March 8th

Friday, March 8th, 2019

The weather has been absolutely marvelous the last couple days.

I’ve been walking back to the barn (for context: over a half mile one way) because the sun on my face and fresh air have been such spirit lifters. I’ve been able to leave the house in just my barn jacket and rubber boots (no Carharrt coveralls and heavy winter boots!), and be the perfect temperature.

Truly marvelous.

Once back at the barn, being able to open up the barn doors and let fresh air in is just as much a spirit lifter – for everyone, I think.

Our boys grow heavy winter coats, so the shedding process begins early for us each spring, and begun it has! No more wearing chapstick to the barn, am I right? Pony kisses are a magnet for said shedding hair when your lips have any sort of stick to them, haha! That first time is always a rude awakening 🙂

Buck has a lot of hair to begin with, so it never seems to end with him.

However, with the weather as great as it was today, I was able to unbraid and brush out his tail (I braid it to help protect it as it grows back, so it’s been braided for months), and eventually rebraid it after admiring it’s length (two years later, we’re almost back to full length!!). It has also proven to hold it’s conditioner when braided; I didn’t need to use any detangler on his tail when I brushed it out, which was a small miracle. His mane is a different story, however, but we tackled that and got it all brushed out.

I’ve always been an “on the ground” equestrian. I connect really deeply with horses on their level, without the need to ride. That may sound strange, but while I enjoy a good ride, I enjoy a good roundpen session even more. I enjoy asking my horses for things without physical touch and aided equipment.

I like being a herd member, earning and proving my coveted herd position through my body language.

I think this also aids in my barn time with my boys. The act of me brushing out Buck’s mane has become part of herd grooming. He no longer fights it, but instead falls asleep. This hyper alert thousand pound animal has handed over his vulnerability to me; he trusts me to have his back and protect him.

It’s pretty humbling.

He’s always so soft after we work too. So soulful, so gentle. His eyes and body relaxes, and he becomes a teddy bear.


I’ve always had people tell me I could train horses, but I am not qualified under saddle to do any such thing. However, I have thought about buying weanlings, yearlings, and ground breaking them. Can you imagine those sassy, long legged know-it-alls in a round pen under liberty – I’d probably be constantly laughing! A true hoot and challenge, for sure. But ultimately, I’d have to sell them again and I may be too picky in what homes they go to.

I would love it though!

Think of the sweet faces. Oh goodness.

March 7th

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

This sweet girl.

Each day, I see more of a dog instead of a puppy. She’s growing up.

Her boundless energy is definitely still there, but her ability to lay down in complete focus when cued is one of those moments I can see the transformation. Her ability to focus has honed enough too that she’s starting to learn lots of fun tricks – shake, high five. We’re even working on nonverbal cues, and she’s rocking it. Soon, we’ll add in some dog agility elements and see how fast she conquers those.

Up until just a couple months ago, the only thing about her that resembled her cattle dog heritage was her coloring. Recently, her chest and neck have began to bulk up – very indicative of her ACD genes (also, check out that controlled, reserved look she’s tossing my way – that is the cool confidence and independence of the ACD). Her slim hips, petite face, and herding style still represent her Border Collie side, but it’s been fun to see her come together as she reaches full physical maturity.

She’s a pretty great gal pal.

February 12th

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

Paul and went back to the farm to dig out our north facing barn door this morning and Henna was in a state of euphoria.

Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow.

Sweet wonderul powdery snow.

Up and down the snow piles, racing around the buildings, hurdling snow drifts… she was in a form of Henna heaven.


The most hilarious? The extent in which she went to “catch” the snow we were shoveling. No one would’ve believed the acrobatics, so I stopped to photograph her.

Seriously, her athleticism is astounding. She was four, five feet off the ground flipping, whipping, and twisting.


I think by the time we left she was actually worn out.

January 18th

Friday, January 18th, 2019

I’ve gotten out of the habit of putting my camera in my car when I leave the house, and I’ve been relying on my phone a lot lately.

I apologize for that, as that’s me simply being lazy, and I’m going to work harder at staying motivated despite the cold weather and no snow.

So stick with me and I’ll bring my A game back.

I get frustrated with myself when I leave my camera at home, especially when I take pictures like this with my phone knowing it could’ve come out so much better with my actual camera. The distortion of my wide angle lens would’ve bubbled out the very center of the image, making Henna’s chest seem bigger, in turn making her look like a canine superhero.  Especially with me shooting this overly dramatic pose from below. 😉

As I’m writing about the distortion of my wide angle lens, I’m thinking of how seasoned photographers can spot different lens distortions, but to the untrained eye it’s not obvious. Maybe one day I’ll do a post with a side by side edited vs unedited to show the difference.

Anyone interested?

December 24th

Monday, December 24th, 2018

Merry Christmas Eve!

While we won’t be having a white Christmas this year, the big positive about the weather being mild is that all of the ice has melted.

The big thing that stops Paul and I from riding outdoors in the winter is fear of ice; even with a layer of snow on top, you don’t know what’s happening underneath and the idea of our horses slipping and sliding is not an appealing one. Especially since our horses are not in peak shape by any means right now, so pulling a muscle is a real possibility with too much of a slip or slide.

Since the ground is dry because of the weather, over the past couple weeks we’ve been going out on short but wonderful rides down the driveway. The boys basically put their halters on themselves they’re so excited to get out, and it’s a great for everyone to get some fresh air and exercise. It’s great for their mental state, too, as they get to go out and take in new sights that they don’t see in the pasture. Our boys aren’t big fans of riding in the arena, so it’s great bonding for all of us to go out and do a ride everyone wants to do.

In addition to all of that, with a busy day tomorrow it just seemed right to spend Christmas Eve in the barn, the site of Jesus’ birth, with livestock, Jesus’ first witnesses.

What a beautiful place for reflection on the reason for the season. What a privilege.

December 4th

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Paul and Junior’s bromance is no news to you if you’ve followed my blog.

But here’s an update for you: They’re still going strong.

We went back to clean stalls this afternoon, and I cleaned while Paul went out to say hi to June. I poked my head out of the barn at one point to this.

And then Henna and I walked out to say hi (and Henna brought her Jolly Ball out to play):


Then Junior wanted the attention back on him:


So then they snuggled again (Junior was loving on Paul so hard he fogged up his glasses ha!):


These two, I tell ya what.

November 21st

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

I went a little abstract for my image today, can anyone guess what this is?

Hint: If you know horses, this was probably an easy one. Or maybe it was an easy guess for everyone, who knows! When you’re the one behind the camera and know what an image is of, it’s sometimes hard to know if it will be difficult for others to see.

Either way, today’s image is of Bucky’s back. The right side of the image leads up to his neck, the back half-circle is the curve of the top of his left hip. The center of his spine runs from the center of the image to the edge of the left side of the image. He had his right hip relaxed, so the curve of his spine is accentuated.

When I was up at the barn doing chores this evening, the warm light coming through the door was really quite lovely. I started by photographing Bucky’s eyes, but his eyes never really relax when I have the camera in front of my face, so he always looks a little freaked out; this isn’t how he normally looks at me, so it’s hard for me to connect with them. When I walked past to go to Junior’s stall, I saw the light gently laying across Bucky’s back, and I loved it.

Buck’s age is starting to show, and it’s a little hard to come to terms with. We’re on the back end of old age at the farm, and there’s been a lot of big losses within the last year. Buck (should be) the caboose of our age train for awhile. Junior’s only twelve, Henna and our cats are just over one, and our chickens aren’t that old (however, I’m staying a little guarded with them due to the fact that predators are always around).

Our sweet farrier, who is my dad’s cousin and who also sold us our first horses, is one of my go-to’s when it comes to horse care. He’s my weight-check guy each time he comes out, and he’s my practical go-to when I have questions about equine physical therapy vs chiropractic work, and everything in between. He’s been around the block, and is my common sense sounding board, especially since he knows our horses’ histories. I’ve been throwing around the concern of Buck having Cushings with other horsey friends for the past 9 months, as I’ve been seeing the symptoms start, and they encouraged me to look into it. Last time Dave was out, he took a good look at Bucky, and I said to him “I’ve been meaning to ask you about Cushings,” and he said to me “I was just about to bring it up.” So we had a conversation about the fact that it was an old age disease, what symptoms he saw, how the test works, what time of year is best to have it done, and what a diagnosis may mean.

So we waited until fall, and called to make an appointment. Convinced he had it, we were prepared for what that may mean in terms of a shortened life span, change of feed, daily meds, etc. Dr. Rick came out, did the blood draw and was out the door again in under two minutes.

“If results are normal, my tech will call, if not, I’ll call and we can talk about our options.”

Well, a week later mom had a voicemail from Dr. Rick, but he must’ve had bad service, as the message was hard to understand. So expecting the worst, mom called him back, and guess what?

His results were dead center of the normal range! Not even borderline!

“Most likely the symptoms you’re seeing are simply his body aging. Here are a couple things to continue to watch for, but otherwise, keep doing what you’re doing.”

It’s rare that we get good news when you have to call an equine vet out, and I’m going to take it! It also gave my heart a little reprieve, as I can handle normal aging, but was having a hard time wrapping my mind around a disease that would be even more of a hurdle for him.

So tonight I gave him a little extra love, happy that that negative diagnosis may mean a couple more years to enjoy the sweet, trusting teddy bear that he’s become, along with all that crazy hair.

October 20th

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

I tackled quite a few projects around the farm today.

Mowing, weed whipping, shoveling out the paddocks, cleaning stalls, etc. They’ve all been on my list for awhile, and with the warm weather and finally dry conditions, I was able to get in there and do those things.

The other large item on my list was to brush out Buck’s mane and tail.

This may not seem like a huge task, but to put it simply: it is.

Especially since I haven’t been keeping up on it, so he had a couple major tangles going on. He was starting to dread, so I needed to get in there and catch it before I can’t stop it. With him, I have to use detangler and conditioner – it just makes him more comfortable, and I don’t pull out nearly as much hair. The warm weather today allowed me to be able to do that – hooray!

Poor Bucky has been feeling a little neglected recently with all of the weddings we were a part of and being out of town, and with pumpkins in full swing, we haven’t been spending as much time at the barn as we would like to. Happy to just have his halter on and get out for a bit, he stood perfectly the entire time. So much so in fact that I was able to do his mane, tail, and forelock!

After I was done, the boys went out into the paddocks (so Buck could roll – of course), and when he got up, his hair was flowing in the breeze and he looked magnificent.

My sweet Fabio.

October 15th

Monday, October 15th, 2018

I live in the old Hassan Township.

The city of Rogers annexed the township in 2009, but the long seeded history of the township lives on through the generations of farming families in the area, structures such as the church Paul and I got married in, and the trees.

Wait, trees?

Yep. The trees.

The name “Hassan” is derived from the Dakota word chanhasen, meaning Sugar Maple Tree. As the then-township of Chanhassan had recently been established, the “chan-” was dropped to avoid confusion.

Settled by German immigrants in 1854, the area at the time (called “The Big Woods”) was mostly covered by oak, elm, basswood, and maple. Although the settlers removed much of the timber to farm the area, large areas of woods still stand, including the ten acres on our farm.

Sugar Maple trees turn bright yellow or gold in the fall, and certain areas of our woods are primarily Sugar Maple, including the main entrance to our woods.

One of my favorite places in the world.