Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Heathermoor Rob Rita 1983-2012

From my friend, Judy, in AZ.
On Sat, Dec 22, 2012,
I got a call this morning that Robby passed quietly in her sleep last night – the ending we would wish for all our horses. No vet to come out and put the horse down etc. She was slightly off her feed the last two days but not drastically. When Cindy went out to feed last night she was lying down in her stall but got right up and followed her around just like always. When Cindy went out to feed this morning, she was gone. Cindy has had to put horses down before and it was horrible for her, but having it go so naturally this time was much less stressful. This is how I want all my horses to go. No pain, no final crisis, no illness, just slipping away quietly. I can tell you that Cindy gave her the best of homes and the best life in her old age. She looked fat and happy and in great shape when I saw her a few months ago. I am going to try to get the pictures off my phone that I took that day. She was in her run shut off from the paddock because it was lunch and that kept Ace from trying to get her food! Mostly they had the run of the place.

 Robbie was with me from autumn 1983 until about 10 years ago. She had three foals here, SSM W Nicole Nekomia, SSM W Naomi Nekomia & SSM Nicholas Moro. It was hard letting go of my "Special Robbie" but I had to cut back and Judy knew of someone in North Arizona who could give her a wonderful home.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Moro Hill Gay Ethan get & onwards

 SSM Cloud Dancer (Ember Ethan, by MH Gay Ethan, x Ember Bay Lady, out of Rosemont Melisa by MH Gay Ethan)

 Ember Ethan (MH Gay Ethan x Caven-Glo Lisa)

 SSM Dream Fire (Ember Ethan Dandy, by MH Gay Ethan, x Ember Serene, out of Rosemont Gay Bess, by MH Gay Ethan)
Filly foal--SSM Dream Singer, by Clarion of Quietude

 Ember Serene (Ember Medallion, by Moro Hills Medallion, x Rosemont Gay Bess, out of Moro Hill Gay Ethan)

 SSM Zebulon Bulrush (Clarion of Quietude x Ember Serene)

Ember Bay Lady (Moro Hills Medallion x Rosemont Gay Melisa, by MH Gay Ethan)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sunrise This Morning

All taken around 6:30 am, Dec. 12, 2012. Not only were the colors awesome, but the cloud shapes were interesting.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Training Wild Rabbits

Each morning, I set out hay for the next two feedings. A couple of months ago, I started to train the wild rabbits that try to sneak into the hay stall while I have it open when I am working out in the barn. Each time a rabbit came into the barn aisle, I would walk towards it purposely. If the rabbit did not move off fast enough, I would up my energy and speed until the rabbit moved with the speed I wanted, and moved far enough away. After only a little while, the rabbit population started to thin out. A few stubborn ones kept trying. One was smaller, a youngster--probably a teenager rabbit--and would only move off with an attitude, if it could be said that a rabbit has attitude. I started throwing a hay net at him to get him moving off better. I also kept after him further outside the barn, forcing him to move back further away. This week, there have been no rabbit attempts to come into the barn while I am there. I did stroll outside to see them sitting way up the hill watching, but not coming any closer.
So, yes, wild rabbits can be trained. It is all about pressure, release and intent.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Feeding Stations

 Autumn Wind enjoys his breakfast. We used railroad ties to hold the stall mats in place and mounted the plywood to the outside of an existing shelter. The bag is tied to a ring on the plywood.

 Lil'Red's station is mounted on an existing corral panel on one side (shown here) and to the roof shelter legs on the other side. We used 4 x 4 pieces of lumber to hold the stall mats.
 Here is a close-up of the ring used to tied the bags. We got these at Home Depot.
 Yes, the roof truss is wavy! The entire thing was lifted away about 10 years ago in a very strong Santa Ana wind event. It flew over 100 feet away and was only stopped by a pepper tree. It took a tractor and two of us to get it back in place.

 And here is Spirit Seeker enjoying his breakfast. The fly mask shows normal end of season wear; I usually have to get new fly masks every year--sigh.  The plywood for this station is mounted on a free standing roof shelter. The mats are held in with concrete footing.

These feeding stations were built last June by my contractor/handyman and a helper. I am very happy with them. They keep the hay off the ground, which around here is granite, decomposed granite or sand. The SmartPak nets are holding up well and keep the hay where I put it. Nothing slows down these horses much, but the bags have increased eating time by about an hour (going from 2 hours to 3 hours to finish every scrap).
Except for the rings, everything else was "found" material--ie. it was already on the place in the workshop or sitting somewhere, not needed for that job anymore. Alas, we did use up the last of my stashed creosote on these. I bought 5 gallons of that now banned stuff right before it was banned. It is nasty stuff and needed banning, but it sure did its job well here.
I do sweep the sand off the mats a couple of times a week as they kick it on & track it on. That is a very easy job. The plywood, in part, is held to the corral panels by drilling holes in the wood and tying them on with baling string, which is free and plentiful. That stuff lasts for years and as it gets old, I just cut it off and put on new.
The horses like the stations just fine and they sure answered a lot of problems I had. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rainbow and Rain

Late season thunderstorm dumping rain in a very small area and creating a rainbow beside it.
Photo taken late August or early Sept.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Clarion of Quietude, May 1980—Aug 2012
Ch. Stallion (Criterion x Dolly Ashmore)

At the end of May 1983, we finally were moved to our new place in Sage. Just a week later, Clarion shipped out from his breeders’ in West Virginia. He has been here ever since, except for a short time leased out up north and I visited him several times up there before he came back home.
And then, it was time to say goodbye to him. Just so quick, his quiet, dignified presence was gone.
            Clarion had 29 progeny, 27 Morgans, 1 Morab and 1 out of a grade QH. His get have done some dressage, carriage driving, hunting in the mountains, reining, showing, but mostly are excellent trail riding companions from Vermont to Montana to Colorado to Arizona and here in California.           
There was an interesting aspect to his pedigree. On the standard pedigree form of 4 generations, every one of the 16 horses on that last line were registered in Registry Volume 5 or earlier. Volume 5 covered up through the year 1927. For a horse born in 1980, he got back to the old Morgans very quickly. Except for his full siblings I never saw another pedigree that did that during his breeding year. His first foal came in 1985 and the last one was in 2005.
He passed on to his get his good mind and good sense along with his excellent hindquarters, correct legs, and his three very correct gaits. He had a fast walk, a tremendous Morgan road trot with power, and a very correct canter coming with power from the rear.

            Clarion, although a worrier, was very sensible. When he was young, he got himself into trouble with fences twice and both times he just waited for a human to come along and help him out. He was a quiet horse, but had a bit of humor to him sometimes. He was always willing and a gentleman. 
            On the trail, he was alert and eager. He liked getting out and going places. He had a bit of speed and sometimes Dave would ride Clarion’s son Zebulon with Clarion and I. We had a place where we could let them run and it would be a race with each stallion wanting to be faster then the other. Then both would come down on command and walk calmly the rest of the way. I only rode one time with some friends on their horses, not Morgans. It was slow and finally there was a nice place for a good trot. I asked if it was OK if we went ahead and they agreed. We all started off trotting but then I let Clarion out into his road trot. The other two faded into the distance, although I think I heard some galloping back there at one point.
     Now he is gone. He was with me nearly half my life. I am missing his quiet dignity and his gentlemanly demeanor. I miss his funny little actions. I miss him.

            He was a grand horse and a piece of my heart & soul went with him.

Here is another photo of him--

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Special Cat Moment, or Why Cat Ownership is NOT for the faint of heart

And, so, this morning about 4 am, I am not quite asleep but not really awake. I am in bed enjoying my cat sleeping on my chest. ---
Me--"hmmm, nice, warm"
Cat--"Purrrrr, ack, hack, mmmphf, HACK!"
Me--"hack? OH, HACK! Incoming: Hairball! Must remove cat, NOW."
Cat lands on floor, and immediately hacks up missive. "Hacckkkk--splat"
Me--"Splat? Oh nuts."
I get out the other side of the bed and stay away from landing area. I turn on light and find a large hairball in the midst of a large amount of liquified mess. Definitely that dinner went into the cat looking a lot better then when it came out 10 hours later.
I gather up roll of paper towels, dish gloves, waste basket, bowl of water & clean it up, being very happy this was on the Pergo floor. Finally done, I go back to bed, cat rejoins me, and we doze off for an hour before I have to truly get up.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Well, that was exciting; but no photos

And there are no photos because I had taken my camera to the store Tuesday to download some photos I took Monday and then totally forgot I had my camera at the store when I hauled a** out back up the hill when I heard there was a fire way too close that was likely headed our way. Nuts--I could have had some spectacular pictures of the planes dropping water and chemical and the smoke billowing up and all that was going on. Just nuts.

So, I was there in the store shortly after 1:15pm, when a customer came in to say she just saw a fire start up in Temecula. When I tried to get her to pinpoint the location and could not as her grasp of geography was hazy, I called a neighbor. He went outside, took a look, ran back in & called me saying "Holy Sh**, it is way too close and it is huge." I started closing down, packing up & hit the road shortly after 1:30. I was scared that there would be road closure that I would have to try to talk my way through, but it was clear. As I drove up the one road, I could clearly see where the fire was and where it was heading. And it was moving fast--really really fast. At this point, it was doubling in size every few minutes.

I got home, changed clothes, got the phone & called my neighbor to tell him I was here & what I had seen from the road. Other neighbors called me. This year, my place is the cleanest and the most brush and dried weed free it has ever been. I have poured many dollars into handymen to do the work. And I was now blessing every penny of it. Yes, there is still more to be done, but I was really happy with the baldness of my 10 acres right at that moment. I also, last year, had a handyman put a fine mesh screen on the horse barn under the eaves down to the outside walls, to close that huge ember sucking space. That had not been cheap, but I was blessing that at the moment. With a years' worth of hay currently in the barn, that area need to be really clean and down to the dirt; and it was thanks to two other handymen doing the work for me this summer.

Knowing that the electric power would go at some point because even if the fire missed us, it was heading towards our feeder lines, I filled up all the water troughs to the brim and then filled up an extra trough by the house as a reservoir for flushing toilets & washing dishes & watering my house gardens. I had also goosed the thermostat down in the house to get the AC going as the house was at 83 when I got home at 2 pm. We lost power at 3 pm. By this point, it looked like the fire would be missing us. Our prevailing afternoon winds are out of the southwest, so the fire was being pushed somewhat to the east of north. North would have brought the fire right over the top of us. It was also apparent that the fire fighters had made a stand up on Stanley Road to keep the fire to the east of that, where it is not nearly so populated. The fire was moving very fast still and spreading eastwards and some westwards, but truly racing northeast.

With power gone, I opened the generator house and got the generator going, thanking myself for the foresight to have a handyman service it back in the spring. We found out that the big battery that runs the push button starter had died of old age. It cost $90 to have it ordered in, but was worth every penny as I cannot start the generator off the pull rope. Heck, the guys can barely start it that way. Generator going, I got out the extension cords & hooked up the refrigerator in the house and the portable cooler to sit by. I got out the emergency Princess phone that needs no external source of power, & hooked it up. That phone just kept ringing as we called each other back & forth and people outside called to check when they saw the smoke or heard the news. I sat in the warming-up house(it was about 100 outside) and watched the multitude of planes and copters dropping water and chemical on the fire. I was startled to see two military green planes dropping a huge amount of the famous orange chemical. I later learned that those were from the National Guard. I did not know the Nat'l Guard had fire fighting capability--how cool that is. Cal Fire really threw a lot at this fire--fleets of planes & choppers, dozers, personal, it was all out there. But then, they did not want it jumping Stanley Rd & getting into a more populated area or getting up the mountains into the trees and the mountain towns.

By early evening, our concern was that the night time breeze comes out of the northeast and could push the fire back onto us. We watched the glow in the sky as the flames reflected off the smoke. At 8pm, I was amazed when the power came back on. How excellent for Anza Electric! I had talked with them earlier and was told they had all their crews in the fire area and would get power back as soon as the fire fighters allowed them to do so. So Cal Ed would have shut down earlier and left it off forever. But not Anza! It sure was quiet once the generator was turned off. I love that thing, but the noise is just too much.

During the night, the fire started to go down and by morning things were much better. Most of the air support was gone now, not being needed and some ground crews got to go home. The final tally was about 3000 acres, 4 structures (including the 2 story house shown on the news), 3 injuries (1 civilian critical & 2 minor to firefighters), at least the last tally I saw and I haven't yet checked the final final tally.

Was I nervous--you betcha! I was scared driving home but once up the road clear of road closures, I relaxed a lot. The one neighbor said we all sounded like we were doing Speed as we were all nervous and tended to babble. He also said that the true hill folks sounded not so bad as the flatlanders who tended to be running in circles yelling. But this time, the fire missed us. And so we continue to get ready for the next one.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tuffy Hunter Wildcat

Around the end of December or so, I started to occasionally see a feral or stray cat roaming by. Up here, all such cats have the same name--"Coyote Food". But this guy just kept showing up. He was not born feral as he was not scared of me; wary, yes, but I could get within 15 feet or so of him. He enjoys climbing trees and has been up most of my trees. He comes back down the same way he goes up--rapidly.

 He is certainly the wrong color to survive here; he has way too much white. But not only does he survive, he thrives. He is lean but all muscle and not bony at all. He is probably quite young. Then, in April, he came over to me and started rubbing my legs & wanting to be petted. Alas, he is dangerous to pet. He enjoys it, but gets over-excited and grabs and bites and claws. We sorted out rules for petting and I continue to carefully pet him when he wants it. I also started feeding him; of course I did.

 I had a strong suspicion that he was also going to my near-by neighbors down the canyon. I finally called them and asked, and, sure enough, he was. In April, he had come up to my neighbor and rubbed his legs and wanted to be petted. So he got petted and fed. He also cleaned out most of the rodents around their place, even the squirrels. And yesterday, we verified that he is also visiting another neighbor who is between us. We are all feeding him when he shows up and all of us are petting him--carefully, as he has nailed all of us. He also enjoys bugging our house cats and getting into yowling fests with them.

I had named him Wildcat, because he is. The one neighbors had named him Hunter, because he is. And the other neighbors had named him Tuffy, because he is. Probably his name should be "Freddy the Freeloader!"

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Another Beans story

Thank you everyone. I love all my horses & all horses are special but some are more special and Beans was one of the more special ones.

Beans nearly died when he was born. He was about 6 weeks late but was still dysmature. The vet said that him being so late was "nature's way of trying to get him fully baked." But he was not quite fully baked. He came out & just laid there. I tried to count his heart rate but it was so fast that I could not discern individual beats. I went up to the house to call my vet & when I got back to the barn, Dave had picked him up & was walking/dragging him around the stall. He said that he felt the colt was quitting on life & he had to try something. It worked & he was more alert now. Vet came, did his thing & we then picked him up, held him in place at the mare & he did nurse. Then we laid him back down since he was too weak to put himself down.
I spent that night, picking him up every hour, holding him steady, letting him stand a while, then laying him back down. Dave went to bed. The next morning, when Dave got up, he asked "how's ol' Beanyard this morning?" He was disappointed that this was not a bay filly, so he was partially being snide. But later that afternoon, I found Dave sitting in the stall, w/Beans' head in his lap, and he announced that we probably should not sell this one.
I spent that day picking Beans up each hour so he could nurse. He was getting stronger each time. That evening, I went out & he was up on his own & nursing! He even laid himself back down. I watched him into the early night to be sure but he was ok then.
It was interesting to note that for the first 4 days, he had no face expression--none. He was just blank. Then on the 5th day, I walk out to be greeted by COLT on HIND LEGS, waving his front legs at me. On one hand, I was ecstatic that he now had personality and life; but on the other hand I had to let him know that behaviour towards humans was not acceptable.
Now I started his foal training--wearing a halter, leading, giving to pressure, picking up feet, no rearing, no biting, no kicking--all the normal foal training. He was smart & learned fast.
Yeah, he has always been special.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

SSM Cloud Fire, better known as Beans. 1988-2012

Yesterday, June 20, I had to have Beans put down. He was born with me holding him and he died with me holding him.
Although he was 7/8th Lippitt, he lacked breed type, but was a handsome horse with excellent legs and grand feet that the farrier loved. He had personality that endeared him to everyone who met him. One of my favorite Bean stories is this--Back in the mid 1990's, I would let the horses in the back lot out each morning to run to the barn into their stalls for breakfast. One day, Snubbers and Beans did not show up so I went looking for them. They were by the clothesline and Snubbers was eating the nice spring grass. Beans, however, had been busy pulling laundry off the clothes line. He had 3 of my t-shirts on the ground & was working on a fourth one, happily chewing  holes into it.
He was a good riding horse and we had some good rides. He liked to get behind a person and then sneakily try to pull off a pants pocket. He loved to chew on lead ropes, so I had his own special lead rope that he could chew on while getting his feet trimmed. I never had to actually hold him; I just haltered him & handed him his lead rope to chew & visited with the farrier while he trimmed Beans. He loved to have his face rubbed after taking off his fly mask each night. He was never a fast eater; he preferred to nibble and graze. He also never gulped water, but slowly sipped it. In the arena, he could sull up and refuse to move his feet in any direction but he moved out well on the trail. At feeding time, he would stick his tongue way out the side of his mouth and wrap it around his lower jaw, and drool too.
So many neat Bean things over the years and now all that is left are some photos and my memories. Right now, those are not filling the hole in my heart.
Good-bye Beans, I really miss you.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Paint

This is the workshop/storage loft/tack room building, freshly painted. This building was here when we bought this place and was built in 1977.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dirt Roads and My Car

Last week, I come out to my car to get a box and I see that there is a flat tire--and it is not just flat on one side, as the old joke goes, but flat all the way around. Well, nuts, I say (not really, I said a bit more then that!) but at least I am not going to work that day so there is no rush and my handyman is here to change it for me. I stopped changing tires decades ago when the power tools used made it too hard to get the nuts off. Even Jose had to stand on the tire wrench to get the nuts loosened. Of course the spare is a little low on air (yeah, I know that is supposed to be checked periodically, but, hey, out of sight--out of mind) with less then 10 lbs in it. However, living out here, one must be prepared and so there is an air compressor living in the generator house(the generator and its house is a whole 'nother story). Jose found the nail in the tire and by good grace it is in the tread and not in the sidewall, so it is fixable. I also must commend my car for having the tire go flat at home and not out in the middle of nowhere, which pretty much is everything between town and home.

I've been looking at the maintenance light on my dashboard for a while, knowing that the service place sets that light to come on at 3,000 miles for an oil change which is not at all necessary. I was letting some more miles accumulate before taking the car in for its routine service. I jokingly told a friend that maybe the flat tire was nature's way of telling me to get the car in for service. Snork!, little did I know...

Driving to the service place Saturday afternoon, I'm thinking, piece of cake, I have coupons for the oil change & the tire repair, so this should only cost me the $5 oil disposal charge. Hmmm, maybe. We did not change the air filter and cabin filter last time, and living on dirt roads, these items need frequent replacement. So, I might be stuck for that and they are not cheap. Oh well, what must be done, must be done.

I turn my car over the the nice people at the service place and sit down with a snack and a book, which I have not yet started, by an author I like, so I'll have lots to read if need be. In a while, the manager comes back in carrying an air filter and a cabin filter and both are really really dirty, so I knew they must be mine (I had the dirtiest car at the place!). Yep, he always shows me that they do need changing. Then he hands me some really nasty looking brake fluid. I am thinking that I don't recall changing out the brake fluid and the manager does not recall that we have done that for this car since I started going here. We did the radiator and transmission not super long ago, but apparently not the brake fluid. Oh well, if it must be done...

I settle back with my book and some time passes when the manager walks in again with *that* look on his face and he is looking at me. This is so not a good sign. Really. He tells me that my top engine mount is broken and needs to be replaced. I'm thinking, ok, a bracket and a couple of bolts, right? WRONG. This is a complex, heavy, important piece of equipment that dampens the shock and vibration the engine undergoes. And, with dirt roads, this engine undergoes a lot. Without this piece, there is more stress on the other mounts and it also puts more stress on the belts and hoses, which will then be more likely to break, probably in the middle of nowhere. sigh....

Napa Parts first brings the wrong part, and has to go back and get the right part, which also is $40 more expensive. Did I mention--sigh....

Finally, nearly 3 hours later, and over $400 on my credit card, I do get out of there alive. I now have new oil, new cabin filter, new air filter, new brake fluid with a flushed-out brake system, and a brand new upper motor mount. And I still have the dirtiest car there. And it is all the fault of the dirt roads.

I wouldn't trade living out here with my dirt roads for life in the flats even though it would save me money on car maintenance!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Green Horses

Brand new fly sheets, looking real pretty. Since these *are* horses, the pretty won't last long as they have got 2 acres of hill side to roam with brush & mustard weed to scrounge in as it dries out. These are the textilene material and it should last this season and get us into next season. It is the only material that stands up to my horses. 
 Looks like I need green fly leg wraps for the completely unified look!

New Paint for the Barn

The barn was built in May 1983 and has never been repainted, so it was time. The wood was so dry that it soaked up the 2 coats of primer & the 2 coats of paint. There was some prep and repair work also so now there are no more loose nails and popping lumber. It is ready for my yearly delivery of hay and for horses to come in when it rains in the winter.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Monarch of the Glen

I have been watching, courtesy of NetFlix, the British show, The Monarch of the Glen. Good show--have really been enjoying it. So, anyways, one day as I am walking down the hall, the Big Cat comes strolling out immediately across the way in front of me. I had to come to a screeching stop or fall over him. I stopped and out of my mouth, popped the words "And here he is, The Monarch of the Glen". His new name has stuck.

He had to go to the vet, then go back for a recheck as he has some things to see about. The first time, I had to leave him there & pick him up later. The second time, I stayed with him.While waiting for the vet tech, then later the vet to come in, he stood on the table and hid himself up against me under my jacket. He does not like it there.
I have never seen a cat have blood pressure taken. It is just like for humans. The tech wraps a little cuff around his forearm and the machine measures it. They take three readings and take the average, then consider that it is higher then normal from the stress of being at the vet's. This time his blood pressure was normal. This time his pupil response was normal. I think it is because I was there to hide him.

Back home again, he resumed his rightful place as The Monarch of the Glen.