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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it


Friday, December 31, 2010

The year that was

2010... the year where Mother Nature forgot to bring summer to Saskatchewan.  She sure doesn't seem to be forgetting winter though... brrrr -34 C with the windchill the other day. (as much as I complain I have to say I love having 4 true, distinct seasons)  Its been quite a year so I thought I'd take a little stroll down memory lane....
One of the lower moments of the year was when my stepmom got really sick.  She'd gone to the hospital for a fairly routine operation but there were complications and she got VERY sick.  I felt worried and helpless, my dad & stepmom live across the country in New Brunswick.  Also my dad isn't exactly the healthiest guy either, plus he tends to try to keep everyone else in the dark so they don't know how bad things are and he gets stressed.  Thankfully S is now back at home, and although there are big adjustments to her life she is doing quite well.
THE event of the year for me and Pie, we finally found our home in the country.  After years of searching for the place that we both thought was just right we found it.  Close enough to work that its not an issue, far enough out that we feel we're in the country, and it has everything we wanted and more.  A house that didn't need a ton of work and set up for horses with at least fencing and shelters were "musts".  The extras we got, well some we would have worked toward eventually others were just bonus: a garage, a shop, a barn, a hay shed, corrals (with automatic waterers) an outdoor arena, a round pen, and a hay field!  Hard to believe but as of today we've lived here 7 months!!
There has been a serious learning curve, in fact a few things have come up that made people ask if I wished we had stayed in the city.  By the way that answer is NO! lol  But you know, there were issues coming up with our house in the city that I wouldn't know how to fix/take care of right away either.
Moving out to the country brought some new faces into our lives.  There was Stubby the teeny steer and his buddy El Toro the little bull:
Stubby
Who due to a few reasons are no longer living with us.  We are still thinking of getting some cattle in the future but will be taking a different path if we choose to do so.
An absolute sweetheart of a kids pony, Rootbeer, and a mini donkey, George, now call "The Ranch" home.  As well as 4 barn kitties who all started out named like a group of little old ladies... until 2 of "the girls" turned out to be boys :o  So now we have Oliver, Ethel, Oleta and Eli.  (and Ethel caught a mole this fall!!)
A couple of new colts rounded out our herd:
Odin & Octavius
Pie & I's "anniversary gifts" to each other... officially Odin will be mine and Tavi will be Pie's.
When our house in the city sold, after much delay getting onto the market, we had enough money to pay back the loan my FIL had okayed so we could purchase "The Ranch" and still have some money to put down on a new tractor, a little New Holland Boomer.  That and a used Bombardier quad rounded out the "toys" we bought for working on the acreage.
And I also was able to add a new member to our family... my little dog Tucker, who I am beyond ridiculously in love with!
Tucker

As I look back at 2010 I feel very fortunate and blessed, and I look toward 2011 with excitement, anticipation and hope.
While this year was very good to me I know that it was not so good to some of my friends out there in blogland.  I truly hope those of you who had a rough 2010 have a MUCH better 2011!! 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Wishing you all a bright & Merry Christmas
for those travelling I wish you safe journeys

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Funny ~ Christmas Edition

Many have asked, "What is the reason for the angel on top of the Christmas tree?"

Once upon a time Santa was rushed to get ready for Christmas.  He had told Mrs. Clause to wake him at 5 a.m. and to have his  breakfast ready with a lunch to bring along.  He also told the elves to have all the Christmas presents packed in the sleigh and the reindeer harnesed by 5:30.
At 5:30 the following morninng Santa Claus awoke and jumped out of bed furious with Mrs. Claus for NOT wakeing him up on time! 
Santa's mood only got worse when he realized Mrs. Claus had NOT fixed breakfast or lunch!! 
Santa then ran out to his sleigh only to see that the elves had NO presents packed and the reindeer were running wild in the pasture!!!
About this time a little angel walked by, dragging a large Christmas tree.  Santa tried to ignore him since he wasn't his jolly old self.
But, the angel spoke up and said "Santa what should I do with this Christmas tree?"
And that is the reason for the angel on top of the Christmas tree!

**thank you Google Images & Jibjab for the Santa picture**

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The other new addition

No not another horse!  Our tractor!! 
When the house in the city sold we paid off that mortgage and the loan we'd taken from work to get the financing in place on this house and with what was left over we put down a good sized down payment on a little acreage tractor.
We went with New Holland.  Pie really wanted an enclosed cab, and we got a loader and bale fork with it for now.  I'm sure there will be more attachments added in the future.
The tractor will be mainly for clearing the snow, moving bales and in the spring/summer/fall for working the ground in the arenas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Finally!! "The News" :)

I've been hoping to share some exciting news with you guys but "stuff" keeps coming up.  Like the weather, the sewer pump going out, etc etc.  But today was a drama/stress free Sunday.  I was planning on taking the day off and only doing one thing (besides a load or two of laundry).  Partly to try to give my shoulder a rest (it's still pretty sore from last Sunday's escapades) and partly because with Christmas and New Year's both right around the corner it will be a few weeks before I have a day off to truly relax.
Thankfully nothing went wrong at home, trust me I was checking for water/sewer problems constantly!  I was prepared for some drama though.  Because The Thing I was planning had the potential for drama....
I was going to pick up my new babies!!

Octavius (sorrel) and Odin (grullo)
sorry for the poor quality of the pic, it was taken late this afternoon after we got home
In September Pie had agreed to buy me a weanling for our anniversary.  In the end we picked out two, one for me & one for Pie (ummm, yeah sure *eyeroll* lol) 
The first, and only, place we looked was Jaclin Quarter Horses, where Kimfer got her grey mare Isis.  I like how Isis has turned out, I like Jack & Linda, and I like what they're breeding for... good minded, athletic, USING horses, and it doesn't hurt that they're usually pretty darn good looking too.  ;)
So way back in September we spent our anniversary looking at babies.  Ooooh the babies... LOVE spending a day, even a rainy miserable one, in pastures checking out babies.  I knew that although I really want a nicely bred, papered mare that I would be looking at colts.  Mares just tend to bring out Voodoo's macho side so until the distant future its geldings only for us.  In the end I walked away with a short list of 5 colts.
Every year Jaclin names their foals after a different letter of the alphabet.  This year all the foals have barn names that start with O.
One of those 5 ended up being Octavius and Pie reallyreallyreally wanted him.  When Tavi got moved to the bottom of my short list he waited until I had narrowed it down more and then told me we were going to bring home 2 and 1 was going to be Tavi.
We went and visited a few times and I ended up being torn between 2, Odin and a liver chestnut named Oscar.  The last time we visited I just went with my gut and Odin it was.  Not sure why as Oscar was much more friendly that day.  Maybe Odin just seemed more quietly confident??
It took awhile for the colts to be weaned and ready to come home, and like I said there were other roadblocks.  But today was the day! 
Surprisingly there was NO drama at all.  Both colts are halter broke but not leading 100%, as Jack warned me, but they both led very nicely.  Even better they both loaded pretty darn good.  Octavius was in a trailer once so far, with his mama, to come to the main yard from a pasture some of the mares and foals were in.  Odin had been in the main yard his entire life so had never been in a trailer.  It took about 10-15 minutes to get them both loaded.  No drama, just patient and let them figure out its not a bad thing.
Kind of a neat thing, the mares were all loose in the yard where we were loading.  The 3 mares that stuck around were Oscar's mom (the one that was my 2nd pick) and Octavius's and Odin's moms!  It was pretty cute, almost like they were saying good bye to their babies :)
Unloading was even better.  I backed the truck and trailer into the barn/corral area and closed the gate (just in case they got spooked and pulled free, at least they'd still be contained)  When I opened the trailer door they were just standing side by side, facing the front (I had removed the divider and left them untied)  They let me come in and put their leadropes on with no fuss, then Odin turned around in front of Tavi so I got my mom to grab his lead rope.  Odin stepped out with both front feet, Tavi backed out so his hinds were on the ground and they both froze.  We talked to them for a minute and then they both just stepped the rest of the way out.
The closest we got to any drama was walking them down the alleyway to their pen.  I do think they were wondering what the HECK happened to Rootbeer and George to make them look so funny though as the colts were both really giving the pony and mini-donkey the eye lol  Add Voodoo and Applejack checking things out from their pen and Cessa giving all kindsa attitude about the new arrivals coming to live next door to her... I wouldn't have blamed the colts if they had acted up but they were such good boys!!  No pulling or jumping around, just a bit of high headedness and they froze up a couple times but every time we asked them to walk they did
I'm really looking forward to seeing how these boys develop! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A quick look back

Facebook has a status collage, it gives a quick glimpse back to the past year.  You can let it autochoose your statuses or you can select them for yourself.  I did the autochoose and then took out a few not so important ones and added a few that were special to me. 
Here's the result:



Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Funny ~ The Bitch

The train was quite crowded and a U. S. Marine walked the entire length looking for a seat. There seemed to be one next to a well-dressed French woman, but when he got there, he saw it was taken by the woman's poodle. The war-weary Marine asked, "Ma'am, may I have that seat?"


The French woman sniffed and said to no one in particular, "Americans are so rude. My little Fifi is using that seat."

The Marine walked the entire train again, but the only seat available was under that dog. "Please, ma'am. May I sit down? I'm very tired."


She snorted, "Not only are you Americans rude, you are also arrogant!"

This time the Marine didn't say a word; he just picked up the little dog, tossed it out the train window and sat down.

The woman shrieked, "Someone defend me! Put this American in his place!"

An English gentleman sitting nearby spoke up. "Sir, you Americans seem to have a penchant for doing the wrong thing. You hold the fork in the wrong hand. You drive your autos on the wrong side of the road. And now, sir, you seem to have thrown the wrong bitch out the window."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Enough already!

I few posts ago (foxtrot) I was catching y'all up on all the stuff going wrong lately... well lets add to the list.
After getting my vehicle back from the dealer for the latest check engine light, you guessed it, the check engine light came on again.
Let's just say it was a darn good thing that it was 6:10 and the service department had closed at 6.  I do not think I could have been civil. 
It is going in tomorrow for hopefully the final time.  Pie had taken it in earlier in the week but of course we had to wait for a part.  I keep getting e-mails from the service manager wondering if I'm happy with the service, I should send one that says "Do you really want to know?!" lol
Then for the second Sunday in a row I had water in the basement. I went out and checked the septic tank and pumpout, both were good.  I called my neighbour (or rather knight in shining armour) T and told him what was happening.  The clue that clinched it was when I told him the basement shower made a bit of a gurgle sound. 
Diagnosis... the plumbing vents on the roof were covered with snow/frozen.
SUPER
I called my mom and told her I was heading to the roof.  If she didn't hear from me by 5 (it was 20 after 4) then she was to call this number and tell either T or L that she hadn't heard from me since I called to say I was heading up. 
By the way, Sunday was miserable cold.  -34C  NOT a great day to be fooling around outside.  But I sucked it up because it had to be done.
I sort of knew where the vent was but I wasn't 100% sure so I got out my ladder, a shovel and climbed up onto the roof.
And the wind blew my ladder away - foxtrot!
So I used my shovel to throw snow onto the deck while I was looking for the vent.  After all I'd be up there for awhile so I might as well find it!
I started to realize that I may need to get myself off the roof.  I was getting pretty cold up there, the wind was picking up and it would be at least 30 minutes, probably more like 45, before I was rescued.  So I added more snow to my pile on the deck, I think that subconsciously as soon as that ladder fell I was thinking I'd have to jump down.
If it was summer I would probably have waited it out.  But I was getting colder and also wanted to control where and to some degree how fast I left the roof.  If I slipped and fell I could possibly hit a tree or fall farther and land on the sidewalk.  Also the colder you are the tighter you are so the more it hurts when you fall.  I hadn't taken my cell because honestly when its this cold I don't usually have it on me, next time I will (then again I won't do something like that alone again either).
I scooched myself down to the edge of the roof, said a little prayer and let myself slide onto the snow pile.
Well first of all, the snow pile wasn't as big and soft as I'd hoped because that darn wind was blowing the snow away as I was shovelling it off.
Secondly I slipped when I landed.  Smacked one arm on the end of the ladder (because it just HAD to land in the way) and cracked my head on the deck. 
I stayed still while I quickly assessed myself, thanked God that although it hurt it didn't hurt as bad as it could have and I didn't have anything broke.  Then I went inside and called my mom, then I called T. 
T came over and found the vent and cleared it while I held the ladder.  (Thank you T!!!)
He admired the Hello Kitty bandage across my forehead and said "You fell off the roof didn't you?"  To which I replied "No.  I let myself slide off in a controlled manner then slipped and fell when I landed.  Totally different." (I've had to tell a few people that lol)
A little while later I realized that there was more going on than the roof vents.  Water just wouldn't drain back down that floor drain.  I ended up having to call Rotorooter to clear it.  (yeppers, after hours of course... 11pm Sunday night!)
Turned out it was a good thing I did.  There was a pretty major clog, it took him about an hour & a half with one of those big motorized snakes. 
I still say I'm happier here than in the city.  I'm just really hoping this Sunday is calm and uneventful.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Smart Puppy!!

I am an animal person.  I love my critters and I think they are pretty darn smart.  I'm also one of those people that think (most) animals understand a lot more than people give them credit for.
The other day my little Tucker pup showed just how smart he is.  I was sicker'n HECK.  I didn't eat most of the day, in fact just seeing food on t.v. would make my stomach turn and send me to the bathroom.
It.  Was.  BAD. 
When I finally could start "eating" it was basically a soda cracker or two at a time, trust me 3 crackers was pushing the limit, with a few sips of ginger ale. 
So there I was crashed out on the couch with packets of crackers (we have the kind that come 2 to a pack, like you get with takeout soups).  I was laying on the couch wearing sweats and a t-shirt, fire going, wrapped in a blanket... so hot I was sweating yet freezing cold at the same time.

sidenote, I usually wear shorts & a tank top when I'm just chillin' in the house

Now my dogs follow me everywhere.  As Pie says, I am the pack leader in our house.  That day they were a little more considerate of my space as they followed me to and from the bathroom, almost like they knew I was pretty out of it and could easily trip over/step on them by accident.
Tucker was very careful to jump OVER me instead of ON me when he got off & on the couch, in fact for the most part he just stayed curled up by my legs or hip.
Well one of the times I went to the bathroom Tucker didn't follow me right away.  When I looked at the door he was standing there with one of the cracker packets in his mouth.  He made eye contact with me, dropped the packet, backed up two steps and sat down.  All the while looking me in the eye.
Awww, my little baby was taking care of his 'momma' lol
What makes it seem even more to me like he was bringing them TO me not just to me is that under normal circumstances he would steal a packet and tear it apart to eat the crackers himself. 
(which he had done just the day before)

Tucker, Nov 7/10
The next day Tucker was back to his mischievous self... running around playing, have those frantic little slightly crazy puppy play moments and tormenting the big dogs.  In fact he seemed to be a bigger brat than usual, almost like he was burning off the energy he had stored by being so chill the day before. And yes he was back to stealing crackers again! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beautiful

I got this in an e-mail yesterday and thought it was well worth sharing:

The Cab Ride


I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked..
'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.


After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.


By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.


There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.


'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.


She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.


She kept thanking me for my kindness.
'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.'


'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said.
When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'


'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..


'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice...'


I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice.. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.'
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.


'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.


For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.


We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.


Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing..


As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.. Let's go now'.


We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home,
with a driveway that passed under a portico.


Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.


I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.


'How much do I owe you?' she asked, reaching into her purse.


'Nothing,' I said


'You have to make a living,' she answered.


'There are other passengers,' I responded.


Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.


'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said.'Thank you.'


I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.. It was the sound of the closing of a life..


I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?
What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?


On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.


We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.


But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID BUT THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.


You won't get any big surprise In 10 days if you share this with ten people.. But, you might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sharing it and reminding us that often it is the random acts of
kindness that most benefit all of us.



Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance

Monday, December 6, 2010

Foxtrot

I've been trying to get a post or two up.  But things just keep getting in the way....
Took my vehicle in for routine maintenance and then that night the check engine light came on. Took it back and they cleared the code (it was something to do with the gas cap).  And the very next day the stupid light came back on.  Took it in and they kept it, it was the O2 sensor (??)  I appreciate that they gave me a loaner but wow did I NOT like that car!!  My vehicle isn't a 'luxury' automobile but its a lot nicer, and roomier, than the plain jane bottom of the rung car that I was stuck with.  I also missed my winter tires.
foxtrot
The remote for the garage door opener that was put in didn't work.  When I tried to program it (after reading the instructions) it went on the fritz and the wall button wouldn't work either.  The only way it would open or close was if you pushed the button right on the unit (on the ceiling)  Got that figured out and fixed but it was a bit of a pita until I got a chance to do it, for awhile it was just too darn cold to mess around out in the garage.
  foxtrot
The pellet stove was on the fritz.  My stepdad came and checked the chimney and cleaned the stove.  Still didn't work.  Thank goodness it turned out to just be the sensor, but the stove was down during the wicked cold snap we had.
foxtrot
The quad was broke, stuck in the middle of the yard like a lump.  Thankfully the quad and stove were fixed by my awesome stepdad.
Then we had VIP visitors to 'the ranch'  My auntie M and uncle R were visiting all the way from New Brunswick!  Ok so yeah, that's not a foxtrot moment at all, but it did keep me busy for the day :) 
Yesterday was my day off.  All I had planned was to do laundry and housework, and catch up on blogging.  And then the $h!t hit the... well not fan.  But it was literally a $h!tty day.  The pump in our septic tank quit. :(
So there I was, home alone with 'water' overflowing in the basement toilet, shower and floor drain in the laundry room.  I wasn't sure at first it was the septic, but I kinda thought it was.  After calling our neighbour TP (who is also our hay guy) it was confirmed that there was something wrong with the septic.
FOXTROT
I checked the pumpout and it looked like it had pumped recently.  I couldn't get the cover off the actual septic tank itself though.
TP had just had surgery so he couldn't do any lifting/bending so I tried my stepdad, he was ice fishing, and some friends, no luck.  TP called to say he could come over and check things out and 'supervise' the repairs. 
While I waited for TP and his wife LP to come over I bailed and mopped up water and emptied 3 mop pails full of water from the basement.
LP & I used a pry bar to get the cover off the tank, it was frozen shut.  Then we lowered a pump into the tank and started pumping the overflow.  Once it was pumped I went inside to see if it was still coming in.  Thankfully it wasn't and the little bit I hadn't got cleaned up in the laundry room was drained back down the hole.
TP confirmed that the pumpout wasn't frozen and instructed me as I removed the old pump from the septic tank and rigged in the new pump (ewwww - thank goodness for gloves!!)
After all that I had to bleach the floor in the basement (yay for cement floors) and wash all the laundry that got wet.  I had unfortunately been on the ball and had it pre-sorted and sitting on the floor ready for laundry day.