Monthly Archives: March 2010

Stormy Update

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Today the weather was outstanding. Spring is in the air and triggering spring fever with a passion. It is overtaking us all, including the animals. Our new baby and her mama were taken out of the stall to stretch their legs, and boy did they stretch their legs. That mama ran the poor thing silly, requiring human intervention to keep the poor colt alive. All the adjacent horses behaved admirably.

Here is today’s update on the filly we now call Stormy. She is without a doubt the spitting image of the mare and she possesses more energy than I remember any foal having in the past.

We are imprinting this foal, as we do them all, but she is eager and willing to be near us and her mother shows an inordinate amount of trust. This little thing tries to climb on me when I sit in the stall. I hope to have her haltered by the end of the week.

Stormy approaches me unabashed after only a few days sitting with her. She knows me and trusts me. I love that feeling.

She even turns to the sound of the shutter. She is worse than the kids. Oh well.

My little piece for today.

Love,
Jeannene

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Return

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Cat boy has returned from his week long sojourn at Grandma and Grandpa’s. The cat’s missed him. I missed him. Corvette Man missed him. His sister missed him only a little. He had such a great time.

Grandma took him to the Huntsville Space Center….awesome!

He had his first experience on a military base. I was raised on military bases so the excitement with which he described his new experience was not entirely impressive, but I reminded myself a young boy infatuated with guns and implements of war would find this the most exciting opportunity of his life. He visited Redstone Arsenal. Here are some of the things he saw.

His most impressed with the post exchange, likened to a Walmart. He couldn’t believe the size of it. Of course, I have seen numerous BX’s and I am aware of their vast stores of tempting wares.

The most wonderful thing for me as his mother, was the time my son spent with my dad. Dad taught him how to use a number of tools on his workshop, instructing him how to build a cabinet. What a forever treasure to have time with your Grandpa to learn his passion. Of course, our son loves to build things and this was a dream come true for him. This is the small cabinet they made in a few short days. It has dove tailed edges and paneled doors, all of it hand made.

Dad has every wood working tool you can imagine. It makes for some stunning pieces of work.

Thank you Dad and Colet for taking BH for the whole week. I love you.

Love,
Jeannene

Family

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A couple of weeks ago we went to Alabama to visit my Dad and step mom. It was a great trip. Family is always our mainstay, that group of beautiful people who ground us to this earth and remind who we really are, be it small or great. In my case, my brother and sister reminded me how small I truly am, yet how loved we are and how much my small existence influenced their lives, even as kids.

I am the oldest of six children, all of whom are only about a year apart in age. Incredible isn’t it? How on this earth did my mother manage? All I can say is she is a saint. I raised four kiddos and they were years apart, so the trauma of multiple small bodies converging in one area around one person never occurred in my life.

We all grew up well adjusted, I think. At least my folks will tell you that.

This is my dad. Seeing him was a joy, talking with him enlightening. Dad built the house these pictures are taken in and he has built numerous cabinets and pieces of wood furniture in this workshop.

My sister Leslie is a year younger than me. We used to fight like a cat and a dog when we were small, but we are thick as thieves now we have discarded childish foibles and bonded as sisters. I can talk to her about everything and she doesn’t judge or condemn she just loves me for what I am… her sister.

I like this picture of her. Her life hasn’t been easy, but she is a strong woman and knows what it takes to make a change and she isn’t afraid to do what is required. Go for it girl!!

I was blessed to meet a second cousin I have seen before. She and her husband moved to Alabama from Michigan (my family is from the Great Lakes State) just four months ago. This is Heather and her husband JT.

I have a very large family and I am ashamed to say I know very few of the children of my first cousins.

This is my brother Chris. He the youngest of us all and he was the golden child. As the youngest child whose older siblings included three girls, he was spoiled and doted upon. We loved that kid. He was carried every where we went because he was a living, moving, REAL doll. Speaking was never a requirement for Chris, all he had to do was point and we would get it for him. Mom said he was three before he ever said his first word.

He is still a cutie, but then I’m a biased source.

This is rare picture of Corvette Man. I am rarely permitted to post his picture, but this one is great. I like the three of them sitting around nashing and chewing the fat.

This is Colet, my step mom. She is a rock and a gem of one at that.

This is a wonderful piece of heaven. We’ll see them again this week end to pick up our son who spent the week with them, bless their hearts, taking on one of our children for a week.

Love,
Jeannene

Some of My Favorite Things

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I haven’t had time to blog since Sunday and I feel terrible I have neglected it. Then again the past two days have been a whirlwind of occurrences. After an early morning ER visit Monday and working a double shift on Tuesday, Wednesday has been my catch up day. Wednesday has been a whirlwind in its own right.

I played the role of feed girl this morning, which gives me a golden opportunity to be with our little horse. Let me share a couple more pictures…

She is growing and frolicking and learning I am not a monster who wants to eat her.

Her mama is awesome too. She was just a young horse until the moment that foal hit the ground and now she seems so majestic to me.

She even tries to find something interesting in the straw.

We let her and mama out in the larger turnout isolated from the other horses, for a few minutes in the sunshine. The other horses reacted crazy, to be expected. They waned to see the new addition more than we did. Mama kept her well away from the fences and tended to her with more care than any other mare we have. I was amazed at the attention she gave that foal. Of course it was impossible to document this on film as the 2 yr old filly really went bizerk and required intense stress management from the opposite side of the fence.

I also wanted to post some barns I found along the highway on our way to Alabama last weekend. I have developed a longing to snap old buildings. I love to imagine their history and for what purposes they were used. Granted, the buildings in this part of the country are not nearly as beautifully fashion as barns found in the northern part of the country. These here are designed for functionality rather than esthetics, but that is what intrigues me. Here are just a few.

These silos are still standing after all these years. No grain silos are constructed with concrete anymore and these towers stand as a witness to the past. I love them.

I think I was born a hundred years too late. I love old things.

This was my little piece of heaven for today.

Love,
Jeannene

What Season is IT?

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The past couple of days threw me into fervent spring fever. The garden is even at its initial tilling and live plants sit in a box on the floor in the kitchen awaiting their permanent spot in the soil.

What Happened??

No sun shines today and only a brief respite of rain has been seen the entire afternoon. I should be grateful we have none of the white stuff as our neighbors in Oklahoma, but still….

To appease my grief for the sudden loss of warmth, I am posting a couple pictures of the spring blooms emerging despite the cold.

This is a tulip tree on the way to town. It is absolutely resplendent in it blooming glory.

The blooms are mesmerizing. They are perfection.

Then there are the Bradford pear trees. I was especially taken with these columns on a farm drive.

Then of course we have the every blooming daffodils, blooming three weeks late this year.

Then I have to mention the new baby who is frolicking in her damp stall, so full of life and content in her existence. She is the embodiment of joy. Thank you Lord.

She is filling out nicely, even for a two day old.

I think she will be the spitting image of her mama.

My piece of heaven today.

Love,
Jeannene

New Baby

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Today we have a new baby!! Our mare foaled a beautiful, healthy 70 lb filly. That is the end of the story. The beginning has a lot more to it.

Gestation for a horse is exactly eleven months. We have been expecting and planning for the arrival of our new foal for that long. The last two weeks, though have been an intense ensemble of preparations and building, planning and strategizing. This is not the first foal to grace our small farm. It is the sixth. So you might say we are practiced to some degree and have a clear idea what to expect and are familiar with the mare’s signs of labor. This a first foal for this mare and new mamas require more observation than a seasoned brood mare.

Well….When this mare was training two years ago (she is a thoroughbred and trained to race), she was given a procedure that stitches up the vulva to prevent air from entering the vagina during training and ultimately during a race. Ordinarily this procedure is reversed before the mare is bred. We were not sure if the procedure had been fully reversed. Corvette Man called the breeder yesterday afternoon to find out if he could recall what went down a year ago. After all, we have slept since then and some things just simply are not retained. The breeder had slept also and was as clueless as we were. He did, however, describe to CM how to determine if sutures remained and where to find them.

All this unsurety left CM very distraught, because the concluding circumstances could be fatal and this is a classy horse and the stud is even classier.

After all these years of working with horses, training and caring for them, living with them daily and knowing about them on a level unfamiliar to most of the world,you would think we would know the anatomy of the female horse intimately. NOT! It has never been necessary for one of us to do any sort of exam on a horse, except to inspect feet or the interior of the mouth. Other than that all examinations have been exterior only. After finally locating an internet site with clear diagrams of the female equine anatomy, we finally made a determination that the mare was not sutured and was in her natural state. We didn’t stop there, though. I had to go inspect three of our four mares to verify our assessment was indeed accurate. I’m sorry, I couldn’t let it go. The measurements of the vulva and the distance between vulva and rectum were textbook in all three, concluding our mare in question was perfectly normal.

I realize this sounds so anal. When you invest so much care and time and money, not to mention the emotional investment we put into our animals, we don’t want to loose a beautiful foal to our own ignorance. In the end, we learned so much about our mama horses we are now empowered for the future.

CM was greatly relieved at the finally determination and relaxed to have his supper.

We monitored the mare all evening. At 11pm she went into active labor and within 20 minutes she delivered the filly. Of course that was only after CM worried some more.

Foals present with the front feet first, one leg overlapping the other. Our baby presented one front foot and the other foot didn’t present immediately. That, of course disturbed CM very much. He watched and prayed (I did too) and with the next contraction the second little hoof protruded unhindered. The man breathed a sigh of semi-relief. He was ecstatic when her nose came through. After her little head, the rest of the birth was a piece of cake.

I have to preface these shots by explaining I took these in the dark. They are not in focus leaving me to believe the setting was not correct, set in a hurry, in the dark and taken by a sleep deprived, emotionally charged woman.

This is such a good mama. She cleaned her and licked her to initiate suckling. I am so proud of her!

This is this afternoon. She was too tired to stand by the time I finally pulled the camera out. As you can see she is a dusty brown color instead of the dark brown she exhibits as a wet baby.

So today we celebrate the arrival of our new baby. We ended up driving to Memphis to see family, just adding to our joy today. Finally at home, I fixed a celebratory quesadilla and settled into the bed. We are exhausted and grateful for our blessing.

This my friends is our piece of heaven for today.

Love,
Jeannene

Mare Watch

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Tonight will have to be brief. Our mama horse is exhibiting those tell-tale pre-labor signs for mama horses and sending us into realms of nervous excitement. This means I will once again be a grandma to a horse for the sixth time.

We have spent the past week preparing for the new foal. It is almost as exciting as having one of my own except that this is so much easier. No carrying a baby for the nine months. No unbearable fatigue. No incessant hunger. No unexplained bloating. No waking in the middle of the night for feedings. No resentment for being the mama cow with the only udders my kiddo will suckle. My only job is to love and dote and act as Grandma. What freedom, what joy. I do the snoopy dance – once the little thing is birthed and established as a perfectly healthy foal.

Oh… I will take pictures, loads and swarms of pictures. My horse pictures put my children pictures to shame. I am shameful, but teenagers recoil from the camera lens as quickly and lethally as any snake in our
weeds. So what else is a mama to snap pictures of besides the scenery, but the animals in my nest?

I hope by this time tomorrow to be able to post a couple new baby shots. They will be all I have to hold on to.

Love from the look out chair – my piece tonight,
Jeannene

I Marvel

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I just had to post a couple pictures I took on a recent trip to Alabama. The road trip was uneventful except for the exceptional scenery, which was a very monotone winter grey and brown. Of course, that didn’t deter me from riding the entire trip with my camera in my lap snapping anything out of my ordinary. I had a blast and came back with tons of beautiful shots, many of which I will share eventually.

Tonight I want to post these next two pictures.

I have never captured birds before in my life and when I discovered what these were, I was enthralled. After the first encounter, the next hour and a half was consumed with the hunt for one of these.

This is a hawk! Corvette Man says they are chicken hawks.

I think they are beautiful and majestic and I couldn’t believe I was able to capture one on film. Granted the picture isn’t perfectly clear. We were traveling 70 miles and hour and I was shooting through the telephoto lens, which when tuned to the closest setting is extremely difficult to find a moving subject – or rather shoot a still subject from a moving car. At any rate, it is hard.

These birds perch on a high place where there is only open ground below to see their prey. My subjects were hunting as I took these.

That is my piece for today.

Love,
Jeannene

Saturday Night Favorite

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One of our favorite foods is pizza.

We used to buy pizza from a pizza joint in our little town, but found the flavors were unimaginative and not entirely flavorful. I have made pizza in the past, but my doughy crust was not the family choice for nashing. One day I found a great recipe in PW’s cookbook and it has made all my crust dreams come true.

What makes this pizza over the top, though is the pizza sauce. This is a recipe from a Tasty Kitchen member.http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/condiments/homemade-pizza-sauce-3/

I use natural mozzarella cheese, not the shredded, low fat, fake stuff. You will not believe the difference in flavor and texture. I will never go back. I added some provolone for a little extra flavor.

My daughter is putting mushrooms on this pizza. We love ‘shrooms and onions.

I’m sprinkling onions on it now.

I love the way these shots turned out. This looks delicious and they tasted great.

I have to make a plain cheese pizza for my son. He is a simple sort of guy.

So much for today’s slice.

Love,
Jeannene

Where’s My Food?

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Today I wish to share with you one of the little things on our farm that manages to keep Corvette Man and myself vastly entertained. Now that our children have advanced to teenagedom and seclude themselves into their rooms to play the keyboard or the guitar or video games, they no longer provide that adorable amusement we so frequently observed when they were smaller.

Instead, we raise horses and watch their crazy antics. On the farm at the moment we have two two year olds. One is a colt and the other is a filly. For the past ten years of raising horses this is the first colt to foal on our farm. The personality of the male horse is wildly different from the mindset of a female (where have we heard this before?). This colt is strong and wild and strong. His play is so different from that of the filly. He loves to throw things with his mouth, flinging objects all over his pen, and out sometimes as well.

If a lone feed bin is left inside his pen, which happens every day, he will use the bin for his own enjoyment.

So… this is what I captured shortly before feeding time yesterday.

That bin weighs a few pounds and he tossed it around as if it were a rag.

He is gleaning such enjoyment from this play, you all. The pictures don’t do him justice really.

He needed a short break to catch his breath. Short break only.

He is a registered thoroughbred name Bailmeouttoo, if he ever makes it to Oaklawn, but around here he is known as BabyBoy. He has the power, as you can see. That large spot on his rear is NOT dirt. His mama was a Grey and that is a large spot of grey hair. He is covered in grey spots. Regrettably, his beautiful chocolate color is giving way to a flourish of grey hairs.

I love this piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene