Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's April 30th...

... and I woke up to a light dusting of snow. What a strange winter/spring it's been.

I wish it would just dump a foot or so of snow on us so the pasture could green up... then warm up so spring could really begin.

The pasture is going to look like a wasteland by July if we don't get a LOT of moisture soon. :(

Sorry I haven't posted lately... the past week has been a blur of basement construction and medical appointments and decisions.

The basement finishing is underway, the drywall was delivered yesterday.

One of these days soon I'll post some pictures of the project.

Unfortunately, both kids have medical stuff going on right now... R has been suffering with an infected gum all week (it's better with antibiotics and 2x day irrigation, but still doesn't look good) and her back is still giving her a lot of trouble. It's been four months since the car accident that messed up her back and I'm concerned that it's still giving her trouble. They did an x-ray this week that looked ok, so the next step is an MRI and a visit with the orthopedist. Those aren't scheduled yet, I'm still working on getting the insurance sorted out.

M's "good" hip (the one that wasn't rebuilt) has been giving him a lot of trouble lately... he says he can feel "bones grinding" in the joint. ~shudder, shudder~ so he's going in, possible this next week, for an MRI with contrast and steriod injections into each hip (the "fixed" hip still gives him a lot of trouble too). He's also been to the psychiatrist and opthomalogist this week, so it's been a BUSY week.

We are ending the week on a high note though... M and his girlfriend are going to prom tonight at her school. He's SOOOOOO excited. They have a limo coming (for a group of them) and it should be a wonderful evening for them.

Hopefully I'll have better pictures later, but here's a preview:

M trying on his tux...  :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

foggy April morning

The past few early mornings have been hazy and a little foggy... the sun burns the fog off quickly but, while it lasts, I'm enjoying the cocooned in feeling of the fog hanging over the hills.

I took the camera out with me to the barn this morning and took a few pictures...

Yesterday was a busy day... I had to draw M's blood and the hospital will no longer pay for the courier to pick the specimen up here at the house, so after I drew it we had to drive it down to the hospital (just in town... not too far) and go through all kinds of new procedures to drop it off. That made us late for our next stop... picking up M's girlfriend on our way to the movies.

Thankfully we weren't too late though, because the movie was amazing! We saw Soul Surfer and loved it... what an incredible and inspiring movie. R had been a little apprehensive about seeing it (she's had a phobia of sharks for years) but wanted to see it, and gathered up her courage and made it all the way through the movie. She agreed with the rest of us that it was an excellent movie and was so glad she'd gone.

We took M's sweetie home after the movie and headed over to the BIG mall to find a place to rent a tux for M to wear to prom next weekend. His girlfriend invited him to her school prom, and he's SO excited. They are doing the limo, tux, fancy dinner... the whole shebang! :) He's been on cloud nine since she invited him...

It took us almost an hour to find the formal wear rental place, and by the time we got the tux rented and paid for it was almost dinner time and we were worn out... a quick dinner of scrambled eggs and a few chapters in our read aloud (Holes) and it was time for bed.

We'll be home most of today... it will be so nice to have a slow day.

Monday, April 18, 2011

a good kind of tired and dirty

Today was an absolutely beautiful spring day, and we should have been inside doing school...

But it was just too nice to stay inside, and there was a BIG job I wanted to get done outside so we only did our "morning school" and left everything else for tomorrow so we could spend the afternoon outside enjoying the sun.

The woodpile and kindling box area had been looking pretty rough, and that was the job I wanted to tackle. Our old kindling box was falling apart and I had a nice sturdy wooden box to replace it. This of course meant moving LOTS of kindling from one box to the other. There was also newly split wood to stack, a small mountain of leaves to rake, "good" wood (old posts etc. that can be reused for fencing or other projects) that needed to be stacked and just a lot of general straightening up.

R harrowed while M and I moved the old kindling box and started moving the good kindling into the new box. M only helped for awhile then decided he wanted to make something out of the old kindling box.


We pulled out hammer and nails and he started working on his project, and R finished up harrowing and helped me.


It took three hours of work, 4 wheelbarrows full of too small kindling (dumped down in an unseen corner of the far back gully), 5 trash bags full of leaves and twigs, one trip up to the road in the pickup to haul all the trash bags up...


... but it's done, and it looks so much better.

We'll need another cord of wood delivered sometime this summer, there is still plenty of wood to split, and I want to make a lid for the kindling box... but I'm very happy with the afternoon's work. I didn't think we'd get as much done as we did.

We're tired and dirty, and it seems like perfect time to put our feet up and have some chocolate ice cream.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Finally reading the manual (part 1)

I have a confession to make...

I'm not good about reading instruction manuals... especially for electronic things... like cameras. I figure you just put batteries in (or charge it up) turn it on, point it at what you want a picture of and push the button. I can do that without reading a manual..

I've had a lovely little new Canon camera since January and am finally getting around to reading the manual. I read a little, take a few pictures, read a little more, take a few more pictures... I've been having a lot of fun with it.

I learned that my camera has a "kids and pets" setting, and since R is hiding out in her room and M is tired of being used as my model, I played around with this setting taking pictures of the dogs.

I am loving these pictures!

Here's Emma...our " old girl"... she's full of thoughtful old dog wisdom.

She's looking pretty good for 12 years old, isn't she? She still goes out to the barn with me each morning, chases rabbits when the opportunity presents itself, and even plays with the other dogs once in a while.  I think this clean country living is keeping her young! :)



Quin... our 6 year old sheltie, he only weighs 20 lbs and his hips and back legs are malformed, but he still sees himself as "king" of the dogs and works very hard to make sure everyone knows he's the boss and "follows the rules".


I like the soft look of this picture...


And Cody, our 2 year old bishon mix (officially a "zu-shon")...  He doesn't care about being the boss, and he doesn't have time to think deep thoughts... he's too busy looking for mischief to get into and having fun.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cody has a face...

... we just haven't been able to see it for awhile.

We let him grow out so his long coat would keep him warm over the winter...

... but it's spring now and definitely time for a "new do".  He spent the morning at the groomers.


I'd almost forgotten what a cute little face he has!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Riding Brighty

R has been saying she wants to try riding Brighty. I put her off for awhile and then decided... why not? The worst that could happen is she would hit the ground. But I really didn't think that would happen... Brighty (our 10 year old former BLM feral burro) worships R, follows her around like a puppy, and would never intentionally hurt her.

So yesterday afternoon when she asked if she could try to ride him I said sure, and we headed out to the barn. I told R we could only take 15 minutes or so because I was in the middle of something at the house.. I'd forgotten, of course, that Brighty is a donkey.. not a horse. It took 15 minutes just to get him into the small pen.  As soon as we put his halter on and tried to lead him away from Murphy and Tucker, he became suspicious and decided to plant himself.

There is no moving a planted donkey. A donkey will only move if and when it decides it wants to move.

We finally motivated him to come with us with a treat of a few sunflower seeds...

He was great in the pen...he's a very sweet and calm donkey. We started by me holding the lead rope while R leaded across his back, so he could feel the weight of her on him, but her feet were on the ground so if he took off she wouldn't take off with him!

Brighty is a big donkey and R isn't very tall and she wasn't able to put her full weight on his back while still standing on the ground, so I told her to go get her grooming bucket/stool and stand on it next to Brighty... That way she could put her full weight on him, without actually getting on him.

It turns out Brighty is deathly afraid of slightly noisy black grooming bucket/stools.

Generally he is the calmest of donkeys... an Eeyore sort of fellow.

But putting that grooming bucket right next to him caused him to first jump sideways and then, when I pulled him up with the lead rope, continue to side step away. He was looking like a circus donkey side stepping in circles around me...

So then we had to spend another 10 minutes or so desensitizing him to the grooming bucket... letting him smell it all over, tossing it around (not too close to him) so it would make noise and he would see the noise of it wasn't going to hurt him, then moving it increasingly closer to him and praising and rewarding him (by moving it away again) when he allowed it to be next to him...


Finally R was able to set it next to him, stand on it and put her full weight on his back.

He put his head down... he thought is was weird... but he didn't try to move away.

Then she slowly eased her leg over and was sitting on him! :)

Again.. he kept his head down... probably thinking this was the weirdest thing a human had done to him yet...

... but he didn't bolt or buck (or do his fancy side step!).

He was still uncomfortable with the grooming bucket/stool so I didn't try to lead him around... but he's started. I think R will have fun working on riding him. She may not go very far, very fast... but he's wide enough for her to lounge on quite comfortably! I have fond memories from when I was a teenager, of "borrowing" a horse (a boarded horse that no one ever noticed I borrowed from time to time) so I could ride with my best friend who owned a horse... We'd ride out into the country a ways, then find a nice quiet spot and let the horses graze while we lay flat on their backs, using our hands to shield the sun from our eyes, and  talked... Brighty has that kind of back (and personality).

We finished the riding lesson with more sunflower seeds and hugs... What a great way to spend an hour.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


(verb) an expensive and frustrating way to waste a weekend.

Joe decided that since the contractor is going to start tearing into the basement soon (as in just a few days!), that it would be a good time to do some plumbing work.  In the basement. Which I should be cleaning and emptying out right now so the contractor can start work.

The plumbing work was nothing necessary... just a little plumbing gadget Joe wanted to try out.

The guy he bought the gadget from said it would take a couple of hours... tops.

Joe started working on it yesterday morning.

It is now Sunday afternoon and my basement, which you would think would be cleaned up by now because the job only took two hours... looks like this:

Why? Because the job is not done yet. We had no water most of yesterday... and no hot water today (but we do have cold!). I was able to sneak down and take a picture because Joe's gone to town for a a valve or something.

He's not in a happy mood right now. If I thought I had the time, I'd gladly pay a plumber to come finish off the job...

... but Joe would have to go to the hardware store in Cheyenne or someplace equally far away for me to have enough time for that.

I really hope he gets it finished and cleaned up in time for the kids and I to empty the basement so the contractor can start work on schedule.

And I hope the little gadget is as wonderful as he thinks it's going to be.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New growth...

... means berries this summer!

I planted a few blackberry and raspberry canes last spring, and they did well through the summer (we even got a few berries) but it's been such a DRY winter and spring, and I wasn't seeing any signs of life, so I was worried they might have died.

I went out today though and took a closer look at it's looking like all but one of my berry plants is growing.

See the tiny green leave on this cane, close to the ground?


On this one some of the cane is turning green...


I'm so happy they've survived... I'm so looking forward to more fresh berries this year.


Here's a picture from this morning of a doe and fawn grazing in the early morning light...

Monday, April 4, 2011



April 4, 2011

Outside my window... the sun is shining, melting away the few inches of snow that fell yesterday.

I am thinking... about my brother Steve. We watched the movie "Leap Year" last night and the male lead (Declan) always reminds me of Steve.

I am thankful for... this beautiful spring day.

From the learning's hard to stay inside and get school done when the newness of spring is calling to us from outdoors. It's going to take a fair amount of will power to get a full week's worth of school done this week.

From the kitchen... biscuits and gravy, roast potato chunks and home canned peaches for dinner last night. I use my sister's recipe for the gravy and it is SO good. We don't have it often any more because it's a bit rich for M to digest, but Mmmmm... it does taste good.

I am wearing... jeans, brown long sleeved t-shirt, and my khaki button down shirt with the Longhopes logo.

I am creating... a bit of music when I get the chance, and I've been working outside a lot lately... creating a little order and beauty in a long neglected corner of the back yard.  The heavy work out there is just about done.. I've turned the dirt that needed it, took the chicken fence down, moved some landscaping timbers, laid landscaping fabric, then covered the landscape fabric with 3-4" of wood shavings, and made (most of ) a little flagstone path.  I still need a bit more flagstone (maybe today...) and the materials for the rock garden. I love seeing "something" taking shape where there had just been weeds and dirt before.

I am going... to have to make at least one trip to the hardware store this week... I've got the "fix it up" bug.

I am hearing... a quiet house, the kids are in their rooms for quiet time... a very peaceful time of the day.

Around the house... things are finally getting moving on finishing the basement! After almost canceling the project, due to fears that the electrical panel couldn't handle the extra draw (and predictions that it might be unsafe...) we had an electrician look at the electrical system and the plans and he says we're good to go and should have plenty of power... with no risk of overloading any circuits. With any luck the framing will start a week from today (or so... very little starts on time you know...)

One of my favorite things... snow, it was so beautiful yesterday.

A few plans for the rest of the week... R gets her locs tightened, we have a planning meeting for M with the CCB, we are going to a member's night at the museum, the farriers supposed to come... oh, and I think we've having a couple of tons of hay delivered (which means R and I will have to clean out the hay storage area in the barn and restack the hay we still have to make room for the new. School of course will have to get done too. ;)

A picture I'm sharing...

spring buds~

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