Friday, February 29, 2008

Feeding the addiction

I admit it...I am an addict. It's Chris' fault. He is the one who got me started. Now I am going to stand up and say... I am LaTonne and I am a pursaholic. Actually, purses aren't my only addiction. I also have drawers of jewelry.
It all started when Chris gave me a Louis Vitton duffle for Christmas one year. Before that, I had a couple of purses that I liked but they were more for function than fashion. Now I had heard of Louis before. I mean, I worked in a bank in Scottsdale, AZ. Of course you see people with things like that. But actually owning one had never crossed my mind. So when I opened that present, I was like Wow...uh...Thanks? When I went back to work after the holidays proudly carrying my rather large purse, I was impressed with the attention it got. "Okay", I thought, "there might be something to this." And then I found out how much that attention getter cost(because people that are impressed with those kinds of things always know what they cost), I about died. I mean, holy cow, I could have a new roping saddle for what that thing cost. I suddenly become very aware of how much thought Chris had put into getting me this gift. His reasoning was...I was working in an environment that appreciated and expected someone on their way up to have something like this. And because he knew that I would never spend that kind of money on a purse. This is one of the many reasons I love him. But that was just the beginning...
I began to notice purses now. I mean really to look at them. There are so many styles and colors. When I found the light blue, lizard print embossed Prada at GoodWill, I was hooked. From that moment on I was constantly on the lookout for the next great deal. Now the first place I check at a thrift store is the purse section. I have found some great purses and have amassed about 20 or so(I don't count for reason).
Now, my brother is feeding the addiction. He is hand making purses and sending them home. Boxes of them. OMG-It is like Christmas whenever one of his boxes show up. I have died and gone to Heaven.

Here are a couple of purses that my brother has made. They are all hand cut, hand assembled and hand sewn. You would never guess it looking at the stitches. This white one is my favorite. It doesn't show very well in the picture, but they both have a gold sheen to them(If you click on the picture it enlarges and you can see the great detail).

This is one he made for Megan(but I have borrowed it a couple of times because it is so cute). I love the stitching around the edge.

And my dear brother just called and said that we should get another box in a day or so. I can't wait...But I still like plunking that big ol' Louis on the table and telling people - that's my new roping saddle. Chris, honey you are the bomb. XOXO

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Queen of the Herd

Yesterday, I introduced Okie. My pretty little crippled mare. And I really did need suggestions from others. I like other people's opinions, even if they aren't the same as mine. I was hoping that someone out there would have some experience with this or know of someone who did. So if you do-give me all the info you got. Okie's options are limited. Did I mention that we have 30 horses? And one on the way...
Introducing the only horse that has a guaranteed "forever" life contract with me - Diala Dandy Dolly -aka-"Woofer".
Woofer @ 24 years of age
Woofer was born on our ranch 24 years ago. I lost the coin toss the summer she turned 2 and ended up being the one that was stuck with breaking her. The mare scared the beggezus out of me. I was 15. She could snort and rattle her nostrils like an experienced bronc and the way she watched you - it was spooky. She could look you right in the eye and you swore she was telling you to "bring it on". My dad climbed up on the fence and said, "she sure is woofy." The name stuck. Thank God it was all bluff. She bucked the first couple times we saddled her, but I cannot ever remember her bucking with a person. That summer I decided I wanted to buy her because my dad was a horse trader and I knew she wouldn't stay at the ranch for long. I sold all kinds of stuff, wrestled calves and rode another colt to come up with the $500 she was priced at. Funny how that has become my magic number for horses. The next spring she was mine.
I could fill pages with all of the stories about this great old mare. As anyone with a "special" horse can relate to that. She tolerated so much crap, logged tens of thousands of miles being hauled around the country with me, took the very best care of my daughter when she was little, learned everything from western pleasure to barrels and poles and then to do working cowhorse and cutting, sparkled in showmanship, taught me how to do flying lead changes and how to ride bridless and produced a few beautiful babies too. She is the mother to my current barrel horse, Moon. We are anxiously awaiting her foal in May.
Last year she was bred. She got huge. We aren't sure what happened but think that because she was so big that when she got up that day, she tore her placenta and by the time we got the colt pulled he was dead. A beautiful grulla stud colt. It was devastating. We thought we were going to loose Woofer too, but she pulled through really well for her age and when the vet checked her again, he gave her a clean bill of health and said to breed her back if we wanted to. Amazing! This year, she has been on a strict diet and kept by herself because she still does the darnest things.
As good a care as Woofer has taken of me in my youth and the special care she showed with Megan when she was little, there is nothing she will ever have to want for again. She is the queen and so will be treated like royalty. I hope for many years to come.

Woofer @ 20 years old

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Nothing New - but meet one more of the Herd

It is either busy as hell or nothing to do. Okay... I could find something to do - dishes, laundry, trying to get some of this animal hair off the floor...the couch...the rug. But it is one of those days and I have kinda spent it flitting around to various blogs. There are some really interesting people out there. So much fun to see what people do in other parts of the country. And, I couldn't resist sticking my two cents in on several of them.
So I sit here stuffing my face with my mom's 3-layer, white chocolate, banana cake with cream cheese frosting and contemplate that Megan's track practice will start in 3 weeks. I promised I would start walking and jogging with her so she is prepared for practice. As stuffed as I am - that don't sound like fun. But then again, my pants are getting a little tight. What can I say - it has been a long winter...I love to cook...and not too long ago I was complaining that I really needed to gain a couple of pounds.
I know comments like that can start a diatribe about how other people wished they had that problem. But really it sucks loosing too much weight. You are tired, you lose strength and certain body parts, that my honey really likes, disappear. Funny how when I gain those few extra pounds in the winter that it never goes where I want it to. So I guess I will bite the bullet next week and Meg and I will start jogging(walking!!).

This is Okie. She is such a beauty. She was born with one hind leg turned out and shorter than the other. You only noticed it at the long trot until a couple of years ago. Megan and I both rode her. I started her on barrels and poles and had she been normal, I think she would have been very good. But that hurt. So Megan tried to show her in 4-H for a year. She was just too sensitive to cues and as light as Megan tried to be, they just couldn't get together. I am torn as to breed her and hope the abnormality she has was due to a mineral deficiency or to put her to sleep. She is not suitable for most kids and too crippled for an adult to ride. What does a person do?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Miles Covered - Alot

Today my friend, Jimmy and I made a flying trip to Rapid City(150 miles), on to Pringle(another 40 miles) and then Hot Springs(about 30 more) to pick up his car trailer and his street rod to bring them back home . This sweet little 49' Chevy was in the middle of a rebuild when Jimmy had to put it in storage a couple of years ago. Oh, how time flies. Now that he is home, he wanted it here to work on. Jimmy is a master at restoring classics and always makes sure there is plenty of horses under the hood. And best of all-he is a die-hard Chevy fan, just like me and Chris.
Jimmy is getting everything lined up - because the steering column is not installed at the moment, it took a lot of huffing and puffing to get it out of the shed and lined up to the trailer.
Almost there. Everything went pretty good. We almost let it drop off of one of the ramps, but by hitting the tires with a "drive shaft", I got them moved over just enough. Good thing Jimmy is easy going - I missed the tire once and left a pretty good ding in his fender. Whoops...I am pretty sure the hole in the sidewall can be fixed too :o
Finally got her loaded and strapped down. Now to see if we can get this guy to fix the light situation....
Well, we got the lights fixed and we are rolling down the road. Sure get a lot of looky-loos. I let Jimmy drive, because if this falls off the trailer, I am not going to be responsible in any way.

PS - Jimmy may build hot-rods, but he didn't pay attention to the power of "The Duramax" - he got nailed with a speeding ticket. He just laughed - said he hadn't gotten into trouble in about 20 years - maybe he will make a comeback. Hope not, I remember those days and am not sure they could be survived again.
He shouldn't have said that because 70 miles down the road another HP pulled us over to let us know our trailer lights weren't working - GREAT!! He did ask us to get off the Interstate, but he didn't say we couldn't take the backroads-LOL. Obviously, we made it home and all in one piece. I knew there was a reason I didn't want to drive on the way back. Always...always follow that gut instinct.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Had to add a little more

I couldn't resist throwing in some of the pictures Megan did manage to take today. The girl is seriously talented with a camera.
Ute - I love how his ear matches the grass behind him and makes it look extra long.
Turk - Just think some women pay a lot of money to have their hair streaked like this.
Blue & Snip - hiding behind is VooDoo.

First Ride of the Year

Aahhhhh... I finally got to saddle up and ride today. It was so warm that it didn't even freeze last night. Megan and I decided we were going to ride down the road.
Now, I have spent the last 3 months thinking about riding. I thought about how much improvement I had seen in a couple of the horses I was riding regularly. I thought about who needed worked on what and who I needed to spend more time with this next year.
Really, what was in my mind was this....

But what I got more closely resembled this....

Okay.... It wasn't that bad, but holy cow. And.... No, I was not able to spur him in the shoulder, I was too busy sucking on the horn. LOL - Man it sucks to get old(er). Mom and I gotta have a talk about this vitamin program she has me feeding.

Megan apologizes for not getting any pictures.... she was too busy laughing at me. She better be careful... I will put her horse on "the vitamin" program too.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ahhh...What a beautiful day

Well, I was supposed to go to mom's today to help her start some spring cleaning, which around here means... clean barns, clean the shop, clean the feed room or anything else that she thinks needs to be cleaned up. But... my brother showed up to finish processing Megan's deer, so I stuck around to visit with him...and watch.
The rule here is if you kill it, you clean it. Uncle Billy is showing Megan how to cut jerky strips.
NO Megan... you must cook it first... Billy is sooo good at pretending the camera doesn't exist.
So they finished that all up, got the kitchen cleaned up, Billy headed home and Megan and I headed to the barn.
This is what Megan got to do (Look out Stacy Westfall-hehehe).
Not a step is taken that the boys aren't on tow. Ranch dogs to the core, well at least Red Dog is... Ute is a momma's boy.
This is what I got to do. Ummmmm...something is wrong with this picture.
This is what I need... ohhh honey.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Meet One of the Herd

Well, I am bored today, so I thought I would throw in some pictures of one of our horses. This is Roan Dog. He is one of the geldings that we raised. He is one of my favorites. He has everything I look for in a horse - he is a great color, has outstanding conformation and... he is a problem child.
I love problem children. Nice horses are fun once in a while, but I love a challenge. There is nothing as satisfying as taking something that one else wants to deal with and turning them into something that everyone wants.
Roan Dog is by our old King bred stud out of a Handcock bred mare. My brother hauled the old stud up to Wyoming to breed some mares on a trade deal. Roan Dog was born and spent the first 5 months of his life in the mountains around Thermopolis, Wyoming. All of the colts that my brother brought home that fall were pretty skinny and sad looking. Their mothers were old(and I do mean old)and didn't get any extra feed. But my mom did her feeding magic and turned those shetland pony looking things into fine individuals. Anyway, my brother was working on a ranch in Nebraska, I wasn't around and my mom isn't capable (she's in her 60's)of halterbreaking the colts. They were gentle, but thats about it. They were about 3 when my brother loaded them up and took them to Nebraska to break to ride. My brother is pretty lucky that that old stud threw such easy going colts because the only one they had any problems with was Roan Dog. He bucked. Really hard!! Finally, brother noticed that this horse was pretty sensitive about his back, so he took him to an amazing vet in North Platte. Come to find out - RD's skin was attached to his muscle across his back and it hurt. So the vet surgically seperated the skin and muscle. After RD healed up, bro decided to send him to a friend of ours that was comfortable riding ranker horses. The sandhills of Nebraska can take the starch out of a horse after a couple of miles. RD came along pretty good. He still wanted to be humpy but you could ride him. Mom went to pick him up after a couple of months and boy was she hopping mad. The poor horse had raw spots all over his back and cinch area. Now in defense of the guy that was riding him, he wasn't trying to be cruel riding him in that condition, he had work to do and he was getting paid to ride the horse. So momma brought RD home and healed him up. About that time, my brother moved home and started working for some of the local ranchers. So RD went back to work. Ha... for about a week. He drilled my brother about 2 miles from the house one day. And I do mean drilled - LOL. So again, bro sent him to a friend to ride and old Roan Dog drilled that guy. They said he can really buck. Look at the size of him - yea - that would definitely leave a mark. So RD was turned out until I got home.
Now the first time I laid eyes on him - I was in love. My brother just laughed at me. When he realized I was serious about riding him, he told me I couldn't. COULDN'T?? That kind of sounded like a challenge. So I run RD in the corral and he promptly run over me getting back out. Uhhh... now this would have been a good time to back down and let it go, but - you guessed it(I have never claimed to be smart..). So I ran him back in, with a couple of other horses. That helped. I stood there and watched him for awhile. I can't remember the last time I saw a horse so scared. I wandered around the corral alittle to see what he would do. He was a master at keeping the other horses between me and him and he sure wasn't going to look at me. The only thing on his mind was leaving.
I thought about this horse a lot and I watched him constantly for the next few weeks. Now, RD may have had a little bit of a rough start, he may not have been given the time HE needed by his previous handlers, but he was never beat or abuse. I had to think about why he was so scared of people and one day as I was watching him get out of the way of another horse, it hit me... he was timid. Now this is a 15.2H, 1300lb. horse and he was being run around by the donkey. HUH?
I wished I could say that it was a quick fix, but we all know that problems like these are never a quick fix. Megan and I spent the rest of the summer following RD around the yard. When we could finally walk up to him and scratch him a little we considered it a huge leap forward. That was 2 summers ago.
Last summer, I spent the whole summer working on saddling him without him being tied. He follows Megan around like a puppy dog now and is the easiest one to catch of the whole bunch. He will not let you hold a front leg up on him though. You can pick it up and then he just kneels down. I am not fighting it. Not sure that I want to tie it up yet. Back feet are fine - I can clean and trim them. Nothing doing on the front ones.
This summer - I think it is time to ride him. Gotta fix the front feet thing though. I have 2 rules about breaking/fixing horses - 1)They must be able to be saddled without being tied. 2) You must be able to clean out and trim all four feet. It has taken 2 years to get to this point so I think applying a little pressure to test the waters won't hurt. I just don't think I will be heading to the pasture yet....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My friend Sam

Do you ever wish you could go back and do things a little differently? I am the queen of procrastination. I am the one filing my taxes at midnight, April 15th. I am always 5 minutes late for meetings. I forget people's birthdays, the list goes on and on. For some reason I always think there is more time.
Well, my friend, Sam passed away on February 17th. I didn't take the time to visit her while I was in Phoenix in January. Why? At the time there was good excuses-time was short, I couldn't find her number, I thought she was doing fine. See, Sam was diagnosed with cancer last summer. I did call her and talk to her when I found out. She was trying to get her mind around it. We were both a little uncomfortable talking about it. I didn't want to push it. At the time there was nothing to push. She hadn't started treatment yet. Instead, we talked about the bank, how my move home was, how much we missed having our group breaks together. Normal stuff. That was the last time I talked to her.
Now let me tell you, Sam was a cool lady. She always made me laugh. She was great at bringing people together. She helped me keep my job(when my temper would get the best of me, she was always the voice of reason). Her experience and knowledge of the banking industry was immense. She was a GOOD friend.
The last I heard she was doing good and getting ready to go back to work. I thought I would catch her the next time I went to Phx to visit. I found her phone number a couple of weeks ago and meant to call her... I hate this - why didn't I just pick up the phone and call her?
The only thing I can say is that I was a fortunate person - Sam Martinez was my friend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I had to work today. Got the call at 6:00am. An actual paying day-good deal. I am saving up to buy Megan a new english saddle. I actually had to have her sized by someone who knew about these things. My little, long-legged darling needs and extra-long flap. So 6 fruitless months of looking later, I have resigned myself that there won't be a steal on ebay. Who knew?
But I digress....
My paying job is as a substitute teacher in the White River school. I don't specialize. They call... I show up. I have never had a burning desire to be a teacher. Nor would I want to after substituting. But, there are benefits. I am now on a first name basis with all of Megan's friends, most of the high schoolers and I regularly get my leg hugged by the elementary kids. A few "Wazzz ups" and a couple of the new cool knuckle bumps or peace signs and voila... Megan has the coolest mom going. I like being the cool mom. Does that mean all of the kids like me-uh-NO!! I am also considered a hard-ass and I don't cut anyone any slack. Get out of line and it is straight to the principal's office.
Now, do I think that I am particularly good at this job-NOT REALLY!! Patience has never been one of my strong suits. I hate repeating myself and some of these kids' attitudes makes me want to hunt down their parents and beat them, but really I am only there to make sure they don't burn the place down. The advantage of seeing my daughter in her natural habitat - PRICELESS.
I am not a PTA parent. I don't go to all of the sports activities. I don't want to be my daughter's best friend, but knowing what and who she has to deal with on a daily basis has definitely improved our relationship.
And I kinda like my new nickname....La Tiz-zone.

Megan & Strawberry - back when the saddle fit.
PS - If anyone knows where I can find a nice 17" jumping saddle, regualar/medium tree, extra-long flap for less than $800.00 - please let me know.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Supervisors

This morning my friend, Jimmy stopped and since it was his day off, wanted to go to my mom and step-dad's to get some projects done. So me and the boys did chores and went to pick him up.

Red Dog assumes his co-pilot position.

We get to Smokey and mom's place. I know you country people will appreciate the fact that the shop is 3x's the size of the house.

This is Jimmy replacing the bearings and belt on the riding lawn mower. We are getting an early start on repairs this year because last summer I ended up having to mow mom's yard-all 1 1/2 acres of it-with a push mower. Yuck!!

My boys asking if they can go chase grandma's rabbits.
Please, Please,Pleeeaasse...
We finished up without a hitch and headed to town. One project done and nine hundred thousand to go....
After a long hard day of supervising mom the boys settle in for the evening by...

Snuggling with "the big fuzz" ....Luv the kitty....
And racking out.....

Sunday, February 17, 2008

From skinning to swimming

Hope this don't gross you all out - but this is what we do around here. This is Megan's first deer. She was so excited. He is only a yearling - this accounts for the small size. Didn't want anyone to think we were skinning the local dogs (we aren't that rez... LOL).
Busy 4-H weekend too. We have a small club, mostly horse kids. This is their annual swim party in Pierre. We would have had pictures of the Capital building, but when we came out of the YMCA, there was a mini blizzard going on and we couldn't see 10 feet in front of us. So glad it only lasted about 30 minutes. Ate pizza and headed our butts for home. You never can tell what the weather is going to do on the prairie. It was only a little breezy around here today(40+ mph wind). It finally quit, so I have to head out and get some hay to my ponies.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My honey is on his way

Chris is on his way from Colorado.
We actually get to spend Valentine's Day together.
This will be a first in about 4 years. Ahhh the joys of a long distance relationship. Actually we have always done this long distance thing. When Chris and I started dating - 6 1/2 years ago, he was working internationally in the oil field. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My international experience was going to Canada for a college thing once. Between the Marine's and the oil field - he has been everywhere. I also have to admit, not only was I excited to see him when he got home, I couldn't wait to see what he brought me. He has wonderful taste and always seemed to pick up the perfect present. Perfume from Paris, a Mongolian saddle, jade from China. He spoiled me that is for sure.
It hasn't always been easy for either of us. It can be hard to stay connected to someone who is gone a lot. Sometimes it felt like he was never there for the important stuff. We have fought like crazy, broke up several times, made our friends endure having to hear all of the sorid details, but.... we both always knew that we had found our soulmate in each other. So at the end of the day and the beginning and the middle and probably 100 times in between, he is who I think about. Any little interesting thing and I am on the phone filling him in and he does the same. So while we may not have the luxury of seeing each other every day, we are incomplete without each other.
Valentine's Day comes regularly in this house.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's snowing again

It wasn't to bad when I got up this morning, but it didn't take long and the snow was falling. By the time Chris called from the doctor's office, I couldn't see the neighbor's house. And it didn't quit.... By this evening we had accumulated 4 inches. They even let school out early.

When Megan got home she went out and got some pictures of the horses. She is the photographer in this family. Chris takes good pictures too. I suck at it. I am so thankful for the digital camera Chris got Megan. You cannot believe how much money it has saved me in developing film. Thanks mom, I am going to blame that genetic defect on you....
(It is going to take me a little bit on how to stick pictures in here where I want them). The black horse is Rip (actually he is blue roan - he just gets black in the winter). He is Megan's project. We call him the "SPED" horse.
The dun is Moon. My AZ friends will remember him. I made the mistake of lending him out last summer and he pulled a stifle muscle. I also have to do a major overhaul on his barrel pattern again. That will teach me to feel sorry for people. It cost me an entire year and now I have to fix problems that weren't there before.
Oh you guys will love this -- I had some blood work done last week. Been having problems with crashing blood sugar (I thought) and on a weird hunch I had them run another test too... guess what?
drum roll please..... I have Valley Fever!! I know - I left AZ 1 1/2 years ago and NOW I have Valley Fever? What the heck is up with that? So in for more blood tests on Wednesday and some chest x-rays. What was my tip-off to ask them to run that test? My elbows. Last fall my elbows started hurting and haven't stopped. At first I just thought it was arthritis, but when it never, ever stopped hurting and I could feel it in other joints too - I thought it resembled my dog when he got it.
So anyway - stay tuned. No one up here has even heard of it, much less had to treat it. Ought to be interesting.......

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Day One

Well, today I did it, I signed up for this blog. I got this great idea from my friend, Mikey. I thought her blog was wonderful and couldn't resist copying her.
It is another cold, miserable day in SD. Why oh why did I leave Arizona?
To fill everyone in - my name is LaTonne, my daughter is Megan and my better half is Chris. He lives in Colorado. Megan and I moved back to SD the summer of 06' to help the family ranch and I couldn't stand another summer in AZ - the heat was killing me. Oh yea - thats why I left.
Actually, it is good to be home. This is where I grew up and it is a good place for Megan to finish school. She never really liked school before and I am very fortunate that she now loves school and does really well. It stinks only that Chris and I are apart most of the time. He has a business in Colorado so has to be there. My family needs me here and Megan is doing so good in school that I fear moving her again. Four years will go by fast. The last 14 have flown by.
My life here pretty much revolves around Megan, horses and "my boys" (the 2 very spoiled dogs that I would be lonely without). We also have 2 very large and spoiled cats - but they are pretty much only interested in Megan so other than the occasional "pet me now" they ignore me. Chris and I talk on the phone constantly. I actually think we know more about each other's day than most people who live in the same house.
Megan's life is busy with school, friends (and the new boyfriend - god help me.....) and 4-H. She played volleyball this year and is going out for track this spring. I keep seeing cheerleading moves being practiced, so I am guessing that is on the horizon.
Well, looks like it is going to warm up this next week. I need some nice weather. My "honey do" list is getting longer and longer. Since I am the one without a real job in this family - the honey do list is all mine. I actually got to trim horses feet one day last week without my coveralls on. I felt naked...