Meet Popsicle and Frosty

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So Saturday night Troy was working on the Chevelle when he  heard mewing, and there was a tiny kitty struggling through the tall grass straight for him. 

He brought her in (at 1 AM), and I told him to take her back to the barn and put her in the hay where her mom could find her. The next morning there were 2 kittens out there, and I still didnt see mom. 
I gave them some food and decided to check on them after we got home… they were pretty much chasing everything that moved at this point, doing the kitty version of ‘Will you be my mommy’. When Popsicle headed for the horses and was only saved from being squished under a hoof by soft mud I decided That was that, and in they came. I put them in a box in a tote with a heating pad and a cozy sweatshirt and mixed up some cat food with water and a touch of cream.

Cows milk is not a great idea, but it’s what I had and I only used a little since it was Sunday and they didn’t have anything like goat milk at the local store. 

I checked the price of KMR at the co-op on Monday and yeowch! Pricey. I put out a call on the local FB page for goat’s milk, and learned walmart carries it. Then a local mommy contacted me and said I could have the can she had been hanging onto for a couple of years.  How kind, right? There are a lot of good people out there. So I’ve been mixing that up with a little Iams grain free canned food and some egg yolk. I’m thinking I’ll add some other things in as I go. So far they seem to be doing ok energy-wise. Today Frosty had loose stools, so I’m concerned about that.

However,  Seven is completely obsessed. 😍 I keep a pretty close eye on her. She’s not as gentle as Beulah, and she gets a little rough in trying to keep the kitties rounded up.

I Think It’s Winter

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I keep telling myself ‘at least there’s no mud’ and ‘hey, the fleas and skeeters won’t be so bad next summer’.

I try to be all optimistic like that.

The truth is I’m flipping freezing and feeling whiny about it.

Yippee skippee it’s pretty out, and with only a quarter moon you don’t need a flashlight when you’re doing chores after dark, but even with a tank heater I have to beat on the ice in the trough with a sledge hammer at least twice a day… 20170105_162911.jpg

Guess I’ll be buying a bigger unit before next year…. 250 watts doesn’t cut it in a good sized tank at 5 degrees.

Of course, I guess I can’t whine, it’s my own fault. I wasn’t paying attention and a loop of cord was still hanging out the barn door when it started raining on the 8 inches of snow we had. When it started raining I thought the snow would do what it nearly always does here…. Go Away! Nope. Not this year.

It slipped off the barn roof and froze in a big pile. Hard. It hasn’t been very far out of the single digits all week. That’s bad, for you not-Americans with your Celsius weirdness. That’s like, what, -25 for you? Hey, that sounds pretty wicked… maybe I’ll stick with that. Then my ND friends will call me out and mock me…. Shut Up Maria, I know I’m a weenie ….

So my awesome 100 foot extension cord effectively has a big old chunk in the middle frozen to the ground under 2 feet of ice. I won’t be seeing that till April or so, the way things are going.

Of course, the dogs love it to bits, especially Her Highness Furball Corginess. Admittendly, Seven only loves it for like 5 minutes…. just until she can get back in front of the wood stove.20170105_160910.jpg

Which brings me to my next frozen thing…. My farm truck. My truck is in the doorway of the barn. Frozen to the ground. Yeah, that’s what I said. It rained and made puddles, then there was a hard freeze and snow cycle, and we have tires frozen to the ground. I’m not totally sure what to do about that… Wait until April?20170105_162345.jpg

Despite the cold today was our scheduled pedicure day for the horses, so Derek did the work in the barnyard rather than in the barn because of the truck-shaped cork in the barn door. The weather was pretty and the ground solid enough to do it easily outside the barn. Woolly boots and lots of layers made it comfortable. The horses stand quietly like champs, so we didn’t have to stay long in the cold.

The short girls were very happy to score some hoof trimmings, too. Hoofsicles, anyone? No? 20170105_161632.jpg

So have fun with winter  … I’ll be sitting next to the stove trying to thaw my toes …

 

 

Gluten-free Crackers Are Nasty

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Independent triple-blind taste tests have now confirmed unequivocally that gluten-free crackers have all the taste and nutritional value of dried fix-all spackle.

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Three days. Three dogs. Still uneaten.
These are dogs that don’t let a Ritz hit the ground.  For whom potato chips are ambrosia from the gods….. Dogs who will eat until they bloat…. and yet here it is. Yup. Nasty. When the dog who loves kibble won’t eat it,  there you go.

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Dear Every Novelist I’ve (not) Read Lately;

Normal people don’t ride stallions. The old west was not full of stallions. People did not let their 12-year-old daughters ride stallions. All war horses were not stallions.

Stallions are really just kind of a pain in the tuchus for the most part, honestly. Yes, I have known some really good stallions that were like kid’s horses. I’ve known some stallions that could teach most men a thing or two about how to romance the female of the species. Of course, the alternative to politeness is getting his block knocked off, so I guess stallions learn from mares, too. Because I am a flipping genius and accidentally deleted the wrong version of Lightroom off of my computer (and I’m having to redownload and redo my collections) I won’t share some of my old stallion photos right now. A moment of silence for my fried brain pan……….. Thank you.

Wadduda

Actually the Bedouin valued mares for warfare, and if you want to get lost in war mare stories, do a search of Wadduda. These mares of desert descent are just special, in the best sense of the word. There are a lot of people that don’t appreciate Arabs and don’t understand what they’re dealing with, that there’s really a lively mind in there that thrives on human contact in a way that many other breeds don’t. It’s kind of like the difference between a herding dog and other breeds of dogs. It’s a codependent relationship, with both individuals having input on how best to handle matters. Many people just want to dominate their animals, they don’t want feedback, just control. There are animals out there that are bred for that kind of relationship, but Arabs are not. They think and remember, and they’ve got your number. I admit, I got totally lost in stories about people’s horses this morning and it really brought back some memories for me.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Stallions. They are independent males who are designed to protect, fight for, and breed mares, and are a challenge to handle because of that. A thousand pounds of testosterone-fueled mojo. Granted, a good horse that has been used to pasture breed and been properly socialized can be a pleasure to work with in the right hands, but they’re not for casual use, and no Victorian Era father would be buying one for his teenage daughter. Most modern boarding farms won’t take them, and I doubt old-time livery stables would be any different. All you need is one mare in heat to walk by and suddenly you have an adventure on your hands, and honestly the mares are no better than the stallions when hormones are running high.

Because they are so known for random mayhem many shoers won’t work on them. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. As a matter of fact, while trimming a friend’s horses we were all standing around shooting the breeze between catching horses when the horseshoer adamantly insisted she wouldn’t work on stallions, no way, no how. Ironically, she was unknowingly trimming the hind foot of a stud while saying it. Caught off-guard, we all stood quietly for a moment, long enough for her to look up from the hind hoof she was shaping and say ‘What?’ One of us told her to look to her left… Sure enough, there they were, still where God hung them. She dropped that foot and looked at us. Looked at him. Looked at us. She never did get over how good that horse was, and allowed that not all stallions are nuts. Of course, he was Arabian, and had been raised like a normal horse running with other horses in a field, as well as handled daily. 😉

So, please, Dear Novelists, Editors and Reviewers, listen to me. All of us who know and love horses drop your books like hot potatoes when you get it wrong about stallions. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I figure if you’ve got that simple fact wrong, you’ve probably gotten a bunch of other stuff wrong too and I’m not going to waste time on 300 more pages of badly researched silliness. Get a proofreader and you’ll be sure to sell more books. You can’t appeal to the horse crowd if you don’t know horses. Sorry. I know it’s not as cool to say your heroine galloped away on her gelding or mare, but horse people feel as strongly about this as you feel about comma placement. Just saying.20160525_071944.jpg

Country Corgis are Dirty Corgis

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Sometimes I feel really bad when I see fluffy clean Corgis online…. because Beulah just isnt.  She gets baths, but the reality is that as soon as she’s clean we go for a walk and, well, there we go again.  Poofy puppies and mud mix entirely too well. The borgles don’t have this problem.  They can wade through mud all day and it just cracks and falls off, leaving no evidence. They’re Teflon! 
Saturday it was beautiful,  so we walked in the woods and Beulah came home looking like she’d been mud bogging. … and I guess she did!

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Notice that she’s refusing to look at me ….
Then she casually yawned, and her opinion of my paparazzi ways became clear.

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Evil Corgi face, indeed! Point taken.

Seed Starting, Part Deux

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Once the pots were made, which I posted about here, I then got busy and started getting seeds around. I labeled zippered freezer bags with the varieties inside, dampened paper towels, and used a damp pencil to pick up individual seeds and place them on the damp towels. Dipping the pencil in water creates surface tension (remember sophomore biology?) that makes handling tiny seeds easier.20160413_170344.jpg20160413_165852.jpg

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I couldn’t find my heating pad anywhere, so I tried using a heat lamp, and kinda cooked some of them. I think the eggplants are done for, as they never sprouted at all, and these are Chadwick cherry tomatoes. They don’t look so good. The pencil trick works for the little seedlings, too. Be very careful with the roots, they rip easily if you are too rough while pulling them off the paper towel. 20160420_104051.jpg

The Marigolds did much better, though.

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I mixed my own seed starter mix, using 3 parts peat moss, 1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite, and a couple spoonfuls of lime to offset the acidity of the peat. I also threw a dash of chicken manure in just for grins and giggles. Yes, I know about peat moss not being a very renewable resource, but it’s all that’s available at our hardware and it’s 35 miles to the next town. I’d use coconut coir if it was available. Next time I’ll probably order it off of Amazon, although I do try to shop local.

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The rope light is to go under the newspaper lined cookie sheet that I have placed the pots in to keep the bottom warm. I then poured about 20 oz of water into the cookie sheet, to moisten everything so the paper wouldn’t wick away the moisture in the potting mix. I also sprayed the tops with a squirt bottle.20160420_131053.jpg

I used the pencil to jab a hole down into the potting mix so the root would go in nicely, then put the baby plant in.

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I then wrapped the cookie sheet and pots in a plastic garbage bag and placed it close under a fluorescent light with one cool bulb and one warm one that I hung from my pantry cabinet door handles. Some of the pots have seedlings, some just have seeds. Now I have to wait (im)patiently ….

Obligatory Chubby Stubby Photo Op:

Meanwhile, Boo is all smiles because she’s the boss of all things motorized and there are manly noises being made. 🙂

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… although she is deeply concerned because Dad is on her truck and she can’t adequately supervise from over here …. what to do, what to do ….

Homemade Seed-starting Pots

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So, every year I get spring fever and go drooling and slavering over the seedlings at the nursery, co-op, and local hardware store (s). I just can’t stop myself. There’s always that moment where I have to tell myself that the mortgage matters and the bank won’t care how great the garden is. They need to have a Gardener’s Anonymous. It would probably sound a lot like NA at first …. “I started with just a little pot, you know? I thought it was no big deal …..”

Anyway, the price of 4 inch pot sized starts adds up really fast at 2 to 4 dollars a pop. And buying starter pots is pricier than it needs to be as well, not to mention that they’re made of plastic and I really don’t want to contribute to that mess. Some years back before the market crash I read on a European blog about making starter pots from newspaper. Back then everyone here in the US seemed to think they had to buy a disposable plastic seed tray to ‘do it right’ rather than paper and cookie sheets. I’m happy to say I’ve found a lot of frugal and environmentally friendly websites have blossomed since then. 🙂
So here is my contribution to the electronic peer pressure saying you can second-guess the marketing pressure, save some dollars, be a self-sufficient DIYer and be all crafty and stuff.
Some sources out there start you out with pretty big pieces of newsprint,  but I found that about a 6-8″ strip is plenty big enough, and easy to tear by hand lengthwise. Use whatever size can works for you. I also used a stapler and tape, though some people just fold the bottoms under and fill them immediately.

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Then wrap around a can, leaving 2 or 3 inches hanging off the bottom.

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Foldy fold under like wrapping presents.

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Slap a piece of tape on that flap if you like, or not, if you’re going to fill it immediately, 

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I also stapled the flap on the side.

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And tada!

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I did all these while binging on Call the Midwife. You can’t cry, though, or you’ll smear newsprint on your face and end up looking like a chimney sweep…. hmmmm. Mary Poppins, anyone?

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When you plant you can leave them on the start and just open the bottom for the roots if you like, or remove and compost them. Have fun!

Good Dogs Drive Chevies

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So we decided we wanted apocalypse-proof Chevies for daily drivers, and Beulah approves. If I try to leave without her in the truck she chases me down the driveway barking after making me step over her to get in and then circling the vehicle madly in full herding mode.

The Malibu is a work in progress, and will probably get it’s own page, as there are so many really common issues that come up repeatedly on these old cars. Perhaps some articles may help someone looking to rebuild one of these beauties.

We have the car gutted, currently,  and she is having a good old time supervising since she can jump right in, even with her short little legs!

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…. but check the difference in her expression when our resident wrench-turner walks up! Lol

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She’s ready to jump up and give chase!

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If she could reach the pedals, you wouldn’t see her taillights for dust!