"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Monday, August 31, 2009

How did we get here?

Well, seeing as we've had a pretty un-eventful past few days again....or at least un-eventful for blogging's sake ;), I figured I would look back on the past and reminisce on how we ended up on our 5 acre "farmette" we call Apolloson Acres! We sure did luck out, and I want to log, before I forget more, of all we went through before we found our slice of heaven!

Warning! this could be a very long blog entry!

So I think it took about 2 years of searching before we finally found our place. UGH!! I recall, when I found it online, that it was WAY out of our price range and when I showed it to my friend Lauren, she told me I was getting desperate! It is important to note, I probably consulted with Lauren on more of my finds, than I did with my husband!! Lauren is my "horse mentor" and who to know better than her what would work best for my visions of what was to be Apolloson Acres!

Looking back, it is also important to note, we probably went through a record number of real estate agents! Although I am no spring chicken anymore, I do still feel, in some scenarios, that people don't treat or take me/us seriously because of our age....because we are/were a "young couple". Most of them wanted us to find a cute little bungalow for under $100k, a nice little fixer-upper with a white picket fence, and call it a day. HA - guess they didn't know me ;)

I must have crunched numbers so many times that I started to question what 2 + 2 really equaled! What our max. budget started at rose almost $50k within that 2 year search! Funny how things work....and mind you, this rise was in no part due to job promotions with pay raises ;)

So, if I remember correctly, the first house we looked at was a cute farm house on 9 some acres with a barn and IN OUR [original] PRICE RANGE! 'OMG - how could it be', I thought. I found our dream home on our first try! So Allen and I loaded up in the car with my parents and we went out to look at it. Da Duh Dum Dum... and then we pulled in the drive. 'Ok, ok, it could be worse! It needs a little work on the outside - so what. I bet the inside is cute and country looking.' Uh NO! The inside needed to be condemned! We were afraid to walk, worried the floor might fall out from under us. EWWWWW - there was no carpet or anything, just the bare floor boards! Usually, when you are selling and you have someone coming to look at your place, you clean up.... a little at least! Ugh, ok, so I was still very optimistic at this point. I was hoping there was a way to make it work. We ventured to the barn - not bad, nothing fancy....except the poor little, lonely Arab in his stall ;( *sigh* - so obviously we didn't move forward on that house and I still drive past it everyday to and from work. I don't think they ever sold it and I still see that lonely Arab out in his barb-wired fenced field every day *cringes*. The property is across from a large apple orchard -- maybe it was an omen of what was to come ;)

House #2 was a really cool, old Victorian house, but very out of shape inside. The highlights of this place were the well outside the back kitchen door that my mom said reminded her of the Blair Witch!? And the chickens that attacked when we walked in the garage...I walked in first and it scared the crap out of me. I instantly started to try and back out the doorway as I heard wings flapping and my dad, knowing my fear, thought it was hilarious, and continued to try and push me through the doorway!

Moving on....we looked at so many, SO MANY houses, that I cannot even remember them all, so I will touch on those I do remember.

The next that comes to mind is one we both were SO sold on that we looked at it a few times. Allen and I just had this conversation the other day - WHAT WERE WE THINKING! This one was a colonial of sorts with a large barn in the back. An old, large barn with the remains of what were a few stalls. I could look past the fact that the neighbors had a "mobile home hen house" in their backyard....yes, you read correctly, the mobile home was their chicken coop, if it meant this sweet piece of pie could be mine! UGH - then we walked in the house. The current owner was at the kitchen table with her years worth of cigarette butts in the ash try next to her. He computer desk was on the other side of her along with her big, hairy dog. I could see why she was there during our tour - I doubt she was able to UNHINGE her ass out of the chair! She must have been 400+ pounds and counting... Must explain why the house was DISGUSTING. The carpets might as well have had dead bodies decaying on them and the upstairs rooms hadn't been touched in years. Cob webs and mouse turds decorated the rooms and hallways --- and yet, I remained optimistic. 'Oh, we'll just gut the place and turn it into our heaven', as my mom rolled her eyes. After our second or third look at this place, Lauren came to give her seal of approval and her face was enough said! I think I drew the line when we were in the basement and my dad picked up an old, velvet covered riding helmet and attempted to put it on my head until we all noticed the RATS NEST burrowed inside it. I KID YOU NOT....and yes, we all screamed! The realtor was NOT happy! She didn't last much longer and honestly, I don't even remember why I dumped her. I think she just wasn't showing us what I wanted to see, she was too meek and thinking about it now, I think she blew me off on a property I did want to see asap! I guess I was quite the demanding client....but when you were in the market I was, when it listed, you looked right away or you lost it.

So moving on to the house that caused me to dump Realtor #1, this one was a charmer. I LOVED IT. I was so sad we didn't get it. At the time, I was worried that for the work we needed to do to it, and their asking price, that we just couldn't afford it. Looking back, their asking price was what we PAID for our current pad. Had I know! Although I am sure it was another omen to sway me away for what was to come. This house was shaped to look like a barn. And it had a barn with rock floor which worked for us. We could work with the putting in stalls. It had a pond which Allen loved and the layout of the 5 acres was dreamy. When we walked in the house, we all felt like our equilibrium was off! Turns out the original house burnt down in a fire and they rebuilt the new one on the original foundation. *Sigh* again, I could overlook that! I really liked this one. But the realtor showing it to us was the listing agent and I had been told not to go through the listing agent, so Allen's parents got us in touch with a family friend in real estate. This guy was my soon-to-be biggest pet peeve! He was ok at first, and when I told him I wanted to place a low starting bid, he told me I was out of my mind because the asking price was more than fair. Um HELLO - who was he working for and isn't this why I DIDN'T go through the listing agent. Anyways, we never did bid on the house; if I recall, we ended up finding out things about the septic system etc that was way out of our bank accounts league. I was sad :(

Ugh, septic systems, my soon-to-be other biggest pet peeve!

Next, we looked at a small but cute little bungalow on 8-ish acres. It had a large, brick outbuilding that I was determined to have Allen turn into a barn. Nothing too fascinating about the property and it was on a main road which I wasn't crazy about. Their was also a rumor that a housing development was going in behind it - ewwww. The inside was sad, seems the owners wife died tragically so the whole house had become a shrine to her ;( And it looked like Freddy Krugger showered in the basement bathroom! We were determined to see what was behind one of the doors in the basement and broke a fishing rod in the process *sigh* We meandered around the outside of the property contemplating for awhile what we thought about it and the realtor said to me "Are you really interested or is this just a waste of time" - UM HELLO, how is it a waste of time even if we decided we weren't interested! We are LOOKING for a house and you are a realtor that SHOWS houses to those our my position....and that is what we are doing right now, LOOKING AT THIS HOUSE. That was it, he was out the door! He continued to call and email me for about a year and eventually called Allens parents to ask what was up. He felt we owed him something for all the time he invested in the messages he left and the 'automated' weekly emails I was sent from him on houses in the market. Um, Take a hike buddy!

So we continued to search for our 'dream home'...and a decent realtor. I think, at this point, Allen was not even accompanying me on the first visit rounds! It took a second or third showing to convince him it was worth going to look at. And it is probably better he did this anyways. There was the house with 3 ft of water standing on the basement, the house that STUNK like cats and no one was home, yet the bedroom doors were closed with the tv on and neither myself nor the realtor wanted to open them....so we never saw any of the upstairs bedrooms! There was the house with a decent, true made-for- horses barn with correct horse fencing, but the whole house was gutted and apparently, the owner was renting it out until he found out the tenants had a GOAT living in it with them! (Seriously, you cannot even MAKE THIS STUFF UP!) I think, at this point, even my parents stopped going to look with me on the first showing!

Every night I would stay up all hours of the night searching endlessly online, hoping my dream home would pop up on the screen! My mom could see my frustrations, especially when I would come home from showings totally down and out. I felt like I was the only person on the face of the planet who would never find a home. Oh woe is me! My mom said to me a few times throughout this process something to the effect of, why don't you guys find a starter home and board Apollo somewhere for at least a year. NOPE - NOT AN OPTION was always my response. I WILL find my "dream home" and my horse will move their with me....oh yeah, and my husband! I got a lot of "Oh Allison's...you are setting your self up for disappointment, no one finds their dream home the first time around" type of comments. *Sigh* And so I moved forward. I WOULD FIND IT, I was determined.

Enter fall of 2007. We are now a good year into house hunting and I am completely depressed that everything we look at it not IT. Then we happen upon a cute little ranch that has siding on it to make it look like a log cabin. I never really was fond of ranch-type homes. I wanted the old, Victorian looking farm house, but somewhere in my gut, I knew we'd end up in a ranch ;) This house was cute, in an area we liked, and had a nice outbuilding I could have Allen put stalls into! It sat on 3.5 acres. The bedrooms were small and there were only 2, in addition to only one bathroom, but we liked it. It had a cute, screened-in back patio and nice landscaping. No garage, but, no biggie. I didn't have one as it was, so it wasn't like I had to adjust to that. We ended up putting in a bid, and after going back and forth, came to an agreement. OMG - this is it. We are buying a home....and only paying $10k more than what I put our budget at.........and then came the inspections. DREADED INSPECTIONS.

We found that one of the foundation walls in the basement had some issues and the stupid "inspector" [I use that term lightly for this guy] couldn't even locate the septic system to properly test it. Glad I paid for that! So, after arguments with the current owners via our realtor's about getting info on the septic [it was clear to me at this point there was some kind of issue with the septic system that they were trying to hide], we made the painful decision that we were not comfortable with the foundation wall or septic and pulled out of the deal.

Back to the drawing board.....

And then I got a call from our realtor about a house that was not yet publicly listed, but on the market. It was an old-fashioned colonial farm house on 8 acres with a fenced pasture and a NICE barn! Of course, the inside looked like a freaking chop shop and as I toured the stalls, I was surprised by PHEASANTS burrowing in the shavings.....and you may or may not know my aversion to feathered friends. And of course, being the optimist that I am, I decided, since the price was right, there had to be a way to make it work. Then, the listing agent showed up....I mean, Barbie on crack and after 20 plastic surgery procedures and reaching the ripe age of 90! As we pondered with my dad, since Barbie said she has a lot of interested parties on the property, we ventured through the yard and then stumbled upon what seemed to be a septic backup in the yard - UCK - what is it with the damn septics. So of course, my dad commented to Barbie about the poo we seemed to have stumbled on and she said something to the effect of "Nonsense, that water is so clean I could DRINK it" - ok lady - whatever. Another hope smashed....and so we move on....again!

So moving on, in no particular order, there was the colonial on 14 acres [that also had an orchard] that truly should have been bull dozed. When we walked in, there was seriously human feces smeared on the walls and in the green shag carpet. All the copper plumbing had been ripped out of the wall, there was mold growing in the basement from water damage.....it was just bad, bad, bad. No wonder it was in our price range ;) Then there was the cute, wood sided home with a second floor balcony and a true horse barn and fencing in the back. Too bad the inside was a mess, all the trim was painted black and of course, water damage inside, among other things. What made me mad about this particular home, is while I am still in optimist mode, and told the realtor what I wanted to bid on it, he laughed and said "No Way", then called me a week or so later and said "You will never believe what that home sold for" - lemme guess, what I WANTED to bid on it. Hmmm, imagine that!

And still, there were many, many more, some good, some bad and some just flat out too expensive for us! There was a very small ranch on 6 acres and the land was fascinating, but in the end, I just think we were not sold on the house. It was more of a mobile home with a basement....and again, on a majorly busy road. There were a few more homes we seriously considered, some we put bids on, but none worth devulging on.

And then yet again, another house I fell in love with. This one had a small barn and a small fenced in area, but it was a wooded, secluded lot with potential to build onto the barns. It was on 3 acres and in more of a "poshy" township. The house was something like 28 or 3200 square feet, 3 floors and what I believe is called a British colonial. Everything inside was original. Wood floors, 3 wood burning fireplaces, one of which was in the basement, built in bookshelves. It was just amazing. My mother said it looked like the Amittyville house from the outside, which for those who know me, it made me love it even more. AND IT WAS IN our newly decided price range ;) The trick here was that is was listed as that because the bank just wanted what was owed on it and in the end, someone outbid us ;( Bummed again.

So we again trekked on an I looked at many more house, some with nothing wrong with them, but they just were not the one. By this time, I believe I was now working with a realtor that Allen's boss referred us to. She was supposed to be the best of the best....and she was....but not without a cost. She was quite the conniving one ;) I had many roundabout arguments with her, but in the end, she got us what we wanted. She also got herself on my mortgage brokers "do not do business with list"!

The first time I met her, let's call her Atilla!, she drove me all over gods creation showing me houses that I didn't want to see, as well as ones I did. She even was nice enough to stop mid day and buy me a burger from McDonald's. Along this road trip, we happened across a small ranch on 5 acres that was formerly the residence of a gentleman who trained Standardbreds for the track. He had since passed and his widow was moving into a condo. The house was ok, nothing to write home about and needed work, but the barn was my dream come true! Dusty and needing a good spring cleaning and paint job, I think it had maybe 10 stalls and a tack and feed room. It had separated pastures with turnout sheds and a second open barn I could have used as an indoor arena. This was, of course, out of our price range, but I could not get it out of my head. I had to have this property. So I dragged the entourage, Lauren and Allen included, and we looked at it again. By now I may have seen it 3 times or so. Lauren agreed it was perfect for horses but that the house needed work. I started to have a heart to heart with Atilla on what I wanted and what I could afford and Allen ended up going to the car with my family while Atilla, Lauren and I sat down at the table. Lauren was concerned that the realtor wasn't being honest with me about all the considerations and talked to me like the Atilla wasn't sitting there, which in turn, ticked Atilla off. Oh what fun it was ;) We went back and forth with the seller trying to agree on a purchase price for the home, and in the end, we were divided by about $10k and neither of us was willing to budge, so no deal.....again.

By this time it March 2008 and I found a brick ranch on 5.5 acres that had outbuildings. I figured what the heck so I went to see it and fell in love. It was perfect, set back off the road, country setting, potential to transform into a horse property, a second detached garage [aka man cave] and an apple orchard to boot! So I scheduled a second appt. and had my Dad and Allen scheduled to come too. My dad agreed it was a nice piece of property; Allen didn't make the showing due to a hangover ;) So a third appt was scheduled with Allen, and then a fourth. One problem, it was $50k out of our price range! HA - OF course it was! But I wasn't giving up hope. I emailed the listing to Lauren and her response was "Now you are getting desperate".

It took 3 months, a lot of negotiating and round abouts with mortgage lenders that is a whole separate blog in and of itself, but by the time the trees were in bloom, we had the keys to our slice of heaven -- Apolloson Acres!

And my mom said to me, "I knew you'd do it, I knew you would find what you were looking for"!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

From the outside looking in

So last night I attempted to have a girls night! My sisters wanted to see my good friend Jen's kids and vice versa. My cousin Kim and I keep attempting to have a girls night and I am the midway point (yes, believe that, in the middle of nowhere) for everyone to converge, so I opted to hold a girls night at the farm.

My husband must be preparing to tell me something terrible because he took the horses out and cleaned the stalls for me so I could get dinner going for the girls! I was very thankful for this though!

As I previously mentioned, we still seem to be having some issues with our cistern and water pump *sigh* When everyone arrived, I made them aware that it was still ok to use the toilet, but go easy on the sink water ;) And FRESH drinking water was available from the water cooler. Great way to start out a night, 'ey!

So without discussing how I was more frazzled trying to get tacos made for everyone than moms were with their crying babies, I thought I would share a few comments made from others.

Steph, my little bro's GF, bless her heart, wanted to check to make sure it was ok to use the toilet since the water in it was murky! She wanted to be sure someone didn't clog it or have #3. LOL, oh Steph - you are always good for a laugh.

Then I had an instant message conversation with my cousin this morning that went something like this....

Kim: how u holding up?
Me: lol fine! I should be used to chaos by now
Kim: u looked like u were going to cry last night
Me: Next time I know not to try and cook for larger crowds
Kim: there is no next time, next time we go somewhere else and u don't do anything
Me: lol
Me: I think i am just most worried about the water situation, i really hope when the cistern gets filled today that everything goes back to normal and there is nothing wrong with the pump
Me: Allen said to me last night "Will we ever get a chance to just relax w/o any issues?" And i said, probably not until we are snowed in and he agreed!
Kim: lol - u realize that what u guys do on that farm is like a full time job in itself
Kim: u need to just make it a working farm and live off of it
Me: LOL - yes i realize that And there is not way to make a living off it
Kim: nuts
Me: we do have a hazelnut tree, yes
Kim: hahaha - mmmmmmmm hazelnuts - make nutella {this is where I would insert a smiley of a dager going at Kim if I could}
Me: martha stewart is on the today show and i want to punch her, ONLY she can be suzie crafter/cook/entertainer because she has SLAVES to take care of her home and animals, no one has time to do things like martha
Kim: EXACTLY - she has maids and shit
Me: totally misleading [in reference to Martha]
Kim: i seriously got tired just WATCHING u run around
Me: welcome to my life
Kim: how r u not exhausted like all day every day?
Me: I AM
Kim: crazy

Yes, Kim, you are right, we are CRAZY!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just another day...

Here we are, Wednesday, mid-week...it's like a blur!

I cannot even remember what I did Monday outside of my regular chores.

Yesterday was a lot of running around. Emse and her 6 kitties had to come to work with me because they had a check-up appt. at Kitten Krazy right after work. Lugging around a mama and 6 kittens is harder than it seems ;)

They all got a clean bill of health and were looking good. They are becoming much more alert now and walking around, meowing when I walk in the room etc. Poor Mama Esme seems so drained! She's like "Brangelina" without the "Bra" half.

This morning we woke up to our lone working toilet running, which means it was running all night *sigh* - why? seriously!? So we'll have that to deal with again tonight and I am having a girls night with taco's and margaritas. Looks like I may be needing extra margaritas!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Nice Un-Eventful Weekend!

For once, kinda, we enjoyed a nice, un-eventful weekend. When I say un-eventful, I basically mean no chaos & drama!

Friday I attended a seminar by "Mary Ann the Ghostbuster" with my mom and some friends from H.O.P.E. -- very interesting if you are into that kind of stuff. I started reading one of her books too and it is pretty good. Her website is http://www.maryannghostbuster.com/

Saturday I had an early adoption appointment for a horse the rescue has had for 2-some years. I was so relieved and happy that this great gelding has FINALLY found his forever home! All went well. While I was gone, Allen worked on the donkey pasture more and did some drainage around the barn. I am not even sure what we did the rest of the day! I played around with the horses for awhile and probably enjoyed a few glasses of wine afterwards ;)

Sunday we RELAXED for once. I made the executive decision; it was going to be a no farm work Sunday...with the exception of the must do's like cleaning stalls :) I took a stab at homemade marinara sauce with all the roma's we had ripening in the garden. Not bad, but still needs some work. We took the dogs on a 3 mile walk -- surprise surprise, they we're still hyper and full of energy when we got home, but when it was time for bed, they were snoring up a storm! Mossy actually did very well in the car this time -- usually he is not a fan.

I got a call from Valaree, our niece, and she wanted to know if I was very busy! My response was, "Yes, Valaree, you can come over and play with the kitties!

The kitties are Mama Esme are all doing well and all go for a check-up tomorrow.

Charlie, aka Chunky Monkey!

Val in her glory with the kittens!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Beat me to it!

Yesterday Whinny went to the vet for her yearly check-up and I am proud to say it was UNEVENTFUL ;) Tonight I actually have plans to attend an event with my mom so that means Allen is home alone to tend to the dogs & horses himself all while having someone come out to inspect our brand new windows that will not close! I can already feel my phone blowing up while I am gone ;)

Anyways, as I was driving to work today, I thought maybe I should start another blog about how being a newlywed isn't all it is cracked up to be...especially when you have 5.5 acres, an apple farm, 4 horses and 2 dogs. I thought I could blog about all the INSANE things my husband comes up with and then vent about them on this blog. Ok, maybe I am being to harsh....but then I hear on the radio someone beat me too it!

Check this blog out - too funny -- www.myhusbandisannoying.com

Although, she is being quite nice I think ;)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Border Line

I have been debating with myself on whether or not I should post this recent turn of developments. It does add to my crazy, hectic life and I have already shared this info with some of my friends & family. Others, like my Mother and M-I-L would benefit from not knowing and my husband was very adamant in me not saying anything to anyone and making a mountain out of a mole hill.

I've decided, even though I still debate as I type, that we were not in the wrong in any way, shape or form so what harm could it do?

As I have recently posted, we have a Chow next door that is not the friendliest dog in the world. She has taken a nick out of Whinny in the past when Whinny got loose and ran into her yard. [Understandably so, Whinny was on her turf!] She is always wandering into our yard, crapping in it and instigating our dogs :/ After last weeks incident, I though her owner took the hint that it was better that her dog stayed in her OWN yard - guess not!

Sunday was a hot day and when the sun cooled off, we were relaxing outside. Ironically, I had commented to Allen how good the dogs were being, just being peaceful, laying in the grass, enjoying the evening. Of course, they did have their ties on so they could not wander off or leave the yard.

One minute, I'm watching Mossy enjoying laying in the grass, the next minute, I see him jump up, bark and take off behind the side of the garage where I could not see him (in the direction of the neighbors with the chow). Instantly I knew the Chow was probably heading our way :/ I saw Mossy's tie go taunt as if he couldn't pull away any further. Then I heard the muffled growls of 2 dogs and, as usual, screamed for Allen.

By the time Allen got to the dogs, he said it looked as though Mossy got a "jab" in and the Chow was reverting back home. I instantly looked Mossy over and then walked him to the opposite side of the yard and tied him to a tree. Then the neighbors BF came over to, I guess, apologize for his dog coming over yet again! I again told him that Mossy is still working on socialization skills and it is best that his dog doesn't come over without us present. I then asked if his dog was ok and his response was "Well, maybe that is what she needs is to get beat up and then maybe she'll learn to stay in her own yard" *sigh - whatever* And I thought that was the end of that - WRONG!

Tuesday night I am feeding the horses and the neighbor is out in her yard and calls me over. As I approach, the Chow charges towards me growling, and I asked with hesitation if she was going to bite; the neighbor assured me she wouldn't. Then, as I look down, I see the side of her stomach area shaved, stitched and gooped up with neosporin. *gulp - my stomach dropped*

She called me over to tell me that her dog probably wouldn't be coming over to visit for awhile. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! Does that what she thinks it is when her Chow comes over? A friendly visit?? Is that why she thought I was holding my dog (ok, dogs, but Whinny just wanted to give kisses) back from while I got dragged across the dirt, fingers wrapped up in leashes, was a PLAY DATE?

Clearly, this Chow is aggressive and calls this type of behavior on from other dogs, but the owner fails to see it that way. (Even after she mentioned it was not the first time she'd been in a fight!) I am not saying my dog was in the right, however, he WAS on his own property and he was TIED in his OWN YARD! And yes, we do need to work on more socialization with him, however, the difference is that I realize this and do not allow him to continue to roam other peoples yards recking havoc on the families inhabiting them. {there are more stories I could tell of the Chow's "play date" visits}

So what do I come home to yesterday.....the CHOW in MY YARD - OMFG.....to be continued, I am sure!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Watering Hole

Oh where do I begin?

So, out where we live, we get our water through a cistern. For those of you unfamiliar, this is a big vat in the ground that gets filled with water and then pumped into our various water sources. i.e.: the shower, faucets, toilets, washer, outdoor spickets....you get the idea.

We have 2 actually; we have a very large one, I think it holds 8,000 gallons, in the front yard. This cistern is shipped in water only - meaning it can only be filled by a truck coming with water and filling it. We've only attempted to use this one once (on 4th of July when the back cistern was running close to empty and we were expecting 50-ish people over for a party) as the pump doesn't seem to want to cooperate with us!

The back cistern holds about 3,000 gallons and takes shipped in water or rain water. Don't start ewwing and gaging! It isn't that bad; it goes through a filtering process before we use it....and hey, it is free water most of the time.

Anyways, Allen waited until late Saturday to tell me the cistern was getting low *sigh* - I put a call in to our water supplier for delivery, but as they do not deliver on Sundays, it wouldn't be until Monday that he'd be there. So this meant go easy on the water! i.e. no laundry [darn!], no being over-zealous in watering the garden and flowers etc....

So what does my brainac of a husband do Sunday? Starts a small bonfire of brush he needed to burn...because he couldn't WAIT to do it during the week....and it required water to be put out before we went in for the night.

Luckily, we had enough water to shower Sunday night and take care of other water related necessities. In the middle of the night however, I had to go potty. When the toilet tank was refilling, I heard a gurgling that didn't sound right. I figured that was it for the water ;( Little did I know (and I didn't divulge this info to the husband!), the pump continued to run all night trying to pump water that wasn't into the toilet tank :(

Monday morning started off with a bang! Allen running through the house yelling that the pump was hot as fire and ran all night, probably blew up etc etc - *sigh, great* I just went outside to do my barn chores. Heaven forbid we ever have a LIFE THREATENING crisis - I'd hate to see how he'd react to that!

Of course, the horses needed water and the water cooler in the kitchen wasn't gonna cut it! I had to trek all the way back to the pasture and take water out of the pasture water troughs to fill 4 buckets for the horses. After I trekked it all the way back to the barn, Allen appears with a large bucket of water; he went to the front cistern and lowered the bucket in to get water. Did he NOT hear me say I'd handle it. Heaven forbid I add more stress to his morning!

So the day goes by, we come home from work, Allen starts the pump up since we now have a filled back cistern, and the pipes to the pump are LEAKING EVERYWHERE. Let the deju vu of the morning begin again. Like I said, Heaven Forbid we have a true life threatening crisis! So again, I go back outside to do my barn chores and take the dogs with me!

While I am cleaning stalls, I hear yelling etc.. that I will spare you from having to read! Allen did have to leave to drive 20 minutes to a Home Depot to get supplies; seems he had to redo piping :/

While he was gone, I was back to my dilemma of watering the horses - this time WITH water available, but no use of the hose since the pump was out of commission. So I reverted back to the good ol' watering hole. Laura Ingalls has nothing on me, let me tell ya! One problem, the lid to the back cistern is cement and must weigh AT LEAST 100# - no problem! I can do it!

Good thing I work with 1,000# +++ animals and a hound that feels like a freight train on the leash; I maneuvered that sucker right off the opening of the cistern and proceeded to lower water buckets into the vat to fill them with water. (Mind you, I am not fond of any large, dark enclosure filled with water and all the while it was raining with the threat of a full blown storm on the horizon). I was half hoping Allen would come home then to see me filling buckets out of the cistern! I could imagine his shock to wonder how I got the lid off myself! HA! Don't tempt me, I can do anything I put my mind to! ESPECIALLY when it comes to caring for my animals!

So, with relief, Allen fixed the pipes and all seemed to be running, flushing and working well by the end of the evening. All animals were watered, humans showered and just another day of Life on the Farm behind me!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer vs. Winter

Of course I'd prefer Fall as the year round season....but that ain't happening!

So today, I thought about how FREAKING hot out it was, and how much stuff my husband and I needed to get done outside (not that inside work didn't need done, but running a vacuum and doing laundry is never fun) and felt even more unmotivated as I felt beads of sweat just sitting there thinking about it.

How can anyone get anything done outside when the smog is so thick from heat & humidity that you feel like you cannot breath!? Maybe if I was on the beach with a Corona and sand between my toes, Ok...but clearly I am not!

In regards to horses, I know everyone is always anxious for the nice weather to get outside with their horses, hit the trails, ride outside, give baths, graze on grass, etc...but let's be honest, no one is riding in this heat - if you are, you should be shot for your horses sake ;)

So I got to thinking about all the reasons why l like winter time with my horses better than summer!

In the winter time:

-My horses have their furry winter coats that I love to rub my face into!
-I know the horses can help keep themselves warm munching on their hay
-Fresh, cold air is good for them!
- They (ok, well at least Apollo) LOVES romping around and taking a good roll in the snow
-There are 2 daily feedings, each of which is always the same - no additions, subtractions, deletions etc....
-Giving my horses a good grooming also helps warm them up and keeps their blood moving
-It is candy cane season :) And I can hang up Uncle Jimmy balls w/o worry of the dreaded flys
-Even better, no fly masks or fly sprays required in winter.....and no dang pesky flys hoarding in the stalls. Heck, I will gladly put on the Carhartts if it means NO FLYS!
-The horses get to enjoy warm bran mashes with warm molasses, applesauce, carrots and candy canes

In the summer time, I can mount a list of things that are NOT enjoyable!....

-The horses visibly show sweat through their summer coat as they try their hardest to defend themselves from the slaughtering heat - let's face it, I cannot install central ac in the barns.
-Hot, warm, smuggy air is probably no more fun for them to breath than it is for me
-Being in the pasture is nice - to an extent - no fly spray is 100% fool proof and eventually, it just gets to dang hot to be out
-Trying to introduce and then keep your horses safe on summer pasture is too much of a science for me to ever feel comfortable with. What if that was too much grass? What if it wasn't enough and now I am making them forgo their evening grain.....Time to switch them to the grazed down pasture...dang, the tall grass is sprouting MORE weeds......
-Great, just because I have APPLE TREES and HORSES on my property, it is not a sign that says "Welcome Neighbors, Come feed my horses all the apples they can eat off my apple trees"
-Trying to groom the horses when they are hot, sweaty and aggravated is just aggravating for me too!
-No Uncle Jimmy balls in the summer :( [ok, i know they can live w/o them!]
-Trying to find a decent fly spray, at least this year at our new farm, is like trying to find a needle in the haystack. Apparently, we have mutant flys that are immune to everything out here. Must be the cow shit they breath in?......
-Cleaning out stalls in the sticky heat -UCK - yes, I clean my stalls with my flip-flops on sometimes....what is it to you!? It's freaking HOT out!
-The only thing enjoyable to the horses on these dreaded hot days is a quick hose down with cool water, but then you have to squeegee them off and put them in their stall to dry and I am SURE that doesn't feel so great! Hot sticky stall + wet horse = EWWWWW

So, in closing, Fall, you can get here anytime and you won't stay long. This I know ;( So Ol' Man Winter, bring it on! Yes, that is right, I said bring it on. I can handle frozen water buckets and nostrils sticking together when I breath :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009


This could & would only happen to me....and my husband! It's his curse anyways!

What a FRICKING night!! I was finally looking forward to coming home to nothing going on but my usual barn chores - HA - I should have known better.

It all started as I was pulling out of the driveway at work and called Allen to tell him I was on my way home.

Ring Ring... Allen picks up the phone and instead of the usual hello, this is what I get, "You don't even want to know, Daisy is loose, I gotta go...." CLICK


Honestly, this didn't even register with me at first. I just hung up the phone and continued on my drive as if he told me he was also just on his way home. A few minutes later, my phone rings. "Hello"
"I got her"
"Ok, I am almost home" sigh

So, as I pull into the drive, I see Allen standing in the front grass with his a$$ -- yes, I called her an a$$...and him too! ;)

So as I am told, the story goes.....
Allen went into Daisy's stall to fill her water bucket and she somehow slipped out the gate. Initially, she went into the orchard and he tried to "lure" her to him with an apple. (uh-huh! *sigh*) Next thing he knew, she was down the front drive and out on the road.

He "sprinted" down the road after her and in the process, waved down 2 of our neighbors to come help. Within minutes, they were riding along side of him on their 4 wheelers. He said all he could do was motion forward and yell at them to GO!

Daisy continued her jaunt down Congress Road and created quite the show. Even the Amish neighbors came out to their front lawn to watch the episode. Allen was still sprinting down the road, running down the middle, flagging traffic to stop, slow down, whatever, just be careful because his a$$ was loose! He said then, people proceeded to PARK their CARS SIDEWAYS in the road as if to create a road block to prevent her from getting further.

Aww heck, she'll just cut threw lawns! She made her way about 5 or so houses down to a fenced area where a neighbor has geese, goats and other things and she proceeded to introduce herself to them through the fencing. At this point, Allen and our two neighbors on 4wheelers (which by the way, I am told Daisy didn't FLINCH at the 4 wheelers on her tail - she just threw her head up in the air!) somewhat cornered her. Mind you she had no halter on either!

Allen said the neighbors put themselves in a crouched down position with their arms out, almost like they were ready to jockey her around in a circle. (I am SURE Daisy wasn't frantic at this point!) Allen then, and these are his words, not mine!, "lasso'ed her" with the lead road and then one the neighbors proceeded to get her halter on while Allen held her in a bear hug position!

Now for the trek home. Allen said an old Amish lady commented on how fast she was! Cars that had stoped and created a road block stuck around to ask if she was ok, and by the time Allen dragged her to our driveway, our other neighbor (who is in a wheel chair) laughed and said "Run Daisy Run". HAHA - I bet it was SO funny!

So at this point, I am now pulling into the driveway to see Allen and his a$$ in our front yard, Allen dripping with sweat and Daisy happily chomping on the grass! According to Allen, later in the evening, he decided that he figured it out; Daisy was running thinking she was in a parade, going down the road, like her and Allen had done in the past. And he specifically told me this and said "Put that in your log"! Uh, hon, it is a BLOG! Not a LOG! *sigh*

So, then the farrier came out - mostly uneventful for once - thank god!

Then, for the first time, the mini's got to go out in the big pasture while the "big" horses were on the other side of it. Again, all went well. Not ONE squeal at each other through the fences and here, come to find, it seems Ms. Gypsy even has quite the crush on Mr. Romeo. She could have cared less about the grass and stood at the fence line for him the whole time. I must say, Apollo sure seemed like my angel, my golden child, for the evening....for once! They all even came back into the barn w/o a fight, chase me game or incident!

But I should have known I was not yet off the hook...the sun had not yet set.

I still had 2 dogs waiting to go for a walk. Allen went to start dinner so I took the dogs for a walk by myself through the orchard. All was well and we 3 were all walking just fine one minute, then the next thing I know, I am being dragged...literally DRAGGED, as in HEELS in the ground, butt on the dirt, being dragged across the orchard aisle. The STUPID (and mean might I add) Chow next door was in the orchard, Mossy spotted her, and was not happy about it. (Might I also add Whinny had an encounter with this Chow once in which Whinny came home with a puncture wound!!)

So there I was, on the ground, tangled in leashes and being dragged by Whinny & the Hound as they ravaged towards the Chow. All the while, the Chows owner is watching this whole escapade unfold, and while I cannot fault her since she IS in a wheelchair, she could have at least called her Damn Dog to COME HOME!

Next thing I know, as I am trying to gather the leads and make them shorter, all the while Mossy is pulling all 3 of us closer to the patiently awaiting Chow, my right hand becomes tightly wound in the line on Mossy to the point where my thumb nail is literally turning blue, I see blood coming out from under my pinky nail and I am still being dragged...LITERALLY DRAGGED, across the dirt, as Mossy stalks the Chow. And yes, the Chows owner has yet to say a peep. She might as well have popped herself a bag of popcorn for the show she was getting to watch!

At this point, all I can think is, my fingers are going to get ripped off my hand, Mossy is going to get loose and we're going to have one heck of a dog fight ;( So I do what anyone else would and start screaming, blood curling screams that you couldn't make out, calling "ALLEN!" [I am SURE the neighbors think I am a wacko by now!]

After about the 5th scream, Allen shows up and grabs the dogs. I finally get to my feet and see that my whole right hand is now BLOWN up with a blue thumb, bleeding pinky and I cannot feel any of my fingers. NOW my neighbor decides to speak and she asks if it was HER dog they were barking at!!?? WTF - ARE YOU KIDDING - SERIOUSLY!!? Is she for REAL? What does she THINK they were trying to kill while I writhed on the ground like a fish out of water!? OMG!!!

I looked at her, said very shortly, "Yes, they were going after your dog" and walked away.

Of course, had I seen the chow coming I could have been better prepared and yes, of course, if my dogs listened a little better, I would probably not be sitting her with a skinned leg and typing with one hand...on my third glass of wine....but on the flip side, if my neighbor would just keep her damn dog in her OWN yard, we'd have very fewer of these run-in's. It isn't like I don't know the land mines by the patio are NOT from my dogs!!

I think tomorrow I will attempt to spend my Friday night grocery shopping.....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Here goes nothing!

It's time! We have 3 trees that were early harvester's. Allen & I will be taking all the apples to a local larger operation for wholesale this evening.

We were up until midnight last night picking and polishing! We closed out the night with a total of 11 bushels....which should roughly be 1100 apples!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Special Delivery

What a weekend!

Saturday was finally the day that my husband brought his little hinny home ;) Daisy, a miniature mule, and Romeo, a pinto pony, came home to Apolloson Acres. We started the day out early as they were calling for rain. My husband tried not to act so excited and he walked around outside in his pajamas, with his coffee, doing a last minute check over on the mini stalls before we departed. He wanted us out on the road by 7:30ish and by god, that is just how it happened!

We had to go down the road to the neighbors to hitch up their trailer we were borrowing, as well as pick up a horse they had that was coming to the horse rescue. Once we got that all taken care of, we were on the road to H.O.P.E. I must say, in very non-fashion for us, everything went as planned, no incidents or issues!

We picked up Daisy and then headed to the foster home where Romeo was staying. Once there, Allen brought Daisy out of the trailer and we "re-introduced" her to Romeo before we loaded them both on the trailer together. They trailered fine and are settling in great!

My husband doesn't admit it, but I can see how excited he is to have Daisy at home with him! Romeo is a doll and we'll continue his training while he continues to wait for his foster home. He can be adopted through H.O.PE. - http://www.hopehorserescue.org/

And just in closing for my weekend....which was also the close of another year at the Medina County Fair.....it wouldn't be a County Fair without a little CRACK sighting ;)

Friday, August 7, 2009

And another litter....

Well, to say it has been a whirlwind of a week would be an understatement!

Fair is winding down...thank goodness. Allen didn't get a ribbon for his Zucchini ;) Better luck next year. I didn't get one either for the Banana Cake and I dropped to 3rd place this year for my cheesecake! Damn It!! I KNEW I should have slapped some kind of fruit topping on it! Oh well......

So when I got into work Thursday morning, one of the girls I work with said, "Allison, Ryon [from the Medina Animal Shelter] came to the fair booth last night looking for you." I could only wonder what about; possibly when we'd be coming next to film another Adopt-a-Pals episode? Nah, he'd call. Hmmmmm

The next thing I know, my work phone is ringing. It is the Animal Shelter looking for me. An older gentleman found a mama and [6] day-old kitties and brought them to the shelter, but the kitties were too young to stay there. (They are not really equipped to care for cats & kittens). So, they wanted to know if I could foster them! They had already spoken to Kitten Krazy (GREAT PEOPLE!) and KK agreed to "take the mama & kitties" under their umbrella if I could foster.

So I leave work, meet this nice old man who found them, get them from him and and then head over to KK to get the mom wormed, flea treated etc and pick up the goods...a.k.a. food & litter.

THEN I had to go back to work to film another episode of Adopt-a-Pals with local rescue group Paws & Prayers! What another great group! We filmed some fantastic dogs and the cutest pups ever!!

KK likes to name all their litters after "groups/themes" so I have named Mama cat "Esme" and the rest of the litter will all be named after other Twilight Saga characters once I find out their genders :) I know, I'm weird!

They seem to be settling in well. I am still trying to decide if Esme doesn't KNOW to use the little box, or has a hard time maneuvering to it with 6 kitties hanging from her! *Sigh* So needless to say, I am washing blankets non-stop! EWWWW
Tomorrow is another big day! Updates coming soon!!

6 kitties!

Mama Esme

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dumpster Dogs

Today was a mild people watching day at the county fair. I only spotted Jesus....in tight "look at my package" jeans with a form fitting, tucked in sweatshirt. Oh hell, at least he didn't have magenta lipstick on....oh christ, now Jesus is going to be pissed at me and so I guess I have a hot seat waiting!

Anyways, I don't think I shared the other day that Mossy, our Plott Hound, threw up one of my husbands white "tube" type socks. (Not a small ankle sock is my point here!) Yes, THREW UP A WHOLE SOCK!! WTF??

I was in the shower and Allen was watching tv in another room. I get out of the shower and peek on what the dogs were doing and see something resembling lord only knows what on the floor, with Mossy staring at it! As I get closer, I think, "Is that a SOCK!? Nah, can't be......OMFG WTF it is a SOCK....A WHOLE SOCK....ALLEN!!"

So how this hound managed to swallow, never mind WHY, a whole sock, and then thankfully {I guess} throw it back up is beyond me. I know how disgusting and gagging I am when his poo is hanging by dental floss he stole out of the bathroom garbage *sigh*. I could only imagine my reaction if I was telling him "Hurry up and cut it off already", only to see a whole sock being relieved!

Not that Mossy [or Whinny for that matter] haven't chewed up, spit out or all together ate other things, but a SOCK? Speaking of which, I had a pair of dress shoes someone wanted to borrow to wear in a wedding. I hid them under my purse this morning on a kitchen chair, tucked into the table so I would not forget and so the dogs wouldn't steal. Next thing I know, Whinny is nawing the toe of the sole off one - AGH. No shoes to borrow now for that girl!

In any event, it seems we are always pulling something out of Mossy's mouth...hence my husband termed them, "The Dumpster Dogs". Yesterday it was a squeaker out of a toy, the day before that a dryer sheet, the occasional shoe, couch cushion [that took a week to pass], anything he can grab out of any garbage can and oh, let us not forget the time he got too impatient waiting for me to give him his monthly flea treatment, so he stole it off the counter and thought eating it would be a better option!

2 nights ago, I found two socks in the hall way, spaced nicely apart, one moist, the other drenched. Today I chased him around the house for the bags of chicken strip [dog treats] he had in his mouth {picture him spinning around just as I go to grab him and the whole bag breaking open and spraying doggie chicken strips all over the living room....it was like doggie pinata heaven and Whinny was right there to reap the benefits while Mossy got an earful}. Once the episode was finished, I later heard Allen chasing him around the house, only to see him prying YET ANOTHER sock out of his mouth. Seriously, where are all these socks even coming from!?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fair Time!

What a week....and it is only Monday! This week is the Medina County Fair.

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved going to the fair. When I was younger, I joined a horse 4H group, but quit after all the girls had "real" horses and my job preparing for fair week, while everyone else practiced with their horses, was to check over all the stalls at the fairgrounds and hammer in any nails sticking out of the wood!!

Now that I have my own horses, I am TOO old for 4H! But my husband and I enjoy entering some of our other treasures into the fair. Last year I did my cheesecake and took second. This year I am banking on taking first and I am also going to enter my Great Grandma Kulon's Banana Cake recipe.

Allen is entering a jumbo zucchini he grew and he entered this picture of my boy, Apollo! They already did picture judging and he took an Honorable Mention Ribbon!!
I cannot wait until my niece is old enough for me to get her involved in 4H and horse shows!
On the flip side of the coin, my job requires me to set up and manage a booth inside the community center at the fair. It is great people watching to pass the time, that is for sure! Today I spotted a man with magenta lipstick on, strolling the aisle like he was on the catwalk......ey yi yi.
My booth always has freebies and it never ceases to amaze me HOW RUDE people can be. We pop popcorn and give it away and ADULTS push children out of the way just to make sure they get their free fricking bag of corn! For cryin' out like...like I am searing some Kobe beef on the grill for them or something! Then, whenever I give the popper a break, I have to hear from every other person that walks by "No Popcorn"?, "Where's the popcorn?", "I am hungry and you have no popcorn *gasp*".....my new response is "There is a vendor right around the corner selling popcorn....." GESH - you try to do something nice and I think I hear a dozen thank yous, if that, for the day! Unbelievable.
It's only Monday so stayed tuned for updates on any other ribbons we might take home :)
It's a big weekend too; Daisy the Donkey & Romeo are moving to Apolloson Acres!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cutest Dog Competition


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