Monday, December 29, 2014

Rescue Shames Me Sometimes

Right around the time we lost Addie, my dear friend/rescue partner Julie mentioned that she had another friend that lost his dog too.  When she was telling me about this gentleman and how much he loved his dog, my heart went out to him.  He was the type of owner that any dog would be lucky to have, and secretly in my mind I kept thinking:  “Damn, if he gets another rescue dog, I hope he picks one of ours.”   

Now, if you do rescue, you know the type of owner I am talking about….  The type of owner that views his dog as a member of his family, it's never “just a dog”.  He is the kind of owner that is super responsible, has his dog groomed regularly, follows all of the veterinarian’s recommendations, is truly looking for a companion to share his life with, and would rope the moon if his dog needed it.  This gentleman is the epitome of a great dog owner! 

After following his story through my friend Julie, I was excited to hear this man had decided he wanted another dog in his life.  Life was too lonely, and not the same without a friend.  Julie told me he had found a breed rescue that had a dog he was in love with, he had filled out his application and was waiting to hear back from the rescue.  Well, he did hear back from the rescue.  In a curt email, telling him that he would not be considered for a dog because he didn’t have a fenced yard.  Julie was outraged about this rescue, and how they treated her friend.  I won’t lie, it ruffled my feather too, for a few reasons.

        ~ This guy applied to adopt a 6 year old Schnauzer.  It’s not as if he applied to adopt a 6 month old super active Border Collie.  It is a breed of dog that very easily can adapt to living in a condominium, being leash walked by an owner who works from home. 

     ~ This is a senior dog.  Do you know lucky you are as a rescue, if you are able put a senior dog into a household where it will be loved unconditionally as a person’s sole companion for the rest of it’s life?!  (A life that would likely be longer due to the exceptional vet care this guy's dogs receive!)      

~ The foster home that the dog was in did NOT have a fence.  Ruminate that one!  They will allow their foster home to not have a fence, but their adoptive home must have a fence?!  Pot, kettle, black much?!

 After his veterinarian called to give him a stellar reference, they conducted an hour long home check yesterday, told him he passed the home check and that he was an exceptional home, only to adopt the dog out to another family today.  That is just inhumane!

The part that upsets me the most?   

This radical rescue gives the rest of us in rescue a bad name.  I cleaned up the heartache and bad taste this so called “rescue” left in this man’s mouth.  Why?  Because it was the compassionate thing to do.  When you rescue dogs you aren’t dealing with just a canine heart, you are dealing with a human heart too, and I can assure you that 99% of the people in charge of these “radical” rescues would NOT pass their own application process if the tables were turned.  

I think in the world of rescue we often are jaded and we have lost sight of the end goal, to find amazing homes for homeless or neglected pets.  Instead it seems rescue has become a self-serving institution where control freaks with God complexes are allowed to act like dictators, because they can.  Where is the grace folks?!  We shouldn't judge folks as if we are the only ones who know how to take care of a dog, and by doing so we run the risk of alienating spectaular dog owners!

The good news in this otherwise troublesome story is that I was able to help this man find a reputable breeder tonight.  Someone who was looking to re-home one of her show dogs.  He is going to get an amazing dog that will be loved for the rest of it’s life.  Shame on the rescue who failed to see the potential of this great adopter, but congratulations to the lucky dog who will now live a life of absolute adoration.  I couldn’t be happier for the two of them!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014


Yesterday started off like any other Sunday for us, a little bit of Jesus with our friend Julie, followed by lunch with my parents, just a typical morning.  It was shortly after lunch when my sister called and informed me that her entire family was quarantined with the flu.  She wanted to know if I could deliver crackers and Sprite to their house.  Of course, I obliged.  

In the mean time, Miss K wanted to go out to the barn to ride Mia, I had a puppy that was supposed to go to it's new adoptive family, and I had about 400 arms in the fire at this point, so I decided to delegate some of this stuff to The Reluctant Farmer.  The game plan was,  I would take a load of supplies to my sick sister.  The Reluctant Farmer would take Miss K to the barn to ride for 45 minutes, and we would all meet back at home for a puppy adoption and dinner with our friend Julie. 

Then I received the phone call....

Me:  "Hello?!"
The Reluctant Farmer:  "Where are you?!"
Me:  "Um, in my sister's isolation hut of a house."
RF:  "How soon can you get to the horse barn?"
Me:  "I'm about 30 minutes away.  Why?"
RF:  "You should get her soon.  The horse is bleeding."
Me:  "Bleeding?"
RF:  "Yeah, from her vagina."
Me:  "What?!  How did that happen?"
RF:  "Um, I don't know.  But can you hurry?  She's bleeding."  
At this point she confers with a person in the background and it is decided this injury was caused by a kick from another horse.
Me, wanting to know how big of an issue this really is,  "Is this like a hemorrhage sort of bleeding or more like a dripping blood sort of bleeding?  
RF:  "It's kind of like a fast dripping sort of bleeding."
Me:  "Well, call the vet and apply pressure.  I will be on my way shortly."

We hang up.

The phone rings again.

Me:  "Hello?!"
RF:  "Hi."
Me:  "Hi.  Did you call the vet?"
RF:  "No, I think you should look at this first.  I don't know anything about horses and I don't want to call the vet if you don't think it's needed."
Me:  "Well, where you don't know anything about horses, you are medical so I am sure you can apply some pressure to make the bleeding stop, and I am confident you know about vaginas.  If it was my vagina, I would want you to call my doctor.  Call the vet."
I hear her sigh, followed by "I will just wait for you to get here.  Hurry."

At this point I am angry.  I am trying to take care of my sister, who looks like death.  I am asking questions about the horse's undercarriage, but can't get a solid answer.  And no one is owning the decision to call the vet nor are they applying pressure!  (This was a legit concern of mine at the moment.)

I quickly leave my sister's house and then call my friend Erin who lives just down the road from the barn.  Erin is not only my friend, but also one of our small animal veterinarians.  She has horses of her own, and I knew she could get there quicker than me, assess the bleeding situation, and make a decision for me.  Graciously, she agreed to drive over, take a look and said she would call me.

The word back was:  "Yeah, this is a one-in-a-million kick.  Your horse has a deep laceration across her butt, a 2 inch laceration to the vulva, and what appears to be a laceration to the inside of her vagina.  I can't get a real good look though because she is not very happy."

Oh joy! 
 Just what every woman wants this holiday season, lacerations to her "lady business"!

I call the vet, and God bless that woman, she comes out assesses the situation and gets right to work.
She sedates Mia, something I would want if it was my vagina, cleans her up and starts blocking the area with lidocaine so she can suture her back together.  We chat while she works, and on occasion as ladies, we cringed for the poor old girl.  

Later in the car on the way home, I caught myself grumbling about owning horses under my breath, and then I stopped myself.  How do you thank the 1300 pound beast that keeps your child safe?  You give her a great life, which includes excellent vet care, and you sympathize with her as only another woman could do, beacuse at the end of the day, no female person or beast wants a laceration to that region.  

Now as a horse-mother, I must discuss with Mia the fact she needs to find a nicer group of friends to hang out with, but we will save that for a day when she feels better.  There is no use in adding insult to injury....

Monday, December 1, 2014

DIY: Disinfectant Wipes

This weekend was one of those weekends that I really did not want to get out of my pajamas.  I was on-call for the hospital, which forces me to stay close to home, and honestly I just felt like home is where I needed to be.  

Even though it was a stay in you pajamas sort of weekend, we still got a TON of stuff done and our house looks AMAZING!  This is largely in part to my new DIY disinfectant wipes.  

After I fixed breakfast this morning, I reached under the kitchen sink for my Clorox wipes, popped the top and GASP!  I was out of wipes.  This could not be.  I can't survive without those little gems!  I then remembered that I had wanted to try a recipe I had been working on for DIY disinfectant wipes anyway, and after a quick little review, I discovered I had everything readily at my fingertips to give this a try.  

      To do this you will need:  
Old t-shirts, cut into 6 x 8 in. squares
    1 c. of water
     1/4 c. of alcohol
      1 1/4 T. dish soap
       4 drops of essential oils
           A container with a lid 

First I put all my fabric squares into the container.  I then mixed the above concoction, poured it over the fabric squares, and finished!  

I used several of these today, and loved that I could throw them in the washer tonight, and re-use them.  The only thing I didn't care for was the alcohol in this mixture makes the smell strong, hence the essential oils, so I am working on another recipe and will post it after I try it.  The strong smell and re-usability, out weighs paying $3.99 for a container of the name brand wipes though, so over all it was a DIY success!  


Please note: or anyone associated with this site, assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences resulting directly or indirectly from any action or inaction taken as a result of following information contained or derived from this site or in any linked material.  Attempting to try any recipes is at the sole discretion of the reader.  The content on this blog is provided for information and entertainment purposes only.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Confessions of a Hoarder

I want it all.
It will be mine.
If they touch it, my teeth they'll find.

Those who don't know me think I'm cute.
But if you ask my mom, she'll tell you I'm a pain in the "patoot".

You see she bought us new toys, times three.
I think what she meant was: she bought toys only for me.

Sharing is not a virtue I care to know.
I find it pointless and only for show.
For when she turns her back on me, my teeth the other dogs, shall see.

I'm a sneaky little shit, my struggle is real.
Standing guard over a crate I've pirated, only increases my zeal.

I'm convinced he who dies with the most toys wins,
coming close to my stash is a mortal sin.

I must go back to work, protecting what's mine.
It's a hard job to do, keeping the other dogs in line....

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A hundred hearts...

A hundred hearts would be too few, to carry all the love I have for this boy...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Snow day fun!

A scheduled day off for some dental work for the horse left me with this day off work, and an unexpected snow day left me in the company of Miss K and her friend Miss A.  

We had a cold morning waiting for the vet to come out and vaccinate/float Mia's teeth.  He sedated her pretty heavily for the dental procedure, but she still put up a decent fight of her own trying to get him out of her mouth.  This is the first time I had seen how they floated teeth on a horse, and I will say it was interesting.  (I could do without the sound though!)  The vet discovered that she has some "waves" on the tops of her teeth, so I will have to be a better Momma about having her teeth done in the future.  Oops!

Of course, as he was finishing up with Mia, we noticed she had a swollen rear leg because of a minor laceration she got from doing Lord knows what.  I have a feeling she was being anti-social with another horse, kicked out and cut herself...  She doesn't want to talk about such things.  With horses, it seems it's always one thing or another.

I forgot how much I missed unexpected "snow days"!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

My year with Jesus, Mike and Dave....

What a difference one year makes!
One year ago, I received a summons in the mail stating I was being sued for not paying a credit card.  The credit card was for $2,300 and I had no excuse for not paying it, other than I just didn't.  The letter stated that I was being taken to court, and that the creditor was going to put a lien on my house until the bill was paid.  I wasn't sure what a lien was exactly, but I knew it wasn't good.  I immediately called the credit card company, like all good girls in collections do, begged them to work out some type of payment plan with me, and then I asked the guy from the collections department what a lien was and he explained:  "With your credit card debt so high, it's just a way for us to insure that when you file bankruptcy and loose your house, we will still get our money."  
The way this guy used the word "when" in that sentence scared the shit out of me.

All weekend I fretted about the fact I was being sued, and it suddenly it hit me that I was in deep trouble.  I had over 10 credit cards, all with balances on them, most of them maxed out, to the tune of having over $30,000 in credit card debt.  I wasn't making my monthly payments because I couldn't keep track of what was due and when, so I just gave up.  (I know at this point many of you are saying: "Who does that?!  And for you people, the answer is me.  But for those people who are in the same situation, and I know you are reading this because you write me all the time, just keep reading...)  I had hit rock bottom, and I wanted out.  I was tired of being stressed, but I had nowhere to turn.  For whatever reason, I dragged my sorry, pathetic, non-bill paying self into church that Sunday and there I sat not really paying a bit of attention to what the pastor was preaching until I heard him say these words:  "The debtor is always a slave to the lender."  Suddenly my ears perked up like a dog's ears in response to a potato chip bag being opened in the next room, and time stood still.  It was as if that pastor was talking directly to me.  Everything around me blacked out, and I was honed in on every word that man said.  I decided it was a sign.  What is the probability I would get sued Friday, realize I was in deep trouble Saturday, AND show up to church on Sunday (For the first time in forever..) and the topic would be about getting out of debt?!  When you are drowning and God sends you a lifeboat, you GET ON THE LIFEBOAT.  I have re-watched that series of sermons more times than I can count this year, and I didn't just get on the boat, I jumped on with a reckless abandon!

Where we started....  Whew!
Two days after this sermon, I would join a 2 week class offered by the church that helped people figure out their "debt free" date.  My debt free date for my credit cards was something like 2021.  (Gulp...)  There was NO way I was paying off these cards and being this stressed out for the next 7 years.  I took a deep breath, nodded to my ADD, and dug in with "a gazelle like intensity".  (Please note:  The easiest way to make me do something is to tell me I can't.)  From the moment I was committed to paying off $20,000 in debt in 2014.  I immediately went home.  I listed all my unsecured debt on that white board in the picture above, called a family meeting and made a SERIOUS commitment to change our household.

The changes weren't always exciting... But we did it!  
1)  This period of time would fall 2 weeks before my daughter's birthday.  I was determined to stay on track, and made it very clear that where in the past I was a "Disneyland Parent" buying hundreds of dollars in gifts, this year there would be 3 gifts only.  (Something I need, something to read, and something I want was the gift philosophy...)  And, you know what?!  The fact that my daughter was so grateful for the 3 presents she received was proof that I had raised a brilliant young lady.  If she was shocked she only received three gifts, she never showed it.

 2)  We were 6 weeks away from Christmas when we started this project.  Many people thought we were crazy for starting a new budget right before Christmas, and I will admit I was skeptical, but I am glad we started when we did because we would have been further in debt had we waited until after the holiday.  I think this year was actually my favorite Christmas, because we identified the simpler meaning of the holiday.  We only spent $100.00 on the three of us, purchased gifts for only the children in our family, and put up a Charlie Brown-like tree because you can't stuff too much crap under a small tree!  We still managed to give to our favorite charities and help out those who needed help, but we paid cash and didn't put a dime on our credit cards.

Yes, this is really our Christmas tree for 2013!  It had a Charlie Brown sort of appeal...

3)  I found financial counselors through the church and at their encouragement signed up for Dave Ramsey's Financial Freedom class.  It was here that I learned how to budget, "snowball" my debt, and really contemplate my needs vs. wants.  It was not easy, it hurt terribly, but Dave was no non-sense and his methods WORKED!

4)  We paid cash for EVERYTHING and if we couldn't pay cash for it we said "no".  This often times meant eating at home instead of going out with friends, or wait for it...  Saving our money for what we wanted BEFORE buying it.  GASP!  (Totally not a new concept, but new for us.)

5)  We got sold anything and everything that we could get our hands on.  Books, show clothing from last season that didn't fit, instruments, skis that I purchased for $1,100 and only used once, etc....  We sold so much stuff, I am confident people wondered if we were going to sell our dog next.

6)  We got by with LESS.  We cut back on the heat during the winter, the central air in the summer, we turned off lights, recycled, dropped our cable television and Starbucks, and at the end of this year I have to say we got by with less, but we have gained so much more.

We have managed to pay off $23,474.40 in 2014.  I understand our success is not typical, and we were at an advantage because we had enough money to pay our bills, but I was amazed by what even an extra $200 per month could do to help pay off debt.  (You can get rid of your cable and get a 2nd job to make up that amount of money in a month!)  My advice to people who are wanting to get started is to see what type of programs your church offers, enroll in a Dave Ramsey class if possible (He offers online classes too..), make a budget and get started.  A year from now, you will have wished you started today!  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

iPhone No-Mo'

As many of you already know, The Reluctant Farmer and I have worked hard to slay our unsecured debt this year,  We have used Dave Ramsey's principles to accomplish this, and where his ideas are simple (And they work!), implementing these concepts and using them in our daily lives has been hard and at times excruciatingly painful.

One of the luxuries that we had both talked about giving up was our smart phones, and it seemed easy enough to want to get away from that $160.00 bill every month, so yesterday when one of the cell phones died in the middle of our call week, making it absolutely imperative the phone be replaced, we made the jump.  And while all of our friends upgraded to the new iPhone 6.0, we just downgraded to the iPhone No-Mo'.

I won't lie, I am going to miss my smart phone.  I can't post pictures on Instagram anymore, randomly update my Facebook status on a whim or check my email, and the camera?!  It positively sucks!  I feel I am going to have to dig deep and carry the team while we adjust to this challenge though, because The Reluctant Farmer and her "inner child", who are clearly electronic whores, are both threatening to implode at any moment.  And trust me when I say her "inner child" is throwing a royal fit!

All I have heard about the new phone is:
"Great!  I am officially old!  I have the same phone as my parents do!"
"This thing is one step away from the Jitterbug."
"This thing sucks and it does nothing."
"Kyle at work got a new phone, and HE does all these cool things with his phone, and now I am going to have to sit next to him with this crappy, Jitterbug phone!"

The "inner child" is what got us into this mess and quieting it is will be what gets us out of this mess.  We will prevail, as we have all year long, paying off over $23,000.00 in unsecured debt.  At the end of the day we have gotten really good at identifying our "needs" versus our "wants" and where I want my smart phone back, I don't need my smart phone back.  I am excited to see where this journey takes us.  I foresee us eating dinner together as a family with no one's face shoved in an electric device.  I see us spending more quality time with each other, and I see us getting closer to our goal....

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thank you....

I wanted to thank each and everyone of you for all of your kind words, messages, and thoughts as The Reluctant Farmer and I dealt with the loss of a very special member of our family Friday.  The outpouring of love that we felt made the loss of Addie more tolerable, and as we grieved her loss you all embraced us, not once judging us for loving Addie on the level in which some love their human family members. 

A special thank you to:

Brent & Briley Remy who drove to comfort a very hysterical Reluctant Farmer and later myself.

Eden Maxwell who drove me home from work when I was too distraught to drive myself, and gave Addie her last car ride to the veterinarian.

Traci Nestor who held me as I cried my eyes out in disbelief, as I couldn't quite wrap my head around what had happened.

Dr. Kalo, Dr. Eisenberg, and the staff of Stonyridge Veterinary Service who treated my dog as if she was the most important animal on this earth while she was alive and again in death.  Thank you for dropping everything you were doing to do an autopsy on Addie right in the middle of your afternoon appointments because I needed to know what happened "right now".  (Dr. Kalo, thank you for later toasting to my girl over a glass of wine.  We thought Addie's life was most certainly "toast worthy" too and are blessed to have a veterinarian that felt the same way.)

Julie, Andee, and Christie thank you for not only seeing what we saw in this girl, but for always being there 100% of the time.  We save lives.  We change lives,  Addie was proof.

Christine Herring thank you for being unrelenting in your quest to get me to cave and bring home that "big ball of mushy face sweetness".  I admit, I was nervous because if your track record for picking mastiffs was anything like your track record for picking chihuahuas, I was concerned they would never find my body.  You were right though, she was perfect in every way and I would do it all over again in my very next breath if I could....

You all have touched me deeply.



Sunday, October 26, 2014

The right thing to do....

The owner of the new barn texted us this picture tonight.  I think Mia looks content and happy!

For nearly 2 decades, our horse has lived as a show horse, being kept in a 10 x 12 stall, not really getting the chance to live the natural life of a horse.  Seldom being turned out to graze, feel sunshine on her back, or socialize with other horses.  (Before you all write me, I know this is not how all show horses live!)   However, truth be told, Mia hates to show and several years ago became "ring sour".  We bought her knowing this about her, but it never affected how safe she was out of the ring, or what a great friend she was to our daughter, and it certainly did not stop us from making her part of our family.  A vital part of our family actually....

For months we have mauled over the idea of selling or leasing Mia to someone else, freeing us up from the cost of owning a horse, and we actually did sell her to a family last spring, only to have them call us several months later because "owning a horse during the winter was just too much work for them".  I have prayed, cried, and just about driven myself crazy trying to do what was right for our family and more importantly Mia.  I didn't want Mia to live the rest of her life out in a stall.  I want her to live the rest of her life out being a horse.  She has done her job, and she has done it well.  She has toted my daughter around for 5 years, happily submitting to all the brushing, hugging, and horrible riding that Miss K subjected her to in the early years.  She has put up with all of my "rookie horse mom" antics, and has never once been unkind to me.  She does everything you ask her to do, and she does it willingly.  Because of this, I was determined to work on a solution for Mia.

Today, we switched barns.  We went from a partial care barn with no pasture turnout, to a full care barn with turn out everyday.  We gave up our indoor arena, for an outdoor arena, and where we won't be able to ride all winter, we don't care because it was the right thing to do for our "hooved family member".  Mia will have horse friends, sunshine, and grass now.

I go to bed tonight with a content mind and happy heart.  
I hope Mia does the same....

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Loved you for a thousand years....

Before you read this blog post please do me a favor.  I want you to click on this link:  Then minimize the video, turn on your speakers, and read this post.

I work in a pediatric hospital.
I volunteer at the animal shelter.
I am active in dog rescue.
I am no stranger to death.
I am prepared for death in those situations.
I was not prepared for Addie to die.

Looking back, I think in my heart I knew something was not "right" with Addie when I picked her up at the vet Thursday night.  She was sluggish, and slower than I thought she should be.  I had our vet check her over one more time before I took her home, just to make sure everything was okay with her.  It was.

That night, I did something I've never done for another dog that went in for a routine procedure, I slept on the couch with Addie just to make sure she was not alone, and so I could be right with her if she needed something, administering pain medication, comforting her, and making sure she was warm.  My thought was she would sleep off the anesthesia and she would be more peppy after a good nights sleep.  She seemed slow that morning, but better.  I told her I loved her, she thumped her lethal weapon of a tail on the floor a couple times, and I told the Reluctant Farmer to stay home with her just make sure she was okay.

I received a hysterical phone call at 3 pm from The Reluctant Farmer stating she had went upstairs to grab a pillow off our bed, and Addie had died while she was upstairs.  I was completely shocked and beyond devastated.

To know Addie, was to love Addie.  There was something so special about that dog and her spirit, and perhaps The Reluctant Farmer knew better than me the entire time.  Addie was meant to be ours.
I think my favorite thing about Addie was that she exuded love and happiness, and she was so appreciative of the love and resources she finally had.  Daily we would find her huge mastiff body squeezed into one of the chihuahua's dog beds surrounded by every bone and toy she could find.  She would thump her huge tail on the floor and grin from ear to ear at all the stuff she had managed to drag back to "her bed".  If she was not squeezed in her bed, she was on the couch.  It would make me laugh when I would walk into the livingroom and there camped out on the couch with her huge head laying on a pillow would be Addie. And, I will never forget the weight of Addie's head when she would lay on me at night while I was reading or watching television, snoring to the point I could not concentrate.

She was a one of a kind dog, a gentle giant in every sense of the word, that has left a 100 pound hole in my heart and home.  I hope God has a comfy couch, a secure trashcan, a spare pair of eyeglasses, plenty of toys/bones, and extra underwear, because the goofy girl he called home yesterday will expect nothing less....

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Forget the past

I sure by now most of you have seen the movie Blindside, and if you haven't I recommend you do.  It's a movie that will change your life!  Addie reminds me of Big Mike off that movie, and not just because of her size.

Yesterday,  as The Reluctant Farmer and I were in the shelter, she kept saying to me:  "I want to take that dog home with us.  Even if we don't keep her, she doesn't deserve to be in a shelter." My major reservation was that we had two 5 pound chihuahuas at home, and I did not want them to be a mastiff snack if Addie decided she didn't like other dogs.  Not to mention, what if Addie didn't like cats or people?!  None of these thoughts were necessary though.  Like Big Mike on the movie Blindside, Addie's biggest gift is that she is able to forget the past.

Even though it is obvious someone has not been very kind to this dog by the state of her health, the way she shrinks away from our hands if we try to touch her head too fast, the fact she has terrible ear infections in both ears and is urinating what appears to be sand, Addie has been sleeping non-stop since her arrival, as if she knows her worries are over and she can finally relax.

We will do our best over the next few weeks to get Addie to a place where she is healthier.  I don't know what the future holds for her, but it's brighter than her past and she is running towards it, not looking back!  Dogs are my heroes for that reason.  There is no victim mentality.  They live in the moment, take people at face value, and don't let the past define them.  Perhaps the human should  take a lesson from the dog....

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I've been duped....

This morning I went to volunteer at the animal shelter and I was working with an enchanting pitbull puppy, when I noticed she was loaded with fleas.  I called the Reluctant Farmer, and asked her to quickly bring some flea control for the pooch and when she did, I was duped.  Our friend Christine and The Reluctant Farmer plotted against me and now I have a bull mastiff sitting behind me as I work at my desk.  

I whined about fostering this girl because of her size and the fear of bringing home a dog of this caliber with my other dogs and cats, but I must hand it to this girl, she is a dream.  Tonight I watched her look down at her feet before moving to make sure she wasn't stepping on Fat Tina or Esa.  She has not so much as even looked cross eyed at another dog here or cat, and honestly I think a mastiff is just my speed as they have two speeds:  slow and sleep!  Life with Addie is not all rainbows and fuzzy bunnies though due to the horrible shape she is in, but we are working on some medical issues she is currently dealing with, and hopefully in a few weeks Addie will be able to go to her new home.  Although The Reluctant Farmer is hoping she is already there.....

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Halloween, Horsey Style!

Today was the annual Halloween party at the horse barn.  The kids dressed their horse and themselves in costumes.  It was a lot of fun and they really put a lot of time into their planning.  We learned a very important lesson though.... Where it will not harm a horse to use acrylic paint mixed with water on their coat, it is terrible to get off of them!  Next time, tempra paint...  Or actually, no paint at all.  That was no fun on the my end.  (The Queen could not bathe the horse and risk getting her costume dirty so her mom came to the rescue.)

Katzya and Mia went at Queen Elsa and Sven from the movie Frozen.  (Look closely to see the antlers...)  Also in attendance we had a pair of fairies, a little Indian girl, and Mickey and Minnie.  I was surprised the horses left their costumes on and none of them freaking out about the antlers, horns, mouse ears, etc.  

Goes to show the love between a horse and it's rider knows no boundaries.  I'm sure the peppermints  helped to sweeten up the deal....

Monday, September 22, 2014

Crashing news! Literally....

This morning I was going through our local McDonald's drive-thru, running late to work in a usual Monday morning fashion, when I happened to glance to my left and there peering out of the newspaper stand was an article titled: A New Library in Tipp.  It took my brain a millisecond to realize that the picture under the heading was of me!  Naturally, I had to back up and look again, just to make sure my eyes were not playing tricks on me in the early morning hours.  Unfortunately, I did not notice the small black car with it's headlights off behind me.....


I get out of my car, assess the very minor damage to both cars, apologize to the woman I bumped into, and start rambling on about how sorry I was while I try to explain what I was doing.

"Oh my gosh!  I am so sorry!  I did not see you there.  I was just looking over at that news stand, backed up for a better look at myself and BAM!  There you were."

She looked at me as if she was already having a bad morning that had just gotten worse, and said:  "Were you trying to see yourself in the reflection of the glass?  Were you trying to fix your hair?"

"No, I wear my hair like this all the time!"  I exclaim.  "See there?," as I point to the news stand.  "That's me!  How cool is it that I'm in the newspaper this morning, and look that that font size!  It is HUGE!"

I can see she is not impressed.  Quietly I give her my insurance information, apologize once more and we part ways.

I knew my next call was going to be to the Reluctant Farmer.  I had to call her for two reasons.  First, I needed to have her drive to McDonald's to buy a copy of the newspaper because I had no cash on me.  (Priorities!)  Second, I needed to explain to her why our car insurance premiums were going to increase.  Sadly, she was not impressed with the latter half of the conversation, therefor she was really not impressed with the first half of the conversation either.

My good mood was not going to be derailed though, even when she later texted me a picture of the article with a message that read:  "Hooray for slow news days!"

I think someone is bitter about my font size.....

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Stolen saddles, diarrhea and a broken toe....

Let me start off this blog post by saying I think I broke my toe.  And it hurts hella bad....

Recently there have been some issues at our horse barn with stolen tack.  The thieves have been targeting saddles, and where our saddles are nothing too special, it would be very inconvenient to replace them.  Because of this we have been toting our saddles back and forth to the barn, which is also inconvenient, but I flat out refuse to give a thief anything if I can help it.  

When the saddles are home they sit on a portable saddle rack in the living room just waiting for my unsuspecting little toe to find them when I make late night "pee-pee" runs and cut the corner too close.  

I must confess that every time I hit my toe on that rack of saddles, I loudly throw out to the universe that I wish eternal diarrhea upon that thief, and hope karma makes his belly hurt.  I hope it feels like a Skyline/Chipotle/Coldstone Creamery kind of night and he regrets ever being dishonest.  I also hope this moment hits him after someone else in his household has used the last roll of toilet paper.  And while he is sitting on that "white thunder box" I pray he reflects back on his less than stellar behavior and makes better choices for the future....

Friday, September 12, 2014

Give me back my testicles!

Two weeks ago we pulled a very scared, un-socialized Border Collie from our animal shelter.  As luck would have it we found a rescue for him and agreed we would keep him for two weeks until another foster home came available.  

He came to us a trembling mess of nerves hardly able to stand, and with his tail tucked so tightly underneath him, that it looked like hid tail had been docked.  He left a jolly sort, minus two testicles, whom had finally known love.  

Now I don't speak dog, but I think I completely understand what he was trying to tell me today:

Thanks for everything!  
The love, the kindness, the fun!  
But give me back my testicles....

Thank you Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue for giving this guy and the many other a chance at life.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

If you build it...

"If you build it he will come..."
                                                                         Field of Dreams 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Morgan Freeman?!

The Reluctant Farmer and I went to the fair last week, and while we were there walking around the exhibits I found the biggest and baaaad-est sheep at the fair.  But being big was not the only cool thing about this boy...

Me:  "Whoa!  Look at that giant sheep!  He's my favorite." I exclaimed, as I ran up the the largest sheep I had ever seen and the clearly the biggest sheep in the exhibit at our local fair.

The Reluctant Farmer:  "That one is your favorite?!"

Me:  "Yes!  Isn't he cool?!  And he is so sweet!"

The Reluctant Farmer:  "I don't know.  I can't get past the fact he looks like Morgan Freeman...."

Well, now that she mentions it, she might have a point....

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Little Free Library Project

Several years ago I read about a program called the Little Free Library.  It's a take a book, leave a book program that offers a way for people to share books in their neighborhood.  As a lover of books, I was immediately intrigued by this concept and really wanted to host my own Little Free Library.  

My uncle and I made plans to make a box for my library project, however things like weather and time got in the way.  Several weeks ago though I bit the bullet and purchased a pre-assembled box off of the Little Free Library website (

My box arrived last week, and I was so excited to get it in the ground but I knew I needed help with the installation due to the fact it weighs 45 pounds and I did not want it to fall over on anyone!  
Much to my surprise my mother called me yesterday and mentioned during our phone conversation, that my Uncle Craig was in town.  I knew if this box was going to make it out of my living room and into my front yard, this was the day.

Generously Uncle Craig agreed to come help me make my dream a reality, and after a visit to the hardware store he got down to business!  (If you ever get the chance to watch a true craftsman work, it's pretty intense.) He measured everything 14 times, made it all flush and perfect, and I can assure you there will be no teenage thug ripping my library out of the ground!  (Nor, will it fall on any small children.)  His work is top notch!

The finished product is everything I hoped it would be.  I am so excited!  If you are in the neighborhood of 319 S. Fifth St., Tipp City, Ohio, please come by and visit my little library.  It has a bit of something for everyone.  Or better yet, visit their website and start your own Little Free Library today!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Riddle...

I have a little riddle for you, my readers...

What has 8 legs and 3 heads?

Do you give up?!

2 girls and a patient horse!

These two young ladies are adorable, with their love for horses and good times.  Tiger was more than willing to give them a lift after Katzya's riding lesson today.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Don't poke the bear....

It has been brought to my attention that my blog is being used to torment a loved one of mine.
Not just any loved one of mine.
One who held my heart for 9 months before I ever even laid eyes on her.

I offered to quit blogging.
I offered to walk away from it all.
She encouraged me to please continue.

I normally don't post negative things on my blog, but I feel this needs to be addressed...

If you are reading this boys I need you to understand:
I think you are pathetic cowards.
You mean no more to me than the shit on my shoe.
More so I am asking you to stop bullying.


Because it's not cool and you know what type of bear is responsible for the most attacks?!
A MAMA bear!
And trust me when I say, you don't want to poke this mama bear...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Message received!

I love dogs, and one of my favorite things is to watch them interact with each other.  It absolutely fascinates me.  I have a Belgian Laekenois named Linda who is the most neurotic dog I have ever lived with.  One of her neurotic issues is going out a door.  She bursts out any door, whether it be a crate, the house, or our mud room.  It drives me crazy!  I have to hold her by the collar and walk her to the back door, otherwise she runs out with all four legs flailing, skittering and scraping herself across my hardwood floor, knocking over whoever is in her way.  I can't tell you how much I have yelled, tried to re-train and with absolutely NO luck.  She still acts this way.

Tonight I let her out to potty with my other dogs plus two dogs I am dog sitting.  In her usual fashion, Linda went ripping out of her crate, feet everywhere, falling all over herself, and that is when out of nowhere I heard a growl and felt teeth graze the back of my leg.  I went to correct the growling/snapping and then realized what was going on and stopped.  Suddenly, Linda was back IN the crate, and hot on her heels was the little Boston Terrorist pictured above.  Again Linda came rushing out at me, and again Toby (the Boston) sent her right back into the crate.  This happened 4 times before the message was received and Linda finally WALKED out of the crate in a calm manner.  For 9 months I have done everything but stand on my head attempting to teach Linda what Toby taught her in 5 minutes.

I love to watch the communication between a group of dogs.  It is amazing to witness them communicate in a language that I don't speak and clearly the results they achieve are faster.  Sadly, Toby will only be here with us for a week while his mommy is on vacation.  Perhaps he will have to visit more often...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Damn dog...

What you see is a picture of Linda and I sharing a tender moment.  

However this picture is really Linda's way of saying:  "Mommy, I am so sorry I can't be trusted for 10 minutes alone and I ate the drywall in the laundry room.  Please don't ever leave me again!"

Damn dog....

Monday, June 30, 2014

On blueberries, blackberries, and being wrong....

Saturday afternoon, after the central air was installed, I got an itch to start canning.  Lately I have felt terribly behind in the preservation department.  This is largely due to the devastating weather we had several months ago that wiped out all of our gardens, causing my plants to be behind in production.  And normally where I would be raking in the produce by this point, my cupboards are bare.  (By nature we have a hard time supplying ourselves with fruit here because of space contraints, so every year we know where to go to get fresh grown berries that we can preserve for use later in the year.)  Sadly our favorite local farm didn't have any black raspberries that survived the flood, and their strawberry production was very limited this season.  

On a very last minute whim The Reluctant Farmer and I decided to drive 45 minutes south to pick blueberries.  We had never done this before, and I honestly had no clue what I was doing, but we figured it out.

Reluctant Farmer:  "Honey, have you ever picked blueberries before?"
Me:  "Nope.  But I want to pick 20 pounds in the 45 minutes prior to them closing, so let's move!"
RF:  "I don't mean to squelch your goal, but there is no way we can pick 20 pounds of berries in 45 minutes!"
Me:  "Yes there is!  This will be like taking candy from a baby!"

And in a typical Reluctant Farmer manner she said no more....

I tell you I was a woman on a mission.  I ran from bush to bush tossing berries in my bucket, looking like a bumble bee with ADHD!  (It was then I realized the real reason we would be washing these berries prior to use was not to remove toxins from them, but instead to rinse off my sweat.)

We did it though, we managed to pick 10 pounds of blueberries in 45 minutes. 
Did you catch that?!  
If not read the small print..
 (The Reluctant Farmer was right.  It is impossible to pick 20 pounds of blueberries in 45 minutes...)  

That's okay though, because I happily went home with my blueberries as well as several pints of blackberries and all are properly stored for the winter, or until next week if I keep looking at these pictures.... 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

147 reasons not to call...

Today a family member hostilely accused me of not returning her phone calls for the last several weeks, and she's right.  I have been off the radar for awhile.  This isn't a direct attack against anybody, and I'm not angry. I have just been very pre-occupied with my garden, horses, and my home life.

I allowed this person to hurt my feelings, and tonight as I was reflecting in the garden I realized this had nothing to do with me, any every thing to do with her.  I have been busy living my life and I have no regrets about being virtually impossible to get a hold of for the last 6 weeks.

I was deep in thought tying my tomato plants up, when The Reluctant Farmer took my picture.  As the click of the camera lens brought me back to the present, I jokingly said to The Reluctant Farmer:  "I have 147 reasons not to call.  They keep me busy all on their own...."

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Potatoes in Bins

Keeping with the theme, "The garden is a living class room for our mind.", we try to add something new here to the farm every year.  This year we decided we would try to grow potatoes, but instead of growing them in the ground, we wanted to try them in raised beds.  The reason for this was simply space.  Since all of our growing is done in town, we a lot of times run low on space so most of the gardening we do here is above ground.

To start this project we used:

(25) 1" x 6" x 24" boards
(4) 2" x 2" x 30" pieces of wood
(120) 1 x 5/8 screws
cordless drill 

To start out we laid 2 pieces of the 2" x 2" x 30" pieces of wood on the ground and then attached 5 pieces of 1" x 6" x 24" to the the 2" x 2" pieces with 3 evenly placed screws.

We did that twice, and then attached 5 more boards to the third side.  After you finish this you should have what looks like a 3 sided box.  

On the 4th side we added only one board to the bottom.  

We filled this with 1-2" of peat moss/compost/manure and then added our potatoes.  Because the box is 2' x 2' we were able to place 16 potato pieces in the box.  (You can plant 4 potato plants per square foot...) and we covered them with 1 inch of our soil mixture.  

When the plants sprout out of the soil about 2-3" you completely cover them again, just enough so you can't see any green.  You do this over and over again until your potatoes get to the top of the box and then wait for the tops to turn brown.  At that point it is harvest time!  

Please keep in mind that I have not harvested this way yet.  We are up to our fourth board, and our potatoes are growing like crazy!  I think this is going to be amazing, but if you want to make sure you can wait for The Reluctant Farmer and I to harvest these in the fall.....

Monday, June 9, 2014

Not our time

George the horse is no longer with us.

Katzya really loved him and where he will make the perfect horse for someone, that person is not her.  It was a tough decision for her to make, but a decision that I am proud of her for thinking through.  My heart is sad because I know how badly she wants this, but letting go speaks volumes in regards to the level of maturity starting to take pace inside her teenage mind.

At the end of the day, her riding ability combined with the fact he was so young, just was a bad combination.  Now we start over, and where it feels as if I have looked all over the entire state of Ohio for a horse this last week, I know the perfect one for our family is out there.  We just haven't shaken the right tree yet.

It will come.  It always does, but in God's time not mine.  This I must remember....