Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Stills ~ 25 & 50 Steps

This week's Sunday Stills challenge:  "Choose a starting spot, walk 25 steps in any direction and take 3 photos. The 25 steps can be outside your home, inside your home, in your neighborhood or away from your neighborhood.  Once your steps have been counted out, you must anchor one foot, you can pivot on that foot but your anchor foot may not move."

These 3 pics are for the '25 steps'.  They were taken at Cavendish Beach, PEI (Prince Edward Island)

These next 3 are for '50 steps' and were taken among the rocks/boulders at Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia

Friday, October 28, 2011

On to PEI!

From Dad's place Pie & I went on to Miramichi to visit my cousin Drew & his family.  It was just an overnight stop but a great visit!  We adults went out for supper at a fantastic little, old pub called O'Donaghues.  Good food & atmosphere.  Then we went back to Drew's to visit before going on to stay overnight at the Rodd Miramichi.... omg I fell in LOVE with the bed.  Hands down THE most comfortable hotel bed I've ever slept in.
The next day we got up and drove to Prince Edward Island (PEI). 
We had decided to take 'the bridge' from New Brunswick to PEI and then the ferry from PEI to Nova Scotia.  Wow, what a bridge!  The Confederation Bridge is the longest bridge in the world that crosses ice covered water (although this time of year there's no ice)  If you click the link you can find out all kinds of interesting things about the bridge and building it.  For example it was quite a controversy over whether or not to build a fixed link from PEI to the mainland, it was passed with a vote just under 60%.
(oh and by the way to my American friends... Confederation is a pretty big thing out here,its not a North VS South thing from the US.  Confederation here refers to the birth of Canada) :)
So yes, crossing a big bridge, here's the approach
On the bridge for a few minutes, yes minutes.  It takes about 10 minutes to cross... going the speed limit of 80km/hr (about 50 miles/hr).  Yep, here's more bridge
When we got to PEI we decided to drive around the East side of the island.  Before dark we got to the 'eastest' part, East Point, and the lighthouse there
It was getting kinda dusky but we decided to keep driving and see what we could see before it was dark.  I have to admit I was surprised to see the wind turbines, for some reason I never considered that they would be here... it just didn't seem to be a coastal thing.  But in retrospect there is some awesome wind here!
I found PEI to be gorgeous.  Charlottetown is a nice city, and close to pretty much any point on the island.  The rest of it, at least what we saw, was rural.  Sheep, cows, horses... and gorgeous scenery.  I would consider moving here if I ever needed to relocate, except the Western horse community doesn't seem to be very strong.
Thursday Pie indulged me and I got to fulfill a girlhood dream... I went to Green Gables!
"Anne of Green Gables" by L.M. Montgomery has always held a special place on my list of favourite books.
Montgomery actually used a local home as her basis for Green Gables, enough so that locals knew it instantly in the book.
I'm not sure if Anne of Green Gables was a popular book in the USA, if you aren't familiar with the story click the link. 
Here is Green Gables, the actual original home the book is based on.  If they were real this is where Matthew, Marilla & Anne would have lived.
And here is Matthew's barn, sadly it is a reconstruction.
Pie & I also went to BOOMburger, fantastic, really fantastic burgers (I'm a burger girl, give me a good burger joint over a fancy restaurant any day lol).  I love that they source a lot of their ingredients locally (local being PEI, it isn't a very big province)  Then we went to Cows, which is right next door, for some souveniery things and ice cream.  If you ever get a chance try it, its been voted the best ice cream in the world!
We also went to Cavendish and checked out the beach.  Not for the beach but for the view, which was gorgeous but so bitter & cold that day.
We stayed at the Rodd Charlottetown.  Its kinda the 'crown jewel' of Rodd hotels.  It started out as a CN railway hotel... quite the snazzy place back in the day, it opened in 1931.  The hotel itself is gorgeous but the bed was NOT comfortable at all and the staff seemed kinda snooty.  (I guess maybe a plain jane burger girl isn't fancy enough for a 5star hotel??)
Thursday we got up and were on our way to Nova Scotia, last stop before we head home!

Friday Funny ~ Winter in New York

We purchased an old home in Northern New York Sate from two elderly sisters.  Winter was fast approaching and I was concerned about the house's lack of insulation.

"If they could live here all those years, so can we!" my husband confidently declared.

One November night the temperature plunged to below zero, and we woke up to find interior walls covered with frost.

My husband called the sisters to ask how they had kept the house warm.  After a rather brief conversation, he hung up.

"For the past 30 years," he muttered, "they've gone to Florida for the winter."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The trip continues... Hartland & area

Friday Pie & I drove down to Woodstock and returned the rental van Dad had arranged for us.  We've been staying with him & S since then.  Monday we'll be on the road to pick up another rental in Fredericton and heading on to the Miramichi to see my cousin Drew & his family.
There's not a lot in Dad's neck of the woods.  The biggest "claim to fame" is this:
In case you can't see that sign, this is the WORLD's longest covered bridge.
This is a full shot of it from Dad's side of the bridge:
What's that, it doesn't look that long?  How about a view of the whole thing:
Dad lives right at the top of the hill, and its a steep hill.
While visiting Dad Pie & I got to see Amanda, who also has a blog (hi Amanda *waves*), "big sis" Natalie, her kids Crystal & Tristan (S's family that is now part of mine) :)  Uncles & Aunts (Kevin, Bob & Ruth, Marty) and Great Aunt Florence, that's a lot of family for a girl that's grown up without really having extended family around lol
GA Florence is pretty inspiring.  She's 90 and lives on her own (in a regular house not a seniors unit) which is spotless.  She mows her 2 acre yard, goes snowmobiling and 4 wheeling and "out to camp" (a phrase they use a lot here). 

Today Dad called us out of the house to see the hang-gliders going by.  During good weather its apparently not uncommon to see them.  There were 7 total, I saw 5 and then thought to grab my camera, not a great shot... wish I had grabbed it sooner.
One thing we've been seeing a lot of in New Brunswick is signs of fall.  Besides the wonderful colours on the trees we also came across this field of pumpkins.
I love the architecture of the older houses here.  (no pics of those yet though)  And there are lots of wonderful old barns.  I really liked this one, partially built into the hill.
 I've seen a few horses but I only took pics of this guy, he seemed like he was waiting for someone to stop and notice him.
I guess not though because as soon as my camera clicked he turned and ran away lol
Things are going well at home, Mom & B are enjoying house sitting for us, today the went for a ride.  Mom even cowgirled up and made Smudge keep going when he wanted to go home (yay Momma!)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sunday Stills ~ Rocks & Rock Formations

This weeks challenge is rocks & rock formations "They can be natural, and man made and can include stone buildings, concrete, stone statues or anything modified from rock or other minerals……..including the stone in your wedding ring"

I'll start with a few man-made ones...

The walls of the Citadel in Halifax

The fire pit in front of the cabin
The next two combine man made & natural...

The stone path to the beach at the cabin
with paint left from my artistic aunt
The edges left from blasting through the mountains
to build the highway
And now for totally natural...

some rocks that have been shaped by the Atlantic Ocean
along the shore at Peggy's Cove
and boulders that were scattered
by the glaciers that shaped the land

Friday, October 21, 2011

Our trip so far...

**I have a fairly decent internet connection so there's a few more pics than normal lol**

 Monday we work up just before 4AM (around the time we normally go to sleep) and got the last of our stuff packed away then my Mom drove us to the airport.  And yes I got teary when I said bye to Tucker, and yes I still miss my little brat.
We flew to Toronto, good flight but a bit of turbulence.  Had a quick lunch at the airport, kinda funny... the waitress asked where in the states I was from.  I told her I wasn't from the US that I was from Saskatchewan.  She asked if I was originally from the US and insisted I sounded American.  Oookay.  After lunch we wandered around until our flight to Fredericton boarded.  
Again some turbulence but not too bad. No in flight TV/movie even though the flight was just about as long.
Dad & Sandy, and Auntie M (my mom's sis) met us at the airport.  Auntie gave us a map and tourist book, then we were off to Dad's for the night.
Tuesday we were on our way in the rental van Dad had arranged for us.  We went from Woodstock to Sussex to spend a few days in that area and visiting my mom's side of the family. 

This is where I'm from...
Just outside of Sussex, NB.  I was born in Sussex and my family moved out west to Saskatchewan when I was very young.  But those first few years, this is where I was from.  My grandparents lived at the top of Kierstead Mountain.  Now my Auntie S & Uncle D live there.  This is the house now:
Auntie M led the way to the cabin we were going to stay at (it happens to belong to Auntie S & Uncle D)  I'm so glad she led the way.  Directions to the last paved road I might have been able to follow but I don't think I'd have found the little wood road off the pavement myself:
I loved the cabin, so much that I'll have to do a separate post on it lol.  But here's a quick peek for you:
And here's our view!
Tuesday evening/night we curled up with a fire and a movie.  Then Wednesday we went road tripping, tourist style!  We drove to Fundy National Park and to St. John.  Then back to Sussex, stopping at Auntie S & Uncle D's house for a visit, Pete's first time meeting them and their kids. 
Have to say that I was pretty proud of myself for finding the cabin by myself in the dark.  And for navigating roads like these, a bit different than what this prairie girl is used to ;)
View of the bay at Fundy National Park
More scenery from FNP
Proof that I was on vacation, Pie took this at FNP
When we toured around Sussex we looked at the murals, Sussex is the "Mural Capital of the Atlantic Provinces"  They varied on subject but this is one of my fav's
** more to come! **

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Not going to be blogging much for the next couple weeks... Bright Dark & early Monday morning Pie & I are going East to New Brunswick & Nova Scotia for a little vacation.
I will have internet from time to time but probably not enough time to blog.  We'll see.
I'm pretty excited though, this is part of our 5 weeks off.  Yes FIVE weeks!  Pie hasn't had a vacation in TEN years, and that was 1 week.  I just take an extra couple days each year to go to the Provincial Barrel Finals, and a couple years ago I got to take 2 weeks to go be with my dad for his kidney transplant.
Mom & B are ranch sitting for these 2 weeks.  Pie & I have been off since Thursday.  When we get back we still have lots of plans for our time off, mostly catching up on house/ranch stuff lol  Plus a trip to Edmonton to visit my sis & her family.
I hope to be able to get to Twitter & Facebook even if I'm not blogging, oh and email. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Its Time for Goodbye

Sometimes you need to do something you really don't want to do.  And as much as it makes sense in your head it still hurts your heart.  Today its my day.

After a lot of thought, and a lot of tears, I've come to the decision that its time to euthanize my sweet Cessa.  It will be the hardest goodbye I've ever faced.
All the signs are there that its time.  Actually its almost like 'the universe' has been trying to tell me that its time for a little while now.  It seems like everywhere I turn there's something about putting down a beloved animal; an article on euthanasia, an ad for a memorial trinket, friends that are going through loss.
A couple months ago I started adding 'senior feed' (the concoction of various stuff I gave her last year) to her feed.  I'd bring her in once a day from pasture and give it to her.  Then I slowly increased it.  I've had Cessa on what was her full winter ration last year for a couple months now.  Last year she came out of winter fat, for probably the first time in her life.  This year she has slowly put on weight but is no where near where she needs to be.
It takes her well over an hour to eat, in the winter it would freeze before she could eat it all.  I know I could try a heated bucket but there's more.  There's the cold to deal with... last week it was cold & rainy for 2 days and you could SEE her lose weight.  Even with a blanket and a shelter with lots of straw she would be colder than she was last week.
She's not processing her feed properly.  You can tell when you look at her manure.  Also it doesn't smell right... it has a weird sweetish smell to it.
I'd like to try to help her get through another winter... but like my vet said, the last thing I want is to come out for chores and find her down on the ground, too weak to get up and freezing to the ground.  And I remember the deal I made with her last winter... if she'd tough it out and pull through she could have all spring & summer to play in the pasture with her boys, I wouldn't make her try to get through another winter.
When I told Pie about the decision I'd come to his words were "I forbid it".  Do you know how damn hard it is to argue FOR something you really in your heart don't want to do, no matter how much sense it makes when you just look at the facts?
I laid out everything I just told y'all.  And I told him that she's always been such a proud horse and that she may not seem to be in too much pain right now and has a spark in her eye & spirit, I don't want her to be going downhill to the point that its absolutely needed to put her down.  I want her to be able to go with some dignity & pride, not suffering.  Thirty is a lot of years for a horse, especially a thoroughbred.
This girl means the world to me.  She's been there for everything the last 18 years (I got her when she was 12).  Her mane has soaked up lots of tears; happy tears, angry tears and sad tears.  For years now I've told her everything.  And although it may sound corny, I really believe she saved my life.  I went through some bad times and depression and there were days that the only thing that kept me going was knowing I had her to take care of.
She's taken care of me & been there for me all these years, its my turn to be there for her... no matter how hard it is.  I'm going to try to be the strong one tomorrow and not cry until its over, I don't want to make it harder on her.
I'm going to miss you my sweet strong girl

Monday, October 10, 2011

Scratch this off the bucket list

One of the items on my horse bucket list has always been to ride at night.  Outside, not in an arena. 
Tonight I did it, kinda by accident.
What's held me back before was that I boarded my horse and didn't want to bother the people that lived there by hanging around at night.  What held me back after we moved to our place was fear.
Yep, fear.  Most of the time that the chance to ride at night is there I'm home alone.  What if something happens?  (ya I know, cuz nothing would happen in the daytime right? lol)  How would Pie find me when he finally gets home?
Well tonight I thought I'd pop out for a quick ride before it got dark.  The sun is going down early and full dark is hitting by 8pm, although by 7:30 its pretty darn dark.
I headed out around 6:15 and got Voodoo caught, brushed & saddled quickly.  We were out in the pasture in no time. 
We moseyed along and when I started to feel a bit blue I asked for a lope and we flew along the track.  I was walking him out after when I noticed it... the sun was almost down.  I was riding during late dusk, if I stuck it out I'd be riding in the dark!  So I headed back out into the pasture, I snapped the pic below to document our night ride
fyi Voodoo did not appreciate the flash lol

As we came back in from the pasture I decided that since it was just reaching full dark that I'd head out to the hayfield and ride for a bit longer.  Although with the moon shining as brightly as it did it wasn't really dark, our shadows were along for the ride.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Funny ~ Anger vs Exasperation

A young girl who was writing a paper for school came to her father and asked, "Dad, what is the difference between anger and exasperation?"
The father replied, "It is mostly a matter of degree.  Let me show you what I mean." With that the father went to the telephone and dialed a number at random.  To the man who answered the phone, he said, "Hello, is Melvin there?"
The man answered, "There is no one living here named Melvin.  Why don't you learn to look up numbers before you dial them?"
"See," said the father to his daughter.  "That man was not a bit happy with our call.  He was probably  very busy with something and we annoyed him.  Now watch."  The father dialed the number again.  "Hello, is Melvin there?" asked the father.
"Now look here!" came the heated reply.  "You just called this number and I told you that there is no Melvin here!  You've got a lot of nerve calling again!" The receiver slammed down hard.
The father turned to his daughter and said, "You see, that was anger.  Now I'll show you what exasperation means."  He dialed the same number, and when a violent voice roared, "Hello!" the father calmly said, "Hello, this is Melvin.  Have there been any calls for me?"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trying to recap my EDucation

Please bear with me for a disjointed, rambling recap from the Ed Wright clinic and some advice/tips for anyone that may be taking one of his clinics at some point...
As the rider everything that happens is YOUR responsibility.  Don't blame your horse... if your horse runs past the barrel/shoulders/etc it is because of something YOU are asking or letting happen, even if that's not what you're trying to communicate to your horse.

Ed recommends doing barrel work & conditioning 6 days a week with 1 day off.  That doesn't mean endless drills or a full out run everyday.  However he does make 1 'run' per week either at home or at a competition.  Now 'run' is whatever that horse is capable of at that point in its training... trotting, a slow lope, a fast lope or a flat out 'competition' speed run (even at home).
The other 5 days he works on whatever that horse needs help with on the pattern.  Moves them over from the barrel, in closer to the barrel.  Speed up/slow down.  Its really kinda hard for me to explain on here, sorry.  Maybe one day I can get Pie to tape while I do some riding to show what I'm trying to explain.  But one thing you will hear a lot at an Ed clinic is him calling out distances that he wants you to move around the barrel. "6, 10, 12, 14, regular turn, regular turn!"  Meaning to take your horse into the barrel at 6 feet, move out to 10 feet, 12 feet, 14 feet, then go around again in a regular turn.  It can also go the other way, you can go in close and move out as you turn.  He will also call out different speeds.  It depends on what your horse needs. 
He only trains/practices on 3 barrels in the cloverleaf pattern.  He doesn't mess with a bunch of barrels/cones set in different patterns for different drills.  ie no funnel barrels, no quad barrels, etc

Hand position... put an elastic in your horse's mane at about the centre point.  Practice keeping your hands in that general area.  You can accomplish more with a smaller amount of hand movement forward, backward, to the side or up.  In that position keep your thumbs up, elbows down (but not clamped to your side) and follow your horses mouth.  Follow quicker to energize a lazy horse and a bit slower to calm and excitable horse.  And that's not just a barrel racing position.  He showed us pictures of  a top cutter and a top working cow horse rider sitting in the same balanced position and holding their reins the way he wants us to.  No more of the 'pull to your hip' style turn.  A good mental image for me is how Lindsay Sears enters with Martha, minus the overbending.  But picture where her hands are, midway up Martha's neck; and the balanced, forward way she's sitting.

Ed reaffirmed something I have always believed in, a barrel horse should do more than barrels... no matter what calibre of horse it is, from my little 3D horse to a top futurity/rodeo horse.  He will work cows, go trail ride, rope etc on his barrel horses.

Two feet from the barrel is where you want to be in your turns.  Any farther out and if you're running against good horses & bottom of the draw you run your horse through the 'drift' that's built up from the other horses.  Tougher to get through, eats up your time and harder on your horse.  OR you ride around it where the ground may be worse as well as costing you time.  Practice, practice, practice to get that 2'.

It is amazing the things Ed will notice when he watches you ride.  I got busted, several times, on little things that I had no clue I was doing.  Small little things that end up making a huge difference!  From blocking my horse's shoulder when entering the arena (which I thought I was doing correctly to position him but nope), to tightening my elbow, not finishing turns (that I had thought I was finishing) to looking at the wrong spot -- look where you want to go!

Here's a hard one for me to break... outside leg is a no-no in the turn.  Its either inside leg to reinforce your turn, both legs to keep/increase speed, or neither leg.  For a couple years now I've had friends yelling "outside leg outside leg" at jackpots because Voodoo was drifting out on his turns.  BIG no no.

Besides the riding there is also a 'classroom' portion at the beginning of each day.  It covers things ranging from saddle fit (you can get hands on & bring your horse & saddle up to be checked out), nutrition, feeding, hoof care, dental,etc. Anything he doesn't cover you ask him to touch on.  Last year he was talking about flushing tear ducts so this year I brought Applejack over (he needs his done) and he showed us all where the tear duct is to be entered (in the nostril, did y'all know that?) and explained how to flush it and what mixture to use.  I admit I didn't write down the mixture because I think that's something I'll leave to my vet.  It can be delicate and you can do more harm than good if you don't know what you're doing.

I recommend if you go to one of his clinics... participate!  Ask questions during the classroom, ask questions while others are riding, and ask questions before/during/after your ride, if you don't get it let him know, don't blindly agree that you get it because you're worried about looking stupid or frustrating Ed.  Bring a pen & paper to take notes, and if you have someone that will tape for you bring your video camera! (sadly I didn't have anyone to tape for me, that would have been really useful)  Have a sense of humour, joking around is okay at the appropriate times.
While Ed can be pretty funny he can also be really tough.  And he doesn't dole out false compliments to coddle you but he also is quick to point out progress or an honest try.  Oh and Ed hates bling... leave your blingiest tack and boots at home lol

After riding with Ed he calls you one of his kids (or grandkids)  Usually he expects more from you, but that's a good thing. :)  Even though I didn't have many competition runs this past season I let him know that Voodoo & I did better than I had hoped and he clapped & gave me a hug.  He also gave me a hug hello the first day, which kinda suprised me that he remembered me with how many people he meets in a year!  And on the last day when I had to cut out early and go to work I thanked him for his time and he gave me a big, warm hug goodbye.  I am already excited about next year's clinic! lol

Oh a couple final things (I warned y'all this was disjointed & rambling lol)
Ed's explanation of 'rate' made more sense to me than the usual definitions.  His definition of what it means when you ask your horse to rate is: Pay attention, I'm going to ask you to do something now.
Some other Edisms:
You have to ride with timing & feel.
Communication leads to Education.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oh Wow

I am tired.  Wait a second, nope... I'm exhausted.  Between the Ed Wright clinic this weekend and Dar being away on vacation its been a busy few days.
(don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge Dar having some time off, it would just be nice if a certain other family member would step up and help out more at work)
Thursday night I got about 4 hours sleep.  Friday I got up fed horses and went to the 'classroom' portion of the clinic (it was right next door) then came home to saddle up Voodoo.
Rode/watched all day at the clinic.  Came home, fed horses, showered, dressed for work and left. 
Work was Busy.  As.  Hell.  
Which is awesome because time go faster and lets face it it means business is good & we're making money ;)
Got home from work,  fed horses (yep 3x a day here, if I had the time it would be 4x) cleaned up and played/cuddled with the dogs for a half hour or so and hit the sheets.
Saturday it all repeated.  Clinic was awesome, work was busy again, and I am beat.
Tomorrow is normally my day off but I'm going in to work lunch at least (I really dislike working Sunday lunches) then I hope to chill out some. 
But hey at least I don't have to get up until 10AM tomorrow... I've been getting up at 7:30AM these last couple days.  I know 'ooooh big deal' but my normal bedtime is 4AM and I usually get up around 11AM. 

By the way the clinic was great.  Ed gave me a hug to say 'hi' when he saw me Friday, a big ole hug for goodbye today and a lot of 'harrasement' and EDucation in between :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

He's City Slicker Broke

A couple weeks ago Pie & I ran into Mr Tim at the local gas station.  He gave us one of his standard greetings "Hi there, have I got a horse for you".  Then he asked if we were still on the lookout for a "company horse".
He had an 8 year old, dead quiet gelding.  Mr Tim called him 'cowboy broke' meaning that he was used by an old cowboy type to work community pasture.  He wasn't broke with anything fancy; neck rein or plow rein to turn, go forward, go backward, stop.  No buck, bolt, spook or other bad habits.  The gentleman that had him before would work pasture then haul him home for the grandkids to ride.  He'd get the winter off and come spring just saddle up and ride, no silliness.  And he had been in some parades.   Pie & I made arrangements to go check him out later that night.
We liked what we saw and Mr Tim said to take him home on trial for a few days.  He was nice & easy to handle and catch.  Shann came over to help me put him through his paces.  I saddled him like a total dude, thumped the saddle around, stirrup got 'stuck' underneath, fumbled doing everything up... and he stood there like a champ. 
The only thing that had me a bit concerned was that when we asked him to pick up a jog he automatically jumped into a lope.  But oh what a nice, lovely, easy to sit lope!  And as soon as you picked up a bit of rein he came back down.  I kinda figured that was from his pasture riding, which is what Mr Tim said as well when I talked to him.
Another thing I liked is that when Shann was riding she 'fell' on purpose, she suddenly leaned forward onto the horn and leaned over his shoulder and he stopped. 
We decided it was worth trying him out.  I'm so glad we did!  My mom came out and rode him for an hour.  MY mom!
Now in case any of y'all don't remember, I come from a non-horse family.  My mom isn't a rider.  She's ridden only a handful of times, the most recently being 12-15 years ago. 
Not only did my mom ride Smudge but she also trotted and loped, on purpose!  Well to be honest the first time she loped it was an accident lol.  But he is such a nice guy that she felt safe enough to ask him to lope again a bit later :)
Momma & Smudge :)

He introduced into the herd nicely.  Even Voodoo gets along with him.
I've had a couple people ask what he is and honestly I don't know.  I'm thinking he's at least part some kind of Western stockhorse (QH, Appy, Paint) and more than likely something else.  It doesn't matter to me, I don't breed show and he's a gelding.  Sure you can tell some stuff from papers but they're no guarantee.  It doesn't matter, we were buying him for his mind and what he can do.  So all I know is he's a grey 8 y/o gelding.
Oh and one last kinda funny thing.  Pie just could not get that poor horse's name right for the first few days.  Instead of Smudge he got called Smut and Schmuck lol

Wordless Wednesday ~ new trailer!