sheianna: (Default)

Long weekend! Camping at cousin Mary Lee's was... interesting. I really do not like the Eddie Bauer tent that we used (one that the kids gave us when they got their popup camper). If you have the rain fly on, it blocks the side screened windows so there's no air flow through them and the clear plastic panels at the top magnify the sunlight making it a furnace inside during the day. Mainly though I don't like the way it's taller at one end than at the other. (needless to say, I was on the short side!) Our old tent was about 6 feet tall in the center and the sides were of equal height. It had large screened windows that could be closed (the ones on the EB tent can't). It may not have been as fancy as the EB tent but it was a much more logical & practical design. We knew that there would be no shade regardless of where we pitched the tent but we hadn't taken into consideration that where we did set up, we were very close to the automatic security light (a necessity in such a rural area) which meant that there was way too much light at night. I'm thinking next time we should set up on the opposite side of the house where, hopefully, the building will block at least some of the light.

The weather was extremely hot but for the most part we had a nice breeze. The best time was sitting in the shade under the Cottonwood tree reading or just talking, enjoying the wind blowing through the branches. Very peaceful.

As usual, we brought way too much food. We had planned on having Mary eat with us; she planned on feeding us. We certainly weren't going to refuse the steaks and salads she'd bought (especially since she's on such a limited budget, even more so than we are) but did insist that we'd do the burgers we brought the following night. She even picked up some packets of gourmet coffee that we fixed the first morning.

We had a wonderful time hanging out with the horses (and dogs... one is hers - Boomer, a basset hound; the other three are her son's. He lives in a trailer home up near the road on her property with his girlfriend and daughter. He has a rottweiler mix named Zeus, a mixed breed of the Australian shepherd variety - Alice?- and a deaf puppy named Daisy who is an adorable little nuisance!) We helped out with feeding the horses and Scot even did a little bit of riding. He's way out of practice and admits that he needs some lessons before he can do any trail riding. I was almost convinced to try riding but it was so hot that I chickened out. Maybe next time... I know I need lessons first! We had a lot of fun watching the yearling colt kicking up his heels after being let out of his box stall for some exercise. His name is ... Steve. Yeah, Steve. That's what happens when you let a 3 year old girl name a new foal. She stated that if it was a girl she would name it Princess. When they told her it was a boy, they expected her to name him Prince or King or something similar. Instead she thought about it and announced that "I think I'll name him Steve." o_O I've at least learned the names of the stallions... the gorgeous pale brown and white paint is named Pokey (they've had him since he was a yearling and his person is the son, Mike. Apparently when they were out looking at horses to buy, Pokey walked up to Mike and laid his head on Mike's shoulder. Mike announced that he wanted this horse! He has really good bloodlines and was what they were looking for so they bought him.) Pokey is one of the calmest, gentlest stallions I've ever seen. A beautiful horse with a wonderful temperament who makes gorgeous foals.The other stallion is named Zippy. Another very nice looking horse... but then all of Mary's horses are beautiful, even the old paint mare, Madge. (actually her name is Magic but Madge suits her better now that she's such an old girl, 26 years old)

Sunday night we sat in the backyard watching a panorama of fireworks from 5 different areas who did theirs on the 3rd. Some were partially hidden by the tree line but it was still very satisfying and we didn't have to put up with crowds or traffic to see them. We didn't really try to watch more on the night of the 4th since Mary had to be up by 5 to deal with chores before heading for work. We had to leave early too so we could be in Plainwell by 7:30 to babysit for our grandkids. That was a fun 2 days! We watched movies, played outside and generally had a great time. Emily helped clean up the backyard on Tuesday (lots of mess from the fireworks they did at their 4th of July party) and rode her bike. She wasn't too happy that we wouldn't let her ride further down the street, but Bryce wanted to follow her and at not quite 2, he's just too young! She was a big help when it came time for Bryce to take his nap the first day. It wasn't until she told him it was nap time that he finally agreed to lay down without fussing about it. The second day we set up the sprinkler and they had a blast running through it. No problem getting Bryce to take his nap that day! He was totally tuckered out!

At any rate, it was a great 4 days though totally exhausting. We spent most of Thursday recuperating! We'll probably go camping at Mary's again although I'm thinking it would be better just to do it for one night rather than two. Scot really can't afford to be away from his computer (and schoolwork) for longer than that. It didn't matter this time since it was a holiday weekend and he had internet access at the kids but being away for 2 nights would put him too far behind on his required participation. Who knows, maybe next time they'll actually convince me to give riding a try. ~_^
sheianna: (indigo dragon)

Technically the weekend isn't any longer but we are going to be away from home for an additional 2 days. My daugher called this afternoon to ask if we would be able to babysit Tuesday and Wednesday. We, of course, said yes. Bryce is sick again and can't go to daycare. Every time Jenn works in the nursery at their church Bryce ends up getting sick. She's finally decided that enough is enough and is going to tell them she can't do it anymore. It obviously isn't a healthy place and she can't keep risking her son's health.

Since we are spending Sunday and Monday night out at our cousin's farm (Yay! Horses!) and Jenn and Jeff's home is on our way back home, we'll just be packing up early on Tuesday (say, around 6 am) so we can make it to the kid's no later than 7:30, when Jenn needs to leave for work. Rather than heading home after Jeff gets off work at 3:30pm Tuesday, we agreed that it made more sense for us just to stay the night and save an extra round trip out there. We're going to have our air bed and bedding with us anyway and Emily had really wanted us to stay another night the last time we babysat for them so we'll just have to pack twice as many clothes, more reading material and a couple movies (I would really love to watch Avatar on their huge screen TV and Emily has requested The Incredibles)  and bring Scot's laptop after all so he can do his schoolwork. Maybe Jenn will even be able to take some time Tuesday evening to tutor him a bit on his algebra. (She's not just good at it, she LOVES algebra and she's always been very good at tutoring too.) I'm still trying to work out if I can manage to carry enough of my morning and evening meds in my pill minder without having to put both in the same compartment. I had really wanted to find a double one (14 compartments) but wasn't able to find one that wasn't ridiculously overpriced. Guess I'll just have to pick up a second one if we're going to have more of these multiple days away from home. (not likely since Scot can't be without internet for more than a day... the holiday being the exception since they aren't expected to do any schoolwork on the 4th anyway) Anyway, it should be interesting. Might even be fun as long as Bryce is on the mend by then. Hopefully he'll be feeling a bit better by Tuesday.
sheianna: (Default)
Sunday hubby and I went out to his cousin Mary Lee's farm as a Father's Day treat for him. I knew that she had horses (Quarterhorses, in case you're interested in breed) and assumed she probably had 6-8. Make that 19! Plus 2 that she boards! 21 horses on 28 acres that are mostly divided into several pasture areas, a couple nice sized paddocks for her 2 stallions and various smaller pasture areas. It was a hot but breezy day and I managed to pick up a sunburned neck, back and shoulders but for some reason, none on my legs. The breeze made it feel cooler and I didn't even notice that I was getting burned. Of course that was more due to the horses than the breeze. I haven't been around horses in ages except for a few minutes last summer when I got a chance to pet a few that were in their stalls at one of the Boy Scout camp outs.

The first horse we spotted - he was impossible to miss - was an absolutely gorgous paint (light brown and white) stallion in one of the paddocks. He was grazing on the abundant clover and favoring one of his legs. He had stepped in a hole and strained some tendons but should be fine with plenty of rest. We then wandered around looking at her other stallion, a big... hmmm, not sure if he's a bay or a chestnut. I've really forgotten most of what I knew about color terminology for horses! Also a beautiful horse. Both of them are old fellows, around 20 years old. Next we took a look at her two old mares, one of around 18 or so, the other older. The younger of the two is her beginners horse when she gives riding lessons since she's still healty and strong enough for gentle riding by younger kids and is very calm and mild mannered. The older girl is permanently out to pasture since she's too frail for riding. She's getting to live out the rest of her life in peace in lush pasture areas. Then we went to look at the youngest of her horses, a yearling colt (black and white paint) in the barn. Ummm... how to say this tactfully... hubby and I were absolutely appalled by the condition of the box stall he was in. It looked like it hadn't had a thorough cleaning in months and that when it had been cleaned, they had simply moved the manure to the outside of the stall. Mary Lee loves her horses and works 2 jobs, both requiring a long commute, to support them. She has virtually no help on the farm with chores except for a couple girls who do a bit of work in exchange for getting free lessons. She is in major need of help on the farm and Scot and I are hoping that we can provide some of this help. He has already told Mary Lee (posting a message on facebook) that our first priority is to get the stalls completely cleaned out (not something I can really help with, unfortunately) and get the colt cleaned up.Her reply was agreement and also noted that (having seen how appalled we were at the colt's filthy stall) she had already moved him out of the barn into one of the available pasture areas and he was much happier. No surprize there!

Next we took a look at her tack room and again saw a major need for work. I may not be able to shovel shit but I can clean tack. Just give me some saddle soap, soft rags and a shady place to work and I'll happily clean 'em up. (though hubby will have to help with moving the saddles!) Yeah, she really, really needs help and for a chance to be around horses, and for hubby to be able to ride again, we're not only willing but eager to help out.

Then, after turning off the electricty to the fences, we wandered up to the back pastures. (There were 3 huge pasture areas that we could see and possibly another one or two that we couldn't see from where we were. The multiple pastures allows her to prevent overgrazing and keeps the clover coming back in nicely) The horses were at the back of 2 of the pastures by the tree line but she was able to call them over (half of them, actually since half were in the second pasture). I had been a bit concerned that since I haven't been around horses in so long, I might be a bit timid around them, especially since we're talking about a fair number of horses running free which is not something you encounter during trail rides at riding stable, which is where most of my experience with horses comes from. Most of the horses just thundered through the gate to the far side of the pasure we were in but 3 or 4 hung around getting attention including a blue eyed black and white paint mare (no, blue eyes aren't really desireable in horses but they were gorgous!) who was very curious and had to be convinced that she really didn't need to nibble my shirt/shorts etc. All of the horses were beautiful, healthy looking and impressive. I'd forgotten how big quarterhorses can get! I was also pleased to find that I wasn't the least bit timid around them nor do I seem to be allergic to them. My allergies didn't flare up at all despite all the petting (and gently shoving away!) I did. After just hanging out with the horses for a bit, we went and got some corn and carrots to feed them and generally had a wonderful time. 

We're planning on going back out and camping there for the 4th (our neighborhood goes so crazy with legal and illegal fireworks that you can't even see across the street for all the smoke!) which I'm looking forward to with some slight reservations. The main reservation being that there is absolutely no shade near the house which is where we'll have our tent set up but hopefully somewhere in the mess in our garage is the shade structure that my daughter bought for us ages ago and if not, that we'll be able to pick up a new one... preferably a screen house type since there are biting flies which are a literal pain! We're also hoping that we can afford the gas to go out at least once a week to help out with the work that Mary Lee can't keep up with on her own. 

Other stuff:
Hubby announced last night that we have "barn cats". ("garage cats" actually!) He says that the 3 kittens from the stray cat's last litter seem to have taken up residence in our garage. Fine by me, especially if they can keep the mouse population down. Mice may be adorable to look at but they do carry diseases and fleas which we do not need in our house! 

I finally got around to doing the last of the updates this laptop needs. Now I shouldn't be getting nag screens from the Dell Support Center to upgrade. (and, yes, this time it actually did find the update which it had told me yesterday didn't exist!) I really need to learn how to reformat my hard drive so I can get back on my own computer! 

I could probably come up with more to post but this is already a long one so I'll stop for now.

 

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sheianna

August 2011

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