Friday, August 27, 2010

Getting close

I'm 38 weeks along today! Only 2 more weeks until my due date!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cody came home from the trainer last week

We brought Cody home from the trainer last Friday. I just haven't gotten around to posting about it, but I actually did take my camera along this time and took some pictures of the trainer riding her. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any cantering pictures because the dust created by it prevented my camera from focusing on the horses.

There were many other horses in the arena when Patti rode Cody for me. Patti has a very busy barn. She rides and trains quarter horses for showing for both herself and clients. And she trains trail horses as well. She also offers 2 lessons per month on your horse as part of the training fee to make sure you know how to ride your horse. I didn't ride her, but Patti invited me to come back later in the fall to ride with her, especially if I have any questions. She also has a small number of young women that ride horses for her, since Patti couldn't possibly do it all herself. So, in the arena, there were a couple of people there riding their own horses that Patti had trained. One it seemed was just a trail horse, but a fairly green one. The other rider seemed like she had her horse there for Patti to train for showing. In addition, there were a couple other horses there being ridden by Patti's help. One I know for sure is a show horse. The other, I wasn't sure. So, it was a pretty full arena including Cody. But, Cody did very well. She seemed to have really gotten over being afraid of other horses coming too close to her or coming up behind her.

In this picture, Cody is the horse directly behind the red dun.

Cody stood very patiently everytime Patti stopped to focus on another rider and give instructions.

Then it was time to load her up and take her home! My mom accompanied me on this trip. My husband was busy but didn't want me to drive an hour and a half away from home alone. He said he had visions of a state trooper delivering our baby on the side of a road with a horse standing in the trailer. Didn't happen, but would have made for a good story! (I'm still pregnant...8.5 months now!).

At home, we had an eager line-up of greeters, but Cody was only interested in the grass. She was stalled most of the time with only a couple hours a day on turnout. The turnouts were very green, but on closer inspection, the green was primarily all weeds and very little grass.

My mom took this picture of the wild ones. It kind of makes me smile. Kachina, the untrusting little mare that she is turns away from my mom who is holding that crazy black thing, while Griffin just looks on calmly. If I was holding the camera, Kachina wouldn't have turned away. She trusts me more :)

Cody is in fabulous condition after being in training for 2 months. She lost her pudge and gained a lot of muscle. Plus she is just sleek and fit. She is darker than when I took her there because she has already started to grow in her darker winter hair with the shortening of days. So has Chico.

The only thing I was unhappy about with Cody in training is that they trimmed her face up like a show horse. I probably wouldn't have minded them just trimming her whiskers, but they also trimmed all her whiskers (around muzzle and eyes) PLUS they trimmed her eyelashes! I never knew anyone does that and it seems like it would be so detrimental to the protection of their eyes! Cody is not a show horse. She lives in a very rugged pasture with a lot of brush, trees, and other things. She has to deal with flies and crazy weather. I was not happy about the trimmed eyelashes at all and I think one of Patti's help heard me tell my mom about it. I didn't think it was a big enough deal to address it with Patti. If I ever took her back there, I would for sure ask them not to trim her face up.

Chico was so happy that Cody was back, but she wasn't really interested in meeting her old buddies again. She was much more concerned about grass. Chico, stood at the gate hoping I'd let him out to greet her.

Here are some pictures of Griffin and Kachina, although they don't really show how much they've grown.

See, if I hold the camera, Kachina will still come right up to me!

Again, Chico really wants Cody to greet him, but Cody is too "busy".

Finally, she obliges him with a sniff.

I kept Cody in off the pasture and introduced her to it slowly this past week to make sure she didn't get sick on it. It was a non-event when I first turned her back out with the others. Well, actually, they all filed into her pen to eat her hay, while she went out and explored the pasture on her own, having not been home in a while. She kept coming back to check on them and whinny to them, but they had absolutely no interest in following her around. They just wanted to stand in the barn and eat hay. Finally, she settled and started grazing grass just outside the pen so that she could still see her buddies.

And now that she's been home for almost a week, it is interesting to see how things in the herd have changed since before she left. I think she is still the "boss", but I rarely see her pushing the other horses around at all. I think she's just happy to be back with them. Catlow is definitely lead mare. She leads, and they all follow. Cody is the first one to follow Catlow, practically right on her heels. And I think that Chico is not as attached to Cody as he used to be. I see Cody and Catlow together the most right now.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One month left!

Wow, I noticed that it's been well over a month since I last posted anything. Sorry about that, but I'm not really doing all that much with my horses right now. In fact, the summer has been so hot and uncomfortable that I'm not doing much of anything outside right now.

As of yesterday, I have exactly one month until my due date! So I guess, baby girl could come anytime now! I should post some updated pics, but I haven't taken any lately. I think I need to remedy that. I am definitely getting a big belly, but it's not too out of proportion yet. This picture is from a trip we took to go cherry picking and hiking in Door County, WI last month when I was about 7 months along.

I've seen some pregnant women with hugely protruding bellies. But, this is my first, so my stomach probably holds her in a little tighter. I promise I'll post some pictures of my current belly and of my growing horses soon!

I visited Cody at the trainer after she'd been there for a month. Cody looked great. She was fit and had settled into the training routine nicely. The trainer showed me everything she'd been learning, including how well she was doing with riding in the arena with other horses. She is also neck reining okay. Neck reining good on one side, but having a little difficulty sometimes with turning to the cue on the other side. Even though I didn't really want to keep her there another month, the trainer was very persuasive about wanting to keep her and further her more. Finances were the biggest reason I wouldn't have wanted to keep her there...I really wanted to just get a month on Cody, then possibly send Griffin to her in the fall. But my husband and I discussed it and since Cody is a forever keeper horse, while I am looking to most likely sell Griffin at some point, it is more economical to invest in Cody, since we know we will use her, she's already a great horse. But with Griffin, we are not even likely to get the cost of training back out of him if we do sell, the decision was made to keep Cody there another month. Griffin's training will be delayed another year, since we still have not managed to get the round pen up this year anyway. And when we do, I've decided that I will do all his training, instead of sending him off. That should be do-able, since I won't be pregnant anymore by the time I get back to him! And now, it is almost time to pick Cody back up. She gets to stay an extra 5 days though because the trainer called me last week and said that Cody had caught a cold that was lingering, so she was going to give her 5 days off. This year has been a really bad year for respiratory infections...I've seen several cases of pneumonia in cows when I've gone out with the dairy vet. It's just been so wet and warm this year. Thankfully, Cody doesn't have pneumonia, but she does need her rest.

I feel bad that I haven't spent much time with my horses lately. But I see them everyday. I try to give them all scratches when I fill their water tank, but sometimes they are not all down at the barn. However, lately, I've noticed that they are spending a lot of time in the barn trying to stay away from flies, and the few times I've seen them out the pasture, they've been really irritated by flies. I've been trying to avoid putting fly stuff on them because it always inadvertantly gets on me too, and I don't want to expose my unborn child to pesticides. I have wiped fly stuff on them before the farrier comes though. But they were being driven so crazy that I decided I needed to get out there and get them all wiped/sprayed right away. I decided to try spraying them because it's faster than wiping and easier for me, since I don't have to bend over to get to their legs (hard to do now that I'm so big), However, I always fear that spraying means more exposure to me, especially if the horse dances around a bit while I apply it. I decided to risk it anyway. None of these horses have been sprayed since last summer, and Catlow can sometimes get a little dancy about it anyway, so I was concerned...but they actually all stood perfectly! I know that they knew the spray makes the flies go away. I did Catlow first, and she did jump at the first sound of the sprayer, but then stood perfectly still, and I did every inch of her whole body. By the time I was done, she was standing in complete relaxation with her head low and her eyes half closed and didn't even move an inch after I let her go (I caught them all in the barn and sprayed them in there). One by one, I got every horse. And I swear when I got to Griffin's turn, he was waiting for me to get to him because he approached me, I haltered him no problem and he didn't move a muscle the whole time I sprayed him. Kachina was last, and even she didn't move around at all. Darn smart mustangs. They impressed me today. They didn't forget a single thing about being sprayed with fly spray from last summer. After everyone was thoroughly coated, I was so amused by the look of utter relaxation and bliss on their faces. For the first time in a while, they had no flies biting them! And I don't think I got any spray on me. I made sure to stand upwind, and since they were all standing so still, I didn't have to worry about getting on the wrong side of the wind.

We've been working on quite a few projects around our house this summer.

The garden is giving me tons of tomatoes now.

I've started canning. So far I've canned lots of green beans...

..,some jam (jalapeno-apricot jam is so yummy), and a batch of stewed tomatoes, including cherry tomatoes.

Next I am going to try canning salsa. I've already dug up all my onions because they were finished growing. Most were kinda small because the soil is not the greatest in our garden. Broccoli is giving us lots, carrots are big enough to eat, although I want to let them keep growing till fall. And we have a couple ripe squash already! We ate a delicata and a japanese curry squash just the other night and they were awesome. I need to get some pictures up of my giant hubbard squash. I haven't tried to pic any of them yet, but they sure are huge!

Another project that goes along with the garden is our cold room in the basement. We started that this spring, and with the hot muggy weather, it became fun to work on it in the cool basement again, so we just finished it this week. It will be a great place to store all our squash, potatoes, onions, carrots, and canned goods!

The garden has been a big project, but we also put in a flowerbed with a retaining wall near our deck. It turned out to be a huge project because we got some advice from a professional landscaper friend, but we are finally done with it! The yard was really tore up for a while. All this equipment is part of Todd's irrigation business, but it came in really handy when we were digging out the wall and filling the bed!

Finished product!

Because we put in the flowerbed, we then had to reseed in our yard because it got all tore up, so we are currently in the process of getting some better topsoil in from some of the cow pastures so that the grass will grow a little better than it had. We'll get some good topsoil for the garden too before we plant next year.

Another project that turned out really well was putting a door on the back side of our house to go into the laundry room. We had a local contractor do that and also build a small deck off the back door. This door will be so convenient for entering with dirty/manure-y clothes. Plus, the deck is big enough to put one of those circular clotheslines on so we will try to save energy by line drying a lot of our clothes. And I want to do cloth diapers with the baby, so the line will come in handy with drying those too! And all just out the back door!

The back door will also be convenient for accessing the chicken coop that we are still working on getting finished. The chicks and turkeys are rapidly outgrowing their little pen and are ready for their permanent coop. We just need to get that done now.

And of course, the last big project that we are working on is getting the baby's room ready! My sister's are throwing me a baby shower this weekend, so that should be a big help in getting ready, but we do already have a crib, a changing table, and some dressers.

So, I promise to get some pictures of my 8 months pregnant belly, and some of the horses up soon. Griffin has grown so much, both in size and in his attitude toward me - he's actually become quite trusting of me without me even doing anything with him. I'm really excited to work with him, once I'm no longer pregnant and the weather cools off. I'll also try to remember to get pictures of Cody at the trainer when we go visit her next.