Tag Archives: Rowan


Back in December, on the same day that I had to put Aslan down, I found out that Rowan had developed what is essentially a staph infection. She went into the horsey hospital for four days, and then when she came out, she had to be stuck in her stall wearing a removable cast. See, the infection killed all the tissue over one of her tendons, and new skin couldn’t grow over an unstable surface like that. So we had to try to keep it immobile.

Monica, the angel at Eden Farms who trained Rowan, took on the task of cleaning and rebandaging the wound. The vet came out every week or two, and Rowan made some progress, but not as much as she wanted. Then, at the end of January, she backslid to the beginning and needed hospitalization and surgery. Even if we could have afforded it — and we couldn’t — it wouldn’t have been fair to Rowan. Not only would she have had months more in her stall, but she likely would never have been sound again.

We put her down on January 28. Again, although I know it was the right choice, it was devastating. Monica and the people at the barn were devastated as well, though all agreed that it was the right thing to do. Since Rowan had been on stall rest for six weeks, I asked Monica to let her be a horse for a day. They spoiled and loved her and let her run and play. Afterwards, Monica made this lovely tribute video.

Run free, sweet girl.


In other news, I’ve been working on my novel. I also have a big project at work that should last through the summer — longer if the dates slide, which I truly think they will. It’s the biggest project I’ve ever been lead ID on, and I’m excited, overwhelmed, frustrated, and challenged. On the positive side, it looks like Myella might be coming back, so hopefully she can work with me.

I’ve been trying to rehome Blue and Guin, my remaining horses. I thought that Kyra was going to take Blue, but she decided, after a trial period, that he wasn’t the right horse for her. So now Leslie — his trainer and soulmate — is going to take him for a trial. I really hope it works out! I also hope that Guin can go down to Leslie’s as well. I was planing to leave her at Eden Farms, but they don’t have much turnout, and I don’t want her stuck in her stall all the time. We’ll see. Worse case scenario, they come back here together. To be honest, I miss them, so that wouldn’t be a horrible thing.

Pax and Pflouff are doing fine. Can you believe that Pax is 8.5 years old? I refuse to believe he is aging. He is going to live forever, and don’t ANYONE tell me different. He’s my heart. Miss Pflouff is growing up. She’s in her second heat right this second. It’s not so bad, though. The dogs adapted well to losing Aslan. Pax had been so perpetually stressed by him. I didn’t realize how stressed until the dietary issues we had been dealing with and medicating for years went away completely within a week of Aslan’s death. I still miss my beautiful boy, but I realize now how horribly unpleasant Pax’s life must have been.

Otherwise, things are fine here. I’m incredibly busy, but that’s not a bad thing. Jay is working hard and gaming hard. Spring has sprung in the Pacific Northwest, and I’m loving watching the leaves appear and the flowers bloom. It got up to 60 degrees today!

Sorry it took me so long to update. Back in January I replaced my computer. I tried to reinstall Dreamweaver, the program I use to keep this site up to date, but no dice. My copy was too old for this technology. So I’ve been unable to update until I purchased a new copy of Dreamweaver. Unfortunately, that took a while, because Rowan’s medical bills just about broke us.

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Teaching Rowan to tie

I haven’t written in a while, but I did have a session a few days after the last one. I was planning to repeat that lesson, but Rowan was really ancy. So I decided instead to just work on standing quietly while tied. I had two criteria. If she stood quietly, I would count to some number, and then click and reinforce. If she pulled back, I would click the instant she put slack in the rope.

One time she lowered her head and got the rope over her poll. When she stood up, it didn’t scare her, but she did pull back until she pulled the rope free of the Aussie tie ring. Oops. That’s not a lesson I want her to learn. Next lesson I’ll use the long rope and secure it in a way that makes it more difficult to slide.

One thing I really like about this filly is that nothing scares her. Not really. New things are interesting to her. She just rarely spooks at anything.

After that session, the weather turned bad. Nine and a half inches of snow bad. And then rain. We’ve had a couple of days where the weather was nice, and I should have worked her but didn’t. I’ll get back on the ball again — promise.

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Catching up

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since mid-December! Sorry about that. Let’s see if I can’t get caught up.


We ultimately got 30″ of snow in that December storm, and it stuck around for a long time. In fact, there are still places where piled snow hasn’t completely melted. I am a skier (or used to be), and I’m a huge fan of snow in the mountains. I don’t live in the mountains, however, and I see no point to ever having snow below 1000 feet. Seriously. All it does is muck things up.

30 inches is too much. It brought down the roof on the old hay barn at the front of the property, and it collapsed the temporary shelter in the dry lot. It grounded the electric fence, so the horses were, more or less, contained by their good graces. Branches and trees came down, and at different times I had to wade out to fix a fence. Let me tell you, wading through thigh deep snow that sucks off your shoes is not fun!!

With the melting of (most of) the snow came the floods. I expect you saw the pictures on the news. We live up on a ridge, so we didn’t have the devastating flooding that the people in the lowlands had. When the water table saturates, however, our basement leaks, and it did so with a vegeance this time. There was a period of about 36 hours where we, armed with a sump pump and a shop vac, battled the water to protect everything we store down there. It made for one very long night, but we were succesful, and compared to what other people went through, it was little more than an annoyance.

Fortunately, January weather was a massive improvement on December, and February is typically one of our nicest months (oddly enough), so I think we’ll survive until March and April when the weather will get cold, snowy, rainy, and utterly miserable again. (This area has a visually beautiful spring. Very green. TONS of flowers and flowering trees. Unfortunately, the temps are very little different from our winter temps, and it rains constantly, so aside from occasional warm breaks, it doesn’t feel like spring until mid June. Or July.)

My opinion really hasn’t changed: overall Seattle weather sucks.


Pflouff is growing like a weed, and she’s adorable, sweet, and breathtakingly beautiful. Pax and Aslan still like her, and the stress-level in the house has returned to normal levels, just like I thought it would. I was hoping to show her this spring, but financially that just isn’t going to happen. Oh well, there are worse problems! I haven’t gotten her out to any classes since her puppy class anyway (which was interrupted by SNOW).

The biggest challenge with the dogs is SPACE. I’m constantly surrounded by dogs. Pax sleeps under my desk, so I have nowhere for my feet. Pflouff sleeps against the right side of my rolling desk chair, which means if I move, I roll over her and she screams. Aslan mostly gives me some space, but occasionally, just to be perverse, he curls up on the left side of my chair. He’s worse at night, when he tries to crowd into the bed with Pax. Two dogs and two (fat) adult humans do not fit comfortably. Thank God we haven’t let Pflouff on the bed at night!

Personal space, people! I need personal space. Just a foot or two would be nice. Even when I get up and move, I have the whole pack with me, under my feet. I can’t go to the bathroom unattended. Sigh.

Much has happened with the horses. We had to put Miss Princess down on Jan. 1. She was my favorite of my horses, so it really broke my heart to do it, but it was time, and she was ready. She truly was ready — I honestly think she was grateful — and so although I miss her, I was all right with the choice even the day it happened. Rain, by comparison, was not ready, and I’ve never felt good about euthanizing him.

Rowan is four now and has matured into a good-sized mare. She’s in training at Eden Farms this winter and spring, and I’m hoping we can find a forever home for her by summer. This is not a good market for rehoming a horse, but she’ll be a good age with a good start, and she’s put together fairly well and of good size, so I’m hoping her potential will get her a good home.

That means that right now only Blue and Guin are here at the house. It’s soooo much more peaceful with just the two of them! I’m hoping that Lesley, who is Blue’s true owner, will be in a position to take both of them later this spring — Blue to keep, and Guin to get into shape for sale.

Yep, you heard it here: I’m trying to get out of horses altogether. This winter has finally convinced me that I’m over the horses. Unfortunately, in this economy I may not be able to rehome or relocate ANY of them. Prayers, please, because they really will be better off in a place where they can be mentally enriched. They’re BORED here.


Work is going well. I’m busy, and I like that. As is usual, work is gaining momentum for a busy Q2 and Q3. I, unfortunately, may not be able to help them with that though.

The company I work for, like everyone else, is feeling the pressure of the economy. They made a smart move though. They set up the vendor contracts to expire at the end of Q1. That means they can wait until then, evaluate the economy, and then choose whether or not to extend some (or any) of the vendors. If they don’t, they have saved themselves a bunch of money… and haven’t laid off a single person! Very smart business decision.

I, however, am a vendor, so my contract is up in the air. I am of two minds about that. As a vendor, I don’t get time off, so there’s part of me that really would like a BREAK. I’m tired!! But there’s another part of me that’s attached to the ability to pay my mortgage, so I’d like to stay employed.

It’s out of my hands. I know the company likes me very, very much. I know I’ve done really good work for them. But the people who know and like me and want to keep me are not the people who will make this decision. It won’t be personal if I’m let go, and I know, as SOON as my department can hire vendors again, they’ll call me.

Jay and I aren’t panicking, but we’re not putting our head in the sand either. We’re tightening our financial belts, reducing our spending, and saving extra cash. We’ve cut back, and if we need to, we can cut much further back. I’ve updated my resume, updated my LinkedIn profile, and already started figuring out to which agencies I’ll be submitting my resume. We’re going to be okay no matter what!

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Death and destruction are our friends!

How’s that for a blog title? Jay told me he’d been waiting for my post on the subject, so it seems like as good a title as any for my May update. The title refers specifically to the death and destruction of blackberries and alder saplings, both of which are weeds in the Pacific Northwest, and both of which suffered major casualties a couple of weeks ago.

As I said, alder trees and blackberries are weeds here. They grow fast and rampant, and they are constantly encroaching on the areas we’ve cleared. I realized this year that we’d lost a ton of pasture to those evil weeds, and judging by the fast-disappearing fencelines, we were soon to lose a lot more. So we called a guy down in Cherry Valley who had a lovely mulching machine. This thing would snap a tree in half and then eat it to the ground. It was awesome! We brought him in a couple of weekends ago, and he cleared all of the brush inside the pastures (and near the house) and outside the pasture fencelines of pastures three and four. There’s still a fair amount to be done, but he got the important stuff, and now we’re on to our next priorities: replacing fencing and making the drylot dry.

We had Todd come out last week to look at the work we want to do and to tell us what it will cost. First priority is to replace the fencing around the house. Second priority is to replace all of the fencing on the property except the pasture fencing. Third priority is to redo the dry lot so it won’t be a mud pit next winter. We want to replace the existing fencing (a mix of wood, field fence, and electric tape) with a fence that’s both horse- and dog-proof. That would mean, when we’re done, we have four or five separate areas in the front part of the property that can hold either dogs or horses. Right now, the fencing is ugly and falling apart, and only the fence around the house can even pretend to be truly secure for dogs.

Another thing we’re doing right now is planning to move back into the basement — without doing any work on it. I had suggested just throwing in some cheap carpet and a coat of paint, but Jay didn’t want to put any money into stuff that will get torn out in the “real” remodel. I understand that and decided that really, there’s no reason we have to do anything (though we may want to throw blankets on the floor to keep sound from bouncing around). It’s going to be a while before we can do the real remodel, and I don’t want to be out of the basement the whole time. We need our guest room, and the basement is the coolest place in the house in the summer.

What else? Work is going FABULOUSLY. I’m soooo blissfully happy. I love my manager and my department and my projects. They seem to have enough work to keep me employed through the rest of the year. Hopefully beyond that as well, but they certainly can’t promise that now. Hopefully there won’t be any weird rule changes at the beginning of next year that would keep me from coming back in the same capacity I’m in now.

I have my fingers crossed that I’ll finally get a curly puppy in September. Pax’s littermate was bred to a very nice dog in May. I don’t think the pregnancy has been confirmed yet, but I’m hoping, hoping, hoping!

Horses are doing reasonably well. Miss Princess lost weight over the winter, and that concerns me a little. The vet is coming out either tomorrow or the beginning of next week. I upped her groceries, but she doesn’t seem to be gaining weight the way she should. The other horses all look great — good weight, came through the winter well. Miss Rowan BIT me the other day. Little witch. I called Leslie that afternoon and told her Rowan needed to be trained before I killed her or she killed me. Hopefully Leslie will be able to do the training herself — and take Blue at the same time. Ideal ending to the story would be that she takes her, trains her, and finds an excellent home for her.

Ummm… I think that’s about it. Life is great here, and I’m blissfully happy!

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Rowan’s second hoof trim

Today was Rowan’s second hoof trim — her first by Christina, my regular barefoot trimmer. It was, as Christina said, a non-event. I don’t know if it’s a testament to clicker training or to her incredible base personality, but depsite the lack of training I’ve done with her, she’s gentle and calm and willing. I’m absolutely besotted with her.

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