Tornadoes

Houston's CenterPoint Energy Company has sent a crew of 60 to Moore, OK today.  Included is my lineman son-in-law, Luke Taylor.

Houston’s CenterPoint Energy Company has sent a crew of 60 to Moore, OK today. Included is my lineman son-in-law, Luke Taylor.

I, like the rest of country, especially Oklahoma, is reeling from the storms, the massive tornadoes that hit the area recently.  I am overwhelmed with grief for the lost and shattered lives.

My mother is from Oklahoma.  She grew up there with her large farm family.  My mother is terrified of tornadoes.  No doubt, from horrific storms that drove through the state as she grew up.  These were the dust bowl depression days, they did not have much to lose.  Certainly there was not doppler radar or television meteorologists warning you to take cover.  She once described the weather forecasting at the farm to be based upon the color of the sky.  Black meant bad thunderstorms but green was a twister and it meant  everyone into the cellar until the storm was over.

We have so much information now and yet it did not save enough lives in Oklahoma.  Who could imagine telling someone they lost their child to a tornado, especially at their own school.  When I first saw the coverage last night, glancing at the screen with just the rumble that was left of the school, I thought someone had bombed a school in Oklahoma.  Indeed, they might as well have done so.  The students and teachers took cover but not deep enough or wind resistant enough to survive such a long-lasting horrific tornado.

I heard this morning of a man in Tulsa who has a Kevlar (like what they make tanks out of) storm shelter in his garage.  I suspect that can withstand some serious wind and pounding of flying debris.  Wow.

I remember as a child, growing up in Illinois, moving further north up the dreaded tornado alley, did little to avail my mother’s tremendous fear of tornadoes.  We had a big basement-no storm cellar- and we were taught to seek the northwest corner of the basement in case of a storm.  My father was out-of-town a great deal.  Whenever a storm threatened, with or without, a true tornado warning, my sister, my mother and I huddled in the basement with water in glass milk bottles (wow, that was pretty safe!), blankets, and a transistor  radio.  We stayed for hours at a time.  I think many of my formative years were spent waiting out storms in the basement with my family.  But we always took the warnings (or even the just the sky) seriously.

A couple of Friday’s ago, a tornado warning was issued during the storm that Lauren and I rode out in our little home in Wharton.  I was listening to the radio and heard the urgent call to take shelter.  We were lucky that the warning for a funnel cloud that extended through Fort Bend and part of Brazoria counties, never touched down.  But how many of us in those areas (we were just outside the warning area) actually took shelter?  I do not think we react as quickly or adequately as we should here in Houston.  I am glad my mother had no idea there was a tornado warning so close as I sure that even in her murky brain, alarms would have sounded and fear would have struck her heart.

And now as a reminder, this information could save your life:

Tornado Watch versus Tornado Warning

What is the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning? A tornado watch is just to let folks know to be on the lookout for a possible tornado in the area whereas a Tornado Warning is a notification that a tornado has been seen or picked up by radar.
Tornado Watch A Tornado Watch is issued to alert people to the possibility of a tornado developing in your area. At this point, a tornado has not been seen but the conditions are very favorable for tornadoes to occur at any moment.

Things to do when a Tornado Watch is issued:

  • Keep alert and watch for changing weather conditions
  • Listen to your local news reports & weather updates
  • Review your family or business emergency preparedness plan
  • Review your disaster kit
  • Be ready to seek shelter at a moments notice

What to Watch for during a Tornado Watch:

  • Dark greenish or orange-gray skies
  • Large hail
  • Large, dark, low-lying, rotating or funnel-shaped clouds
  • A loud roar that is similar to a freight train

Tornado Warning A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has actually been sighted or has been picked up on radar in your area. This means that you need to take shelter immediately in a safe sturdy structure. If you hear a tornado warning for your area-take shelter.  Discuss with your family what the safest spot is and be prepared to get there in seconds.  It may save your life.

Things to do when a Tornado Warning is issued:

  • Take shelter immediately
  • Listen to your local radio for updates
  • Follow the National Weather Service Safety Guidelines (below)

What not to do during a tornado:

  • Do not stay in a Mobile home as they offer very little protection from tornadoes.
  • Do not open the windows in your home or business
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in a car
  • Do not get under a highway overpass or bridge as you will be exposing yourself to flying debris and stronger winds.

My heartfelt prayers are going out to the families and friends devastated by these last big Oklahoma storms. I am fortunate that my family in Oklahoma is safe, though not untouched by the devastation.  I am proud to say that my son-in-law, Luke, a lineman for Center Point Energy is in Oklahoma now, helping to restore power to those affected by the storm.  They will work long shifts but be a mighty partner to the local Oklahoma teams that need all the assistance we can give.  Thank you, Luke-please stay safe as you work to help others!

My God watch over all that need his guidance and care during these difficult days!  Keep the survivors strong and safe and help them to rebuild their lives. Amen.

ff_04

Teamwork

Lungeing the new Pixie pony helped out by my team of Kona (holding the rope for me) and little Lula.

Lungeing the new Pixie pony helped out by my team of Kona (holding the rope for me) and little Lula.

I am lucky to have a great team of my family, friends and barn mates behind me as we go to shows, make decisions about our farm and our life.  This was brought home to me in many ways over the last several weeks as I have struggled with getting back to whole after my shoulder surgery.  So many  times, in so many ways, people just stepped in and helped when we needed it.  From friends and family that offered to help out at the farm, to those that simply held the door open for me as I made my way up at work through multiple keypass doors to my office.

Today we tried lungeing the pony for the first time.  Lauren was riding Feather and Bruno was romping up and down the fenceline on the far side of the arena.  It was not an optimum learning environment.  I was in the arena with my loyal companions of Lula and Kona.  I got Kona on Valentine’s Day.  I had surgery the first of April so I have not been in the ring working horses much since Kona has been around.  Lungeing is an art of moving a horse off his hind end in a circle around at the walk, trot and canter.  It is a way to exercise, educate and improve the horse without being up in the saddle.  We did not know if the four year-old pony had much instruction in lungeing.  It is sometimes difficult to manuveur the horse as you keep yourself in the center of the circle while constantly urging the horse forward.

I was surprised as I moved Pixie forward that she understood the lungeing concept as well as she did, but what surprised me more was that my “team” of poodle Kona and dachshund Lula were right there in my little circle.  It was a hazy morning promising to be the first hot day of 2013.  I handed Lauren my phone to try to snap a shot of my determined entourage that kept pace with the pony and I throughout the entire work out.  My favorite part was when Kona took hold of the lunge rope and stood resolutely behind me, making sure the pony did not pull on my shoulder or dash away.

Teamwork-I am grateful!

My team working the pony under the endless sky.

My team working the pony under the endless sky.

Horse Ads-real ads what they might really mean

A friend of mine called me about a barrel horse she had seen in the local horse ads.  I was intrigued to see what other horses might be listed on this site.  Apparently, no one edits or checks these ads.  I know I misspell words occasionally or leave out a word-but I proof-read multiple times and make Lauren read each post out loud.  So, I understand errors happen. But, if something is going to be published check to see what you wrote and if it makes sense.  For instance, horses are measured in hands.  A 15 hand horse can be 15.1, 15.2 or 15.3 hands high, if over 15.3 the next increment is 16 hands and so on.  Each hand is four inches (the size of an average man’s hand back before we could order a giant measuring stick from the Dover catolog).

I collected some of my favorite ads. I remember reading an article a while back that had some good definitions of what words in a horse ad really mean.  So if the ad says this-it might mean this:

  • Bomb-proof:  (will never, ever move)
  • Can Jump the moon (and the pasture gate)
  • Walks-trots-canters quietly (but will never stop at the gallop)
  • ‘A’ Show pony not for beginner (or any other type of rider)
  • OTTB-sound (when he is not lame)
  • Exciting to ride (for the bi-polar personality)

Note-I have copied the actual ad as it was written for release (I swear).  The original ad appears in normal type and my obnoxious comments are bolded.

Ad #1-Percheron for sale 

Billy is a beautiful flea-bitten grey percheron. 17.5 (no such thing)hands tall, would be awesome for a person of any size. He is gentle, needs a little flexing work (because he is stiff or lame). Hopped on him after not being ridden for two years yesterday and he did awesome!  (So he has had no work for two years (totally out of condition)-he did awesome but rider may be dead.)

  poa

 A

d #2- POA Pony      
Stunning little POA that is broke to ride but needs more saddle blankets (not sure what that means unless it is like my dad said a good horse needs to have sweated through a lot of saddle pads.  He is obviously not well broke!).  Not a kids horse at this time (or ever), (so why take a picture with the kid on him clearly making you believe he is a kid’s pony?) although my kids have ridden her she is spoiled and likes to do things her way (I read this as the pony is a bully-like most ponies).  She sticks out at 13.3 and is SOLID (fat?)built. 

Ad # 3- Leadline Pony-Show Season Starts Soon! 

<:section>

Nick is a Palomino Shetland Pony Gelding thats is an estimated 18+ years old. (I am guessing at least 25!)
He has a very long flowing blond mane and tail. And is cute as a button.
He is leadline broke (bareback or with a saddle).
He will carry a bridle, but hasn’t been taught to steer to ride independantly.(You cannot not ride him by yourself!)
We lead my 1 year old nefew on him, and he’s great. But have 2 welsh ponies and just don’t do anything with this one.
He is a pony, so he can be a butt. (This scares me as he freely admits the pony is the pony from hell but wait this is the best ad ever!)  But not biting, kicking, ect… Is hard to catch in a pasture, but jut shake a feed bucket. (And he will run you down to get to the food!)
He does only have one ear, the previous owners said he was attacked by coyotes. (I burst out laughing the first time I read this!!  Not what I think of when I think Leadline pony.  Wow-maybe I can get him and Kendyll can do Pin Oak Leadline on the one eared pony next year-and about that…)
He is fine, is not ear shy or head shy. His long mane and forlock cover it. (Are you serious-does he look like a slightly skewed Unicorn?)  So its just cosmectic.(How does that work?  Is there a hole in his head where his ear was or it sewed over like a missing eye?  Way too creepy for me!)
He does not like 2 horse Straight load trailers. But is perfect in a stock trailer. Summer Series are starting soon. Here is a great little guy to show off. (I do not even believe this ad exists-who would pay money for a one-eared, mean, unloading, unrideable pony?)

 If you are interested in any of these horses, I can steer you to the actual ad.  Lauren seriously wants the one-eared pony to be Bruno’s pet.    Not coming here!!  No wonder it is so hard to find the right horse!

Getting back in the groove

Bruno and Mick meeting over the fence.

Bruno and Mick meeting over the fence.

This will be the first full week that I have been at work since March.  Wow.  It has been hard getting back to my schedule of feeding animals at 4:00, getting off to work by 5:00 am and not home again until 5:00 pm.  I am still in my sling from my shoulder surgery and not sleeping as well as I should.

I am completely tired as I end another day.  But feel that I am getting back into the groove of things.  I am awaking on time, getting through the commute and making it through the day at work without too much trouble until about 1:30 or so, when pain and fatigue start catching up with me. After work, I do my physical therapy so that is a painful way to end my day.  But I can tell that my shoulder is improving, my range of motion is greater and the serious pain is behind me.

I am happy to be getting back in a regular routine with my mom as well.  I have missed seeing all my nursing home friends.  When I don’t take her to dinner I don’t get to visit with the residents and catch up on all that is happening there.

Last night I got there to find my mom standing at the doorway to her room.  She had lipstick applied brightly and her hair combed.  She didn’t even hug me (which no matter how many times I remind her and she sees the big black sling on my body she wants to hug me by forcefully patting my sore shoulder). She eagerly told me she had been chosen to be “in the show” and that they would be coming to get her any minute so she could not sit down and visit with me.  The home has various activities and I thought this was some new deal they had going on and I was excited that she was so interested in participating.

I tried to get more details.  She told me that they had been practicing all day and it was almost show time! I went back to the front desk to get all the information on this extravaganza.  Well, Wanda at the desk, knew nothing about the show.  Apparently, it was yet another of my mother’s flight of fancy.  Wanda went back to the room with me to explain there would be no show today.  Mom quizzed on her on why they hadn’t called her to inform her the show was postponed.  Well, they just wanted to make one call to let everyone know so they called me, Wanda told her.

I just want to point out (in case anyone has tried to call her) that we disconnected and removed her phone some time ago. The telemarketers confused and frightened her.  This does not stop her from telling me she has just had this person or that person call and talk to her.  She talks to Jim most every day.  (But not really!)

I got momma back in her room, sitting down.  She told me she was relieved that she was not going to have to perform.  She just wasn’t sure if she would be able to do all the dance steps.  I told her I had talked to Jim’s family in Denver and they were planning a Taco dinner for his birthday this weekend.  She immediately told me, “I don’t eat Tacos-they know that!”  I told her I would let them know.  I am unclear if she thinks she is in Colorado or Texas.  I guess it is good that she just thinks she is still closely connected to everyone.  We picked out a birthday card from her to Jim and got it in the mail.  He will be 96!

At lunch today, I took Lauren’s saddle with the broken tree to Charlotte’s Saddlery.  Last week, when it broke and we were hours from the horse show beginning, Suzanne had helped us find a new saddle that fit Feather and Lauren well.  She saved us when we needed help and now was going to help us get the old saddle back to its maker.  Hopefully, Marcel Toulouse will stand behind his guarantee and a new saddle will be sent back to us.  I am very pleased with the help and service we received at Charlotte’s!

The new pony, Pixie, got kicked in the neck by Feather (we are assuming this as Mickey is pleased as punch with his new addition of female companionship).  She is okay and is quickly learning the feeding/turn-out schedule in this new place.  She has been first to the gate the last two mornings for breakfast.  I think she will be a good fit for us.

Bruno has now graduated from the little paddock and arena to the first pasture.  It is bigger with more room to run and more grass to eat.  We are hoping that soon (after our visit to TAMU on the 28th) Bruno will be fully released to return to work under saddle and have full daily turn-out.  It will take a week or so to get the horses all going out at the same time but in separate pastures.  I suspect Bruno is going to be looking longingly over the fence at Mickey’s little band of mares.  I also suspect there could be some fighting between the boys (Mick and Bru) over the fence line as well.  I am just hoping Bruno doesn’t decide to just jump the fence as he did when he first came to our farm.  He wanted to visit Feather and just flat-footed it over the four-foot gate to get to Feather on the other side. At least we learned he has some jump  in him.  One step at a time, that’s all we can do!

Retrospect

Leaving the arena.

Leaving the arena.

We had to leave the much-anticipated, much planned for horse show, days early on Friday when Feather unexpectedly and inexplicably became ill.  She had swollen legs and a bad stomach.  It was like a late blow in already tough fight, we were not ready for it and we could not withstand it.

But what has some time and distance given me in regard to this matter? Well, some retrospective insight, helped along by my friend Kathy.  Really, so much of the why we attended the Fiesta Classic horse show, had already been answered in Feather’s arrival to and participation in classes on Thursday.

We had some concerns.  Not the least of which was would Feather measure up against the horses in her division when we tried to show at this higher level of competition.  Already we had spent some time in these Great SW Equestrian rings courtesy of the schooling shows.  Not only that but Feather had entered the ring and shown against some top trainers and some nice horses-so this was not a huge stretch.  Still, Lauren’s nerves were likely to be bound a little tighter, which could affect the mare as well.

And what was going to happen to my schizophrenic mare who came to us scared to have her head touched, the clippers turned on or her face handled when we added the top down cleaning, clipping and braiding that goes along with a big show?  I was very concerned that getting her mane and forelock braided might undo the fragile balance we had constructed in this horse.

Additionally, making it all a little more challenging, Lauren had all brand new tack, a saddle and a bridle that she had never even ridden in before much less jumped a jump.

But oh, retrospect!  First, we learned that while it was lucky to have a braider that went slowly and carefully with my horse, she stood quietly as almost 50 tiny braids were laced into her mane and forelock.  We learned in our 24 hours at the show that Feather would go into the show ring, despite wind and rain, and jump every jump in front of her cleanly and easily.  While we did not win our rounds, Lauren and mare had respectable courses. It was clear the things we could do to be better the next time they entered the ring.

We learned that she settled quickly and easily into the stall like it was the one at home.  And further, I learned once again, that I am sometimes the luckiest person in the world, to essentially have my vet on speed dial no matter the time of day.  When I needed to talk to Dr. Criner, she was answering my call, personally, and with clear knowledge of my horse.  She had me off to the pharmacy for vet supplies to help the sick mare, before most vets would have even returned my call.  As usual, her advice was clear, concise and competent.  Her advice included “take Feather home now!”

Retrospectively, we proved what we set out to do.  To get Feather in the big ring with the top horses.  We will be back for more rounds in future-you can count on it.

Feather joining the big league with style and grace.

Feather joining the big league with style and grace.

Mother’s Day

Kona and Lauren ballroom dancing (he has his ball and they are dancing in the living room).

Kona and Lauren ballroom dancing (he has his ball and they are dancing in the living room).

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there -both the human and animal nurturing types.  We have had a quiet day here.  Lauren got up and fed the horses, dogs and cats this morning so I got to stay in bed!  Yeah-great present.  Both of my other two daughters were quick to send mother’s day wishes and chocolate covered strawberries, so while I miss seeing them, I will power on.

I decided Bruno and Kid could try out the front pasture today for the first time as the arena and paddock are too muddy for them to chance pulling a shoe.  Lauren was not excited about this plan and she knew Bruno would run.  Wet spots still abound even in this pasture but we are trying to work up to getting Bruno to a pasture with more grass.  I had Bruno’s steady companion Kid and Lauren had Bru on the stud chain.  It got a little exciting before we got them released.  Kid ran quite a bit with Bruno, mainly trying to stay out of his way, but within about five minutes most of the fireworks were over.  Both horses seemed to enjoy  the fresh green grass and warm sun.

Bruno managed to find mud to roll in and quickly covered himself in it.  I helped Lauren give him his first bubble bath since we have owned him.  When we got him, it was turning colder, and then we had months where we could not get his hoof wet.  I have to say someone did a pretty good job with him as he stood quietly as we blasted his face and head with cold water.  His back white socks will need some more work before they gleam shiny and clean like Feather’s but we can work on that.

Feather continued to improve today.  No swelling in her legs, great appetite, and decreased stools (did you ever think you would read a blog about the bowel habits of a horse?).

Lauren made a wonderful Chicken Divan casserole and an old jello salad recipe of my Aunt Nova’s.  We picked up my mom around noon and I was gratified to see her so happy and also to have her eat so well.  She ate everything on her plate and enjoyed the Oreo Pie dessert as well.  I have not seen her look so good for a while.

Lauren after dancing with Kona, who her nanny said was showing his “lip-stick”, is off to see Blake.  I am happy all are home, well and safe.  Happy day to you all.

Don't ever put the ball down is Kona's motto!

Don’t ever put the ball down is Kona’s motto!

Good Fortune-no slaughter

I love seeing good rescue stories and this one is outstanding!

By Associated Press  As posted on Mail Online PUBLISHED:10:51 EST, 3 May  2013| UPDATED:13:58 EST,  3 May 2

He may never run for the Kentucky Derby  roses, but Illinois race horse Magna Fortuna and his owners are celebrating a  victory none-the-less — his survival. The three-year-old gelding’s name means  ‘great luck’, and he was a long shot when he won a recent race at Hawthorne Race  Course outside Chicago – one of the biggest race tracks in  America. His mother Lulu was purchased for $300 at an  Indiana slaughter auction by Gail Vacca, founder and president of the Illinois  Equine Rescue Center.

Lucky: Magna Fortuna, with jockey Julio Felix up, rides to a 9 3/4-length win during a horse race at Hawthorne Park in Cicero, Chicago

Lucky: Magna Fortuna, with jockey Julio Felix up, rides  to a 9 3/4-length win during a horse race at Hawthorne Park in Cicero,  Chicago
Dark horse: The three-year-old gelding whose name means 'great luck' was the longest of long shots when he won the race

Dark horse: The three-year-old gelding whose name means  ‘great luck’ was the longest of long shots when he won the race

Vacca found out later that Lulu was pregnant  when purchased. When the foal was born he was first named  Taxi – that was until Vacca traced his  lineage back to an impressive sire — a $2.58 million career stakes winner called  Magna Graduate. Speaking about the race, Vacca said the horse – who was the number six spot in the seven horse race – led the entire  way. ‘He was out for a joyride,’ she said  afterwards. ‘He didn’t even look back.’ Magna Fortuna’s ‘biography’ explains the  moment Vacca rescued the horse’s mother  Silver Option from slaughter: ‘Ms Vacca was at the auction looking for any  thoroughbreds that may have come from the tracks in Illinois when she spotted a  smallish bay mare that was in obvious discomfort from being severely lame in  both front feet.  ‘Unfortunately the mare was already in a  “kill pen” just waiting to be loaded onto a trailer for the grueling ride to  slaughter in Canada.’ After being taken back to Illinois, Silver  Option soon gave birth to Magna Fortuna, who was originally named Taxi until his  routes were traced back to his race-winning father. It was then that Vacca decided he would be  trained to race. Since the victory, offers have flooded in to  buy the horse but so far they have been rejected.

To Presevere or not

DSCN0324I believe in God.  I believe that God guides my way.  I also believe that I need to push on when I am given challenges.  I do not give up easily.  But with that said, there comes a time when one is just stupid to try to push on.  It is like the old story about the lady on the roof with flood waters all around her.  People keep coming to rescue her and she keeps telling them ‘no, God will provide for me’.  Well, sometimes he is right there helping us and we keep wanting something more.

If you read my last post, you know that it has been a crazy couple of days with broken down cars, chickens in the road and other difficulties.  What I hadn’t written about was Lauren’s show saddle (her only saddle) was destroyed Tuesday night.  She had nothing to show in for Feather’s first show.  I did not have the funds to purchase a new saddle now, but did so we could get to the show.  Things just kept happening to deter us from making the show and I kept pushing on.  I am sort of used to things being difficult.  I had already paid money for the show and we had planned for months for Feather to make her debut at this particular show.

WE WERE GOING TO THE SHOW AND WE WOULD DO WHATEVER WE HAD TO GET IT DONE!

Dumb.  Lauren had lovely first rounds on Thursday.  It was a promise to us that Feather was coming along just as we had planned.  In fact, if anything, she was doing better than we had thought based on her limited time in the ring.  We were excited about Friday’s classes.

Friday morning found Lauren and I stuck at home with a torrential downpour, high winds and rain falling in bucketfuls. We were delayed trying to get to the Equestrian Center and our property was covered in three inches of water.  The storm as it raged, was as bad as any storm in terms of wind and rainfall.  Yet, another omen.  But we waited out the storm and headed to the show.

Immediately upon getting to Feather’s stall I knew we were looking at what would be the last straw in this fragile straw house we were building.  Feather’s back legs were swollen to twice their size.  Her stall full of cowpiles as she obviously had a serious bellyache.  She was dehydrated and obviously not feeling well, we were done.  She is a young horse with lots of shows ahead of her. We did want to mess around with a potential problem-and we could not take any chances jumping her with her legs less than perfect.

I will never know as I gaze at Feather happily eating her feed this morning or her beautiful, slim back legs, if I had been given multiple warnings to walk away from this horse show. She is grazing in the pasture now with Mickey and the new pony, well and content.

I try to do the best I can to persevere no matter the obstacles that are pushed in my path.  Perhaps a good lesson in learning to say when enough is enough would be wise.

Stranger than truth-my life!

Feather with her mane braided ready for the show.

Feather with her mane braided ready for the show.

I leave for work in the dark-like before 5:00 am.  I drive over ten miles before I hit the freeway and part of it is very rural (think Deliverance).  This morning, I am up getting into the new routine of feeding a new pony along with the others, get dressed, get in my little VW and head to work.  I am maybe four or five miles from the house when I feel a thunk.  I had not seen anything in the road, but figured I had run over something.  Immediately my icon lights up on my dash for the battery.  I am immediately panicked!  I have recently replaced the battery but who knows.  I pull over on the dark road.  Turn off the car and think, well I might as well try to start it again.  It starts right up.  Then I realize I have NO power steering.  Oh, don’t forget I just had shoulder surgery and am in a giant sling.  I try to turn the car around to head back home.  Worst thing I have done since my surgery. It hurt so bad.  I cannot make the little car turn.  I am pretty much in the middle of the rural highway and can see cars (or trucks) coming the opposite direction.  It added an extra slice of terror to being stuck in the middle of deliveranceville on the dark road and having no turning ability.

WORST TIME EVER (well, maybe not-but it was bad!).  I finally get the car turned around and head home.  By this point I am thinking maybe I just am out of power steering fluid.  It should have been checked but anything could happen.  I wake Lauren up who is due to leave for Feather’s first rated horse show at 7:00.  I tell her I am going to Wal-Mart to get power steering fluid and a giant screw driver to open the stupid VW power steering fluid reservoir.  I get back just in time for Lauren to leave, and finally open the power steering holder thing.  It is full of fluid.  I pour some in for good measure.  I get Lauren to test drive the car because my arm is killing me.  She doesn’t even get to the end of the driveway and it is obvious the car is not steering.  GEEZ!

So, in spite of her needing desperately to leave, I have her drive the car to only mechanic in town.  I follow her in the Jeep which is barely an on-road vehicle but it has power steering.  We leave the car.

Back at the house, Lauren hasn’t even gotten out of the drive to leave for the horse show when I see a missed call on my phone.  The mechanic leaves a message that says, “I have real bad news, but some good news too”.  Okay, we had this talk about the vet that does not leave specific messages. I was freaking out that I had blown my engine or something (although was a little unclear what the good news was going to be).

I get the mechanic on the phone.  This is the stranger than truth part.  I know some of you men reading along are guessing what is wrong with my car-I guarantee this is NOT what you are thinking-I lost the engine belt when a cat had gotten up in the engine.  That ‘thunk’ I heard was part of the cat falling out of the engine.  The rest of cat managed to pull the belt off the engine (thus triggering the battery light because it was not charging the alternator).  I really don’t know how that effected the power steering but it did.  So the bad news was my cat was dead-not to be flippant-but what is a week at my place without a dead cat.  Pretty much all the ones I have neutered are dead as well.  I think this was one of the wild kittens.  The good news was they only had to order a replacement belt (which would take half the day) but it was not a major deal.  Wow-so who guessed there was a cat in my engine taking off my belts? Yeah!

I finally got the car back (had to take a vacation day from work) around 1 pm and headed up to try to catch Lauren and Feather make their rated show debut.  I get there with my poodle, Kona, to learn Lauren has lost her phone.  She heads to the show ring and I go searching for her phone.  I am walking with Kona toward the show office when some random man stops me.  Excitedly he tells me, “I found your dog’s phone!!”.  A cell phone with Kona’s picture on it is in the office.  At least four more people stop me with Kona to tell me “his” phone is in the office.  Really people?  But I guess it did pay off to have such an easily identifiable picture on your cell phone background.  So, remember that-for safety sake- take a picture of something that is uniquely you and yet you are willing to parade this object around in public and put it on your phone.  That way if you lose your phone people know it is yours.  Perhaps another idea is to take a photo of your business card-less embarrassing than people thinking the poodle had a phone.

Lauren and Feather had good rounds.  Feather looked beautiful and Lauren rode well.  They earned two third places today.  But keeping with my kooky day, on the way home, we were watching the road for where we thought the kitten had fallen out when we were stopped by chickens in the road.

Why did the chicken cross the road-to get in front of my car!

Why did the chicken cross the road-to get in front of my car!

Jordyn got sent home from school with diarrhea and a sore bottom Tuesday and I flashed back to her Monday night playing with Codi, her Florida friend.  They were busily chipping off pieces of my giant horse salt block and eating it.  Codi’s mom warned not to let Jordyn have milk for three hours because the salt coupled with milk caused Codi to projectile vomit.  And it burned when it came back up.  Explains Jordyn’s sore bottom.  Trying telling the school that story.  Wow.

I have had it with living in rural crazyville!  Dev says we should just get our reality show.  Then Kona could get his own cell phone!

___________________________

My momma has been under the weather.  She will be okay but sure could use any prayers you could send her way.

___________________________

And the horses cometh-

Adelena with new pony Scholar.  I am hoping she is deeply surpressing immense joy in her new pony.

Adelena with new pony Scholar. I am hoping she is deeply suppressing immense joy in her new pony.

After traveling almost 1000 miles, the new horse and ponies came to a stop on my recently dried ground ending their 24 hour journey in the trailer.  I bet my neighbor thought we had opened up a stockyard as he viewed all the trailers at my small property at once.

The big trailer from Florida was a huge, comfortable ride but everyone gratefully stepped off into the gentle Texas breeze, warm sun and solid ground.  The trip was a success for all!  I had Lauren be sure everyone in our gang was safely up in their stalls before the large rig pulled into the yard.  I bet it was a good day for “Bruno TV” as he got to watch the new horses arrive.  Still, everyone was pretty excited as the new kids arrived.

Ally came with Jo and Kendyll.  Caroline was there with Abby, Arianna and niece Adelena as well.  Lynn showed up a first thing this morning after having had vet calls all day.  I honestly think I was the most excited (which is a little pitiful).  I sat at the barn and watched the road knowing from texts they were getting close.  I had my camera around my neck and Lauren told me I looked like a tourist as I rushed around taking photos as the trailer arrived.

It is good to still be excited about friends, especially friends with horses.  The OTTB, Dubai, was the worst for the trailer trip, having dropped some weight in transit.  The ponies were taken immediately to arena and unlike any of my existing horses, just calmly walked around investigating everything.  There were no Bruno runs, bucks or sliding stops.

Jordyn came running from the car to see ‘her new pony!!’  Yeah, I don’t remember agreeing to that and we will see if it works out.  Still, it may be hard to say no as they just get more and more attached over time.  I could be in trouble on this one.  Baby Kendyll was there with Ally.  Kendyll loves horses-especially Bruno and she good-naturedly hung out several hours in the barn just gazing at the horses.

Ally took a video of Kendyll watching the Kentucky Derby this weekend.  Kendyll stood at the base of tv, spellbound by the race,  bouncing up and down on her chubby little legs.  I swear the horse thing is genetic.

Ally, Kendyll and Jordyn with Pixie.

Ally, Kendyll and Jordyn with Pixie.

I am grateful everyone made the trip safely and well.  Our Florida friends will be here a few days.  They are gathering up bales of my Texas alfalfa ($12 here versus $27 there) and two tons of rice bran.  For those unaware, this is a huge rice producing area.

A trip to see OTTB Joey was accomplished this afternoon and I think they are pretty excited about taking the big man home to Florida with them.  They better not buy anything else or Joey will be riding on the roof!