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Monday, June 24, 2013


This is a post I found that I did not publish from last May. I have more to say about what we did and how it all turned out - here is the old post:

" We have this amazing horse.We have not one true idea of how old he is. All we know for sure is that he has no trace of a Galvaynes Groove and neither of us can ever recall seeing one.

MCH got him several years ago when someone he knew wanted to move up in roping and needed a younger horse. He had seen him work and he bought him without ever trying him.

Rocky taught him a lot about roping. Rocky could also haul ass through a Gymkhana course. He was probably a Jr. Rodeo horse at one time. Every once in awhile someone would recognize Rocky and tell MCH a story about ol' Rocky roping.

We continued to ride him up through Summer of last year. He was my go to horse for visitors and anyone timid with horses. We even took him to a couple of playdays last Spring. I also got married on him.  He loves to work.
He is real arthritic in the back hocks and now his back spazms so we just love on him and turn him out.

Today, after a lot of thought, I had his shoes pulled. His body can't keep up with his mind and heart and I just can not justify keeping shoes on him when he does not need them. I feel like I just cocked the trigger though and it took a lot for me to not have the shoes put back on.

Funny how we humans do so many things thinking we are doing it in the animals best interest when in fact, we are doing it because we believe it will prolong a life and therefore stave off what we fear most.

How does one choose with a horse? Will he be better off staying here in his paddock which is not small, but certainly does not keep him from abject boredom, or do I take him to a pasture to graze and be a horse for the rest of his days? I know how horses live - grazing and moving for 18 hours a day - to be in any stall - with only an hour or so of interaction with us a day is like a human being in jail. So my gut and my mind say pasture, but my heart and my habit of bestowing human emotions onto my animals is saying he would be better here. Pretty much - he is counting on us to do the best thing for him. With this many horses I can honestly say that I don't feel that I give him what he wants from us."

Now today - We chose to pasture him - he did fine without shoes and not 4 weeks later we took him up to a friends ranch in Bear Valley Springs. He has been there ever since. He has pasture buddies - including a younger mare who is his constant companion. He is thriving and looks to be one of those record breaking horses. If he had been used for trail and not roping, I'm sure we would still be riding him. I wish we knew what his breeding history was. Go with your gut when it comes to making decisions for your older animal companions. He was as clear as could be about what he needed and we chose to honor him rather than our emotional selves and it was the best possible deal. I miss seeing him everyday and he is an all day trip to go see him, but he is sooooooo happy, especially being able to physically interact with other horses and actually have his very own mare.

We are so blessed to have such great friends that we could do this for Rocky and not have to worry about his care and well being.

Follow your intuition not your ego and listen to your friend ......


Clearly we have been busy. Too busy to keep up with a blog .

More has happened than I can remember but an overview from last May to this current June:

We sadly had to say good bye to our beautiful Loki - that was rough - he was only 2 years old, but he had something wrong with his brain. It came on suddenly and we made the decision to let him go.
2 years is a common time for congenital brain defects to show up in dogs. He is sorely missed.

MCH went to Michigan to work on a movie and while he was away I took in a foster GSD, who we named Leroy, and who managed to wiggle into our hearts in the span of 3 days. He was a dump over on Peoria Street, just a block over from our house. Tim came up with the name and he just never left. He is a righteous Coyote chaser and a fierce protector of the house and yard. He also provides Babe a nice respite from Riley. He looks like he might be part Kangaroo :)

Beamer is now Beau. His leg appears to have healed nicely and I can now trail ride him!

We have a new youngster on the ranch - a nice 6 year old gelding Quarterhorse named Catman - he is proving to be a nice little rope horse and he has also gone through Mounted Patrol Training and has been on TV!

My birthday came and went - and when it came it brought 2 Dwarf Nigerian Milking Goats. They are Does and their names are Fiona and Layla. Pictures don't do them justice - they are ridiculous.

I opened my own studio salon with another hairstylist ( who is seriously, tha bomb - ya'll )specializing in Organic color and a low emission environment. We use absolutely no Ammonia, no Formaldehyde, no Lye and no Ammonium Thioglycolate. We are also and art gallery.

We have a Rooster named John Shaft and we are expecting baby birds in about another week or so. The birds have been 100 percent switched over to non GMO feed and I have been approached about selling eggs :) We also got 4 new hens - Heritage French Black Copper Marans - the eggs are out of control and so is John Shaft - Shut Yo Mouth!

Tim has spent the majority of the year in Chicago working on a movie called Divergent which should be out next March. He also did some amazing work on a disaster film called Twista (I think) back in Michigan.

KC came back to us after spending time with some friends who were using her for Mounted Patrol and Rangers. We have decided to keep her home from now on and I'm going to be using her for Mounted Patrol , Sorting and Gymkhana. I might even do a little reining with her since my Sister In Law has gotten into it and I love hanging out with her.

The garden is shaping up - the pallets are impossible - so now they are used as a compost holder. The pallet gardens are only good for about 3 weeks - don't waste your time.My Bamboo wall was a bust - so now I am trying vines and some other things - nothing stinking grows in this yard - the ground is so bad. Slowly, we are amending the soil and turning the yard into something nice.

I also started using Essential Oil therapy on the animals and us humans too. Stay tuned for updates!

Happy Trails!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Beamer and Dutch are not of this Earth -

Creepy - no more pictures taken of black horses at Dusk.

Monday, April 30, 2012

What a way to jump back in the saddle

So this weekend I decided that if my stupid leg is going to hurt like Hell - even though it clearly has healed up enough to ride - I am just going to grind my teeth and start going to fun stuff again. F it! I am so sick of riding around in the round pen.

This Saturday the RANCH I used to board at started a new event : Ranch Sorting. Its going to be the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month at 5pm and it's $15 for 3 turns. I highly recommend that you come out and try it if you live near Sunland/Tujunga and you have a horse. SUPER SUPER FUN!!!

Ranch Sorting differs from Team Sorting in that it is done in a smaller set up and you work in teams of 2 rather than 3. For people who just want to do something fun with their horse this is it. I like Team Sorting too, but it's more challenging and right now I need lower impact for sure. Plus I get to do something horse related with MCH that does not involve me standing in a hazing line for a few hours. Or him trailering me to a training.

We did not get any points this time around but we sure had fun and so did everyone else.

On Sunday - we went to the Corral 210 Playday and we brought Dutch for MCH to ride, as I still can only do about 20 to 30 minutes on him because he is so wide and my calf muscle just can't take it. Plus all that fits him now is my cutting saddle, which super sucks if you have a leg injury. If anyone has any suggestions on a good saddle for this beast to do Gymkhana in , I am all ears.

I rode Cisco again, and after the sorting he was none too happy to be back out. He's as unfit as I am right now, sadly. We made it through 4 events before he had just had enough and I was pretty fatigued as well.

All in all a great weekend, we hung out together, got to see some good friends, and my calf does not hurt any more than it did last week. I smell a patrol in my near future!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Bamboo Wall

Bambusa Olhamaii # 1 seems to be pretty happy in its new home. I added Creeping Blue Star to some of the holes in the rock barrier and I planted a really pretty New Zeland Flax to start the grasses off that will be hiding the ugly repurposed barrier. It will stay fairly compact which is important because I don't have much space to play with.

I started to level off the ground here and I will be making a pathway with all of the bricks we have either dug up or pulled out while we have been fixing the various porches and planters.The previous owners really loved bricks. God love 'em!
New Zeland Flax

You can really see how bad the base of the retaining wall is in this picture! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


This has turned out to be a lot more work than I thought. If you want to see the original instructions go HERE.

Because of the horses, we have pallets for days. These are heat treated and not pesticide treated. This is super important if you are planning on putting anything edible in your pallet garden.

I had one that is super weathered, which I love. It also means that it is weak. I had to really work around the missing and broken boards and I also had to strengthen certain areas.
The back

With the landscape cloth attached - forgot to take a picture of the plywood backing

Pallet in place before planting

I doubled up my landscape cloth on the back , bottom and the sides. I used T50 5/16 " staples which are what is called for in this application, but I think next time I will use 1/2" . More heavy duty because that dirt and water will be putting a lot of pressure on the cloth and what's is holding it on. I also screwed on a piece of plywood to the back which gave me more support where there were missing boards and it also is helping to support it while it lies on it's back letting the roots take hold.

I love the look of overflowing cascading plants, so I used Petunias and Nasturtiums . I am trying my hand at Strawberries again , so those are on the top and first layer. I put in 4 kinds to see which does best. I saw another cool idea for Strawberries using cinder blocks , which I may try next year.

Putting in the dirt and getting the plants in is much more time consuming than it appeared to be on the instructions I followed. Maybe because I took the time to read all the user comments and took into consideration the pit falls each experienced it took me longer and I used more material than was listed. I used 3 full bags of soil and I made sure to really pack the dirt in after each row got its plants. I also used a soil amendment so really, 3 and a half bags of soil. I put the pallet up on a couple of pots to keep the dogs off it and to make it easier to pick up next week when it gets put in place. I also will not be putting the plants in to the top until it is right side up.

I really like it as a horizontal garden and think I will do this in my little garden plot that MCH built for me a couple of years ago. No weeding really appeals to me!

Once I finished planting it I watered it down with a mist setting on my hose and then I mixed one capfull of Superthrive into 2 gallons of water in a watering can to help the plants recover from shock.

As of today(4 days later) it has been laying on its back and the roots have definitely started to take hold. I will be putting it upright this weekend. Word to the wise - DO NOT try to move the pallet or place it in position by yourself unless you are a trained iron man. This thing is stinking heavy!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Making The Neighbors Disappear

I got inspired in Kauai at the Allerton Garden to finally tackle the issue of the hill and the creepy neighbors.
I have been looking for something to plant since we moved here and I never knew there was such a thing as clumping Bamboo. Bambusa Olhamaii you are my new best friend. My expensive needy best friend, but that's okay. Below is a picture I took at the Allerton Bamboo Forest - this one is Giant Golden Timber Bamboo and does not do well in our zone.
This stuff grows up to 55 feet ( probably won't get higher than 35 feet here) and spreads 6 feet wide. It needs maintenance 3 times a year and does not require a barrier. It will also hold up and in the retaining wall that belongs to my neighbors and with luck it will prevent extensive damage when their hillside detaches in the next few years. It also will provide an excellent privacy hedge. I wont even go into that creepiness.
Here you can see how bad the retaining wall is.The neighbors won't address it, so this is my answer. I built up the bed wall using  whatever  we had lying around to go to the dump.There is even a bowling ball in there, ha ha! Better to reuse and recycle then put it in the landfill. I will eventually cover up the barrier with grasses and Canna. For the bed I dumped all of last years gardening attempts to build up the soil. Bamboo is a grass and needs a lot of Nitrogen and water. 

Here is the view now. Can you say Fishbowl? 
My First Bambusa Olhamaii . I went with a smaller 3.5 gallon plant for this corner. I have to be really careful digging out the dirt here and there are some old roots and rocks that make it hard to get a big enough hole for a 5 gallon plant. 
On the other side of the yard where the gate is, we have chain link fence and another view directly into our other neighbors yard, plus the dogs see all the outside action and react accordingly. These neighbors we are on the same level with and they do a lot  in their yard and when we are not home the dogs bark at them.
I decided to use ideas I got from Pinterest to do a smallish container garden that will create a living fence. If the dogs can't see out they will be less stimulated to "guard" the yard.  Yesterday MCH helped me get it started. Most everything is an idea I got from the gardening " Pins". I will report back through the season to let you know how each idea actually panned out for lil ol Brown Thumb !
The new redwood trellis. Great price at

The lovely view

The Wine Barrel will eventually be tiered, but for now it is housing my  Tangerine Beauty Crossvine which will  cover the trellis and fence. Lots of Hummingbird food ! The pallet will have strawberries and flowers in it plus provide a much needed barrier for the dogs. More on the pallet garden next time.  

Last years Yellow Pepper plant which I am experimenting with . I used a wash of 4 cps warm water and 1 Teaspoon of Epsom Salts to revitalize it. I will spray it again in 10 days. It already has about 25 flower buds on it. The water bottle in the soil is for deep watering and feeding. I use SuperThrive. 
Some of the above ideas came from these cool sites : , , and