Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Who's coming up the driveway ?

I've mentioned before that it's continually surprising to me how many people we interact with in the course of an average day. Many interactions get done in an impromptu fashion at various local community gathering places. If I choose to, I can spend as long as I want at the feed store, post office, gas station or local coffee shop. However our driveway seems to be a magnet for visitors and more often than not we watch the flow of visitors driving in and out of our very long driveway.

Most days the first vehicles to drive up belong to one or another of our employees. They bring with them a wealth of local knowledge and I enjoy hearing about and following the local foxhunting updates as well as what may or may not be happening in various local households and on various farms. We see vets, farriers, various service employees as well as an inordinate number of people who are trying to sell us something, most often something totally implausible.

From time to time we get people who are lost and are asking for directions. I feel sorry for these people when they drive up and find Melissa instead of me when directions are needed. (Melissa here - it is true that I hardly know where I am half the time and I certainly don't need to be giving anyone directions. Jason on the other hand is a walking, talking GPS system.). I think my favorite question was the guy who drove up, spotted me, and asked me if I could tell him who owned the farm. Apparently I looked like an unlikely owner in my dirty jeans and work boots.

Of course the best and most frequent visitors are friends and good neighbours, of whom we thankfully have plenty. I'm looking forward to seeing who turns in the driveway tomorrow!


Thor and Snappy

Happy grazers; Fuzzy, Murphy, Renny, Wiz, Dutch, Sam, Chili

Darby, Alex, B-Rad and Lighty

Thomas and Homer

Rocky and Clayton

Rampal and Johnny

Kennedy, Rampal and Toledo

Thor, Noble and Walden

Fonzi, Asterik and Gus

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Not Much Complaining

Just out of curiosity I clicked through some of the old blog posts from this time last year. I had a very common them running through many of my posts, and that was complaining about the weather. Anyone who has read this blog for, oh, five minutes, knows that I despise cold weather. I define cold as anything under 50 degrees. In my world tolerable is in the 50-60 range, nice is 60-70, and ideal is 70-85ish. Last winter was one of the worst winters I ever remember in middle Tennessee.

This winter has been much more normal. Maybe it is because I bought waterproof gloves, a new coat, two new pairs of boots, smartwool socks, a couple of boxes of toasty toes and several sets of long underwear? (I think I am scarred for life after last winter.) This year I was not going to be caught unprepared, and maybe my state of preparation made the weather gods decide to pick on someone else this winter. Now that I've bragged on my unnecessary winter attire undoubtedly I will have cause to use it all in the near future.

Most of our days this winter have fallen into the tolerable range with a few in the nice range and a couple in ideal. The cold days have been randomly scattered about but have never permanently set up shop. For winter weather I really can't complain about that too much.

With my charming personality of course I can still find something to complain about. Apparently the one thing that is mandatory this winter is heavy rain. We have a few sunny days and then we have a couple of days of hard, heavy rain. Winter is always a wet time of year but this has been a bit over the top. It isn't that I don't want rain, but it would be so nice if all of this extra rain could bless us with its presence in July and August instead of now. The grass would really appreciate it. Is that asking for too much? Probably.

What has winter been like for everyone else this year?


Trigger, Moe and Chance

Tony, Baby and Leo

George and Silver

Fonzi, Chimano and Romeo



Fabrizzio, Thor and Lightening


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Horses in Moscow

Jason and I both like to travel although we have different ideas about what defines a great trip. I like to get off the continent of North America and Jason likes to be within a day's drive of home and he hates changing time zones. He complains loudly about driving to Lexington, KY and having to switch to eastern time. Flying also would not make his list of favorite things although he usually tolerates it without complaining (much).

Jason found himself being towed through JFK airport by me a couple of weeks ago to board a flight to Moscow, Russia. This trip did not meet anything on his list of things he enjoys about travel. We definitely were not within a day's drive of home, we crossed ten time zones and he had to do a 10 hour flight. It helped that the Aeroflot flight had individual entertainment centers at each seat and Jason and I amused ourselves for quite awhile playing Pac Man.

We visited all of the usual attractions one associates with the city of Moscow including the Kremlin, Red Square and the Bolshoi Theatre. Having never been anywhere in eastern Europe I was quite excited about the trip. I was expecting the language barrier to be big and it was huge. The Cyrillic alphabet might as well be hieroglyphics as far as I am concerned.

In addition to the typical tourist attractions we also visited a riding club and a tack shop. As always I manage to locate horses no matter where in the world I find myself. Suffice it to say the buildings were a bit more, hmmm how should I say this, upscale than our farm. The horses all looked very well cared for, they were groomed within an inch of their lives, and the stalls were so clean if there hadn't been horses standing in all of them you would have been able to convince me they were never used. I don't think I saw a single manure pile in a stall as we walked down the barn aisle.

This facility was in the heart of the city, not in the suburbs or in the outskirts. There was an outdoor riding arena, a couple of tiny turnout paddocks and a couple of eurosizers. The facility also adjoined a racetrack with several rows of barns and it looked like you could hack around the rows of barns as well, but that was pretty much it as far as any outdoor facilities. Everything else was inside. The impressive clubroom, the changing rooms, the restaurant, the indoor and the barn were all part of the same building. The indoor and the barns were both heated to about 65-70 degrees. All of the horses were body clipped but not blanketed as there was no need for blanketing when inside.

The horses were fed hay 5 times per day and grain 3 times per day. We saw a pallet of what looked like excellent quality timothy hay as we were touring the barn. I have no idea what they were feeding for grain. Of course I tried to ask but all of the conversation was taking place through a very non-horsey translator. I just converted the board amount from rubles to dollars and it came out to about $2,200/month which was lower than I was expecting. Moscow is an expensive city and as I said this facility was IN the city.

Being able to include horses in some away always makes any trip better. Then we had the long 10 hour flight back to JFK. We and our fellow passengers had the pleasure of sharing that flight with a drunk Russian guy at the back of the plane that kept hitting the flight attendant call button over and over and over. This resulting in the dinging bell noise over and over and over. He also spent some time wandering up and down the aisles being overly friendly and even tried to pick up one couple's baby. Needless to say that did not go over well. He finally passed out/went to sleep after a few hours. As one of the flight attendants said "at least he is a happy drunk. The mean drunks are the worst." I was just glad that our seats were in row 5 and his seat was almost at the very back of the plane. If we had been too much closer I am pretty sure Jason would have told him exactly where he could put the call button and he would not have been friendly about it!!

the main building and entrance to the combined riding club/racetrack facility

another view

the red carpet leading to the main door

the barn aisle

The indoor riding arena had a large viewing deck that wrapped all the way around the arena. There was also a bar/restaurant that overlooked the indoor (behind the yellow wall on the left)

the indoor arena and the barn were heated to about 65-70 degrees

dragging the arena

a few more random pictures from around Moscow; The Bolshoi Theatre

me in front of St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square (note this picture was taken at 9:30am and it is still dark outside)

Russian Orthodox cathedral

Jason and I liked the Russian exit signs. Make like the stick figure and run for your life in this direction!!


Maisie and MyLight


Silver and Romeo playing

Toledo (Rocky and Kennedy in the background)

Clayton and Largo hanging out together

Tiny and Kennedy


Walden on the run

Fabrizzio on the run

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Perfect Winter Day

There are days when we wonder why we do what we do and there are other days when we wonder why we'd ever do anything else. Today was definitely one of the latter. We watched the morning light up and the stars fade into a perfect blue sky this morning. We started chores just as the sun cleared the horizon and you could feel the cool morning air warm up immediately. Within a few minutes, the frogs and crickets began singing and well before I was done feeding the first group of horses I was down to shirtsleeves. This far south the late January sun has some power, and before I was done feeding the second group I was down to short sleeves which is how I spent the remainder of the day. You know it's truly warm when Melissa is in shirtsleeves and by the time we met up after the horses were fed that is how I found her AND she was comfortably warm, even her hands !

We spent our time between chores fixing a multitude of things that had been piling up, waiting for a pretty day like this one. Periodically, Melissa would grab the camera and film the horses; they seemed to enjoy today every bit as much as we did and they spent the day laying around and doing some grazing. I'd be lying if I didn't mention that in between fix it chores I spent some time propped up against the fence enjoying the sunshine myself.

Today was a mild mid-winter gift, and we have had many beautiful days this winter. These sorts of days are one of the many reasons I love the life we've created here in Middle Tennessee.


Rampal was sound asleep in the sunshine

Bonnie on the go


MyLight and Calimba hanging out

Chimano, Fonzi, Silver, Gus and Faune grazing as the sun was rising

Walden, Fabrizzio, Noble and Lightening

Thor and Snappy

B-Rad and Murphy with Sebastian in the background

Sebastian and Wiz

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back Soon

Jason and I will be back in a few days with our regularly scheduled blogging. We are away for a few days but will be back soon!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Meet the Residents

I finally sat down and made a master list of the "meet the residents" posts. Just click on the names to read more about each resident. Hopefully I have all of my links going to the correct pages. If you find an incorrect link please let me know in the comments!








Cuff Links




Fuzzy Punch






Lily and Norman

















Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pictures & Video

Fonzi, George, Gus, Asterik, Chimano and Romeo. You have to love the mud colored grey horses.

Toledo, Rampal and Rocky in the background


George and Romeo napping, Asterik eating hay

Faune, Chimano, Winston and Fonzi

Lily, Norman and MyLight

Lighty and Murphy playing

Jason with Jo, Mina and Miss Lyle

Jo, Mina, Bubba and Miss Lyle passing a lazy afternoon

Levendi, Elfin and Hemi