Thursday, March 31, 2011

12 Hours, 34 Minutes

Until I go pick up my baby girl!

I ordered her a new halter and lead rope, 'cause she needed something new and pretty.  Wait, she got a new, pretty head stall for Christmas.  But this isn't Christmas.  We'll call it a Coming Home present.

I'm hoping her Coming Home present was delivered today (I'm still at work) so I can use it tomorrow.  I think she'll be gorgeous in her new purple halter.

Okay, full disclosure: Yes, she got a new halter and lead rope.  But she got them because Ida accidentally ended up with her blue halter and lead rope and I won't see Ida tomorrow when I pick up Estes to get it back.  But...shhhhh...we won't tell her why she got new clothes, we'll just let Queen Estes think it's her Coming Home present.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Big Girl Panties

I put them on over my Depends, because I was absolutely sure that at some point I was going to soil myself.  Used to be, when I was single, I'd do all sorts of stuff because I had to.  Now that RCC and I are married, I've gotten kind of soft.  If we needed to trailer anywhere, he did it.  The Bitch is his truck and the flatbed is his trailer.  But, then, who in their right mind would want to trailer Tinkerbell?
She's a big girl - makes the Bitch look small
The horse trailer Mom and Bill gave us as a wedding present, but RCC's so comfortable trailering that I didn't feel much need to step up to the plate.  Since RCC had to work, I had to Cowgirl Up and get it done.  I didn't want my first time trailering to be with Ranger and Estes in the back...I figured I couldn't do much to hurt the hay.

When Bill and I finished with the truck on Wednesday, he hooked up the trailer for me so RCC wouldn't have to do it between shifts at work on Thursday.  (Side note to Rachel: Bill had time to take pictures because we have two rules: 1) you work on your own car, and 2) when using Grandma Nita's garage, there must always be token testosterone present.  Bill was my "consultant" and token testosterone to make Grandma feel better.)

Friday, once we got the call that Ida was ready to load our hay, the Bitch and I were ready to go...
Deep breathing...lots of it for me

The drive to Lyons was mostly uneventful - there were a couple of times that I sucked some of the seat's cotton batting up, but overall, I was feeling pretty good by the time I got to Ida's.  Bill took the trailer in to the hay field for me, as it's a little tricky, but I drove out once I was loaded.

The Bitch is an old truck and had to take it slow going up the hill.  We had to pull over a couple of times for her to catch her breath.
Look at how small Bill and Mom's load is.  Slackers.

We made it to the Lodge in one piece and then had to figure out how to get the trailer into the pen.  This is the first time we've ever fed the large bales.  We decided that it would be easiest to free feed while Mom is still healing, so the plan is to park the trailer in the pen, tarp one bale and allow the horses to feed off the other one.  Bill walked the path we'd be taking and mapped it out.  It was scary and I know he planned on doing the driving, but I decided I'd made it that far, I wasn't going to wimp out at the end.
From the Lodge parking lot, we had to drive down through the yard, between two big trees, hang a hard left and into the 9' gate.  Easy, no?

More deep,, out... and we're off...
Managed to make the turn between the trees without a hitch

In through the gate...


Okay, so it didn't go quite that smoothly, but I did manage to make it through with only a slight bump on the fence.  Bill, being co-driver, was "kind" enough to video the whole thing...

On the coattails of my success, I decided to hook up the horse trailer and did it on my second try, which made me very happy.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Working on the B*tch

Good news! 

I didn't have to change the brake rotors afterall.  The old rotors were in great shape, as were the pads.  RCC was worried because there's a bit of a chatter when braking, but it appears that it's the anti-lock brakes causing the chatter, not the rotors.  Can't do anything about the anti-locks.

However, Bill did manage snag some pictures of me getting my hands dirty while working on the B*tch (yes, that's her name, because she does all the bitch work).

Checking for warping...

There was a little lip on the rotor that we sanded off

Personal torture training is paying off

Yup, standing flat-footed, this is as far in the engine compartment as I can reach.

Couldn't reach the hood without standing in the bumper brackets.

So, I had to settle for only getting 2/3 of the windshield clean.  It's all I could reach.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Must Really Love My Horse

In anticipation of the babies coming home, Bill and I worked on the fence surrounding the pen today.  I counted it as my workout, as I couldn't face going into the gym when the weather was so beautiful.  I figure that any physical labor that I do at altitude most definitely counts as a workout.  Besides, my trainer can't simulate carrying poles twice as long as I am tall, using a crowbar to pull off old poles, lifting panels out of snow and flipping a water tank with ice in the bottom (okay, it wasn't thick ice and I was helping Bill).

Wednesday, I'll be doing something that I swore I would never do again.  But because I love my horse, I'll break that vow to myself.  RCC's truck, "The Bitch", has warped brake rotors.  I need the truck to haul hay up on Friday and to pick Estes up next week.  I can't afford to pay someone to replace the rotors.  Guess who's going to be doing it?  Yup.  Yours truly.  And Bill.  RCC would do it for me if he wasn't working every. single. day.

I *hate* working on brakes. Hate it.  I'm not sure anyone understands how completely I despise working on brakes.  Yet, because I do love that horse of mine, I'll be knuckling down and getting dirty.  But I'll be swearing a blue streak the whole day.

Friday is going to be a first for me.  I've never towed a trailer, which I think is a huge failing.  Every horse owner needs to know how to trailer and it's something I've been planning on learning, but never seem to have the time.  Since we're going to be buying 1,500# bales in order to free-feed while Mom's still on the mend, we're going to use RCC's flatbed trailer to haul the hay up to the Lodge.  I could have Bill drive the truck for me, but that would just be another opportunity to learn that I'd be passing up.  I think RCC's a little nervous for me to take the trailer up to the Lodge, but I figure as long as I don't have to back it I'll be okay.  I'll leave the backing to Bill because I don't want to be responsible for taking out the fence we just mended.  It'll be a tight fit to back the trailer into the pen and get it parked where they want it. 

I don't want my first time hauling a trailer to be with Estes in the back.  Nope, I'll leave that for my second time.  In order to get all of the horses up to the Lodge in one trip, we're going to take both trucks and trailers.  Mom and Bill bought us a two-horse bumper pull for a wedding present, which is just big enough for Ranger and Estes.  The three grays will go up in their trailer and we'll get them all up at once instead of taking two trips.

Wish us luck :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

13 Days

...Until the horses come home!  I can't tell you how excited I am.  They're coming home a month earlier than usual, but so far the weather's being fairly nice(ish).

I had another lesson last week.  Finally, between the weather, my schedule, and M's legs it all worked out.  He's still not completely sound, but did well at a walk for an hour.  No longe line lesson this time, it was all about teaching me how to help him hold his frame.  It's so weird for me to not have slack in the reins.  When I want Estes to do something, I "pick up" the reins, give my direction and then release.  This idea of constant contact is just so foreign to me.

I finally figured out how not to "give my elbows away" and keep my own frame while helping balance M in his.  We worked on halts and three-tracks.  I *almost* got the hang of the halts, with M squaring up underneath me and had limited success with three-tracks.  I could do it while moving around the arena clock-wise, but counterclock-wise was a total loss.  Sharon also had me ride in a two-point position, which made me very thankful that I have been working out.  I still only made it one lap around the arena before I started feeling the burn.

I left the lesson feeling so much better than my first one.  I only had to be reminded to watch my legs a couple of times.  I hope it's because I'm getting the hang of it, and not because she just got tired of telling me.

I was hoping to have another lesson tomorrow, but I've developed pityriasis rosea - a viral skin infection - that has migrated from my torso to my inner thighs and hamstrings.  I can barely pull on my jeans without setting off awful bouts of itching/scratching, so I cancelled my lesson tomorrow.  I can't even imagine the irritation that would be caused by both the jeans and the motion of riding.

Once Estes is home, I'll continue working on what I'm learning between lessons.  Estes has lousy "whoa", so maybe if I can master the halts, I can carry that over to her.

Only 13 days...

Friday, March 11, 2011

28 Hours of Hope Update everyone who linked up, re-posted, or donated to the 28 Hours of Hope.  If you haven't donated and think you can make it through the day without your espresso, why don't you donate your coffee money for the day?  Every little bit helps and together over $36000 was raised.  There's still time to donate (about 45 minutes), so I'll leave the link in the sidebar. 

Thank you all so much!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

28 Hours of Hope

In the three years or so since I've been blogging, I've seen bloggers who have never met face-to-face pull together to help little girls with cancer, mommies with cancer, people just having a rough time who need a shoulder to cry on and have seen the bloggers stand together, strong, through good times and bad.

I've been lucky enough to participate in the blogging community and have been blessed enough to help some of our fellow bloggers.

This time, I'm asking for help.  Not for me, but for abused children in Larimer County.  I was lucky enough growing up that my mom got us out of a potentially abusive environment.  She took the beatings for us until she said, "enough!" and got out.  She had a very wise counselor at the time who told her that she was going to get out of the marriage no matter what - she either gathered her courage and left, or she'd get out of it in a pine box.  There were no options.  He also explained that wife beaters don't stop with the wives - they move on to the pets and the children and when he killed her, who was going to protect the kids?

People knew about the beatings Mom was recieving, but what is there to do?  Our close neighborhood friends knew, but, you know, what happens behind closed doors, how is it their business?

We kids knew.  Hell, Dad would line us up on the couch in birth order and command us not to move when the beatings commenced.  We knew, but we didn't say anything.  It was our own dirty secret.  If we told, we'd be the ones getting the beating.  Selfish, I know, but we were kids.  Dad was a big, strong firefighter.  What chance did we have against him?

Silence was our enemy. 

We didn't tell. 

The neighbors didn't tell. 

The teachers didn't tell.


Thank God for Mom's counselor.  I don't know if she told or if he figured it out.  He was a smart man.  Smart enough that he knew the patterns of abusers.  When Dad started in on Junior, the youngest of the four of us, Mom realized her counselor was right and got out.

There are a lot of kids nationwide, not just in Larimer County, whose parents aren't as strong as Mom is.  There are a lot of kids for whom Silence is their enemy.

They don't tell.

Their neighbors don't tell.

Their teachers don't tell.

Silence...'s killing our kids.

The Good Morning Guys at K99 sponsor the 28 Hours of Hope every year in an attempt to break the silence and raise money to help abused children in Larimer County.  They will stay on the air for 28 consecutive hours, taking calls and pledges from the community and Country Music celebrities.  They went on the air at 5:00 am this morning and will continue to be on the air until 9:00 am on March 11th.  Jeez, and I complain about working fifteen hours straight - these guys will be working non-stop for twenty-eight hours for a cause they believe in.

RockCrawlinChef and I will be making a donation and I'd like to ask each of my followers to make one, too.  It doesn't have to be a lot.  Even $1.00 on your credit or debit card will help.  The change in your car's ashtray or change jar will help.  To donate, click here or on the picture in the sidebar, that will take you directly to the donation page.  You can make a donation on-line, over the phone, or via mail.

If you can't afford to donate, then do something about the Silence.  If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, tell someone.  Break the cycle of Silence.  All it takes is a phone call to break the cycle - either to the police department or social services.

And, please, please feel free to steal this post for your own blogs or link to it.  The more exposure we can get, the more we can help the children and break the Silence.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Bionic Cowgirl

Or, Mom, as I like to call her, is home from her second total hip arthroplasty.  Fancy words for bionic hip replacement.

She actually looks a whole lot better than anyone who has had Black & Decker power tools rooting around inside her has a right to.  It's hard to believe that just four days ago she was under the saw knife.  She's up and around and I'm pretty sure that her walker is just a prop.  You know, more of that "soft support" that she threatens to use on Bill and Sophie.  She actually takes the stairs from the main level to the dining room level much easier than she did on her non-bionic hips.

All I can say is that if four days post-op she's doing this well, I'm never going to be able to keep up with her.