Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cute new Buttercup happenings...

I hate having to go to work during the days, simply because I know I'm missing so much cuteness!  That lil bugger can't go two minutes without doing something extremely adorable!  Such as.....peeing and then trying to cover it up like a cat would.  (she's been watching the cats too much)  Getting an itchy butt and rubbing it all over Mom.  Yesterday as I was driving towards my place, I could see her running at a full gallop in circles in the pasture, just as fast as her little legs would take her!  Of course once I got home and got out the camera, she stopped.  She is getting much more brave.  She will even hang out in the barn, out of site of Mom.  She's made friends with the mini horses now, which is great, though I'm sure Dinker will be a bad influence on her. 

I've been working with her to get her to trust me.  Lots of patience and kissing noises have gotten her to the point where she will now come up to me without me asking.  This is great.  I can pick up all four feet.  I can touch her pretty much anywhere without her getting scared.  I need to halter train her very soon, so I've been taking the halter with me every time I go out to feed her.  No need to put it on her just yet, but I've been keeping it in my hand as I rub her down, getting her used to the sensation.  Hopefully one of these days, she'll just let me slip it right over her nose without a fuss. 

I can't wait to hang out with her for the next 25 or 30 years.  I'm going to make her the best horse she can possibly be. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

I am kind of a dork

To the outside world, I may seem a little over zealous in my love for my critters.  But that's OK.  I never claimed or wanted to be normal.  So sometimes I write letters to my animals.  I keep them in a book and then one day when they are old, I can look back and read them and remember all the little things that time normally erases from your brain.  This is the letter I wrote to lil Buttercup, a couple days after she was born. 

Dear Buttercup,

You only came into my life two days ago and I can't believe how much I love you already. You were, as I was, a surprise. Not a mistake. Not an accident. A surprise. One I never expected. The first time I laid eyes on you I had to stand there for a couple minutes to wrap my mind around what I was seeing. I remember thinking, this must be a dream. I am so glad it wasn't.

You are so fun to watch. I love seeing you experience things for the first time. The first time you felt the wind, you looked around to see what the heck was making your hair move like that. The first time you stuck your nose in a water bucket, you were scared by the sensation. Every single thing you see and hear is a first.

Your mom loves you so much, and I can tell you love her. She will take great care of you. You will be likely be the first foal that won't be taken away from her after weaning. She will have you at her side till her last day on earth.

Your hair is so so soft. Like nothing I've ever felt. Like velvet, but better. Like shag velvet. You have the sweetest little muzzle. It reminds me of both Billie's and Cutter's. You will be sorrel it appears and I am thrilled with that. I hope you look like Cutter when you are older.

I can't believe how long your legs are! You are already taller than Dinker and Bucky. I'm giving you a week till you'll be too tall to fit under your moms' belly.

You have given me so much joy in the two days that I have known you. Your mom is so happy, the happiest I've seen her since she came to the farm. She is so content to have you to care for. I am happy too. Very happy that you've come into our lives. You will make an excellent addition to the Copperbottom Ranch.

I look forward to watching you grow up, teaching you things, and watching you become a beautiful strong, smart, and loving horse. Someday we will travel the trails together, you and I. But for now, you just stick with Mom. Just learn and grow and be a filly. And don't be in a hurry to grow up now.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I apologize.  It has been far too long since I've checked in.  Perhaps you are all worried about me, perhaps not.  Well, first off I have been doing GREAT.  Seriously really, really, great!  Where to start?  Oh who am I kidding?  I know exactly where to start!  My life has been forever changed with the events of the last month.  In one word, BUTTERCUP.  Who or what is Buttercup you ask?  Well she is the newest addition to the farm, my beautiful little baby filly.  What's that?  You didn't know I was having a baby horse?  Well, neither did I!  Billie had been acting funny for a couple days.  I was worried about her, got up to check on her one morning and there, laying on the ground beside her in the barn, was a little bundle of joy that was VERY unexpected.  My jaw dropped as my mind processed what I was seeing.  Then the little bundle of joy stood up on her spindly, brand new legs, and it all became very real.  OH MY GOD BILLIE HAD A BABY!!!!!!

I have had Billie since last fall, in my mind it was nearing a year that she had been with me.  When I got her, I took her to the vet and had her pregnancy checked, since I was unsure of her history.  They has assured me she was not preggers, so in my mind it wasn't even a possibility, since she hasn't been around a stud since I've had her.  A horse has an 11 month gestation period.  "How is this possible?" I kept asking myself.  Well, after looking up the paperwork, I had brought her home on October 3rd, 2011.  She foaled on September 3, 2012.  Yep, 11 months to the day.  She must have been bred a matter of days before I picked her up.  I assume this is why the vet didn't catch the pregnancy.  It must have been too early in the process to feel the baby.  The horse rescue I got her from claims it  is impossible that she was bred there, but I wonder if their fences and gates are as secure as they think they were.  They do have a stud on the place (which you shouldn't if you are a rescue) and I am sure that is lil Buttercup's dad.  I know Billie hasn't been into any funny business since I've had her, so I see no other possibility.  All this said, I couldn't be more pleased.  I am like a glowing new mother. 

The only one who is happier than me is Billie.  I have never seen a horse so happy and at peace as she is with her foal.  Its touching, really.  She is a wonderful mother, but nice enough to let me in anytime I want to play with her new baby.  It's been a real game changer at the farm.  I've never had a foal before, so it's a whole new world to me.  Buttercup is so lovely.  Just a doll.  Just...perfect!  She is three weeks old now and I can't believe how much she's grown already.  Her muscles are developing and she runs and jumps and tries to eat hay like her mom does, even though she's got no teeth.  I could go on and on.  In fact, I think I will.  Her legs are so long that her mouth can't reach the ground without bending her knees, which is about the cutest thing I've ever seen.  She's got the color of my old mare, Cutter, who was closely related to Billie.  The same markings on her muzzle as both Billie and Cutter.  Billie reminds me so much of my dear Cutter, that I can't imagine Buttercup won't take after them both.  Nothing would make me happier than seeing signs of my old mare in my new baby as she grows.

I didn't know what to name her.  I wanted to name her after Billie, but didn't want to leave Cutter out of it either.  So a friend suggested Butter.  The more I said it, the more I liked it.  When thinking of all the nicknames I could call her (Butter ball, my Butter baby, Butthead) I couldn't pass up Buttercup.  It just fit. 

Also, Billie wanted me to pass along a message to everyone for all the fat jokes at her expense.  "Suck it!  I just lost about 200 lbs in one day!" She says.  

So yeah, that's what's new with me...pretty great, huh?  And the best part?   I have even more good and exciting news as well, but I think that's enough for today.  Upcoming topics include:  I catered a wedding, I have a BOYFRIEND who is awesome, Mitt Romney should just shut up, and a great spinach dip recipe.  Later, y'all!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sweet Billie

The nice thing about having an obese horse is that when you ride them bareback, its such a nice, wide, cushy seat.  :)  Plus I look 10 lbs thinner when I stand by her

Friday, August 24, 2012

Just another weekend in the life of Aud

New things going on....Shooter and I attended the Puppies in the Pool fundraiser to benefit the local animal shelter last night.  It is his favorite day of the year and he played and swam and fetched for a solid two hours.  He had just enough energy to throw an absolute fit when I had to make him leave.  He's a very well behaved dog and I have never seen him throw such a tantrum.  Like a tired kid, he passed out halfway home and slept like a rock all evening.  It was a great time.

This weekend I will be attending a bean bag tourney...winning team wins a hundred bucks.  I won the bean bag championship at the Winter Games last year, so I may have had a few beers and talked up my skills a bit more than I should have.  Truth be told, I'm generally not good at things like this.  I'm afraid it will be like my pool shooting skills.  I'll have one perfect game out of 20, the other 19 games are like watching a drunken toddler try to climb a ladder.  Oh well, we'll have fun even if we lose.

Then I will visit my good friend Arin and we will all hang out at the campground for a while.  The weather sounds like it will be perfect.  I also will be hanging out with a very very nice guy I recently met.  In the spirit of not jinxing things, that is all I'll say about that for now. 

My apple tree limbs are hanging nearly to the ground.  It is a bumper year for my apple crop, so I'll be making a ton of apple crisp.  I like to make a bunch and hand them out to people who help me out at the farm during the year.  Do you wish I was making you apple crisp?  Well, let me know, I always need favors :)

I have finally secured enough hay to get the horses through winter.  It was hard to find with the weather being so dry.  Luckily, my fantastic hay guy came through for me in a pinch and even stacked it in the corn crib for me.  He'll be getting some apple crisp for sure. 

That's all I've got for now...Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sorry for my absence

I have been busy lately.  Not "bad busy" where there just aren't enough hours in the day.  More like "good busy" where you are just having fun enjoying life.  Things are looking up for ol' Aud.  Perhaps I will expand on that statement in a few days.....

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

There is something I love about this picture and I can't quite put my finger on it.  It has a kind of timeless quality to it.  I like how it appears I only have a stump for an arm.  Very Venus de Milo. 

I make fun of my Dad a lot, but he really truly is a great guy and a great dad.  He gave my dog a haircut last night and was nice enough to saddle up his mare, Molly for me to ride.  At first I resisted, since it was sunny and I was without sunscreen.  Then I decided we'd just get to the shady spots as fast as we could.  Molly is a great horse.  Though it kills me to admit it, she is a better horse than any I have.  Just a nice steady no frills horse that goes where you ask and does as she's told.  I so wish I had a horse that was this well broke. 

We rode down to what is locally known as Dead Man's.  A creek, some trails, nice trees.  Not a large area at all, but the trails criss and cross and go up and down and it is just lovely.  Molly and I took a couple laps, went out for a trot, went and made a couple more laps, and then cantered back to the farm.  I haven't cantered in years.  I can't remember the last time I did it.  I am normally happiest at a walk or trot.  I had forgotten the smoothness, the nice rhythm of a canter.  It felt great.  It really is the small joys of life that make it worth it.  Now if I can just figure out a way to talk him out of that horse....

Monday, August 6, 2012

Feeling a little blue today

I guess it's just one of those days today.  It's really a beautiful day.  I have no reason to feel blue, but I do.  I think sometimes when you know you have no good reason to feel the way you do, you end up feeling bad for feeling bad.  Which is kind of silly and completely self defeating.  It'll pass I suppose.  Tomorrow or the next day. 

It's times like these that I wish my horse was well broke enough that I could go home and hop up on there for a soul-soothing, leisurely ride.  Sadly, getting  Billie to ride away from the farm is like getting a kid to eat brusell sprouts.

Have I ever mentioned my extreme dislike of Wal Mart?  Well I can't stand the place.  Two minutes in there and I'm ready to run away screaming.  They do, however, have a fantastic pharmacy with very helpful employees.  So I get my insulin there, at half the price of every other pharmacy.  Still, I dread walking in that place.  The point being, I have to go there tonight to get a prescription filled. So by the time I leave, I will likely have a reason to be good and grumpy.  That is the best silver lining I can put on the situation.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dad's keys

I come into work this morning and dad is mad at my bro.  Apparently they had some drinks last night, dad locked himself out of the house and keys for both his vehicles were in the house so he couldn't leave.  Rather than help, Al was enjoying giving him a hard time, asking why he even bothered to pull the keys out of his truck. (good point, Al)  Anyway, one of the grandkids had spare keys to the house and eventually showed up to save the day.  Dad gets his truck keys and goes to the farm to do chores, and says he knows he left the truck keys in the ignition after that.

 So this morning, dad gets in his truck and finds no keys.  Hence, him being mad at Al, assuming Al had taken them and hidden them somewhere in the truck to teach him a lesson.  (exactly the kind of thing Al would do).   So he searches through his many coffee cups, under all his junk (a LOT of junk) in his truck.  Sees a big sack of screws, and figures they are probably at the bottom.  He goes through the whole sack.  Can't find em anywhere.  He finally gives up and drives the tractor to work.  Al comes in this morning and dad jumps him, Al denies everything (a totally Al thing to do, that kid has a poker face like none other).  Dad is convinced.  I was still not sure, as Al started laughing pretty hard when dad told him the story.  I did too, trying to decide which would be funnier, if Al did steal them, or if Dad misplaced them and is throwing this fit for no reason. 

Finally later in the day when it is just Al and I in the office, I said, "you took them, didn't you?  Just admit it to me at least."  He swears he did not touch them and I believe him.  10 minutes later it's just Dad and I in the office and I tell him, "I asked Al and I really don't think he took them."  He sheepishly replies, "I know.  I found them. "  Where?  "In my pocket."  The pocket of the pants you are wearing right now?  "Yeah".   HAHAHAHAHA! Then in the weakest cover-up attempt ever dad says, "He must have slipped them in there when I wasn't looking."  Uh huh. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

And time marches on

I live on a farm.  I may be the only person who lives there, but I  never feel like I live alone.  I've got my animals and they are as close to kids as I'll probably ever have.  I love them and I care for them and they give me a reason to get out of bed when I don't want to.  People often ask me how I do it, all on my own.  I don't really know, except to say that I imagine it is similar with children.  You just do it.  No one else is going to do chores when its 20 below.  No one else is going to fill that water tank.  You just do it.  Much like parents "just do it" when their child is sick and crying at night.  You don't consider not getting up.  You just do it, you know?  Its part of your daily routine, right?  Getting the kids up and off to school.  Running them to swimming practice, etc.  Well it's the same with me.  I can't imagine not doing chores in the morning.  Can't imagine not filling the water tank every other day.  Can't imagine not having those smiling faces greet me when I come home from work.

There is a downside though.  And its when you lose one.  Hollywood is gone now.  The farm seems amiss.  Something is wrong.  The horses are edgy and discontent.  So am I.    Our natural order of things has been messed with, and its going to take some time to adjust to.  Billie keeps whinneying for Hollywood.  Keeps looking around corners for him in the pasture.  She will run to me every time I'm outside.  She'll lean on me, rub her face on my arm, then run to the fence to see the mini horses, then back to me, then look around, then take a run around the pasture, and back to me again.  Repeat.  Repeat.

They say horses are a mirror to your soul.  I have never realized this more than when watching  Billie.  The way she is acting is exactly how I am feeling.  Just lost.  Just...off.  I know it will pass.  Time truly does heal all wounds, for horses and people alike.  Billie will be fine too, one of these days we will get used to three horses instead of four.  But for now, I just feel....rattled.  Unsettled.  Sad.

I wonder if this is how parents feel when a child goes off to college.  There sits the empty chair where they ate breakfast everyday.  There's just a void.  Just silence and nothingness in their place.  Sure you have memories, sweet ones that you will cherish forever.  Framed photos of them on the wall.  But it's not the same as having them there.  And somehow you know, though you'll get used to it, life will never quite be the same as it once was. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Time to say goodbye...

The sorrel horse pictured above is my old mare Cutter, who passed away about a year and a half ago.  The Buckskin is my gelding, Hollywood.  I'll try to make this story as short as I can. 

Cutter was my first full sized horse.  My best friend and my constant companion.  I miss her every day.  I had gotten her at age 25 from some people I know who were moving to town and needed to find a good home for her.  She was the last horse they had, the others had been sold and it seemed no one wanted sweet ol Cutter due to her age.  So she became mine. 

Fast forward a couple years, I had Cutter and another full sized mare.  They were very close.  Long story short, the other mare had to go and went to another home.  Poor Cutter went into a full fledged depression.  She missed her buddy so much it was sad to see.  She quit eating, started losing weight, and just stood there with her head hung low for several months.  At her age I knew I had to do something.  We were coming into winter and I knew she needed every pound of fat she had on her to make it through.  So I started looking for a companion for her.  A friend referred me to a gal about an hour away who had an old buckskin gelding.  I went up to see him.  I fell in love, much the same way I did with Cutter the first time I saw her.  $300 later, he was mine. 

Now here is the part that will give you goosebumps.  As it turns out, this buckskin (Hollywood) had lived with Cutter for nearly 20 years.  They were the husband and wife's trail riding team for many years.  Remember how all their other horses had been sold when I got Cutter?  He was one of them.  They hadn't seen each other in 4 years.  We put him in the trailer and brought him home.  He got out of the trailer and let out a big whinney.  Cutter heard him and came running to greet him.  I hadn't seen her ears perk up like that, her eyes so bright, her trot so enthusiastic since the day that other mare left.  She was truly reborn again.  You could almost see all her muscles relax when she saw her old buddy.  Everything about her changed back to the horse I remembered.  For the next few years, you never saw one without the other.  You could tie a three foot rope between the two of them and it wouldn't have bothered them a bit.  It was almost like, "I lost you once, and I'm never letting you out of my sight again!" 

During those years they spent together, nothing made me happier than seeing them together munching grass, scratching each other's withers, dozing off in the sun together.  I often would look at them and think, "I want that kind of relationship.  That easy going, I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine, I love you forever" kinda thing that they had going.  He stood by Cutter's side till the day she passed.  He took it just as hard as I did, and we both helped each other through it.  (anyone who rolls their eyes at this, has never experienced all the emotions that horses have)

And now, a year and a half after Cutter passed, it is Hollywood's time.  He is 30 and it is showing.  I can't keep weight on him and that spark is gone from his eyes.  I knew this would be his last summer, that he wouldn't make it through another winter.  But sadly, his condition is just getting worse.  I know my horse.  And I know it's time.  So a big thank you to Hollywood for the years of wonderful service, for keeping sweet old Cutter company, and for being there for me.  You filled your role well old buddy.  I don't know what happens to horses when they die, but I sure hope you two are together again in some way.  I hope Cutter is waiting for you when you cross over that bridge. 

It'll be a tough day, for sure.  The vet appointment has been made, the skid loader lined up, a friend called in to hold my hand when the vet shows up.  He will be laid to rest beside his best friend.  Between now and then, it'll be nothing but bucket after bucket of his favorite food.  Lots of brushing down and pampering.  Probably lots of crying.  I know it's the right thing to do, but boy oh boy is it hard to say goodbye.  It's a part of farm life I never get used to.  But all the pain I feel is because of the love I have for them, and I wouldn't trade that love for anything in the world. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oh Billie...

There is a whole lot of mutual love going on in this photo!  A neighbor and her son came out last night to see the horses.  It was a fun visit.  It was the first time I've had Billie around a little kid.  My old mare Cutter (Billie's relation) was always a gem around kids.  So gentle and kind and she just loved them.  I guess it should be no surprise that Billie is the same way.  She stood there so nice and still while getting petted, didn't get pushy or fidgety.  You could see her just soaking in the attention.  It made me tear up a little, because she acted just exactly like Cutter would have. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Someday I will have....

A set of Wusthof knives that will last me the rest of my life

A commercial convection oven

A horse I can just hop on and ride, with no lunging or fear of getting bucked off

A man who loves and respects me and visa versa

A wrap around screened in porch where I can sit and drink fancy cocktails and watch thunderstorms roll in

A house that is paid for

A nice barn for my horses with automatic waterers, fans, and fresh cedar chips lining the floors at all times

A Vitamix blender

A nice big farm dog that never runs off and chases cattle

A gleaming, bright white painted wooden fence that lines my acreage

A job I enjoy

Financial freedom

And finally....the time to enjoy all these things!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I'm doing it!!

Catering is going really really well!  I am so happy about this! Its great to find something that you love to do and get paid to do it at the same time.  So far it's been all successes, and the calls are coming in!  This is really taking off faster than I thought it would to be honest.  I'll probably never make a full time living doing catering (not around here anyway), but its sure a nice side job to have. 

Also,  I am going to start selling Premier Designs Jewelry beginning in August.  This is something I never pictured myself doing, but I am very excited about it!  Premier is a great company with great jewelry and I can't wait to get started.  So, counting my unpaid job as a semi-farmer, that makes four jobs total.   Whew!  I plan to schedule about 20 minutes of down time in mid November, other than that, I will be a busy busy gal!  No complaints though. 

Maybe if all goes well, I could afford the swanky luxuries of life someday.  Like satellite TV and driving a car that was built in the last decade.  Maybe even (gasp!) an iPAD or internet service at home!  Oh a girl can dream....

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ghosts of relationships past....

I ran into an ex while out with some friends this weekend.  It's amazing sometimes, though years can pass, how seeing someone from your past transports you to a different time and place.  Memories come back, both good and bad.  It's almost scary...thinking of the person I was then.  The lies I fell for.  The crap I put up with.  The support I gave to someone who needed me, and the memory of the pain that came when it all came tumbling down.  But I also remember the happy times, the ones I miss.  I think there are certain people who you never really get over.  You may not think of them everyday anymore.  But you realize they have, for better or worse, shaped your life in a way that will never go away.  You will never be the same person you were before you met them.  I loved this guy.  A lot.  Sadly, I will never be the trusting person I was before I met him.  I don't think I'll ever blindly trust someone like that again.  I'm not saying I'll never get over it, but it sure made me a more skeptical person. 

I have known guys who have hurt me worse than him, but at least they were honest about it.  At least they communicated.  At least they said, "sorry" when they really messed up.  They acknowledged it, and that makes all the differences. 

I can forgive people.  Its totally within my power to do so.  But it's really hard to forgive someone who never asked for it.  Never really apologized or acknowledged their wrongdoings.  So remember that next time you have to break someone's heart.  It's not fun.  Its going to suck.  But there's a right and a wrong way to go about it.  Go with the right way.  No need to damage that person more than needed.  Be honest.  Be straightforward.  Apologize for the things you did wrong and thank them for the good times.  When someone gives you their heart, take care of it, even if you have to return it in the end. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Overheard at the bar

Some advice I gave to my friend Arin (who is 24) at the bar.  Apparently the bartenders overheard me and thought this was very hilarious.  "I know what it's like Arin.  You're in your twenties.  You think you have forever to find someone.  Well, if you find someone you like, take hold and do something about it!  Or next thing you know, you'll wake up, be 32 and broken, have crows feet, and a shit ton of cats."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Now it feels official!

With the addition of real business cards and the purchase of my very first chef's jacket, it seems very official.  I AM A CATERER!! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's been a nice summer....

So I haven't been dating anyone this summer.  I'm kind of taking a break from the whole thing.  I'd be lying if I said I never get lonely.  I'd take a good guy over no guy any day of the week.  That said, its been nice to not deal with any guy drama.  Really really nice.  There is something to be said for being able to take the time to make YOURSELF happy, rather than wasting your energy on someone who doesn't give you much in return.  Two summers ago, I was in the middle of guy drama central.  I had hardly any fun, didn't spend enough time with my animals, and was constantly unhappy.  Such a contrast to this summer which has been filled with girlfriends, bonfires, boat rides, good food, and lots of laughter!  Keep it coming, summer.  I'm loving every minute of it!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Awesome weekend!!

Brandy, Nicole and I boating our lil buns off!  And we finished off the weekend by seeing Magic Mike.  Good movie, but the best part was watching the two little old ladies walk out halfway through.  LOL

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I love that this is a normal sight now....

I remember being on vacation in Northern Minnesota with my family as a very young child.  While on the lake, we saw a beautiful bald eagle soaring above.  Dad told my brother and I, "remember this kids, it may be the only one you'll ever see."  At the time, this was a true statement.  They really were that rare and it was quite a sight to see one.  I love that now I see them all the time.  Its not rare, its hardly even noteworthy to be honest.  Quite a success story for the eagles.  I drive over the west fork of the Des Moines River everyday on my way to and from work, and certain times of the year you can just about count on seeing at least one of them daily. 

Who ever would have thought that the wide eyed little girl in the boat with her dad would one day own an acreage and have a bald eagle that hangs out there on a regular basis.  Certainly not me!  I took this picture last year, while this guy was perched a top my tallest evergreen tree.  Pretty awesome indeed!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Yang and her ying

Meet my two good friends, Arin and Yang.  Arin is a very special lady.  She has a love of animals that rivals (or even surpasses) mine.  I love people who's best friends are animals.  She and her goat, Yang, have a connection that is very touching.  That little goat lives for her.  I have never met another animal (other than a dog) that loves their "person" so much.  Once she is out of her sight, Yang will practically have a melt down.  Arin can "call" to yang from across the farm and he will answer her every darn time.  I tried it repeatedly, and got no response.  They go for walks on the walking trails together.  He is a celebrity at the Dickinson County Nature Center, where Arin works.  He shows up for public events and get togethers and is the star of the show.  And such a well behaved and polite little gal at that!  (more than I can sometimes say for Arin :)  Arin is truly the ying to her Yang.  If, one time in my life, I found someone who loved me as much as that goat loves Arin, I'd consider myself a very lucky lady.  It makes me miss my old goats very much.  SO much personality per pound!  They have to be one of the most enjoyable animals to just sit and watch. 

Roger, Polly, and I.  Oh how I miss thee...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A dog's life....

People say, "its a dog's life" like its such a bad thing.  I guess it depends on who you belong to.  I would be my dog any day of the week!

Monday, June 11, 2012

A ginger in the sun

I went boating this weekend with some great friends.  ***A note to all gingers, if you buy the good sunscreen, you can do it too!  I look a little red in this pic, but I did not get burned after a full 4 hours in the sun.  Neutrogena Ultra sheer broad spectrum SPF 45.  Its the best money you'll ever spend.****

Pictured with me is one of my all time favorite kids, Sharon's daughter, Addison.  Love her!   She was even very brave and got in the lake with us.  We had such a good time and it felt good to take a day off from mowing and chores and...well...life in general.  So yay for fruity cocktails, crab salad, jumping in the lake, and good friends. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

 So for those of you who don't know me well...I love politics.  I watch a lot of news.  I am a democrat, through and through.  I wouldn't call myself a feminist, but others might.  However, there are two things that fly in the face of my liberalism, and I'm OK with that.

One is my love of shooting guns.  I don't do it often, and never shoot anything living.  But when I am in the mood, nothing else will scratch that itch better than pulling a trigger.  I own one shotgun, but my dad owns many.  Since he lives in town, he sometimes uses my farm as a shooting range.  This is great for me, since I never have to buy guns or ammo, just join in for the fun of it every now and again. 

Last weekend, I got to shoot an AR15 and it was a most excellent experience!

The second is my love of cooking and serving food to people.  I am all about women's rights....but oddly I am normally happiest in the kitchen.  Nothing gives me more pleasure than cooking for others.  That pecan pie you see above?  It is so good it could make you cry.  Granted, if I was married to someone and was "expected" to provide a daily meal, I would probably get all kinds of irritated about it.  I guess it being my choice to cook when I want to is what makes it enjoyable. 

My point being, labels can be misleading.  There is an exception to every rule.  There are democrats who love guns.  There are republicans who value education.  There may even be smart tea partiers for all I know. 

One more pic for your enjoyment below, the best Halloween costume I've ever worn.  I have to say, I really nailed this one.  I can't stand the woman, but that was one fun  night!  Me as  Sarah Palin:

Thursday, May 31, 2012


This is the best horse I've ever owned.  Hands down.  She was the first full sized horse I got, she was 25 at the time.  She passed away last year at the age of 31 due to kidney failure.  In the six years we spent together, we were the best of friends.  She was one of those special horses that just get into your heart and doesn't let go.  Every time I had a bad day or needed a friend to talk to, she was there.  All the other horses would walk away once they realized I didn't have treats or food.  But not Cutter.   She would stand there, let me hug her, brush her, talk to her for as long as I wanted to.  Its hard to put into words the connection we had.  I don't know which one of us loved the other one more. 

She loved little girls.  If a kid was out and I put them on her back, she would walk so slowly and carefully, as if on egg shells.  Once while I was riding her, she took a bad step and went down on her two front knees.  Any other horse I know would have rolled over and gotten back up.  But I could feel all the muscles in her body moving and convulsing as she balanced herself and regained her footing. With me on her back, she got up very carefully.  She knew I was up there and she took care of me.  Had it been the horse I have now, I know I would have gotten a broken leg out of the deal. 

The day she passed was one of the saddest I've been through.  It was peaceful though and almost touching in a way.  I came home for lunch and she was down and couldn't get up.  I knew it was time.  I just knew.  I called the vet who was very busy, but came out on his lunch hour to put her down.  (Note: always take good care of your vet and make them cookies for Christmas)  We had about an hour to say our goodbyes before he got there.  I laid next to her in the hay an stroked her neck and calmed her down.  It is an hour I will never forget, my head resting on her neck the whole time.  The vet arrived and she went without a fuss or a fight, with me by her side.  Thankfully, I was able to call a friend who came out with his skid loader and buried her at my farm that night.  (Note: always take good care of your friends with skid loaders) 

A month or so after she passed, I put a halter on my other quarter horse who was very close to her.  We walked down to her grave.  He stood there, took a big sniff, and let out one loud, heartbreaking whinney.  Normally a somewhat fidgety horse who doesn't like to stand still, he stood there by my side for quite some time, both of us in complete silence, heads hung low.

It hurt for so long, every time I would think of her I would cry.  I always knew it would be tough, but had no idea how tough until it happened.  It has been over a year now.  I am finally getting to the point where I can think of her and smile.  I remember the good times and am thankful for them.  So thankful to have had a  horse like her in my life.  So thankful I was there for her when her time came.  I think she was a once in a lifetime horse for me.  She taught me so much.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of her.

When animal lovers lose an animal, they grieve.  I suppose people who don't have a place in their hearts for animals find this silly.  But I understand.  And others do too.  When you lose a dog, a horse, any animal that you love, it can be like losing a family member to people like us.  So don't feel bad for feeling sad.  Don't feel silly.  Go ahead and cry.  Go ahead and grieve. And when you're ready, think back on all those happy memories and be glad for the time you had together. 

RIP Cutter, I hope to someday see you again dear friend.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

No words needed.  That is just a whole lot of pretty right there.  Summer rocks winter's socks off when you live in the country....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thirty-something dating

I have never been  married.  This does not, however, mean I've never been in love.  I've had relationships that were longer than a lot of marriages.  Relationships that broke my heart as badly as a divorce can.  And I'm still alive.  Still kicking.  Having your heart broken sucks, there's no other way to put it.  (And I've broke a few as well)  The only bright side is that with each one, I've learned something from it.  I think this is important to realize.  With pain comes growth, and that is not always a completely bad thing.  With each one, I've leaned something about myself.  I sometimes wish I could go back and whisper in my twenty-something ear, "Stop trying to hang on to him, you can do better." 

So for anyone reading,  here are a few of the things I've learned:

You can't make someone love you. 

When you ask, "are you single?" and there is a pause.... before he says yes, he's not single.  Keep on moving girl.  

If you can't trust him, there's not much point in being with him.
You can't expect someone to fulfill all your expectations unless you clearly communicate to them what your expectations are.  Nobody is a mind reader. And visa versa.

Once a cheater, always a cheater.  If he had a girlfriend and was chasing you, he'll eventually do the same thing to you when YOU are his girlfriend.

A lot of it is about timing.  Yours and his.  You can be single, and still be in no shape to date.  Maybe you just broke up with someone.  Maybe you need to sew your wild oats.  Maybe...whatever.  If you're not ready to be in a relationship, take a break and get to know yourself before you jump into another one.  I think everyone should  be alone at some point.  It truly makes you more appreciative when you DO find someone who wants to be with you.   I know many people who jump from one relationship to the next, with no breaks in between.  And they wonder why it never works.  I'll tell you why.  Its because you don't  know who YOU are without someone else being with you at all times.  Being comfortable being alone is very important.  I honestly believe there are a lot of marriages out there that happened because of the fear of being alone.  "Someone is better than no one" is terrible advice and a terrible mind set.  You should be with someone because you WANT to be with someone, not because you feel you NEED to. 

You can't fix someone else.  You just can't.  You can help them, but only if they are ready and willing.  You can't to it for them. 

That giddiness?  That OMG I can't wait to see him feeling?  Thinking of him all day, the sweet texts sent back and forth.  Ideally, yeah, it'd always be there, and maybe it is to a point.  But lets be honest.  Most of the time the intensity fades.  Maybe after 6 months.  Maybe after a year.   This is when you really figure out if you are compatible.  Once all that wears away, you are left with two imperfect people trying to make a life together.  No one is perfect, and our fairy tail dreams rarely come true.  So don't get engaged after you've been together for 6 months.  You've got the rest of your life to be together, so don't rush it.  And expect some bumps, cause they're gonna come whether you're ready for them or not.

Don't chase a guy.  I mean yeah, show interest, initiate dates, etc.  But don't get in the habit of chasing him around.  If someone really wants to be with you, they will move heaven and earth to do so.  Don't waste your time on those who get a thrill out of the chase or just want what they can't have. 

I'll be honest.  I don't have a stellar dating record.  I've made a lot of mistakes.  But I rarely make one twice.  I haven't been on a date in about 6 months.  I have woken up in my bed alone for about 6 years, give or take.  But when I do meet a guy, I am much better at seeing both the good and the bad in him objectively.  I waste a lot less time.  I don't go on 10 dates before I realize we aren't compatible.  I don't put up with being treated badly.  I know who I am and what I want.  I know the things I'll compromise on and the things I won't.  I don't sit by the phone and wait for it to ring cause I've got a life to carry on with, man or no man.  This may all sound like a bitter single woman in her thirties bashing men, but it isn't.  There are good men left out there (hello?  are you there?).  But I think as we age, we know ourselves better.  We know what we deserve.  And to any of you singles out there, best of luck and don't give up or settle. 

Sometimes people tell me I'm too picky.  You know my only automatic disqualifiers?  No racists, no rednecks, no one who pushes their religious beliefs on me.  No one who is mean to animals.  That's it. Is that being too picky?  I think not.  As a wise woman once told me, "Its better to be alone than to wish you were."  Wise words. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Sharona!

Meet Sharon, one of my nearest and dearest of friends.  I love this gal for so many reasons!  She is one of those friends that you always have a blast with.  It doesn't matter if you're doing something exciting or just sitting around and shooting the breeze, we always end up laughing till our sides hurt.  One of the things I admire about her most is that she has an uncanny ability to treat everyone fairly.  Doesn't matter your race, your social standing, your age,  Sharon always treats people kindly and with a genuine smile.  This makes her a fantastic Public Health nurse.  And a pretty fantastic person in general. 

We knew each other, but not well, for years.  She was more of a friend of a friend than a friend of mine.  Then a mutual friend of ours got married and we were both in the wedding party.  One day, while taking a break from our bridesmaid duties, we went out to eat together at  A&W.  This  was the first time we ever really hung out, just the two of us.  And something  just clicked and we have been very close ever since. (Thanks for getting married Nicole!) At the time, we were both single and spent many a night out on the town together having so much fun!  Oh the times us girls had...needless to say, neither of us will ever be able to run for public office without paying the other one off to stay quiet and burn quite a few pictures. 

I love friends like Sharon so much.  Particularly when you are single,  you really learn to value your good friends.  I know a lot of people.  I have quite a few friends.  But few are on the same level as Sharon.  You've just got to love those friends who are on the A list.  The friend you could call in the middle of the night from jail.  The friend who will tell you how great you are when you are down.  The friend you know you can tell anything to.  I can count them on one hand.  And I am thankful for them every day.  AFF.  That is what my life is about.  Animals.  Family.  Friends.  That is what makes it worth it!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

.....It's the principle of the thing. (part 2)

And then the day came.  Al gets his mail at work, so I was there the day the bill came.  In my office, I try to prepare myself for what is to come. While opening the bill, he declares, “oh this should be a great one!”  As he reads the bill, I see his face fall and he lets loose a string of accusations and expletives.  He just can't comprehend this!  How could this be?  As I listen to him spout off theories, it is all I can do to hold it together and not die laughing.  I did have to fake a coughing fit a time or two.  "But I was gone and the light bulb wasn't even turned on! I mean the fridge was running, but it was cold in the house and I never opened the door.  The water was drained and the heat was off. The bill should have been lower than ever!  Is the electric company screwing with me because I complained about the service fee?”

It is at this moment that I am thankful I didn't share the prank with Dad. He is very much enjoying listening to Al go on and on, but he also has no idea why the bill was that big. No doubt in my mind, had Dad known, he would have cracked a smile and the game would have been over.

A week later, Al tells us about this thing he bought that costs about 60 bucks (that's like a years worth of electricity!).  You can plug it onto your appliances, etc.  to see how much they are drawing.  Hmmm, no luck there.  Everything reads correctly.  Imagine that! I hear he and dad going back and forth and thinking of possible reasons. Al keeps circling back to the electric company hosing him over. At this point I can't keep the secret anymore and tell a few of my cousins. It was a very memorable Christmas, Al relaying his story over the dinner table, while those of us in the know gave each other knowing glances and tried to swallow our smirks and snickers along with our food.

Well, wouldn't you know it? The bugger leaves town again and once again puts me in charge of the birds. Repeat my actions all over again. And the same outrage at the bill when it comes in the mail. He is now completely bewildered and irate. Al goes to lunch, so it is just Dad and I. I can't take it anymore and spill onto the floor with laughter, tears streaming down my face. Dad gives me a look, I see his gears working. “Oh my god it was you?! This whole time?!” I fill Dad in on all the antics. It is entirely possible that I have never seen my dad so proud of me in my entire life. Not when I graduated. Not when I sold my first big ticket at work. Not when I bought my farm. He was beaming. We laughed and laughed till our bellies hurt. So with dad in the know, it was even harder to keep a straight face when Al brought it up, which was often. One day, Dad had to excuse himself to go down in the shop just so he could laugh before his insides exploded.

Now I love my Dad. A lot. But he loves a good story. LOVES. He did his best to keep it a secret, but ended up telling an internet buddy of his who was many states away. That guy told his secretary who knew Alan. And of course, she blabbed. So the gig was up. I have to say, Al took it like a champ. I think he was a little proud of me too, though he wouldn't admit it. I was afraid he'd be really really mad. I sheepishly told him, “I'm sorry Al. I couldn't resist. I'd pay you back for all the wasted electricity, but it was never about the money, it was the principle of the thing.” He graciously forgave me.

Now he has a nice new house that he built mostly by himself and there is even at least one light bulb in every room. (I think the kitchen has FOUR!) Every time I am there for any reason, I always leave a light on to let him know I stopped by. And the best part, now when he leaves town I am never asked to feed the birds.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's not about the money....

This is my brother, Alan.  We are very close in age, about a year and half apart.  It doesn't seem like much of an age difference now.  But when you are young kids, it is like a lifetime.  As kids, it seemed he was always smarter, stronger, one (or two) steps ahead of me at all times. Everything I could do, he could do better.  He outsmarted me at most everything.  That said, I love him dearly and this whole story isn't really as mean as it sounds if you know us both. 

My dad, brother, and I all work together.  It is kind of a constant battle to "pull one over" on each other, in a fun way.  My brother is the hardest to fool, the slightest smirk or comment will tip him off.  Which makes getting the best of him one of the world's most rewarding accomplishments for me.

So let's backtrack a couple years.  Al had bought a small acreage north of town.  On it sat an old trailer house.  He lived in the trailer house for a couple years before tearing it down and building the beautiful house that sits there now.  At the time, Al was huge into conserving things.  Electricity being at the top of the list.  Now, I am all for conserving energy.  After all, I'm a flag waving liberal.  But when Al gets into something, he REALLY gets into something.  Intense is the word that comes to mind.

So after getting set up with the local energy coop, he was upset to learn  there was a fee for service every month, no matter how much energy you actually use.  I think it was about $35 or $40 bucks.  I live in the country and pay this fee every month as well.  He constantly complained that he only used like 4 bucks worth of electricity a month, so he feels ripped off to have to pay the service connection fee.  I always said, no, people like you are the reason they charge that fee.  I pay a LOT for electricity, so if anyone should be exempt from the fee, its customers like me.  Every bill he got, he would carefully inspect.  The slightest increase in electrical usage would send him over the edge.  Dad would ask how many dollars worth we were talking and Al would reply, "well, like a dollar.  But its about not the money, its the principle of the thing."  The lower the electric usage, the happier he was.  It was like a game for him.

Then he just went a bit overboard.  It got old.  He would be at my house and chastise me for leaving the TV on if I was not in the room with it.  He would ask why the light in the kitchen was on when I was in the living room.  "Dude, I'm going back in there in 5 minutes!"  I would say.  We were all tiring of Al and his obsession with electricity.  He was fond of saying, "I have one light bulb in the whole house.  I sit under my light bulb and read books."  No TV.  No computer.  Just the one bulb.  And his appliances, which were rarely used.

So one winter, Al decides to take off for a while and do some traveling.  He asks if I will FEED HIS WILD BIRDS WHILE HE'S GONE.  Now, there's taking care of dogs and cats, stopping to feed animals who can't feed themselves.  But he actually wanted me to feed wild birds while he was gone for three weeks in the middle of winter.  I begrudgingly agreed.  Then the idea hit me in the face like a glorious symphony.  It all became clear in my mind, the power I now had in my hands.  I was drunk with giddiness. 

So the first day I stop to feed the birds, I take along a 12 pack of light bulbs.  The old style inefficient ones.  The highest wattage his sockets could handle.  And I screwed them ALL  in.  Every last one.  And left them all on, all day and night.  Man, if you drove by that little trailer at night it was lit up like a roman candle.  If memory serves, I also took some stuff from my house and plugged it in.  A stereo.  A couple lamps.  And, as promised, I faithfully fed those birds. And the day before he was set to return, I took it all out.  He came home to the dark little place he was used to.  And then I waited....and waited....  I did not tell a soul what I was up to.  I knew it needed to be a top secret operation.  Loose lips sink ships.  So I didn't even tell  Dad, which was hard.

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story....Its a good one!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Meet...everyone else

This is Smidges, the first cat to come to the Copperbottom Ranch.  I couldn't love this cat more.  He is our great protector, always running off strays and never getting hurt in the process.  He's never been sick a day in his life. 

Back before all the cats were fixed I had a litter or two of kittens a year.  Smidges would always be so kind and gentle to them.  Once they were old enough, he would play-fight with them, playing rough but always making sure he was gentle enough to not hurt them.  I know they learned a lot from watching and being around him. 

As a kitten himself, he liked to sit on my shoulder while I did chores.  I could go for a mile walk and he would happily sit up there the whole time.  Anytime I was outside, he'd try to climb up my whole body to get up to my shoulders.  This was really cute until he weighed 12 lbs and I was wearing a skirt.  I have finally broke him of the habit, but if I pick him up, he'll still settle right in on my shoulder just like when he was a little guy. 

These animal introductions are getting a little old, so I'll hurry it along and introduce all the other cats as well. 

Marshmallow is pure white with blue eyes, a real stunner.  He was born at the farm and one of the few kittens I kept. 

Stumpy was born here as well.  He was born missing one back leg, but he gets a long fine.  He can run a lot better than he can walk, momentum is his friend!  He is very sweet, and loves getting scratched on the neck (on the side he's missing a leg).  When you scratch him there, his little leg stump shakes uncontrollably and it is pretty darn cute. 

Tips and Toots were kittens who wandered onto my dad's farm and ended up with me.  They were winter kittens, so they got to live in the house till it was warm enough to go outside.  They are particularly fond of Shooter, much  more so than he is of them. 

Rounding out the cat family is Stella, who I don't have a good picture of.  She is not as affectionate as the rest, I'm not sure why. 

Oh oh, and I almost forgot!  Here I thought I was done with the animals, but I forgot Bucky.  How could I?  He was the first horse I owned.  He is Dinker's partner in crime.  He is about 2 inches taller than Dinker.  He is more stand-offish than I would like him to be.  We're working on it.  One of the things with miniature horses, is that you tend not to train them as well as you should.  They do naughty things and they look "cute".  Whereas if a full sized horse did them, it would just be dangerous.  I think this is why ponies get a bad rap.  Yes, they can be naughty, but its usually because, as an owner, you let them get away with it.  I know I am certainly guilty of this with mine. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Meet Dinker

Meet Dinker.  He, without a doubt, has more personality per pound than any horse I've ever met.  I don't even know where to start!  Measuring in at a whopping 30 inches and about 175 lbs, he has no idea he is small.  I honestly believe he thinks he is a big horse.  He is not afraid of much. He is brave, wicked smart, and a Houdini of sorts when it comes to halters, fences, and well, just about anything.  I can put a halter on him, turn my back for three minutes, and it'll be on the ground.  He'll never do it while I am watching though. 

I spent weeks trying to figure out how he was getting out of my electric fence.  Every darn time I came home he'd be out under the apple tree, munching away.  I'd go out, put him back in, look out 5 minutes later, and he'd be out again.  Again, he'd never do it while I watch.  I finally figured out that my 30" horse had been jumping a 4.5 foot fence.  Only Dinker. 

Once we went for a walk in the gravel pit and there was  big pile of gravel.   Wanting to climb to the top, I urged Dinker along.  He ended up practically pulling me up that hill.  While enjoying our view, he let out a big whinny that I took to mean, "I am king of the world!" And when it was time to go back down, he sat on his lil butt and slid all the way to the bottom.  Like I said, no fear.  I think he probably pooped sand for a week. 

He has a very advanced sense of taste as well.  His favorite food is strawberries.  He also enjoys the occasional sip of beer.  If I have a beer bottle, he'll come up to me, tip his head back, and form his lips into a perfect "O".  He will eat about anything at least once.  I try to limit his snacks, but it is fun to experiment.  I think this weekend we will give him some pop rocks.  I will try to take a video, as I expect this to be hilarious! 

He also enjoys chasing things.  Anything.  Dogs, cats, anything that dares to invade his pasture.  The deer like to jump the fence at night and lick the salt block and get a drink of water.  There is little more entertaining than watching Dinker try to keep them out.  They will work in a team, two deer at one end and two deer at the other.  The two distract Dinker while the other two jump the fence.  Then Dinker takes a mad dash at them, they jump out, and the whole thing starts all over again. I have a lot of coyotes  by my place, and there is no doubt in my mind that Dinker has chased them out of his pasture at some point.  He's awesome and one of my favorites.  He's been with me since he was a weanling and he'll be there for many years I hope.  He bit a friend's fingers a couple weeks ago, pretty good and hard.  I was very disappointed in him, as he usually LOVES company.  I was surprised he did it, then I asked if she'd eaten any strawberries lately.  She said yes, I just had a handful before I went out the door to pet him.  Ah, mystery solved.  :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Meet Miss Billie

This is Billie.  I have had her since last fall.  I wrote a big bio for her, but it was ridiculously long and detailed.  So I'll sum it up by saying she's gorgeous, 16 years old, related to my old mare who passed away, and kind of a handful.  She's great at a lot of things, but is most definitely a better trained horse than I am a rider.  I rode her once last fall and it went OK.  I think if an experienced horse person rode her they would LOVE her.  She is smarter than me, and she knows it.  She'll take advantage of that when she can.  This is more of my problem than hers, and I am working on learning how to show her who's the boss. 

She's allergic to hay due to COPD, so she is a spendy horse.  (unknown to me at the time of her purchase) She can't eat hay, so now I'm feeding TWO horses senior feed all winter long.  This equals HUGE feed bills at a time of year that I am struggling to buy propane.  But what are you gonna do?  A forever home is a forever home and I do love the stuffing out of her.  She is nice and affectionate, comes when called, and follows me around the pasture.  I know she's got it in her to be a great horse.  I've just got to figure out how to bring it out in her, and we'll get there, I know we will.  Feel free to remind me of this when i get frustrated and make a post saying, "who wants a horse?"

And I have to say, is that not the most beautiful color of palomino?  Since I bought her in the fall, its been fun to watch her winter coat shed out and see the sleek, shiny, beautiful horse you see above.  I could sit in a lawn chair in the shade, drink a beer, and watch that horse all day long.  Some days that is exactly what I do. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


So....this is me.  A much harder bio to write than for the animals.  I work as an office manager.  My second (and unpaid) job is running my farm.  I am also an aspiring caterer.  I have catered on and off for about 5 years and am trying to get my own little catering business off the ground.  I grew up in a very small town, the few children my age were all boys.  So as a girl I dreamed of little more than having a pony.  Yeah yeah, its every little girl's dream, I know.  My dad insisted it was a phase I'd grow out of....and he couldn't have been more wrong!  I got my first horse around age 25 or so. 

I had never lived in the country, but had always wanted to.  One day the then-boyfriend (we will call him Bob) and I saw this acreage for sale.  We had been together quite a while and were pretty well committed to each  other.  From the first time I stepped foot in that house and walked around the place, I knew it was home.  And Bob agreed.  We bought the place together three days later.  We had both always dreamed of country living, but it seems I was the only one who enjoyed it.  Long story short, Bob and I lived there together for a year.  For various reasons which I will not get into, it didn't work out and he decided to move back to town.  I was panicked.  How would I do this all without Bob?  After all, I am just a city girl transplanted into the country.  How will I do all the mowing?  I considered selling the place, but knew I'd likely spend the rest of my life looking for a place I liked as much as this one. 

Well, as it turns out, Bob wasn't as much help as I thought he was.  I was delighted to find that I could indeed do it without him.  It was actually easier....Bob wasn't the handiest of men and broke more than he fixed.  In the 6 years since, I have learned a LOT.  I can dig a fence post hole, assist with kitten birthing, trap a raccoon, put a belt on the lawn mower, build a proper bonfire.  The list goes on and on.  It should be noted that I couldn't do it without the help of my dad and brother.  They are awesome and always glad (maybe dad more so than my bro) to help me out when I am in over my head.  I don't think I could go back to city living now.  I like the wide open spaces, beautiful vistas, and bright stars at night far too much to go back. 

So that is how I ended up with a 7.5 acre acreage and a five bedroom house that I live in by myself.  It wasn't ever my plan to live there alone, but I couldn't love it more.  I always joke that I have enough bedrooms that each horse could have their own if we ever had really bad weather...

Meet Hollywood

This horse has the coolest "registered" name ever.  Normally the names are boring, including bloodlines and maybe the farm they were born at.  I don't know any horses that are actually called by their registered name.  But this guy's papered name is "Hollywood Eldorado."  How bad ass is that?  It sounds like a character Nicholas Cage would have played, back in the early 90's when he was still cool. Or some gangster or a character in a James Bond movie. 

He is currently my most "senior" resident, at the age of 29.  He is beyond his riding years, but he is a big ol softie and he is welcome to stay with me as long as he lives.  He was originally bought as a companion to my first full sized horse who has since passed away.  That is a story for another day, but a great one, as they were owned by the same family for many years.  They were sold and separated, and were reunited at my place years later. 

Nowadays he moves slower, looks thinner, and isn't quite the gorgeous horse you see in the picture above.  But he still enjoys life, trots to the pasture, and is a great companion.  Oddly, he was never affectionate towards me till his friend passed away.  Now he is lovey dovey and I am loving it!  When his friend (Cutter) passed, we were both heartbroken.  But we helped each other through it, as dopey and kumbaya as that sounds....I think he was the only one who missed her as much as I did, and we really bonded over it.  Anyone who says animals don't have feelings has most definitely never owned a horse!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Meet the crew

Baker, caterer, animal wrangler, office manager, and now blogger.  Here goes nothing!  I am 32, single, and live on an acreage in Northwest Iowa with my critters.  I have named my farm the Copperbottom Ranch.  Expect to read a whole lot about animals, both domesticated and wild.  And a little of this and that sprinkled throughout.  I think I will start by introducing a critter per day. (This should give me material for a couple weeks)

Everyone, meet Shooter, my 7 year old Carin Terrier.  I love all my animals, but this is the only one I let in the house.  And we get to go to work together everyday.  Needless to say, we are pretty close and spend about 3 hours a week apart.  They say your dog picks you sometimes.  This was certainly true in Shooter's case.  When I met his litter of puppies, they said just find one you like.  So I sat on the floor and watched the other puppies play and romp around.  And then came Shooter.  He looked at me, crawled in my lap, stuck all four legs in the air and received his first of thousands of belly rubs.  Then he fell asleep.  NOW THIS IS MY KIND OF DOG I thought to myself.  He has proved to be a trust worthy companion.  Since he was a pup, he sleeps about 15 hours a day. 

But when that little dog goes, he goes! A little rocket of energy.  Its no wonder he needs so much rest!  He enjoys chasing cats, sitting at my feet while I cook and waiting for scraps to fall on the floor, fetching, sleeping on my feet at night, bonfires, sniffing around in wood piles, and running off to the gravel pit for a quick swim when no one is looking. 

I had wanted a dog of my own for a couple years.  My boyfriend at the time said no.  So when the boyfriend moved out, I got my dog and a better trade has never been made.  At my side ever since, I don't  know what I'd do without my little guy. 

That's all for today.  I guess I should have started by introducing myself.  There's always tomorrow....