Saturday, February 28, 2015

Church Cleaning

Last night Indy tested at 200, less than a 50/50 chance of delivering. The monitor was turned on and would only show the ceiling of the barn. Either a cat or bird knocked the camera part the wrong way. Mark just happened to have a ladder in the back, pulled it out and moved the camera so it was facing the correct way. Watching the monitor it was evident that Indy was comfortable, obviously not in labor. The thermometer was reading 3 degrees when Mark brought in a box from his van he forgot to bring in earlier. It was the brand new heater we had just ordered a few days ago so we put it together and started it up in the stall area. The heater works great, before I left for the night the temperature in the barn was at 36 degrees. Mark and I went to bed early and were sound asleep when the smoke alarm started chirping at us at 1:00 am. Why does the battery decide to quit working at that time of the night. Since I was up anyway I took the golf cart up to the barn to check the mares. Both mares were surprised to see me and neither of them were in labor so both were thrown hay then back down to the house where Mark had just finished removing the smoke alarm. We went back to bed and slept until 5:30 am. This morning Indy had a lot of waxing but didn't progress as much as I'd hoped testing at just above 250. I'll check her in an hour then decide if I'm spending the night in the apartment. Karin is willing to stay there to help with the birth if needed tonight.
Once the stalls were done, horses fed and breakfast done,  we picked up mom and Diane then drove to church for the annual church cleaning. We were thrilled to see how many people came to help with the cleaning. Below are a few pictures, the rest are placed on Mark's Facebook page. I didn't have my camera and just took a few with my phone.

The many many hands really did make the work load light. It was amazing how much got done this morning. 
Phil and Anna brought the girls over for the afternoon while they spent a few hours working on their house then stayed for supper. I'm just now getting the laundry done and will head up to the barn soon. Praying I have pictures of a healthy brand new Friesian foal tomorrow morning. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

If the Dress Fits

One of Rhoda's bridesmaids called in a panic this morning, the dress didn't fit. With the wedding about 3 weeks away Rhoda felt this might be panic time. She drove over, had the bridesmaid try it on and agreed there was no way to make this dress fit. These were special order and there is not enough time to order another dress. In OUR family if the dress fits you are IN the wedding. Just like the glass slipper it was time for Rhoda to start trying it on everyone not currently in the wedding. Thankfully the very first person she asked agreed to try it on. We think it fits just fine. What do you think? Is the fit good enough for Karin to be a bridesmaid? The ex bridesmaid was more than willing to give Karin the job.

Problem solved! Rhoda is very thankful Karin is willing to step in and save the wedding. She was here training horses on this bitterly cold day and had just come in to warm up not dreaming she was going to be shanghaied into service. Indy today had significant waxing on both teats this morning. Karin helped test her and she has made progress, testing at 175. We will test her tonight to see if she has progressed. If not I won't spend the night in the apartment and if she has and is below 250 I will. Star's udder is still flat.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Another Night of Below Zero

Winter is not releasing her grip on the midwest. We are just 3 days from March and will bottom out tonight around -8 degrees with the promise of another snow storm hitting our area on Saturday. At least neither Star nor Indy are showing signs that they are ready to deliver. Star is now 2 days over due and her udder is not filling up. Indy is due in 13 days. Her udder is filling up and a few drops of colostrum is usually on her udder each morning but it is still clear. We aren't taking a chance, each night both mares are stalled and the stalls are now being bedded in straw. Do you know how hard it is to clean a stall with straw? The job which had been taking less than 10 minutes is now taking 15-20 minutes each morning but straw is much warmer for a foal than the pelleted bedding.
Diane drove Karin and me in to Meisters this morning for the Berean work. We were joined by Eva Jean, Rachel and David. We were so thankful for David. He was put to work hauling the heavy Bibles in and out of our office pretty much all morning.
 Rachel was put to work reading letters.
 Below a letter came in requesting an invoice with the Bible. Diane took that home to make an invoice. We have a few prisons that are now requesting that.
 Diane R was also put to work reading letters. 
 Karin worked on filling the boxes until the Bible labels were printed then worked on Bibles the rest of the time. We actually ran out of postage so 25 of the prisoners asking for Bibles will have to wait until Tuesday.
The prisoner that filled out this Bible study put a personal note at the bottom for us.
 This check came from a prisoner. Amazing he works for pennies an hour and yet sends his paycheck to us as his tithe. Truly a 'widow's mite'! 
 Below David is hauling Bibles in to the office, Karin is lining them up on the table to get ready for labels, postage and return addresses.
 Rachel, Diane and Eva Jean sealing all the envelopes with their special 'likkers' Everyone here loves their likker
I tried to make a short video of the Bible assembly line with my phone. I've never used that function before so if you watch the video just don't watch until the end. It was posted on the Berean Facebook page
Just click on that link it will take you right to that page. Some of the letters will be posted on the Berean Blog. IF you enjoy reading the letters please feel free to visit that blog.
Even though it is extremely cold Emily worked both boys and Karin still held vaulting and Friesian practice. The IL Horse Fair starts in just 8 days and we have run out of time to practice. We will try to throw in a practice down at the fair next Thursday.
Below are a few pictures of Emily and Valiant from this afternoon.

Emily is bringing the mares in for the night. We are huddled in the living room near the glowing wood burner fighting the dogs for premium floor space.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Letters, Hundreds of Them

Israel was suppose to come visit grandma today but Stephanie sent a text at 5:30 am that her work had been called off for the first 4 hours. This gave me the morning free to head down to the shop and work on the letters we were not able to finish on Tuesday. After processing 190 letters I was more than ready for a break. Phil, Rhoda and I hit Tyrone's for lunch when Stephanie's work was called off for the afternoon. That gave me a free afternoon to start moving hay. On the way home on Smithville road a helicopter was hovering overhead dragging something. I tried to get a picture of what was on the end of the cable but it dropped down below the tree line about the time the phone camera clicked.
A snow storm was predicted for the area starting this evening so when Emily got home from school and Karin got home from work we went to work. Anna was covered by Valiant first. Next Killian's paddock was given a new round bale, then the middle paddock, breeding shed and finally Evan's paddock. But that wasn't all that got done around here. Emily moved the manure spreader out so she could redistribute the bales by the order they need to be used. This will also open up a bigger area the arena more for riding.  By 5:00 pm the snow was coming down thick. Emily and Karin kept working on the barn. Mark took the car in to Hanna City to pick up 5 more gallons of diesel fuel for the skid steer just in case we need to plow tomorrow. I ordered and picked up chicken from Gils Supper club for supper. By the time everyone came in to eat we had about 8 minutes to gulp down the meal and throw our Sunday clothes on to get ready for church. That was done pretty easily but the only problem was I couldn't find a brush and when I combed out my hair I was shocked at all the twigs and hay in it. Hopefully no one looked too close or if they did maybe they thought it was big flakes of dandruff. Diane picked up mom, Sarah, Hannah and Ruth before heading here to pick us up. We were glad she drove, she has great snow tires and they were needed. The roads were quickly becoming snow covered and slick.
Church was great, Greg Rumbold had the service. The trip home was slow and slippery but we made it. The snow is beautiful and we should end up with around 4 inches but it is the weather coming after the snow that has filled us with dread. We are to bottom out below zero AGAIN! We really need something to take the weather off our minds and I thing the picture below is about perfect for that. So one horse is saying to the other horse, "Did you say you were looking forward to Spring? Ha Ha the joke is on you with this new storm."
Sangria's purebred IALHA papers finally came. They are posted below.
Sangria will be 14 years old this June, we got her when she was 2 years old and after 12 years were finally able to get her purebred papers. We had everything we needed to get her registered with IALHA except one piece of paper. We had the dna proof that she was a purebred and was even given her pedigree by them but because the dam's owner refused to sign a paper we were only able to get her registered as half Andalusian UNTIL NOW!!! Sangria is extremely well bred. No wonder her foals are amazing. This 12 year struggle taught me to never give up. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


We woke up to 4 ABOVE zero this morning. It didn't seem that much warmer than 4 below, I still needed my long sleeve shirt, my hooded sweat shirt, windbreaker and my winter coat to go outside for the morning feeding. It takes so long to dress in the winter around here these last 2 years. We cancelled the walk again.
This morning instead of working at Meisters we Berean volunteers all headed to church to listen to Sue Heimer speak. She is a nationally known Christian speaker and her talk was,  5 Minutes to Say Goodby. Her husband had a major heart attack and was not given a very good chance to live. He begged for 5 minutes to say goodby to his wife and their 4 sons before they hauled him up to surgery. She told us how it was enough time to say, "I love you." There was nothing that needed to be reconciled, then she told us how she and they as a couple had achieved that status. It was very good, I wish it had been recorded so those not there could have heard it.
As soon as it was over mom, Shirley, Eva Jean and I rushed down to the shop to start work on the Bible program. To our joy Rhoda and Emily had already picked up the mail, opened most of the studies and entered more than half. We had so much mail that when Dan and Spark walked in we put them right to work.
We stayed until 3:00 pm and were able to get the studies processed, stuffed and mailed and the letters read. We will have to work on Bibles Thursday. 
When I got back to the farm Karin was here watering the arena before working horses. Anna needed to be covered so Emily came out and helped with that. We evaluated the bales and decided to wait until tomorrow before moving one in Killian's paddock, the breeding shed paddock and the middle paddock. Anna and her colt were moved into the middle paddock with Indy and Star. Both of those mares are due soon and we want the 3 foals to be together. Eliza was allowed to go in the middle paddock with them, she is low key and will not bother the babies.  Jenis was moved to the cabin field with Sheena and Ripper and Ayanna was moved in with the Percherons.
Spark drove to choir, Dusty was the leader again as Bob is still on vacation. Eva Jean and Erma served lunch and needless to say that was absolutely delicious!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tatiana Sold

The deposit for Tatiana came today, she will be traveling to Michigan as soon as shipping is arranged.
That worked out perfect for her health certificate for travel as Dr. Hoerr was scheduled to come out today for ultrasounds. I wanted to pregnancy check Ayanna and sonagram Anna to find out where she is in her season. Ayanna is open, meaning she lost the pregnancy at Middle Grove over the winter. When we picked her up from Middle Grove, my first impression was that she didn't look pregnant.
We will not breed her until May. At least we will have her available for shows this summer as she won't have a foal by her side. Anna is at a 40 mm, we will cover her tomorrow then probably the next 2 days. Dr. Hoerr felt she was 5 days away from ovulation. Jenis had her teeth checked. They were not bad but will probably need floating this year. By the time Dr. Hoerr left I was frozen inside and out. I could hardly wait to get inside near the wood burner but when I arrived inside this is what I found:
 Dogs taking up the best floor space to warm up. They were bribed with a treat to move so I could plop down in front of this wonderful heat producing box.
Rhoda arrived with Crew.
 But she needed to leave before Anna dropped the girls off so he wasn't able to play with them. 
 Above Taegan is playing with a rope while Braelyn was drawing G's for grandma.
 Kensley was enjoying the johnny jump up seat.
 Taegan and Braelyn had a ball swinging her around in that seat.

It is just so bitter cold that Emily was asked to bring the mares in tonight. I had cleaned the stalls this morning but used them for the ultrasounds so those will need to be cleaned again. Thank goodness Emily is a willing helper. Karin arrived to work on the propane heater but wasn't able to fix it. She is going to borrow Rachel's for vaulting practice. We found and ordered a new one which is suppose to arrive by March 4th. The news tonight mentioned we have 2 more weeks of this extreme cold before it moderates. Hope the news is wrong and we get a warm spell March 6th 7th and 8th. It was below zero again this morning and didn't warm up much.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2 Wedding Announcements!

Peoria church had not just 1 announcement but 2 wedding announcements today. Mike and Rosie Waibel announced the engagement of their daughter Jessica to Austin Knobloch from Princeville IL,
while Ken and Janice Steffen from Forrest, IL announced the engagement of their daughter Marie to Gary Unsicker. We wish both couple's Gods blessings. Our church was more than blessed by that, we also got to listen to Willis Ehnle for the morning service and Dave Obergfel for the afternoon. Could the day get any better?
After church Joan's family, Ruth's family and mom drove to Skylines while Rhoda went to the Galesburg Horse auction and picked up 18 new 5 gallon flat back buckets, exactly what we needed for the show and 18 leadropes. We are always short of lead ropes, they either get lost, broken or used for something other than horses. We also acquired a new 3 rack saddle stand which will be real handy at the show. 
This afternoon we took a booking for a breeding to Evan from a mare named Rhinestones Jewely-Et.  Get that play on the spelling of her last name Jewely-Et...Juliette? She will be coming here late May and is pictured below.
Her owner, Shannon, is pretty much guaranteed a Friesian sport horse with spots. If Jewely-Et has a filly Shannon would like to keep her, if a colt this for sure to be talented, gorgeous colt will be for sale. Evan is going to be busy this year. Speaking of Evan this little lady in the picture below is one of his daughters out of Diane Moore's mare Monet.
Diane writes: She is doing wonderful and growing into a big girl:) Thank you for all your help. Here is a recent picture of our Catalina. She is the sweetest girl. Hope you are surviving the cold and keeping warm

Strangely Well Behaved

Everywhere we take our horses we hear how well behaved they are. Well one trainer actually said, "your horses are strangely well behaved!" What is funny about that statement is we would be shocked if they weren't well behaved. We have such a wonderful set up and such wonderful trainers, none of them would put up with an ill mannered horse. The horses are raised in a herd out on plenty of land as close to the natural environment of a wild horse as possible. Middle Grove is perfect for this purpose with over 200 acres of rolling hills of grass, hundreds of trees for shade, lakes for cooling off, and running creeks for fresh water.
The mares are brought into the Hanna City facility for foaling where the foals are handled extensively for 2 to 3 weeks by adults and children before heading back out to Middle Grove to learn horse manners with the herd.
At 2 years of age they are brought back to the Hanna City facility for training for a couple months. They are introduced to a saddle, bridle and a rider. They are line driven, led around, loaded and bathed. They are then taken back out to Middle Grove for another year giving them time to grow up. At 3 they are brought back in for more extensive training. Below is Ayanna a 4 year old mare and Killian a 3 year old stallion out on a trail ride. They are expected to ride nice together even if the mare is in season.
 We take them on lots of trail rides here at the Hanna City farm, Middle Grove and at other facilities such as state parks and forests with anyone that is willing to ride with us.  Below is a group of one stallion, Valiant, 4 mares and a gelding. (A special thanks to Mitchel and Mikayla Cooksey) for meeting us at Sandridge State Forest.
 They are expected to swim, but this is one of the easier things to teach, most of the mares at Middle Grove jump in the lakes to cool off and the foals learn quickly that water is FUN!
 By the time they are 3 or 4 we can take them just about anywhere and know they will be well behaved. In the picture below there are 2 stallions and 4 mares. Everyone of these horses were able to be ridden around the state fairgrounds with thousands of other horses with no problem at all.
Now this isn't to say these horses are not worked with. During the spring and fall, Karin is at Middle Grove putting ground manners on them constantly, in the summer they are scheduled for camps and trail rides most weekends. Emily and Rhoda show different horses when ever possible at the local shows.  In the winter, weather permitting, the horses are ridden and schooled by anyone willing to brave the cold and snow. A big big thank you to the amazing Horsemeister trainers, Karin, Rhoda and Emily for our strangely well behaved horses.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Above Freezing Saturday

Today for the first time in what seems to be months although it is really just weeks the temperature hit 33 degrees. It didn't stay there long, unfortunately the next cold spell is on the way and will be here by morning. Both Mark and I were sure there was church cleaning this morning. We were making arrangements to go when mom called. She was SURE it wasn't this week and sure enough she was right! I'm glad she called before heading in to Peoria.
That gave me a free morning. The stalls were cleaned then the camera taken out for a few pictures from around the farm. None of them were groomed and most had been laying down in the hay.
 Above is Eliza, she was bred to Evan last year and is due May 19th. We are going for the mega hair on this foal. Below is Ayanna with her face in the hay, Ayanna was also bred to Evan and is due June 22nd. She does not look pregnant to me so I will have Dr. Hoerr check her on Monday when he comes out to sonagram Anna.  Killian is peeking around the corner.

 Above is Indy, She was bred to Evan and is due March 11th, she had obviously been laying down and below is Anna's colt by Valiant coming to check out the camera. 

 Ribbon had hay all over her side and back. She must have had a good roll after taking her nap. Check out her baby bump in the picture below. Ribbon is due May 13th.

 Above is Whitney who was bred to Valiant due July 26th. She sure makes a better door than a window. Behind Whitney is Ribbon and the round bale and she blocks out about ALL of that. Below is Tatiana on the left and Violet on the right. Those white flecks are snow flakes, we were having snow flurries off and on all day.

 Above is Sheena. Sheena is a Jockey Club registered Thoroughbred mare who was bred to Valiant. She is due April 21st, and is really showing her pregnancy. Below is Soul's colt Ripper. Both of these horses are in the cabin field. 

 Valiant saw me coming back from the cabin and came galloping up just to check if I was bringing back a mare. He thinks he is the king around here. Below is Evan who would like to be king but isn't.
Whitney sure stands out like a sore thumb doesn't she? The only none black horse here right now. We have more colors at Middle Grove.