Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Smokey’s Eye

No, this is not a post about smudged eye makeup trends.  It’s about our soft-hearted fella of a horse and his journey back to health.

For those of you who follow us on Facebook and Instagram, back in the spring, you saw pics of our big grey mustang Smokey in the equine (a.k.a. horsey) hospital with an eye injury.  This is his story.

Horses are fun-loving creatures with big personalities, big bodies, and some times they can get themselves into big trouble.  Because we live on a farm with trees and fences and stalls, sometimes these precious babies injury themselves.  And try as you might, you simply just can’t fool-proof your farm.  (I mean, seriously, we’ve got horses who can open gates, but that is for another time.)

One spring evening at feeding time, Smokey moseyed up to his stall as usual for a snack.  But this time, something wasn’t quite right. He had his right eye shut tight, tears streaming down his cheek.

After a little eyelid wrangling, we could see he had something going on with the eyeball itself, and made an after hours call to the vet.  Two things to note here. First, trying to pry open a horse’s eye against his will, oh holy cats that is not easy.  It’s a crazy combination of eyelids of steel and a bobbing head.  Second, as we’ve said before, these things don’t happen between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Nope, if we are going to injure ourselves, we’re going to do it right. No sense in playing games.

It was quickly determined the next morning that he had, in fact, scratched the eye. Drat!  The remedy?  Eye meds four times a day should do the trick.  Did you see my comment above about strong eyelids?  Well it got to be a game. We’d look out and see him with his eye wide open. He’d see us, and yep, you guessed it, he’d slam it shut.  Quite honestly, he was just tired of us messing with him.

Seven days went by, and the vet came back out and determined that not enough progress was being made.  Smokey was at risk of going blind in that eye. In order to save his vision, he would have to go the horsey hospital where they could put an IV system through his eyelid and dispense medication directly to the eye.  (Oh if I could have reasoned with this big beast and told him what was coming, he may have opened his eyelids big and wide.)

My Farmtastic Life - Smokey the mustang heals from an eye injury
Smokey bending down to sniff and be petted. I sat on the floor of his stall, talking to him.

So off he went.  It was slow going.  And after a week, not only did he still have the eye issue, Smokey decided he didn’t want to eat much and developed a fever.  Not eat?  That horse has never missed a meal.

Here’s the deal. Horses are herd animals, and mustangs especially. Smokey was born in the wild to a herd, and ever since he arrived at the farm he had his band of fellas, one bossy mare, and two ornery donkeys.  Smokey doesn’t leave the farm.  It’s his sanctuary.  He hates change and snorts and blows at anything different just to let you know he’s paying attention. Heck, once our farrier (that’s a horse pedicure giver for our city friends) showed up in a different vehicle, and Smokey was all about letting us know something changed.  He’s observant. To a fault.

So Cowboy and I decided we had to go visit our fella and see if we could help figure out what had him down.  I had the wild idea that maybe if we could bring him a sense of home, he’d relax.  So I took an old towel and trudged out to the pasture rubbing down all the horses to capture their scents.  Yes, they all looked at me funny, quite suspicious, and probably convinced I was just a bit nuts.  Cowboy also thought I was slightly off my rocker, but as he always does, he just obliged me.

My Farmtastic Life - Smokey the mustang healing from an eye injury
Smokey sniffing his towel and finding comfort in the scents of home.

Off to the vet we went, towel in hand.  Oh if I could just adequately describe that moment.  Smokey sniffed and sniffed.  He touched his nose to the towel. He visibly perked up.  He would move his nose to the towel and then back to take a bite of hay.  He was eating!!!  He softened to our touch. He was relaxing. My heart was aching for our big grey soulstang – he missed his herd, the people and the four-legged ones.

So Cowboy and I made a promise to him.  For the rest of his stay, no matter how long it took, every day one of us would try our best to make the 60-plus mile round trip to talk to him, to brush him, to comfort him.  And just like magic, it worked.  Slowly but surely, he settled in, his appetite returned, the fever left, and he healed.  It took nearly three weeks, but Smokey still had his sight and an even bigger heart.

My Farmastic Life - Smokey the mustang heads home
The veterinary staff getting ready to load Smokey up for the trip home. Let’s just say, this fella is not a the easiest loader. (The patches on his neck were from his IVs. Such a fashion statement.)

These horses continue to teach us so much.  No one wants to be alone in this world, and when we’re hurting and scared the most is when we need the touch, the scent, the spirit of home.  And if we soak in the healing, we too will be able to see again.

P.S.  Big thanks to our amazing vets, especially Dr. Imel, at Peak Performance Equine Hospital.  They are simply the best.  They allowed us to visit Smokey as often as possible, texted us with morning updates, and took the best possible care of our fella.  We will be eternally grateful.

 

 

 

 

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Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

We Simply Love Them

I have a confession to make. I’m not one of those girls who can claim I’ve always loved horses. In fact, the truth is for most of my life, horses have downright scared me.  I much preferred it if there was a fence or two between me and them. (I know, hold your shock.)

Now don’t get me wrong, all you have to do is take one look at our Meet the Farm page to know that Cowboy and I are animal lovers of the highest magnitude.  But I also understand that horses are bigger and more powerful than me, and definitely have minds of their own.  Boy, do they have minds of their own.  In fact, they’ve often awakened the fight or flight in me, and the few times I’d been around them in my past they had me on the flight side of the fence.

For example, as a kid I had taken a ride at a stable with our youth group, which seems to be a harmless right of passage for lots of kids.  I was excited to try it out, but being vertically challenged, they couldn’t make my stirrups short enough. However,  with a mischievous smile they told me not to worry, I was on a gentle ride, and all I needed to do was loosely hang on.  Hmmm ….  should have been warning sign number one, don’t ya think?

Warning number two – the guides told us absolutely no screaming, as the horses were trained to run if you yelled, thinking you were in danger.  Fabulous,  simply fabulous. So there I sat, feet dangling in the top of the stirrups keeping quiet.  Not an easy task for a girl whose first grade teacher called her motor mouth and mouth of the south (but that’s another story).

Well you guessed it, my horse trotted, loped, and flat out ran for the barn.  Picture a puny 13-year-old whisper-yelling, “Help, help, help!” while trying desperately to keep her bum from bumping right off that horse.  Not surprisingly, the flight thing came naturally after that.

My Farmtastic Life Photo - Smokey and Ranger, American Mustangts
Smoke in the Valley (a.k.a. Smokey) and Lone Star Ranger (a.k.a. Ranger) having a nice little munch. This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of them – and just looks like love to me!

Enter 2008.  Cowboy and I attended the Extreme Mustang Makeover, sponsored by the Mustang Heritage Foundation, in Fort Worth, Texas.  Holy cats (or should I say horses), what a show!  Patriotic, majestic, amazing.  We walked the barns looking at these mustang horses, and there was just something in their eyes. It went right down to my soul.  And a tiny voice whispered, “Could you possibly be a horse person?”

My Farmtastic Life - Ranger
Ranger as a yearling. You could already tell that fella was going to have great hair and a crazy fun personality.

Then came the yearlings’ stalls.  And one very special little guy trained by one special little girl did me in.  She had done a great job with her fella, but had other horses at home, and so this one needed a fur-ever home. You know what’s coming next, right?  One little mustang yearling was adopted that day and headed home with me and Cowboy.

Fast forward more than eight years later, and Lone Star Ranger has changed my life.  We’ve got two more mustangs, one aging quarter horse, and two charming donkeys. I’m a horse person now.  Who knew?

But what does that really mean anyway?  No, my house is not decked out in western regalia; I don’t run around in cowgirl boots most of the time; and I don’t have a desire to be the rodeo queen (trust me, this is a good thing for all involved).

But these horses have a story and that speaks to me in a million ways.  Most of the time when we meet other horse folks, the first thing they ask me is, “What do you do with them?” I’m not sure why this is, but Cowboy and I have experienced it over and over.   Everyone expects you to DO something to justify why you have them.

My Farmtastic Life Photo - Mustang River
Mustang number three – A River Runs Wild, a.k.a. River. This guy had a rough start, but he’s probably the biggest lover we’ve got.

 I often feel sheepish as I know they are waiting for me to impress them with tales of riding or rodeo antics.  And the truth was I used to always feel guilty because I wasn’t a great rider, heck if I’m honest, riding still scares me.

And then one day, someone asked me once again, and the right answer finally came to me.  We love them. We simply love them.

Because that is the truth.  They got their second chance at life and love at the farm, and they are our family members.  We even moved to the farm so that they would have room to roam and play, and yes that is also why we ended up with more.  (Just a friendly warning, horses are like potato chips.  One is never enough.)

We’ve built stalls and runs. We brush them, share carrot snacks, and love on them.  Sometimes Cowboy even rides them. (I don’t call him Cowboy for nothing.)

Could this have happened with any horse?  Maybe, but I like to think it’s the magic of the mustang.  The deep connection they make with their humans.  They simply love us.

P.S. A version of this story was submitted to the America’s Mustang Essay Contest.  While I was not a winner, these great equines make me feel like a winner each day.

Adventures Away From the Farm · Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Where Did January Go?

Somehow we’ve lost track of time here at the farm, and it’s already February. We can hardly believe it’s been since early December that we took the time to stop, sit down, and actually write a blog. Yikes! The critters are definitely scolding me for not sharing all of their delightful antics with their adoring fans. So what has been going on with farm life since the holidays?  Here are a few of our latest adventures.

Farm Photo - Busted gate
River knocks the gate off the hinges. Nightmare investigates.

The great escape – River the mustang got crafty and busted out of his stall one night.  While he used force to knock his gate off the hinges, he used is agile lips to unlock the stalls of his two brothers.  Who needs opposable thumbs?  We awoke to a gelding party at the hay, while poor Suzy Q watched on.  Clearly this was a boys adventure.  And just in case fun was not enough, in his great escape River managed to finagle a minor injury to his eye, and so we helped the vet to have a merry Christmas.  He’s healed.  Gates are fixed.  And new gate locks installed, thumbs required.

Cat Photo - Chip
The tough but lovable little Chip. Happily using his box again and dining like a king.

Litter box bingo – Chip the kitty ended up with a bladder blockage.  How did we know?  Poor cat was howling and licking like he had lost his mind or was desperate to find a girlfriend.  Freaked this farm mama out!  And yes, in case you were wondering, these things happen in the middle of the night. How else is a cat to gain his person’s attention?  The result was 48 hours in the kitty hospital and a new food.  Since feeding seven cats separately is not an option (remember the EDS commercial where cowboys herded cats), the $60-per-bag cat food has turned dinner time from kibble to ooo-la-la delicious for all the farm felines.

 

 

Adventures Away From the Farm - NYC
Cowboy and I visit the big city at Christmas.

 

Country mice visit the city – December also offered Cowboy and me the opportunity to get away for a couple of days, so we headed to New York City (just imagine the voice of the Pace Picante guy saying that.)  It’s been on my bucket list for years to see the city all lit up for Christmas.  And let me tell you, it was definitely spectacular.  Cowboy must have looked like a trustworthy southerner, as he was often asked to take folks’ pictures and even for directions on the subway.  I guess they don’t think a cowboy will run off with their phone and will actually take the time to stop to help them figure out how to navigate the maze.  He did not disappoint!

We had a fabulous time, but these two country mice were more than happy to wave farewell to the big city and settle back into Texas.  Cowboy’s face lit up as we landed back in the lone star state and drove back home to the farm, population 2 humans and 16 critters.

So we welcome in the New Year (although a little late), and hope you’ll stick with us through 2015 as we continue to share stories that inspire us and make us laugh, and occasionally offer a tip or two for country living.

Wishing you a blessed 2015 from our farm to yours.

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Twas the Night Before Christmas – Farm Style

This Christmas season has been a busy one at the farm with critter antics and adventures galore.  Stories are coming, but we wanted to wish all of our farm fans a very merry Christmas with our version of Twas the Night Before Christmas, farm style of course.  We hope you enjoy.  God bless!

Twas the Night Before Christmas – Farm Style

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the farm,
Every creature was stirring, making one noisy barn.
While stockings were hung on the horse stalls with care,
Ranger hoped they’d be filled with carrots to share.

The dogs, they were dancing all over our bed,
Wiping visions of sleep right out of our heads.
Cowboy in his boots, and I in my coat,
Decided rest was not coming. Nope. Nope. Nope.

When out in the barn there arose such a clatter,
We dashed in to see what could be the matter.
Nightmare the cat had cornered a mouse.
Oh dear me, not another. When will we build a house?

The moon shone above all our crazy below,
Water troughs glistened like new fallen snow.
When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
Jack rabbits, turkeys, and all sizes of deer.

My eyes, they lit up with the critters anew,
Cowboy chimed in, “No ma’am, not one more for you.
These critters are guests, and they’re just passing through.
There’s no room at the inn, all the bills have come due.”

I smiled and I nodded, a wink in my eye.
I realize he’s right, I cannot tell a lie.
But I love all our critters, odd quirks and all,
Even when dogs chew shoes and horses bust stalls.

“Now Dixie! Now Goober! Now Maybelle and Shadow!
Oh Willie! Oh Grizzly! Oh Chip, Bear, and Rhino.
We must get a grip if we want to see Christmas.”
Nighttime is ending, please Santa don’t miss us.

We called to the fur-kids to gather around,
We begged and we pleaded, “For once settle down.
Christmas is coming, and Santa is near.
Let’s make sure there’re snacks for all the reindeer.”

Suzy and Smokey, River and Ranger,
Set out their buckets, while we found the manger.
Mama and Sweetie shared their best hay,
As we looked to the sky, soon it would be Christmas day.

Sleep fell over the farm as we finished our chores,
Peace and rest came in the sound of sweet snores.
When out on the porch I heard the chimes blowing,
I peeked out the window to find it was snowing.

Just at the moment, I saw old Saint Nick.
He was chubby, and jolly and ever so quick.
I jostled poor Cowboy so he wouldn’t miss it.
Rubbing his eyes, he said, “Is it Christmas?”

Tears filled our eyes as we watched what came next,
Santa bent down, his hat to his chest.
He was saying a prayer by the manger so sweet,
Asking the Lord to meet all of our needs.

I watched as the critters all gathered around,
They joined dear old Santa, with heads all bowed down.
The scene on the farm this Christmas morn,
Reminded us why our Christ was born.

He came down to Earth to set our hearts free,
To love every person, even Cowboy and me.
We remember at Christmas and all the year through,
Jesus has blessed us with our own little zoo.

So from our farm to yours, we offer this wish.
From people to donkeys, to dogs, even fish.
We pray this New Year will bring blessings to all.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a Texas yeehaw!

Merry Christmas from MyFarmtasticLife

Farmtastic Tips

Hay String Everywhere

If you have horses, or equine of any variety, and you are feeding square bales of hay, you, like Cowboy and me, probably have baling string coming out of your ears.  The problem with baling string is that the stuff is just plain useful, and it makes it hard to part with.  Many a time Cowboy and I have been working on a fence panel or hanging a fly catcher only to find ourselves hunting a piece of baling string.  The stuff is tough.  Heck, it holds weighty bales of hay together.

Now as I’v mentioned before, cleaning is certainly not one my fave farm chore as country life is dusty, but this farmgirl loves to organize and find interesting  new uses for old things.  So for you collectors of hay string, try this one on for size.  All you need is an empty tissue box, or two or three depending on how much string you want to keep.

First, take your string and tuck it (or stuff it) into the box.  You’ll be surprised how much that little box can hold.

Fartmtastic Tip Photo - Tissue box for hay string
Use an ordinary empty tissue box to tuck your hay string into.

 

Then, when you are ready to pull out a piece of string, simply hold your hand over the opening, and pull out a piece of string.

Farmtastic Photo - Hay string in a tissue box
To pull out string, simply cover the opening with your hand and pull.

 

Finally, add a box to your tack room or garage to have that amazing baling hay string on hand whenever you need it.  (As you can see from the photo, I’m a farmgirl who loves a container and an organizing system.  No matter how simple!)

Farmtastic Photo - Organized tack room shelves
Tack room shelves – organization complete with tissue box full of string.

 

From one farmgirl to another, I hope you find this tip helpful, because if you are anything like me, you just don’t need one more thing to trip over.

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Horse vs. Post

It’s been a wild couple of weeks around the farm, to say the least.  First, Yeller Feller spent his designated time at the vet to get his shots and get neutered.  Great news, he is a healthy little guy.  However, he and Nightmare are still working out the pecking order in and around the barn.  There’s been some hopping, some growling, and some swatting. (We are hopeful it will settle out soon, because this farm mamma likes to have happy fur-kids.)

The big news has been with Sweet Suzy Q.  She tested out her karate skills and took out a 4×4 post.  While I didn’t see it happen, I suspect she got in a situation where the fellas were annoying her, she bucked and took out the post.  While she is a black belt, she did a number on her back right leg, requiring over 20 stitches and resulting in two weeks of rest and healing.

Farm Photo - Busted 4x4 post
Horse vs. Post. Suzy beat the post, but the post left its mark on her, too.

As I’ve said before, these things don’t happen during business hours.  And to add a new twist, she not only did this late at night, but she waited until Cowboy wasn’t home.  I guess she just wanted to see just how much her mamma could cowgirl up.  (Thanks for the challenge, sweet girl!)

Once again, we owe great thanks to our amazing equine vets at Peak Performance Equine Hospital.  Our regular vet was out of town, but he called me right back and got in touch with the vet on call.  After exchanging texts and photos (another amazing way technology helps in a not so technical life), we decided the best bet was a night time visit.

Since Cowboy was still a couple of hours away, I called my dad in for some help and an extra set of hands.  As always, Dad came in a snap when I called him.  (Yes, I’m a daddy’s girl. More on that later.) We got Suzy all prepped and ready and waiting for the vet.  What a relief to see the headlights of the vet truck pull into the drive.

Out in the driveway with headlights and barn lights shining, the vet worked his magic and had Suzy stitched up in no time. Great news – the bone looked good and she missed her tendon. (Oh, and thank goodness for the drugs.  Suzy was a little dopey but she stood like a champ. Truth be told, I probably could have used a little something myself.)

Horse Photo - Ranger, Smokey, and River
The fellas keeping watch over Suzy. They don’t love that she is not out with them.

The doc  was patient as I asked lots of questions and took notes on exactly how to take care of our Q so that we could make sure she would be on the mend. We’ve been on the twice-a-day antibiotic regiment, changing wrappings, and trying to give sweet girl some extra loving.  Admittedly she’s getting a little stir crazy, so today I took her out on her lead rope and let her nibble some fresh grass.

The vet comes again this week and will remove the stitches and give us an update.  We’ve been so grateful for all of the prayers and concerns for Suzy.  All is looking great.  We checked in last week with the vet and did X-rays as a precaution, and the bone looked great.  And best of all, there is no pain.

Horse Photo - Sweet Suzy Q in the pasture
Suzy enjoying some munching in the pasture today. She needed to stretch her legs.

So as we keep the adventures rolling here at the farm, we hope they take a turn for the less dramatic.  Right now we’re waiting to see how big the cucumbers in the garden grow, and that is enough drama for this week.

P.S. – Sweet Suzy Q rocked out her vet wrap as we got her teal with stars.  And when I say we, I mean me.  I’ll take the responsibility for this one.  Cowboy is off the hook.

Horse Photo - Sweet Suzy Q
Suzy rocking the teal and star vet wrap. No one says a girl shouldn’t look pretty.

 

 

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Not During Business Hours

We’ve been pretty blessed on the farm, and all of our animals are getting along really well.  We like to think it comes from a lot of love from us and absolutely wonderful vets, both equine and small animal.  On occasion, things go off course and someone gets hurt or injured, and of course when this happens it’s always at odd times.  What do I mean by odd times? Night, weekends, and holidays – when the price and the panic level both rise!

The latest adventure belongs to Ranger. It was once said that Ranger should have been named Dennis the Menace because he simply can’t keep himself out of trouble.  It’s not that he’s looking for trouble or mean in any way, his imagination just always gets the best of him.

On a recent Wednesday evening, Cowboy and I ran into town to grab dinner and groceries.  When we got home, we went out to check on the horses and low and behold there stood Ranger with a horrible gash on the left side his face, hide just hanging there.  Now, for those who know me you know that I have a weak stomach for these things, so I immediately called for Cowboy to take a peek by yelling into the barn, “Come look at Ranger. He hurt himself.”

This got Cowboy’s eyes rolling because, let me just admit this right now, I am a bit neurotic about the critters. I watch them for changes, scrapes, any little thing.  Cowboy is used to this cry from me, and normally it’s nothing or even less than nothing.  So he comes sauntering out with that look that says, “Come on, it’s late.”

Cowboy takes one look, and I hear him say, “Oh man.  That’s not good.”  Which means, you guessed it, call the vet.  Cowboy is a firefighter/paramedic in his day job, so he’s seen a thing or two, and when he votes for medical attention, I pay attention.  After texting back and forth with the vet to share pictures of the injury, it was decided Ranger needed to go to the vet that night

Oh, one minor detail I forgot to mention, this was right after the great ice storm in Texas this past December, which then turned into a mud-pocalypse in our pasture. Cowboy dutifully climbed on the big red tractor and pulled out our horse trailer.  (Oh how I love tractors, but more on that another day.) We load Ranger, lock up the farm and head to the vet.

Long story short, stitches are required, as are drugs.  This is the first time in Ranger’s life he’s been sedated, at which point we learned not only is he goofy when drugged, but he is STUBBORN.  It was great fun getting his groggy hind end back in the trailer for the ride home.  Picture us out in the parking lot, me and the vet pushing on his rump and Cowboy pulling on his front.  Oh what a sight we were!

Back to the farm we went, supplied with medicines and thankful hearts.  Ranger just missed his eye, so we were definitely counting our blessings. Two weeks later, stitches came out and Ranger is on the mend.  The great news is that it looks like there won’t be a scar on his handsome face (because as you know he is my Fabio).

Big thanks to our wonderful vets who always fit us in, night or day or holiday.  We couldn’t live this farmtastic life without you!

P.S. – We found how Ranger injured himself. It was a rogue screw high up on a piece of equipment.  It was an absolute fluke that he found it, but it has been fixed.  Thanks to Cowboy of course, who was up at dawn the next day hunting the source of the injury.  They may be “my” horses, but I know how he really feels about them.

Farmtastic Updates

Critter Resolutions

It’s that time of year when gyms fill with hopeful new members, weight loss commercials jam the air waves, and we all resolve to strive to be better versions of ourselves in the coming year.  Which of course got me thinking about life around the farm, and just exactly what would the animals resolve for 2014 (or rather what would I wish that they would resolve to do).

So to get the year started off right, here’s a few words from the critters here on the farm.

From the horses

  • Ranger – Everyone knows that I’m the looker on the farm, so I resolve to get my gorgeous mane in fewer knots.  Mom loves to brush me, but I don’t enjoy the talking to that I get when I’m a mess.
  • Sweet Suzy Q – I love to eat, in fact it’s my favorite thing, but sometimes I get a wee bit pushy when it comes to dinner time, banging gates and what not. I resolve to take it easy on the gates and other things that I find to make noise, as I know my mom and dad always keep me in great grain and hay.
  • Smokey – Well I’m often full of hot air just blowing at everything new that comes my way, so I resolve to tone it down a bit.  I mean my mom and dad know that I’m really just blowing smoke (ha ha)!
  • River – I’ve really come to love my humans, so I resolve to continue to build up my confidence.  Oh, and to take my wormer much easier.  Dad really doesn’t love being covered in wormer paste.

From the donkeys

  • Mama Rose – I resolve to finally let my humans pet me.  I mean it’s been four years and they spoil us so much, it’s really the least I could do.
  • Sweetie Pie – I resolve not to chase or bite my humans’ cars (or their family members’ cars).  While they are quite yummy, I truly do prefer some fresh hay.

From the dogs

  • Goober – I resolve to get a grip when Cowboy asks me to go outside.  It is very silly that I act like my legs are totally new and go slipping and sliding out the front door.  And Cowboy has been nothing but nice to me, so I suppose I could give him a break.
  • Dixie Doodlebug – I resolve to eat a little less and walk a little more. I mean in my younger days I was a tennis ball chasing fool, but no one is fully buying that it’s just my thyroid.
  • Abby – I resolve to try to cut down on the shedding.  While I do love leaving my signature white puffs floating all around, my mom would love it if we could make a vacuum cleaner bag last more than a week.
  • Maybelle – Well I am just so darn cute, I don’t really know why I need to resolve to do anything differently other than just being my sweet adorable self. My mom may disagree, but I’m sticking to it.

From the cats

  • Rhinoceros – I resolve to torment the dogs a little less, although I do love watching over their water bowl as they salivate and wish I would move.
  • Willie – I resolve to be more patient with Maybelle.  I’m doing my best to school her into being a proper pup, but she is just so enthusiastic it wears my old bones out.
  • Shadow, Bear, Grizzly, and Chip – Since we’re a little family within the farm family, we decided on a family resolution, which is that we will not run around like crazy cats at night when it is time to go to bed.  It really does wear our humans out and we are truly grateful that they took us in.
  • Nightmare – Since I’m the true barn cat around here, I resolve to continue to prowl the barn, but when I find great prizes, e.g. mice, I won’t always display them quite so proudly, as it really freaks out my mom.

And as the human that belongs to all of these wonderful critters, I resolve to keep up with our blog much better so that they can share all of their antics with you.

Best wishes and blessings for 2014 – from our farmtastic life to yours!

Dog and Cat Photo - Maybelle, Goober, Willie
This is what Dixie thinks about resolutions, just hide them under the cat. Maybelle of course, being adorable.

 

Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

It’s a Dusty, Dandy Life

Love and marriage might go together like a horse and carriage, but when it comes to country living it’s dust and dirt that have the perfect marriage.  And to be honest, the horses (and their carriage) love it!

Living in the country simply comes with a lot of dust and dirt, and if you want to keep your sanity, you just have to get over it.  I remember when I used to visit folks who had horses and barns (long before my horse days).  We would walk out into the barn and everything would be covered in a thin layer of dust, and I used to think, “Sheesh, don’t they ever clean this place?”  To all of you, I am deeply sorry.

Having lived the country life for three years now, I have finally given in to the dust and the dirt.  I mean, you can spend your days with brooms, dust pans, hoses, and my favorite, the leaf blower, or you can spend your days hugging the neck of your horse, brushing manes, and sitting on the porch.  Frankly,  the latter appeals to me a whole lot more.

To be fair, I’ve never loved cleaning, but I do my best. I grew up in a house that could pretty much pass the white glove test at any time.  My mom’s mortal enemy is dust, and it still is today.  In fact, we have a long running family joke about the fancy formal living room coffee tables circa 1974 that were shellacked to a high sheen (say “amen” if you know what I mean).  Dusting them was the bane of my existence.  When my mom finally upgraded her furniture several years back, she quipped, “You sure you don’t want these tables?”

I was quick to respond with “Are you kidding me?  Do you know how many hours of therapy those tables cost me?”

And not only do you just have to deal with it, I actually find myself spending cold hard cash on dirt, well sand, but you get the gist. Where we live, when it rains our dirt turns to gumbo.  That thick, gloppy mess that will turn a girl’s boots into 10-pound weights, that is if you are lucky enough not to have them sucked off of your feet.

To help with this lovely little dilemma, we’ve brought in truck loads of sand to mix around the horse stalls and work area.  And in case you are wondering, dirt ain’t cheap, which you are gently reminded of on hot dusty days as your precious sand is blowing around.  The wind whispers “cha-ching” in your ear as the dirt you actually want slowly slips away.  So while some girls get to dream of spending money on new sofas, I dream of sandy soil.  My what has happened to me?

And if not for the dirt and dust that just blow around, the animals will make sure you have plenty of extra.  For example, Nightmare the barn cat, loves to roll in the dirt and sand and turn his shiny black coat into a lovely shade of tan.  Sweet Suzy Q loves nothing more than a good rain to roll around in the mud and fill up her beautiful mane with mud clumps, resulting in bath time, which is a whole other story altogether.

So there you have it.  Country life is filled with sand, mud, and dust.  But when a big old dusty horse slobbers all over your shoulder and leaves a dirt print on your favorite T-shirt, you think dirt is just about the best thing you’ve ever seen.

Horse Photo - Ranger with his nose in the air
This is what Ranger thinks of the dust. It is just dandy!
Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Who Said Horses Weren’t Expensive?

I have a confession.  It was not that many years ago that I was afraid of horses.  I’m talking you-would-not-find-me-on-the same-side-of-a-fence-with-a-horse frightened.  Now as an animal lover, I also thought they were beautiful, but just never could address my fear to get near them.  Because quite simply – they are BIG animals!

However, for years my dad has had a sweet quarter horse named Buddy that he  boarded.  And while he paid for boarding and vet bills, he used to say, “Oh, you’ll spend more on your dog to get shots than a horse.” And since I had no point of reference, I believed him.  I’ve also come to learn this was his way to gently poke at my mom for the vet bills for their dogs.  But let me just say, me oh my  have the last five years been an eye opener for me.

In 2008, enter Ranger.  A sweet little yearling that stole my heart.  The thought crept into my brain, “I can do this.”  So we adopted Ranger from the BLM, and our adventure began.  If you are a total newbie like me, you’re in for a royal shocker.  While I loved my little guy, the accessories that he needed were awe inspiring.  Here are a couple of things I learned about my horse and his accessories:

  • A Horse Trailer – You can’t put the horse in the backseat of your car.
  • Hay and Feed – If you are in Texas, don’t count on growing it.  If drought comes, you might as well feed dollar bills to your horses.
  • Halters – Headstalls, rope halters, bits.  Why have one of each when you can have three of each?
  • Pedicures – Not just for you anymore.  Those little horsey hooves need pampering too. Your farrier will be your new best friend, and prepare yourself and your checkbook to see him every six to eight weeks.
  • Brushes – There are SO many kinds.  We humans have nothing on horses in this department.
  • Muck Rakes – Let’s just say, what goes in must come out, and you’ve gotta have a way to clean it all up.
  • Buckets – For feed, for water, and just for carrying stuff.  Trust me, the more the merrier in this department
  • Vet – Oh how I adore my vet.  And I’m willing to pay the fee to have him come to me so that I can avoid the rounding up, loading up, hauling, unloading, reloading, hauling home routine.  Not to mention the times he has to make a trip out for an ailing equine (and just so you know, it will be night time, the weekend, or a holiday because that’s just how they roll).
  • Fences – Building or repairing, there is always one on the to-do list.
  • Stalls – Every horse needs a wind break from north winds, or a place to get out of the rain (even if they don’t choose to).
  • Random Meds – You must have a medicine cabinet for your horse just in case for cuts, scrapes, aches.  Horses are people too!
Photo - 4 Rope Halters for Horses
Just a sampling of our rope halter collection. Yes they are color coordinated, and we have a color for each horse. Is there any other way?

Oh, and around our place just multiply this by four.  Because, like halters why have just one?  All of this makes me scratch my head and say, “Really Dad, not expensive?”

Needless to say, this is one of those instances in life when I think I am perfectly within my rights to tell my dad he was very, very, very wrong.  However, I can also say father knows best.  Horses have changed my life. Taught me so much about myself, and I can’t imagine looking out into the farm’s pastures and not seeing my big, loveable guys and gal.

So if your heart is leading you to the horse, just make sure you know your way to the bank.