Friday, October 31, 2008

I See Dead People

I have been ghosted by Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch so I have to tell a ghost story. I could tell of the time I heard someone open the back door and walk around the kitchen but when I went to one was there! I'm not.
Because I see dead people. Lest you think I'm crazy, hear me out. I don't get it either.

It all started when Hubby and I moved into a small house in the quaint town of Steilacoom. I would go to sleep and I would wake up in the middle of the night with someone standing by my bed. I'd wake up and see them and scream like crazy. Poor Hubby would wake, ready to fight off whomever, only to see no one. But he could tell I felt like I really did see someone. And frankly......I do really see someone. I have seen women, men, old and young and even dogs once. They aren't trying to hurt me, just looking at me. I thought the house in Steilacoom was haunted but I see dead people at all the houses we have lived in, and even at the Westin in L.A.

This went on for 25 years. Me waking, seeing someone looking at me, me screaming, Hubby waking ready to fight, me going back to sleep, Hubby with the adrenaline flowing unable to get back to sleep. For 25 years.
One day I was talking to my very religious sister when I told her about my dead people sightings. I told her I really do see someone. She wasn't a bit surprised. She told me the devil was trying to scare me and I was to do the "devil get thee behind me" thing. Now that really scared me!

So that night, when I went to bed, I said my prayers and said the "devil get thee behind me" thing.

I have never seen them again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mushroom Medley

If you thought this was a recipe you were wrong. I know nothing about mushrooms except that our yard is covered with many different varieties this time of year. Which I know means we have plenty of decaying matter in our soil. I have no idea if any are edible and I am afraid to find out.
Here are a few.....

And a picture of Stormy enjoying our sun this weekend. She had just returned from hunting and bringing home dinner. Two pheasants that I put in the smoker. Smoked pheasant tastes a lot like ham.

See that sun on that apple? Between my mom's apple trees and mine, I have apples everywhere.Can anyone out there tell me how to dry apples in my oven?

I also got to meet a fellow blogger this weekend. We met at my school that her grandaughter happens to attend. My first meet-up with a blogger I don't know. And she turned out to be just what she said she was and not.........a 45 year old man. That is always a joke around here. I warn kids they could be communicating with a 45 year old man when they correspond on line. But she was Clare from Farm Style by Clare. Exactly how I thought she'd be, warm, friendly and like I had known her for a long time. I was so nice to meet you, Clare.

ok there is nothing wrong with 45 year old men. As long as that is what you are expecting:)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our Week Beyond The Sidewalks

What a busy week it has been here beyond the sidewalks. It started on Sunday, because the week does start on Sunday, with the goatfarmer and the goatjudge coming over to draw blood for the annual CAE testing. Goatfarmer and goatgirl (me) did a good job of holding on to various parts of the goats while goatjudge did the skilled part of finding a vein in a tiny Nigerian neck. She is very skilled in this and it was much appreciated by the goatgirl who would have had to pay the vet to come take blood had it not been for the goatjudge.

I would have taken pictures but thought it rude to say, "Could you hold that position a moment longer so I can get a picture?"

So my camera stayed in it's case.

I did get a picture of the girls in their holding pen. Which is an ex-pen used for dogs. My lawnmower broke so I moved them around the yard while I waited for the goatprofessionals to get here.

We have also been working on a big project......well at least Hubby is.

We acquired half an acre from our neighbor and are in the process of incorporating it into our yard. Now this means the removal of some trees. 18 to be exact. Which is why it is Hubby's project. I am a tree hugger. I name trees. I can't be responsible for cutting trees. I am also a control freak and like to do things my way. But in my old age I have learned to let Hubby win a few. So this is his project. He wants more yard and more room to garden, which is a good thing. He tells me that it will look really bad before it looks really beautiful.
We are in the really bad stage.

I am trying not to look. I put on my blinders and walk into the house.

I did take a few pictures of the logger in the trees. Here he is in an old dead Alder. The only one I felt OK about cutting down.

I have also been busy working with Sunny. He has really taken to the clicker. It has helped us form a relationship. I am having fun with my little horse. Yesterday my friend came over to give me some ideas on things to train with the clicker. You trainers will be jealous to know that one of my best friends is a dog trainer extraordinaire. Her dogs have all the high level obedience titles like, OTCH and MACH's. And to you non-trainers that translates into a whole lot of work that the average trainer never achieves. She is also a gifted clicker trainer that always gives me good ideas. She had me teach Sunny to target, which means he touches his nose to a target stick and then eventually will follow a target stick. Sunny acted like he had done targeting before and touches his wonderful velvet nose on the target whenever I ask. We worked on heeling because I want him to heel like a dog. You should see our about turn. I promise a video when we get really good. He is backing on command and coming when called. For the first time this morning he whinnied when he saw me.

And to further your jealousy, my friend brought her tape measure to take measurements of Sunny's face for the new driving bridle she will fashion out of leather. Yes, my friend is a leather worker too. It is my job to find a mini driving bit.

Sunny still and always will have a bum rear end. There is lots of popping and crunching going on in those hips and knees. Every one of his joints in this back legs pops. For such a young guy it is a shame. But he will have a home with me, forever. He has been through at least 5 homes in 7 years. One place, where he was the longest, kept him in a dog kennel.

When I heard this, his peculiar habit of pacing around in a perfect figure 8 made sense. It is just about the size of a dog kennel and even though he is no longer in the kennel old habits die hard. He still paces.

Here is a picture of Sunny's track.
Slowly but surely we are forming a bond. He comes into my feed shed and I sit on a stool to groom him. When I bury my face in his neck he smells like a horse. He acts like a horse and I just can't get over how tiny he is. This is all the horse a person needs.

And he only eats about half a flake of hay a day.

I bred one of the does, Lexi, today so should have kids in March. This will be Lexi's first. She never appears to be in heat so when I took her to be bred in the past she never took. I just didn't want to leave her there at someone's house. Now with my own buck it is easier to get her to come in. So today was the day. A little sooner than I liked but didn't want to miss this opportunity.

Here she is today, before the big event. Little does she know.......

I finished a hat this week.
And I took many a photo...of my animals

And of fall leaves..........
A neighbor comes to visit....

And last but not least I have been tagged by Holly and Tami. Since I lost the paper that had the magic formula that Danni sent me to link my words the game will have to stop with me. I am suppose to tell you 6 quirky things about me. I don't know if I can come up with 6. I am about as normal (boring) as they come. The one sure to get picked for jury duty because there is nothing quirky about me. But I'll try.
Here goes...
1. I am not very social. Small talk can almost kill me. Parties send me running for the hills.
2. I like the cars parked right up to the garage in a neat line. Don't leave your car helter skelter in my drive.
3. I have worrying down to a science.
4. I am a homebody that would be happy not going anywhere for weeks.
5. I was, at one point, legally blind until the magic of Lasik surgery.
6. This goatgirl hates the taste of goat milk and goat cheese.
It always tastes like I'm licking my goats. That being said I probably haven't had the right goat's milk. It's been awhile since the last babies we have had around here were left on their moms and I don't milk a goat because it is next to impossible to find someone that will milk a goat for you if you want to go somewhere. I will try again with some new instructions in milk handling from the goatfarmer who has a licenced dairy.
Whew I did it. Thanks for thinking of me Holly and Tami!
The End.

Monday, October 13, 2008

One Trick Pony

I would like to take this opportunity to update you on Sunny. After being inspired by commenter Holly to pick up my rusty clicker and give it a try on an indifferent little horsey, I cut up some carrots and gave it a go. I have trained all my dogs with a clicker and use to teach clicker training at our local civic center so I understand it pretty well. I just didn't think about trying it with Sunny. He took to it right away. What a smart little guy. We are working on come, whoa, back and even heel. Yes, heel. Just like my doggies. He is getting the hang of it. And through this we are getting to know each other one click at a time. Every day we do a grooming session that he doesn't particularly like but is learning to tolerate. He gets his back thighs massaged, which he doesn't particularly like.....but is learning to tolerate. And he gets a few minutes of clicker training. Which I think he does kind of like.
Now his back legs still concern me. Although not lame, there is a lot of crinkling and popping going on back there. I think next month after I get paid I'll get the vet out to float his teeth and give him a look even though I don't think there is much that can be done for him. I know enough about structure and I think the best thing for him would be to get him to a place comfort wise so he can build some muscles around those joints and tighten things up. Just like me!
But lucky for him he doesn't have to do much at my place but look pretty(he's got that cornered) and do a few tricks(working on it).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Eating Crow

After a night of almost no sleep and the same tape of self-doubt playing over and over in my head I got up this morning to some very encouraging comments from my blogger friends. I had spilled my guts out all over my blog last night because my horse friend couldn't talk and Hubby isn't that interested in talking about my animals in depth and my son sent me quickly to his voicemail (punk). So I blogged my thoughts and am now going to take a few things back.

I got to school this morning and ran into our O.T. a very Zen like fellow, who I had talked to about my habit of worrying in the middle of the night and he encouraged me to live in the moment and breathe. You can't change the past. So when I told him about Sunny and how I worried about buying him he held up a finger and said, "Past" I said that I was worried that it would be a big vet bill and he held up another finger and said, "Future" "Are you living in the moment?"

No I wasn't.

He told me that the voice in my head that was telling me I did something stupid by buying a horse wasn't me and to get rid of that voice. So that is what I'm working on.

Next I moved on to my horsey friend, whom I happen to work with and told her all about it. She said calm down it isn't that bad. My horse Charlie had the worst stiff rear end ever. She got after me for Googling and coming up with my own conclusions to what it might be. She calmed me down. She reminded me it takes a long time to build trust with a horse and that Sunny was still worth it. She also said she thought that the seller might not have noticed his stiffness if she didn't really do much with him. That I tend to have an eye for things like that, that most people wouldn't even notice.

Then her daughter, Ashlee, the horse massage therapist, and her horse trainer friend happen to stop by school and I took them (on my break, of course) to look at Sunny. They looked Sunny over and watched him move. They noticed the clicking in his stifle and that he was walking stiffly on ,especially, one leg. Ashlee said, "Goatgirl (she really didn't call me that) he wasn't walking like that when we went and looked at him. I doubt if the seller even knew he had something wrong if she didn't use him that much."

My first bite of crow.

She massage him a bit and found several knots and ropes in his thigh muscles. She showed me how to massage them and told me what to do for him. She said he could have done this anywhere that maybe just the activity after being inactive for so long could have bothered him. He could have stepped in a hole or slipped in the pasture. Or maybe kicking one of the animals, say a fat pig, could have hurt him. She said horses injure themselves a lot.

Then she said that I could have even done it to him by driving him up the road while he was out of shape.

Second bite of crow.

She is going out of town for a while but when she comes back she will work on him. In the meantime, I am to just let him exercise on his own and massage those knots.

And I have been banned from Google.
So thank you my blogging friends for all of your kind words and for some of your reality checks. Everyone take a deep breath and live in the moment with me.
I still don't like the clicking in his knees but heck my hip hurts and sometimes I hobble around too.
I sure hope they keep me:)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Let The Buyer Beware

I am feeling a bit down tonight. Normally I like my posts to be funny but I don't know how to make this one humorous. I feel a wee bit taken by the seller of Sunny. He is not the "Cuddles" that she advertised him to be. I have found that he is a horse and acts like a horse, which is fine but there is really nothing cuddly about him. He is really all about eating and couldn't care less about interacting with me or anything else, including the horse next door. She said he LOVES other animals but he really doesn't. He has kicked my goats, pigs and dogs when they have gotten in his space. Luckily he is small and no one has gotten hurt and they are quick learners, they stay out of his way. When I groom him he hates it and moves around a lot. Now all of these problems I can work around and since I do understand horses he is getting better every day. He is standing better for me. He's respecting me more and so far he has not even tried to kick me. He is calm and easy to work with.....all good things.

But here is the one I feel the worst about......

When we went to see him the owner put him in the round pen and put him through his paces. We noticed that he was a bit stiff in his rear end but seemed to move fine and didn't miss a step. We looked for any lameness but didn't find any but I think we were blinded by his beauty and big brown eyes. I knew he is straight in the stifle and contributed the stiffness to that. I did have a mare for many years that was a bit stiff and had many years of riding without a day of lameness so I wasn't all that concerned.

Now I am. Every night I walk with my neighbor so I decided tonight to take Sunny with us. I drove him for a while and he did fine and then decided to walk him but couldn't get him to go very fast. It got to the point that I had to keep prodding him along and when I stopped he favored his back legs. So my neighbor, who knows horses, took a look at him walking and said he didn't have good range of motion in his back legs. I picked up his leg and felt his knee (stifle) and felt a distinct clicking. I tried the other knee and felt the same thing. It was like luxating patellas in a dog. In fact it is luxating patellas because I came home and Googled it and sure enough, luxating patellas is a problem in minis. Darn why didn't I do my homework? This is probably why he has gone through several homes and then passed on to me.
So at this point I feel foolish for not taking my time and doing my homework. I feel like the owner must have know that he couldn't stand up to the carting and jumping she said he just LOVED to do. I feel like I've been had.
I didn't want to tell Hubby because I thought he would wonder why we even got this horse but I just had to tell someone. I told him I'd been had. I said that Sunny was just going to be a pretty pet.
He said, "Oh well, that's all we got him for in the first place."

So I guess someone had to get him and care for him......Why not me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Pony and a Cart

I grew up in a house in the country. We had a long paved driveway with horse pastures on each side. One year on my brother's birthday, my mom's friend brought over her pony and cart to give rides to the party guests. But guess who was most impressed? Me. I was in love with that pony and cart. I have thought about that for about 40 years now and have always wanted a pony cart of my very own. I never did achieve that. Sure we've always had ponies and horses but never a carting pony. And I just couldn't get it out of my mind. Last year at Christmas my brother surprised our family with all of our home movies put on DVDs and there it was again...that beautiful pinto pony pulling the cart....with me hanging all over it.

My neighbor grew up with a pony and a cart and every chance she gets she tells me about when her pony freaked out and crashed the cart into the fence. She expresses that feeling of being out of control and not being able to stop. And apparently everyone I meet has a horror story of some kind involving a pony cart. The gal at the fruit stand at the end of our road had Shoshone, a white, old as dirt pony that pulled a cart for 20 years up and down our road when one day she freaked out (that's always the word they use, freaked) and jumped into the path of an oncoming car. The car hit the pony and she went through the windshield. The gal that was in the cart broke her shoulder but fortunately the pony was fine. When the man in the car called the next day to see how things were the gal said, "Oh my daughter and I are fine." He said, "Not you, I'm wondering about the pony."

My other horse friend told me about a friend of hers that spent months in the hospital after a pony she was showing "freaked" and she got tangled in the cart and was drug for sometime.

So when I saw that Sunny was cart trained I was a little excited but wondering if I had the courage to ride in a cart after all of these stories of good ponies gone bad. I decided I would just see if he would ground drive in spite of the fact that I have no equipment for that. So I hooked a long line on both side of his halter and took him out on the road (away from the lure of green grass) and got behind him and told him to "Walk on" clucking a little with my tongue. And sure enough he did. We went a little way and I clucked a little more and he settled into a nice trot with me trotting after him with a huge grin on my face. What fun! We went flying up the road. As I neared the piece of property that Hubby was clearing I screamed his name to come out and see.....I was driving my pony! We drove up the road and back again. As I was about to the pasture I saw Long Winded Louie walking up the road and had to slow down and be neighborly and say hello. Louie said, " Hey, my daughter used to show P.O.A.s and we had a cute covered wagon that one use to pull and one day in the middle of a parade he "freaked" and went running for the crowd. If it wasn't for a quick thinking bystander that grabbed the bridle that darn pony and wagon would have been all over that crowd. I'd never have another pony and cart."

Talk about raining on my parade. So I don't know if I'll drive a cart or not. For now I just might be happy with my feet on the ground running behind my pony.

Miss Photogenic

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Harvestfest Farm Tour

I have been looking forward to going on the HarvestFest farm tour for a couple of months now. I had a couple of farms that I wanted to see and local produce I wanted to buy. I wanted to see the Parelli Natural Horsemanship demonstration at one farm and the Shire horses at another. There were sheep dog demos, hay rides and live bands. Everything this goatgirl likes and then some. So when Saturday morning dawned wet and windy I was very disappointed, for myself and the farmers that have worked so hard to put this together. But there is a saying in Washington that if you wait for it to stop raining to do won't do anything. I donned my wool hat with the wide brim and hid my camera under my coat, which by the way made me look pregnant, and went off to the farms with my friend. At the first farm, which happened to be the tour headquarters, attendance was spotty. This was the farm that had the Natural Horsemanship demo but someone had taken down the round pen and the trainer had to keep his horse on a lounge line. I didn't quite get why you would advertise a demo on Parelli training and take down the round pen but the trainer rolled with the punches and put on a bit of a display. His horse was beautiful to say the least.

So I took a picture of him for Lisa at Laughing Orca because I knew she would like him.

We watched for a while and then moved on to the sheep dog demo. To tell you the truth it was a lot of yelling at the dogs to "Lie down.....lie down....I SAID LIE DOWN!"

So I moved on to the petting area to pet a few animals but you really couldn't pet any so I took permitting. The bunny was matted and dirty, but I did get a good picture.

The rooster was just about plucked clean...poor boy, and the goats and sheep were so far out in the field there was no petting them.

I did get a picture of the donkey for Danni.

I was able to buy some produce there and some fabulous cookies and then we moved on to the next farm.

Hallelujah! Now this is what I'm talking about. Totally different atmosphere! The sun even came out. It was lively and friendly at the Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch. We got to mingle with the Shire horses. These horses were huge and like the name of the farm states...Gentle Giants.

We saw a lot of people we knew.

The goatfarmer was there doing a milking demo, that I happen to miss so there will be no pictures of that.
But I did get a picture of a goat.

I did get pictures of the bag pipe players. Is that what they are called?

Some toe tapping.....

And of some sheep.....

and of course the gentle giants.

They had hay rides and the kids could feed the chickens and goats. You could also order your heritage Thanksgiving turkey if you were so inclined.

We could have stayed all day but my friend had the horseshoer coming at 2:00 so we headed for home.

When I got home, Hubby and Stormy had returned from pheasant hunting with 2 birds. And in the true spirit of Harvestfest, for Sunday dinner we had pheasant, corn on the cob and a salad. All locally grown and locally eaten.

The End......