September 30, 2008

My oh my, how far we've come!

We've passed our 2 year mark since we moved here to Westwood....I have been reminiscing about projects passed....let's take a little trip down memory's important to remember where you came from, ya know? Can you see the differences in the two pictures below? Pic #1 was taken when we bought Westwood. Pic #2 was taken last month (2 yrs later).... Scroll Down for details...

Pic #1Pic#2

(Differences: Wire fencing and T-posts all around area removed. Brush removed. Driveway re-graveled. Fencing off old barn outside of pic removed. Pedro's paddock repaired/built. New 2-stall cottage built. New concrete patio off lounge. Unseen: All wood railing/boards replaced on paddocks and 1/3 of arena. All manure removed from indoor arena, new footing added. New footing outdoor arena.)

In the pictures below, you can see some of what we started with in the horse barn. What you can't see is what the INSIDE of the stalls looked like. many of the stalls on the right housed rabbit cages...stalls on the left served as shelter for sheep and goats....and the two stalls nearest the indoor housed two horses. The wash rack was also storage for sheered wool, floor to ceiling!Can you see the difference btwn Pic #1, Pic #2 adn Pic #3? Scroll Down for details...
Pic #2Pic #3
(Differences: All wood surfaces power washed x2. All wood surfaces 2 coats of polyurethane sealant. All metal bars hand sanded. All metal bars 2 coats rustoleum spray paint. All stalls cleaned out, leveled and matted. All stalls bucket holders and buckets. Tack room built/installed.)

We have a long way to go still, but we are enjoying the ride...Thanks for sharing it with us!

Happy Trails,

One of my favorite things....

From time to time we stumble upon special little things that make our life more wonderful and complete.....before these special little things come into our lives, we are just plowing thru life, oblivious to their wonders and beauty.....and once we have found a special little thing, our lives are never the same again....

Case in point: SHOWER GLOVES!

This is the case with these totally rejuventating, twiterpating, fantabulousating, exfoliating shower gloves! Maybe I am a little late to the party here, but I had no idea such perfect little cotton creations existed prior to August 2008, when my sister-in-law introduced me to the wonders of a good glove scrub.....I promptly acquired a pair of my very own little scrubbers of wonder....and showers will never be the same again!

Here is how they put them on after you get in the fill your palm with your favorite body wash...and you just start rubbing away...the gloves lather up really well, and as your hands move over your skin, you feel the most trickilating, sensuating, lovelyating tingle all really is an amazing experience! You can even apply your favorite shampoo and wash your hair with them your scalp an unexpected and much appreciated treat all it's own!

When you are done, you just rinse your gloved hands under the running water, remove the gloves and hang them to dry....If you are interested in some of your own, you can find them most anywhere...Rite Aid (these are what I got), Walmart, and even The Body Shop. Good Luck and Happy Scrubbing!

Happy Trails,


September 29, 2008

Daddy's Girl...

There is a special bond between a father and a daughter. A trust and a love that is unequaled in any other relationship either will ever encounter....from the beginning, Randi has looked to her Daddy for security, understanding, and a 'yes' when mommy has already told her 'no'....I love to watch the two of them can see the joy on both their faces...oblivious to anyone or anything else around them....and no matter how old and independent Randi becomes, Daddy will always be there for her....catching her if she falls....comforting her when she's scared....and saying 'yes' to her when mommy has already said 'no.
Happy Trails,
Leah (mommy)

September 27, 2008

The results are in....

....and the trailers are loaded and headed back to the ranch...when it's all said and done, we had a rip-roaring good time at the PHBA/ABRA Horse Show today...the weather could not have been more pleasant, and the turnout was sufficient for good times...A big thank you for all the staff and exhibitors for your dedication and determination to make this show a success!

There were so many beautiful golden steeds here today, that I was at about 150 shots before I knew it! If you would like more pics than what you see here, please shoot me an email and I'll gather them up for you ( Enjoy!

After our exhibitors arrived and unloaded their horses, they began prepping for their classes. Halter was the first class on the list, so the horses needed to be groomed, trimmed and shined to the max! The judge is looking for conformational correctness and will rate them against the breed/color standard. Clear as mud? Basically, the judge is looking for the purtiest horse in the class, according to what the purtiest horse SHOULD look that we are all completely unclear now.....

Once the golden beauties were ready for their moment of glory in front of the judged, at the judges cue, they enter the arena and walk towards him...the judge checks each horse over, and watches the horses movement for anything out of the ordinary...waddling, skipping and dilly-dallying are highly undesirable movements, and handlers will be penalized accordingly....just kidding....just sounded more exciting then "they walk to the judge"....
as they pass the judge, the handler will ask the horse to trot away, again exhibiting the horses movement for the judge to evaluate...
finally, they line up head-to-tail for final will notice the handlers doing their best to make sure the horses are standing 'square'. That means that all 4 legs are straight under the horse and position at all four corners of the horse equally, like a square? Clear as mud? Good!
The horse should be alert and showing at it's best...this is not always an easy task, if the horse is distracted, tired, or otherwise preoccupied with other matters (like where the grain is)..... This horse on the other hand....he stayed up too late last night....notice the lazy ears....poor sleepy pony! I think he'd rather be napping.

Another thing the judge is looking for, in your breeding mares and stallions, are purty pearly whites! Yes, teeth are important too! A good even 'bite' mean less health and feeding issues down the line...take this gorgeous mare for example...SMILE!

After the 'in hand' classes were complete, lunch was served by Sara and her father, Scott...they had lots of yummy food and drinks available for everyone all day...Thanks guys!

With a full tummy, we moved on to the 'under saddle' classes. These are riding classes, and exhibitors must show to the judge at the walk, trot, and canter in both directions. The judge is looking for movement in line with the standards set forth by the national association...we had some beautiful English riders showing today...

Ummmm, yeah..I really can't explain this one...

At the end of the day, everyone went home happy...The Palomino Association in Virginia (VPA) is a small club. What they lack in numbers, they make up for in hospitality tho...When they aren't competing against each other, they enjoy hanging out, sharing stories, and having a lot of good honest fun with each other...I have enjoyed my time in and around this club very much...

Happy Trails,



Sara is our barn help...As in, she helps around the barn...As in, if there is a stall that needs mucking, or a water bucket that needs filled, she's our go-to girl! Sara is an all-around awesome chick, and today I got to get some great shots of her riding my mother's reining horse, Potter...this was her FIRST time on Potter, and also her FIRST time riding a reiner! I think she may be hooked!

Here are some shots of her warming him up....did I mention there was also a small show at our place today? Oh yeah, and did I also mention I peer pressured Sara into entering in the reining competition? I didn't? Oh she is getting ready...NO PRESSURE! Yeah, I think she looks terrified too....I promise it gets better tho...she actually starts to LIKE it :)

Here is Sara officially being 'judged' is a rule that you must wear a western hat in this competition, and since Sara did not come over with the intent of showing today, it is only reasonable to accept that she did not have one...we'll fix that tho...what kind of cowgirl goes ANYWHERE without her hat???? Anyways, she borrowed one...where there's a will, there's a way! The kind gentleman serving as ring steward (assistant to the judge) loaned her his....It was a little big on her...OK, it was like 5 sizes too big on her, but it's a rule! Gotta wear a hat! It is not a rule that the hat must stay on for the whole class a matter of fact, it can fly off right after you begin and all will still be right in the world....that is what she was hoping for...that it would fly off right away...but sometimes things don't work out like you plan....notice the hat falling over here eyes during her first and most exciting maneuver, SPINS!!!! Makes me dizzy just THINKING about them! Come off hat! COME OFF ALREADY!!!
This reining pattern began with 4 spins to the left, then 4 spins to the right...that dadgum hat held on for all 8 spins, and it was a miracle Sara could even keep count of her turns when she could not see anything for reference! FINALLY, as she loped off, the hat succumbed....adios hateo! And it's a good thing too, running blind surely would have not been a good she is running her circles...eyes wide open!

And here she is taking our Little Brat on a cool down ride once her pattern was over....

Thank you Sara, for ALL you do! Hope you had fun today!

Happy Trails,

September 23, 2008

Come Horse-Around with us!!!

If you are looking for some fun with horses this weekend, Westwood is hosting a PHBA/ABRA horse show on Saturday, September 27th. There will also be all-breed classes offered for you non Palomino and Buckskin owners! Concessions will be available and a good time will be had by all....if you are looking for a fun show to bring your horse to, or just a good time with horse crazy people like yourself, please stop by! A class list can be found HERE.

More information about your local Palomino Association:
More information about your local Buckskin Association:

Happy Trails,

September 22, 2008

Have you seen this man????

Our daughters Gator was stolen from our premise during the Farm & Family Celebration Day last Saturday.....I got a good shot of the theif as he drove off down the driveway....if ANYONE has seen this man, PLEASE let us know ASAP! Reward offered for his capture and detention!!!!

General Description:
Age: Late 20's
Hair: Brown/Curly
Height: Not too tall
Weight: Not too fat
Facial Hair: Just some dirt on his chin

Thanks for your help!

Oh my...wait a minute....could it be??? Those side burns look very familiar....Extension Agent Scott, is that YOU???? Why yes, yes it is! I guess he DID fit a little bit of fun into Farm & Family Day after all...

September 21, 2008

Groundhog Wars...

When you own a piece of land, you inherently take up residence with all the little creatures that inhabit it as it or not....for the most part, all the little creatures live their happy little lives in complete harmony and wonder with us....However, on some occasions, our coexistence's conflict, creating a battle ground of wills and will nots!!! Don't let their cute little furry faces fool you, these little buggers can cause a world of damage...evil little hateful teddy bear wannabes!
Today we engaged in another battle with this enemy of the good and wholesome, the worldly Groundhog...This is our battleground today....our rear hay field.

There must be a dozen or so of these furry furors around the place...the dogs make a good effort to hunt them down and the results are an obviously decrease in the numbers we have seen over the last couple years....the dogs need a little help though...that's where THE GIANT DESTROYER comes in...

The Giant Destroyer is a smoke bomb my dear husband found while researching online how to rid your property of ground hogs. You see, Ground hogs dig huge holes in the this one....the hole was 2-3 feet deep almost straight can imagine if a horse or human were to be gallivanting along and step in good would come of it....we actually have a horse show next weekend here at Westwood, and our exhibitors will be parking in this very field....we have to make sure all the holes are repaired to help prevent unnecessary injury to the horses, riders and pets....I don't want to recall the story of what happened to our farriers sweet little Jack Russel that ran himself into one of these holes, never to be seen's just so sad :(

After the groundhog hole has been identified, the fuse for The Giant Destroyer is lit, and it is tossed as far down the hole as possible....the smoke will start to fill the hole...

That is our cue to start filling the opening of the hole with dirt....that forces the noxious fumes down deep into the hole, asphyxiating the groundhog....this serves two purposes:
  1. The hole hazard is removed

  2. The potential for that groundhog to create another hole hazard is significantly diminished...after all, he might not be there this way to tell for sure.

A battle won, but not the war.....such is life on this land...if it's not the groundhogs we are battling, it's the flies, fleas or SNAKES! Oh my lordy...the snakes...that's a story for another time...stay safe out there!

Happy Trails,


September 20, 2008

Farm & Family Day Wrap-Up...LOTS of PICS!

WOW....What a fun and absolutely exhausting day!!! THANK YOU to everyone that stopped by our Home Sweet Home, aka Westwood today! We have never hosted an event like this before, so we had NO IDEA what we were in for! There was a steady stream of families visiting us from 10am on the dot (you know who you are!), all the way to our last visitor leaving at just 2 minutes till 4pm....At the end of the day, we had over 50 families stop by, and I don't think we could have crammed one more in if we tried our hardest! OK, I'm sure we could have, but parking would have been hard to come by! Might have had to dip into our overflow parking area (the hay fields)...hahahaha

The bottom line, is that we had a AWESOME time meeting all the WONDERFUL people that took the time to stop by and meet us....The goats, cats, horses and tractors will never be the same without you....they miss you all terribly! You set a standard of attention I will NEVER be able to uphold now!! This also served as a vehicle to meet some of our special neighbors and make lots of new friendships with those living close all-in-all GREAT experience!
There were so many beautiful families, and I got some really great pics throughout the day...if any of these little guys belongs to you, please email me so I can forward you what I have ( have a LOT more pics than I have posted here...Just wanted to get at least 1 or two of each family up in case you were interested in getting them for yourself...
This little girl knows her stuff...she identified right off the bat the difference btwn the brush used for the horses body, and the brush used for its mane and tail....I think I'll keep my eye on her if I am in the market for a trainer in about 15 yrs :)

What a sweet is missing in this pic tho...

Oh no, THERE she is.....maybe she got left on the hay bale!

A family affair...we have several families 3 generations deep join us...

Some of the little tykes weren't quite so sure about certain animals...hehe

So sweet....this pic taken approx. 1 minute before the tantrum he threw after being taken off the hay bale...followed by the tantrum he threw being taken off the tractor...follow by the...oh, you get the point...the boy BELONGS on the farm...I think they should have just left him....he fits right in...he has my pout :)

This lovely woman enjoyed brushing Treasure..I wish I had gotten a pic of her with her husband, they were such a sweet couple.

This young man knows his stuff...he is pictured here showing our super awesome, energetic, enthusiastic, hard chargin' extension agent, Scott for short, all about something he knew all about....

This poor little man was our one and only casualty of the day.....and a grand one it was! Here he is pictured feeding Treasure some yummy grass....Treasure takes it ever so gently and all is well....about 10 minutes later, he reached in to pet Treasure's pasture mate, Devilish Dually, hands still smelling of that sweet luscious grass, and that little rat nibbled on this little man's index finger....Bad pony!!!! Little man was fit to be tied...and I quickly became the Devil incarnate when I approached with the 'meds' to help get him all doctored I know how those dear nurses feel at the pediatricians just before they give a baby a shot...AWFUL I TELL YA! AWFUL! Sent him on his way with a sucker....hoping he doesn't hold it against the horses forever...they all aren't as evil as Dopey Dually...I promise!

A mother daughter portrait....this duo really stood out to me...Mom was goofy and silly and seemed to have a great relationship with her daughter....I really liked them...they are welcome back ANYTIME! This little lady came all the way to the farm just to play in the

Here is Scott helping out a mom with her baby girl, slightly hesitant to touch the big furry creature! Scott was on hand all day to offer information about our county extension office and 4-H opportunities for youth and adults. He did a great job, and I don't think this would have been a possible feat without was a team effort...Scott giving presentations, tours, and lots of attention to the visitors....and me hiding behind the camera, taking pics and having all the fun!

Later in the day we turned Treasure back out to relax on the hill...Not unlike "The Hills" in California, this is his special high rent place.

Our pygmy goats, Banjo and Fiddle, were not spared...they got lots of pets and scratches from our visitors too!

Isn't this mug precious! LOVE the Spongebob cap!

These two cowgirls are the prettiest and silliest kids I've met! You can see from the pic which is REALLY the silliest tho...what a funny duo...

This is the funny duo's mom and dad.....awwwwwwwwwww

This family owns Nyland Farm...also on the historic marker (located near the I95 bridge, across from Stirling Farm) of plantation homes on Guinea Station Rd....what a neat family.....hope to see them again soon! Jake, our barn cat, hopes they come back soon too...

Here is their little girl enjoying the mini-Gator....she is just a year older than our Little Brat....this mini-Gator was a HIT with the 3-5 yr olds!!! I think Santa is going to need some extra space on his sleigh to haul all these around to the little ones! haha

This was a gorgeous couple....they were driving up from Richmond and came across a flier for the tour today...we were so lucky they decided to stop kids, but their adorable little pooch on a string had a blast meeting the goats, horses, and cats!

What adorable little girls...poor daddy!!! hehe

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT MORE PICS....Thanks again for all your participation, and maybe we'll see you again next year!

Happy Trails.

JR, Leah, Kaiti, Tyler & Randi too.