Saturday, October 31, 2009

Animal House

Do you ever feel like the course of your life revolves around and is determined by critters? It was a rhetorical question; of course you do.

On Wednesday, the last day of my mini vacation, Mr. Fry and I headed to Gainesville for breakfast and to get my truck inspected. As we backed out of the garage, we saw Poco standing by the run-in shed, but no Jaz. He's usually not far, so Mike got out to check, and found him laying in the run-in shed.

Red flags should have flown. Bells and sirens should have sounded. Those horses never ever go in the run-in shed unless there's food in there. I don't care how inclement the weather is, they don't hang out in the shed. Jaz got up as soon as Mike approached, and we were on our way. I thought nothing more of it.

Much later in the day, Mike came into my office and said Jaz was laying out by the round pen. What? Although the round pen is level, the land to this side of it slopes sharply downward into the creek bed, which has been like a raging river from 3 weeks of rain. That's not a place where the Boyz rest ever. This time, my spidey senses were tingling. I looked out the dining room window and saw him lying on his stomach (like a dog) in that telltale position with his front legs stretched way out in front of him. I grabbed a halter & lead rope and sprinted that way.

Jaz was visibly shivering, although it was in the high 50s-low 60s. I tied him to the hitching post. Mike got his blanket and I made a bucket of warm Gatorade. With much cajoling, Jaz drank about half of it. When I rubbed his belly, he stretched way out. Yup, been here, done this before. So we walked and walked. Finally, he pooped, but it was super hard. Called the vet, and loaded Jaz up in the hope of avoiding a middle-of-the-night emergency vet visit. As we pulled away, Poco was wearing a trench along the front fence.

I'm so glad I was home and we caught it early. We still had to do the whole treatment, and Jaz was a stinker about it. At one point, he whipped his head around and clunked me in the forehead with the twitch. I left with a tube of Banamine and orders not to let Jaz eat for 24 hours. Right. Remember how well it worked last time I tried to contain him? Called Heather to reserve 2 stalls, stopped at Casa Fry to pick up the still-fretting Poco, and headed that way. Jaz (the poopin'-est, peein'-est horse on the planet) didn't poop again until the next day, but that didn't stop him from protesting the lack of groceries in his stall. He's fine now, but I think I'll leave them there for a week while our place dries out.

Jaz doesn't do well when the temperature dips. His last colic was under similar circumstances, only it was windy, much colder, and sleeting on a Friday night — and my vet was out of town (of course). Mike and I now realize we need to pay closer attention to the weather and to Jaz. But who would have thought 50-60˚ posed a danger? The high that afternoon was 72˚! Just goes to show you: stuff can go wrong at any time and you can't be complacent.

Different issue. I got home from work yesterday and Martha the bratweasel was up by the front gate just as pleased with herself as she could be. I yelled at her to get back in her yard, but you know how much good that did. I managed to get my truck down the driveway without running over her, caught her and put her back in the dog yard. By the time I got back around to the garage, she was at my heels again. Lather, rinse, repeat two more times. I looked around, but wasn't able to find her escape route.

Let the dogs out this morning and by the time I was in here at the computer, Martha was outside my window scratching at the screen. Jeez Louise! At least let me have my coffee. I grabbed gloves, wire cutters, chicken wire, and my coffee. I plugged 2 possible places, but I don't know yet if they were the right ones. Little imp.

In other news, after doing live chat online with Sony, we were unable to fix my camera. I sent it to a regional service center. It's still under warranty. I already miss it, so I hope they don't keep it long.

It's a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning, and I'm looking forward to hanging out with my Boyz and my Barn Buddies.

Have a great weekend, and don't forget to smooch your ponies.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Skywatch Friday Season 4 Episode 16

Our skies have looked like this for weeks.

Taken in Frisco, TX.
The storm is probably in Prosper or Celina.

See skies around the world

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

News of the World

Yesterday, Mr. Fry and I headed to the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, TX to catch a little of the World Championship Appaloosa Show. I had hoped to have lots of eye candy photos, but, alas, my camera lost its mind. (I have since found out that it will have to be shipped off for service.) My phone was dead, so couldn't even use it. Talk about bad luck.

We got there just in time to catch the judging for the Masters Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle. Then we watched a couple of fun classes: Non-Pro Weanling Fillies, Non-Pro Yearling Fillies, Non-Pro Two-Year-Old Mares, and Non-Pro Three-Year-Old Mares. Some of those poor little youngsters were not at all happy to be there. There was a lot of prancing, dancing, and tongue chewing.

We walked around the barns for awhile — always fun — then walked in on the Yearling Longe Line Hunter class. I was glad to have caught that, since my longeing prowess (well, lack thereof) is the stuff of comic legend. Hopefully, I can use some of what I saw to help me.

After that, we caught the preview to the World Appaloosa Sale. Ooh, aah. Since I didn't have my camera, I've had to try and find online photos of some of the ponies I liked.

Kool Rock O Fortune
15.2 hh 1998 Gelding
(Kooley Scooter x Fortunes Whim)

If I were in a position to buy, "Rock" would have been my #1 choice to come home with us. The young lady who owns him is selling him to help fund college. According to the write-up, she's had him since she was 9 years old and has "done everything a kid can do with a horse to him. He was the 2008 Master in Roping Horse. He heads, heels, and breakaway ropes." I don't know or care about any of that. I just liked the way he moved and the kind look in his eye.

Some other pretty faces that turned my head:

Going DZ For You
2008 Stallion
Pedigree here

I guess he was a weanling in the photo above. He's filled out considerably; he's already 16.2 hh as a yearling. He comes from halter & Western Pleasure horses, so it's no surprise that he's built like a brick shithouse. And what a sweet, well-mannered boy. There were quite a few interested folks in the barn checking him out up close. Considering his bloodlines, don't you find it a bit odd (or telling, maybe) they didn't list his HYPP status?

I didn't realize it at the time, but these next two are from the same breeder/bloodlines.

Vanilla Impulse
2008 Mare
Pedigree here
Video here

Sleepy Impulse
2008 Stallion
(Too Sleepy To Zip x Impulsive Bet)
Video here

Lucy Loper
2006 Mare
Pedigree here

I admit it: I'm swooning at the chrome. I have to wonder about her though. She was sold at the World Sale as a yearling in 2007, and she's for sale again. They advertise her as a "perfect non-pro, youth, or even walk/jog horse. Easy to ride, ready to show." Could mean she's lazy or dumber than a box of rocks.

Nikki Nack
2003 Mare
Pedigree here

This is a broodie who comes with a breeding to AQHA stallion Zip Zap Black. Just a big, pretty mare.

So many ponies and absolutely no money. But it sure was fun to look.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not-So-Instant Karma

karma |ˈkärmə|
(in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.
informal destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.

Characters from My Name is Earl: Randy, Catalina, Crabman, Joy, and Earl

I was standing outside the garage,

talking to the Boyz.
Suddenly, they were on alert,
eyes intent on something at the
top of the driveway,
heads high, ears flicking,
noses working overtime.

I took a step back,
for reasons we all know well.

Then we all saw it:

a horse pulling a small cart.

At the reins was my neighbor

down the road;
the one who lets his
@#%*! dogs
run loose; the ones
I bitch about after
just about every ride.

The Boyz took a few steps

in that direction, then stopped again.
I suggested they pay their respects.
They took off toward the gate
at a brisk trot,

heads high, tails flagged.

The horse shied.
Neighbor got the rig turned
around and they headed back
in the direction from whence they came.
A lot faster.

Paybacks are hell, neighbor.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Look, Up in the Sky!

what's that blindingly
bright light?

Oh, wait, it's coming back to me now.

After almost 3 solid weeks of rain,
the sun is shining.
It's a crisp, cool day with an
expected high of about 70˚.

I was able to work on my horses
without crippling myself,
thanks to my back brace and Aleve.

Good thing.
I haven't picked their feet
since before all the rain.
This is the first time I've felt
physically able to do it.
They didn't look as bad as I thought.

I spent several hours grooming them.
Jaz got a fresh buzz and Pokey
got his bridle path freshened.
They are on daily wormer
but today they got their
semi-annual dose of Ivermectin.

I didn't ride today,
oh no no,
but I am off for the next 5 days
— pop the bubbly —
so there is hope on that front.

Cindi chilled while I worked on the Boyz.

So did that stinkin' rotten little dog,
as Mr. Fry calls Martha.

The Boyz were kind enough
not to drop and roll immediately.

I'm amazed at how fast and early
the Boyz fuzzed up this year.

Terrible pic of Pokey.
He looks fat,
but both horses
are at a perfect weight.

We didn't have our typical
Indian Summer either.
Temps have been quite fall-like,
which has allowed the winter rye grass
to come back already.

I live in the Red River Valley.
This is typical of the rocks.
Much of the soil is
also this color.

Are we keeping you awake, Marthie?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This Spud's For You

Eww, what's that?

This may look like two
buckets of garbage
to you,
but to my ponies ...

... it's yummy stuff.

Each pony got the peelings from
5 lbs. of potatoes
and the syrup from a tall can of
sweet potatoes mixed with
his grain and supplements.

I tweaked my back yesterday
doing absolutely nothing.
Seriously, I sneezed.
So instead of being out with
the Boyz, I made
my Thanksgiving potato casserole.

In addition to being a family favorite,
it's also become a huge hit for our
potluck at work.

That's 10 lbs. of potatoes.
I use the biggest pot I've
got to make them.
They freeze well, so this
will be one less thing to do
the night before Thanksgiving.

I found this recipe in the
November 2002 issue of Southern Living magazine.
This dish has been on our Thanksgiving menu
every year since.

Even people who don't normally eat
sweet potatoes will come back for seconds.

The beer's for the cook.

Here's the recipe for a small batch.

— Baked Sweet & Savory Mashed Potatoes
3.5 lbs. baking potatoes,
peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbl salt, divided
1 (29-oz) can sweet potatoes in heavy syrup,
drained and mashed
1 (8 oz) pkg reduced fat cream cheese, softened
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
(Buy a bag of Hormel cooked crumbled bacon)
3/4 cup light sour cream
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp pepper
Garnish: more crumbled bacon

Bring potatoes, 1 tsp salt, and water to cover
to a boil in a Dutch oven;
cook 30 minutes or until tender.
Return potatoes to Dutch oven.
Add sweet potatoes; mash until smooth
with a potato masher.
Stir in bacon, next 3 ingredients,
and remaining 2 tsp salt.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased
11 x 7 baking dish.
Sprinkle top with more crumbled bacon.
Bake at 350˚ for 20 minutes.

I have three casserole dishes to freeze
and one to eat now.

Dinner tonight was bangers and mash.

After you've made the casserole a few times,
balance the ingredients to your own taste.
We use more sweet potatoes and more bacon.
I like them really creamy, so I
whip them with a mixer after mashing.
Best when served at least a day
after preparing.

They are majorly wonderful — enjoy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How the Other Half Lives

Cheap is small and not too steep
But best of all cheap is cheap
Circumstance has forced my hand
To be a cut price person in a low budget land
Times are hard but we'll all survive
I just got to learn to economize

I'm on a low budget
I'm not cheap, you understand
I'm just a cut price person in a low budget land

"Low Budget" (Ray Davies) The Kinks
from the 1979 album of the same name

— — —

I've read with interest (and some envy)
peoples' posts
about their tack rooms.

I don't have a barn,

nor do I have space in my home
for a dedicated tack room.
I have a stock trailer,
so no enclosed storage.
Mr. Fry and I would come to fisticuffs
for sure
if I put horse stuff
in his garage.

Welcome to small time
horse ownership.

My saddles live in what used to be
the kid's bedroom, sharing space with
Mr. Fry's desk, free weights
and the treadmill.

My western hat helmet
and bareback pad
are tossed on top.

The tool box with the yellow lid
holds first aid supplies and medicines.

Halters, lead ropes, bridles,reins,
and grazing muzzles
live behind the laundry room door.

Important horsey dates
are marked on the calendar.

Sand Clear and daily wormer
live on the laundry room floor.
That crop on the left is a
warning to cat food moocher, Martha.

Horsey stuff makes its home next to
laundry supplies and sundry household items.

The cabinet under the sink is
home to gallon jugs of detangler,
fly spray, and hoof oil.

That's the edge of a door to a tiny
slab porch on the left.
That porch holds the
metal grain locker.

The hitching post,
run-in shed, and water trough
are 10-20 paces
from the porch.

20/20 hindsight:
I coulda/shoulda/woulda
designed the house

with a tack room rather than
a guest room.

Scratch that.
I'd have built less house
and erected a small barn.

Having my horses at home:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Skywatch Friday Season 4 Episode 14

Bubblegum clouds
Mountain Springs, TX

See skies around the world at

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Less Words Wednesday

Thanks to Jon,
my fab (and cute) farrier

happy Appy feet

and happy Ay-rab feet.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fighting the Flora

"Weed — a plant whose virtues
have not yet been discovered."

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

This innocent, happy-looking flowering plant
has become the bane of my existence.

This photo is from the
University of Texas at Austin's website,
which helped me identify my enemy.

Helenium Araman,

aka Bitterweed or Yellow Bitterweed
is a member of the Aster Family.
Plants are between 1-3' tall,
with wispy, dill-like leaves.

It blooms from April thru September,
thriving in crappy soil with almost no water.

Entire pastures are rendered worthless,
overrun with this vile weed.

Once it gets to that point,
the only way to get rid of it is
a controlled burn,
then till the whole thing under,
and you may have to do it
the next year.

I don't think even goats will eat it.

This and the previous photo were shot
at random on my way home from work.

Yellow Bitterweed takes root and takes off.
It's so invasive, if you see one or two plants this year,
you will have a problem next year.

And that's what has happened here.

After a short ride on Poco,
I spent the next 4+ hours pulling
the noxious weed.

The good news:
it was easy to pull the entire plant
out by the roots.

The bad news:
there was a LOT of it.

Don't pollinate this crap, ya little turd!
I don't care if UT Austin does classify it
as an "aromatic ornamental."

Rocks, weeds, fire ants, and other
would-be usurpers of the land abound.
We have to fight for every
decent mouthful for the Boyz.

Ornamental, my ass.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Skywatch Friday Season 4 Episode 13

What are you doing down there?
This is not my best angle, you know.

See skies around the world at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where Do You Go To Rock n' Roll?

My back pasture, that's where.

My weapon of choice.
Don't tell Mr. Fry I'm using one of his screwdrivers
to pry rocks out of the ground.

Hey hey, my my,
rock and roll will never die.

I rocked.
The Boyz rolled.

Isn't that what a freshly-tilled round pen is for?

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