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

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Friday, October 30, 2009

And Extra Hour? Or Less Light?

Yesterday was one of those days for me. I am having a sciatic nerve flare up and it's been topped off with a major case of PMS! In other words, I was tromping through the orchard, huffing & puffing, back and forth back and forth, turning horses out, shoveling shit, and then tromping back and forth, back and forth, bringing horses in....all while looking like a psycho!! Since tomorrow is Halloween, I prefer to say I was just being 'witchy'!

In any event, I am not here to blog about my ailments. But, it is never a good combo to be doing evening chores on your own in a mood like that! Or maybe it is; I just grab ahold of some mane, breath in, and all feels better! Anyways, my case in point is that this morning when I joined Allen outside to feed the horses, he brought to my attention that I had not locked Romeo's door last night! UGHHHH - these things are bound to happen on occasion sooner or later....right? Luckily, Romeo stayed tucked in his stall, comfy and sound, all night! But I am lucky I got that lucky - whew!

So tomorrow night we turn the clocks back an hour before we go to bed :( This is like a glass half full or half empty kind of thing. Some people are thrilled that they are gaining an hour of sleep and I guess I can see their point....but seriously, an hour? In the grand scheme of things, is an hour really that much when it means that in turn, we get dusk at 5pm - ugh.

I guess I am going to have to play the pessimist card on this one because I would gladly hold off on that extra hour we 'gain' if it meant I could have a little more daylight. But that's probably just me since I spend the majority of my time outside!

I want to know which way you sway - check out the poll on the right side of this blog and place your opinion!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Hop, Skip and a Biff!

So last night Allen and I took our little hellions on a walk. Instead of their regular leashes, we let them go on their 30 ft. ties so that could run a tad but we could still catch them.

They were in rare form....err, wait, what do I mean....they are always in rare form! Anyways, they were running around and body slamming each other like they were entered into tryouts for WWE.

I am the first to admit they could use a little more "manners" when going on walks. I think we need to try some new harnesses that help teach them to walk nice! (Manners in other areas are another blog!)

When they run off too fast, it's hard on my hand to hold the tie and we all know, from a previous blog, what happens when I have two dogs pulling me, out of control, as though their lives depend on it!! So yesterday, I gave the tie to Allen. He was cool, calm and collected, acting as though he had it all under control. "See, no big deal"......uh huh!

So as the dogs went off on one of their 'races', Allen didn't have the tie in his hand and attempted to jump over it as it ran across the ground. As he jumped, somehow, part of the tie wound around one of his ankles and the next thing I know, 'THUD' - he flat out biffed it hard core on the ground. The dogs wiped him out almost worse than they had me!! O.M.G. - tears instantly filled my eyes (probably his too!) and I broke out in hysteria laughing. And no, I don't recall that the dogs cared and kept on running!

It took all I had to contain my laughter after about 10 minutes and the only thing Allen said was "Are you going to write about this too?" - Hmmm, thanks Hon! I haven't had any good material to write about lately!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Harvest is Winding Down

Alas, the apple picking is almost over! We have a few more trees that need picked and honestly, some of them are Red Delicious trees, so I am in no hurry. Red Delicious doesn't seem to be wildly popular so I guess I am expending all my energy in trying to sell what we have harvested and currently in storage.

Knowing that we ideally will not be able to sell it all, and it'd be such a same for it to waste, I am now frantically thinking of all the different ways I can 'can' it! Apple Pie Filling, Apple Sauce, Quince Marmalade, Quince Chutney.......

Now that the picking is about finished, Allen can finally devote his attention to other things long over due, like pulling out his garden, working on the fencing for the mini's, figuring out what the heck is wrong with the water pumps [Ugh!] and of course, as always, the list goes on and on!

The picture in this blog is of our "Resident Harvest Helper's" from Sunday. Saturday we had a hayride and I must say, all went fairly well, other than my little harvest helpers having a full blown, out of character dog fight, in which some of my guest where crowded into a corner of the room while another guest tried to break it up! UGH - only at my house :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Tad Overwhelmed

*As an update, right after I posted this blog, I checked my email and this is the picture waiting for me. People around this horse are trying to get it help, so that is a plus and KUDOS to them. But to HELL with the idiot who allows his horse to be in this condition. A-hole.

Yesterday and today I have not gotten home until late; last night at 9pm and today around 6ish but I had to travel to PA for work -- what a long day. I feel like I haven't seen my horses or my dogs...or my husband [!] for days! And of course, other than necessary chores, nothing has been getting done.

I have a hayride planned for Saturday for the kids to all come over for. Of course, I had to get the lecture from my mother about making sure my house is clean before I have people over. It isn't like we live in filth, but for cryin' out loud, I cannot sweep and mop every fricking day. And maybe my house is a little cluttered at the moment - so what! I live on a farm, what do you expect. It will get taken care of when there's 20 feet of snow on the ground. She also told me to be sure I sweep off our patio; my dad mentioned to her that we haven't seemed to have done that in awhile. Ok, it's an OUTDOOR patio. It is Fall. Leaves are FALLING. In my mind, waste.of.time. To only turn around and need to sweep again - yeah, I don't think so. *sigh* So I left that conversation feeling like a bum who lives in a dump!!

Sometimes I think it's hard for people to understand that even though we do not have children, we have 4 horse, 2 dogs and at the moment, a harvesting apple orchard and so we are BUSY beyond belief and sorry, but dusting and sweeping are not my top priority at the moment. You can still be busy and crazy and overwhelmed w/o having children!!

So then, today, upon coming home from PA, I find a note left by the guy who had helped us get the orchard back into working order and guided us on what to spray and when; however, as the season progressed, we heard from him all but once and he never stopped out to tell us what KINDS of apples we have! So his note, as he apparently stopped out while we weren't home, said that the "apples look nice - pick EVERYTHING now before it drops, hope all is well". *SIGH* Thanks for sharing what varieties you think we have AND HELLO, there is still close to 100 trees that need picked! OMG - reality check, WHAT AM I going to do with all those apples and HOW am I going to get them all picked!! Allen cannot take any days off work right now and I don't have many left to take. Plus, I don't think I even have close to enough bushel baskets for them to all be picked right this second!!! Oh yeah, and we have no means of transporting them as Allen's truck is out of commission - S.U.P.E.R. And Allen tells me I need to relax and quit pushing myself before I wear down and get sick -ha! And let all those apples waste? Over my dead body!!! So this is sure a predicament to stay tuned for an outcome on! Oh all the notes I am jotting for 'how to do this better next year'!

Onto another issue that is a complete soap box for me, and takes me off of business here at the homestead, but I feel the need to vent....animal rescue (horses in particular of course!)

It never ceases to amaze me how STUPID people are. I don't care if an animal is not your child; it is still a living creature with feelings (emotional and physical) and I don't care who you are, it doesn't give you the right to dump, hurt, abuse or abandon an animal.

So, just to give you a taste of what I deal with, I see IDIOTIC PEOPLE who have no clue what they are doing and the poor animal suffers for it. It breaks my heart. UGH - DAMN, EDUCATE YOURSELF PEOPLE!!!! [I gave a speech Monday night for a group on the horse rescue; who we are, what we do etc... and OF COURSE someone asked if horses are still sent to the glue factory - ha - hillarious! I was NOT laughing - GROW UP!]

I am not saying I know everything, lord knows I don't. But at least I try. I learn, I ask questions, I make decisions based on the best interest of my pets and not myself. Have a heart, own up to the responsibility you have taken on. I understand that sometimes it is not always in the control of the owner, but in those circumstances, make the decision that is with the animals best interest in mind. Don't ship your horse to auction because you need to get rid of him or her and at the least, at auction, you might make a buck. That is SICK!!! For the adoption show I do at work with local county shelters, it breaks my heart every time I met a dog there and their story is "brought in by owner because they cannot take care of it....because they are moving....because they don't have time for it......because it chased after the cat.....blah blah blah - the excuses go on and my heart goes out to all the animals that fall under the ownership of IDIOTS.

With my position at the horse rescue, I get most of the calls about horses in need. Heartbreaking to say the least. The calls are always at high volume, but that level is through the roof starting right around this time of year when the grass is dying down and the weather is getting cold. When people have to start buying hay for their horses to feed them *gasp* heaven forbid. You didn't know this when you bought the horse!!?? Like I said, I understand right now lots of people are experiencing job loss, financial hardship etc... sometimes some things are out of your hands, but again, at least make the best decision for your horse with their best interest in mind if you can no longer care for them. You can bet that if, god forbid, I found myself in that situation, I would do everything I could before I threw in the towel so to speak.

Today, just within a couple hours, I received 2 emails and 1 phone call for horses in need. One needing a home due to foreclosure, one that simply stated 'we have a horse in desperate need of rescue' and another about a horse whose owner is not feeding it and a concerned citizen claims they've reported it and animal control has done nothing [don't EVEN get me started on that soap box.] And the calls will keep coming. Last week I had 'Hillbilly Joe Schmoe' call because he had a draft with a leg infection that required him to tend to it daily and *gasp* going to the barn daily to care for HIS horse who needed HIM, who was HIS responsibility was just too much for him so he needed to find her a new home. The only 'props' I will give this idiot are the fact that at least he attempted to call a rescue where he knew she'd be in good hands. He even took it upon himself to text me her photo :/

We are PAST max. capacity at the rescue and it is so heart breaking to turn so many away. You just hope that the owner will [again] do what is best for the horse. But you never know. And the only way this will ever even slightly change is if people take responsibility for the living beings they take in.....and of course a load of other things, like STOP UNNECESSARY breeding, but that's another topic for a whole other day! This blog today was about how I am overwhelmed with everything at home and you see how quickly it snowballed to everything else I am overwhelmed with! Having my own property now and barn makes it so much harder not having space to help each of these horses, but I'd only being doing them an injustice by taking them in when I have no space for them or no extra room in the budget to feed them....but somehow, no matter how many times I tell myself that, it still doesn't make it ok, doesn't make it settle right with me :(

And I question posting this; I believe in Karma and I don't want it to bite me in the ass to one day find myself in a pressing financial situation caring for my animals, but I believe that things need to be said and brought to light to educate people, ultimately, in hopes of helping more animals. And as I said before, for my own animals good, I won't go down without a fight, I won't throw in the towel without exhausting all other options. They can count on that!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Case of the Mondays!

UGH *banging head on desk, banging head on desk, banging head on desk*

It's Monday. It's finally beautiful, October weather outside. We have loads of apples that still need picked. I am sitting at my desk, inside, at work. UGH

Here we are at almost the end of October and we finally see a fall October day *sigh* It is days like today that I think of all the things I could be doing....would rather be doing.....

There is still so much to do on the farm to prepare for winter. Allen just finally felt better yesterday; it was a long week/end of being sick and down for him. I have been taking my Vitamin C and bleached everything I could so hopefully I will be in the clear. The LAST thing we need is for me to now get sick.

I got more canning done yesterday; more pear butter and apple pie filling. The Quince are ready and I had one order for them and the person no-showed. "Hmpf!' How rude!!

This week we have a 14 bushel order for Wednesday and I am working late the next two nights - yikes - how are we going to get that one pulled off!

I've been running through my head all the things that need done before winter, but none of them seem of any importance...even though they are....when we still have apples on the trees. The picnic table needs moved off the grass and stained. The garden is still 'in tact'! It all needs pulled out and tilled...needless to say, I never got my tulip bulbs in yet. Grass seed in the pasture needed planted - I doubt that will happen!

The list just goes on and on....while I sit here...at work, *banging head on desk, banging head on desk*

Friday, October 16, 2009

Here's The Thing...

This Weather Sucks!

So much for enjoying harvest time! I sure do hope the weather forecasters are right (ha!) and that we see an Indian Summer next week.

Allen is recovering. He is still off work and now on meds and coming along ok. He actually got up and did morning chores this morning because I think he is so sick of being in bed. Hey, I am not complaining!

I have my first official order for Pear Butter! All of my canning good, thus far, I have been giving out for people to enjoy and taste test. I gave a jar to my neighbors and they loved it; they order 5 more jars to give as Christmas Gifts!

Looks like, on top of everything else to do this weekend, I will be busy canning :)

I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can pull off tomorrows Farmer's Market, but right now, I don't have high hopes.

Today's task is to figure out WHAT THE HECK to do with my car...that is out of commission, sitting in the parking lot at work. Oh JOY!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Seasonal Disorders

So the verdict is in: Allen has strep and a "skin infection" from a cut on his wrist. Probably had the flu too but his fever broke overnight before he got to the doctors.

Doesn't this weather SUCK? UGH - this is the most depressing October to date...that I can recall.

The Farmer's Markets are not profitable for us in this weather, apples are not getting picked, horses are not getting turned out and I am stuck inside...or actually, mucking around outside in the awful weather.

Who wouldn't be depressed!!??

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wearing Down

It has hit us on the farm! The FLU :(

Well, it has hit Allen at least. I am still trucking along.

We've been super busy with apple picking....have I mentioned this already!? This week is no different. It is like apples are falling from the sky and now the Quince are almost ready too. I can't do it alone! And my right hand is down for the count! UGH

Last night even the dogs begged me to sleep in the spare room so we didn't have to be within breathing range of Allen's germs! If it weren't for the fact that he would have flipped out on me, I would have ran through the bedroom this morning spraying a can of Lysol.

Yesterday we had a 20 bushel order of deer apples. I got 19 picked. So we were out 5 bucks! We also have 20 bushels of apples in the front garage and as of now, only 3 are reserved for order. We have a million bushels still hanging on the trees.

Friday I sent out mass emails to local restaurants in regards to our Quince in the event that any of their chefs would have a use for it. I spoke with a farmer in Washington State who grows Quince and the Seattle restaurants are her biggest buyers for her Quince. Wouldn't you know I have yet to get ONE response from any of those emails - UGH.

I am keeping my fingers crossed for a promising market this Saturday....but I hear they are calling for snow flurries - EKKKK! Last Saturday we didn't get to go; with all the rain, and the terrible weather Friday night, we didn't get enough picked to make the trip.

This morning was chaos as I had to tend to two nutcase dogs, handle all the morning barn chores and get myself out the door and looking presentable for a visit from the company president today at work.

I am hoping, coming January 1, I may be able to take a day to sit down and not freak out at the fact that I am sitting down....doing nothing....and if I see a dust bunny roll across the floor, I hope I have enough self control to let it keep rolling!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Where to begin?

It's another rainy Friday :( Booooo

I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head I don't even know where to being. How relevant it is to anyone is probably that it is not! But at best, it just gives another glimpse into life on the farm.....as if that is so glamorous that people want to read about it anyways, right?! Hey TLC, I heard you stopped filming Jon & Kate + 8....want to do a reality show on 2 newlyweds who are crazy and live on a "farm"?

Yesterday I left work an hour and a half early; I had apple orders for the evening and didn't get even a third of them picked the night before. It's amazing that, even though I left work early, I still didn't get in the house until 7:30-8ish. So, out in the rain I went, picking away. Just as I had finished the orders and was driving through the orchard picking all the full baskets, I see the farrier strolling through chomping on an apple - 'oh shoot', I knew in the back of my head he was coming today! So the extra bushels of firsts that needed picked didn't get done.

Apollo, my Arabian, was more than a handful. Ugh, a little out of character for him; we'd worked so hard at standing nicely for the farrier and yesterday was not one of his better moments. He's probably around 13-14 years old and the farrier said he could pass for 4! UGH. On a brighter note, Gyspy's hooves are looking absolutely wonderful!! I am so pleased at how nice they are looking & hardening up. (I know, non-horsey people have no clue what I am talking about). Romeo was a little bit of a pistol and by the time it was Daisy's turn, I passed the buck off to Allen since she is "his" mule and I had apple customers pulling in the drive! I did shoot a glance at them a couple of times to see her being a little bit of a pill too ;) Was it a full moon or what!?

So today's dilemma is that they are calling for tons of rain and have a flood warning in effect, and we need to pick a lot of apples when we get home. We also need to go to the farmer's market tomorrow and sell a lot of apples!

Problem is, rain dampers both of these AND my husband, in his usual morning furry, starting spouting off all the things that still need done SOON and 'when are we going to have the time to do those if you want to blow half a day at a farmer's market to make $40'? Okay, he is being a tad dramatic about the $40; it has slowed down the past two weeks but I am sure that can be attributed to the ass crap weather we are having and the fact the market was in a different location last week due to a festival.

What he doesn't understand is that even if we don't sell a lot, we need the exposure and redundancy of being their to get people familiar with us and to get our name out there. I guess it is the marketing degree in me ;) And thus far, I do think we are doing well and getting known, but we can't stop here! Besides the fact that we have TONS of apples still to pick! What the heck am I going to do with them? Especially if Allen doesn't get the walk-in cooler running....oh wait, how is he going to have time to do that if we blow half a day at the farmer's market.....and he needs to get the mini's pasture fenced.....and he needs to get winter doors on the mini's barn.....and he needs to fix a broken toilet that has been down since June.....and a dishwasher that has been down since June......and his truck needs oil and all this other jazz if I want it to be able to transport us to these markets.....and now my car needs back brakes ASAP.....and the sprayer still needs cleaned out...and the list just goes on and on!

Enough venting ..... it's Friday right?! That should be reason enough to make it a good day ;)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dusk too soon!

Ugh. It is that time of year again when the day light vanishes just as soon as it appears. As much as I love Fall, I do not love the short daylight hours.

It makes me feel like I cannot accomplish anything by the time I get home from work! I feel like I run through the motions of all the chores that need done and then it is time for bed :(

I guess I should embrace this though, because with winter lurking around the corner, it gives me more time to have a valid reason to be in.the.house.....cleaning, decorating, organizing and doing all the things I blow off from, ehhh mid-April through November when I still have good excuses to be outside!

Of course, I ALWAYS have the excuse of my horses to be outside - and usually, that is what happens!

Monday, October 5, 2009

We go all out on the Farm!

What a busy weekend! Friday evening was to be devoted to apple picking. We are in FULL SWING with trees ripening and needing harvested. Of course though, we could not do just that! I discovered that our hay barn roof sprung a leak so we had to move hay around before we lost it to mold :/ UGH, I cannot win with the hay situation can I?

Saturdays Farmer's Market was slower than usual. Our location was moved due to a festival they were having. However, we had two orders totaling 17 bushels that were being picked up around 5pm that day so I recruited my self-proclaimed"migrant workers", aka Mom & Dad, and we got to picking! Meanwhile, Allen was putting a new roof on the hay barn. I swear somewhere in the distance I heard a faint "ChaChing CHA CHING" in the wind. *sigh*

Sunday I spent most of the day canning. I made some relish with the last of our peppers and onions from the garden and continued on with the pears - this time, Pear Sauce. Yummmm is it GOOD! Allen was splitting wood and made the first fire of the season in the fireplace. It smelled wonderful outside.

Oh, and somewhere in all that, Allen & I celebrated our first wedding anniversary! At one point throughout the weekend, I walked into the house to this....my surprise anniversary gift! We go all out here on the farm! One of my sisters summed it up best in a card she sent us; something to the effect of 'after one year, you guys have 4 horses, 2 dogs and tons of cats, I can't wait to see what you two have 10 years from now'. That thought just makes me tired! And for the record, we currently have 2 barn cats!

Friday, October 2, 2009

R.I.P. Muck Boot

R.I.P. Muck Boot (or should I say BootS since one will do me no good w/o the other!?)

You gave my feet a warm & dry place to hang will I tromped through mud, muck, snow and rain for 3 seasons. You acted as a shield in the event I was stepped on by a 1,000+ # horse.

Now you are dead because my juvenile of a punk dog cannot be alone in the house while I am outside for 5 freaking minutes without supervision.


Oh yeah...and the roof on the hay barn sprung a leak :( Not. good. Wet hay = no hay = WASTED MONEY :( I am SURE this part of the post is to be continued....


After being spoiled with the beautiful weather yesterday, we wake up today to a drop in temperature and rain :(

On the farm, we need rain - no doubts about it. However, excessive rain gets increasingly annoying! And it is the perfect way to kick start the day, and piss off my husband! As you may have gathered, it doesn't take much to set him off in the mornings ;) Today was par for the course.

I sauntered out of bed after he had already got up and I heard him say "Holy pouring rain" - UGH, I knew what I was in for. I approached the back door to see him putting on MY windbreaker with a white horse embroidered on it (surely it wouldn't be the normal manly thing to wear!) and gave him a funny look. His reply was, "It's raining outside...and your muck boots are soaked"....hmm, I guess he might melt. Meanwhile, I prepared myself to take over what needed done with the animals because a down pour and morning animal chores don't mix with Allen ;) He took the dogs out for the quick piddle and then hayed the horses and managed to get Gypsy and Romeo's grain soaking for me....hmmmm again, I underestimated his abilities in the rain ;)

As he came back into the house, he proceeded to tell me how a puddle was starting to form in front of the barn door and that "he's got to get that fixed soon". I simply groaned to myself and rolled my eyes....for 2 reasons.
1.) If we have flooding again this coming season in the barn aisle like we did last year, I might just let myself drown in it
2.) Allen keeps adding, daily, things to his list of things that need done asap *sigh* if you knew my husband, you'd know how over-dramatic he can be and how he takes his time completing things on his to-do asap list!

Of course he saw me roll my eyes and proceeded to do a yell/mumble about all the things "that need done around this place" and how he "never gets to relax". As I said, over dramatic! I have mastered the art of toning him out!

I simply keep reminding him that he is a home owner now...and not just any owner, but the "operator of a farm"!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall is in the Air!

What better way to feel like fall then have your whole house smelling of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon!

Last night I made my first batch of pear butter and I must say, I am impressed! It was DELISH!

It took a good 2-some hours for one batch, which gave me (6) pint jars, but it was worth it. The sad part is, I only have maybe a bushel and a half left of pears to make this with and then that's it until next season :( I guess that is the magical part of harvest season; you can buy this stuff at the grocery store sure, but it never taste quite the same as it does when it's homegrown, homemade and fresh from the harvest!

We had someone stop by last evening to pick up his order of 8 seconds bushels of apples. He makes apple butter and he said he'd stop by with a few jars for us when he was done. Nice guy, even left us a tip! When he pulled in the drive, he was in an old beat-up Ford Diesel with a horse and the farm name of something Arabians painted on the doors. I said "Oh, you have Arabians too huh?" and he said in his best hillbilly voice, "No mam I don't, the guy I bought this off of did!". Well ok then!