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Friday, December 26, 2008

What a difference a year makes.

Here's me and Foxsun riding herd in December of 2007. I knew it would be the last time I rode for a long time; maybe the last time. So I took some pictures.

Foxsun is so mellow to ride. He's totally predictable. I only came close to falling off him once and it was when he was a very green three year old. A flock of birds took off out of a ditch we were traveling next to. He leaped forward and I grabbed the pommel just in the nick of time otherwise I would have been left behind.


We spot some cows in the distance.


After a lot of cow chasing fun we bring them in.


I couldn't put much weight on my destroyed right ankle to get on so that proved a bit difficult. Once in the saddle I was like a duck to water, till we trotted and posting really hurt!

And off into the winter sun we went.


I never dreamed I'd get anymore horses, let alone two wild mustangs! Here is a rare picture of my three horses in the same shot. Little Echos ears can be seen on the left.


Foxsun wants me to go in that building where he knows he gets his old horse grub.


Foxsun and Wildairo had ice on their backs but little hot blooded Echo melted it right off because he was sizzling. He knows that fence behind him is about to make it's move to kill him.


I gave him some carrots. Poor Little lad, he'd grab one and think he heard something behind him and he'd spin away quick to defend himself. He looked pretty ridiculous snorting and carrying on with that carrot poking out of his mouth.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hang in there.

I hope everyone and their animals experiencing this terrible weather are doing OK. We had only a few inches of snow overnight and then it stopped but I have been watching Channel 6 in Spokane and that area has a few feet of snow and it's going to get worse there as the day goes on it seems. The bad snow seems to start and Davenport and all points east of there.

We have been carrying warm water to the horses. This morning they didn't want any, but last night they all drank gallons of it. I was proud of the mustangs drinking from a big purple tote. I bet they didn't see many purple totes in the wild.

I have to hold Foxsun so Wildairo can drink because it seems our friendly old Morgan is not very friendly to mustang colts, in fact he's darn right mean to Wildairo. Fox chases Wildairo away from the hay no matter how far I spread the piles out. The old boy spun around and started kicking in Wildairo's general direction like a bad mule. Wildairo started to do the same but quickly thought better of it. This is a side of Foxsun we have never seen. He's as sweet as pie with us. He gave me a big wet kiss on my face after he finished drinking. He might have been trying to dry his face off though coming to think of it. He holds his feet up so I can knock out the ice balls under his hooves and is a real gentleman. The mustangs are not getting the snow and ice build up under their feet like he is and I wonder why.

Echo has a spot he keeps clean in his pen. It's his little bed so I always makes sure it's free of rocks for him. I got a load of straw and put in there so he could have a straw mattress and be off the frozen ground. I was concerned he'd be scared of it and it would spoil his little sleeping area. Good news, the next morning he had straw on his back and in his mane. I want to cuddle him so bad.

It's about 18 degrees F here this morning and it feels warm after sub-zero temps and high winds. The other night I though it was warming up outside when I noticed the temp was 6, then I noticed the - in front of it!

Keep safe and warm everyone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sen. Ken Salazar SOI? NO!

I am very disappointed with PE Obama's possible choice for Sec. of Interior, Colorado Senator Ken Salazar. So far I have read nothing but bad thing's about him as far as the environment and endangered species protection. Very bad things. He is no friend to the horse.

The only good to come out of this is Ken Salazar will be out of the Senate and hopefully a better Senator will be appointed to take his place. Democrats will be happy to get him out of the senate and under Obama's control. Hopefully, if gets the position, he won't be in the Cabinet very long.

Also remember everything concerning the Dept of Interior, including the BLM, will be Ombama's call in the end. It will be President Obama's vision, not Salazar's.

I will be contacting the people below today to tell them how I feel about Ken Salazar;

John Podesta, Transition team
Fax 202-682-1867

And to his liaison Greg Nelson
Fax 202-443-4724

Also the Transition team website:

It seems the perfect candidate for the job, Rep. Raul Grijalva had problems with the vetting process.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cold weather and a possible hay heist.

Saturday the snow really came down and the wind blew hard. We moved the cows to the pasture with the feeder in it. Instead of leading Foxsun like a horse we drove him like a cow.

Here are the girls and Foxsun coming up from the meadow and crossing the road. Brad is calling them. When Brad opened the gate Foxsun tried to keep the cows from leaving by nipping at them.


William and I were standing in places to stop the cows from getting ideas about over shooting the gate. The girls spotted an old bale of hay and dived on it. Brad moved them on but Foxsun, like a good horse, is not bothered by people flapping their arms about. I was laughing as Brad had to grab his neck to turn him manually in the right direction and give him a shove to catch up with Dandylyons.

Most of the cows were already in the corral.


They followed Brad to through the corral and to their pasture. When Wildairo saw Foxsun coming he called out to him and did a little happy dance. He looks about as graceful as your average construction worker in a tutu when he dances.

Meanwhile little Echo was acting like every snowflake was out to get him.

After we got everyone squared away we head off to Moses Lake to do our shopping. William is home for the Christmas break and it's wonderful to have him home. He remembered to bring his dirty laundry, guitar, computer etc, but forgot to bring a coat or any warm clothes. I found him a nice chore coat in The Home Depot of all places! We stocked up one extra feed for all the animals as well as ourselves.

The drive home was a nightmare. Out of habit we took the county road and that was a big mistake. We only saw three other vehicles the entire 50 miles home. Two were emergency vehicles and the other was a pick up that was upside down just outside of Moses Lake. The snow was blowing in places so heavy we had to drive blind. Instead of turning east on another county road like we normally do, we kept going north to meet up with State Highway 28. Somewhere along that county road we drove into a low spot where there were deep drifts a few feet high and a solid blanket of blowing snow. Brad drove straight ahead at the same speed till we were through it. I love my little jeep. It's a jeep Liberty and because it's so short it does very well in the snow and ice in four wheel drive. I use it for chasing cows because it can make tight turns like a little gymkhana pony. Last year I was out doing something down the draw and when I drove back Foxsun cantered alongside the driver side all the way home. I've kind of scratched it up in the sage brush and driving into fences and rocks. It's dirty most of the time but I don't care.

I was very glad to get on to the State highway. They have reflective markers on posts so you can stay on the highway and not drive off across some flat ploughed field never to be seen again.

The weather has been scary. High winds and very low temperatures. It's 0 degree F right now, but the wind has at last stopped. Saturday night the wind howled and it was so cold. Our cat, Max was out in it somewhere and I kept waking up in the night because of the wind and I hoped he was somewhere safe. We gave the horses loads of extra grain and hay. Wildairo had decided he should keep far away from buildings when the wind blows. But he's sensible and soon learned when it's that cold, buildings are OK after all. He's a brave boy. Foxsun was wanting in so we opened the gate and let him in with Wildairo. Wildairo was so happy to have his friend back even though Foxsun bites him. I was feeding them grain out of the same bowl and they were very polite taking their turn. When they were done and walking out of the barn, Foxsun suddenly launched an unprovoked attack with his old teeth on Wildairo's neck. Wildairo didn't over react in that small space but just quietly walked out. I yelled at Foxsun and he slinked off.

Sunday morning, no Maxwell. The thought of that old fat cat lost in a blizzard was hard to think about. He hates the outdoors and his belly is so fat it almost drags on the ground. I have 13 mallards that like to fly about but never have landed anywhere except close to the house. Only 5 are left after the blizzard. I have no idea where the others got too. Later that day Brad went out in search of Maxwell. He saw some little paw prints going into the stone building and that's where he found Max, hiding under some stuff in a little Max cave.

Echo is fluffed up and so very fuzzy. I think it's because he's got pony genes. He's been getting lots of hay and grain and is doing very well. Tonight Brad was putting some water in his tub when I was talking to Wildairo and I could hear Echo snorting at him.

I think we stopped some hay thieves Sunday night. About 9pm we were driving over to a little house of ours along the county road to make sure he heat was still on so things wouldn't freeze. We came across a pick-up backed right up to our barn door. The barn is by a very quiet county road that seldom sees any traffic on a Sunday night especially in awful weather. Brad got out and asked the driver what he was doing and the driver told him he using his cell phone. He drove off and we went on to check the house. Then it occurred to me you don't drive off the road and back up to someones barn door to talk on the phone. From the road you can see the hay in the barn. It's only a few ton for the horses. We checked to make sure everything was OK in the barn. Later on I called the Lincoln County sheriffs office and they were very interested. A few weeks ago one of the deputy's told us people had been stealing from barns in the county. I wish I'd taken down in license number now. We have no hay to spare and would have been really in trouble if they stole that hay. The barn is now locked up.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Echo is a sissy.

Poor little Echo had a mental meltdown.

It all started last Sunday when I woke feeling pain free for a change. It was a real treat to feel like I could do stuff. So what did I do Sunday? I grabbed a shovel and cleaned out Echo's corral. A tractor can't get in that corral so it has to be done manually. I hauled the poop out in a bucket, about 600 small loads, ha ha. It was an act of rebellion or desperation because my ankle surgeon told me never to lift anything heavy. I love to do hard work and I've missed that feeling of going to bed with the knowledge I put in a hard days work. I was very proud of my poo pile and showed it off to Brad and took some pictures. I dumped the poo where Brad can get it with the tractor.

Here's the poo pile and the poo maker himself.


Brad strung up some electric tape to keep the boys from knocking the fence down completely.


My ankle has felt better than ever since the heavy lifting. Maybe something needed to be shoved into place.

Back to poor little Echo's nervous breakdown: He must have put his nose through the boards and got a jolt from the electric tape because he pretty much has come unglued. He's scared to death of the fence and he stands with his legs splayed out expecting it to jump on him any moment. Any noise, real or imagined, and he spins around to look behind him at the fence or he jumps to the side. To make matters worse he's also fearful of the poo pile. I stand with him and try to get him to eat carrots and relax but most of the time he's besides himself with fear. I'm so glad it's not me he's scared of and is careful not to leap in my direction when he imagines the fence is making it's big move to kill him. The little lad needs Valium or something. I said to Brad, "He's going to be a lot of fun to ride". We had a good laugh over that. I can see us now, Echo and me high stepping out in front, blazing the trail, with Wildairo and Brad bringing up the rear, both wearing foam domes!

Just before we had our first snow of the year today I took some pictures of some little violas that are still blooming in December.


It rained then it snowed. Foxsun was under the cottonwoods with the cows. He cantered over when I called him and ate some hay.


In the background are the corrals where the mustangs live and the shop. I have to rethink where to put the horses. I was hoping Echo would be halter broke by now so I could lead him over to the horse barn and corrals where he could spend the winter with Foxsun.

Maybe I could have Brad and William move out some more of the shop equipment so that part of the shop could be doubled in size for both Wildairo and Echo. The two mustangs could be wintered together in that big corral. I'm concerned that they might challenge the rock wall. When Foxsun and Wildairo were together in there they didn't even attempt it, and we do have the much hated electric tape in front of it, just in case. I just worry because Echo is so untouchable and I could never catch him if he escaped, but he needs to be with another horse so he can relax.

Does anyone have any experience with two mustangs escaping? Do they go far? When I first moved Wildairo to his new corral, I left the gate open at night so he could run down the ally to get back to old pen. Sure enough, every night, when I went to check him, he was in his old pen where he felt safe. So I think he would come back. Echo would probably have a heart attack from fear within the first few minuets of escaping. I bet when he was with his wild herd he started a lot of stampedes. I can just see it now; a herd of sweaty panting mustangs glaring at a little dark horse who's saying, "well it could have been a cougar".

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A broken fence and hay ramblings.

I was feeding the mustangs the other day and I had a bit of a surprise. I was about to leave when I happened to notice the fence between the two mustangs was broken. The corrals had stood up to cows and fighting bulls for about 35 years. But these mustangs have really worked them over. I hate keeping horses in corrals because they get so bored and pick up bad habits. They have chewed up the boards despite the fact we have tried a few different products to stop them. Now one of the boards was broken. I think Wildairo was rubbing his bum on it and it was already weak from all their chewing and it gave way. I got a rock and hammered in the huge nails back in the give it a temporary fix. The boys had their heads buried in their hay buckets so they were good for awhile. Brad fixed thing's better when he came home with some more hammering. He noticed the posts were pushed out and about to go (because of Wildairo throwing himself at them) so he strung up some of that white electric tape.

When I got home I fed the chickens and the ducks, filled the cows water trough and fed Foxsun. That's when I got another surprise, a worse one. I put Foxsun's feed in his bucket and went in the house when he started eating it. When I looked out of the front window I saw him standing very oddly. He had his back to his uneaten dinner, which scared me, and he had his neck stretched out like he was sniffing. He walked slowly around like that. A couple of times he lifted his front hoof like it hurt. I started to get really worried. I almost reached for my phone to call the vet and I remembered the other times I over reacted and he'd been fine. Foxsun shows every little discomfort and has even groaned in the past when he hasn't felt good. So I took some deep breaths and watched him. I could just hear myself telling the vet, "Come quick! Foxsun's walking about sniffing instead of eating his dinner".

I went out there and stroked his head. He went back to his dinner but he didn't seem right to me. But I remembered an old man telling me years ago that if they have their head down eating they're alright. He had a drink after his meal and walked back to the cows, stopping to eat grass along the ditch bank. I saw him put his years back and move a couple of cows out of the way. He didn't act like he had a belly ache and wasn't standing like he had laminitis but when he was walking in to get his dinner he did cough once.

Maybe he still has the Pigeon fever in his system. His barrel is very round (like a barrel) but his top line is more boney than it should be. He's only 22 and has looked really good until this summer. The vet I had out here to float his teeth and look him over didn't seem to be too concerned. I think I'll bring him in and put him with Echo, (he beats up Wildairo), and give him some of the really good alfalfa hay. I think he bites Wildairo because Wildairo walks up to people and other horses with his ears flat back. They weren't deep bites, just the kind that takes hair off.

We put up three kinds of hay this year. The hay from the meadow is orchard grass, with a tiny bit of alfalfa in some of it. This Spring Brad seeded alfalfa in the draw, with a cover crop of peas and oats. The horses don't care for it much because the pea vines are a bit tough, but the cows love it. Echo had some once and very carefully sorted all the pea pods out to one side. Unlike Wildairo who always cleans his plate. I bet his mum told him about starving foals in Africa. The second cutting in the draw was just pure leafy fine stemmed alfalfa. The good stuff. I give a little to the mustangs every day and they seem to have more energy and act less hungry. The problem is there's not much of it because Brad had to put it up when the conditions weren't good. So, according to 'the all knowing' Brad, not much of it is suitable for horses. If it's put up without a dew on it, the leaves shatter and fall off. If it's too wet it goes moldy. Cows can eat pretty much any kind of moldy hay it seems. I hope there's enough of the pure alfalfa to last the horses through the winter because they really seem to do well with a bit added in their orchard grass hay.

We can get three or maybe four cuttings of hay a year here. We have to irrigate it. We lease out most of our crop land to another farmer so Brad can have the time to work at his business. We just have 30 acres we put up for own cattle. We did sell a bit this year and I was shocked at what you can get for hay now. I think we sold ours for $200/ton. I can remember when we farmed the whole place ourselves we were doing good to get $70 to $80/ton. I think rained on feeder hay was about $50 to $60/ton.

It seems the hay prices are high because it's in short supply. Other commodities were higher and farmers took out their hay stands to put in other crops like wheat. For example last year wheat was up around $15 a bushel and now it's down to about $4.50 a bushel. When a crop sells for a high price lots of farmers will plant it and that will bring down the price of that crop. I think with hay prices so high and wheat lower more farmers will seed back into hay and that will bring the price down.

We move our cows and Foxsun around to different places on the ranch. Right now they are in the hay meadow which is about 15 acres and they seem it be getting enough to eat there for now, although Foxsun gets extra. In the summer they were on the bluff and have a fenced off route they can take back to the corrals and the other pasture, so they hundreds of acres to graze. Once they run of pasture they will go over to the pasture with the feeder and be fed hay for the rest of the winter. Foxsun stays with them as long as he is doing OK. I will put him back over at the horse barn and pasture when the cows are at the feeder.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

More good news. I hope.

I would like to pass this message on:

Dear Friends of Cloud and the Wild Horses;

We have an opportunity to make a difference for America’s wild horses still in the wild and in holding facilities, but we have to act right away.

Congressman Grijalva of Arizona, a supporter of wild horses and a critic of BLM, is being considered for the job of Secretary of the Interior. As most of you know, the Bureau of Land Management falls under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior. Congressman Grijalva has championed the wild horse issues as Chairman of the Subcommittee for National Parks, National Forest and Public Lands. He will work to restore protections for our wild horses. According to some sources, he is a leading contender for the job.

To voice your support, go to Let the transition team for our new administration know that you support the consideration of Congressman Grijalva for Secretary of the Interior.

Please pass this message on to all you know. Thanks a million!!!

Happy Trails,
Ginger Kathrens
Volunteer Executive Director
The Cloud Foundation

I have been reading that Democrat Congressman Grijalva is a real progressive and sounds like he's be a wonderful welcome change after 8 years of wild horse terrorism by the Bush administration.

Here's a picture of President Elect Obama with Rep. Grijalva.


I beg you to contact the transition team at