where we’re at

Literally or philosophically? Maybe a bit of both!

Whatever.

Either way, I thought it was time to catch you up on stuff around here.

Everyone is well – dogs, horses, geese, ducks, chickens… us. Although one chicken is looking half plucked. Its autumn… I know they go through a molting phase, but she’s a step above being in a roasting pan by the looks of her.

Meanwhile, we’re down one rooster. We did have two – one was a home bred boy. He’s disappeared. Either he was run off by his dad or he met a sticky end. I haven’t found any evidence to suggest which.

Without rain there’s no grass so we’ve been hard feeding the horses a few months now. There’s no hay to be found anywhere and, if you can find it, it costs more than gold.

Here’s Waldo, sharing his breakfast with the chickens. I give Wally a wide berth… after the time he bit me I’m very wary of his teeth.

Dancer, on the other hand, is a real smoocher. We love that girl! 

We have a new female goose. She arrived one day and paired up with one of the boys. That now makes us the proud owners of 3 couples. I really am afraid of what will happen when they decide to have more babies. We got lucky last year. One of the girls lay 20 or so eggs but didn’t sit on them long enough to hatch them.

Next year when they lay eggs I think I’ll skulk around stealing them!

Our dam has never been so low. Its spring fed and it’s always been full. This summer its more mud puddle than dam. I think we either stuffed up the spring when we had it dug out or the spring has dried up. The dam never seemed to bounce back from being dug out, the water has been like brown soup since… then again, with the lack of rain around here, maybe the spring has just packed it in.

If the situation doesn’t improve I think the geese might move out. Not sure if that’ll make me sad or glad. I love them, but they’re pretty deadly on any plants I try to get growing where they can reach.

I mean the horses are bad enough, but now I had to rethink all the fencing. Not just tall and strong for the horses, also shorter and closer for the geese!

Wayne built a cute bonfire pile in the middle paddock. Won’t be long now and he’ll be out there roasting marshmallows. If he liked them. And if people actually roasted marshmallows in Australia.

It looks like a forest fairy home, complete with a door. I suggested we could do a rain dance one night under a full moon. The neighbours would enjoy that.

Providing we keep our clothes on.

Meanwhile, Wayne and I are doing a regular radio show at our local community radio station. It was my idea, I have a ton of cds and some vinyl from my rockabilly/rock’n’roll days and I thought it’d be a great opportunity to listen to and share my music. So far we’re really enjoying it.

Turns out Wayne is a closet radio announcer! Who knew? He’s a natural.

You can stream it online if you’re out of range, so look us up – TYGA FM 98.9 – 12-2pm on Sundays.

Other than that, I think I may have mentioned I’ve lost my mojo in terms of creativity lately. I just don’t have the motivation. Or energy. Or desire.

My get up and go has got up and gone.

One of the only things I dragged myself out to do last weekend was put up three old mirrors in the mud room. We now have someplace to check ourselves before we walk out the door. Surely that’s a good thing.

When I feel flat like this I have to remember – we’ve done so much to this place since we moved in. All I have to do is look at the old photos to appreciate that.

And darn… I have to remove the Xmas bow from the front door.

I told you I’ve been ‘off’ lately.

Sometimes its ok to just watch TV, read books and rest. Its ok to do nothing for a while.
At least that’s what I tell myself. I’m almost convinced.
z

horses in the garden

Long ago I said that I’d never have a nice garden cause we kept letting the horses into the yard. I loved having them in there and they loved the time with us.

Then I put in garden beds cause I wanted flowers and pretty stuff, and I banished the horses.

Well, the other day the horses were back.

First time it was an accident. Wayne drove ol’ Blue from the paddock into the yard and the horses followed him. Opportunists that they are.

They’d been eyeing off the greener grass on our side of the fence for ages and there was no way they were letting that opportunity go by without grasping it.

Yeah. Its not that green. But take a look at the paddock beyond them. That’ll give you an idea. At least in the yard there were clumps of clover and tufts of that grass that isn’t lawn.

We had to keep an eye on them of course. Every time one of them so much as looked at a flower sideways, expletives would rain down on them from two directions. Luckily, the green clumps and clover were more than enough for them and no flowers were lost in the visit.

There’s something so lovely about having horses in the yard. I love giving them a pat as they wander past and watching the dust poof off them. I love the sound of them chewing. I also rather like their help with “mowing”.

And I love horse butts. So strong and round.

Almost as good as cow butts.

Taken at the Hamilton Show yesterday. I got to pat a lot of cows and a lot of beautiful horses.

Life in the country is good!

z

just because

Why am I sharing this pic?

Cause I like it.

I took it to show a friend the rickety chair I picked up off the side of the road last year, a chair which is beyond repairing to actually seat a human being of ample proportions, but which retains a lot of charm.

When organising the store room (still not organised) I hung it on a humungous nail and left it there.

When I saw the photo I realised there was something I just loved about having a chair hanging on the wall.

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy. Cleaning. Tidying. Organising.

In the casita, not the house. The house remains a total mess. In fact, its messier than it was last week when I put off tidying up.

On a happier note, the chickies are doing well and the hen and chick we moved out to the chicken coop ran off the minute we opened the door to let them out.

We shouldn’t keep chickens. We’re just not qualified.

Meanwhile Wayne bought new rugs for Chipmunk…

He looks like he was eaten by a horse rug.

For sale: two small, but obviously not tiny enough, horse rugs. One regular and one with attached neck rug.

Never a dull moment at Wind Dancer Farm!

z

good start to the year?

Ain’t life fun? Just when you think things can’t get any worse, something else happens.
First it was Wayne, with his sore back, then me with the wacked ribs, now its Cass with a gash on her side big enough to drive a truck through.
That’s three now. Lets hope that’s all there is now!
I went out this morning to put her mask on (for the sun) and saw a huge gash on her side with blood dripping from it.
Not nice.
I yelled for Wayne and we went up the top of the paddock to get her and brought her into the house yard. We washed the wound and yeah, it was beyond our capabilities to fix. Too deep and too big.
I called the horse vet clinic and they sent out one of their vets this afternoon. He did a great job stitching it up. I was unsure how he’d be able to hold such a gaping wound closed, but he did a double layer job – first stitching muscle and then skin.
I made myself as useful as possible. First I brought out my small grooming table so he could set up his tools. Then I lent him my clippers with a #40 blade to clip around the wound. And after he finished I cleaned her up.
Wayne says I’m a frustrated vet nurse. I’ve assisted with surgeries before, on my own animals when they were injured after hours (which is when every self respecting animal injures itself). There was a time when I considered being a vet … I opted to go to Art School instead. 
Looking back now, being a vet would probably have been a much better career choice…
At the very least I’d have been able to support my animal habit. Oh well. Hindsight is 20-20 right?
My poor Cass. She’s a bit accident prone, but this is rather bigger and badder than the usual cuts and scrapes horses tend to get. She’ll be in isolation for a while till we know the stitches have done their job and she wont rip them open.
For those who are squeamish, I’m putting the before and after pics below. You just enjoy the pretty photo of my hydrangeas. 
I put them at the top of this post just for you.
If you have a weak stomach close the window now.
This is what the poor girl looked like after we washed out the wound.

And this is this afternoon after the vet closed her up.

Poor Cass…
z

the conditions i’m forced to work in

This afternoon I went into the casita to have another look at the office desk I’m working on for Wayne. This is what I was greeted with:

Little Chipmunk peered out around the corner at me.

I was disturbing little chubby’s dinner.

Here’s a preview of the desk I’m working on from one angle…

…or from another…

Chipmunk looked at me suspiciously. He wanted to be sure I wasn’t going to turn on another sander like I did yesterday.

Gave him indigestion all night.

When he was assured there were no power tools lurking, he went back to burying his head in the bucket.

Whaaaa?

Can’t a little horse eat in peace around here?

Well, frankly, no. Its my workshop, not your dining room. Horses are supposed to eat in the yard. Or the stable. 
Or the yard.
Outside!
Its all Wayne’s fault. When he discovered that Chipmunk had discovered he could jump up the step and come in through the bottom half of the dutch door to the casita, he began letting him in while he prepared horse feeds, which lead to Chippy dining indoors.
It works great.
Most of the time.
There was that one time when the wind blew the bottom door shut and Chipmunk was stuck in there all night.
…There was poop everywhere.
Including on the legs of the desk I’m working on.
On the legs.
Seriously.
How did he even get it up there?
z

we have goslings!

For the last few weeks Anabelle (our goose) has been sitting on a nest. We had no idea how many eggs she had as she wouldn’t let us near her. And the boys, Hank and Jethro, were really protective of her.

Yesterday Wayne came back from feeding the ducks and told me we had goslings!

This morning I went out myself, to see them. There are three little guys. There are three eggs as well.

The boys and Anabelle circled the little guys and tried to hide them from me. I hope they do as good a job with the crows and hawks. At least the goslings are bigger than the baby ducks are when they first hatch.

Hank and Anabelle told me in no uncertain terms that the babies were theirs and I had to keep my distance.

A very muddy Chipmunk kept an eye on me in case I dropped some grain that he could scoff up.

Isn’t the little brat a disgrace? He hates being brushed. I think I’ll corner him and brush him anyway… and look at that tummy!

z

the best thing about living in the country

One of the things I love about living in the country is the sound of animals instead of humans around us. Every morning we wake up to the sound of the ducks and geese fussing around the dam. Birds hopping around the roof and catching up on gossip. The sound of Chipmunk telling us its time to let him play with the big guys. Not to mention the rooster crowing about how great life is.

I just love it.

This morning when I woke up the dogs let me know we had a visitor. A big wallaby was spending some time in the middle paddock. I tried to creep closer but I spooked it.

Probably a good thing. The dogs were all set for a game of chase.

Today the sun was shining which was a nice change from the cloudy days we’ve had lately. The horses were up near the mostly finished stable munching on hay. There’s Cass, making a break so I won’t put her mask on (she has to wear a mask to avoid sunburn).

Chipmunk is now enjoying days out with the others. They all get along pretty well. The girls sort of avoid him but he and Wally are still best friends.

He’s put on a bit of weight since we got him. He’s got a big round tummy now. He’s just so adorable I can’t stand it. He comes into the casita every evening when we’re preparing their dinner and he follows us around like one of the dogs. We love him.

Wally is the biggest of the horses. And quite round. Though not as round as Cass!

Dancer is much finer than the others. Unfortunately I haven’t ridden her for a long time. I’ve been so busy and the weather hasn’t been nice. To be honest I want to ride, but not if the ground is muddy and slippery. I’m nervous enough on stable ground!

I love having horses so close to the house that I can hear them chomping grass.

When I feed them I spend time cuddling each one. Except Wally. He gets butt scratches if he’s good but no cuddles. I don’t trust him to keep his teeth to himself.

The girls love having special one on one time, though sometimes Dancer chases off Cass so she can get all the cuddles.

Animals really are good for the soul…

z

dancer is home!

Our girlie is back!

Dancer’s been away for a long time… we took her to be broken in to saddle before I went to Greece last year, then, for one reason or another, her return was put off again and again.

Over the last few months I’ve been going down to visit her and having a few rides to get used to her (and her used to me and my clumsy ways). But now our girlie is back home, finally.

She’s looking gorgeous. She’s such a sweet-natured girl. But she’s green. And I’m not the best rider in the world. I mean, I never was the best rider in the world, but I had balance and I could stick to a horse back then.

Makes sense that after many many years of not riding, many many additional kilos, compounded with middle age, that I’d get myself a green horse to ride. I got myself a pair of sticky-bum jodhpurs but I’d need superglue-bum jodhpurs to stay on if Dancer jumps sideways suddenly…

Anyway, Jenny has done a wonderful job in schooling her. If you have a horse you need broken I highly recommend her. Dancer is responsive to a light touch, a shift of weight and a squeeze of the thighs. Suits me perfectly in one way as I’ve always had soft hands. Doesn’t suit me at all (yet) in another as my balance is still off… I’m still riding like the sack of potatoes my first riding teacher used to accuse us of being.

That will improve with time and more riding.

I hope.

Gotta go.

I have a horse to ride!

z

wally and mini me

Never say never, right?

We always used to let horses in the front yard. We had no garden in our front yard.

I now have a garden which I’m loving. I’ve really gotten into watching plants grow and flowers bloom.

I said “we are never letting horses in the yard again.”

Here is Chipmunk.

In the front yard.

Dancing dangerously close to the garden bed…

Chipmunk has been coming into the yard every day. Twice a day if we’re home.

So far he’s only eaten my blue fescue. That poor plant. It was just beginning to come back from the last time it was cropped by a horse.

He’s nibbled on my pink cordyline. He sniffed around the alyssum and got yelled at.

And he’s walked through two of the garden beds.

He has no respect!

Chipmunk and Wally have really hit it off. Wally seems totally taken by the little guy and I think he quite likes Wally as well.

So far they’ve only been allowed to spend time getting to know eachother over the fence. We’re not ready to let such a tiny horse in with such big ones.

The really interesting thing is that Wally is Chipmunk’s protector as well.

Cas hates Chipmunk. I saw her coming at him, ears back and teeth bared. Wally got between her and Chipmunk, threatening her with bites and kicks. It really is amazing to watch. I’m really surprised too. I really didn’t think Wally would take to the little guy. Its beautiful to see them together.

z

the tiny guy is home

Chipmunk is home!

We picked him up today. You know we’ve been going up to see him every afternoon and slowly getting him used to being handled, lead and taking food from our mouths.

He’s just SO cute.

He walked right up into the float behind Wayne. No fear, no panic, no trouble. He walked right up the ramp and that was that.

Of course, putting a miniature horse in a float meant for ‘normal’ sized horses was a new experience for Wayne. The breastplate/bar was above Chipmunk’s forehead…

In the end Wayne rode in the back with him just in case, to make sure he was safe. When we got home the little man just talked off calmly – poodles jumping around him, sniffing his butt and barking, Wally carrying on in the paddock. It was all new but he took it all in his stride.

As if all that wasn’t enough for the little guy in one day, Wayne walked him down the steps into the casita, all the way to the dutch door at the end where Wally was waiting to meet him new friend.

It was gorgeous.

But most of all, I couldn’t believe how calm Chipmunk was through it all, through all the new stuff: home, animals, environment. He took it all in his stride. And for the first time ever, he let me touch him all over his body and legs and wasn’t skittish at all. I got my fill of hugs today.

I’m so proud of him.

For now he’s in the tiny yard off the casita, till he settles in. Then he’ll move into the smallest of our paddocks. I don’t know if I want him running with the big horses. He’s just so small. I also want him close to the house so he can come in to ‘play’ more often.

He’ll be like one of the dogs. I’d love it if he and the dogs would play together. Wouldn’t that be cool!

z