Saturday, November 29, 2008

Zora the Supermodel

We are excited about the new signs for our real estate business. John took a great photo of Zora, and we decided to use it for our advertising. She is very photogenic.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Well, yesterday was Thanksgiving. We had a great day. John's bother Alex was here, his wife Cindy, and Cindy's parents and her sister, Janet. We cooked and laughed and spoiled the animals--they got lots of treats and people to pet them. We have a couple of days off now. The machine shop I work for is closed until Monday, and John is taking a break from our real estate business, and promoting equestrian properties. We hope to ride this weekend.....tomorrow and Sunday. Thursday was spent with the family, today was spent recovering and cleaning up, so tomorrow is riding time!! Can't wait.......

Monday, November 17, 2008

Something Different

We waited too long to order our hay for the winter. Our regular supplier did not have any left by the time we called. That poses a real problem, because it seems it is tough to find people with hay anymore -- especially someone with affordable hay. So we started calling all the other contacts we had, and were not having much luck. It was beginning to feel like a crisis. A friend at work suggested I call the office for the County Fair. A great idea! I called the fair office and the county extension office and got some additional names for our list. From those names, we found someone who was not too far away, and had hay left. Perfect. We orderd 150 bales -- picked up 75 on Saturday, and will pick up the remaining 75 next Saturday, weather permitting.

A really exciting way to spend a Saturday night is hoisting 75 bales of hay up into a barn and stacking them!!!

So on Sunday, we decided to do something different. It was a bit chilly outside, and a light snow was falling -- the first snow we have seen this season. We were going to go check out the paths thru the woods to see if we needed to do any clearing before our next ride. As we walked off, Zora came to the fence and called out -- a high pitched whinny. We could tell she wanted to go with us. She must have been tired of being in the pasture. So we went back and haltered her and Divna for a walk. Then feeling guilty about leaving the goats alone we decided, "What the heck" and took them as well. I really wish I had taken the time to go and get my camera. We must have been a sight, the six of us walking through the woods with a gentle snow falling!

As always, anytime we are with the animals it is interesting. Nothing is ever routine. Even if you ride the same trails time after time, something unique always happens. This walk was no different. The goats were excited, and a little afraid, which makes them walk very close to you for protection. That is code for "constantly underfoot." The horses were jazzed up -- the cool weather, the snow, they love that stuff. Had we been riding it would have been a wild time. So leading them was a challenge. But I think they all enjoyed it, and John and I got some exercise, and the neighbors must have had a laugh at the sight of us!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remembering last year.....

My mind keeps going back to this time last year......

We were really in a difficult spot last year. We took a vacation to Europe to visit our "daughters" from the foreign exchange student programs. It seemed like a good idea when we planned the trip in the spring of 2007, but it was quite a different story by the time October rolled around. We really wanted to see the two of them -- Lydia, our girl from Italy who was with us in 2001; and Marie, our girl from Germany who was with us in 2005. But we are in real estate, and the market started taking a downturn in 2007. By the time we left for Rome, real estate was really suffering. Also, we had been going through an ordeal with Divna's Moon Blindness/Glaucoma, which had been taking a turn for the worse for the past 2-3 months. But we got to see the two of our girls in Europe, and it was great.

When we got home, we took a ride to re-connect with our horses, whom we had not seen in three weeks. We got a little carried away. The horses were really into the ride, and we were really into the ride, and I guess we just all four got caught up in the excitement, which manifested itself into a race down the abandoned railroad line. We were on the farthest leg of the railroad line -- the part where the path is really wide and clear. Well, clear except for the mudpuddles everywhere from a recent rain.

For once Divna and I were ahead -- this almost never happens. Zora is so fast she outpaces every horse we've ever been with even at a walk. But this time, we were in the lead. That does not sit right with either John or Zora, so when they saw an opportunity to pass us up (even though it was straight through a mudpuddle) they took it.

I hear John make an involuntary sound -- a crying out, so to speak. I looked over my shoulder and saw him and Zora laying on the ground, and I just knew he broke something. Divna and I immediately went back. Zora was up and walking around, munching on whatever was on the side of the path. Thankfully she was fine. John got up and said he was fine, and I asked "What did you break?" He said that he was OK. Seems the ground under that mudpuddle took a bit of a dip, and Zora lost her footing. They both fell. He said he just hit the ground hard, but he couldn't get back in the saddle. Lifting his arm bothered him quite a bit.

So we start the 3+ mile walk back home.

Finally, he put his hand under his shirt and felt the broken collar bone. We knew right then that things were going to be pretty strange for the next few weeks. Turns out he pretty much shattered the collar bone. Had to have surgery, they put in a plate and screws to hold the whole situation together. It was a real ordeal for him.

Thankfully everything has worked out, though it was really tricky for a while. Being self-employed, our health insurance wasn't the greatest. In addition to huge vet bills for Divna's eye situation, we were looking at a healthy sum for John's surgery and treatment. And did I mention the real estate market had taken a turn for the worse? But we got through that tough time, and John is now more focused on developing the equestrian property area of our business, and I am doing some accounting work.

Thank God Zora didn't get hurt!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Trails of Otis

We are fortunate enough to have plenty of riding trails right where we live. We do not have to trailer our horses to take a nice ride. There is an abandoned railroad line that goes for about four miles south of us -- it leads to a park where there are riding trails. Also, the area to the north is mostly wooded with some really nice trails, and owned by other horse-friendly residents of Otis. So we can ride on neighbors' property as well.

We took the railroad line last weekend, and it was really great. The weather has been great for this time of year -- warm, but not too warm.....perfect for riding. It was one of those days when I felt completely comfortable in the saddle. Divna always seemed to have the right lead, and the ride was smooth. We were just in synch. Sometimes it happens like that, and when it does it is so enjoyable. Talk about the perfect stress-reliever! Nothing in the world exists except the ride -- the movement of the horse, the beauty of the outdoors, the freshness of the air, and that great feeling of being connected to nature. It is my favorite thing to do. Great for the mental health!