Saturday, December 31, 2011


Mark was clearing out some of the old wood from the farm house and decided it was a great morning to burn.

I thought it was interesting how the flames shot into the sky.
Nineteen bales of hay were delivered today. Twelve by the farmer from Washington, IL and 7 by the Hanna City farmer. What was unusual is they both showed up exactly at the same time. The farmer with the 12 hay hauler unloaded first as the 7 hay hauler doesn't need to be unloaded, it just dumps the hay. Mark was kind enough to stack them in the barn. We are suppose to have 42 more bales delivered next week but Mark wants me to put him off until we get home.
The laundry is done, the bags are packed and I am ready to GO! I stopped at the library yesterday and picked up 8 books to take along, then last night picked one up and finished it so am down to 7. That's scary, hopefully someone else going on this trip will also bring books to share.
We are having such a nice warm sunny day for our last day of 2011. Praying 2012 will be a better year for our country.

Riding Lesson

After the seriousness of the last few posts, I thought it was time for some levity!

I've found hay, thanks for everyone that has been texting and emailing. We ended up buying a semi trailer load of 4th cutting alfalfa square bales. Those along with the round we have in the barn and the ones still to come we should make it through the winter.
Today is cleaning & packing day, mom and I are leaving tomorrow morning along with my 2 daughters, Karin, all of Ruth's family and all of Rachel's family. The lap top will not be along so probably not much updating or answering of emails for the week of Jan 1st, through the 7th.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Hay Shortage

This is really the pits, the farmer in Farmington that had 40 bales just let us know there are only 19 available. There are 10 bales at Middle Grove available so after searching for hours we are still short to make it through the winter. Another option is sell, sell, sell. If we cannot find hay we must sell some of our beloved horses, we cannot let them starve. As soon as we get back on Jan 7th, we will start hauling in the Middle Grove horses, take pictures and videos of them and hopefully be able to sell some. There will never be a better time to offer on one of our horses, desperate people do desperate things. Horses at Middle Grove: Cindy, Mindy, Bonnie, Ella, Lilypony, Jewel, Mika, Bunni, Sally, Paris, Ciera, Lily, Sangria, and Ayanna, out of those who can we find in our hearts to part with? Knowing Mike would never part with Mika, Bunni, Sally, Paris, or Jewel knocks those from the running. How could I ever part with Lily, Sangria, Ciera or Ayanna? Of course we could never sell Raven, Evan, Valiant, Jenis, Ylse, Eliza, or Zalena. Karin would never agree to selling Ribbon. That leaves us Killian, Indy, Izadora, Bow, Cindy, Mindy, Bonnie, Lilypony, Airiah, or Ella.
Meet Cindy:

Cindy was born the same year as Lily. She and Lily were best friends and grew up together. Cindy has had 3 foals by Raven and is expecting her 4th foal in April. She is not for a beginner unless they are leadline. Cindy foundered a couple of years ago and needs to be kept off the spring grass. We will post her for sale for $3500.00 and include her very valuable in-utero foal. Cindy's only vice is she does not like to be tied away from the other horses.
Check out Mindy:

Mindy is a very flashy coming 3 year old paint pony mare well trained to drive. Below is her video. She should end up around 13 hands, when we bought her last summer she was about 12.2 and was not done growing. She has filled out quite a bit since the picture was taken.

We have Mindy listed at $1500.00 and she is worth every penny but if you are interested at all make us an offer.
Meet Bonnie:

Bonnie is a 5 year old Welsh x Hackney pony mare 12.3 hands again well trained to drive.
We were told she also rides but Rhoda felt she was personally too big to sit on her.
This pony has very flashy movement and really moves out when asked. Rhoda had a ball driving this pony around. She called her a "driving machine!"

Bonnie is also listed at $1500.00 and probably worth even more than Mindy as she is a very experienced pony but again we will accept offers.
Meet Airiah:

We don't want to sell her, she is just a delightful mare. She is in foal to Raven and due May 2012, that's 2 horses each as close to a purebred Friesian as possible in only a little more than 4 months. We are only considering selling her as Airiah has not been started undersaddle but she is wonderful for the vet and farrier. She leads, loads, stands tied quietly and wants to please. Airiah has fantastic movement and will throw this in her foal. Airiah herself looks 100% Friesian her foal will be registered as 7/8 Friesian. We will place her for sale for $8000.00 and hope something else will sell first.

Meet Izadora:

Izadora is a registered Trakehner mare 16.2 hands tall and black. She is in foal to Raven due Sept 2012. Her past 2 colts by Raven were purchased for more than we are asking for her. Izadora has fantastic movement and both of her colts inherited this. We are asking a mere $3500.00 for her.
OK do I sound like we are desperate? Honestly we would never allow one of our horses to starve, we will borrow and ship hay from a different state if needed but this hay shortage did teach me a lesson. Don't count your chickens before they are hatched or in our case don't count on the hay unless it is in the barn!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Activily Searching for Hay

Well so far, after hours on the internet, I've located 7 round bales available, 6 of alfalfa grass mix and 1 of straight grass. Too bad that is all the hay this farmer had, he is charging $50.00 for the mixed and $40.00 for the grass. Chuck Altic is going to pick them up for us, so a check needs to be written and left at Mike's office for him to take to the farmer.
Today was shopping day, 4 stores were visited, things taken back to 2 of them and instead of bringing home money, I brought home a jean skirt for Karin and food for Saturday night.
As I was driving up to the farm, the post hole digger was standing straight up about 5 inches buried out at the road. Mark would like to replace the shattered address post and started digging the hole then got interrupted and forgot the digger. It was loaded into the car and taken to the apartment along with the purchased food.
Steven was here giving lessons when I pulled up. He is using Jenis for some beginner rider lessons. What an opportunity, pay for a lesson and get to ride a fantastic Friesian! No wonder camera's are brought along. If anyone out there would like to let their child learn the basics in riding Steven is a very good teacher. He charges $25.00 a half hour and that includes the use of the horse. As the weather was just so nice and sunny a warm 53 degrees, Steven stuck around after the lessons and worked just about every horse on the property. He reported that all of the horses were well behaved.
Right now I have 3 dogs as company. Karin's dog is staying with us while she is up in Chicago teaching a vaulting clinic. This is the same group that hired her last year and paid her so well. They must have thought she was really good, they hired her to come back.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Man of His Word

The picture above was taken from just outside our door this morning. What a beautiful sunrise. We had a good walk today, standing outside shivering when finished with the exercise part but not yet done with the talking part.
Today I was suppose to stay home and clean and all was going well, as well as cleaning ever goes when the phone rang. The farmer that we were to buy 140 bales of hay from called to tell me, he is still going to be bringing me the hay but the price will be double of what he quoted us. When he was questioned more, he dropped the price down some but still almost double what he told us he would sell the hay for. When I asked him why he waited so long to tell me, now that hay is hard to find, he said, "I didn't want to give you the bad news." Earlier when I was worried about him selling the hay to someone else he told me, "I'm a man of my word, I promise I'm not going to sell it to someone else, just we are busy right now with harvest." He offered to give us the money back if we don't want the hay at that price but where can we find that much hay. Any one out there know where we can get 140 round bales? So what happened to this man of his word person? A couple years ago Horsemeister purchased some very good hay from a farmer in Farmington, IL so Off I drove to that farm. Before I reached the farm there were 3 men working on a fence line on the side of the road, I stopped and asked them if they knew of hay for sale in the area, explaining in the past hay was purchased from the farm up the road. They immediately exclaimed "you won't be buying hay from them, they shut down and the place is abandoned."
Ruth and Fede invited us to dinner tonight where she was serving (you guessed it) pork! We had pork and bean soup as a starter, then tender pork roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, jello, stew, lots of vegetables and ice cream for dessert.

Ruth had also invited 2 very special couples, one newly engaged and one newly married. After dinner we all took turns telling engagement stories. The food was delicious the fellowship fun and the evening blessed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ribbon's Riders

Mark helped move 2 bales into the middle paddock this morning just as the day lightened enough to see. It is a cloudy gloomy morning. We had rain last night but it is not raining today so the walk went on.
Two of Diane's grand daughters joined us this morning on the walk. They got to ride the cart with me.

Once back I left before straightening up the apartment, only got the bed made, there was much to do at the shop today. The mail was late so the copy machine was turned on to warm up and copies were made until the machine started leaving marks on the studies. Eva Jean and I had not even finished when Gail Hodel and Rhonda arrived, Gail wanting studies for grading to take to Bloomington and Rhonda wanting to steal from the copies we had been making all morning. Those two joined us for lunch along with Phil, Spark, Mark, Eva Jean and me. After lunch there was still about an hour of work before heading home.
As I drove up to the farm there were lots of cars and vans, so many that there was no where for my car. There was laughter coming from the indoor arena but the doors were shut and this is what I saw when I walked in.

Karin was giving rides on Ribbon. Lots of rides and lots of riders, count them, 8 at a time!

Ribbon is an amazing horse. She loves kids and loves to be groomed, the pictures below show her getting a good grooming.

She even stands well when they are under her brushing her belly.
Karin was finally able to put her away by telling the guests that Ribbon's baby wanted to nurse so Ribbon had to go back in the paddock. They all tromped out to watch Bow nursing.

Once everyone left, Karin brought in the vaulting equipment for washing. We threw the pads in the washer while she cleaned the surcingle. Karin is heading up to Chicago for a vaulting clinic on Thursday and won't be home until Saturday night.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Butchering Day

If the economy tanks and if we need to learn to live off the land, Fede (our crazy Romanian brother-in-law) decided to each us how to butcher our own pigs. This post is NOT FOR A VEGETARIAN to watch. It is a do it yourself guide to filling your freezer with fresh tender pork.

We knew this morning was the day for the Davidovic's pig to be butchered, but still wanted to get a walk in. I barely made it over to the meeting place before mom and Karin showed up. Karin was drinking her first cup of coffee of the morning and wasn't going to come out and walk but mom insisted. Karin sat right down on the golf cart and rode the entire walk with me while mom got her exercise. Mom was asked "if the cart can't make it up the hill will you push?"
at 8:05am the video camera was packed into the car and off I drove the 1 mile over to the Davidvics. They had a barrel of water heating up over a nice hot fire. The pig was about 260 pounds and laying quietly in the stock trailer. When Fede went into the stock trailer to bring her out, the video camera was started and to my dismay not working. It was taken apart later and fixed but not of any use during the butchering. Probably a good idea. Karin came later and video taped some of the process. Below is the weapon of choice for the dastardly deed.

Actually I was impressed with how humane Fede did this. The pig was led out of the trailer, quietly laid down and Fede put the knife directly into the jugular. The pig did not even squeal. She just went to sleep quietly as she bled out. I think his knife was so sharp it sliced through quicker than her brain could tell her it hurt. Once she was in a coma, the same knife was used in the same hole to reach her heart stopping it instantly. By this time many helpers had arrived and carried the pig over to a bathtub prepared near the fire. Once the pig was in the tub buckets of boiling water were poured over the body which allowed the hair to be pulled off easily. The helpers were given spoons to start scraping the hide clean, using boiling water when necessary. Once the hide was cleaned Fede prepared a bed of straw to lay the pig on.

He had the straw completely covering the pig then started it on fire. This burns off any hair missed and makes the skin crisp. Once both sides were nicely browned, they hosed and scrubbed the pig off until it was a golden color, then carried it inside his shop for the dismembering. The pictures below are graphic, perhaps children should not be allowed to view them.

We were very impressed with how Fede knew exactly where and how deep to cut, exactly what to remove to make the rest easier.
The head was put in a bucket with the legs for rendering later. Anni was good enough to pick up the head for the picture.

Rhonda and Noel did not come over to help, just to watch.

As each piece of meat was removed, it was taken into the house for the ladies to either cut it up for what is called "butcher's stew" or placed in a tub for grinding into sausage, or wrapped and placed in the freezer.

Fede's sister Cilla showed us how to cook the "butcher's stew" and served it to us for lunch. I'm still burping up garlic!
Now the Romanians use almost everything of the pig, there is very little waste. Fede told us a pig this size would be stretched to last a year in Romania. They divide the spine up into 12 equal parts and once a month cook a big pot of soup with it. They have soup at almost every dinner meal using a bone or 2. We as Americans have had it very easy, we want meat we go to a store. It is good for our children and grand children to realize exactly what we are eating and HOW it came about. AS Karin would say, "Appreciate this pig, she gave her life so we could eat."

Christmas Day

We awoke to a beautiful clear crisp cool morning. The presents were wrapped, breakfast was enjoyed then off to church to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. Church was packed and today if one didn't happen to arrive early it was hard to find a good seat.
The choir sang 3 Christmas songs before Church started, then Mike Reiker had the service. It really is wonderful that God gave us His LIVING WORD. One of the AMAZING things came during the announcements. Tim announced ANOTHER engagement! Lawrence and Patty Knoblouch announced the engagement of their daughter Angela to Seth Hodel. That's FOUR wedding announcements in FOUR WEEKS! Once the service was over the Choir got back up and filled the church with the sounds of the Hallelujah Chorus with anyone wishing to joining in. It was hard to actually leave once everything was over.
Looking over the crowd, I realized sparkles were out! Wouldn't you know, the top I was so pleased at finding at a garage sale this summer must be out of style.
Once home the car was loaded with goodies and off we went to Ben & Taunya's for the Sceggel Christmas dinner. Below are pictures of this special gathering.
Addyson's anticipation was easy to see.

Finally was able to hold all three grandchildren at the same time.

Jack knows Sarah better than any of us, she lives in Bloomington and gets to be with him much more than we do.

Addyson is always glad to see her 'Aunt Rhodie'

Addyson's special present was a tricycle.

Jack loved his big toy and truck from Sarah.

And the happy grandchildren enjoying their evening.

The kids got together and gave Mark and very nice gift certificate to Herman Pond Management and me this:
This is not just a baby monitor, it is a foaling monitor!
This will work out in the barn, we will be able to see AND hear, even in the dark while we stay comfortably inside. THANK YOU, DAVID, STEPHANIE, PHIL, ANNA, BEN, TAUNYA, RHODA & SARAH!
We settled down for a delicious prime rib dinner then dessert specially baked by Anna. Below Dave and Stef are enjoying the coffee with that.

How blessed we are! We were born in America where we are free to worship how we choose, we have warm houses, plenty to eat, a wonderful family and GRANDCHILDREN!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Beautiful Christmas Eve

We are SO blessed today with our 35 degree sunshine on Christmas eve day. In the past, why even last year, we fought snow covering up ice. Rhoda and Karin decided to take all 4 mares on a trail ride. It was great to be able to use the camera without worrying about the flash or holding very still. Below is Karin on Ylse leading Eliza.

Rhoda was having fun galloping around the field on Zalena leading Jenis.

I asked them to bunch up a bit so all 4 mares could be in the same picture.

After the trail ride they took the mares into the arena and asked them each to mount the pedestal.

When Eliza had mounted the pedestal willingly and to their satisfaction, Karin let her loose, she wandered over to see what I was doing.

Karin's dog Studly, was busy playing with Ebby in the arena while the girls were working the horses. They were having so much fun the camera was trained on them for a while. I really liked Studly's expression in the picture below.

Once the horses were put away we come inside to see how our dogs play:

Actually sometimes they do play and somedays they have energy but today is not one of those days.
Rhoda and Karin decided to help out in another way. Besides being some of the best horse trainers out there, they cleaned the stalls today, in fact they cleaned the whole BARN! THANK YOU KARIN and RHODA that was a real gift!