Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Rural Life Suits Us

When Jay and I met, I swore I would never live east of I-25.  I was a mountain girl, pure and simple.  I had to have my mountains, period.

But then we moved out east.  Not far, only about 19 miles from my home town and I immediately fell in love.  I still must have my mountains, but now I live just far enough away that I get to see them.  My drive in to work every day has the best view ever and we're not so far away that I can't get a "fix" whenever I want.

I also get to pretend to be a farmer on occasion, which I love.  A friend of ours has a "small farm" that we get to house-sit when her family is out of town. 

The barn kitties are always fun to watch.

So when that same friend asked if I wanted to come help out on branding day, I jumped at the opportunity.  Last year, my job was to "back pour" the meds - literally taking the medication and pouring it along the backs of the animals.

This year, my job included holding the calves' legs with a rope while they got banded.  A few of the little boys took offense, but they all got through it just fine.

I also got to do the vaccinating this year.  My medical students would cringe to see me shooting the animals.  Human medicine is, in some ways, very different from vet medicine.  No swabbing the area with alcohol and waiting for it to dry, no changing of needles between shots (which means lots of re-capping), no choosing just the right spot.  Nope, it's more, knock the shit (literally) off the skin, jab, inject, re-cap and move on to the next animal. 

Shooting the calves is much, much easier than shooting the cows.  Believe it or not, the bulls were perfect gentlemen while they got taken care of.  The cows, not so much.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to stay long enough to complete the job, because Jay and I had to go pick up some hay.  There were just a handful of cows left to do when I handed off my job, so I didn't feel as guilty as I would have if I had bailed earlier.

I found a screaming deal on hay ($3/bale), but we had to pick the hay up out of the field.  Jay and I called in our substantial families and met them at the field. 

In order to have all available adult hands loading, I threw Deejo's son, The Boy, in Jay's truck to drive while we loaded.  Poor kid.  He had never driven before and was a bit wary.  He's fifteen-ish and should be getting his learner's permit anyway.  He got a quick lesson on which was the gas and brake and how to steer.  I must have been feeling particularly confident in this never-driven-before kid's ability, because I didn't think twice about making T (Junior's son) and Asset (Nebalee's daughter) ride in the cab with him.  Easier to corral all of the kids in one place than try to keep track of them.

With two trucks/crews running, only took us about 25 minutes to load 120 bales.  Not bad - I thought we'd be out there much longer.

Maybe my favorite picture of the day: Asset, T, and The Boy.
In no time, we were headed back to L.E.'s to unload.  We don't have much storage space, so fifty bales were put up inside the pen and the rest were stacked outside.  I just stepped aside and stayed out of the way while everyone else stacked the hay - too many people in one place makes for quick, but crowded, work.

It feels good to have most of the hay laid in for the year.  We've got another fifty bales that we'll pick up next week, and I'll probably buy another fifty in September just to make sure we'll make it until first cut next year.  It hurts the pocketbook right now, but we'll definitely appreciate not having to put out money every month for hay.  My hope is that we won't lose too much to mold, like Mom did last year.  We stacked and tarped with an eye toward air circulation.  If moisture gets into the stack, there should be enough circulation for it to dry out.

Yesterday was busy and physically demanding, but I loved every minute of it.  We have the best family, who were willing to give up a couple of hours in the middle of the day on a Saturday to work in heat and humidity.  It was truly "Just Another Perfect Day".

Monday, June 23, 2014

Color Vibe

For Nebalee's 40th birthday (I'm a month late posting), we did a 5k.  It would have been a better birthday present if I'd actually agreed to run the 5k with her, as she's one of those crazy runner types and I am not. 

It seemed like it would be a fun time.  We'd get to hang out for a couple of hours, take a leisurely 3.2 mile walk, get all sorts of dirty, what could be better?  We even had tutus.  Yep, you read that right.  Yours truly wore a tutu (and pigtails, but I don't think you can see them in the picture).

There was definitely a party atmosphere at the starting line, with the tunes thumping and the color packs being thrown about.

Once we got out on the course (which I thought would be a leisurely stroll with my sister and turned out to be a forced march), they had color stations scattered throughout.  We had a good time with the color stations.  We locked arms and skipped through one, and then ran through the rest while holding our breath, because who wants to breathe that stuff in?

The theme of the race was fun, and the starting line party was fun.  However, when it came to actual course management, the race was lacking.  We passed no less than three people who were down and being tended to by their friends/family.  I saw no course marshals or aid stations along the course.

The finish line was a cluster.  I don't know if I can blame the course management for it - wait, yes I can.  Races like the Color Vibe are designed to entice non-runners like myself to get out and do something active and it worked.  But ... when you have a bunch of non-runners with no direction, they don't understand basic course etiquette.  You know, like just because you crossed the finish line doesn't mean you get to just stop and stand there while there are still hundreds of people behind you trying to cross the line.

Maybe I got spoiled from the Bolder Boulder - they put tens of thousands of runners through a finish line without it getting clogged up.

By the time we were finished, Nebalee and I were both over the crowds and couldn't get out of there fast enough.  We would have gotten out of there even faster if I hadn't buggered up my foot on the uneven ground.  I've always had trouble with my feet; my lateral arch of my right foot has always given me problems, but I can usually work through it once it loosens up.  Only, it kept getting worse and worse throughout the morning, to the point where I couldn't bear weight.

By God, we weren't going to miss out "after" picture, so Nebalee and I just switched sides so I didn't have to stand on my bad foot.

The pain continued to build, so I made the snap decision on my way home to stop by Urgent Care to get an x-ray.  I wasn't worried so much that I'd broken my foot per se, but I was concerned that I had avulsed the tendon from the 5th metatarsal (long bone on outside of foot).  The PA at Urgent Care didn't see an avulsion fracture on the x-ray and sent me on my merry way with instructions to ice and take ibuprofen (which I was already doing).  Oh, and she also told me that if I felt I needed crutches, I could go rent some from WalMart.

Needless to say, I was less than pleased with my treatment.  Honestly, I needed crutches and a script for pain management.  I was alone and couldn't bear weight, despite proper initial management.  I'm not quite sure how the hell she thought I'd be able to hobble myself into WalMart to rent crutches when I couldn't stand.

I'm far from a drug seeker - I rarely use narcotic analgesics, so when I ask for them, I have a real reason.  Of course, the PA didn't know me from Adam, so I can understand where she was coming from, but it took a lot for me to admit weakness and ask for help.  I left Urgent Care in pain and discouraged.

I spent the rest of the weekend alternating Advil and Tylenol and cuddling with my ice pack.  I hobbled into work on Monday with my teeth clenched.  Luckily, we have pediatric crutches and someone was willing to go to the other building to fetch them for me. Yes, I'm short enough that I required peds crutches.

I made an appointment to see my doc, who thought I had a stress fracture and finally wrote me for some pain meds and encouraged me to continue to use the crutches.  Getting off my foot and getting my pain under control was the key to turning around my healing.  By Friday, I was off the crutches and almost completely pain-free.

Happy (late) Birthday, Nebalee. I hope you enjoyed breaking me :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Posting has been sporadic at best over here.  Yikes.  Sorry.

Lots of things are happening (or have happened).  I finally adopted a new horse, Skeeter Bang, from the BLM.  You can read all about the horse thing if you want over at Tales from the Trail.

Jay just turned the big four-oh, and we celebrated our fifth anniversary.

Monster turns 19 on Friday.  My baby is turning 19.  Wow.  It's hard to wrap my head around that one.

In June, I start working toward my M.B.A.  Like I need one more thing on my plate, but if I want to advance at work, I must have a Master's degree, so off I go.  I chose the perfect time to start it, too, as we're in the middle of a corporate-wide massive changeover of student databases and learning management systems.  Well, there's no time like the present, I suppose.  I'll never get finished if I don't get started, right?

Also, today, Jay and I decided we're going to move.  Our lease on the apartment is up at the end of July and we love our apartment, but we have the opportunity to move into a house on the same property Skeeter is on.  Imagine, being able to look out a window and see my horse, not have to drive to see her.  It's not far, only about five minutes from our apartment, but still ... I'm pretty excited to be just steps from where she is.  Aaaannnnddd, it means that Allie-bird can move back in with us.  Our apartment is pet-free, so she had to go live with Jay's parents, but with the little house, she can come home with us.

I've got lots of ideas floating around in my little brain about my next book, but Lord knows when I'll have time to actually sit down and write.  Jay and I do have a book sale and signing coming up in June, so maybe Momma will earn some hay money :)

There are lots of things going on, but all of the changes are for the better and I'm very excited about what the future holds!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Five Already?!

I can't believe that Jay and I have been married five years.  Where has the time gone?

On one hand, I can't believe it's only been five years, and on the other, I can't believe it's already five years.

From day one, we knew we were meant to be together, so when I look back, the only five years is surprising to me.  Our lives have melded so well it seems like we've spend our whole lives together.  We even have shared, but separate, experiences that adds to the Twilight Zone feeling that we've been together forever.

How can we have shared, but separate, experiences?  It's almost eerie.  One such experience was our trip to Italy.  Same week, same year, opposite direction.  We started in Rome and ended up in Venice.  His family started in Venice and ended up in Rome.  There were times that we were within a day or so of each other. 

We've been to the same concerts - at the same time - and didn't know each other.  I worked a motorcycle rally that he was a participant in - didn't even see each other - at least not enough to make an impact.  It's crazy, isn't it, how things in our lives are timed to work out at just the right moment?

It's almost enough to give you goosebumps if you spent too much time thinking about all of our "near misses".

I don't claim to know the "why" of the timing of us finally meeting, other than it was the right time, and for that, I'm eternally grateful.  My life has changed drastically for the better since we met.

Happy Anniversary, Sexy Man.  Love you to the moon and back.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

You may or may not know that my mother is a terrible influence on me.

Terrible, I tell you.

She's influenced me to state my beliefs; to be independent; and not to compromise with what's right.

Basically, she raised me to be a big ole pain in the ass.  You know, just like her. :)

But the area she has been the worst influence in?


Gotta love that she can rationalize just about anything when it comes to why I need horses in my life.  When Estes came available, she reminded me that paying for a horse was cheaper than paying for a therapist.  Well, considering that period of my life, she was absolutely right.

She's been 100% behind me adopting Skeeter and then started pushing immediately for a second horse.  Because, we don't want Skeeter to be lonely, do we?

See?  She's a master rationalizer when it comes to horses.  :)

I might have learned that from her, too.

Anyway, Happy Mother's Day to the best worst influence in my life.

Love you Mom.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Jay started a new project with Newt last night and I love it!

With Ripley, he took some of the interior trim pieces and painted them the same color as her body color.  He got the idea from Kia's special editions of the Soul.  It really tied the car together and was one of my favorite customizations.

Newt's interior is much darker than Ripley's, so when Jay suggested doing the same thing to "brighten it up", I readily agreed.

I knew it would be beautiful, but I didn't quite expect it to be such an amazing change.  The Alien II color really pops against the black.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

It's Just Torture, I Tell You

Jay and I are house-sitting for a friend of mine.  She's kind enough to let us use her property for shooting and is mean enough to make me come workout with her.  (I haven't made it to her house for a six a.m. workout yet and I'm not seeing that happen any time soon.)

When she asked if we could house-sit, it took me about half a second to say yes.  How could you say no to this bit of paradise?

I don't do mornings.  I hate them and don't really believe they should exist, but this morning I crawled out of bed to let her eighty zillion fowl out of the coops, feed the bucket calves, and check the four mommas who haven't managed to get their babies on the ground yet.

Holy cow, these turkeys and roosters are ginormous

They were wide awake and ready to leave the coop when I opened the door.

The not-yet-mommas
Turns out, mornings aren't so bad out here (but don't tell anyone I said that!).

After a trip to check out our first 9HealthFair of the season, I took a quick nap before starting the noon-time chores.  Here's the thing.  Actual farmers make it look easy.  Faux farmers like me huff and puff through the feeding of the animals.  I did get one hell of a shoulder workout, since the tops of the rolls of cornstalks are taller than I am.

I'm not exactly sure how many laying hens they have, but for someone who *hates* chickens, it was a feat to go gather the eggs.  I had long sleeves and leather gloves on, so I figured even if I ran into a stubborn hen who didn't want to give up her eggs, I'd be okay.

As I was reaching up into a box, I felt a hen peck at my leg, so I flicked my foot at it to shoo it away.  Only, it didn't shoo away.  It attacked me.  Full-on, wings flapping, spurs.  Wait...spurs?  I don't know if hens have spurs, but I damn sure know that roosters have spurs.  Sure enough, I looked down and there was a little rooster looking up at me like, "bring it, bitch."  In fact, not only did he look at me like that, but he opened his damn beak and cock-a-doodle-doo'd me as he puffed up for another attack.

Are you kidding me?
Little bastard wasn't so cocky once I had Jay hand me the shovel.  In fact, he might have been afraid I'd whack his head off with it and hustled out of the coop.

We managed to fill up our down time before evening chores with a little plinking.  Have I mentioned that this house-sitting gig is pure torture?

Deejo, and Jay's dad and brother came out to crack off a few rounds with us.  While we were waiting for them to arrive, we enjoyed just sitting at the picnic table in the sun.  (I might have gotten a bit too much sun, shhh.)  I looked down and saw this rattlesnake.

Dead.  Just like I like them.
We didn't manage to waste enough time plinking, so Jay and I tried our hand at pin-striping.  Newt has been pretty hard to distinguish from other Souls because she didn't have any tattoos.  We fixed that today.  Nothing as in-your-face as Ripley's tattoos, but still cute.

Not bad for a DIY job.
The requisite gun sticker.  Now Mom and Bill can identify my car.
Since she got her new tattoos, of course she needed a photo shoot.  What's the point of getting new body bling if you can't show it off, right?

Finally, time for evening chores rolled around and I made Jay come out to take pictures while I fed the babies.

This little cutie has a mommy, unlike the two I had to bottle feed.  But it's only 24 hours old and super, super cute, so we had to get pictures of he/she/it.

Now, it's bedtime and I'm plum tuckered out.  I suspect tomorrow will include a much longer nap than this morning did :)