Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Keeping with Traditions

Keeping with Traditions

For the past 5 years, Tammy V and I have met up and rode between Christmas and New Years. It all started when she invited me to meet with her and Kathy N at Camp Moses on New Years Eve in 2004. We didn't get to explore too many of the hills due to the frost under the leaves that caused the horses to slip. My trusty mount, Mikey had shaky knees when he started feeling the ground slipping beneath him. To this day, we call that trail the Perma Frost Trail.

The following year, Tammy and I met up at Wildwood Lake near Agnew. We saw some potential for some additional trails but have yet to explore that option. The weather started getting cold towards the end of the ride, but it was well worth it.

In 2006, Tammy and I met up again for the annual ride. This time we checked out Hormel Park in Fremont. Not a whole lot of trails, maybe 2 hours worth, did some bushwhacking, lots of giggling and laughing.

2007 was WAY too cold and I believe my trailer was drifted in. No ride time last year.

This year we took advantage of the nice day we had on Monday, December 29th. Sheila, Tammy and myself met up for a fun ride at Two Rivers near Valley.

I took Cora, my trusted mount who I know would be perfect after sitting for 2 months.

Tammy took Windy and brought Butter for Sheila.

Tammy and Sheila letting the horses get some green stuff.

too icy to lope down the trail........................ so I looked at all the tracks that were there.

what in the world made that track???? bear????? Wait, are there really Bear in Nebraska at the END OF DECEMBER??? Shouldn't they be hibernating now???!!!!

After Sheila left, Tammy and I decided to head back out. She ponied Butter and we got another hour in! Earlier in the day, Butter acted like she wanted to roll in the nice sand. By this time, she was more interested in picking dead grass than in rolling.

Took a lot of photos with the pretty winter scenery behind us.
After I got home, unloaded, fed the critters I happened to look out our front door and saw this. The moon and the two planets have lined back up for another show.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Spectacular Evening

about once in your lifetime, the moon and planets do align to give an awesome view. December 1, 2008 was one of those times. We were forecasted to have partly cloudy skies and I was hoping that they'd clear out in time for the show.

I bundled up in my carhart bibbies, the trusty parka, warm gloves and a headband to keep my ears from freezing off. I also dug out the tripod to keep my camera steady for the low light photography.

To get things warmed up, I dinked around with photographing the sun setting. Couldn't quite capture the pretty colors though like I did last summer. Maybe it was because I was starting to loose feeling in the tips of my fingers and was worried that the dogs would run into me, knocking the tripod over.

I was starting to grow a bit impatient with how slow the sun was setting. Normally, I don't want it to set so fast but tonight, I was wanting it dark!

oooo, here it comes! The moon is starting to show and you can barely see one of the brighter planets below it. Dang clouds keep scurrying across the sky and blocking the view.

ahhh, finally the clouds have all gone south and the sky is clear. Now for that pesky sun to set a bit more. Need to run inside to warm up and get feeling back in my fingers.

wasting time still!

When I stepped inside to warm up yet again, I saw this through the oak tree in our front yard. I thought it was pretty cool looking so tried to capture it. There was something neat about the black against the blue and the crispness.

Finally, the show is on. Love the cobalt blue and the lighter blue beneath it. Neat how you can see the earthlight shining on the dark side of the moon.

Just love the colors on this one, but it's starting to get a bit too dark to photograph. Ran inside after this shot to get feeling back in my fingers and nose. Thank goodness it wasn't windy! I'd be an icicle for sure.

Last shot, the sky is getting too dark to photograph. I was pretty happy that I was able to capture this moment.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter 'Wonder'land

Winter 'Wonder'land

These past two weeks have been a bit horrid with bone chilling winds and subzero temperatures, and this morning was no exception!

I kinda 'wondered' how the horses fared overnight. They were pretty well set with hay and warm water but with the subzero temps, that had to have an effect on their nose and face whiskers.

AJ kept saying "Take my photo!! and Where is my BREAKFAST! I smell it, but where is it dang it!"

Cora was a bit more lady-like and not near as pushy, although she let it be know that she was hungry and she wanted her food now not later.

The temps usually drop when I go over the Little Bell Creek and sure enough, it was a bit colder there than up top. Ever 'wonder' how cold your thermometer goes in a truck? So far it's gone down to -11, my Excursion read -19 a few years ago and that was COLD!

Ever 'wonder' what happens when you don't put up your snow fence before winter hits?

This is what happened last year when we didn't get the snow fence up!!! Was so not going to happen this year!

Do you ever 'wonder' how much snow a snow fence catches? Well, evidently, they catch a lot as you can see in the below photo. This was taken tonight, and already, the snow is pretty deep. The native grass is helpful in catching the rest of the snow.

I 'wonder' if it will be nice enough to take Cora or AJ through those drifts on Christmas day! I'll be ready to get some ride time in!

See Ya! And Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This youngster started visiting our place regularly (that we could identify due to the notches in his ears) in the summer of 2006. He is most likely around 2 1/2 years old in that photo and has a lot of growing to do.

We were (I was) excited to see him coming back and surviving the hunting season in 2007. Unfortunately, he broke his rack in a fight. We didn't see much of him late last winter/spring and once our trail cams were out mid summer we started getting photos of him. His rack isn't all that impressive-wide but it has a lot of mass at the base. There is also come character going on with it.
After seeing some early fall photos of ole Notchie, he disappeared once archery season started up. I was quite worried that he had gotten shot and that we'd never see him around. There was a lot of pressure at the camp across the way and our neighbors had a few hunters on their land too.
After not seeing Notch for 2 months, we pulled the chip on one of the scrapes and low and behold, here he is again. Identified again by the notch in his ear.
Mike is gunning for him this year and believe me, it will be bittersweet to have him gone. Notch has got 2 more weeks until life will return to somewhat normal. I believe there is a late season rifle, but that is for antlerless deer in January.
A vehicle, poacher or nature could also possibly take him over the winter. He's looking a little lean and I'm not sure what is up with his left front leg. Hoping it's just how he is standing and not an injury that happened during the rut.
I really need to get out in the spring with Mike and go shed hunting. He's got an awesome rack that I'd love to have.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

how much more can I take?

Last Saturday was most likely the last good day of the year, relatively speaking, and I was stuck inside.

Sunday came around and with it were dropping temps as in 10 degrees by 12 noon. I blanketed the horses, fed them breakfast and basically hibernated in the house all day. At 4:00, I went back out to feed. Noticed that the autowaterer was starting to freeze over. I hoped that it would not freeze all the way, since after all, it was heated right??

Well, as luck would have it, I saw the horses go to the tank to get water. AJ was first and stood a very long time. Cora came in and sat there a bit and then started pawing. Hmmm, she only does that when she's impatient during feeding times. Never have seen her paw while getting a drink.

Bundled up and headed out to see what was going on, temps were now -4 at 7:30 pm. This was not good! The waterer had froze over. I got my hammer out and chopped ice. AJ came over and got a drink but didn't like the ice chunks or the super cold water. Cora didn't want any of that. SO, I get her bucket and fill it from the hydrant. She drank a bit then.

I gave them some timothy hay and headed back to the house. My Dad came out to see what I was doing and distracted me.

Crapola, when I got back in, I couldn't remember if I shut up the hay stall and secured it. Great, just what I really wanted to do was bundle back up and check things out.

Glad I did though as the water tank was again froze over and the water in the bucket was turning to slush.

Rumaged through the tack room and got AJ's heated water bucket out and got that hooked up. At least the horses would have some water overnight.

Cora didn't look right so I spent some more time out there watching her. She had gut sounds, but her eyes and lips were droopy. Got more hay out and she perked right up. Maybe it was getting to be her bedtime.

The next morning, it was -5..brrrrrrrr and a strong northwest wind to boot. The horses finished off the water in the heated bucket and had licked the ice that was now formed in their water tank.

I propped the other side up and hoped it would stay up during the day and re-filled the heated bucket. Both horses had gotten a nice warm mash for breakfast so I wasn't too terribly worried about the lack of water.

When I got time, I called our well guy to see about heating elements, if they fix them etc. He talked to me about how to test, but to be careful because it is hot under there. He said he has burned finger tips of his own. Silly me, thought he was talking about burning his fingertips on maybe a metal pipe or something not related to a hot heating element.

Finally got home to do chores and checked the waterer out. Hmmmmm, good and bad news. The good news was that the water had thawed a bit and the horses had been drinking. Bad news was that the heating element is out as I could touch it with my fingers and it was cold. Real bad news was that I tested the 'good' sides element and sizzled my fingers! Ouch!!! Stuck them in the cold side and let them sit a bit. I tied the good side's lid up so the horses could get fresh warm water instead of using the bucket again.

Tuesday morning brought SNOW! But, the waterer was open this morning and the horses were happy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The weather forecasters were predicting a 'measurable' snowstorm to come in Monday night into Tuesday morning.

By midafternoon on Monday, the National Weather Service canceled their "Winter Storm Watch". Still not sure why they had put us in a Winter Storm Watch, it wasn't supposed to be that bad except for the strong winds.

I breathed a sigh of relief as the weather affects my job. We were still to get some precipitation, but nothing 'serious'.

On my way home, it started to sprinkle and the temps started dropping. By the time I got home, it was a pretty steady 'sprinkle' but I needed to get some things done so had to suck it up and deal with the cold rain that is feeling like it was starting to turn to sleet...hmmmm that wasn't forecasted was it??

Beans and Newt were more than ready to get in the tack room for the night, they don't enjoy being out in the wet and wind. I decided it would be best if Cora & AJ were blanketed for this storm too. AJ looks so pretty in his new red blankie. I think Cora is going to need a new one next year. Hers is going on 5 years and starting to show some wear.

Got done with the kids and jetted to the mailbox on the 4-wheeler. I can tell you that sleet hitting your face stings!!

After I got inside it was time to start the woodburner up. Need to start using that nice pile of wood we've got in the garage!

At 5:00, I looked out and saw sleet bouncing off the deck rails. Things were going downhill fast so I buzzed Mike to give him the heads up that roads may start to get slick. He was already on his way home and would watch it.

The sleet continued as I watched the evening news. No mention that we'd be getting ice "Up North", just that measurable snow may hit north by Norfolk, Dennison or Carroll Iowa. Why they keep bringing up Northern Iowa cities is beyond me.

After supper, Mike & I were sitting on the floor tying fishing line to hand snowflakes for my work Holiday Lunch. As I was sitting on the floor, I thought I caught a glimpse of a large snowflake falling. I got up and looked out the front window-we've got super bright yard lights- and I couldn't see any snow, just rain/sleet still bouncing off the deck rails.

Sat back down and 5 minutes later Mike said, look it's snowing huge flakes. Sure enough, we were getting snow and it was only 6:45.
By 7:30, we had a good 1/2 inch of snow on the deck rails and the grass was starting to turn white.

This went on through the evening and into the night. Unfortunately, the wind started whipping things around and the bitter cold was starting to settle in. I was very happy that I blanketed my ponies with the wind whipping the snow back into their shed. Beans and Newt were happily tucked in their beds in the tack room.

Mojo wasn't sure about all that white stuff on the ground though! He braved the elements if Stone went out with him. Headed to bed, not knowing what we'd find in the morning.

Good ole Mojo had to get up at the first bell, boy was he in for a surprise when I opened the door. He saw all that white stuff on the deck and put the brakes on. I pushed him on out and he did his business and was right back at the door wanting in.

The deck rails had about 2 1/2 to 3 inches of the fluffy white stuff--WAY more than was forecasted-although the BFLWM did say more snow to the west and north of Omaha, guess that means us.

After Stone went out, Mojo changed his tune on the snow. He found that it was fun to root his face in it and come up all snow covered. He did not care for the coldness on his feet though and would do a little dance to keep his cold feet off the ground.

The drive to work was not fun at all, snowpack to Hwy 30, tested the 4-wheel drive out, and partial snow from Hwy 30 to Hwy 36. The rest was dry.

After work, I got to see how our snowfence did. I can see one place were we may have some drifting across, nothing like it was last year!

Mojo tore around the yard, racing with Stone and rolling around. Kinda cute to see him enjoy his first snowfall, wish it would have been nicer than the 15 degrees that we had by the time I got home.

Monkey See, Monkey Do. Now let's see if he'll lick the fence...evil laugh from Stone!

You may be fast, but I'm bigger!!!!

This is the life!

Monday, November 10, 2008

playing electrian

Late Saturday afternoon, I noticed glass and a broken outside dusk to dawn light that was on my barn. After looking closer, I noticed white hair stuck on it. Yep, AJ was dinking around and broke it. Still not sure how exactly he did it but the deed was done.

Quick trip back to Fremont to Menards and Bomgaars to replace a bag of feed and I was set to fix the fixture the next day.

Took the new fixture apart to see just what I had gotten myself into. Didn't look to hard, so was fairly confident I could get it done.

Sunday morning I decided that I should get out there and get that light fixed before heading off on the scheduled trail ride. Wasn't sure how long it would take but didn't figure it would take that long, come on, it was only a few screws and 2 wires that I needed to re-wire. HA!!

Put AJ out to pasture, really didn't want him helping me while I was on the ladder. Was bad enough when he was trying to help me when I was standing on a bucket.

Got my ladder set up and started tearing the broken fixture off. Ok, I didn't take into consideration that the real electrician had put silicon calk over the self tapping screw. Had to pry that stuff off before I could get the screw out. That took a while. Finally got the screw out--where is my electric drill when I need it??? Hmmmm, didn't disassemble the hood and socket before I took the base off, and what am I going to do with all these parts??? The top of the ladder isn't big enough to balance everything. Plus my ladder is about 4 inches too short to lay the fixture's hood on without pulling wires out. HMMM....dang it, just dropped the screwdriver. Well, let's hope that the weight of the fixutre doesn't yank the rest of the wires off as I climb back down to retrieve my screwdriver.

Ok, get the screwdriver back and removed the damaged hood and just dropped it to the ground. Need the space on the top of the ladder for everything else. Now is the fun part, putting the new hood on and re-wiring the socket. Hmmmm, there wasn't this additional wire in the other fixture, but if I put everything back together like it was when I took it apart, it should work right???

Feeling pretty confident putting the red and black wires together and putting that little black cap on.

Now on to the more challenging connection, putting 4 white wires back together and putting that little black cap on. Dang it, the little black cap thingy just fell off the red and black wires.

Hmmm, maybe it would be easier if I attached the hood back to the base before trying to wire this thing. Hmmmm, the hex end thingy fell and is on the ground now too. Dang it!! Ok, don't fall apart while I climb back down...Cora stand over there, I don't need your help too.

Alrighty, got the hex end, the little black cap thingy and I'm back to re-wiring all 4 of those white wires. Got them all put together and the little black cap thingy screwed back on tight. Got the red/black cap thingy back on tighter than I had it before.

Now to put the base back on the barn. hmm, where is that self tapping screw?? Found it.

Got all the pieces put back together--Check
Got the hood adjusted so it's pointing into the paddock--check
Got the lightbulb back in--check
Turn the power back on--check

Took the ladder back to the house and loaded my horse and dog up to go on our trail ride. Whoo hoo, feeling good now.

Got home last night right at dusk and what do you think I saw-------the light coming on at the barn!!!

I briefly worried about the dang thing catching fire and I still need to get some silicone caulk to seal it back up but it's working!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Taste of Winter

After enjoying some warmer than normal weather, we got slapped with cold rain, a little sleet and stiff northwest winds. Guess we could be looking at snow on the ground like South Dakota is.

Within a week though all of our leaves have been blown of the trees, I have a lovely drift of leaves by our garage, the cornfield has been harvested and I can see to our pond through the woods.

I think the hardest part of adjusting to this cold is the darkness and the cloudy/gloomy weather that comes with it in addition to the bite in the early morning when I stop to feed the horses on the way to work. This morning though, I didn't have the comfort of my truck. It was time to break out the Carhart Bibbies.

We still have things that need to be done around here but Mike's in Deer Hunting Mode right now, at least until next Saturday. Maybe the weather will turn for the better and we can get the skidloader to spread the sand and I can start building another burn pile in the ravine. Still need to get wood cut and the snow fence up. Maybe I'll pound posts today so they are up and all we will need to do is wire the fence to them.

OR Maybe I'll stay inside where it is somewhat still warm at 65 degrees.

Nah, need to get stuff done and I've been lazy enough this morning...heck, it's 10:30 and I'm still in my jammies.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trip to Colorado

Back in July I booked a flight to see my sister. Was pretty dang excited to get the cheap rate from Southwest--$69.00 each way, can't drive for that price.

Jen picked me up in Denver Friday morning at 8:00 and we checked out a Dog Daycare that has 2 large indoor pools for the dogs to swim in. Very nice, not something that I want to pursue though, unless the perfect opportunity came. Let's just say, drywall and water are not a good match.

We had a great breakfast at The Egg and I. YUM is all I can say. I think Jen wanted to hit the outlet mall in Castle Rock, I really preferred to just get down to her house. I was starting to feel the onset of a sinus headache..NOT COOL.

Got back to her house and took an hour nap. Then it was on to our spa day. Hour massage and I decided to donate my hair to Locks of Love. We cut off 13 inches again and restyled my mop. Let's just say it's SHORT and doesn't go into a pony tail. I know it will grow back and most likely grow fast so I'm not too freaked out about it....yet. Hubby hasn't seen it in person, just a camera phone pix that we sent to him.

Got back to her place around 5:00 and had tacos for supper. The boys were excited to go trick or treating and headed out around 6:30. Jen & I stayed home and answered the door. Not that many out which is bad because now we have all this chocolate candy!!! Butterfingers are not my friend :)

Saturday morning we did some shopping for the boys and then went out to lunch. Jen & I had a date at the riding stable near Garden of the Gods. We've rode there before about 5 years ago and I was looking forward to going again. Jen got 'stuck' with an Appy mare that had a bit of a tude towards my Paso Fino gelding. She also had a bit of a mind of her own. When we came across some scrub oak, she made a beeline for them and back up to itch her udder. It was totally funny and Jen could not get her to stop until she was ready to stop. She did that a couple other times and the wrangle said that she had just been wormed so wasn't sure what was going on. I suggested that maybe her udder was itchy. The Wrangler had as much fun as we did. He tried his best to tell us the history of the park and to point out different spots of interest. We kept talking about his horses, the stable horses, other topics not related to the ride. I did find out that there are 23 miles of trails there and that there is a spot for people to haul in to ride!! and other stuff not regarding the park. I loved riding there, especially now that I have done other rides. The terrain is rocky, powdery red sand, climbs, drops, stair steps and beautiful scenery. I was impressed that the city has taken measures to help prevent erosion on the trial. That was new since I had been there last. Since the ride was going ahead of schedule, our guide offered to let us get off and go in the trading post if we wanted. Jen and I had been there before so opted not to. I don't think they normally do that especially with novice riders getting on and off the horses.

The boys headed to a hockey game last night and Jen and I hung out at home watching the Huskers get killed. We also watched some other show that she kept flipping to. I think it was House Hunters. Pretty cool to see old homes get fixed up, too expensive for me to do though.

Today we are heading to Palmer Park to do some geocaching---Maybe. They got a GPS a few days ago and want to try to figure it out. Great, they are asking me how to do it!!! Jen and I downloaded some coordinated from the internet last night so at least I got that done. Now to figure out how to do it on the GPS. Mike is the same way, honey figure this out and show me so I don't get lost in the mountains. He made it home so I guess it worked.

My flight leaves today at 4:50 and I'll be back home by 8:30. I do miss my critters and my hubby, notice how I miss the critters more??? I tend to 'worry' about their care when I'm not home. Controlling? No, just know that Mike may not catch something that I would. Although, he did say that he checked the horses over for me pretty good Saturday--no one had any burrs stuck in their tail and no cuts or anything. Thanks hubby!! **before I left on Friday morning at 5:30, AJ came up with a cockleburr branch entwined in his tail. I debated on leaving it and dealing with it when I got home or brushing it out and risk being late. I opted to brush it out, thankfully, I had sprayed show sheen on his tail the day before because he had picked up some burrs when Dad and I were riding.

Well, I hear people moving about upstairs..and I'm hungry!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mojo Meets Newt

This is Newt, he's about 8 or 9 years old and has been around the block a few times. I adopted him from The Nebraska Humane Society 4 years ago after I lost Stache to a broken leg. Newt had come to NHS as an intact male tom cat. He was adopted, but returned due to litter box issues. He now leads a full-filled life in my barn and tack room, although, he secretly wants to be inside when the weather turns cold, as he displayed this morning.

Mojo had been playing, racing up and down the hallway, dragging his toys around. After about 30 minutes of that, it was time for a potty break. Normally, he runs off the deck, does his buisness and then wants back in. This morning though, he just sat at the stairs looking at something. Well, that something was NEWT! Newt jumped the fence and was coming up the deck, he wanted inside where he knew it was warm, well, warmer than it is outside! I thought for sure that Newt would nail Mojo when he pounced on him and I'd have a bleeding, screaming puppy on my hands. Nope, he just stood there, taking the mauling that Mojo was giving him. I mean, Mojo, all 12.6 pounds of him was sitting on Newt, biting his ears and swatting him with his feet. All Newt would do when he got sick of it was give the look as you can see below. I couldn't help but laugh! Stone and Kitten were not enthralled with the cat on the deck and wanted to eat him. Kitten went as far as to growl and swat the glass to get Newt to leave. Um, honey, Newt outweighs you by at least 5 pounds and lived on the street so knows a thing or two about cat fights.

Excuse the nose prints, foggy window!! Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and tried to shoo Newt back over the fence. It wasn't happening. Mojo wasn't scaring him and he wanted some loving. Mojo thought it would be fun to chase Newt, Newt just turned and swatted him a time or two, claws retracted so no damage was done. He needed to have them out just a tad though to get his point across. Mojo thought he was playing!
Poor Newt, all he wanted was to be picked up and cuddled a bit, not harassed by a puppy!

Save me momma!! That bratty puppy is after me again!!

You want some of me punk? I'll show you a thing or two, come here boy....

I'm warning you!!!

****Disclaimer--NO Animals were hurt in this photography session. Newt is happily tucked away in the garage on a bed, ever waiting for the door to open so he can come inside--sorry dude, not going to happen here, Kitten and Stone would eat you for lunch, well, they'd try anyway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mojo & Stone adventures

Monday afternoon was the last nice day that we'd be seeing in awhile. I took that opportunity and ran Mojo & Stone in the yard. Stone, being the great hunter that he is, found a mouse nest at the bottom of one of the many oak trees we have in the yard. I knew he had something by the way his tail was wagging. Mojo wasn't sure what all the commotion was about, but was right there with him smelling. I just happened to see the mouse boogie up the tree. What are the odds that I'd spot the critter in a fork, looking back down at us, shaking in fear? I was cursing that I didn't have my camera so ran to the house and back, hoping the mouse hadn't taken the opportunity to bail. He was still there, traumatized by the loss of his home.

After that excitment, Mojo and Stone got down to playing. This was the first time that Stone actually played with Mojo and Mojo wasn't scared of the rough housing that Stone does. It was cute when Stone changed roles and was the chasee instead of the chaser.

Excuse the blurry photos, the sun was going down and there was a lot of fast action going on.