going with the flow

Summer is slipping by at a rapid pace.

Our weather is not normal this season. Hay continues growing and going to seed quickly. Area corn is growing higher than I've ever seen it. The bugs are 
pesky and take the fun out of everything. Big flies, little flies, gnats, mosquitos ~ we have them all. In quantity. I think this is the worst bug year to date. We also have had a lot of strong wind, from all directions. Wind cools us off and gives us bug relief, yet rapidly dries up the land. Everything takes a beating.

You gotta go with the flow.

I purchase a head net in a feeble effort to enjoy (?) walking the dogs during bug season. It isn't as fun when you can't stop to look at anything in the woods. You have to walk on fast forward, or get eaten alive.

Blogger Val wears a head net when needed, so do other outdoorsy friends. They are inexpensive and easy to carry along. I can't say I love mine, but I can say I have been able to keep walking the dogs daily. I look like an idiot, good thing dogs don't care. They are just happy to stretch their legs and sniff.

my net

Last week was all about finishing hay, so we didn't ride. If you ever wonder why hay costs so much, there are an incredible amount of days, steps and hours that go into making bales. All weather dependent.

fluffy hay

We had a bumper first crop of hay. Brad mentioned one of our small fields max yield to date was 6 large square bales. This cutting we got 17.

equipment malfunction makes everything take longer

78 bales gone, all gone!!

Very productive for our small property.

(93 bales if you count a couple small fields we rent)

This week we tried riding in the outdoor arena, but it was too buggy. Even with the wind. Under the fans we went. I never thought I would appreciate riding inside during warmer months, but I love it!! So grateful for our big sandbox, we wouldn't be riding otherwise. 

We've ridden 8 times this month (yes, I am counting) and only two rides were completely outside. We tried many other days. Far from the amount of riding we would like to do, but better than recent years.

Ma! A little help here

When you rub your fly mask off somewhere in the pasture, you temporarily get to wear old pieced together stuff. Like ears cut off torn fly masks. I fixed a different mask and saved Koda until his good one was found.

I will look forward to trail riding in Fall. Sooner if the bugs slow down. However, trees on our existing trails still need to be trimmed before that can happen at horse height. Never a lack of things to do.

We continue making progress shaping our land this year. Mostly Brad. He finished moving the south pasture fence!! We will be able to walk/ride a loop that includes the south side of our property now. I tried it out with the dogs this morning.

upper half

horses were so surprised

lower half

Our area usually gets fog in early Spring or later in August. It is still June, at least for today. 

yesterday morning, after some fog cleared

We look forward to a quiet longer holiday weekend.

With whatever summer weather.


shades of brown

Horse people see more than shades of brown. They see shades of Bay, Sorrel/Chestnut and Smokey Black.

I'll just rest while I wait my turn

 and scratch my itchy neck

I see you taking photos of us

team work

It is good to have friends, in any shade.


some things stay the same

Imagine my surprise, when my oldest daughter handed me one of my childhood paintings.

It was given to her from my mothers belongings, to give to me.

My mom treasured all my art.

Even the not so great stuff. Like this ^ painting. I gifted most of my creations to her 
throughout the years. I love art! It has and continues to be a big part of my life. She always made a big deal about my handmade gifts, and made me feel good about them.

I can't believe my mom saved this old painting, but then again I can.

I think my jaw was hanging open when my daughter handed it to me. I searched for memories of how this painting came to be. I had completely forgotten about it.

How old was I when I painted it?

Not sure. I wish I had dated my art work. Guessing 
late Elementary or possibly early Middle School (around age 10-11ish).

This painting tells me many of the things I treasured as a child, are the same things 
I treasure now.

Horses, water, 
reflections, tree's, mountains ('er hills) along with the moon and sky.

The things I treasure are part of the fabric of who I am. Regardless of age. 

The little grey horse I painted is just 
ridiculous. Makes me laugh. With a jockey type rider? Hmm, interesting choice. However, I do love how I painted the water. Even if the perspective is off. It is Monet-ish.


I gifted t
he above paint by number to my grandmother Aurora (the 1st) when I spent half of my 12 year old Summer living with her in Spain.

My abuelita framed it and hung it in her fancy living room, reserved for guests only. For many many years. The painting made it's way back to me and has traveled internationally twice.


Another art surprise happened, when my younger daughter (Harmony's girl) brought home another one of my childhood paintings. Also given from my mom's belongings, to give to me.

my Dali

You may recall my commenting about this unique project, somewhere in blog land. I think on one of Lindas art posts. Wishing I had not gotten rid of my Dali, and here it is.

I have seen some Dali originals in person. He is most famous for his warped clocks, and yet I chose to paint a horse. I found the related print online. Talk about weird art!! No clue why I chose this piece, other than it has a horse in it.

I distinctly remember this final art project in eighth grade (13yrs old). We were to choose a famous artist to learn about. Our teacher cut a bust of each chosen artist, out of wood for us to paint. We had to study the artist, write a one page summary and 
paint them and their style.

There was an art show held at school, with the many artists displayed all around the room. I remember the excitement, and the many eyes looking at us!

I don't know what I am going to do with my Dali. He is 2.5 ft tall, large & imposing. I screwed his right eye up and it still bothers me to this day lol. I want to fix it, but I won't. I think I will prop him up on top of the storage shelves, where he can keep a watchful eye.

Everything changes, but some things stay the same.



sneaky guy

We continue to enjoy arena riding our horses. Sometimes in the outdoor, sometimes in the indoor and some days we ride in both. It is really refreshing to ride inside under the fans, after baking in the sun. Without pesky flies and dusty wind.


I can't say enough good things about Koda.

He is really trying hard to do everything he is being asked. I just hop on these days and we warm up together. He is still a bit off when trotting at first. It seems to improve with riding. Koda is almost at the two month mark with his Cosequin supplement. I don't think it is doing much. To give the supplement a fair chance, we will keep giving it to him for a while. 

Koda is a little less fluffy, so that helps. 
His girth is fitting better. We are still mostly walking or doing obstacles. Trying out all the stuff we used to do on a regular basis.

He is being such a good riding partner and tries to help, even when not asked.

At the end of our ride, I opened the arena gate to ride out. I didn't get it swung open enough. Koda reached his nose out and nudged it open the rest of the way for us to ride through. Off we went, on our first field/trail ride this year. Brad & Cierra followed us out. We rode the field perimeter. Cierra really moves out, so we ended up following them back to the barn at a distance. We took the wooded path across from our house. They continued further down the path, while Koda & I rode back to the arena to retrieve my phone.

My phone doesn't stay in my back pocket. We have saddle/cantle bags, but I like to keep it on me. I need to find a new phone belt carrier. They keep changing the durn phone sizes.

We had a really nice outside ride yesterday!

I untacked first and was putting Koda back in the pasture when this happened:

Something is wrong with this picture

Nemo doesn't like Koda being gone and definitely doesn't like Brad riding Cierra. Nemo can be a pain when the herd regroups. He often rubs his face and sometimes tries to playfully get up on Koda. I shooed Nemo away and turned my attention to getting Koda's halter off. My arm is only half way back to “normal”. The struggle is still real. I was standing by the gate, but it was open enough that the sneaky guy pranced out.

Nemo was FREEE!!!

Our girls are better behaved, but Nemo is Nemo. I felt terrible!! I've never accidentally let a horse out. Guess there is a first time for everything. I handed Brad Koda's halter and quickly put Cierra away.

Nemo was having a ball running and exploring the field behind of the barn.

Our daughter came out to help. We had the main escape routes blocked. Eventually Nemo went inside the indoor, and we closed the gate.

Three horses got worked yesterday, although one was unplanned.


one benchmark at a time

Today was another important benchmark with Cierra's pregnancy. She was re-confirmed in foal this morning! If you missed it, here is the first pregnancy confirmation post.

The ultrasound shows the umbilical cord (lower left of dark circle) attached

With this positive benchmark, Brad can take the bubble wrap off his sweet princess and start riding her again. It is best for Cierra to stay in shape. 
Just like humans. There is a reason they call it labor.

We wonder if Cierra knows she is going to be a mama?

She must already feel different to some degree. We have a lot of time to read up, make plans to adjust our homestead and of course dream. In late March, the watch will begin.

Adding to our herd is exciting and scary all at the same time.

The vet just had a maiden mare at the clinic who delivered at 13.5 months. Obviously not the norm, but wow ~ that is a long time to bake.

Our vet shared a story about his Thoroughbred mare who was recently bred back with a foal by it's side. In the racing world, they send mares to a breeding facility. He said the mares are stalled for two weeks after breeding, then turned out in a group of mares. Apparently another Thoroughbred mare switched babies with his, and the mares won't switch back. Because they all look so similar, the foals are chipped right away. It was a confirmed switch. 
Our vet came home with his foal and someone else's mare. The other people have his mare and their foal.

We won't have to worry about a switcheroo, but I am very interested to see how the dynamics in our herd evolve. Especially with Harmony, who has never been bred. She has great bloodlines, but longtime readers may remember we were unable to get her papers and chose not to breed her as originally planned. I hope the girls stay buddies.

Speaking of papers, here is the studs pedigree & Cierra's pedigree. Like all "parents" we don't care what mix is brewing. We just want Cierra to have a healthy foal.

another benchmark


Sunday Sights ~ hay-n-butterfly season

It is hay sneezing season. We have been waiting for a dry stretch of weather for Brad to cut first crop hay. I've never seen our hay get this tall!

You could lose a dog in the field.

Jameson trying to run/leap above the hay

We have a few days of scorching hot stormy weather to get through (yuck!!) and then a sunny dry stretch is predicted. You know the saying, gotta make hay while the sun shines! We have a regular buyer eagerly waiting for our first crop. We are still feeding out last years hay, and will stock back up with second crop.

Leo helping Brad prep the hay bailer

It is also butterfly season. At least they don't make me sneeze! I've been enjoying various flutterby's, moths and dragonflies on my daily walks. Usually camera-less. 

Purple-spotted red butterflies are common. I spotted one at my front door on Saturday. As I approached, it flew up to the rooftop and decided to enjoy a light sprinkling rain.

Enlarge to notice the droplets.

The butterfly kept turning and turning around, while opening and closing it's wings. 

I began to wonder, what the butterfly was doing up there for so long. I found out when I looked at my photos. It gave me another thing to wonder about.

What is a butterflies long tongue called?

"Butterflies drink through a tube-like tongue called a proboscis. It uncoils to sip liquid food, and then coils up again into a spiral when the butterfly is not feeding."

I can never remember detailed names. I swear the Blue-spotted orange Purple-spotted red butterfly was looking right at me.


my unicorn

"What does calling someone a unicorn mean?

Since it first named the one-horned equine of lore around the 1200s, the word unicorn has gone on to name “a person or thing that is rare and highly valued,” whether that's a billion-dollar startup—or that special someone in your life."


We have been enjoying some nice indoor arena rides this month. 4 to be exact. I thought we would be enjoying the great outdoors with our horses by now, or at least the outdoor arena.

However, a controlled environment is best for several reasons. 

Nemo has allergies. Until Cierra has her pregnancy confirmation, Brad has been riding Nemo exclusively. He comes inside and his symptoms instantly go away. I also suffer from allergies. First time, since we moved here. My eyes are absolutely terrible this year. Constantly watery. My homeopathic eye drops and last resort Claritin, are not helping. This too shall pass.

I am also brokey-broke. More than usual.

My 2017 torn rotator cuff injury is back. I can no longer lift my right arm overhead, or at an extended angle. No, I did not fall again. Apparently I overused my arm and it is inflamed. Silly me to think I was good to go forever. I had great use of my arm after rehab for about 5 years. I am back to working on my PT exercises, from the beginning of my binder (15 double sided multi exercise pages). I am happy to report, I am starting to see a little improvement. 

No saddling, cinching or bridling for now.

Koda has been such a good boy through it all. Trying to figure out my differences. We are trying to keep our minds busy walking, turning, side passing and overall listening.

My shoulder can take about a half an hour of riding. 

Brad set up a big pole square and bending poles. They help. What can I say? I like to walk<trot<lope, or do obstacles. Riding trails is my favorite. I think it is also Koda's. We haven't trimmed trees or worked on trails much this year. Yet.

I've also tried a tiny amount of groundwork. Kind of a joke. I've watched many clinicians do groundwork over the years. Without using the info, those "files" get replaced. Helloo, YouTube! I am unsure doing groundwork, but we are figuring it out together. I worry that I am messing Koda up. Brad assures me I am not. I haven't thought "horse" for too long. 

I am very thankful for my hubbies help. He truly is my unicorn.

Brad has been filling in for my right arm. Saddling etc for me. 

my other (silly) unicorn


two and counting

We are hopeful Bluebird landlords again!!

Their chosen nesting box 2 is in a new location. Interestingly, last years box has yet to be occupied. 
Altho other birds have tried. I emptied the start of many undesirable nests. Both boxes were left open periodically to deter them.

I can't help but wonder if the resident bluebird pair is the same as last year, and somehow remember the
demise of their young in box 1 (same location).

Last year I ordered the recommended Enjoying Bluebirds guide. Brad remounted the two boxes on metal poles and we relocated box 2.

I check both boxes on my daily walks.

We had a cool Spring. I was beginning to think the bluebird nesting boxes would not get used this year, although I spotted Bluebirds nearby on several occasions.

Last year a nest appeared April 18th and 5 eggs on May 6th.

This year, I found a nest on May 28.

May 30

For several days, there was only one egg.

June 2

Then there were two eggs, and counting. I noticed the new egg was greenish and a bit larger.

Two days later, there were four eggs. 

June 4

By Sunday, a fifth and final egg appeared. 

June 5

The proud parents:

Mr. Bluebird

Mrs. Bluebird

I see the female frequently caring for her eggs

We have not mounted a raccoon baffle, as suggested in the guide. I am certain coons were the predators that ate the babies from box 1 last year. Our trail camera shows a well fed raccoon pair that frequents the box 1 area.

Brad thinks the raccoons will not be able to climb the metal poles.

I can only hope he is right, or I could grease the poles. Raccoon spikes are an option. I know the varmints are not fond of spicy scents. I could make a spray, or hang a bag with spices. Finding & hanging the baffle materials myself is another option. That would be comical & likely scare more than raccoons away.

I have stopped checking the box with eggs for now. Our Eastern Bluebird eggs should hatch around June 17-19th.

I have high hopes of seeing the nesting box residents thrive this year.


Sunday Sights ~ butterflies

The first butterfly spotted in our new garden was a little orange one dusting itself off:

Northern Crescent

 Well, actually this was the first butterfly:

I was hand watering the struggling plants a few days later, when a yellow swallowtail playfully fluttered past my head.

I think the butterflies are as eager as I am for their garden to grow!!

I also saw my first Monarch in the general area. No photos. I wasn't able to catch up with it, but I was able to capture this beautiful Giant Swallowtail in action across from our house:


build-a-barn ~ door upgrade

We started building our barn in 2016. We often get asked if we are done with the building.

Is anything ever really done? 

We continue adjusting and adding to our barn, as needs change or become apparent. Lower priority things have yet to be "done". Like the Saloon. Buying a refrigerator is still on the list. As well as wall decor and those darn protective table/counter toppers I simply cannot find. I might have to make my own. Yikes!! 

Brad did not like the big sliding doors on the hay side. We use them every day and they let in a lot of cold. 

On Winter days I would slide open the doors, start the bobcat and back it out putt-putt-puttering. I was always worry about the fumes. Then I climb out of the bobcat to close the doors, get back in and wait for it to warm up. Drive down/back to the manure pit. Climb out of the bobcat, slide open the barn doors, get back in and drive inside. Get out one last time to shut the doors.

In the Winter, I climb in/out of the bobcat 6X a day.

Much easier than the first couple years I pushed a full wheel barrel back in forth in all kinds of weather.

Brad wanted to replace the sliding doors with a garage door. At first I thought it was ridiculous, but I already like the new door better. It isn't even wired, yet. You can see both doors below. 

garage door in progress

Natural light was unexpected bonus. What a difference three windows makes. The browns don't match exactly, but it doesn't bother me. You can't tell at a distance. The biggest difference with a new insulated barn door that seals, will be felt this Winter. I can open/close the door remotely from within the bobcat :)

finished garage door

(old door frame on ground, hoping to repurpose)