Monday, April 30, 2012

The Gift

Yesterday in church Cheryl Grassi gave us the very special gift pictured above. Now there is a story about this gift. Cheryl's family owns the grain elevator in Glasford, IL and a bee man David Stiles, from Mapleton, IL sells his honey at the elevator. There is a huge difference between store bought honey and honey from bees in the area and the first time I visited the elevator I was thrilled to purchase his honey. A few weeks ago I told Cheryl I was coming to the elevator, not to buy grain but making a special trip to buy more honey when she informed me, they were all out. David sold out of everything he had and there won't be more until he harvests. Cheryl has such a soft heart, she gave a half gallon from her own house, graciously sharing her bounty with us, as we didn't lay up enough to get through until harvest. THANKS CHERYL! hmmmm there is probably a lesson in this prepare, share, good gifts... Even though it was still drizzling Ruth, mom, Diane and I walked. Heidi saw a squirrel run up this tree and the other 2 dogs came running just as Heidi lost interest.
And speaking of trees, the tree below is mom's birthday gift that will be planted on the scheduled work day.
Amy Koch stopped by on her way to work to drop off 3 different kinds of bells to try on Lily for blind Helen. It is pouring down rain so we will wait to attach one of these bells to her halter once the rain stops. Amy even brought a break-a-way strap to attach the bell. We had a good visit, she is probably going to be late in to work today. Diane emailed the picture below of the Saturday trail ride. She and Mike took out 2 of their grand children, 8 year old Willow on Bunni and 6 year old Tate on Paris. Tate had a ball on Paris. He said it was more fun than riding a 4 wheeler. He was able to completely control her all by himself even leaving the group at a trot. Willow now canters off by herself. These kids are talented but not that talented, it is the wonderful obedient horses that make the trail rides so much fun.

Surprise Birthday Party

After church about 30 of the Meister clan met at a bar (yes really) to meet the guide that was to take us to Rocky Glen. Not that we needed a guide, mom and dad hiked to Rocky Glen when they were engaged, then took us kids numerous times. Rocky Glen has been closed for years, the hike up to it has been blocked with no trespassing signs. Mom read an article in the newspaper about special guided tours, Rachel called and arranged for a private tour for yesterday. It was rain or shine and unfortunately it was pouring rain by the time we got out of church. Some of us older more decrepit decided not to go but mom went with a good turnout of brave souls willing to get drenched by a cold driving rain to be with her. Karin even brought Nancy. Nancy had a great time telling everyone with her huge smile, "mom made me hike in the rain, just look at my clothes!"
After the hike almost the entire family met at Beth's barn to surprise mom with a meal and cake for her 80th birthday. Her birthday was March 30th but she was down in Gulf Shores at that time.
Below we are singing with our most melodious voices as loud as possible, as off key as possible happy birthday to mom.
80 candles were just a bit daunting for mom to try to blow out and it took her 4 tries.
The family gave her a Japanese Maple (just like Diane's only even bigger and brighter), a set of patio chairs and mulch.
As soon as the cake was demolished the volley ball started up.
Mark and I headed home still in the very welcome driving rain exhausted but relaxed. It is still drizzling this morning, this dry and thirsty land is getting a good drink, The pond is filling up nicely. Another beautiful day!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Benefit Dinner

Spark had the fire engine in place, Jay Brenner got on the ladder and was lifted way into the air to start removing limbs from the huge tree that needed to come down.
He started at the top but it didn't take him long to get to the real work, just look at the diameter of this tree, it must be 15 feet around
There was a honeybee nest in it, once the tree was down a bee man was called, he came to take the hive. He got stung but Jay did not. Hope he found the queen, it was a good size swarm. Mark and I headed to the fellowship hall, worked until noon, grabbed a few items at Sam's for tomorrow, made it home by 12:50 and was on the road by 1:05 to drive to Farmington, IL for our 2 nephew's wedding receptions. Tom and Tarah along with Tim and Jenna celebrated their wedding with a reception at their parent's house. Now John is homesteading and raised some feeder pigs. Beth, his wife got so attached, she didn't want them butchered but guess what was served at the reception. You guessed it, the best pork EVER! moist, tender and delicious, there is nothing like home raised pork. We had to leave by 2:20pm to get home in time to change and head to the fellowship hall for the big dinner. Below are the servers getting their instructions from Dean Ramseyer our very own chef extraordinaire.
Outside the entire block was perfumed with the scent of roasting meat, huge hunks of prime rib slow cooking over wood. Below the 3 guys are taking the cooked meat off the fire to prepare for the dinner.
The meal was delicious, the fellowship wonderful and the singing just plain fun. Below are a few of the guests.
Every one pitched in to help with clean up. We are home and very very tired.

Really Dumb Dog

Mastiffs are not known for the brains but some have a bit of reasoning power in their gray matter and some do not. Emma unfortunately is one that we are even wondering if she has any gray matter in that thick skull of hers. She has a tough time remembering who even belongs in this family and who might be a stranger but worse if something has been moved she is sure it must be alive and a threat. Last night she and Darcy were inside while we were moving manure, once we were finished the dump trailer was parked in the middle of the circle drive. When the dogs were put out to prepare for bed, Emma gets a glimpse of the trailer and that sets her off barking. She forgot she was suppose to empty her bladder because something big and black was staring at her. Once I walked outside over to the trailer she was embarrassed. This morning Jay Brenner, Spark's son-in-law is taking down a tree in the farm house lawn. Spark pulled the fire engine out of the indoor arena and parked it by the tree so Jay could use the ladder. Emma walks into the barn and realizes something is not the same, she stares intently then lets loose with tremendously loud barking at the empty slot! Since we can't check her tiny little brain, perhaps we need to get her eyes checked. We would like to stop this behavior but are not sure exactly how. Anyone have any ideas on how to fix a dog with no brain? Airiah has left for her new home. We will keep her on the website for the new owners as they want to sell the baby but keep Airiah.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Valiant & Karin

Steven was giving a lesson to Emily on Ella when Karin arrived. She was all enthused over what she had learned at the Midwest Horse Fair last weekend and wanted to try some of the techniques out on one of the boys. Steven was going to work Evan so Karin chose Valiant.
She started free lunging him until he was paying attention, then started carrying around a tarp on her shoulders as she asked him to move away.
Once he was accepting the tarp on her she tied it to Valiant's tail. Now I would have thought there would be fireworks with that but he softened and listened to her trying hard to please.
She said she learned this from watching and attending Guy McClean's clinics at the fair. While she was working Valiant, the shipper came to pick up Izadora. Steven was good enough to get her out of the paddock and give her a quick groom. The truck and trailer were really nice. The trailer was hauling 3 other horse and Izadora got her own box stall.
Mark wanted to start moving manure out of the paddocks before the predicted rain. The two of us worked until dark.
We put off our trip to the fellowship hall but will have to go in the morning to put down the carpet protector, take the now cleaned coolers and my dessert.


Finally after 11:30pm the benefit dinner dessert's second layer was on and in the fridge. The bed felt wonderful and almost instantly I fell asleep only to be rudely awakened at 1:20am by the alarm clock. Groping around in the pitch dark to find the right button to turn off the screeching beep beep beep sound was so frustrating that finally the cord was ripped out of the wall. At 2:00am Emma desperately needed to go outside. That was my fault, yesterday was so busy I forgot to fill the water bucket, both dogs drank deeply at 11:30pm of the fresh clean water. Darcy should have been made to go out at 2:00am because at 4:00am she needed to go out, 6:00am came way too early. I'm tired today! The hauler for Izadora called and hopes to be here between 3:00pm and 4:00pm. Hope he isn't too late, we need to make a trip out to the fellowship hall after work to lay the carpet protector in the garage hallway, take the 4 foot folding table and the 2 coolers we borrowed from the Old School center. The coolers need to be cleaned up a bit first and should have been power washed when they were dropped off at Meisters. Today it is freezing outside. They are so big, they don't fit on the counter, they are too tall on the table to reach inside easy and it is too hard to bend and scrub if they are on the floor with a stiff hip. We can either haul them back in to Meisters or Mark can power wash them here once he gets home. The boys dragged both of their feeders into the paddock this morning. They are so destructive and the feeders had to be rescued or the boys would play around with both of them until they are in pieces. We know this by past experience. The vet's office needed to be called, we got charged twice for Izadora's coggins. Funny how little things can irritate when one hasn't had enough sleep.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Addyson's Birthday Party

Today was busy, Mark's truck had just enough gas to get to Sam's for dog food, Walmart for the ingredients needed for the benefit dinner dessert and Rhoda's work to drop off Addyson's present. Today is the day for her birthday party. I didn't think there would be enough time in the day to go but wanted to send the gift. Once home making the dessert didn't take as long as I thought and instead of cleaning up the mess headed to Bloomington, IL to at least see the birthday girl. I arrived about the same time as Sarah and had about an hour to play with Jack and Addyson. Below is Jack first crawling.
He was determined to stand and push the cart.
Phil and Anna arrived with Braelyn. She had to show us her new discovery, she found her belly button!
The kids have so much fun playing at Taunya's house, so many neat toys.
Addyson's birthday cake was a princess' palace.
Right up her ally, Addyson loves pretty princesses and someday wants to live in a castle with Jenis. Right now she likes Jenis better than Ella, Rhoda roached Ella's mane and Jenis has lots of hair to brush. The other set of grandparents arrived for the party, Ron and Jackie Rumbold.
I had to leave for the fellowship hall before the party got started. Tonight we were recording the benefit dinner songs for the CD. I made it just in time for choir to start. Tonight was long, some of the songs took more than a couple of takes and the practice of sitting and standing took a bit. Notice the laughter? For some reason we couldn't co-ordinate the movements with the second and 4th row. Of course each time we got it wrong, gales of laughter filled the fellowship hall.
This was our last practice, Friday is set up and Saturday the dinner. Once home the second layer of the dessert needed to be mixed and spread on the first layer. That needs to be refrigerated for 12 hours. It is after 11:00pm and I must get to bed soon, clean up will have to wait until tomorrow, morning comes very early around here.


Mark left at 5:00am for Elgin, IL and won't be home until Friday. He took my car leaving his truck, sure hope there is gas in that. I must get dog food today! Mike showed up early to start the repairs on the boys paddock. He finished it in about 20 minutes even electrifying the top wire. The boys tested the fence with shocking results and it couldn't have happened at a better time to better bad boys. Instead of the battery powered electric fence charger, Mike hooked up a plug in type with a much stronger charge. We will need to warn any visitors not to touch the fence, by the boy's reactions it must be a good strong charge. Before Mike left for work, Jazz was covered by Raven. The manager at Circle Double D was called to let him know she is ready to be picked up. She didn't stand as well and is obviously going out. Tomorrow Izadora will be picked up for her long trip to North Carolina and Saturday Airiah is leaving for her new home in Galesburg, IL. This will open up room to bring Ribbon back for Karin. Her vaulting team is going to start back up in May.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bad Boys Bad Boys

The mares were turned out into the field. While they were busy grazing I went inside to finish cleaning the apartment. All of a sudden the sound of screaming started, loud angry screaming. Running outside to see, there are Evan and Valiant in the pasture behind Raven's trying to fight with him over the fence. What was worse was Raven was ready to take them on and trying to get over the fence to do so. The picture below explains how they escaped their paddock.
Now why they would do this is a mystery. They are usually pretty respectful of fences and because of that we have become lax with the electric fence. They were quickly put in the first paddock which was empty at the time as both Zalena and Ciera were out in the field. But that paddock doesn't have electric so it may not hold them either. We were saying how Raven wouldn't have done that until we remembered how he used to knock down the 6 feet high fences at Ruth's place when he was 5 years old. Those bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do? Steven arrived to help move 2 new round bales into the middle paddock then helped round up the mares placing them all in the middle paddock leaving an empty paddock between those bad boys and the mares. Ciera was covered by Evan. Zalena was checked and seems to be out of season. At least Raven thinks so, I can't tease her with the boys right now. Jazz is in big time and will be covered tomorrow morning.

Google Grandma

Our Anni, that is Ruth and Fede's daughter was asked to make a rhubarb pie for a young group function. Wanting to make the best, wanting to perhaps impress some of the members of the young group, Anni asked her mom for a tried and true recipe. Ruth responded with, "you should call grandma, she probably has an old heirloom recipe from her mom." I was with mom when the phone call came, mom's response was, "Anni, why don't you just google it." Yep, that's our 80 year old very hip mom, now called the google grandma. My day didn't start out very well. It was kind of dark in our bedroom when dressing this morning and as usual going out to feed is always done at full speed or at least a very fast walk. The sweat pants that were put on early were threatening to fall down with each step. Finally I stopped, put the bucket down, to tighten the draw strings only to find out the pants were put on backward. They were held up with one hand while the horses were fed, then into the apartment to fix this problem. This is not an easy fix, I didn't want to take my shoe off, the one Mark so graciously helped put on this morning, so figured out a way to get the pant legs off the shoe without too much bending, got the pants turned around, started to put them on when I realize they are not my pants but Mark's. The scary thing about all of this is it was after 2 cups of coffee. There was no excuse other than I was in a hurry. We had a good time on the walk this morning. Diane showed us her new tree she bought and planted. Mom looked at that and want's one for herself. We think she is just trying to keep up with the Joneses (Honeggers).
The dogs are out of food but the car is out of gas. If Mark drives the car in to church tonight he will fill the tank with his credit card. Perhaps the dogs will get some people food, it is worth putting them off if the gas bill does not go on my credit card.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Big Escape

After the TAG function mom and I met Mark, Philip and Dan at Denny's then headed back to the shop to unload the 10 boxes of labels Gail Hodel found for the ministry for FREE. We picked up a deposit slip then headed to Bartonville bank to deposit the quarters from the apartment machines. There was exactly $400.00 in mom's coffee can and the teller wanted to know if we had done that on purpose. I didn't reach the farm until after 1:00pm, the sun was shining and the mares were begging to go out. They were turned loose in the big field and the golf cart taken out so I could watch them in comfort. Even Lily and Helen were turned out with them.
The first five settled right down to graze. Left to right is Zalena, Eliza, Airiah, Jenis and Ciera. Then Ylse was added into the mix.
After running to join the crowd she drops and rolls.
Zalena had to join in with a roll herself. One would think they have been practicing fire drills.
After a good hour of grazing, Helen takes off running, Lily starts to follow and brings the whole herd with her.
They all galloped straight into the pasture behind Raven's paddock and quickly were locked in.
Zalena was taken out right away, she is still in season and we don't want Raven climbing over any fences to get to her. Lily and Helen were then moved into her pasture. The other mares all started toward the bottom of the pasture and the next thing I see is they are climbing through the woods and over a downed section of fence. The golf cart was near by and quickly taken over to the playground. The mares saw me coming down the lane and took off for Spark and Rhonda's house. Just as I was wondering how far they were going, Jenis found the path into the big field and took all of the others with her. Back to the barn to pick up a bucket of grain and then one at a time were led over to their paddocks. All except Airiah and Ciera. They decided they would rather eat grass than grain.
Both popped their heads up then went right back to grazing making me hike down into the field.
Right around that time Justin Herman from Herman Pond Management showed up with the bass Mark is stocking in the pond. Ciera and Airiah were put in the pasture behind Raven's where they should have been fine except Ciera starts to show. She is in season and backs up to the boys pen. While Justin was transferring the bass into a bucket I was trying to drag Ciera away from the boys who are trying to climb over each other and over the fence to get to her. I finished moving her right about the time Justin had the bass ready. Below he has just dumped them in the pond.
Here's hoping the fathead minnows Mark put in a few weeks ago were prolific and the bass find them, eat them and grow quickly. Mark also ordered bluegill but they won't arrive for 2 weeks.

Jazz Covered

The walk was cut short in order to enlist Mike's help with Jazz, although she stood very well for Raven. When the horse does not belong to us, I don't want to be alone just in case the mare would start kicking or pulling back. For Raven's sake and mine. The new hip is still in the healing stage and shouldn't be stressed. Sure wouldn't want it to pop out of the socket. Mom is willing to drive her car in to Peoria today. After our TAG group we need to be at Meister's by 11:30am to meet with Dan. He is bringing the big coolers in from the Old School Center for the benefit dinner. Once they are loaded we will take off for Denny's for our usual Tuesday lunch.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jazz In

Ebby came running up for the walk carrying this:
Emma was very curious of what she was carrying but not enough to try for it besides it was just a piece of cardboard. If Ebby can find something to carry in her mouth she will. At least this didn't stink.
Instead of working tomorrow I went in today to process the studies and make copies. The copy machine ran very efficiently until I ran out of paper. Tomorrow Eva Jean and I are going to church for TAG. We missed the first gathering but it sounded like so much fun we decided to take the once a month off at the shop to attend. I stopped at Rachel's to drop off some goodies for their boy's school lunches saw her mama cat carrying a kitten trying to get in the garage door. That cat decided she didn't like the place she was in and wanted to bring her litter into the garage. Once home Zalena was brought out and covered. Today she stood perfect.
She thought the grass in the yard was thick and luscious and was allowed to graze in it for 30 minutes. While watching her it was obvious that Jazz is coming in, not yet in a standing heat but definitely showing. We will try her tomorrow. Helen is one month old today. She was listening to Zalena grazing by the fence line. Notice her cocked head.
She soon became bored and headed over to visit the boys. Lily allowed her to get within 20 feet of their paddock before running over to get between their fence and Helen.
Steven showed up around 5:00pm to ask if we would like to start repairing the fence line at the back of Raven's paddock. He has the day off tomorrow and is willing to help. He was given the Horsemeister credit card to pick up the few items needed for this.