Thursday, December 30, 2010

Can I just shoot him? PLEASE!?!

This is the pile of tape hanger I removed and have to replace. There are 18 of them.
I'm off to the feed store. For hangers and bullets...


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tis The Season...

Sing to the tune of "Jingle Bells"

Trudging through the snow, a wheelbarrow full feed
With hay and grain I go, to horses full of need

Blankets covered in poo, Fleece mittens I now don
The filly pooped in the water tub and the chores go on and on

OH! Jingle bells, the barn now smells, hay is running low
I freeze and sweat, supplies I get, the hose is froze I know!

OH! The horses munch, my shoes do crunch, o'er newly fallen snow
Soft nickers, prickly whiskers, it's a perfect life "fo sho!"

Have a VERY Merry Christmas!

Love, Karen and The Gang
(Mike, Kali, Matt, Jasper, Rylee, Fidget, Kiko, Spaz, Lucy, Mya, Foxy, Chili, Angel, Bullwinkle, Jazzy, Kaci, and Millie)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gramma and Grampa - Together at last

Rayford and Yonnie Stafek

My Dad called yesterday morning and told me that my Gramma had taken a turn for the worse and would probably not live through the weekend. She'd quit eating and drinking four days ago and for the last 24 hours, she'd only laid there and slept. I told Mike and my kids and planned to go over this morning after breakfast and say goodbye and Godspeed, hoping that she could hear me.

My plan failed because I had waited too long. I should have gone right away.

Just before going to bed last night, Dad called and said Gramma had passed. The coroner had been called but hadn't arrived yet, and if I wanted to come say goodbye, I'd better hurry.

I drove through tears to the place she spent her final hours, a lovely, well kept hospice home, freshly decorated for Christmas, that smelled of fresh pine boughs and Cinnamon.

I met my parents in the front room and after hugs and crying, I went into Gramma's room. They had put her teeth in and crossed her hands on her chest. She looked to be sleeping. I was able to spend about 20 minutes with her before they came to take her away. We left immediately, not wanting to watch.

My brothers, sister, and I, and one cousin, were VERY close to our grand-parents. Family, with all it's chaos and dysfunction, was the center of our lives.

Looking back through the years, and at my memories of Gramma, she was always cooking. Dinner, meats, gravy, homemade bread, jams, and pies. Always in the kitchen!

When we were kids in our early teens, we'd make the four hour trip to Salem, OR, for the weekend. In late summer, Gramma would give us all a little bucket, and Grampa would give us each a small piece of plywood, and we'd head down the pasture to the blackberry bush to pick berries for jam and cobbler.

Now, the blakberry bush was huge. As big as a house! It grew along the road and cover the fence. The fence was 15 feet below the level of the road. Standing on the road, the top of the bush was 20 feet higher than the road. The bush itself, was at least 80 feet in diameter. It had been there for as long as we could remember. We'd start at the road, and work our way out onto the bush, picking blackberries and fighting bees as we went, careful not to crest the top of the bush, because that would mean a 40 foot drop to the pasture below.

We'd spend hours picking berries, running up to the house to empty our buckets, then return to the bush to refill. The house would smell like cooking blackberries! We would bring home a box filled with "Gramma Jam".

The picture above is how I remember them always: Gramma smiling and open, Grampa almost embarrassed to be having his picture taken. They are together again at last.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


There are no words...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Things that make you say GRRRR!!!

I ordered some alfalfa on Tuesday. "Bring me two ton."

Yesterday, I got a confirmation call saying "We'll be there at 10 am. Will that work for you?" "Of course!" I say.

This morning, I got up, fed horses, cleaned stalls, pretty much puttered around. I came in for breakfast and another cup of coffee. I went back out, moved some hay around and found one bale of alfalfa, and three bales of alfalfa /grass mix that I didn't remember having. It didn't matter anyway, because the stack was on top of it.

So I tossed the kids some alfalfa as a mid-morning snack and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, I went to the house and it was now 11:15 am. So I called. "Um, I was told yesterday that you'd be delivering my hay at 10:00 am and it's now 11:15. Are you coming? I'm sort of waiting." The gal says "Let me call and see where they are and I'll call you right back."

She called back, "They're in Benton City. They'll be 45 minutes to an hour."

At 12:30 they FINALLY show up. The hay is wet from road spray and rain. AND... (get this) It's the WRONG FRICKIN' (*(*^ &^$%$^% ^*&( HAY!!! They brought me GRASS hay!! W! T! F! Really?

It was pretty hay, but I would have refused it because it was wet. Not putting wet hay in the barn. BUT - I ORDERED ALFALFA!!!

So off the guy went and I came in and called the office. I said, "1) They brought the wrong hay. They're on the way back to get the right hay. 2) If they don't tarp it, I'm going to refuse it. I won't take wet hay. 3) Adjust the invoice to take the pallet deposit off. I'm going to re-stack the bales and send the pallets back with the driver. I figure since I've waited two and half hours, he can wait while I re-stack it.

So I'm still waiting. I figure it's going to be 1:30 before he returns. Hopefully this time, it'll be tarped alfalfa. If not, it's going back and I'll call someone else.

Thanks for reading my vent and please ignore the smoke coming out of my ears!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


A week ago, maybe less, it was brutal cold and I was whining about the need for some fleece leg warmers. The neck socks (actually that's a neck tube I'm modeling above) I bought from Jodi last winter are WONDERFUL in the cold and I thought perhaps some fleece leg warmers would help my lower legs stay a little warmer.

So, handy-dandy talented Jodi whipped out her machine and made me some! Just sitting around the house, I can feel how much warmer my legs are and I can't wait to wear them out to feed in the morning!


If you want to order some, I bet Jodi could cook you up some...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Having Horses - It's a Love/Hate Thing

For as long as I can remember, I have loved horses. In the years before I turned 9, we lived in the middle of a HUGE Quarter Horse Ranch outside of Salem, Oregon. The Gath Brothers has 100 broodmares, several stallions, a couple hundred head of Hereford cattle, turkeys, and pigs on a over 500 acres. We lived just off Gath Road, which was named for the family.

We lived on the corner of Witzel and Gath Roads. My grandparents lived up the hill, at the other end of the 15 acres that my grand-parents owned. There were broodmares in a huge pasture next to them. There were broodmare across the road from our house. On the north side of the property, there were broodmares. The stallion barn was across from my grand-parents house. They were all around me! And I loved them all!!

I was a wild child and was always disappearing over the fence made of no-climb with two strands of barbed wire on the top. It didn't even slow me down. I was small enough to climb the fences, squeeze through gates, or climb trees to get to the horses. More than once, one of the Gath Brothers arrived to check on the water and found me sound asleep, flat on my back, surrounded by sweet old broodies. I'm sure the first time he saw me laying there he about had a heart-attack. He would admonish me that the horses could hurt me, but none ever did and I wasn't afraid. More than once he dropped me off at home, late for dinner, in trouble, and then would call my folks to tell them where he'd found me.

I say "he" because they were both ancient (to my young eyes) and I could never tell them apart.

So here I am, some 40 years later, and I have horses of my own. I love every single one of them! I even have other peoples' horses here, and I love them too.

The hate part comes with some of the extras! I hate it when they come up to the barn with a new nick or cut that I have to doctor. Can't they just get along? Angel has a swollen back leg - from the hock to the pastern. I don't know why. No new mark. Hasn't done anything strenuous. No heat. Not lame. Just swollen. And I don't know what to do.

I hate that I provide NICE corner feeder for grain and one cribber decided to remove it from where lag bolts mounted it to the wall

I hate having skinny horses that I have to put blankets on. But the weather was so brutally cold, I had to. Perhaps tomorrow it'll warm up enough for me to pull them off, if not permanently, at least for most of the day.

I hate having a gorgeous, true-black mare with a darling blaze and 4 white socks I can't touch unless she's cornered in a stall. I would love to cuddle with her, or just brush her while she eats, but she will have no part of me. I can't even give her a parting pat and I drop her feed and head back to the barn. It hurts my feelings.

And I hate having a new 100 gallon water tank with a sinking heater that attracts a horse's butt.... to the point where she poops in it. I'm not sure if it's the water level, the water temperature, or the concentration of slobber that is the trigger, but roughly once a week, Foxy backs up to the tank and dumps the whole load in it.

This time, I found it after dark, with a dead battery in the flashlight. I got lucky... I had left the heater unplugged and I used the little fishnet to skim the top of the tank to see if there was any ice. Nope...just poop! So I had to drain it and refill. Again.

This love/hate thing is definitely more love, than hate.I wouldn't change a thing! (Except maybe the poop part!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It is 6:00 pm and the temperature has dropped to 12 degrees. There is JUST ENOUGH of a breeze to make the windchill ZERO DEGREES!!!

I fed out 4 bales of hay and 30 pounds (wet) of alfalfa pellets, beet pulp, and aflafl cubes. I think the kids will have plenty of fuel to make them warm through the night.

It's supposed to be around 24 degrees tomorrow...

Monday, November 22, 2010


There I was... warm... fat... and happy! Talking about how the storm...wasn't. I shoulda shut the heck up because it is a full-blown blizzard out there now!

The wind is out of the north at 10 mph, the temperature has dropped to 20 degrees... I don't want to do the math but it must be like.. -40 out there!

Kaci and Foxy have blankets on. The rest have snow blankets. ALL of them are standing out in it!

We were released early from work... I left at 3:00 pm and didn't get home until 5:30 pm. I fed the horses, shoveled snow, hooked up the heated water tub, shoveled snow, and shoveled snow. I'm exhausted and ready for a hot bath and bed!

Below is my back porch. I can't remember the last time it snowed on my COVERED back porch... Must be Karma - getting back at me for poking fun at my Canadian friend...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dodging The Bullet...So Far!

While the wind is only 5 mph, it makes being outside FRIGID!! I think the high temperature so far is only 34 degrees.

Earlier I saw snow flakes, but by the time someone got to the window to verify, it had stopped. All around us, folks are getting snow. Walla Walla, 60 miles to the east, has a couple of inches on the ground. We have none!

I left the blankets on the kids (Kaci and Foxy) because I just don't know what the weather is going to do. We were supposed to have nasty cold wind out of the north - never showed, and snow flurries - 10 flakes don't count.

So the kids stay bundled up. When I warms up a later this week, I'll pull the blankets. Until then, the scrawny oldsters can use the blankets to stay warm and maybe add a few pounds.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Calm Before The Storm

Rumor has it that we are supposed to get a chance of snow this weekend. So I took the day to clean up, get water heaters plugged in, and etc. Bullwinkle helped... kind of... Mostly he just slobbered the handles.

I also wanted to do Foxy's blanket fit before it got cold. She was a little unsure, but was calm and patient. Once I was done, she just stood there with her eyes closed as if she was happy to finally be warm. Then She decided that the grain would be ok to eat while all bundled up.
I REALLY love this mare. She is the sweetest horse ever. Better even than Thai! It is my hope that Cathy leaves her here! I just adore her!

It was a little chilly this morning, but the afternoon was GORGEOUS!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Crazy November Weather

My friend in Minnesota got the first snowfall of winter over the weekend. She sent me this picture.

It was 65 degrees today and sunny! It's cooling off fast now that the sun has gone down, but GEEZ!! These are pictures I sent back to her...