Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Reflections

Wow~ what a year of change! Let me share the ways, in no particular order......

I made a pretty big relocation and career change~ but the reasons were more than fantastic!

One of my photographs made it into American Cowboy magazine~

I had more time in the saddle this past year than in the past years, both on My Boy, Loretta, and other ranch horses.

This lovely relative finally stopped riding other people's ponies and got her own golden beauty (pictured here with the borrowed AQHA gelding Jessie.)

I got to perform my first ear twitch~

Just kidding! I was just giving baby Howdy's ears a little rubbing a few hours after his birth!

I got to go on a nostalgic buggy ride pulled by a team of Percherons.

I started my own hobby jewelry business~ Rockin Heart Jewelry (and I love it!)

I got another horse, Miss Loretta!

I got to see all kinds of wildlife~

But most importantly, even though families sometimes change, I got to spend a lot of time with mine.....which is the most important thing I do!

Happy 80th Birthday to my pappy!

I hope your 2011 was wonderful, and here's to wishing you a lot of peace, love, sparkles, and dreams come true in 2012!!

Ranch Girl

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Naughty List

Well I must have been on the naughty list for something because I've had to have the vet out twice in the past two days!

First, I noticed that My Boy's sheath was swollen. He wasn't having issues urinating but the last time it was swollen (not this bad) it needed to be cleaned. Turns out it is okay and the swelling is due to severe cold weather (it was hardly above 26 degrees here for nearly two weeks!) and a lack of physical activity which causes fluid build up (edema.) It's common in geldings in cold temps. She gave me a diuretic for him and said to just keep an eye on it.

A day later I looked out the kitchen window one morning before feeding and noticed Loretta looked "off." She was standing oddly and stamping uncomfortably and shaking her head. She wanted to eat when I fed but she looked so uncomfortable that I was guessing some colic symptoms so I began walking her. She pooped while walking. A call to the vet for advice said to give her a dose of Banamine, walk her, and isolate her to monitor water intake. There was another poop. She already seemed much better and her symptoms were gone. I kept her off food for the day and in a separate pen for the day. Later, she seemed back to herself so I turned her out with My Boy and let them have a small dinner.

In the morning she seemed "off" again. I called the vet to come out. She took her vitals and said her heart rate was high (80 when it should have been 35!) Her gut sounds were okay but not like she'd like to hear. She did the rectal exam and extracted a lot of poo, and could feel a small, soft impaction. Of course, Miss Loretta was sedated for this. A tube of oil and water to the stomach followed, along with Banamine and a good med for gas.

My sicky girl in "recovery."

I moved her to another pen that was larger so that she could move around. She is separated across several fields from My Boy now and of course he's been calling for her. She came out of sedation quickly and pooped four times and began pacing around. The walking is good for her! I kept her separated overnight and fed her only a small amount of hay. Today she pooped several more times (some of it looked oily) and seemed back to herself.

I moved her back to My Boy's pasture this afternoon. One small oddity. I turned her loose and after lovin' on MB she started nibbling the bits of hay he'd left from his breakfast. Within a few seconds she showed a few of the irritation signs that I'd seen the past few days~ rubbing her nose on her leg, shaking her if she was being bothered by bugs. I began to wonder if there wasn't something in the dirt that was causing an allergic reaction? Perhaps mold spores or some kind? The hay appears to be normal and is not any different from what I've been feeding.

Another call to the vet to discuss. She didn't feel like the symptoms she saw were anything but colic (she never saw the irritation or stamping behavior I saw in the pasture.) She suggested another dose of banamine for the night and said it can take a few days for the stomach and digestive system to get back to normal. I only gave her a mouthful of grain and another small flake of hay for dinner. Of course this meant MB only got a small flake too, but he is well padded for the winter and could stand to loose a few! So, we'll see how Miss Lo is in the morning. If she is exhibiting symptoms again I will move her to the other corral to see if the symptoms subside. Any ideas?? We've had bizarre weather~ extreme cold, and a few days of unseasonly warm weather and thaw. We have no snow on the ground, just frozen or unfrozen dirt depending on the day.

I haven't had a horse colic since I was a teen with ponies. I did learn one thing~ that a horse can still want to eat when they are colicing. Loretta did want to eat and the vet said that wouldn't be good because she'd be putting food behind the impaction.

It pays to be aware of what is "normal" routine behavior for your horse whether they are in a stall or in a pasture. I am lucky to be home right now and have them in my backyard so I am watching and observing them off and on all day.

Ranch Boy moving the shed via the tractor!

In other news, we nearly finished the run-in shed, which we built to be portable! This way we can move it to other property down the road, or even around the pasture should the footing inside became muddy. We need to finish some t-post and hot wire fencing so that the horses can actually access the shed, as we are enlarging their area to get closer to water and heat sources. We are behind on this winter project, pounding t-posts into frozen ground is NOT ideal! I love my Ranch Boy for doing this for me!

I am excited for Christmas! Some of my travel plans are now post-poned due to Loretta's colic but I felt I couldn't leave town now until I know she's 100% better, I would just worry the whole time I was away that she'd relapse. So some of my Christmas will have to be celebrated next week.  I hope you are all ready for the holidays and have some fun activities planned! I'll be back by Christmas with an update on Loretta and a fun holiday card for you!

Ranch Girl

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Under Construction

We've been busy getting the tree decorated and the home cozy for Christmas!

Alas, since we are snow-free right now, we've been busy outside and have hardly had time to sit inside and enjoy it. We are working on some projects for my ponies.  We are going to fence a new section of pasture that will allow us to get closer to electric and water sources. This will prevent me from having to do this every 3 days~
(As much as I like how my biceps are looking....)

Yes, I am draining the hoses after use so they don't freeze up (this apple tree method actually works when done properly!)

Second, we are building a run-in shed. Here is a sneak peak~

Also, I have just listed a few new items on my Etsy shop! This is only the beginning of the listings which will be filtering onto my site in the next week or so!!


Any of you that have an Etsy shop, you are probably aware of the work it takes to list an item. You want to try to photograph it as well as you can. Get the proper measurements, and write a good description. This makes all the difference for customers. I think I struggle mostly with the photographs. Photographing jewelry is actually hard! I have a friend who wants to practice her photography and offered to do a photo shoot. I need to take her up on it!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Ranch Girl

Sunday, December 4, 2011

When You Live in the Country...... can have mousey critters move into your car and make a nest out of the Kleenex box in the trunk~


Other times, you get to see really wonderful wildlife, like our favorite little buck whom we call "Little Spike" ~

......or his brother "Little Horns" (that isn't his official name, I just made that up for this post)


Then, you have fun hiking through the woods trying to find the perfect Christmas tree,

 posing for photos for the Christmas card, and getting licked in the lips by your silly dog~

Yes, living in the country has its moments.

But mostly, it's PRICELESS.

Until tomorrow, when I get to Shop-Vac up the mouse turds.

Ranch Girl

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

And The Countdown Begins

Howdy friends! Sorry I haven't posted.....I've been very busy making jewelry for my upcoming events. After next week things will slow down and I can attack Christmas shopping!

{Necklace in my Etsy shop.}

Thank you for the nice comments on the turkey photos! I have a funny story to tell you. The other morning as I was putting on my face, I swear I heard the crunch of footsteps on our back deck in the snow. It went away, then came back. Then the dog barked. I peeked out the window and saw two turkeys in our yard. Then I heard the footsteps again~ only I realized it was on our roof not the deck!!!! There was a turkey up there!  And I thought Santa had showed up a little early.......

Lately I've seen many turkeys and deer in our yard. They are after those apples from the apple tree!

 I haven't done much with my ponies this past week other than feed them. I love to pet them while they are eating. They are enjoying the lazy winter days of being horses. The pasture is holding up well through the mix of weather which has been a little bit of everything! It's icy in spots but they still have plenty of snowy places that aren't slippery and so far not much mud! I can't say so much for us humans. I took a fall in our driveway. The snow's daily thaw and refreeze has formed a nice pack of solid ice. Down I went! Luckily I managed to escape with nothing but a bruised palm, although the foot that My Boy stepped on last summer is aching again so I might have done something to that.

Miss Lizzy wanted to say good morning! She has a pink nose. But it started out black when she was a pup. Does anyone know why dog noses change colors?

Ms. Scooter does not like to be left out! You can not pet Lizzy without Scooter coming up and sticking her head under your arm and wiggling her way in. She's a bit jealous at times. I just love her amber eyes, sometimes it's eerie I think she is reading my mind!!

Here is fuzzy Howdy pony pants. I need to pick out his eye goobers! He has outgrown his foal halter. He is turning into such a little man. I do worry he isn't going to be very big. But I guess that is okay, there are plenty of uses for smaller horses on the ranch, they are perfect for kids. His momma is only about 14 hands.

Have a great week everyone!!

Ranch Girl

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The snow has continued to show it's frosty white face around here!

My ponies don't seem to mind the snow too much, as long as they've got yummy hay to eat and keep them warm! They've been napping every day together after breakfast.

I love to go out and visit with Loretta. She is so sweet, she follows me around and she gives me kisses with her velvety black nose. It smells like grain and hay. I know they say muzzles are the germiest part of a horse but I can't resist such sweetness.

 What about my kisses??

Yea, My Boy has never been the affectionate type.

 I love him to death anyway, but it is sure nice to have a horse be sweet to you back! She even likes to give My Boy kisses. He is sweet to her, but once in a blue moon I catch him being a cranky pants to her.

Do you have more cookies for us??


The apple tree in our yard has refused to drop it's apples this winter!!

I picked a bucket to feed the ponies when I grain them. And I made applesauce the other day. Never again. The apples are tiny (would fit in your fist) and it took me ages to peel and cut each one~ it took about 18 apples for me to get enough applesauce to make about 1 and a half cups of applesauce! But it did get rave reviews from my taste-testers, so that made it worth it.

 Well now it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without pictures of a turkey, right? We have a large flock of wild turkeys around here!  While driving Ranch Boy to pick up the tractor from the field he'd done some discing on a couple weeks ago, we saw the flock roosting in a tree and luckily I had my camera ready to aim and point out the car window!!

I even caught one in flight. Look at those feathers~ amazing!! The turkey's we eat can't even fly, as far as I know.

Aren't they beautiful? On that note, I am wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday! I know I am very thankful for everyone and everything in my life!!

xoxo~ Ranch Girl~

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Winter

I can't deny it anymore, winter is here! It rained all afternoon last Friday. Then around 5:00 pm it started freezing, and a few hours later it started snowing! We ended up with about an inch or so when all was done. The corral was white. I have to admit, I was a little excited about the snow!

Then, it melted and rained on top of the snow. Rained hard. This turned the corrals my horses were in, which were completely dry before the snow, into lakes of what I like to call "poop soup." They had a shelter with a tiny islands of dry land here and there.  But worse off was mama and baby Howdy, their smaller corral was completely flooded. I needed to get my horses out of there and open the whole corral to them.  So I made the decision to move them from the ranch back to our place. (These corrals are designed for summer use by horses, not permanent residences or winter usage. Mama and baby have to be separated from the herd until weaning/gelding which is why they are housed there. And my ponies were housed there out of convenience of the riding season since the barn and my tack were there.)

My Boy's spring pasture is about half an acre in size. There is no shelter yet, we will be working on that soon! He hadn't been there since July. What he'd chomped down to nearly dirt last summer had nicely grown in with short grass and weeds and held the snow melt and rain well. Ranch Boy and I walked Loretta and My Boy to their new (old) pasture. After walking Lo around the fence line of hot wire, we set them free. I thought they'd take off running......nope. Heads down to chomp on the little grass that was there.

Ponies with happy dry feet!

We are going to expand this pasture in the next week or so, as we have difficulty getting trough heaters out that far without running too many extension cords. The new section will come up further into our backyard. So while my horses are now in my "backyard", in a few weeks they will REALLY be in my backyard! Soon this wet transitional weather will be over and we'll have colder, more frozen and snowy ground most of the winter. I'm sure that "poop soup" will be back in the spring!

I am visiting some family this week!! See if this photo helps you guess who..... sorry about the blur.

Yes, this is Paint Girl's wild Mustang pony! Chance came running down to the fence when I took my dad's dog out for a potty walk. She was snorting and wild, thinking this strange dog might possibly be a coyote!! You see, around 10:30 the night before Paint Girl's dogs were wildly barking in the garage. Paint Girl heard coyotes yelping nearby and a horse running in it's pasture. Armed with a lantern and pellet gun, we strolled out into the dark night to check on the horses. They were fine, but Chance was trotting the fence line nervously (she was closest to the howlers.) The coyotes stopped once we ventured out there. It is an eerie sound, listening to those pesky canines do their thing!

Her other ponies were happily eating their breakfast this morning. Keep an eye on Paint Girl's blog next weekend or the early part of next week, she has a vet appointment for Fritzy on Friday as the mysterious hard lump has returned on the side of her neck (under the mane.) I am interested to hear what this is as I felt it myself and can't imagine what could be causing this condition. Keep your fingers crossed she will be okay!!

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Ranch Girl

Thursday, November 10, 2011

He Was the Worst

The other day we de-wormed Ranch Boy's 31 horses. Most of them had to be haltered, others allowed you to approach them in the corral and hold their muzzle and get 'er done.

Afterward, it was time to de-worm Loretta and Riley. We haltered Loretta. She was a little curious about the tube but didn't fight. Even though Ranch Boy and I did it together, I think I could probably worm her myself next time.

Then it was My Boy's turn. I told Ranch Boy how bad he was. Well, nobody believed me until they saw him. Out of the 32 horses, he was by far the WORST of the bunch! He kept rearing up a little, backing up, tossing his head~ basically being awful. Finally Ranch Boy got a good grip on his nose and My Boy froze. I got the tube in no problem.  I hate having him strong-armed although this is the most successful way. The only other method that worked once was a piece of baling twine in his mouth like a bit, which distracted him and had him opening his mouth and making faces while I put the tube in.

After all the ranch horses were de-wormed, they were turned out into the big hay pasture for a week. My Boy and Loretta were very interested in watching them run into a field they hadn't seen horses in before!! Although my spotted handsome one had to turn and pose for the camera.

It hasn't rained in a week or more and things are nicely dried out, so I did some work cleaning the corral. Loretta follows me around and tries to be helpful. She is still such a baby this way, so curious. My Boy will sometimes approach the wheelbarrow then leave once he realizes there is nothing edible in it. As you can see him in the background, he's gazing longingly at the hay barn.

Loretta thinks if she keeps trying, the piles of poo will eventually turn into hay!

Well I don't blame her, since I deliver the hay in a cart with wheels. She follows me while I feed too, taking bites along the way.  She has a fun personality!

See mom, you do eventually have goodies for me!!

Have you ever wondered what happens to an onion in the veggie basket when you don't eat it? Well, we're growing an indoor onion plant!


That was the healthiest veggie we've grown yet! Hee!

Hope you are all having a great week~ the weekend is around the corner!!

Ranch Girl