Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Talented Friend!

I am not very creative, but I have a friend who is, and wanted to acknowledge her with this post. Debby makes the most beautiful, my family is all from the south (North Carolina and Georgia), and I have some quilters in the family, so I know a little something about quilts. In fact, my cousin's sister-in-law, Glenda, made a quilt that Billy Graham bought to give to the Pope!!

But with apologies to Glenda and my late Aunt Mae, Debby's quilts are unique. She uses different fabrics than what you typically find, and her patterns can be a bit eclectic. I am posting some photos of a quilt she gave me. She has a website (on the upper left corner of my page here) and a blog (listed with the blogs I am following, lower left of this page) so you can check out some of her work.

Another cool thing that Debby does is she will make a quilt out of fabrics that people give her. She could make one, for example, out of show clothes that your daughter used to wear at County Fair competitions, or from grandma's old get the idea. In this eco-aware age, she also makes a "green" product -- dry cleaner bags! You can take your clothes to and from the dry cleaner, and not have to deal with those plastic bags they use.

She is just a really cool person - we have been friends for about 20+ years now. She is a bit shy about self-promotion, but I just love her work and wanted to let other people know, in spite of the fact that I made her nervous by posting this!!! So if you are looking for a special gift for someone, take a look at her website.

P.S. Sorry, but she is not a horse person -- but please don't hold that against her!

This last photo was my attempt to show the border and the back side of the quilt, which are also really pretty -- but I am not very adept with the digital camera or photo placement on the blog yet!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ground Work

We did some ground work again last night. That is the great thing about this time of year -- the days are longer and we actually have some daylight left after I get home from work. I really wanted to go bareback again, but it was warm and windy, and Divna was really fired up, so I thought I would be safer with a saddle. John made some good progress with Zora -- someday she may learn to slow down a bit. Divna did well.....I worked on having her stay on the rail and circle thru cones we have set up in the pasture. I also tried to work on maintaining a consistent speed level, mostly at a trot. We need to work more on that. But John and I decided that we may switch horses at our next ground work "horse school" session. I haven't ridden Zora in ages -- ever since I had to bail out on her. I had trouble walking for a week after that one. But since she has been ridden more lately I think I just may give it a try.

Then this morning I noticed Simo's paw (the cat) was all swollen up again. He got into a fight a couple of weeks or so ago, and this blasted abscess just won't go away. I soak him in the Epsom salts with Betadine twice a day for a while, it goes down and I think it is over. Then after a couple of days it puffs back up again. This is the 3rd go around with this particular injury. I think I am just not soaking long enough -- after it goes down I need to keep up the treatment for a few more days. Oh well, always the animal nurse!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bareback Riding! Bat Hibernating!

What came first, the bareback riding or the bat hibernating? The bat actually came first, but I am going to talk about the bareback riding first because it was so much fun! My brother, Terry, will remember the first time I tried to ride bareback and Divna got me off of her as fast as she flicks off a fly....Well, those days are over, and she has become a really good horse to ride bareback. I do not go out bareback on the trail yet -- we stay in our pasture area. On Wednesday evening (St. Patrick's Day) John and I decided to do some ground work with the horses. God knows Zora needs it. She is a horse that ideally should be ridden every day. But the reality of life for us (without servants, independent wealth, etc.) does not permit daily riding. So while he was working with her, I took the opportunity to go out on Divna sans saddle. It was great! She was pretty nervous at first, but calmed down pretty quickly. She responded great to my cues, and I was even able to get her to back up surprisingly easily. She did spook twice -- once she saw a deer just outside the pasture, and the second time who knows what it was...sometimes she spooks at only things she can see. But both times I stayed on (miracles), which made me pretty happy. There were a couple of times that she wanted to join Zora as she and John rode past us. And since Zora is high-charged, even her walk is fast, Divna wanted to run to catch up/keep up. I had to control her speed because I was not quite ready to lope bareback. We did end up trotting a bit, but that was OK. She has a wide, flat back that makes it easier to stay on. I am going to try to do this a couple of times a week at least. I would love to go out on the trail bareback.

Now, for the bat part of the story. This weekend (Saturday or Sunday??) when I went out to the barn to feed everyone, I picked up the last few flakes of hay that we had in the tack area (we keep the hay up in the loft, and throw down a half dozen bales at a time) to put outside. As I was walking towards the door, I heard this sound -- it was something between a hiss and a growl. I had heard it before, and knew immediately it was a bat. I went back and looked where the hay had been stacked and sure enough, there was a little furball there. John and I scooped him up into Marco's old coat that he grew out of, and placed him the haycart. We figured he was hibernating. So we just left him there to hibernate some more -- he was secured inside the coat so hopefully the cats wouldn't find him. Then on St. Pats day when we were out in the barn getting The Girls ready for the groundwork, I looked in the cart and saw him on top of Marco's coat. It was about 70 degrees outside, so he must be done hibernating. He was actually kind of cute. I hope he sticks around during the summer to eat the mosquitos..........

Sunday, March 15, 2009

We Are Blessed

Well, our priest (Serbian Orthodox) came out to bless the house on Wedenesday. He is new to our parish, so I felt funny about asking him to bless the after he left, we went out to do the evening feeding and took the candle and leftover holy water and did our own blessing. Though not "official," we said a prayer and asked for God's blessing on our barn. Now I realize some may say that it is not proper to ask for a religious sacrement for an animal...but we love them. They are an integral part of our lives. And further, we trust them with our lives every time we saddle up.
And trust them we did on Saturday. We had plans to meet friends at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to ride there, but we discovered we had a flat tire on our trailer (valve stem) and could not make it. So we were left to ride locally -- we rode to a county park about 5 miles south of where we live. It was fabulous! A very generous local couple donated the acreage to the county as a park. There are trails for bicycles, hikers and horseback riders. It is a popular park for dog owners because there is a "leashe-free" area. It was great -- it was a beautiful day, the horses were happy to be out, and it was a really good ride. The Girls had room to stretch their legs, we saw rabbits and deer....just wonderful! All four of us came back tired and happy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rainy Weekend and Injured Animals

It has been too rainy this weekend to do any riding, and that is such a shame because the temperatures are finally a bit warmer. So the animals are just into eating, as you can see in these photos. Friday would have been perfect, but of course it being a work day we could not ride. So we decided this weekend would be good for getting the barn clean again, and taking care of the website John is building for the saddle club we joined. If you have a chance, check out -- he worked really hard on it. The club has never had a website, and let's face it, these days you really need one. All of the younger people are on-line for everything. So our contribution to the club as corporate sponsors was to design, launch, and maintain the website. So as well as working on computer stuff, my weekend has also consisted of being the animal nurse once again.

Thursday evening we heard a cat fight outside, and sure enough it was our boy cat, Simo. He came in with two injured paws -- right front and back. I soaked them in Epsom salts with Betadine, and have the scratches on my shoulder to prove it. Friday morning the back paw was really tender. He could not walk very well. By Saturday morning it looked like a balloon. The front paw seems to be OK, but the back one abscessed. I have been doing the soaking 2-3 times a day. If anyone out there knows another way to treat an abscess on a cat, I would be grateful for the info. I feel so bad for him. Hopefully it will burst in a day or two.

Then this morning when we went out to feed everyone, I saw a big clump of white goat hair in Divna's stall. We have been thru this before and I knew what it was -- sure enough, it was the tip of Misho's tail!!! It is really strange, but the last time Simo had a paw abscess from a fight, Marco lost the tip of his tail. So here we go again!! I know what happened -- Misho was laying down, one of the horses walked in the stall, stepped on the tip of the tail, he jumped up and the tip tore off. So now he has bone exposed, and mangled tissue at the site of the tear. Just like Marco!! We put the antibacterial ointment in a large gob on the wound, and will get the injectible Banamine from the vet. Marco came through it very well, so I am sure Misho will too. But I just feel so sorry for these animals when they are injured like this!! But I am going to do my best to take care of them......