Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Well, after the battles we had to begin with about getting caught, the filly decided today that she would let me catch her.

She may change her mind about that tomorrow considering the indignities (to her mind) that I subjected her to today.

See, today we started on round pen training (it does take a bit of training to get them working good in the round pen) and we also got the bit for the first time.

She was very displeased with this turn of events, needless to say. Not rear and throw a fit displeased, but displeased nonetheless. I didn't have my phone with me so I missed what would have been great shots of her trying to shove the bit out the side of her mouth with her tongue, but here are a few I did get:

"If my mouth is open it will fall out. I'm sure it will. No, really. It'll fall out..."

"Well maybe if I put my head up it'll come out... maybe? Come on get this thing out of my mouth already!"

Notice the ears, above. She's gone from cranky in the first photo, to confused in the second, and in this one, she's annoyed.

This is about thirty minutes into the whole debacle. Right after this is when she decided that the bit wasn't going anywhere no matter how hard she tried and closed her mouth on it and stopped trying to spit it out. I was sitting on the fence pointing and laughing at her, and this annoyed look she gave me was just too good to pass up a picture of.

From here on out I'm not going to be able to take pictures while I'm working her, because I'll have my hands full actually working her. Tomorrow we'll go through the same stuff we did today (more briefly, hopefully) and start in desensitizing to have things on our back and around our front legs (because hobbles are handy). With any luck, we may get saddled tomorrow, but I'm not counting on it. She'll be saddled by the weekend and riding some time next week though, or at least that's my prediction. How long it takes to get riding depends entirely on how stubborn she wants to be about giving to the bit while tied around and ground driving, and that we won't know until we get there.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spoiled Little Brat

So, I've got a client horse in this month (yay! Money!) and I gotta say this folks: there is such a thing as spoiling your horse too much.

I'm not talking about too many treats or grooming them until they melt, or even letting them have some candy sometimes. I'm talking about spoiled little brats that don't listen and have learned that they don't have to.

This filly I've got in to start, she's lived in the same pen, with the same other filly, since they were weaned. She learned early on that she could push the other filly around, of course, since the other filly is a more submissive little creature. Then she tried it with her owner.

Obviously, it worked, because now I'm dealing with her trying to deliberately step on me, shove me, throw her head up and intimidate me, and various and sundry other examples of what a horse shouldn't get away with.

She's halter broke, and she leads well, but when she gets tired of being led she'll get in behind me and start pushing, trying to step on the backs of my boots. Or she'll try to turn away from me and when the lead comes tight she'll act like she's startled.

Today we had the "You can't catch me" fight. Needless to say, I won, but I'm a little sore from winning tonight.

See, she's worn a catch collar at home, because apparently she doesn't want to let you put the halter on unless you already have a firm grip on her. Since she'd never ridden in a trailer before, I pulled it before I loaded her. First trailer ride + things to get caught on something = not a good idea, since they will find something to snag a halter or catch collar or saddle on.

So, she didn't have the catch collar. I figured that once she settled in she wouldn't be that bad to catch, if nothing else run her into the alley and give her less room to make a fool of herself in. I was wrong, but that's why they make ropes.

I'd gotten her eating out of my hand by the simple expedient of having the only food available in the pen when she was hungry. So, I held the rope up in front of the bucket and let her stick her nose in it, and back out, and stick her nose in it, and back out... when she was distracted munching on the little bit of food in the bottom of the bucket, I flipped the loop up over her ears and tugged the slack out.

Of course she went nuts. She was surprised. I let her run around the pen for a little bit until she stopped worrying about the end of the rope trailing behind her, then eased my way up to grab the end. I started slowly coiling the rope, and she gradually inched her way towards me, until I could grab the trailing end of the rope under her jaw and give her a little bit of forward pressure. She walked nicely with me with just the rope around her neck, back to where I'd laid the halter and lead over the fence.

She stood while I petted her and told her what a good girl she was. Then, when I had the halter on her nose and reached across for the strap, she took off.

I let her run herself down a bit more (no point in chasing her, she'd get tired soon enough) and repeated this process, getting just a little further with the halter than I had the time before. We did this about three times, before I got fed up.

She was starting to look like this was becoming a fun game, and that wasn't the plan, so this time, instead of letting go of the rope and letting her run herself down, I let it slide through my hands until I got the end of it, and I ran with her. She made a circuit of the pen and stopped in a corner, and looked over at me like "What?!? You're not supposed to be on the end of the rope!!" and took off again. She was quite obviously indignant that I had changed the rules, but I just kept up with her (easier than it sounds, actually since I had less distance to run than she did, and could pretty much do it up and down the middle of the pen instead of making the wide circle) and was standing on the end of the rope again when she stopped again.

I reeled her in and led her a little way, then told her firmly to stand, and eased the halter on. I hadn't let her get away with her little game that time, and she decided to do what she should have in the first place. I led her around the pen a couple times, and when she stopped trying to climb over me, I took her out of that pen, and into the next one, where there's grass and weeds growing, and let her graze in-hand for a few minutes.

She got something she liked for doing something I liked. She'll come to see the correlation soon enough.

By that time there was a storm moving in, so I didn't work her in the round pen today. We'll start that, and learning how to carry the bit, tomorrow. I did leave the halter on her to hopefully simplify matters tomorrow.

And if she decides to play any "you can't catch me" games tomorrow, I'll just tie one of the lunge lines around an old tire before I leave, and let her drag it around for the night. That tends to put a damper on the whole running away thing.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Holy Crap!

Today Farmmom and I went to the Redneck Walmart (tack, feed, tires, clothing, toys, tools, fencing supplies and every spring, baby ducks, chicks, and turkeys, so yes it IS more redneck than Walmart) to get some panels.

See, I've got a little filly coming in to get saddle broke tomorrow, and discovered that I was a wee bit short of panels for a round pen. The place here didn't have any, but I called Redneck Walmart for a price quote and was quoted a hell of a deal. I jumped on it, figuring it was some off-brand that was on sale, we hooked on to the trailer and away we went.

Only to discover once we had paid that what they thought I had purchased and what I thought I had purchased were two different things. I had called asking about horse panels... in my lexicon, lightweight fencing panels that would hook together. In their lexicon, apparently, it meant something that I have always called "pig panels"... panels of four gauge wire laid out in a four inch square grid.

The guy who came to help us load looked at me and smirked when I told him that wasn't what I wanted, said "I didn't think so, and I tried to tell her. Oh well not my problem. Pull over there and we'll get you loaded up."

So he loaded me three name brand sixteen foot long panels. This particular name brand is quite expensive... for good reason of course, its some of the best ranching equipment out there.

The price I paid for each five foot tall by sixteen foot long panel was $59.99

The manufacturer's recommended price is $188.99

No, I did not make any salacious offers, nor did I reveal any inappropriate portions of my anatomy. Hell, I didn't even wink at the guy. I did say thank you and get the hell out of there before he got caught, though....

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's Gonna Be A Long Day

It's been harder than I honestly expected, dealing with things this week. I knew it was going to be rough, aside from my own feelings on the matter most of my friends are pretty tore up, and I feel for them.

It just surprises me how hard it's hit me. It probably shouldn't, but it does. There was a viewing last night, and I told myself I'd go this morning. This morning I got back from retrieving one of the crew from the train station, and realized that I just can't bring myself to go.

I don't think I could take seeing another friend lying in a casket. I'd rather remember him smiling and laughing with everyone than have that image of him all cold and still. I know if I went I'd see every other friend I've buried, they're running through my mind anyway.

I just... can't do it. I can do the funeral, I can do the gravesides, but I can't go look at him.

Sorry for being all sad and stuff but that's the way it is today. Go tell the people you love how much you care, folks, fate doesn't wait for you to have time, and you never know when you might not get another opportunity. Besides, everyone should hear that they're loved and cared for as often as possible.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life Is Short

As our community was reminded just yesterday. FarmBro and my generation has had a hard time of it, we've lost a lot of kids.

Car wrecks, mostly, a couple of suicides, and yesterday, a motorcycle accident. We've lost so many young people since I was in junior high I have a hard time remembering them all.

The young man who died yesterday was a good friend of Bro and SIL, and was liked by just about everyone. So well liked, in fact, that there isn't a church or funeral home nearby that would be big enough for his funeral, so they're having it in the high school gym.

He was pro 2A, a member of the Tea Party, stood up for what he believed in and loved his family. He was just getting started in life.

A life cut short by a motorcycle accident in a mountain pass. I don't know if he was doing something dumb, or if it was just a small mistake that snowballed. He was still in that bullet proof and immortal stage, so it's possible it was either, but I hope it was a mistake.

He was a good kid. He had a lot going for him, and his life was cut too short. He will be greatly missed. I can't help but imagine him worrying about how everyone will handle his death, and wishing he could fix everything for everyone, because that's how he was with people he cared about.

So try to remember to savor the joy and try to let go of the bad things. Smile more than you cry, and never regret: even your mistakes help make you the person you are.

Rest easy, Dillon. We got this.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Baby schnauzers are so adorable! This little guy was born yesterday, along with three more brothers and two sisters, for a total of six puppies.

Their mom is a great momma, taking care of them to the point that I have to literally pull her out of the kennel to get her to leave them to go outside. First thing this morning I had to carry her all the way outside. She did her business and then ran back to me, jumping up on my leg like "all right, I'm done, now let me back in so I can check on my kids!"

As you can see she's letting me handle them. I've been careful not to upset her about it, but I needed to take pictures for her owner, so that she could start marketing the little darlings right away. Plus, she had deposits for four puppies already, and those people needed pictures so that they could start picking out their own cuteness.

All the pups are in good shape, even the one that was born breech. I'm just glad that it all went smoothly for a breech birth. There was a moment when I thought I was going to have to assist but momma dog got it all taken care of, and all I had to do was pull the sac back from the face so the puppeh could breathe.

They're squeaky little things, especially when mom decides it's time for a bath, but they're all doing well and getting bigger already.

Something from Nothing

Ok. Once again I am going to try to put my thoughts into words. Hang in there with me since I am not very good at it. Unlike so many of my Blogger friends!

Yesterday was Mothers Day and naturally I was thinking of my Mother and Grandmothers, none of whom are still with me.

Both my Mom and FarmDad's Grandmother loved to get a bunch together and cook for them. If they fed you , they liked you. If they fed you a lot they loved you. The amount of food and the type of meal was a gauge of how much they thought of you. They both lived through times that would make those of us today just crawl into a corner and cry. These tough, strong women had to feed families on very little in the way of supplies. They were both farm wives and made do with what they could gather or grow on the farm. In hard times they could take nothing and make something out of it.

Both of these ladies taught me to be thankful for what I have and not to worry about what I don't. They were amazing women and I am lucky to have had them as mentors. So here is a recipe that both of these women made for me that takes that nothing and makes something of it.

Beef and Homemade Egg Noodles

Start with a chunk of meat. It can be a tough sub par piece because you boil it to death! The longer you boil it the more the connective tissues will break down and it will become edible! Throw an onion, some salt and pepper or what have you in with the meat to add a little more flavor.

Mom and Grandma Sugar both did this by hand. Since I am a somewhat modern woman I love my Kitchenaid mixer! Beat eggs and a bit of salt till they are foamy. I always figure for 1 egg per person. I always have leftovers but they heat up really nice!

Next add flour. Then add some more flour... then some more.

When you have a stiff dough turn the dough out on a floured board or just on your counter and knead in some more four! Knead the flour in until it is a VERY stiff dough.

Roll the dough out pretty thin. I like mine to be about as thick as the space between the tines of a fork. If you like really chunky noodles leave it slightly thicker.

When you have the dough rolled out to your prefered thickness, sprinkle it with flour and just rub it over the top. This keeps your noodles from sticking together when you cut them. Then you start at one side and roll the dough up.

Slice the roll into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces. Again it depends on how chunky and thick you want your noodles. Unroll the noodles .

Scatter the noodles out and coat them with a bit of flour to keep them from sticking together and let them dry for about a half hour. Longer doesn't hurt it just takes a little longer to cook.

Bring the broth from the boiled meat to a boil and drop the noodles into it a few at a time while stirring to keep them from sticking together. Add the meat back into the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes. All the extra flour on the noodles will make a nice thick gravy. If it isn't thick enough for you add a little corn starch and water and it will thicken right up.

Mom and Grandma always served them over mashed potatoes. Add a veggie and you have a filling nutritious meal from basically nothing! Eggs, flour, salt and a cheap piece of meat.

And for desert we had Strawberry Shortcake with homemade whipped cream!

Mom and Grandma Sugar would have been proud!
Thank you both! I love and miss you!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Book Review: Babylon Babies

So, I finally got around to reading the book that Babylon AD is based on. This is a movie that I bought in the hopes that Vin Diesel would get nekkid, and wound up enjoying in spite of (or maybe because of) the weird ass plot.

Generally, when there's a question of book vs movie I pick the book. Then again, generally, when there's a movie based on a book, the plot is the same. Oh, things get switched around, cut, reorganized and generally polished for the different format but the plot is still recognizable.

Not in this one. I don't know whether it's the translation of the book from French to English, or the fact that Hollywood said "Ok, we're gonna make this a little less... French..." but there are very few things that the book and the movie have in common.

Here's where I say spoiler alert. If you haven't seen the movie, you may not want to read the rest of this post. If you haven't read the book, well, read on, because I can save you some time and effort.

First common point: Toorop. A mercenary of immense skill, your average love-to-hate-em protagonist. Except, in the movie, he's highly skilled and implacable, doing his job with precision, dedication, and a certain flair (come on, he backflips a snowmobile into a rocket. That's cool.) In the book, he's kinda fuckin nuts. To start with, he recites poetry to the corpses of men he kills in single combat. The virtual peeks inside his head provided by the author are, especially in the beginning, confusing, convoluted, and mostly lacking in anything most folks would call sense.

Second common point: Toorop is engaged by Gorsky (Russian Mafia, same name in both, but different dudes, apparently) to deliver a young woman from the wilds of Russia to North America. Again, here's where the split is. In the movie, Toorop must accomplish this with nothing but Gorsky's cash, and a car thoughtfully stuffed with cash, weapons, and maps, provided by Gorsky. In the book, Toorop has a team of mercenaries, and logistical support from both the Russian Mafia and a branch of the Russian Intelligence Service headed by a corrupt colonel. Toorop makes the plans, but he has access to helicopters and safe houses along the way. Far less cool than taking off with a couple chicks in the back seat and a trunk full of cash and ammo.

Third Common Point: The young woman in question is pregnant with twins, who will eventually be discovered to be a whole new species of human, hyper intelligent and capable of amazing things.

That's pretty much all they have in common. The young woman has a different name in the movie (Aurora) than the book (Marie Zorn). There is no Sister Rebeccah in the book. No submarines breaking through the ice, no run from killer patrol drones.

Oh, and in the book, Marie is special because she's schizophrenic, and has been treated with special drugs and such to help her control her schizo tendencies, which has the amazing side effect of allowing her to interface directly with the Cosmic Serpent, a sort of hive mind of all living things, apparently made up entirely of DNA.

To be honest, I really didn't follow any more of the explanation than that. It just drips new-age ancient mysticism, and my brain just sort of went "um... ok?" and moved on.

As odd and sometimes disjointed as the plot of the movie is, it's still followable to the extent that in the end you're saying "aww" as Aurora sheds a single tear, dying in the moment her babies are born. Yes, Aurora is odd, apparently a bit telepathic, and in possession of knowledge that she has no experience of, but she's still a character you can connect to on some level.

Marie Zorn is... well, she's nuts. I must admit that while I know very little about schizophrenia the writing conveyed the bug nuts bit quite nicely. The problem is, most of the time I couldn't tell if the writer was trying to write from a schizo perspective or not. The entire book is a writhing mass of strange metaphors, long winded internal monologues, and just plain weird ass imagery.

I can let the flow problems slide. It's always difficult to preserve the integrity of a text when it's translated, and I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt that it's far more readable in French, since I can't check.

All in all, I say skip the book and watch the movie. If for no other reason than Vin Diesel and Melanie Thierry provide excellent eye candy no matter what your personal flavor of choice may be.

For perhaps the first time in my life, I prefer a movie to a book.... I'm not entirely sure what to do with myself now....

Thursday, May 6, 2010


So, my good friend and the owner of Fuzzy Pup's mom is going on vacation next month, with her inlaws and four (omg) kids. It just so happens that Fuzzy Pup has a litter of brothers and sisters just waiting to come into the world... And his mommy doesn't do well with being moved after she has the pups, so I'm puppeh sitting.

The poor girl is a bitteh schnauzer... and she usually has five or six pups. No problems with the litter size she's an excellent mom, but she looks like she swallowed a football.

Right now she's flaked out on the recliner looking miserable. Her temp is dropping and her breathing is getting a little shallower, along with her belleh sagging, so any time in the next 24 hours, maybe a little more, we could have pups. Then again, with the stress of switching locations, she may delay as long as she can, hoping she'll get a more secure place. She seems fairly chillaxed today (she arrived yesterday) but there's a lot of stress involved with moving this close to whelping, so it's hard to say how things are going to go until they start to actually go.

Meanwhile, the poor girl looks miserable, and I can feel four pups in there, and my friend says she always has a couple that you can't feel. The little ones aren't as active as they were yesterday, but then, yesterday they were squirming so much you could see little noses and feet yesterday through her sides, like multiple little chest-bursters.

I'll keep ya'll updated.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Red is now officially someone else's problem. I can't argue with the way he behaved, he was actually an angel. He also worked really well for me in the pens before we went through the ring... I got several compliments. A lot of those came from people who had asked me about him, with the question that I dreaded more than any other... "Is he real gentle?"

If I were just a bit less honest I could have danced around that question better, and gotten more money, but I won't be responsible for someone buying that horse for their kids and the kid getting hurt because he's a jackass. So, I answered it the best I could... He's real gentle on the ground, loves attention, you can do anything with or to him. In the saddle, he learned he could bully someone before I bought him, and he's gonna try it. Don't let him, and you're fine. Which was completely at odds with his relaxed, lazy demeanor, at that point.

In the ring... he wasn't as snappy as I would have liked but he wasn't being utterly neurotic either, so I was happy. The guys in the auctioneer's booth were trying real hard to get him sold for me, and I really appreciated it. I'm fully aware he's an ugly little cuss, but they were saying things like "You folks are looking out the window on this one.. he's got more training than that... well, look at him!"

Anyway, I didn't get anywhere near the top price of the day but I beat the low price by a lot too, and I was one of the last few to sell. That, combined with all the compliments I was getting on him (some in optimism before I went in the ring, some afterwords in commiseration because they really did believe he should have brought more money than he did) made it a good day.

I happen to know that the guy who bought him does a lot of pony cart stuff, renting out carts and ponies and traveling around doing parades. Since I've said before that if I had a cart I'd hitch Red to it, I can't think of a better place for him, and he'll be kept busy enough that he'll stay settled down.

Anyway, he's not my problem anymore... which makes me smile. I'll smile bigger Monday when I cash the check, though.