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Friday, December 30, 2011

Why yes, Honey - it is, as a matter of fact.....

Me: Thank the sweet 8 oz baby Jesus!

MCH: Huh? Is that a new steak they are serving in Las Vegas?







Have a very Happy New Year everyone! May 2012 bring you many happy trails!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Foothill Mounted Patrol

I'm so proud of my group! A handful of FMPers was able to start and complete the LAPD's Mounted Unit Post Certification. A very big deal indeed.

The days were long and the entire Evaluating, Training and Testing spanned the better part of the last half of the year.

I wish I could have been there with them! Hopefully I will be able to do it the next go round!

Good job, Guys!! You are rock stars!!

P.S pictures are random - and do not depict the certified team as a whole


If this idea excites you and you would like to become a part of what we do please go to our website and check out what it takes to join : FMP


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Chickens are SPOILED and I'm a crazy person

True story: I just now, right this very hour, went outside and got my chickens and put them in the guest bathroom.

In the shower with towels, of course.

It's Hella windy out there tonight.

Next thing you know I will be knitting sweaters and little tiny beanies for them like this crazy woman - I might need a 12 step program .




Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

 I have to give Thanks for all the amazing random Thanksgiving texts we received this morning!
The best text of all time has to be :

 " Happy Thanksgiven!" From one of our new friends on the East Coast. A hunter and a construction guy. He has a drawl. I think I might have to adopt him.

Here is my gratitude list for the year:

1. My Cowboy Husband
2. My Willow, the Preshes and Little Country
3. The Horse Nanny and her Love for Panda
4.My new family - by marriage and friendship
5. Our amazing equines
6. Our Pack of canines
7.My 4 remaining Jailhouse Chickens
8.My clients who are the best people in the entire world
9.All of my friends
10. My storybook life

Oh and pie and Captain BBQ!!!

My prettiest apple pie yet


The ugliest Pumpkin pie ever, but it's all from scratch - so who cares



Yay! Captain BBQ!! 


What are you grateful for this year?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bixby Barnabus Ratkiller , Y'all

He eats rats. He excels at vomiting. He completes me.
He also sleeps with a sucked dry rat in his talon.

Friday, October 28, 2011

WHOOOOO Killed Ben?

The Victim, Ben Doe #45


If you guessed that what is left of Ben Doe #45 is an Owl Pellet - you would be right. Yes - that's right - an Owl Pellet aka Owl Vomit. Appetizing, No?

For months I have been finding these balls of "stuff" in my front yard, but much smaller and darker and not quite so "informative"at first glance. Apparently my Hawks also vomit up these pellets, but thy usually vomit up Pigeons and they always leave me the wings,which is so disconcerting it's fascinating, so its very unclear what a Hawk pellet is when you come upon one.They look more like something a Squirrel would throw at you then a regurgitated rodent, and yes, I consider Pigeons to be rats with wings.

This one was on my car, surrounded by a vast amount of Owl poop. I must be very Lucky indeed. I really should go and buy a Lottery Ticket when these things occur.

So here is the really amazing part - and I'm sad now that I was not aware of it before, because it would make for a great Etsy store. I could have been retired by now. Of course now that I am aware of it - they will vomit elsewhere.

Schools BUY these things!! Learn all about it here . You can also order your very own Owl pellet dissection kit here . I'm happy to send you the next one that lands on my car. Or just Google Owl Vomit and go to town.

Had we dissected the Pellet

Happy Trails!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9-11


 10 years ago on this date, I was getting ready to leave for work and I walked past the TV set and saw my roommates shocked expression. I looked and sat down hard - it felt like I was watching a Die Hard movie - it was so surreal.
  3 weeks later , I met an Officer who had lost his Canine partner in the first building. His command center was in the basement and his dog was in his kennel when the first plane hit. It's a miracle that this officer made it out alive. He did not have time to go back down to get his dog. When the plane hit - he felt a jolt - but nothing that would alarm him enough to bring his dog with him. He went upstairs and saw the debris falling from inside the lobby. At that point it was too late to go back down - he had to do his duty and get people out of the building to safety. A short while later - he had to leave the building himself.
  I also knew a lot of the Canine SAR teams that went.
 Today I am remembering that dog and that officer - and all of the service personnel who lost their lives saving others. My heart is sad for all of the families who lost their loved ones. My heart is proud of the Americans who did all they could to help.
  The one quote that sticks with me is this :

  "Are you guys ready? Let's roll!" -- Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer, just before he and other passengers attacked the hijackers and saved a hit on the White House, Sept. 11.


 Yeah - AMERICA - that is how we do it 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reason Number 87 : Why I LOVE where I live

Bitches - I ask you - Where else can you be on your way home and be able to stop and try on hooker shoes on the side of the road?


Size 11 Stiletto Drag Shoes just screaming to be wrapped around a pole


Red Velvet - and I do not mean cake


Yellow Disco Feather extravaganza


And the lovely "custom made for some lady up in the hills" sparklefest glam boots


All of this loveliness - 10.00 each - on the side of the road - literally spilling out a U-Haul . Hmmm- shadey? Not shadey? You decide. All I know is not a dime left my wallet - but much entertainment was had . Therefore - my Hood Rocks!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Normal Person Would Have Started Physical Therapy By Now

Yes - truer words have never been spoken. That was said to me on my umpteenth visit to my home away from home : URGENT CARE , where I am on a first name basis with the girls at the front desk.
There is a sign outside that makes me laugh every time I see it - like it is directed at me specifically -


I make sure I only come in right after feeding.

After asking the doctor to define normal, I concurred and was taken straight away to the fabulously friendly Victor to set up all of my appointments.

Victor at Performax Physical Therapy - who is also a great masseuse  


Here is how the leg looked before my team of demons began the process of breaking up the contusion.

That is at 10 weeks. Can you make out the hoof mark?

Here is how it looked after the tiniest demon, Thea, got ahold of me:


Sweet HayZues - I did not sleep until the next session.

So - I have a village of people working on this leg - I have Victor - who makes sure I have enough BioFreeze to get me through the next cold war and books all of my appointments, I have Steve who is responsible for creating the program that sends my fingernails through the cushions, I have Thea  aka Tiny Demon , who has the strongest tiniest fingers in the world and can officially take the title of bringing me past my pain tolerance - which is ridiculously high.

Thea, my tiny demon - who is in fact - just the sweetest thing - which is why it is so surprising she can bring me to my knees!



 I bow to her and respectfully ask for someone else to torture my leg and then there are Jorge and Chad who take turns doing the physical therapy. I feel very special indeed. All I am missing is Rei - who for some reason has not been assigned to me - really I think I need everyone in the building.

Jorge, Steve, Chad and Rei 


Here is what I found out in Physical Therapy : I have a tear in my calf, it was not always there, but by wearing flip flops for the first 10 weeks I tore the muscle above the contusion . Yay me! The one time I felt good enough to ride a horse ? Yeah - I tore it some more. The incessant burning in my leg should have been a clue. Did I mention my ridiculously high pain tolerance?

So - If I'm lucky I might be back on a horse next week - for 10 minute rides. Keep your fingers crossed. One more thing - this place is the best Physical Therapy I have ever gotten. They don't advertise, ya'll. PerformaX Physical Therapy - 818-953-4457 - tell your Doctor you want to go here. I wish I would have known about them when my head met the ground a few years ago.

In other ranch news :

  MCH brought a new horse home yesterday - Beamer.





I spent the first half of today chilling in the ER because I got my hand caught in a dogs mouth whilst breaking up a dog fight. It's not that bad, just have not had a Tetanus shot in about 6 years - and peeps - little known fact - some of the worst Staph infections I have seen are from these little baby bites from dogs that people don't think are a big deal.  My hands are my livelihood.



And then the universe announced all was right with world and put a rainbow over the house. Or maybe Murphy ( as in Murphy's Law) moved down the road and this was the sign



Good times and Happy Trails!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hay-Hay-Hay - you say........

Here is my beautiful fantabulous new hay tucked up into it's cozy little bed - I could have cried when I came home to this

We figured out that I have 58 days worth of feed here - plus the trash that I WAS feeding for backup  - which gives me an extra 12 days of feed if I so desire to use it( I'm thinking that the old hay is kinda like Spaghettios or Spam - you eat it if you absolutely have to - in an emergency). By The way - have you ever noticed how similar sounding the second syllable is in Spaghettios to Ghetto? Just sayin'.

Here is the very exciting thing about my new hay - very little shake and the bales stay TOGETHER once you cut the twine. I can not say how close this is to a Religious experience - it has literally been years since I have experienced this. Look for yourself - I have no idea how to use Photoshop :

Seriously - this is Oat Hay. Ask yourself - when is the last time you cut a bale of Oat Hay open and it did not explode all over Hell and Creation? Obviously, I was so in awe I had to whip out my camera and take a photo of possibly the most inane of all inanimate objects.

So - after all this very scientific calculating and oohing an aahing over the GD hay - life goes back to normal. Until I wake up and realize that I left the fan on all GD night and I never took anyones mask off - here is my morning greeting ;

Can you not just hear them saying Good Morning Moron? UGH! Better yet - I am sooo distracted by my faux pas that apparently I forget to latch MPS stall gate. That would be the unflappable Pinto in the Lady Gaga Headgear you see pictured to the right. He was out and about on  a 1/ 2 acre of unsecured horse yard until 3 pm that day - because MCH was in the front of the house with the dogs watching History Channel and our guy who comes everyday without fail at 12pm got a part time job and showed up at 3pm.

Guess what? I now have 55 days of really great feed and mucho DG work to tend to.
AHHH Horses. If I did not love them to the ends of the Earth I might be supporting the black market in Europe. Ok ! Ok! Simmer down - it was a bad joke. I DO Not Support any of that  - no matter how mad I get. But - Bitches - I KNOW you feel me on this.

So one more photo of a horse calling me out on my lack of consideration for their comfort that ill fated morning in August:

See - he was clearly waiting for me to mess up -

Happy trails until next time!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nothin like a hay rash to end the day

Oy - I spend more time obsessing about hay. There was a time where it was easy to get, easy to buy and the quality rarely was bad.


Now - there is always some hay drama going on - prices up, all the fields being sold overseas, rocks, dirt, mold, dust. smooshed rabbits, tarantulas. It goes on and on.
new fabu hay on the left measly old hay on the right

We drove 136 miles round trip to go get hay today. Was it worth it? Oh yeah!

It was so flippin windy when we got there it actually moved me off my feet a little. I have hay in my hair, wind burn, I have a nice hay rash and my leg is pretty much swollen. Still - totally worth it.

I had no idea what to expect. Thank the Sweet Baby J that I actually had the presence of mind to call ahead and find out what entrance we had to use. We passed it anyway.

I don't know what I was thinking really. I used to help with haying in the NW. I should know better to not wear jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Oh well.

There were some people there buying up their 3rd cut Alfalfa and looking at me like I was crazy with my 3 way and Grass mix. This is some sweet Orchard, and the 3 way - nice!The Alfalfa was pretty loud, you could see the green from the main road. Not for me. But a killer price none the less.

Thanks to Simms Bumpy Road Ranch for the tip.

So what did I pay for an excellent quality feed? I got twice as much at half the price as my last 3 loads from my local dealer. I got a better ratio grass to alfalfa mix for 3 dollars less than the hay dealer who totally dropped the ball on me. Cost of gas and time? Still worth it. I'm a pretty happy horse owner right now!

One last Picture : this is  3 weeks worth of shake out of the hay barn. In another three weeks I will repost how well this new hay holds together. At least we have cows to feed so it does not go to waste - but wow - that kills me everytime I look at it.





Sunday, August 14, 2011

What would you expect out of a pig but a grunt?

If The Ocean were Whiskey and I was a Duck - I'd swim to the bottom and never come up......
Rye whiskey, Rye whiskey, Rye whiskey I cry...........................................................

My wee drunken Irishman come back to life as a Heinz 57 Terrier . I think of the Whiskey song (www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA0TaMsp88w) every time he does something remotely testosterone inspired.When I say that this dude is an Irishman reincarnated as a tough ass dog - I say it with as much conviction as the Dali Llama speaking about World Peace. 

His name is Riley. Cute right? 
I picture him like this(but with much bigger arms) previous to asking to come back as a dog. Or maybe  like this 


Coming back as my dog was a good call - but he truly went on a firewalk to get to my house. 


Prior to moving into our current house I went for a visit to a friends house down the road a bit from our new house. I was horrified to learn , with my own eyes, that the rats here come with their own tack and they really are belligerent little buggers with us two legged sissys. Sauntering about, back and forth - loitering and leering ; they have opposable thumbs and prehensile tails too( I exaggerate for effect here). They have mastered the art of flipping the bird, which is so frustrating for me because I just have never been any good at it. The worst part is they reduce me - and a few of my friends into sissy, screaming, jump on a chair ,Tweedle Dee and Dums. I hate the sound of my girly scream - so embarrassing. I could use a little less estrogen in that department. 

 Enter my decision that we HAVE GOT TO GET ONE MORE DOG!! I just don't see how my two current dogs,Cash and Babe, are going to git r done. I won't think of a cat at this point. Not one of my brighter moments, by the way. 

I decide I want to get a Corgi or maybe a Border Terrier. I'm going to buy (GASP) one, dammit! Now - none of my dogs have ever been purchased. They all have come to me someway or another - mostly free and don't let the door hit you on the way out please and thank you. 

Out of guilt I tell my friend Jill about my plan. Now Jill must have been Saint Francis in a previous life. Ask and ye shall receive, not one hour later - I get an email with a picture of what appears to be a Corgi/Border Terrier. Oh my God - this dog is sooooo cute!! I call right away - because there is no way he is still available. He's at a rescue in Redondo Beach( www.roverrescue.com). Any of you who have called a rescue for any reason whatsoever, know they do not answer the phone. Its an unwritten code. 
Imagine my surprise when someone picks up. I tell James all about myself and our life. That we want a dog who is a bit of a bastard because he needs to help me keep the rat brigade out of the yard. He has to get along with other dogs, blah blah. I also ask - what is wrong with him that you still have him - the answer : food aggression . I am in over drive now. This is one of my easier to manage canine issues. Great! When can we see him?
MCH is not pleased with me - why Redondo Beach? Why on a Friday late afternoon? Why does he have to come? Why do we really need another dog? Why?Why?Why? He's going to cost how much??
We all load into the SUV, MCH, Cash and Babe. We drive almost 2 hours in traffic. We arrive and out he comes. Popeye legs and cute little beard. He is not pleased at first to see 2 extra dogs. We walk and talk and in about 15 minutes we are back at the house and they are all running around like old pals. 
We are sprung on this dog. But - does he get on with horses? 
Two days later poor James drives to THE VALLEY. Those beach people just don't leave the coast. Its a mild day by our standards, but he's dying. He meets me at Gibson Ranch (www.gibsonranch.us) and I put one of our more dog friendly horses into the round pen and James brings him in on a leash. He's scared but not barking. All I need to see. Home Check done! Paperwork signed! Check filled out!
James is hemming and hawing a little bit, and he says to me that Riley can be a little territorial and we really have to stay on top of his obedience and that he can get a little growly at times. I wave him off - "it's all good James. I train aggressive dogs - it's no biggie. " He leaves. Riley cries at the door for almost 2 hours. 
 I have fostered and trained a lot of rescue dogs in my day. I have been the one to drop them off at the new owners home. I have never been on the other side of the door for one of the tougher placements.It was heart wrenching. I almost called him to come back and get him. Riley had been with James for 3 months. Before that he was being boarded at a dog care facility that works with Rover Rescue. Before that he had been with a family who adored him, but returned him because of his resource guarding (food aggression). Before that he had been with Rover Rescue after being pulled from The Baldwin Park Animal Shelter as a puppy. That is a not so great place - mainly because they have a very high number of strays in the area they service and not enough homes - which translates to a very high kill rate and they also were at one point selling dogs to research facilities. If a dog comes in as an owner surrender they have maybe 3 days, a stray will have maybe 5. Can you imagine? Ugh! 
James put an extraordinary amount of effort into making Riley the best dog he could be. Imagine my delight at having a dog that was already trained. He does it all. That NEVER happens to me. It was 3 months later that we found out what this dog had going on - he is a pretty gnarly dude. First he has throat damage - so he reverse sneezes - looks like an asthma attack or when a dog has something lodged in his nostril. He panics and you better stay away from him or he might snap at you. He also does resource guard more than food. He guards me. Or he did. I'm pretty sure I know why that family returned him. I can also say that my house is the best house for him. He does not communicate like other dogs do - he growls and bares his teeth all the while rubbing and rolling on his back and finding your hand to pet his head or belly. It's the craziest thing I have ever experienced. I initially tried to correct it, but I realized it was part of his ritual with MCH. He's a little more subdued with me. 
He is also one Hell of a hunter and he can peacefully co-habitat with the horses better then the rest of the pack. 
He has become our ambassador. You should see him when my girlfriends come by - he has a million expressions and he will literally try them all out on each person until he finds the one that gets him the most attention. Each friend elicits a separate posture and facial expression from him. It is a riot! He also will not use his growly talk with any house guest. Men get a whole other experience - he will launch himself at them and invariably makes contact just below the navel - You know what I'm talking about...
The Irishman reference you might ask? Without prompting each and every person who has spent any time with him equates him to the friendly yet somewhat belligerent and pushy drunken Irishman stereotype. I really must agree.......








Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Poncho - the Great and Ornery Cuss

Photo Courtesy of www.kids-n-cowboys.com

Now - just look at that photo above - Poncho looks like a pleasant enough fellow - while his equine buddy Loco looks , well, Loco. Someone never gave my wonderful 18 year old grade Sorrel Quarter horse the memo that he was supposed to emulate his namesake and not take the horses name to heart.  
The American Heritage Dictionary defines Ornery like this: or·ner·y  (ôrn-r)
adj. or·ner·i·eror·ner·i·est
Mean-spirited, disagreeable, and contrary in disposition; cantankerous.

The Ornery American www.ornery.org gives us it's origin:  "The word "ornery" began as "ordinary." In the days when you were either of the "gentle" class or merely "ordinary," parents would say to their stubborn children when they refused to do as they were told, "Don't be so ordin'ry."


Funny. He is certainly an ordinary horse who is most certainly Ornery. 


He's also a cuss. The American Heritage Dictionary describes the word like this: cuss  (ks) Informal
intr. & tr.v. cussedcuss·ingcuss·es
To curse or curse at.
n.
1. A curse.
2. An odd or perverse person or creature.

 I mean that in the most loving way of course. Kind of how you would possibly refer to a lumberjack frat boy in the outskirts of Siberia - you don't want to know about that kind of mischief, but he's your boy, so you just gotta love him despite the fact that some of his pranks just border on downright mean spiritedness. You know what I'm talking about - like some of those Deadliest Catch Boat Captains. 


After I bought him and had him safely tucked away on my property-in my pasture - the father of the man I bought him from says to me - "Yep , you want to watch out for that one - he's gonna kill someone one of these days. I told my boy that was a bad apple" and I just laughed at him and thought what a silly old farmer. This is a GREAT horse. He shucks everyone around, he's always lagging at the end of the line. Sure he'll kick another horses teeth out if it gets too close, sure he'll buck out when you ask him for a lope - but really - he's a good ol boy. I'm only using him for mountain trail riding anyway. Hmfph!


Weeeeelllll, he was great when he was living on a 10 acre pasture, free feeding Timothy to his hearts content to the tune of 300 lbs overweight, and only being asked to go for a few trips a month, and he was the guest horse - no one EVER asked him to do anything but stay slow and steady except for the guy who sold him to me, and he LOVED that horse and it was mutual - so he would ride with me most of the time or I would pack my stuff on him when I took off for the day up the mountain. 


Fast forward to moving him to California into the High Desert. Gone were the trees, the creek, the good clay soil, the grass. Enter the wind, the rocks and the scrub, and a 2 acre pasture. All we had on a good day was a blustery cow pasture and some utility roads. Poncho was not happy. Enter the goofy trainer who told me I had to be aggressive in my movements with him in order to get him to mind - ha - yeah right crazy Gorilla man. I wound up moving him to Ojai (www.osopaintsonline.com)where we had better feed and trees and much better weather.  I am asking him to cart me around an arena every week, and go out on trail - BY HIMSELF ! I am also asking him to do things he's never been trained to do . I have MCH  (my Cowboy Boyfriend back then) who knows how to ride and how to ask for things, unlike unsophisticated me, who just rode game trails and had done some speed events back in the day. Lordy, the pressure was on. 


I finally settle in a place and bring the horses close to home (www.summerhawkranch.com). He is now living in a 12 x 24 for the first time in his life. Did I mention he has a tough time making friends? OH BOY! He gets himself all banged up - and then I realize that its not his shoulder - it's his feet - his coffin bones have turned an 1/8 th of an inch - this is where I learn how bad Alfalfa can actually be. So no more Alfalfa and 8 months off from the trail. I get my stalls built, I move him home.


So what happens when you take one Bully and you have no pasture, a healthy dose of fear of all the traffic in the park where we ride,and no more barn traffic ? You got it - Bad Bad Leroy Brown, the baddest cat in the whole damn town. He has bit, backed up , spun, tried to roll and rear, bucked in place, bucked up a hill and lastly fired both guns at not one head ( me) but two heads ( MCH). He was shipped off to a trainer and put on cattle. 60 days later I had an amazing horse who will Head, Heel and Sort. Until we got to the part of the trail where the bicyclists are allowed - he regressed in no time flat. 


Now his back is out. He also has a couple of bicycles keeping him company around his stall. Turn out every night all night and I am starting him on clicker training. Just like I would a fearful dog.


Yesterday was his first session - I taught him not to mug for food . After about 25 reps  I can now use my verbal cue and he will flex his head to the right away from me. Today - I turned him out and walked a bicycle around the round pen. He only freaked when I was obscured from view and popping out - he then exhibited all the behaviors I have had to deal with out on trail and occasionally in the arena. I also found out that my Percheron/Fresian needs to get sacked out on bikes as well. 


If you want to learn more about Operant Conditioning this is my favorite for Horses : http://shawnakarrasch.com/blog/


Happy trails