Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm Not Dead

Just haven't felt like posting anything lately. Been busy with unimportant and mundane projects.

I'll be back soon though.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

For Lack Of Anything Of Value...

I'm sure everyone has seen this commercial...

OMG...The E-trade baby makes me laugh. Maybe it was the reference to 'riding the dog like a pony'...being 'frowned this establishment.'

But while I was looking for this video, I ran across this one, which you will NOT see on T.V....

Is it wrong to think this was hilarious?...and probably realistic.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And So It Starts

With the new windows and doors due to arrive any day now, the carpenters came early to start tearing up the old cement slab in the back of the house...
Although the slab was cracked and did not come out as easy as we had anticipated.

Whoever put that in back in the 70's intended for it to stay for eternity.

Eternity didn't happen!

With the help of a jackhammer, sledge hammers, pry bars, wire cutters and the bobcat. It's gone.

The parking slab in the front of the house was nothing compared to getting that beast of a patio slab out. Sheez!

I've been on a cleaning tear...aka...Terror!...and spent an entire day cleaning out the walk-in closet in the bedroom and the bathroom cabinets. Eight hours spent cleaning 3 rooms...What the heck?

Actually, I have a one year rule...If I have something in my closet, barring certain expensive or really dressy items...that I haven't worn at least once in the last year....

It's gone.

For the most part, I buy 2nd hand clothes and clearance items anyway, so I always figure I'd rather have a few items that I really like to wear and not have to dig through a bunch of stuff I'm not going to wear anymore anyway.

Lo and behold....

I actually got MH to go through his Harley Davidson shirt collection. The man has hundreds of HD shirts that he has collected from all over the U.S. and the world. He doesn't wear them much anymore though. I was finally able to convince him to let me wash them all up and seal them into airtight bags and store them...Not in the closet!

They were taking up 90% of his side of the closet and he didn't have room to put the clothes he actually wears away.

Needless to say...I am a happy camper about that little project finally being done.

Well, except for the fact I have about 10-15 loads of shirts to wash, dry, fold and get put in those bags and stored yet.

I don't want to waste all of this beautiful fall weather working inside the house, but I have to get a few projects done and stuff put away temporarily so the carpenters will be able to come in to fix the ceiling, build my book case and get new base board put up throughout the house. That will take care of all of the interior work, except the new lighting.

Boy, is it ever going to be nice to not look around and think...'I wished that was finished.'

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New Trails

The weather has cleared up here and it was absolutely stunning today. We had several days of thunderstorms, wind and some decent rain. Which tested the new hay tarp mightily, but it is holding up well and all of the hay is dry and safe.

I called L and we was visiting away on the phone...she was preparing peppers for freezing and I was cleaning the garage out. When all of the sudden it hit us...if we were going to visit...we might as well be doing it on horseback. (Duhhhh!)

So she came and picked me up and took me to one of her favorite places to ride, Horsethief Canyon...
It's an absolutely beautiful place to ride. There are numerous winding trails that follow these canyon walls...
Of course, red rock and these types of formations are my absolute favorite kind of scenery...
Sorry South Dakota...I love the rolling grasslands of my home country, but I find this kind of country much more interesting. I plan on going back and riding there as soon as possible and will get better pictures. L and I are like a couple of magpies when we are together, so I just snapped a few pics with no real attempt to grab the immense beauty that surrounded us.

This was way cute...
It's believed that an old-time sheep herder must have installed this doorway into a tiny cave...or an outlaw?

The ponies had better look out. I was kind of burned out, but getting out and riding in a new, beautiful and immensely interesting area has me craving to go explore every nook and cranny.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Building Her Herd

I have been working on building the number of horses I can turn out with my pretty little Beretta...
She is a rather timid little girl, which was not helped at all by Frosty's attack on her last Spring. For the longest time she was terrified at the very sight of the buckskin horse. I don't blame her. That was an awful thing to have happen to any youngster, much less one who is a bit timid by nature.

Her sole companion in the pasture until recently has been the ever patient and gentle Spooks...
They make a pretty good pair, with their matching chrome. ;-) I guess sometimes I have to remind myself that Beretta isn't so 'little' anymore. Spooks is just shy of 15.2HH. I'm guessing Beretta is just shy of 15HH now herself. That's not all that little for a 2y/o.

A few days ago, I put her out with Spooks and Turk (the paint horse), fairly certain that Turk would not bother Beretta, but wondering if he might go after Spooks. Turk has always been a bit stud-like, in that he likes to gather up whatever mares he can and herd them away from other geldings. That went off without a hitch with Turk actually moving off and spending most of the day by himself. I have since turned Beretta out with only Turk for a day and that went fine as well. Beretta was not as comfortable sidling up to Turk, but they could share proximity without Turk giving her any stink-eye's or intimidating her in any way.

Today, I decided to see how it would go with the big bay in the mix. Jet is not an aggressive horse and he has been around youngsters before without bothering them. I just want Beretta to learn how to be in a herd, that isn't going to get after her. It's so important for youngsters to learn how to socialize.

At first she stayed plumb away from him and kept her security guard between her and the big bay...

But being an inquisitive youngster, she just had to start easing her way toward Jet...With 'Uncle' Spooks right on her tail...
A little closer now...

And finally...
Jet did pin his ears at Beretta a couple of times and give her the stink-eye and she politely vacated his immediate space. They ran and played a bit. Jet is big on playing. He and Frosty have quite the go-rounds. But he restrained himself with Beretta and they just did a little nippy-face.

The whole day went well, with everyone staying in a bunch. Until supper-time. Everyone came to the fence while I was putting hay out. Jet gave Beretta some serious, get-out-of-my-space ear-pinning and snaky neck. She left...

All the way to the far end of the pasture, where she stood and waited. Bless her heart...She's no dummy. Somebody says, "Leave!"...and she is out of there.

I caught Jet and got him out of there. Beretta slowly eased her way back up to the fence, finally rejoined Spooks and all was fine. I'm glad to see Beretta is willing to leave if she thinks she needs to protect herself, but am hoping she will gain some confidence and figure out she just has to leave the immediate area, not vacate to the far side of the pasture at a mere ugly face pointed in her direction. She's pretty sensitive that way. She is pretty easily intimidated by even me giving her an ugly face. This filly is going to take a very light hand when it comes to training.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Covered For A Year

This is cowgirl happiness right here...

Partly due to the fact that I get tired of having to go get a load of hay every 4-6 weeks and partly due to the impact the Texas drought is having on our local hay situation...I ordered an entire semi-load of my beloved Gunnison Grass hay from my supplier.

This should just about cover my hay needs for an entire year.

I did tell my supplier to keep his ears open and let me know if he runs across 20-30 large round bales of less than stellar quality hay. Sometimes guys end up with some that got rained on or they didn't get to it before it turned rank. It makes good filler feed, particularly in the winter when I turn horses out most of the time and like to put a round bale out for them to dig around in and lay on.

I suppose I will also round up a couple hundred small squares of good alfalfa to lay in as well, because from what I hear, most people are sending any and all available hay to Texas. It could get a bit scarce...and expensive, come January. That I believe I can just buy from my neighbor and leave stored in his covered barn.

I also ordered 20 bags of beet pulp and will most likely order another 10 to 20 bags to have on hand. That I can store without too much fear of the mice bothering it. Beet pulp has already jumped a $1.50 per bag in the last few weeks and I expect it will go up a whole bunch more before this next winter is over.

I don't quite know what to do about my oats situation. It's gone up in price as well, but I don't have a secure place to store a whole lot of it. Every so often I see some grown by local farmers for sale at a bulk price that would save me a lot of money if I did have a secure storage bin. I might have to look into that.

I know I'm breathing quite a bit easier now that my hay is here though. Whewwww!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Here's One Of Them

This is the first filly we had born this year...
She was born back in June, but this is the first (and only) picture I have seen of her. I'm guessing she is about 30 days old in this picture.

Her dam is one of our King/Leo bred mares...
This is a mare I won some halter and showmanship classes with and she was a nice rope and ranch horse as well. A lot of power off of the get go, but lacked any long-distance speed, so I never bothered to try her on the barrel pattern.

I do believe our stallion is taking care of the speed department. That boy can mortally fly. Gunner and Beretta seem to have inherited that. I'm sure Shooter has speed to match, but he seems more inclined to slow lope. (slaps forehead)...The ONE horse I was really hoping to be my next barrel horse and he acts like he wants to do western pleasure. Oiy Vey!

Neither the filly or the mare are mine and I won't have to bring her out here to gentle and halter-break. My oldest brother actually gets to lay claim to this filly and he is pretty excited about her.

From the sounds of it, my filly is almost an identical match.

I can live with that. ;-)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Not A Bad End

They did it!!!!

Megan jockeyed the big black horse well over the weekend and took 1st place for the year end, in the Youth 3D...
Pretty impressive for a horse that we were just having fun on to win a saddle his first year out.

Spooksy, old boy did me grand as well. We took 3rd for year end, in the Open 4D and won a new 5-Star saddle pad...
That is impressive as well, considering I didn't even start running Spooks at the NBHA runs until the last quarter. He just placed so consistently every single time that he bypassed numerous horses that had run all year.

Megz restrained herself during the awards presentations, but once we got in the pickup and headed for home, you couldn't have slapped the grin off of her face. LOL

Moon didn't win anything this year. We garnered points in the 1, 2 and 3D's, but not enough to place in the year end awards. Spooks will never, EVER be anywhere near as fast as Moon, but he sure has him beat, hands down, in the consistency department. God Bless those big, clunky, solid-minded, foundation-bred horses. ;-)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Finally Here

The long awaited arrival of my foal....f.i.n.a.l.l.y. happened.

Yea, yea I know....Three months after she was supposed to foal, my maiden mare, Beauty...

Dropped me, from what I hear, a spritely, healthy, BAY filly.

Huh...Who would have guessed another bay?


I mean after all, momma is bay.

The daddy is bay...

*I* was hoping for black or dark brown. Not implausible. Due to the high percentage of black in the pedigree.

I guess she does have a bit of an oblong/teardrop white marking on her face.

NOW I can go home. I have been holding off because I wanted to see my foal...but I knew if the mare had not foaled by the end of this month, she was not going to. I be quite honest, I am fairly disgruntled at yet another late foal. In the grand scheme of things, it won't matter, because I do not do futurities or anything. It's the lack of management that is pissing me off.

However, she is here...and healthy.

This filly is a 3/4ths sister to Beretta...
(Please forgive this atrocious picture of Beretta...She really is not this ugly)
The new filly and Beretta share the same sire and their mothers are 1/2 sisters. The dams share the same sire (our old Lady Bug's Moon bred stallion). The only difference in bloodlines is how the dams are bred on the bottom. Beretta's mother was Leo and Sugar Bars bred on the bottom. The new filly's mother is King and Poco Pine on the bottom. Who knows if they end up growing up to look similar to each other or completely different.

Since the new girl was immediately distinguished as a bay, my hope is that she turns a similar dark bay as her older 1/2 brother (same sire), Shooter...

Shooter is now a 3y/o and when I go home, I will be bringing him back to Colorado with me and starting him under saddle. I can't wait to see him again. The above picture was from the fall of his yearling year. From what my mom says, he has turned into a strapping young man.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cooking Up A Storm

Please forgive my absence this last week, I have been fighting a bit of the blahs. In such times, I don't feel like talking much. I just putter aimlessly, in my own little world for awhile.

My garden has been killing me. I have given grocery bag after grocery bag of produce away, cooked some for every meal and the piles just keep growing. I don't remember having this much excess when we had big gardens as a kid.

Then it hit me...

Back then, we also had lots of chickens and as least one hog.

Well, that explains that. I told MH that since I am allowed to have a garden again next year...

We'll probably have to go the chicken and hog route as well.

The allowed to have a garden again has become a joke between MH and I due to the large amount of time I spend puttering in the garden. However, the husband has deemed that time worthy due to the number of new dishes on the menu.

This year has been a learning process to be sure. I was a kid that last time I remember gardening seriously. My mom always had a garden until '76 when the grasshoppers descended and ate everything in sight. I clearly remember how absolutely disgusting they were in those years.

When my dad moved back to the family ranch in the early 80's, he took up where my grandmother had left off and had acres and acres of garden. I don't think I was even born yet when my grandmother was bitten on the finger by a rattlesnake when she was picking tomatoes, but I grew up with that story embedded in my head, that when must be very, very careful about digging around in the plants. To this day, and even though we do not have any poisonous snakes in the area I live in now, that thought crosses my mind and I am cautious when I start digging around for hidden produce.

Oddly, some of my best memories of my dad was gardening with him. He was a much different person when he was working in his garden than anywhere else. I think it gave him a sense of peace and purpose. He was a very troubled man.

Even though I have been a bit overwhelmed with the sheer production of my tiny little garden, I can totally relate to why my dad's garden made him feel good.

Needless to say, I have had to do some digging to come up with new recipes to use up all of this that I am growing. The freezer is holding all of the extra peas and corn. I have tried canning some pickles and can't wait to try them in a few weeks. I have my fingers crossed that they turn out. MH is a dill pickle fan. I prefer a zesty bread and butter.

I have baked zucchini bread and muffins and froze them. I tried several recipes until I found the one we liked the best. It's a bit more cake-like than bread-like. I am currently trying chocolate zucchini cake recipes. I have also grated numerous bags of zucchini and froze them to use later in the winter. Shredded zucchini freezes very well.

Multiple recipes for zucchini patties have been tried and we settled on two that we really like. One has bread crumbs, one is more of pancake batter style.

I have served stuffed zucchini, made by gently cooking the whole zucchini, cutting it in half, cleaning out the squash, mixing that with sausage and parmesan cheese and then filling the shells with the mixture and baking. THAT was a huge success. The flavor was there, even if I was disappointed that my zucchini shells went totally flat. LOL

The latest and greatest was Zucchini Custard Pie. Sounds kinda gross, but we have absolutely inhaled them. MH says they are his new favorite pie.

The one thing that I have had a hard time coming up with new recipes for was the yellow squash. My tried and true recipe for fried squash chips has not gotten old yet. MH really likes them just for something to nosh on. But outside of that and a couple of casserole dishes I would like to try yet, I was coming up short of what to do with the yellow squash. It doesn't particularly freeze or can well. Although, if I could find some casserole recipes for it, I was thinking of seeing how it froze in shredded form like the zucchini.

While I was digging through my piles of recipes and recipe books, I ran across an old page I had saved that had a zucchini/squash relish recipe. Since I am inundated with produce, I figured I'd give it a shot. Not to mention it called for the use of 'Italian peppers'.

In my pepper selection this year, I had included some Gypsy peppers. They have been quite prolific, but neither MH or I cared for the taste of them raw or sauted, so I was at a loss of what to do with the excess. I have been chopping them up and putting them in the pico de gallo, as well as the salsa I have started making, but as I said, they are prolific little buggers, so I don't ever seem to use them up.

Let me just say...I ate spoonfuls of this relish while it cooled. OMG...It is delicious. The recipe does not call for canning it, rather it is a refrigerator relish (lasts about 2 weeks) or can be froze for a month. I am thinking it could be canned and am going to try that for the next batch. I immediately ran out and bought some Italian sausages and bratwursts and it's heavenly piled up on them. I think it would be good piled on hamburgers as well. It's wonderfully sweet and tangy, a bit crunchy and the addition of jalapenos and curry gives it a lot of depth.

If anyone is interested, I'm happy to share the recipes. Believe me, I am not into complex cooking. If anyone has squash or zucchini recipes that they are particularly fond of...please send them my way. I'm drowning in a sea of squash. ;-)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Down To A Science

One of the technologies developed specifically for barrel racers is a breaking down of the time spent on each portion of the barrel run called Interval Time Reports. I have never been to a barrel race where they have had this option available before, but they did at the Xtreme Barrel Race. Unfortunately, my Saturday run was such a dismal failure that it was useless to me, but Sunday's run was darned sure good enough to get a print-out.

I did a hand-drawn version for you because the printout I have has a tiny pattern and now I can't get the picture to show on blogger in an upright position. Hopefully, it's still understandable...

Interval Time Training measures how much time your horse spends on each of 7 portions of the barrel pattern compared to the fast run of the day.

#1-Is the time it takes to get from the starting line to where the horse starts to turn the 1st barrel. Moon took 1.534 seconds to complete this portion and ran 22.22 miles per hour. The fast horse of the day did it in 1.380 seconds and ran 24.70 mph. So the fast horse of the day beat us by .154 of a second.

This is something that I believe is still a work in progress. Moon has just lately really started to run to 1st barrel. I am still more concerned that we get the rate properly and get around the barrel in good form than I am about all out speed. Although we are almost there and we seem to be handling it better. The first barrel is considered the 'money barrel' and how well you can get around it pretty much sets you up for the rest of the run. Unless of course, you have my problem, which is remembering to drive into the 2nd turn. LOL

#2-Is the time it takes to get around the 1st barrel. Moon took 1.928 seconds to complete his 1st turn. The fast horse of the day did it in 1.864 seconds. We were beat by .064 seconds.

Not terribly concerned about that fraction of a second. I believe when Moon gets up to full speed running to the barrel, he will have the momentum to nip that off a little bit.

#3-Is the time it takes to get from 1st barrel to 2nd barrel. Moon took 2.858 seconds and ran 20.28 mph. The fast horse did it in 2.494 seconds and ran 23.24 mph. We were beat by .364 seconds.

This was a biggie. Because I did handle Moon to keep him from wanting to duck into the 2nd barrel, I'm sure I inadvertently kept him rated down. I'd almost bet this is where we are consistently losing time. Hopefully, now that I realize it, I will start asking Moon for more here. I really, really need to get over what we were doing going into the 2nd barrel and just drive him for all he's worth .

#4-Is the time it takes to get around the 2nd barrel. Moon took 1.479 seconds to get around the 2nd barrel. The fast horse took 1.633 seconds. So Moon actually beat the fast horse around the second barrel by .154 seconds.

Certainly can't complain about that.

#5-Is the time it takes to get from 2nd barrel to 3rd barrel. Moon took 3.169 seconds, at a speed of 21.52 miles per hour. The fast horse did it in 3.159 seconds at a speed of 21.58 miles per hour. We were only beat by .010 of a second.

Can't complain about that either.

#6-Is the time it takes to get around 3rd barrel. Moon took 1.464 seconds. The fast horse took 1.529. Moon beat the fast horse around the 3rd barrel by .065 of a second.

No complaints here. If all the other factors were equal, this would even out the longer fraction of a second it took us to get around 1st barrel.

#7-Is the time it takes to get from the 3rd barrel back across the finish line. Moon took 3.691 seconds, at a speed of 25.86 mph. The fast horse did it in 3.484 seconds at 27.40 mph. We were beat by .207 seconds.

Yea...about all I can say about this is, either we are simply getting outrun or due to Moon being off and on for the last month, he has lost the condition he needs to keep powering all the way to the end. This did surprise me though as I always thought that Moon made up a lot of time on his run home. The bugger can really stretch out and run. Maybe just not fast enough?

Moon spent a total time of 4.871 seconds in his turns, whereas the fast horse spent 5.026 seconds making his turns. We are better by .155 of a second. Where we really got our ass kicked was in the straightaways. Moon took 11.252 seconds to complete each of his 4 straightaways, where the fast horse took 10.517 seconds. We were beat by .735 of a second. Almost 4 10th's of that was simply between 1st and 2nd barrel. Since Moon can keep pace with the fast horse between 2nd and 3rd and is almost as fast going to 1st, this isn't because he can't be as fast, it has to be because I am still safetying up. The run home? I dunno. I hope that is a conditioning issue and that we really aren't getting outrun that badly cause there is no 'cure' for that. :-/

**The time used to compare Moon's run to was the fast time at the time we left on Sunday. I see on the results that the actual fast time on Sunday was a 15.169. Moon ran a 16.123, so was one second off of the fast time. I'm anxious to get that printout to compare. I have a feeling he just got really outrun in the straightaways.

Now, I don't know if Moon has what it takes to actually catch the kind of horses that are winning these big races like this. Those are some powerhouse deluxes. I do think we are capable of taking at least a 1/2 a second off of our times in general.

If he had run just .046 of a second slower, he would have been exactly one second off of the fast time and won the 3D (and over $900). It takes longer to blink than the difference in times it takes to draw a check or not.

Moon got his last treatment after he had been walked out after his run. The therapist did find tension in his loin but she thought that might be due to heat in the muscle yet. A horse has to be dry to do the treatments, so I did not cold hose him after his run like I normally do to cool his muscles out. You are also not supposed to bath them within 4 hours after having a treatment. Something to do with the water washing whatever the electric pulses do out of the muscles. Moon was totally relaxed through the whole 45 minutes. Did a lot of yawning and chewing about the 25 minute mark, then pretty much went to sleep. There were no more signs of aggravation or irritability. I put him back in his stall to rest while we got packed up and ready to leave. He drank good, did not pee this time, but went back to eating. Moon really likes to case you guys didn't catch that. LOL. I'm pretty sure that while he is eating one meal, he is thinking about the next one.

I did ask the therapist about whether hauling him would negate the benefit of the last treatment and while she did tell me that it wasn't optimal, we didn't have much of a choice. Which is my one reservation about getting treatments done AT these barrel races. I think they do help, but there you are...either getting ready to compete again or getting ready to haul home. I'm sure that has to negate a good portion of the healing properties of the treatments, which seems to me, kind of turns it into a quick fix vs. a true healing treatment. A darned good reason to take those classes and get my own unit right? Not to mention, no one else around here does these treatments publicly. It might be a good opportunity to make money at the local barrel races.