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- Evidently I can’t write cohesive posts anymore (as my unfinished drafts seem to indicate) so I’m back to my favored form of blogging
- In farm news, we have new poultry much to the amusement and disdain of the USPS.
- They came in waves
- First the French Guinea keets that were met with coos and smiles
- Then the Khaki Campbell ducks that convinced the well-meaning postal workers that they needed water so that I ended up wearing water/duck poo soaked shorts home from picking them up at the post office.
- And then the Novogen chickens which brought the ire of the postal worker/armchair animal husbandry expert that felt the need to lecture me on the cruelties of sending chickens via post. Whatevs lady… I don’t recall asking for your input.
- All the new acquisitions are doing very well and are growing by leaps and bounds.
- It’s been a while since we’ve had ducklings and we all managed to forget how excessively messy they are.
- They are super cute tho…. so that helps
- In other news… It’s been too hot to do much with the horses.
- The heat has been brutal!!!
- So it was probably a good thing that I decided to go ahead and have the lipomas on my forehead removed.
- Surgery was a beast.
- Post op was a solitary nightmare.
- I don’t even wish to relive it to blog about
- in a nutshell…
- facial surgery is painful (all them nerves gotta be feeling things!)
- I reacted poorly to the anesthesia (hello panic attacks and hot flashes for 2 weeks!)
- my family and friends UTTERLY ABANDONED ME for the duration (Love you guys soooo much!)
- but on the plus side… tumors were lipomas (non cancerous) and I’m rocking some pretty bad ass scars… on my face. GRRR!
- I’m in the process of opening an Etsy shop… maybe.
- I’ve been making lots of jewelry and happily people are responding very positively to what I’ve made.
- I’m thinking of making a whole separate blog for that as I don’t necessarily want that traffic over here.
- The boys are still avid cyclists.
- J and B are planning several rides this fall… mini “tours” so to speak
- Aside… Froome won the Tour de France so there is happiness in my house
- He is B’s favorite cyclist
- Along with Peter Sagan who is becoming X’s new favorite as X is becoming interested in cycling as well… particularly sprinting.
- I think that X has always liked the cycling thing he just didn’t think his build was conducive to it, until I pointed out that Sagan is built like a tank (compared to Froome) and he’s a very accomplished sprinter.
- I am coming to a place of peace with cycling.
- We will see how this tentative peace holds once the weather turns and we are all vying for ride time.
- I am feeling optimistic
- School is in session for us and has been since the week after the Fourth of July
- With the exceptionally unrelenting heat we’ve been having I felt that it was in the best interest of all parties to just go ahead and start now so that we could enjoy a few Fall breaks instead.
- It’s going well.
- X and I are avidly reading right now.
- He’s reading Harry Potter (his first time through the series)
- I’m reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth.
- I thought the first two in the series were pretty good, but half way through this one and I’m starting to lose my immersion in the story. At this point I just want whatever is going to happen to just happen already.
- I hate when a novel turns that way for me.
- J bought me a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which I will be delving into once I’m finished with Tris and Four.
- I almost forgot about Luna!
- We have a new dog!
- She’s a Lab/Staffie/Bully mix (I hate using the word Pit)
- She’s adorkable (typo intended)
- She loves me and is a big 40lb teddy bear already and will probably get even bigger!
- She’s about 4 months old now and is all-elbows and knees and goofy gawkiness.
- I love her immensely and Joop tolerates his “little sister” better than he would like me to believe.
- The gardens are doing well
- We desperately need to put up more pickles as B has eaten all of ours.
- All of them
- As in there are no more
- We are getting really creative with zucchini and squash
- We have a deer problem this year which is annoying.
- X and B have been huge helps to M.
- X has done much of the plowing and B is a pro at picking both vegetables and bugs!
- I’m certain that I’m leaving something out but for now that’s it… hopefully there will be a new proper update (sans bullet post) soon!
Yesterday found us heading out on a hay run which lead to J and I checking out a new to us restaurant off of Woodruff Road in Greenville. We have been long time fans of the Korean BBQ on Woodruff (the one in the same building as the Red Robin gas station…weird? yes!) but had seen that another Korean restaurant had popped up a little further down the way and decided to swing in to check it out.
It is a tiny restaurant so large parties or families with lots of kids will have some difficulty seating together but for just the two of us it was very quaint and cozy. There are pictures of menu items on the walls and the menu was well illustrated with pictures and both English and Korean titles.
We started with fried dumplings.
They were good, not spectacular, but tasty. The dipping sauce was exceptionally good and accentuated the standard pork filling nicely.
J ordered the Bulgogi at a level 9 spiciness.
This was very tasty and fairly spicy but was more like any Asian stir-fry. It was a large portion and heavy on the beef so well worth the price, just not the flavor we had been anticipating.
I ordered the Duk Boki.
Duk boki is kind of like a stir fried or maybe braised spicy rice cake. This was very spicy and was ok. I felt the rice cakes were a little mushy so there wasn’t the chewy texture that I am more familiar with and the spicy flavor was a little one dimensional, but otherwise it was good and the portion was ginormous!
I felt that the side dishes were a little lacking. There were three kimchi type vegetables and 2 bean sprout type things but there wasn’t a sweet or sour balance to the flavors.
Everything was just HOT and SPICY or somewhat bland. The kimchi was very good. VERY good, so next time I would probably get something that focused on the kimchi.
All in all I found it to be a fair restaurant. Not exactly where I would go for my Korean fix, but not a bad restaurant. You get a lot of food for the price and J and I left full and sated. The staff was very friendly and we enjoyed talking to them so I can definitely see us going back there but just ordering different items.
Kimchee Korean Restaurant is located at 1939 Woodruff Rd, Greenville, SC 29607
Back at the beginning of February I heard about a gelding that had been relinquished in a high-profile neglect case down in the lower part of the state. It was indicated that he was an Irish Draught by Rockrimmon Silver Diamond. Immediately I was intrigued as Guinness is also by Rockrimmon Silver Diamond. I knew that finding RSD babies around the Carolinas wouldn’t be that uncommon since RSD stood in NC for a while, but I was still curious. So I called and talked with the vet in charge of his care and discovered that he had been standing as a sporthorse stud for a farm in the Charleston area and was slightly underweight and in slightly poor condition but would be gelded soon and they really wanted him out of their facility as soon as possible.
I was not in the market for a new horse. Heck, I hadn’t ridden all winter. So I politely asked if there were any photos and she sent me this:
Well… doesn’t that horse look a bit familiar? So I politely asked her to keep me in the loop and quietly walked away feeling that surely some other person would come forward for an ISH. A week later I again hear from the vet. The gelding had been done, evidently no one else had come forward and was I still interested?? Ugh…
Tentatively I spoke with M and J and we reached the decision that this boy had been put before us for a reason and started making the arrangements to bring him home. We rearranged paddocks, set up his quarantine pen and started to fish around for a trailer to use. I will not go into the horrors of trying to find a trailer to bring home a recently gelded stud horse that I don’t actually know. Understandably nobody was eager to have him onboard. So we made the decision to just use the old beat up green trailer. Our wonderful neighbor David did a quick check over it to make sure it was safe and that all the electric components were working and even tho it was a mess cosmetically, it was safe and tall enough to bring home our new boy.
Valentine’s morning we headed out! J and I had a good drive down and realized rapidly why the gelding needed a new home asap. Living between the interstate and an airbase/airport isn’t exactly the most ideal life for any horse. So we pulled up and after parking amid what I think was a dog/cat adoption event and overhearing more than one person ask “how big is the dog you are planning on getting??” we were redirected to the barn were I met our new gelding.
This was my first look at him.
What I saw was a profoundly depressed and unhappy horse. Obviously he and G share a common look, but where G has the look of a horse that has lived the padded life of a privileged, beloved show horse, the new gelding, while polite, looked tired and weary. As J put it “he looks like he’s seen some things”.
So I filled out all the legal paper work while J changed out his halter and put on his travelling clothes (cooler and boots). I wasn’t entirely sure what he would have to say about loading up on the little trailer but after a look around he walked up meekly and munched on hay while I secured the ramp. I couldn’t decide if he was that “OK” with the whole thing or if he just didn’t care anymore.
An so we began our journey back home only to realize that we were insanely hungry and needed to stop immediately for lunch. J, the intrepid puller of trailers, negotiated several multi laned highways to get us into a large parking area behind a Chik-fil-a. I decided to hang out with the gelding while J went in to order. I opened the escape door and stood talking to him, nonsensical blathering of nothingness, just to let him hear me and hopefully keep him calm. Immediately I noticed a change in him. He nosed all over my face, whoofed through my hair, nuzzled my cheek and really latched on to me as a person he was interested in. I took out my phone to update M about our progress and this happened…
I continued to talk and babble on to him and suddenly a car pulled up beside us! I was a little nervous as I had read a lot about his case on our way to Charleston and I knew that there were some hot opinions about it. The couple in the car stopped to comment on how much my horse must love me because they could see how relaxed he was when I talked to him. I told them that he was a new acquisition and they were surprised as they had thought that we were a long bonded horse and rider combo. They wished us luck and safe journeys and again I noticed how the gelding was definitely warming up to both J and me.
So we continued home with me asking J every 5 minutes if the gelding was ok. I think it made for a long trip for J even if he didn’t complain 🙂
Somewhere along the drive home I decided that Fawkes would be a perfect name. I did not like the name he came with and I felt like he needed a new name to start his new life. So Fawkes, the name of Dumbledore’s phoenix, seemed perfect!
Anyway, we made it home before dark and spent a good 30 minutes hand walking Fawkes around to work out his travel stiffness before putting him up for the evening. He was polite and courteous, even with the wind blowing fiercely.
Then next day we spent shoring up shelters as wintry weather was forecast. As I was feeding Fawkes his morning feed I noticed his sheath was grossly swollen. I placed a couple phone calls to the vet and ended up driving to TR as the sleet and frozen rain started to pick up medicine at the vet’s office.
The weather tanked during the night and we awoke to an icy wonderland!
Fawkes didn’t seem to mind at all. He didn’t even think the children sledding on the ice was all that interesting. He did spend some time making kissy faces with Noorah.
Already looking like a different horse!!
The swelling in his sheath gave us several days of concern as did his very ugly gelding incisions. I’ll spare you the pictures, trust me they are gross. I had pretty much daily phone calls to the girls at the vet’s office to make sure we were on the right treatment path. It was a tough time as my instinct said that I should cold hose his sheath area, but my common sense said that cold hosing in single digit temps was potentially dangerous!
A week or so in Fawkes turned grumpy and moody. He was unhappy with the horses in his neighboring paddocks. He was unhappy with me. He was unhappy with the boys changing his water. He was unhappy with J feeding him hay. Everything caused penned ears and unhappy eyes.
I spent some time just observing him and noticed that he was repeatedly pulling at his turnout and biting at his shoulder. So with a modicum of trepidation, he is a big boy after all, I walked up to him and started scratching his shoulder under his blanket. Initially he had his angry face on, but then it melted away and he started leaning into my hand as I scratched. So I took off his blanket and started scratching all over his shoulders and as far down his back as he would let me. Initially he would let me go as far as his withers but after a few minutes he was ok with letting me scratch him pretty much all over. Unfortunately in the middle of our bonding session a car pulled up in our drive-way and I had to leave him but as soon as I came back to the fence he backed up and invited me to scratch his butt. We have daily scratching sessions now and the unhappy grumpy mood has disappeared.
Fawkes has also been having weekly sessions with Nicole of EquiZen Horse Therapies. I really have to say that these acupressure sessions have worked wonders on all my horses and Fawkes is no different.
Fawkes is learning what it means to be a pampered and loved horse and seeing him really blossom has been amazing!! He’s gone from being a dull and grungy, unhappy horse to being a shiny, personable, gelding with a little bit of a sense of humor that pops up from time to time. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him!
For the past few years I’ve made a bit of a deal about who first footed us. First footing being a Scottish tradition that I had been introduced to by a Scottish boyfriend many many MANY years ago. I liked the idea of it and have made a pointed effort to be aware of who first footed us every new year.
This year was the first in many years that J had actually been home so part of my brain was already thinking about how he would finally get to properly walk across the threshold and usher in a year of good fortune. Then midnight struck and we scampered outside with sparklers and… I don’t remember who walked back in first. It may have been Beckett who forgot his shoes or it may have been Sophie who was spinning like a top, high on the festivities and (illegal for her) chocolates. I don’t know.
And then today, the first day of the New Year when traditionally you are supposed to do the thing you want to do all year and eat collards and peas. For many years now I’ve made a point to ride on January 1st. But not this time. This time I played with the colts, laughed at Pip, and then came back in to hang out with my family. Tonight we are having carry-out Mexican, no home cooked meal here.
It’s been an odd day, full of departures from my normal routine but you know I’m ok with it. Sometimes I think we need to stop doing the things we’ve always done if we’re always getting the same results, especially when those results aren’t always great. I spent over half of 2014 not riding even though my horses were sound and my body fit enough to ride. I made decisions based on how I always HAD done things instead of how things needed to be NOW. I’m not that exuberant 18 year old girl willing to jump on any horse. I’m not that confident 20 something proudly waving my trainer-credentials at anyone needing help with a horse. I’m a wary, yet determined 40 year old that wants to take up the reins for myself instead of helping everyone else.
So… I am.
So last week was…. well… it was just wow.
On Saturday we met up with J’s sis and brother and their families for my first ever tailgating experience at Clemson’s Homecoming. Wow is all I can really say. My brother-in-law Stephen is a marvelous photog and took some spectacular pictures, seriously click through them to see orange clad cuteness… It’s a good thing that Pip’s HP colors are orange otherwise we would’ve been dressed inappropriately!
We walked all over the place, looked at the floats, had hamburgers and beverages at the rockstar RV… and basically had a blast. The boys played until they were exhausted and Sophie basked in the awesomeness of her cousins.
And then came Sunday!! Horses loaded, costumes packed and away we went!!
This was our first year competing in the costume division. Pip and I went as Angus and Merida. We didn’t win as Pip wasn’t technically in costume since he passes as a twin to Angus… but we had fun 🙂 I got to wear this awesome wig made by Katie of Top it Off Hats.
I sent her the most hilarious email asking if she would be able to modify her kids’ Merida wig into a helmet cover and turns out Katie is also a avid equestrian and as luck would have it we have the same size (dimensions) helmet so she made the wig on her helmet and it of course fit mine perfectly!! She is awesome!
We were parked in a huge grassy field… with seed heads as high as Pip’s mouth lol. It made for some most interesting tacking up as all three horses wanted to gorge instead of cooperate. Obviously Pip and I went as Angus and Merida.
The pace photog was able to get an awesome shot of Pip giving me the spooky eye just at the start of the pace. Pip was a bit uncertain about my red curls and Meredith’s wings but he settled in fairly quickly…
L and Paris went as the Fox and the Hound. L’s mother made the bulk of her costume and Paris was a real trooper with her whiskers and fluffy ears.
Meredith and Maddy were Tinker Bell and Pixie Dust…. Those wings were hilarious every time we cantered as it appeared that Mere and Maddy were going to lift right off into the air!! Be sure to notice Maddy has little tiny antennae! Also notice the grass!! It was insane! I still have seed heads in the truck and there are gobs in the trailer that were caught in the doors!
We had a good brisk ride… altho not fast enough for a ribbon. I was under serious time constraints as I had to get back home before 2 so that M and I could leave to go to Maryland to pick up horse feed (I’ll explain the need to go to Maryland to get feed in a later post). After getting the truck stuck in the tall grass we were on our way home where I basically dumped all the care of my Pipper on Mere and L so that I could get everything in the car and ready to hit the road yet again. Thanks girls for hosing down and putting away my pony 🙂 and for unloading the trailer too… I really hated not seeing to my own horse but we were running a little late and so many things still needed to be done before we were off again!
We decided to take the recently purchased X5 as it gets superior fuel mileage (can one say gas mileage for a diesel?) and had plenty of room for the amount of feed we were purchasing. Plus driving the X5 is fun and since driving was going to figure prominently in our adventure it seemed like a smart choice…
It was a beautiful drive up.
We had great adventures in refueling pretty much at every stop… thank you trucker in Raphine VA for flashing me in your tidy whities… and I won’t begin to list the ogles I got for wearing my riding pants.
Yes I rode to Maryland in my riding pants… full seat breeches on leather seats for long distance driving is my new must have.
So we got to our hotel and crashed… I think we ate but can’t honestly remember at this point as it was a loooooong drive to Maryland and the effects of power walking at Clemson coupled with my ride at the pace as well as all that time in the car had left me stiff and achy.
We were up early to a cool crisp morning and headed out for Gooseberry farm (I’m just going to call it Gooseberry farm from here on out… I don’t know the actual name of the farm but she sells and makes Gooseberry so it makes sense for me). Unfortunately Dr.Deb was sick and couldn’t come out to chat but her son AJ was there to help us pack up.
The X5 handled no differently for the addition of feed and so we decided to jaunt around the area and enjoy a mini vacation. So off we headed for Lancaster PA where we grabbed a tasty lunch at the Shady Maple Farm Market Cafe.
M and I had the pork and kraut.
While Sophie had the broasted chicken (evidently a specialty of the cafe). We were amused to see a huge “Oriental buffet” in the middle of the cafe. I wasn’t expecting to see a spread of wontons and rangoons in the middle of an Amish/Mennonite grocery store but it appeared to be very popular with the locals.
After eating entirely too much at the cafe, we walked across to Good’s Store and found all matter of cute and wonderful things…. none of which will be pictured here as they will be reappearing later this year under our Christmas tree! It was a fun adventure and Sophie in her typical style discovered the names of every store clerk we came in contact with, which may have been disconcerting to them but they thankfully rolled with it.
And then we were off again to Carlisle PA!
The day was truly beautiful with all the gorgeous farms still green against the bright blue sky!
As with most of our adventures, food figures prominently and we had intended to eat at Fay’s in Carlisle, only to arrive and discover that Fay’s is closed after lunch. So we drove around briefly with M giving us the penny tour as she’s been there before with my brother who makes a yearly trip up for Banner of Truth. It’s a lovely town, very quaint. We decided to drop into my brother’s favorite bookstore (and send him photo texts with “where are we?” attached lol… we are mean people)
The name of the store escapes me, but it’s lovely. I found a stack of “ancient” books that I wanted to bundle up and bring home… but their corresponding price tags kept me from doing so. There’s something about really old books that I just love, doesn’t even matter the subject matter… I find them fascinating.
M remembered eating at a pub just down from the bookstore so we walked down to check it out.
I was not disappointed.
Neither was Sophie.
Market Cross Pub in Carlisle… awesomeness indeed. I had their home-brewed Porter and it was delicious and wonderfully paired with the fish & chips and the chocolate chip sundae as well 🙂 I wish we had something more on par with this pub at home as the ambiance was perfect and the staff reminded me of the heydey of Velo Fellow when Dragon was still there. Thanks Joe (our server) for being awesome… and looking like the blond headed bad guy in Top Secret!
After enjoying our early supper we decided to head on down towards Charlottesville VA. Michie Tavern was on the docket for the next day and we wanted to be close enough to allow for a restful night and an early lunch before the long drive home… little did we know our adventure was just beginning…
Stay tuned for Part II of our epic whirlwind adventure.