Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ridin' Ranger

We went riding on Monday, swallowed our pride and paid the $10 for a one day ride at Blackwell Horseman's Camp in the Hoosier National Forest, otherwise known as the Charles C. Deam Wilderness area. We have been riding there since we were kids and now we have to pay to use the trails, it just isn't right. I was riding there before it was even a horseman's camp.

I took Ranger and my DH took Darth, they both did well but Ranger was awesome. He doesn't shy from anything. He walks through horse swallowing mud holes and didn't even notice any of the horse eating stumps or fallen trees.

He doesn't scrape your knees against trees unless there is gravel in the trail, he hates gravel, we will have to shoe him for the next ride. Who puts gravel on horse trails anyway? The thing that really grates me is that we are paying for the stupid gravel with our $10 per day.

The thing that I really love about Ranger is he puts his nose to the ground and he doesn't stumble, he is super careful on rough and steep ground. Flies don't bother him either, even horse flies. I don't mean that he doesn't mind them (which he doesn't) but they don't like his color. They did land on the saddle and pad though. Darth got the bites but the flies really weren't that bad.

Darth had to go twice as far as Ranger went, because he kept having to turn around and come back down the trail to make sure we were still coming. Ranger is very slow and does not mind being left behind, there is not a buddy sour bone in his body. All in all he is a perfect horse, just needs to learn some neck reining and maybe to speed up his walk.


We only rode for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. I didn't get too sore but my back was demanding that I get off and walk awhile. We had ridden a few weeks ago down the road to check on some young horses that we are pasturing at a friend's place. I rode Leroy that day and my Husband rode Heath.

We were about halfway to our destination when the sky cut loose and engulfed us in a ferocious thunderstorm. We had heard the sound of distant thunder but we didn't think that it would find its way to us. All of the sudden there was lightening flashing all around us. The flashes were scary enough without the sound of the ground shaking thunder. We were all ducking.

When the rain came it was large stinging drops that were being blown horizontally. My DH tried to turn back but I talked him into going on in search of shelter. We finally found a barn with easy horse access. We rode into it and waited and waited for the rain to stop.

The hard rain on the tin roof made it hard to even talk, so we waited some more. I tried to clean the water off of my glasses but neither of us could find anything dry to wipe them with.

Here are some more pictures of poor Ranger after our little ride at Blackwell. We met some other riders on the trail, three ladies on cell phones (you get a strong cell phone signal in the Deam Wilderness), they called my horse fat. They didn't say that I had a nice looking horse or a pretty horse, they just said that I had a fat horse. Here are some pictures of my fat horse and his saddle sores after a three and a half hour trail ride.



Saturday, September 12, 2009

Exotic Feline Rescue

Our old mare with Cushings never got any better even with the Chaste Tree Berries. My DH spent many days cutting her long hair so that the hot days weren't so hard on her. But even with her hair cut she suffered in the heat. So we finally donated her to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, who provide a home for nearly 200 big cats. They were thrilled to get her at the time because they were having a drought in meat donations. They said that they would be here in a couple of hours.

When he came to get her, he said that after my Husband had called they had gotten some other calls. They feed 3000 lbs. of meat per day. Unfortunately we have several horses who are at the age that they will probably end up in the same place in the next few months or years. It isn't as bad as it sounds, the man was very skilled in putting our mare down and he did it on our own property, so the horse does not have the stress of being loaded and hauled to a strange place. We feel like this is the right answer for all involved.

Smells Good

I finally filled my largest pot full of pear bits. Notice that I didn't say that I got all of my pears peeled and cut up. I still have pears left to process but since my pot was full and my arms were aching I quit peeling.

I am currently sitting here waiting on the pears to cook down. That will happen at about 3:00 in the morning. Then I can start canning them. Having to do this overnight was my own fault. I kept putting it off until I ran out of time. I should have been in the house working on the pears this evening instead of cutting weeds out from under the electric fence. It is just that I can't resist being outside.

I lost my pear preserve recipe from last year and it was a great recipe. So I had to find a new one for these pears. It is suppose to be an old pear preserve recipe but I am thinking that it will be more like pear butter.

Since the recipe was pretty boring, I decided to spice it up. I added lemon juice, cinnamon and allspice. It smells heavenly and I keep having to go over and spoon some out for tasting.

Friday, September 11, 2009

2009 Hatchlings

I have ended up this hatching season with three hens who successfully incubated their eggs. The first standard sized hen hatched out nine bantam chicks only smashing one of them. Her eight remaining D'Uccle chicks are now nearly adult size and five of those eight are roosters, four of the five roosters are turning Mille Fleur. I am currently trying to find them new homes.

The other two hens were both D'Uccles, one hatched six chicks and the other hatched three. These chicks are all D'Uccles as well, but are still little balls of fluff, so I don't know if they are pullets or cockerels.

Egg production has dropped drastically in the last few weeks. When we were getting plenty of eggs, no one wanted to buy them, now we have a waiting list. I guess fresh farm eggs are getting harder to find because of the season. This is hard on our dogs who are use to getting a few eggs everyday.

I am glad to report no chicken losses other than one smashed chick. Having Great Pyrenees can cut your chicken losses as long as it isn't your Great Pyrenees who are killing your chickens. My older dog does chase them a little bit when she is feeling frisky and my cat does too, but neither has ever hurt one of them.

I am really impressed with my cat, Garfield, he kills birds, mice, chipmunks and rabbits but the little tiny chicks can walk right over his front paws and he only twitches. I have been afraid that he will snap one day, but so far so good.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm Better Than This

I come before you in all humbleness, begging for your forgiveness. I have been pretty low as of late. A few weeks ago I finally had something to look forward to. I was so deliriously happy because things were looking up for us. I should have known that it was just a trick to bring me crashing down. I know that I should never look forward to a better life here on earth. It is a trap that always captures me, then I feel stupid because I am better than this, I have always known that I can't be optimistic.

I hope that I have finally learned my lesson and will try to remain true to myself and will not set myself up for anymore falls. I have always been a pessimist and I should not have been so foolish as to think that the light at the end of the tunnel was anything other than a train. It was just that this time it was a sure thing! All of the worry and waiting was over. Then it all just exploded in our faces.

So here we are, back where we are most comfortable, in the land of despair. Fields full of mouths to feed with no hay in sight for the winter. At least we have milk, eggs, tomatoes and pears (Thank you, Diane!) to eat. The good news is that I will probably never get osteoporosis because I get tons of calcium.

My Mother always said that I was a happy-go-lucky child, she didn't know the dark secret that I kept so well hidden.

With this post I have left my "feeling sorry for myself" behind and am ready to tackle the next struggle, pounds and pounds of pears to process and can.