and trailer. She got to skip the car seat when going across country and really enjoyed chasing the cattle. Her father even let her ride on the four wheeler and chase them for real. She got very good at “haw”ing them.

With calves here to feed it’s back to work for the child and me. Last year she was too little to come along. This year my mother-in-law is spared the dreaded job of watching the child and The Goblin Child gets to help feed. I am glad that I got to learn how to drive the feed truck last year with out quite so much help, that makes it easier this year to feed with her hanging on my arms and onto the wheel and pulling every knob and control. Her favorite part seems to be when I floor it. The engine revs, and revs, and finally switches gears and we are thrown back in our seats as we reach top speeds of ten maybe fifteen mile an hour.

On the bright side I think the child will know how to drive long before she can reach the peddles.

And One More From my Brother

I do like his choices. Mom said it looked more like it’s appy side and I said I wasn’t interested but when I looked I must admit it caught my eye. Not that Wisconson has gotten any closer, it’s still to far away, not gaited apparently, and not old and very broke.

This is one of those rare instances where a Craigslist add got it right. Decent conformation shots and a write up that sold her for me.

Snowflake Appaloosa/Walkaloosa Mare – $500 (West of Madison)

Horses My Brother Finds for Me

Ever since I mentioned that I was thinking about another horse my brother has been finding me suitable candidates. All of them in Illinois and Wisconsin (far, far away). If not for the distance I really like most of his choices. He has the same slightly twisted taste in horses as I do. We both look for something other than obvious good looks. I like to think we go for something deeper. Good bone, big hooves, staying power, general good or at least interesting character. Maybe we just like weird.

My brothers apparent favorite so far is this little Halflinger. They even went to look at him, in hopes I think of me or our mother giving in and buying it. They said it was very fat, near to foundering. My brother hopped on and tried the boy out. bareback of course. Who wouldn’t try out an unknown, green broke horse bareback? I wish I had the seat and confidence he does. The horse was to fat to succeed at bucking and willing if uneducated. Although he was willing to bring the Halfy home our mother was not and it didn’t suit any of my requirements.

My favorite is this little Morgan cross. His price is right but other than that he doesn’t fit any of my requirements either. I like him though. His hooves are huge and what a nice butt. He, like the Halflinger, is a very nice height. The poor guys head looks gigantic in the, required, really bad Craigslist photo.  He is not gaited, not old, not really, really broke. If I were looking for a prospect he might be fun.

And the runners up are:

Chocolate palomino Morgan gelding. My gelding had a brother that sold with him who was this color. Could this be him?

Possibly Saddle bred, possibly walking horse, she’s not sure. Are the pictures supposed to be of her or the horse? What exactly is she selling?

Green broke mustang stallion, wow he really takes the cake. Free to a good home or 450 to a bad one. I gotta admit I don’t see the appeal here unless it’s to give this poor, ugly, sucker a chance.

So far despite his best efforts I am keeping my horse search nearer to home. I’m still thinking the little Paso mare is the winner. I can’t stop looking though horse shopping is too fun.

By pure coincidence I came across a grey Morgan mare for sale. Not just a grey Morgan but of course a half sister to Nev. She was out of a mare I have ridden and enjoyed, Wintermoon Light Kisses, and right next door here in Arthur. I called, mostly because I was amazed to see another Morgan so close, we really have nothing but quarters and their derivatives out here. The last thing I need or even want is another one of these, it would be just too much.

Still in the lead

Still in the lead

Of course there is this one though.

Black gaited Morgan gelding. He is gaited, he is older, he is not quiet not like I need, he is not close. I am trying so hard not to be set on Morgan, trying to prove I am not one of those obnoxious people who think their breed is the only one that’s any good and everything else is trash. Sometimes it seems like I am surrounded by them out here with my not quarter horses. I really do love a good variety of breeds and types but it is hard not to keep coming back to the old tried and true. Plus my moms all time favorite came from Missouri Vally that seems like a good reason to look right there.

The Child Who Would Sleep

Unrelated I just love this sweater. Fortunately my brother didn't.

Unrelated I just love this sweater. Fortunately my brother didn’t.

I very seldom put The Goblin Child to bed. This dawned on me one evening during corn harvest when my farmer husband was out late into the night in his beloved combine and it was up to me to get the child down. Don’t get me wrong I put her down for her naps all day, it’s just in the evening that he takes over the role. Father daughter time and all that. Not that she is usually hard to get down but I tried one other time recently and wound up with a screaming, wide awake baby until her devoted father came home and rescued her from me. He had her asleep in minutes and gave me exact instructions on the procedure.

I believe that a little apprehension on my behalf was understandable. With diaper changed and pajamas on we sat in her darkened room, the hum of rain from her noise maker droning softly in the background. I read her a book maybe sang a song or two. She cuddled in close, then began to spin in circles on my lap. Around she would go then sit sprawled against me for a moment then spin again.

I was at a loss. My child expert husband had not said anything about this in his instructions. Then she looked back at me, I swear in exasperation, and pointed at her crib. Dumbfounded I carried her over to it and asked her what it was that she wanted.  Pointing at the crib again she said dat. I laid her down and she smiled contentedly at me as I left the room.

I had to go outside last night around bed time. When I left the house she was running about, playing happily. Outside for only minutes, I came in to find no child in sight. Her baffled father explained that she had pointed to and banged on the door to her room asking to please be put to bed,  not her exact words, that would have been impressive.

It is nice to have a child that wants to go to bed with out having to fight. Hopefully this is a long lived trend.

Blossoms and Bloomers

Well it is official! We made our first sale.

For anybody who hasn’t noticed the link to it, over there on the right hand side of the page under general links I believe, I opened a store on Etsy. After I started making dresses for the Goblin Child and every friend and family member I know with a girl of the proper age I decided to get serious about this. It has taken an inordinately long time with every thing else that’s going on, farm stuff, horses, child, garden. But I finally got it set up and enough dresses made to stock it, very sparsely. Ten dresses has been my goal and I’m not there yet, and I wanted to get a banner designed before I declared an official grand opening and/or made any attempt at advertising.

But we made a sale! This is way more exciting than it should be. Now I guess I am going to have to put some work into this. Winter is here, the garden is done, there is no horse to train, things should be slowing down. So this will be my first step in announcing my shop.

If you have not already please do visit PumpkinVineFarms.  If you do visit, how do you like my beautiful model? Any mention on Facebook and sharing with friends who have children or grandchildren would be greatly appreciated.

It’s a God Thing

I’m going to add a new category called that I think. It comes up often enough.

I almost burnt the house down this morning.

We were cooking breakfast for once instead of cereal. The pan was sitting on the burner with grease in the bottom and the burner was on, I thought, “Hey, I’ll go ahead and add the hash browns.” I stood the child on the floor at my feet in her usual spot and dumped the frozen chunk of hash brown into the pan. I sometimes forget that on our ancient stove that particular burner only has two settings, off and high.

Grease began to splatter violently and I was afraid it would burn the child so I picked the pan up. As I lifted it off of the stove it burst into flames. Not little controllable flames but huge ferocious flames. I had half a second to ponder lids and baking soda before the fact that the flames were licking up the cabinets and across the ceiling distracted me. We have good tall ceilings, that was a lot of fire. I kept a hold of the pan and stepped back into the center of the room trying to get away from all that wood all the time screaming frantically for my husband. The flames settled down a bit with distance from the heat but the were still tickling the underbelly of the ceiling fan. I was afraid they would catch the coating of dust on the never used thing on fire. I was afraid to take a step because I knew the child was down there somewhere, I was to preoccupied to look to see where, and there is no way out that doesn’t involve steps.

I know clear to my bones that the way to put out a grease fire is to put the lid on and/or smother it with baking soda. I have seen the Myth Busters episode where they see what happens if you poor water onto flaming grease. Honestly though it is easier said than done. When on the stove it was trying to catch the cabinets on fire and standing there holding the pan it was impossible to do anything. So I screamed for my husband, I don’t know what I thought he was going to do. Really it all happened so fast there was hardly time to do anything.

My gallant husband must have started running from the other end of our, very small, house as soon as he heard me the first time. after it was over I saw where he dropped his phone as he came, it laid there in the middle of the floor. He rushed into the kitchen and snatched the flaming pan from my hands.

And it went out.

Just like that, he saved the day. The only reminder of our near disaster is a swirl of smoke stain way above my head on the white cabinet.

At about 3:55 looks just like our fire


There once was a child spawned by goblins. She lived with a nice human family who loved her despite of, perhaps because of, the holes in her disguise. They happily overlooked the times she would attempt to bit their fingers off at the joint or burst their eardrums with a particularly spectacular screech. They were merely relieved that she was no longer projectile vomiting.



Her goblin heritage was especially evident in her ability to communicate with the animals. The Goblin Child had a cat as her familiar, they could often be seen meowing and purring during extended conversations. She would growl ferociously at the dog if she tried to retrieve her food bowl from the vicious Goblin Child. They traversed the house, a wild herd of animals wrecking havoc where ever they went. The poor unsuspecting parents were proud of their little changeling.

Her familiar

Her familiar

As The Goblin Child grew and began eating solid foods her goblin like tendencies became more apparent. She ate with the appetite of a horse, a large one, and ate in a rather unladylike manner. Her sweet loving parents had to yank their fingers back quickly when offering her a tasty morsel or risk having blood drawn. As the child rooted in her tray of food they were torn between tisking over her food matted hair and a certain pride for her healthy appetite.

Before too long they began discussing whether her features were undergoing a change. “Surely her nose was not formerly so snub?” questioned the doting father. ” I do believe she is getting a mite plump.” thought her patient, loving mother. As she snorted and grunted her way through yet another meal the alarm increased.

“Now darling” they gently chided, “you really must begin to develop some manners.”

Their darling child looked back at her devoted parents, skin glowing healthy and pink, and oinked at them before returning to rooting in her food.



“Oh, sweetness, that simply will not do!” her parents exclaimed distraught. “They say you are what you eat. If you continue to behave like this I fear you will become how you eat.”

The light of their lives gazed back at them blankly, her formerly large beautiful eyes appearing a bit beady, then oinked.

Her parents were greatly distressed, this had to be their fault somehow. Her mother had obviously not loved her enough, feared the poor beleaguered mother. It must be all her fault because she had resented having to get up with the poor, poor, child three times a night when she was only a year old, practically a new born.

“No,” said the gallant, loving father. “I must take full blame, it was I who offered her chocolate as her first taste of solid food. It obviously started a



lifelong trend. Forgive me my love,” he hung his head in shame.

They consoled themselves with the hope that it was just a trend, all children are messy eaters after all. They carried that hope with them

At the water trough

At the water trough

until that night when they changed their darling into her pajamas. As they changed her diaper before bed they noticed a protrusion from the child’s lower back. It looked almost like, no it couldn’t be, but it almost seemed like a tail. They cried themselves to sleep that night.

Sure enough, the next morning when they went to check on her instead of their little Goblin Child they found a piglet.

There is a bright side, it has worked rather well for them. They no longer have to try to keep her out of the dog food. It is considerably cheaper to feed a piglet than a child. Turns out it is even easier to house train a piglet than a Goblin Child.


Well it’s not quite a pig, but….


Moving on

Thank you to everybody who offered their condolences on Nev. Sorry I didn’t get back to anybody, I really do hate to talk about it.

Now as an alternative to sitting around eating chocolate all day I have began looking at horses. It is cruel that my training tendencies were reawakened. I had been so content to plod, as much as Coyote ever plods, around bare back in a halter. Now I want to train. I want to drill and practice and work on collection, suppleness and softening. I once again became addicted to training, dressage and reining. Now here I am with an overly opinionated grouchy old gelding and a once great but now lame and completely out of shape mare.

My complete lack of an actual need for another horse makes it hard to say what I am looking for but I have decided there are two completely separate lists of requirements. Really I need two horses. A young project for me and an old quiet horse for the husband and child. Gaited keeps topping my list.

I want an Icelandic, I even found one that was perfect. (here) Twenty three I think and very quiet, even cheap, that is a pretty major requirement.Unfortunately she was in Connecticut, a definite deal breaker.

I found a Halflinger on Craigslist. I thought she could fill both needs. She’s green, I could have a project, but quiet and a good size for when the child gets old enough. I can’t picture a halflinger cutting or reining but I need to remind myself that I won’t be either. My mom keeps pointing out that I really want gaited and maybe should look for a foxtrotter.

So I did, there was nothing anywhere close, to us or my price range. On a whim I looked for a paso. They are a good size and gaited. I found one, old, quiet, cheap and close. She is even, almost, the same color as Coyote. So I called. CROSSING STREAMWe are thinking about it.


I am going to have to do this eventually so I might as well get it over with.

A couple of weeks ago Nevel was hit by lightening. He was eating happily on their round bale in one of the lowest spots on the place out in the open surrounded by much taller trees, metal buildings and power lines. It didn’t make a difference. His life was short and sweet, I was glad to be blessed with him as long as I was.



When I commented in the last post about Nates muscling showing how poorly he had been ridden  my mom sent me a picture of her gelding Smoke and asked what I could tell by his muscling.


While I admire the nice side shot at a good angle, it is a bit hard to tell a whole lot with saddle and rider. Not that I am any kind of an expert anyway. But I definitely like his neck. Even if it is a bit cresty, but that is well known problem and completely lacking in relevance.He is reaching beautifully into the bit making his neck look even better muscled than it is, which is very nicely muscled. I understand he was mostly just mad about having to stand for silly games. The muscle is all on the top with a complete lack of development of the muscle on the bottom of the neck. If you look at Nate it is nearly the opposite, looking worse here in the picture than it was in real life, I hope, because he is fighting the draw reins.

But back to Smoke, I like him, it’s hard to be unbiased about a horse you know.  His neck is nicely set, coming high out of good withers. The shoulder angle is average not horribly steep but not a lot of slope. I just happen to know his back is nice and short, the way I like them at least, paired with a good long underline, making for that incredibly fast walk he can perform when he wants to. Front legs are straight with good short cannon bones, hind legs set pretty square under him. I happen to know that he goes soundly barefoot, so I’ll say his hooves are nice without being able to see them. All in all he’s a good horse with a quirky personality. Quiet but not and strongly opinionated. I had the pleasure? of starting him and he is definitely one of a kind. He has come a long way from that spoiled, incredibly ugly, rotten, little, orphaned colt the the big pretty boy he is now.