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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A hard lesson

As a mom, and especially a homeschool mom, I feel the weight of just how much stuff I have to teach my girls. Some days Most days just do not seem long enough to cram in all the necessary things I want them to learn. Not only am I responsible for teaching them spiritual truths, reading, writing and math, but also how to be polite, chew with your mouth closed, flush the potty when your finished, how to hold a fork and knife while eating, and for the love of Pete HOW TO SHARE! I have totally bombed on the last one, and I mean that in the worst way. I am starting to wonder if it is even possible??

If I thought teaching math or how to share was hard, I have found something even harder. It's death. I just hate it!!  

Yesterday the girls and I spent the afternoon with our horses. I taught them how to clean hooves, de-tangle manes and tales etc. It was a lovely afternoon. We were short a comb (remember that whole share thing?) So I was going to make a quick trip up to the house to get another one. That's when I saw it. The dogs were fighting over something. It was big and kind of looked like a chicken, but no, the coloring was not right. Was it a fox? When I got closer my mouth dropped wide open and my knees all of a sudden felt really strange. It was the girls pet rabbit. I stood there confused. The dogs had never paid any attention to this sweet little girl,  and had even let her hop all around them. But not this time. They had killed her and were flipping her around like a little rag doll. At first I thought I should just dispose of it without telling the girls, but that didn't feel right. No. This is part of life and something they will have to learn how to handle.... unfortunately. 

For someone who normally is not at a loss for words, I was. 
Rest In peace Sweet Copper.
Clover: "Sorry"....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Going to sleep on the farm....

Going to sleep on the farm can sometimes be a little unnerving. You just never know what you might wake up to.  You could wake up to find that raccoons have feasted on your laying hens. Or how about the resident coyotes that like to visit and taunt your little wienabeagle (part wiener dog part beagle ;-), for she is just the right size for a midnight snack. :-o Or it could even be that a pet rabbit has dug out of her enclosure, and is hopping around the yard. As cute as that might be, it will always lead to a chase. A chase that brings about tons of sweat and mud.

It's true that sometimes I wake up to some unhappy circumstances. But it's also true that I wake up to some pretty amazing ones as well. There is nothing like the sights and sounds of newly hatched chicks, safely tucked under their mother's wing. Or kittens with their eyes closed, rooting around looking for their mama, in Sweet Man's closet. But today takes the cake for sure. I woke up to a special little Miniature Horse that could see me coming with his food!! I fed him before church and was pretty sure he was on the mend from the little mishap the other day. When we came home from church I loaded up my little wagon full of fencing supplies, and let all the horses come down in the field with me. Tom not only walked, but her ran. He jumped. He ate grass. He nuzzled his pasture pals that he hadn't seen since he took up residence in the chicken coop. It was awesome! 

You know what else is awesome? Seeing that little princesses face when she saw that he was going to be okay! :-) Thank you Jesus!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A good day gone wrong....

Sometimes I tell the girls something, and then I forget. It happens a lot. I will finish baking something and then one of them will walk in and say "You told me I could help with that". It's not that I try to leave them out, I just have so many things to do that I am just following my mental to do list without realizing that "this project or activity" would be fun for the princesses, and they were told they could help.

One of these situations happened not too long after we got our miniature ponies last fall. We went to the feed store to get wormer, and apparently I had told the oldest princess that I would show her how to worm a horse, and let her do one. I of course forgot this whole conversation....and wormed them alone one morning while the girls were still sleeping. Upon seeing the empty wormer package, she cried. She has this dream of growing up and running a horse farm, and she is relying on me to teach her everything I know. I had just wanted to mark something off of the to do list for today, and move on to the next.

With it being spring it is once again time to worm not only our new Halflinger, but our two minis as well. I promised myself, and her, that I would remember to show her. Two days ago would be the day. School work was completed fast to make a trip to the feed store possible. I let her help me pick out the wormer. We decided to get the expensive kind. Made us feel like we were taking better care of our animals I guess. ;-)

We came home with two little bags that cost and arm and a leg, and one excited girl. A whole tube of wormer will treat a 1,250 pound horse. We didn't need that much for our minis. They only way a little under 200 pounds. So I marked the weight on the tube, twisted the lock and told her how to administer it. I was holding the sweet little guys head to assist her in this learning process. It was like slow motion. I knew right away what had happened. The lock had not been tight enough, and she hadn't been told to just ease the paste in. Instead she gave it her all when she squeezed....and he got the whole tube. I let out a scream, stuck my fingers down his throat to try and pull out any excess paste, but he had already swallowed it. We ran in and called the vet and were told that he would probably be fine.

The next morning I had to be at work by 8, so I did my feeding chores early and went to check on the little guy. As soon as I made it to the horse barn I knew something wasn't right. Tippy, the new horse, who the past couple of days has not shown any signs of irritation at these little guys at all, was showing some now. Tom, the overdosed mini, was stumbling around like he couldn't see and was trying to nurse on Tippy. My suspicion is that he was doing this all night, for she hauled off and kicked him and sent him flying through the air. I knew he didn't stand a  chance if I left him in there. So I decided to put him in the chicken barn for the day. While I was leading him over it was obvious that he had lost his vision. :-(

All morning while I worked at the office I prayed. I prayed that God would heal him and one little girl in particular would not feel that she was to blame for this. As soon as the girls and I got home from the office we started our pony care. Lots of grass, mineral oil, water, but when he lost the use of his legs and kept falling over I couldn't take it anymore. We loaded him up in the back of my NEW CAR, and drove him to the vet. He was given a shot for pain and an anti- inflammatory shot to reduce the swelling of his brain. When asked if he was going to be okay I was not totally happy with the answer given. The vet didn't really know. The "expensive" wormer that I bought was a strong one that affects the nervous system. Some have recovered. Some have not.

I have my suspicions that he will recover, for I now the Lord loves that little princess as much as I do. And right now she is feeling a heap of guilt. I am feeling a heap of guilt as well. I should have showed her how to do the worming. I should have told her the dangers of giving too much. And on days like these I feel like I should have passed down my love for something easier to take care of....like a gold fish!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

This Cowgirl finally has her horse!!!

It feels like I have been waiting for this day FOREVER! I haven't sleep in the past few days, or been able to eat a whole lot from all the butterflies fluttering around in my stomach. This morning was the BIG day. We waited for her on the porch. We did our school work out there so we could hear them coming.
 We chatted about what it would be like.
  We climbed trees to try and make the time go by faster.
And then we heard them coming!!!!
 Tippy has come to join our family on the farm!!!
I can't tell if she is really that big, or the "boys" are really that small. ;-)

A girl with a dream..(I am re-posting this post from two years ago so you'll understand how exciting tomorrow's post is)

Once upon a time I had horses. It was something I had dreamed about for as long as I can remember. When I was 22, I became a proud mamma of a sweet little girl, and my first horse. I couldn't believe my dream was finally being realized. I added several horses over the next couple years, and also 2 more sweet little girls. It was a lot of work trying to manage both, but oh so worth it. I can still remember how the horses would come running up through the field when they heard my creakity screen door slam shut, when I went out to feed. I loved how they would nuzzle the back of my neck on a warm summer day, when I had nothing else planned other than to hang out and smell them. Oh the horse smells are the most wonderful to me! I loved buying hay and picking it straight out of the field, and then coming home to stack it. I loved the fact that I knew I could eat anything I wanted on those days as well, cause you knew you where burning TONS of calories! I even miss the bright early phone calls from the neighbors calling to let us know that our stud pony was out AGAIN, and eating their flowers..or the time my hubby tried to catch that pony while wearing only his underwear. :-o.. I also remember how hard it was to carry one child on my back, and  push the other two in the wheelbarrow, as I was going about my daily farm chores. The frozen water buckets that had to be thawed out twice daily in the winter wasn't the best either. There was also a spring flood that had hit our little barn one year, and I spent most of the day digging ditches all around the barn to ensure they had a dry bed to sleep in, only for them to think it enjoyable to walk in my ditches and undo everything I had just done.


Even though horse ownership was hard, I loved it. I loved that even though there were days that the weather just wasn't suitable to doing outside chores, it was always suitable for riding. I loved the fact that I could trust my big paint so much, that we rode alone. I had my best thinking time those days. But with three small children, I REALLY needed those thinking times. I miss the over night trail rides with friends and their horses, and hubby even came along on one of those! I miss being able to say "yep, I have a horse".

I can still remember the LONG process of breaking our half linger pony. We named her Fry's Golden Honey.  Sweet Man had cut down some trees and sawed them up on my Dad's sawmill to make me my very own breaking pen. One day, after several months of training, I had thought she was safe enough to take out of the breaking pen...she saw it as an escape. We tore up through the path like a wildfire was chasing us. I just knew, I was either going to die, or have the time of my life. Well, I didn't die...:-) Then the vet bills starting coming. Our best horse got caught out in a storm on New Years Eve, while we were away for the night. He ended up having a twisted gut and we couldn't save him. He is buried in that beautiful  breaking pen. His name was Baltic Reed. When our friends heard about our loss, they offered us a "free" pony from the farm that our Golden Honey came from, as a companion for her. We accepted and loaded our three little princesses' up and took off with our rusty Ole trailer to go pick her up. We named her Fry's Chocolate Brownie. You see a theme here? We like food. She was sweet, but had coliced on us several times. On one occasion I spent two days walking that pony ALL over our property, tubing her with mineral oil, having the vet come out several times and gave her several shots. The pony lived....our bank account didn't. I think the bill for that one time was over $700. Meanwhile the three little princesses' are growing up, eating more and needing braces, clothes and activities. Something had to give...... As I stared at my dream, I realized it had become my families nightmare. I realized it was selfish of me to keep trying to make my dream work. I had three small toddlers who needed so much of my time and attention. 

  We sold my horses. The day the new owners came, I had to leave. I just couldn't bare to see them drive down the driveway with my dream that I had waited for, for so long.  With it being fall, all the old memories have started coming back. Fall was always the best riding time for me. The summer garden work had slowed down and the weather was perfect for throwing on that bright orange vest of mine and taking off into the woods, just me and my horse. Yesterday I got a new edition of a horse magazine in the mail. That of course brought up the questions from the girls of why don't we have them and when can we get them again.?? I seriously thought about throwing myself a pity party, because I know right now we can't. Instead, I think I will count my blessings, that for one time I got to live and love the dream that I had always dreamed, and now I am realizing there are other dreams that are just as exciting.. Maybe one day I will get to try again at horse ownership, when money isn't so tight and my time isn't so divided between chores. But for right now....I am a cowgirl without a horse...
.

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's a Food Revolution!!

One of my all time FAVORITE shows, has to be Jamie at home. Despite the fact that on occasion, Jamie would spout off a word that I might normally find offensive, I loved this show so much I still let the girls watch it. Something about being in an English garden, gathering home grown produce, makes even foul language seem lovely. ;-)

When Jamie actually came to Huntington, WV to film a new show, I just thought that was the coolest thing ever! After the filming of the show was over, the Huntington Kitchen stayed open to offer cooking classes. This past week we were able to attend one of those classes with some fellow home school buddies.
The kids made oven baked fish nuggets. This isn't the exact recipe they used, but it's close.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup crushed cornflakes
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds cod fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray

Directions

  • In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cornflakes, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Coat fish with butter-flavored spray, then roll in crumb mixture.
  • Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yield: 4 servings.

A Food Revolution with fish nuggets.
How cool is that?!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Homemade natural orange cleaner

When a friend shared a post on how to make an all natural orange cleaner, I was excited! Cleaners are one of my weak spots. I love a fresh clean smelling house, although with two dogs I haven't had that in awhile, and  it seems like the good smelly cleaners are usually laden with chemicals. If by chance you find one that isn't, and claims that it is not only good for you, but for the environment as well, you can expect to pay through the nose for it. What does that mean anyway? Pay through the nose?...anyway, you get my point...right? Well I won't be having to work this cleaner in the budget, or worry about giving anyone cancer in my fight to rid this house of dirt and germs. Seems like a win/win situation!!
Fill a jar with vinegar. 
Stick orange/clementine/tangerine peels in it.
Give it a good shake.
Let it sit for two weeks.
Mix the liquid with water at a 50/50 ratio.
Pour it into a spray bottle and get to cleaning!

How easy is that? And after one day it already smells a lot like oranges and not so much like vinegar. :-)