Friday, January 09, 2009

quiet end to a chaotic week

The sun came out yesterday, and the winds died down, and horses and donkeys were quite happy to get out again. I ended up opening the front and back fields, spreading hay in both, and letting them march from one end to the other enjoying the nice weather.

It is not totally dry but the extreme mushiness is gone and we're back to the regular version. Hopefully today's full sun will continue the process of drying things out.

Yesterday afternoon we did an interesting thing. My daughter and son agreed to come up with meals for 3-4 days, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, and do the shopping while I sat in the Starbucks with a Caffe Mocha.

I thought they would come back with questions, but they went through the store aisle by aisle, and ended up with a well-thought-out cart full of very good and healthy food. I was impressed.

Last night we had baked ham, mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, and a lovely salad. For dessert we dipped strawberries and butter cookies into melted chocolate. It was a wonderful way to transition back to colder nights. The horses are back in blankets and Salina is in her knee warmers. The wood stove is going, and I'll have to bundle up to feed breakfasts, but at least we have sunshine!

Last night I ordered a small mesh hay net for each stall. I'm hoping to keep horses stocked for the entire night, reduce mess and wastage of the loose hay, and keep them busy chewing. Best price for these nets is at Smith Brothers, if anyone needs one.

Good friend, writing mentor, and bold writer Peggy Payne has a birthday today. Go over and say happy birthday, and soak in some of her exuberance and boldness. One way she's celebrating her birthday this year is taking an apartment in NY for a month to write, an idea that makes my skin tingle with excitement. It's not something I could do at this point in my life, but isn't it grand that I'll get to anyway, vicariously, through Peggy?

I'm taking my bold full week of writing later this month, and I can't wait.

Today is full of laundry, feeding the wood stove, dashing to town for a lunch with H., and reminding myself to embrace the sunshine with each slightly less mushy step I take out at the barn.


the7msn said...

You are very wise to go with the small mesh bag instead of the kind with a larger weave. I used the larger kind in my trailer once, tied as high as I could since I knew it would hang lower once it was empty, and Lyle still managed to raise his foot almost four feet in that confined space and get hung up. That was the day I started to always carry a pocketknife.

billie said...

We do have one of the larger mesh ones and have used it at shows and clinics - with no issues - but inside the trailer itself there is a sort of manger, so during the hauling part we didn't have to worry about the net. Great idea to carry a pocketknife.

I am not yet sure how I'll affix these new nets inside the stalls. I won't hang them, but will want them in the hay mangers on the ground. It's possible I could put screw in hooks and secure the nets by their metal rings. Will have to experiment with that when they arrive!

I've never seen any of my horses put their feet inside these mangers, but one never knows!

Peggy Payne said...

Hey Billie, Thanks for inviting folks over for a visit--and the 60th good wishes.

Your homeschooling techniques sound so good. And you get to sit and take a break at the same time.

Have fun on your all-writing week.

billie said...

I thought it was a pretty ingenious lesson plan, Peggy... :)

Tonight we're having spaghetti and meatballs, salad, bread, and ice cream w/ fresh raspberries for dessert.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad to hear things are drying up for you and the gang. We are expecting 10 inches or so tomorrow afternoon.
I'm very impressed by your childrens menu picks. I know mine at their ages would have come out with donuts or ice cream.
We just ordered a different sort of hay net,I will be interested to see how it works out. Although it has bigger holes it is made differently than any other we have used. It looks impossible for horses to get stuck in, and some of mine have managed that easily. If it works out I'll let you know.

billie said...

Thanks Arlene and please do share about the hay nets when you see how they work.

Janet Roper said...

Hi billie,
What a beautiful post; everything sounds so cozy and homey, thanks for sharing.

Should have figured you know Peggy Payne. I love her blog too!

billie said...

Thank you, Janet. Peggy has been a huge and wonderful resource for me writing-wise. Funny b/c I studied hypnosis with her husband before I ever knew the two were married - and when I discovered that they were and somehow I had met them completely independent to one another, it was one of those a-ha! moments.

Zoë Sharp said...

Hi Billie

Just visiting from Murderati and your post suddenly took me back to when I owned my own horses.

We used to use the orange polypropylene twine from round hay and straw bales, and make our own nets. By knotting the strands together, you can make the holes as large or as small as you want them. And by suspending the nets from both ends, like a hammock, it stops them trailing too close to the round when they're empty.

Hope this helps!

billie said...

Zoe, hi, and welcome. What a wonderful way to use up all that hay twine! I wonder if I could do it in a reasonable length of time, w/o losing my patience? I love the thought of recycling twine, which is indestructible and we always end up with so much of it I have to toss some to keep from being overrun.

I didn't realize you were a horse person too!

I'm thinking suspending the bags from both ends inside our mangers would probably work well.

Our horses aren't stalled, so they don't tend to do destructive things when they finish their hay - they just head out into the paddocks to march around and find scraps of hay and grass.

Thanks for the tip. I'm going to try and make one while waiting for the ordered ones to arrive. I was actually thinking of securing some extras out in the paddocks, and this would be a way to do it w/o buying more!

(and for readers who don't know, Zoe is an author who has a number of mystery/thriller novels out - and she writes over at Murderati as well each week - so go check her out and buy her books!)

Zoë Sharp said...

Hi Billie

Yes, I'm a closet horse nut. As a failure of the conventional educational system, my British Horse Society instructor's ticket is one of the few formal qualifications I hold ;-]

I progressed on to motorcycles, but keep meaning to go back and do some more side-saddle, which was great fun.

billie said...

Zoe, I went to your website and read your fascinating bio - how interesting your childhood was!!

We homeschool, so we too are outside convention with regards to education, although it's obviously much more commonplace now than it used to be.

Side-saddle! I've never ridden in one. When I was growing up, taking riding lessons and then getting a horse of my own, most of what I read came from Great Britain. I remember feeling quite out of place for a few years, and corresponding with someone in the British system about the Horsemaster program. He was very kind and encouraged me as much as he could considering I was across the ocean from him!

My ancestry is English and Welsh, and if one could easily transport an entire menagerie across the ocean, w/o the quarantines, I'd love to spend time there.

I may have to consult you when I get seriously into the next writing project, which has to do with ponies and Wales. :)

Zoë Sharp said...

Hi Billie

"I may have to consult you when I get seriously into the next writing project, which has to do with ponies and Wales. :)"

LOL - you're more than welcome. I've got RJ Mangahas emailing me about photography stuff, and JT sent me a chunk of her latest book, EDGE OF BLACK, so I could check a British aristocrat character for authenticity, so please email me if you need any info. If I can help, I will, with pleasure.

My sister is also a qualified horse riding instructor, and she's more involved in the scene now than I am, so if I can't answer your question, I can always consult her.

And my first ever pony, incidentally, was a Welsh Mountain called Rockafeller, who turned out to be the most cunning animal on four legs ... ;-]

billie said...

Zoe, my early reading material included the Thelwell books, so when we got our Shetland, I learned very quickly that most of those cartoons were based in truth!

I never knew ponies were so smart. But your word - cunning - is the perfect one. They are capable of plotting and timing and deception. :)

Peggy Payne said...

I love Wales, Zoe and Billie, it's one of my favorite places on the planet. I find it extremely romantic -- and wonderfully free of billboards. I was thrilled to find out recently that I have a few drops of Welsh blood.

Glad you had that aha moment, Billie. I always thought you knew Bob and I were married.

billie said...

I know I didn't know it during the time I was taking your critique group workshop. Or when I was in Bob's hypnosis group. Funny how small a world it is and how neat when the circles connect. :)

Peggy Payne said...

Things seem to be hopping over at Mystic-Lit today. Is there a sked there or is it still occasional?

billie said...

Peggy, no schedule at all. Amy said something about the writer's adolescence stage over on Backspace a few weeks back and I suggested it would make a great mystic-lit post. And she, amazingly, since she has a book coming out in Feb. and is totally swamped, wrote it in record time and sent it to me.

Today's post got linked on Janet Reid's blog and it has generated a TON of traffic.

So... if you or anyone else reading here wants to submit a mystic-lit post, there will likely be some return traffic for awhile. :)