sunday sights

Ms. Padame at her home

We made a brief stop to drop off some of Padame's show stuff. She is on her way to her first show of the season in MN as I type. She is going with her trainer and a few others from the barn. Brad opted not to go to this early show.

Apparently Padame has developed a show diva attitude at the barn and doesn't want other horses riding too close to her. She doesn't do anything, other than pin her ears.

Padame was willing to say hi through the bars, but didn't want to come too close when I opened the stall door. Lunch was more important and there is always that chance she might have to go to work. Smart horse.

She will be 5 this year. My how time flies. Brad is looking forward to showing her this season. It sure was fun visiting at the show barn, even if briefly. 

We took a few side roads on the way home to see if there was anything floating on open water. Much is still frozen, or just starting to thaw. The water that was open looks cold. Apparently it doesn't bother American White Pelicans. 

activity was slow

there was a large flock (75+)

funny hair tuff

someone had an itch

There were quackers floating around, and of course gulls dipping & diving.

hooded mersanger

pair of bufflehead

Herring Gull (juvenile)

Life is about to get very busy. I enjoy these quieter moments, reflecting.


try try again

Our new peaceful herd arrangement didn't last long. Alternating which pair of horses goes in the upper pasture stopped after day two. It doesn’t matter which pasture we put Cierra & Koda, Nemo and Harmony want to be with them.

Saturday morning I walked past the window and said “Brad, look at your horse". Nemo was running the fence line trying to stir things up. Sigh. I took a short video before Brad went out to try and calm things down. 


As you can see, we got more snow. I could have taken more video of the madness that was brewing. I probably could have even gotten some interesting photos, but I was too concerned. For everyone's safety. Especially Brad's. The situation was escalating. 

We have one pregnant horse, one lame horse, one older horse and one mad horse. Not hard to figure out who is who. 
All of them feeling displaced. 

Cierra was teasing Nemo by prancing around. Koda started full out antagonizing Nemo. He shook his head at him like a crazy man. Just out of reach. In the silliest way. As if to say "nah, nah nah nah nah" . Followed by a mini rear and buck. He would spin, turn and serve up more sass "what are you gunna do about it". Koda's mane made shaking his head look slo mo. It was hilarious. I am surprised Koda didn't stick his tongue out! Welcome to my horse. What a naughty little kid.

However, the situation itself was not funny. At one point Nemo hit the (hot) fence with his front leg. The whole string shook. I could see it all the way from the house. Brad was hoping to halter Nemo and remove him. Nemo was in one of his uncatchable moods. Not even my horse whisperer was going to catch him.

Brad tried switching the horses around to diffuse the situation. Harmony went in with Cierra and he put Koda in with Nemo. I yelled from the deck at the poor guy "what are you doing, Koda is lame!!!". Of course Brad was just trying to diffuse the situation. Switching horses didn't improve the agitated dynamics. Eventually Koda stuck his face in the hay bunk and ignored the antics. The other three kept at it. 

The only way to change the situation was to remove Cierra.

By the time I headed out to help, Brad had put Harmony back with the boys and started walking Cierra in hand. They walked allll the way to the corner of the upper pasture. There is a panel that could be removed, in the last of the original fencing we inherited.

With Cierra in the barn, things calmed down with the other three horses. Not with her. So much for trying to keep her stress levels low. Eventually Nemo came inside and Brad took Cierra back out. Harmony started ear pinning at her. What the fudge! Back in the barn Cierra went. Sigh. Poor mama.

After the fact, Brad mentioned “all Cierra & Koda had to do is walk away...". 


Over the weekend, our not so peaceful arrangement was split half day turnout time. Less than ideal for any of us. Two horses turned out, half the time. The horses were okay for a while. It turned into four less than happy horses, and 
double barn chores. With Nemo or Cierra calling out throughout the day. 

We are thinking through different turnout scenario's. In hopes of finding the better solution.

It cannot happen overnight. Especially with off/on snowstorms making a mess out of everything. This crazy weather and geomagnetic activity isn't helping anything. Removing trees, fencing etc takes time and solid ground. It is hard to figure out the best pasture re-configuration! We thought we had time w
hile we wait for Spring to arrive. At least I hope it will arrive. Sooo much to consider with feeding, water, Winter conditions and shelters for our growing herd.

We knew adding a foal would change our herd dynamics, but the new addition isn't even here. This pre-birth herd drama caught us by surprise. Even our trainer who knows all our horses well was surprised. 


Today we are trying split pasture turnout again, but with hay & water further away. I would wager a bet it isn’t going to completely fix the separation dynamics. It should help, but Nemo doesn’t want hay. He has hay. What Nemo wants is his herd back together, so he can manage them.


Nobody said this breeding thing would be easy. 

We are well aware things are going to be challenging for a long time. We also know, we will eventually find a new normal. Keeping our eye on the prize helps.


calendar schmalendar

Somebody forgot to tell Mother Nature to look at the calendar. It is suppose to be Spring. We woke up to snow yesterday morning, that apparently surprised our weather folks too. And to that I say calendar schmalendar.

Snow happens every Spring in WI. If you don't believe me, take a look:

snowy morning surprise

pastures are back to white

Jameson chasing Tank (behind tree)

Our labs have always played chase with each other. Recently they added peek-a-boo in the tree line across from our house into their game of chase. It is hilarious!! Even at 7-ish in the morning.

This short video clip will give you an idea of how the game is played. This is close to the end of their chase, when running pace is much slower. 

dogs playing in the treeline (5 sec) 

they get so excited, look at those hackles!

Jameson knows just when to keep Tank running

I was surprised when crows landed in the snowy tree line. They don't usually come this close to our house. Crows ('er Ravens) make me think of blogger Linda. I quietly opened the door to take some photos. Unfortunately the dogs started barking, scaring them away.

crow in the snowy tree line

The tree's were absolutely stunning! I decided to go for a solo walk, on a less traveled part of our land. Also known as "where the wild things live". I wanted to see what I could see and relocate a trail camera. 

The light was ever changing. The good stuff happened before my walk, but the wow factor was still there. This Spring snow had a depth of white not seen during Winter. It coated every single thing in beautiful shades of white!

It was also completely silent.

The kind of silence, where you could hear a snowflake fall.

starting out

a notable corner tree

the taller trees on the left are among my fav to photograph

tops glow with cast morning light

On this walk, I learned the birds also love these tree's

like the bobbin' robins

crows were very active

The lighter under color of the crow wings surprised me. I always think of them as solid black. Later on, I googled and learned "Crow and raven feathers are highly iridescent. They collect and reflect the light and the colour of the world around them. Gunmetal storm clouds, cornflower blue summer skies, the fire of the rising or setting sun — all paint their feathers with fleeting shades of indigo, lavender, copper and gold." I am trying to appreciate crows for what they are, smart birds.

Many more photos (and video) later, it was time to head home for the dogs. I saw more birds on my way home.

hard to miss color in a sea of white

male cardinal watching me, watch him

another game of peek-a-boo

his gal pal

It was SO beautiful and peaceful outside!! I stayed outside for round two. This time walking with the labs on our frequently traveled paths.

what Nemo thinks of the new herd arrangement

There were fresh tracks in the pines. Turkey/s had recently walked our spooky tree trail, cut through the woods, across the main trail and continued along the Y path. My guess is they were headed to where the wild things live. Although I doubt they live there, but they do frequent that area.

gobble, gobble

The dogs were so happy to be out playing in the snow again! Tank did his usual snow leaping. 

Jameson turned ten this month. I have spent the most time with him, of anyone. He grew up and lived with us for all but 1.25 years, right after we moved here. J is a hard dog to photograph! 

snowplow (with eyeballs open)

ten years young

a very happy Tank

The dogs zonked out after all that fresh air fun. 

The sun came out and melted the white away. There was no itsy bitsy spider found today.

snow? what snow?

the new routine
(koda, brad & cierra)

sunset over our ranch


calm after the storm

What a difference one day makes, or maybe that is one fence.

Cierra & Nemo were next to each other off/on

I hope he was saying sorry!

Harmony & Nemo lying down, Koda & Cierra munching

As far as I know, Nemo & Harmony never left the dry lot yesterday. Koda and Cierra ventured further out into the upper pasture at times.

I truly believe they are a bonded herd. They have spent many years together off/on, in various configurations. Hopefully we can put them back together in the future, and eventually integrate Cierra's plus one. 

Nemo & Harmony are in the upper pasture today

Koda (against distant pines) and Cierra have no problem grazing away from the other two. They are probably welcoming the peace.


herd aggression

If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you already know Nemo's dislike of Cierra first became obvious back in our boarding days. More than one person at the show barn told us they knew when Brad came out for a lesson on Cierra. Nemo would be agitated and trash his stall.

It wasn't always this way. I couldn't tell you a single instance between them while she was growing up. Things visibly changed when Cierra went into training. She became Brad's show horse and was ridden more than Nemo. Much to his dismay, Nemo had to share Brad.

At our place, Nemo makes it his job to keep Cierra away. Allowing her to join the herd on his terms. In January, things seem to change between them. I witnessed a softer relationship. She was bred and he seemed to know it.

Things changed again and the aggression returned, and then some.

We needed to restore the peace in our barn and recently moved Koda in between Nemo and Cierra. Incidentally, Koda's sloppy plops have magically disappeared. Nothing else in his diet or routine has changed. One of those things that makes you, hmmm...we moved Koda for Cierra's sake.

Pasture dynamics continued as usual. Cierra has always done an admirable job of staying out of trouble.

I walked past the window yesterday and saw all four horse running up from the pasture into the dry lot. Medium pace. No big deal, probably a deer or whatever. It happens almost daily. I grabbed my camera while "the dancing" continued. Thought perhaps I might get some fun action shots as they settle into eating at the feeder. Instead, I watched a nasty chase ensue. It all happened so fast. I didn't even have time to change camera settings. 

Nemo took off after Cierra with a vengeance.

You could clearly see he meant business. But why?? Nemo is usually a milder mannered boss. I was horrified!! He chased poor Cierra all over the lower pasture, then all the way up to the top of the dry lot and back out again. Our Appaloosa geldings are significantly slower than both Quarter Horse mares. Cierra tried to get away and out run him the best she could, with her large swollen belly :( 

Nemo slipped in the dry mud and it made him even madder

Normally Cierra would have smoked Nemo and gotten away. He usually gives up issues with any horse, long before things escalated. Mostly because our herd listens to him. She may have sent a signal otherwise, but it is not what I observed. 

poor mama has bite marks

Thankfully the chase stopped. I watched from the window and considered taking Nemo out of the pasture. I noticed Cierra paw off in the distance, asking for something. To come back or whatever. 

the stare down

neither one of them moved much for over an hour

At one point, Koda left the hay bunk and was staring at Cierra. Perhaps wondering what she was doing waaay out there. Who knows what that unsaid conversation across the field was about.

Eventually Nemo went out to pasture, with Harmony following. She follows him everywhere. Like an old married couple. The next time I looked out the window, Cierra was glued to Koda at the very bottom of the dry lot. No doubt seeking comfort.

Cierra & Koda

Everything went back to normal herd interaction for the rest of the day. All four horses doing everything together. Needless to say, the herd is separated today. Two in the upper pasture and two in the dry lot/lower pasture. 
A temporary solution. There is no shelter/feeder/auto water in the upper pasture.

Ohhh Nemo...

We are strong believers in an integrated herd. However, it is just not going to be possible for a while.

It is as if Nemo thinks Cierra is holding a part of his herd hostage. 


signs of spring

For some reason, I flip-flopped my day yesterday and did chores first. Not sure that was the best decision, or maybe it was. I might have missed welcoming signs of spring.

Leo & Tinkerbell hanging out (together!) in the warmth of the saloon.

Tinkerbell has decided our barn is a good place to live. Leo is okay and humans are fun to harass when doing chores. She is still inside every single morning and waiting for us all but a few evenings.

No doubt Tinkerbell will choose to go on extended safari's when the weather warms up, but hopefully not for another 4+ months! 
She keeps us laughing and shaking our heads. Definitely the craziest of our kitties. I love cats, they add sooo much to our lives.

Tinkers being lovable on the cat throne

I wish I had checked for an updated weather forecast. Hind sight is always 20/20. If only I had walked the dogs first -or- waited for the rain to stop. Who knew when/if that would happen during daylight. It did, right when we got back home. LOL. Go figure.

I don't melt (much) and the labs are water dogs, so off we went trudging through consistent rain.

the labs & I got soaked

Tank kicked up what I am almost certain was a quail. It might have been a female Spruce Grouse, but it looked most like the Northern Bobwhite below. I was so excited!! I've never seen either on our land. Wish I was 100% sure so I could add this unique (to me) bird to my list.

Just a few feet further into the pines, I saw a pop of bright yellow!! 

I was also surprised to see many of my spring bloomers peeking out. Alliums, tulips, iris, daffodils and crocus ~ oh my!!!

waiting for spring is hard

(tank and granddogs remi & jameson) 


mixed bag

What an interesting time of the year this is. Waiting (and waiting) for Spring. Full of so much anticipation. Along with the traditional mixed bag of weather. The mixed bag has an uncertain grip on us. Shaping our days and minds.

Harmony and Nemo

Some days seem full. Others not as much. The latter finds me
asking "what am I going to do with this one beautiful day?". Fully knowing, we are not promised tomorrow.

Change continues revolving around me at a dizzying pace. Many friends and family are seeking clarity with all that ails them. I try not to dwell on what cannot be changed, but change itself does make me think. A little too much. 
Mostly about the future. 

I try to live in the moment, but am not very good at it. 
Clinging to what is familiar, or the memories. Until they softly fade away. Sounds sad. The reality is, we too shall become a distant memory. As generations pass, not even that.

I started reading books again. They distract me from what one could perceive as life's heavy thoughts.

2023 books I've read to date include Mad Honey, Hello from Heaven, House in the Pines, Then She was Gone and I am half way through Daisy Jones & The Six. Already a record reading year for me, without even trying. I would probably read more, except I feel guilty unless it is late at night.

Have you been reading any good books?

I have also read half of The Menopause Diet Plan. I really need to finish! 
It is an informative health book (not an actual diet) written by two registered dieticians. 

If only I could be more like our horses & dogs, who always live in the moment.

Speaking of horses, Brad has been checking Cierra. Last night, after bringing the horses in he said she was starting to bag up. I said "no way" and looked myself. Um, yah. I guess we are getting closer to doing this foaling thing.

It seems early. If I counted right, yesterday was
 day 313* of Cierra's pregnancy. I read if bagging happens too early, it is considered a concerning sign. Online resources vary greatly on this topic in general. I found time frames for mare's starting to bag up, ranging from days to 4-6 week windows and everything in between. I think Cierra bagging up is normal. 

*recounted & changed to correct day

starting to bag

We swapped Nemo & Koda's stalls. Nemo seems more irritated lately. We noticed a big increase with him kicking and ear pinning etc towards Cierra. She doesn't need or deserve that. Nemo does similar to Koda, but not nearly as much. Koda is in between them now, and our barn seems to have regained calmness. 

When it is closer to foaling time, Cierra will move across the aisle to the double stall. We plan to shift the other horses (stalls) closer to her.


I've been thoroughly enjoying our snowfall this past week. If we can't have Spring yet, then why not. I snowshoed in the woods several days in a row, then switched to trackers. Easier to navigate the mixed bag of snow/ice/bare ground on our trails. Tomorrow's predicted rain is going to make a big ol' mess out of everything. Again.

The early morning bright light was so beautiful yesterday! It lured me outside in the freezing cold. Everything was sparkly and backlit. So pretty! I only took a few photos before heading back to warmth.

What the camera didn't pick up, was the
sun kissed pinkish-purple ice reflective tones and the hope that a sunrise offers.

sun rising across from our house