7.08.2018

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!

7.06.2018

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. 

7.04.2018

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 ;)


7.03.2018

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:









6.24.2018

double or nothing

For our horses second day in the big green pasture, we decided to double their turnout time.

Yesterday's turnout brought on high energy & sounds of freedom from the horses. Did you watch the video on yesterday post? If not, I recommend turning up the volume & expanding the screen. It's short, and worth watching.

Day two, Brad opened the gate annnnd Harmony walked out. Grazed, and meandered towards me. That wasn't very exciting for a photographer.




Once again, Koda watched the pasture "action". But this time, so did Nemo. Really? You have fresh pasture to roam, and you guys would rather hang out in the dry lot?!! I couldn't believe my eyes. You have a chance at double the grazing, and you prefer not to graze at all? I don't get it.

I was almost to the pines, and called and kissed and clucked to Koda. His head was raised, he was listening. Maybe it was too much effort? Brad went over by the boys, and did a little coaxing. Koda decided to head out, at his regular jog. A much different pace then yesterday... 




Nemo finally came out to the pasture. Stopped, grazed by Brad/gate, and then he took off towards the pines. Again, at a much different pace... 



It wasn't long before he caught up with Harmony... 




...and rounded Koda up...




...and just like that, the three of them stopped and settled into grazing. No running, no snorting, nothing. Guess the pasture is old hat, already. Lol. One hour yesterday, that is all it took.  

Eventually they worked there way back towards the dry lot, drank water, and used up their green turnout time, they way they wanted to. Peacefully.

6.23.2018

the spirit of freedom

The day finally arrived. The day our horses got to stretch there legs, in the BIG pasture with green stuff growing in it! For the first time, ever!!!

Brad turned horses out into the dry lot first
Nemo & Harmony wasted no time exploring
Koda didn't go out to the big pasture on his own. Weirdest thing ever.
He just munched on hay and watched the other two zoom around.
Brad had to get a halter, and lead Koda out.
The gate opening was right in front of him.
 

Koda ran like the wind across the pasture

He joined up at the far end of the pasture
they all turned and came running back past me



Nemo, the leader of our herd
He was breathing in the freshness, and blowing out the loudest.
Prancing, with tail head high, and leading the fast and furious running.

We called out, in an effort to slooow them down.
Of course we wanted them to enjoy, but not get injured.

Deer & turkey frequent our fields, and pines smell so fresh in the mornings. It must have been exhilarating for them!

Harmony was so happy to be out
Harmony frequently walks the perimeter of the dry lot, looking in the direction of the big fields. She grew up in a larger herd (20 horses?) and lived in a back pasture. I think this is where she will be happiest.
they settled into grazing by the pines
(iphone pic)
I walked back, and left them to be horses(iphone pic)

After one hour, Brad haltered Nemo
they all headed back 

I found it interesting that after being in the big pasture,
they hung out unusually close to each other
(iphone)
after tearing up the fields,
Koda & Nemo were all tuckered out
(iphone pic, through my window)

Watching and hearing our horses run free, like the wind, was priceless...it sounded and felt like the spirit of freedom. It makes every ounce of painful moving, worth it.



"I have seen things so beautiful they have brought tears to my eyes.
Yet none of them can match the gracefulness and beauty
of a horse running free."

~ Author Unknown

6.20.2018

mind over matter

In the midst of our moving craze, Brad showed Cierra in Ranch at two AQHA shows. I feel bad I completely missed his first show this season. The May venue is two hours away. In typical show world style the times predicted, shifted. I was too far away to make it in time. Sounds like the riding went okay, but not as well as past years. With everything he has going on, Brad hasn't been able to put in the riding time. They did really well in Amateur Ranch Conformation, coming home with all 4 firsts out of 6 or 7 horses. 

This past week/end was Brad's second show. I had our son's dog with me the first day he showed, so I didn't even bother attempting to take photos or video. She is new to horses and horse shows. Our "little horse" is a sweetie and got lots of attention. We are really proud of how she handled everything! It's a huge busy show, with multiple arenas in two pavilions. The horses were at this show Tuesday-Sunday. 


Remi
Brad placed & did okay with his rides again. Ranch trail/riding classes had around 12 entries. He continues working on not letting his nerves get in his way. Mind over matter is hard to achieve. Most riders at AQHA shows are so very seasoned, that any little thing puts you out of point placement. Placing is far from the only thing that counts anyways. Brad is having fun living his dream, and that's what's important. I am really proud of him! 

The only other ranch rider from our trainers barn got some firsts & seconds, and came home with a beautiful handmade Dale Chavez halter for winning high point ranch. We are good friends & thrilled for her! 

Father's Day was Brad's second day of showing, and both his rides improved. Our son & daughter came to watch, as well as his parents. This was the first time they've ever seen him ride. 

I shot video with my phone. You'll notice Cierra didn't want to line up on the log side pass for both Brad (& our trainer, she shows her in open classes). Silly girl, I've seen her do this right 100X. He also got docked for inadvertently dropping his rein after the log pull, right in front of the judges. Whoops! He didn't want me to share the trail video. Too bad. I think Brad should have gotten bonus points for gracefully grabbing his rein and continuing on like nothing happened. SO many other good parts to his rides, like his flying change and his transitions are getting smoother. If you are interested, take a peak:


AQHA 
Amateur Ranch Pleasure Riding 




AQHA Amateur Ranch Trail

6.17.2018

build-a-barn ~ a few changes

A few things that changed in our barn, after moving:

• Our barn is looking more lived in by the day.

It smells and looks like horses live in it, except for the back half. 

scratch-n-sniff?!
• Brad installed three permanent feeders to the stalls we are using, a couple days ago.

We were using buckets for grain, removing them overnight for safety, which meant rehanging them daily. When they became noise makers, we decided to purchase feeders. I like that you can take the bowl out & clean them, similar to the waterer's.

feeder (L) auto waterer (R)
• Halter holders were added to the stalls.

Cute story: Brad welded 8 horseshoe hooks that sat in our garage for years, way before we designed the barn. We decided to use them as halter hooks on each stall. I painted them, and they turned out to be a perfect fit! Funny how he made just enough for the number of stalls we have. I love it when things like this happen!

homemade makes everything more special
• I’ve discovered our fans are amazing!

At first I was a little alarmed at how large our fans are. You can see them in the first photo, altho it doesn't show perspective of how big they really are. They span the entire aisle, from the edge of the stalls to the edge of the rooms. It took me some getting used to, horses on the other hand didn't bat an eye. I love these fans, they quietly spin slow and keep the air circulating! I highly recommended Big Ass Fans.

I love sitting underneath these fans!

• We have a functioning toilet :))) 

our out house

• Brad welded more horseshoes, this time for hooks to hang brooms etc

I am painting them today. Next on the never ending list is staining the feed area wall, so these horseshoes can be hung and put to good use! 


• I made two boot planters. One from a pair of Brad's cowboy boots, and the other from mine.

my old boots

What hasn’t changed? The long list of things left to do, and the sheer enjoyment of living the barn life!!

6.15.2018

glamping

For some odd reason I feel like I am glamping. You know, “glamourous camping” as in living outdoors with comforts of home, otherwise know as glamping.

Living on our land reminds me of our annual trail riding trips, up north with our horses. Not sure why. Maybe it’s because we live with our horses in close proximity in both places, or maybe it's the never ending sand on my feet. It could be the peaceful early mornings, or tired evenings spent caring for our horses? 


Stumbling outside in my early morning stupor with fresh coffee in hand, while heading to the barn. Putting on a sweatshirt to ward off the damp dew, would make anyone feel like they are camping. It could be the peaceful evenings spent watching and listening to our horses chew. Up north it's by the campfire, at our land we do that sitting in the barn under a slow whirling cool fan. No campfires here, yet.

When we are up north the poop pile we wheel barrel to is close-by, almost too close. Here I have to wheel the wheelbarrow (most days two trips!) allll the way into town & back, around corners, through sand traps, swatting mosquito's the whole way. The whole time I'm trying *not* to tip the wheel barrel. Most days, Jameson (our daughters black lab) makes me laugh hard as he races and jumps through the winter wheat like Bambi. I mean, bad dog!! No running through our upcoming field of gold. It’s just too darn funny when that dog gets his boogidy boogidy on.


Someday I’m going to haul my camera, or video that crazy dog with my phone. Imagine that...roll-n-balance, slap-n-balance, snap-n-balance, lol! I was thinking, I hope I never have to write a post called "the day the wheel barrel tipped over" cuz you know it's going to happen, and when it does...look out world.

Okay, so our ever growing pile of fermenting nuggets is not as far away as town, but the rest of the post is true. It is down the drive way, past the house, around a corner, down a path and through a sand trap - surrounded by mosquitos, and around another corner. Good grief, I feel like I am crossfit training! 

It appears I've become the official stall cleaner at our barn. I was going to take weekends off to rest my shoulder, but it is one thing I can do to help so that Brad can work on other things. 

Just like up north we have plenty of bugs, specifically mosquitoes. They are horrible here this year!! After morning chores, I head back inside the house and take a loong hot shower. 

Yes, that’s it! This is *all* why I feel like I’m glamping. No wonder this place is starting to feel like home, even when I'm rolling, rolling, rolling... 


6.12.2018

new routines & first turnout photos

Our first morning came with our horses home, and it was chore time. Who’s going to do what? and in what order? Gah, everything is completely new!!

Brad & I are working together to figure things out. We know it will take time, and change as our barn & schedules do. For now it’s a bit like “who’s on first? what's on second? and I don’t know is on third”. We are intentionally mixing things up, to keep the horses flexible in their routines. For example, who gets fed first, out first, time of feeding etc I think it's better for them, and us.

Just like chore flow & the horses, I need some adjustment time. I still feel newish at taking care of horses. For those of you that don’t know, Koda is my first horse. I got him when I was in my forties. My horse care experience from
 prior years of riding is limited at best. I did learn some when all four of our horses lived at the family farm that used to surrounded our old house. Thankfully the high horse energy has been minimal. Although we haven't done much with them, except hand walk to/from turn out. Soon, I hope. It's been a long time since I've ridden Koda. Maybe a month? 

Every day things get better, as we all get more accustom to our new routines & surroundings. 

.......................................................

Until the pastures get established, our horses are limited to the dry lot. Thankfully it’s a pretty decent size. First day of turn out, as expected Nemo and Koda quickly explored every inch of it. For some dumb reason I chose to leave Koda's halter on, just incase. I wasn't thinking about photos, but did take a few shots of them exploring their new digs. I was hand holding so not all are sharp, but I included them anyways. 


first release into the dry lot
nemo was really silly

nemo

pausing to take it all in
before running to explore again
koda
always with 
grass in his mouth
nemo
wasn't long before they completely settled down

Our daughter brought Harmony home that evening. She spent her first night in the stall next to Koda. When Brad & I arrived home from a work function that night, we found them glued next to each other.

In the morning we turned Koda & Harmony out together first, and once we knew they were good Nemo joined them. I stayed up at the house, and shot photos from our deck. Sometimes it's better for Brad to deal with our daughter where Harmony is concerned. 

Harmony (L) and Koda (R)
released together for the first time in years
they ran down together, to share hay 
Harmony (L) looks so fantastic!!
Sure hope we can keep her looking & feeling good.
She is a nervous nelly and gets stressed out easily.
Nemo checking Harmony out
Koda wants no part of their discussion
Harmony sending Nemo a reminder

uneventful conversations

Other then one Harmony double barrel in the air, there was no drama. Nothing. Nada. 
It was very obvious the horses remember each other. It is so sweet to see the three of them together again, grooming each other & trading hay piles and being buddies. 

It wasn't long before I walked past the window and took this photo with my phone of the trio...

(L-R) Harmony, Koda, Nemo