What the Shetland?*

*Original cover photo (above) by Hivewire3d.com. Go check them out, it’s pretty cool.

 

Alright, I’m not taking the blame for this. In fact, this was never on my radar but a certain little girl got the birthday present so many of us dreamed of because her Oma (German nickname for Grandma) bought it.

My child has a Shetland pony. Let that sink in. I’ll wait.

Again, I do not take any fault for this horse. Not my fault at all. Remember that.

But she’s really cute and I kinda love her and we take care of her and she loves it when I brush her and scratch behind her ears just so. Gosh doggit, I really like her.

Well, she’s not my fault but I’ll keep her because I can ride her. She’s also closer to the ground and that’s comforting to someone like me who has a slight fear of heights and being bucked off a horse and onto a yucca.

To be clear, this pony looks like the ones you see at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum and other places where you pay for them to ride gently in circles for 5 minutes. Here’s a very uplifting description of ponies. They’re sweet, funny, goofy, and pretty much the coolest short thing I’ve seen in a while. However, this pony has a mind of her own. She tried to stomp on the cats and thought it would be fun to bite one of the dogs. When she met the other two horses, she decided to be their new alpha after the pecking order biting and chasing was over. (That lasted that all of 10 minutes and everyone is fine, by the way.) I think the gelding is taking this kinda hard. He used to be the alpha then this little horse that can barely be seen over the winter grass decided to take over. He accepts her as part of the herd, as does the mare who, when you see them together looks like a mother/daughter combo, but he’s still stingy and mean when it comes to the feed. I can’t blame him – I mean, now he’s got two women who tell him what to do.

I have noticed both bigger horses get a little more jealous when I do scratch her. These two NEVER let us near them unless there’s food involved. Now, all of a sudden, the pony comes up for scratches and they’re trying to push each other out of the way for some cuddles. Ridiculous. But, since I’m trying to gain their trust so that I can actually ride one some day, I scratch and sweet talk and tell them all how much I love them. Meanwhile, they’re sniffing me for food.

Anyways, we have a pony. And a cute little pony saddle. Her name is Penelope, she’s 8 years old, and needs a bath. Oh and here’s some more awesome news: MY CHILD CAN COLOR IN THE LINES. Seriously, this is big news for parents. It’s on the same level as when they start to crawl or walk or poop and wipe by themselves. Huge news, my friends.

Now this has nothing to do with ranching but I figure you’ve been inundated with phone calls, flyers, and canvassers urging you to vote for their candidate. I’m sure you’ve been told to vote more times than you can remember and you probably are either voicing your opinion on the candidates or you’re hanging back to see if it will be Aunt Myra or Uncle Jasper who throws the turkey leg on Thanksgiving at your lovable-yet-dimwitted Cousin James for whatever he said about the other candidate. It’s ok to chuckle if it happened in 2012.

Whatever happens, please make sure not just to vote but to know WHAT you’re voting for! Even if you can’t or won’t vote for the next President of the United States, there are still a lot of local offices and bonds and such that need your input. Visit your local County Clerk’s office and be an informed voter. Remember, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. FOR FOUR YEARS. That’s an awful long time to hang onto regret. Just in case you’re wondering, we voted already. I’m not particularly fond of any politician on the ballot for “the big one” but I did vote for those people (and those bonds) that I think will serve our communities the best. Even then, I have a feeling our Thanksgiving will have LOTS of wine. And maybe a few extra turkey legs, just in case.

 

 

 

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Where did October go?

Dang, that was quick. I mean, I thought I’d only be gone for a week. I just looked back at my last blog post…it’s been almost a full month! Wow. Well, I guess I better get to updating y’all on what’s going on at the ranch.

We moved the cattle! I actually got to see this. The cows and calves get separated but they’re all going home. Before you get mad at me for telling you that moms and babies have to be separated, lemme tell ya why. They have to be for the safety of the calves…you don’t want one cow to get spooked and accidentally hurt a calf. Speaking of calves, we had a birth here on the ranch! Too bad we weren’t there to see it – we were at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF) having way too much fun! We had the pleasure of taking care of these cattle all summer, now we will wait a few weeks and get our own herd. In the spring, I hope to have lots of pictures of our calves – they should be arrive mid-March. Of course, we decided to jump in to ranching when cattle prices are so low some people are struggling to pay the bills. So what’s my point? Eat some damn beef. Go local if you can. Or contact me and let’s make a deal. Not sayin’, just sayin’. I love the life we’re building out here and that we’ve literally become stewards of the land and the animals who live here – now help me and families just like mine continue this amazing tradition.

*Gets off her soapbox and continues with the blog*

Speaking of the AIBF, it was our daughter’s birthday. It was a pirate birthday and she was our pirate princess. Our tradition for the past few years is to camp out there (well, the lot we stay at has all the super nice coaches – it’s more glamping on a paved parking lot). We get there, set up camp, have a birthday party, invite all of our Albuquerque area friends, and everyone gets to stay and watch the fireworks and glow. It’s amazing! Balloon Fiesta is something we look forward to every year because we know we’ll have a great time, it’s easy to plan, and there’s nothing like seeing balloons hanging in the air at 8:30am. They’re like jeweled decorations on a tree except the tree is the beautiful New Mexico sky and I’m holding a breakfast burrito in my hand instead of a gift. We also took a detour to McCall’s Pumpkin Patch. Folks, you need to get to your local pumpkin patch – that was fun! Piggy races, a castle with princess tea time, a maize maze, and of course the coveted pumpkin picking. Oh and punkin’ chunkin’. Here’s the site for the World Championship of Punkin’ Chunkin’. Yes.

A bittersweet moment was remembering my father-in-law. One year ago he passed; I still expect to see him coming through the door. So much has changed in the past year but I think he’d be proud of what we’ve accomplished in that time. Actually, I think he’d be extremely impressed. My husband and I are definitely go-getter kind of people, so getting into a business on a wish and a dream sounds exactly like something we would do if you asked our close friends. One of our cousins came up to the ranch and had the sweet idea of reprinting photos of the family and sending them off on biodegradable balloons. It was a beautiful gesture and one I’ll never forget.

The alpacas are mad at me. Well, they’re mad at my husband but weren’t too pleased that we had to cut their nails. You’d think they’d be down for a manicure. Unfortunately, they hate being roped and I’m not really sure when they were haltered last. The halters we bought, even though they were listed as XL, were still too small. Which got me to thinking…are these alpaca/llama hybrids? They’re definitely big guys. Is that even possible? No matter, they’re still goofy and the best lawnmowers. PS – I’ve got lots of alpaca poop (aka beans!) if you want some.

The Harvest Moon! That amazingly gorgeous red sphere just peeked over the horizon. Wow. But ya know what? I got a bone to pick with the weather. I thought it was supposed to be cool now. Mother Nature is messing with us big time. The highs this and next week are in the high 80’s to low 90’s. I mean, seriously. Get it together! I almost switched out my wardrobe for sweaters and forgot and I’m STILL fine in t-shirts. I need my sweaters and alpaca mittens and wood-burning stove right now. Not shorts and tank tops. I need to retire summer for a bit.

Which reminds me, I have to postpone my dreams of another half marathon. I did something weird to my ankle on the last run and it’s been funky running ever since. Not broken or sprained, just twisted enough that if I run it hurts. The last time I ignored pain I ended up with a stress fracture, so I’ll just stick with a smaller distance and give myself more time to train. Extra time can’t hurt: along with this crazy heat, it’s also been ridiculously windy! I hate running in wind. And heat. Don’t mind the cold, unless it’s raining. Ok, I just love to hate running. But at least I have my indoor cycling!

Oh, my cycle playlist! So I made this for a dear friend of mine who inspired me to teach my kind of crazy and came to a lot of my cycle classes in Las Cruces. I would joke with her not to throw her water bottle at me but half the time she was too exhausted to do it. Or she was thirsty and didn’t want to waste her bottle on me. Anyway, I made a playlist for her and thought I’d share it with the world. You can listen to my version of crazy via Spotify by clicking here. Be warned, it’s angry, there’s techno, and most people who ever rode with me can hear me yelling and dancing in the aisles. It’s just how I roll. (Get it? How I roll? Because it’s on a bicycle???)

The damn chickens. OK. I gotta vent here (I did it again! Vent? Get it??!) The chicken perp is now a Guinea perp. I lost 10 of my 12 Guinea keets in ONE NIGHT. The other 2 are extremely quiet now and I can’t blame them. They lost all their siblings a month ago and we locked them out of their old coop. I refuse to let them be easy prey until we figure out what happened and how to stop it. Instead of being super smart and hanging with the chickens *inside* the re-purposed horse trailer, they prefer to roost *on top* of the trailer. I guess that works as long as an owl doesn’t spot a giant white or polka dot bird. At least they might have a chance of escape. As it is, Guinea fowl are only barely domesticated and usually roost in the trees of Africa with hyenas and lions and such so I guess they’ll be OK in New Mexico – at least, I hope. Andrea, you ask, why don’t you find some place safer for them and train them to go there? Lemme tell ya, we tried. We did let them roost for a bit inside the shop but, well, they poop a lot. They like to poop on things you’ll need the next day, like your toolbox. Or your indoor cycle. Or the 4-wheeler. It’s fun cleaning up bird poop, as I’m sure you can imagine. Really, they just kinda quit going inside and decided instead that the open air was more their style. As for the chickens, they’re doing better. Laura got her voice back, Rosa’s neck feathers are growing back, and 2 are going through their molting period. They all kinda look ugly and emaciated but I promise they’re well fed and spoiled rotten. I did somehow convince the hubby to let me get some chicks. They’re cute and fluffy and skittish and live safely in the workshop. If all works out, I could be getting 5-7 eggs a day – in six months or so. Oh joy!!!

Phew. That was a lot. It doesn’t include our trip to the Clayton Arts Festival, that time I drove to Las Vegas, NM to pick up my mom’s dog for his staycation, or the few days we spent cleaning out rat’s nests in the hunting camper. Seriously, those things happened ad ended up on the floor of my editing room. What have you been up to? Talk with me, walk with me, let’s hang out sometime!