Monday, 27 April 2009

A wet weekend

Once again it's been a strange and fairly busy weekend. I seem to have a knack of avoiding boredom without even trying. I simply don't have time to be bored !
Saturday morning started out quite promising but quickly degenerated into windy, rainy showers. Gemma was recovering from the Lord Mayor's Ball the night before and suffering from sore feet from wearing heels, Andy was in final preparation for his trip to Scotland and Asti had booked a vet's appointment for midday ( cheers for that !). The horse all got the day off and, once we'd done the necessary and gossiped over coffee we wandered off to do other things. Gemma was hoping for a quiet afternoon but failed on that and I got home just in time to collect daughter and cat and go straight off to the vet's.
To be honest I think an appointment ( even if it's only with a nurse) is a bit OTT just to remove 2 stitches but apparently they don't charge for it and I had to go to settle the bill anyway. Poor Mogwai was not impressed and meowed pitifully all the way there, shivered and cringed on the table and then cried all the way home again.
Still it's done now and we don't have to worry about her getting pregnant or of having fighting toms all over the garden spraying everything and trying to sneak into the house.
13 cats is enough I think.
Harvey turned out to be lame - not horribly so but more "ouchy". I think he may have been trimmed a bit short on Friday - unusual with these farriers but anyone can make mistakes. Hopefully a couple of days of field rest will settle the matter.
On Sunday we managed to bottle most of the orange wine and Asti got her dandelion boiled up,yeasted ( is that a real word ?) and safely moved to the demi jars where it's now bubbling away quite happily.
With Andy away I get the job of looking after the place and the cats, dogs and fish - not really a big deal but this time, just for variety I have a plumber and a tiler sorting out the showers and pulling plasterboards off.
Like I said - no time to be bored !

Friday, 24 April 2009

Farting farriers and The Blob revisited

Falco did not get his day off. On consideration I decided to ride him before the farriers arrived ( it tends to make life easier for them too) and then see how the time went. As it worked out Harvey got the day off instead but he's one of those that it doesn't seem to bother anyway.
The farriers were late and I was killing time weeding between the cobbles with a hoofpick when they arrived.
They were bemoaning the fact that they'd stopped for chips before coming to me and were now all full and not really prepared to deal with Fally ( who has been used as a test subject for a progression of apprentices). For some reason they were also being silly and farting on each other - apparently this was started when one fed the other's sandwiches to the dog earlier in the day. Anyway, Fally at least was very well behaved and didn't try to sit on George or snatch his feet away or fart on anyone.
Once that was all sorted I had shopping of sorts - 90 odd lbs of fresh dogmeat, carrots apples etc. I got somewhat sidetracked at home as Asti had decided that she wanted to make dandelion wine and had been out collecting bags of flower heads. We ended up hanging around for a while decoding the recipe book for her - it's lbs and ozs and she's used to grams etc, we also managed to avert a potential disaster when she fluffed the yeast measurement - instead of 1.5 oz she got 15 oz - and I had sudden flash visions of returning from the shops to find active yeast boiling through the front door like a scene from "The Blob".
We finally managed to get to the market just before it shut and found there were no carrots anyway - we're in that weird time when the English carrots run out and the only ones you can get are expensive - usually lasts a few weeks then we'll be back to carrots at £1 a bag again. In the meantime I'll try at the feed store - she may have some ( although hers always cost more).
We were supposed to be visiting our grandson today but they've just moved house and are in total uproar and, apparently, not very well to boot. I'll phone in the week to see how things are going and maybe pay them a visit next week.

I have been persuaded to join Twitter.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Sugar, spooks and stupid roadworks...

Well it seems that the sugar content in the new bale of haylage is somewhat higher than we have been used to - Fally is not just full of energy he's feeling very silly and spooky and just about leaping off the leg. Tomorrow WAS going to be his day off but following today's performance I think I might just change my mind on that one if time allows ( Farriers are coming ) - obviously he really needs the work.
I smelt trouble before we got out of the yard to tell the truth - he was fidgetty and fussy and just wanting to be doing something.. He's also managed to injure himself in the stable yet again - another scrape on the hock and a new bald patch on his nose. How he keeps doing damage is beyond me - I think he could hurt himself in a padded cell !
Well I got on and he was away so I hauled round and made him stand still - he wasn't into that -snort snort and stamping foot followed by - get this ! -- his patented "I'm gonna buck" head twirl. WTF ?? In the road ????
Okay so what was going to be a nice quiet hack around the roads turned into a serious energy burning workout. As if riding a hyperactive draft cross wasn't enough to deal with I also got weird traffic. Fun Fun Fun.
I decided to head for the bridleway and get a good trot going along there but unfortunately our main ( and safest) route to the bridleway is closed while a new road-bridge is being built. I had the choice of a downhill tree shadowed road with no pavements, a steep bank on either side and a sharp bend at the bottom or the road past the pub. What the heck - whichever way I went meant crossing the main road at lunchtime anyway - I opted for going past the pub - it seems like the easiest option. Unfortunately there is some major work going on down there with someone having a drive built and apparently this involves several large vans being parked outside the house.. This road is also a bus route, there was just enough room to tuck in between the vans to let the bus past, then I met the tractor and had to go hide up a side road. Actually on the bridleway there was prams, walkers, squirrels (omg), birds and grass - grass that moved when the breeze hit it, leaves that moved and of course a blue bag ! As you can probably guess we didn't exactly travel in a straight line, it was a bit like the Timewarp - with a jump to the left and a spook to the right ! Coming back was even worse - I got up that road at the 4th attempt having met a truck, a bus and a construction wagon with a hiab on it. Then encountered my friend and yard owner as I was having a slight battle at the junction next to the pub. Yes I really needed a coffee by the time we got back !
Time to make a small adjustment to his feed methinks.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The end of the Holidays...

Beautiful weather and it seemed like the entire neighbourhood was out cleaning cars, jetwashing the drive, mowing the lawn or otherwise doing weird things with trailers, skips and various scary vehicles.
Harvey was in fine form standing on tiptoe to gawk over the wall for things to be afraid of and there seemed to be no settling him until he'd managed to snap the lead rope and I'd chased him round the yard and backed him up a few times. Oddly enough once that was out of his system he stood sensibly ( albeit still craning his neck) and lunged very nicely as well.
I took Fally out for a spook - well it had to be really, he's obviously feeling well and, unfortunately, in his case this tends to lead to a silly session at every opportunity. I can never be sure if it's boredom that sets him off or just a twisted Irish sense of humour. I suppose it could be both in which case there is probably no hope ! This time everything was scary including flowers and parked cars ( sigh)
The kid's holiday party the other night didn't go down too well although the "guests" were all well behaved and polite, Unfortunately it was one of mine who decided that the vast amounts of alcohol they'd clubbed together and bought was actually a personal challenge and ended up staggering around and throwing up in the shower. I was up till 2 in the morning sorting that lot out and wasn't best pleased. Needless to say that's put the stoppers on that happening again. Next time will be less people and definitely less booze.
The Vomiting Volcano ( of course she was lying on her back when it all erupted) got the job of doing the washing for the whole weekend as a good part of it was technically her fault anyway. Why someone threw their socks out of the window I really don't know and I won't even go into the matter of the cigarette-burned chin......
I'm still driving John's car but now it seems that we've found not only someone who can supply the weird part but also a local garage who will fit the whole lot at a reasonable price - hopefully that will be attended to sometime this week.. I like J's car - it's very nice but not quite big enough for taking 3 kids and a dog around in.I also feel guilty about slamming my not-so-insignificant weekly mileage on an old classic that had incredibly low mileage until I borrowed it. I miss my spacious Volvo tank and I miss my intermittent stereo.

Well I have managed to order and pay for the car parts, the kids are all back at school and college and things are about as close to normal as they are going to get at this point.
The weather is holding and I'm getting quite a good "rider's tan" already - I'm browning from the shoulders to the wrist (!) and just about living in my Raybans, I'm seriously loving these long sunny evenings but not the midges that seem to gather in the stableyard. So as well as the glasses I'm back to taking the antihistamines again.
Holly got bathed and is currently sporting stable plaits in an attempt to get her mane to stay all on one side instead of both sides and some straight up.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

With the bottom fence now nicely retaped ( and us scratched and scraped from trimming back the hawthorn to get at the far corner to get to the end post) the horses are now restricted to the bottom field which came as something of a surprise to them - we turned them out and watched then meandering up the field then they just stopped dead, Harvey in the front with his head up snorting at the slip rail ! They seem to have settled to the idea now. I have no idea if any of them have tried it on with the fencing but the pulse is audible even to me and everytime I've looked they've been well away from the fence.
We had a change of plans with the delivery of the new posts due to Si's boss piling jobs on him and needing the trailer to shift stuff around in and it ended up with John driving out in my car on Friday morning to collect them and the post knocker from Si's boss (My car is the one with the towbar).
I got J to do it so he could assess the current state of my car as the grinding metal sound is getting somewhat worrying to say the least and I really need him to get his finger out and get it sorted. I much prefer driving with good brakes.
Anyway once we got the posts sorted and up in the field we were busy being very scientific and measuring distances with balestring and keeping the line straight but needed a way to make sure they were all the same height - well that ended up being measured against Gemma's cleavage ! Gemma and Si took turns whacking the posts in and we were measuring, carrying and making silly comments.
It was raining by the time we finished and on the way back down to the house Neo managed to be first dog to get the electric shock !
Now all I need is more tape and insulators.....
Since it's the holidays everyone is losing track of the days, we hacked out a couple of times which was a very nice change despite the weird traffic and random scary stuff, Asti has been lunged on Holly twice which went really well and we tried another experiment and I was lunged on Falco - that was interesting but again a success and something I think we should do on a fairly regular basis as time allows.
The fields have all been chain harrowed, rolled and the top field got it's bag muck and the scattering of grass seed on the dodgy bits so everything should be in order for a while at least.
The tree guy didn't turn up to take the second big dead tree down so Si got drafted into that and we all had to go watch and make sure that all went well. Video didn't didn't work which was a shame as the sight of the tree shattering as it hit the ground was amazing. Lots of logging for him to do now to get it cleared out of the way before the cows get in there and he's trying to do all the cutting on a sheet so we can use the shavings ( why let them go to waste ?)
Wednesday was neutering day for the two kittens and, once the horses were sorted an turned out we went out to try to get some parts for my car. We were only partly successful with that but enough that John and Tara could plan on doing something about it. I made arrangements with Gemma for a lift on Thursday and then found out that we'd forgotten to buy brake pads (D'oh).
Thursday weather was undecided, very windy again and promising some rain so we turned the horses out and went to buy brake pads and fencing tape. By the time we got back they'd given up with the car as the bolt holding the caliper was coming apart when they tried to undo it. In the end we went to visit a friendly mechanic and get a quote for the job. As we already have the bits he'll do it quite cheaply but we need one more part - a carrier bracket, and that seems to be turning into a major pain to get hold of.
In the meantime I'm carless as I really don't want to be driving a tank with dodgy brakes, I can borrow J's car but it's white and he wants it keeping clean which is going to be difficult around stables and dogs........
Also it doesn't have a stereo !

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Easter Break

At the moment there is rather a lot going on. The weather seems to have settled at "quite nice but maybe breezy" for the time being and the ground is drying like mad. The little bit of rain we have had managed to wet Holly's rugs ( that I'd left over the gate ) enough that I took them home to wash and the grass is finally starting to grow. This now brings us to the point of fixing fencing and attempting to restrict horses to certain areas so we can actually grow something for haylage.
We should be recieving 50 new posts tomorrow and Friday is pencilled in as fencing day ( as Si is off work and is really the only one who can be reasonably expected to handle the post knocker for more than about 15 minutes without injuring himself), I've even managed to arrange for the kids to go up there for the day ( Shock, Horror !!!) and it will probably cost me dear in cake and ice cream.
I've been out today and bought enough fencing tape to repair the bottom fence to a state where I can actually energise it so they'll be restricted to the first field as soon as we can get it re-taped and fitted up with the recently repaired energiser. I'd bet money that the first horse to cop a shock will be Harvey and the first dog will be Xsara.
On the whole household front John has been busy building shelves for preserves and a spice rack that was filled about as soon as it was finished - he's now planning on building an extention to it. ! He also had to make a set of steps to reach the shelves although the cats don't seem to be having any problem with jumping up there.
The orange wine is due for sampling tonight before being siphoned off into fresh jars tomorrow but I refuse to do that until after I have sorted the horses and done with driving for the day - I remember what happened last time. Apple wine is slowing down at last and John is currently boiling up nectarine jam.
We had a break from routine the other day and lunged all 3 horses over jumps - yes ! even Fally got a go as there were enough of us there to actually be able to chase him around. I think we have him sussed now - it seems that as soon as he knows that the whip can't actually touch him he switches off so the whole lunging thing is really more like a circular one-sided long reining. He did enjoy the jumping but unfortunately I got no photos of that, I suppose there will have to be a next time.
Asti's gecko has laid eggs again so she is excited and taking extreme measures to try to make sure that the humidity in the incubator doesn't drop like it did last time. She has also gone gardening mad so my garden looks good and she's planted peppers and put them in the greenhouse, she's already booked John to make up some shelves for her and used up all our compost from last year !

Friday, 3 April 2009

Friday, fingers and falling trees.

So, this morning was misty and cold as I dropped 2 off for the bus and took Asti up to the stables. She'd told her sister that she was coming up to help me out with the mucking etc - the riding is a secret for now.
We were expecting to find Tasha swollen, bruised and sore but she was bouncing about like she hadn't been kicked into orbit last night - Carol was amazed at her.
We started off by lunging Holly - mostly so I could see how I'd manage it and asti could get an idea of what she would be dealing with. As that went well we progressed to Harvey. I did warn her that she really didn't want to be trying to do 20 minutes or so of sitting trot after not being on a horse for so long so she spent most of the time rising and laughing as she realised just how rusty she had become and resisting the urge to grab the reins. Harv was a total gentleman again so has boosted her confidence by about 100%.
As Friday is Si's day off he was wandering around and trying to make plans and such. We ended up going across the fields with him to act as a sort of safety net while he cut down a dead tree. It's something that he's never done before so didn't want to be on his own just in case something went wrong. Sensible idea.
The tree was rotten and was dealt with very quickly - in the end he gave it a good shove and it dropped.
We came home then as by now I was seriously feeling the need for painkillers and anti biotics with my stupid finger throbbing and bandage by now looking decidedly grubby. Asti's plan for the rest of the day involved finally going and buying herself a new phone to replace the one that spent 2 days in the puddle and has been weird ever since and then returning to the stables for a lesson in chain harrowing.

Thursday night - The Stupid Bitch

So, the infection has happily settled halfway to the palm of my hand, I feel like crap and it takes 4 attempts to tie my hair up. I feel like a total fraud - it's only a bloody finger !
I took the kids off to college as usual and went up to the horses, gave them breakfast and kicked them out. I looked at the stables but I can't get a glove on and feel vaguely sick so I walked away in hope of feeling better later. I got home, took the tablets and spent the day asleep ( good tablets these !)
We were just getting ready to go up to get the horses back in ( me and oldest daughter) when I got a phone call " Can you come up now ? Tasha's been kicked by Harvey", Oh great.
Tasha is a GSD of indeterminate ownership - technically she's mine, all the paperwork says she's mine but she has lived with my friend and yard owner for several years. So I was expecting broken bones and vet bills as I was driving up there.
Turned out it was a panic over next to nothing - I think she's just bruised ( lucky he has no back shoes) and both Andy and his girlfriend Carol were blaming themselves for taking the dogs near the horses. Personally I blame the stupid bitch for running around his back legs when she should know better.
On the plus side of the whole finger issue I got my daughter to muck out and she actually enjoyed it ! And has asked me if I could possibly lunge her on Harvey tomorrow morning !!!!

I don't think she's ridden since last Summer and the last time she rode Harv he took her over a 5 barred gate - I'll let you know how that goes.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Harvey the Brave, British Summer Time and the Fickle Finger of Fate

Friday was Simon's day off and he'd managed to get loan of the big tractor and slurry tanker again so he was all set to finish off tanking the fields. For a change it wasn't actually raining so I headed out to get something done. As a result I ended up with Harvey trotting on the lunge at the moment that Si drove the big red combination into the top of the field. Interesting. I had been wondering whether that might happen. I could see Harv's eyes flicking between the tractor and me but he just kept on going even when the tanker hit empty and made that horrible wet farting noise. I was so pleased with him for that.
Saturday's weather was just beyond a joke - I'd heard there was a forecast for snow, that never happened but we did get wind, rain and intermittent hailstorms. A lot of grooming got done and not a lot else.
The clocks changed on Saturday night, we are now officially in British Summer Time ( and I lost an hour of sleep) Just to be funny it froze - there was ice all over the cars !
However it did clear up to be a lovely day and we decided to " hit the trails" Maybe a 3 hour hack wasn't the greatest idea but we took it easy and were knackered by the time we got back. This was unfortunate as I'd asked Si to get us a bale down in the morning and it turned out that the Fordson wouldn't start ( probably sulking because he'd used that Macormick) this left us with the prospect of rolling a square bale down the back ramp, across the yard and up a step. There were 3 of us - one of whom is exempt from such things because she has a shoulder that dislocates with alarming ease. So there were 2 of us, we've done it before and we don't want to admit defeat to men.....
Getting the bale down wasn't so bad - it did some pretty neat bounces before landing on the yard. This was where the fun started - to get it up the step we need a fence post and a rock. So we get it positioned and get the fence post rammed well in, Gemma ( with the shoulder) stands on the post and we push the bale up the step - okay but it got away from us, fell back onto the post and catapulted her up into the air ! Why do these things only ever happen when there is NOT a video camera to record the event ?
Right now I am officially out of action due to injury - nothing heroic or exciting, oh no, I managed to impale my finger on a rough bit of wood on the gate - who knows where that particular bit went ( might still be in the finger for all I know) That happened Tuesday and despite cleaning it up and wrapping it nicely it's still swollen to the size of a generous sausage, won't bend and aches like a beyotch. So today ( after riding of course !) I got J to run me up to the walk in center where no-one would sit next to me and my smelly boots (Mwahahah) and then 2 nurses tutted, prodded, and finally wrapped my finger in such a way that any type of glove is now impossible and gave me the sort of antibiotics that the vet usually prescribes for horses. I'm to keep it wrapped and elevated for 3 days - that means Saturday - grr, have to think about that one.........