Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wet Rainy Sunday Fun



There is always a question of what to do on a cold rainy icky Wisconsin day.

As kids we'd sit in the 'little house' and play cards, or if the mood struck Grandpa Lind...we'd go 'visiting'.
The reason for visiting was...well you couldn't work outside, so you might as well drive around and drop in on some friends or relatives and get the latest gossip.

It was amazing, we'd pull into 'Uncle Carly's' farm and walk up into the house. Us kids would go and amuse ourselves with the other farm kids. The grownups would sit down and have coffee and magically out of no where ~~ appeared sandwhiches, desserts, and all sorts of goodies. We always felt welcome no matter where we went on a cold yucky day.

But today, Morris and I decided to go on a hike. The bugs because of our June record rainfalls [almost and inch with hail yesterday!] are awful. Generally one can tolerate them in the woods. I donned a kerchief hat sprayed with bug spray, an old ripped up long sleeve shirt, a jacket, long pants, hiking boots, gloves, and of course an assortment of cameras.

I was soon wet up to my knees walking through the wet grass, nettles, and other forest underbrush. Morris was soaked.

We headed to the valley so we could walk in the creek bed and mess around. We found wild strawberries and some of the first wild berries. Yum.

Morris likes them too.
The bugs were
HORRENDOUS
AWFUL

I smeared metholatum vaseline rub all over my face and neck...I not only smelled awful, but now the gnats were stuck to my face until I smeared them off. Bet I looked a sight!
Heh Heh.

The skies opened and it poured. Worried about my digital camera, I dropped it into a zip lock bag and then donned a cheap poncho. The rain was a delight and we walked in it.

So we didn't pick up and go visiting like in the old days, we went for a good old fashioned, get dirty and wet hike.

We loved it. And of course Morris absolutely loved it.
He is napping now.

video

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pony Jail



His name is Little Richard. He thinks he is the fancist thing on 4 legs. He also is a 4 legged weed whacker.
Normally Rich ties him to a stake driven into the ground in different areas of the yard and along the driveway where it is difficult to mow.

Little Richard eats circles around his stake and we move him nearly daily.
BUT
With Rich being laid up, I took it upon myself to tie Little Richard out to different items ... such as the hay hauler, empty pens, and other areas. I can't drive the stake into the ground right now, using a fence pounder shoots lighting streaks of pain right up my right elbow.

Ok.
So ALL was fine yesterday late afternoon. I'd checked on the LR and took off with Sunshine for a training ride. We were going for the BIG adventure in PeeWee's. The first truly long and difficult solo ride. [our mules are taught to ride solo ~ it takes a mature and confident rider & mule to do so safely]

I was really quite excited. Sunshine did fantastic, pulling the usual mule stunts like thinking she could choose the path home. At one point we came across a downed tree that came up nearly to her chest. Badger who is very tall compared to her had stepped easily over it the day before.

I hesitated, but some little red mule decided to 'go for it'. I now know what it is like to be on the back of a mule when they jump from a stand still. I felt her go and thought 'oh crap'. But we came out just fine.

I rode triumphantly into the yard. Sunshine had really proven to be a worthy mount.

I looked around,
NO
Little Richard.

Dang. I unsaddled Sunshine and tossed things into the trailer and hurried to look for him. I got no further than halfway to the house when Rich hollered that our neighbor lady had just called.

*Where we missing a tricolored stud pony?*

I jumped in the truck cursing LR, the houdini of ponies. And found him at Linda's. He was still attached to his tie out ... squealing and running back and forth trapped in a lane. Linda hadn't tried to lay a hand on him because she didn't know how he'd act.

I pulled on my gloves and walked into the lane, grabbing LR's rope, he squealed and pranced and I called him *Alpo* and murmured many apologies to Linda. I tried tying him to the truck but in the end, I sat on the tailgate while Linda drove my truck and we took him home.

She was concerned that she was going too fast, I had to laugh, LR kept trying to pass the truck.

I marched LR up to one of the winter pens and put him in *Pony Jail*. At least until hubby is well enough again to put him back on weed whacking duty!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What to do while unemployed


Well, for one thing, look for a job. I have applied for unemployment benefits which I've never done in my entire life.
But then again... I've never been 'let go' in my entire life from any job either.

Yesterday I took hubby to the very same clinic I used to work at. Rich could barely walk, he allowed me to get a wheelchair for him~you know he is one hurtin' puppy then!

While being seen by Doc, some of my co-workers came by and threw their arms around me -- moaning how much they missed my cheerful face. Literally I was mugged and hugged. The lab tech I worked with two weeks ago didn't know about my 'dismissal' or whatever they are calling it...she was aghast. Many people told me and hubby that the clinic made a huge mistake.

Nice, but it doesn't get me re-employed.

I do have an appointment to review my employee record next Tuesday. Since I was never told anything but...'we are letting you go because you are not a good fit', tells me nothing about the WHY. I want to see the manager's notes and WI law allows me to.


Rich was DX'd with hip bursitis, along with injured tendons, strained muscles, and an inflamed femoral nerve. [this causes him not to be able to walk]
He did this while spending two days clipping the meadow pasture for weed prevention and encouraging new growth. The leg effected was the clutch leg. He also was bouncing around and sitting turned to watch behind him ... he backed into many places to trim between trees and over used and abused his leg and hip muscles.

He is in sleepy land with pain meds now ~ and a shot of cortisone in the 'cheek'.

Rich made me replace my 30 yr old Brother sewing machine. The bobber spring died a bad death on my old one.

So now unemployed and searching for jobs...I am mending, making curtains out of materials on hand to keep the hot summer light out.

I am training mules each day, doing the chores, and being a 'gopher' for the guy who is hobbling along.

Soon I'll also be picking up my Mother In Law's canning supplies and making some homemade jams and jellies. My garden is looking well tended for a woman who hates vegetable gardening.

Eeeks. I'm being domestic. I'm not sure this is good. Because I'm sort of enjoying it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No better way

There is no better way in life to enjoy it...than just take some time
stop
sit
watch
be in awe.

I rode Badger up to the ridge top last night to get a full view of the sunset [saves on gas, you know?]. It was worth the hustle to get him saddled and the 'mad' trot to get out to where I could see the full sky.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Some days are just perfect


Yesterday was one of those days that was ... well, just perfect. I started my day with a morning ride on my favorite mule, Badger. This was after I'd hung out all of the freshly washed sheets on the line to dry.

We rode a liesurely ride, no speed, no hurry, just a slow stroll through the woods, listening to the birds and spotting wildlife.

I gardened until my stomach said it was lunch time, then came in and had 'dinner' with hubby. I had to ice my elbow so did that and decided a siesta would be in order.

After our siesta, Rich went out to mow the pastures, while I worked with Siera in the round pen.
Oh yeah...another fine session. We graduated to 'packing' the bit and I added a back cinch and crupper to her saddle gear. All went amazingly fine. I even took her outside where there were tons of distractions and worked with her.

She's a good gal.

Later, I pulled out Sunshine and we worked on some finer points of reining and 'listening' to the rider. She has graduated from a 'green broke' mule and is in 'finishing' school now.

Then Morris and I went for a short walk and ate wild strawberries. He is learning how to find them just as he does the wild blackberries. [odd dog that he is]

I topped my evening off [pancakes for supper] with a stroll up the lane to watch the sunset.
By dark, I was exhausted.

I made the beds with the fresh smelling sheets and [after a shower] dropped into them and fell into slumber land.

Today looks like another fine day...there is a threat of storms later.

I think yesterday was just about darned perfect.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The New Kid

Meet Siera, the new kid. Well actually we got her last spring. I started working with her on Wednesday...yeah the same day I was 'let go'.

But...
Siera is a Peruvian Paso Mule, that means her dam was pure blood Peruvian Paso. Siera does the Paso gaite. Siera is a dream mule to work with.
I had no expectations when I took her into the round pen for her very first lesson. She'd been a bit cranky from being tied up while waiting for the farrier, so I was expecting an ill behaved mule.

She wasn't.

I asked her to lunge a circle around me with a whip. I said not a word. She lunged clockwise, then when I stepped in with body language and asked her to reverse, she lunged counter clockwise. I nearly dropped my jaw into the sand.

After a few minutes, I opened my mouth and stepped slightly ahead of her and said quietly.

*Whoa*

She stopped so hard dust came up. She walked towards me and stood within a respectful distance.

Ok, I was not believing this at all. This mule was sold to us with very little work, she did have nice ground manners, but had basically not been handled in one year. [except for worming and footwork]

What was THIS?

I attached a lead with her and within a few moments we had learned *back* and *come*. I brought out a large plastic bag on the end of a stick and poked it around her gently. She flipped her head and stepped away twice. Then stood stock still.
Hmmm.
I got out my major spook arsenal.
The Walmart bag filled with aluminum cans...I threw them at her. She trotted away then came back to smell it. In a few minutes the bag of cans was...HO HUM.

I took my old shirt that was hanging on the rail and tied it over her ears. I brought out the big BLACK MULE EATING PLASTIC.
It took a few momments of convincing but soon she was standing on the black plastic and getting her ears rubbed.

Hmmm.

I left her for a few minutes and returned with my light saddle and a blanket. I KNOW she'd never seen a saddle.
Again.
It was HO HUM.

I was loving this gal.

I draped the noise making bag on the saddle horn, I attached milk jugs with rattly rocks in them to the saddle and turned her loose. She trotted quickly around me, then stopped and looked at the noise makers...then I swear she looked at me as if to say:

*Well? Is this all you got?*

Nope. I put my foot in the stirrup and laid across her back.
Nothing.

I tried the other side.
Sigh.

I untacked her and proceeded to brush her until her lips quivered with delight. When I returned her to the pasture, she wouldn't leave my side while my hands were on her neck.

I waved her off and she galloped to her pasture mates.

The New Kid is definitely AWESOME.
I like taking her to 'school'.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Let Go


*Let Go*

I've never been told those words in my entire life. I've never been 'let go' from a job. Although the reason cited was...*it is not a good fit*.

Not a good fit because the 2 women I worked with have a history of being such ... that 3 other women have left the very same position? 2 other women have left during their probation time citing...personal differences.

I was rather surprised, rather shocked.
But I shouldn't have been.
I should have seen it coming. When my two co-workers hid the portable telephone from me, wouldn't let me get faxes off the fax machine, wouldn't let me do the job I was hired to do...

In the 'letting go' talk I was told that I wasn't performing my job. I waited until Mr. Administrator had his say, then flipped my Badge on his desk.

And I told him that he needed to consider the sources of his information. He needed to consider that my co-workers did NOT allow me to do my job. And they needed to consider a good training program.
He also needed to consider the record of what happens in that department and that other girls are actually afraid of the two I worked with.

And I smiled sadly at him and said, 'honesty is not a valued thing here, it comes back and bites you. You have a viper pit in that department, and you need to fix it.'

I was hurt deeply, and actually more embarrassed and humiliated by being escorted out of the building as if I was a criminal. --- I know it is standard practice, but it has never happened to me.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Riding for the soul

I went to visit the 'back valley' today and rode Badger. The back valley is also locally named *Black Bottom. I don't know where that name came from, except that the soil in the 'bottom' is exceptionally black and rich. The back valley has suffered 3 major flash floods from rain runoff. Today I walked Badger through the creek bottom where previously it had been blocked from last years flash flood. This year's flash...cleared trees.

So it goes with mother nature.
We rode for a few hours, stopping to look at things, admiring the wildflowers and even some coral fungus. Everyone should have a way to deeply relax and let there mind clear.
This is what I do...I ride for the inner me. Yeah, sounds dumb, but I used to run long distances for the very same reason.
Now I am a bit older and enjoy the ride as well as the hiking.

There were places I couldn't safely get to with Badger and I can't wait to get the chance to hike back and explore.
video

Sunday, June 15, 2008

People~ by Morris the JRT

Why do people as in pet owners find it perfectly acceptable to do stupid things to their dogs?
I'm a Jack Russell Terrier, I am supposed to be fierce, noble, and tenacious [I'm not sure what that all means but I'm pretty sure it does not mean wearing a scarf like pictured!]

I DO know that after sitting for the camera unwillingly, of course with this stupid red thing on me,...I did get a cookie.
Come on folks, a cookie?

I'm demanding more.
My own personal full sized bed with the covers and blankets ready for nest making. Steps to get onto the bed so I don't have to jump.

I want all the windows in the house lowered to JRT height.
I want a doggy door so I don't have to ask sleepy dumb people to get up and let me out to pee at night.

They don't have to ask me to use their potty.

I don't want to have to have my feet wiped when coming in from outside. I want car rides.
I love car rides.

I want the car seats made so I can see out the window without standing up.

The couch. When I decide to rest on the couch, I think there should always be an old sweatshirt of *mom's* there so I can curl up on it.

Lastly,
I own these people,
Why
can't
they
get
it
through
their
heads???

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tis that time of year...Fireflies

Here it is, that time of year again. When Morris, the Brave JRT, has to protect his home and his owners from the dreaded...

*Attack of the Fireflies*
He knows they are really evil little aliens ready to take his dogfood perhaps? They flit and the fly, glowing and fading...indicating to his owner that summer is arriving.
But does his mistress fear the Fireflies as she should?

NO!
This is what Morris cannot understand.
These ruthless glowing 'things' can be dangerous.
At least he thinks so.

He is standing on the back step with his hair raised and tail on alert.
Growling.
A light 'woof'.
More growls.

A deeper 'woof'.

Then an all out attack on the back door to be let in.

Yup it is that time of year again.
Let the Fireflies begin!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We are tired...


This is a photo of what it looks like after we've had downpours of rain in excess of 9". More photos can be seen at You Post It. It is a photo site maitained by Lacrosse TV Station News Channel 8.

This photo was taken in Ontario Wisconsin just outside Wildcat State Park. There is no river involved in this damage, this was caused by the runoff of water from the steep hillsides which makes this part of Wisconsin so unique.

Tonight Wisconsin is getting slammed again, they are evacuating folks in the Village of Potosi, Village of Livingston, and the City of Lancaster. I am dumbfounded by Mother Nature. I've spoken to friends in Iowa who are experiencing similar problems. I can only shake my head and hope this weather pattern changes very soon.

I'm growing webbed feet...does that mean anything?


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It isn't going to stop!

Rain.
Rain.
Go away.

We've had almost two days of sun. The bridge is reopened in Readstown.

Yesterday morning I watched newsclips of Lake Delton bursting into the Wisconsin River. I didn't know that Lake Delton was a man made lake. Click this for the Video and news story.


Today's weather report?
Not good:

...HEAVY RAIN POSSIBLE FROM TODAY THROUGH
THURSDAY EVENING...

.SEVERAL ROUNDS OF THUNDERSTORMS
WILL MOVE ACROSS
THE REGION FROM
LATE THIS MORNING THROUGH THURSDAY
EVENING.
THESE THUNDERSTORMS WILL
BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING VERY HEAVY RAIN.
RAINFALL TOTALS DURING
THIS TIME PERIOD ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE
BETWEEN 1 AND 4 INCHES. WITH
GROUNDS SATURATED FROM THE RECENT
HEAVY RAIN...ALONG WITH SOME
RIVERS JUST DROPPING BELOW FLOOD
STAGE...
THERE WILL BE A HIGH RISK
FOR COUNTY WIDE FLASH FLOODING AND
RIVER FLOODING FROM ANY FURTHER
HEAVY RAIN.

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL MOVE
TOWARD THE AREA THIS MORNING
FROM WESTERN IOWA AND THE DAKOTAS
EARLY THIS MORNING. THIS RAIN
WILL BEGIN TO OVERSPREAD THE AREA
LATE THIS MORNING AND CONTINUE
INTO THE AFTERNOON. FROM TONIGHT
THROUGH THURSDAY EVENING...THE
THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE CONCENTRATED
MAINLY OVER MINNESOTA ALONG THE
SLOW MOVING COLD FRONT.
While in town yesterday I did run into a 'pal' of mine. His name is Ronnie a war veteran and a real character who runs a business towing vehicles.
He has a sense of lunacy about him that makes him very endearing. He is almost never seen without his Belgian Shephard, Freeman.

He lives in LaFarge, one of the towns that has been severely flooded. He moved out of his town when the waters began to rise. He said he'd been sleeping with Freeman in the cab of his tow truck and was 'damned' tired of sleeping with the dog,...Freeman snores.

For a very interesting read follow this link for the Timeline regarding the LaFarge Dam Project which was halted. Photo of the dam...incomplete.
Flooding in this area of Wisconsin is not new. In 1930 a dam was considered to control the flooding down river.
In 1935 after a severe flood, LaFarge and the rest of the Kickapoo Valley suffer huge losses.

The story gets very interesting. I'd like to know your thoughts.
This story was a huge on going debate where ever I went yesterday.

The Kickapoo Valley Reserve and its creation is a hotly debated subject. It has been for years. Many of the original land owners and their decendants are very bitter about having their land 'taken' and then not returned when the dam project failed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Despite Flooding, Life Goes On

This is the bridge that goes over the Kickapoo River on Highway 14. This IS the way IN and out of our valley, if you were to head towards Madison.
According to the Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson...my beloved neighborlady, this bridge will be closed for at least one more day--she said that last night.
Of course the bridge will have to be deemed safe before traffic can resume.

The valley bridges below my home are either washed out on each side of the bridge or they are gone. This is the road I generally recommend to family members to take as it is so scenic. The storm last year was dubbed the '1,000 year storm'. I'm wondering what this one will be called.

For me, the storm has provided me with opportunities to get down into the creek bottom and take interesting shots. The damage to the 'first' valley wasn't much this time around. I haven't gotten back to the second valley, the one the locals call 'Black Bottom'.
The totals in storm damages are expected to exceed 60 million dollars. This was the amount of estimated damage from our August 2007 storm.

On a happy note, I live high enough that we were not effected. I am also able to use high roads to get to work and to town.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Holy Rain Buckets...


Yesterday...I don't know if it is true or not, but this day seemed to be one of the worst State Wide Weather days in my memory. These photos were taken as we drove home around 8:30 PM last night.

Weather spotters were out in force in Readstown. We spoke briefly to a firefighter and she advised us to hustle home and tuck into a valley.

At 5 AM the National Weather Service had advised that Ontario was experiencing the *worst* flooding on record. At that point in time we'd had 5 inches of rain in less than 24 hrs. We are having flash flooding at this moment.

My home is located 45 feet below the ridge and we are somewhat sheltered. We are not flooding here. However the water is running off the hillsides and down through the yard and driveway. It is also running off the hill behind the garage...and through the garage.



AT 800 AM CDT...DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO SHOW MODERATE TO HEAVY RAIN MOVING NORTHEAST ACROSS CRAWFORD...VERNON...RICHLAND...AND NORTHERN GRANT COUNTIES. UP TO A HALF INCH OF ADDITIONAL RAIN MAY FALL BETWEEN 800 AM AND 930 AM. THIS IS IN ADDITION TO THE 3 TO 6 INCHES OF RAIN THAT HAS FALLEN SINCE SATURDAY MORNING. THE VERNON COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT REPORTED THAT 5.50 INCHES OF RAIN FELL IN STODDARD SINCE SATURDAY MORNING. IN ADDITION...THE FOLLOWING ROADS WERE CLOSED... HIGHWAY 56 NEAR VIOLA HIGHWAY 80 SOUTH OF HILLSBORO HIGHWAY 162 NEAR CHASEBURG AND HIGHWAY 131 BETWEEN LA FARGE AND ONTARIO

End of the day report....Vernon County Sheriff's Department recommends no traveling in our county tonight. Many roads under water and secondary roads washed out.
The rivers and the creeks are still rising.
Have a nice evening!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

What a day


The night was filled with lightening and heavy downpours. In the morning our gage showed nearly an inch of rain. Tonight we are expecting more of the same.

Weather. One can always talk about it when there is nothing else exciting going on.

My day was boring. I began it in OT...Occupational Therapy. The term I was being evaluated for is called Lateral Epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow along with cubital tunnel syndrome.

My OT gal said that it seems that my body makes adhesions when injured. Funny that is what happened to both of my shoulders. In a word...

That suxs.

Both stink.

Her odds on whether I'd get better on my own with some PT? 30%

She feels she can help subdue the pain right now -- flair ups with all the farm related work I've been doing. I thought I could tolerate it and it would get better...no such luck, I broke down and sought professional help.

I am not exactly looking forward to the prospect of yet another surgery. In fact I am downright bummed over it. Unhappy.
It is more $ ... and well, lay up time too. Along with possible months of rehab.
We are going to try conservative methods first. Bracing at night, brace while typing, and ICE.

Rest from chores for two weeks. No lifting with the right hand, garden with the left. I'm giving it my best shot.

I'm tired and a bit disappointed. Although my OT gal said she could assuredly get me through my endurance ride with Badger!
This is cool.
After the ride may suck.

But I need to have this goal, I really do.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Happy Birthday Ride



My birthday was yesterday. For my present, I wanted to have a full day's worth of trail riding at Wildcat Mountain State Park.

And we did.
It was overcast, warm, and humid. It was gorgeous riding weather. As we got into the deep woods, there was a nice cooling breeze to ward off the gnats and some of the bugs--which really were not too bad.

We had the State Park to ourselves as we were the only vehicle in the equine parking. We rode past the campsites and saw not one person. What a great way to ride!

Our ride was quiet and fairly uneventful. We had a 'mishap' at the trout stream crossing, but I think that was a commentary by Sunshine on the fact that she was having to 'work'.

My son had told me the night before to have a great ride and be careful.
Good thing he didn't see the last 2 miles of our ride.

The Roscoe Johnson Trail.
2.25 miles of very rough very slippery, very interesting trail riding. We came across two places where we could see that other riders had turned back. Did we?
Nah.

Climbing up a steep slippery slope [I felt the downside was better] to go around a huge downed a maple tree, then across 10 ft of slippery wet moss covered stone...that was enough to start the heart thumping.

The new twists and turns from last years heavy rains and wind storms kept us and our mules on our toes.
Then there were multiple places where we had no choice but to go over downfalls in the trail. I was in the lead and as we stepped over the tree my stirrups bumped the log. I went a few steps and thought, no way is Sunshine going to make that!

Rich apparently had the same thoughts, because he was getting ready to dismount to see if he could 'jump' her...when Sunshine decided to make a go of it. She reached one leg over then the second. Her belly was resting on the log...she grunted and popped her hind legs up and over.

I must say, I was impressed by her bravery and fortitude.

We made it made it back to camp just as the raindrops began to fall.
What a birthday gift, what a fun ride.
I'll post a link to the video clips I took during the ride on a later post.


video

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Garden??


Vegetable gardens.
I don't like them.

Why? Well, I think I spent too many hours in them as a kid to really learn to enjoy them. To me it was hot, unsatisfying work. Time spent away from the sandbox, time spent away from the swimming hole, time spent away from doing all the things kids think they ought to be doing during those hot summer endless days.

Yesterday found me planting vegetable seeds. Green onions, beets, green beans...
tomatoes and peppers will come soon.

I'm starting out small, very small. I looked over my crooked rows and actually felt some satisfaction. The dirt was warm on my bare feet. It smelled good and it felt warm in my hands. Maybe this is how I was supposed to experience it as a child.

This morning I went out to water the mares in the meadow. I stood rather bored, watching the hose pour water into the 100 gallon tank.
I looked around me and saw...

Lamb's Quarters.

I knew I have them all around me. Heck I was standing in old pasture land and along with the lamb's quarters was horse nettles and dandelions.

I stooped down and began picking them.
As a kid I was fascinated with these. Grandma would take us back by the woodshed and we would pick 'weeds' to go along with our supper. Grandma Lind would say 'they taste just like spinach'.
I liked spinach.

'Weeds'

I smiled with the memory of picking them with my boys and cooking them years ago. Yes they are tasty weeds, just steam them and eat them with some butter, salt, and pepper.
Tonight I'm going to eat my veggies from my 'wild' garden.

I just walked by my itty bitty veggie garden. It hasn't sprouted yet.
Guess I should be patient, right?