Monday, November 3, 2014


We have been looking for a new house in Western Washington since late February. We have spent hundreds of hours and driven thousands of miles trying to find a place that is right for us.  In August, we thought we found the right place.  Mike and I both liked the house, the pasture was adequate but a blank slate, and we could make it what we wanted.

After making an offer, which was accepted, and signing a six month lease (because our house in Pasco hadn't sold) we started moving.  When our house sold in early September, we thought "YAY!  We can proceed on the new house."  Then the appraisal value came in $70k BELOW the purchase price.  That's when things started going south.

The Seller, for whatever reason, started closing proceedings on a house that he was buying in South Carolina before the appraisal came back... and he started panicking.  I honestly don't blame him, but the way he handled the situation was completely unacceptable.

First, he said Mike and I would have to come up with the additional $70k, because, after all, we HAD agreed to pay the purchase price.  Um... No.  Unless you have an appraisal to support the purchase price, we aren't throwing good money after bad.  Then he threatened to kick us out (in spite of the lease) and relist the house.  Um... No.  He signed a lease and we were going to hold him to it.

Things deteriorated from there.  We presented to him what we were financially able to do, and asked him to meet us there.  He spent three weeks harassing and bullying Mike, trying to get his way.  One day, Mike had his hands dirty and he received a text from the Seller.  When I picked it up and read it aloud, Mike and I received the FINAL STRAW.  We were done!  We were done trying to work to a mutual agreement.  I started looking for a new property. 

I found one that we could make work, but it would need a LOT of sweat labor.  Mike said "NO"

Then I happened to find another one.  Hmmm.... Two years older (built in 1992), 1,000 sqft larger, barn, cross-fencing, COVERED ARENA, same price.  AND... only 7 miles from the house we were renting.  No brainer there.

We looked.  We liked.  We offered. The offer was accepted, and the inspection was completed on Nov 1st.  On Nov 3rd, the appraisal was ordered.  If there are no hiccups, we should be moving during the weeks of Thanksgiving.

This whole experience has been a rollercoaster of emotions, but there really is a reason for all of this, and at the end of the day, we feel very blessed.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Well, so now it's July and once again I find myself catching up on events...

Our house is for sale.  There is some interest but those interested also have a house to sell.  So we wait.  That isn't a bad thing because A) we haven't found a new place on the west side, and B) My job got extended through October.  So that is working out.

I found a lump on my neck, just below my thyroid.  It turns out that it is just a cyst, so good news there.

Shortcake has been delivered to Western Washington where she is hanging out until she is either adopted, or catches a ride back to California.

Cabo is a former polo pony and though sound, he has become unpredictable under saddle so has been retired.  He has taken Shortcake's spot at the farm and has become buddies with Cappy.  Here the two of them are seeking shade from the sun.
Cappy's tail is very sparse, so he has "extensions" of donor hair taken from Friday, Chiquita, and Piper.

Below is Monty.  He is also a relatively new arrival.  Sound and sane, just started stumbling, so he was retired.

Below is Zippin Friday.  Still hobbling around with her bum knee, but otherwise happy and healthy!

Below is my Angel.  Starving as usual.

Piper is sweet and friendly but not very excited to be locked off the pasture for the day.  I think she'll survive.

Texas Chili is definitely NOT happy about being separated from Piper!

 Chiquita in her pen, recovering from a night out... on the pasture.

Bullwinkle is also recovering from a night out.  He returned from training on June 14th.


Thursday, February 13, 2014


I’m sorry it’s been so long since I posted and entry.  Things have been crazy busy around here and when I have any “down” time, it’s usually because I’m sleeping.  So I’ll try to get you caught up chronologically, though I’m sure I’ll leave something out.

December 5th, my friend Christy and I went to Las Vegas for the opening night of the National Finals Rodeo.  We had an absolutely fabulous time shopping and hanging out!  While we were there, a “polar vortex” of sorts hit our area – 12 degrees with 30 mph winds.  The horses faired well and Mike added an extra feeding to get them through!

Just after January 1st, Mike flew to Kent, WA (NE of Tacoma) to interview for a job.  The next day, he flew to Houston to interview with the Corporate office, returning a day later.  By that night, he had a verbal offer for a job on the table.  By Monday morning, he had an attractive offer in writing, which he accepted.  He started his job on January 28.

Somewhere in all of this, we lost our sweet Rylee.  (It’s sad that I can remember when…)  Rylee was our 13 year old Jack Russells Terrier and she was coughing and producing mucus.  I thought perhaps she had a lung infection.  X-Rays revealed fluid in her lungs.  The vet was going to drain some of the fluid until an ultrasound revealed a very large tumor.  We decided not to put her through any more pain and suffering and let her go.  Mike and Kali were with her at those final moments. Her loss hit Mike pretty hard – he was Rylee’s person and she was his shadow.

In mid-January, Sweetie (owned by Polo Pony Rescue) was having trouble getting around.  She had arthritis and ringbone and would have good days and bad days.  She was given a shot of Adequan and proceeded with a “wait and see if it helps”.  We knew her days were numbered but wanted to make her as comfortable as possible.  About a week after her shot, Mike sent a text saying Sweetie didn’t finish the previous night’s dinner and didn’t get up for breakfast.  Sweetie’s owner told me to call the vet and she was euthanized that afternoon.

On February 4, Polo Pony Rescue retiree Monty arrived from southern California.  Naturally, since he didn’t have much of a winter coat, the day he arrived was brutally cold with it being 18 degrees with a 15 mph wind.  I put two winter blankets on him and closed him in the stall with the roll-up door to block the wind.  Last weekend, we got our first snow but at least it warmed up to 21 degrees.  Yesterday, it melted off with a high temperature of 59 degrees.  His blankets came off and last night at feeding time, the slick and shiny Monty was officially Mudball Monty!

The Sunday before Monty arrived, Jazzy took a spill in the arena, falling HARD.  She got up and appeared to be walking normally.  Two days later, I noticed that Jazzy was off her feed and was laying down.  She has had minor episodes in the past where she doesn’t get enough water and suffers a minor blockage.  I assumed the same this time.  She wasn’t rolling or thrashing, just off her feed and either standing or laying quietly.  On Wednesday, the vet came and tubed her with oil and said to watch her.  The next morning she was standing quietly when I left for work at 5:00 am and also at 9:00 am when Kali left for work.  By 12:30, Jazzy had died.  I am thinking now that she had seriously injured herself in the fall and had internal bleeding.  When I came home (early due to Kali’s hysterical phone call), it appears that she had just collapsed and fallen over.  There was no evidence of a struggle.  She was just gone.

And so, here we are… moving forward.  I am going to Kent to visit Mike this weekend.  We will be driving the area, looking for a new place (sort of), and spent the weekend together.  We will start looking in earnest for a new place to buy after May 1, when we know that Mike will be staying with the company and that it’s a “good fit”.  We will be looking to move sometime from mid- to late-Summer.

Just so you can keep track, this is the list of all the animals at the Vermillion Zoo:

Humans: Mike, Karen, Kali
Cats: Freddie Fuzz, Spaz, Bettie Boop, Tinkerbell
Dogs: Jasper, Kizzy
Horses: Shortcake, Chiquita, Bullwinkle, Angel, Cappy, Friday, Monty, Piper, and Chili

Friday, November 29, 2013


See the horse in the back in the red blanket?
That's Charlie, my neighbor's horse.
I didn't even see him until I went back there to feed Friday.
(Yes, I'm THAT observant!)

Believe it or not, this fence is actually green!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Donating and Reputable Charities

Do you donate to charities?  Mike and I do.  We have a list that we donate to.  So I wanted to talk to you from the OTHER side, not as someone who actually HAS a charity, but as someone sitting here having random thoughts.

I'm only going to address horse charities, because as you know, I'm a Horse Keeper.  I used to ride and barrel race on occasion, but lately, I just feed and pick up after horses. 

Did you know that charities are THRILLED to have ANY donations?  Seriously! I'm talking about picking your 5 favorite charities and donate $10 per month to each one.  That's $50 a month.  Don't have that much free cash?  OK, how about $5 to each charity?  That's $25 per month.  I KNOW you have THAT much! NO? You don't?  How about skip one trip to Starbucks each week?  I don't know what YOUR favorite coffee drink costs, but mine cost $6.25.  What do you know... there's $25 every four weeks!!!

Now, you might say "How much of a difference with $5 dollars make?"  Well, as an example, I have 180 friends on Facebook.  If every one of my friends gave $5.00 to one charity every month, that is $900 per month!  It adds up FAST!

I've heard people say more than once "They don't need my donation.  They're getting enough."  Really?  Most friends that I know that operate rescues make up for lack of donations out of their own paycheck!  They go without extras so the horses that they are responsible for can eat and get their feet trimmed or see the vet.  One friend I know slept over an old milking parlor (yeah, the cow kind) in a room without a window or heat, and ate ramen noodles, or some days nothing at all, so that she could pay board for horses she had personally rescued.  And she didn't do this for a month, she did it for several YEARS!!!

Many of the rescuers that I know don't only rescue horses, they rescue many different types of animals... llamas, dogs, cats, goats, pigs and on and on.

So now I'll get off my soap box and give you a list of some rescues that I know do good work.  They step in, step up, retrain, rehome, and adopt out horses with a contract, and follow up.  I do hope that you will consider "adopting" one or more of these rescues or becoming a monthly sponsor. They are ALL excellent, have a great reputation, and do great things for horses in need!

Save A Forgotten Equine (S.A.F.E.) - Mission:  To make a difference in the lives of forgotten and at-risk equines through direct intervention, education, and community outreach; to stress the importance of owner responsibility; and to operate at the highest level of integrity, honesty, professionalism, and compassion.

The Exceller Fund - Dedicated to the dignified retirement of Thoroughbred race horses.

Polo Pony Rescue - Mission:  Polo Pony Rescue, Inc. rescues slaughter-bound and otherwise at risk equines including, but not exclusively limited to, former polo ponies, and provides rehabilitation, retraining, and placement, where indicated, or retirement. Polo Pony Rescue, Inc. also seeks to educate others on proper care, humane treatment and training of horses and responsible breeding practices in order to decrease the number of at-risk horses.

The Golden Carrot - Mission: The Golden Carrot is a 'last stop' sanctuary for older and managably disabled horses. The horses are not available for adoption, due to their age and infirmities. But they still enjoy visitors, and many are suitable for light riding here at the property. Since TGC doesn't adopt horses out, we don't get adoption fees - we depend on the public to support our effort to reward these deserving equines for a lifetime of service, with a few golden years of retirement before the natural end of their lives arrives. Visitors are welcome!

Strawberry Mountain Mustangs - About:  Throughout the last several years, SMM has been instrumental in developing owner assistance programs, founding the Oregon Hay Bank, sponsoring equine health fairs, educational opportunities for law enforcement, and we were active in the successful passage of a law that made equine abandonment a crime in our state. We continue to work with wonderful organizations such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and the Oregon Animal Control Council (OACC) to pass the first Aggravated Neglect statute, making repeat offenders and crimes of neglect in the presence of a child a felony offense.
Our successful rehabilitation program is unsurpassed and we are supported by our local veterinarians, law enforcement and district attorney's office. Together, we are working to end equine abuse and neglect within our community.

Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue - Mission: Dedicated to saving horses bound for slaughter for human consumption. We also assist in cases of equine neglect, abuse and abandonment.

Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue   - Mission:  All of our horses are rescued from auctions where we are their last chance before being sold to slaughter. Our horses are chosen for their temperament, soundness, and usability. Once safely home, all horses are quarantined for a minimum of 21 days, during which we ride them extensively. All of our horses are thoroughly evaluated to aid in the best possible match for horse and rider. A successful partnership creates a bond of trust and friendship for both horse and rider, and it is our goal to find that match for every horse we save.

Below are pictures of rescue owned horses here at Vermillion Acres.