Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween

I found this interesting spider in my garden.  It looks more like a tic, but gross enough for Halloween.  I know it will be a while before a lot of readers have the electricity to visit the blogosphere again.  I hope everyone survived Superstorm Sandy without too much damage.

I finally had that elective surgery I've been in need of for a few years now.  My old doctor and I were making plans for me to go through with it, and then I lost my job and my awesome health insurance.  The symptoms of this health problem were getting worse and worse, so I found a new doctor after my move out of state to perform the procedure.  So far the results have been nothing short of miraculous.  I didn't realize how much discomfort and pain I had until now that I don't have to experience it anymore.  In fact, I took less pain killers after the surgery than I did on a day-to-day basis before the surgery.  This change should allow me to live a freer lifestyle.  I'm still somewhat tied to the house and a strict schedule because of Midge's diabetes, but at least I have one less health obstacle myself to deal with.

In other news, I got the surface of my riding arena as rock-free as possible by hand, and have scheduled to have 175 tons of sand to be delivered.  I debated between sand and the slightly heavier crushed rock that I used in the barn.  Sand blows away but doesn't pack down as much while the heavier material packs down into the ground and has to be replenished every few years.  It was six to one and half a dozen to the other.  My neighbors have a horse facility, so if the sand blows into their riding pens, it will help them out.  Losing the heavier material to the earth won't help anyone.

The process we worked on all summer and fall regarding the removal of rocks began with us just picking up the biggest rocks and chucking them over the fence.  I then raked up the medium sized and smaller rocks into the hay sling and dumped them into a wheelbarrow, hauling the stuff out every evening.  Then I used a really long metal rod and speared the ground to loosen the dirt and pry up large boulders that were buried. Some of these were bigger than my Corgi (but not as soft) and when a hoof hits them, there is the potential for serious injury to the horse. It would be like cantering unshod horses on concrete, only worse because the rocks had sharp points.

I'm wary of these types of rocks, because in my riding area in Nevada I had removed all the rocks except for one that refused to come up, and wouldn't you know it -- the one time I fell off a horse I landed right on that rock and ended up with two plates and twelve pins in my arm -- an injury that probably would not have happened had that rock not been there.

This was the last large rock that was giving me fits.  I ended up having to dig out all the dirt around it with a shovel, and it turned out that it was standing on end, much bigger than just the part that's sticking up out of the ground in this picture.  Once I could get the bar underneath it and pry it up, I found that it was too heavy for me to lift, so I rolled it one rotation at a time all the way across the paddock into a corner.  I got a good workout dealing with these rocks and am ten times stronger than I was earlier this year.  I'm kind of glad that the rock clearing service blew me off, since I benefited from doing most of the work myself.  My husband and kids did come out and do a lot of rocking lifting as well when they were available on the weekends.

My wagon half full.  Most evenings I would dig until it was full and the sides were bursting from the weight.

This is a rock my son dug up that I decided to use as a mounting block.  Those are tree trunks and limbs on the other side of the fence, which gives you an idea of its size.

A small section of rocks we dug out all summer on the other side of the fence.  This side of the fence gives you an idea of how smooth the ground is now.

The riding arena looks 100% better and safer.

I've arranged with my neighbors to house the horses over at their place while the trucks come and go all day from my horse paddock.  (Yes, I am friends with my neighbors.  Just a note for those of you who think I hate and avoid all neighbors.)  We are going to lead my horses through an obstacle course over to their place under the full moon before sunrise.  Why that early?  Well, the rock and sand company wouldn't honor my request to hold off on sending the first truck until after 9:00 AM.  They said that since this is an all day job, they have to begin at 7:00 AM.  The sun doesn't even rise until 6:45!  Oh well.  You do what you have to do... especially when it comes to the safety and welfare of your horses and your ability to ride them.  Fortunately, my neighbors are usually up at 4:30 AM, so this is a normal schedule for them.

We previously bought them dinner, and I'm planning on helping them use some of the larger rocks I dug up to landscape a section of their property.  I'm also going to photograph each of their dogs (and they have a lot because they used to run a dog rescue) and provide them with the images for free.  So, this isn't all about me mooching off them, like some of my neighbors did to me at my last home.  One good favor deserves another in turn.

I'm going to be heads down during the month of November for NaNoWriMo.  This online writing event that challenges writers to put 50,000 words on disk or paper by the end of the month helped me to complete the first half of my second novel last year.  My life has been too crazy since then for me to finish the novel.  I'm counting on NaNoWriMo to help me finish the book, so that I can finally publish it.

My first novel, THE NEXT DOOR, is still doing well bringing in royalties.  (See book on side bar of blog.)  Everything flowed so smoothly with writing and publishing it, but with this second novel the flow has been broken up so many times by circumstances and by my attention being needed elsewhere.  I really need everything to settle down just for a few weeks so that I can push through it.  So, if you are wondering why my blog posts are few and far between over the next month, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Katharine Swan said...

Hooray for NaNoWriMo! I will be using it to finish a novel too -- the one I started during the summer session (Camp NaNoWriMo) in August.

Cindy Durham said...

So glad your surgery is helping you feel better!

sydney K said...

For the sand you could always oil spray it. The big barn where I taught lessons had a four wheeler and some sort of used vegetable oil from a restaurant they sprayed once a week or so to keep the arena from getting dusty and the sand from blowing away. Worked, back home was sooooo flat and sooooo windy if you don't do something it will be messed up within a year.

Reddunappy said...

Did you finally get rid of the baby bag? LOL LOL
It was the best thing I have done!!!
Took me a long time to recover, because I had to have 3 blood transfusions before the surgery!

Maybe you could put some of those rocks on the "trail" where people want to ride through your property?

Dreaming said...

Those are some huge rocks! Yay you for the perseverance to tackle such a huge job!
I'm glad you are feeling better!

Cut-N-Jump said...

I was going to say- use the rocks and a bit of wire fencing to create a 'wall' across the area people choose to use as a ride thru on the property. Can't get around it, can't get over it- maybe they will get the idea???

Glad you are feeling better and things are looking up.

Jamethiel Crabb said...

Good luck in November! I'll be joining Nanowrimo, but only so I can say I actually accomplished something this year. See ya on the other end!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow! You've been busy!

And I thought we had a lot of rocks around here. Of course, I've never spent any time trying to pick them up, so I don't know for sure just how many I'd end up with. lol!


achieve1dream said...

I'm so happy the surgery helped. :D

Good luck with Nano! I'm not participating this year.

Wow, the riding arena looks so much better. You have been busy hauling rocks!!