Sunday, June 28, 2015

Time Off

My mother was seriously dismayed that no photographic evidence exists of the fun I had with the last group who came to stay at the farm.  Caterer, kayaking instructor, landscaper, stable hand, janitor, personal shopper, all in my job description.  Absent from the list:  in-house paparazzi.  Sorry.  
To make up to Mom, here are pictures of my doings over the past few days.  I took half days off... mega fun crammed into every nook and cranny.
On Friday, I spent two hours running the trails.  Then sped off to the gym to play with my trainer, Ryne.  
Two decades of experimenting has shown that in order to keep me balanced, I need a minimum of an hour per day of vigorous activity.  Sports preferred, but physical labor can do in a pinch.  Take that away from me and:

No lie.  Ask my ex-husband.  Out of the blue, I could morph into Cato from The Pink Panther.  It was on when he would sneak around the house saying:  "Cato, where are you?"
Ah, the good old days.  Now I have to pay someone to spar with me three times a week.  My one hour sessions with Ryne routinely run much longer.  To the point where the stars of Ursa Major, Centuarus and Orion all float around in my head.  Bliss.
My mom complains that I don't own any nice clothes.  Fine.  I saved up and bought myself some nice new leather gloves.  Happy now?
Returning from the gym, I found a couple friends (victims) waiting for me at home.  So, you want to say hello to my little friends. Never trust me when I have Cheshire Cat smile.

"Mira, Miguel, how can we play if you insist on falling down all the time?"
Yup, Friday was an excellent day.  Hard to beat.
Unless, it's Saturday.  I drove 260 miles, round trip, to attend the annual sale at my favorite nursery, Petals from the Past.  6:45 AM, I was queued up to enter Heaven:
This area is normally closed off to the public.   Rare shrubs, perennials, all deeply discounted.  Be still my beating heart.

After plundering this area, I wandered up to the nursery and did some more damage.
Filled my truck slap full.  Thank God I opted not to bring my trailer!
It would be criminal to go to Chilton County, Alabama and not buy fruit.
Famously good peaches.
Divine blueberries.
Blackberries the size of your thumb!
Sunday is looking good too...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hot as Hades

Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.

I may have moved only 45 miles southeast, but it feels like we're roasting at the equator lately.  The soil is akin to beach sand, cacti thrive in it, everything else... not so much.

All creatures great and small have been suffering through 100 degree days.
Geovani and I used two pairs of clippers to give Titan a full body clip to provide him with some relief from the heat.

Abandoned baby wrens were in my custody.
Couldn't leave them for any stretch of time, so they traveled with me.
Including into stores.
Breaking a plethora of health codes at Publix!

Keeping the dogs from over heating isn't easy either.  
One idiot in particular would chase a squirrel across the Sahara.
Air conditioned pups.
Another idiot will gleefully go running in this heat without proper hydration.  Shall we mention her name?  
In my defense, it was the best run I've had since tearing my foot ligaments.  On the trails with my trusty running buddies-- heaven!  I was back at the barn at mile 8 when I unclipped Cole and attempted to sprint the half mile back to my house.  I made it to the end of my driveway before collapsing.  Here is a benefit of living in a sandy area:  soft landing.  I spent some quality time inspecting grains of sand up close until I felt well enough to raise myself onto my knees.  I was wavering around on all fours like a drunk dog when the farm manager drove up behind me.  It's a good thing I don't embarrass easily because I'd be perpetually mortified.  I declined to ride back home, preferring to walk should the need to puke arise suddenly.  Yeah, yeah, I know better, did I mention how much fun I had though?

I thoroughly enjoyed moving my horses back into the new pasture I've been fencing off for them. 
So far from anything that I have to haul water in for them.
They were temporarily quartered a 40 minute walk away.
I lead Bella and Angus, Axel simply followed.  It helped to have Pete herding from the back!
Removing two weeks worth of manure from their borrowed paddock was far less enjoyable.  Five hours later...many, many trailer fulls.  My compost pile doth grow large!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hypocritical Me

Life in all its forms, I cherish and respect it.
Plant life:
All my transplants survived and are attempting to thrive.

Bird life:
All the torrential rain put an end to the Kingbird nest in my carport.  Five unhatched eggs, their second brood this year, all smashed on the ground.  They were trying to rebuild, but needed some engineering help.
Oh yes, I proceeded to shamelessly interfere with Mother Nature.  So sue me.
I offered a little structural support!

Offering some emotional support to Pete:
Ye old farm dog is suffering from PTSD  (Post Traumatic Shredding Disorder).  This canine termite chewed a door and two windows in his attempt to break out of the barn.  He was successful, BTW.

Where I lack respect:
Anything or anyone that can potentially hurt me, people around me, my horses, my cattle, my dogs and COLE (the kid who doesn't think he's a dog).
The severed head of a very large timber rattler.  Unfortunately for this remarkable specimen, he was lounging underfoot and a stone's throw away from my horses and the house.  We were trying to unload a shipment of pine straw.  Bad timing, dude.
Barney Fife and her 357 Magnum (not exactly the reason I'm always packing, but proves that you just never know):
I know, I know, I am a fashion maven... even went to the feed store dressed like this. They are my people, they put up with me.
We counted 14 rattles = years.  Such a pity to have to dispatch it, but not in my backyard...

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Living with two dorks

When I drive the mule, the dogs all insist on riding on the front seat.  A couple of days ago, I had the windshield up and Garrett decided to leap out of my arms, over the dash and out onto the trail-- directly in front of the vehicle. By slamming on the brakes, I avoided completely squishing him, but he did receive a good conk on the noggin.  I doubt he learned his lesson.
Cole always wants to point while I'm driving.  As the concept of speed limits is lost on me, Cole can easily lose his balance and smack his chin on the dash, or possibly fall out.
After Garrett's suicide dive, I lost my patience and told Cole to SIT DOWN.  This is how he perched himself the remainder of that ride:

My freakin' genius!  I'm comforted by the fact that he's the biggest dork I know-- proves that could very well be genetically my child.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Celestial Descent

Don't you too wish you had an angel on speed dial?
Sorry to have to break this to you, but my guardian angel even travels with a posse:
Jason, Jon, Davis and Daniel, the names they use when they're here on Earth anyway...

My horses had seriously overgrazed an unimproved pasture that was allotted to us. Too many irons in the fire and no time or money available to rectify the problem. Until now. Weeks socking money away until Sunday when I hit speed dial:
Davis leading Bella.  Myself, Axel and Angus in the lead heading 1.5 miles to a temporary pasture.
Through the woods and on to a place with lush, green grass.
Meanwhile. the crew was methodically disassembling my previous temporary electric fencing.

It may not look like much, but this is a few thousand feet of neatly coiled electric tape.  When I originally borrowed this electric fence system, the tapes were rolled up into rat nest, it took hours to untangle them.  I still have nightmares about it.
To get ready to string new electric fence, I had to have 16 corner posts sunk and concreted in before my pit crew arrived. Tied up with other jobs, my farm assistants and I didn't start until noon on Saturday.
Farm Assistant #1, always there, ready to help or get under foot.
Farm Assistant #2, prefers mostly to watch me work from the comfort of the truck seat:
By the last post, I was getting delirious... dehydrated and fatigued from mixing 16 bags of concrete and pushing it around in a wheel barrow all over tarnation.
Dead and done.  I am a mere mortal after all, unlike the Angel Crew.  They try appear like normal humans in order to pass undetected.  I think they've perfected their Redneck accents:
You be the judge.
I should have heeded their warning, a bad storm was a comin'.  By the time I decided to shut down operations and bail, it was too late.  Driving the four wheeler the mile or so back to my house was a refreshing experience.  The rain was driving so hard, my eyes were burning.  Davis, driving the mule, should have been less soaked, but he had to raise the windshield because he couldn't see the trail. 
Drowned rats:
May they alight upon the farm next weekend!