how much wood could a woodchuck chuck?
norman and wolf
siptah57

Not much if you're talking about THIS woodchuck. I was feeling pretty full of myself yesterday. I had brought in another load of hay and we were having a couple of nice days so I thought it would be perfect to get some of the firewood in for the upstairs stove. There was a big old cherry tree on the edge of our pasture that has been standing dead for a few years now. We would have harvested it earlier but it had a definite lean towards one of the horse's run-in sheds and David didn't really think he could drop it without hitting the building so we just waited. Last year the old shed finally bit the dust and we needed to rebuild it so finally the tree came down. It spent another winter on the ground but this spring we got our acts together, cut it up and hauled it up to the yard so we could split it at our convenience. Ha. David never got around to splitting any and then he broke his ankle in two places making it my project.  I'm no hot house flower. I know my way around axes, mauls and wedges and have split quite a bit of firewood over the years that we have lived in a house heated by wood. My first experience with this tree didn't go very well. For one thing it's DRY which means it's HARD. Somtimes you can hit it with that ten pound maul and it bounces off like both maul and wood are actually made of rubber. I actually hear a boinging sound in my head when that happens. Boooinggg. A couple of weeks ago when I started trying to do this I managed to split off a section and  found a plastic electric fence insulator with it's nail still in it two inches inside the wood of the tree from when it was part of the fenceline twenty years ago! The tree had just grown around it. That was a bad day but it was a while ago and I had a couple of good days since so I had forgotten about it. Yesterday I did pretty well and managed to split enough to keep us in firewood for five or six nights and didn't really have too much trouble except for one little piece that the amount of effort I expended to split it in half was completely out of proportion to what I was getting for it. Today I came in from doing the morning chores, put on my safety glasses and Greta and I went out to do wood. Greta to chew it and me to split it into submission. After a half an hour of sweating and cursing I came back into the house and announced "look what I made!" and put the two pieces I had managed to split on the pile. That is the funny thing about splitting firewood, it is a lot of work but as long as you can advance your cause you are all set but the minute you hit a piece that fights back it sucks the life out of you. I now think that David broke his ankle in order to avoid having to split that tree, in fact  I'm almost certain of it.       

quiet sunday
norman and wolf
siptah57

Horses and humans and doggie are fed. Morning chores are done. Wood-stove is stoked and putting out heat. Hay man called to say he will be by to deliver a load tomorrow which means... NOT TODAY. Yay! He had told me he was coming by yesterday so we waited all day to no avail. :-( I only have so much physical energy and if I am going to have to do a load of hay I really can't expend it on other heavy chores, like splitting firewood for instance, so yesterday was pretty much a wash. It was aggravating but I think he forgot it was New Year's Day. I roasted a big bird for a nice New Year's Eve feast since we are not ones to go out and party hard, even when we are both healthy. Our big celebration would have probably been to go see Harry Potter again, but with the broken leg a quiet night in was more our speed this year. The meal was delish and I made enough sausage and mushroom stuffing to choke a horse so at the end of the night we were the ones who were stuffed, not the bird. There was just enough room for the dark chocolate and black current bar for dessert :-) Now the post roast chicken soup is simmering on the stove. Homemade chicken soup for dinner, ummm.  I have impatiently waited and waited for Sherlock to arrive from Netflix and finally could not wait any longer. I just bought it. Weird how sometimes you just know you are going to love something. Normally I would never buy something I had never seen before but I just knew I would be safe with this. It's brilliant and I am totally in love with it. Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect as Sherlock, as is Martin Freeman as Watson. I can't believe that they left it as a cliff- hanger though,  bastards! I also have a new character clothing obsession. It has been Merlin's boots for ages but Sherlock's coat? Want it and, who knows,  might actually be able to find something similar unlike the plain brown, distressed Vivian Westwood's that grace Merlin's feet, alas. I'm going to have to check out their (B.C and M.F.) work in other things. Seems to me I remember that Martin Freeman has been cast in The Hobbit. That would be cool to see. Think I'll sign off, I have a little bit before I should go out and try to chop some wood, maybe hubby and I will watch some Dr. Who. :-) 

Joe the builder
norman and wolf
siptah57
Or Josephine, I suppose. We are experiencing our first really big winter storm so far. This morning, since we knew we were running out of time, the two of us were out right off in the morning, snow already falling, to try to get the plow on the truck for the first time this winter. David was hopping around on his crutches in the snow, directing, and I was doing the grunt work, using one of the three odd-ball steel bars to lever the plow this way or that, up or down. Minute mount plow MY ASS!!! Minute mount for those people who have perfect blocking on their perfectly level cement floors in their perfect garages or shops ie, people not us. I always remember standing in the kitchen cooking or washing dishes and seeing David outside the window banging and cursing as he tried to get the plow on. Now I know why. I can't believe that he used to do it alone now that I've done it once. Of course once we got it on and the plugs all plugged he put the power to it and... sparks and smoke from the power cord! It's now completely dead in the water. :-(  After having a little meltdown I went down to the barn to repair all the damage that we had been putting off fixing since this spring. Two uprights and three rafter braces. All these things we thought we were going to have the time to do but between David's crazy schedule and Heather's horse issues and now the broken ankle it just didn't get done. Well, Josephine the Builder to the rescue. It's strange that I can, in fact, go down to the barn and rebuild it on my own . It took me about two and a half hours and hopefully the roof won't fall down on their heads when we get a big snow load on the roof. I rock. Then I came up to the house and made homemade butternut squash soup and cornbread for supper. I definitely rock. I am now enjoying a two hour respite where I can do what I want... horses are done for the night , dog has gone out, supper is cooked and the woodstove is stoked. Time for wine and Live Journal, sigh. On a sad note David called our neighbor Fran Judd to ask them if they would plow us out this storm until we get our plow straightened out and he said yes but also told us he had been diagnosed with cancer :-((( Put our puny woes into perspective.



How are you doing?
norman and wolf
siptah57
My friend Karen sent me an e-card the other day with a quote on it about how nature paints scenes of beauty for us every day if only we had the eyes to see them. I had to send her back a message to say that I truly believed that but lately it seemed like just a lot of frozen manure. I confessed to David tonight that when my friend Cindy and I went Christmas shopping the other day I told her that whenever people called they always inquired how poor David was and that I wanted to say "David is fine! All he does is sit around and read Harry Potter all day! Nobody asks how I AM!!!" He cracked up and said we should put that on our Christmas letter. When we married we just fell into a pretty traditional set of roles without thinking about it. I cooked and did the household stuff and a lot of the yard and garden things, David took care of the horses. The heavy stuff like bringing in hay or grain or doing repairs we split 50/50. I am quite unprepared by the sheer physicality of what I'm doing, it's non-stop. When David is on light duty he gets to learn to cook says I, and do the dishes and keep the stove stoked. I will have to continue doing the horses and the dog but that will take some of the strain off. I just need to get through the next couple of months until he can actually walk on it but it will be much longer before he could take the strain of the barns chores again. Cindy said " Think of all the calories you are burning" Yes, and I'm always starving! The other night I made broiled lemon and garlic chicken breasts and I made extra for left-overs... I ended up eating it all. It was like I was self medicating with animal protein! I'm making a pot roast right now. I haven't eaten beef in weeks and I am really, really looking forward to it. Hope I don't eat the whole thing this time! I feel like I could, poor cow.  

one step closer
norman and wolf
siptah57

David and I just got back from a quick ramble up to the post office box. I was thinking that once he felt alittle better he should try to drive with his left foot. He wouldn't be able to use the car since there was not enough room to the right of the steering column to stretch out his leg and cast but the truck has a bench seat and it is completely open to the right of the driver's seat. Initially he was quite against it which surprised me but he was pretty low and on drugs as well so I just shut my mouth about it. He has been off of the pain meds for a couple of days now and he is feeling a little more like himself so I suggested we try it today. He had his sneaker and coat on before I could even make Greta a peanut butter bone ( Mimi, David, Greta and David's huge cast in one truck cab= recipe for disaster) and put her in her crate.  :-) That's more like it. It was a success, maybe we will try the dump tomorrow. He really isn't doing very well just sitting around. The more he can do his own stuff the better for him emotionally. His post -op check up was good and the surgeon said that the bones should be healed in four weeks. Even taking into consideration that he will have surgery again to remove the pin that is in there ,we are still a month ahead of what they told us initially. Thank God, It won't help much with all the work involved with taking care of the horses, that will still be up to me ,but possibly I won't have to learn to plow snow, yippee skippee 

13 1/2 tons
norman and wolf
siptah57

I took delivery of the fourth load of hay for the barn today since David's injury. Curious, I did some math. 193 bales weighing 35 lbs (at least) each lifted 4 times per delivery equals 27,020 lbs I've lifted in the past few weeks...13 1/2 tons moved by little ol' me. That isn't taking into account the 700 lbs of grain I shift a week. No wonder I'm beat! Poor David is having a hard time dealing with the anxiety of watching me do everything and not being able to help. A few days ago I came in from doing the morning chores and found he had made breakfast for us, two bowls of cereal with sliced bananas, sweet. Today when I came in from doing the hay I found him on his crutches in front of the sink doing the dishes. We have worked out a way he can get up and down the stairs on his own so he can be pretty independent in the house, so that is good.  My day starts out at 6:30 when Greta wakes me up to go out so I make her breakfast and start the fire and take her out for a walk then at 7:30, if it's not Saturday and I'm expecting the grain delivery, I'll go back to catch a couple more hours of sleep. Then I get up and do the fire again, make coffee and breakfast and then do the feeding and watering and some chores. After I come in it is mid-day and I start to cook our main meal of the day. We usually eat around two and then I have until 4:30 before I go out to do evening chores. At 5:30 I'm done, toast, except for the continuing running to the basement to load the stove and taking the dog out for her walks, the last one being between 11:00 and 12:00 p.m. It is like I set with the sun. My brain is fried. Next on the list to worry about is moving the plow and repairing the two uprights in the barn. Joy.

so not the plan
norman and wolf
siptah57
When David first started Diana I thought it was going to be a long road and frankly I was a little worried that she could be the kind of horse that might hurt him, she was such a big over-reacter to the smallest things. Things that other young horses don't even blink an eye at she treated, not only as scary, but life threatening. I have to say, David did a really nice job with her. Monday was going to be her last riding session of the season, the ground was locking up hard so we came late in the afternoon hoping that the sun had gotten to it a little and we could get some good footage of her going under saddle so Heather could use some for her for sale advertising. Diana had gotten to the place where she seemed like she thought of herself as a saddle horse and the longing and line driving that continued to come before (in shorter and shorter sessions) was just preparation for it. There were a couple of little things that he was still struggling with, her refusal to stand when mounted for instance  but he had gotten to the point that he even could canter her. She was a little bucky/kicky at the canter, it obviously felt weird to her (miss sensitive!) and he was hoping to do some canter work that last day since he really hadn't had much opportunity to do it, but although the sun had warmed one area of the ring the other 2/3rds was still frozen rock hard. He had just about given up on the session and was riding up to me. I was filming him and saw the cinch suddenly let go. It was under enough pressure that it swung under her belly and flew out, visible to her on the off side. Her head went up and her eyes got big, classic bolter stance. I said "OMG, get off!" He had felt it let go and started to drop the stirrups and push away when she off she went. There is just something about bailing on a horse, it's much easier to get hurt doing it than simply falling, perhaps because you don't do it naturally. She was standing right in front of me. I had put my hand out to her, hoping to delay her just enough to give him extra time. Your first instinct is to try to grab the reins and to stop her but that would have been impossible (as we had learned from her earlier longing lessons) and even if I did manage to I was standing on the wrong side. She would have swung away from me towards where David was on the ground, trampling him. Better to step out of the way and let her bolt off straight away from him, which I did. Long story short, he is in the hospital seeing pink elephants, whacked out on a cocktail of morphine and percocet after having surgery to repair the two fractures on his ankle. He has been training horses pretty much during our entire marriage and he got to 52 before he had ever been seriously injured. The surgeon said 3 MONTHS of NO PRESSURE on the leg, then three months of light duty. I have no idea how I'm going to deal with taking care of six horses , a dis-abled husband and a rural horse farm in the middle of winter alone but that will be the subject of another post. I'm completely overwhelmed by the thought of it. Right now I'm just concentrating on getting him home and safely in our own bed, I don't like leaving him to the care of others. :-(  p.s. Ironically the dangerous horse didn't do a thing wrong. Equipment failure is entirely our fault. *pissed at self*    

winter's commin'!
norman and wolf
siptah57
I would be tempted to say that this morning was beautiful, except that it really wasn't. The sky was a sullen gray and the wind was sharp,creeping under the hood of my jacket no matter what I did. It was a raw, nasty day that was threatening winter yet on occasion the sun managed to break through and it's warmth and rich yellow light was all the more glorious for it. The air was full of snowflakes, fat, lacey ones that had no interest in falling to the ground but danced gently around on the air currents giving everything an otherworldly appearance. Because of this and despite the ankle-twisting frozen ground I was in no great rush to finish chores and come in. I spent time fixing the girl's fence which was a complete cat's-cradle wreck and had obviously been repaired the last time in the dark. :-/  They can now no longer get into the middle paddock. Maybe next week sometime when we are sure they are settled into their smaller space the stallion can come up into his winter turn-out. Once everybody is settled into their winter quarters chores will be simpler, we will have one less water trough to break open and fill every day and Arby is so much closer to the house, no more climbing down to the lower paddock. Yeah, I'm looking forward it it. Downstairs woodstove is lit for the winter now and putting out the heat. The house is now regularly in the mid-sixties which is a friggin' heat wave for us. There have been a bunch of home-invasions in the area and I was thinking I wanted to put up a sign about the dog, after all we have a bad-ass German Shepherd, we might as well announce it. It's true that Greta is still young enough that she expects to be protected rather than the other way around but potential law breakers don't need to know that. She weighs 60 pounds and has a set of choppers that should be a deterrent. So I looked at signs like I can reach the fence in 2.8 seconds, can you?,  My Yard, My House, Your Ass,  Anything in my yard i get to eat,  Life after death? Jump the fence and find out. except we unfortunatly don't have a fence which might be confusing to potential law breakers. After all if we don't have a fence, maybe we don't even have a dog though the half dozen well-chewed marrow bones scattered across the yard might be a clue. Maybe I should put up a sign that says This is what happened to our cow after the dog got out, don't let the dog out.

stuffed
norman and wolf
siptah57
Although today is actually turkey day we celebrated yesterday by going down to Dawn & Ootje's for a feast. Dawn worked until three and the girls had ballet practice from 4:30 to 7:30 or so. I don't actually know since they decided to forgo it and stay to visit with us. First we stuffed ourselves with cheese and crackers, hummus and veggies, guacamole and tortilla chips and assorted marinated olives, mushrooms and roasted red peppers. And drank quite a bit of wine. I began having visions of us being like the ancient Romans (minus the vomitorium or whatever) since we were doing this all sacked out comfortably around the same low table. It was 50% eating and 50% playing the traditional game of Clue, which I won for the first time. Yay me! Then the girls and I took Greta out for a walk and when we got back she lay down in the middle of the three of us as we were sitting on the floor downstairs and got treated to a three person massage. Yay Greta! Then we got to eat a great meal thanks to my sister. I made pumpkin and pecan pies which came out pretty well and we all had a good time. When we went to leave David took Greta out of her crate and put her in the car so that she would be contained while he broke it down and we packed up everything but I thought I'd try to see if she would appreciate a little walk before our long drive home. She snooped around but didn't accomplish anything, what she really, really wanted to do was go back inside and visit some more so that's what we did. She worked very hard at charming everyone, sniffing, wanting pats, tying us up with her leash, stealing a glove, attempting to steal a shoe. They all found her lovely. Emma and Emily both really enjoy seeing her but Emma in particular seems like a dog girl. She was giving Greta full body hugs and was totally engaged with her. Emily spent quite a bit of time talking to me and patting Greta but Emma was completely into the dog. Then we went along home. Greta slept the whole was and didn't wake until we were pulling into the driveway. Luckily we were not that sleepy despite the late hour (around 1:00am) because the house was freezing. David made a fire while I put stuff away and we had a cup of sleepytime tea. We didn't get to sleep until after 2:00. He is working tonight, Turkey Day, and we considered going to a movie but ended up spending the day in. I actually cooked a turkey meal which came out well and David stacked the last of the wood and locked the bulkhead from inside,which I really appreciate. There have been a lot of home invasions in Northampton and the surrounding area in the last few weeks. They enter during the night while the people are sleeping. So far the houses that have been hit have had open doors, not something we do up here but the bulkhead hasn't been locked because of all the firewood that was still piled in it. I don't want to be sleeping here alone with an open bulkhead thanks very much and now I don't have to. He also got the downstairs stove going finally so in a couple of days the temperature in the house should stabilize some and I can do laundry any time again. I'm feeling quite sleepy now. It feels very late and of course it is only 6:30. Maybe I'll take a little nap by my hubby for a bit. Mnnn, that sounds nice, going to do that right now. Signing off :-)   

unexpected guests
norman and wolf
siptah57
So the other morning I was out on the front porch with Greta, sitting in the sun and the wind, trying not to disturb David's meager five hours of shut-eye before his next shift and chatting on the phone with my sister about what we might or might not do for Thanksgiving when a pick-up truck drives up our road. I gave it a dirty look because I thought it was the despised hunters but it pulls into our driveway. Oh no! :-O I am wearing my post-chore hanging around the house not really doing anything at the moment uniform for cold weather ie sweatpants over long johns, fuzzy bootie slippers, three layers of not very pristine fleece, an official Trustees of Reservations fleece hat that I'm sure they would not feel my wearing of it was very good advertising and hair that had yet to see a brush that day. I reluctantly step out into the yard to discover the man getting out of the truck is my cousin Bob who I haven't seen in, like, five years. "Who is that?" I say into to phone to my sister "Oh my God, it's Bobby Moriarty!"  "Oh, tell him I said hi" she says and I came within two inches of handing the phone to him and letting her talk to him. She is the gregarious one in the family, I am the hermit but I realize that there is nothing for it, I'm going to have to VISIT. Fortunately Bobby likes to talk thus he is easy to talk to, you can just interject comments on occasion and it seems almost like a real conversation. He also talks LOUDLY, it made me wonder if perhaps he is going deaf. I didn't ask him though. With him was a woman who I assumed was his wife Nancy but turned out to be my other cousin, his sister Jaye, which was pretty embarrasin' for me since I called my own cousin Nancy. In my defense I admit I hadn't really looked at her and just assumed... what is that old chestnut about what happens when you assume? At my house an old chestnut is a horse so screw the whole bunch of them. I never claimed to be good at this. So now I'm standing in the sun and the wind on the little patch of grass that constitutes a yard at our place and talking to my cousins while being essentially yelled at by one and given dirty looks by the other when Greta decides from her viewpoint on the porch that since the intruders don't seem dangerous that maybe she will come down and visit too. Bobby is quite smitten with her and says when he sees he "NOW THAT'S A DOG!"  Greta is not quite so sure about Bobby though and sniffs him cautiously going "Ow my ears! Is there something wrong with him? Why is he yelling?" Then she sniffs Jaye and Jaye looks down at Greta, who is finding her to be very interesting smelling indeed, and says "Yes, I have a dog, now go away. I don't like dogs." When I told this to David later he said "Judy, get out of Jaye" I suppose I might have sent Greta away but I was feeling a little ornery, after all Greta lives here and we didn't invite them. I did discourage her when the sniffing went from smelling Jaye's dog to smelling Jaye herself and became. uhm,  inappropriate. That's a howdy that even I don't enjoy. Jaye commented that her dog was "this big" indicating with her hand something the size of a loaf of bread. I got a really dirty look when I commented  "Oh, snack -sized" although Bobby seemed to think it was funny. So we stood there and talked and joked and Bobby was like HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  and Jaye was like hiss,snicker,snicker and an occasional, grudging chortle, and David is inside lying in bed going "what the hell is all that noise?" and then they realized how friggin' cold it was and went away. The end.

            

?

Log in