Sunday, December 27, 2009

Icy Ride

Our weather has been down right bizarre lately -- snow, rain, ice, sleet, warming, then temperatures dropping again....

It was really icy here, especially on the flat surfaces that had been plowed. There was a melting, then a re-freezing, making those flat surfaces as smooth and slick as an ice skating rink.

We got a cover of snow on Saturday, and it was not real cold. John and I wanted to take a ride, but the icy conditions concerned us a bit. A walk thru the woods proved that the trails were not slick -- just the roadways. So we decided to walk the girls to the abandoned railroad line, and only ride once we were in the woods. This worked out great -- we walked on the lane, keeping the girls off to the side where it was easier for them to get their footing.

The snow was falling and it was just beautiful. I could have kicked myself because I did not have my camera with me!!! The snow was in those great big flakes that we get whenever it is lake effect snow. (Around here, Lake Michigan creates strange weather patterns -- we are directly south of the lake, and that causes what they call "Lake Effect" snow. It can be blizzard conditions here, but if you go 5 miles either east or west of us there could be just light snow or none at all.) Our mares just love the snow. They really wanted to cut loose and run, but we did not dare -- if they hit a small ice patch that could be disastrous.

We have to go on the street between sections of the railroad line, and at those times we walked them. We got to the last section of railroad line, and sure enough, someone had blocked it off by cutting down some large trees. This is really infuriating -- I have written before about the people who keep trying to block the railroad line. We thought this problem was solved, but evidently not. So we could not ride the last section of railroad line. It was when we turned back from there that we had our little incident for the day (something always happens on our trail rides it seems!!).

John and Zora being faster, were already turning off from the street onto the trail. Divna and I were still on the street when I heard it -- a snowplow was coming our way. I just knew this was not going to be good. Sure enough, it turned and came up the street we were on. Thank heavens I was not in the saddle. She saw that large machine, and heard that blade scraping on the street, and saw the snow flying and she just lost her little mind. She wanted to bolt in the worst way, and was dancing around and jumping......thankfully the snow plow driver had enough sense to see and appreciate what was going on. He slowed down and lifted the blade until I got Divna under control and walked her up to the entrance to the trail. My heart was pounding!

Back on the trail everything was good -- both girls were calm, and we started the ride home. By the time we got close to home, the sun was setting and the temperature had dropped a bit. The streets were really slick then, and my riding boots are smooth on the soles. I was the one having trouble staying standing!! We also came across the snowplow again, this time both horses had a meltdown. By the time we got home we were was a lot of walking, and a lot of work "saving" the girls from the "killer snowplow."

But it was just so beautiful with the snow falling....on the way home in the fading light it looked like a black and white photograph. I wish I had had my camera with me!!!

The Chickens' New Roommate

Because I have a 9-5 job, and John has the more flexible schedule (he runs our real estate business) he does the morning feedings. He called me at work one morning last week to say the chicken coop had a new resident -- a possum (or is it "an opposum"???) !!

He somehow got past the electric tape around the fence surrounding the coop, and took up residence in one of the nesting boxes. Here he is....

At first this sort of freaked me out -- I was afraid he would kill the chickens. When I got home from work I went out to see for myself, and sure enough, there he was just sitting in a nesting box. The chickens were all sitting on their roosting ladder-type thing just a couple of feet away from him. No one seemed concerned. Still, John and I were trying to brainstorm ways to get him out. We did not want to risk picking him up...........

When it seemed apparent he was not going to eat a chicken, we just left them all alone. He was with us for about three days. We went out one morning, and he was gone. It will be interesting to see if he comes back.....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bareback Riding and Creative Outlet for John

It has been cold, cold, COLD here, so there hasn't been much riding. The other day we went out believing we were going to ride, but instead John just lunged (I never know how to spell that) Zora, and I rode Divna bareback in the pasture.

I only mention that part because this is a "horse blog" and I feel strange if I don't mention something about horses or riding. But actually, I want to introduce everyone to an endeavor John has embarked on.

We started out thinking we would both write on this blog, but it hasn't turned out that way. I have been the one who has been doing the blogging here, and I have really enjoyed it.

When I first met John, he was a writer and desktop publisher. It is a long story, but he realized he did not like working in an office, so he went to the Carpenter's Apprenticeship program and began working construction and then eventually rehabbing houses. Over the years he has sent out entertaining e-mails and invitations to friends which showcased his writing skills. He has a knack for comedic/sarcastic writing that our friends have found really entertaining. People tell him all the time that he should continue writing. With the slow real estate market, he has decided he needs a creative outlet.

Therefore, he is launching his own blog -- -- and as it happens, his first post is about horses. The next one that will come in a few days is a Christmas Letter (fictional -- not the story of our lives for the past year). So check him out if you like. I realize everyone has a lot of blogs to read and follow.....but you may like it, or want to recommend it to someone.

To explain the name of his blog -- we live in a very small town (175 people) named Otis. One of John's very best friends is an entertainer (singer-guitarist-DJ). Whenever we go to a bar where he is working, he always introduces us as "the Mayor and First Lady of Otis." Most of the time no one knows where Otis is, but sometimes people do...One night, after our introduction, a guy stood up and yelled "Otis Rules!!" We use that expression a lot, and it sort of has a double meaning...

I hope you enjoy his writing. There is a link on the left of my page here under "Blogs I Follow."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Ad

We are fortunate enough to have a friend who is a graphic designer, and also a true, generous friend. He designed some new ads for our real estate business. We do all kinds of residential and vacant land real estate -- working with both buyers and sellers, but since we own horses we understand what buyers and sellers of equine properties need, so we are carving out a niche in that specialty.

The ad we used to use featured Divna and me. Now that John has taken over the real estate business, and I had to get a "real job" we needed the ad updated to feature him and Zora.

He made three versions of this ad. I like this one because the horse is looking at the camera. The picture of John and Zora is smaller on this version than on the other two. This way we have different "looks" for the different types of advertising we will do. I am excited about these new ads...

I hope they bring in lots of new business!!! Wish us luck! (If you click on the ad, it will resize so you can read it if you like.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Last week, before we had our first dusting of snow, and before our temperatures plummeted and the wind brought us below zero chill factors, we had a nice, sunny, late fall day. I was working in the house, and happened to look out the window and saw something that kept my attention for at least 10 minutes.

Divna (my mare) was laying in the sun. Marco (our black goat) was pawing at her tail, which was on the ground stretched out behind her. I kept expecting Divna to turn around and toss her head at him to make him stop, but she just lay there, doing nothing. Then he walked up near her head and started nuzzling her! It was the cutest thing! He was just rubbing his head on her neck and the side of her face.....Then I noticed she was responding to him, nuzzling back at him. It was just such a sweet exchange of affection I was mesmerized.
Of course I went to get the camera. I took this photo, which is really not very good (it doesn't help that they are both black...). I wanted to get closer to get a better shot, but was afraid if I opened the door they would move, Divna would get up, and it would ruin the moment. So I tried to video it through the dining room window, zooming in. The quality here is not the greatest, but I believe you can see some of the nuzzling that was going on. I am so glad I saw this.....