Monday, July 4, 2011

One inch thoughts

Today was a really good day for me. I didn't finish everything I wanted to do, but I accomplished a lot. Warning- long post!

I went out to feed the horses this morning and completely cleaned out Nadia's stall. Talk about the Augean stables! It hasn't been cleaned in 30 years! Well, at least three months anyway. I turned Nadia out with the others and let them roam around the outside of the barn area while I cleaned. They ran and grazed and ran some more. Then they gave up and just went back to the hay. There just isn't anything growing for them to eat; it's been so dry!

I went over to feed the alpacas. I sat with them a while and hand fed them some pellets. They came right up to me for the hay and then they grazed just a foot or two away from me. But, no touching, except for their mouths and chins as I hand feed them. 

I went inside the house and had my favorite breakfast, red chile enchilada casserole with a fried egg on top.
Then I finished the library book I've been reading, Ghost Riders, by Sharyn McCrumb, about modern day Civil War reenactors and actual Civil War people in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. It follows a real person, Malinda Blalock, and her husband as they join up with the Union soldiers and also Zebulon Vance, who was the actual Confederate Governor of North Carolina. It's an interesting book with a novel idea.

Several of the window screens in my house needed replacing so, after four trips to Home Depot in the last couple of weeks to get the right supplies, I went to work on building some. I am not very savvy about building things, which is why I kept buying the wrong size rods: 5/16 or 7/16; and they come in all different lengths; color of rods: white, chrome, or black; color of screen: gray or black; spline color: gray or black; size of spline: 5/16 or 7/16; and corner parts: 5/16 or 7/16.

Terra was right at home sleeping on the old screens and purchased supplies.
Since Terra was away guarding the screens, Buddha had an opportunity to sit with me.
The first thing I had to do was cut the metal rods to the right sizes.
Buddha enjoyed the warm sunshine while I worked.
Once I had the form made, I had to cut the screen mesh.
Then I had to spline in the spline cord using a spline roller. Is that what you say?
And voila! one screen is finished!
 I am so proud of myself for getting these screens made! Yay!!

While I was working on the screens, these birds were watching me. Anybody know what kind they are? He sure is pretty with his red front.
After installing the four window screens and cleaning up the mess, I went to WalMart to buy some grain for the horses and some tropical fish. I have a 55 gallon tank with just a red-tailed shark, two giant danios, and a couple of red fish. I forget what kind they are. I have been meaning to get some additional fish and today was the day. I bought a pair of gold gouramis, three giant danios, and two tiny little algae eaters. This took quite a while because I had to wait for assistance and the clerk was busy changing out a betta's aquatic garden in a vase. He had to wash out the gravel, fill the jar with water, treat the water, put in the betta, wash out the plants, and arrange the greens with a little flag, etc. It looked very cute but not $23 worth, although the plants were some kind of exotics with crazy looking flowers. After hobbling all around the giant store, and then waiting to check out, I reviewed the receipt as I was walking out. I realized the fish department clerk had charged me for two plecos which were $6.98 each instead of the gourami price of $3.29 each. Fortunately, I hadn't left the store yet so I went to Customer Service and got the pricing corrected.

When I got home, I floated the new fish bag for a while and eventually added them to the tank. My old danios are in heaven with the addition of the new danios. They're all swimming together in a school chasing each other and running relays. The gouramis are hovering around as a pair and I completely lost the algae eaters down at the bottom somewhere. I didn't take any photos but I think the tank looks much better now.
In the afternoon, I started a pizza dough in the bread machine. Yes, I still use mine. It's actually my third one. I wore the other two out.

I grabbed a handful of cut up carrots and went outside to visit Thelma and Louise. I was able to catch Louise by the dangling catch lead but I didn't have a lead rope handy, so after rubbing her face and neck, I let her go. Then I got smart and had a lead rope in my hand so when I caught Thelma by the catch lead I hooked the lead rope on. I tried to catch Louise again but, alas, she wouldn't come near me anymore since I tricked her. I led Thelma out of the pen and took this photo. Then I walked her away from the pen about 50 feet but she was getting nervous leaving Louise behind so we walked back to the pen.

YAY!!! I am so happy that I was able to actually catch and touch both girls today. The other day, my mom asked me if I was still enchanted with them. I said I was, but I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to be able to handle them. I told my son that we might as well catch them and take off their halters because I really don't like leaving them on. But now, I have hope again. While I was holding the catch lead, I was able to loosen Louise's halter a tiny bit in case it was too tight and I found that when I rub the underside of their long necks they seem to like it and drop their heads. Also, when I led Thelma back and she was trying to hurry, her neck got all snakey as she walked ahead of me and I tried to hold her back. It was the strangest thing! Her body was in front and her head was in back, by me. Anyway, here's proof of me leading Thelma outside of the pen with Louise looking on. Notice the lead rope and the shorter catch lead? Those things really do come in handy. Look at her goofy smile! I just love this photo. It proves that I did in fact catch her and take her out of the pen. High fives to me!!
I had planned on giving Nadia and Scout baths, and maybe Yalla! but then I decided just to ride. I tied up Scout in the barn for a "patience" lesson and he was actually very good, standing still while I went inside the stall and brushed Nadia down. I put the bareback pad on her and attached the reins to either side of her halter. Then I put on my helmet and climbed up on the rails and over to her back.We rode out of the stall (I love my high ceilinged barn!) and I untied Scout along the way. Then we went out of the barn and around the neighborhood, me riding Nadia and ponying Scout. It must come from being stable mates but both Scout and Nadia ride and lead so well together. I never have to pull on the lead rope. Nadia stepped out in her usual fast, alert walk and we saw strange blue water tanks in her old pasture that she had to do a double take at. We walked out to the back area and then came back along the pasture. There was a huge black bull and his four steer friends in the pasture and they wandered up to and past us. I stopped the horses and we waited for them to pass before we moved along in the opposite direction. It's not the first time they've seen cows but they always act like it is and I didn't want any spooking today. Scout was the calmer one today, as Nadia usually is when she is ponied. I guess the pony horse puts all their trust in the ridden horse and rider, because Scout was actually looking sleepy as he walked along with us, occasionally trotting to keep up. It occurred to me as I was riding, that my horses ages added together are almost as old as I am. Nadia is 28 and Scout is 16, a total of 44!! WOW!! They certainly don't act their ages.

I rode them back to the barn, tied Scout up, and rode Nadia into the stall where I was able to climb back over to the railing to get off. Then I tied her up and brushed her down. I went back over to Scout, brushed him down, and took some pictures of him. I love his blue (pinto) eye with the black liner but, I'm sorry, I just don't like the sclera of the Appaloosa eyes.

 I do like his spots. This is looking up towards his tail. You can almost see the little welts he gets in the summer time from allergies. Is that what they call Summer Itch?
And here he is begging me to let him go. I always forget what a character he is, because Yalla! takes over the barnyard. How could you not love a face like that? And look at that mane! I never cut it; that's as long as it ever gets. Yep, Appaloosa genes again. lol. However, his tail is nice and long (Paint/Arabian) although it's not shown.
After I let Nadia and Scout go, I went in the stall with Yalla!, haltered her, and tied her up. Then I brushed her down on both sides while Annie backed her butt right up to me asking to be brushed too. It could have been a very compromising position being right between two mares' hind ends but Annie always does this to me so that I'll brush her. She never threatens me in any way. And Yalla!, all I had to do was tell her over and point at her hind end and she actually stepped away from me. YES!! Our little lesson yesterday is working! I still don't trust her but at least she isn't showing any aggression like pinned ears, etc. As I brushed my dark chocolatey little mare I noticed tiny little white hairs coming out. Do black-bays shed white hairs? Or is she going to sneak into being a gray next year? Very curious!!!

I brushed her down with some water on the brush which she wasn't too sure about and then I turned her loose. I gave them all some sugar beet pulp mash and grain and a generous serving of hay. Since I have taken back the feeding duties, I am trying to gain weight back on the horses. Nadia is looking pretty good although she still needs muscling in her hindquarters. Scout is borderline pudgy. Annie is her usual thin, athletic self. She never seems to get rounded on her back although her coat shines and she looks fit otherwise. Yalla!, poor thing, still needs some weight and growing to do, although she is looking better and she does have a beautiful shiny dark coat. Unfortunately, in this photo she's standing downhill so it's not very flattering.
While I was brushing Annie and Yalla! I noticed a dark blob in the water barrel. I reached down and scooped it out and then I realized that it was a baby swallow. I set it down in a safe area of the barn atop some scattered hay.

 He really seemed to perk up as he dried off- notice the beautiful blue colors. I don't know if he can fly yet but he sure has a better chance of survival now that he's not in the water barrel.
I fed the alpacas on my way back to the house. My pizza dough was done and looked lovely in the bread machine, ready to mold onto the pie pan. I made up the pizza pie with lots of sauce, cheese, pepperoni, black olive, tomato, and green peppers. Yummy! This is a 18 inch, btw.

I also bought a watermelon but I haven't cut it yet.

The only down side was that my kids were all away, having barbeques at friends' houses instead of having dinner with me. My daughter did come home a little later and we went to visit the horses at the front gate in the dark. Sure enough, Yalla! came running. But she looped around and came back again, waiting for Annie to come with her this time. Sandy came and stood with us outside the gate as we fed her and the horses from a box of corn flakes. What fun! I think my daughter enjoyed the nocturnal equine visit as much as I did.

I wish every day could be like today!


One Inch Thoughts - song: Sons of the Silent Age, artist: David Bowie, album: Heroes


lytha said...

your favorite breakfast sounds great - my favorite breakfast is anything leftover from the night before: )

walmart has horse food? and fish???

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Scout and Nadia's combined ages are exactly my same age: 44! I'll be 45 in September, though.

Sounds like a busy and productive day. Good for you!

How funny that you were eating homemade pizza for dinner, too. Jax and Jem had their best friend over for a sleep-over on Sunday night and I made waffles for dinner, at Jen's request, and made green chile, pepperoni pizza for lunch/dinner on July 4th. We use our breadmaker to make homemade pizza at least once a week. Jax and Jem complain if I buy pizza anymore. My boys can eat two pizzas all by themselves. lol!


Ed said...

Busy as a beaver I would say. The birds are house finches and the thought of red chili casserole and eggs is making me drool..:-))))

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Lytha, this Walmart is in a rural area so it has chicken scratch and limited horse supplies along with groceries and dry goods. I think it's one of the largest stores with extra wide aisles for the handicapped, a really nice store.

I'm pretty sure most Walmarts have a small tropical fish department, don't they?

Lisa- yeah, my family really enjoys homemade pizza too. Papa John's was having a sale- any large pizza for 8.99 and I was tempted but I decided to save the gas and money- wise decision.

Ed- thanks for the ID on the birds. They are a lovely pair. I hope they stay around.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I can't believe you got all of that done in one day with a broken ankle. I remember one time we had a broken screen and it took us 6 months to find the right supplies to repair it. The birds have pecked huge holes in most of the screens at my mother's house, and when the real estate agent started talking to me about repairing those, I cringed just from the memory of everything we went through to fix that one window screen many years ago. You really do have your hands full with all those animals. My husband used to have a fish tank and I was astounded by how much work he had to put into it.

Dreaming said...

You surely got a lot accomplished and I am so in awe of your making screens. Since you have such expertise, maybe you'd like to come visit and 'show me' how to do it! (I could be a very slow learner... and have to watch you make.. oh, 10 or 20 before I figure it out!)

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Ed beat me to it. Those are House Finches. Definitely a full day.


BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Definitely sounds like you had a fulfilling day...on a still mending ankle no less.

Shirley said...

A fulfilling day! Must have felt good after all your enforced inactivity. Nice progress with the alpacas, and how lovely that Nadia is still going strong at 28, she is a grand old lady for sure.

fernvalley01 said...

Goodness! what a busy day ! A succesful one too!

achieve1dream said...

I've never seen how window screens are made before. Very interesting.

Sounds like you had a great day. The pizza looks absolutely yummy!

I'm glad the horses are doing better. Yalla does look a bit too thin. A little thin is good for growing horses, but unless I'm mistaken I can see her spine. I'm glad you're healed up enough to take care of them again.

I didn't know rural Walmarts had livestock feed either. All of the ones I've seen have a tropical fish department though.

Good job with the Alpacas! It won't be long before you'll be handling them easily. And if it does take a while it's totally worth it. I was getting sad and frustrated about Zeppelin, but now that he's doing so well it was worth the wait.

I think Scout is beautiful! I'm not a fan of the sclera either, but it doesn't detract from his beauty or my attraction to Appys. :) My Appy mare used to get sweet itch too, but it was only on her chest and neck. It's caused by an allergy to gnats. Very annoying to deal with.

Glad you had such a great day. Sorry it took me so long to come read it.