the pitter patter of little feet

 We’re getting a miniature horse.

Yep.

You heard me.

Wayne, who always said miniature horses were a waste of space, good for nothing, etc, was the one who decided we were getting a miniature horse.

First, Wayne said we were going to SEE him.

Yep.

You already know how THAT goes…

Meet Cheeky. At least that’s what he’s been called till now. I’m sure he’ll have a new name soon.

One look and I was in love. He’s so tiny that all I want to do is pull him on my lap and cuddle him.

He wasn’t so keen on that. He hasn’t had much work done. He’s only had a halter on once before and he got it off. I bought him a new one yesterday and Wayne managed to catch him (with a lasso!) and we got it on him.

He wasn’t impressed.

But he needs to get used to being handled. I plan to handle him a LOT. We went up to see him twice today and Wayne worked with him a bit both times. Wayne really is incredible with horses. All animals.

This handsome fellow is his dad. Indy. The sweetest quietest stallion I’ve ever met.

(I’ve never met a stallion before, but he’s quiet, trust me.)

The plan is that little Cheeky has a visit from the vet next week during which he’ll say goodbye to some parts of his anatomy which he won’t need and which he’s probably very attached to, then he’ll be coming to live with us.

Its going to be interesting.

He’s about the same size as Romeo.

I’m so excited! I’ve always loved miniature horses.

z

today was a nice day

Today was a nice day. 
It was sunny, not cold. No rain. No wind.
I had some dogs to groom in the morning but I was determined to get outside and spend some time with the horses.
Soon as I finished the last dog I took some brushes and a halter and went out and got Cass. We spent some time bonding over some intense back rubbing. I think she loved it more than I did… I was choking on horse hair.
I swear, I’ve never seen a horse shed as much as she does. The other day I was watching her in the paddock after we’d taken their rugs off so they could get some sun… Cass shook and a cloud of white hair rose around her, settling on the ground like snow.
Its still there now! After a whole week and many many inches of rain!
In fact when you walk around the paddock you’ll see spots… “This is where Cass rolled, this is where she shook”…
The view from Cass’ back.
I had to get Wayne’s help to saddle her up. I can’t do up a girth. I’m a weakling.
Then I had to use a milk crate to get on her.  My legs can’t get up high enough to put my foot in the stirrup… And my arms aren’t strong enough to lift my butt off the ground…
Let’s not go there.
After the ride. Sleepy Cass.
Wayne said he wasn’t going to ride. He was just going to hassle watch me ride Cass around the paddock. The aim of the exercise was to just get to know eachother. I haven’t ridden in YEARS. I need to build my confidence. And Cass thought she’d come here to retire. We brought her here, fed her and let her do her own thing for months, what’s a girl to think?
In the end, Wayne got jealous. He got out his gear and saddled up Wally, then we both ambled around the paddocks, letting the horses relax under saddle and with eachother and us on their backs. 
Basically it was a very relaxed hour.
I plan to make this a regular thing. Its a promise to myself. To start doing something we planned to do when we bought Wind Dancer Farm. We bought this particular property cause it has access to good riding areas both on our own property and beyond it. Yet we’ve been here for over 2 years and haven’t ridden together yet.
Now I have Cass, its time.
Meanwhile, its good to be home. Though I when I opened the shed last week to get something, this is what I was greeted by:
I hadn’t left it like that. Believe me.
The poodles were in there hunting a possum. Or two.
One of them didn’t make it apparently. I found a LOT of grey possum fur when pooperscooping the yard that first day… Wayne said he had to bury an ex-possum while I’d been away. The poodles went feral, wreaking destruction to get at the possums… 
You should see the new car’s fender…
I almost came back to ex-poodles.
I also found some red possum fur. That little guy did make it. Though he was stupid enough to come into the yard again. The other night he was frozen on top of the trellis while the dogs paced around below. The poodles were like “I know he’s around here somewhere but I just can’t see him…”
The possum was still as a statue thinking “If I don’t move maybe they won’t notice me.”
Poor little thing… He had quite a few bald spots. Luckily no injuries, just bald spots.
I got the dogs inside and he escaped… I hope he’s smart enough to find another hangout.
z

the molasses fiasco of 2013

While I remember, I thought I might share our misadventure with the new truck. You may remember we traded my poor tired little Lancer Wagon in for a newer dual cab ute with canopy a few weeks ago.
It was spotless. All shiny and clean.
Of course that was never going to last. We live up a dirt road and car washes and I have a natural aversion to eachother. However I blame Wayne for the following debacle.
Here are the facts:

We mix molasses into the horse feed cause we own pampered nags.

Molasses is sweet, thick and very sticky.

We were out of molasses and the horses were taking it as a personal insult to be given unflavoured feed.

I stopped in at the feed store after work and picked up a 25 kilo bucket of molasses.

I put it in the back of the ute with 2 bags of horse pellets.

I told Wayne.

Wayne fed the horses that night and the next morning.

I looked into the back of the ute before heading off to work, didn’t see the bucket and presumed he’d taken it out.

That was my first mistake.
I mean, he’d FED the horses. 
TWICE. 
There was a new bucket of molasses in the truck! I think I can be excused for presuming he’d removed the bucked to add molasses to their feed.
At the end of that day some poor guy chased us on the freeway, hooting his horn and waving madly about something leaking out the back of our car. I guess we were lucky it wasn’t the cops presuming it was blood from a badly wrapped body.
Can you guess?
Yep. 2/3rds of a bucket of molasses. All over the tray and horse feed bags.
And it was dark.
We got home, I got the high pressure water cleaner thingy, connected it to the hot tap and started blasting it out. Every now and then I’d stop and use a portable spotlight to check… ‘Yep, still got molasses in that corner’… ‘oh look, its on the ceiling!’… Needless to say we were both soaked with diluted molasses and the grass got a good long drink of it. Come spring we’ll know if its good fertilizer.
Even the horses were laughing at us. 
Or they would have been if they weren’t crying over the waste of so much molasses. If we’d allowed them to they’d have happily licked it clean for us.
Object lessons:
Never leave a bucket of molasses in the back without securing it. It might be sealed but it opens easily!
Never presume ANYTHING.
Well, at least you can’t say life’s boring round here!
z

welcoming cas

Meet Cas:
Remember I decided to sell Ben cause he needed an experienced rider willing to take him on and train him? He was unbroken to saddle when we got him and we were finding it too hard to get someone to bring him along for me. And even if we had, he really was too green for me.
I had to face my limitations.
Enter Cas.
Cas is a 16yr old champagne appaloosa few spot mare. She’s gorgeous and she’s mine.
Not too big at 15hh (compared to Ben’s 16.2hh – that’s a lotta hands when you’re falling off!). She’s nice and fat and round. I could ride her bareback and be comfy. She’s just what I need, a nice quiet, steady girl who will give me back my confidence and help me get my saddle bum back.
(Hey, if sailors can call them ‘sea legs’ surely I can call it ‘saddle bum’!)
 
Cas arrived yesterday and while Dancer and Wally ran around like idiots, she remained calm, collected and way more interested in the grass.
This afternoon we let them all out together and it was all good. Dancer has her nose out of joint a bit, she’s used to having Wally’s affections all to herself. Wally is thrilled. He knew we’d eventually come round to getting him a harem.
I love the name ‘Cas’. It reminds me of Castiel – aka Cas – on (you guessed it!) Supernatural.
Apparently when she was purchased as a youngster her call name was Nova. Her new owners didn’t think that was a good name so they renamed her Casanova, thus Cas.
I first thought Cassandra.
When I told mom, she said Cassiopeia.
Wayne said Casserole.
Guess which one will stick?
sigh…
z

beater halter hangers

Am I the only one who remembers Tom Hanks in Bachelor Party chasing his girlfriend around with the egg beater?
I LOVE Tom Hanks.
But this post isn’t about who I find attractive (though if you really want to know, James Stewart, Jensen Ackles from Supernatural, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, also from Supernatural incidentally… )
Deep breath. Back down to earth.
Good.
In my “tackling the tack room” post I mentioned the beaters. And about re-using them to make a hanger for the halters for our tack room.
See, I’d been collecting these babies for a while thinking “one day I’ll do something with them”.
I used a couple in the mud room for hanging hats. Wayne used one on one of his robots. I spray painted some white. But for the most part they just lay there taking up space and not justiying their existance.
Last weekend when I ran out of hooks and anything bendy to use for hanging up tack I looked at the beaters once more and said “your time has come!”
The only hanging space left in the tack room by that point was the wall along the left hand side right near the door to the corral (or small horse yard… really a small sheep yard considering the casita was a shearing shed in its previous life).
Its a wall with exposed studs and no real place to hang things, so I put another of my handy timber slats up (leftover treated pine from our decking rennovation).
I then drilled holes in the pine, all the way through, for the various size beaters I had. Each beater had to be pushed (or pounded) in till it wedged snuggly.
Once done I hung up our collection of halters so they’re easy to grab as you head out the door.
And just so you don’t think I’ve forgotten Wayne’s input into the hanging racks, here is a photo of one of the bent spoon hooks he made.
I like the way the tack room is organised now:
– saddles ready to ride on their trestles
– extra girths, stirrup leathers & reins along the wacky wallpapered wall
– bridles near the saddle on a timber slat
– saddle blankets over saddles to keep off bird poop
– horse rugs airing out over the fences and slats.
Nice.
Orderly.
My mind is at peace in there.
Next job: tackle the workshop area…
z

Shared at:

Keeping It Simple

DIY Show Off

 

life in the windy lane

We’ve had the worst winds for the last couple of days. Really really strong winds. Lucky for us, everything seemed to stay more or less where we put it. Aside from tarps, rubbish, the garage…

Ok, only joking. Though the poor chickens were pinned up against the fence for most of the day…

Alright. That was a joke too.

But the wind was strong. And this morning while we were out battling with a round bale of hay I spied a tree down in the top paddock.

At first I thought the tree had come down from the neighbour’s drive, down over our fence. Turns out we were lucky.

The good news: It was our tree. On our side of the fence. The fence wasn’t damaged. Neither was the water tank.

The bad news: It was our tree.

More good news: Plenty more firewood.


Notice the deep root system gum trees have. NOT.

A whooping tree came down and there’s barely a hole to show where it was.

The poodles enjoyed running around in the tree. Its not often they get to walk among branches.

And here’s a shot of Wally enjoying a munch on the new round bale.

A friend suggested that rather than just putting a round bale in the stable and letting the horses pull it apart and walk, pee and poop all over the hay, we should surround it with pallets and restrict how much the horses can pull apart at one time.

We’ll see how it works. The way our monsters eat it won’t be long before we need to lower the fences around the bale so they can reach the hay.

z

tackling the tack room

Last weekend I tackled the tack room.
Actually I continued tackling the tack room – a job I started the weekend before. It was a mammoth task. Till now the tack had been scattered around the property: some in the small timber shed which we planned to use as the original tack room, some in the garage, some in the casita.
Every time we needed to do something with a horse it was like “Where’s the halter?” “You had it last. Where did you put it?” “Behind the door.” “What door?”…
This is what I’d like the tack room to look like:
Instead it looks like this:
Eh. We work with what we have.
(The saddles are covered to keep bird poop off them as well as to protect them from the sun streaming in through that window despite its liberal coating of grime. Yes, we have birds living in the casita. And mice, and rats. And a black possum named Siegfried.)
At this point I should explain. The casita is the original old cottage on our property. Not technically a shed, but a home in which a family once raised 14 children. When the original owners sold it, the new owners ‘built’ a new (relocated) house about 5.5 inches away on the other side of a tiny yard cause it made better sense than putting it further up the hill to have a view of the countryside and not of the old house…  But hey, its Tasmania.
Anyway, the council apparently said “sure, you can put another house there, but you have to make the old house unlivable”. So they did. They ripped out half the ceilings, removed some doors, exposed stud walls, then put in a fence, gate, sheep grid flooring in the big room, a stock ramp on the porch and made it into a shearing shed.
When we bought the place we replaced the sheep grid floor with flooring, which I sealed with white undercoat/sealer and never painted, and we’ve been using it for all kinds of things. There’s a toilet no one would want to use without a tetanus shot, a laundry, a chest freezer for dog food, the hydrobath and my grooming room, plus a musty dark room we avoid, a feed room for horse feed and the big room which used to be the shearing shed.
The right side of the big room is my workshop. I had to re-organise that side as part of my ‘tack room makeover’.
You can see Romeo keeping an eye on me over the gate into the big room as I shifted things around.
I’d been using the left side of the big room as a hold-all area for things I was going to get to one day. One corner was being used as the spray paint spot. Horse rugs would got tossed on the floor, feed buckets thrown into corners… It was ugly.
Last week I started by clearing it out and sweeping it clean. I think the feed room yielded a full bag of chaff from the floor… In order to clean and organise you first must make a bigger mess. That’s the law.
I started by sorting out the workshop area, took down the trestles and door I was using as a work bench which I never used as it was always covered in stuff, and moved the cabinets to different walls to allow access to the dividing fence rail. That rail is a built-in horse rug airer! I added a slat of timber between the posts to create a 2nd tier of hanging space.
I used the trestles to hold the two heaviest saddles (my stock saddle and Wayne’s western saddle). Then I used an old ladder and a post to hold a second hand hybrid Wintec and some very old saddles.
Another timber slat between the far posts holds the rack I bought to hold our bridles. That’s the only new thing in this makeover.
Another slat became a spot for girths and older tack, not so regularly used. Since I have no idea where the studs are behind the masonite wall I thought it’d be safer to put a slat of timber on the wall for my hooks. I used anything I could find as hooks. More photos of those later.
I had something which looks like the side of a playpen so I attached it to the dividing fence, its now another spot to hang a horse rug. We only have 2 horses right now but we have something like 6 rugs. They’re all in varying degrees of repair (or disrepair).
We’ll be buying new winter rugs for them soon, we try to recycle and re-use old rugs as much as we can. At least Wayne does. He’s the rug stitcher in this family.
Cas will be joining us soon, this weekend I hope, and I’ll finally be riding again.
Have I mentioned Cas? She’s an older girl, a 16 yr old appaloosa who I met a few weeks ago. She belonged to the family who bought Ben. We went down to meet her and Chester, I rode both and I decided I liked Cas best. I loved Chester. He’s such a gorgeous boy, but Cas was so comfortable to ride, sweet natured and, really, she’s what I need… an older,  sensible, quiet horse I can get my confidence back with.
I can’t wait!
z

sag drag and fall

I am so tired.
I finally got up on that ladder and painted under the eaves on the east side of the house so that side is now finished.
Well… almost finished. I still have to paint the window surrounds and nail the wire up to keep the birds out. I can hear one scratching around in the ceiling over my desk as I type…
I still have two more sides to paint the high bits, under the eaves, the window surrounds and the rails. And adding wire to keep out birds.
Then I have to consider oiling or staining the deck…
It never ends.
I used to flip flop and fly but now I sag drag and fall. (lyrics from an old rockabilly song).
My neck and upper back ache from balancing precariously on the ladder and reaching above my head to paint. My hair has tips in it. None a hairdresser put in, more like the ones I give myself as I lean back to paint a bit on one side while my hair brushes the bits I painted on the other side…
And the weather, which was so uncooperative for so long, being stinking hot and windy, has suddenly turned chilly.
I think summer is over and I haven’t yet finished painting the house.
I need to put all other projects on hold and get it done before winter really sets in. Once the rains start I think it’ll be next summer before the rails dry enough to apply paint.
Meanwhile, on an exciting note, I’ve been in touch with the family who bought Ben. He’s doing well and they love him. I’m so glad. When they were here they said they may have a couple of horses which might suit me. I got photos of one of them the other day.
Meet Chester, a chestnut standard bred boy, 15hh, 10 years old.

I’m in love.
He’s gorgeous, isn’t he? I love boys anyway so I may be a bit biased. But he’s just so pretty! And such a lovely colour. 
At this point I confess that I’ve always had a mistrust of chestnuts, ever since a chesnut boy named Tito threw me repeatedly when I was taking riding lessons many years ago. But Chester has a trustworthy face, don’t you think?
At 15hh, Chester is a lot smaller than Ben too. When we bought Ben he was 16hh according to what we were told. He’s now 16.3hh. He’s huge. He grew tons while we had him. As you can imagine, the drop from 15 hands is a lot less than the drop from 16.3 hands.
I always wanted a BIG horse. My first horse was a 14.3hh quarter horse x named Schnapps. I wanted a 16-17hh horse then. Now I’m leaning the other way…
I might even have a hope in hell of getting my leg up into the stirrup of a 15hh horse. 
We can only hope!
Anyway, I’ll share photos of the mare they have too, an appaloosa… then we’ll go out one day in a couple of weeks and I’ll get to ride them and see how I feel about them. I’m so excited!
z

a different kind of horse

I’ve had these photos for ages and found them while tidying up my desktop today. I just have to share cause I think this is incredible work.

One day, a long time ago, I drove down the Cygnet and as I came around the bend and looked down the hill I saw a horse grazing in a paddock just outside town. As I got closer the horse started to looks strange… see through, ghostly…

It was made of barbed wire!

Since then they’ve moved the horse to just inside town, outside a gallery on the main street. I’m so sorry I didn’t get a photo of it in the paddock. The weatherboards don’t do it justice. In a paddock it looked like a real horse, here its just a sculpture.

Even so, its an incredible piece of work. I have no idea who made it or who owns it, but its beautiful. All made of wire and metal.

How cool is that? I think we need one of these for our paddock. And a couple of corregated iron cows. And a corregated iron poodle of course.

z

digging it up

 

This is Dancer, our gorgeous girl. She’s a 3yr old anglo arab x warmblood, but she’s almost entirely arab to my eye. She’s not that big, if she cracks 15hh we’ll be happy. But she’s the sweetest, prettiest thing. So gentle and loving and trusting. And she moves like a dream.

I’ve organised a lady who comes highly recommended and who’s a great rider to come work with Ben to get him going for me. Hopefully she’ll work on me as well to get me going for Ben!

When I feel confident with Ben I think we’ll get her to start with Dancer. She’s not had any work so far other than the work Wayne put in to get her trusting us and giving us her feet. He’ll start ground work with her soon (at least that’s the plan) so she’ll be ready to start.

If it goes well, I figure this winter Wayne and I will be riding on our tracks! Finally!

Meanwhile, today I finally got off my butt and got motivated to do some work.

I started by clearing out one corner of our metal garden shed. When we first moved in it was meant to be the gardening shed, plus storage since its nice and dry. Over the last 2 years things have spread and it got messy.

I got in there today and made a pile of stuff to go to the tip, organised storage stuff on one end, camping gear in a corner, fishing rods hung on the back wall, gardening tools and equipment one one side. The ride on will park in the middle of that side.

Its clean. Its tidy. And I have room to put my ‘projects to do’ and to store large finished pieces waiting for a home.

I went down to the casita and climbed over the broken fence (which Wally broke last winter rushing the gate to get into the corral) to retrieve one of the 3 old metal lockers we inherited out on the porch.

I managed to drag one into the casita where I dumped it. I’ll ask the boys to bring it up to the metal shed for me later. I figure the lockers will act as storage as well as a space divider.

Then, since I was on a roll, I decided to tackle the oily bog in the garden bed.

I doubt you’ll remember this fiasco, but  not long after we moved in I decided that the small ‘garden bed’ near the small timber shed and carport would make the perfect spot for my hydrangeas. I’ve always loved hydrangeas and really wanted a spot to grow my own.

So I dug out the pebbles, found weed barrier, pulled that up and started digging holes. Put in the first two hydrangeas ok. Then I hit oil.

Sump oil.

Seems the last owner of this place used that spot to tip out the oil when servicing his cars.

What kind of person does that????

Sigh.

Needless to say, I did what I could. I dug and dug and carted and dug some more. I got sick of the smell of oil. So I did what anyone in my place would do. I put it in the too hard basket.

I put three hydrangeas in the not affected areas and left a hole to deal with ‘later’.

Today ‘later’ finally came around. I started again. Pulling up oil soaked weed barrier and digging, carting and digging more.

I’m a weakling. I can only do a job like that for a short time before my arms fall off. So I called the boys. Wayne and Chris (who’s visiting). Chris is too polite to refuse to do me a favour so I got them to dig the soil looked normal. I have a nice big hole now. Tomorrow I’ll take the trailer down and buy some topsoil to fill it and I’ll finally be able to put in the last hydrangea.

Talk about having a quiet day!

z