last show of the season

There hasn't been much to post about, unless you want to hear about our horrible weather. The past few weeks can be summed up in two words: rain & floods. Better said, historic flooding. The water destruction is sad. No one around here is prepared for flooding, and not insured for it. People have damaged & lost homes, business and even lives. In the middle of a Midwestern city. Whodathunk? Unfortunately it doesn't appear to be over yet. The flooding isn't very far from us, 15-30 miles north & southThankfully it hasn't affected us personally. 

Much of what has been taking up our time lately is outdoor maintenance. No major barn updates to share. We have gotten more work done inside our house. Pantry shelves are up, along with additional closet shelves. Half the toilet paper holders are now up too, important stuff. Lol!

As for horse related news, Brad & Cierra just finished competing in their last show of the season (yesterday). The AQHA WI State competition was stiff. Ranch classes were some of the largest of the show. Open Ranch Riding had 17 on the second day. The judging however was pretty bad in general, especially the first set of judges. I can't hardly stand to watch anymore. If it wasn't for supporting Brad, I wouldn't! You know the judging is whacked when a rider is placed at both the top & bottom of the same class. It happened consistently, with different riders. I know it's all part of it, but no thank you.

What counts is that Brad is happy with his progress, and with Cierra's. I feel differently about hers, but regardless they make a great team. His progress is amazing, such a different rider. It's been fun watching him develop over the years. 

Cierra is so sweet, absolutely love her. I haven't seen her since early summer, and still she left her hay to give me an intentional kiss good-bye.

I posted ride video's below, if you are interested. Different patterns, different days. Brad & Cierra also competed in Ranch Conformation, don't recall their placings other then they were all over the place. 

Day One Amateur Ranch Trail (placed 4th, 4th and 6th out of 9)

Day One Amateur Ranch Riding (placed 6th, 8th, and 9th out of 9)

Day Two Amateur Ranch Trail (placed 3rd, 6th, 7th out of 12/13)

Day Two Amateur Ranch Riding (placed 7th, 7th, and ? out of 15)


no show, no shoes, no problem

No Show. I was looking forward to watching Brad show today, and seeing Cierra. I miss her sweetness! I haven't seen my barn friends for months, and it would have been refreshing to take horse photos with humans. Our general area got hit with thunderstorms last night, and the show grounds got monsoon rains. Not us, we enjoyed steady sprinkles at home. These fairgrounds are in a small town over an hour away. They only have a tiny indoor arena, not enough room to ride Ranch. The outdoor arena's are water logged and unsafe to ride in. Once again our barn came home from this AQHA show, without showing. 

No Shoes. I am putting my old Bog Boots to good use. Haven't used them for years, not since our horses lived on the "family farm" by us. Wearing shoes is out of the question in this kind of weather, unless you like wet stinky shoes.

No Problem. Not worth showing, and risking injury to horse or rider. I don't mind sloshing around in the water & mud, but when speed is required it's better safe then sorry. Brad has no problem not showing.

I can always take photos at the next horse show, it's coming up soon. I will see my friends then, along with sweet Cierra.

my favorite photo from last years show


nemo's allergy update

If you've been following this blog for a while, then you already know that Nemo has allergies. If you are a newer reader you can read past informative posts about allergies here, along with some great reader suggestions on allergy care in these comments.

To summarize, Nemo's allergies surfaced in 2014 when he was seven. In the beginning we tried various medicines, in different combinations. We tried Dexamethasone, eye ointments, Equipatches, double masking, a Guardian Mask and adjusted his turn-out. We ended up having Nemo's allergies tested. Started allergy shots and continue doing Subcutaneous Immunotherapy to this day. 

While our horses were boarded, we agreed with our trainer that she would give him his shots. I would reorder Nemo's allergy shots, figure out the schedule and make a hard copy calendar to keep track of it all. 

When we moved our horses, we learned how to give Nemo his shots and took over all his allergy care. While we were switching, the timing got confused. We figured it out, and now have a permanent place for his calendar in our barn. 

our attempt to stay organized
Nemo's allergy calendar on right & magnetic dry erase stuff on left

Nemo get's two allergy shots, the same set always on the same side. We were surprised and concerned that he does react. Especially on one side. It really helps to massage the bump, and by the next day it's gone. 

Nemo's reaction
The first three days the horses were home, Nemo was turned out all day without any mask! We were thrilled.

Nemo in June
Day four it rained, and it must have knocked pollen down because poor guy came in at night with puffy eyes. We felt bad and decided to just automatically mask him. With only one mask. First we used the Guardian mask, but the eye edges block peripheral vision. Not ideal with a sensitive horse that wants to keep track of his world. We switched to Cashels Quiet Ride (my fav mask) and so far it's been going pretty good.

We are now mid-August and he seems to be a bit more bothered. Not terrible head flicking, but Nemo follows Koda so closely most of the day. In his shade, under his tail, and rubbing against him. He must be driving Koda nuts. I can hear Nemo frequently clearing his nose. 

Nemo has only come in once early afternoon, since we moved. He stays out all day. At our trainers he was double masked and coming in by noon, or even around 10 am most days during allergy season. 

Nemo's allergies have clearly improved since we moved. But I think we can help him even more. I re-read previous related readers comments (link in first paragraph) and plan to bug talk to Brad about trying some of your suggestions. I would love nothing more then to see Nemo's allergies improve even more. He is such a personable guy. 



when I hung up this welcome sign
I wasn't talking about this!


where have all the bloggers gone

" Where have all the bloggers gone, long time passing?

Where have all the bloggers gone, long time ago?

Where have all the blogs gone?
I miss them, every one.
Oh, when will they ever return? "

I've recently noticed some of my favorite blogs have **poof** disappeared. Not just inactive, but removed. Vanished. Deleted. It's all part of the invisibility of the internet, but it just feels odd. After reading what you chose to share, and getting to know you. Perhaps they've run off to the greener side of Social Media, or didn't want to leave bread crumbs?

I followed a couple bloggers who said good-bye a long time ago. They switched to Instagram. While I love seeing their horsey photos & catching snippets from them, let me tell you it's not remotely the same. At least I know they are okay. Not sure about those that up and suddenly disappear. I certainly hope they are okay, and just had a change of heart.


A while ago I noticed Kate's blog was missing from my reading list. You know, Kate from Illinois. Sorry, I do not remember the exact name of her blog(s). I tried to look them up via comments on my blog, just incase the computer gremlins are playing tricks on me. Alas it appears both blogs have been removed, along with her comments on my blog. Only her profile name remains.

Kates first blog had an incredible wealth of horse health information she shared with us. I recall it had the word "Horse" in the blog name, and her more recent blog was titled "The Oak Tree" or similar.

Yesterday I noticed Mrs. Shoes blog about life on her farm has gone away. Into the darkness *sniff* No more updates on the beautiful place they built up from scratch, animals, Mr. Shoes or her canny humor. Not many of my posts went by without my hubby commenting on her often funny commentary. 


I truly hope those of us still blogging continue sharing, for all that it offers. 

I don't blame anyone for shutting their blog down. It should be time well spent, and enjoyable. If it wasn't, I would stop as well. Altho I don't think I could hit delete on something I spent so much time creating. 

Blogging doesn't have to be a regimented chore. I blog to get things off my mind. To journal our life happenings. For friendship, and to get help or ideas from like-minded knowledgeable horse lovers. Many of which I hope to meet in person, some day. 

If you do choose to hit delete in the future, or become an inactive blogger, know I've truly enjoyed sharing all things horse (and more!) with each of you. Certain things trigger memories of what we've shared. I do hope you will write when the mood strikes you, or stop by for a visit and let me know how life is treating you and your horses. Don't get lost in the fog.

foggy barn


taking it to new heights

aerial view of our horses from above our roof
Nemo on the lookout
while Koda & Harmony graze

Brad calls out to Nemo
I am sure he is wondering why we are in the sky

Nemo whinny's to Koda & Harmony

All three come running together


the bend

There is a specific spot on our land that automatically shifts my perspective. It happens when I leave or come home. I don't give it much thought, it just happens.

I get into my truck and begin to drive out. Not knowing what awaits me. Wondering. How many things will get done on my never ending to-do list? Did I leave enough travel time? Do I have everything I need with me? Rounding the bend to the East, brings anticipation. It also makes me feel a bit sad. I am leaving most everything that I love exposed. Alone. To fend for themselves. Hoping the unknown never becomes an issue.

I cram as much as I can into my trips away from our little haven. People ask me all the time if I love living at our new place. Of course I do! But I don't love the drive. Unfortunately, you can't have your cake & eat it too. I think some folks are expecting me to gush. They aren't going to get a big reaction, I am more reserved. If they really knew me, they would already know the answer.


Part of the feeling when I round the bend to leave, is that we are still working on getting completely out of our old house. Sigh. I know, I know it paints pictures of crap piled high up to the ceilings. That isn't the case, altho there is plenty of what could be considered junk. 5 peoples non-essential stuff to be exact. Three kids grew up in our old house, and I kept a lot of their things stored in the basement. Since we've moved, I only make it back once a week and do what I can with the time that I have.

I thought some day our kids would appreciate treasures from their youth. For future children of their own. If not, surely we would have grandkids that would appreciate playing with a blast from the past. Right? Wrong. Our current (young) grandkids live a couple hours away, and don't visit very often. They spend time with the other grandparents, and their cousins. Sniff. Someday we hope to have some grands from our younger kids to grow close with. Brad would love nothing more then to share his showing passion with some related littles. 

As far as appreciating things from the past, it surprises me what a person chooses to value. I am making asking our kids to go through their stored things and choose the keepers for themselves. They are so busy, it's taking an eternity. 


Some of my trips back to reality are more pleasant then others. You have no idea *how much* I want to be completely done with this transition!! It's a frustrating personal struggle. I've given away, thrown out, or burned much of my no longer needed past things. I need to move on, for it to be over, to turn the page onto a new chapter, to put the past behind me etc etc. I want the rest of my life, and all the stuff in it, to be intentional. Not that it wasn't before, things are just different now. As I age, I find things mean less and time well spent means everything. When I round that bend to go back towards the big-little city, it's a reminder of how much has recently changed and yet how much of my lifestyle still needs to change.

The city & our home town have become nothing short of a rat race. Sooo many people, that come from everywhere but there. Traffic is horrible. Everyone is in such a big damn hurry. I find myself making a conscience effort to slow down. 

One thing for sure, after my trips into town I cannot wait to return home! To take that bend again. This time to the West. As I round the bend towards home, everything bothersome melts away. I am once again surrounded by quiet peacefulness, and every thing that is us.

yesterday's symbolic view of the bend
on yet another foggy morning
(facing east, towards the road)


beautiful mornings

being turned out first

slowly meanders out, watching for the others

picks a funny spot to stop, drop and roll

properly dusted, heads out

last horse out, moves the fastest

running into the thick fog

waiting & wondering

morning fog lifts to reveal it's beauty


foggy mornings

Beautiful foggy mornings make me want to stop what I am doing. Pull out my camera, and take photos. The fog around here seems to lift early. I am not sure if I'll ever be able to get the foggy photo of our horses, that's been floating around in my head. Time will tell.

I walked out in the pasture regardless. Apparently the horses didn't hear me approaching.

well, hello

For those of you not on Facebook, here is my favorite photo from that morning. It's Koda, complete with Appy spots 'er stall shavings, enjoying a peaceful morning.


bed-n-breakfast staff

To post, or not to post? That is the question. I have been humming-n-hawing. Nothing major to share or horsie happenings to blog about. I still haven't ridden, or done anything more then be bed-n-breakfast staff for our horses *sniff* I think the next time someone asks me if I ride, I'll reply "I used to"...it's been that long.

We've been doing other horse related things, here are a few updates from our bed-n-breakfast staff:

front barn truss is looking nice,
it is getting trimmed with Douglas Fir

we hung a dry erase/bulletin board in the barn

wish I could find where I packed my push-pins,
to hang Nemo's allergy shot calendar!

Our builder moved our little table set off the porch, so he could work on the overhang truss. We like where he placed it! Unfortunately it's our planned turn-out path during the winter, so it will be in the way. However once we find more suitable seating for the barn porch, the set might stay there seasonally. I'm thinking the porch needs some type of outdoor bench? For now, we are using a lot of what we had from our old place. Everywhere.

reclaimed wood mirror for the barn bathroom arrived
The craftsmanship on this mirror is amazing! Just like the vanity. I should have also snapped a pic of the back, it's finished off solid & studded. Perspective of my phone photos are way off, mirror is larger then below. I received a certificate of authenticity with the mirror and mentioned my plans to hang the certificate in our bathroom. Do you know what the guy that built these did? He offered to make a frame for me at no cost, if I would pay shipping. Yes, please!!! Who does this?! The frame arrived all finished, complete with another certificate. Nothing short of amazing. I truly appreciate people who take pride in their work.

welcome sign from our old house
hangs on the saloon entrance for now
I think I'll eventually move it, it's not very saloony.

Watch out for our guard grand dog, she might lick you to death.

Our horses seemed unfazed
when Bobcat Brad mowed the upper pasture near them..

until it turned into a game of "race the bobcat" lol
(koda in the lead, nemo, harmony)

Video goes something like this:

Harmony: why are you boys running, it's just a bobcat

Koda: first dibs on the hay! Last one is um, last

Harmony: dumb boys, I could out run either of you any day of the week

Nemo: my pile

Koda: fine, I'm going by Harmony, move over

Brad set a few more poles yesterday,
replaced the turnout gate 
with a wider one and also added a new latch.
(the old gate is off to the left)

This pretty much sums up our past two horse related weeks. Brad was so busy last week with work stuff, he cancelled his lessons and didn't go ride Cierra. He is back at it this week.

I miss her, Cierra is so sweet and Harmony could sure use a buddy. Koda & Nemo have been together since birth, born one day apart. Our trio mixes it up, and they hang out together - but Harmony does appear to be the third wheel.

Soon it will be time to change my clothes, bring the horses in with the other staff, feed the horses supper and make sure they find their accommodations acceptable.

Signed, bed-n-breakfast staff


the lower pasture

Our pastures are growing like weeds, or better said with weeds. Brad mowed the lower pasture, and has been working on clearing the tree line along the fence. We do not feed our horses fresh clippingsand waited for them to dry up. 

Today was the day for another first turn-out. I was excited for an opportunity to get some action shots! Mid-day we turned the horses out in the lower pasture. I walked through the safari upper pasture, and strategically positioned myself mid-field.

Wildlife frequently cross the lower pasture. I thought for sure that alone would make for some action, but other then one medium paced run it was pretty uneventful:

waiting for me to get mid-field
they walked in one by one
and settled into grazing
suddenly something sparked their interest
and just like a dance, they turned in unison
(Koda, Nemo, Harmony)

Koda and Nemo took off
Harmony hung back for a while
and then decided it's best to join the boys

oh deer, something is in those pines
The horses turned and came back, and settled into grazing.

For their return run I took slo-mo video with my phone,
but forgot to switch back to regular speed half way through (whoops!)

This my friends was it for lower pasture action, on a hot sunny day.

Hope they enjoy hanging out in their new pasture!


feel the ocean

Have I told you guys lately how much I love my husband? In an effort to not make this post mushy, I will keep it simple and just say *alot* 

There are so many little things Brad says and does, that make my life complete. He knows me so well. A few days ago, at the end of a loong very humid hot day, he calls out from the grill "hey, Aurora come here, you gotta see this" "look, he points across the field...there is your ocean..."

It doesn't look like much in the video, but it was so cool! Natures wind would start to swoosh, sending random ripples swirling, and waving across one of our winter wheat fields.

They would part, pick up, slow down, and go where ever the wind took them. 
Much like the ocean where you can not only see, but hear waves, you wait in suspense until the sound begins to elevate. Wondering and watching. In awe. Sometimes the ripples went far, and sometimes they didn't go at all. 

We talked about the huge wheat fields in Nebraska. Where they grow taller wheat varieties, and ripply waves are endless. We are growing a shorter variety, so we get smaller ripples. 

Obviously fields are not oceans. There are huge differences, but nature offers similarities everywhere. If you stop long enough to notice them. 


it's here, it's here!!

For months I looked and searched, and finally found what I had envisioned at a fair price. Until I read reviews, and searched deeper. I found a photo of a similar model, proudly shared on Facebook. Gasp! There is rustic, and then there is falling apart. I am SO glad I didn't order. I would have been sooo disappointed. Sometimes it pays not to jump into things.

Just like everything else with this move, patience came into play, I started looking for a barn vanity last Fall, maybe even sooner. Yes, it is Summer. Damn I am picky! I can't help it, I was born this way.  I was looking for something rustic & sturdy. I don't want to have to replace it. How hard can it be? 

I am not materialistic, I do however want to value what we do have. Given, bought, or otherwise. I had all but given up. Finding a reasonably priced sturdy rustic vanity turned out to be (almost) impossible!! If I was a woodworker, I would start making them now. 

Brad tried giving me a deadline (after a career in Marketing, he knows I am deadline driven) he even found a local vanity he thought would work. It would, but it too was cheaply made and wasn't anything special, or even close to what I hoped for. I was in disbelief. I am fairly savvy on the internet, and yet I honestly couldn't find anything locally or online without overpaying. 

Like everything else about this land, it became a waiting game. All the rewards are worth the wait, and this little gem didn't disappoint. Look at the workmanship on our rustic reclaimed wood vanity:

bottom of vanity
top/inside of vanity
Some silly so not important video's of us unpackaging. Best to turn up the volume to hear Brad's funnies:

Our vanity was made in MN, from reclaimed wood that came from a granary in Superior, WI that was built in the 1800's. I am not big into reclaimed wood, but this vanity is *exactly* what I was looking for. The whole experience surpassed my expectations. It cost about the same as the cheaply made one, and quality is incomparable. We still need to add hardware, a top, and fixtures (just like the other one). Oh, did I mention they are making us a mirror *squeal* I love old, 'er new mirrors!! 

barn vanity base reveal
a barn toilet AND a vanity
(wood is not as dark as it looks)
Yes, I am working on finding the rest of the things for the barn bathroom. Will share, when all the stars align again. Don't hold your breath ;)


chasing time

Most of my days are spent doing a little of this, and a little of that. It feels like nothing much gets done, but it does. Albeit slowly.

The feed room wall project is done & our homemade horseshoe hangers are up: 

getting ready to stain
finished feed room wall
It sure makes chores easier when you know exactly where to find things. Once the construction is finished & tools get put away, we will finish the opposite feed room wall as well. We plan to build some type of enclosed structure for easy human access to horse feed, and as a deterrent to critters. I found some pretty interesting ideas on Pinterest.

We ordered, and are using hay nets for the three occupied stalls:

Harmony's left over hay
Koda borrowed Cierra's orange net, and we instantly saw an improvement in his habits. He was so annoyed the first night, it was too funny. Yea we got dirty looks and he did the disgruntled yank-n-munch thing, but slowing his eating down has helped. All the horses have one now. No more peed on hay (Nemo) and trampled hay waste (Harmony) and Koda's stall is less trashed. So far the slow feed orange hay nets have held up very well.

Brad cleared an area in the field behind our barn to warm up/work/ride our horses:

our future indoor arena area
Sadly it has gone unusedOur weather has been less then ideal. From none stop rain, to crazy mosquitos, to high temps. Then there is this thing called time. That darn thing we always seem to be chasing. It feels like all work and no play. Someday, things will settle and we will do something more then care for our horses. They must think this place is a bed & breakfast.

Sandy fines were delivered & hay was cut, baled and stacked:

Last week 3 dump truck loads of fines and small stone arrived for Brad & our son to get our house driveway ready to pour. The storage side of the barn will also get more fill & leveled. 

We also had our hay field cut, and Brad loaded 21 *rain free* large bales into our barn - just in time before storms rolled into our area. Again. Yes, he will have to move all those bales around in order to work on the barn floor. Sure wish that rented bobcat was ours!

I am still wheeling it to the pile & back, and enjoying the golden scenery: