Month: October 2016

Horse Lover From The Beginning

Me riding Trigger

My mom says I got my start loving horses when I was about two years old. She set me on a spring rockinghorse at a friends house and I screamed when she tried to take me off to go home.

One day, she says, I cried all the way home.  When we finally got home and she got me to tell her what was wrong, I said, “I want to horse and I know I can’t have one.”

Finally after years of yearning and dreaming of horses, and reading every book the school library had about them, I bought my first pony.  He was a shetland stallion named Trigger.  I was 12 years old, had started babysitting for 50 cents an hour, and had the $20 needed to buy him.  My dad knew the guy down the road who owned him, and set the deal up for me.  I was able to keep him in the barn and corral he had been living in, for free, until I sold him.  I paid for his food and trimmed his feet myself.  The little barn and corral was about a block away from my house.  Sheriff Lily owned the land and after I sold my pony, he donated the land to the city.  It is now Lily Park.

Looking back, I am grateful for the opportunity my parents gave me to have something I wanted so dearly, and to let me pay for it and have the responsibility.  I don’t remember much of the twice daily trek to feed and care for my pony, but I do remember laying on the bales of hay in the barn while Trigger munched away on the hay I had given him, listening to the hundreds of little raindrops on the roof of the small, one stall barn.  I was in heaven.

Day 2 Wahls Protocol (day 1 was yesterday, when I wrote “I’m such a hypocrite!”)

Today I felt completely sapped of energy and strength.  Probably not because of eating healthier, but most likely because all the chocolate and sugar has worn off!  I spent most of the day sleeping.  Cheryl and Amber and Kaylee took care of the horses.  I wondered if I could stick to the diet.  I worried that without chocolate and sugar I would have no energy.  I had to remind myself that I am just recovering from many days of pushing myself with stimulants and sweets, and that after I recover, I will feel more energy.

I will also take more time to study the concepts and get the proportions correct.  Right now I am just eating what I know is not taboo.

This evening I began to feel a little better so I made a frozen fruit smoothie with coconut milk.  A real treat.  The rest of the day, I ate bananas or what other people fixed, and I slept most of the day.

Studying With The Horses

On sunny days like today we often hang out with the horses. Here I find Cheryl studying for her classes right next to the horses. They like to stand as close as they can to us when we are out side with them as these photos show. 

Of course, they’re probably hoping for a handout to, but even without handouts they want to see what we’re doing all the time.  It’s very endearing to us.

I’ve Been Such a Hypocrite!

This morning as Cheryl was mucking out the stalls, Bae escaped and was gorging on the lush green grass in the yard.  Cheryl was attempting to get her back in the corral but Bae was not having it.  Every time Cheryl got close, Bae’s body language was clear as she turned and moved quickly away.  She was not about to get caught and put back.

Cheryl came and got me from the house and I followed her to the back yard to see if I could catch the seemingly ravenous horse.  Bae was eating grass as fast as she could, probably swallowing some of the leaves whole so she could stuff more into her chewing mouth.  I hid the lead rope behind my back, held out an alfalfa treat, and approached her.  Surprisingly she let me pet her and put the rope around her neck.  Fashioning a make shift halter on her head, I quickly had her under control.  I pulled her head up and she pulled back.  I forced her head up. I felt like I was taking candy from a baby.  ‘Poor girl,’ I thought, ‘she is not supposed to ever have what she loves so much.’ —  Green grass is too sugary for Bae and Honey, they are both on the brink of laminitis.  Green grass to a horse in this condition is like pure sugar to a diabetic.

As I insisted, and pulled her away from her treat, I realized what a hypocrite I am.  I am not supposed to have sugar, or chocolate, or gluten, or dairy, but for the past couple weeks as I have been pushing myself to exhaustion working on the barn among other things, I have been eating whatever I wanted, especially chocolate candy bars, to rev my body up to do my bidding.  I know this is not good for me, or for my nerves, yet I continue to self destruct by binging on work and chocolate and cereal and milk and bread!

Pulling Bae away from that green grass, and seeing myself in her, greedily destroying her health, shifted something in me.  I decided if my horses have to be on a strict diet for their health, I can take care of my health too and be on a strict diet with them.  I have been on strict diets before.  I know the benefits, but slipping into binge eating for energy, and by so doing self destruct mode, is also a pattern I recognize in myself.  Today I  begin again, in earnest, to take care of my body as I take care of my horses bodies.

My daughters have been promoting the Wahls Protocol to me, which is a type of Paleo diet, so I will focus my eating attention on following this protocol.  I wrote a short book review about the Wahls Protocal earlier in my blog.  Click here to read it.

My Scarves For Sale at the Corvallis Art Center!  

Supersoft Merino wool and silk were used to make most of these scarves using a wet felting method.

This gorgeous, shiny brown scarf (above) was made with yak down and silk. Yak down is considered even softer and more insulative then wool.

My sister Krista runs the art shop at the Corvallis art center. I’m hoping to sell these oversized scarf/shaws this fall. Hopefully people will love them as much as I do!

Catching Water


The aluminum gutter system.  Pay no attention to the m&m’s you see in the picture. LOL  Those are for my kids . . . yeah, that’s the ticket . . . my kids.

My sister Cheryl and I had planned all along to set up a system to catch the rain water which would run off our various roofs, and utilize the water in some way.  After the recent 6″ of rain this past couple of weeks, which ran right off the corrugated metal roof and into an increasingly soggy corral, I got busy and bought some gutters for the barn roof.  I have a large watering trough that we can direct the flow into, which will lessen our dependency on the poor water flow we have with our well.  Plus, catching the water will keep the corral a whole lot less soggy!

My daughter Melanie and I went to Lowe’s and I bought the vinyl snap together gutters, with the rubber gaskets built in. The system looked easy to put together, they were light weight, and I wouldn’t have to mess with caulking or sealant.  I felt excited to get busy installing them, I imagined the job would be quick and easy!

We had a few dry days so I got busy assembling the vinyl gutter system . . . or at least I started.  I found out the system which looked so easy was NOT.  The rubber gasket made the task extremely difficult.  I even asked my 16 year old daughter, who is plenty strong, to help me push the pieces into place so they would snap into position.  We struggled.  We pried.  We brought out the wrenches.  With as much awkwardness as a team of student trappers setting a double figure four deadfall trap for the first time, we finally got the two pieces to snap into place, though we broke the coupler between the two 10 foot sections in our effort.  Then I realized I couldn’t put up any more of the brackets to hold the gutter mid section up because the brackets had to be put up before the gutter.  I had not put the brackets up first because assembling the pieces was even more difficult when standing on ladders.  I had had enough.  I took the part of the system we had installed down, and had my kids put the all the pieces back in the car so I could return the whole frustrating, poorly engineered, thing.

When I took everything in to Lowe’s, a lovely blue haired young woman at the return desk saw that some of the pieces were dirty and had caulking on them.

I mentioned that I had cut one gutter to size as well, and another piece broke when we were working to put two pieces together, but I wanted to return even the used pieces anyway because the system was too difficult to put together.

The young woman said they could not take returns of pieces that had been cut, caulked, or broken.

I said, “Don’t you think that if a person bought something that doesn’t work, even if they messed up a few pieces trying to install it, they should be able to return all of it and get their money back, even if parts of it were ruined?”

She thought that made sense (intelligent girl).

Then I showed her the coupler piece, which was still on the end of the cut and used gutter.  I asked her to help me take it off so I could show her how difficult it is to put on the gutter.  We both pulled, and the coupler piece slowly and reluctantly slid from the gutter.  Then I asked her to try to put it on again.  She tried.  She tried again.  Several times she tried to put the coupler back on.  She stopped trying and agreed it seemed impossible.  I told her it had taken both my daughter and I, two wrenches, and a lot of time, to put that one coupler piece on the gutter.  I wanted to just return it and get a different gutter system that was easier to put together.

She agreed and with new perspective took everything back, even the cut, caulked, and broken pieces.

I was happy she agreed with me, but had she not, I would have taken the matter to her superior because I felt quite justified in my expectation.  The young women and I had a nice conversation as she rang up the refund.  She was a confident and smart young lady.

Then I looked at the other vinyl gutter system, the one that does not have built in rubber gaskets.  I was looking a little perplexed because I could not fine all the parts I needed for that system.  A young man who worked there stopped and asked if I needed any help.

I explained there were missing pieces to the system.

He looked for the missing pieces and when he couldn’t find them he had to admit it was true.  He said he would be sure to let his boss know about the missing pieces.

I also told him, plus another young man who stopped to help, about the problem I had with the rubber  gasket system, so they would know to inform their other customers.

LOL!  I sound like such an old busybody lecturing those two young men!  Ha ha!

Finally, I decided to go with an aluminum gutter system and some sealant.  The two employees who were helping me gathered all the parts as I asked for them and helped me check to see if I could fit the pieces together well.  They were very attentive and helpful!  I joked that they didn’t stock all the parts for the other vinyl system so I would buy the more expensive metal gutter system (Hmmmmm)!

Possibly this is a blessing in disguise, though.  I imagine the aluminum gutter system will last a whole lot longer in the sun than the vinyl.   I’m pretty sure I can do the job, but some of the metal pieces will need a little bending as I put them together.  I will let you know how it goes.

The Vet Set Me Straight

I may have mentioned in a previous post that we are dealing with thrush in our horses hooves.  We had been using Blue Coat, a spray which contains Gentians Violet, and was recommended by our farrier.  After a month of fighting this fungus, I finally called the vet and asked what more we could do.

The message I left on the vet’s recorder, late one evening, stated all we had been doing, including providing a corral full of about 6 inch deep cedar hog fuel, topped with easy pick fine fir saw dust.  Also, keeping them in their stalls at night to let their feet dry well every day. Plus, we have been using Blue Coat daily after cleaning their hooves.

The vet called back the next morning and let me know that we are doing everything right except for using Blue Coat.  She said Blue Coat was not for thrush but for wounds.  She said we should use Thrush Buster, which we could buy over the counter.  I went and got some that day (yesterday).  When I got home I washed their hooves and covered them with little mesh booties I made so they would not get any debris up around the frog as their feet dried out, and kept them in their stalls, which had fresh straw on the floor, all day.  Later I took off the booties.  Their feet were so clean and dry, and I applied the Thrush Buster as directed.  I continued to keep them in their stalls overnight.  I will let you know how this works.  Thrush Buster is supposed to work with only one application.

Mairsiedotes Gets Some Much Needed Rest

When we brought Honey and Bae home, we kept them separate from Mairsiedotes because we were not sure how well they would get along, and Mairsiedotes, being only a year old, is much smaller than the older horses.  So we alternated which horses stayed in the corral and which stayed in the pasture.  This allowed them to interact through the fence without the risk of fighting.  After a while we saw the horses would prefer to stand by each other by the fence in the hot summer sun than stand in the shade away from each other, so we put them together and watched them all move to the shade.

Thepecking order was established, of course, with Honey as top mare, Mairsiedotes as second, and Bae on the bottom.  Things were all right though, until we stopped letting them into the pasture due to rain and mud.  We kept the horses in the corral because the corral has a base of hog fuel and fir shavings to keep their feet out of the mud. And we want to keep them out of the small pasture to keep the small pasture from becoming a mud pit.  Unfortunately, the small corral was not big enough for the three of them to abide peaceably together and Mairsiedotes was getting the brunt of Honey’s nips and kicks.

Knowing this problem cannot continue, Cheryl and I finished Mairsiedotes stall today so she could rest without fear tonight.

Cheryl said Mairsiedotes laid down (in her stall) for the first time since the pasture became off limits.  Then when she was done resting, she stood up and went near the other horses who were both standing near her stall wall.  They wanted to be near each other, and could interact over the short wall, but Mairsiedotes could feel safe from Honey’s picking on her.

%d bloggers like this: