New Blog! New Goat!

I’ve been absent for a few weeks because I’ve been working on my new blog.  It took forever to get it up because I’m so non-techy and honestly, find WordPress really hard to use.  (I think my last post here was about my abject frustration trying to get my new blog up.)  But, the WordPress expert folks were really helpful and patient.

So, with that . . . I would love it if you checked out Setting Stori Free.  (settingstorifree.wordpress.com)  I would love it even more if you followed that blog too and commented and told other people about it.  Thanks!

And . . . drum roll . . . we finally found a goat!  His name is Tater and he’s fitting in well for the most part.

And . . . we have new baby chicks.

And . . . Slewy, my horse, is rather sick with some yet-to-be-diagnosed neurological problem / disease.

Tater and new baby chicks (well, they’re not really “new” anymore) will get their own post with photos soon.  At the moment, I need to go roust my two teenagers out of bed.

Have a beautiful day!

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Frustration Post

Warning:  I’m frustrated.

I’m trying to set up a new blog / site here on WordPress.  I’m going to keep this one and keep posting in it but I want a different site for a whole different topic.

I find WordPress completely counter-intuitive and nearly impossible to use!!!  I remember having an extreme amount of difficulty when I started this blog.  There are still some things I’d like to change about it but I’ve got no idea how to and I’m worried about screwing up what I already have so I just leave it be.

I’m trying to set up my new site and I feel like somehow I wound up in “sites for businesses” or something rather than “personal blog” because all the layouts I can choose from are business related and I hate all the fonts and I don’t need “buttons” or a ton of contact information or any of that stuff.

Grrrrr . . . .

I keep thinking that WordPress must be fairly simple because a TON of people use it and they can’t all be super techy, right?  I’m super not techy but come on!!

I’m kind of at a loss.  I’ve blown the half hour I have to myself here this morning just trying to figure out how to change the font size on something.  Seriously, 30 whole minutes and I can’t figure it out!

That’s ridiculous.

So, does anyone have any super simple, clear, good WordPress help sites?  I find Word Press’ own “help” articles and videos to be confusing.

Help!

Update on . . . Stuff

Its almost 11:30 p.m.  Our beloved dog, Sam, is “not quite right” this evening.  That’s my diagnosis for our animals when I can’t specifically point to what’s wrong and I debate the degree of “not right”, which leads to calling / going to  the vet or not.

Sam has epilepsy and chronic pancreatitis.  His symptoms are mostly pointing to an upset tummy but he has some other symptoms that worry me – a little bit of trembling now and then and he’ll close one eye and then the other.  But gums look good, he’s alert, and respiration looks pretty normal.  The trembling could be pain.  So I’m staying up for an hour or so to keep an eye on him.  Although, I think he went to bed and is probably wondering why I’m still up.

So . . . there’s that.

Our shelter in place restrictions are sort of slowly being lifted.  And you know what, I’m honestly not really happy about it.  Don’t get me wrong, I want everyone to go back to work.  But, with quarantine, the world has been . . . quieter.  And I like that.

I haven’t missed anything I was doing before.  I don’t miss going to Scouts every week.  I definitely haven’t missed camping.  I’m just running around less.  We don’t have to get up at 6:15 to get kids to school and I don’t have to go pick them up in the afternoon.

Granted, we’re lucky.   Husband is still working and I didn’t really work anyway so our income hasn’t changed.  I have teenagers so I’m not trying to entertain little ones.  We have 4 acres and horses so there’s plenty to do and space to roam.  My kids actually get along with each other and we enjoy hanging out together.  They do their homework (mostly) and help out with stuff around the house (usually).  Neither of them are graduating this year so they’re not missing out on senior year stuff.  My daughter is changing schools next year so she’s a little bummed that she didn’t get to tell everyone in person and say good-bye.  But, overall, I’ve really got no complaints.

I’m pretty sure Scout summer camp is going to be canceled and I’m super bummed about that.  We were going to Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island.  I love Catalina and our previous experience at Emerald Bay was fantastic.  Plus, this is going to be my son’s last summer camp.  I was really looking forward to going with both kids.  I’m going to miss that.

We’re also really trying to decide whether or not to go on our summer trip in late June.  We’re scheduled to go to the outer banks in North Carolina and then slowly drive our way north to New York City.  We have just over a week in NYC and then will fly home from there.  Husband and I are discussing options.  We were supposed to take this trip last year but somehow, we just didn’t.  Daughter really wants to go and so she’s going to be upset if we don’t.  But we can find something else to do and maybe, if we stay home this summer, next summer, we’ll take another month-long trip.  We’ll see.

O.k., so this whole post is really not about anything.  I’m still working on getting back on my horse, Slewy.  We were making some progress but were interrupted by having to finish up my daughter’s year-long project for her AP class.  Then I spent all last week trying to catch up a little bit.  I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Which is why I didn’t write the last two weeks . . . remember, no whining in the blog.  I’ll be back on track next week.

And, next week, I’ll introduce our new baby chicks and our new goat.

I’d better go check on Sam the dog.

A Saddling Experiment

I’ve been putting Slewy back to work with plans to actually ride him soon.  Given that its Slewy, we’ve run into some hiccups.  I’m trying to be creative and patient in finding our way past these little issues.

Disclaimer:  I’m not an expert.  I’m not a professional trainer.  I’m just a lady who has owned horses since she was a teenager, has had a fair number of lessons, has done a little bit of horseback riding teaching to beginners, has a tiny bit of showing experience and has a Bachelor’s degree in Equine Science (and one in English).

So if you’re a horsey person who has some relevant advice or thoughts, I’d love to hear it.  But just please be kind.

Our first hiccup was that the trainer my daughter rides with (and whom I’ve ridden with a couple of times) has been convinced that Slewy’s poor behavior is caused by “kissing spine”.  “Kissing spines refers to a condition in horses in which two or more of the spinous processes (the flanges of bone sticking up from each vertebra in the spine) are positioned so that they touch or rub against each other.”  (ker.com)  Here’s an x-ray showing kissing spine (not Slewy):

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So we had Slewy x-rayed.  Slewy does not have kissing spine.  Yay!

(Don’t worry, we’ll get to the saddling experiment.)

With that diagnosis out of the way, I put Slewy to work on the lunge line.  “Lunging” a horse consists of having him work in a large circle around you.  Its sort of boring, honestly, but there are a lot of things you can do on the lunge line.  For example, your horse can practice listening to you, you can practice transitions between gaits (walk to trot, trot to canter, walk to whoa), you can work over ground poles (literally poles on the ground that your horse goes over).  Lunging is a good way to get horses back in shape or just to “get the bucks out” before you get on them.

Lunge line work has been going well so I decided to put a saddle back on Slewy.  Please note that Slewy has a custom fit saddle and a very expensive ($200), very fluffy, saddle pad.  So Slewy really has no excuse to be a dork about having his saddle put on.

But, of course, Slewy is a dork.  We put his saddle on and Slewy acted like he was going to die.  Seriously, he pretended that he couldn’t walk.

Day 2 of saddle, we went through the same thing.  But I watched Slewy very carefully this time around.  Slewy bloats, i.e., holds his breath when  you put his saddle and girth on.  (The girth is the part that goes around the horse’s tummy to hold your saddle in place.)  Horses that bloat / hold their breath, make their tummy bigger so that when you’re done, and they let their breath out, their girth is looser.  (Not that the girth hurts them in any way; its no different than wearing a belt.)

After a few minutes of talking to him and scratching his neck (Slewy’s favorite thing in the world, besides food), Slewy relaxes and remembers that he can, in fact, walk.

I began to wonder if he wasn’t just holding his breath and freaking himself out.  Slewy is like that.

I remembered that, before his current job of “family horse”, Slewy was a racehorse.  Many racehorses are saddled as they’re walking, pausing for only the briefest of moments so the saddle can be tossed on and the girth done up.

So we decided, on Day 3, to play “racehorse”.  (This is the saddling experiment.)  I put Slewy’s bridle on, which he doesn’t mind at all.  Then, I had my daughter walk Slewy in a circle around the little barn yard.  They walked a couple of circles and, on the third time around, paused for me to throw a saddle pad (fluffy that goes under the saddle) on.  More walking circles.  And then a brief pause for me to put his saddle on as quickly as possible.  Then, immediately to more walking.

It sort of worked.  Slewy did settle down much more quickly.  Normally, I’d put his saddle pads on, then go get his saddle, saunter back over, fuss with his saddle pads, and put his saddle on.  That gave Slewy a lot of time to worry.  And Slewy worries a lot.  So I think our new “racehorse method” distracted him and gave less worry time.

We’ll try it again today.  Here’s a picture of said dork, Slewy:20200417_174722

He is cute, isn’t he?  Which is why we’re being patient, going slow, trying experiments, and working hard to figure out what’s best for dear Slewy.

 

My Horse Needs a Goat

Yep, Slewy the horse needs a goat.  My veterinarian actually prescribed Slewy a goat.  Now, I just need to find one.

20200212_091303  That’s Slewy.  For those of you who don’t know him, Slewy is my extremely sweet, highly anxious, severely ADD, very large, off-the-track Thoroughbred.  “Off-the-track Thoroughbred” or OTTB, means that he was a race horse but now had a new career.  In Slewy’s case, he only ran 4 races and was terrible.  My guess is that he couldn’t focus.  His new “career”, if you can call it that, is to be a family horse.

Anyway, its not uncommon for stress-y Thoroughbreds to have a pet goat.  For some reason, goats tend to calm their Thoroughbred down.

Stormy, my almost-31-year-old Thoroughbred, who was never a race horse, used to have a goat named Oh Well.  Stormy loved Oh Well so much that once, when I had to take Oh Well to the vet, I came home to find Stormy colicking.  Colic is basically a horse tummy ache but it can quickly become fatal.  As Oh Well got older, began to worry about what Stormy was going to do when she passed away.  So I got Stormy some new goats.  He could have cared less.  But he was ok when she did pass so maybe the new goats helped a bit?

Here’s dear Stormy.  This was taken just the other day; I couldn’t find one of him and Oh Well.

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Oh Well started us on several years of owning various goats. DSC_0560  This was Oh Dear.  She and her sister, Oh My, were Stormy’s next goats whom he never bonded with.

Next we had Billy, Willy and ???  (I honestly can’t remember the third one’s name!!!)  They came to us because they had the unfortunate habit of jumping on (and denting) cars.  They were overly friendly.

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You would think overly friendly goats would be ok but, when your goats like to jump up on you (like a dog) and they’re super tall and  you have smaller children, it becomes problematic.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   The half door that he’s up on is chest height on me, which gives you an idea of how tall these three were and why the “Hi!  I want to hug you!!!” wasn’t always welcome.

Its been several years since we’ve had goats.  In the past, it seems like our goats just sort of found their way to us but now I’m actually looking for a goat.  Which, has turned out to be more difficult than I thought.  And, goats have apparently gotten expensive!!!

My vet recommended a well-known goat dairy about 5 minutes from us.  I called.  Yes, they have baby goats.  We’re up to finishing up bottle feeding because at the moment, like the rest of the world, we’re home with lots of time.  Then they told me the price of said baby goats . . . $400!!!!

$400 for a companion goat!!

I think the most we ever paid for a goat previously was $50.  So, much to my daughter’s disappointment, I said I’m not paying $400 for a backyard goat.  She could just see herself bottle feeding her new baby goat.  I pointed out that the goat was then likely to bond to her rather than Slewy.  And that Slewy needs a comfort goat; she does not.  This argument fell on deaf ears.  Well, either way, I’m not paying $400 for a goat.

Next was a Craigslist search for goats.  We found a baby fainting goat.  I’ve always wanted fainting goats!!!  But then, it occurred to us that if Slewy’s goat suddenly fell over, catatonic, that might be more upsetting than comforting.  O.k., no fainting goats.

I called my vet back to ask for another recommendation.  Told the receptionist that the dairy’s goats were too expensive.  “How much did they want?” she asked.  “$400” I said.  “Holy Crap!” was her response.  O.k., good, its not just me who thought that was an awful lot for a goat.

We got referred to a local farm animal rescue.  That sounds better!

After a long talk with the rescue lady and sending a “virtual tour” of our place – they aren’t doing home approval visits because of coronavirus, she’s on the lookout for a goat for us.  I’m all for rescue animals.  So hopefully, a post in the very near future will be to introduce Slewy’s new goat!

Coronavirus Monday Morning

Is it terrible that its 10:15 and I haven’t rousted my kids out of bed yet?  I have a good reason. . . . they don’t have “school” on Mondays so this precious time between when my husband has left for work and I make the two teenagers get up is really all that’s left of my quiet time.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family.  But having the two teenagers home 24/7 is kind of wearing me out.

Quiet time by myself with a cup of coffee keeps me sane.  That’s hard to come by these days.

So I’m sitting here, surfing the internet, sipping coffee and watching hummingbirds stop by the feeder right outside my window.

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Hummingbirds are cool.

But surfing the internet, Pinterest specifically, and staring out at my front yard, has me contemplating contentment.  I decided my Pinterest boards needed to be organized.  So many ideas!  So many things to do!  So many people who are more crafty, more organized, have a better fashion sense, have a more beautiful house . . . well, you get the idea.

Maybe Pinterest isn’t particularly good for me.  Rather than inspire, it sometimes serves as a catalog of all the things I’m not.  Or, at least, I’m “not” in my head.

Wait!  When I started writing here in my blog again, I swore I wasn’t going to return to whining.

O.k., so I won’t.

This weekend wasn’t the easiest for me personally.  I didn’t sleep particularly well and, when I did sleep, I had funky dreams.  Maybe I’m more worried about cornoavirus than I think.  Coronoavirus often seems very far away as we’re here on our 4 acres with our horses and hummingbirds.

But life has changed, hasn’t it?  And I think I’m more worried than maybe I realize.  Are the kids going back to school ever?  Am I going to get to go look at colleges with our oldest?  Are we financially going to be ok?  How much weight will I gain if I try out all of the pins on m Pinterest “Dessert Recipes to Try” board?

O.k., o.k, I’m almost out of coffee and the two teenagers really do need to get up.  And the laundry needs to be folded.  And, maybe I need to make a fairy garden from my Pinterest “Garden Decorating” board.

Laundry and kids first.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

If I only knew for sure what day it was!  Is anyone else having trouble keeping track of whether is Tuesday or Wednesday, Wednesday or Thursday?  All the days just seem to roll together lately.  When Husband doesn’t go to work, I’ll know its Saturday or Sunday but that’s about it.

It is a beautiful day out though!  Its sunny and lightly breezy, even if its not exactly warm out yet.  Hummingbirds visit the feeder which hangs right outside my window.  The apple tree is blooming, as is the azalea.

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Virtual school has started for my kids.  Honestly, its a joke.  I’m pretty disappointed in our school district.  And, now that in person school has been canceled for the rest of the year here in California, I’m worried about how this will affect their education.  My kids, of course, don’t care . . . they’re delighted to “attend” school only an hour (or less!) a day.  We’re only on day 3 of virtual school so we’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, the apple tree has gorgeous blossoms.

I’m trying to focus on the positive and take a few minutes every day to notice the small things around me.  I’m lucky to live here in our little oasis.