Monday, August 31, 2009

status quo

OK, the camera is working, not well, but I think it's going to get more interesting than these photos! I'll ease it back into it's job of capturing the hallmark moments of the farm. Wait, do we have hallmark moments here?

The weekend was great, the visit from my mom was great and as usual things here were great!

Java dining outside last night. Looking very suburban with the mound of top soil from the neighbor's lot as the background scenery. Sun had his grain inside, since getting his teeth done, it's amazing how much more comfortable he is eating. Grain and hay happily eaten, so much better. (insert foul language to express frustration for situations like this and trying to not think of all the wasted grain and hay since he was uncomfortable eating).

Mr. Java's Mom made this wood bin and handy kindling bin... nice huh?! And, he's filling it. This wood should burn beautifully this winter, nice job Mr. Java's Mom, you're the best.

Bandy swimming, with stick. Mackie making wake while retrieving.

Bandy and Mackie on the way to the pond. It's a particularly shady spot of the top of the fern path (and shorter days don't help), Mackie is the black spot on the left. As you can see, Bandy has selected a giant stick for the swim event.

How was the Chester Fair??!! Tractor pull got rained out Saturday night. We went Sunday. I pigged out on fair food. Mom politely accompanied me. Apparently neither of us are fried dough aficionados, but certainly enjoyed getting our fix. I laughed as I barely got out from under the awning of the fried dough booth before eating it. I can hardly wait until next year!! Oh, and I went and looked at the livestock... I really like sheep. So sweet, fuzzy and calm... I wonder if Java would like one?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The funny truth of some things...

I wanted to name this post "the painful truth" but it's not that painful, life is darn good, and the truth is pretty funny when you happen to post it on a blog to share with people that you have never met (OK, my mom reads this, I know her). Odd, and I like it.

Mom (my mom) the one with the broken toe that Java helped give her at the Horse Trials is coming over this weekend. It's also the weekend of the Chester Fair. We're going to watch pig races and the antique TRACTOR PULL (you might be thinking... wow, your mom likes tractor pulls... and well, I don't know she has not been to one yet). And, eat lots of good fair food, the Chester Fair has awesome fair food (she's a fried dough aficionado). Plus we'll check out the jam entries and placings since I'll be competing next year because we are growing our own berries and vegetables next year. I have to size up my competition.

Sun is leaving. Sun's owner has a 5 year old child. Sun's owner brings said 5 year old over 95% of the time that she is here, at least 5 days a week. I'm told that 5 year old child does not think it is fun here and therefore she is moving her horse to somewhere that he can have fun (run amok). Well... let me be REALLY restrained here: I'm OK that my barn is not fun for a 5 year old child. VERY OK.

So, out the advertisements go for RETIRED horses. Why retired? Because I love to coo over these horses. TLC, health, happiness, routine, love it love it love it. And, if they are retired, all they have to worry about is... nothing, and that leaves me to all the worrying... which is much less when I'm doing the grooming, care, TLC, and everything. I wanted to write this ad: Do you really and truly care about your horse? Really? Are you 238% sure? OK, then you can call me about a stall.

Java and I rode this morning for the first time since the Horse Trials (I use a big H and T because it was so much fun) and she was fabulous. A little hack around, loopy reigns, dodging bugs, perfect. Love her.

Bandy got a haircut. I've trimmed more, including around her eyes since this photo, but the freaking camera is really having a hard time today. She loves it (understatement).
Jim (the builder neighbor) as I've gotten to know him is super nice. His house is framed, windows in, roof on and flag pole with flag up.

The neighbor on the other side of us is a rental (no I'm not going to take a picture... well, maybe if you ask). They have put a lot of effort to put lipstick on that pig, and it's still a sad looking house. I'm worried if the guy hanging out right now next door is a new tenant or a carpenter trying to make the shack look better. Either way, he LOVES going shirtless. Thank god the fence blocks whether he has on other clothing from my desk as I type. I'm thinking that he's creepy either way.

And, since Mr. Java's Mom might be worried that I was a little too FRANK in this post, this one's for you. Us at the Horse Trials taking a break at Rn'R. Java and I are quite the team with synchronised eating. I swear I'd hang out on the couch with her if she would not hit her head getting in the doorway of the house.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

new paddock

It's been super hot lately, but all is well.

The camera went on strike this weekend, so here finally are some photos:
The NEW paddock. No grass for now. The top paddock (the big one) is getting a seeding and primping next month, so the new paddock will allow for rotation, and next spring we'll have 4 paddocks in action, and more grass!! Yay. Every time I check the suggestion box that I have left in the barn for the horses to give me feedback, Java leaves a note saying "more grass please" so that's what she's getting, and any lucky friends that live here too.
The fern path and how it looks now... still shady, still ferny (some did get trampled along the path, but will grow back next year). Don't worry, ferns will not be allowed to grow inside the paddock you horse health toxicity paranoia nuts (oh, wait a minute, that's me).

Mr. Java's Mom put up 95% of it, I've either supervised or telepathically helped out. Lots of sweat, lots of poison ivy (LOTS), but no tears or blood. Some swearing. But that's kind of normal for me.

Not Java's Barn related, but for some reason I want to share this with you:
I went to Wal Mart Saturday (yes, Wal Mart is the biggest city I've been to lately)... wow, if you stay away from Wal Mart for about a year, it's pretty fun. So much stuff that I NEED. Like orange flavored gum, 3 packs for $1.75 - I splurged and got it. Funny thing is that the busiest area of the whole store was the ladies underwear section. Packed. How odd. I could not wait for the area to clear out and will have to go back another time.
Sun has finally settled in, and is finally putting on some weight. I took matters into my own hands regarding his feed, and he gets his teeth done on Thursday. I think he will be very very happy after a little attention for his teeth. Java's not having any trouble but is due too, they can commiserate. The vet coming is wonderful and very gentle.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Sorry for the delay in this post... we had and still have some issues. One: Internet down, modem died. Two: poison ivy. Three: Other people on the planet are extremely inconvenient.

Now to the fun stuff:

Here is the video of our stadium jumping round.

A few things to remember please:

We were entered in the Weenie Division.

You have seen my "ring" at home and two jumps, actually we have not jumped more than one jump at a time in about 4 years. So it makes some sense that I'm finding that riding to 12 jumps challenging. Whatever. :)

Time does not count in the Weenie Division... and man are we taking our time... Booorrring. The only thrill was jump #2 where Java totally over jumped it, which made me think... hmmm. maybe we should take our time on this. That essentially made for a boring round, and Java experimenting with different front end form... or lack there of. Hey, we still had a BLAST. I wish there was a Horse Trial around here every month.

Gr. I don't now how to embed these things yet (so that you see a pretty picture instead of a link, but I'll learn), here's the link:

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Bin # 2 steaming and a giant spider web waiting for any flies that dare sniff our stuff. We're on to bin # 3 now and bin #2 is at 160* and full.

We're putting up the fencing for the 4th paddock.

First Mr. Java's Mom did some of this:

And we mixed concrete and struggled, and probably got poison ivy and I was very uncomfortable with the amount of sweat I was experiencing, but we then got this: (corner posts braced and set in concrete):

And now Mr. Java's Mom is digging out the holes that the auger could not do, rocks happen. We'll hopefully get the line posts done today.

And, I waited ALL WEEK for the professional photographs to be posted, and it's pretty funny, but the professional photographer took a photo of us over one jump... probably the tiniest one on cross country. There is one candid. No stadium, no dressage, nothing else.
Here we go:
The video of stadium hopefully will be posted next. If I can post it, should be entertaining.

Monday, August 10, 2009

we made it!

Wow, what a weekend.

Packing, prepping and fretting about the Horse Trials.

The soon to be new paddock was cleared, I went to sleep with the sound of chainsaws, tractors and wood chippers ringing in my ears.

Sunday: The big day. Java loaded after about 20 minutes, I was so nervous. Mr. Java's Mom towed her perfectly and she arrived safely.

Dressage: We did not go off course...

Our dressage test score stunk. We did the correct test, but with Java's head really high, and she thought it was so much fun that in our first canter circle she played. Honestly, I'm very OK with that. I pulled her off that truck, put my jacket and hat on, dodged the bucking psycho horses in warm up and went in. Java looked around at everything, until we went in the ring. She did not spook, she did play in our first canter circle, and I already knew her head and my lack of contact with the bit existed. That's great!


Stadium was fun. She jumped clear. Very clear. In our division (weenie division of Elementary Senior) time did not count in Stadium or Cross Country. The ring was large and hilly and grass. Java enthusiastically put every effort into launching over the jumps and went clear. Like I had to adjust my hat off my eyes at one point after one of the jumps. She really wanted to trot a lot on the course, so I let her. Java is barefoot and I think she felt that she was more secure on the grass at a trot. Sun's mom videoed it, hopefully I'll get to post it.


Then, during the wardrobe change for Cross Country Java mowed Mom (My Mom) over and really hurt Mom's toe. Mom's toe quickly turned icky colors and Mom sat on the tailgate of the truck with Mackie and Bandy looking on, as it started to rain. Poor Mom had to go home. I recommended a radiograph by the vet... She passed on the opportunity and is getting her foot x-rayed right now.

Poor Mom left, the rain stopped and we headed to the start of the Cross Country course.

It was a mile walk through gorgeous woods, leading to a marsh and river front setting. Java anxiously awaited what was next. We went into the start box and she stood there like a PRO. Then after the countdown 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 we went galloping off. The first jump she sucked way back and as we were going over it, I'm thinking... what is she looking at... then I see Mr. Java's Mom right in front of us taking our picture!! Yay!! We flew by and wound our way around the course, trotting, cantering, galloping and it was so much fun. Java was so wonderful.

Cross Country: Clear.

We finished 6th. Not bad considering we got 40 something penalties in Dressage.

Let's Go Home:
Then it took an hour and a half and a village of spectators and opinions to get Java back in the trailer and the door closed.

The camera some how broke and only three pretty bad photos came out. Not even the one of cross country. The professional photos will be up by the end of the week, so I'll be sure to post something. And, Java looked great, dapples, groomed, happy, and really wonderful. Also, it was fun to see friends, meet new people and get out there and do OK. That horse is awesome.

It was a great day. It also felt so great to come back home. Java and Sun had dinner outside and today are making up for their day apart by spending the day in the top field... so far refusing to come in and take a break from the hot sun.

We're taking trailer loading lessons next.

This is Java and I right after Stadium. Were facing down a hill, she's chewing on the bit, I'm spacing out and our saddle had slipped back while rocket launching around the course. Hey, it's better than the photo of Java and I having a snack at the trailer.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Java fits in Rn'R

I did not pull, I did not yell, and did nothing but waited and fed treats and Java put herself on the trailer twice. She fits! I do not have a head bumper, but I'll try to get one today (fat chance, but hey, sometimes you get lucky).

All that treat eating and trailer loading, and all of the sudden she could not stay awake. Poor girl was tuckered out. I led her to her stall and she did this:

Eyes closed lip drooping nap.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Rn'R is here

Rn'R in the flesh:
Java did a lot of snorting at it last night, and then got over it. I got her to eat treats out of it, on it and with me standing in it and her right up to the back of it. She is definitely reacting better to the openness than a regular two horse with ramp.

So, on the wraps will go (yes, she is THAT accident prone) and we'll practice loading today. We just went for a nice ride (practicing our dressage test) to take the "I'm a Big Mare" edge off, and now she's chilling out. If all goes well, I'll get her on and off it a few times, and she can have her dinner in it.

Tomorrow we'll practice closing the door. Probably not today. We'll see how brave we both feel.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

R n' R

You guys are the best!! Nothing like a little blog friend rally to get me geared up to go to this thing on Sunday. My Facebook friends NEVER would have been as wonderful, supportive, and instill blind brevity to load my horse into a well used/loved stock trailer and tow her for the first time towing a horse to an event that requires a safety protective vest and medical arm band!! Thank you!

OK, Rn'R (formerly R&R) is coming over tonight. The rooster and kegs are being removed by Rn'R's owner and disinfected (de-cow-ing).

We all will know soon if the beastie will fit into the trailer... She's outside now... living the life of Java bliss with no idea of what's in store for her next! When it gets here I"ll take photos.

The pressure of planning...

The Horse:
Our lesson was GREAT! It was to learn our Dressage test for Sunday. What is exciting (and fascinating in a stupefying way) is that our new instructor was able to explain a couple of things to me, ask me to do 4 things and JAVA PUT HER HEAD DOWN. She's 12. She goes with her head high. I have never been able to get her to go on the bit. 3 other instructors have not been able to get her to go on the bit. I had given up hope and figured we'd make do. It's awesome, and we've been practicing all week (ugh I'm sore and tired) and her trot is amazing when she uses her back. Helloooo revelation. This Dreeessaaaagggggge stuff is fun. Not that I'm going to convert, but this phase is fun.

The Transportation:
The neighbor's stock trailer should be called R&R, for Red n' Rusty. The floor is new, it's a decent little unit, the rust is in areas that seem to be from gravel dinging the paint while being towed. It does not smell like cow. But it does smell like Rooster. They were keeping their rooster in there for a day or two. Oh, and 3 kegs. Nice guys, they will disinfect it, we'll tow it with Mr. Java's Mom's F250 and have a great day, right? Well, now we're nervous. A friend brought over her two horse to see how big of a pain Java is going to be to load. She was not awful, but we both had this feeling that something was going to go wrong (I envisioned her trying to go over the chest bar and out the door in the middle (not that she would fit), which she has not seen that configuration yet). She went on 3/4 of the way a few times, but we for some reason did not push her. These are out options right now for a ride for Java:

The R&R (the guys will let us take it tonight and get her used to loading, and see if she FITS).

A friend will take us, but she wants lots o' money, all said and done probably $300. (ow).

A "for hire" outfit, with a 3 horse stock trailer $200 not a dime more.

A friend called another friend with a fancy big two horse that we think Java might find more inviting, who might let us borrow (rent?) and we have not heard back yet.

The Event:
Well... I found out one good thing about the recession. If you miss the entry deadline, they are happy to add you in because there is plenty of room for more entries. Thank god. I have a couple of valid excuses for this one: My friend that talked me into this gig said that she signed me up. And, it's my first horse trails. In the land of hunter jumper, you send in your entries, or just show up, enter, get your number and off you go. I forgot to factor in that each ride time is scheduled... and that takes planning... advance planning.

So I speak with the super nice show secretary who says no problem, adds me in, says pop your stuff into the mail and you're all set (mail here gets house to house overnight, seriously, so that part is good). I put together a nice thank you note, my coggins, rabies vaccination proof, my check, entry form and scoot out to the post office (dogs came with me of course). I get to the post office, and realized that my wallet is AT HOME. I find two stamps of the lower value than currently used, and the lady at the post office says those two are just fine, my overstuffed envelope will get there with my two old stamps.

Good grief.

We are wondering if this is not meant to be.... like... maybe we shouldn't go. I'd love your input. Java ships fine, is stubborn to load but we still don't know what trailer to take, if we even get that far... and all the other preparation complications...

And I have no photos to show you... so this is the barn site last August... pre barn.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Animals, Manure and...

Java is still perfect:

The beloved Manure Cabana. Bin #1 on the left, full. Bin #2 getting a Compostex cover adjustment by Mr. Java's Mom, half full. Bin #3 is not being used yet. Mackie is counting the minutes until he goes swimming with the koi.

My lesson (yesterday) has been delayed due to ... rain. Today we will lesson, it's sunny and gorgeous today. Mr. Java's Mom and I set up a faux dressage arena (put cut off fence posts with letters) in the top paddock so that I can practice... 5 whole days before the big Horse Trials event.

And, we might have found a ride to the event. The guy cutting down our trees has a good truck and trailer... for his cows. It's a stock trailer, as in for livestock. I personally think this is great, less for Java to get hurt on in a stock trailer. It has a new floor and apparently is in great shape, which is more than most people can say about their trailers. I'll go over later today and check it out. Mr. Java's Mom is worried that if it smells like cows Java may find this unacceptable. I'll let you know how it looks, and smells.

Bin #2 first temperature reading 152*:

We turned the manure in bin #1 again, with steam.
And the fern path. The paddock I've been rambling on about will go on the left. Trees (6 or 7) come down this weekend.

Bandy at the pond. It is actually very difficult to photograph her at the pond because she is moving constantly: running with stick, swimming, barking at Mackie with stick in mouth...

Mackie relaxing after his swim. He is saying "I feel so civilized after a swim with the koi".