Friday, May 22, 2009

Calico Catatude

My sister, the family cat expert, warned me. Other people warned me. But I went and got a calico cat anyways--and could not be more pleased!
She does indeed have attitude, as promised. She is loving and friendly until I do something she does not like and then she becomes a hissing, spitting, whirling devil who will bite if she feels I am not doing right by her. So far, only rear-end cleaning has caused that reaction; so it is a really good thing that she rarely has poop problems.
She surely has attitude towards the two Maine Coon guys. She does not like them. She does not like them in her house (even though they were here first). She does not like them near her. She will launch unprovoked attacks at them, spitting and hissing and batting them in the face. She will launch provoked attacks at them in the same manner. But we all co-exist anyways.
She can be demanding--"PLAY WITH ME NOW!" She is very fussy about food and will go hungry until something she likes is in her bow. She wants only canned food, chopped small with gravy or sauce, and only the right flavors.
I am sure glad I went and got her and added her to the household.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Oh-oh, one of the cats leaked out

The cat patio is fully enclosed with v-mesh wire on the bottom and then chicken wire on top. The guys did a real good job and it is well-secured with no gaps at all. The bottom photo is of Hestia and the v-mesh wire. My bedroom is one wall of the cat patio and if the cats rub on the wire fence at all, it really reverberates in the room.
The other night, it sounded like the cats were having a major rub fest against the fence; and it went on, and on, and on, and still more. Finally, the noise stopped and I went back to sleep. In the morning, I got up and dressed and headed out to feed horses. I stepped outside the back door and there is a cat sitting in the weeds by Cracker's cage. I looked at Sky (top photo)--he looked at me. [[long pause]] He meowed and sauntered up to the door to go back inside. Of course he had gotten into the weed seeds--fillare, needle grass, fox tails and more were firmly wedged into his long hair all over his body.
After several grooming sessions with different tools and a final polish by hand, he was weed seed free.
And how did he get out of the cat patio? That remains a mystery. I cannot find any gaps in the fence anywhere or any of the v-mesh that has been pushed apart. Somehow, he just got through it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Garden--coming along

Instead of digging individual holes for each plant, Mike dug out the entire space. Then he lined it with plastic coated chicken wire to keep the gophers out. In this photo, I had done a lay-out of the plants. Then I took them out so Mike could put the dirt back in. My other handyman, Joe, looked at this and said it looked like a backhoe had done it all--yeah, Mike the human backhoe.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2nd step of the garden--Yikes!, Dikes

All the time I've been up here, I have joked that we have no soil. Our ground consists of granite, decomposed granite and sand. The good part of this ground is that we never have mud. The downside is that it is impossible to dig when dry.
Mike, the handyman, spent the first hour scraping off about 1 inch of the top and making small dikes so we could soak the area. Once this stuff is wet, it digs easily. This photo was taken after the second day's work. There is some more digging to do, so more dikes. And, yes, that corner is higher. That was less decomposed over there and much more composed.

Friday, May 8, 2009

And so it begins... The New Garden

Here is the before photo. This space is off one end of the house and was nothing but hard ground and weeds. A few weeks ago, I decided to make it into a flowering perennial garden.
The fence is used v-mesh wire and left-over t-posts and was put up back in 2006. The gate was a freebie from the person I got the used v-mesh. The old bar-b-que is heading for Salvation Army soon.
First step--have the idea.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lil' Red part3, Today

This photo was taken early this morning.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lil' Red, Part 2--Reflections

Lil' Red has had an interesting life. I got him late last November when he was 6 years. The young woman who had him had gotten him just about a year prior to that when he was 5 years. She had gotten him from a place about 30 miles from me; they had him for just a few months. Before that he was out in the west central Nevada desert at the ranch of a Morgan breeder who is, ahhhh, let's be polite and say, "interesting." She does feed her horses but they live in small pipe panel corrals and are rarely touched. Lil' Red did get gelded (so his contact with humans was having feed thrown over the fence, being weaned, and being gelded) but that was all. When the So. Calif. folks went to load him, they had to set up chutes and chase him into the trailer and do that in reverse once home.

They were busy building their place so did not do anything with him and finally the young woman I got him from found him. She wanted a project horse. She told me that when she went to get him, she spent about 30 minutes in his corral, doing Monte Roberts style "join-up" and then haltered him, taught him to lead & loaded him. Then they went down the freeways to Los Angeles, Burbank to be precise. So here was this little horse, used to quiet, now in a busy boarding stable whose back fence was the freeway fence. Quite a change in his world.

The next day, she took him to the round pen, which sounds simple until one learns that the round pen is across the Los Angeles River & must be crossed by a suspension bridge which, while solid, did move underfoot. She said he checked it out and followed her right across. The training went well and he truly bonded with her, becoming a good trail horse as she rode in Griffith Park and a good lesson horse as she gave lessons to horse loving girls.

Then, he came to me; back to a quiet and rural world. Of course he did not know me at all and I had to earn his trust and his respect. Right from the start, he challenged me on the ground and under saddle, living up to the part of his pedigree which contains opinionated and argumentive horses. I was pleased to see it as I am not only used to those horses but bred them and rode them for many years. He had a lot of "druthers", as in "I druther not do that!" and we worked thru each one. Under saddle, he was a bit hot which I finally figured out was due to the feed, and he had some worry which caused him to want to go fast. We had good rides, a few not so good rides, and mostly mixed rides.

Then in mid-January I hit a bad spell with the flu from hell and weather that discouraged riding, so he did not get ridden for about 3 months. During that time, I changed his living arrangements, moving him in with my stallion, Clarion, and then moving the both of them to a new paddock. Lil' Red started out very socially inept. He now is ok with Clarion, who bosses him around, but still inept with the other horses. He and Clarion have become great buddies and Clarion gives him the leadership he needs. One of the fascinating things about this horse is that when I am riding him or leading him, he is mostly brave. But loose in the paddock, he is very timid unless he can follow Clarion.

I started riding him again last week and I am very impressed. That lay-off did him a world of good. He has settled in to his new home and he now trusts me much more. While I was not riding him, I was doing some work with him in his paddock, working thru some issues of him thinking he had to protect his food from me and not wanting to be touched unless I had a halter. He is much happier now.

I really like this horse. He is a good trail horse who will just get better with the miles. He is a solid thinker, but can become upset with high adreniline in the wrong situation but the thinking part of his brain is still there. Two rides ago, he got real worked up about a large log at the side of the road. He wanted to flee. I got off, pulled down the lead to his halter & got his feet moving in half circles, backing up, and whatever, saying "if you want to move your feet fast, fine, but we'll do it my way." When he wanted to slow down, I took it. Then the thinking part of his brain was there. He was still scared of the log, but also very curious. It was a wonder to watch--first we approach the log, then have to back off, then approach, then arc out around it, finally to walk right up to it and try to eat it. Then I got back on and we had a grand ride, looking at the wild flowers. I like a thinking, curious horse, one who can with some help, think his way through a problem. As my farrier, told me, "you would be bored with a simple easy horse; you like those complex ones." And that is so true.
Part 3 to come

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lil Red--photos on his first day here in Nov.

I took these photos on his first day here at the end of November. He was a bit thin and looked nothing like a Morgan.
Now, many pounds later, he still doesn't look like a Morgan, but at least his weight is good and he looks much better. I'll take current photos of him later this week now that he is nearly done shedding.
Back late December, the weather was warm and he was receiving some Senior feed to help him gain weight. He started to blow his coat! He had great chunks of hair coming off, leaving him nearly bald in spots. The hard feed also was making him hot to ride and after a really bad ride, I stopped the hard feed. He had not been getting much, but it was more then enough for him. His weight was nearly up to optimal, so I added in a bit more soaked beet pulp pellets instead of the Senior. His temperament cooled and he stopped blowing his coat.
I am just so delighted with this little horse.
Part 2 to come

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Fly Sheet

Clean horse, clean & brand-new fly sheet--can we guess just how long that lasted once I turned him loose?
Spirit Seeker developed a bad allergic reaction to insects while up north so the people gave him back to me. I have started dressing him early this year in the hope that keeping the bugs away to some degree (the darn fly sheet does not cover all of him) will help.
The gnats are bad in his ears but he won't wear a mask with ear pieces. I've tried 3 different makes & he has all of them off in minutes. So he gets the old nose-rubbing stand-by Farnam which at least covers his eyes.
I really like this photo of him. He had never worn a sheet or blanket prior to this day and he seems to be looking at it & asking "Just what is this thing on me?"