Horse Driving– Another How-to Not-to


This story is embarrassing. But it’s also so damn funny that I can’t not share it.

It’s been two three years since I last harnessed up my mini horse for a drive. (This is Laura by the way, not Lois.) He recently came back to my house from Lois’ for some “retraining”. That means he was being a bully to the other, older animals. Click here  for part of that story.

 

miniature horse, pony, cook's country connection, pajari girls

The training has been going well–mostly re-teaching him manners with leading and doing some longe line work. Where before he was impossible to catch, now he comes willingly.

Ok. So. We had to walk him next door to have his shots for the Petting Farm, and Danny thought we should drive him instead. I decided we would see how he did with harnessing and hitching up to the cart first.

 

squirt harnessed

He had grown, so I lengthened the harness as needed and he stood just fine. So far, so good. Even without a sturdy hitching post, we were gettin’ ‘er done. I was feeling confident that driving a horse was similar to riding a bike; you never forget.  The bridle was tougher to put on (always has been with him) but I figured out how to make that bigger too, and was finally able to get it in his damn mouth. (THIS is why I have a mini instead of a Belgian.) I attached the lines -called “reins” on a riding horse-, so we had steering and brakes now too. Check, double check.

 

july-4-09-026pat lauraitchy

This is what I pictured: My Little Pony trotting up the driveway to Lois’s, with me and Danny riding comfortably. That is not even close to what happened.

Danny and I walked him down to the bottom of our driveway. There was a lot of traffic, so we waited patiently. I had the lines in my right hand and the longe line (aka emergency brake) in my left. I gingerly stepped into the cart and as soon as I sat down, I was flipping backwards. Next thing I knew, I was looking UP at the Norway pine, the sky, little hooves flailing and horse teeth.

My life flashed before my eyes, then I realized I wasn’t mortally injured– just banged up with a little road rash. When I regained my feet, there was the cart, with the harness and bridle and lines still attached, and the pony munching clover a few feet away. He looked at me like, “And you say I’M FAT??”. I became aware of cars passing and all I could do was laugh, now that nobody was dead.

This is what the cart looked like when I stood up:

driving horse 003

…except the harness was still attached. By some miracle, Squirt aka Elmer just slithered right out of all of it! I was sure I would have a terrified horse tied up in knots right there on the shoulder of Hwy 24. Or worse yet, on my head. Apparently I forgot something critical.

driving horse 002

Standing at the end of the driveway, all I could do was laugh. And laugh. And guffaw. And wave back at the cars passing.  All I could think of was the hearse from Disney World’s Haunted Mansion ride.

haunted horse

 

 

*HA! I almost published this without answering the question, “What the hell went wrong??” .

I forgot to snap the cart to the breeching. I think the strap I neglected is called the Tilbury Tug. Horseman Ed calls them  “holdbacks”. I now call it “don’tforgetthekeepthecartfromtippingnoverdumbassthingyclip”.

 

 

 

 

We’re Baaaaaaack!


Losing Cook Dollar Barn was one of the worst experiences we have lived through. It wasn’t just a store; it was an important social hub for the Pajari Girls, and our little town, too. Every day, the list of people and things we miss gets longer. And when people told us that there must be something even better around the corner, we KNEW they were lying.

Now, we are headed back. Back in “A Barn, if not “The Barn”.

So here’s the scoop: barring zoning, insurance or licensing issues, Her Highness The Queen of Poo (Lois) is hoping to open the Peterson family homestead as a petting farm/ event location this summer! Can we get a whoop whoop??

farm barnherd, pony, llama, goat, sheep

farm, barn, cat  

great pyrenees, dog, boy, farm

walli, corgi, dog,

goat, farm, pajari girls

alpaca, farm, pajari girls

pony, farm, horse. girl guinea hens, fowl, poultry bunny, rabbit, zip, hens, chickens, farm, eggs Flemish Giant, rabbit, bunny donkey, the farm, pajari girls

Rooster Noodle Soup


I am very nervous around poultry.  (See “Guinea Monsters From Hell”)   And I used to hate cooking. So this Martha Stewart-esque-ness is new to me. I have been growing, canning, cooking, drying and freezing food a lot more the last few years. Now, being unemployed AND on the Low Child Support Diet has encouraged me to do even more, and to do it better. It’s been a slow process, and many people have contributed along the way. Here are two that I remember.

One of my favorite bloggers is Jackie  Clay.  (Check her out here. Chop chop!) We are lucky to have this awesome lady in our community, and I have learned so much from her books and blogs about living off the land in this area code.  I subscribed to her blog for several months before I even attempted canning on my own.

I vaguely remember Anthony Bourdain saying that the poorest people had the best-tasting food, because their seasonings could make even the cheapest cuts of meat and other ingredients taste good. That’s when I started growing herbs, tomatoes, etc. in containers and finally a garden.

As I mentioned, I am scared of live poultry; however, they are delicious, especially roasted with organic herbs that we grew here on the hill. Growing rosemary, sage, celery leaf, red onion, garlic and thyme makes me happy.  So as long I have Lois and Jill next door to raise chickens, I will cook them.

omnom, thyme, sage, celery leaf, rosemary, funny farm, organic

By the way, does anyone know why when they are alive they are hens & roosters, but as soon as the heads come off they are just chicken?? Same with cows, bulls, steers, heifers, and beef… What the hell?Roosters, Funny Farm, Pajari Girls, Food, Soup

I believe it’s important to know where our food comes from.  I like that the chicken (fka: rooster) was grass-fed next door, not in a cramped factory “farm.”

Rooster, Banty, Food, Pajari Girls, Funny Farm, chicken

And better yet, the next day I made the leftovers into soup and paired it with homemade bread.  Note to self: next year, grow a LOT more carrots and potatoes.  As far as fast, cheap and easy goes….it was super cheap and really easy…two out of three isn’t bad.

omnom, rooster noodle soup, chicken noodle soup, homemade soupPS: Thank you Ant, for the title! You’re right; Rooster Noodle Soup sounds way better than Chicken Noodle Soup.

Liebster Award


Liebster Award

“The Liebster Award is given to up-and-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The word ” Liebster” comes from the German language and can mean the sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, most beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

Thank you Heather, of Ramblings of a Hedge Witch, for the nomination! 🙂 The toughest part was figuring out how many followers each blog had. There were a few that I couldn’t find any stats on, so I hoped and included them anyway.

Cliff’s Notes on how it works: I answer 11 questions, share 11 random facts about myself, nominate 11 bloggers, and write 11 questions for them to answer. (Full rules at the end.)

The questions I was supposed to answer:

1) Why did you start writing a blog?

Mary Conger told me to. Bossy Big Sister seconded. Motion carried.

2) What is your favorite work of fiction?

The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

3) How would you describe your personal philosophy/spiritual path?

Seeking balance.

4) What has impressed you lately?

The snow llama. (https://pajarigirls.com/2012/12/16/weekly-photo-challenge-delicate/)

5) What has depressed you lately?

The Sandy Hook tragedy.

6) What advice would you give your younger self if you could go back in time ten years?

Can I make a joke about getting a defense lawyer instead of a divorce lawyer?

7) What are your vices?

Smoking, cussing, being late.

8) What would you like to achieve in 2013?

I want to be Employee of the Year at Cook Dollar Barn. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. But will my sister acquiesce?? Nooooo.

9) Describe your personal style.

In public? Jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts.

10)  What is your favorite city?

Philly 🙂

11) Name something that always makes you smile.

Playing ball with Walli; Corgi butts drive me nuts. That is funny stuff.

Questions for my nominees:

1.) Does YOUR sister pick on you, too? Nagging and such?

2.) When was the last time you shoveled poo?

3.) What would be the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?

4.) How YOU doin’? (It’s just not the same without an up-nod and a bad Sopranos accent.)

5.) What do you want to be when you grow up?

6.) If you could live anywhere on earth (and take whomever you wanted along), where would it be?

7.) What do you admire most about yourself?

8.) What would you most like to change about yourself?

9.) What are you waiting for?

10.) Why did you start blogging?

11.) What is the most-watched movie/DVD in your collection?

11 things you might not know about me:

1.) I hate this part.

2.) I know how to harness and drive a team of horses.

3.) I have been a mom since I got pregnant at 16.

4.) I always wanted to be a truck driver/ heavy equipment operator.

5.) I can play 3 instruments, though not well: piano, trumpet, and guitar.

6.) The activity that makes me happiest is gardening.

7.) The first deer I shot was a 12-point buck. Really pissed off the Chicago boys lol.

8.) I have Rheumatoid Arthritis…I spent 18 months in a wheelchair and give myself a shot in the stomach twice a week to keep that from happening again. (There also a million other things I need to do to stay upright, but that is the one that seems to freak people out the most.

9.) We Pajari Girls speak in movie shorthand–if you haven’t seen The Boondock Saints, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, Practical Magic, and The Big Lebowski, you will totally miss what the hell we are talking about most of the time.

10.) I had the WORST taste in men. Mr. Wonderful endured a committee of friends and family members, as well as a 3 page application, a note from his doctor, and a background check. It was worth it. (PS I did the same for him, under orders from my bossy sister, aka Head of the Committee. )

11.) I am always out of the running for Parent of the Year by mid-January. (See #3.)

And the nominees are (in no specific order):

Quite Contrary

Hammer Like a Girl

Verbatim Gibberish

Everyday Gurus

Trophy Daughter

Catherine Holm

Rice River Ramblings

whiskeytangofoxtrot

momuverse

Blaise Lucey

Superkat Wins

Here are the RULES –

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!)
  • You write 11 NEW questions directed toward YOUR nominees.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog.

You paste the award picture into your blog, Google it or steal mine.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate


It’s easier than you might think to  forget that snow is delicate.  We of the northern climes spend months cursing it, shoveling it, salting,  plowing, and bragging/worrying about driving through it.  Last night, though, I lay in the snow for a moment, trying to improve my attitude about winter. It only took a few seconds, and it was better than I remembered. Today, I appreciated the views from my sister and her husband’s home, The Funny Farm, and captured them to share with you. You’re welcome. 🙂

This is a WordPress Gallery, which is a foofy name for a slideshow. Click on any picture to start the show.

PowerBall Christmas Shopping List


How fun would Christmas shopping be if I won the lottery?? (Seriously, follow the links–they are half the fun.)

 

My Big  Sister Lois would get a yak, which was Rachel C’s great idea…

Yak

…and a Hippopotamus For Christmas. Real ones. Complete with enclosures etc. And enough money that she could stay at home on The Funny Farm and play with creatures, her chainsaw, and shovel POO!  to her heart’s content, instead of going to The Barn every day. (The Barn vs. the barn.)

All of the Pajari Girls would get pink guns. Because it’s ironic. And badass. Check out these Google pics of pink guns.

Mr. Wonderful would get a private plane so we could visit his family whenever he wanted. And Pine-Sol. The company.

BigGuy: A custom Harley, with all the accessories including Vance & Hines pipes. And maybe a sidecar, so we wouldn’t have to fight over who gets the next ride. Of course, he will have to quit working so he has time to give me more than 2 rides per summer.

Firstborn Spawn: NOT a pole. I’d buy her the Minnesota Wild.

Unloved Middle Child: We would follow The Boss on tour, front row, backstage, etc. And pie. Scooter Pie.

The Boy: His own museum full of trains and dinosaur skeletons.

If money were no object, what is the wildest Christmas gift you would buy?

Goodbye Mr. Stinky Droolface


We said our final goodbyes to Stinky on Friday, when it became apparent that the cancer was hurting too much for the pain meds, and he started throwing up. There are so many things I want to say about this gentle giant, but for once I’m pretty much speechless. Here’s to the world’s biggest lapdog, Mr. Stinky Droolface, aka: Harley the Mastiffosaurus Wrecks.

The following is a WordPress Gallery, which is a fancy, foofy name for a slideshow. Click on any image to start.

Here is Part One and Part Two of Stinky’s Story, if you missed them.

Here’s a video I took a few weeks ago.

Mr. Stinky Droolface Part 2


If you’re raising your hand (because you fell behind,) here’s Part One.

mastiff, corgi, oak
This IS his happy face. And Gus’ frustrated-to-be-juuuust-out-of-reach face.

Long story short, Mr. Stinky Droolface seemed to be in good spirits today around lunchtime. Got him to eat, and he still insists the water bucket outside tastes much better. He isn’t using his right hind foot much, but he made the rounds, checking on Little Bit the pony, Jai the Ginormous White Slobbering Dog, and finally settling himself in a sunbeam near GusGus.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems Stinky’s telling the puppies important dog things. I hope so. Like reminding the Herd that the ruminants belongs IN the fence, unless they are on a leash like Little Bit.

There are so many great pics of all the creatures of The Funny Farm, I decided to try a slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mr. Stinky Droolface


“Stinky’s getting to be a Grampa Dog,” my sister pointed out two years ago when gray started showing in his muzzle and he started limping like me on rainy days.

Impossible. In my head he is still a puppy. He’s 180 lbs of drooling, woofing, farting Mastiffosaurus Wrecks, so it’s not his size… I guess it’s because my son is still a boy, at 10 years old. They have grown up together, and I think that’s why it’s so hard for me to accept that his life is very nearly over.

baby and mastiff puppy
My sister Lois refereeing Stinky and Danny Boy
Mastiff
UNCLE!! He took my ball again!!!

Over the last few weeks, his knee had begun to swell, so Lois took him to the vet. It’s cancer, it’s growing very fast, and he is too old and arthritic for amputation to be an option. We are treating him for pain and inflammation, but the bones can’t take much more. Very soon, he’ll have to be put down.

I keep telling myself that dying is a part of living. That 8-10 years is the life expectancy of a large breed dog.  This still sucks. So I reviewed the 5 Stages of Grief Model.

I believe Kübler-Ross is right; grieving is a process. It’s normal to be angry, try to “bargain” loss away, get depressed and/or accept it. Sometimes all in the same day. These stages don’t happen in order, one time each, and then go away.

I always thought denial was such a terrible thing. Then a few years ago someone very wise explained that denial is actually a very useful coping mechanism. It gives our minds and hearts a little time to catch up to reality. While part of me is saying, “No no no no nope. Not today. Forget it. NO storm. E-I-E-I-NO,” etc. another part of me is slowly accepting life on life’s terms. And one of those terms is that nothing lives forever.

Sometimes, people use this as a reason to not have pets (or relationships..been there!). And I can see why it’s tempting. Losing a pet is painful. Every time we lose an animal, part of me says, “Eff this; never again.” But that doesn’t last long. (Anger, lol 😉 ) The benefits of unconditional love far outweigh the inevitable pain of loss. Every time.

So I guess now it’s real. I’m gonna go rub his belly and let him slobber on my face and WOOF at my big purple hat because it scares him when we wear different clothes.

mastiff

Eight Great Uses for Plastic Spiders


1. Good Parenting: Encourage spawn to clean their rooms more often by hiding a big one in their bed. Place it close enough to the top layer of detritus so they will see it. She still cusses and hits me when I bring it up. Tears still run down my leg when I remember that day…

2. Being a Good Sister:  We TRIED to scare Lois and Bigguy by putting big fake spiders in the camp chairs they borrowed.  She names the real-life huge hairy spiders on the Funny Farm…(Charlotte, of course.) I should have known this would flop. If your big sister is a big baby about spiders, try it. Note: This is not just a Halloween trick. More effective other times of the year, actually.

3. Being self-sufficient: Can and eat them.

Not really. Use an old jar, food coloring and plastic spiders to make a fast, cheap, and easy Halloween decoration.

5. Be a good wife. I found this one on Pinterest, too. This lady Delia is messing with her arachnophobic husband. She hot-glued spiders to magnets to show her love.

6. More good parenting: What little girl wouldn’t LOVE spiders all over her head?? We have some really cute spider rings at the Barn.

Halloween Rings hairstlyes. Gotta remember this for sure!!!

7. Good Housekeeping:  I was doing something else with plastic spiders, and left one on the dryer by mistake. Startled me and the family a few times. Now I kind of keep the top  of the dryer cleaned off so the spider shows.

8. Your turn. I’m almost out of ideas, and there are lots of spiders left. Leave a link or a comment with your great idea.

For four billion other great ideas, check out my Pinterest Boards. Most of the ideas are like what we Pajari girls eat: fast, cheap, and easy. And most of the supplies can be found at Cook Dollar Barn!

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