My Partner is Delight

My Partner is Delight
Heading into the great unknown

Friday, February 29, 2008

A True Story from life in the country

A month or so ago my Freshman son came home from school and said,

"Mom I think someone is trying to pull a prank on me. Today when I opened my locker it smelled really, really bad, like someone put cat poop in there or something. It smells like it is on my jacket."

I try to stay calm. Mama Bear wanted to rip some kid to shreds for picking on my son. Each one of my other kids faces came up in my minds eye- was any of them to blame? Or, was there somebody at the school who was trying to bully him?

My son is very good natured, so I hid all of my suspicions and told him I was sorry and showed him how to launder his jacket. I helped him to laugh it off and told him to keep his eyes open for the culprit.

The next day he comes home from school and says his locker and jacket still smell,

"Mom, my jacket still smells really bad, and look what I found in my pocket!"

He pulls out some (freshly laundered) egg shells.

"Son, didn't you think to check your pockets before you washed your jacket? Clean out your pockets and stick it in the washing machine again. Any idea who pulled this prank on you?"

"No, none at all Mom!"

Later that evening I had a sinking feeling come over me. Some memory was dawning on my menopausal brain. I wasn't sure I wanted to allow it all of the way into my consciousness. This memory was horrifyingly embarrassing and personal... the kind of thing a Mom never would ever want to admit...

A week or so before my son found the rotten egg in his pocket I went out to do chores. I was in a hurry and lying by the door was my son's big fluffy winter coat so I grabbed it and put it on. As I was getting hay for the horses I noticed that one of our chickens had chosen to lay an egg in between some bales. I picked it up and put it in my pocket so that my hands would be free to carry hay....

I apologized to my sweet son and he forgave me.

My family has had a really great laugh at my expense.

Good thing I didn't say some of the things out loud I was thinking about the rotten "kids" who did this to my son!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The pigs are outside

The weather here is warming up and the piglets are growing up.

We have taken the door off of the shed and now the pig family has free roam of the pen. Charlotte plows big trenches and lies in them on her belly. I think she is glad for the relief from the vigorous nursing of her piglets.

The little piglets scamper around and play like puppies. I don't know why I am surprised that they play... every other animal baby plays. You can see one of the piglets in the background of this picture ready to bite the piglet right behind her.

Each lil piggie has a name now. Phoebe is the only girl. Then there's Porky, Bazooka, Dr. McCoy (aka Bones, or Coy), Spot, Elvis, Wilbur, Big Head, Ross, and Kenny.

Bones,Wilbur, Ross and Kenny are all already sold to another 4H family who will pick them up in about 3 weeks. Their sale will go a long way toward buying feed for the ones my kids keep for their own 4H market project.

Another interesting thing I have learned about pigs- They love to dig in the dirt and wallow, but they keep all of their pee and poo in one spot. They like to be dirty, but if they have a choice they won't wallow in their waste. Cool.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Time Warp

I experienced a time warp today.

I went outside at 11AM this morning to check on all of our animals, fill water troughs, feed chickens.

When I came inside it was almost 3PM!

I had totally forgotten about lunch, thirst, and restroom breaks.

It was 55* today. The birds were singing. The air was fresh. The sun was shining. I decided to brush muddy horses. I started with Spinner, then it was Delight's turn.

I never got another horse groomed.

I decided to give Delight the Spa treatment. I brushed her. She is starting to shed, so I curried her. Then I decided her feet and legs were dirty so I hosed them off.

I noticed she was sweating on her chest a little on this warm day, so I hosed it off too. I figured if she was sweating she was warm enough to get a little wet, right?

See where this is going yet?

I shampooed her tail and her mane and rinsed them. I washed her face with a wet towel. Everything got washed but her mid section. I combed out her tail and mane. I even broke out the Show Sheen.

Poor Delight.

Before I knew it my horse was Mostly Clean and my day was Mostly Gone.

I love it when that happens.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Es-cop-ay, or Three Big Chickens

No pictures from today, but I sure wish I had some!

Charlotte decided she was tired of the pig sty she was living in and went to go visit the horse sty.

Our farm is currently temporarily under a Governor's State of Muddy Emergency, but that is another story...

One of the kids went out for the 4PM check on the pig family and found the gate to the pen swinging wide open. He got to the shed and the door was busted down and Ma Pig was nowhere in sight!

They hear her grunting and found her in the pasture buried in the mud under the horses loafing shed. She was a sight, covered in mud!

Tawshi was standing near the gate about 10 feet from Charlotte. But, Ted, Delight and Star were big chickens! They were standing all huddled up in the far corner! 'Fraidy cats! What a sight!

Ted: "You go Delight, you are the lead mare!"
Delight: "No, YOU go Tawshi, I command it!"
Star: "Yeah! You go Tawshi! My Mom commands it!"
Tawshi: "You guys are a bunch of chickens! I'll go."

Star: "Look! She TOUCHED the pig!"

Charlotte was easily herded back into her pen, much to the relief of the piglets who had long since resigned themselves to starvation.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A wonderful ride

I had an amazing time with my horse today. I went to an indoor arena with a friend and her horse.

When my friend arrived to pick us up Delight hopped right into the trailer all by herself. She really loves to go places. When it is time to unload all I have to do is grab her tail and guide her out.

When we got to the arena, no one else was there, so we turned both of the horses loose. Her horse Sam is an Arabian and Delight is a Morgan. They were magnificent to watch, trotting around strutting their stuff, Delight in her Morgany way and Sam in his Arabian way.

It takes your breath away really, to see them cut loose like that.

When I rode Delight I didn't have a training plan in mind. Sometimes I get fixated on a training goal and miss out on the pure pleasure of riding.

I mounted up and I could tell that Delight really wanted to Go. So I decided to let her pick the pace and the direction. I let the reins hang loose and used them to guide her lightly only when she drifted too close to Sam.

Soon we were trotting faster and faster. Then we loped and came close to a gallop but I settled down into the saddle and let Delight know that galloping was too fast for my comfort. She slowed slightly and we loped all around the arena, everywhere she had a whim to go.

It's amazing how relaxed you can be when you just let go and let the horse be the guide.

Soon we were trotting and then loping again. I was surprised at how long Delight went before she finally slowed.

Finally she slowed to a walk and then stopped in the very center of the arena. She let out a big sigh, dropped her head and licked her lips. She was breathing pretty hard, but I could tell that she was relaxed. I was relaxed too, and exhilarated. I got off and lead her around until we both caught our breath.

It was a wonderful ride, letting her choose what we did today.

I want to do it again.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Here is a picture I took the other day of a mountain lion! I can't believe how incredibly lucky I was to capture this image!

It was late one night. I heard the deep throated rumbling of its purr. Before I had time to react, it jumped onto the area where I was sleeping!

I froze and s...l...o...w...l...y reached for my cell phone to take a picture.

I lay still as possible and the she-cat curled up near me, the warmth from her body and her rhythmic purring making me sleepy. I was falling under her feline spell...

I have been entranced by this enchantress on more than one occasion.

She is Tiger.

Her name doesn't refer to her stripes, but her temperament.

Tiger is largely an outside cat. She is skittish, but a ferocious hunter. She was the last of the litter of feral kittens. No one wanted her because she was so wild. She wouldn't come when called. She ran away at the least provocation.

So we kept her as our chief mouser.

One day sometime last year she decided I was her person.

She started sneaking in the house at night to sleep with me. If I didn't move too quickly she would even let me pet her.

In the evenings she will come in the house and sit only on my lap and then follow me downstairs to bed at night. She is gone before I wake up - She runs outside when Tom goes to work.

Tiger is opinionated about who she will tolerate and my son Eli is on her Hit List. Whenever he walks into the room, Tiger scrambles off of my lap and hides under the nearest chair. I have to be careful of the angle at which she scrambles because she has been known to leave scratches in her wake. Eli is a gentle giant. He has tried to make peace with the Tiger, but to no avail.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sweet Delight

I created my blog to ramble on about my horses, and I haven't done much of that lately. So, I thought I would at least try to fix that!

Here is a recent picture of my Delight. She has such a sweet expression here it makes my heart melt! I am so lucky to have her. I waited such a long time for her - over 20 years! I wondered over the years why God would give me such a passion for horses only to live my life without them.I know now that I only needed to wait on His timing.

One of the biggest things I have learned about God since having horses in my life again is that He really does care about the secret desires of our hearts. Sometimes His answer is "Not Yet." Sometimes the answer is even, "No." But, I can tell you that He cares even about silly things like horses, because I know He cares about our hearts.

I used to believe that all God cared about was that I show Him how much I love Him by following all of the Rules. In addition, if I would sacrifice all of my wants and desires, surely He would be Pleased and I would be called a Good Christian.

Oh yeah, and People would be pleased too.

When I first got my horses back I used to feel guilty. After all, the money could be going for 100 other more "godly" pursuits. Delight is the first thing of any real temporal value that I have ever owned. I'd never even had a car in my own name before I got her. I didn't know how to act or think when my first horse arrived.

Now, as I search my heart I am realizing that God cares even less about things than I ever suspected. He especially cares less about things like Rule Following and What People Think. His desire is Relationship with me, with each one of us.

And lucky for me, sometimes He uses beautiful things like horses to teach us that.

Sweet Delight is mine.

The Pig Charlotte

Yes, her name is Charlotte. I didn't name her, although my kids sure do get a kick out of the fact that she shares a name with me!

Charlotte was given to us by a 4H leader whose kid was graduated from high school last year and has moved on to college. We brought her home 2 1/2 weeks ago. She is a Hampsire/Yorkshire cross called, appropriately enough, a Blue Butt.

Charlotte will be part of a 4H project for 3 of my kids. She is our first try at an animal of the porcine variety. Which doesn't sound like too big a a deal, except for the fact that she came to us already pregnant, and ready to farrow!

We had her for one week and one day when she blessed us with 10 'lil squealers.

It has been nearly 30 years since I have even seen a pig deliver, and I didn't know if I had enough wits to aid her if she or her babies needed help.

"Miss Scarlet, I don' know nuthin' 'bout birthin' piglets!"

When the time came I was able to get the 3 kids (whose project she is) out of school. The four of us caught and dried, warmed and welcomed the piggies to the world. I was proud of my boys who each stepped up to catch a couple of piglets. My daughter preferred to stay under the warming light and make sure each piglet was warm and dry.

Charlotte blessed us with 10 'lil piggies; 1 girl called a gilt, and 9 boys called boars.

We lost 2 during birth and one was stillborn. Had they all survived we would have had a bakers dozen! The two which died during birth were hard to lose. We did our best to revive them, and one seemed like he wanted to fight for life. The kids took their loss like troopers though. They know it is a hard truth about raising animals. Sometimes you lose some.

We have a saying on the farm, and while humorous it has a ring of truth to it:

"On a farm you got your livestock, and you got your deadstock."

All of the piglets are spoken for. Most of the 10 will wind up being projects for 4H kids. I am really excited to see how they grow and how they do at the county fair.

We will probably be sending Charlotte along to another 4H family so that they can have the same great experience as we did. Don't know if that will be sooner or later. What I do know is that she eats a LOT!! There really is something to the saying, "eats like a pig".

Here is a picture of the first two born, the little girl on the left named "Phoebe" and the boy on the right named, "Porky."

And here are 8 piglets. The last two are still inside the mama:

Friday, February 8, 2008

Queen Amelia

One day several years ago, when we first moved to this farm I lay down for a short afternoon nap. It was a warm summer day and the kids were plenty old enough to look after each other I reasoned as I snuggled into my comforter. Our little farm is an older one and we have 4 weathered outbuildings as well as a large shop/garage that all needed treasure mapped. We have 3 acres, and at that time no horses so there was room enough to explore and build forts in the tall grass and weeds.

Just as I drifted off, all 6 of the kids came running into the house, "Mom! Mom! We have kittens! Josh is out there in the garage catching them right now!!"

"What? When did we get a cat?" I answered groggily.

"No Mom, we don't have a cat! These are wild kittens! You should hear them hiss! There are four of them!" They all clamored to be the first to tell me the vital information about their newfound treasure in the garage.

Okay, I was awake now. Josh walks in with a big grin on his face and an angry growling kitten in his outstretched hands. The kitten bites him and he drops it onto the bed. All seven of us scramble to recapture the little lion cub without further injury. I was the one who finally caught her, and I have a scar on my finger to prove it.

All in all the kids captured 6 kittens that day in the garage. They were beautiful. Some were peachy cream color, some smoky grey, some calico. They lived in the dog crate until the kids were able to handle them. Then we gave them away to unsuspecting friends and advertised them in the paper.

There were two left over. One was the first kitten that Josh caught. I think the kids hid her every time someone came to look for a kitten to take home. She had long hair and had a few patches of orange, if you looked hard enough. Josh had taken to carrying her around on his shoulder. The kids had taken to calling her "Queen Amelia".

The second was one that took the longest to tame and was still quite wild. She was named "Tiger", not because of her coloring which was a short haired smoky calico with a few orange patches, but because she was ferocious.

The kids talked us into keeping the two leftover kittens and they are now our chief mousers, and keepers of the chicken house along with Tommy who is Ameilia's son.

Amelia loves to follow us around outside, meowing for attention, to be picked up and for a ride on our shoulders. I took some pictures of her with my camera and my cell phone the other day as she followed me around as I was doing chores.

"Okay, I see we are ready to do chores. You set your coffee down right here, so that your hands will be free to carry me, all right?

"Oh alright. I will just watch you feed the pig then. You are lucky I have such great balance!"

"Can you see me now?
Yes, yes, I think this bale will do for the horse's breakfast this morning."

"Look deep into my eyes... You cannot resist picking me up... You can...not..."

Monday, February 4, 2008

A visit from a Boy

A friend was over recently with her grandson and of course he wanted to go out and see the "horsies," so I happily obliged. How can you resist a cute kid? I was wanting to take some pictures of the horses and I needed a "safe" spot to set the kiddo down. I don't think the horses minded too much, do you?

Delight is saying, "Can you please stand still??"
Star, "Does he get to stay?"
Ted, "Move over, you are standing my my hay kid!"

See how big Star is getting? I wasn't able to get the good updated pictures I wanted, but this one gives a little bit of an idea.
Star has a wart. I'm sure she got it from the cows. She loves the cows. When she was younger she would stand against the fence line and allow them to lick the salt off of her. I have a picture somewhere....

With the cattle we just cut the wart off and the summer sun finishes off the cure. With this being so close to her eye I think I will have the vet do it when he comes out to give Spring shots.

Star has such a kind eye. I think it reflects her loving temperament.

I am so grateful to have horses in my life again!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The One I missed

Since I am still introducing the horses in my life I want to introduce a mare by the name of Noelle. I call her Noelle, because it was almost Christmas when I met her. She didn't have a barn name given to her by the breeder that I know of. She was an American Blazer Horse and part of the same so called "production sale" that Speedy and Spinner came from. Her registered name was "Honks Duces" [sic]. She was an aged broodmare. Seems like I remember she was about 17 years old. She was very thin, and of course untrained and unbroke to ride.

Before the sale I went to the breeder's ranch two times. Both times I remember this mare because she was so friendly, coming out of the herd of 200+ horses to get our attention and to be petted.

At the auction preview, when we were walking around the herds of horses looking for the two we would take home, once again she followed us around begging for attention. I loved on her and prayed she would find a family at the auction the next day. She really wanted a family.

Speedy and Spinner went to the auction block during the first couple of hours. We were surprised and taken aback at how quickly it happened. We were expecting to be at the auction all day. I didn't get to see any of the mares go through, let alone Noelle. Everything just happened too fast.

Two days after the auction, when the dust had settled at our place, I couldn't get her off of my mind. So I tried to track her down. I called a couple of people at the American Blazer Horse Association, and later called the killer buyer himself. He bought 60 horses, and while he told me a big fat lie about where they all went, I am pretty sure he bought Noelle. He said he shipped them back east for training - yeah right!

I missed her.

One of these days I am going to blog my feelings about horse slaughter and why I support it, but for today I just want to remember Noelle.

I regret that I wasn't able to save her. I regret that she was used up and thrown away.

RIP Noelle.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Boys

Tawshi became my daughters birthday present and then finally, my Delight came to be my heart and my forever horse.

In October of last year I saw a flyer that advertised 200+ horses for sale at a "production" auction.

It broke my heart. I decided I wanted to do something. The result was a long journey of following my heart and doing my best to get the word out about these horses.

As a result (long long story goes in here) we rescued two Blazer geldings, now named Speedy and Spinner.

I journaled most of the story at Horse Training 101. Here are some links:

Blazer auction:

We are going to get 2 Blazers!

Blazer pictures from the auction lot.

Speedy and Spinner's Big Day.

I also keep a detailed training journal at 101.

I love these two horses. They now belong to number 2 daughter and number 6 son. They have come a long way in the last two months, from not being handled to being ridden for the first time by the kids themselves! I will be sharing more about these two wonderful ponies!

Here they are getting their first look at their new home:a first look

Spinner - registered name "Taffy's Spinner"
Spinner eye
Speedy - registered name "Blaze's Asset"
1st day  Speedy

I will be sharing a lot more about these two!


Tawshi is a 2001 grey Arabian mare. She was my second try at finding the horse of my dreams. We bought her late in the same year that we got Ted. She was a young 3 years old. She was small, but everyone I talked to said she would grow and that her height wouldn't present a problem for me.

I remember when I first met Tawshi. The thing that first drew me to her was her heart. It seemed like she reached out to me and told me she wanted to come home with me. We had to make payments on her and she stayed at the breeder's until she was all paid for. I drove one hour down to see her and the one hour back at least 3 times a week. She was so beautiful! I loved everything about her Arabian-ness; Her floaty trot, her high tail carraige, her big soft eye, everything!

I broke her to ride at the same time as Ted the next summer. When it came time for me to really work her though I realized that she probably wouldn't be able to handle carrying my weight plus the weight of all of the tack on long trail rides.

In the meantime, my oldest daughter caught the horsie bug. (See a pattern here yet?)

Ted: Another Introduction

I know my readers must be waiting for updated pictures of Star, but the camera needs batteries and the weather is not cooperative. Soon, very soon! They will be something to look forward to!

Ted is a buckskin Quarter horse. He was my first horse after a 20 something year hiatus from horses. In the meantime, I have been going to college, working and raising kids. He was foaled in 2002, and we used our tax refund to buy him in 2004 when he was a 2 year old.

He came to us with the name "Teddy Bear" and he was spoiled rotten. And still is.... *grin* He had a good start on round pen training and leading though, for which I was grateful.

I spent hours and hours with Ted every day. I hand grazed our front yard bare with him. I brushed him and breathed in his horsey smell. I sat at the pasture fence in a lawn chair staring at him and just soaking in everything about being in his presence.

It wasn't too long before I discovered that Ted really didn't mind my presence, but that he wasn't a very cuddly person. Brushing was fine and feeding was the best, but he enjoyed having a job to do rather than having me hugging on his head.

I felt like I couldn't make a connection to Ted, at least not the one I dreamed of and the one that I remember having with my horses as a child. For 3 months I cried. I was so sad. I thought there was something wrong with me. After waiting for two decades, here I had the horse of my dreams and I was unhappy?? What was wrong with me?

I eventually talked to my husband about how I was feeling.

In the meantime though, my Dear Husband fell in love with Ted. Ted was the first horse he had ever been around. He didn't even know that he liked horses before he met Ted!
Ted's name was promptly changed from Teddy Bear to just plain Ted, because "Guys don't call their horses girlie names."

Ted and Tom have become quite the team and they are both learning a lot together. Ted is now broke to ride and he has also been out into the hills on many trail rides. He is still rough around the edges, but with time and training this summer Tom is hoping to remedy that!

Tom and I decided to buy me a second horse, of a breed I had always wanted to own but couldn't because when I was a kid they were so expensive - an Arabian.

More about Star

My family has requested more baby pictures of Star. She is coming two this April and so now she looks quite a bit different! She is taller than Delight. It has been fun for all of us to remember her as a foal.

Star has always been a bold, curious horse. From the time she started walking she showed her independence by leaving her mama's side. I learned a lot about how horses manner each other by watching Delight teach Star how to behave.

This is a picture of Star's sire, Midnight Price. He has some really nice old Morgan bloodlines. He was sold a year ago across the country to begin a new career as a dressage horse. If I were to ever breed Delight again, I would pick Midnight. Star has great conformation and a wonderful temperament. Her breeder says Midnight gives this temperament to all of his foals. I believe him.

And one last picture of baby Star "helping" my husband work on his pickup truck. She is so curious!!

Edited to Add: I can't figure out how to get rid of those big spaces. Every time I try, I delete one of the pictures. I'll figure this Blog thing out!