interesting timing

Sunday morning I called the furniture gals we met at fair and asked if the old wagon wheel table we were drooling over was still available. It was. They offered to put a hold on it until we could get there. We had no intentions of buying furniture, but after giving it more thought it was too unique to pass up. We decided to go back to fair for another spin (ha, ha) and the table came home with us. If only that old wheel could talk!! Sorry, again no photo. I've been slacking in the photo taking department! 

Since we made another trip into fair, we decided to revisit a stallion we came across over the weekend. We weren't looking for a stud either, but when you find something you like you look into it. Brad bought Cierra with the intention of eventually breeding her. For now he is enjoying showing her, and wants to put more points on. It will be a few years before she is bred, and it will be just for us. We have more bloodline research to do, and plenty of time for things to change. I couldn't resist generating color possibilities. It's the last thing we care about, but it's fun & easy with this generator. Here is the potential breakdown:

Hollywood Glo Cody has a sweet disposition and as a bonus is a handsome guy. His previous owner of 10 years spent a significant amount of time telling us his story. She came all the way up from Texas because the horse had never been in a show environment, let alone a crazy fair. That alone tells you something about how special the horse is. The above name link is pedigree. He's got some nice reining lines. This is his page on the current owners website. If you've got thoughts, especially about bloodlines - please feel free to share or message me. 

Nothing has been decided, as this came out of no where. All we know for sure is when Brad decides to breed Cierra, it will be primarily based on disposition. Everything else is TBD (to be determined). Who knows what the future holds.

We arrived to find the studs stall empty. The person who was watching over their other stallions, told us he was about to do his first ever stallion review. We made a bee line over to the show building and got there just in time to watch:

We left fair afterwards, stopped at home to load tack and made the 40 minute drive up to the barn. It's a good thing we went when we did, instead of skipping fair and going in the morning. We arrived to an empty barn, and found our trainers brand new baby foal! Surprise!! The mare had started expelling afterbirth & the baby was just trying out her legs. We quickly realized nobody knew. 

The barn staff was at fair (in between chores) and our trainer was gone due to a family emergency. We called them both, and assured them we would take care of this surprise situation. Both her staff left fair anyways and came back as quickly as they could. They were a good hour away. Everything was done by the time they arrived, but they were very thankful.

babies first picture
Brad went to the farm store to get bedding & iodine to dip babies belly button. I stayed back to keep watch. With the help of a boarder who was out back with her horse, the three of us got mom & baby moved, bedded and taken care of. We figure the foal was born within the hour for sure (based on the other border's arrival & seeing the mare still pregnant) but more like 30 minutes or less.

We eventually enjoyed a nice ride outside in the sunshine. I completely forgot to take a photo of Brads new saddle. It was a day filled with interesting timing. The table, the stud, the foal - all of it. I know the phrase "things happen for a reason" is over used. Maybe it's all coincidence, but I believe.


fair findings

We survived another Midwest Horse Fair weekend! It never ceases to amaze me how different our experience is from year to year. I hate to say it, but for us this year it lacked pizzaz. We drove right into fair, all three days. No lines no waiting. Very odd. Some years it's taken 1.5 hours just to get through the gate and parking. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome to get in fast and get great parking.

For the most part, we did have a fun three days and enjoyed memorable experiences. However, fair was definitely lacking something (besides attendance). Just can't quite figure out what. Perhaps it's just us. We are in a different place in our lives and
 really just want to be with our horses and/or working on our land. Almost didn't even go on Sunday. The weather was sooo gorgeous. It's a good thing we did go!! You'll find out why later.

Here are my fair findings:

We shortened our shopping list this year, and didn't do any impulse buying. Altho I tried! First vendor we stopped at had a copper metal relief wall hanging that we both liked. While deciding on purchase, the vendor reached over my shoulder and slapped a sold sticker on it! I was stunned. Someone bought it minutes earlier. Funny part is, they said it's hung for 5 years in their shop and no one even asked about it. Oh well. Win some, lose some.

We picked up the custom saddle we ordered for Brad over a year ago. It turned out really nice! Workmanship is outstanding. Now we each have our forever saddle from Reed TackWe got our yearly supply of Nemo's hoof supplement, bug spray & Show Sheen. Koda also needed a new cinch. I am trying a new one that allows for more airflow (photo credit to Weaver):

We attended a couple Ranch riding clinics given by Butch Campbell & his AQHA Judge wife (from Texas) they really know their stuff. They were rider lesson based clinics. You can only watch so much of that, we opted to skip the remaining four. The part we enjoyed the most was watching Nemo's half brother & his girl riding in the clinics. Funny how certain characteristics carry through genetics.

The only other clinic we watched was by default. It was on working cattle, led by Sandy Collier. It was also lesson based. Looked fun, and challenging. Maybe someday I'll even give it a whirl? Nemo & especially Koda is bred for it.

The PRCA rodeo was blasé. Our seats were tucked in the corner, by the chutes. Good for behind the scene and chute release, but everything else was far far away. Brad talked to a couple other guys who said similar, along with "Animals Won, Cowboys None". Next year should be better, they'll have two nights of rodeo. 

My favorite photo from the rodeo:

The best part of fair this year were the new vendors we met. We had a ball chatting with the stall rep, sign maker and a couple furniture repurpose gals. It's fun talking future things for our new place!!

We left fair early Sunday afternoon to head up to the barn for a ride. Our horse filled weekend was topped off with an unexpected visitor...to be continued...


orange you glad

Last week I had an orange week. I couldn't help but notice, that bright orange was making a noticeable appearance in my life.

It started with my blooming Clivia's. I overwinter mine inside, until they can go outside to summer camp. They have the most magnificent blooms and smell mmm good too!

Shirley from Ride a Good Horse made a keen observation in my most recent building related post, asking about the unusual use of lilac flooring insulation. We are using it, because of something orange.

not an orange snake barrier

colorful orange water tubing is attached

cement will be poured directly on top
The lilac insulation is a heat barrier for heated floors. I learned some tubing runs hot & some runs cold. It alternates side by side. I've never seen it installed before, but I've felt it! It was interesting to see how they laid the colorful maze out on our basement floor. Orange you glad you asked ;)

The very same day, I stopped to photograph a damaged bridge that I've been wanting to shoot. I got so excited when an unexpected visitor came floating around the corner!! Bridge? What bridge? To heck with the bridge, I couldn't believe my eyes! I ran back to my truck to switch to my longer lens. Knowing moments like these are rare & fleeting. If only I had stayed calm and not given off so much frantic energy, he probably would have stuck around longer.

Favorite Color ~ 102/365 photo challenge
I had to look up this unique bird. He has a funny bump on his bill. Apparently it has to do with breeding season. I had no idea we have American White Pelican in our area. Orange was my favorite color *that day* for sure!! Click photo to get a closer look at the vibrant color around his eyes.

I wonder what, if anything, will stand out this week. Do you ever have those weeks?


productive weekend

In order to keep things progressing with the barn & house build, my guys are back to being weekend warriors...

Brad laid out the barn rooms earlier in the week
with spray paint (click to enlarge)
the front room begins to take shape
with a trenched wall support
our son floating concrete
I learned it's not called finishing, that is different
the front of the barn is still dug up
so they poured concrete the old fashion way,
by the bobcat bucket full, which is better then the hand bucket full!
basement beam & wall supports in the house got dug out
Brad pouring concrete
 he found muscles that haven't been used for a while
our son ran the belt truck
a well deserved lunch break
 look where my funny kid found a comfy seat
he always makes us smile
Sunday was all about insulating the basement floor
First a layer of plastic, then lilac 
styrofoam, then taping

While all this was going on, I picked up garbage around the property & building site. Obviously took photos and picked up lunch for my hard working guys. I usually go later, and leave earlier. Hard to believe it's another weekend already! Hope everyone gets a chance to get outside. My favorite place to be. Have a great one! 


what's in a name

For years we have wanted to have our own horse related brand name. You know, something like " _________ Appaloosas" or " _________ Quarter Horses". We got as far as deciding we did not want to designate one specific breed, so that left us with this for a name " _________ " !!!!

Without being in the horse business, and no relatable physical location of our own, naming ourselves didn't really make sense. The whole idea got put on hold. No fun logo designing for me, and no embroidered matchy-matchy apparel for us. Bummer!!

Now that we have land, the whole naming idea has since resurfaced. For some reason, coming up with our name is my job. Guess that's the price you pay for being dubbed "the creative one"!  I've been doing a lot of thinking, googling, observing - and I still can't figure a name out!!

We decided to wait, something will stand out with the land. Right??! If you've read earlier land posts, you know at least one unusual prickly thing. 

There is ton's of info on how to name, naming generators, tips on naming, and ways to come up with variations on the internet. 

I looked into how to create branding combinations (as in ranch brands), the history of the town, the native americans that were here before us and unusual features in the area. I even looked into words in spanish (my heritage). There are nearby roads with really cool names, and a nearby creek, that would have made great horse property names. We ended up with a boring plain road name, and no creek. Sigh.

This is what I learned about the name game:

Ideally you want a combination of two or three of these things: an adjective, an attribute, and type of place. A descriptor of sorts. Who you are, what you do or where you are. 

Some things we've discover about our land, mixed together with a few of our intentions:

Possible adjectives: Wild, Windy, Rolling, Sandy

Possible attributes: Pines, Cactus, Oaks, Horse related words

Possible type of place: Farm, Ranch, Homestead

The names we've liked so far, are all taken. Go figure. I won't bore you with my long "taken" list. I really liked "Wild Cactus Ranch" but it is a pretty prominent bucking bull breeding ranch in Texas. We are not really wild, nor into cactus. Guess it's just not for us. 

My hubby doesn't like warm & fuzzy names, doesn't want to use our last name, or my studio name, and isn't into cute or funny names. Who is the difficult one now?? Ha ha!!  

What's in a name?? A lot of indecision. So much that I wrote this post five months ago, and never published it. The name topic has resurfaced at home, and in blogger land. 

Farm names are very visible at Horse Fair, which is in two weeks. It will be a constant reminder of our lack of nameability. There are things we look at and leave saying "when we have our ranch name"...we do have a few contenders, none that we all like. Maybe something will come out eventually, that feels right, or maybe we shall remain nameless.

where I stand
76/365 ~ photo challenge


know your boundaries

Last weekend our daughter (Harmony's girl) helped us move panels out to our land, and had some fun trying to fly inside the barn. Just kidding!! She had some good ideas and was giving dad more things to consider, and more to say no to. Between me & the kids, poor guy has been explaining why a lot of ideas won't work. I think Brad will be glad when the inside of the barn is finished! 

what about from here, to there...
After the barn deliberations, we progressed to discussing pasture & shelter placement. We agreed the best solution for our horses on our land would be north/south pastures.

We all went on a walk-a-bout to check out newly placed property markers, including our grand-dog Jameson (a labrador) who absolutely loves being out at the land! 

We recently had the surveyors mark more then just the corners of the wooded areas. It was close to impossible to figure out who's land you were on. It doesn't matter so much if just walking, but we plan on connecting the existing north-south trails. We also want to relocate some young tree's to other parts of our property. In order to do either, we have to know our boundaries.

the dry creek bed area
will be good for trail riding


about routines

What is it about routines that make a person feel balanced? Whole. Complete. When I don't ride, or see my horse for a while, I feel something missing. When I do, all is well with the world. Even when it isn't. After that busy building week, that somehow turned into a two week horse absence, we are back to our horse routine.

endless rain keeps us inside
I always get a little more Appytude then normal after long breaks. On the ground and in the saddle. We typically work our rides back up in length & ask, depending on time off. I know some wouldn't agree with that approach, but it works for us.

we squeaked in one outdoor ride yesterday
before the rain started, again

This past weekend there was more "shifting of the tides". We moved our horse things out of storage from Brad's original family homestead (different farm, then the one that surrounds us). We moved the panels that made up our temporary riding arena, barrels, buckets, pans, heavy mats, and poles that I meticulously paintedWe put that arena up in 2010. Hard to believe it was that long ago. All we have left to move from there is some old hay & our storage trailer, neither are going to our land.

driving around to the back side of our barn
getting ready to unload
SO many memories of days gone by. Keeping the good ones, and trying to let go of those that don't serve a purpose. Maybe that's why a familiar routine feels so good. They serve a purpose, keeping us grounded in a world of constant change. Just like horses.


build-a-barn ~ dig it

When I heard they were digging a huge trench from the house to the barn, I knew it was time to get clicking! They had just flattened the building site out after putting in the house foundation, and already it was time to dig. Again. 

The trench to connect services
from the house to the barn was long & deep
I had to crawl down there,
doesn't everybody do that?!
No mistake which side is sewer vs water
Brad got busy filling the house side of the trench back up, because the very next day this giant piece of equipment arrived...

getting ready to dig our well
well derricks are so tall!
The well guys were SO nice! I learned this was the smallest derrick they use. I got a lesson on different types of ground, related water depths and the basics function to get to a very important thing nobody can live without - water.

our water pipes
with big drill bits inside
thanks guys
now we will have water
Brad insulated & paneled just enough wall
the weekend prior for our electrician to install
the electric services in between the well digging
the way the barn looks now
Barn and house services are ready to be connected! The building site hasn't changed since. Electrical is scheduled to get put in from the road next week. Guess we are in the hurry up and wait stage...plenty to work on behind the scene, mainly for the house. 


tack room, door or no door

With Midwest Horse Fair rapidly approaching, my mind is gearing up to look and learn more about everything related to barn interiors. The big & little stuff. We've gathered plenty of experience on our own to know how we prefer horse care routine to flow. But there are a lot of improvements that have come out over the years. I love learning and am always open to whatever makes sense. I've always said, you only know what you know. 

With the barn shell up, we have a real need to think through interior details. How will we use XYZ? How will things flow best? We've picked out and quoted the fans we plan to get. Will have to look more into stalls. Airflow & safety is SO important to us. Many vendors will be at Fair, it will be fun to see the products and talk in person again. 

There are other undecided barn and horse care aspects to ponder. Indoor water options, and outdoor waterers (once pastures are designated). Another unanswered question that has been on my mind lately - do we put a door on the tack room - or not? Doors keep out dust, but you also have to maneuver through them with full hands.

If you have a tack room, does it have a door on it? 

Most of the barns I've been in have no door. They all have open tack areas, where every thing is dusty. Boarding barns have more activity, and are different then personal barns. Do we really want to deal with yet another a door? Do we really want to deal with the dust? What's the worst of two evils? We may start without a door, and add it if needed. 

I found a good general article on the perfect tack room. That's what I want, an organized tack room that is functional and as close to "perfect" as we can get. Whatever that is. Do we group all the saddles together? Brads are used by more then one horse. All the bridles together? All the pads? Probably. Some of these could be organized by horse. After all, that is how we use them. Each horse has there own pad, halter, bridle, wraps, brush etc. Might sound picky. Besides unique fit, if you had to deal with Nemo's super fine white hair - you would understand!! Trust me. What is the best storage method? Hmmm. I am not a big fan of storing stuff all over the stall fronts. Hangers yes, permanent hanging tack no. 

Right now we have a nice oversized Cedar Storage cabinet that Brad built. Tack is by group, overflowing, and barely gets used. The tack we use regularly lives outside the storage cabinet for easy access, covered in carrying bags. Maybe that's the system we should stick with. Enclose less used tack & leave the regularly used with easy access. We will likely have three adult riders tack, and four horses. However, it's always wise to think out storage space with potential expansion in mind. Doubtful we will add more regular riders with tack, but another horse or two is a real possibility. 

Brad & I haven't really talked much about the wash stall. I'd love to have one of those rotating hanging wands, but a simple hose with a hanger works too. I've found some interesting ideas on Pinterest, like a corner shelf with a bucket hook. 

Sooo many options when you are starting from scratch.

back of the barn
horse side is still completely empty

Do tell if there is something unique about your tack storage/wash stall/barn system that you love and recommend?


we interrupt this life

Our life as we've come to know it has been interrupted. No riding lately, not even days when it's sunny and 60F. Boo!! Important things must be set aside for a while. I keep telling myself, it is just this year. We will fall into a new normal. Eventually. I hope.

My guys are busy most weekends, working on the land/house/barn. There are sooo many steps, to get ready for the next step, which leads to the next one. It goes on and on. Kinda like the song that never ends!! Sooo many additional trips and extra hours put in at the land during the weekday/evenings too. Much of the work falls on Brad, some labor, some coordinating, all time consuming. Thankfully our son is helping as much as he can off hours, with things that take more then one person. I wish I could be more helpful. I'm just not a builder savvy kinda gal. Between my bad back and simply not having the knowledge, I would just slow things down. What I can do falls into more of a supportive role. Involving mostly food, driving back-n-forth, pets and patience. Lots of patience. Don't worry tho, we aren't suffering too bad. Just tired. 

In the midst of all the gazillion building related happenings, this girl found fun in the most unusual places...

my playground
climbing giant "mountains" of sand
was SO much fun!!
68/365 ~ photo challenge
That's my boy!! The one in the safety yellow, and tan vest further down. He worked his way into being a foreman, at a very young age. His dad removed himself from any official process, and we are so proud of him. I tried fiercely to steer him towards a different career, but you have to let your kids follow their hearts. Many moons ago he was riding a tricycle inside the freshly poured basement walls of our current house, and now he is building them. 

There is something special about working on your own projects, and those who make the extra effort.

pouring the footings
top of sand mound view
makes the house look big (it's not)
and yet the tall wall panels look small
pouring basement walls in a snow storm
(yes, they work all winter)
same vantage point as above
lilac insulation, covers waterproofing material

white arrow: garage
red arrow: storage under stoop, our son's idea
blue arrow: jump - I know why, still don't get it
pink arrow: columns for deck support
green arrow: drain tile, waterproofing
yellow arrow: wall brace, takes 7 days for walls to cure

The house site looks so different, yet again. Foundation walls are backfilled and buried, sand mounds are gone. Everything is moving so quickly...

house site dreams


wednesday whirlwind

This post title fits my world lately. It is mostly inspired by our second day of ridiculously high winds! I guess if your days are crazy, you might as well have crazy weather too. Said no one ever. 2017 already ranks high on the "it's been a very unusual year" list, in more ways then one.

Our spring vet appointments came & went, over a week ago already. Koda lucked out, and only got immunized. Cierra had shots, teeth floated and since she was doing some odd breathing for our trainer the day prior, they checked her lungs too. Everything was normal. The garbage bag procedure was new for all of us at the barn. 

Cierra handled breathing
into the bag very well
Nemo always get's the most done, poor guy. Shots, teeth, ultrasound and flushing for his unique calcium build up problem. We also found out he has to repeat the whole allergy shot series again, forever. I swore the vet said it was a once a month maintenance shot after the initial series, but I was wrong. He explained the reasoning. Every year it's a brand new pollen season, so the calculated shots are the best way to keep symptoms down. Nemo was SO incredibly miserable last year, it is worth it. I will be glad when Nemo lives with us again, so we can give him the shots ourselves. The intricate ever changing schedule is asking a lot of someone else. We are fortunate he lives at a place where other people love him too.

Nemo & Brad by the scary door
My rides with Koda continue going well. We are back to riding in the indoor. He is being such a good boy under saddle. Koda is Koda and will always try shenanigans on the ground, all minor. The other day he was standing in the arena while I scooped poop before getting in the saddle (his brother is a never ending poop machine) and one rein flopped to the ground. Koda picked the rein up in his mouth and was trying to put it back on the rail, or direct himself with it - not sure. He is no dummy. Typical silliness, always making us laugh!

We are working on a little bit of everything, including some loping. His lope in frame is like riding on a cloud! My favorite gait, with a willing partner. We don't lope endless circles, don't need to. Just enough, is good enough for us.

Koda in no hurry to rejoin his herd
Some other fast changing news: our house build started this week! Brad & our son staked the house out (again) on Saturday. Brad prepped the site, and then we met with the excavator to answer any questions. While they talked building stuff, I snuck off for a quick walk through the pines. Something I haven't had a chance to do for a long time. 

heading out of the woods
and seeing our barn for the first time in the distance,
made me pause...
The very next day our house site was turned into a giant sand box. 

for perspective,
see Brad standing in the photo
They finished digging the house today, and tonight my guys along with a handful of awesome employees will do the next step - set the footings. I sure hope the wind dies down!

Our house site will continue changing rapidly over the next week, before it slows down again. I won't bore you with a gazillion step-by-step house building photos, but you can bet I'll be taking them!! I may or may not be biased, but I find the process fascinating and fun to shoot. I'll share a few updates, but if you don't hear from me for a while you will know why!

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods! Before you know it, we will all be riding outside!!