Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Another beautiful day, maybe...

Yesterday is what I would call windy, 30 – 40 mph winds with gusts up to 60+ mph. Monday, and Tuesday were beautiful, warm (not hot), and a breeze now, and then to keep things cool. Actually Tuesday was perhaps a little breezier, but still nice. It took two days for me to get all that wood cut. I still have a lot of small stuff to cut, but I’ll do that with the miter saw later. A lot of the wood was light, and eaten, and one log was infested with black ants. I don’t mind black ants as they’re not as aggressive as the red ones, but I don’t know how they’ll fare in a different location at a different altitude. Besides we don’t have any big hills around the house, and I’d rather keep it that way. I don’t need ants in the house.
I had to re-arrange some things to accommodate the new wood pile especially since I’m going to try to get a whole winter’s worth cut this summer. With all the work I did the last two days, I may only have a months worth of wood cut. I plan to get some pallets from the mercantile to keep the wood off the ground. It will keep the wood dry, and hopefully free from pests. My biggest problem is still getting enough medium sized logs. Seems everything is either big or small. I’ll check over at the state land to see what I can find there. Ranchers clear land, and then dump the cuttings on state land. They’re not supposed to, but there’s tons of wood stacked for who knows how many years all around us. It’s a fire hazard so I don’t think anyone will mind my clearing some of it out, not that anyone ever checks anyway. There’s a goodly stack just the other side of our property I can get wood from. The rest is too far away, and I don’t think our gator can get up the hills to get to them. Anyway that’s the plan, get enough wood this summer so I don’t have to be running around in the freezing cold all winter long looking for wood. Of course I could buy wood (that’s what we did in CA), but I have to stretch money as far as I can, and it seems a sin to buy wood, when with a little work I can have all the wood I want. Besides it’s good exercise, and I get a nice feeling of satisfaction when I see it all neatly piled, knowing I did that all by myself.
It’s cold out, but sunny with only a slight breeze (so far). I had to bring in all my plants last night (that I just put out on the porch) as it got down to 30 again this morning.  I know in a couple of months I will be complaining about it being too hot, but just now I’m really tired of all this cold weather. It wouldn’t be so bad if we hadn’t had temps in the 70’s just a couple of days ago I’m sure, but jeeze louise I had to start the fireplace again. I just started my next year’s stash of wood, and already I’m having to use it. Give me a break.
Today is stall cleaning day (maybe). At least that should warm me up. I cleaned out the barn (which was a mess again) this morning when I fed. The girl’s waterers are full of dirt (thank you Spirit Wind) so they all have to be emptied, cleaned, and Sere’s stall has to be cleaned. Since taking her out of the pasture Sadie, and Star are much happier. Already Star is putting on weight, and Sadie is starting to act like her old self. A few years ago we had Sadie, and Sere in the arena, and Sere kicked the living daylights out of Sadie. None of our mares ever really fought like that before, and Sadie hasn’t been the same since. Star’s her baby so there’s no friction there, and Sadie is much happier. At feeding time they have both been running, and jumping, and kicking up their heels just for the sheer joy of it. With Sere in the pasture Sadie is always off by herself, and both her and Star cautiously walk over to be fed, big difference. This causes a problem since both Sadie, and Sere really need to be in pasture. When Sadie is in a stall all she does is stand around. In pasture she at least moves, and kicks up her heels once in a while. That keeps her hooves trimmed nicely, and her muscles toned up. At 24 she needs the exercise, and since I can’t work her anymore (stress colic) the pasture is a good solution.
Sere needs to be in pasture because of her navicular. In pasture she moves more, and the hoof gets more circulation (at least that’s the theory). In any event she’s not nearly as lame when she’s in pasture. I know some day we’ll have to have the nerve frozen (and teach her how to walk again) because of the pain, but until then I want to keep her as pain free as possible without drugs. She’s not there yet. When she’s in pasture you can hardly tell she has a problem. It’s only when she starts trotting for more than five minutes or so that she starts limping. When she’s in a stall, and we only let her out for some exercise she’s lame most of the time. That’s why I put her in pasture in the first place. Unfortunately we only have one pasture. It will take some time before Sere’s hoof grows out so I won’t have to worry about it for a while.  Who knows what will happen between now, and then, something good I hope (hint, hint).
Well it’s about noon now, and it hasn’t really warmed up. The wind has picked up so I guess I’ll wait to get the stalls cleaned. Of course that means that I’ll just have to work on the house instead, yuck. It really needs it. Maybe I can start on my little projects, like the wood gate for the living room, and now I have some planters I want to make. Rudy sent me a picture of a cool planter, that I can make without a lot of trouble, and that gave me an idea of what I can do around the porch to hide the falling down, ugly rock planter box we inherited. See there’s always a way to get out of doing housework. Now if I could only manage to find someone to do it for me I’d really be happy!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Breezy my foot…

Well day before yesterday was supposed to be warm, and breezy. It was warmer (like in the 40’s) but you’d never know it. That wind (not breeze) is cold. I was going to try to at least get some work done with the horses, but forget that noise. We only have like three days before the winds kick up again, make that two.  If it warms up a little I will go out to work on my little inside gate for the dogs. I can work on it in the garage. I won’t be able to stain it for all the dust blowing around, but I can get it sanded, and put together. That will take a while anyway since I have to pull the pallet apart to get my 1” x 6” panels. Then I suppose I could do some housework. I really hate housework. I wait till it’s disgusting, then I get on a roll, and clean till I’m exhausted, usually all day, and night. On the other hand I love working outside.
I’m waiting, and waiting, pretty soon I’m just going to go ahead and start cleaning the little stall so I can put Sere in there. It’s already starting to cloud over. Sherry called, and now I’m supposed to go over there at 2:00 to get the horse tank. She also said there’s some wood for me to pick up. I always need wood.  I don’t know if I’ll have time to move Sere before the winds pick up or not. The weather report was ify about when the winds are going to start. I really want to get her in a stall before then. She had a horizontal crack that I was hoping would just grow out, but two days ago it fell off, and she has the tip of something sticking out. I don’t want her to further damage it especially since it’s the same hoof where her navicular bone cist is. She’s would have been such a great show mare if she had papers, and sound feet. Breeding her to our horses will solve the foot problem, but at the rate she’s going we won’t be able to get many babies out of her. With the market the way it is by the time we can breed her who knows what shape she will be in.
We are talking about breeding Jazzy, and Espree this year. I’m dying to have some babies, and if things continue to improve by next year the market should be better. I don’t know if Jeri is still fertile, but we can try. I want to breed him to Jazzy as his kids are calmer in disposition than Ibn’s. We want a boy out of each of the boys to continue our breeding program. If we can’t get two boys we will probably try to get one of Sandy’s boys to continue the Aulrab line in our horses. Of course if we get two boys we won’t have horses to sell. If we can just get a boy out of Jeri I’ll be happy. Ibn has a lot more years of breeding ahead of him, Jeri doesn’t.
Well I’m off to clean that stall so I’ll continue this later. Depending on how tired I get it may be a lot later.
I said it could be a lot later. As it turned out the day went just fine, not as expected, but that’s normal. Things got postponed again, which gave me time to finish Sere’s stall, move her, brush her, and all the kids in the barn stalls. LBM was a little turd so when I finished with him, I left him tied up while I went up to the house to get something to drink, and rest a bit. Of course that’s when Sherry called. She was about 15 minutes from her house so I’d best start out before anything else bad happened. I ran down to the barn (ok so I didn’t really run) let LBM free from his tether, went back to the house, and off I went. Naturally on my way out Sherry called again, and told me that the new neighbors were already at the house. She didn’t want to disturb them first shot out of the bag so she was going to wait till she saw them out, and about to ask about picking up the water tank. Since I was already on my way there was no sense in turning back so off I went. I picked up Sherry, and we went to see what kind of wood there was for me to pilfer. Driving over there also gave us time to catch up with each other. She has been terrible busy, and it had been a while since we chit chatted. When we got to the dumpsters on Fire Road (that’s where the fire station is) there were three neat piles of wood. I told her someone cleaned up their yard, and piled it there for the grapple truck to pick up. This is a rural mountain community. To keep things safe as possible from fires, people clean up the needles, broken branches etc. in the spring, and the city sends around a grapple truck to pick up all the debris. The less fuel there is to burn the better the chances of controlling a fire if it does break out. People are pretty good about keeping their areas clean out here. Of course if someone wants any of that debris (like me) they are free to pick it up. It makes less work for the city. Why pay for wood when there is so much around.
Not all the wood was what I wanted (like large pieces for a stove) so we left one pile, and part of another. I have enough kindling around here for a lifetime. I don’t need more. Still, and all by the time we were done I had a good truckload. Then when we got to Sherry’s house we piled on some branches she had left by the side of the road she had cut. They still had all the needles on them (for the most part), and they are the best fire starters. We went in, visited for a while, got some baling twine to tie down the loose branches, and off I went. She also looked at the photos I took of Sere’s hoof, and told me not to worry. What I saw sticking out is the laminas (at least I think that’s what she said), so while it looks bad she’ll be fine once it grows out. I was right to take her out of the pasture, and put her in a stall. She told me to keep it dry (not a problem with no rain in the forecast), and clean, and do nothing else to it. That’s a relief. I was afraid it might be something more serious. At least I did the right thing by moving her. My instincts may be good, but it’s a great relief to have someone like Sherry for a friend.
By the time I got home it was 5:00, and time to feed (naturally). I sat for a minute, caught a bit of the news, and off I went. I still haven’t unloaded the wood I’ll do that today. Give me a break, yesterday was Sunday, and I just didn’t feel like doing anything other than the normal stuff that is. Besides my head was killing me. All the dust, and pollen kicked up by these winds will be the death of me. I finally took an allergy pill, but by the time I felt like I could move it was to late to start a project. It’s not so bad today, just gusty breezes. If I can get the wood unloaded, cut, and piled it will be a good day’s work. Now if my accountant would call me, I’d feel a lot better. Taxes are supposed to be filed today, and I haven’t heard from him since I dropped them off. That’s why I never became a tax accountant. SEC filings are bad enough, taxes are the real stressors. I’ll take a normal accounting deadline any day over tax day. Of course being retired it the best still. No more deadlines. We may be poorer now, but I love being retired.
Oh I almost forgot the humming birds are back. I had to make a special trip to the grocery to stock up on sugar. I only have two feeders up for now. Give it a month, and I’ll be filling feeders daily watching my little friends fight over a porch full of them. I do love spring. Soon I’ll be going to town to pick up some pretties for my flower garden, and maybe some vegetables too. Rudy sent me a photo of some planters made of 2 x 4’s, and tin roofing. Looks like I have another project on my plate. Isn’t life fun in the spring?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Snow in April? Give me a break…

I realize that we need all the moisture we can get, but this is the southwest, and it’s not supposed to snow the second week of April. It was 25 degrees this morning, and now I’m going to have to go cut some wood so I can warm up the house. We had a little snow yesterday, and woke up to about an inch of snow this morning. The good news is now that I have chicken wire around my little flower garden my tulips, and daffodils are coming up. They don’t care about the snow thank you kindly. Some of my chocolate mint I planted last year is also coming up.  Now if the weather would cooperate, I could buy some more flowers for my burgeoning garden. My rhubarb is also doing nicely. I’ll have to wait till next year to actually harvest, but I can wait.
All this beautiful weather (ha! ha!) has put a damper on my working with the horses. Actually I’m glad I didn’t get them all brushed out. That extra fur is keeping them warm. Thankfully it hasn’t gotten so cold that the water has frozen. Breaking ice in April would be a bit much. Now to you northerner’s I’m sure this is no big deal, but remember like our horses I’m desert born, and bred. My poor father is camped out in his room, where he has a heater. At 88 (almost 89) he doesn’t deal with the cold very well, so he keeps his room at a toasty 75+ degrees, tank top weather for me.
Well I got my wood chopped. I had a couple of big (meaning thick) pieces, trunks really, and after splitting them I was able to cut them. It’s a tricky business splitting logs since my little sledgehammer is no longer attached to its handle. I have to use Rudy’s big sledgehammer, which is loose, but still attached. It must look pretty comical as I have the handle between my legs, and I only raise the hammer up to about eye height. I’m bent over at the waist so that’s not very high. It’s mostly the weight of the hammer that splits the logs. Boy am I out of shape too. After a month of not having to cut wood, I’m huffing, and puffing like a city girl. Still I got it done, and there’s enough wood to last a few nights if this weather doesn’t break. The way it looks now we’ll have snow again tonight. It hasn’t really stopped all day, a little flurry here, a little flurry there. You know what I mean. I had all these plans too. I found some more 1 x 2’s, and a pretty descent wood pallet so I can finish the gate for between the wood stove, and the wall. Right now all I have is a frame with chicken wire on it, not very pretty for the living room. The other gate (other side of the wall) looks nice now that it’s all stained, and finished. Even Rudy thought it looked nice. This time I’m going to varnish all the pieces first then when it’s dry put it together. It’s too hard to sand otherwise. Maybe I’ll just sand it, put it together, and then stain, and varnish it. That way I can have it up while the little ones are in the house at night.
I have work to do down at the barn too. I swept about a foot of dust, and debris out of the barn after two days of high winds. I still have to tackle the stalls. The manure is piling up for some strange reason. I want to put in a small vegetable garden by the chickens, and all that manure will come in handy. I have figured out a way of watering them too. I’ll dig my trenches for irrigation, and then make a nice pvc pipe frame with holes drilled out. I’ll have one pipe going up so I can put the little water tank on the gator, open the spicket, and voila the water will be distributed evenly. It’s a miniature version of what the farmers use. I think I have another gate, and I definitely have enough chicken wire to go around the garden. I’ll use the same method on top that I used for the chicken run to keep the birds out at least until my seeds sprout if I can’t find enough small plants. I’m pretty sure I found another small gate in the pile we have of odds, and ends when I was rummaging around for another panel for the round pen. I need to measure that as well. I found two battered panels, but only put one up. I don’t want the round pen too big, but I do want it at least 60’. That’s the perfect size for training according to Rudy. It’s the only size we’ve ever had so it’s all I know. Once the round pen is right I can start training. Of course the weather has to get nice enough for any of this to happen (hint, hint). It’s not going to happen this week I’m sure. Not that it’s not supposed to warm up, mind you, its just that as soon as it does the winds are supposed to start howling again. April is typically our windiest month, and so far it looks like that the way it’s going to be, windy. On the bright side there’s no La Nina, and no El Nino. Bro, and sis are staying away this year so maybe just maybe we’ll have a normal rainy season. Something has to break this drought cycle.
Yes I have all sorts of plans, and all kinds of work to do. Let’s see if I manage to get it all done this year. Of course it would be helpful if nothing broke this year. It will also help if April can spend some time here, and if I can buy the few little tools I want to make my life easier. Jo will be spending a lot of time here (April’s boyfriend) as well. He’s buying Ser-Haat so I’m sure he’ll spend as much time here as he can spare training him etc. Ser-Haat is already letting him brush him, and giving him hugs. I just knew they would make a good match. It also means I can spend more time with the rest of the young’uns. Both Ser-Haat, and LBM are going through a growing spurt. I may even be able to start working LBM with a saddle on by the end of the summer. I think he’ll be big enough. Did I mention that he’s in a big boy’s halter now? I can’t wait till he’s big enough to ride. God willing it won’t be the end of me. I’ve never started an un-cut boy from babyhood to adulthood. Oh well such is life. Who knows if he’s sweet enough I may even get on him first. Yeah right. Yes I’m insane, but he’s my boy after all. We’ll see how brave I am when the time comes!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Free again...

Yea, my taxes are done for another year. Of course if I were smart I’d work on them during the year then it would take no time at all to get them done at yearend. Maybe this year I’ll be more organized, yeah right. I have an excuse for last year because of mother, this year I don’t have an excuse, so we’ll see what happens. First off I have to protect my meager flower garden. Because there’s no feed anywhere the deer are doing a job on my flowers. They’re even eating my red hot pokers. It wasn’t cold enough this winter, and we didn’t get enough snow for them to die down, and since it’s the only green around the deer are helping themselves to my meager garden. I planted bulbs, and they are eating them too so I’m putting up chicken wire around the porch. It won’t be very pretty, but it’s better than loosing everything. Of course they are leaving the weeds alone. If they insist on eating my flowers they could at least eat the weeds too you’d think, but no they only eat the stuff I don’t want them to eat. I chased them away four times last night. You’d think they’d get the hint. I can’t really blame them but I want my flowers.
Next the stalls need attention, and so do the horses. They need to be brushed in the worst way. After that comes hooves. I got LBM started (much to his dismay), but I have to work on him some more. I’m afraid I’m going to have to use the age old method of tying him up for a couple of hours so he gets the idea that yes you do have to stand still for more than a few minutes, or until you think you’ve stood there long enough. He is going to be one handsome boy though. He’s starting to mature physically. He’s still real little (except for his head), but that’s typical of our horses. They mature very slowly. I’m already having to use Ibn’s old halter, now his body just has to catch up to his head. Marina’s first filly was like that. She had this huge head. When the rest of her finally caught up to her head, she stood 15 hands tall. I’m hoping the same for LBM. I haven’t measured him, but I think he’s still at 14 hands, and he turns three this year. He’s loosing that baby look about him, and thankfully he still has his dam’s movement, but he has a long way to go if he’s going to be as tall as we all think he will be.
I’m really not as far behind as I was last year, and now that I have more time I should be able to get Star, and Stormy under saddle. Unfortunately April screwed up her leg, and she will be down for at least another two weeks. After that if she has to have surgery, who knows how long she will be down. She has a boyfriend now (that I actually like), and he’s making sure she follows doctor’s orders. He may also buy Ser-Haat. He lost his horse in a divorce, and is aching for another. He’s worked with race horses (his brother is an ex-jockey) all his life, and is totally enamored with our Arabians. I think they will be a good match. He has the patience, and sensitivity to be able to deal with Ser-Haat. He knows good breeding, and has a good heart. He plans on coming over Sunday to work with him to see how they actually interact with each other. As sweet, and loving as Ser-Haat is, once he starts working with him, I know they will bond. It may take Ser-Haat a while to warm up to someone, but once he does he gives his all.
That leaves Star, and Stormy to sell. If I can get them solid under saddle I should be able to sell them. I’m not asking near what they’re worth because we’re so broke, and the market is so bad. I really need to sell some of the brood mares also, but if I do that we won’t be able to start back up. Our girls are getting too old. We’ll get Angel back in four or five years, but by then she’ll be in her twenty’s. Oh well I guess I’ll cross that bridge when it gets here. Right now we’re just on survival mode. I don’t want to give up breeding, but I may have to. Star, and LMB were the last foals we had. LBM is half Arabian, and the only up coming stud we have. I don’t know if Jeri is still fertile or how long that will last if he is. Ibn is only 17 so he should still have a number of years of breeding in him. I pray so. Eventually the market will turn around, and God willing we will still have breedable horses when it does. If not we’ll deal with it when the time comes. Right now I have to deal with my garden. I’m bound, and determined to have flowers this year deer or not!!!