Wednesday, April 30, 2008


This is my truck....

"yes, we know that you have a truck"

This is my truck........

"yes, we know that you drive a truck"

This is MY truck......

"what do you want us to say... we know you own a truck"

this is my truck....

and this is the LAST truck payment, going out in the mail!!!!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008


I drove for about as long as I could... (have definately decided that the cart seat will need a cushion.)... gave out all the rides that I could muster (Butch says I will "put him out of business" --NOT) and decided that I should get the cookout going and feed these wonderful friends.

So, I turned Tonka and his cart back over to Butch. Their grandson had come with them for the day... and Butch wanted him to have a little ride behind Tonka....

Major was at the end of his workout with Becky... so the last I saw was the family all out together in the field....

It made a sweet picture.

After we had the horses "tucked" in and taken care of... we had a little cookout and went over the events of the day. To be honest, my mind was swimming.... I had so much new information, plus the thrill of driving and the thoughts of what it will be like, living up there and running out to the barn on a moment's notice...
it was a bit overwhelming......

But ... the silliest thing of all..... I nearly broke into tears when I saw this...

Hoofprints on the farm!!!!

cart work

As I was ground driving Tonka about the property.. Butch and Ed pulled our cart out. We bought this last fall, but Tonka has never been hitched to it. I was glad that Butch was there, and helped us make the fine adjustments that it needed to fit Tonka.

When they were ready, I drove Tonka over to the cart... he seemed unimpressed at the sight of it, so Butch had me back him into the shafts... MORE holes in my training. Tonka and I need to work on steering when it comes to backing up!!!! You can bring the cart up to the horse, but again, if I were ever to have a team with a big wagon that you couldn't bring up to the horse... you need to know how to back them in. That's ok... some pvc pipes on the ground make for good "shafts" and backing work.

Butch took Tonka out first .. by himself no less. Last time he had Becky go with him, just in case someone needed to "jump out" and attend the horse. But that wasn't necessary this time... (another improvement!!!)

Becky's beautiful paint, Major, was quite interested in all the "going ons". Becky is doing some great work with him, including driving. In fact, on Monday she is headed to New York state somewhere for a four day training clinic with him.

After a couple of spins around the field, Butch had me climb in and off we went. Tonka was an old pro and I can honestly say I felt very comfortable driving... even when we did hit the ruts in the field.

Then Butch jumped out, and said, I think there are some folks here that need a couple of rides.... have fun!!! So, he went "off" to help Becky with Major and left me to my horse!!! (though I know he was keeping an eye on things....)

I took "everyone" for rides... Sadie, Matt, and my friend Betty (who dropped by to see all the excitement) all went with Tonka and I. When it was Ed's turn, we had the greatest time driving together and chatting about the whole day. Ed did tell me that he is going to have Tonka and I help him fill in the ruts in the field... "since you hit every one of them, you know where they are".... ya, very funny!!!!

Ed also told me that I must have been having the time of my life... (of course, but what would make him say that.).. he said I never offered to let him drive Tonka during his ride.. I do feel a little sad about that... but not too much!!!!!


Becky and Butch arrived around 10:00... just as the rain began to have a "real purpose", Becky brought her horse, Major, to "play" with... it was fun to have a couple of "equines" on the property. We gave them the grand tour and waited for the rain to let up some.

Butch is a "true horseman" and has a talent for them that I can only hope to learn. He is very interested in natural horsemanship and uses that idea for training. So, he brought his usual "bag of goodies" and worked Tonka in the round pen. Now, here is where I have a few moments of bragging rights.

After we had visited with Butch last summer, I took many of his ideas and worked with Tonka my self. So, when I saw Butch pull out his "blue tarp" I thought to myself... piece of cake!!! and it was. Tonka could have cared less about that silly thing and continued to work just as Butch asked him to do. There were a couple of other things as well, a big beach ball... no prob... a tire that Butch asked him to step around, threw and over... no prob.... cones... "big" no prob (I don't even think Tonka noticed them) and a few other items. Tonka was very respectful of Butch's space (which I still have to remind him about with me) and he walked, trotted, cantered, whoa and turned on voice. I was so proud!!!! Until.... the whip!!!! When Butch pulled that out, I thought Tonka was heading for home!!!!

He has been extremely sensitive with the whip, so I am careful with it around him... but, after watching Butch yesterday... my "protecting "Tonka from it has proved not to be a good training idea. As Butch said, a snapping branch in the woods can sound a lot like a whip snap, and if I am driving out there... well, I don't want him taking off on me. It took probably a couple of hours for Tonka to decide that Butch wasn't going to hurt him, with that horrible sounding thing, and after the work, Tonka pretty much decided that everything was still ok.... but, I can see that I still have "holes" in my training work.

After the roundpen work, we harnessed Tonka and headed out. He hasn't been in harness since last Novemeber, but I remember hearing that "if you leave a horse in a good place, that is where he will likely return when you begin again". This proved to be true in Tonka's case, because in moment, Butch had him tugging a tire without any trouble at all.

Then it was my turn. I was surprised at how familiar it felt when I took up the driving reins. Guess all those miles of walking last fall have paid off. We went together like "peas and carrots" and I ground drove him all around the field.

He stayed happy and relaxed in my hands, and though the raindrops continued to be their pesky selves... we had a grand time and I could see that when I finally get up on the farm...

There's a pretty good chance I won't be leaving it!!!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

horse on the farm

Today was an exciting day on "Sweetgrass Farm".. and because I have so many good pictures to share, it's going to take a couple of "blogs" to do just that. So hopefully, "you" are all interested in horse stuff... if not, just skip the next few blog postings.

As previously reported, our friends, Becky and Butch called and made plans to come today to see the barn, and help get Tonka back into driving mode. So, bright and early this morning, Ed and I went to fetch Tonka and get him up to the farm. The weather was not the best, it was quite cold and drizzly, but, I wouldn't allow it to dampen my spirits!!! This was a taste of future days ahead, and I couldn't wait.

As we unloaded, Tonka was very curious about his new surroundings. It's been a while since he has seen a field like this one, and he was quite happy to check it all out.

He backed off the trailer like a gentlemen, took a big deep sniff of the air, and a long whinny..... just in case someone should answer back!!!!

I took him over to the roundpen, wanting him to have some time to check out his new surroundings and get settled in before Becky and Butch arrived.

He didn't quite know what to do first, check out the countryside, have a good roll in the soft grass, do a little grazing, or run around like a crazy boy..... he actually did a little of everything....

we were off to a good start......

Saturday, April 26, 2008

it's starting....

This is, I dare say, the first of many loads that will be taken north to the farm... the driving cart will more than likely live there now, as I do not really have a place to "drive" down this way.. and the round pen is actually making it's second trip north.

It's a funny story about the round pen(s), I actually bought two of them three years ago. The lady I got them from, had warned me that these would be the last of her old prices, and so, Ed and I decided to get two of them and then if we found that we didn't need the extra, we could always sell it. We trucked them up to Acton to be "used" at a later time, though we did set one up just to see what it looked like and in case we wanted to use it.

When we moved into Teresa's barn, I brought one pen back down from Acton and used it to outline her little arena area so we would have a place to ride. It worked out quite well. Then when we bought Mocha and moved her over to Teresa's, we took the second pen down and used that for Mocha's little paddock area. So, already we have had good use of both pens.

Now, tomorrow our friends, Becky and Butch are coming to visit. They have been wanting to see the barn, and Butch has been asking about Tonka and his driving work. After some conversations, we decided that Ed and I will bring Tonka up to the barn, and Butch will do a little work with him while they are here..... so, it was time to move the round pen BACK to Acton and get the cart up there as well.

With the "idea" of guests arriving and a horse coming to the farm, Ed and Ken concentrated on ..... finishing a stall!!!!! AND, putting the outside wall on the tack room. So, this morning when we arrived with "our load", I had the most wonderful surprise waiting for me!!! All of a sudden, it is really looking like a horse barn!!! Ed and I puttered around, we hung a bucket in the stall for Tonka tomorrow, put up some cross ties, and just did some tidy work. I have that same "excited feeling" that I get around Christmas time, and can't wait to see Tonka there at his "new home"..... I hope he likes it as much as we do!!!! AND I hope that he plans on "being good" and maybe we can do some driving around the field... time will tell, I guess.

My sister Rachel popped in the other day with my little niece, Naomi.... she is getting so big and I just love having them visit. Naomi is quite fascinated with our house... guinea pigs, bunny, turtle, cats... they have two big dogs, so the cockers aren't that special, but she loves to check out all the other critters.

As they were getting ready to go, Naomi decided she wanted "a little ride on the horse".... so Rachel set her up on the cement horse we got in North Carolina... she thought she was pretty special sitting up there..... I thought she was adorable!!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

a sunny day

Repeat after me.....

"you're feeling very sleepy"

"I am feeling very sleepy"

"the warm sun makes your eyes heavy"

"the warm sun is making my eyes heavy"

"you need to lay down"

"I need to lay down"

"It's time for a nap"

"It's time for a ..............

Mocha is hoping that everyone enjoyed this day of 80 degrees.... she sure did........

Monday, April 21, 2008

Patroit's Day

I'm not sure who came up with this, but I LOVE it... in the center of town, the street is lined with American Flags and then the flag from each branch of the services in honor of Patriots Day....
It looks just grand... and I hope that people today remember our service men and women.......

Kas and Nate.....

Well..... it WASN'T in the seventies last night when we made our first "ice cream run" of the season!!!! Memories is a great favorite of the Flagg family and they are the ones that got us hooked!!!!

So, last night after an amazing cookout on their farm... Dave and Deb said .. "let's go for ice cream".. course, we knew what that meant....

This post is for Kassy and Nate.. who might be getting alot of beach time down there in North Carolina... BUT.. they aren't getting any "Memories".......

And yes, it does seem silly to be wearing your winter coat and eating ice cream... but, that's what we do up here in the north!!!!!!!!

haven't been bloggin'

I haven't done much "bloggin" over the past few days... because the truth is.. when the weather hits the HIGH seventies!!! staying inside is something that is beyond my control!!!!

I tried to "prove" how warm it was.. with this shot of the barn thermometer.. but, you (sadly) can't see it... though, it's a pretty cool thermometer wouldn't you say... brother Bill brought this for me as a Christmas present a few years ago, he thought it would look nice on our new barn.... and he was right!!!!

But, even though the temps were warm and wonderful, walking in the woods seems to still not be part of the bargin... good ol' New England snow, it just loves to hang in there... now, mind you, some of this pile is from plowing... but deeper in the woods, I would still think you're looking at almost knee high snow......
Just behind this tree line, is a deer run, which goes directly to where the new house will sit, and will probably become my path to the barn... hope the deer won't mind sharing it with me....

Moxie got hot enough to dig herself a little hole beside (yet another) new wheel barrow...... see, I had asked for a yellow wheelbarrow for my birthday, and at the time, Ed couldn't find one... so he got me that nice blue wheel barrow... which I was just as happy with. However, when he did find a yellow one... he picked that one up too... how much "horse poo" does he think I am going to be moving?????

I feel like the finishing touches on the barn are coming quick.. and I will have some "surprises" to show all of you at the end of the week!!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

how come

Trevor was told that some dog got to do a "Pet Co" ad.. and for a "million" dog cookies, all he had to do was hold their toy in his mouth.

Trev wants to know what's the "deal on that"

and how come he hasn't ever been asked to do it???

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

cocker butts....

Now that the weather is beginning to be on our side, I am getting dog walking back into my daily schedule. It really isn't any big deal... it's just a matter of putting leashes on and going!!! Trevor and Tazzy really, really enjoy these walks... the others like going for sure, but those two!!! it just makes their day!!!

I usually take just the five... poor ol Cole is just too stiff and old to make the hike that we take, and Tatter is usually off with Sadie, so I have it down to the five. We finally have sorted it out with the leashes and such and who walks better with whom.... and each day I take a different route, just because it's fun for the dogs and we get to see different things with each route.

After our walk, I ran out to take care of the horses and then headed to Acton.

This is what greeted me today.... the tack room is now enclosed!!! We are insulating it as it will be a heated room, our water supply will come into this room and for the small size of it... it will be just as easy to keep it warm. It will also be a good refuse on a cold winter day, and it will be nice to keep "horse stuff" warm.

I feel so blessed, because in the 11 years that I have really "been in the horse world" I have "lived" at three different barns. Each one has had their own way of doing things, and I have liked and disliked ideas in them all.

So when it came time to plan this barn out, I took the best of all the places that I have been, and combined them!!!! I am sure there will be things that I will discover as it goes along, it's hard to think of "everything" .. but for the most part, I have a feeling this barn is going to run pretty smoothly. (I have already thought that this tack room might be a tad on the small side!!!! but I hardly dare tell that to Ed!!!!) it will be fine and I know it will work out !!!

Surprisingly, the mud is drying up quickly... IF we can keep the rain away for a bit longer, we might even get back to driving the trucks in and not bringing home so many muddy paws!!!!! but, it's spring in Maine, so who can count on anything.....

PS... I am working on dates for another trip south... don't tell Ed!!!!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

a little gem

Look at what Ed surprised me with the other evening!!! This is a "feather weight" Singer sewing machine, circa 1940's. This little gem is a quilter's dream and they can be quite hard to get a hold of, especially one that is in top condition like this.
I have know about these little machines since I was a child. My Mom has one, that actually was her high school graduation gift, and only weeks after she got hers, it was in a house fire!!!! My Mom and her family pretty much lost everything in that fire, but her little sewing machine was found in the basement after the fire. It had been in her bedroom on the second floor of the house, and fell the two stories to the basement during the fire. My Grandfather took it back to be repaired and gone thru, and wouldn't you know ... the little machine came back to life. I remember my Mom sewing all sorts of things on her little machine... it did everything!!!
When I "got into quilting" and took a few classes and such, I saw that the others there had these machines, when I told them the story about my Mom's they were impressed, and many offered to buy it from her if she ever thought that she would want to sell it. Of course, that would never happen, because if my Mom wanted to part with her machine (which she doesn't,) you can be sure I would scoff it up in a heartbeat.
Well, my Dad found this one somewhere... and he was telling me about it, and he wanted to sell it. Never knowing that I would love to have one, I told him I would buy it from him. I haven't ever got around to doing that, though, and Ed knew that I would love it... so..... as a surprise, HE bought it from my Dad and gave it to me!!!!
I would love to know more about this little machine.. because it was well loved by.... Flora Dennett... and the reason I know that, is she has her name etched in the bottom of it, and on the foot pedal. She didn't want to loose it, that if for sure.... I haven't had it running yet, but, I know it works just fine and come fall, I will certainly find a quilt to make on it.....and "Miss Flora Dennett" will know that her little machine is in good hands and will be much loved!!!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ed's day

So, I am always talking about "my stuff" on this blog, but let me tell you about Ed's day today at the farm. Leave it to my Ed, his adventures are as eventful as mine!!!

This morning, Ed goes to do some work on the barn, and as usual, meets up with Ken. They putter around for awhile, and then decide that they need some supplies from the local lumber shop. Off they go.
After loading up with things and heading back to the barn, it is about lunch time, so they stop at a little store to get some sandwiches made. Just as they are leaving the store, Ed hears Acton Fire tone out for a structure fire!!! And it just so happens that this fire is just a very short drive from where they are. Now, Ed is a member of Acton ( as well as chief here in York ) and Ken is a Wakefield firefighter and used to be on Acton.. so needless to say, they both rush to the scene.

They are the first ones there, a lady is waiting outside, and smoke is pouring out of her house. Ed gets on the radio to advise the fire crews and Ken takes a quick peek inside. It is a fire on a stove top, but it's moving quickly and is starting to char the kitchen cabinets. Ken comes out of the house and asks Ed if he has a fire extinguisher in the truck... which he does. Ed stays with the home owner and continues to talk to the fire company on his radio and Ken goes back inside and manages to get the fire under control.

When "Acton" arrives, they are a bit surprised to see a York Fire chief and a Wakefield Firefighter have saved the day ... er house!!! but everyone is quite pleased that they did, especially the home owner!!! The Acton fire crews make a double check of the situation, and asks Ed to continue his radio traffic to the dispatch as needed.

After their big fire adventure, the two of them head to the barn. Now, as I said on a previous blog, the trucks can't make it back and forth across the field right now.

Look what the two of them did to my little gator. Loaded it to the gills and had it carry all their supplies across the field to the barn!!!!

I don't know, Ed and Ken are a pair that spells trouble in my book!!! I thought that Ed and Dave made enough mischief, without Ed having another partner in crime!!!!

but who am I to "complain".. they have built a fine barn this winter, and now can go on the "books" as the rescuers of houses!!!

Not a bad job guys!!!!

farm photos

With the mud being so bad on the farm, we can no longer drive the trucks in and out. Thank goodness, we have the gator to help cart things back and forth. Being on the lighter side, it doesn't create big ruts in the field, and can easily get thru the mud holes.

the cockers just LOVE it there!!! Trevor "camps" out beside the gator...

Camille and Hunter enjoying the afternoon sun

Moxie is practicing her "being a farm dog" act...
If this what "spring" is going to look like... you can be sure that the cockers will be wearing short coats most of the time.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

a grand day...

I think spring has actually found the state of Maine today. I headed out fairly early this morning, and was pleasantly surprised at the warm air that met me at the back door. Not, only was this perfect weather here today, but it also arrived on lesson day.... and what could be nicer than that??

"Ol Tonka boy" was enjoying the morning as well, I felt kind of guilty (NOT) about taking him away to do some work!!!!! I think this whole thing of laying in the mud is a way of him saying ..."do you really want to bother riding and having all this mess to clean up?" but, his "trick" didn't work.... that is one good thing about mud, it comes off almost as quickly as it goes on!!!!

Laura decided that we would be riding "outside" for today's lesson. She has worked so hard to get her farm just so, and has a wonderful indoor arena, but also an outside arena. The outdoor is so much bigger and gives just oddles of room to work in. Each year we have a goal in mind for Tonka, and have declared this riding season as "the summer of the canter". Tonka is a willing student, but his canter work needs balance, so it will be our big focus.

I often have to remind myself of how far we have come in the four years that I have owned him. He was "broken" when I bought him, but we pretty much decided that it was "quick job to get him sold" sort of training. Laura "warned" me when I bought him, he would be a project, but I was (and am) happy to take that on. The first summer was all about tack.. he is the hardest horse to fit!!! He's quite a bit bigger than horse, and in some pieces not big enough for draft, so it's been a puzzle finding things that fit. I am still not that happy with his bridle, it has been working, but, it is on my list to "up grade" what, I don't know. The second summer I had him, I was laid up for most of the season due to some fairly serious surgery.. so, by the time I was riding again, it was mostly about getting fit and getting back into the saddle. Last year's issues were with the trailer!!!! I did do a fair amount of riding, but alot of work was done with loading and unloading.. and of course, we started our driving work with him..... and here we are again, at the start of a whole new season.....

I still get a bit nervous in the "outdoor" arena. There is so much to think about out there.. inside, you have those four sturdy walls, but outside is different. I am always glad that Laura warms him up first, and puts me on when he is a bit on the tired side.

So, I will add that to my list.. ride Tonka when he is fresh in the outdoor!!!! He really is quite sensible, but I am always questioning my own skills. Laura says I am too hard on myself, which might be true, because I do like to do things well.... I don't like being a "newbie" at anything... course, you can't be an "oldie" until you have been a "newbie".... one of those great rules of life .. I guess!!!

So, today has been a grand day with so many blessings in it, that they can't be counted on both hands!!!! And when amazing weather and a ride come together... nothing can beat that.....

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Despite the muck and the mud, work continues nicely on the barn. The interior walls have been boarded up now and Ed is working on the wiring and the pre-plumbing. The days go back and forth between outside work and inside work.. depending on the weather. It won't be long now, before this "open" side will be enclosed with stalls.

Which reminds me... I haven't told you all the "stall" story. We were told that there is a company in Eliot who basically builds barns, and that if you hit it "right" you can sometimes find "bargins" in their scrap pile. So, Ed and I took a ride over. We told them what we were looking for and as "luck" would have it, they said they might have just the thing.

A client of theirs had four stalls in a barn, but, they did not like the fact that a bit of rust was coming up on the stall doors... so, the client had the company come back and take all the stall out. Everything (including all the hardware) was sitting in a pile... we looked it all over, and the little spots of rust that were the complaint, didn't bother us in the least.... so, we bought all four stalls for a fraction of what they would cost new!!!! There were even guards for the windows!!!!! Fortunately, Ed got the stalls up to the barn before mud season... because it is highly unlikely he would get the trailer in now!!!!

Here is a view of the tack room..... the sink is one that Ed brought home from who knows where... but he has had it for all this time, sitting in a box and just waiting to be used....

THIS is just the thing he likes to talk about when I get on him about being a "pack rat" and wanting to save everything!!!!!

And just in case my last "mud" photos weren't impressive enough.... just take a look at Ken's poor truck......