Thursday, February 26, 2009

Photo Giveaway

Chronicles of a Country Girl is having a photo giveaway over on her blog and it is definitely something worth checking out.  Her photos are beautiful, in fact I purchased a couple a few months ago and they are really lovely.  Here is the link to the photo giveaway.  All you have to do is stroll on over there and leave her a comment to enter.  Then if you mention it on your blog she will give you another chance at winning!  Hurry on over the contest ends today at 6 pm Eastern time!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not much to report...

Not a whole lot going on around these parts lately.  We had a nice weekend, except that my daughter has been fighting a cold since last Tuesday and came down with an ear infection early Saturday morning.  We took her to Urgent Care, got a prescription for antibiotics and she is now on the road to recovery.  My husband and I decided to just do lunch this year for Valentines Day and we took the kiddo with us.  We were all each other's Valentine's.  It was pretty nice.  I didn't end up working Rosie on Saturday what with the unexpected visit to the doctor's office and lunch.  Plus, it was not a very nice day, windy and cold.  Not my favorite kind of weather.  

Sunday I did go over to see Rosie.  I made sure she still remembered how to trot on the lead and then I just free lunged her a bit and gave her a good grooming.  She is shedding a bit more each time I go over.  I didn't quite need the shedding blade yet, the rubber curry worked great.  This week is the week that she receives her psyllium supplement to keep her guts clear of sand.  When I bought Rosie we lived in Midland, Texas and the soil was very sandy there so she had been on a psyllium supplement since she was a baby.  I have continued it here in Colorado to make sure her gut is cleaned out.  At some point I will probably discontinue use of it as I have contacted the local cooperative extension and they have said that I don't need to supplement with psyllium in this area.  Anyways, since it is only given to her for one week out of every month I have elected to just give it to her myself instead of reminding the stable to give it to her.  It would probably be easier to just let them do it but this way I KNOW she gets it and I still feel like I am somewhat involved with the care of my own horse.  Don't get me wrong, the stable where I board is great and would probably get it right but they have a lot of horses to worry about and this is one less thing for both of us to worry about with me giving it to her.

This coming weekend I know I won't get to work Rosie because I have tickets to go see Clinton Anderson in Fort Collins!  I am so excited!  My roommate from college is going with me.  I don't think she is nearly as star struck as I am because she doesn't get RFDTV so she doesn't watch him very often.  Me, on the other hand, am so excited I can barely stand it.  I'm hoping the weather is going to be decent because even though we are going to be in an indoor, I really don't want to freeze to death for two solid days.  I will have a full report on Clinton on Monday!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Potty training

Any one got any advice for potty training a girl because I am seriously at my wits end.  She just isn't getting it.  We have talked about it, read books about it, had our most private moments viewed by little eyes and nada.  We've also tried bribing, to no avail.  I know she will eventually be potty trained but for the love of Pete she just turned three!  According to family lore I was trained by 18 months.  I was also being taken care of by my grandmother while my mother worked and she already had four kids under her potty training belt.  Why isn't she picking up on this?  I have tried everything I can think of and I am seriously scared for the future of our carpet and upholstered furniture. 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Abuse at shows

Recently I had been thinking about trying to show my mare at Appaloosa breed shows. Not because I thought we would end up at the World Show or anything but because she is registered and I thought it might be fun to try my hand at a little higher competition than what I had previously show at. I grew up just doing little local shows with my grade Appy/Paint mare and had a blast.

In doing research on what it takes to make a horse competitive at the higher levels I found myself uncomfortable with what I was seeing. Halter horses so huge they can't do anything else but stand still and look pretty. "Pleasure" horses who looked like they were broken in more ways than one. Horses pushed to the point that their brains were fried. And then I learned the "training methods" used to achieve these "desired" results. Enough to turn my stomach repeatedly. I love my horses. They are not money making tools by any means. They are strictly for my enjoyment. About a month and a half ago I happened to watch some of the Western Pleasure classes at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The walk looked like a walk, the trot was not the wog I had expected, it did look like a nice jog and I was beginning to have a little hope that I might like what I was watching. Then they called for the "lope with forward motion." I started to snicker until I saw the horses begin to "lope." Somebody call a vet!! Every last one of those horses looked like they needed an x-ray and a couple of months of stall rest. Now this is probably standard practice but this was the first WP class I had seen at this high of a level that wasn't a grainy YouTube video. I thought I knew what to expect but boy was I wrong. These horses looked pathetic. And what I saw people do when the judge wasn't looking made me damn sure that I didn't want to go down to the warm up pen. If you want to know what goes on behind the scenes go read mugwump chronicles today. Make sure you read through the comments to where she mentions seeing a top trainer beat a horse with a logging chain. Now if you are just going to get the dish on names don't bother because she isn't that kind of blogger. She just writes about the things that made her turn away from showing.

Since my Stock Show experience I have been seriously looking at other avenues of competition. I just can't stomach the conventional show system. One organization I have looked into is the American Ranch Horse Association This is an organization that claims on the home page of its website to offer "a family oriented, friendly competitive atmosphere for those that are dedicated to the true versatile ranch type horse." They seem to promote a more natural state for the competitive horse, i.e. no hoof polish, only basic clipping of the bridle path and outside of ears, stuff like that. In fact one show bill I saw reminded its competitors in bold that there was to be no hoof polish or any other sort of artificial enhancement on the horse, all it had to be was clean. This is very refreshing to me. I wish that there was a group here in Colorado for the American Ranch Horse Association, I would love to go watch one of their shows. Another site I was just visiting today was the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association. They have a couple of groups here in Colorado and I plan on going and watching one of their competitions here within the next month. One additional sport I am looking at is Competitive Trail Riding. This just sounds fun! I will need to get back in shape however before I even think about trying that.

Now, I don't need to compete, I am perfectly happy just trail riding my horses but belonging to a group of like minded individuals with a little healthy competition is pretty fun most of the time. I enjoy the camaraderie of it. But I will not abuse my horses. Now that isn't to say that abuse hasn't happened at any of the events that I have listed about because I'm sure it has. Whenever people, horses, and competition come together the horse seems to get the short end of the stick. They just seem a little more removed from it to me. I may do a little more research on these groups and find that people in general just disgust me (this is a distinct possibility), or I may find that I really have a good time and the horses come out healthy.  I'm sincerely hoping for the latter.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My barn buzz is wearing off...

I really wish I could get to the barn more often during the week.  With my three year old daughter at home with me and my husband working full time, a mid-week visit to the barn is a rare thing for me.  By the time Wednesday (or Monday mid-day) rolls around I am free falling from my barn high.  I start to get that anxious, pacing, caged tiger feeling.  My clothes are too tight and the house to small.  And heaven help the next person who says "Mom." *sigh*  Just a few more years until kindergarten.  Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter and I like that I get to stay home with her and watch her grow up but somedays it's just too much of a good thing.  So since I can't get to the barn this evening I will share the events of last weekend at the barn to hopefully tide me over until this weekend.

On Saturday I enlisted the help of my old college roommate, Sheila.  I have been wanting to get Rosie trotting on the leadline for awhile.  I had grand visions of entering some halter classes this summer, not because she is a halter horse but just for the experience.  However, I have no way to get to any shows sooooo, that little fantasy is on the back burner for now.  I still wanted her to trot on the lead with me though.  Rosie is a pretty easy going horse and really doesn't see the need to expend energy needlessly so my efforts in getting her to trot along beside had proved futile.  I had heard that one way to get them going was to have one person do the leading and then another person come up behind them with a whip of some sort to provide a little encouragement.  This was the route that we decided to go.  Rosie totally understands lunging so we had that on our side for this little training session.  At first she was like "you want me to do what?" but then with a little wave of the lunge whip and a lot of clucking she finally figured it out.  Not before Sheila and I were totally out of breath though.  We had to trade being the leader and the whip person back and forth a few times.  It had to be the altitude, right?  Anyways, Rosie picked up trotting on the lead pretty quickly, which our out of shape bodies were quite thankful for.  

Next we moved onto putting a saddle pad and surcingle on.  I had done this once before with Rosie but it was like back in June and with our move this summer I just hadn't gotten around to doing it again.  The only thing she really seemed to care about was the tightening process and all she did was turn and look at what I was doing.  I didn't cinch her up real tight, just enough to keep everything from sliding all over.  After I got it on, I sent her out into the round pen and free lunged her for a bit.  She did just one small yee-haw kick and that was it.  I didn't lunge her for too long as it was in the 50's and she still has a pretty good winter coat.  Here she is looking like a big girl with her saddle pad and surcingle on. 

She really doesn't move around with her head down like this, I think she was looking for some food. As you can see, she has missed a few meals!

Well, that was a nice little trip to the barn in my brain, come on Saturday!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Double Chocolate Bars

This is the recipe for the Double Chocolate Bars that I was craving last night while writing my Simple Woman's Daybook entry.  They are super yummy and rich so if you are into that kind of thing these will be perfect for you.  They are also very easy to make, only four ingredients.  If you want to print out the recipe you can go here to Taste of Home where I found it. 

Here is the recipe:

1 package (16 ounces) cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed  (I used Oreo's)
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups (12 ounces) miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided


Combine cookie crumbs and butter; pat onto the bottom of an ungreased 13-in. x 9 in. baking pan.  Combine milk and 1 cup chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Cover and microwave until chips are melted; stir until smooth.  Pour over crust.  Sprinkle with remaining chips.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until chips begin to melt but do not lose their shape.  Cool on a wire rack.  Yield: about 4 dozen.

I love the Taste of Home website.  I have found many yummy recipes there.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY February 8, 2009...

Outside my window... it is dark and there may be snow for tomorrow morning

I am thinking... I hope the cat doesn't claw my leg while he is sitting in my lap

I am thankful for... a great weekend

From the kitchen... those double chocolate bars are calling my name

I am wearing... Air Force Academy sweatshirt, black sweatpants and my L.L. Bean slippers

I am creating... always scheming something

I am going... to make my weekly menu and grocery list tonight.  Really I am.

I am reading... Saddle Up, Colorado!  By Sherry and Scott Snead

I am hoping... I get my grocery list done before tomorrow morning

I am hearing... too much television noise

Around the house... things aren't too messy

One of my favorite things... a good weekend

A few plans for the rest of the week: hmmm, that's a good question, I don't know
Here is picture thought I am sharing... This is a picture of a mule deer that I took back in December when my best friend was visiting me.  We were driving around Horsetooth Reservoir when this guy obliged us with a photo op.

You too can participate in the The Simple Woman's Daybook by going here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

ABC is not my favorite network right now.

My husband and I really loved this show on ABC called Dirty Sexy Money. It was about a lawyer working for a rich, socialite family in New York. Not something I would normally watch but it had Peter Krause in it and we really liked him in Six Feet Under so we decided to give this show a try when ABC premiered it. We were hooked from the first episode. Now, we find out that they have cancelled it! They always do this to our favorite shows. Anything that has even remotely clever writing seems to disappear and be replaced with yet another reality show. I am so sick of reality shows, I think most of them are so dumb. Well, I guess I just got another hour to do something besides watch t.v. on Wednesdays. Sucks to be the advertisers on ABC if you were trying to target me, because I'm not watching.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Feathered Fantasy

I have this dream, a dream that I indulge in from time to time, sometimes during the night and sometimes during the middle of the day.  There are feathers.  Red feathers, black feathers and sometimes buff colored feathers.  They are everywhere and I run my hands over the silky smoothness of them... 

Now I will let you in on a little secret, I have strange fantasies.  No kidding, your probably thinking.  My fantasies involve.... are you ready?  Chickens.  Yes, chickens.  I want a little flock of hens to call my very own.  Just a few.  Enough to give me a couple of fresh eggs every morning.  My favorite breeds would be Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks.  

Aren't they beautiful? Sorry I couldn't make the picture of the Rhode Island Red a little smaller. It just didn't work. Anyways, we had chickens when I was kid and although I thought they were messy (my mother let them have free rein of our entire place) we didn't really have a problem with bugs and the eggs were great.

Sadly, I currently live in suburbia and chickens are considered livestock. I say sadly for more reasons than one but let's just stick with the chickens for now. Oh, and don't think that I haven't thought about just getting some and trying to hide them in the garage cause I have. I don't think it would work though as most of the houses around mine are two story and can see right into my backyard (no topless sunbathing for me!) so if I ever let them out I would be so busted. Nevermind the fact that when they are laying eggs they tend to be a bit vocal about it.

So for now I just let my little flock live in my head, peacefully clucking and scratching just waiting for the day when they can be more than a fantasy....

I hate cats....

At least for today anyways.  

This is a picture of myself with my current furball.  Wow, it's not the best picture of me but that's okay.  Current Furrballs' name is Kitty.  Real original, I know.  I got him from the Humane Society in Fort Collins eight years ago and he came with the name Bacura.  That just didn't roll off my tongue and he answered to Kitty so it just sort of stuck.  I just want to know, why is it that this cat cannot throw up on the linoleum?  He will throw up usually somewhere in between five feet to five inches of the linoleum but never actually on it!  I am so tired of scraping it off the carpet.  

A little background.  We bought the house we are in now brand new back in August.  We aren't even in this place a week and he has blown chunks on the carpet.  WHY????  Another problem is that my husband really does not like this cat.  It could have something to do with the cat using his stereo speakers for his own personal nail sharpener.  

As you can probably tell from the picture, this cat is a long haired cat.  I feed him special hairball food so that he can pass the hairballs through more efficiently.  I should brush him but I don't.  He doesn't really like it and will bite with very little warning. I have had him shaved a couple of times and that really seems to help with the throwing up.  However, I had him shaved back in October and his fur isn't all the way grown in yet so I don't think it is time for another shave just yet.  

*sigh* Sorry for the ranting just needed to vent as I walked up stairs after lunch and found a nice pile of puke on the carpet.  Not exactly what I wanted to see just after eating.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Best Laid Plans...

This past Sunday I had made in my head a plan to go to the barn and see Rosie even though it was supposed to be cold.  Even though I like to have a change of seasons I am not a big fan of actually getting out and working in the cold anymore, at all.  Part of that could be because since I have had my daughter none of the old pants that I have will allow me to put a pair of long underwear underneath them anymore and I just haven't bought any new pants big enough to put a layer underneath.  Really, I'm just thankful that I can still wear some of my old pants after having a kid.

Anyways.... it was supposed to be in the mid 30's and calm so it sounded like a good day to go to the barn.  Before heading out I was in the kitchen finishing up some dishes when my husband called down saying that my daughter wanted some popcorn that I had left on my computer desk and could she have some?  I said sure since he was right beside her.  About ten minutes later he called down and asked me to come upstairs.  When I got upstairs my husband relayed to me that he thought our daughter may have shoved some popcorn up her nose.  Okay... what makes you think that?  She looked at my husband and said "Daddy, stuck" with her finger nearly up to the second knuckle in her nose.  Alright.  I ran back downstairs, got the flashlight, go back upstairs and looked in her nose.  Sure enough, way up in there is an un-popped popcorn kernel.  *sigh*  There is no way that I can get this thing out myself.  Obviously, I'm not going to make it to the barn today.  Luckily, our doctor's office has walk-in office hours on Saturday and Sunday in the mornings so I didn't have to take her to the emergency room.  Another lucky thing is that the doctor was able to get the kernel out on the first try with some long tweezers.  I don't think she would have given him another shot to get it out.  After the kernel was free of her nose she said "that feels better!"  

Kids, I swear! 

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY February 2, 2009...

Outside my window... the sun is shining
I am thinking... we shouldn't have kept our three year old out so late last night because I am paying for it today
I am thankful for... nap time
From the kitchen... it will be lunch time soon
I am wearing... my new button necklace that I got from BoutiqueByBonnie a brown striped shirt, jeans and my L.L. Bean slippers     
I am creating... still nothing
I am going... stir crazy
I am reading... Clinton Anderson's Downunder Horsemanship for the umpteenth time
I am hoping... that things work out
I am hearing... my daughter talking to me
Around the house... there are toys everywhere
One of my favorite things... friends
A few plans for the rest of the week: A few appointments to rearrange, hope to get to work with my horse, clean the house a little
Here is picture thought I am sharing... This is the shell of a Galapagos Turtle that was at a zoo in Phoenix.  The only reason I thought to put this on here was that Chronicles of a Country Girl posted a macro shot she took of a shell and it for some reason reminded me of this picture.

This post is provided by The Simple Woman's Daybook.