More Horse Stuff

There’s always a surprise around here. Today’s surprise was a horse I didn’t know in my pens this morning.

Hello, I’m a large, black mare.

I knew that someone had come back last night after I went to bed, because the dog alarm went off. But I didn’t know who. It turned out to be the nephew and the stock trailer. I recognized Dusty, Remington’s buckskin buddy, but who was the black beauty?

I’m built like a brick house.

I finally figured out it’s Kathleen’s horse from the farm, T, who I’d only seen once before and who did not look quite so fine at that time. It turns out she’s here to get all checked out and such. How about that?

Look, I’m friendlier that Apache and Fiona!

Do you see how shiny she is? Her secret is living for 3 years in a herd of cows and eating grass (and cattle cubes). It works!

She seems happy to be around other horses, and they all seem to be getting along. And she is friendly under all that muscle.

Meanwhile

I didn’t go into detail about my lesson with Drew yesterday, but it was very enlightening to see how hard he is working to learn new habits and build good muscles.

Developing his back legs

He is now going over his little hill under saddle, backwards and forwards, and he is working on using a bit. He doesn’t like them, probably because he had a pretty uncomfortable one before I got him.

And he is developing patience.

We talked about the plan for him, and currently the thinking is to bring him back home at the new year to do ground work and grow to a more adult size. Then in some number of months he can get back for finishing. I’d still be bringing him in for lessons.

Canter practice

I got a lot out of watching Sara’s lesson on Aragorn, who had been feeling agitated for a few days after being spooked by a horse wearing a blanket. He was trying his best to annoy Sara, but she didn’t let him. We were impressed at how she kept her cool and fixated on getting the job at hand done.

Here I was trying to capture his red mane tips, but it didn’t come through.

We had a darned pleasant afternoon with our horses and our trainer.

Today was also pleasant. I walked Apache all over to build back our relationship. Yesterday he turned and walked away from me, but today he came up, eventually and we had a good walk. Fiona, of course, is the best. What a donkey.

We’re all good.

My bruises on my lower abdomen are swollen and painful. I hope it’s just healing. If it gets worse, I will have it looked at.

A Visit with Drew and Friends

I’ll tell you more about this tomorrow, but what’s important is that I got to visit Drew and see how he’s progressing today.

Where have you been, Suna?

He’s getting really muscular and filled out.

No ribs showing!

I went with Sara, so we got to watch each other’s lessons. I was not alone when I was watching.

I watch lessons all day.

The resident bull sat with me, sighing periodically like he thought these horses should be doing better. I also had another friend to entertain me.

Who’s a good dog? Me!

This guy was with us the whole time. Every time we go to training, one of the dogs joins us. This one sure reminds me of Harvey.

We also enjoyed getting to know some very curious new horses at the training center. When we drove in, they ran up like cars were very exciting.

We like people.

I went in to look at them to learn about confirmation. The big buckskin and the two fillies were fascinated by my water bottle. I wish you could see their three noses all sniffing at it. Such curiosity!

I’ll share more tomorrow. I spent so much time with horses today that I’m zonked.

Come back soon, Suna!

Plus I’m full from a nice dinner my friend Martha made for us. Sunday family dinners are back!

Square Simplicity

It was suggested that I make a giant Grandma’s Favorite dishcloth pattern as a baby blanket. It’s also been suggested that babies no longer use blankets. So, it is also a “tummy time mat” or whatever modern babies use.

It’s not plain and boring.

I had two balls of this nice, soft baby yarn, Sridar Snuggly Pattercake, in two different pastel color ways. I used the same stripe sequence as with my hexagonal blanket I just finished.

The colors lined up similarly, but it ended up looking nice, I think. It’s certainly soft and snuggly. And it can be washed by machine if soiled by normal baby activities.

This will go to one of three upcoming little ones in my friend and family circle. I like making baby things, because I can give them away! That makes less yarn in my soon-to-be-bursting yarn room.

Speaking of not bursting, my closet is less stuffed today, since I packed up 6 large bags of clothing (size small and medium mostly) and a bag of shoes this morning. Maybe I’ll have room for the remaining clothes and shoes that got moved here. The purge has begun!

It’s Penney’s turn.

Rainy days off are good for something after all. And since it’s chilly, there are more dog snuggles.

Just Us and the Dogs

With our housemates at their other house for Thanksgiving and Anita off to house sit for a while, Lee and I have the ranch to ourselves.

Love

But we aren’t alone. I thought I was earlier today, but then I realized I was surrounded by 6 sleeping dogs. I took a panoramic picture.

Alfred, Gracie, Carlton, Penney, Goldie, and Harvey

They take turns keeping us warm in the evenings. I usually have Carlton or Penney. Tonight I was reading and not paying attention when I realized the dog on me was quite heavy. It was Harvey. Aww.

It’s my turn.

He’s a bit smelly, but sweet. And he growls if Goldie tries to come near.

I’ll just lay here and play with my toys.

But, he spent so long watching TV with me that my foot fell asleep. He’s heavy.

Great show.

Lee usually has Penney laying beside him, sitting up like a person. Since my lap was full, Carlton joined them. Surprisingly, no fighting occurred.

Buddies.

That’s what makes a quiet evening at the Hermits’ Rest. I’ll just share this nice photo out friend Carol took of me and Lee. I declare it our anniversary photo, even though it’s a few days away. Lucky 13 years.

Suna and Lee, looked over by mariachis.

Wishing you love, wherever you find it.

Thankful for Each Other

Since today is a day to be grateful for your family and friends, I’m going to share some joyful photos and leave it at that.

Goldie is thankful for cozy bedding.

Now that we have a fence all the way around the house, the dogs can frolic and we can watch them from the front porch without worrying about them running off to chase things. I’m grateful for that!

Frolic time!

And we have Pickle to run with us, too. It’s great to have Anita with us for a few days for frolicking!

Now we are just cooking and relaxing. We will have my son and his partner with us, which will make it way more festive around here!

Dressing. Yum.

Celebrating a Real Estate Win

So, yesterday wasn’t all bad. The Bobcat Lair house sale finally went through and funded. That was such a relief. The way things have been going lately, I was not going to believe it was real until a check was in our hands. So, our friends and former real estate partners, Carol and Russell, drove up from Austin and brought us the check.

It’s real! Carol gives Lee the check, with happy mariachis looking on.

We met at the El Charro restaurant in Cameron, where we had delicious food and celebratory margaritas (for many of us). Other than those of us who are professional writers boring those who are not, a good time was had by all. This was really a long time coming, and we still can’t believe we sold the house for its asking price.

Me trying to wrestle the check out of Lee’s hands. Harvey was hoping it was food.

We went back to the ranch for some celebratory prosecco and to ogle the check, which was the largest one we had ever seen (mainly because we didn’t have a mortgage on the house, so there was no payoff to a mortgage company).

We were very impressed, though Russell was more impressed with the prosecco.

I’m so relieved to be able to breathe a little easier, no longer having to pay two sets of utilities and property taxes. We now have some retirement income, too. I’m feeling such relief. And I am grateful for Carol’s and Anita’s help with getting the house sold, too. They both put in a lot of work! It’s so good to have friends to help you along the way.

A toast to old friends.

A bonus to the evening was that Carol and Russell delivered a lovely gift. Carol had re-painted my old metal dining set, which I’ve had since the first house I bought with the kids’ dad (so it’s at least 30 years old). It’s now red, the color of a red crayon, just like I wanted. That made me so happy!

They look brand new!

I can assure you that my gratitude for tomorrow will be for having figured out a way to have funds for my later years, for having loyal long-time friends, and for having family that wants to be with me for holidays. We are very fortunate. That I will not forget.

I Got Bucked off My Horse, but It’s Okay

Last night I posted on Facebook that I hurt all over. I was busy doing other things, so I didn’t have a chance to go into detail, so here’s the story. First, I am absolutely fine, going to live, and not mad at my horse. Just wanted to get that out of the way.

I’m writing from my quiet, but breezy, outdoor office. Thanks to our friend Carol for painting my dining set red!

When I was finished working yesterday, Kathleen suggested that we go ride the horses, because the weather was just perfect and there was still some light left in the day. My alternative was emptying the dishwasher, so you can figure out that I agreed to the horse stuff.

I got Apache all groomed. His feet sure look good! The round pen work went well, and he even got going at a canter briefly. I did notice that he coughed a couple of times. I never heard that before. But I didn’t worry too much about it. We all cough occasionally.

I was trying to tell you something. Like, in this photo, I’m telling you the Vrazels are moving cattle, which concerns me.

We got saddled up and did our schooling exercises. He was a little reluctant, but not in an annoying way. He coughed a couple more times.

Kathleen and Mabel were having their own issues since Mabel was not interested in standing still to be mounted. That’s no fun if you are as short as Kathleen and your horse is as tall as Mabel. Eventually we were all ready to go for a ride in the pasture, or so we thought.

Neither horse seemed at all interested in what we had planned. Mabel kept stopping, and Apache was okay until we got past the gate out of his paddock, at which point he began acting like his old jumpy self. I couldn’t figure out what the issue was. I’d stop him, back him up, and try to go forward, but he was not happy. This is where I made my mistake. I kept asking too many times.

Finally, he took off at a canter, headed back to the pens. I tried to calmly stop him and slow him down. Nope. So, I did the kind of one-rein stop that the trainer showed me, and that did stop him, but at that point he commenced to bucking. After buck number 3 I lost my seat and fell off the saddle. It was a fairly graceful fall, and I landed properly, so that nothing broke.

I did bonk my head, but my brave little helmet did its job, and my head is fine. I’ll be ordering a new helmet shortly.

The brave little helmet, whose nails came undone at the back.

But what got into Apache? Kathleen and I noticed he wasn’t acting too perky after the fall (and after I did, indeed, get back on and do some circles and managing obstacles). He had a runny nose and coughed another couple of times. So, we petted him and told him we loved him. That made him happy, very happy.

Stop here if you do not want to read about a horse’s male parts.

When Apache let down his member, we saw that it was quite crusty. His metabolic issues lead to crustiness, and I usually remove stuff every week or so. Of course, I’d been gone three weeks and hadn’t seen his member since I got back. I took care of that issue, though he sure looked all red.

We got to worrying, because his urethra looked more red than usual, too, and he was dripping drops of pee (I’ll spare you the photos, though I do have photos). After consulting with Sara, we decided he might have a UTI and a respiratory issue, so we ran over to her house to borrow a horse thermometer. I need to get one of those, too.

Ready to do the job.

His temperature was normal for a horse, 100.4. That’s good. And I now can take a horse’s temperature. Thanks, Apache, for the farts during that process. We decided to contact a vet in the morning.

One of the things I’ve learned is that horses rarely are just “bad” or “stubborn” or “spoiled.” If they misbehave, there is usually a reason. After you check to see if you’ve confused them or something, the next thought should be that they are in pain of some sort. That’s why I am not angry at Apache. Sara says that before she realized it was an issue, he had bucked when his penile crust hurt him at a trot. Plus, if I was signaling away with my legs right on his kidney or bladder area, that may also have hurt.

I took some ibuprofen and arnica (I have to say that, or everyone I was ever in La Leche League with would start shouting “arnica” at me), so I was able to make it through a celebratory evening last night. Today I awoke to only find two bruises, including this one on my arm.

The blue part of the bruise is really pretty in person.

The other one is much deeper and more colorful and is where my lower abdomen hit the saddle pommel awfully hard on my way down. It is right next to my cesarean scar, which didn’t help. I’d say that hurts more than my back or neck today. But I’ll live, and I learned, so all is well.

And sigh. No vet is available to make a house call today, and I would not want to take a potentially contagious horse anywhere with other horses. So, I will see how he is on Friday (tomorrow is a US holiday). Besides, we do not have the trailer here. It should be back this weekend, though.

Another thing I need is a horse trailer that our vehicle can pull! If only I had a lot of money all of a sudden…oh wait, that’s the next post.

I Follow My Own Advice about the Woods

Any person who has read dozens of books about how wonderful trees are and how going out in the woods is so good for the psyche had BETTER go check out their own woods as often as possible. So, yesterday, after a day of writing and staring at screens, I went to check out the woods around here. Much has changed, but much has not.

Ah, trees and water.

As I mentioned earlier, fencing is going in to make a better experience for the dogs and us. To accomplish that, they had to make space for tractors to get in and build the fence. Many cedar elms and mesquite sacrificed their lives for that, but it was unavoidable if it’s eventually to be part of the residents’ cattle ranching empire.

It was a scorched earth policy.

I know perfectly well that a whole bunch of wildflowers and such will pop up immediately, so the earth will not be scorched for long. There has been talk of benches for viewing the woods and a treehouse being erected. We’ll see how long it takes for cattle to eat it, if it comes to pass (one thing I’ve learned about this family is they like to make plans, but only SOME of the come to fruition (probably for the best; I’m not complaining, just stating).

Currently, the chickadees think we built this pile just for them.

On my forest bathing adventure, I went past the tree cemetery and enjoyed some time listening to birds, trickling water, and leaves gently falling. While we probably do have an over-abundance of cedar elms, the wonderful thing about them is that they’re deciduous, so we get to enjoy some autumn color and a new view while the leaves are gone. They also explain why the soil is so rich and beautiful.

Where the fish and crawfish live.

I ended up just following the deer paths that wind through the wooded area between our house and the creek bottom. It was fun, but once I got home, I realized that all that ducking under branches had left me with interesting tree stuff in my hair. I washed my hair this morning, for your edification.

The path the animals use.

I checked out the pond in the bottom, which still has plenty of water in it, though it really didn’t rain much the whole time I was in Colorado.

I do love this pond. And hello, neighbors.

I also enjoyed the wide spot in the stream that leads to the creek, which I always called Deer Haven Pond, but now realize is a part of the stream and only a pond when the stream stops flowing. It is where all the animals hang out, because it’s quite hidden.

The “pond” enjoyed by deer, cattle, and apparently hogs.

The smells in the woods (other than cow poop) are so rich and earthy that I ended up just standing around and enjoying the scents and sounds. A little bunny hopped by, which alerted me to the many holes in one spot that must be their dens. Many little animals must enjoy all the fallen trees (mostly from the drought over ten years ago) as well.

The drought damaged many trees, so they keep dying off, slowly.

The coral berries are also decorating the woods. They don’t have a nice smell, but the color livens up the place and provides bird food all winter.

Cheerful coral berries.

In any case, just visiting my favorite area on the property was enough to keep my good mood flowing, even when the Bobcat Lair property failed to fund yesterday like it was supposed to, and our plans for the evening all changed. Big deal. I’m just living day by day and enjoying whatever comes up. I must have excellent blood pressure now!

Enjoy a few more images, and have a good day, whatever is going on in your part of the world. Unless it’s shopping. Ugh. I’m tired of Black Friday ads. Who had to invent that just to make yet another holiday all about shopping?

Projects? We Always Have Projects

There always seems to be some house or another than needs to be worked on in our little community. The focus right now is on Anita’s retirement house, Pickle’s Pink Palace. I’ve probably mentioned that a few things have come up, so she isn’t in there yet (she’s in my office, right where I am typing).

Yes, it needs some work.

The crew (the nephew and his helper, Marcus) have already taken down some walls, made some openings, and come to the conclusion that the whole place needs rewiring and insulation on the outer walls (there is NO insulation).

On the other side of that tar paper is the brick. No insulation.

But the place actually looks a lot better already, thanks to painting the walls a neutral color and removing the old cabinets and scary appliances (the stove is not scary, just dusty, and the fridge holds beverages for the crew). The biggest eyesore, a heater that took up the best wall in the living room, is also gone. The hole it left is much more attractive.

The heater hole is exactly the size of a full-length mirror, and I tried to look at myself in it.

An electrician and a spray-foam technician have already been scheduled, so that will be taken care of soon and the walls can go back up.

The kitchen also had no insulation, but at least the cabinets are gone.

Then will come more painting, flooring, cabinets, and the all-important HVAC installation. And oh yes, new windows and roof.

The garage, which is on the other side of the wall that’s been removed, will be the main bedroom and bathroom.

Much landscape cleanup has been accomplished, but there are a lot of nandina plants and other nuisances to get rid of. I hope we can save some of this beautiful little “weed,” though.

Tahitian wedding veil. Tiny blossoms.

There are a few very large, very old trees that were planted when the house was built in 1955. They are in their old age, but we hope to pamper them a few more years. The oak and pecans make Anita look even tinier!

We’re all extremely excited to get this house livable. We know it has a good vibe from back when we bought it. Anita is going to make it so true to its lineage, and so livable as well.

Want to see “before” pictures? This post from 2019 has some!

Ranchin’ Time

I had fun today getting reacquainted with the ranch and its inhabitants. I sure was glad to see that Peeper, the only chick we ever got past babyhood, is still peeping and growing. She has her comb coming in, and she looks like a darker version of her mom.

The dogs were glad to see me, ranging from black and white to copper and gold!

And of course, I was so glad to see the horses and Fiona. Apache is as furry as a teddy bear, but sound and happy.

I’m not out of condition; I’m fuzzy.

We went for a ride with Kathleen and Mabel. We had a good time until suddenly Kathleen disappeared.

Where did they go?

I looked and saw them zipping away. Mabel was dancing around. Finally Kathleen got off, and we went to check things out. She was waving and Mabel was kicking at her belly.

Kathleen yelled, “bees!” and I saw a bee around Mabel’s legs. It appeared to be a ground bee. They hadn’t bothered Apache, but Mabel must have stepped on their nest! Finally, the bee that chased them stopped on Mabel’s belly and Kathleen killed it with her shoe. Poor horsie!

After that we tried to ride again, but neither horse was remotely interested. They wanted their saddles off and some petting. As did Fiona and Remington, who were out with us.

Enough drama for one day.

Everyone was apparently starving by dinner time, because Fiona kept grunting at the dogs, and when she was done, she tried to drag poor Remington’s food away from him.

Remington is not pleased. Note strongly braced donkey legs

We guess she was tired from her own antics, which included getting into the swimming pool when I was riding. Sigh. And we were worried about the dogs! luckily, the new fencing that should keep donkeys out of the area around the house is being worked on now.

More to come tomorrow! But now it’s time to get some rest, because tomorrow starts another work week. Once again, Anita and I will share an office, except when I have to talk. I’ll show you why she can’t work in her own house in the next post.

Sunset, dog, and ranch stuff.
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