Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thinking of Fall....

   As I am just about out of bird food and do not normally feed the birds in the summer, my thoughts head to fall and what  I will need to save or buy this summer so I am stocked up for next winter.

  Suet is a great food to offer birds in the fall and winter when they need greater numbers of calories to maintain their body heat and energy levels. While there are many commercial suet blocks and plugs available, making your own bird suet is easy and affordable.

 Winter birds will love suet cakes, which you can make easily.

 My mother gave me this recipe for making cakes for a suet bird feeder. Save the fat trimmings from beef, chicken and pork and keep them, along with the grease from bacon and hamburger, in coffee cans in the freezer.
 When you have a couple of full cans, thaw and then heat the contents so you can filter the fat from the solids. Discard the solids. Remember to keep the heat on low so you dont start a oil fire. Oil has a low flash point, so stay at the stove and watch the oil!!  Let the fat cool, but not harden. Add 1 cup of peanut butter and 1 cup of cornmeal, and mix well. You also could add birdseed, fruit, cornmeal or ground nuts. After stirring it together, pour the mixture into half-gallon milk cartons. You could also use foil muffin cups in muffin tins. Refrigerate until hardened. Store in the freezer until you’re ready to feed the birds. This mix can also be pressed into pinecones and stored the same way, tie a string to the cone..hang from a tree and let the birds enjoy.

 To use, cut the frozen block into 1-inch cakes. Put a suet cake or muffin into a mesh bag and hang it high enough that your dog can’t grab it. Start saving your fats now and the birds will be happy this fall, its cheap to make, easy to do and next fall you will be smiling while watching the birds happy with your left overs!!
Woodpecker eating home made suet at Big Mill B&B, near Greenville, North Carolina

Sunday, September 11, 2011


  I cant go forward today without remembering the past.   911.1  This is a day my mother called me and asked if I had the t.v on. No, mom what's up….she said turn it on, the world has just came to the end. What. What??? Really…what's going on? I turned on the tube and learned that life was we know it would no happen again. I watched in wonder, in disbelief, in horror  as the towers fell. Death, and more death, captured by the   cameras, they captured it all. How did this happen? WHY?

   Should I go to work or stayed tuned to the t.v? I called my husband….he didn’t  know…can he come early I asked…I'm afraid. No, sorry business as usual, people had died and companies were the last to know, soon after yes….he can come home. I went to the barn, turned out my horses and wondered…what if it had HIT here”: Here, would I run for the hills, stay at home and wait for the best or take up a gun and pray for a sure shot. What if we this were ever to happen on our home front….the enemy rushing in what would you do? I believe I would fill my  horse trailer with food…take my best two endurance horses….turn the rest loose and head for the hills. I know I can get “lost” in the woods and trees… I know I can survive what mother nature throws at me….can you? I cant dodge a bullet but I can shot them, I cant fly a chopper but I know I can shoot one. I know, what I can eat from the ground that mother nature provides, I know I will build a shelter for me and my horses….I know I can survive…can you?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tansy Ragwort and

Tansy or common ragwort, Senecio jacobaea, is a weed of the sunflower family Asteracaeae. It is usually considered to be a biennial, overwintering either as seeds or as rosettes, but it is also capable of becoming a perennial through environmental stress or interference by competitors, herbivores, or control tactics


The plant is erect and robust, ranging from about 1.3 to 6 ft tall, and develops a stout taproot from which grow numerous fleshy roots extending to about 1 ft deep. Leaves are light to dark green and deeply lobed. The lower leaves form a rosette which die back when flowering is well advanced. The upper part of the stem is highly branched and bears up to 250 bright yellow daisy-like flowers. Single plants are capable of producing over 150,000 seeds, which can remain viable in the soil for three years or longer. I have this plant in my fields. We have hand pulled them up, applied weed killer and mowed them over. One of my jobs this year is to try to get a handle on them. I have been fighting the battle, but my field still have many of the flowers in them.image It is a battle that starts early in the year and continue until all are pulled, mowed or sprayed. At the end of the year my fields always look good, but come spring. I will have new plants sprouting among the grass and other weeds. This year I have noticed Buttercup weeds.

Creeping buttercup occurs on a wide range of soils but forms large colonies on wet, heavy land. On ridge and furrows, it often occurs in a band along the bottom of the furrows. It can withstand trampling and compaction and is common in gateways and on paths. It can tolerate both waterlogging and a moderate drought.

There are several different kinds of buttercup weeds, including tall buttercup, creeping buttercup, and Bermuda buttercup. All of them have several things in common besides being a problem. They steal nutrients, water, and sunlight from desirable plants and grasses, grow where they're unwanted, and look unsightly. There are several things you can do to remove these aggressive weeds, before they wreak havoc on your garden or lawn.

  The cure is almost the same as with the Tansy. Dig them up, cover   250 them with plastic, or use a weed killer on them. We have found that this weed is harder to remove then the Tansy. So with the fine weather that we are now having here in the Northwest, I will be gleefully sprays this weeds. They will take over before you know it. Your once grassy fields will start with one or two plants..blink and you will have a field of pretty yellow flowers, non of which your animal's will want to eat, that will rob the soil of nutrients and smother all of your grass.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Elbe Hills Challenge

025 Linda, Dean and I decided to try our hand at the Elby Endurance ride.  The ride was held Aug. 27 at  Elby Wa. At the Elbe Hills / Sahara Creek Campground. The Nicholson Trail System  was used. It is a technical mountain type riding area. This ride was a combination of road and single-track trails. The terrain was  varied with elevation climbs and descents. We had  a number of bridges to cross and a couple of creek crossings to maneuver.003 We had heard that last year the trail beat the riders with a very low completion rate. We had planned to take the challenge and see if we could beat the mountain.The day dawned clean and bright, a sure sign that it was going to be a hot one. I hoped to try to make some time in the morning figuring that we would be slowing down as the day heated up and the trail got longer.006  We left with the front runners and found a hole and managed to stay there all day. I found the trail not a lot harder then the ones we ride about home. The horses had no problem with the climbs. We did slow down on a lot of the technical trails. It was nice to be forced to walk and just enjoy the views. 010
Linda and I came in 4th and 5th, which really surprised us. I had no clue we were placed as we were. Spot was a grade B lame all day long. She felt fine on all the Soft trails but was on and off on the hard packed roads. As I came into the 3rd vet check I noticed she had blown a small abscess out of her left front hoof. Aww, I now know why she was a bit off. She is so tough, she never did let me know what was going on. The trail in to camp and the final vet check is all down hill, so we went slow and then slower. I really thought that we would be passed at anytime. I think everyone was going slow and safe also. My ride time was somewhere in the 7 plus hours….which is about 2 hours longer then I normally take to ride a 50. 009  Dean did not fair as well as his horse got a girth gull at 40 miles and he elected to catch a ride back to camp. I think all the up and down rubbed him wrong. This is a ride that I will put on my list for next year. I will remember to carry a camera so I can catch some of the spectacular views next time! Nikki and Katie was super crew ad usual. They we not able to go to the out check, but were a lot of help in camp. So my riding friends, Take some time and go and camp. There is a map of the trails, miles and miles of riding and the best part..the camp ground is free! There is also running potable water. Very neat place. I plan to try and get back for a weekend soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Work on the back Field

This is what our back field looked like before we decided to find the fence line and clear it. 

     We own this older tractor, but it is not set up to do what we needed to do, so we rented a dozer and cleared the field.

     Now we have a large burn pile!

                        Then we borrowed Bev and Dick Bortons big red tractor….it has a magic tool!

We used this to dig the holes….many many holes.

                                                                                         You can see that we used a very long string to keep the holes straight so the fence line would remain straight

                                                                                        .                .

 Straight lines make straight fences. We are almost done ….8 more poles it sink into the earth!

     The neighbors have all been cutting up the wood. We still have a lot of work to do…..I will update what it looks like when we are done.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

To my son on his Birthday June 12

What a beautiful adventure we are on together, my precious son. Today is your 26th birthday. It’s such a cliché to say that I can hardly believe it and that time has gone by so quickly, but it’s the truth. Twenty six years ago I was about to become your mother. With my hand on my belly, watching late night TV, I could feel the beginning of the contractions that would be The Real Thing, that would make our couple into a threesome. I was so calm. I was so ready to meet you. And you came, quickly, practically jumping into the world. Oh my God, the love; my heart could hardly take it. I remember, even now, holding you that first day. The world was asleep, apart from you and me. We were in our own little world. It was just you and I cuddling in the hospital bed. I touched every inch of your face; trying so hard to memorize the tiny creases, bumps, lines, those big blue eyes,( later they turned brown) your shivering dreamy sighs, that baby smell of powder and milk.
I remember not sleeping that night and wandering down to the nursery to see my baby. It was so surreal. You hadn't fed and I felt strangely alone. I didn't like the fact that they took you away for the night. When they brought you back the next morning I didn't have a clue what to do with you. A nurse would be in shortly to show me how to feed you they said. I felt so lost, so empty. I missed you in my body, I missed feeling your heart beat, you body your soul. It was once mine, all mine. To care for, to hold, to love.
And then you grew up, spread your wings and flew away.
I feel tremendous ambivalence on this day, and it is not just the poignancy of a parent watching the maturation of a child and the accelerating passage of time and disbelieving that it could happen so quickly. How could you get to be so tall, so independent, so capable, so complex, so funny, so far away? How could 26 years have elapsed since that astonishing, magical moment that our eyes locked and I saw all that you had ever been and all that you were to become. You were disconcertingly serious, unconditionally present and absolutely real, and I have loved you completely ever since.
I want you to know that no matter what situation life may bring you, I will be there to see you through, if not in person, then in your heart.
There are, and will be more, days that you don’t have the right answers, or any answers at all. You will find cruelty and suffering in your journey through life … but don’t let that close you to new things. Don’t retreat from life, don’t hide or wall yourself off. Be open to new things, new experiences and to new people. If you close your heart to new people, you’ll avoid pain … but you will also lose out on experiencing some incredible people, who will be there during the toughest times of your life and create some of the best times of your life.
Always take responsibility for your actions, good and bad. If you can’t change something, change the way you think about it. You will fail many times but if you allow that to stop you from trying, you will miss out on the amazing feeling of success once you reach new heights with your accomplishments. Failure is a stepping stone to success. You are growing stronger in wisdom with each passing year. Don’t ever use CAN’T as an excuse, ALWAYS TRY. Remember a mistake is not a failure unless you let it keep you down.
You are kind, generous and loving. You tell me every time I see you or you call that you you love me. We are close. Don't be mistaken, your still a boy(always my son) - your loud, sometimes smelly, and yes you fart ... a lot, you can get cranky, always hormonal (love the ladies!),.You swear like a wharfie,but never lazy. You were never a straight A student (not even a straight C), you never made the debating team, and never won student awards. However, you has grown into the loveliest of men. You stands by your friends. . You hug me when I cry. You cry when you sees animal cruelty. You stands up for what you believes in. You are a nice person. You have a kind heart and knows how to love. And that ... is really all a mother can ever want from her son.
Your Dad and I can never express in words the joy, happiness and love you have brought to our lives. You have been my rock during many periods of my life as well in the lives of so many of your friends. Your depth of compassion and understanding are two of your most wonderful traits and what have made you the caring and loving young man you are today.
Happy Birthday Brett! I love you with all my heart.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I've hit the ground running!

 It seems just like yesterday the last time I posted a Blog! Since then I have gone the the NW Heritage Arabian Horse Show and Three Endurance rides. Big breath! Heritage was a great show for Brejd. We managed to get all the Sport Horses qualified for there regional classes that we needed to. StarBuck Bay made us proud. He managed to keep his feet on the ground and took a 2  place in Amateur Training level and a 3 Place with me in Open Training Level. For a western horse he is really rocking in Dressage. Bandit, Dar, Beleive, Starbuck, Sig, Zeemie and Burly were all Superstars!
  Our first Endurance Ride of the year was Home On the Range. As I posted before it is not a ride that I have done well on. I decided to take Nikki (my niece) on her first 50. I figured that this would help me keep the pace slow and enjoy the ride.  At the 25 mile mark my bad luck rubbed off me and on to her. Her horse Boggie came up lame with a groin pull. So off I went, I managed to catch up with one of my team mates Katie and rode the rest of the ride with her. Spot finished SOUND!! We have now broke the curse of Home on the Range! What a great feeling it is. That monkey is now off my back and I can look forward to that first ride in the future.
  Our next ride was in ID. The Tough Sucker ride. I planned to wait until I arrived and checked out the ride site and decide what distance I wanted to ride. I needed to pick up a mare I had bought so I decided to combined it with a road trip to a ride. The trails were soft and dry. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. It did my heart good to feel the sun on my face. I think I could feel the moss start to dry up on my body. It felt good, so good I decided to try the 75 miles race. The ride could not have gone any better then if I had a way to plan it. I won the 75 and won the B.C! Yes, life is looking good.
 Then off to the MRRT ride by Vantage WA. This ride did not go was well as the other two. Spot was just not right from the start to when we were pulled at 20 miles. She was traveling bent to the right, more sweaty then normal and just wrong. I stopped and re saddled her. Checked her hoofs. Just could not put my finger on it. I arrived at the vet check, she pulsed right down and looked good. I had noticed she had a small cut on her right front hoof. I thought she must have hit a rock. I pointed it out to the vet before we trotted off. Dead lame. Not a little lame but blind granny lame. WTH? She trotted into the check sound, within 5 minutes lame. A half hour later really really lame. The vet checked it again and decided she had blown a abscess coming into the check. Well its not so bad  I decided. It could have been a lot worst! By the time I unloaded her back in camp she was sound 100%. Oh well. It least it was a close ride.
  I now leave for another Horse show on Wednesday. The Cascade Classic. WISH ME LUCK!