July 31, 2009

Coming up for Air!

Taking a moment for a long, deep breath of calming fresh air before I slip back into obscurity for a few more days.....It's been a bit since my last post, and for good reasons too!

First and foremost, I'M BACK TO SCHOOL! This is the first week of my first class with the University of Phoenix BSIT program....and at the current rate, I am headed for a January, 2012 graduation date with a degree in Multimedia and Visual Communications...of course, that's if I don't double up on anything, which I plan on doing...my personal goal is to wrap this degree up well before the end of 2011! I've gotten the flow of the online resources, course structure, and participation requirements now...thinkin' I may just be able to do this thang!

Secondly, my family has arrived back safe and sound from a funtastic camping trip...the stories and pictures are plentiful....I'll be uploading a more extensive post when I get a little more time to pull it all together!

Finally, there is one more thing that's been taking up a lot of time and energy as of late, but you'll have to wait on that one....it's a hum-dinger....check in around the end of next week and you may be in for a surprise! I sure hope you will be, anyways!

Happy Trails!

July 24, 2009

An Unwelcome Alarm....

.....oh to be woke up, on a day you were free to sleep in, by the awful, wretched, vile sound of your pesky cat trying to puke up the world's largest hairball on your pillow....right there by my ever-luvin' head! Yeah, it's repulsive...only 1 good thing came of it....he learned to fly.

Happy Trails,

July 19, 2009

Please, introduce yourself!

JR and the Little Brat took off this weekend for the annual Roehl family camping trip to the Michigamme Reservoir...you can see lots of great pics of last years trip HERE! It's a whoopin' good time and all the family looks forward to it each year....Heck, the Little Brat jumped out of bed fresh as morning dew and wide awake at 4am to get dressed for the drive to the airport! Sadly, this year I was left behind...it's not all doom and gloom though, and there is very good reason why I could not go...I hope to share that good reason with you in 2 weeks time...hang in there! It's a doozy!

Anyways, I am not going to be spending a lot of time on the computer over the next week, so I though this would be a good time to ask YOU for a favor...I'd love to hear from all my friends and family that check in throughout the day and week....please, if you stop by, introduce yourself, and where you are from! Feel free to share your favorite camping story too! It will surely help me feel like I'm out with the rest of my brood instead of hanging out back here like a singleton...

I look forward to hearing from you! Here's one of my favorite pics from last years camping trip to put you in the mood...mmmm, I can almost taste the marshmallows!

Happy Trails,


Prima Randi-rina...

Randi dreams of leotards, pink slippers, and twirling tootoos...so, it was a no-brainer to sign up the little dreamer for her first ballet class this summer! She is in a 3-4 year old class at the Fredericksburg Ballet Center and is having a blast!

She starts off each class with some warm-ups....although I don't think this pose is an official ballerina movement, it helps the Little Brat get her head in the game...

Then, they line up and get down to business...they are learning a sweet little song about a ballerina music box...they are even going to do a small recital at the end of her 6 week class...can't wait! The girls are so precious!

Her teacher broke out a special surprise at last weeks practice for the girls....TOOTOOS! What a treat! It really made the girls brighten up their moves!

I just can't get enough of the silliness little girls can come up with...they sure do have a lot of fun...it's hard to get the Little Brat back in the car to go home...I think she'd live here and dance all day if it were up to her...good times, good times...believe it or not, they are all actually performing the same movement in this picture....as you can see, they each have their own 'style' ...I'm thinkin' it's a good thing they have 6 weeks to practice (this was practice #2)...

Happy Dancing!

July 18, 2009

A public service announcement...

...for anyone as absent minded as myself....DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, fill the fuel tank in your DIESEL truck with UNLEADED gasoline...not even if it is SUPREME UNLEADED...your DIESEL truck will NOT appreciate it... AT. ALL.

It may just leave you stranded in the road, just like this!

Happy Trails,
Leah (The Dink)

July 13, 2009

If you lead a horse to water.....

The Little Brat and I joined our local 4-H Horse Club on a trail ride at Lake Anna this weekend. I rode my handsome Woodie and the Little Brat tagged along on ole' Bo...a more adorable duo you never saw! Here I am 'ponying' her along behind me....she's got good control and all, but neither the experience nor the strength to handle the big Bo on her own, so the lead was added security...

We rode for about an hour, until we came upon the lake...it was a hum-dinger of a day, for sure! The Lord of the skies was on our side! It was so lovely out, we decided to strip down and take a dip!

Woodie wasn't quite sure about it, but in the end, he agreed....a cool dip was just what we needed! He liked it so much, we went a little deeper! Before we knew it we were up to our necks paddling around with the fishies....Lordsy Mercy was that a thrill! Note I failed to bring a swim suit like the smarter people in our group...oh well, wet is wet!

Even Bo was up for a cool dip in the Lake with the Little Brat and I...
Which caused the Little Brat to want to try it on her own....and Bo complied, as usual....
So after a good load of wet and wild pony riding in the lake, we geared back up and headed back to the trailers...and although Woodie handled himself well on his very first trail ride away from home, I did catch him making googly eyes quite often at the fancy little Morgan mare in front of us....just look at those ears, all perked up and twitterpated-like....what a silly boy!

All in all we spent 4 hours riding and swimming, and can't wait to do it again! I was a touch concerned it might have been a bit of a long haul for the Little Brat, but she's hooked! We're gonna have to take her big sister on our next excursion!
Happy Trails,

July 12, 2009

Puppy Love...

How could you NOT love a face like that??? "Ginger" is growing like a weed, and sweeter than ever! Her favorite past-time is gnawing on JR's ears....he doesn't seem to mind an awful lot tho...

Aren't they so cute together? If it weren't for the labor of potty training, I'd say it's a match made in heaven....you see, JR wasn't really cut out for potty training....he's a big ole' softy....she'll get it tho....hopefully sooner rather than later!
Happy Trails,

Good Morning Gpa Craig!

Gpa Craig quietly and under the cover of darkness last night....what a pleasant surprise this morning! Gpa Craig wil be with us through about Thanksgiving, hanging out and helping out around the farm...we are so happy to have him, and his faithful sidekick Sadie too....and he brought TOYS (check out the coold stuff on the trailer..)!!!

Happy Travels!


July 11, 2009

Putting up hay...

We went a long ways to filling up our hay barn with our annual stock of round bales today...The massive amounts of unexpected rain this year have forced the local farmers to put off cutting the fields for several months now....as a result, we are playing catchup and our regular supplier cut and delivered almost 100 bales to us today! Here's Jim from Maribella Farm dropping off one of his loads....

...and this is what it looks like when he leaves....looks like a giant cat threw up hay balls all over the place...but not for long!

...JR has to climb up on ole' Green and get them up and under cover...

It's not all work. Between loads there is a little down time, so we take a perch and rest for a bit...

Then, it's back to stacking! Shoo, that 's a lot of round bales...this many round bales will last of the majority of the year...we'll get one more cutting in there later this summer to top it off and then we're set thru next Memorial Day!

Round bales aren't all for the horses though...the Little Brat likes to use them for aerial gymnastics too...

...and when it's all said and done, the bales are all in their rightful resting place and all is well in the world...Amen.

Happy Hay Days!

Happy Halloween!!

Wait...Wha? NO? It's NOT Halloween???? Well, SOMEBODY better tell that to our pumpkin patch...if these girls getting any bigger, we are going to have some trouble...
Happy Trails,

July 08, 2009

Ode to the Farrier...

It's that time of the month again....no, not THAT time, Farrier time! We're having one of our two regular Farriers out tomorrow, and I thought it might be appropriate to list a few things I've learned along the way that help keep the Farrier coming back for more...after all, a happy Farrier, means a happy horse...a happy horse, mean a happy ME (or YOU)!
  • Have your horse caught prior to your scheduled appointment. Although Farriers tend to run behind depending on the challenges they have faced at their earlier appointments, standing a while has never hurt any horse. It is not appropriate for a Farrier to be expected to catch your horse for you. This is a bad idea for many reasons. It is not their job, first and foremost. Additionally, not every horse is willing to be caught quickly, which could impact the Farriers schedule as well as the clients after you.
  • Remove your horses blanket or fly sheet to make it easier for the Farrier to have direct access to the legs without getting caught up in straps.
  • If your horse has come out of muddy lots, groom the shoulder and hindquarter area. Also, wipe or scrape the mud off the hooves rather than hosing them off. Clean dry hooves are much better for the farrier to work on.
  • Spray an ample amount of fly spray on your horse prior to your appointment to reduce the amount of foot stomping and tail swishing that can interfere with the Farriers job.
  • Hold your horse on the lead. Do not leave them on the cross ties. You have more control over your horses behavior and movement if you are holding them.
  • Don’t let kids, dogs and other distractions under your horse or running about while the Farrier is working.
  • Don’t let your horse bite the farrier on the backside.
  • It is not the Farriers job to train your horse. If your horse has poor manners, alert your Farrier and do your homework. Your horses feet should be handled regularly, not just when the Farrier shows up. It is dangerous to handle an ill-mannered horse.
  • Talk to your Farrier about your horses feet. Know your horses ideal angles, shoe preference, heel height, etc....discuss changed in your horses feet, abscesses, cracks, and anything else that concerns you....Taking an active role in the care and management of your horses feet with your Farrier will help build the trust and responsibility necessary for a successful long-term relationship with your Farrier.
  • Offer your Farrier some water and a place to wash up. Make things nice for your farrier and chances are that he or she will respond in kind.

Happy Trails,


*Hat tip to Dana's Doodles for the artwork...please visit her site for lots of great artwork and gift ideas!

July 06, 2009

An honest attempt at Dressage....

A LITTLE HISTORY... I purchased Woodie as a long yearling and started him under saddle as a 2 year old...I put about 60 rides on him his 2 year old year, and we were making a lot of great progress....Alas, I am a fair weather rider, so during the winter months, our rides were few and far between....when I got back into the saddle come the summer of his 3 year old year, we picked right back up where we left off....I was pleasantly surprised by his retention and willingness...We hauled to a couple local shows where he won top honors in his flat classes....we were doing great! Unfortunately, it was all short lived when he got his shoe hooked in his paddock fencing, pulling off his shoe and half of his hoof with it....he was lame for 6 months after that, and alas, winter was upon us once again...sooooooooooo, Woodie and I picked back up late this spring where we left off almost a year prior....I wasn't sure what to expect, but as he always does, he pleasantly surprised me.....reasserting to me just why it is he's a keeper, and forever my silly pony....he's just got more heart, try, and willingness in him than I could ever hope for.....We are up to 1-2 rides per week these days....it's not much, but it's all I have time for between work, school, family, and farm....our dressage lessons began a couple months ago, and it is our goal to delve head first into eventing this fall....stay tuned!

Woodie and I are 5 lessons into our Dressage training....Our regular trainer, Nicky Vogel, recommended we take a turn with her mentor, Debbie Bowman. We hauled out to Nicky's barn for the lesson and had a great time! I think we learned a lot today about balancing out our transitions, so it was a fruitful trip....Now that AQHA has added Dressage to the showbill, we hope to take our act to Congress in a couple years...wish us luck, and feel free to critique! Just remember, I have no idea what I am doing up there, so please be kind....

Here are some canter transitions...

...and here are some more canter transitions with a little more trot...

Happy Trails!

July 04, 2009

It's Independance Day!...

We held our second annual Westwood 4th of July Shin-Dig tonight for our family and farm friends...I made this American Flag Cake just for today's festivities...I was pleased and somewhat surprised at how well it was received! If you've been reading long, you know that the oven is NOT my friend....today, we made amends though....and created something super delicious together! This is definitely going to be an annual dish now, joining ranks with our faithful go-to entree' Sweet Onion Bubba Burgers...

...and what 4th of July event would be complete without a handsome manly-man manning the manly grill and cooking up some Sweet Onion Bubba Burgers???? I submit to you, NONE!

Needless to say brush is in great supply around these parts, so we took to lighting us a grand bon-fire to kick off the fun just before dusk...

....and the men sat on their manly chairs, staring at the manly fire, and talking about manly stuff...little Jessica obviously could not relate with all this manliness...poor thing looks bored as a door nail...

...but then the Fairy-Flies came out and it was girlie time! Those Fairy-Flies were no match for these two Fairy-Fly hunters...they captured them by the dozen, showing no mercy for their itsy-bitsy-teeny-tiny Fairy-Fly pleas....
After the sun set down, and the dusk grew into dark, it was time to warm up the crowd with some sparklers...the kids were kind enough to share a few with this ole nag that will never be too old to Sparkle! Timeless entertainment....
..and finally, the big (and completely legal) show....whiz, pop, bang! It was a sight to see for sure!
...we all enjoyed the fireworks, and they didn't upset our animal friends at all! Win-Win!

Let Freedom Ring....

July 03, 2009

Rest in Peace Baby Birdie....

The Little Brat found this precious little bird outside last night....it seems her nest was thrown from the tree during the storm that blew though the day prior...she was laying among cracked eggs, and I wouldn't be surprised if she was in one of them when they fell! We did our best to play the part of mommy, and give her the food and resting place she needed....but sometimes even our best efforts fall short...We opted to tell the Little Brat she flew away...not that we are opposed to teaching her about the reality of life and death...living on a farm, we've had several furry and scaly friends come and go in her time....She took her responsibility to this baby birdie to heart, and a little deeper than the norm though....loved her like her own baby....never let her out of her sight.....fed her, poked her, and sang her songs....it just wouldn't be right to break her heart like that....as far as she's concerned, the baby birdie is back up in that tree with her mommy....the end.

Happy Trails,