Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Final Countdown (Again)

So... guess what happens tomorrow?

The ponies come home!!! Finally, I'll have everyone back under my watchful eye.

I have a 'sacrifice lot' fenced off so that the ponies dont churn the whole pasture into mud in a day.

I have the barn cleaned and ready to go.
I have the trailer all hooked up and ready to split tomorrow morning.
I even went out and stocked up on sawdust (because if you say 'shavings' up here, they just look at you like you suddenly started speaking in tongues) so that everyone would have plenty of fresh dry bedding.

And two hours later, I had three freshly bedded stalls and 25 wheelbarrows of sawdust unloaded.
Obviously, even RC doesnt need 20 wheelbarrow loads of sawdust, so where is a girl to store all of the leftovers?
In her brand new shavings bay.

Sexy, isn't it?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Water, Water Every Where!

Well, quite a bit has happened since the last time I posted to complain about the snow.
For one thing, I took three of my students to a show. It was exciting... however that's not my story to tell, so let's just say that it ended with three tired horses and three happy kids. Which makes it a good show, right? 
Because two of the three had new-to-them horses, I opted out of this show, so no pony came along. 
 I did, however, was my truck.
 Then it rained (of course) on the way to the show.
But when we got to WI, it was warm, sunny and spring-like. Nearly a whole different world from the UP that we left behind. My prayers must have been answered, though, because we've had four nice days in a row up here now and the snow is melting off at a very high rate. So high that we are now experiencing flooding.
Good thing that bridge is 60' wide

To the South....

My creek, north of my bridge

Another show to try to capture the sheer volume of water

My former log bridge is under water....

Everything bewteen the road and the snow: rushing water
Of course, with the spring temps, all of my ponies were just fantastic today. Woohoo. 
Two more days until they come home....

Friday, April 19, 2013

What's a Four Letter Word that Starts with 'S'?

Listen, I know I've been pretty monothematic recently.  And in all honesty, I love it up here. I really do.
I liked watching the seasons change.
I enjoyed being able to use colorful and fun scarves.
I love that I've gotten my money's worth out of my Gersemi barn coat after wearing it every day for the last six months.

But really, it's gotten stale. It's mid-April, for pete's sake! It should be sunny and warm! I should be able to wake up and watch the horses eating outside. But no. It's 20 degrees and snowing sideways.

No, it's not evening. I took this picture as I arrived at the barn at noon. It was practically white-out conditions; so all lessons were canceled and all I had on my plate for the day was making sure my ponies were happy, healthy and not too hungry.
Who is that pretty pony in the mirror?
 I started with Delight. Brought her in, stripped her blanket off and put the cooler on to help soak up some of the ice/water on her. As Deli was drying, I ran out to get Tilly.
I stripped off her blanket and turned her out in the arena while Deli was drying in the barn. Because everyone was inside for the day, there was only one open stall. After hanging up blankets in the warm room to get some of the ice off of them and dry them out for a while, I turned Deli and RC out with Tilly.

"Oh, someones here!"
 As luck would have it, Tilly's in heat so she spent the whole turnout time flirting with RC, who remained confused by her motives to get close to him so he continued to act tough until further notice.
Let's all get along
So, all in all it's been an uneventful day. No riding, no lessons and lots of snow with more on the way. I think I'm going to take a nap.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Today's been one of those cold, grey, dreary, rainy days. 
I loved it!
Rain! Not snow! Dare I say it? Spring like weather????

I know, I know it's not going to last. It's supposed to dump snow on us tomorrow, but at least today I got to watch the steady rain/drizzle/sleet melt away the snow... at least a little. It's a start, and since my ponies will be coming home in two weeks,  I'll take what I can get. 

So what's the improvement?
My barn has all new siding! The remaining half of the barn is now updated in rough cut hemlock. Sure, I know, there's still the log portion that needs new shingles, but hey- it's a work in progress. And this is a definite improvement over the 100 year old boards that were up there. 
Updates North Face

The bat house, still up and occupied!

West side, mid-project
West side, after

South side, before

South side, after

"Yeah, we didn't help at all"

Monday, April 15, 2013

Back to the Grind...

Ok, I know, we've all had enough whining and bitching and moaning over the lack of spring... So what else of interest has happened lately?

 My bridge turkey has made a reappearance  I haven't seen the turkey that lived on my bridge for months... since around Thanksgiving, actually. I was starting to think that the poor guy ended up on a table some where. Fortunatley, he's back. And he brought friends.
As I was driving up the big ass hill by my house, I saw them in the road. At first I assumed they were more crows picking at some sort of dead creature and was fully prepared to plow right through them. As I got closer, I realized that there were, in fact, four turkeys settled in the road. Now, I am not totally heartless. Sure I was willing to take out a crow or two (lets face it, crows are creepy), but a turkey?
That might dent the truck.
So I stopped and waited from them to mosey off into the trees on the other side of the road.

What other completly irrelevant yet kinda fun thing happened this past week.... Oh!
I found a chunk of copper.
It's cool. And shaped like the UP.
Tilt your head and use your imagination
and you too can see the UP
And finally, my ponies....

RC is still a champ. He's giving quite the roster full of lessons and he can go from easy-peasy kids horse to fun for me to ride in two hours. Awesome.
And his tail looks nice... Guess I'll have to rebraid it to keep it from returning to its former state of pathetic, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts.
Deli is a wack-a-do. We did more leaping and spinning than working, but there were good moments, so I cant be too upset.
And Chantily is finally sound again. My poor pony has had a rough month, but with a little TLC and lots of feed, she's looking (and acting) better. I've switched her to a sweet feed to help add a few pounds, with the added bonus that she really likes the sweet so she actually eats her whole dinner.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dear Winter:


It's April! Mid-April, even! And it started snowing on my way home from a busy day of teaching.

Snowing! Again!

Winter, you have long overstayed your welcome! Give spring a chance! I'm sure that spring is starting to feel like the red-headed step child locked in some closet under the stairs somewhere. Which is just mean.

I'm pretty sure this was the last weather report:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Not a Good Week for the Tillner

More sporadic postings, thanks to my computerless state. Really, I do hate not having a computer.
More snow? Where's Spring?!?!?!

Anyway, last weekend I the farrier came. No biggie, right? I own three very well trained, very easy to trim horses. Unfortunately, instead of being having their pedicures done at my happy, warm and safe barn, I am still boarding.
Damn this winter thing.

And seeing as I am such a busy little trainer spreading the word of dressage, I tried to get to the barn bright and early (since I had a 10am lesson at another barn). I was there at 7:30, well before anyone else showed, even the farrier.
I brought RC back in and brushed him up, lunged him for a few before putting him in his stall to patiently await the farrier.
Then I went out to get Tilly.

As I was leading her in from the back shelter, another horse in her pasture ran at us.
Tilly ran backwards until she hit the end of the lead rope, then she was stuck. The other horse continued after her, knocked her down and took some big bites out of her while she was down. I managed to beat the other horse off of Chantilly using Delight's halter.
Poor Tilly has three big hematomas even after a week off.

I went through the proper channels to get  the horses rearranged and went out the next day to find the Other Horse keeping Chantilly off of the round bale that all four horses in the pen share. There were other witnesses to that, so it's not like I'm overreacting or just have a grudge against the horse; The Other Horse had to go.
So I put her in with her owner's other horse. Problem solved. But I am waiting for the blow up from the other owners... The drama in the horse world just keeps giving.

And now, as Tilly is just about ridable again, a different horse went over the fence and kicked the crap out of her. And now she's lame again.

Good thing that I wasn't planning on bringing her to the show at the end of the month.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Working Out, Farm Girl Style

So, there has been a hay shortage in the area, what with this long winter no one seems to have anticipated that horses need hay. Which seems really short sighted since even when there is no snow on the ground the barn I'm at will need to throw hay. But, whatever. It's just one more way that I would run that barn differently.
Since no one else seemed to be able to locate hay, I found my own. It took one call to a number on craigslist, and I had access to all the hay I could need. It was just that simple.
Of course, it was a four hour drive with the horse trailer in less than ideal conditions, but I made it there and home again just fine.

You know the problem with hauling hay?
You have to get the hay onto the trailer and stack it, get the hay off of the trailer, stack the hay in a place that is dry and out of the way, since there is really nothing more annoying than having to move hay every time I need to get into the back of my barn.
So, given my limited space, where would be the best place to store roughly 60 bales of timothy that's accessible yet out of the way for when my ponies finally come home?
I can't store it in the horse half of the barn, since that would effectively block off access to two stalls. So that idea's out even though that half is nice and dry and would still let me park my truck in the 'garage' half of the barn.
I don't want to store the hay in my 'garage' in case we have another winter storm. My poor truck doesn't want to have to sit out in the snow and I don't want to have to chip the ice off of it. So that's right out....
I did unload the trailer into the garage so that the ice/snow/water that drips into the trailer wouldn't wreck my hay... But it was not meant to be a permanent solution
It kind of takes over my garage....
h yeah! I have that nifty hayloft! The roof is nice and new so there are no leaks, and it's about to be resided, so it'll stay nice and toasty dry. Perfect!

Now for a math problem:
How does a hundred-something pound farm girl move 60 sixty-five to seventy-five pound bales of timothy hay from the garage to a hay loft 12 feet off the ground?

Any guesses?
Nope, I don't own a hay elevator. Or a tractor. Or any piece of heavy machinery that could do the job for me (darn!).
So, in true farm ingenuity I developed a method using 2 18' boards, a rolling hay bag and a rope.

 Ad I managed to get the hay- one bale at a time- into the bag, up the ramp and stacked in the hay loft. I'm pretty sure that after 60 bales of timothy more than half my weight, I won't be needing to run to the gym any time soon.  Surprisingly, the hardest part was not moving the hay, stacking the hay of pulling the contraption up the ramp; but climbing up and down the ladder to the hayloft. Yikes.
The start of my hay stack in the hayloft during my first rest break

F$!@%ing Computers....

So, show of hands, who read that as 'fricking'.... Because that's totally what was going through my head.

It's been a while, I know. Long story short, my trusty old computer has typed it's last. It will start up, but that's it. No logging on, not windows recovery mode, nothing. Just a big ol' blue windows screen and an error message that it cannot log in because it now references the memory at 000x000... of which there is no location.
I feel like it should just say "You're screwed! Have a nice day!"

So buh-bye six years of pictures, all of those college papers that I wrote and random documents. Buh bye old computer with the missing 'i' key. I guess it wasn't meant to last.
I mean, I did have that computer for the past 6 years, through three rough years of college and two cross country moves... And it turns out that the tech help guys just laughed when I lugged that dinosaur in for repairs. Evidently computers don't have a decade long lifespan and a half a dozen years on one computer in nearly unheard of- but I'm poor, so I tried to save it, to no avail.

So I am now on a loaner computer that I borrowed from a friend. I'll see if I can access some pictures from my camera to keep this blog from getting too boring. No promises, though.

So let's see what's happened in the mean time....

Well, the vet came out, so I had spring time shots, coggins and teeth done on the ponies. Delight didn't get her teeth done because the vet thought they looked good, and a full round of shots/coggins/teeth for the whole herd would beggar me.
So Deli pony got off with just shots and coggins with a tentative teeth appt for this summer. Luck mare.

 Tilly was not so lucky. She had an ulcer on the left side from some points and closer inspection uncovered a partial wolf tooth, which was a  surprise. It looked like the previous vet might have broken the tooth off and now the fragment was growing out. No wonder she's been fussy in the bridle. A little sedation, a little drilling and a little pulling later, she's a happy camper. I did give her a week off after the wolf tooth extraction because she did seem pretty tender from it, and was quite uncomfortable holding a bit for a few days afterwards (I did lunge her, just to check her progress). But now, a week later, she's right as rain and I've had a few nice rides on her.
 Nex up was RC who had a bigger issue. He had the beginning of a wave and some teeth starting to dominate and push the matching teeth out of line. So he was next. We hardly needed to sedated him for t=his drilling, he was so chill about the whole thing.
I just love having the best behaved horses on the farm.... It makes me look like a complete professional. Oh, you want to drill on my show horses, have at it. They will stand. HA! Love it when they make me look good.

Of course we also got more snow/miserable weather (come on spring where are you?), so I did have a complete spring cleaning day where I pulled manes, banged tails, curried clouds of hair out of the ponies and generally mad them presentable to the public again.
Delight rocking the training braids. 

Tilly, before the mane taming, looking like a feral pony
  And I know this is a super blurry picture of RC's tail.... but it actually reaches teh ground when he's trotting! I'm so proud of my folically challenged guy!