Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rain and Horses

Well, looks like we got the rain we needed to put out the fire in the Pinenut Mountains.  It flooded on Johnson Lane.  I don't think it was too bad but we do tend to get flash floods if we get a lot of rain.  In this case, the area of rainfall looked very small on radar but very intense.  It rained around here a bit and we had just enough thunder to upset the corgi.  She doesn't like thunder.  It was much cooler yesterday due to the cloud cover.

Today has some puffy clouds and I hope it stays a bit cooler today, too.

I have a pressure pot for fertilizing the plants right on the drip system.  You hook it up to the line with fertilizer in it and it fertilizes while you are watering.  It has been a life saver.  So much easier than carrying buckets.  I have all the zones fertilized except the fruit trees and the street zones which I will do tonight and tomorrow night.

The neighbor came out to see my little horse and help me hook him up to the cart.  We kind of got side tracked onto breeching which we weren't able to do up because it doesn't look like all the parts are there.  We took the little horse for a spin after deciding that the harness looked pretty good.

Nobody does this but he left the halter under the bridle.  That way you can hook up a lead rope to the little guy if you have to open a gate or something and have some sort of control over him.   I like the idea because otherwise you have to get an over sized alter onto his head while he is wearing the bridle if you need to have him stand while you do something like open a gate. I am undecided as to whether this is a great idea due to not having seen it done before.

The guy said I was doing good at talking to the little guy while he had his blinkers on.  The neighbor drove the horse and his style was quite a bit different than the show ring style of driving.  Frankly, I think it was more relaxed and much better than the show ring style.

In the show ring style of driving you are constantly trying to gather up the reins as you get the horse to trot and then loosening them up when you walk.  You are really on his mouth.  The neighbor says he thinks that just creates a hard mouth.

Cliff didn't try to steer the horse constantly like the trainer was telling me to do.  I think I will lighten up a bit when we are out.  Of course, the neighbor emphasized that you must have enough play in you arms to pull back on the reins for a whoa moment.  You don't want to be pulling the reins back in an emergency and have your elbows up to your chest with no more room left to pull.

The little horse did great.  Wiseguy really is sweet and I just need to keep working at this.  The in-laws are coming over today and, if the weather holds, I am taking them for a ride.

Mom in law originally said that she was from a ranch and that having a worthless mini horse went against the grain but she now sounds excited about coming out and meeting the little guy.  Go figure.

Monday, July 23, 2012


It rained!!!  I am so thrilled.  Okay, it didn't rain much but it did rain.  I am so hoping that the clouds stay and it doesn't get too hot today.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a reprieve from the heat.  Yes, the last several days have been in the high nineties and it is getting old.  

The air smells delicious.  However, the dry lightening yesterday sparked at least one fire in the Pine Nuts and I think I still see it burning.  There seems to be smoke headed our way from the southwest.  Let's hope some of that rain falls down there.  This rain is definitely hit or miss and there isn't much in each cloud burst but there are plenty of clouds out that way.  Crossing my fingers.  No wind so far.  Yeah!!!!

Gotta get busy.  A neighbor is supposed to be coming by to help me with my little horse.  He has done a lot of harness driving in the past and I hope he will be a good resource.  He sounded like a nice guy on the phone.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Bowl of Cherries and an '87 Chevy

First, a large bowl of pie cherries.  10 cups total.  Our very first real crop of fruit.  I am so excited.  I baked a pie with half and sugared the other half and froze them.

Now that we have another trailer and yet another truck, Hubby spread out some road base and made us a parking area on the right side of the garage.  My Toyota and Hubby's Honda Fit will both park here nicely.  They will be near the back door where we load and  unload the vehicles.  They are both a bit smaller so we can back them out easily even though it is a lot tighter here than on the other side of the garage since we have  fencing and a covered breezeway right behind me where I took the picture from.

As you can see in the photos, it was totally overcast today and it was only 83 degrees.  Wonderful!  We cleaned the goat pen and did quite a bit of work outside.  Tomorrow, it starts getting hot again but I sure was happy for the reprieve from the heat even if it only lasted one day.

Finally, here are the pics that are being clamored for of the new used truck we bought.  Okay, one guy said, "Pictures, please."  You know who you are, Bruce.   An '87 Chevy.  Dual gas tanks.  Yeah, with a 454 we are going to need the dual gas tanks:)  Oh, and the A/C actually works. 

It is a long bed and there is a heavy duty bumper to hitch up the trailers to. 

The vehicle has had one owner.  The title was 25 years old and of a different style than the newer titles.  Very cute.

A little light rust on the body but nothing to be concerned about.  I think it looks pretty good and I am not ashamed to be seen driving it:)  The color also matches my new used horse trailer.

The interior is in great shape.  The bench seat is awesome.  Loving that.

The door panels are in basically perfect condition.  

The truck features a hydroboost clutch so it isn't a son of a gun to shift.  Power steering so I don't have to hurt my arms turning the steering  wheel and it is easy to park.  The tranny has a granny gear as well as first, second and third.  

The truck is easy to drive, cruises nicely at 70MPH without having to adjust the gas pedal constantly, steers easily.  I like it.

There is a cracked windshield which the cops don't stop you for out here and the glass seems pitted.  That is really common because of the blowing sand.  I can probably replace the windshield for about $150.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Our New Used Truck

We went a got the new used truck today.  It is a dream to drive and I am very happy with it.  I will practice driving it tomorrow ... with the trailer hooked up:)

Hubby followed me to the gas station  and between the two empty tanks in the new truck, his car and the stocking up of 15 gallons of gas for around here, well, all I can tell you is it is a good thing he worked a day of  over time and it is showing up on this paycheck!

We are going to Carson City to see if we can buy some ramps for the truck.  I need ramps to get the cart into, and out of, the back of the truck.  I need to practice that,too.  We need to have all this working since Wiseguy and I have a play date next week on Wednesday.

Our play date is just over the hill in the next valley and the lady is an experienced mini horse driver.  Can't wait.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bought a Truck!

We did purchase the Chevy truck with the 454 engine.  It has 67,000 miles on it and had one owner. It has a bench seat.  It has something called a hydroboost [I hope I am getting the name of that right] clutch which means that it isn't a hard to use clutch.  It has power steering.  Two wheel drive.  Plenty of tie downs on the bed.  It is a long bed.  It is already set up to tow.  The interior is really nice.  The dashboard is like new.  They have one of those dashboard covers on it.  The bench seat has no rips and tears.  There is just the littlest bit of surface rust on the body.

Hubby and I talked about gas mileage.  After all, a 454 is not going to get good mileage.  The son says the truck gets about 12 MPG but I am thinking 10.  On the other hand, Hubby's old Chevy truck ['78 ??] gets about 15 MPG.  So, if I have to drive 100 or so miles to go to Carson City and back, that will be about $40 in gas.  Reno and back will probably cost me closer to $70.  That could add up fast but...I probably won't end up driving the truck very often.

All of our older vehicles cost about $400 a year to insure and about $50 to register.  That will be an additional expense.

This truck drives completely differently than Hubby's short bed four wheel drive pick up and I think I will enjoy driving it.  It has a low gear so I should be able to take off with the little horse without jerking him.  The clutch engages way at the top of the pedal so it will take a little getting used to.

Obviously there is more than enough power to pull my little horse trailer or even a large load of firewood.

We go back to pick the truck up on Tuesday morning.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Looking at a Truck

I'm headed out to look at a 1987 Chevy with a 454 engine and already set up to haul a trailer.  In fact, when we called on the truck, it turned out to be a lady I spoke to about finding a farrier.  She is in the next valley over from here.  It doesn't have an automatic transmission but Hubby keeps insisting he could put one in if I don't like the clutch in this one.  We shall see.

A truck like that would get terrible gas mileage but would allow me to go places with the little horse and haul the cart I need to take with me.

It has had one owner.  It is tan just like almost all of our vehicles end up being.  The eighty year old just got a load of two tons of hay with it last week.  If she can drie it, then I can drive it:)

The high today, only 96 degrees.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

102F Yesterday and 99F Today

Let's hope this is a trend.  The mini horse looked fine all day.  The goats looked super.  Anything under 100F isn't so bad.  We had 16% humidity today which is not high by national standards.

It still feels pretty warm by 10 or 11am and that is that!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

105F ... Briefly

We hit a high of 105F but the clouds were forming and the wind came up so the temp started going back down a bit almost immediately to 102F.  The goats and the horse actually look like they are doing okay.

I took off early from my cleaning job.  I told my client it was so hot I would try to push hard and get out a bit early.  I got home at about 1pm.  It was 102F and still rising.

I set up a sprinkler on a post that holds up the fence dividing the goats and the horse.  I ran some cool water into the water troughs and let them overflow to get some fresh cool water into the animals.  Then I ran the sprinkler for about 20 minutes.  I do think it at least gives it a cooler feeling on that side of the pens.  The little horse and the goats hate rain and probably won't play in it but at least I can try to cool it down a bit, especially if it gets even hotter on any given day.  100F is hot but 105F feels like you are in an oven.  I used to live in Las Vegas so I know all about hot but I worry about my goats and horse.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

104 F ... Again

Yep, super duper hot again.  Trying to get things done by 11am and then stuck in the house except for brief forays out to make sure the animals are fed and have plenty of water and the garden watering stays on proper rotation.  Towards 7 or 8 pm the temp has dropped back into the nineties and going out for a bit is doable.

Looks like it is going to be  a long summer.

Everyone's veggie gardens took a big hit this spring and ours was no exception.  I did get three young crooknecks off one of the two summer squash plants that are growing pretty good.  I also seem to have tomatoes coming on.  I need to put some calcium on them as I usually have problems with the fruits if I don't.

Some of the beans are trying hard.

The corn is tasseling and it is only 18" tall at best.

Some of the melons are starting to get going but it doesn't look good over in that section of the garden.

The miniature horse looks okay but he was panting a bit when we went out to feed him.  I have been making sure the animals have fresh cool water twice a day.  I am concerned that we are being threatened with even hotter weather like 111 degrees.  That might be a bit much for the goats and the horse.  Let's hope the weather forecast is wrong as usual and that it is actually cooler than that next week.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hay, Hay, Hay!

Okay, we got our hay.  We managed to get 30 bales at $10 a bale.  They are 2 twine bales.  The grass is fine and the little horse is loving it.  Yes, prices really are high out west although it is even higher in much of California than it is here.  Not much consolation, I realize but we simply pay more for almost everything because we live in Northern Nevada.

I was on a website for miniature horses and our prices out here are high but in some parts of the country they are paying as much as we are.

So, I made the mistake of telling one of the mini horse people I was having my neighbor X come over to take a look at my harness and talk about carriage driving with me.  I talked to the guy and he seems really nice.  The one lady told her friend and they are both facebooking me to tell me to be extremely careful of X.  I finally ended up writing a nice note to them both stating that the words they used of "working with" X was kind of misleading.  I am not paying him to come over.  I am not hiring him to train my horse.  He is simply a neighbor who wants to come over and give me his opinion on how the harness and bridle look on the horse and to talk about carriage driving.  I said I they know a lot about minis and I totally respect their opinions and that I appreciated their concern.

Geez, no wonder I call them the old biddies.  And I really actually hate facebook. Of course, I have gotten lots of advice but I am doing what I think is right for the little guy.  We are doing great and that is that.  I think they thought I was trying to replace the trainer I have [which I am since the trainer I have hasn't managed to come out in 10 weeks of owning the horse] and/or that I would let someone treat my horse roughly.  Which will never happen.  Sheesh.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hotter than the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July was a beautiful day.  If you were in the shade it was in the nineties and it didn't feel too hot although I wouldn't have run a marathon in the sun or hoisted hay bales or anything like that.  We ended up going to a neighbor's place for a rib cook off.

The last two days have been ridiculous hot.  104F yesterday and 100F today.  I had to go to town for some groceries and believe me I was sitting at the front door when Costco opened.  Fortunately, they opened at 9:30 which is half and hour early.   They do that when it is going to be ridiculous hot out.  Yeah!!!!

Of course, even though I said I was on a tight budget, I saw something I couldn't live without as I came in the door.  A four slice toaster.  When I looked at toasters at Christmas time, I didn't buy one because they were around $80 for a four slice toaster.  WTF? You say. Yeah, that's what I said, too.

Well, a Kitchenaid toaster was $40.  Our old four slice toaster has been a two slice toaster for quite some time now.  Like a year.  So, like any frugal person, I said, "Hey, so it is a little inconvenient and one person has sort of cold toast, bagel or bun by the time I get done with two sets of bread."  Not anymore:)

Hubby likes that protein powder but it has gotten to the point where I don't know if I want to buy it anymore.  A bag was $50.  I am not kidding!  It has more than doubled in price since he started drinking it several years ago.  The good news is that he drinks it for breakfast and it does last a couple of months.  Since he has to wait a full hour after taking his thyroid medication, this has been the best way for him to eat breakfast on the way to work.  So efficient and cost effective on that level.

Since it has gotten so hot I picked up some easy and fast to cook foods.  I got laundry soap and automatic dishwasher soap.  Bagels and ham for sandwiches.  Cheerios and milk for breakfast.  TP because if I have less than a two month supply I seem to go into panic attacks:)    Nothing too fancy this trip.  

No 7-up sodas.  I have been mixing up the lemonade from powder.  Not only is it not fructose, I drink less of it and it is cheaper.  Trying to lose weight or at least not gain anymore.  Now if I could only cut back on/quit smoking.

I bought a bale of timothy and it was $18.75 but it was a little over $20 with tax.  The last bale of orchard grass I bought was pretty crappy.  Rocks in it and weeds with large stick stems.  I don't want the mini horse eating that.  I'll feed the rest of that bale of orchard grass to the goats.  They think they are getting a treat.

Naturally, the absurd price of timothy at the feed store motivated me. When I got home, I got back on Craig's List.  We had two twine hay lined up in Washoe Valley for $7 a bale but that fell through.  I called on the eighth since they were supposed to be baling on the seventh.  She got really weird, asked me how I found out she had hay.  I told her Hubby called her from CL and she said she would be baling on the seventh.  She said the equipment broke and don't call us we'll call you.  Okay??!!!  I get it, you are getting a better price or you are just paranoid.

I called on some hay in Washoe Valley that is $10 a bale but it is fairly heavy two wire bales so at least as good a deal as the other stuff. It is grass hay with a little bit of alfalfa mixed in.  He feeds it to his horses.  I like the smaller bales better than the big ones because they are easier to move around.  He said call him tomorrow morning and come get it tomorrow evening.  Looks like he will help Hubby load.  Let's hope this works out since even if we pay $50 in gas it will be $12.50 per bale instead of $20 per bale.  I'll still need to pick up some alfalfa but it looks like I might be able to get that for a better price this year.  One load of hay at a time, I suppose.