Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oil and Leather and Tack, Oh MY!

For Christmas my beloved husband got me a saddle. I also got an English bridle for Mary so that Sparrow can use the bits-n-pieces bridle I cobbled together and she can use her own instead of having to constantly readjust between work. I've been waiting to get in to town and pick up some leather oil and with the holidays and Tsu being on call and... well I haven't been to town in a few weeks, literally. At least not the BIG town. So I had to go drop Pony Jr. at her dad's house and swing by the library (two books about belly dance and one about hoof problems, hehe) so I decided to stop by the old hardware store and see if they had any harness oil.

This old hardware store is dark, over crowded with stuff older than I am, and has the oddest mix of junk you ever saw in a hardware store. They have dog food, bird seed, pine tar, and a 14 inch horse collar, not to mention crocks for making sour kraut in and electric space heaters and who even knows what else.

Sure enough, right next to a goat collar and a calf halter and a bundle of scrap leather there was a bottle of Fiebing's Neatsfoot compound. JACKPOT! And surprisingly, it was not over priced. Probably because they priced it 22 years ago when they first stuck it on the shelf, lol. I blew a layer of dust from the top and took it to pay for it. I told the guy (great grandson of the original owner of the store, with the same name, Daniel Orr) how glad I was to see they had it. He laughed and said he grew up in that store and he is still startled some times by the stuff he didn't know they had in there.

I got home and happily spread out my ratty old felt blanket that I use to keep oil, sick dogs, and what ever else off of the carpet. I grabbed a new paint brush from my craft supplies, an old jam jar, and a holey sock. Then, with a ridiculous amount of delight, I collected up all the tack I needed to oil and spread it out on the blanket. It didn't need cleaning, heaven knows I keep it clean enough. At the most it might get dusty. I took every piece apart so I could coat the leather well on both sides. Then I opened the bottle of neatsfoot oil and took a deep breath before pouring some into the jam jar and dipping my brush in to it.

It's amazing how a smell can take you back in time, take you to a place you long to go again. The smell of the leather and the oil for a split second took me back... back to a small barn with a fire place in the tack room, a black leather harness, and a huge bay and white draft cross named Trooper who would stand watching me through the doorway as if his sun rose and set on me.

Ah, the sweet smell of nostalgia!

So I spent my evening, and part of today, oiling up tack long over due for oiling, and softening and oiling my new saddle, and thinking about the past and the future. I guess that is kind of fitting, on this last day of the year.

So now my equipment is once again as soft as butter and my hands smell like neatsfoot oil. The snow is falling slowly outside my window, the dog is whining to go out because she saw one of the barn cats cross the yard and she wants an excuse to bark at it. And I feel hopeful. I look back over the past year and think what a roller coaster ride it has been. But I am happier, healthier and have more hope than I have in a long time. I can hardly wait to see what the new year brings.

Monday, December 29, 2008

That Is THE Ugliest Dog I Have EVER Seen.

I hear this all the time about my dog, Nigel. I'm used to it. I actually get a kick out of it, because i find him to be just beautiful. I get a huge grin out of showing off his least flattering pictures and watching people try to avoid barfing in their mouth a little.

Nigel is special. He is my dream dog. The dog of my heart. The dog I spent 10 years wanting and researching before I found him. Nigel is a Hairless Chinese Crested Dog.

This is Nigel the week I brought him home:

Almost everyone who met him thought I had lost my mind. But from the moment I laid eyes on him I KNEW he was my special dog.


I've had Nigel since Ground Hog Day 2002. He was 6 months old when I got him from a rescue group down by Novi MI. He has been my constant companion ever since.

He isn't entirely incapable of looking handsome, and he is very good about saying his prayers.


But he is pretty rough looking when he first wakes up.



It doesn't matter what other people think, I love my dog and I think he is the most beautiful dog I have ever seen.


The best part is that he seems to be as crazy about me as I am about him. I am grateful every single day that we found each other.

How did I find my dream dog? Seriously, if you are looking for a pet, even a rare breed high priced type of dog, check them out. I found my bestest buddy in the whole wide world there. Everyone should have a dog as smart and handsome as my Nigel, hehehe.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saddle training the tiny ones.

I am of the opinion that one of the single most important things you can do to make sure your horse has a long, happy, healthy life where it is kept in a good home and well cared for is to make sure it is TRAINED. Even the ugliest, most poorly put together horse is more likely to find a soft place to land if it is well trained.

This doesn't change if you make the horse smaller. Miniature horse people tend to forget that. If it is small, cute, and doesn;t eat much why bother training it to DO something? It's adorable-ness will make sure it finds a home should you ever not be able to keep it yourself, right?



There is a massive glut of mediocre miniature horses on the market right now. If your mini isn't show ring quality, at least around HERE, there IS no market for it unless it can DO something other than mow the grass.

Since my goal is to sell Sparrow in the spring getting him trained now that he is old enough is of critical importance to me. And since I am training him I might as well get Mary on her way to employability as well. They have been worked in harness for the last year or so, but since they are both large enough and sturdy enough for small children to ride it was time to start getting them used to work under saddle, so to speak. Since both already know the basics of stop/go/turn thanks to their harness training this means mostly just getting them used to having someone on their back.

Well, yeah. problem. They are tiny little things. Solution? Keep a foot on the ground. Yeah. So for your viewing pleasure, pictures of my day after Christmas training session with Mary. PLEASE NOTE: I am actually walking over top of her, and bearing a good deal of my weight on my own feet. I'm very careful not to ask her to do anything that will hurt her or be too much for her. If at any point she seems to be struggling I will completely back off!

Tacked up and ready to go!


Back in the saddle, so to speak (I am riding her in the halter for now until I get my "sea legs" so to speak and make sure she is settled into this well so I don't accidentally hit her in the mouth):


I'm amazed by how well she is doing, it's like she has been doing it her whole life:


Sparrow seems to LOVE it. I don't have any pictures riding him... or rather walking over him, lol. He is taller but more narrow, and while it is harder to walk over him it is still possible. He has taken to being ridden MUCH better than he did to driving. This guy is going to be a FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC little kid's pony!!! I mean, he is gorgeous, healthy, active, smart, sweet as sugar, and already looking to be really solid under saddle. I am seriously going to be looking for a family for him that will appreciate that and actually use him.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Horse 1.0 (horse computer joke!)

To whom it may concern;

Recently I purchased and installed Horse 1.0.
I soon noticed that this program appears to have numerous glitches. For instance, every time my computer boots up, I have to run Feed 5.3 and Water 7.1. Many times I've been in the middle of writing an important document, and a window will flash telling me to run Clean Stall 2.0. This program also contained applications I did not wish to install, such as Manure 8.5, however they auto-installed with Horse 1.0.

Applications such as Vacation 2.7 and Free Time 10.1 can no longer run, crashing whenever selected. Possibly the worst is that Horse 1.0 has attached itself to programs like Finance Manager and MS Money, with folders added such as "Monthly Shoeing" and "Winter Blanket". Periodically, I'll get a reminder telling me to send a check to the manufacturer of Horse 1.0 for the aforementioned items.

I have tried to uninstall Horse 1.0 numerous times, but when I try to run the uninstall program, I get warning messages telling me that a deadly virus known as "Withdrawal" will infect my system. Please Help!!!!!

Dear User,

Your complaint is not unusual. A common misconception among users is that Horse 1.0 is a mere "utilities and entertainment program." It is not - it is an OPERATING SYSTEM and is designed by its' creator to run everything!

A warning will soon be imprinted on the box. Since you have already installed Horse 1.0, here are a few tips on how to make it run better. If you are annoyed by the applications Feed 5.3 and Water 7.1, you may run C: \HIRE HELP, however this will cause another folder to be added to financial applications, labeled "Staff". Failure to send payment to "Staff" will result in Feed 5.3 and Water 7.1 being run again on startup.

A note of caution: NOT booting up your computer for several days isn't the solution to avoiding Feed 5.3 and Water 7.1. You will find that, when you boot up your computer again, a nasty virus called "Colic 4.2" will have attached itself to important documents and the only way to rid your computer of Colic 4.2 is by purchasing and installing "Vet 10.1", which we admit is extremely expensive, but crucial. Otherwise, Colic 4.2 will cause irreversible damage to the operating system. Finally, it is important that you run C:\Carrots and C:\Scratch Ears on a fairly regular basis to keep the application running smoothly. If you have any more questions, please call our toll free number.


Tech Support

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Past thoughts revisited..."It Will Kill The Grass"

Something I wrote years ago, to tide you over until the holiday is done:

...It Will Kill The Grass...

I was standing by the kiddie pools and supplies at a store last summer, trying to decide what stuff I should buy for the pool (I needed a vacuum of some sort) when I over heard a child ask for a slip and slide. His father, obviously horrified said, "No way will I have one of those things in my yard, it will kill the grass!" The child was clearly bummed out by this response and they wandered on their way.

For some reason, I thought of this today.

I thought, what a shame. Imagine the joy and pleasure that father missed out on, and that child missed out on... all to save some grass in their yard.

I've seen it many times. Not just with slip and slides, but with many things. Often as parents we forget how short and precious childhood is. Our grown up mind forgets how important and special something as simple as a cheap piece of plastic sprayed with a hose can be for a child and how the memories made can last a life time.

When I was younger I had a friend who had the coolest mom I ever met. She was very old compared to the other moms of my friends. She was a country hick with no teeth and a lazy eye. But she knew how to have fun. I remember spending the night at their house and she would come in at midnight, drag us out to the car and we would drive the back roads looking for teenagers making out so we could shine flashlights at them and scare them. She'd tell us scary stories, let us sleep in the barn with newborn baby goats, help us build forts in the woods and drag old furniture out of the dump to decorate the fort with.

One day we were complaining because it was hot, and we wished we had a pool. She disappeared into the garage and came back with two shovels and a roll of black plastic. "Go for it, just dig in the old garden, and don;t forget to shut off the hose when you are done."

We spent hours digging, she came out to help and bring us snacks now and then. By late afternoon we had a muddy hole about 3 feet deep and 7 feet across lined with black plastic and slowly filling with ice cold water. The plastic kept the water in but didn;t keep the dirt out. By the time it was filled in with water it was also full of dirt and what we had was a mud pit.

Did she tell us to keep out of it? Did she tell us to be careful because we were making a mess? Did she tell us that was enough because all the water and tromping around was overflowing into the yard and killing the grass?

No, she jumped into our mud pit and started throwing mud at us until we jumped in and joined her.

We spent days in that mud pit. She would hook the hose to the kitchen sink and run it out through a window and when we wanted to come into the house she would hose us down with luke warm water first. She brought us old pie pans to use to make mud pies. I was about 14 but I had more fun making mud pies at 14 then I'd ever had at 6.

I will never forget the summer of the mud wallow. I swear I was still finding mud in my hair a month later.

Now we are grown, and believe it or not you can not even tell where our mud wallow was. The grass grew back, but we have memories that will last a life time.

My friend’s mother passed away a while ago. I hadn't seen her in years, but when she passed away I was overcome with grief and loss. I wish I had told her how much she meant to me, and how much joy she had brought me. Imagine how much we would have missed out on if she had just told us "No, it will kill the grass."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Mary" Christmas


May not be around much the next several days, so here are your holiday wishes!

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's here! It's HERE!

The saga started last week. I'd made my decision to get Sparrow ready to sell in the spring so that I could finally make my dream come true and have a riding horse of my own.

Let me explain how huge this is: I have only ever wanted ONE thing with an undying passion and desire in my life... a horse. I have pined for my own horse, ached for my own horse, cried myself to sleep as a teenager for my own horse. I have had brief moments in time where i had that hearts desire in my grasp but they always always always slipped away. But now... it is a possibility. And I am intent on not only making this dream come true (which is part of what I am documenting here) but by finding a way, someway, somehow, to get my DREAM horse. My hairy little drafty pinto marked horse. I have one in mind that I am trying to get the money together for. First we have to pay back some money we owe, but that shouldn't be too tough (yay tax refund!) and then I can work toward my goal.

At any rate, with this in mind I was daydreaming about things like fat sassy hairy horses and shiny tack and I wandered onto a saddle on ebay. My favorite saddle ever was an Australian Stock Saddle. So I wanted another one. This saddle was black with light stitching, western style panels, and a strap instead of a horn. EVERYTHING I wanted and at a great price.

So, Tsu had asked earlier what I wanted for Christmas and I had said, "To get my ring fixed." My lovely ring that I designed has a chipped emerald and I would like my engagement ring and the band to be welded together plus since I lost some weight it is a little loose. But... the saddle... *ME WANT*

So I sent him a message at work and said, "Would you mind if I changed my mind and had you try to get me this instead?"

He checked it out and asked if I was sure. Of course I was sure. So the next day he bid on it, and set it up to auto bid up to a certain point. The next night he came in from hunting and said, "Someone out bid us. I got a page." Oh. *sad face*

I didn't want to get into a bidding war so I told him, "Let's just hold off and see what happens, and if there are no new bids we can try and get one in at the last minute. If not than it was never meant to be."

Every 5 minutes for two days I checked it, there were no new bids. Then, the day before the auction ended I went to check it and.... all the other bids were gone and the price was set back to the bid we had put in before and we were the high bidders!!! I have no clue what happened but I was giddy with delight. (A lot of things make me giddy with delight. I am easily giddy-fied.)

So originally the delivery date was suppoed to be friday. Of course we had the worst snow storm of the year to date on friday and our driveway was completely impassable. I was so worried about MY saddle! Tsu checked the delivery status for me and it said projected delivery had been changed to Monday because the saddle was still in Ohio. *PHEW!* Tsu plowed the drive saturday and then sunday we were gone all day only to come home and find the driveway completely drifted over. *sad face again*

Well, there was no way he could get out this morning to plow before the UPS delivery truck made it's rounds and I was so concerned that they would either not deliver OR would try to and would end up stuck. About 10:30 Nigel starts to bark. I jump up and run to the door and look out to see the UPS truck at the end of the drive! I panic! I'm jumping around the livingroom trying to find a way to get into my snow suit before they give up and leave and take my saddle with them!

I manage to get my feet into Tsu's boots since it would take too much time to get into my own, dash out the door and see: Two UPS guys walking back to the truck and a hug box on my porch. *pass out* I squealed with joy. These poor men had tromped up my almost 1/4 mile driveway with this huge box, and unknowingly made me one of the happiest girls alive, and they were too far away for me to let them know how much I truly appreciated it.

So I dragged the box into the house, hands trembling in anticipation, and opened up the box.

Angels sang a triumphant chorus. Stars twinkled. Birds joined the angels in their glorious melody. OK, maybe that is going overboard but inside I FELT like all of those things were happening.

It's beautiful, and far nicer quality that we deserve for what we paid for it. I am so happy with it that I want to cry tears of joy. Unable to resist I strapped it around my Swiss Stability Ball that I use to work out and for an hour I pretend rode my pretend horse on my REAL saddle. Now I am using it as a foot stool as I write and when I am done here I shall be pretend riding my pretend horse again.

The only thing that would make this Christmas better would be waking up Christmas morning to find my dream horse in my barn. But seriously, between my saddle and my muzzle loader this is without a doubt my best Christmas so far. Not because of the STUFF I have been given but because the things I have received have been things I have dreamed of, and wanted, and the people who love me paid enough attention to KNOW how much they would mean to me.

My heart sings.

I'm going to go pretend to ride my pretend horse again. I may be almost 40 but you are never too old to pretend.

Yesterday's chores...

Horses keep warm in the winter from the heat generated by their digestion and by the insulation of their hair coat. It seems that the tiny horses have just as much hair as the big one only it is crammed onto their smaller bodies. Mine look like Tribbles most of the winter, hehe.

So when it is very windy and cold I try to feed them several small meals throughout the day. Yesterday we were going to be gone all day so instead I spread their food over many places so they would have to graze about to get it all. This took some planning because the wind was horrid and I had to find places to put it where it wouldn't blow away.

I decided to snap a picture of the ponies munching because Mary has such stubby legs and her standing in the snow had me cracking up:


The heavy winds from yesterday have rearranged the snow into windswept low spots and twisting drifts. I did my morning chores early because the wind chill is -12f and I wanted all the critters to have something in their bellies to help keep them warm.

My new saddle is supposed to arrive today, and the roads are just awful. :-(

Tsu (my husband) plowed but the winds have drifted the drive over and our poor tractor is just over whelmed by this snow. It has turf tires on it and just can't get enough grip to move the snow well. We need chains for it.

Yesterday we were out in that awful weather. Tsu and his dad needed to go to see his uncle and they had to drive for hours round trip. Last time the had to go I went with them but this time I opted to hang out with my Mother In Law, Karen, instead. It's been a while since we had a chance to just hang out like that and we talked our throats raw, hehe.

I got a surprise gift of a .50 calibur muzzle loading rifle. I'm giddy with delight. Now I just have to learn how to load it and shoot it.

Happy holidays all! Once the holidays are over I will be filling everyone in on some of my plans for this blog, including give aways and contests, among other things!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

So... why this? Why now? Why here?

I've kept an on line diary or journal or blog for much of the last decade. It started on a diary site years ago, to be honest I can't even remember the name of the place any more! I started it to have a safe place to anonymously ramble and vent and to give myself a reason to write because... I love to write.

It wasn't until i got suckered into MySpace that I started to blog without my mantle of anonymity. You know, it is DIFFERENT writing where people you KNOW might read it. In some ways it is better, in others.... not so much. But in all I have to say i enjoy it more.

I don't think I have much of great interest to say, but I'm going to say it anyway. Not because I think anyone out there wants to read it, but because I enjoy writing it. I like to look back and read the things I wrote and smile because I enjoy seeing what I had to say in that moment of time.

There are moments in my life when I stop and think of all I have seen, experienced, survived, etc. I think, "I seem to have a story to share about every stupid subject that comes up! That can't be normal!" But when I look at my life, as boring as I seem, I've seen and done some amazing things! I've ridden with the hounds at a fox hunt, worked for a now retired vice president of GM, worked for a woman who had an actual CAROUSEL in her yard, rode Clydesdales, met Chuck Norris and John Saxon, and loaded euthanized animals into an incinerator at the end of a work week at the animal shelter. I've given mouth to snout to a newborn foal and watched it come to life, held a mares innards out of the way while her foal was cut from her body when it became clear she was dying but perhaps the foal could be saved, ridden a son of Secretariat, and been chased down a driveway by an axe weilding German. For someone as laid back and mellow and all around boring as I tend to consider myself I've had quite a life!

And you know, I like to talk about it even if it is just to read it myself later and smile at my own foolishness.

But why here? Why now?

Well, the here is because... it's convenient and I like the way this place is organized. The now? Well, because I'm a new person in many ways, and I have found a part of myself I though was long dead. It seemed that this was as good a time as any to start something new. I'm on the door step of making a life long dream come true. I want to keep focused on that, and this will be a part of that.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Today's REAL Blog Post... I can has a SNOW DAY!??!

Today, in pictures!

Morning chores:

OH, HAI! I is bundled up, yes!


These dimwits have a 12ft x 24ft run in area in the barn and where were they?


OMG! Teh pones look liek they are sugar donuts! NOM NOM NOM!!!!



I am tricksy, I put their hay in the barn so they will stay out of the snow and wind while they eat:



OK! Done nao! Time for me to go back in teh cozy house! BAI BAI!!!



I woke today at 4 am. I don't LIKE to wake at 4 am and yet almost every day I do. If I don't generally one of the dogs will make sure I don't sleep much later.

However, today we were expecting a snow storm. As usual I waited to see if school would be closed. Every school around us was closed, but ours decided to wait until 15 minutes before the bus would normally be here to report that. Typical, yes? At any rate I had decided to keep Pony Jr. home whether they canceled school or not. If every other school for miles around is closed I do not want her on the roads. So at least SOMEONE got to sleep in today!

I suppose I should introduce myself. My friends call me Pony, so I guess you all might as well call me that, too. I'm closing in rapidly on 40. I have a teenage daughter from my first marriage. I have a husband who is 7 years younger and a foot taller than I am. I have two dogs, one of which is bald. I used to be an artist until my arms went weird on me. I have too many cats. I don't have as many horses as I would like, and the ones I have aren't even big enough to make a meal should the apocalypse come any time soon. But they are darn cute.

I live on 13+ acres in rural Michigan about an hour and a half due north of Detroit. I'm surrounded by corn fields, dirt roads, and interesting people that I do my best to avoid most of the time. I make gourd crafts, and last year I grew my own gourds and I have them drying for future use.

I love to read. I play World of Warcraft. I can't stand kids aside from my own. I love to go with my husband to the Sportsman Club where we are members and hang out while the guys shoot their blackpowder rifles. I'm fascinated by ship wrecks, and the Great Lakes, and ghost stories. But mostly I love horses. Dogs, too, but mostly horses.

That is me, in a nutshell. The highlights I suppose you could say.