Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Night in the Life

Fiasco #1:

Some clouds moved in around 6:30 last night and cooled things off, so I hooked up the horse trailer to the truck and drove it down to the new hay barn.  My husband and I moved all the hay bales out of the trailer into the barn while the wind got stronger and stronger.  Before we knew it, our hair and faces were coated in dirt and all our topsoil was blowing into our neighbor's horse paddock.  My husband grabbed the hose and started watering down the paddock while I tried to maneuver the truck and trailer somewhere else out of the path of the construction vehicles.  Of course, my horse trailer had to have a nearly flat tire.  I can't possibly go a single day without at least a dozen hassles.

The drive to and from the hay barn is extremely tight and difficult despite the contractor doing more grading and widening the driveway at the turn.  It's also very rocky.  He said he could grade and grade and grade, but more and more rocks would just keep popping up out of the ground, so if we want to get rid of the rocks we have to do it by hand.

When I went to go pick up the wooden pallets yesterday, I forgot to check if I had any rope to tie them down in my truck before leaving.  I discovered only one small length of rope that was more for show than stability.  So, when I drove the truck loaded with pallets as high as the roof down that narrow, rocky drive, I had to go extremely slow because the tower of pallets was leaning this way and that.  I didn't want them to fall and break after all the work we did to find non-broken ones, and I didn't want them scratching my paint or breaking my back window either.

(Oh yeah, and there are two routes I can take to my house.  One requires going through a high volume intersection where you can't see cars coming from the right because of the angle, and the cars are driving 45 to 65 mph while you've got other drivers across the intersection who are stopped at a stop sign and need to go straight or make turns.  That intersection is so dangerous that I avoid it because I don't need the added stress.  Trying to ease my way through there with a tower of unsecured pallets in the bed of my truck would not have been appropriate, so I drove the other way, which is through downtown where the streets vary between 35 and 45 mph, too fast for my circumstance, and I had to stay in the left lanes the whole way, pissing off other drivers.  Yay!)

As you can imagine, trying to drive a truck and trailer down our narrow, rocky driveway nearly resulted in several accidents.  Even though my turn at the jog was widened, the trailer still almost scraped the wall of the house.  The driveway is now pushed all the way up to our property line, so we can't widen it any further.  This was just a poor design on the part of the home builders, who didn't really consider how to get vehicles around the house to the back lot.  I feel embarrassed, because we have to drive on our neighbor's property just to back out of our garage.

Backing up in a monsoon dust storm with a horse trailer was a nightmare.  At first I kept almost taking out the corner of the barn, then I kept jack-knifing in order to avoid running over the underground water tank.  It felt like it took me 15 minutes to maneuver backwards into a spot that would allow the contractor to finish the roof of the barn and get his tractor out.  The whole time my truck was getting sand blasted.  Now I understand why car insurance is so much more expensive here.

We decided to wait until the next day to fill the nearly flat tire with air, because I would have had to park next to the garage where there are electrical outlets for the compressor, which wasn't convenient for anyone, plus Midge was overdue for her insulin shot, and my husband wanted to deal with all the dust by hosing the paddock down.

Fiasco #2:

That night Midge woke me up because she needed to pee.  I put the leash on her, opened the door, and something flew right in front of my face, literally slapping me.  I turned my head to see a grasshopper on the wall, then turned my head a little further to see a scorpion running up the door frame and trying to get into the house.  I shut the door quickly, but not all the way, because that dang trick doorknob would lock me out of the house again.  We haven't had the time or energy to get a spare key made and hide it outside.  Other, more urgent, errands always need to be run.

Midge did her business and I studied the door frame searching for the scorpion, but it had disappeared.  I knew it was somewhere close by, so I decided to open the door quickly run in with Midge and shut it quickly.  I threw open the door and there was Scrappy sitting in the foyer waiting to go out to do his business.  Midge froze and refused to come inside, because Scrappy intimidates her.  I was freaking out about the scorpion getting in, and all the other bugs that were flying around and sticking to the door, so I said in a stern tone, "Come, now!"

My mistake was not saying Midge's name.

Scrappy thought that was his invitation to go outside off leash, and I turned around to see his little black tail disappearing into the night.  Because our house is right across the street from a nature preserve, there are almost always coyotes out there at night patrolling the border just waiting for some bunny or cat or dog to appear.  I screamed, "@#%&!  Scrappy!  Noooooooooo!"

I dropped the leash, shut Midge in the house and ran after Scrappy, who amazingly, responded to my command (a rarity), and was sitting on the walkway waiting for me to give the next command.  I scooped him up in my arms, took him back inside, took the leash off Midge, put it on Scrappy, and took him out to do his business.  Of course, adrenaline was racing through my body, so I lost several hours of sleep.  I know, we should just put the dogs in the laundry room with pee pads, but my husband wants them to sleep with us, and sometimes I sleepwalk to take them outside, forgetting that I should just let my husband do it since he's the one who won't put them in the laundry room at night.  Habits.

Fiasco #3:

My plan was to wake up at dawn to go outside in the cool 90-degree morning to pick up nails and rocks and ready the stalls and paddock for the horses, since I have to bring them home by Saturday when my board runs out at the end of the month.  However, I had just fallen asleep before the sun rose and totally missed my window.  Still, I tried to run outside and do as much as possible, despite having to feed my diabetic dog in 10 minutes.

First, I ran outside and forgot my sunglasses.  Then I ran outside and forgot my gloves.  Then I ran outside and forgot a baggy to put the nails in.  On and on it went, with time ticking away and the air getting hotter and thicker by the minute.  Despite being in the shade of the barn, I was dripping sweat from every pore.  The jeans I slept in were soaked through.

Vehicles kept appearing on the bluff at the point where horseback riders enter my property, and the drivers just sat up there watching me at 6:30 in the morning.  I was thinking, "You've got to be kidding me!  I have even less privacy here than I had at my last house."

All I could figure out was that they were horseback riders who had heard that there was construction going on along their trail, and they swung by on their way to work to plan out a route for their weekend ride.

I tried raking the rocks, but it was ineffective.  I will have to pick up each rock by hand, put it in a wheelbarrow and move it somewhere else.  This is going to take months, possibly years.  Hopefully, the horses hooves can handle it.  I remember I had to do this when we first built our barn at the Nevada house, and the neighbors kept stopping by to tell me that I was an idiot to waste my time trying to remove all those rocks.  But I did it and we had less hoof cracks because of my efforts.

My next big hurdle will be figuring out how to trailer the horses home without burning them in the metal trailer.  My choices are to bring them home on a 112 degree day or a 113 degree day.  I'm hoping the barn owner will let me come at sunrise at 5:00 AM since our evenings appear to be monopolized by monsoon dust storms.


lytha said...

90 in the morning? and you have to worry about horse trailer burns? omgosh i've never even thought about that. today it's 82 and humid in cologne, and our office is not air conditioned. we all have fans on but for me it's not enough. it was so humid last night a low fog settled over my field and i couldn't see the other side. as i walked the fenceline cutting blackberries off the wire, my hair got soaking wet as if it was raining, from humidity! this does not happen where i come from.

i cannot wait for AC to arrive in germany. if it does.

that wind you describe is amazing. your pasture was...blowing away!?

Cheryl Ann said...

Yes, 90 degrees in the morning~ We have that to deal with, too! I would get your horses as early as you can. You now know what the days are like. Hey, our weather forecast said you guys are in for some thunderstorms (monsoons) for the next few days...just a heads up! I hope everything works out. Our son found a scorpion in his KITCHEN and he has a 3 year old, so he is calling a pest control company this week!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Have trailer, will travel... Let me know if you want help moving the horses. I have a 2 horse as well.

Rocks- as soft as our fields are here, we have them. Your area is filled with them and as the horses move around in the stalls & turnout, more will come up. It will be an almost never ending battle. Trust me on this one.

Grading will only turn them up faster and if you have one of those screen things to sift them out with, the smallers ones still make it through and the dirt you are left with will be a fine silt that will blow away with a breeze like baby powder. Sand is one of your best options.

Unknown said...

if the nails will cling to a magnet you can buy a bar magnet to drag the area and grab nails for you. They are cheap here anyway. I put one on the end of a flat bladed shovel and drag it along, or they can be mounted on wood and pulled with a rope.

I use a stable rake/fork with tines close together to pick up rocks. Yes the big ones still need to be hand picked, but it does get a lot of rocks fast.

Reddunappy said...

Well Nuzz Muzz, I just have one thing to say girl,

You have gotten so much accomplished in the last year!!!! Your Mom, moving, new construction!! and much more!!!
When you get your ponies home, I sure hope you can relax and enjoy them!!
You deserve it!!

fernvalley01 said...

90 degrees in the morning , Yikes! Sounds like you still have lots on the go, I would be taking CnJ up on her offer an extra set of hands with all you have to do , esp experienced ones might just make it all easier.
And you slept in your jeans???

Paint Girl said...

Those darn rocks. I have always said that I should start a rock breeding business because not long after I pick rocks out of the pastures, they come right back. It is a never ending battle.
Hopefully you can pick your horses up really early in the morning before it gets too hot but just think... your horses are almost home!! That is super exciting! Can't wait to see pictures of them in their new home!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

fernvalley01 - Yes, I've been sleeping in my jeans because every time that I sleep in my tap pant P.J.'s, something happens that requires me to go outside before I can get dressed and then everyone sees me half-naked. If I sleep in my clothes, I get a full night's sleep. It's kind of like making it rain by washing your car.

I emailed C-N-J to let her know I'd call her if I ran into trouble. She's done so much for me that I hate to keep sucking up her time.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sleeping in jeans...I can't even imagine. I find them so uncomfortable to wear during the day, I'd be miserable if I had to sleep in them.
I wear my PJs, usually a tank and a pair of capris, to bed and I even walk up to the barn to feed my critters in my PJs. None of my neighbors care anyway, and I certainly don't care if they see me. I figure I'm not naked, so who cares if I have flowers, puppies or ponies pictures on my PJ pants?

Since we live in the mountains, and the ground beneath is basically rock and boulders, it would be impossibly for me to be able to clear all the rocks permanently. I've discovered that the rocks and hard ground have helped make my mare's hooves rock hard and tough, which is good because now she is acclimated to do trail rides, which are guaranteed to be rock covered.

If you are needing something to make your nail-retrieval job much easier, you might want to pick up this awesome tool that I bought after we did our barn addition several years ago.
I bought it at Harbor Freight, in Albuquerque, but if you don't have Harbor Freight, you can order it online.

It is under $10 and very useful. I use if at least once a week, because our winds (and if we ever get rain) uncover nails and pieces of metal. Some days I wish I could give the previous home owner who lived here, and considered the land a dumping ground, a piece of my mind. Some of the huge rusted nails I find in Apache's paddock are scary!

I did I post about this magnetic wonder a few years ago, if you care to see it:


achieve1dream said...

I forgot to mention on the other post where you were talking about farriers and trimmers that I'm happy you have barefoot trimmers to choose from. I hope you can find a good one and keep them barefoot because not only are shoes expensive they aren't healthy for hooves either. If they are trimmed correctly they should have no problem with that environment. Dry is way better than wet. :)

I'm so glad Scrappy listened to you! That must have been scary!

Ugh, sleeping in jeans! I've done it before and it's not comfortable at all. Could you not try sweat pants? They are marginally more comfortable although I hate the way they twist around my legs. I way prefer shorts or a nightgown, but you're right I wouldn't like to have to go outside in them. I hope you can figure something out!