Sunday, April 25, 2010

The escapees and just stuff....

I got home from work one night and thought I saw the llama in the outside barn lot - and then I realized Tandee and Batman were out there too.  A gate panel got left open when we were moving dirt and they decided to venture out.  All three were happy to follow me back in to their area.  I am glad that Batman was okay!

Look!  Paco ground ties!  Okay, not really....he grass ties.  :-)

One evening we were working on trailer loading with Thunder and he was standing in the door when he jumped back and bonked his head - not once, but twice!  OUCH!  He knocked the hair off but no open wounds.  Whew!  That night we got him back up to it just sat there while he sniffed around and relaxed.  The next night I worked with him and he put two feet in a couple of times.  Then came the rain and since the floor of the trailer would be slick, I have not tried it since.  What is funny is he has been in that trailer so many times!  It was hooked to their pen and both horses jumped in every day.  Go figure!  Paco is loading very well.  He drives right in.

Here is Thunder trying real hard to come in....

I thought he did real well.  When Brian got home he changed clothes and took Thunder for a walk.  Thunder got spoiled and got to eat grass for a while...look at that tail of his!  It is so thick and beautiful!  Yes, I mean Thunder!  Ha ha!

Brian hung out with Thunder a while and was putting his arm over Thunders head.  Thunder was so relaxed and just looking around.  Another little break thru...that feeling of confinement did not get the best of him.  Good boy Thunder!

That little spot on his nose has not healed yet, so I will be calling the vet this week to get it looked at.  We were hoping the antibiotics would take care of it.  Either way, the swelling has gone down so it will be easier to check out.  I was wondering about an abscessed tooth....guess we will find out.

I have been gone a couple of days for the ACTHA ride, and I feel like I have been gone forever.  We have had so much rain here and all the pens are soupy again.  Ugh!  Oh well...lots of petting and hanging out.  There is still a lot I can do even if it isn't what I want to do.  :-)

Life around here is good - flowers are blooming, Brian got the garden tilled, and the bees seem to be doing well.  We will be opening the boxes when the sun comes out again...we need to make sure the queen is laying eggs.

That is all for now....

Until later....Karen and Tripp who says that both of these horses are going to be great!

ACTHA Trail Ride....I was a volunteer Safety Rider!

This weekend was an ACTHA ride in Paola, KS.  April, a friend from our Midwest Mustang & Burro group had signed up as a competitor.  Last week she sent out an e-mail that they were looking for volunteers - a lot of the original volunteers had canceled.  I had an open weekend and jumped at the chance to be a safety rider!  Woo hoo!
I have never horse camped or ridden with a large group of people.  This hermit was breaking out of her shell!   

Friday I got there within 10 minutes of April and we saddled up and went for a ride that lasted 3 hrs.  It sure did not seem like we were out that long. The sun was shining and it got quite warm.  Yay!  The sun was a pleasant surprise considering what it was doing when we woke up that was storming like crazy!  Storms had already gone thru KS and we all hoped they would stay gone for a while...

We were not allowed to ride the marked trail for the ACTHA ride, so we went the other was a little muddy but not bad.

We found a windsurfing beach to play on....I looked for signs that said horses needed to stay off the beach and did not see any.  Found out later we should not have been there and could have been fined if we got caught.  OOPS!  I will say that our horses did not poop on the beach, so other than hoof prints and smiles, we left nothing.  :-)

April and her mustang Nevada on the beach with no name... (hee hee!)

Tripp likes the was so windy and the sound of the water lapping along the was awesome!

We met another safety rider who also happens to be a Karen.  This is her first time doing something like this too....we are a bunch of newbies who are excited to see what is going on.  Karens horse Misty was smooching on Tripp...there was an awful lot of horse flirting going on this weekend!  :-)

April and her Mustang Nevada standing up on a rock...

When I got to the campground, I did not know where I was going to stay or where Tripp was going to stay.  I really wanted a pen because I have never tied Tripp up overnight, and a place with this many riders was not the place to test the waters.  There ended up being empty pens due to cancellations and mud issues, but April had already offered to share her pen since they are good size.  Nevada and Tripp got along great and April thought it would upset them more to separate them that evening - so we let them have a slumber party.

That evening we gave them a while to munch on grass before bed time...

I slept in the truck instead of pitching a tent for just one night.  I had the back windows down half way for air flow, and I woke up to rain hitting my face.  It was a light rain so I did not close them - and I hoped it would not storm too much before the ride the next day...there was already enough mud from the storms that previous day.  I did end up sleeping for a short while but I don't recommend the back seat of a truck for more than one or two nights in a row.  :-)  I got out of the truck at 5:00 a.m. and there were many know how it is!  Horses hear the stirring of human life and think the Welcome Wagon is calling with the food cart!  A lot of trailers pulled in that morning for the ride.

Cyndi, the girl that put the ride on, did such a great job.  She is going to do some more rides, but not in April!  Ha ha!  No more rainy months for her!  Cyndi worked very hard to get sponsors for the ride and to get prizes.  The prizes that were left over are going into the pot for the next ride, with new ones being added.  There was a lot of good stuff there!  If anybody rides a ride, take time to find out who the sponsors are and let them know where you saw their name...not only will that help them to want to continue to support the event, they will appreciate you taking the time to let them know.

The morning started with meetings with the groups of riders, judges and volunteers.

There were a wide variety of riders, horses, experiences, disciplines, etc.  It was emphasized at the meeting that this is a family organization, and there will be no bad sportsmanship, etc., or it will mean instantly being disqualified.  They also emphasized safety and being polite when you leave one obstacle, to ask the person behind you if they would like for you to wait before moving on down the trail since some horses have issues with being left behind and others don't.  Safety safety safey!  I really appreciated that a lot.

The whole group did not go out together - you sign up for a time slot and a small group goes out at a time with one safety rider following up the rear (this is what I did - and if there were issues I either helped, or dialed the camp or 911).  The groups go out every 15 minutes, and that seemed to be a good amount of time.  It is not necessary for the entire small group to ride together - the front of the group can move on down the trail, so each group can get spread out.  I had 7 riders in my group and I only saw the first 5 a couple of times.  It is very relaxed.

The next batch of pictures will be all mixed up from the ride...I took a lot of pictures, but realized what all I did not get pictures of.  Oh darn...I will just have to do it again!  Hee hee! 

Here is April and her mustang Nevada getting ready for the ride - I will have you all know she won the Best Dressed Cowgirl contest!  Woo hoo!  Great job April!  It wasn't just about looking good - it was also about having the necessary stuff with you:  halter/lead, knife, hoof pick, and I don't know what else they asked about.  Here is a gal with her dog - they won the best dog contest.  The picture on the back of the t-shirt of the dog is a horse, and he is wearing chaps!  He also sings.  :-)

Tripp wants to know why he is  being left behind....April went out in the first group, and I was assigned to the 10:00 group....

The trees on the left were FULL of blossoms and bumble bees.  I was trying to get closer to get pictures of the bees when I got buzzed, and Tripp got hit in the side of the head!  SMACK!  We moved over a couple of trail tacks and they left us alone.  No picture of bumble bees but lots of good whiffs....the blossoms smelled so good!

This is a mother/daughter team and they also ride NATRC together.  I thought a lot how neat it was that they have something in common that they love to do...

This group of riders was on their way out from the cowboy curtain thing...

Moving on down the trail....most of the time I hung back a bit to let the Mom/Daughter team visit.

What a view!

Us and our shadow....

Waiting their turn for the triple curtain....

This was the safety rider for the first group that went out...

Okay, it looks like this gal is turned around but she isn't.  There are two divisions - Pleasure (easier) and Open (harder).  This is the Mom from our group and she is in the Open division.  You walk thru the first curtain (which is cups!), turn around and back thru the ropes, then turn back around and come thru the pool noodles, then she had to side pass.  Pretty neat stuff!  I love the idea of hanging up cups - that messed with a lot of them!

Here is the daughter going thru the ropes...

They won the best groomed horse....her horse started out white and ended up with dark brown muddy legs.  :-)

The rope gate was across the whole road and they had a tarp under it.  I heard that a lot of people had troubles at the gate for a variety of reasons. Some of the no scores were the horses stepping out of bounds.

Here are the Julies!  They are friends, and the mule in the picture is Brummett and he is 17.2 hands tall!  He isn't the drafty build - he is more lean and so handsome.  The horse is Lady Bug and she is a sweetie too.  Both of these ladies had smiles that shined like there was no tomorrow!

On their way to the next obstacle....

Mom and daughter waiting their turn for the cowboy curtains...

Julie and Brummy coming out of the curtain....

A new group on their way in...

More of the group....

And more of the group...

Going thru pool noodles.  There were a few people here so I could see my group going thru, which is why there are more pictures of this obstacle.

Moving on up to the barrels.  Pleasure division had to back around one and Open had to back a figure 8 and there was side passing involved if I remember correctly. 

Woo hoo!  Moving on down the trail!

Away we go....

Friends sharing special moments....

This little Arab was GORGEOUS!!!!!  I love my  mustangs, but will always be partial to Arabs.  :-)

Friday evening we headed to town to eat dinner - the old bank is now a BBQ place.  Very good stuff!  The bathroom is in the vault, and there is a train caboose on one side and a garden in the back.  This is definitely a place I would visit again!  YUMMY!

This was on the wall inside the BBQ place....

Oh Oh, April has herself a puppy!  A girl who was working the ride rescued it, so everyone was taking turns cuddling with the puppy.  Sure was a cute little thing! 

April and I after the ride Saturday.  April made it in before the rain started, and I sat out there about 30 - 40 minutes with our group waiting our turn in line for the last obstacle.  Personally I think that is pretty darn good!  The rain held off most of the day...can't beat that!

The last obstacle was the only one that got backed up a lot....the others seemed to go pretty quick.  It was a very fun experience and I met some neat people.  I really do want to do this again, and I would love to compete and volunteer again.  I would like to be a judge assistant because I will get to see every horse that is on the ride.

They had over 100 applications but could only take 100.  After the bad weather going thru, we still had 72 riders, so it was a very successful ride.
They also had some stuff set up for Sunday, but I had things to do today (that ended up being cancelled this morning) so came back.  They were doing an obstacle clinic and they had a poker ride planned.  That would have been fun too!

So there you have experience.

OH!  There was one time that Tripp and I were freaked out!  No pictures of this one...too busy holding on!  We were warned about a washed out area with a deep ditch that was narrow...and they were right.  It was about 2 ft deep...Tripp did not go into the skinny ditch so he did a hop
back and forth across this thing and we were slamming into small trees and sapplings and slipping and sliding into this thing.  This was the only time I wondered if someone was going to have to save the safety rider!  ACK!  We made it thru but Tripp was not thinking and I had a hard time getting him to stop - I thought I was going to get pulled off by a sappling because he was all over them as we were circling around, and you know how they can get caught between the saddle fender and your leg....yeah, that was us!  I finally
got him stopped and we stayed there until he took a deep breath.  I backed him out of the batch of trees we were in, and off the sappling he had bent over, then we went on our merry way.  Yikes!  Did not even want to try that again!  Brian asked me about video.....nope, not even pictures at that point!  If I come across anything like that again, I will get off to lead him, or look for an alternate route.  Then again, I didn't know how it was going to pan out like that because as we walked up to it and he looked
at it, he seemed fine, then all of a sudden he went from the center where we enter the ditch to the sides and it was like being in our very own pinball machine.

We had a great weekend, and I was very proud of Tripp.  I do think he enjoyed himself and liked getting out.  
Will we do it again?  Yep!  When?  Not sure...depends on schedules and commitments that are already made.  Either way, it is something to look forward to.

That is all for now.....
Until later....Karen and Tripp who had fun but was glad to get back home... 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My husband the bee keeper....

For a couple of years now Brian has wanted to take a bee keeping class.  I talked him into taking it a while back, and he was stoked!  We decided to start with two hives since it is the same work as one hive.
Here is what the hives look like pre-bee....actually those frame things take up the entire inside.  He took a few out to put in the new bees.

Here is Brian and one box of bees.  This box has 3 lbs of bees, and there are approximately 10,000 bees in this box.

I am not to be left out....I have my own box of bees, and some of my bees were on the outside of the screen!  It is a good thing I love bees.

We spray sugar water into the hives so the bees will go straight to feed when we dump them out of their cages.  Yep, we literally dump them out!


Here is the box of bees....see that little tiny box attached to the top?  It is the cage with the Queen.  

Here is better perspective of how small the cage for the Queen is.  We take the cork out, put in a small marshmallow, and she feeds from one side and the workers feed from the other side.  By the time they meet in the middle to free the Queen, they have got to know her and are less likely to kill her.

We put feeder jars at the opening of each hive, and for now we had to stuff grass in the rest of the opening to help keep the bees inside.  The ones that escaped work their way thru the grass to get inside.

We are almost ready to put the lids on the hives.  We are putting a food patty in is mixed with pollen and other yummy bee stuff.  They will feed off that and the sugar water for a while until the plants start producing lots of nectar.

We will check on the Queen tomorrow to make sure she got out of her cage.  If not, we let her out.  I can't wait until we open them up because I want to see what the workers have been doing.  I wish I could have taken the class with Brian, but I had something else going on that day.  The life of bees really are fascinating!  This year our goal is to help both colonies be strong enough to make it thru the winter, then next year will be our first honey year.  I am very excited!

Until later....Karen and Brian the bee keeper, and Tripp who is the mustang bee keeper!  Ha ha!
By the way, I don't like wearing things like the net thing we have is called the Bug Baffler...and I told Brian I didn't need it because I am the bee whisperer.  :-)  He made me wear it anyways.  Ha!