Rain and some more Rain

 

The arena today after three days of storms.

The arena today after three days of storms.

We have had brutal rain showers since Memorial Day.  They came in like a wrecking ball (I know, overused words, but so true!) mid-afternoon on Monday.  I had gotten the horses (including our new boarder, Cody) into their stalls.  My phone started its frightening screeching sound that signifies something really important was occurring and I looked at it to find we were under a “take cover” Tornado warning.

My mother is from Oklahoma.  I spent a lot of my youth in the tornado prone areas of Illinois.  My mother made sure every tornado warning was met with an instant retreat to basement corner of our house.   I don’t think I have been through too many non-hurricane related tornado warnings since.  I certainly had not yet thought through where in our new house we would take cover in the event of a tornado.

I stood in the metal barn, watching the rain fall contemplating what I should do next.  I should have reacted more quickly and headed to the house but I did not.  In this particular case, I was safe and the tornado passed safely away from us.  Lauren was caught in the Memorial day traffic making its way back to Houston from the beaches of Padre Island and Corpus Christi.  I was scared for her.

Just as she safely arrived home, the downpour started.  We rushed to close the doors and windows of barn.  The barn roof had been sealed just days before but we quickly found out a few places were still not completely water tight.  The rain rushed into our new old barn, but fortunately it fell on the side used for storage and not the stalls.

The rain ran like a river through the storage side of the barn.

The rain ran like a river through the storage side of the barn.

As more and more small leaks sprouted in the barn, Lauren and I got more anxious and frenzied.  For seven years we have been fighting floods to our property and barns.  We felt we were safe in our new home. Then the sky seemed to collapse and water just poured.  I have to say we got a little worked up.  Not even 24 hours had passed since our first boarder arrived and we felt due to our prior experience with rain of this nature, that we would shortly be evacuating horses and apologizing to our new guest.

Things looking a little brighter today.

Things looking a little brighter today.

But then almost as quickly as my frenzied feelings came over me, they went away.  Listening to the radio it became clear that this was not, not, not normal and we could live many years here without ever seeing storms like this again.  Now, pulling my wide-eyed frantic daughter down to this same brilliant conclusion was not so easy.  My momma used to call it “awfulizing” and Lauren was doing an excellent job of only seeing the positively worst scenarios coming our way.

In the end, over 60 hours of rain and storms later, we had received a total of almost seven inches of rain.  Anyone ever get seven inches of rain before?  I feel it was a pretty unusual happening.  The stalls stayed totally dry.  The horses stayed in, dry and reasonably happy in their stalls.  We will have to add some sand and build up the storage side of the barn.  But until we see rain of Biblical proportions again, I think we found out we could ride out the average storm, and even a pretty bad one.

This is not our old farm and we will be safer, drier and calmer here, once we unwind some of our previous learned responses.

Back in a soggy but green pasture.

Back in a soggy but green pasture.

 

Thanks for riding along with us!  Hope everyone got through the storms okay.

New Opportunities

Bruno showing his superior size to new pasture mate Cody.

Bruno showing his superior size to new pasture mate Cody.

Some friends have become aware that we have a couple extra stalls available at our new barn.  We have been asked to board a couple of horses for friends.  We all ride with Dev and it seems like a good opportunity to make a little money, expand Lauren’s responsibilities and have friends to ride with.  Perfect!  Dev even started running a Saturday lesson here.

I mean why not, our new arena is giant-sized,  the footing is good, we have a pretty good collections of jumps and our new farm is pretty centrally located.  I certainly never sat back and said, gee I would like to get in the boarding and training field, but we built our new facilities and people want to come use them.

Amelia getting one of the best jumps from Bruno we have seen.  Dev couldn't believe how well he was doing!

Amelia getting one of the best jumps from Bruno we have seen. Dev couldn’t believe how well he was doing!

We had several horses and riders going.  Dev was working with Amanda’s new horse.  A young teen had shown up to give Snowboy  a try (he was an all-star!),  I think they will be spending much more time together,  Nice work, Mia! Amelia took her first lesson with Dev and it went well, he complimented her on how much work she had done with Bruno.

Even Amelia’s daughter and my granddaughter, Jordyn took some laps on Mickey.  It was a busy day.

Lauren and Feather continue to improve moving up to more sizeable jumps.

Lauren and Feather continue to improve moving up to more sizeable jumps.

Libby and her World Champ Jumper Cody showed up in the early evening and it was wonderful to catch up with her folks whom I have known for years.  Suddenly, it was dark and time to head to bed to start a new day today.

I fed the horses early this morning but slipped back to sleep until daylight when I headed out to the barn to clean stalls and get horses out to the pasture.  Libby surprised me by already being out in the arena riding.  Wow!

Lauren and I headed down to my mom’s for a bit after that.  When we got back we were pretty tired and ready for a little siesta.  Lauren headed upstairs to rest and I sat down to work on some computer stuff.  Suddenly Kona lunged at the window and I looked up to see a black bull looking in the window at me.

Was he going to charge us?

Was he going to charge us?

I started screaming for Lauren and we had some hilarious times trying to shoo the big bull back up our drive to where we suspected it had come from our neighbors.  Mickey, the only horse with any cow blood, marched toward the fence and beat a hasty retreat as the bull charged the fence rattling the timber.

It was a little unnerving. Finally, we got it headed down the driveway and headed back to the neighbors where it belongs, although it is unclear if it is yet back in the pasture.  I hope to not stare any young bulls down again anytime soon.

Lauren about to rope the bull with her superior roping skills.

Lauren about to rope the bull with her superior roping skills.

We also hosted our friends and their family from Oklahoma early this morning as well,  the two girls had a great time on Snowney!

 

Hope you are having a happy, safe holiday.  Run by here if you are bored,  always something going on!

New Farm-All Coming Together

Can you find Kona's dirty ball?

Can you find Kona’s dirty ball?

The new Six Meadow Farm is coming together!  All the fencing is done.  The arena is very rideable.  The house has most of my pictures that I have collected, saved and treasured up on the walls.  The rooms look pretty complete.

My contractor just texted me that he has corrected the electrical problem in the barn and he is has the fans working on each horse’s stall.  And not a minute too soon as temperatures are headed into the 90’s today.

We have put in numerous flowers, loads of mulch, pavers and rocks.  We have spread “guaranteed to grow anywhere” grass seed in the bare areas around the farm and dragged off broken limbs, construction debris and rocks from the grounds.

Occasionally, when we finally stop long enough to sit still, we cannot believe we are lucky enough to live here.  When Amber visited she kept asking me if I didn’t feel like I was on vacation and no, at that point I did not.  We had been working like manic fools to get everything ready.  No vacation there but last week, when I finally did slow down enough to have that vacation feeling, I was so gratified to just sit and watch the horses graze, the wind blow through my numerous wind chimes and dogs lay close by.

And speaking of the dogs, broken back dachshund Lula is doing very well.  She has responded great to medication, rest and therapy.  She thinks she is back to her old self and the hardest thing is keeping her from running, jumping or playing.  I thought I had lost her and am thrilled at this turn around.  Meanwhile, Kena, the Doberman with the lacerated paw, returned for her last visit to vet today (number four) to have the remaining staples removed from her foot.  The infection is gone and she is finally bearing weight on her leg.

Kona got his hair cut yesterday and was so happy to be home.  He wanted to play lots of ball as I tried to get the plants all watered.  His answer-as shown above-just drop his nasty ball directly into whatever plant I am trying to coax along.  Then I have to pick it up and throw it again.  Freaking smart dog for sure.  Annoying, too!

All the horses were in back under saddle this last weekend, even Snowboy whose feet have been in bad shape.  Arianna rode both Mickey and Snow and they did not disappoint us.

Arianna getting a little gallop out of the pony.

Arianna getting a little gallop out of the pony.

 

Mickey tucking his knees like champ.

Mickey tucking his knees like champ.

Bruno has been going well for Amelia and they will have their first lesson with Dev on Saturday.  We have moved closer to civilization and are really enjoying all our friends.

With all the pastures, arena and barn work to do, it was finally time to invest in a small tractor.  In Wharton, where tractors seem more plentiful than people, it was never a problem to get someone (beg someone) to come drag our arena (thanks, Scot!) or shred our pastures (thanks, Richard!) but here we will learn to do it ourselves and hopefully save money over the long haul.  Lauren had resorted to dragging the arena with my VW Golf and I may never remove all the sand from in and on the car.

Neither Lauren or I had driven a tractor before or knew much about it but we got a great price and great instructions from Shoppas in East Bernard.

Learning the tractor.

Learning the tractor.

I still haven’t driven a tractor and hope not to, but Lauren got right on her obsession of dragging the arena and it looks great.  She has yet to run into a fence or smash into the house.  I feel that is positive.

Of course, Kona had to get on the tractor, too.

Of course, Kona had to get on the tractor, too.

My mom is doing better.  I think she believes the hard pink plaster has been on her arm all her life.  I do not think she understands why it is there but just accepts it now like it is just the way it is.  Another month and we will hope to get it off for good.

Thanks to all of you who have been riding along with us through all our journeys.

 

The Sound of a Million Dreams

Amber finishing a half marathon- first time ever!

Amber finishing a half marathon first time ever!

 

Exciting times, these last few days.  My oldest daughter Amber who has never run any kind of race, decided in a moment of delusion, madness or just pure stubbornness to sign up for a half marathon.  Couldn’t she have started with like a 10k?  You don’t have to be a tremendous athlete or fast runner to make a 10k, you can even walk.  But Amber set her sights on the half marathon and off she went.  She trained through one of the worst winters in Denver history.  She kept running.  Even last week, in May,  it snowed again.  You never know what you are going to get weather wise there.

But Amber is one for setting goals and keeping them.  She had a dream to run and she did- the entire way. Wow, I am so impressed and proud of her!  Just think what she could do here at sea level.

Ally spent her childhood about 45 minutes from the Disney castle in Florida.  She has wanted to take her family since Jordyn was little.  They left Friday and are having a fabulous time.

Not sure Kendyll is so impressed with the weird little man.

Not sure Kendyll is so impressed with the weird little man.

I hope they make it across to Ally’s home town and the glistening beaches of the Atlantic.  Disney makes dreams come true for many and I know it is for Ally and family.

 

Since off-the-track  Thoroughbred Bruno joined our family a year and a half ago, we have battled to cure a hoof infection, then get him sound enough to ride.  Once he was sound, we struggled to get him ridden with commitments Lauren already had with Feather.  Several times we talked about my daughter Ally’s friend who was an eventer coming to try Bruno.  But you know with a giant, sometimes difficult horse, it isn’t easy to trust anyone with your baby. Finally, since coming to Richmond, I knew it was time.

When Amelia got here, I offered her Mickey to ride first.  She said she was fine on Bruno. Okay,then.

First ride, learning to bend.

First ride, learning to bend.

The second ride today was really Bruno’s third day of work.  Bruno is always better after three days of work. (Lauren had ridden him yesterday.) Today, he was actually listening and trying.  It was a dream come true to see Bruno jump a few fences, bend along the lines and make me believe this big black horse might have a career after all.

It has been a time for us when a lot of dreams are coming true.  We are appreciative and gladdened.

Jump Bruno, jump!

Jump Bruno, jump!

Bend me, shape me!

Bend me, shape me!

 

Looking pretty perfect.

Looking pretty perfect.

 

Give me back my home town!

Wharton County courthouse

Wharton County courthouse

Things you take for granted as you spend seven years of your life in one town, become glaringly apparent once you leave.  Wharton has a population of about 9000 folks, is the county seat and about 65 miles from Houston.  Our new home, Richmond, I was surprised to learn actually only has a population of 11,000 or 11,002 now that Lauren and I have come. It is the county seat of Fort Bend and about 25 miles from Houston. And therein, lies the major differences in the cities.  Richmond is a suburb of Houston, with a Houston feel to restaurants, people and services.  There are pockets of rural life here but Wharton is rural life.

Here is the list of things Lauren and I have noted so far: Wal-mart as the major store in Wharton is where we spent most of our time.  So, changes in policy from store to store really got our attention.  First, we knew almost every clerk at Wal-Mart, from the efficient older blonde with her hair in a braid down her back and a Rambo like headband around her forehand.  She once asked if we could take her older mare.  It still rode pretty good, she told us, just missing an eye and crippled in the knees. The young assistant manager could always be counted on to get us through the lines quickly.  I saw Frontline Flea control on 50% off sale once.  It didn’t ring up right.  He gave it to me for 75% off! I would have bought all they had.  Not only does the staff know us and our animals but it was highly likely that if I was covered with manure, we would see someone we knew. The new Wal-Mart is twice as big, no one we know is there and we have not begun to identify and get to know the help.  Oh, and your prescriptions, that you could put in your cart and pay for up front at the regular cash register in Wharton, don’t try that here!  Security is called and you are dragged back to the pharmacy to complete your purchase there. And don’t try to go buy mulch for your garden on a Tuesday night.  You can’t buy it if there is no one there to load it for you.  You are not trusted to load it yourself.

Lauren and I went to look at tractors.  We picked one out.  We waited for the paperwork to be done.  We ran out for some lunch and when we got back, our salesman was busy with another customer.  Ever impatient, I told the salesman, I had to go.  He said that was fine he would deliver the tractor to our house Monday.  I asked “what about the contract and down payment, don’t you need those now?”  “Don’t worry, I trust you”.  Where does that happen?  Not in the city.

The local feedstore knew us and our weekly order by heart.  They were ready with the feed order as we walked through the door.  When we needed panels to keep Bruno safe, the feedstore folks loaded them up, delivered them and installed them for us when they arrived!  When we moved up here, we had gates ordered and once again, they were delivered to our doorstep.  The feedstore here has yet to even get our order right.

Although not because we wanted to, we certainly knew most of the staff (good and bad) at the local hospital.   The clinic staff was well-known to us as well. If we needed something, they would take care of us. My same doctor that I have been going to for five years, has an office in our new town, but I cannot see him here, his practice is closed.  Does that make sense to anyone?

Wharton had two Mexican restaurants if you leave out Taco Bell.  It didn’t take long to figure out your favorite.  Here there is a Mexican restaurant on every other corner.  I have no idea which one is the good one.

So, for all my complaining about Wharton, I am quickly learning, I had a lot  to be grateful for in my small town!

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I  continue to give thanks and be oh so pleased to see get well cards continue to show up for my mom! I am grateful for your thoughtfulness.

 

Is this a Vacation?

Back on Bruno.

Back on Bruno.

I am supposed to be on a week’s vacation.  My blood counts have been off, too low, and I have really planned to eat a lot of iron rich foods and rest.  Mostly I have been running the roads between here and Wharton.  Friday, after some more blood work, I took Kena, my Doberman to Wharton Vet.  She had been limping around since running with horses on Wednesday.  Turns out she had a major laceration in the pad of her foot which took several staples to close.  And it was infected.  Nothing like a three-legged Doberman.

Poor Kena!

Poor Kena!

I ran down to the nursing home Sunday with the grand kids, to find mom sound asleep. Then I drove home .  Lots of driving.  Monday dawned with the clear realization that my older dachshund Lula was in great pain.  You could not touch her.  I raced her down to Wharton Vet and left her so I could get back to the house where Dr. Criner was coming to check Bruno.  She had Lauren ride him.  He went well, it seems the hoof issues in front that have plagued him for years are resolved, but his hind left leg was not moving well.  We decided to inject both of his stifles.  Hopefully that puts him on the mend.  Meanwhile, Wharton Vet called with the horrible news that Lula’s back was fractured.  OMG!  This dog is ten years old and been all over the country with me.

She is on crate rest with steroids and painkillers.  I drive back to Wharton tomorrow for a recheck on Lula and to take out Kena’s staples.  Geez!  At least I getting lots of opportunities to visit mom.

Today it was time to take momma back to the orthopedic doc.  Her cast was removed ( her elbow still horribly swollen) and she was sent off to x-ray. Some healing is taking place, her skin looks good and it is back in the cast for another four weeks.

Momma getting her newest cast on.

Momma getting her newest cast on.

 

We spotted Lauren’s back doctor in the hall and asked if we could speak with him.  Lauren is in horrible pain since the horse show.  They had already put Lauren in a room when I brought mom down the hall in the wheelchair in her fresh pink cast.  The staff asked anxiously, “did she fall?”  I said yes.  I think they were panic-stricken that this tiny lady had just fallen and was being sent to the back surgeon.  No worries, we were just with the young lady.

The back doctor told Lauren and I clearly that he had no way to make her pain go away.  No surgery would be effective now.  It would be best if she quit riding.  I indicated that wasn’t really an option.  He was quite adamant.  It was devastating.  We will try more PT, more drugs and another doctor. I felt so bad for Lauren, this is her whole life.

Tomorrow back for more blood work, dogs back to vet, stop at mom’s then Dev comes to see our place for the first time.  Maybe we will talk him into a ride on Bruno!

Keep this little band of problems in your prayers.  I am getting a fruity drink, a good book and hang out on the porch pretending I am on vacation tomorrow!

A Good Weekend

Feather entered the arena with its fish jumps, spectators and riders and calmly waited for the start bell.

Feather entered the arena with its fish jumps, spectators and riders and calmly waited for the start bell.

Jo and Bruno.

Jo and Bruno.

It was a busy time.  Lauren and Feather had headed to the show on Wednesday.  I had been keeping up with things at home and at work  additionally, about three things are still left to be done on every project from garage to barn, so dealing with and directing the contractors is a daily duty.   And somehow, patio furniture and barn paraphernalia keeps showing up in assorted UPS, FEDEX or some other truck with initials. I must be ordering things in my sleep  at this point because I don’t even remember the specific items.

Lauren and Feather earned four ribbons over the course of the show.  In the 1.05 meter class, they earned three third places, a very admirable start to the spring season and their first attempt at these higher jumps.

I visited my mom a couple of times, only to find her asleep and unwakeable. Today, while the grown ups worked on chores, I stole Kendyll and Jordyn to go wish momma a happy Mother’s Day.  Once again she was sound asleep.  The kids made plenty of noise (like seriously) but she never woke up.  Still I am glad we went.

Luke and Ally came by and gave me a terrific gift of helping put together some of that continually appearing patio furniture, mowing the grass and helping Lauren organize the new tack room.  It looks like we are getting a couple of boarders so we will need to share our space.

Dr. Criner is coming in the morning to review Bruno ‘s progress.  She will want to see Bruno ridden.  Even through Lauren was on the verge of exhaustion, she saddled up one more time to give Bruno a ride so he would be easier to handle in the morning when the vet gets here.  It was his first ride at new Six Meadow Farm and his first ride in over 90 days.  Lauren had been hurt and Bruno has been on the back burner.  Lauren popped Bru over a few jumps .  He was jumping and moving well.

A 3’3″ jump had been set for Feather.  We decided to let Bruno give it a go.  The jump standards are five foot and he is quite unsure what to do with his back feet but it was pretty awesome to see him clear a three-foot jump with lots of air.

Maybe we have a couple of horses that can jump.

Maybe we have a couple of horses that can jump.

 

Kendyll and Jordyn got in on the Bruno rides too!

Lauren and Kendyll on Bruno

Lauren and Kendyll on Bruno

 

Jordyn wasn't about to miss a ride on the big horse either!

Jordyn wasn’t about to miss a ride on the big horse either!

The grand girls brought their cousin over Saturday and I caught a great photo down in the pasture.

Cousins, Kyla, Jo and Ken

Cousins, Kyla, Jo and Ken