Me oh My and Doin' the DIY

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I missed my weekly post. Seems Rina was rather horrified by my egregious error (those yawning faces are a hoot sometimes, aren't they? *grin*) Have you ever noticed you can zip along in your groove for awhile and suddenly hit one of life's potholes and everything goes KAFLOOEY? (er, that's a technical term). This particular pothole is what is commonly referred to in the South as, "The Crud". Some stupid viral sinus thing that requires a trip to the doctor and a hypo to the hip (which I've now had twice in the past three weeks). Grrr. The classroom teacher and I have officially declared a moratorium on hugs until further notice. We still love you (but from a much safer distance).
A sincere thank you to Confessions of a Struggling Dressage Rider for the Stylish Blogger Award. Being somewhat insecure when it comes to my blogging skills I can't help but wonder if people really mean these or simply run out of folks to give it to. I was taken aback that the rules dictate you are to select 15 people. Fifteen? As in 5 more than 10? Wow. Seems like an awful lot of folks to me; except that some of us [raising hand] cannot possibly tack one more item on the bottom of the two mile long To Do List written in two point type that currently rules overruns is running over their life* (my profound party pooping apologies to all).
   *Or more accurately explains the utter lack thereof ;o)
I suppose I should at least take a whack at the seven things about me, so here goes. Read 'em at your own risk or just skip to the next paragraph...
1. I am a ridiculously pick eater. I did not eat pizza until I was in high school and wouldn't eat mashed or baked potatoes until my late 20's *grin* Weird but true. Here is a short [and shocking] list of some of the things I STILL do not like: Soda, coffee, tea, fizzy anything, grapefruit, yogurt, gravy, sauces, salad dressing, dips, BBQ sauce (a sin in the south), whipped cream, sour cream, cream cheese, lasagna, mustard, ketchup, mayo, coffee, chili, oatmeal, soup (except for my buddy Kellye's awesome potato soup and Campbells Chicken Noodle in the can) vegetables in general, and any kind of bean (except for cocoa beans, because duh - chocolate ;o) 
2. I have (sadly) been known to out-eat my husband via the things I DO like. Details are most definitely unavailable for this one (and moo on me).
3. A few years ago I discovered (guess how) that a person can lose almost 5 pints of blood and not die. I will say, however, that it does make one feel terribly tired. I did get excellent chauffer service at warp speed via wheelchair (90mph to a hospital room and a couple pints of O+ ASAP). Seems I sprung a leak (internal hemorrhage) after my reconstruction; I was actually pouring it out myself each time I emptied my four drains (oops). I finally went to see my GP because "I really didn't feel very well" (and color him quite surprised by the why *grin*). I shall now state the obvious: God is most awesome, as I came within a hair of putting it off until the next morning; I would not have made it through the night.
4. I have entertained secret fantasies about slapping the snot out of the Neulasta lady on those TV commercials. Do you know the one I mean? I'm talking about the attractive and strangely cheerful woman who chirps, "I'm ready to fight my cancer..." Ready? Ready?? Oh, Puh-LEEZE! Honey when I was diagnosed with cancer I was ready too: TO RUN SCREAMING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. Ready. Ha.
And, finally:
5. I am a sporadic non-conformist who is mathematically challenged; it crops up now and again. Apparently it's cropping up now, 'cause I'm only on number five and I'm SO done.
Next subject please. Sometimes I think we just need to do things ourselves. I doesn't always have to be the "If you want it done right..." scenario. Maybe it's just because things didn't work the way you thought they would and it's time for a Plan B; maybe Plan A got a little too expensive. I learned how to lay ceramic tile that way when we remodeled our house way back when. We shot our wad on tiling the bathroom, which left no labor money to do the kitchen counter tops and back splashes. Since we knew ahead of time (via the estimate) I followed the tile guys all over the place asking 9 million questions and then did the job myself. I can't say it's perfect (oh so far away) but I was definitely affordable :o) The same holds true with crocheted names. Have you ever seen them? I've crocheted I don't know how many names for folks, but didn't know much about the mounting and framing process. When I learned how hideously expensive it was, I figured I might want to learn how to do that part too (why not, right?) It's a pain, but it sure can save you a bundle going with the DIY.
As much as I love hosting giveaways, (they are fun-fun-fun!) I really can't afford to do them as often as I would like to. It may sound stupid, but little things like that tend to add up quickly and there are way too many other obligations and goals for the non-profit that outrank any unnecessary stuff. Rather than completely scratch them off the list, I thought we could try to find a solution. I asked Max for his input and he said he'd sleep on it: 
I think we have found the answer, but I would like to know what you all think. Having tried a few of those annoying ad revenue sites and earning a whopping $1.63 in a 10-month period (and har-de-har-har with a minimum of $10 to payout, right?) I think we might be better off going it alone. Max volunteered Champ to be the billboard, as he's the one with the biggest boo-tay (ergo the largest available space to rent *grin*). I'm thinking that for a $5 donation (to cover packaging materials and postage) we could have a "sponsor" for each giveaway. 
The donation is tax deductible and the ad would stay up on the blog for a week or two (possibly longer if life throws me a curve). I have a whole box of goodies for giveaways; I've been picking up all kinds of fun stuff over the past umpteen months whenever I find a great deal (boo-yeah). So how about it? Would you do it? I'm asking this realistically as all too often what happens is that everyone says YAAAY great idea and then we all sit around expecting someone else to actually do it (hopefully you know what I mean - I've been guilty of it too - and I certainly don't want to offend anyone). Thoughts? Oh, and in case you'd rather not use Champ's *cough* space (although he doesn't mind a bit), I can whip up a nifty little graphic to match your site all for your very own :o)
Ay-Yi-Yi I almost forgot...Okay, I didn't really I just wanted you to read the whole post (mwah-ha-ha :o) Congratulations to...
at There's a Horse Outside my Window. If you'll give me your mailing address, I'll pop the bag and keyring in the mail to you.
Well, I guess that just about wraps it up. Although I'm not officially participating, the theme for Brenda's Photo Challenge this time is "frozen" and I had this cool shot of The Girls' water trough:
Isn't that weird? They are all long and skinny except for that one little piece near the date stamp that looks oddly like a leaf. Ann has some supercool "frozen" shots on her blog for the challenge (and I'll just bet Catherine does too, although I haven't gotten there yet this morning). 
Have an awesome day everyone! The bad ones are just too much trouble :o)

From Mare-eating Mattresses to Wooly Bears...

Sunday, January 16, 2011 what is that blue thing over there??
Last September, I wrote a post entitled, It really is there; even when it's not which had to do with [our] horse's strange behavior and my learning to be more persistent in finding the cause of it.  Thankfully, this time the source was not quite so hard to find; although I have to admit it was infinitely more entertaining. There must be some sort of obscure equine rule that dictates things must happen at mealtimes (it sure seems they always do). Particularly in the morning, when it has the added benefit of making me late for work. The girls came down for breakfast the other morning, the same as they do every day twice a day. This time though when they were about even with the stalls, they suddenly started snorting, head bobbing, turning in circles, then goose-stepping forward with tails up, heads still bobbing, and nostrils flaring taking only a few steps at a time. What on earth??? After scrutinizing the landscape repeatedly and coming up empty, I admit I was at a bit of a loss. 
Well, it would seem our canine neighbor was doing a bit of heavy housecleaning.  He had somehow managed to wrestle the large mattress from the inside of his doghouse to the outside and was doing his best to kill it dead (although he wasn't making any noise at all). Because he was moving back and forth from the far to near side of his house dragging the mattress, I managed to miss him several times until I went back to Lady and walked directly down her line of vision one last time. I didn't get a shot of the mattress on its own, which is too bad as it looked rather like a gigantic lumpy turtle before the triumphant dog flopped on it. I did, however, manage to catch this one after he wore himself out and sprawled across the top of it to rest (it was apparently a long and exhausting battle; the victory definitely hard won). Finally...mystery solved and I'm late for work; NOW can we eat? Sheesh :o)
Like most animals, our horses morph into four-legged fuzzballs during the winter months; even here in south Alabama their winter woolies are very well developed. One of the coolest things about winter (I just love a bad pun, don't you?), is the altered sleep schedule.  When winter hits, instead of sleeping during the late night/early morning hours, they will wait until the sun is high into the sky before doing any serious resting.  Horses have sleep patterns that are vastly different than ours; they catch most of their Z's while standing up on three legs (which makes total sense when you're a prey animal; besides, you never know when there might be another mare-eating mattress laying/lying? - in wait...Ha). 
When a horse wants to lay down, they assume one of two different recumbent positions: sternal (laying on their chest with the chin resting on the ground), or lateral recumbent, which is laying flat out on their side. Horses will usually only do this when they are either feeling relaxed or are very sick. A horse needs only about 30-45 minutes of rest in the recumbent position every 24 hours; the rest of their sleep is done standing up. In a herd that is resting, one or two horses will act as a "Sentinel" for the rest of the group, dozing lightly on three legs and listening for danger.
I think I'll call this next shot "The Great Snoozefest". What do you think? Obviously our horses are comfortable enough with me that they did not feel the need to rise on my approach, although Taya did lazily open one eye in acknowledgement before going right back to sleep (points for me - yay ;o) Lady was standing guard (earlier photo), while Sarabear, Rina, Bella, and Taya caught their 40 winks.

In the big pasture, Shadow (you can see him at the top of the above photo) and Max (to the left above) were snoozing as well. while Cinnamon dozed and kept an ear open by the hay pile (Champ was busy having his own personal porkfest; you can just see the top of his head behind the hay :o)
Hopefully, this will be our last year of "pushing" the pasture (I know DD is heartily sick of that little pushable spreader). Now that we have Tillie [the tractor], seeding the pasture should be a snap once we get a real spreader; or at least it'll be considerably less time consuming and tedious. It also means that once we get our hands on some dirt, we can rebuild the terraces and finally put a stop our erosion crises. Because things were so dry at the end of fall, we did not put out the winter rye as we normally do (hence the sad looking pasture of dirt and dead grass *sigh*). We are supposed to have some [hopefully light] rain on Monday or Tuesday, so maybe we will have some yummy rye grass for everyone before too long.
Which brings us to the mystery of the blue thing. As I was busily snapping photos of the girls, I caught a flash of something blue by Shadow's leg further up the hill. Do you see it? I'll beg your pardon on the camera angle; we got a little bit *cough* personal with the zoom there; please excuse (and um, sorry about that Shadow :o)
It would seem that DD opted to take a little break from spreading seed, and found herself a nice cosy spot to rest. Although she was not actually asleep, Shadow had completely conked out *grin*. I guess he was comfortable enough with his two-legged teddy bear to catch some serious Z's - mouth hanging open and everything (and is that funny or what?)
 I wonder if there is a "Mother Hen" category in the Guinness Book of World Records. At 1,100lbs, I'm thinking Shadow may just be the world's largest...what do you think? Apparently, after the nap comes the bath (somehow I thought it was supposed to be the other way around, but what do I know? :o)

We love you silly boy. As always, thanks for reading this far and I hope you all have a wonderful week; chock full of your own happy naps and warm fuzzy wuzzies :o)
Don't forget about the giveaway! Leave a comment or donate; details are in this post.  

Think I'll let you ring in the New Year...

Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm too busy bringing up the rear :o)
There is something about the horse's eye that can be almost mystical in its tranquility; don't you think? I took this photo of Rina's eye and added an effect in Print Shop that was (and how's this for irony?) called "Tornado". I thought the end result was kind of neat, so I decided to share it with you. Maybe I'll even turn it into a print and put it in our Etsy shop. Of course the first photo I took, Rina rolled said eye at the camera in a comical "what are you doing question". The result of which appeared anything but serene. She looked like the wild child she once was when she first arrived here, virtually untouched at the age of 3 months. How does that go again? Oh yes, You've come a long way baby :o)

Aside from all of the funding I have *cough* supplied  to the medical community, most of my paycheck gets funneled back into the non-profit. Because of this, it's pretty tough to save up any money at all, so for 2010 I decided to try a year long experiment. Instead of using the change every time I broke a dollar, I took the money and divided it into three separate containers; quarters would go to church, nickels and dimes to the baby bottle campaign (a local mission that counsels and helps pregnant teens); and the pennies, of course, were for the ponies.  I was curious to see how much I could save up over the course of a year, though since I'm not really a cash person I didn't think it would add up to much at all. Want to know how I did? I ended up with $59.00 in quarters, $16.00 in nickels and dimes, and a gazillion pennies (I counted the silver coins by hand but I plan to make a beeline for the bank this week to use their "money machine" to count all those pennies, because are you kidding me??). Not bad at all considering how infrequently I carry cash (I'm more of a checkbook chick). I think I'm going to try it again this year, and this time maybe I'll even harangue my hubby into joining about you?
Equine Epiphanies broke 100 subscriptions over the holidays; hooray! It may not be much compared to some (like Stacey over at Behind the Bit who left the 1,000 mark in the dust awhile back - you go girl!!) but it made us happy. To celebrate, I think we'll have a little giveaway. What do you think? Good idea? Anyone who leaves a comment on this and/or the next post or makes a donation (no matter how small) will be eligible. If you leave a comment AND donate you will be entered twice, and we will do a happy dance in your honor (although you will have to just take my word for it on that one ;o) So what shall we give away? How about a fun eco-friendly grocery tote by Petrageous Designs? Of course I had to make a horse blanket pin keyring to match, lest the horses feel left out...
Just in case anyone is interested in the horse blanket pin key rings, they are available in our Etsy Shop <-- a shameless plug, this I know *grin* but they DO make terrific little gifts for anyone, not just horse lovers :o)
The weather here has gone from frightful to delightful to horribly heinous; I am none too keen to see the sunrise this morning after last night's sleet and rain storm. I think pretty much everything here has been shut down for the day (schools are closed, which means we'll have to have a make up day - blech!). We have had more than our fair share of erosion worries and woes already, so I'm almost afraid to stick my head out the door :oP I hope all of you and your critters are safe and warm this Monday morning! I did manage to capture this gorgeous silhouette on said delightful day. Can you guess what it is? I'll just bet you can. As always, thanks for reading this far and here's wishing you a wonderful week!

 ...And may your new year be more beautiful than the last...
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