Sunday, January 31, 2010

Just Like Pigs to Mud


Muddy day gymnastics peak in the height of winter around the waller pit we call home... Of course, Wyatt comes to the competition prepared to show his best. He has trained for several weeks with his new moves.

First, it's a single somersault, difficulty of 6.0, with a muddy foot handicap.

Then buttocks hangtime is shown for bonus points. Grass on feet increases difficulty level to 7.8.

And the four limb off the ground landing brings the crowd to their feet. Hurray!!!!! Judge Mommy gives a 10 for total effort.

Next my porcine son moves onto the muddy balance beam for the next level of competition. Oh Yeah! Bonus points added for the extra mud on foot.

Then the competitor finishes his routine with a two foot plant and an extra difficult tongue waggle, then an arm stretch move for final victory.

Wyatt thinks, "Come on Ella, I've got things to teach you. Just take of those there mud boots and I'll lead the way. Me and Adam are pros at this mudding stuff."

The mud is getting a little old for me, but to some people the mud is a never ending source of entertainment. It does not help that I take pictures. It only feeds their appetite for clothing destruction.

And if you were wondering, Ella went through four pair of pants today and Wyatt only two.

Also, this week I have some new characters to introduce from our winter menagerie!! Stay tuned for the exciting reveal later in the week...

Monday, January 25, 2010

The boredom sets in, the wood works begin...

We're working on about 10 days of consecutive rain here on the left coast. I know.... Wah, wah, wah.... Poor babies.... We in California like to complain about the weather when we have no real justification other than we are spoiled rotten with nice weather and are sullen by the infrequent cloud cover that blocks the sky during the winter. Blah blah blah. I know.

But I, however, really like the rain. On the other hand, my equine friends do NOT like the rain. In fact they melt in the sprinkles, but that is another matter all together. Since the onset of RAIN, they (the horses) have been locked up in their stalls to wait the weather out. Their pasture has a creek flowing through it. They have pens behind their stalls, but their paddocks now look like this. This fine photos shows a layer of muddy slime over rock. Call it slop. But it's not as bad as it looks... really. (And I have an extra job of cleaning these slop pits every day too...)

With nothing better to do then mull over their confinement, some of the prisoners have reverted to former vices, which I do not see during the summer months. With teeth of considerable length and the smell of cellulose close to their noses the reprobates have begun to chew. Chew their stalls that is.

One of the equines, a senior in the ranks of the horse world is Alfie. He is 25 I think. I sometimes can't remember these things. He is the angel of the barn. Quiet, respectful and a clean living man. I don't think he ever had a taste for the stall walls. Tried it once, never liked it. He had a hankering for women in his younger years, but the horses equivalent of crack, i.e. wooden walls did not call him.

"I had nothing to do with this stall chewing stuff, Lady. You scare me with your flashy camera anyway."

The wooden walls of his stall remain in their virgin state and I thank him for this!

Then there is the Anglo-Arab six year old named Max. He is just starting to dabble in the wall chewing. Call him a tea-tottler or a casual chewer.

Here is Max's best, "Who ME???" look.

And the wounds from his three inch long daggers consist of this.

This is best characterized as minor surface damages with lots of teeth scraping rather than actual "chewing."

Then Sharpie, the 14 year old Thoroughbred also partakes in the festivities of wood chewing. But he is in denial telling me, "Can't you see I am eating, Woman! Eating HAY that is!!"

This is Sharp's attempt to hide because after all he is totally innocent of any crime here.

He's only a little addicted to wood chewing. I think Sharpies walls are not in eminent danger for the moment.

The last perpetrator you have seen before. In fact, she has been a notorious wood chewing addict. She is unstoppable. Insatiable. A monster. A destructive force to be reckoned with. I sometimes think that it is a good thing horses are vegetarian after seeing the damages she inflicts upon her stall.

This is Gemma, the termite horse. Her age and parentage are unimportant at this point. She most closely resembles a beaver with long legs and hooved paddles.

Looks are deceiving. The innocent, kind eye. The long lashes. The calm gaze. But inside this horse is the heart of a killer. A killer of my BARN!!!!!

"Confinement does not suit me," she says with nonchalance. "I need my pasture. And NOW, if you please."

FYI: A large portion of the lower panel was replaced last year after she took her chop saw to the wall. Like five pieces of 2 x 4 to be exact. This year it's looking more like 20 pieces of 2 x 4.

In case you could not tell how much wood has been removed, see below. These two by fours will be eaten through by the end of winter at this rate.

I am thinking I will have to dust them with a special pepper sauce or jalapeno spray. I will be grinding up some spicy peppers soon. I just hope I can stop the giant termite in time. And that there are enough peppers at the store for my five gallon spray tank...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Letter Box Fun, Where Am I?, I Hope I Am Done Being Sick...

Being sick seems to be the broken record of my life lately. I am not dead....yet. But I have been ill since before Christmas. Last week, I spent several days flat in bed with the latest virus which had conquered my lungs. The virus' invited a bunch of bacteria over for a grand party in my chest. A great time was had by all. NOT! After taking antibiotics (which I am STILL taking) I started to feel a bit better, but was deployed to San Diego for field work for two days. Then with a deadline of less than a week for this San Diego project, I have been WORKING a LOT. In fact, too much.

But today was redeeming and we went for our first Letterbox search through the Atlas Quest, A Letterboxing Community website! I first learned of this game through Melynda at Your Wild Child, and knew I wanted to play with my kids too.

Letterboxes are little caches where folks hide a stamp and a log book. It provides for a mini treasure hunt to liven up your day. People sign up on the Atlas site giving clues to the location of their letterbox, and other folks search and find the cache. After finding the cache you stamp your book with their stamp as well as stamp their book with yours. I think stamps and puzzles are good for kids...

It took me a few months to finally get it together and find letterboxes in our town, but we did it.

Here is the play by play.

First, we went to Atlas Quest and did a search for our town. The results came back with 15 letterboxes in our town!! Whoo Hoo!!! And I had some business that I need to conduct at the letterbox I chose for our first journey.

We hopped in the truck with our little black book.

And our stamp and ink pad.

Then drove to our destination. The big orange sign is one of the clues for this letterbox.

So following the directions, we found the cache covered with rocks at the southeast corner of the big sign.

There was a waterproof can hidden in this letterbox, which we promptly opened.

The letterbox stamp was:

We stamped our entry into the letterbox notebook and put our town and date.

This whole hunt was great! The kids were excited and it made our ordinary trip to the hardware store more fun. There was one little problem however. We were sad that the stamp for this letterbox was MISSING. :( So we could not stamp our book.

Next time we will fair better and with 14 other boxes in our community I think we have some puzzling to do. I know the next location is at the local dog park and we drive past it all the time.

Anyway, check it out! Go to Atlas Quest! It can't hurt now can it?

Friday, January 8, 2010

An Ode to Summer

Please observe "Ye Ole Waterin' Hole."
It is here, shaped like a long skinny bowl.
She glimmers seductively in the bright day sun.
Never passes a day without some kind of fun.

Then there are some creatures with a goal.
And no, there is no stripper's pole.
They want to relax, they want to party.
It's the water they're wanting and it looks rather hearty.

The lively crowd gathers, there will be a toll.
Someone will leave the place the color of a mole.
A leader from the crowd throws down for the first round.
The others just stare without making a sound.

She's knowing the muddy soup will make her look like a troll.
With all this splashing there is no need for a roll.
The mucky shower feels cool and nice.
About it? How could she ever think twice?

The high vigor and vivacious pawing is not for a foal.
These are horses with a big heart and a soul.
They live in their moment soaking up the sun.
Never wondering, "Is this really fun?"

I could not generate "new" material from the current day... I needed some nice thoughts of summer. I have to kick being sick. Tomorrow's the Dr's, since I am on day 7 or 8 of having an intermittent fever. This winter is really kicking my a**. I took these pictures last year when I was doing some field work and always wanted to post them so there ye go.

Post script: Dr says its bronchitis again...

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Small Step for a Boy and a Giant Step for the Sanity of Womankind

Mom in a frenzy: "Wyatt! What did you just do??"

Wyatt acting aloof: "Nothing, Mom!"

Mom excited: "Wyatt!! You just tied your shoe by yourself!! ALL BY YOURSELF!"

Wyatt bashfully: "Yeah...."

Mom: "See, I KNEW you could do it!!!"

I have to take our little victories where possible. I am thrilled at this minor, but monumental accomplishment. Wyatt's tears and frustration over morning time school preparation rituals has been a source of maddening aggravation for me. I hope this means we are over the hurdle here...

Congratulations WYATT!!!

The Day the Swallows Came Home

The tree swallows are here already.  They arrived January 30 much to my dismay.  Swooping and calling and chirping their merry song over my ...