Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Really, Girls? Do I have to referee ALL the time?

This morning, I went to feed my girls, check their water levels, give them a quick brush, feed the chickens, and Dean-O - like I always do. And, as usual, my sweet girls were waiting for me ever so patiently. Looking like they hadn't really seen me in days rather than the hours since their last feeding/brushing, etc.
I walked into the barn, and headed towards the hay as usual, but when I looked towards their section of the barn that serves as a run in shed .... I was irritated.
They kicked the access gate to the run in. Which, broke the post that holds the hinges of the access gate. And, they cracked the post on the latch side too. One of them did, anyhow. No way to tell for sure who the guilty party is, though I think I know who it is.

This is not the actual post, but it pretty much illustrates what the little booger did. To top it off, because of their confinement to the paddock (I can't let them loose in the pasture. Not without being there 24/7 to watch them. They always seem to break the wire fence this time of year, and they could be 2 counties over before I figured it out right now) they are chewing wood making me think that they are not really the purebred quarter horses, and paint horse they appear to be. They must be some twisted Dr.Mephesto crossbreed of horses and beavers. Oh, sure they look equine enough, but they could fell a tree they way they've been going lately.
Flat wood is not safe either. It's not just fenceposts & 2x4's. Oh no. Wood walls are getting it too.

They chew away at the boards, the posts .... I have the paddock wired for sound just to keep them from totally destroying the barn around their ears.
*****************not my pic, or horse here.
For some reason, even treated wood is tasty to them. Though, they are quite smart enough to do it when I am NOT there. They know they're not supposed to. Even when I am there for several hours, and their food is long gone, they don't chew when I am there. They just wait for me to leave.
******************not my pics, nor my horses
So, while they squabble .... really, it's Dona & Rosie that are squabbling. They are fighting for the no. 2 position in the herd, and Velvet is uninvolved, strangely. It changes from day to day. One day it's Dona, the other it's Rose. Velv likes both of them, so it doesn't really matter much to her. Rose is feeling her oats, Dona doesn't want to be stepped on. I think eventually Dona will win just from sheer size though. She will be nearly as big as her mom, and Rose, well ..... rose is just around 14.2. But, a scrapper. They both have bite marks, and I know they've both been kicking.
So, long story short .... I kicked them out of the run in until I can make the repairs and cover all the walls in sheet metal. Should take me a couple days. The entries are now hot wired to the fence. They will be fine. They won't be too happy with me, but I'm not too pleased with their Royal Beavernesses at the moment either.

****none of the pictures in this post are mine. I have had no time to photograph lately. I skivved these off the web *****

Monday, December 27, 2010

End of Year Catch Up Post

So, here we are. End of 2010. A year that I am not sad at all to see pass by. I am so thankful that this year is finally over. It's been one of the worst on record for my family all around. The work front for my folks & myself has been beyond dreary. There has been little to nothing for us to do to keep our heads above water all this year. I know that there are a LOT of people in the same boat as we are, but it certainly doesn't make it hurt any less.
This year, we have lost so much. So much, that it hurts to look back at the things that are gone. The biggest and hardest loss was of course, the loss of the house that my Grampa Clyde built.
My father and my childhood home is gone. This has been breaking my heart & spirit for a long time. I am trying to move forward, but it is so terribly hard.
Grama's health has been slipping, more so the past few months.
A much less devistating blow - but one that was still quite hard to swallow - was my dog Tony's sudden passing. He was fine one minute, gone the next. Same deal with the goat, Chompy - he'd tied out all year long with no incidents, then somehow, he got tangled up and presumably choked himself to death - though, the rope wasn't tight. I don't get that one at all. Unless, I want to go conspiracy theory and think that someone did him in. (Dear God, please, don't let that be the case, I'll never sleep again)
Mom & I have prayed, burned candles, asked the spirits above for guidance, and very little has become apparent.
Larry & I are in a house that we aren't totally happy with, but we are fixing it to suit our sensibility a little more. It is incredibly hard for me to be here though when my horses are on what is left of Grampa's homestead (no, we didn't loose the whole farm, just the house. The barns, and a majority of the land, with an access easement is ours -- free and clear I might add). I am there with them 2 - 3 times a day. Sometimes, the middle of the night too. They have electric, water, and food aplenty, so they are not wanting for much. But, I am wanting for them outside my kitchen window.
Mom, Dad & Gramma are in the little house with the flowing well. They are cozy, but they too are ... unsatisfied, I think. I bring the boys to see Gramma as often as I can, but home improvements and horse & house duties make my afternoons both fly and drag.

I do not believe in New Year Resolutions. No one ever keeps them. It's just a chance to depress yourself further, so I try to avoid such nonsense. I have already started on what I plan to do with my life. Started it long ago, and though there have been some bumps, and some redirection on the HOW we will get there, I am more determined than ever that we WILL get there.
The place we are at .... we have it on a land contract. SO, if all goes as desired, Larry will finish school in a couple years, get himself a job in his desired profession, and we will sell this place. It is, in all honesty, a perfect place for a young family. There is room for kids or dogs to play - just not enough per township ordinaces for horses to frolic.
Once it is sold, we will be moving north. I want to go to the Upper Peninsula. But, my second choice is Northern Minnesota - near the border waters. If neither of those work, I am totally open to Alaska, North Dakota, or Montana. I just want to be out of this area. I feel like it just sucks the life out of the people that live here.
I will have my horse farm. Even if it's just for me & the family, I will have a horse farm with a training area. That is what is in my heart, and it will happen some how. The when is the problem.
So, I will keep chippin' away. And, playin' the lotto, cuz you never know when luck will finally turn your way. Lord knows, it's time for my luck to turn to good again, and when it does, I will be ready.

Happy New Years, friends, countrymen, noblemen, and interwebz pals. May the powers that be smile down on you with good fortune that you could never imagine, love that will bridge the gaps when luck fails, health to keep you on your feet running, and happiness regardless of the cards you are dealt. I only hope that my wish is returned to me as well.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fun Monday .... Christmas Shopping

The final November edition of Fun Monday, hosted by Julie at Another Chance Ranch ( in case you missed it)
She asks today of all the players :
"When do you start your Christmas shopping? On Black Friday? Cyber Monday? And, who is the hardest person to buy for?"

Well, first of all - Christmas is banned in my house until after my birthday. I have spent too many birthdays running around worrying about what to do for everyone's christmas that I have, quite literally, forgotten that it was my birthday. A hazard of being born at this time of year. So I refuse to get into the Christmas thing until December 1st. The 30th of November is a super special day, as it's mine & Daddy's birthday.

Who wants to fight a black friday crowd anyhow? I mean, check these goons out ...

who the heck gets up at 3 am to shop? Not I said the fly. I am a hide in the house type anyhow. I will shop when the mood hits me, and I am inspired. There has been many a Christmas Eve-eve that I've spent running around all over town for last minute wowzer gifts. And it turns out fine. Besides, all I can think of doing when I'm in a mall of people frothing at the mouth is that I'd rather get a cinnamon roll and a cup of cocoa and curl up by the fire away from the mess.

Snuggling is more important than shopping. always.

who is hardest to shop for? Bar none, my dad. To understand, you must know the backstory. When he was a kid, he was the typical kid. Until his 8 year older brother was killed by a drunk driver. His mom (Gramma Flash) went into a deep depression and was more or less comatose for nearly 2 years. When she 'woke up' Dad had changed deeply. He no longer wanted any toys. Every Christmas & Birthday was the same answer for Gramma when she would ask for his list "It's OK Ma, I don't need anything". He was 11. His list is the same now. No matter what he gets or doesn't get, he's fine either way, and to get any reaction out of him, even if it's something he really adores is the same. Very calm & reserved. Can't get a rise out of him. SO, I would love to come up with something for the man who has everything, and whose birthday I share (I was not aware enough to remember it, I was his 30th birthday present). Any ideas? He has everything he could want.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fun Monday!

It's just another manic monday ..... that Miss Julie over at Another Chance Ranch ( has made a little more interesting.
Once again, friends, I signed on to play this monday. Not sure what to do with this one, but I will try!

Julie queries "What is your favorite beauty product? Any why?"

Simple enough. Except I am the most unorganized, frazzled, not really worried about how I look woman on the planet. No, really I am. I rank right up there with Mama grizzlies & my mares in the pasture, only - I groom my mares pretty regularly & use product to keep their manes lookin' SHARP.
So, that leaves me a little bit out of the loop here. But, believe it or not, I do have a few favorites. No, really - Jessica, you can stop snickering. lol.

Now, I must tell you, My Gramma Lily was a massive advocate for beauty products. She was a huge fan of the entire Oil of Olay product line. She used the creams, the capsules, the toners & face wash. She was like a walking talking spokeswoman. And, it did her well. I would love to have skin as soft as hers, but I just don't have her dedication to it.

It would not surprise anyone that one of the products that tops my list is Pantene. I usually get the stuff that's supposed to be for long hair. It smells great to me, and that is one of the major determining factors in my hair product purchases.

What you may not expect though .... the Olay Daily Facials. I love them. It also is a big nod to Gramma's reccomendations. You see, I'm pretty horrible about remembering to care for my skin. So, when I do remember, I don't like to pick up a bottle of whatnots & fight with finding a washcloth in my ramshackle bathroom (I have 2 little boys, and a husband, remember. Things like this are usually found in strange places, and never when I need them). That is the beauty of the Daily Facials. They are these lovely little disposable washcloths with the good smelling olay facial cleanser permeated into them. You just wet them, lather up, wash, rinse & toss. Wonderful. Perfect for travelling too.

Here is another little throw back to my Gramma Lil. She always had this stuff around the house. I keep some, rarely use it, but with winter coming, I'm sure it will be gone in no time. Again, the smell is awesome. Cherry-Almond? How can you go wrong??

And now, my favorite, can't believe I lived without it product. I get it at the tack stores. Now, don't wrinkle your nose up. You didn't really think that MY list would be entirely devoid of something that was originally intended to be used on livestock, did you? Well, if you did, you don't know me too well. No, it's not Mane & Tail - that stuff stinks. In more ways than one.
I am ADDICTED to Cowboy Magic. The Detangler & Shine to be precise, though, I love all their fantastic products, and have used all of them on both the horses & myself (except the green spot remover --- I don't need that personally. Yet.)
This stuff smells great and is bar none the best detangler I have ever found. Anywhere. Ever. I have removed massive snarly gnarly thorn and twig encrusted gigantic rat nests with this. And that doesn't even say what it has done for my horses. (heh heh)
They sell it in 2 sizes that I have found. I keep the bigger one in the barn, the smaller one in my bathroom.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fun Monday on a Tuesday .... again. OOPS!

So, Julie @ Another Chance Ranch set the question::
When do you start decorating for Christmas?
So you go all out? Or just put up a tree? Do you have a theme each year?

Personally, I love the Christmas thing. I start decorating Decamber 1st. I can't bear to do it any earlier than that, because my birthday is the 30th of November, and I have to be in birthday mode before I can indulge in Christmas. May even have to wait until the 2nd now, because my favorite niece's birthday is the 1st of December (should have been the 30th - just sayin')

I try to go all out, but I am too broke to really do so. I have to have a tree, a wreath, and anything else is just frosting. Candles should be everywhere around here too.

I prefer my tree to be decked out in all white lights with all white & silver decorations, but I am starting to lean towards other things. A tree iced in white just seems so .... nearly natural. I will probably keep to white lights this year and do all 'rustic' ornaments. I love that country look ... barn stars, paper, cloth & wood ornaments, gingham, fake berries ... the works.
My one guilty pleasure during the year in preparation for christmas is that I collect blown down bird nests. I was told once that they are good luck, and I love the way they look in the tree. Especially when I find them that are made with my horse's hair. Brings a little of them into the house with me :)

You can find Ms.Julie at and sign up to play along as well. I will play as long as I'm welcome to! Thanks, Julie!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Fun ... aka Julie Made Me Do It

Julie over at Another Chance Ranch is hosting a neat game this month, and I'm playing along, because Lord knows, I need something to write about that isn't me complaining. No one likes a bitcher. That's what I'm told. SO, here's today's assignment:

Tell us about your Thanksgiving Day meal. Do you have a menu planned? Do you have the traditional turkey dinner, or go a bit more non-traditional? What is your favorite go-to dish for Thanksgiving? Any recipes you'd like to share?
You can find Julie at She's got a great site there.

OK. So, this is an easy one for me. We go traditional. BIG time traditional. We make the same kind of bird - every year. It's always stuffed with my Gramma's home made stuffing, which consists of : chopped up stale or toasted home made bread, diced onion, celery & mushrooms, butter, spices & chopped up giblets *though, I must confess - these last few years that I have been in charge of making it, the giblets seem to just, get lost. Or, the dog eats them. It's befuddling. AND, no one has noticed the difference.*
I make mashed potatoes, and tend to occasionally slip a rutabega in the mix when no one is looking. heh heh.
Also on the list is homemade cranberry compote, pumpkin pie, fruity jell-O, green bean casserole(for my hubbs), sweet potato casserole 2 ways ... one with marshmallows, the other with pecans, spring peas with butter, plates full of hawiian rolls, cheese & crackers, veggie plates & occasionally a dip or two. Not to mention the deviled eggs ... or as my son calls them, neviled eggs - thankyou, Cartoon Network & Chowder. I owe ya.

SO, here is my recipe for Nevilled Eggs, er... Deviled Eggs ala Swede :)
Boil as many eggs as you think are necessary, then throw in a few more for good measure.
When they are fully hard boiled, peel and slice long ways, dumping the yolks into a bowl. To the yolks, add a fair amount of Miracle Whip, a dash of yellow mustard, and a splash of cream. Season as desired, mix the dickens out of them, and pipe into the waiting whites. sprinkle with paprika for colour. ENJOY.

I sincerely hope your Thanksgiving is blessed, and you have more to be thankful for than you did last year. :D

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oh, That's right - I blog too!

I am the first to admit, I am behind on things. There has been a move, now we're remodeling the new pad. The big kid is in a new school, the little kid is busy, busy, busy & into everything. Literally. Everything. It's a constant chase with him. He's a lot of fun because of it, too.
Hub's job is going alright, his school is doing great too. I'm very proud of him so far. In the midst of this, I am juggling caring for my animals, and trying to find a nearer to me place to keep them, doing my own homework for 3 classes, and all the housework, cooking, and some of the home improvements.
So, imagine my surprise when one day, not too long back, my dear sweetheart came in & says to me "I don't suppose you feel like baking anything delicious, would you?" which, was really funny, because in spite of the madness around me I did. I really, really did. I needed this new place to be filled with smells that were familiar to me - chocolate or cinnamon. Something .... wafting from the oven making it more mine.
"Actually, I have been thinking about doing some baking." I shocked him.
"Really? Great!" he sounded too flabberghasted for my liking.
"WHY. What have you volunteered me for now?" I snapped to him. He's done this before when I had too much going on, so my hackles were instantly up.
"No, no no.... I didn't volunteer you for anything -- yet. It's just that work is having a fundraiser for Relay for Life, and they need people to send in some sweet things, and I thought, if you felt like it, maybe?" he queried.
"Hmmm." had to think about this one. I hate baking for people I don't know/like. I find it a waste of time. but this was charity. "Alright. But, I'm not baking any cakes. No one knows how to cut them up right to feed a crowd. I can do cupcakes. How many do you need?"
Clearly he was surprised.
I asked him for flavors, he had no idea. So, I gave him an extensive list of somewhat oddball flavors that all spoke to me "FALL". I told him to choose 3. Here's what I came up with...

Pumpkin Spice with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting ... topped with a candy corn for a little festive color.

Tiramisu ... coffee soaked cake topped with my special mascarpone frosting & cocoa powder

And, finally - the showstopper (though you couldn't tell by looking at it, necessarily) S'Mores.
Graham cracker crust, chocolate cupcake topped with graham cracker crumbs & a toasted 'marshmallow' frosting.
Got some great reviews on the Tiramisu & S'Mores. The pumpkin was good, but kind of predictable for what it's worth.
And, just when I thought it was over, my son tells me he needs some cupcakes for his school's cake walk for their fall party. AND, that he needs s'more cupcakes for his class halloween party the following week. Oh, and I brought some s'mores to a friends' party as my 'dish to pass'.
I've had quite enough cupcake baking for now. I will be taking a hiatus until nearer to Christmas when I will have to gear up for cookie mode. But, we'll hit on that later.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fun Monday on a Tuesday

Playing along with a game from Julie over at Another Chance Ranch .... you can find her here :
The game as I understand it, and mind you - I could be wrong, is to voice my humble opinions on today's election.
Well, as it stands here in Michigan, it is another round of the same old same old. Big mud slingin' between Donkeys & Lelephants, Green party & libertarians added to the hodge podge this time around. And well - I don't care much for any of our choices. The big one here is the gubernatorial race. Personally, I think that ol' Jenny did one hell of a job screwin' things up. The little game she played with the MSP was enough to make me want to slap the mole off her face. But, since we are now blessed with term limits here in Michigan, thankfully - she is out one way or the other.
I opted today for the businessman over the politician.
I am starting to truly believe that if you don't have a really sound background in business, then you have no business deciding where the state's money should go. So, for me, today is mostly about the businessman. I am hopin' that we can wake up tomorrow with Rick Snyder as our new gov.
Other than that, I'm thinkin' it's a safe bet we'll be stuck with Upton for another 2 years. He's been in congress for too long. He's in my preferred party, but he doesn't vote like it.

But, there is still time, irregardless of your opinion to get out & VOTE!! Oh, and if you happen to live in Hagar Township, be sure to stop in and sign the petitions to get our township board a much needed RECALL. I signed it, hubby did too - we'd love to see those 3 buggers out.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Still Fighting, for now.

It's a wonder that I haven't lost it completely. I have lost it, just not completely yet. We are hard & heavy searching for a place to live. Our time at the farm, it seems, has come and gone, and unless I can pull a miracle out of my arse and finance the place myself, I am at this point SOL. Good luck, anyhow.
We are trying to find a place that can help us to secure a mortgage so we can either A) make an offer on this place, with all it's flaws and issues or B) find a new place all together and head out. I am fine either way, but when your piggy bank is looking like this fella, most places don't want to bother with you at all.

Add to that the fact that I can't find a job to save my sorry soul, and that I have been unable to secure steady work for the past .... well, several years ... and, now I am a student, and Larry is a part time student, we'll be lucky I think, if we can find ourselves a shack in the woods. Though, I will admit, even that sounds great right about now. As long as I can keep my little boys warm, happy & fed, my husband semi-sane, and my horses near by, I will be able to breathe. I know my list is meager, really. But, I just want to cover the basics.... FAMILY, shelter, food & a means to keep Mommy sane ... 'cheap' therapy i.e. - my horses. Even with the two of them, it's cheaper than a pack of cigarettes a day, which I know many people in similar situations that smoke twice that much, and get far less satisfaction.
It's gotten rough enough, I've even applied for a job in Colorado as a farm hand. Comes with a 2 bedroom apartment. That ought to be enough, though we'd have to put college on hold, or I would have to leave the family here for a semester while I got us settled in Colorado. Don't want to do it, but I really am loosing it here, trying to find a local solution. Of course, to do that, I would have to leave my horses with my folks - at least initially. Oh, man. Why does everything have to be such a struggle all the time?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

School Daze

It's been a while, but Little Guy is headed back to a 'regular' school. He has missed playing with other kids on a regular basis, and all of his old friends have since abandoned him - knew it would happen, but hated to see him go through it. He enjoyed his time homeschooling, however, and wants to do swimming lessons and piano still. He also wants to ride the horses, but I need to get some things lined up before I go looking for a new pony for him now that his old Champ passed away this summer. BUT, I have all the confidence that he will do fine after a little re-adjustment period.
He's not the only one ....

Larry is going to college for the first time. He has chosen a career path that should be in demand no matter where we end up. He's going to become an RN. I couldn't be more proud of my darling 'Focker'. He's excited to get into classes, and though he's starting out easy and getting the prerequesites out of the way, I have full faith that he'll ROCK this. He's great with people, caring, and unlike me, does not pass out at the sight of free flowing human blood. What can I say? I guess I got a little Bella in me.
I'm headed back too. Though, my path is one that I've wanted to do for ages, but have not been encouraged by my father to follow. Not because he's unsupportive, but because he's already gone down that path, and knows first hand how tough it can be, but it is in my blood, and I can't turn my back to it forever.

I'm going to take the builder's prelicensure course this fall at SMC. I am excited to start - I've done lots of the stuff that will be covered, and when I'm through, I'll be eligible to take the test for a Michigan residential builders' license.
It's going to be a little hectic this October-November, but we'll manage. Larry's classes will run the full semester, but mine are only from Mid September to mid November. I should be able to take the test, and with any luck, be licensed by the new year. So there's my little update. Hectic times to follow.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Moments of Self Doubt and Despair

This has been a pretty dark year so far for me. I won't get into detail until it is over with - that's just how I roll. There are a few people who know my troubles, but I don't like to broadcast them. I only write this today, because I am hoping that there is some good that can come from the prayer of others. Mine are not working so far. My connection is broken. My prayers fall on deaf ears of God, the powers that be, the Great Spirit, or whomever it is that handles such matters. My soul aches.
I need to know that all will be alright, but more than that, I need to know HOW.
I want to know WHY. And I need to know what horrible person I was in a past life to bring down such karmic wrath. I try to be a good person, without being walked all over.
I help whomever I can whenever I can.
I am kind to small children, the elderly & strangers.
But I am loosing faith that good things happen to good people. It seems that only horrible people ever get ahead in life, and if that's true, I can't keep it up anymore. What's the point of fighting the good fight if the good guys are always destined to be the losers?
I don't know that I believe that there is a heaven or a hell.
I don't know that I believe that this is all there is in the universe either.
I just want to see some real glimmer of hope.
I need to know that all will be OK, because if it's not, I need to know that too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Teeny Weenie Piggy Poos

I want one. Or even two, or three.

But that is likely not going to happen any time soon. It's sad too, cuz who wouldn't cuddle one of these little suckers. I mean - check out the teeny tiny snouty, and the itty bitty hoofsies!

OOOH! Halloween piggies! They are so sweet - I even like the black ones, and I think they get ugly when they're grown up. Little man liked this one best. I think it's the pose. He says it's the piggy.

I prefer the spotty ones. They're super cute. His/her name would be Inky Dinky Doo. Or Weee little Piggy. Or Piggly Wiggly.

What would you name a teeny tiny piggy? Would you want one? They are very smart - much smarter than dogs - would you keep a house pig? Boy or girl? Color - does it matter? Really - I could use some input!

Not that I'm getting one any time soon. Funds are too low, prices too high, and I don't think I could handle a house piglet. OH! I COULD NAME IT PIGLET!!! I better stop now. Go on, confer. I would love to hear inputz.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Little things & one big one

It's been a little while since I've written about anything. Sorry for those that care. :) Lots of little things have happened.

  • I'm on a new antidepressant that seems promising so far, though it's not doing much for the anxiety side of things.
  • My little palomino that I sold seems to be fitting in well in her new home, and both her & her new owners seem happy with each other.
  • Toney Boney has been having some major bladder control issues, that have proven to NOT be from an infection ... it appears that our pup is just getting too old to control himself, so we're not sure at this point how much longer he'll be with us before his quality of life is less than happy for him.
  • Cupcake got a MAJOR haircut, and looks a lot like a poodle again now that she's a temporary shorthair, but her energy level is up, and she is enjoying sticking with me for walks & trail rides.

The kids are great, Larry's enjoying his job, and I am s-l-o-w-l-y getting the new photog. biz off the ground. I'm thinking of having some artistic prints made, matting them, signing them & taking them to a farmers market, don't know if that would work, but it may be worth a shot.

Gramma had a pretty scary episode last Friday that had all of us worried sick. She'd just eaten her breakfast, and stood up from her chair when she suddenly lost her vision. Mom helped her to sit down, then she got sick, her blood pressure shot up, then fell and she passed out. They called an ambulance but by the time they got here, Gram was more or less back to normal - vision & all. In the ER, they did a ton of tests, and found her salts were off, and she had a UTI. It took 2 docs before we heard what the likely culprit was ... the infection knocked her system a little loose, and that paired with her neuropathy problems caused some miscommunications between her nerves & brain. The infection is now kaput thanks to some wicked good antibiotics, and we'll just have to be careful that she doesn't stand up too quickly or show signs of any new infections.

Aging is a bitch. Not just for those that are aging, but for those around them that love them too. It's so hard to see her slipping when it seems like just yesterday she was chasing down my big sister in the back yard to give her a spanking - and catching her too.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quick Contest

Just had to throw this out there, for anyone who may be interested.
I am doing a little contest on my photography facebook page. Go to!/pages/Coloma-MI/K-Bollman-Photography-Oh-Snap-Portraits/124039494277694 and either comment on a photo or just add your name to my latest status update and you're entered to win an 8x10 print of any photo in my posted photos.
There are lots to choose from right now, even if I haven't taken your photo, or a pic of your loved one. Fireworks, animals, rodeo shots, and flowers. Take a look around, enter in the contest, and become a fan of the page! There will be more contests as the year goes on! But, Hurry!! Deadline for this contest is Monday July 19th at NOON EST! Good Luck!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Anyone that has known me for any length of time knows that I have a thing for psycho kitties.
To me, the snuggly, super cuddly, schmoozing around, purring in your face kind of cat is the feline equivalent of the Stepford Wives.
I like a cat that cannot pass my patented psycho kitty test.
A cat that is cheeky enough to catch mice by carrying them around like a prize after they've met their fate in a snap trap, mousetrap & all.
A cat that will try to attack the feet of my sisters should they choose to visit or nap on the couch, and with luck and sass, wrap its forearms around it's 'prey' and kick like hell with it's back feet.
A cat that will take on the dog & ride on a horse, but not pee on my hay.
One that is bold enough to take on a pack of wild raccoons and come out on top.
One that is tough enough to ride stray dogs like a rodeo bullrider, but gentle enough to let the kids cart them around like a rag doll.
A cat that doesn't need a litter box in the house because it's smart enough to ask to go outside, and wise enough to come back in when I call it.

But, sadly, no such cat exists. Mostly because I have wrapped up all the best qualities of cats past that we have loved in our family.
Rodeo Roda - who rode her first stray dog on a whim after jumping off the back porch onto said dog's back as it passed under her, and as a result, cleared our yard of any stray dogs.
Snickelfritz, the little black cat that DAD brought home, having found it when someone threw a litter in a burlap sack out the window of a pick up truck.
The legendary Sam-I-AM the half siamese that ended up with only one canine tooth after being hit by a car, and loved to flash it at strangers as a warning.

But, even if I found another legendary personality, it would be for naught. You see, my darling husband is deathly allergic to cats. It makes me sad. I would have him get regular allergy shots if we had the insurance & money to do so, just to have a psychotic & loveable feline around for my personal entertainment. But, we don't. So I can't look too hard.
It makes it that much harder though when I am caring for these little boogers every day though.

Yep. Kittehs. We have 'em. We can't keep 'em. Partly because of the hubster's allergy, and partly because not a single ONE of these little fur balls have what it takes to really capture my heart.

Not ONE of them even paid attention during the psycho kitty test. That means ALL of them have the potential to be lovers.

UGH. LOVEY cats. Is there anything worse??? Not for me.
But for the rest of the population, it's a good thing I'm told. A sweet cat that will purr and lounge and NOT run around the house at 3 am with it's claws out so you can hear them ascend the stairs at warp factor 9.
I just don't understand that kind of cat. There is no adventure there. But there is lots of love.
So, if you are lookin' fo loove, and like the snuggly-wuggly kind of kitteh, let me know. I can totally hook you up.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Nice Change of Scenery

Today ended a nearly 10 year hiatus from building with Dad. I LOVE working with my Daddy. We are outside nearly all day (unless we're doing inside work) making a real concrete difference in something, working with our hands. WHAT is more satisfying than working with your hands in some manner, I ask you? A BIG FAT NOTHIN' THAT'S WHAT!!! But, I am a physical girl, despite my current state of affairs.

Dearest Daddy has been re-shingling a roof, with my hubby helping on occasion when he's not at his normal job. Well, hubs has been busy, and they just haven't been on the same page as far as getting the job done. As a result, Dad has been working alone, trying to do it all himself. Usually this is fine, but this type of job really is worlds easier with help.

Long, distracting story short - I volunteered to help Daddy out. So, this morning, I got up at 5am, loaded up the kids & brought them to Ma, who would watch them for me whilst I traipsed around the roof like some little mountain goat, bringing needed supplies to Daddy like shingles, nails, underlayment, hammers, and other such fun things.

He had already done the 'easy' part of the roof - the 4/12 pitch, and better than half of one side of the 12/12 pitch.... oh, I should explain here.... a 4/12 goes up 4 inches for every foot from the edge of the roof..... it's about 18.43 degrees. Easy peasy. A 12/12 pitch rises a foot for a foot ... so the angle is right at 45 degrees.

It's tricky, walking up & down that, and true, Dad did have some toe boards up so we could scale the roof at any pitch, but.... when we started the un-finished side I regained my old mountain-goaty-ness and was running up & down the roof uninhibited by anything, and standing under the toeboard, handing supplies to Dad so he didn't have to do anything but get it done.

Even he was a little surprised that I was flyin' up & down that sucker without assistance.

Long story short - it was nice. All of it. The waking up early, the coffee with Dad & Ma, the hauling of tools & materials, the heat, the sweat, the view, and the sore ankles & knees.

I don't know yet if he wants my help on a continued basis, but I plan to get up early tomorrow, if he wants my help and do it again.

It's just one of those things that's in my blood.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Snake was WHERE?

Yesterday looked like it was going to be just another uneventful day. Kids, housework, messin' with the kittens, and doing my horse chores. I managed to spare a little extra time to take Little Dona with Velvet & I on our little ride. It was pleasant. No major problems. All was good.

When we got back, I even decided to slap MY saddle on Dona to see how she liked a little weight. Normally, she gets one of the much lighter saddles. She, frankly, did not care.

Then, as they were happily munching their dinners & getting into a good feelin' kinda groove, I decided to scrub out their water tank & refill it with fresh. Meh, it was time. When I got out there, I found this little guy.

If it wasn't for the fact that I already had the hose on & my scrubber ready to go, I would have run up to the house for my camera. All I could do, though was grab my phone & snap one. Now, I must say ... I am used to seeing snakes around the area. I usually spot at least one on any given longer trail ride. I find them often in blueberry bushes, under wood in the field, and sneaking out from under the chicken coop. I have even found them IN my hay bales from time to time. But, this was the first one I have found in a water trough. What a pleasant surprise.
He/she was adorable. No more than a foot long, and a little thicker around than a good pencil. The only thing, is that I don't really recognize the markings. Comparing him to some pics I found I think he's a northern water snake, but I cannot be sure. You can't tell in the pics, but he had round pupils, and no buds on his tail, so massauga never crossed my mind. Even babies have a bud, right?
This has to be the summer of the snake around here. Without looking for them, so far I have seen 4 garter snakes, 3 blue racers, this little fella, and I heard a rattler when fixing the fence about a month ago. Believe me, I would have looked harder, but when the grass is as tall as I am, I pretty much figure it's a lost cause. Strangely, the horses haven't spent much time in that area this year when they are out to graze. Hmmm.
Is anyone out there talented and knowledgeable of Michigan Herps? If it helps, he was is northern Berrien county. No worries, snake lovers, I gently dumped out the remainder of the water and him with it before I started scrubbing. Don't want to hurt the baby snakeys. They are so good!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Prepping for the Weekend

Almost a month ago, I went to a local fun show to snap some pics, get my name out & have a little larf. The feedback I got from the kids & adults I snapped pics of was very encouraging, so - I'm headed back this weeked to do it all over again! My plan is basically to take pics for nearly ALL of the 4th of July weekend. Between snapping pics of my kiddos, the horse kids, and the fireworks, I should have puh-lenty to edit come monday.

Last month, I showed up a hair late for the beginning of the festivities, but did manage to get a few good pictures of the kids doing showmanship, and some of the pleasure classes. Some of my favorites from that part of the day were the ones waiting to show - like this girl here....

She looked so intent on what was going on in the arena. So serious.
At some point, there were a couple horses being ridden by kids that I know, who apparently wanted to say hello to me - so I snapped their pics too. Check out the eyelashes. what fun!!

And the glassy-glossy reflection - you can see my flannel shirt, and another horse in this one's eye. Wild.

Of course, some were just plain tired of all of it. This boy cracked me up. I swear to you, when I crept up to snap a few pics, I did NOT wake him up. I'm somewhat sure he was snoring as I left. Yes, horses snore .... some of them.

I got a much better pic of this little girl and her horse (the one ON the horse, that is) but already, I'm getting picture heavy here.

Some were a little anxious from time to time....

No good reason to put this one in here, other than to say that this boy was a stud not too long ago. Not just any stud. The daddy to the two foals I raised here on the farm. I am particulary fond of him. Hims a good boy.

And, of course, there were lots of pics to be taken in the speed classes. This girl was one of my favorites of the day .... she turned the barrels right, didn't look too aggressive or scared during the run, didn't whip her horse (that I saw), and the color scheme she chose flowed well with both her & her horse's coloring. You don't think that matters? Oh, it does. To me anyhow. Look at the important parts of the picture. Really. Her expression is concentration. She is sitting well in the seat, not leaning too far one way or the other, good loose rein, and as a result - a willing, ready to please horse. Look at his ears. They are bright, and attentive, one locked on to her looking for her cues. Great.
There were actually, quite a few good shots that day. Just about every rider I snapped gave up at least one good shot.
Anyhow, I'm getting ready to do it all over again.
Stay tuned for more!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend started out exactly as it should have -- once it got started. I didn't get a sitter, so I couldn't go down to the big car show and snap pics of hot rods like I wanted to so so SO badly. However, that didn't mean I couldn't snap some pictures!
For instance, we had a lot of these this weekend.

Yep. Not much comes close to the first few fresh local crops. We had asparagus, and now we're getting into the good stuff. Fresh, still warm from the field Michigan strawberries ... yum.
The boys had some - surprisingly, even Big guy got in on the picture - he doesn't like to eat fruit or veggies. It's a struggle. But, with a little powdered sugar, apparently, they're ok.

Little guy was doing fine. Must have had 5 or 6 before big mean ol' Daddy cut him off. It was ugly. As seen below. Please, pay no attention to the strawberry juice dripping off his widdle face.

His Dad was not prepared for his tenacity. He just climbed up on him & TOOK another berry. Bit his Dad trying to get it. Then we got this look ...

Kinda looks like 'Yeah, Dad, that's what I thought!'

So he gave up and fed him a few more.
Memorial Day, we had a special moment that just kinda came together fast. I ran out of the house barefooted with my camera to snap these. Gramma was going to take a ride in the Model T. She hasn't wanted to get out of the house since last fall, so this was big. And in the T. WOW.
Got a couple shots with Big guy on the running boards, I liked this one best - Gramma's laugh is so easy & carefree.

They had to do a quick check on the T at the barn then off they went. I got this from a strategic spot.

Hit the brakes (no one was anywhere near me at all) and snapped this as they turned the corner... I love that car. It's wicked crazy to drive, but very very cool.

This is Red Arrow Highway. No joke - the old girl was clocked at a solid 40mph. I'm thinkin' she'd do more if she got a good tune up. Dad is working on it. I'm trying to get him to let me help.

Finally, at the cemetary. That's where we were headed. To visit my Grampa's grave, which had just been decorated the day before by Dad with the flowers I picked out. I miss him every day. He was a WW2 navy vet that saw just about every battle in the pacific, and was on the beach after the bomb went off in Hiroshima. He passed away from Cancer the day of our Wedding reception. I see a lot of him in our youngest.

This is my Uncle Don's stone. He was just about to graduate from HS with a full scholarship to Texas A&M for Music when he died from his injuries from a tragic car accident. I hope the other person responsible for his death is still haunted by their carelessness & disregard. It nearly destroyed both of my grandparents & my Dad.

Got a lovely one of Gramma looking towards the headstones. Though, it is hard to see her with the glare on the windshield. That's Dad getting water for the flowers in the back ground.

The two of them - love them both so terribly much. Gramma was smiling the whole time from what I saw.

On the way home, I hit the brakes again to catch this one, with Gram's arm hangin' out the window, enjoying her little trip.

Turning down our road towards the old family farm.

It was a wild day after that. We'd rushed at the cemetary because of the thunder rolling around. Dad didn't want to get caught in the weather with the old car. (it's a 1927, in case you wondered)
Grampa had refurbished it a few years before I was born, so it's always been a part of our family. It's always been there. And, it's hard to hear that old engine chuggin' away without thinking of Grampa, and his perfect imitation of it.
The only thing that can stop me crying is when Dad hits the Aaooga horn. Yep. that did it.
Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and had a chance to thank a veteran. They are the reason we can do as we please. God Bless the U.S. Military, and the ones that never came home.