Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winter's renovation

Beneath the snow and ice in this pretty winter scene is really a culvert and a swamp! I am hoping that all the renovations that we are doing to our house will prove to be just as wonderful as this...but who can compete with Nature!
Almost all the rooms are painted now and we move this weekend. The major move will be the storage units in Richmond which will be later next week....or so. Basically, all that is here is some clothes, a bed, a chair and my computer! The big part will be moving the 10 dogs, ,2 cats and the parrot cages, kennels and all in one day! But for now I will just look at the peaceful photo and not consider the swamp about to face me this weekend!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Is this a bear in a N.Y. zoo? no it's my dog Griz Bear last week in his kennel here in Mathews in the snow. He loves it! Me...nope! I haven't posted in a while because this is my last week in this lovely town. I am packing, painting and cleaning. All my favorite things to do! But the house in Tapp. is coming along just fine...let's see, the kitchen ceiling is torn down, the carpet is all torn out, the old wall unit in the bedroom is trashed, 2 old toilets are history, and no electricity today because it's being rewired...ah...home sweet home!!!!
Actually, when I walk thru that house it is so welcoming and light that I would take it like it is today...except it is grubby...previous owners...sorry but you were slobs!!! and I am not Suzy Homemaker...the house is filthy!!! But fresh paint can do wonders as does 409, Clorox, and a mop and bucket!
Anyway, back to the Bear, he and his buddy Dune are in a very small kennel right now due to the limited space at this rental house. I can't wait to turn them loose in their huge back yard and let them run....in no snow!!!! Please note I do not have a photo of Dune to share...he's in his dog house where it is warm!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sheer Frustration or simply the process of closing on a house!

These 2 stalls are empty...still...why? Because FHA lost a single piece of paper! Not one of ours. Not one of the sellers, but one from their appraiser! And thus...we did not close on the 10th. Opps! They found it on Friday at 4:30 p.m....but there's no mail service on Monday...tomorrow because it's a federal holiday...and they won't be in their offices anyway to mail it!! So when do we close....mmmmmm??!!! I dun no!!! That's spelt for you guys in FHA!!!! Me? Upset???? Nawh!!!!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

friend or worker....both

If you have followed this blog then you know we sold our house in Nov. with only 30 days to move and no where to go. Well, someone gave us the name of a guy to hire to help. His name is Denny. He looks like a young Willie Nelson without the beard, has a deep South West Mountain accent and a constant smile. He must have the ever ready bunny for a cousin. Denny never stops! (I have never heard an impolite word much less a curse word from him) Now I know we paid him well, but this man brought me soup and chicken on his day off when I was sick in bed and fed my horses for me. He was extra careful of my old and tiny dogs when he was working always checking where they were so they didn't get out. He and his wife and friend drove trucks in the pouring down Nor'Ida to get me settled in at night into our rental house, a 9 hour drive, setting up kennels for my dogs, and then driving back halfway unloading at a storage unit in Richmond then completing the 9 hr return trip to return the U Haul trucks that next day.
Well, Denny has stayed in contact with us and I will have no other person but he, come and renovate our house and help us move. (did I mention he is a contractor, who like many is out of work right now) He is coming down on Saturday and is staying probably 2 or 3 weeks until the job is done. Now we don't have money to throw around, but if we are going to pay to have work done I know it will be done right and that Denny will be working sun up til sun down.
If any one reading this is looking for a hard working employee who is honest and skilled, pay him right, Denny will give you 150%
Denny is now a friend, we talk and laugh on the phone, his wife Beverly comments in the back ground, she is ex military Iraq war vet, very serious, a tall, strong, beautiful woman...they are quite a pair. Kind of like my photo of Moon and a stray barn cat.
Actually Denny and I are that way too, My husband refers to him as "My baby boy" He called Denny today and said "Momma wants her baby boy to help her move on Saturday so Dad is sending money" Denny just laughed and said "tell Mom, I'm on my way!"
Point is, you never know where a friendship will develop, the most unlikely character will become a friend, all it takes is shared values, for Denny and me it's hard work, honesty, consideration of others, and a good laugh!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Horse plans that fall apart

Three years ago, when I still had plans of dabbling in horse breeding, showing and selling, as I had been for years, I purchased 2 young colts. The one on the right, Cap, was to be gelded and become my riding show horse. He was from a friend's farm in Iowa. The one on the left, Moon, was to be my stud, he is related to Cap somewhat, and he came from KS. Cap was the sweetest and prettiest moving colt, but when I pulled him off the trailer I noticed his front ankle was enlarged. Hoping that it was just from standing so long on the trailer, I doctored it and let him rest for 2 days...no luck. so in comes the vet with the bad news...basically in English it's juvenile arthritis. Well I discuss it with my friend in Iowa, we don't want him to have to make the trip back, she will only run him thru a sale so I set out to find him a home at a very reduced price. Good news is... the man down the road falls in love with him, buys him, breeds him to his gaited mares, he doesn't care about registration papers, and I can drive by there today and Cap is fat and happy. And the man says he has never sold a horse off his property yet. He trail rides and uses the offspring for his outfit. So, one good out come....then there's Moon....the love of my life...enter BAD BOY!!! Now mind you I have been training and breeding my own horses and have helped out at other farms handling stallions. Can't say I can handle all studs but I am fairly good at it. But I am now up in age with arthritis in my hands, Moon has learned how to flip the lead rope over the crest of his neck and spin away from me, even with a lip chain. So after trying for a few months of working with him in a pen..and he's fine...and walking in the open and losing him, I decide it's time to geld him. Well, he's a big stout boy, and one side will not stop bleeding, my vet comes 3 times, and finally has to do surgery on one of the leaders to stop the bleeding. One month later, darn if Moon didn't run thru, very honestly the one section of barbed wire we had not replaced on the entire farm! it was a 20 ft section in the woods, $10,000 worth of fencing on our property we had installed and he finds this one piece deep in the woods! He cuts the inside of his hind thigh. When I find him he is bleeding so profusely I assume it is an artery and I am going to lose him, that was the vet's initial assessment also. But by the headlights to her truck in 15 degree weather she finds a sliced vein and proceeds to suture it. Amazingly he lives. ( I had the best vet in the world...I hated moving!) So when he heals it's time to get him broke because by now he's 3. I send him off, good trainer, wrong match. As the guy said, well if you can ride the buck out he goes on and rides....My comment was...that was 19 bucks...I told you think "grandma!" do I look like I can ride out 19 bucks....if I could he wouldn't be at a trainer. so I bring him home ride him once and turn him out. ( my confidence was already shattered when I (my fault) got thrown by one of my other horses 1 year prior) Eventually, I just give him to a friend, well my friend gets divorced, only rode him once, can't afford him, turns him out, I go and take him back and he is scalded with the worse case of rain rot I have ever had to care for...so bad the I actually caught the fungus myself ( verified by my Dr.) and he was very underweight. So I promised Moon he would never leave again....so what do I do...I move and have to send him off to be boarded. Well this time I picked a very reputable AQHA trainer, that I have watched train 3 times, and shown 4 times, It's costing me an arm and a leg, but my hopes are that once we move and get settled in, I will finally have my dream horse, and Moon will have forgiven all the plans that fell apart, there's not a mean bone in his body, he's just a spooky horse without a lot of trust, and I don't blame him. I just miss him terribly and want him home....gosh I sound like a teenage girl....when it comes to horses...I still am!!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

House of cards?

Talking about the fact that we have finally found a home before we actually close, is almost like breathing on a house of cards! Our luck has been so phenomenally bad...or just weird. So I am posting a photo of the public boat landing at Wares Wharf on the Rappahannock River a mile from our hopefully new home.
I am so ready to move, but so sorry that it is not here in Mathews. I have grown so fond of this little town. But it is only an hour away, and this home brings me an hour closer to family, friends, our doctors, and Mike's job.
The house has, other than needing an electrical upgrade, only interior cosmetic problems. Such a relief from the structural and septic issues we faced on all the other homes. And most importantly...in my book, it is ready for my dogs, cats and horses.
Because the realtor has been so kind to rent us a house he has for sale, and because I have senior toy dogs that use piddle pads and think carpet is one big pad! I have been sleeping and living in the eat in section of the kitchen. I will go to great lengths for my little rescued companions, I have had most for 12 years. But as you can imagine living in a kitchen for 2 1/2 months gets a little cramped when you are use to a house. Oh and I have the 2 cats in a large cage in the washer/dryer section of the kitchen. I am not particularly a cat person, but I rescued these 2 cats four years ago, and they lived in my basement in my other house. I can't turn them loose until I get to our new house with its basement. As for Duval the parrot, his cage is on the carpet on a tarp, Sorry can't sleep with his squawking!!
So as you can tell by my rambling, I am stir crazy and ready to move....please don't breathe on my house of cards!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The gathering

It's a dreary Sunday here in Mathews, VA. As Mike and I left to run some errands this is the sight that greeted us across the road. Happily, they were gathered on a house other than ours. Something about a flock of vultures that is a bit ominous! So I leave you all with a very interesting photo ...as long as it isn't your house!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Old Friends, New Friends and the Internet

Back in Craig County, where I lived, for 4 isolated years, my sole and dearest friend was my next door neighbor. She was a native of Craig County, some 10 years my senior, but only on the calendar, not physically nor in spirit! She asked me one day for a favor, something she very rarely did. She wanted to know if I would go with her to her childhood church and photograph it for her. As we rode there she told me the story of how her aunt had purchased the church and had forbade her and her family from going near it. In the mountains kin folk often had arguments that ran down thru generations. When we got there I noticed my friend was teary eyed as she looked at the old abandoned church. Later she asked if I could print note cards with a photo on them. Unfortunately my printer was limited and I could not. I suggested that they could be printed at websites or stores but she declined. ( I knew she was on a limited income and felt bad I could not help her)

Soon we were looking to move to Mathews and I came across a blog called Life in Mathews, while looking for info on the town. I became a daily follower and soon learned how to post to a blog...remember I am a senior member of society!!! I have met many wonderful people aka blogger thru the Internet. While reading about Mathews I find another blogger's site who is a photographer...and oh I am so envious of her talent. Being a kind person she shares a website with me that will help my photo editing. Ah ha! There on that website are the 2 effects I have been wanting to apply to the photo of the old church but have not had the time nor the clear mind to sit for hours in front of Corel PhotoPaint and try to achieve it! Click Click it's done!...then there's an ad.....for note cards! you betcha! So I purchase a modest amount of notecards and send them to my old friend in Craig County.

I spoke with her today. She was crying, good tears, she got the cards, she loves them, misses me, and the mean old aunt died day before yesterday! All is well in Craig County, and Mathews thanks to the internet....(and a friend in N.Y. who takes incredible photos!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sit deep and relax!

I went to the house we are buying yesterday. Had to sit there for a few hours while the home inspection was going on. The house has a lot of details of the house I grew up in. Built around the same time. So as I sat, my mind wandered back in time. Some of my thoughts went back to my grandfather and his love of horses, even prior to my birth. When I came along he was already in poor health but still had horses and always barked out "suggestions" as I rode. He was a short firey cigar smoking Italian who spoke his mind and loved good horses, and in his day could ride the difficult ones. There is a story about him and a horse named Gray Bill... no one could ride Bill but Granddaddy. When I got old enough and looked at the photo I thought no wonder! There is enough metal in that horse's mouth to stop a freight train! Never said Granddaddy was a fool! I love the photo above of he and Bill, I don't have that confidence anymore, I have lost it with age and some recent poor choices in horses, but hope to get it back once I get settled in the new house and start riding again. Granddaddy rode deep in the saddle and relaxed, a good approach to life in general!

Friday, January 8, 2010

The ghost story my husband won't tell

My husband lived part of his childhood in an old farm house that his parents rented in Orange County, VA. His Mother and I were very close, she was very much into researching the history of haunted houses in VA. At first she would just tell me about the houses she would sew drapes and valances for. And that once and a while she would encounter one that would be haunted and the owners would tell her the history. Although she would not experience the haunting. When she and I got to know each other better, we both became comfortable sharing our experiences, it was then that she told me about the house she lived in when Mike was a child. Mike will only verify that the story is true but will not talk about it.
She and her husband and baby son slept across the hall from their daughter who was 9. and Mike and his other younger brother had a room next to the daughter. For about a week the Daughter Kathleen would wake up screaming with nightmares about people in her room. Mrs. B. would have to go to her and console her. One night Mrs. B. hears footsteps in the hall outside their door, she wakes her husband who also hears them. He picks up one of the boys baseball bats laying in the room as he does not have a weapon. Kathleen can be heard screaming in her room. The parents run to her room but no one is there but Kathleen is levitated above her bed and then drops back onto the bed. The 2 brothers are standing in the hall and their fox terrier is barking like crazy. Kathleen is screaming "they tried to take me!"
Mr. B. runs and follows the dog down the hall who has started up the stairs to the attic, it then yelps and comes lifted off its feet tumbling down the stairs. Mr. B. looks and their are human foot prints in the dust on the stairs to the attic. no one in the family uses the attic.
This ended the nightmares for Kathleen, but Mrs. B. would never stay in the house with the children when her husband was at work. She would have them outside. They moved shortly afterwards. A few years before I met her, there was a professor at UVA who was researching the history of haunted houses in VA. Mrs. B. contacted him, trying to get info on the house and related the story. This is the alledged history to that house. It was owned by 2 married brothers. It seems one brother and his sister in law fell in love and had a child, when the child was 9 the affair was revealed to the other spouses, resulting in a double suicide of the illicit lovers/parents to the 9 year old girl. Kathleen's room was that child's room, the assumption is, they were returning for their child!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Alright, ....o.k.

Have you ever noticed how certain people have phrases they say over and over again. But if you mention it to them, they say...I don't say that, or not all the time. Well, if you ever want to prove the fact...buy a parrot.

Enter stage left....Duval!
We bought Duval, a red headed conure, in Key West, Fl. when he was less than a year old. He is now 37 years old!
Funny thing is, we never attempted to teach him to talk, and he talks up a storm.
We had a young man doing some renovation work on our house when we first got him, he thought it was funny to cluck like a chicken to him...yep, Duval immitates a hen perfectly. He calls "Michael" which Mike claims is a sign of my nagging! We say "good night, Duval" each night. Uh! Oh! is something he picked up. He will call the names of the current dogs I have as I yell for them out the back door...he has outlived so many of them.
He had not expanded his vocabulary in years, but his cage has been more isolated from us over the years. We are now renting a small house until we buy one so he is in th living room...or right on top of us. Now unless you have ever been around a conure....do not judge us as to why his cage has drifted from ear shot!
The other day, my husband was on the phone with a man from work. It was all I could so to keep from laughing out loud. As Mike was trying to wind the conversation down, his side of the call was going....alright...o.k.....alright....o.k. Soon, in a non stop rthymic pattern I hear this low alright, o.k., alright, o.k.! and it continued after Mike hung up. I'm breaking up with laughter, Duval is still chanting, and Mike just thinks I am nuttier than usual. Of course when I explain it...Mike chimes in with....I don't say that! The proof is in the bird! Alright....o.k.!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Demon Pony!!!!

Two years ago, about a month before my 29 yr old pony, Mouse passed away, I was on the Internet cruising horse ads. This is a 24 hr. hobby of mine! I saw the pony foal in KY and turned to my husband and said "If anything ever happens to Mouse, I want this pony!"
You asked for it, Maureen! You wanted that cute little demon pony! You even drove all the way to KY to buy him!
Now I love my horses dearly, but having trained and shown since I was a teenager, they are all so very well behaved. Surely this little mini won't be a problem?!!! Even Mouse came around and was good.
Well, demon pony, aka Professor Duncan McSplat, is part mini, part Shetland, and part hackney. Those that know horse and pony breeds, at the utterance of hackney, take a big step backwards, hang their heads, put their hand on my shoulder for condolences. You see, they are demon ponies...no offense to all the beautiful hackney ponies out there...but you know you are!
He rears up and boxes with me, I correct him and he thinks it's a game, He runs circles around me when I lead him, now mind you I can control a 1200 lb horse....and yes I have a stud chain on this 300 lb pony....he laughs! He nips! I smack, now it's how quickly can I nip and duck. But let the vet come, and he hides behind me let a child.
I did find a way to teach him manners. An old tried and true method done with weanlings....the donkey! Poor poor Tonic....they live together now. Duncan no longer harasses her and has a new found respect for me....SOMETIMES...lil demon pony

Monday, January 4, 2010

Missing my horses

A picture is worth a 1,000 words! I miss them terribly. next post ...monster pony!

A Home!

Every living thing needs a home. A safe haven, a shelter, a place to return to at day's end, familiar surrounding with loved ones or things loved.
Our contract was accepted, our loan...so far...looks solid...afraid to breath too hard, after all the disappointments these past 2 months.
Oh to have the horses home, a place for the dogs to run safely, and a place for Mike and I to strecth out among our familiar belongings again and start making a home.
At our age hopefully this is it until they carry us away or we're too senile to know the difference!
I still know my way to Mathews, and will visit my old friends on the mountains...in summer!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tides of change

Sometimes we try to swim against the tides of life. And sometimes we just can't continue, we must veer off course, for our own good, for new currents beckon, or our craft is too weak to battle the tides.
Mathews has been a long time dream of my husband, and a new found haven for me, but we are now looking at making Tappahannock our home.
We will know the answer to our contract offer this week, but it looks promising. It's a home that offers comprises that pleases my family, friends, horses, pets, husband and me.
Dreams are wonderful but comprise is contentment and that is what a home should be. I just hope we have found ours.