The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Friday, June 25, 2010

It has been quite a week - lots of yays and neighs (ha) happening around here, which inspired my "theme". It's a bit longer than my usual posts, but lots of pictures  :o)
First: Some mood music for you....

In all honesty, I had to blink to clear my eyes and make sure I wasn't hallucinating (the temps have been hovering near the 100 mark, which I believe can make a body woozy :o) For those of you that missed it, Sara's arrival at the farm absolutely ruined Rina's life (really). If you'd like to read all about the teenage drama that ensued following Sarabear's arrival, it's here.
Last year, a friend was looking for a good bareback pad to use with her horse. We found a Cashel "saddle" in the Sale Barn at Jeffers for a great price; she bought it and reported back that
she and her horse absolutely loved it. That had already been on my wish list, but running a charity means such [expensive] items are way down that list as a priority because most of my money goes straight to the non profit.  Anyway, I ran to Jeffers last week for some feed through dewormer and what did I see in the Sale Barn?  Another Cashel - and me with just enough money in the account to cover the dewormer *sniffle*.  I told DH about it; okay, it was probably closer to whining because I really really wanted to try one on the horses and look what he did! Totally fudged the birthday, as mine's not until December (and do I care? absolutely not!) Sneaky, sneaky man - he plunked it down on the saddle stand on the patio/tack room and never said a word. Whaddaya think? Major man points? Most definitely - Woo!
I am happy to report that Shadow absolutely loved the Cashel; me too. I am riding every day and trying to get myself back into shape after the whole muscle disease deal (and it's a long road - uphill both ways don'tcha know :o) After a few days with Shadow, I decided to try it on Cinnamon  - would you believe he liked it too? We only had one small problem (and the dirty details begin further down under "Bad" and end under "Ugly").
I'm starting to get the tack room back in order; it is really a small patio and gets cluttered very easily with all the items that are stuffed in there. Because space is extremely limited, we've got things literally up to the ceiling (you can see the bottoms of the saddle pads which are up over the halters and just below the ceiling :o) Of course after seeing the tack room at Grey Horse Matters' blog, I'd be waaaay too embarrassed to post photos of the whole room - that place is cleaner than my house!

I'm sad to say that the grant application (the big one) was denied. Apparently, we do not have enough cash on hand in the bank nor steady incoming donations so they were afraid we would fail the "public support test" - you know, we'd crash and burn 20 minutes after we ran out of their money. Anybody out there need a tax writeoff? *Grin*. We can, and will, reapply and in the meantime I have submitted a second grant and am working on a third - ask me how much I hate paperwork -  BLECH!
Poor Miss Sarabear got into some bees somewhere in the pasture, so her week has been less than stellar. She now has little black dots

all over her (Ichthamol ointment  works well on the stings - it's a drawing salve). Rina's attitude toward her has definitely improved, so that's something anyway.  
Shadow and Max managed to make complete pests of themselves the day I decided to ride Cinnamon; both of them where duly chastised. Unfortunately, Max was the only one that had the good sense to appear chagrined (notice I said appear) and I have my doubts there. Shadow, on the other hand, was completely offended because I did not pick him that day for a ride (and what was I thinking?) You'll have to wait until you get to "Ugly" for the conclusion of this little *cough* Tail. I have to admit though, Max has that "I'm so pitiful" expression down pretty well, doesn't he?
Our patio/tack and feed room is not actually a completely indoor room; although we have put Visqueen (is that how you spell that stuff?) over the screens. The most recent grant I submitted is for a small storage facility for our tack; we have 10 saddles, saddle pads, halters, grooming supplies, and a gazillion bridles crammed together on the patio along with feed bins and several hundred pounds of feed; not to mention the two-man auger. It will also cover the cost of a dehumidifier to keep the feed from mildewing (even with the plastic up, some of the moisture gets in there as you can see by the state of the tack - eeeeew). So in addition to trying to write grants left and right, get the horses (and me) back on track, and finish the demonstration area, I am also on a tack cleaning bender (and it certainly is a long overdue one *wince*). 
Call this a rant, but I just have to say I was very disappointed in Michaels this week. I have been calling our larger local stores to find out who I should send a request for donation letter to, and it has been quite educational. The only thing close to donating that this store does (according to the manager) is they "give away" items that they are going to throw in the garbage; you are not allowed to request anything specific either. So it's not that they won't donate anything just to us, it's that they do not donate anything to anyone. Now maybe I'm just being picky but that just seemed awfully Ebeneezer-ish of them, don't you think?  After all, I've seen their lines at Christmas (not to mention spent quite a bit shopping there myself). Hmmmm...Hobby Lobby anyone?
Remember I mentioned earlier that Shadow was mortally offended because I didn't ride him? Well I guess he figured that I just wasn't getting the message, because his next move was to bite Cinnamon on the top of his tail which resulted in...
Here is a somewhat embarrassing photo (nothing like high dose steroids to make a body look like the Sta-Puff Marshmallow woMan, yeesh) of Shadow doing his level best to explain his side of the story. You know, it's hard enough to keep a straight face when your kids do something funny when you're in full-blown parental mode; but I really had to struggle with this one (this is Shadow's "pleeeeeeze" face...Oh, my :o)
Hope your week was an adventurous one as well! 

This, That and The Other ...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

THIS is a Counting Conundrum
Have any of you noticed frequent fluctuations on your Feedburner chicklet? I've noticed that my number is rarely the same; it pops around in the 50's and 60's and yesterday it bottomed out at 15.   I have a hard time believing that there are folks out there canceling and subscribing to the blog several times per day (Okay, okay: I'm really only asking you to be sure I'm not nuts - these things do bear checking out periodically, you know). It's probably silly of me, but I gotta tell you that the 15 kinda hurt my feelings. Thankfully, we seem to have rebounded 'cause today I have 70 (does this mean I'm popular? Okay maybe not quite, right? :o)
THAT is One Sensational Stamp Company!
If anyone out there is ever in the market for a well made rubber stamp, I am delighted to tell you I found the perfect place! CRACKER BOX RUBBER STAMPS not only has a terrific selection of ready-made stamps, they also make custom rubber stamps without breaking your budget; even with the wood mounting (Waa-Hoo!). 
Because I use archival ink so kids can color the images in any medium (including markers), I prefer the more durable rubber stamps to the clear polymer (which is cheaper, but a lot less hardy and not recommended for use with archival inks).
In short, I am giving the Cracker Box a four horseshoe review for delivering an awesome product (and yep, I'm already working on my next order - BooYeah :o)
THE OTHER day as I was zipping past the sliding glass doors in our Family Room, I heard someone knocking on the outside "tack room" door. Considering it was 5:30 in the morning, I wasn't exactly expecting company. Imagine my surprise when I looked out to see a bird banging away on one of the glass panes (what on earth???) She shot off the minute I stepped out on the patio (although I didn't open the outer door, because duh) and after looking around for a minute, I spotted the reason for her visit sitting high upon the top shelf in an empty supplement bucket. All I can say, is she must have built that nest in a mighty big hurry at feeding time because we are pretty careful to keep that door closed. Maybe it was a bird's eye view of Extreme Home Makeover (hey, who else do we know that can build a house in an hour between commercials?)  Don't worry, I relocated it very carefully to a place just outside the door underneath the eave of the house (and only touched it on the bottom, lest Mom be offended).
Until next week - try not to stay out of trouble ;o)

The beginning, the middle, and the end my friend...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Can you believe the year is halfway over already? The first six months of this year have zipped by so fast I think I may actually have whiplash - yeesh.  Summertime is good though; school is out, so it means extra time to work on the non-profit stuff and more time to work with the horses. Of course you know that's the best part :o) For those of you outside the educational system that may have raised an eyebrow and thought, "Must be nice to have the whole summer off...", take my word for it; it is absolutely earned. As an educational interpreter, I see what teachers go through [put up with] during the course of a school year and it is not pretty. For every teacher that is splashed across the headlines due to misconduct, there are hundreds more out there that are trying their best to overcome ridiculous obstacles to teach: apathetic parents and absent students (not to mention gigantic budget cuts). I have yet to figure out why the Obama administration didn't blink at bailing out the banks (and weren't they just a bunch of irresponsible idiots with the money they received?) but school systems across the nation are left to fail. I just don't get it.

I've submitted a monster grant proposal for the money we need for facilities. Since this was for all the marbles (not to mention the culmination of three years of very hard work) I'm somewhere between seriously excited and throwing up. Feel free to pray for our funding - I sure am! We have raised enough to cover our liability insurance for the next year - hooray! - so now we're focusing on operating expenses. Aside from building the necessary facilities, opening to the public is only a small part of the fundraising issue: Gotta be able to sustain and maintain, don'tcha know :o) I have three more grants in the works (consider my eyeballs perpetually crossed), and several fundraising campaigns underway too. Don't worry, I'd be willing to bet you'll hear all about them in the next few weeks (did I scare ya? *Grin*) Now I just have to finish filling out that gazillion page questionnaire for the insurance company...
It is the end of DD's years in high school *sniffle* she graduated last week. She'll be off to community college with a new interpreter in the fall. She is going to study her passion: Woodworking (these are some big life changes ahead!) Now that my student/daughter has graduated, I'm leaving high school as well. I'm going to go back to interpreting in elementary school; fifth grade, to be specific. I anticipate a little bit of culture shock there, but I'm kind of excited too (they do lots of reading - Yay! :o)
LOOK-LOOK-LOOK! No it's not giant gophers gone wild, it's DH and our favorite construction volunteer Ron getting the backyard ready for the patio. This is the last step [other than the liability insurance mentioned earlier] before we can have visitors. We may just be ready to roll before the end of summer...I'm SO excited!! We're finishing up the demonstration/petting area too, which is across from the patio and just to the left in this photo (I'll try to take some pictures for next week's post). The times, they sure are a changin', WOO! As always, thanks for reading this far and I will see y'all next week... 
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